1 Tuesday, 23rd March, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-95-16-T,the Prosecutor versus Zoran
8 Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago
9 Josipovic, Dragan Papic and Vladimir Santic.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. Yes,
11 Counsel Par?
12 MR. PAR: Good morning, Your Honours. I
13 should like to inform the Court that the witness Mirko
14 Vidovic is here, and he brought along the originals of
15 the documents mentioned yesterday here. Also, we can
16 say that my learned friend from the Prosecution has had
17 an opportunity to scrutinise these documents before
18 this session, and I should like everybody to look at
19 these documents, and I also wish to tender them as
20 Exhibits D28/3, D29/3, and D30/3. The witness is here,
21 and if need be he can answer any additional questions
22 regarding these documents. Thank you.
23 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
24 JUDGE CASSESE: We would like to ask the
25 witness to explain the meaning of the stamp on page 19
1 of his passport "Ausnahme Fur Die Bundesrepublik
2 Deutschland," dated the 24th of September, '92.
3 WITNESS: MIRKO VIDOVIC
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you please, Mr. Vidovic,
5 could you please tell us when this stamp was put on
6 your passport and for which purpose? It was put by the
7 border police.
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: When and for which purpose?
10 A. As a tourist, on the 24th of September, '92.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry. As a tourist, were
12 you going to Germany or were you leaving Germany?
13 A. Entering.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: You were entering.
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, I think I can read here
17 "autobahn." So that means it was the border -- you
18 didn't go by train? Did you go there by train or by
20 A. By car.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Is so that means that each
22 time you entered Germany you got such a stamp on your
23 passport; is it so?
24 A. No.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Why not? Because on other
1 occasions you also went there by car and there was no
2 such stamp.
3 A. Because he sent my documents to the border in
4 Salzburg that he was taking us in in his name, and to
5 know how it goes from there by fax. I received a
6 message from fax that he was taking us in to his place
7 as a tourist, as far as I can remember.
8 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Tell me, Mr. Vidovic, is this
10 an old passport which you are no longer using?
11 A. I did not use it.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: So you can leave it? I mean,
13 I don't know whether Counsel Par is agreeable. Can it
14 be put in evidence, the original passport?
15 Otherwise, we have to take very clear photos of the
16 whole passport.
17 MR. PAR: Yes, by all means, Your Honours.
18 All these documents, if necessary. We have to ask the
19 witness whether he will need these documents for
21 Q. Do you need these documents?
22 A. No, I do not.
23 MR. PAR: So I think all these documents --
24 not only the passport but all the other papers could
25 also be entered in as exhibits.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
2 MR. RADOVIC: We received the original
3 documents today. If I may, Your Honours, I should like
4 to ask two questions in order to clarify this German
6 JUDGE CASSESE: All right.
7 MR. RADOVIC:
8 Q. When you were issued this German visa to
9 enter Germany -- would you look at it -- what period of
10 time were you granted that, three months until the 23rd
11 of December. It says the 24th of September '92 until
12 the 23rd of December, '92.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Was it a multiple entry visa for Germany or
15 was it a single entry visa? I'm referring, of course,
16 to the period of this time.
17 A. During this period of time I could come in
18 and go out many times.
19 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you. I have no more
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Radovic.
22 Mr. Terrier.
23 MR. TERRIER: Excuse me, Mr. President.
24 Allow me to make some observations on this document
25 which I had the time to look at for a couple of minutes
2 By all accounts, it seems like it is a visa
3 issued the 24th of September, 1992, valid for three
4 months, but there is a first advertisement or
5 announcement of expulsion of eviction on the first
6 page, and on the following page there is another such
7 indication. So by looking at the document for the
8 first time, it looks as though this witness had been
9 evicted or had been expelled out of the German Republic
10 on two accounts.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: There is a stamp on the page
12 before the Ausnahme visa.
13 MR. TERRIER: It's not the one we have had a
14 look at, it is another one but with different
15 handwriting and no date. So we can wonder whether the
16 witness was not, as a matter of fact, expelled on two
17 occasions out of the German Federal Republic, possibly
18 during the duration -- the valid duration of his
19 passport, because, as you know, anyone can be taken to
20 the border and expelled if there is any violation, if
21 you're working in the black market or for other reasons
22 of the type, and the witness did not conceal the fact
23 that he had worked illegally in Germany.
24 I had another question by looking at that
25 document. We see on several accounts entry visas into
1 Croatia, the border between Bosnia-Herzegovina and
2 Croatia was crossed on several occasions late in
3 December 1992 and earlier 1993.
4 In March, 1993, the border pass was issued,
5 and some kind of a permanent permit which allows you to
6 cross the border, and that permit is valid for three
7 months. It looks as though the witness was often going
8 to Croatia during that time, and that he even was
9 entitled to have an easy access to that border between
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
11 There has been no explanation for it, no
12 explanation coming from his trade or occupation,
13 because he seems to be a worker in a shop or a company
14 for building materials, and that doesn't justify the
15 many journeys he has undertaken, he undertook then. So
16 these are the two questions I had in mind which I
17 wanted to put to you.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
19 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
20 MR. PAR: Mr. President, excuse me, but in
21 relation to the matters raised by my learned friends, I
22 suggest that we immediately ask the witness if we can
23 clarify that. Is it true that he crossed with that
24 card on several occasions?
25 Perhaps we should not make any undue
1 inferences, since the witness is here. Perhaps we
2 could examine him to this fact, and if my learned
3 friend from the Prosecution does not want to do that
4 then perhaps I could ask him some questions regarding
5 this matter.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: What do you mean this
7 letter? You mean this border pass?
8 MR. PAR: Yes. If I understood my learned
9 friend properly, he said that this card, this border
10 pass, allows one to cross the Croatian-Bosnian border
11 within a three-month period, and he answered
12 yesterday's dilemma, why was the stamp missing from
13 this document, because the stamp is for one crossing
14 and the card is for multiple crossings. The
15 Prosecution then infers that the witness crossed the
16 border many times during the time without any obvious
17 reasons to do so.
18 The Defence claims, on the basis of this
19 card, that he only entered once Croatia to go to
20 Germany and this seems to become a disputable issue.
21 I'm proposing that we examine the witness, whether he
22 used the card only once and then went to Germany, or
23 was he constantly moving to and fro between Bosnia and
25 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
1 MR. PAR: If I may, Your Honours, may I ask
2 two or three questions of this witness to try to
3 clarify this issue?
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Well, if you wish. If you
5 insist, yes, but very briefly, because we think that we
6 have the evidence of the witness. As for the exhibits,
7 it is very clear that the only exhibit which is
8 convincing -- well, the only exhibit that proves he was
9 in Germany is the Germany deportation order of the.
10 29th of July, '93, and that's all. As for his trips to
11 Croatia from Germany in March or April '93, we have
12 only his testimony. But, as I say, if you wish to put
13 questions, do so but very briefly, please.
14 MR. PAR: Yes, I will be very brief.
15 Q. Mirko, please, with this border pass of the
16 22nd of March, '93, did you go out of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the basis of that, you went to
19 A. I did.
20 Q. Whether within this period of time between
21 the 22nd of March, '93 until June '95, did you ever
22 come back to Bosnia and use this card?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Was your entry into Germany only single, only
25 one of the basis of this pass, or did you have several
1 entries into Germany.
2 A. No, this is the card to enter once when you
3 come. When you get there you get this card and the
4 date is written there.
5 Q. On the 1st of June when you entered Germany,
6 did you come out and go in again?
7 A. No.
8 MR. PAR: I have no more questions. Thank
10 MR. TERRIER: I have no questions, but
11 Mr. Par apparently asked the question of the witness,
12 who answered in the affirmative. He asked whether he
13 entered Germany on the basis, on the strength of the
14 border pass, but obviously the border pass doesn't make
15 it possible for Mr. Vidovic to go to Germany but,
16 rather, to Croatia. There seems to be a
17 misunderstanding either in the question or in the
18 answer or in either, but I have no question.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. I think we have
20 now sufficiently delved into this matter. If there is
21 no objection, we can release Mr. Vidovic.
22 Mr. Vidovic, thank you for giving evidence.
23 Thank you also for these documents.
24 (The witness withdrew)
25 MR. PAR: I don't know what you decided to
1 admit as Exhibits D28, 29 and 30/3. Were they
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. If there is no
4 objection from the Prosecution we shall admit into
5 evidence the originals.
6 I assume this is Mr. Rajic?
7 (The witness entered court).
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, Mr. Rajic.
9 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you please make the
11 solemn declaration.
12 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
13 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may sit
17 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
18 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
19 Mr. President.
20 WITNESS: ANTO RAJIC
21 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
22 Q. Good morning, Mr. Rajic.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. Will you please introduce yourself?
25 A. I am Anto Rajic, born on the 22nd
1 February, '53, in Vitez.
2 Q. And your place of residence?
3 A. My place of residence is Vitez.
4 Q. Will you please tell us your address?
5 A. Santici. No number.
6 Q. Will you please, on this Ahmici air
7 photograph, show us where your house is? I don't know
8 if you can see it here.
9 A. No, you can't see it here, but this is my
10 brother's house (indicating), and right next to it is
12 Q. So somewhere in this lower end?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Tell us, please, are you related to Zoran and
15 Mirjan Kupreskic?
16 A. Yes, their sister is my wife.
17 Q. In your part of the village, in Santici, were
18 the majority there Croats, or Muslims?
19 A. The majority were Croats, but there were also
20 some Muslims.
21 Q. How many Muslim houses were there in that
22 part of the village?
23 A. Well, some four or five. Five. Five houses.
24 Q. Do you know who owned them? Could you give
25 us their names, please?
1 A. Serif Ahmic, his brother-in-law, Naho
2 Sabanovic, Pezer's brother-in-law, but he has been in
3 Germany for a long time, so I don't know his name. But
4 two sons-in-law, and Serif Ahmic's daughter also lived
5 in that part.
6 Q. In that part of Santici, what were the
7 inter-ethnic relations, or rather relations between
8 Croats and Muslims?
9 A. Oh, well, they were very good. It was mostly
10 young people, with the exception of Serif, who was a
11 man of advanced age. He was 65, 70, something.
12 Q. There were no problems?
13 A. No. We even socialised when we were younger.
14 Q. In 1992, where did you work then?
15 A. In 1992, I worked at Vitezit. That is, it is
16 called Vitezit today. At that time it was called SPS.
17 Q. And what was your job?
18 A. I was a high-skilled metal worker.
19 Q. After your military service, did you have
20 your reserve deployment?
21 A. Yes, at that time I was assigned to the then
22 anti-aircraft defence, and that is where I was until
23 the end, until 1992.
24 Q. You mean -- when you use this acronym, it
25 means anti-aircraft defence; is that so?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. When were you mobilised? When were you
3 activated as a member of the AAD?
4 A. On the 8th of April, '92, two days after the
5 attack on Sarajevo. That's it.
6 Q. Why were you activated? Why was the
7 anti-aircraft defence activated in that area?
8 A. Because at that time there was already a
9 danger of aircraft, because of the Serbs. That is, a
10 little later, the Serbs began to bombard, so that we
11 protected the area between the SPS and Impregnacija.
12 They are two companies in Vitez. That is to say above
13 the SPS factory and the Impregnacija.
14 Q. What was the significance of the possible
15 bombing of the SPS?
16 A. It was an explosives factory, and of course
17 there was a danger involved, that the entire city would
18 be threatened if it were to be attacked.
19 Q. That is to say that the deployment was around
20 those two factories?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. How many guns were there on the anti-aircraft
24 A. On the anti-aircraft defence there were
25 twelve, 20 millimetres times 10, and eight of the 40s.
1 Q. You're talking about calibres, right, aren't
3 A. Yes, I am.
4 Q. Do you know, in terms of numbers, how many
5 guns were at which particular position?
6 A. By Impregnacija there were five, and around
7 Princip were the rest.
8 Q. And where were you?
9 A. I was around Impregnacija.
10 Q. Could you tell me whether this was just by
11 Impregnacija, or a bit further away?
12 A. It was a field about 500 metres away from
13 Impregnacija, not more than that, so in the immediate
14 vicinity, in fact.
15 Q. Tell me, was Vitez ever shelled or bombed?
16 Was it ever bombed by the Serb aviation in '92?
17 A. Yes, yes, twice. Once in April and once
18 sometime in July or August, somewhere around then.
19 Q. Tell me, where was the anti-aircraft defence
20 first, within which military structure?
21 A. The anti-aircraft defence was within the TO,
22 the Territorial Defence. I didn't understand you
23 well. Yes, it was the Territorial Defence.
24 Q. Did you have TO insignia?
25 A. Yes. Yes, for about two months, and then we
1 had PZO insignia. That was anti-aircraft defence. The
2 Muslims had TO, and then -- well, nothing was
3 obligatory, really, because it was a joint thing.
4 Q. Did you have any uniforms?
5 A. Yes, yes, the Serb ones. While we were TO,
6 we had the olive grey uniforms, all the way up to June
7 or July.
8 Q. These are JNA uniforms; right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Tell me, in the PZO, in the anti-aircraft
11 defence, did you also have Muslims with you? You
12 mentioned that they kept TO insignia?
13 A. Yes, yes, from the very outset, even before
14 we were mobilised, they were in this PZO, or PVO; that
15 is to say the anti-aircraft defence. Yes, there were
16 Muslims there, and that's the way it remained all the
17 way up to October. We were together, the composition
18 was mixed, and we had two shifts.
19 Q. Did you hold these positions together?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you remember who your commander at that
22 time was?
23 A. I can't remember his name. He worked in the
24 municipality, but he was there for a very short period
25 of time, but then they changed something up there, the
1 municipality. I can't remember his name. I simply
2 cannot. I tried, but I cannot.
3 Q. Was he a Muslim, or a Croat?
4 A. A Muslim. A Muslim.
5 Q. Tell me, what did you do on the 20th of
6 October, 1992?
7 A. On the 20th of October I was at home, because
8 my shift was off that day, and in the evening at 10.00
9 there was an alert -- not really an alert, but we were
10 asked to go to man the guns.
11 Q. Are you talking about the 9th, or are you
12 talking about the 10th -- are you talking about the
13 19th of October, or are you talking about the 20th?
14 A. Yes, I'm talking about the 19th of October,
15 in the evening, yes.
16 Q. All right. And then?
17 A. We went to the positions. There was some
18 kind of an alert. Nothing really happened, and then we
19 went home, and then there was the regular shift at 6.00
20 in the morning, or a bit before that, actually, because
21 again there was danger of air strikes, so then we had
22 to be there before dawn. I was at the position at
23 about 10 minutes to 6.00 or 15 minutes to 6.00.
24 Q. Which position were you at exactly? This
25 regular position of yours by Impregnacija?
1 A. Yes, yes, there.
2 Q. Then you were there on the 20th of October at
3 quarter to 6.00; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you get any information about the
6 anti-aircraft defence, whether you had to engage in
7 combat action? Did you receive such orders?
8 A. No, no. It was only -- there was nothing at
9 the time when he arrived, but then at 6.00 -- yes,
10 around 6.00 in the morning, again there was a state of
11 alert, and then the shooting started in Ahmici, but we
12 didn't receive any orders for combat action.
13 Q. So you heard shooting near Ahmici?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The position that you held in the field by
16 Impregnacija, how far away is it from Ahmici?
17 A. Well, about a kilometre and a half, about
18 1.500 metres.
19 Q. Were you in a position to take combat action
20 against Ahmici at all?
21 A. No, not from that position. No, that
22 position was lower than Ahmici. There is a small hill
23 between us and Ahmici. We couldn't even see Ahmici
24 from there. We could only see the upper part of
1 Q. So it was physically impossible for you to
2 operate from that position?
3 A. Yes, it was simply impossible to see anything
4 from there.
5 Q. Was Midhat Berbic from Ahmici in the PZO in
6 the anti-aircraft defence?
7 A. Yes, yes, from the very outset, even before
8 that, yes, we were together.
9 Q. Was he with you at that position on the 20th
10 of October, in the morning?
11 A. No, he was at a different position. He was
12 at a different position that was by the SPS factory.
13 Q. Did Muslims go into combat action against
14 you? Were they shooting against your positions?
15 A. No, not in those positions where the guns
16 were. There is Sivrino Selo village which is above
17 those positions so there was no shooting whatsoever not
18 using a gun, not using a rifle, nothing that day. So
19 we were there, on the ready, but no, there was no
21 Q. Were there any artillery attacks vis-à-vis
22 Ahmici that day?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Where from, from which position?
25 A. From the position of Hrasno.
1 Q. What did you say?
2 A. Hrasno. Somebody calls it Hrasno and other
3 people call it Rasno.
4 Q. And which municipality? Which municipality
5 does Hrasno belong to?
6 A. Well, that's municipality of Busovaca.
7 Across the Lasva River, that's where the Busovaca
8 municipality is.
9 Q. Who was operating on the territory of the
10 Busovaca municipality? Who had military control over
11 it? The HVO of Vitez or the HVO of Busovaca?
12 A. Naturally the HVO of Busovaca.
13 Q. Can you show us on this aerial image,
14 perhaps, we can move this top one away and show you the
15 other one, can you show us your positions around the
16 Lasva River Valley and where Hrasno was?
17 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: So could the usher
18 please remove this aerial photograph of Ahmici.
19 Q. Mr. Rajic, you have to stand so that the
20 Judges can see you too.
21 A. Just by the road, here (indicating).
22 Q. So by the road, that is where Impregnacija
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And that is the field where you were
1 positioned; right? And where is Hrasno?
2 A. Hrasno is here (indicating). Here.
3 Can you hear me?
4 We could not see this area where the gun was
5 at Hrasno, we couldn't see it from our position. So
6 the gun at Hrasno was basically concealed.
7 Q. How come you knew that this artillery attack
8 came from there?
9 A. Well, it's a small distance. If it's 1.500
10 metres to Ahmici, in this direction it could be about
11 2.000 metres. So you can hear artillery and you can
12 also recognise the three-barrel gun when it shoots.
13 Q. Thank you. Please be seated.
14 Did the Muslims have some kind of artillery
15 pieces in Sivrino Selo?
16 A. We didn't have any information, but we had
17 heard they had a recoilless gun and that there was
18 danger from there because from our positions Sivrino
19 Selo was only about 500 metres away, even less than
20 that. So this was a danger for our guns.
21 Q. Sivrino Selo was Muslim, entirely Muslim;
22 wasn't it?
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 Q. What happened with the PZO after the conflict
25 on the 20th of October, 1992?
1 A. Then the PZO was divided. It was literally
2 divided, split up. The cannons were split up between
3 the Muslims and the Croats. We or, rather, not we,
4 the group from the upper position by Princip took two
5 guns and two guns were taken, I don't know where, but
6 they were taken to the Muslim side, at any rate.
7 Q. Do you know who took these guns away to the
8 Muslim side?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Who did?
11 A. Midhat Berbic. He was the commander and he
12 took it over. It was a group. It was a simple
13 split-up. Two guns went this side, and two guns they
14 took for themselves, and Midhat Berbic was there.
15 Q. He was the commander of this position by
16 Princip; is that what you said?
17 A. Yes. Yes, and it is from that position that
18 these two guns were taken away, whereas the remaining
19 four stayed with us.
20 Q. Tell me, do you know the reasons for the
21 conflict on the 20th of October, 1992? Do you know why
22 a conflict took place?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. Please tell us.
25 A. The road between Busovaca-Travnik-Jajce was
1 blocked. The Muslims from Ahmici blocked the road by
2 Topolsko cemetery, and that is when the shooting
3 started because the Busovaca and the Kiseljak units
4 were supposed to go to Novi Travnik, or rather, to
5 Jajce. Jajce was about to fall at that time. Because
6 of these tensions, they could not pass because of the
7 Muslims and that is when this serious conflict broke
9 Q. Do you know who was killed on the Croatian
10 side during this conflict and where that person was
12 A. Yes. Yes, I know his last name. His last
13 name is Vidovic. He's from Kiseljak, and he was
14 killed. On the Muslim side Pezer was killed, and I
15 don't know his first name.
16 Q. Do you know whether the Croats from the
17 village took part in the conflict in Ahmici on the 20th
18 of October in any way?
19 A. No. No, the Croats from Ahmici, Santici, and
20 Pirici did not take part in this. It was simply a
21 blockade that was carried out by the Muslims, and the
22 units from Kiseljak and Busovaca took part in this
23 conflict on the other site.
24 Q. What is important is that you did not have
25 any orders to take action, although your permanent
1 position was there; is that right?
2 A. Yes, yes. It was our permanent position. We
3 were on the ready, and then the three-barrel gun at
4 Hrasno was operated, but we couldn't see it so we did
5 not take any action all day.
6 Q. How long did you hear shooting that day?
7 A. Until sometime in the afternoon. I don't
8 know exactly what time it was. It was scarcer and
9 scarcer and then it finally stopped in the afternoon.
10 Q. How were your shifts organised? How much
11 time would you spend manning a gun? How much time
12 would you spend there and how much time would you spend
13 at home?
14 A. Well, we would be on duty for three days and
15 then we would spend three days at home, but we would
16 always leave a guard overnight around the guns so that
17 we could get some rest, because we would have to be
18 there all day, and there were alerts because of planes
19 and everything.
20 Q. So did you go home on the 20th, in the
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Who did you find there?
24 A. I found my wife's family there. That is to
25 say, Mira Kupreskic, Zoran's wife, with three children;
1 and Ljuba Kupreskic with two children; and also my
2 mother-in-law, that is to say, my wife's mother.
3 Q. Why were they at your place then?
4 A. There was a danger. They were in the upper
5 part of Ahmici or, rather, Pirici, and no one knew
6 exactly what was going on, at least they didn't know,
7 the civilians, and they didn't want the gun from Hrasno
8 to hit them or a bullet or something. So then they
9 fled to my house because there was no shooting up
10 there, no. It was quite peaceful and quiet.
11 Q. How long did they stay at your place?
12 A. Four or five days, because I went out to the
13 position again, and then I'd just come back home and
14 get some rest. Four or five days, I think.
15 Q. Do you know why they stayed that long?
16 Because you said that on the next day or, rather, that
17 day, in the afternoon, there was no more shooting.
18 A. Yes, because the Muslim part didn't go back
19 immediately either. People were afraid. They didn't
20 know whether that would be it, whether it was just this
21 first day or whether this would continue. So they
22 simply felt safer. They wanted to be safe.
23 Q. Do you know when the Muslims returned, and
24 did the Muslims from your part of the village flee?
25 A. You mean during that conflict?
1 Q. Yes. The first conflict.
2 A. No, no, no. They stayed in the village all
3 the time. They were not threatened in any way. We did
4 not threaten them in any way so they stayed throughout,
5 although, they were probably afraid, just like we
7 Q. Do you know whether the Muslims from the rest
8 of Santici, Pirici, Ahmici escaped?
9 A. I didn't understand what you said.
10 Q. Do you know whether the Muslims from the rest
11 of the village and from the rest of Ahmici, Santici,
12 Pirici, whether they had fled too?
13 A. Well, yes. That first day everybody fled.
14 That I know, naturally. Then after a few days, the
15 older people started returning, and they said, "Well,
16 we have nothing to do with this," and they returned to
17 the village. The younger ones started coming back a
18 bit later, when things were completely peaceful.
19 Q. Why do you think that the younger people came
20 back later? Did you see that? Did you hear that?
21 A. Well, I heard that and I saw it. I think
22 they took part in the blockade of this part, and they
23 were probably afraid. I mean, they were afraid that
24 something might happen to them.
25 Q. Tell me, do you know whether some meetings
1 were held in the village after this first conflict?
2 A. Yes. Yes, meetings were held in the school
3 in Ahmici.
4 Q. Did you take part in this?
5 A. No, but my father did, so I'm aware of that.
6 I've received information about that.
7 Q. What was the point of these meetings?
8 A. The point of these meetings was to reduce the
9 tensions that were there on the eve of the 20th and on
10 the 20th, and mostly it was elderly people. It was at
11 their initiative, but there was also younger people who
12 took part in it.
13 Q. Tell us, in your part of the village, were
14 there any guards, village guards?
15 A. Well, they were not organised but they
16 existed, again at people's own initiative, because in
17 my village, quite a number of us were in the
18 anti-aircraft defence. Fifty per cent of them were
19 able-bodied men, and then there were elderly mean of 50
20 or 60 years of age, and they simply, because we were
21 away, they organised it. Well, not guards but patrols,
22 because if you are a guard you stand in one place and a
23 patrol goes around.
24 Q. Did you make part of the village guards?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Why not?
2 A. Because I was assigned with the anti-aircraft
3 defence, so I was on the positions all day, and the
4 rest of it I used to have some rest, with the help of
5 my family.
6 Q. So people who were assigned to some military
7 duty did not go on guarding duty; is that it?
8 A. Quite so.
9 Q. Tell us, where did you go? Where did you
10 relocate after the conflict of the 20th of October,
11 '92, and after the Croats and Muslims in the
12 anti-aircraft defence separated?
13 A. We stayed for another three days at that
14 position and then we relocated to Gornja Rovna. It's
15 next to Hrasno.
16 Q. Yes, I think you could indicate its location
17 to us. Where is Gornja Rovna?
18 A. Gornja Rovna is here, I think (indicating).
19 Q. How long did you stay there?
20 A. Oh, until late November. It could have been
21 the 27th or the 28th. There we also had shifts,
22 three-day-shifts. For the first two days we were there
23 all the time because, of course, the tension was high,
24 and then we realised that nothing was happening, and
25 then we took three-day-shifts.
1 Q. And after that position?
2 A. After that position, with my gun I went to a
3 locality Prahulje.
4 Q. Would you please indicate where Prahulje is?
5 A. No, it's not here. No, because it is in the
6 municipality of Travnik. So it is four kilometres away
7 from Travnik. That is at a distance of some 14
8 kilometres from us.
9 Q. Was it -- perhaps you --
10 A. Bila.
11 Q. Is Bila here, Nova Bila?
12 A. Bila you're asking? (Indicating)
13 Q. Right. So Prahulje is even further down?
14 A. Yes. Further down towards Travnik.
15 Q. Will you please take your seat again? It was
16 in the municipality of Novi Travnik; is that so?
17 A. Travnik, yes.
18 Q. Then you made part of what units?
19 A. Well, that is where we were relocated,
20 because we then acted within the Novi Travnik Brigade,
21 Petar Tomasevic or Stjepan Tomasevic. I can't remember
22 exactly what it was called. Stjepan Tomasevic. We did
23 not act, we simply deployed there.
24 Q. What was your function there, that is, at
25 Prahulje? What did you do there?
1 A. We guarded the howitzer, 122 millimetres,
2 because on Vlasic, on the hill, we could often see
3 helicopters. The howitzer, without that gun, we would
4 be quite unprotected. This AAD gun was supposed to
5 protect the area so that it would not be shelled.
6 Q. So you were there to provide defence against
8 A. Quite so, yes, because in the municipality of
9 Travnik, there was no sign of a mounting tension or
11 Q. Then the howitzer was then at a position held
12 by the Croat army, facing the Serbs; is that so?
13 A. It is.
14 Q. Who else was there to protect that gun?
15 A. Mirko Safradin, Goran Vuleta were on my
16 shift, Marko Grgic. So the four of us.
17 Q. Tell us, were you there on the 16th of April,
18 '93 when the war in the Lasva Valley broke out?
19 A. Yes, indeed. I was right there at that
20 position at Prahulje.
21 Q. Do you have any information as to what was
22 going on in a different part of the Vitez
23 municipality? Did you have any communication with
25 A. We had communication with Novi Travnik but,
1 of course, we had the radio station and around to --
2 well, we could, of course, communicate with Vitez at a
3 different frequency, of course. I tried to get some
4 information, and I learned that in Ahmici, the village
5 of Ahmici, there was shooting and then the village was
6 on fire, but they still didn't know what was going on.
7 I was surprised, and I tried to establish the
8 connection once again, but then I could not because the
9 communication was disrupted, was cut off, and for the
10 next two days I could establish no communication until
11 I was relocated to yet another position.
12 Q. So you could not get the radio -- you could
13 not communicate by radio; is that so?
14 A. Yes. Yes, by radio.
15 Q. All right. So you could not communicate with
16 Vitez by radio but you could with Travnik?
17 A. Yes, yes. Yes, we could.
18 Q. But did they have any information?
19 A. No. No, they did not have any information as
20 to what.
21 Q. Did you have any other contact with your home
22 or anything? Did you know what was going on in Ahmici?
23 A. Yes. That evening I tried to get home. I
24 tried to communicate with my home. I called my wife,
25 and she told me that there was shooting, the village
1 was on fire, but they didn't know what was going on,
2 indeed, either, and they moved to a shelter that
4 Q. What night do you mean that they went to a
6 A. The first night.
7 Q. That was what, the day of the conflict?
8 A. Yes. The night, the 16th. In the evening of
9 the 16th.
10 Q. Tell us, in your part of the village you say
11 that you had Muslim neighbours there. Was any one of
12 those Muslims killed?
13 A. In my part? No. Of those five houses, well,
14 one of them -- one from those five houses was in
15 Germany with his wife, but the others are all alive and
16 they were even all with us. I mean, not with us, but
17 with the wife in the basement. That is what she told
18 me when I came home.
19 Q. So Muslims from your part of the village were
20 hiding in the basement with the Croats?
21 A. Yes, the first night, because they were also
22 at a loss what was happening. In that part there was
23 no shooting. They saw that that is where they sought
24 refuge. They knew that it was -- that Ahmici -- I'm
25 not too sure, there because they were local people,
1 so -- but they came there.
2 Q. Did the Croats capture them after that?
3 A. No. Instead, they took them under custody --
4 I mean, transferred them from Sivrino Selo.
5 Q. You mean the army or did the neighbours help
6 them to get out?
7 A. Both the neighbours and a part of the army,
8 because they were mostly elderly people. Of course,
9 elderly people are always more frightened. They were
10 also our army, our men who then transferred them, took
11 them to the other side -- to their side, the Muslim
12 one. There is a road.
13 Q. That was when?
14 A. It was on the 17th, in the morning of the
16 Q. Sivrino Selo is a Muslim village?
17 A. Yes, it is a purely Muslim village. Except
18 there is a part -- it is not called Sivrino Selo, even
19 though it was made part of it, and that was -- that had
20 Croat inhabitants and it is a locality called
22 Q. Sivrino Selo is very near Santici, is that
23 so, the part of Santici that you live in?
24 A. Correct. It is so near that I can recognise
25 a man. I can recognise a man in Sivrino village it's
1 so close. It's 300 metres from the end of my village
2 to theirs.
3 Q. So will you please, on this big aerial
4 photograph, indicate where Sivrino Selo is in relation
5 to Santici?
6 A. This is the locality of Kremenjace, this part
7 here, and this here is Sivrino Selo (indicating).
8 Q. Where is this lower part of Santici where
9 your house is?
10 A. (indicating)
11 Q. Right. In view of the small distance, do you
12 know, or perhaps did your wife tell you if there were
13 any combat actions taken by Croats against Sivrino Selo
14 on the 16th?
15 A. On the 16th, no. There was more shooting
16 there -- well, Ahmici is near, but from Sivrino Selo in
17 the direction of Santici, there was no action on the
18 first day, that is, on the 16th.
19 Q. All right. Thank you. You may take your
20 seat again.
21 Will you tell us, please, if you know Mirjan
23 A. I do.
24 Q. Who was Mirjan Santic?
25 A. Oh, well, he was a relative of mine, and he
1 was with me on the anti-aircraft defence, but on
2 another shift. He perished towards the end of January
3 or early February -- he moved from -- in the end of
4 January or beginning of February, and then he went to
5 the military police.
6 Q. His house in Santici was near your house?
7 A. Yes, some 200 metres.
8 Q. Do you know when he was killed and where?
9 A. On the 16th of April, '93, in Ahmici.
10 Q. Are you positive?
11 A. 100 per cent.
12 Q. As a member of what unit?
13 A. As a member of the military police.
14 Q. Do you know Slavko Sakic?
15 A. I do. Yes. And I know that he was also on
16 the anti-aircraft defence.
17 Q. Do you know where he was on the 16th of
19 A. I don't know that exactly, because I was at
20 Pramulje, so that I really have no idea where they
21 were. I didn't even know where my wife and children
22 were, let alone others.
23 Q. Tell us, do you know who the Jokers were?
24 A. Yes, this was military police, a part of the
25 military police.
1 Q. Do you know where they were accommodated?
2 A. Yes, they were near Nadioci, at the Bungalow,
3 that is what it was called, a kind of a motel.
4 Q. Do you know what kind of uniforms they had?
5 Did you ever see them?
6 A. Yes, of course I saw them. They had black
8 Q. Tell us, did you ever learn who took part in
9 the conflict in Ahmici?
10 A. Well, I know for certain that it was the
11 military police, because Mirjan was a relative of mine
12 and also a colleague, and I also heard the Jokers
13 participated in it, too. I could not see that,
14 because ...
15 Q. So tell us, you remained at your position at
16 Pramulje, or did you move?
17 A. I stayed at Pramulje because Mirko arrived on
18 the 17th.
19 Q. Mirko who?
20 A. Mirko Safradin, because he was free at the
21 time, he was on my shift -- no, I mean there were four
22 of us, and since it was quiet, we would always leave
23 one of us to have a rest. So he was to come to replace
24 me on the 16th, but of course he could not. So we
25 stayed there, Goran Vuleta and I were there alone on
1 the 16th, and on the 17th, Mirko came to me in the
2 morning or so, and we were there until the morning of
3 the 18th.
4 Q. Where did you go on the 18th?
5 A. On the 18th, the orders came from the Novi
6 Travnik Brigade to relocate to Pokrajcici, and that is
7 a locality in the Travnik municipality above Zabilje.
8 That is a hill, an elevation.
9 Q. Can you see that on this map?
10 A. Yes, you can see Zabilje here, right at the
11 end. Should I stand up?
12 Here's the village of Zabilje (indicating).
13 Q. And where is this hill?
14 A. The hill is over here. So we're here, across
15 from this (indicating). This is where the hill is, and
16 this is the place where we were positioned. A bit
17 lower than this, actually, but here (indicating).
18 Q. What municipality is that?
19 A. That is the municipality of Travnik.
20 Q. Why were you transferred -- please take a
21 seat; thank you.
22 Why were you transferred to that position on
23 the 18th?
24 A. Well, on the 17th of the evening, this
25 position of Brdo, this hill, fell. That's where our
1 people were, the anti-aircraft people. They had the
2 Strelas, and they were attacked on the 17th, in the
3 evening, and this position was taken, and then our
4 people withdrew to the village of Zabilje, and they
5 established a line there, and they tried to recapture
6 Brdo, because it's very important, and the entire
7 village was immediately threatened. So that is why we
8 were sent there as support.
9 Q. So on the 17th, Brdo was taken by the BH
10 army; is that correct?
11 A. Yes. Yes, the 17th, in the evening, during
12 the night.
13 Q. Then you were transferred there, and what did
14 you do? Was there shooting there, around Zabilje, on
15 the 18th?
16 A. As we were being transferred -- all of this
17 is nearby, and you can hear rifles and guns. Yes,
18 there was shooting, and when we arrived at the position
19 -- that was around noon, I think -- the shooting was
20 abating. So we positioned ourselves, but the shooting
21 stopped, and we did not take any action that day at
23 Q. What did you do?
24 A. Well, we were preparing the position. We
25 didn't have any accommodation, we didn't have any
1 food. All of this was done in haste. So I went to the
2 village, and night had already started to fall, because
3 it takes time to prepare a position. So this was dusk,
4 when we went to see where we could spend the night and
5 where we could eat.
6 Q. So where did you go to?
7 A. We went to the village, to Jaka Bilic. I
8 didn't know her name at the time. This woman invited
9 us to spend the night at her place, and she said, "If
10 you didn't have any place to sleep, you could stay
11 here," she said. Mirko Safradin, Goran Vuleta, and I
12 stopped there, and we had dinner. We had dinner around
13 7.00, 6.30 or 7.00. Then we had a cup of coffee,
14 naturally, and we watched the news on television. We
15 wanted to hear information as to what was going on.
16 I wish to note once again that I had lost all
17 contact with my family. I didn't know where my wife
18 was and where my children were during those three days,
19 that is to say, from the 16th in the evening until the
20 18th, I didn't know a thing, and all sorts of stories
21 were going about, that people had fled to Busovaca, and
22 then they said "No, now they're at home," and "Now
23 they're in Kiseljak." So this information was
24 harrowing, and I was wondering whether I could get any
25 proper information on the TV news.
1 Q. So you were very interested in what you could
2 hear concerning all the news from that area?
3 A. Oh, yes, everything.
4 Q. All right. Do you recall which TV news you
5 watched that night?
6 A. In the evening, yes, I watched the Bosnian
7 news, TV Sarajevo.
8 Q. All right, TV Sarajevo. In this municipality
9 of Travnik, because you were in the municipality of
10 Travnik at the time, and this TV news program from
11 Sarajevo was broadcast --
12 A. Oh, yes, yes. There were no conflicts, and
13 there was electricity, so we watched those TV news
14 during the remaining few days while we were there.
15 Q. All right. Could you tell me what you saw in
16 this TV news? What was in the headlines that day?
17 A. The village of Ahmici was in the headlines,
18 the conflict in Ahmici. It is probably CNN and other
19 foreign TV news programs and crews that had filmed
20 this, because I don't think Bosnian TV could have done
21 it at the time.
22 Q. What was shown on TV? What did you see from
24 A. Well, at first we saw houses on fire, smoke,
25 houses on fire. All this was -- this was taken from
1 afar; it wasn't really close up. Then there were a few
2 corpses down by this place called Sangaj. I recognised
3 it because I'm from there.
4 Q. You mean by the cafe of Sangaj?
5 A. Yes, yes, the parking lot by the cafe.
6 Q. That's on the road by the cemetery?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Right.
9 A. Then there was some footage from the Zenica
10 hospital. I followed all the news very carefully to
11 see what would happen, and I watched this very
12 carefully to see whether I could recognise someone,
13 because I knew a lot of Muslims from Ahmici, and
14 perhaps I could hear some information as to what
15 happened to Ahmici and Santici.
16 Then I saw a man. I didn't even know who he
17 was. He introduced himself. He said his name was
18 Sakib Ahmic. I knew a Sakib Ahmic who lived at the
19 bottom of the village, but I saw it wasn't that Sakib
20 Ahmic, so I was wondering what he would say and what
21 had happened to him and what happened to the rest and
22 what happened to Zoran and Mica and my mother-in-law
23 and their mother and my father-in-law. All of this is
24 nearby. I wanted to know what had happened to all of
25 them, whether they were alive.
1 Q. What did you see? What did this man look
3 A. This man had his hands and arms burned all
4 the way up to the elbows. He was sort of sitting in
5 bed, half reclining, half sitting. His hair was
6 dishevelled. His face was a bit burned, too, and then
7 he talked about what had happened.
8 Q. What did he say? What had happened?
9 A. He said that soldiers burst into the village
10 and that they torched the village and that two soldiers
11 barged into his house and that they were masked -- or
12 rather that they were painted, they had paint on their
13 faces, and that they killed his son, his
14 daughter-in-law, and a three-month-old child.
15 Q. Tell me, when he said all of that, did the
16 reporter ask him any questions?
17 A. Yes, yes. The reporter insisted, said, "Did
18 you know who did this?" And he said, "No, no, I
19 couldn't recognise anyone." I was also very interested
20 in hearing this. So he was asked twice, and I was also
21 interested in hearing whether he would say who did
22 this, but persistently he kept saying then that he
23 didn't know who did it.
24 Q. Did he say why he did not recognise these
25 men? How come he did not recognise them? Did he give
1 a reason?
2 A. Yes, yes, he gave a reason. He said that
3 they were masked, in the sense of their faces being
4 painted, and naturally it was impossible for him to
5 recognise them. He just said that they had black
6 clothing. He didn't name anyone in that report.
7 Q. All right. You said that you didn't know who
8 this Sakib Ahmic was. When did you find out which
9 Sakib Ahmic this was?
10 A. I found out only in 1997. People tried to
11 explain this to me, what this Sakib Ahmic looked like,
12 I mean, after all of that, but I could not remember who
13 he was. My wife even said, "Oh, come on, how come you
14 can't remember? He was a driver in Impregnacija." I
15 simply could not remember. I kept thinking of this
16 other Ahmic who lived in the lower part of the
18 It's only in 1997, when this Sakib Ahmic
19 testified in the Blaskic trial, then my wife said Sakib
20 was on television. She watches television on Mondays,
21 and TV Travnik also shows this series, it's called The
22 Hague Diary, and they probably get footage only that
23 they can find, you see. So she told me that she saw
24 Sakib. She said, "Why don't you watch this on
25 Thursday, too, and perhaps you'll recognise him, you'll
1 know who this Sakib is."
2 Q. So you were supposed to see a replay of the
3 show; right?
4 A. Yes, yes, a replay. I watched this replay on
5 Thursday, and as I watched him on television, I said
6 "Well, that was the man who was in the hospital that
7 time, this same Ahmic. Sakib Ahmic."
8 She said, "Is that that Sakib Ahmic?" And I
9 said "Yes, yes, that's the one I saw who was at the
10 Zenica hospital at the time." But even before that, he
11 had accused Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic. I heard about
12 that on Radio Zenica, and I read about it in the
13 papers, too, and I said, "I know, 100 per cent sure,
14 I'm 100 per cent sure that in that TV news programme,
15 he had said that he had not recognised anyone."
16 Then, when I realised that it was the same
17 person, then I realised that I would come here as a
18 witness too.
19 Q. All right. The statement that we gave to the
20 Court, translated, is it true what is said here, that
21 you gave it to us on the 27th of February, 1998?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you see that cassette before that? So
24 what is contained here in this statement, is it only
25 your recollection?
1 A. Yes. It is only my recollection. I tried to
2 find this cassette on my own, because I thought that it
3 had to be recorded somewhere. No, no, all the way up
4 to Germany. We simply could not find it. So this is
5 my recollection only; how I remember this, what he
6 looked like, what he said. Whether I memorised every
7 little word he said, I don't know. I mean, maybe he
8 said something else too. But what I know for sure,
9 100 per cent, is that he said that he did not recognise
10 anyone. I was really interested in what was going on
11 at the time.
12 Q. All right. We could not find that cassette,
13 but then after filing your statement, we received a
14 cassette from the Prosecutor.
15 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Could we now see P157,
16 Prosecutor's Exhibit 157.
17 Q. Could you say what is missing from this
18 statement? Is that everything that you heard on that
20 (Videotape played)
21 THE INTERPRETER (Voiceover): On the 16th of
22 April, sometime in the morning, we were asleep. The
23 child was crying. I had a grandson who was three
24 months old, three months and three days on this day.
25 My son turned on the light, and --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Part of it is inaudible.
2 THE INTERPRETER (Voiceover): -- and I was
3 asleep over there. In the meantime, these men from
4 HOS -- no, the HVO soldiers, they came, they barged
5 through the door, they broke the door open, and they
6 fired a burst of gunfire at the veranda. They got into
7 the room. The light was on.
8 They saw my son, he was on his feet, and they
9 killed him straight away. I was peeking through the
10 door that I only kept ajar. Then they shot bursts of
11 gunfire into my daughter-in-law and my other grandson.
12 However, the child that was in the cradle made some
13 noise, and then this man came back and shot a burst of
14 gunfire into the baby who was in the cradle, that was
15 three months and three days old.
16 They got out. They left. They immediately
17 created two fires in the kitchen downstairs. The
18 flames spread very quickly, and I tried to get the
19 children into this room where I was, so that I could
20 localise it as much as possible. These children had
21 been killed, but I didn't want them to burn, too.
22 However, I didn't manage to do a thing. The
23 flames were very quick. I was sitting in this room,
24 and the outside window was open, and this other room
25 where the children were asleep, there the door and the
1 window had burned down already.
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
3 Q. Mr. Rajic, you've seen the recording that we
4 have. Is anything missing there? Was this the end?
5 A. No, no, no, the end is missing. This last
6 statement that he made, when the reporter asked him --
7 I can't remember whether it was man or a woman
8 reporter -- the reporter said, "Did you recognise these
9 people? Try to remember." And he said, "No, I
10 couldn't, because they were masked." That's exactly
11 what he said. That part has been cut off from this
13 Q. Would that have been the logical question to
14 ask, too?
15 A. In my opinion, quite logical. I mean, if
16 they are seeking information, if you know what
17 happened, let's see who did it. It's logical for a
18 journalist to ask that kind of question, and that's why
19 I know that the journalist had put this question, and I
20 was expecting him to name someone, but he didn't name
21 anyone. He said just what I told you here; "I didn't
22 recognise them because they were masked. They had
23 paint on their faces."
24 Q. Please tell us, at that time in Zenica on the
25 17th and 18th, were there any war operations? Was
1 there any fighting in Zenica?
2 A. In Zenica?
3 Q. Yes, in Zenica.
4 A. I couldn't tell because I was not up there.
5 Q. Under whose control was Zenica at the time?
6 A. Under Muslim control.
7 Q. And that's the way things remained; right?
8 A. Yes, throughout.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Rajic.
10 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I have
11 concluded and it is time for the break now; isn't it?
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. I assume there will be
13 no cross-examination by other Defence counsel, so we'll
14 take a break and then we'll move to the Prosecution.
15 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Terrier, you have the
19 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Terrier:
21 Q. Good morning, Mr. Rajic. I'm Franck Terrier,
22 one of the Prosecutors, and I intend to ask a couple of
23 questions following the examination-in-chief.
24 You said that there is a -- you're a relative
25 with Mirjan and Zoran Kupreskic, that somehow they are
1 your brothers-in-law. Is that so?
2 A. No. I'm their brother-in-law.
3 Q. We got that. Is there an addition to this
4 link, the family link? Did you also have friendship
5 links with them? Were you befriended with them?
6 A. Yes. We knew one another.
7 Q. Did it happen that you and your wife paid
8 regular visits to them? I'm talking about 1992 and
10 A. Yes, whenever we could. Yes. In '92, yes.
11 In '93 not so often.
12 Q. Did you know their neighbours in Ahmici?
13 A. You mean Muslims. Well, I did know some of
14 them, yes.
15 Q. -- make no difference between Muslims and
16 Croats, I'm just asking you whether you knew their
18 A. Yes, I did, particularly younger people,
19 those of my age, more or less. I knew less of those
20 who were older.
21 Q. Would you be able to name some of the
22 neighbours, some of Mirjan's and Zoran's neighbours at
23 the time?
24 A. Yes. I knew Sukrija Ahmic, Sakib Ahmic, down
25 there, the one by the road. Nermin Ahmic, likewise.
1 He's more or less my age. Enisa Ahmic, and others.
2 I can't recall their names right now.
3 Q. You no longer remember them. I see. Let us,
4 for a while, speak of the responsibilities that were
5 yours in terms of anti-aircraft defence. If I remember
6 well, you said that you were mobilised in April 1992 in
7 order to ensure the anti-aircraft protection of
8 Impregnacija, the Impregnacija buildings; is that so?
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. What were your own responsibilities in that
12 A. I was the leader, the commander, for one gun.
13 Q. Could you describe the type, the model, the
14 calibre? Yes, the type of cannon it was.
15 A. Yes, it is Bufors 40-millimetre calibre.
16 Q. So this 40-millimetre calibre was manned by
17 how many people?
18 A. According to regulation, there should be five
19 and the driver. That is the sixth one.
20 Q. So it was a self-propelled cannon? It was
21 mounted on a vehicle; is that so?
22 A. No, it had wheels but then it was attached to
23 a vehicle.
24 Q. Would you be able to remind us of the time
25 when you left that position, that Impregnacija
1 position, together with a gun?
2 A. Yes. It was on the 18th -- no, on the 23rd
3 of October.
4 Q. So on the 23rd of October. To which position
5 did you then go?
6 A. I went to Gornja Rovna.
7 Q. What is the military tactical reason for that
9 A. Well, it was still the anti-aircraft defence,
10 because the tension of the first conflict has come down
11 and yet there was a danger that the conflict might
12 spread or, rather, if it broke out again that then this
13 gun could be destroyed from Sivrino Selo, and that was
14 the main reason.
15 Q. When did you move to yet another position?
16 When did you do that?
17 A. Well, that was towards the end of November.
18 Whether it was the 27th or 28th, somewhere there, of
20 Q. In other words, late November 1992. You
21 probably said so earlier on. I'm sorry for that. But
22 would you mind reminding us of the position you were
23 then supposed to have and take?
24 A. You mean, where I was relocated?
25 Q. That's right. Well, with the gun.
1 A. Yes. We were relocated from Gornja Rovna to
2 Prahulje municipality of Travnik. Old Travnik, I
3 think, it was.
4 Q. Well, let us speak about that position. What
5 was your mission? What was your task? What were the
6 instructions you had received?
7 A. I was put under the command of Novi Travnik.
8 That is a different regiment. We were to protect the
9 122-millimetre howitzer from helicopters or aircraft as
10 rockets could still be launched from Vlasicici or --
11 Q. So your task was to ensure protection of the
12 122 howitzer ; is that so?
13 A. Yes. Correct.
14 Q. Witness, am I wrong in saying that at the
15 time, on the Serbian side -- on the Bosnian Serb side,
16 there is no longer any aircraft power, be it
17 helicopters, combat aircraft, or there is no longer any
18 threat coming from the Serbs at that time; is that so?
19 A. That is not true. There was the no-fly
20 orders for Serb aircraft, but Vlasic -- around Vlasic
21 plateau there were helicopters. Aircraft were not
22 allowed to, but helicopters transporting something, I
23 don't know, and there could also be fighter craft.
24 Q. Am I then again wrong in saying that the
25 anti-aircraft guns, at the time, were used not to
1 defend that air space that was empty but was aimed at
2 ground objectives and, more specifically so, at
3 houses? Am I wrong in saying that the anti-aircraft
4 gun would send a projectile which has a very large
5 penetrating power and which could cause major damage on
6 houses, could, for instance, torch a house?
7 A. The place where we were at in Prahulje was a
8 depression next to the howitzer and it was impossible
9 to fire at any house. This is all purely Croat space
10 and around there there are hills, hillocks.
11 Q. Let's speak about that 122-millimetre
12 howitzer in the vicinity of which you were. Was it
13 used at that time? I mean, April 1993, was it used at
14 the time?
15 A. In '93, April. No, no. It was used in
16 January '93 too, but it was all aimed at Vlasic
18 Q. Did you know that Zenica was bombed on the
19 29th of April and that the shells, according to the
20 investigations carried out then, seemed to come from a
21 122 gun?
22 A. I was separated from the howitzer on the 18th
23 of April and relocated to a different position. This
24 howitzer went somewhere. I don't know where. So that
25 is possible, but I don't know anything about it.
1 Q. What is the reach of a 122 gun, in
3 A. I wouldn't know exactly. I was with the
4 anti-aircraft defence, so I don't know about that.
5 Q. You don't have the slightest idea, sort of an
6 approximate idea of the distance it can cover?
7 A. Well, my guess is from Prahulje it fired at
8 Vlasic plateau. It is 20 or 18 kilometres, so it could
9 be that, perhaps a little more than that.
10 Q. I don't think you mentioned this earlier on,
11 but you said that you left that position on the 18th of
12 April, 1993. Would you be in a position to give us
13 further details on that, when, what time, on whose
14 instructions or orders, and to go where?
15 A. In the morning of the 18th, we left the
16 position at Prahulje, and the orders from Novi Travnik,
17 because that is where the command for the anti-aircraft
18 defence was at the time, and relocated to a locality,
19 to a place called Pokrajcici. That is four kilometres
20 to the south of Prahulje.
21 Q. So how many kilometres away from Vitez?
22 A. Prahulje, Vitez, it is about 14 kilometres,
24 Q. What were your objectives at the time?
25 A. When I was relocated to Pokrajcici, it was
1 when a hill fell. It was a very important elevated
2 point because the village of Zabilje was below that.
3 My duty was to support -- that the Muslim units or the
4 BH army does not break through to the village of
6 Q. So as I was saying previously, we are no
7 longer talking about anti-aircraft defence. We are
8 mentioning now ground objectives.
9 A. Yes, true. As of the 18th, yes, that is
10 quite true, we worked -- we turned on the ground
12 Q. Were you a member of the HVO?
13 A. No. Yes. Well, within the HVO, but we were
14 in the anti-aircraft defence unit.
15 Q. What was your military rank?
16 A. At that time I still had the old one, that
17 is, the old rank, the rank of the former army, and that
18 was Corporal.
19 Q. Witness, would you be so kind as to repeat
20 the rank, for the sake of the interpreters?
21 A. Well, it was a Corporal in the Yugoslav
22 army. It was a Lance Corporal, Corporal.
23 Q. Did you take an oath, an oath of allegiance
24 or faith for the HVO?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Did you know other HVO soldiers who they --
2 who would have taken that oath, that allegiance oath?
3 A. Well, I know that some of them took it, but I
4 don't know too. The AAD, the anti-aircraft defence,
5 was before that mobilised, and only afterwards the HVO
6 units took the oath of allegiance.
7 Q. As far as you can remember, or as far as you
8 know, when did HVO soldiers start taking that oath?
9 A. I couldn't say when. I could not say exactly
10 or even approximately when. I think it would be a
11 gross error on my part.
12 Q. Did you ever attend any such ceremony,
13 oath-taking ceremonies?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Mr. Rajic, you said earlier on that on the
16 16th of April, 1993, you heard over the radio that
17 Ahmici was burning; is that right?
18 A. Over the radio station, RUP 12.
19 Q. Could you give us further specification as to
20 this RUP 12?
21 A. Yes, RUP 12 is a radio station. I think it's
22 about half a metre tall and about 30 metres wide, and
23 you can choose frequencies within a 12-to-15-kilometre
25 Q. Please enlighten me. Are we talking about
1 some military means of communication which would be
2 reserved to military?
3 A. Yes, RUP 12 was of the Yugoslav army, and it
4 belonged to us as an AAD unit.
5 Q. Who would be sending information? Who did
6 you hear talking about Ahmici in flames, in fire?
7 A. I asked to establish contact with my command
8 in Novi Travnik, and I did not establish it. Then I
9 sought to establish contact with Vitez, and I got it,
10 and it is from them I think I heard that Ahmici was on
12 Q. Could you be more specific? Who was in
13 Vitez, who lived in Vitez and was able to give you
14 information on what had happened?
15 A. Well, my command was in Vitez.
16 Q. Could you be more specific? What is the name
17 of the individual who gave you radio information at
18 your request and who told you that Ahmici was burning?
19 A. Yes, I can. Mirko Safradin.
20 Q. What was his position? What was his rank?
21 A. He was a member of the signals unit. I don't
22 think he had a rank.
23 Q. Do you know where he had this information
25 A. I never managed to ask him. That was all I
1 heard, and then I lost contact.
2 Q. Could you tell us what time you had this
3 radio contact with him?
4 A. Around 9.30 in the morning on the 16th.
5 Q. Could you be as specific as possible as to
6 what Mirko Safradin told you on the 16th of April,
7 1993, around 9.00 in the morning?
8 A. Well, the whole conversation lasted not more
9 than 20 seconds. I did not know what was going on. I
10 didn't even know that there was shooting going on,
11 because we could not hear. I asked him if there was
12 anything he knew down there, and he told me, "Anto,
13 Ahmici is on fire." Then he started another sentence,
14 and the line went off.
15 Q. Did he mention any victims?
16 A. No, no, he did not mention, because nothing
17 was known yet.
18 Q. If there is an idea that Ahmici is on fire,
19 does that not necessarily imply that there are victims?
20 A. Well, it can be, but need not be. I mean, he
21 did not have to know about this, anything, at the
23 Q. Let us try to be as clear as possible,
24 Mr. Rajic. You're telling us that in the morning of
25 the 16th of April, the transmission service of the PZO
1 in Vitez knows and tells you that Ahmici is burning?
2 JUDGE CASSESE: If I got it right, the
3 witness mentioned 9.00 -- 9.30. You keep saying 9.00,
4 but he says 9.30.
5 MR. TERRIER: A little bit earlier up, he
6 said -- you're right. You're right. You're right. I
7 apologise for this. I made the mistake.
8 Q. I'm going to put the question to you again,
9 Mr. Rajic, in a more precise way. You tell us that
10 around 9.30 in the morning on the 16th of April, 1993,
11 the transmission services of PZO in Vitez knew that
12 Ahmici was on fire?
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. You said previously that when you heard this,
15 you tried to establish telephone contact with your
16 wife, with your family. Is that so?
17 A. Correct, but that was right before the dusk
18 fell, because the radio connection was already dead.
19 Q. Well, did the telephone keep working? Could
20 you have proper telephone contact with Ahmici during
21 all those days?
22 A. With Ahmici, no -- I mean with Santici.
23 Q. Santici. I see.
24 A. That evening, that conversation with my wife,
25 and that evening, telephones also went dead.
1 Q. You told us that on the 18th of April, by
2 then you had taken position at Zabilje, and you watched
3 television. Could you tell us what time you watched
4 television, or for which period of time, starting when
5 and finishing when?
6 A. 19.00, 19.30, that is when the prime time
7 news of the Bosnian -- or rather, to be more exact,
8 Sarajevo television, and the news went on until 20.00.
9 Of course, it lasted longer because of all those
11 Q. Are you sure that you watched TV Sarajevo,
12 Mr. Rajic?
13 A. Yes. Sarajevo television. It is their news
14 programme, but that programme included footage of
15 various foreign televisions, CNN and other companies.
16 I wouldn't know which ones. That is, I don't know what
17 they are called.
18 Q. Do you remember seeing the logo of TV
20 A. That was the only television which could work
21 at that time. At that time, only BH TV was possible.
22 Q. In respect of the Ahmici event as reported in
23 the evening of the 18th of April by that TV station, do
24 you remember whether other people than Sakib Ahmic were
25 asked to express their views?
1 A. Well, yes, there were other people who were
2 interviewed, but I don't know the names of these
3 persons. I don't know Sakib either, at that time, I
5 Q. Could you confirm to us -- you have actually
6 already done so just now -- but that at the time you
7 didn't know at all who Sakib Ahmic was, or at least the
8 one we have in mind?
9 A. Yes, yes, I didn't know him at all. I knew
10 the name, but I didn't know the man, that man.
11 Q. Could you tell us who else expressed
12 themselves on the television on that TV channel about
13 the events in Ahmici?
14 A. You mean persons from Ahmici, or generally
16 Q. The people in Ahmici, but you seem to
17 remember that very exactly, very vividly. You seem to
18 remember what Sakib Ahmic said very clearly, what he
19 said on the 18th of April, 1993, on TV Sarajevo. I'm
20 asking you, and I think you are in a position to tell
21 us, who else spoke about the events on that same TV
23 A. There were other persons, but I don't know
24 them, as I told you. A woman spoke, but I don't know
25 who she was. An elderly woman.
1 Q. Do you recollect what that elderly woman said
3 A. Similar to Sakib, that the village was on
4 fire. That was the first statement she made. And then
5 Sakib spoke a bit more, because she was crying.
6 Q. Do you have any recollection of other people
8 A. From Ahmici? No. No. No, I can't
9 remember. How could I remember everything now?
10 Q. To be quite clear, apart from what Sakib
11 Ahmic said, you remember an elderly woman who was
12 crying and saying that Ahmici was on fire, and that is
13 all? Is that so?
14 A. That's all, because Sakib spoke the most, so
15 that is how I remember his statement the best.
16 Q. So you have a very vivid recollection of him,
17 although you didn't know him, whilst you have only a
18 very dim memory as to the other people who might have
19 spoken on that programme; am I reflecting your words or
20 thoughts correctly in saying so?
21 A. Well, yes, you have reflected it well. But
22 Sakib spoke at length, and this woman was crying. She
23 hardly finished her sentence properly.
24 Q. At any rate, she didn't say anything that
25 would have struck you in any way? Mr. Rajic, when did
1 you see that programme again, that cassette again?
2 A. You mean the recording from the Zenica
3 hospital? On video? No, I never saw that on video.
4 Q. You mean that you never watched it again, is
5 that so, until today?
6 A. Today I did, yes, but never before.
7 Q. Are you 100 per cent sure that that TV
8 programme was broadcast on the 18th?
9 A. I think it was the 18th. 99 per cent, I'm
10 sure that it was the 18th. Possibly it was the 19th,
11 but I think it was the 18th. Because it was the same
12 night when we arrived there at Pokrajcici.
13 Q. What day of the week was it?
14 A. I can't say now. I know that the 16th was a
15 Friday, the 17th was Saturday. Sunday? Sunday? I'm
16 sure you'll be able to do your sums.
17 Q. According to you, Mr. Rajic, since Mr. Sakib
18 Ahmic was admitted into hospital at 5.00 on the 16th of
19 April, what was his physical and mental condition the
20 next day?
21 A. Well, judging by the looks of him, he was
22 psychologically able to give an interview.
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I think
24 that the Prosecutor is really crossing the line now,
25 because he is asking the witness to draw certain
1 conclusions about certain facts that he has no idea
2 of. He is not in a position to say what kind of a
3 condition a person may be a day after he was hurt, so I
4 think the Prosecutor is not entitled to ask that kind
5 of a question of this witness.
6 MR. TERRIER: I admit that Mr. Rajic is not
7 in a good position to answer that question, but the
8 reason why I was asking it is that he said before that
9 if he knew who it was who killed his family, he should
10 have told everybody viewing the programme, and that's
11 in view of that piece of information, which I thought
12 was very bold, given the state of knowledge of
13 Mr. Rajic. That's why I asked the question.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: I see. Thank you.
15 MR. TERRIER:
16 Q. One last question, Mr. Rajic. On the 18th of
17 April -- I'm talking about daytime on the 18th of
18 April -- the conflict as it was named between the army
19 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the HVO started?
20 A. On the 18th?
21 Q. Yes.
22 A. The conflict started on the 16th -- well,
23 yes, yes, on the 18th. That's right.
24 Q. It is under way, then, the 18th. Is it right
25 to say that on the 18th of April, the outcome of the
1 conflict is totally unknown?
2 A. The position where I was, it was impossible
3 to tell.
4 Q. On that day, it is not possible to know what
5 is going to become of the Lasva Valley and of the
6 inhabitants thereof?
7 A. Impossible. I couldn't know a thing.
8 Q. Mr. Sakib Ahmic couldn't know either.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: That's a comment, if I may
10 say so, Mr. Terrier.
11 MR. TERRIER: It is, but I have no further
12 questions of the witness.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
14 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, you have the floor.
15 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
16 Mr. President.
17 Re-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
18 Q. Mr. Rajic, very briefly, could you please
19 tell us, what are all the things you did in order to
20 try to get hold of the videotape of what you saw on the
22 A. I did all sorts of things. I looked all
23 over, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, because I
24 recall his statement 100 per cent, but I can't prove it
25 without the cassette itself. So what is most reliable
1 is my own statement, and then to be followed by the
2 videocassette. And what I'm saying now is the truth,
3 100 per cent.
4 Q. Could you just tell us the following: Until
5 the present day, you have not seen this video
6 cassette. That is to say that in the previous period,
7 before you made this statement that we submitted to the
8 court, you had not seen this cassette?
9 A. No, never.
10 Q. What you recall is only from this single
11 viewing, that time at that position in Pokrajcici?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. All right. Please tell us, this man who you
14 established contact with in Vitez, he worked as a
15 signals man in the command at the headquarters of what
17 A. That is to say, the command of the PZO, my
18 anti-aircraft defence.
19 Please, I want to correct one thing. Mirko
20 Safradin is this signals man, and he is the next
21 witness, I mean, lest there be any misunderstanding. I
22 want to say of this my own free will.
23 Q. All right. So Mirko Safradin, who worked at
24 this PZO station in Vitez is not the same person?
25 A. No, no, no. No, Mirko Safradin, the one who
1 established contact with me, he was killed at Buhine
2 Kuce, as a civilian.
3 Q. Please, this station, RUP 12, is that a
4 military station? Is it part of some military
5 equipment that exists in the organisation?
6 A. Yes, yes. RUP 12 is a radio station of the
7 former Yugoslav People's Army that we had before all of
8 this. As far as I can remember, it was there from '78,
9 although I had one in the army in the JNA too.
10 Q. With this transmitter RUP 12, can an amateur
11 also have it and use it at home or is this a military
12 transmitter that not everyone can have and can only be
13 obtained from the JNA?
14 A. Well, when the JNA fell apart everybody could
15 have got it, that's a fact, but a unit could also get
16 it as a unit, because at that time when the Serbs were
17 withdrawing people took things away. So whoever took
18 anything away would keep it. Although it is an
19 expensive transmitter, and I don't think an individual
20 could really own it.
21 Q. All right. So a military structure could
22 have that kind of a transmitter; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, yes. That's correct.
24 Q. The village guards that were in Santici, for
25 example, did they have radios?
1 A. No. No, they didn't even have a rifle, let
2 alone a radio.
3 Q. I'm talking about the Croats in Santici. Did
4 they have a radio station?
5 A. No. No. Again, I'm telling you, it's not
6 guards, it's patrols.
7 Q. Do you know whether in Santici, Pirici they
8 had some other guard, some other part of the village
9 that was also held by the Croats with some kind of
10 guards? Did these other parts perhaps have an RUP 12?
11 A. Nobody can have an RUP 12 except for a strong
12 military unit.
13 Q. All right. Did you know that the Muslims in
14 Ahmici had an RUP 12 at the school?
15 A. No.
16 Q. All right. All right. Tell me, this
17 anti-aircraft gun that you were manning, what was its
19 A. Well, its range was from 8.5 to 9 kilometres,
20 with an armoured shell. The other anti-aircraft shell
21 would explode earlier.
22 Q. All right. So from your position you could
23 not really fire at any of the areas that were in a
24 state of war on the 16th.
25 A. No. No, we couldn't.
1 Q. Tell me one more thing. You probably know
2 Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic well. Could you tell me
3 what you talked about to them and what their interests
5 A. I didn't understand your question.
6 Q. What did you talk about with Mirjan and Zoran
7 Kupreskic? What did they say in terms of politics?
8 What were their thoughts?
9 A. They were strongly opposed to what was going
10 on. They were against this policy that was waged from
11 1992. At any rate, somebody above them and somebody
12 who was above us.
13 Q. What were they like? Were they in favour of
14 war, in favour of a war option, or were they people who
15 led normal and peaceful lives? Would you tell us,
17 A. These were people who led normal and peaceful
18 lives. Zoran is an intellectual. He's a mechanical
19 engineer. During the first conflict he tried to pacify
20 everyone. There is no theoretical chance of them being
21 advocates of anything like that.
22 Q. All right. Mr. Rajic, thank you.
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I have concluded my
25 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, there is a whole
1 series of questions that was asked by my learned friend
2 during her new in chief which did not seem, to me, to
3 be within the limits of the cross-examination. I
4 think -- I believe that all these questions regarding
5 one's political options are simply --
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, indeed. I was about to
7 ask Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac not to address that question.
8 We fully agree with you. In the future, I
9 think that the counsel for Defence should limit
10 themselves to only additional questions rather than new
11 questions which go beyond the cross-examination or, if
12 necessary, perhaps to go deeper into a matter that was
13 raised in chief but not something else. So that
14 applies for the future.
15 We don't have any further questions for the
17 Mr. Rajic, thank you for giving evidence in
18 court. You may now be released. The witness is being
20 (The witness withdrew)
21 JUDGE CASSESE: I apologise, but I would like
22 to go back for one minute to the exhibits concerning
23 witness Mirko Vidovic. For the sake of propriety, I
24 would like to suggest that the Exhibit D28/3 should
25 only relate to the permit, because now we are aware
1 that there were two different documents that were
2 photocopied on one page. So I would suggest that the
3 small document, which is now by itself, be given the
4 number D28A/3.
5 I would also like to suggest that the
6 photocopy which is D29/3 should be replaced by a
7 photocopy, made by the Registry, of the whole passport,
8 so that the photocopy would be handed to both the
9 Prosecution and Defence counsel. We will keep the
10 original in the Registry file, and I think it is only
11 proper for Defence counsel and the Prosecution to have
12 a photocopy of the whole document for the purpose of
13 future examination or cross-examination of other
14 witnesses or for the closing statements.
15 These are minor things but I thought it would
16 be necessary. I apologise for being so slow in
17 reflecting on this matter.
18 We could now call witness Taraba,
19 Mr. Taraba.
20 (The witness entered court)
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, Mr. Taraba.
22 Could you please make the solemn declaration?
23 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may sit
3 Counsel Radovic?
4 WITNESS: IVAN TARABA
5 Examined by Mr. Radovic:
6 Q. Good day, Mr. Taraba.
7 A. Good day to you.
8 Q. Could you introduce yourself for the Court?
9 That is, give us your name, your father's name, your
10 date of birth, and your address.
11 A. I'm Ivan Taraba. My father's name is Marko.
12 I was born on the 2nd of December, 1941 in Vitez. My
13 address is Kralja Petra Kresimira Cetritog number 1.
14 Q. Tell me, in 1992 and in 1993, who did you
15 live with?
16 A. With my family.
17 Q. And your family consisted of?
18 A. Of my wife, my son, daughter, and mother.
19 Q. Tell me, where did your mother live?
20 A. At that time she lived in the country, in my
21 weekend cottage.
22 Q. What is the name of this village where your
23 mother lived?
24 A. Jardol.
25 Q. Did you often visit your mother in the
1 village of Jardol?
2 A. Almost every day.
3 Q. Tell me, in 1992 and 1993, where did you
5 A. I worked in the Slobodan Princip Seljo
6 company in Vitez.
7 Q. What did that factory mean for the town of
8 Vitez from an economic point of view in relation to the
9 population of Vitez? Could you explain this a bit?
10 Could you dwell on it a bit more, because you're
11 familiar with it.
12 A. It meant a great deal. It is a factory that
13 made products that belonged to the special purposes
14 industry, that is to say, for the Yugoslav People's
15 Army. It was one of the largest companies in Vitez,
16 and it was broadly linked to various companies
17 throughout the former Yugoslavia. It also meant a
18 great deal to the town of Vitez and the former JNA.
19 Q. Did it have many people who were employed
20 there at this factory?
21 A. Well, almost 1.000 workers. I don't know the
22 exact figure.
23 Q. Tell me, what are you by profession?
24 A. I am a mechanical engineer, with a university
1 Q. Tell me, how did your career evolve? I'm
2 actually interested in the part that pertains to your
3 employment in the factory, that is to say, when you
4 first started working in the factory and throughout
5 that period until 1992 and 1993.
6 A. Practically I worked in that factory from
7 1962. In '92 and '93, I had a job that I originally
8 got in 1985.
9 Q. And what job is this?
10 A. I was head of maintenance of special -- of
11 the special purpose industry.
12 Q. Did you know Mirjan Kupreskic?
13 A. I knew Mirjan as an inhabitant of the town of
14 Vitez and as a worker who was employed at the site
15 where the former Unis factories were. That is to say,
16 in other words, I knew him personally. I knew where he
17 worked and I knew what he did.
18 Q. But did you know him well or just like that,
19 superficially? How should I put this?
20 A. Well, superficially, because he was at the
21 same site. We went to the same cafeteria. We saw each
22 other every day, but we didn't meet through work.
23 Q. Did you know Zoran Kupreskic?
24 A. I know Zoran very well.
25 Q. How come?
1 A. Well, we are colleagues. We're involved in
2 the same line of work. I was also his immediate
3 supervisor for a certain period of time when I was
4 transferred to the special purpose industry, rather, to
5 the Slobodan Princip Seljo enterprise.
6 Q. Tell me, in this enterprise in 1992 and 1993,
7 that is to say, until the outbreak of the war -- I'm
8 really interested in the period up to the 15th of
9 April, 1993. What was the ethnic composition of the
10 employees in this company?
11 A. Well, as far as these factories are
12 concerned, there were about 3.500 workers. The ethnic
13 composition was a balanced one in line with the ethnic
14 composition of the population of the municipality of
15 Vitez. The same goes for that part of the factory in
16 which I worked in 1992, 1993, in which Mr. Kupreskic
17 worked in as well or, rather, in our own department,
18 the one that I headed and where Mr. Zoran Kupreskic was
19 subordinated to me.
20 Q. So tell me, what would the proportions be,
22 A. Out of the 28 employees in our organisational
23 unit, there were about 50 per cent Croats, that is to
24 say, Croats and Muslims, and a few Serbs.
25 Q. Tell us, after the first free elections and
1 after the government was established as a result of
2 these elections, was there any discrimination within
3 this enterprise against any ethnic group?
4 A. Well, I assert that one cannot speak of
5 discrimination in this environment where I was fully
6 aware of the ethnic composition, of the relations
7 between the employees, and specifically in terms of
8 action taken both by myself as supervisor or by my
10 Q. Were you also aware of developments beyond
11 your department?
12 A. No. What we did, Mr. Kupreskic and I, was
13 rather specific.
14 Q. What is so specific about it? Could you
15 describe it?
16 A. This is military production. That's what's
17 specific. That production always required greater
18 responsibility than in other places. One had to be
19 punctual; responsible; conscientious, may I say; and
20 that particular environment was always spared of
21 various developments that took place outside and around
22 that environment. So we were quite apart from these
23 developments that took place.
24 We were required to keep production going at
25 all times. That is why we were quite isolated from
1 these external developments.
2 Q. In 1990-'92 or 1993, did the production drop
3 and, thus, a number of redundant workers appeared?
4 A. I could hardly answer that question. I think
5 that, generally speaking, the production declined, but
6 at the place where I worked, this decline did not mean
7 that employees were given notice because our task was a
8 specific one. If the production stopped, then we would
9 go into overhaul, into maintenance, replacement of
10 parts, and maintenance of a number of installations so
11 all the equipment would be ready for work at any time.
12 So that it would happen, for instance, if all
13 the production workers were on holidays, every other
14 worker was on holidays or whatever, laid off. We
16 Q. But did it ever happen in '92 or '93 that
17 Zoran was laid off or did not come to work?
18 A. All I remember is that in 1992, sometime
19 June, we were all kind of laid off for about three
20 weeks or perhaps 20 days, and that was the only
21 interruption we had. That is a time of summer
22 holidays, so that we were all absent at that time.
23 Q. Otherwise, he always came to work regularly,
24 or was he absent frequently, or did he come to work
1 A. Mr. Zoran was the head for machine
2 maintenance, and he always had to be there.
3 Q. Yes, that is all right, but was he always?
4 A. Yes, he was always there. He was regularly
6 Q. Do you remember the days right before the
7 war, that is, 15th of April? Was he at work then?
8 A. I remember that very well because that day
9 Zoran and I left the company -- came out of the company
11 Q. And you went where?
12 A. We went towards our locality in Vitez. We
13 walked. We went on foot to Vitez with another
14 gentleman, of Muslim origin, who also worked in our
16 Q. You being Zoran's boss, did you happen to
17 notice his attitude to those people subordinated to
18 him? Did he distinguish between Croats and Muslims
19 and, thus, did he harass Muslims or did he apply a
20 balance to both groups?
21 A. Zoran had 28 workers under him. Mechanical,
22 that is. Machine operators, that is. As his head, I
23 know that Zoran had a very correct attitude towards all
24 of them, but Zoran is such as a person. I mean, he
25 does not make a distinction according to one's ethnic
2 If you will allow me to add something, I have
3 an example, an instance, of a very humane, of a very
4 warm-hearted attitude towards a subordinate who was a
5 Muslim. Zoran and I sometimes would start discussing
6 why he wasn't at work, because that particular machine
7 operator had a father who was a diabetic -- a diabetes
8 patient, and he, therefore, was frequently absent
9 because of his father's absence. Now, Zoran was --
10 Zoran put up with that. I man, he was quite tolerant.
11 That particular machine operator was a Muslim.
12 Q. Do you remember his name?
13 A. Yes, of course, very well. His name was
14 Nermin Ahmic.
15 Q. Do you perhaps know the names of people he
16 mostly socialised with, he was closest with, within the
18 A. Well, I could give you some names.
19 Q. So will you please do it, only will you
20 please, when you say a name, tell us what the ethnicity
21 of that person is.
22 A. Zoran directly cooperated, worked, and sat in
23 the office, day in and day out, with -- or rather
24 partook of coffee day in and day out with the head of
25 the production unit, Mr. Mahmutovic; with an electric
1 technician, Senad Topoljak; with the production
2 overseer, Dragan Grebenar; with our tools operator,
3 Ivan Josipovic; and if I may, with the floor manager,
4 Tarahija, who is a Muslim. On the team there were no
5 Serbs, because those couple of Serb bosses were
6 directly in the production plant.
7 Q. All right, but tell us, do you know what was
8 the specific job of Zoran's in the winter of 1992
9 and in nineteen-ninety ...
10 A. Yes, I do know it very well.
11 Q. So will you tell us?
12 A. Zoran, that is, I, as his superior, as the
13 head of that service, we had three separate entities
14 for special purposes production, and Mr. Zoran, as the
15 production was reduced before the winter came, his task
16 was, together with our Muslim colleague, to prepare
17 plant units for the winter season, primarily with a
18 view to preventing the freezing of equipment, to avoid
20 Q. Until when was he engaged in this?
21 A. I could not tell you exactly until what date
22 he was committed to that, but it must have been until
23 the time of low temperatures, until such time when
24 water begins to freeze.
25 Q. When you listed the names that Zoran
1 socialised with within the company, you did not tell us
2 what their ethnic origin was. So will you please
3 repeat those names, and every time tell us also what
4 the ethnic origin was of that person.
5 A. Mr. Mahmutovic, as the chief of chemical
6 workers, was Muslim; Mr. Tarahija was also of Muslim
7 origin; Mr. Grabovac (sic), a Croat; Mr. Josipovic --
8 rather, sorry, not Grabovac; Grebenar, I'm sorry,
9 Grebenar -- a Croat; Mr. Josipovic, a Croat;
10 Mr. Topoljak, a Muslim.
11 Q. Tell us if there was any written record of
12 when who came for work, and how.
13 A. We regularly recorded it. There was a log of
14 daily attendance at work, that is, the presence or
15 absence of every employee. Briefly, we had a shift
16 log. That is what we had, a shift log.
17 Q. And who kept this log?
18 A. The shift log was with the head of the
19 mechanical maintenance department, Mr. Kupreskic, and
20 the second logbook was with the head of the electrical
21 maintenance unit, Mr. --just wait a moment -- Stipe
22 Stipinovic. If I may add, both those gentlemen and
23 Mr. Topoljak shared the office, and they each kept a
24 separate shift log.
25 Q. Do you know where these logs are kept now?
1 A. No, it is not known where these logs are,
2 because the offices were ravaged, and a lot of
3 documentation was destroyed or taken away, or in other
4 words stolen, because since our withdrawal, or since
5 our departure from the company on the 15th, that is, on
6 the eve of the conflict, we simply did not enter the
7 company, so anyone who passed by could enter it. It
8 was destroyed.
9 Q. But tell us, apart from business contacts,
10 did you talk to Zoran, did you converse with Zoran
11 about other topics? Do you know what were his
12 interests outside work?
13 A. I know Mr. Zoran very well indeed. I know
14 his spheres of his interest, and perhaps it might be
15 interesting to note now that Mr. Zoran likes folklore.
16 That is his hobby.
17 Q. We don't have to talk about that, because we
18 really have heard a great deal about all this.
19 Everybody recognises him. But apart from folklore, was
20 there anything else?
21 A. Mr. Zoran is a very sociable person, so he
22 always attends those parties in Vitez, various
23 festivities there.
24 Perhaps the Court might care to know, even
25 though this is perhaps sort of personal, Mr. Zoran is a
1 man who is interested and is actively practising yoga
2 and those transcendental -- how shall I put it --
3 issues, things. He read books on the subject, and
4 he -- well, we're very close, and I also have a
5 propensity for it, so we did talk about this. We
6 exchanged views and literature and talked about these
7 things. In Vitez there is such a circle of people
8 interested in these things.
9 Q. But tell us, this Indian literature that
10 Zoran studied, does it preach violence, or something
12 A. I believe that all those gentlemen present
13 here know very well what they say --
14 Q. No, let the present gentlemen be; tell us
15 what it's about.
16 A. Well, what I said, as my people in Bosnia
17 say, nobody will get a headache from that literature.
18 It's the saying over there. Mr. Zoran, perhaps thanks
19 to that kind of literature, he would never harm an ant,
20 is how we say in Bosnia, let alone inflict suffering or
21 pain on anyone.
22 Q. So to cut a long story short, this is a
23 philosophy which preaches non-violence?
24 A. Yes, definitely non-violence.
25 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I think it is
1 time to make a break.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Have you many more
4 MR. RADOVIC: Yes, I do have very many of
5 them, but on another matter altogether, not on the
6 Hindu philosophy or anything like that. We have, as
7 you see, skipped folklore, as you have noticed.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We will take a
9 15-minute break.
10 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 12.33 p.m.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic, so far you
13 have dealt with issues which are covered by the
14 witness's statement. I hope you will not go beyond
15 those matters, Counsel Radovic. We are very keen to
16 finish by Thursday with the five more witnesses.
17 MR. RADOVIC: The last witness who has been
18 envisaged for today pertains to the same circumstances
19 as witness Rajic, and I shall be examining him, and we
20 are going to shorten the proceedings considerably.
21 Q. Mr. Taraba, please, would you continue.
22 MR. RADOVIC: Can I continue my questioning?
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, yes.
24 MR. RADOVIC:
25 Q. Mr. Taraba, we are continuing, and we'd like
1 to speed things up a bit. So tell me, on the eve of
2 the war, on the 15th of April, you went to your
3 village; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Where were you when the shooting began the
6 next day?
7 A. I was in my weekend cottage when the shooting
8 started. I was in the village.
9 Q. Then tell us what happened with you after
10 that, but just tell us very briefly, because we are not
11 really all that interested in that.
12 A. I stayed in the village, and I spent the
13 entire war in the village.
14 Q. Until when?
15 A. Until the 25th of July, when I had to go to
16 hospital because I was wounded.
17 Q. Tell me, this village where your mother was,
18 and where your weekend cottage was, and where you went
19 every day, were there village guards there?
20 A. Village guards did exist. As I was passing
21 by, going to see my relatives in the village, I would
22 notice a group of three or four young men who were
23 patrolling the road.
24 Q. Tell me, which village is this, this village
25 of yours, is a it Croat or a Muslim village or a mixed
2 A. It is purely Croat village.
3 Q. These village guards that patrolled the area,
4 did they find something any time with anyone?
5 A. Well, rumour had it that as Muslims passed
6 through that village to their own village, through that
7 village to their own village --
8 Q. Is that a transit village, then?
9 A. Yes, it is. Rumour had it that when they
10 searched their vehicles, that they would find
11 ammunition in them.
12 Q. The last question would be, do you remember
13 walking on foot through the Mahala and seeing something
14 unusual in the Mahala, something unusual, an unusual
15 building or something?
16 A. Well, it's not only that I remember it. This
17 was quite a surprise for us, and it came as a terrible
18 defeat to us, that there were bunkers on the outskirts
19 of town. Zoran and I were together, and we were
20 commenting on this: "Who are they making this bunker
21 for?" The bunker was built overnight, and it was
22 camouflaged, but you could see it.
23 Q. Try to think of the time when this happened.
24 A. That could have been a few days prior to the
1 Q. Which conflict? The first or the second one?
2 A. The conflict on the 16th.
3 Q. That is to say before the war began?
4 A. Yes, before the war began, and we were
5 commenting on the fact that this was probably built
6 overnight by machines and then camouflaged.
7 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I have finished
8 with this witness. Thank you.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I assume there is
10 no cross-examination by other Defence counsel then?
11 Mr. Blaxill?
12 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Mr. President, Your
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
15 Q. Mr. Taraba, good afternoon to you, sir. My
16 name is Michael Blaxill.
17 A. Good day.
18 Q. I am one of the attorneys assigned to the
19 Prosecution in this case, and I do have just a few
20 questions to ask you, sir, but not very many.
21 You say that Mr. Zoran Kupreskic had worked
22 as your subordinate for some time. Can you indicate
23 how long that was, sir?
24 A. I think it was for about four or five years.
25 I can't tell exactly. I would have to try to
1 remember. About four to five years.
2 Q. I believe, from your description, the work
3 you did within your section of the factory was work of
4 some very special importance in military production; is
5 that correct, sir?
6 A. Very important and responsible.
7 Q. Did that work involve your being conscious of
8 issues of security and of the secrecy of some of the
9 work, perhaps? That kind of responsibility?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Did the work involve the handling, in the
12 production sense, of any particularly dangerous
13 materials, where issues of safety were very paramount?
14 A. Yes. Yes, yes.
15 Q. In those circumstances, sir, I believe you've
16 indicated that the highest standards of professional
17 competence and discipline were required of the people
18 working in that section, presumably for safety reasons,
19 if nothing else.
20 A. I don't really think I understood the
21 question. Please, could you clarify it?
22 Q. The working practices that you needed to have
23 in your section, and the standards of professional
24 self-discipline of the staff, were they important for
25 the safety of the work that you did?
1 A. It was for the purpose of the technological
2 safety of the work involved, because these were
3 explosives, so we're talking about technological
5 Q. You have spoken very highly of Mr. Zoran
6 Kupreskic and his kindness to members of staff and his
7 fair treatment of people. Would it also be fair to say
8 that he needed to impose high standards of professional
9 conduct and discipline as well, as well as showing
10 compassion to his co-workers?
11 A. I think that kindness could even be excluded,
12 because Mr. Kupreskic is a person who very
13 professionally and responsibly, without being fearful
14 of any objections, carried out his duties together with
15 subordinates. I think that kindness was what he
16 exhibited when he had coffee with people, and apart
17 from work, because this kind of work requires a great
18 deal of conscientiousness, and also a high level of
19 expertise and professionalism.
20 Q. Thank you, sir. You say that you and
21 Mr. Kupreskic departed from the factory on the 15th of
22 April. By that, do you mean that you simply went home
23 as normal? Or had you been told that there was some
24 reason you would not be going back?
25 A. No one told us that, nor did we expect not to
1 be coming to work. This happened all of a sudden, at
2 least for me. I don't know about others.
3 Q. But as far as you were concerned, you
4 expected to go back to work, say, on the 16th, in the
5 normal way?
6 A. Yes, and no one had put his things away, his
7 personal belongings or the things they had for working
8 purposes. We expected to come back.
9 Q. You returned to the village of Jardol that
10 evening, the evening of the 15th, to your weekend home?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. If I understood you correctly sir, in your
13 evidence --
14 A. I'm sorry, no, no. No, no, no, no, not the
15 weekend cottage. No, no, no, I went back to where my
16 apartment is, and from the apartment I went to the
17 weekend cottage.
18 Q. But on the night of the 15th, you did spend
19 the night, did you, at the weekend cottage in Jardol?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You say you were awoken by the sounds of
22 conflict the next day and, in fact, you remained in the
23 village right up to the 25th of July, is that right,
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you see Mr. Zoran Kupreskic at all
2 between the 15th of April and the 25th of July?
3 A. No. No, not at all.
4 Q. You were acquainted with Mr. Mirjan
5 Kupreskic. Did you see him at all between the 15th of
6 April and the 25th of July?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Thank you very much indeed.
9 MR. BLAXILL: I have no further questions,
10 Your Honours. Thank you.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Counsel Radovic?
12 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you very much. I have no
13 further questions after the cross-examination. I think
14 that my previous questions were sufficient. Thank
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We have no
17 questions for the witness.
18 Mr. Taraba, thank you so much for giving
19 evidence. You may now be released.
20 THE WITNESS: You're welcome. Thank you.
21 (The witness withdrew)
22 (The witness entered court)
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Good afternoon. Would you
24 please make the solemn declaration?
25 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
1 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may sit
5 Counsel Radovic?
6 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, since this
7 witness is supposed to testify to circumstances similar
8 to those related by Anto Rajic, I shall try to shorten
9 the proceedings as much as possible, and I shall
10 immediately talk about the things why he was called in
11 to testify in the first place.
12 WITNESS: MIRKO SAFRADIN
13 Examined by Mr. Radovic:
14 Q. Mr. Safradine, could you please introduce
15 yourself to the Court first and tell us your name, your
16 surname, the name of your father, your date of birth,
17 your address?
18 A. I'm Mirko Safradin. I was born on the 3rd of
19 January, 1964. Franjo is my father's name. My address
20 is Santici, 130, the municipality of Vitez.
21 Q. Towards the end of 1992 and until the
22 outbreak of the war, which we consider to be the 16th
23 of April, 1993, who did you live with?
24 A. I have a family, a wife, and two children,
25 and my father, and my mother.
1 Q. Do you know Anto Rajic?
2 A. Yes. He's my neighbour.
3 Q. Your military orientation, so to speak, what
4 was your military duty or, rather, what was your
5 military training, or what was the military assignment
6 that you had?
7 A. I was a member of the PZO.
8 Q. What does the PZO mean?
9 A. That is the anti-aircraft defence.
10 Q. Do you recall, as a member of the
11 anti-aircraft defence were you in any contact with Anto
13 A. Well, I was with Anto throughout in the
14 anti-aircraft defence.
15 Q. Do you remember what kind of weaponry you
17 A. Yes. It was a gun of 40 millimetres.
18 Q. And the make?
19 A. Bofors.
20 Q. Do you remember, in the period of the 16th of
21 April until the 25th of April, where you were with this
23 A. We were in Pokrajcici. On the 18th we were
24 transferred to Prahulje.
25 Q. This place that you were transferred to on
1 the 18th, are you sure that that was the place or are
2 you a bit confused with the names of the villages?
3 A. Well, I said that first we were in Prahulje
4 and on the 18th we were transferred to Pokrajcici.
5 Q. When you were transferred to the village of
6 Pokrajcici, were you by your gun all the time or did
7 you have time to relax or did you go to a house
9 A. Since we came in the afternoon, we had time.
10 We sought accommodation there and things like that.
11 Q. Did you find accommodation?
12 A. Yes. We met a gentleman and a lady called
13 Jako and Luca Bilic, and they offered accommodation to
14 us and that's where we stayed.
15 Q. The place where you stayed at, were you there
16 on your own or were you with Anto Rajic?
17 A. I was with Anto Rajic.
18 Q. The house that you stayed at, did it have a
19 TV set?
20 A. Yes, it did.
21 Q. What did you do when you came to that house?
22 A. We watched the news on television. We
23 watched the news programme of TV Sarajevo and,
24 naturally, we were interested in what was going on down
25 there. In the news I recognised Sakib Ahmic.
1 Q. Had you known him from before, Sakib Ahmic?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you know exactly where his house was?
4 How well did you know him?
5 A. I knew where his house was, and I knew him
6 because his son went to elementary school with me.
7 Q. Which son?
8 A. Naser.
9 Q. Did you ever come to his home?
10 A. Yes, perhaps once, not more than that.
11 Q. What did you see in this television programme
12 where Sakib Ahmic appeared? Tell us what you
13 remembered from this television programme.
14 A. He was laying, half laying. His arms and
15 hands were bandaged up to the elbows and his face were
16 burned. He talked about some soldiers barging into his
17 house and killing his son, his daughter-in-law, and two
19 Q. You remember that well, did you?
20 A. Yes, I did. Then this journalist, I don't
21 know if it was a man or a lady journalist, but this
22 person asked whether he had recognised the attackers.
23 He said that he didn't recognise anyone because they
24 were camouflaged.
25 Q. Tell me, did you know the hospital -- where
1 the hospital was, the hospital where he was in?
2 A. It said that it was the hospital in Zenica.
3 Q. At that time of this TV programme that you're
4 talking about, who held the town of Zenica? You had
5 civilian and military authority in Zenica?
6 A. Well, it was the Muslims. Them primarily.
7 Q. Tell me, during the war in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, during the war between the Muslims
9 and the Croats or when the Muslims and the Croats waged
10 war with the Serbs, was there any danger for the town
11 of Zenica, that is, having the Muslims lose the town of
13 A. Could you please repeat that question?
14 Q. At any point of time during the war in Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina, were the Muslims ever in danger of
16 being expelled from Zenica, to the best of your
17 knowledge, of course?
18 A. Well, that I don't know.
19 Q. Tell me, in a military sense, did the town of
20 Zenica have a lot of Muslim soldiers?
21 A. Yes. Yes, because they were a majority
22 there, I think.
23 Q. So it was a strong military stronghold?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you remember, in the news where you
1 recognised Sakib Ahmic, whether mention was made of
2 anything else? Do you remember any other information
3 that you heard and saw that evening on television?
4 A. No. I only remember what I said just now.
5 Q. I know, but then there is the logical
6 question of why did that draw your attention. Why did
7 you remember that rather than other things from the
8 news which included that detail about Sakib Ahmic?
9 A. Well, I remember that because I knew the man
10 from earlier on and because I was interested in what he
11 would say.
12 Q. When the journalist put his or her question
13 to Sakib Ahmic as to who had done that, was that a
14 single question or was that question repeated?
15 A. The question was repeated once again, twice.
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Radovic, that is a leading
17 question, quite obviously.
18 MR. RADOVIC: Your Honour, I give up this
20 Q. Now tell me, did you and Rajic comment on
21 what you had seen on television or did you not do
23 A. Well, we listened to what he had to say, and
24 it's not that there was some --
25 Q. Tell me, what Sakib said that he did not
1 recognise the persons who had done it, did he give an
2 explanation why he could not recognise them?
3 A. What I said. He did not recognise them, and
4 he could not recognise them. Then the journalist asked
5 him whether he recognised the persons who did it. He
6 said, "No, I didn't because they were camouflaged." So
7 that was repeated twice.
8 Q. Do you remember that either I or my
9 colleague, Ms. Slokovic-Glumac, asked to you make a
10 statement about what you had seen?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Do you remember whether you made a statement
13 to us?
14 A. Yes, I remember.
15 Q. When we were questioning you, did we explain
16 to you why we needed that statement of yours instead of
17 showing the Court the entire news item that we were
18 talking about? Did we explain this to you, what we
19 needed it for?
20 A. Yes. Yes, you did.
21 Q. And why was this?
22 A. Because Sakib, in that statement, accused
23 Zoran and Miro Kupreskic. No? No? I didn't
24 understand what you said.
25 Q. I imagine you didn't understand the
1 question. When we talked to you, was any mention made
2 of whether we had that cassette or were we looking for
3 the video cassette? I'm sorry, but it's better for me
4 to put a direct question, obviously.
5 A. Could you please repeat what you said? I
6 didn't understand.
7 Q. When we talked to you, did we tell you
8 whether we had this cassette or we did not have this
9 cassette with the news programme?
10 A. You didn't have the cassette.
11 Q. We didn't have the cassette. Then you told
12 us what you saw but without seeing this video cassette?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. You remembered that what you saw is what you
15 told us about today; right?
16 A. Yes.
17 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, now I would like
18 Prosecutor's Exhibit 557 to be shown to the witness,
19 the video.
20 Q. Now you will see this particular news item,
21 and will you please watch it carefully?
22 (Videotape played)
23 THE INTERPRETER: (Voiceover)
24 Reporter: " ... uniforms of the Croat
25 Defence Council. There is a very moving story of Sakib
1 Ahmic because some creatures in uniforms from the HVO
2 killed his son, a daughter-in-law, and two sons of whom
3 one was in a cradle. He was only three months and
4 three days old."
5 Sakib Ahmic: "Yesterday, in the morning of
6 the 16th of April, sometime around 5.00, we were still
7 asleep then. The child was crying, because I had a
8 grandson who was three months and three days old
9 today. My son got up and switched on the lights to see
10 what that child -- and I was sleeping in the other
12 "Meanwhile, these HOS men -- no, not the HOS
13 men but the HVO army came to the door, kicked the door
14 off the hinges and immediately let off a burst of
15 fire. They entered the room. The lights were on.
16 They saw my son on his feet, so they immediately got
17 him down. I was behind the door, and I was peering.
18 Then they turned their weapons on my daughter-in-law
19 and my other grandson.
20 "Then they started but the little one was in
21 the cradle and let out a sound, and then they returned,
22 and one of the soldiers returned and fired the whole
23 burst of fire into the small one in the cradle, the
24 little one of three months and three days.
25 "I tried to go there, but they immediately
1 lighted two fires in that room and in the kitchen, so
2 the fire spread very quickly. I tried to get those
3 children to the other room where I was, and tried to
4 localise the fire. I mean, they may have been killed
5 but I hope I tried to save them from being burned down,
6 but I fell completely because the flames were spreading
7 frighteningly quickly.
8 "I was sitting in the corner of that room
9 and the window was open, and here the door had already
10 burned down and the windows in that room where the
11 children had been asleep."
12 MR. RADOVIC:
13 Q. Did you watch this carefully?
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. Is that the news item that was broadcast that
16 day when you watched the news on TV Sarajevo with Anto
18 A. Yes, but the last part is missing.
19 Q. What is missing?
20 A. Well, what's missing is when the journalist,
21 whether he or she asks who did that and did he
22 recognise who had done that.
23 Q. So what you are claiming is that this
24 cassette is not complete because the end is missing.
25 A. Quite right. It is not complete.
1 Q. Have you heard of a TV Sarajevo broadcast
2 called "The Hague Diary"?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Have you ever seen that programme?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Now, in this part of this story -- of Sakib
7 Ahmic's story, did you take note of his mentioning
8 that -- first saying that this was done HOS men and
9 then immediately correcting himself and saying it was
10 the HVO? Do you know what colour was the HOS uniform?
11 If you know it, of course. If you don't, then that's
13 A. I don't know.
14 Q. Have you ever heard of the Jokers?
15 A. Yes, I have heard.
16 Q. Tell us, who were the Jokers?
17 A. I don't know that either.
18 Q. Do you know what colour their uniform was?
19 A. I don't.
20 Q. Were you ever serving on village guards, you
22 A. No, I did not.
23 Q. Why was that?
24 A. Because I had already been assigned to the
25 anti-aircraft defence.
1 Q. That PZO or AAD, was it established only
2 after the elections.
3 A. That is beforehand we called it PVO.
4 Q. Did it exist before?
5 A. It existed before.
6 Q. Now, was that the mobilisation of
7 anti-aircraft defence members when you joined this unit
8 or how was it that you were activated?
9 A. Well, it was on the 1st of June, '92. I was
10 still -- that is when the Serb aircraft flew over.
11 Q. This gun, Bofors, the 40 millimetre that you
12 served, is it single barrelled or multi-barrelled?
13 A. Its range is 9.000, and instantaneous four
14 and a half.
15 Q. So what aircraft did it defend you
16 effectively against? How should an aircraft fly that
17 you can hit it with this particular gun?
18 A. Why, that is something that I don't know.
19 Q. So tell us, can you hit a plane flying at an
20 altitude of 10.000 metres?
21 A. No, I could not.
22 Q. So it's efficiency is limited by its limited
23 range, if I understood it properly?
24 A. Yes.
25 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President. I
1 have no further questions for this witness.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Counsel Radovic,
3 I assume there is no cross-examination by other Defence
5 Mr. Blaxill.
6 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Your Honours.
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
8 Q. Mr. Safradin, good afternoon. My name is
9 Michael Blaxill. I'm one of the Prosecution attorneys
10 assigned to this case. As a result of what you've said
11 to today I do have a few questions for you if you'll
12 bear with me. I hope it will not take too long.
13 You say that you were activated in service in
14 June, 1992, is that correct, sir?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you go straight into service with an
17 anti-aircraft unit?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Was your neighbour Mr. Anto Rajic also in
20 that unit at that time?
21 A. He was, yes, except that he was there before
23 Q. When you joined were you, in fact, assigned
24 to the same gun team as Mr. Rajic?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So, in fact, was he your gun commander? He
2 was your superior on that gun team?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Would I be right in assuming, therefore, that
5 every time that Mr. Rajic was on duty with the gun so
6 you would you be? Did you work as a team all the
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You had what, about three other team-mates to
10 operate the gun? It's a five-man gun; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. When you were serving after -- let us move on
13 from June through July and August of 1992. Did you
14 consider yourself, at that time, serving in the HVO or
15 some organisation like that? Did you feel that your
16 anti-aircraft unit formed part of such an
18 A. No.
19 Q. What did you consider your overall military
20 structure to be then? What army did you belong to; if
21 I can ask that.
22 A. The anti-aircraft defence existed even before
23 as the Territorial Defence, even while we were all
24 together. So it all existed before, and we did not
25 have anything, that is, we did not have any -- we did
1 not belong to any command, the HVO or anything else.
2 Q. Later on, did that change at all? Did the TO
3 and others share out the guns, and separate, and do
4 different duty?
5 A. Afterwards, afterwards, during the conflicts
6 and suchlike, they separated. That is, some weapons
7 went to the Muslim side and some stayed with us.
8 Q. About when do you remember that happening?
9 A. It happened right after the -- or around the
10 conflict, or in the wake of the conflict.
11 Q. Which conflict are we referring to there,
12 sir? Was that the one, the October '92?
13 A. Yes, after the first conflict.
14 Q. Now, on the 16th of April of 1993, your gun
15 team was in -- and I hope -- is it Prahulje? My
16 pronunciation is probably very poor. I apologise for
17 that. Is that the village you were in on the 16th of
19 A. No.
20 Q. Can you tell me which village you were in on
21 the 16th of April?
22 A. On the 16th, I was at home in the village of
24 Q. You were home in the village of Santici.
25 Were you therefore on leave from your military duty?
1 A. Yes, and the 17th, I reported at Prahulje.
2 Q. So on the morning of the 16th, you were
3 actually in Santici when the conflict started, or
4 shooting was heard in Ahmici nearby, is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So what did you do on the 16th? Since this
7 conflict has started nearby, what did you do? Did you
8 try and report somewhere?
9 A. No, I did not. That day I spent at home. I
10 did not report anywhere because I hoped that I would
11 not have to report back at Prahulje earlier.
12 Q. Now, at your home in Santici, how far were
13 you from the village of Ahmici, from where the shooting
14 was going on?
15 A. It's a kilometre, a kilometre and a half.
16 Q. Did you feel at that time that you were safe
17 where you were, in your home in Santici, and that your
18 family was safe?
19 A. Well, there was nothing --I mean, Santici is
20 a Croatian village. There was nothing -- I mean, I was
21 simply at home, and there were no problems.
22 Q. So it was a Croatian village, and there were
23 no problems there; what made you then report for duty
24 on the 17th of April?
25 A. Because I was due on that date.
1 Q. In other words, that was your due date to
2 return to your unit; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So your decision to report in had nothing to
5 do with the conflict going on relatively nearby in
7 A. No, no.
8 Q. You reported where on the 17th?
9 A. I reported where I was assigned to be on
10 duty, that is, at Prahulje, where the weapon was.
11 Q. On that day, on that day you reported, did
12 you just stay with your weapon for a period of time
13 that day?
14 A. I reported on the 17th, and I was there that
15 day at night, and around noon on the 18th, we moved to
16 a place called Pokrajcici.
17 Q. Did you, on the night or early evening or the
18 night of the 17th, did you leave your gun position and
19 go to any accommodation for rest, to eat, to sleep?
20 A. Yes, Anto Rajic and I went to my brother's,
21 but we did not spend the night there. We went back
23 Q. So you went to your brother's place for a
24 period of time during that night, is that correct, and
25 not the whole night?
1 A. It was the evening of the 17th, and we did
2 not spend the whole night. We went back.
3 Q. Where did your brother live?
4 A. Novi Travnik.
5 Q. In Novi Travnik. How far was that from the
6 gun position?
7 A. It's about five or six kilometres, maybe.
8 Q. Did you have a vehicle in which to travel?
9 A. Well, we went there -- we had a vehicle. I
10 can't really remember.
11 Q. Do you recall, did your brother have a
13 A. Sure, he had television, but we went up there
14 because we needed more members of the team and since he
15 was also a member of the anti-aircraft defence with
17 Q. But on your visit to his home, did you in
18 fact watch any television?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Were you not curious about the recent events
21 of the day before, the shooting you had heard in
22 Ahmici? Were you not curious to try and catch up on
23 the news?
24 A. No, we did not. I think there was no
25 electricity in Novi Travnik either. There was no
2 Q. You then returned to your gun position later
3 that night, and I believe said you were transferred on
4 the day of the 18th. Was that around noon, I believe
5 you said?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Where was it you went on the 18th?
8 A. We went to a locality, to a place called
10 Q. I believe there Mr. Rajic arranged for you to
11 have some accommodation to stay in whilst you were
12 there; is that correct?
13 A. Well, we arrived in Pokrajcici, got put up
14 there, and he and Ivan went to look for some
16 Q. By that evening, you had accommodation
17 arranged at the house of the family Bilic; correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, you clearly say you recalled seeing the
20 interview that we have seen here on video, and that you
21 knew Mr. Sakib Ahmic before because you had been to
22 school with his son; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Was there any other element of the news,
25 though, that caught your interest in particular? Any
1 news about Ahmici, Santici? These are close by you.
2 A. No. I don't think I remember anything else.
3 Q. So you're saying the only element of the news
4 that night that you recall was the interview of the
5 gentleman, Mr. Ahmic, from a hospital bed? That's what
6 you're saying, sir?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you recall any other programmes that were
9 on the television that evening that may have been
10 watched by yourself and Mr. Rajic?
11 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
12 Q. Yes. Do you recall any other television
13 programmes that came on in the course of that evening
14 while you were watching television with Mr. Rajic at
15 the Bilic household?
16 A. I only watched the news, so that is the main
17 news programme of the Sarajevo television which showed
19 Q. Have you -- I will just ask again: Have you
20 ever seen that broadcast on any other time subsequent
21 to the 18th of April, 1993, either on television or by
22 way of a video recording, before today, have you ever
23 seen it?
24 A. After that, no, I did not see it again.
25 Q. Sir, when you were aware of the accusation
1 against Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic, these two gentlemen
2 are known to you, are they?
3 A. Yes, they are.
4 Q. Would you say they were friends of yours, or
5 good acquaintances?
6 A. They were friends, good acquaintances.
7 Q. When was it that you became aware of the
8 allegation against them implicating them in the alleged
9 incidents in the Ahmic household that Sakib Ahmic spoke
11 A. I learned it in the village. The story
12 spread. People talked.
13 Q. Did you at a subsequent time discuss this
14 position at all with Mr. Rajic, your friend?
15 A. Yes. Afterwards, he asked me -- when we
16 watched that recording, he had seen it once again, and
17 so he asked me if I had done the same, and things like
19 Q. When did you have such a conversation with
20 Mr. Rajic?
21 A. I was with him when he watched it afterwards,
22 a recording of a kind, and then he asked me, but I
23 don't really remember when it was exactly.
24 Q. I'm sorry, that last reply has confused me a
25 little. Are you saying that on some subsequent
1 occasion to the 18th of April, 1993, Mr. Rajic watched
2 a recording again, and you were with him when that
3 happened? Is that what you're saying, sir? I want to
4 be clear on the record.
5 A. No, I did not watch it with him. He watched
6 it. Afterwards, once again, he once again watched that
7 recording, and after that he asked me if I had seen it
9 Q. Subsequent to that conversation, has there
10 ever been a further conversation between you and
11 Mr. Rajic in connection with that video recording, that
12 television interview?
13 A. No.
14 Q. But since that conversation, it is since then
15 that you met with the lawyers for the Kupreskic
16 brothers, and you then gave them a statement; is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you, sir, happen to know a
20 gentleman by the name of Mr. Slavko Sakic?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you tell me who he is and what he does,
23 or what he did at that time, in 1993?
24 A. What he did at the time, I don't know. He
25 was also a member of the anti-aircraft defence, but
1 what he did, I don't know.
2 Q. Sir, as a local from Santici, did you know
3 Mr. Mirjan Santic from that same village?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were you aware of Mr. Mirjan Santic's
6 military position in April of 1993?
7 A. All I know is that he was there, on the
8 spot. I don't know what he did, whether he went to
9 conquer, to take something, take possession of
10 something, I don't know.
11 Q. If I suggest to you, sir, that Mr. Mirjan
12 Santic was a member of the military police, even of the
13 unit called the Jokers, would that ring any bell with
14 you? Would that provoke a recollection, or not?
15 A. I know that he was a military policeman, but
16 the rest of it, I don't know.
17 Q. Thank you. Had you ever seen him around in
18 any form of uniform in Santici before the conflict?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Thank you very much for answering my
21 questions, sir.
22 MR. BLAXILL: I'm obliged to Your Honours.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
24 Counsel Radovic, do you think we can get
25 through today, or --
1 MR. RADOVIC: I think so, yes.
2 May I?
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, sorry. Yes.
4 Re-examined by Mr. Radovic:
5 Q. When you told us how Anto Rajic saw again the
6 programme with Sakib Ahmic, could you tell us, how
7 could he see the same programme twice on television?
8 A. Well, when he watched it twice -- for the
9 second time, it was on that Hague Diary, and I know we
10 talked about it that his wife -- that his wife had
11 watched it on The Hague Diary, and she told him there
12 was a replay on the Thursday or something like that,
13 and he saw it then, and then he recognised it.
14 Q. Yes, but tell us, that Hague Diary, did it
15 show old footage or testimony at The Hague Tribunal?
16 A. I did not see it. He told me that he had
17 seen what we had seen before, that is, on the 18th of
19 Q. Do you know if Sakib Ahmic gave evidence in
20 the case against General Blaskic? Have you ever heard
21 of that?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Have you ever heard that his testimony had
24 been transmitted by the Bosnia and Herzegovina
25 television on its Hague Diary programme?
1 A. All I heard was that Anto had seen it on The
2 Hague Diary. I know nothing else.
3 Q. Do you know exactly what was shown in The
4 Hague Diary?
5 A. He told me that they had shown the same thing
6 that we had seen on the 18th.
7 Q. Is that how you understood him?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you know what The Hague Diaries feature?
10 Have you ever seen a story on The Hague Diary?
11 A. No, I have never seen it.
12 Q. Has anyone ever told you what The Hague Diary
13 was about?
14 A. No, only Anto -- except Anto.
15 Q. No, I've heard about Anto. You don't have to
16 repeat it five times. But the Prosecution asked you
17 about Mirjan Santic. I did not quite get this
18 question, even though I believe I am quite familiar
19 with the Croatian language, but you were asked whether
20 you knew if Mirjan Santic was a member of the military
21 police. You gave an answer that I really could not
22 fathom out. Did you know that Mirjan Santic was among
23 the military police, or didn't you?
24 A. First the gentleman did not ask me properly.
25 Q. No, you did not answer properly, so let us
1 redress that, and I'm asking you if Mirjan Santic was a
2 member of the military police or not.
3 A. I know that he was a member of the military
4 police, but where he was and where he went, I don't
6 Q. Nobody asked you that. All you were asked by
7 the Prosecution was if he was a member of the military
8 police. They never asked you where he went or what he
10 Then you also said that you went to your
11 brother's because he was also a member of the gun team,
12 and that you went to fetch him to Novi Travnik. So on
13 your way back from your brother, did he come along?
14 Did your brother come along, or not?
15 A. No, he did not.
16 Q. What had you agreed with him regarding this?
17 A. Well, he had to stay over there because he
18 lived in Novi Travnik.
19 Q. So do you know the first and last name of the
20 person that you spent the night of the 18th of April,
21 and where you watched this TV programme that you told
22 us about today? I mean, the name and the address?
23 A. Jako Bilic.
24 Q. And the address?
25 A. I only know it was in Pokrajcici.
1 Q. You don't know the number of the house?
2 A. I don't know.
3 Q. Do you know the area code?
4 A. I think it was Travnik, municipality of
5 Travnik. I'm not sure.
6 Q. Just one more thing: As regards your gun,
7 what else belonged to the gun, except for the gun
8 itself? Did you have any communications device?
9 A. No, I don't know.
10 Q. Did you have a radio?
11 A. Yes, we did.
12 Q. What kind of a radio?
13 A. What's it called -- the RUP 12.
14 Q. You didn't handle this radio, did you?
15 A. No, not really.
16 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President. I
17 have no further questions, and I believe that I did not
18 overstep our regular working hours for too long. Thank
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, thank you.
21 I'm afraid I have one or two questions,
22 however, if you don't mind, since you took three or
23 four minutes. Let me see whether I can, in one or two
24 minutes, ask a few questions of the witness.
25 First of all, Mr. Safradin, did you ever
1 belong to the HVO, either in '92 or '93 or between '92
2 and '93? Because I didn't understand your answer to
3 the Prosecutor very well.
4 A. I did not.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: But still, in your statement,
6 you stated and you signed -- you stated, and I quote
7 your words: "I was a member of the HVO unit of
8 June '92." Probably you meant "since June'92." How do
9 you explain this contradiction?
10 Leaving aside the HVO, when you were there in
11 charge of this gun, which was the military unit to
12 which you belonged? There was some sort of military
13 unit or military hierarchy to which -- organisation to
14 which you belonged; which was this one?
15 A. In June 1992, there was no HVO at all. At
16 that time it was a Territorial Defence unit.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: And then in April '93? At
18 that stage, did you belong to the HVO?
19 A. No.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Now, tell me, you
21 said that you saw this TV programme on the 18th of
22 April. How do you explain now, or how did you explain
23 at that stage, on the 18th of April, that Sakib Ahmic,
24 as we saw a few minutes ago, in explaining what
25 happened in Ahmici on the 16th of April, said
1 "yesterday," so my inference would be that therefore
2 this broadcast was made on the 17th of April. It
3 started off by saying "yesterday." This is what we got
4 in the English translation. Meaning -- sorry,
5 Mr. Radovic?
6 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, it did not have
7 to be broadcast on television the very same day when
8 the journalist interviewed him. That would be an
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, of course. Thank you.
11 But that means that the shooting was done on the 17th,
13 Now, my last question is about the 16th of
14 April. So you said you spent the whole day at home in
15 Santici while a lot of shooting and shelling was going
16 on nearby, at about one kilometre. How did you spend
17 the whole day? Doing what, at home?
18 A. I didn't do anything. I was simply at home,
19 and ...
20 JUDGE CASSESE: But look, you were a military
21 man, and you were not curious about what was happening
22 nearby? People shooting, you heard a lot of shelling
23 and shooting, and you stayed at home without asking
24 yourself about what was happening nearby? I'm just
25 asking what you decided to do, why you just simply
1 stayed at home -- doing what? Reading?
2 A. Well, I didn't know what was going on, but I
3 was a member of the anti-aircraft defence, and I had to
4 be there so that I could receive some information, and
5 I didn't want to go back to the position in Prahulje
6 before I had to.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
8 All right, I see that my colleagues don't
9 have any questions for you. Thank you, Mr. Safradin,
10 for giving evidence. You may now be released.
11 And we adjourn now until tomorrow at 9.00.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
13 1:35 p.m., to be reconvened on
14 Wednesday, the 24th day of March,
15 1999, at 9.00 a.m.