1 Wednesday, 5th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 This is case number IT-95-16-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic,
9 Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic, and Vladimir Santic.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Good morning.
11 Before we resume with the re-examination of
12 our witness, I would like to tell you that we have
13 received a motion filed by Counsel Susak, and we have
14 decided to grant this motion and also to give the safe
15 conduct to your new witness. However, we very much
16 hope that this testimony will not be too long, because
17 it will cover some ground which has already been
18 explored and dealt with by other witnesses. So an
19 appeal to you, Counsel, to see to it that this
20 testimony will not be too long.
21 I also understand that now it's almost sure
22 that [redacted]. I
23 think he will probably be in The Hague on Thursday so
24 that Counsel Pavkovic will have ample opportunity to
25 interview him, and then on Friday we will start with
1 his testimony.
2 Let us now move on with the re-examination of
3 the witness. Counsel Slokovic-Glumac, do you have any
5 THE INTERPRETER: The microphone is not on.
6 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Good morning, Your
7 Honours. I think the Prosecutor has not concluded his
9 JUDGE CASSESE: I'm so sorry. This was my
10 misunderstanding. I would like to apologise. My
12 MR. TERRIER: Thank you very much, Counsel
13 Glumac. Good morning, Your Honour.
14 WITNESS: DIJANA AJANOVIC (Resumed)
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Terrier:
16 Q. Good morning, Madam Witness. We shall
17 resume, and I am confident that I will be brief in my
19 Madam Witness, you explained yesterday the
20 circumstances in which you conducted your
21 investigations on the crime committed in Ahmici called
22 by the prosecutor a genocide. Could you specify up to
23 until what date you were in charge of this
25 A. I do not recall the date, but I know that in
1 late January, 1994, I submitted a memo forwarding the
2 case to the public prosecutor for two reasons. One was
3 the fact that I have gone through all the proposed
4 witnesses, and the second was the fact that the
5 witnesses have indicated some new persons, and I felt
6 that it was my duty to advise the public prosecutor
7 thereof so that he can decide whether he wished to
8 submit a request for an investigation for those persons
10 After that, the case was not returned to me.
11 I continued working in the Court until the 6th of
12 April, 1994, whereupon I became an attorney, a lawyer.
13 I know that a colleague of mine continued working on
14 this case, but I never expressed any interest in the
15 case. I merely was aware of the fact that he was still
16 working on it.
17 Q. The fact that the work that you did at the
18 end of January 1994, when you submitted to the
19 prosecutor the statements of witnesses that were
20 gathered by you, I mean, what was the significance of
21 this? Could one consider that the communication to the
22 prosecutor established the fact that witnesses,
23 according to you, were reliable in the statements they
24 made of what they had lived and experienced?
25 A. It is a presumption, when one works at the
1 court, that the witness is speaking the truth. Before
2 a witness starts testifying, he is cautioned that he
3 has to speak the truth and that he must omit nothing
4 and that any omission would also be considered as false
5 testimony, but whether a witness indeed did speak the
6 truth cannot be concluded definitely on the basis of
7 the record of the interview. Neither the prosecutor
8 nor the judge, until the very end of the trial, at
9 which all the evidence is presented individually and in
10 relation to each other, are taken into account, and
11 then on the basis of all those individual statements,
12 the trial chamber decides what is the truth of the
14 Q. I would now like to talk about this very
15 young girl you heard on the 17th of December, 1993.
16 I'm not going to say her name, and I would like you not
17 to say, because this is an open session.
18 You heard on the 17th of December, 1993, in
19 your office, a young girl who came to testify about the
20 circumstances revolving around the death of her father,
21 circumstances in which her house was destroyed and her
22 family expelled. This young girl was then 13 years
23 old. It just so happened that five years later she was
24 heard here as a witness, and I think that she answered
25 the questions by Counsel Radovic, and it turns out that
1 she does not recall meeting you, and she does not
2 recognise the signature which is on the minutes of the
3 alleged statement that she made. So I would like you
4 to help us understand why this young girl had no
5 recollection of that hearing with you and why she did
6 not recognise her signature.
7 When you summoned that witness --
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Counsel Radovic? I
9 imagine there is an objection?
10 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I object to this
11 question. How can this witness know why the previous
12 witness did not remember her interview with the public
13 prosecutor? It is for her to know. This witness
14 cannot know what was going on in the head of another
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Prosecutor Terrier, I
17 think that this objection is well-founded. Indeed, it
18 would be very difficult for the witness to establish
19 why --
20 MR. TERRIER: Yes, Mr. President, of course I
21 want to specify my question. I did not intend to
22 present it that way. I just meant that the witness
23 could help us understand the problem that we are facing
24 by answering very precise questions as to what happened
25 then. Indeed, I do understand the objection by Counsel
2 Q. Madam Witness, when you summoned that young
3 girl, you got her name, you found her name; what are
4 the circumstances which led you to call upon her, if
5 you remember this?
6 A. I need an answer from the court. In fact, I
7 will have to give you a wider explanation. Two of the
8 witnesses that I heard, I heard them outside of the
9 court premises. Since we could not locate the
10 witnesses, and since we presumed that they were in
11 refugee camps, I heard that a large number of witnesses
12 was located in a camp some 15 kilometres away from
13 Zenica. I asked the people who worked in an
14 organisation called the Norwegian Peoples Help to drive
15 me in their all-terrain vehicle to the camp. They were
16 unable to bring the witnesses to me, to the town,
17 because they did not have enough fuel either, and they
18 did not know whether they would able to bring them back
19 to the camp the same day, and they didn't have any
20 accommodation for them in the town. In order to
21 minimise the expenses of this organisation, I was
22 entitled to go in the field, and I went to this camp
23 with our typist and a typing machine. It was a
24 mechanical one, not an electric one.
25 I found only two persons in that camp,
1 however. Since I saw that the record of the interview
2 of that young girl was typed on a mechanical typing
3 machine, I assumed it was the girl that I located in
4 the camp. It is true that I did work using a
5 mechanical typewriter because there were times when we
6 did not have electricity in the courtroom either. But
7 most of the time we did have electricity in the
8 courtroom. Most of the electricity went to the
9 hospitals and to the various state authorities.
10 On that day, when I was at the refugee camp,
11 I remember that I interviewed an elderly person and a
12 young person. If it says that I questioned only two
13 female persons on the 17th of December, 1993, and if
14 both of these records were typed on a mechanical
15 typewriter, and if both have the same recording clerk,
16 Jusufovic Emira, then I conclude that I interviewed
17 this young girl in the refugee camp. The camp manager
18 gave me the names from the list of the names of all the
19 people located in the camp.
20 I'm telling you all this on the basis of the
21 assumption that there are no other records typed on a
22 mechanical typewriter and under the assumption that
23 there are only two records made on the 17th of
24 December, 1993. I don't recall with any certainty
25 whether it was this girl that was questioned at the
1 camp or whether she was questioned at the court, but I
2 do remember that she was interviewed. I remember when
3 she told me that their father told them to go down to
4 the basement through an entrance that was located
5 within the house, and I remember when she said that she
6 tried to put out the fire that was set to the screens.
7 At that time, I found it rather unusual to
8 hear a story being told in such great detail, but I do
9 remember all this. The witnesses did not have proper
10 identification documents, they had left them behind in
11 the village, so they mostly had temporary certificates
12 of their identity issued to them by a service in
13 Zenica. That was the war presidency of the Vitez
14 municipality which was temporarily located in Zenica.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Prosecutor Terrier, may I ask
16 a question: Madam, you have brought your notes with
17 you. If I understand what you said yesterday, you said
18 that you had taken a number of notes, yesterday. Did
19 you consult your notes, or could you consult them, and
20 maybe extract major information from them?
21 A. Those records on the interviews with
22 witnesses, after I dictated them to be typed, I
23 destroyed them, those notes, so I do not have the
24 notes. And since I left the court, and since it is not
25 usual to take any official documents with you when you
1 stop working at the court, I did not take anything with
2 me. I only took a notebook containing my personal
3 notes with just a few of the names of the witnesses I
4 interviewed, in pencil, since we did not have enough
5 ballpoint pens. We did have some ballpoint pens, but
6 they had gone bad, they did not work any more, so we
7 kept what little we had to sign important documents and
8 records with them.
9 I have only some pages from my personal
10 notebook where I noted down that on the 16th of
11 December, I planned to have before me six witnesses.
12 That was a plan for six witnesses, but I knew that I
13 would be lucky if I had two appear before me because
14 the postal service did not function. I summoned a
15 larger number of them in order to make sure that I had
16 at least one or two of the witnesses actually appear.
17 It is also noted here for the 22nd of
18 December, that was a Wednesday, I also noted down that
19 I intended to interview, in other words, that I
20 summoned five witnesses. There is another note for the
21 20th of December, Monday, when I was engaged in
22 something completely different.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Madam. I do not
24 think it's necessary to continue. If I understand what
25 you're saying, you have not noted particular comments
1 or information regarding the day we're interested in
2 when you went to that camp in order to interview those
3 two people.
4 I would like to apologise. Please carry on,
5 Prosecutor Terrier.
6 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Madam, if I refer to the minutes established
8 on the 17th of December, 1993 referring to the hearing
9 of this very young girl, could you, if you consulted
10 those minutes, would you be able to say whether it was
11 established in the refugee camp that you mentioned or
12 in an office in the Tribunal? Would it be written on
14 A. The record was made right there with the
15 witness present. So if I was at the refugee camp with
16 those two witnesses, then it was done right there, and
17 if I had interviewed them at the court, then it was
18 done at the court. It is not indicated in the record
19 that it was done at the camp, since it was considered
20 to be done before the court regardless of the actual
21 premises where it was done.
22 Q. So whether the record actually happened at
23 the camp, at the refugee camp, or in the Tribunal, did
24 you have with you a distinctive sign of the fact that
25 you were a judge? For instance, did you wear a robe?
1 A. No. There is no official uniform for a judge
2 in the court, not even today, but I introduced myself,
3 and I met some people I knew from Zepce. They all saw
4 the camp manager who came every morning and left every
5 afternoon to bring them food and so forth. They saw
6 somebody else, an official who came with them. I was
7 given an office in the camp where I was able to conduct
8 my business. I also had with me the typewriter and the
9 case file, so there was no doubt about the fact that I
10 was there as an official of the court.
11 Q. But we are talking about a very young
12 teenager, aged 13. In Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time,
13 did children in schools receive lessons in civic
14 education on how the government runs, on parliament, et
16 A. The children did not have such courses in our
17 educational system. This is something that is being
18 introduced right now. At the time, there was a
19 complete disruption of the schooling system. In 1993,
20 children sometimes did not have school for a whole
21 month. It was done for their safety. The schools
22 would not be open.
23 Q. This very young girl or very young teenager
24 who you heard on the 17th of December, 1993, do you
25 think that she previously had had to tell her story to
1 several other people?
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I would
3 like you to disallow such questions because he's trying
4 to see what the witness was thinking or doing before
5 giving the statement. It's mere speculation on the
6 part of this witness of what another witness was doing
7 or thinking. This witness was heard before the court,
8 and she said that she gave only a statement to the
9 journalist, Mr. Osario, so the Prosecutor should not be
10 allowed to ask such questions, and it doesn't tally
11 with what the witness said during the trial.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: No, I don't agree at all,
13 Madam. I think that the Prosecutor asked a very
14 specific question, i.e., if the witness knew whether
15 the girl had already been asked, she can answer "Yes"
16 or "No." So I think that the question is relevant.
17 The question is, did you know, Madam, whether
18 this young girl who testified before you had already
19 talked about those events to other people? If you do
20 not know, then answer "No."
22 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I would
23 like to tell you that the Prosecutor did not ask the
24 question in this manner. He did not ask whether the
25 witness knew. He asked what the witness thought,
1 whether another witness gave statements to other
3 JUDGE CASSESE: There may be a problem in the
4 translation. I followed the question in French, and I
5 think the question raised by Prosecutor Terrier was the
6 way that I understood it.
7 Over to you, Prosecutor Terrier.
8 MR. TERRIER:
9 Q. Let me repeat my question, Madam Witness.
10 Are you informed of the fact that this very young
11 witness you heard on the 17th of December, 1993, maybe
12 in this refugee camp, had previously already given
13 interviews or already explained her story to people
14 other than you?
15 A. I did not ask this girl whether she had given
16 any official statements to other persons, including
17 journalists, so I can say that I do not know that. But
18 I am sure that all the witnesses from the village of
19 Ahmici had told their stories to each other innumerable
21 Q. Do you know whether those witnesses in
22 Ahmici, before talking to an investigating judge, had
23 told their stories to officials, whether in the police,
24 the social services, or other non-official persons?
25 A. I know that the witnesses, in addition to the
1 Ministry of the Interior, in other words, to the
2 police, where they were questioned for the purposes of
3 issuing a criminal report, I know that they were
4 summoned to a special centre for Bosniak studies where
5 information was obtained from them. Now, I heard that
6 this organisation is labelled "AID." It was not AID.
7 It was an institution that was established for
8 scientific and historical reasons. It was designed to
9 collect information for the purposes of historical
11 Q. Do you have a recollection, Madam, that this
12 very young witness, we're still talking about the
13 witness you heard on the 17th of December, 1993, aged
14 13, do you have a recollection of whether she was
15 accompanied by an adult, possibly a member of her
17 A. I have to say again that we have two versions
18 here. If this is the girl who I interviewed in the
19 camp, she told me that her mother was not there, that
20 her mother was somewhere else. I found that strange,
21 that this girl and her mother did not live together.
22 But if this is some other girl who I questioned at the
23 court, then I do not remember who accompanied her.
24 Q. Generally speaking, Madam, in your capacity
25 as an investigating judge, when you question a witness
1 and the witness is very young, 13 years old, do you
2 hear that witness alone or do you hear that witness
3 accompanied with a relative or a parent?
4 A. As far as I remember, I interviewed two or
5 three minors. I remember a boy. He was brought in by
6 his sister or the mother. I'm not sure about the
7 mother, but I do know that his sister was there. At
8 any rate, I treated them with great care, as if they
9 were my children. I explained to them very slowly that
10 they had been summoned, and if they felt that they
11 wanted to testify and that they could testify, that
12 they could do so, but if they did not feel that way,
13 that they were not obliged to tell me anything.
14 In the course of that conversation, I
15 concluded that they were able to give testimony and to
16 understand the right that they had not to testify, as
17 it is expressed in the law. I took some time to
18 explain all of this to them, and I tried not to cause
19 any fear in them or any impression that they had to do
21 Q. I understand. When, as an investigating
22 judge, you interview a very young witness, particularly
23 when it comes to children aged 13, you try to establish
24 between you and that witness a relationship of trust.
25 You try to act as if you were a relative, you do not
1 seek to establish any distance between the witness and
2 yourself, and you do not want to sound authoritative.
3 You want it to be as simple and as close as possible.
4 A. Yes. But at the same time, I was aware of
5 the fact that I was a judge and that I had to act
6 officially. I never forgot the fact that I was there
7 as a representative of the court and that I had a
8 witness before me, but with those witnesses, I was not
9 as stern and as official as I would be with adults.
10 Q. If a third party, a parent, had accompanied
11 that very young witness, would that be included in the
13 A. No, it would not be included in the report.
14 The witnesses are only summoned through their
15 representatives if they're minors, but they gave their
16 statements on their own. That person representing
17 their interest would not be there present during the
18 interview, in the same room, so that it would not be
19 noted in the record the names of persons who were
20 sitting outside in the corridor.
21 Q. I understand. So this means that, by no
22 means, a parent was a part of that interview or
23 assisted in this interview?
24 A. No. All of them, they were there alone,
25 regardless of the fact that they were adults or minors.
1 Q. You said yesterday that you systematically
2 would issue a warning to the witness that the witness
3 had to speak the truth. Does that mean that there has
4 to be a formal oath to be taken?
5 A. No, there was no formal oath or solemn
6 declaration or anything like that. It was merely a
7 caution issued on my part verbally. At the time when I
8 told them that, I was at my sternest and my most
9 official. I left the impression that I was there on
10 behalf of the court and that the witness must
11 understand that he had to act that way. I always
12 stressed the part that false testimony is a criminal
13 offence and that it can be punished with imprisonment.
14 Q. Is this caution worded in a particular way
15 when addressed to a young child?
16 A. No. It's worded in the same way. Everything
17 is the same except that you have to establish that the
18 witness, considering the witness's age and maturity, is
19 able to understand the caution that he or she need not
20 testify and can refuse to do so.
21 Q. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, can a child be
22 punished by a prison term in the case of false
24 A. No.
25 Q. At the end of the hearing, is the witness,
1 and I'm always referring to a 13-year-old, is the
2 witness supposed to reread the minutes or does someone
3 read the statement, the registrar, for instance, or
5 A. The child is given the statement to read and
6 to sign. It is I who hands this over. In our
7 building, the rooms are arranged in such a way that we
8 sit in a small room, about 12 square metres, where the
9 witness, the court clerk, and I, as the investigating
10 judge, sit. Everything takes place there. The
11 registrar is not involved.
12 Q. If one, Madam, refers to your recollection of
13 the child you heard at the refugee camp, do you
14 remember that this child had reread, with attention,
15 the record, may have asked questions, may have made
16 comments, or any particular event intending to prove
17 that the child had actually understood what she had
18 been given to reread?
19 A. In the case of every witness, I had a lot of
20 time at my disposal. No one left my office in a
21 hurry. So all of them looked at me and listened to me
22 very carefully as I was dictating the record. One
23 could almost say that they were dictating it together
24 with me, because whenever I came to an important word,
25 at every name, even though I had already heard the
1 name, even though I had noted it down in pencil on a
2 piece of paper, before it was entered into the
3 typewritten record, I always asked again, "Did I hear
4 you well? Is that what should be put in the record?"
5 As regards this particular interview and this
6 little girl and the part of our encounter where she was
7 reading and signing the record of the interview, I
8 don't remember those details specifically. But I do
9 remember a little girl who talked about her father
10 saying, "Go downstairs." I remember the story about
11 the screens and about the shoes which she managed to
12 take. I have to say that I entered into the record
13 that the little girl said that her father had had a
14 rifle. If I had been subjective or in favour of that
15 party, I would not have entered those details.
16 Q. In your recollection of the witness you have
17 just mentioned, what was the frame of mind of that
18 witness when you first met her?
19 A. She appeared quite calm. It was the mothers
20 who cried, and elderly people, who wept more.
21 Q. Do witnesses receive a copy of the record?
22 A. No, none of the witnesses receive a copy.
23 It's not done.
24 MR. TERRIER: A few moments, Mr. President.
25 Thank you very much, Madam Witness.
1 I have no further questions, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you very much,
3 Prosecutor Terrier. I now give the floor to Madam
5 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
6 Mr. President.
7 Re-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac.
8 Q. Good morning, Mrs. Ajanovic. Just a few
9 questions. You said that you do not remember the
10 particular interview with this particular witness. You
11 can remember the content of the statement, but you
12 don't remember the course of the interview itself. You
13 said that it was possible that this was done at the
14 court or at the refugee camp; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, that's what I said. I have looked at
16 the record, and the story about the screens brought
17 back the memories that I have just mentioned.
18 Q. As regards the person you say was young and
19 was interviewed in the camp, you said that you remember
20 that this person was there without her mother and that
21 you found this rather unusual; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, and the record helped me to recollect
23 that a young person in the camp told me that her mother
24 wasn't there.
25 Q. And where was the mother? They were
1 completely separated?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. The mother was in a different camp, in
4 another place?
5 A. She said that her mother had gone somewhere,
6 and she didn't explain further. I didn't want to
7 question her about it, because I had the impression
8 that it would upset her.
9 Q. So you recall that her mother was not living
10 with her?
11 A. That's what she told me, that her mother
12 wasn't there and that she had gone somewhere.
13 Q. To clarify this further, had she gone there
14 only that day, or that she wasn't living there?
15 A. This little girl, I had the impression,
16 avoided giving me a full explanation. She said, "My
17 mother is not here. She has gone away. She has gone
18 to visit friends." Something like that. But I had the
19 impression she didn't want to talk about it further,
20 and I didn't want to question her. I thought it was
21 not material for the purpose for which I was
22 questioning her.
23 Q. I talked to you before your testimony --
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. -- and you said that you recall a young
1 person and an elderly person from the camp?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. With respect to the young person, you said
4 you remembered her only because she was there without
5 her mother, that she was living there without her
7 A. I don't know how important this conversation
8 is and whether I actually said she was living without
9 her mother, but I say now that I remember that she said
10 to me, "My mother isn't here, she has gone away," and I
11 had the impression that she was not living with her
12 mother, but I did not question her about it any
14 Q. Very well. Thank you. You said that you
15 had, during your interview with that person, you had to
16 decide whether this person was mature enough to
17 understand her right not to testify if she didn't want
18 to, and you concluded that she was mature enough; is
19 that correct?
20 A. Yes, I did conclude that, and considering
21 what she said in the further course of the interview,
22 she seemed to talk in the same way as other people.
23 Her testimony did not strike me as unusual in any way.
24 The only details I remember is that she was trying to
25 put out a fire, that some screens were on fire, and
1 that she found this important enough to talk about it.
2 Q. Could you say whether you understood on that
3 occasion, when you were assessing her abilities, that
4 she was mature enough to understand the meaning of
5 testifying before a court? Not only her right not to
6 testify, but the fact that she was actually testifying
7 before a court?
8 A. When I interviewed those witnesses, I knew
9 that their testimony is not the only evidence and that
10 they would be questioned again at the trial, so no
11 investigating judge is the last one to decide about
12 whether the testimony is credible. It is testimony,
13 but the testimony before an investigating judge cannot
14 be the only basis for reaching this conclusion. It's
15 the entire procedure that is important.
16 I have to say that those children gave me the
17 impression that they were mature enough to know what
18 they are saying and why they are saying it, and I
19 didn't -- or rather I was not trained as a psychologist
20 or a pedagogue, so I cannot be an expert on these
21 matters, and I cannot fully say that in the sense that
22 an expert would say it.
23 Q. Let me just put one question to you, since
24 you did take a witness statement from that witness:
25 Did you feel that she understood she was testifying
1 before a court?
2 A. Yes, of course, I understood that, because I
3 told her who I was, and she talked very calmly, she
4 talked in a very ordered way, in sequence. She saw
5 that I was an official person, that I was carrying
6 papers, files, and there was no reason for her not to
7 understand this, especially because children in Bosnia
8 grew up rather faster in the wartime period than other
9 children do.
10 Q. Could you please tell the Court whether in
11 our system an oath is usually taken?
12 A. A witness can take an oath if required to do
13 so by the court, but in most cases this is not done.
14 Q. In your 15 or 16 years of experience as a
15 judge, and then during your practice as an attorney,
16 did you ever require that an oath be taken by a
17 witness, or were you present when this was done?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Could you please tell us whether, regardless
20 of the fact whether the interview took place in the
21 refugee camp or at the court, was the procedure the
23 A. Yes, the procedure was the same. In the
24 camp, I always asked for an official room, we were in
25 that room alone in the same way as we would be in the
1 court, the three of us. I explained everything: Why I
2 was there, what my task was, what I wanted from them.
3 I cautioned them that they had to tell truth, and then
4 I said, "You can tell me what happened to you,
5 everything you saw." I then took notes, dictated it
6 into the typewriter, and that's how I conducted the
7 whole interview.
8 Q. Please tell me, do you remember whether the
9 camp had a name?
10 A. I don't know whether the camp had a special
11 name, but it was in a village called Arnauti, near
12 Zenica. In that camp, there were mostly refugees from
13 Zepce, and I found only those two persons there from
14 Ahmici. There were people from other villages, but I
15 didn't ask about that.
16 Q. All right. That was supposed to be my next
17 question, whether these two persons you found there
18 were the only persons from Ahmici.
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. Just one more question, please: Can you
21 remember whether that person told you that she had made
22 statements to other official bodies?
23 A. The girl? I don't remember whether the girl
24 said that or not.
25 Q. And you said when you answered the questions
1 of you by the prosecutor that you were sure that the
2 victims, the people from Ahmici, surely told their
3 tales to each other numerous times after their
4 experiences. What made you think so?
5 A. It was like this. The villagers from the
6 village of Ahmici and the people from Vitez organised
7 for themselves a wartime presidency of the Vitez
8 municipality in Zenica. Then they organised a special
9 Ahmici society. It was not just an association of all
10 the people from Vitez municipality, but an association
11 specifically of people from Ahmici, where they
12 gathered. I know that people from other villages had
13 similar associations, who were staying in Zenica,
14 Busovaca, Gacice, Kozarac, Gorazde, and there were
15 people from Srebrenica and various other places, and
16 that's why I'm convinced, since they found it necessary
17 to organise their own association, where they could
18 meet, and since in those places they received
19 humanitarian aid from various organisations, I'm sure
20 that they kept repeating their stories, telling them
21 over and over again.
22 The women had a special organisation, which
23 still exists, called "Medica," for psychological
24 support and treatment and the resocialisation of these
25 women, and in those places they always told their
1 stories, complained, and they do that today, and they
2 try to establish the truth among themselves. I lived
3 there, and as a citizen, of course I noticed this in
4 various ways.
5 Q. Thank you. Another question: In the legal
6 system, based on the valid law on criminal procedure in
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, do the lawyers have the right to
8 see what is in the file, in the case file?
9 A. They have the right to see what is in the
10 investigating case file after the accused has been
11 examined. They also have the right to be present at
12 the first interview with the accused. After that, a
13 decision on conducting an investigation is issued, and
14 after that the attorneys have the right to inspect the
16 In this case, there was no interview of the
17 accused, and this is provided for by the law because an
18 investigation may be opened up without an interview
19 with the accused when the case is urgent and the
20 investigation cannot be postponed.
21 Q. Another question: Do you know, or were you
22 at any stage of the investigation attempting to
23 determine where the accused were located, or to
24 interview them, since you said that you had continued
25 your work after the Washington Agreement had been
1 signed in April 1994?
2 A. After the Washington Agreement was signed, I
3 did not go on working. I felt this as a kind of
4 rebirth, when that agreement was signed, and I left the
5 court on the 6th of April, 1994, to become an attorney,
6 so I was unable to influence the summoning of the
7 persons being investigated after that date, and up to
8 that date -- or it may have been the 28th of March, as
9 far as I remember, that's when the agreement was
10 signed, but I find it easier to remember that it around
11 the 1st of April -- up to that date, it was not
12 possible in any way either to go there or to send a
13 summons there. There was no communication. It was
14 only UNPROFOR forces that could go there, and even they
15 gave each other passes and signals. There were two
16 armies confronting one another there, and it was
17 impossible to establish anything. It was impossible to
18 send a summons and expect someone to turn up.
19 Q. Since the investigation in that case had not
20 been concluded at the time that you left, but it went
21 on, do you have any information whether the
22 investigating judge that continued interviewing the
23 witnesses, whether he attempted to issue a summons to
24 the accused?
25 A. I have no information about that, but -- I
1 assume no, but I have no information.
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
3 Mrs. Ajanovic. No further questions.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Counsel Radovic?
5 No questions? Counsel Pavkovic?
6 MR. PAVKOVIC: Two or three brief questions,
7 Mr. President.
8 Re-examined by Mr. Pavkovic:
9 Q. Could you please tell me whether this
10 investigation case would be considered as a major case
11 at the court at that time?
12 A. Of course. Of course it can be considered an
13 important case, but there were other similar cases
14 before the court at that time. There were similar
15 events in Vares, Donji Vakuf, Kozarac, and I
16 interviewed witnesses in connection with Kozarac and
17 the Keraterm and Manjaca camps.
18 Q. Are you aware of the practice at the courts
19 whereby such important cases would be assigned to the
20 best judges?
21 A. There was no categorisation at the court of
22 the best, medium, and the worst judges. That would
23 have been highly insulting, to establish such
24 categories, even though we are all aware of who has
25 more experience and who has less experience. I am
1 fully aware of the fact that I was given a job for
2 which I had no experience, and regardless of your
3 question, I do not feel insulted. I have to tell you
4 that at my court, I was considered to be skilful, able,
5 and energetic. However, at the court, many people
6 left, many elderly judges dealing in criminal cases had
7 left Zenica, so that I and people like me were left to
8 carry on the work of the court, and there were no
9 better judges available. Well, you said yourself there
10 was a colleague, a senior judge who had had 30 years of
11 experience doing only that kind of work, but she was in
12 charge, and the questioning of witnesses was considered
13 to be an operative task.
14 Q. Well, the very fact that such an important
15 case was assigned to you speaks to the fact that you
16 were a highly esteemed judge at the time.
17 A. Every job in the court was esteemed, and
18 every kind of case had its own importance, and we never
19 said that someone was doing a more important job and
20 someone else a less important job. Civil lawsuits also
21 required a lot of knowledge, concentration, just as
22 criminal cases did. But in criminal cases, the
23 practice is that when a new judge starts dealing in
24 criminal cases, he begins as an investigating judge,
25 and then after a few months he can be given cases where
1 he will be in charge of the trial.
2 Q. Well, I understand your modesty, and thank
3 you for your answers.
4 MR. PAVKOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President, I
5 have no further questions.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you so much. Counsel
8 We have no questions from the Court, from the
9 bench. I assume there is no objection to the witness
10 being released.
11 Mrs. Ajanovic, thank you very much indeed for
12 coming to The Hague to give evidence in court. We are
13 most grateful to you. You may now be released. Thank
15 THE WITNESS: I would like to thank you for
17 JUDGE CASSESE: We will now move on to our
18 next witness. I assume this is the first witness
19 called by Counsel Krajina? Is it so?
20 While we are waiting for the witness, let me
21 tell you that we have decided to call Mrs. Dragica
22 Krizanac, the lady -- assuming that we are able to
23 trace her -- to call her on Tuesday, the 25th of May,
24 at 9 a.m., on the assumption, as I say, that the
25 Victims and Witnesses Unit is able to contact her.
1 Yes, Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
3 Mr. President. You asked us to present our motions
4 verbally to the Court, and I am doing that. We have
5 this record on the interview of Witness H, which is
6 part of the court record. In the record, it is
7 indicated where the witness resided at the time when
8 she gave her statement to the investigating judge.
9 That portion of the record has been blacked out so that
10 it is impossible for us to see what the residence is.
11 We would like the Court to order the
12 Prosecutor to deliver to us a copy of this record
13 without this portion being blacked out because, as far
14 as we understand, it is not of great importance at this
15 time, yet it would be important for us to be able to
16 ascertain where this witness resided at the time when
17 she gave her statement to the investigating judge.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Terrier?
19 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, I shall check,
20 but the copy of the record from the hearing of that
21 witness referred to by Counsel Slokovic-Glumac, on the
22 copy that I here, it has the same places blacked out,
23 so I shall check. But I am not sure that we have an
24 original or a version which does not have such places
25 blacked out.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Who would then have the
2 original without the places being blacked out?
3 MR. TERRIER: Well, on the English
4 translation of the record, it seems that under item
5 number 5 --
6 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: [Microphone not
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
9 MR. TERRIER: Well, a more simple solution,
10 Mr. President. We can submit to the Defence a copy
11 that has no places that have been redacted. I just
12 found that we have such copies. We will do that in the
13 afternoon. Thank you.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Any further requests or
15 motions? If not, then we can turn to the next
17 Counsel Radovic?
18 MR. RADOVIC: This is a technical issue, not
19 a material issue. Yesterday, you gave us the schedule
20 of our hearings, and some of us fail to understand when
21 our hearings would resume. Some people think that it's
22 on the 21st; some people think it's on the 26; some
23 people think it's on the 31st of May. So could you
24 please make it clear to us?
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. In May, we will resume
1 on the 25th, which is a Tuesday, because the 24th is a
2 holiday; it's Wit Maandag. So we will resume our
3 hearings on the 25th of May at 9.00, and we will go on
4 until the 4th of June.
5 I hope the witness can be brought in.
6 (The witness entered court)
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, Mr. Ilic. I
8 should call you President Ilic. Would you please make
9 the solemn declaration?
10 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
11 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
15 Counsel Krajina?
16 MR. KRAJINA: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 WITNESS: VJENCESLAV ILIC
18 Examined by Mr. Krajina:
19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Ilic.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. Could you please give us your full name and
22 say a few words about yourself?
23 A. My name is Vjenceslav Ilic. I live and work
24 in Sarajevo. I'm a judge of the supreme court. I have
25 a four-year mandate from 1996 to the year 2000.
1 Q. When were you born?
2 A. 1937.
3 Q. We are allowed to ask that. Can you now
4 please tell us something about your current job?
5 A. At the moment, I am the President of the
6 Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and
8 Q. Could you outline briefly your professional
9 experience, how many years you have worked in the
10 judiciary and what kinds of jobs?
11 A. I have been in the judiciary for over 26
12 years, and I have worked on various tasks. In 1972, I
13 became a judge in Sarajevo at the district court. It's
14 not the cantonal court. Then from 1987 to 1992, I was
15 the president of that court. After that, I was the
16 public prosecutor for six or seven years. Then I
17 became a judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina. That was the previous court.
19 Now I'm in the supreme court again.
20 Q. Thank you. Mr. Ilic, you have been summoned
21 here to tell us something about the judicial practice
22 in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as regards
23 the criminal offences, war crimes, about the
24 persecution of the civilian population.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina, I already
1 told you that, as a court, with all due respect, we are
2 not interested in particular -- otherwise, President
3 Ilic will have to cover a huge ground. You said that
4 he would simply comment on the two judgements we have
5 received which deal with the persecution of civilians.
6 If you could narrow down and specify your question, I
7 would be most grateful to you. Let us not embark upon
8 a description of the legislation and judicial practice
9 in Bosnia and Herzegovina on war crimes or crime
10 against humanities. It may be of some relevance to us
11 at the stage of sentencing, if any, if we reach that
12 stage, but otherwise it's of no great importance to us
13 because, as you know, we apply our Statute and
14 customary international law.
15 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, in asking my
16 questions, I will respect fully your request, both the
17 one that you made earlier and what you just repeated.
18 I wanted to adhere to those instructions, and I do not
19 believe that we will go beyond the boundaries set by
20 you right now. However, we have always intended,
21 bearing in mind the fact that at the very beginning of
22 this trial, the Chamber asked the parties to give some
23 of our views on the matter of the persecution. Since
24 our views coincide fully with the views expressed by
25 the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina, that is why we wanted to present this
2 witness because we thought that his words would be
3 useful. I will start from these two judgements and
4 their commentaries.
5 I would now like the Trial Chamber and the
6 parties, as well as the witness, to be given the first
7 instance judgement, number K-81/96 of the 6th of March,
8 1997. That is the first instance decision. We have a
9 sufficient number of copies.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Again, as I say, sorry,
11 Counsel Krajina, I'm really grateful to you for trying
12 to comply with our requests, but even in the case of
13 these two cases, as I said, we have read the English
14 version of the two cases; therefore, we do understand
15 what is meant by the two courts, how they went about
16 this particular item of persecution, and there is some
17 interest in understanding what is stated there. I
18 wonder whether the witness could confine himself as to
19 giving the gist, only the gist of what is said here.
20 Because, as I say, we do understand. As I say, we are
21 not bound by these cases. We are not bound by the
22 notion of persecution laid down in any legislation, any
23 piece of legislation or case law of the former
24 Yugoslavia. We apply customary international law and
25 our Statute. Thank you.
1 I hope you will not take it amiss if I make
2 all these remarks, but the purpose is just, as I say,
3 to try to narrow down as much as possible the
4 testimony. Thank you.
5 MR. KRAJINA: I hope, Mr. President, that
6 this testimony will not take long, but as regards the
7 remarks that you have made, I would like to add
9 We, as the Defence counsel, and I do think
10 that we're all in a similar situation, especially as
11 regards count 1 of the indictment with which our client
12 has been charged, we wanted to use these two judgements
13 and views expressed by the supreme court and the courts
14 in Bosnia-Herzegovina in general to illustrate to the
15 Court the fact that in the country where our client is
16 from, and he has the citizenship of that state, that it
17 is necessary to determine the actual act and also the
18 mens rea or the intent if the accused is to be found
19 guilty of the crimes he has been charged with.
20 I have to say that the indictment that we are
21 now trying does not contain specific acts in count 1.
22 What are the acts that he is charged with under count
23 1? Throughout this trial, we have been in a situation
24 in which we were unable to ascertain what our client
25 has to defend himself against as regards count 1, and
1 that's why we tried to present to the Court our view
2 regarding the necessary elements to be proven if the
3 accused is to be found guilty of the crimes he has been
4 charged with.
5 Since this is our view, the view of the
6 Defence counsel, and since it coincides with the views
7 expressed by the courts and the Supreme Court of the
8 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was our
9 intention to present the views of the supreme court to
10 the Trial Chamber because they're identical to our own
12 I hope, once again, that I will not take up
13 much time, especially bearing in mind that we, as the
14 Defence counsel for Vlatko Kupreskic, have never
15 attempted to complicate the matter, nor did we ask
16 questions which were superfluous. I will try to make
17 this testimony as brief as possible, since we do have
18 this man here. He travelled maybe 2.000 miles to be
19 here and to testify at this trial. But if we were to
20 follow your suggestion strictly, then I think we would
21 have to conclude his testimony right now because I
22 would have no questions to ask.
23 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked D31/3.
24 MR. KRAJINA:
25 Q. Mr. Ilic, please, have a look at this
1 judgement of the High Court in Sarajevo. You have been
2 supplied with this copy before, and you have it now
3 here before you. We can see from this judgement that
4 the accused, I would prefer not to have his name
5 mentioned, has been acquitted of two charges that were
6 listed in the indictment, two counts. Do you see it?
7 A. Yes, I see. I see.
8 Q. And the judgement also indicates that the
9 basis for the acquittal is Article 350 of the Law on
10 Criminal Procedure. Could you please tell us very
11 briefly what is the gist of Article 350?
12 A. There are three items there. The first is
13 that it's not a crime; the second is that there are
14 certain circumstances which, if they obtain, there is
15 no responsibility; the third is that there is no
16 evidence that the crime has been committed.
17 This means, in practice, that after the
18 presentation of the evidence before the court, after
19 considering all this evidence, the court came to the
20 conclusion that the presumption of innocence is as it
21 is and that there is no evidence on the basis of which
22 the charges can be found to hold. So he's not guilty.
23 Q. For lack of evidence, the accused was
24 acquitted for the criminal offence he has been charged
25 with. Okay.
1 Now, with the permission of the Court, I
2 would like to make a brief quotation from this judgement
3 in order to be able to ask you the next question. The
4 incrimination, the charge is as follows, that he
6 "... in the aggression against BiH and
7 violation of the rules of the International Law,
8 regulation of the Article 3, paragraph 1, count a), and
9 the Article 147 IV Geneva Convention of the protection
10 of the civilians in the times of war, and rule of the
11 Article 53 and Article 85 ..." of the Additional
12 Protocol "... on the protection of the victims of
13 international armed conflicts,
14 1. That he participated, in the period from
15 the beginning of April to September 1992, as a member
16 of the inner leadership group of the terrorist SDS,"
17 that's the Serbian Democratic Party, "and Serbian
18 paramilitaries in the Municipality of Hadzici,
19 Binjezevo, and Lower Hadzici, in planning, organising
20 and performing the attack and occupation of the area,
21 in the prosecution of the Bosnian Muslim population,
22 and their deportation to concentration camps and
23 prisons ..." and then 18 Bosniak Muslims are listed,
24 those people who he treated in this manner. Thereby,
25 he committed the criminal offence "... of war crime
1 against civilians (article 142 of CC SFRJ)" that was
3 We would be interested only in paragraph 2 of
4 this judgement, and we can see here that the legal
5 qualification in this paragraph, that's actually --
6 A. Item 1?
7 Q. -- item 1, that's the criminal offence of war
8 crimes against civilian population, Article 142.
9 Mr. Ilic, do you have this law with you?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. Now, very briefly, can you point to us the
12 salient points or the salient elements of this criminal
14 A. Well, the first thing I would like to say is
15 that the characteristic of the offences from paragraph
16 16 is that they are based on international law, whether
17 international treaties or conventions, and here we are
18 referring to a convention.
19 As regards Article 142, it actually contains
20 all the acts listed in the Geneva Conventions, and
21 since this is a blanket regulation, we have to refer to
22 a particular convention or protocol. So in item 1, we
23 can see that there are two criminal offences with which
24 this person was charged, an attack on the three
25 villages mentioned here and participating in
1 persecution. So there are two acts, two offences. One
2 would be sufficient for him to be found guilty under
3 Article 142, but there are two offences here, attacking
4 a village and participating in persecution. We can
5 find this, and this is in the Geneva Conventions,
6 Article 147 and Article 85 of the protocol. So there
7 are two alternative offences with which this person has
8 been charged.
9 Q. The judgement further states that the accused
10 was acquitted because the Chamber deemed that there was
11 insufficient evidence, that all the elements of the
12 criminal offence have been met.
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. Now I would like to ask you to tell us, very
15 briefly, what does this judgement consist of?
16 A. You are probably interested in the reasons.
17 We have already mentioned the wording, but --
18 Q. How is the evidence presented and evaluated?
19 A. Well, the grounds discuss the disposition, so
20 in this case, in the case of an acquittal, the court
21 has the important duty of assessing all the evidence
22 presented. Under our law, there are no strict rules.
23 There are no established rules as to which piece of
24 evidence has more or less weight, so that in each
25 specific case, the trial chamber has to consider all
1 the evidence presented and reach a conclusion. We call
2 that the free assessment of evidence. This is a second
3 logical analysis, and then all the evidence is
4 considered individually and in connection with the
5 other evidence.
6 In this case, 47 witnesses were heard with
7 respect to the two charges. Fifteen were examined at
8 the main trial, and the others had their witness
9 statements read with their agreement. On the basis of
10 this, the court reached its decision.
11 Q. We have to make this as brief as possible.
12 Please have a look at page 7 of the statement of
13 reasons in this first instance judgement. That's page 6
14 in the English translation. The court states the
15 reasons why it deemed that there had been insufficient
16 evidence, so I would not want to quote this, to save
17 some time. Could you please comment on this very
19 A. The court has reached its legal conclusion
20 that the accused did not commit the criminal offence.
21 This is not quite properly expressed. The witnesses
22 could not have mentioned direct premeditation because
23 the witnesses wouldn't know about this. The wording is
24 a bit clumsy, but the essence is correct because, on
25 the basis of all the presented evidence, the court
1 concluded that the accused did not commit the crime.
2 When guilt is discussed, then direct premeditation has
3 to be stressed, and they have to say that there was or
4 was no direct premeditation. We have different ways of
5 expressing guilt.
6 Q. There is, in this part of the statement of
7 reasons, a sentence that mentions amnesty. Could you
8 please comment on that?
9 A. Yes. In 1996, the Federation of Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina adopted the law on amnesty, and it lists
11 all the criminal offences which are subject to
12 amnesty. It was important for the court because the
13 prosecutor went so far as to say that this person was a
14 leader of a group, that he was a member of the Serbian
15 Democratic Party, that he wore a uniform, and so on.
16 However, this is immaterial because all the soldiers
17 were amnestied, regardless of whether they were on the
18 Serbian side, the Bosniak side, the Herceg-Bosna side.
19 The amnesty covers all of them. I have this here, but
20 I think it's not necessary to show it.
21 Q. No, it's not. Let us discuss this
22 premeditation as a form of guilt which you discussed.
23 Can one conclude, on the basis of this judgement, what
24 degree of guilt must be established for criminal
25 responsibility to be there?
1 A. We say that the guilt is the psychological
2 attitude of the perpetrator toward the crime. When we
3 were drawing up the new law, we said that a person is
4 criminally responsible if they are both guilty and
5 mentally competent. The expression means that there
6 are certain forms of guilt, so it can be done with or
7 without premeditation. We have elements of awareness
8 and volition, so the person must be aware and must want
9 to perpetrate the offence.
10 Q. What does the court require? What has to be
12 A. The court had to have proof, if this person
13 had been found guilty, that this person actually --
14 it's not so important that he took part in the
15 planning, but that this person actually attacked the
16 villages and that he participated in the persecution,
17 and he would -- this would have to be established. It
18 would be insufficient for a witness to say, "Yes, I saw
19 him in a group of soldiers." He would have to say, "I
20 saw him there and there, he was dressed like this, it
21 was this and this time of day." So there would have to
22 be proof, and the person would have to be aware of what
23 he was doing and have the volition to do it, and that
24 would be premeditation.
25 Q. All right.
1 MR. KRAJINA: Now I would like the witness
2 and the parties and the Chamber to be shown the second
3 instance judgement of the supreme court, and we will
4 have a few brief comments about that, and I hope that
5 we will conclude before the break.
6 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
8 MR. KRAJINA:
9 Q. Could you please have a look at this
10 judgement, and then we could comment on it.
11 Can you really, very briefly, tell us, what
12 did the supreme court decide as regards the first
13 instance judgement, and on whose appeal did it rule?
14 A. There were two charges here, two criminal
15 offences. You are asking me only about the first one,
16 and the supreme court, which is the appellate court of
17 the high court in Sarajevo upheld the decision of the
18 high court in Sarajevo of the 6th of March, 1997,
19 number K8196, with reference to the criminal act of a
20 war crime against the civilian population, which means
21 that they upheld the verdict of not guilty.
22 Q. So this is now a final judgement?
23 A. Yes, it's a final judgement, and there are no
24 extraordinary legal remedies.
25 Q. You saw the judgements; did the supreme court,
1 when dealing with the appeal, did it consider this only
2 as regards the appeal?
3 A. The supreme court is always an appellate
4 court, and ex officio, it has to monitor whether there
5 has been a miscarriage of justice. The court
6 considered the facts and the procedure, and the court
7 concentrated on whether the facts had been properly
8 established. All the evidence was presented, but
9 perhaps the court might have reached the wrong
10 conclusion, so the supreme court, as the appellate
11 court, has to consider the appeal and explain its
12 reasons, on page 2.
13 In the estimation of the supreme court,
14 everything was done properly and there were not many
15 contradictory witness statements, so the court did not
16 have to clarify possible contradictions. All the
17 witnesses analysed by the court of first instance were
18 reconsidered, and a conclusion was reached to the
19 effect that the appeal was without grounds.
20 Q. Please concentrate on the statement of
21 reasons in this judgement; that's page 2, in both the
22 Bosnian and English versions. It says here -- that's
23 the last paragraph -- however, it only ensues from
24 their testimonies --
25 A. On page 2, you mean the fifth paragraph? You
1 mean it does not follow from their statements? Is that
3 Q. Yes, yes, can you just look at this portion.
4 A. Yes, this is it, because the presumption of
5 innocence always holds until guilt is proved, and the
6 court is commenting on this. So it only ensues from
7 the testimony, but it doesn't ensue that he committed
8 the criminal offences, and the court is not interested
9 in the fact that other paramilitary units arrived, and
10 so on.
11 Q. On the basis of this statement of reasons --
12 and I will not be bothering you any more -- what would
13 be the conclusion, would the conclusion be that the
14 court seeks to establish such evidence, what acts, what
15 kinds of evidence should be presented to the court for
16 the allegation of prosecution to be established as
18 A. According to our law on criminal procedure,
19 there is no evidence which has more weight than other
20 evidence. It depends on the specific situation, the
21 particular situation. In this case, we had witnesses;
22 witnesses are the most frequent kind of evidence, but
23 the least reliable.
24 Q. Yes, that would have to be established?
25 A. So some of these witnesses had to say,"Yes,
1 on such-and-such a day so-and-so came with other
2 people, attacked us, drove us out of our homes, took us
3 to a concentration camp," and so on. Then he would be
4 found guilty.
5 Q. So in other words, there has to be a specific
6 act; and do you also have to establish the form of
7 guilt of that person?
8 A. Yes, yes. Everyone is responsible for what
9 he has done with premeditation.
10 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, respecting your
11 request, I have no further questions for this witness,
12 and I would like to thank Mr. Ilic and ask for the
13 Court's indulgence to admit into evidence Defence
14 Exhibits D31 and 32.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: No objection? They are
16 admitted into evidence.
17 Thank you so much indeed, Counsel Krajina,
18 for complying with our request. We will now take a
19 30-minute break, the only break today, because we will
20 finish at 1.00, as you know.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.45 a.m.
22 --- Upon resuming at 11.15 a.m.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: By the Prosecution?
24 Mr. Blaxill?
25 MR. BLAXILL: Your Honours, thank you. I
1 will just briefly mention to you the scope of the
2 cross-examination I wish to engage in. It will be very
3 brief in any event, but essentially it is not arising
4 out of the areas that have already been covered.
5 Having said that, I do feel it is appropriate, on the
6 basis it is my understanding that the Chamber will
7 always deal with matters of relevance, however, whether
8 or not they are strictly within the scope of the
9 initial direct examination, and I do so on the basis
10 that this is an expert witness on matters judicial and
11 that issues of sentencing do tend to form part of the
12 body of a the work of a Chamber prior to final
13 determination on the facts, and therefore this might be
14 a positive step to ask just a few questions on the
15 theories of sentencing. If that meets with your
16 approval, subject to my friends' comments, I would
17 proceed on that basis.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
19 MR. RADOVIC: Your Honour, I wanted to ask
20 certain questions of this witness in cross-examination,
21 but you immediately addressed the Prosecutor.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: I apologise. I didn't see
23 you. All right. So if Mr. Blaxill does not mind, we
24 will first of all listen to Counsel Radovic.
25 MR. RADOVIC: As far as I'm concerned, if the
1 Prosecutor wishes to ask questions, I have no objection
2 to him being first, but I would just like to remind you
3 that I wished to ask questions.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. You may proceed.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Radovic:
6 MR. RADOVIC: I wanted to ask questions
7 regarding legal matters, as the Prosecutor has said,
8 and since this is a blanket provision based on
9 international conventions, I would like to ask you
10 something about the judicial practice, because we
11 ourselves were given the task of providing this
12 Tribunal with our understanding of certain legal terms,
13 so if we as attorneys were asked to do so, it will not
14 be superfluous if you do it, because it can only assist
15 us if you give us your definition of particular legal
17 Q. Can you tell us whether in your practice, or
18 in your experience as a judge, you have come across the
19 concept of persecution, and does it differ from
21 A. Before I came here, I went through the cases
22 that we have dealt with in the --
23 Q. I am interested only in the legal side. Is
24 there a distinction between persecution and
1 A. In the 13 cases, I did not have the detailed
2 cases, I -- case files, I had just the judgements. But
3 if you ask me now, specifically, I would say that these
4 are two distinct terms, persecution, persecuting.
5 Q. Could you tell me, in your opinion, what is
6 the distinction?
7 A. Well, only if you look at it purely in
8 grammatical terms, but that would be the same kind of
9 legal allegation, but grammatically speaking, these are
10 not the same. Could you explain?
11 Q. Well, persecuting is a continuous form, so if
12 I understood it rightly, persecuting lasts a certain
13 time, and persecution can be a one-time act?
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. Could you explain what you think is -- what
16 you consider to be persecuting?
17 A. Well, you perhaps -- with the better of
18 looking at some commentaries.
19 Q. The commentaries that existed on the
20 territory of the former Yugoslavia said very little
21 about persecuting, and they do not satisfy the
22 requirements of the Defence or of this Tribunal, I
23 believe. So could you please tell us, as an
24 experienced lawyer, what you understand by the term
25 "persecuting"? I am referring to the actions. What
1 actions committed in real life could be subsumed under
2 the concept of persecuting?
3 A. Well, this is a blanket provision. As we
4 have already said, in Article 147, you would not find
5 anything. Then I would refer to the Geneva Convention
6 and see what was defined there.
7 Q. You wouldn't find much more there.
8 A. Well, I would find something more, but if you
9 asked for my opinion on the term of persecuting, that
10 would mean that specifically in the case of this
11 judgement --
12 Q. We're not talking about a specific judgement
13 but about the legal term of persecuting. What, in your
14 opinion as an experienced judge and attorney, should be
15 subsumed under the blanket term of "persecuting"? What
17 A. Well, in Bosnia, in some villages, we had the
18 villages being cleansed. You will not find that
19 anywhere, cleansing, cleansing.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel and
21 witness make pauses between answers.
22 A. You can deem that cleansing is also
23 considered as persecution.
24 MR. RADOVIC: Could you please slow down a
25 little bit, because it's hard for the interpreters to
1 follow you. I speak fast, and you speak even faster.
2 Q. So let us go back to the concept of
3 persecuting. What would have to happen in actual life
4 for someone to be responsible for the act of
6 A. Well, that would mean that in a situation of
7 an armed conflict or a state of war, because a war
8 crime could only be committed in the state of war and
9 during an armed conflict, that a group of soldiers or
10 certain persons that have been charged with it would
11 carry out certain acts that could be construed as
12 persecution: Driving people out of their homes,
13 maltreatment of some sort. I cannot now describe that
14 to you.
15 Q. Very well. Can persecuting be perpetrated in
16 other ways, for example, blowing up shops?
17 A. Those would be acts of terrorism.
18 Q. Very well. But through discrimination?
19 A. Yes. Yes, discrimination, definitely. You
20 remind me, and I will then give you an answer.
21 Q. Well, I wanted to hear something from you.
22 A. Well, I can discuss -- this has to do with
23 case law. We did not deal with many cases of that
25 Q. Very well. Then we will not go into it any
1 further, but you said that persecuting is a protracted
2 activity. What about persecution?
3 A. Well, as you said yourself, and I accept your
4 opinion, persecution would be a one-off event. You
5 come to a village and you cleanse it in one day,
6 everybody driven out of their homes. For instance, you
7 can see that now in Kosovo.
8 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President. I
9 have not fully managed to achieve what I wanted to, but
10 I am satisfied.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Radovic.
12 I see that nobody else is prepared to cross-examine
13 from Defence counsel.
14 Mr. Blaxill, it's your turn.
15 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Cross-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
17 Q. Judge Ilic, good morning to you, sir. My
18 name is Michael Blaxill. I'm one of the Prosecution
19 team here at the Office of the Prosecutor.
20 I would, in fact, like to move on to just a
21 few brief questions in your expert capacity relating to
22 sentencing practice in war crimes matters in Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina. Sir, could you give me, firstly, what are
24 the general parameters, the minimum and maximum type of
25 sentence, that may be given in the courts in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina in a case of persecution, the war
2 crime of persecution?
3 A. From the 28th of November, 1998, we have a
4 new law in force which envisages at least a five-year
5 imprisonment or long-term imprisonment. Before that,
6 we had the death penalty, which has been abolished. So
7 it's a minimum of five years, and the maximum sentence
8 is long-term imprisonment, that means from 20 to 40
9 years in prison.
10 Q. What, sir, would be the parameter for
11 sentencing practice where there are instances of
12 murders charged as and convicted as war crimes?
13 A. Well, as regards the war crime against
14 civilian population, there are quite a few modalities
15 or acts. If we were to enumerate them, there would be
16 at least 20 of them. Some are minor acts to more
17 serious acts such as murder. Only one such act is
18 sufficient for the conviction. If there are more,
19 however, then the sentence would be more severe.
20 Q. Are you, in fact, able at this time to quote
21 to us any specific examples of perhaps a person who has
22 been convicted of a war crime perhaps involving an
23 unlawful killing or murder and what kind of sentencing
24 considerations were applied to that?
25 A. If the President would agree to it, I have
1 information regarding 13 judgements reached by the
2 supreme court, and I can give you some details.
3 Q. If Their Honours are content with that,
4 perhaps as briefly as you can -- if you just perhaps
5 take a selection from that of, perhaps, six or eight of
6 those of different types. Thank you.
7 A. Of the 13 judgements, the supreme court acting
8 as the appellate court upheld only two. In six or
9 seven cases, the sentences were commuted, and in three
10 cases, the case was returned for retrial.
11 Now let me check if we have murder here.
12 Murder in a camp. It's a case involving a certain
13 person not to be identified, XY. The minimum sentence
14 envisaged by the law was five years and the maximum was
15 death penalty which was commuted to 20 years. In
16 another case, the sentence was commuted to 15 years in
17 prison. That involved a murder committed in a camp.
18 Q. Do you have any specific examples which do
19 cover the concept of persecution within those judgements
20 or do you not, sir?
21 A. No. I just made a note of the conviction and
22 the sentence, so this is just very bare essentials. I
23 did not dwell on it in any detail.
24 Q. Could you tell me, what are the specific
25 considerations that the court takes into account by way
1 of, in fact, mitigation of sentences? What issues do
2 they look at which may mitigate the penalty downwards?
3 A. Well, we have some substantial provisions
4 regarding the purpose to be achieved with the sentence
5 and mitigating and aggravating circumstances. In
6 accordance with the presence of those circumstances,
7 then we are seeking to achieve a just sentence between
8 those two extremes, the minimum and the maximum. If
9 there are extremely mitigating circumstances, then a
10 sentence can be mitigated even below the lowest
11 threshold. That's the practice; that's the case law,
12 because the supreme court creates the sentencing
13 policy. So in case of extremely mitigating
14 circumstances, the sentence can be even lower than the
15 legally prescribed minimum.
16 Q. Could you say to me what type of things might
17 form such mitigating circumstances in the eyes of the
18 court and perhaps what elements might equally be
19 aggravating elements to be taken into account?
20 A. Well, there are circumstances which can be
21 seen both as aggravating and as mitigating. If
22 somebody stole something to feed his family and if he
23 took something in order to gamble it away, this fact
24 would be taken as an aggravating circumstance. But
25 what are mitigating circumstances? Because all this is
1 irrelevant in our case.
2 First of all, we have to take into
3 consideration whether this person has already committed
4 such acts, whether he is a recurrent offender. Then
5 what are his general circumstances? What is his
6 behaviour like? Is he prone to criminal behaviour? So
7 on and so forth.
8 Q. Are there any specific matters that you are
9 aware of that the courts take into account in relation
10 to allegations of war crimes? Are there any things
11 very specific to that sort of issue, either aggravating
12 or, indeed, mitigating?
13 A. Well, yes, hypothetically speaking, what I
14 would take as a mitigating circumstance, if it were to
15 be established that the criminal offence has been
16 committed, a mitigating circumstance would be, if you
17 compare it to other prisoners, that this person behaved
18 in a better way, treated the prisoners better, that he
19 offered them coffee, cigarettes, so on and so forth. I
20 already said about the fact that that person has no
21 previous criminal record, and also you have to take
22 into account his way of life.
23 Q. What about in the war crimes context things
24 that the courts might deem to be aggravating
25 circumstances which might, thus, increase the penalty?
1 A. Well, aggravating circumstances -- well, we
2 do not have to -- we mustnít confuse them with the
3 qualifications, the elements required for a criminal
4 offence. If you were to establish that this person was
5 really very persistent in this kind of behaviour that
6 is culpable, that would be an aggravating
7 circumstance. If he were a guard in the camp, and then
8 if you had several such acts charged in the
9 alternative -- it is really hard for me to speak
10 hypothetically because in different situations, I could
11 give you different answers.
12 Q. I'm much obliged for your assistance. Thank
13 you, sir.
14 MR. BLAXILL: That's the end of the
15 cross-examination by the Prosecution, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Blaxill.
17 Counsel Krajina, do you intend to re-examine
18 the witness?
19 MR. KRAJINA: No. No, sir.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: President Ilic, I would like
21 to take advantage of the presence here with us of a
22 most distinguished judge from the Federation of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and so I would like to ask you a
24 few questions which, however, are not strictly related
25 to the notion of persecution, we are clear about this
1 notion as set out in the two judgements you commented
2 upon, but these are more general questions.
3 Before, however, I ask you these two
4 questions, may I ask you whether the Court could
5 receive from you the text of the 13 judgements you
6 mentioned before, because they would be of great
7 importance and relevance for us for sentencing,
8 generally speaking, not only in this case. We have
9 already collected quite a few judgements from the former
10 Yugoslavia, I think about 30 from other areas,
11 Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo, and so on, and probably our
12 collection of cases, which is of great importance to us
13 for sentencing purposes, does not include the judgements
14 you mentioned.
15 If you decide, through Krajina, to send them
16 to us, they could be sent in the original language. Of
17 course, if names may not be mentioned, you could simply
18 black out the relevant names. We would be most obliged
19 to you.
20 Let me move on to the general question. I
21 would like to have your comments on one provision of
22 the Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia, which
23 probably has been taken up in the new codes, in the
24 codes adopted in the areas or parts of the former
25 Yugoslavia. I'm referring to Article 23 of the old
1 Criminal Code which was probably applicable in '92 or
2 '90/'91. I will read slowly from the English
3 translation which might not be absolutely accurate.
4 Article 23 provides as follows:
5 "Anybody creating --"
6 I see that probably you have the original
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: "Anybody creating or making
10 use of an organisation, gang, cabal, group, or any
11 other association with a purpose of perpetrating
12 criminal offences shall be punished for all criminal
13 offences resulting from the criminal design of these
14 associations as if he himself has committed those
16 Now, would you require premeditation also for
17 the person who has not committed a particular crime but
18 is held here responsible under this provision for the
19 mere fact of participating in a criminal organisation
20 having the purpose of perpetrating criminal offences?
21 Let us leave aside the question of persecution. Of
22 course, this provision clearly applies to any crime, I
23 mean, even an ordinary crime, murder and so on,
24 regardless of an armed conflict. It's a very general
25 provision. I think we can find a similar provision in
1 most European Criminal Codes or even in the case law of
2 the U.K. or the U.S.A.
3 To put it differently, with regard to the
4 case of the person who is held responsible, although he
5 or she has not committed a crime, what sort of
6 actus reus and mens rea would be required for him to be
7 held responsible for the notion under this criminal
8 association or group or whatever?
9 A. I understand the question fully, but I would
10 like to tell you something before I attempt to answer.
11 I have it as Article 26. It is entitled "The criminal
12 responsibility of organisers of criminal
13 organisations." When we carried out the new
14 codification of the Criminal Code, this article was
15 left out, so it no longer is contained in the Criminal
16 Code of Bosnia-Herzegovina, precisely for the reasons
17 that you spoke about.
18 Since we here have incitement and aiding, and
19 we have this criminal organisation and participation
20 therein as a form of being an accomplice, if somebody
21 incited somebody, the actual person who committed the
22 crime, if he was considered an accomplice, from the
23 very text of this provision, it can be seen that this
24 person is responsible for the acts of other people. So
25 we do not talk about direct premeditation. Perhaps we
1 could talk about possible premeditation. Because we
2 wanted to keep that in mind, the issue of guilt, we
3 have left this provision out. It does not exist
4 anymore. The forms of being an accomplice, we have it
5 as aiding and as incitement. These are the only two
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you very much. When
8 was it left out? You said that this was a new Criminal
9 Code. When was this new code adopted?
10 A. The 28th of November, 1998, that's when the
11 law came into force. We all know that no law can apply
12 retractably, only milder provisions can be applied
13 because this cannot be considered as milder, since it
14 would include those persons who could not be held
15 responsible otherwise under this culpability.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: You mean, of course, that
17 only facts occurring after the 28th of November, 1998
18 could be covered by the new provision, whereas the old
19 provision, applicable until the 28th of November, 1998,
20 would be applicable. So 23 would be applicable to
21 facts occurring before November of '98; would you
23 A. No, it would not be applicable. I don't
24 think it that it could be applied because the interim
25 provisions state that once this law enters into force,
1 the previous law ceases to be valid. When this law
2 enters into force, the criminal provisions related to
3 the application thereof are no longer valid. Since
4 this provision is not longer contained here, we could
5 not apply it to events that happened in 1992 and 1993.
6 The only case when something could be applied
7 retroactively is if this is less severe, the new law is
8 less severe. In this case, some person could be
9 charged with organising a criminal organisation which
10 is not contained in this law at all.
11 Maybe you were confused because you applied
12 the principle that the laws that were in effect when a
13 person committed the crime should apply, but I don't
14 think that it applies.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. May I now give
16 you a case, to ask you how -- again, it's not about
17 persecution. It's a general case, actually, not a
18 figment of my imagination, but which occurred in
19 December of '44, the Second World War. I'd like to see
20 how you, as a distinguished judge from
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, generally speaking, would deal with
22 such a case, what sort of legal reaction you would have
23 to it.
24 It was in December of '44. Three British
25 airmen were captured by the Germans in a town, Essen.
1 That's why this famous case is called "the Essen
2 lynching case." They were brought to detention units,
3 and from there, the German captain gave to an escort
4 instructions to take the prisoners to the
5 nearest luftwaffe unit for interrogation, the unit of
6 the air forces for interrogation.
7 This order was given out to the escort from
8 the steps of the barracks in a loud voice so that the
9 crowd, a crowd of German civilians, which had gathered
10 could hear and would know exactly what was going to
11 take place. Now, this captain ordered the escort not
12 to interfere in any way with the crowd if they should
13 molest the prisoners. The escort took the three people
14 down the road to take them to their particular unit
15 where they would have been interrogated. On their way
16 to the road, a mob gathered, and the three British
17 airmen were murdered. Some were kicked; some were
18 wounded, beaten up, and so on, by various civilians.
19 The evidence was very clear. It's not a
20 question of evidence. Let us assume that the evidence
21 was as found by the court, and I would assume that this
22 was the right approach by the British court. It was a
23 British military court sitting in Germany in 1945.
24 Some civilians were found guilty because every one of
25 them had, in one form or another, taken part in the
1 ill-treatment which eventually led to the death of the
2 victims, though none of the accused had been exactly
3 proved that they had individually shot or given the
4 blows which caused the death. The captain was
5 sentenced to death, as well as one of the civilians,
6 and one of the escorts was sentenced to terms of
8 In this case, you have mob violence and, of
9 course, I wonder whether you could say that the captain
10 could be found guilty because of premeditation of
11 murder. He was found guilty of murder.
12 Would you approach this case in a different
13 way, based on your own legal training and the basic
14 notions of Yugoslav criminal law or criminal law of
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina? I can see that one can
16 approach this case in a different way, but I would like
17 to know from you how you would deal with this case if
18 you were to sit in judgement on a similar event, on
19 events occurring in this way, or a similar pattern of
21 A. The question is -- well, I can't say
22 "complicated," but interesting. First of all, I would
23 like to say it all depends on the circumstances and the
24 time when it took place because, you see, in Bosnia,
25 the courts would act differently in '93 or in '97 or
1 in '98 because of the difference in the circumstances.
2 However, legality always obtains, but in '93 and
3 in '99, the circumstances are very different. At the
4 time this captain was tried, it was probably very soon
5 after the war. If he were being tried today, it might
6 have been quite different. You see, Dinko Sakic is
7 being tried in Croatia today, and the public attitude
8 to this is different than it would have been right
9 after the war.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: I want to know, based on your
11 legal knowledge, your experience, regardless of time,
12 you are an independent judge --
13 A. I would not have sentenced him to death. I
14 would certainly not have sentenced him to death.
15 First, his premeditation, he did not have to know how
16 the mob would behave. He might have thought they were
17 just going to beat them up. We can't say that it was
18 direct premeditation, because it's purely hypothetical
19 how the crowd would behave. So I would have to know
20 that he had at least five or six people in the crowd
21 who he knew were going to kill those people. That
22 would have been premeditation. We are not sure, as
23 things stand. So everyone is responsible for what they
24 wanted to happen in their premeditation. This captain
25 was certainly irresponsible and should have been
1 punished, but to be quite honest, I would never have
2 sentenced him to death.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I see there is
4 no -- there are no questions.
5 President Ilic, thank you so much indeed for
6 giving testimony here in court. You may now be
7 released. Thank you.
8 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
9 (The witness withdrew)
10 (The witness entered court)
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina, shall we
12 move on to your next witness, Number Two?
13 MR. KRAJINA: Yes, Mr. President. My
14 colleague, Mr. Par, will examine him.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: No protective measures?
16 MR. PAR: No protective measures, Your
17 Honour. Thank you.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. Would you
19 please make the solemn declaration.
20 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
21 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
25 Counsel Par?
1 MR. PAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 WITNESS: ZORAN DRMIC
3 Examination by Mr. Par:
4 Q. Good morning, Mr. Drmic. I would like you to
5 introduce yourself to the Court, to say your name, date
6 of birth, place of birth, and your profession.
7 A. My name is Zoran Drmic. I was born on the
8 12th of January, 1963, in Travnik. By occupation I'm
9 an electronics engineer. I currently live in Vitez. I
10 am employed -- I am self-employed. I have a company
11 that provides accounting services to other enterprises,
12 and also I create software.
13 Q. In 1993, can you tell us where you were
14 employed and what jobs you performed?
15 A. In the beginning of 1993, the first two
16 months, I worked in a company that I had worked for a
17 couple of years. In the first two months, since the
18 production plummeted due to the war which had already
19 erupted, and the personnel started leaving the company,
20 so in early March, I was laid off, just as my
21 colleagues were. Then sometime in mid-March I was
22 mobilised into the headquarters of the Vitez Brigade.
23 Q. So since then and throughout 1993, you were
24 in the command of the Vitez Brigade; what did you do
1 A. I was the chief of the financial service.
2 Q. Could you tell us what this meant,
3 specifically, what your tasks were, what your duties
4 were in the command? What in fact was the job of the
5 chief of the financial service?
6 A. I was mobilised in mid-March. I was
7 personally called by the commander of the brigade,
8 Mario Cerkez, since I was familiar with information
9 technology, to assist them at the brigade. I think
10 that the chief of financial service was probably the
11 only post that was vacated at the time, and that's so
12 that I could be employed at the Vitez Brigade, because
13 in the Vitez Brigade at that time there was no post
14 that would include the tasks that I was supposed to
15 carry out. Later on, when I joined the guards brigade,
16 which was formed later, at the brigade staff, there was
17 a post of the assistant for -- adviser for information
19 Q. Perhaps you could tell the Court specifically
20 what your job consisted in. You were at this post;
21 could you tell us what you did, exactly?
22 A. Right at the beginning, I kept records of the
23 personnel in the field. Then I created a programme, a
24 computer programme, that would allow me to make a data
25 base of these people, because at that time, before the
1 war broke out the active personnel in the Vitez
2 Brigade, 200 to 300 people, they were deployed on guard
3 duty facing Serbian forces near Travnik.
4 Q. Just a moment, please; could we pause there.
5 When you say the "active" part, you are talking about
6 the soldiers who had contracts, salaries; professional
8 A. Yes, the active servicemen had to sign a
9 contract with the Minister, and they were supposed to
10 receive salary for their jobs.
11 Q. If I understood you rightly, it was your task
12 to keep a record of these people, in fact to take care
13 of the payroll?
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. Did you do anything else, did you draw up any
16 other kinds of lists which you entered into your
17 computer programs containing information and
18 particulars about these people in the army?
19 A. Yes, after the war broke out, my job was more
20 to assist (redacted)
22 Q. Just a moment, please. Could you tell us the
23 post of (redacted) in the command?
24 A. (redacted)
1 Q. What did you assist her with, specifically?
2 A. In the formation of the brigades, making
3 lists, and the payrolls of the personnel.
4 Q. My question was, who delivered this
5 information to you? Was it (redacted) And who delivered
6 it to her, if you know?
7 A. The data was sent to us from the field.
8 Those were the data that were the most credible. But
9 right at the beginning, we did not receive this data in
10 the form that we had to receive it in, because the
11 brigade was not structured right at the beginning. I
12 don't think that it was established in the proper
13 manner until the very end of 1993, because it was a
14 continuous process.
15 Q. To conclude, these lists were given to you;
16 it was your job to enter them into the computer. Did
17 you compare this data with the situation in the field?
18 In other words, did you verify it? How correct were
19 those data?
20 A. Well, that was precisely the task that I had,
21 to collate the data, because the data coming to us from
22 the field were very imprecise. I think that it was
23 done very quickly, and the data were not complete. We
24 did not have a father's name -- or names of the fathers
25 of some the members of the units, dates of birth, so
1 that we could not establish with any precision the
2 identity of that person.
3 Q. Yes, the question -- when I asked about the
4 precision of this data, did you have any cases
5 regarding the payroll when the number of men reported
6 to be in the units changed?
7 A. Well, with the first salaries, we did not
8 have any problems before the outbreak of the war, but
9 sometime in late 1993, in December, an order was issued
10 from the command, higher command, that there would be
11 some problems with the payroll, because the members of
12 the HVO in Herzegovina had already received their
13 salaries, and there were some rumours that we could
14 also get paid. Then, when the commanders of the units
15 in the field were asked to provide updated lists, the
16 situation changed radically in comparison to the
17 situation that we had so far, so we collated the data
18 several times so as to be able to know precisely where
19 people were, whether they were indeed employed in the
20 unit, in order to have the final number.
21 Q. When you say "radically different," it
22 changed radically, are you referring only to the number
23 of persons, or the particulars, the details of these
25 A. Both the number of persons and their personal
1 details. The number usually increased by several
2 percentage points, but so did the accuracy of the
3 information. Sometimes I had people in my records who
4 did not exist at all. Because perhaps the commander in
5 the field asked, "what is this guy's name? He is not
6 here," and then the answer was wrong. And we just had
7 this piece of paper that we had to use, and later on it
8 would turn out that this person did not exist at all,
9 or one person would be entered in the records in two
10 places by mistake with different dates of birth, and if
11 we did not have the father's name, we could not
12 ascertain whether or not that was indeed the same
14 Q. Could you tell us now if you know Vlatko
15 Kupreskic personally, and if you do, where you met him.
16 A. I know Vlatko Kupreskic personally. We met
17 for the first time in this company where we worked
18 together before the war. For a while we worked in the
19 same building, so we saw each other from time to time,
20 and we would exchange the time of day. We never
21 entered into any discussions.
22 I saw him once during the war, and after the
23 war, we collaborated in the business, in our business.
24 Q. We shall come to that later. When you were
25 working on the register of men liable for military
1 service, was Vlatko Kupreskic registered as fit for
2 military service, or not fit?
3 A. I don't know when Vlatko was registered in
4 our records, but he was registered as unfit for
5 military service, and next to his name there was no
6 unit, no military unit listed. So he did not belong to
7 any of the military units. We just had his name in our
8 files, just as a we had the names of various old people
9 or young people or women.
10 Q. So what was the marking next to his name?
11 A. I had a system of marks, for instance, the
12 letter "P" would mark a man who had died, and next to
13 his name was the mark "N," which meant "unfit for
14 military service."
15 Q. Could you tell us, Mr. Drmic, how it was
16 established at that time that someone was unfit for
17 military service. Was there a medical board, did any
18 documents have to be presented? Do you remember?
19 A. In my work with (redacted), for
20 somebody to be declared unfit for military service, an
21 opinion of the military medical board was required,
22 because that board declared whether somebody was fit or
23 unfit on the basis of the medical evidence presented.
24 Q. Did I understand you properly when you say
25 that (redacted) did that?
1 A. That was the job of (redacted), who
2 was in (redacted) . And since I
3 was in the same (redacted), I assisted
4 her in her work, and I simply remember some things. I
5 did not want to remember this particularly, but it
6 happened so that I remembered.
7 Q. To be more precise, (redacted)
8 sat in the same room?
9 A. [No interpretation]
10 Q. Since Vlatko Kupreskic was registered as
11 unfit for military service, was he liable to
12 conscription or not?
13 A. According to the regulations, persons unfit
14 for military service were not to be mobilised or
15 conscripted, but in our situation things were a bit
16 different it was not as in normal armies, countries or
17 wars. There were periods when nobody could claim that
18 they were unfit for military service. Everybody had to
19 be involved in some cases when the enemy attacked,
20 everybody had to make their contribution regardless of
21 their inability but in accordance with their
23 Q. So, although formerly he was not liable to
24 mobilisation, there were some situations when he could
25 not claim that, he could not refer to that. Do you
1 know that such a special situation concerning Vlatko
2 Kupreskic actually occurred? In other words, do you
3 know that he was mobilised in spite of the fact that he
4 was not liable for mobilisation?
5 A. Well, yes, I do know. On that occasion when
6 I saw him during the war, Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic was
7 brought to our office, to (redacted) and myself, he was in
8 civilian clothes, and he was brought in by two persons
9 in uniforms, I think these were military policemen, but
10 I can't recall that with certainty.
11 Q. Could you tell us when this happened? Can we
12 discover the time? And could you tell the Court what
13 happened, who said what, what was done, if you can
15 A. I cannot tell you exactly when it was,
16 because at that time I did not commit such things to my
17 memory. But as far as I can remember, sometime in
18 September, when the enemy attack against our positions
19 was at its fiercest. I think it was at this period
20 when a lot of personnel were no longer able to fight
21 because they were either killed or wounded. Then the
22 military police attempted to bring in those persons who
23 had not been mobilised, who were unfit for military
24 service, to bring them in by force and to mobilise
25 them. As far as I can remember it was sometime in the
1 second half of September, 1993.
2 Q. Since you said that you don't remember the
3 exact date, could you tell us how far off you think you
4 might be?
5 A. Well, a month, or two months at the most, but
6 not more than that. I think that maybe Mr. Vlatko
7 Kupreskic might know that exactly.
8 Q. I wanted you to tell us what happened. You
9 were sitting in the office; who else was there, what
10 was said, what happened when these two persons in
11 uniform brought Vlatko in? Do you remember the
12 details? Do you remember what happened, who said what?
13 A. I remember that very well. (redacted)
14 (redacted) and myself were in the office when two uniformed
15 persons brought Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic into the room, and
16 they told her, "Here is another one for you to
17 assign." Then they left the room, and (redacted) then
18 talked to Vlatko. He showed her some papers indicating
19 that he was unfit. I did not pay much attention to
20 that, because I had a job to do myself.
21 After this conversation, which lasted maybe
22 five or ten minutes, Vlatko left the room, and (redacted)
23 (redacted) looked at me in a strange way, in a meaningful
24 way. I looked at her questioningly. It's as if she
25 was trying to tell me something, but I couldn't
1 understand what it was.
2 She then said, perhaps angrily, "You see,"
3 she said, "what these are doing to me. They are
4 bringing me" -- and they I looked at her questioningly;
5 I didn't know what was going on. She said, "They are
6 bringing to me people who are unfit, and they want me
7 to assign them to units, and I cannot do anything with
9 I looked at her in confusion; what was going
10 on? I didn't know. She said, "Well, Vlatko has a
11 pacemaker." I was surprised, myself, because I did not
12 know that fact, although I had known him from before.
13 Then (redacted), since she did assign him
14 to a unit, she gave me those papers, and I entered the
15 data into our computer, and he was -- Mr. Kupreskic,
16 Vlatko, was registered as having been assigned to the
17 medical platoon at the brigade level. So it wasn't at
18 the level of the lower units, but he was assigned as a
19 driver of the medical corps.
20 Q. So he was assigned to be a driver in the
21 medical platoon, and he had to report for duty?
22 A. Yes. This has left an impression on me, and
23 that's why I remember it so clearly, as if it happened
24 yesterday, although five or six years have passed. If
25 it had been somebody else, I maybe would not remember
1 it, but I do remember it.
2 MR. PAR: I intend to show a certificate,
3 Prosecution Exhibit 329. I would like to ask the usher
4 to show P329, the exhibit, to the witness.
5 Maybe we can speed things up by putting it on
6 the ELMO. If I'm not wrong, it's P329, Mr. Terrier?
7 I would like to ask the usher to give the
8 witness the Croatian text so that he can follow.
9 Q. Mr. Drmic, I have shown you this before.
10 Could you look at it now. It says in this certificate
11 that Vlatko Kupreskic was mobilised from the 16th of
12 April, '93, to the 15th of January, '96, as an
13 assistant commander for the medical corps. You said
14 that he was mobilised only in September or around
15 September, so could you explain or comment on the data
16 in this certificate, and could you account for the
18 A. I am familiar with these certificates because
19 at that time virtually every member of the Vitez
20 Brigade got one, and they were mostly issued in the
21 course of 1996. At the Federation level, a decision
22 was made that all members of the BH army and of the HVO
23 were entitled to certain salaries, arrears of salaries
24 which had not been paid; but due to the lack of money,
25 they were supposed to receive some securities, some
1 shares, which would then be used by them. When lists
2 were made for those shares, you had to have a
3 certificate from your unit which would then be used to
4 determine the time that you spent in a certain unit.
5 As for the date, the initial date, the 16th
6 of April, in our records in the Vitez Brigade, we did
7 not have this date for Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic, just as we
8 didn't have it for other people who were not mobilised
9 at the beginning of the war or before the war. For
10 this final date here, the 15th of January, 1996, I
11 don't know whether that is correct or not, because I
12 was involved with Vlatko Kupreskic in business, and
13 throughout 1995, I saw him virtually every day. He was
14 a businessman wearing civilian clothes. So I don't
15 know anything about that.
16 As for the post, assistant commander for
17 medical corps, I could not comment on that, because I
18 know that (redacted) assigned him as a driver
19 in the medical corps. Whether he was promoted later to
20 a higher post or a higher rank, I wouldn't know
21 anything about that.
22 Q. Now that we are discussing his post,
23 assistant commander for the medical corps, can you tell
24 us whether at that time there was a medical corps
25 within the Vitez Brigade or whether there was a unit, a
1 medical unit?
2 A. At the beginning of the war, well, virtually
3 in the first few months of the war, the medical platoon
4 existed only in theory. In practice, no personnel were
5 assigned to it. I know that because I talked about it
6 to the chief of medical service, Dr. Bosko Pavlic. One
7 day we met in the corridor and we spoke informally.
8 That was after the beginning of the war. He told me,
9 "These guys are crazy." Nobody heard our
10 conversation. I didn't know what he meant, and I asked
11 him to explain. He said the war -- "There's a war
12 going on, and the medical corps has not been
13 established. We do not have the vehicles, we do not
14 have stretchers, nothing."
15 So this duty that's listed here, assistant
16 commander of the medical corps, in this initial stage,
17 is highly questionable, in my view.
18 Q. Thank you. Do you have a certificate like
19 this? Did you personally, as a member of the brigade,
20 get this kind of certificate?
21 A. Yes, I do, and so does virtually every other
22 member of the Vitez Brigade.
23 And one other thing that I can say with
24 regard to the certificate, I think that no member of
25 the Vitez Brigade has a date that will be before 16th
1 of -- after the 16th of April. That's the earliest
2 date, although some people were mobilised months
3 later. I think that the reason for this was to help
4 people so that they get more money, the salaries that
5 were owed to them.
6 So that's why I have two certificates, in
7 effect, because I joined the brigade two times. In
8 early 1994 I was reassigned to the guards brigade, and
9 then when I was discharged from the guards brigade, I
10 was again assigned to the Vitez Brigade, so I have two
11 such certificates.
12 Q. Thank you. Mr. Drmic, I will now show you a
13 report by the Defence Department, and this is
14 Prosecution Exhibit -- I would like to ask the usher to
15 give the witness the Croatian text. It's P335.
16 Since I have shown you this document before,
17 you know what it is about and everybody in this
18 courtroom knows what it refers to, could you please say
19 whether you know what the data here is based on and who
20 provided this data to the department? Was it provided
21 by the people from the Vitez Brigade? Do you know how
22 the data for this report was collected? Who delivered
24 A. As far as I can see, this document was issued
25 by the defence department in Vitez, and as we know,
1 this is an institution that keeps the record or records
2 of people fit for military service and which has to
3 mobilise those people in the case of war and to assign
4 them to their units.
5 In the course of these events, however, in
6 the spring of 1993, in Vitez, in fact, the process was
7 reversed. The Vitez Brigade conducted mobilisations
8 rather than the defence department, and that's why we
9 had our own lists and we submitted those lists to the
10 defence department which then returned the lists to us,
11 proforma as if it was them who mobilised them. This is
12 a document prepared by --
13 Q. If I can stop you for a moment. This is the
14 reason I posed the question. We saw from your
15 testimony that you kept the records of this personnel
16 and then delivered this information, and you did the
17 mobilisation. Did you personally deliver this
18 information to the department? What is the relation
19 between this data and the data you had in your records?
20 A. In the first 10 to 15 days, we did not have
21 much data. We only started collecting data after that
22 10-day or 15-day period. Some information came to us
23 directly from the front lines and some from the defence
24 department. This data did not come from our records
25 but from the defence department. I don't know who this
1 report was submitted to.
2 Q. Do you know how they came by this information
3 or not?
4 A. I don't know where they got this information
5 or who drafted this list.
6 Q. I would like to ask you to look at number 107
7 where it says that Vlatko Kupreskic is a person who was
8 mobilised on the 16th of April, 1993. Could you please
9 say, since this differs from your records, how he came
10 to be on this list? Do you know how his name could
11 have come to be on this list with this date?
12 A. I don't have any specific information as to
13 how he appeared on this list, you will have to ask the
14 person who drew it up, but I am familiar, to a certain
15 extent, with this list because I received a number of
16 lists throughout the war. Whether I received this
17 particular list, I don't know, but what it says at the
18 end, "duty officers, military police assigned to
19 Darko," I'm familiar with it. It's as if I had seen
20 something like that, as if I had held this in my
21 hands. It probably was submitted by the department of
22 defence to (redacted) and myself.
23 Q. Finally, you see that certain documents
24 indicate that Vlatko Kupreskic was mobilised on the
25 16th of April, 1993. Do you still maintain that this
1 is not the case, as far as you know?
2 A. We put all the records in our computer. As
3 the brigade became better established, each member was
4 assigned to a certain unit. Those units had codes
5 which I assigned. The first one was the number of the
6 battalion, company, and squad. So for each member, we
7 had a code indicating which unit he belonged to. In
8 many cases, though, people did not have that code next
9 to their names and we did not know whether they
10 belonged to the brigade at all and whether they had a
11 record somewhere. In such cases, we always talked to
12 the platoon and company commanders to discuss that, to
13 see whether they are, indeed, members of their units,
14 whether we could count on them or not.
15 In this manner, Vlatko did not have a code
16 next to his name. He was designated as unfit for
17 military service up until that time when he was
18 mobilised into the medical corps.
19 In addition, when I read this report, when
20 you showed it to me, I saw that from the 16th of April
21 until the 20th of April, this is the date when this
22 list was drawn up, and here are some lists, in my view,
23 it means that these people, the people on this list
24 were not mobilised on the 15th of April. They were not
25 members of the Vitez Brigade as of the date when the
1 conflict broke out. In my opinion, it probably
2 happened four or five days after the outbreak of the
3 war when the enemy forces launched a serious attack on
4 Vitez. That would be the 21st and the 22nd of April.
5 That is when the mobilisation began in earnest because
6 some people were engaged in town to collect people and
7 to send them to collect weapons. They did not have
8 uniforms at that time at all.
9 Also, looking at this list, I know most of
10 these people. My conclusion is that these are mostly
11 people from the lower part, as we say, the eastern part
12 of Vitez which was bordering on Zenica, whereas people
13 in the areas bordering on Travnik, Zabrdze, and
14 Kruscica were not on those lists, nor were they
15 mobilised. Most of them were from the lower part
16 bordering on Zenica and from the town of Vitez itself.
17 MR. PAR: Thank you, Mr. Drmic.
18 Your Honours, I have no other questions.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I see there is no
20 other Defence counsel waiting to cross-examine the
22 Mr. Terrier?
23 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Terrier:
25 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Drmic. I'm Franck
1 Terrier. I'm one of the trial attorneys for the
2 Prosecution. I'm going to ask you a few questions
3 following the testimony you just gave.
4 A few moments ago, you said that the first
5 serious attack against Vitez was launched on the 22nd
6 of April, 1993. What happened prior to the 22nd of
7 April? Nothing happened?
8 A. It started on the 16th of April. That was
9 when the war actually started in our part of the
10 world. During the first few days, there was gunfire;
11 there were detonations. I did not know exactly what
12 was going on. Even though I was a member of the Vitez
13 Brigade, I was simply not informed.
14 When I came to work -- it started on Friday.
15 I turned up for work on Monday. I was a little
16 surprised, and I found that the person on duty -- the
17 person on duty had a notebook, and he always received
18 information from the field about who had been killed or
19 wounded. Around the 21st or the 22nd, we had more
20 frequent reports of casualties because people
21 started -- there were fewer people on the front lines,
22 so there was a need to have more personnel. I think
23 the first serious attack on Vitez happened only on the
24 22nd when there were the most casualties during the
25 first days of the war.
1 Q. In your recollection, what happened on the
2 16th of April?
3 A. On the 16th of April, the war started. I
4 woke up in the morning. I was awakened by detonations
5 and the sound of guns and mortar launches. I didn't
6 know what was going on. I was called by a man working
7 for the defence office. He was a neighbour of mine.
8 He asked me to come downstairs and to come up with the
9 rest of the tenants so that we could discuss what to do
10 and perhaps have guard duty at the entrance to our
12 During these discussions, people came bearing
13 rumours. Someone probably received a telephone call
14 from someone, and in the evening of that day or perhaps
15 the next day, I learned that something terrible had
16 happened in the village of Ahmici, that there had been
17 many civilian victims, including women and children.
18 Q. Mr. Drmic, where did you live exactly at the
20 A. I lived in the very centre of town, in the
21 building where the town pharmacy is located.
22 Q. That morning of the 16th of April, as you
23 said yourself, the war had started. That was your
24 expression. Did you right away get in touch with your
25 unit, the commander of the brigade in Vitez?
1 A. No, I did not get in touch. I expected that
2 someone would come and tell me what was going on, that
3 someone would call me. I was surprised, and I simply
4 thought it was best for me to stay at home with my wife
5 and child.
6 Later in the course of that day, I don't know
7 exactly what time it was, my neighbour asked me to come
8 downstairs and to meet with him and other neighbours in
9 front of the building so that we could organise guard
10 duty. In fact, I spent the first three days there,
11 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I expected that someone
12 would call me or tell me what was going on, but it was
13 only on Monday when I went to the commander of the
14 brigade, and they asked me, "Where have you been so
15 far?" And I didn't know what to say because I thought
16 they would call me, tell me what was going on, because
17 the war had been going on for three days, and no one
18 had told me.
19 That day, I met (redacted) and she
20 had done the same as me and only turned up for work on
22 Q. A few moments ago, you said that on that
23 evening, the 16th of April, or the day afterwards, you
24 had learned that something terrible had happened in the
25 village of Ahmici. Can you be more specific and tell
1 us how you have come to learn about those events?
2 A. I heard that from some neighbours of mine who
3 are tenants in the same building. Whether they had
4 heard about it by telephone or whether some members of
5 some units had arrived -- for example, I had a
6 neighbour who was a member of the civilian police, and
7 in the evening when he came home, he would drop in. He
8 confirmed this, and he said that what we had already
9 heard was correct.
10 Q. On that day, on the 16th of April, probably
11 in the evening or late afternoon, you heard from two
12 different sources that something terrible had happened
13 in Ahmici on that same day. You learned it from your
14 neighbours and one member of the civilian police; am I
16 A. Yes, from one of my neighbours, I don't
17 remember exactly who, and in the evening, when this
18 policeman was going home from the police station in the
19 town, we asked him, "Is it true," and he confirmed that
20 it was true.
21 Q. Can you be as precise as possible as to the
22 information you received then as to what had happened
23 in Ahmici, particularly what you heard from the
25 A. We were told that several houses had been set
1 on fire, I can't say the number, but that several women
2 and children had been killed, that there had even been
3 bodies on the road, that sometimes a body would be
4 hanging out of a house window. We wanted to make use
5 of our acquaintance with this policeman to find out if
6 this was true or whether it was just a rumour that had
7 been made up by someone, and he confirmed that
8 something unexpected, something terrible had really
9 happened, something that was unexpected.
10 Q. In your mind, from that day, and in the minds
11 of the people who you talked to, since you're talking
12 about several women and children killed, I mean, there
13 is no doubt to the fact that it is a crime?
14 A. Yes, it was clear to me because, in my
15 opinion, women and children should be left out of
16 wartime operations. Because this could have happened
17 to my own wife and to my children.
18 Q. Did you wonder, on that day or the following
19 days, or did you receive information, confidential
20 information regarding the perpetrators of that crime
21 and the circumstances in which that crime was
23 A. Of course, I wondered what could have
24 happened in people's minds for something like this to
25 happen, but in my opinion, these people who did that,
1 after that, they must have realised what they had
2 done. For all of us in Vitez, to this day, it
3 is shrouded in mystery, and, in fact, nobody knows who
4 actually did it, because it was probably in the
5 interest of the perpetrators not to have it talked
6 about and for people not to know about it. Perhaps
7 during the war, it was dangerous, in a way, to know too
8 much and to ask too many questions.
9 Q. Mr. Witness, in the course of the questions
10 by Mr. Par, two documents were shown to you. One is
11 marked 321, which is an exhibit from the Prosecutor,
12 and the other one is marked 335. The first one is a
13 certificate signed by Colonel Vinac, and the second is
14 a report signed by Marijan Skopljak. Upon a reading of
15 those two official documents, it appears that at the
16 date of the 16th of April, '93, Vlatko Kupreskic was
17 mobilised in the HVO. What are the reasons that would
18 lead us not to believe those two documents which match
19 one another?
20 A. This certificate should not be believed
21 because the date, the 16th of April, is on almost
22 everybody's certificate about their mobilisation,
23 although in many cases, this is not true. In my
24 experience, in working with data and the register of
25 personnel, I know that Vlatko Kupreskic was not
1 assigned to a military unit up to the moment when he
2 was actually forcibly brought into the premises of the
3 Vitez Brigade. So I doubt this date and especially the
4 post of assistant commander of the medical corps,
5 because I think he was a driver. After that, I don't
6 know whether he was assigned to a different duty.
7 As regards the second document, it does not
8 show the date of mobilisation for anyone. I think that
9 anyone who is on this list, if they were asked about
10 the dates, they would probably say, "This is not the
11 date." So I doubt this because I think the active part
12 of the Vitez Brigade, which was established before the
13 war, which had uniforms, which had equipment, which had
14 salaries, these were the people who were prepared for
15 the war. Everybody else, especially these people on
16 this list, they were not prepared for the war. In my
17 opinion, these people were forcibly mobilised and did
18 not volunteer, most of them, because I think they did
19 not have equipment. I don't know whether they had
21 This list drawn up by the defence office
22 shouldn't look like this because when the defence
23 office submits data, a person's name must also be
24 accompanied by the father's name and the date of
25 birth. This looks like a list drawn up by someone
1 stopping people in the street and just saying, "What's
2 your name," and writing it in. I know most of these
3 people. If you saw some of these people, if you saw
4 what they look like, it would be quite clear to you
5 that these people are not fit for military service,
6 that these people simply would not be able to conduct a
7 war, and that this list also includes elderly people
8 and people unfit for military service.
9 Q. Mr. Witness, if you consult that list of
10 names, you will see that across from their names there
11 are particular markings. For instance, there are
12 markings before numbers 24, 85, and 86, and there's a
13 marking also before Number 149. Before number 84, 5,
14 6, and 7, there is no marking as to the delaying of
15 mobilisation up until the 26th of April, '93.
16 A. I don't see any markings in front of the
17 numbers. It's empty on the list I have. But I think
18 that this is not really a mobilisation. In my opinion,
19 this is something superficial. I don't know how some
20 people came to be included in this list. And the
21 comments in the right-hand margin next to the list,
22 such comments were introduced in our records later on,
23 to put a date or a letter or a marker telling us
24 something more about this person, because very often
25 they did not have a date of birth, or the father's
1 name, or their place of residence, because the
2 organisation was such that people went to the defence
3 lines according to the place where they lived. It was
4 very rare for people to be moved from their village
5 somewhere else.
6 I see here that the people from the lower
7 part, as we call it, in the direction of Zenica, I can
8 see this from their names, and they're also from the
9 centre of the town, and people from the other parts of
10 the municipality are not on this list at all because
11 for them, the war had not started yet. For them, it
12 started somewhat later.
13 Q. Under those circumstances, Mr. Witness, given
14 your position at the time, and even from the 16th of
15 April up until the following Monday, you were not in
16 your office, could you describe to us how, from a
17 material point of view, the mobilisation was conducted
18 for the purposes of the war which was starting between
19 the HVO forces and the Muslim forces? So from a
20 material point of view, how did the mobilisation
21 actually take place?
22 A. I may not understand your question properly.
23 Could you explain what you mean by "material"?
24 Q. I mean what was the work that had to be done
25 in order to inform people, to tell them that they were
1 mobilised? Was it done by telephone, by mail, by
2 sending them messages, and what were the orders given
3 to those people? What was, for instance, possible --
4 military training that was given to those people, how
5 were they given their military clothing and weapons,
6 you know, this sort of information is what I'd like you
7 to give us now.
8 A. Yes, I understand now. People were mostly
9 caught in the streets. If someone left their flat to
10 get supplies for their family or to buy something, and
11 if he was seen by a person who was in charge of
12 mobilisation, and they were people from the special
13 units and people working for the administration
14 department, they would simply catch that person in the
15 street and send them to the warehouse to be issued
16 weapons, to the depot, to issue them weapons, and then
17 they would be taken directly to the defence lines. So
18 that was one of the methods. They were caught in the
19 streets of the town.
20 The second method was, these units would go
21 from house to house, enter the apartments, and look for
22 male members of the family who were fit for military
23 service, and then they would simply take them away, put
24 them in a car and assign them to a defence line.
25 This was the most frequent method of
1 mobilisation in the first days of the war. It was only
2 later, when a month or two had elapsed, when we had
3 established lists, registers, then we -- and we got
4 these lists from the commanders -- then we would send
5 these lists to the defence office and ask them to
6 undertake a legal procedure putting these people at our
7 disposal and delivering their documents to us.
8 Q. In fact, if I listen to you, it was by
9 coincidence that people were mobilised after the
10 outbreak of the war? I mean, all it would take was to
11 leave your home to go and buy bread, and all of a
12 sudden you would find yourself on the defence line, on
13 the front line. On the opposite, if you stayed at
14 home, chances were that you would not be mobilised. Is
15 that right?
16 A. Yes, unless he was found by the units, and
17 there were situations where people hid under the bed,
18 or that's what I heard later. They would hide so as
19 not to be mobilised and taken to the front line. They
20 were afraid, probably.
21 Q. Do you have any specific information
22 regarding the mobilisation of the men who lived in
24 A. No. I have no information.
25 Q. You did not say to us at what time those
1 people who were mobilised in the circumstances you
2 explained received weapons, military equipment, and
3 possibly also instructions as to how they were to use
4 those weapons.
5 A. After they were caught, so to speak, or
6 brought in, they were sent to the building where the
7 depot was to be issued with equipment, and without any
8 training and without sufficient weapons, because there
9 were not enough weapons for everyone, they were sent
10 barehanded to the front line simply to swell the
11 numbers, so that if someone was wounded, they could
12 take that person's weapons. Very often people took
13 their hunting rifles with them, or their parents'
14 hunting rifles. This was the solution they found,
15 although it was a bit ridiculous.
16 I know this very well, because my best friend
17 was wounded on the 22nd of April, and he told me about
18 it in the -- he had taken his father's hunting rifle
19 and gone to the front line. He was wounded. He had
20 been shot through the leg, and his nerve was damaged so
21 that his leg is paralysed now. He had this
22 experience. He went there with his father's hunting
23 rifle without a uniform, without anything, and he was
24 wounded very soon, at the very beginning, like many
25 others, because then the hospitals started filling up
1 with wounded people.
2 Q. Can you, Mr. Witness, tell us about the
3 reserve servicemen of the HVO?
4 A. In my opinion, all of these people were
5 reserve servicemen, because only the active part at the
6 moment the war started, only they were active
7 servicemen. All the others were reservists, and they
8 were included in the units of the Vitez Brigade or
9 other brigades gradually.
10 Apart from them, there were some elderly
11 people, over 60 or 70 years of age, who contributed in
12 their own way. Most often they would take food to the
13 soldiers at the front line, or in the evening they
14 would patrol their own villages, without weapons,
15 without uniforms, simply so that they would be doing
16 something and not sitting at home. Those younger than
17 18 did the same, if they wanted to feel they were doing
18 something. There were cases when young men of 15 were
19 killed on the front line, or when walking through the
20 town, because there was frequent shelling, especially
21 of the roads and streets, and there were some women, a
22 number of women who were involved because they cooked
23 food for the soldiers.
24 Almost all of them were later issued with the
25 certificates as if they had been members, and I think
1 they all have this date, the 16th of April, as the
2 initial date. The second date, I don't know what it's
3 based on.
4 Q. If I get you right, Mr. Witness, what you've
5 just said is that all the members of the Croat
6 community in Bosnia were, one way or the other,
7 mobilised for the war effort as soon as the war
8 started; the elderly were committed as they brought
9 material support -- for instance, sending food. Women
10 were also involved by cooking for the soldiers, and
11 people of age became fighters. And what you've also
12 said, and please correct me if I have misunderstood
13 what you said, is that before the outbreak of the war,
14 men of age to fight were either in a position of
15 activity for military purposes or then they were
16 considered as reservists.
17 A. I think, if I understand you rightly, that
18 that is correct. But the war started, there were two
19 or three hundred active servicemen. The rest of us
20 were all reservists, as long as there was no war,
21 because each of us has his file in the defence office
22 and is registered.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Excuse me, Mr. Terrier. It's
24 1.00; do you have many more questions to ask?
25 MR. TERRIER: About 10 to 15 minutes, but
1 that can be put off to tomorrow morning.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, we shall resume
4 The hearing is adjourned until tomorrow,
5 9.00 a.m.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
7 1.00 p.m., to be reconvened on
8 Thursday, the 6th day of May, 1999,
9 at 9.00 a.m.