1 Wednesday, 21st July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-16-T, the
6 Prosecutor against Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
7 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic, and
8 Vladimir Santic.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning.
10 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac.
11 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Good morning, Your
12 Honours. Good morning, Mr. Kupreskic.
13 THE WITNESS: Good morning, Your Honours.
14 Good morning, Counsel.
15 WITNESS: MIRJAN KUPRESKIC (Resumed)
16 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
17 Q. Tell us, what were you doing on the 15th of
18 April, 1993; do you remember that?
19 A. On the 15th of April, '93, I went to Vitez to
20 work to the Sutre shop.
21 Q. Was that a usual day for you, just a normal
22 working day, or was this something special?
23 A. It was just like all the previous days when I
24 worked in that shop.
25 Q. Do you remember if you saw any friends of
1 yours that day?
2 A. I remember there were people who would always
3 come regularly to buy merchandise. There were some, my
4 friends, who came to the retail store. Zdravko Vrebac
5 and Ilija Grabovac are people I remember, and also
6 Veljko Cato, my best man, Krdzalic, Batric, Gavro
7 Mucibabic. I remember them because they were in the
8 shop for some time.
9 Q. What were they doing in that shop on the
11 A. They came to buy some merchandise. Two or
12 three of them had their own coffee shops or restaurants
13 and they were getting their supplies from me, so they
14 just came to collect that merchandise.
15 Q. Why is it you remember that those people were
16 in your shop that day? Why do you remember that?
17 A. Well, it has to do with the day that
18 followed, the war in Ahmici, and I was remembering that
19 and then I remembered that 15th.
20 Q. You said that Zdravko Vrebac was in your shop
21 that day too, wasn't he?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you see him again that day?
24 A. When I finished my work, that was until about
25 5.00 in the afternoon, I usually dropped into that
1 coffee shop because the musicians usually met there.
2 So that evening, they also stopped by, and as I did not
3 have a car, I would go there and then I would find
4 somebody there to give me a lift home. Somebody would
5 always be there in his coffee shop.
6 Q. What is this coffee shop called?
7 A. It was called Set.
8 Q. Did you notice there something out of the
9 ordinary, something unusual, showing that the situation
10 was not quite as normal as all that?
11 A. I did not notice anything that would be
12 abnormal in the coffee shop. It was all as on all the
13 previous days.
14 Q. When did you go home and who gave you a lift?
15 A. I could have stayed an hour, an hour and a
16 half there, and it was Zdravko's cousin. Her name was
17 Ivana Vrebac, and it was in her car that I went home.
18 There was another relative with them, so I went to
19 their house and then I walked back to my home.
20 Q. Where is their house?
21 A. Well, that shelter that we explained and a
22 little before that shelter, that is, before Zume.
23 Q. On your way home, as you rode in that car,
24 did you see any movement on the road? Were there more
25 checkpoints than usual?
1 A. Nothing unusual in comparison with previous
2 days. There was only the checkpoint which was regular
3 at the railway station. It was still there.
4 Q. What happened when you got home?
5 A. When I got home, my son Marko was ill. He
6 was running a fever. It was a cold.
7 My wife told me that Ivica had arrived from
8 Germany with his wife but that he had gone somewhere.
9 She didn't know where.
10 Q. Where did you go?
11 A. I was at home. I heard a car arrive, and I
12 assumed it was Ivica, so I went out, saw it was his
13 car. After that, I went to Ivica's, to his house.
14 Q. Whom did you find there when you got there?
15 Were there many people or were they just getting in?
16 A. When I got there, the house was full
17 already. There were Ivica and Ankica. Ivica is my
18 uncle. Ivica's father, Ivo. Nana, that was Ivica's
19 aunt. That's what we called her. Then the refugees,
20 Didaks, Marica and Manda, with their children. Mirko
21 Sakic, Miroslav Pudze. There were many people there
23 Q. What was the conversation about?
24 A. I remember that I talked with Ankica about
25 her residence, about her life in Germany. Then Branko,
1 Avica's middle brother, he had been to Germany for some
2 15 years, so it must have been some five years that I
3 had not seen him. And then we talked about Josip, who
4 was the last one of them, how he had managed, and young
5 Ivica's brother Ranko was a disabled person, and I
6 enquired after his health. That was roughly what the
7 conversation was about.
8 Q. Did you talk with Ivica Kupreskic about
9 something particular?
10 A. Well, Ivica had been absent for two days, so
11 we talked about the work that I did during those two
12 days, what I had done. I told him that we needed some
13 merchandise in the retail shop, that some of the
14 merchandise should be transferred from the wholesale to
15 the retail shop. And part of our conversation was
16 about usual business.
17 Q. How long did you stay at Ivica's that
19 A. Well, I stayed a little bit longer. My wife
20 was there for a very short time because of little
21 Marko, because he was ill. I wouldn't know what time
22 it was exactly. It could have been 11.00 when I went
24 Q. That night, did you go to stand guard?
25 A. No, I did not.
1 Q. Why not?
2 A. At the time, there was no guard duty, so I
3 didn't go out.
4 Q. How long was it that you did not have any
5 guard duty before that and why?
6 A. I couldn't tell you how long exactly, but
7 Mirko Vidovic had gone to Germany some 15 or 20 days
8 before that, I wouldn't know exactly how long it was,
9 and Ivica was away all the time. I was busy about
10 music and other business. Mirko Sakic, who once was
11 part of that, was busy with RC (phoen), and we
12 simply -- no, we did not discuss it. We simply were
13 not there. We did not go out. We did not replenish.
14 Q. Who woke up in the morning? What happened in
15 the morning
16 A. In the morning, my brother Zoran woke me up,
17 telling me that an attack from Barin Gaj was expected.
18 Q. How did you take that? Did it sound serious
19 to you or not? And what did he look like; was he
20 upset, was he agitated?
21 A. Well, at the time that he was telling me, he
22 was already fully dressed when he told me that. I
23 never forgot the first conflict and how I went through
24 that and how I got my children out, so I responded to
25 every such news.
1 Q. Meanwhile, between the first and the second
2 conflict, did you ever react to similar reports?
3 A. Well, it happened that we had reports on a
4 couple of occasions, and we would take out our families
5 and spend some time, and after nothing happened, we
6 would go back home.
7 Q. Why do you say that this was an unusual time?
8 A. Because those previous reports, the previous
9 news, when we would get them, it would usually be
10 before nightfall or immediately after nightfall, and
11 that morning it was different.
12 Q. What did Zoran tell you exactly? Do you
13 remember? Did you ask him something?
14 A. I did, yes. I asked Zoran where did he get
15 this news, and he said that Anto Vidovic had been to
16 his place and told him so.
17 Q. Did you inform anyone about what Zoran told
19 A. No, I did not inform anyone. I had my
20 mother-in-law, who was also ill, and I could only
21 mention, as an example, that she needed ten minutes to
22 cover 100 metres. She had back pain. She could move
23 with a stick, but with great difficulty. My Marko was
24 ill. When I woke up my wife, she told me that he had
25 barely slept that night because he cried a lot.
1 Q. It's true you lived in the house with your
2 parents, isn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The parents were on the ground floor of the
6 A. My parents were on the ground floor, and I
7 was on the upper floor of the house.
8 Q. That upper floor, is there a separate
10 A. Yes, there are two independent entrances. We
11 have the same staircase, but the front door where my
12 father and my mother lived was separate, and there was
13 a separate front door to the place where I lived.
14 Q. Who informed your parents that an attack was
15 expected and that they should leave the house?
16 A. Zoran, after he roused me, he also went to
17 rouse the parents.
18 Q. So why is it that you did not inform anyone?
19 What was the reason for that? What did you say?
20 A. Well, I didn't know whom to inform. I had
21 duties towards my families. Zoran told me, "Wake up
22 your family. Get your family and go to the shelter."
23 Q. But did you notify Croats who were around
24 you? Did you call Ivica Kupreskic or Vlatko Kupreskic
25 or relatives?
1 A. No, I did not call them, but Zoran, when we
2 already were on our way, told me that Dragan had roused
4 Q. So when your family got ready and when you
5 left, how did you leave and what did you do to prepare
6 for this move to Zume?
7 A. Well, my wife got the children ready. I know
8 that my wife and I were talking about how to bring my
9 mother-in-law, seeing how she was, and we decided to
10 take her in a wheelbarrow. We decided to put her into
11 that wheelbarrow, and it was -- that is what we
12 decided, that she would be in the wheelbarrow and Ivica
13 would carry little Marko, whereas Ankica could walk on
14 her own.
15 Q. Did you take any belongings with you?
16 A. My wife had a bag with the children's
17 affairs. It was a rather small bag. Since my
18 mother-in-law was in that wheelbarrow, so I put that
19 bag into that wheelbarrow too.
20 Q. Which route did you take to Zume?
21 A. We went through that depression that we used
22 to take before, because it is the shortest way to the
23 centre of Zume and the Croat population.
24 Q. Where were your parents and Zoran and his
25 family then?
1 A. When I left my house and after we had put my
2 mother-in-law in that wheelbarrow, my father and mother
3 were there, and my father also helped with the
4 mother-in-law, and we left together. Zoran had got
5 there by that time, and we started together, by my
6 uncle's house, towards that depression. We went
8 Q. So you took that road through the depression;
9 is that so?
10 A. Yes, through the depression by Niko Sakic's
11 house and on towards Vrebacs' house.
12 Q. Did you see any people next to Niko Sakic's
14 A. Yes, there were people. There were some
15 neighbours living near Niko's house. They were in
16 front of the house, and there were also people who were
17 on the road already moving onward.
18 Q. Apart from these people, there were your
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Apart from these people, did you see anyone
22 else on your way to the shelter?
23 A. On the part of the road next to Anto Pudze's
24 house, there was an exit from the road there, and there
25 we saw a group of soldiers. They already were on that
1 road, they were moving, so that when I came up, I
2 walked past them. They were coming in this direction,
3 and we went in the other direction. Some soldiers were
4 also coming off that road next to Anto's house.
5 Q. How did the soldiers look?
6 A. I can say that I only saw these kinds of
7 soldiers on film, and they looked as commandos. I saw
8 white belts, white holsters for pistols. Several of
9 them had their faces painted, and I only saw them in
10 passing. I was driving this wheelbarrow with my
11 children by me. And as I saw them passing by, they
12 also had several cases of ammunition, several of them
13 had them as they were coming in, but all this was just
14 in passing.
15 Q. Did you ask the soldiers anything? Did you
16 try to talk to them, to ask them where they were going
17 and what was going on?
18 A. No, we said nothing. My mother and father
19 were ahead of me, and Zoran also was ahead of me and he
20 had already passed, and I was among the last with my
21 wife and pushing this wheelbarrow. They had already
22 passed, and they were very quiet and there was no
24 Q. Did they talk among themselves at all?
25 A. I did not hear them say a word. They were
1 very quiet. They were even walking very quietly, their
2 footsteps were quiet.
3 Q. How did you know what army this was?
4 A. In the area where we saw them, there were
5 Croatian houses. Had they been anybody else's houses,
6 something would have happened by then, so it was a
7 Croatian area.
8 Q. Based on how they looked, were you able to
9 determine what unit this was?
10 A. The only thing that we could make out was
11 those white belts. So on the basis of that, we
12 concluded that these were the military police, nothing
14 Q. How about the insignia on the uniforms? Did
15 they have any markings, any insignia?
16 A. I could not make it out. There were some
17 types of insignia.
18 Q. So then you left your family in Josip
19 Vrebac's shelter?
20 A. Yes, I left them in Josip Vrebac's shelter,
21 and we went back to Niko Sakic's house.
22 Q. Why did you go back to Niko Sakic's house?
23 Why didn't you stay with your family in the shelter?
24 A. Even before, when we took our families to the
25 shelter, we would always come back, usually to my
1 uncle's barn, and that's where we would spend that day
2 or that part of the day, and this is how we also
3 believed that this day was going to be spent.
4 Q. Very well. So you said that you went back
5 there because you were used to going back to this
6 depression. Why?
7 A. No, I did not say that we went back into the
8 depression specifically. Earlier, when we would be
9 told to do this, we would come back usually to my
10 uncle's barn, and we would just stay around there.
11 Q. But what did you think that you would be
12 doing there? What was your thinking at that time?
13 A. At that time, we had no idea what we were
14 going to do. Before, we would just come back there and
15 stay around that area, and we believed that on that day
16 we would do the same.
17 Q. Where were you when the shooting started?
18 A. When the shooting started, I was with Dragan
19 Vidovic, Mirko Sakic, Dragan Samija, Drago Grgic, and
20 Milutin Vidovic. We were in front of Mirko's shelter.
21 He lived on the top floor, and at the bottom, he has a
22 separate entrance, and from that side, that is where
23 the shelter was, on the back side.
24 Q. Did you see whether Niko Sakic's shelter at
25 that time was full?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What did you do when you heard shots?
3 A. When the shooting started, the bullets were
4 whizzing by. I described -- I don't know how far it
5 was from us, but they were coming this way. So when it
6 started, we ran down into this depression, and we moved
7 up towards that path which led towards our houses, from
8 where we had come earlier that morning.
9 Q. Why did you go over there into this
10 depression near that path?
11 A. At first, we just ran down into it in order
12 to take shelter from the shooting, and also, we were
13 close to this path which was the only path leading
14 towards our houses, and so we just stayed there to
15 observe what was going on ahead of us.
16 Q. With the usher's assistance, I'm going to ask
17 you to look at a series of photographs and tell me what
18 you can see there.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D109/2.
20 A. This is the depression. This is the path
21 leading from Niko Sakic's house down into this
22 depression. This is where we ran, into this part
23 (indicating), and went over to this area here.
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
25 Q. These photographs were taken this year in
1 April, that is, in the season similar to the one
2 described by you. Was the vegetation similar to the
3 one in the photograph or was it more green, less green?
4 A. I believe that it was a bit more green but
5 close to this. The leaves had started coming out.
6 Q. So this is the depression as seen from Niko
7 Sakic's house?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How did you come here? What road did you
11 A. Here, you can see the path. You can see a
12 little bit of growth here (indicating), but this is
13 where we would come down and go to Niko Sakic's house,
14 and then past the house towards the Vrebac shelter.
15 Q. So that is the path that takes the very edge
16 of the depression?
17 A. Yes. Sometimes we would take that path, and
18 sometimes we would just come down straight into it, but
19 we would avoid it because we didn't want to disturb the
20 grass sometimes.
21 Q. So you took the path rather than go through
22 the depression?
23 A. Yes, and I pushed a wheelbarrow right down
24 this path, right here (indicating).
25 Q. Will you please look at the next photograph?
1 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D110/2.
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
3 Q. Can you tell me, what can you see in this
5 A. This path, this is the part that leads from
6 our houses, if you come down this way (indicating), and
7 this is when you enter the forest from that area. You
8 see here that this path is going towards the path which
9 I pointed out in the previous photographs, where we had
10 come down towards Niko Sakic's house, and here is
11 another path which goes straight through the middle of
12 the forest.
13 When we arrived, when we came running into
14 this depression, we could still see this path and we
15 could see the path leading towards our houses. So it's
16 the only path coming up towards our houses, and then
17 here (indicating), it forks into two or three different
18 paths that lead through the forest.
19 Q. So you used this lower path down here to go
20 to Niko Sakic's house?
21 A. Yes. We came down this way, and then taking
22 this path, we went down to the part of the path which
23 I'd shown you before in order to go down to Niko
24 Sakic's house.
25 Q. I'm going to show you some additional
2 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D111/2.
3 A. Shall I take the whole batch and then point
4 out the ones that need to be pointed out?
5 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
6 Q. Can you tell me, what do you see on the first
7 and second photographs?
8 A. This here is the new structure which has been
9 built since I've been here, I don't remember it, and
10 this is what leads down to that path which then takes
11 you down into the depression, and this is from Ivo
12 Kupreskic's house, my uncle's house, down towards that
13 path leading into the depression.
14 Q. Where is Ivo Kupreskic's barn which you
15 referred to?
16 A. The barn is right behind this structure here
17 (indicating), about 10 to 15 metres away, and it's also
18 on that slope; in other words, it's lower than this
19 vantage point.
20 Q. Will you please look at photograph number 3
21 on the next page?
22 A. Yes. Here, we see exactly what I was
23 referring to a moment ago. This is when we go through
24 the forest, and we were looking at this point before
25 where they fork. This is the path which we took that
1 morning, and the other fork goes through the middle of
2 the forest, and then here is another path which then
3 merges with the one that we had taken down.
4 Q. The path which you did not take and which
5 goes through the middle of the forest, does it also
6 emerge out of the forest at the Niko Sakic's house?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Will you please look at photograph number 4?
9 A. On photograph number 4, you see the same area
10 but a bit closer up. Here, you see the path going into
11 the forest, and then through those trees, you can see
12 the depression down there.
13 Q. And photographs 5 and 6?
14 A. This is now a view taken from the depression
15 itself, so this is the path coming from our houses
16 towards the depression, and here you can see the path
17 very clearly. So this is the path coming down from our
18 houses, and this is the beginning of this clearing, the
20 Q. If you can now, please, look at photographs 7
21 and 8 and describe what you see?
22 A. This is the same area, again, from the
23 depression looking towards the path coming from our
24 houses, and here you see the new structure which at the
25 time did not exist at all. So from this area, the path
1 goes down this way and leads into this depression.
2 Q. These photographs, D111, were taken a little
3 bit later so you can see that the growth is thicker?
4 A. Yes, it's greener than in the other one.
5 Q. So you said that you stayed in that part of
6 the depression, in that part of the depression that is
7 closer to your houses; right?
8 A. In that part, we could see what was going on
9 on the path that I described to you a few minutes ago,
10 and we could see my uncle's house and this path that
11 led to it.
12 Q. Where was Zoran at that time when you arrived
13 in the depression?
14 A. While we were in this shelter by Niko's
15 house, by the time we had returned, Zoran had taken
16 Marica and Manda Didak with their children to where his
17 own family was, Mira and his children. When we ran
18 into the depression, Zoran was not with us, this was a
19 matter of a few minutes, but immediately after this
20 shooting, Zoran rejoined us there. He found us at that
22 Q. Were the people who were with you in the
23 depression armed?
24 A. I had a rifle which I used during these
25 village guards. I described how I got it. Mirko Sakic
1 had a rifle. As far as I can remember, Dragan Vidovic
2 had a rifle. Drago Grgic and Dragan Samija did not
3 have any weapons, and Zoran, when he joined us, he had
4 a rifle.
5 Q. Do you remember what these men were wearing?
6 A. I cannot remember all the details concerning
7 all the men, but as far as Zoran is concerned, I know
8 that he wore this camouflage jacket. It seems to me
9 that Dragan also wore a camouflage jacket. As for
10 Drago Grgic and the others, I don't think they had any
11 of that.
12 Q. What were you wearing?
13 A. I wore jeans, blue jeans. I wore them to
14 work, so I got back from work wearing them. I had a
15 longish brown jacket. It was warm. Underneath, I had
16 a greenish sweater. I remember that very well because
17 I came in the evening wearing these clothes, and in the
18 morning, I only took the jacket as well.
19 Q. Did you sleep with your clothes on?
20 A. I did not sleep with my clothes on. When I
21 came back from work wearing those clothes, I left those
22 same clothes to be ready for the morning so that I
23 could wear them to work again, and then I went to bed.
24 Q. You're trying to say that you only added the
25 jacket, as compared to what you wore the previous day?
1 A. Yes, I only added the jacket because it was
2 warm, and I hadn't worn it the previous day.
3 Q. What was the weather like that morning?
4 A. It was cold.
5 Q. Did it rain?
6 A. It didn't rain, but there was a bit of a
7 drizzle, as far as I can remember. I don't know
8 whether it was a drizzle or whether there was simply a
9 mist, but there was something.
10 Q. How much time did you spend in this
12 A. This first terrible shooting lasted two or
13 three hours, I can't say for sure. That was the most
14 terrible part as far as shooting is concerned. We
15 tried a few times to get out along that path that went
16 above so that we could see something, and, I don't
17 know, 15 minutes or 20 minutes later or half an hour
18 later, I cannot tell, a shell fell and it terrified us,
19 and we tried to see something from that part of the
20 path. There is another part of this depression which
21 is in the forest itself and that shell fell into that
22 part which is in the forest. Fortunately, it didn't
23 harm us in any way. We were just terrified, so then we
24 went back.
25 Again after a certain amount of time, we
1 tried to leave, we tried to get out and to see a bit,
2 but this one shell had fallen, the one that terrified
3 us, and in addition to that, there were also bullets
4 that went through that forest, and you could hear the
5 bullets hitting the trees in that forest, and we just
6 tried to get out and we'd have to go back again.
7 Q. From that position where you were, that is to
8 say, in that part of the depression where you could
9 move, could you see what was going on in the village?
10 A. We could not see what was going on in the
11 village but we could see the smoke. There was smoke
12 coming from the direction of our houses, and at those
13 moments when we would try to get to this path, we could
14 see smoke towards the road or somewhere towards the
15 mosque. There was a high pillar of smoke rising from
17 Q. At the point in time when you saw that some
18 houses were on fire, did you realise what was going
19 on? Did you manage to draw any conclusions on that
21 A. At that point in time, we realised there was
22 shooting, terrible shooting. We didn't know what all
23 this was about. At first when we saw this smoke around
24 our houses, I know that Zoran said, "It seems to me
25 that your house is burning," and then afterwards it
1 seemed to him that his house was on fire. We simply
2 thought that all around our houses were on fire.
3 However, at that point in time, we did not realise what
4 was going on and what houses were in question.
5 Q. You said that a shell had fallen into the
6 depression next to the place where you were. Did you
7 hear several shells at the time?
8 A. There were detonations, especially from that
9 part where we heard small arms fire, but also on the
10 right-hand side, we also heard shells falling.
11 Q. Could you tell where the shelling was coming
13 A. We could not have known where it was coming
15 Q. Tell me, while you were in the depression,
16 did anyone come to see you during these first three
18 A. When there was a first lull in this shooting,
19 then Milutin Vidovic came, and he said that he was to
20 our left. I don't know exactly who he was with, but he
21 said that he was in that part, and he came to see what
22 was going on and whether we had any information.
23 Q. Did he have any information? Did he know
24 more? Could he see more?
25 A. Approximately everything that we knew, he
1 knew. That is why he came to see us, to see whether we
2 had any information. Perhaps he even had a better view
3 because he was a bit higher up than we were, so perhaps
4 he saw the smoke better, but he did not have any
6 Q. Did he tell you exactly where he was?
7 A. I did not know exactly, but he said the part
8 called Bijela Zemlja, that is to say, to the right of
9 our houses, Mira Samija, Mira Vidovic's house, that
11 Q. Is his house nearby?
12 A. I don't know exactly but perhaps 300 or 400
13 metres away from him. I don't know.
14 Q. That is the Milutin Vidovic in whose house
15 some women and children had sought shelter too; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Tell me, did you leave that depression?
19 A. After this lull, when there was no shooting,
20 because of these shells that we heard coming from the
21 right-hand side, and we thought that this was Zume,
22 that shells were falling on Zume as well, we didn't
23 know how our families were, and we took advantage of
24 that particular moment to go there and see what was
25 happening to our families. So we took the same path
1 where we took our families that morning, we took it in
2 order to reach that same shelter.
3 Q. What did you see as you were passing along
4 that path and going to Zume?
5 A. When we reached this first shelter by Niko
6 Vidovic's house, Satko Vidovic, Anto Vidovic nicknamed
7 Satko, that is, we called him Satko, he called me and
8 said that this friend of mine, Fahrudin, had been
10 Q. What did he tell you? How come he had
11 received this information?
12 A. I asked him at that point, "How did you get
13 this information? Are you sure about this?" And he
14 said that someone from the lower part of Zume had told
15 him, I don't know who this was, and that the
16 information came from Fahrudin's mother.
17 Q. So that the information was correct; right?
18 A. Yes, that the information was correct.
19 Q. Did he tell you about the circumstances under
20 which Fahrudin Ahmic had been killed?
21 A. He did not describe any circumstances to me.
22 The only conversation we had was that I asked him
23 whether he was sure, although under these circumstances
24 I should not have been suspicious. Anyone could have
25 lost his life.
1 Q. When you heard about the death of Fahrudin
2 Ahmic, how did you react?
3 A. How could you react when you worked with a
4 person every year for ten days, you played music
5 together for ten days? If it had not been for him, we
6 would not have played on that last Easter. He was the
7 only one who had brought us together to do that. We
8 came together. This was only five days earlier.
9 Zdravko and I and Fahrudin came to play music on that
10 Easter, and this was at this place called Kalvarija.
11 At Kalvarija, that's where the central
12 celebration was supposed to take place. Since it was
13 raining, we carried our instruments up there on foot,
14 and then we were informed that the concert at Kalvarija
15 would not be held and that we had to go back to this
16 cafe. Then we were supposed to take all these
17 instruments and to carry them down and walk on foot,
18 and Zdravko said, "We are not doing this," I said,
19 "We're not doing this." Then this man was the only
20 one, he said, "Come on, let's do it. We played for
21 Bajram, so let's play for Easter, too." It was only
22 because of this man that we actually played music on
24 When I heard about it that day --
25 Q. Did you go and convey this piece of
1 information to someone else?
2 A. By this shelter, I met Zdravko Vrebac, who
3 played music with us on that very same day, and I
4 conveyed that piece of information that I had heard to
5 him as well.
6 Q. Zdravko Vrebac was also on good terms with
7 Fahrudin; right?
8 A. Zdravko played with Fahrudin for as long as I
9 had. The three of us were inseparable friends.
10 Q. Tell me, when you went to the shelter to see
11 your wife, did you hear about some details concerning
12 what had happened in Ahmici on that day over there as
14 A. Some people had some information. It seems
15 to me that when we were going back, Zoran had said that
16 those who were staying with his wife had received
17 information that by this road there were other persons
18 who were killed. Everybody asked. Everybody did not
19 know in detail what had happened. I was there with
20 Zdravko. I told him about what Satko had told me, and
21 Satko told me that because he knew very well how
22 friendly I was with Fahrudin.
23 Q. Did you hear about any other names on that
25 A. I did not hear any other name, but we heard
1 that there were other casualties by the road near
2 Fahran's, that is to say, around the road.
3 Q. Tell me, after that, did you go back to the
5 A. After a certain period of time, I don't know
6 how much time we had spent there with Zdravko and
7 visiting with our families, I went back with Mirko to
8 Niko Sakic's house.
9 Q. How long did you stay there?
10 A. We stayed at Niko Sakic's house briefly, and
11 then we went back to these men who were in the
12 depression and whom we had left there before we
14 Q. Did anybody come up then? Did you see any of
15 your neighbours?
16 A. When we arrived by Niko Sakic's house, we saw
17 Nikola Omazic, who told us that Mirjan Santic had been
19 Q. This Nikola Omazic, did he wear civilian
20 clothes or a uniform?
21 A. As far as I can remember, he wore civilian
23 Q. Is his house nearby?
24 A. Across the street from Niko Sakic, perhaps
25 100 metres away, that's where his house is.
1 Q. Was he on guard duty with you?
2 A. No, he was never on guard duty with us.
3 Q. Why, why not?
4 A. I don't know why not, but he did not stand
6 Q. So he told you about the death of Mirjan
8 A. From him, we received this information that
9 Mirjan Santic had been killed.
10 Q. Did you know Mirjan Santic?
11 A. I knew him. He was from the neighbourhood
12 where our sister was married, that part of the village,
13 and as of late I had seen him by the railway station as
14 I went to work.
15 Q. What did he do there?
16 A. He was a military policeman. He was in
17 charge of traffic.
18 Q. Do you know who took Mirjan Santic away and
19 where to?
20 A. When we came to the place where we had been
21 that morning, to this road that leads from our houses,
22 Ivica and this Nikola -- I mean Ivica Kupreskic took
23 Mirjan Santic's body and put it on a ladder. Then the
24 four of us got closer to them, and then we altogether
25 carried the body to Niko Sakic's garage.
1 Q. That Mirjan Santic, was his face painted?
2 A. No, his face was not painted.
3 Q. Do you remember if he had any insignia on his
5 A. Mirjan Santic's body, he had a camouflage
6 uniform, HVO military police insignia on his shoulder,
7 and I remember a ribbon of sky blue, very light blue,
8 more white than blue ribbon, something of that sort.
9 Q. So you carried the body to Niko Sakic's
10 garage. Do you know who carried Mirjan Santic and
11 where after that?
12 A. I don't know. I did not hear if his father
13 or some relatives came and took it away.
14 Q. His house is in Santici, is it?
15 A. His house is in Santici, in the second part,
16 not where Zume-Santici is but a bit farther away.
17 Q. That group of soldiers that came up that road
18 which you saw when you went to the shelter, did you
19 notice Mirjan Santic in that group?
20 A. I did not see him.
21 Q. On that 16th of April, did the gunfire abate
22 at some point or stop?
23 A. Yes. When we heard UNPROFOR APCs and could
24 see them, because that is where we were on this path,
25 at that moment there was complete silence, there was no
1 gunfire at all. Those two APCs went by the warehouse
2 in the direction of Ahmici.
3 Q. Did you see them or only hear them?
4 A. We were on that part of the path, and we
5 could also see them through the forest as they drove
6 past. Of course, the sound reaches you first, and by
7 that sound -- when hearing that sound, we went out to
8 see, and then when we came up, we saw that they were
9 moving in the direction of Upper Ahmici.
10 Q. After that, was there any gunfire after those
11 APCs left Ahmici?
12 A. Immediately after they left, the gunfire
13 started again.
14 Q. That day, at any time, could you say that the
15 gunfire had stopped completely, that no sound came? I
16 mean sound of gunfire or fighting or operation. Could
17 you tell us if there was that kind of silence on the
19 A. Only in that part, that first time which we
20 used to go to our families, there was no gunfire. And
21 when those APCs were there, for as long as they were
22 there, there was no gunfire. Then perhaps in the
23 afternoon, it could have been around 4.00 or 5.00, I
24 would not know, there was another lull. After that,
25 the gunfire resumed again, and it finally stopped only
1 after nightfall.
2 Q. What parts of Ahmici did this gunfire come
4 A. In front of us from where we were, in front
5 of us, in all of the parts. In all the parts in front
6 of us. I don't know exactly. That is, to the side, as
7 I have said, to the right side, that is the main road,
8 and from those sides, there was also gunfire there.
9 Q. Could you hear any gunfire around your houses
10 in the afternoon or was it getting further away? How
11 would you describe it?
12 A. I cannot describe it with any accuracy.
13 Perhaps it felt less around our houses than in the
14 morning. But as that day progressed and towards the
15 evening, the most intensive gunfire could be heard from
16 around the mosque and that part towards the road.
17 Q. You said that the gunfire stopped in the
18 evening of the 16th of April. Would you know where the
19 Croat units were positioned at the moment when the
20 gunfire stopped? Could you judge their positions?
21 Where were their positions, roughly? Could you hear
23 A. I could not really judge their positions when
24 the gunfire stopped. When we came out, walking to that
25 stable, which I already explained where we were, one
1 could hear people calling. There was a word, and I was
2 trying -- or many times I tried very hard to remember
3 that word because it rang in my ears, but I cannot
4 remember that word which was used. I understood that
5 it was that particular word which they used to
7 Q. Where did you hear those calls, those --
8 A. Well, it's the night, and the echo is much
9 more intensive at night. But it was over our houses
10 and then on towards Ahmici.
11 Q. Above your houses?
12 A. In front and above, towards Ahmici; that is,
13 not in our direction but behind.
14 Q. Where did you spend that night between the
15 16th and the 17th?
16 A. We spent that night -- when I was showing to
17 you that new structure, in front of it is that path,
18 and there was a small gully where we spent the night.
19 Well, some spent it in the stable, and some of us spent
20 it in that gully.
21 Q. What were you doing there? Did you still
22 watch that nobody would come close to the shelter, or
23 did you sleep, or what?
24 A. Oh, come, what's sleep? Nobody felt like
25 sleeping. Nobody slept a wink that night. We were
1 there because we were outside the woods and in front of
2 us was a clearing, so we could see if anyone came in
3 our direction.
4 Q. On the 17th of April, was the gunfire resumed
5 in the village?
6 A. In the morning, as soon as the day broke, the
7 gunfire started again. But in the morning, it was at
8 some distance and it was moving towards the upper parts
9 of Ahmici. That is, one did not hear it anymore around
10 the mosque or our houses. We simply could hear it move
11 away towards the upper part.
12 Q. In the lower part of Ahmici, could you hear
14 A. No, we could not hear anything.
15 Q. What did you think at that time had happened
16 to the local Muslims? You only heard the gunfire
17 moving towards Upper Ahmici. What about the Muslims
18 from the lower part of the village, from those around
19 your houses below the road?
20 A. The information we heard or received on that
21 16th, what Ivica told me, that all those houses were on
22 fire, all those houses belonging to neighbours around
23 our houses. What we saw during the night, that the
24 mosque had been destroyed, that all those houses and
25 all that up there was on fire. Those two or three
1 times we went to see our families towards Zume, we
2 could also see the houses set on fire and burning down,
3 and of course at that moment we could realise, indeed,
4 that Muslims had perished there.
5 Q. But there was also fire directed at Gornji
6 Ahmici, and on the basis of that gunfire, what could
7 you infer? Was fighting going on there or were
8 civilians being under attack? What was it that you
10 A. I did not infer anything about the fighting.
11 I didn't know who was involved in fighting. But some
12 of the houses which I described and which I mentioned
13 had burnt down, and we realised that they belonged to
14 Muslims. As for the people, we didn't know at the
15 time. We did not think that there were all that many
16 victims, that people had managed to pull out, to find
17 some shelter, but we did not know at that time.
18 Q. On the 17th of April, apart from that gunfire
19 that you heard in the direction of Gornji Ahmici, did
20 anything else happen that day that would stick in your
22 A. In the evening of the 17th, after the
23 nightfall, Mirko Sakic told us that all the people from
24 the shelter where my family had been, that they all had
25 escaped over to Rovna, and from the shelter in Niko
1 Sakic's house, they had also escaped, because his
2 family had been in that shelter.
3 Q. Why did they escape?
4 A. Because a report had arrived allegedly that
5 from Krtina-Mahala, that part of the line had been
6 broken through, and people were afraid and they all
8 Q. Did this report say that Muslims were coming?
9 A. I said that it was reported that the line had
10 been broken through, that the Mujahedin had broken
11 through the line on the Krtina -- at the Krtina-Mahala.
12 Q. Did you know what was going on with your
14 A. No. At that moment, I didn't know anything
15 about them, and then I went to the shelter to see
16 whether they were there and what was happening to them.
17 Q. Whom did you find there?
18 A. I went there together with Zoran, and we
19 found Zoran's wife there. She told me that my people
20 had gone towards Rovna.
21 Q. Did you go to Rovna to see your family, to
22 see where your wife and your two children were and her
24 A. No, I didn't go there then because it was
25 dark, so I did not go to Rovna.
1 Q. When did you go to Rovna?
2 A. In the morning, as soon as it dawned, I went
3 to Rovna and I found my family in Pero Santic's house.
4 The parents were there and my wife and my
5 mother-in-law, and I found them safe and sound there.
6 Q. When was it that you went to Rovna; early in
7 the morning?
8 A. As soon as that day broke is when I left.
9 Q. After that, when you saw that your family was
10 safe, what did you do?
11 A. I went back again to my brother's and those
12 other neighbour's, where they were all at Niko's
14 Q. Why did you go back there? Why did you go
15 back if your family was safe?
16 A. Well, my brother was there. I went to see my
17 brother and those other people with whom I had been.
18 Q. Were there any other Croat women in Zume and
19 around those shelters? Would you know?
20 A. When this information reached us from
21 Krtina-Mahala, from Krtina-Mahala, the majority of
22 women and children came down to the shelter where my
23 family had been, their shelter. So they simply took
24 their place. These people went to Rovna and those
25 others took over that shelter.
1 Q. When did you go to your house for the first
3 A. When I returned from Rovna, in that part near
4 Niko's house, Zdravko Vrebac came in his car to see us,
5 and then it occurred to me, as there was this car and
6 as Zdravko was there, to try to salvage my accordion
7 from the house. He could take it back to his house and
8 keep it there. So I left with Zdravko and went to my
10 Q. So even then you didn't go because of the
12 A. No, it just happened that Zdravko was there
13 with his car. It was Zdravko, and that was why it
14 occurred to me that perhaps I might get my accordion
16 Q. Why was that accordion so important to you?
17 A. I described the period until 1992. The joy
18 that I had and my only means of livelihood was that
19 instrument, and at that moment, I didn't know whether I
20 would go on living or where I would go to live, but
21 wherever I settled, that again would be the only means
22 of livelihood for me.
23 Q. What did your house look like when you got
25 A. There was chaos. All the things had been
1 pulled out of the drawers, cupboards. Everything was
2 on the floor. All the chest drawers had been pulled
3 out and broken, doors broken. In the nursery, we
4 haven't put window panes again. We can go there and
5 see it. All the window panes were down. There were
6 bullet marks all around the walls. A fire was
7 beginning to burn. Fortunately, it just died out, but
8 I wish sometimes to God that the house had burned
9 down. Perhaps other things wouldn't have happened.
10 Q. Did you notice that anything was missing?
11 You saw all those belongings, all your valuables. Were
12 they still there?
13 A. Yes, some golden objects, I could not really
14 see at that time, but there were several things
15 missing. A leather jacket was missing. Some of my
16 wife's clothes were missing. I don't really know.
17 Well, yes, it was ransacked.
18 Q. Around your house, did you see any marks of
19 bullets, anything that would indicate that your house
20 was under fire?
21 A. Yes, I did. In front of the house, one could
22 find very many cartridges, very many shells, right in
23 front of the house as you walk to the house.
24 Q. You said there were very many empty shells.
25 Did you see anything else, apart from those empty
1 bullet shells? Do you remember anything else?
2 A. I don't remember, no, not around the house.
3 Q. Was the door to your house open or shut when
4 you came?
5 A. The door was ripped out. It was a wooden
6 door, and the plank, that part of the board with a lock
7 and a handle, was ripped out, ripped off.
8 Q. After that, you went back to the depression,
9 and who did you give your accordion to?
10 A. I got there with Zdravko. I gave it to
11 Zdravko and Zdravko took it away, and the accordion was
12 at his place throughout the war.
13 Q. So at that moment, you didn't even know if
14 you would ever live in your house again?
15 A. The last thing I thought at the time was that
16 I would ever go back to live there again.
17 Q. What else happened on the 18th?
18 A. On the 18th, in the afternoon hours, we were
19 by my uncle's stable, in that part, and four or five
20 military policemen came along, I don't know how many of
21 them, and they were taking along a group of people from
22 Vitez, civilians. I knew some of them, and among them
23 was Miro Vujinovic, my best man, the best man at my
24 wedding. They were taking them, and they came across
25 us and they told us that we had to go to Pirici, that
1 defence lines were being formed there, that one had to
2 dig trenches.
3 Q. In addition to the civilians, how many other
4 people were there, those soldiers who came to get you?
5 A. I don't know, four or five.
6 Q. In which direction did they take you?
7 A. We went past Ivica's brother, Branko's house
8 and then past Enver Sehic's house, in other words,
9 through the clearing near his house in the direction of
11 Q. What did you see on your way?
12 A. It was only then that we could see how
13 terrible it was, what happened there. There was a
14 body. I was towards the middle of this column, and I
15 saw this body, and I thought that it was this
16 neighbour, Enver Sehic, whose body it was. Then
17 further on on the road, you could see another two
18 bodies. When we came up to Pirici, then from there,
19 you could see what was lying down.
20 Q. What did you see from there?
21 A. It was ghost-like. Everything had been
22 burned. It was terrible. It's very hard for me to
23 describe it.
24 Q. These soldiers, were these soldiers or some
25 military policemen?
1 A. Those were military policemen who had taken
2 us there.
3 Q. What did they tell you?
4 A. When we came up there, they split us into
5 groups of two or three, every 40 or 50 metres, and they
6 said that a front line was to be established there,
7 that we needed to dig trenches and that we would spend
8 the night there.
9 Q. Was anybody there when you arrived in this
11 A. There were other civilians there whom we
12 found there when we arrived who had started digging.
13 There was another group of military policemen. They
14 were dressed similarly to the ones who had brought us
15 there. I also saw several wearing black uniforms. I
16 saw two or three wearing some kind of bandannas.
17 Q. So they ordered you to dig trenches?
18 A. Yes. In groups of two or three, they
19 assigned us each to one of these groups, and that's
20 where we dug and spent the night.
21 Q. Were there any other trenches which the
22 Croats dug before in Ahmici, around your houses or
23 somewhere else?
24 A. I never saw any trenches dug in that area.
25 Q. How long did you stay in Pirici?
1 A. I stayed a couple of days, and then I was
2 transferred to the area above Upper Ahmici, and that's
3 where I stayed until the end of the war.
4 Q. Above Upper Ahmici, you also had trenches?
5 A. Again it was the same. We came to a
6 clearing, and then we started digging trenches, and
7 then eventually, some kind of a fortified line was
9 Q. How long did you stay in that trench in
11 A. I stayed there until the end of the war when
12 I was demobilised.
13 Q. When were you demobilised?
14 A. I resumed work sometime in April when the
15 work started again, and I got the document right at the
16 end of the hostilities in 1994.
17 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, if it is
18 convenient, we can take a break now, and then after the
19 break, I have several documents, and we will finish
20 within half an hour after the break.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Let's take our
22 break now.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Counsel
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you, Your
4 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, I will now show you some
6 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Please, can the usher
7 assist us in this?
8 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D112/2.
9 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
10 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, do you recognise this
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What is it about?
14 A. This is my demobilisation.
15 Q. In other words, this is a certificate of your
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Of 1 June, 1994?
19 A. I think it's 31 May, 1994.
20 Q. Yes, but issued on 1 June, 1994. Can you
21 tell me, was this document delivered to you?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. When was it delivered?
24 A. I don't know if it was delivered on that same
25 day but in that period.
1 Q. Did you stop being a soldier, based on this
2 certificate of demobilisation? Was that the time when
3 you ceased carrying out your military duty?
4 A. When the Sutre company started working again
5 in April, I left that line and turned in everything
6 that had been issued to me, and then later I received
7 this document on demobilisation.
8 Q. So you were demobilised at your own request?
9 A. Yes.
10 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Very well. Thank you.
11 Can the usher now please show the witness the
12 document, Prosecution Exhibit 353?
13 Q. Will you please turn to page 30, item 217.
14 Is your first and last name entered under 217?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The date of engagement in the unit, it is
17 until 22 January '96. Is that date correct?
18 A. No, it is not.
19 Q. When were you demobilised?
20 A. According to the document, on 31 May, but I
21 said that I had left the front line in April '94.
22 Q. Can you tell me whether the signature on that
23 line was your signature?
24 A. No, I did not sign it.
25 Q. Why did you not sign this document?
1 A. Nobody called me in to have me sign it, and
2 had they done so, I would have signed it.
3 Q. Do you know who signed it on your behalf?
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. Thank you. Do you know with what purpose
6 this list was compiled?
7 A. As far as I know, it was done because of some
9 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I will kindly ask the
10 usher for assistance with another document.
11 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit D113/2.
12 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
13 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, have you ever seen these
15 A. No, never.
16 Q. These are certificates on additional pay to
17 members of the armed forces. This first certificate in
18 front of you, is that certificate issued to Zoran
19 Kupreskic, and is it stated there correct, the
20 information in the father's name and the registration
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. What number of months has been accorded to
24 Zoran Kupreskic for additional pay?
25 A. The number here stated is "52".
1 Q. Will you please turn the page over to
2 certificate number 2. This is a certificate issued to
3 Mira Kupreskic, daughter of Franjo. Do you know who
4 this is?
5 A. This is Zoran's wife.
6 Q. How many months was she accorded for
7 additional pay?
8 A. Forty-five.
9 Q. The third person is Milka Sakic, daughter of
11 A. That is Ivo Sakic's mother.
12 Q. She was born in 1933, according to the data.
13 Do you see how many months were accorded to her?
14 A. Forty-five.
15 Q. The following certificate is Luca, daughter
16 of Mata. Who is that?
17 A. That is my mother.
18 Q. When was she born?
19 A. In 1937.
20 Q. How many months were accorded to her for
21 additional pay?
22 A. Forty-five.
23 Q. Will you please look at the next certificate
24 issued to Katica Vidovic, daughter of Mija? Do you
25 know who this is?
1 A. I believe that this is Mirko Vidovic's
3 Q. At that time, she was not even in Vitez?
4 A. This woman spent the entire war period in
5 Germany and came back home in 1995.
6 Q. How many shares was she accorded, what
8 A. The equivalent of 45 months.
9 Q. The following certificate is Anto Kupreskic,
10 son of Ante. Who is this person?
11 A. He was born in 1936. That is my late father.
12 Q. How many shares was he accorded?
13 A. Forty-five.
14 Q. When did he die?
15 A. He died on 2nd October 1993.
16 Q. Next is Milka Vidovic, daughter of Ilija.
17 A. This is Mirko Vidovic's mother.
18 Q. She was born in 1927?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. How many shares did she get?
21 A. Forty-five months' worth.
22 Q. Now Luca Rajic-Miskovic, daughter of Ante,
23 born in 1940?
24 A. This is Ivo's aunt whom we've been mentioning
25 all along.
1 Q. So this is Ivo Kupreskic's aunt who lived in
2 the old Kupreskic house?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Ivo Kupreskic, son of Ante, born in '25, who
5 is this person?
6 A. This is my uncle, Ivica's father.
7 Q. How many shares did he get?
8 A. Forty-five months' worth.
9 Q. There are additional certificates here, but
10 let me take you to Mirjan Kupreskic, son of Ante, born
11 in '63. Is this you?
12 A. Yes, that is me.
13 Q. How many shares were you allotted?
14 A. Forty-nine months' worth.
15 Q. Then Ljubica Kupreskic, daughter of Ivo, born
16 in '66, who is this person?
17 A. That is my wife.
18 Q. How many months was she accorded for
19 additional pay?
20 A. Forty-five.
21 Q. During the war, you were in trenches, and you
22 said that before the war, you were part of the village
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What did Mira Kupreskic do, your wife,
1 Vidovic's mother, what did these women do?
2 A. They worked at home, like they always did.
3 Q. Were they involved in any way?
4 A. In no way.
5 Q. I mean during the war period.
6 A. No, they were never actively engaged in the
8 Q. Very well. Thank you.
9 Mr. Kupreskic, could you please tell the
10 Court what your relations were like with Sakib Ahmic
11 and his family? I'm referring to his sons.
12 A. My relationship with Sakib Ahmic was the same
13 as with all other neighbours who belonged to that
14 generation. Whenever we would see one another, we
15 would greet each other cordially.
16 As for his sons, I was on the best terms with
17 Naser because we're almost the same age and we went to
18 school together for eight years, and also the younger
19 one, Ezo, I think his name is.
20 Q. Were you friends with Naser after you stopped
21 going to school with him?
22 A. Naser had a shoemaker shop at the railway
23 station, so when I worked at the wholesale outlet, when
24 he would stop working, he would stop by to see me, have
25 a drink with me or perhaps buy something that he
1 needed. That is the kind of socialising we had.
2 Q. Did you see each other in the village too,
3 not only in this shoemaker's shop of his?
4 A. I did not say that we would see each other at
5 this shoemaker's shop. I said that at the railway
6 station, he had this shoemaker's shop, and then when he
7 would finish work, on his way home and as he would pass
8 by the warehouse, he would stop by to see me at the
9 warehouse. He would either buy things that he needed
10 for his home or he would stop by for a drink.
11 Q. What were your relations like with Sukrija
12 Ahmic? Did you socialise with him?
13 A. Sukrija is considerably older than I am, so
14 just like with Sakib, we would say hello to one another
15 but we were not very close or anything.
16 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, may we
17 move into private session now just for a few minutes,
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
20 (Private session)
13 page 11649 redacted – private session
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13 page 11651 redacted – private session
13 page 11652 redacted – private session
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13 page 11654 redacted – private session
7 (Open session)
8 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Terrier:
10 Q. Good morning, Witness.
11 A. Good morning.
12 Q. First of all, Mr. Kupreskic, I'd like you to
13 tell us about your relations with your brother Zoran.
14 Throughout the trial, I see you sitting next to one
15 another, and I had the feeling that you were
16 inseparable. It might be a wrong impression, given the
17 circumstances of the trial, but could you tell us how
18 your relations were with your brother then and how they
19 have developed since?
20 A. Zoran, my brother, is five years older than I
21 am, so we are not peers. We are not of the same age.
22 By being brothers, we're more than brothers, because it
23 was this folklore which brought us together. First we
24 danced together there, and after that, Zoran led that
25 company and I managed the rehearsals. So I can say
1 that apart from being brothers, there was also this
2 additional fun that we had together.
3 Q. Let us talk about this period going from the
4 end of 1992 to April 1993. Did you then, you and your
5 brother, meet every day, be it at his house or at your
7 A. I can't say that we met every day, but our
8 folklore rehearsals took place three or four times a
9 week so that we would go together to those rehearsals,
10 come back from the rehearsals together, and I was with
11 Zoran. Whenever I met all my other friends from the
12 folklore company, he was there too.
13 Q. So besides the rehearsals of the folklore
14 group, you had brotherly relations but you were not
15 always together; is that so?
16 A. Zoran was employed by the SPS company, and I
17 worked for the wholesale unit of Sutre, and, of course,
18 during that period of time, we were completely
19 separated. Whether we would have coffee together every
20 evening, whether he came to my place or I to his,
21 whether it was every evening, every second evening,
22 every fifth evening, I really can't say, but, of
23 course, the working hours that I spent at my company
24 and the hours that he spent working at his company were
25 the times when we were not together.
1 Q. Would it be accurate or inaccurate to say
2 that Zoran, since he was the elder brother, had some
3 authority over you?
4 A. At that time, we were already grown up, so
5 Zoran had his own family and I had my own family. All
6 I could do was obey Zoran in some -- accept some good
7 suggestions that he would have for me. But whether he
8 had any authority over me, I wouldn't say that.
9 Q. Witness, today is the 102nd day of these
10 trial proceedings. We talked at length about what
11 happened in Ahmici on the 16th of April. I would like
12 you to tell us now how you feel about these dramatic
13 events, how you look at the events and how you analyse
15 A. Today, I can say that a terrible crime
16 happened in Ahmici, and it must be punished, but I
17 always wonder, "What am I doing here? Why am I
18 associated to this crime?" I did nothing bad. All I
19 could do that day, it was beyond me, beyond my powers,
20 and I'm so sorry, as I've said. I've shed rivers of
21 tears for my friend. I would have been the happiest
22 man on earth had he survived because in addition to
23 being friends, we also had common interests. Nobody
24 can replace that man for me. I miss him both as a
25 friend and as a man who worked together with me, who
1 made money together with me.
2 Q. Witness, I'd like to remind you of the fact
3 that Fahrudin is not the only victim who fell on that
4 day and that the event is relevant enough for you to
5 think about what had happened, besides what happened to
6 you personally.
7 A. I agree with you that Fahrudin was not the
8 only victim. There were countless victims down there.
9 I did say that a horrendous crime was committed there.
10 People died brutally, and I'm sorry. I very much
11 regret all that happened, but I always keep asking
12 myself, "What am I doing here?"
13 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, you told us that you did your
14 military service in 1984 within the JNA. Could you
15 tell us what distinctions or qualifications you
16 obtained during the military service or what kind of
17 training you received?
18 A. In the army, I was with the military band of
19 the former Yugoslav People's Army, and most of my
20 military service I spent with the military band, with
21 another five men.
22 Q. So apart from this musical activity, did you
23 not receive any proper military training?
24 A. While doing my military service, I was
25 trained as an infantry man. The training lasted for
1 four months, although I was somewhat in a privileged
2 position because of the band.
3 Q. So let's leave the music aside for a moment.
4 I'm asking you whether you received military training
5 during your military service and, more specifically,
6 whether you learned how to use weapons. Could you give
7 me a specific answer to this?
8 A. Yes. I did say that I completed a four-month
9 training, as any other soldier.
10 Q. Therefore, you then learned how to use
11 firearms. You learned to use the weapons that were
12 then used in the former Yugoslav army; is that so?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You told us, Mr. Kupreskic, that as of August
15 1992, you started working for the Sutre company. I
16 understood that you first worked in Grabovi and then in
17 Vitez; is that so?
18 A. It is true that I first worked, that is, that
19 I got a job with this wholesale unit which was in
20 Ahmici, and on the eve of the conflict, right before
21 the conflict, I moved to Vitez.
22 Q. Could you tell us during what period you
23 worked at the Sutre shop in Grabovi and when you worked
24 in the Vitez shop?
25 A. I said that as of August 1992, and the
1 wholesale in Ahmici, I worked there until -- well, I
2 cannot tell you exactly, but it was about ten days,
3 whether it was the 6th or the 7th or the 8th of April,
4 1993 when I moved to Vitez.
5 Q. Most of your time that you spent in the Sutre
6 company until April 1993, you spent in the shop that
7 was in Vitez; is that so?
8 A. Between the 6th or the 7th, whenever it was
9 when I went there, at that time, I would go to work in
10 the shop in Vitez.
11 Q. At that time, the Sutre shop was
12 operational. It was open, wasn't it?
13 A. The whole Sutre wholesale worked, yes. There
14 was a man who used to work with me. There was another
15 man, and while I was with the wholesale unit, he worked
16 together with me, and when I moved to the retail unit
17 in Vitez, that man stayed behind and took over all the
18 wholesale business.
19 Q. I understood. The only thing I still have to
20 ask you in this regard is to know who that other person
21 was who kept running the Sutre shop.
22 A. It was Ivica Covic. He is Vlatko Kupreskic's
24 Q. Throughout that period, is it true to say
25 that your boss, your employer, the most direct
1 employer, was Ivica Kupreskic?
2 A. Throughout the time I worked there, during
3 that particular period of time and after the war, Ivica
4 was the boss all the time. Ivica was the one who gave
5 me the job, and I accounted to Ivica.
6 Q. Could you tell us, say, if Ivica was to go to
7 Germany or when he did his trips to Croatia, did
8 somebody replace him?
9 A. The jobs, the work that Ivica did, there was
10 hardly anyone who could replace him fully, I mean, in
11 everything that he did. Some of this business, if he
12 was away, well, some of it I did, if it came to
13 paperwork and things like that. But there was nobody
14 to take his place when he was away.
15 Q. Could you tell us how you would go from your
16 home to your workplace in Vitez, and how would you come
17 back? Were you being driven by somebody or would you
18 go by bus or some other means of public transport?
19 A. As a rule, and I'm referring to about ten
20 days or so before the conflict, as a rule, and that is
21 why I said that I went to this coffee shop Set, Zdravko
22 Vrebac's coffee shop, because that is where we met as
23 musicians, and there was always somebody who would give
24 me a lift, somebody who was going in that direction,
25 and that was usually how I travelled back home.
1 Q. Let's say, for instance, in the morning, when
2 you would leave your house to go to work, how did you
3 go to work?
4 A. If Ivica was at home, then I would go by his
5 car. We went together. When Ivica was away, there was
6 a bus or a van between Nadioci, Vitez, and further on,
7 that was its usual route, and so I would commute that
8 way. At times, I would go down to the road and lift my
9 finger, and somebody would give me a ride. It
11 Q. You told us that at that time you used to
12 live in the same house as your parents did. Was it
13 your house or did the house belong to your parents?
14 A. That is my father's house, and I have nothing
15 to do with that house to this day.
16 Q. Did you have a phone in the house?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did your father have a car in April 1993?
19 A. He did not.
20 Q. Yesterday, you stated that you were on very
21 good terms with a lot of Muslims who lived either in
22 Ahmici or in Vitez but that basically none of them were
23 willing to testify in this trial because they were
24 under pressure or maybe they received threats. Could
25 you tell us whether those witnesses you have in mind
1 are character witnesses who might have been in a
2 position to tell the Court about your personality, your
3 character, or whether they were fact witnesses who
4 might have said, for instance, that you were not in the
5 house of which the Prosecution states that you were
6 in? Do you see what I mean? Are they character
7 witnesses or fact witnesses?
8 A. When I spoke about them, I had in mind three
9 or four friends of mine who know me exceptionally well
10 and could not testify as to the facts because those
11 people were not there at the time. They could only
12 testify as to my character, what kind of man was I,
13 what I was and whether I was capable of doing that,
14 anything like that.
15 Q. Therefore, none of the fact witnesses were
16 prevented from testifying or from coming here to
17 support you in your defence?
18 A. I was not in touch with any of the
19 witnesses. I mentioned here three or four, and to
20 them, through my defence lawyers, my defence lawyers
21 were in touch with them, and those are the witnesses
22 that I mentioned a little while ago and in what respect
23 I mentioned them.
24 Q. Yes. Mentioning these character witnesses
25 who might have received pressures or be under pressure
1 or have received threats not to be Defence witnesses,
2 could you tell us who might have exerted pressure on
3 them, who might have threatened them, what was the form
4 of these threats, and why did they do that?
5 A. I cannot say who threatened them. Yesterday,
6 when I said that it was one of the conclusions, because
7 the first time they talked to them, they were ready to
8 do anything, to come here even. The second time, it
9 was less so, and I talked about a videolink or a
10 deposition. Then again, the next time, even less so.
11 So that is why I conjectured, I inferred that there
12 must have been some threats, because I know those
13 people well and I'm quite positive that they would have
14 come, had it not been for those threats. But again, I
15 don't know that.
16 Q. I've thought about that. Since you have not
17 been able to say who might have been at the origin of
18 threats or pressures, do you have any idea as to why
19 they might have done that?
20 A. I said I did not know who threatened them,
21 those were only assumptions, and I cannot really say
22 who that was.
23 Q. One last question on this. Witness, I'm not
24 asking you to give us the first and last names of those
25 who may have exerted pressures or threats, since you
1 say you don't know. I'm only asking you whether you
2 have any idea as to why such pressures were expressed
3 so that the witnesses would not testify, not who by but
4 why? If you don't know, you don't know. Still, if you
5 have some ideas, please convey them to us.
6 A. I can only repeat that specifically I do not
7 know. I only assume because I know those people, who
8 they are and what they are, they would have come had
9 somebody not prevailed upon them or threatened them,
10 and I know them because these people live in that
11 environment and they receive help from that side.
12 Q. Let's move on to something else because you
13 think that pressures might have been exerted on the
14 witnesses but you don't know why.
15 MR. TERRIER: Could the witness be shown,
16 once more, D112, one of the very latest ones this
18 Q. This is a demobilisation certificate. The
19 second sentence, there's a first paragraph and a second
20 sentence which reads as follows: "The named person is
21 to be in RR in his basic unit." What does this
22 sentence mean, according to you?
23 A. My guess is that this is a wartime
24 assignment. That is the unit that I was with at the
25 defence line during that period of war.
1 Q. Witness, with all due respect, I'd like to
2 show you that this sentence applies to the future, to
3 the period following the 31st of May, 1994. It doesn't
4 state in which unit or work schedule you found yourself
5 during the war. This sentence says that following
6 demobilisation, you are supposed to stay in RR, in that
7 position qualified as being RR. Am I wrong? This
8 sentence turns to the future, not to the past, doesn't
10 A. You're quite right, and it says that the
11 named person will still be assigned to his basic unit,
12 and that is the one that I spent my time with during
13 the war. So this should be my unit, and I would be
14 still assigned to that particular unit in the future
16 Q. Given this specification, could you tell us
17 what your status was with respect to the HVO at the
18 time of your demobilisation? In other words, did you
19 then become again a reserve person?
20 A. Yes. After I was demobilised and after I
21 returned all the gear, I was at the disposal of the
22 defence office, just as I was before the war.
23 Q. Prior to the war and after the
24 demobilisation, you were a reservist; is that so?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I'm not going to ask you to use the register
2 again, it's been used a lot before, unless you want to
3 see it again, but some mentions are made with regard to
4 you. Are those entries accurate or inaccurate, given
5 what you've just said? I remind you that in the
6 register, it is stated that you are a "P" category, a
7 reservist, from April 1992 until 1996. So that doesn't
8 seem to be inaccurate, does it?
9 A. This is not correct because I believe that
10 between the 18th of April, I think I was mobilised then
11 until, as it says here, the 31st of May. So it was the
12 period of time when I was mobilised. Before that, I
13 was with the reserve, and after that, after the 31st of
14 May, I was a reservist again, and this is what I am to
15 this day.
16 Q. Okay. Could you explain to us what a
17 reservist had in terms of work duties? Could you be as
18 specific as possible when it comes to your assignments?
19 A. Could you please clarify, what period of time
20 do you have in mind?
21 Q. Just in general terms, a person who was part
22 of the Croatian community who was then a reserve person
23 in Central Bosnia, what would such a person have in
24 terms of duties in the armed forces?
25 A. I was a reservist, and I was on the defence
1 office list. So if the defence office would call me
2 up, send me a summons or something, they could do it
3 either to enter some new data about me or to mobilise
4 me or for any other reason. I was registered with the
5 defence office on that list, and I did my usual work at
7 Q. Were you under the obligation to train, to do
8 some training, for instance?
9 A. I myself, I personally never attended --
10 never went to any drill. Whether it was in 1985 or
11 '86, after I did my military service, I did get a
12 summons to report to the Defence office and I was
13 supposed to go to a military drill, but it coincided in
14 time with my departure to Germany because we had a
15 concert there, so that I went there, explained it to
16 them, and I was relieved of that drill and they allowed
17 me to go to Germany. That was the only time when I was
18 summoned to attend to take part in a drill.
19 Q. Yesterday you said that you had obtained an
20 M-48 gun at some point in time. Could you tell us when
21 you obtained that weapon?
22 A. I can't tell you the date.
23 Q. Just give us the period, then.
24 A. I believe it was December, when those
25 refugees from Turbe, Didaks, came to Ivica's brother's
1 houses, Josip, and it was about then that Zdravko Didak
2 gave me that rifle.
3 Q. Why did this refugee give you this M-48 gun?
4 A. Those people were on defence lines facing the
5 Serbs, they came from Turbe, and they were quite well
6 supplied with weapons. They had brought their family
7 to that part of the village. They knew that we kept
8 guard, that we had those village guards. And in my
9 house, there was no weapon of any kind and he had this
10 rifle, and he simply gave it to me, and also to protect
11 his family, because they were living there.
12 Q. [No interpretation]
13 A. I know Nenad Santic, but I don't know what
14 you're referring to here.
15 Q. I would like you to tell us about the role or
16 the part played in that village at that time by Nenad
17 Santic. I want to ask you if you can tell us what the
18 role Nenad Santic played there at the time.
19 A. I know that he was in the HDZ, that he was
20 one of the first there, but what his exact role was, I
21 don't know.
22 Q. Did you have any relations with him? Were
23 you in touch with him? Did you have contacts with him?
24 A. I had no personal contacts with Nenad
25 Santic. If I saw him, I would greet him, just like
1 anybody else.
2 Q. Would you say that at that time in Ahmici,
3 Santici, Pirici, Nenad Santic was a man of authority,
4 of some authority and an influential man, a prominent
6 A. I did not perceive him as such. To me, he
7 did not represent anything.
8 Q. Some time ago, we spoke about a witness who
9 saw you in a uniform, and other witnesses who testified
10 here, and you must remember them, also saw you in a
11 uniform, in a camouflage uniform, and that was in the
12 period which preceded April 1993. I mean particularly
13 Witness S, and that is page 2.946 of the transcript,
14 and I also have in mind Witness Z, who testified here
15 on the 5th of October, '98, who said that shortly after
16 the events of October '92, he saw you stand guard near
17 the roadblock which was set up near Ahmici, and we
18 often refer to that roadblock.
19 So did you stand guard at that particular
20 roadblock in the company of other Croats, as this
21 witness says?
22 A. If this is the witness whom I am thinking of
23 and who was here, he was together with me at that
24 point, and that refers to the meeting on Ivica's
25 terrace at his house, and we were the first who showed
1 up at that point. He appeared with me, and I think
2 that it was [redacted], and I think that the four of us
3 were all there together first.
4 Q. I was not asking you to give us any names,
5 but they do not correspond to those names that I have
6 before my eyes. Perhaps we could go into private
7 session because of those names, please.
8 Witness, will you please not read out the
9 names, not read out their names.
10 So you stood guard at this roadblock with
11 those persons, did you?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you confirm what this person says, that
14 Ivica Kupreskic and Vinko Vidovic were also at the same
15 place where you were?
16 A. Vinko Vidovic could have been there, because
17 Vinko Vidovic's house was about 50 metres from there,
18 from the intersection of that road. But I'm repeating
19 that Ivica, myself and the name I just mentioned were
20 all there at that location for the first time. Vinko
21 could have been there, but at that point he was not
22 there as a guard. I know that some other people would
23 come by and they would stop by there and be there.
24 Q. Do you remember that this witness also said,
25 according to the transcript, that the three of you,
1 that is, you, Mirjan Kupreskic, Ivica Kupreskic and
2 Vinko Vidovic, mounted guard at that particular
3 checkpoint in camouflage uniforms and also that you had
4 automatic rifles with you?
5 A. I said that sometimes I had Zoran's jacket,
6 and it is possible that on that day I was wearing that
7 jacket. As far as the rifles are concerned, Ivica by
8 that time already had the automatic rifle and that
9 other automatic rifle that was around at that time, so
10 that may have been there at that checkpoint, at that
12 Q. Could it be possible that you were the one
13 who carried such an automatic rifle, since you were
14 mounting guard there and that you had an automatic
15 rifle there, an AK-47?
16 A. As I said, we had one automatic rifle which
17 belonged to Miroslav Pudze, and there was this hunting
18 rifle which belonged to Mirko Sakic. Immediately after
19 the conflict, Ivica also bought himself an automatic
20 rifle. Ivica Sakic bought himself an automatic rifle.
21 I don't know which one I had on me, but there were two
22 automatic rifles at that checkpoint, and those were
23 left behind for the next shift who arrived there.
24 Q. So to make it all quite clear, you do not
25 exclude the possibility of mounting guard at that
1 particular checkpoint and having with you an automatic
2 rifle; it is a possibility, is that what you are
4 A. I said I can confirm that I was on that
5 checkpoint and I had an automatic rifle. I explained
6 which one it was.
7 Q. On other occasions, did you have in your
8 hands a similar type of automatic rifle, on different
9 occasions and in different places?
10 A. During these patrols, sometimes I would have
11 this automatic rifle on me, sometimes I would carry the
12 hunting rifle. It depends. I could have been using
14 Q. That automatic rifle, it is an AK-47; is that
15 what you are talking about?
16 A. It was an automatic rifle. I'm not sure
17 whether it was that particular model.
18 Q. Witness, but don't you know what an AK-47 is?
19 A. I guess I do.
20 Q. So that automatic rifle that you had, was
21 that an AK-47?
22 A. Yes, or you could name it Kalashnikov, or
23 sometimes it was also nicknamed Gypsies.
24 Q. Thank you very much. So we finally know what
25 it was.
1 Now, let us talk for a while about another
2 witness. Are we still in -- no, I shall not mention
3 the name because we're in open session. I'm referring
4 to a young man who testified here, who saw you, who
5 stated that he had seen you that 16th of April, 1993,
6 in the house of Jozo Livancic. I won't mention his
7 name, but I presume you know who it is. It is
8 Witness C. Do you remember who that was?
9 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: [redacted]
13 MR. TERRIER: Yes, you're quite right. My
14 mistake. Please receive my apologies, but I don't
15 think that the witness will be confused about that.
16 Q. So, Witness, do you want me to show you the
17 name of that person, our Witness C? You know who it is
19 I wonder, on what terms were you with that
20 person, if you were on any terms, prior to the 16th of
21 April, 1993? Did you know that person?
22 A. You mean the person or the person in whose
23 house we were?
24 Q. Just a moment. I mean the witness who
25 testified here.
1 A. It was a child. I may have met this child
2 when going to Vitez, he may have been riding his bike,
3 but I had no particular relations with him because we
4 were far apart in age. At that time, he was a child.
5 Q. But did you at least know him if you saw
6 him? Could you say, "Yes, I know that particular
7 person. He lives in Ahmici and his house is in that
8 part of Ahmici"? I mean would you know who the talk
9 was about?
10 A. Right now, I know very well who it was, but
11 at that time he was still a child. Whether I would
12 have been able to recognise him among other children,
13 I'm not sure. I could have been mistaken. But I knew
14 his parents, because we knew the parents very well.
15 Q. Well, that was my next question. I was going
16 to ask you if you had any particular relations with
17 that family, and I mean the parents of that young man,
18 and I also mean the elder sister of that young man.
19 You are telling me that your parents and their parents
20 exchanged visits, paid calls, and things like that?
21 A. My parents had good relations with his
22 parents, and I knew his sister. I would greet her, and
23 as well as other neighbours and family members.
24 Q. So you are not disputing that you knew this
25 young man?
1 A. I don't know whether this young man knew me,
2 but I said how I knew them, so the boy may have known
4 Q. At that time between your two families, that
5 is, the family of that boy and your family and your
6 brother's family, were there any disagreements with
8 A. There were never any disputes or any problems
9 between those two families.
10 Q. You heard the testimony of this young boy.
11 What did you think of that? Could you give us some
13 A. I only know that this boy did not tell the
14 truth here. I don't know whether he was confused. I
15 don't know his motives. I had no reasons, I had no
16 strength, I had no courage at that time to be in a
17 place where he said he saw me.
18 Q. Now, could you tell us if you had any
19 particular contact, or regular, or episodic contact
20 with Jozo Alilovic?
21 A. Personally, I never went to Jozo Alilovic, to
22 his house, that means, nor did I have any contacts with
23 Jozo Alilovic. I knew this man as a church person, as
24 a person who collects the alms, the contributions in
25 the church, but I personally never knew him and had any
1 dealings with him.
2 Q. Could you say the same of your brother Zoran?
3 A. I think that Zoran had a similar situation as
4 I did with regard to him.
5 Q. Did Jozo Alilovic visit your parents in the
6 house in which you lived?
7 A. This could have happened, because this Jozo
8 had a small tractor, and sometimes when we worked in
9 the fields, he would come to just work the field.
10 Those would be the only occasions when he would come.
11 Q. But do you remember that? Do you have a
12 recollection of that? You're saying it could happen or
13 it happened, but do you remember that? Do you have a
14 recollection of it?
15 A. Jozo Alilovic did come several times and did
16 what I just described with his tractor at my parents'
18 Q. You told us that on the 16th of April, in the
19 morning, your friend Zoran woke you up. Do you have
20 any idea as to what time that was? At what time did
21 your friend Zoran wake you up?
22 A. It was around 4.30.
23 Q. Do you remember looking at a watch or a clock
24 or something?
25 A. I had a clock in my house, and I looked at
2 Q. When Zoran came to warn you, to rouse you,
3 was he dressed?
4 A. Zoran was dressed. He had that camouflage
5 uniform on already by that time.
6 Q. When Zoran warned you and told you to get
7 ready, did he tell you what he was about to do?
8 A. Zoran told me to get ready because there was
9 information that Mujahedin were to attack from Barin
10 Gaj. I asked him, "Where did you get this
11 information," and he said that Dragan had come by and
12 told him so.
13 Q. Did Zoran tell you where you should go, where
14 your family should take shelter? Did he tell you what
15 you were supposed to do?
16 A. Zoran did not tell me where we were going.
17 We were going to go to the shelter, and as we did this
18 several times before, it was a routine of sorts.
19 Q. When you went out with your family, could you
20 tell, even approximately, what time was it then?
21 A. I cannot say exactly how long it took for us
22 to get ready and to do this with my mother-in-law, but
23 it was definitely before 5.00.
24 Q. Could one think that, as you came out of the
25 house, you looked around a little bit, perhaps in the
1 direction of Muslim houses, would it be absurd to think
2 that you thought that everything was calm, that
3 everybody was asleep in that direction, that you could
4 see no lights and that you heard no sound?
5 A. Listen, at that moment, I had no time, nor
6 did I look around my house. I was just looking to
7 leave as soon as possible and to reach the shelter, and
8 I described who I had to take care of and take with
10 Q. Could I ask you to show us on the aerial
11 photograph Barin Gaj, at least in which direction it is
12 from which you think that attack might have come?
13 Could you do that?
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please
15 speak into the microphone?
16 A. Barin Gaj would be somewhere around here
17 (indicating) or this area here. So this is Pirici,
18 this is just above Pirici, and this is where our houses
20 MR. TERRIER:
21 Q. Thank you. You can take your seat again.
22 Now, you showed us the direction in which Barin Gaj
23 is. You believed that a Mujahedin attack might come
24 from there, and you showed us the approximate
25 direction, of course, bearing in mind that this map is
1 turned upside down, but you more or less pointed
2 northward, didn't you, in the direction of north?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. Will you explain to me then, as you had to
5 flee as quickly as possible, you told me that you were
6 in a great hurry, that you were pressed for time.
7 Wouldn't it have been quicker to go down that road, to
8 take that route, that is, the main road, to get to
9 Rovna? Wouldn't it have been simpler and quicker to do
10 it by car and safer, after all, for your family?
11 A. First of all, we needed about half an hour to
12 get all the way up to Rovna, and as far as the Vrebac
13 shelter is concerned, we need not more than 10 to 15
14 minutes. The closest we had was the Vrebac shelter,
15 and the shortest route there was the path we took to
17 Q. You told us that your mother-in-law was
18 crippled or, rather, that she walked with difficulty,
19 that she needed a stick, you told us that your son
20 Marko was ill, and you, therefore, told us that you put
21 her in a wheelbarrow in order to push her to Vrebac's
22 shelter. But in view of all these problems, wouldn't
23 it have been more logical and simpler and safer, above
24 all, to have somebody help you who had a car, your
25 brother or perhaps Vlatko Kupreskic, and to take you
1 either to Rovna or in the direction of Busovaca or
2 Vitez? It is that kind of behaviour that we don't
3 quite understand.
4 A. I would have spent more time if somebody had
5 come in a car while we were packing and then came
6 around, went to the main road, then around and around
7 through the -- down the main road. So using this path,
8 it was much faster than by using a car.
9 Q. You're saying that it was quicker to push the
10 wheelbarrow with your mother-in-law down to the
11 depression and to Vrebac' shelter than to take a car?
12 A. The route you needed to take, if you were to
13 use the car, you would have had to go to the main road,
14 then the main road to Pican's coffee bar, and then
15 around. So you would have to go like this, like this,
16 and like that, whereas I went over there.
17 Q. This morning, you told us it was cold, that
18 there was drizzle also, and yet I'd like you to explain
19 to us one thing: We have a situation which is a high
20 alert, a dangerous situation, and a number of Croat
21 families which are either in Grabovi or Ahmici and
22 which are forced to look for shelter as quickly as
23 possible, some of them moving in the direction of Zume,
24 some to Radak's bridge in the direction of Rovna, and
25 others hiding in the woods. Yet the majority of these
1 families, if not all of them, have a car, and yet
2 nobody, and you will correct me if I am wrong, nobody
3 uses his car.
4 A. I don't know if anyone used their car, and I
5 don't know who you're referring to. I know that I did
6 not use it. I know that my brother and my parents did
7 not use the car. I described how we went there and
8 that we did not use the car. I don't know whether
9 anybody else did use it.
10 Q. But did you hear anyone say, I mean, any
11 Croat and resident of Ahmici say that that morning, the
12 16th of April, he fled by using his car?
13 A. I did not hear about it. Perhaps some of
14 Drago Josipovic's people, they may have used it.
15 Q. What happened to your father? I don't think
16 that you mentioned him during the
18 A. What do you mean? When did something happen
19 to him?
20 Q. Just tell us whether he came along with you
21 or stayed in the house, because you didn't talk of your
22 father at all during the examination-in-chief.
23 A. Father went together with mother and in this
24 group where my family and where Zoran's family was.
25 Q. Yes, that's what I wanted to know. Earlier
1 on, you mentioned a group of Croatian soldiers you saw
2 as you were going to the shelter, answering a question
3 by Mrs. Glumac who was asking you how you understood,
4 how you knew that these were Croatian soldiers. You
5 said that they were Croatian because there, where they
6 were, there were only Croatian houses.
7 A. In the part where we encountered them, we
8 call that area Pudzine Kuce, the Pudza houses, all of
9 them are Croat houses.
10 Q. So since there are soldiers in that Croatian
11 neighbourhood, you think that inevitably they are
12 Croatian soldiers; is that so?
13 A. I did not say that they were inevitably Croat
14 soldiers, but if they were any other soldiers, you
15 could have heard shooting or something would have
16 happened, but nothing did happen.
17 Q. Did those soldiers make the same impression
18 on you as on your brother Zoran? Were you stricken
19 with fear or terror when you saw them?
20 A. I was afraid. I said that they looked like
21 commandos, and until then, I had seen such soldiers
22 only in the movies. Of course, this instilled great
23 fear in us, especially in the situation that I was in.
24 I explained that I was with my child, with my
1 Q. Are you sure that they had white belts and
3 A. I'm sure that I saw white belts and
4 holsters. They were white too. Whether they all had
5 them, that, I don't know, but I'm sure that I saw
7 Q. The reason why I'm asking you this question,
8 which is not very relevant, is just that I'm somewhat
9 surprised that a soldier should have a black painted
10 face and would have a white belt if he goes to fight.
11 But I move on to another question. If you
12 were frightened by the soldiers, it was not because
13 there was a situation of danger because of them, if you
14 were afraid of them, it was because you thought of what
15 they might be able to do in the village. Is that why
16 you were frightened?
17 A. At that moment, I did not know whether they
18 would do anything and what these soldiers' intentions
19 were. I was only terrified by the way they looked,
20 these soldiers. It was so unusual, in terms of those
21 days and those events, that such people would appear at
23 Q. You followed a path to go to the shelter
24 going through the depression. We saw this in
25 photographs which were admitted earlier on this
1 morning. Now, is that the most straight, direct, and
2 fastest way, if you're walking, of course, to go from
3 the group of Kupreskic houses to Zume?
4 A. From our houses to Zume, that is the closest
5 possible path. That is a shortcut. There is no
6 shorter way.
7 Q. So there is no other path or way than that
8 one. Could it be said that apart from the times when
9 you went to visit your family, you and your friends
10 were on that path at some place, at some location on
11 that path?
12 A. I don't know which path you are referring to
14 Q. I'm thinking of this path we saw in the
15 photographs, of which you have just said that this was
16 the closest, the most natural way to go from your
17 houses to Zume or from Zume to your houses.
18 A. The question was whether we were on that
19 path, right, during that morning?
20 Q. During the day of the 16th of April, 1993.
21 Because you told us that you found yourselves, you were
22 in the depression, that you spent most of the time that
23 day in the depression. Were you on that path then that
25 A. I said that we spent most of the time in the
1 upper part of the depression near that path that we're
2 talking about, the one that leads from our houses.
3 From time to time, we would venture along that path, 10
4 or 15 metres, and then we would return due to
5 detonations or bullets that were flying through the
7 Q. It would be logical to think that anyone
8 going that way, going from Zume to the Kupreskic
9 houses, had to be seen by you and your friends.
10 A. That is not the way it was. That is a path
11 that leads from our houses to Zume, but then you also
12 have a road that goes down below Dragan Vidovic's
13 house. That's a big road that you can take a car on,
14 and then you can go to Zume and link up at the main
16 Q. I don't think that we understand each other.
17 We seem to be talking at cross-purposes.
18 MR. TERRIER: I'm sorry for insisting on this
19 because I think this is relevant, Your Honour.
20 Q. Beforehand, I was asking you whether you
21 could tell us, that path that we saw in the
22 photographs, is that the most natural, the most direct
23 way, the fastest way to go through the depression going
24 from the Sakic's houses and the Kupreskic's. Going
25 through that depression, using that path, is that the
1 fastest way to go, if you use that path?
2 A. I repeat: Only to our houses, it is the
3 fastest way to get to our houses, the Kupreskic houses,
4 my house, my brother's house, Ivica's house, and
5 Ivica's brother's houses.
6 Q. I think I have to ask you this question: At
7 any point in time on that day, do you remember seeing
8 Vlatko Kupreskic?
9 A. On that day, I did not see Vlatko Kupreskic
10 at all.
11 Q. Didn't you worry about the fact that he was
12 not together with you in the depression?
13 A. I did not know where Vlatko was, and to tell
14 you the truth, I never thought of him on that day.
15 Q. During the examination-in-chief, you said
16 that you were there on the rim or on the edge, on the
17 eastern edge of the depression close to the Kupreskic
18 houses, you were there from a vantage point to observe
19 things, but what could you see at that time? What was
20 your field of vision from there where you were?
21 A. From the area that we were in, we could see
22 towards Ivo Kupreskic's house, towards uncle's house,
23 and we could see the field, the empty field that went
24 from that house to the road. We could see that area
1 Q. So what were you able to see during that day
2 in that clearing that you've just mentioned? What did
3 you see on that day from there?
4 A. In the area that I mentioned just now, I
5 could not see a thing.
6 Q. From that location where you were, from that
7 observation point, you couldn't observe anything; is
8 that so?
9 A. I did not see anyone, but I did see that
10 clearing, the clearing that led to the road. But if
11 you're talking about a person, I did not see any
13 Q. Don't misunderstand me. I'm just trying to
14 understand what happened. You are telling us that
15 there were bullets everywhere, flying everywhere, that
16 something was happening in that village. Houses were
17 on fire. You didn't know which houses. You were there
18 in order to look, and still you couldn't see anything.
19 I'm just trying to say, did that happen all through the
20 day and the night and then another day? Was that so?
21 A. I said that during those first three hours,
22 while there was intense shooting, we did not know what
23 was going on, whose houses were on fire. We just saw a
24 lot of smoke, thick smoke from the direction of our
25 houses and from the lower part of Ahmici. That's when
1 we saw this thick smoke. At that point in time, we did
2 not know which houses were in question. We just knew
3 that there was shooting and that there was fighting.
4 Q. Okay. So this regards the first three hours,
5 but what happened after that?
6 A. After that, when we went to the shelter, when
7 I received this terrible piece of news about my friend,
8 as we passed to the shelter, we saw that there were
9 houses that were burning in the area of Zume as well.
10 We found out about my friend's death. When we were in
11 the shelter and when we were going back, Zoran said
12 that there were other persons who were dead too in this
13 part down below, so we already knew that. As we were
14 going back to the depression and when we saw Ivica, I
15 asked Ivica, I said, "Have our houses burned down?"
16 And Ivica said, "No, the houses are intact, but all the
17 houses around our houses are burning," so that is yet
18 another piece of information that we received.
19 During the course of the day, until the
20 evening and in the evening hours and the night hours,
21 when there was this strong detonation around the
22 mosque, we saw that the minaret was no longer there,
23 and then we started realising what was going on.
24 Q. You said that that morning or that day when
25 you were in the depression, there were bullets flying
1 over your head. I think this is the phrase you used in
2 your examination-in-chief. Did you use this metaphor
3 just to say that there was shooting or did you have the
4 feeling that the shooting was directed at you, the
5 bullets were flying above your heads? Do you know what
6 I mean?
7 A. I shall try to answer, if I understood you
8 correctly. I think I did. When we were in this
9 depression, we did not feel any bullets above our heads
10 because we were in a hole, so to speak, but when we
11 were trying to get out to this road or, rather, this
12 path, at that point in time, the bullets were flying
13 through the forest, and they could be felt on the trees
14 and above the trees, and that is why we had to go
16 Q. Did you feel safe in the depression?
17 A. In those moments, no one felt safe anywhere.
18 Q. Still, if you'd been in a shelter with a
19 concrete slab above you, you might have felt safer.
20 A. Under such circumstances, when there was such
21 a lot of shooting, was I supposed to be sitting next to
22 my child in a shelter and was somebody supposed to come
23 up and kill me and my child? Would I have been such an
24 idiot to stay there with my child rather than stand in
25 front of this shelter and try to save whatever could be
2 Q. Earlier on, you said that Satko Vidovic was
3 the one who told you that your friend Fahran had died.
4 Do you know how Satko Vidovic learned of Fahran's
5 death, who by?
6 A. I said that his name is Anto Vidovic and his
7 nickname was Satko. When he told me about this, I
8 asked him whether this information was for sure, and he
9 said that he heard about this from someone from the
10 lower part of Zume and that the original information
11 came from Fahran's mother.
12 Q. So somebody must have moved from the lower
13 part of Ahmici to go to Zume in order to convey, among
14 other things, this piece of information; is that so?
15 A. I don't know who came from where. I'm just
16 telling you how this was conveyed to me. He said that
17 from the lower part of Zume, somebody had told him, and
18 that the information actually came from Fahrudin's
20 Q. Do you remember even approximately at what
21 time you learned of his death?
22 A. I cannot give you the exact hour, but I link
23 this to the first lull in the intensive shooting. So
24 if this was 2.00 or 3.00, then the first time we went
25 to the shelter could have been 9.00 or 9.30. That is
1 the only thing I can say, quite approximately.
2 Q. Is it true to say that you knew that Fahran
3 was not armed?
4 A. As I socialised with my friend Fahrudin, I
5 knew that his rifle had been taken away from him. That
6 I knew. He told me that.
7 I also know that he had a small pistol. I
8 don't know what kind of ammunition this was exactly. I
9 know because at the time that we played in Turbe, when
10 the Serbs started shelling Turbe, sometimes he would
11 carry this pistol with him because it would give us a
12 feeling of security or safety of sorts, so I knew that
13 he had this small pistol.
14 Q. When you learned that your friend Fahran had
15 died, did you think that he was possibly a fighter on
16 that day, on the 16th of April in Ahmici, and that he
17 possibly died in combat; did you think that?
18 A. I could not have thought that Fahrudin was a
19 combatant, because I knew Fahrudin very well, and as
20 far as I know, he was not attached to the army. I
21 don't know whether he stood guard with the others.
22 The first thought that crossed my mind was
23 that it was a shell or a bullet, because under such
24 circumstances, I could have lost my life too. That is
25 the first thought that crossed my mind before I knew
1 what had actually happened.
2 Q. So your first thought was that Fahran might
3 have been killed by a stray bullet or by a shell that
4 might have happened to have been dropped on his house;
5 is that what you first thought, say, at 9.00, around
6 9.00, 9.30 in the morning?
7 A. I did not know whether he was killed at home
8 or in front of his home. I didn't know where this had
9 happened. But the first assumption was the one that I
10 mentioned, that this was due to a shell or -- I didn't
11 know, naturally.
12 Q. You stated that you were really upset when
13 you learned of his death. I do not doubt your feelings
14 at all, but I would like to know whether you took any
15 steps in order to make sure that Fahran's family would
16 be safe. I'm thinking of his wife, of his children,
17 who were then without a father, without any support.
18 Did you do anything to make sure that they were safe in
19 a shelter?
20 A. Believe me, I didn't know where his family
21 was. I said that at that first moment when I found out
22 about his death, I did not know the circumstances, I
23 did not know the circumstances under which he had
24 died. I was thinking about my own family. Only during
25 the night and during the course of the next day, I
1 learned a bit more, that it was quite different in
2 respect of what I had thought originally when I
3 received the news of his death.
4 Q. So what did you do? What steps did you take
5 in order to find out about the fate of his family when
6 you learned what had actually happened, that is, in the
7 evening or the next morning?
8 A. I did not know where they were. I thought
9 that they got out. I didn't know where they were,
10 whatever. On the 17th, in the evening, when my family
11 went to Rovna, I did not know about them either. I
12 only knew that they were in Rovna, but I did not go up
13 there to Rovna to see them. Only on the next day,
14 after it had dawned, I went to Rovna to see them.
15 Q. You said that in the afternoon of the 16th of
16 April, there had been a lull in the shooting, that the
17 shooting had abated when the UNPROFOR APCs had been in
18 the village. Did you see the APCs from there where you
19 were, did you see the armoured vehicles?
20 A. We heard the sound of these carriers from the
21 road when they were in the lower part and at the point
22 when they were reaching the intersection by
23 Veleprodaja, and we could see them passing through
24 there. At that point, there was a lull in the
1 Q. Where were the APCs in the village when you
2 saw them?
3 A. Only briefly by the intersection by
4 Veleprodaja, the road that leads to Gornji Ahmici. I
5 don't know where they were afterwards.
6 Q. From the location where you were, you had
7 some vantage point over a section of that road; is that
9 A. Only in those moments when we would go up the
10 path, it is only then that we could see that part, and
11 those were moments when there was no shooting or when
12 the shooting would start again and when we would have
13 to go back. So these were just attempts that we made.
14 Q. But on the 16th of April, on that road, for
15 just a fraction of a second you saw the UNPROFOR APCs,
16 but never did you see any other soldiers or civilians,
17 for that matter; you didn't see anybody on that road.
18 Is that what you said before?
19 A. In those moments, no.
20 Q. You said that there was a lull towards the
21 late afternoon on the 16th of April. You said that
22 there was an explosion that brought the minaret down.
23 But you also said, unless I interpreted what you said
24 wrongly, and then you can correct me, but you also said
25 that the fighting had started again later on. Did I
1 misinterpret you or did I interpret you correctly?
2 A. You mean after the explosion around the
3 mosque that I spoke of?
4 Q. Indeed.
5 A. After this explosion that we heard around the
6 mosque, there was no shooting whatsoever.
7 Q. So if that was so, why did you not leave the
8 depression in order to go to your houses to see what
9 had happened, to see how things were in Grabovi? You
10 could have done that earlier on, for instance, when the
11 UNPROFOR entered the village, because you said that
12 there was then a lull in the fighting. I would like to
13 understand why you didn't use this opportunity, the
14 lull in the fighting, to go and see what was happening.
15 A. It's easy to talk now, from this point of
16 view. Now I know, and we're talking from here, when
17 the UNPROFOR vehicles were there, there was no shooting
18 for an hour. But at that time, I did not know whether
19 they would start shooting again within a minute or a
20 second or whether there wouldn't be any shooting for
21 two hours. Then, I did not know that at all. But now
22 I know that there was no shooting for two hours or for
23 one hour.
24 Q. But you also added that the next day, on the
25 17th of April, the shooting had shifted to Upper
1 Ahmici, and therefore in Lower Ahmici -- please correct
2 me again if I'm wrong, but also in Grabovi, there was
3 no fighting anymore, or nothing that looked like or
4 sounded like shooting or firing or that could be
5 understood as being a dangerous situation of fighting,
6 and still you remained in the depression?
7 A. I said that the shooting had moved towards
8 the upper area, that is to say, Grabovi too. We
9 consider that part, Grabovi, to be pretty far away from
10 our houses, but it was still near our houses, and an
11 even greater danger for us was this part -- how shall I
12 explain this? This part near Ivica's house, near our
13 uncle's house and this new building that was built
14 afterwards, that was not there at the time, that's that
15 clearing, and it was very dangerous to cross that part
16 in order to reach our houses.
17 We knew that in a part there in Pirici, there
18 was a machine gun that was either operating at that
19 time or -- I don't know, but anyway it was very
20 dangerous to cross that clearing then.
21 Q. So you say that there was a machine gun that
22 was operating in Pirici on that day, on the 17th?
23 A. I did not say whether it was actually
24 shooting on that day or not, but we knew that there was
25 a machine gun in Pirici.
1 Q. But that machine gun would belong to whom?
2 Who was it used by?
3 A. We knew that Naser -- no, not Naser. Zehir,
4 Zehir Ahmici had this machine gun and he kept it, and
5 he lived in Pirici.
6 Q. Did you hear that machine gun being fired on
7 the 16th or the 17th? Did you see shooting coming from
9 A. I cannot say that I heard it, that I could
10 distinguish that amidst the terrible shooting.
11 Q. So there was this clearing between you and
12 your houses. Did it possibly come under the fire of
13 that machine gun?
14 A. I cannot say. I said that I did not see
15 where it was actually being fired from, but that is one
16 of the reasons why we were afraid to go.
17 Q. So to sum it up, starting from the lull on
18 the 16th and throughout that day, the night of the 16th
19 to the 17th, to the 17th and the following night, you
20 remained in the depression and did not move from it.
21 That means that you didn't go to your houses to see
22 what was happening there. So even if the shooting was
23 more remote, you thought that you could still possibly
24 be the target of something, of some weapon that might
25 be located in Pirici; is that so?
1 A. I said that that was one of the reasons.
2 That was not the one and only reason. There was a
3 clearing. There was a danger for one's life from all
4 sides, not only there. And, on the other hand, I was
5 not really interested in the house anymore.
6 Q. However, Ivica Kupreskic did move quite
7 freely across that clearing, according to the testimony
8 we heard here in court and which you heard yourself?
9 A. I would not say that he moved freely, and how
10 he happened to be there and how he remained, he's the
11 only one who knows. Ivica had this wholesale business,
12 he had a lot of goods, he had a house in which he had
13 invested a lot. He's that kind of person. He liked
14 money, he liked to live and work, and I can only assume
15 that these were his reasons. And how he stayed up
16 there, that I do not know.
17 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, I think the time
18 has come for us to break.
19 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, with your
20 permission, I would like to say something.
21 Your Honours, please, is it possible tomorrow
22 for us to start the hearing earlier, or could we work
23 until a later hour so that we could manage to hear the
24 accused Vlatko Kupreskic during the course of this
25 week? Namely, the interest of our defence is that the
1 testimony of Vlatko Kupreskic should be completed
2 entirely, not for us to start the questioning this week
3 and then the cross-examination to be continued by the
4 Prosecutor, I don't know, sometime in September. So I
5 would kindly ask the Trial Chamber to try to make a
6 timetable which would make it possible for us to finish
7 with the examination of the accused Vlatko Kupreskic
8 this week.
9 In addition, may I add that the Defence is
10 going to complete its examination in chief during the
11 course of one working day.
12 Thank you.
13 (Trial Chamber confers)
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina, I think your
15 request is quite sensible, and I think you are right
16 that we should finish by Friday. We can only suggest
17 that we should sit tomorrow from 9.00 to 1.30, and on
18 Friday from 9.00 to 1.00 and then from 2.30 to 5.30, if
19 need be. But let us make enough effort to finish as
20 soon as possible. In any case, I agree with you that
21 the examination and cross-examination of Vlatko
22 Kupreskic should finish by Friday.
23 So we'll adjourn now until tomorrow.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
25 1.05 p.m., to be reconvened on
1 Thursday, the 22nd day of July,
2 1999, at 9.00 a.m.