1 Friday, 23rd July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Case IT-95-16-T, the
6 Prosecutor versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
7 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic, and
8 Vladimir Santic.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning.
10 We thought, Counsel Radovic, if you don't
11 mind, to put off a discussion of this matter of
12 provisional release until the end of the coffee break,
13 so as not to interrupt the flow of cross-examination by
14 Counsel Krajina, which -- I think probably it's
15 better. Counsel Krajina intends to finish by 10.30.
16 Then we will have a coffee break, and then after that
17 we will move to this particular item.
18 Counsel Krajina?
19 MR. KRAJINA: Good morning. Thank you.
20 (Witness takes the stand)
21 WITNESS: VLATKO KUPRESKIC (Resumed)
22 Examined by Mr. Krajina:
23 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kupreskic.
24 A. Good morning. Good morning, Mr. President,
25 Your Honours. Good morning to everybody.
1 Q. Can we continue?
2 A. Yes, we can.
3 Q. I should like us now to go back to the
4 testimony of some witnesses before this Court.
5 Witness B, who testified on the 24th of August, 1998,
6 said about you, Mr. Kupreskic, that on the 15th of
7 April 1993, he saw you in front of the Hotel Vitez,
8 where the HVO headquarters were at the time. Do you
9 remember this testimony?
10 A. Yes, I remember the testimony very well.
11 Q. Right. So will you please tell us if you
12 think that this witness told the truth, and if not, why
14 A. What Witness B said is absolutely not true.
15 To begin with, because at that time, on the 15th of
16 April 1993, I was not less than 100 kilometres away
17 from that particular place. Secondly, the manner in
18 which Witness B described it, that he saw me from his
19 car as he was driving -- that is, through glass, at a
20 certain speed, from a distance not less than 30 metres,
21 with all sorts of obstacles between us, I think all
22 brings the statement into question. However, I never
23 came to that hotel, I never came to that HVO
24 headquarters. I had no need to go there, and I never,
25 ever, went into the part of the hotel where the
1 headquarters was.
2 Secondly, I remember well Witness B and an
3 officer, I think a reconnaissance officer. And if that
4 is all he told this Court about me, then I can be quite
5 happy with what he stated.
6 Q. Will you please tell us, did you know
7 Witness B well? Did you use to socialise at some time?
8 A. (redacted), but we have not
9 met for the past 15 or 20 years.
10 Q. Why is that?
11 A. Because he went very early to schooling in
12 Belgrade, and there he completed his schooling, and
13 after that he went to work in Zagreb.
14 Q. What school did he go to? What was he?
15 A. He graduated from the military academy, and
16 he worked for the Yugoslav People's Army as an officer,
17 and he came home very seldom, that is, once every
18 couple of years. So I can really say with certainty
19 that we have not met for at least 15 years,
20 particularly during that period of time when people's
21 physical appearance changes, both his and mine. All
22 this shows that he could not see me there, and I was
23 not there at the time, besides.
24 Q. Right. Thank you. Enough about that.
25 A witness with the pseudonym "G" testified on
1 the 1st of September 1998 and said that he had seen you
2 several days after the 16th of April 1993, going around
3 some deserted houses in Ahmici, and the witness
4 described it as if you were there in order to steal
5 something, or something like that. Do you remember
6 that testimony?
7 A. I remember that testimony of Witness G. It
8 is a boy who was only 13 years old at the time. At
9 that time, I was not there, because one could simply
10 come near the village. At the time, I was in Donja
11 Rovna. But if we recall the testimony of that witness,
12 that witness was for some seven or eight days in a very
13 serious predicament, without food, without water, in
14 that house, and he was often unconscious during that
15 time. If you also remember that through the window of
16 that particular house, that this is 300 metres, that he
17 saw my back, that he saw me from the back, these
18 circumstances indicate that this is not possible.
19 Moreover, if I may add about Witness G, that
20 boy came to my house -- I believe it was 1996 or 1997;
21 I can find out exactly when -- and I never knew about
22 his suffering, and he came to ask me to buy his land.
23 I refused it, and I only gave some presents for him and
24 his sister. That was the end of our conversation.
25 However, some time later, Witness G came
1 again, found me and asked for a couple of thousand
2 marks from me. He said he needed money to go to
3 another country. I did not do that, and probably, and
4 as you heard here, because of that -- and he also said
5 that he wanted political asylum. So his false
6 testimony must have been due to those reasons.
7 Q. Thank you. A witness, and she appeared here
8 as Witness H, testified here on September 1998, and she
9 said that on the 16th of April 1993, around 6.00 in the
10 morning, she saw you pass through her yard in which her
11 father was killed that day. What can you tell us about
13 Q. To begin with, let me tell you that at 6.00
14 on that day I was not there. I was in Jozo Vrebac's
15 shelter, that is, I was about 2 kilometres away from
16 that place. But I do remember the testimony of that
17 girl well, of Witness H. I watched her with great
18 attention, and I can say, really, that she testified
19 out of fury, that is, out of revenge because she had
20 lost her father, and the only father is the real
21 father, and she lost him. I really wonder, how is it
22 that Witness H did not also place me within the context
23 of those events in the house together with my cousins.
24 Presumably she knew that she had never seen me either
25 with a weapon or in a uniform, and she wanted to show
1 that I had run by at the time, at that moment.
2 To a degree, I can understand, and I can
3 perhaps -- it is very difficult to face such a
4 situation. Perhaps my daughter would have testified in
5 a similar way had it happened to her, had she lost her
6 father, and they are about the same age.
7 Q. This girl, this witness, also said that she
8 talked to you after the war, that in a conversation,
9 you questioned her right to come to Ahmici. Do you
10 remember that part of testimony, and is that true?
11 A. No, that is not true. The circumstances are
12 somewhat peculiar. At that particular time, when she
13 came for a couple of minutes, I would happen to be
14 there and accept the conversation with that witness,
15 with a child. The way she described that meeting, she
16 was in a car with three more persons sitting in the
17 back, she had broken her leg, and with the sound of the
18 engine, she talked to me, who was 30 metres away from
19 her, that she communicated in that manner, that is very
20 illogical. Besides, to discuss such matters with a
21 girl, with a little girl, I really see no reason for
23 Q. All right. Thank you. Witness [redacted]
24 testified on the 4th of September, 1998 and, in his
25 testimony, said that on the 16th of April, 1993 in the
1 morning, he saw you in a blue coat, that you passed
2 through the yard in front of the house of his slain
3 son. What can you tell us about that? You also will
4 remember that he said he watched it from the window of
5 his house.
6 A. Yes, I do remember [redacted]
7 [redacted]. That is not true. At that time, I was in
8 the shelter and he could not see me. Besides, I don't
9 know about a blue coat because I never had a blue
11 But if I may, Mr. President, Your Honours, I
12 should like to use a small sketch in order to explain
13 the statements of that witness where he shows two
14 different places in which he saw me that morning and
15 the discrepancies between his testimony and his
17 [redacted]. It will be very brief,
18 just to make things quite clear. Thank you very much.
19 I shall begin by explaining the sketch and
20 the captions so that we can all follow this. So these
21 red marks are me at places where [redacted] saw me.
22 This here is the south side, so this is the main road
23 to Gornji Ahmici. This is the warehouse. Next to my
24 warehouse, this is my house. This is Sukrija Ahmic's
25 house and his son, this is his stable, and this is
1 Sakib Ahmic's house. This window marked "Z" is that
2 west window which means that this is west and, of
3 course, opposite to it is east, north, south.
4 I shall only read the [redacted]
6 [redacted]. "When the
7 attackers left --" it shall be very short really, "I
8 went back to the bedroom," so that is this marked with
9 Z, facing southwest. It's here, like this. "I saw
10 four or five HVO men in the yard of this -- in Vlatko
11 Kupreskic's house." It is here. "The HVO men were
12 about 50 metres away," so this is here, 50
13 metres, "from the window at which I was standing. The
14 day was just breaking. It was a nice and clear day.
15 At about the same time when I saw those HVO men, I also
16 saw Vlatko to the right of me," which confirms that he,
17 indeed, saw me in this part. "He was wearing civilian
18 clothes and was moving towards his house. When he
19 reached his house, he went on, and he passed by HVO
20 men, turned around their house to the right, and I
21 could not see him again."
22 I shall merely remind you of the [redacted]
24 [redacted] says that he saw me here, that is,
25 between his son's house and my own house. That is at a
1 completely different place, not to the southwest but to
2 the southeast, and only in order to make the testimony
3 of Witness H more veracious. But I was passing
4 through, and here I ran through.
5 Thank you very much. That's as far as [redacted]
6 [redacted] statement is concerned.
7 Q. Thank you. The witness with the pseudonym
8 "L," who testified on the 17th of September, 1998,
9 said that on the 15th of April, 1993, you were with a
10 group of soldiers in front of your shop in Ahmici and
11 that the soldiers were in your warehouse and on your
12 balcony, on the balcony of your house, that is, on the
13 15th of April. Will you please comment on this? Is
14 that true or not?
15 A. That is not true. On the 15th of April,
16 1993, at that time indicated by Witness L, I was, for
17 all intents and purposes, in a different state. I was
18 not there. We can all recall Witness L, and, of
19 course, that is my next-door neighbour. All I can say
20 is that he is mentally unaccountable, that he's prone
21 to drinking, and I also know that his nervous system
22 was damaged because he went to bathe in the Lasva River
23 sweaty and all hot, and ever since that time, he does
24 not have -- he lost self-control.
25 I can remind you also of his testimony here.
1 He says: "Around 4.00 in the afternoon, I had a beer
2 in Vlatko's house. Ivica and Vlatko were sitting at a
3 table in front of the house, and Mirko Vidovic was
4 sitting there with them. And as I was sitting there, I
5 saw soldiers in Vlatko's house." But, you see, to
6 begin with, all three of us were in another state.
7 Mirko Vidovic was in Germany; Ivica and I were in
8 Croatia. But now look, from this testimony, he says
9 that on the 15th of April, he saw us in front of my
10 house at a table, whereas Witness L says that those
11 soldiers were sitting in the house. Now, can you
12 imagine the circus? They were sitting in the house and
13 the three of us were sitting at a table drinking beer.
14 Then in his testimony here before the Court,
15 which Witness L gave on the 17th of September, 1998, he
16 moves me and all three of us to a completely different
17 place. He places us now in front of my shop where the
18 three of us were sitting and drinking beer but without
19 him. Two completely different statements. But that
20 witness, as I have said, is mentally sick.
21 Q. Thank you. Let us proceed. Witnesses M and
22 O mention in their testimonies before the Court that in
23 the night between the 15th and the 16th of April, 1993,
24 they saw lights in your house and that looked strange
25 to them. Will you please comment on that?
1 A. As for the testimony of those two witnesses,
2 they are saying the truth because the lights were on
3 all the time at my balconies. Invariably on the first
4 floor, that was the case before the war, during the
5 war, and practically until the present day. In front
6 of my house and in the parking space, I keep my
7 vehicles parked. In order to have proper safety, the
8 lights were on all the time. On this first balcony
9 outside, both light bulbs were turned on all the time.
10 Q. Thank you. Witness T testified on the 24th
11 of September, 1998 and she said that she saw you
12 carrying some weapons from your car into your house in
13 the autumn of 1992. Is that correct, what this witness
14 said, and what do you say to that?
15 A. I never carried any weapons. I said that I
16 obtained a rifle only after the war, that is to say, in
17 January 1995. That is certainly incorrect. Of course,
18 many times, I unloaded merchandise I had because I had
19 merchandise in the house, and I would carry it from the
20 car to the house; however, these were smaller parcels
21 and these were expensive goods. All the other goods
22 were unloaded by my workers.
23 Q. Very well. Finally, I'm just going to refer
24 you to another witness's statement. Witness Q, in his
25 testimony of the 23rd of September, 1998, says that he
1 recognised you as you stood in a group of soldiers that
2 was shooting in front of your house and killed his wife
3 on the 16th of April, 1993 in Ahmici. Please, what can
4 you say about the truthfulness of this statement?
5 A. That is incorrect. First of all, do you
6 remember this statement?
7 Q. Yes, of course, I remember this statement.
8 A. That is not correct. At that time, I was not
9 there at all. I said where I was. The first time I
10 managed to get to my house was at 13.00, and that is
11 when I found the soldiers, but in my house. After
12 that, I managed to come back to the house only around
13 6.00. So this is absolutely incorrect. I was not
14 there at the time and I was not with the soldiers at
15 the time.
16 Q. Do you have an explanation? Do you have an
17 opinion concerning this? Why would this witness
18 incriminate you in such a way?
19 A. Well, of course, I wondered an innumerable
20 number of times why this is so, why this man is
21 incriminating me and how he could have done this to
22 me. I have an explanation which may be logical,
23 namely, the following: That morning, a war had broken
24 out, and there was shooting all over. People were
25 shooting at his house and soldiers had done that. And,
1 of course, he could not recognise anyone. He lost his
2 wife. His daughter was wounded. He wanted to blame
3 someone. Who could he have blamed but me, his
4 next-door neighbour?
5 Q. And why you?
6 A. Probably because he thought that the shooting
7 was coming from my house and from in front of my house,
8 and then he probably said, "It is the Croat's fault, as
9 far as I'm concerned. It is Vlatko's fault, as far as
10 I'm concerned. Let him go to court. Let him try to
11 justify himself there. If he is not guilty, let him
12 say who is guilty." You could have noticed here that
13 quite a few witnesses asked me to say who did it.
14 But allow me to draw a different comparison.
15 Let me be realistic. Had, heaven forbid, my wife been
16 killed on that morning and had shooting come from
17 Witness Q's house or from around his house, it is hard
18 to say, but I believe that I would incriminate him too,
19 I would accuse him too.
20 Q. Very well. Thank you. I have no other
21 witness statements that I would like to show you. But,
22 Mr. Kupreskic, in your testimony so far, we have
23 referred to the indictment and the evidence on which
24 the indictment against you is based. During your
25 witness statement, you denied all these counts in the
1 indictment and all this evidence. You are claiming
2 that all of this is untrue; is that right?
3 A. Absolutely nothing, none of that is true.
4 Q. Please, do you have an explanation then how
5 come and why were you indicted? Why were you indicted,
6 although you did not take part in any of this? Can you
7 say something about that?
8 A. Through my testimony, I have responded to
9 this question to a large extent, but perhaps I should
10 round this off now. I believe that the only reason is
11 my house, it is my house that is to be blamed, my house
12 that was in that particular spot. The soldiers who
13 violently entered it, who broke down the door and who
14 were shooting from that house and from in front of that
15 house, and where, indeed, my innocent neighbours were
16 killed and wounded, they could not recognise anyone,
17 when I did not recognise these men when I was
18 practically facing them. So naturally, they accused
19 me, as their next-door neighbour. The exclusive
20 reason, therefore, is my house.
21 I could not in any way influence these
22 soldiers or prevent them from doing something. You
23 heard Colonel Watters, who was a witness for the
24 Prosecution. He is a military man, and he says that he
25 could not oppose this military and the objective that
1 they wanted to achieve, so how could I do that?
2 So the thing that is to be blamed is my house
3 only, and the fact that I'm their next-door neighbour.
4 Q. Very well. Now I would like to ask you the
5 following: Today, when you view all these tragic
6 events from the vantage point of the present day, do
7 you see any mistake that you made at the time,
8 Mr. Kupreskic? Would you have perhaps acted
9 differently today than you did in those moments?
10 A. I think that I really did not do anything
11 wrong. I've been thinking about this until the present
12 day. What could I have done that would have been
13 better and smarter than what I did during those days
14 and before the war and on that day itself?
15 Q. Very well. And, finally, could you please
16 tell us whether you feel responsible and guilty in any
17 sense, criminal or moral, with regard to your behaviour
18 during this incriminated (sic) time?
19 A. I absolutely do not feel guilty. Not
20 morally, and least of all, criminally. I did not kill
21 anyone. I did not do any evil to anyone. I did not
22 torch anyone's house. I did not harm anyone. Until
23 that 16th of April, 1993, not through a single thing I
24 did in the village, because I did not carry weapons,
25 ever, or did I wear a uniform, or did I attend a single
1 meeting. I never hoisted a flag on my shop. Not
2 through a single gesture did I contribute to any
3 provocations against my Muslim neighbours or these
4 events, these war events of the 16th of April, 1993.
5 What could I have done? Had I known what
6 would have happened, the only thing that I could have
7 done that would have been smart was to have left, to
8 have gone to another state, escaped. It is only in
9 that way that perhaps I would not find myself here
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic. I have no
12 further questions for you.
13 MR. KRAJINA: Thank you, Mr. President. I
14 have concluded my questioning. I tried to use as
15 little time as possible. Thank you.
16 (Trial Chamber confers)
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you so much, Counsel
18 Krajina, for being, as usual, concise and to the
20 We may now, probably before we move on to
21 cross-examination, probably we could discuss the matter
22 of provisional release, if Counsel Radovic is
24 Counsel Radovic? Yes.
25 (Trial Chamber confers)
1 JUDGE CASSESE: My colleagues rightly suggest
2 to me that probably the witness should go back to his
3 seat over there.
4 When we resume, then, you will again take the
5 witness stand.
6 (The witness withdrew)
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, please, Counsel
9 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
10 On behalf of Zoran Kupreskic, and on behalf
11 of my colleague Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, on behalf of
12 Mirjan Kupreskic, I am submitting a motion to apply
13 Rule 65 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, which
14 speaks of the possibility of provisional release of
15 accused persons.
16 According to this Rule, the Trial Chamber can
17 order provisional release only under exceptional
18 circumstances. What are exceptional circumstances?
19 That is not regulated by legal regulations. It is up
20 to the Trial Chamber itself to judge whether the
21 circumstances that are mentioned by the accused in
22 favour of his provisional release belong to the
23 category of exceptional circumstances.
24 Yesterday, in my introductory remarks, I
25 mentioned a motive for submitting this motion, so one
1 of the motives was the visit of the Prosecutor of this
2 Tribunal to the Republic of Croatia and her talk with
3 the Croatian Minister of Justice. A subject was
4 raised, inter alia, in that talk that certain accused
5 could be provisionally released -- at least, this is
6 according to what the press reports in the Croatian
7 press said -- that the Prosecutor did not reject that
8 proposal, but it had to be presented, such proposals
9 had to be presented to the Court on a case-by-case
10 basis, and then the circumstances would be looked
12 The Defence of Mirjan Kupreskic and of Zoran
13 Kupreskic believe that there are exceptional
14 circumstances in this respect, and that they are
15 twofold. It is not only the fact that the summer is
16 beginning, and it is hot in our part of the world and
17 it is windy here, and that the trial has been going on
18 for a long time, but also the entire situation has to
19 be viewed, that is to say, the situation in which some
20 of the accused find themselves, and especially their
21 family circumstances have to be taken into
23 With regard to the two Kupreskics -- that is
24 to say, Zoran and Mirjan -- a major problem is their
25 mother, Luca, who was born in 1937, who lives on her
1 own in the house that belonged to their late father,
2 and who is very ill. She has trouble with her
3 pituitary gland, and on two occasions she underwent
4 surgery. She takes medication for her pituitary gland
5 and for blood pressure every day, and she is supposed
6 to go for medical treatment, but she hasn't been for
7 medical treatment for a year because the appropriate
8 medical equipment does not exist in Vitez, but this
9 equipment only exists in Mostar. Since she has only
10 minimal revenues, she is not in a position to leave
11 Vitez and go anywhere. She is fortunate to make do
12 with the little money she receives.
13 It is a generally known fact that
14 psychological stress affects a person's blood pressure
15 and pituitary gland, and she is in constant stress on
16 the basis of the fact that Mirjan pointed out
17 yesterday, and that is to say that she is probably the
18 only mother in the world that has two sons who are
19 indicted for war crimes. Therefore, both sons are very
20 afraid for her life, and they think that her medical
21 condition would considerably improve if they were to go
22 home, at least on a temporary basis, until a final
23 ruling is made.
24 As regards Zoran Kupreskic, his wife, Mira
25 Kupreskic, was born in 1963. One month after the
1 accused voluntarily surrendered to The Hague, she also
2 had trouble with her pituitary gland, and two or three
3 months later, she had ovarian tumours detected, but
4 surgery could not be carried out immediately because
5 first the pituitary gland had to be treated. So
6 surgery was carried out only in October 1998 in Zagreb,
7 and that is when she had a hysterectomy performed and
8 her ovaries were removed too. She has to go for
9 medical checkups every month, and, as of late, it has
10 been once every two months, and at that time her three
11 children remain alone at home without appropriate
12 parental guidance.
13 Zoran Kupreskic has problems with his
14 children too. He has three children: Mladen, born
15 in '85; Anto, born in '92; and Davor, born in '89. For
16 a month, these children, Mladen and Anto, have
17 bronchitis, which has been going on for the past three
18 years. Their medication has to be paid for every
19 month, and it is recommended that at least once a year,
20 they change the climate they live in for a month, that
21 is to say, that they should go to the seaside. His
22 wife cannot do that, not only for financial reasons,
23 but also because this is medically not recommended to
24 her, that is to say, the wife is prohibited from doing
25 the kind of things that are recommended for the
1 children's treatment.
2 Their son Mladen, who was very close to his
3 father, is now entering adolescence, and his mother
4 cannot exercise sufficient control over him in order to
5 stop the various trouble that he has been making as an
6 adolescent. During the war and after the war, Vitez is
7 not a town where people are no longer inclined -- it is
8 not a town where there is not exactly a vice problem,
9 so she is afraid that her son will get in touch with
10 drugs. The father therefore believes that it is
11 essential that he should be there and prevent the
12 possibility of a drug problem.
13 As for Mirjan Kupreskic -- the same goes for
14 Zoran Kupreskic, as well -- his wife is unemployed, and
15 he has two children. The son, Marko, who was born in
16 1991, has certain psychological problems, and he goes
17 to see a psychologist every day. His problems are such
18 that he is the only child in the area of Vitez who did
19 not manage to finish the first grade of elementary
20 school, and now he will have to attend a special
21 school. Also, it is quite uncertain how, under the
22 present circumstances, given his father's absence, he
23 will manage to succeed in doing this.
24 The daughter, Marija, who was born in 1998,
25 after the father came here, has psychological
1 problems. She has a stammer, that is to say, she has
2 speech problems, and she would have to undergo therapy
3 in that respect. In the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 and the Republic of Croatia, the only efficient
5 treatment for this -- that is to a say, to deal with
6 these speech problems and the stammer itself -- this
7 can be resolved only at an institution which is called
8 Suvag, which is within the University of Zagreb, the
9 faculty of philosophy.
10 Both of his children are traumatised by war,
11 and now, after the war, they have taken this very hard,
12 that is to say, their father's absence. Both children
13 also have eye problems, and they wear glasses.
14 These are the general conditions. As for the
15 conditions here, with all the good will of the Trial
16 Chamber to speed up the proceedings, objectively
17 speaking, the proceedings have been going on for quite
18 some time. The accused came here voluntarily. That is
19 not to say that anyone arrested them; it is through
20 their own free will that they came here.
21 During their stay in prison, or that is to
22 say in prison circumstances, they have behaved in an
23 exemplary fashion. This can be checked with the
24 detention unit authorities. We think that the first,
25 the second, and the third matters could be categorised
1 as exceptional circumstances for provisional release.
2 In addition to this, we would like to say
3 that the accused, before coming to The Hague
4 voluntarily, tried to establish contact with the Office
5 of the Prosecutor here in The Hague, and they wrote
6 various letters, including a letter to the president of
7 this Tribunal. At the time when these letters were
8 written, the president of this Court was the president
9 of the current Trial Chamber.
10 If you allow them to go back home to the
11 territory of Vitez, they are prepared to observe all
12 the terms and conditions that you would impose upon
13 them and that are envisaged by point (C) of Rule 65.
14 May we also remark that SFOR and the federal police are
15 in Vitez, so there would be no problem whatsoever, even
16 if they were supposed to report to the police station
17 every day, or to SFOR, or whatever you may decide.
18 As for the danger for victims or witnesses,
19 before the accused came to The Hague, they had spent a
20 considerable amount of time at home after the war, and
21 until they came to The Hague, they absolutely did not
22 jeopardise anyone, and throughout the proceedings, not
23 a single piece of evidence was presented that would
24 indicate any kind of dangerous behaviour on their part
25 after the war, and especially there would not be any
1 such evidence after they had found out that an
2 indictment was issued against them.
3 Your Honours, we are in your hands, and we
4 kindly ask you to rule on their provisional release. I
5 believe that that would be all.
6 Just one more thing: If you do not take our
7 word for all these medical conditions that I referred
8 to, we are prepared, during the course of this day or
9 by Monday at the latest, to provide all the relevant
10 medical documents.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Radovic.
12 Mr. Terrier?
13 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 First of all, I should like to express my
15 satisfaction that Mr. Radovic has stated that the
16 Prosecutor, when she met the Minister of Justice of
17 Croatia in Zagreb, had referred her interlocutors to
18 the Rules of Procedure, Article 65, the notion of
19 exceptional circumstances, as well as the authority of
20 the Trial Chamber to deal with any such requests.
21 Mr. President, I'm told to speak more
23 I was just saying that the Prosecutor
24 referred her interlocutors to the Rules of Procedure,
25 to Article 65 of those Rules, the notion of exceptional
1 circumstances, and the authority of the Trial Chamber.
2 And I wish to underline that yesterday, the words of
3 Mr. Radovic were less clear as compared to what he said
5 If I may be allowed, I will now go on to say
6 that it is necessary to note that in accordance with
7 Article 65, paragraph (B) of the Rules of Procedure,
8 there must be absolute certainty that the released
9 accused will appear. I wish to underline that in view
10 of the seriousness of the charges levelled against
11 them, and in view of the seriousness of the penalties
12 that may be ruled if they are found guilty, I think
13 that the Trial Chamber cannot be certain that they will
14 appear in court if they are released. I would add that
15 I don't think that any measure, any police measure, can
16 guarantee their appearance if they are released and
17 allowed to go back to their homes.
18 Secondly, it seems to me that in accordance
19 with Rule 65, paragraph (B), the Trial Chamber must
20 note before making a decision on provisional release
21 that no victim or witness or other person will be
22 endangered by that release. I think that we are in the
23 course of the proceedings, that all the evidence has
24 still not been presented to the Chamber, we still have
25 the rejoinder and rebuttal stages, and that we have
1 submitted a motion listing the names of witnesses that
2 we intend to call in the rebuttal stage. Therefore
3 there is nothing to exclude any contact between the
4 accused, if they are released and go back home, that
5 they will not enter into contact with those witnesses.
6 One of the witnesses appearing on this list of the
7 Prosecution has already stated, in a written statement
8 that the Trial Chamber is aware of, that he has been
9 exposed to certain pressure and certain requests which
10 he had to refuse.
11 Therefore, it does not seem to me, in these
12 circumstances and in view of the stage of the
13 proceedings that we have reached, that the Trial
14 Chamber can be convinced that other people will not be
15 endangered by the release of the accused.
16 Finally, the concept of exceptional
17 circumstances prescribed by the Rules of Procedure
18 should be understood as circumstances which are
19 normally not expected which warrant the release of the
21 In the words of Mr. Radovic, I did not hear
22 anything but a presentation of family difficulties,
23 financial difficulties, and health difficulties of the
24 members of the families of the accused. I am not
25 doubting the reality of those problems, but it seems to
1 me that whenever a head of a family is incarcerated,
2 this necessarily provokes difficulties of this nature,
3 family problems, financial problems, health problems,
4 for the youngest members of the family in most cases.
5 This is regrettable, and there must be ways of
6 remedying it, but I think that we cannot, under any
7 circumstances, consider this to be exceptional
8 circumstances in the sense envisaged by Rule 65,
9 paragraph (B), of the Rules of Procedure.
10 I will gladly admit that today, these
11 children must necessarily miss the authority of their
12 fathers, and the lives of those families have been
13 seriously upset, and I hope that all the assistance of
14 their surroundings, their family, will be provided.
15 But I do not see there a motive that can lead the Trial
16 Chamber to accept the request of the Defence.
17 I, therefore, request the Trial Chamber to
18 reject the two requests for provisional release that
19 have been made to it. Thank you, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Terrier.
21 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
22 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, may I
23 just comment on what has been said by the Prosecutor
24 regarding some general reasons why he believes that the
25 request of the Defence should not be accepted?
1 As for the statement that there is a
2 possibility of influencing witnesses on the list today
3 submitted to the Court, only one witness is mentioned
4 who could testify to circumstances linked to the first
5 and second of the accused. With respect to that
6 witness, since the Prosecutor has called this witness
7 as his witness, the Defence pledges not to have any
8 contact with that witness.
9 Furthermore, the Prosecutor said that there
10 are no guarantees that the accused will reappear. I
11 think the fact that they surrendered voluntarily
12 disproves this because they believe that this is the
13 place where they should prove their innocence.
14 As for the possibility of any threats or
15 pressure on witnesses in the course of these
16 proceedings, in the testimony of many witnesses, even
17 those who made the severest charges and accusations
18 against Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic, said that these
19 were quiet people who were held in high esteem until
20 these events, and not one of the witnesses felt that
21 they were under any threat on their part. Even [redacted]
22 [redacted], the witness who, indeed, had the most serious
23 accusations against them, said that until the 16th,
24 they were good people. So I think that we know from
25 the record that they cannot be expected to treat
1 witnesses in any other way but a positive one.
2 Thank you.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
4 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, of course, this is a
6 very serious matter, and we can't decide right away,
7 more so because we have to get in touch with the
8 relevant authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina. We've
9 already had contacts with the Dutch authorities and we
10 know their position now. But, as I say, we have to get
11 some assurances from the authorities of
13 In light of all that, we will decide, I
14 think, next week, early next week, and issue a written
15 decision, and we will let you know.
16 I suggest that we now resume with the
17 witness, Vlatko Kupreskic, and we move on to
18 cross-examination by Mr. Terrier, if he is agreeable,
19 or Mr. Blaxill.
20 (Witness takes the stand)
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Blaxill?
22 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Mr. President, Your
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
25 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kupreskic. You are aware
1 of my role in these proceedings, I'm sure, and I do
2 have some questions for you as a result of what you've
3 been saying to us.
4 MR. BLAXILL: I will, however, just preface
5 that by saying that none of the references I propose to
6 make --
7 A. Good morning, Mr. Prosecutor.
8 MR. BLAXILL: I would preface that by saying
9 that none of the references I have to matters of
10 evidence or documents, I think, go outside the
11 parameters already set by the Chamber for such
12 references. They will either be matters which are on
13 the record as part of testimony in the course of trial
14 or, in the main, in fact, they are exhibited documents
15 already which --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could you slow down,
17 please, Mr. Blaxill?
18 MR. BLAXILL: -- are already in the
19 possession of the Chamber. So I sincerely hope there
20 will be no difficulties as a result of any matters I
21 put to Mr. Kupreskic.
22 Q. Sir, you lived in Ahmici for the whole of
23 your life, up to the war in 1993; is that so?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. To your knowledge, are there any other people
1 in the vicinity or in the municipality of Vitez, if you
2 can even say that, who have the same name as yourself,
3 "Vlatko Kupreskic"?
4 A. I have no knowledge of that, of any other
5 person bearing the same first and last name. I think
7 Q. Thank you, sir. Would you say that over the
8 years, the Kupreskic family has become and had become a
9 prominent family in the Ahmici/Pirici area?
10 A. I don't know under which criteria. I don't
11 see that it is a prominent family. It's just like any
12 other people, both Muslims and Croats.
13 Q. Would you say that perhaps with your cousin
14 Ivica being in business, with yourself as an executive
15 with the SPS company, and with your cousins, Zoran and
16 Mirjan, involved in their cultural activities, would
17 you say that the Kupreskic family was held in high
18 esteem locally?
19 A. I think the family was, indeed, held in high
20 esteem. It was like a European family, and we had our
21 neighbours, Muslims, who were also held in very high
23 Q. Pardon me. You have already testified that
24 with regard to your neighbours and, presumably, later
25 your customers in business, you enjoyed good and
1 civilised relations; is that right?
2 A. Of course.
3 Q. So, sir, when, as an educated man like
4 yourself, you saw the emergence of nationalist parties
5 and the fact that the population then appeared to vote
6 along very ethnic lines, did you find that a disturbing
8 A. In a sense, yes, it did disturb me because I
9 never wanted to join a national party.
10 Q. Now, sir, as you saw the development of the
11 political situation around you, you indicated to us
12 that you decided to leave the SPS company partly
13 because of the economic difficulties but partly, and I
14 will quote you, "I saw problems with certain
15 regulations and did not want to be in a position to
16 violate laws." I wonder if you could explain,
17 Mr. Kupreskic, what you meant by that expression?
18 A. I think that I said that those laws came
19 later on, and I was right in saying that problems would
20 arise. As far as I remember, I didn't say that those
21 regulations were in force, but what, indeed, did happen
22 happened in 1992. But there could have been a
23 contradiction in the sense that the laws of Yugoslavia
24 were no longer respected but only the laws of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I didn't want to be punished by
1 such laws, since, in those days, in 1991, the
2 International Community still recognised Yugoslavia.
3 Q. So what, just very briefly, sort
4 of generically, what kind of laws are you referring
5 to? Laws for the conduct of business or social laws
6 relating to ethnic groups? What are we talking about,
8 A. No. I have nothing to do with laws about
9 ethnic or social groups. I'm referring exclusively to
10 laws relevant to the army and business. I'm talking
11 about economic laws, and the economic laws of
12 Yugoslavia and those of Bosnia-Herzegovina were already
13 on a collision course.
14 Q. So it seems, I believe, you said in 1991,
15 later on around September, you, in fact, took up an
16 offer to work with your cousin Ivica and work in the
17 private sector; is that so?
18 A. Yes, I think it was November in the
19 enterprise Stefani-Bosna, as it was called at the
21 Q. I believe you have also said that Mr. Ivica
22 Kupreskic valued your particular high level of
23 education and experience in commercial dealing and in
24 the handling of documentation. Would that be a fair
1 A. Yes, that is true. That was one of the main
2 reasons why he invited me to join that company, because
3 in that company, there was no other person who held
4 such a post.
5 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, if nothing more, as a matter
6 of curiosity, you then in due course arranged a change
7 of name of the company. May I ask what prompted the
8 change of name?
9 A. Another reason why Ivica asked me to join
10 Stefani-Bosna was that that company was already going
11 downhill, and it was blocked. When I joined, my first
12 task was to deblock the company, which I managed to
14 You know how things work in the west in the
15 business world. I didn't want to work in an enterprise
16 known for being a failure, for being blocked, and I
17 personally proposed a change of name to Sutre and
18 reregistered it under that new name.
19 Q. I believe, in fact, the name "Sutre," if I
20 translate correctly, means "tomorrow"; is it right? In
21 the English language it would.
22 A. Something like that. I don't know myself
23 what it means. But it's not Sutre; "Sutre" is
24 "tomorrow." Our family had the nickname Sutre, and
25 that is why I chose it as a name. You know that it's
1 always better to have a single word, it's easier to
2 remember, for the name of a company.
3 Q. So you obviously had, therefore, a more
4 positive image of the company to put forward. Is it
5 true that, I think you have said here and you said when
6 you spoke to representatives of the Office of the
7 Prosecutor, that your main focus throughout that period
8 of 1992 was not an interest in politics or things of
9 that nature, but you were interested principally in
10 business; would that be fair to say?
11 A. Yes, that is true, and it was always like
12 that up to the war and almost so during the war and
13 especially after the war, only business.
14 Q. Now, I would like you to just be able to
15 confirm an impression I have and would like to offer
16 you, that it would appear that these nationalist
17 parties, whoever's nationalism, were parties that
18 intolerant of people who did not support them or agree
19 with them or who were not part of their ethnic group.
20 Would you say that that is a correct assessment of the
21 attitude of these political parties?
22 A. I don't know what they had in their mind and
23 whether their thoughts were along the lines that you
24 have just described. I just don't know because I never
25 attended a single meeting of any such party, regardless
1 of whether it represented the Croatian, the Muslim, or
2 the Serb people. So I cannot judge what their
3 positions were.
4 Q. Let's say, Mr. Kupreskic, in the course of
5 1992, you, as a businessman and in private enterprise,
6 had to have dealings with the municipal authorities; is
7 that right? You needed permits and so forth.
8 A. No. In fact, I had rather bad relations,
9 maybe precisely because I hadn't joined in political
10 life and the developments in the environment. But
11 those tasks were performed exclusively by my cousin,
13 Q. So you personally did not have dealings with
14 those authorities, but your company did; is that
16 A. Of course, my company had contacts with the
17 executive authorities in view of its tax obligations,
18 which it has like any other firm in the business world,
19 but when we had to settle our fiscal obligations and to
20 make arrangements along those lines, only then did I go
21 to the municipality, and I dealt exclusively with my
22 colleagues, economists.
23 Q. But in order to function clearly through the
24 efforts of your cousin, Ivica, the reality was that you
25 had to have permits in order to travel, and you were,
1 indeed, issued a general permit as a company selected
2 to supply foodstuffs within the municipality; is that
4 Q. Yes. As in 1992, there was, of course, a
5 political executive body. Not a single able-bodied
6 person or somebody unfit for military service, like
7 myself, could not move around without a permit from the
8 HVO and also without permission from the Muslim
9 authorities, which also in 1992, I remember very well,
10 were accommodated in the house of Enes Sehic, my
11 teacher, so that Ivica and I would go and get both
12 these permits.
13 Q. In point of fact, it was important to you,
14 was it not, that your company projected, if you like, a
15 positive image for any of those authorities, be it the
16 HVO or be it Muslim?
17 A. As far as our image and reputation is
18 concerned, you know that in the business world, the
19 most important thing is to have a good product and to
20 be competitive, and that was my task in the company. I
21 always strove towards competitiveness and nothing
22 else. Do you think we would have got that permission
23 if we didn't offer the best prices and if we were not
24 in the position to be able to carry out our delivery
25 obligations? We would never have got it otherwise. So
1 it was exclusively guided by economic interests.
2 Q. You don't think perhaps that the attitudes of
3 people like the HVO would play any part in their
4 selection of people with whom they would allow business
5 to be conducted?
6 A. I think not because our firm, at a public
7 competition, offered the best terms, and we were
9 Q. Are you aware of any other companies that
10 were selected to do similar work as yourselves?
11 A. I do not know what the business of other
12 companies was. I really don't know.
13 Q. But it would be true to say that operating as
14 you were in what became effectively an HVO-controlled
15 area, your company was able to continue trading and,
16 indeed, survive the war; is that correct?
17 A. Our company worked in an area under the
18 control of both the Croatian and Muslim authorities.
19 Our market, if you like, was more focused on territory
20 under the control of the Muslim authorities. So
21 there's no question about it, in my view.
22 Q. So from what you're saying, Mr. Kupreskic, I
23 gain the impression that you went to considerable
24 lengths to appear purely a non-political person and to
25 deal equally and fairly with all, irrespective of their
1 ethnic background. I think you said that to be so.
2 A. That is certainly so. That is how I behaved,
3 both until the 16th of April, that is how I behaved
4 during the war, and that is how I behaved after the
5 war, and you can verify that to this day. If you look
6 at the composition of customers coming to the middle of
7 Ahmici in 1994 and 1995, according to statistical
8 figures that we have in my company, 90 per cent of
9 those customers were Muslims, many of whom were my
10 immediate neighbours. So you're right.
11 Q. Now, Mr. Kupreskic, you say that at the time,
12 I think, towards the end of 1992, around December, you
13 undertook some work on behalf of the local police; is
14 that right? Preparing an inventory?
15 A. I started to prepare an inventory with an
16 inventory commission. Yes, it is true. I think that
17 was in the second half of December 1992.
18 Q. And this police service for whom you were
19 working, was that in fact the police of the Croatian
20 Community of Herceg-Bosna, and did you perform that
21 duty at -- or that work, I should say -- at the police
22 station in Vitez? Is that right?
23 A. It was the civilian police, the civilian
24 police in Vitez.
25 Q. And I believe you've referred to the boss at
1 that place, as far as you were concerned, to be a
2 Mr. Mirko Samir; is that right? Or is it Samija? I'm
3 sorry; I may be wrong. Samija?
4 A. Mr. Mirko Samija.
5 Q. Now, I have jumped ahead, of course, beyond
6 the first conflict mentioned of October 1992, but I
7 believe you say that you had no real knowledge or part
8 in any of that event; is that right? 20th of
9 October 1992?
10 A. I did not take part, absolutely, in the first
11 conflict. It is not true that I have no knowledge; I
12 do have knowledge. There was a conflict at the
13 barricade down there, as I said. On that day, there
14 were even casualties.
15 Q. But that is knowledge that you acquired
16 later; is that right?
17 A. Yes. Yes.
18 MR. BLAXILL: I've reached a kind of subject
19 break, briefly, Your Honours. We are that close to
20 half past 10.00, I wonder if you would like to take the
21 break now.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, indeed. So a 30-minute
23 break? 30 minutes.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Terrier?
2 MR. TERRIER: If I may, I should like to cut
3 into the cross-examination conducted by Mr. Blaxill
4 after what you just said, Mr. President, regarding the
5 decision which is to be taken regarding the motion for
6 provisional release.
7 The Tribunal indicated that they expected
8 Bosnian authorities to give some assurances. I should
9 like to express to you the concern of the Prosecutor's
10 office regarding the possibility -- only the
11 possibility -- that the Bosnian Herzegovinian
12 authorities can issue whatever assurances, or
13 assurances in legal matters, and particularly in this
14 particular field of legal assurances, that is, the
15 safety of persons. Our experience with the
16 co-operation with the authorities of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we believe that the federal
18 authorities there simply cannot offer any guarantees in
19 any field whatsoever with regard to police matters or
20 judicial matters.
21 Since the accused here are Croats from
22 Bosnia, we do not believe that Bosnian authorities can
23 really offer whatever guarantees, and this is, I'm
24 afraid, still the very sad and deplorable reality in
25 that territory, even five years after the conclusion of
1 the accords.
2 As for the Croat authorities, I mean Bosnian
3 Croat authorities, we have had -- and I must tell the
4 Court that we've run into major difficulties in trying
5 to obtain their co-operation, and the reality and the
6 sincerity of their commitment is really highly
8 I should like to inform the Tribunal, by way
9 of information, of a letter which the Prosecutor sent
10 to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina regarding the co-operation, the
12 commitment of people, of liaison officers there, with
13 the Tribunal. The representative, the liaison officer
14 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, calumnified the Tribunal,
15 they're trying to set one community against another
16 community, and they never did any of the things that we
17 asked them to do, never complied with any of our
19 I believe that in this particular case those
20 Croat authorities, even if they do assume a commitment,
21 we have to wait for them to -- we still have to wait
22 for them to really comply with their commitments to do
23 whatever they're asked. We still have to see that they
24 sincerely will comply with this.
25 That is, Mr. President, very briefly what I
1 wanted to say, in order not to cut into the
2 cross-examination for too long, but this is the view of
3 the Prosecutor in this matter. Thank you.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
5 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, do you wish to respond
6 to this problem regarding the assurances provided by
7 the Bosnian Herzegovinian authorities? Of course this
8 is a very important matter, because this is a sine qua
9 non condition for the possible provisional release of
10 the accused.
11 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I have
12 nothing else to add apart from what we already said,
13 that is, that the accused themselves will undertake to
14 appear here whenever requested by the Tribunal. As
15 they were the ones who volunteered to come to The
16 Hague, they already demonstrated that they wanted to
17 see this trial conducted and completed. You can also
18 hear from their testimonies, if I may say so, that
19 indeed, during all this period of time -- that is, of a
20 year, and over a year, since they have been indicted --
21 and whenever they tried to establish contact with the
22 Tribunal, they always felt very bad; they always tried
23 to find themselves a way to turn themselves over. And
24 from the two of them, from their own testimonies and
25 the testimonies of witnesses, we can see that they
1 spent all this time in the territory of Vitez. That
2 is, they never hid.
3 As for these relations and guarantees,
4 naturally, if one defines things in this manner, then
5 it completely excludes any possibility of even
6 discussing provisional release from detention. But I
7 nevertheless think that if one contacts the relevant
8 persons in the Federation, and possibly the Croatian
9 embassy in The Hague and the Bosnian embassy in The
10 Hague, that in that case perhaps we could get some
11 information from them, perhaps some additional
12 information, and possibly some assurances and
14 JUDGE CASSESE: There's a little problem
15 because we keep talking of the Croatian authorities,
16 the Croatian Embassy. You mentioned or Counsel Radovic
17 mentioned a meeting of our Chief Prosecutor with the
18 Minister of Justice in Zagreb, but that is a different
19 state. In a way, this may underline the link between
20 Croatia and the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is
21 a problem which may have some legal relevance for other
22 matters. I wondered to what extent the Croatian
23 authorities in Zagreb are in a position to give
24 guarantees or assurances?
25 Anyway, we will take into consideration this
1 letter from the Prosecutor to the Minister of Foreign
2 Affairs of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 Thank you, Mr. Terrier, and we may now
4 proceed. Since we are still now discussing matters
5 other than the cross-examination, I wonder whether
6 Mr. Blaxill minds my asking a question to him and
7 Mr. Terrier about the document we received actually
8 this morning, the Prosecutor's submission of rebuttal
10 There is one point which I would like to
11 clarify as soon as possible. In point 4 of this
12 letter, signed by Mr. Terrier and Mr. Blaxill, it is
13 stated that the Prosecution anticipates that the time
14 required to finalise the written closing arguments be
15 four weeks from the close of all evidence. Now, this
16 has an impact on our programme for the future and also
17 on other trials. Do you mean to say that if we start
18 again on the 27th, probably we will need two weeks, one
19 week for the Prosecution and probably one week for the
20 Defence, and the Defence will have some rejoinder
21 witnesses, and after that, you need four weeks to
22 prepare for the closing statements? So that means that
23 there will again be a gap. So we will then have a
24 four-week recess before the closing arguments?
25 Because we were thinking of having the
1 closing arguments immediately after the closure of the
2 Defence case. I, for one, was wrong then. You want to
3 have this gap of about four weeks?
4 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, yes, indeed,
5 after the rejoinder, that is, the last witness for the
6 Defence, we should, indeed, like to have some time for
7 reflection. Four weeks, perhaps you think that is
8 too -- if you think that that is too long, of course,
9 we could cut it shorter, but we shall need some recess
10 between the rejoinder and the final arguments. I do
11 really think that it is important because the
12 Prosecutor, of course, also needs to reflect about the
13 case, and we need to do that in this difficult case.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: But you will be submitting
15 the text in writing?
16 MR. TERRIER: We shall present first a
17 summary, a concise and clear --
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Also short?
19 MR. TERRIER: Yes.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: With references?
21 MR. TERRIER: Yes, with references to all the
22 exhibits. We shall do that, and we shall submit the
23 extended version in writing, of course, and there will
24 be, of course, an oral presentation.
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Terrier, you have two months
1 to do that. There will only be a handful of
2 witnesses. Surely you don't need a month, an
3 additional month. You have until the 27th of September
4 to prepare all of that. A day or two should be
5 sufficient to make the additions, shouldn't it?
6 MR. TERRIER: Yes, I concede that perhaps
7 this is quite a comfortable period of time that we're
8 requesting, yes, I admit that, but I think that we,
9 nevertheless, need a certain period of time to complete
10 our written text which, of course, is already being
12 JUDGE CASSESE: So the Defence will be
13 entitled to the same recess, so that we shall have to
14 adjourn for two to three weeks. Four perhaps is too
15 much. But then two or three weeks, yes, so that the
16 Defence can also prepare its closing argument so that
17 we shall have only the final part, that is, the closing
18 argument at the end, both of the Prosecution and the
19 Defence; is that so?
20 MR. TERRIER: Yes, of course, Mr. President.
21 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, if
22 possible, we should like the Prosecution, particularly
23 if they complete their closing argument earlier, to
24 submit it to us a week before we do that, that is, the
25 summary, I mean, because in our closing argument, we
1 should also like to touch upon some topics and some
2 problems which will perhaps figure in the text of the
3 Prosecution. So could we have this text at least one
4 week before the final deadline?
5 JUDGE CASSESE: I think this would be fair,
6 of course.
7 (Trial Chamber confers)
8 JUDGE CASSESE: I do apologise to Mr. Vlatko
9 Kupreskic and to Mr. Blaxill, but if you don't mind, we
10 would like to finish with this matter.
11 Let me suggest a sort of tentative schedule.
12 We will resume on the 27th of September, and the
13 Prosecution will need four working days, I understand,
14 from their document for the -- what did you say?
15 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: From what we heard, we
16 got the interpretation that we would be finished by the
17 27th of September, and we knew it was just the
18 beginning, the 27th is the beginning rather than the
20 JUDGE CASSESE: We will resume on the 27th of
21 September, and then four working days for the
22 Prosecution, and then we will go on until the 7th of
23 October, and there will be five working days for the
24 Defence for any rejoinder witnesses. So we will stop
25 on the 7th. Then we will give three weeks to the
1 Prosecution for their closing statements, their final
2 brief, and four weeks to the Defence. So the
3 Prosecution should submit their written brief by the
4 29th of October, whereas the Defence should submit
5 their brief by the 5th of November. This is what
6 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac suggested. You will have one
7 more week, and in that week, you can meet some of the
8 points made by the Prosecution in their written brief.
9 Then we would resume our hearings on the 8th of
10 November for closing statements, and probably we will
11 need, say, not more than three days, I assume, for
12 closing arguments, so the 8th, 9th, and 10th of
13 November. As I say, it's a tentative plan.
14 Would that suit you, Mr. Terrier?
15 MR. TERRIER: Only a comment. We're told
16 that the accused, Dragan Papic, will also be
17 testifying, and I suppose that will be after the
18 rebuttal witnesses; is that so?
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, you are quite right.
20 Yes, indeed. First, Dragan Papic, and then your
21 witnesses, four witnesses, and then the witnesses
22 called by the Defence.
23 MR. TERRIER: Yes, thank you.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Ms. Slokovic-Glumac, would
25 you agree? Yes. Let us stick to this tentative plan.
1 However, we have to stick to this plan because, as you
2 know, Judge May is sitting in another trial, and he has
3 to revise the whole schedule. So, therefore, we can't
4 now change it again.
5 All right. Again, my apologies to
6 Mr. Blaxill and to Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic.
7 Mr. Blaxill, please?
8 MR. BLAXILL: Yes, with your leave, Your
9 Honours. Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, if we can get back to what we
11 were talking about, sir, just before the break and the
12 subsequent argument, you were working for a period in
13 the police station in Vitez in late 1992, early 1993;
14 is that correct?
15 A. Yes, but may I explain how it came about for
16 my part-time work for the police? Sometime in
17 December, I was at a wedding, and there I met, quite by
18 chance, with the then head of the police station,
19 Mr. Mirko Samija. He approached me and we talked, and
20 he told me, he asked me to come and try, as it was the
21 end of the business year, that I should come and help
22 them take the stock, the inventory, at the police
23 station and to make a statement of accounts and a kind
24 of a balance sheet, as there was nobody in the police
25 station who would know how to do it professionally,
1 according to standard.
2 He was a very capable man, a competent man.
3 He graduated from law; I even believe he was a judge.
4 He'd also joined that police station only a short time
5 before that, and he wanted to put things in order
6 there. I told him that it was practically impossible
7 because I was working for the Sutre company, and then
8 we agreed that I would come part time, for an hour or
9 two, for a day or whatever, when I could.
10 That was the only way in which I agreed to
11 such an agreement, and that is what I did in the latter
12 half of December 1992.
13 Q. Whilst you were doing this work, this
14 inventory work at Vitez police station, did you, in
15 fact, come across anybody else with a name similar to
16 yours or, indeed, identical to your own?
17 A. I already said that. In the municipality of
18 Vitez, I did not meet anyone with any namesake.
19 Q. Did you undertake or were you requested to
20 undertake any other duties or assistance to the police
21 whilst you were there between December 1992 and
22 February 1993?
23 A. No, absolutely not because, to begin with, I
24 had not been trained for that kind of work. Secondly,
25 I did not have enough time because I worked for another
1 company. Thirdly, I never undertook to do any other
3 Q. I would like to show you just a couple of
4 documents, Mr. Kupreskic.
5 MR. BLAXILL: These have been duly served on
6 the Defence, Your Honours. We have all the appropriate
8 THE REGISTRAR: It is Exhibit 377 of the
10 MR. BLAXILL: Could I just clarify if under
11 that number of 377, that includes both documents, one
12 dated the 28th of December, 1992 and the other dated
13 the 23rd of February, 1993, or is it just the one, just
14 to be sure?
15 THE REGISTRAR: Excuse me. I thought there
16 was only one document. So the first document will be
17 377 of the 28th of December, 1992, and the other one
18 dated the 23rd of February, 1993 will be 378.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: We didn't get the February
21 MR. BLAXILL:
22 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, do you have those documents in
23 front of you?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Right. They should be on their way. Do you
1 have in front of you now, Mr. Kupreskic, a document
2 issued apparently from the Travnik police
3 administration on behalf of the Croatian Community of
4 Herceg-Bosna and dated the 28th of December, 1992? Is
5 that before you?
6 A. I have a document entitled "Report" from the
7 22nd of February, 1993, and it's exactly the same. I
8 have two identical copies.
9 Q. Just hold on, Mr. Kupreskic, we will have
10 that changed.
11 A. Yes, the 28th of December, 1992.
12 Q. And, sir, if you look at the bottom of the
13 first page, you'll see some names, or at least in my
14 translation there are. The first, number 1, Mirko
15 Samija. That is the man you've referred to, is it not,
16 in your evidence?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. It then purports, that document, to set out a
19 number of names and their roles in the police force;
20 would you agree with that?
21 A. Yes, yes, yes. This list continues.
22 Q. Would you look on the last page, at entry
23 number 55 in that list of names. Would you tell me
24 what it says, please, number 55.
25 A. This is my name and surname, and it says
1 "Operative officer for the prevention of crimes of
2 particular state interest -- inspector."
3 Q. So that would appear, as you say it is your
4 name, Mr. Kupreskic, that you were not, surely, just
5 doing an inventory for the police over a short period
6 of time. What can you say about this apparent role you
7 had as an operative officer for the prevention of
8 crimes of particular state interest?
9 A. Well, this is the explanation I give, and
10 this is the way it is. The budget of every state
11 provides resources for social services, including the
12 police. May I say first and foremost that I never got
13 a document of appointment, because that is not the
14 agreement we had. I agreed with the chief of police
15 that I would do this job on an ad hoc basis. However,
16 in order to be able to pay me for the job I would do,
17 they had to include me in their job descriptions; they
18 had to assign me to a particular post in the police
19 station so that they could pay me from the resources
20 that were allocated to them, and that is probably why
21 the chief of police, Mirko Samija, included me in this
23 You can see by the number, 55, that that is
24 the very last post, and it was probably a vacant post
25 at the time, so formally he just assigned me there --
1 that is to say, within the job descriptions of the
2 police station -- so that he could pay me.
3 But I never got any document of appointment
4 to that particular job, to the best of my
5 recollection. I do not even remember having received
6 this compensation for having made out these
8 Secondly, I never did this kind of job, nor
9 do I know how to do it.
10 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, were you aware at the time
11 that this gentleman was going to put you on the roster
12 of the police with such a title, or let us say abuse
13 the system in this way? Were you aware of that?
14 A. I was not aware of that. This is the first
15 time I see this here. I did not know at all how he or,
16 rather, the police station, would pay me for services
17 rendered. I believe that that is the only reason.
18 Q. And so even -- we move on to document 378,
19 please, the next document, a report dated the 22nd of
20 February, 1993. This was compiled on an inspection of
21 Vitez police station, so it says, and was an inspection
22 by officers of police administration based in Travnik,
23 in other words, acting on behalf of the Croatian
24 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
25 You are referred to, are you not, in that
1 document of the 22nd of February, 1993, as -- and if I
2 quote correctly, as I'm reading from a translation --
3 "... and the function of officer for the prevention of
4 crimes of particular state interest is being performed
5 by Vlatko Kupreskic."
6 Now, that would appear to be a fairly serious
7 official report of an alleged function performed by
8 you, in an official government document, sir. Have you
9 any comment on that?
10 A. First of all, I was not there when those
11 people came and when they toured the police station,
12 and I was not at this meeting, so to speak. So this is
13 simply a formal report that they must have taken from
14 the job description sheet, and then, as they were
15 checking on the overall situation, they found in this
16 job description, they found my name too.
17 Let me just say one thing. I never
18 interrogated anyone. I never made a single note. I
19 never did that. Formally, I was assigned to the office
20 of the crime prevention service. I was assigned a desk
21 where I would work with the commission for making
22 inventories of basic supplies. For that I did not
23 receive any document of appointment either. So I was
24 just formally assigned to that office, and as I said,
25 probably in order to provide me with compensation, the
1 chief of police, Mirko Samija, probably appointed me to
2 this vacant post in such a way.
3 MR. BLAXILL: Now can we put another document
4 I think has already been handed in, that of the 1st of
5 March? No? It's coming. "A plan for March," it is
6 entitled, dated the 1st of March, 1993.
7 THE REGISTRAR: It is Exhibit 379.
8 MR. BLAXILL:
9 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, this is just a document
10 entitled "A plan for March," as I've said, dated the
11 1st of March, 1993; you would agree with that? It was
12 signed by Mr. Anto Bajric, I believe; did you know that
14 A. No, never, until the present day.
15 Q. Very well. So you look in that document, and
16 it would appear that the duties and tasks of people
17 working in that particular field are very much those of
18 making -- essentially monitoring information and
19 collating evidence and information, very much a
20 clerical task rather than one of perhaps being an
21 interrogator or anything like that. But were you aware
22 of the activities of that department, at least?
23 A. No. No. There is no mention of me here, or
24 of my name. Secondly, after the 25th of February 1993,
25 I never even stopped by the police station. I never
1 dropped into the building of the police station until
2 the end of the war.
3 Allow me to say that I managed somehow, with
4 great difficulty, to complete the inventory, and then I
5 decided, I think in two days, to give this inventory,
6 this report, and I left the police station. However,
7 on the 27th of February, 1993, some -- I don't know
8 what he did; some person called Zute, his name was
9 Zarko Andric, attacked that police station, and he beat
10 up almost all the people who worked in that police
12 After that, I telephoned. I didn't even want
13 to go to see Mr. Mirko Samija, and I said that I did
14 not want to go to that police station any more.
15 Simply, I completed the inventory, although I did not
16 know whether I had the final balance of accounts, but I
17 said that I did not want to come to the police station
18 again, and indeed, I did not do that all the way until
19 the end of the war.
20 I have witnesses to that effect too. I have
21 this witness, this Muslim who did the inventory with
22 me, and that is Mr. Muhamed Trako. I also have
23 Mr. Miro Azarovic as my witness, a Serb, who at that
24 time was chief of the crime prevention service, which
25 is a post I think he holds until the present day. At
1 the time when I was making the inventory and compiling
2 this balance of accounts, across the room from me was a
3 man called Sejo, I think, a Muslim who held a
4 university degree too, and he was a friend of mine as
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kupreskic. Let's move on,
7 shall we, to the days preceding what has been described
8 as the second conflict and we know was the worst event
9 to occur in Ahmici.
10 Now, you are saying, sir, that prior to the
11 16th of April, 1993, you undertook a business trip to
12 Split; is that correct?
13 A. On the 14th of April, 1993, I went -- we went
14 primarily to pick up Ankica Kupreskic, Ivica
15 Kupreskic's wife. At the same time, we went on a
16 business trip in order to cover our expenses.
17 Q. In fact, you have already produced to this
18 Court, have you not, the document that gave you free
19 travel from the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, the
20 HVO, which you obtained on the 13th of April? Is that
22 A. No, that is not correct. The document for
23 travel issued by the company was dated the 13th of
24 April, and the document of the HVO on the movement of
25 persons was issued on the 14th of April 1993, and it is
1 only on the basis of that travel document -- that is to
2 say, the HVO document -- that one could travel, one
3 could get out of Vitez.
4 Q. In point of fact, was that the document that
5 was stamped at the border crossing at Metkovic?
6 A. I didn't understand your question.
7 MR. BLAXILL: Perhaps D26/3 could be shown to
8 the witness, if you would be so kind, and maybe at the
9 same time D24/3.
10 Q. Now, there's one document, and it in fact
11 bears a date stamp, border crossing, 14/04/93,
12 Metkovic. Do you have that there, Mr. Kupreskic?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Was that in fact your HVO permission to have
15 the free travel throughout Herceg-Bosna and perform the
16 business trip, Vitez to Split and back to Vitez? Is
17 that right?
18 A. That is not right. I shall briefly repeat,
19 we got general approval from the municipality for
20 supplying the municipality with basic food and
21 supplies. On the basis of this general approval and
22 permission that my Defence showed here, we were
23 entitled to receive this permit for the movement of
24 persons, and its number is 1288-04/93.
25 Then the documents are issued as follows.
1 First of all, a travel order for a business trip from
2 the company when we wish to travel, and we did that,
3 that is to say, on the 13th of April, 1993. It says
4 here that the trip was supposed to last for four days.
5 So then, on the basis of this travel order form from
6 the enterprise, we got an order from the HVO or,
7 rather, this permit for the movement of persons. This
8 permit issued by the HVO is what we have to show when
9 we exit Vitez. That was in Novi Travnik, that is to
10 say, it's at a checkpoint, a roadblock. We show it to
11 the military there, they take a look at it, and they
12 let us go on that business trip.
13 This same document was requested at the
14 Metkovic border crossing. So Ivica and I both, both of
15 us had, had these permits issued by the HVO. On his
16 document and on mine there is a stamp of the border
17 crossing of Metkovic in the upper right-hand corner,
18 and indeed, we did cross the border at the Metkovic
19 border crossing, as it says here on the stamp, that is
20 to say, on the 14th of April, 1993. I have the same
21 permit that Ivica Kupreskic got. There was no other
22 way you could move through Central Bosnia towards the
23 Republic of Croatia.
24 Q. The other document you have there, sir, of
25 course, I think, is a different type of document,
1 because that is the one you've referred to as a
2 document raised within your own company creating the
3 business trip and thus justifying your expenses in the
4 company's books; is that right?
5 A. Precisely. Precisely.
6 Q. Sir, you encountered somebody on that journey
7 who was known to you. We're talking of a protected
8 witness, so I will not use the name, and I would ask
9 you not to, but there was a person who was driving and
10 encountered you, you say, at a fuel station, and you
11 say in evidence it was on the 14th of April on your way
12 to Split; is that correct?
13 A. On the 14th of April, 1993, we encountered,
14 at the gasoline station, the witness who had testified
15 here under the pseudonym DE on the 6th of May, 1999.
16 This person was not driving. We found this person at
17 the gasoline station. This person's truck was parked
18 on the opposite side, as far as I can remember now, in
19 the town of Pocitelj.
20 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, do you recall keeping, in
21 1993, what you entitled as a war diary and was a
22 document, in fact, that was seized from the briefcase
23 that was taken from you when you were arrested? Do you
24 remember that document?
25 A. Yes, I kept a war diary, and, indeed, it was
1 most welcome for me so that I have it today to show
3 Q. We can check this later, as we will be
4 putting this document formally into the Court, to the
5 Chamber, and we'll all be seeing it, but there's just
6 an entry, I see, that you made admittedly in August of
7 1996, that you made an entry in that diary regarding
8 certain people and places and referred to that person
9 we know as DE with the quote "saw us in Pocitelj near
10 Capljina on 15 April, 1992, on the eve of the war."
11 Now, that would appear to be a different
12 recollection when you entered your diary to the date
13 that you gave this Tribunal yesterday in your oral
14 evidence. Can you explain that discrepancy to us, sir?
15 A. We -- I certainly saw the mentioned person in
16 Pocitelj on the 14th of April, 1993, and how I entered
17 this in my diary, that, I cannot say now. I cannot
18 remember unless you show me the diary. I wrote this in
19 1996 or 1997 when I was, in fact, preparing my defence,
20 because I know 100 per cent that we saw this friend,
21 this Muslim, at that particular place. So perhaps this
22 is an omission, but you did not show this to me.
23 That's it.
24 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, obviously to assist you in
25 clarifying this, we will now put this document in to
1 the Chamber. Thank you.
2 MR. BLAXILL: There will be some references
3 to this war diary in the course of my
4 cross-examination, Your Honours. I would therefore
5 recommend we keep it close to hand. Secondly, there
6 will be on occasion, I think, some little difficulty or
7 time lag in reaching the references because we have a
8 paginated translation and this was a handwritten
9 document by Mr. Kupreskic; therefore, clearly the page
10 numbers would not be in sync at all.
11 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, would you turn, please, to the
12 entries you made on the 7th of August -- I'm just
13 looking beyond -- it's between the 31st of July, 1996
14 entry and the next entry which you made on the 8th of
15 August, 1996. Can you see item number 14 in that
17 MR. BLAXILL: I'm sorry. Your Honours, it's
18 page 16 for us.
19 Q. Sorry, Mr. Kupreskic.
20 A. Are you referring to the part where I wrote
21 that I saw this person in Pocitelj on the 15th of
22 April, 1992? I found that page, and it says that I saw
23 that person on the 15th of April, 1992. I even wrote
24 here "on the day of the war," and there was no war
25 then. Because I thought this was quite unimportant
1 then, when I was preparing my defence. Well, listen,
2 try to understand this: Who can remember exactly three
3 or four years back?
4 Q. The translation that was made into the
5 English language says "the eve of the war," and the
6 expression "eve," to us, means the day before. So
7 that, in fact, would be a correct entry. The 15th of
8 April was the eve of the war. So is there a
9 translation problem? Because you've just said "the day
10 of the war."
11 A. I can only say to you that this is an
12 informal document, first and foremost. When I was
13 preparing for my defence, of course, I was writing out
14 a basic draft. Only later when I got into these
15 documents and when I saw the orders, then I saw that I
16 encountered this person on the 14th of April, which
17 only corroborates what this diary says, that I'm saying
18 the truth.
19 Q. Very well, Mr. Kupreskic, we shall move on
20 from there. You went into Split, you did business, and
21 you say you returned to Ahmici on the 15th of April,
22 1993; that is correct, sir?
23 A. Yes. I returned to Ahmici on the 15th of
24 April, 1993, around 7.00 p.m.
25 Q. Are you precisely sure? You said "around,"
1 so you're not precise to the minute, but are you sure
2 regarding the time? Was it 7.00 p.m.? Was it perhaps
3 a little earlier?
4 A. It's hard to tell now, six or seven years
5 later, with accuracy, but I know that it was early
6 evening, I know that the shop was closed, so I think
7 that it was about that time.
8 Q. Do you recall an occasion, I think it was the
9 11th of June, 1998, when you had an interview with my
10 learned colleagues, Mr. Terrier and Mr. Smith?
11 A. Yes. Yes.
12 Q. If I say to you, sir, and we will show this
13 to you later, that you indicated to them that you
14 arrived home at around 8.00 p.m. that evening, because,
15 as you stated, "It was already getting dark. I'm sure
16 it was around that time," how do you now perhaps
17 account for this apparent at least one-hour discrepancy
18 in your memory?
19 A. Well, you see, when we were having that
20 conversation, at that time, I thought that such things
21 were quite insignificant, and you will find in this
22 transcript that that is what I said to the Prosecutor,
23 Mr. Terrier. Are those things important? Isn't it
24 much more important that I was never a soldier, that I
25 never had a weapon? Isn't it important that I was two
1 kilometres away from the site of the events. I
2 considered those things to be important. But now when
3 I have been drawn into this trial, of course, I realise
4 now that these things are important for you, and I have
5 tried to refresh my memory. So I think it was a little
6 earlier, but around 7.00 p.m. It's so difficult to
7 tell. You must understand. So much time has passed
9 Q. So we shall have to leave that as a
10 discrepancy, sir. You have been saying to us that you
11 considered certain things insignificant, so does that
12 question of significance judge the accuracy of your
13 memories? In other words, if you judged something not
14 to be significant in your eyes, do you give a casual or
15 uncalculated reply to that, or do you take care to try
16 and be accurate?
17 A. I tried to tell the truth and I have told the
18 truth. But as regards time, whether I was quite
19 accurate, who can be? You see, your Witness L said
20 first that he saw me on that day at 3.00, then at 4.00,
21 then later on, he said at 6.00, towards evening.
22 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, you have told us that on the
23 15th, when you got back, you went straight home, you
24 parcelled up some goods ready to deliver to, I think it
25 was, Travnik, if I'm correct, the following day; is
1 that right?
2 A. Yes. We didn't stop on the way. We came
3 straight to my house, unloaded the goods. Later on, my
4 wife and I carried those goods upstairs. We had to
5 stick the labels onto the jeans, Levi's 501s, for this
6 customer in Travnik.
7 Q. After that, you went to bed. Did you have
8 any other sort of social contact with anybody that
9 evening or did you just stay home with your wife?
10 A. My wife and I finished the work we had. Of
11 course, we wrote out an invoice for this customer as
12 well, and I wanted to go to bed as soon as possible.
13 But sometime about 8.00 in the evening, I informed this
14 buyer in Travnik that the next day, the 16th of April,
15 1993, in the morning, I would bring the goods before
16 8.00, the goods that he had ordered a couple of days
17 previously. Then we all went to bed.
18 Q. By that reply, sir, do you mean that you did
19 not have any social contact with anybody else after you
20 had arrived home that evening, the 15th; is that right?
21 A. No, absolutely no one came to visit us in the
22 house, in front of the house, nor did we go anywhere.
23 I was terribly tired. I wanted to get what we had left
24 to do done so that I could leave early in the morning
25 and deliver the goods.
1 Q. You said that early in the morning of the
2 16th of April, you were awoken by your wife, and we've
3 heard there was an unknown voice telling you to get out
4 and go to a shelter; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, did your wife -- I'm sorry. After
7 speaking to that person, did you hear them say anything
8 else as to a reason for going to a shelter?
9 A. Absolutely not, but the receiver was hung up
10 immediately. But this had happened previously too, so
11 I considered it to be a provocation.
12 Q. Subsequently, Mr. Ivica Kupreskic telephoned
13 you, you clearly believed there was a problem, and you
14 duly made your way from your home towards the shelter.
15 That would be the sequence of events, sir?
16 A. Yes. After that, Ivica called up, yes.
17 Q. Now, you informed us that your wife had
18 spoken to you at that time, when the first or second
19 call -- I think the first call came in, and she said
20 that somebody had called at about 3.00 in the morning
21 but she hadn't wanted to disturb you. Did your wife
22 tell you what that caller had said?
23 A. The same, what this other person said at
24 5.00. But let me describe a situation in connection
25 with these calls, telephone calls. I heard that some
1 Muslims would inform Croats and they would go to a
2 shelter for no reason and vice versa. Even these
3 things happened.
4 Q. Could I ask you, please, to go back to the
5 war diary that's still with you, and in the same place,
6 the same section where you have the writing about that
7 encounter on the journey at item 14, would you read
8 item 20, please?
9 A. Just a moment, please. Let me find it.
10 THE REGISTRAR: The diary will be
11 Prosecutor's Exhibit 380.
12 MR. BLAXILL:
13 Q. If I can just remind you, Mr. Kupreskic, it's
14 the section of writing, I think, under the 31st of
15 July, 1996. The entry that follows it is the 8th of
16 August, 1996, if that helps to get you back to the
18 A. The 31st of July, 1996, is it on that page?
19 Q. Yes, it is, indeed. If you look down to item
20 20 --
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. -- there's a reference to a person called
23 Vlatko Matosevic, if I read that correctly; is that
25 A. Let me just find it. I beg your pardon. I
1 can't find it. I can't find the page. Could you help
2 me, please?
3 Q. I think we have one that's marked.
4 A. As there are no ordinal numbers.
5 MR. BLAXILL: Yes. I'm sorry, Your Honours.
6 Again I refer to page 16.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Item number 20, Vlatko Matosevic, what is the
9 entry that you've written there, and can you explain
10 that to us, please?
11 A. "Witness," "Pirici." It says "Witness" and
12 then it says "Pirici." Is that what you're referring
14 Q. Item 20, as it reads in our translation, the
15 line below it reads: "Stated that it was possible that
16 he had telephoned at 0500 hours about withdrawal." Are
17 those words there?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Then we haven't got a correct entry, I'm
21 A. Just a moment, please. Yes, under number
23 Q. Number 20. Thank you. And those words are
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Are they followed by the words "and put his
2 rifle to my neck in Pirici"? What, pray, would that
4 A. Well, you see, when I reached the Zume
5 outpatient's clinic, I was sent to Pirici to take some
6 medicines and bandages, and this was the first day when
7 I reported. So driving my own car, I took that
8 material, but for about 50 metres, it was not possible
9 to go by car, so I went on foot. At that moment, this
10 person met me whom I did not know, nor did he know me
11 at the time, and as I was on my way back towards the
12 car, he probably thought that I was fleeing from the
13 front line, and that is why I mentioned him here, that
14 he could testify how I had come to that health centre
15 and what he did to me. So he could say what I did and
16 that I wasn't at the front.
17 Q. Now, we've heard several witnesses who have
18 appeared in the course of this trial. They made
19 mention of seeing some HVO kind of people in uniforms
20 and so forth in the vicinity of the Kupreskic houses
21 during the day of the 15th. But it is true to say, is
22 it not, Mr. Kupreskic, that clearly you were not there
23 so have no personal experience as to whether any HVO
24 were in Ahmici or not during the 15th; is that right?
25 Because you were in Split.
1 A. On the 15th of April, I was in another state,
2 whereas in my house and near my house, there were no
3 military men. Neither did they come, neither did they
4 appear, neither did my wife tell me anything to that
6 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, the fact is if you were in
7 another state, you were out on the road travelling and
8 were not in Ahmici between the 14th and 7.00 on the
9 15th, what I'm saying is you have no personal knowledge
10 to say whether or not some HVO people visited that
11 area. You can't say. You weren't there.
12 A. Of course, I didn't know, nor could I see,
13 nor did I hear anything.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. BLAXILL: Now, Your Honours, I don't know
16 if you were planning a 12.15-type of break. I've hit a
17 subject matter that would be convenient for that
18 purpose if you wish to.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: No. Since we have to stop at
20 1.00, I would go on.
21 MR. BLAXILL: I can also encourage you to the
22 idea I shall not be a dramatically long period now, so
23 I think our timing for today would be more than ample,
24 if that's any encouragement, Your Honours. I'll try
25 and be brief.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
2 MR. BLAXILL:
3 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, you say you made your way down
4 to the shelter of Jozo Vrebac; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And you left your father at the family home
7 because he refused to go, he didn't want to go?
8 A. Yes. He stayed behind in the house.
9 Q. Did your father say why he was content to
10 stay in the house? Did he say anything about, "Well,
11 we have nothing to fear. We know everybody. There's
12 no danger to us," did he say anything like that to you?
13 A. Well, when I came to fetch them, he wasn't
14 ready, and he said to me, "I'm not going. I'm an old
15 man." Whether he said something else to the effect,
16 "No one will hurt us," it's possible, but I can't
17 remember exactly now.
18 Q. You, as I say, leave with your family. What
19 were you wearing at the time, sir?
20 A. I had civilian clothing. I had a jacket, a
21 winter jacket, trousers, shoes or boots, I don't
22 remember exactly, a shirt. That's it.
23 Q. Do you recall the colour and/or fabric of the
25 A. I can because that jacket was something I
1 wore around the house, and I think it was a chocolate
3 Q. And do you recall the material and colour of
4 your trousers that you wore that day?
5 A. I think that my trousers were corduroy,
6 greyish green, perhaps; I'm not sure.
7 Q. You arrived at the shelter, and you have said
8 that, I believe, if I've noted your evidence correctly,
9 you stayed there until at least 9.00; is that right?
10 A. I stayed in the shelter until 10.00.
11 Q. 10.00. And at that time, there had been
12 continual firing? Since your arrival at the shelter,
13 you had heard firing the whole time; is that right?
14 A. Yes, the whole time. Outside and inside one
15 could hear the shooting, and it was very heavy
16 shooting, very loud.
17 Q. Did you in fact leave the building at all
18 prior to 10.00? Did you, in other words, go out of the
19 shelter for any period of time?
20 A. I think that I went out for the first time
21 about 9.30, because it was calming down a little bit,
22 the shooting. I think a couple of other men went out,
23 because we were always curious to see what was
24 happening. We didn't know what it was, and I think the
25 first time we went out was about 9.30.
1 Q. So presumably you were extremely concerned as
2 regards the fate and the condition of your father, who
3 had been left behind at home; is that right?
4 A. Of course I was concerned, because that was
5 the first time in my life to experience such shooting,
6 and I said in the shelter, "My God, this is real war."
7 Q. Did you, whilst you -- well, when you arrived
8 at the shelter, or in fact when you left the shelter,
9 did you see in Zume, there, the presence of any Croat
10 soldiers or military units, defensive bunkers, or
11 anything of that nature, set up to protect the Zume
12 area from attack? Did you see anything like that?
13 A. No. I didn't see that.
14 Q. You say you personally had not seen any of
15 the soldiers who had gone up into Ahmici that morning;
16 is that right?
17 A. I hadn't seen any.
18 Q. Had you been told by anybody that they had
19 seen soldiers and who those soldiers were, where they
20 came from?
21 A. No. I heard that for the first time from
22 Niko Sakic, in his house, in his kitchen.
23 Q. When you went down to the shelter, had you
24 been given any indication that the area was coming
25 under attack, possibly by Muslim forces?
1 A. I didn't know anything. I wanted to get the
2 first information from my cousin, Ivica. However, I
3 didn't find him in front of the houses, so I became
4 even more scared, and we hastened towards the shelter
5 even faster.
6 Q. Did the possibility of, quote, "a Mujahedin
7 attack" cross your mind at all?
8 A. Well, I can't recall with precision, but I
9 think, in flight -- I can't claim whether this thought
10 occurred to me, because I had heard, earlier on,
11 reports on Mujahedin attacks from Barin Gaj, from the
12 forest, and we were always afraid of that.
13 Q. Because wasn't at least the local rumour,
14 wasn't that the concept that the Mujahedin were
15 fearsome individuals who would kill people, and you
16 just didn't want the Mujahedin coming to your village;
17 isn't that right? Is that what the rumour was?
18 A. Yes, there were such bad rumours about
19 Mujahedins. They were people from outside, that they
20 are prone to brutal acts, and we were all afraid of
21 them. I think even our neighbours, Muslims, were
22 scared of them.
23 Q. I'm just finding a little difficulty
24 understanding at this point, Mr. Kupreskic, that
25 whatever your father may have said about remaining
1 behind, you actually left him there when there is
2 something perhaps going to happen that could be
3 extremely dangerous to people. Now, did you not try
4 and persuade him to go with you, or say you would help
5 him, or carry him, or do whatever, to get him out of
6 that area?
7 A. At that moment, it never occurred to me,
8 because I had hoped that he would be ready. When I
9 came down for the first time, he didn't say to me
10 whether he was going or not.
11 However, I was most surprised by the call of
12 Ivica Kupreskic. Everyone had gone. So, simply, I
13 never thought about it. I just picked up my children
14 and went off towards Ivica Kupreskic's house.
15 Q. You say that later in the day you did
16 endeavour to return to the property and did indeed get
17 back and see your father?
18 A. Yes, at great risk and with great effort. I
19 travelled for almost three hours from the shelter to my
20 house, and around 1.00, I managed to see my father.
21 Q. Was it not true, though, that some members of
22 your community were able to move around in that area
23 during the course of that morning, and they had not
24 taken several hours to do so? Wasn't Mr. Ivica
25 Kupreskic out and about, himself, during that period?
1 A. No, I don't know that. I'm not aware of
2 where Ivica Kupreskic was nor what he was doing.
3 Q. Did you encounter him at all during that day?
4 A. I can't remember seeing him or meeting him
5 that day.
6 Q. Let's go right through to the evening: 6.00,
7 7.00, 8.00 that evening of the 16th. You still say, do
8 you, that you did not meet Mr. Ivica Kupreskic?
9 A. Perhaps in the evening, in the shelter, he
10 may have come, but it is very difficult for me to
11 recollect these things. Possibly sometime in the
12 evening, that is possible.
13 Q. Sir, with what was going on in the vicinity,
14 surely you would remember meeting someone who is your
15 relative and to all intents and purposes also your
16 employer? You would surely have remembered meeting
17 Mr. Ivica Kupreskic in the course of that day, would
18 you not?
19 A. Certainly I would remember, in the course of
20 that day, at the most critical time. But I couldn't
21 see anyone.
22 Q. If I were to say to you that it is a matter
23 of record here -- you may recall it yourself; you heard
24 him testify -- that he saw you once that day, at about
25 6.00 p.m., out of the front of the Vrebac shelter? And
1 Mr. Ivica Kupreskic also said that he had telephoned
2 you earlier -- which we know -- but that he had seen a
3 group of soldiers, and that you should take your family
4 to that shelter. He actually mentioned seeing
5 soldiers. Now, on those two points, do you have a
6 comment, sir?
7 A. I don't know what Ivica saw, how, and whom.
8 It's possible that we saw each other in the shelter
9 around 6.00. I told you that I can't remember with
10 certainty. I said it was quite possible.
11 Q. There are two specific facts here,
12 Mr. Kupreskic; I would like you to address your mind to
13 these as specific facts. One, that you and he
14 encountered each other outside the Vrebac shelter at
15 about 6.00 p.m. Is that true or is that false?
16 A. It would be perhaps true, but I can't
17 remember exactly.
18 Q. Mr. Ivica Kupreskic also stated that when he
19 had telephoned you earlier that day, he mentioned
20 having seen a group of soldiers, and that you and your
21 family should also go to the shelter. Now, the fact I
22 want you to focus on: Did Ivica Kupreskic say that he
23 had seen a group of soldiers, or did he not say that,
24 when you spoke to him on the telephone?
25 A. He did not tell me that on the phone. But
1 whether he saw some soldiers and called me, having seen
2 them, that, I do not know.
3 Q. We've heard put to you, indeed, by
4 Mr. Krajina, the various sightings that were alleged
5 against you during the course of the 16th of April,
6 1993, put, I might add, so fairly by Mr. Krajina. I
7 don't propose to comment on them, because he very
8 accurately described what those witnesses said or at
9 least I think so.
10 What I can't understand, Mr. Kupreskic, is
11 this. You were on such good terms with the Muslims in
12 that area, you've lived there all your life, your home
13 is surrounded by Muslim houses, your relatives are
14 around you, you are respected in business; why are you
15 being accused by all these different people who knew
16 you so well? It can't be because you owned a house in
17 a strategic position, can it, Mr. Kupreskic?
18 A. No, that is not so, and I repeat, I think
19 that I'm being accused only because my Muslim
20 neighbours could not -- just as I could not recognise
21 those soldiers, neither could they, and they are
22 accusing me only because I was their next-door
23 neighbour, because my house is there, and because
24 evidently there was gunfire from the house or around
25 the house.
1 I see no other reason, nor is there any other
2 reason. All the more so as I have never, any gesture
3 of mine, anything that I did, would move in that
4 direction or show that I could do something like that.
5 But couldn't you see, Mr. Prosecutor, that
6 six Muslims from Ahmici came here and testified in my
7 defence, on my account? You will see that there are 30
8 testimonies of witnesses, Muslims defend me. I have
9 accurate statistics: 54 Defence witnesses here
10 testified pro those facts that I quote as showing that
11 I'm not guilty, and the Prosecution had only 57
12 witnesses to call.
13 Q. I don't think, with respect, Mr. Kupreskic,
14 the numbers are that important. What I'm suggesting is
15 this: Is it not a very curious thing, when you express
16 that there are such good relations so close around you,
17 that so many people would indeed be putting that
18 allegation to you?
19 But let us move on from there, sir. What I
20 would like to do now, if I may, is turn to the one
21 incident that involved --
22 A. Excuse me, Mr. Prosecutor, but this is an
23 insult. I am accused by only one witness, Witness U,
24 for only a split second, that he saw me with a rifle.
25 Not any other witness ever said that he saw me with
1 weapons or that I had done anything wrong. And then
2 Witness L, who describes military in my house, he is a
3 mentally-ill person, and there is only one person who
4 is accusing me.
5 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, I'd like to move, actually, to
6 the testimony of Witness Q. Do you recall who that
8 A. Sure I do.
9 Q. Now, you heard what he and his relatives said
10 about their endeavours to escape to Upper Ahmici,
11 passing the vicinity of your house, and mentioning your
12 presence there with that of some uniformed soldiers.
13 You do recall that, do you not?
14 A. I do not, because I was not there, and
15 therefore I cannot recall it, because I was not there.
16 And if you mean whether I remember that they said that,
17 yes, I did. Perhaps I didn't understand the question.
18 Q. Thank you. That's it precisely. Now --
19 A. I'm sorry. I mean, the previous question
20 really upset me, and -- and they said -- yes, yes, they
21 did. I understood what they said.
22 Q. Now, the people made that allegation against
23 you, they included people who knew your family very
24 well, direct neighbours, indeed. Is that correct,
1 Please take your time, Mr. Kupreskic.
2 A. Yes, they are my direct neighbours. Pezers
3 are my next-door neighbours.
4 Q. There is, in fact, then a quotation in the
5 course of what these people were saying, that there was
6 some shouting to them, and this one person turned
7 around and looked, and I think -- to encapsulate their
8 evidence, very small -- with some astonishment
9 recognised their neighbour, Vlatko Kupreskic, there
10 with those people.
11 Now, sir, again, I'm going to ask you:
12 First, you were on good terms with these people. Is
13 that right? Prior to the war, obviously.
14 A. Yes, I was, normal, good.
15 Q. So, again, why do they say, "I turned, and to
16 my amazement, it's my neighbour, Vlatko, with a gun,
17 with these guys, and the people are shooting at us"?
18 I find that a very difficult thing to
19 understand, Mr. Kupreskic. I would like you to try and
20 perhaps say why this person -- not just that "The
21 locals were going to blame us," but why him? Why him?
22 A. Well, I already answered that question. I am
23 also astonished that of 14 persons, only that person
24 saw me, and also for a split second. I don't think
25 that that person is telling the truth.
1 Q. Okay, sir, thank you. That's an answer.
2 You did pay a visit back to your family home
3 during the course of that morning, or around lunchtime,
4 I think you said, and when you arrived, there were
5 soldiers at your house; is that right?
6 A. Yes, I found soldiers in the house.
7 Q. When you discovered those soldiers, were they
8 easily identifiable? In other words, did you know
9 precisely whose army they were when you saw them?
10 A. Not right away. When I saw the first
11 soldier, I couldn't even guess, nor did I know who it
13 Q. How, sir, could you judge the safety factor
14 of making an approach, as you did, to those soldiers,
15 if you didn't know who they were? What were your
16 feelings for your own safety at that time?
17 A. You're quite right. The risk was really
18 big. But for some three or four hours, I was feeling
19 this incredible -- this very powerful instinct for my
20 parent, and perhaps it just prevailed. Of course, when
21 I saw the soldiers, of course I was scared.
22 Q. I'm finding, as a result, your description of
23 your movements somewhat difficult, sir. You say that
24 you are down at a shelter from around 6.00 in the
25 morning; you are concerned for your father, who was
1 left behind in the family home, and yet you don't go
2 back there until 1.30, or 1.00, whenever you say the
3 time was, around lunchtime. You don't go back to that
4 house, and yet at that time, you seem prepared to run
5 the risk. Now, what was the difference in danger for
6 the hours you were sheltering and the risk you were now
7 running, approaching unknown soldiers?
8 A. Why, I felt all the time this urge: What to
9 do, how to do it, what should I do, how to go to fetch
10 my father, but that was impossible. Then it lasted,
11 and there was this clash with my wife and my
12 children -- "Don't go, you'll get killed" -- and it was
13 only around 10.00 when the gunfire subsided a little,
14 and I was looking for the right moment. I thought that
15 would be the right moment; however, I was wrong.
16 Because when I came close, and that is about a
17 kilometre that I had to cover, when I came closer from
18 Niko Sakic's house, then I truly realised what kind of
19 gunfire it was, what kind of detonations they were, and
20 then I simply did not move forward, not at any cost.
21 Q. All right. But you eventually make your
22 approach to the house, and you are challenged by a
23 soldier who sees you; is that right? Or did you call
24 to him?
25 A. I saw him first. He did not see me because
1 he was watching, observing other points, perhaps more
2 interesting. But I had nothing -- I had no choice. I
3 was scared stiff. So I just surrendered; I raised my
4 arms and said, "I am Vlatko Kupreskic." I said also
5 that I was the resident of that house and that I had
6 come to fetch my father.
7 Q. So you were the first to speak; you spoke to
8 the soldier first. Is that right? If I understand
9 what you're saying.
10 A. I think I was the first one to do that. I
11 glimpsed him straight away, because he was doing with
12 his head left and right, and he was bound to see me
13 within a second or two. So I just shouted out quickly,
14 "I'm Vlatko Kupreskic," and he just pointed his rifle
15 at me.
16 Q. It quickly became apparent to you that he was
17 a Croat soldier, or Bosnian Croat soldier, and that he
18 presumably identified you by your name and however else
19 as being of Croatian descent, so he then took you into
20 the house; is that right?
21 A. No, it is not right. I also glimpsed him by
22 chance, and I simply had no other choice, because he
23 had a weapon, and I didn't know what kind of weapon,
24 what army it was, what soldier it was, until I entered
25 the house and saw them. Even then, when he told me to
1 come near, I wasn't looking at him. I dared not look
2 at him.
3 Q. But certainly no harm came to you, and you
4 were escorted into the house by the soldier; is that
6 A. Well, now I can make a guess as to why he
7 took me into the house. He just told me, "Follow me."
8 It's because my father was inside. He was not on the
9 ground floor, where my father usually lives. My father
10 was upstairs. Later on, afterwards, I asked my father
11 why he was upstairs, how did it happen that he got up
12 there? Because he couldn't move easily around. And he
13 told me that whilst he was still on the ground floor,
14 that he had noticed the military ransacking houses,
15 taking things out, and thinking that he would protect
16 the house against this pillage if he moved to the first
17 floor. So he somehow managed to climb to the first
18 floor, but they did not look at anyone.
19 Q. Now, when you got inside the house, your
20 father was in fact obviously very distressed, but he
21 was at least safe, was he not?
22 A. I think -- I don't think he was safe. I
23 think he was in danger, and so was I, because those
24 people hardly said a word. They looked so terrible. I
25 even saw a bayonet.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
2 Mr. Kupreskic, more simply, would be nobody had shot or
3 harmed your father in that house when you got there; is
4 that right?
5 A. Yes, it is. No, nobody did him any harm.
6 Q. Nobody offered any violence to you or to your
7 father whilst you remained in the house with him; is
8 that right?
9 A. Yes, it is right. They did no harm to me
11 Q. And perhaps the only drama that occurred was
12 when, it seems, an UNPROFOR tank came by and the HVO
13 soldiers dived to the floor, and they dragged you down
14 with them, until the tank had gone; is that right?
15 A. Well, yes, it was quite dramatic, but they
16 all went down to the floor in both rooms. I couldn't
17 understand why he pulled me down from the chair, but
18 that's how it was.
19 Q. Now, yesterday, you made reference to
20 somebody using a Motorola just before that incident
21 when they dived on the floor. I could have made an
22 erroneous note of what I heard you say. Would you
23 please repeat what it was you heard was said by the man
24 using the Motorola?
25 A. I can't remember ever recounting what this
1 man said. I just don't remember. I don't think I ever
2 mentioned that. I don't know about that. But at that
3 time, I was just too afraid to remember things like
4 that. Besides, I dare not focus on listening to him
5 because I thought it might be too dangerous.
6 Q. Well, that's a remark then that will have to
7 remain lost on both of us, Mr. Kupreskic.
8 Now, sir, you described the interior of your
9 property when you got there, and I believe you
10 mentioned that there were goods strewn about, that some
11 soil from pots had been tossed on the carpet, and the
12 place looked a bit ransacked. Is that a fair
13 description by me as to what you said?
14 A. Well, it's difficult to describe it, and it
15 would be a waste of time, but everything was
16 topsy-turvy, that is true. Subsequently, I learned
17 from my father what they told him, "Why is there no
18 money here? Where is it? Where is the money? This is
19 a rich house. How is it that there is no money here?"
20 They were trying to force him to bring the money out,
21 but that was impossible.
22 Q. I see. Thank you, sir. Mr. Kupreskic, can
23 you tell me, sir, whether the windows of that building
24 were intact when you got to your house on the 16th of
25 April, 1993?
1 A. No, I did not say that, nor could I see that,
2 but afterwards --
3 Q. No. I was asking you whether the windows
4 were intact when you got to your house on the 16th of
5 April, 1993.
6 A. Those windows in those two rooms, I can only
7 talk about them, they were not damaged.
8 Q. They were not damaged. Was there the
9 presence of any other military personnel in any other
10 of the rooms in the house?
11 A. Well, I have yet another floor and I have
12 other rooms on that same floor, but I did not see, nor
13 did I dare move about. I only saw those two rooms
14 because we had a sliding door and it was open and it
15 was already broken and it was destroyed.
16 Q. If you did not go to the upper floor, did you
17 hear any sound of boots tramping about or sounds of
18 movement or the presence of persons on the upper floor?
19 A. I did not hear anything truly, but
20 considering the fear that I was experiencing, whether I
21 could see anything or hear anything, but I didn't hear
23 Q. You say, sir, that the two rooms that you've
24 referred to, that had been taken over by these
25 soldiers, those two rooms, I presume, had doors, did
1 they? I mean, they weren't open archways. Did they
2 have doors?
3 A. Those two rooms had three doors, two front
4 doors, two doors from which one entered, and then one
5 door between them, a sliding door, a sort of folding
6 door between those two rooms.
7 Q. I realise you've described stressful
8 circumstances, but did you notice the condition of the
9 doors in those rooms when you went into your house?
10 Had they been damaged?
11 A. Those two rooms, no, the doors to those two
12 rooms were not damaged, no, not at that time when I was
13 there, as far as I can recollect. But I didn't really
14 look at the door, yet I don't think they were damaged.
15 Q. I will be referring later, and we will look
16 at certain sections of your interview that I've
17 referred to with Mr. Terrier back in June 1998, but you
18 appeared to have said to him in an interview: "I found
19 my father who was frightened and crying. The house was
20 devastated and destroyed." Now, in the part you say
21 has been occupied by soldiers, I would suggest to you,
22 sir, that hardly warrants the description of
23 "devastated" or "destroyed," unless this is purely a
24 linguistic difference that we have a problem with?
25 A. Well, quite. You're using different terms.
1 The damage was assessed, I think, totalling some 25.000
2 German marks, we submitted it here as one of the
3 exhibits for the Defence, by the assessment agency, and
4 this can show you what kind of damage the house
5 suffered. Of course, it wasn't completely demolished.
6 It wasn't total damage.
7 Q. What had happened to the Levi's? You'd
8 packed up all the Levi's to deliver to Travnik. What
9 happened to them?
10 A. That was stolen. That was taken away, all of
12 Q. Was there any other goods that you'd had for
13 Travnik that you had at the house and went missing?
14 A. Yes. Yes, there was some underwear and those
15 sneakers. Some of it was prepared for that particular
16 buyer, and another part was singled out for our retail
17 outlets, within our company.
18 Q. Where, Mr. Kupreskic, had you, in fact,
19 stored that stuff? Prior to taking it to Travnik, you
20 had put it somewhere in the house. Where had you put
22 A. Well, first, we unloaded it in the garage,
23 Ivica and I, and then, since we had to separate those
24 two lots, some of it had to stay with the company and
25 another one packed for that buyer, then my wife and I
1 took it upstairs, and those labels or, rather, some
2 stickers, we put them on the Levi's and made the
3 inventory and wrote out the invoice. So that these
4 goods were simply upstairs on the first floor of my
6 Q. All right. So they were above the room where
7 you found your father and the soldiers; yes?
8 A. No. Those goods were on the same floor where
9 I lived, where those soldiers were. Because I was
10 planning not to waste any time that morning, I mean, to
11 take all those goods as soon as I got up and to take
12 it, because there weren't too many goods there.
13 Q. You were, in fact, sent away from the house
14 by the soldier. You've described that event. One of
15 the soldiers told you to scram and come back later.
16 When you went back for your father, you say that the
17 soldiers had gone; yes?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You stated that you were able to take some
20 food from the refrigerator, so presumably they hadn't
21 stolen the food; is that right?
22 A. It is. They did not. But from my father's
23 refrigerator downstairs, I took it from below because I
24 found it in his refrigerator. When I was upstairs at
25 1.00, there was nothing. Everything was upside down.
1 Everything was destroyed. On the round table there, I
2 saw that they had taken my food from my refrigerator,
3 even from the larder, and eating there and sticking
4 their knives into the table. It was a tragic scene.
5 Q. Did you, in fact, check the entire house at
6 that time, when you got back to the house on the 16th?
7 A. Come on, no. I only entered the front door,
8 to the first floor, and to those two rooms. While I
9 was there, I could only see those two rooms and not in
10 full yet and, of course, the passage and the staircase,
11 and that was all that I could see that day. I even
12 dared not -- in the evening, around 6.00, and even
13 then, I dare not go round and inspect the place because
14 I was expecting them to come any time again, and I
15 realised what it was all about. I realised that it was
16 a war.
17 Q. Clearly we cannot say as to whether the
18 damage or whatever has happened to your home was due to
19 the events of the 16th of April or, indeed, may have
20 been on subsequent days as the war unfolded; is that
22 A. This destruction took place on the 16th, and
23 I assume that it went on on the 17th. I said they
24 would not allow me to approach the house even. I think
25 they destroyed it slowly, those military men, and also
1 the Muslim houses on the 17th and 18th, and that is
2 what I heard later on from other people.
3 Q. You've also heard, have you not, in this
4 court, I believe, one of the British military made a
5 statement that on the day he saw your house, amongst
6 others, and like most of the Croat-owned houses, it
7 appeared to be undamaged, by comparison certainly to
8 those of the Muslim neighbours whose houses had been
9 destroyed. What do you have to say to that, sir?
10 Isn't that true?
11 A. As far as I can remember, that man never said
12 here that he had seen me that day, nor could he see me
13 on that day.
14 Q. I'm referring, sir, to your house, that those
15 houses had been seen by him that day and they were not
16 damaged; is that right?
17 A. That day -- what he saw that day, I really
18 cannot say. But that day, yes, of course, my house was
19 not as destroyed as, very likely, the houses of my
20 neighbours were. Because only for a moment when that
21 soldier took me out, I saw Sukrija Ahmic's house, that
22 is, my neighbour's house, on fire, and, of course, it
23 was in a worse condition than my house.
24 Q. I have one last point to put to you, sir,
25 regarding the question of the house, and that is this:
1 Is it correct that the document you produced, I
2 believe, to this Court was created in 1995? Because
3 that's the time that the claim was put in and the claim
4 was formulated. It was in 1995; is that correct?
5 A. As far as I can remember, yes, it was in
7 MR. BLAXILL: Mr. President, I have reached a
8 contextual complete break point here to move on to
9 other matters. There are essentially two major
10 documents I propose to refer to after the luncheon
11 break, if you care to take it now. One is the war
12 diary that is already before the Chamber. There is the
13 interview that was conducted by my learned friend,
14 Mr. Terrier, with the accused back in 1998. Perhaps I
15 can just tender that to you before lunch so that,
16 administratively, we have it ready --
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
18 MR. BLAXILL: -- and then I will have little
19 by way of documentary references and things after that,
20 and I won't be taking very long either.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. May I take this
22 opportunity to ask Counsel Krajina whether he would
23 like to tender into evidence the sketch made by Vlatko
24 Kupreskic, the sketch the witness used this morning.
25 MR. KRAJINA: No, Mr. President. No.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Why not? I thought it would
2 be useful. Anyway, if you don't --
3 MR. KRAJINA: In that case, thank you very
4 much, and in that case, we are tendering it into
5 evidence as a Defence Exhibit. We simply thought that
6 it was his own private sketch. We didn't know about it
7 beforehand. But thank you very much for this
8 suggestion, and, yes, we do tender it now.
9 MR. BLAXILL: In that case, Mr. President, I
10 won't object.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. It is admitted
12 into evidence.
13 We will adjourn now until 2.30.
14 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Good afternoon.
3 Yes, please.
4 THE REGISTRAR: There is one exhibit that has
5 to be tendered into evidence. It is the sketch made by
6 Vlatko Kupreskic.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
8 THE REGISTRAR: The number will be D62/3.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Blaxill?
10 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, one question remains I would
12 like to clear up regarding the time that you went to
13 the house for the first time to see your father. Can
14 you tell me, please, how long you stayed at the house
15 where your father and the soldiers were both present?
16 A. I cannot be very specific. I believe that I
17 did not stay for more than 15 to 20 minutes,
18 considering all things that went on there. Even today,
19 it seems to me as if this was a much longer period of
20 time, but perhaps it was, all in all, about 15 minutes.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. BLAXILL: I wonder if Defence Exhibit
23 13/1 could be shown to the witness, please.
24 Q. Again, Mr. Kupreskic, I would like really to
25 clear up something I could have covered earlier, but I
1 believe that the photographs you are now looking at
2 represent the shelter accommodation at the Vrebac
3 house; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you tell me, please, whereabouts in
6 that shelter you went when you arrived there?
7 A. We went down the stairs to the ground floor.
8 Q. Could you tell us which picture number you're
9 going to refer to?
10 A. We were here (indicating), to the left as you
11 come down the stairs, in this room to the left which
12 you cannot see here in the picture, because not all
13 rooms are shown in the photographs. But I remember
14 that these two rooms were on the other side, the
15 opposite side. They did not have any doors, so there
16 were just like openings. Where we were, that room did
17 have a door. So you cannot see it. It's picture
18 number 4, but you cannot see the room itself.
19 Q. Is it possible that we can just see the edge
20 of the door frame on the left side of that picture? Is
21 that the doorway you are talking about?
22 A. Yes, here you can just barely see it.
23 Q. Okay, sir. Did you remain in that room for
24 the whole time you stayed at the shelter?
25 A. No. No, because I was one of the last ones
1 to arrive in the shelter, and there were already quite
2 a few people there, especially the rooms downstairs.
3 So fairly shortly thereafter, I climbed back upstairs.
4 It's -- let's say in photograph number 1, I
5 went into this hallway here (indicating). When you
6 enter here, there is a hallway, and there are two or
7 three additional rooms here on this level. I also
8 remember I also used a toilet here, and you can see the
9 window here (indicating). And then you can also see
10 the windows to the rooms.
11 I remember that the parquet floor became
12 twisted a little bit, because nobody lived there, and
13 it was not used.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kupreskic. Now, sir, moving
15 on, I'm going to ask you some questions relating to any
16 time up to and including the 16th of April, 1993, but
17 no further at this point. Have you, sir, up to and
18 including the 16th of April, 1993, ever owned a
20 A. Until 16 April, 1993, if that is the date
21 that you were referring to, I never had a rifle. I
22 said that I acquired the rifle only after the war.
23 Q. I see. Did you have any other form of
24 firearm -- maybe a pistol, or anything of that nature
25 -- in your possession up to the 16th of April?
1 A. Yes. Yes, I believe -- in fact, I did
2 acquire, in a legal way, a pistol. I don't know
3 exactly when. I think it was perhaps as early as 1985,
4 because I travelled a lot, I moved around a lot, even
5 at night, in different areas. So I got a regular
6 permit, and I acquired a pistol. But believe it or
7 not, in all those ten years, I perhaps fired up to ten
8 rounds from that weapon, and perhaps it was also -- my
9 father may have used it for celebrations, because we
10 have a custom to shoot in the air during celebrations
12 Q. You said you bought it because you travelled
13 a lot and so forth; does that mean that you used, in
14 fact, to carry the pistol with you for self-protection?
15 A. Yes, I usually kept it in the car, in the
16 glove compartment, for personal protection.
17 Q. And I am presuming, Mr. Kupreskic, that the
18 ten rounds you fired were just a bit of practice with
19 the weapon; is that right?
20 A. No. I was never interested in weapons. I
21 only -- I don't even know myself, because once at home,
22 while I was showing a friend this pistol, it
23 accidentally fired, and I nearly killed myself and my
24 friend. From then on, I did not carry it around at
25 all. So we can take it to an expert; you will see.
1 They will be able to tell you no more than ten bullets
2 were ever fired from it.
3 Q. So again I would ask: Were those bullets
4 fired in a kind of target-practice way, those ten
5 bullets? Or what were the circumstances they were
6 fired in?
7 A. The circumstances under which it fired, I
8 didn't even know how it was locked or not, but my
9 father would use it -- let's say for Christmas, he
10 would shoot from it as some celebration. But I never
11 practised or I never used it. I wasn't interested in
12 that at all.
13 Q. The occasion you had an accidental discharge
14 of the weapon, can you tell us, please, when did that
15 happen? In fact, sir, what year was that in?
16 A. I think it was in 1988, 1989. I cannot
17 recall exactly, but around that period.
18 Q. But as regards any other kind of weapon --
19 and by that I mean a rifle or, you know, a hunting
20 weapon, a long-barrelled weapon -- you say you've never
21 had one up to and including April 1993? That's
22 correct, sir? Yes?
23 A. That is correct. I never had a rifle.
24 Q. Did you at any time over that same time
25 period ever have occasion to have such a weapon in your
1 possession just temporarily, lodged with you by a
2 friend, or in some other way in your possession for a
3 short period of time?
4 A. I only recall one episode which was even
5 funny. On the 16th of April, when I came back from the
6 house around 1.00 p.m., I said that -- when I came out
7 of the larger forest and near the smaller forest, I saw
8 Drago Grgic, and he was carrying a small rifle. I
9 later learned that it belonged to Ivica Kupreskic. But
10 it's a small hunting carbine. It was a trophy weapon.
11 So Ivica had gave it to him for safekeeping, and he
12 told me, "Here is a rifle and give it to Ivica." I
13 didn't know what kind of weapon it was, where it came
14 from. As he was giving it to me, the rifle discharged,
15 and then immediately, I said, "I don't want it." I
16 thought that I'd kill myself and others. Anto Vidovic,
17 called Satko, was there, so he can confirm that. So
18 this rifle was in my possession for several seconds,
19 and I only later learned that Ivica actually owned that
20 rifle and that he later got it back.
21 Q. Okay. Thank you. I will now turn, if I may,
22 to your document, the war diary. Could you perhaps
23 pick that up? I think it's next to you,
24 Mr. Kupreskic.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I just want to refer to a few entries in
3 MR. BLAXILL: Your Honours, the first one I'm
4 going to look at is page 2 of the war diary and the
5 entry for the 8th of December, 1993.
6 A. With your permission, Mr. Prosecutor, I would
7 like to clarify for the Chamber this diary so that
8 everybody would be able to more easily follow these
9 entries to see what they are.
10 This diary has a total of 49 pages. The
11 first 12 pages, including the blank page, the first 12
12 pages refer to the notes and information of my activity
13 in the SPS company for the period of 1987 and 1988 when
14 I was in a commission for housing. So the first 12
15 pages refer to 1987 and 1988, and they are my notes
16 covering my activities at the company.
17 The next 15 pages, and I marked them 1
18 through 15, they are a war journal or war diary. So
19 that would cover the pages starting at page 13, where
20 every day, I entered what I did. So that is the period
21 when I was mobilised as a driver, as an ambulance
22 driver, 15 September, 1993 until 27 April, 1994 when I
23 was demobilised, in other words, when I was released
24 from this duty. So those 15 pages cover this war
25 diary, as I call it.
1 Then the following 22 pages, starting at page
2 27 to page 49, all those 22 pages refer to my
3 preparation of my defence before this Trial Chamber and
4 notes which I took in 1996 and 1997.
5 So now this is probably clear, that we can
6 divide it into these three areas. So one is from the
7 SPS company, the second segment is the wartime
8 activities, and the third is my preparation for my
9 defence before this Trial Chamber.
10 Q. If I can refer to the second section,
11 Mr. Kupreskic, I would ask you to look now, in fact, at
12 the entry, this will shorten matters, for the 13th of
13 December, 1993.
14 MR. BLAXILL: That's the bottom of page 2 in
15 our translation, Your Honours.
16 Q. Would you agree, Mr. Kupreskic, that it is a
17 correct entry by you that Dr. Bosko informed you that
18 evening that "Bertovic had, with his support, proposed
19 me as commander of the medical section, 1st Battalion."
20 Is that what it says there?
21 A. This is in the top right corner, and that is
22 9 December, 1993. Bosko, the doctor, informed me that
23 evening -- yes, that's it.
24 Q. Is it true that if we just look at the pages
25 after that --
1 A. With your permission, I did not fully answer
2 the question. This is what I thought was written here,
3 but what is this? At that time, Dr. Bosko, because I
4 was the only male person in the medical unit, and since
5 these infirmaries were established in there, I think
6 there were five or six of them in that area, and
7 knowing of my organisational skills, he asked me to
8 help him with the control of all these infirmaries in
9 the area of Zume where I worked as a driver.
10 So he proposed this, and he also proposed it
11 to Mr. Bertovic, but I declined to accept it, and you
12 could see it from the next entries, in the same diary,
13 on the same page, if you can follow me, in the bottom
14 right, the entry of 17 December, 1993, where I say that
15 I declined to accept it and that I went to complain to
16 Mr. Sajevic and told him that I did not want to take on
17 that job. So I talked with him on 17 December, 1993.
18 However, as I kept my entries on a daily
19 basis, later on, after that conversation with
20 Mr. Sajevic, I received an oral order, and I had no way
21 out. So I just assisted Dr. Bosko, and I never
22 received any document or a written appointment to that
24 Now, what this duty was, if I was going to go
25 around and to -- for me to go around and visit all
1 these different infirmaries, but I never received any
2 document about it. You will see later on, I think this
3 was on the 20th of December, that I was ordered to help
4 Dr. Bosko and go on visiting all these other
6 Q. So would it be fair to say, Mr. Kupreskic,
7 that, as I say, looking at these various pages, we see,
8 as you say, many visits to clinics and outpatient
9 departments as part of your duties.
10 If I may turn your attention now, it will be
11 page 8, Your Honours, for ourselves, to the entries
12 from the 1st of February, 1994 to the 4th of February,
13 1994, please.
14 A. Let me just clarify. These are not clinics
15 really. These are just village outpatient facilities.
16 There were not even any professional medical staff. I
17 am not a doctor to go around and visit clinics.
18 Q. What I want to ask you about these entries,
19 if I may, in the beginning of February, there are
20 references to inspection of soldiers, and particularly
21 the 3rd of February, 1994, "inspection carried out at,"
22 and then the 4th of February, "inspection again, and
23 again response weak." Were these inspections, in some
24 way, carried out by you on behalf of Dr. Bosko, or were
25 they carried out by other people? Can you tell me what
1 they involved, just very briefly?
2 A. In brief, since I was ordered to assist
3 Dr. Bosko, and we did not have and still to date we do
4 not have a doctor there, so what I did is I just kept
5 notes or records of what the commission would establish
6 or diagnose, after having examined these people. So I
7 was just a note or a record taker there. In a way, I
8 still did the type of work that I was able to do. And
9 I'm not an expert to establish the disabilities of
11 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, let's say this: You've
12 explained, for instance, the document from the police
13 administration where, in order to pay you, they called
14 you by a title, investigator, inspector, whatever. Is
15 it, therefore, logical that when the certificate was
16 issued by the HVO regarding your supposed service
17 periods, the description of "performing the duties of
18 assistant commander for health matters," would that
19 have been a convenient way to describe the way that you
20 were the assistant to Dr. Bosko?
21 A. No. Under no circumstances could I have been
22 the assistant to Dr. Bosko. I know nothing about
23 medicine, and I never performed such a duty, nor did I
24 receive a document to that effect. This document
25 presented by the Prosecutor is something that I saw for
1 the first time here, and I find it highly suspicious,
2 when it was written, how, and what its source is.
3 MR. BLAXILL: Could we have Prosecution
4 Exhibit 329, please.
5 Q. Now, this we have on the machine at the
6 moment -- you have the Bosnian language one in front of
7 you, the Croatian one in front of you -- you say that
8 that document you never saw in your life until produced
9 in court by the Prosecutor; is that correct?
10 A. Correct. I saw it for the first time here in
12 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, do you recall a briefcase
13 being taken from you when you were arrested?
14 A. I do remember my briefcase, but I don't know
15 when it was seized. I just learnt later that it had
16 been taken from my house. But I do not remember ever
17 seeing such a document, nor of it being in that
18 briefcase. I never saw it before.
19 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, may I put it to you that when
20 the contents of that briefcase were inventoried by the
21 Office of the Prosecutor, that document was found in
22 your briefcase. Now, you still say that you have no
23 knowledge of that document?
24 A. I do claim that. Let me tell you something.
25 I received a document with the address and telephone of
1 Anto Furundzija's mother, which shows that this is some
2 sort of speculation, I don't know on whose part. But I
3 never knew Anto Furundzija, I met him here in the
4 detention centre, not to mention his mother and her
5 telephone number. Where did that come from? Where did
6 the name of his mother appear, and her telephone
7 number? And the same can be said of this certificate.
8 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, the HVO booklet, military
9 booklet describing you as unfit, that was found in your
10 briefcase. Do you agree that that was there?
11 A. My military booklet was there in my
12 briefcase, naturally.
13 Q. Is it also true, sir, that there was a tape
14 recorder with a cassette tape in it that was also in
15 your briefcase?
16 A. Yes, all that is correct, with the exception
17 of these two documents. This one, which I really don't
18 remember, I never saw it before, except in here, and
19 the address and telephone number of Furundzija's
21 Q. You also had such items as a passport, you
22 had business documents, and you had a number of other
23 personal papers in that briefcase, did you not?
24 A. All that is true, but allow me to say that
25 those things and documents travelled. You know that
1 yourself; we had a discussion about that here. And
2 that briefcase was opened, and it travelled from one
3 place to another, so anything is possible.
4 Q. Isn't it somewhat remarkable, Mr. Kupreskic,
5 that this document contains your name, your father's
6 name, your date and place of birth, the fact that you
7 were in the medical service in the 92nd Viteska Home
8 Guard Regiment, you certainly were involved in the
9 medical side of work, and that you were demobilised on
10 the 15th of January, 1996? Now, isn't it a bit
11 unbelievable that all that information on a document
12 could have somehow found its way into your briefcase
13 without your knowledge? Wouldn't you be aware of
14 having such a document?
15 I suggest, sir, you were aware of it, and it
16 was in your possession, and you know it was in your
17 briefcase, don't you?
18 A. These data here are not correct, except for
19 my personal data, my name and where and when I was
20 born. The dates, time, it is absolutely not correct.
21 You saw here, on the 13th page of my diary, which I
22 couldn't have made up, that I was demobilised on the
23 15th of September, 1993, as an ambulance driver, and
24 that I performed that duty, I think, until the 27th of
25 April, 1993. And all that is clearly written in my
1 diary. I couldn't have made that up. This was seized
2 from me unexpectedly, wasn't it? So the date is
3 absolutely not correct, nor is the name of the function
4 I performed.
5 Q. But the question --
6 A. And you see, also, the date of the 15th of
7 January, 1958 -- rather, that it says I was demobilised
8 on the 15th of January, 1996. I had been working by
9 then for two years in the Sutre firm and later on in my
10 own firm.
11 Q. So you are disputing that that document was
12 ever present in your briefcase; is that right, sir?
13 Despite the fact that we have an affidavit to say that
14 it was taken from your briefcase.
15 I'll leave it at that.
16 If I can return to your war diary document
17 for one moment.
18 MR. BLAXILL: I would add that I have very
19 few questions left, Your Honours; I shall be concluding
20 shortly. Page 17 on our translation, Your Honours, if
21 you would be so kind.
22 Q. Could you look at the entry that is on the
23 8th of August, 1996? It's just towards the end of your
24 entry for that date, just before the 9th of
25 August, 1996.
1 A. I've found the page. The 8th of August,
2 1996. It says "Thursday."
3 Q. Do you see, written by you, towards the end
4 of that entry, the name Zvonimir Hodak?
5 A. Could you please help me to find it? I can't
6 see it.
7 Q. Well, in our translation, we have the 9th of
8 August, 1996, listed as a date. Would you look just
9 above the 9th of August, 1996?
10 A. I don't seem to able to find that date.
11 Yes, I see it now, on your copy. Yes.
12 Q. You make a list of clothing there, sir.
13 What -- in what context? You talk about a
14 chocolate-coloured suede coat with fur lining,
15 olive-coloured corduroy trousers. What is that list
17 A. I am saying this because I was preparing my
18 defence, and this was in my diary. I wrote down what I
19 was wearing on that morning, the 16th of April, 1993,
20 in civilian clothes, and I am describing with
21 precision, and where I say in the fifth paragraph, as
22 for armaments, I had nothing. After the clothing, then
23 the dash, fifth dashes down, it says of arms, I had
24 none. I had no weapons.
25 Q. Doesn't it also say, "But on the way back I
1 was given a small-calibre rifle belonging to I.K. and
2 three or four bullets," which I presume is the incident
3 you've just described to us?
4 A. Yes. Yes, for a couple of seconds.
5 MR. BLAXILL: May I turn attention now to the
6 interview document of the Prosecutor's interview.
7 That's in the document we submitted. It's a record of
8 interview with representatives of the Office of the
9 Prosecutor, and that document has been handed in.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit
11 number 381.
12 MR. BLAXILL:
13 Q. I will not go over ground that has been
14 covered, I'm sure quite exhaustively, in many areas,
15 but, Mr. Kupreskic, is it correct that you told the
16 representatives of the OTP -- namely Mr. Terrier and
17 Mr. Smith -- when you were interviewed that when you
18 were called and you went to see your father before
19 going to the shelter, your father actually said to you
20 "'You, yourself, know we never had any problems,' so
21 he remained in the house and others left to the
22 shelter"? Do you recall saying that?
23 A. Probably I did, because indeed, it may have
24 been like that. I can't now remember all the details,
25 but we really never did have any problems from anyone.
1 And at the time, I repeat again, and I underline in
2 this interview, that those details, at the time, I
3 thought were not important, whereas today and now, I
4 have a different opinion.
5 Q. You said, and it is recorded on the English
6 translation at page 14, second large paragraph down,
7 you said, "At 9.00 a.m. I was in the shelter, they told
8 us that we can come out of the shelter into the yard of
9 the shelter, when I came out my wife and children
10 remained in the shelter. I was shocked by what I saw,
11 I said: "My God, this is real war."
12 And then you said, "No shooting there, there
13 was no shooting in the vicinity anymore, but the houses
14 were on fire already, especially the houses near my
16 You then express concern because your father
17 was still at home and then offered to draw a sketch of
18 the location of your home.
19 Mr. Kupreskic, you said then that at
20 9.00 a.m. you were actually outside the shelter, and
21 there was no shooting. The question then is, why
22 didn't you go to your father then, if that is correct?
23 A. Could you please show me the page? Tell me
24 the page where I can find this.
25 Page 13, you said?
1 Q. Well, I'm working from an English
2 translation, Mr. Kupreskic, so we possibly have a
3 problem to marry them up. But the question -- I'll try
4 and get a way to orientate you. I'm told it's around
5 page 13, and you had just been asked --
6 A. I've found it.
7 Q. If you would just read on a couple of
8 paragraphs, sir, that's the bit I mentioned to you.
9 A. I've found it.
10 Q. That's my question: Is that accurate? Was
11 it in fact quiet at 9.00? Were you outside the
12 shelter? And if so, why didn't you go up to your house
14 A. You see, it says quite clearly here, after
15 the initials "V.K.," my name, I was in the shelter
16 until 9.30, but it is not properly written. I think
17 everything coincides with what I testified yesterday.
18 I said that about 9.30, I went out. I left the shelter
19 and went to a hill outside, because the shooting seemed
20 to have subsided. From there, I could see the smoke,
21 and there was still some shooting, and then I said,
22 "God, it really is a war."
23 I think that in my statement I also described
24 the situation similarly, but the discussion about such
25 details, on the basis of which we later broke off this
1 interview, in those days I wasn't focused on such
2 details, as I have been now, during these two days of
3 my testimony. At the time, I didn't think that it was
4 so important for me to describe everything. That
5 interview wasn't conceived in that way. We had sought,
6 as we had agreed, and you know that a year previously,
7 I presented my defence to the Prosecution, and one of
8 the reasons, the most important reason that I asked to
9 testify, was to clarify for Their Honours these details
10 that we are talking about now.
11 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, with all due respect, at that
12 time, you were held in detention in a prison. You were
13 being questioned by representatives of the
14 Prosecution. You were in the presence of two defence
15 attorneys, Mr. Krajina and Mr. Par, and yet you say you
16 conducted yourself on the basis that you didn't think
17 the details were that important? Is that what you're
18 trying to say to us, sir? If that's what you are
19 saying, I accept what you say.
20 A. Yes. At the time, I thought it was not
21 important. It even says here, I can find it for you,
22 when I addressed Mr. Terrier and said to him, "Don't
23 misuse my words sometime in the future." You must
24 understand that this is my first experience in my whole
25 life of this kind. So one of the main reasons, and you
1 saw that I was the first to ask to testify in court in
2 order to explain everything to Their Honours.
3 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, towards the bottom of what is
4 page 15 in our translation, it may be probably another
5 eight paragraphs on from where you are now, you
6 referred to how you became involved in the work in the
7 medical service, and one little sentence in there is
8 this: "I could not refuse this, since even until that
9 time, I always received negative criticism because of
10 my passivity." So, in fact, did you exhibit
11 willingness to assist the HVO in that respect, in that
12 work, in order to change a possible perception of
13 yourself as not willing to partake? Is that what you
14 were doing?
15 A. I avoided any commitment. Which normal man
16 would want to go to war and to perform duties in
17 wartime? I think I am a normal man, and I never wanted
18 to accept that. However, when the army threatens you
19 and when they give you orders, you had no choice. Is
20 it a crime that I helped people during the war in the
21 town of Vitez? I helped wounded Muslims as well. I
22 have a witness who made a statement here, she's a
23 Muslim, and I helped her with my own car. She made a
24 statement, and she certified that statement in the
25 municipality. She's a Muslim witness.
1 Q. Just one final thing. You indicated, when
2 interviewed, that you signed a number of commercial
3 documents when you were in Split. Did you retain
4 possession of those documents to prove the transactions
5 you entered into?
6 A. That is not what I said. If you are
7 referring to the 14th of April, 1993, we had only one
8 contact and agreement in the company Koteks. Before
9 that, all I can say is that we had agreements and
10 contracts, and we have the necessary documents also in
11 the company Uzor in Split, which engaged in textile
12 trade, and Jugoplastika and Brodomerkur companies.
13 These are all major companies with which we cooperated,
14 and I think there is my business notebook still
15 somewhere, like this diary, from which I can show you
16 the business contacts that we had with those
17 enterprises in Split.
18 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, you also made reference in
19 that interview to the house, that when you went back to
20 the house to see your father, and you were asked --
21 Your Honours, this is page 32 of the interview
22 document -- "What kind of damage to your house did you
23 see?" And you gave a description which I suggest
24 was -- you said, "The front door was broken into, the
25 lock of the second door shot off. All the windows were
1 open overlooking the road to Ahmici. The bedroom was
2 destroyed," and then you discovered what you've already
3 stated here today and yesterday, about mud and soil,
4 probably from dirty boots.
5 Do you maintain today that that is still an
6 accurate description of the damage to the property?
7 A. Of course it is accurate. What I said then
8 and all that I have said in these past two days, I
9 think I described everything well. I mention here that
10 especially when I arrived with my wife, some ten days
11 later, when I reached my house, then we saw in detail
12 what had happened, and I think that all these things
13 fully coincide.
14 MR. BLAXILL: Your Honours, I want to move on
15 to another topic. It's brief. I have a small amount
16 of audiotape to play. It is just a few moments, a few
17 lines of conversation. I would be grateful if that
18 could be played at this moment. Yes, we do have
19 transcripts for Your Honours.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: We also need a number for the
21 interview. Exhibit 381, sorry.
22 THE REGISTRAR: The tape will be Prosecution
23 Exhibit --
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Counsel Krajina?
25 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, allow me. We
1 don't know what this is, what kind of tape, what
2 document is going to be shown. It has not been
3 disclosed to us, so I object.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Blaxill?
5 MR. BLAXILL: Your Honours, you heard
6 reference by myself a little earlier to Mr. Kupreskic
7 regarding the contents of his briefcase which included
8 a tape recorder and a piece of audiotape, a cassette.
9 It is the audio cassette that was recovered from his
10 briefcase, and in respect of that, a receipt was duly
11 signed by my learned friend Mr. Krajina as the fact
12 that that was being retained by the Office of the
13 Prosecutor, when the other items or possessions,
14 including the briefcase, were returned to
15 Mr. Kupreskic. That is the source of that tape.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Have you so far disclosed
17 this tape to Counsel Krajina?
18 MR. BLAXILL: It was my understanding that
19 that is so, and, indeed, it was referred to -- it was,
20 in fact, included in a formal pleading entered on the
21 20th of May, 1998 when the Prosecutor's report on chain
22 of custody of Vlatko Kupreskic's briefcase was filed.
23 In fact, in the final paragraph of that, at paragraph
24 14, it states: "Briefcase shows that none of the items
25 claimed by Mr. Kupreskic to be missing from his bag
1 were, in fact, in the briefcase when received by ICTY,"
2 et cetera, and the preceding paragraph 13
3 states: "Originals or copies of all items found in the
4 Kupreskic briefcase, with the exception only of a
5 cassette tape recorder, were returned with the
7 So it is my understanding that certainly
8 there should have been a copy returned to Mr. Krajina
9 at that time.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina?
11 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, I'm really
12 surprised by this. We never saw nor were we given that
13 cassette. Without offending anyone, I think it is
14 inaccurate, and I don't know why such a method is being
15 applied. Probably intentionally we were not given that
17 MR. BLAXILL: This relates to issues dating
18 back to the 4th of February, 1998, Your Honours. I
19 would like to have a brief word with my colleagues.
20 Obviously, I wasn't on the case at that time. I would
21 like to check a point.
22 Your Honours, my colleague and I, we did, in
23 fact, meet with Mr. Par and Mr. Krajina out of court
24 yesterday, and I am certain in my own mind that this
25 was mentioned and that the problem we had was at the
1 time a formal translation of the tape wasn't ready, but
2 we had a draft translation and that that was in their
3 hands. So I'm a little taken aback that my learned
4 friend should clearly have had some misunderstanding
5 with ourselves as to what this document was, because we
6 referred to it as the tape we were going to play. We
7 certainly, as I say, said there could have been a
8 problem over the translation.
9 Now, if this was a communication problem
10 between us, then that is unfortunate and regrettable,
11 but, as I say, I can rely only on the file pleading
12 dating back to the 20th of May of last year and
13 apparently that everybody was aware from that time that
14 the Prosecution were retaining the tape and recorder.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: But, again, you are speaking
16 of the transcript. What about the tape, as such? Did
17 you hand over the tape to Counsel Krajina?
18 MR. BLAXILL: That, I am trying to verify as
19 to whether, in fact, a copy of the tape itself was
20 handed over. I'm advised that is so, that a copy of
21 the tape was disclosed.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Counsel Krajina?
23 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, I find this
24 offensive. No tape has ever been handed over to me and
25 my assistants. Never. I should like to ask my learned
1 friend to really be more careful, to pick his words
2 more carefully.
3 MR. BLAXILL: I have filed information before
4 me, Your Honours. All I can do is quote to you from
5 that: "There had been complaint at that time by
6 Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic regarding the non-return of
7 certain items he alleged were in the briefcase."
8 The war diary was mentioned. Well, it was
9 indicated that a copy would be provided, and it was,
10 and the original was retained.
11 There was an entry for the tape recorder
12 stating: "Vlatko also complained his tape recorder was
13 not returned. It was explained it was being kept for
14 evidentiary purposes and that a copy of the tape has
15 been provided to him."
16 Now, that's the information I had from the
17 file. I can say no more than that, Your Honours.
18 A. Mr. President, may I say something?
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
20 A. Well, we have a witness here, he's very near
21 here, Mr. McFaden, the warden, he, because I wouldn't
22 have it otherwise, he took it over in the presence of
23 witnesses, it was all in writing and with a signature,
24 all the documents that the Prosecutor gave me back, and
25 that tape was never given to me. You can call
1 Mr. McFaden, and there is his signature because he was
2 a member of that commission. So that is not true.
3 (Trial Chamber confers)
4 JUDGE CASSESE: We feel that since there are
5 doubts about whether or not this tape was handed over
6 to Counsel Krajina, we will not allow it. I have no
7 reason to doubt what Counsel Krajina said. Probably
8 there was a misunderstanding. It happens. There was a
9 mistake and it was not handed over to Counsel Krajina,
10 so we can't allow it.
11 MR. BLAXILL: We will certainly check the
12 position, of course, Your Honours. I can understand
13 your qualms. Perhaps Your Honours might permit me to
14 ask one or two questions relating to the existence of
15 this. It may then be something that if properly
16 provable to your satisfaction, it could, in fact, be
17 dealt with briefly on rebuttal when the time comes. I
18 don't know if that possibly could be the case, but
19 perhaps if I can just reserve the position in that way,
20 I could ask a couple of brief questions and leave it at
21 that for now.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
23 MR. BLAXILL:
24 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, you do recall that in your
25 briefcase, there was a tape recorder; is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did that tape recorder contain a cassette
3 cape or was there a cassette tape in the briefcase?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Would you be prepared to say what that tape
6 contained? Was it conversation? Was it music? What
7 did it contain?
8 A. I will. I'll tell you all. Well, you know
9 that I and my defence never left any question open
10 until this very last moment, so I shall be very happy
11 to answer because there is nothing suspicious about
12 that, and Their Honours should also know it.
13 It was a small cassette in my dictaphone,
14 which is a Philips make, and I tried to record on it
15 that soldier whom I met as I was going back from my
16 house at 13.00, because I thought that he looked like
17 that man and I thought it was that man. As he
18 remembered when Drago Grgic -- and Drago Grgic was
19 killed and he is not alive -- and perhaps he might
20 remember when Drago Grgic was giving me that rifle
21 which went off.
22 When I announced for a position for a driver
23 in my company, a fellow from Zenica applied, and he
24 looked to me like this soldier whom I met on the 16th
25 of April, 1993, around 13.00, whom I found there
1 together with Drago Grgic and Anto Vidovic, nicknamed
3 So as I was preparing my defence before this
4 Court, I made a recording of that, and I asked him, "Do
5 you remember that and would you confirm it tomorrow, if
6 that is you, if that is what you looked like," that
7 man, "and would you be my witness?" You can find it
8 also in my diary. Not to waste more time, I mean, that
9 is what it says in the diary. I'm not going to look
10 for the page now, but it says that that soldier who was
11 there and saw that scene, and I even say there how we
12 laughed about it because I really haven't a clue about
14 I thought that it was important and I wanted
15 him to corroborate this important thing. So that's
16 what this audio cassette was about. I don't think
17 there's any problem, and we don't mind hearing it
18 because that is what this tape says word for word. I
19 do not think there is anything that might give rise to
20 any doubts or anything about that.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Kupreskic.
22 However, Counsel Krajina objected to the production of
23 this audiotape. Therefore, for the time being, we will
24 not allow it.
25 MR. BLAXILL: Mr. President, I know that once
1 you have ruled, you have ruled, but I do, in fact, have
2 a copy of a letter sent the 24th of February, 1998 to
3 both Mr. Krajina and Mr. Par --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Could you please slow
6 MR. BLAXILL: I'm sorry. I'm going too
7 fast. In fact, it refers to a Philips tape recorder
8 with one tape, and it says, "However, a copy of the
9 tape located inside was returned to your client." I am
10 advised that that was advised in writing to Mr. Krajina
11 on the 24th of February, 1998 and apparently returned
12 to his client. But I know it's causing him qualms and
13 problems. Maybe, with your leave, we could preserve
14 the issue for rebuttal and make sure that everybody is
15 happy at that time. It won't take more than a few
16 minutes out of the next session.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina?
18 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, I believe the
19 matter has been resolved. But I merely want to say
20 that this statement, from that document that my learned
21 friend mentions, is what we disputed. Hence, all the
22 correspondence and discussion here in court because we
23 were affirming that these things were not returned to
24 us, as this document seems to purport. That is not
25 true. You must remember the decisions of the Chamber
1 to verify, to check it, to go into the matter and
2 resolve it, but it was never fully clarified.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: So we can move on.
4 MR. BLAXILL: I think the position is
5 resolved, Your Honours, in that sense.
6 Q. I have just a couple more brief areas,
7 Mr. Kupreskic. We shall be just a very few minutes.
8 Is it true that in 1995 you purchased a weapon at the
9 suggestion of your wife?
10 A. I did not purchase a weapon at my wife's
11 proposal. I was given a rifle in 1995. I believe it
12 was January 1995.
13 Q. We have seen a weapon that I would call a
14 Kalashnikov-type automatic actually shown to your wife
15 earlier in these proceedings, and, of course, you were
16 present at that time. Is that the gun, Mr. Kupreskic?
17 Is that the gun that you had, the one that was shown to
18 your wife when she came here to testify?
19 A. I guess so. I don't dispute that. I don't
20 know the number or what it looked like. When I brought
21 it in January 1995, I put it there, I never touched it,
22 I never moved it, I never took it up, so I don't think
23 it really would serve any purpose and it would be a
24 waste of time if you showed it to me. I don't dispute
1 Q. Pardon me for wasting the time to do so,
2 Mr. Kupreskic, but I would like you to look at that
3 weapon. Does that remind you --
4 A. Well, it's a rifle similar to the one that I
5 obtained in 1995. It's similar, but it's a rifle. A
6 rifle is a rifle is a rifle.
7 Q. Mention has been made of the time when you
8 were actually arrested by SFOR troops, and you stated,
9 I believe, that you thought there were burglars in the
10 house, you took up the weapon --
11 MR. BLAXILL: Perhaps I can assist the
12 usher. I can see no further use of the weapon being
13 produced in court. Perhaps you can take it back.
14 Thank you very much.
15 Q. You say you thought there were burglars in
16 the house; is that right?
17 A. Yes, sure. When I heard those shots, the
18 noise, first, I dreamed and I said, "Oh, it's war
19 again," but then I woke up, and I thought it was
20 thieves, because our house has been attacked before
21 that in 1994, 1995, twice in 1994, and in 1997 too.
22 Q. You say your house had been attacked. In
23 what way had your house been attacked over those
24 years? Was that attacked by military people or do you
25 mean burglars broke into it?
1 A. Well, those were burglars. They were
2 thieves. You must understand, I have a company, and
3 they must have thought I had money there, and they
4 burgled the house, they broke into the house while I
5 was away, when I was on a business trip.
6 Q. I recall you saying in your evidence in
7 chief, Mr. Kupreskic, that you heard detonations at the
8 time of the people, you say, breaking into your house,
9 which is when you were arrested; is that right? You
10 heard detonations?
11 A. I told you, at first, I thought I was
12 dreaming because those detonations were like those that
13 I experienced on the 16th of April. There was gunfire,
14 it was thundering, it was dim all around, and I don't
15 really know. I mean, all that happened defies common
16 sense, because I'm telling you, I mean, there was no
17 need for all that. First the bombs were thrown in, and
18 my wife knows better about this, because bombs were --
19 I mean, grenades were thrown in to the ground floor at
20 my mother's where she sleeps in her bedroom. Thanks be
21 to God that my mother was in Germany visiting with her
22 sister, and that's why she survived.
23 But would you believe that on the 17th of
24 December I was with them twice, and I never hid, and it
25 all looked like a circus.
1 But let me, Your Honours, let me just tell
2 you this whole story. Seven days later -- no, no, no;
3 allow me, Mr. Prosecutor.
4 Major Kusuk (phoen) visited my family with an
5 interpreter who was a Muslim, and I don't know if there
6 was another member yet. They came to my house. I was
7 in the hospital then, and my family, my wife admitted
8 them as due, offered them drinks, and even prepared
9 some meats for them. And he left with my family, with
10 my wife, this calling card -- and this is the original;
11 I can show it to you -- and said, when he saw my body
12 and me in Novi Travnik, when he saw the documentation
13 and what men it was all about, he apologised to my
14 family, and that is the only satisfaction that I have
15 received in this case so far.
16 So this is his calling card, that major's,
17 and I am most grateful to him. It was a nice gesture.
18 And of course, everybody can be wrong.
19 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, I would like to put one
20 factual suggestion to you for your comment, briefly, I
21 hope. The arresting troops indicated that two bursts
22 of fire from an automatic weapon came from you towards
23 them prior to your, in fact, being wounded and secured
24 as a prisoner. Is it true that you fired two small
25 bursts at the people concerned?
1 A. No, it is not true. I didn't know how to let
2 off bursts of fire. I managed somehow to aim, and I
3 believe I fired two bullets into the ceiling, because
4 my wife told me that later; she was watching it from
5 about a two-, three-metre distance. Because I didn't
6 know how to fire, and when the first bullet came out, I
7 was scared stiff, because -- I mean, this rifle jumped
8 in my hands, and I didn't know what it was. It all
9 took two or three seconds, and I simply threw away that
10 rifle. I then lost consciousness, and those people
11 did, yes, take me to a couch, and then I asked if
12 anybody was wounded, but nobody was even scratched or
14 I have never in my life had a rifle, nor did
15 I know what a rifle was, but I thought they were
16 burglars. I merely said, "Why did you do this to me?
17 There was no need for it."
18 Q. Thank you for that, Mr. Kupreskic. Just one
19 last point, if I may cover it with you.
20 In the past, you indicated your family had
21 had some difficulty, several people had had difficulty
22 over boundaries with Mr. Sakib Ahmic. He apparently
23 was a hard man to live with about respecting
24 boundaries; is that correct?
25 A. My family had no problems with him, and
1 particularly I. I mean, I had no trouble with him.
2 But we had known one another for about 30 years. My
3 father and he lived together. He did cause small
4 problems, small trouble, not only to my father but his
5 Muslim neighbours. He was simply a rather ill-tempered
6 man. But I didn't have any particular problem with
7 him. I wasn't interested in land. I was interested in
8 much more intelligent things than land.
9 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, in front of your house these
10 days there is an area which, in fact, on the aerial
11 photograph, appears white. Is it true that after your
12 return to Ahmici, some raised ground or some hill that
13 was in front of your property was scraped level and the
14 earth removed? Is that correct?
15 A. That hill, I can show it, was right next to
16 my shop's door (indicating).
17 Q. Correct. Where did you place the earth that
18 was scraped off that surface? Could you tell me where
19 you tipped it?
20 A. Just a moment.
21 I took it in front of the warehouse, in front
22 of my shop. But that is not my plot of land. That
23 plot belongs to my neighbours, Latif and Atif Ahmic.
24 They were grateful to me because I levelled off that
25 elevation, that hill, and now they've got better soil
1 there, and they're grateful to me. You can go to them
2 and ask them if I'm telling the truth, because I paid a
3 couple of thousand marks for that. To this day, I use
4 their plot of land as a parking lot, and they never
5 said anything. They are grateful to me.
6 Recently they came, my wife told me, and they
7 themselves took away, without ever being asked, they
8 removed the garbage that was in front of my shop, but
9 of course did not charge a dinar for it, a penny for
10 it. (redacted)
13 (redacted), because I also levelled part of his plot
14 of land, and he also was grateful for it.
15 Q. Can I ask you just one thing, because it was
16 raised by that witness: Was there any encroachment of
17 the boundaries of the ground of (redacted) as a result
18 of the work you did in front of your premises? You can
19 answer that as just "Yes" or "No," sir.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. I can't answer it like that. I mean, part of
23 some earth, because there was plenty of earth, some of
24 it was taken to (redacted) lot. But I again have
25 witnesses, the machine came. When he complained, all
1 the earth was removed there, everything was cleared up,
2 and there was no problem at all.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. BLAXILL: Your Honours, I have no further
5 questions. I am obliged for your indulgence. I would
6 like, please, to tender exhibits which have been marked
7 P377, 378, 379, 380, and 381.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Any objection?
9 MR. KRAJINA: No, none.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
11 MR. BLAXILL: I'm obliged, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Before we decide on when to
13 take a break, Counsel Krajina, may I ask you whether
14 you intend to re-examine the witness for long?
15 MR. KRAJINA: Only one, only one question,
16 Mr. President.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Let us then proceed right
19 MR. KRAJINA: Thank you. Thank you.
20 Re-examined by Mr. Krajina:
21 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, at the end of your testimony,
22 I shall ask you only this: Would you like to say
23 something that nobody asked you during this, your
24 testimony here? Is there anything that you should like
25 to clear up? Is there any statement you should like to
1 make with regard to the charges brought against you and
2 the evidence adduced so far in this case?
3 A. I should only like to add that I'm grateful
4 to you, Mr. President, I'm grateful to Your Honours for
5 listening to me carefully, and I believe I succeeded in
6 showing what I have been claiming from the first day,
7 and that is that I am not guilty and that no charge
8 against me holds water.
9 You will remember that the first time that I
10 was allowed to speak, I said that for the things that
11 I'm being charged for, I never had either the
12 opportunity or the possibility or courage or interest
13 to commit, and I also said that my Muslim neighbours
14 would corroborate that, and I have proven it.
15 My defence counsel and I never had any open
16 question or any dispute with the gentlemen from the
17 Prosecution. You know that my defence and my
18 documents, and all my documents, I disclosed more than
19 a year ago; that I was never afraid of the truth.
20 Yet another reason why I did not come with my
21 colleagues is perhaps the fact that it will shortly be
22 two years, that more than two years would elapse before
23 my case is finally closed. My colleagues and I have
24 been suffering for three years because of this case.
25 So Mr. President, Your Honours, I should like
1 to ask you to help me, to instruct me, to tell me, what
2 else do I and my defence counsel need to do to show
3 that I am not guilty? I know that the gentlemen from
4 the Prosecution were very correct and performed their
5 job duly, but please, what else do I have to do to show
6 you that I am not guilty?
7 I cannot really tell you all, but go to
8 Ahmici whenever you like, and you will see, both in the
9 shop and in my house, in my home, you will see Muslim
10 neighbours. Believe it or not, Witness L, the one who
11 accused me here, he sent me his greetings through my
12 daughter and inquired after my health. Witness Q
13 passes by my house every day. True, he bows his head
14 because he is ashamed. But another witness who was
15 announced by the Prosecution today, a Muslim, an Ahmic,
16 passes by my house every day and stops there, pauses
18 So what else is in dispute here? I'm bound
19 to say that I am sorry about what befell my Muslim
20 neighbours, and that I condemn it very strongly.
21 But Your Honours, please try to understand me
22 and my family. I'm the only male in that family. I'm
23 a father, I'm their only provider, and yet I'm a sick
24 man, and I wonder, how did I manage to survive this
25 year and a half in detention? It's only after a year
1 and so many months I have been given the first
2 opportunity to explain to Your Honours that I am not
3 guilty of what I'm being charged with.
4 My defence will submit the motion, request
5 for my provisional release, and will do it this
6 afternoon or tomorrow morning. I do hope that you will
7 meet that request, and I do beg you, if our families
8 are unhappy, if my Muslim neighbours -- and they're all
9 innocent -- my Muslim neighbours' families are
10 suffering and they are innocent, why should my family
11 also suffer because they are innocent too.
12 Thank you very much.
13 MR. KRAJINA: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: We have no questions for you,
15 Mr. Kupreskic. Thank you very much indeed for giving
16 evidence in court. You may now be released.
17 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
18 (The witness withdrew)
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Any outstanding matter?
20 I wonder whether, before we adjourn,
21 whether -- I see -- Counsel Susak, are you going to --
23 Anybody wishing to raise any issue before --
24 Counsel Susak, yes, I thought I had seen you.
25 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, due to the
1 briefness of time, I did not submit a motion for the
2 provisional release of Drago Josipovic, so if I may, I
3 should like to take advantage of this moment to do so,
4 because we are leaving for Zagreb tomorrow. I will be
5 very brief, as I have prepared it.
6 It is my view that exceptional circumstances
7 do exist which justify a decision by the Trial Chamber
8 on the provisional release of Drago Josipovic. An
9 exceptional circumstance is the death of his mother,
10 who died on the 6th of May this year. She took care of
11 Drago Josipovic's children, and especially Nikola, born
12 in 1984, who is going to first grade of secondary
13 school, because the mother of the children, Slavica
14 Josipovic, is too busy. She is the only one in the
15 family to make a livelihood for the upkeep and
16 education of her children, so she doesn't have
17 sufficient time to devote herself to the children. The
18 older son, Goran, was born in 1979, and he is on the
19 first year of studies of transport science in Zagreb.
20 In view of what has been said, the children
21 are lacking the necessary control and supervision,
22 which can have negative effects on their upbringing and
23 education. They were emotionally linked to their
24 father, and by his provisional release, this would be
25 of the greatest assistance to his children, Nikola and
1 Goran. They find it very difficult to cope with their
2 father's absence.
3 Another exceptional circumstance in this
4 particular case is that all the witnesses have been
5 heard in court of both the Prosecution and the Defence
6 with respect to the defence of Drago Josipovic.
7 Furthermore, the additional witnesses envisaged by the
8 Prosecutor do not relate to the defence of Drago
10 The trial has been going on for a long time,
11 and as is known, the Trial Chamber has already
12 previously taken a decision on his provisional release
13 when he was allowed to go to Santici to attend the
14 funeral of his mother. Drago Josipovic, without any
15 special control measures, went to Santici, stayed
16 there, and came back to the detention unit in The
18 Drago Josipovic voluntarily surrendered to
19 the International Criminal Tribunal. When he learnt of
20 the indictment, he did not change his place of
21 residence. The Tribunal has already had occasion to
22 see for themselves that Drago Josipovic will appear in
23 court and that he will not represent a threat or danger
24 to any victim or witness or any other person.
25 We therefore propose that the Trial Chamber
1 pass a decision whereby the request for provisional
2 release of Drago Josipovic will be granted. This
3 motion is based on Rule 65 of the Rules of Procedure
4 and Evidence.
5 That is all, and thank you very much.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
7 I wonder whether the Prosecution would like
8 to react.
9 MR. BLAXILL: Very briefly.
10 The reality, of course, very sadly, is that
11 for anybody undergoing trial who is in a situation
12 where liberty during that trial is denied, as is the
13 general rule here, due to the severity and seriousness
14 of the crimes alleged in war crimes trials, the
15 difficulties that are sustained by relatives, children,
16 and so forth, are a sad element that goes alongside
17 that process.
18 As a result, one has to, I respectfully
19 submit, Your Honours, exercise considerable caution in
20 viewing these family circumstances as being exceptional
21 circumstances. I think the glaring example put forward
22 in the very case of this particular accused,
23 Mr. Josipovic, is to do with the fact of a family
24 funeral, and indeed, it is conceded, obviously, that he
25 honoured whatever he had to honour and returned to the
1 court on the due day, and that is an exceptional grief,
2 an exceptional circumstance, and was duly reflected in
3 Your Honours' ruling.
4 I think, however, that at this stage in
5 proceedings, when we are facing the prospect that
6 certainly in the case of Mr. Josipovic, pretty much the
7 case is done and dusted, save in terms, perhaps, of one
8 of the general witnesses as to the persecution count in
9 rebuttal, the reality is that the evidence has indeed,
10 as my learned friend Mr. Susak's point --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could you slow down,
12 please, for the interpreters.
13 MR. BLAXILL: It has been heard, but the
14 bottom line is that we are being asked to consider a
15 position where, in those circumstances, essentially
16 awaiting the next step, which is the verdict of the
17 Tribunal, there must be an enormous pressure on any
18 accused, particularly an accused of very serious
19 matters, the pressure upon them not to return must, as
20 a human factor, be very high indeed.
21 The other factor is that I suggest that
22 again, the reality of some family difficulties which
23 have been present to date, of course, do not make them
24 exceptional as of now simply because the court is going
25 into recess for a couple of months.
1 Taking forward from there, we do, of course,
2 suggest that, as pointed out by my learned friend,
3 Mr. Terrier, earlier today, in dealing with the
4 applications made by Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac and
5 Mr. Radovic, that the Prosecutor has a certain
6 experience of problems with the relevant authorities
7 within Bosnia-Herzegovina -- again, not looking at
8 Croatia, that's a separate state, but within the twin
9 limbs of the entity known as the Federation of Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina -- and that, indeed, she has made
11 certain very strong representations as regards the
12 personage representing that state, or one limb of that,
13 in this very country, and as a result that assurances
14 from that quarter, which you may well seek, would not
15 prove to be necessarily something upon which the
16 Chamber could reasonably rely.
17 Those, I think, are the points I would wish
18 to make at this particular instance. Thank you,
19 Mr. President.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
21 No other matter?
22 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac.
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, linked
24 to this document, which I have managed to read and
25 which we were given by the Prosecutor, that is, a
1 person who is supposed to be the liaison officer is not
2 performing his duties properly, I think that no
3 guarantees can be expected from this person, and I
4 think that in the Federation, someone else should be
5 addressed, because I think this gentleman is not the
6 person who could be expected to give any guarantees.
7 We have also been informed today that this
8 person is no longer employed here. This is the latest
10 May I make one further point, since we have
11 come to the end? Once, when we were talking about the
12 closing argument, you said that you would like to be
13 given a kind of summary of that closing statement which
14 will have indications of our quotations from certain
15 witnesses. So my question is: Do we need to prepare
16 this summary or do we need to prepare both the summary
17 and the entire closing statement?
18 Thank you.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We thought of a
20 sort of outline, a brief outline of your closing
21 statement, if possible, with references to the
22 transcript to support your submissions and allegations,
23 and then I think the bulk of our argument should be
24 made orally. This is actually to facilitate the task
25 of both parties. Of course, you're welcome to prepare
1 a long brief. But I think if only for language
2 problems, because, of course, you would write it in
3 Croatian, so there probably would be difficulties in
4 translating it into English. I say it's probably
5 better and more effective to have the bulk of your
6 statement made orally, whereas you would simply give us
7 an outline, a sort of skeleton argument in writing. Of
8 course, you would have one week more than the
9 Prosecution so as to be able to respond to points made
10 by the Prosecution.
11 All right. I see there are no other
13 Counsel Par?
14 MR. PAR: I apologise, but a brief technical
15 question. In connection with the witnesses that have
16 been announced by the Prosecutor that will be called in
17 the next stage of the proceedings, it is not quite
18 clear to me whether the Prosecutor will give us any new
19 statements from those witnesses. Because in our
20 particular case, the Prosecutor has listed, as one
21 possible witness, the court investigator who will
22 apparently carry out some new measurements on the
23 ground linked to the expert findings who testified in
24 our defence case. I would like to know whether the
25 Prosecutor will provide us with those measurements and
1 the results of the work of that investigator for us to
2 be able to respond, perhaps with some new
4 He has also listed another witness, whose old
5 statement was disclosed a year or two ago, and if the
6 Prosecutor will have a new statement from that witness,
7 will he disclose it to us so that we should know
8 whether we need to respond?
9 These are things that are not quite clear to
10 me, so I beg for an explanation.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Par.
12 MR. BLAXILL: We will certainly give you
13 one. Our interpretation of the situation, Your
14 Honours, is that if we have a rebuttal case, it's like
15 a trial in miniature, and essentially Rule 66 kicks
16 back in, that if we are going to call witnesses, we
17 have to produce the statements, prior statements, and
18 other materials relevant to the witness we're calling.
19 We are certainly proceeding on that basis, and already,
20 in fact, what we have has been served, I think, with
21 the motion we've filed.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
23 MR. BLAXILL: Of course, if there are further
24 investigations by the investigator, which I understand
25 are, indeed, in preparation, any further results will
1 be transmitted immediately. As a result, as I say, we
2 will approach this as if we had to go through Rule 66
3 all over again and see to it that, with all due speed,
4 appropriate discovery is made in respect of anybody
5 that we're calling.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Excellent. So you will give
7 the Defence at least a few weeks before we resume?
8 MR. BLAXILL: Yes. I mean, if there was
9 something that delayed a piece of investigation for
10 four weeks and we had to give two to three weeks'
11 notice, then, regrettably, logistics may dictate it.
12 But, in principle, it will be just as soon as anything
13 is finished and ready, if it needs it, it will go in.
14 Of course, one of the witnesses put forward,
15 Mr. McLeod, the report is already in the hands of all
16 parties, and other statements have been served.
17 I hope I can settle any misgivings Mr. Par
18 has. He will have anything necessary as soon as
20 JUDGE CASSESE: In particular, Counsel Par
21 wondered about any further statement by a witness
22 you're going to call and --
23 MR. BLAXILL: I think that was principally
24 the investigator because we've referred to further
25 investigation, and he would like to know if there is
1 going to be further statements and stuff like that.
2 The answer is that that is going to be a priority task,
3 now that we are approaching our recess prior to the
4 September hearings. Any further work in that regard,
5 we hope to finish by -- well, to have dealt with it, at
6 the latest, by mid to late August, depending on being
7 able to do so even sooner. Of course, there are
8 logistics of such a mission. But as soon as that is
9 done, it will be served.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. All right. We
11 are now in a position to adjourn, and so we stand in
12 recess until the 27th of September at 9.00.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
14 4.15 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
15 the 27th day of September, 1999, at
16 9.00 a.m.