1 Friday, 7th April 2000
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.07 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
6 morning, ladies and gentlemen; good morning,
7 interpreters. Can you hear me? Yes. I think they
8 hear. I can hear them as well. Good morning,
9 technicians; good morning, court reporters, legal
10 officers, whom we often forget; good morning, counsel
11 for the Prosecution; good morning, counsel for the
12 Defence; good morning, General Krstic; good morning,
14 I owe you an explanation. Yesterday I told
15 you that the hearing would be held in Courtroom II. I
16 know that the technicians have been working all night
17 so that we could be here this morning, but these
18 frequent changes add up to the stress that we already
19 have to deal with due to the nature of our work. All
20 other stresses should be, therefore, avoided.
21 At any rate, let me present my apologies to
22 you and the public in general. The intention was to
23 enable us to work in the best possible conditions.
24 Be that as it may, Mr. Harmon, could you tell
25 us what is the situation with witnesses this morning.
1 MR. HARMON: Yes, Mr. President. Good
2 morning, and good morning to my colleagues. We have a
3 witness we're going to proceed with. Mr. McCloskey
4 will lead the evidence of that witness.
5 Before we begin, however, I'd like to just
6 clarify one matter for the Court and for the record.
7 Yesterday, through Corporal Van der Zwan, I introduced
8 a patch. It's Prosecutor's Exhibit 93. He said he got
9 it when he was at OP Uniform from a Bosnian Serb
11 So the record is perfectly clear, the letters
12 at the top which are in Cyrillic say "Bratunac", the
13 letters in Cyrillic underneath the image say "brigade,"
14 and underneath brigade in Cyrillic are written the
15 letters "VRS," and my colleagues from the Defence have
16 looked at this exhibit and they agree with me that that
17 is what this represents.
18 I wanted to clarify the record so it would be
20 Now, without further ado, Mr. McCloskey will
21 introduce the next witness.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon,
23 before we proceed, let me ask you one other question.
24 Exhibit 32C, Prosecutor's 32C, the French translation
25 is not complete, and we had 25 minutes of transcript,
1 at least. I don't know whether you have a complete
2 version or is this just a sample of the document?
3 MR. HARMON: Unfortunately, it's not a
4 sample. It's the official transcript of the Tribunal
5 from the hearing that we took from -- it's the final
6 transcription. I didn't know it was missing 25 minutes
7 until one of the interpreters kindly informed me at the
8 conclusion of the hearing that it was missing 25
9 minutes. So we merely introduced the official
10 transcript. We will now -- we now find it's missing 25
11 minutes. We will endeavour to get those 25 minutes
12 translated and we'll submit that at a later date.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Okay. As I
14 told you, Mr. Harmon, I shared your view. At the same
15 time, I was happy, but also a bit disappointed, because
16 when this comes to a French translation, it seems that
17 we always have problems.
18 So, Mr. Harmon, you will prepare a complete
19 version for us, and then afterwards it will be admitted
20 into evidence.
21 MR. HARMON: That's correct.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you
23 very much. Thank you for your attention.
24 Mr. McCloskey, I believe, is going to take
25 the floor.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. Good morning,
2 Mr. President, Your Honours. The next witness is a
3 protected witness, and we've discussed that with the
4 Defence. He asked for face distortion and pseudonym,
5 so I see we're set up for it. But, of course, we still
6 need the witness.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
8 Mr. Petrusic, do you have any objections?
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] For the
10 record, Mr. President, the Defence has no objections
11 whatsoever regarding the issue mentioned by
12 Mr. McCloskey.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you
14 very much, Mr. Petrusic.
15 Mr. Usher or Mr. Registrar, can you please
16 lower down the blinds. After five minutes, we will put
17 them up again, after the witness has been brought into
18 the courtroom.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
20 Mr. Dubuisson, the usher has not gone to Bosnia to
21 fetch the witness, I hope. Oh. He's coming.
22 [The witness entered court]
23 WITNESS: WITNESS I
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Can you
1 hear me, sir?
2 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
4 morning. Sir, we will call you Witness I, for your
5 protection, because you have asked for certain
6 protective measures which have been accorded to you.
7 So you will be referred to as Witness I.
8 First of all, could you please read the
9 solemn declaration that the usher will give you.
10 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
11 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 You may be seated now. Witness I, could you please
15 have a look at this piece of paper that the registrar
16 will show you, and could you please confirm if the name
17 written on it is your name or not? Could you please
18 answer simply by saying yes or no.
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well
21 then. So on this piece of paper it was your name that
22 was written. Are you comfortable, sir?
23 A. Yes, I am.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I should
25 first like to thank you, Witness I, for coming to the
1 Tribunal. Let me just explain to you that you will
2 first answer questions that will be put to you by
3 Mr. McCloskey, whom you probably already know.
4 Mr. McCloskey, you have the floor.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you.
6 Examined by Mr. McCloskey:
7 Q. Good morning, Witness I. How are you?
8 A. Good morning. Fine.
9 Q. Okay. I'll be asking you a few questions
10 like the President said, and if you can just do your
11 best to answer, and you may notice that I interrupt you
12 occasionally, and we'll eventually be able to get
13 through your story. Okay?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you first tell us where you were born?
16 A. I was born in the Srebrenica municipality.
17 Q. And what is your birth date?
18 A. 18th of October.
19 Q. Of what year?
20 A. (redacted).
21 Q. And where did you spend most of your life?
22 A. Most of my life I spent in Srebrenica. I
23 would venture outside Srebrenica a little bit because
24 of my work.
25 Q. And what was your work?
1 A. I was a farmer. I also work a little bit as
2 a bricklayer and had some other small jobs.
3 Q. And in July of 1995, where were you living?
4 A. I was living in Srebrenica.
5 Q. And on July 11th of 1995, what did you do?
6 A. It was at that time that Srebrenica fell, and
7 I went down to Potocari.
8 Q. Did you take family members of yours with
10 A. Yes, I did, my family.
11 Q. Can you tell us -- can you describe which
12 family members you went with to Potocari?
13 A. My wife was with me, my daughter. I had four
14 grandchildren and a daughter-in-law.
15 Q. Roughly, how old were your grandchildren at
16 the time?
17 A. Well, the youngest one, who had just been
18 born, was very small. He was born as soon as the war
20 Q. And how about the oldest one? About how old
21 was that grandchild?
22 A. Well, the oldest one is now in the seventh
23 grade of the elementary school, so he's 14 now.
24 Q. Okay. And did you have two sons at the
1 A. Yes, I did. They had gone through the woods.
2 Q. And have you seen them since that time that
3 they went through the woods?
4 A. No, I haven't. I just know that the youngest
5 one went to the hospital, took out all the wounded
6 persons to UNPROFOR, put them on a truck, and then
7 afterwards he left and went through the woods.
8 Q. Did you find that out by one of the wounded
9 people that he helped?
10 A. Yes, from one of the wounded people I learned
11 about that. He later on came to Batkovic. And there
12 were many others who remained, who did not arrive, but
13 they had been registered prior to that.
14 Q. So that first night in Potocari, did you
15 spend the night outside one of the factories with your
17 A. Yes, I did. I was within the compound, but I
18 couldn't actually get inside the factory. They were
19 crowded. There were several factories there, and I was
20 actually outside in the area surrounding the factory,
21 not far from the road.
22 Q. So was that first night July 11th?
23 A. Yes, it was, the first night.
24 Q. Now, on July 12th, can you tell us what
25 happened on July 12th, as you recall it?
1 A. On the 12th of July, a man came with a kind
2 of trumpet and started talking to us. He told us that
3 there had been some negotiations, that we should not be
4 afraid, that the Serb soldiers would now come and mix
5 with the people and so that they would see if there
6 were any weapons there, but, anyhow, that nobody should
7 be afraid.
8 Q. And what happened after that?
9 A. After that, they came to us and they kept
10 walking around amongst the people until the afternoon
11 that day. At one point they started taking people, one
12 by one, away.
13 Q. When you say "they," who are you talking
15 A. Serb soldiers.
16 Q. And where did you spend that night of the
18 A. I spent it outside in the open, also in
19 Potocari. And on that day, they brought some bread in
20 a little TAM truck. He also distributed some sweets
21 and recorded everything with a camera. They wanted to
22 show the world how humane they were, whereas while they
23 were committing genocide, they were not filming
25 Q. So again when you say "they," you're talking
1 about Serb soldiers?
2 A. Serb soldiers. They were filming while they
3 were throwing bread onto the people and distributing
4 sweets, and there was a presenter there who was filming
6 Q. So were you present in the crowd and saw the
7 Serb soldiers doing this?
8 A. Yes. I saw it and I managed to catch a loaf
9 of bread, because in Srebrenica, I had nothing to take
10 with me, so I wanted to give this food to my
11 grandchildren so they could eat something. I saw
12 everything with my own eyes.
13 Q. What else did you see that day?
14 A. I saw a number of dogs, maybe eight or nine,
15 German Shepherds, walking around with soldiers amongst
16 the people.
17 Q. And what else?
18 A. They were taking some men away, saying that
19 they wanted to have a chat with them. Maybe they were
20 their neighbours. I don't know. So they kept walking
21 around a little bit, and they took them away. But in
22 the evening, they started taking people away in greater
24 At one point, people started to scream, and
25 everybody stood up. Afterwards, we heard rumours that
1 a woman had given birth. And then after a few minutes,
2 shortly after that, we heard the same thing again. So
3 we were thinking, "What's going on here? Are these
4 women going to keep giving birth here?" But actually,
5 it was them who kept coming and taking men away.
6 Q. Again, when you say "them" --
7 A. Serbs soldiers. Women were screaming,
8 children were screaming, everybody screamed. And a
9 little later, maybe 15 minutes later, you could hear
10 people screaming and moaning from the outside. Yes,
11 they were moaning. Occasionally you would hear a shot,
12 but sometimes not, and then everything would be silent
13 for a while, and then nothing.
14 Q. And did this go on much of the night?
15 A. It lasted all night. And there were also
16 crazy women, women who had gone round the bend there
17 out of fear there, those whose nerves were not as
18 strong and poor health. And I heard, I didn't see, but
19 I heard that there were also people who hanged
20 themselves out of fear.
21 Q. Now, the next day, what did you do? July
23 A. The 13th of July, when we were to go out,
24 there were lots of people, and there was a crowd, and
25 people were so packed that they barely made it to the
1 barricade. And where the barricade was, they would let
2 through perhaps 200 or 150, as many as can fit onto a
3 truck. And there was a second barricade some 10 or 15
4 metres further on, which simply separated men from
5 women and children.
6 Q. Who did the separating of men from women and
8 A. The Serb troops.
9 Q. And were you trying to get you and your
10 family onto the buses that morning?
11 A. I tried. I followed in their steps because
12 they were separating. I couldn't. I was carrying
13 water to have for my children so that on the road they
14 could have some refreshment, because there were people
15 who were passing out.
16 A Serb soldier grabbed me by the shoulder and
17 said, "Here." I said, "Let me see off my children, at
18 least, to the trucks." He says, "You can't." So I
19 gave that canister to a grandchild. And the Serb
20 soldier grabbed me by the shoulder, and I had to go
21 into the house there.
22 Q. Why did you want to put your family and
23 yourself on the bus that morning? Why did you want to
25 A. I wanted to go to Tuzla, to the free
1 territory, and to go with my children and my
2 grandchildren. My daughter-in-law couldn't manage all
3 by herself with all of them, but she had to.
4 Q. Why didn't you want to leave your home that
6 A. Left because I had to. Shells were pounding
7 for six days. On the seventh day I had to leave. The
8 troops had left, leaving UNPROFOR withdrawing. Nobody
9 says he's resisting, they're simply retreating inside
10 the town.
11 Unfortunately, and much to the disgrace of
12 everybody, there was no support from any side. So I
13 had to leave.
14 Q. I'd like to show Witness I the Exhibit 5/17,
15 if we could.
16 Now, Witness I, I've showed you that
17 photograph before. Does that building in that
18 photograph look familiar to you?
19 A. It looks -- it could have been here, this
20 house, the house which was full. And when it filled
21 up, the buses came, after perhaps an hour, and we sat
22 in the bus and started for Bratunac.
23 Q. Okay. Before we get to the bus, I want to
24 ask you: Could you point on this picture where you
25 first went inside this house?
1 A. I entered here, from the road [indicates].
2 There's a door from the road. It could have been here
3 [indicates], from this side.
4 Q. Okay. Showing that to be the right side of
5 the picture. And when you went inside the house, where
6 did you go?
7 A. When I entered the building, we were down on
8 the ground floor and sitting down. The door was open.
9 Others were driven in, and I saw them go up to the
10 upper floor.
11 A Serb soldier came and said, "Anybody got
12 any marks? Give them over here." A man had them. He
13 put his hand in his pocket and said, "Hurry up, hurry
14 up, before somebody else comes." And he left.
15 Q. Were there other Serb soldiers in the house
16 with you?
17 A. Well, there were those who were escorting
18 from the road, from the barricade into the house. So
19 that happened to be in the house and come to the house
20 and drive in other people.
21 Q. And how long were you in the house, until you
22 were taken out to the buses?
23 A. About an hour, until enough people gathered.
24 Half an hour, an hour, something like that.
25 Q. How full was the house right before you were
1 taken out of it?
2 A. Downstairs on the ground floor, the room
3 where I was, it was full. Well, now, how many there
4 were on the upper floor, I couldn't say, but there were
5 quite a lot of people there too.
6 Q. Did you see anything bad happen to anybody
7 while you were in that house, besides what you've
9 A. Well, there, there -- no, not in the house.
10 I didn't see there, but I heard. I heard that some had
11 been driven out of the house somewhere uphill, but I
12 didn't see.
13 Q. Okay. So where were you taken when you were
14 taken out of the house?
15 A. They took us to buses and to Bratunac, the
16 old school, the one that had been vacated. At the
17 time, I didn't know what its name was, but the name of
18 the school is Vuk Karadzic, some old hero.
19 Q. So did you go to Bratunac by bus or by truck?
20 A. Bus.
21 Q. And was your bus full of men?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And were those men that had been in the White
24 House with you?
25 A. Yes, from there, from the house. They were
1 thrown out and took the buses from the house to the
2 school Vuk Karadzic.
3 Q. Were there any soldiers on the bus with you
4 that took you to the school in Bratunac?
5 A. Well, there were two soldiers, as a rule.
6 Q. Were they armed?
7 A. Yes; automatic weapons. And when we got to
8 Bratunac and went into the school, then they forced
9 us -- we discarded all the bags, all the food that we
10 had. It all remained outside.
11 Q. Did they force you to discard the bags and
12 the food that you had?
13 A. They made us do it. And whoever had a watch,
14 a tobacco box, or a nail, or a knife, a razor blade,
15 they forbid us strictly to have any of those. So that
16 I took off my coat, left it next to the bag. I just
17 left it all and that was it.
18 Q. You were there at that school for two nights?
19 A. Yes, two nights since we arrived.
20 Q. Can you tell us what happened to you and
21 others at that school during those days and nights?
22 A. It happened instantly. A Serb, sort of
23 policeman, came and began to beat a man, and with his
24 rifle at that, hitting him on the head from above.
25 Blood poured down his face and his shirt. So he stayed
1 for about an hour amongst us, with us, that bloody
3 An hour later, he again came to the door,
4 only waved at him -- only pointed at him with his
5 finger, yelling, "Come on out here." And this one
6 hesitated, but he had to stand up and go out.
7 Nothing. All you could hear were cries. You could
8 hear his cries of pain, and moans, and the voice
9 getting weaker and weaker and weaker as the life slowly
10 dies out.
11 And then they did it all the time. They were
12 taken away. It didn't matter if it was day or night.
13 All you heard were cries of pain, moans. I dared not
14 look out of the window to see, because if you looked,
15 then there would be bursts of fire at you. You had to
16 lie down not to be killed through the window.
17 Q. How many people were in the room where you
18 were kept?
19 A. Well, there could have been -- the room was
20 largish and it was crammed. There could have been
21 perhaps about 250, about that in that room. And in
22 other rooms, how many there were there, I don't know.
23 Q. Was there anything distinctive about what the
24 soldiers or Serb personnel were wearing that were doing
25 this to you and your fellow Muslims?
1 A. Well, only knowledge. I know that those
2 soldiers were in multicoloured uniforms, and the one
3 who gave the beating with the rifle on the head, he was
4 in a sort of blue suit. He had a white military belt
5 and his pistol with the white holster. Now, was it a
6 military police or a civilian, I really couldn't say or
8 Q. About how many soldiers or Serb personnel
9 were around or inside that school during the period
10 that you were kept there?
11 A. Well, there could have been eight or ten,
12 thereabouts. They were taking out and torturing.
13 Sometimes a voice would die out. You couldn't hear it
14 from the tortures. And sometimes you could even hear
15 bursts of fire, shots, after those cries of pain.
16 Q. Were you allowed to go to the toilet
18 A. We had to ask. They were in the passage, and
19 they escorted us if we wanted to go. But as we went
20 there and came back, they were sometimes known to hit
21 you on the back with the rifles, so that many people
22 suffered and tried to contain themselves because they
23 were afraid of those blows and tried not to ask to go
25 Q. So what did they have to do?
1 A. Well, had to -- because there were times when
2 I watched a man relieve himself right there. It
3 happened. Or perhaps takes a plastic bag or a bottle
4 and urinates in the bottle. And the second, the third,
5 runs, grabs the bottle. I think he wants to pee, but,
6 no, he takes it and drinks it up, because people were
7 so dried up. They were all black. If you didn't know
8 a man, well, you wouldn't recognise him, so blacked
9 they looked, our men, our prisoners who were there.
10 Q. Did they give you some water over that
11 two-day period, the soldiers?
12 A. Soldiers, they gave water, but there wasn't
13 enough of it. Had they not given some water, half of
14 those people would have died there on the spot. Such a
15 horrible thirst. I've never known that it could be so
17 Q. Did they give you any food ever during that
18 time in Bratunac?
19 A. I was about two nights in Bratunac, and when
20 we started, they said, "You're going to Tuzla." Then
21 they gave us a bit of bread on the bus and some
22 biscuits. It was so dry, so dry, as if it was just
23 nothing but flour or sand. It just crumbled it was so
24 dry. Our mouths' dried up. I put it in my mouth and I
25 tried to eat. I tried to chew for about 15 minutes
1 perhaps, so as to just moisten it a little bit and be
2 able to swallow. And when I saw then what it looked
3 like, I simply didn't eat it, because I couldn't really
4 eat it, it was so dry. So that was it after two nights
5 and a day.
6 Q. Were there soldiers on the buses that they
7 put you on?
8 A. Yes, there were. At times one, at times two,
9 because with those buses, they were getting a ride.
10 Sometimes buses would stop and they would get off and
11 walk. We headed through Kravica to Tuzla. They said,
12 "We want to go." But when we got to Konjevic Polje,
13 we started in the opposite direction, towards Zvornik.
14 As far as I can remember, we crossed the
15 Drina there into Serbia. We went through Serbia as far
16 as Loznica, and there they again took us back into
17 Bosnia, so that we travelled through Bosnia, and when
18 we came close to Pilica, the bus stopped there. We
19 were there for a long time. There were seven buses. I
20 didn't count them, but another man counted them and he
21 told me there were seven.
22 Q. Excuse me one sec. Were all those buses
23 filled with men?
24 A. Full, yes. Sitting -- we were sitting and
25 dared not look anywhere. That is what they asked of
1 us, to sit down and keep our heads down.
2 When we got near Pilica, the buses stopped
3 there, and they stayed there for quite some time,
4 perhaps an hour, perhaps an hour and a half. Quite
5 some time.
6 A man was lying in the bus, in the aisle, and
7 all they said was, "Come on. Get him up. Pull him up
8 a little bit." Two raised him up, and they then
9 shouted, "He's dead." So they took him off to the
10 road, and he remained lying next to the road.
11 One man then tried to flee from there,
12 because he preferred a bullet to get him rather than to
13 wait for the genocide and torture, and a burst of fire
14 just mowed him down, and they killed him.
15 The buses started off and arrived in Pilica.
16 I think I know it was Pilica.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Your microphone, please.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY:
19 Q. Who killed the man that tried to run away?
20 A. Serb soldiers who were guards; guards.
21 Q. Were they the ones that were on your bus or
22 from other buses?
23 A. Well, in our bus, as they took that man out,
24 so the soldiers came off too. They came out, this man
25 was taken out, and this one moved here, moved there,
1 and took to his heels. And those guards who were there
2 with automatic armament, and so they killed him.
3 Q. Okay. When you got to Pilica, where did you
5 A. There, as we went, we turned left. As far as
6 I can remember, it was the school, quite large.
7 Whether two or three-storeys high, I wouldn't know to
8 say. We were so afraid and dared not look around or
9 observe because our lives were at stake non-stop. And
10 Serb troops immediately began to drive out from rooms,
11 from my room, from other rooms, and you could only hear
12 behind the school wails, cries for help, curses, bursts
13 of fire. Sometimes you wouldn't even hear a shot,
14 simply life would die out and that would be that.
15 As we were going into the school and then up
16 the stairs, we who were of advanced age, almost all of
17 us had some caps on. And up the stairs they forced us
18 and ordered, "Off with your caps," so that we all had
19 to throw off our caps on the stairs. And I thought
20 there, "There must be some Generals around if we have
21 to take off our caps."
22 Q. Were you wearing a cap today like the one
23 they made you take off at that time?
24 A. Yes, I was. I brought it here.
25 Q. Could you just show it to us, for a second?
1 Just raise it up for us to see it.
2 A. Yes, I'll do that. So this is the kind of
3 cap that we used to wear, all of us [indicates], and we
4 had to throw them on the stairs and that's where they
6 Q. How crowded was the room that you were put
8 A. Well, I couldn't tell you exactly. There
9 could have been around 250 people in it, but it was
10 packed. It was overcrowded. If you stood up, after
11 that you could no longer sit down. There was no room
12 to sit down.
13 Q. Were there Muslim men in other parts of the
14 school, could you tell?
15 A. Yes, there were, because I heard voices from
16 the other door, and I heard people talking from other
17 rooms as well. As to how many rooms there were, the
18 crowded ones, I don't know.
19 Q. Roughly, how old were the people, the Muslim
20 men, who were at this school?
21 A. Let me tell you. They were from the age of
22 14, let's say, until 80. I am pretty sure about that.
23 People who were much older than myself. I also noticed
24 a man who was mute, deaf.
25 Q. Was there ever a time that the soldiers said
1 anything about the younger men?
2 A. Well, yes. They said something. At one
3 point they came in, and they asked if anybody was 15 or
4 16 years of age. And there were very young boys there,
5 maybe 14. You could tell that, because they really
6 looked young. Schoolchildren, actually. So he said,
7 "Let me see how many you are." So they gathered at
8 one point and lined up. I think that there were 12 of
9 them. And the man said, "Abdic needs guys like you.
10 They should go to him." So I don't know how many such
11 young boys there were in other rooms, but in our room
12 there were 12 of them.
13 They were taken out, but what they did with
14 them, I don't know. I don't know whether they ended up
15 in a camp, whether they were killed later on or indeed
16 sent to Abdic. I don't know.
17 Q. Who, to your understanding, was this "Abdic"
18 that this Serb soldier mentioned?
19 A. Abdic -- I forgot his last name. He defected
20 to Croatia. He helped both Croats and Serbs, and he
21 hid Muslims. He worked against them. Such was the
22 policy at that time. He was against Muslims, and he
23 was one of them.
24 Q. Could you tell how many soldiers were around
25 or in that school guarding you people?
1 JUDGE RIAD: [Interpretation] Excuse me. You
2 said Abdic was "one of them," meaning one of the
3 Muslims or one of the Serbs? Who are "them"? Thank
5 MR. McCLOSKEY:
6 Q. Was Mr. Abdic a Muslim?
7 A. Well, yes, he was a Muslim, but I'm not
8 sure. Maybe he was from a mixed marriage, as far as I
9 know. He was a turncoat. I don't know what actually
10 happened between those politicians.
11 Q. Could you tell how many Serb soldiers there
12 were guarding you at this school?
13 A. Well, approximately there could have been
14 between eight and ten soldiers standing at each spot.
15 Some of them were guarding us and others were taking
16 people out and torturing them. So this is how they
17 would split. This is how it happened.
18 Q. When you say "each spot," what spots do you
20 A. I mean spots around Bratunac while we were
21 there, and also while we were in Pilica, where people
22 were being taken out from the buses, and I'm also
23 referring to the places where people were shot down.
24 Q. Okay. Well, I just want to concentrate right
25 now on Pilica. Do you know how many soldiers, roughly,
1 were guarding you at the Pilica school?
2 A. About eight or ten. I cannot tell you
3 exactly, because they were not standing in one single
4 group. I could not count them. Some of them were
5 outside, some of them were in the room or in one of the
6 corridors. There could have been approximately ten of
7 them. If they had been in a line, I would have counted
8 them and I would have known exactly, but I cannot give
9 you the exact number.
10 Q. Were they armed?
11 A. Yes. Yes, they were. Most of them had
12 automatic weapons.
13 Q. Can you describe how they were dressed, the
14 Serb soldiers at Pilica, at the school?
15 A. As far as I know, they were dressed in some
16 kind of multicolored clothing. That's what they wore.
17 But, you know, I cannot really make a difference. I
18 cannot distinguish between their clothing because I was
19 terrified, and then, you know, it was five years ago.
20 I just know that their clothes were multicolored.
21 Q. Do you recall how long -- how many nights you
22 spent at that school in Pilica?
23 A. Hmm, whether it was one night or two -- I
24 forgot. I don't know whether I stayed there one night
25 or two nights.
1 Q. Were you taken someplace in the morning of
2 the day -- sorry. Let me start over again.
3 What happened at the school the morning
4 before -- just before they took you out on the buses?
5 A. What happened on that day was the following:
6 There was one of us who asked for food, and the Serb
7 soldier said, "We don't have anything to eat. We
8 cannot give anything to you." So after awhile, he
9 brought a piece of bread. He was holding it in his
10 hand. And everyone could get just about a mouthful of
11 bread but that was all. And he threw crumbles of that
12 piece of bread to the people, and then he left.
13 Whether he did the same in other rooms, I don't know.
14 We had nothing to eat. This was just harassing us.
15 Then after that, on that day, they asked us
16 if we wanted to go to Sarajevo. They wanted to know if
17 anyone had any money, and they told us that the bus to
18 Sarajevo was 20 German marks. One of us, he said to a
19 man who was next to him, he said, "I have 100 German
20 marks, so I think I can pay for five of us so we can
21 get out and reach the free territory." So whoever had
22 any money would go out as if to go to Sarajevo, to
23 board a bus to Sarajevo. But nobody had any money
24 left. At one point, apparently they said that those
25 who didn't have any money could also leave. They told
1 us, "Well, you will go to Tuzla."
2 Then at one point they brought two large
3 sheets. One was white in colour and the other one was
4 green. They gave them those two sheets to two men who
5 were there sitting with us, and they told them to tear
6 it into small pieces and to tie the pieces together.
7 Q. Excuse me, Witness I. Could I interrupt you
8 for a second.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Perhaps this would be a good
10 time to take a break, Mr. President, and we can
11 continue after the break.
12 A. Yes, we can do that.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
14 Mr. McCloskey, I agree with you.
15 Witness I, you also need to have some rest,
16 and after the break you will continue. You've been
17 telling us about some terrible stories. So we will
18 have a 20-minute break now, and after that we will
19 continue with hearing you.
20 --- Recess taken at 11.14 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.39 a.m.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
23 We shall resume.
24 Witness I, have you managed to have some
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Did they
3 offer you some coffee or something else to drink?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I had a
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very good.
7 Very good. Mr. McCloskey will continue now to ask you
9 Mr. McCloskey.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. We had left off where someone had brought in
12 some sheets of material and they were being torn into
13 strips. Can you tell us who these people were that
14 brought in these sheets of material? And then tell us
15 about what happened.
16 A. Serb soldiers brought that and gave them to
17 our two inmates to tear them up and then to tie people,
18 and so they tore them and tied us. But as they were
19 our folks, they did not tie us too tightly. But they
20 tied our hands behind our backs.
21 As they tied, group after group left and went
22 outside. I offered my hands to be tied, but I was
23 surprised, why were they tying us if we were allegedly
24 going to freedom, to Tuzla?
25 There was a neighbour with me and some six or
1 seven others that I knew, and so they tied us and we
2 started out, escorted by Serb soldiers. As we were
3 going down the stairs and reached the ground floor, I
4 saw a man lying on the concrete, dead, blood around him
5 on the concrete, all spilt.
6 We came out in a column, tied, towards the
7 buses. We were not allowed to look anywhere. "Just
8 keep your head down, with your hands tied, and look in
9 front of you."
10 When I got to the bus, I just cast a look
11 above the bus. There were some four officers not
12 saying a word to us, not saying anything, just talking
13 in a quiet voice among them, casting looks at us and
14 grinning now and then. And the Serb soldiers escorting
15 us, pushing us, throwing foul language at us, and
16 that's how we got onto the buses.
17 We travelled in those buses for about two,
18 two and a half kilometres. And on a hill, as we were
19 moving, we heard gunfire, we heard voices. And then
20 when we got to where this gunfire was coming from, the
21 buses stopped, and no sooner did they stop and the
22 doors opened.
23 Serb troops all around the buses, "Get off
24 now. Fuck your mothers and Alija's and everybody's.
25 Get off. Alija doesn't want you." A group got off the
1 bus, up to half of the bus, and then they stopped.
2 "Enough," they said, "for the moment." And I was in
3 that second half of the bus.
4 I watched as the column goes down a path, and
5 I watched to where the dead ones are. I got there and
6 I heard Serb troops cursing, making noise. Bursts of
7 fire simply mowed them down. They all fell to the
9 Serb soldiers came back to fetch us, that
10 half of the bus, and drove us off the bus, as we were
11 stepping down from the bus. So the column headed for
12 the shooting area.
13 As I stepped down, a Serb soldier tells me,
14 "You, give over the marks." I said I didn't have them
15 because I didn't, and he kicked me in the stomach. I
16 fell to the ground, on my knees. Another Serb soldier
17 behind my back said, "Don't commit genocide. Get your
18 rifle and kill as the soldiers do."
19 They forced me, and I stood up and I followed
20 the column along. Along that path, a dead body here
21 and there I could see. And the one who kicked me, the
22 same one asked, "Does anyone want to say that he is a
23 Serb so that we let him be?" and two said they would,
24 just to stay alive, but nothing came out of it.
25 Another one in the column, one of ours,
1 asked, "Give us water to drink, and kill us after
2 that," but nothing doing again.
3 When I got to where those killed were, they
4 were all in a row, they looked like lines which had
5 been lodged, and there were many, many of them. And
6 then I saw that those who had supposedly left to
7 Sarajevo, paid for the buses, had been killed. They
8 were giving money and then their lives.
9 When we passed between those rows, towards
10 the end of those rows, between them, they said, "Turn
11 your backs and line up with them." We turned our backs
12 and lined up. Then he orders not "Fire," he orders
13 "Lie down," but at that moment bursts of fire cut us
14 all down. And I fell, and they also fell, cropped down
15 by the bursts of fire.
16 When the gunfire stopped, then a Serb soldier
17 asked, "Is there anyone alive?" and two made out that
18 they were alive. One said, "I am," and another one
19 said, "I am. Come kill me." I kept silent. If need
20 be, I'd let them know that I'm alive later on and let
21 them kill me then.
22 And so column after column, they drove up
23 there. I was lying down. They drove up some six
24 columns more, and below me, lining them up, and bursts
25 of fire just cropping them down. A bullet then hit me
1 in the elbow but just grazed my skin as they were
2 killing those others who were below me.
3 The earth was flying about from bullets. You
4 could hear bullets hitting bodies; and this earth
5 flying about; stones falling around, on my back; dust
6 all around, and I could feel it, everything, because
7 all I had was a shirt.
8 So when they slew them all, downed them all,
9 they disappeared. I couldn't even hear the buses
10 move. I couldn't hear it. They must have looked for a
11 shade somewhere from where they drove us up there. So
12 they must have found a shade and were having a rest. I
13 then --
14 Q. Let me interrupt you for a moment.
15 A. Yes, you may.
16 Q. On the way to the killing spot, were there
17 any Serb soldiers on your bus, from the school to the
18 killing spot that day?
19 A. At least one. I know there was one.
20 Q. About how many soldiers, if you can tell us,
21 were taking part in the executions or were at the
22 execution fields?
23 A. About seven, eight. Must have been about
25 Q. And how many --
1 A. And they were standing up there, those who
2 were killing, just receiving new groups and taking them
3 away and killing them.
4 Q. Were you able to estimate how many dead
5 people were at that ground?
6 A. I estimated between 1.000 and 1.500.
7 Q. And what happened after all the shooting
8 finally stopped?
9 A. When the shooting stopped, they inquired,
10 every column, "Is there anyone alive?" Sometimes a
11 voice is heard or two voices; sometimes nobody
12 responds. And a soldier comes up, and just one bullet,
13 bop, bop, and it's all over. And they go back for
14 other columns and so on, until they killed another six
15 columns or so. Then they went to take a rest in the
17 Then I moved my limbs to see if I was
18 wounded, and had failed to notice that in all that
19 fright. But, fortunately, I wasn't wounded anywhere,
20 except that thing that grazed my arm.
21 Q. Did you hear the Serb soldiers say anything
22 to each other?
23 A. I didn't hear it. All I heard was shouting,
24 using foul language, making noise, but I couldn't get
25 what they were talking about. What with fear, you
1 can't really follow.
2 Q. Tell us how you were finally able to get away
3 from this spot.
4 A. When they went to have a rest and when I
5 couldn't hear the buses, seeing I wasn't wounded, I
6 tried then to get rid of those ties, and I managed to
7 get rid of the thing that was tied around my hands. As
8 I got rid of it, I again took it and put it back on my
9 hands. Then I was lying on my belly and thinking so I
10 remembered they'd be back to see, and that it would be
11 better for me to be tied while I thought what to do.
12 All of a sudden, a patrol came up again, and
13 from what I could hear, there were five, judging by the
14 voices. As soon as they arrived, one of them shouted,
15 "There's one fleeing. There's another one. Fire."
16 Bursts of fire, and they started up after them. One, I
17 could hear, stayed there, walking up and down.
18 Some time passed, and two of those came down
19 again, came back. But the one who had stayed behind
20 asked, "Well?" And those said, "Well, no. Those two
21 have driven him away. He's hid somewhere. I don't
22 know if they will find them," which man that they'd
23 killed, the other one. And then one of them said to
24 the other one, "We've made a genocide like it was in
25 Jasenovac in 1941."
1 So for a while, they walked up and down there
2 and left again. I raised my head to see where the sun
3 was, to see by the sun how long was it before the dark,
4 and to see where the closest trees, woods were, to get
5 there. But the woods was far away and the day was
6 long. Down in the field I could see a long boundary.
7 There was some grass. There was some bramble, some
8 bracken, something that was overgrown, something about
9 100, perhaps maybe 150 square metres. So I told
10 myself, "I'll go there."
11 Somebody whispering not far from me. I
12 turned my head a little, and I only said, "Well, who's
13 alive? Get out." And I was preparing myself, because
14 I was afraid. It was daylight still. The dredger
15 would come or a truck to pick us up, and they'll cut me
16 into pieces alive. So I must get out, just not to be
17 there, because the day -- it was another two or three
18 hours before dark. It must have been at least as much
19 before the night.
20 I got off those things from my hands, cast a
21 look behind me. Two men are getting into those thorns
22 where I wanted to get. And I can't crawl over those
23 dead for a long time. I'm afraid a patrol will come
24 again and see me. So I leapt to my feet. I risked,
25 and across those dead bodies I ran, some 15 metres
1 across the dead ones, trampling over them. Down I
2 stumbled, was about to fall down on those bodies, and I
3 looked at the ground and listening, all my ears open to
4 hear somebody saying, "There's another one fleeing,"
5 because if somebody shouts that, then I'm done for.
6 I fled to that spinney, and, fortunately,
7 couldn't hear a voice anywhere. So I went down and
8 into that bramble. When I looked, another two were
9 getting into that bracken. As they got there, so they
10 covered the entrance that we went through so that they
11 couldn't see that. Nobody else stands up, everybody's
13 Q. So how many people were hiding in those
14 brambles with you?
15 A. Two of them that had gone there before me.
16 Then I was the third one, then two others followed. So
17 there were five of us.
18 We didn't dare speak. I just asked one of
19 them where he was from, and he said he was from the
20 village of Jagonje, and I told him where I was from.
21 So if we managed to cross over, if anyone survives, so
22 that we know something about each other so that we
23 could tell later on something about each other, but I
24 didn't ask him his name.
25 So a patrol appeared again and started to
1 walk around amongst the dead and near the woods, but,
2 fortunately, they didn't know that somebody was hiding
3 in the brambles. So we remained there. We could hear
4 the clicking sound of their weapons. We could hear
5 them walk around. They also talked, but I couldn't
6 make out what they were saying. And they stayed there
7 until dusk, and when night fell they left.
8 At that point, I stretched out a little bit.
9 We found some sour berries to eat. We had not eaten
10 for almost three days and we were half dead. We had
11 been tied up for so long.
12 Then after dark, when it became dark, we
13 entered the forest on one side, and then we got out of
14 the forest on the other side. At that point, I saw
15 that there were dead bodies over there as well. Those
16 people had been killed before me. Those were the ones
17 who were supposedly going to Sarajevo, at least I
18 believe that they were there.
19 So we continued across the field. The area
20 was moonlit a little bit, but I didn't know which way
21 to go, which way we were going. We only knew where
22 Serbia was. So we took the opposite direction, and we
23 were trying to get deeper into Bosnia.
24 When we reached another forest, we could no
25 longer see anything. It was pitch dark. The others
1 were younger than me, between 25 and 30 years of age,
2 more or less, all four of them, and I could no longer
3 follow them, so I stayed behind.
4 Q. Okay. Witness I, let me ask you a few
5 questions now, if I could.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Have you ever seen any of those four people
8 that you became separated with that night?
9 A. No, I didn't see. I never saw them again. I
10 inquired about them. I asked if there had been a man
11 from that village who had escaped the execution, the
12 man from the village of Jagonje, the one that told me
13 where he was from. And I was told that nobody of that
14 description arrived, which means that the three others
15 didn't arrive either. They must have been caught along
16 the way.
17 Q. All right. Now, the next morning did you
18 find a roadway and come upon a vehicle, and can you
19 tell us about that?
20 A. Yes, I can tell you about that.
21 On that evening, after they'd gone and I was
22 left alone, I would stand up and I would only cover 50
23 metres, perhaps, and then I would get very tired. And
24 I had to stop again, have a five-minute rest, and then
25 continue. So I went on like this. I would cover only
1 a 50-metre distance and then I would need to stop.
2 And then I ran into some kind of ambush. As
3 they had been executing people the night before, there
4 was a number of patrols that were set up, and they were
5 probably after those who were trying to flee.
6 So I reached the road and I saw a man, some
7 30 metres away from me, and he asked, "Who is it?" And
8 I started to run and I didn't say anything, I didn't
9 respond. I couldn't go any further, but I managed to
10 reach two houses. There was a garden, a vegetable
11 garden, behind one of the houses, and I hid there.
12 But the men went on shouting and yelling
13 after me. He was sort of commanding his soldiers, "To
14 the right," "To the left," "Close in on him," saying
15 things like that. I followed closely, I listened
16 carefully, and I couldn't see anyone, but I realised
17 that I had to keep on hiding and lying down. And then
18 he would wait for me to say something, to move. He
19 knew that I was there but he couldn't see me because I
20 was in the dark, in the shade.
21 And then another man joined him and they
22 started to whisper, to talk, and they went on talking
23 for about five minutes. At one point one of them
24 started to sing and simply left in the opposite
25 direction. So I thought this was intended for me to
1 think that they both had left, but I realised that only
2 one had left and that the other had stayed there but
3 was just keeping quiet.
4 But then the other guy reappeared and I could
5 see him above me, and he started yelling again and he
6 fired his rifle two times, I don't know in which
7 direction, and then he disappeared again. I could tell
8 what he was trying to do. He was trying to trick me,
9 but he didn't manage so he left the area.
10 So I went back to my hiding place and I
11 managed to reach the area above the road, and this is
12 how I spent that night. It was very difficult. I was
13 alone. I couldn't see anything; I couldn't see which
14 way I was going. I would fall down, and then it would
15 be difficult for me to get out of the bushes.
16 When the day broke, I reached one area of the
17 forest, near the field, and I stayed there for a while,
18 to have some rest. Again I was trying to find some
19 food --
20 Q. If I can just interrupt you. Could you tell
21 us now, this next day, about the vehicle you saw, and
22 try to tell us as you feel the important parts are, but
23 remember, we don't want you to testify -- we want you
24 to be able to finish your testimony today. So if you
25 could tell us the most important parts of that story,
1 when you see the vehicle, and then we'll go on from
3 A. Yes, I can do that. So I spent the night
4 there and the following day, I stayed there, and after
5 that I wanted to move, to leave the area. And at one
6 point I heard a vehicle engine and I realised that the
7 vehicle was not moving. And I couldn't go on, I
8 couldn't go any further. I also heard some noise,
9 people talking, and I then set out in the opposite
10 direction. But I knew I had to reach the road, because
11 after about 20 metres there again would be a forest
12 which I could use.
13 I came to the road and I looked down the
14 road, and I realised that there was blood on the road.
15 There was a bloodstain which was about half a metre
16 wide and a few other smaller stains of blood on the
17 road, and I thought that they were probably driving
18 away the dead that had been killed on the previous day.
19 So I managed to reach the wood, and I was
20 about to turn and then all of a sudden a truck appeared
21 from down below. And when it came close, I looked at
22 it and I realised that it was filled up with bodies,
23 dead bodies. When this truck was close to me, when it
24 came next to me, when I was about to turn into the
25 forest, then I heard a voice say, "This is the one that
1 escaped yesterday."
2 As soon as I heard that, I was confused but I
3 realised that I shouldn't go, shouldn't turn into the
4 forest at that point, because they would catch me.
5 There was no way for me to escape, so I decided to
6 continue along the road, and that was a tricky part
7 because I didn't know what would happen on the road.
8 So I continued along the road, pretending I
9 was crazy, drunk, tired. I hurried up a little bit but
10 I wasn't fleeing. I didn't turn back towards the
11 truck, but I could tell that the truck had stopped, and
12 it stopped maybe 30, 40 metres away from me. And then
13 one man came out of the truck, and at that moment I was
14 already a bit further. I had already reached a bridge
15 and I crossed that bridge, and I still wasn't turning
16 around. I didn't want to let him know that I was
17 fleeing. I pretended I was a free citizen walking
19 So after a while I did turn just a little to
20 see what was going on, and it was at that moment that
21 the man turned away from me, because he was following
22 me, he was watching me, trying to see whether I would
23 flee. But then apparently he thought that I was just a
24 free man walking around and he apparently no longer had
25 any doubts. And then he turned towards the truck and
1 started actually to run after the truck, and then the
2 engine was started and they left. And at that moment I
3 ran towards a brook, and this is where I stood, this is
4 where I remained, and I waited for the dusk.
5 After the night fell I went back to the point
6 where I wanted to reach the forest, where I wanted to
7 turn into the forest. And this is what I did. So I
8 walked through the woods for a while, not far from a
9 field. It was already night; it was completely dark.
10 I was trying to get some rest, trying to figure out
11 what to do. I was in an unknown land. I was alone. I
12 just didn't know what to do.
13 But then all of a sudden a figure appeared, a
14 man came to me, and I was terribly frightened because I
15 didn't know who it was. He had his hands in his
16 pockets, and he gave me some water. He told me, "Have
17 some water," and I realised that he had also fled like
18 myself --
19 Q. Excuse me, Witness I. Can you tell me only
20 the first name of that man?
21 A. Becir.
22 Q. You were finally able to, with Becir,
23 escape. Can you tell us about the day that you and
24 Becir decided to turn yourselves in, and tell us how
25 that happened.
1 A. We wanted to surrender. At that time there
2 was one other man who was with us, we ran into him in
3 the woods, so there were three of us. So we continued
4 on foot for a while. While we were still in the woods,
5 this other guy, the third man, went to fetch some food,
6 but apparently he got lost. And then we heard some
7 shots, so we thought that he was dead.
8 We started travelling again on the following
9 night, and having covered quite a distance from the
10 spot where the execution had taken place, we realised
11 that we were very tired, that we were about to faint.
12 We were very weak. We had nothing to eat, only some
13 sour berries and unripe apples. Our mouths were
14 aching, and the berries were so sour that our mouths
15 were like wounds. So we were in a lot of pain. So
16 this is how we decided to surrender ourselves.
17 Otherwise, we would die. There was no other option, no
18 way out.
19 So we came up to the road again and we saw a
20 man passing by in civilian clothes. He saw us and he
21 got frightened immediately because he realised that we
22 were not one of theirs, because we looked completely
23 dishevelled. We were in a terrible state.
24 So he started asking questions and he wanted
25 to know where we were from, and we told him that we
1 were from Srebrenica and we told him, "You know what's
2 happened in Srebrenica. Now we just want to surrender
3 to your authorities, the Serb authorities." He wanted
4 to know whether we had any weapons, rifles, hand
5 grenades. He inquired whether there were many more of
6 us in the woods. And we wanted to ask him to give us a
7 lift, but he said he couldn't. He had no time, he had
8 some other business to do, and he told us to go down
9 there and that we would find someone there.
10 So we went down the road and reached the spot
11 where some people were standing. They told us that a
12 bus would be coming, and after a few minutes a bus,
13 indeed, came. So we boarded the bus and we saw two
14 policemen and a driver on the bus.
15 Q. Were these civilian policemen?
16 A. Yes, civilian policemen. At least that's
17 what I think. They were wearing blue uniforms.
18 Q. Were you taken to a little cafe where a Serb
19 person helped you?
20 A. Yes. They were walking around, and at one
21 point they went to a cafe, the two policemen. They got
22 into the cafe. I saw some people sitting outside the
23 cafe, drinking, smoking, and when they learned about
24 us -- meanwhile, we were still on the bus, which was
25 parked some 20 metres from the cafe. So when they
1 learned about us, when they realised who was on the
2 bus, the guy went back into the cafe and then he came
3 back with two packs of cigarettes and one litre of
4 juice, and he came with these two policemen to give us
5 some cigarettes. And said, "Have a cigarette. Have
6 some juice." This was so good for us. This saved us.
7 I will never forget what this man did to us.
8 He said, "I treat everybody the in same way.
9 I used to work in Germany. I like everyone. I respect
10 everyone." And he said, "Are you hungry?" I said,
11 "Yes, we are. We haven't seen a piece of bread in
12 15 days." Then this waiter said, "Well, come to the
14 So we went to the cafe. We sat outside the
15 cafe, and he gave us a very good lunch, which consisted
16 of a piece of meat, some bread, some stock, and we ate
17 that. It was only lukewarm, but my mouth was burning
18 as if it had been cut. I managed to eat something, but
19 the guy who was with me took only two mouthfuls because
20 he couldn't eat any more. His stomach was aching.
21 So after we had lunch, the man offered us
22 some coffee. While we were drinking coffee, the
23 policeman told us to hurry up, that we had to go. So
24 after we had coffee, we left.
25 This man, this waiter, was so precious for
1 us, and I will never forget him. I didn't dare ask him
2 about his name, his last name, but today I would really
3 like to know his name. He was like a good friend of
4 mine. He behaved like a man.
5 So we went on. We went back to the buses and
6 left. At one point, I heard someone said that -- we
7 were sitting in the back of the bus, and then another
8 voice telling him, "Well, we should take them off the
9 bus and finish them off." I don't know who said that.
10 I don't know if it was the driver or one of the
11 policemen, but this is what I heard at that moment.
12 Then at that point the policemen stood up and
13 came to us. Then one of them brandished a knife and
14 threatened my colleague. He wanted to cut off his
15 ear. He put a gun barrel against my forehead and he
16 wanted me to give him German marks, but I didn't have
17 any. I just had to keep silent. But he shouted again,
18 "Give me your marks." And I said, "I don't have
19 any." Then they looked at each other, smiled a little,
20 and then went back to their places at the front.
21 This is now we reached Karakaj.
22 Q. Shortly after that, were you put on a truck
23 with some other Muslim prisoners and taken to Batkovic
24 prison in Bijeljina?
25 A. Well, I arrived there to Karakaj, and they
1 said, "Come, report to the command, police," or what do
2 I know. And we got off, but before I made three or
3 four steps, he shouted, "Come. Come back. Come back.
4 Come back to the truck. You'll go with this one." So
5 I did come back onto that truck, and there was the
6 canvas all around. The only part where you got onto it
7 was open and there were another 20 or so, those who had
8 come from Srebrenica to Zvornik and had been caught
9 somewhere there, and the two of us -- 29 altogether.
10 One said -- "It's all right," he said. "There's Red
11 Cross escorting us."
12 So we set off towards Batkovici, and the Red
13 Cross was also coming with us, escorting us. When we
14 reached Batkovici, we entered there and there were many
15 other people who had been caught.
16 Q. Do you know about what day this was that you
17 came to Batkovic?
18 A. I think it was the 26th. 26th. No, I don't
19 think it was.
20 Q. When were you finally released from that
22 A. We were then registered and spent five months
23 there, and when the sixth month came, it was the
24 exchange, on the 24th of November, right before the New
25 Year. That was when I was exchanged.
1 Q. I want to take you back, briefly, to the
2 execution site. Were there any particular buildings or
3 other prominent objects there that you recall? I know
4 you weren't able to see much because of the situation,
5 but you've always recalled that -- something prominent
6 that you recall. What was that?
7 A. I remember well where we got off. Where we
8 got off was something like an apple tree. Further on
9 one could see a garden or a vegetable garden. Whether
10 there was a house there or not, I don't know, because
11 we were not allowed to look much around. We had to
12 look in front and keep our heads down. So what else
13 was there, I don't know.
14 Where I was at the execution site, I saw the
15 spinney in that direction. I could see two buildings,
16 and I could see men making noise near those buildings,
17 shouting, yelling, perhaps at some cattle, at some
18 livestock. Was he feeding them, giving them to drink,
19 something like that.
20 Q. Okay. Thank you very much, Witness I.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: I have no further questions,
22 Mr. President.
23 THE WITNESS: Thank you too.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
25 Mr. Visnjic, how long do you think you will need, more
1 or less, for the cross-examination?
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President,
3 I don't think I will need more than half an hour.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Right. So
5 it would be better if we made a break now and then we
6 shall come back to it. Therefore, we shall make a
7 20-minute break, and we will resume with the
9 --- Recess taken at 12.34 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Witness I,
12 I should like to remind you, when you finish your
13 testimony, don't leave immediately because our
14 protective measures need to be put in order then. So
15 now you will answer questions which Mr. Visnjic will
16 ask. Mr. Visnjic is a sensitive person and he'll treat
17 you well. Now you will answer his questions.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,
19 Mr. President.
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Visnjic:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Witness I.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. Before I begin, with my questions, I should
24 like to ask you, since the two of us speak the same
25 language, to just wait a little before you give your
1 answer after you've heard the question, so that the
2 interpreters, who are interpreting into English and
3 French, will have time to cover both my question and
4 your answer. A purely technical matter.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Witness I, I know it is very hard for you to
7 go back and relive those events, and I shall try to be
8 as precise as I can, and I will ask you now the
9 following: In your testimony today, you described your
10 stay in Potocari in the night between the 12th and the
11 13th of July. Do you remember that?
12 A. I do.
13 Q. No, no. I will ask you. That was the second
15 A. Yes, the second night.
16 Q. You said that Serb soldiers were taking away
17 Muslim men during the night.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. My question is very short. Did you see with
20 your own eyes the Serb soldiers take away people or did
21 you hear it from other people who were with you in the
23 A. I heard that from other people. And that
24 night I personally heard screams, wailing, people
25 screaming, crying for help, and that sort.
1 Q. Thank you. Yes. My second question: When
2 you were in that house that you recognised on the
3 photograph that the Prosecutor showed you, in Potocari
4 too, you were guarded there by Serb soldiers; is that
6 A. Yes. In that house, they were separating,
7 bringing people in, and, yes, walking up and down and
9 Q. Could you describe their uniform?
10 A. All I can describe is many coloured clothes.
11 Other things, I know nothing about that. But there
12 were all sorts of those clothes and they were all of
13 many colours.
14 Q. When you say "many colours," you mean
15 camouflage, olive-green/grey?
16 A. Well, yes, something like green and blue,
17 those colours, many of them.
18 Q. And from that house, when you headed for
19 Bratunac by bus, by bus to Bratunac --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. -- were those the same soldiers who escorted
23 A. Why, I don't know. I didn't know those
24 soldiers, can't give you their names and say "so and
25 so" and "so and so" and "so and so" were there. I
1 don't know. They didn't allow us to look at them, so a
2 man can't recognise them. That must have been why they
3 wouldn't allow us to look at them.
4 Q. The soldiers who were on the buses and
5 arrived in Bratunac with you, and those who put you in
6 that school, Vuk Karadzic, did they also guard you
7 during those two days that you spent there?
8 A. Well, yes, they guarded us throughout. And
9 not only that, but they also took us out and killed us,
10 and there were screams in that school. But it was not
11 the same soldiers all the time. One day, two nights,
12 nobody could manage that. They must have had two
13 shifts, 100 per cent. But shifts, as they came -- when
14 they came, every shift did the same thing. They didn't
15 do as the army should do.
16 Q. Let me ask you a question, my next question:
17 From the school in Bratunac, you were taken to Pilica.
18 Could you tell us, do you think it was those same
19 soldiers who were in Bratunac with you? You can answer
20 it only with yes or no. Do you remember that?
21 A. I can't answer because they had shifts,
22 that's why I'm saying that. They brought us to
23 Bratunac. Perhaps one shift went to have a break and
24 another shift came, "You're all right. You'll move on
25 to Tuzla." But it all happened the other way around;
1 they said one thing and did a different thing.
2 Q. Witness I, did you notice, while you were in
3 Pilica, did you notice a soldier -- let me try it this
4 way: Did you notice in Pilica any of the soldiers that
5 you saw in Bratunac or in Potocari, or any of the
6 soldiers that you saw in the buses either between
7 Bratunac and Pilica or between Potocari and Bratunac?
8 A. I only know those who came from Bratunac to
9 Pilica on the buses with us, who escorted us there, and
10 there were other troops there who took us over. And
11 with those who escorted us on that road, I don't know
12 what happened to them. Whether they stayed there or
13 went back or went on, I don't know that.
14 Q. So in Pilica you were met by some new
15 soldiers that you had not seen before.
16 A. Well, as soon as we got off, there were many
17 troops there, I could see there were many troops there,
18 and they took us to the school right away.
19 Q. Thank you. My next question is: Did the
20 soldiers who met you at Pilica wear different uniforms
21 from the soldiers that you saw in Bratunac and
23 A. Well, it was similar -- same uniform, I mean
24 clothes. And weapons too, mostly automatic weapons, a
25 carbine here and there or a PAP, the automatic one.
1 Q. Witness I, my next question is: You told us
2 that between Pilica and the place of the execution, in
3 every bus there was at least one soldier.
4 A. Yes, escorting, in the bus.
5 Q. Those soldiers, would they get off together
6 with the group and stay at the site of execution, or
7 did they go back with the buses? Could you remember
9 A. They were down at the school, those who saw
10 us to the buses, and they would go back to the school
11 and take another group. And a soldier, say, who would
12 escort us in the bus, he would come out up there for
13 the execution, and they only stood there. They were
14 there and they were executing there. They were
15 executing there. They were meeting every bus as it
16 would come, and execute everybody, shoot everybody, and
17 they were always there, that group. That group did not
18 go --
19 Q. Yes. That group of soldiers which performed
20 the executions, did they perhaps wear uniforms
21 different from the ones that you saw on other people,
22 or did they have, perhaps, any special patches?
23 A. I could not see any other patch. But it was
24 also, you know, great fear. Lives are disappearing.
25 You don't think about anything else. You're counting
1 your life by minutes and by seconds.
2 Q. Thank you. My next question: You said that
3 when you surrendered you were escorted by the civilian
4 police. What uniforms did they have?
5 A. I think they were civilian because the
6 clothes were blue, that's why I think so, not many
7 colours like the troops, like the military had, but
8 blue. They were quite young men, and I can be quite
9 satisfied with that police. Yes, they did harass us a
10 little bit, pistol to the forehead. But all right, I
11 mean, people want marks, and others want marks and take
12 both your marks and your life. So that's that.
13 Q. Just one more question, and that is my final
14 one, Mr. President. In your testimony you said that at
15 the place of execution one of the soldiers mentioned
16 Jasenovac in 1941.
17 A. Yes, a Serb soldier mentioned that, a Serb
19 Q. Could you explain to the Chamber, what was
20 Jasenovac? Jasenovac was a concentration camp, wasn't
22 A. I don't have enough school to know about
23 that, but from what I've heard, a major massacre
24 happened there once in 1941. But who died there and
25 how he died there, I don't know because I don't have
1 much school.
2 Q. Do you know that the victims of that massacre
3 were Serbs, Jews, and Romanies or Gypsies?
4 A. I wouldn't know that, but from what I think,
5 I suppose, yes, Jews, and perhaps Serbs too. But I
6 wouldn't really know.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President,
8 I have no further questions.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you,
10 Mr. Visnjic.
11 Mr. McCloskey, do you have any additional
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: No, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Judge Riad,
15 do you have any questions?
16 JUDGE RIAD: [Interpretation] Thank you,
17 Mr. President.
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE RIAD: Witness I -- I have to call you
20 "Witness I"; I shall not say your name -- good
21 morning. Can you see me? Can you hear me?
22 A. Now I can.
23 JUDGE RIAD: You can hear me now. Good
25 A. Yes, I can hear you now. Good morning.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Witness I, we fully realise how
2 painful it must be for you to recount all these tragic
3 events and to relive it again. You're a man of great
4 courage, and we are highly grateful to know that you
5 got out alive from these horrors. But we also deplore
6 very much the disappearance of the others.
7 A. Thank you. Thank you.
8 JUDGE RIAD: So accept that I will just
9 continue these questions for a few minutes, if you can
10 take it. Some you might need to answer and some you
11 don't need to answer.
12 In general, you mentioned twice that the
13 soldiers around you were speaking of something of
14 genocide. Did they use the word "genocide"? Is there
15 a word in Serbo-Croat for genocide which has that
16 meaning, or was it just killing? You said twice that
17 they spoke of genocide; first, when you fell on the
18 ground and one wanted to kill you, the other told him,
19 "Wait. You should do genocide properly." And another
20 time they spoke of something strange, a soldier told
21 another, "Now w have done the same genocide as in
22 Jasenovac in 1941." What was the genocide in
24 A. Yes. Yes, I understand. The genocide,
25 meaning very many people were killed, perhaps even
1 women, children. Just too many people killed. What
2 should not have been and what should not have happened,
3 that was done. That is the genocide. And you
4 understand it better than I do. But I also know what
5 it means when you butcher or torture. Because they had
6 my son there, and if there was a choice, I would have
7 said, "Kill me and leave my son." I would have given
8 my life for my son.
9 JUDGE RIAD: Just tell us about this genocide
10 of Jasenovac. Do you know something about it, in 1941,
11 which you heard the soldiers saying?
12 A. Well, I do, but all I know is that there was
13 a genocide in 1941 and that they were executed like in
14 Srebrenica this time, that very many people were killed
15 and slain.
16 JUDGE RIAD: Many people? Who were they?
17 Who did it? Was it the Serbs? Was it the Croats? Was
18 it the Muslims? Who was killed and who was killing, if
19 you know about it? And why were they mentioning it?
20 A. I know they knew about that genocide, seeing
21 that they talked like that, and I was lying down then.
22 And it was then that I heard it with my own ears, and I
23 heard it well. Not that I noticed; I heard it with my
24 own ears. And later on they said that Serbs, Jews had
25 been killed there, something like that, but I don't
1 know exactly. But, yes, it did happen. Yes, it did
2 happen, and I know that that is so in history.
3 JUDGE RIAD: Good. Now, if you look at all
4 the series of transportation from one place to another,
5 and the killings in several places, did you feel that
6 there was some kind of systematic organisation and,
7 more or less, harmony in the execution, and not just
8 something happening in a completely, let us say, wild
9 way by criminals, by bands of criminals? Did you feel
10 an organisation, a systematic military organisation, or
11 criminals catching you here and there?
12 A. It surely was the order from the top, from
13 the chiefs who ordered that, because that could not be
14 done without their order. It was not a small genocide,
15 it was a big genocide. All those men, 8.000. There
16 were 8.000 Srebrenica people, and they are all gone.
17 JUDGE RIAD: Speaking of numbers, you
18 mentioned something like between 1.000 and 1.500 killed
19 when the soldiers were executing. How do you know this
21 A. I don't know the exact number. That is why I
22 tell you between 1.000 and 1.500. There must have
23 been, judging by this area, this surface that was
24 covered by bodies.
25 And 8.000 Srebrenica inhabitants are missing,
1 and we must all know that. We must all know that there
2 must have been children, poor people, between 16.000
3 and 20.000. And one needs to feed them all, to bring
4 them up. There are so many fathers without sons, and
5 sons without fathers. I had two sons, and I don't have
6 them any more. Why is that? And I lived and worked in
7 my own home, not in anybody else's, and that was -- the
8 same held true of my father and my grandfather. But
9 what they seized, what they took away, what they
11 I had two houses. One they burnt down. It
12 could burn. They burnt it down. But the other one
13 they couldn't burn, so they came and put a mine to it,
14 because the house was new and I hadn't finished it
15 yet. The roof was still missing, but it was all made
16 of concrete and bricks, so it wouldn't burn. And I
17 thought, "Well, it will survive at least." But, no,
18 they came and planted mines, and it just went down.
19 Nothing but dust.
20 But, right, never mind that. I had it, so
21 it's gone. They took it. They seized it. But why did
22 they have to kill my sons? And I stand today as dried
23 as that tree in the forest. I could have lived with my
24 sons and with my own land, and now I don't have
25 either. And how am I supposed to live today? I don't
1 have a pension or anything. Before that, I relied on
2 my sons. They wouldn't have left me. They wouldn't
3 have left me to go hungry. And today, without my sons,
4 without land, I'm slowly starving. Isn't that sad?
5 JUDGE RIAD: You are a man of great courage,
6 and you survived by miracle, and this miracle will help
7 you live.
8 A. No. I don't understand one thing.
9 JUDGE RIAD: Yes, please.
10 A. I don't understand one thing. I simply can't
11 understand how is it that I've kept my sanity, that I
12 have not really gone mad. I don't understand how I got
13 away. I really wonder to this day. I wonder to
14 myself, "How was it possible that I got away?" I can't
15 believe myself that I could have gone through all this,
16 but I did go through all that.
17 JUDGE RIAD: Well, if you want to have some
18 rest, you will, but there must be a purpose for your
19 survival; to tell the world your story. The world was
20 waiting to hear your story.
21 A. Well, yes, it could be that. Yes. Something
22 looked after me.
23 JUDGE RIAD: So continue telling your story,
24 which is of great value.
25 A. I'm terribly sorry. I know you have it very
2 JUDGE RIAD: Rest as much as you can. But
3 you are here to tell us something important, and we
4 thank you for it.
5 A. Serbs were my neighbours. We were all mixed
6 altogether, all equal, and we all lived properly like
7 neighbours should. When the politics started, what
8 happened? I simply -- it's completely beyond me. We
9 never quarrelled.
10 It was easy to live while Tito ruled. We can
11 say that then we lived well, and at that time I know
12 that I lived a life. Today, I don't live. I live like
13 a beast today, like a wild beast.
14 Today, I'm not happy that I'm alive. All I'm
15 saying, "But help me, Lord, not to suffer any more as
16 long as I live." And I won't be sorry to die, because
17 I see that all the good life is already behind me. All
18 those people that I cared about are gone.
19 JUDGE RIAD: I'm sorry we provoked all these
20 memories, but we are happy that you are alive and that
21 you are here. Now, just for a few more minutes, try to
22 continue remembering some of your sad, tragic events.
23 You mentioned something about -- of course,
24 sometimes there are real kind human beings, like the
25 man who received you in the cafe. Then you said after
1 that you took the bus, and the people in the bus said,
2 "We must finish them off," and the man put the gun in
3 your forehead and the other wanted to cut the ear off
4 your friend. Who were these people? Were they
5 policemen or were they normal Serb citizens or
7 A. Those were soldiers -- no, not soldiers,
8 police. I mean, civilian police. Blue clothes is what
9 they wore. Now, whether they were military police or
10 civilian police, I don't know, but they looked like
11 civilian police, blue clothes.
12 JUDGE RIAD: And they wanted to finish you
13 up. They wanted to kill you.
14 A. Well, that's what one said. And the other
15 one, what he said -- no, they did not take us
16 anywhere. It means the other one wouldn't let him, so
17 that we stayed there and reached Karakaj. And the Red
18 Cross was there, and then we were taken further on.
19 JUDGE RIAD: Now, when you fell down after
20 the execution, there were -- they passed to shoot
21 everybody who was moving, and you were able not to move
22 at all, or were you hidden under other people? If you
23 remember. How did they not notice you, in your
25 A. They did not notice because I was lying on my
1 stomach, and I just stayed -- I raised a little bit and
2 I just stayed like that. I did not move at all. So I
3 was lying with my stomach down to the ground to
4 breathe, so that one couldn't notice from my back that
5 I was still breathing. They walked around and finished
6 off a couple of those who were still alive, but they
7 didn't stay long there.
8 JUDGE RIAD: But the others shouted and said
9 they were alive, to be killed. They wanted to be
10 killed and to finish up.
11 A. They wanted, yes, to have it done and over
12 with. Why? I don't know, but I suppose they must have
13 been severely wounded. They must have had grave
14 wounds, and that was why they called out. But I wasn't
15 hurt. I didn't feel hurt, so I just kept silent. I
16 thought, well, perhaps if I can't untie my hands,
17 perhaps I will let them know that I was alive and let
18 them kill, but I did manage to get my hands free, so
19 that I just kept silent and stayed there.
20 JUDGE RIAD: Very good. No, when you fell,
21 did you fall because you received a bullet, or you
22 managed to fall so that you pretended? Did the bullet
23 reach you when they were shooting or you were hurt
25 A. There was not an explicit command like
1 "Shoot." What they said was "Lie down." But it all
2 happened at the same time. The gun burst and the
3 command. So I fell down right after that, and I heard
4 a burst of gunfire. At the moment I fell down, others
5 fell down as well. But this is what they said before
6 they opened fire, "Lie down." And I managed to fall
7 down, and I managed to remain lying like that.
8 After that, they kept bringing in other
9 people, columns of other people. It was later on that
10 I was grazed by a bullet, but only grazed. It just
11 scratched my skin a little bit, that's all.
12 JUDGE RIAD: Just a last question. You
13 mentioned that they brought children of the age of 14,
14 they called boys of 14 and 15 years old and told them
15 that Abdic needs them, and you said that Abdic was a
16 man who was apparently -- we didn't know what he is,
17 but he was fighting against the Bosnians. Do you know
18 what happened to these children? Were they killed?
19 Were they sent to Abdic? Did people find out after
20 that? What were they doing to these children?
21 A. They took 12 of them from the room. I don't
22 know how many of them there were in other rooms, but
23 they must have gathered them together. I don't know
24 how many in total they were, but there were 12 of them
25 that were taken out from our room. They said that
1 Abdic needed them. After that, they took them out. I
2 don't know what they did with them, whether they ended
3 up in a camp or whether they were eventually sent to
4 Abdic or killed, I don't know, but they haven't been
5 heard of to this date. We don't know what's happened
6 with them, with those children, whether they're in a
7 camp somewhere. We know nothing about their fate.
8 On top of that, if you think of those
9 8.000 men from Srebrenica, nobody can prove anything.
10 We don't know what's happened to them. But today, all
11 we can see is just graves everywhere, and I don't know
12 how many more graves there are still that haven't been
14 JUDGE RIAD: Now, when you were put on buses,
15 if you remember, you mentioned that you crossed the
16 Drina River into Serbia. So the bus went into
17 Serbia --
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE RIAD: -- with you as prisoners in it?
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Not in Bosnia, in Serbia.
22 A. We went to Zvornik, and this is where we
23 crossed into Serbia. And we travelled in Serbia for a
24 while, up to Loznica, more or less. At that point
25 there is a bridge over the Drina, and this is where we
1 were -- this is where we crossed into Bosnia. We spent
2 some time travelling through Bosnia and towards
4 JUDGE RIAD: Did anyone stop you in Serbia,
5 in the Serbian state? Did anybody stop you, policemen
6 or anything? Because this --
7 A. I don't remember that. I don't remember
8 anyone stopping us.
9 JUDGE RIAD: But it was obvious that these
10 were buses of prisoners. And nobody stopped you there?
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE RIAD: Nobody --
13 A. There was seven buses.
14 JUDGE RIAD: Packed with you prisoners in
16 A. Yes. Seven buses plus probably later on more
17 buses came. Maybe even more buses had come before us,
18 because I had seen a number of dead bodies before. So
19 this may have happened before and after. Between 1.000
20 and 1.500. I'm sure about that.
21 JUDGE RIAD: And you don't remember how much
22 time this took, the time you spent in Serbia?
23 A. We didn't spend any time there, we just
24 travelled through Serbia for a while. We didn't stop.
25 Maybe the asphalt road through Serbia was better, I
1 don't know. I don't know why we went there, but we
2 just passed through Serbia.
3 JUDGE RIAD: Witness I, thank you, and I
4 apologise, I have added a bit to your ordeal here, but
5 you have done a great job. Thank you.
6 A. Thank you too. I really appreciate that such
7 a Tribunal has been created. I'm very happy that we
8 have it. I think each individual should be held
9 responsible for what he has done, because if we let
10 this go, then lots of other things might happen again.
11 But if we have a Tribunal like this, I think it will be
13 We still cannot go back to Srebrenica.
14 They've killed so many people and still they wouldn't
15 let us go back to Srebrenica. We live in other
16 people's houses. There's nothing we can call our own,
17 and my own land is still there. They have to be
18 captured, all of them. Then, maybe, we could go back
19 to Srebrenica. Until that time, there will be no
20 security. The soldiers, the police, this is all to no
21 avail. They're unable to protect every single civilian
22 who would like to go back.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Witness I,
24 we haven't finished yet. I think that Judge Wald would
25 also like to ask a few questions of you.
1 Judge Riad, thank you very much for your
3 Judge Wald, you have the floor.
4 JUDGE WALD: Witness I, I don't have but four
5 short questions for you. I too much appreciate your
6 coming here.
7 During the time that you were in Potocari, in
8 the house with the other men, and later on in the
9 Bratunac school and later still in the Pilica school --
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE WALD: -- did anybody ever interrogate
12 you? Did any of the Serb soldiers ever take you out
13 and ask you questions about anything or did you just
14 stay with the other men?
15 A. We just stayed there inside with the other
16 men. As for those other people who were taken out and
17 killed, I don't know. I don't know how they were
18 killed, whether they were killed with clubs or
19 something else. They must have been asked something.
20 They must have been interrogated, but they didn't want
21 to interrogate them only, they wanted to beat them.
22 JUDGE WALD: Right.
23 A. As for us who were inside, they didn't ask us
25 JUDGE WALD: Okay.
1 A. They knew all they wanted to know, that we
2 were Muslims.
3 JUDGE WALD: Right. Could you tell, as to
4 the men that were taken out in the Bratunac school or
5 the Pilica school that were singled out and taken out
6 and back and either beaten or subsequently killed,
7 could you tell when they were called out, were they
8 called out by name? Did somebody have a list that
9 singled them out or did the soldiers just appear and
10 say, "You and you and you"?
11 A. Well, something like that. They would simply
12 say, "You, get out." I didn't see any list. I didn't
13 see them look up a list or anything.
14 JUDGE WALD: So it looked as though they were
15 just picking them out at random? Okay.
16 A. Yes, I think. I think they picked up younger
17 men and more prominent ones, and they tortured them.
18 Those who remained were taken out, put onto buses, and
19 executed. They didn't ask anyone anything, if they
20 were guilty of something or not.
21 They had camps. They could have taken people
22 to their camps and spared their lives, but they didn't
23 want to know anything. They just killed.
24 JUDGE WALD: When you were in the Pilica
25 school, you said that there were people packed in the
1 rooms. In the room you were in, you said maybe 250 men
2 were there and that they were guarded by all around
3 eight to ten soldiers. Was there some reason, before
4 you were tied up, before they brought in the sheets for
5 tying your hands, was there some reason why, with so
6 many men, 250 in a room, they didn't feel they could
7 overcome the seven or eight soldiers that were there
8 and escape as a whole group, since they were so many
9 more of them than the soldiers?
10 A. Let me tell you, that's why they had been
11 keeping us hungry for about three or four days. They
12 just gave us, at one point, some dry biscuits to eat.
13 But they wanted to exhaust us as much as possible so
14 that people would die before they had to kill them.
15 Then on the other hand, we kept hoping that
16 things would turn out right for us. There were just
17 too many of us. We simply couldn't believe that people
18 would be held accountable for something, but obviously
19 they had a different idea in mind.
20 All we knew was what they actually told us.
21 They told us that we would be going to Tuzla, but they
22 acted differently. And it was only when they started
23 cursing us, cursing our balija mothers, it was only
24 then that we realised that we would be killed. Until
25 that time we were trying to behave, we would try to act
1 normally, but then we realised that we would be killed
2 at one point, when our hands were tied up.
3 JUDGE WALD: My last question to you is:
4 After the terrible ordeal that you had, both on the
5 killing fields and later on trying to escape, what was
6 it that made you decide in the end you would
7 surrender? Did you think you would have a better
8 chance of not coming back in the hands of the same
9 soldiers, or you were just totally exhausted? What
10 made you decide, after you'd gotten that far, that
11 you'd give yourself up to the authorities?
12 A. Well, I was thinking, I knew I had a long way
13 to travel, I knew that there were minefields. And we
14 had moved away from the execution site and we thought,
15 "Well, they cannot go on killing forever." And we
16 were so exhausted, we could no longer walk. We were
17 losing consciousness. We had nothing to eat, no bread,
18 nothing, just sour berries from the forest. So it was
19 either to die in the woods or to surrender. We didn't
20 know the road; we didn't know the way. We couldn't
21 orient ourselves, and we had nothing to eat.
22 So to surrender was the only option, it meant
23 life, and the other option was death. And this is how
24 we surrendered.
25 And when I came to Batkovic, for a while I
1 didn't say anything, I didn't tell them where I was
2 from and what I had been through, because even though
3 the Red Cross was there, even though I had been
4 registered, I think they would have taken me away and
5 killed me. They didn't know about that. They didn't
6 have this information about me.
7 JUDGE WALD: Why did they think you had -- so
8 what did you tell them that you were surrendering for?
9 Why did they put you in prison if they didn't know this
11 A. Well, they put me in prison together with
12 other people who had come from Srebrenica and who had
13 been captured, and this is what I told them. I told
14 them that that was my case as well, because I didn't
15 dare tell them anything else. And this is how I was
16 registered and how I remained there.
17 Because, yes, the Red Cross is a useful
18 thing, no doubt about that, but many people had an
19 opportunity to see how things work because they had to
20 go out to dig trenches, people who were with us in the
21 camp, and their identity cards, Red Cross identity
22 cards, were taken away from them and torn apart. And
23 after they had come back to Batkovic, the Red Cross
24 wanted to see their cards, and there was a corporal
25 there who said, "Don't show them, don't tell them.
1 Just tell them you've lost them," so that they wouldn't
2 know that the soldiers had actually torn them apart and
3 thrown them away. And this is how they were actually
4 forced to tell them that they had lost their identity
6 JUDGE WALD: Thank you, Witness I. We're
7 glad you chose the option of life. We think you've
8 done a great service. Thank you.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 Thank you too.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Witness I,
12 my questions for you will be very short.
13 At the beginning you mentioned a kind of
14 trumpet that you heard in Potocari on the 12th of
15 July. Do you remember who it was that used that
17 A. I wouldn't know whether it was a Muslim, a
18 Serb. I don't know who it had been given to. I don't
19 know. I don't remember the clothes the man wore. It
20 could have been a civilian suit. But it was so long
21 ago that I have forgotten it.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Witness I,
23 you spoke about an execution site and you mentioned six
24 columns of people at that execution site. Do you know,
25 by any chance, how many people there were in each
2 A. I think that approximately one bus full of
3 people, that is, 45 seats, there were probably lots of
4 people standing, two columns would be formed out of one
5 bus. So there must have been 50 people on each bus,
6 that is, between 23 and 27 people per column. It must
7 have been like that.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Do you
9 remember the time of the day when the executions
11 A. I couldn't tell you exactly when it was, but
12 it was in the morning hours, perhaps around 9.00 or
13 10.00, after they had asked people if they wanted to go
14 to Sarajevo. At that moment, they left and then buses
15 started coming. They kept coming and going relatively
16 quickly, so that was kind of interesting because it was
17 a long way to Sarajevo, and this surprised us.
18 We had no idea how long we would live, but we
19 kept hoping. And when they told us to get out, when
20 they started cursing us, then we realised that there
21 would be no life for us.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] My last
23 question for you, Witness I, concerns Bratunac and
24 Pilica, that is, the soldiers who were there.
25 Mr. Visnjic wanted to know whether those were
1 the same soldiers. I should like to know whether they
2 had the same uniforms. You said that at Potocari they
3 had had multicoloured uniforms. Did all of them have
4 the same kind of uniform, or is it your recollection
5 that they had changed uniforms in the meantime?
6 A. Well, all I remember was that there were
7 soldiers wearing multicoloured suits, and then on the
8 other hand the police who were wearing blue uniforms.
9 These are the two kinds of clothing that I remember. I
10 don't remember anything else. I was so afraid, so
11 terrified, I just couldn't observe all that.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Of course,
13 Witness I, I fully understand that.
14 What you have told us here, Witness I, is
15 indeed an extreme type of human conduct. It goes
16 beyond all horror films that have been made so far.
17 But on the other hand, there is a humane
18 story that you have told us here too. Remember the
19 waiter that you mentioned, you said that he had told
20 you that he liked everyone, that he liked all people.
21 You're a wise man, Witness I, you have experienced a
22 lot in life, and all I can tell you at the end of your
23 testimony is that I hope that once you go back to your
24 country, you will no longer feel as a dry tree standing
25 alone in the forest and that you will manage to find
1 new hope and that this tree will live again.
2 Witness I, this is the end of your
3 testimony. Thank you very much for coming here to
4 testify before the Tribunal. Let me tell you once
5 again that we greatly admire your courage.
6 Please do not move for the moment because we
7 have to respect the protective measures that have been
8 approved. Please wait for the usher to lower down the
9 blinds so that you can leave the courtroom as a
10 protected witness.
11 Thank you very much, Witness I.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon,
16 or somebody else, we are ready for a new witness. Do
17 you think it is worthwhile beginning his testimony? We
18 have 40 minutes left.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes,
21 Mr. Cayley.
22 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, we do have
23 another witness, and it is another victim with evidence
24 in the same fashion that you've heard for the last few
1 Last night when I spoke with him, he was
2 very fragile. He has a great deal of courage but he
3 was very fragile. He has been waiting this morning for
4 several hours to come. In a sense, I think it may
5 actually be worthwhile commencing testimony, because
6 then he will at least become accustomed to the
7 courtroom and he's not going to worry all weekend long
8 about coming back, because he's been waiting now in a
9 room. I think that's probably the best way to proceed,
10 but I will leave it to you.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. The
12 thing is my colleagues have asked for a short break, a
13 ten-minute break, before we start again.
14 Can we start again at 2.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 1.53 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 2.05 p.m.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Can you
18 hear me, Witness?
19 THE WITNESS: [No audible response]
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You will
21 now read the solemn translation that the usher will
22 show you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
24 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
25 and nothing but the truth.
1 WITNESS: WITNESS J
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You can
4 take your seat now.
5 [The witness sits down]
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] The
7 representative of the Registry will now show you a
8 piece of paper with your name on it. You will look at
9 it to see whether this is, indeed, your name, but you
10 will only say yes or no. Do you understand?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do. I do.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So it is
14 your name on that piece of paper.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well,
17 Witness. Thank you very much for coming here. We know
18 that you had a very long wait, and now you will begin
19 your testimony. You will first answer questions that
20 Mr. Cayley, who is to the right of you, will ask.
21 Mr. Cayley, you have the floor.
22 MR. CAYLEY: Good afternoon, Mr. President,
23 Your Honours, learned counsel. Thank you.
24 Examined by Mr. Cayley:
25 Q. Now, Witness, first of all, you are perfectly
1 safe. You are under the protection of the Judges and
2 the court. Your image cannot be seen by anybody except
3 the people who are in the courtroom.
4 I'm going to ask you a few preliminary
5 questions, and then once I've asked those, I will place
6 you at a certain location in time and in space and then
7 I'll ask you to tell the account of events that you
8 told me to the Judges.
9 Now, Witness, I think you were born in 1944;
10 is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And you are a Muslim by faith.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And I think in 1995 you were a member of the
15 Bosnian army.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I want you to think back to the 11th of July,
18 in 1995, and I think you were working as a farmer in
19 your field.
20 A. Yes. Yes.
21 Q. And the fields on which you were working were
22 in your local commune, which was a village that was
23 located within the Srebrenica enclave; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And I think while you were working in the
1 field, on the 11th of July, your daughter came to see
2 you and she told you that the enclave had fallen. Do
3 you remember that?
4 A. I do.
5 Q. I think that you then returned home and you
6 packed some food and you left.
7 A. Yes. Yes.
8 Q. Can you tell the Judges, slowly, in your own
9 time, everything that happened to you after you left
10 your home and your village, in the municipality of
12 A. I can.
13 Q. Please go head, Witness.
14 A. Before we begin, I should like to thank the
15 Hague Tribunal and the Court which enabled the truth to
16 be told about the genocide of the Bosniaks in the
17 protected enclave of Srebrenica.
18 Q. Witness, you can now begin with your account
19 of events after you left your village in Srebrenica.
20 A. I started on the 11th of July, 1995, I left
21 my home, between 7.00 and 8.00 in the afternoon [sic].
22 I put my belongings in a backpack and headed for
23 Tuzla. When we reached Spasonjin Do, we were told that
24 there would be a rally at Jaglici. We arrived at
25 Jaglici at night and spent the night at Jaglici.
1 In the morning, on the 12th of July, at
2 twenty minutes to one was when I left Jaglici, towards
3 Buljim. Below Buljim we came across a macadam road,
4 and that was the first ambush. So people scattered
5 there, nobody looked where somebody else was going, and
6 with a few of my neighbours, I started down a stream.
7 I didn't know the ground there; I was not familiar with
9 We were walking downstream, far away, and I
10 asked, "Where should we go?" I asked my neighbour, "Do
11 you know where we are?" and he said, "Kamenica is to
12 our left." So we set off to the left, through a
13 forest, and we sat down there. About seven, eight,
14 maybe ten men gathered there, and we were sitting down,
15 and we heard voices from us further in the forest. It
16 was at nightfall, so we headed towards those voices in
17 the forest.
18 Some 500 or 600 metres later, gunfire
19 started, and that is where the second ambush was. You
20 don't know what is firing or where it is firing from.
21 So we went back. They were all younger than I. I went
22 down behind a fallen tree trunk to protect myself, and
23 the gunfire went on. I thought they were also lying
24 down near me.
25 So then I stood up and tried to call to them
1 softly, but none of them responded. Then I heard a
2 voice to carry the wounded away, and I thought they
3 were ours. I headed towards them. The gunfire was
4 going on, but it was less intensive. It would be a
5 burst here and there. And I shouted, "Don't fire.
6 They are ours." "Who are you?" I said -- I went up,
7 and I found a guy. He asked me if I had any food to
8 give him. I gave it to him. He ate. We stood up.
9 There were so many dead bodies around, you could put --
10 as you walked, could you move over the dead bodies.
11 I spent the night at a neighbour's, and I
12 lost my way -- I lost that guy to whom I had given
14 So we took the wounded up on a hill. I don't
15 know which hill.
16 In the morning, when the day broke, there
17 were a number of people I knew from my neighbourhood
18 community, from my neighbourhood, and I asked there,
19 "Are there any more of ours?" So we started downhill,
20 and he told me that yes, there were quite a number of
21 ours down there.
22 So we climbed down, and I found there quite a
23 number of our men, so that a large group met. There
24 was quite a number of people I knew. They were
25 bringing wounded there. I knew a male nurse. They
1 used to work in the hospital in Srebrenica. So they
2 dressed the wounds there, and we were sitting there,
3 and then the fire was opened from behind our backs. It
4 was somewhere up from above Kamenica.
5 We went downhill. They were falling all
6 around us, but the grass was very tall around. Whether
7 it was hitting them or whether they were falling down
8 so as to avoid those, to dodge the bullets. The
9 bullets were whizzing past my head, so I also started
10 to roll down. I rolled down to a boundary. Then
11 crossfire started from the other side, from the asphalt
12 road. And they began putting their T-shirts and their
13 towels on sticks, whatever, "Don't shoot. Don't
14 shoot. We're surrendering. We're surrendering." but
15 they kept on firing. The fire was coming. They were
16 closer to us, and there they surrounded us and pushed
17 us towards the asphalt.
18 I don't know what the name of that place was
19 where they drove us to, because I didn't know that
20 place, but there was a meadow, and in the meadow there
21 were a lot of people there, but they were driving in
22 more of them. There were two soldiers of theirs when
23 we crossed the river, and they said, "If you have a
24 backpack, a bag, a plastic bag, anything," they would
25 take it, search your pockets, the belt, naturally, to
1 see if you had a knife or a pistol or something, some
2 money. I had a hundred marks in my pocket here, and I
3 took it out. I said, "That's all I have."
4 We crossed the asphalt road and sat on the
5 right-hand side of the asphalt, in a meadow, and they
6 were still driving people into that meadow. There were
7 troops, their troops around us. They did not beat us.
8 We were sitting --
9 Q. Witness, if you could pause there for a
10 moment, and I want to ask you some questions about the
11 evidence that you've given to the Judges, just to
12 clarify it in my mind. Now, you've said earlier on
13 that on the 1th of July, 1995, you went to a place
14 called Jaglici. Do you recall that?
15 A. I do.
16 Q. Let me show you a map that we looked at last
17 night, and this is so the Judges can understand the
18 place that you're talking about.
19 MR. CAYLEY: If the Witness can be shown
20 Prosecutor Exhibit 8A/1. You can place it in front of
21 the witness.
22 Q. Now, Witness, do you see Jaglici marked on
23 that? Can you move it so -- do you recall that we
24 spoke about this last night, and I said I would mark on
25 "Jaglici," where you knew the village was? Do you
1 recall you couldn't read the very small print?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you see where "Jaglici" is written on the
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Witness,
6 Mr. Cayley has given you some instructions. You do not
7 need to look for the smaller lettering but for larger
9 MR. CAYLEY:
10 Q. Witness, do you see where "Jaglici" is
11 written on the map? It's all right, Witness. We won't
12 use this map. It's all right.
13 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honours, what I suggest you
14 do, because I realise it's actually quite difficult to
15 orient yourselves, is if you look at Prosecutor
16 Exhibit 1/E/1, a number of places that the witness is
17 speaking about you will be able to see quite easily.
18 They're already actually marked on map. Many of the
19 smaller hamlets and hills that he mentions are marked,
20 but, broadly speaking, you will be able to follow on
21 this map, on 1/E/1.
22 Q. Now, Witness, do you recall how many men
23 gathered at Jaglici?
24 MR. CAYLEY: You don't need to give it to the
1 A. At Jaglici there were many people. I
2 couldn't tell you how many, but there was a huge
3 crowd. And from there we headed towards Buljim.
4 MR. CAYLEY:
5 Q. Were you armed at the time?
6 A. I had my hunting rifle with me, the one that
7 I was given in 1968, because I was a member of a
8 hunting club in Srebrenica.
9 Q. So it was a hunting weapon. You used it for
10 hunting foxes and rabbits and that kind of thing?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What happened to that gun?
13 A. When we were about to leave Jaglici, my
14 brother-in-law was with me, and we had food in my
15 backpack, and we agreed, "Well, I'll take the rifle,
16 and you take the backpack." So he took the rifle, and
17 I took the backpack. That was the last time we saw
18 each other. As of then, every trace of him and the
19 rifle has been lost.
20 Q. Now, you said that you set out from Jaglici
21 to Buljim. Now, you've also said that there was a very
22 large group of people. Whereabouts were you located --
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Whereabouts were you located in that group of
25 people that was moving towards Buljim? Do you
2 A. I was somewhere in the middle when we reached
3 that macadam road below Buljim. We passed their line
4 and came down to that macadam road, and the end of the
5 first column was standing. Somebody behind me asked,
6 "What are we waiting for?" Some 70 metres in front of
7 me, somebody said, "Well, we've lost the track of the
8 column." Somebody up there swore, said, "I'll tell you
9 where the column is," and he came down to the macadam
10 road, except that on the left side of the hill he
11 shouted, "What are we waiting for?" and swore again.
12 And the fire started and shelling from that
13 direction, and people began to scatter in all
14 directions. Most people started to the left, beyond
15 the stream, and I started downstream with that small
16 group of my neighbours.
17 So when the morning came, we were slightly
18 above Kamenica when they pushed us downwards to
19 Lolici. I didn't know it was Lolici until I was told
20 that by the man who had come out together with me from
21 the warehouse. I asked him, "Where are we?" He said,
22 "Up in Lolici."
23 And as we were sitting there at Lolici,
24 they --
25 Q. Witness, I just have a couple more questions
1 for you and then we can go back to Lolici.
2 Where did the women and children go in
3 Srebrenica? Do you remember?
4 A. We came together -- we were together until
5 Ravna Njiva, men, civilians, women, children, all
6 people. They were all heading to Potocari, naturally,
7 to UNPROFOR, and we headed for Jaglici, through the
8 woods. That is where we parted with our wives,
9 daughters, sisters.
10 Q. Now, you said to the Judges that, I think,
11 two ambushes took place. Who mounted those ambushes
12 against the column that were moving through the woods?
13 Do you remember?
14 A. Who else could it be but Serbs? Their
15 troops, seeing that they fired and shelled and killed.
16 Q. Let me now take you back to what you stated
17 earlier. You mentioned that you then got to a place
18 called Lolici. If you could tell the Judges what
19 happened to you at that point. Thank you.
20 A. When we got there, when we were driven down
21 to Lolici, I said already that two soldiers were
22 standing there. They searched us, looking for money.
23 They tied our hands behind our necks. We crossed the
24 asphalt and sat in a meadow across the asphalt.
25 There was a tank to the right-hand side and
1 one to the left-hand side. The one that was on the
2 left did not react in any way against us, but the
3 one -- the one that was on the other side, three times
4 turned his gun on the group that was sitting there.
5 There was one in civilian uniform. He had no patches.
6 He said, "Well, lift it up. Don't be a fool." He
7 didn't open fire on us.
8 They brought a cistern which sprinkled us
9 with water. Children of about 15 or 16 brought
10 drinking water. I was sitting near the top of that
11 group that was there. In front of me, there was a
12 teacher sitting in front of me, and that male nurse. I
13 heard them whispering, saying, "There must be some
14 2.000 here." I didn't even try to count, nor did it
15 ever occur to me. I mostly kept my head down close to
16 the ground, because all I would think about was my
17 fate, what would happen to me.
18 One asked for water. He was perhaps three
19 rows lower than I was. A boy brought a canister,
20 perhaps five litres of water, and he brought this water
21 and said, "Well, some were having a go at it twice."
22 The man answered, "Well, I haven't had a single sip."
23 So a soldier then kicked him in the head and another
24 one hit him from the other side, and he bled at the
25 mouth and the nose. One picked him by the scruff of
1 his neck and another one by his feet and took him away,
2 some five or six metres away, and opened a whole burst
3 of fire at him, and then I realised we were done for.
4 He remained there, dead.
5 Then I recognised a policeman who --
6 Q. Witness, if you could stop at that point.
7 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I think if you
8 wish, this might be a point in time at which to stop,
9 because then the witness then comes on to another area
10 that will take a considerable amount of time to
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes,
13 Mr. Cayley. We agree.
14 Witness J, we shall now adjourn, and you will
15 be able to pass a quiet weekend in The Hague.
16 We shall resume on Monday at 9.30. So have a
17 nice weekend. Thank you.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
19 at 2.31 p.m., to be reconvened on
20 Monday, the 10th day of April, 2000
21 at 9.30 a.m.