1 Wednesday, 3rd of March, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.12 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-95-16-T the Prosecutor versus Zoran
8 Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago
9 Josipovic, Dragan Papic and Vladimir Santic.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning.
11 Mr. Blaxill.
12 MR. BLAXILL: Mr. President, Your Honours,
13 good morning. Defence counsel, good morning. Mr.
14 Vidovic, good morning to you, sir. Your Honours, it
15 may just assist you in anticipating the progress of the
16 morning, I think my conclusion of cross-examination
17 will occur within the next 30 minutes. If that's of
18 any assistance to Your Honours.
19 WITNESS: MILUTIN VIDOVIC (RESUMED)
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
21 Q. Mr. Vidovic, the first yes question I do have
22 to ask you as a matter of form, I think, is: Have you,
23 at any time since the court finished yesterday,
24 discussed your testimony with anybody at all?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Now, sir, if I may go back to the times when
2 you were awoken, because on the 20th of October, 1992
3 and again on the 16th of April, 1993, you say that you
4 were awoken at 04.00 hours on both of those occasions.
5 I believe that is correct.
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. Thank you, sir. The first time, I think, was
8 by Mr. Dragan Vidovic, the second time by Mr. Slavko
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, we have heard from witnesses in this
12 Chamber that a number of people, the first they knew,
13 say, on the 16th of April, was that they were woken up
14 by the firing, by the sound of explosions and gunfire,
15 and is it true that that occurred something like an
16 hour and a half after you were awoken that day?
17 A. Approximately at that time. Maybe a few
18 minutes afterwards.
19 Q. You see, we have heard here from a gentleman
20 you know, Mr. Ivo Vidovic, that, for instance, as a
21 village guard, he, in fact, was awakened only by
22 gunfire on the morning of the 16th of April. So can
23 you explain why you, as a village guard with limited
24 involvement, were chosen to be awoken so much in
25 advance of these actions on both occasions?
1 A. I don't know. I don't know why they woke me
2 up and why they didn't wake up Ivo. I think that
3 somebody woke up Dragan, they woke me up. We kept
4 waking one another in turn, so it's possible that
5 somebody came to Ivo's house later or perhaps he
6 thought he wasn't woken up.
7 Q. Now, sir, on the 20th of October you were, I
8 think, aware, were you not, of roughly what the problem
9 was because you had seen the barricades the previous
10 day. Is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So you knew, did you, that wherever any
13 conflict may be it would be in the region of those
14 barricades, if there was to be a conflict?
15 A. Probably, yes.
16 Q. I believe you told us yesterday, sir, that on
17 the 16th of April, however, you didn't know what was
18 happening, you just thought there might be some trouble
19 with the Muslims and you said you lacked information,
20 you didn't know what was happening. Is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. So on that occasion, with no knowledge of the
23 potential threat, you still performed the same actions
24 as you had in October. You got up, you did not send
25 your family to shelter, you simply went to the Sakic
1 house, the same position as before.
2 Now, can you comment, sir, as to why you took
3 no precaution, say, for your family, when on that
4 occasion you did not know what the threat was?
5 A. Well, precisely because I didn't know what
6 the threat was I didn't take any stronger steps to move
7 my family to Vitez or to another place, but at the time
8 I didn't even know where it was, the safest place to
9 put my family.
10 Q. Yet you say that, I believe, within a matter
11 of metres of your own home, the Vrebac house, there was
12 a strong shelter that was used that day by a number of
13 other people. Is that not so?
14 A. Yes. My family could have gone to that
15 shelter in under a minute.
16 Q. I'd like to move on to the time when you were
17 up near the depression in the ground, with the woods,
18 and you say you mounted guard in those woods, or around
19 near those woods with certain other persons; is that
21 A. Which conflict are you talking about?
22 Q. I'm sorry. I'm talking exclusively now about
23 the 16th of April, 1993.
24 A. We were at Niko Sakic's house. Behind his
25 house there is a barn and there's a little wood behind
1 the barn, and then around that wood behind Niko's house
2 towards Ahmici, we were standing there in groups of one
3 or two. The rest were standing by Niko's house.
4 Excuse me.
5 Q. Sorry.
6 A. I got confused with this first and second,
7 the 20th and the 16th of '93, the 20th of '92, because
8 the same things were happening to me at that time.
9 We, when the army had passed the people in
10 camouflage uniforms, when the masked men, when they
11 passed, after them Mirko, Zoran, Mica, I'm just
12 speaking briefly because it's easier for me, we don't
13 use our full names very often there. Dragan Vidovic,
14 Dragan Samija went to the little valley beneath the
15 Kupreskic house, to the left. You could see it, it was
16 on the road near Sakic's house, near the barn. I went
17 to Bijela Zemlja.
18 Q. Now, that group of people went into this
19 small vale or depression. I believe you described it
20 previously as being surrounded by trees. So they were
21 screened behind trees; is that correct?
22 A. The depression is surrounded by trees and
23 it's only three or four metres deep.
24 Q. Could you remind me, sir, as to what -- what
25 did you understand the purpose of that group being in
1 that depression? Were they on some form of guard?
2 Were they setting up some kind of defence? What were
3 they doing?
4 A. They left to that depression just as I did,
5 with the group of people in Bijela Zemlja to protect
6 the shelters, the women and the children.
7 Q. So in order to perform this protection, were
8 this group armed?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Were they all armed?
11 A. I'm not sure. Some were. I had a rifle.
12 Q. But I'm referring particularly to the group
13 that went into the depression or small valley. You say
14 they were armed as well?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, forgive me if I'm misunderstanding the
17 situation, but if these people were being in a
18 defensive situation, they were in a small piece of open
19 ground, were they, in that depression and then
20 surrounded by trees; is that right?
21 A. I couldn't say that the area was open. It's
22 protected by trees. It's a natural depression and you
23 couldn't see it until you got to the very edge of it.
24 Q. So for defensive purposes, if they are inside
25 the depression they would not see any enemy coming at
1 them until that enemy had fully penetrated the trees;
2 is that correct?
3 A. Practically, yes, unless somebody looked
5 Q. So, in fact, they were placing themselves,
6 were they not, in a very dangerous position to be a
7 defensive force, because their enemy would come upon
8 them and be able to fire upon them from the cover of
9 trees and they were in lower more open position? I
10 could use the expression like rats in a barrel. They
11 could be fired upon, could they not? Is that a good
12 defensive position?
13 A. Well, it's not a good defensive position in
14 my opinion, but those people were the not really
15 knowledgeable about military strategy, so they simply
16 placed themselves close to that shelter.
17 Q. To your knowledge of those people, had any of
18 them done their JNA service in the former Yugoslavia,
19 their national service, had any of them done that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So they were all, to some extent, minimally
22 trained, at least, as soldiers?
23 A. Yes, but it was a while since they had served
24 their military term of duty.
25 Q. So in this particular position I believe you
1 confirmed yesterday that it was possible for people to
2 leave that area and not to be seen by yourself because
3 of the surrounding trees and so forth; is that
5 A. From the place where I was, yes.
6 Q. And I believe you particularly stated that
7 anyone going in the direction of the Kupreskic houses
8 would not have been seen by yourself.
9 A. I didn't say that. Anybody passing on the
10 road from my house near Niko Sakic's house and going
11 towards the Kupreskic houses I could have seen them,
12 but from the depression itself, if somebody had left
13 and come back, probably I wouldn't have seen them
14 because I wouldn't probably have been looking in that
16 Q. If they had gone from the depression onwards
17 in the direction of the family Kupreskic houses, again
18 you would not necessarily have seen them?
19 A. Well, I wouldn't necessarily see them.
20 Q. So if, in fact, that group were just using
21 that depression or clearing as a kind of holding area
22 where they could come and going, but find some
23 temporary safety during the day, they could have done
24 so without your knowing necessarily; is that correct?
25 A. It's true, but I was -- I kept going to the
1 depression. I went there three times, so I was there
2 and I saw them every time that I went.
3 Q. On each occasion are you saying that each and
4 every person who was initially in that depression was
5 present, on each visit you made?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Were there any occasions that you observed
8 anybody, in fact, leaving that depression, perhaps
9 going down to the shelters to visit their families near
10 where you lived?
11 A. I could have seen it but I didn't. I didn't
12 see anybody.
13 Q. Just excuse me a moment, if you will, Your
14 Honour. I think at that juncture I can conclude my
15 cross-examination, Your Honours. So in fact I was
16 15 minutes adrift in my estimate.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Blaxill.
18 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
19 Re-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
20 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Good morning, Your
21 Honours. Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vidovic. You said -- would
23 you please clarify for the Court one thing: How was it
24 that in your shelter, in your house, the wife of Mirjan
25 Kupreskic -- sorry; Zoran Kupreskic's wife, Mirjana,
1 was brought, also Jasna Safradin was brought to your
2 house? As you said, your family was there, and then
3 refugees of the two Didak families came. Could you
4 please tell us why these people came to your house?
5 A. The wife of Zoran Kupreskic came to my house
6 with the children because I had directed them to come
7 to my house. We're best men; we know one another
8 well. His wife and my wife are good friends.
9 Why did the Didaks come to my house?
10 Probably because it was very crowded in the shelter at
11 Vrebac. There were probably a lot of women and
12 children, and the accommodation there wasn't the best
13 possible. The house was close, it was very close to
14 the real shelter. Jasna Safradin and her daughter were
15 also there, across the street from my house. They were
16 frequent guests. So ...
17 Q. Did they come there to seek shelter?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So was your house treated as a safe place
20 regardless of the fact that it didn't have a cellar?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is your house well built, solidly built? Is
23 it a new house, and old house?
24 A. My house is a new house. It's built from
25 hard, solid material, from concrete. It has concrete
1 columns, so it's very well built. It can resist
2 shelling, even.
3 Q. Did people use to seek shelter in your house
4 on other occasions before the conflict, between
6 A. Yes, they would seek shelter at my house
7 later. When Buhine Kuce fell, other families would
8 also come to my house, and they remained for a couple
9 of months.
10 Q. So your house was well built, and you took it
11 to be a safe refuge?
12 A. Yes. It was away from the firing lines,
13 about five -- 700 to 1.000 metres. It was sheltered
14 somewhat by a couple of other houses, by trees, and so
16 Q. What nationality were the -- were your
18 A. Generally they were Croats.
19 Q. You also said -- how many Muslim families
20 were there close to you?
21 A. There was the Podojak family, the family of
22 Ramo Bilic, his brother Zijad. They lived in one
23 house, and one was living on the ground floor, the
24 other was living on the first floor. And also their
1 Q. So the others were then of Croatian
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You described these events in the morning of
5 the 16th, so it was the second conflict, or the start
6 of the war in the Vitez valley; so could you please
7 tell us -- you woke up at about 4.00 a.m.?
8 A. Yes, I was woken up at 4.00 a.m. I got
9 dressed. At about 10 past 4.00 I left the house. I
10 passed by my brother's house, which is in the same
11 direction as Niko Sakic's house; it's about 20 or 30
12 metres away from my house. I tried to wake up my
13 brother, but he wasn't home, so I started walking down
14 the road. I met Anto Vidovic and Ivica Vidovic.
15 Q. You were leaving, you were going towards the
16 Sakic house, then you went to Niko Vidovic's house?
17 A. Yes, I was there maybe at around 20 past 4.00
18 or 4.30; something like that.
19 Q. Your neighbours were there, and then the
20 neighbours of Niko Sakic; is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Then you saw Zoran and Mirjan with their
23 families there; is that right?
24 A. Yes, at about 5.00 a.m.
25 Q. I notice that this wasn't entered in the
1 record yesterday: How many children did Zoran bring?
2 A. Two children.
3 Q. What about Mirjan?
4 A. Mirjan also brought two children and his
5 mother-in-law, who was ill. She was staying with them
6 because -- she wasn't staying at her place, because she
7 was alone there.
8 Q. How did he bring her?
9 A. He was -- he put her in a cart, a
11 Q. So he was taking her in the wheelbarrow?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So they went in the direction of your house,
14 and you also said that you talked to Zoran?
15 A. Yes, I -- we stopped and talked, and I told
16 him to take his family to my house.
17 Q. After that, the group of soldiers came that
18 you've described. And which way did the group leave?
19 A. They left on the road to the depression,
20 towards the Kupreskic houses, towards the house of
21 Vlatko Kupreskic.
22 Q. So in the direction of the Kupreskic houses?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is there a road there?
25 A. Well, there isn't a real road; it's like a
1 path. I used to go to school in Ahmici, so -- the road
2 stopped at the Kupreskic house, but there is a path
3 that led through the fields.
4 Q. After that, you saw -- after that you said
5 that you saw Mirjan and Zoran coming back; is that
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. After that, where did they go exactly, and
9 who did they go with?
10 A. They went to the depression with Mirko Sakic,
11 Dragan Samir, Dragan Vidovic, to the depression, on the
12 left side. When you enter there, you can enter
13 straight ahead, but you can enter from the left or from
14 the right. They entered from the left. They were just
15 below the barn of Ivica's father, at the upper left
16 part of the depression.
17 Q. At the time when they left, was there already
18 shooting then, or not yet?
19 A. When they were leaving there was no shooting,
20 but very shortly after that, the shooting started, and
21 then we hurried as well. Somebody was missing
22 something, Anto Brnada, but I waited for them. Their
23 houses were right there across the street from Niko
24 Sakic, so I stayed on the road at Niko Sakic's house,
25 and then I saw Zoran when he was coming back again with
1 Didak's family.
2 Q. When you say he was coming back, you mean he
3 was walking along the road towards your house again?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. So this is the road that leads to Santici?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. When the shooting started, when the first
8 shots were heard, where were you, and what time was it
10 A. I was between the houses, on the road towards
11 the position which I described in Bijela Zemlja. I'm
12 not sure exactly what time it was, but it could have
13 been 6.00 already.
14 Q. Could it have been earlier? Could you tell?
15 A. No, I can't really tell.
16 Q. You didn't see Zoran when he came back from
17 Santici, the second time, when he took the Didaks?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Could you see the four of them in the first
20 part -- Zoran, Mirjan, Vidovic, and Shamir -- could you
21 see them in the depression, and as you described, could
22 you see where they were positioning themselves beneath
23 the barn?
24 A. Yes, and I could see Sakic as well.
25 Q. The next time that you came back -- you said
1 you came back twice in the course of the morning?
2 A. Yes, at about 8.30.
3 Q. Did you find them in the same place in the
4 depression where you saw them then?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Regarding the choice of the depression which
7 the Prosecutor asked you about, do you know if the
8 depression was used during the time of the JNA? Was it
9 ever used during exercises as a natural shelter? Do
10 you know this?
11 A. No, I don't know.
12 Q. Regarding the choice of your location and
13 their location --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. -- was this exclusively your choice, or their
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did anybody at any time say that they should
19 take a different position, a better position, or that
20 they should position themselves in a different way?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Where -- what were the parts of the -- the
23 outlying parts of the village that were being shot at?
24 I'm talking about the part towards Pirici.
25 A. The edges of the village were exactly along
1 the road towards Ahmici from that other side, from the
2 Kupreskic houses, up around the mosque. And then the
3 lower parts of the village, also, you could hear
4 shooting from there.
5 Q. Tell me, did you ever see Mirjan and Zoran
6 Kupreskic in uniform until the 16th of April, 1993?
7 A. No.
8 Q. What did they wear that day? Do you recall?
9 A. Zoran had a jacket that was too big for him,
10 because he is of slight build. He also had civilian
11 clothes. He had shoes that were too big for him.
12 Mirjan wore civilian clothes. I remember that he had
13 white socks on, woollen socks. He wore civilian
15 Q. In view of the small problems we've had with
16 the transcript, could you please tell us once again:
17 When Zoran Kupreskic went down into the depression with
18 Mirjan, after they came back, after what period of time
19 did you see Zoran walk away with the Didaks?
20 A. A few minutes later; two or three minutes
22 Q. That is to say, immediately after they went
23 down; right?
24 A. That's right.
25 Q. And where did you see the Didaks? With
1 Zoran, or did you see them before?
2 A. With Zoran. When they were getting out of
3 the depression I saw them. They passed by me all
5 Q. All right. Thank you, Mr. Vidovic. No
6 further questions.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you,
8 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac. I have one or two questions.
9 Mr. Vidovic, you may be of great assistance to the
10 court by clarifying one or two points.
11 Now, you said that on the 16th of April, '93
12 you were woken up at 4.00 a.m., by a colleague, a
13 friend. I don't remember his name right now.
14 Now, when you were woken up, did you ask why
15 you were being woken up so early in the morning? Did
16 you ask for the reasons?
17 A. I was woken up by Slavko Papic. He was
18 banging at the door. I already mentioned that my
19 bedroom was upstairs. I opened the window, since I was
20 not dressed. I asked him, "What's up?" He said I
21 should get up and go on guard duty because there should
22 be quite a few of us who should be awake because
23 possibly there could be problems. There could be a
24 conflict, there is unrest, there was individual
25 looting. Everybody would have to get up for the sake
1 of their own safety.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You also said
3 that you spent about three days, I think, in that area
4 on the 16th of April. So, 16th, 17th, 18th of April,
5 if I understood you directly.
6 Now, my question is whether you, say, on the
7 16th or 17th of April, whether you saw any Muslim
8 troops or Muslim soldiers?
9 A. No. No, I could not have either. From the
10 place where I stood -- how should I put this? The
11 river bank is on the opposite side from me, so I could
12 not see Ahmici, and there are houses in front and
13 that's it.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Now, you -- did you
15 notice at sometime, say, either on the 16th or 17th,
16 any Croatian house being shelled, or destroyed or burnt
18 A. I know that a few shells fell in the area of
19 Zume, even in the field below my house.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, but I mean, did you
21 notice, after the 16th of April, that any -- there was
22 any Croatian house which had been, say, completely
23 destroyed by shelling or, say, had been set afire?
24 A. A house in Vitez was burned down, Gavro
25 Vidovic's house, and his sister's house was also
1 destroyed in Gornji Pirici.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you so much. Thank
3 you. I assume there's no objection to the witness
4 being released.
5 Mr. Vidovic, thank you for testifying in
6 court. You may now be released. Thank you.
7 (The witness withdrew)
8 (The witness entered court)
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Sakic, I presume? Good
10 morning, Mr. Sakic. Could you please make the solemn
12 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
13 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, you may be
16 seated. Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
17 WITNESS: MIRKO SAKIC
18 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
19 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you very much,
20 Mr. President.
21 Q. Good day, Mr. Sakic.
22 A. Good day.
23 Q. Could you please introduce yourself to the
25 A. My name is Mirko Sakic. I was born on the
1 3rd of January, 1960 in Vitez.
2 Q. Where do you live now? Could you tell us
3 your place of residence?
4 A. I reside in Vitez.
5 Q. And what about your education?
6 A. I am a technician in civil engineering. I'm
7 involved in civil engineering.
8 Q. Please, could you tell us what you did in
10 A. In 1992 I was employed in the public
11 utilities company Vitkom in Vitez. I was in charge of
12 the construction operations, and I was in charge of a
13 construction unit there.
14 I did that for several years. Specifically
15 in 1992, I was actively involved in several different
16 construction sites that we had at that time inter
17 alia. The last construction site I worked on was the
18 Road of Salvation between Gornji Vakuf and Uskoplje.
19 Q. Who did this? Who built this road?
20 A. All the municipalities from Central Bosnia
21 had their own parts. Zenica did one part, Novi Travnik
22 did another part, Travnik, Vitez and Busovaca did a
23 section jointly, fourteen and a half kilometres of that
24 road namely.
25 Q. When was this road being built?
1 A. This road was being built in mid 1992.
2 Q. Why; since you're on the subject.
3 A. This enclave was completely sealed off. The
4 road towards Konira was cut open because the Serbs were
5 there, and that was the only way supplies could reach
6 the population. That's why it was called the Road of
8 After that I worked there for a certain
9 period of time. The construction site closed down in
10 the second half of 1992. I went on leave because there
11 was hardly any work any more, and I started working in
12 Horizont, a construction company from Vitez, and at
13 that time, in the office of that company, there was the
14 humanitarian organisation, the UNHCR it was called.
15 This was in the second half of 1992.
16 Q. Did you start working for the UNHCR?
17 A. No, not then. No. No, not then. I started
18 working later for another -- another humanitarian
19 organisation, ERCM (sic), an American humanitarian
20 organisation that came in after the UNHCR, and I
21 started working for them at the end of 1992
22 officially --
23 Q. Sorry. Mr. Sakic, you are speaking very
24 fast. You really have to slow down, please.
25 All right. Could you tell us now what is
1 this organisation that you started working for, because
2 the transcript isn't correct either.
3 A. I started working for an humanitarian
4 organisation, an organisation called ERC.
5 Q. National Rescue Committee; is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you worked for them until when?
8 A. I worked for them until the end of 1995.
9 Q. Where did you live at that time in 1992?
10 A. At that time I lived in the village of
11 Pirici. That is the local community of Ahmici.
12 Q. Could you please point this out on the map,
13 where your house was?
14 A. Here (indicating).
15 Q. All right. And tell me who your Muslim
16 neighbours were, your closest neighbours.
17 A. My closest Muslim neighbours were Sulejman
18 Ahmic, who had a village house here, so to say. He
19 lived in town otherwise. Then the Bilics, three Bilic
20 families. One was abroad and two lived there. And
21 then the Bilic's were here, I think. Here. Here.
22 This is where they lived (indicating).
23 Q. And who were your closest Croat neighbours?
24 A. My closest Croat neighbours were here, Samija
25 Nikola, Grgic Drago, Pudza and Kupreskic. Four houses
1 of the Kupreskic family here. Over here. That's where
2 they lived (indicating).
3 Q. All right. Thank you. Please take a seat
5 What was the name of this part of the
7 A. The part that we lived in was called Zume,
8 the lower part. Zume practically included -- I mean,
9 part of two or three villages were called Zume
11 Q. Officially your village is Pirici; right?
12 A. Yes, yes. Officially it is Pirici. And my
13 house is practically 150 metres away from that border
14 to Ahmici, so to speak, as the crow flies, and that is
15 the barrier that divides these two villages.
16 Q. Did you take part in the village guards in
18 A. At that time I did not take part in village
19 guards in Pirici. That is to say that I had work duty,
20 and at the beginning of these village guards, this was
21 in 1992, the reason was immediate threat of war, war
22 that was getting nearer and nearer, and these were
23 people who were basically unemployed, because
24 practically everything had ground to a halt.
25 Later on I joined the village guard only
1 once, I think, because the people who were there were
2 complaining, and they said, "We were standing guard and
3 you were not," and so that's why I decided to stand
4 guard once.
5 At that time I started doing this a bit. I
6 can't remember exactly, but the Cheshire Regiment of
7 the British army of UNPROFOR arrived, and since I had
8 moved into Horizont I somehow managed to start working
9 for them to do something, so I was kind of busy.
10 Q. Did you have any weapons?
11 A. Yes. I had a revolver and I had a hunting
12 gun, and I had a permit, because after the fall of
13 Jajce I bought an automatic rifle because there were
14 weapons all over the place.
15 Q. Did you go to the frontline?
16 A. I did not go to the frontline. I never went
17 to the frontline. As -- I never went there as a
18 soldier but as a construction man, yes. Several times
19 I went was Novi Travnik, Slatka Voda and Mravinjaci,
20 where together with my construction unit I built
21 fortifications, some small fortifications or whatever.
22 Q. The positions that you mentioned, these were
23 positions towards the Serbs; is that right?
24 A. Yes, these were positions against the Serbs.
25 Q. Do you know anything about the first conflict
1 that occurred in Ahmici on the 20th of December (sic),
3 A. I can give my own view of this conflict and
4 the moment when I was there. As you know, the first
5 conflict was on the 20th of October in 1992, and for me
6 it started that morning, because before that I didn't
7 know a thing about it. Afterwards I heard that there
8 were some barricades on the road, and I came back from
9 work late and I wasn't aware of this.
10 On the morning of the 20th of October, around
11 4.30 in the morning, my father woke me up and he said
12 that I should go downstairs. I went downstairs, and my
13 children and my wife remained upstairs in the room. I
14 thought that this was again one of the false alarms
15 that had been happening for quite some time, because my
16 house is the only one that has a basement there, and it
17 was temporary shelter for all the neighbours when there
18 was this kind of an alarm, you see.
19 So I went downstairs and I wasn't really in a
20 hurry. I thought that this was one of these many
21 alarms, so I didn't take this very seriously, I must
23 Q. When you say that you didn't know about the
24 roadblock, that is to say that you didn't leave your
25 home on the 19th?
1 A. On the 19th I was in Vitez, in the town of
2 Vitez, all day. I came home in the evening.
3 Q. How come you didn't see the roadblock?
4 A. The roadblock is on the opposite side of the
5 road that I had taken, so I did not really have a
6 opportunity of seeing it. I just saw it only later,
7 after the conflict that occurred there.
8 Q. Then what happened? You said your father
9 woke you up?
10 A. Yes, my father woke me up around 4.30, and I
11 went downstairs and went in front of house. And in
12 front of the house our neighbours had already started
13 gathering, these are the Samijas, Nikola, Drago Grgic,
14 Grgic's family, some of the Pudzas. They were there in
15 front of the house.
16 I got out perhaps 10 or 15 minutes after my
17 father had awakened me. I went downstairs and these
18 families were there, and we were talking. We were
19 wondering what would happen. Truth to tell, we all
20 thought that it was a false alarm. We spent some time
22 Around 5.00 we heard some music and someone
23 speaking from the mosque. I cannot identify it
24 because -- because I didn't discern it. I didn't
25 understand it. Immediately after that, perhaps a few
1 seconds after that, I heard a double detonation, and
2 then after that there was deadly silence, and my family
3 went downstairs immediately. Everybody went down in
4 the basement.
5 We stood there in front, practically not
6 knowing what was going on. We didn't even know what we
7 were waiting for. We were waiting for something to
8 happen, but I don't know. I don't know how to say
9 this. We were, truth to tell, quite confused.
10 Q. You said that these families were going to
11 the shelter, the neighbouring families?
12 A. Yes. All the neighbouring families went to
13 the shelter. We were standing in front there. We
14 maybe remained there for an hour, an hour and a half.
15 Q. When you say "we," you mean the men?
16 A. Yes, of course. So we were standing there in
17 front. Then after a while, maybe at about 6.30, you
18 could hear a lot of shooting from the direction of the
19 cemetery. So the neighbours from Zume at that time
20 came to us to see if we knew anything about what was
21 going on. Zdravko Vrebac was there, Pero Jelic,
22 Milutin Vidovic, Dragan Vidovic, and some others that I
23 can't remember now.
24 They came, and then somebody said, "Well, the
25 Kupreskics are not here." We were standing close to my
1 garage, next to my house, and then Zdravko Vrebac, and
2 Milutin Vidovic, and Dragance Vidovic went towards the
3 Kupreskic houses. Then a few minutes after that they
4 came back with their families. Zoran, Mirjan were
5 there, their wives, and the children.
6 They went in the direction of Zume, and then
7 later I heard, when they came back, that their children
8 and their wives went to Zoran -- Zoran's and Mirjan's
9 sister's house. Her name was Zorica Rajic.
10 Q. Did they come back?
11 A. Yes, of course they came back. And we were
12 all there, in the depression.
13 Q. So where did you position yourselves?
14 A. We went to the depression between my house
15 and the Kupreskic houses. It's a natural shelter.
16 Q. Could you please show us on the aerial
18 A. Yes. (Indicating). The depression is here.
19 On all sides, it's surrounded by woods. There was a
20 forest above that, but now that's been cut, so there is
21 just some shrubs there now.
22 During the former Yugoslavia, the depression
23 was used as a place where all the citizens would gather
24 in case of any kind of emergency, because it was safe
25 from firing. It could not be penetrated by fire.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 So what happened on that day? You were
3 there, the neighbours were there; did you participate
4 in anything?
5 A. Absolutely none of the neighbours. There was
6 no shooting in this section. You could only hear
7 shooting from the direction of the cemetery.
8 Q. Could you see anything else? Were there
9 burning houses? Could you see that anything else was
10 happening in the village?
11 A. The shooting went on until the afternoon
12 hours. During that time, the majority of the Muslim
13 population from the lower part of Zume passed along the
14 road. I can indicate it on the map. They went on the
15 road towards upper Ahmici.
16 Q. Yes, could you please show us the road.
17 A. Along this road. (Indicating). The
18 population -- the entire population from here took this
19 road. I don't know if it was everybody, but you could
20 see this road from my house, so I could see that they
21 were passing.
22 Q. What time did you see them passing? When was
24 A. I think that they started in the first half
25 of the day. I can't remember exactly.
1 Q. So this was the Muslim population; that's
2 what you said?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Where were they going?
5 A. I could see them passing along here.
6 (Indicating). I couldn't see any further than that.
7 There's a hill there, and then the road goes around, so
8 that they probably passed that way, but I couldn't
10 Q. Thank you.
11 After the shooting stopped, did the situation
12 calm down in Ahmici? Did the Muslims come back?
13 A. The shooting stopped in the afternoon. Only
14 after three or four days did people come back to their
15 homes. The Kupreskics came back to their homes around
16 that time, so at the same time that the Muslims came
17 back, the Kupreskics came back.
18 Q. Do you know why they didn't return earlier?
19 A. Well, probably they were afraid; of course,
20 they were afraid. We were all afraid of the
21 possibility of the conflict's escalating and spreading
22 to the rest of the village.
23 Q. Were any meetings being held in order to calm
24 the situation down?
25 A. A couple of days after the conflict, there
1 was a meeting in the elementary school in Ahmici which
2 was attended by the majority of the population there,
3 mostly men, both from the Croats and the Muslims. And
4 then there were Ivica Santic and Pero Skopljak as
5 representatives of the Croatian part of the
6 municipality. I wasn't at the meeting, but my father
7 told me, who attended the meeting, that they discussed
8 ways to calm down the situation. So in order to
9 prevent the escalation of the conflict which had
10 happened near the cemetery.
11 After that, I think even some decisions were
12 made in order to compensate people for damage caused
13 during the first conflict. One of the houses of Mehmed
14 Ahmic Sudjuka burned, and then a few business
15 facilities, I think: One that belonged to Miro Josip,
16 and then a couple of other facilities. I don't know
17 who the owners were. I didn't see any documents, but I
18 heard that such a decision had been made, to help them
19 with construction material in order for them to repair
20 the damage.
21 Q. So the purpose of the meeting in the school
22 was to calm down the situation and to prevent
24 A. Yes. The purpose of the meeting was
25 primarily to prevent any kind of escalation and to try
1 to restore the shaken confidence and trust. Then, as
2 far as I know, it was also agreed at the meeting to try
3 to establish joint village guards again. But I think
4 that after that, a couple of days afterwards, this
5 really stopped functioning.
6 Q. Could you please tell us what your father's
7 name is?
8 A. My father's name is Mirko Sakic -- Niko
10 Q. Do you know who took part in the meeting from
11 the Muslim side? Who took part in the actions which
12 were undertaken for the purpose of reconciliation?
13 A. I don't know, unfortunately. I think there
14 were some leading people from the -- officials from the
15 municipality, but there was a lot of people from the
17 Q. How much did the situation change in the
18 relations between Muslims and Croats since the first
20 A. Since the first conflict, many things
21 happened. Three or four days after the conflict, Jajce
22 fell, and then a large number of people came to Vitez.
23 There were a lot of refugees. There was a lot of
24 distrust; there was a lot of weapons. You could sense
25 the insecurity. The majority of the Croats from Jajce
1 continued on towards Tomislavgrad; a very small number
2 remained in Busovaca. A part of the Muslims also
3 continued on towards Zenica, and some remained in Vitez
4 and in the neighbouring villages.
5 Q. Were there, at the end of '92 and '93, and
6 between those two conflicts, were there any occasions
7 where there was a kind of emergency among the
8 population? Were there situations when Muslims or
9 Croats had to flee their villages, go to some other
11 A. Yes, there were constant alerts. This
12 atmosphere was charged with insecurity. Every day you
13 could hear detonations from the direction of Travnik.
14 People constantly were coming from the front lines.
15 Muslims were going to the front lines towards Kercici
16 (phoen). They had regular shifts. All the people used
17 to come and they would bring different information, so
18 there was a lot of insecurity. There were false alarms
19 quite often, when -- this happened at least four or
20 five times, probably even more than that, when people
21 would come to the shelter at my house expecting that
22 something will happen, an attack, which never
24 Q. You said that you worked for the IRC, the
25 International Rescue Committee, the international
1 organisation which had headquarters in Vitez at the
3 A. Yes, that's right. At the time -- so on the
4 15th of February, I had officially started to work. I
5 was accredited to work for the IRC. I was an engineer
6 in the field; I travelled.
7 At the time, the organisation, the IRC, and I
8 went together with them to Trnovo. This is a town
9 towards Gorazde. And we formed a refugee camp there
10 called Grebak, which was 20 kilometres away from
11 Gorazde. Then in Vitez, the company that I worked for
12 would make housing for the refugee camp. So we would
13 assemble these housing units in the refugee camp.
14 After that, we built six more such
15 facilities, which were very easy and quick to build,
16 and they were very easy to transport.
17 Q. I wanted to ask you if the IRC, before the
18 first conflict, moved from Vitez, and where did it go?
19 A. At the beginning of the year, the UNHCR had
20 moved to Zenica, because it had a lot of new people
21 coming in, a lot of new staff. So they moved to Zenica
22 because they needed more space. But the IRC remained.
23 IRC moved from Vitez to Zenica on the 15th of March,
24 and they did it quite hastily. I know this because a
25 friend of mine who was working there was trying to
1 reserve space in the kindergarten in Zenica. And then
2 after that, everybody left for Zenica.
3 Q. Was the departure of the IRC influenced by
4 the bad security situation?
5 A. Well, I don't know that. I remained as an
6 associate of theirs in Vitez, and then after that I
7 went to Gorazde together with them. Once more, I don't
8 know why they left. I don't know the reason.
9 Q. What were you doing before the second
10 conflict, so on the 15th of April,'93?
11 A. Two or three days before the second conflict,
12 we had just completed the construction of some housing
13 units that I mentioned, the six housing units, and they
14 were loaded on to IRC trucks in Vitez. Then for Friday
15 morning at 6.30, I was supposed to be at Kaonik, and I
16 was supposed to go to Trnovo.
17 On Thursday I went to work. I worked late,
18 maybe until 7.00, 6.00 or 7.00 in the evening. I came
19 back home, and I meant to get ready to go to Grebak the
20 next day. My father told me that the family of Ivica
21 Kupreskic had just come back from Germany, so since
22 they were away, Ivica's wife had been away as a refugee
23 for a year in Germany. A few days before that his
24 children had come back. So I went to see them; they're
25 close neighbours of mine. I went to see them at around
1 8.00 in the evening, to see them, to have a little chat
2 with them, because there were stories going around that
3 you couldn't go in or go out of the valley.
4 Q. Could you please show where Ivica Kupreskic's
5 house is?
6 A. (Indicating).
7 Q. What other houses are there besides his one?
8 A. This is Ivica Kupreskic's house; this is his
9 brother Josip's house; then Branko Kupreskic's house.
10 This is the old house of -- Ivo Kupreskic house. There
11 are a few farm buildings here, then Zoran Kupreskic's
12 house is here, and then this is Mirjan and Anto
13 Kupreskic's house.
14 Q. So that part -- that is where there were
15 exclusively homes belonging to the Kupreskic family?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. You can sit down.
18 So you went to visit Ivica Kupreskic; what
19 relation is Ivica Kupreskic to Zoran and Mirjan
21 A. They are cousins. We got there, we were in
22 the basement of his house. There were a few of us
23 there: Ivica Kupreskic, there was his wife, I was
24 there, Mirjan was there, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko
25 Kupreskic, Miroslav Pudza; I think that the late Miro
1 Vidovic was also there. So there were a few neighbours
2 there. Ivica's wife had brought something for us to
3 drink, and we were drinking, and then at about 10.00 I
4 said, "I have to leave early in the morning to Trnovo,"
5 so I left. I went home.
6 Q. So what did you talk about? What were the
7 news that day?
8 A. That day, Zivko Totic was captured in Zenica
9 and four members of his escort were killed. So I heard
10 that while I was in Vitez in the afternoon. And we
11 were commenting, discussing that.
12 Q. What else did you talk about?
13 A. Well, we also discussed ordinary, everyday
14 things, how their trip was. This was what we were
15 interested in the most, because I didn't know what the
16 situation was.
17 Q. So you didn't know what the situation was on
18 the road. You were interested in if they were
20 A. Yes, this is what we were really interested
21 in, because there was talk that you couldn't pass at
22 all. So Ivica managed to pass in a way known only to
23 him, so this is what we were discussing.
24 Q. You said that you went home in order to
25 prepare, because you were going to Grebak the next day?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So then what happened?
3 A. I went home, I went to sleep. I simply went
4 home. My father woke me up again at around 4.30, and
5 again he said there'll be some kind of alert. I didn't
6 really take this seriously, because these false alerts
7 were continually happening.
8 So I went outside in front of the house. The
9 neighbours were gathering there already in front of the
10 house. These were the Samija family, Nikolic Drago's
11 family, then my father's family. I didn't even call my
12 wife and my children to come downstairs. They were
13 still asleep. Then there were neighbours. Miroslav
14 Pudza was there. Other neighbours were gathering in
15 front of the house. All of the closest neighbours who
16 usually would collect in front of the house.
17 So we were standing in front of the house
18 just talking back and forth, "This is probably just
19 another false alarm." We remained there for some time,
20 and then the family of Dragan Vidovic came, and also
21 the family of Stipan. His father, his family too came
22 to the shelter. Then around that time, at maybe
23 5.00 a.m., Zoran Kupreskic passed along the road with
24 three children and his wife, Mira Kupreskic, and right
25 behind him there was Mirjan Kupreskic who was -- who
1 was pushing his mother-in-law, his wife's mother, in a
3 Q. Why was he pushing her in a wheelbarrow?
4 What was wrong with her?
5 A. She was paralysed. She was living with them
6 at the time. She was paralysed. And she was holding a
7 bag in her lap. His wife, Ljubica, and two children
8 was walking behind them. She was carrying one child
9 and the other child was walking, and they went in the
10 direction of Zume.
11 Q. Who was in your house at the time?
12 A. All the families that I mentioned stayed in
13 my house, the family of late Drago Grgic, Nikola
14 Samija, the family of Stipan Vidovic, the family of
15 Dragan Vidovic, my brother's family, my wife, my
16 mother. So all the people who were in the neighbouring
17 houses, they all stayed at my house.
18 Shortly after Zoran and Mirjan had left in
19 the direction of Zume, maybe five or ten minutes after
20 that a group of about 25 or 30 armed men appeared.
21 Q. Where were you standing then?
22 A. We were -- we were --
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, we could
24 stop here because this will go on for some time. So we
25 could take the break now.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. We'll take a
2 break now.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
6 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
7 Mr. President.
8 Q. Mr. Sakic, may we go on? You said a group of
9 25 to 30 armed soldiers came.
10 A. Yes. The group of armed soldiers in full
11 military equipment came by. They had camouflage
12 uniforms, some were wearing black uniforms. They were
13 fully armed with automatic weapons. Most of them were
14 carrying the RPGs, rocket launchers. Some of their
15 faces were covered with paint, dark paint.
16 Q. Did you recognise any of them?
17 A. I recognised one man who was a large man.
18 That was his characteristic. That was Mirjan Santic.
19 I recognised him because he's a very large man. His
20 face was not covered with paint. There was an unusual
21 detail that I noticed about him. It was a blue scarf
22 that he was wearing around his neck. That's how I
23 recognised him.
24 Q. Could you conclude on any basis which unit
25 these people belonged to?
1 A. It was very difficult to tell what unit they
2 belonged to, but a few of them had white belts, so I
3 could only assume that that could have been the
4 military police unit.
5 Q. Which way did they pass? Could you please
6 show us on the map? Which way did they come?
7 A. They came from the direction of Zume. That
8 is to say, this way (indicating). At the point when I
9 saw them, I was here (indicating). So that was the
10 group of people who were there. So that is where we
11 were, in front of my house.
12 Then we went behind my house, and there is a
13 farm building there and a garage, and we went towards
14 the Kupreskic houses, this way (indicating).
15 Q. Who went there?
16 A. This unit that had come went towards the
17 Kupreskic houses, through this part, this depression
18 (Indicating). What should I call it?
19 Q. How did you see them?
20 A. Well, from the place where we were, that is
21 this garage of mine, we could see them up to here
22 approximately, and then they moved towards the slope
23 there (indicating). So we couldn't see them after that
25 Q. All right. Thank you. Did you see any other
2 A. No, no other soldiers. I didn't see any
3 soldiers over there.
4 Q. As they moved towards these houses that you
5 called the Kupreskic houses, or in that direction -- is
6 that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What happened to you? What did you do then?
9 A. We stayed there by my garage, and we could
10 partly see that part of the road, for a few minutes,
11 five or ten, I cannot exactly remember. After that
12 Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic came and they joined us --
13 joined this group of people who were there from this
14 valley, from this other part, from this other
15 direction, from the Kupreskic houses. How should I put
17 Two women with children were walking down.
18 They were refugees. I didn't know them. They had
19 arrived there only recently and settled down in Branko
20 Kupreskic's house, and they asked Zoran Kupreskic where
21 he had taken his wife and children. He told them.
22 Because they did not know where this was, he took them
23 again in the direction of Zume. Mirjan Kupreskic, at
24 that time, was there with me.
25 Q. Where did you go after that? Did you stay by
1 the garage or did you move from there?
2 A. We only went down into this depression below
3 my garage. My garage is about 20 metres away from the
4 depression that I mentioned in my earlier remarks. We
5 went down towards this depression and that is where we
6 stayed. That is approximately a few minutes after we
7 went down into this depression. It could have been
8 about 5.30. And from several directions we heard
9 terrible small-arms fire. As soon as the shooting
10 started, Zoran Kupreskic went back, because he had seen
11 his wife (sic) off only partly. And he ran off. I
12 remember that --
13 Q. Sorry. Sorry. The translation is not
14 right. Who did he see off partly?
15 A. His -- the family Didak. He saw them off. I
16 didn't know them then. I think they still live up
18 Q. All right. So he came a few minutes after
19 the shooting started, is that what you said?
20 A. Yes. As soon as the shooting started
21 practically, he came from the direction of Zume and
22 joined us in this depression where we were all.
23 Q. Could you show on the big map the actual
24 place where this depression is? Where is this in the
25 forest that is by your house?
1 A. The depression is here (indicating). The
2 forest is here, tall trees, and there is a path, a
3 pedestrian path leading to the Kupreskic houses. And
4 we encountered this family over here, somewhere by my
5 garage (indicating). That is to say, from the garage
6 to here is about 20 metres. Then this is where the
7 depression starts, and then the depression is
8 approximately in this part over here (indicating).
9 That is practically this entire area.
10 Q. And that is the area in which you were at the
11 point when the shooting started?
12 A. Yes. That is the area where we all were, all
13 of us whom I mentioned before. So that was at the
14 point when the shooting started.
15 Q. Could you tell us exactly who went into this
16 depression? Tell us who was there when Zoran returned,
17 and then you went, and you also said that Mirjan was
18 with you. Who else?
19 A. In the depression, at that time, I was there;
20 Mirjan Kupreskic was there; Drago Samija, one of our
21 neighbours, that is. Then -- then Drago Grgic; then
22 there was -- I think, Dragance Vidovic was there too.
23 Then I think -- it's difficult for me to remember now
24 really all the people who were there.
25 Q. All right. Could you please sit down again?
1 Thank you.
2 In addition to this shooting that you heard
3 from several directions, was anything else going on
4 near this depression?
5 A. All of us were there. All of us happened to
6 be there, and Zoran came and said, "My parents went
7 by," and he said, "They practically didn't help me and
8 my wife at all to take the children. They ran away on
9 their own because they were terrified." That is a
10 characteristic detail that I remember vividly.
11 We went up to the depression, to the top of
12 the depression by the Kupreskic houses, and at that
13 moment near us, in another small depression, a small
14 mortar shell fell in there, and we had no war
15 experience whatsoever, and it fell very close to us and
16 we froze. For quite some time we did not move for a
17 millimetre. We didn't dare breathe. How should I put
19 Q. Could you please explain to us why -- why did
20 you go to this depression? What was the reason why you
21 stayed there?
22 A. As I said a few minutes ago, the depression
23 itself is natural shelter, and since all our families
24 were -- I mean, at my house there were already so many
25 families, and then there were so many other families
1 that could not fine a place to stay, and we simply
2 reacted in the customary way. We had to be nearby. We
3 didn't know what was going on. Our families are there,
4 there's shooting. We were confused, we didn't have any
6 I should say that they did this
7 instinctively. We lived there. This is 30, or 40 or
8 50 metres away from my house. It was only logical to
9 stay in that depression.
10 Q. Could you see from that depression what was
11 going on in Ahmici?
12 A. As I said, we could hear shooting from
13 several directions. From the Kupreskic houses we could
14 hear strong small-arms fire, and also from the cemetery
15 we could hear strong small-arms fire, and also from the
16 direction of the elementary school we could hear strong
17 small-arms fire. From that place, the place where we
18 were, we were naturally protected there, and we were
19 quite lower than the rest of the terrain over there.
20 About 15 minutes afterward, we saw the first
21 smoke that was coming up from the direction of the
22 Kupreskic houses. During the day the smoke spread and
23 we saw it in Donja Zume later.
24 Q. Did you see the houses that were on fire or
25 did you only see the smoke?
1 A. From the place where we were, we could not
2 see which houses were on fire. However, the smoke was
3 very strong, and over there it was the smoke from the
4 direction of the Kupreskic houses.
5 At that time I could not see. Absolutely no
6 one could see the houses from there. We could only
7 judge by the direction that it must have been those
9 Q. I would like to ask the usher to give these
10 photo files to the court and the Prosecutor.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D85/2.
12 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
13 Q. Mr. Sakic, could you tell us what is depicted
14 in these pictures? What can we see on these pictures?
15 A. On the photograph that I'm looking at right
16 now is the depression that we were at during those
17 moments we mentioned a few minutes ago. And it goes --
18 Q. What are the houses that we can see on the
19 photograph, number 1?
20 A. This is the house of Drago Grgic and Nikola
22 Q. Could you please show us on the big map, on
23 the big aerial photograph, where these houses are, the
24 ones that you can see on photographs 1, 2, and 3
1 A. It is the houses over here that are at the
2 very edge of the depression that we were in.
3 Q. That is to say that these photographs were
4 taken --
5 A. These photographs were taken from this
6 direction; that is to say, from the Kupreskic houses,
7 and moving towards Ivo Kupreskic's house.
8 Q. All right. These are the houses that are at
9 Zume; is that right? Lower at Zume; right?
10 A. Yes, approximately.
11 Q. Thank you. Could you please have a look at
12 the other photographs.
13 Photograph 4: What does it depict?
14 A. Photograph 4 was also taken from the
15 direction of the Kupreskic houses, but along a
16 different path. It shows the road towards Pirici.
17 Q. Does Photograph 5 also depict this?
18 A. Photograph 5 also depicts this, but from a
19 different angle, from the direction of my house, or
20 rather my garage.
21 Q. All right. Could you just show us on the big
22 photograph, which is the part of Zume that we can see
23 on these two photographs, 4 and 5?
24 A. On photograph 4, it is this part.
25 (Indicating) It is this part that we can see, and on
1 photograph 5, we can also see this part (indicating),
2 but from a different angle. So it is this part up
4 Q. So that is actually on the right-hand side?
5 A. Yes, on the right-hand side when we look from
6 the direction of the Kupreskic houses.
7 Q. Photographs 6 and 7? Or rather photograph 6;
8 let's have a look at 6.
9 A. Photograph 6 was also taken from the
10 direction of my house, towards Pirici and towards the
11 beginning of the Kupreskic houses.
12 Q. That is to say that it is further off to the
13 right; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, further off to the right, towards here,
15 moving towards here.
16 Q. Photograph 7?
17 A. Photograph 7 -- photograph 7 was taken from
18 the exit out of the old mine directly towards the
19 Kupreskic houses. So the photograph was taken from
20 here (indicating) towards here. (Indicating).
21 Q. All right. The houses that you can see,
22 which houses are they? Could you tell us that? These
23 are the houses on photographs 7 and 8.
24 A. On photograph 7, we can see part of the farm
25 building that is the one owned by Ivo Kupreskic. And
1 the other building was not there at the time of the
2 conflict; it was built later. I don't know what it is.
3 Q. What building? The first one, that you can
4 see a bit more?
5 A. The one that you can see less is the one that
6 existed before. And this one here that I'm showing now
7 (indicating) was built subsequently, after the
9 Q. The other building is a farm building; is
10 that right?
11 A. Yes, it is a farm building.
12 Q. So from the place where you were, could you
13 see this building that did exist at that time?
14 A. We could only see the upper part of it; that
15 is to say, part of the roof. Not even the entire roof,
16 but part of the roof.
17 Q. And, please, could you take a look at
18 photographs 9 and 10 as well.
19 A. Photograph number 9 was taken from the
20 depression from Ahmici in the direction of the lower
21 part of the Kupreskic houses; that is to say that this
22 is this natural depression, and it also depicts a
23 forest in the direction of the lower part.
24 Q. Could you show us this on the map?
25 A. It was taken from down here, from the
1 depression, towards here.
2 Q. Photograph 10?
3 A. Photograph -- Photograph 10 shows from
4 another angle -- it's a similar photograph. That is a
5 photograph that was taken from here (indicating)
6 towards here; that is to say towards my garage, along
7 this line over here. (Indicating).
8 Q. And photograph 11?
9 A. Photograph 11 shows fully the path leading to
10 my house and my garage, so it was taken from here to
11 here, exactly leading to my house.
12 Q. That is to say the path along which you had
13 left; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The first building we can see here is your
16 garage; right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Photographs 12 and 13, please.
19 A. Photograph 12: This could be this forest
20 here. This forest over here (Indicating). And I think
21 that the photograph was taken from the forest, as if it
22 was taken here, by this edge, as if one went up here
23 (Indicating) by the edge and then took a picture of the
24 forest from this direction.
25 Q. We can see a house back there; can you tell
1 us which house this is? Because this was taken from
2 the direction of the Kupreskic houses; you can see this
3 from photograph 8, and has a little cross there which
4 shows the place where these pictures were taken from.
5 A. Could you please tell me what direction this
6 was taken from?
7 Q. From the direction of the Kupreskic houses,
8 towards your houses. There was a circle that was
9 made. Could you tell us ...
10 A. It is really very hard for me to tell. I
11 cannot -- I cannot tell for sure. No, no, I can't
12 really tell. No.
13 Q. Could this be the house of Rudo Vidovic, the
14 one that you can see in this direction?
15 A. Well, then, this was taken practically
16 through the forest, and possibly -- yes, possibly this
17 may be Rudo Vidovic's house. There would have to be
18 another depression here in front, and then only Rudo
19 Vidovic's house on the edge.
20 Q. All right. All right. Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel, may I ask you when
22 these photographs were taken?
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: This year. In January,
24 1993 -- I'm sorry: '99.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. So I imagine in
1 April '93, it was totally different; I mean, there was
2 no snow, probably, and the trees were different.
3 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Yes. It is not quite
4 certain as far as the snow is concerned in that part of
5 Bosnia; it is possible that there could have been some
6 snow even then, but not much of it.
7 Q. Do you remember, Mr. Sakic, whether there
8 were more leaves at the time?
9 A. On that day the weather was pretty bad, and I
10 think that the leaves were not fully developed yet;
11 they were just budding, if I remember correctly.
12 Q. With the exception of this one building that
13 was built on the side of the Kupreskic houses, has the
14 situation changed at all in the meantime?
15 A. As far as I know, nothing else has changed,
16 except for the forest, that was practically cut down
17 completely. The rest must have been the same.
18 Q. So that is to say that the forest is not as
20 A. That's right.
21 Q. Did you go from that depression, and when did
22 you go from that depression?
23 A. We remained in the depression for a while,
24 and then between 9.00 and 10.00, Zoran and I went to
25 see how our families were doing. We stopped by at my
1 house first. We went to the cellar; I saw my family,
2 and then the other families that I mentioned earlier.
3 Then we went in the direction of Zume.
4 Zoran, Mirjan and I went in the direction of Zume to
5 see where their families were, how they were settled.
6 One of the families was in the house of Milutin Vidovic
7 and the other family was in the house of the sister of
8 Zdravko Vrebac.
9 We went there, and then a little bit before
10 we came to the houses, we met Anto Vidovic, called
11 Satko, who told us that one of our acquaintances,
12 Fahran Ahmic, had been killed. Satko was very upset,
13 and Mica -- Mirjan Kupreskic literally started to cry,
14 because they played in the band together, and they were
15 practically inseparable.
16 Q. How did Satko know that? Did he tell you?
17 A. Satko told us that Fahran's mother -- we
18 called her Hasimovica -- that she was in one of the
19 Vidovic houses, that she had gotten there from her
20 house. So that's how he found out and then told us.
21 Q. Where did you go after that?
22 A. After that, we went to the house of Milutin
23 Vidovic; then we went to the shelter of Zdravko
24 Vrebac. We stayed there for a short time. And we were
25 quite shaken up by that news. We came back to my
1 house. It could already have been around 11.30 or --
2 10.30 or 11.00; I don't know exactly.
3 So we met Nikola Omazic by the garage, the
4 neighbour. He was a little -- he was slightly drunk,
5 and he told us that Mirjan Santic had been killed in
6 the direction of the Kupreskic houses, and that he
7 needed to go there. We asked him where, and he said
8 somewhere around -- close to the house of Ivo
9 Kupreskic, or thereabouts.
10 So then we passed through the depression, and
11 then we reached the upper edge of the depression.
12 Myself, Mirjan Kupreskic, Dragan Kupreskic, Zoran
13 Kupreskic, Stipan Vidovic; I think Dragance Vidovic was
14 also there. We went there, and then Nikola crawled up,
15 and he reached Ivo's house, and then Ivica Kupreskic,
16 and he brought Mirjan Santic's body -- they used a
17 ladder; they brought the body to where we were. And
18 then Dragan Vidovic, Stipan Vidovic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
19 Zoran Kupreskic, and Nikola Omazic placed him on a
20 ladder and they took him to my garage. We stayed
21 around the garage for a while, and then his father
22 came, and some relatives from the direction of
23 Santici. And then they took him, took the body with
25 Q. The Mirjan Santic that you mentioned, was he
1 a member of the military police? Do you know?
2 A. Mirjan Santic? Well, it's possible that he
3 was a member of the military police.
4 Q. Was he wearing a uniform?
5 A. Mirjan Santic was wearing a camouflage
7 Q. Were there any markings indicating to which
8 unit he belonged on that uniform, do you remember?
9 A. I can't remember. They all had light bands
10 on their shoulder. But I was in such a state that I
11 wasn't really curious; I didn't look. The only
12 thing -- and I mentioned this before -- a few of them
13 were wearing white belts. This was characteristic.
14 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Usher, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
17 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: (No translation)
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. Sakic, would you
20 please look at this document. It's an extract from the
21 registrar of deaths for Mirjan Santic. Place of death
22 is Santici; place of residence, Vitez Santici?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. The date of death is the 17th of April, 1993;
25 is that correct? Or is that wrong?
1 A. That is wrong. Mirjan Santic was killed on
2 the first day exactly of the conflict, at the Kupreskic
4 Q. Mirjan Santic lived in Santici; is that
6 A. Yes, he lived about 1,5 kilometres or 2
7 kilometres away from my house.
8 Q. Could you please look at this photograph;
9 it's on page 3.
10 Is this person in the second row, the first
11 photograph in the second row, is that Mirjan Santic?
12 A. Yes, this is Mirjan Santic.
13 Q. It says there that he was born on the 5th of
14 June in 1956 in Vitez that he's married, has two
15 children, and that he was in the military police from
16 the 16th of January in '93 and that he was killed on
17 the 16th of April in '93 in Vitez. Is this correct?
18 A. Yes, that's correct, that's what it says
20 Q. Okay. So regarding the place of death, you
21 know that he was killed at the Kupreskic houses?
22 A. Yes, he was killed there, for sure, and a lot
23 of people can confirm that.
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I would
25 like to explain something: This photograph and these
1 six photographs that are on the second page of this
2 document are photographs -- they were copied from this
3 book, the book is called "Three Years of Military
4 Police." I will use a few photographs from that book
5 today, and also some of the text from the book. The
6 Prosecutor is familiar with that document, because they
7 used extracts from the book in the Blaskic case. I can
8 provide the photographs for you to look at, to see, to
9 make -- so you can see that this photograph is in the
10 book and the text that I will be using are in the
11 book. I don't have the originals, but I have
12 translations of the text that I will be using.
13 I also want to say that parts of the book
14 were used in the Blaskic case as Prosecution evidence
15 P457, and they were admitted into evidence.
16 Now that we're talking about the book, you
17 mentioned Mirjan Santic. Could you please tell us if
18 you know whether anybody else other than Mirjan Santic
19 was killed in Ahmici on that day, among the Croats?
20 A. I know that Zlatko Ivankovic was killed on
21 the Croat side. I knew him well personally. He used
22 to work in my company through the Youth Alliance, and
23 his father was a foreman in my company.
24 His friend was also killed, Zepackic. They
25 were killed together.
1 Q. When you mentioned Zlatko Ivankovic -- could
2 the usher please take these documents?
3 THE REGISTRAR: Document D87/2.
4 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
5 Q. So this is also a death certificate; is that
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. This is the death certificate for Zlatko
9 Ivankovic. The day, the month and the year of death
10 are the 16th of April, 1993, place of death Ahmici.
11 Could you please look at page 3? The
12 photograph in the middle of the first row, is that
13 Zlatko Ivankovic?
14 A. Yes, this is Zlatko Ivankovic, son of Ilija.
15 Q. And you heard from his father; is that right?
16 A. Yes, I heard from his father maybe a couple
17 of days after it happened. It is also stated in this
18 document, on page 3, that he was a member of the
19 military police from the 3rd of January, '93, and that
20 he was killed on the 16th of April, 1993 in Vitez.
21 Q. And the photograph is also taken from the
22 book "Three years of the military police," that I
23 showed earlier.
24 You said that he was killed with another
25 person; they were killed together. What was the name
1 of that person?
2 A. I heard later that he -- that that was
3 Zepackic. I don't know the first name. His last name
4 is Zepackic. They practically died at the same instant
5 somewhere close to the Catholic cemetery.
6 Q. And you found that out later?
7 A. Yes.
8 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Would the usher please
9 take these documents?
10 THE REGISTRAR: Document D88/2.
11 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
12 Q. This another death certificate. The name of
13 the person is Ivica Zepackic. He was killed on the
14 16th of April, 1993. He was -- also on the 3rd page,
15 there is a photograph of Ivica Zepackic. Do you
16 recognise him.
17 A. I didn't know him, so I don't.
18 Q. It is stated here that he was in the military
19 police from April 28, 1992, and that on the 16th of
20 April, 1993 that he was killed in Vitez.
21 Did you hear that any other members -- I
22 mean, any other Croats were killed in Ahmici on that
24 A. Yes. I heard two other names later. I
25 didn't know the people. A man called Arapovic, I think
1 he was probably from Busovaca, and also a man called
3 Q. And when did you hear about that, could you
4 tell us?
5 A. I think a few days after the conflict broke
6 out, maybe the fourth day, when I left.
7 Q. Would the usher please take these documents?
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document D89/2.
9 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
10 Q. You said a person called Arapovic, from
11 Busovaca, was killed. Is it possible that this is
12 Zeljko Arapovic?
13 A. I really don't know.
14 Q. Did you hear that that person had a nickname
16 A. I heard about somebody who was called Tata.
17 I don't know whether that was Arapovic or not.
18 Q. So Zeljko Arapovic, born in Busovaca in 1962,
19 and was in the military police from May 1, 1992, and he
20 was killed on the 16th of April in Vitez.
21 There's one more document.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Document D90/2.
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
24 Q. You said that you had heard that a person
25 called Rajkovic was also killed. Did you know him?
1 A. No.
2 Q. This is a picture of Slavko Rajkovic. He was
3 in the military police from the 20th of November, 1992,
4 and he was killed on the 16th of April, 1993 in Vitez.
5 So these are photographers from the book
6 "Three Years of the Military Police." The book was
7 issued by the Defence Ministry of the Croatian
8 Community of Herceg-Bosna in April 1995.
9 Just one more thing in relation to the
10 military police. You said that you had assumed that
11 the policemen -- sorry, that the soldiers who passed in
12 the direction of the Kupreskic houses were members of
13 the military police?
14 A. I said that for the following reason: A few
15 of them had characteristic white belts, leather belts
16 with holsters, and the members of that unit used to
17 wear them.
18 Q. Do you know who the commander of the military
19 police was at that time?
20 A. I really don't know.
21 Q. Did you hear of the name Pasko Ljubicic?
22 A. Yes, I did, but much later, of course.
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I would like to ask the
24 usher to show this text.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document D91/2.
1 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
2 Q. This is a text that was written by Pasko
3 Ljubicic, and that was published in this book entitled
4 "Three Years of the Military Police." It was called
5 both a combat unit and the police, and in the text it
6 says the following: "When I mentioned the activities
7 and tasks of the military police, this is my personal
8 opinion, but I believe the military police in Central
9 Bosnia is the most organised force in the defence of
10 these territories which sacrificed a great deal, and at
11 certain points in time it was of decisive importance in
12 the defence of these areas."
13 And further on it says: "I can mention
14 Grbavica in this context, Sivrino Selo, Zabrdje,
15 Kruscica, Ahmici and several other places, which I'm
16 sure, and can prove that they were successfully
17 protected -- successfully protected through the
18 involvement of the military police."
19 In view of what you said, and in view of the
20 fact that the commander of the military police at that
21 time claimed that he was there, can you conclude that
22 the military police took part in the attack on Ahmici?
23 A. As I said a short while ago, the unit that
24 was coming in our direction from the direction of Zume,
25 as they passed by us some of its members had white
1 belts and holsters. Since this is characteristic of
2 the military police, it is logical that I thought this
3 was a military police unit or part of a military police
5 Q. I don't want to put you in a position to say
6 that it is only the military police that attacked
7 someone, that's not what you're here for, but you just
8 tell me the following thing: Did you see the member of
9 any unit on that day in Ahmici, or, rather, in the part
10 of the village that you were?
11 A. In the part of the village that I was in, I
12 saw only this unit that passed by us, and I absolutely
13 did not see any other unit.
14 Q. Did you see any other soldiers?
15 A. No.
16 Q. All right. Now we shall go back to the
17 events of the 16th.
18 So Mirjan Santic was staying at the shed that
19 belonged to your father's house?
20 A. Yes. Yes. He was brought there, as I
21 mentioned a few minutes ago, and that's where we all
22 were. His father came and they carried his body in the
23 direction of Santici. I mentioned that his house is
24 about a kilometre and a half away from my house, as the
25 crow flies, and that's where they took him.
1 Q. His father came to collect him; is that
3 A. Yes. Yes. His father and probably there was
4 someone else there, but I really cannot recall. They
5 went there and we stayed here, and there was constant
6 shooting, and most of the shooting could be heard from
7 the direction of the mosque and the cemetery. It
8 seemed constant from that direction, from the upper
9 part of the Kupreskic houses. It seemed that it was
11 Q. That is to say towards where?
12 A. Towards the village. Towards the middle of
13 the village of Ahmici. That was around 11.00 or 12.00,
14 I don't know, noon. And we could also hear the English
15 tanks and APCs that were passing along the road, and
16 they came to some parts of the village, namely to Zume,
17 and they went back.
18 At the moments when they were there, when we
19 could hear them, because they were very noisy, then the
20 shooting would subside a bit. Then it would continue
21 with even greater intensity when they would leave.
22 Q. What did you think? What was going on in
23 Ahmici? You said that you saw smoke coming from that
24 part of the village, from Ahmici and from Zume, in the
25 afternoon; is that correct? What did you think? What
1 was going on?
2 A. As soon as we saw smoke, we realised that
3 something dangerous was going on. Indeed, we had not
4 been informed about anything. We were taken by
5 surprise. We were at a loss in terms of these events
6 and this place. We were there, we lived there, our
7 families were there. To say that I was confused would
8 be putting it mildly. I was horrified. It is only
9 then that I became aware of the fact that this thunder
10 that could be heard from afar earlier on came right to
12 I often say that this was the instinct of a
13 herd that led us to gather there. We wanted to protect
14 our own folk. We did not have any information. I was
15 running about. The phones were dead, so I was calling
16 people we knew from other parts of town. There was
17 shooting over there too, and no one practically had any
18 information that would have been sufficient.
19 Q. Did people move out of your shelter, that is
20 to say, your family and the people who were in your
21 house, and why?
22 A. Since the shooting did not subside and
23 bullets from small arms were coming to my house
24 constantly, and in view of our lack of experience, it
25 seemed to us this was terribly close. All these
1 families ran away from my house, about 200 metres away
2 from my house into a shelter that we thought was safer,
3 and that was the house of Niko Vidovic. In the late
4 afternoon, that is.
5 Q. Did your family also leave?
6 A. My family also left, my wife and two children
7 and these three or four families that were in the
9 Q. Could you please show us on the aerial image
10 where this shelter was, Niko Vidovic's, that is?
11 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry. The
12 interpreters cannot hear the witness.
13 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
14 Q. Could you please speak into the microphone?
15 A. From the shelter at my house, the women and
16 children went along this path, and this is where the
17 house and basement of Niko Vidovic are (indicating).
18 So that's where they came to.
19 Q. Could you show us Milutin Vidovic's house,
20 and also the shelter where Zoran's wife was?
21 A. Going further along the road we came to this
22 crossroads, and this is where Milutin Vidovic's house
23 is (indicating), and down here is Zdravko Vrebac's
24 house and also his sister's house (indicating). That's
25 where the other shelter was.
1 Q. In these houses of Jozo Vrebac and in this
2 house where -- where Milutin Vidovic was, were there
3 any other civilians there?
4 A. There were many civilians, many women,
5 children, the elderly, et cetera.
6 Q. All right. Thank you. You can sit down
8 Your house has a basement; doesn't it?
9 A. Yes, it does.
10 Q. And it had been treated as a shelter earlier
11 on too?
12 A. It was treated as a shelter as soon as the
13 air raids began, and the families from the
14 neighbourhood sought shelter there too.
15 Q. That is to say that every time it served its
16 purpose well. What was the main reason why you moved
17 those families and your own family that day? What was
18 the main reason for doing that?
19 A. The main reason for doing that was that you
20 could feel danger in the air and that it seemed so
21 nearby. We all panicked, all of us who were there, and
22 we were taken by surprise, and we practically did not
23 know where to go. We moved only 200 metres away, and
24 it seemed safer for our families to move them there.
25 Q. Did the civilians remain in these houses
1 until the end, or, rather, during those three days?
2 A. In that shelter by the house of Niko Vidovic,
3 there were three or four Muslim families too. Our
4 neighbours, Ramo Bilic's wife and children; then his
5 brother Zijad Bilic with his wife; and also the family
6 Strmonja, two brothers with their wives, I think, they
7 were there.
8 The next day, in the evening, there was some
9 kind of panic. Someone had told them that a group of
10 Mujahedeen had passed from the direction of Krtina
11 Mahala, and they all escaped in the direction of Rovna.
12 Q. Sorry. Just a moment, please. When you say
13 they all escaped in the direction of Rovna, you are
14 talking about all the people who were in those
15 shelters; is that correct?
16 A. Yes. When I say that, I'm referring to
17 women, children, the elderly. I'm referring to all of
18 those who were in the shelter.
19 Q. How did you realise that they had escaped to
21 A. In the evening, it was already getting dark,
22 and there was a bit of drizzle, and I went to see where
23 my family was and what this place was like, and I went
24 there. There was a man over there, I can't even
25 remember who he was, and there was no one else over
1 there, and he said that a Mujahedeen unit had come from
2 the direction of Krtina Mahala and that there was panic
3 all over and they all escaped in the direction of
4 Ronva. I was truly horrified. I was desperate. I
5 didn't know a thing. I stood there.
6 I went back to Ivo Kupreskic's house where we
7 were all together again, and we commented about this.
8 We had no information. It was difficult to explain.
9 But I was in a terrible state then.
10 Q. Could you just show us on the map where Rovna
11 is, in which direction, and how far away is Rovna from
12 Santici -- or, rather, Ahmici?
13 A. Rovna is in this direction. This road leads
14 to Rovna. It crosses the Lasva River. And then this
15 part is the area of Rovna, that is to say, on the other
16 side of the Lasva. That's about two kilometres
17 approximately (indicating).
18 Q. Do you know how the women, children, and
19 elderly went there?
20 A. At that time I didn't know a thing. I found
21 out only later, when I saw my wife and when I talked to
22 her, but otherwise I did not know. She told me that
23 they had left in a state of total panic, and that there
24 was practically no organisation; everybody just grabbed
25 their children and escaped. And she said that it was a
1 really crazy panic and rush.
2 Q. So the next day they went to Rovna? Let us
3 go back to the first day: Where did you spend the
4 night? Where were you?
5 A. I think that nobody slept during the first
6 night. We spent all the time between the depression
7 and our shelters, or rather where our families were.
8 So practically all day we were on that -- in that area,
9 between the two.
10 Q. And the night?
11 A. The night too. Also at the edge of this
12 depression, towards Ahmici. And from time to time we
13 would come to Ivo Kupreskic's house, which was the
14 first one at the edge.
15 Q. What was happening on the second day? Did
16 you stay where you were, and could you hear shooting
17 still in Ahmici?
18 A. The second day, fire could constantly be
19 heard. On the second day it moved deeper inside, in
20 the direction of upper Ahmici. So it went deeper
21 inside the village.
22 Q. Did anything change where you were? Did you
23 go anywhere, did you stay where you -- in the
25 A. On the second day, practically I found out
1 that my family were -- in the shelter where it had
2 moved was the family of my neighbours, my Muslim
4 Q. Which family was that?
5 A. That was the family of Zijad Bilic, Ramo
6 Bilic, and Strmonja.
7 Q. Were they in the same shelter where your wife
9 A. Yes, they were. They were in the shelter in
10 Niko Vidovic's house. My father told me that they were
11 there, and that they were asking me to try -- because I
12 was working for the international committee at that
13 time. People there thought that they could do
15 Q. You mean the members of international
17 A. Well, it was all UNPROFOR to us.
18 Humanitarian organisations, whoever, whatever
19 organisations were there, we thought of them as
21 So they told me they were there. They were
22 afraid, and they asked me to try to call an
23 acquaintance to try to get them, to take them out. So
24 together with Zoran Kupreskic, I went there to see
25 them. Zijad Bilic did not dare leave the basement, not
1 even to go to the toilet. So my wife called me, and
2 she told me that. So then I tried to give him some
3 courage; I accompanied him to the bathroom. They were
4 really terrified.
5 After that, Zoran and I went to telephone. I
6 called my secretary at that time, Ranka Gotovac, who
7 spoke English -- I don't speak English -- and we
8 asked -- I asked her to call the English unit of
9 UNPROFOR, the Cheshire Regiment in Bila, to call them
10 so that they would come and evacuate the Bilic family.
11 They did not come. Zoran and I called Ranka
12 several times, and Ranka called an acquaintance of
13 ours, Edin Novalic, who was an interpreter in the
14 Cheshire Regiment, in the engineering unit.
15 They didn't come. They came at one point
16 within 150 metres, an armoured vehicle came. I don't
17 know whether it came to get them or it just came by
18 chance, but an armoured vehicle did come on the second
19 day to the shelter. But nobody actually came out of
20 the vehicle; it just turned around and went back.
21 Q. So the Bilics remained there, so the Bilic
22 and the Strmonja family survived the conflict?
23 A. Yes, they did. Their houses were not
24 burned. They were among the few that were not burned.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Slokovic-Glumac,
1 could we take a break now?
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Yes.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. 15 minutes.
4 --- Recess taken at 12.15 p.m.
5 --- Upon resuming at 12.33 p.m.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Ms. Slokovic-Glumac?
7 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
8 Mr. President.
9 Q. Could you please look at these photographs
10 and tell us whether your house is depicted on the
11 photographs, and whether the shelter is in your house.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Document D92/2.
13 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
14 Q. Mr. Sakic, could you please tell us whether
15 on the first two photographs your house is depicted?
16 A. Yes, my house, and the house of my father.
17 Q. The photograph number 5, does that show the
18 basement room, and is that used as a shelter?
19 A. Yes, photograph number 5 shows the basement
20 room that was used as a shelter.
21 Q. Could you look at photograph number 3; is
22 that the garage where Mirjan Santic was brought?
23 JUDGE CASSESE: I wonder whether you could
24 put your questions in a different way, not as leading
25 questions. Thank you.
1 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Yes.
2 Q. Please, could you tell us what building is
3 depicted in photograph number 3.
4 A. This is the garage and the woodshed that
5 belongs to me and my father, and this is where Mirjan
6 Santic was brought.
7 Q. Photograph number 1: Could you please tell
8 us, in which direction does the road towards Udelina
9 (phoen) go? Do you see from here where it leads?
10 A. Photograph number 1, I can indicate the
11 beginning. It's behind the garage. That's the start
12 of the depression. The road -- you can't see the road,
13 because it's much lower than this terrain here.
14 Q. Photograph number 2: It's a close-up of the
15 garage. Can you see the beginning of the road there?
16 A. That's this part here, behind the garage, so
17 you can't see the very beginning, because it's lower.
18 Photograph number 2 is obviously just a closer --
19 depicts more closely the beginning.
20 Q. Photograph number 4: Could you tell us what
21 you see there? What side -- from what side of the
22 house was this taken?
23 A. Photograph number 4 was taken from the front
24 side of the house, and you can see the entrance to the
25 basement, or the shelter, at that time.
1 Q. That side is the side where the entrance is?
2 A. Yes. This is where the entrance is, and it's
3 turned towards the south. It's turned towards the
4 house of Sulejman Ahmic, which is what I said at the
6 Q. Can you see the garage on photograph number
8 A. You can't see the garage on photograph number
9 4, because it's on the other side of the house, so it's
10 covered by the house.
11 Q. There's a roof here that you can see next to
12 this blue car; what is that? Behind the blue car.
13 A. Behind the blue car, possibly you can see a
14 part of the roof of a summer house. I don't know whose
15 summer house it is. The man is from Zenica, but he's
16 living and working in Germany. That's opposite the
17 garage, and the road passes between the garage and the
18 summer house.
19 Q. Does the fact that you can see that part
20 which is very low indicate the fall of the terrain?
21 A. The fall of the terrain can be seen here,
22 behind the car is where the line stops, and then you
23 can see the line of the forest. So the depression is
24 here (Indicating), behind the car, behind the garage.
25 The road goes in one direction, then it goes in the
1 other direction here (Indicating), through this
2 depression, towards the Kupreskic houses.
3 Q. Could you please tell the Court what happened
4 on the third day.
5 A. The fire moved to this part, towards Pirici,
6 on the third day, so I can show that on the map.
7 Q. Yes, please.
8 A. The firing shifted towards Pirici. And this
9 forest was pretty large at that time; now it's been cut
10 down. This is the part towards the upper part of the
11 village, towards Pirici (Indicating). That's where the
12 shooting was. Now the terrain looks completely
13 different. From where we were there, it was a very
14 thick, high forest, and you couldn't see anything. You
15 couldn't even see the houses then.
16 Q. Can you show on the photograph where the fire
17 came from? Could you determine that?
18 A. Well, you could hear it up there. And it was
19 very deep inside Ahmici.
20 Q. Could you hear firing in Ahmici?
21 A. Well, you could hear shooting everywhere at
22 the time. It's very difficult even now to specify
23 where. There was fire everywhere, more or less.
24 Q. Thank you. You may sit down.
25 So what happened to you?
1 A. In the second half of the third day, all
2 adult males from that area where we were, they directed
3 us in the direction of Pirici. Some armed soldiers, in
4 camouflage uniforms, two of them came to where we were,
5 and they told us that we had to go towards Pirici and
6 Barin Gaj. At the time, a lot of people were still
7 arriving, and I recognised some from Vitez. They were
8 not very well armed, and they were mostly dressed in
9 civilian clothes.
10 We were told to pass the Kupreskic houses and
11 towards the summer houses, towards Pirici. We went
12 together: Myself, Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
13 Dragan Vidovic, Stipan, Dragance Vidovic, Pudja
14 Miroslav, and there were a lot of other men.
15 So we passed by the house of Zoran's
16 neighbour, Enver, who was a baker. And that's where I
17 saw for the first time a few dead people. Zoran I
18 think had a nervous breakdown there. He started to
19 shout and to cry; he couldn't control himself. It was
20 pretty ugly to watch that, because one corpse was
21 burned, and it was very difficult to look at that.
22 We managed to calm him down. I think I was
23 the one who really tried to calm him down. We passed
24 up there by the houses of the closest neighbours, by
25 Botic's summer house, and then we got to the upper part
1 of the village of Pirici. We saw the uninhabited house
2 of Gavro Vidovic.
3 That night we spent the night there, and
4 Slavko Papic came to see us. He's one of our
5 neighbours. He told us that we need to dig trenches in
6 order to fortify lines. So I remained there that
7 night. We dug some trenches; we spent the night
8 there. Then on the next day, at 9.00 in the morning,
9 they came to get me from the defence office. Dragan
10 Strbac came and told me that I should report to Vitez,
11 because they needed a lot of engineers, construction
12 engineers, people who can organise fortification, the
13 digging of shelters, trenches, and so on. And then
14 around 9.00 on the fourth day, I left the terrain of
16 Q. The four days that you spent there, was any
17 mobilisation carried out?
18 A. Well, if any mobilisation had been carried
19 out, I would have taken part in it. I didn't notice,
20 and I don't know that mobilisation was carried out. I
21 personally was not a part of it. I'm not even on the
22 ballot. I think for sure I can say that that day there
23 was no mobilisation.
24 Q. Did anybody take down the names of the men
25 who were brought to the lines? Do you know?
1 A. Up until the 9.00 in the morning on the
2 fourth day when I was there nobody had come, and after
3 that I don't know.
4 Q. Did you come back to Ahmici after that?
5 A. After that I was in Vitez. My organisation,
6 the IRC -- the telephones were still working. They
7 sent a fax to the municipal government, and they were
8 requesting that I, as an engineer, should not serve my
9 military duty, so I was released from service.
10 On the 15th of May they organised the
11 transportation for my wife and children, the IRC did
12 that. Then on the 13th of May (sic) I went to the IRC
13 office in Zenica.
14 Q. Then could you tell us whether you returned
15 to Ahmici then?
16 A. After the war ended I never went back to
17 Ahmici. I built a house in Vitez. I go to see my
18 parents every now and then, but I do not intend to live
19 there nor did I go back.
20 Q. Why didn't you go back to Ahmici?
21 A. There are many reasons. It's spooky. I
22 can't live there as a normal person. At least I think
23 I'm a normal person.
24 Q. Tell me, do you think that you could have
25 done something on that 16th? Could you have stopped
1 the conflict? Could you have helped people more than
2 you did, as you described it, that you tried to help
3 the Bilics and the Strmonjas?
4 A. On that day we just happened to be there by
5 accident of birth, I should say. We could not choose
6 where we were to be born. We happened to be there. We
7 did not participate. We helped as much as we could.
8 We helped the Bilics, and they were somehow within our
9 midst, and they remained alive and their houses were
10 not torched. We could not exercise any more influence,
11 and I think that was accidental that their houses
12 remained intact.
13 I really think that we could not have
14 influenced anything in any way. I mean, for things not
15 to develop as they did.
16 Q. Could you also say whether during those three
17 days, for as long as the conflict took, more or less
18 intensively, were you separated from Zoran and Mirjan
19 Kupreskic and the Vidovics for a longer period of time,
20 any longer period of time?
21 A. Mirjan, Zoran and I practically did not
22 separate at all. Dragance Vidovic, Stipan, Milutin
23 Vidovic left immediately directly from that place
24 towards his house, and later on the first day of the
25 conflict he came to see us several times. So we were
1 all running about and trying to collect information.
2 During those first three days and the fourth
3 day, until 9.00, I can confirm quite freely that I
4 spent almost all the time with Mirjan, and Zoran, and
5 Dragan Samija, and Pudza, Miroslav Vidovic, Dragan
6 Stipan, my father was there every now and then.
7 Q. Where was your father?
8 A. My father was in front of the shelter, in
9 front of my house, and he had piled up some wood there,
10 and he was there in front of the house.
11 Q. Please, could you also tell the court who
12 Nenad Santic was?
13 A. Nenad Santic was an inhabitant of Santici, an
14 acquaintance of mine. He actually lived in Donja
15 Ronva. I knew him. He worked at the gasoline
17 Q. Did he have any special post in the village?
18 Did he have any special importance?
19 A. I don't think so. As far as I know, Nenad
20 Santic was killed at Busovacke Staje as a rank-and-file
21 soldier, and had he had any special post I would have
22 known, but I'm not aware of that.
23 Q. All right. Please just have a look at this
24 document. Is this a document that pertains to you?
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document D93/2.
1 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
2 Q. This is a certificate of the International
3 Rescue Committee, and it says that you are employed at
4 the IRC, together with Ranka Gotovac, and basically
5 they ask that the HVO government let you work for
6 them. This is a document that was issued on the 4th of
7 May, 1993, and at that time you had already left Vitez,
8 is that correct, or were you still there?
9 A. I was in Vitez till the 30th of May, because
10 I had no opportunity of moving my family away so that I
11 could go out and do the travel. And on the 15th of
12 March, Todd Cleaver, who then worked at the IRC, took
13 by car my wife and family to Split, and I left with an
14 IRC convoy on the 30th of May with the consent of the
15 HVO government. I went to Zenica and I was in Zenica
16 until the 15th of July, when it became rather
17 dangerous, and then from Zenica I left -- went to Split
18 with a French convoy.
19 Q. The person that is mentioned here together
20 you with, Ranka Gotovac, is that the person that you
21 called for the purpose of evacuating the Bilics?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. And after that you worked for the IRC; is
24 that right?
25 A. After that I was the participant and
1 organiser of Bijeli Put for Bosna Srebrna, a convoy.
2 After that, on the 30th of April, 1994, I came to Vitez
3 again. In Vitez an IRC office was opened for that part
4 of Central Bosnia which was at that time under Croatian
6 Q. Thank you.
7 Thank you, Mr. President. I have completed
8 my examination, and I would just like to tender into
9 evidence exhibits from 85 -- 85/2 through 93/2.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Any objection?
11 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, it's not really an
12 objection. I agree with the request. However, I would
13 like, since some of the pages are extracts from a book
14 and that those pages were given to the Tribunal, I
15 would like that the entire book be placed within the
16 case file of the Tribunal. This might be useful for
17 ascertaining the truth, and it seems to me ideal that
18 we move that way. If a translation problem were to
19 arise, we could bring to the Trial Chamber the entire
20 translation, in English, of the work.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Of course I agree,
23 Mr. President, and of course I think that the entire
24 book should be tendered. I didn't have this, but I see
25 that the OTP does have that book.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Right. So all these
2 documents are admitted into evidence, and in addition,
3 the whole book will be then provided by the -- in
4 English and in the original Croatian by the OTP.
5 Counsel Pavkovic, there is any
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for
8 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac, please.
9 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I would
10 just like to ask something. Actually, earlier on in
11 the part of the proceedings that was conducted by the
12 Prosecutor, we tendered a document from the 16th of
13 April, 1993, D16/2. This was a report of the military
14 police which was signed for the Commander Pasko
15 Ljubicic by some person who we did not manage to
17 At that time it was not tendered into
18 evidence, this report, but I thought that certain facts
19 had not been ascertained. However, the witness who was
20 questioned at that time, Witness AA, confirmed that
21 this stamp, which is at the bottom of the page, is the
22 stamp of the command of the 4th Battalion of the
23 military police. This was a protected witness, AA, and
24 at that time he was an official of the military
1 Since the witness today confirmed that the
2 military police was in Ahmici, in view of the fact that
3 from this admitted exhibit, which relates to the text
4 of Pasko Ljubicic, it has also been established that
5 the military police was in Ahmici, I would like to ask
6 that this Defence Exhibit also be admitted into
8 JUDGE CASSESE: This will be D16/2.
9 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Yes.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Any objection from the
12 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, I don't believe
13 that the witness identified today -- authenticated the
14 signatory or the seal which is on the document. What
15 he said about what he saw during that day in the
16 village of Ahmici seems to be quite definite. It does
17 not suffice to authenticate the document. I do not
18 think that after this testimony today we can consider
19 that this document has been sufficiently authenticated
20 to be tendered as evidence, as I submit, to your
22 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I'm
23 sorry, but can I just comment on this?
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, of course. Of course.
25 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you very much. I
1 just want to say the following: The authenticity of
2 this document has been corroborated, in fact, by the
3 statement of Witness AA who was heard, I believe, in
4 October last year. He confirmed that this stamp is the
5 stamp of the military police of the 4th Battalion of
6 the military police. Therefore, it was undeniable even
7 then that that stamp is correct and that it comes from
8 the 4th Battalion. What we did not know then is the
9 substance, that the military police was in Ahmici at
10 the time.
11 However that witness also confirmed that
12 Pasko Ljubicic was the commander, the stamp is
13 undeniable, and also the substance is there. We can
14 say that certain things have been authenticated. I
15 believe that now we should admit this not only on the
16 basis of the statement of this witness, but on the
17 basis of the testimony and the substance of the
18 testimony of Witness AA. I thank you.
19 MR. TERRIER: If you permit me,
20 Mr. President, and I answer Ms. Slokovic-Glumac, the
21 witness who testified before the Tribunal today, during
22 the examination-in-chief, did not mention any specific
23 military unit that was in Ahmici, he simply identified
24 soldiers who -- that he was careful and hypothetical in
25 his assertions that those people might have been
1 members of the HVO military police.
2 Therefore, he denied officially, and formally
3 identified the unit to which those HVO soldiers
4 belonged, nor the document in question. I'm not trying
5 to prejudice what's going to happen in the future, but
6 I can say that today is not appropriate, and the
7 testimony that's just been heard by the Tribunal,
8 is not the correct testimony to allow us to tender this
9 document. Perhaps this might be possible at another
11 JUDGE CASSESE: The Court finds the arguments
12 put forward by the Prosecutor convincing, and so,
13 therefore, we rule that the -- on the further occasion
14 it will be possible to take into account this document
15 and see whether it can be admitted into evidence, but
16 not today, for the reasons, as I say, put forward by
17 the Prosecutor.
18 We can now move on to the issue of whether or
19 not there is any cross-examination by other Defence
21 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, I wish to
22 inform you that other Defence counsel do not intend to
23 question this witness.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Now, before we
25 then proceed to the cross-examination, let me say that
1 the Court is somewhat mystified by what is now
2 happening -- I should call it the strategy of the
3 Defence, because I think the Defence has insisted
4 throughout that they should first of all deal with
5 Count 1 and then move on to other Counts, but,
6 actually, the last two witnesses actually have dealt
7 with Counts 2 through 11. So I wonder whether there's
8 any particular reason.
9 We would like to have some clarification from
10 Defence counsel whether they intend to continue with
11 Count 1, to exhaust Count 1, general Count on
12 persecution, and then and only then move on to other
14 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, since
15 these are our witnesses, we believe that Count 1 and
16 the other Counts of the indictment are truly
17 interrelated. We have now moved on to these witnesses
18 that will be speaking about the other Counts as well,
19 and we cannot separate them perfectly, and this will
20 fully exhaust our defence.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: But at the beginning you said
22 that all Defence counsel would first of all deal with
23 Count 1. So do you mean to say that you go on with
24 Count 2 through 11, and then after other Defence
25 counsel will go back to Count 1?
1 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: As far as I know,
2 Mr. President, we have all completed Count 1, except
3 for the Defence of Vlatko Kupreskic, and now we are in
4 separate parts of the Defence case. I see that the
5 lawyers for Vlatko Kupreskic have not presented
6 witnesses dealing with Count 1 until now. So we will
7 not be going to Count 1, and we are now in our separate
8 part of the Defence case.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: All right.
10 JUDGE MAY: Let's try and understand this
11 position. From the list which we have, which was dated
12 the 25th of January, there are, on the list, some seven
13 or so witnesses, Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, who are
14 apparently to be called on Count 1. Now, are we to
15 understand then that you will not be calling those
16 witnesses? Is that the position?
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel,
19 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Your Honour, for the
20 time being that is our position. I think that we will
21 not be calling other witnesses related to Count 1. For
22 the time being we believe this is not necessary.
23 However, the only thing that happened is that
24 the Prosecutor presented some new documents, and
25 perhaps we may need some new witnesses. This can be a
1 general witness, but it depends on the direction in
2 which the proceedings move, but for the time being we
3 do not intend to call any other witnesses related to
4 Count 1, of course.
5 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: That means, if I understood
7 you correctly, that means that you will now go on with
8 the various Counts and other Defence counsel will start
9 with other Counts after 11, so 12 and so on. All
10 right. Thank you.
11 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Except for the Defence
12 of Vlatko Kupreskic, Mr. President, because he has a
13 separate list.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Counsel Krajina has --
15 yes, Counsel Krajina?
16 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, I just wanted to
17 say that the Defence of the accused Vlatko Kupreskic,
18 regarding Count 1 of the indictment, only has one
19 expert, that's an expert witness, the Supreme Court
20 president that we mentioned, and we will have no other
21 witnesses for Count 1. Thank you.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Susak?
23 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, regarding Count 1
24 for Drago Josipovic, the witnesses charge him directly
25 for crimes of persecution which could relate to Count
1 1, but because they relate only to that accused, I
2 think that only two witnesses will be brought to
3 testify about that, regarding Count 1 of the
5 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Then you will
6 call those two witnesses when it is your turn to make
7 your case.
8 MR. SUSAK: Yes. There will not be a lot of
9 witnesses for Drago Josipovic. It will be in
10 continuity. It will be about nine witnesses
12 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Thank you. Shall
13 we then move to cross-examination?
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Terrier:
15 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Sakic. My name is Franck
17 Terrier, I'm one of the attorneys for the Prosecution,
18 and as has surely been explained to you, I'm going to
19 ask you a few questions further to your testimony.
20 First of all, since you spoke about your
21 family to us on several occasions, I would like you to
22 clarify how many children you had in 1993, and how old
23 they were.
24 A. In 1993 I had the same as I have now. I had
25 two children. My daughter, at that time, was six and a
1 half years old, about six years and three months old,
2 and my son is 17 months younger, so about four and half
3 years old.
4 Q. You lived in the house, pictures of which we
5 saw, and you lived there with your parents; is that
7 A. Yes. That's correct. The house has two
8 entrances. I was living on the first floor and my
9 mother and my father were living on the ground floor.
10 Q. Did you always live in Ahmici?
11 A. I lived in that house. That house is in
12 Pirici. This is about 150 metres away from Ahmici, and
13 I lived there for the last 15 years perhaps.
14 Q. At the beginning of your testimony you spoke
15 about your professional activities, and in particular
16 your work obligation, which meant that you had to
17 supply things to the HVO. Did I understood your
18 statement correctly?
19 A. I don't think that you did understand my
20 statement. I had no work duty towards the HVO. I
21 don't even know if the HVO existed at that time.
22 Q. Perhaps I did misunderstand something, and I
23 can stand corrected, but I'm speaking about the time --
24 let me be clear -- the time from April -- or at least
25 from the spring of 1992 to the beginning of 1993. I
1 had thought that I had understood -- perhaps I was
2 wrong -- that you had spoken about a work obligation, a
3 service obligation, which you had to perform for the
4 HVO during that period.
5 A. I said the following, and I will repeat
6 that: I worked on Salvation Road. This is a road that
7 was jointly financed by the municipality of Vitez,
8 Busovaca, Travnik, Novi Travnik, and Zenica, and we
9 worked there for a salary, as a company. So I was in
10 charge of a section of two and a half kilometres. So
11 each town had their own team. I don't know how they
12 financed it, but during that time we received our
13 regular salary. I spent a couple of months on that
14 road exclusively as a civil engineer, a person in
15 charge of a part of a section of the road; in charge of
16 the section that was the obligation of his
18 Q. Mr. Sakic, do you have any military
20 A. I only have military experience from my
21 military service in the Yugoslav People's Army in the
22 period from 1979 to 1980. So the military experience
23 of regular military service.
24 Q. You told us that you had some weapons in your
25 house, and you spoke about a hunting rifle, a revolver,
1 and an automatic pistol; did I understand you
3 A. Yes, you did. I had a Crvena Zastava
4 revolver of 7,9 millimetres; I had a shotgun, which I
5 had a permit for because I was a member of the Vitez
6 hunting society. Then after the fall of Jajce, I
7 bought an automatic rifle, a Kalashnikov.
8 You understood me properly.
9 Q. To talk about this automatic rifle,
10 Mr. Sakic: When did you buy it?
11 A. I can't remember exactly when. I think I
12 bought it five or six days after the fall of Jajce, at
13 the time when Vitez was overwhelmed, overran with
14 civilians who were retreating and who were offering
15 everything that they had for sale in order to get
16 money, but I can't really precisely remember when.
17 Q. Whom did you buy the weapon from?
18 A. I really don't know. From some inhabitant of
19 Jajce who was retreating. It was at that time just
20 like buying cigarettes.
21 Q. Do you mean that everybody around you was
22 buying weapons?
23 A. No, I didn't say that; I said that people who
24 were retreating from Jajce were selling everything,
25 including weapons, and I said that I bought a weapon
1 for myself. Whether others were buying them or not,
2 probably some people did and some didn't. In view of
3 the danger, latent danger which was present, it was
4 better for everybody to have weapons.
5 Q. It was to defend yourself, defend your
6 family, I'm sure, that you bought the weapon; is that
8 A. I bought the weapons for self-protection, in
9 order to feel better. I just thought I would feel
10 better, safer.
11 Q. How much did you pay for the weapon?
12 A. I don't think I paid more than 300 German
13 marks for it. 300, maybe 350 German marks.
14 Q. What was your monthly salary at that time?
15 A. At that time, my -- there was no monthly
16 salary, because I had stopped working at the municipal
17 utilities office. So I had to fend for myself,
18 practically. At that time, I didn't have any salary at
20 Q. Would it be right to say that 300 German
21 marks, under conditions at that time, represented a
22 relatively significant sum?
23 A. Well, for somebody, it probably did. Not for
24 me, not at that time, and not now.
25 Q. You mean that you had somewhat of a fortune;
1 is that correct? You had some money, and that you
2 still have some assets?
3 A. I just wanted to say that 300 German marks is
4 not a fortune, and you know yourself -- well, of course
5 I had more than that at that time, and I have more than
6 that now.
7 Q. Did you buy ammunition at that same time?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. During your testimony, you mentioned these
10 village patrols in which you participated. Could you
11 tell us who organised them and who was in command, in
12 Pirici, specifically, where you lived?
13 A. I think the village guards, after the first
14 state fell apart, were organised spontaneously as a
15 form of protection, and I wouldn't say that they were
16 organised in any particular way. It was probably some
17 kind of micro-organisation. There were four or five of
18 us gathering around a house. There was no special
19 structure; not as far as I know, at least.
20 Q. Mr. Sakic, would it be correct to say that if
21 we don't speak about a command for these village
22 patrols, would it be correct to speak, for instance,
23 about coordination?
24 A. If there had been any coordination, I would
25 probably have had to take part in the village guards.
1 But since this was a voluntary, self-organised thing, I
2 took part maybe a couple of times, not more than that,
3 so that there was no coordination to speak of at that
5 Q. When you participated in that guard duty,
6 were you armed with that Kalashnikov which you had
8 A. I took part only once. It was a walk; I
9 wouldn't even call it a patrol. We walked along that
10 road, myself and Miroslav Pudza, and of course -- I
11 think I had a hunting rifle, I was carrying that, and I
12 gave him the Kalashnikov. I think that's how it was.
13 Q. At that time, did you know Slavko Papic?
14 A. I know Slavko Papic. I've known him for at
15 least 20 years. They moved to 300 or 400 metres away
16 from my house. They've been there for the past ten
18 Q. Wasn't Slavko Papic responsible for things in
19 the command or coordination or the organisation of
20 these village guards?
21 A. I had no contacts with him, so I can't deny
22 that or confirm that. I personally think that he did
23 not. The first time I saw him, as I said earlier, was
24 below Barin Gaj, in such a place, and it seemed logical
25 to me at the time, since he was a reserve officer of
1 the old Yugoslav People's Army.
2 Q. You mean that it was logical for him to
3 exercise that kind of responsibility in Pirici?
4 A. I said that it was logical, it seemed logical
5 to me, for him -- at the location where we were, for
6 him to give us suggestions on that third day of the
7 conflict. That's what I said.
8 Q. Was he a member of the HVO?
9 A. I don't know if the HVO was formed at that
10 time. I wouldn't say that I -- I had ever seen him in
11 a uniform at all. I don't think I did.
12 Q. To be very clear, when you speak about
13 October of 1992, at that period of October 1992, it
14 seems that the HVO existed. Do you agree?
15 A. Well, you say "it seems." I can't say that
16 it existed, because I wasn't --
17 Q. I'm asking you --
18 A. No.
19 Q. Mr. Sakic, you're telling us that you don't
20 know whether in October 1992 the HVO existed? Have I
21 understood your testimony correctly?
22 A. Yes. I say that I don't know, I confirm that
23 I don't -- I didn't know whether in October of '93 the
24 HVO had been formed.
25 Q. In '92?
1 A. Well ...
2 Q. So that we be perfectly clear here for the
3 witness, let me look at the transcript: I'm speaking
4 about October 1992. Therefore you're telling us that
5 you don't know whether the HVO existed in October of
7 A. I confirm again -- I slipped; I'm saying that
8 I did not know if in October of 1992 the HVO had been
9 formed. I confirm again that I did not know whether
10 this was so.
11 Q. So that things in this respect be very clear,
12 when you say "the HVO," what are you referring to,
14 A. When I say "the HVO," I mean the
15 abbreviation, the Croatian Defence Council. The HVO,
16 the Croatian Defence Council.
17 Q. But what did that Croatian Defence Council
18 cover, in terms of organisation, in terms of staff, in
19 terms of materiel, and function? What does all of that
20 cover? What is the HVO, in your opinion?
21 A. Well, look, at the time I was working as a
22 civil engineer. Then I stopped, and I started to work
23 privately as a civil engineer. If I had any affinity
24 to be there to find out, I would probably have been in
25 the army.
1 I was very interested in that work. I wanted
2 to secure in that chaos a normal living for my family.
3 So I really don't know anything about the structure.
4 Absolutely, I'm not even in the records, I'm not even
5 on the ballot lists, if you believe me.
6 Q. I have no reason to doubt what you're telling
8 A. It's just a word that I use, excuse me.
9 Q. When did you begin to work for the
10 humanitarian organisations?
11 A. Officially I was accredited on the 15th of
12 January, 1993; but in December of '92 I worked for them
13 in the capacity of a contractor. The first job that I
14 did for the IRC was a roof in Vitez which was blown
15 off, so there were some children playing there. This
16 was the first official job that I did for them. But I
17 became an official employee of the IRC on the 15th of
18 February of 1993.
19 Q. Could one think that at -- at that point
20 we're working for a military organisation, an American
21 one, that you had learned that there was such a thing
22 as the HVO?
23 A. I don't speak English, and the people who
24 were there, we communicated exclusively -- we talked
25 exclusively about construction, civil engineering. I
1 worked as a consultant. So I was really doing only my
3 Q. Very well.
4 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, I want to move to
5 another area now.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. We can resume
8 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
9 1:30 p.m., to be reconvened on
10 Thursday, the 4th day of March,
11 1999, at 9.00 a.m.