Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 11702

1 Thursday, 22nd July, 1999

2 (Open session)

3 (The accused entered court)

4 (The witness entered court)

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.

6 THE REGISTRAR: Case IT-95-16-T, the

7 Prosecutor versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,

8 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic, and

9 Vladimir Santic.

10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Terrier?

11 MR. TERRIER: Good morning, Your Honours.


13 Cross-examined by Mr. Terrier:

14 Q. Good morning, Witness.

15 A. Good morning. Good morning, Your Honours.

16 Good morning to everyone.

17 Q. Could you tell us what you understand? An

18 attack by the Mujahedins, you told us that you had been

19 warned that there would be an imminent attack by the

20 Mujahedins and that is the reason why you left your

21 house. What do you mean by that, by that attack by the

22 Mujahedin? What do you have in mind specifically when

23 you speak about that?

24 A. Let me tell you, at that time, if we were to

25 be afraid of anything at that time, it was an attack by

Page 11703

1 Mujahedin. We knew that there were some foreign

2 mercenaries who were prepared for anything. They could

3 kill or slit throats. So the very thought made us very

4 scared. Also, we knew about something that had

5 happened in Dusina and in some surrounding places at

6 the time.

7 Q. Therefore, Witness, when mention is made to

8 you of an attack by the Mujahedin, you think of

9 barbarians who are going to attack the Croatian houses

10 and going to kill the Croatian civilians. Is that what

11 you had in mind then?

12 A. Something along those lines.

13 Q. Still, how can you account for the fact that

14 only those Croats living close to the Muslims were

15 evacuated? How do you account for the fact that only

16 the Kupreskic houses were evacuated and not the Zume

17 houses, not either those houses occupied by the Sakic

18 family? It would have been logical to have all these

19 houses evacuated if the attack by the Mujahedin was to

20 come from the north. Isn't that a view you would share

21 with me?

22 A. I don't know why those and other homes did

23 not evacuate. I only know what I was told that

24 morning, what information I received. Even earlier,

25 when I had been moving to take shelter, in fact, my

Page 11704

1 brother's house and my own house were the closest to

2 the Muslim ones, and so myself and my family, we had to

3 move out of there because I was scared. I feared that

4 I had to do it.

5 Q. However, if you fear some attack by the

6 Mujahedins from the north, you would agree with me to

7 say that Zume and the Zume houses are the most exposed

8 to such an attack?

9 A. I agree that Zume was also exposed to attack,

10 but we didn't know where else to go. I mean, believe

11 me, there was no where else to go.

12 Q. So you don't know where the attack is going

13 to happen; however, Zume and the Zume houses are

14 exposed to this attack that is feared, and still you

15 don't take any steps, for instance, to have protection

16 of the shelters?

17 A. Let me tell you, in the area where we went

18 after we had left our families in the shelter, near

19 Niko Sakic's house, there were some people there, so

20 that was one shelter. Near Niko Vidovic's house, there

21 were also people. Later, I learned that there were

22 some, but at first I didn't know. I didn't know about

23 any shooting. The Vrebac shelter was in the middle of

24 the Croat-inhabited area, so you had to go through this

25 area to reach it.

Page 11705

1 Q. So you fear an attack by the Mujahedin, you

2 think that they're going to attack the Croat houses,

3 and still you remained in that depression, on the

4 eastern edge of that depression, watching what might

5 happen in the Muslim part of the village. Isn't this

6 totally illogical?

7 A. We weren't there to observe what was going to

8 happen in the Muslim section of the village. I said,

9 when the shooting started, we ran into this

10 depression. Perhaps it was stupid for us to have done

11 so. Because on one side, we were hiding ourselves, and

12 on the other side, we were still looking to be close

13 enough to the shelters where our families were and

14 where Niko Sakic's house was. We also had control of

15 the path where some soldiers or some other people with

16 bad intentions may come from so that we could protect

17 whatever we could protect if that happened.

18 Q. Do you know today how many people died in

19 Grabovi and how many houses were torched? Do you have

20 any idea about it?

21 A. Today, from hindsight and through this trial,

22 I now have learned how much we did not know. On the

23 16th, 17th, and 18th, I learned very gradually, and

24 then from stories. A month later, I learned some other

25 things. I did not know until I came here the scope of

Page 11706

1 the tragedy. I knew that the village had been burnt, I

2 knew that the property had been destroyed, and I saw

3 the ghost-like landscape, but I didn't know that until

4 today. Now I can tell about the number of casualties,

5 which I learned here, and I don't know to date whether

6 this is the definitive number.

7 Q. When you returned in the morning of the 18th

8 of April towards your houses, did you go to see what

9 had happened around your houses in Grabovi or did you

10 only go to your house?

11 A. On that day, I managed to get to my house. I

12 never attempted to go anywhere beyond that. When I was

13 approaching the house then, I could see the area around

14 my house and the other houses which were burnt down,

15 and I had no need, I had no desire to go anywhere

16 beyond that. This was very brief, and I described how

17 I went over there and how I went back.

18 Q. You spoke about your house, saying that it

19 was devastated, that it was broken into. Was the

20 damage noticed officially in some way or another,

21 through repair bills or through statements to have

22 compensation? Is there any such document establishing

23 how much damage was done?

24 A. There is no document, nor did I seek to get

25 one. I would have been -- I wish almost that it had

Page 11707

1 burned down because now I don't feel like I ever wanted

2 to have anything to do with it.

3 Q. When did you return into that house to live

4 there?

5 A. Ten or fifteen days later, that is, after

6 those events, I managed to move my family to Vitez to

7 my wife's sister's, who did not live in her house

8 because she was living in Switzerland at the time.

9 Until 10 June, they lived there, until a shell fell in,

10 and then this shell fell and hit about ten children.

11 Shrapnel hit my mother-in-law; she held my one small

12 child in her lap. Then after that, I moved my family

13 back and I moved them back to the house in Ahmici.

14 After the cessation of hostilities, I tried

15 to find an apartment, and I managed to get a contract.

16 I got a contract for eight years, and I'm still paying

17 300 to 350 marks a month, and thank God that I have

18 dealt with reasonable people now because I'm not paying

19 currently. This has been very traumatic for both

20 myself and my family. I cannot just allow myself to

21 live over there in that area right now any longer.

22 Q. Simply tell us when exactly you returned to

23 live in your house in Ahmici. You said after the war,

24 but could you be more specific as to the date?

25 A. As far as I know, on 10 June, 1993, this

Page 11708

1 shell fell in Vitez and killed ten children. My

2 decision then was, I don't know if it was a day or two

3 later, but this was the reason for my moving them back

4 from Vitez.

5 Q. What about your parents? Where did they live

6 after the 16th of April, 1993?

7 A. My parents were in Rovna, together with my

8 family, for a few days, and then they moved back into

9 Josip Vrebac's house. His daughter owned a house where

10 the shelter was, and they stayed there 15 to 20 days.

11 Occasionally, they would visit the house, my mother

12 kept some chickens there, and so after 15 or 20 days,

13 they went back home.

14 Q. You told us during the examination-in-chief

15 that in the afternoon of the 18th of April, together

16 with other people, you were taken to Pirici where you

17 had to dig trenches. Then, later on, after digging

18 trenches for a few days, you were transferred to Upper

19 Ahmici where you stayed until the end of the war.

20 Could you be more specific as to the meaning of that?

21 You said that you stayed there until the end of the

22 war, but I suppose that you could go back to Vitez to

23 see your family; is that so?

24 A. Yes. On the 18th, when we arrived in Pirici,

25 we spent two or three days there, I'm not sure how

Page 11709

1 many, and then we were transferred to this part of

2 Ahmici. At that time, this line of defence, or

3 whatever it was called, was established there. So we

4 dug ourselves in, that is where the trenches were dug,

5 and this is where I spent the rest of the wartime.

6 Occasionally, there were shifts and I was relieved. It

7 was getting more and more difficult because there were

8 fewer and fewer people to man the lines, so 10, 15 days

9 would pass before you were relieved. But occasionally

10 I would come back, and I would even sleep in the house

11 and spend some time with my family.

12 Q. Throughout that period, did you participate

13 in any fighting?

14 A. There were very few attacks at this sector of

15 the defence line. I was in a trench all this time. I

16 was not taking part in any attacks; I was defending

17 from possible attacks. This particular area was not

18 attacked.

19 Q. You showed us a demobilisation certificate,

20 Exhibit D112. Do you also have your military service

21 book, you know, this booklet showing your service and

22 the various assignments you were entrusted with? This

23 is the kind of book you find in any country. Do you

24 have that military booklet?

25 A. There should be a military booklet extant. I

Page 11710

1 don't know where it is. I can ask my wife to look for

2 it. It should be around somewhere.

3 Q. So you looked for the demobilisation

4 certificate, but you were not able to hand over to us

5 that military book, as was the case with your brother

6 Zoran.

7 Let us move on to the relations you had with

8 Suhret Ahmic's family. Prior to April 1993, what kind

9 of terms were you on with the members of that family,

10 and more specifically, with Suhret?

11 A. You mean Sukrija?

12 Q. Yes, I have Sukrija in my -- Suhret or

13 Sukrija is the name.

14 A. I said that out of Sakib Ahmic's family I was

15 closest with Naser, who was my peer. As regards

16 Sukrija, we were very different generations. We would

17 just greet each other, but we had no particular

18 relations. We did not visit each other's house. I

19 never visited his, and perhaps, when he was small, he

20 may have visited mine with his parents, but I never

21 went to his.

22 Q. So you didn't know the house as such, the

23 inside of the house, but were you familiar with the

24 workshop where Sukrija would repair the cars?

25 A. I was never in his house and never in front

Page 11711

1 of his house. I know that Sukrija was working on cars,

2 because I saw near Zoran's house there was -- he was

3 discarding body parts, auto-body parts, so I knew that

4 he was an auto mechanic, but I never entered the

5 premises.

6 Q. We're now in open session, so please do not

7 mention any family name, any surname, but I shall ask

8 you, as I asked your brother Zoran, what you thought,

9 what your feelings were when you heard the testimony of

10 Witness H. Do you see who I mean? Or would you like

11 me to show you the name of that witness?

12 A. I'm not sure of that.

13 MR. TERRIER: Will you allow me, Your

14 Honour?

15 Q. Witness, what did you think of -- how did you

16 feel when you heard the testimony by Witness H as to

17 the circumstances under which her father died, and her,

18 her little sister, and her mother were forced to leave

19 the house?

20 A. Let me tell you, it was very hard for me.

21 You cannot even imagine what type of situation you can

22 find yourself in when you know for sure that you did

23 nothing, that you wanted everything best for them. I

24 do not doubt that any of this happened to these

25 people. I do not doubt what the child said, except it

Page 11712

1 had nothing to do with me. I couldn't have been

2 there. I wasn't there. It is -- I also want to point

3 out that for six months I was not even mentioned, and

4 then, for reasons unknown to me, somehow I found myself

5 on some kind of a list. At first I was not even

6 mentioned, and that points to this search for names,

7 for then our cursed houses were mentioned, and the only

8 reason I can come up with now is that; no other

9 reason.

10 Q. But could you say that the witness had

11 specific reasons to resent you, you or your family?

12 A. I cannot say whether she had particular

13 reasons to be angry, to be upset. The relations were

14 not bad so that that would create a basis for this.

15 Q. The witness we are speaking about made a

16 statement in September 1993. This is marked D1, an

17 exhibit suggested by the Defence. During this

18 statement, the witness mentioned you. You remember

19 that, don't you? The witness stated your name to the

20 investigating magistrates in Zenica. She described how

21 things happened, in words that very much resemble those

22 used in the Court, and this happened on the 17th of

23 December, 1993. This girl was then 12 or 13 years

24 old. So we may think that if she made that statement

25 on the 17th of December, 1993, just because she was

Page 11713

1 then interviewed, if she had been interviewed any

2 earlier, we might believe that she would have said

3 exactly the same thing. Would you doubt that she would

4 have said the same things?

5 A. I have every reason to doubt it, because if

6 you look at the statements given by her mother, you can

7 see what the mother said. And everybody should have

8 some doubts about it, not just myself. The mother said

9 what she had told to her mother, and I was never

10 there.

11 Q. I think it's the opposite, but never mind.

12 Do you remember what the young girl said in

13 December 1993 to the investigating magistrate in

14 Zenica, but also here, last year, in this court, as to

15 you being in the house, armed and in uniform, and as to

16 the very short exchange you had with your brother

17 Zoran? Do you remember that part of his testimony?

18 A. I repeat, I was not there. I had no

19 conversation with my brother, nor was my brother with

20 me in that house. I said where we were, and I said

21 what I think about that statement.

22 Q. In that written statement -- I can't remember

23 whether she said that again in court, but she said in

24 her written statement that she kneeled down in front of

25 you to beg you to save her life. Are you familiar with

Page 11714

1 her statement?

2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I need

3 to raise an objection. The witness answered the

4 question. He told what his position is, what he thinks

5 about the statement of this witness, and now I believe

6 that it is inappropriate to mention every single bit of

7 the statement. It is just torturing of the witness.

8 He can go down the list and repeat every single detail,

9 whereas the witness has stated his position on the

10 veracity of the entire --

11 MR. TERRIER: I heard in my French

12 translation I was torturing the witness. I do object

13 to that notion of torture, but I'm glad to move on to

14 another question.

15 JUDGE CASSESE: I don't know whether you

16 meant torturing the witness, but that is a bit

17 exaggerated, I think. The Prosecutor is not torturing

18 the witness.

19 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: My apologies. It

20 wasn't meant to sound as drastic as it did.

21 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.

22 Mr. Terrier, please move on to another

23 question.

24 MR. TERRIER: Yes, I will.

25 Q. Witness, you also heard the testimony of

Page 11715

1 [redacted] when he said what happened in his house and

2 he spoke about the circumstances under which the four

3 people living with him in that house died. Among the

4 four people were two children. As I put the question

5 to Zoran, I'm going to put the question to you. What

6 did you think, what was your reaction, and do you have

7 any explanation following such testimony?

8 A. I can repeat how I felt while the first

9 witness testified, and as regards to this witness, I

10 felt even worse. I never experienced such a trauma.

11 It's terrible. Imagine when somebody charges you, and

12 you didn't even try to -- charge you with anything --

13 you didn't even try to do anything bad, I mean, they

14 charge you with the baby of three months. Those

15 children played with my own children; those children

16 lived with my own. If those children came to my store,

17 if I gave a piece of chocolate to my child, I would

18 give some to them as well. You know what that means.

19 Q. I understand that if you are innocent, it was

20 very hard to hear such a testimony. What I'd like to

21 hear from you now is some explanation. After all, you

22 are charged with a very abominable crime. I mean, if

23 you are an innocent, of course, it would be something

24 diabolical, and I think this requires an explanation.

25 Do you have such an explanation?

Page 11716

1 A. If you have statements, four or five

2 statements in which I'm never mentioned, and then a

3 year later it seems that I was the one, and after --

4 and a year later, somebody says that it could have been

5 me, how can one trust such statements? I do not

6 question that event, that it happened, that people

7 experienced traumas and trouble, but it is not my

8 fault. I was not there. Had they been sure that it

9 was me, they would have said that it was me right at

10 the start. But five statements were made, and I am

11 never there. On various tapes, when they give their

12 statements, also, my name never figures.

13 Q. I'd like to know something else. When you

14 heard [redacted] testimony, did you doubt the fact

15 that [redacted] was indeed witness to the murder of

16 his family?

17 A. I cannot comment on that. I do not know

18 where [redacted] was, whether he was inside the house,

19 whether he saw all that. I cannot comment on that. As

20 I said, I do not question that it all happened, but how

21 it did happen, I do not know. All I know is that I

22 have nothing to do with that crime. I have nothing to

23 do with it.

24 Q. Were you familiar with Sakib Ahmic's house?

25 Had you been in the house before?

Page 11717

1 A. As a child, with my parents, we visited with

2 [redacted], when I played as a young boy with Naser.

3 I already said that we were peers. When I came out of

4 the elementary school and went to Trstenik, I never

5 once again went, either with my parents, nor was I

6 anywhere near the house, because life just -- I just

7 took another path, and I led a completely different

8 life.

9 Q. Did you know where [redacted], in which room

10 he lived in that house in April 1993? Did you know

11 whether he lived upstairs, or the ground floor, or in

12 the cellar, in the basement? Did you know that?

13 A. I already said that I was friends with Naser

14 and that he had a cobbler's shop at the station. When

15 he would close for the day, he would come to see me

16 there at the wholesale unit. From conversations with

17 Naser, I knew that [redacted] lived with him. I knew that

18 he had trouble with all his children, that Naser had

19 taken him into his house, that he was living with him.

20 I knew that Naser had a small child -- that is, a

21 three-month-old baby; I believe it was three months old

22 -- and I think he treated me to a drink when the baby

23 was born. But which room [redacted] occupied, I really

24 don't know that.

25 MR. TERRIER: Thank you. I have no further

Page 11718

1 questions.

2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Terrier.

3 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, you have the floor.


5 Mr. President. If we may go into private session for

6 just a few moments?


8 (Private session)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 11719













13 page 11719 redacted private session













Page 11720













13 page 11720 redacted private session













Page 11721

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (Open session)


14 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, can you tell us, to clarify

15 the transcript, you answered some questions about the

16 roadblock in Ahmici that was set up after the conflict

17 of the 20th of October, 1992 when you were the first

18 person and Ivica Kupreskic manned the checkpoint from

19 the Croat side. Will you please tell us who were the

20 Muslims at that checkpoint? Do not mention the name of

21 the witness. Give us just the pseudonym and the name

22 of the other person who was with him.

23 A. On the Croat side, Ivica and I were there,

24 and on the Muslim side was this witness, but I do not

25 know his pseudonym, really --

Page 11722

1 Q. Witness Z?

2 A. I see. Witness Z and Sidik Ahmic, so two

3 Croats and two Muslims.

4 Q. So Sidik and Witness Z, did they have any

5 rifles?

6 A. They did.

7 Q. Is it common in Bosnia, when you told us

8 about the automatic rifle, did you mean an automatic

9 rifle which is called AK-47?

10 A. I heard about it for the first time here.

11 Q. So what did you call an automatic rifle?

12 A. We called it Kalashnikov or we called it

13 Gypsy girl. That was the vernacular that we used.

14 Q. Tell us, do you remember Witness C? Do you

15 know who that is? (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 A. I do, yes.

18 Q. Were you on good terms with his parents or is

19 it your parents who were friends of his parents?

20 A. Yesterday, I said that my parents were on

21 good terms with most of their Muslim neighbours and

22 most people who were of the same generation, and the

23 same holds true of the parents of that witness. I'm

24 simply not of that generation, and like all those other

25 people who were older, I mean, I had the same attitude

Page 11723

1 to them. We would meet, we would greet one another,

2 and that would be it.

3 Q. Were you on good terms with -- you told us

4 that you knew the daughter from that family; is that

5 so?

6 A. Well, I knew those people and those

7 children.

8 Q. You also said that you were not sure if you

9 would recognise that witness at the time and said it is

10 that particular child.

11 A. Yes, I said that if I would come across a

12 group of children, and if you asked me to identify that

13 particular child, no, I wouldn't have been certain.

14 Q. Do you remember if you had any contact with

15 him? After you saw him there, did you have any contact

16 with him? Did you communicate with him? Were you at a

17 party together? Were you at a ceremony somewhere?

18 A. Well, it was a 12-year-old child. There was

19 nothing that would bring me to contact with him, nor

20 could we appear at the same party together. Only

21 perhaps I played music at some of the parties, and then

22 he would be among the audience or something like that,

23 but otherwise ...

24 Q. When this witness testified here, he couldn't

25 remember your name. Do you remember that?

Page 11724

1 A. I do, yes.

2 Q. Also, do you remember that he could not

3 distinguish between Mirjan and Zoran Kupreskic, he

4 couldn't recognise both of you?

5 A. Yes, I do remember it very well.

6 Q. So can you explain it now, that he is very

7 precise when he tells the investigator who were the

8 persons that he saw at Jozo Alilovic's?

9 A. Well, how he could quote precisely those

10 names, whether somebody told him which names to say or

11 whether the boy was simply mixed up, I just don't

12 know. But I said it yesterday, if I may add, I was

13 never in my life with such a group of people as

14 described by you. I mean, he mentioned two other

15 people also and said that I was with them, but I was

16 never with those two people.

17 Q. How do you explain the fact that he describes

18 you quite differently from other witnesses who

19 incriminate you here, that is, Witness K says that you

20 had a black uniform, [redacted] says that you had a

21 black uniform, and that boy says he saw you in a

22 camouflage uniform with your face clean, and these

23 witnesses say that your face was painted. Can you

24 explain these discrepancies?

25 A. It is just another proof that it was not me,

Page 11725

1 that it had nothing to do with me. I never had a black

2 uniform in my life, nor did I have a camouflage

3 uniform, except during the war. As I said, at times, I

4 would use my brother's jacket.

5 Q. In relation to these testimonies, very

6 briefly, I shall ask you, [redacted] told the

7 investigating judge in Zenica on the 3rd of December,

8 1993 that two persons entered his house who looked like

9 Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic.

10 A. That is what I said. After a couple of

11 statements, we began to look alike.

12 Q. Witness H, on the 17th of December, 1993,

13 mentioned you here for the first time, even though her

14 mother affirmed that she had mentioned you, just one

15 person?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. But not in all statements?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. After that, Witness H's mother made a

20 statement on the 20th of December, 1993, that is, three

21 days after Witness H, and she too mentioned your name

22 for the first time, and it is one in the same family.

23 What would you say to that? What is your conclusion?

24 A. I think that the mother's statements are

25 highly telling. There are three statements where I'm

Page 11726

1 not mentioned, and then in the fourth statement, I'm

2 mentioned, that I had been seen, that I had been

3 walking around the village and mounting guard. But two

4 other relatives of mine and my brother also mentioned

5 in the same light, and only in the fifth statement it

6 is the two of us who were in that house, who had been

7 in that house and done that, that is, only in the fifth

8 or even in the sixth statement. I've forgotten how

9 many of them there were.

10 Q. How would you comment on the fact that they

11 are people from one in the same family? You said that

12 you had absolutely -- that those people had no reason

13 to bear any grudge against you. So why would this

14 family say this about you?

15 A. I do not know why that family. All I know is

16 that it is one in the same family, and I said that we

17 had been here together, my brother and I, for two years

18 and that we've been asking ourselves and wondering and

19 trying to understand, and the only reason could be

20 those houses of ours.

21 There were pressures against those people,

22 "Tell us names. Tell us names." People didn't know

23 what it was about. After awhile, with all this

24 pressure to come up with some names, then they began to

25 mention our houses, and they, of course, associated us

Page 11727

1 with those houses. In the beginning, nobody mentioned

2 my name because it was in combination with Ivica,

3 whether Ivica was in Germany or where, so let's put

4 Mirjan there and let him account for that.

5 Q. Does it seem to you that perhaps the idea

6 behind it was that a Croat had to account for all of

7 that?

8 A. Somebody needs to account for those crimes, I

9 mean, there is no question about that, because a crime

10 was committed and somebody needs to be brought to

11 justice. But if it was committed by Croats, then not

12 all Croats need to be imprisoned, not all Croats need

13 to account for it, because there are people who are not

14 guilty of that. There is no question about the crime

15 being committed.

16 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, let us see about something

17 else which arose during the cross-examination. Tell

18 me, please, after the 20th of October, 1992, when you

19 left your home after hearing the report that the

20 Muslims, the Mujahedin might attack your houses, where

21 would you go then?

22 A. Every time when we received such reports, we

23 would use that same path and go to Vrebac's shelter.

24 Q. Right. Did you, on any prior occasion, go to

25 Rovna or to Vitez and shelter your family there?

Page 11728

1 A. I said that every time when we left, we used

2 that same path and went to Vrebac's shelter. We never

3 once went to Rovna, to Vitez, or any other place.

4 Q. Tell us, ever since the attack of the Serbian

5 aviation in April 1992, when they attacked Vitez, were

6 any shelters planned, envisaged for your part of the

7 village?

8 A. For our part of the village, no, no shelters

9 were envisaged, and people had hid wherever they

10 could. In that place, that part in Zume, yes, there

11 was that shelter envisaged.

12 Q. At that time, did you go to the shelter in

13 Zume?

14 A. No, not at that time.

15 Q. Why didn't you? Why did you stay?

16 A. We stayed there in one cellar or another, in

17 a cellar which was safer, better, if it was worse, but

18 it wasn't all that frequent. I mean, bombing sometimes

19 would come closer, and that was on one or two

20 occasions.

21 Q. In the Muslim part of the village, if you can

22 tell us, in that lower part of the village which is

23 below your houses, did you ever see the Muslim army by

24 night or Muslim soldiers before the 16th of April,

25 1993?

Page 11729

1 A. I said that between the 19th and the 20th, as

2 some military passed through and stayed in the school,

3 and I said that from Ivica's terrace, we could see. I

4 described their outlines, their silhouettes.

5 Q. Were you certain that in that part of the

6 village, there were no Muslim military on the 16th of

7 April?

8 A. How could we be certain about that? I wasn't

9 certain about that and I didn't know if there were any

10 soldiers of that kind down there. We simply did not

11 use that road for those reasons, because we saw the

12 military then, but we were not certain and we did not

13 use that part of the road. We only used the upper road

14 under those circumstances.

15 Q. Under those circumstances, you felt safer in

16 the Croat part of the village; is that so?

17 A. Yes, of course.

18 Q. Between your houses and Niko Sakic's house,

19 and we spoke about that, will you tell us, which was

20 the principal reason for you to go there? Was the

21 chief reason that you went there to watch, to be able

22 to see something, to be able to observe the situation

23 in your part of the village, in Ahmici, or was there

24 some other reason for it?

25 A. The chief reason was to be in the vicinity of

Page 11730

1 that shelter so if any group headed there, towards that

2 shelter, to try to protect it, and that is why we were

3 there. We had a view of that road which led from our

4 houses to that depression and to that shelter and Niko

5 Sakic's house. That was the chief reason. We had no

6 other reason. Perhaps it was stupid at the time, but

7 we were there.

8 Q. Which one of you made that choice?

9 A. Well, nobody made that particular choice.

10 There was gunfire, and we scuttled into that

11 depression. First, we hid from the gunfire. Of

12 course, we were hiding there all the time, but then

13 instinctively, we simply thought that if anyone would

14 come near, that they would have to use that road, that

15 path. We had no other choice, and the gunfire was the

16 nearest to our houses.

17 Q. After that, you were at war and you spent a

18 year in the trenches. Of course, you had more

19 experience than -- you were more seasoned than you were

20 on the 16th of April, 1993. Was it, militarily

21 speaking, a well-chosen position? Was it a position at

22 all?

23 A. It was no position. It was simply saving

24 ourselves, our lives. Perish the thought if anyone

25 came near us because they would have got one after the

Page 11731

1 other. It wasn't simply a military position. It may

2 have been very stupid, but we were there.

3 Q. Were you ready? Were you prepared to fire

4 that day?

5 A. Well, had anyone started towards the shelter

6 and children, I would have defended them for all I was

7 worth.

8 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Will the usher please

9 show you these photographs?

10 THE REGISTRAR: This is Exhibit D115/2.


12 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, could you please take a look?

13 What can you see on photographs 3-5 and 3-6, on the

14 last page? What is this? Which path is this and where

15 does it lead from?

16 A. Picture number 3 is the house of Mirko

17 Vidovic, and that is the road that leads to our houses

18 from the main road. That is where the Sutre warehouse

19 was at the time. This path leads this way. It is

20 below the forest that we called Stipanova forest. This

21 path leads from the Sutre warehouse towards the house

22 of Niko Sakic.

23 Q. Please take a look at photographs 5 and 6?

24 A. Here it goes into part of the forest, and

25 this is where Niko Sakic's house is. So this path here

Page 11732

1 leads to this one and leads all the way to Niko Sakic's

2 house.

3 Q. And number 6, please?

4 A. Number 6 was taken from Niko Sakic's shed and

5 garage, that is to say, this is where Niko Sakic's

6 house, this is where Niko Sakic's shed and garage are,

7 so you can see the path here that leads to the Sutre

8 warehouse, and the other path would fork off this side

9 towards the depression where we were, there

10 (indicating).

11 Q. Please take a look at photographs 1 and 2 as

12 well, and where does that path lead from?

13 A. Here (indicating), this is Mirko Vidovic's

14 house, this path leads to the road, and this is the

15 road up here, and this is the Sutre warehouse. This is

16 where this path would be up here. Up here, it would go

17 up to this road.

18 Q. Very well. Thank you. Down here, on

19 photograph number 2, you can see this path from the

20 houses to --

21 A. This is the path that goes back to Niko

22 Sakic's, and it goes out here.

23 Q. Yes, we can see it. Mr. Kupreskic, you

24 showed this to us. What's important for me for you to

25 say is that the path that you spoke of yesterday that

Page 11733

1 leads from the main road, this main road that leads

2 through Ahmici then passes by Dragan Vidovic's house

3 and goes down to the depression -- no, not the

4 depression, to Niko Sakic's house, rather, that is this

5 other road, isn't it?

6 A. This is one of the paths, but then there's

7 this other road that I spoke of that goes by Dragan

8 Vidovic's house. That is a road -- that's a big road.

9 You can take a car along that road. From Dragan

10 Vidovic's house, it also came to this road, towards

11 Zume. So Zume was completely linked to it in this way,

12 the lower part of the Zume, that is.

13 Q. This path that leads from Niko Sakic's house

14 to the right-hand side where Dragan Vidovic is or,

15 rather, where Dragan Vidovic's house is, that road was

16 also being used, wasn't it?

17 A. Part of the Pudze houses used it when -- that

18 is to say, from the Pudze houses by Niko Sakic's house,

19 by Mirko Vidovic's house to that road that leads to the

20 upper part of Ahmici and then down to the road and to

21 the warehouse.

22 Q. That road comes out by Niko Sakic's house; is

23 that right?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Tell me, how many people were in the

Page 11734

1 depression on that day, as far as the Croats are

2 concerned, I mean?

3 A. With me in the depression on that day were

4 Mirko Sakic, Dragan Vidovic, Dragan Samija, Drago

5 Grgic, and my brother, Zoran Kupreskic.

6 Q. Is five people enough to do anything in a

7 military sense?

8 A. Five men is not enough at all to do something

9 from a military point of view. Five men would fight if

10 something would happen and if their families would be

11 threatened, and our families were nearby.

12 Q. Tell me, please, did you know on the 16th,

13 17th, and 18th that the Muslims, Ramo Bilic and his

14 family and the Strmonja families, were in the Vidovic

15 shelter?

16 A. On the 17th, we found out that all these

17 families were in the Vidovic shelter.

18 Q. Did you pass by on the 18th, 17th, and 16th,

19 that is to say, did you pass by their houses?

20 A. Yes. Every time I went to see my family,

21 every time we would try to get to the shelter, we would

22 always pass by those houses and by that shelter.

23 Q. Were the houses whole?

24 A. The houses remained intact until the present

25 day, and I think that these people have returned to

Page 11735

1 live in their own homes.

2 Q. Tell me, do you know and did you receive any

3 information as to the following: When the dead bodies

4 were taken out of Sakib Ahmic's house?

5 A. I heard perhaps a month later that UNPROFOR

6 had taken the human remains out of the house of Sakib

7 Ahmic. How many persons were concerned, that, I did

8 not know until I arrived here.

9 Q. Do you remember approximately when this

10 happened? Can you say how much later or do you not

11 remember, I mean, how much after the crime in Ahmici

12 had taken place? Can you determine the date?

13 A. I said that I heard about it approximately a

14 month after the crime had been committed. I heard that

15 UNPROFOR had taken them out, but when this exactly

16 occurred, that, I do not know.

17 Q. You said that you found out about the

18 indictment in 1997, I think, or in 1996.

19 A. The end of 1995 and the beginning of 1996,

20 that is to say, as soon as the indictment appeared.

21 Q. You also said that at first you did not take

22 the indictment seriously because you thought that it

23 could not have been something that serious; is that

24 right?

25 A. Yes.

Page 11736

1 Q. As time went by, you changed your view,

2 didn't you; is that correct?

3 A. Well, let me tell you, it's not that I did

4 not take the indictment seriously. I could not have

5 thought how I would be connected to this indictment. I

6 could not believe that I was the one who was in the

7 indictment. I thought that it was some kind of a

8 mistake or something like that. That's what I meant

9 when I said what I said.

10 Q. After that, for two years, you lived in great

11 uncertainty, and finally you surrendered yourself to

12 the court. Tell me, why did you not surrender yourself

13 earlier, since you did things connected to surrender,

14 you wrote to people you thought you should write to in

15 this connection?

16 A. During those two years, we wrote to various

17 addresses and we contacted various people. We wanted

18 to talk about this, and we said that we were available

19 for such discussions, that we wanted to see what was

20 going on. We were available to discuss this. We are

21 small people. We did not know how to get here. We

22 tried to do our best. It was very dangerous to live

23 under such circumstances. Everybody tried to take

24 advantage of you. Of course we were afraid. I said we

25 were small; we did not know how to do this and how to

Page 11737

1 report here and how to come here. That is the main

2 reason why we remained for that year and a half waiting

3 to come here.

4 Q. Please tell us, in conclusion, the Prosecutor

5 asked you something very similar, and I'm going to put

6 the same question to you. After having been here for

7 two years, and after having participated in this trial

8 for two years, and after having listened for a year,

9 and after having listened to all these witnesses, what

10 is your reaction to all of this, and how have you been

11 living through all of this, you and your family?

12 A. I can say that four years of my life have

13 been totally ruined. It is only God who gives me the

14 strength to endure that which I endured during those

15 first two years and that which I have been enduring for

16 these past two years.

17 I never feared coming here. From the very

18 outset, I tried to come here and to prove my

19 innocence. Under such circumstances, in Vitez, I did

20 not hide at all. I lived in Vitez throughout, although

21 it was very dangerous. My family was traumatised. My

22 son, Marko, is receiving assistance from a psychologist

23 now. He is the only child in Vitez to be receiving

24 assistance from a child psychologist, and he could not

25 even finish the first grade properly. And my daughter,

Page 11738

1 Marija, she stutters, and these are major traumas. My

2 child, Marko, he is invariably afraid of SFOR, and both

3 of them wear glasses, and they have to change their

4 glasses every two months. These are major expenses,

5 and my wife doesn't have a job, and my family needs

6 me.

7 My mother is the only mother in the world who

8 has two war criminals. The media never said

9 "suspects;" they invariably say "war criminals." This

10 is a terrible blemish which perhaps we will never be

11 able to rid our name of. I never wished any evil on

12 anyone, let alone my neighbours. I was brought up in a

13 Christian way. My mother did her best to bring us up

14 properly. I was simply born there. I lived there. I

15 lived there through no choice of my own. I did not

16 have any choice.

17 I'm absolutely not guilty. I had nothing to

18 do with this crime. Had somebody else been in my place

19 on that day, perhaps he would have been more courageous

20 than me; perhaps he would have done something. But I

21 could not have done anything. I could not have saved

22 anyone. The only things I did are the things I told

23 you about.

24 Q. Thank you very much.

25 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you. I have

Page 11739

1 concluded.

2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel

3 Slokovic-Glumac.

4 Mr. Kupreskic, I would have a few questions

5 for you, but you look tired. If you would prefer, I

6 can refrain from asking questions. Tell me. I don't

7 want to -- to torture you.

8 Would you be prepared to answer questions, or

9 would you like to have a rest now, and to retire? And

10 I should add that of course, your mother is right, you

11 are not a war criminal, it goes without saying. You

12 are only accused, and you enjoy a very fundamental

13 right, namely, the presumption of innocence. The Court

14 is there exactly to deal with this matter.

15 Well, if you don't refuse to answer this

16 question, I'll tell you, Mr. Kupreskic, there is one

17 matter which troubles me a lot, and this is the

18 testimony of that little girl, Witness H, you know, who

19 was 13. Now, you deny having met that girl on the 16th

20 of April, 1993, but she said here in court that she saw

21 you, you know where, and you know what she said, I

22 mean, because you were here in court.

23 She said that actually she saw you with a

24 weapon, and she knelt down in front of you and asked

25 you to save her life. And actually she is not accusing

Page 11740

1 you of murder, of killing. She is saying that

2 actually, you didn't do anything. You didn't shoot,

3 you didn't kill her. Actually, she is alive; she came

4 here.

5 So I wonder why she should have lied. Do you

6 have an explanation? Can you think of any reason why

7 she should have said all that here in court about your

8 behaviour that day, the 16th of April, 1993?

9 A. Your Honour, the only reason I can find, I

10 said that these pressures and these agreements that

11 were reached in the end, when they were trying to find

12 who had done this, everybody tried to get names, and

13 names were unknown. These combinations were made, and

14 it was said that shooting came from our houses. That

15 is the only thing I can connect it to. I do not see

16 any other reason.

17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Kupreskic.

18 Thank you so much, also, for giving evidence in court.

19 You may now be released. Thank you.

20 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour. Thank

21 you very much.

22 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?

23 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, Your Honours,

24 after the testimony of the Kupreskic brothers,

25 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac and I would like to make a

Page 11741

1 proposal, namely, these days, the Prosecutor of this

2 court stayed in Zagreb and talked to the Croatian

3 Minister of Justice, and during that visit, the

4 following topic was raised, that some accused could be

5 released and could defend themselves freely. I believe

6 that we have firmly proven before this Court that the

7 Kupreskic brothers are not so-called warlords, and they

8 did not take part in any political decision-making that

9 led to a Croat-Muslim war, and evidence with regard to

10 some of the other counts in the indictment of the

11 Prosecutor will be assessed.

12 We would kindly ask the Court, in view of the

13 fact that this trial has been going on for so long, and

14 in view of the fact that there will be a recess in the

15 court, and also in this trial, for about two months,

16 and bearing in mind the specific qualities of the two

17 accused -- and I shall not elaborate on that now,

18 because this will be referred to in the closing

19 arguments -- we kindly ask the Trial Chamber to look

20 into the possibility of releasing the accused

21 provisionally.

22 Of course, the Trial Chamber can present the

23 conditions for this, perhaps giving bail, or something,

24 which would be a guarantee that the accused would come

25 back for the continuation of their trial. Of course

Page 11742

1 they will be put at the disposal of this Court if the

2 Court wants them back in the detention unit.

3 We don't want the Prosecutor to state his

4 views right now, but could he please consult the

5 Prosecutor, Ms. Arbour? And we think that if anyone

6 could defend themselves from freedom, we think that it

7 is our clients, honestly. Thank you.

8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Thank you,

9 Counsel Radovic. You know, of course, that we have a

10 Rule, Rule 65, on provisional release. Under this

11 Rule, release may be ordered by a Trial Chamber only in

12 exceptional circumstances, after hearing the host

13 country, and only if it is satisfied that the accused

14 will appear for trial, and if released, will not pose a

15 danger to any victim, witness, or other person.

16 Now, under this Rule, it is for you to file a

17 motion to the Trial Chamber, and then we will of course

18 request also the Prosecution to comment on your motion,

19 and we will duly decide on the motion.

20 All right. So we now may release Mr. Mirjan

21 Kupreskic. Again, thank you, Mr. Kupreskic.

22 Yes, Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?

23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I'm

24 sorry, I would just like to tender into evidence

25 D115/2.

Page 11743

1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.

2 No objection? All right. It is admitted

3 into evidence.

4 Counsel Radovic?

5 (The witness withdrew)

6 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, today I decided

7 on this oral presentation because a ruling was passed

8 that oral presentations could be made in applications,

9 rather than submissions in writing, in order to

10 expedite proceedings. Of course, if you wish, it is no

11 problem for me to present this in writing as well, so

12 it is really up to you to say.

13 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, you're right. You're

14 right. Of course, we decided, in agreement with the

15 President and at the request of the registrar, to try

16 to prompt parties to make oral presentations, oral

17 motions, so as to avoid wasting time and having a lot

18 of paperwork.

19 However, I, for one, would feel that in this

20 particular case, you would have to set out the special

21 reasons which, in your view, would justify the

22 provisional release of the two accused. As I said

23 before, under Rule 65, there must be exceptional

24 circumstances, so it would be for you to prove what

25 particular exceptional circumstances would warrant the

Page 11744

1 provisional release of the accused in question. So

2 therefore, I would think it will be proper for you to

3 file a written motion.

4 (Trial Chamber confers)

5 JUDGE CASSESE: But, of course, this could be

6 filed at right away, I mean, today, and we promise that

7 we would ask the Prosecution to submit, maybe, oral

8 argument -- I mean, I wonder whether you could, to save

9 time, whether you could try to respond orally, because

10 I do understand why Counsel Radovic is very keen to

11 request the Trial Chamber to pass on this matter as

12 soon as possible.

13 Mr. Terrier?

14 MR. TERRIER: Yes, Mr. President, we're quite

15 ready to answer verbally, tomorrow, if you wish, or

16 perhaps even now. But as you have said, we are needing

17 to comply with Rule 65 of the Rules and not some other

18 statements which we read about in the press. Counsel

19 Radovic and Counsel Slokovic-Glumac need to inform the

20 Trial Chamber about those exceptional circumstances

21 before the decision is taken. So far, I have not heard

22 from Mr. Radovic about any exceptional circumstances.

23 All I heard is that we shall have a two-month

24 interruption. I heard about that, but nothing apart

25 from that, nothing that would indicate that there are

Page 11745

1 any exceptional circumstances.

2 So I'm at your disposal fully, of course. I

3 shall be quite ready to respond whenever the Trial

4 Chamber wishes me to do so. But we have not heard any

5 argument presented to support this request.

6 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, quite, and that is why I

7 asked Mr. Radovic to put down in writing those

8 exceptional circumstances which would be justifying our

9 decision on their possible provisional release.

10 Mr. Radovic, will you please put down on

11 paper the list of all these reasons, and then we can

12 decide on that.

13 Mr. Radovic, do you wish the floor?

14 MR. RADOVIC: I'm afraid I cannot do it today

15 because I need to draft it well and then have it

16 translated, but I will have it tomorrow, certainly.

17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.

18 I wonder if we should take a break now, and

19 then -- yes, now. All right, so we'll take a break

20 now, a 30-minute break, and then when we resume our

21 hearing, I think Counsel Krajina will call, I assume,

22 Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic? Good. So that we can probably

23 finish by tomorrow afternoon.

24 MR. KRAJINA: Yes, Mr. President.

25 JUDGE CASSESE: We'll take a 30-minute

Page 11746

1 break.

2 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.

3 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.

4 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic, good

5 morning. Would you please make the solemn

6 declaration?

7 THE WITNESS: Good morning, Mr. President,

8 Your Honours. I solemnly declare that I will speak the

9 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be

11 seated.

12 Counsel Krajina?

13 MR. KRAJINA: Thank you, Mr. President.


15 Examined by Mr. Krajina:

16 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, good morning to you.

17 A. Good morning.

18 Q. Are you ready to testify today?

19 A. By all means.

20 Q. Will you please state your full name for the

21 transcript, your date of birth, and your residence?

22 A. My name is Vlatko Kupreskic. My father's

23 name is Franjo, mother of Marija, born Jonjic. I was

24 born on 1 January, 1958 in the elementary school

25 building in Ahmici, in Pirici, in the municipality of

Page 11747

1 Vitez, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have lived in

2 Pirici all my life, that is, in Ahmici.

3 Q. Can you describe your family a little bit for

4 us? What were the circumstances of your family?

5 A. I come from a multi-ethnic family. My cousin

6 Zdenka Jonjic, who was uncle's daughter, married a

7 Muslim, Nusret Bajric in Zenica. My other cousin,

8 whose name is Marija Kupreskic and is my uncle's

9 daughter, married a Serb, Cedo Lalic. My own sister,

10 Jelina, also married a Muslim in Travnik, (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 Q. Could you please give us some very brief

14 description of your life up until now?

15 A. Let me just describe my family further. I

16 was born in the elementary school in Ahmici. He had

17 seven children altogether, so we were a family of

18 nine. My older brother died, he had a heart condition,

19 and also one of my sisters died. I myself also was

20 born with a heart condition, congenital heart

21 condition, and I am now the only male sibling. I have

22 four sisters.

23 I married Ljubica Kupreskic, and I have a

24 daughter Milena who was born in 1982. I have a son

25 Igor who was born in 1986. In 1993, I had

Page 11748

1 semi-grown-up children. In April 1993, my daughter was

2 fully 11 and my son, Igor, was fully 7 years of age.

3 When I said that I also took care of the family, that

4 means that I also took care of my parents because they

5 were left without any incomes in 1989, and I continue

6 to financially support them to date.

7 I should also point out that I also

8 financially supported an elderly woman who was without

9 and childless. She was alone in the village. I took

10 her into my house and adapted the house for her use.

11 She lived with us for 18 years until she died, and then

12 I also put a gravestone on her grave.

13 Q. What kind of schools did you go to?

14 A. I went to a school in Ahmici, then another

15 four years in Dubravica. Then I went to Travnik for

16 the secondary school training, and then I went and

17 studied economy, and I graduated in Sarajevo in 1981 as

18 an economist.

19 Q. Can you now briefly describe how your

20 professional career evolved after you graduated?

21 A. After I graduated, I had a scholarship from

22 the SPS, and so seven days after my graduation, I

23 started working for that company in Vitez, and I worked

24 there until 1991. But I want to point out that in

25 1983, I also worked as a teacher. I taught economics

Page 11749

1 in the secondary school in Vitez. Then I also played

2 music. This is something that I did in my secondary

3 school and during my studies, and I supported my

4 studies, my own studies and the studies of my sisters,

5 by playing music.

6 Then I went to work for the SPS. I went into

7 the investments department, and after about four

8 months, I was promoted to the position of manager in

9 this department. I think that I stayed in this job

10 until about 1988. It may be interesting to point out

11 that I was involved in the two largest investments of

12 this company with the Czech Republic and the USSR for

13 rocket fuel and another one with a company in Dallas,

14 Texas, so I successfully completed those two investment

15 transactions. Then I wanted to move on and ahead, and

16 I went into the finance department where I stayed until

17 about September of 1991, and then of my own will, I

18 left the company.

19 Q. We will come back to that at some point. But

20 you said that you had a congenital heart condition.

21 What has your health condition been and what is it

22 today?

23 A. Until I had heart surgery in the military

24 hospital in Belgrade in 1966, the physicians predicted

25 that I may die, just like my two other siblings did, in

Page 11750

1 other words, my condition was not very good. But

2 following this surgery, it improved, but it is not

3 perfect to date. Because it is a congenital condition,

4 I must not undergo much stress and I need to avoid

5 conflictual situations. I have perspirations

6 occasionally, and these are some of the symptoms that

7 still persist.

8 Q. I want to take you to the period of

9 1991/1992. This was the period when the first

10 democratic elections took place and the establishment

11 of the HDZ and the HVO in Bosnia-Herzegovina. What did

12 you do at that time? What type of activities were you

13 involved in?

14 A. At that time, I was with the SPS company in

15 the financial department, and I was the head of the

16 finance department. The economic crisis had deepened

17 by that time, there was a recession, and the HDZ was

18 established in the Republic of Croatia.

19 However, I saw that the problems were growing

20 in this company, that it was very difficult to go on

21 working, that there was less and less money around,

22 that the responsibilities were growing, and I had no

23 interest in staying there, so I made a decision to

24 leave it, and this took place sometime around September

25 1991.

Page 11751

1 Q. After you left the company, what did you do,

2 when you left the SPS company?

3 A. After leaving the SPS company, I think I did

4 not work anywhere for about two months, and then Ivica

5 Kupreskic, my cousin, invited me to work with him in

6 his company, since I had some economic expertise and he

7 had nobody of that profile. So sometime in November

8 1991, I moved to the company which was called

9 Stefani-Bosna. I later reregistered it myself and

10 renamed it Sutre.

11 As I was used to working and working in my

12 field, and sometimes also I was involved in music, in

13 addition, for awhile, temporarily I worked at the

14 police station. The head of the police at that time,

15 Mirko Samija, asked me to compile an inventory at the

16 police station, and this was in the latter part of

17 December 1992, and I was involved in that until about

18 25 February, 1993.

19 Q. Very well. Can you now tell me, after these

20 ethnic-based parties were established, what was your

21 position in relation to them, and how did you relate to

22 the creation of the HVO?

23 A. I travelled a lot. I moved around a lot. I

24 followed the media, and I saw that in the Republic of

25 Croatia, when the ethnic-based HDZ party won, it took

Page 11752

1 over the power. And as we all know, shortly

2 thereafter, the war broke out. Even then I had a

3 negative position against the ethnic-based parties, and

4 even to date I view them in a negative way, and I was

5 proven right, later, that they all lead to war. All I

6 could see was that this was going to lead to war.

7 This was another reason why I left the

8 company. These were great responsibilities. I thought

9 that I would run into problems with certain

10 regulations. I did not want to be sanctioned by

11 anyone, because I was never criminally involved in

12 anything. I did not want to be in a position to have

13 to violate any laws.

14 Q. Just briefly, how did you interpret these

15 events and the rise of the ethnic-based parties? What

16 were the goals of these parties, and of Herceg-Bosna?

17 A. To me, these events meant turmoil and danger

18 because in Bosnia and Herzegovina, three ethnic-based

19 parties emerged, each representing one ethnic group and

20 pursuing their interests exclusively. I never could

21 justify that, but this is what happened. These

22 ethnic-based parties won. They took over the power in

23 their own territories. First they took over executive,

24 then later on military power, and then soon serious

25 problems developed from that.

Page 11753

1 Q. From what you have just told us, what would

2 you say? Did you support their goals?

3 A. I've told you, ever since the war broke out

4 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, my attitude was

5 completely negative towards all of them, the HDZ, SDA,

6 and SDS. You saw what happened in Bosnia. After 40

7 years of political blindness in the former Yugoslavia,

8 all of a sudden those political parties emerged

9 overnight, and people were not used to that, especially

10 to national -- to ethnic parties.

11 We live in Bosnia, and I told you that my

12 family is a multi-ethnic one, and I was fully aware

13 that it was impossible to reach an agreement. It was

14 impossible to achieve peace. Don't you see how, to

15 this day, we have problems down there, and I don't

16 think we shall be able to get rid of these problems

17 until we get rid of ethnic parties.

18 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, at that time, in any way

19 whatsoever, were you politically active?

20 A. No, never, in any way whatsoever, was I

21 politically active. Nobody even offered me, neither my

22 Muslim neighbours nor my Croat neighbours, and I do not

23 think that anyone said this. I never even came near a

24 meeting, let alone attended a meeting, precisely

25 because I did not really think much of those meetings.

Page 11754

1 Q. You told us that at the time that we are

2 talking about, you were in your private business, that

3 is, first in Ivica Kupreskic's company and then that

4 you founded your own company. That is so, isn't it?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Could you now tell us briefly, what did Ivica

7 Kupreskic's company do, and what was your specific duty

8 there?

9 A. Sutre company was a trading company and

10 nothing else, throughout that time -- that is, before

11 the war and even, in part, during the war and after the

12 war -- and it mostly traded in foodstuffs or, rather,

13 consumer goods and foodstuffs for the population.

14 Q. And what did you do in that company?

15 A. I was a professional there. I was mostly in

16 charge of documentation, and I also dealt with all the

17 commercial deals because I had tremendous experience in

18 negotiating about special-purpose equipment while I

19 still worked for the SPS -- again, while I still worked

20 for the SPS.

21 Q. And did this company procure for the army or

22 for the HVO?

23 A. No, our company never purchased anything,

24 either foodstuffs or anything else, for the military.

25 It was impossible at the time, because the army had its

Page 11755

1 own logistics, and they had their own procurement

2 bases.

3 Q. Will you tell us, please, on what terms were

4 you with your cousins, Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic? I

5 mean privately, on what terms were you with them? Did

6 you often see one another? Did you call on one

7 another? Will you please tell us something about that?

8 A. Well, we were always on good terms.

9 Naturally, we were related, and we called on one

10 another. But as I really was very busy -- at times, I

11 would work at three places in one day -- even my own

12 people, my own household family members saw me rarely,

13 let alone others. But we did, of course, go to one

14 another's houses. That was the tradition, that was the

15 custom, at annual holidays, we would do, such as

16 Christmas, Easter, birthdays, somebody's death, and

17 suchlike.

18 Q. And Mirjan and Zoran, what did they do at

19 that time? I'm asking you that because the indictment

20 claims that, together with the two of them, you were a

21 member of the HVO, and that you had a joint company

22 with Zoran Kupreskic. What will you say to that?

23 A. That is not true. Zoran Kupreskic never

24 worked in our company. His profession is completely

25 different, and I don't mean this as an offence, but he

Page 11756

1 is absolutely contraindicated for any kind of trade.

2 He has no gift whatsoever for that. And as for me, I

3 was never a member of the HVO. I have been relieved of

4 military duty because I'm 100 per cent disabled.

5 Q. Right. Will you now tell us, at that time,

6 that is, 1991, 1992, on what terms were you with your

7 Muslim neighbours or your business partners who were

8 Muslims? Could you tell us something about that?

9 A. Well, since I was brought up in that kind of

10 family, so that since my earliest childhood, I was on

11 very good terms with my Muslim neighbours and everybody

12 else, and all other people. Very good terms. All the

13 more so as I had -- and that was the only shop -- I

14 mean, in the Muslim part of the village, mine was the

15 only shop there. And if nothing else, I was bound to

16 be interested in maintaining good terms with

17 everybody. There is also documentation to that effect,

18 but we do not wish to burden this Court with that.

19 I would give merchandise on tick, not only to

20 my Muslim neighbours, but to Muslims and Serbs

21 throughout Central Bosnia. When the war broke out, I

22 must say that I had considerable claims on all of

23 them. And after the war ended, I continued to do

24 business in the same way, even with my Muslim

25 neighbours and with everybody else, with all other

Page 11757

1 people, regardless of their ethnic origin.

2 Q. And your good relations with Muslims, did

3 they change, rather, did they deteriorate at some

4 intervals of time, or were they always the same

5 level -- I mean, during that period of time?

6 A. Well, that period of time, until practically

7 on the 16th of April, 1993, these relations between us

8 did not change or, rather, they did not deteriorate,

9 because my behaviour, my attitude, my conduct, never

10 gave any reason to them to change their attitude to

11 me. In particular, I had no reason to change my

12 attitude to them because I wasn't in anything. I did

13 not take part in anything.

14 Let me give you just one information. I

15 never hoisted a flag on my shop, even though it was my

16 duty to do so. But I was very careful so as not to, in

17 a manner, undermine my trustworthiness, my

18 authenticity, and my relations with Muslims.

19 Q. Now let us try to be more specific. On what

20 terms were you with Pezers, who were your neighbours?

21 Will you tell us that?

22 A. Well, as with all the other neighbours. The

23 relations were outstanding, and that includes the Pezer

24 family. His two younger daughters regularly were with

25 my sisters, and until the very last day, that is, the

Page 11758

1 16th of April, all the neighbours would greet me every

2 time, and my whole family. My mother, since Fata Pezer

3 was a sick woman, an ill woman, she would always go to

4 take her offerings. I also went there to take her rice

5 and chicken meat, because I think she was a diabetic,

6 so that she needed special food.

7 Q. What were your relations with Sakib Ahmic and

8 his family?

9 A. As for Sakib Ahmic, he is my father's

10 generation, and they paid calls on one another, and

11 they socialised. Yes, they did have some problems

12 about that boundary, but believe me, he was in trouble

13 about that boundary with everybody, because to the

14 south he bounded on Croat property and on the other

15 side on the Muslim property, and there was no neighbour

16 with whom he hadn't got into some trouble. I mean, he

17 was really a short-tempered man, and even his own

18 children had trouble with him. But I didn't have any

19 trouble with him, and I never bore any grudge against

20 him. I was on particularly good terms with his

21 children because his children were quite good people,

22 and they embraced modern ideas, a modern way of

23 thinking, like I did, so that we were on really good

24 terms.

25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kupreskic. Let us now go to

Page 11759

1 the 20th of October, 1992, that is, the time of the

2 first conflict, as we call it here, the first conflict

3 between Muslims and Croats. Could you please tell us,

4 what do you know about that conflict? Where were you

5 on that day, on the 20th of October, 1992, and will you

6 briefly tell us what you remember about that?

7 A. On the 20th of October, 1992 -- that means

8 the night before, the eve of that -- I was sleeping. I

9 was asleep at home. My family, we were all there.

10 Early in the morning we were woken up by a detonation,

11 and we got up, tried to see what was going on, what it

12 was all about. But after that, no gunfire, no shooting

13 ensued, so that we could hear nothing or see nothing,

14 but we nevertheless went down to the garage, which is

15 in the lower part of my house. After that, the gunfire

16 started around 8.00 or 9.00, the gunfire began, and we

17 were in this garage.

18 Around 10.00 or 11.00, as there were two

19 small windows just to let air in, I could see an

20 occasional neighbour, a Muslim, from the lower village,

21 how they would move or, rather, how they were fleeing

22 towards the upper part of the village. After that, the

23 gunfire stopped, and there was no more gunfire. But

24 then around 2.00 or 3.00, the Muslim neighbours who

25 lived in the lower part and down by the main road, near

Page 11760

1 the cemetery, they began passing by my house, and I

2 remember quite well the Zec family.

3 I also remember Mujo Ahmic's family, and he

4 was my school fellow or, rather, his father, who was

5 even leading a cow. I went out to ask what it was all

6 about, because I didn't know anything, and they told me

7 that their houses were under gunfire and that they had

8 left their houses. After that, the gunfire continued,

9 and we dispersed, that is, we parted company, rather.

10 I went to the garage, and they went on towards the

11 village, and that is how the day ended.

12 Q. Now, will you tell us, what do you think of

13 that event of the 20th of October? What did you think

14 of it?

15 A. Later on, at the time when there was no

16 gunfire, I tried, of course, to find out what was going

17 on, so I called my cousin Ivica. I thought that

18 perhaps he had managed to get to the company premises,

19 but I didn't find him there, he was at home, and he

20 seemed to be better informed and told me that it was a

21 clash between two armies at a checkpoint near the

22 cemetery.

23 As I learned that it was a clash between two

24 armies, of course, I was worried about that, but after

25 that, I heard that none of our neighbours had taken

Page 11761

1 part in it and it encouraged me, in a way. But,

2 naturally, when I heard that men had been killed, both

3 a Muslim and a Croat had been killed, then, of course,

4 I took a negative attitude to that event.

5 Q. After that event of the 20th of October,

6 1992, did you expect any new conflicts between Croats

7 and Muslims? Did the relations aggravate between them?

8 A. As for the relations in the village of

9 Ahmici, after that, I did not notice any

10 deterioration. I'm saying, as far as I was informed,

11 all my neighbours regularly came to my shop, and

12 everybody greeted my family regularly on the road until

13 that day, until the 16th of April, 1993. But when one

14 travelled through Central Bosnia through checkpoints

15 and roadblocks, I could see that the situation was

16 growing more complex, because at those roadblocks, the

17 first thing I could see there was that their number was

18 increasing and that they were manned by ever more

19 people and that those people manning the barricades

20 were ever better armed. Also from the media,

21 especially as to the events in east and west Bosnia,

22 this situation was getting more complex.

23 Q. Did your behaviour and your attitude change

24 after that event?

25 A. No, I absolutely did not change my attitude,

Page 11762

1 particularly to my neighbours, because I did not take

2 any part whatsoever in the first conflict. There was

3 no reason for it. So we just resumed normal life.

4 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, at that time or perhaps a

5 little bit earlier, village guards were organised, and

6 we heard a great deal about that here and I do not want

7 to ask you to tell us exactly about that, but will you

8 please tell me if you took part in mounting those

9 guards?

10 A. No, I never took part in this guard duty.

11 Q. But weren't you asked to join those guards,

12 and what can you tell us about that?

13 A. Yes. I had a meeting with Zoran Kupreskic

14 once, and he told me that they intended or they were

15 intending on mounting those guards, and I said that I

16 respected their intentions and that I appreciated their

17 opinion as regards those guards but that I did not want

18 to participate in that and that I would be very happy

19 if they respected my decision, and that's what

20 happened. Because Zoran knows that I never served in

21 the army, I was not trained to use weapons, and I had

22 no time for that because I was busy. I told you I

23 worked at two places at once practically, and, besides,

24 I was the only member of my family -- I was the

25 patriarch, so I was the one who was the provider for

Page 11763

1 the whole family, the only one.

2 Q. Right. Thank you. Now we are moving on to

3 the time of the eve of the conflict which took place on

4 the 16th of April, 1993, and I should like us to focus

5 on the days immediately preceding the conflict, that

6 is, the 14th and the 15th of April, 1993. Could you

7 tell us, briefly tell us, exactly where were you on

8 those days and what did you do on those days?

9 A. I was regularly working for my company.

10 However, on the 14th, in the evening, Ivica's wife,

11 Ankica Kupreskic, was to arrive from Germany. She had

12 been in Germany for more than a year. Then Ivica and I

13 agreed, naturally, to go and fetch her but also to

14 seize that opportunity and do it also as a kind of a

15 business trip so as to negotiate and bring in some

16 merchandise, and that's how it was.

17 We wrote the order for the business trip on

18 the 13th of April, but on the basis of that travel

19 order, we could not move about, and we needed to get

20 such a permit from the army, from the HVO. We were

21 issued that travel permit on the 14th of April, 1993,

22 and that morning, on the 14th of April, early in the

23 morning, we left to Split.

24 Q. How did you travel and which way did you go?

25 Which road did you take and what time did you leave?

Page 11764

1 A. We left on the 14th of April, 1993, early in

2 the morning. I think it was 3.00 or 4.00 in the

3 morning. We took Ivica's Yugo 45 car, and we set off

4 from Vitez via Novi Travnik, Metkovic, to Split.

5 Q. When did you arrive in Split, at what time

6 approximately, if you remember?

7 A. Well, let me just mention one thing, one

8 thing that is very important: En route to the border

9 crossing at Metkovic, at Pocitelj, we met a person who

10 testified here before this Court on the 6th of May,

11 1999 under the pseudonym Witness DE, that is to say,

12 that we encountered that person on the 14th of April,

13 1993 in the town of Pocitelj. Then we proceeded to the

14 Metkovic border crossing.

15 Q. Excuse me. Did you spend some time there

16 with this person, and what was this person doing? Do

17 you remember that?

18 A. At this gasoline station, we were buying

19 fuel, and that's where we met this person. We spent

20 about 15 minutes there with him. We talked about some

21 very basic matters. We said where we were going and we

22 were asking him where he was coming from, and he said

23 that he was coming from Split, and we saw his truck

24 where there had been a lot of big packages, and we

25 didn't really discuss anything else. Then we moved to

Page 11765

1 Metkovic, to the border crossing there.

2 Q. What happened then?

3 A. Then we came to Split, approximately around

4 12.00, because we were supposed to see someone at the

5 Koteks company. We were supposed to purchase some salt

6 there. Then we bought some textile goods. We did all

7 of that. We put it into the car and we went to the

8 Split airport, which is about 15 kilometres away from

9 the town of Split, and in the evening, around 9.00

10 p.m., that is where we met Ivica Kupreskic's wife,

11 Ankica Kupreskic.

12 Q. Excuse me. Do you remember what kind of

13 goods were concerned, and how much did you have?

14 A. Well, we wanted to cover the costs of the

15 trip, so we got some blue jeans, Levi's, 501s, and then

16 we also obtained some underwear and 20 pairs of

17 sneakers for children.

18 Q. All right. You said that you met Ankica.

19 Where did you go then?

20 A. Since it was late, we left the airport and

21 proceeded to Baska Voda. We came to Baska Voda to our

22 friend Radoslav Simovic's place, and that's where we

23 spent the night. We spent the night after the 14th of

24 April there. In the morning of the 15th of April,

25 1993, early in the morning, I think around 6.00, we set

Page 11766

1 out for Vitez.

2 Q. So who was travelling, the three of you;

3 right?

4 A. Yes. Yes, Ivica, his wife Ankica, and I.

5 Q. When did you arrive home approximately?

6 A. Well, we arrived home rather late. The road

7 via Mostar had been closed, so we were told to take a

8 different road, so we had to make a longer trip via

9 Mount Vran, and we arrived home on the 15th of April,

10 1993, around 7.00 p.m. We arrived in Ahmici.

11 Q. What did you do then?

12 A. First when we arrived, we unloaded these

13 textiles and our other goods in the garage. Then

14 Ankica and Ivica said that they wanted to go to

15 Ankica's family in Krcevina, so after we unloaded the

16 goods, they left and I remained home with my family.

17 Q. Did you go out somewhere that evening?

18 A. That evening, I did not go out at all because

19 I was very tired, and, on the other hand, we also had

20 to prepare the goods for our buyer from Travnik. That

21 is the kind of agreement that we had reached, that on

22 the next day, the 16th of April, 1993, by 8.00, I'd

23 send the goods to the buyer. We were packing these

24 goods, we were preparing the bills, et cetera, so we

25 did not leave the house at all.

Page 11767

1 Q. Very well. When you returned from Split,

2 when you returned home on the evening of the 15th of

3 April, did you see any soldiers by your house and by

4 your shop when you arrived back from Split?

5 A. When the three of us returned from Split, I

6 did not see any soldiers, either in the shop or in the

7 house or in front of the house. The shop was open

8 until 6.00 p.m. and then it was closed, and in the

9 house and around the house, absolutely not, I did not

10 see any soldiers, nor did my wife tell me about this.

11 Q. So things looked usual, did they?

12 A. Everything was normal and usual, just like

13 any other day. I could not notice any difference, even

14 more so because I had asked the children how things

15 went at school. At that time, they attended school

16 regularly.

17 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, in your interview with the

18 Prosecutor of the Tribunal, you said that you went to

19 Split on the 13th of April, 1993 and that you spent the

20 night in Split at a lady's place. Please, how do you

21 explain that? How do you explain the difference

22 between that statement that you made to the Prosecutor

23 and what you are saying about it today?

24 A. Well, this is how I explain it: When I made

25 that statement, in front of me was, like today, so you

Page 11768

1 can have a look at this, I had this travel order for a

2 business trip. In the upper corner, there was this

3 date of the 13th of April, 1993. So that is a travel

4 order of the Sutre company, and then when I talked

5 about that part, and you can listen to the cassette

6 too, I did not think that this was an important piece

7 of information. Now I am saying with full

8 responsibility that we left on this trip on the 14th of

9 April, 1993 because we could not get out of Vitez at --

10 we could not pass the checkpoint with this order only;

11 we could only have a military order too in order to get

12 out. So it was a mistake.

13 Q. All right. So it was a slip of the tongue

14 that you made; right?

15 A. Yes, and the interview had been taking place

16 for quite some time, and I was quite tired as well.

17 Q. Now let us move on to the actual date of the

18 conflict, and that is the 16th of April, 1993. Please,

19 could you try, as precisely and as briefly as possible,

20 to say what you did on that day, what you experienced

21 on that day, what you did, and who you were with.

22 A. I'm just going to mention that when I arrived

23 on the 15th of April, 1993, in the evening, I informed

24 this person, whose pseudonym is DF, that on the next

25 day, by the morning hours, I would bring him the

Page 11769

1 required goods.

2 After having packed the goods and after

3 having prepared the bills, we went to bed. I slept

4 until 5.00. I did not wake up at all because I was

5 really very tired. But around 5.00 in the morning, my

6 wife, Ljubica, woke me up, and she said that I should

7 answer the phone, which is what I did. When I answered

8 the phone, an unknown voice said to me, "Vlatko, what

9 are you waiting for? Go to the shelter." And this

10 person hung up. I did not take this seriously because,

11 even until then, there had been similar situations.

12 So as I was so tired, I went back to bed.

13 However, only a few minutes later, the phone rang

14 again. My wife Ljubica answered the phone again and

15 said that Ivica was calling. I answered the phone, and

16 Ivica said to me, "Vlatko, what are you waiting for?

17 Go to the shelter. Everybody's already left." And he

18 hung up. After that, I really got worried. I realised

19 that something was wrong. I was particularly confused

20 by what he had said, that everybody had left, and also

21 I wondered why he had hung up immediately.

22 After that, my wife, Ljubica, said to me,

23 "Well, something really must be wrong because somebody

24 called last night around 3.00. I didn't want to wake

25 you up because I know you're tired." Then we realised

Page 11770

1 that we had to go to the shelter very quickly, which is

2 exactly what we did. I went downstairs to my parents,

3 I informed them, and after that, I went to help with

4 the children, and we went downstairs to pick up my

5 parents. However, my mother was ready but my father

6 said, "Vlatko, I'm an elderly man. I don't want to

7 go."

8 At that point in time, the first thing that I

9 thought of doing was to go to Ivica Kupreskic's house

10 to see what was going on, so we proceeded to Ivica

11 Kupreskic's house --

12 Q. Excuse me. So who left?

13 A. My wife, my two children, my mother, and I,

14 the five of us. When we arrived at Ivica Kupreskic's

15 house, we did not find anyone there, we did not see

16 anyone there, and, therefore, we panicked even more.

17 So we left quickly in the direction of the forest. We

18 passed through the forest, and we came to the house of

19 Niko Sakic, and about 50 metres after that is an

20 asphalt road. In the yard in front of Niko Sakic's

21 house, we met Niko Sakic, and on the right-hand side,

22 also in the yard of the house of Dragan Samija, we met

23 Dragan Samija. We proceeded further down towards the

24 shelter, and about 50 metres after that point, we met

25 Milan Samija and his wife Mara Samija.

Page 11771

1 We proceeded further towards the shelter

2 until we came to the end of the sports grounds in Zume,

3 and then we heard terrible detonations, strong

4 detonations, that is to say, that it is heavy fire that

5 was heard first, shells, and we were terrified, and we

6 hurried towards the shelter even faster.

7 When we arrived in front of the shelter, we

8 found a few people there. I know that I saw Ivo

9 Vidovic and I know that I saw Jozo Vrebac. Then we

10 went into the shelter and went downstairs to the lower

11 floor of that shelter, and we all stayed in a room that

12 was on the left-hand side, that is to say, to the left

13 of the staircase.

14 Q. We shall continue, but could you please

15 clarify another point for us? Why did you go to the

16 shelter of Jozo Vrebac specifically?

17 A. When the first shelling of Vitez and Busovaca

18 took place by the aircraft of the Yugoslav People's

19 Army, we sought shelter there. That was actually a

20 house that, in our opinion, was the safest place for us

21 to seek shelter.

22 Q. So you went there earlier; right?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Just another additional question. On the way

25 between your house and the shelter, did you encounter

Page 11772

1 any soldiers?

2 A. No.

3 Q. You did not see anyone?

4 A. No. No, we did not see any soldiers.

5 Q. All right. Now you're in the shelter.

6 Approximately when did you arrive at the shelter? Can

7 you remember?

8 A. Later on, and I also heard about this here, I

9 was the last one to get out there to the shelter, so we

10 must have arrived around 6.00.

11 Q. So how much time did you spend in the

12 shelter? Until when did you stay in the shelter?

13 A. I stayed in the shelter until approximately

14 10.00. There was intensive shooting. Although we were

15 inside, the shooting could, indeed, be heard. I really

16 became nervous. I heard all this shooting and I

17 realised that this was a conflict, so I was really

18 troubled. I even had a guilty conscience. I wanted to

19 go and see what was happening to my father because he

20 had remained at home. So I kept thinking how, but the

21 shooting was still so intense. But around 9.30 or

22 10.00, I had a feeling that the shooting had subsided a

23 bit. Even earlier, I had proposed to my wife, Ljubica,

24 that I go out and try to see what was going on with my

25 father; however, she had opposed that. She said,

Page 11773

1 "That's impossible. You're going to get killed."

2 However, later, I said at one point, when I

3 simply couldn't take it any longer, I said, "Ljubica, I

4 have to go. It seems to me that there are people who

5 are wounded there, and I have to go and help the

6 wounded." So I simply went out of the shelter.

7 Q. Why did you say this about wounded people?

8 Why did you tell your wife that?

9 A. Well, at that point in time, it occurred to

10 me because I thought that, in that way, I'm going to

11 pacify her and convince her of what I'm supposed to

12 do.

13 Q. All right. Please proceed.

14 A. So when I got out to the road by this

15 shelter, I saw Jozo Vrebac. He said, "Where are you

16 going?" And I said, "Jozo, it's almost 10.00. I have

17 to see my father." So I just went on, and that is how

18 I took shortcuts. I was hiding, so I didn't take the

19 main road where there was shooting, so I went from one

20 point where I would feel protected to another. I came

21 to the forest that was about 50 metres in front of Niko

22 Sakic's house. When I got out of this forest, that is

23 to say, when I reached the area where Niko Sakic's

24 house was, Niko Sakic caught sight of me and said,

25 "Vlatko, run this way." Since I noticed him too, I

Page 11774

1 ran towards him, and he took me directly to his doorway

2 and we went into his kitchen.

3 As the shooting went on continuously, I was

4 in Niko Sakic's kitchen with him expecting to see

5 whether I would get an opportunity to go over to my

6 house. But when I came close, I saw that around my

7 house, there was terrible shooting going on in that

8 area. He asked me, "What are you doing here? Where

9 are you going?" And I said that I was going to see

10 what happened to my father because he stayed in the

11 house, and I said, "Well, Niko, do you know what is

12 going on here? What is happening? This is a real war

13 here." And he said, "Vlatko, I don't know, but this

14 morning I saw some HVO soldiers going in the direction

15 of your house."

16 So I stayed in this kitchen sometime until

17 perhaps 12.30, I don't know, but I know that in that

18 period of time, the shooting died down, sometime after

19 12.00. In fact, around 12.30, there was no more

20 shooting, so I concluded that if there is no shooting,

21 there is no shooting at all and there hasn't been any

22 for the last 15 minutes, I thought that perhaps I could

23 go home because there was no shooting. I thought that

24 it had stopped.

25 As I felt pressured to see what had happened

Page 11775

1 to my father, I just left Niko Sakic's house and

2 started out alongside the lower edge of the forest

3 towards the house.

4 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina, may I

5 suggest that we take a 15-minute break? Is it fine?

6 Because we will go on until 1.30.

7 Good. 15 minutes.

8 --- Recess taken at 12.05 p.m.

9 --- On resuming at 12.20 p.m.

10 JUDGE CASSESE: Before asking Counsel Krajina

11 to resume with the examination-in-chief, I would like

12 to report on a decision we have made over the coffee

13 break. On reflection, we thought that Counsel Radovic

14 could probably submit his motion orally tomorrow

15 morning. We thought we should speed up matters and

16 avoid red tape.

17 So in spite of what we had said before, I

18 think it's better for you, if you wish to do so, to

19 avoid writing a motion, filing a motion, and you could

20 set out all the various reasons, so we will use the

21 transcript of your oral motion as a sort of document on

22 which we will base ourselves. And of course we would

23 then immediately ask the Prosecutor, if possible, to

24 react and to say whether or not he objects to your

25 motion. This could be done tomorrow morning, maybe

Page 11776

1 first thing tomorrow morning, if this is suitable. All

2 right?

3 Good. So we -- yes, Counsel Radovic.

4 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, then, as you

5 just suggested, I am going to submit my arguments for

6 the motion for provisional release tomorrow morning.

7 Thank you.

8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.

9 Counsel Krajina?

10 MR. KRAJINA: Thank you, Mr. President.

11 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, let's resume. Are you ready,

12 sir? We left off at the point where you came to Niko

13 Sakic's house. Please go on with your account now.

14 A. So I left Niko Sakic's house, and I passed

15 the garage, skirting the lower edge of the forest

16 towards my house. So I arrived at this road leading

17 towards Zoran and Ivica Kupreskic's houses, and then

18 from there continued on towards my old house. When I

19 arrived in the area between my shed and the old house,

20 I could see the entrance to the new house, and I looked

21 at the first floor.

22 At that entrance, by the facade, against the

23 facade, I saw a soldier who was moving around, and I

24 saw that he was observing the southern and northern

25 sides. I was surprised, and I raised my arms, and I

Page 11777

1 said "I am Vlatko Kupreskic." He noticed me. He

2 trained his rifle on me, and he said, "What do you

3 want?" And I said, "I live in this house. I came to

4 get my father."

5 He said, "Approach." I approached. I came

6 to the entrance, and he said, "Follow me." We went

7 upstairs to the first floor, the top floor of my

8 house. He led the way; I followed. He first entered

9 the hallway, because from the hallway, on the

10 right-hand side, there are two good-sized rooms, and he

11 opened the door to the first, and he said, "This one

12 came to get his father."

13 When I entered, in both of these rooms, there

14 were a number of soldiers; I believe somewhere around

15 seven or eight soldiers. At the table, I saw my

16 father; he was sitting in a chair. I approached him.

17 I hugged him. He started crying and whispered in my

18 ear, "Vlatko, calm down," because I was shaking. I had

19 been frightened.

20 So I sat down. I was still scared. I looked

21 around at these men, the soldiers, and avoided their

22 eyes at the same time. I was afraid that I or my

23 father might be killed. And even downstairs, as I was

24 entering the house, the door had been broken in, and

25 the door upstairs almost was not around. Everything

Page 11778

1 had been ransacked. The merchandise which I had

2 arranged was all thrown around. The soil which was in

3 the flowerpots, that earth, that soil, had been spilled

4 around the carpeting. So everything was completely

5 turned upside down.

6 Q. Later on we will come back to that period

7 when you were in the house, but now just tell me, how

8 long did you spend in the house, and then where did you

9 go? Where did you go afterwards?

10 A. It seemed so long to me, because I didn't

11 dare ask or say anything. I kept silent. But at that

12 moment, one of the soldiers was using a Motorola to

13 communicate with someone, and a couple of moments

14 later, somebody said, he said, "Attack." They all fell

15 to the ground, and my father and I stayed in our

16 chairs. Then one of them pulled me down to the ground

17 too. I didn't know why, but after a while, I heard the

18 sound of tanks.

19 One of them made a couple of movements and

20 raised his head a little bit. Because the door of my

21 balcony was almost all glass, he peeked out, and he

22 said, "They're coming towards us."

23 So we were on this floor, but the tanks did

24 not stop. They just went by my store and went towards

25 the school building. Just judging by the noise, when

Page 11779

1 they were somewhere around the school building, one of

2 them said, "Get up." They all got up. I kept silent,

3 but I was upset and angry. It is hard for me to

4 describe this. One of them seemed to have noticed

5 that. Later on, it turned out that they had completely

6 robbed and looted the house.

7 So one of them said to me, "Come over here,"

8 and he took me down through the same hallway to the

9 small terrace near the entrance, and "What do you

10 want?" he said. "Is this what you would want?" And he

11 pointed at the house of Suhreta Ahmic, which was on

12 fire. I just kept silent, because now I was even more

13 scared. Then he said, "Scram. Come and get your

14 father later."

15 So I quickly ran downstairs, and again using

16 the same path between the shed and the old house, went

17 back to Niko Sakic's house.

18 Q. Very well. Will you now describe what your

19 movements after that were?

20 A. When I emerged from this large forest near

21 the smaller forest, I met Drago Grgic, and another

22 soldier in camouflage uniform, and Anto Vidovic, whose

23 nickname was Satko. Drago asked me, "Vlatko, what are

24 you doing? Where are you coming from?" I said that I

25 had gone to get my father.

Page 11780

1 We stayed there very briefly because the

2 shooting resumed again. We all fled that spot, and

3 myself and Drago Grgic, because Niko Samija was in

4 front of his house, he said, "Come over here." Anto

5 Vidovic, called Satko, and this soldier went on in the

6 direction of the shelter. Later on I learned that in

7 fact Anto Vidovic's family was in the shelter of this

8 Niko Vidovic. So I also went inside Nikola Samija's

9 house, into the basement, where there was a small

10 window, and I stayed there until about 4 p.m.

11 Q. What did you do next?

12 A. I was still very concerned throughout this

13 time because the shooting was still going on, and then

14 I kept asking myself why was there not -- I understood

15 that it was because of UNPROFOR that the shooting had

16 stopped, but now I was wondering why did the shooting

17 resume. So when the UNPROFOR vehicles had left the

18 village, the combat had resumed. So I was very

19 concerned about the situation and everything that I had

20 seen and experienced, but again, I had the same

21 problem, that I could not go to the shelter to inform

22 my family, to report to my wife and my mother that I

23 was alive and also that my father was alive.

24 Also, in this basement at Nikola Samija's

25 house, I again was looking for an opportunity to go

Page 11781

1 over to the shelter. So sometime around 4.00 p.m., the

2 shooting again subsided, and again I found a way to get

3 over to the shelter, and I informed my mother and my

4 wife that my father was still alive. I did not want to

5 tell them anything else.

6 Q. Very well. We will continue with your

7 movements following that point in time, but I just want

8 to take you back to that period when you went back to

9 your house and you found seven or eight soldiers

10 there. Now, can you be very specific when answering

11 this question? Did you recognise any of the soldiers

12 there? If you can just describe these soldiers, what

13 they were wearing and how they behaved, and did you

14 recognise anyone?

15 A. When I sat down in this chair, even though I

16 was very frightened, I was 20, 30 centimetres, half a

17 metre, one metre away from these people. They all had

18 their faces painted. Most of them were wearing

19 camouflage uniforms, but two of them definitely had

20 black uniforms on, and some of them even had helmets.

21 On their left shoulders, they had ribbons. I remember

22 that very well because I had never seen that before

23 until then. They were all well-armed, and I could not

24 recognise anyone. Those were all persons unknown to

25 me.

Page 11782

1 Q. While you were there in your house where

2 those soldiers were, was there any conversation? Did

3 any conversation take place about the shooting,

4 wounding, or anything?

5 A. No. It was a very short period. I did not

6 overhear any kind of conversation.

7 Q. Let me take you back to the shelter. You

8 said that you went back to the shelter, so how long did

9 you stay there and what did you do next?

10 A. I stayed in Josip Vrebac's shelter until

11 about 6.00 p.m., when I judged that I could go over to

12 my father's. So I did this, I went over to the house,

13 and I found my father there but no soldiers. There

14 were no soldiers either inside or around the house. He

15 was very scared. He didn't expect me to come to get

16 him. So my father got ready, I took some good from the

17 refrigerator, I put it in a plastic bag, and slowly we

18 went over to Jozo Vrebac's shelter. My father did not

19 move well.

20 Q. Why?

21 A. He had broken his hip once, and so with

22 crutches, he was able to move, he was able to walk.

23 Around 7.00 or so, we arrived at the shelter,

24 perhaps even 7.30, I don't know, but it took us awhile

25 to get there. I just remember that when my father

Page 11783

1 finally settled down in the shelter, that a terrible

2 explosion could be heard. I again got out of the

3 shelter to see what had happened now, and later on, we

4 learned that this explosion, in fact, was the blowing

5 up of the mosque.

6 Q. Very well. Can you now tell me what your

7 father, Franjo, told you about what he experienced on

8 that day, the 16th of April, in his house? What did he

9 see? What went on in Ahmici? Can you say something

10 about that?

11 A. Of course I can because I talked to him about

12 it and I asked him how he fared on that day, what

13 happened. He said that he would never forget this as

14 long as he lived because that morning, soldiers had

15 burst inside the house. At the start of this big

16 shooting and shelling, he had taken shelter in the

17 bathroom because the bathroom had been sort of dug in.

18 That northern side of the house is completely submerged

19 and it's under the ground.

20 Then the soldiers found him in the bathroom

21 and asked him who he was. He said that he was Franjo

22 Kupreskic, but they did not believe him. In fact, he

23 even had to go around and search for his personal ID

24 and show it to them, and after that, he was left

25 alone.

Page 11784

1 Q. Did he say anything, whether the soldiers had

2 shot from the house?

3 A. Yes. He said that they had shot both from

4 the house and from around the house. I myself, later

5 on when I first came inside the house, I saw bullet

6 casings and soil and the black residue from the gun

7 powder.

8 Q. Did your father describe to you what happened

9 to his neighbours, the Pezers? On that day, did he

10 hear anything?

11 A. Yes. On that day, he saw, I believe it was,

12 Cazim Ahmic's wife. He told me that he helped Cazim to

13 provide assistance to his wife.

14 Q. In what way did he assist him?

15 A. When he saw him carrying his wife, he tried

16 to help but the soldiers wouldn't let him. So if my

17 recollection is correct, he somehow asked them to help

18 him, so they gave him permission. He gave him a

19 blanket and an axe, and Cazim then made sort of a

20 stretcher of sorts, an improvised stretcher.

21 Q. Very well. But did he tell you anything

22 about the Pezers' predicament, anything of them?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Can you tell me, after the 16th, on the

25 evening of the 16th when you were reunited with your

Page 11785

1 father, Franjo, in this shelter, how long did you stay

2 in this shelter, and where did you go from there?

3 A. I stayed in the shelter until the 17th of

4 April, until the evening, until 20.00 or 21.00 when

5 information again reached us from the -- that a kind of

6 a new attack was being expected from a neighbouring

7 Muslim village, so that I believe everybody left the

8 shelter, and so did I with my family, and we went to

9 Donja Rovna.

10 Q. How long did you stay there?

11 A. We stayed in Donja Rovna some 10 or 15 days

12 at the most, but since accommodation was very poor, I

13 then moved my family to Vitez, to Niko Kristo's house.

14 Q. How long did you stay there with your family?

15 A. In Niko Kristo's house, we stayed until --

16 well, almost until July, and it was only as late as

17 July that we went back to our house in Ahmici.

18 Q. Right. Mr. Kupreskic, let us now move on to

19 another subject. Will you please tell us if you were

20 called up, if you were mobilised, and when, if so?

21 Will you please be very accurate?

22 A. Well, as I'm not able-bodied, but, yes, the

23 military police used to come to Gornja Rovna and

24 control all the males there, and I always carried that

25 military booklet with me, and, besides, my scar is big

Page 11786

1 enough to show them that I'm not really able-bodied to

2 do any military service.

3 So then later on in Vitez, I managed to

4 somehow avoid being mobilised or that kind of

5 commitment. However, sometime in September 1993, even

6 that was of no avail any more, and the military police

7 took me into custody and directly took me to the

8 office. I believe it was called the defence office.

9 Q. Then what happened?

10 A. Then when I was brought to the defence

11 office, in a room there, I found Witness DA/5, who

12 testified here on the 20th of January, 1999, and Zoran

13 Drmic.

14 Q. Did they work there? Were they employed

15 there?

16 A. Yes. Yes, they worked there. I immediately

17 gave my military booklet to this lady, and she

18 remarked -- that is, I said that I was disabled 100 per

19 cent, and she remarked, "Why are you bringing me

20 those? I mean, who are you bringing me here?" I did

21 not know her before, that was the first time I saw her,

22 but Zoran Drmic I did know from before. And she said,

23 "I don't know what to do with you," and as I had

24 already had problems with my cars before, because I too

25 had a Yugo 45 and I also had a Mercedes 123, which is

Page 11787

1 quite a powerful car, and I had trouble before because

2 they wanted to requisition it, to confiscate it. Then

3 I remembered and I suggested to that person to be a

4 driver, seeing that I had that car. And she said,

5 "Right. Fine," and called somebody by telephone and

6 told me to report to Mr. Bertovic at the Impregnacija,

7 and that is how I went, got my car, and in that car,

8 that is, a Mercedes, white, 123, I went and reported to

9 Mr. Bertovic.

10 I had never been to that man, nor did I know

11 that man before, but I said that this person had sent

12 me, and they must have been in touch, so he assigned

13 me. He told me to report to the outpatient facility in

14 Zume and to become the medical driver at this

15 outpatient unit at Zume, and that is what I did. I

16 went there, I found that medical unit, and I reported

17 to the commander of that unit. It was Mrs. Finka

18 Vidovic.

19 Q. Go on.

20 A. So I was, therefore, mobilised with that

21 medical unit. Not far from that, and I did not know

22 that, there was the command of the so-called 3rd

23 Company, and the commander of that company called me

24 through my boss, Finka Vidovic, and said that I could

25 not drive for the medical unit alone, and then since

Page 11788

1 there was a shortage of both men and cars, I should

2 also be at the disposal of that company. Naturally, I

3 did that and I drove for them, drove the car for them.

4 Q. How long did you stay with the medical corps?

5 A. I was the driver with the medical corps until

6 about the 20th of April, 1994, and then I was

7 demobilised verbally, orally, and that was the end of

8 my duty with that medical corps.

9 Q. Did you remain in Ahmici, and what did you do

10 then?

11 A. Well, we tried straight away, and that is

12 what we did, both Ivica and I, to reanimate the

13 company. We resumed our work at the Sutre company, and

14 I was there until 1995, when I founded with -- my wife

15 and I founded our own company, called Modus.

16 Q. Right. So now let us please move on to a new

17 subject. Will you tell us, when was it that you

18 learned about the indictment, that you were indicted?

19 A. I remember that very well. One day, two

20 people I did not know came to my house. One introduced

21 himself as Sliskovic, and the other one said his name

22 was -- I think Matosevic. As my house was my office --

23 I mean, my house was also my office, and many people

24 came to me; all sorts of people came there. I didn't

25 know what it was all about. They said they came from

Page 11789

1 the information service, from SIS, and they said that

2 they had heard that I had been indicted, and those are

3 the people who were on that first indictment.

4 Q. Was it a military service of a kind?

5 A. I can't say what kind of a service they

6 were. They only used the acronym. They said, "We come

7 from SIS." But what it meant, really, I don't know.

8 Q. How do you see it now, I mean, that

9 communication, that information, that knowledge that

10 you had been charged? What did you do, if anything?

11 A. How did I see it? How did I feel? Well, at

12 the beginning -- and I'm just now describing only how I

13 felt -- at first I thought it funny, and then strange,

14 because it defies common sense. Me, to be indicted for

15 Ahmici? I, who had absolutely nothing to do with it?

16 I thought somebody was pulling my leg. It's difficult

17 to explain.

18 But then, when I learned from media, both

19 newspapers and television, really heard it with my own

20 ears, then I realised that that was indeed an

21 accusation. It was charges. But still, at that time,

22 I again thought it was a big, a major mistake, a really

23 very big error, and that it would be redressed in no

24 time at all. However, the situation grew more complex,

25 and I eventually realised that it was very serious, and

Page 11790

1 I began to do something for my defence in June 1996.

2 Q. So what did you do? Did you do something --

3 did you approach somebody, or what?

4 A. Well, yes, yes. First I communicated to

5 those people who were in that first indictment. I

6 called them. I'd never seen Marinko Katava in my

7 life. I didn't have the slightest who he was. Vlado

8 Santic, I only met him here in the detention unit, but

9 I had heard about him.

10 So I called my relatives. We met. We were

11 all taken aback and wondered what we should do. But

12 then, again, I repeat, I thought that it might bring

13 fruit and we thought it might be a good idea to write

14 letters both to international institutions and

15 individuals who worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina on

16 behalf of the international community.

17 What struck me most was that Stipo Alilovic

18 was in the same indictment, because I knew that man.

19 His wife, Dragica, worked with me, and I knew that the

20 man had left back in 1992, I mean, went abroad. I

21 moved about. As far as I knew, that man never came

22 back down there. I never saw him again there.

23 So I really thought that those letters would

24 bear some fruit. I signed them and sent them, and in

25 all those letters, we wrote the following: That it was

Page 11791

1 a very big mistake, that those indictments were very

2 sudden, that that was an oversight, that there were

3 people who had nothing do with it, that we were ready

4 to cooperate, that we were willing even to report even

5 to The Hague, that we condemned those crimes.

6 And yet we never received a single answer to

7 any one of those letters. I was quite unhappy about

8 that, and my wife and myself, of course, wrote again,

9 personally, on the 23rd of November, we wrote to this

10 Tribunal. We wrote --

11 Q. Briefly, 1997, was it?

12 A. Yes, it was 1997. There we described our

13 problems, and yet nobody replied even to that letter,

14 nor any form of co-operation.

15 Q. Could you please give us -- how do you

16 explain, why didn't you surrender as was requested, and

17 were you planning, were you intending to surrender?

18 Were you hiding?

19 A. I did not turn myself in, I did not come here

20 with these people, for several reasons -- at least,

21 that is how I explain that. First, because I am

22 remarkably innocent. I am not guilty of what I'm being

23 charged with.

24 Secondly, I'm a sick man, and I thought that

25 I will not be able to stand the detention until this is

Page 11792

1 clarified, this is cleared up.

2 The third reason I did not turn myself in is

3 because -- and there were some suggestions to that

4 effect, to surrender, to turn ourselves in to the

5 Republic of Croatia. But knowing the experience of

6 Zlatko Aleksovski and Pero Skopljak, who were detained

7 in the Republic of Croatia, as a sick man, I simply did

8 not dare do that.

9 Q. And whose idea was that?

10 A. Well, that was the idea suggested to me by

11 some people from Croatia, some people who came, and at

12 that time already they were preparing the defence. But

13 I simply did not venture -- I did not dare do that at

14 the time.

15 The fourth reason is that I always thought

16 that I would get a reply, that the whole thing would be

17 cleared up. But in view of my legal obligation towards

18 my company, and I had -- on the 31st of December every

19 year, I had to draw up the annual sheet of balance, so

20 that at that time, when those people came to me, I

21 simply could not -- I did not plan to turn myself in.

22 Q. But did you think of doing that at all?

23 A. Yes, I did, and Dr. Krajina, you know that I

24 retained you in November 1997, and that we agreed, and

25 that you were the mediator for this letter of

Page 11793

1 November 1997 which was sent through the Tribunal's

2 office in Sarajevo. You know that we agreed that I

3 should surrender in Sarajevo, to the UNPROFOR, sometime

4 in March 1998.

5 Q. During that time, did you go into hiding?

6 How did you live?

7 A. Well, those people here know that, and I have

8 countless witness -- both the Muslims, my neighbours,

9 and Croats, too -- that I never hid. Everybody was

10 surprised by that, but I'm not guilty of what I'm being

11 accused of. I have nothing to do with it. Those were

12 the only ideas and the truth which guided me.

13 UNPROFOR came regularly to my place, since I

14 have two business units with my company, both in Ahmici

15 and in Vitez, in the centre of the town. Every day

16 people from UNPROFOR came, bought things from me,

17 bought foodstuffs.

18 Q. Would they see you personally?

19 A. On that day, on the 17th of December, 1997,

20 that day, we met twice, at around 9.00 and around 5.00

21 in the afternoon that day, on the 17th of December.

22 That night, between the 17th and 18th, is when I was

23 arrested.

24 Q. So will you tell us, as briefly as possible,

25 will you please tell us, will you recount those things

Page 11794

1 about your arrest. Were you hiding, and how did that

2 happen?

3 A. Well, I thought -- I thought -- let me put it

4 that way, that if I manage somehow until March 1997,

5 until -- if anyone is interested and really wants to

6 take me into custody, that they can do it at any given

7 moment, because I was with those people day in and day

8 out. I simply thought that they would ask for my ID,

9 like any other police, and I would simply take my seat

10 in the car and come here. However, this was done in a

11 very brutal way.

12 On that 17th of December, I had some guests,

13 and we were up until midnight. Then we went to sleep,

14 and so these first hours, between 1.00 and half past

15 1.00 in the morning, we heard some detonations. The

16 house was full of smoke. Chaos. You know, this is

17 first sleep, a heavy sleep, and I thought I was

18 dreaming that it was war again.

19 But then my wife got up first, and she said,

20 "Hey, Vlatko, we've got thieves in the house." And

21 for the first time in my life I had obtained a rifle,

22 because of these thieves, because of burglars, because

23 of robberies in January 1995, and at the request of my

24 wife. She passed the rifle on to me, because I thought

25 that those were burglars. I wanted to fire, but I

Page 11795

1 didn't know how, and that scared me even more, because

2 I didn't know how to fire a bullet from that.

3 Somehow I did fire a bullet or two, and at

4 that moment, through that big balcony door, those men

5 appeared. When I saw those people, when I realised

6 that they were not burglars but that they were people

7 who were super-equipped, I just dropped my rifle in

8 front of them and sat down. I kneeled, raised my arms,

9 and those men really came to me and immediately

10 extended first aid to me on my couch. They behaved

11 very correctly until they turned me over here in The

12 Hague.

13 Q. What kind of aid? What are you saying? Were

14 you hurt or what?

15 A. I can never forget that. I can't really

16 remember -- I believe I fainted at the time, but I came

17 to on the couch, and then I saw that I had been

18 wounded.

19 Q. Where were you wounded?

20 A. I was wounded in the armpit, in my arm.

21 Q. You also explained where you got that rifle

22 from; right?

23 A. Yes, that's right.

24 Q. I would now like to ask you, Mr. Kupreskic,

25 to comment on some evidence and the counts in the

Page 11796

1 indictment that pertain to you. We shall start briefly

2 with the indictment. Are you aware of all the things

3 that you have been indicted for?

4 A. Yes, I am aware of all the things that I have

5 been indicted for.

6 Q. You said that -- when you first appeared

7 before this Court, you said that you did not plead

8 guilty with regard to any one of the counts, so I would

9 like to ask you for more extensive comments on this,

10 first of all, from the content of the indictment. That

11 is to say, in point 9, it says that you aided and

12 abetted the attacks on the civilians of Ahmici and

13 Santici, that you participated in military training,

14 and that you were arming yourselves. Is that correct?

15 A. I was never a soldier. I never had weapons

16 until after the war. I never participated in any

17 military formations or in political events. I did not

18 help or instigate.

19 Q. Is it true that you evacuated Bosnian Croats

20 the night before the attack on the 16th? Is that

21 correct?

22 A. That is absolutely incorrect, because the

23 night between the 15th and 16th of April, I was asleep,

24 and I did not wake up at all and that goes for my

25 entire family. It is not correct, because I did not

Page 11797

1 move my family away, my own father, and that is telling

2 proof in itself.

3 Q. The indictment also says that you organised

4 the HVO soldiers' ammunition and weapons in and around

5 the village of Ahmici/Santici; is that correct?

6 A. That is absolutely incorrect. I have nothing

7 to do with the army. I never had any weapons. I never

8 had any ammunition. I did not participate in this. I

9 never attended a military or political gathering. That

10 is not correct.

11 Q. Furthermore, that you prepared your home and

12 the homes of your relatives as staging areas and firing

13 locations for the attack on the 16th of April, 1993; is

14 that correct?

15 A. That is absolutely wrong. You could hear

16 also that I was the last one to be woken up and

17 informed on the morning of the 16th of April, 1993. So

18 this is absolutely wrong, that I was even preparing the

19 house of my other Croat neighbours and my own house.

20 Not at all.

21 Q. So how come the military was in your house?

22 A. The military, according to the statement of

23 my father, and I also on that day, the 16th of April,

24 1993, I could see for myself that the military had

25 entered the house violently. They barged through the

Page 11798

1 door. They smashed it open. They took hold of my

2 house, and they used it as a strategic point.

3 Q. All right. So what do you think, why is it

4 precisely your house that was occupied in that way, and

5 why were military operations conducted from it?

6 A. Well, you've seen it, and we've seen a lot of

7 it here, so I don't have to point it out once again.

8 My house is the last Croat house in that part of

9 Ahmici, the last Croat house. It is the last house,

10 and also it is at the highest point, and it stands out

11 from the other houses. From the house, the soldiers

12 probably had a good vantage point in terms of viewing

13 this entire part of Ahmici. So it was probably

14 strategically a very good point for them, and they took

15 advantage of it.

16 Q. Furthermore, in this count of the indictment,

17 it is stated that you concealed from the other

18 residents that an attack was imminent on the 16th of

19 April, 1993; is that correct?

20 A. I repeat once again, this is not correct.

21 First of all, I did not evacuate my father, because I

22 was not aware of any conflict or any problems.

23 Secondly, I was the last one to be informed

24 by Ivica Kupreskic, and five hours later, at that.

25 Q. Please, in points 12, 13, and 14 of the

Page 11799

1 indictment, it is mentioned that you, together with

2 Zoran Kupreskic, and we discussed this a bit earlier

3 on, that you, before the war, had a joint company with

4 him and that you were an HVO soldier in Ahmici. What

5 do you say to that?

6 A. I already said what I have to say. This just

7 shows how this indictment was written, in such haste.

8 I don't know with which objectives in mind, but it is

9 not correct. I never had a company with Zoran and I

10 was never an HVO soldier.

11 Q. Very well. In the part of the indictment,

12 number 1, that is to say, persecution, count 1, in 21,

13 it says, please follow this carefully, that in the

14 period from October 1992 until April 1993, you took

15 part in the persecution of the Bosnian Muslim

16 inhabitants of Santici, Ahmici, and its environs on

17 political, racial, and religious grounds, and that you

18 took part in the deliberate and systematic killing of

19 Bosnian Muslim civilians, in the comprehensive

20 destruction of their homes and property, and the

21 organised detention and expulsion of Bosnian Muslims

22 from Ahmici, Santici, and its environs. So could you

23 please say whether that is correct, and what do you

24 have to say to that?

25 A. I never participated in or persecuted my

Page 11800

1 Bosnian Muslim neighbours on religious or other

2 grounds. I never killed anyone. I never harmed

3 anyone. I never put anyone's house on fire. I never

4 hurt anyone. I did not take anyone's property or I,

5 through my own actions and behaviour, not at a single

6 point in time could I have indicated such a thing. So

7 I did not take part in such things that are recounted

8 in that part of the indictment.

9 Q. Thank you. In points 12 through 15 of the

10 indictment, we are talking about the Pezer family, it

11 is being mentioned once again, and I would like you to

12 listen to this very carefully. In point 28, it says

13 that before the attack on the 16th of April, 1993, HVO

14 soldiers, armed with automatic rifles, congregated at

15 your house in Ahmici, and when the attack commenced,

16 several HVO units used your residence as a staging

17 area. Other soldiers shot at Bosnian Muslim civilians

18 from your house throughout the attack. Please,

19 briefly, what do you say to this?

20 A. That is not correct. At the time that is

21 mentioned there, notably, the 16th of April, 1993, I

22 was in the shelter of Jozo Vrebac, almost two

23 kilometres away from the place where these events were

24 unfolding. I was not in front of the house or in the

25 house, and I could not, in any way, participate with

Page 11801

1 the soldiers in the killing and wounding of the Pezer

2 family.

3 Q. If you listen to me carefully, the question

4 was related to whether soldiers, before the attack that

5 is described here in the indictment, did they

6 congregate in your house? Were there several units

7 there, several HVO units, and did they use your house,

8 et cetera? You already mentioned this, but please --

9 A. No. On the 15th of April, there were no

10 soldiers near my house, let alone in the house. That

11 is not correct, and on the day of the 16th of April, I

12 was almost two kilometres away from these events.

13 Q. What about the 16th of April?

14 A. Yes. On the 16th, that is the only thing

15 that is correct there, on the 16th of April, the

16 soldiers were there throughout the day.

17 Q. And were they shooting?

18 A. They were shooting in the house and around

19 the house.

20 Q. Paragraph 30, subparagraph 30, rather, under

21 the same count in the indictment, it says that you, on

22 the 16th of April, 1993, together with HVO soldiers, in

23 front of your house in Ahmici, took part in the

24 wounding of Dzenana Pezer and another woman and in the

25 killing of Fata Pezer. Is that correct, and what do

Page 11802

1 you say to these charges in the indictment?

2 A. This absolutely is not correct. On that day,

3 at that time, I was not there at all. The first time I

4 came home was around 13.00 on the 16th of April, 1993.

5 I did not shoot, I was not there, I did not kill

6 anyone, and I did not wound anyone. Doesn't this speak

7 for itself, the thing that you said, that I am being

8 accused of the wounding of a woman? The Prosecutor

9 never said who this woman was. Not a single witness

10 here, out of the 14 members of the family who were

11 moving around, said that they had seen such a woman

12 wounded, and this just shows how loose the indictment

13 is.

14 Q. What do you think then? Who could have been

15 this woman that the indictment mentions, the woman

16 being wounded, and nobody knows who this is? What do

17 you think? Who is this? Who else was wounded then in

18 this situation? You remember, we heard about it here.

19 A. Only if such a degree of confusion was

20 created, then only it could look like this witness, the

21 Muslim witness who was wounded on that day, who

22 testified before this Court on the 31st of May, 1995

23 under the pseudonym CF. Well, you saw that this

24 witness is a Muslim, a victim, and he came here to

25 testify as a Defence witness for me. He is probably

Page 11803

1 that woman.

2 Q. Very well. Thank you. Mr. Kupreskic, now I

3 would like to ask you to look at some of the evidence

4 that has been presented during the trial before this

5 Court and also to look at some of the witness

6 statements. Let us look at Prosecutor's Exhibit P329.

7 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, could the

8 registrar please have Prosecutor's Exhibit P329 shown

9 to the witness?

10 Q. Have you had a look at this, Mr. Kupreskic?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So this is a certificate, isn't it,

13 concerning your alleged participation in the war.

14 Could you please comment on this a bit? Where does

15 this certificate come from and is the information given

16 in it correct?

17 A. The information given in this certificate is

18 absolutely incorrect. First of all, the time is not

19 correct because I was mobilised only on the 15th of

20 September, 1993. Secondly, the duty that is mentioned

21 here that I performed, it is not correct. I was a

22 driver for the medical corps.

23 Q. Can you explain how did this certificate come

24 about? This was presented by the Prosecutor, if you

25 remember.

Page 11804

1 A. Yes. I never saw this certificate until the

2 Prosecutor presented it, and it is of a dubious nature,

3 to me. I never signed such a document that I was

4 taking this over. I first saw this document here.

5 MR. KRAJINA: Very well. Please now let us

6 have a look at another document, and then we can

7 probably adjourn for the day, that is, Prosecutor's

8 Exhibit P335.

9 Q. Have you had a look at this document,

10 Mr. Kupreskic?

11 A. Yes. Yes, I've seen it. I've seen it here

12 so many times.

13 Q. If you look at number 107, you can see your

14 name. Could you please comment on that?

15 A. I can comment on this document in the

16 following way: This is a plain list of male persons.

17 It was probably made on this day, the 16th of April,

18 because we heard here that there are some persons on

19 this list who are not military-able men. There are

20 some persons who are not even in the territory of the

21 municipality of Vitez. So I consider this document to

22 be a plain list of male persons who were supposed to be

23 engaged as of the 16th of April until the 27th of

24 April, probably at the front line, or that they should

25 be mobilised.

Page 11805

1 There is another fact that speaks in favour

2 of this even more, and that is that I did not appear in

3 any other document, the following documents that the

4 Prosecutor presented here.

5 Q. So are you denying what this list says, that

6 is to say, that on the 16th of April, 1993, you were

7 mobilised?

8 A. This is absolutely incorrect. I was not

9 mobilised on that day. I was mobilised only

10 approximately on the 15th of September, 1993.

11 Q. So this is not correct.

12 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, since I will

13 have another sequence of questions that will follow,

14 and our time is almost up for the day, I suggest that

15 we adjourn for the day. I believe that tomorrow, by

16 the time the break comes, we will have concluded our

17 questioning.

18 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Before we

19 adjourn, however, let me ask the Prosecutor whether the

20 Prosecution is ready to hand in their list of rebuttal

21 witnesses for September, October, whether you have a

22 rough idea. Also, I would like to turn to Counsel

23 Puliselic, Pavkovic, and Susak and ask them to confirm

24 whether or not they have decided about their clients.

25 Is it now for sure that the three accused will not give

Page 11806

1 evidence in court? Again, this is for the purpose of

2 doing some planning for the September hearings.

3 MR. TERRIER: This afternoon, Mr. President,

4 we shall submit a document, and it will show what we

5 are planning for this stage. Yes, we do have a rather

6 precise idea.

7 JUDGE CASSESE: I just wanted to ask Counsel

8 Puliselic, Pavkovic, and Susak whether it is now for

9 sure that their three clients will not give evidence in

10 court, will not be called by them, just a

11 confirmation. Counsel Puliselic?

12 MR. PULISELIC: Mr. President, not at a

13 single point in time did I say that Papic would not

14 testify. I said that I did not know about this. I

15 think that he will testify.

16 JUDGE CASSESE: So this will be in September

17 then.


19 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Pavkovic?

20 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, I have already

21 stated my position concerning this matter, so I think I

22 can only reiterate it now, that my client decided not

23 to avail himself of his right to testify.

24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.

25 MR. PAVKOVIC: Thank you.

Page 11807

1 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Susak?

2 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, I also believe

3 that Drago Josipovic, for the time being, has not

4 decided to testify in this particular trial, that he

5 would not testify, that is.

6 JUDGE CASSESE: So it's not a question mark;

7 it's a no. So he will not?

8 MR. SUSAK: No. No. No.

9 JUDGE CASSESE: So the only one who will then

10 testify is Dragan Papic, and this will happen in

11 September when we resume.

12 All right. We will adjourn now until

13 tomorrow at 9.00.

14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

15 1.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,

16 the 23rd day of July, 1999, at 9.00 a.m.