1 Monday, 15th March, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 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: Thank you. Good morning. I
11 see the witness is already there, Mr. Kupreskic, I
13 Mr. Kupreskic, could you please stand and
14 make the solemn declaration.
15 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
20 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I can't find here the
21 English translation. I don't have any.
22 I didn't see it. Okay. Thank you. Good
23 morning, Your Honours.
24 I would just like at the outset, before
25 the examination-in-chief, to say that witness Ivica
1 Kupreskic has been proposed as a witness for Vlatko
2 Kupreskic, and that he is on his list of witnesses as
3 well, so that my colleagues, Mr. Par and Mr. Krajina,
4 will also be performing part of the
5 cross-examination -- I'm sorry, examination-in-chief.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter
8 THE WITNESS: IVICA KUPRESKIC
9 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-glumac:
10 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, good morning.
11 A. Good morning.
12 Q. Would you introduce yourself to the Court,
14 A. My name is Ivica Kupreskic. I was born on
15 the 12th of April, 1955, in Pirici, Vitez. I am at
16 present residing in Petar Svacic Street in Vitez.
17 Q. Where was your house in 1992 when you lived
18 in Pirici?
19 A. My house in 1992 when I lived in Pirici was
20 located precisely in Pirici.
21 Q. Could you take a look at the aerial
22 photograph of Ahmici and point out where your house is
24 A. That is my house (indicating).
25 Q. Very well. Tell us, please, the houses
1 located around your own house, who do they belong to?
2 A. This is Zoran Kupreskic's house. This is
3 Vlatko Kupreskic's warehouse, that is Vlatko
4 Kupreskic's house. This is the house belonging to
5 Mirjan's father, Anto Kupreskic. This is my brother's
6 house, Josip Kupreskic. This other house here belongs
7 to my brother, Branko Kupreskic, and that is where my
8 father Ivica Kupreskic's house is.
9 Do you want me to go on?
10 Q. You said -- very well, you said Josip and
11 Branko. Which other houses were there in that part?
12 There were some old houses there, apart from these,
13 were there not?
14 A. Yes. In that part, on the upper side,
15 upwards from our own houses, there was Enver Sehic's
16 house, there was the house of Alaman Ahmic, there was
17 the house of Zulejha Ahmic and Sakib Ahmic's house, his
18 son's house, Sukrija Ahmic, Krdzalic's house, Meho
19 Hrustanovic's house. Then there was the house
20 belonging to Redzib Ahmic, further on, Suad Ahmic as
22 Is that enough?
23 Q. Would you please tell the Court the people
24 that you enumerated, that they were around the
25 Kupreskic houses, were they all Muslims?
1 A. Yes, they were all Muslims on the section of
2 the road from the main road running from Vitez to
3 Busovaca, which means on the right-hand side going
4 towards the warehouse. Towards the warehouse, as I
5 say, here we had our neighbours living, our Muslim
6 neighbours. In this -- on this part of the road,
7 towards upper Pirici, they were also Muslims, except
8 the house belonging to Vlatko Kupreskic, which lies in
9 that part, and his warehouse as well, Zoran Kupreskic's
10 house and Mirjan's father's house, Anto Kupreskic, and
11 his son Mirjan. All the other houses belonged to
12 Muslims. They were all Muslim neighbours on the
13 right-hand side.
14 Looking at it from the road, that is to say
15 on the right-hand side from the main road going up
16 towards Gornji or Upper Pirici.
17 Q. And when you used the road to Gornji Ahmici,
18 Upper Ahmici, were the Muslim houses on the right-hand
19 side as well?
20 A. Yes, they were all our Muslim neighbours.
21 That is to say in this whole section here, they were
22 our Muslim neighbours.
23 Q. Thank you very much. You said that around
24 your own house, next to your own house was Zoran
25 Kupreskic's house, Branko's and Josip Kupreskic's
1 house -- just a moment, please.
2 Tell us your relationships, family
3 relationships, with all these individuals. How are you
5 A. Zoran, I, Mirjan, and Vlatko are the children
6 of three brothers, which means we're cousins.
7 Q. Branko and Josip Kupreskic?
8 A. Branko and Josip Kupreskic are my brothers.
9 Q. Very well. Thank you. You may resume your
11 You pointed out to us on the map that around
12 you there were all Muslims, so they were Muslim houses
13 around you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. What relationships did you have with your
16 Muslim neighbours?
17 A. Well, let me tell you this: We always had
18 exceptionally good relations, and I know that never in
19 my life did I have any problems. I even had -- my best
20 men were Muslims, and godfathers and so on, and one of
21 them was godfather to my eldest son; Varupa Vahid, his
22 name was. My second son, Josip, who was born in 1980,
23. (redacted) And at the same
24 time, we were also in this kind of family, godfatherly
25 relationship with (redacted), and I married
1 Gordana Vidovic. I was best man to him and his wife in
2 his last marriage, because he had several marriages
3 before that.
4 Q. Suad Ahmic, you said you were best man and
5 godfather with Redzib Ahmic as well?
6 A. Yes, with Redzib Ahmic as well.
7 Q. Tell me, in 1992, where were your brothers,
8 Branko Kupreskic and Josip Kupreskic?
9 A. My brother Branko, a long time ago, that is
10 to say 18 years ago, went to work abroad. To be more
11 exact, he went to Deutschland, Germany. He has a
12 restaurant there. As I say, he has a restaurant in the
13 town of Herne. And also, in 1992 my brother Josip went
14 there, too. He went to work with our other brother in
15 the kitchen.
16 Q. That was in 1992, do you know what month it
18 A. I think that it was January 1992 when Josip
19 went to work for him.
20 Q. Did Josip's family go with him, and Branko's
21 family, did they go with him to Germany?
22 A. Branko's family was already in Germany.
23 However, Josip's family -- that is to say his children,
24 as he had divorced his first wife, and from that
25 marriage he had two children -- and my three children,
1 my wife, and myself, we went on the trip to Germany on
2 the 30th of March. The 30th of March, 1992, we set out
3 for Germany.
4 Because of the situation which already at
5 that time had taken place in the area of Yugoslavia at
6 that time, what had already happened was the village of
7 Ravno and Derventa, and quite simply I tried to do the
8 best I could for my family, to look after them. And
9 because it was safe at my brother's place in Germany,
10 we decided to go to Germany.
11 Q. When you say that the village of Ravno and
12 Derventa occurred, what does that mean?
13 A. Well, let me tell you this way: The first
14 Croatian village was attacked, and it was the village
15 of Ravno.
16 Q. Who attacked it?
17 A. It was attacked by the Serbs.
18 Q. And what about Derventa?
19 A. Derventa was also attacked by the Serbs.
20 Q. That means in fact that you wanted to get
21 away from the Serbian aggression, did you not?
22 A. Yes, I did, from the Serbian aggression.
23 Q. So you went to Germany?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And who went with you?
1 A. My wife, Ankica, went with me, as well as my
2 three sons, Dragan, Josip, and Ivica. And then my
3 brother Josip's two children, Goran and Ivana, they
4 also went.
5 Q. You said that that was in March, at the end
6 of March 1992; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, exactly on the 30th of March, 1992.
8 Q. Did you work in Germany? What happened
10 A. Well, I went to Germany to take my family
11 there and to try to do some work there, if that was
12 possible. My brother, Branko, as soon as I arrived,
13 found me a job. And as I am a caterer by profession, I
14 worked for a time at his restaurant, and I was a waiter
16 Q. How long were you in Germany?
17 A. About two and a half months.
18 Q. What happened then?
19 A. Well, what happened was that my father
20 informed me that I should return from Germany because
21 there were problems in the area, and quite simply, the
22 Croats wanted to take away the property that I had in
23 that region.
24 Q. Did that mean that they treated you as a
1 A. Yes, precisely that. They treated me as a
2 deserter. And quite simply I had to make that next
3 move and return home so as to retain my property.
4 Q. Was that an official or unofficial threat?
5 Was it just rumoured or did an official call-up come
6 for you? Were you officially asked to report?
7 A. No. No official invitation came. However,
8 through the village, in that part, it was rumoured.
9 That was the rumour. That was what people said. As my
10 father was close to all these events, he heard about
11 this, and he told me and told me to return urgently.
12 Q. When did you go back?
13 A. I went back from Germany in the middle of
15 Q. Where did your family stay?
16 A. My family stayed in the town of Essen in my
17 brother's apartment there.
18 Q. Your wife and children stayed there?
19 A. Yes, my wife and my children stayed in that
21 Q. You went back in, as you said, the middle of
22 June 1992; did you not?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. Did you take with you any kind of
25 humanitarian aid?
1 A. I went back because, with a relative of mine
2 who lived in Feldberg, I had organised a humanitarian
3 aid package, and for that reason, to come to Vitez --
4 to make it easier to come back to my own people in
5 Vitez. We took this humanitarian aid, it was in the
6 form of medicaments, and we used two vehicles, two
7 ambulances, for the Novi Travnik first aid department.
8 This can be seen from the title page of the Bild
9 Zeitung from Feldberg, the daily newspaper. I don't
10 know exactly what date that article came out.
11 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I should now like to
12 call upon the usher to hand this page from the
13 newspaper and to show it to the witness.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Document D99/2.
15 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Your Honours, I
16 apologise, but the witness brought this document with
17 him when he came here today. We haven't had time to
18 translate it, but we shall be handing in a translation
19 in due course.
20 Q. On the first page, on this picture, who do we
21 have there?
22 A. You can see, first of all, myself standing
23 next to the vehicle on the left-hand side, my relative
24 Vlado Sucic who has his restaurant in Feldberg. This
25 next man, the gentleman on the right-hand side of the
1 Opel Granada vehicle, he's a German, and also on the
2 left-hand side next to the kombi van carrying the
3 medicaments, on the left-hand side, the first is
4 myself. Then you have Vlado Sucic, a relative of mine,
5 and the other German gentleman.
6 Q. The title is "Six Men on the Road to War"?
7 A. Yes, that's correct.
8 Q. The date the paper was issued, can you read
9 it out to us?
10 A. It was the 13th of June, 1992.
11 Q. How did you return?
12 A. Well, we returned -- took a long road from
14 Q. I wanted to know which vehicle. I misspoke.
15 Which vehicle?
16 A. Well, I was driving the Opel Granada vehicle.
17 Q. So it is the vehicle that was part of the
18 humanitarian aid?
19 A. Yes, it was part of this humanitarian
20 shipment which was intended for the first aid
21 department in Novi Travnik.
22 Q. Which vehicle did you use to go to Germany?
23 A. I went to Germany with a Mercedes 240D, and I
24 took my wife and children in that car. I left the car
25 in Germany so that my wife could have it at her
1 disposal, so she could use it while she was there in
3 Q. This humanitarian aid, you were taking to
4 Novi Travnik; is that right? Where else?
5 A. Vitez. Part of the medicaments were left in
6 Novi Travnik and part of the medicines were left in
7 Vitez, and this was personally taken over by a doctor
8 who was a dentist, Dr. Bruno Buzuk. Also present when
9 this aid was being handed over was the mayor, the then
10 mayor who was Mr. Ivica Santic.
11 Q. In Novi Travnik, who did you hand the
12 medicines over to, the first aid department or the
14 A. In Novi Travnik, we handed this over to
15 Dr. Dzambas, and it was the first aid station in Novi
16 Travnik, not the hospital there.
17 Q. What kind of situation did you encounter in
18 Ahmici when you returned?
19 A. When I returned from Germany, everything was
20 new to me, to put it simply. In the meantime, joint
21 patrols had been established because, at that moment,
22 things were done jointly. I don't know how these were
23 organised. However, when I arrived, I joined the
24 village patrols at once, the village guard.
25 Q. So you joined the village guard.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You said they were joint guards at that time,
3 Muslim and Croatian.
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. Does that mean you patrolled together?
6 A. Yes, we patrolled together. Since at our
7 school in Ahmici, there was a radio transmitter,
8 someone was on duty there all night.
9 Q. Who maintained this transmitter in the
11 A. All I know is that Mr. Sefik Pezer was on
12 duty there, but there were others as well. I can't say
13 now who they were.
14 Q. But whose was this transmitter? Who was
15 Sefik Pezer? Did any Croats keep duty there?
16 A. No, not at the transmitter. We did have a
17 joint village guard, but it happened at that time that
18 the Muslims who manned the radio transmitter were
19 trained to use it.
20 Q. So they used the transmitter?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What happened? Since you mentioned the
23 school and the radio transmitter, what happened next?
24 A. Well, we had the joint village guards on my
25 return for maybe less than a month. Then one of our
1 patrols consisting of two men came to take over the
2 shift, and they were denied entry into the school, into
3 the classroom where the radio transmitter was. They
4 were told that we could no longer keep watch together.
5 Q. Were other people allowed to enter the school
6 or the classroom where the radio transmitter was, other
7 members of the village guards, Croats?
8 A. No. No one was allowed from that moment into
9 the school, especially the room where the radio
10 transmitter was.
11 Q. When you say that a two-man patrol was denied
12 entry, do you know who the people were who were denied
14 A. That evening, the men on patrol were
15 Mr. Mirko Vidovic and Mirjan Kupreskic.
16 Q. After that, it was no longer permitted for
17 Croats to enter that classroom?
18 A. No, Croats were not allowed to enter the
19 classroom at all after that.
20 Q. When you said that the village guards
21 separated then, what does that mean? Did you continue
22 keeping guard and where?
23 A. Yes, it did mean that, because the very idea
24 of no longer being allowed to keep guard together led
25 us to organise ourselves at our own houses. Since we
1 were very close neighbours, we felt we had to keep
2 watch for our personal security and for the security of
3 our houses and our property.
4 However, since there were very few of us,
5 because there were only a few Croatian houses there, we
6 were joined by the people from Pudzine Kuce which is
7 the first hamlet nearby, and then we would patrol
8 around our houses. I was away very often, and so was
9 Vlatko. Mirjan played very often. He was often
10 obliged to go and play. So most of the time, I simply
11 observed what was going on from my balcony because I
12 have quite a good view in the direction of the school.
13 Q. Were there any periods when no watch was kept
14 at all?
15 A. Yes. There were such periods when there was
16 simply no one around. Everyone had something else to
17 do. So one of us would walk around on his own and then
18 go home to bed.
19 Q. Were there any incidents where you had to
20 intervene or was everything quiet?
21 A. No, there were no incidents. The situation
22 was really quiet, regardless of everything.
23 Q. At that time, did you see the Muslims keeping
25 A. Yes. They kept watch all the time,
1 especially near the radio transmitter, which was
2 located in the school in the left-hand classroom and
3 looking from the direction of my house. I had a very
4 good view of it.
5 Q. Were the guards kept every day and every
7 A. Yes, they kept watch day and night by the
8 radio transmitter.
9 Q. Did the Croats have a radio transmitter?
10 A. No, the Croats did not have a radio
12 Q. Could you please tell the Court, just before
13 the first conflict on the 19th of October, 1992, where
14 were you, and did you have any hints that something
15 might happen?
16 A. Well, on the 19th of October, I was away. In
17 the evening at around 5.00 p.m., I was on my way back,
18 and I arrived from the direction of Split, along the
19 Vitez-Busovaca road. When I turned off into my
20 village, there was a roadblock that had been set up
21 about ten metres away from the junction with the main
22 Vitez-Busovaca road. The roadblock was made of wooden
23 objects, and on the right-hand side, there were wooden
24 blocks. There were trestles and wooden blocks, blocks
25 of wood.
1 Q. So these are building materials?
2 A. Yes. They had set up next to the garage a
3 little shed where they could take shelter from the rain
4 if it rained.
5 Q. So the roadblock was on the road leading to
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. Was there anything else at that roadblock?
9 Did you notice anything else?
10 A. I noticed two anti-tank mines which had been
11 set up on the road itself.
12 Q. Were there any men there?
13 A. Yes, there were. I was stopped by my best
14 man, Suad Ahmic. He was accompanied by Pezer Sezahija,
15 Pezer Ibrisim. Then there was Zahid Ahmic. As far as
16 I know at that time, he was the commander. He was
17 wearing a military uniform. There were about ten other
18 people whom I didn't know and who were manning the
20 Q. Were these people armed?
21 A. Yes, they were armed. Suad Ahmic was wearing
22 a uniform, an SPS uniform, since he was a guard at the
23 SPS at that time.
24 Q. The people you recognised from the village,
25 were they armed?
1 A. Yes, they were.
2 Q. What happened at the roadblock?
3 A. Suad stopped me and asked me, "Where are you
4 coming from now?" I said, "I'm coming home from a
5 trip." Then I said, "What's this? Are there any
6 problems?" He told me, "No, there are no problems.
7 This is just for the security of the village." He told
8 me that there were no problems and that I could pass
9 through in safety and reach my house.
10 Q. Do you know that there was another roadblock
11 at that time near the cemetery?
12 A. At that time, I did not know anything about
13 it, since I was coming home from a journey; however, I
14 found out the following morning.
15 Q. What did you do then?
16 A. They took away one anti-tank mine and one
17 wooden trestle so that I could pass through. I went to
18 my house. However, on the way to my house, in front of
19 Zoran Kupreskic's house, I saw Zoran, and he was
20 stripping the bark off a piece of wood. So I stopped
21 there and I asked him, "Zoran, do you know, by any
22 chance, what's going on and why this roadblock has been
23 set up?" He answered, "No, I don't know anything," and
24 he continued stripping the bark off the log.
25 I continued on my way to my house. I took
1 the telephone and I rang up Mr. Nenad Santic to see
2 whether he might know something about the roadblock.
3 He told me that he had no idea why it was there, that
4 he really knew nothing about it.
5 Q. Why did you ring up Nenad Santic?
6 A. Well, I rang up Nenad Santic, first of all,
7 because he was one of the founders of the local HDZ
8 from the very beginning, and he had the most
9 information, but also because we have best man and
10 godfather connections four times over.
11 Q. So he said he knew nothing. What did you do
13 A. Well, I accepted this. I thought if they
14 knew anything, then they would probably address us.
15 They would tell us and warn us of any problems.
16 However, as the night advanced, since my family was in
17 Germany and I was in the house on my own and I was a
18 bit worried about the fact that a roadblock had been
19 set up, I simply went out, out onto the balcony by
20 myself. As I said, I have a rather good view of that
21 part of the village. I sat on my balcony, simply
22 watching, listening to the sounds, paying attention to
23 what was happening around me.
24 Q. Did anything unusual occur?
25 A. At about 1.00 a.m., which means it was
1 already the 20th, I heard the rattle of weapons and the
2 murmur of human voices arriving from the direction of
3 Redzib Ahmic's house, beside Vlatko Kupreskic's house.
4 In front of Vlatko Kupreskic's warehouse, there was a
5 light on in front of the warehouse, and I saw that it
6 was a column of soldiers with equipment, with arms, and
7 they went to the school.
8 When they arrived at the school, they went
9 into the right-hand classroom, looking from the
10 direction of my house. That's not the one where the
11 radio transmitter was. Then the light went on in the
12 classroom itself, and I saw the silhouettes of the
13 men. I couldn't recognise them at that time because
14 this was about 400 metres away from my house.
15 Q. How did you recognise that these people were
16 soldiers? What did you see that they had?
17 A. Well, they went past the warehouse, which is
18 about 80 metres away from my house. They passed in
19 front of that light, and I saw that they were fairly
20 well-armed individuals wearing uniforms. There were
21 about 30 to 40 of them in that group.
22 Q. Were you able to conclude where they were
23 coming from? You said that you saw them coming by
24 Redzib's house.
25 A. At that particular moment, I did not know
1 where they were coming from. However, in a day or two,
2 we received information that they had come as
3 reinforcements from the neighbouring villages of
4 Vrhovine, Poculica, and Preocica.
5 Q. What happened next? You said that you saw
6 them in the classroom in the school.
7 A. They entered the school building, and
8 probably at that particular moment, that army was sort
9 of deployed from the direction of the cemetery, the
10 mosque, Vlatko Kupreskic's warehouse, beside Zoran
11 Kupreskic's house --
12 Q. Just a minute. Tell me, how do you know
14 A. Well, I was on the balcony, and Zoran's house
15 isn't further off than, say, 15 or 20 metres at the
16 most from my own house. Behind Zoran's house, in the
17 garden of Sakib Ahmic, there were two or three old
18 battered cars. There were some branches that had been
19 cut from the forest, and they were rotten already, they
20 had rotted, and when you get close to Zoran's house,
21 two or three, not more, I heard men talking as they
22 drew close to his house, and you could hear the
23 breaking of branches and twigs as they stepped on
24 them. They had, in fact, gone past those discarded
25 vehicles and probably did not know the terrain very
2 Q. So you heard people going past Zoran's house?
3 A. Yes. I went into the house. I took up the
4 telephone and called Zoran. I asked him, I said,
5 "Zoran, what are you doing now?" He said, "I'm
6 sleeping." I said to him, "Well, you can go on
7 sleeping, but don't forget that there are two or three
8 men underneath the window of your house."
9 Q. Can you tell us what time all this took
11 A. It was about 2.30, between 2.30 and 3.00 a.m.
12 Q. What happened next? Did Zoran wake up and --
13 A. Zoran got ready and went out of his house.
14 He took the road towards his father's house, and then
15 from the upper part of my own house, he came to my
16 balcony there or terrace. He went into my house, and
17 when I told him everything that was going on, he went
18 into my house, took up the telephone, and he woke up
19 his brother Mirjan Kupreskic. Shortly after that,
20 Mirjan came onto my terrace, and we stayed there until
22 In the morning, at about 5.00 a.m., when you
23 could generally hear the morning prayer coming from the
24 mosque, we heard before that a long burst of gunfire.
25 After that, from the mosque, we heard some unusual
1 music, the kind of music we had never heard until
2 then. It did not last long, perhaps some 10 seconds,
3 and then you could hear a voice from the mosque, from
4 the loudspeaker there, and it said, "Croats surrender.
5 This is the holy Jihad war."
6 After that, we heard one detonation and then
7 another one. I laid down on the floor of my terrace.
8 I simply did not know what was going on. I thought I
9 had been hit myself. After that, there was another
10 burst of gunfire, it was misty, and then everything was
12 Q. Did you hear what was hit?
13 A. You could only hear how pieces of the roof
14 from the mosque fell off, and when it became light, we
15 saw that the mosque had, in fact, been hit at the very
16 top of the minaret.
17 Q. Did you stay on the terrace?
18 A. We stayed on the terrace. We did not know
19 what was going on. We tried to telephone and to learn
20 of any of the details; however, everything was quiet.
21 There was not a single bullet fired after that.
22 Q. Did you see any Muslim soldiers around your
24 A. At that moment, we did not see anybody yet.
25 It became light, but it was misty. It was daybreak,
1 but misty. And sometime around 6.00, perhaps it was a
2 little after 6.00, in front of my house, my neighbour
3 turned up, Enver Sehic. And I respected him highly as
4 a neighbour.
5 Q. Tell us, so Enver Sehic came, and what
6 happened to Enver Sehic?
7 A. Enver Sehic came to my house and asked me
8 about Zoran and Mirjan, who were on my terrace. I
9 called to them, and allegedly -- he said he had come
10 for them to go with him to bring in wood, firewood, for
11 his house, in view of the fact that he was such a good
12 neighbour. He had helped previously, he had helped
13 Zoran and Mirjan bring in firewood for their own
15 So he was an exceptionally good man. I would
16 often sit with him. I told him that I would have to do
17 some gardening around my house, to cut down some grass
18 and so on, and in the morning when I woke up. And once
19 when I woke up on one particular morning, he had
20 already cut the grass, half the grass around my house.
21 Q. And did you ask Enver Sehic what was
22 happening and whether he knew what was going on?
23 A. Enver asked me. He said, "Neighbour, what's
24 all this going on? I heard two detonations." And I
25 said that I didn't know what was happening myself, that
1 I had tried to contact people and to see what was in
2 fact happening, but that I had not been successful. I
3 said to him, "I really don't know."
4 As his wife was working in Austria at the
5 time, he had three small children, and he told me, he
6 said, "Neighbour, I'm going to collect my children, and
7 I'm going to go to my house, to Zenica, across the
8 hill," because I think his native village was Dvinjo
9 (phoen), near Zenica.
10 Q. Why did he want to leave? Did he tell you
11 why he was leaving, why he had decided to go?
12 A. Well, he said that something smelt wrong, and
13 that means that he probably supposed that there could
14 be some problems.
15 Q. What happened next? Could you hear gunfire
17 A. Yes, serious gunfire. And it began sometime
18 about 6.30 in the morning, so almost one and a half
19 hours after the detonations. And that was, in my view,
20 something that we had never experienced, this kind of
21 war, this kind of terrible gunfire and shooting. And
22 afterwards they began shooting with heavy weapons as
23 well, Brownings or some other types of weapons like
24 that. I don't really know much about them. But for
25 the most part, I had never experienced anything like it
1 before, nor did I know where to go to, where to escape,
2 where to flee. I just felt completely lost.
3 Q. And where was the shooting? Was it
4 concentrated in one part or was it distributed in
5 several locations in the village? Were you able to
6 assess this?
7 A. The shooting, most of the shooting took place
8 in the area of what we call Donja or Lower Ahmici,
9 around the cemetery there, around the mosque, and up to
10 Vlatko Kupreskic's warehouse. There were bullets
11 flying past, quite simply, they would fly past our own
12 houses, up in our section.
13 Q. Did you see any soldiers?
14 A. They were -- yes, there were soldiers. I saw
15 people in front of the warehouse belonging to Vlatko
16 Kupreskic. There was a sort of big hill, mound, which
17 isn't there any more, and the army, that army, and I
18 have in mind the Muslim army, had reached that mound,
19 and it is almost parallel to my own house, running from
20 the mosque. That's where I noticed that with the
21 machine guns, that Budo had a machine gun, I don't know
22 his surname, but his house is right (redacted)
23. (redacted) It's a small weekend cottage, in
24 fact, and he came to live in our village when he built
25 that cottage, and Hajrudin Pezer who was from Gornji or
1 Upper Ahmici.
2 Q. Did you see them shooting?
3 A. No, I didn't see them shooting in the
4 direction of Pudzine Kuce, Zume, from that hill.
5 Q. Did you say -- I'm sorry, did you say that
6 you had seen them, or hadn't seen them?
7 A. I saw them. I did see them, as it is some 80
8 metres from my house.
9 Q. You said, therefore, that they were two
10 individuals whom you recognised?
11 A. Yes, I recognised those two individuals.
12 Q. Did you see any soldiers, other soldiers, up
14 A. Yes, I saw five soldiers. They ran across
15 from Mirko Kupreskic's house towards -- no, Mirka
16 Vidovic's house, I'm sorry. They ran from Mirko
17 Vidovic's house towards the house of Rudo Vidovic.
18 That house is situated further towards Zume. There
19 were five of them.
20 Q. Did you recognise them?
21 A. No, I did not. I did not. From the -- they
22 were located on the lower side of Mirko Vidovic's
24 Q. Were you able to assess -- you did not
25 recognise them, you say, but were you able to assess
1 whether they were Muslim soldiers?
2 A. Well, later on I learnt that they were, in
3 fact, Muslim soldiers because they had stormed the
4 warehouse in which Gordana Vidovic and her mother were,
5 Milka Vidovic.
6 Q. They went into the warehouse? Why did they
7 do that?
8 A. Well, I don't know. I didn't talk to them
10 Q. Did they do anything to the women you
11 mentioned, Gordana Vidovic and Milka Vidovic?
12 A. No, they didn't. Nothing. And this is
13 something that Mrs. Gordana Vidovic will be able to
14 explain to you better, because she was on the spot.
15 Q. Where were Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic at that
16 particular moment when the shooting began?
17 A. When the shooting began, they had started to
18 evacuate their families. Zdravko Vrebac came, as did
19 Dragan Vidovic, nicknamed Dragance, and Milutin Vidovic
20 turned up. They helped Zoran and Mirjan, as Mirjan had
21 small children as well, and so did Zoran, they came to
22 help to take the children away, and wives, of course.
23 I asked whether they needed my help, and they
24 said no. But I went down to the valley with them,
25 depression with them, which leads towards Pudzine
2 Q. So you followed them?
3 A. Yes, yes, but I stayed in the valley.
4 Q. Did you see where Zoran and Mirjan
5 Kupreskic's families went?
6 A. They went in the direction of Pudzine Kuce,
7 and I later learned from them that they had been
8 accommodated in the shelter at Jozo Vrebac's house, or
9 his son-in-law's house; I think his name is
11 Q. How long did the women and children of Mirjan
12 and Zoran Kupreskic stay away from their house?
13 A. Well, as I heard from them, they soon moved
14 their families to the house of their sister, Zorica,
15 who lives perhaps some 500 metres further away from
16 that shelter, the Trajanovski shelter, in the direction
17 of Santici. I think that their families returned to
18 their homes on the fourth day, when the Muslims also
19 started returning to their homes, because there was
20 already some feeling of security. And we thought,
21 well, if they were coming back, then our families can
22 come back too.
23 Q. You said that you went to Odolina?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The valley, sorry. Where is this valley?
1 A. This valley is behind my father's house,
2 beneath my father's hayloft, behind Stipan Vidovic's
3 wood, on the path leading towards Niko Sakic's house
4 and on to Pudzine Kuce.
5 Q. Why did you go there?
6 A. Well, I went there because at that moment, I
7 had already seen that the soldiers had run by the
8 Vidovics's house, which is further along the road to
9 Pudzine Kuce, and that our houses were behind them
10 now. And, of course, I was afraid.
11 Q. Did you find anyone in the valley when you
12 arrived there?
13 A. I found Niko Sakic, Mirko Sakic, and I think
14 it was -- I think Dragan Samija was there, too, already
15 in the valley at that moment.
16 Q. And who were these people?
17 A. These were neighbours who live behind our
18 houses. In other words, they live right behind the
19 wood where the path leads toward Pudzine Kuce.
20 Q. You mentioned Zdravko Vrebac arriving?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Milutin Vidovic?
23 A. Yes. And Milutin Vidovic, Zdravko Vrebac,
24 and Dragan Vidovic, nicknamed Dragance. He was
25 Nikica's son. There is another Dragan Vidovic who is
1 the son of Stipan.
2 Q. Can you tell us whether the people you saw
3 and the people you found in this depression were
5 A. Well, at that moment, I saw only Mirko Sakic
6 with a hunting rifle, and Zdravko Vrebac who had a
7 rifle at that time. Nobody else was armed.
8 Q. These persons who were armed, did they use
9 their weapons?
10 A. No, no, they were hiding. They didn't know
11 what was going on, as I didn't know either.
12 Q. Did you have any weapons at that time?
13 A. No, I didn't have any weapons then.
14 Q. Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic?
15 A. No, they had no weapons then.
16 Q. Did you see any other soldiers, soldiers on
17 the Croatian side, taking part in the conflict that
19 A. In fact, there were no soldiers, but we heard
20 horrific gunfire later on. I think that the
21 detonations were really serious. But we were
22 completely lost. We had found this depression to hide
23 in, and from time to time -- we were curious, so we
24 would crawl underneath the hayloft, because the path
25 leading to the depression, which was used only to grow
1 grass, there was a pathway at the side of the hill, and
2 we would crawl there because we were curious. We
3 wanted to see what was going on.
4 My aunt, who is now 75 years old, didn't want
5 to leave the house, so she cooked some lunch for us.
6 So we all had lunch underneath the hayloft. I remember
7 that well.
8 And the gunfire was very, very strong in that
9 part, and it moved more and more in the direction of
10 Gornji or Upper Ahmici. By the sound, we could see
11 that it was moving in the direction of Gornji Ahmici on
12 that day. And this went on until about 4 p.m.
13 Q. So not only did you hear gunfire around the
14 road, but also in the village?
15 A. The path behind Vlatko's house and in front
16 of the warehouse, there was a machine gun there,
17 because when they were retreating, of course, they
18 moved toward Upper Ahmici. So that the sounds of
19 gunfire simply rang out, and we heard gunfire in that
20 part as well.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, the microphone is
22 not on.
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
24 Q. Did you see the Muslim villagers leaving?
25 A. Yes, we could see some Muslims who lived in
1 Zume were leaving, and Enver Sehic told me that he was
2 going to Zenica, that he was going to his native
3 village. I noticed that.
4 Q. When did the gunfire stop on that first day?
5 You said that you heard it.
6 A. Well, it stopped at about 16.00 hours,
7 sometime after 4 p.m., and towards the end of the
8 gunfire, we could see Mehmed Ahmic's house, also known
9 as Sudjuka, burning. His house burnt down and several
10 farm buildings. The cowshed or stable belonging to
11 Miro Josipovic, and Mehmed Ahmic, Sudjuka's uncle's
12 stable also burnt down. I was told about the stables
13 later, but we could see the house burning.
14 Q. Do you know who took part in the conflict?
15 Did the Croats from the village or from any part of the
16 village take part in that first clash?
17 A. The Croats from that part of the village
18 certainly did not participate in that clash, because
19 they had no idea what it was all about. We learned on
20 that day, while the conflict was still going on, that a
21 checkpoint had been set up by the Muslims below our
22 cemetery, that they had even dug a trench in the
23 cemetery itself, and that they had cut off the
24 communication. People were going from Busovaca to the
25 war theatre in Jajce at that time, and allegedly they
1 stopped a military police vehicle and confiscated their
2 vehicle as well as four automatic rifles, at least
3 that's what people said afterwards. So that that unit
4 probably responded to all this, and there was a clash
5 between the forces of that unit and the Muslim army
6 which had set up the roadblock.
7 Q. Do you know, after this conflict, what was
8 done to pacify the situation in Ahmici?
9 A. I know that several meetings were organised.
10 I did not attend these meetings, because I continued my
11 usual everyday tasks since I have my own business. But
12 there was one meeting which was held in front of my
13 house. I was in Vitez, in my restaurant which I own,
14 and my aunt let me know that some people had arrived
15 from Ahmici and Vitez and that I should come home. So
16 I got into my car and went home.
17 On the terrace of my house, I found Fuad and
18 Junuz Berbic, Kalco Sulejman, who was the
19 representative of the Muslim people from the town of
20 Vitez, municipality of Vitez, and Sukrija Ahmic. And
21 from our side I found Nenad Santic there, Zoran
22 Kupreskic, who was very good friends with Fuad and
23 Junuz. And Fuad, knowing what Zoran was like, that he
24 was highly respected, tried to establish contact and
25 simply to prevent an escalation of this event, because
1 this had been done by two armies which were not local;
2 they were not local people.
3 The representative of the Croatian people
4 from Vitez was Pero Skopljak, who was also at that
5 meeting. There were talks about restoring confidence.
6 They said that it was not they who had done this, as
7 our neighbours, and at least these representatives told
8 us that they knew that no neighbours, no Croatian
9 neighbours were involved in this clash.
10 We didn't talk long. We drank a bottle of
11 liquor on that terrace and we parted. We were all
12 satisfied. It was agreed that we should start joint
13 guards, joint village guards again after this.
14 Q. You say that they told you that the Muslims
15 from the village had not taken part in that clash?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you say that you had seen armed men in
18 front of your house that morning whom you recognised?
19 A. Yes, yes, I did. I said that. But we didn't
20 want to rock the boat at that meeting. We simply
21 wanted to restore confidence in the village, and we
22 wanted to continue living normally.
23 Q. During the time the Muslims were not in the
24 village, did you look after their houses? Did you try
25 to protect their property in any way?
1 A. We organised ourselves so that until their
2 return to the village, we patrolled the village. We
3 were helped by the people from Zume, from Pudzine Kuce,
4 so that -- one patrol, in Atif or Latif Ahmic's house,
5 I can't remember exactly, the son of Hazim Hadzija, who
6 had the mosques, we caught a thief who had come to loot
7 their property, and we reported him duly, and this is
8 all documented at the Vitez police. He was actually a
10 Q. So you reported this event to the police?
11 A. Well, I wasn't in the patrol at that time; it
12 was another patrol. They were patrolling in that part
13 of the village where our cemetery was, and this was
14 actually Donji or Lower Ahmici.
15 Q. At the entrance to Ahmici, was there some
16 kind of joint guard?
17 A. Yes, a joint guard was agreed on at the
18 meeting. And since I had attended that meeting, I
19 volunteered, because I wanted matters to improve in the
20 village, so I volunteered to go with the Muslims first
21 and to go to the guard. It wasn't actually a
22 checkpoint; it was simply a guard.
23 Q. Did this guard function well?
24 A. Not for long. Only for a few days. Only a
25 few days. And then everything was interrupted.
1 Q. While it was functioning, how many Croats and
2 how many Muslims were guarding that point together?
3 A. Two Croats and two Muslims.
4 Q. You say that you were a participant.
5 A. Yes, I was the first participant. It wasn't
6 a roadblock. It was simply a guard.
7 Q. After that conflict, you say that the Muslims
8 returned and that the joint guards were set up again
9 for a certain amount of time?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What happened next? How did relations
12 develop in the village from that point?
13 A. Well, we went on working in the warehouse
14 belonging to Vlatko Kupreskic, and Vlatko worked in my
15 firm at the time, as did Mirjan Kupreskic. He was the
16 head of Veleprodaja in the warehouse in Ahmici at the
17 time. Many Muslims would say hello to us when passing
18 by, but some didn't because, already at that time, some
19 people thought that we were responsible for that, that
20 we had done that. They didn't know the real truth
21 about the matter.
22 Q. When you say "we," you mean the Croats?
23 A. I mean the Croat neighbours. But as we were
24 not responsible for the conflict, it occurred because
25 of the barricade at the cemetery, it is obvious that
1 individual Muslims thought that perhaps it might have
2 been some of the neighbours that did this, but that was
3 not the case.
4 Q. You said that some people would turn their
5 heads away from you. What about the Muslims that you
6 were friends with? Did you remain on good terms?
7 A. Yes, we remained on very good terms with
9 Q. Did anything change in the village between
10 the two conflicts? Was there trench digging on one or
11 the other side?
12 A. Well, one week, we noticed trench digging
13 below the forest belonging to Franjo Sakic and above
14 Redzib Ahmic's house. We got ready, that is to say, I
15 myself, Mirko Vidovic, Zoran Kupreskic, I think that
16 Ivica Covic was there, and we went along the road from
17 the old house of Franjo Sakic. Through the forest on
18 the upper side of the trench that was being dug, we met
19 Suad Ahmic, who was tending to his sheep and making the
20 move from Franjo Sakic's forest.
21 When we left Franjo Sakic's forest, when we
22 emerged from the forest on the upper side, we saw that
23 the trench was being dug by Suad Ahmic's brother, Omer,
24 and Kermo, but I really don't know his surname. Both
25 of them were underage at the time. They were 16 or
1 17. They were minors. They had an automatic rifle by
2 their side, and when we approached the trench, Kermo
3 took up this automatic rifle and drew it closer towards
4 him. We asked them what they were digging, and they
5 answered that they were digging a sort of shelter.
6 However, we moved on towards Ahmici, towards
7 the section where the upper mosque is located, and we
8 saw that on the high ground there, which exists above
9 the upper mosque and a basin, a water basin which
10 supplies water for Muslim and Croatian houses, that
11 there was another trench which had been dug and had an
12 entrance from the top towards the front and that it had
13 a very good view towards the school building and the
14 mosque and Vlatko Kupreskic's warehouse, whereas the
15 first trench had a very good view of the Kupreskic
16 houses, all of them.
17 Q. What time was this when you noticed that the
18 trenches were being dug? When was this?
19 A. It was Sunday, perhaps somewhere in
20 December. There wasn't any snow yet.
21 Q. Did you consider that the trenches should be
22 filled in? Did you react?
23 A. Well, yes, there was reaction, and a meeting
24 was called in the school of Ahmici. I did not attend
25 the meeting, but I do know that Redzib Ahmic took it
1 upon himself to go and fill in the trench.
2 Q. Were the trenches filled in?
3 A. As far as I know, the one that we reached,
4 the trench we reached which was being dug, that it was
5 filled in by Redzib Ahmic. As to the second trench
6 above the mosque, that was not filled in.
7 Q. Did anything else happen in that period
8 between the two conflicts, in the interim?
9 A. Well, I was working quite normally for my
10 firm, and Vlatko and Mirjan Kupreskic worked there
11 too. We were the best suppliers of pickled goods for
12 the Vitez municipality, and then we distributed these
13 goods after the meeting, that is to say, at the
14 beginning of November, which means that this food for
15 winter was handed out to all the municipalities. All
16 these preserved goods went round to the municipalities.
17 Q. What was your company, your firm, called?
18 A. When I established it in 1991, I think that
19 it was January 1991, it was called Stefani-Bosna
20 because I worked with a Stefani firm from Ljubljana and
21 another Stefani company in Athens. In 1992, between
22 the two conflicts, I changed the name, and it became
23 known as the Sutra Company.
24 Q. How was this firm registered, for what kind
25 of business?
1 A. It was registered for the catering industry,
2 for tourism, and for trading.
3 Q. Where was Mirjan Kupreskic employed between
4 the two conflicts, in what part of your company?
5 A. Mirjan Kupreskic, at that time, worked in the
6 wholesale department, Veleprodaja in Ahmici, in Vlatko
7 Kupreskic's warehouse, up until my return from Germany.
8 Q. So he worked on the selling of these goods
9 wholesale, the goods that you had acquired?
10 A. Yes. They were wholesale sales.
11 Q. Where did you stock the goods that were
12 intended for sale in this manner?
13 A. Well, most of the goods were stored in Vlatko
14 Kupreskic's warehouse, and everything that was not able
15 to go there, I stored in my own home because I have a
16 sort of business area in my own house for storage.
17 Q. When you say you had a business area in your
18 house, was that a storage space as well?
19 A. Yes, it was storage space, and I had a small
20 shop there at one time, but I closed that because there
21 was a shop down below. So we used it as a storage
22 space, as a sort of small warehouse.
23 Q. The selling of these winter preserves that
24 you were engaged in, which began after the conflict in
25 November 1992 --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. -- was this permitted by the HVO and the
3 municipal organs?
4 A. The HVO and the municipality asked all the
5 companies to make bids and say which kind of goods and
6 winter preserves they had, under which terms. They
7 were sort of tenders. We were selected as being the
8 best offer available. We started purchasing the goods
9 straightaway, and we would send the goods on to our
10 main buyers.
11 Q. The goods were sold to the Muslims as well?
12 A. Yes, to the Muslims as well.
13 Q. And the Muslims bought your goods?
14 A. Yes, they did buy them. It was because of
15 them that we would get vegetable fat, which was packed
16 in packages of 12 kilogrammes, and as --
17 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
18 Mr. Kupreskic. I think we can take a break at this
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, indeed. We will take a
22 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
25 Mr. President.
1 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, I am going to hand to you some
2 documents which are excerpts from some bills from your
4 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Would the usher please
5 hand this to the witness?
6 THE REGISTRAR: Document D100/2.
7 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
8 Q. Tell us, Mr. Kupreskic, are these notes taken
9 from this notebook of yours where you recorded your
11 A. Yes, they have been taken from my notebook.
12 Q. From this, we can see that you began on the
13 2nd of November, 1992 with the sales?
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. The names that are stated here, Hamzo
16 Kavazovic from Vrhovine?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Then we have Dzemal Viteskic from Bukve,
19 Mustafa Varupa?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Petar Mecava, Senad Livnjak, Safet Melkic,
22 Muharem Sivro, Zijad Tarahija?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Avdo Burak, Nasid Salkic, Melkic, I think
25 it's Safet. Are they Croats or Muslims?
1 A. They are all Muslims.
2 Q. Therefore, these sales were that the
3 preserves were insured at a lower price for both
4 Muslims --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- and for Croats alike?
7 A. These were the first people, that is to say,
8 each village had its own man. He was in charge, and he
9 would collect quantities necessary for the village.
10 They already had the prices that were offered. We
11 would prepare the goods, and we would send them the
12 goods on time. This can be seen from the payments that
13 were made afterwards for the goods taken over. We were
14 to have distributed these goods a little earlier, but
15 we were slowed down somewhat by the first conflict, the
16 first case that occurred in Ahmici.
17 Q. Here we have your own payments, but I don't
18 think we need all these papers and documents at this
19 point. The people from Ahmici, did they buy goods at
20 your place?
21 A. Yes, they did, but a smaller portion at that
23 Q. Tell us, when these goods were distributed,
24 you said that Mirjan Kupreskic took part in
1 A. Yes, Mirjan Kupreskic did take part in the
2 distribution because all the goods that came to the
3 warehouse, he would record the goods that came in and
4 would plan the distribution, and myself and Vlatko
5 Kupreskic would help him out. But there were a number
6 of poorer families, and so if necessary, the vegetable
7 fat that was packed in packages of 12.5 kilogrammes, if
8 they had to be broken up into smaller packages for
9 payment, then Mirjan Kupreskic would break up the
10 larger packages into the smaller packages, so that
11 people who didn't have as much money could purchase the
12 vegetable fat nonetheless.
13 Q. Were people able to pay for goods later on or
14 did they have to pay immediately?
15 A. The prices were very low, and you had to pay
16 for the goods immediately when you took them.
17 Q. Tell us, Mr. Kupreskic, we now come to March,
18 that is to say, April 1993. Where was your family in
19 March and April 1993?
20 A. My family, in March 1993, was in Germany, in
21 the town of Essen. They were registered there as
22 refugees and had a refugee card because all those
23 people who stayed on a little longer in Germany were
24 treated that way. They were treated as refugees and
25 had their refugee status. My brother gave them his
1 apartment to live in.
2 Q. Very well. Did you decide to bring your
3 family back to Bosnia and why?
4 A. Well, my youngest son, who was eight years
5 old at the time, phoned me from Germany and told me at
6 one point that he was homesick and that unless I came
7 to fetch him, he would jump off the third floor of the
8 building. I said to him immediately, "Don't worry,
9 son. Your daddy is coming to get you."
10 So on the 13th of March, 1993, I bought a
11 plane ticket in Split. I got on the plane of Croatian
12 Airlines and flew to Dusseldorf. I thought I'd stay
13 there for a little while and perhaps take my children
14 because I didn't want them to miss a school year. They
15 were enrolled in a German school, but I was told that
16 they would have to spend at least two months in the
17 school in Vitez for that scholastic year to be
19 On the 13th of March, 1993, I flew out
20 there. I talked to my wife. I stayed a little under a
21 month. As my wife's "duldung" visa expired on the
22 13th of April, 1993, it was necessary to prolong it for
23 a further six months which meant up to the 14th of
24 October, 1993, so that if there were any problems of
25 any kind up there, she could return quite normally and
1 not have to ask for refugee status to be accorded her
2 once again.
3 We decided that I was to go on the journey
4 with my children and to take the car that I had left up
5 there on the 9th of April, 1993 and that my wife should
6 remain and extend her "duldung" visa from the 14th and
7 to use my return ticket issued by Croatia Airlines and
8 come to Split. So I came home with my children. I
9 made use of the next day, the following day, to enrol
10 them in school so that they could start going to school
12 Q. What date did you return to Pirici?
13 A. I returned to Pirici on the 10th.
14 Q. The 10th of April?
15 A. Yes, the 10th of April.
16 Q. You enrolled your children in the school, and
17 they started going to school regularly until the
18 beginning of the conflict?
19 A. Yes, they went to school until the beginning
20 of the conflict, and they did so on the 15th of April.
21 My son, who was the youngest, went quite normally, and
22 as it was a school with only three forms in Ahmici, he
23 was enrolled in the first form.
24 Q. When did you go to fetch your wife?
25 A. My wife contacted me on the 13th in the
1 evening, saying that she was to go to have her
2 "duldung" visa extended on the 14th, and that same
3 afternoon, she would have a flight via Zagreb to
4 Split. I said I would meet her in Split. We checked
5 the flight, the time the flight was to arrive, and it
6 was to arrive at 21.20.
7 Q. Who did you go to Split with?
8 A. I invited my relative, Vlatko Kupreskic. I
9 said to him, "We have business to do in Split, so let's
10 combine business and pleasure and do what we have to do
11 and then fetch my wife and bring her home."
12 Q. What vehicle did you use?
13 A. On the 14th, in the morning, we set off with
14 a Yugo 45. It was my Yugo 45. This vehicle was
15 registered in my wife's name. We passed along the
16 stretch of road leading toward Novi Travnik.
17 Q. What colour was your Yugo?
18 A. The Yugo was light blue, pale blue.
19 Q. Which vehicle did you use to come back from
21 A. I returned in a Mercedes 240 which was dark
23 Q. Why did you take the Yugo, which is a small
25 A. Well, I used it for the simple reason that I
1 didn't want to use the Mercedes on such bad roads,
2 because we had to pass along 26 kilometres of macadam
3 road near Gornji Vakuf or Uskoplje, and the macadam
4 which was -- there was another stretch with the
5 mountain of Vrana, some 50 kilometres long, which was
6 macadam, and that's why I used the vehicle I did.
7 Q. Which road did you take?
8 A. We took the Vitez-Novi Travnik road. We came
9 across the first HVO checkpoint, which was set up at
10 the crossroads, one road leading to Bugojno and the
11 other in the direction of Gornji Vakuf. They
12 suggested, the people manning the checkpoint suggested
13 that unless we had some kind of commitment, it might be
14 better for us to return home. However, since my wife
15 was to arrive on that day, we decided to continue.
16 Some four or five kilometres down the road
17 from the roadblock, we were stopped by a soldier
18 belonging to the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He
19 had a green fez on his head; it's a kind of cap Muslims
20 wear. So I give him a lift. I asked him, simply to
21 make conversation, to have a chat with him, and he said
22 he was from Gornji Rovna and that he had been manning
23 the army of B and H roadblock at Opara, above Novi
24 Travnik, on the road leading to Gornji Vakuf.
25 I told him that they had warned us at the
1 last checkpoint that we might have some problems, so I
2 asked him, if there were any problems, to help us. He
3 said that everything would be all right. That's how it
5 When I arrived at the checkpoint, there were
6 perhaps some 12 to 15 vehicles there; most of them were
7 cargo vehicles rather than small vehicles. There was a
8 ramp across the road. There was a school on the
9 right-hand side. There were a lot of soldiers at the
10 roadblock, soldiers of the army of Bosnia and
12 I passed this column, the queue, and arrived
13 at the ramp. We stopped, and the young man got out.
14 This car had only two doors, and he was sitting in the
15 back, so when he managed to get out of the car they saw
16 that he was a colleague of theirs, so they didn't ask
17 us any questions. They simply lifted the ramp, and we
19 We drove through a wood, arrived at the
20 village of Sebesic, where there was another HVO
21 checkpoint. There I noticed that there were up to 30
22 vehicles queuing, and I noticed that most of these
23 belonged to the Kalen company. They were all tank
24 trucks. They stopped us again, and they told us we
25 should not continue. However, I asked this man and
1 said, "Well, now that I've come this far, why shouldn't
2 I go on?"
3 So he let me through, but at my own
4 responsibility. I drove to Gornji Vakuf and then to
5 Makljen. There was yet another HVO checkpoint there,
6 and they told us that we had to take the macadam road
7 to the mountain of Vran if we had to go in the
8 direction of Split. Since this road was very bad
9 indeed, I suggested to Vlatko that we should try to
10 take the road to Jablanica instead, the proper road.
11 So we arrived at another HVO checkpoint at
12 Rumboci. They stopped us and asked us where we were
13 going. We said we were going to Split. We asked them
14 if there was any traffic. They said the vehicles were
15 very few and far between, and they had no reports of
16 any problems on that road. So we continued.
17 We arrived at an elevation maybe three
18 kilometres further on from that checkpoint, and there
19 was a checkpoint there which had been set up by the
20 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a big green flag
21 and a black flag on which there was a skull. We were
22 stopped by the army manning that checkpoint, but then I
23 was recognised by the man whom two days before that I
24 had given a lift to up to that checkpoint, so that they
25 didn't even ask to see our documents. The young man
1 let us continue on our way.
2 We arrived to a point below Jablanica where
3 there was another checkpoint manned by the army of B
4 and H near a bridge that had been destroyed and they
5 didn't stop us. They let us pass through.
6 In Dreznica, another seven or eight
7 kilometres further on, there was yet another B and H
8 army checkpoint where they stopped us, checked our
9 documents, and let us pass through without any
11 We continued on our way in the direction of
12 Metkovic. We arrived at Pocitelj and decided to have a
13 drink there to refresh ourselves. There we met a
14 friend of ours, a Muslim, Fadil Sipcic, who was driving
15 a freight vehicle, a truck, transporting some goods,
16 and he was going to Vitez. Since we were old friends
17 and he would often come to my restaurant, we had a
18 chat, we joked a little, he asked us how the road was,
19 we had a drink, and then we continued each on our way.
20 We went on in the direction of Metkovic. We
21 arrived in Metkovic --
22 JUDGE CASSESE: We are wondering if it would
23 be more appropriate to speed up the proceedings by
24 doing without all these details.
25 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Yes, Mr. President.
1 However, this is a very important part of the defence
2 of Vlatko Kupreskic and of our defence as well because
3 we saw the last time, when Mrs. Ankica Kupreskic was
4 testifying, that the Prosecutor tried to challenge many
5 details in her statement so that this statement by
6 Ivica Kupreskic is simply complementing that witness,
7 and we shall see how the Prosecutor will respond, since
8 this is the road which one day before the conflict and
9 the return of the family one day before the conflict
10 broke out.
11 Besides, this part of the testimony is
12 significant because we wish to show that in that part
13 of Bosnia and Herzegovina the situation was already
14 very tense, that there were a lot of soldiers around,
15 that checkpoints had been set up every few kilometres,
16 so that the situation was certainly not normal, and it
17 shows the presence of large numbers of soldiers and
18 increased control of the entry into the Lasva River
20 JUDGE MAY: Mrs. Glumac, it can be done much
21 more quickly. The witness has been giving evidence for
22 nine minutes about this journey, and it could be
23 summarised. You could summarise the fact that there
24 were roadblocks, but the fact that he met a friend and
25 had a drink really isn't going to take us very much
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Your Honour, we wish to
3 show that Vlatko Kupreskic, when they met this person,
4 Fadil Sipcic, that he's going to call this man as his
5 witness, and that's why he was mentioned.
6 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps we can proceed more
8 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you, Your
9 Honour. I will try to speed up.
10 Q. Very well. So you passed along this path,
11 did you finally arrive in Split?
12 A. Yes, we arrived in Split. We bought some
13 goods at the market, at the Split market. We put the
14 goods -- and these were jeans, actually -- we put them
15 in the boot of our car, and then we went to the airport
16 in the evening. My wife had arrived by that plane,
17 which landed at about half past 9.00 in the evening.
18 We left Split and went to Baska Voda, to
19 Mr. Radoslav Simovic and his wife Marica. He lives in
20 Baska Voda; he has a house there. We spent that night
21 in his house, and the following morning at about 6.00
22 a.m. We continued on our way via Vrgorac to Ljubuski
23 and Capljina. We arrived in Capljina. In Capljina we
24 had breakfast, and we tried to make a telephone call to
25 contact our families; however, all the lines were down
1 in the direction of Central Bosnia.
2 We went on in the direction of Mostar, but in
3 the village of Zitomislici, there was an HVO checkpoint
4 where they would not let us go on in the direction of
5 Mostar but told us to go to Citluk, Siroki Brijeg,
6 Posusje, Tomislavgrad, and over Mt. Vran.
7 There were checkpoints there again. We went
8 back to Prozor, Makljen, Gornji Vakuf. In Gornji Vakuf
9 there was already a queue of vehicles which had been
10 stopped, and people suggested that we should not
11 continue along that way because they were stopping
12 vehicles in the woods further up that road. However,
13 since my children had been left at home alone, we
14 decided to go on nonetheless.
15 We arrived at another checkpoint in Sebesic,
16 and there was already a long queue of vehicles. The
17 queue was about two and a half kilometres long.
18 Sebesic is in a wood. So I drove by this queue and
19 arrived at the head of the queue. The person who
20 stopped me was very angry --
21 Q. Whose was the checkpoint?
22 A. It was an HVO checkpoint.
23 Q. How far is Sebesic from Vitez?
24 A. Sebesic is perhaps some 35 kilometres away
25 from Vitez.
1 And we were stopped there, our documents were
2 checked, and he told us we could not go on because
3 there were some problems down below through the Muslim
4 territory, and there had been murders in that part of
5 the wood before. I told him that my children were at
6 home alone, and that we would try to go on, and that we
7 would take responsibility for this. So I managed with
8 great difficulty to persuade him to let us pass, but he
9 told me, "At least let me take your names down, because
10 you will probably be killed on this road."
11 Q. Did you get any information regarding the
13 A. Well, that's the information he gave us. He
14 said that the Totic case had happened that morning. We
15 hadn't heard about it before, since we were away. I
16 think that the tensions had increased precisely because
17 of that case, as he told me, the thing that took place
18 at the checkpoint.
19 Q. In one section, you passed by the same
20 road -- let me just ask you something, please. Was the
21 situation at the checkpoints -- had it changed since
22 the day before?
23 A. Yes, it had changed. There were far more
24 soldiers than had been present the day before, which
25 means that the situation was more tense. It was in the
1 afternoon hours of the 15th.
2 Q. So you passed the roadblock and went on
3 towards Vitez. What happened then?
4 A. To Vitez, you mean?
5 Q. You say you passed the checkpoint and the
6 Muslim part?
7 A. Yes, I passed the Muslim part at Opara, where
8 I had left the young man up at the checkpoint. There
9 were no vehicles there any more. The ramp had been
10 lifted. There was just one policeman standing on the
11 left-hand side with a vehicle, and he stopped us. He
12 was a young man. He asked me where I was coming from
13 and whether the road had been opened.
14 I had to do the best I could at that point,
15 because I was afraid, too, and I said that I knew
16 nothing about the road, but that they had let me pass
17 because I had had some problems. I said that my wife's
18 mother had died and that I was going from Germany to
19 attend the funeral. He didn't open any of my
20 documents, my papers, and he said, "Well, I don't want
21 to keep you any longer, you may pass through."
22 I gave him some chocolates, I believe, and we
23 continued on our route. We came home. It was about
24 6.30 p.m.
25 Q. And where did you go then?
1 A. As I say, I went home. My father came out,
2 my aunt came out to say hello to my wife. My wife just
3 left the small bag she was carrying with her, and she
4 wanted to go and see her own family as soon as
5 possible. She had a lot of family. She wanted to see
6 them all because they hadn't seen each other for one
7 year and 17 days.
8 And we went to Krcevine, which is her
9 village. She saw everybody there except her brother,
10 and her brother was killed on the fourth day in the
12 We didn't stay up there long. We went back
13 home. It was about 8.00 in the evening when we
14 returned, and my relatives and friends came to visit.
15 They wanted to say hello to my wife first. We chatted,
16 we had a few jokes, and we talked about the journey we
17 had had both ways.
18 Q. How long did your journey last, in fact?
19 A. From 6.00 in the morning to 6.30 in the
21 Q. And how far is it from Vitez to Split?
22 A. From Vitez to Split, going by the road we
23 took, if you mean the road we took, it is almost 400
24 kilometres by that road. But there were a lot of
25 checkpoints, a lot of barricades.
1 Q. And what about the road by Kupres?
2 A. The road across Kupres is 220 kilometres
3 long -- to Split, that is.
4 Q. Why couldn't you go that way?
5 A. Well, we couldn't take that road for the
6 simple reason that Kupres, at that time, was held by
7 the Serbian forces.
8 Q. Very well, then. So in the evening you said
9 your friends and relations came by to see you?
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. Do you remember who these people were?
12 A. Well, I know that Mirjan and Zoran came. We
13 left Vlatko at his own house, but his wife came and so
14 did his mother. Zoran and Mirjan with their wives
15 came. Gordana Vidovic came to see us, and the other
16 refugees who were put up in my brothers's houses, Josip
17 and Branko, Manda and Marica and her mother-in-law.
18 Mirko Sakic came by. Miro Vidovic came, Franjo's son.
19 Miroslav Pudza also came by.
20 They liked to joke with me because I had got
21 married again, for the second time, so they made jokes
22 about that. So there was a lot of coming and going.
23 Zoran didn't stay too long because he had guests at his
24 own house.
25 Q. Do you remember, you said that you discussed
1 the journey up from Split and that you talked about
2 Germany and so on?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. Were there any discussions about any
5 information on the situation in Vitez, for example?
6 A. No, not about information on the situation in
7 Vitez, but we did mention the Totic case, because I
8 myself was surprised when I heard what had happened, so
9 I asked whether anybody could enlighten me as to the
10 details, just to give me some more information about
12 Q. When did the people leave your house?
13 A. Well, everybody left a little before 12.00.
14 About 12.00, we were alone.
15 Q. Did anything happen during the night, or did
16 you go to bed as you usually do?
17 A. My wife and I and children went to sleep in
18 the normal way. The children had gone to bed earlier.
19 The next morning, a little after 4.00 a.m., I remember
20 very well Dragan Vidovic came, and Stipan's -- there is
21 another Dragan, of course -- and he woke me up, and he
22 told us that there was the possibility of an attack by
23 the Muslim side and that we should urgently take our
24 families to a shelter.
25 Q. I apologise, but could you tell us again who
2 A. Dragan Vidovic, Stipan's son Dragan.
3 Q. Therefore, that is one particular individual?
4 A. Yes, one person.
5 Q. Very well; thank you. You may continue.
6 A. I asked him where I should take them, because
7 they had not been there before and there were alerts
8 before that. And he said that that best thing would be
9 for them to go to the shelter by Jozo Vrebac's place,
10 the Trajanovski shelter.
11 I woke my wife up. I told her that she
12 should get up quickly and get the children ready and go
13 to the shelter there. She told me that she had still
14 not had enough sleep. I said, "Well, there are
15 probably some problems, and you should get up and go."
16 I said, "This isn't Germany, you know."
17 So she got up, she got the children ready,
18 she collected a few things together, and a little
19 before 5.00 we started out towards the shelter
20 belonging to Jozo Vrebac.
21 I took them through the depression by Pudzine
22 Kuce up to Zume, up to about Ivica Vidovic's, Jevco's
23 house. I told her that she should continue on with the
24 children alone and go up to Jozo Vrebac's house because
25 she knew where the house was situated. I said to her
1 that I was to go back and warn the refugees once
2 again -- that is to say, the refugees which had been
3 put up in my brothers's houses, Branko's and Josip's
4 house. I woke them up at the same time and told them
5 that they had to go. They told me that they weren't
6 interested in any of that, and that they had
7 experienced many false alarms before that, and that
8 they had already had to leave their own houses.
9 Q. What were the names of these refugees?
10 A. The refugees's name was the (redacted)
12 (redacted), who was put up
13 in my brother Josip's house.
14 Q. Were there any children with them?
15 A. Yes, there were. Both families had
17 Q. Where were their husbands?
18 A. Their husbands were up at the front line
19 facing the Serbs near their own village, the Didaci,
20 near Turbe.
21 Q. Very well; thank you. Please continue and
22 tell us what happened next.
23 A. Well, I left my wife at Ivica Vidovic's
24 house, and they went on towards the shelter, whereas I
25 returned back to my own house quickly. Some 50 to 100
1 metres away from them, as I left them, I met my aunt
2 and uncle first. I met Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic's
3 parents and after them, some 200 metres later, by
4 Pudzine Kuce, I met Zoran and Mirjan with their own
5 families, and Mirjan, who was taking his mother-in-law
6 in a wheelbarrow. She was being taken in a
8 I continued, and I was close to Niko Sakic's
9 house at this point, and by Niko Sakic's house I met
10 some soldiers, a group of soldiers, in fact, who were
11 going in the direction of Vlatko Kupreskic's
12 warehouse. And as this was the point where I was to
13 turn off towards the left and take the path across the
14 depression to my own house, they went forward.
15 I arrived in front of my brother Branko's
16 house, and Marica and her mother-in-law and children
17 were already ready. I told them to leave immediately,
18 that something was happening, and that I had already
19 seen some armed soldiers.
20 After that, I went to my brother Josip's
21 house, Manda was also ready, and I told them that they
22 had to go too. My aunt, she is now an old woman of 75,
23 she didn't want to leave in the first conflict and said
24 she wasn't going to leave now either, and she said, "If
25 necessary, let them kill me." I nonetheless tried to
1 convince her to leave as well; however, she was joined
2 by the mother-in-law of these two (redacted) women, Luca was
3 her name, and, quite simply, the two of them said that
4 they weren't budging, that they weren't going to leave
5 my house.
6 I then called Vlatko Kupreskic because I
7 thought that somebody had warned him already, and I
8 told him that the situation was tense and that he
9 should leave too. He told me that he had already had a
10 phone call to that effect. So I went out in front of
11 Josip Kupreskic's house -- no, I beg your pardon, first
12 of all, on my own terrace, and I could see it very
13 well, that is to say, I could see the road from my
14 terrace, the road passing beside my own house and
15 Zoran's house. I saw from that vantage point the
16 deployment of some soldiers. I could hear footsteps,
17 the rattling of weapons.
18 I went towards the (redacted) once again, and
19 once again, I saw a group of some four soldiers going
20 behind my own house from the direction of the
21 depression, that is to say, it was a wood or forest.
22 They called me and said, "Hey, you. Come here." I
23 said, "Let me just accompany this family and my own
24 children, take them away."
25 They passed by me, went towards the house
1 belonging to Mirjan's father, Ante, whereas I went into
2 the boiler room of my brother Josip's house, and it was
3 dug deep into the ground from all sides, except one
4 side, of course, and there was no door at all.
5 As it was dark, it was dusk, I sat down on a
6 log, put my hands on my head and said, "God, what's all
7 this going on? Is it possible that I could have
8 brought my family back to a situation of this kind?"
9 Shortly after that, perhaps some five minutes went by,
10 there was loud shooting going on from all sides. We
11 could hear things burning. There was smoke. There
12 were flames. Everything was on fire; that's the
13 impression I got, that everything had been set on
14 fire. I was completely breathless and was deep in that
15 shelter, sitting deep in the shelter.
16 At one particular moment --
17 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, may I interrupt you at this
18 point and ask you to show us on the map where the
19 depression is located, which road you took towards your
20 own house, where you saw the army, and which way the
21 soldiers went in the direction of your house, which
22 route they took?
23 A. Well, it's like this. This is my house
24 (indicating). I had taken my family from our house,
25 this way, along this road past this wood, and that is
1 where the depression is. That's the depression here
2 (indicating). This is Niko Sakic's house
3 (indicating). Then I continued with them along this
4 road and went to this place here (indicating). That's
5 where I left my family because that is Ivica Vidovic's
6 house, nickname Jevco. They continued on their own to
7 the shelter, which is located here (indicating),
8 whereas I returned back along this route.
9 Somewhere along that route, I met Zoran and
10 Mirjan's parents, and Zoran and Mirjan themselves, I
11 met somewhere here, in this region (indicating). I had
12 caught up with the soldiers here who were moving
13 towards the direction of the warehouse, this direction
14 (indicating), whereas I took a left turn towards the
16 This is my brother Branko's house
17 (indicating). I first went to his house to warn Marica
18 and then continued on up to Josip's house and warned
19 Manda. Then I went down towards my own house and the
20 bottom of it, because the entrance, the front door, is
21 below, and from the main terrace, that's where I went.
22 I wanted to convince my aunt to go to the shelter as
23 well, but she really didn't want to. I hid here
24 (indicating) and met the soldiers, the group of
25 soldiers, here who were moving towards Mirjan's
1 father's house. They called out to me. They continued
2 along this path, and I went into the garage here.
3 Q. Did you see the direction from which the
4 soldiers were coming?
5 A. I saw that from the terrace, while I was
6 still on the terrace trying to convince my aunt to
7 leave. They had probably been deployed here and were
8 coming from this direction (indicating), between our
10 Q. The four soldiers who you said called out to
11 you, can you tell us from which direction they came?
12 A. Well, they might have come through this part
13 or across this meadow or they might simply have come
14 this way (indicating). They might have even used this
15 path (indicating). I really don't know which path they
17 Q. Very well. Thank you. Could you please mark
18 some spots on this aerial photograph that you talked
20 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
22 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
23 Q. You may sit down. Please, could you show the
24 place at which you saw the soldiers and the direction
25 in which they left, as far as you were able to see? So
1 just an arrow pointing in the direction they went.
2 A. I saw the soldiers here (indicating).
3 Q. Could you show this on the overhead projector
4 so that we could see?
5 A. This is it (marks). They were moving in this
6 direction toward the warehouse (indicating).
7 Q. What direction did you move in?
8 A. This direction (marks), through the
10 Q. The soldiers you saw from the terrace --
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. -- from what direction did they come?
13 A. They came from this direction (marks).
14 Q. And the four soldiers?
15 A. They arrived from behind my back, so this
16 direction here, from this direction (marks).
17 Q. Could you please put a circle around Josip
18 Kupreskic's house in whose shelter or boiler room you
20 A. Here, this is it (marks).
21 Q. Please, could you show the direction or could
22 you put a number 1 next to the direction the soldiers
23 were moving in?
24 A. (Marks)
25 Q. The direction from which you saw the soldiers
1 coming towards your houses, could you mark it number 2?
2 A. (Marks)
3 Q. The third direction, the direction in which
4 the four soldiers were moving?
5 A. (Marks)
6 Q. Very well. Thank you.
7 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I would now like to
8 show a very short video, only a few minutes, to see
9 where the garage is between the Kupreskic houses and
10 its position. I would like the video to be shown.
11 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, there is no text, so just tell
12 us what house is shown, where the room is, and what can
13 be seen from the garage in relation to the surrounding
15 (Videotape played)
16 A. This is the garage. This was really planned
17 as a boiler room. It's in my brother's house. None of
18 this stuff was inside then. Since they were in Germany
19 at that time, it was empty.
20 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
21 Q. So the window we saw on the right-hand side,
22 the little window, where does it face?
23 A. It looks into my brother's bathroom because
24 the house is on the right-hand side.
25 Q. Are there any other windows inside?
1 A. No. No, it's all underground. This is the
2 view from the entrance. This is the old house.
3 Q. Whose house was it?
4 A. It's my father's house, Ivo. This is the
5 garage in which Mirjan Santic was brought later,
6 straight ahead. Then the next house is my house; right
7 in front, my house. This is Zoran's house, you can see
8 there, the house of Zoran Kupreskic. Here you can see
9 the house of Sukrija Ahmic which was burnt down, and
10 Sakib Ahmic's house was in front of it. The house on
11 the left-hand side is the house of Zoran's father, Ante
12 Kupreskic. Mirjan lived upstairs on the upper floor of
13 that house.
14 Q. Who lived in the lower floor?
15 A. My aunt and uncle.
16 Q. The road, the lane, is the main road?
17 A. Yes, that's the main road leading to our
18 houses. It goes between my house and Zoran's house
19 from the -- this is where the soldiers came, from the
20 direction of the warehouse.
21 Q. And this area?
22 A. This was my garage.
23 Q. But I mean this house, what is this?
24 A. This is used for curing meat. This is the
25 old house.
1 Q. The road leading to the depression would be
2 beside this old house?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you very much. Mr. Kupreskic, from the
5 place where you were --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. -- you were able to see the surrounding
8 houses and part of the area in the direction of Sakib
9 Ahmic's house and the house of his son Sukrija --
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. -- and some of the area around Vlatko
12 Kupreskic's warehouse?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Not just the warehouse but the surrounding
16 A. Well, my house is in the way, blocking off a
17 view of the warehouse.
18 Q. Where is Branko Kupreskic's house in relation
19 to the houses we saw on the video? Where is it?
20 A. Branko Kupreskic's house is behind the boiler
21 room and more to the right, looking in the direction of
22 my house. So it's more to the right.
23 Q. What then happened? You said you heard
24 gunfire. You were in the boiler room. What did you
1 A. I was in the boiler room, and some ten
2 minutes later, after the gunfire started, I tried to
3 peer out to see, if possible, at least something
4 because I was, of course, afraid of being hit by a
6 The first thing I saw was that Sakib Ahmic's
7 house was on fire. Right after that, the house of his
8 son, Sukrija Ahmic, burst into flames. I saw this, and
9 I saw flames and smoke. I heard gunfire. I heard the
10 crackle of the fires, and, of course, I went back. For
11 reasons of safety, I didn't stick my head out for
12 long. Then I wondered what to do, and I was desperate
13 because I had brought my family back to this.
14 Q. Where was the gunfire coming from?
15 A. It was coming from all directions. Since I
16 was inside, I was really unable to gather from which
17 direction it was coming. It was coming from all sides,
18 and I had the feeling that everything was on fire, that
19 there was shooting everywhere. I could understand
20 nothing. I was terrified.
21 Q. What happened half an hour later?
22 A. After half an hour, two soldiers ran into the
23 same boiler room. One was wearing a black uniform and
24 the other was wearing a camouflage uniform. They had
25 automatic rifles with them, and they had rounds of
1 ammunition and several hand grenades. They had black
2 bands over their foreheads, and they had paint on their
3 faces. One of them had an M-48 rifle slung over his
4 shoulder; there was a belt over his shoulder.
5 They hadn't noticed me yet because I was
6 hiding in the corner and it was quite dark. So when
7 they ran in, they probably weren't paying attention to
8 that corner. One of them, the one who was in the black
9 uniform, put his gun away and started taking off the
10 M-48. He told his colleague, "I have just confiscated
11 this gun."
12 Then he noticed me, and he pointed the gun at
13 me and he asked me, "What's your name?" I was
14 terrified. I was out of my wits. He said, "Who do you
15 belong to?" I said, "I belong to you." I didn't know
16 who they were. I said, "I belong to you." He said,
17 "What's your name," and I said, "My name is Ivica."
18 He said, "Where is your house," and I said, "Over
19 there, some 50 metres away." He said, "Do you have
20 anything to drink in your house," and I said, "Yes, I
21 do." So he said, "Go and fetch the drinks." I said,
22 "I don't dare. I have to run some 50 metres." He
23 said, "You're afraid of running cross 50 metres, and we
24 are at the front line." So they simply chased me.
25 They made me go to my house.
1 I knocked on my aunt's window, on the
2 right-hand side of the house, and she handed me a
3 bottle of brandy. I ran back and I gave it to them.
4 They had two or three drinks, they stayed for about ten
5 minutes, and then I asked them who they were. They
6 said, "You don't know who we are?" I said, "No, I
7 don't know. Who are you?" They said they were
8 Jokers. They said, "Don't you know who the Jokers
9 are? They are a special unit of the military police."
10 They didn't stay there long. They left
11 again, and I stayed there. The gunfire went on. It
12 was very intense. In the meantime, when they arrived,
13 they said that Mirjan Santic had been killed. So I
14 asked, "Which Mirjan Santic," and they said, "Mirjan
15 Santic from Santici." I said, "Is it possible that he
16 has been killed?" They said, "Yes," not far from our
18 Then they left again. They went outside. I
19 stayed inside. I didn't dare go out. From time to
20 time, I stuck my head out to see what was burning.
21 That's all. I watched to see whether my house was on
22 fire because I could see it. It was right across the
24 At about 10.00 in the morning or it may have
25 been a little later than 10.00, those two soldiers and
1 a third one carried Mirjan Santic. He had been a
2 heavy-built man, about 110 kilogrammes in weight. When
3 I saw him, I really couldn't believe it. They brought
4 him to my garage, which I pointed out to you. They
5 called to me, and I ran out to help them. We put him
6 on a ladder, on a ladder, and we laid his hands across
7 his chest. They said to me that I had to find someone
8 urgently to transport the corpse in the direction of
9 Pudzine Kuce.
10 I went back to the boiler room, I stayed
11 there for some 15 minutes, and when there was a lull in
12 the gunfire -- it didn't stop completely but it became
13 more quiet because sometimes it was more intense and
14 sometimes it was less intense and then it would become
15 more intense again -- so I ran out and set off in the
16 direction of the depression to find someone to help me
17 because I was frightened. I thought they might do
18 something to me if we didn't move Mirjan's body to
19 where they said.
20 I came to the edge of the depression, and I
21 met Nikola Omazic, who was a little tipsy at that
22 moment, and it was quite noticeable because he was
23 staggering. I said that Mirjan Santic had been killed
24 and that he had been brought to my garage, and I told
25 him to look for someone to help us carry him at least
1 to the depression. He said, "Let's go, the two of
2 us." I said, "How can the two of us do it on our own?
3 He is very heavy." So he followed me. We came to the
4 garage. We took hold of the ladder, one on each side,
5 and very quickly, we passed behind my father's old
6 house in the direction of the depression.
7 From the depression, Zoran and Mirjan
8 Kupreskic came out and Dragan Vidovic, and they took
9 over the corpse, together with Nikola Omazic, and took
10 him to Niko Sakic's house.
11 I returned once again to the same boiler room
12 because I thought I would be safest there, safer than
13 anywhere else, and I stayed there until about 1.00. My
14 aunt had already opened the window, and she told me
15 that she would prepare some food for the children and
16 for family and that I should take it to them.
17 Somewhere around 1.00, she prepared the meal, and I
18 took the food and went past the depression again, right
19 up to the shelter.
20 When I passed through the depression, passed
21 by the depression, I saw Zoran and Mirjan there again
22 and Mirko Sakic, and there was some other people there
23 as well, but the ones I mentioned were certainly
24 there. I said that I was taking some food for my
25 family, and I went to the shelter. I took the food.
1 My wife came out of the shelter. I gave her everything
2 I had brought with me. The children came out for a
3 little while. We kissed. I said that I was to return
4 home again so that if any of the houses were set
5 alight, I was the only one that could put the fire out,
6 and that my aunt was there as well and that she was an
7 elderly woman, and if anything happened to her, then I
8 could evacuate her as well.
9 The army didn't return to that part, and the
10 shooting went on towards the middle region of Ahmici,
11 so it wasn't as close as it was in the morning. I
12 stayed there. My aunt once again prepared some food
13 for us. At about 6.00 p.m., at about 6.00 in the
14 evening, I took some food again and some clothing that
15 was necessary. I took a few blankets so that the
16 children could use them to cover themselves with during
17 the night and went out towards the shelter again.
18 From the depression, Zoran and Mirjan went
19 with me and Mirko Sakic as well. We went to the
20 shelter together. We saw our families, first of all,
21 my own family and Mirjan's family, who were located in
22 the Trajanovski house, whereas Zoran's family was put
23 up in Milutin Vidovic's house.
24 After that, we went to Milutin Vidovic's
25 house and continued our journey onwards towards the
1 depression. All this lasted for about an hour, perhaps
2 a little longer.
3 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, perhaps
4 we could take a break here.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.15 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
8 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
9 Mr. President. We can continue.
10 Q. You said that you returned?
11 A. Yes, we returned to the depression that
12 evening, and on that evening I again went to my houses,
13 and I was there until about half past 7.00. The
14 gunfire could be heard constantly, but more in the
15 lower part of Ahmici, where the mosque was.
16 At about half past 7.00 in the evening, a
17 terrible detonation could be heard. After that, there
18 was extremely intense gunfire, and an hour later, since
19 it was dark and we had no idea what was going on, we
20 were told that the minaret of the mosque had crashed
21 and that the mosque had been blown up, actually. At
22 about 9.00 p.m., perhaps a little before that, some
23 soldiers arrived. When we asked them where they had
24 come from, they said they were from Novi Travnik, the
25 Novi Travnik police. They said that they would spend
1 that night there simply because they wanted to go home,
2 there was no shooting that night. There were only some
3 fires still burning.
4 Q. When you say "we," who are you referring to?
5 You say "we."
6 A. I apologise. I was there on my own. I didn't
7 follow them. They left. I don't know where they went,
8 but I went back to the depression; it was still night.
9 Mirjan and Zoran were still there, Mirko Sakic was
10 there. There where some other people. In the evening
11 we would go to the hayloft, to my father's hayloft
12 together. Some people slept in the hayloft. I went to
13 my father's house and slept for half an hour or so,
14 because this was a terrible misfortune that had taken
15 place nearby.
16 Q. When you say the hayloft, what are you
17 referring to?
18 A. Well, I'm referring to my father's cowshed.
19 He had some hay upstairs to feed the cattle and the
21 Q. This cowshed, was it the closest building to
22 the depression?
23 A. Yes. That was the building closest to the
24 depression and behind the cowshed there is a smaller
25 depression, and then there is this big depression.
1 Q. You said that some people slept in the
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you remember who was there?
5 A. Well, people came and went. No one slept
6 there for long, because who could sleep after
7 everything that had happened that day?
8 Q. Did you see Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic there?
9 A. Well, yes, they would come up to the hayloft,
10 and I left them to go into my father's house.
11 Q. On the next day, what happened?
12 A. On the next day, the gunfire started only at
13 about half past 10.00 in the morning. There was
14 intense gunfire again, but it was directed toward
15 Gornji or Upper Ahmici, more toward Upper Ahmici. And
16 we could hear it until the evening, and then it fell
17 silent at about 19.00 hours in the evening, perhaps.
18 But it was almost at the end of Gornji or Upper Ahmici,
19 so that there was less shooting around our houses.
20 Q. Did you see Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic on
21 that day, and where?
22 A. I saw Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic again. They
23 had retreated from the hayloft into the depression, and
24 again I took food for the children prepared by my aunt
25 for the family. She had prepared a larger quantity of
1 food so that I could share it with those who didn't
2 have any. So I went to the shelter about three times
3 that day, and in the evening when I had come back to
4 the houses I was told that the Croatian refugees from
5 all the shelters in the area had had to flee in the
6 direction of Donja Rovna, because it was rumoured that
7 the Mujahedin had broken through the front line at
9 Q. Did your family flee as well?
10 A. Yes, my family fled, together with these
11 people, until the evening, until about 11.00 p.m. I
12 didn't even know -- I was told then that they had all
13 had to leave. I don't remember who it was that told me
14 this because quite a lot of people would come to the
15 hayloft and then go back. It was the people from
16 Pudzine Kuce and Zoran and Mirjan.
17 Q. Where did you spend the second night?
18 A. We spent it at the houses again, on the
19 second night, I slept a little in my father's house,
20 some people slept in the hayloft. Zoran and Mirjan
21 were in the hayloft too. The following morning, as
22 soon as dawn broke, at about perhaps 6.00 or half past
23 6.00, I went toward Jozo Vrebac's shelter and then took
24 the road to Donja Rovna along which my family had
25 fled. I found my family in Pero Santic's house in
1 Donja Rovna, and Mirjan's wife and children too.
2 Q. So this was Pero Santic's house which is
3 located in Donja Rovna; is that right?
4 A. Yes, the house of Pero Santic, which was
5 situated in Donja Rovna.
6 Q. After that, did you stay in Donja Rovna, or
7 did you return to the village?
8 A. I stayed with my family for a certain time,
9 perhaps until 1.00 or half past 1.00, and then I went
10 back home again because they had told us that my aunt
11 was cooking food for us, and there weren't many people
12 there, and they could take care of themselves there.
13 So I just went to fetch some foodstuffs for them to use
14 when preparing their own meals.
15 Q. On the third day, was there any gunfire heard
16 in Ahmici?
17 A. On the third day, there was no gunfire in
18 Ahmici, but we could hear gunfire in Gornja Pirici. So
19 on the third day, gunfire could be heard from Gornja
21 Q. Did you move away from your house on the
22 third day?
23 A. No, we, that is I, didn't go anywhere. I
24 just went to Donja Rovna twice, and I was there again
25 until perhaps 17.00 hours, 17.30. So between 5.00 and
1 6.00 p.m. some policemen came by, and they had a number
2 of civilians from Vitez with them. They were all
3 wearing civilian uniforms, none of them were wearing
4 any kind of uniforms. They made all of us in the area
5 go to Pirici, to the village. When we arrived in the
6 village, Slavko Papic told us where to dig trenches.
7 He told me to dig a trench. I don't know about the
8 others, but Slavko Papic told me where I had to dig a
9 trench. We were supposed to create a defence line
11 Q. Was there any gunfire coming toward the place
12 where you arrived?
13 A. Not then, but there was a shot or two during
14 the night. We spent the whole night there. We dug a
15 little. It was quite cold, quite cold. It even
16 drizzled a little bit that evening.
17 Q. Who went with you to this defence line? Who
18 was brought there?
19 A. Well, all of us who had been there, Mirko
20 Sakic, Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic, Milutin Vidovic,
21 Samija, Dragan Samija. There were quite a few of us.
22 There was quite a large number of us. Anyone they
23 found at the houses, and those whom they didn't find
24 that day, they found the next day.
25 At one moment I asked whether I could go to
1 fetch some warm clothing for the people who had arrived
2 from Vitez not knowing where they were going, but they
3 didn't allow me to go back.
4 Q. What road did you take to Gornja Pirici?
5 A. We went over the fields from my house
6 directly toward Gornja Pirici. When we were crossing
7 the fields, then we saw, in front of the house of Enver
8 Sehic, Enver was dead. His son, his child, was dead.
9 Zoran Kupreskic then experienced a terrible shock when
10 he saw the child that had gone to school with his son
11 until the day before.
12 Q. How did he react?
13 A. I had the impression that he had a nervous
14 breakdown. He could not eat anything for 15 days. It
15 was really hard for him, especially since we were very,
16 very good friends with Enver.
17 Q. When you went to Gornja Pirici, did you stay
18 there for a prolonged period of time?
19 A. I remained in Pirici for about ten days, and
20 then I received an order to go to Gornji Ahmici, Upper
21 Ahmici, to the line there. Of course I went there, and
22 I spent about two and a half months there, and then I
23 was brought back to Pirici, to Mustafa Strmonja's
24 house, where I stayed until the end of the war.
25 Q. So you spent the entire war, in fact, in your
1 village, or rather, above your village?
2 A. Yes, above my village.
3 Q. Can you say whether you know when you were
4 actually mobilised, when your name was put on the
5 list? Do you remember if the list was drawn up?
6 A. Believe me, I really don't know whether there
7 was a list or who made it. All I know is that anyone
8 who was a squad leader had to make a list of the men
9 and what trench they were assigned to. Whether there
10 was anyone who made a general list, I really don't
12 Q. And this war was mainly in the trenches, you
13 spent it mainly in the trenches?
14 A. Yes, this part of the line where I was in
15 Pirici, never moved. It was there all the time.
16 Q. Can you say when you found out about what had
17 happened in Ahmici and the --
18 A. I'm sorry, I didn't understand your
20 Q. Well, when did you find out how many victims
21 there had been, what the extent of the destruction and
22 killing was?
23 A. Well, I heard about it some ten days later,
24 when the corpses were collected. So I found out only
25 about ten days later that there had been really a lot
1 of victims, not only in the lower part but also in the
2 upper part of Ahmici. But believe me, I still don't
3 know even today exactly how many were killed.
4 Q. The goods in your warehouse, you said it was
5 your company's goods, mainly in Vlatko Kupreskic's
6 warehouse and partly in your house?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. How were those goods transported?
9 A. It was transported in trucks to the
11 Q. Tell us, what was the value of the goods on
12 the 15th of April, 1993?
13 A. Well, an assessment would be up to 150.000
14 German marks.
15 Q. Tell us, did you get any shares because you
16 were a participant of the war in this way, as you have
17 described it?
18 A. I never received any shares.
19 Q. What about your family?
20 A. My wife did, my father did, and my aunt, who
21 is 75 now, got some. But I didn't get any.
22 Q. Tell us, after the end of the war, did Mirjan
23 Kupreskic continue working at your company?
24 A. Yes, Mirjan Kupreskic continued working. As
25 soon as the company started working, Mirjan started
1 working straightaway then, and he began working in the
2 warehouse in Vitez. He was the head of Velaprodaja
3 Wholesale. When I returned from Germany he moved from
4 Velaprodaja to Ahmici, to Vitez, and the retail trade
5 there because he had his own -- I had my own shop, and
6 he worked in an office there. He worked for about a
7 week before the actual conflict broke out.
8 Q. And who took the place of Mirjan Kupreskic in
9 the Velaprodaja feature in Ahmici?
10 A. Well, it was Vlatko Kupreskic's
11 brother-in-law, Ivica Covic's.
12 Q. What did you say the man's name was?
13 A. Ivica Covic. He was a native of Zenica.
14 Q. When did you say that your company began
15 working again? Do you remember the month and the year?
16 A. I think it was approximately in April 1994.
17 As soon as we obtained our first documents and papers
18 from the HVO that we could leave, then we went to fetch
19 the goods.
20 Q. How long did Mirjan work in your company?
21 A. Mirjan worked in my company until he left for
22 The Hague.
23 Q. In the meantime, I apologize, did he go
24 abroad with his cultural and arts society?
25 A. Yes. He went to Austria, to Vienna, and once
1 he went to Switzerland.
2 Q. Do you remember the year?
3 A. I think it was in 1995. I think it was
5 Q. Where do you live now?
6 A. I now reside in Vitez. In Vitez. It is
7 Petar Svacic Street, without a number, in a new
8 building there where I purchased an apartment about a
9 year and a half ago.
10 Q. And where do the families of Zoran and Mirjan
11 Kupreskic live?
12 A. Zoran's family lives one floor above me in a
13 three-room apartment there. We go into the same
14 entrance. Mirjan lives in another section of the
15 apartment building which he, he bought it with a
16 mortgage and has to repay it.
17 Q. Why did you move to Vitez?
18 A. We went to Vitez for the simple reason that
19 it was fairly difficult to look at the region, and one
20 cannot imagine that there is practically no life there
21 any more. We were all very sorry. We know which of
22 our neighbours had lost their lives. We know which of
23 our own people had lost their lives in that region.
24 Everything had been destroyed, and it was very
1 Q. Do you know anything about the fact that
2 Mirjan Kupreskic's house, that is to say his father's
3 house, Anto Kupreskic's house, during this conflict, at
4 the beginning of the conflict in 1993, was looted?
5 A. Yes, I do know that. I think it was on the
6 third day of the conflict, when Mirjan and Zdravko -- I
7 was in Rovna at the time. Mirjan and Zdravko Vrebac
8 would go to fetch their accordion, because he liked
9 playing the accordion. When he came to his door, it
10 was only his apartment that was looted, because he is
11 on the upper storey of the building. The door had been
12 bashed in, and the cupboard had been broken into, as
13 well as the door to his fridge was off its hinges, and
14 he could just take the door and transport it
15 elsewhere. A leather jacket was taken, some gold
16 jewellery that he had was taken; the essential things
17 of value.
18 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Would you now take a
19 look at a document. And I should like to ask the usher
20 to present the document to the witness. It is 353,
21 Defence Exhibit 353. It is Prosecution Exhibit 353.
22 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, would you just take a look at
23 the fact under 217. Just one moment, please. It is
24 page 30. Number 217.
25 A. Yes, I've found it.
1 Q. Let me ask you, do you know the signature of
2 Mirjan Kupreskic?
3 A. I know it very well. He worked with me. He
4 worked in my company, and he would sign all the
5 documents that needed to be signed, so I know his
6 signature well.
7 Q. Would you take a look on the right-hand side,
8 the column where it says "Signature. "
9 A. This is not his signature, because he never
10 signed his name in this fashion. Never.
11 Q. Thank you very much. Would you now take a
12 look at what has been recorded in front of that, before
13 that, and that is the time engaged in the unit, that
14 column. It says from the 8th of April, '92, to the
15 21st of February, '96. Was Mirjan Kupreskic in the HVO
16 during that period of time?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Do you know where Zoran worked after the war?
19 A. After the war, Zoran worked -- that is to say
20 he continued to be in Vitezit, and it was a company
21 made up of three different departments. There was only
22 one company like Vitezit, but as it was a military
23 factory, many people were sent home to wait for work,
24 and the company was devastated, and as I have three
25 children, I gave him my restaurant, and he was head of
1 the restaurant until the time that he left for The
3 Q. Who had three children? You had three
4 children, or Zoran?
5 A. I had three children, but Zoran also had
6 three children, and has three children today.
7 Q. Tell us, did you work with the Muslims after
8 the war?
9 A. Yes, I did. We started working with the
10 Muslims straightaway after the war because there are
11 good people everywhere, people you can work with. We
12 had a considerable number of friends, and in two -- for
13 a period of two years, I worked with Emir Perenda, and
14 we did some big business together. First of all I
15 imported live sheep from Poland, and there were about
16 2.300 head of sheep. The next year -- I can check, I
17 can check, but I imported from Australia, sheep from
18 Australia, in 1996 it was -- as I say, I imported a
19 whole shipload, 10.400 head of sheep. They all went
20 for the Reis of the Islamic community for the entire
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina area for their national ceremony and
22 festivity, the Kurban Bajram. So in 1995, this was in
24 Q. Did you give any donations in the form of
1 A. Yes. Immediately after the war, I went to
2 Germany, and from Germany I brought medicines back. I
3 brought a kombi van full of medicaments. I had bought
4 this kombi van for myself and loaded it up with
5 medicines, and I transported those medicines to Vitez.
6 Half of this contingent I gave to the health centre in
7 Vitez and the other half I gave to the hospital
8 pharmacy in Travnik, to the Muslims. And this can be
9 seen from the document that I have tendered.
10 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: May I now call upon the
11 usher to present the witness with this document as
13 Q. Could you tell us whether Mirjan Kupreskic
14 did all this business together with you throughout the
15 entire time?
16 A. Yes, Mirjan Kupreskic worked with me
17 throughout this period.
18 THE REGISTRAR: 102/2, and this document is
20 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
21 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, can you confirm that this was
22 issued by the medical centre in Travnik?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In gratitude for your donation in medicines?
25 A. Yes, that is the certificate and document
1 that I received from them.
2 Q. We can't see the stamp clearly here, but on
3 the original document it is more visible, and we can
4 see that it is a stamp of the pharmacy of the medical
5 centre in Travnik; is that correct?
6 A. Yes, it is.
7 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Kupreskic.
8 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I have no more
9 questions. I should just like to tender Defence
10 Exhibits from number 99/2 to 103/2 be tendered into
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Any objection?
13 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, I would like to
14 point out that we do not have a copy of the
15 videocassette which was shown a little while ago, and
16 we would like to have one. Also, as regards the last
17 document, it has to do with a stamp of the pharmacy or
18 from the hospital, or the pharmacy hospital, but I
19 don't see it. Perhaps we could have a copy of the real
20 original document because it's hard to get an idea when
21 I look at this one.
22 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I can
23 present this document so that it can be seen, and the
24 witness can read the stamp that is the original, but it
25 was not visible on the photocopy, and I have the
1 cassette tape for the Prosecutor here. So perhaps the
2 usher can show the original document, if necessary.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: No objection?
4 MR. TERRIER: No.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: They are admitted in
7 Counsel Krajina?
8 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, this witness
9 will be questioned by my colleague, Mr. Par.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Par?
11 MR. PAR: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Par:
13 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, I'm going to ask you several
14 questions relating to the accused Vlatko Kupreskic.
15 In your testimony today, you said that,
16 between 1992 and 1993, you were the owner and director
17 of a trading company, which was first called
18 Stefani-Bosna and then changed its name to Sutra. I am
19 now going to give you an order of the Higher Court of
20 Zenica. Would you take a look at page 2 and tell us
21 what the document is about?
22 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
24 A. This was issued by the Higher Court in
25 Zenica, and it refers to the change in the name of the
1 private trading company for catering and tourism,
2 "Stefani-Bosna, Export/Import Vitez," with full
3 responsibility and headquarters in Vitez. "Petra
4 Mecave" is the street, "bb," and it will function under
5 the new title, the company, a private company for
6 trading, for catering, and tourism, and will be called
7 "Sutra Export/Import of Vitez."
8 On the first side of the decision, we have
9 the signature of the authorised person, Ivica
11 Q. Yes. Thank you. That is the company that
12 you spoke about and for which Vlatko Kupreskic worked.
13 Will you tell us, between 1992 and 1993, was Vlatko
14 employed in the company the whole time, and what kind
15 of work did he do there? Tell us briefly.
16 A. Well, Vlatko, for the most part, worked -- he
17 is an economist by profession, so he did that type of
18 job. He was my sort of partner and co-owner of the
19 firm at that time.
20 Q. In the period between 1992 and 1993, was he
21 employed all the time, and was he perhaps mobilised
22 during that period?
23 A. In 1992 and 1993, he worked normally. No
24 problems there. At the beginning, that is to say, in
25 the first days after the conflict, he opened a shop of
1 his own in Vitez with his wife. So he sold part of the
2 goods that remained in our warehouse.
3 Q. Was he mobilised in that period?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Do you know why he wasn't mobilised?
6 A. He wasn't mobilised, first and foremost,
7 because, as a young boy, he had a heart operation. He
8 underwent cardiac surgery. He wasn't even a
9 military-able man in the former Yugoslavia. He didn't
10 do his military service because he was not fit for this
12 Q. Tell us whether Vlatko engaged in any
13 political activities. Was he a member of any political
14 party? Did he have any military authorisations or
15 civilian authorisations or anything of that kind?
16 A. I never noticed anything of that kind.
17 Q. Did you ever see him in a uniform or carrying
18 a gun?
19 A. No, I didn't.
20 Q. I would now like to discuss the dates of the
21 14th and 15th of March when you went to collect your
22 wife who had come back from Germany. You said that you
23 organised the trip as partly a business trip and partly
24 a private trip.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you say whether you needed any kind of
2 approval for this?
3 A. Yes. First of all, we had to have a document
4 from our company stating that we were on a business
5 trip, and then we also had to seek approval from the
6 HVO, that is, from the municipality, to go on a
8 Q. I will now show you a document, and I will
9 ask you to comment on it and tell the Court what it
10 refers to.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Document D24/3.
12 MR. PAR:
13 Q. Can you tell us what this document refers to
14 and why it was necessary?
15 A. This document is necessary if you are going
16 on a business trip. It is issued by the company, and
17 it says here that "Vlatko Kupreskic and Ivica, as the
18 director and his associate in the firm, are going on a
19 business trip, Vitez --"
20 Q. What's the date?
21 A. The date is the 13th of April, 1993.
22 Q. Who draws up this document?
23 A. Either I do or Vlatko does, one of us two.
24 Q. I would now like to ask you to glance at this
25 second document and to tell us what it refers to.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Document D25/3.
2 A. This is the document issued by the Croatian
3 Defence Council. This is the document which makes it
4 possible for us to travel as regards the municipality.
5 It is evident here that, on the 13th of April, 1993,
6 Ivica Kupreskic from Vitez, that he has the right to
7 stay away from the 14th to the 24th, and it shows that
8 it's a business trip, Vitez-Split-Vitez.
9 MR. PAR:
10 Q. Does this approval bear the stamp of the
11 border crossing and the date?
12 A. Yes. It's the Metkovic border crossing on
13 the 14th of April, 1993. So when leaving Bosnia, this
14 stamp was put on our documents.
15 Q. Very well. Did Vlatko have to have the same
16 kind of document if he travelled with you?
17 A. Yes, he had to have the same one.
18 Q. I will show you another document so that you
19 can tell us whether this is the same kind of document
20 issued for Vlatko.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Document D26/3.
22 A. As you can see, this is also the travel
23 authorisation for the 13th of April, 1993, and it
24 refers to Vlatko Kupreskic from Vitez. The destination
25 is the same. The border crossing is the same,
1 Metkovic, the 14th of April, 1993.
2 MR. PAR:
3 Q. Thank you. So you set out on this journey in
4 compliance with this travel authorisation, and you said
5 that you used your Yugo car.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can you tell us whether Vlatko Kupreskic had
8 the same kind of blue Yugo?
9 A. Yes, it was the same colour. Everything was
10 the same. It was the same make of car.
11 Q. Very well. In connection with this journey,
12 you mentioned the route along which you travelled to
13 Split and back. I would now like to ask you to mark
14 the route that you have described for us on this map.
15 Could you please take a felt-tipped pen to mark your
16 route from Vitez to Split and then use another colour
17 to mark your route back. I would like to mention that
18 I have marked Vitez, Pocitelj, Baska Voda, and Split on
19 this map because you mentioned these as reference
21 THE REGISTRAR: Document D27/3.
22 A. (Marks)
23 MR. PAR:
24 Q. Very well. If you can use another colour to
25 mark your route back.
1 A. (Marks)
2 Q. Very well. Thank you. You may sit down.
3 You said that in Pocitelj, you met your friend, Fadil
4 Sipcic, a Muslim, who was returning in the direction of
5 Vitez. Can you tell us what time it was approximately?
6 A. It might have been perhaps around half past
7 ten or 11.00.
8 Q. You also said, in the night from the 14th to
9 the 15th, you stayed at whose house in Baska Voda?
10 A. Mr. Radoslav Simovic's house and his wife
11 Marica's house.
12 Q. Can you tell us who was in the house that
14 A. The three of us: Vlatko, my wife, and I.
15 Then there were Marica and Radoslav and their son.
16 Since it was not in the tourist season, the house is
17 very big and they rent rooms, but they had no guests
18 staying there then.
19 Q. You said you arrived in Ahmici at about 18.30
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. Did you part from Vlatko then? What did you
23 do with the goods in your car?
24 A. When we arrived in Ahmici at 18.30, we
25 arrived in front of Vlatko's house. We unloaded the
1 jeans that we had brought, and my wife and I went to
2 our house and then to Krcevine.
3 Q. Can you say what you intended to do with the
4 jeans? Did you have some kind of plan connected with
5 these jeans?
6 A. Well, we had done something like this
7 before. Vlatko's sister, Jelina, who lives in Travnik,
8 had a boutique. She had a shop where she sold
9 clothes. Some of these jeans were to be taken to
10 Travnik to her shop in the morning by Vlatko, and we
11 intended to sell the rest.
12 Q. Can you say who Nevzudin Filipovic is?
13 A. Yes. He is Jelina's husband, Vlatko's
15 Q. And she has this boutique?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you do business with Nevzudin and Jelina?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Very well. Thank you. Now, very briefly, on
20 the 16th of April, when you said that in the morning
21 you telephoned Vlatko telling him to go to the shelter,
22 can you tell us what time it was?
23 A. Well, it was on my return, when I had seen
24 off my wife and children, and I had gone to get the
25 refugees in Didaci. Then I asked my aunt, tried to
1 persuade my aunt to go to the shelter, and then I
2 called Vlatko because I assumed that Dragan Vidovic
3 would wake Vlatko up.
4 Q. What time was it?
5 A. Perhaps a quarter past five.
6 Q. Now, another question connected to the cars
7 mentioned here: Please, can you tell us whether, in
8 1993, you sold a car to Vlatko?
9 A. I sold him a Mercedes. I think it might have
10 been in June 1993. I know that Vlatko built in a
11 diesel engine in Busovaca at a car mechanic's shop.
12 His name was Sano.
13 Q. What colour was the Mercedes?
14 A. It was white.
15 Q. He changed the engine. It was an engine
16 using gas, and he changed it into a diesel engine.
17 That was in July '93?
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. PAR: I have one more question, but if we
20 can please switch off the sound because I will mention
21 a name.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: We can go into private
24 (Private session)
13 Page 8009 redacted – in private session
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
20 1.27 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
21 the 16th day of March, 1999, at
22 9.00 a.m.