1 Tuesday, 22nd September, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-16-T, the Prosecutor
7 versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko
8 Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic and Vladimir
9 Santic also know as Vlado.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. No
12 THE INTERPRETER: We didn't catch what the
13 witness said.
14 MR. TERRIER: I would like to inform the
15 Tribunal that Prosecution is today represented also by
16 Mr. Bill Smith, who is behind me, and who will express
17 himself in English.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We go on with
19 Counsel Radovic. I think Counsel Radovic would like to
20 continue cross-examining the witness.
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Radovic:
22 Q. Good morning, Witness N. Good morning. May
23 we continue?
24 You said that you worked in a former
25 institution department of the JNA for repair work; is
1 that correct?
2 A. I was in the former JNA when I did my
3 military service. I was in charge of weapons,
4 maintenance of weapons.
5 Q. And did you come across the Browning type of
6 machine gun?
7 A. I encountered this weapon the first time
8 during the war.
9 Q. How do you know a Browning is made in Sweden,
10 is a Swedish product then?
11 A. Because I encountered a case of that kind,
12 that is a weapon of that kind, taken over by the BH
14 Q. What was that Browning like? What was it
16 A. Well, let me see.
17 Q. Describe it, please.
18 A. It's difficult to describe. There is a
19 stand, a support, which is separate, and on one of the
20 supports levers. You have the barrel.
21 Q. How many supports has that particular weapon
23 A. When I saw it the first time, it had three
24 legs, a tripod type.
25 Q. Very well. And the upper half?
1 A. There was a barrel.
2 Q. Well, yes, that's more or less correct,
3 except that it is not Swedish made but made in the
4 USA That's the difference.
5 You said yesterday that an individual gave
6 you some money to make a statement, and that you
7 refused this. Who was that?
8 A. Well, I can't remember. There were several,
9 and it's not important.
10 Q. Well, it's important to me, so I would like
11 to hear what you remembered about that particular
13 A. Well, I don't know those people.
14 Q. But if they offered you money, they told you
15 what they were offering you money for, I suppose.
16 A. Well, they probably wanted to learn something
17 they were interested in knowing.
18 Q. Well, you must have told somebody something
19 they needed to know.
20 A. Well, not -- for their own fame, but it
21 didn't mean anything for me. Well, for people of that
22 kind, journalists and the like.
23 Q. Tell me, how come that it was only in May
24 1998 that you appeared, let me say, in front of the
25 Bosnian intelligence service, secret service? How did
1 they reach you?
2 A. I said that I made no statements to them
3 because they took statements -- the statement from one
4 of my colleagues, and then just crossed it out and
5 wrote the same thing and wrote just my name and so on,
6 the same thing that he had said.
7 Q. Did you see that colleague's statement? Did
8 you sign anything on the occasion?
9 A. You asked me yesterday. Yes, I remember
10 now. It was on one particular day. He asked me
11 whether I agreed with what he had stated. And me and
12 my colleague, we were pals, we were together when all
13 this happened. He was with me on the night -- that
14 particular night. He came home from work. He worked
15 in Vitez at Vidovic's place, the baker.
16 Q. Is it the colleague who came to testify with
18 A. No, he refused to testify.
19 Q. No, before this Trial Chamber.
20 A. He works a lot, he has a lot of
21 responsibilities, and he said that he won't be able to
22 make up for lost time financially, and, therefore, he
23 did not agree to come.
24 Q. Well, could you tell us what this was like?
25 What happened?
1 A. What do you have in mind?
2 Q. Well, you started saying something about how
3 you and your colleague went together.
4 A. Well, yes. He worked in the bakery,
5 Vidovic's bakery, in Vitez. I forget the name. And he
6 came late for work, and he said that he would spend the
7 night in my house because there was something going on
8 on the road, that there was a lot of army and that they
9 were combat equipped.
10 Q. And he told you this, did he?
11 A. Yes, he did.
12 Q. Where did he tell you this? The Gamija
13 (phoen) area?
14 A. No, where I lived. Where I was living. He
15 came to my house.
16 Q. But I'm interested in knowing about the part
17 when you said you went to the police, the A-I-D, AID
19 A. I didn't know what they were called.
20 Q. Doesn't matter. But you went there and what
21 did that look like? Because you said that you talked
22 to him, whereas they kept asking you whether you agreed
23 with what he had said.
24 A. Well, I don't want to repeat everything --
25 they didn't want to repeat everything, so they just
1 sort of photocopied it.
2 Q. And then you signed this photocopied
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Why did you sign it if it was not your
6 statement? Because it states that, the citizen has
7 read and sign the statement, he has no comments to make
8 on it and is ready to testify to all this before a
9 court. Why did you sign that statement?
10 A. Well, to prevent me repeating the whole story
11 once again, because it was the same story. That was
13 Q. So, in fact --
14 A. Yes, to prevent -- so -- because his
15 statement lasted the whole day. The talks lasted the
16 whole day. It was very boring, and it's very boring to
17 keep repeating the same thing over and over again.
18 There are a lot of people who want to know what
19 happened, and --
20 Q. Who was bored? You were bored to have to
21 repeat the story over and over again?
22 A. No, let me tell you. Let me explain. For
23 me, I -- everybody is interested in knowing what
24 happened. Everybody asked me what happened, those are
25 in charge and have a responsibility and others, and so
1 I have to keep repeating this. I experienced a great
2 deal of terrible things. I have traumas, so I don't
3 wish to go into all the whole matter again.
4 Q. Well, I have one more question that I was not
5 quite clear on to ask you. You said there was shooting
6 from a sniper on the occasion?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. How do you know that it was shooting from a
9 sniper and not a gun without a sight, without optic
10 sights? How do you know that it was a sniper?
11 A. Because I was on the spot where two men were
13 Q. That's all right. But do you think you can't
14 kill somebody with an M-40 rifle?
15 A. Not at that distance, no, quite definitely.
16 Q. Well, let us hear the distance between the
17 person doing the shooting and the victim of the shot.
18 A. Well --
19 Q. Come on. We've all done our military
20 service. Let's see what we remembered from those days
21 and that training.
22 A. Well, it was below the road. About 200
23 metres, would I say, a little more.
24 Q. And what is the range with the M-48 rifle
25 without an optic sight?
1 A. Well, it would have to be a very good
2 marksman, a excellent marksman to kill someone at that
4 MR. RADOVIC: All right. Never mind. Never
5 mind. I've concluded my questions. Thank you.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Radovic.
7 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
8 Cross-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
9 Q. Good morning, sir. Tell me, please, who came
10 to Ahmici with you when you arrived there in August
11 1992, apart from your family. Who else was there with
13 A. Well, I had my sister-in-law -- three
14 sisters-in-law, and their husbands had died in Prijedor
15 before that.
16 Q. I'm not going to ask you about your family, I
17 want to know about the other people who remained in
18 Ahmici with you later on.
19 First of all, the man that you mentioned
20 having signed an identical statement, was it Rifet
22 A. Yes, it was.
23 Q. And you testified together you were at the
24 secret police together and you gave one statement.
25 That is to say you gave the same identical statement?
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. In fact, you signed his statement, that is
3 what it was like?
4 A. Yes, when it was photocopied. I signed my
5 paper, he signed his.
6 Q. And did he go to Ahmici with you on the
8 A. Yes, he did.
9 Q. Did he -- did Serif Omanovic come with you on
10 that occasion?
11 A. Yes, did he.
12 Q. Was Rahim Music there?
13 A. Yes, he was.
14 Q. And was Muradif Cikotic?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did they come with their families?
17 A. Cikotic had nobody.
18 Q. And the others?
19 A. The other one did have his family with him.
20 Q. Tell me whether their families, wives and
21 children had gone to Austria like your own family.
22 A. Rahim Music, yes. They had nowhere to go,
23 Rahim Music, because they were waiting to get papers.
24 They didn't have anybody to get them their papers.
25 Q. And what about Huskic?
1 A. Yes. He got papers for his wife and
3 Q. What about Cikotic?
4 A. No, he had nobody there.
5 Q. And what about Omanovic?
6 A. He had a daughter.
7 Q. And did she go to Austria?
8 A. She had lived in Austria. She had been
9 living in Austria for a long time, and she was a
10 citizen of Austria. She'd been a citizen for 20 years.
11 Q. Tell me, please, whether you know that at
12 that time there was a state of general mobilisation for
13 Bosniaks in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
14 A. It was voluntary. Later on, when the war
15 began in full swing, so to say.
16 Q. But at that time, it was October 1992, at
17 that time were conscripts banned from leaving Bosnia?
18 A. No, they weren't.
19 Q. Did you not have to have some special papers
20 to be able to leave Bosnia if you were a conscript?
21 A. Yes. You needed documents from the HVO and
22 from the army, and it was difficult to get them anyway,
23 even if you did request that these papers be issued.
24 Q. So it was difficult. These papers were not
25 readily at hand?
1 A. Yes. When you got the papers, this was still
2 not guarantee and you had no Visa to leave the country.
3 Q. So you stayed there and the wives and
4 children would go?
5 A. Yes; that's right.
6 Q. Tell me, were you employed at that time
8 A. No. Before the war I was an engine driver at
9 the railways, and there was nowhere for me to work
10 because there were no railways, so there was no work.
11 No trains, no work.
12 Q. And you said in your statement that, in fact,
13 you guarded people saying prayers in the mosque?
14 A. Yes. This was sort of watch duty, guard duty
15 that we had decided upon.
16 Q. This was during the day, in the early morning
17 at dawn and towards evening when prayers were said in
18 the mosque?
19 A. Yes, because we had previous experience which
20 showed us that accidents and these unfortunate
21 occurrences happened -- occurred when -- during prayer
23 Q. Yes. So, in fact, you were on guard duty
24 during the day?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you not have any night duty like the
3 A. No.
4 Q. Tell me, please, whether you were exclusively
5 in charge of guarding the mosque.
6 A. Not only me, but we would take it in order.
7 Q. You couldn't have one man doing guard duty
8 all the time so there were more individuals; is that
10 A. Yes. We had our schedule for guarding the
11 mosque during the day and during prayer time.
12 Q. Were you, in fact, hired by Hazim Ahmic, the
13 hadja? Did you do this in co-operation with him?
14 A. No. I was not in good relations -- did not
15 have good relations with him because he was very
16 gullible. He was illiterate.
17 Q. And what about the people who guarded the
18 mosque, where did they sleep? Did any of them sleep in
19 the school building or in the mosque itself?
20 A. Well, those people slept at home, in their
21 own homes.
22 Q. So that means that they did not sleep in the
23 school building?
24 A. No, they didn't.
25 Q. Tell me how many people were in charge of
1 guarding the mosque. The others would -- how many
2 people in all, do you know, approximately, the people
3 that rotated in doing guard duty?
4 A. Well, one man a day during the day. That was
5 enough, because there were people around and the houses
6 were in close proximity.
7 Q. When people would go to do their guard duty,
8 would they take weapons with them?
9 A. No, they didn't. No weapons in the mosque as
10 some people would have us believe.
11 Q. I don't mean that they were in the mosque. I
12 suppose that they were on guard duty outside the
13 mosque; is that correct?
14 A. Well, you asked whether they took weapons
15 into the mosque.
16 Q. No, no. I meant those doing guard duty
17 outside the mosque, and did they carry weapons for that
18 guard duty?
19 A. Yes, they had weapons. That was quite
20 normal, because there was the imminent danger of war.
21 Q. Very well. Where did they keep those
22 weapons, at home?
23 A. Yes, they kept them at home.
24 Q. At home, you say. What kind of weapons did
25 they have usually?
1 A. Well, they usually had old rifles, not very
2 potent rifles.
3 Q. Do you know how many people were in charge of
4 guard duty to protect the mosque with that kind of
6 A. I don't know the number, but from this
7 particular place I know the people who were involved in
8 the war, and at that time they all fought at Visoko
9 against the Chetniks. You know where Visoko is, it's
10 near Sarajevo at Preocica.
11 Q. Yes, that's right and what happened with
12 those rifles?
13 A. Well, the better weaponry they took with
14 them, because on the front-line you couldn't repair
15 weapons. You had no time to repair your weapons. You
16 go there and there was a lot of dying. So all the
17 older rifles remained in the village. There were women
18 and children in Ahmici.
19 Q. How many people were there in Ahmici, in your
20 assessment? Could there have been 1.000?
21 A. Not as many, no. Certainly not as many.
22 Q. Well, tell us then. You give us an
23 estimate. Six hundred would you say?
24 A. Let's see. In every house there would be one
25 old man usually per household in every house, and
1 perhaps two other people who were able to fend for
3 Q. Well, does that -- shall we say 200?
4 A. Two hundred, yes. Unfortunately, those who
5 were at Zume had surrendered their arms and they were
6 told that they would be safe, but unfortunately, they
7 were all killed and that's something that should be
8 taken note of.
9 Q. Were the arms surrendered anywhere else apart
10 from Zume?
11 A. Yes, in Ahmici, but I don't know how many
13 Q. You don't know how many. Tell us, did the
14 villagers -- were they members of the 323rd Mountain
16 A. Yes, they were members, and they had to go to
17 the battlefield, to Visoko. Mostly they were sent to
18 Visoko, practically always.
19 Q. And did they maintain the positions towards
20 the Serbs at Vlacic?
21 A. Well, in Visoko this is the line towards the
22 Serbs. At Valasici the positions were held by those
23 from Turbe, Travnik, Bugojno and so on.
24 Q. Did the people from the villages -- were they
25 on the battlefield in Busovaca in January and February
2 A. I don't think they went to fight there
3 because it was too far off. Well, not actually far
4 off, but that was what the schedule, the distribution
5 was. Some of the officers would give these orders.
6 Q. How far is Busovaca from Ahmici?
7 A. Well, you would have to go to Zenica, and
8 then from Zenica to the battlefield. And people in
9 Zenica were mobilised, so there was no need for them to
10 go to Busovaca.
11 Q. So that means that they would go to Visoko
12 which was further off; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, there was a problem there because the
14 locals, for example, the local people were not -- there
15 were problems with the locals there. They refused to
16 go to the -- to war.
17 Q. Well, we're talking about 1993, the beginning
18 of 1993.
19 A. Well, they thought that the Chetniks would
20 not attack them there because they were good people,
21 and when you were lulled in this way you would get what
22 was coming to you.
23 Q. Well, that was later on. I'm asking you
24 about the period that I mentioned, the beginning of
1 A. Well, yes, it was like that at the very
3 Q. That means that there were problems at the
4 very beginning?
5 A. Well, when there's war there are always
7 Q. Tell me, you said that you -- when you were
8 informed by Rifet Huskic that he had seen some armed
9 soldiers wearing helmets on the road home, that after
10 that you had informed the command of the Territorial
11 Defence; is that correct?
12 A. Rifet told me but I did not inform anybody
14 Q. You didn't?
15 A. No, I didn't. I think that I was too tired,
16 and I went to sleep very early, so I was able to get up
18 Q. Did you inform Hazim Ahmic perhaps?
19 A. No, I didn't. I had no discussion was him.
20 His wife was a very fine woman, but he was not a fine
22 Q. Well, tell me where Rifet Huskic slept.
23 A. He slept in the cottages down below,
24 Milecivic and so on, below the road, below the main
1 Q. Did he sleep in Vehbija Ahmic's house?
2 A. No. He slept for a time, he stayed for a
3 time and then moved to the weekend cottage because
4 Vehbija had a large family.
5 Q. Where did he sleep on that particular night?
6 A. He slept in my house on that night.
7 Q. Why did he sleep in that place?
8 A. Yes, he came from work late.
9 Q. Did you agree to have more of you in your
11 A. Well, as a sort of preventative measure.
12 Q. That means that you and he knew that
13 something was boiling, and did you not inform anybody
14 about it.
15 A. Well, he was to have gone down below the
16 road, where Hrustanovic with his family was, but he
17 informed them, and they all came to my place and we all
18 spent the night there.
19 Q. That means they were all in your house?
20 A. Yes, they were.
21 Q. So you don't know whether the command, the TO
22 command in the village, was informed?
23 A. I don't know anything.
24 Q. In your statement, you say that the command,
25 "The TO command in the village, although it had been
1 informed of this, did not believe there would be an
2 attack" because they had allegedly reached an agreement
3 with the HVO. You also said that you know that the
4 Hadzija from Ahmici negotiated with you -- they had
5 promised not to attack the village, and they elected
6 Hadzija for the negotiator because the people believed
7 the Hadzija, which means from this that you, in fact,
8 did talk to the commander of the TO, that you informed
9 him, you informed the Hadzija, and you now state that
10 none of that is correct.
11 A. I did not inform them. Perhaps Huskic did,
12 but on that particular night, I went to sleep very
13 early, as I said, so I don't know what happened in the
14 course of the night. I was on duty during the day.
15 Q. As a preventive measure, you were all
16 together in the house, you were informed of the
17 possible problems on that particular night, and you say
18 that you went to sleep early and slept throughout the
19 night without any problems.
20 A. Well, not everybody slept. You didn't
21 understand me. I did guard duty during the day, and so
22 I had to sleep at night.
23 Q. Well, who was on duty at night there?
24 A. I don't know. I was asleep. How can I know
25 if I was asleep?
1 Q. And what was the agreement?
2 A. No agreement. I don't know about any
3 agreement. How could I know about an agreement when I
4 was sleeping?
5 Q. Were you with Hazrudin Bilic the night
7 A. No.
8 Q. Tell me, do you know that the radio station
9 was in the school building close to the mosque? You
10 could know about that.
11 A. That was where a relation of mine, Husic
12 Music, and his family lived. I went there frequently.
13 There was no radio station.
14 Q. There was not?
15 A. No, there was not.
16 Q. And Husic Rahim was also a refugee?
17 A. Yes, from Prijedor.
18 Q. Did the TO command meet in the school
19 building ever?
20 A. No, never in the school building.
21 Q. Where did they meet?
22 A. Somewhere in the village, but I did not
23 attend the meetings, any meetings of any kind.
24 Q. In your statement, you say that you became
25 included into the TO in Ahmici. There must have been a
1 meeting, or was this Huskic's statement?
2 A. Well, I was a guest, but as you know, I'm
3 from another part, a foreigner, so to speak, so it was
4 not usual for foreigners to be told anything.
5 Q. Do you know who was in the command?
6 A. Well, I know by sight, people by sight, but I
7 don't know their names.
8 Q. Do you know how many people were involved
9 with the TO, approximately? Was it one company?
10 A. Well, all those who thought that they could
11 do guard duty did guard duty.
12 Q. Tell me whether you had ever been to Preocica
13 for a review of some kind, a military review of some
15 A. No, never.
16 Q. Did you take an oath of any kind?
17 A. You know, at the beginning, it was either the
18 TO or the Patriotic League, as we used to call it. At
19 the beginning. There were no oaths to be taken there.
20 The Patriotic League was your patriotic duty, to help
21 the people as much as you could.
22 Q. And after that?
23 A. Well, after that, I was a member of the army
24 of Bosnia-Herzegovina till the end of the war.
25 Q. Since what date?
1 A. Well, they drew me in so that I could have
2 those --
3 Q. When did they engage you, in fact?
4 A. In Ahmici, they would have some problems with
5 the old rifles, and so usually people would use the
6 rifles and shoot but they did not clean them, and so
7 they did not know how to deal with this. The biggest
8 problem was because the rifles were not cleaned.
9 Q. And you did this?
10 A. Yes, sometimes. I would take their rifles
11 and clean them and see to the maintenance.
12 Q. Well, when did you take the oath and when did
13 you become a soldier?
14 A. There were no oaths. I took no oath. It is
15 only the young recruits which take the oath; that is,
16 when you were a soldier, recruit.
17 Q. Well, since when do you consider yourself to
18 be a soldier of the BH army?
19 A. Well, let me tell you. In my military book,
20 military record, I have 43 months listed and ninety --
21 I was demobilised in 1996, in August, so you can count
22 back and calculate.
23 Q. You say 1992.
24 A. 1992, that is. Well, it's not up to me to do
25 the counting and calculations.
1 Q. All right. Forty-six months backwards,
2 then. Did you get any supplies from the BH army?
3 A. Well, of course, food and lodging.
4 Q. I'm talking about 1992 and 1993, any rations?
5 A. Cigarettes, that kind of thing.
6 Q. What about food, lodging you said a moment
8 A. Well, later on, when the war was in full
10 Q. What did you live on if you didn't have any
12 A. Well, as I said, I was given lodgings, which
13 was usually in the village, I slept in a house in the
14 village, and with the person you lived with, you would
15 have your -- take your meals there, where you were
16 billeted, but, of course, they knew that I was a
17 refugee and had nothing of my own.
18 Q. So that went by the army; is that correct?
19 A. Well, yes, it was the duty of the villagers,
20 of the locals, to feed somebody that they would take
21 in, the lodgers.
22 Q. So how many people in the village were
23 billeted whose families had left and who had become
24 members of the BH army and who were sent to a lodge
25 with the villagers?
1 A. Well, there weren't many people like that,
2 and my family was to have returned because they did
3 not -- they were not happy where they went, but I told
4 them not to come because the situation was very
5 difficult and that they should have a little more
7 Q. How many refugees were there in Ahmici?
8 A. I don't know. I didn't count.
9 Q. Very well. Tell me, please, about the 16th,
10 when was the mosque in the village shot down? Did you
11 see that?
12 A. No, I did not see it personally. We were
13 withdrawing with the civilians towards Zenica. This
14 was -- I think it was in the forest above the village,
15 between Vrhovine and Ahmici, and a very strong
16 detonation was heard.
17 Q. Was that in the evening?
18 A. It was 2300 hours.
19 Q. Exactly at 11.00 p.m.
20 A. On the same day.
21 Q. On the same day.
22 A. Yes -- well, whether it was 10.00 p.m. or
23 11.00 p.m., but anyway, there was a strong detonation,
24 a strong explosion. We didn't know what happened.
25 Q. Thank you. Tell me, when did you arrive in
1 Upper Ahmici? What was the time; can you remember?
2 A. Well, we arrived at about 2.00 p.m.,
4 Q. When did you withdraw upwards towards
6 A. We were not able to go further because there
7 is no forest above the village. About half a
8 kilometre. So had we gone up there, we would have been
9 shot at. So we had to wait for dark.
10 Q. Was there some shooting on that afternoon and
11 evening when you withdrew?
12 A. Well, there was shooting, but not very
13 strong. The intensity was less.
14 Q. Less intensity, yes. Tell me, on the 17th of
15 April, the line was formed above the village, above
16 Pirici and Ahmici; is that correct?
17 A. Well, I don't know about the dates. It is
18 not a later date; it was the next day.
19 Q. Was the defence line set up? Where was the
20 army stopped?
21 A. I went to Zenica afterwards and they engaged
22 me again and I had -- there was -- everybody was given
23 their duties and responsibilities. Somebody had to see
24 to the rifles, others had to see to the food and
25 supplies and so on.
1 Q. Do you know that the line, defence line, was
2 formed above Ahmici which remained throughout the war?
3 A. It did not remain there throughout the war.
4 Q. No?
5 A. The line was set up and there was a field
6 between Barica Gaj and the upper part of the village
7 and it was a clear space, and later on the HVO, after I
8 don't know exactly how much time elapsed, but they
9 launched an attack and took control of part of Barica
11 Q. We'll go back to that later on. Could you
12 just please tell me whether, with other people from the
13 village, you set up the line? Were you up there with
14 them at Barica Gaj on the second day when you had come
15 from Vrhovine? We're talking about the 17th of April.
16 A. Yes, later on --
17 Q. Not later on. I'm asking about the 17th.
18 A. Well, it wasn't a very strong line.
19 Q. Well, not a strong line, but did the HVO try
20 to move forward, and that was the line at which you
21 stopped the HVO; is that right?
22 A. Well, there was a demarcation line and
23 sporadic gunfire.
24 Q. Tell me, how many villagers were up at the
25 line from the village?
1 A. I didn't count them.
2 Q. Two, five, or twenty?
3 A. From which village?
4 Q. I'm talking about Ahmici. And I'm thinking
5 about the Bosniaks.
6 A. Well, it's difficult to say. I wasn't there
7 in fact --
8 Q. Well, were there two or twenty? Can you give
9 us a rough estimate, or were there fifty?
10 A. I think there were about twenty.
11 Q. About twenty, you say. Did any help arrive
12 from Zenica, any units from Zenica, reinforcements?
13 A. Later on, each unit had its part of the
14 territory for which it was responsible.
15 Q. Which means then that that part of the line
16 was guarded by the people from Ahmici?
17 A. Ahmici, Vrhovine, Prnjavor and so on.
18 Q. Very well. Thank you.
19 A. Pretenica and so on.
20 Q. You can't actually say -- I don't know what
21 you meant by saying -- it would appear that they were
22 all mobilised.
23 A. They were not all mobilised.
24 Q. I didn't say that they were all mobilised. I
25 just asked how many people from Ahmici were up at the
2 A. Well, not everybody could have been there.
3 If you know anything about war and the conditions
4 governing war, you can't have --
5 Q. Well, yes, thank you.
6 A. You can't have everybody mobilised because
7 some people are ill, others are incapable, and so on.
8 Q. Of course, of course. I understand. But let
9 me say once again that your statement is quite
10 different. I don't know if this is your statement or
11 Huskic Rifet's statement, but it states that
12 immediately in the morning on the 17th of April, 1993,
13 the HVO soldiers tried to move forward, but that you
14 were assisted by a unit from Zenica and that you
15 succeeded in setting up a defence line and repelling
16 the attacks, and the line remained where it was until
17 the peace agreement was negotiated with the HVO.
18 A. Well, you're asking me about details.
19 Q. But that is your statement, that is to say,
20 the statement of your friend.
21 A. Well, it finished very quickly -- you know,
22 if you're interrogated for a whole day, interviewed for
23 a whole day, can you imagine me answering questions all
24 day by a gentleman?
25 Q. Did you answer any questions on that
1 particular occasion or was it just Huskic Rifet?
2 A. Well, it was him. He answered most of the
3 questions. He thought he would go and testify, and
4 later on, it turned out that he was frightened. He's
5 not very literate either, and so he gave up.
6 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Well, thank you. Thank
7 you, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel
9 Slokovic-Glumac. I wonder whether the Prosecutor would
10 like to re-examine the witness?
11 MR. TERRIER: (No translation)
12 JUDGE CASSESE: (In French) Mr. Terrier,
13 there was no translation in English. No.
14 THE INTERPRETER: There is a problem with one
15 of the pieces of equipment in the booth. You can carry
16 on. Thank you very much.
17 MR. TERRIER: Maybe I could proceed in
19 THE INTERPRETER: It's not necessary.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Please continue in French.
21 MR. TERRIER: Please, Mr. Usher -- yes, I was
22 just saying that I wished to clarify this issue of the
23 statement, whether there is some confusion.
24 For the time being, Mr. Usher, could you
25 submit this document to Witness N?
1 It is a document drafted in Bosniak, it is a
2 three-page long document with the name of the witness
3 and the date of the 6th of May, 1992. As I initially
4 said to the Tribunal, there is a misprint there. It is
5 the 6th of May, 1998 and not 1992.
6 Re-examined by Mr. Terrier:
7 Q. Witness N, is this your statement, and can
8 you recognise your signature?
9 A. Yes, it is. It is my signature.
10 Q. So it is your signature indeed. Is it your
11 statement, the statement you made?
12 A. Yes, more or less. It is something similar.
13 MR. TERRIER: Mr. Usher, please, would you
14 mind submitting the second document to the witness?
15 THE REGISTRAR: This document is marked 184
16 and the earlier document 183.
17 MR. TERRIER:
18 Q. It is a four-page document in the Bosnian
19 language, a statement made by Rifet Huskic. Would you
20 be in a position to compare these two documents and
21 confirm that these are two very different documents,
22 different one from the other?
23 A. They cannot be different because we were
24 there together when the events took place. There is
25 something which perhaps is not all that identical. He
1 wrote about the details, how he worked in Vitez, where
2 he worked, this and that. He went into all the
4 Q. Witness N, when I state that these documents
5 are different, of course, we're not talking about
6 different facts you are witnessing, you're testifying
7 about facts that you experienced together. These are
8 the very same facts. But I'm saying that one document
9 is not a copy of the other.
10 A. Factually, it turns out that in order not to
11 have to ask me all the same things all over again, this
12 has been copied.
13 MR. TERRIER: I have no further questions,
14 Mr. President.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you very much. I
16 assume there is no objection to the witness being
18 Witness N, you may be released.
19 (The witness withdrew)
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, I assume we are all
21 moving to the old No. 2. I'm afraid we don't know what
22 protective measures you have envisaged for this
23 particular witness.
24 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Yes, Mr. President. This
25 witness has requested face and name protection, and I
1 will also inform the Court at this time that he does
2 not read, and so the oath will, I think, have to be
3 dictated to him orally because he cannot read the
4 oath. He does, however -- can recognise his name in
5 writing, so that can be done without a problem.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: It will be Witness O?
7 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Yes, Your Honour.
8 (The witness entered court)
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, Witness O. I
10 would like to ask you to repeat the solemn declaration
11 which will be read out by our registrar.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Witness, could you repeat
13 after me? "I solemnly declare ..."
14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare ...
15 THE REGISTRAR: "... that I will speak the
16 truth ..."
17 THE WITNESS: ... that I will speak the
18 truth ...
19 THE REGISTRAR: "... the whole truth ..."
20 THE WITNESS: ... the whole truth ...
21 THE REGISTRAR: "... and nothing but the
23 THE WITNESS: ... and nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
1 MR. MOSKOWITZ: At this time, I will hand to
2 the usher a piece of paper.
3 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked 185.
4 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Mr. President, may I
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, please.
7 WITNESS: WITNESS O.
8 Examined by Mr. Moskowitz:
9 Q. Good morning, Witness O.
10 A. Good morning.
11 Q. You might want to pull your chair up a little
12 bit so you can speak directly into the microphone.
13 Thank you.
14 You have requested --
15 A. It's okay.
16 Q. You have requested certain measures for your
17 protection, and I want to inform you that they have
18 been granted, so you can feel comfortable in
19 providing --
20 A. Okay.
21 Q. -- your evidence here today.
22 A. Fine.
23 Q. To begin with, Witness O, could you tell us
24 in what year you were born?
25 A. 1935.
1 Q. Could you tell us what your home village was
2 before 1992?
3 A. Karaula.
4 Q. Did you have to leave Karaula in about 1992?
5 A. Yes, I had -- we had.
6 Q. Where did you go when you left Karaula?
7 A. We went to Ahmici.
8 Q. Do you recall in which house you lived in
9 in Ahmici?
10 A. The house of one Ramiz.
11 Q. Would this be Ramiz Gradinovic?
12 A. Yes, it was.
13 Q. How did you know about the house of Ramiz
14 Gradinovic and know that you could live there?
15 A. We came searching from up there when we were
16 expelled from Karaula.
17 Q. Are you in any way related to Ramiz
19 A. No, I'm not.
20 Q. Do you recall about what month you and your
21 family arrived in Ahmici and began to live in the house
22 of Ramiz Gradinovic?
23 A. It was in November in 1992.
24 Q. Without naming any particular individual in
25 your family, could you just tell us the composition of
1 your family at that time in 1992?
2 A. How do you mean? To tell you how many
3 members of my family there were?
4 Q. Exactly, and whether you had any children,
5 and if so, how many?
6 A. Yes, there were five children with me and my
7 wife. Three sons and two daughters.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, do you remember the day of
9 the attack in Ahmici?
10 A. On the 16th of April.
11 Q. Yes. Now, I want you to, before we discuss
12 that day, focus your attention on the day before the
13 attack, April 15, 1993.
14 A. The 15th. Yes. It was a Thursday.
15 Q. Do you recall what you were doing on that
16 day, the day before the attack, April 15?
17 A. I went to Zume to one Marko Vrebac because my
18 horse and cart were there, I wanted him to repair my
19 cart, and he told me that there was not enough electric
20 power so that he couldn't repair it.
21 Q. Do you recall where you went after checking
22 on your cart in Zume?
23 A. Then I went to Pican's cafe with Jure Vrebac
24 for a drink.
25 Q. Did you have a drink with that individual at
1 the cafe?
2 A. Yes, we had a drink.
3 Q. Where did you go after that, if you recall?
4 A. We went up there to the playing ground, to
5 the -- the road towards Ahmici.
6 Q. Was this on your way to go back home to the
7 house of Ramiz?
8 A. That's where I was going. I took the road to
10 Q. Did you see anything around that area as you
11 were walking home?
12 A. I saw a vehicle, a large lorry, and there was
13 something on it, probably an anti-aircraft gun or a
14 canon. It was covered by tarpaulin, so I couldn't
15 tell. It was protected, covered.
16 Q. What made you think it was probably an
17 anti-aircraft gun or some sort of weapon?
18 A. 'Cause I've seen things like that around, and
19 there I then again saw that kind of a thing.
20 Q. Did you then continue on to the house you
21 were living in?
22 A. Yes, I went walking towards home and I went
24 Q. Now, sometime that evening, did you have an
25 opportunity to be outside the home of Ramiz where you
1 saw something interesting or unusual?
2 A. Yes. I saw some troops near Ramiz's house
3 and also down in front of Vlatko's house. Actually,
4 four or five or six soldiers I saw. I don't know
5 exactly. It was dark.
6 Q. You say it was dark. How could you see these
7 troops if it was dark?
8 A. Well, it was around 6.00. It was dusk,
9 rather, so I could tell that there were that many
10 people or thereabouts there.
11 Q. When you say "there," where were these troops
12 that you saw that evening?
13 A. By Vlatko's house, actually, in Vlatko's
14 house's yard.
15 MR. MOSKOWITZ: At this time, I would ask the
16 usher show to the witness previously admitted Exhibit
17 32, please?
18 Q. Now, Witness O, could you take a look at this
19 exhibit that we've called Exhibit 32 and tell us if you
20 recognise what's in that photograph?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What is this house?
23 A. That is Vlatko's house. Near the greenery
24 here in the corner is the spot where the soldiers
1 Q. Could you help us a little bit by taking that
2 pointer you have next to your hand, yes, thank you, and
3 could you point to the picture not on the TV screen but
4 on the picture next to you --
5 A. This is where the soldiers were.
6 Q. -- with the help of the usher, and tell us
7 where you saw the soldiers that night?
8 A. This is where the soldiers were, here on this
10 Q. Did you have a pretty good view, from where
11 you were standing, of that spot that you just pointed
13 A. Yes, I did. I had a good view. I was
14 standing up there by Ramiz's house, near the water
15 fountain, right there, and I could see them well.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, did you tell anybody what
18 you had seen, that you had seen several soldiers in
19 front of Vlatko's house?
20 A. No, I told nobody. I didn't make much of
21 it. I didn't think it was that important. I told
22 nobody about it.
23 Q. Now, do you know a person by the name of
25 A. I have seen him on occasion in front of
1 Vlatko's store. Their name is Sutra. And he told me
2 he would be leaving these parts very quickly. Once as
3 I was hauling some wood I stopped by there and I had a
4 beer there, and he told me, "You will be leaving these
5 parts very soon, on the 1st of May. " And I thought
6 that we would be going to Karaula, to our house, but it
7 was not to Karaula, they attacked us before that.
8 Q. You said he told you that you would be
9 leaving these parts very soon. Who told you that?
10 A. Yes, he did. He did say that. Marinko.
11 Q. And where did he tell you this? Where were
12 you when he told you this?
13 A. In front of Sutra's store, or his storehouse,
14 and it is called "Sutra", something like that, just
15 above Vlatko's house.
16 Q. And do you recall about when that
17 conversation took place, maybe how many days before the
18 attack, if you can?
19 A. Well, perhaps some seven or eight or even ten
20 days prior to the attack.
21 Q. And when Marinko told you this, what did you
22 think he was talking about?
23 A. I thought that he really knew that we were
24 going back, that we would be going back to Karaula, to
25 our own houses.
1 Q. Now, in retrospect, or looking back on it,
2 what do you think he was talking about?
3 A. I don't know what he was talking about, what
4 he had in mind, whether he wanted us to go back to our
5 place or something else, or to expel us from that area,
6 I don't know.
7 Q. Then just to be clear, do you know whether
8 Marinko was a Croat who lived in Ahmici?
9 A. Yes, he was.
10 Q. Now, going back to the evening before the
11 attack, April 15, do you recall what you did that night
12 after -- or before the attack?
13 A. I was doing guard duty with Ramiz, in the
15 Q. Did you have a weapon?
16 A. No.
17 Q. What about Ramiz, did he have a weapon?
18 A. Ramiz had a pistol.
19 Q. And what do you mean by "guard duty"? What
20 did you do?
21 A. Well, we guarded the village. Sort of
22 patrolled it to see that there wasn't any shooting or
23 anything like that.
24 Q. Was this patrol, this village guard, was this
25 like an army? How would you describe it?
1 A. Well, it was a sort of village watch, a
2 village patrol, not an army.
3 Q. Now, could you tell us what you recall about
4 the next morning, April 16, 1993?
5 A. I remember I got up in the morning, I was at
6 Zume, and somebody told me I was to go plough a garden.
7 So I got up that morning. It was quarter to four. It
8 was quarter to four in the morning, and I went out to
9 the toilet, and there was a slight drizzle. I went
10 back into the house and didn't go anywhere.
11 Then I got up again because my daughter was
12 to go to work, and I got up again. It was about 5.00,
13 5.00 a.m. And I went outside, I lit a cigarette, and
14 went to the barn, and there was some enormous -- this
15 was about 5.30. I couldn't even get to the barn,
16 didn't -- and shooting started. I just went back and I
17 said to my children, "Get up, because we'll all be
18 shot." And I rushed up to my wife, who was in the
19 weekend cottage, to see whether my wife and daughter
20 had got up.
21 And I went in front of Redzib's house. A
22 mortar fell and it hit me here on the left -- my left
23 shoulder. And when I got my left shoulder, there was
24 no blood but something had hit me. And as I was once
25 wounded, I was frightened, and I thought here it comes
1 again, I'm wounded again, and that was where I was.
2 When I rushed up, my wife, she was wearing
3 her underwear, apologise, but she was wearing her
4 underwear, and she said that they fired across the
5 windows. And my daughter said, "Take my son, my child,
6 for me, to get my trousers on, pants on." She took her
7 pants and I gave her back the child, and I went back to
8 see what was happening in front.
9 I looked through the window to see what was
10 happening in front of the weekend cottage, and there
11 were six soldiers with weapons going towards the house,
12 and they were carrying weapons. And they went down to
13 Huso's house. They killed Huso, they killed him
14 straight away, and Sukrija, and the like. They killed
15 them all, anybody they came across. And Huso's wife
16 said, "They killed Huso in front of my very eyes.
17 Let's flee with the children."
18 And I was terribly frightened, because I
19 am -- look like an able-bodied man. They don't know,
20 in fact, that I am somebody who was wounded. So I said
21 to my wife, "Let's get out of here." And my mother
22 said, "Well, we" -- my wife said, "We lost everything
23 in Karsula. Let them kill us all, and we can lose --
24 we've got nothing to lose everything here." "But God
25 help you I'm going to escape because they're going to
1 kill me." And I fled about a hundred metres away, and
2 I went back for them and I told them again, "Come on,
3 let's go, because what is going to happen to our -- our
4 daughters, what will happen to us? Let's all go
6 So we went up to Vrhovine and we stayed there
7 a little while. There was shooting down below. I went
8 back once again because I had left some money down
9 there. So I went back for my money, but I wasn't able
10 to even approach the village because there was a lot of
11 crying and shooting down below. I don't know what was
12 happening, actually.
13 Q. Let me just ask a couple of questions before
14 you go on, Witness O, to clarify some things. You said
15 that early in the morning you remember going to the
16 bathroom. Is this an inside bathroom or did you have
17 to go outside in order to use the facility, the toilet?
18 A. Yes, apologise. I had to go out. It was
20 Q. And when you went outside --
21 A. And I saw the lights on that morning in
22 Vlatko house. It was 15 -- or 4.00 in the morning, but
23 I didn't know that they would be attacking, and it was
24 really a great misfortune, and I didn't know what to
1 Q. Now, you also indicated that a mortar fell
2 and you suffered some sort -- or you felt something.
3 Where were you when that mortar fell, or that shell?
4 A. Near -- by Redzib's house. And the mortar
5 shell hit Redzib's house and I was there next to it.
6 And something hit me in my left shoulder.
7 Q. Now, you also said, I believe, that you were
8 wounded. Just to clarify --
9 A. I was wounded. I was wounded and I was
10 wounded before in 1992, up there in Karaula.
11 Q. Were you wounded that day in Ahmici?
12 A. No.
13 Q. As you fled Ahmici, did you look back at the
14 village at any point and could you see what was
15 happening to the village?
16 A. No, I didn't, but I did see that the
17 village -- as we were fleeing, I did see that the
18 village was ablaze. There was all sorts of shouting
19 and crying by the people that could be heard.
20 Q. Do you now recall in particular any houses
21 that you can identify that you saw on fire as you left
23 A. Suad's house was on fire, Redzib's house was
24 also on fire. He actually went back to put the fire
25 out, and as he returned he was killed on the spot.
1 Ramiz's house was also on fire. As we reached that
2 point up there, we could see that everything was
3 burning down there. Suad's and Redzib's house were set
4 on fire immediately.
5 Q. Did you and your family manage to flee Ahmici
6 without anyone being -- any one of your family members
7 being injured?
8 A. Yes, we managed to flee to Vrhovine. No one
9 was hurt -- no one was injured in my family.
10 MR. MOSKOWITZ: May I just have one moment,
11 Mr. President? We have no more questions for this
12 witness, and we request that the exhibits, piece of
13 paper, I don't know the number right now, be
14 admitted --
15 THE REGISTRAR: 185.
16 MR. MOSKOWITZ: 185, thank you. Be admitted
17 under seal.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Thank you.
19 Mr. Pavkovic.
20 MR. PAVKOVIC: Your Honours, I can inform you
21 that colleague Radovic will have a few questions to ask
22 the witness.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
24 MR. RADOVIC: I really have only a few
25 questions for this witness.
1 Cross-examined by Mr. Radovic:
2 Q. I am the Defence counsel of one of the
3 accused, Radovic.
4 The first request is: How could you know
5 that there was an anti-aircraft machine gun or cannon
6 when it was covered by tarpaulin?
7 A. I could see there was some kind of weapon.
8 It had to be an anti-aircraft gun or a cannon.
9 Q. Could it have been a machine, a similarly
10 shaped machine?
11 A. No, it couldn't have been a machine.
12 Q. But how can you conclude that it had to be
13 precisely an anti-aircraft gun?
14 A. Because I saw this passing from -- to
15 Busovaca and Vitez, this truck.
16 Q. I'm not asking you that. How did you know
17 that what was covered by the tarpaulin was a cannon, a
19 A. I didn't say PAT, I said cannon.
20 Q. But a PAT is a cannon?
21 A. I said there was something and it had to be a
22 PAM or a cannon.
23 Q. But how did you know that either of these two
24 things was under the tarpaulin?
25 A. Because I've seen things like that.
1 Q. But was the tarpaulin ever removed?
2 A. No, but you could see it was stretched around
3 the shape of it.
4 Q. But there could have been logs under it?
5 A. No, there couldn't have been logs under it.
6 Q. Of course, I cannot demonstrate this to you
7 because I do not have the technical means for that, but
8 okay, never mind, let's move on. Of course, everyone
9 is entitled to their opinion.
10 Tell me about the visibility at 5.30 in the
11 morning when the shooting started on the 16th of
13 A. It was good. It was good. The visibility
14 was good. There was some rain.
15 Q. Was there any fog?
16 A. Yes, there was some fog but not too much of
17 it. It was just slightly misty.
18 Q. No, no, at 5.30, when you came in front of
19 the house, what was the weather like? You said there
20 was rain.
21 A. Yes, there was a slight rain. There was a
22 slight drizzle.
23 Q. And you said that the lights were on in the
24 houses, the electric power lights, or was it possible
25 to see the houses on the basis of daylight?
1 A. But at 4.15 there were lights at Vlatko's
3 Q. At 5.30 when everything started -- when the
4 shooting started, you mean?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Were there lights then?
7 A. No. I had no time to look. I was so
8 terrified I had to flee. I don't know.
9 Q. Okay. You said you were on guard duty with
11 A. But it was not station duty but patrol.
12 Q. So when you were on guard duty or patrolling
13 around, when you noticed something suspicious, what was
14 your obligation?
15 A. We had to inform the people in the village.
16 Q. What do you mean "the people in the
17 village"? You had to inform a specific person or the
18 whole village? Who was in charge of being informed of
19 such occurrences?
20 A. We were told to alarm the village, to inform
21 the people that --
22 Q. But how could you inform the entire village?
23 A. Well, I would come to your house and say, "We
24 have noticed some troops," or this and that, "We have
25 been attacked, let's flee."
1 Q. So you would go from house to house and
2 orally inform the people. But you did not have a sort
3 of a signal, or a siren, or a firing of a round to
4 inform the people, you went from house to house?
5 A. No, we had nothing of that, but --
6 Q. Do you know how much time it would take you
7 to inform everyone house by house?
8 A. But it goes as a chain, because I would
9 inform one house, and then they would inform the next
10 household, and it would be sort of relayed from house
11 to house, yes.
12 Q. There was something that was not quite clear,
13 in your statement, to me. You said that the Croats
14 attacked you before the order, literally. You said
15 before the schedule, before the order what do you mean
16 by that?
17 A. We didn't know they would attack us.
18 Q. But what does that mean, that phrase, "before
19 their schedule"?
20 A. But I would have fled had I known that they
21 would attack, but I didn't.
22 Q. So when you said, "They attacked us before
23 their turn or before the schedule," what you meant is
24 that you were taken by surprise?
25 A. Had I known, I would have fled.
1 Q. No, no. I just want to know what you meant
2 when you said, "They attacked us ahead of schedule,"
3 but now you have explained that what you meant is
4 actually that you were -- they launched a surprise
5 attack so that you couldn't flee. Is that what you
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Slokovic-Glumac
10 Cross-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
11 Q. I only have one question. You mentioned some
12 soldiers who were coming towards the direction of this
13 weekend cottage, you saw six soldiers?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. From which direction were they coming?
16 A. From up there they came, and they surrounded
17 the village.
18 Q. Where is this "up there"? What houses?
19 A. Above Krdzo's house, from where the road
20 leads to the Sutra's house and to Zume. From there
21 they came. They killed two people on guard duty in the
23 Q. Did you see those six soldiers?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. How did they look?
1 A. They had motley suits, uniforms. And they
2 went towards Krdzo's house, and Krdzo's wife rushed
3 up --
4 Q. How did you look at it from -- Krdzo's house
5 is this way?
6 A. They were advancing like that down towards
7 the garden. I saw it with my very eyes.
8 Q. And they went into Krdzo's house. What did
9 they do? What did you see?
10 A. His wife said that they killed him. They
11 shot him right there immediately.
12 Q. And then where did they go?
13 A. How should I know where they went from
15 Q. But you just said that they went on
16 towards -- you said that after they killed Huso, they
17 went to Sutra -- Sukrija?
18 A. Yes, they killed Sukrija, Naser, his
19 brother. They killed them all.
20 Q. Did they -- did you see them going down
21 towards Sukrija's house?
22 A. Yes, of course I did. I certainly did. That
23 was at the beginning.
24 Q. What was at the beginning? First of all, you
25 heard this shell.
1 A. First there was firing. There was infantry
2 fire, then a shell fell, then a shell land at the
3 house, when I was near the house.
4 Q. And then you saw these soldiers at the very
5 beginning, and you saw them going towards --
6 A. Yes, Huso's and Krdzo's house, down through
7 the garden.
8 Q. Did they enter the house?
9 A. I don't know that. I cannot say. His wife
10 came and said, "They have killed Huso and they killed
11 him before my very eyes."
12 Q. And then they went down towards Sukrija's
14 A. Yes, they did, toward Sukrija's house.
15 Q. Did you see the insignia on their uniforms?
16 A. No.
19 Q. Did they have any helmets?
20 A. No, no, I couldn't notice any helmets.
21 Q. And weapons?
22 A. Yes, I saw weapons. They had rifles, they
23 had automatic weapons. And I didn't notice anything
24 else. I can't say.
25 Q. Did you recognise any of those people?
1 A. No, no, because I hadn't lived there. I
2 didn't know the people there.
3 Q. When you saw that they were going down
4 towards Sukrija's house, did you see that they were
5 also going into the house of Meho Hrustanovic?
6 A. I saw them going from Huso's house to Meho's
7 house. Meho was killed immediately. So they were
8 going from Huso's house, to Meho Hrustanovic's house
9 and then to Sukrija's house?
10 A. Yes, because I know I had my horses there in
11 Meho Hrustanovic's barn, and, actually, I wasn't able
12 to go there that morning.
13 Q. So that was at the very beginning of the
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. At that moment, what was the first house to
17 be set on fire?
18 A. It was, I believe, Suad's house that was
19 first torched. Ahmic, yes. I'm not sure. And then a
20 shell also landed in the house of his father, Redzib,
21 and something fell on my arm, on my shoulder.
22 Q. Did you see any houses in your part of the
23 village, the lower part of the village, burn?
24 A. That was where the first house was set on
25 fire that I saw. Redzib went to extinguish the fire on
1 his house but he never returned. He was killed on the
3 Q. Where was Redzib before he returned?
4 A. He was -- he was up there where a concrete
5 slab was above his house. Somebody had started
6 constructing a house and there he was. And when he saw
7 that his house was ablaze, he returned down to put the
8 fire out and he never came back. He was killed right
10 Q. And you told my colleague that there was a
11 slight rain, a drizzle and mist. Was it visible at
12 half past five?
13 A. Yes, yes, it was good. Of course it was. It
14 was the 16th of April, you could see well.
15 Q. It was daylight, was it?
16 A. Yes.
17 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you. Thank you
18 very much.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Moskowitz,
20 would you like to re-examine the witness?
21 MR. MOSKOWITZ: We have no other questions.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. All right. I
23 assume there is no objection to the witness being
25 Witness O, thank you for coming here to give
1 evidence. You may be released.
2 (The witness withdrew)
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, I suggest we now take a
4 break, and I wonder whether you could bring in the next
5 witness, if it is number 5, so that when we reconvene
6 we already have the witness here.
7 --- Recess taken at 10.58 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.33 a.m.
9 (The witness entered court)
10 MR. SMITH: Good morning, Your Honours. My
11 name is Bill Smith and I appear for the Prosecutors in
12 this matter.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, Mr. Skillen.
14 Could you please stand and make the solemn
16 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall
17 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
19 WITNESS: JAMES SKILLEN.
20 Examined by Mr. Smith:
21 Q. Corporal Skillen, can you state your
22 occupation and your rank?
23 A. I'm a corporal in the British army.
24 Q. In 1992, 1993, did you attend Bosnia?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What was your role when attending Bosnia?
2 A. My role there was as a United Nations
4 Q. For what length of time did you stay in
6 A. The duration of my tour was six months.
7 Q. And that commenced when?
8 A. From November till May, November '92 till May
10 Q. You were based in Vitez?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you ever attend a village called Ahmici?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you tell the Court when you attended that
15 village and about how many times you went there?
16 A. I attended the -- went to the village of
17 Ahmici a day in April '93, twice in one day: once in
18 the morning and once in the afternoon.
19 Q. Can you remember the exact date in April '93?
20 A. No, I cannot remember the exact date.
21 Q. Can you tell the Court the reason for going
22 to the village in the morning?
23 A. We were led to believe that there had been
24 some fighting in the village, and we were told that
25 there had been a lot of people killed in the village,
1 so we went there just to verify the story.
2 Q. You went back to the village later that day.
3 Can you tell the Court about what time and why you went
4 back there again?
5 A. We went back around lunch time, and the
6 reason we went back is we brought the ECMM officer out
7 and the civilian press again just to verify what we had
8 seen and to show them what we had actually seen.
9 Q. On the first visit, about how many vehicles
10 went to Ahmici?
11 A. About -- about four.
12 Q. You, in fact, worked for UNPROFOR; is that
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. Can you explain the route that you took from
16 Vitez to Ahmici?
17 A. Yes. The route that we took was along the
18 main road out of Vitez towards Ahmici, carrying along
19 further towards Busovaca.
20 Q. What vehicle were you in when you attended
22 A. I was in the back one of the armoured
24 Q. What was your view like on attending, driving
25 up the main road before you turned left into Ahmici?
1 A. My view was obscured; however, I had an idea
2 the direction we were going in because I was wearing a
3 headset which is connected to the commander and the
4 driver of the vehicle.
5 Q. On arrival in the village, where did the
6 vehicle stop?
7 A. We stopped at a little clearing just before
8 the mosque, the fallen mosque, that is.
9 Q. Can you give a brief description to the Court
10 of this fallen mosque?
11 A. Yes. It was quite a large mosque, and the
12 spire, the minaret, I think it's called, was toppled
13 over on one side and it was obviously destroyed.
14 Q. You stopped your vehicles by this mosque, and
15 can you tell the Court what you did once you got out of
16 the vehicle?
17 A. Yes. We had a quick -- observed the area to
18 make sure it was secure, and then we proceeded on foot
19 with the vehicles following in a direct route up the
21 Q. Did you go to any place prior to going up the
23 A. Yes. I personally took a walk around the
24 back of the mosque where again there was a destroyed
25 building, and in that building, there was what I saw
1 was -- or thought was a human skull within the debris.
2 Q. About how far away from the mosque was that?
3 A. About 15 feet behind. It was just a building
4 behind it. I'm not too sure if it was a house or an
5 outlet building. It was too destroyed to be certain.
6 Q. After attending there, you said that you went
7 up the village.
8 A. Yes. We walked on a direct route towards
9 part of the village where we had been led to believe
10 there was a house with -- the occupants had been killed
11 and they were burnt.
12 Q. Did you subsequently end up at this house?
13 A. Yes. We took a direct route to this house.
14 The main reason was we weren't too sure if the rest of
15 the village was booby-trapped, and as far as we were
16 aware, that route was safe.
17 Q. Along the route to this house, can you
18 explain to the Court what you saw in terms of
20 A. Yes. The majority of the properties were
21 either totally destroyed or they were damaged beyond
23 Q. Can you explain to the Court what you
24 believed to be the cause of the damage to these houses
25 and what your field of view was as you walked up
1 towards this burnt house?
2 A. I believe the damage was caused by
3 house-clearing, that is, clearing the houses one at a
4 time, attacking, et cetera, and -- sorry, what was the
5 second part of the question?
6 Q. What was your field of view as you walked up
7 towards the house with the burnt bodies?
8 A. The field of view was immediate -- what was
9 to our front and what was about 40 to 60 metres left
10 and right of the road. There were some trees there and
11 a couple of other burnt-out houses.
12 Q. When you arrived at the house with the burnt
13 bodies, could you explain to the Court what exactly you
15 A. Yes. At the house, we were originally -- we
16 were told about, the house was completely destroyed.
17 It was very close to the road. We walked through the
18 garden path, and on the steps was a -- what I thought
19 was a young male, quite small, or a small man, burnt
20 body on the steps. Just above him, just above the
21 first body was an adult, which was obviously a male,
22 again burnt. Around -- or the actual house itself was
23 totally destroyed, we had a look there, and we went
24 down into the cellar, which was immediately below the
25 first floor, and there was half a burnt animal, which
1 was a dog, it was quite obvious it was a dog, and a
2 large adult again -- we couldn't tell if it was male or
3 female -- and there was two other burnt-out bodies
4 which were quite small which we thought were children.
5 Again, we couldn't say if they were male or female.
6 The whole of the cellar was completely burned
7 out and black. However, the timbers that were holding
8 the cellar roof were all intact, again badly damaged,
9 and all the windows that were in the cellar were all
11 Q. Can you provide an opinion as to how you felt
12 that that damage could have possibly been caused?
13 A. Yes. I, in my expertise within the army, I
14 think that damage was caused by, like, a blast. The
15 blackness on the walls were only in part -- where the
16 wall had faced some sort of direct heat, and then two
17 feet next to the black patch of the wall was normal
18 wall where it obviously had no direct heat, and the
19 flames from the blast would possibly cause the
20 blackness on the walls.
21 Q. Can you tell the Court about how far away
22 this house with the burnt bodies was from the mosque,
23 from where you started to walk up?
24 A. It was a good couple of hundred metres. I
25 can't say exactly how far, but it was -- it wasn't far,
1 it wasn't too far at all.
2 Q. Was this place in a higher or lower position
3 than the mosque?
4 A. Slightly higher.
5 Q. Can you tell the Court -- you've explained to
6 the Court the damage that you saw in relation to the
7 houses on your journey up to the house with the burnt
8 bodies. Can you explain to the Court whether there
9 were any people around?
10 A. When we initially arrived, the place seemed
11 completely deserted until the walk up towards the house
12 with the burnt-out bodies, and I saw the first of two
13 people of the first visit, which was an adult lady and
14 a small child.
15 Q. Were there any other people that you saw in
16 the village that day?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Any people other than UNPROFOR and the press
19 and ECMM?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Where were those people?
22 A. Those people were sitting on a balcony in a
23 house on the left-hand side of the road as we were
24 walking up to the initial house with the burnt-out
1 Q. Was there anything significant about that
2 house in relation to the other houses that you saw as
3 you walked up the road?
4 A. Yes. This house stuck out the most because
5 it was untouched by any damage at all. Considering
6 there was meant to be a fierce battle in the area, I
7 was very surprised and taken aback that the house had
8 not received any damage at all.
9 Q. Can you tell the Court, provide the Court a
10 description of the structure of that house?
11 A. Yes. It was a large house with an apex,
12 triangular roof with like a square torso to the house
13 with two balconies within the house.
14 Q. Was the structure of that house significant
15 to you in relation to the other houses on the journey?
16 A. Yes, it was. One, because it was untouched
17 by anything, and secondly, it was because I saw the
18 lady and the child sitting on the balcony just taking
19 the day in as normal, or what I thought were acting
20 normal, as if nothing had gone on in the village of
22 Q. Did they motion to you at all for assistance?
23 A. No. They paid, as far as I saw, no attention
24 to us at all.
25 Q. Can you tell the Court, in relation to the
1 journey, when you first saw the woman and the child on
2 the balcony of this house?
3 A. Yes. When we had just gone out of the
4 vehicles, we started walking up towards this house
5 where the bodies were. I caught -- in front of me, I
6 caught the sight of the house, and then on the first
7 balcony was this lady and this child. They were in my
8 view for about two or three minutes, how long it took
9 me to walk towards that house, up to the house, and
10 beyond the house.
11 Q. Where was the house in relation to the road
12 as far as proximity to the road that you were walking
14 A. It was about 40 feet from the side of the
15 road, and the house -- it wasn't literally facing down
16 the hill, it was on a slight angle down the road,
17 facing the road, 'cause as I walked up the road, I
18 could just see -- I could see the whole of the front of
19 the house and slightly on the right-hand side of the
21 Q. Now, was this house closer to the mosque or
22 closer to the house with the burnt bodies?
23 A. It was closer to the mosque.
24 Q. You may have stated this previously, but
25 which side of the road was this house on?
1 A. It was on the left-hand side of the road.
2 Q. On the right-hand side of the road, can you
3 explain to the Court what there was?
4 A. Yes. There was a couple of trees and open
5 fields down towards -- going down the hill.
6 Q. About how close were you to this house when
7 you, in fact, walked past it?
8 A. From the closest point or the furthest point
9 over from the house at any stage was about 50 metres,
10 60 metres, and the closest point was as we literally
11 walked past it, which was about 40 feet.
12 Q. Now, since this day, since this day that you
13 visited Ahmici, have you ever seen this house again?
14 A. Yes, once, about --
15 Q. Go on.
16 A. Once about five months ago when the
17 investigators came to see me back in the UK, in
18 Colchester. I was asked to look through some
19 photographs to see if there was anything that I
21 Q. Can you tell the Court what you believe the
22 purpose of the interview with the investigators was?
23 A. As far as I was concerned, I thought the
24 whole investigation was to do with the house with the
25 burnt-out bodies on the steps and in the cellar,
1 et cetera, so I tried to concentrate my mind looking at
2 the photographs of that house and of the local area
3 around that house.
4 Q. When you said photographs were handed over to
5 you, can you tell the Court about how many photographs
6 were shown to you when you identified this house?
7 A. Yes. There was about a good couple of
8 hundred photographs overall, including two large lever
9 arch binders and a packet of loose photographs as well.
10 Q. About how many of those photographs were
11 photographs of houses?
12 A. The majority of the photographs were of
14 Q. When you saw the house that you recognised as
15 being the house with the woman and child on the
16 balcony, what did you say to the investigators?
17 A. I initially said that I recognised the house
18 from the village and I was sure within my mind that it
19 was the house I saw with the lady and small child on
20 the balcony.
21 MR. SMITH: Your Honours, I'd ask that
22 Exhibit number P32 be produced to the witness.
23 Q. Can you tell the Court, looking at P32 which
24 is on the ELMO in front of you, can you tell the Court
25 what that is a photograph of?
1 A. That is a photograph of the house I saw with
2 the lady and child on and also the photograph that I
3 recognise from the lever arch binders that I was shown
4 about five months ago when I was interviewed by the
5 investigators then.
6 Q. With the pointer, can you show the Court the
7 position that the lady and child were in relation to
9 A. Yes. The lady and child were in that area
10 there (indicating).
11 MR. SMITH: Your Honours, I assume that you
12 may not want P32 marked. I do have another copy which
13 I would like the witness to mark the location of the
14 woman and child.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
16 THE REGISTRAR: This photo will be marked
17 Exhibit 186.
18 MR. SMITH:
19 Q. Corporal Skillen, can you place the marked
20 exhibit on the ELMO and just restate to the Court on
21 Exhibit P186 what that red mark is?
22 A. That represents the area where the lady and
23 young child were on the balcony.
24 Q. After you visited the house with the burnt
25 bodies, what route did you take to go back down to the
1 junction of the village?
2 A. We came back the exact same route we walked
3 up. The main reason was we knew the road was clear,
4 obviously because we had just walked the route.
5 Q. You went back to the Vitez camp; is that
7 A. Yes, we went back to the Vitez camp to pick
8 up the ECMM officer and the members of the press.
9 Q. You said earlier on you attended back at the
10 village that day with the press and the ECMM monitor,
11 and can you tell the Court what you did when you
12 arrived back at the village?
13 A. Again, we came up the same route, turned left
14 into the village, stopped just before the mosque,
15 walked the exact same route with the ECMM officer and
16 the press until we got to the area of the house with
17 the burnt-out bodies.
18 Q. So you walked past the house that you
19 identified was the house with the woman and child?
20 A. Yes, we walked past the same house, exactly
21 the same route.
22 Q. Did you take notice of that house again when
23 you walked past it?
24 A. Yes. The main reason why the house stuck out
25 yet again was this time there was two adult males,
1 about 25, 27 years old, mid-20s, standing on the same
2 balcony just passing the time of day. Both of them
3 were wearing matching clothing/uniform, and one of the
4 adult males paid a little bit of attention to us for a
5 couple of moments by leaning both hands on the balcony,
6 leaning over slightly, looking towards us, and it just
7 seemed odd that, first of all, the house was untouched
8 and that there was people there who actually paid us
9 attention from the earlier visit when there was no one
10 paying any attention at all to us.
11 Q. Can you remember what position they were in
12 the house on the balcony in relation to where the woman
13 and child was?
14 A. Yes. One of the males stood near enough the
15 exact location as the lady and the child were, and the
16 other male was to his right by the other window, again
17 just standing around, passing the time of day quite
19 Q. Can you mark on the map which is on the ELMO,
20 Exhibit 186, with the blue marker, the position of the
21 other male that was standing to the first male's right?
22 A. Yes. (Marks)
23 Q. Can you explain those blue markings to the
25 A. Yes. That mark there next across is where
1 the one guy was who paid us a little bit of attention
2 by leaning on the balcony, and the other mark is where
3 the other guy was who was just passing the time of day.
4 Q. For how long did you have these two people in
5 your view?
6 A. Again, only for a couple of minutes; from the
7 time it took me to initially see them to walk up
8 towards the house, to the house, level with it, and
9 then out of my vision as we went beyond the house.
10 Q. So that the Court can identify the house
11 which you went to where the burnt bodies were, I would
12 ask that a video clip be shown, P4. It's about a
13 minute and a half.
14 (Videotape played)
15 MR. SMITH: Excuse me, Your Honour. Stop the
16 videotape. If we can stop the videotape and go back to
17 the beginning? The videotape wasn't showing on his
19 Q. Have you got the videotape now on your
21 A. No.
22 MR. SMITH: I'd just ask that -- apparently
23 it's on his screen now, but because it's stopped,
24 obviously it is not appearing. I would just ask that
25 the videotape go back to the beginning and it be played
1 again. Thank you. Perhaps whilst the videotape is
2 being taken back to the beginning, I can show some
3 photographs to this witness.
4 I would like to show you two photographs, and
5 can you tell the Court what they are of, please?
6 THE REGISTRAR: The photographs are marked
7 187 and 188.
8 MR. SMITH: Could you place P187 on the ELMO
9 first? Thank you.
10 JUDGE MAY: So that we could follow this
11 evidence, Mr. Smith, is this the same visit as Colonel
12 Watters was on or was it a different one?
13 MR. SMITH: In relation to Colonel Watters,
14 I'm not 100 per cent sure, but the video tape will show
15 a clip where Colonel Stewart visited the village at the
16 same time, and that will depict the date.
17 JUDGE MAY: It seems to be the same house,
18 although I'm not sure.
19 MR. SMITH: It is the same house.
20 MR. MOSKOWITZ: It is the same house, and I
21 believe -- if I might interpose, with the Court's
22 permission. If I recall correctly, Major Watters
23 talked about going to the village after Colonel Stewart
24 to double-check on what Colonel Stewart had reported.
25 So although it's the same day, it may, in fact, be
1 different visits but on the same day.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The date, I think, was the
3 22nd of April.
4 MR. MOSKOWITZ: That's exactly my
5 recollection, yes.
6 MR. SMITH:
7 Q. Looking at the photograph P187, can you
8 explain to the court what that's a photograph of?
9 A. Yes. That's the photograph of the house with
10 the burnt-out bodies that we were initially told of on
11 the first visit to Ahmici.
12 Q. And looking at P188?
13 A. Yes. Again, that's the same house, front of
14 the house, where the burnt-out bodies were on the steps
15 and on the porch.
16 MR. SMITH: I would now ask, Your Honours,
17 that Exhibits P22, P17, 18, 19, 20, and 21 are shown to
18 the witness.
19 Q. Looking at P22 can you explain to the Court
20 what that's a picture of?
21 A. Yes. That's the picture of the first body on
22 the steps at the front of the house.
23 Q. And then P17?
24 A. Again, that's one of the burnt bodies that
25 was at the house, that was on the porch above the
2 Q. And P18?
3 A. That's the cellar below the house.
4 Q. Can you explain the photograph in slightly
5 more detail?
6 A. Yes. That's one of the views we got as we
7 came into the cellar. It's -- we weren't a hundred per
8 cent sure if it was an adult or child, and we just saw
9 the burnt remains of what was a human body.
10 Q. Can you describe P19?
11 A. Again, that's the view from the cellar on the
12 clear-up of the deceased. I wasn't there when they did
13 the clear-up, but that is the view from, again, inside
14 the cellar.
15 Q. And P20?
16 A. Again, it's a view from the cellar of one of
17 the adult -- or what we thought was the adult body.
18 Again, it's on the clear-up day, but it's definitely
19 one of the views from the cellar.
20 Q. And P21?
21 A. Yes. Again, it's a view from the cellar of
22 one of the burnt bodies. Again, I'm not sure if it's
23 an adult, a small adult or small child, but it's
24 definitely the view of one part of the cellar that we
25 saw on our visit.
1 Q. Thank you. And just to be clear for the
2 Court, you weren't there at the time that the bodies
3 were, in fact, removed from the cellar?
4 A. No, that was on a different occasion and I
5 wasn't in the area.
6 MR. SMITH: I was wondering if we could show
7 the video. Thank you. P4.
8 (Videotape played)
9 MR. SMITH: That's all. The video can be
11 Q. Corporal Skillen, in relation to the first
12 part of the clip where it showed the house with the
13 bodies on the step and the cellar, is that the cellar
14 and the house that you visited?
15 A. Yes, that is the cellar, the house that we
16 visited in Ahmici.
17 Q. Sorry. In relation to the second part of the
18 clip, when Colonel Stewart was speaking to two men in
19 the car, can you tell the Court whether you were
20 present for that incident?
21 A. Yes. That was the day I was present in
22 Ahmici. The date I'm not a hundred per cent sure of.
23 However, that was the day Colonel Stewart stopped that
24 car, and I was about 10 to 15 feet away from Colonel
25 Stewart and the interpreter Dobrila at the time.
1 Q. In your statement that you made to an
2 investigator at the Tribunal, you have a date of the
3 16th and 17th as the date that you visited Ahmici. Can
4 you explain to the Court whether, in fact, you do
5 remember the date that you visited Ahmici?
6 A. No, I don't remember the exact date I visited
7 Ahmici. The reason that them dates are actually in the
8 statement is because we were initially told that that
9 was the dates everything was happening, because we
10 couldn't recollect the exact date, I went along with
11 the investigators who said, "Yes, that is the days that
12 the United Nations British soldiers were there."
13 Q. But certainly that incident with Colonel
14 Stewart signifies the day for you?
15 A. Yes, that was the day -- or date I was in the
17 Q. Can you explain to the Court briefly how that
18 statement was made and the time period that it was
19 taken, that it took to take it?
20 A. Yes. I was currently serving on operational
21 tour at the time with the British army, and it was a
22 case of two hours notice, change your clothing, jump on
23 a helicopter, fly to a certain point in the country
24 where we were working at at the time, because there's a
25 couple of Tribunal investigators want to speak to you.
1 It was a very quick interview, no more than 45 minutes,
2 half an hour, back on the helicopter and back to work,
3 as quick as that.
4 Q. How long did you spend with the investigators
5 when they spoke to you?
6 A. I'd say about -- no more than 45 minutes,
7 half an hour.
8 Q. Did you tell them everything you knew about
10 A. No, because I was led to believe that the
11 only concern was the house with the burnt-out bodies
12 and what happened when we initially got there, so
13 that's why we -- or I concentrated on seeing the
14 mosque, the school and the house with the bodies in.
15 Q. Have you seen a copy of the aerial photograph
16 that appears behind you?
17 A. Yes, once before.
18 MR. SMITH: I would ask that that be produced
19 to the witness. I would ask that the usher produce
20 copies of this to the witness.
21 THE REGISTRAR: The photograph will be marked
23 MR. SMITH:
24 Q. Looking at that aerial photograph in front of
25 you, can you explain to the Court the location of where
1 the vehicles were parked in the village of Ahmici?
2 A. Yes. There's a point on the map there just
3 before the mosque is where the vehicles were initially
4 stopped. I got out of the vehicles and walked up to
5 the house where the burnt-out bodies were.
6 Q. Is that point marked with a X?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Corporal Skillen, there will be evidence that
9 will be led in this case to the effect that the house
10 with the burnt bodies was in the area marked with the
11 circle. Do you specifically, yourself, know where that
12 house was in relation to the aerial photograph?
13 A. No. I'm not a hundred per cent sure.
14 Q. Assuming that evidence is true and proved,
15 can you tell the Court the route that you would have
16 taken to arrive at that house?
17 A. Yes. The route we took was a direct route
18 from the drop-off up towards the hill, and if that was
19 the area where the burnt-out house was, that was the
20 route we took, the only route we took, and the only
21 route we came back on on both occasions.
22 Q. Is that route reflected by the arrow?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In relation to the house that you saw with
25 the two uniformed men on it, and the woman with the
1 young child, on the first visit, have you seen that
2 house on video prior to coming to court?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Have you compared that video to the aerial
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Are you confident you can pick out the
8 general area of that house --
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. -- on the aerial photograph?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you put a ring on the photograph of the
13 general area that the house that you saw those people
14 in? Thank you.
15 A. Yes. The general area is there, that general
17 Q. And can you mark that exhibit with a circle,
18 of the general area where the house that you saw these
19 people was in?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you. Just referring back to the video
22 clip for a moment, there was an interpreter that was
23 interpreting for Colonel Stewart. Do you know that
25 A. Yes, I knew her quite well.
1 Q. Can you tell the Court what has happened to
3 A. Dobrila, the interpreter, she was killed, I
4 believe, on the tour of Op Grapple 1, coming out of the
5 interpreter's accommodation in Vitez. She was killed
6 by a sniper, I've been led to believe.
7 Q. Just a few last questions, Corporal Skillen.
8 Looking at the aerial of Ahmici but referring
9 to the journey that you took from the mosque to the
10 house with the burnt-out bodies on two occasions, you
11 had an opportunity to see the houses that you said were
12 destroyed along that road.
13 Are you aware, in your training, of the
14 general principles in the laws of war in relation to
15 combatants and how they should treat people and
17 A. Yes. All soldiers -- all British soldiers
18 are told from the -- from literally day one of
19 training, about civilians in battle. They are to be
20 literally avoided, and if they come in contact with
21 civilians, is to treat them with the respect that they
22 deserve. It's literally in the army -- or the British
23 army orders procedure, if you come into contact with
24 civilians and what to do and how to treat them.
25 Q. What is the principle in relation to civilian
1 property in war?
2 A. Again, we've been trained that if you do
3 need -- if you do come in contact with civilians and
4 their property, again we have always been told to avoid
5 it, and if we do have to use the civilian property for
6 any reason at all, we're to treat the actual property
7 with the utmost respect and as -- cause as little
8 damage to it as possible.
9 Q. In reference to the observations that you saw
10 between the properties between the mosque and the house
11 with the burnt-out bodies on both sides of the road,
12 can you say whether those principles were adhered to?
13 A. No, none of those principles were adhered to
14 at all.
15 MR. SMITH: No further questions, Your
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I wonder whether
18 we can start because we still have 15 minutes. Counsel
19 Pavkovic, can you tell us who is going to
21 MR. PAVKOVIC: Your Honours, I can inform you
22 that Counsel Borislav Krajina will be asking the
23 witness questions.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina, could you
25 start now? Thank you.
1 Cross-examined by Mr. Krajina:
2 Q. Witness, I just have several short
3 questions. Could you tell us, in greater detail, what
4 the time was when you went past the house that was
5 identified here and saw on the balcony a woman and
6 child? What time was that?
7 A. I cannot say the definite time. However, it
8 was in the morning, because the -- we went back to
9 Vitez to collect the press, the ECMM officer, and came
10 back in the afternoon. So I cannot recollect the exact
12 Q. Could you tell me approximately? Was it up
13 to 10.00 a.m., 11.00 a.m., noon, so we have some
15 A. No, I'm sorry, I can't.
16 Q. You can't?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Very well. Thank you.
19 Could you tell us the time you came by a
20 second time when you saw the uniformed individuals on
21 the balcony? When was that?
22 A. Again, I cannot give the exact time, but it
23 was sometime after 1.00 in the afternoon and before
24 17.30 in the early evening.
25 Q. Thank you. Could you please describe to us
1 what the woman looked like that you saw on the
2 balcony? You said you looked at her for about three
3 minutes, you stood watching her for about three
4 minutes. What did she look like?
5 A. I'm sorry, I can't describe exactly what she
6 looked like, because it was several years ago, and my
7 memory is not that perfect.
8 Q. Very well. Can you tell us, at least,
9 whether it was a young woman, a middle-aged woman, an
10 elderly woman?
11 A. I'd say, personally, she was not --
12 definitely not an elderly woman. She -- again, she was
13 not a very young woman, so she -- it's very difficult
14 to say.
15 Q. It's difficult to say. Very well. Do you
16 remember perhaps whether she had a scarf over her head,
17 or was she not wearing a scarf?
18 A. As far as my memory recollects, I can't say
19 if she was wearing a scarf or not, I'm sorry.
20 Q. Just one more question. Did you perhaps see
21 whether she was blond, or what did she look like? You
22 can see it; it wasn't a great distance.
23 A. Again, it was several years ago, and --
24 Q. Yes, yes, we know.
25 A. (Interpretation of question interrupts
1 answer) ... I can't.
2 Q. And nothing else. Very well. Thank you.
3 One more question: Could you tell us anything about
4 the child? Do you remember anything about what the
5 child looked like?
6 A. No, sorry.
7 Q. Was it a small child, a babe in arms, or was
8 it a slightly older child? You could have perhaps
9 noticed that.
10 A. Yes, it was a small child, but not a babe in
12 Q. How old would you say? Of course, you can't
13 say exactly, but about how old? Up to ten years old?
14 Twelve? Fifteen?
15 A. I'm not 100 per cent sure how old; however,
16 the child was, age-wise, I wouldn't like to say, but
17 height-wise, the child looked about three feet, two
18 feet? It was a small enough child to say "a small
19 child." I wouldn't want to say age or nothing because
20 I don't know.
21 Q. Just one more brief question: Was it a boy
22 or girl; do you remember?
23 A. No. I couldn't say. Definitely couldn't
25 MR. KRAJINA: No. Well, anyway, thank you
1 very much. I have no further questions.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Krajina,
3 for being so concise, to-the-point. I wonder whether
4 there are any other -- no defence counsel wishing to
5 cross-examine? So I wonder then whether Mr. Smith --
6 oh, yes.
7 Cross-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
8 Q. I also have a very short question: In this
9 part of the village that you saw, the part you passed
10 along the road in the upper part, were there any traces
11 of artillery fire on the houses?
12 A. No.
13 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Smith?
15 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honours. More of
16 a procedural matter. I would ask that Exhibits 186 and
17 189 be tendered into evidence. That's 186, 187, and
18 188 and 189.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: I assume there is no
20 objection to the witness being released.
21 Corporal Skillen, thank you so much for
22 coming here to give evidence. You may be released
23 now. Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
25 (The witness withdrew)
1 JUDGE CASSESE: I suggest that we rise now,
2 and we will reconvene at five to two. Five to two?
3 JUDGE MUMBA: No.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: No. All right, 2.00 sharp.
5 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 2.03 p.m.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Good afternoon.
4 (The witness entered court)
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Before we start, the Trial
6 Chamber would like to thank and commend Counsel Krajina
7 for filing these two documents which will no doubt
8 prove extremely helpful to the Trial Chamber, and we
9 wonder whether the other Defence counsel could do
10 likewise; in particular, if they could at some stage,
11 not necessarily tomorrow or this week, submit to the
12 Trial Chamber a sort of rough estimate of the number of
13 witnesses they may call in October-November or
14 November-December and the number of days or working
15 days their hearing may need. It would be of some
16 assistance to the Court in our planning, in our future
18 Having said so, I will now turn to the
19 witness to ask whether she could read out the solemn
21 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
22 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
1 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Mr. President, this witness
2 has requested protection measures for face and for
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, yes.
5 MR. MOSKOWITZ: At this time, I wish to hand
6 to the usher the next exhibit, a sheet of paper.
7 THE REGISTRAR: The paper is marked 190.
8 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, with the
9 surname, there is always a problem because of the "C"
10 it is with the accent, the accent above the "C." It
11 is just one, one tick, half a tick.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. The accent is on
13 the list we had been given handed by the Prosecutor.
14 MR. MOSKOWITZ: I apologise for omitting
15 that. It is my understanding that this should be
16 Witness P.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Moskowitz?
18 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 WITNESS: WITNESS P.
20 Examined by Mr. Moskowitz:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Witness P. Let me inform you
22 that you have requested protection measures and they
23 have been granted, so you can feel confident in
24 providing full and complete testimony here today. Do
25 you understand that? If you understand that, could you
1 say so?
2 I think we have a problem with the
4 Let's try that again. I want to inform you
5 that you have requested protection measures and that
6 the Tribunal has granted them for you so that you can
7 feel confident in providing a full and complete
8 testimony here today. Do you understand that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If I could ask you, when you speak, to try to
11 speak into that microphone which is right in front of
12 you so that we can all hear?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. That's better. During the course of your
15 testimony, it may be necessary to refer to some facts
16 that will require us to go into closed session so that
17 we can continue to protect your identity, and when that
18 occurs, you will hear me request the Tribunal to go
19 into closed session. When that happens, your voice
20 will not leave this room, so you can then continue to
21 feel confident to provide testimony here today. Do you
22 understand that?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, to begin with, could you tell us in what
25 year you were born? Could you tell us in what year you
1 were born, please?
2 A. I was born in 1974.
3 Q. In the year 1993, how old were you?
4 A. I was 19.
5 Q. Where were you living at that time, in early
7 A. In Ahmici.
8 Q. How long had you lived in Ahmici prior to
10 A. Since birth.
11 Q. Without at this time naming any names, could
12 you give us an idea of the composition of your
13 immediate family?
14 A. My father, two sisters, a brother. That's
16 Q. In what part of the village of Ahmici did you
17 and your family reside in early 1993?
18 A. In the lower part.
19 Q. Who were some of your closest Muslim
20 neighbours, and you can -- yes, some of your closest
21 Muslim neighbours?
22 A. (redacted) My Uncle was the closest
24 Q. Were there any Croatian neighbours nearby?
25 A. Yes, there were.
1 Q. Can you tell us who they were?
2 A. Yes, I can. They were Dragan Vidovic,
3 Gordana Vidovic, Mirko Vidovic, Vlatko Kupreskic.
4 Those were the closest neighbours.
5 Q. Now, I want to focus your attention on the
6 day of the attack in 1993. Do you remember that day?
7 A. The 16th of April? It was a Friday, I think
8 it was.
9 Q. Do you remember what you were doing early
10 that morning before the attack began?
11 A. I was awake because I was supposed to go to
13 Q. About what time in the morning do you think
14 that was, when you were awake getting ready to go to
16 A. It was about 5.00 or half past 5.00 in the
18 Q. And then what happened?
19 A. Shooting broke out from all sides. We went
20 out of the house and went down to the basement to my
21 brother who lived in the same house but one floor
22 below, and we were there up until about 8.00 a.m., and
23 then we left and went below the house through a
24 thicket, a wood, a thicket, not a dense forest, and we
25 went upwards to upward ground from where we could see
1 Vlatko Kupreskic's house, and in front of the house,
2 there were three to four individuals, soldiers, I don't
3 know, but when they saw us, they started cursing, they
4 started telling us to give ourselves up, and as we were
5 not standing, they began to shoot at us.
6 Q. Let me stop you there just for a moment. You
7 keep referring to "us." Were you alone or were you
8 with other people at the time you heard this cursing?
9 A. We were with other people.
10 Q. Were these other people members of your
11 family and other individuals?
12 A. Some were, some weren't.
13 Q. Were you proceeding or walking along in a
14 kind of order or a kind of column before you heard the
16 A. Yes, it was a kind of column.
17 Q. Now, did you, when you heard this cursing,
18 look over to see where the voices were coming from?
19 A. Yes, and I could see the three or four
20 individuals in front of Vlatko Kupreskic's house.
21 Q. Did you look for a long time or just very,
22 very quickly?
23 A. Quickly. It was all quick because there
24 wasn't time to look around and dilly-dally.
25 Q. Could you see or recognise anybody in that
1 group in front of Vlatko Kupreskic's house, from your
2 point of view?
3 A. No, I couldn't. It was all very fast. I
4 just cast a glance that way.
5 Q. Do you recall or could you see whether or how
6 these three to four individuals were dressed, if you
8 A. I don't know.
9 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Now, at this time, Your
10 Honours, I would request that the usher show the next
11 exhibit, and this may require, and I think will
12 require, us to go into closed session.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Let's go into a closed
15 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Thank you.
16 THE REGISTRAR: The photograph is marked
18 (Closed session)
13 Pages 2669 to 2732 redacted - in closed session
20 Whereupon hearing adjourned at 4.52 p.m
21 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 23rd
22 day of September, 1998 at 9.30 a.m.