1 Friday, 21st August, 1998
2 -- Upon commencing at 9.17 a.m.
3 (Open session)
4 (The accused entered court)
5 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-16-T, the Prosecutor
6 versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko
7 Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic and Vladimir
8 Santic also know as Vlado.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Good morning. I
10 see the witness is there. This is not a protected
11 witness, I think.
12 MR. TERRIER: Good morning, Mr. President,
13 no, there are no protective measures in this case.
14 (Witness entered court)
15 WITNESS: MEHMED AHMIC
16 JUDGE CASSESE: I understand it is
17 Mr. Mehmed Ahmic. Could you please make the solemn
19 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall
20 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
22 JUDGE CASSESE: You may be seated.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, to the
25 Examined by Mr. Terrier:
1MR. TERRIER: Mr. Ahmic, would you please
2 give the Tribunal your date of birth and your place of
3 birth? Thank you.
4 A. I was born on the 6th of January, 1955, in
5 Ahmici Municipality of the Vitez. Currently I'm an
6 unemployed official of the Vitez Municipality,
7 president of the SDA party in Vitez, married, the
8 father of two, and a graduate of the school of
10 Q. Please tell us what were your professional
12 A. Before the war I was a private entrepreneur
13 and I was active in politics. During the war, for a
14 time, I belonged to the army, and later I worked for
15 the UNHCR. I'm still active in politics now.
16 Q. Mr. Ahmic, we would like to discuss the
17 period before the war during which you worked in
18 Ahmici. Can you please tell us on what date and what
19 year you settled in Ahmici, and what exactly were your
20 profession occupations in Ahmici before the war?
21 A. I didn't move to Ahmici, I was born there.
22 My parents live there. I was just away during my
23 education, but for a time I lived in Vitez where I had
24 a Cafe. Just before the war I had a house in Ahmici,
25 which I built in 1989, 1990, and there was a grocery
1store in it. At the beginning of the multi-party
2 system in the former Yugoslavia, I joined actively in
3 the work of the Party of Democratic Action. In that
4 period, that is from '91 until roughly 1996/'97, I was
5 Deputy President of the party at the municipal level,
6 and for a time I was acting president of the SDA party
7 in our municipality.
8 My house was in Ahmici next to the road, 20
9 or 30 metres away, that is where I had my shop, that
10 was my source of income, and I participated in politics
11 on a voluntary basis.
12 Q. Mr. Ahmic you recently discussed or mentioned
13 your activities within the political party, the SDA.
14 Could you please also relate to us what this political
15 commitment involved, and also explain to us what type
16 of ideologies you embraced in this particular political
18 A. The very name of the party speaks for itself,
19 a party of democratic action. After the single-party
20 system that we had in the former Yugoslavia and
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, a multi-party system was
22 established, and this party rallied the majority of the
23 Bosniak people. I considered it to be democratic, and
24 I've held its principles. That party continues to
25 advocate a democratic, integral free -- united, free
1and independent Bosnia and Herzegovina. Those were the
2 ideals that prompted me, and that I continue to uphold,
3 even though now I am a member of a different party, it
4 is called the Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina, but ideas
5 remain the same.
6 Q. And what date exactly did you begin your
7 activities in the SDA which you mentioned?
8 A. I didn't join it. Actually, I was one of the
9 founders of the party sometime in April 1991. I don't
10 remember exactly the date, but that was the time when
11 the party was founded.
12 Q. What responsibilities, Mr. Ahmic, did you
13 have within this party?
14 A. I was a member of the top leadership at the
15 municipal level. I was the deputy president. If the
16 president was absent, I took over. My main task was to
17 establish a multi-party government in Vitez, because in
18 addition to the SDA there was the HDZ party, the SDS,
19 the Social Democrat the Social Democratic Party, and
20 after the multi-party elections the HDZ was the winner,
21 SDS came second, and SDS, as compared to the population
22 share had only a few seats, but our main task was to
23 establish the executive, legislative and other branches
24 of government.
25 Q. Mr. Ahmic, you stated that in Ahmici you had
1a store, or a shop before the war. Can you please
2 describe for us what type of shop this was? What were
3 you selling in that shop?
4 A. It was privately owned, or as we called it,
5 an independent shop. Its name was Ajla Adi, a
6 combination of the names of my son and daughter, and I
7 sold food stuffs, clothing and even some appliances,
8 but I must point out that previously it was owned by
9 the Vjetrenica socially owned company and I took it
10 over because I worked in that company. But it is
11 important to note that this was a store which both
12 Muslims, Croats, Serbs and passers-by would come and
14 Q. You just stated that your clientele was of
15 all communities in Ahmici and in the area, Muslims and
16 Croats. I would like to ask the Registrar -- I would
17 like to ask for the Court deputy, rather, to come
18 forward and show these images to the witness. These
19 are aerial photographs?
20 THE REGISTRAR: This is document 59.
21 MR. TERRIER: Please place it on the ELMO.
22 Q. Mr. Ahmic, please look at this photograph, it
23 represents a part of Ahmici, the lower part of Ahmici,
24 which is close to the road which goes to Busovaca to
1When we met before this hearing you asked if
2 I would indicate for you where your house is located.
3 You also indicated and we have made a circle around
4 that particular image, there is a circle there, and
5 that is numbered 3. That is indeed the location of
6 your house?
7 A. That is absolutely correct.
8 Q. Then, therefore, it is located immediately
9 adjacent to the main road, the southern road?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you please state for us and state for
12 this Tribunal who your neighbours were? Who lived in
13 the houses around your house?
14 A. Next to me were my relatives and neighbours
15 belonging to a different ethnic group, Croats. My late
16 uncle Sakib was to my right, left to my house was a
17 house that was still under construction. Those were
18 just the foundations of a house of the late Pianic.
19 Across the road from me was the house of Ivo Papic. To
20 the right of him the house of Pero and Maria Papic. To
21 the left of Ivo Papic's house is the house of Suad
22 Causevic, Suada and Ahmir Causevic. The next house on
23 the same side as my house is the house of Mesur Ahmic
24 and Mehmed. Then a new house owned by a person from
25 Zenica. Then there was the mosque and the school.
1This is Ahmir Pezer's house, Nedjo, Kupreskic Vlatko,
2 Zoran and so on. To the right was the house of my
3 mother and my brother, and my two nephews. That is the
4 immediate neighbourhood.
5 Q. Among the names that you've just stated for
6 us, are most of them Muslim names? Are these Muslim
7 family names among which perhaps you've also indicated
8 some Croatian names? Could you please list them for
9 us, the names of the Croat families that lived near
11 A. The closest house, Croat house, was the house
12 of Ivo Papic, then that of Marija and Pero Papic, then
13 Slavko and Rafael Milicevic.
14 Q. Mr. Ahmic, would you please take the pointer
15 and indicate for us on this photograph, on this aerial
16 photograph, the house which you mentioned, that
17 belonging to Ivo Papic, which you said belonged to
18 Mr. Ivo Papic.
19 I see that that house then is across from
20 your house, almost directly across from your house, on
21 the other side of that road. Who lived in that house
22 at the time that you yourself were living in your
24 A. Until the 20th of October, 1992, Ivo Papic,
25 his wife Dragica Papic, his sons Drago and Goran Papic,
1and daughter. I forget her name.
2 Q. Before the war, Mr. --
3 A. And Ivo Papic's daughter-in-law, Dragan
4 Papic's wife.
5 Q. Mr. Ahmic, before the war what relations did
6 you have with the Papic family?
7 A. Before the war our relations were just fine.
8 Mr. Ivo Papic was a plumber. He was my next door
9 neighbour, a very hard-working man. More than 90 per
10 cent of the houses had water installed by him and the
11 plumbing done by him. So really, we never called
12 anyone else to do any plumbing except him. He did the
13 plumbing for my own house, with another man from Vitez,
14 a Muslim.
15 We were so close that we would say to each
16 other, we would greet each other in the customary way,
17 using the Catholic expression when we talked to them
18 and they would address us with the Muslim expression.
19 We were so close that he was the only one who let me
20 collect to his electricity supply when I was building
21 my new house. Also, with my video camera and my son, I
22 videoed the wedding of his son, Dragan Papic, in the
23 church in Busovaca. It was a church wedding. I think
24 that we still have that videotape.
25 So that is an illustration of the kind of
1relations we had before October 1992. This also
2 applies to relations with the other Papic, not just
3 me, but the whole neighbourhood.
4 Let me tell you a detail that there were more
5 cases of litigation among Muslims of Ahmici than there
6 were any court cases between representatives of the two
7 ethnic groups, so that relations between the Muslims
8 and the Croats were extremely good. My uncle had an
9 especially close relationship with Ivo Papic.
10 Q. Mr. Ahmic, please direct the bench directly
11 and do not turn towards me.
12 A. Apologise.
13 Q. Before October 1992, the events that we will
14 discuss in a moment, you never truly felt that the
15 relations -- the friend relations that you had with
16 your neighbours, your Croat neighbours, were
17 transforming or deteriorating before October 1992?
18 A. No. Perhaps a little earlier than that maybe
19 in May or June, there was a minor disagreement. I
20 don't want to call it a conflict. Ivo Papic and myself
21 and Moharem (Phoen) Causevic, we were sitting together
22 and talking, and then he said -- he reproached me for
23 hanging up the Yugoslav flag for the official holiday.
24 On the one side of the shop I had the Yugoslav flag and
25 the other the SDA flag. And my explanation was that
1this was the official flag of the country which had
2 still not been declared null and void, and this was a
3 public facility, and that I felt it my duty to do
4 that. So that was the first time we had a sort of
5 argument, with a drink.
6 And I think that what bothered him most was
7 the SDA flag rather than the official Yugoslavia Slav
8 flag. However, the first check board flag that was
9 hoisted was on the house of Ivo Papic. Of course, I
10 have nothing against it as a symbol of a nation.
11 Q. Mr. Ahmic, we will come back to the events of
12 October 1992 and also the circumstances in which you
13 had to leave your home and leave the Ahmici village.
14 Would you please relate to this Tribunal what happened
15 at that time, and in what circumstances you had to
16 leave Ahmici?
17 A. Yes. I left Ahmici under very difficult
18 conditions. In fact, I only just managed to escape
19 alive. On the 20th of October, 1992, I think it was
20 about 7.30 in the morning, actually, before that, maybe
21 about 5.30, I was woken up by a strong explosion. I
22 was sleeping in my bedroom with my wife and small
23 children. The explosion was a direct hit into the
24 minaret of the mosque because I can see the minaret
25 from my bedroom window.
1Q. Mr. Ahmic, I'm sorry, let me interrupt you.
2 I think it's preferable for clarity that you discuss
3 what happened the day before, before the 20th of
4 October, because I believe that before that there were
5 a number of events which will enable us to understand
6 more clearly what happened thereafter. So, please, I
7 think it's best that you begin at that moment.
8 A. Yes. On the 19th of October in the evening,
9 a checkpoint or a barricade was put up in front of my
10 house, and this was done because, according to some
11 assessments and intelligence reports, the HVO army was
12 allegedly to go towards Jajce, but, in fact, it was
13 going to Novi Travnik where there was already a
14 conflict underway between the army and the HVO. A
15 checkpoint was placed to prevent it.
16 I came there. I called up a certain number
17 of people. I asked whether this checkpoint should be
18 put here or somewhere else. They said that was all
19 right, but I insisted that it shouldn't be right in
20 front of my house, but that it should be moved a
21 little. So it was moved towards the cemetery, in a
22 bend there in the road.
23 That evening, there was guard duty. The
24 checkpoint was operational, so it was not possible to
25 pass through it, and I think the persons manning it
1would check passengers, their documents, and would not
2 let them pass, so that transport was suspended. In
3 line with my political duties, I visited the checkpoint
4 and went to sleep about 1.00 in the morning. That was
5 what preceded the 20th. I went to sleep, tension was
6 high, and in the morning I was awakened by the
7 explosion that I already mentioned when the minaret of
8 the mosque was hit.
9 After that --
10 Q. Mr. Ahmic, I'm sorry to interrupt you. I
11 would like for you to specify a number of things. This
12 roadblock that was on the road near the Catholic
13 cemetery, was this erected by the Muslim residents of
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. What exactly was the purpose of this
18 A. The precise objective was to control the
19 passage of civilians and armed people on the road
20 between Busovaca and Travnik.
21 Q. These people coming from Busovaca and going
22 in the direction of Novi Travnik, were these Croats?
23 A. Yes. They were units of the Croatian Defence
24 Council. In fact, I think they were special units
25 because Jajce was just about to fall to the Serb
1aggressors, and allegedly they were going to assist
2 there. But according to intelligence reports received
3 by the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
4 as there was a conflict ongoing in Novi Travnik, that,
5 in fact, they were heading towards Novi Travnik to help
6 the HVO in Novi Travnik.
7 So I think that one of the reasons for this
8 roadblock was to prevent these forces from going to
9 Novi Travnik, and they were, in fact, prevented. They
10 didn't pass.
11 Q. You stated that on several occasions during
12 that day, on the 19th of October, you went to that
13 roadblock. How many Muslim persons from Ahmici were
14 manning this roadblock?
15 A. Twenty on the outside, but this figure
16 changed. There were seven or eight, at other times, 10
17 or 15, because this went on all day and all night.
18 Some people would go and others would come.
19 Q. Did these persons have weapons?
20 A. Very few of them.
21 Q. You, yourself, during that day of the 19th of
22 October, were you carrying a weapon?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Can you please give us an account of that
25 day, of the 20th of October?
1A. As I had started telling you, a strong
2 explosion woke me up, the shell that had hit the
3 minaret of the mosque, about 5.30 in the morning. As
4 we couldn't sleep anymore, we got up.
5 My wife, at about 7.30, wanted to open the
6 shutters. I think you understand what I mean. They
7 are wooden shutters that we have on the windows because
8 the windows were French windows from the living room,
9 and she opened the shutters. The moment she did that,
10 from Dragan's house, there was a burst of fire that hit
11 her. The children were already alive. We all fell to
12 the ground. We managed to crawl into the corridor, and
13 then the shooting started.
14 I managed to hide the children beneath the
15 staircase, and my mother-in-law, who was with me at the
16 time, because she was sick, she had cancer of the
17 breast and she had been operated on, I managed to
18 evacuate them to the business premises beneath the
20 After that first burst of fire, only then did
21 I realise what was happening, because fire started from
22 all sides. About midday, artillery started shelling
23 from Hrasno and the house had already started burning.
24 I crawled back to the first floor and to the loft to
25 try and save some of our clothing and some of our
2 I was in contact all the time with, let me
3 call them, the joint bodies of government in Vitez for
4 as long as the telephone lines were operational. I was
5 in contact with Mr. Sefkija Dzidic, Ivica Santic, Fuad
6 Kaknjo. These were the people who were the military
7 and civilian leaders in Vitez. A lot of people called
8 me because there was a conflict going on, the house was
9 burning, and they wanted to see whether I was alive,
10 because the house had been set on fire with inflammable
11 bullets from the roof.
12 I insisted on fire brigades coming to
13 extinguish the fire. I called by phone. However,
14 towards the afternoon when the line had already burned,
15 Ivica Santic, who was with Fuad Kakanj, told me to save
16 my life and to try and save my wife and children
17 because, I'm quoting him, "Both armies were out of
18 control, and if I didn't help myself, there was no one
19 that could help me."
20 I realised that there was no help coming from
21 anywhere. The fire was coming from three sides, this
22 side, this side, and this side. My only possibility
23 was to flee this way, and there was an Opel Record
24 parked here. When there was a lull, about 4.00 in the
25 afternoon, we were in the house all that time, we went
1through the door, my wife, my daughter, my wife's
2 sister, and my mother-in-law, and they ran to Sakib
3 Ahmic's house, my uncle's house. I followed them,
4 crawling. While they ran across, there was no fire. I
5 think they could have killed them, but they didn't.
6 When I came out, then again fire was opened
7 at me, but I crawled behind the car. I was carrying my
8 small son, who was three and a half or four, under my
9 arm, and I could hear voices from the woods saying,
10 "Surrender," that they would call the fire brigades
11 and that they would extinguish the fire.
12 Then an anti-aircraft gun started shooting.
13 I could see, as I crawled as I left the house, and I
14 saw Dragan Papic manning the anti-aircraft gun. I went
15 zig-zag. I crawled zig-zag so they wouldn't hit me.
16 The holes left by the shells from the gun were like
17 this, not to mention how many bullets whizzed past my
18 head. I don't know how I survived. I reached my
19 uncle's house. I managed to crawl again to Omer
20 Pezer's house here, and then slowly I reached Bekbir
21 (Phoen) Ahmic's house, and then behind the mosque I
22 reached the upper mosque.
23 I think -- no, I don't think, I know for
24 sure, that the fire was coming from the direction of
25 the wood just below Dragan Papic's house, as far as I
1was able to see. I could see from my house, because my
2 house was on a high level, Dragan Papic, Fahir (Phoen)
3 Milicevic, Pero Papic, and some other soldiers there.
4 Q. Mr. Ahmic, we are now going to go back over
5 some of what you stated for some clarification. You
6 stated that you woke up on the 20th of October, you
7 were awakened, rather, by relatively heavy armed fire
8 which was targeting the minaret, the minaret of the
9 mosque, the lower mosque; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, yes.
11 Q. You also stated that your house was also the
12 target of this firing; is this correct?
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. You also stated, and please try to tell us,
15 if you can, where this fire was coming from?
16 A. The fire was coming from infantry weapons
17 from the woods just behind Ivo Papic's house, and the
18 area of Hrasno where the artillery was. It is an
19 elevation which is about two kilometres away from my
20 house as the crow flies. And several months earlier,
21 these pieces had been positioned there, two
22 anti-aircraft guns, about two months before.
23 I'm not a soldier but I think that the
24 ammunition is about 40 millimetre calibre. My house
25 was a direct target. It was the only house to be set
1on fire during that so-called first conflict between
2 the army and the HVO. And I think all the other houses
3 remained intact, except for a couple of sheds and a
4 couple of stables.
5 Q. Therefore, your house was the object of fire
6 of the type of weapon you described, the anti-aircraft
7 gun, which was located at a somewhat relatively long
8 distance from your own home. Were other shots also
9 directed at your house?
10 A. Infantry weapons, anti-aircraft guns, and
11 automatic rifles. I said that the first burst of fire
12 came from the house of Ivo Papic and Dragan Papic. I
13 think it was he because he had sand going up to the
14 window, and I saw this when we opened the shutters,
15 both me and my wife, and we were extremely surprised.
16 Behind the house too, there were infantry weapons, an
17 anti-aircraft gun. From the area of Zume, therefore,
18 from the area of the cemetery, from these three sides,
19 the fire was coming.
20 Q. So your house was --
21 JUDGE MAY: Let me clarify something before
22 we move on. The witness said there was a first burst
23 of fire from the house of Ivo Papic and Dragan Papic.
24 "I think it was he because I saw this when we opened
25 the shutters," it should read. Who is the "he" that is
1referred to? Perhaps the witness could clarify that.
2 THE WITNESS: Dragan Papic. I could see it
3 when I opened the shutters. That is when the fire
4 started. As soon as we opened the shutters, they
5 realised we were in the house, that we were alive, and
6 they opened fire.
7 MR. TERRIER: May we please show Exhibit 30
8 to the witness?
9 Q. Mr. Ahmic, what does this photograph
11 A. This is Dragan Papic's house and Ivo Papic's
12 house, the father and the son.
13 Q. Mr. Ahmic, where was this photograph taken?
14 A. This photograph was taken from the direction
15 of my house, approximately, or maybe from the main road
16 which divides my house from Ivo's house.
17 Q. So the side that we see now is the side which
18 faces the road and also next to your house; is that
20 A. Yes, my house too, yes, yes, yes.
21 Q. On the morning of the 20th of October, did
22 the firing come from that house, and could you please
23 specify if that is the case?
24 A. Yes, from this window (indicating).
25 Q. You are now showing us a window on the right
1side of that building on the upper level. Who was
2 located at that window?
3 A. Dragan Papic in a black uniform.
4 Q. Did he have a weapon? Did he have a weapon
5 in his hand?
6 A. Yes, he had an automatic rifle.
7 Q. Did he make use of this automatic weapon, of
8 this automatic rifle?
9 A. Yes, it was the first round of fire aimed at
10 my house.
11 Q. Later on in that day, did you see this
12 person, Mr. Dragan Papic, again?
13 A. No. After that, I managed to get out of
14 there, but I saw him before that, but not after that,
15 because within a relatively short time period, I
16 managed to go to Stari Vitez, Vrhovine, I can explain
17 that if you like, and from there I went to Zenica, and
18 then I left for Tuzla. I began working for the UNHCR.
19 Q. Mr. Ahmic, let's remain with the 20th of
20 October for the time being. When you saw Mr. Dragan
21 Papic on the first floor of his house facing your house
22 and firing into your home, at what time was it,
24 A. Between half past seven and eight. A long
25 time has passed, so I can't remember exactly. So it
1could be an hour, more or less, because at moments like
2 this, a person cannot know the exact moment when shots
3 are being fired and so on.
4 Q. To the best of your memory, how long did the
5 firing take place from Dragan Papic's house into your
6 house? How long did it last?
7 A. Well, the first round of fire, and then
8 perhaps for ten minutes, but not from the house
9 anymore. It started from the wood behind the house,
10 and from all sides.
11 Q. You talked about firing that was made under
12 the house; is that correct, Mr. Ahmic?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Will you please specify on this photograph
15 where these shots were coming from from under the house
16 and how?
17 A. Well, you can't see it from this angle, from
18 this part here. This is in the way, this vegetation,
19 which is like a fence, but it was here (indicating).
20 This garage was built later. It wasn't there then, so
21 it was behind this garage. I think this is a more
22 recent photograph, and this wasn't here then. It was
23 behind where this building is now.
24 Q. Did you see the persons who were firing from
25 the locations you just indicated to us?
1A. Yes. I told you who the persons were.
2 Q. Will you please repeat it for us?
3 A. In that wood, there were several people, but
4 as I was crawling along, I saw Dragan Papic, Pero
5 Papic, Slavko and Rafael Milicevic, and a few other
6 people. I didn't recognise the others, but they were
7 all my neighbours.
8 Q. To be perfectly clear, according to your own
9 memory, Mr. Dragan Papic, first you saw him at his
10 window; is that right?
11 A. In the house, yes, yes, and then he went out
12 and joined the others down there, but this was -- I
13 left the house at about 4.15, so it was about eight
14 hours later. It was during the day.
15 MR. TERRIER:
16 Q. Let us move on to the time in which you left
17 your house with your children and family, your wife and
18 also your mother-in-law. You indicated that you were
19 carrying in your arms a child.
20 A. ... mother-in-law.
21 Q. So you were carrying in your arms a child?
22 A. Yes, under my arm.
23 Q. How old was this child at this time?
24 A. It was born on the 28th of February, 1988,
25 and that was on the 20th of October, '92, so he was
1about four years old.
2 Q. You stated at that time that when you left
3 the house, you came under fire.
4 A. The fire was aimed at me and my son, at my
5 wife, but, no, they did not shoot at my wife and my
6 female relatives, they were female persons. So I and
7 my son were the ones they were shooting at.
8 Q. Now, during that time, while you were leaving
9 your house with your son, your four-year-old son, in
10 your arms, where were the shots coming from, the ones
11 that you had come under?
12 A. From this direction here.
13 Q. Do you remember the weapon or weapons that
14 were used? What type of weapons were they?
15 A. It was an anti-aircraft machine-gun and
16 artillery automatic firearms, because there were rounds
17 of fire.
18 Q. You were not hit?
19 A. No, luckily.
20 Q. Could we consider then on the 20th of
21 October, in any way possible could it have been a
22 target that was -- a military one?
23 A. No, it couldn't have been a military target,
24 because on that day I had no weapons there. I didn't
25 shoot at all, I had no weapons at all, and I did not
1tend to carry firearms. I could have because of my
2 duties, but I rarely used the weapons before the war.
3 It was not a military target.
4 After a certain time I'm trying to say that
5 all the civilian population from Ahmici managed to
6 withdraw from that part into the upper part of the
7 village on the 20th of October, and I was the only one
8 left there with my family. I realised that later when
9 I went to the upper part and found them all there.
10 Later I heard that Mr. Dario Kordic had
11 stated on Vitez television, within Croatian television
12 Vitez that on the 20th of October, in Ahmici, a Mujehadin
13 military depot had been destroyed, and when I
14 saw it on television I saw that they were showing my
16 However, when things quieted down some 10 or
17 15 days later, my wife came back to take some personal
18 belongings, what was left of them, what hadn't been
19 burnt, and no one had entered the house. All the
20 technical equipment was still there, the video, the TV
21 set, the camera, it was all there. We managed to take
22 all these things.
23 This drama lasted from 8.00 a.m. until 4.00
24 p.m., and we had managed to put all these things into
25 our business premises downstairs where we assume the
1fire would not reach, and some 10 or 15 days later,
2 when things quieted down, my wife came back. I didn't
3 go back to Ahmici after that, except for once incognito
4 in this six-month interval. From October, 1992 until
5 April, 1993 I only went there once surreptitiously,
6 incognito, and then I didn't come again until a few
7 months ago now that people have started returning to
8 Ahmici and rebuilding their houses.
9 MR. TERRIER: What happened to your house
10 after your departure, after the 20th of October, 1992?
11 You indicated that it had not been searched, it had not
12 been pillaged or plundered. Nonetheless, it was
14 A. Yes. The roof and the attic burnt
15 completely, and the corridor, the children's bedroom
16 and the pantry were gutted, but there was a big
17 living-room and kitchen,. And because it started to
18 rain, this was charred, but the rain had put out the
19 fire, because just before we left it started to rain,
20 to pour, in fact.
21 And I know that after we left the house no
22 one entered the house. Our house was not looted. We
23 found all our technical equipment, because my wife's
24 sister and my wife came back and they took all this. I
25 spent some time in Vrhovina when I went to Stari
1Vitez. I was helped by Dr. Mosinovic, and my
2 family and I were taken there in an ambulance, and then
3 we stayed in Stari Vitez where he was protected,
4 because they asked for my extradition.
5 MR. TERRIER: Mr. Ahmic I would like to show
6 you then two photographs.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document number 60.
8 MR. TERRIER:
9 Q. Mr. Ahmic, your house -- is your house
10 visible in this photograph?
11 A. This is my house. You can see it from
12 this -- the signpost here. There is even a sign here.
13 Q. Now, this commercial sign that is very clear,
14 this yellow sign with the red letters, what does that
16 A. It was put up after the end of the conflict.
17 It says, "Papic Car Waste". He was selling car parts,
18 and now there are old abandoned vehicles there. I
19 spent a few months there, and I can see that they're
20 doing well. Muslims and Croats come to buy here.
21 Because the house is being repaired, I had to clean
22 this and --
23 Q. Then that sign, that commercial
24 advertisement, did not exist at the time of the event
25 in October?
1A. No. No, no, no. It was put up later,
2 because he didn't have this then.
3 Q. What did you do -- where did you go after the
4 20th of October, 1992? What did you do after that time
5 period in 1992?
6 A. After I managed to get out alive, I went to
7 Esad Ahmic's house in the upper part of Ahmici on the
8 20th of October, in the evening. I spent the night
9 there. I was wearing the clothes I had on but I was
10 barefoot. We spent the night there, and in the
11 morning, at about 5.00, half past five, we went in the
12 direction of Vrhovina. Vrhovina is a village above
14 I spent a short time, I don't know exactly
15 how long. I stayed in the house of the mother of a
16 doctor who was my friend. He was a medical
17 practitioner in Vitez. He was highly esteemed, and
18 we -- he found out that his mother was having heart
19 trouble. He went to visit her. And when he came, I
20 told him that I would have to go to Stari Vitez with my
21 family, and the next day he arrived with an ambulance,
22 and my wife, my children, my wife's sister and my
23 mother-in-law got in, and because there was a HVO
24 checkpoint and they had requested my extradition as a
25 criminal who allegedly dug up the Catholic graves in
1the Ahmici graveyard, I was afraid.
2 So they wrapped me up in pillow cases and
3 white sheets, and they put me in the boot. And that's
4 how I passed through the checkpoint and arrived in
5 Stari Vitez. Since I had worked in the Municipality of
6 Stari Vitez, taking care of the refugees from Eastern
7 Bosnia and from Krajina, and I worked in the Civil
8 Defence Department, so I set up contacts, because the
9 first UNHCR office in Bosnia was opened in Vitez in the
10 Bombac (Phoen) building.
11 And then the head, who was a Dane and with
12 whom I had established contact previously and who
13 visited in my house and we had become friends, he later
14 told me that he had cried when he heard my house was on
15 fire. Well, he managed to find me after a month, a
16 month and a half, and he asked me how I was making a
17 living, what I was doing. And I said I was in hiding,
18 that I was living off humanitarian aid, that I was like
19 a refugee.
20 He asked me -- or, rather, he offered me a
21 job in the Logistics Department. He said I could be
22 his driver. I thought he was joking, but he was
23 serious. So the next day I showed up for work and I
24 was his driver.
25 Until December we were in Vitez and he
1insisted that I should go to Zenica, because he had
2 obtained some information since Ivica Santic was the
3 head of the municipality and he was on good terms with
4 him, as I was, and he learned there was a possibility
5 that the HVO could either kill me or blow up the
6 vehicle, so he insisted that I should go to Zenica. So
7 the whole office, in fact, moved to Zenica, and we
8 stayed in Zenica until the 21st of January, 1993.
9 From there we went to Tuzla, where I felt
10 safer, because I wanted to be as far away as possible.
11 I remained in Tuzla until the end of 1994 covering the
12 Tuzla area for the UNHCR.
13 Q. On the 16th of April, 1993 you were in
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And Tuzla is located in the north of
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. How far, approximately, is it located from
21 A. Oh, it was very far then, because you had to
22 go by forest roads through Milankovic because roads
23 were blocked, and it was then I passed along this route
24 for the first time. And this road was about 221
25 kilometres long, and the normal road is about 100
1kilometres or so through Nova Gracica.
2 Then on the 16th of April I was in Tuzla, and
3 in the office I read on the printer, as far as I could
4 read English, that something had happened in Ahmici.
5 And then my boss came and asked me if I had anyone in
6 Ahmici. He said it had been very bad there on the 16th
7 of April, and I said that my -- some of my relatives
8 were there, and my wife. And I asked what was
9 happening, and he told me that he would give me all the
10 information he knew. But then I requested leave to go
11 to Zenica to see whether they were alive. I was given
12 the use of a vehicle, an official vehicle, an Nissan
13 Jeep. It was snowing.
14 I came to Zenica because my wife and children
15 were staying in a flat in Zenica. I asked them whether
16 they knew anything, and they said I knew more than they
17 did. I stayed for two days, and I learned that my
18 brother had gone to Stari Vitez with his family where
19 my sister was, and my mother happened to be visiting my
20 sister in Vitez that day. And the rest of the family,
21 I learned that they were no longer alive simply. And
22 then I came back to Tuzla on the 20th of April, and I
23 returned to my job.
24 Q. Did you meet a certain number of your family
25 members in Zenica?
1A. Yes, the ones who managed to get out. There
2 were two collective centres where they could stay, my
3 closest relatives who had managed to get out. My wife
4 took them food, clothing, any help we could give them.
5 Q. Did your family members tell you what had
6 happened in April in Ahmici?
7 A. Yes, but much later.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Terrier, will you just hold a
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Terrier, although we
11 don't have any rule against the hearsay evidence, I
12 wonder whether we could move on, because we are not --
13 we are going to hear other evidence about what happened
14 on the 16th of April, so I don't need -- I don't think
15 we need to hear the evidence about -- the hearsay
16 evidence from this witness about the 16th of April.
17 MR. TERRIER: Very well, Mr. President.
18 Q. Mr. Ahmic, since 1993, have you ever returned
19 to Ahmici?
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
21 A. Yes, a couple of months ago. Houses are
22 being rebuilt. The first 35 houses are being rebuilt
23 by -- with the help of international aid, and mine is
24 one of them. So I have been there since April this
1Before that I didn't go, only when I went to
2 visit with delegations like Mr. Garnic (Phoen), for
3 instance, because for the first time of office I was
4 president of the Municipal Council in Vitez. After the
5 Washington Agreement was signed between the Bosniaks
6 and Croats, I was president of the Legislative Branch,
7 and Mr. Lacovic Franjo (Phoen) was the president of the
8 other branch.
9 We worked very well, we opened the roads, the
10 communication lines, water and electricity supplies. I
11 am in Ahmici, and my family because our house is being
13 But I have to state in court that the overall
14 situation is good, but still, individual incidents
15 occur, and I think that Goran Papic, for instance, I
16 had problems with him a couple of times. He would
17 intercept my car last year, and we had some unpleasant
18 encounters. On one occasion he tried to hit my son
19 with a car. He jumped into the ditch to save himself,
20 because he didn't know who it was that was trying to
21 hit him with a car.
22 Q. Could you tell us who Goran Papic is?
23 A. Goran Papic is Dragan Papic's brother, the
24 son of Ivo Papic, who is the owner of this automobile
25 scrap yard, so that we are still exposed to
1provocations. Not just me and not just by Goran.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Excuse me, Mr. Prosecutor, do
3 you feel that these events here are pertinent to the
4 facts that concern us in this trial, what is going on
5 right now?
6 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, I do believe
7 that this concerns the Tribunal, which is part of all
8 of the evidence that we're going to be presenting and
9 is of interest to this Tribunal to know what has
10 happened and what is presently the case of the
11 relations between the Croats and Muslim residents of
12 Ahmici. I'm not saying that this is in the very heart
13 of our trial as such, but nonetheless, this is a bit of
14 information which may not be completely useless to this
15 Tribunal, of course. The Tribunal will make use of it
16 as needed.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, very well. We may
18 indeed look at the general climate, the general
19 atmosphere which now prevails in Ahmici, but without
20 mentioning, perhaps, any specific names or any persons,
21 particularly if these persons may be linked to the
23 MR. TERRIER: I do not envisage posing any
24 more questions on this particular aspect of the
1Q. Mr. Ahmic, is Dragan Papic in this room?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Would you please indicate to us in what
4 location he is in this room?
5 A. In the last row. He is the first one, the
6 one with the beard. Do I have to point a finger at
8 Q. It's not necessary. Mr. President, I have
9 one last photograph I would like to submit and show to
10 the witness, which is quite different from the one
11 that's already been presented to the witness. It is
12 simply a photograph of his house.
13 THE REGISTRAR: It's Prosecution Exhibit 61.
14 MR. TERRIER:
15 Q. Mr. Ahmic, could you please indicate your
17 A. It is the same photograph as before, but from
18 a slightly different angle.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ahmic. I request that
20 Exhibits 59, 60 and 61 be tendered as Prosecution
21 exhibits, Mr. President. I have no further questions.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Terrier.
23 I see there is no objection to the various
24 exhibits, and I turn now -- I will turn now to
25 Mr. Pavkovic to ask him whether he can indicate to us
1which Defence counsel are going to cross-examine our
3 MR. PAVKOVIC: The witness, Mr. President --
4 good morning, first of all. The witness will be
5 cross-examined by attorney Petar Puliselic, followed by
6 attorney Ranko Radovic, and myself.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Puliselic.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Puliselic:
9 MR. PULISELIC:
10 Q. Mr. Ahmic, you mentioned that in October,
11 1992, from the direction of Busovaca, Fojnica and other
12 places, HV units were on the move, going in the
13 direction of Novi Travnik, in order to assist HVO
14 forces there who were engaged in conflict with the BiH
15 army in that area, and that that was the reason why a
16 roadblock was put up in Ahmici, to prevent the passage
17 of those units.
18 You said that the HVO had falsely claimed
19 that it wanted to assist its forces in the area of
20 Jajce, where fighting was going on against the Serbs.
21 My question is: How do you know that the HVO
22 did not, in fact, intend to go to Jajce? Were the
23 reports you got verified?
24 A. When you say -- use the word "Listopad" would
25 you please use a word that I understand too, October.
1Secondly, it was not the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it
2 was the Territorial Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And
3 thirdly, I had firsthand information. I checked them,
4 I said that I was a member of the highest level
6 Q. Can you please tell us whether at the time
7 there was fighting in Jajce between the forces of
8 Republika Srpska and the HVO?
9 A. In the area of Jajce, Republika Srpska did
10 not exist, so it was the aggression of the Serb forces
11 and the defence forces of Jajce which meant the
12 Bosniaks and the Croats were together at the time.
13 Q. Can you tell us who won in those battles,
14 what happened with Jajce?
15 A. I would like to ask not to be asked such
16 questions, because I haven't come here because of
18 Q. But this is linked to my next questions.
19 A. Jajce fell. The defence forces did not
20 succeed in defending it. I'm answering the question.
21 The defence forces did not manage to defend it and
22 Jajce fell.
23 Q. Can you tell me if one goes from Busovaca
24 towards Jajce, does one have to pass through Travnik?
25 A. From Busovaca to Jajce if you're going by
1road, I know you pass through Ahmici, Vitez, Travnik
2 and across Mount Vlasic.
3 Q. So you have to pass through Travnik to get to
4 Jajce. Is there any other road, and if there is
5 another road, will you tell us which is the shortest
6 route to Jajce from Busovaca?
7 A. I don't know.
8 Q. Thank you. You said that on the 20th of
9 October, 1992, you were in your home in Ahmici,
10 together with your family, when the HVO attack started
11 in the early morning and continued on into the
13 In the statement that you gave to the
14 investigator of the International Tribunal, you said
15 that your house was targeted from the direction of
16 Hrasno with anti-aircraft guns and also from the wood
17 south of Papic's house. You also said that at the time
18 you saw Dragan Papic shooting an automatic rifle from
19 the window of his house?
20 A. In the morning.
21 Q. Now you claim that the fire started from
22 Dragan Papic's house with an automatic rifle?
23 A. That's what I said the first time too.
24 Q. You now claim something that you didn't
25 mention at all last time, and that is that Dragan Papic
1was using a PAT?
2 A. No, a PUM. There's a difference, a PAT being
3 an anti-aircraft gun and PUM being an anti-aircraft
4 machine gun.
5 Q. You didn't mentioned that in your previous
6 statement. Also you said that around the anti-aircraft
7 machine gun there were other people, other neighbours
8 of yours who were Croats. This is something you also
9 failed to mention in your previous statement. Could
10 you tell us with precision where this PUM,
11 anti-aircraft machine gun, was positioned?
12 A. In the wood behind Ivo Papic's house. I've
13 already shown you that on the photograph.
14 Q. In your testimony today, you said that Dragan
15 Papic used an automatic rifle to shoot with, and then
16 after that you said that you think it was Dragan
17 Papic. Are you quite sure who was shooting?
18 A. Maybe I made a slip of the tongue.
19 Q. But that has entered the transcript. Can you
20 tell us who it was that opened the shutters on your
22 A. On one window, it was my wife, on the other,
24 Q. Was it simultaneously?
25 A. I can't tell you exactly.
1Q. Who was the first to open the shutters when
2 the fire was open?
3 A. I was the first one to open the shutters.
4 Q. You mentioned something else today for the
5 first time. For instance, you said that on the window
6 of the house of Dragan Papic, there were sandbags?
7 A. Halfway up the window.
8 Q. How high up is that?
9 A. There are various sizes of windows. I didn't
10 measure the window, but it went halfway up the window.
11 Q. Very well. How, then, could you see that
12 Dragan Papic was wearing a black uniform if the
13 sandbags went halfway up the window?
14 A. Dragan Papic was wearing a black uniform for
15 three or four months before that.
16 Q. But you said that you saw him then wearing a
17 black uniform?
18 A. I saw him wearing a black cap.
19 Q. What kind of a cap was it?
20 A. It was a black cap with a rim.
21 Q. But you said you saw him wearing a black
23 A. But I saw him this way, this far up, his
25 Q. Now you said for the first time that after
1the round of fire from the automatic rifle that fire
2 started from other weapons. I've already mentioned
3 that, that is, the discrepancy between what you said
4 today and your previous statement.
5 A. I'd like to see that statement. I don't know
6 which one you're referring to.
7 Q. It is the statement you gave to the
8 investigator of the International Tribunal, when was
9 it, let me see, on the 17th of November, '97 and the
10 9th of December, 1997.
11 A. Could you please read it back to me?
12 Q. Will you please tell us whether this is your
13 signature? Could the usher show a copy of the
14 statement to the witness?
15 THE REGISTRAR: Defence Exhibit 1/5.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Probably that particular
17 document carries the comments, personal comments, of
18 one of the Defence counsel. I wonder whether we could
19 take it as an exhibit. I'm asking the Defence counsel
20 who provided it to Mr. Puliselic, the copy, whether
21 he's prepared to provide us with that copy so that it
22 can be regarded as an exhibit? Did you write anything
23 on that document?
24 Mr. Krajina?
25 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, we gave my
1learned colleague a copy of this statement from our
2 files, and we don't mind that it should be admitted
3 into evidence.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Thank you.
5 THE WITNESS: I apologise. May I answer the
6 question put to me by Mr. Puliselic? This statement is
7 in English.
8 MR. PULISELIC:
9 Q. I can show it to you in Croatian.
10 A. Can I have it in Bosnian, please, so that I
11 can see the discrepancy?
12 MR. PULISELIC: I didn't have an English copy
13 so I borrowed it from my colleague Krajina.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Defence Exhibit D1/5A.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Puliselic, could you
16 please indicate to the witness the page and the lines
17 where there's a discrepancy in his statement, the
18 particular place where, in your view, there's a
19 discrepancy between what he said here in court and what
20 he declared to the Prosecutor's investigators in '97?
21 MR. PULISELIC: Mr. President, the witness
22 has both documents now. I don't have anything on me.
23 THE WITNESS: I'm sorry. I have the Bosnian
24 text, but may I quote it? "On the morning, artillery
25 fire was opened with an anti-artillery gun from the
1direction of Hrasno which is two or three kilometres
2 away. At that time, I saw Dragan Papic, the son of Ivo
3 Papic, shooting from an automatic rifle from the window
4 of his house."
5 Q. I'm sorry. I was just saying that in that
6 statement you didn't mention the fact that Dragan Papic
7 started shooting and that after him came the fire from
8 other weapons?
9 A. That is not what you said, but I don't want
10 to argue with you. You just said that there was a
11 discrepancy. I said what I said, and please let it be
12 entered in the transcript.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Puliselic, could we move
14 on to your further question because now this point has
15 been clarified.
16 MR. PULISELIC: Yes.
17 Q. Mr. Ahmic, you claim that you saw Papic in
18 the wood, as well as other neighbours of yours, Croats,
19 and that you saw Papic using the anti-aircraft machine
20 gun. Can you explain how come Dragan Papic can manage
21 all that, first to fire from the window, then
22 simultaneously comes the fire from the wood, and then
23 later you see him in the wood? Could you tell us what
24 is the distance between your house and the wood?
25 A. I didn't say that this happened at the same
1time. I made it clear that this period was from 7.30
2 in the morning until late afternoon. The exact time
3 when he shot at me and my son from the anti-aircraft
4 machine gun was about 4.00 in the afternoon when I
5 tried to manage to save myself and my son. As I was
6 crawling, I saw him, his partners, his house, and his
7 weapon, because the ground on my side is a little
8 higher than where his house is. So one person cannot
9 be in two places at once.
10 Let me make myself clear. I said that this
11 first act happened at eight in the morning and the
12 second at four in the afternoon. The distance between
13 my house and Dragan Papic's house is 60 to 80 metres,
14 that is, we are separated by the main road. And the
15 wood is about 150 metres from my house, and from
16 Dragan's house, 80 to 90 metres. Of course, this is an
17 approximation. I may be 10, 20 metres wrong.
18 Q. Mr. Ahmic, you only just said this time that
19 it was in the afternoon at 4.00?
20 A. No, no, I made it quite clear that this was a
21 period from the morning until the afternoon.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Puliselic, I think the
23 witness is right. However, if you don't mind, I would
24 like him to clarify a point. I know he said that in
25 the afternoon at around 4.00, he saw Dragan Papic
1shooting at him when he was carrying his son in his
2 arm. I wonder whether you could say whether this is
3 exactly what you intended to say, namely, that you saw
4 him shooting at you, because previously I think you
5 said that there was some shooting from a particular
6 area near Mr. Papic's house. At 4.00, did you see
7 Mr. Papic shooting at you?
8 A. Not just Mr. Papic, but all of them, they
9 were all shooting at me, and he was shooting from the
10 machine gun. I said that the shells made holes in the
11 grass that were this size, so that the calibre was
12 quite considerable. I went zig-zag, and I had some
13 crazy luck. God protected me and I survived.
14 MR. PULISELIC:
15 Q. Mr. Ahmic, you were escaping from the back
16 side of your house?
17 A. No.
18 Q. In what direction were you moving when you
19 left your house? In what direction?
20 A. Could I have the photograph, please, the
21 photograph of my house?
22 JUDGE CASSESE: It would be 60 or 61. Which
23 one would you like to see?
24 THE WITNESS: I don't mind, either. This one
25 will do fine.
1A. So you see, I wasn't moving behind the
2 house. My entrance is on this side. The entrance to
3 my house is this side. This is the front facade, so
4 from a door which was on the right-hand side, and my
5 own car was parked there, so I crawled behind it, below
6 the fence, across this meadow to my uncle's house
7 here. And that is when they started firing from the
8 wood. Then from there, I crossed another road going to
9 Ahmici, to the house of Pezer Omer, and then further up
10 to the mosque.
11 MR. PULISELIC:
12 Q. Can you see from there who is shooting from
13 the wood and who is manning the anti-aircraft machine
15 A. Of course you can. It's about 100 metres
17 Q. But it's in the wood?
18 A. No. It is at the beginning of the wood. It
19 wasn't among the trees. It was just at the beginning
20 of the wood behind the house. That's quite clear.
21 Q. Mr. Ahmic, can you tell us whether, previous
22 to this event on the 20th of October, there was a
23 roadblock in front of your house?
24 A. On the 19th of October.
25 Q. On the 19th of October? I was asking before
1that, a month before that or something like that,
2 earlier on, were there any barricades near your house?
3 A. Near my house, no. In front of my house, no,
4 possibly near the cemetery or near Pican's cafe. There
5 were many checkpoints in those days, unfortunately.
6 Q. Do you recall one occasion when you attended
7 a birthday party of a little girl, Rafael Milicevic's
8 daughter, and that you used your camera to film the
10 A. Yes, in the same way that I filmed the
11 wedding of Mr. Dragan Papic.
12 Q. I should like to tell you that we have been
13 told that the day after that event, this barricade was
14 put up near your house?
15 A. Can you tell me the date?
16 Q. This was on the 30th of September, 1992, the
17 birthday party, so the next day on the 1st of October?
18 A. Not in front of my house but a little lower
20 Q. So a little lower down from your house. Do
21 you know Marijan Jukic?
22 A. I know two Marijan Jukics. I don't know
23 which one you have in mind.
24 Q. I'm thinking of the one working in the
2 Q. This Marijan Jukic, when this roadblock was
3 put up a little way from your house, did he come to see
4 you and ask you to remove the barricade?
5 A. I think that he did come and some other
6 people, but I wasn't alone. There was Leyman (phoen)
7 Ahmic, so I can't remember whether he personally asked
9 Q. He did.
10 A. It is possible. I know him well.
11 Q. Did you remove the barricade? Was it removed
12 after he came?
13 A. I don't think it is linked to this event.
14 Not when he came, but after that, the roadblock was
15 removed, before night-time anyway. Let's put it that
17 Q. Did you have a military uniform?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you own any weapons?
20 A. No. I had official weapons, but not at my
22 Q. Where did you have it?
23 A. In the party, in Vitez.
24 Q. Did you ever bring these weapons home?
25 A. No, no, because of the children. They were
2 Q. The Defence has information that you fired
3 shots from your house?
4 A. No. Did anyone see me shoot?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. At whom?
7 Q. Did you shoot at Goran Papic when he was
8 still a small boy?
9 A. No, never. These are insinuations. I said I
10 never carried weapons.
11 Q. Due to the event I have mentioned and you are
12 denying, did Papic, on one occasion in Vitez, talk to
13 you about this?
14 A. Which Papic?
15 Q. Dragan. When he met you on one occasion, did
16 he complain about this?
17 A. No, I never met Dragan Papic and we never
18 talked about this.
19 Q. You said that you were employed by the UNHCR?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can you tell us what you did there?
22 A. I was the driver of Mr. Anders Levison, a
23 Dane. I was his personal driver.
24 Q. How long did you work in UNHCR?
25 A. Until 1994.
1Q. Why did you leave?
2 A. I left because I had to feed my family and
3 for reasons of safety.
4 Q. No. I mean, why did you leave the UNHCR?
5 A. Why did I leave it?
6 Q. Yes. What was the reason?
7 A. Because a new boss arrived, my old boss
8 left. I came back to Zenica to work in the UNHCR
9 office there. I didn't get on well with the boss there
10 who was Spanish.
11 Q. Can you tell us whether you were ever
13 A. Not for a crime but for misdemeanours.
14 Q. No. I'm referring to criminal offences, ten,
15 fifteen years ago?
16 A. No, no, I wasn't. There was a trial where I
17 was on probation, but I was never sentenced.
18 Q. Did you at one time belong to an organisation
19 called the Young Muslims?
20 A. No.
21 MR. PULISELIC: Thank you. I have no further
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I suggest we now
24 take a break before moving on to counsel Radovic and
25 Pavkovic. I would like to thank the accused for
1accepting to have a short break. I understand you
2 agreed that we should only have a 15-minute break so
3 that we may try to finish the cross-examination, the
4 re-examination, if any, of the present witness.
5 We will have a short recess of only 15
7 --- Recess taken at 10.54 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.12 p.m.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Radovic.
10 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. Pavkovic.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Oh, first Mr. Pavkovic, yes.
12 MR. RADOVIC: Today I will be the last to
13 question the witness.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Pavkovic then.
15 Cross-examined by Mr. Pavkovic.
16 MR. PAVKOVIC:
17 Q. Your Honours. Good day, Mr. Ahmic, I'm
18 attorney Petar Pavkovic.
19 First of all, let us understand one another.
20 I am using the language I usually use. As you can see,
21 we have interpreters here. I hope that we will
22 understand each other.
23 A. I hope so too, but if you are mentioning the
24 names of months, I don't know the Croatian names of
1Q. Thank you. I will have consideration on this
3 Mr. Ahmic, according to the material at the
4 disposal of the Defence counsel, we can see that as
5 regards the events you are testifying to today, you are
6 speaking about them for the first time after five years
7 to the Prosecution investigators. Can you tell me how
8 it came about that you are here as a witness to these
10 A. It is not true that I am talking about this
11 for the first time. I made the statement to our ORGS.
12 Q. I am talking about the information the
13 Defence counsel have at their disposal, not the
14 information you have at your disposal.
15 A. I made a statement, as soon as I left Ahmici,
16 to our bodies, to our security bodies, and it is not
17 the first time I'm speaking about it.
18 Q. When I draw your attention to this point, I
19 have to clarify. I'm doing this because my questions
20 will partly rely on the statements you have made today,
21 and partly on what you said in the statement presented
22 to attorney Puliselic, which you have before you, I
24 Mr. Ahmic, you were one of the founders of
25 the Party of Democratic Action. You held a high
1position in that party, you were deputy president at
2 one time, you said you were president, and evidently,
3 you had access to information about political relations
4 in the area of Vitez, especially Ahmici. I would like
5 to know what your views were and are on the
6 inter-ethnic relations, the relations between the
7 Croats and the Bosniaks, the development of these
8 relations, but briefly, from the first conflict which
9 took place on the 20th of October, 1992.
10 You talked about your relations with
11 Mr. Papic and the other Croats in the village, but how
12 do you view the overall relations, in brief?
13 A. The part of Central Bosnia in which I live,
14 the Vitez municipality of the Ahmici village, the
15 relations between these two nations and the third
16 nation, the Serbs, and the 2.000 majority population
17 were exceptionally well, good, and in the period that
18 we are talking about, there were no special ethnic
20 As I learned from my father, the relations in
21 the previous war were quite good. There is a bright
22 example where Jur Savidovic saved my father in
23 that war, because an army came by and he hid him in his
24 barn. And he said, "If you think there's someone in my
25 barn, you can set fire to me and the barn". So he
1saved my father's life, and they were on very good
3 Relations after the multi-party elections and
4 after the establishment of, let us call them
5 conditionally, the national parties, were very good. I
6 believe, you know, that we had a coalition before the
7 first multi-party elections, until Boban, Mr. Mate
8 Boban, became the head of the Croatian side, while
9 Mr. Kilica was the head and or Mr. Perinkovic,
10 or whatever his name was, I forget, before
11 that we cooperated extremely well.
12 We established the joint government bodies.
13 We agreed on the distribution of positions, some posts
14 were reserved for Croats, others for Muslims. The
15 police commander, for example, was a Bosniak. So the
16 cooperation, both at the Federal -- at the State level
17 and at the local level were very good. I will not
18 elaborate, but this was how it was, until the HDZ
19 changed its policy.
20 Q. Mr. Ahmic, could we limit ourselves to the
21 period up to the 20th? Mr. Boban became the head of
22 the HDZ after October, 1992. Is there anything else
23 you can say about these relations?
24 A. I don't know whether you're referring to
1Q. Well, the overall relations, the political
2 and the inter-ethnic relations?
3 A. Well, up to June or July, 1992, relations
4 were quite good, because you know, that we offered
5 joint resistance in Noposivina, Western Bosnia,
6 Brcko, Eastern Bosnia and so on, Herzegovina. There
7 was joint resistance.
8 Q. So you waged the war together?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I will not press this point any further. Let
11 us be more specific now and go back to the event of the
12 20th of October, 1992. You stated that on that day or
13 the day before, you had received an order from the
14 Territorial Defence staff in Vitez that you should set
15 up a roadblock in Ahmici on the Busovaca/Vitez road.
16 Can you tell me who issued this order?
17 A. Well, I didn't receive an order, because I
18 was not a soldier. It was an instruction, which was a
19 political instruction, and it was the army that issued
20 orders to members of the army. I was above them.
21 Q. So who received information that roadblocks
22 should be set up?
23 A. It was the leader of the army in Ahmici.
24 Q. What was his name?
25 A. I don't know.
1Q. Who did you find this out about from?
2 A. I found out from the wartime presidency.
3 Q. Who, if you know, organised the men manning
4 the roadblock?
5 A. I think it was the Territorial Defence
6 headquarters staff.
7 Q. Did you serve in the army?
8 A. Yes, the former JNA.
9 Q. Do you know, as we were told in the army,
10 that a barricade is not a barricade if it is not
11 defended? How did you expect this barricade to be
12 defended if you say you were unarmed?
13 A. The way you ask this question -- I was not
14 taught that in the army. I was a cook in the JNA, and
15 they didn't teach me how to set up roadblocks. But you
16 cannot compare the JNA with the army that we had, the
17 jointly and then the --
18 Q. I didn't ask you that. You said that there
19 were no weapons there.
20 A. I said there were very few weapons. That's
21 what I said.
22 Q. Can you tell me, furthermore, who was at the
23 head of this group of armed villagers, as you call it,
24 that organised the setting up of this roadblock?
25 A. I think that Muris Ahmic, my cousin, was the
2 Q. Thank you. Let us proceed. Can you tell me,
3 Mr. Ahmic, I am going back to that morning of October,
4 the early morning, you said that shots had been aimed
5 at your house, that after that your house was set on
6 fire and that other Muslim Bosniak houses were not
7 damaged at that time; is that correct?
8 A. I didn't say they were not damaged. Shots
9 were aimed at the other Muslim houses as well, but I
10 said they were not torched, except for my house and a
11 part of the house of Hajrudin Pjanic I think was
12 torched. And I said that some stables or cow sheds had
13 been burnt, and some hay-stacks, because I saw that
14 from my house. This was around my house.
15 Q. On that morning, you said that you hid behind
16 the stairs with your family?
17 A. The entrance, the stairway at the entrance.
18 Q. Did this face toward the area from where you
19 say the shots came?
20 A. No, it was sideways.
21 Q. Did you have a view of the place from which
22 shots were coming?
23 A. Through the door.
24 Q. You kept the door open?
25 A. No.
1Q. How could you then notice where the shots
2 were coming from?
3 A. No, I couldn't see through that door, I could
4 only see it from upstairs.
5 Q. But you said that you went downstairs
6 immediately after the shots started.
7 A. I just left my children there, and then I
8 went back upstairs because my telephone was there and
9 we wanted to take our technical equipment and put it
10 away in a safer place.
11 Q. One more question, Mr. Ahmic. You said that
12 you are no longer a member of the SDA?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Why did you leave the SDA?
15 A. That's my personal decision. I went to -- I
16 joined another party, which I find more acceptable now,
17 and this is the party for Bosnia-Herzegovina led by
18 Mr. Haris Silajdzic.
19 Q. But you say that the new party has the same
20 political platform as the SDA, that it is advocating an
21 independent and democratic Bosnia-Herzegovina?
22 A. Yes, the same idea.
23 Q. But now you've said something different.
24 A. What did I say that's different?
25 Q. You should know.
1A. Can you explain what you mean? I joined the
2 party called The Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is
3 a democratic multi-national, multi-ethnic party,
4 fighting for an independent, free democratic
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The SDA has the same idea, the
6 same principles, but the methods are different.
7 Q. That's your interpretation, but let the
8 matter rest there.
9 Can you tell me -- let us go back to this
10 roadblock. You received information that the roadblock
11 should be set up on the road near your house. Then you
12 said that you sought out certain people, and that you
13 asked them that this roadblock should be moved toward
14 the road. Who did you contact?
15 A. I contacted the president of the command of
16 the Territorial Defence.
17 Q. Why did you do this as a civilian rather than
18 a military person?
19 A. Because it was my house and the house of Ivo
20 Papic that were in question. I didn't want the
21 roadblock to be set up between the two houses.
22 Q. You also said that the aim of the setting up
23 of the roadblock was to prevent the forces of the HVO,
24 to prevent them from proceeding toward, as you say,
25 Novi Travnik or Jajce. You prevented them, if I
1understood you correctly?
2 A. I didn't say they were forces of the Croatian
3 army. You said the HVO, which is correct.
4 And secondly, yes, they were prevented -- or
5 rather, they were not prevented but they were delayed
6 because if they had been prevented, my house wouldn't
7 have been burnt down and the village wouldn't have been
8 evacuated and so on. About 20 or so hours elapsed, and
9 at this time they were prevented from moving in that
11 Q. This would correspond with what you said
12 previously, that they managed to break through your
14 A. Well, no, not the defence but the checkpoint
15 which prevented the passage of civilians, goods and the
17 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, may I go back
18 to the material which attorney Petar Puliselic has
19 attended to show the witness that they broke through
20 their defence?
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
22 MR. PAVKOVIC:
23 Q. This is material which the witness has in
24 front of him. Will you please look at page 2. Page 2,
25 toward the bottom of the page.
1A. Yes, we set up a roadblock. There were only
2 20 of us. The HVO managed to break through the
3 defence. Well, it wasn't a defence. Perhaps that's
4 the word used here. The HVO managed to break our
5 defence and move towards Novi Travnik. Well, if
6 someone sets up a checkpoint they have to defend
7 themselves at that checkpoint.
8 Q. Well, you said you had been a cook?
9 A. Well, some things are evident even to a cook,
10 if they're logical.
11 Q. Mr. Ahmic, I would like to ask you to
12 clarify, once again, how it is possible that you
13 carried a four-year-old child under your arm, crawling,
14 hiding from fire and at the same time you were able to
15 observe so carefully as to notice even the kind of
16 clothing worn by people a hundred metres away from you
17 at the beginning of a wood. I believe that while
18 retreating, you were hiding behind certain obstacles
19 which would provide protection from the firing. If
20 that is so, how were you able to see what you say you
22 A. What you have just said, that you can
23 observe, crawl and save your child all at the same time
24 is correct. I ask you, if you had been in the same
25 situation as me, would you have done all this too?
1In the period from 8.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m.
2 to be precise is a period of eight hours, and within
3 this period I was both upstairs in my house from which
4 I had a very good view of the surroundings, and I was
5 able to see all these people several times.
6 And when I left my house my car, an Opal
7 Record, was parked, and when I open the door the first
8 time there was a burst of fire. When I opened my door
9 the second time there was no firing, so I was able to
10 go out. I hid behind my car for a while, and
11 observing. And then when I went out into the open, I
12 crawled zigzag. There were no obstacles.
13 Q. Thank you. Your Honour, my last question to
14 the witness: You explained, Mr. Ahmic, the following:
15 That the firing was aimed at you, but that your wife,
16 your daughter, your mother-in-law were not shot at, if
17 I understood you correctly. In other words, the aim of
18 this alleged attack was not to shoot at other
19 civilians, but only you personally?
20 A. Yes. I stated and I still maintain that the
21 women civilians were not shot at, and that is the
22 absolute truth. It's not the alleged truth. They shot
23 only at me and my son.
24 Q. Well, I say "allegedly" because you say it.
25 Thank you very much.
1JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Radovic?
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Radovic:
3 Q. I shall be very direct. If you personally
4 were the target of the people shooting at you, why did
5 you take a four-year-old child, instead of letting your
6 wife take care of the child, as she was not exposed to
8 A. I ask you whether your wife or your
9 mother-in-law or your wife's sister would be capable of
10 taking care of a small child who was terrified and
11 shivering from fright, because they had experienced all
12 the fire and the shots that had hit the house before
14 Q. That is not the answer to my question,
15 because I'm sure your child would have felt just as
16 safe with his mother as he did with you. My question
17 is: Why didn't the mother take the child when the
18 mother was not exposed to fire, but it was you who took
19 the child and you were a target?
20 A. Probably under present-day circumstances, I
21 would have probably given him to his mother, but in
22 those circumstances, I never thought about it. I was
23 six years married, and she had six miscarriages, after
24 a pregnancy of four or five months. I never thought
25 about it. I took the boy with me.
1Q. When you were interviewed by the investigator
2 of the Prosecution, you didn't describe in the same way
3 the fire of the anti-aircraft machine gun, but you
4 said, literally, the HVO was using anti-aircraft
5 machine guns from the direction of the wood that was
6 behind the house of Ivo Papic, the father of Dragan; is
7 that correct? Is that what you said?
8 A. Could you show me where it says that? Do you
9 have the Croatian translation?
10 Q. Yes, the Bosnian one. It's all the same.
11 Let's not insist. As much as you love your Croatian
12 language, I love mine, but let's not argue about that.
13 That is least important. So if you have the
14 translation, it would be on the third page, if we have
15 the same translation, the tenth line from the bottom.
16 A. Yes, that is what it says in the statement.
17 I have now made it even clearer.
18 Q. Is it true that that is what you told the
20 A. Yes, if it says so in the statement, but
21 today I have clarified it.
22 Q. I see. You have clarified it. How come
23 you're able to clarify a statement when more time has
24 elapsed since the event than at the time you were
25 giving that statement?
1A. If Mr. Dragan Papic is not a member of the
2 HVO, then he is not. If Pero Papic is not, if he is
3 not a member of the HVO at the time, then he didn't
4 fire, and here I'm talking about a group of people.
5 Dragan was shooting with the anti-aircraft machine gun,
6 and the others were using infantry weapons, and I think
7 I was quite specific.
8 Q. Could you describe that anti-aircraft machine
9 gun that was being used by Dragan Papic? Could you
10 describe it?
11 A. It's three-barrelled. It has a seat. I saw
12 it the night before and a couple of days before that.
13 At one point, it was mounted on a Tam lorry, and at
14 this time it was on a stand, but I know it is a PUM, an
15 anti-aircraft machine gun.
16 Q. I still haven't quite understood your
17 description. Where is the ammunition on this gun, on
18 this machine gun?
19 A. On the top in a magazine. That's what it's
21 Q. With three-barrelled guns it's in a magazine?
22 A. It is where the trigger is. I've told you.
23 I didn't go close up to it to examine it. I could see
24 it from a distance.
25 Q. But the ammunition, is it in a kind of round
1case for this kind of weapon?
2 A. I don't know.
3 Q. But I am telling you --
4 A. I couldn't go up to it to see it properly,
5 but I saw it from a certain distance, from my house.
6 Q. How far is it from your house to Papic
7 Dragan's house?
8 A. I said about 60 to 80 metres, and from the
9 wood to my house, 100 to 150 metres.
14 A. No, but I think "refugee" is the wrong word.
15 He's an exile. He has been exiled.
16 Q. Yes, but he just came to visit his family, so
17 what term should be used? This witness, who was a
18 protected witness, claims that the weapon was a
19 different weapon --
20 JUDGE CASSESE: You should have not mentioned
21 his name. We will have a redaction. I will ask the
22 registrar if she could prefer the relevant form to be
23 filled in. Please refrain from mentioning any names of
24 protected witnesses. Please go on.
25 MR. RADOVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I
1realised my mistake when I had made it already.
2 Q. There is a description of a different weapon
3 in connection with Dragan Papic.
4 A. Could you please spare me the distortions. I
5 don't know what this gentleman said, and I don't know
6 what knowledge he has of weapons. I gave a concise
8 Q. But he was not a cook. He was a person
9 dealing in weapons.
10 A. Don't insist on this.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: He has already said what his
12 position is. I mean, there's no point in continuing
13 with this matter. Could you move on to your next
14 question, please? You have made your point, namely,
15 the inconsistency between two witnesses, according to
16 you, what you consider an inconsistency between two
17 witnesses. Now we can move on. Thank you.
18 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I agree with
19 you, even though this question was meant to test the
20 credibility of the witness.
21 Q. Will you tell me, please, what significance
22 the black uniform has for you?
23 A. I didn't hear you very well.
24 Q. What is the purpose of mentioning a black
25 uniform or, rather, what does the fact that somebody
1wears a black uniform mean to you?
2 A. The black uniform was the uniform worn by
3 people who belonged to the Black Shirt movement. As
4 far as I know from the previous war, these were members
5 of the Ustasha movement who committed crimes. I'm old
6 enough to have studied this in history, at least the
7 history I was taught in those days, and that uniform
8 was worn by members of the Ustasha movement, a fascist
9 movement, during the independent state of Croatia.
10 The uniform worn by Dragan Papic had on one
11 side the HVO and on the other the letter "U," and on
12 his cap, he had the letter "U" which means Ustasha.
13 And the associations were very bad for us, not just for
14 me, but for everyone.
15 Q. So that according to what you said, all
16 members of the Ustasha army wore a black uniform? Did
17 I understand you correctly?
18 A. You're asking me as if I was at a history
19 lesson. The independent state of Croatia, I think, had
20 a regular army known as the Home Guards, and these were
21 special units, as far as I studied history, but I don't
22 think this is a history lesson.
23 Q. My question is whether all the Ustashas wore
24 a black uniform?
25 A. They may have not all worn black uniforms,
1but they were fascists, proclaimed as fascists by the
2 International Community.
3 Q. I'm asking you this because black uniforms
4 were worn only by members of the Black Legion, but
5 let's not go into the details.
6 A. We used to referred to them as "black shirt
7 wearers." I'm telling you what the association is in
8 Central Bosnia among the Muslim people.
9 Q. Tell me now, your father Adem, during World
10 War II, was he a member of any army?
11 A. I think he was a member, because at the time
12 it was the independent state of Croatia, he was a
13 member of the Home Guards. He was captured by the
14 Germans, at least that is what he told me. He was held
15 in captivity in Germany for a certain period of time, I
16 can't remember now, because my father died quite a long
17 time ago.
18 Then he escaped from there and returned to
19 the former Yugoslavia, to Bosnia, and after that I know
20 that he told me that he was with Ivo Kupreskic as a
21 member of the reserve force after 1945, and that is
22 Zoran and Mirjan's uncle and he was serving in Nis. I
23 don't know why you're asking me things about my
24 father. He was not a member of any Muslim army. I
25 know that.
1Q. My question was to see if he was a member of
2 any SS division?
3 A. Not as far as I know.
4 Q. You said that you were never convicted, but
5 you said that you were given a sentence on parole, a
6 suspended sentence. Will you tell us what you were
7 found guilty of?
8 A. When I said that, I'm not ashamed of it. I
9 don't want to hide it. Each individual has his own
10 history file. I was working in a cafe, the infamous
11 Bungalow in 1974/1975. I was a waiter. I think it was
12 in 1975, there was a fight or, rather, a drunken guest
13 came. He tried to attack me, and my owner, the
14 proprietor, his name was Jovo, he drew a knife at me.
15 We threw out this drunken guest. My boss at the time
16 was apparently working in the state security. I didn't
17 even know that. He tied him up. He took him to the
18 police station in Vitez. After that, I was summoned to
19 court as an accomplice.
20 Q. For bodily injury?
21 A. No, for participation in the fight. So I was
22 given a suspended sentence.
23 Q. I just wanted to know what kind of an offence
24 it was. Indeed, it was nothing special.
25 A. I was never convicted of any other offences,
1except traffic offences.
2 Q. When this shooting occurred on the 20th of
3 October, do you know whether Drago Josipovic's stable
4 was burned as well?
5 A. I don't know because he lives in another part
6 of the village. I don't know. I never heard anything
7 about it. It's possible. I have no personal
9 Q. That's fine. I'm not asking you to say
10 anything you don't know. Do you know anything about
11 the village of Tolovici?
12 A. Yes, I do know where it is. I don't know
13 what you want to know about it.
14 Q. What was the majority population?
15 A. According to the '91 census, I think that
16 two-thirds were Serbs and one-third Bosniaks, roughly.
17 I'm not quite sure, but something like that.
18 Q. What happened to the Serbs in that village?
19 A. The Serbs from that village left with the
20 assistance of the Vitez HVO. They were dislocated or,
21 rather, moved to the present-day territory of Republika
22 Srpska, and they gave up their homes and things in
23 order to be moved from there.
24 On one occasion, I visited Tolovici, together
25 with Pero Skopljak and Mr. Novica Mijatovic who was the
1president of the SDS at the time, and we tried to calm
2 down the people, to persuade them not to move out. I
3 mentioned the three of us because we were the political
4 leaders of the political parties at the time. We tried
5 to prevent it.
6 Afterwards, they didn't go collectively, but
7 they moved out one by one, but there are some people
8 from Tolovici still living in Vitez, but they didn't
9 remain in the party under the control of the Bosnian
10 authorities, the army, but under the party, under the
11 control of the Croatian authorities.
12 Q. Why did the Serbs move out of Tolovici?
13 A. I don't know the motive, but I know as a
14 minority people, they were probably afraid of some kind
15 of retaliation, because Kupres fell at the time, you
16 know what happened at Kupres, what happened at Ravno,
17 and so on and so forth.
18 Q. In your statement to the investigator of the
19 Tribunal, you said that Pero Skopljak was the head of
20 police, the chief of police?
21 A. The chief, yes.
22 Q. Do you know until when?
23 A. I know that he was until the beginning of the
25 Q. What date do you have in mind, the 20th of
1October or the 16th of April?
2 A. I know that he was chief of police on the
3 20th of October. No, on the 16th of April, he wasn't
4 for sure, because it was Mirko Samija, my school
5 friend, personal friend, who unfortunately got killed,
6 a judge from Travnik.
7 So Mirko Samija was the chief of police on
8 the 16th of April because the HVO took away my Golf,
9 and through my friends in Kiseljak, I tried to restore
10 it. But unfortunately, the conflict occurred on the
11 16th, but I don't know until when he was chief of
12 police. I know that from the moment the coalition
13 government was formed between the HDZ and the SDA, Pero
14 Skopljak was head of the police and Saban Mahmutovic
15 was a police unit leader.
16 Q. My question was the date.
17 A. I don't know the date.
18 Q. Do you know Sakib Ahmic whose family got
19 killed in central Ahmici?
20 A. I know three Sakib Ahmics.
21 Q. But everyone knows Sakib Ahmic whose son was
22 killed, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren?
23 A. My uncle Sakib Ahmic, his son and his wife
24 were killed.
25 Q. Yes, but I'm interested in Sakib Ahmic.
1A. Son of Dervis or son of Mehmed?
2 Q. Son of Dervis.
3 A. I do know him.
4 Q. On the 16th of April, as far as I understand,
5 you were in Tuzla. Did you have occasion to watch TV
6 programmes in Tuzla?
7 A. I did, but I didn't watch.
8 Q. You didn't watch it at all?
9 A. No, I worked until very late, until 10.00,
10 11.00, sometimes 12.00, because eastern Bosnia was
11 falling. The UNHCR had to go to Brcko, Banovici,
12 Teocak, and so on and so forth. I apologise. Let me
13 just say that I heard about Ahmici on the UNHCR telex,
14 on the printer that the UNHCR had.
15 Q. Did you hear from anyone that people were
16 shown on television who had managed to escape from
17 Ahmici and who ended up in the hospital in Zenica?
18 A. No, I heard that later when I reached
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel be asked to
21 slow down?
22 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you. No more questions.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Terrier, any
24 further examination?
25 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, a few
1clarifications. The first one deals with the sentence
2 that Mr. Ahmic had. I think there was some
3 clarification that is necessary with regard to the
5 Re-examined by Mr. Terrier:
6 Q. It was stated in the transcript, "Were you
7 ever sentenced?" Response, "Not for a crime but for
8 misdemeanours." Perhaps a clarification should be made
9 with a response from Mr. Ahmic.
10 Mr. Ahmic, you were only convicted once; is
11 that correct?
12 A. Yes, yes. There was just this one fight,
13 shall we call it. That is what the court defined it
14 as, so participation in a fight. This was only once,
15 and I got a suspended sentence as a participant in this
17 Q. How old were you?
18 A. I think it was 1975, so I was about 20. I
19 was working as a waiter in that restaurant at the time.
20 Q. Now, getting back to a question put by
21 Mr. Radovic, it seemed that there are some
22 contradictions that were raised between a statement
23 made by another witness and the statement made by
24 Mr. Ahmic made before this Tribunal.
25 Mr. Ahmic, do you know what type of
1contradiction this may be with regards to the weapon
2 described by the other witness and the event of April
3 1993? All the weapons that you described were seen by
4 you in October 1992. Did you understand the supposed
5 contradiction that was raised by Mr. Radovic?
6 A. No.
7 Q. One last question, Mr. President. On the
8 19th of October, at what distance from the roadblock,
9 which was erected on the road, was your house located?
10 A. I think it can be shown on the photograph.
11 The roadblock was next to the cemetery, and the
12 distance between the cemetery and my house, I'm not
13 very good at estimating distances, but maybe 500, 600
14 metres, as far as I can tell.
15 Q. As a consequence, could we reasonably state
16 then that the fire, the shots which were fired upon
17 your house, could not have been aimed at the roadblock?
18 A. No, absolutely not.
19 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Mr. Ahmic.
20 Mr. President, I have no further questions.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. I assume there's
22 no objection to the witness being released.
23 Mr. Ahmic, thank you for coming to court to
24 testify. You may now be released. Thank you.
25 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
1(The witness withdrew)
2 JUDGE CASSESE: First of all, let me point
3 out that today I had the impression that, in a way,
4 through the notion of credibility of witnesses, Defence
5 counsel were using a sort of Pandora's box. Many
6 questions have been put which, although formally
7 speaking, address the question of credibility of the
8 witness, but were questions which should have been put
9 by the Defence counsel of one particular accused, the
10 one who had been mentioned by the witness, not the
11 other Defence counsel.
12 I think we are going to take a strict view of
13 this notion of credibility of witnesses, and this will
14 apply a fortiori when we move on to Prosecution
15 witnesses who refer specifically to events which took
16 place on the 16th of April and who refer, in
17 particular, to one or more of the accused. Because
18 otherwise, all Defence counsel will be allowed to put a
19 lot of questions which, as I say, should, in principle,
20 be put by the Defence counsel of the targeted accused.
21 Let me now ask the Prosecution whether they
22 have a list of witnesses they intend to call next week
23 so that the Defence counsel know in advance what
24 witnesses are going to be called here. We have now
25 your document filed on the 19th of August on page 6,
1paragraph 5, we have a list of 13 witnesses. Are you
2 going to stick to that list? So far we have heard four
3 plus, of course, the expert witness, Colonel Watters.
4 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, the list which
5 was submitted in the early part of this week and was
6 submitted to the Defence, as well as to this Tribunal,
7 is still in force in that the witnesses we have called,
8 we believe, may be heard during the course of this
9 particular week. But, of course, now that we see that
10 it cannot be done, it will be done next week. But we
11 will be in a position to extend this list and we will
12 do so. With the witnesses that are left, I believe
13 that among those witnesses that are left to be heard,
14 we believe that several days of hearing will be
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. So these are nine
17 witnesses. I see that there are nine witnesses
18 beginning with number 4, and then there's number 5, and
19 Monday we will begin with that one; is that right? I'm
20 not sure if he's protected or not, so I'm trying to
21 avoid naming these witnesses. But then we can then
22 continue with 6, 7, et cetera, in that order; is that
24 MR. TERRIER: Yes, that's correct,
25 Mr. President.
1JUDGE CASSESE: There are nine then, I see.
2 Perhaps you might also call on other witnesses.
3 MR. TERRIER: Yes, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Therefore, in that case, you
5 will tell us which witnesses this will involve.
6 MR. TERRIER: Yes, absolutely, Mr. President,
7 but it seems that already those witnesses that are
8 going to come that have already been announced, we
9 already see several days of hearings before us.
10 Nonetheless, we will, indeed, inform the Defence in an
11 appropriate time in advance of any further witnesses.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: With regards, you remember
13 that there were ten witnesses for which there are no
14 witness statements, and I asked you to submit to us a
16 MR. TERRIER: Yes, indeed, Your Honour. This
17 was done. It's in the course of being transmitted to
18 you. I believe it has been transmitted to the
19 registrar or is in the process of being transmitted, as
20 well as to the Defence.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Any questions? I
22 wonder whether the legal counsel would like to raise
23 any issue before we rise now, any issue relating to
24 what we're going to do next week?
25 Let me then wind up our hearing by saying
1that I would again stress the appeal we made to the
2 Prosecution to try to shorten the list of those
3 witnesses who only address Count 1. I had counted
4 about 32. I wonder whether some of them have dropped
5 out already. Probably some of the 32 have dropped out
6 of the list of those who are not coming, but I wonder
7 whether you could also shorten this list further.
8 Mr. Moskowitz?
9 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Mr. President, we are
10 continually re-evaluating the state of the evidence and
11 making decisions, almost on a daily basis, as to how
12 best to streamline this case. I think there will be
13 some reductions in the number of witnesses.
14 I just feel I cannot end this session without
15 expressing some concern about some things that happened
16 earlier during cross-examination, and I think I will be
17 asking for some opportunity to voice those concerns,
18 perhaps, in a closed session.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Are you referring to the
20 mentioning of the name of the protected witness?
21 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Yes.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: But this was a slip of a
23 tongue. Of course, this may happen.
24 MR. MOSKOWITZ: I think that's my concern.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: But that's why we have the
1special procedure for redaction. It happens. I mean,
2 it's unintentional.
3 JUDGE MAY: Could you not have a word with
4 Defence counsel about this and explain the rules to
5 them carefully? It's the sort of matter which, I
6 should have thought, could be dealt with between
7 counsel. They are not going to be familiar with our
8 rules. Clearly, it is an unfamiliar procedure, and
9 perhaps a quiet word might well solve the whole
11 MR. MOSKOWITZ: I think that's a good
12 suggestion, and I certainly was under the assumption
13 that they fully understood the rules of the game, and
14 maybe that is a mistake on my part, not to have
15 understood that.
16 My concern was the raising of the name in a
17 context where clearly there was no need to raise it.
18 The testimony had no connection with what this witness
19 was saying, and the time lapse between what this
20 witness knew about and what the other witness knew
21 about was at least two to three months. It appeared to
22 me that there was a deliberate attempt to put that name
23 out into the public gallery where there was press.
24 Everyone knows that in this case, one of the ways we
25 get witnesses to come here is to offer them
1protection. And if the first witness who gets
2 protection ends up going back to Bosnia with his name
3 in the newspaper, this case is in jeopardy, and that's
4 my concern.
5 JUDGE MAY: That is a serious allegation to
7 MR. MOSKOWITZ: I don't know if it's true. I
8 don't know if it's true, but it occurred to me, and as
9 I was watching that cross-examination, I did not see
10 any relationship or need to bring up that person's name
11 in the way that he did, because it was clear this
12 witness had left Ahmici in October of '92, and the
13 other witness did not get into Ahmici until February of
14 '93, and that was clear.
15 I don't know if the allegation is true, but I
16 can tell you that I am not very happy about this.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: I know. But let us assume it
18 was a slip of the tongue, and let us make sure that
19 this will not be repeated. I mean, this will not
20 happen again. I think Judge May made an excellent
21 suggestion, namely, that you should get in touch with
22 Defence counsel and discuss this matter thoroughly.
23 I understand that probably the parties are
24 keen to know what we are going to do next week, whether
25 we are going to have hearings -- yes, as scheduled, we
1will have hearings the whole of next week, except for
2 Friday afternoon, which will be off, as usual, and then
3 also the third week starting on the 31st of August.
4 Then only on Monday, the 31st of August, on Monday
5 afternoon, Monday afternoon will be off, and Friday
6 afternoon, the 4th of September will also be off.
7 Otherwise, we will go on.
8 Then we will let you know about further
9 plans. We don't know yet. We will probably know next
10 week whether we are going to be busy with another
11 trial, depending on the decision by members of the
12 Appeals Chamber. Therefore, we are not in a position
13 to tell you whether we can sit for four or five weeks
14 in a row. It is sure that we are going to sit for
15 three weeks in a row until the 4th of September, in any
16 case, but probably we will also need for the
17 Prosecution case two more weeks.
18 What is your guess, Mr. Moskowitz? Judging
19 from the pace of the examination-in-chief and
20 cross-examination, probably we will need not the three
21 weeks, which had been envisaged by the Prosecution, but
22 at least five weeks only for the Prosecution case?
23 MR. MOSKOWITZ: I would think at least.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: At least, so five to six
1MR. MOSKOWITZ: Yes.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Therefore, if you don't mind,
3 by the end of next week, we will let you know whether
4 we will continue after the three full weeks with two or
5 three more weeks, or whether we will have a recess of
6 one week. As I say, it depends on another case.
7 If there are no further matters, I will
8 suggest that we rise now. We will reconvene on Monday
9 morning at 9.30 sharp.
10 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at
11 12.08 a.m. to be reconvened on Monday,
12 the 24th day of August, 1998 at
13 9.30 a.m.