1Monday, 12th July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: This is IT-95-16-T, the
7 Prosecutor versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
8 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic, and
9 Vladimir Santic.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. Good morning,
11 Professor Bringa.
12 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Would you please stand and
14 make the solemn declaration?
15 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
19 seated. Professor Bringa, could you, first of all,
20 give us a few details, your name, your date of birth,
21 your place of residence, and your present occupation.
22 THE WITNESS: My name is Tone Bringa. My
23 date of birth, 28/12/1960. My current address is
24 Washington, D.C.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you so much. You know
1that you have been called by the Court as an expert
2 witness, and actually, we do have your book, a
3 photocopy -- I don't know whether this was allowed by
4 the copyright -- of your book, "Being Muslim the
5 Bosnian Way," being published in 1995; therefore, we
6 are already familiar with your research work, at least
7 as it was culminated into your book of 1995.
8 Since you are an expert witness called by the
9 Court, we intend to proceed as follows: We will ask a
10 few questions, general questions, to you, mainly based
11 on your book. Then the Prosecution will examine you,
12 or cross-examine you, and at the end, the various
13 Defence counsel will also cross-examine you. We may,
14 at the end of the various stages of examination, we may
15 end up asking other questions of you.
16 Let me, first of all, ask you to briefly
17 recall how you carried out this research work in
18 Dolina -- I know it is a fictitious name -- in this
19 Muslim village. Just very briefly. You don't need to
20 summarise the whole book, of course, just a few
21 indications of when you went there, how you carried out
22 this research work, and maybe the main conclusions to
23 the extent that they're relevant to our trial. You
24 know that we are conducting trial proceedings about
25 some events which occurred in Ahmici on the 16th of
1April, '93, so therefore, I wonder whether you could
2 focus on those features of your research work which may
3 be of some relevance to us so as to give us the
4 background of the relations between the Catholics, as
5 you call them, the Catholics and the Muslims.
6 Afterwards, we will ask you specific questions.
7 WITNESS: TONE BRINGA
8 [A witness called by the Trial Chamber]
9 THE WITNESS: I arrived in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, then part of the Yugoslav
11 Federation, in June of 1997. I spent some weeks in
12 Sarajevo, at the ethnographic museum there. I was
13 looking for an appropriate rural community where I
14 could conduct my field research, and I was interested
15 in primarily the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as
16 European Muslims, and to look into their customs and
17 how they related to other groups in the area. I was
18 interested in the relationship between the Muslims and
19 the Christians, either the Catholics or the Orthodox
21 As it were, I ended up in Central Bosnia
22 where the ethnographic museum had contacts and this
23 particular village, which at the time consisted of a
24 population of -- now, I haven't got the statistics with
25 me so the number is probably not entirely accurate, but
1it's about 600, and two-thirds were Muslims and the
2 rest were Catholic Bosnians or Croats, Croatian
4 I stayed there for about 15 months, and I was
5 living with a Muslim family to get an insight into
6 everyday life and their concerns and their rituals. I
7 followed their rituals. I observed their lives, I also
8 participated in their lives, and that participation
9 also consisted of socialising with the Croats in the
10 village, going coffee-visiting -- actually, I was
11 participating in every aspect of life in the village.
12 Before the war, the relationship between the
13 Muslims and the Croats was good. They did share
14 aspects of their lives, but they also had separate
15 lives, particularly concerning the aspect of their
16 religious practices. The Catholics went to church and
17 celebrated their holidays; the Muslims went to the
18 mosque and celebrated their holidays, which separated
20 But there were other aspects of life which
21 integrated them, and particularly on an everyday
22 basis: They cooperated about the runnings of the
23 village, they had visited each other at life-cycle
24 events, and they took an interest in each other's
1Some families were more friendly with each
2 other than others. Some neighbours, whether they were
3 Muslim or Croat, were more friendly, and others got
4 along -- didn't get along that well. It was like, I
5 would say, any rural community that we know, any
6 neighbourhood where some neighbours got along very
7 well, and this was irrespective of whether they were
8 Croats or Muslims or Bosniaks. It had to do with
9 personalities, it had to do -- sometimes there were
10 fights about borders, you know, with properties, like
11 you have in many rural communities. There were
12 misunderstandings, there were some quarrels, but these
13 things then did not cut across -- it didn't cut across
14 or it wasn't -- did not have to do with the ethnic
15 community they belonged to. There were Croats and
16 Muslims who were very good friends, and some Croats who
17 were neighbours and didn't get along well and some
18 Muslims who were neighbours that didn't get along well.
19 My point is that, at that point, if there
20 were conflicts in the village, it was not interpreted
21 in terms of ethnicity, it was interpreted in other
22 terms. But, having said that, since people did not --
23 okay. Let me start again. There was a potential for
24 it, and I believe that a very important aspect of this
25 is that kinship is very important. The Muslims and the
1Croats did not intermarry. So in a conflict, which
2 could be anything from a quarrel about sheep that run
3 into your property, these kinds of conflicts, relatives
4 would often have strong loyalties to each other and
5 they would stand up for each other. So you would have
6 conflicts where people who were related sided with each
7 other against the person that they were then in
8 conflict with.
9 Since Muslims and Croats didn't intermarry,
10 you would often have -- you could have -- let me
11 rephrase -- the potential was there for having two
12 groups opposite each other siding with each other
13 because of kinship ties, but they coincided with ethnic
14 ties or ethnic identification. That is the point I
15 want to stress: The primary loyalty was kinship at
16 that time.
17 As we know, ethnicity and nationalism and
18 national rhetoric, nationalist rhetoric, often uses
19 the idiom of kinship to have people feel like one
20 group, to create a strong cohesion between a group,
21 the idiom of kinship is used. You talk about it in
22 terms of, you know, the fatherland or the motherland;
23 you invoke these sort of strong loyalties that lie in
25 Now, I have been talking about how it was
1before the war. I was saying that people there got
2 along well irrespective of whether they were Croats or
3 Muslims, that there were differences between people.
4 They were very aware of these differences that had to
5 do with, primarily, religious beliefs and religious
6 practices, but they relished in these differences, if I
7 may say. They were proud of them. They said, "This is
8 Bosnia. This is how we live in Bosnia." This was
9 truth for both the Croats in the community and the
10 Muslims. "This is what is Bosnia. There are three
11 different groups and we have different religions." But
12 that wasn't -- it didn't cause communities to feel --
13 that wasn't -- it didn't cause animosity. They were
14 tolerant of their differences.
15 Now, there were some, as I said, and to sum
16 up, some families were more friendly than others across
17 the ethnic boundaries and others were less, and this
18 had to do with family history, with personalities, with
19 who was their neighbour.
20 Now, the other thing that I have to say is
21 that being neighbours is a very important thing in
22 rural -- not only rural but also urban Bosnia, and the
23 explanation I was given for that, that their first
24 neighbour, their next-door neighbours are important,
25 was that they said, "You know, if we are ill, if we
1need something, if we need help, sometimes our
2 relatives don't live next door anymore." They used to,
3 maybe 20, 30 years ago, there were always -- relatives
4 used to live next door to each other and share a
6 So they said that, "Our first neighbour is
7 the most important person because he's the nearest
8 person." So they were careful to treat the first
9 neighbour well. But, of course, again there were
10 exceptions when you had a quarrel, where they didn't
11 get along, like in so many communities. For me, this
12 was nothing particular or nothing -- there was no -- I
13 could not see any potential for conflict any more there
14 than I could anywhere else that I've been.
15 So something had to change and, to me, from
16 what I observed and what I saw while I was there, I was
17 there in '87/'88, I was there in 1990, in '93, '95, and
18 '97, was that people changed gradually. As Yugoslavia
19 disintegrated, as nationalist politics, nationalist
20 ideologies took over the scene, people changed their
21 perceptions of who their neighbours were. They changed
22 identification. This is what and how do you explain,
23 "How did they change it?"
24 It didn't, to me, from what I saw, didn't
25 come from within. It wasn't a change that suddenly
1came from within when -- what can you say -- when the
2 communist state dissolved, it was something that was,
3 for me, from what I saw, very clearly mobilised from
5 This was expressed again and again by people
6 locally in how they talked about war. They would
7 repeatedly say, you know, "We here get along. We get
8 along." This was true for the Croats and Muslims.
9 "What we're afraid of is people from the outside, that
10 they come here and that they provoke things." To me,
11 that was an expression of -- also, they would say,
12 "This is something more powerful than us, what is
13 going on now."
14 Remember, this village where I was, near
15 Kiseljak, was one of the last villages to be engulfed
16 in the war, so they had been watching what was going on
17 around them for a long time. First Eastern Bosnia and
18 Northern Bosnia with the Bosnian Serb army, and then
19 north with the clashes between the HVO and the Bosnian
20 army. So they saw it moving closer and closer.
21 At the same time, they were listening to
22 propaganda on the news, and they heard about case of
23 terror, of massacres, and they were scared. Now, I can
24 talk a lot about how fear was whipped up and, to me,
25 this is the key to an understanding of how ordinary
1people ended up behaving, and how -- let me say, as an
2 anthropologist, I've been particularly concerned about
3 observing people locally, observing and trying to learn
4 about their concerns. I'm concerned with local
5 processes but also concerned about how the larger
6 events in -- the larger society, how politics,
7 large-scale politics influence people locally and how
8 it affects the dynamics between people locally, and
9 this is what I've been observing over a period of ten
11 I can say more about that if you like. I'm
12 not sure if you want to ask some more specific
13 questions, so whether you want me to --
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I, for one, would
15 like -- maybe my colleagues will ask you questions
16 about this particular problem you have just been
17 discussing. I, for one, would like to ask you two or
18 three specific questions. One relates to the
19 importance of the household in Bosnian villages, and
20 I'm referring to page 86 and 150 of your book.
21 I was struck by a passage in your book where
22 you say as follows, and I will read it out:
23 "When they lose their house, when they lose
24 all they have worked for in the past and much of what
25 they would have lived for in the future, and
2 No. Sorry. I read --
3 "When they lose their house, they lose all
4 they have worked for in the past and much of what they
5 would have lived for in the future. Particularly for
6 the man as father, and the house he managed to build
7 symbolised his social worth. It was the proof of his
8 hard work and commitment to his family and their future
10 Then you say:
11 "But the house of Kuca also represented the
12 moral unity of the household and the moral quality of
13 its members. While men were builders of the house,
14 women were the guardians of its moral values."
15 You have some more about the household on
16 page 150.
17 Now, could you elaborate on the importance of
18 the household for families in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
19 particularly in small villages? As you say in your
20 book, the household is a symbol of moral values and
21 also psychological attachments.
22 THE WITNESS: I think that the house may have
23 been particularly important during communist times
24 because there were aspects of your religious life, of
25 your ritual life that you could not express in public.
1So the arena or the place where you could express your
2 religious beliefs, perform your religious rituals was
3 the house, the household, the home.
4 That was one aspect of it, because if you
5 held a position, a higher position in Yugoslav society,
6 you had to be a member of the Communist Party, and as a
7 member of the Communist Party you could not express
8 your religious beliefs in public. You could not attend
9 public religious rituals. That was an important part
10 of it. That was true for all the ethnic groups.
11 But it was also where children grew up, where
12 they learned about their -- no. They learned values,
13 they learned about who they were through attending
14 rituals. There again, some of the things they learned
15 at home may have been in opposition to what they
16 learned in school. Again, it had to do with religious
17 beliefs and religious practices.
18 Now, I'm not saying that these religious
19 practices and beliefs were central in every home,
20 because there were some homes where this was not so
21 important, but in the rural communities particularly,
22 there was a much more traditional approach towards
23 religion. It was part of their whole set of customs
24 and traditions and it wasn't something you made a
25 conscious choice about, it was something you were born
2 Now, the house was also where people --
3 particularly before the war and also during the war, of
4 course, many people who lived in rural communities,
5 they had jobs. They commuted to jobs, semi-skilled
6 perhaps, factories in Sarajevo, but it wasn't enough to
7 keep up a living. So they also had an income from the
8 house, from the land that they had, and that was very
9 much the women who then tilled the land and they had
10 this extra income from the war. So this was very
12 During the war, the home became, at least in
13 the beginning, I think for both the Croatians and the
14 Bosniaks, the Bosniaks more throughout the war because
15 they had not so strong logistics support, that the
16 home, the house became logistics support. By that I
17 mean they went home to get fed and have their clothes
18 cleaned and all that. That was part of the house.
19 I'm not sure I've answered your question.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: No, no. Well, from reading
21 your book, I got the impression that according to your
22 research, actually, the house has tremendous
23 importance, psychological and emotional importance for
24 the people living in small villages.
25 THE WITNESS: Yes.
1JUDGE CASSESE: More than as a place where
2 you live and --
3 THE WITNESS: Yes.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: -- where you sleep, but it's
5 also a sort of place that which is a seat of
6 friendship, of links with other people, where you talk
7 to other people and so on.
8 THE WITNESS: Yes. I understand what you're
9 getting at. It was -- as I say in the book as well,
10 they spent years and years of their lives and sometimes
11 their whole lives saving money, working very hard to
12 build this house. They would build them in phases.
13 They would save up money and they would be able to
14 build the first floor. They would work very, very
15 hard, save up more money. They didn't take up credit.
16 They paid for it themselves and they built it
17 themselves when they could buy some more material.
18 So they put their -- it was also -- they
19 would have maybe an extra floor that they'd then extend
20 to when their children grew up. So it was an
21 investment not only for themselves but also for the
22 next generation. They were proud of their house.
23 There were some people who went on migration, they went
24 to work abroad, and they come back and build bigger
1This was the place, particularly in winter,
2 which can be long and cold, where people socialised.
3 They'd meet in each other's houses. There would be
4 Croatians visiting Muslims, Muslims visiting Croats.
5 They sit there, they would drink coffee throughout the
6 long nights, and they would chat about events in the
7 village. So it was a very important place for
8 socialising, and it was where also hospitality comes
9 into it.
10 Hospitality is a very important concept in
11 Bosnia. When you have guests, you want to offer them
12 the best. That's a way of conveying your social
13 standing, by being able to offer the best to guests
14 when they enter your house.
15 You would take off your shoes when you enter
16 a house, which is also a sign that you are now entering
17 this distinction between the outside and the inside.
18 This is also true for both groups.
19 So the house is very much part of your -- the
20 house you managed to build throughout your lifetime,
21 when that's destroyed it's not only a physical thing
22 that's destroyed, but it feels -- it's an attack on
23 your whole being because you put so much into it. You
24 put work into it but it's also what, in away, is what
25 represents you for others. It's what tells others, to
1an extent, who you are, what you are, what you have
2 achieved. That you have a nice clean home was very
3 important. This was also true for both groups, that
4 you were tidy, that you kept it nice. If they weren't
5 rich and didn't have so much, they always put a lot of
6 work into it.
7 So it is a very important destruction, the
8 destruction of the house. When people lost their house
9 and it was destroyed, it was overwhelming because they
10 couldn't see how they would find the energy to rebuild
11 it. It was about also, of course, rebuilding their
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Two minor
14 questions, one about the importance of livestock. We
15 heard a lot of evidence about the, say, cows, pigs, and
16 so on, and I realised how much people were attached to
17 the livestock, the animals. Is this an importance only
18 placed on the economic value of the livestock because
19 you get money, because you get meat, or milk, or does
20 it go beyond the economic value of the animals? Based
21 on your research, do you feel it's just a question of
22 economic value?
23 THE WITNESS: Okay. Primarily, yes, but,
24 again, it can take on a symbolic value, and that -- if
25 we are now talking about Croats and Bosniaks, Croats
1and Muslims, it would be in terms of what kind of
2 animals they have. Now, the Croats, they have pigs and
3 the Muslims do not have pigs, they have sheep, which
4 also the Croats have, but they have then -- also they
5 have chickens. So it takes on -- it's more not having
6 the livestock but it's more what you eat, and that is a
7 distinctive trait between the two groups, that the
8 Croats eat pork while the Muslims don't. But this is
9 something, actually, before the war, they were very
10 respectful towards each other about this, at least from
11 what I observed in the families that I knew, when a
12 Muslim visited Croat households, they would be
13 respectful of this. They would not serve them anything
14 with pork fat.
15 So I don't think there really is very much
16 more to that. In this particular village, actually,
17 there was one shepherd, he was a Croat, and he took
18 care of the livestock, the sheep, of both the Muslims
19 and the Croats.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I have two more
21 questions, one is a minor question, but in your book,
22 on page 39, you point out that it was easy to
23 distinguish Catholic houses from Muslim houses because
24 the Muslim houses were square, as is the village
25 mosque, you say, while the Catholic houses were
1rectangular, except for one, as you say on page 57,
2 there was just one house which did not fit in this sort
3 of distinction. We heard evidence about the roof. I
4 thought the main difference was to be found in the
5 different shapes of the roofs, but I understand from
6 your book, actually, that the whole house had a
7 different shape in the case of Catholics and in the
8 case of Muslims.
9 Was it easy for an outsider to distinguish
10 between a Catholic and a Muslim house just because of
11 the different shape of the house, one was square, one
12 was rectangular -- some were rectangular --
13 THE WITNESS: There are a few things. Well,
14 of course, the roof affects the shape of the building.
15 Now, I think what I described on that page is the upper
16 part of the village, the old part. It's a village that
17 stretches out, so in the new part of the village, there
18 were many more houses that were the same. There were
19 newer houses, built often by younger people and people
20 who had earned money abroad, and they, you could not
21 distinguish between the Croat and the Bosniak houses.
22 In the upper part, the old part, this is true, there
23 was only one, and the Croat houses often have a cross
24 carved in up underneath the roof.
25 Now, for an outsider, again, if they know
1about these differences, they could tell. Now, I'm not
2 sure -- I think it's very specific to Bosnia and
3 particularly Central Bosnia, and I don't know whether
4 they would know about it. That, I have no idea about.
5 But also, of course, every village would have houses
6 that were not distinct in this way. The newer houses
7 would not be distinct; they'd look more -- they would
8 sort of be, I would say, probably inspired by
9 architecture in Austria or something like that, I don't
11 So, again, some houses could be, if you knew
12 about these distinctions, and other houses couldn't.
13 You would need to know who lived there.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: As a result, somebody coming
15 from outside, say from a different area, region, or a
16 part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it would not be easy to
17 immediately identify Catholic or Croat houses on the
18 one side and Muslim houses on the other side.
19 THE WITNESS: I believe not. If they did not
20 know about this distinction or if houses were -- there
21 were many houses that were the same, were newer
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Now, my last question
24 in a way is linked up to what you said at the outset
25 when you spoke about the potential for conflict. I am
1reading in particular page 67 and the following pages
2 where you speak of the shared values. I was wondering
3 whether, actually, already in 1988, when you carried
4 out most of your research work in a Bosnian village,
5 you identified some seeds of hatred, of ethnic or
6 religious hatred. Actually, it amounts to -- it boils
7 down to asking you to elaborate on what you said before
8 when you spoke about the potential for conflict. Yes.
9 You call it "potential for conflict." I would term it
10 "seeds of ethnic or religious tension or friction or
12 THE WITNESS: Yes. As I already said, as in
13 any community, close-knit community, there are
14 potential for conflicts, which are often based in
15 quarrels about property, differences which have to do
16 with different personalities and so on. But, of
17 course, the fact that Bosniaks and Croats distinguished
18 themselves by religion means that there is a great
19 symbolic potential -- let me rephrase. There are
20 strong symbols to play on for somebody who would like
21 to play out the differences between people, and I
22 believe that it is really, again, it is up to -- it is
23 not something that can just develop from the inside,
24 there has to be something else that puts this in
25 motion, and it depends, you know, you can -- as
1somebody who governs an area, who is in a position of
2 power, they can stress the potential for harmony, for
3 living together, because that was just as strong, if
4 not even stronger, they can stress what these people
5 have in common, what they shared; but you can also
6 stress what's different and what separates these
7 people, but you can stress it in such a way that it
8 becomes a negative, it becomes a threat.
9 Yes, there were instances in the village, as
10 I said, but then often it wasn't interpreted in terms
11 of ethnicity. Now, what was happening? There has been
12 a lot of talk about ethnic hatreds of Bosnia and that
13 they were present and they were kept in check by
14 Titoism. I see it differently. I did not see ethnic
15 hatreds. What I saw was an escalating fear, I saw
16 increasing fear, and fear that eventually, through
17 violence, through terror, through harassment, turned
18 into hatred. Something had to be done to people. They
19 had to change the way they perceived the other.
20 Now, I can give you an example. While war
21 was raging -- this was in January 1993 -- while war was
22 raging around this area, people were still, although
23 slightly started to -- communities started to separate
24 because the men, the Croat men, participated in one
25 army and the Bosniak men participated in a different
1army and they were clashing for the north, but they
2 were still trying to keep up relations, particularly
3 the women who weren't separated in armies. But I would
4 then hear, in this particular instance, I would hear a
5 young -- this was an incident, it just happened to be a
6 young Croat who said -- who talked about the Muslims in
7 very general terms. They were rather racist, you
8 know. He was using these denigrating terms for Muslims
9 and talking about, in very general terms, that they
10 were out to get them, that -- well, things that I
11 recognised from some of the propaganda that was sent
12 over the media, the Croatian-controlled media.
13 Now, he was saying -- and that suddenly
14 switched because he started talking about his next-door
15 neighbour, who was a Muslim, and he said, "Well, he's
16 very -- he's okay. He's very nice." And he tried to
17 talk about him in very individual -- you know, in terms
18 of personality traits and that he liked him and that he
19 trusted him and that he had nothing to do with this
20 other group, that was a very general term, "out there,"
21 the Muslims "out there."
22 Now, at one point, this is a process
23 whereby -- then this young man that I'm using as an
24 example, he could be any young man, starts associating
25 this next-door neighbour that he knew well, that he
1grew up with, with that larger group of Muslims who are
2 out to get them or threaten them or ...
3 And then, at that point, when that happens,
4 he distances himself from his neighbour and his
5 neighbour becomes just "they," "the enemy," he loses
6 all his personal traits, he becomes an individual
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Thank you so
10 JUDGE MUMBA: I wanted to find out about the
11 families. In the Muslim families, was there any
12 distinction in terms of, I would say, human value
13 between sons and daughters? Would their family
14 prefer --
15 THE WITNESS: No, I wouldn't say there was
16 any distinction in human value, but they would just --
17 in this rural community, which was quite traditional,
18 they were brought up to take care of different aspects
19 of life. They were given different roles, they were
20 even given different tasks. Having said that -- no,
21 there wasn't a difference, but it was important often
22 to have a son because the son is what continues the
23 line. It is -- what should we say? -- call it
24 a patrilineal society where the name is carried from
25 father to son.
1JUDGE MUMBA: So would you say that the birth
2 of a son would be celebrated more than the birth of a
3 daughter, or if a family had sons only, they would be
4 much happier than those who had only daughters?
5 THE WITNESS: No, I don't think so. I
6 really -- I can't -- I'm going through my mind to see
7 whether there were any such cases. It was a great
8 event when a baby was born. I can say it was important
9 to have a son, but I can't speak for these families
10 that then only had daughters. I would assume they were
11 happy with the daughters, that they didn't treat -- you
12 know, express anything that would have me say that they
13 were not happy.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm asking this question
15 because the evidence we have received was that the
16 killings were to eliminate the male line, for instance.
17 THE WITNESS: Yeah. I mean, if this is --
18 this is what you -- I would again say that it was
19 important because it continued the family, but I can't
20 talk about whether people were disappointed or unhappy
21 if they only had daughters, but it was important to be
22 able to continue the line. And also men, of course,
23 eventually became soldiers.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you so much. I think
1it is now for the Prosecution to ask questions.
2 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Examined by Mr. Terrier:
4 Q. Good morning. My name is Franck Terrier, I
5 am one of the representatives for the Prosecution in
6 this trial, and I am going to ask you in French a few
7 questions further to your testimony and after I have
8 read your book and learned about the film in which you
9 participated which was broadcast by the BBC.
10 You lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1986
11 and '87 for 15 months. Could you clarify what the
12 period was when you went back to that village that we
13 will call Dolina?
14 A. Yes. I went back first in 1990, which is
15 just prior to the elections, it was in the middle of
16 the election campaign, and I went back then again in
17 1993. I went back in January of 1993. I spent three
18 weeks there in January, and I believe the dates were
19 January the 22nd to February the 14th. Then we left on
20 the 14th. We then learnt from the U.N. headquarters
21 that the village had been attacked, so we went back,
22 and this was in April, we went back April 29th, and I
23 was there until May the 3rd. This is in 1993. Then I
24 went back in '95 and, as I said, in '97.
25 Q. The film broadcast by the BBC, which is
1called "We Were All Neighbours," therefore was filmed
2 in January and February and then in April and May of
3 1993; is that correct?
4 A. That's correct.
5 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Madam. Your Honour,
6 shall we show this film or -- can I assume that
7 everybody has seen it and simply refer to it?
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Is it a very long film? We
9 didn't see it, we Judges. It would be interesting to
10 see it.
11 MR. TERRIER: Yes, I think it would be. It
12 is a film which runs for about 50 minutes. It is the
13 film that was made for the BBC essentially by the
14 witness and in the village that we are speaking about
15 in the book, at the beginning of 1993, and then after
16 the events of April, toward the end of April and May
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Did you give the cassette to
19 the Defence?
20 MR. TERRIER: I believe I did, yes. I think
21 that we gave it at the same time as we gave the copy of
22 the book; is that correct?
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, the
25 Prosecutor probably got confused. He did give us a
1copy of the book, to the representatives of the
2 Defence; however, we never received a copy of the film,
3 so we cannot say anything about it. If questions are
4 going to be put in relation to the film, we would like
5 to see it too.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. I think it would be
7 worth seeing. All right. We are going to see the
9 (Videotape played)
10 JUDGE CASSESE: There is no translation, I
11 understand, for Defence counsel, Bosnian or Croatian.
12 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, we don't have a
13 transcript in Bosnian.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Perhaps the interpreters
15 could help us out with that?
16 Let me turn to the interpreters. Could you
17 interpret from English into Bosnian?
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters are saying
19 that they can try but that they can't guarantee the
21 JUDGE CASSESE: The Prosecutor doesn't have a
22 transcript. Well, let's try to have some
23 interpretation. It won't be perfect, but we can have
25 All right. We can start from the beginning.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Before we take a break, may I
3 ask the Prosecutor whether they're going to tender the
4 document into evidence?
5 MR. TERRIER: Yes, Your Honour. I would add
6 that when we spoke about Tone Bringa's book, I was also
7 speaking about the film. Both of them are absolutely
8 unassociable (sic). The same people that we see in the
9 film are those that are spoken about in the book.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Any objection from the
11 Defence counsel? No objection. So it is admitted into
12 evidence and we will adjourn now for 30 minutes.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.50 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.25 a.m.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Terrier.
16 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Your Honour. If you
17 allow me, I would like to give some information briefly
18 to the Tribunal.
19 On the 6th of October, 1998, in this
20 courtroom we spoke about the suitability or
21 appropriateness of giving to the Tribunal the book,
22 "Being Muslim the Bosnian Way" and the film "We Are
23 All Neighbours."
24 The court decided that we should present the
25 film and the book and to disclose them both to the
1Defence. We assert that we did that on the 12th of
2 October, 1998, and on the 15th of October, 1998 there
3 was a new discussion, a further discussion, I'm
4 referring to the transcript, that was on the 12th, in
5 which I say that I disclose those documents that are
6 pending before the court and which were given to the
7 Defence in accordance with the instructions of the
8 Trial Chamber. These are the instructions that I can
9 give you after having checked on this during the break,
10 but I hope this will not be the source of any type
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Pavkovic?
13 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, just a brief
14 clarification. It is correct what my colleague from
15 the Prosecution has said. However, we initially
16 received only a summarised version of it, and then we
17 requested to be given the whole version, which we
18 received as a photocopy, and it was a single set. That
19 is all.
20 The Defence has no reason to deny that it had
21 received this tape, but we never received the book and
22 this is what I submit to you.
23 After the Prosecution is finished with their
24 examination, we can see whether this was relevant for
25 our examination. Again, I would like to underscore
1that we never received the cassette but we do not want
2 to raise any problems over it.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I find it very
4 strange. I mean, you hand over both the book and the
5 videotape to the Defence, and they -- you never got the
6 videotape. But you did receive the book, I mean, the
8 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Yes, yes.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Later. Only the book.
10 MR. PAVKOVIC: Yes. We only received the
11 book, no videotape or a transcript of this videotape.
12 But again, let me emphasise: The Defence is not going
13 to raise that as an objection, as a problem. Again, I
14 don't want to repeat myself, but we will just wait out
15 to see what the Prosecution is going to make of this.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Pavkovic.
17 Mr. Terrier?
18 MR. TERRIER:
19 Q. Ms. Bringa, the individuals we saw in the
20 cassette are those that you described -- whose lives
21 you described in your book; is that correct?
22 A. Yes. Some of them. Some of the people who
23 appear are in the book. Sorry, let me rephrase that.
24 Some of the people who appear in the book are also in
25 the film.
1Q. It would appear that in April of 1993, the
2 village which we call Dolina was attacked by the HVO.
3 In your book, I believe it's page 16 of the preface,
4 you state that the attack had been prepared by
5 foreigners from outside the village but that some
6 Croats who lived in the village had participated in
7 that preparation. Could you tell us what your source
8 is for stating that?
9 A. Could I look up -- could I see that page just
10 so that I'm sure I get it straight, please? Okay. I
11 don't know quite where to start because this was
12 obviously a process that went on for some time. It was
13 clear that -- well, I can give you one example that may
14 illustrate what you're asking me.
15 When we first arrived in the village in
16 January, the Muslims and the Croats in the village had
17 held common patrols in the upper part of the village,
18 which is where the settlement was most dense and the
19 houses of Croats and Muslims were closest to each
20 other. So they went in groups of two, two Croats and
21 two Muslims, to guard their houses, because they still
22 have this opinion that they could protect themselves
23 from outsiders and it would be an attack which would be
24 waged by outsiders.
25 Now, during our stay there, these common
1patrols, they discontinued. I asked -- there was one
2 particular Muslim in the village who was very -- who
3 was very central in organising these patrols, and when
4 I asked him why they did not hold common patrols any
5 more, he said that his Croat neighbours had got orders
6 to discontinue them.
7 Now, did I ask the Croats who went in the
8 patrols? No, I did not. This is maybe something you
9 will return to, but we were not allowed to film Croat
10 men in uniform in the village.
11 Q. During your stay in May of 1993, did you have
12 any conversations with representatives of UNPROFOR? In
13 the film we see that you could go back to Dolina with
14 the assistance of a vehicle from UNPROFOR. Did the
15 soldiers give you any information about what had
16 happened in Dolina?
17 A. Yes. When we left in February, we knew that
18 there was a campaign going on in the area, and we also
19 knew that the area was under the control of the HVO and
20 that reading, listening to the media, reading
21 newspapers, and listening to how local Croats were
22 talking about it, we knew this was an area they
23 considered theirs, which I'm sure you've been talking
24 about before, meaning this would be part of their
25 territory that they would control under the peace plan,
1particularly the Vance-Owen Plan.
2 In Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia, because
3 it lacked the democratic tradition, when one side was
4 in control that meant total control. Power sharing was
5 not a known phenomena, except -- and also
6 representation in political, full-out wars on the basis
7 of ethnicity.
8 Now, it was an area which was considered by
9 the Croatian local government and the HVO as a Croat
10 area. We then knew this and we kept in touch. The
11 only way to keep in touch -- we were trying to find out
12 what was happening. We called the UNPROFOR
13 headquarters in Kiseljak, and they told us that there
14 had been fighting and that village had been attacked,
15 but they didn't know much more than that. They hadn't
16 been there yet to see.
17 So we made a decision -- we were discussing
18 what to do. We made a decision to go back and try and
19 find out what had happened. We left in two days.
20 Q. I would like to go back to the idea of
21 neighbourliness that you mentioned in the book,
22 particularly on page 65 and on the following pages.
23 You say, if I've understood you correctly,
24 you state that between the two communities, that is,
25 the Muslim and the Croat community, over the years and
1perhaps even over scores of years, social relationships
2 that were very specific had developed, relationships
3 that were almost ritualised, whose object was to
4 provide security for everybody in the village.
5 Did I understand what you said in the book
6 correctly in respect of the relationship between
8 A. If you could just specify what you mean by
10 Q. I'm merely referring to the fact that each of
11 the members in the community that found themselves
12 living as neighbours in the village, wanted to avoid
13 any source of conflict.
14 A. Yes. That's correct.
15 Q. Do you have the feeling that these
16 neighbourly relationships were able to operate because
17 in some way, and specifically during the period before
18 the elections of November 1990, the state authorities,
19 that is, the Federal state authorities, guaranteed
20 them, and that when that authority disappeared, the
21 neighbourly relationships became very fragile and could
22 no longer ensure that the various inhabitants of the
23 various communities would be able to live in safety.
24 A. I don't know what you have in mind
25 particularly. I don't know which way the Federal
1authorities would secure neighbourliness since this is
2 something that grows out of the situation on an
3 individual basis, and it's nothing -- a state can't
4 control people's emotions and their everyday life to a
5 certain extent.
6 So I disagree with that. I do not believe it
7 was the Federal authorities that guaranteed that
8 people -- neighbourliness, that people went along, that
9 they visited each other for coffee, that they shared in
10 each other's life-cycle events, that they took a real
11 interest in each other and that they cared for each
13 Q. In your book, you state that as regards the
14 relationship between the neighbours, the members of
15 each of the communities had the very strong feeling of
16 belonging to a community which was not the other one.
17 The Muslims know that they were not Croats and the
18 Croats know that they are -- that they're Croats and
19 not Muslims.
20 In particular, you mentioned the notion of
21 interethnic marriages. You state that those marriages
22 were not looked upon with a favourable eye or at least
23 were not really approved of by the inhabitants.
24 In the village of Dolina, were there any
25 interethnic marriages; that is, one of the two spouses
1would be a member of a different community or both
2 would be?
3 A. Yes. There were two to my knowledge. There
4 were two between a Muslim man and a Serb woman. There
5 were one that -- there were two that I knew of, but
6 they moved out of the village, between a Croat man and
7 a Muslim woman, but they'd moved out.
8 Q. Could you tell us, Ms. Bringa, what it was in
9 the village's daily life, that is, that village of
10 Dolina, what distinguished one community from the other
11 in daily life? Was it the way people dressed, the way
12 people ate, the cultural customs, things of that
14 A. There were a set of things and some these
15 things that are mentioned have changed over time, like
16 the dress. Older Muslim women would wear dimija,
17 they're baggy trousers, and they wear a headscarf.
18 Actually, there was an old Croat woman in the village
19 who was also wearing dimija and a headscarf. Several
20 of them, as you saw, were wearing headscarves.
21 So this was actually common, that 20, 30
22 years ago all women would wear dimija, although, the
23 Catholic women would wear black. So they were
24 distinguished by colour.
25 For the younger generation, there were not
1any differences, any concrete differences. There were
2 perceptions about it some ways, that some of the more
3 modern, fashionable girls would consider -- Muslim
4 girls, particularly from further up the village, I
5 think it was rather a class thing than it was ethnic
6 thing, but they didn't dress as modern. But this is
7 more to do with education, with the fact that you go to
8 urban areas and such influences.
9 There were differences, as I mentioned
10 before, in what they ate. Croat Catholics would cook
11 in pork fat, which gave a particular smell when you
12 cooked, and the Muslims would cook in oil, which would
13 give a different smell. They would recognise these
14 smells in each other's houses, and there would be --
15 you know, pork was a difference.
16 Otherwise, of course, religion and the
17 holidays. The Croats, they celebrated, Christmas,
18 Christian Christmas, and Easter, and other Christian
19 holidays. The Muslims celebrated the Islamic
21 The interesting thing was that there was
22 exchange during these times. There was a tradition
23 during Easter, for instance, that the Catholic
24 children, Catholic Croat children, they would paint
25 eggs and come and give them to Muslim children. At the
1Muslim holiday of Bajram, they would invite their Croat
2 neighbours for the cakes and sharing the sweet cakes
3 with them. So they visited each other, although, when
4 it was -- when the religious ritual took place in the
5 mosque, in the church, of course, obviously they were
7 But they went to the same schools. They
8 worked in the same factories. They shopped in the same
9 shops. They did the same things. They were sharing in
10 the local council which took care of village affairs.
11 There was one Croat, one Muslim. They cared for the
12 community together.
13 Q. I believe that you say in your book that
14 during that period before the war, the feelings of
15 difference changed into something else, something of
16 foreignness, that the other person became the enemy. I
17 don't have the exact reference in my mind, but I think
18 you say that someplace.
19 In your opinion, how can one explain this
20 change, this sudden change from the other, the
21 foreigner, into the enemy, during the months and weeks
22 that preceded the time in question?
23 A. I think that the woman we saw in the film,
24 Slavka, explains it very well, and although it appeared
25 to the individuals that finally changed their
1perception as something sudden, it suddenly happened,
2 they had been under pressure for some time.
3 Now, what she says, she says, "It's difficult
4 to understand," and she talks how the war moves closer,
5 and that they always shared in things and that they
6 lived together, and as long as it was out there and it
7 didn't affect them personally, the war, the clashes
8 between the HVO and the Bosnian army, which involved
9 men and also civilians, as you know, so long as it was
10 out there and nobody in the village was affected, they
11 could distance themselves from it and say, "It's a war
12 between two units," you know, and, "We're not -- it's
13 not concerning us. We will manage to stay in peace.
14 Then when it moves closer, like if somebody near to
15 you, somebody you know, is hurt, then it changes.
16 But also, what she says is that, "I don't
17 understand it." You know, "I changed my perceptions in
18 one day," is how she says this. It doesn't mean one
19 day, but it's to express her suddenness. But she
20 says -- which wasn't translated in the film because
21 some things -- we couldn't translate everything, you
22 know, with reading the subtext, she says that that
23 thing was created. She said, "Stvaranje. That was
24 created," and she does like this (witness
25 demonstrating). This is -- a Muslim woman told me the
1same thing. She said, "It's something bigger than
3 What was this bigger than them? Well, it was
4 propaganda constantly in the media. The radio station
5 at the time was run from -- which the Croats listened
6 to was run from Grude in Herzegovina, and it constantly
7 was repeating these things, that the Muslims were
8 wanting to create a state where there was no place for
9 the Croats, where they may be massacred, killed. They
10 would exclude them and they would talk about the
11 Muslims in that degenerating way. They would use words
12 that were -- I could say -- call them racist, meaning
13 that they described them in a very -- as a less --
14 being of less value.
15 They would constantly talk about what the
16 enemy -- they would use terms, the language would be
17 "enemy," "of the enemy," and what they were up to and
18 what they would do to the Croats.
19 Also, at the same time, of course, playing on
20 Croatian national symbols, religious symbols, the flag,
21 as we saw. The idea then also that things happened.
22 There were violent incidents. There were massacres.
23 You don't necessarily need a massacre by the
24 opposite group to give the message that you're in
25 danger. It can just as well be a massacre that your
1own group have committed against the other, because it
2 would give the message that, you know, "As long as
3 you're one of us, you're okay. We'll protect you ."
4 But if you're not, you're in danger. You'll be, you
5 known, defined as the enemy.
6 This escalation of fear, that people don't
7 have anything to hold onto, anything secure, their
8 daily lives are disrupted. The things that were
9 certain points that they could hold onto in life aren't
10 there any more; they're disoriented. What do people
11 do? This is very general. This is a process that
12 happens in similar situations everywhere. They
13 withdraw into secure groups where loyalty is not a
14 question because you are born into the group; your
15 membership is not questioned, you don't have to
16 qualify. It is very easy. This is the nation, it is
17 the ethnic group, the kinship group, which has this
18 thing in common, its nation is spoken about in terms of
19 blood ties. So you're born into it. This is secure.
20 You withdraw more and more and more and the enemy is
21 out there, and as soon as you stop socialising with the
22 representatives of this so-called "other group," you
23 have no way of checking reality, you have no way of
24 checking whether all this propaganda that you are
25 absorbing, you have no way of checking it against
1reality. Who are these people? So you are building up
2 an enemy picture. You want to protect yourself and, in
3 the end, the only protection is, you feel, with your
4 own group, that group that you're defined as a member
6 I don't know if that answers your question.
7 Q. Yes, you've answered my question. But your
8 answer gives rise to another question: Are you
9 familiar with another period of history, for example,
10 the history of Europe or the history of another
11 continent, where propaganda like that that you
12 described did not extend over a long time, only a few
13 months? Do you know of other examples when propaganda
14 would cause such serious and such intense problems? By
15 that I mean, I am thinking about different episodes
16 from history where propaganda transformed neighbours or
17 communities into enemies but the propaganda went on
18 over a much greater amount of time, was much more
19 intense than the propaganda you were referring to a
20 little while ago, that is, Busovaca Television or
21 Kiseljak Television. Wasn't there something very
22 specific in this case which was unprecedented and
23 which, in the end, is not something that one can
25 A. No, I actually believe that the explanation
1is quite simple, and I do think that this was not
2 something that happened in Bosnia because the Bosnians
3 are particularly prone to it, but in those sort of
4 circumstances that I was in, you have to have a
5 particular mixture of circumstances when this becomes
6 possible, that people change their perceptions, they
7 change their idea of identity, and they are willing to
8 go out and, you know, kill people of the opposite
10 This is a process where -- well, it is a long
11 story, but it has to do with the dissolution of
12 Yugoslavia, it has to do with the economic situation,
13 it has to do particularly about the kind of leadership
14 that were voted into power and what sort of symbols
15 they were using, what sort of rhetoric they were using
16 to mobilise people to support them.
17 Now, has it happened other times in history?
18 Yes, I believe it has. I believe it is a well-known
19 recipe, a well-known cocktail of nationalist
20 propaganda, of racist propaganda, where the people who
21 believe in the superiority of their own group are
22 willing to also expel that group that may not go along
23 with their plans, and I don't want to mention a
24 particular incident but I can only guess that you have
25 had similar processes in Rwanda, for instance, you have
1had similar processes in Europe during the Second World
2 War when a nationalist ideology forced people into
3 homogeneous groups where they were willing to commit
5 Q. Did you feel in 1987, 1988, and then in 1993,
6 that the members of the Croatian community that you
7 were able to meet with made references to the history
8 of their country and their community? In their daily
9 life, was this an important aspect?
10 A. It was not mentioned before the war. The
11 only few references I had then were humorous ones
12 about -- there was the priest in the area, a Catholic
13 priest, and a Muslim family had the same surname, so
14 they made humorous jokes about, you know, how this came
15 about and that probably the brother of his
16 great-grandfather or something had turned to Islam some
17 hundred years ago. That was the only reference then
18 because there was no history of conflict between the
19 Croats and the Muslims in this area.
20 But what I did -- yes, I did in 1993 when I
21 was back, and to me it sounded like not something that
22 they had actually suddenly realised but something that
23 they had either read or heard somewhere. There were
24 references to, for instance, that all the land there
25 was really Croatian land, it should be owned by the
1Croats because the Muslims took it away from them
2 during the Ottoman times and it originally had been
3 their land. That was one comment that was made.
4 Beyond that, yes, that this part, that Bosnia
5 was really Croatia, had been a part of Croatia, but
6 there wasn't that much actual reference to history as
7 you would see on the Bosnian Serb side, I believe
8 because there was actually -- there had been -- the
9 last contention about history.
10 Q. When one looks at the videotape, one has the
11 feeling that the Muslims who expressed themselves found
12 themselves on the defensive, that was in January and
13 February of 1993, and that the members of the Croatian
14 community had more assurances and felt more sure
15 themselves and had a greater will to conquer people,
16 the idea of a defensive Muslim community and a
17 conquering type of Croatian community makes me wonder
18 whether what you saw corresponds with what we saw in
19 the film.
20 A. I didn't quite understand your last comment,
21 but I will comment on the first part of it.
22 Yes, there was definitely the idea on the
23 Croatian side that this now was theirs and that they
24 were in control. One way -- I can give you several
25 examples. For instance, the local kindergarten where
1they decided -- this was before -- I guess in '92, when
2 they decided to celebrate, for the children, Christmas,
3 and one of the employees, who I think was a Serb woman,
4 said, "What about, you know, Muslim Bajram and Orthodox
5 Christmas?" And she said, "Well, you know" -- this was
6 the person in charge there -- "Those who want to
7 celebrate Bajram, they can move to Visoko, and those
8 who want to celebrate Orthodox Christmas can move to, I
9 don't know, Foca, or somewhere." So there was an idea
10 that this was now Croatian territory, and they also
11 said, you know, that the Muslims now are -- you know,
12 they're like in the bottom of a fildjan -- a fildjan is
13 a small coffee cup without handles -- and they can't go
14 anywhere, they can't go up, they can't go down, you
15 know, to the sides, so what are they going to do with
16 this little fildjan, which was a way of talking about
17 what was left of the Bosnia that the Sarajevo
18 government was controlling?
19 There were lots of comments like that, but
20 there was definitely -- they were in control, you saw
21 on the film and that was the case, it was HVO that
22 controlled the area, it was HVO we had to ask
23 permission from for filming, it was -- we had to go
24 through HVO checkpoints to get into Kiseljak. Muslims
25 were scared of going in, and if they did, you saw they
1went by bus or walked because if they went by car, the
2 car was taken away from them. This happened. And if
3 Muslim men went in, they were -- Muslim men of fighting
4 age, that is, they were taken into the police station
5 for interrogation.
6 So there was increasing pressure. The Muslim
7 aid organisation that delivered food and aid to the
8 Muslims, the Merhamet, was closed down. The person who
9 led it was arrested. So there was some increasing
10 intensity, you know, and the pressure on the Muslims
11 increased and they were getting increasingly worried,
12 and a parallel thing did not happen to the Croatian
13 community in this area.
14 Q. I have a final question, Ms. Bringa. It has
15 to do with religious practices and the mosque. In your
16 book you say that the Dolina mosque was in the middle
17 of the village. In any case, in the neighbourhood, the
18 Muslim neighbourhood, in that village, whereas the
19 Catholic church was on the outside. Did each
20 community's religious practices have so much importance
21 for the community and were those practices tolerated by
22 the other community? Was tolerance something which was
23 real when you were in the village or was there a change
24 in that respect?
25 A. When I was there at the end of the '80s, yes,
1I mean, this was the way it always had been as long as
2 these people could remember and also their parents
3 before them, that there had been a mosque in the
4 village where the Muslims went and they knew, you know,
5 the Croat -- and there was a church that actually was
6 quite derelict in the early '80s but had been rebuilt
7 which was on the outside of the village, it was in a
8 different part of this opstina, this commune. They had
9 always observed each other -- I mean, they knew about
10 each other's holidays. They sometimes got it slightly
11 wrong. And this was the way it had always been. And
12 they would ask about each other's holiday a bit. And
13 the Muslims would go to the mosque and they would have
14 their -- and funerals, for instance, was an interesting
15 thing because Muslims would attend -- if a Croat in the
16 village that they had been friendly with, if he had
17 Muslim friends, they would attend the funeral and vice
18 versa, and they were made -- if there was, say -- now,
19 according to Islam, women are not allowed to attend at
20 the ceremony by the graveyard, they can stay in the
21 house, but they accommodated, if there was a woman who
22 was Christian who wanted to attend because she knew the
23 deceased, they would let her attend and do it her way,
24 lay flowers on the grave or do it her way to express
25 her sorrow or her respects in her way.
1So this was -- it's always been there and it
2 wasn't something that suddenly had come from the
3 outside and suddenly people had to try and adapt to
4 this presence of this group with different practices or
5 a different religion, this was -- the whole dynamic of
6 the community was like that.
7 Did it change? Well, I'm not sure what you
8 mean. Of course, because religion was the main
9 distinguishing factor, the aspects of religion fed into
10 the propaganda by using negative terms about religion
11 by, maybe in some instances, ridiculing it, but then --
12 and obviously the Muslim religious buildings were
13 destroyed. They weren't destroyed -- the mosque was
14 destroyed and another religious building, which is a
15 holy grave, was destroyed, not in the attack in April
16 but they went back in July. I was told it happened in
17 July. It wasn't destroyed in May. And so -- but also
18 there was the religious leadership -- I mean, this is
19 very individual, but I know the priest in this
20 particular area, he talked about peace and cohabiting
21 in peace for a long time, but there were others who
22 didn't so it's ...
23 Q. In your book I believe you said, at the end
24 of 1993, there was not a single Muslim in the village
25 of Dolina; is that correct?
1A. Sorry. Which date was it you mentioned
2 in ...
3 Q. At the end of 1993, December 1993.
4 A. December 1993. That's correct.
5 Q. Do you know what has happened to them since
6 or what has happened since? Did the Muslims come back?
7 A. Yes, I know what has happened since. They
8 have lived as internally displaced. Some people were
9 killed. Some were killed while they were kept in a
10 neighbouring village in a couple of houses for a long
11 time and were not allowed to go anywhere. Some died
12 then. They lived as internally displaced people in
13 other parts of the region where the Sarajevo government
14 was in control, where the Bosnian army was in control,
15 and they are, actually, now, as we speak, moving back,
16 and I've spoken to them about it and they say that
17 their neighbours who are still there are treating them
18 okay in the village, the people in the village I'm
19 talking about.
20 MR. TERRIER: Thank you very much for your
21 testimony, Ms. Bringa.
22 Your Honour, I have no further questions.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Counsel Pavkovic,
24 can you tell us who is going to cross-examine this
1MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, the Defence
2 attorneys would like to ask for a brief five-minute
3 break so that we could agree on a common position with
4 regard to the video footage we saw, and then we'll take
5 a position with regard to cross-examination as well.
6 (Trial Chamber confers)
7 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. So we will now
8 take a very short break of five minutes -- do you think
9 five minutes will be sufficient? Five. All right. A
10 five-minute break.
11 --- Recess taken at 12.08 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 12.15 p.m.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Pavkovic?
14 MR. PAVKOVIC: Is there any problem?
15 JUDGE CASSESE: No. There was not a
17 MR. PAVKOVIC: On behalf of the Defence
18 attorneys, I wish to inform you that we do accept this
19 video cassette and we can move on to cross-examination.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
21 MR. PAVKOVIC: However, I will have a few
22 questions for the witness, and then I would like to
23 announce Mr. Par and then Mr. Pasaric.
24 THE REGISTRAR: The video cassette will be
25 373, Prosecutor's Exhibit 373.
1MR. RADOVIC: Mr. Pasaric is my co-counsel.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Your co-counsel. All right.
3 So we start with Counsel Pavkovic, then Counsel Parr,
4 and then Counsel Pasaric.
5 MR. PAVKOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Examined by Mr. Pavkovic:
7 Q. My name is Petar Pavkovic, attorney at law.
8 I think it would be a good thing if you had a copy of
9 your book with you, and I would like us to discuss the
10 contents and I would like to ask you for a few
11 comments, please.
12 In the introductory part of this book, on
13 page number 5, 5, the numeral 5, in the last sentence
14 of the first section, you said the following -- I mean,
15 I am going to briefly present it the way I understood
16 your message.
17 You were saying that it was not your
18 intention for this research to apply to all of Bosnia
19 and its entire population. It is only a detailed study
20 of one link in the chain, as you put it very
21 picturesquely, that Bosnia consists. My question is
22 the following: Is this place that you did your
23 research in then a representative sample of
25 A. Yes. I do state -- I do not say it's not my
1intention that it should not apply to all of Bosnia but
2 I do say that this is one strand in that weave that
3 makes the Bosnian -- makes Bosnia. You asked me
4 whether it applies to all of Bosnia-Herzegovina. No,
5 it does not, because, for instance, there are parts of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina where there were Serbs and Muslims
7 who live together. This, I think, although this is a
8 particular village, and I'm very careful to say that,
9 and particular people with their idiosyncrasies, there
10 are some general traits that I think we could
11 generalise to a larger community. I think -- because
12 this is not the only place I went to. I visited other
13 parts of Central Bosnia. We would take or leave some
14 specifics which had to do with the composition of the
15 village, with the history of the village, with the
16 particular people who lived there, there are certain
17 general traits, and I think through this microcosm, you
18 can also come to an understanding of what was going on
19 in a wider context, but, as I said, take or leave
20 specific aspects of it.
21 Q. I have understood your point. So as a
22 scholar, you cannot say that this would be ...
23 You, as a scholar, you cannot say that this
24 would be a sample that could be applied to the entire
25 area; did I understand you correctly? Is it specific
1in many aspects?
2 A. Well, let me try and rephrase it. I believe
3 that this is a microcosm, and indeed I do not only
4 describe that particular village and those particular
5 houses but I do also talk about the larger region, and
6 this microcosm is a mirror of -- it does give us
7 insight into other communities that have similar
8 compositions that are in the same geographical area,
9 that have the same history. What I'm thinking about
10 now particularly are communities where Croats and
11 Muslims lived together, where Croats and Muslims shared
12 the geographical space. And again, as I was saying,
13 other parts of Bosnia, Eastern Bosnia, say, the history
14 and the dynamics between people were different because
15 there was a -- it was inhabited by Serbs and Muslims,
16 say, others again by Serbs and Croats. So this is my
17 reservation. There are particular, very specific
18 things, but the fact remains that there were Croats
19 there, there were Muslims there. The Croats are
20 Catholics; the Muslims practised Islam. They lived
21 within the same -- again, you know, they attended
22 school over a larger area. They knew each other --
23 again, this is, you know, Bosnia, it had short
24 distances. People know each other over a larger area.
25 There are relatives, you know, kinship networks are
1spread over. They moved up, to the sides, they would
2 move further north to the towns. In this whole area,
3 people interacted. It wasn't as if this was an island
4 in the whole region of Central Bosnia. People had
5 relatives, they knew each other, they worked with
6 people from other towns, other communities, they went
7 to school with them. That's really my point.
8 Q. Thank you. Lest there be any
9 misunderstanding, lest there be any misunderstanding,
10 when I'm quoting parts of your book to you, certain
11 sentences, as I shall do straightaway, I would like you
12 to understand that I'm not taking them out of context.
13 That is not my intention. But I would simply like you
14 to comment on them for me.
15 Further on, on page 5 of the introduction, in
16 the first paragraph, you say, when you're talking about
17 your intention, you say that this book or the material
18 that you used for it does not intend to explain the war
19 for a simple reason, because the war was not started by
20 villagers who were the subject of your research.
21 Furthermore, you say that this war was orchestrated
22 from other places where the villagers from the village
23 where you lived were not represented and their voice
24 could not have been heard in those places. Did I
25 understand the gist of what you were saying?
1I would just like you to comment on that now
2 because the questions that were put by the Prosecutor
3 relate to the war. We saw it here too. But you were
4 involved in ethnology because that is your line of work
5 and that is what you are qualified for; is that right?
6 A. I'm not an ethnologist, I'm an
7 anthropologist. I know there are -- I know -- sorry,
8 there are sort of differences, differences mainly --
9 Q. Sorry.
10 A. Ethnologists, they deal with only local, very
11 local, issues, and anthropologists, they're
12 comparative, and that is a very important aspect of our
13 work. There are subdisciplines and we also -- as I
14 said initially here, anthropologists are focusing in
15 particular on local dynamics, and people locally and
16 how they -- their concerns and social organisation, how
17 they live their lives, but, of course, we have to look
18 at also the larger political context because that plays
19 down, it plays into the local communities. It is
20 not -- they are not islands, as I said before. There
21 is an interaction between those levels, and decisions
22 made on a higher level have consequences for people
24 I do say it does not intend to explain the
25 war, because -- well, part of it was mainly taking
1part -- no, taking place before the war, and that's
2 what I wanted to describe. I wanted to describe how
3 these people lived together, what sort of lives they
4 had before the war, because during the -- in
5 particular, a lot of the media coverage of this war,
6 you had the impression that there had always been
7 fighting. This is one of the things that does not
8 intend to explain the war.
9 But I do think that through reading about how
10 these people lived together, how they interacted, what
11 their concerns were, that you can gain an understanding
12 of how things must have changed. Then the question
13 is: How could they change and what provoked that
15 I think it's a document that shows very well
16 that it couldn't just have appeared from within. There
17 was something else. There was the process. There was
18 a dynamic. There was something that caused a change in
19 this village. This is -- yeah.
20 Q. Thank you. First of all, I would like to
21 apologise if I caused a misunderstanding, offended you,
23 My last question: On page XVII, Roman
24 numeral XVII, in the second paragraph you are talking
25 about a problem that you encountered when you decided
1to write this book, and you say that this problem
2 concerning the time that you were supposed to write
3 about, and that this is -- that this tends -- that
4 anthropological studies are written in the present
5 tense, and you said that the Muslims would often
6 confuse their tenses. They would sometimes speak in
7 the past tense, they would sometimes speak in the
8 present tense, and that all of it had a lack of
10 So we're talking about '93, and this was the
11 time of the conflict and after the conflict. What is
12 your view of this? How did they present the war to
13 you? What is the picture of war that they painted for
14 you in the immediate aftermath?
15 A. Well, first on confusing the tenses. It
16 wasn't really a lack of reality, it was the fact that
17 something had been there. Their lives had suddenly
18 been destroyed, disrupted. They talked about, you
19 know, "Our houses. Where we live," but then suddenly,
20 you know, two weeks ago they'd lived there and they'd
21 had lives in the community, and then now they are
22 refugees. This is in the context of them having been
23 expelled from the village and having lost everything.
24 Then, of course, for my presence again, which reminded
25 them of the past of their lives.
1It takes time for a person. You know, it's a
2 shock, and it takes time to realise what has happened
3 to you. So this is the reason for them not -- you
4 know, switching tenses. They would talk -- some
5 moments they realised, "Yes, we have lost this all," so
6 they would talk about the village and their life there
7 in the past tense, but then other moments when they
8 talked to me this was not real yet because it takes
9 time for a person to realise when you've gone through
10 something like that.
11 So that was my only -- it wasn't that they
12 were confused in such a sense that they didn't know
13 what had happened, it was just a question of when you
14 recounted things. But they referred to their lives,
15 not what had happened exactly then and there during the
17 The second part of your question was: How
18 did they talk about the war to me. I wonder, could you
19 be more specific?
20 Q. In this same paragraph that I referred to,
21 that is to say, in the second paragraph on page XVII of
22 your forward, you say that you discovered that the
23 Muslims were switching from one tense to another, and
24 that they were bringing the past and the present
25 together in a strange way, with a lack of reality.
1That was the point of my question.
2 What was your assessment of this when they
3 were explaining these events to you? If I understood
4 things correctly, you were talking about this lack of a
5 sense of reality.
6 A. Let me say again, when they are talking about
7 the past and the present, the points where they were
8 confusing tenses were when they were referring to their
9 lives in the village, their houses, what has now gone.
10 It was not to do with a past further back or had to do
11 with the past and the present in that instance where
12 they were attacked, it had to do solely when they
13 talked about, you know, "Up in my house we are...," you
14 know, and then they realised the house doesn't exist
15 any more.
16 It wasn't -- it was -- they were very aware
17 of fact that they -- you know, in moments they --
18 yeah. Okay. We saw them very soon after this.
19 So I'm still not quite sure what you're
20 getting at. You want me to talk about how they talked
21 about what had happened to them? Is that what you'd
22 like me to talk about?
23 Q. No, no.
24 A. How they explained --
25 Q. What am I trying to get at? I'm going to
1tell you straightaway. The way they portrayed events
2 to you. Was this realistic? What was your assessment,
3 in view of these tenses that you've been speaking
4 about, et cetera?
5 A. Oh, yes, of course. I mean, I think people
6 who take in witness proofs from people who have been
7 the victims of war, of atrocities, whatever, that they
8 can tell when there's actually been -- something you're
9 talking about that has happened to you. This was not
10 something they'd made up. This had happened to them.
11 We saw what had happened in the village. They had no
12 reason to make this up. It was so clear to me.
13 They had left. They were in distress. They
14 were distraught. They had no possessions with them.
15 They were now leaving under very bad conditions,
16 gathered in one room, you know, 20, 30 of them, and
17 there was no reason for them to, you know, make this
18 up. On the other hand, people can't -- I don't think
19 they can act their emotions like that.
20 That, coupled the fact that we'd saw and we'd
21 been there prior to this, the attack of the village,
22 makes the picture, I think, very clear.
23 Q. Thank you. Thank you for having answered all
24 my questions. I have no further questions.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Counsel Par?
1MR. PAR: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Examined by Mr. Par:
3 Q. Good day, Madam Professor. My name is
4 Zelimir Par, and I'm one of the Defence attorneys here,
5 and I would appreciate it if you would answer a few
7 At the outset, I would like to ask you about
8 the contacts that you had with these persons in the
9 village after having filmed this programme or, rather,
10 in which time period did you last have contact with
11 these persons? What was the year, the month?
12 A. I was there last time -- I visited some of
13 the people, obviously just a few of them because
14 they're scattered all over. I was there last in 1997.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, in relation to your meetings
16 with them, I would like to know whether in the meantime
17 they had changed some of their views regarding their
18 suffering and all these events. I'm interested in
19 hearing the following: Do they still think, until the
20 present day, as they said in the film, that there can
21 be no life together, and do they condemn their Croat
22 neighbours to that same extent today? Do they hold
23 them responsible as they did in the time of their
24 greatest suffering?
25 To put it more specifically, are they even
1more critical today with regard to these events than
2 they were before?
3 A. Okay. Let me make a distinction. There were
4 people -- local Croats in the village that -- like the
5 one that described in the film, who did actually kill a
6 neighbour, who participated in that kind of way, who
7 they still condemn. But there has also been a change,
8 yes, in the way people talk about the conflict. I
9 believe, and I hope on both sides, whereby -- and I
10 think this is part of the peace process that's taking
11 place and new leadership's coming in, new leaders --
12 that they are talking about it as -- they're talking
13 about not the attack of the Croats, they're talking
14 about the attack of the HVO. So they are ascribing
15 individual responsibility.
16 There were also -- which, for reasons that
17 I'm very sorry now but has to do the whole way you edit
18 a film, which I cannot go into details here, but Croats
19 who did, in the village -- there were Croats who
20 participated and there were Croats who stood by. There
21 were also Croats who protected their neighbours, and
22 obviously they still feel very warm towards them.
23 Q. Perhaps I should stop you precisely at this
24 point. Specifically, I'm interested in the following:
25 In the immediate aftermath of their suffering, when you
1talked to them then, did they say, at that time, that
2 they held their Croat neighbours accountable for these
3 crimes, so to speak, or did they give you specific
4 names or did they make a distinction at the time? Did
5 they say, "Such and such a neighbour did not take
6 part?" or, "Such and such a neighbour did take part?"
7 or did they speak in general terms, the Croats?
8 I'm bearing in mind that you knew Croats from
9 that village too. You knew their neighbours. You knew
10 them personally; right?
11 A. Yes. No, they did tell me -- that was when
12 they told me who had joined in the killing,
13 particular -- I mean, there was fighting and some
14 people were caught in the fighting, but they did
15 mention those Croats by name, yes, who had protected.
16 They did mention those who had been attacking people
17 who were unarmed, civilians, and they did not -- I'm
18 not quite sure what more I could say about it, other
19 than, yes, at that time they did make distinctions but
20 also, as you heard, one of the men said in the film,
21 towards the end he said, "No, I have no will to move
22 back, because now I can see what they were able to do
23 to us." I think then -- and also the old woman who
24 expressed very deep disappointment in her Croat friend
25 who had not warned her but had just ran away when she
1tried -- and then the realisation what they actually
2 did it to them. I mean, did it to them in the sense
3 that -- that a lot of them -- yes.
4 Q. I understood your point. Thank you.
5 However, now you touched upon a point that I am
6 particularly interested in, and that is a clip from the
7 film when a person says, "I blame my neighbour, my
8 friend, for not having told me what would happen."
9 Do you have the impression, from all the
10 conversations that you had, that the fundamental blame
11 that is cast by the Muslims on their Croats neighbours
12 is that, that they did not tell them what would happen,
13 and that they think that the Croats knew what would
14 happen? Is that what your impression is, that that is
15 what they're blaming their neighbours for?
16 A. No. And this woman, she didn't blame her
17 neighbour. It was obvious she didn't say it in those
18 words. She just said, "I was trying to catch her, call
19 out her name, but she just ran up." She could have
20 told me. She was disappointed because -- but also she
21 knows, which she expressed at other times in the film,
22 that she was very scared too because at that point she
23 hadn't come to visit her for a long time because,
24 actually, the man in her family would not allow her.
25 So she probably also knew that it was a bit difficult
1for her and maybe she would -- it would have been
2 dangerous for her to warn them.
3 No, definitely not. That's the only
4 expression I'd heard because they had been friends from
5 childhood. She felt she had been betrayed, but there
6 were no other such expressions.
7 Q. I put this question for a reason which will
8 perhaps be clearer to you when I put my next question.
9 We saw in this film that eight weeks before the attack
10 would take place against the Muslims in that village
11 that no one mentioned their neighbours as someone who
12 presented a danger to them, that they could attack
13 them, that somebody -- people are saying that they are
14 afraid that war would come to their village too, that
15 war was getting closer and closer, but they did not
16 think, by any means, that war in that village would
17 come from their neighbours, but that war would come in
18 from the outside, from somewhere.
19 So that happened eight weeks before the
20 attack would actually take place. I did not see this
21 in the film. I did not see any specific fear from
22 their Croat neighbours.
23 Eight weeks later, though, war actually did
24 happen in that village and what is the situation? The
25 Croat neighbours are believed to be guilty.
1Secondly, what is the point? Did the war
2 come in from the outside at all, or do they not know
3 who was to be blamed for the war, and do you see that
4 they started thinking in a different way and do they
5 all of a sudden start blaming their neighbours for
6 everything that had happened, and afterwards they
7 mentioned an external cause of the war.
8 I don't know whether I'm being very clear on
10 A. That's a lot of questions in one question.
11 So if I understand you right, you're asking me -- or
12 you're saying -- you're stating that they -- you could
13 not detect in this film or in anything else that the
14 Muslims were scared of their Croatian neighbours, that
15 they were primarily scared of an attack by the HVO
16 coming from outside.
17 Then you say, at the end of the film, we
18 blame the Croat neighbours.
19 Okay. Now, there was, of course -- okay.
20 This has a bit to do with human psychology. There was
21 a reluctance to believe that it could happen in this
22 village, but they had seen -- as I mentioned before,
23 this was one of the last, maybe the last -- you know,
24 last villages, this area, to be engulfed, to be pulled
25 into the war. It was the last area to see direct
1fighting and action.
2 So they had been observing this for a long
3 time around them. As I said before, this is not an
4 island. They have relatives. You know, they had
5 friends. They had people that had experienced things.
6 So they had seen a pattern. They knew, you know,
7 things that were -- you knew, probably if there was an
8 attack, how this would develop on the basis of that.
9 Now, they were -- they couldn't at that
10 stage -- they hoped, at the last moment, that none of
11 the local Croats, none of what they said "our Croats"
12 would be involved, but they had no guarantee, and part
13 of them feared that actually they could not -- they may
14 be taking part.
15 We saw there was a patrol around the house.
16 I said there were common patrols earlier. At that
17 stage they didn't have common patrols. They were
18 guarding their houses. There had been HVO soldiers
19 walking through the village, coming down from the
20 mountains. They were scared.
21 Okay. Now, I just want to say one thing more
22 which I think illustrates this very well, what they
23 were scared of. One of the women, she said to me,
24 which I think is very illustrative, she said, "I'm not
25 scared of shells or of grenades. They don't scare me
1because there's just death and it's immediate. What I
2 am terrified of are the pjesadija, the foot soldiers
3 who come into my house, force themselves in my house.
4 Maybe they rape, they kill your children in front of
5 your eyes. That's what I fear."
6 What does this tell us? It tells us about
7 the personalised violence which characterised these
8 attacks, which were critical to establish or to
9 increase that level of fear. Also, it was critical
10 because the bonds between people were so -- they were
11 so deep. They were deep geographically, historically,
12 emotionally. You needed an extreme, intense, kind of
13 personalised cruel violence to break these bonds. It
14 wasn't enough with shells. She said, "Shells don't ask
15 me my name." That's the point, because from your name
16 you can usually tell which ethnic identity you have.
17 So these had played an incredibly important role in the
18 level of fear.
19 Now, do we blame the Croats? My assumption
20 is that you're referring to one of those last scenes in
21 the film where we'd been driving through the village
22 and we see the destruction, and we come up in front of
23 the Croat woman's house, and part of that scene, again,
24 which happens in the film, it's cut. I say, "Where are
25 you?" which is not there, which I asked to be there but
1I didn't have the complete control of the cutting of
2 the film. "Where are your Muslim neighbours?" and she
3 goes like this (witness demonstrating), but I know that
4 she knew what had happened. She had been told, as she
5 says on the film. That's the point where it happens.
6 Does that answer your question?
7 Q. Well, for the most part, yes, but I would
8 like to add a few things, with your permission. On the
9 basis your introductory remarks, your point of view is
10 quite clear, that there is a point in time when there
11 is a change in perception, and you explained how this
12 particular moment could lead people into a conflict.
13 Now, my question is the following: Did the
14 Muslims also have this change in perception at a given
15 point in time after their suffering?
16 These same Muslims that you're referring to
17 now, you said that they had hoped that their Croat
18 neighbours would not do anything to them. Now, after
19 bad things were done to them by we don't know who, they
20 now enter this stage of a change in perception, and now
21 they identify all their neighbours with the
22 perpetrators of the crime that was committed against
23 them. That would be my question. If you could answer
24 it, please?
25 A. Again, I repeat they knew very well who of
1their neighbours had not participated and who
2 participated, and the rest were people they did not
3 know, members of the Croatian HVO force that they did
4 not know. They knew very well to distinguish between
5 those that had been part of it and had killed the
6 neighbour, as you saw in the film, and those who
7 protected them and would have no part in it.
8 Q. I have no further questions.
9 MR. PAR: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you Counsel Par.
11 Counsel Pasaric?
12 Examined by Mr. Pasaric:
13 THE INTERPRETER: Counsel, please speak into
14 the microphone. The microphone is off.
15 Q. I'm Defence counsel, co-counsel for Zoran
16 Kupreskic. I must say that I was democratically
17 outvoted in this decision that was taken by the Defence
18 attorneys, because I thought that it was necessary to
19 ask the Prosecutor for a transcript of this tape, but
20 we stand where we stand now.
21 So I'm afraid I'm going to put a few extra
22 questions now concerning things that remained unclear
23 to me with regard to this tape, and perhaps my
24 questions are not going to be put in the most logical
25 possible sequence, but one thing I noticed, when you
1were answering the questions put by Mr. Pavkovic, and
2 in the film I noticed that you speak whatever we are
3 going to call this language that is spoken throughout
4 the former Yugoslavia, but I saw that for a given
5 point -- for some time you listened to what we were
6 saying directly and then at one point you put on your
7 headphones and you wanted to listen to the
9 Again, I do not have the transcript, but at
10 one point, when you arrived in the village and those
11 old Muslim ladies who appear at the end of the film,
12 one of them calls out to her other friend and she says,
13 "See, she's calling out to Andja now and Andja won't
15 Did you notice perhaps that she is telling
16 Andja, "Go back to your own field because you are being
17 filmed." That is quite different. She was telling her
18 to go away, to move into her own field. Did you notice
20 Was there a language barrier that you had,
21 perhaps, which lead to this kind of situation?
22 A. This is quite funny, because -- sorry. Every
23 time I see that translation, I think oh, no. It's not
24 in the translation you give.
25 There was one point in the film when I
1couldn't translate because I was busy, so somebody else
2 come in and translated and, of course, it's very
3 difficult to translate when you don't see the people,
4 you just hear the tapes. But what she's saying, and
5 particularly if it's village language and the person
6 who translates knows standard language, she says -- no,
7 she -- yes. It's mistranslated because it is "field,"
8 and "your field," rather than "come out in detail,"
9 which -- it's really funny.
10 I'm really sorry about that, but there's
11 nothing we could do at that stage to change it. But
12 she does not say, "Go back to your field," she says,
13 "Come out to your field."
14 Q. No, she says "withdraw."
15 A. She means "come out." It means "Come out
16 into your field." "Povuci." Because she's back -- you
17 can't see her. She's covered by -- there are some
18 trees there on the field. "Povuci," "pull yourself."
19 "Pull yourself out." "She wants -- so that she can
20 film you."
21 Okay, we can have a discussion about that,
22 but they have a particular way of expressing
23 themselves. And I have to say these people aren't
24 particularly literate and their language use is
25 specific, but this is what she's saying. She says,
1"Povuci" meaning, "Pull yourself out. Come out on
2 your field." It wouldn't make sense to say, "Go back
3 to your field." "We want to see you." You know, "Come
4 out, we're filming."
5 Q. I asked whether you were always able to
6 understand such finesse or sometimes could they perhaps
7 cheat on you?
8 A. I'm saying that that particular translation
9 I'm fully aware is wrong. Not that you're saying --
10 because I don't agree with you. It's saying, "Pull --
11 come out." That's the meaning of what she's saying.
12 Maybe we can discuss semantics of the world,
13 but that's the meaning of what she's saying. It
14 wouldn't be logical anything else. Now, I've told you
15 that this was a mistake made that they say "detail"
16 rather than "field." It's the "field."
17 Q. Listen, perhaps we're wasting a lot of time
18 on this.
19 A. If you went to this part of Bosnia, there
20 would be things that would be difficult to understand.
21 It is a dialect. They speak a dialect. There are
22 specific words that, you know, that are particular.
23 Q. Yes. I understand. I'm afraid that this
24 word has a single meaning. So I'm not too sure.
25 Perhaps she was telling her to go away, and your
1comment was, "Well, you know, she didn't want to
2 come." Perhaps there were such situations on other
3 occasions as well.
4 However, our problem is, because you say in
5 your book that your entire research was necessarily
6 limited to the family that you lived with, the
7 neighbourhood that you lived in, and the village and
8 area that you lived in, of course that is quite natural
9 and we are not objecting to that, but of course, as you
10 lived with these people, especially in these difficult
11 situations, that you created a special emotional bond
12 with them. We saw how they greeted you.
13 Our problem is, of course, that we now do not
14 have an idea of what was going on on the other side,
15 but we're going to do our best. So I will start from
16 this general part, the beginning, rather, that is to
17 say, the beginning of this trial.
18 Often it is said that all of a sudden,
19 national identity and differences were being referred
20 to. Several witnesses referred to that in this trial,
21 I think. You mentioned this in a way today.
22 On the other hand, in your book, on page 28,
23 there is a much longer period of development of
24 national consciousness that is referred to in
25 Bonsnia-Herzegovina, and I think that you were talking
1about Serb national awareness for the past 100 years,
2 for example, in Bosnia. We know that because of that,
3 or, rather, if not because of that it was taken as a
4 pre-text that the First World War started, you know,
5 the assassination and everything else. So you are
6 saying that -- I'm sorry.
7 The Croatian national identity started
8 developing somewhat after that, but also this was
9 pretty far back. At the very beginning of your book,
10 on page number 8, and now I'm not too sure whether this
11 is the forward or whether this is the introduction, I
12 think it is the introduction, you say that in every
13 Muslim house there was a picture of Tito that was
14 hanging on the wall, and as opposed to other
15 countries. I think that you mentioned Bulgaria where
16 Tito's pictures was not hanging in the houses because
17 Tito had given Muslims their national identity, their
18 nationhood, which was '71. This was sort of the end of
19 1971, to be precise.
20 So these differences, were they perhaps
21 established before that rather than break out abruptly
22 after the first elections? Well, certainly they were
23 on the rise, but it seems that they existed before
24 that, and that is in your very own words.
25 A. Yes. I mean, the idea of "Croatianness," of
1course, didn't erupt just like that, over night.
2 I mean, there was a process going on, and I
3 describe it in my book as well, that younger people
4 would -- now, also, we have to distinguish between
5 rural areas in Bosnia and cities in Croatia,
6 obviously. It is very different. But there was a
7 process whereby younger people started to refer to
8 themselves as Croats, but they were still Bosnian
9 Croats, and all the people would refer to themselves as
10 Catholics, they were Catholic Bosnians, which, of
11 course, to foreigners, it would make more sense. They
12 would understand what's going on, with Muslims,
13 Catholics, and Orthodox.
14 Now, this, I describe also in the book, had
15 to do with the nationalist politics in Tito's
16 Yugoslavia and the description of, yes, whereby
17 political representation was not whether you belonged
18 to different political parties but it was on the basis
19 of your nacija or your nation, your membership in a
20 so-called nation or ethnic group. So that was what
21 created political plurality.
22 Increasingly, along with that, yes, there was
23 more influence through, say, education from Croatia.
24 Textbooks in the '90s would come from Croatia, that had
25 earlier been printed in Sarajevo, which would give a
1slightly different version of history not seen from the
2 Bosnian perspective.
3 The point is that, yes, what changed was,
4 okay, you can see yourself as a Croat, you can see
5 yourself as a Bosniak, but a Croat whose primary
6 identification is with Bosnia, but that was what
7 changed. You gradually -- they did not see Bosnia and
8 look to Sarajevo but they changed their allegiance
9 towards Croatia.
10 Now, this, I believe, from my knowledge, has
11 been quite common and quite strong in Herzegovina,
12 which had a closer border with Croatia, but in Central
13 Bosnia, there had been a very strong idea of being
14 Bosnian, and these people, Croats, told me when they
15 went to Croatia, people would describe them as
16 Bosnians, from Bosnia.
17 Now, identity is very complicated because it
18 is multi-layered and there are very different levels.
19 The different aspects of your identity, different
20 levels, place into different contexts. So it is very
21 contextual, and that's what we have to keep in mind.
22 But to go from there, okay, say there is a slow change
23 towards perceiving yourself, which has all sorts of
24 courses, as a Croat rather than a Catholic Bosnian,
25 now, to go from there and start considering you -- you
1know, to see your fate and your future intimately
2 linked with the future of a political entity, and, of
3 course, that is Croatia, that is a change, and to see
4 anybody else who did not belong to that body of people
5 as a potential enemy or somebody who is threatening
6 your identity or threatening your future prosperity,
7 that is a change, and that has to -- that's a process
8 that has to be fed from somewhere. It does not come
9 from the village. I mean, that whole thing about
10 perceiving yourself as a member of a larger Croatian
11 nation with its political entity somewhere else, that's
12 the change, yes.
13 Q. Very well. But what I'm interested in, the
14 whole thing started when Yugoslavia started breaking
15 up. In '91, there was a referendum, a referendum for
16 the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There were
17 less than 50 per cent of Muslims there, there was 40
18 something, there were fewer Serbs, and still the bid
19 for independence did win. The Croats in Central Bosnia
20 were for an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it
21 is possible that they actually changed their minds
23 A. Yes, that is possible.
24 Q. Perhaps if you could first just say whether
25 the Croats initially were for an independent Bosnia and
1Herzegovina, that is, in the referendum of 1991.
2 A. To be honest, I do not know how every Croat
3 in this region voted --
4 Q. Yes, but we're talking about simple math.
5 Had the Croats and Muslims not voted together, it would
6 have not been an independent country.
7 A. [Previous question still being interpreted
8 when answer given] ... Serb-dominated.
9 Q. So the question in the referendum was: Do
10 you want an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. After that, do you know that -- during the
13 war in Croatia, what was the position of the then
14 Bosnian government to the war in Croatia?
15 MR. TERRIER: I have an objection to this,
16 Your Honour. It seems to me this is completely outside
17 the scope of Ms. Bringa's testimony, who I don't
18 believe -- did not explain what the central
19 government's policy was or the federal government's
20 policy nor what the results of the elections of that
21 referendum were. I think that we should remain within
22 the scope of the witness's testimony.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Pasaric, I wonder
24 whether you could rephrase your question so as to take
25 into account the objection by the Prosecutor?
2 Q. Very well. What I wanted to learn from this
3 witness, not what the Bosnian government stated but
4 what their reaction, whether the reaction of Croats --
5 what was their reaction before the war in Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina and whether the Croats felt insecure in
7 that regard and lost their confidence in the government
8 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 A. I cannot answer your question about whether
10 they lost any confidence in the government of Bosnia
11 and Herzegovina. Obviously, it was, most of the time,
12 under siege, so that they didn't have much leverage or
13 much influence or control in that area we are talking
14 about; the government in Sarajevo could not get in
15 touch with these people there. They had no control of
16 the area, so they were not able to protect them if they
17 had wanted to.
18 Now, your other question was whether they
19 felt threatened or they felt insecure in this
20 independent Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?
21 Q. No. My apologies. The issue of confidence
22 may be sufficient. You said yourself that it was
23 inefficient, that it was paralysed. My question really
24 was focusing on what the government in Bosnia said at
25 one point, that it was not their war, but maybe we
1should let go of that area. It was not part of your
2 testimony. I just thought that perhaps you may have
3 heard of some reactions on that.
4 But in your book, it is also stated that the
5 authorities -- perhaps not even the authorities but
6 people in Croatia and Serbia were sort of seeing
7 Muslims as those who had converted into the Muslim
8 religion but were originally their own people, but you
9 said that the local Croats where you were did not share
10 that view; is that right?
11 A. They shared the view that they had converted
12 at one point in history because that's the fact.
13 Q. Of course.
14 A. But that was not -- before the war -- now,
15 let's get the time right here because now I feel we're
16 jumping a bit. I'm answering your questions, and I'm
17 not quite sure which period of time you are talking
18 about, what point in time, because this is -- as you
19 know, it is a process here that is changing, so we have
20 to be very careful what we are talking about when.
21 It was not an issue, it wasn't something that
22 was used, you know, to denigrate Muslims, to say, "You
23 know, you're not real. You don't belong here. You are
24 traitors," which was very much -- if you read Serbian
25 nationalist writings, it is very much part of that
1idea, you know, that they were traitors because they
2 had once belonged to the group and they converted.
3 That was not the case with the Croats.
4 Having said that, I also mentioned that as
5 part of what I saw as propaganda, increasing hostile
6 propaganda that came from the controlled media of
7 so-called Herceg-Bosna, was that this group, the
8 Muslims, it was describing them in very negative terms
9 and it did play on this idea that that area didn't
10 belong to the Muslims, that they had taken it away,
11 taken the land away from the Croats at one point in
12 history. So this did come into play, but it was not
13 central -- it was not something that came up before the
14 war in any way.
15 Q. My question really was: In the village
16 itself -- I know, on page 30 you said that it was
17 outside, but you also say that this was not shared by
18 the Croats in this particular village.
19 A. Not to my knowledge. Not to my knowledge.
20 Nothing they told me --
21 Q. That was my question.
22 A. I don't know -- yeah.
23 Q. And I think -- there was a quote on page 5,
24 and it was also in the tape, that the position of the
25 Croat villagers as well as the Muslim villagers was
1that this war had been created by something stronger
2 than either of them, something that sort of surpassed
4 A. Well -- sorry, the comment to that effect was
5 that the woman, Slavka in the film, says that it
6 changed, and I can't believe how quickly it changed.
7 Again, I say, you know -- she says in a day, but that's
8 just a metaphor, to my mind. She says that things
9 created, meaning, you know, something has affected her,
10 something, someone somewhere who wanted this change to
11 happen. That's how I understand it.
12 Q. So you believe that this was something
13 outside of that community, outside of Bosnia, and if
14 you say so, what do you mean? In your footnote, you
15 mention -- this is in chapter 2 and also the
16 consequence of terrible effects that the peace
17 negotiations, that is, the Vance-Owen Plan, had for the
18 entire area. In other words, there were different
19 factors which influenced it. You did not comment on it
20 specifically, but it is a fairly sizeable footnote that
21 you enclose.
22 A. Okay. First, I didn't -- that was not my
23 words, that it was something outside of Bosnia, my
24 words were that it was something outside of this
25 community, this particular community that I'm
1describing. But also we have to be clear that, of
2 course, there is an interaction here. It is outside
3 processes -- you know, it is outside of Vance, and
4 propaganda and things that happen outside are feeding
5 into people's fears and they also absorb things that
6 they think are of concern to them, they think deals
7 with them. You know, if it appeals to people of Croat
8 ethnicity, they will absorb it under these sort of
9 circumstances where they feel very pressured and they
10 feel that everything is dissolving around them.
11 Now, I don't know what you want me to say
12 about this footnote that you just --
13 Q. Well, it surprised me, the fact that it was a
14 very complex set of circumstances that accounted for
15 such a development of events in Central Bosnia.
16 A. There was, of course, a process whereby
17 everything happened. Yes, it's complex, but it's also
18 straightforward in some respects because, you see, you
19 can see and you can observe the result of some of these
20 events and the military action, you can observe what
21 was the result, and that just speaks for itself, to my
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Pasaric, may I ask
24 you, do you have many more questions --
25 MR. PASARIC: Actually, quite -- yes, in
1fact, a number of questions. This was just really a
2 historical introduction. I have some ten questions
3 which I had before viewing the tape and then I made
4 quite a few notes while viewing the tape.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. So that means
6 that we will have to adjourn now, and I hope that,
7 Professor Bringa, you can stay on so that we can
8 continue tomorrow.
9 THE WITNESS: I will.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. So we will
11 adjourn now until tomorrow at 9.00.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
13 1.17 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
14 the 13th day of July, 1999, at 9.00 a.m.