1 Wednesday, 8 April, 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 10.03 a.m.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: May I give a decision. On the 6th of April, the
6 Defence of Sredoje Lukic filed a motion to admit certain documents from
7 the bar table. The Chamber orders that any responses are to be made
8 orally at the beginning of the court session on Thursday the 9th of
9 April, so that the Chamber is in a position to decide on the motion on
10 that day.
11 Any other preliminary matters? Mr. Ivetic.
12 MR. IVETIC: One matter briefly, Your Honour, and we'll need to
13 go into, I think, private session for that.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Private session
15 [Private session]
21 [Closed session]
11 Pages 6979-7006 redacted. Closed session.
6 [Open session]
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: I was saying that I understand the witness is
8 still distressed, but we can, however, hear another witness, a Chamber
9 witness, and my information is that he is available, so he will be
11 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, the only problem I have on that is that
12 I don't have my materials for that witness and I have not looked over the
13 file to prepare for it, but I suppose in the course of the direct
14 examination, I can perhaps try to retrieve my file but it's at the
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: When was that witness scheduled for?
17 MR. IVETIC: Thursday, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is that so?
19 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: He was scheduled, I understand, for today or
22 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, the schedule we have says Thursday or
23 Friday. Wednesday was -- well, was empty on the schedule that we
24 received from the Prosecution.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Friday, we are not sitting on Friday.
1 MR. IVETIC: Oh, we are not sitting on Friday at all. Okay,
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Friday was never on, it has to be today or
5 MR. IVETIC: Thursday, that's correct, Your Honour. That's
6 correct. That's correct, Your Honour, but the schedule -- I don't have
7 it in front of me right now but it was very clear that it was -- this
8 witness was to testify after Dr. Fagel or with -- after Dr. Fagel
9 [overlapping speakers].
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, we'll see how we get on. We'll at least
11 at any rate have the --
12 MR. IVETIC: That's what I was going to suggest. We can have the
13 direct and I can hopefully by that time --
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: We can have him examined by Mr. Groome.
15 [Trial Chamber confers].
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let the witness make the declaration.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
19 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Sit. Mr. Groome.
21 WITNESS: FERID SPAHIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, my understanding of why Mr. Ferid
24 Spahic has returned to the Chamber is to clarify the matter surrounding
25 Hamdija Vilic's appearance before the Chamber. If that is the issue that
1 I'm to explore with him, I'm prepared to move forward and ask him his
2 explanation of how that happened. I'm not sure if there are other issues
3 the Court wishes to have explored with this witness. I have Ms. Sartorio
4 coming down now so she is more familiar with the witness, but ...
5 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, you are correct, Mr. Groome.
7 Examination by Mr. Groome:
8 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Spahic. I'm not sure if you will remember
9 me, but you and I met about eight years ago during the Vasiljevic trial.
10 Thank you for returning. There is an issue that has arisen in the course
11 of this trial that the Chamber would like explored further by the
12 parties, and we believe you have some knowledge about it. So my first
13 question to you is, do you know a person by the name of Hamdija Vilic?
14 A. But his name is Hamdija Vilic, not Velic, I believe.
15 Q. I'm sorry, if I mispronounced his name.
16 How do you know him?
17 A. I knew him superficially from Visegrad from before the war. I
18 got to know him better in Visoko because we were together in the same
19 unit for awhile until he lost his arm, effectively. I would socialise
20 with him after the war as well. He lives in Vogosca and I have some
21 friends residing over there. We are not very close friends, but we do
22 know each other pretty well.
23 Q. And could you give us an idea, in the last couple of years with
24 what frequency would you see Hamdija Vilic?
25 A. Not that frequently. His brother has a weekend cottage house
1 close to my home and I am on closer terms with his brother whom I see
2 almost every day. I do not see Hamdija that often, perhaps once every
3 couple of months or once every six months.
4 Q. Now, did there come a time in this -- in 2008 that you became
5 aware that he had information that might be relevant to this trial?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can I ask you to tell us, as best you are able to remember, what
8 was -- when did you learn that he may have had information?
9 A. As I came back from my testimony in 2008, I don't recall the
10 exact date, I left this courtroom for Bosnia, my badzo [phoen] came, in
11 other words, my wife's sister's husband, he came to visit. And as we
12 discussed many issues including my testimony here, at one point he told
13 me that he had been sitting at a table with this man, Hamdija, who told
14 him that he had been called by Milan Lukic directly from the prison, from
15 Scheveningen, and that he had offered him a sum of money in exchange of
16 his testimony in support of the Defence, that he should say that he and
17 his unit had encircled Milan Lukic in the area of Kopito, and that was
18 roughly it.
19 However, as is natural, I had just come back from my testimony
20 here where in the courtroom we discussed precisely the issue concerning
21 Kopito. I did not get in touch with Hamdija or anyone else, I got in
22 touch with the Tribunal's office down in Sarajevo. I asked that I be put
23 through to Prosecutor Laurie, I did, and I told her what I knew because I
24 wanted to let her know that should such a man appear as a Defence
25 witness, such and such a man, that he was going to give false testimony.
1 Several days later, I got the ICTY in touch with Hamdija
2 directly, and they settled the matter directly. I don't know what
3 happened. I only know that Hamdija subsequently appeared as a witness
5 I never met with Hamdija since that time to this day in fact.
6 Although I would very much wish to.
7 Q. Okay. The first you learned of this information is after you
8 left The Hague
9 A. Yes, yes. Upon my return from here. It happened several days
10 after my return from The Hague
11 to three days after my return that badzo came to visit, we talked, and he
12 drew my attention to the fact that he was together with the man who had
13 received the call, and things followed on from there as I relayed them.
14 Q. Did badzo give you any idea about when he had the conversation
15 with Hamdija Vilic about this phone call from Milan Lukic?
16 A. Well, yes, he did not really give it much thought. This piece of
17 information was unimportant to him. This badzo, brother-in-law of mine
18 is outside of all of these events. However, as soon as I mentioned
19 Kopito as part of my testimony here, he replied that this other man had
20 told him precisely the story about Kopito, that he should tell the story
21 of how he had held Milan Lukic in encirclement in the area of Kopito and
22 how several days later he managed to escape.
23 That's when I felt the urge to make a telephone call to the
24 Tribunal to give them some preliminary information. Subsequently, I got
25 them in touch with Hamdija which resulted in Hamdija's appearance before
1 the court.
2 As far as Hamdija is concerned, even before he -- before he
3 appeared in the courtroom, he had talked of some -- or reported some
4 officers in Sarajevo
5 should not be testifying about these matters as it is a very dangerous
7 Q. Now, prior to your testimony in this trial here, did anyone from
8 the Office of the Prosecution tell you the places that Milan Lukic was
9 claiming to be during the allegations in this indictment?
10 A. No, no.
11 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, unless there's another area that the
12 Chamber would like me to explore, I can think of nothing else to go into.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Groome.
14 Mr. Ivetic.
15 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, without having the documents in front
16 of me, I could begin cross-examination based on what Mr. Groome has just
17 led, if that is in the interests of judicial economy to try and get
18 going, but I'd like to have the opportunity to at least see the one
19 document that I recall which was a memorandum attached to one of our
20 filings that was the basis of our seeking to have this witness brought
21 here, which I haven't yet been able to locate again. I'm told JDB is not
22 working at all so my one support staff is not able to get that document,
23 but I would be more than happy to cross-examine on these points that have
24 been just raised now in the examination of Mr. Groome while we wait for
1 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, if it might assist I'll ask
2 Mr. van Hooydonk if he can locate a copy of that Prosecution memorandum,
3 I believe it's what Mr. Ivetic is referring to, and he'll send it to the
4 court deputy and maybe she could print it out.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Groome.
6 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
7 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
8 Q. Good day, sir. My name is Dan Ivetic. We did not have occasion
9 to meet last time that you were here at this Tribunal, so I greet you,
10 and it's my turn to ask you some questions about Mr. Vilic and the
11 matters that you've just testified about. So good day, sir.
12 A. Good day to you.
13 Q. Now, if we could start first by you mentioned that Mr. Hamdija
14 Vilic and yourself were in a unit together. What unit was that and what
15 armed forces was that a unit part of?
16 A. Well, I don't recall the details. I think it was the 321st
17 Visoko Brigade. As for the company or platoon, I really can't tell you
19 Q. And was that part of the army of the Republic of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina comprised of a majority of Bosnian Muslim nationals?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And was that comprised by a majority of Bosnian Muslim nationals
23 of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
24 A. The majority were, although there were members of other
1 Q. And is that the same army unit that was chronicled in the book by
2 Ibran Mustafic, the Bosnian Muslim writer who spent some time with
3 Mr. Vilic and other fighters of the Bosnian Muslim army?
4 A. I didn't read the book by Ibran Mustafic and I don't think it
5 refers to this because he should not have had anything to do with that
6 unit. He would have been writing about Srebrenica. I doubt that he had
7 any information about Visoko. At any rate, I don't know. I didn't read
8 the book.
9 Q. Let me ask you this: Prior to becoming a member of the same unit
10 with Hamdija Vilic, do you have information as to what unit
11 Mr. Hamdija Vilic was a member of prior to arriving at Visoko while he
12 was still within either the Zepa, Visegrad or Srebrenica area?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did Mr. Vilic ever talk to you about being in Hranjevac as part
15 of an armed force with his brothers? Hranjevac?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Mr. Vilic and his brothers would go by a nickname Zuti or Zuco;
18 isn't that correct?
19 A. I don't know that either. Zuco, no. His face is rather
20 yellowish, though. I'm not sure about his nickname. We are not that
21 close. It was by happenstance that we were members of the same unit. I
22 know that his family members were all killed, he did talk about that,
23 but ...
24 Q. I'm trying to wait for the translation to catch up with us, sir.
25 I can follow you in our language but I have to wait for the English.
1 A. Fine.
2 Q. The point I want to make is that that nickname Zuco or Zuti
3 refers to the yellow colour of someone's appearance, is that correct, in
4 the Bosnian -- in our native language?
5 A. Yes.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Witness repeat, please.
7 MR. IVETIC:
8 Q. Prior to coming here -- sorry, sir, you are being asked to repeat
9 your answer by the interpreters who apparently did not catch your
10 response. Could you please repeat your response to my question which
11 was: The point I want to make is that the nickname Zuco or Zute refers
12 to the yellow colour of someone, is that correct, in our native language?
13 You need to repeat your answer, sir.
14 A. Yes. His hair was yellow and his complexion was yellow. So any
15 other nickname would not really be appropriate in his case.
16 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, I'd like to ask you, prior to your coming
17 to testify the last time, did you have any discussions with
18 Mr. Hamdija Vilic about your coming here to testify before this Tribunal
19 in these proceedings?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Okay. And am I correct -- or did I follow your testimony
22 correctly that you did not have any contact or discussions with Mr. Vilic
23 directly after you left this Tribunal the last time?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Then I have a question for you, because I have here recorded from
1 the transcript that you said that you eventually -- you eventually got
2 the Tribunal in contact with Hamdija. How did you effectuate that? Did
3 you -- how did that happen that you got the Tribunal into contact with
4 Hamdija? Tell us the logistics of that.
5 A. Through my badzo, brother-in-law, who works close to where
6 Hamdija lives in Vogosca, who sees him every day. He had his phone
7 number, and he gave Hamdija's phone number to the Tribunal. I didn't see
8 Hamdija either before or after that.
9 Q. Okay. Now, you indicated that Hamdija Vilic was a member of your
10 unit until he had the circumstances of his arm. Are you familiar with
11 how he lost his arm when he threw two hand-grenades at a group of fellow
12 Bosnian Muslim soldiers in a bar as part of a bar brawl?
13 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I would submit that we are going now
14 beyond the scope of why this witness was called here. He wasn't called
15 to dig up the dirt, as it were, on Hamdija Vilic. He was here and he
16 answered all of these allegations directly. I believe Mr. Spahic was
17 brought here for the rather limited purpose of the circumstances
18 surrounding his conveyance of information to the Prosecution and how
19 Mr. Vilic came to testify.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: The logistics as you yourself described?
21 MR. IVETIC: That is correct, Your Honour. I'm going into how
22 well he knows Mr. Vilic and what contact there's been with him before.
23 This is a part that they brought up. I mean, he testified about it in
24 direct, so.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Microphone not activated]
1 MR. IVETIC: The microphone wasn't --
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, I said continue.
3 MR. IVETIC: Okay.
4 Q. Sir, did you know the circumstances of when and where and how
5 Mr. Hamdija Vilic lost his arm, that it was involved in a -- when he
6 threw two hand-grenades at a crowd of civilians and fellow Bosnian Muslim
8 A. I did hear of it, but I didn't hear of him having hurled two
9 hand-grenades. I think it -- the story only mentioned one. It was in
10 the early morning hours in a bar where he was with a group of people. I
11 believe even his brother was there, according to the information I had.
12 They had drinks and then there was some commotion and that Vilic left the
13 bar and came back holding a hand-grenade, one.
14 And as there was some skirmish around the hand-grenade, it went
15 off, exploded, and he lost his arm, and two men who were there lost their
16 lives. This is the extent of what I heard.
17 Q. Okay. Thank you. In the time that you knew Mr. Vilic, was he
18 prone to heavy drinking?
19 A. I didn't know him too well. I didn't know that aspect, and there
20 wasn't all that much drink during the war that someone could -- I mean, I
21 don't think he was an alcoholic.
22 Q. Okay. And is it your understanding from your badzo that
23 Mr. Vilic, Mr. Hamdija Vilic, that his story was that Milan Lukic called
24 him and offered him money over the telephone? Was that Mr. Vilic's story
25 told to your badzo?
1 A. Well, that would be the substance of it. I don't know exactly
2 the words that were uttered, but this is something that Vilic said and
3 then I heard it and that's the gist of it, approximately. But I couldn't
4 tell you verbatim the conversation.
5 Q. Okay. Now, if I can ask you this, you indicated that his entire
6 family had died. His entire family died in Prelovo, is that accurate?
7 Hamdija Vilic's family, I should say.
8 A. He told me about that while we were still in the unit. I can't
9 really remember it too well. I know that they had perished in one of the
10 burning houses in Visegrad. I may be mistaken. I don't know whether
11 that was the case, but I think his wife and children were killed then,
12 and whether anybody else was killed, I wouldn't know, but that's
13 something that I heard from him. But this was a long time ago so I
14 really can't say for sure.
15 Q. Okay. And now, one part that confused me. First of all, did you
16 have any contact with any members of the Bosnian police or the Bosnian
17 SIPA or the Bosnian, I guess it's the IDA [phoen] would be the other one,
18 I think, the secret police, et cetera, any of the security organs of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you have any contact with them in reference to
20 Mr. Hamdija Vilic?
21 A. No, absolutely not.
22 Q. Okay. Now, you said that -- you said in your examination by
23 Mr. Groome that it's your understanding that Mr. Hamdija Vilic had
24 already contacted officers in Sarajevo
25 to know, am I to take from that that Mr. Vilic had already contacted some
1 officials prior to your contacting the ICTY?
2 A. I wouldn't know that really. I think not. Judging by the
3 reaction of the Prosecutors when I called them here, I think that this
4 news had not reached this Tribunal before, prior to that.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... question. Let me see if I
6 can find that one section, so I can do it very, very succinctly.
7 And you said at page 35, line 4, you say:
8 "As far as Hamdija is concerned, even before he -- before he
9 appeared in the courtroom, he had talked of some, or reported to some
10 officers in Sarajevo
11 he should not be testifying about these matters as it is a very dangerous
13 What officers in Sarajevo
14 Hamdija Vilic spoke with and received advice from?
15 A. No, no, let me explain it. I don't know the names of these
16 officers or anything. I don't know it in such detail, but I know that
17 this man being not -- being rather poor, I was just worried that he might
18 be caught into a trap and I wanted to warn him not to follow that path.
19 So -- but it turned out Hamdija was not that type of person. He had
20 already talked to some officers. He sought their advice. I really don't
21 know their names. I never met Hamdija and discussed this with him.
22 Q. Then I would like to know how it is that you know that he had
23 already talked with some officers and sought their advice, how does that
24 knowledge come to you, sir, if you did not have contact with
25 Mr. Hamdija Vilic?
1 A. Well, I learned of that from my badzo, my brother-in-law, because
2 he works close to where Hamdija is, because Hamdija frequents a cafe
3 nearby. And I know I'd never seen him after that, and I know that he was
4 advised by some officers not to play that game, that it was a rather
5 dangerous thing to do.
6 Q. And that is what I'm asking you, what is your knowledge of the
7 officers that Hamdija Vilic talked with and that advised him? What
8 agency of the Bosnian government were those officers engaged with?
9 A. Nothing. Nothing, I absolutely know nothing. No names, no last
10 name, nothing.
11 Q. Would your badzo know?
12 A. I don't know. It is possible that he knows that, but we never
13 discussed this, we never discussed any names, so ...
14 Q. But am I correct that your badzo is your only source for your
15 information that Hamdija Vilic had spoken with officers of some agency
16 who had given him advice?
17 A. Yes. Yes.
18 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, just so the record may reflect, I have
19 provided the memo, and I see Mr. Ivetic has it and is looking at it now.
20 MR. IVETIC: And I thank you for that.
21 Q. Okay, sir. I forgot if I asked you this earlier, but what -- how
22 is your badzo employed and -- and -- I have avoided using his name. As
23 far as I know, it has not been mentioned in these proceedings. So for
24 purposes of his confidentiality, you don't have to mention his name, but
25 if you could tell us what his area of employment is or occupation?
1 A. Oh, he does technical inspection of vehicles.
2 Q. And just so we are clear, did you follow any of Mr. Vilic's
3 testimony here in The Hague
4 A. No, I did follow something over the internet and some of it I
5 read in the dailies back home.
6 Q. So you do read the dailies. Did you perhaps read Bum [phoen]
7 magazine where Mr. Vilic's testimony was discussed and the identity of a
8 Defence protected witness was attempted to be revealed?
9 A. I don't read Bum magazine, so, no.
10 Q. And with respect to the advice that was given to Mr. Vilic, that
11 it was a dangerous thing to testify, am I correct in understanding that
12 any Bosnian Muslim who would agree to be a Defence witness in this
13 proceeding would have negative consequences back in their home country
14 from their fellow Bosniak Muslims?
15 A. No, that was not the context that I mentioned, but that's where
16 the danger was. It was dangerous to take money.
17 Q. Okay. And again, you don't know what advice was given to him,
18 because you don't know what agency he spoke with, at what stage that
19 advice was given; is that accurate?
20 A. No, no.
21 Q. Okay. And just to return to one last point, we mentioned
22 Hranjevac before, the village of Hranjevac
23 village is and where it is in relation to Kopito, how close?
24 A. I know the village of Hranjevac
25 it is, but I've never been there, so I don't really know.
1 Q. You say you are familiar with the region from where Hranjevac is,
2 the general area, is Kopito in that same area, that same part of the
3 municipality as Hranjevac?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, sir. I think I have exhausted all my
6 questions for this witness. I thank you, sir, for coming back here to
7 testify and to clear up these matters for us.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are welcome.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you for testifying. That concludes your
10 evidence, and you may now leave.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
12 [The witness withdrew]
13 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: An inquiry is being made as to whether the other
15 witness is in a position to return.
16 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: We'll resume at 2.15. The witness is not
18 sufficiently composed to attend court now.
19 MR. IVETIC: Will that be in courtroom II, Your Honour? Will
20 that still be in courtroom II at 2.15?
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: We are in the same courtroom.
22 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, can I make use of just some of the time
24 to just deal with a couple of administrative matters. One is the exhibit
25 that was marked for identification yesterday, P333. If you recall that
1 was the list that Mr. Kurspahic brought with him. It has now been
2 translated. It is up in e-court. So at this time now, I would formally
3 tender it again into evidence.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: I admit it.
5 MR. IVETIC: But, Your Honour, don't we need to have time to
6 review it. I'm just finding out now that it's been translated. I
7 haven't seen the translation, whether the translation is the full
8 document. I still haven't seen the full document since Mr. --
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: You want to look at the translated version?
10 MR. IVETIC: Yeah.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Have a look at it and 2.15 we'll make the
13 MR. GROOME: And just one more matter, Your Honour. In light of
14 Your Honour's yesterday to not allow the Prosecution to call the
15 handwriting expert, I would seek to formally withdraw Exhibits P320 to
16 P323. Those are the documents that are in evidence that we believe are
17 forgeries. We would not want them to remain in evidence and be cited as
18 to being reliable instruments at any point in this trial. So I would
19 move to withdraw Exhibits P320, 321, 322, and 323.
20 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, they examined the witness on those
21 documents. The witness's testimony is tied to those documents.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: I didn't hear you, Mr. Ivetic.
23 MR. IVETIC: The record as it stands now has that the -- those
24 documents were shown to a witness and a witness testified as to those
25 documents based upon questions by the Prosecution. So now to withdraw
1 documents that are placed in record is unprecedented, I believe, in these
2 proceedings, in this Tribunal, in any court of law that I know of. The
3 record reflects these documents having been shown to a witness. That
4 witness's testimony loses its value and reference if those documents are
5 withdrawn from the record. I don't understand how we can go back now and
6 amend the record for things that have already occurred. The testimony
7 would not stand [overlapping speakers] --
8 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, that's precisely the point. I fully
9 agree with Mr. Ivetic. It has no value, and that's why it should not be
10 left there on the record appearing as if it does have value. It has no
11 value. We tendered those in anticipation of Dr. Fagel who was going to
12 come and talk about those documents. He was prohibited from doing that,
13 so we are now seeking to withdraw them.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think Mr. Ivetic is right. Perhaps in the
15 judgement we can make reference to the documents.
16 We will adjourn until 2.15.
17 --- Recess taken at 1.02 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 2.15 p.m.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is the witness available to continue her
21 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
22 [Closed session]
11 Pages 7025-7059 redacted. Closed session.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.06 p.m.
8 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 9th day of April,
9 2009, at 8.50 a.m.