1 Wednesday, 28 November 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.32 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is Case Number
7 IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Martinovic and Naletilic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Par, do you have something to address to the
9 Chamber? Yes.
10 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. If you have
11 two or three minutes for me, I kindly requested Your Honours to address
12 you regarding a decision of this Trial Chamber of 27 November 2001
13 relating to the forensic report and its inclusion in the record. The
14 Defence found itself, after this decision, that it's facing a very
15 difficult situation, which I think was due to a misunderstanding that
16 preceded this decision. The decision states that no Defence has called
17 upon Rule 94 bis and that the Trial Chamber concluded that no Defence had
18 intention to cross-examine any expert witnesses.
19 This Defence team does have -- does intend to cross-examine the
20 forensic expert on the facts of the murder charges. We believe that
21 cannot -- that this charge cannot be fully examined without having
22 cross-examined this witness. Why did we not ask for this
23 cross-examination when this was submitted from the Prosecution on the 19th
24 of October? I am going to try to give you the reasons now, because I
25 believe they are very simple.
7 MR. SCOTT: Forgive me, Mr. President. I apologise for
8 interrupting Mr. Par. I don't know at the moment, to be perfectly candid,
9 whether these witnesses may be protected or not.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Scott, let Mr. Par finish so you could give
11 a response.
12 MR. SCOTT: No, no, Mr. -- are we in private session?
13 JUDGE LIU: No, I don't think we are in the private session.
14 MR. SCOTT: The names of witnesses were just mentioned who may be
15 protected, Mr. President. That's the problem. I'm not objecting to the
16 substance at all. And I apologise for interrupting. But I think the
17 safest course would be to go into private session. And again, my
19 JUDGE LIU: Sure, sure. We'll have that name redacted, and we'll
20 go to the private session if you want to mention some names in
21 particular. And thank you very much, Mr. Scott, for reminding us about
23 [Private session]
12 Pages 6530-6535 – redacted – private session
4 [Open session]
5 MR. BOS:
6 Q. And what happened, then, in May of that year, 1993?
7 A. On the 16th of April, I came to my regular shift. I was a member
8 of this army. I arrived at my regular shift, to the village where my unit
9 held a part of the front line. And as the movement had already been
10 restricted, I had no way of going back to Stolac, that is, to go back
11 home. And I stayed there about 58 days until, that is, the conflict with
12 the HVO; that is, until the 13th of June, when I was taken prisoner.
13 Q. So on the 13th of June, you said you were taken prisoner. Can you
14 tell the Court what happened on that day.
15 A. On the 12th of June, in the evening, on Saturday, the Croatian
16 Defence Council, which was jointly defending that segment of the front
17 line with us, started amassing troops on both flanks, that is, both to the
18 right and left of the line which we were holding. In the village where we
19 were holding this front line, to the left of us was the 9th Battalion from
20 Rodoc, that is, a suburb of Mostar, and to the right was the 3rd Battalion
21 from Capljina.
22 Q. These are HVO battalions?
23 A. Yes. In the evening, we saw them bringing in their forces, bussing
24 them in and trucking them in. This is at dusk. Then some men from the
25 surrounding villages - I think three or four surrounding villages -
1 arrived and informed our unit that the HVO had something, like, triple
2 their forces there. For instance, in the village of Gubavica, the HVO
3 always had a unit of a strength of a platoon.
4 That night, they brought in a company. As these people notified
5 us. In the village of Stanojevici, at the one checkpoint, they always had
6 a unit the size of a squad, that is, six to ten men. That evening, they
7 brought in a platoon. Similar situation was in the villages of Pjesci,
8 Trijebanj, and so on.
9 Q. Witness, can we just move you on a bit, a bit more swiftly. Could
10 you please tell us what happened when you were arrested and where you were
11 taken to.
12 A. Let me just say that the -- that night was fairly quiet. In the
13 morning, around 7.00 a.m., the soldiers who were directly at the front
14 line itself sent a message to the unit that they are being surrounded by
15 some troops and that they are being fired upon. Because we knew that we
16 stood no chance whatsoever in the village to put up a fight, and there was
17 also great pressure on the part of the civilian population, which was
18 begging the soldiers from our unit not to provoke any kind of conflict.
19 Because there were a lot of women and children in the village, the
20 provisional command decided to pull back the troops in the direction of
21 Blagaj and Mostar, which was under the control of the ABiH. They told
22 these soldiers, "Maintain that line of defence because that is the
23 direction in which the troops will pull back."
24 Around 9.00, the evacuation of the units started. And because the
25 HVO was observing and monitoring the whole situation from the surrounding
1 hills, sometime halfway between the village and the front line, they cut
2 off our unit. They stopped 40 of us, turned us back to the village,
3 disarmed, loaded us onto trucks, and took us to Gabela near Capljina.
4 Q. And upon your arrival in Gabela, how long did you stay in Gabela,
5 and were you then subsequently transferred somewhere else?
6 A. We stayed at Gabela only several hours. In fact, out of 40 of us,
7 about 25 of us were transferred to Mostar to the Heliodrom at dusk and 10
8 to 15 men remained at Gabela in Capljina.
9 Q. Now, when you arrived at the Heliodrom, where were you taken to?
10 A. We came to the Heliodrom to the central prison building.
11 MR. BOS: May the witness be shown 20.11, Exhibit 20.17. Put
12 20.11 on the overhead projector.
13 Q. Do you recognise the building which is on this photograph?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Would you please with your pointer point the building you
17 A. This is the building of the central prison. This is the tarmac on
18 its, I think, west side. We entered the building from the other side, and
19 that evening, we were put into cells which are on the left-hand part of
20 this building. And the little windows above the ground are the windows of
21 those cells. So this one here and the one further on that you can see,
22 those are the cells in the left part of the building when you view it from
23 this side.
24 Q. Were these cells in the basement of the building?
25 A. Yes, they were in the basement.
1 Q. Could you also have a look at Exhibit 20.17.
2 A. Yes. This is the building seen from the other side. We entered
3 it through this entrance here. And as soon as you enter, on the
4 right-hand side is the entrance to the basement. On the right-hand side,
5 there is a big iron gate, and there are cells. And on the left-hand side
6 is the kitchen, the toilet, and a big basement area of 50 square metres,
7 to which we were transferred from the cells on the following day.
8 Q. Now --
9 MR. BOS: That's enough for the photo.
10 Q. While you were kept in the basement, did you find out whether any
11 other prisoners were kept in this basement of the central prison?
12 A. That evening, while we were in the cells, which are approximately
13 6 by 7 metres - at least the one I was in - there were 25 of us in three
14 cells. Then we noticed there were other cells in which there were other
15 prisoners, but we didn't know who they were.
16 Q. Did you subsequently find out any of the names of these other
17 prisoners who were kept there?
18 A. Yes. On the following day, when they transferred us to the big
19 basement area, through the door of that area, or rather, through the
20 keyhole, we were able to see when the guards were entering the part of the
21 basement where the cells were. We saw them taking a man out of those
22 cells, and we recognised him. And I have stated his name in my
23 statement. And I saw personally Juka Prazina coming in with his dog, a
24 huge dog, going into those cells.
25 MR. BOS: Maybe if we could go into the private session, and then
1 you can mention the name of the prisoner which you saw.
2 JUDGE LIU: We'll go to the private session, please.
3 [Private session]
11 [Open session]
12 MR. BOS: Are we back in open session?
13 JUDGE LIU: Not yet. Yes, yes, we are in open session.
14 MR. BOS:
15 Q. Witness, for how long did you stay in the basement of that
17 A. We stayed in the basement of that building for 17 or 18 days. And
18 on Thursday, the 1st of July, we were transferred to the first floor of
19 that building, on the right-hand side. But I forgot to mention that on
20 the following day, when we were transferred to the other basement area, we
21 were joined by 10 or 15 civilians from the village of Rotimlja, who had
22 also been taken prisoner by members of the HVO and brought to the same
23 basement where we were. There were several people who were very old.
24 They may have been 70.
25 Q. When you were transferred to outside the basement on the 1st of
1 July, did this group also move up?
2 A. Twenty-five of us were transferred to the upper floor, those of us
3 who were members of a unit of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while
4 the others were taken off to Dretelj in Capljina.
5 Q. Now, what was the situation like on the first floor where you were
6 transferred on the 1st of July? Could you tell us about the conditions
7 over there?
8 A. We were transferred to the first floor on Thursday, the 1st of
9 July, at about 9.00 or 10.00 in the morning. In that part of the
10 building, we found 15 or 20 prisoners, approximately, who were Croats by
11 ethnicity and who had been punished. I assume that they had committed
12 serious crimes.
13 Q. And how did these HVO prisoners treat you and the other prisoners
14 who came up from the basement?
15 A. With the goodwill of the guards, they had permission or even
16 orders to provoke us, maltreat us, beat us, and this went on, I think, for
17 about three days.
18 Q. Do you recall any of the names of these HVO prisoners?
19 A. I remember some nicknames. And there were two or three Bosniaks
20 who had been locked up together with them. All three of them had
21 committed murder. And from this, I conclude that the others were
22 criminals of the same kind. There was a man nicknamed Splico; that was
23 his nickname. Later on, I saw him in the Convicts Battalion. There was
24 another one whom they called Pop. And the others said that he had killed
25 a priest. They bragged about it. And I knew that there were three
1 Bosniaks who had committed murder and were with him.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you. I did not
4 want to object up to this point to these questions to which such long
5 answers are being given, but now I raise an objection because I do not see
6 the relevance of these Croats in the central prison and how they are
7 relevant to this case.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Bos. Would you please show us the
10 MR. BOS: Well, I would say it's very relevant. The witness just
11 said that the Splico, that he later found out that he had -- that he
12 worked in the Convicts Battalion as well. So it seems to me very relevant
13 to the case and -- yeah. I don't see why this is not relevant.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think it's very
16 clear. I truly have to say I fail to understand. If there was someone
17 from the Convicts Battalion in the prison serving a sentence, I still
18 don't see the relevance of all this, as far as the Prosecution is
19 concerned, of course, and these questions. Of course, I will clarify
20 everything during my cross-examination, but I think the relevance is
21 really minimal for this case.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, to my limited knowledge of this case, this might
23 show that there is a principle in the Convicts Battalion if somebody
24 commits a murder, they are sent to prison.
25 Anyway, Mr. Bos, would you please proceed.
1 MR. BOS: Yes, Your Honour.
2 Q. Maybe just on this man named Splico -- because I'm looking at the
3 transcript, and I -- could you please spell his name for the transcript,
4 because I think it's not correctly spelled in the transcript.
5 A. S-p-l-i-c-o.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, Witness, beside the prison building where you
7 were kept, were there any other facilities in the Heliodrom where
8 prisoners were kept, to your knowledge?
9 A. Yes. The prisoners were kept in the school, the building that was
10 called "the school," and which actually had been a school up to the war,
11 probably a military school, and two gymnasiums.
12 MR. BOS: Could the witness be shown Exhibit 20.8, please.
13 Q. Witness, do you recognise any of the buildings you've just been
14 referring to? Maybe any other building as well.
15 A. I think the school is here where prisoners were kept. And I think
16 that these are the two gymnasiums, but I cannot say this with certainty
17 because I only passed by in vehicles.
18 Q. Do you recognise any of the other buildings on this photograph?
19 A. I recognise these buildings here, which were used as barracks.
20 I'm sure that these two buildings were used by soldiers. And I'm not
21 sure, but the third one here - I can't see it very well - I think I know
22 which units used these three buildings. Two buildings were used by the
23 Croatian army, and one was used by a unit of the HVO from Konjic.
24 Q. Witness, could you please --
25 MR. BOS: If the witness could be given a mark and indicate with
1 the marker which buildings were used by the Croatian army.
2 Q. Maybe you can circle those buildings which were used by the
3 Croatian army.
4 A. I'm sure about this one. And as for the other two, I'm not sure,
5 because I was brought here several times by soldiers from the Konjic unit
6 to clean their dormitories, so that I'm not sure which of these two was
7 used by them and which was used by parts of the 2nd Guards Brigade of the
8 Croatian army.
9 Q. Thank you. That's okay for the photograph.
10 Now, Witness, on the 1st of July when you were moving up to the
11 first floor of the central prison, were you taken out for labour on that
13 A. No. We spent that day -- all of that day here in that room where
14 we were maltreated, and Friday, the 2nd of July, which was the following
15 day, and on Saturday and Sunday. So on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of July, on
16 three consecutive days, we were taken to Balinovac, which is a part of
17 Mostar, to the local cemetery there.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
19 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if we follow the
20 questions and the statement, we now come to a part which does not refer to
21 any of the accused. So I wished to ask Your Honours, if the Prosecutor
22 insists on putting questions on this, he should say how it is relevant and
23 how it relates to either of the two accused. I'm referring to the
24 Balinovac part of the statement and the cemeteries.
25 JUDGE LIU: That's a legitimate request. Mr. Bos, would you
1 please explain to us.
2 MR. BOS: Your Honours, I think this is relevant because it
3 relates to the expulsion count which we have in our indictment. And
4 during that period, civilians were expelled, but not only expelled but
5 also killed in the process, and I think that for that reason, it's
6 relevant to this case.
7 JUDGE LIU: The question is: Who did those expulsions?
8 MR. BOS: Your Honours, both accused were involved in this policy
9 of expulsion. So it may be general, but nevertheless, it's relevant to
10 this case, I submit.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik. Do you have anything to add?
12 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Of course.
13 In this segment, the accused ones are not mentioned at any time -- are not
14 mentioned and are not being -- and no connection is made with them
15 whatsoever. If this is the allegation, then we can go all over Bosnia.
16 And I believe that my learned colleague Mr. Bos understands very well what
17 I'm talking about.
18 Of course, I'm only limiting myself to what is in the statement.
19 There's no connection -- these expulsions and this persecution has nothing
20 to do with our clients, and I was just trying to see what the connection
21 may be to establish that.
22 MR. BOS: If I may respond to this again, this is part of a
23 widespread and systematic plan, and what happened here is part of this
24 policy, and that's why I am calling this evidence.
25 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik, your right is fully respected. I believe
1 that you have a chance to cross-examine this witness at a later stage. At
2 this moment, I have to tell you that the live testimony in this courtroom
3 is not limited only to the previous statement. There might be something
4 new which, frankly speaking, we don't know at this moment. I'll let
5 Mr. Bos go for a while to see the relevance to this case.
6 Yes, Mr. Bos, you may proceed.
7 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Witness, you said you were taken to a cemetery. What kind of
9 cemetery was this?
10 A. This was a Bosniak cemetery, on whose grounds there was a mosque,
11 and it had already been blown up at that time, in other words, completely
12 destroyed, and all tombstones were already broken up. Only by exception,
13 some may have still remained. We were brought there and split us into two
14 groups. One group had to collect all these tombstones in a pile, and the
15 others had to dig graves. This went on for three days.
16 When we arrived the next day, the graves that we had dug the day
17 before had corpses, bodies, placed in them that night. These bodies were
18 in black body bags. We then had to cover these bodies and fill in the
19 graves, and then we would proceed to dig up new ones. I was present there
20 for three days. I believe that we dug between 20 and 30 graves every
22 Q. So how many bodies in total were actually buried in that period
23 that you were working there?
24 A. I believe in those three days -- I did not count them, but I
25 believe about 100, plus, minus, so ...
1 Q. And were you able to identify any of these bodies that were
2 buried, you or any of the other prisoners?
3 A. On the second day when we were in the cemetery, during a break
4 when we had our breakfast, a vehicle came and two or three soldiers came
5 out of it. They went to the gate of the cemetery, and from there they
6 called out and asked that three or four prisoners be sent there. They
7 went. We saw them bringing in bodies from there, placing them in the
8 graves, or maybe it could have been -- they could all have been placed in
9 a single grave. There were three bodies. The soldiers told them to write
10 down in this wooden marker, "The Kajtaz Family."
11 The majority of other grave markers had markings "NN," which means
12 unknown. We -- some of the graves that we dug were so large that we could
13 place up to 12 bodies in them.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
15 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with all due respect,
16 my question is still: What is the relevance of all this, relative to our
17 clients and the indictment? What is the connection of these events at the
18 cemetery with the indictment and our clients?
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that the witness is going to tell us
20 about the forced labour he did when he was at Heliodrom.
21 Mr. Bos, you may continue.
22 MR. BOS:
23 Q. Okay. Witness, please continue. You said that they had a wooden
24 marker with the name "Kajtaz Family." Please continue from there.
25 A. Yes. When these prisoners who were carrying the bodies rejoined
1 us, they explained to us that in one of the bags, which was torn, they saw
2 a body of a woman - or a young woman, they said - and they could clearly
3 see that her chest had been carved by a knife. There was also a man with
4 us at the cemetery who I believe was in some kind of a house arrest, and
5 his entire family had been imprisoned, and he was also brought there to
6 the cemetery every morning so that he would tell us what to do, what to
7 dig, where to dig, and so on. I also provided his name in my statement.
8 Q. Now, Witness, you've been referring to this -- to the fact that
9 one of the body bags was slit open and that they recognised a woman. Did
10 you later find out who this woman was?
11 A. I said that I did not see that, but I was told. These three or
12 four men who had brought her there and placed her in the grave, she
13 said -- they said that there was also a -- that there was also a body of
14 a child and another body in the third bag. When I was exchanged, a woman
15 told me - that is, their neighbour told me - that the persons in question
16 were indeed members of this family who were -- with whom I was friends,
17 and I knew that woman quite well.
18 Q. And where did she live?
19 A. I believe that the street was called Splitska, and her apartment
20 was in close proximity to the market on the right bank.
21 Q. In which town?
22 A. In Mostar.
23 Q. Now, Witness, after your assignment at the cemetery, were you
24 taken to do other type of labour?
25 A. I think that it was on the 5th of July when I was taken to a
1 building which, before the war, I believe was called the military
2 infirmary, and it was very close to two hospitals in Mostar, the surgery
3 and the old hospital. That was on the 5th of July.
4 Q. Maybe we can talk a bit in general in the months that followed the
5 5th of July. Did you work at the confrontation line during that period?
6 Could you tell us which -- in which areas you used to work?
7 A. I worked almost every day. Out of 279 days that I spent at the
8 Heliodrom, I perhaps did not go to work 30 to 40 days at the most, and I
9 believe that on the 6th and 7th of July, that was Tuesday and Wednesday, I
10 was taken to Stela's unit.
11 Q. Witness, we'll come to that a little -- I suppose we can deal with
12 that now. So you said that you worked for Stela's unit on the 6th or 7th
13 of July. On that day that you went to work for Stela's unit, please could
14 you tell us who picked you up and which prisoners were taken to that unit
15 on that day.
16 A. Very quickly at the Heliodrom, we learned about all these units
17 that were taking prisoners to the front line. We became familiar with the
18 vehicles that they were bringing in to take prisoners to the front line.
19 We became familiar with their front-line areas and also how -- what the
20 treatment of prisoners was by those units.
21 Every morning, at least ten vehicles would come to the Heliodrom
22 to take prisoners in different directions. Of course, they also would
23 come during the day or during the night, depending on their needs. So I
24 worked throughout that front line from Bijelo Polje on one end to Buna on
25 the other end, which is approximately 30 to 40 kilometres.
1 Q. Now, if we could just move now to that specific date when you were
2 taken out to work for Stela's unit. Do you recall which date that was,
3 the first time you worked for this unit?
4 A. That was on Tuesday, the 6th of July, and the next day, the 7th of
5 July. I recall very well all the days and dates that had something to do
6 with me, either in terms of good or bad.
7 On that morning, a blue truck from Stela's unit arrived. It was
8 an old truck. It was either a TAM or a Deutz truck. We looked through
9 the window, and we knew that prisoners would now be going to his unit, but
10 we did not know that it was going to be us. Very shortly thereafter, a
11 guard appeared at the door and said that the Blue Orchestra should come
13 Q. Witness, what is the "Blue Orchestra"?
14 A. It was a group of prisoners -- it was 25 of us. We were given
15 some blue outfits that were either pilots -- pilots' suits or something
16 like that. And because they constantly were forcing us to sing songs,
17 they gave us this name, "Blue Orchestra," and that was in reference to a
18 musical band from Sarajevo which had this name.
19 We went out, got onto the truck, and went to the city of Mostar in
20 front of Stela's units' headquarters.
21 Q. Witness, do you remember the driver of that truck? Do you
22 remember his name?
23 A. No. But I'm not sure whether I can recall this quite well, but I
24 believe that the man who brought us there, he was not a driver but he was
25 the passenger. He escorted us. He was seated next to the driver. And
1 later, he took us from the -- Stela's units' headquarters to the front
2 line. And if I'm not mistaken, his name was Luka. I'm not sure.
3 Q. But you're now referring to the guard who actually took you to the
4 truck but not the person who actually drove the truck; is that correct?
5 A. I said that the guards only told us that we should come out, that
6 25 of us, the so-called Blue Orchestra, that we come out and to board that
7 truck. And then the driver of this truck and this man that I referred to
8 took us over, and they were Stela's soldiers.
9 MR. BOS: May the witness be shown Exhibit P12, please.
10 Q. Now, Witness, do you recognise this map, the area which this map
12 A. Yes, quite a bit.
13 Q. Can you indicate -- because you stated that you were taken to
14 Stela's headquarters. Can you indicate on the map where this was?
15 A. Here, near this intersection. You turn into the street, and to
16 the right, that's where his headquarters was.
17 Q. Tell us what happened when the truck arrived there.
18 A. The soldiers got off the truck, they told us to get off, and this
19 soldier addressed us, said, "Now you'll wait for the boss."
20 Shortly thereafter, perhaps 10 or 15 minutes later, a car
21 arrived. It was red in colour. It was a jeep. It had a steering wheel
22 on the right-hand side. And I believe that based on the reactions of the
23 soldiers, we recognised this person to -- as Stela. As he got out of the
24 car, he started yelling. He told us to stand against the wall, to lower
25 our heads. We were made to place our hands behind our backs. He asked
1 us, "You think that you have come to me by accident?" This sort of
2 completely dispelled any doubts that we may have had about whether we had
3 been brought there by accident, because he specifically had called for us
4 to be brought there because we were members of the army, or perhaps we
5 thought that the guards may have sent us to his unit because his unit's
6 treatment of prisoners was the harshest.
7 Q. Can you give a description of this man Stela?
8 A. To me, he looked as if he was medium height, fairly filled out, if
9 I can put it that way. I think that he was -- he had his hair cut or may
10 not have had any hair. I believe his hair was on the light side. And
11 that's more or less it.
12 Q. What did Stela do after he had spoken to you?
13 A. He then started beating one prisoner. But as we had our heads
14 bowed, I could not see who it was. He really beat him mercilessly. One
15 could hear him being punched and kicked. And at one point, I heard
16 something falling to the ground. One of my fellow prisoners had glasses,
17 and I thought that he was beating him and that he had broken his glasses.
18 However, it was only later that I learned that the bracelet of his watch
19 broke from the force of the blows that he delivered, and it -- his watch
20 fell and broke in front of the prisoner.
21 One of the prisoners, who was standing immediately next to the
22 prisoner who was being beaten, became ill. He could not watch this and
23 started falling down. Another prisoner, who was next to him, held him so
24 that he would not fall. And then he hit and started beating both of them,
25 but not nearly as hard as he was beating the first one. He may have only
1 hit them once or twice.
2 Q. Now, Witness, did you later find out which prisoners were beaten?
3 Did you find out -- can you now give us the names if -- well, we'll have
4 to go into private session, but do you know the names of the prisoners who
5 were beaten?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. BOS: Could we go into private session, Your Honour?
8 JUDGE LIU: We will go to the private session, please.
9 [Private session]
18 [Open session]
19 JUDGE LIU: And we will resume at 11.30.
20 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.31 a.m.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Bos.
23 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Q. Witness, before we continue, and you made some reference to this.
25 How is it that you know the dates and even the days so well? Is there any
1 particular reason you know that, for example, the 1st of July was on a
2 Tuesday? How is that?
3 A. I said that for as far as the key days are concerned and the key
4 dates on which some important events for my life happened, sort of stayed
5 with me in my mind from this period when I was in prison at the
6 Heliodrom. I believe that I know at least 30, if not more, specific days
7 of the week and dates relating to that period.
8 Q. Now, let's go back to where we had left before the break. You
9 testified that you saw Stela beating some of the prisoners. And my next
10 question would be: Were there any men or women present besides the
11 prisoners while Stela was beating prisoners?
12 A. Yes. The person who was present was the soldiers who had escorted
13 the truck. In fact, he informed -- he notified Stela after he arrived.
14 He said, "Boss, these are the ones from the army, from ABiH." And also
15 present was another soldier, of his whose name I also provided in the
17 Q. You can give us the name, yes.
18 A. His name was -- yes, his name was Semir Bosnjic.
19 Q. Can you describe him? What did he look like?
20 A. I think he was a bit taller than Stela. He was also light
21 haired. And he had some kind of a scar on his head. I don't know whether
22 that was from bullet or a knife or something, but that's how it looked.
23 And he had a speech impediment; he had difficulties pronouncing words.
24 And he also helped Stela -- he assisted Stela while he was beating these
25 prisoners; in other words, he also participated in the beating.
1 There was also a young girl there who had arrived with Stela in
2 this car. And based on how she looked, she could have been perhaps 20.
3 No more than 20, so she was a girl. I don't recall whether anyone else
4 from his headquarters -- of the soldiers of his was present around us at
5 that time.
6 Q. Now, what happened after this beating incident? What did you have
7 to do?
8 A. He split us into two groups. To one group he said to go to the
9 front line, and the others stayed at his unit's headquarters.
10 Q. And in which group were you placed?
11 A. On the first day, I stayed in his unit's headquarters, and I was
12 there until sometime in the afternoon, maybe 3.00 or 4.00 in the
13 afternoon. And then, I, too, was taken to the front line.
14 Q. Now, what did you have to do while you were at his headquarters?
15 A. I think that perhaps a third of us had stayed back at the
16 headquarters, perhaps seven or eight men, in this building where his
17 headquarters was. I think, if I recall it well, that portion of the
18 building had two apartments. On the second floor, on one of the doors to
19 one of the apartments, there was still the plaque with the Kajtaz family
20 name on it. Probably they had been expelled from that apartment a day or
21 a few days before that.
22 Q. Just to clarify, is this the same Kajtaz you have been mentioning
24 A. No, no.
25 Q. Please continue.
1 A. They probably intended to turn that apartment into his office.
2 And we were ordered to throw out all the belongings that were in that
3 apartment, and it was a very well-furnished apartment indeed. They told
4 us not to touch one room only where they had some leather furniture. I
5 entered that room two or three times on that day. And Stela stayed in
6 that room, and he and a few of his soldiers had some alcoholic beverages
7 in it.
8 All the other belongings from that apartment, we had to take out,
9 and we loaded it into a truck in front of the building, that same blue
10 truck that we were brought in on. And that truck went in the direction of
11 Siroki Brijeg. And about 5, 6 kilometres before Mostar, we threw all
12 those things off the truck down a slope.
13 Some soldiers called me -- in fact, they told me that I should
14 clean their rifles in the hallway or in front of that room which we were
15 not to touch. On that day, I cleaned perhaps three rifles and two or
16 three pistols.
17 Q. You said that later on in the day, you were also taken to the
18 confrontation line. Where exactly were you taken, and what did you have
19 to do?
20 A. I was taken there late in the afternoon. And the prisoners whom I
21 found there had more or less finished the job that they had to do that
22 day. I found them sitting behind the infirmary, or the Health Centre,
23 whatever it was called, on the Bulevar. And I may have sat with them for
24 about an hour or so, and then that evening we were taken back to the
1 Q. And where were you taken the next day?
2 A. The next day, we were again brought to the same location, to
3 Stela's unit in front of this headquarters. Stela again appeared there
4 that morning. We found him there again. He said that now the other group
5 would stay back at the headquarters with him. He said that he wanted the
6 others to get to know him. And about 15 of us were sent to the
7 confrontation line.
8 MR. BOS: Could the witness be shown Exhibit 14.4, please.
9 Q. Take your time to get a bit familiar with this photograph, and
10 then I would ask you: Could you indicate on the photograph where you
11 worked on this second day.
12 A. This is the street called Bulevar. This is -- this building is
13 the building of the Health Centre, which was controlled by Stela's unit.
14 Here, over to the left, maybe 100 or 200 metres away is the Aleksa Santic
15 High School, controlled by the military police, but I don't know exactly
16 where the zone of control of Stela's unit and the military police was. I
17 don't know.
18 This is Liska Street or Sava Kovacevic Street, as it was known
19 before the war. Around here somewhere, this street was built up by
20 sandbags, and then this wall was knocked down. These bags had fallen
21 down. So the next day when we arrived, we first had to deal with that; we
22 had to fix that wall.
23 And then behind this building here, around here, we were bringing
24 sand-filled bags that -- and we were filling them with sand somewhere
25 around here, to the left, and then we were bringing them over here. And
1 this is where we were building some kind of a bunker out of these bags,
2 somewhere inside these buildings. But I know that between these two
3 buildings right here, there was a bunker occupied by the 4th Battalion.
4 In other words, the Bulevar up to that point was controlled, covered, by
5 the 4th Brigade [sic]. But over here on this, I think maybe because of
6 control or something, Stela also had a bunker in this building here. And
7 all day long, we carried these sandbags in. It was a big job. We were
8 15, and we carried those sandbags all day long over here.
9 Q. How did the soldiers treat you on that day?
10 THE INTERPRETER: 4th Battalion. Correction of the interpreter.
11 A. I have to say, on that date there was no mistreatment. Sometime
12 in the afternoon, I believe two soldiers came and said to the ones who
13 were guarding us, "Give us three or four prisoners. We have a job." They
14 gave them these three or four men. They stayed there one -- an hour or
15 two, and then they came back. We asked them, "Where were you?" They said
16 that they were carrying things from one apartment to another apartment
17 which one of the soldiers was furnishing for himself.
18 And then just before the dusk, it may have been about 5.00 in the
19 afternoon, one of Stela's soldiers came and said that the military police
20 was expelling people from one of the buildings. He named that building.
21 He gave the exact name. In Mostar, it is customary that buildings get
22 individual names. Some are called by street numbers, number 1, number 2,
23 number 3; some are called something like "The Stone Building" or "Bejrut"
24 or so on. As he gave the exact name of that building, Stela's soldiers
25 started running and saying, "We have to prevent them from kicking out" the
1 wife of, I think, of an Albanian, or a woman who may have been of Albanian
2 origin. And indeed they ran off. I think there were five or six of
3 them. Later on, when they came back, they said that they had prevented
4 her from being expelled and moved out of the apartment. We did not know
5 the reason why they kept that woman in this building, as opposed to all
6 the other people who were expelled.
7 MR. BOS:
8 Q. Do you know on which street this house was located where the
9 military police wanted to take out this woman?
10 A. I believe that that was somewhere near the Rondo. I don't know
11 exactly where. But it was nearby there, somewhere around the Rondo.
12 Q. Now, Witness, did you ever, on any other occasion, work for
13 Stela's unit? We have been talking about the first two occasions. Was
14 there any other occasion when you worked for Stela's unit?
15 A. Yes. I worked on one other occasion, and that may have been after
16 the 15th, or around the 17th. But on that day, I did not see Stela. He
17 did not appear. And I think that there is nothing very special about that
18 day. It was a regular day. It was working on fortifications and bunkers
19 and so on.
20 Q. Do you know what the name of Stela's unit was?
21 A. We learned from other prisoners and people from Mostar that it was
22 part of the unit called Convicts Battalion. But on their cars -- this
23 unit had a small bus, actually, like a van, which was of a TAM make, on
24 which was written "Mrmak," and I believe that may have been the original
25 name of that unit. Men from Mostar who were imprisoned with us, who knew
1 the situation better than we did, told us that this was the name of his
2 dog and that perhaps the unit was named after the dog.
3 Q. Witness, do you know how many members Stela's unit had?
4 A. I don't know exactly, but I assume that the unit was the size of a
5 company, because when we were coming to the shifts at the confrontation
6 line and at the headquarters, we could see perhaps 25 to 30 soldiers.
7 Once they changed their shifts in the evening, I think this was on the
8 second day, that is -- that would have been on Wednesday, towards the
9 evening, a shift came to that part of the unit which on that day was at
10 the confrontation line.
11 Q. If you said it was the size of a company, how many members would a
12 company have?
13 A. I believe approximately between 80 and 120. A company should have
14 three -- should consist of three platoons. From my modest knowledge of
15 military affairs, it should be composed of three platoons and then a
16 signals squad and some other additional -- and a platoon would be
17 somewhere between 25 and 30 men.
18 Q. Witness, did you learn any of the names of the members of Stela's
20 A. I cannot say much about the names. I can describe certain men and
21 so on. In the evening of the second day, as we were waiting to be taken
22 back, while we were staying with his troops, we were all very frightened.
23 And when we wanted to say something to one another, we would do so usually
24 using signs and pantomime.
25 One of the soldiers who was in the bunker who was controlling the
1 situation on the Bulevar noticed this, and he told us his name, too. He
2 was rather tall and light haired. Among other things, he said, "You need
3 not be afraid of me at least in this unit. Feel free to talk amongst
4 yourselves, and so on," so that for a moment, he lifted the psychological
5 burden that we were subjected to in those two days.
6 Q. You said he gave his name. What was his name? You can give the
7 names. It's no problem.
8 A. I'm not certain that I would get it right, because a lot of things
9 have changed. But this man was quite correct, and this is a positive
10 memory that I will keep for some time, for a long time.
11 Q. Witness, do you think that Stela's unit acted independently or
12 whether Stela had a superior? Would you know who the superior was?
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik.
14 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] I believe that this question calls
15 for pure speculation, and I think we should skip it. And obviously, it is
16 very suggestive.
17 JUDGE LIU: No, no, no. The question did not mention any names,
18 and he just asks that whether Stela had a superior and whether the witness
19 knows who the superior was. No, it's quite a normal question, I believe.
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, after all these days,
21 and we know the position of these witnesses, do you really believe that
22 they are in a position to know this, unless we resort to pure
24 JUDGE LIU: I'm not sure about that. This witness may know or may
25 not. Let's hear the answer from this witness.
1 Yes, Witness, you may answer the question.
2 A. The question is really a complex one, but I will say the
3 following: It is hard to believe that the things that unit did and the
4 things Stela did could have been done independently and that he did them
5 all on his own initiative. Things appear as follows: Mr. Stela was given
6 a certain goal to accomplish, and his role in all this depended on that.
7 The means and the manner he would use to achieve that goal, I think, were
8 left up to him to choose. I don't know if I have been clear enough.
9 MR. BOS:
10 Q. Yes, you have been, Witness. Thank you.
11 Witness, one last question on Stela: Do you know whether Stela at
12 his headquarters had a garage?
13 A. I really cannot remember. No, I really can't remember, but there
14 was a little hut, a little hut which was part of the headquarters. And
15 there were two gates to the left and to the right of that little hut and a
16 narrow passage between that little hut and the headquarters where we were
17 lined up on the first day, when Stela was beating those people, if I
18 remember correctly.
19 Q. Witness, you've spoken about the fact that I think you've
20 indicated on one of the exhibits of the Heliodrom that there were HV
21 troops present at the Heliodrom. Can you recall at the time you were in
22 Mostar and the Heliodrom which units of the HV you actually saw?
23 A. In the part of Herzegovina we are talking about, the Croatian army
24 was constantly present, units of the Croatian army, or parts of units.
25 From June '92, when the 116th Metkovic Brigade of the Croatian army was
1 the first to enter Stolac, until March 1994, units of the Croatian army
2 were present in the area.
3 At the Heliodrom, parts of two Guards Brigades were posted of the
4 1st and the 2nd Guards Brigade, and their forward positions were in the
5 village of Buna. And even today, in 2001, there are markings of a house
6 where the unit of the 1st Guards Brigade was in Buna near Mostar. Part of
7 the 2nd Guards Brigade was in a Bosniak house in a part of Buna near the
8 road leading to Stolac.
9 Q. Witness, if you refer to the -- you have been referring to the 1st
10 and the 2nd Guards Brigade. Did they have nicknames, these brigades?
11 A. The 1st Guards Brigade was called the Tigers, and the 2nd Guards
12 Brigade was called Gromovi, "Thunderbolts of lightning." Soldiers from
13 the 2nd Guards Brigade took me to work several times. That was in early
14 October approximately. In front of the house where they had their reserve
15 position in Buna, they had several artillery pieces. They had
16 220 millimetre mortars, and I think two or four 82 millimetre mortars.
17 One day, they fired. And it's noteworthy that on that day, they
18 fired at the Catholic church in Blagaj. There were about ten of us
19 prisoners there. And they explained to us in passing that the army of
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina was using the church for its own purposes and that
21 that was the reason they were targeting it.
22 But on the 15th of July, 1993, which was a Thursday, a brigade
23 from Slavonia - I don't know its exact name, but we used to call it the
24 Slavonian Brigade - mounted an attack on units of the army in the southern
25 part of town in the place called Kovacina. They attacked the part from
1 the junction for Blagaj and Nevesinje to the junction at the airport.
2 These soldiers took us on the 14th to help us -- to help them fortify the
3 initial positions from which they were to launch an attack on the
4 following morning. And that was -- the mortars of that unit were located
5 on the road leading to the airport.
6 I helped to organise this position and talked to the soldiers from
7 the Slavonian Brigade. They said to me that they came from Slavonska
8 Pozega and the surrounding villages.
9 Q. Did you also speak with the commander of that unit, that HV unit?
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Krsnik?
11 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like the
12 Prosecutor to clarify. The witness said they "originated from," not that
13 they "were from." I see that in the translation, it says, "They were from
14 Slavonska Pozega." "Originating from" would mean that they no longer
15 lived there but they had their roots there. So if the Prosecutor could
16 explain, the witness said they originated there.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Bos, would you please make clear for us?
18 MR. BOS:
19 Q. Well, Witness, you heard what the Defence said. Could you clarify
21 A. These soldiers, with whom we spent an entire day, explained to us
22 that they were the Croatian army, that they were Croatian soldiers, and
23 that their approach to battle was different from that of the HVO, that the
24 way they treated prisoners was different from the way the HVO treated
25 them. They said they were professional soldiers.
1 JUDGE LIU: Witness, wait.
2 Mr. Krsnik?
3 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Very simply, I asked my learned
4 friend for an explanation, and now we are listening to something
5 completely different. The question referred to their origin, whether they
6 simply originated from Slavonska Pozega, or whether they came from
7 Slavonska Pozega. That's all.
8 MR. BOS: The witness perfectly explained when he said that the
9 soldiers were saying that they were Croatian soldiers. I think the
10 witness gave a perfect explanation.
11 JUDGE LIU: Maybe not at this specific point. Would you please
12 guide your witness more specifically about the question raised by the
13 Defence counsel, please.
14 MR. BOS:
15 Q. Witness, if the unit said -- if you heard that this unit came from
16 Slavonska Pozega, does that mean that all the soldiers in that unit would
17 come from that particular place?
18 A. It's hard to say whether they were all from that place, but the
19 origin of the unit is important. That unit was a unit of the Croatian
20 army which had come from Slavonia to the area of Herzegovina, and they
21 introduced themselves to us as such. They told us very clearly that they
22 were the professional Croatian army which had arrived because of the
23 operation that was to take place on the following morning. And where each
24 of them was born and where they lived, that's a different matter. But
25 this was a unit of the Croatian army which arrived on the territory of
1 another country because of military matters.
2 Q. Thank you, Witness. Now, did, in fact, the attack take place on
3 the 15th of July, and was it successful?
4 JUDGE LIU: Now, Mr. Bos, there is a question that the witness did
5 not answer, that is, whether he has spoken to the commander of that unit
6 or not.
7 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Witness, did you also get a chance to speak to the commander of
9 that unit?
10 A. All the prisoners except for me and another man, whose name I
11 cannot remember, went to fortify positions from the junction leading to
12 the airport along the main road. I remained in a house, which before the
13 war was a discount shop, with a man who I think was the commander of the
14 artillery unit that was to fire the -- from the artillery pieces the
15 following day. He questioned me. In fact, he had a conversation with me
16 about whose fault the conflict was, how the conflict arose, what I thought
17 of the conflict. And then he himself said, "Here is the commander in
18 chief, the chief commander."
19 I took a trash can and I was carrying it and passing underneath a
20 window. The main commander asked the one who was talking to me, who had
21 been talking to me, he said to him, "What does this man say?" He was
22 referring to me. What do I say? And the other man confirmed to him, he
23 said, "Well, the man is talking properly, correctly. He said that it's
24 the officers of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina who are to blame for
25 the conflict, the political leaders and so on," because he wanted to avoid
1 unpleasantness. And these questions were put to me every day, and those
2 were the answers I always gave because I knew what I was expected to say.
3 On that evening -- well, we stayed there the whole day. And on
4 that day, that unit really treated us correctly. In the evening, they
5 escorted us over a railway bridge that had been damaged, and at about 5.00
6 in the morning, the first artillery attack began on the part of the
7 territory controlled by the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On that day,
8 that unit failed. And two days later, I heard from HVO soldiers that they
9 had made a mistake and that a shell had misfired and killed about 30 of
10 their own men.
11 Some soldiers from the Slavonian Brigade came to Heliodrom in the
12 afternoon. They wanted to go in among the prisoners - I think that on
13 that day nobody went to the front line anywhere - but the guards prevented
14 them from doing so. They told us we were not to peer out of the windows,
15 and that was how the day ended.
16 Q. Do you know why they wanted to go to the prisoners on that day?
17 A. I think some of those soldiers, because they had suffered a
18 military failure, wanted to take revenge on the prisoners.
19 Q. Okay. Witness, were you ever taken to a village called Rastani?
20 A. The first time I was taken to the village of Rastani was on
21 Sunday, the 5th of September. And I stayed there for the whole week, from
22 Sunday to Sunday. We didn't have any duties there. We were locked up in
23 a house. We didn't do anything. And on the following Sunday, the 12th of
24 September, they took us back to Heliodrom at night under cover of
1 Q. When you were taken back to the Heliodrom on that -- after that
2 visit to Rastani, was there anything -- had anything particular happened
3 in the Heliodrom? Had anything changed at the Heliodrom when you came
5 A. That was a time of intensive fighting in Santiceva Street. On the
6 12th of September, in the evening, on Sunday, when we got back, when we
7 entered our part of the prison, it looked as if we had entered a
8 hospital. There were three dormitories in our part of the prison, and the
9 one I was in was the biggest one. And there were about 117 prisoners
10 there, I think. Altogether, there were about 230 prisoners in that whole
11 part of the prison. When we came back, the other prisoners told us that
12 people were being taken off to Santiceva Street every day, and that up to
13 that point, in our part of the prison, there had been 5 people killed and
14 84 wounded.
15 Q. Now, was there a second occasion that you were taken to Rastani?
16 A. The next time I was taken to Rastani was on the 21st of September,
17 which was a Tuesday, in the afternoon. A soldier came and took ten of us
18 prisoners to the village of Djubrani, which is on a hill overlooking
20 MR. BOS: May the witness be shown -- in fact, it's a new
21 exhibit. It is going to be Exhibit 34.10, which is a map of the area.
22 And the Defence was given copies of this map yesterday. But we'll provide
23 copies to the Judges and one to the witness as well.
24 Q. Now, Witness, if you could have a look at the map. I realise this
25 is the first time you're seeing this map. Could you please get yourself
1 familiar with the map. And if you could try to locate the village of
2 Djubrani where you were taken to; and if you find that village, maybe you
3 can mark it with this highlighter.
4 If you've found it, maybe you can mark it with a highlighter, and
5 then we can put it on the ELMO so that everyone can see. If we could zoom
6 out a bit so we can see where Djubrani is situated in relation to
8 MR. BOS: And Mr. Usher, if you could move up the map a little.
9 And if we can now zoom in a little again. All right. Stop.
10 Q. Now, Witness, maybe with the pointer, could you point -- you've
11 highlighted the village Djubrani. Could you point to where Rastani is on
12 this map?
13 A. This is Rastani.
14 Q. Thank you. All right. So you testified that you were taken there
15 with ten other people on the 21st of September. What time did you arrive
16 there and what happened?
17 A. We arrived there in the evening. We came to a prefabricated house
18 in which I had slept one night in late August when I was taken to
19 Bijelo Polje. We were put up in this prefabricated building. They gave
20 us something to eat. And the next morning, we got up fairly early, and we
21 were taken to build some fortifications, that is, some bunkers, in some
22 hollows or depressions. And these were all artillery emplacements.
23 Q. Were all ten of you taken to the same place?
24 A. No. I think that we were divided into two or three groups; in
25 other words, we were not all together there. My group stayed there about
1 half a day.
2 Q. Witness, are you able to -- I don't know if you can, but are you
3 able to locate on the map approximately where you actually were fortifying
4 that bunker?
5 A. That was approximately about a kilometre from Djubrani, no more
6 than a kilometre away. Perhaps around here, perhaps 1 kilometre away.
7 Q. Maybe you can mark that area with the letter "A" please, where you
8 actually were fortifying the bunker.
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. After that, where were you taken and what time of the day are we
12 A. This was about half a day. We came out of this hollow where we
13 had been building this, out onto the road, and we got off the road on some
14 kind of a field on the way to Djubrani. Two soldiers were with us, and an
15 ambulance had stopped on the road farther afield. And that whole day, in
16 fact, from the noon, the artillery was firing on Rastani and the wider
17 area controlled by the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. Could you see that artillery, or could you just hear it?
19 A. I could only hear them. On the other side, the ABiH also
20 returned -- was returning fire but with much less intensity.
21 When we got into this field, this ambulance came to a stop there,
22 and we sat down on one end of this field, and these two soldiers sat down
23 on the other end. They called us over, said, "Come over to us." We
24 crossed over. It may have been 30 to 40 metres at the most. And a shell
25 fell exactly at the spot where we had been sitting.
1 And at that point, two men were coming towards us, towards this
2 field. One of them identified himself as a driver, and the other one as a
3 physician. The shell wounded the person who identified himself as a
4 physician. He became very scared. He cursed us. And I and the driver,
5 who was driving him, managed to give him first aid. We bandaged his wound
6 and carried him into the vehicle.
7 Q. This was all still on the 22nd of September, is that correct,
8 after you had been fortifying the bunker?
9 A. Yes. Then a man, that is, a soldier, came by in a small car, and
10 he said to the soldiers who was guarding us, "Give me two men," he said.
11 He took me and another fellow prisoner, and we went for quite some
12 distance, 2 kilometres or more, in the car, and left the car in a forest.
13 And then he took us straight through the forest. We did not know where we
14 were going. We went quite some distance, and we came to the edge, to the
15 high ground above Bijelo Polje.
16 MR. BOS: If the witness could be given back the map again, and if
17 he could indicate where he was taken.
18 A. I was taken to this area between Bijelo Polje and Vojno -- no,
19 between Rastani and Vojno. When we came to this edge of this high ground,
20 we saw --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness repeat what he saw?
22 MR. BOS:
23 Q. Can you please repeat what you saw, because the interpreters
24 didn't pick it up.
25 A. This was an instrument which consisted of some kind of wiring or
1 antennae or aerials, and was connected to a large generator. He told
2 us -- in fact, he said that he had disassembled the battery of this
3 instrument and told us that through the forest, down this path, we should
4 take this battery.
5 We carried it for a long time indeed and got back to this small
6 car of his. We got into the car and started in the direction of
7 Djubrani. On the way, we saw a group of soldiers. This was towards the
8 evening. May have been 6.00 or 7.00. They were resting, sitting down or
9 lying by the roadside. And the unusual thing was that around them, they
10 had these small passenger vehicles.
11 Q. Now, how many soldiers were there, and how many vehicles were
13 A. I think that in this group, there were about 30 soldiers. I think
14 that there were a fewer number of cars, maybe 15 to 20.
15 Q. Did you later find out from which unit these soldiers were?
16 A. At that moment, we did not know. We got to this prefab building
17 where we were sleeping, and there this man had the battery taken out, and
18 we saw the two of us had arrived there the first and that the other eight
19 from our group were not there yet. Some of them returned very late; I
20 think that it may have been the middle of the night. When they returned,
21 they told us that, for sure, the operation will take place in the morning,
22 and they said, "There Tuta's troops arrived."
23 Q. Now, Witness, I'd like you to mark on the map -- maybe where you
24 put the circle where the transmitter was, maybe you could mark that as a
25 "B," and then, if you can, maybe you can mark with a "C" where you
1 actually saw the soldiers you've been referring to.
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. Okay. Well, what happened the next day? I think we are now on
4 the 23rd of September, if I remember well.
5 A. Yes. On the 23rd September, it was a Thursday, in the morning, we
6 were woken up very early. I think we did have something for breakfast.
7 And an ambulance arrived, and we were told, "Eight of you should go in
8 this ambulance." And a man said that, "Two should stay behind, the two
9 who are the oldest among you." It happened so that I was one of those,
10 and there was another prisoner. They went in some unknown direction, and
11 our duty was to clean up and sweep the room where a few of the soldiers
12 were staying and also in front of the place where they were staying.
13 Shortly thereafter - I think it may have been around 10.00 -
14 another ambulance arrived, and they called us. They said, "Get into that
15 vehicle." And the man who was in charge of us there whispered to us. He
16 said, "Be smart today." I assumed that he knew what was going to happen,
17 and we set off in this ambulance.
18 Q. Witness, can I just ask: At this time, could you hear any
19 shelling at this time?
20 A. Yes. The shelling had started very early that morning, and with
21 great intensity. We knew more or less where we were headed, but we did
22 not know what was in store for us. On our way, we encountered another
23 vehicle, another ambulance, which was -- which had a wounded soldier
24 aboard. The two drivers of these two vehicles started squabbling over who
25 was going to take this soldier to Mostar. I noticed fear on the face of
1 the driver of the -- of our vehicle. He said that his vehicle was faster,
2 that he would reach Mostar sooner, and so on. And the other one was
3 saying, "We'll waste time transferring him over to the other vehicle. I
4 can do it fast also," and so on.
5 We did in the end transfer this soldier to the vehicle in which we
6 were riding, and he had -- he was wounded in -- he had a head wound, or
7 more accurately, he was wounded in the mouth. We helped move this soldier
8 from one vehicle to the other, and we continued in the other ambulance to
9 a village which consists of just several houses, and it is above Rastani.
10 Q. Now, I don't know if you can locate that village on the map where
11 you were taken to.
12 A. Here, these are these several houses.
13 Q. What happened when you arrived there?
14 A. There is a small intersection just before you get to the houses.
15 The man who was driving us in this ambulance told us to get off at the
16 intersection. And the distance to the houses was between 50 and
17 100 metres. We stayed there for a while. We saw soldiers there around
18 those houses, and then we observed behind us from the direction in
19 which -- from which we had come that a group of soldiers was coming. And
20 as they were approaching, we recognised them as being led by Tuta.
21 The soldiers were walking in file two by two, and Tuta was walking
22 next to the front two. And of course, we were scared. We got up. We
23 looked down in front. And as they were passing by, Tuta greeted us. He
24 said, "hello, boys" or" How are you, boys?" In fact, the majority of
25 soldiers from the unit also greeted us. And then very shortly thereafter,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts – Pages 6575 to 6589.
1 a soldier came down from this village in a car that was some kind of a
3 Q. Witness, before we get to that, how did you know that this man was
4 Tuta? Had you ever seen Tuta before?
5 A. I had never seen him before live, but I did have opportunities to
6 see him in various media during 1992 and in the communication with the
7 people who knew him. Through that, it was not difficult for us to
8 recognise him. And because the prisoners had told us the night before,
9 the prisoners who had worked there, that Tuta's unit had arrived, then we
10 were sure of it.
11 Q. Could you just describe him. How did he look on that day? How
12 did he look like?
13 A. On that day, he was wearing a black military uniform. He had
14 longish, greying hair, glasses, and he may have been about 50 years old.
15 I don't know if I'm mistaken about that.
16 Q. Now, Witness, could you look around in this courtroom and see if
17 you recognise the man you have been describing as Tuta.
18 A. Yes. He is seated --
19 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Krsnik.
20 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Objection. I see no point in this
21 identification, especially this witness who has stated that he saw him
22 several occasions in various media, print media and television and so on.
23 I see no point in this dock identification.
24 JUDGE LIU: You have to know that the dock identification is
25 allowed in this courtroom as a principle, and this Trial Chamber will not
1 put much weight on that dock identification. We have the testimony of
2 this witness correctly recorded in the transcript. When we evaluate all
3 that evidence, we will take your objections into consideration,
4 Mr. Krsnik.
5 You may continue, Witness.
6 MR. BOS:
7 Q. Could you describe, if you have recognised him, would you describe
8 how he looks like today and where he is seated.
9 A. He is seated in the black row, second from the right, and looks
10 more or less how he looked eight years ago.
11 MR. BOS: May the record reflect that the witness has identified
12 the accused Mladen Naletilic.
13 Q. Now, Witness, you said -- let me just ask you one more question on
14 the soldiers which were walking with Tuta. Did any of these soldiers wear
15 any insignias as you could see?
16 A. Yes. They wore insignia, but I cannot say for sure what the
17 Convicts Battalion's patch looked like. I think that what I do recall
18 was -- are the insignia of two units. One had the lightning, and the
19 other one had a sword. I think that one of those belonged to the Convicts
20 Battalion and the other belonged to a unit of the Croatian army.
21 Q. Witness, is it correct that when you made your statement to the
22 Office of the Prosecutor, that you drew a sketch of the insignia as the
23 way you recognised it on that day?
24 A. I don't recall any more, but it is possible that I did draw one.
25 It is -- it was several years ago, and it is possible that at that time I
1 had a better memory of it. But now, I indeed cannot say what kind of
2 patch it was. But it did have words "Convicts Battalion" written in a
3 semicircle above.
4 MR. BOS: May the witness be shown Exhibit 890, 8-9-0, which is
5 again a new exhibit. I have copies here for the Judges. Defence counsel
6 was given copies of these yesterday.
7 Q. Witness, do you recognise this sketch?
8 A. Yes. These are my letters, and this is my drawing that I made a
9 few years ago. But as far as the insignia of this unit is concerned, my
10 memory has indeed faded a bit. And now it seems to me that the Convicts
11 Battalion was written sort of in a semicircle around. And whether there
12 was a sword there or a lightning, I don't know, but I believe it was one
13 of those two symbols that was on that patch that belonged to that unit.
14 MR. BOS: Thank you.
15 I think this is a convenient time for the break.
16 JUDGE LIU: Before we adjourn, Mr. Bos, could I know how long
17 you're going to take with this witness?
18 MR. BOS: I think that the witness, Your Honour, will take another
19 half hour.
20 JUDGE LIU: You have to understand that the leading questions in
21 this courtroom should not be allowed, but sometimes you could give some
22 guidance to this witness, because we only want to hear the relevant parts
23 in the indictment.
24 MR. BOS: Yes, Your Honour. I think this witness is very
25 articulate, and I think he describes it in a very accurate and detailed
1 way. And I would prefer to have the witness talk, rather than me leading
2 this witness, because he can tell a lot of things. So that's why I've
3 approached it this way. And yes, as I said, he may take another half
4 hour, 45 minutes.
5 JUDGE LIU: We'll adjourn until 2.30 this afternoon.
6 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.02 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.31 p.m.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Bos.
3 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Now, Witness, after you encountered Tuta, is it correct that you
5 were taken to a bunker, you and your friend?
6 A. After that, maybe 15 or 20 minutes later, a soldier came, got us,
7 and put us in a car and took us in the direction of the village itself,
8 that is, the confrontation line, that is, we were close to the edge of
9 that hill. That village is very close to the edge of that hill from where
10 you could see the village of Rastani. We arrived there in the car. He
11 drove very fast because that car could be seen from the territory
12 controlled by the ABiH. They brought us to a bunker. The car turned
13 around and sped, and we were told to get off there.
14 Q. Now, would you please mark on the map which you have in front of
15 you where the bunker was situated. And I think we've used so far "A,"
16 "B," and "C." Maybe you can mark with a "D" where you actually
17 encountered Tuta and with the letter "E" where the bunker is.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. Now, what happened at the bunker?
20 A. Here, at the bunker, we found some ten soldiers. We were given a
21 task to put together these bandoliers that were used for machine-guns, and
22 the artillery fired incessantly. From the side controlled by ABiH, fire
23 was also returned. And when these projectiles started falling in our
24 vicinity, those soldiers took cover in the bunker, and we were told to sit
25 down near the bunker where we were at the time.
1 They were making jokes about us from the bunker. One -- some were
2 asking, "Are you afraid?" The others said, "No, they are not afraid.
3 They have nothing to fear. What are they to fear?" And the shells were
4 falling very close to us. I think that one fell less than 10 metres away,
5 except the terrain there was such, it was very steep incline, and the
6 shell which fell so close to us fell above us into that side of the hill,
7 so the shrapnel probably ricocheted or dispersed up in the air. In any
8 event, they missed us.
9 Q. All right. After being at the bunker, were you, then, at one
10 moment taken somewhere else again?
11 A. Then they moved me somewhere in the middle of the area from which
12 they were firing at the targets in the village of Rastani; that is, from
13 that road, from the curve, and down the incline, maybe another 100
14 metres. They had 10 to 15 artillery pieces, also a heavy machine-guns,
15 anti-aircraft, and recoilless guns and so on and so forth.
16 MR. BOS: Could the witness be shown Exhibit 34.2. Go down a bit
17 so that we see the top part on the map, a bit to the -- no, a bit to the
18 other side. Yes, thank you.
19 Q. Now, Witness, could you indicate on this map the spot where you
20 were taken to after you had been at the bunker. And could you also
21 indicate where the ABiH troops were firing from, on this map. And maybe
22 you can use the same orange marker for that.
23 A. Here in this picture, you cannot see the curve where the bunker
24 was, but the curve would finish around here somewhere, and then down this
25 road - this is the road - that is where these artillery pieces were
1 placed. And I was made to go here in the middle of this area, from where
2 the artillery pieces were firing.
3 Q. Could you mark that spot with a number "1," please.
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. Could you now tell us where the ABiH army was located, where the
6 firing came from.
7 A. ABiH was on the other bank of Neretva. This is the Neretva River,
8 and the army was on the other side, over here, and in the village of
9 Vrapcici, and the high ground above -- I believe this is the highway. So
10 directly above this highway.
11 MR. BOS: Now, could the map be moved down a bit so that we can
12 see again the part which we just saw.
13 Q. You've talked about artillery. Were there also infantry soldiers
14 of the Convicts Battalion in Rastani? Where were they located?
15 A. The infantry of that unit, in the course of the night or very
16 early in the morning, came down to the very edge of the village of Rastani
17 where the houses were. And on the map, this would be here, just above
18 these houses.
19 Q. Could you please mark that spot with a "2," please.
20 A. [Marks]
21 Q. Now, in that small hamlet of houses, were there also members of
22 the ABiH army present?
23 A. I think that the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina controlled that
24 area, and they were in these first houses, and because they were there,
25 the detained men were used so that they would be the first ones to go in
1 and check in these houses whether there were any ABiH soldiers in those
3 Let me just say, I stayed there perhaps an hour or up to two hours
4 in this location which I marked with number "1." There was a soldier
5 there manning a piece of artillery, which was a more recent version of
6 this recoilless gun. They left me there, and they told him that I should
7 be helping him to assemble these projectiles, which consisted of three
8 parts. While I was there, I think that he fired about 15 times.
9 Q. Now, after this -- after you were there, were you then again taken
10 back to the bunker? What happened at the bunker?
11 A. I didn't understand.
12 Q. You said that you were on this spot and that you assisted this
13 soldier with his gun. What happened after that?
14 A. I have no interpretation.
15 Q. Can you hear me now, Witness?
16 A. Yes, thank you.
17 Q. So my question was: After you assisted this soldier, were you at
18 one moment taken back to the bunker again, and what happened at the
20 A. A soldier came and called us, me and another fellow prisoner who
21 was with me, but who, at that time, was helping another soldier. He was
22 in another location. So they said that we should come to the bunker, and
23 then they told us that the two of us had to go down into the village where
24 the fighting was in progress.
25 At that time, I saw a soldier who had fled the fighting down
1 below. He was asking -- he was begging one - I believe he was one of the
2 commanders - to notify Tuta, as he said, and to tell him that he was sick
3 and that that is why he had come back. And he told him if he learns that
4 you came back from down there, he is going to kill you right away.
5 I saw this soldier. He was close to tears, who also said that he
6 just had a son the day before, that he got a son, and that he could not
7 fight. And commander did not accept that. And then we were ordered that
8 we should take two bags filled with food and that we should go and deliver
9 this food and juices and cigarettes to the soldiers who were in combat.
10 Q. So if I understand you well, so you were given this food and
11 cigarette, and you were asked to move down with your friend to spot
12 number 2, which you've located on the map -- indicated on the map as
13 number 2. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Tell me, what happened on the way to this location, number 2?
16 A. We were told, "No one will go with you. Go straight down to those
17 houses, and we will follow and observe where you are going," because it
18 could all be seen from up there. This terrain is not forested; this was
19 all burnt and destroyed. So we set off.
20 When we came up 200 metres -- when we were about 200 metres away
21 from the houses, and I was leading, I saw a dead soldier's body. I went
22 ahead for another 100 metres about, and I found another body. One could
23 conclude that these soldiers had been wounded and that they started
24 pulling out in a direction of either the road or the bunker, because one
25 could see how they were taking off pieces of their clothes, jackets, and
1 also rucksack. They still had their weapons next to them. We passed them
2 and arrived at the houses.
3 Q. Now, what happened when you arrived at the houses? Who did you
5 A. One of our colleagues came out to meet us. They probably had
6 information that we were coming down with food. We met him --
7 Q. Excuse me. You said, "One of our colleagues." Do you mean one of
8 the other prisoners?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. How many of the other prisoners were there at location number 2?
11 A. In that location, number 2, there were four. And the two of us
12 were coming down. It was a total of six.
13 Q. So what did one of your colleagues tell you?
14 A. We first asked him, "Are you all alive?" He said that they were.
15 We asked, "Are there any problems? Did the soldiers beat you?" He said
16 that they did not. We said, "So what are you doing?" They said, "We're
17 entering houses. We're searching to see whether there were any ABiH
18 soldiers in the houses, and then these soldiers come in."
19 We reached that first house, first house which was the most
20 exposed. One of the groups of the Convicts Battalion was there. The
21 commander of that group was Kolobara.
22 Q. Now, Witness, do you also know the first name of this man you have
23 been referring to as Kolobara?
24 A. I really cannot recall the name, but it could have been Mario or
25 Marin, but I cannot say for sure.
1 MR. BOS: Could the witness be shown Exhibit 704, please. I would
2 like the witness in particular to look at page - it's going to be a long
3 number because it doesn't have page numbers - page number 00795361. The
4 English version, page 9. 00795361. Maybe the English version - that's
5 page 9 of the English version - can be put on the ELMO.
6 Q. Witness, do you recognise the name of the person you have been
7 referring to?
8 A. Perhaps it was the man listed as number "1," Miroslav Kolobara.
9 On that day, in passing at one point, he told us that in as early as 1992,
10 1993, while they were with the HVO, when the Bosniaks were with the HVO
11 along with the Croats, he was one of the commanding officers of a unit
12 from Vrapcici from where he was originally. And on that day, he indeed
13 command that unit. Here it says "Miroslav." I said Mario or Marin, and I
14 was not sure about the name, but now I assume that this could be that
16 Q. All right. That's it for Exhibit 704. Thank you.
17 Now, tell me what happened when you arrived at the house where you
18 came across this man Kolobara?
19 A. We delivered this food to them, as well as this juices and
20 cigarettes that we had brought along, and then they had lunch there in
21 this house. And to our four fellow prisoners, they also gave a can of
22 food each.
23 At first, we did not dare say that we had seen two captured
24 soldiers -- sorry, we did not dare say that we had seen two dead
25 soldiers. My apologies. We first told our fellow prisoners this, and
1 they said, "Well, they are already -- there have already been people
2 killed, so they won't make problems to us because of that."
3 When they finished their lunch, Kolobara ordered us to gather up
4 all the dead bodies of the soldiers who were killed there and bring them
5 in front of this house.
6 Q. And what happened after that, when all the bodies were collected?
7 A. We got those bodies, put them in a cellar, and then they told us
8 to move on. Each one was -- carried also some of the gear - that is,
9 ammunition, grenades, or projectiles for hand-held launchers - and six of
10 us walked several metres ahead of them and were also mingled with them.
11 Q. Now, were any of the Muslim soldiers -- were any of those soldiers
12 still in that hamlet where you were at that time?
13 A. We really did not see, but because from above, from the curve,
14 from the road, one has an excellent view of the whole village, left of the
15 Neretva, then it wasn't difficult for them to keep an eye on the soldiers
16 and see when they retreated and where they were retreating.
17 At some point, during the retreat in Rastani, just below the
18 railway track, there is a -- some kind of a passage, a small tunnel, and I
19 think several soldiers - eight, I believe - entered that tunnel while
20 retreating, but since the fire was intensive, they dared not come out into
21 the clearing.
22 Q. Now, Witness, let me just again take you back to the hamlet where
23 you were. First of all, do you know what the name of that hamlet was?
24 A. That part of the village is called Dumpor's houses, Djumporove
1 And let me continue. So together with that group of soldiers and
2 mixed with them, we started down the street. Kolobara told us that we had
3 to turn right. And then on the right-hand side, that is, moving down the
4 Neretva, we went into a house. It wasn't far. It didn't take us long to
5 get there. And we were there for about half an hour.
6 Q. Maybe if you can be given back the map, 34.2. I don't know if you
7 have it still in front of you. And if you could just mark the route you
8 took. And before you do, could I ask you, when you left the -- this place
9 you've been referring to as Dumpor, what happened -- did anything happen
10 to the houses in Dumpor?
11 A. Yes. As we were going down the street from those Dumpor's houses,
12 towards the Neretva, one of the soldiers, called Splico, had with him a
13 jerrycan with petrol and was setting fire to those houses, one after
15 Q. Now, was this soldier named Splico, was that the same Splico you
16 met before in the Heliodrom?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. Now, you said he set -- that he set houses on fire. First of all,
19 how many houses did he set on fire?
20 A. I think he put fire to about -- well, between seven and ten
21 houses. These are houses very close to one another. They are in a --
22 it's a cluster, dense cluster of houses.
23 Q. Maybe you could put the map on the overhead projector and indicate
24 where those houses were that Splico set on fire.
25 A. These houses are next to number "2." I've already marked it.
1 It's these houses here.
2 Q. Could you please circle those houses.
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. Now, just a few more questions on these houses. Do you know
5 whether these houses belonged to Muslims or Croats or Serbs?
6 A. All these were Bosniak houses. In the village of Rastani, as a
7 whole, there was only one Croat household; that is, there were three Croat
8 houses there, but I think they were all in one yard and it was one family
9 there, family Pinjur. The village was mixed. I'd say that 50 per cent
10 were Serbs and 50 per cent Bosniak, or perhaps there were slightly more
11 Serbs there. Serb houses were put on fire, all of them, in 1992.
12 Q. Now, were these houses -- when they were set on fire, were they
13 damaged much by the shelling that happened, that occurred on that day?
14 A. Well, it's difficult, it's really hard for me to say, because I
15 don't remember all the details, but I think that houses burnt in that
16 village that whole day in different places. Some might have been put on
17 fire by shells, but I am saying that I saw that soldier carry around the
18 petrol and set fire to houses one after the other in that part of the
19 village where Dumpor's houses are.
20 Q. Now, maybe you can now indicate the route you took from the Dumpor
21 houses down into the village. Maybe you can mark with the marker where
22 you went afterwards.
23 A. We went to this crossroads and then we turned -- well, I said to
24 our right, because we came from above. We climbed down there. So we were
25 in our -- in these houses. We also entered some houses which had already
1 burned down, either set on fire before or had not burned down completely.
2 But there were -- there was this house which either had never been
3 completed or was very badly damaged - I cannot remember exactly - and that
4 group of ours, which was going headed by Kolobara and another soldier who
5 was slightly older, and could have been in his 50s -- he was in black
6 clothes. He said he was from Matkovici. And all the time while we were
7 in that house, which was about half an hour, he teased us and harassed us
8 and forced us to sing some songs. We were sitting on the stairs inside
9 that house, and then -- and then somebody notified that group, Kolobara or
10 one of them, and said that they had captured two BH army soldiers.
11 Q. Did you then subsequently actually went to the place where these
12 two Bosnian soldiers were kept -- were captured?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Could you mark on this map where this was, which route did you
15 take, and where was this location where these two Bosnian soldiers were
17 A. I marked the street that we took, the road, and then the street
18 that we took.
19 Q. So the circle, that's where you think that these two Muslim
20 soldiers were kept? If that's the case, maybe you can mark that with a
21 number "3," please.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. Please tell me what happened when you arrived on that spot. What
24 did you see?
25 A. Well, we got there with that group of soldiers and found there
1 another group and two men who were tied, their hands tied behind their
2 backs, and with their faces to the ground.
3 Q. Now, Witness, did you find out the names of these two men that
4 were tied up to the ground?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. BOS: May we go briefly into private session for the names,
7 Your Honour.
8 JUDGE LIU: We'll go to the private session, please.
9 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 MR. BOS:
19 Q. Now, Witness, please describe what you saw that -- what happened
20 to these two soldiers. What did you see? Where were you put, and what
21 could you see?
22 A. Six of us prisoners were very close by. I think that the other
23 group, the other group of soldiers, those who were there, also had a group
24 of prisoners with them and used them as a human shield, just as we had
25 been used that day.
1 Q. Could you tell us -- go ahead.
2 A. All of these soldiers there joined hands in the harassment and
3 beating of those soldiers. They kept pestering them with questions,
4 asking them, for instance, "How many units does the Bosnian army have?"
5 "Which units are coming from Bosnia?" I remember they asked them how
6 many physicians had arrived from Sarajevo, because it was common fact that
7 on the left bank, there were hardly any physicians left.
8 Then they found some money in their pockets and forced them to eat
9 that money. And then one of those soldiers got hold of that petrol and
10 sprayed one of them on the face and said, "Now, we'll put them on fire."
11 And at that moment, I really thought they'd do that. And then they
12 said -- they communicated that the old man had called, meaning Tuta I
13 guess, and that he had said to bring in the soldiers alive. I think that
14 I was present at this harassment for about one to two hours.
15 Q. Now, do you know where these soldiers were taken after all this?
16 A. We saw that they took them away live. And after we returned to
17 the Heliodrom, the first time we were visited by the International Red
18 Cross, an official of that organisation, a very polite, very urbane Swiss,
19 we told him that two soldiers had been taken away. We gave him their full
20 names and that they had been taken from Rastani.
21 He invested a lot of effort. He came to see us at the Heliodrom
22 from time to time, and he repeated every time that he absolutely had no
23 information, no idea where those men could be. After about some two
24 months later, that is, sometime in November, a group of prisoners
25 returned. That group had spent a lot of time in Siroki Brijeg, or near
1 Siroki Brijeg, at Tuta's, and they told us that in the cellar of Tuta's
2 headquarters, there were two men incarcerated.
3 We let the International Red Cross know about it right away, that
4 is, the first time that man came to the Heliodrom after we had learned
5 about this. And since it was November, I think they brought some pressure
6 to bear either on that unit or the HVO authorities. But be that as it
7 may, later on, I learned that in late November, those two men were
8 transferred from the cellar at Siroki Brijeg to the prison in Ljubuski.
9 Q. Did you find out why they were transferred from Siroki Brijeg to
11 A. I don't know the exact reason, but my guess is since the Red Cross
12 was trying to trace them for a long time, because their names were known
13 because it was known that they had been captured alive and taken away from
14 Rastani, I assume that certain pressure was put so that they could not be
15 hidden any more. And so they were taken to Ljubuski, and I believe that
16 in a very -- that a very short time after that, they were registered by
17 the International Red Cross.
18 Q. Witness, after you had seen this incident in Rastani, is it
19 correct that you then that evening were taken back to the Heliodrom? And
20 I wanted to ask you, were all ten of you taken back that evening to the
22 A. No. Six of us returned to the Heliodrom, that is, all six from
23 that group. Three prisoners managed to cross over to the territory
24 controlled by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and one prisoner disappeared
25 during that action that day. And to this day, neither his body has been
1 found nor is there any trace of his being exchanged.
2 MR. BOS: Thank you, Witness.
3 That concludes my examination, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE LIU: Any cross-examination? Mr. Krsnik?
5 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Krsnik:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Witness.
8 A. Good afternoon.
9 Q. Let me introduce myself. I am the counsel for the accused Mladen
10 Naletilic, and I will ask you some questions. Because we both speak the
11 same language, I must ask you to listen to the end of my question and
12 start your answer only then, to help the interpreters to interpret -- to
13 convey to the transcript as best as they can.
14 I'm sure that you are tired too, and I will try to phrase my
15 questions so as to get the shortest possible answers and answers that will
16 be as concrete as possible, and thank you in advance for this.
17 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Now, Your Honours, could we go into
18 private session right at the beginning in order to clear up certain
20 JUDGE LIU: We will go to the private session, please.
21 [Private session]
12 Page 6609 – redacted – private session
12 Page 6610 – redacted – private session
12 Page 6611 – redacted – private session
6 [Open session]
7 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm so cautious that
8 even when we mention villages and things like that, this is why I forgot.
9 Q. And there were no incidents either?
10 A. You could say so, there were none. That is, all the way up to
11 April 15. I was clear on that.
12 Q. Witness, perhaps you did not hear me well. I had asked you all
13 the way to June. That was my question.
14 A. Yes, my apology. These incidents started in the middle of April.
15 Q. Did ABiH take HVO prisoners?
16 A. I'm not aware of any such case, if you're referring to my unit.
17 Q. I'm referring to the Bregava Brigade.
18 A. I'm not aware of any such cases.
19 Q. You are not aware of any cases of disarming?
20 A. That the soldiers of the Croatian Defence Council were disarmed by
21 the army?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. I'm really sorry I have to disappoint you. I'm not aware of any
24 such cases.
25 Q. Very well. If you don't know, you don't know. Witness, please,
1 there's -- it is not a matter of disappointment. We're just searching for
2 truth. Now, how we feel about that really doesn't matter.
3 A. You asked me the same question twice. This is why I said it.
4 Q. You see, Witness -- can you tell me, do you know that the military
5 police during April, May, June was looking for deserter, that there was an
6 outstanding order for their arrest? Are you aware of that perhaps?
7 A. No. If you don't know, you don't know.
8 Q. Do you know about an attack carried out by the ABiH in Rotimlja in
9 early June against the HVO members? Do you know that?
10 A. ABiH carried out an attack against the HVO at Rotimlja?
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. When was that?
13 Q. 1st or 2nd of June.
14 A. No, that is not true. That was Bajram the 1st and 2nd. I was
15 there at that time. There were no conflicts whatsoever.
16 Q. Tell me, you never received from your superiors -- you never
17 received from your superior command any task to take up arms and wait for
18 the right moment to join the 4th Corps with your brigades and attack the
20 A. My unit was a part of the 4th Corps, but if there were such -- if
21 such orders existed, they could not have been directed to my unit, because
22 it was already part of the 4th Corps.
23 Q. So the Bregava Brigade --
24 A. -- was part of the 4th Corps.
25 Q. Tell me, who had armed you? Who had given you weapons?
1 A. From what I know, it was the official organs of
3 Q. Can you please tell me, what are these official organs of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Let's say between spring of 1992 to spring 1993,
5 which were the official organs who had armed you?
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Krsnik, are those questions relevant to the
7 issues in this case? You have still not come to the crucial point of this
9 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I always say, if you say
10 that it's not relevant, I immediately pull back. I just thought that it
11 may have been relevant for you because - you said it so well and it always
12 rings in my ear - and there is this saying, Rome was not built in seven
13 days and nothing could have happened by accident. I am just trying to
14 give this Trial Chamber a more objective picture before we present our own
15 case. It would seem as if nothing happened until the 1st of June, 1993.
16 This is what I wanted -- this is the picture I wanted to fill in for you.
17 But if you think this is not relevant -- you see suddenly, somebody
18 remembered to start arresting people. But if you say it's not relevant,
19 I'll just move on, and I will forget all these questions.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, move on, please.
21 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Can you tell me -- very well, we'll skip all these events. And
23 now you've been arrested, and we are moving on to the Heliodrom.
24 Will you please say who it was that arrested you, who took you to
25 the Heliodrom, and who received you at the Heliodrom, and from there on,
1 who had control over you?
2 A. I was arrested by a unit, an HVO unit from Capljina. We were
3 taken to Gabela by the military police. I believe they were also from
4 Capljina. And who took me from Capljina to the Heliodrom, I really am not
6 Q. Now who received you at the Heliodrom?
7 A. At the Heliodrom, we were received by the regular shift of the
8 police and the guards who were there. And throughout my stay at the
9 Heliodrom, the control over us - and I'm referring to the times when we
10 were inside the compound - the control had the military police. I don't
11 know if -- whether the guards, the prison guards, were also part of the
12 military police. Their commander was Ante Smiljanic. And the warden, I
13 believe, was named Bozic. And there were a whole series of guards who
14 played different roles.
15 Q. Excuse me, I did not -- I hear for the first time somebody, like,
16 talking about the prison police. Did they have white belts?
17 A. That's right. I did not see them anywhere else except in the
18 prison, so this is why I said that they were prison police.
19 Q. And how did the military policemen from Capljina look? Did they
20 also have white belts?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And did they have any kind of badges, any kind of insignias on
23 their sleeves? You were with them every day; this is why I ask you.
24 A. They probably did, but I really cannot remember.
25 Q. You could leave the Heliodrom even without the knowledge of the
1 military police, or is it -- or did they always -- did they always have to
2 check with you and did they always know where you were?
3 A. Let me give you my experience. It may not be the same as that of
4 the others. I never left the Heliodrom without my names being written
5 down and registered. The times when I left and the times when I
6 re-entered were always registered.
7 Q. So we can agree if somebody were to come here -- and you said that
8 you did go out to go to work and so on. Let's say if somebody would come
9 into the military police and say, "I need such and such number of men,"
10 then they would put together a group, register you, and then you would
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the same procedure when you came back?
14 A. Yes. Except if one or five did not show up, no one would ask why
15 and where they were. Just let me say, in fact, we were there as a count.
16 We weren't even individual numbers.
17 Q. You know this for sure, that no one paid any attention? You see,
18 I'm trying to distinguish between what you know really, what your
19 firsthand experience is, what your assumptions are, what somebody else
20 told you. I see that you're an educated man.
21 A. I am saying what a common camp inmate could see with his own eyes.
22 Q. But you're inferring this because you don't know to whom these
23 lists went and so on?
24 A. I was present when the group from Bijelo Polje came back, and five
25 of them had been killed. And the guard read out their names - that is, of
1 those who had left for Bijelo Polje - and then comes to the name of a
2 person who was killed, and the person does not respond, and they say,
3 "Where is he?" And the guard says -- that is, the others say, "He was
4 killed." And they would go to the next one, and he would ask, "Where is
5 he?" "Killed." And so on. And after that -- no one after that asked why
6 he was killed, under what circumstances. And then I don't know what
7 happened with the prison authorities.
8 Q. In other words, you can only say what happened in the hallway, in
9 the corridor?
10 A. But that's exactly what I said.
11 Q. Yes, yes, just for us to understand each other. Because we
12 weren't there, so we are asking you.
13 And is it possible that somebody had also escaped, that it wasn't
14 just people who were killed?
15 A. Of course.
16 Q. So at that point, one does not know whether he was killed or
18 A. No. For these people, they did know.
19 Q. Witness, I'm going to show you the same series of pictures that my
20 learned friend Mr. Bos showed you. I'm sorry that I don't have an overall
21 view of the Heliodrom, but we may be able to find one.
22 First of all, do you personally know in which buildings, that is,
23 which buildings were used as the prison at the Heliodrom, or you only know
24 the premises where you were?
25 A. I know the building where I was from every side. And as for the
1 others, I passed by them. I was coming and going. But you need to know
2 that eight years have gone by.
3 Q. Yes, yes. This is why I ask you. And the buildings where you
4 said the HV was, you know for sure? This is your personal knowledge? You
5 saw this yourself?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Well, let me give you Exhibit 20.2. Can you please take the
8 pointer and show the building where you were. First, where you were.
9 A. That is the building in which I was staying.
10 Q. Now, tell me about your assumption where the others were, the
11 other prisoners were.
12 A. Here, they were here. That is the building -- you cannot see it
13 well. I think that that was the school building.
14 Q. And that's that? In these --
15 A. Yes, plus the two gymnasiums.
16 Q. Can we see them in this picture?
17 A. I'm not sure. But perhaps here behind the school building. I am
18 not sure that they can be seen, but they were somewhere around the school,
19 these two gymnasiums.
20 Q. Now, who was in all these other buildings? Because I see there's
21 a whole lot of them. Of course, if you know.
22 A. As I said, these three.
23 Q. Yes, we understood that.
24 A. No, no, no. There were the two Croatian army units and the one
25 from Konjic.
1 Q. From Konjic?
2 A. Yes, the HVO from Konjic had a unit there. And then this white
3 thing I think was the mess hall, the kitchen. And in this area here was
4 another unit -- I believe in this building here, these were the Bruno
5 Busic -- these were sort of the new recruits. But in these hangars over
6 there, if you can just move the picture a little bit -- over here, you
7 see, there are some other hangars there. There were two tanks there, one
8 T-35 and one T-55.
9 Q. You saw them personally?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And on what occasion did you go all the way out there to be able
12 to see all this?
13 A. In all these buildings where the troops were, I entered them at
14 least five times. Some of them I entered 30 times.
15 Q. I'm more referring to these hangars where you saw the tanks. How
16 come you ended up there?
17 A. These tanks passed by hundreds of times, past the prison from the
18 back side. And down there is the entrance. That's where the gate was.
19 And they would go to Jasenica to the Barbar Hill [phoen], and they fired
20 on the positions held by the ABiH.
21 Q. And this Bruno Busic unit, as you call them, the new soldiers,
22 they were not Croatian army unit?
23 A. No.
24 Q. So we can conclude there was one HVO unit from Konjic, the HV
25 units, and Bruno Busic? That's it?
1 A. No, no. There were some others, but I cannot recall.
2 Q. If you can't recall, you can't recall.
3 A. But there were different units.
4 Q. You mean HVO units?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, tell me, what kind of a treatment did you personally
7 receive? What are your experiences?
8 A. Treatment of me personally?
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. In principle, it was the same to everyone in this group.
11 Q. Was it correct? Can we say that it was correct?
12 A. On whose part?
13 Q. By the prison authorities or whoever was in charge of the prison.
14 A. I really would not like to say anything bad about anyone. I
15 didn't want to accuse them if they didn't do anything. But whatever was
16 going on in the prison, around the prison, when we were taken to the front
17 line --
18 Q. No, no, no, let's not deal with the confrontation line. I'm
19 talking about the treatment. What was the treatment, the food? That's
20 what I'm referring to.
21 A. The food as food was horrible. We ate twice a day. In the
22 morning, it was tea with a slice of bread. In the afternoon, it was
23 mostly, I think, one quarter of a loaf, and some kind of a broth, a bowl
24 of some broth. However, there were days, up to two and a half days, when
25 the imprisoned persons were not given anything to eat. I think that that
1 was between the 19th and the 21st of September.
2 Q. This only happened once, or several times?
3 A. This happened at the Heliodrom on that one occasion.
4 Q. And could you take showers, wash?
5 A. There were taps in the area -- in this building which we refer to
6 as the central prison. There were several toilets in every area, and
7 there were also basins with hot and cold water, so we could wash and take
9 Q. And when you were going out, did you receive ready-to-go lunches?
10 A. Yes. It depended, but for the most part we did, at the units
11 where we worked.
12 Q. And did you receive cigarettes?
13 A. Yes. There were times, not very frequently, but there were
14 occasions when we received some.
15 Q. I'm going to show you a photograph, and --
16 JUDGE LIU: As I understand, this photo has been marked previously
17 by this witness. Do you have a clean copy?
18 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is 4.00 now. I am
19 just going to ask to show this to the witness. I'm interested in one
20 building, and then we can continue tomorrow. [In English] Exhibit 20.8.
21 Q. [Interpretation] It's almost 4.00. If you could just show me
22 this, I'm giving you the same photograph that my learned colleague had
23 given you already. Where were, and from when to when, were these units
24 that you said belonged to the Croatian army were stationed? And just show
25 it to us now and we'll mark it tomorrow.
1 A. It was in this building, the building next to it, and in this
2 building. Out of these three, in two was the Croatian army. I believe
3 that it was in this, and in these ones were the Croatian army soldiers.
4 And in this, I believe, was a unit from Konjits. That was an HVO unit.
5 MR. KRSNIK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness. I believe that
6 this is enough for today. I think that it is 4.00. We can continue
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, not tomorrow. We are going to continue with
9 this witness on Friday morning, 9.30.
10 Witness, I have to give you a piece of advice, as I did with other
11 witnesses. You have to remember that you are still under the oath, so
12 please do not talk to anybody about your testimony and do not let anybody
13 talk to you about it. Do you understand?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I understood your
15 advice, and I thank you for it.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Tomorrow afternoon, we will have
17 another videolinked conference which will start at 3.00 in the afternoon.
18 We will adjourn until then.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
20 4.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday, the 29th
21 day of November, 2001, at 3.00 p.m.