1Monday, 19th July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Case 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.
11 Yes, Counsel Pavkovic?
12 MR. PAVKOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
13 Good morning, Mr. President. I would just like to
14 inform you that my client, Vladimir Santic, has decided
15 not to use his right of Rule 86(C) [as translated] of
16 the Rules.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Before we resume
18 with the cross-examination of Mr. Zoran Kupreskic, let
19 me turn to Counsel Puliselic for two matters.
20 First of all, Counsel Puliselic, do you have
21 any news about the health of Dragan Papic? Oh, he's
22 there. Good. So there's good news then. I'm very
23 happy to see that Dragan Papic is here. This, of
24 course, was not intended to inquire about whether or
25 not he is going to give evidence. It had nothing to do
1with my question. I was really interested in his
2 health, and I am happy to see that he has quickly
4 Yes, Counsel Pavkovic?
5 MR. PAVKOVIC: I would just like to point
6 out, Mr. President, that in the transcript, it is Rule
7 85(C), and "86(C)" has been entered. Thank you.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Rule 85(C), yes,
9 you're right.
10 The second issue to be discussed with Counsel
11 Puliselic is we have received informally so far a
12 decision delivered by the Appeals Chamber upholding the
13 appeal filed by Counsel Puliselic, and according to the
14 disposition of this decision, the Appeals Chamber shall
15 allow the appeal, and the Trial Chamber is directed to
16 hear defence witnesses Pero Papic, Goran Males, and
17 Ljubica Milicevic should the appellant so request.
18 I should, first of all, inform Counsel
19 Puliselic that, of course, the relevant tapes have been
20 viewed by Judge May who was absent; however, Counsel
21 Puliselic, you have the right to ask to call the three
22 witnesses just mentioned. For the purpose of doing
23 some planning for our future hearings, we were
24 wondering whether you would like to call those three
25 witnesses? In this case, if you call them, we will
1have to strike off the transcript of the depositions.
2 If you wish, you may let us know later on. You can
3 take your time and decide on the matter.
4 Counsel Puliselic?
5 MR. PULISELIC: Mr. President, the Defence
6 has decided not to call these witnesses. We simply
7 would like the Trial Chamber to consider their
8 statements as they were taken by the Court and as they
9 appeared in this Trial Chamber.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Since we are now
11 dealing with housekeeping matters, let me also raise
12 another question. We would like again this week to do
13 some sort of planning for the future, also because we
14 have to set a date for our next trial; therefore, we
15 would like to know as soon as possible whether the
16 Prosecution has a rough idea of how many rebuttal
17 witnesses they are going to call and also then the same
18 applies to Defence counsel, whether and how many
19 rejoinder witnesses they intend to call and how much
20 time they need for the closing statements, because, as
21 you know, we will resume our proceedings on the 27th of
22 September, so we would like to have a rough idea of
23 whether or not we need two or three weeks.
24 As for the closing statements, I think
25 probably we would appreciate receiving some sort of
1skeleton arguments in writing, however, if possible,
2 with specific and accurate references to the relevant
3 parts or sections or pages of the transcript, this may
4 prove extremely helpful to the Trial Chamber, and then
5 you can elaborate on the various points in the oral
6 pleadings, closing statements. I wonder whether by,
7 say, Wednesday or Thursday we can receive from the
8 Prosecution and the Defence just a rough list or
9 estimate of how many witnesses you are going to call
10 and how much time you need for closing statements.
11 We may now move on to the cross-examination
12 of Mr. Zoran Kupreskic.
13 Mr. Terrier?
14 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Your Honour. Before
15 resuming the cross-examination, I would like to present
16 to you a new request.
17 Right at the end of Friday's hearing, the
18 witness mentioned specific Muslims, he named them as
19 having of their own will left Ahmici on the 16th of
20 April, 1993 or the day after. He mentioned Ramo Bilic
21 and the Strmonja brothers. Because of the statement
22 made at the beginning of the cross-examination and in
23 order to test the reliability of the witness, I would
24 like to refer, if you allow me to do so, to a statement
25 by Ramo Bilic disclosed to the Defence in June 1998,
1which is at the very beginning of these proceedings,
2 and also to a statement by Mustafa Strmonja, which was
3 disclosed at the same date to the Defence, which
4 mentions what happened to Mustafa's son Miralem who was
5 mentioned by the witness last Friday.
6 These statements do not refer directly to the
7 charges brought against the accused, but they might
8 prove useful if we want to appreciate the reliability
9 of the witness presently testifying before this Court.
10 Just as a reminder, these two statements were
11 disclosed to the Defence before we even began our
12 trial, pursuant to Rule 66. Those were witnesses whom
13 the Prosecution had considered asking to testify but
14 eventually gave it up because of the more peripheral
15 nature of the charges.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you specify somewhat
17 what you have asked? You wish to ask questions of this
18 witness in relation to the fact that these people would
19 have allegedly left of their own will, with regard to
20 these statements, not on anything else?
21 MR. TERRIER: Absolutely. This is in order
22 to test the reliability of the witness because the
23 witness said that the Muslims had left of their own
24 accord, of their own will, and I'd like to show you
25 what those witnesses stated for themselves.
1JUDGE CASSESE: Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac?
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Good morning, Your
3 Honours. I believe that the Prosecutor could have
4 brought up this fact on Friday so that at least we
5 would be able to find these statements, since again
6 these are the witnesses who have not testified here.
7 We cannot be expected to really know all these
8 statements by heart, and perhaps we would have certain
9 problems in asking in redirect certain questions. I
10 want to reiterate the objection to using witnesses who
11 have not testified here, and we believe that the
12 request of the Prosecutor in this respect should not be
14 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, just to remind you
15 that the names were mentioned at the very beginning of
16 the cross-examination, that is, after I had asked the
17 Court whether I could use specific witness statements.
18 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
19 JUDGE CASSESE: This is our ruling. What has
20 been requested by the Prosecution cannot be accepted.
21 Therefore, Mr. Terrier, you cannot use these two
22 statements because we feel that the question is not of
23 enough relevance as to justify departing from a very
24 basic principle which is one of the pillars of our
1MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 WITNESS: ZORAN KUPRESKIC (Resumed)
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Terrier:
4 Q. Good morning, Witness. We are going to
5 resume the cross-examination there where we left it on
7 Let us return to the folk group, of which you
8 were a member and which we mentioned on several
9 occasions during this trial. Could you tell us whether
10 the folk group was paid when it was performing, when it
11 would perform? Did that happen, that the group was
13 A. Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
14 everyone. The folklore group with which I worked never
15 received any money from their providing services.
16 Sometimes we would only get dinner or free juices,
17 juices for the children or something like that, but
18 never remuneration.
19 Q. You stated that following the conflict of
20 April 1993, the group resumed their activities and you
21 had invited some people who didn't belong to the
22 Croatian ethnic group to join that folklore group.
23 Could you tell us who these people were?
24 A. You're talking about after the conflict of
25 April 1993? Is that the conflict that you're referring
2 Q. Absolutely.
3 A. We did nothing regarding the folklore and --
4 the dances and the folklore group throughout the war.
5 Those efforts started only after the ceasefire. That
6 means in 1994, perhaps several months after the
7 ceasefire. This is something that we all liked to do
8 and it was something that I was very attached to. It
9 was something that I had been doing for 20 years, and I
10 had tried to resume doing what we had been doing
12 So the beginnings of resumption of the
13 folklore activity after the war was several months
14 after the ceasefire in 1994. In Vitez, which at that
15 time had predominantly a Croatian population, only the
16 Napredak folklore group, which is a Croatian folklore
17 group, was still active, and I started working with
18 them, and my brother was a co-repetitor, which means he
19 only played music.
20 At first we were very few. We didn't know
21 where people were, but gradually people started
23 I saw Ahmed Delic in front of the cinema
24 theatre where we were rehearsing, and he was one of the
25 young men who had danced with us before. He didn't
1even know we had resumed. I asked him if he would
2 rejoin us and he immediately did. Veljko Cato also
3 started coming back. I don't know whether he did so
4 immediately, but he did very soon. Then Adil, who was
5 a Gypsy, he also joined us.
6 Had I seen anybody else, I would also have
7 invited them to join us, but those were the people who
8 I saw. It was completely irrelevant to me who belonged
9 to what group.
10 Q. Let us go back to the period before the war.
11 Were you then interested in other cultural aspects?
12 For instance, in the history of the ethnic communities
13 in Bosnia, more specifically, so the history of the
14 Croatian people in Bosnia?
15 A. No. Only what I learned in school, that is,
16 the history of all ethnic groups in the former
17 Yugoslavia. That was all I was interested in.
18 Q. You told us, during the examination-in-chief,
19 that in the months before the war you did not take any
20 interest in the political developments and that you
21 didn't support any political party. More specifically
22 so, you didn't support the HDZ party.
23 However, you acknowledged, so it seems, that
24 after the conflict had started in April 1993, you then
25 supported the HDZ, and I remind you of the fact that
1you acknowledged the substance of the note which was
2 marked D21, of the 23rd of November, 1993, is that so?
3 A. I did not admit that I supported any party,
4 but if you are referring to the document which was
5 provided for the Defence, I just commented that the man
6 who had written this about me did sort of hit on what I
7 was like, but I still never had anything to do with the
8 HDZ after that. I was not supporting it and I was not
9 against it.
10 Q. I remind you of the fact that this person,
11 whose identity is unknown, the person who drafted this
12 note, also said that if you did not support the HDZ at
13 least you supported the Croatian cause in Bosnia in
14 November 1993, because the note was drafted then, and
15 it seems as though you approved of that.
16 A. What would it have meant not to support the
17 Croatian cause in November 1993? You find yourself in
18 a small coffee cup like this. If I did not join, if I
19 was not in trenches, he would have mentioned that. I
20 did not have any choice at that time had I not
21 supported. If people of 60 and 70 were in support of
22 it, how would I have been perceived if I had not been
23 supporting it? I would have been considered nothing.
24 Q. Could you be more specific as to what you
25 have just said? When you no longer were able to have
1the choice, when did you feel that you had to support
2 the Croatian cause?
3 A. I never said that I did or did not support
4 the Croatian cause. Since 18 April, 1993, I was forced
5 to join the fighting, and I was in the war throughout
6 that period until the end of the war.
7 Q. Were you equally forced to draft and type
8 reports on the account of the HVO? Were you still then
9 forced to support the war effort by the Croats?
10 This is merely a question. I'd like to
11 understand how you obviously developed your thinking as
12 to the Croatian cause or the cause of the Bosnian
14 A. I did not understand what kind of report
15 you're referring to.
16 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, we would like to
17 request of the Prosecution to be very precise. What
18 does it mean to support the Croatian cause? What is he
19 referring to? Only then will the accused be able to
20 answer it meaningfully.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Mr. Terrier. I think
22 that Mr. Radovic is right.
23 MR. TERRIER: I am referring to the note
24 admitted under D21. It might be shown to the witness
1According to the note, in November 1993,
2 Zoran Kupreskic, after remaining neutral for a long
3 time, started supporting -- I don't know what the
4 actual term was but apparently started to support the
5 cause of the Bosnian Croats. So obviously there is
6 some development there.
7 Q. I draw your attention to the fact that the
8 writer of this note says that, "Because of the
9 development of that situation he joined the HDZ and is
10 now starting to support us."
11 So the writer of this note refers to some
12 development of yours, and I'd like you to confirm such
13 development or make it more specific or just say the
15 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, my
16 apologies, but the Prosecutor is interpreting rather
17 than reading the document. It is never mentioned that
18 through development of the situation he joined the
19 HDZ. He never did. We do not have the author who
20 wrote this, but he definitely is not saying that he had
21 joined the HDZ. So again, we would like to ask the
22 Prosecutor to be very specific when asking the
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Mr. Terrier. Could you
25 try to be somewhat more specific?
1MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, I refer you to the
2 English translation, which might be inaccurate, but
3 according to this English translation it says, "Joined
4 the HDZ and now supports us."
5 So I'm just presenting this sentence to the
6 accused since he was the one who asked this document be
7 admitted into evidence and he refers to it. So I'm
8 asking whether this development, which seems to be
9 sketched here by the author of this note, is conformed
10 to reality or not. I couldn't be more specific in the
11 way I put the question, Your Honour. However, if there
12 is an error in the translation, of course ...
13 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, it seems
14 that there is a mistake in the translation. It is
15 stated that, "Zoran Kupreskic is a person from Vitez
16 who worked as a mechanical engineer in SPS. From the
17 first days he was not active nor leaned towards the
18 HDZ. He stood on the sidelines but then he joined and
19 is now for us. Zoran could be used for certain
21 Since this document comes from military
22 sources, it could mean that he "joined the army and is
23 now for us," but it does not state that he joined the
24 HDZ. So this is obviously a mistake in the
25 translation. Thank you.
1MR. TERRIER: It's not a translation
2 problem. I mean, Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac answered the
3 question I had posed, but I rather the witness did
4 answer the question.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Indeed,
6 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, you answered the question very
8 Could you move to another question,
9 Mr. Terrier?
10 A. I apologise. I would also like to answer but
11 I'm not being allowed.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Go ahead. Answer the
14 A. Literally, when I read this, I can say that
15 it says, "He joined and is now for us," but this is
16 November 1993. In November of 1993, I was a commander
17 of the company in Santici, deputy commander. So since
18 I was a non-commissioned officer from the former JNA,
19 then with this report having been sent to the command
20 post, I assumed people didn't know what I was doing so
21 that perhaps I could be used in some way. This is what
22 I wanted to say.
23 So this is only an assumption on my part that
24 somebody had written this about me, but I can't claim
25 this with certainty.
2 Q. Fine. Let's move on to another question,
3 Witness. Let's look at the issue of the HVO presence
4 in Ahmici before the 16th of April, 1993. Let us speak
5 about your position, your attitude towards the HVO.
6 MR. TERRIER: Can Exhibit 353 be shown to the
7 witness? As you can imagine, this is the logbook that
8 we have often mentioned already.
9 Q. Witness, can you please examine page 30?
10 Have you found page 30?
11 A. (No audible response)
12 Q. Please examine number 217. In front of it
13 you can see "Ante Mirjan Kupreskic." On the line on
14 the right-hand side there is a signature. Do you
15 recognise that signature as being your brother Mirjan's
17 A. No. My brother's signature is not like
19 Q. Can you please examine page 75? In front of
20 a number, 3178, you can find your name, and then on the
21 right-hand side one signature. Is that your signature
23 A. Yes, that is my signature.
24 Q. Could you explain to us when and under what
25 circumstances you were led to sign this register or
2 A. I don't remember exactly when this happened,
3 but I know that it was in 1996. Whether there was some
4 kind of information that we received regarding shares
5 and our participation in the war, whether this was
6 public or it went from person to person, I'm not sure
7 how, but I went to the municipal office, I don't
8 know -- perhaps to the defence office where I was
9 supposed to sign what is here before us. So I don't
10 remember exactly when this happened.
11 Q. Dates can be found just before your signature
12 on the line regarding your entry. Are these dates
14 A. It's hard to say if the dates are accurate or
15 not. I only know that this list was made in 1996, so
16 three years after the events to which it refers. I
17 only know that there was also talk that these dates
18 were being stretched to the maximum so that the
19 participation or the value of the shares that each
20 individual would receive would be as large as possible,
21 and there was talk that, based on this and these papers
22 that we would receive, you could buy apartments, land,
23 perhaps pay for electricity or some other utilities.
24 I don't know who and when the decision was
25 made to include people who were also participating in
1the village guards. I guess that's the basis the 8th
2 of April was entered here, but I can claim with
3 certainty that we didn't even start the guard duties on
4 the 8th of April, so I don't know who put that date
6 Q. Witness, can this register be interpreted as
7 follows: It is stated in this register that from April
8 1992 to the 23rd of January, 1993, you were a reserve
9 member of the HVO, and it's written under "P." "P"
10 stands for reserve member. Is that the right way in
11 which this register can be interpreted?
12 A. No. You said "1993." I think you meant
14 Q. Witness, I was putting the following question
15 to you: I asked you whether it did not mean that from
16 the 8th of April, 1992 to the 23rd of January, 1996,
17 indeed, you were a reserve member of the HVO?
18 A. It only states here "Members of the home
19 guard regiment of Vitez." It does not mention the
20 reserves, the active component. It just says, "2nd
21 Vitez Home Guards Brigade."
22 Q. You will remember that last week we had a
23 witness, a defence witness, Mr. Mato Cerovic, who told
24 us what the various entries in this register meant, and
25 he also explained to us how this register was set up
1and what the use of it was. My feeling was, I stand to
2 be corrected by you if I am wrong, but I think that he
3 said that this register was drafted very seriously,
4 that this was no joke at all, and that as far as he
5 knew, the entries in this register had been given to
6 the defence by the various units. He told us that the
7 "P" letter meant reserve or reservist, which had been
8 stated by other people beforehand. I am just asking
9 you whether the letter "P," with the dates of April
10 1992 and January 1996 meant that you were a reserve
11 member of the HVO from April 1992 to January 1996?
12 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I
13 apologise, because in the transcript, there is a
14 mistake. It's not Mato Cerovic. The witness is Dragan
15 Majstorovic, so the last witness that was heard is
16 Dragan Majstorovic. That is his name, and he testified
17 on this topic. There is no Mato Cerovic. He did not
18 testify before this Court.
19 MR. TERRIER: Granted, Your Honour, there
20 must be a mistake there. At any rate, he was the
21 witness who we heard on the 13th of July, and he
22 explained to us how this register could be read or
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you,
25 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, for pointing that out.
1A. When I finished serving my term in the JNA
2 and returned to Vitez, I was part of the reserves. I
3 was on the list of the defence department but I went to
4 work on the 18th of April, so I was in the reserve. It
5 states here that I was in the reserve throughout that
6 whole period, but this wasn't true. I was in the
7 reserves up until the 18th of April. At the end of the
8 war, in April or May, I was in the HVO, but then after
9 the demobilisation, I'm in the reserves again and I'm
10 going to work. So there are periods here when I was in
11 the reserves, when I was also in the active component,
12 and then in the reserve again, and now, still, I am in
13 the reserves, just like any other man of military age.
14 MR. TERRIER:
15 Q. Therefore, the entries in this register are
16 accurate, of course, with the caveat that you have a
17 specific interpretation of the notion of reserve
19 A. I can't say if it's true or not true. I have
20 explained already, and I could do that again if
22 Q. At the end of the day, the only thing that
23 matters now is to know what a reservist or reserve
24 member is in 1992, what are his duties, what is his
25 status. What duties does he have to carry out? Is he
1under a specific chain of command? Could you give us
2 your views on this?
3 A. Once again, once I left the JNA, I reported
4 to the defence office. My military booklet had some
5 information entered into it, and that is how I become a
6 part of the reserve. I went back to my work, but I am
7 part of the reserve forces.
8 With the separation of the HVO and the TO or
9 the BH army, or whatever that was, in 1992, all Croats
10 in the municipality of Vitez became part of the HVO, in
11 accordance with the same system. Those who were part
12 of the active component became part of the active
13 component; those who were part of the reserves became
14 part of the reserves. So what I was doing at that
15 time, I was doing the same thing that I was doing in
16 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, up until the 15th of
17 April, 1993. I was working in the SPS Company, and I
18 am at the disposal of the defence office, and I can be
19 mobilised just like any other man in the reserve
20 forces. I had nothing to do with the army.
21 MR. TERRIER: Could Exhibit P349 be shown to
22 the witness?
23 Q. This is a document we have looked at
24 already. It is a decree in November 1992 on the army
25 of the Croatian forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1Please look more specifically at Articles or Rules 3,
2 4, and 5. It looks as though, reading these articles,
3 you could understand that all the citizens in the
4 Croatian Community of Bosnia are forced to protect and
5 defend the independence and the territorial integrity
6 of the Croatian Community in Bosnia. This is Article
7 3. Were you aware of this article?
8 A. No. No, I didn't find Article 3 at all, and
9 I'm not familiar with this.
10 Q. This is Article 3, Witness, first page of
11 that decree.
12 A. Article 179. I don't see Article 3.
13 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, would you allow me
14 to go and check the document myself?
15 A. What was the question again? I apologise.
16 Q. The question was simply as follows:
17 According to Article 3, every citizen of the HZ HB
18 shall have the duty to protect and defend the
19 independence and territorial integrity of the HZ HB,
20 and my question was whether you were aware of this
21 article or whether, at any time, you'd heard about it,
22 or does this come as a surprise? Were you familiar
23 with it beforehand?
24 A. I repeat: I don't know about this decree, I
25 didn't know that it existed, and Article 3, in my
1version, talks about monetary penalties which are
2 expressed in Croatian dinars and so on.
3 Q. Please look at Article 4. It is stated that
4 all citizens of fighting age, over the age of 16, who
5 are not already assigned in the armed forces shall be
6 subject to compulsory work service. Article 5 provides
7 that compulsory work service shall not apply to inter
8 alia women over the age of 55, pregnant women, men over
9 65. Were you aware of these articles?
10 A. I've already said that this is not familiar
11 to me. I never heard of this being issued at all.
12 There was something similar, however, in the former
13 Yugoslavia, so I don't know if something was taken from
14 there, but I didn't know that this particular document
15 had been published.
16 Q. Since we are speaking about what the HVO
17 reserve was, I'd like you to have a look at Article
18 22. Article 22, and I stand to be corrected by you if
19 necessary, provides the following: "The Armed Forces
20 of the HZ HB shall constitute a single entity and be
21 composed of an active and a reserve structure."
22 Now, Witness, doesn't this mean that the
23 reserve structure was part and parcel of the armed
24 forces of the HVO?
25 A. Yes, of course, it's the same as in the
1former Yugoslavia. People who were part of the
2 reserves were the component of the armed forces of the
3 former Yugoslavia but in the reserve.
4 Q. Could you have a look at Article 51? Article
5 51 mentions military obligations for every citizen, for
6 every able-bodied citizen. Have you read this
7 article? Now, the contents of Article 51 and Article
8 52, were you familiar with the obligations for every
9 citizen who was a reservist?
10 A. Yes, I'm familiar with that in the Yugoslav
11 People's Army, after serving in the army in the former
12 Yugoslavia, but I said already that I didn't know that
13 this had been issued, so how could I discuss it? I
14 assumed that this was copied from the ex-Yugoslavia,
15 but I've never seen it and I've never heard of it.
16 Q. Article 53, and this is the last article I
17 shall refer you to in this document, Article 53 states
18 that a person having a military obligation is called a
19 conscript, a military conscript. I remember that in
20 Exhibit D24/1, which was disclosed on Friday by the
21 Defence, you are represented as being a conscript, and
22 my question is as follows: Were you familiar with this
23 article? Secondly, throughout the period indicated in
24 the register, were you a conscript?
25 A. A military conscript, as I said, is any
1able-bodied man. Automatically he's also a conscript.
2 So as everybody else was so was I a military conscript,
3 in the records of the defence office, at their disposal
4 if they needed to call me. Absolutely the same as any
5 other man.
6 Q. As a conscript, in compliance with the
7 articles mentioned here, did you receive a military
8 uniform, a military outfit, and a task, an assignment
9 as well?
10 A. Yes. I received the assignment from Anto
11 Bertovic to be the deputy command of a company.
12 Q. Thank you. I have finished with this
14 MR. TERRIER: I'd like the witness to be
15 shown Exhibit 341.
16 Q. This is a decree dated November 1992,
17 relating to the structures of the home guards. Please
18 have a look at Articles 2 and 3. Article 2 states
20 "Home guards shall be organised on the
21 territorial principle."
22 Article 3 provides that:
23 "The home guard shall be comprised of all
24 local reserve units of the armed force of the HZ HB and
25 of new local units formed according to the territorial
2 Were you familiar with this decision, with
3 this decree?
4 A. I've never heard of it or seen it. I didn't
5 even know it existed.
6 Q. You'd never heard about the home guards?
7 A. I didn't say I never heard of the home
8 guards, but I'd never heard of this particular decree.
9 Q. Well, tell us, witness, what you know about
10 the Domobrani home guards?
11 A. All I heard was that in World War II, the
12 home guards, Domobrani, it was a -- I'm not sure
13 whether that was a regular army of the independent
14 state of Croatia. That's all that I knew.
15 Q. Witness, I do not have the Second World War
16 in mind. Mind you, we can talk about it if you wish,
17 but I think that you understood that this Trial Chamber
18 was interested in the period preceding April 1993. So
19 would you mind speaking about that period in
21 A. In April 1993, I can say that I never even
22 heard the word "home guard" pronounced. There were no
23 home guards there. I've stated what I had heard about
24 the home guards.
25 MR. TERRIER: I would like Exhibit P342 to be
1shown to the witness.
2 Q. Witness, as to the meaning of this document,
3 does this not mean that on 12th March, 1993, the
4 defence department in Vitez was concerned about setting
5 up home guard units in compliance with the decree of
6 November 1992 and appointed as company commander, among
7 others, Nenad Santic?
8 A. I don't know about that. I don't know this
9 document, nor do I know that Nenad Santic commanded the
10 home guards, nor that the home guards existed.
11 Q. I'd like to remind you, witness, that if we
12 refer back to the text of November 1992 as to the
13 decree on the armed forces and the decision on the home
14 guards, you, as a reserve member, were to belong to the
15 home guards and to be subject to the chain of
16 command -- the command chain which is provided for in
17 Article 5 of the decision, and you had to be assigned
18 to the headquarters of the Operative Zone for the HVO.
19 You really never heard about this?
20 A. I must repeat, I was registered with the
21 defence office as a military-aged man so I could be
22 mobilised in case of mobilisation, but I was never
23 attached to them until the 18th of April. I didn't
24 have a superior or a subordinate, nor did I have any
25 oral or written order.
1So I was not assigned to anything. I do not
2 know about this. I do not know if Nenad was whatever
3 it says here. I don't know about that.
4 MR. TERRIER: Can the witness be shown
5 Exhibit P343?
6 Q. Witness, here's my question in relation to
7 this document. Of course, I shall not ask you to
8 identify the document. I'm not asking you whether
9 you've seen this. I'm asking you to tell us whether
10 the writer of this order, that is General Blaskic,
11 asked that the combat capacity of the HVO be heightened
12 to the maximum and that all the HVO formations be as
13 combat-ready as possible.
14 Here's my question: There is, obviously,
15 some concern here about the urgency, about the need to
16 prepare for an imminent combat. Were such concerns
17 felt and shared by you? Did you hear that transpire
18 through discussions or contact you may have had with
20 A. This is a document of the 16th of January,
21 1993. During that period of time, I worked where I
22 always worked, with my colleagues and friends. Four
23 times a week I had folklore rehearsals as before, all
24 regular, and at that time I was building my house at
25 intervals, that is, I come back from work about 2.00
1and then I have four hours, from 2.00 to 6.00, to do
2 that. And I have a family with small children. And
3 from, of course, talking to people at work, people said
4 all sorts of things were going on, but what is written
5 here, I didn't know about that, nor did I -- whatever
6 it says here, because I was simply engaged in my usual
8 Q. Well, you have had many contacts and I was
9 referring you to those. You were going to work. You
10 had talks with work colleagues, you discussed over
11 lunch or during coffee breaks, I imagine. You had
12 talks and discussions with people who were in the same
13 dance group as you were. I'm asking you whether, due
14 to those many contacts, these concerns which can be
15 seen here in this note were also felt by you?
16 A. I can't talk about the document, who wrote it
17 and who was upset or whatever under this document. All
18 of us who met at that time, I can't say we were upset
19 or agitated, we simply were wise to the situation. We
20 saw what was happening and we talked about that.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, I wish to mention
23 another document in private session.
24 (Private session)
13 page 11418 redacted – private session
13 page 11419 redacted – private session
13 page 14120 redacted – private session
13 page 11421 redacted – private session
13 page 11422 redacted – private session
13 page 11423 redacted – private session
13 page 11424 redacted – private session
13 page 11425 redacted – private session
13 page 11426 redacted – private session
2 (Open session)
3 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: If I may, we have been
4 given this transcript, it is very brief, but we do not
5 know where this film was recorded. All we have here is
6 the date when, but we do not know where this film was
7 made and what area it is about. Thank you.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Mr. Terrier?
9 MR. TERRIER: I was going to ask this of the
10 witness because I do not have the answer for it, but it
11 seems that what we can see on this tape resembles very
12 much what the witness describes, so maybe it is the
13 very ceremony that he attended, and he might be able to
14 tell us that.
15 (Videotape played)
16 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, I'm sorry, we
17 didn't hear the soundtrack. Obviously, there was a bit
18 of a problem there. I wanted to show this tape only to
19 show to you what an oath-taking ceremony could look
20 like then.
21 Q. Witness, you had a look at the pictures, even
22 if you didn't hear the sound. Do you have an idea as
23 to where this ceremony took place?
24 A. This is not the stadium in Vitez. I haven't
25 the faintest where this is, and it's not even remotely
1like what I saw in Vitez.
2 Q. Just in passing, did you notice that also
3 women in uniform were taking the oath?
4 A. I didn't notice. Possibly.
5 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President --
6 A. Excuse me. Sorry. Did you mean the film,
7 whether I saw them in this film, or do you mean at the
8 Vitez stadium? I didn't understand where.
9 Q. I have the cassette in mind which we just had
10 a look at.
11 A. I didn't notice but possibly.
12 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, unless you want to
13 have the break now, I'd like to refer to some
14 statements in private session. We could have the break
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. We need this document
17 to be marked.
18 THE REGISTRAR: The cassette will be marked
20 JUDGE CASSESE: And the transcript?
21 THE REGISTRAR: It will be marked P375A.
22 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I do not
23 think this transcript can be admitted because we never
24 heard what it said. It has nothing to do with the clip
25 that we saw. I do not see how we can check what was
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Terrier?
3 MR. TERRIER: Yes, I do acknowledge that
4 you're absolutely right, Mrs. Glumac. We could view
5 the tape again possibly, this time with the
6 soundtrack. Is that possible, technically speaking?
7 THE REGISTRAR: There's no soundtrack for
8 this videotape.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: We will have to ask for
10 another copy. Do you have another copy? I suppose
11 that if you have a written transcript, initially, you
12 must have had some soundtrack.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Terrier.
14 MR. TERRIER: Yes, we do have a copy with the
15 sound, and we're going to do something about this as
16 soon as possible, possibly after the break.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: This cannot be admitted, at
18 least the transcript cannot be admitted into evidence.
19 MR. TERRIER: I understand that.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: A thirty-minute break.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
23 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Mr. President. May
24 we now show once again the film that we saw before, and
25 we shall have the soundtrack too.
2 "(Voiceover) Soldiers: I as a soldier swear
3 that I will faithfully and honourably perform the
4 duties that are demanded of me as a member of the
5 Croatian Defence Council, and I will consciously and
6 responsibly obey official orders and commands. I swear
7 that I am prepared to sacrifice my own life in defence
8 and protection of my homeland Herceg-Bosna, her right
9 to exist and all her citizens.
10 "Soldier wearing sunglasses: Soldiers,
11 noncommissioned officers and officers, I salute you for
12 taking the solemn oath.
13 "Soldiers: Thank you."
14 Q. Witness, you have just seen it. Would you
15 make any other comment on this? Would you say
16 something about it?
17 A. I have no comment.
18 Q. Witness, I should like to ask you a question
19 about that military document that you mentioned now and
20 again, that is, I wonder if perhaps you have one of
21 those military documents that were issued to you at
22 that time, whether you could show us one of those
23 documents so that we could see it?
24 The only document that you had that we saw is
25 a document which attests to your demobilisation as a
1conscript and which was shown to the Tribunal at the
2 time of the examination-in-chief, but we have no other
3 document. Have you kept any of those documents?
4 A. I don't know whether this ID has been taken
5 away. I asked my wife to look throughout the apartment
6 but she couldn't find anything.
7 Q. But you had a military booklet or something,
8 some document about your service, about your work with
9 it, about your ...
10 A. As far as the JNA is concerned, yes.
11 Q. No, I'm not referring to the Yugoslav
12 People's Army. Do you have -- but about the service,
13 that is your service, since April 1992 or later
14 perhaps, at any time. Is there a military document, a
15 military booklet and whether one could trace it?
16 A. I said that I had asked my wife to look
17 around the apartment and turn over anything she finds
18 to the Defence counsel. She didn't find anything
20 Q. Couldn't one then ask for a copy, for a
21 duplicate from the Vitez administration?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. It never occurred to you to do that?
24 A. (No audible response)
25 MR. TERRIER: Now, Mr. President, I should
1like to go into private session for a very short --
2 very briefly.
3 (Private session)
13 page 11433 redacted – private session
13 page 11434 redacted – private session
3 (Open session)
4 MR. TERRIER:
5 Q. Abdulah Ahmic testified on the 19th of June,
6 1980 (sic), and I should like to remind you of what he
7 said on that occasion. He said that Zoran Kupreskic
8 was the commander of Grabovi, and Zarko (sic) Kupreskic
9 was the commander at Zume.
10 He said, "I saw Zoran Kupreskic often. He
11 was armed, and he went with Slavko Sakic, who was very
12 armed and well-equipped. They went to the front line
13 in Busovaca because it was where the fighting was
14 taking place. I often saw him under full gear.
15 Therefore, he was not the only one who stood guard, he
16 was also a person who was in charge and who went to the
17 front line."
18 A. I don't understand what the question was.
19 Q. I'm reading you this declaration, this
20 statement which was before you, and I'm asking you:
21 Can you explain it? Was there a confusion or would you
22 comment upon it or respond to what you just heard? Why
23 should Abdulah Ahmic make such a statement? Did he
24 have any reason to do that? Why would he do that?
25 A. I can say that regarding Slavko Sakic, it
1never happened that I was in uniform. He was in
2 uniform and that we walked through the village. He
3 never wore a uniform of that kind because he never was
4 on guard duty with us. He was with the civilian
6 I went on the 20th October, 1992. Between
7 that time and 15 April, 1993, I never went to Busovaca
8 in uniform. Abdulah perhaps knows that I was assigning
9 guard duties in a particular period of time, and I
10 think I have testified to the period and how I did it.
11 After that, I did not do this duty. He may not have
12 known about it.
13 He perhaps should know, because it was the
14 same with our fellow neighbours on the Muslim side.
15 They kept changing these guard duties and shifts all
16 the time. So maybe he knew something about how they
17 were doing.
18 Q. I believe you told us on Friday that you did
19 not take part in the conflict of the 20th of
20 October, 1992, that none of the Kupreskics took part in
21 that. I believe that is what you told us.
22 Could you please tell us what Vlatko
23 Kupreskic did on that day?
24 A. All I know regarding Vlatko Kupreskic, on
25 20 October, 1992, is that when our families were in
1Santici at my sister's -- first they were at the Vrebac
2 shelter. Then they moved over to my sister's. Then
3 we -- when we asked what happened to Vlatko and his
4 family, we were told that they were also there but I
5 did not see Vlatko. I don't know what he did on that
7 Q. Could we show the D26 and D27, please, to the
9 Witness, you explained to us last Friday that
10 after the conflict of the 20th of October, 1992, you
11 were invited accidentally to attend a meeting but that
12 you did not take part in this meeting because you were
13 not a negotiator and that instead, you were a kind of a
14 secretary of that meeting and nothing more than that.
15 Am I mistaken in interpreting the role that you played
16 at the time?
17 A. Something like that. I learned from this
18 discussion that some of these persons had had a meeting
19 the day before, I was not sure about it, but I did go
20 to that meeting, as I said, with Fuad and Muris Ahmic.
21 Q. I'd like to draw your attention to document
22 D26, and I should like to ask you to remind us what was
23 the explanation you gave us about this document. You
24 were not a signatory to it. You were a secretary.
25 What is that document?
1A. I said that we could not recall whether it
2 was once or twice because once we went there, and then
3 we stayed there, so we did not actually leave. Both
4 dates are 20 October, and here it says that Muris is
5 going to Ahmici, and he is going to come back by 2.00,
6 and then the second meeting says 16.00, so it would
7 mean two different times. I don't know whether we had
8 dispersed and then come back together. I wrote down
9 the first part without any dictation and without any
10 order. I just wanted to keep a record of what was
11 being said in the meeting.
12 Here I see that he had said something that
13 Sakib said and then something that Muris said, and
14 perhaps somebody else also contributed something, but I
15 didn't write it. It looks as if the meeting here was
16 interrupted until Muris did whatever he was supposed to
17 have done, and then the meeting went on, but what
18 happened to -- and then maybe perhaps just incorporate
19 what Nenad and Fuad were going to agree on. I took
20 down whatever they had agreed on, and I don't know if I
21 had discussed anything in addition.
22 Q. Is that all you remember of that period which
23 followed immediately the period of time after the first
24 conflict, or could you be more precise? And understand
25 that this is, nevertheless, important.
1A. For instance, I first had forgotten that any
2 notes were taken. Then when I saw them, I remembered.
3 I'm trying to remember as much as I can, and I will try
4 to recall as much as I can, if I can.
5 Q. I'd like to draw your attention to document
6 D27. Is it because your memory is failing you that
7 this document was turned in by the Prosecution last
8 October -- that was shown to the Prosecution last
9 October? However, you contested its authenticity
10 through your Defence by saying that you did not sign
12 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President,
13 objection to this question. We believe that the
14 Prosecutor is misinterpreting the entire event relating
15 to this document. We had objected to its admission
16 into evidence simply because we could not figure out
17 whose signatures these were, and it has not been
18 established at all what the witness, that is, the
19 accused, has to say about it. We did not identify
20 signatures on either side, either Croat or Muslim, and
21 the accused has not testified to it.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Terrier?
23 MR. TERRIER: I'm referring to a page in the
24 transcript. You will remember that there was a long,
25 lovely discussion on the admissibility of this
1document, and on this page, Counsel Radovic says, "We
2 are contesting the authenticity of this document. We
3 are contesting by discussing the possibility that Zoran
4 Kupreskic could have signed this document or taken part
5 in such an agreement in this accord," and it is a
6 question which we are asking, Mr. President, on the
7 substance of this document. Then Mr. Radovic said, "We
8 do not know anything about this agreement," and it is
9 because of that, it is page 4748, so this document was
10 simply dismissed.
11 I'm referring to the date of 1998. We see
12 that Mr. Kupreskic's memory is very imprecise, and I'd
13 hoped that this document would remind him of something,
14 and I thought that perhaps we might hope that this
15 might have jogged his memory and he might tell us
16 something more. That is all. That is the only thing I
17 wanted to raise, and it is not more important than
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Will you please move on to
20 another question?
21 MR. TERRIER: Yes, Mr. President, I will move
22 on to another question.
23 Q. I should like, Witness, to ask you, we now
24 know that you were the reporter, you were just taking
25 notes, that you were, therefore, the secretary to this
1agreement, D27, that you were present at the meeting.
2 Could you please explain to us, as precisely as
3 possible, what did this document mean at that
4 particular time, after the conflict when the majority
5 of Muslims had left their houses in Ahmici? What does
6 this document mean?
7 A. I understood this meeting, when I was invited
8 down there, I understood it to be -- since there had
9 elapsed -- and the shooting went on, not only until the
10 20th but to the 21st, and then it died down by the
11 evening of the 21st, so I understood it to mean that
12 people should go back home. I don't think that all the
13 Muslims had fled their homes in Ahmici. I believe that
14 not even one half of them did. Also, the Kupreskics
15 had fled.
16 My understanding of it was that we should go
17 back and the Muslims should go back. I did not want to
18 go back until the Muslims came back. I did not feel
19 safe, and I believe that my sense of insecurity was the
20 same as the Muslims, and I thought that that was it,
21 that that was the meaning.
22 Q. With this, do you agree that this agreement
23 was prepared in the name of the HVO?
24 A. Since I don't know whether Nenad was a
25 soldier of any kind, but I knew that he was a member of
1the HDZ and perhaps was in the leadership of the HDZ in
2 Santici and Zume, and since the HVO was both a military
3 and a civilian government, I understood this to mean
4 that this was a civilian government meeting between the
5 HVO and the Muslims. At first, I said representatives
6 of the Muslims and Croats, meaning the ethnic groups.
7 Then later on, as it was dictated to me, then I wrote
8 down as the dictation came, in D27.
9 Q. I'm talking about D27, the second exhibit.
10 You said that you only took the dictation, that is what
11 you stated, on behalf of the HVO in Ahmici.
12 A. I think Fuad told me to write, but I'm not
13 sure about that, so please don't hold me to my word.
14 Q. You're saying that it was Fuad who asked you
15 to take notes on behalf of the HVO?
16 A. No, I didn't say that. I didn't say that
17 Fuad asked me to write HVO. As far as I remember, I
18 said that Fuad suggested for me to take the minutes, to
19 take notes from the meeting, and not to write HVO.
20 Q. Do you admit that by this document, the
21 Muslim inhabitants are requested to make a list of the
22 weapons and turn them over to the HVO?
23 A. After discussions in which Fuad and Nenad
24 were the main speakers, and Fuad said that he had
25 refused order to put up the barricade, and then he was
1replaced and Muris was appointed, and that they were
2 blamed for doing that. He told them that they would be
3 blamed -- that this was wrong. Nenad asked what it
4 says here, so the two of them agreed for me to write
5 down what is stated here. I don't know which one of
6 the two dictated what is written here, but I assume it
7 was Nenad.
8 Q. Would you agree that, according to this
9 document, the HVO guaranteed the security of Muslim
10 inhabitants in the area of Ahmici and Santici, that the
11 HVO is the one who guarantees the security of the
13 A. That's what it says here, and again, this is
14 an agreement between Fuad and Nenad.
15 Q. Excuse me, but you were a signatory to this
16 document. You said so. Being a signatory to this
17 document, I believe that you also committed yourself to
18 the implementation of this agreement; don't you think
20 A. It turned out later that nothing came out of
21 this agreement, except the part where we all went back
22 to our homes. Nothing else from this agreement was
23 implemented, as I said, except for us to go back home,
24 and then I thought that Fuad and Nenad would pass this
25 on to Vitez, to a higher level, and then it would be
1implemented. Only afterwards did I find out that
2 nothing had happened, except that several Muslims who
3 were closer to Nenad had given up their weapons, but
4 from Ahmici, nobody gave up their weapons, nor did they
5 suffer any consequences. They came home with their
6 weapons a few days later.
7 Q. Which means that the HVO did not guarantee
8 the safety of Muslim inhabitants in Ahmici, in spite of
9 this agreement, but does it mean that you did not take
10 part in its enforcement and the disarmament of Muslims,
11 but again that nothing was done -- that you did nothing
12 to provide safety for the Muslims, even though it was
13 guaranteed them?
14 A. I said that I took part in the discussion
15 only when the return of both peoples were discussed.
16 This is where I was engaged. I was afraid to return my
17 family home until the Muslims came back, and this was
18 my stance. I did not have any say in anything else. I
19 was in no authority of the HVO, neither the military or
20 the civilian, so I personally could not give any
21 guarantees, nor did I have any part in the return of
22 the weapons, in the indexing of it, and I don't know if
23 this was carried out.
24 Q. Witness, tell me if I'm summing up your
25 position correctly. You are telling us that you took
1part in the discussion, that you proposed some
2 dispositions on the return of the refugees, and that
3 this was accepted and written down in the decision, and
4 as for the rest, your signature means nothing,
5 signifies nothing, and is worth nothing, apart from
7 A. I didn't say that it had value or that it did
8 not have value. I signed there as a person who took
9 the notes. I realistically thought that some kind of
10 joint unit would be formed, and I said that I thought
11 this was a nice idea, and I would have liked for this
12 to have happened, but I had no part in the
13 implementation of that or any of the other points that
14 were agreed here. I had practically no part in the
15 return of the refugees, but they came back
16 spontaneously a few days later, and then five or six
17 days later, we went out on guard duty again. We didn't
18 go out on guard duty together, but we saw each other
19 while performing that duty, and we all had arms.
20 Q. Do you, perhaps, remember, when you look at
21 the document, D27, who the Muslims were who took part
22 in the meeting and signed the document?
23 A. I can say with certainty that at the meeting
24 on the 22nd, I was present with Miroslav Pudza, and
25 then Nenad was there, Zeljo Livancic. I'm not sure,
1but perhaps Vlado Santic, Nenad's brother, more likely,
2 he was there than not. From the Muslims, there was
3 Fuad Berbic, Muris Ahmic, and Sakib Ahmic. I think
4 Sakib Ahmic was there only for the first part of the
5 meeting, and then he left and he wasn't there for the
6 rest of it. I do not remember if these three, Nazif,
7 Fahrudin, and Islam, if they were there. I can't say
8 they were or they were not. I don't remember.
9 Q. You're referring to Fahrudin Ahmic. Your
10 friend, Fahrudin Ahmic, was he there?
11 A. I said that I don't remember if he was there
12 or the other two that I mentioned, and another
13 confirmation of the fact that I think that he wasn't
14 there is that we never mentioned this later. We never
15 talked about it directly or indirectly. We did see
16 each other after that.
17 Q. Among the Muslims who were present there and
18 signed the document, which ones are still alive today?
19 A. I think that none of them are alive. Of
20 those who signed, whose signatures are here, I am the
21 only one who is alive, as far as I know.
22 Q. Mr. President, I should like to look at the
23 evidence before this Tribunal, but under protective
24 measures very briefly. Could we go into private
1JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, please.
2 (Private session)
13 page 11449 redacted – private session
13 page 11450 redacted – private session
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13 page 11452 redacted – private session
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13 page 11454 redacted – private session
13 page 11455 redacted – private session
9 (Open session)
10 MR. TERRIER:
11 Q. Witness, let us now turn to this period from
12 October 1992 to April 1993. I was really astonished to
13 hear you describe this period as a period of increasing
14 normalisation. You said that during that time, between
15 October until April, if I understood you properly, that
16 things had once again become almost normal.
17 Now, we heard quite a number of witnesses,
18 including Defence witnesses, who testified to the
19 contrary, that is, to the mounting tension.
20 Now, will you help us to resolve this
22 A. Yes. I can explain. There is no
23 contradiction. When I said that after the 20th of
24 October there was a calming down, it's true. That's
25 what happened. The situation calmed down a lot.
1We continued to socialise in the same way
2 that we did before, and the first things that started
3 to happen began with the conflict in Busovaca. So from
4 the 20th of October, until the end of January 1993,
5 things were normal. Or if there were some irregular
6 things, they were just small and they didn't have such
7 an influence for us to conclude that there was
8 something drastically wrong.
9 From the conflict in Busovaca, different
10 things began to happen; shooting. There were stories I
11 told about the cafes being blown up in Vitez, and then
12 the aggressive behaviour of different armies and
13 different things happened.
14 Up until that period, in my opinion, it was
15 pretty good. Afterwards there were incidents that
16 indicated that things were not going very well. Then
17 after a certain number of such incidents, it was
18 possible to see and you begin to accept that. That's
19 the way it is and you begin to live and take that as
20 something normal, because you simply didn't have any
21 choice. What could you do?
22 Q. Do you remember the assassination of
23 Mr. Salkic? Salkic was assassinated in 1993 --
24 A. I heard about it but I'm not sure when it
25 happened. As far as I can remember, it happened in
11993. I'm not sure whether this was in January. I'd
2 heard about it and there was talk that this was done by
3 Cicko, that he had been detained, that a commission had
4 come out to the terrain.
5 Q. On Friday, I believe you talked about the
6 inflow of refugees from Western and Northern Bosnia. I
7 believe you were referring to Muslim refugees.
8 A. Yes, there were refugees from one group and
9 the other, but there was talk that the Croat refugees
10 from Jajce would come to Vitez and try in all possible
11 ways to move on, not to stay in Vitez. I don't know
12 whether this was really true, but I know that in Ahmici
13 and perhaps in Santici, I'm not sure that any Croat had
14 come there as a refugee and had stayed there to live,
15 except for the Didaks who had come there before.
16 Actually, they came after the fall of Jajce.
17 But in my estimate, there were -- I can't
18 claim this with certainty, but we could see them on our
19 way to work, when we were passing by the school. We
20 could see a large number of people who were not
21 familiar to us, and then through some things that were
22 said, but some man had said that he had 13 refugees in
23 his house. It was him, his wife, his children and 13
24 refugees. So you can imagine in a small house so many
25 people living to. We didn't know how many there were.
1We could see them. There were some uniformed people
2 and I think that there were more people from outside in
3 uniforms than our neighbours, Muslims, that we were
4 living with. They would go to the lines with their
5 weapons. When they came back they would fire into the
6 air. They would also shoot in Zume when they were
7 going to the line in Vlasic. So there was a lot of
8 tension, but we didn't consider this something
9 drastic. There were no particular problems. We
10 continued to see Muslims, socialise with them, work
11 with them in the folk dance group. There was nothing
12 special there, but there was a kind of sense of fear,
13 especially from the direction of Dusina and Lasva,
14 particularly after the conflict.
15 Q. Do I interpret faithfully what you said when
16 you said that this inflow of refugees settling down in
17 Ahmici, that that instilled if not fear then some
18 concerns among the members of the Croatian community?
19 A. You could say something like that, concern or
20 apprehension. We knew -- not even unconsciously did we
21 know whether there would be any problem, but then you
22 had other people. Everybody is behaving well and
23 everything is fine. You're greeting with them and they
24 don't say anything bad, but then you don't know what's
25 inside their character. You don't know what they may
1be thinking inside.
2 Q. I'd like to refer to the testimony by witness
3 Y, who testified on the 29th of September, 1998. Page
4 3299 of the transcript. I'm not going to mention the
5 witnesses name because we are in a public hearing and
6 possibly we can stay in public session.
7 MR. TERRIER: However, Your Honour, would you
8 allow me to show the name of the witness for everything
9 to be clear?
10 Q. Please do not mention the witness's name.
11 The witness referred to a meeting with you shortly
12 before the attack of April 1993. He said that you
13 convened a meeting, that Dragan Vidovic was present, as
14 well as Ivo Papic and Vinko Vidovic. He said that you,
15 Zoran Kupreskic, were the one who mainly spoke during
16 that meeting.
17 The purpose of that meeting was that the
18 Muslims had to stop their night patrols. Do you
19 remember the meeting which took place shortly before
20 the April events?
21 A. I do, but it was not brief. This was not
22 shortly before April. I do recall well when the
23 Prosecutor was examining this witness regarding the
24 16th of April. This could have been either in late
25 January, early February 1993. That's when it was. Up
1until that period, the Muslims would set up a
2 checkpoint, after the conflict in Busovaca, at the same
3 position where it was on the 20th of October, after we
4 had agreed to have it dismantled.
5 My brother and I, several times, had an
6 opportunity, when we were coming back from our folklore
7 group, that could have been later on after the
8 rehearsal, we would sit in the cafe, and we didn't have
9 a car, we would pass by the checkpoint. We would greet
10 each other. They wouldn't ask us anything; we wouldn't
11 ask them anything. We would just pass by and go home.
12 After awhile, but during that same period of
13 time, let's say, Ivica would come by and see the
14 barricade, and then he would ask us, "Well, how come
15 our Muslim neighbours are keeping a checkpoint and we
16 are not?" Until the conflict in Busovaca, we had
17 relaxed. We did not have any checkpoints. I was the
18 one in charge of assigning people, and I didn't do it.
19 My brother, for instance, was going to play at
20 different weddings, and Mirko Sakic went to do
21 construction work, and he didn't want to go. Mirko
22 Vidovic also didn't want to do it. So we were just
23 four or five. Dragan Vidovic and I were the most
24 regular of those who did stay on guard. Drago Samija
25 and Drago Grgic were also involved. At that time,
1Ivica and Mirjan, my brothers, were together on guard
2 duty but very infrequently, and because of all these
3 problems, I said that I didn't want to go on doing
4 this, and if somebody else wanted it, they could.
5 This was in a period after a lot of
6 objections were made, why were we not also keeping a
7 checkpoint when the Muslims did. The Muslims had
8 similar problems that we did, but they were many more,
9 so it was much easier for them to do it, so if ten
10 people were missing, they still had many others to
11 replace them. If two of us were missing, then it was
12 very difficult for us to replace them.
13 I apologise for having mentioned the name. I
14 didn't want to do it. I just remembered.
15 This witness, I did meet him, and I asked him
16 to -- that we should get together and talk about
17 something. I didn't tell him what. I don't know
18 whether it was the same day or the next day, whether it
19 was during the day or in the early evening, but I
20 remember that he was present, Hazrudin Bilic, I
21 believe, is his name, because he was also in charge of
22 assigning some people down around the mosque, I think,
23 but I know that Dragan and I were there. I'm not sure
24 about Vinko Vidovic or Ivo Papic, in other words, Ivo
25 Papic was certainly not there, and Vinko, whose house
1was nearby, may have seen us and joined us there.
2 All I asked from this witness was, if
3 possible, not to keep this checkpoint at the entrance
4 to the village and not to patrol the main road. I
5 remember very well that we had agreed, and this was
6 agreed to and implemented, that they could have their
7 guards, but they should be not on the road but in the
8 fields, let's say, 15, 20 metres off in the fields.
9 At that time, our side, the Kupreskics, did
10 not have guards. We told them that we also had guards
11 which is a lie. We didn't do it, and if we did it, it
12 was very, very infrequent. So I said to this witness,
13 "Dragan is going to be in charge of this from now on,
14 so if you have anything to do with that, deal with
15 him." I asked that these patrols be 15 to 20 metres
16 off the road, in the fields, and I recall very well
17 that a number of people, four or five of them, would
18 come and meet near the mosque, and I say that this is
19 what the agreement was. This is how it was done.
20 Q. Remember that the witness did not at all
21 present the events as you did. He stated that you
22 asked them for their patrols to be done away with and
23 that when he suggested to have joint patrols, you
24 turned the offer down. Did the witness then, back at
25 that time, suggest that there would be joint patrols
1with Muslims and Croats?
2 A. I cannot recall whether this was proposed
3 jointly, but we could not really gain any balance in
4 relation to them because we were only five or six.
5 What I am saying is it is not the Croats who
6 did not want the joint guards, joint patrols. Mirko
7 and I went to the school. We would be going there
8 often before the conflict. The Muslims had a radio
9 transmitter there, and they had never asked us before
10 to leave the room if they wanted to say something, and
11 we took a bit of offence, and that is when we went our
12 different ways, even though we kept going to this
13 school building and we would see each other there.
14 Q. You probably remember, but I remind you of
15 the fact that the witness said that you didn't want to
16 set up joint patrols. He asked you why, and the
17 witness didn't say you answered, but he said that
18 somebody said that if that was to be done, the Croats
19 in Busovaca would laugh at the Croats in Ahmici because
20 the latter would be protected by the Muslims. Do you
21 remember that?
22 A. No, I don't recall anybody having said that.
23 Q. It was also stated, and this is page 3302 of
24 the transcript, he said, and I must say somewhat
25 hesitantly, that you said to him that you couldn't
1accept his offer for one specific reason which was that
2 you were under orders not to do it.
3 A. As I said, I never had any written or oral
4 order from anyone for anything because I was not
5 subordinated to anyone.
6 Q. Let us turn to the 16th of April, 1993. I
7 believe that it was on Friday that you told us that you
8 wanted justice to be done with regard to the crimes.
9 Could you tell the Tribunal today whether you know
10 anything as to the origin of the attack, the way it was
11 carried out, and what the authors of the attack had in
12 mind? What was their objective? Did you hear anything
13 with regard to all of this, anything that would make it
14 possible for justice to be done?
15 A. I have already stated what I had learned, and
16 I came by this information gradually. At first, the
17 situation was such that we were about to be attacked
18 and we were fleeing towards Zume. Within the first
19 three hours, when the shooting started, I thought that
20 the fighting was going on, that there was an attack in
21 progress. During the day, I learned that there were
22 casualties, and I saw burnt houses, mostly Muslim
23 houses. I did not know who had attacked whom, but I
24 saw that the Muslims were expelled, that they were
25 killed, that their houses were burnt and properties
1destroyed, and I could see even more of that on the
2 17th and 18th. I feel very sorry for this, but this is
3 what happened.
4 My only interpretation and the only
5 connection I can make regarding this crime is that the
6 army did it, the soldiers which I had seen that
7 morning, and I don't know who they were, where they
8 came from. The only logical thing that I could put
9 together was that it was related to these soldiers, and
10 I saw that later, I saw the results, and it's all very
12 Again, I pray to God that the real
13 perpetrators be found, and I have nothing to do with it
14 whatsoever. If I may add, on the contrary, I have been
15 trying to lower the tensions. I have always tried to
16 make the normalcy come back, but perhaps it is this
17 attitude, this disposition, that has contributed to my
18 being here. I don't see where I did anything wrong.
19 Q. We're going to look into this issue of
20 possible errors, but I must say that I don't quite
21 understand your situation, your position. You have
22 lived in that village for a very long time. You have
23 excellent relationships and contacts with your Muslim
24 neighbours. You have links of friendship with some of
25 these Muslims. I have in my mind Fahrudin Ahmic and
1some others. You like multiethnicity. You want peace
2 between the community, as you stated. You also signed
3 a document by the HVO committing the latter, to make
4 sure that Muslims would be protected. You are, on the
5 16th of April and later on, in Ahmici. Later on, you
6 become an HVO officer, and still you don't know,
7 nothing whatsoever, as to what happened in Ahmici on
8 the 16th of April. You know nothing as to the units
9 committed and engaged. You know nothing about those
10 who wanted this crime to happen and why it happened.
11 All you can say is that the authors must have come from
13 A. Please, I would not like what I have said to
14 be misinterpreted. It is not that I didn't know
15 anything. I can again restate what I learned at what
16 point. I said what army it was. I did not recognise a
17 single person. I don't know a single name. I saw four
18 or five soldiers and 18 soldiers up in Pirici who
19 appeared like the ones that I had seen before, and I
20 don't know who they were. I don't know the reason why
21 this happened.
22 From the 20th of October, when the first
23 conflict broke out, until that time, we had a common
24 enemy; it was the Serbs. We went to Mount Vlasic to
25 fight there. There was no question of any conflict
1between us, and I could not understand that. Even
2 today, I find it hard to understand, and I feel sorry
3 for that. I have said everything I can, and whatever
4 you're interested in, I can tell you, but I don't know
5 anything more.
6 Q. You remember Tone Bringa's testimony and who
7 said that, according to her, the Croatian neighbours
8 took part in the attack in Dolina. Do you think that
9 the same happened in Ahmici? Do you think that the
10 Croats inhabiting the village took part in the action
11 against the Muslims?
12 A. I recall the testimony of this lady, and I
13 said when I saw the poor Nure, I somehow related it to
14 myself, even though there were differences. The basic
15 difference, according to me, is that in this village,
16 there were two-thirds Muslims and one-third Croats, not
17 so in Ahmici. In Ahmici, there were 10 to 20 Croats
18 and more than 500 Muslims.
19 All I'm saying is that the people with whom I
20 was on guard duty, none took part whatsoever for a
21 moment and in any action in the conflict against the
22 Muslims, and I am referring to the people who were with
23 me on guard duty. I don't know what happened in Zume
24 and down by the road. I just don't know. I say that
25 no one who was with me fired a single bullet, that I
2 Q. You say that the people who were with you on
3 that day did not do it, but you know nothing as to the
4 other people who lived in Ahmici, Santici, and Pirici;
5 is that so?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you remember witnesses who came to testify
8 and stated that on the day, the eve of the 16th of
9 April, 1993, they had noticed that preparations,
10 military preparations were happening towards the
11 conflict? Do you remember, in particular, those
12 witnesses who stated that they noted military
13 preparations close to the Kupreskic houses?
14 A. I recall that testimony.
15 Q. I have in mind Witness V, who testified on
16 the 25th of September, 1998. Witness V stated that on
17 the eve of the conflict, that is, on the 15th of April,
18 he was in his car, he was driving up to the upper part
19 of the village, and in so doing, he saw from his car
20 some ten soldiers and two civilians in front of Zoran
21 Kupreskic's house, at the crossroad between Zoran's
22 house and Ivica's house, more precisely. Do you
23 remember that testimony?
24 A. I remember that testimony. If I may add --
25 Q. Please don't mention the name of that
1witness. I mean, I could show you the witness's name
2 with the leave of the Court. Do you want to see that
4 A. I don't need it. I think I know it. I just
5 asked if I could make a comment regarding it.
6 On that day, on the 15th, I arrived home from
7 work and stayed there for awhile. I had guests. Then
8 I went to Ivica Kupreskic's house, and I saw nothing
9 like it while I was outside, regarding what the
10 testimony of that witness was, nor did anybody else
11 around me tell me anything like it, my mother, my
12 father, my brother.
13 I don't know if this is of any significance,
14 but this witness had a little Fiat car, and he used to
15 drive very fast, and so women would pull children off
16 the road. I don't know on that day how he drove. I
17 don't know what he would have been able to see. I
18 don't know. I know that he was a fast driver, and
19 women would move children away from the road when he
20 would be coming.
21 Q. Did you have a car?
22 A. No, I don't. Not now. I used to.
23 Q. Yes, but back then, on the 16th of April, did
24 you have a car?
25 A. I cannot recall. I may have bought the same
1model car, maybe a month earlier, a Zastava 750, it's
2 called. That's right.
3 Q. I just wanted to draw your attention to the
4 fact that the witness whose testimony we have just
5 mentioned, that his testimony was corroborated by
6 Witness Y's testimony, he was heard here on the 29th of
7 September, 1998, and Witness Y does remember the
8 concern of that other witness we've mentioned who,
9 after seeing this group of soldiers around the
10 Kupreskic houses, called some of his friends to talk
11 about it and know what action, what steps had to be
12 taken, given those circumstances. This was not a
13 question, just a comment of mine.
14 I also wanted to remind you that other
15 witnesses came to testify and stated that some Croatian
16 families were transferred, were moved by car in the
17 afternoon or in the early evening of the 15th of
18 April. Do you remember that testimony? This involves,
19 more particularly, the family of Ivica Kupreskic.
20 A. Is the question whether I recall the
21 testimony of certain witnesses or do I recall that
22 certain Croatian families moved out? Which of the two
23 is the question?
24 Q. I'd like answers to both questions on these
25 two issues. Just let me explain. If you can't
1remember those testimonies, then I can show you in more
2 detail those testimonies so that you know what to
3 answer on.
4 A. I recall that a witness did testify that he
5 saw Ivica driving his family and taking his family out
6 of Ahmici. He only could have seen him driving his
7 wife to Krcevine to see her mother because she had just
8 arrived. I don't know whether he saw them coming back
9 an hour or two later. None of the Kupreskics left that
10 night, until that morning. So it was myself, my
11 brother, my father, our families, Ivica, and that's
12 all, and they were all there at home that night.
13 Q. Let us turn to what you allegedly did on the
14 16th of April, 1993. I must say that the statements
15 you made as to your movements on the 16th of April do
16 tally with the statements by some of the witnesses
17 we've heard. I don't want to name those witnesses
18 because I can't remember right now whether they were
19 protected or not. They were three Defence witnesses
20 with whom you were for most of that day, on the 16th of
21 April, and who made statements that totally match
22 yours, right into the minute details, so I suppose that
23 you remember that day perfectly as well. Therefore,
24 I'm going to put some very specific questions to you
25 following your testimony.
1I want to know when, at what time, you were
2 warned of what was about to happen? When were you
3 informed that you had better try and reach a shelter?
4 What time was it then, approximately?
5 A. I said that I did not recall the exact time.
6 I did not look at a watch; I did not have one. I know
7 it was dark, and based on the time that I spent rousing
8 my parents and then my wife, getting the children ready
9 and getting down to Sakic's, it must have been about
10 4.00. I said that it was just dawn. It was just
11 dawning. I know about that time, the daybreak. I know
12 because I went to work around that time.
13 Q. You said around 4.00 in the morning?
14 A. It was 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning. As I
15 said, from the time I got up and reached the house of
16 Niko Sakic, I perhaps needed half an hour to 45
17 minutes. That's an estimate.
18 Q. This is another matter which I fail to
19 understand. Around that hour, you were already alerted
20 to the danger which could happen, which could descend
21 on Ahmici. I'm referring to the testimony of Dragan
22 Vidovic, he was just before you, and he made a
23 statement, and I should like to know why, at that
24 particular moment, didn't you try to alert your
25 neighbours, your friends.
1A. Alert them to what? I had an information
2 that there was a possibility that we may be attacked
3 from Barin Gaj by Muslims. I don't know what to say.
4 Q. Well, it's your question which surprises me.
5 You are warned about imminent danger, that something
6 could happen in the area of Ahmici, and you were asked
7 to go to a shelter. Did you think that because the
8 Muslims were attacking that they would -- did you think
9 that Ahmici Muslims were your enemies, that they would
10 attack you, your co-villagers, that they would attack
11 you? Is that what you thought?
12 A. Not for a second did I think that the
13 attackers would be Fuad Junuz, and the Muslims that I
14 know. We were all afraid of the word "Mujahedin."
15 After the 20th, in the first days after we came home
16 after the 20th, we did have a couple of such situations
17 where the Mujahedin went to Barin Gaj, but I did not --
18 I was not afraid of my neighbours at that time. What
19 could my neighbours do to prevent the Mujahedin from
20 doing whatever they wanted to do? In view of the fact
21 that the attack was expected from that direction, it
22 didn't occur to me to call anyone from there, but we
23 just went to seek shelter the way we did before.
24 Of course, we would keep watch too like we
25 usually did and nothing would happen. We were hoping
1that day too that nothing would happen.
2 Q. So you thought that your Muslim neighbours,
3 your Muslim friends were quite safe. I'm trying to
4 understand. I'm not asking you any questions. I'm
5 simply trying to understand what happened.
6 A. Sir, I don't know if I was even thinking
7 about Muslims at that time. I was hurrying to get my
8 wife and children, to take them to Zume. We had a
9 small baby. They all needed to be taken away. I can't
10 say that I thought of them at the time -- at that time
11 when I got up.
12 Looking back on it from here, I don't know,
13 but at that moment I just wanted to leave.
14 Q. Because you did time to warn some other
15 people, didn't you?
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
17 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I think that the
18 accused would need a break, perhaps of five minutes.
19 He seems very tired to me.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: The accused must say if he is
21 tired. I believe we have reached a very important
22 point and the accused should say if he is tired or if
23 he can go on.
24 A. I can go on.
25 MR. TERRIER:
1Q. I asked you if you had a telephone at home.
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 Q. And it worked?
4 A. Well, I don't know if it worked that
5 morning. I didn't use it, nor did it ring. It didn't
6 ring that morning.
7 Q. Wouldn't you agree that one could reasonably
8 assume that your telephone functioned because it was in
9 perfectly good order, and Vlatko Kupreskic's and -- did
10 it ever occur -- you never thought of calling or making
11 a call to your Muslim neighbours?
12 What I don't understand is why did you think
13 there had ever been an attack by Mujahedin forces and
14 that in case of such an attack you would -- your Muslim
15 neighbours would be safe, and they were completely
16 disarmed as you knew they were disarmed. Why is it
17 that you thought there would be no problem, no safety
18 risk for them?
19 A. At the time that I got up, I didn't have time
20 to call as you claim. I left as quickly as I could to
21 wake up my brother and my father, and I came back to
22 help my wife get the children ready.
23 I had reason to suspect, perhaps, that people
24 from the outside Mujahedin -- I didn't know whether
25 they would do something bad to the Muslims, to my
1neighbours. We didn't know what that army was like.
2 We heard that that army, those people, slaughtered,
3 they killed, they burned. Perhaps the Muslims were
4 afraid of them just as we were. The Vitezovi and the
5 PPNs or some army from Zuti, they were as scary to us
6 as they were to the Muslims, and we were just looking
7 to get out of their way. So I just assume that the
8 Muslims tried to stay out of the way of the Mujahedin,
9 but I don't know that.
10 Q. But when you left your house, I imagine that
11 you looked around you, perhaps in the direction of
12 Sakib Ahmic's house, and you could see that that house
13 was very quiet, that everybody was asleep still.
14 A. I had no need to pass by Sakib Ahmic's
15 house. I was leaving my house. So I was going from my
16 house towards Zume. Sakib's house is towards Ahmici.
17 I had no need. I couldn't even see that house; it was
18 dark. It's 50 to 70 metres away from me. There's a
19 lot of trees, shrubs. So you could see it but only in
21 Q. You could not see any other Muslim house when
22 you left your house, your own house?
23 A. No.
24 Q. You did not try to see if in one of the
25 Muslim houses nearest to you anybody was awake and
2 A. No. I didn't see any of that, nor did I hear
4 Q. You remember the testimony of your friend
5 that we just talked about, and paragraph 29 of that
6 evidence, of that statement, that on different
7 occasions Zoran and his wife said that they left their
8 house on the morning of the 16th of April, 1993, before
9 the attack, and that Zoran also had moved his parents
10 from Ahmici, that he made two trips to take them out
11 because he had a small car. After that he returned to
12 Ahmici. Because it is true that you had a small car.
13 Did you use that car that morning, that day?
14 A. No. I didn't use it on that day, nor for ten
15 days after that. That story could have only been when
16 I drove my family to Vitez, but not on that day, not on
17 the 16th. This was ten days after the 16th.
18 Q. But wasn't it logical to take the car in
19 order to simply move quicker?
20 A. I don't know. Perhaps it was more logical,
21 but I went with my brother, and my father, and the
22 others to the shelter. The shelter was close. I
23 didn't use the car.
24 Q. Did anyone tell you not to use your car that
2 Q. Weren't you afraid that your car might have
3 been damaged, destroyed, ransacked in that attack
4 conducted by Mujahedins?
5 A. This is a very -- it's a small Fiat car which
6 had cost 500 German Marks, so it was in the garage of
7 Branko's house, the brother of Josip Livancic. So
8 after that I really wasn't thinking about the car any
9 more. I didn't even think about my house, never mind
10 the car.
11 Q. You described soldiers you saw on the road,
12 and in that description which you gave us, I believe
13 you mentioned some armbands that -- and some other
14 witnesses also said that the soldiers they saw on the
15 road were wearing some armbands, but you just did not
16 mention them. You don't remember them?
17 A. I don't remember the armbands until I saw the
18 late Mirjan Santic. I saw the armband on him. But
19 that morning I don't remember whether the army, the
20 soldiers, were wearing them or not.
21 Q. I'm now calling upon your military experience
22 that -- in the former JNA too and the experience that
23 you might have gained after that, after the 16th of
24 April. What do these armbands mean? What was the
25 significance of that?
1A. I think it was just a mark of recognition. I
2 assumed there were uniforms on all sides, so for them
3 not to mix up -- not to get mixed up. There were
4 people without insignia. I assume that this could
5 perhaps have been the reason.
6 Q. Are these armbands still of the same colour?
7 Could you tell us under which circumstances would
8 someone use them, for what kind of recognition?
9 A. I had never seen them up until the time that
10 I saw it on Mirjan Santic. So I don't know when they
11 are used. So what I said is I just assumed that it was
12 used as a sign of recognition, so that you could tell
13 who was who.
14 Q. But afterwards, when you became an officer,
15 with all the experience that you acquired later, did
16 you see those armbands used?
17 A. I did not see them afterwards because the
18 company that I was in did not use them. We never had
20 Q. And other companies use such armbands, to
21 your knowledge, and what did they mean?
22 A. I don't know.
23 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, we have a very
24 short film of about a minute, a minute and a half at
25 this point, and we shall also distribute the
1transcript. It is not very important.
2 THE REGISTRAR: This will be 376P, and 376A
3 will be the number of the transcript.
4 (Videotape played)
5 "(Voiceover) Interviewer: The lads are just
6 leaving on an assignment under the command of Mirko
7 Cosic, a young man we all know well from the ranks of
8 the Croatian Defence Council. Mirko, this is prime
9 time television, just after the news and everybody is
10 watching. Speak to the people and tell them what the
11 fighting has been like lately.
12 "Soldier wearing a white T-shirt underneath
13 his uniform: Everything is in order. Best regards.
14 Not to worry. All soldiers doing well and in good
15 health. Everything is okay.
16 "Second soldier: Busovaca will never fall...
17 "Soldier wearing a white T-shirt underneath
18 his uniform: It will never fall, never for as long as
19 we live!
20 "Voice in the background: Zoka, would you
21 like some?
22 "Voice in the background: Film that one down
24 "Soldier sitting on the ground: Say hello to
25 the neighbours over there. Tell them ... Zijo Zmijanac
2 "Interviewer: Well, they will see you.
3 "Soldier sitting on the ground: ... Dzeto,
4 tell them that.
5 "Voice in the background: Zoka, wants some
7 "Zoka or interviewer: Not now, later.
8 "Soldier with headband: Some YU rock.
9 "Interviewer: How are things going?
10 "Soldier with headband: Never better.
11 "Interviewer: Your mum will be watching you
12 this evening, why don't you say hello?
13 "Soldier with headband: I will, thanks.
14 Mum, take care of me!
15 "Interviewer: Guys, you will be going on
16 assignment soon. How does it feel to be going into
17 action? You will be going up against the enemy. Are
18 you afraid?
19 "Soldier sitting on the ground, holding a
20 piece of bread: First class!
21 "Interviewer: Aren't you afraid?
22 "Soldier sitting on the ground, holding a
23 piece of bread: No, well ...
24 "Interviewer: Well, do you know what you are
25 fighting for?
1"Soldier sitting on the ground, holding a
2 piece of bread: Mother of Jesus! Of course we do.
3 "Interviewer: Well, we did help a few
4 Muslims ... look what happened ...
5 "Interviewer: And that is how the young men
6 from the special units spend their time before leaving
7 for the front line, and before going to other positions
8 where they will help their friends and fellow soldiers,
9 the defenders at the defence lines, all of them united,
10 prepared at all times to face the enemy, ready to
11 defend their homeland!"
12 JUDGE MAY: What was the date of that again?
13 There was one shown right at the beginning of the clip
14 and I didn't take it down.
15 MR. TERRIER: We shall clarify it, Judge. It
16 is not important whether we know the precise date.
17 This was taken after the beginning of the conflict.
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Terrier, I want an answer,
19 not for you to comment on whether it's important or
20 not. I want a date for that.
21 MR. TERRIER: I'm not commenting, Judge May,
22 I simply was trying to say that we cannot answer
23 straightaway. We have to verify it in order to
24 establish the date as precisely as possible.
25 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, as
1Defence we were wondering, as the Defence, if we could
2 get information as to where this was filmed. Which
3 locale is this?
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Terrier, could you
5 tell us where this was taken?
6 MR. TERRIER: I cannot do that. I show this
7 film only to show the witness soldiers wearing those
8 ribbons on their shoulders, which were mentioned by
9 various Muslim witnesses and a number of Defence
11 Q. I wanted to ask the witness if the ribbon
12 that he saw on Mirjan Santic's shoulder looked like
13 those that we saw in this film.
14 A. I saw in this film white ribbons. Mirjan
15 Santic was wearing a light blue one then when I saw
16 him. I saw similar light blue ones on the 18th, with
17 the military police who had taken us to Pirici,
18 something similar to that. I even remember one of
19 them. I saw one wearing a black scarf on his head, and
20 I remember one of the people up at Pirici was wearing a
21 scarf like that.
22 Q. You saw this film. Would you perhaps know
23 where it was taken?
24 A. No. No, I don't.
25 Q. Now, Witness, I should like to talk again
1about those soldiers that you saw along the road at the
2 time when you were coming back from the shelter. I was
3 rather astonished about what you said last week. You
4 said that you noticed the brilliance of the soldiers,
5 that you experienced something that you never
6 experienced before, and you said that you were
7 terrified, that you wanted to get away from them as
8 quickly as possible.
9 Will you please explain to us why this
10 emotion, such a forceful emotion? Why this terror?
11 Why did you experience this terror at the time when you
12 were threatened by Mujahedin attack, when you were
13 looking for a shelter for your family, and that those
14 soldiers who were there to protect you and guarantee
15 the safety of your families. Could you please explain
17 A. I already said that what I saw that morning
18 from that army, I'd never seen anything like that in my
19 life. I'd served my military term of duty in the JNA,
20 and I'd never seen anything like it. They had a shine
21 in their eyes. It wasn't different from the shine in
22 the eyes of the other people, but their faces were
23 black. They were painted black so that in the dark you
24 didn't notice that, but you would remember those eyes
25 which you could see the reflection of them, and it
1looked horrible to me.
2 I said that I don't remember whether I was
3 carrying a child or whether I was leading my children,
4 but I was trying in every way to get as far away from
5 them as possible. I don't know if I thought at that
6 moment what would happen if they had said to me, "Look,
7 at him. He's an able-bodied man and he's leaving with
8 his wife and children." I just wanted to get away as
9 soon as possible. This was all in passing. It was
10 just a moment.
11 Q. And you, a reserve officer, or at least a
12 reserve officer of the former JNA, you did not dare ask
13 them for any kind of information from the soldiers
14 about what was going on, about possible danger?
15 A. No, I didn't dare ask them. I said this was
16 just in passing and I didn't have time.
17 Q. I'm going now to those fires which you saw.
18 You told us that on the 16th of April you saw houses on
19 fire, but you had no means of knowing which were those
20 houses. Yet, if I understood your testimony properly,
21 neither on the 16th or in the night between the 16th or
22 the 17th or on the 17th, the 17th and the 18th, did you
23 see what was happening. You did not see your house
24 before the 19th of April, is that so?
25 A. Yes. You understood me well. That is
2 Q. During that time, did you see, or notice, or
3 catch a glimpse of Vlatko Kupreskic?
4 A. I saw Vlatko only in Vitez, maybe 15 or 20
5 days later, for the first time.
6 Q. So on the 16th or the 17th or the 18th you
7 never saw him?
8 A. No.
9 Q. What about Ivica Kupreskic? Did you see him
10 one of those days?
11 A. Yes. I saw Ivica on all of those three
13 Q. I should like you to explain to us why were
14 you in that depression? You told us, and other
15 witnesses before you told us that for a considerable
16 part of that period you stayed in that depression.
17 Could you please remind us of the reasons why you were
18 there? What was your idea? Why did you stay in that
20 A. We stayed in the depression because the
21 shelter was close to us, with the wives and children.
22 We were some 50 to 100 metres away from the shelter.
23 We had information about the attack. We had already
24 seen that the army had gone by. We could hear the
25 shooting. War was being waged up above. Bullets were
1hitting the branches of the trees. So we were there in
2 case somebody came to threaten the lives of those who
3 were in the shelter, to not allow that, to shoot back,
4 to block them. That was the only reason we were
6 Q. So it was a defence line which you set up in
7 order to protect the shelter with your families?
8 A. We didn't make any kind of line. We were all
9 together in a group, all five or six of us. We were in
10 a group, one next to another, behind each other. There
11 was no line. We didn't dig any trenches. We were
12 standing next to a rock, a hill, and so on.
13 Q. I'd like you to tell us, how long did you
14 think that it was a conflict between Muslim attackers
15 and Croat defenders? How long did you think that?
16 A. I personally, during those first few hours,
17 when the shooting was at its most intense, perhaps
18 until the arrival of UNPROFOR or maybe nine or ten
19 hours until the first time I went to see my family, I
20 thought it was true, what we had been told, that it was
21 the Mujahedin, or I don't know who, who had attacked
22 and that the army had taken on the fight and that they
23 were fighting. But then later, in the course of the
24 day, as I could see that houses were burning up above,
25 and they were mostly Muslim houses, and when Ivica said
1that the Muslim houses around our house were burning, I
2 still don't know whether this was an attack and then
3 this had been a counterattack, or whether it was all
4 one attack, but I could see that the Muslims were
5 getting hurt.
6 Q. Yesterday -- no, sorry, Friday, you spoke
7 about the great suffering of various women and the
8 terror to which those women were subjected. It didn't
9 occur to you that those women might have been Muslim?
10 A. I could assume that they were Muslim because
11 there were no Croat homes there. All the houses there
12 were Muslims. They were fleeing -- in the first -- on
13 the first day, I knew that some were killed by the
14 road, and then I assumed that the others had fled and
15 that there were no casualties on that first day. I
16 assumed that if the houses were burned, perhaps the
17 people had had enough time, that they had escaped, but
18 it turned out that this did not happen to be so.
19 Q. It was then. What day, what time of the day
20 did you realise that there was not an attack, as the
21 one you had announced, and all that was happening was
22 very different from what you thought before the morning
23 of the 16th of April? At what time, roughly, did you
24 realise what had happened?
25 A. I never realised that this had happened, and
1to this day, I still don't know that this happened. On
2 that very day, I don't remember who started firing
3 first at whom, but already in the afternoon hours of
4 that first day, the 16th, I could see that there were
5 casualties among the Muslims, that their houses and
6 property were being destroyed. To this day, it is not
7 clear to me whether it was the Muslims who had started
8 shooting first or the army, I don't know that, but I
9 could see the outcome, the results of the conflict.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Excuse me. Counsel Terrier,
11 it is already 1.00, but I should like the Defence
12 counsel not to make any comments or commentaries during
13 the testimony of the accused. Perhaps it has to do
14 with my earphones, but I should very much like to ask
15 them not to comment on the testimony. Thank you.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
17 1.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
18 the 20th day of July, 1999, at 9.00 a.m.