1 Wednesday, 1 December 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Registrar, could you call the case, please.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Case number
7 IT-03-68-T, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, and good afternoon to you.
9 Mr. Oric, can you follow the proceedings in a language that you
10 can understand?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours, ladies
12 and gentlemen. Yes, I can.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Please sit down. I thank you, and good
14 afternoon to you.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Appearances for the Prosecution.
17 MR. WUBBEN: Good afternoon, Your Honours, and my learned friends
18 from the Defence team. My name is Jan Wubben, lead counsel for the
19 Prosecution, together with Ms. Patricia Sellers, co-counsel, and our case
20 manager, Ms. Donnica Henry-Frijlink.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Wubben, and good afternoon to you
22 and your team.
23 Appearances for Naser Oric.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. My
25 name is Vasvija Vidovic. I appear for Mr. Naser Oric together with
1 Mr. John Jones. Joining us today are our legal assistant, Ms. Jasmina
2 Cosic, and our case manager, Mr. Geoff Roberts.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon, Madam Vidovic, and good afternoon to
4 you and your team.
5 Yesterday I was put on alert, and I put the Defence on alert,
6 thinking that they had already been -- in fact, they should have been
7 alerted that there would be a legal point, a legal matter to be raised by
8 the Prosecution in relation to the recalling of a witness, a particular
9 witness, Mr. Eric. I take it that by now you would have prepared
10 yourselves on this point. I take it that there is also no ad hoc formal
11 written motion, that this is going to be submitted orally and dealt with
12 orally, and later on, another day or some other day, will be decided on
13 orally by the Trial Chamber.
14 Is that correct?
15 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour. We discussed it yesterday.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: So could you please tell me who from the Prosecution
17 bench is going to address the issue.
18 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, I requested Ms. Patricia Sellers to
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Sellers. Can I ask you to finish in five
22 MS. SELLERS: Yes, Your Honour. Possibly sooner than that.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think the argument requires more than that,
24 otherwise I would have said 15 minutes. But I think in five minutes
25 either side -- you can deal with it.
1 MS. SELLERS: Good afternoon, Your Honours, and also to our
2 learned friends.
3 If we understand the issue correctly, it's basically in response
4 to the Trial Chamber's request yesterday, with respect to whether Mr. Eric
5 should be called back for the purpose of direct-examination,
6 cross-examination, or solely for cross-examination. In that sense, the
7 Prosecution will present very succinct arguments asking the Trial Chamber
8 to please ask Mr. Eric to be allowed to be led on examination, and
9 subsequently on cross-examination, and I would state from the outset that
10 we are quite affair and have read Your Honours' decision concerning this,
11 and we understand that the decision appears to be limited to calling
12 Mr. Eric back for cross-examination.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: There was only one motion, Ms. Sellers, and that was
14 a Defence motion.
15 MS. SELLERS: Certainly. And I understand that we would at this
16 point in time respectfully ask this Trial Chamber to reconsider only the
17 holding in terms of limitation on cross-examination.
18 The Prosecution's basic arguments are that the Trial Chamber did
19 not find any fault or negligence on behalf of the Prosecution when we
20 discovered the Kravica video. It was quite well noted in both the
21 decision and in our oral discussion here in the chamber that this video
22 had been searched for prior to the start of this trial, that we assured
23 the Trial Chamber that we would be diligent in looking for it, and I think
24 the Trial Chamber was satisfied with that. So we arrived basically at the
25 moment as to Mr. Eric will be called back, but only what will be the scope
1 of his examination.
2 The Prosecution submits that Mr. Eric, because he will now be
3 having new evidence put before him, or evidence that has come to light
4 that neither the Prosecution nor the Defence will during their period of
5 direct examination or cross-examination, should therefore be allowed to be
6 led on direct with this new evidence arising from the video, and not just
7 in cross-examination. That is within the holding of jurisprudence from
8 this Tribunal. And I will briefly cite to the Galic decision, where the
9 situation was quite similar.
10 New evidence came forward that neither the Prosecution nor the
11 Defence counsel had a chance to directly ask the witness about, and
12 therefore the witness was called back. I would cite that the Galic
13 decision is found in decision on admission into evidence of Dr. Vilmos
14 Kovac's expert report, and the date on that is the 2nd of August, 2002. If
15 I could just very briefly explain the factual situation that gave rise to
16 the situation in Galic.
17 It appears that an expert report had been prepared, but it had
18 been a draft report. When both the Defence and the Prosecution called the
19 expert witness, Mr. Vilmos Kovac, they did -- noted that the Defence had
20 found discrepancies between the translation and the original report. They
21 requested that the witness be recalled to explain the circumstances in
22 which that report was given.
23 In addition, when a final report was put forward, there were two
24 additional pages. The additional pages recommended new evidence that
25 neither the Defence nor the Prosecution had seen and had a chance to
1 question the expert on either in their direct examination or in their
2 cross-examination. So therefore the witness was recalled. He was
3 examined first by the Prosecution and then cross-examined by the Defence.
4 The Defence was further allowed to examine the witness on the history of
5 the statement and on certain particulars as new evidence.
6 Therefore, we would state that this Galic case is very much the
7 similar situation that we have with the Kravica videotape.
8 I would just very briefly like to distinguish the Galic case in
9 our present factual circumstances from the case of Furundzija, where a
10 witness was called back --
11 MR. JONES: Your Honour, if my learned friend is going to rely
12 on -- on case law, and I'm somewhat dismayed that she is because we had
13 an informal agreement that we weren't going to cite case law in this
14 argument. But at least we have copies so we can follow. Because I
15 certainly can't follow --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: These are easily available, Mr. Jones. Perhaps you
17 can get one of your assistants --
18 MR. JONES: We're not able to connect.
19 MS. SELLERS: I will -- excuse me, I will certainly give cites.
20 The copy I have now is marked up, but we will give you copies and -- thank
21 you very much.
22 MR. JONES: I won't be in a position to respond as to the case law
23 without copies of the --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Obviously. If case law is being up in the
25 discussion, then obviously you're entitled to -- on the other hand, I am
1 aware that there isn't much case law on this issue. It's not an incident
2 which is the first time that it's being raised, and you even find the
3 similar incidents dealt with in standard procedural textbooks on English
4 common law, anyway, and even Scottish procedural law.
5 MR. JONES: I simply won't be able to respond to --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think there is much to say, to be honest
7 with you, Mr. Jones.
8 MS. SELLERS: Excuse me, Your Honours, if I may continue. I do
9 agree with you, there is not a wealth of case law from the Tribunal. I
10 would just cite two -- two other cases where the -- a similar appeared to
11 be raised, but I would like to distinguish that issue from the facts that
12 we have before us. And one is the Furundzija case, where the case was
13 reopened. That was basically based --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Can the speaker kindly slow down.
15 MS. SELLERS: Certainly. That was based upon an inquiry of Rule
16 68 material. The distinguishing point is that that Rule 68 material, the
17 Trial Chamber held, was known to the Prosecution, therefore Prosecution,
18 having known that material, could have raised it on its direct
19 examination. So, therefore, the witness was recalled but only for the
20 purposes of the cross-examination on material evidence they did not have
21 before them during their cross-examination.
22 And again, I need not tell Your Honours, there was a slightly
23 similar situation in the Brdjanin case that called for re-opening the case
24 of the Prosecutor and there the Trial Chamber did not allow that one
1 The distinguishing points are that when there is evidence that is
2 new to both the Prosecution and to the Defence attorney, the right for
3 examination and for cross-examination should be reviewed and respected,
4 hopefully, by this Trial Chamber. Where that information or that evidence
5 was not new and therefore the Prosecution could have led on it, then it
6 appears that the Trial Chamber limits the call -- calling the witness back
7 to cross-examination.
8 My last point on this argument is just, Your Honours, I think that
9 we're certainly aware of what has become an often-quoted holding within
10 our Tribunal that a fair trial must be fair both to the Prosecution and to
11 the Defence, and we would state, and I believe that is just slightly, if I
12 can quote the jurisprudence, that does come from Aleksovski, that the
13 Trial Chamber look at the issues of equity that necessarily need to be
14 visited in this situation so that we might be able to look at the new
15 evidence, ask few questions limited to that new evidence, not to reopen a
16 direct examination in its totality, and that the Defence then can
17 cross-examine, limiting their cross-examination to the new evidence. And
18 in that manner, we feel that a fair trial will be held certainly for the
19 accused, Mr. Oric, but also for the Prosecutor.
20 Your Honour, those are basically the gist of my arguments, and I
21 am certainly more than willing to provide Defence counsel with pertinent
22 but, I will say, very limited jurisprudence on this issue. Thank you.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Ms. Sellers.
24 Mr. Jones.
25 MR. JONES: Yes, Your Honour, I can be very brief. I can
1 summarise my submissions really in four points.
2 The first is, and my starting point is, Your Honours' decision,
3 which is that Mr. Eric be called to reappear before the Trial Chamber for
4 further cross-examination. Now, if I understand my learned friend
5 correctly, she's now also asking the Chamber to reconsider the decision.
6 In my submission, that's beyond the parameters of this debate and possibly
7 beyond the parameters of what Your Honours can do in these circumstances.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's clear this up straight away. The Trial
9 Chamber - I think I can speak for the other two Judges as well - the way I
10 see it at the present moment is you're correct, what we dealt with was a
11 request on the part of the Defence to recall Eric for a further
12 cross-examination. There was no demand at the time, no request at the
13 time, on the part of the Prosecution to recall Mr. Eric in the wake of the
14 discovery or rediscovery of this video.
15 However, following our decisions, the Prosecution has now
16 basically tabled a motion orally to have also Mr. Eric examined in direct
17 before he is actually cross-examined, as per our previous decision. This
18 is basically -- in other words, you are now facing a demand or a request
19 on the part of the Prosecution to have Mr. Eric examined in direct, apart
20 from being cross-examined. That's it.
21 MR. JONES: Yes. I merely note that it's moved from a
22 housekeeping matter to do with proofing to a new motion on which Your
23 Honours are going to have to rule. There is authority, and as I say,
24 there was an informal agreement that we wouldn't cite authority so I
25 haven't prepared authority, but I know there is authority that motions to
1 reconsider are not part of the jurisprudence of this Tribunal.
2 Unfortunately, I can't provide that authority to Your Honours.
3 As far as the authority put forward by my learned friend is
4 concerned, as I say, I simply do not have copies of those authorities and
5 I'm not in a position to respond.
6 But I start from the point of view that, as things stand, Mr. Eric
7 is coming back for cross-examination. As I understand it, proofing is for
8 direct examination, and so, in our submission, there is no question of him
9 being proofed again, because he's not going to be -- he's not going to be
10 examined in chief, and In our submission, he shouldn't be examined in
12 In fact, in our submission, it's really -- the position should be
13 treated as if Mr. Eric was still within the precincts of the Tribunal,
14 halfway through his testimony, and there should be no contact from the
15 side of the Prosecutor with Mr. Eric. It should simply be a question of
16 the Registry informing him that he should be brought back for
18 We say that because - and this comes to my second point - this
19 isn't new material. The Prosecution has had this material. It hasn't
20 just come to light or it doesn't constitute new evidence. The Prosecutor
21 had it. The fact that they -- that Your Honours may have found that
22 they're not so to blame in not disclosing it to us doesn't mean that it's
23 new and it's fallen from the sky. They did have it and if as a result of
24 their own fault they didn't find it, then that's a matter for them.
25 Finally, I would simply say that my learned friend has referred to
1 a fair trial being also fair to the Prosecution. Well, the Prosecution
2 bring the case, and they have to bring it fairly. The accused didn't ask
3 to be indicted and brought before this Tribunal. The Prosecution indicted
4 him and so it's for them and for Your Honours to ensure a fair trial. So
5 frankly, a fair trial for the Prosecutor, I don't know what that means.
6 It's a fair trial for the accused and that's what Your Honours should be
7 concerned to ensure.
8 In our submission, the motion should be refused that he be -- that
9 Mr. Eric should be examined in chief. There should be no contact between
10 the Prosecution and Mr. Eric. All contact should be through the Registry.
11 And in that regard, I just wish to state that I hope the Prosecution
12 haven't contacted Mr. Eric yet, because, of course, that's a matter which
13 is to be regulated today. And even a telephone conversation could
14 constitute a form of proofing. So I certainly hope that there has been no
15 contact. In our submission, there should be no contact. He should be
16 brought here and cross-examined by us, and then the Prosecution can
17 re-examine him.
18 Unless I can assist you further, Your Honour, those are my
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
21 Any further remarks, Ms. Sellers?
22 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, the briefest of rebuttal remarks would
23 just be that while that videotape was in the Office of the Prosecutor, the
24 Prosecution, during the proofing of Mr. Eric before, did not have access
25 to it. That was among the time periods that we were desperately trying to
1 locate the video. So he was not proofed on that. I would just like to
2 limit our actions today to say that we're talking about examination and
3 cross-examination and we're really not talking about, at this point in
4 time, issues of proofing. Proofing goes if examination is granted. And
5 then also, just to assure Your Honours -- and this I would say would be
6 outside the scope of my argument, I don't find it at this point
7 necessarily relevant -- but to assure Your Honours that we have certainly
8 not had any contact with Mr. Eric since this decision, I will say that
9 when Mr. Eric was dismissed as a witness from this court, that we did go
10 back, thank him for his testimony, shake his hand, ask him how he was, and
11 as we usually do to witnesses, as he was on his way back to his homeland.
12 So if does say that "I've had contact with the Prosecutor after I left the
13 Trial Chamber," that might be the contact he's referring to. Thank you.
14 MR. JONES: I would add just one point, Your Honour, and I
15 apologise for overlooking it. I also just wish to say that in opposing
16 our motion, the Prosecution submitted that in fact the video raised
17 nothing new and that therefore there was no need for him to be
18 cross-examined upon it. In light of that position, it seems inappropriate
19 for the Prosecution to consider that there are new matters which they need
20 to proof Mr. Eric on, matters which they need to examine him in chief
21 upon, because their position is that the video doesn't raise any new
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have anything to say on this, Ms. Sellers,
24 because undoubtedly whoever it was the view, I can't remember, did say
25 that -- I think it was Mr. Wubben -- there was nothing new in this. I
1 don't know, I may be wrong.
2 MR. WUBBEN: Mr. Di Fazio.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Di Fazio, okay.
4 MS. SELLERS: Yes, Your Honour. That was the position of the
5 Prosecution at the time. We basically thought that the issue that the
6 Defence was raising was going to be limited to the issue of whether he was
7 wearing a uniform on the 7th or not, and --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: No, the rest was discussed too.
9 MS. SELLERS: Yes. And then after the rest was discussed during
10 the course of Mr. Di Fazio's argument. Seeing the extent to which the
11 Defence now would like to cross-examine him on other issues beyond the
12 scope of the possible -- the date of the video and the wearing of the
13 uniform, the Prosecution's position now has modified and we would like to
14 be able to examine him on those other attendant issues. Thank you.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I think we've heard enough. We will reserve
16 our position, and we will decide at some later point in time -- at some
17 later point in time.
18 Do you have an idea in your mind, at least, when Mr. Eric will be
19 recalled? Have you, in other words, tried to fit him in any schedule that
20 you may have been working upon?
21 MR. WUBBEN: Yes. So far, but only provisionally and tentative,
22 in the second week of December, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: The second week of December is next --
24 MR. WUBBEN: No, that's from now two weeks. I know that's on
25 short notice. That's why I inform you that it is tentative and
1 provisional. But just to give a follow-up action to what has been the
2 latest developments.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay.
4 Any further preliminaries before we bring in the witness?
5 Yes, Ms. Sellers.
6 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I believe prior to bringing in this
7 witness we possibly need to go into private session for the issues of
8 witness protection.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session for a while.
10 [Private session]
12 Pages 2276 to 2281 – redacted – private session.
6 [Open session]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Just for the record, and to inform the public, the
8 Trial Chamber was in private session for a while interviewing the next
9 witness in order to be able to decide upon a Prosecution motion for
10 protective measures to be put in place relative to this witness, and the
11 response of the Defence which opposed the protective measures being sought
12 by the Prosecution. The protective measures sought by the Prosecution
13 were the following: Pseudonym, facial and voice distortion.
14 The Trial Chamber, during a short break, deliberated on this, and
15 by a majority vote, Judge Brydensholt dissenting, we have come to the
16 conclusion that out of the three protective measures sought by Defence,
17 considering the special circumstances attached to the witness's case, and
18 with the caveat that this will not, however, constitute a precedent for
19 future reference in this or in any other case, we've come to the
20 conclusion to grant only facial distortion but no pseudonym and no voice
21 distortion. That is the position.
22 We will now bring in the witness. I think we need to go into
23 private session while the witness walks through -- walks inside the
24 courtroom and sits -- takes his chair. I will explain to him, and then we
25 can proceed.
1 It's not necessary because we are in courtroom II, I take it.
2 Yes, okay.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I want to make sure that the technicians know that
5 there will be facial distortion.
6 So now please remain standing. We have taken a decision, and the
7 decision we have taken is that, given the special circumstances that you
8 have explained to us, which, under normal circumstances, would not entitle
9 anyone, would not entitle anyone to protective measures; however, we want
10 you to feel at ease while you are giving evidence, and by a majority vote,
11 we have decided to grant you only facial distortion. But we are not going
12 to hide your name and we are not going to hide your voice. What the
13 public will not see is your face. And that should put your mind, at
14 least, at ease that the most important protective measure has been granted
15 to you. But we honestly cannot even, for a while, entertain granting you
16 the other two protective measures, because we would be opening doors which
17 we would then not be able to close later on.
18 I hope that satisfies you. Before you start giving evidence -- by
19 the way, if you look down at the monitor, you will see how the other
20 people are going to see you. If you look at the monitor, that's how
21 you're going to look to others. In other words, I would assume that most
22 persons outside of your village do not know you by name; the Muslims you
23 work for do not know you by name. And not seeing your face, they wouldn't
24 be able to -- but that's the utmost that we can grant.
25 Before you start giving evidence, our Rules require that you make
1 a solemn declaration to the effect that, in the course of your testimony,
2 you will be speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
3 truth. The text is being handed to you by Madam Usher. Please take that
4 text in your -- that piece of paper in your hand, read it out loud, and
5 that will be your solemn undertaking with this Tribunal.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
7 I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
8 and nothing but the truth.
9 WITNESS: SLAVOLJUB RANKIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Please sit down.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: What's going to happen now is Ms. Sellers is going
16 to ask you a series of questions. I don't think the direct will last
17 long, having gone through your statement. And then you will be
18 cross-examined by Mr. Jones, who is appearing -- one of the lawyers
19 appearing for Mr. Oric.
20 Yes, Ms. Sellers.
21 MS. SELLERS: Your Honours, this witness might exceed the one and
22 a half hour time period; therefore, I would ask that I may be allowed to
23 lead him on several parts of his testimony.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please do.
25 MS. SELLERS: Okay, that are pertinent more so to background facts
1 of the events that led up and transpired in relationship to the
2 allegations in the indictment that take place in Bjelovac.
3 Examined by Ms. Sellers:
4 Q. I would ask that you state your name for the record, and to tell
5 the Trial Chamber, please.
6 A. Slavoljub Rankic. I was born on the 26th of March, 1951, in the
7 village of Sikiric, the Bratunac municipality.
8 Q. Is your father's name Nedeljko [phoen], or Nedji [phoen] For
10 A. Nedeljko.
11 Q. In 1992, Mr. Rankic, were you married, and were you the father of
13 A. Yes, that's right. I am married and I do have two daughters.
14 Q. Prior to 1992, did you work in the town of Srebrenica?
15 A. Yes, I did, before 1992.
16 Q. And did you work in a company where close relatives of the
17 accused, Mr. Oric, were employed? You have to say an answer for the
19 A. Yes. One man's name was Oric Ramiz and the other was Oric Jusuf,
20 and we worked together in the construction company.
21 Q. And did you have good relationships with these relatives of
22 Mr. Oric?
23 A. Very good, and for a long time. And I'm still on good terms with
25 Q. Now, Mr. Rankic, did you live in the village of Bjelovac in 1992?
1 A. In 1992, yes, I did, I lived in Bjelovac.
2 Q. And is the village of Bjelovac located on the banks of the Drina
3 River in the municipality of Bratunac?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, don't most people who lived in the village of Bjelovac live
6 at the foot of a stretch of a -- stretch of mountains that then leads to
7 the banks of the river?
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber about how many villagers
10 lived in Bjelovac in 1992?
11 A. The total number?
12 Q. Yes, please.
13 A. Over 100 households.
14 Q. And would that be about 500 or 600 inhabitants in Bjelovac at that
16 A. Yes, thereabouts. Roughly, yes.
17 Q. Now, across the Drina River, in front of Bjelovac, does the town
18 of Grabovica in Serbia exist?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Mr. Rankic, I'm going to take you through a series of questions
21 basically to describe the geographical location, if Your Honours will
22 indulge me, and then I'll ask for an exhibit of a map to be put forward on
23 the ELMO.
24 Behind the town of Bjelovac, is there a mountain chain that
25 eventually leads into a mine that's referred to as the Sase mine?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And was that mine the major employer of the village and the
3 surrounding area of Bjelovac?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did some of the people who worked in the Sase mine live across the
6 Drina River in what is now Serbia?
7 A. There are some like that as well, yes.
8 Q. In Bjelovac, was there also a water factory or a water plant that
9 was located and supplied water to the surrounding regions?
10 A. I didn't understand you.
11 Q. In the town of Bjelovac, was there also a water factory or a water
12 plant --
13 A. Yes, yes, that's right, a water plant.
14 Q. And from this water plant, did water pipes run from Bjelovac to
15 the town of Bratunac?
16 A. Yes, that's right, going across Zaluzje, Plojavica [phoen] up to
18 Q. And weren't these water pipes among the major suppliers of water
19 to that town of Bratunac?
20 A. It wasn't the main supplier, but yes, it was used a lot. There
21 was a reserve pipeline, but this was actually the main one, yes.
22 Q. Other than the mine and the water plant, did people in Bjelovac,
23 in 1992 or just before, also make their living by working in the towns of
24 either Srebrenica or Bratunac?
25 A. Yes, they did.
1 Q. Therefore, is it correct to say that Bjelovac was not
2 predominantly an agricultural community?
3 A. No, it wasn't, no.
4 Q. Did the inhabitants of Bjelovac basically derive their livelihood
5 through salaries, through employment, and not through raising crops, then?
6 A. Yes, people did that too.
7 Q. And to the south of Bjelovac, is there a village called Sikirici?
8 A. Sikiric, yes.
9 Q. Sikiric, excuse me my pronunciation. And was Sikiric divided into
10 two sections, Gornji Sikiric, being the upper part, and Donji Sikiric,
11 being the lower part?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. Now, to the north of the village of Bjelovac, is that where the
14 town of Bratunac is?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, is there a major transport road running from the town of
17 Bratunac through Bjelovac and that continues down to Sikiric?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. To the north of Bjelovac, in between Bjelovac and Bratunac, is
20 there a village called Zaluzje?
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. And further from Zaluzje, also to the north of Bjelovac but prior
23 to arriving at Bratunac, is there a village called Voljevica?
24 A. Yes, that's right, there is.
25 Q. And to the south -- actually, the southwest of Sikiric, is there a
1 town called Pirici?
2 A. Yes.
3 MS. SELLERS: I would like at this point to give the witness
4 exhibit -- a map that we'll use as our first exhibit today.
5 Could I ask Madam Usher to supply the witness with a red pen, or
6 one that he can use.
7 Q. I'm now going to ask the witness to please mark the following
8 locations that you've just testified about on the map. Would you please
9 draw a circle around the town of Bjelovac for the Trial Chamber.
10 A. [Marks].
11 Q. I don't believe that the pen shows up very well. Is that okay for
12 Your Honours, or would you --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I mean, I can only follow to what I --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Sellers, I can only follow through what I'm
16 seeing on the monitor. Having it zoomed in, I can detect a circle. But I
17 had heard you say a red -- is it red? Because I'm not seeing any red on
18 the monitor.
19 MS. SELLERS: It looks as if it's a red pen. Might I suggest if
20 we can see this will make a better visual for the monitor, please.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: And the circle would be around the entire word,
22 Bjelovac, not just the first three letters.
23 MS. SELLERS:
24 Q. Okay. Now could you please mark for the Trial Chamber on the map
25 where Bratunac is.
1 A. [Marks].
2 Q. And would you also mark for Your Honours the town of Sikiric.
3 A. [Marks].
4 Q. All right. Would you now mark on the map the road that runs from
5 Bratunac through Bjelovac to Sikiric.
6 A. [Marks].
7 Q. I would like to ask the witness, the town of Bratunac, Bjelovac,
8 and Sikiric that you have just marked, are they predominantly Bosnian Serb
9 towns or Bosnian Muslim towns, in 1992?
10 A. It was inhabited by both the Muslims and the Serbs.
11 Q. And specifically in the town of Bjelovac, what was the percentage
12 of Muslims that lived in Bjelovac and the percentage of Serbs, if you
14 A. Well, it was roughly -- I'm not a statistical expert, but I would
15 say 10 per cent -- well, I knew the names of the families. One family was
16 named Berzadic, the other one was Sinanovic. The third family's surname
17 was Dalbasic, and the fourth family was called Sokolic, or something like
18 that. But they were the four families who lived in Bjelovac.
19 Q. And is Sikiric a predominantly Muslim town, or was it a Bosnian
20 Serb town?
21 A. Bosnian Serbs, and several Muslim families as well.
22 Q. Thank you. Could you now indicate on the map where is the Drina
24 A. [Marks].
25 Q. And would you now indicate the town of Grabovica, that is on -- in
1 front of Bjelovac, on the other side of the Drina River.
2 A. [Marks].
3 Q. Thank you. Now I'm going to ask you to mark on -- the following
4 locations on the map that you've testified about. Would you please put a
5 circle around Pirici.
6 A. [Marks].
7 Q. And now would you put a circle around Zaluzje.
8 A. [Marks].
9 Q. And then I will lastly ask you to put a circle around Voljevica.
10 A. [Marks].
11 Q. Thank you. Now, these towns, Pirici, Zaluzje, Voljevica, are
12 these predominantly Bosnian Muslim villages or Bosnian Serb villages, in
14 A. They were inhabited 100 per cent by Bosnian Muslims.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, in addition to the villages that you've
16 described, do the inhabitants in this region of -- near the Drina River
17 also identify their location by the proximity or their closeness to four
18 streams or brooks?
19 A. Yes. Well, there was Vrnecka Rijeka, Bijelovacka Rijeka, Loznicka
20 Rijeka, and Tegarska [phoen]. That was the division, how the villages
21 were divided between the rivers, from one river to the next. And the
22 distance, I'm not going to be exact, but it was between one and a half and
23 two kilometres in between, in between the rivers.
24 Q. So all the people might have lived in a town, a location, such as
25 Sikiric, they might say -- they might identify themselves as being from an
1 area named by the brook and not named by the town; is that correct,
2 Mr. Rankic?
3 A. Well, they're small hamlets, settlements, be it Loznicka Rijeka,
4 that river or brook, and that, it was called Loznicka Rijeka, whereas
5 across the river was Sikiric. But they were all very close to one
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Will you be asking the witness to mark any further
8 towns or villages on this map?
9 MS. SELLERS: Yes, Your Honour, as a matter of fact, throughout
10 his testimony, I would like to have the map stay next to him, and there
11 will be a couple other markations. Now, I don't know for purposes of
12 looking on the monitor whether it's helpful to possibly change colours, or
13 is that --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think it will help us monitor-wise, because
15 I think all the colours are neutral on the monitor, on the video. But the
16 purpose -- why I asked the question was that I would like to enter for the
17 record that the witness has, until now, marked on the map, which is soon
18 going to be admitted as Prosecution Exhibit number -- registrar, please?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the number will be P450.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: P450, all the towns and villages that were indicated
21 to him by the Prosecution. This could be confirmed by the Trial Chamber
22 who has been following on the monitor the markings put on this document by
23 the witness.
24 MS. SELLERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Rankic, turning your attention to the spring of 1992, I
1 would like you to explain to the Trial Chamber certain events or
2 provocations that might have happened between April and June that caused
3 tension between the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Serbs that live in the
4 region that you've just described and illustrated on the map.
5 A. There weren't any great tensions, but as of May, some tensions
6 were felt. The Muslims that lived in Bjelovac left and went to the
7 villages of Pirici, Zaluzje, and so on, because they had relatives there.
8 And that's when you could feel the tension. They didn't want to go back
9 to their villages so as not to collect up information or anything about
10 any sabotage or anything like that. But then we placed village watches or
11 guards around the village. They were in the forest, in the woods, and
12 they provoked us. But they didn't jeopardise anybody's lives, they just
13 provoked them. And that's why we set up the guards.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I couldn't follow --
15 MS. SELLERS: I'm going to go back with specific questions.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly, because there is something that
17 doesn't click here.
18 MS. SELLERS:
19 Q. Mr. Rankic, when you were that "they were in the woods," are you
20 referring to Bosnian Muslims or are you referring to village guards who
21 provoked you?
22 A. Yes, the Muslims were provoking us, because they weren't able to
23 go to their houses, they couldn't get to their houses. That's why they
24 provoked us from those woods.
25 Q. I see. Now, you said the Muslims left Bjelovac in the spring of
1 1992. Did they leave as a result of armed violence among the villagers in
3 A. No. They were afraid. But otherwise there was no violence. They
4 were afraid for their own safety and security. And of course their
5 relatives exerted pressure that they should move out, the relatives from
6 these other villages exerted pressure on them to move out.
7 Q. Now, do you know whether there was an attack in the part of
8 Sikirici, that was Gornji Sikiric, in the spring of 1992?
9 A. Yes. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know who attacked Gornji Sikiric?
11 A. Gornji Sikiric was attacked by the Muslims.
12 Q. And who told you that Gornji Sikiric was attacked by the Muslims?
13 A. Well, my father lived in Gornji Sikiric, and he came to live with
14 me because he was expelled from Sikiric. There was an attack. A woman
15 was killed during the attack. I think her name was Milja Prodanovic. And
16 the other villagers fled to Donja Sikiric, so Gornji Sikiric was empty and
17 remained up there. That's what happened.
18 Q. Do you know if during the attack on Gornji Sikiric that there was
19 burning and looting by the Muslim forces?
20 A. Yes, that's what happened. Yes.
21 Q. And the Bosnian Muslims that left Gornji Sikiric, did they come to
22 stay in Bjelovac?
23 A. When do you mean?
24 Q. In 1992, after the attack that you've testified about in Gornji
25 Sikiric, did the Bosnian - I'm sorry, the Bosnian Serbs - come to
2 A. Yes, yes, they did. I understand now. That's right.
3 Q. Were they considered refugees in Bjelovac?
4 A. Well, I took my father into my own house, whereas the others went
5 to the school building. And that's where they were put up. People who
6 didn't have relatives there, they were put up in the school, and that's
7 where they spent their days.
8 Q. Do you know if there was an attack on the village of Loznica in
9 the spring of 1992?
10 A. Yes. That was on Vidovdan, St. Vitus Day, the St. Vitus holiday
11 in June. And the Muslims attacked the village of Loznica on that day and
12 killed eight people and wounded 16 others. The other people who survived
13 moved to Bjelovac, and we put them up in the school building there as
15 Q. Now, during that Muslim attack on Loznica, was there burning and
16 looting of the homes?
17 A. That's what eyewitnesses said. As soon as the Serbs left the
18 village, the looting began straight away. But usually what was taken was
20 Q. All right. Now, would you turn back to the map that is to your
21 right, and I would like you to indicate for the Trial Chamber where is
22 Loznica on the map, please.
23 A. Across from Pirici. [Marks].
24 Q. Did you indicate that on the map with a marker?
25 A. Yes, I did. The village.
1 Q. I see, yes. Thank you. Now we'll go back to testimony.
2 After the attacks on Loznica and Gornji Sikiric, was the area, the
3 mountains behind Bjelovac, particularly in that area of Gornji Sikirici
4 and Loznica, in the hands of the Bosnian Muslims?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Was the area to the north of Bratunac, the towns that you've
7 mentioned before, the villages you've mentioned before, Zaluzje,
8 Voljevica, were they in the hands of the Bosnian Muslims?
9 A. [No interpretation]
10 Q. Now, Mr. Rankic, could you explain: During that time period, was
11 it safe to travel on the road between Bjelovac and Bratunac?
12 A. In May it was safe. May, May was safe, no provocations. You
13 could go from Bjelovac to Bratunac and back. But in June the provocations
14 started, ambushes and so on, so it was no longer safe.
15 Q. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber who was conducting the am
17 A. The Muslim forces, in the area of Zaluzje.
18 MR. JONES: Sorry to interrupt. It's just a question on the
19 transcript and some confusion. First of all, we had a reference to
20 villages north of Bratunac, which I think has to be wrong in --
21 MS. SELLERS: I'm sorry. I think that's north of Bjelovac.
22 Pardon me.
23 MR. JONES: Secondly, the witness didn't say "yes," he made a
24 sound but it certainly wasn't a yes. That was a blank and it became yes
25 subsequently. Because as I heard it, he didn't actually give an answer to
1 that question.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: If you have doubt on that, I will do that myself.
3 MS. SELLERS: Certainly.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Sir, I am going to read again the question that was
5 put to you, changing the word Bratunac for Bjelovac, or the other way
6 around, and then I will ask you to answer that question again.
7 Was the area to the north of Bjelovac, the towns that you have
8 mentioned before, the villages you've mentioned before, Zaluzje,
9 Voljevica, were they in the hands of the Bosnian Muslims? What was your
11 MR. JONES: Could we have a date for that as well.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: In 1992, we're talking.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The road from Bjelovac to Bratunac
14 was free in May. You could move around. But in June, the Muslims had
15 taken over, taken control of that road, that line of communication. And
16 they set up ambushes. There were casualties, and we were no longer able
17 to use that road any more for our own safety.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: But you haven't answered the question I put to you,
19 which was to try and clear up the previous answer, because two mistakes
20 had been made there.
21 These towns or villages, Zaluzje, Voljevica, were in the hands of
22 the -- were they in the hands of the Bosnian Muslims? And if they were,
23 which period of time are you referring to?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From June it was in their hands, so
25 we weren't allowed to pass that way, because there were ambushes there all
1 the time so you couldn't pass that way.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I think that answers the question now. Yes,
3 Ms. Sellers, you can proceed, please. Thank you, Mr. Jones, as well.
4 MS. SELLERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Mr. Rankic, because of these events that you described, the
6 sniping, the attacks on certain Bosnian Serb villages, and the refugee
7 population, did there come a time period, therefore, in the spring of 1992
8 when the villagers in Bjelovac organised a village guard?
9 A. Yes, they did.
10 Q. Would you please tell the Trial Chamber how the village guard was
11 organised and how it operated then?
12 A. At the beginning we stood guard in front of our houses, each
13 person in front of his own house. Later on we pooled our forces and had
14 several houses to one guard. So, for example, this evening, there would
15 be two of us from these houses and the next day two other men from some
16 other houses, so we would gain in time. That's how we organised the
17 village watch.
18 Q. About how many persons participated in the village guard in
20 A. We had 15 guard posts from Bjelovac and counting Sikiric, as far
21 as I know. Fifteen guard posts, places where we stood guard. Some of
22 these posts were manned sometimes by four men, five men. I can't explain
23 exactly why and how.
24 Q. And how many shifts were there in this guard -- in this posting in
25 the village?
1 A. As it was summertime, we did it this way: Up until 12, one shift,
2 and then from midnight to the morning, the second shift. The younger
3 people would stand guard up to midnight because they liked to sleep, so we
4 placed the older people on guard from midnight to the morning, because
5 they couldn't sleep very well --
6 Q. And --
7 A. -- anyway.
8 Q. -- you stated you were guarding. In which way were you guarding,
9 facing the Drina River or facing the mountains behind you?
10 A. We stood guard in the direction of the forest, because that's
11 where the provocation came from, from the forested area. So we wanted to
12 protect that side. We didn't expect an attack to come from the Drina
13 River side. So that was our strategy.
14 Q. Now, did there come a time period when women participated in the
15 village guard as well as men?
16 A. No. No. Only men. Only men.
17 Q. Did any of the women guard their houses, then, as private
19 A. We used women only to clean the school building and to prepare
20 food for the refugees and for hygiene. That's what the women did.
21 Q. Now, was there a commander of the village guard who assisted you
22 in organising the different shifts of the different men that participated?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber his name.
25 A. Well, we had a man named Milisav who was in charge of all our
1 guards. We would report to him, that kind of thing. The name was Milisav
2 Ilic. He was responsible for the guards.
3 Q. And also did --
4 A. There was a rotation system, but he is one commander that I
6 Q. All right. Now, as village guards, did you receive uniforms? Did
7 you receive uniforms?
8 A. Yes and no. Those who had uniforms from before, who were reserve
9 officers with the former JNA, not camouflage uniforms, just plain,
10 regular, standard-issue uniforms, they used those. But all the other
11 people were just wearing plain clothes, as farmers do.
12 Q. And did your village guard have contact with people in Bratunac,
13 the Bratunac Territorial Defence?
14 A. Yes. Yes.
15 Q. Could you please explain to the Trial Chamber the nature of your
16 contact with the Bratunac Territorial Defence.
17 A. Well, it was for food supplies, food and ammunition for defending
18 the village, and some other necessities which I can't be very specific
19 about right now.
20 Q. Now, the ammunition for protecting the village, was that also
21 ammunition so that you could go out and attack other villages?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you -- did the village guard attack other villages?
24 A. No. No. No. No.
25 MS. SELLERS: Your Honours, might I ask at what file you are
1 talking the break --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We're taking the break at the usual time, at a
3 quarter to 4. You have two or three minutes left, unless you prefer to
4 stop now.
5 MS. SELLERS: Your Honours, I would prefer to stop now. I have
6 a -- certain areas --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Ms. Sellers.
8 So we'll have a 25-minute break starting from.
9 More or less, Mr. Jones, how much time do you think you require
10 for your cross?
11 MR. JONES: It's hard to say because the direct-examination is
12 lasting a lot longer than we thought. Perhaps two hours. I think we
13 won't finish with this witness today at this rate.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll see. I may force you to.
15 We'll have a break of 25 minutes.
16 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 4.14 p.m.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. How much more time do you require,
19 Ms. Sellers?
20 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I would hope to finish within this time
21 segment. We have a couple other questions, and then we would like to move
22 the situation of the allegations in the indictment.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: And tomorrow we have another witness?
24 MS. SELLERS: Yes, there is another Prosecution witness.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: But you had indicated that you would finish this
1 witness in two hours. This is the time that you had indicated for this
2 witness, two hours.
3 MS. SELLERS: I believe so, Your Honour. But I think this morning
4 we have had --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: No, I'm fully aware of that. I'm fully aware of
7 MS. SELLERS: That's why we'll try to finish this as rapidly as
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Try to finish as rapidly as you can, please.
10 MS. SELLERS: Yes.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
12 MS. SELLERS:
13 Q. Mr. Rankic, you mentioned -- you testified that the TO brought
14 food supplies down to the town of Bjelovac. This was in the summer of
15 1992, I believe we're speaking about June. Could you please tell the
16 Trial Chamber: Were you still working in Srebrenica in June, in 1992?
17 A. No. No.
18 Q. And had the workers from the mine in Sase stopped receiving their
19 pay by this time in June 1992, those who lived in Bjelovac?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: You need to answer yes or no, not just nod with your
21 head, because we -- the translators have to interpret.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 MS. SELLERS:
24 Q. And was it also impossible for the workers to go from Srebrenica
25 to Bratunac to receive their salaries at this time, in June of 1992?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So isn't it the case that the TO in Bratunac supplied food to the
3 villagers of Bjelovac and also to the refugees that had come into Bjelovac
4 by the summer of 1992?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, was the food that was supplied to Bjelovac by the TO, was
7 that used to feed VRS soldiers who were stationed in Bjelovac?
8 A. We received flour, oil, and sugar, the families did. And they had
9 a kitchen, the refugees. So much for that.
10 Q. Were there any VRS soldiers stationed in the town of Bjelovac in
11 the summer of 1992?
12 A. No. Only the escort for the convoy.
13 Q. Now, is the convoy that you're referring to the convoy that would
14 bring food down from Bratunac to Bjelovac?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, did a Mr. Deronjic from Bratunac ever come to Bjelovac?
17 A. Very often.
18 Q. Would you please tell the Trial Chamber what he did in Bjelovac
19 when he came down?
20 A. He promised the local population that they would be safe; they
21 would be provided assistance in terms of food, that sort of thing. He
22 made lots of promises.
23 Q. And did he ever station troops in Bjelovac to protect the town,
25 A. At the beginning, yes, he did, while the attacks were frequent,
1 and then the attacks ceased and he withdrew.
2 Q. Did there come a time in June 1992 when the water pipes that led
3 from Bjelovac to Bratunac were sabotaged?
4 A. Yes. Yes.
5 Q. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber, if you know, which forces
6 or who sabotaged those water pipelines?
7 A. On the road between Bjelovac and Bratunac, the Muslim forces did
8 that. They blew the pipes up, and there was no water supply for Bratunac.
9 Ever since, convoys to Bjelovac became less and less frequent because they
10 didn't need to go there and protect the water supply system there. That's
11 how we were eventually left to our own devices.
12 Q. And when you're referring to the convoys from Bratunac to
13 Bjelovac, you're referring to the TO convoys from Bratunac; is that
14 correct, Mr. Rankic?
15 A. Yes. Yes, precisely.
16 Q. I would now like to draw your attention to the summer --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Before you do, how does he know that it
18 was the Muslim forces --
19 MS. SELLERS: Would you please --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: -- that blew up the pipes.
21 MS. SELLERS:
22 Q. Could you please answer His Honour's question.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: How could you be so sure?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that there were frequent
25 ambushes by the Muslim forces, and that's why we assumed that it had been
1 them. There was no one else.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: So it's an assumption, basically. You are assuming
3 because you can't think of anyone else; is that the correct way of putting
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but I don't know. I'm hardly
6 sufficiently educated to interpret that. It was my assumption that it was
7 the Muslims.
8 MS. SELLERS:
9 Q. Mr. Rankic, do you know whether the Bosnian Serb forces or the
10 Bratunac TO blew up the water pipes that led between Bjelovac and
12 A. I don't think so. I know they came there to carry out repairs,
13 but they would mend those and they would go back. So at one point it
14 became impossible to carry out any further repairs. I don't think they
15 would have done that. There was a lot of people in Bratunac who were left
16 without water.
17 Q. Now I'd like to turn your attention to a period between June 1992
18 and December 1992. Was there a fear in the town of -- in the village of
19 Bjelovac of a possible attack from the Bosnian Muslim forces?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know the person from Bjelovac during that time period who
22 was taken prisoner in Srebrenica?
23 A. Yes, I know about that.
24 Q. And was that person a Bosnian Serb?
25 A. It was a young man, aged 14. He was captured Srebrenica. And
1 there was an exchange at the yellow bridge, Zuti Most. He was exchanged
2 and he came to Bjelovac. His uncle was Milan Petrovic, and he then stayed
3 with him. He was the one who told us that back in Srebrenica there was a
4 man named Naser, because at the time we didn't know who he was. Later on
5 his boys called him Naser, so Naser became his nickname. His name was
6 Slobodan Petrovic, and that was the nickname he got from the young boys
7 his own age who teased him.
8 Q. And to your knowledge, was he captured by members of Bosnian
9 Muslim forces, this young man?
10 A. Yes, that's what he said, and that's how he was exchanged.
11 Q. During the summer of 1992, did the village guard continue to guard
12 the village, looking toward the mountains?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, was Bjelovac ever attacked in 1992?
15 A. No, not a big attack. There were acts of provocation in the
16 evening hours. It went on for 15 minutes and then stopped.
17 Q. Can I draw your attention to December 1992, and was there an
18 attack on Bjelovac at that time period?
19 A. I'm sorry, I don't think I understand.
20 Q. Yes, I'm sorry. Could I draw your attention to December of 1992,
21 and ask you: Was there an attack on Bjelovac at that time?
22 A. Between the 1st and the 14th of December, it was quiet, no
23 incidents. It was so quiet, in fact, that we realised the war was over.
24 That's how it was.
25 Q. Could you explain to the Trial Chamber, then, what happened on the
1 14th of December, after this period you've just described, the 1st to the
2 14th, where it was quiet.
3 A. Until the 14th of December, it had been very peaceful. I was
4 standing guard that evening, between 1800 and 2400 hours. There were no
5 signs of an immediate attack. Everything was quiet, and that was the
6 report I gave to the person who relieved me. I went to bed. Everything
7 was quiet. At a quarter past six, suddenly there were sounds of shooting,
8 heavy shooting. I got up. I didn't believe what was happening. I came
9 out. There was no shooting near my house, but at Loznicka Rijeka, you
10 could hear bursts of gunfire, heavy gunfire.
11 While I was there, one of my neighbours, Dara Filipovic, came
12 over. She told me, "The Muslims are coming." They're shooting from the
13 direction of the Drina River. I said, That's impossible. We never
14 received any word from any of the guards that we were about to come under
15 attack. And she said, My husband left the house and headed towards the
16 field toilet, and he was killed right there. I couldn't believe my own
18 When I left the house, I saw two or three soldiers there. They
19 were shooting at me. I ran towards the house, and she was shot in her
20 right foot. I gave her first aid, and I took her back to my house. So
21 that was the first I saw of the attack.
22 A while later, another neighbour named Stevka, aged 65, came to us
23 to seek help. We were there expecting something, that something would
24 happen. We didn't know what. She said, My son had been wounded. He left
25 to feed the pigs that were near the Drina River. There was a barn there,
1 a shed they had. Milun went off to help, as well as Novak Husic, and they
2 left. However, when they found this man named Bozo Todorovic, they pulled
3 him out. They came to the house, 3 or 4 metres from the house, and the
4 same soldiers that were there fired at the people who were trying to pull
5 out. They killed Milun and wounded Novak and the mother, Stevka
7 I approached them and I saw that they had been wounded. Stevka
8 was wounded in the chest, and Novak was wounded in the kidneys. I took
9 them back to my house. I didn't know what to do, so I gave them water to
10 drink and they stayed in my house.
11 There was heavy shooting, and my windows were smashed. I could no
12 longer keep the wounded persons inside the room, but I brought them out
13 into the corridor. It was safer there because there were no windows. I
14 was in the corridor, and I left the house again to see what was going on.
15 There was a lull, there was no longer any shooting.
16 To the left of my house, towards the Drina River, I observed smoke
17 rising. I was not able to tell exactly what the reason was, what caused
18 the smoke, so I went up to the first floor in order to get a better view.
19 From a first-floor window of my house, I realised that Nikola Petrovic's
20 house was on fire. Around his house there was a group of people, maybe
21 about 10 people, I can't believe be very specific, but they were capering
22 about near his house, making faces. I stayed there for about 10 minutes.
23 I was not being shot at at the time, but I heard shouts and yells around
24 the house. And I noticed that there was a man calling out the name Suljo
25 and another name, Mirsad. And this man named Suljo was very gruff with
1 this other man named Mirsad. It wasn't very easy for me to understand
2 exactly what was going on, but that's all I saw.
3 To the right of where I was standing, there was smoke rising from
4 Jovanovici, which is another village about 400 metres from my house.
5 Q. Thank you. I just want to ask you a couple questions about what
6 you've just described to the Trial Chamber.
7 When you first went out of your house, you testified that you ran
8 into a neighbour, Dara, who was explaining about her husband. Did she
9 tell you about whether her husband had a gun and was firing his weapon at
10 the any of the people who attacked the village?
11 A. He was wearing his pyjamas. It was a quarter past six in the
12 morning, and he needed to see a man about a dog. And there was a field
13 toilet, so he went there. He was only wearing his pyjamas. That's what
14 she told us.
15 Q. Okay, did she tell you whether he was shooting at anyone at that
16 time period or attacking anyone?
17 A. No.
18 Q. You've also spoken about people --
19 A. No. No. That's at least what she told me.
20 Q. Yes. You've also spoken about people named Milun, Novak, who were
21 assisting someone called Bozo. Were they carrying weapons and shooting at
22 the attackers at that time period?
23 A. No. There was no way that they could, because they couldn't even
24 see him. He was behind the barns that were there. They couldn't have
25 noticed him. They didn't know that he was there. It was a mistake. We
1 didn't expect an attack to come from the direction of the Drina River. We
2 were greatly surprised, and so were many other people. That's why there
3 were so many victims. And --
4 Q. And you yourself, did you have a gun and were you shooting at the
5 attackers at this time period?
6 A. I did have a weapon, but I didn't make a sound. I did not want to
7 disclose my position, because that would have made me a target.
8 Q. All right. Now, you said that you went to the first floor of your
9 house. The first floor of your house, does that give you a view of other
10 houses or surrounding areas from your house?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. When you say the first floor, is that the floor above the ground
13 floor where you enter into your house?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, you said that there were people capering about. Could you
16 please describe to the Trial Chamber what these people who were capering
17 about were wearing.
18 A. Well, this is something I forgot. They were wearing camouflage
19 uniforms. They had backpacks on their backs and some bandanas around
20 their heads. As far as I could tell, the bandanas were orange. These
21 people were moving about Nikola's house, moving back and forth, carrying
22 weapons, of course.
23 Q. All right. And as they were moving around Nikola's house with
24 their weapons, did anything happen to Nikola's house at that time period?
25 A. Nikola's house was on fire, and they were near the house. There
1 was smoke rising, and that was the first house in my village that was set
2 fire to, because it was near the Drina River. It was the house that was
3 the closest to the river in our village. And all the other houses in the
4 village were by the roadside.
5 Q. Now, to your knowledge, were these people who were dressed in that
6 manner, were they soldiers or were they civilians?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Yes, which ones?
9 A. Well, I assume soldiers. Their moves were quick.
10 Q. Did their actions appear to be coordinated and very efficient?
11 MR. JONES: I don't know what sort of a question that is. I don't
12 know what that means, were their actions -- is my learned friend referring
13 to their physical coordination or what precisely.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I think it's self-explanatory. If the witness
15 has problems with understanding it, particularly since the words have to
16 be translated, interpreted in his own language, then I will intervene.
17 But you and I should understand what --
18 MR. JONES: So far they're simply capering. I don't know who they
19 are coordinating with or who they are supposed to be coordinating with --.
20 MS. SELLERS: But I've not stated that they were coordinating
21 with --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's self-explanatory, Mr. Jones. Let the
23 witness answer, and then I will see whether he has understood or not.
24 Could you repeat your question, Ms. Sellers, please.
25 MS. SELLERS: Yes.
1 Q. Did the actions of the soldiers appear to be coordinated and in an
2 efficient manner? Excuse me if the wording isn't exactly the same.
3 A. Well, I'm not sure I understand. Those were probably soldiers who
4 were well trained, and they entered the village. In my opinion, those
5 were soldiers who were trained to carry out that task.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: The question, let me put it differently myself.
7 The question is this: Having seen this happening, you, as an
8 eyewitness, did you get the impression that this was a number of men that
9 just happened to be there at the same time, each one going his own way,
10 plundering this or doing that or setting on fire this or setting on fire
11 that, without any coordination between them, or was it a planned,
12 coordinated attack in which they all participated together? This is the
13 question that was put to you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree with you. They worked in a
15 coordinated manner to carry out an attack and to drive people out, like
16 you have just described.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Go ahead, please.
18 MS. SELLERS:
19 Q. Mr. Rankic, could you now explain to the Trial Chamber what
20 happened next to you during the attack.
21 A. Later I came back down from the first floor. My mother -- my wife
22 and my daughter were there. There was little space, because the wounded
23 persons were lying there. And I opened the door and another neighbour
24 came in. Her name was Boznija Damjanovic. It was the third house further
25 south from mine. She approached me and she said she was wounded. I said,
1 "What do you mean wounded, you can still walk." And she held her arm up
2 and she showed me the wound. So I took her back to the house. And she
3 said there was another woman named Vida Lukic who left the house together
4 with her, and Vida was shot and killed on the spot, and she was wounded.
5 So she joined those wounded persons from before, and I put them up in my
6 hallway. There was precious little space there for everyone, so when she
7 came into the house, her son came by to see where his mother was. His name
8 was Slavomir Damjanovic. So he asked me, "Is my mother around? Is she
9 wounded?" And I said, "Yes, but not seriously, she can still move about."
10 And he said, "Can I just go back to my house to fetch something that I
11 left behind?", and I pleaded with him not to go back. It was risky, I
12 said. And he said, "Well they wouldn't let me through, in that case."
13 So I walked him back to his house. The distance is about 30
14 metres, but we had about -- we had a distance of about 15 or 20 metres to
15 run across. There was a field there. So he went back into his house. He
16 didn't tell me what he would fetch from the house. And then later he told
17 me, I realised what it was all about. He had a key to one of the boats.
18 He wanted to take a boat from the house in order to get his mother across
19 the Drina River and take her across to Serbia to see a doctor. That's
20 what he wanted to do, but he never told me about this.
21 So he went back to his house. I was standing at the corner there.
22 He hardly left the house, heading my way. He fell down, but I didn't hear
23 a single bullet fired. So I was confused. I couldn't actually hear a
24 bullet being fired, but he fell down. And I looked at him, because I was
25 scared. I had to go back to my house. There's another house that was
1 closer, Milan Petrovic's house. I said, "It's probably much safer for me
2 to run to Milan Petrovic's house until the whole situation calms down."
3 I walked into his house and I saw Milan Petrovic's father lying
4 outside the house at the doorstep, and this young man that we called Naser
5 was also lying there, dead. I didn't walk into the house. I ran back to
6 my own house. I was scared. I was tired and exhausted, drained. I
7 didn't know what else to do. That's what I did. But I didn't tell
8 Slavomir's mother that her son had been killed. I simply didn't have the
9 guts to tell her. So I stayed at my house for a while, and that was that.
10 Q. Thank you. Mr. Rankic, while you were out and going to the house
11 with Slavka, and then coming back in the zig-zag fashion, did you see any
12 village guards shooting at the attackers during that period?
13 A. No. Everyone had fled and taken cover, so no one knew anything
14 about anyone else. Everyone just looked after themselves. There was no
15 communication. There was heavy shooting but a strange kind of shooting.
16 It was a stop-and-go affair. That's what was happening.
17 Q. I'd like to take you to a little bit further in the afternoon or
18 early evening of that same day. Did there come a time period when your
19 wife left the house in order to look for medical assistance?
20 A. Back in my house there were a lot of people, wounded people.
21 There wasn't much space so we were thinking about what to do. I was very
22 tired and exhausted by then, so I asked my wife to go to the house across
23 the way. There was a first aid kit and a man who had a Motorola phone.
24 The idea was for him to call for help, to evacuate the wounded from my
25 house. So my wife ran across the road to that house, and we lost touch
1 until 1900 hours. So I thought that she too had disappeared amid the
2 fire. But at 1900 hours she came back and help arrived, the so-called Red
4 Some people arrived, quite a number of them, in fact, but the --
5 the shooting by the Muslim forces had stopped by then. It was quiet and
6 it appeared that the shooting was over. But we still didn't dare leave
7 the house. We just left the house briefly and then go back in.
8 So the Red Cross people arrived, and this man also came over. I
9 can't remember his name. Miroslav Deronjic, he was the one. He came, and
10 some other people. We complained to him and said that he didn't give us
11 any help, and people were killed. And he said that he was not able to
12 send help through to us because there had been an ambush in Voljevica, so
13 that was his excuse, that's what he told us.
14 We picked up the wounded and headed for the Drina. We obtained an
15 authorisation from Yugoslavia allowing us to cross their territory as far
16 as Bratunac, to evacuate the wounded women and children, which is what we
18 Q. All right.
19 A. Thirty-five of us men stayed behind to spend the night and to try
20 to pick up our relatives --
21 Q. Mr. Rankic --
22 A. -- who might have been killed.
23 Q. -- yes, I just wanted to clarify some points, okay, for your --
24 the Trial Chamber. So when Mr. Deronjic came down, are you saying that
25 the villagers explained to him that there had been no reinforcements, no
1 soldiers that came down to assist or defend them during this attack?
2 A. Yes. Yes, because we sought help via the Motorola phone, but no
3 one came.
4 Q. And also, when the evacuation occurred, who was evacuated, and how
5 were they evacuated?
6 A. In the evening, once we had obtained authorisation at 1900 hours
7 from the Yugoslav authorities that we could cross their territory, we used
8 the boats to take the wounded and civilians, women and children, across,
9 across into Yugoslavia.
10 Q. And why didn't you use the road that runs between Bjelovac and
12 A. We tried, but there were ambushes along the Bjelovacka Rijeka and
13 towards Zaluzje. People had been wounded there so we had to give up the
15 Q. So you believe that this was part of a coordinated part of the
16 planned attack, the ambushes that were happening to the north of Bjelovac
17 at the same time as Bjelovac is being attacked?
18 A. That's what I think too.
19 Q. Now, Mr. Rankic, did you remain behind with 35 people in the town
20 of Bjelovac that night?
21 A. Yes, I did remain behind. I had a lot of relatives who had been
22 killed, and my aunt, whom I loved very much, she was killed, Obrenja
23 Jankic was her name and she was 60 years old at the time. And it was
24 because of her that I mostly stayed on.
25 Q. Now, the 35 people who stayed behind, did they stay behind to
1 defend the village, or did they stay behind to recover the dead?
2 A. We were tired. We had been going for 12 hours. It wasn't a
3 defence any more. We just stayed on to be able to collect our relatives
4 in the morning. And Deronjic said to us -- we didn't want to stay. We
5 said we didn't dare stay because it isn't safe. But he said, "Don't go,
6 stay. There won't be an attack. That was the attack. There won't be
7 another one." Because according to standard practice, that never
8 happened. Things like that didn't happen twice. And he said, "Well,
9 Naser isn't an idiot to make another mistake." That's what he said,
10 that's precisely what that man Deronjic said. "Naser isn't an idiot to
11 make another mistake. He's made one mistake, he won't make another. He's
12 not stupid." So as the man was well-educated himself, this man Deronjic,
13 we were just villagers, we believed him and so we stayed on, the 35 of us,
14 in Dusan Petrovic's house. His was a larger house, a duplex, in fact. So
15 we put up there. Half of us rested up while the other half stood guard
16 and stood watch.
17 Q. Now, did some of the people that were in the house, the 35 people,
18 did they come from the village of Sikiric?
19 A. Oh, yes, I forgot to say that. Yes. There were people from
20 Sikiric, and they succeeded in escaping and reaching Bjelovac. There were
21 others, on the other hand, from the northern part of Bjelovac who were
22 there. So we all collected there together, we all assembled there, and we
23 told each other what we had seen, what we had experienced, and that kind
24 of thing. They told me, people from Sikiric told me that the Muslim
25 forces first attacked the Loznicka Rijeka, and that they took the river to
1 the Drina River, and that a portion went to the north to Bjelovac, and the
2 rest of them went towards Sikiric. So that's what these people told me,
3 these eyewitnesses who had fled from Sikiric, who managed to escape from
4 Sikiric that evening.
5 Q. Thank you. Would you please go back to the map that you have to
6 your right side, and would you please indicate for the Trial Chamber what
7 the men had told you in terms of coming down and then splitting -- going
8 to Sikiric and then to Bjelovac.
9 A. They said that in order to attack, they took control of the Drina
10 River, one group, whereas the other group went down the Drina River
11 towards Sikiric, whereas the remainder took control of the forest. The
12 forest was free so they took control of it. And we were under siege,
13 completely encircled. We couldn't flee anywhere. And the people that did
14 try to escape were killed. So anybody who tried to escape just didn't
15 manage to succeed.
16 Q. Would you please mark the place where it appears that the Bosnian
17 Muslim forces split during this attack. On the map, please.
18 A. [Marks].
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Could I ask you to put your initials at the angle of
20 the mark that you have put on that map, please.
21 THE WITNESS: [Marks].
22 JUDGE AGIUS: And at the other end, at the other end of the mark.
23 That's one end. Could you put it also at the other end, please?
24 THE WITNESS: [Marks].
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Does it go further up, then, or does it
1 stop there?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It goes south and to the north. Two
3 groups; one went to the south, towards Bratunac, and the other group went
4 in a northerly direction, towards Sikiric, along that road, and attacked
5 those houses there, the houses along the road.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record, the witness has initialed part of
7 the markings that he has indicated on the map. And from being asked, he
8 explained the direction of the splitting of the group, according to him,
9 being along the -- more or less the Drina River, and the section where, on
10 the map, one can see the words "Vukovicko Polje."
11 Yes, let's proceed.
12 MS. SELLERS:
13 Q. And Mr. Rankic, did you learn from the people that were staying in
14 the house that the attack appeared to come from the direction of Pirici?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Let me correct that, that the soldiers appeared to come from the
17 direction of Pirici.
18 A. No. They used the Loznicka Rijeka, the river, to flow into the
19 Drina River.
20 Q. I see. And did you learn from the 35 people who stayed in the
21 house that night that there appeared to be a third force that stayed in
22 the mountains?
23 A. Yes, that's right. Yes.
24 Q. And would you just indicate on the map for the Trial Chamber where
25 this third force appeared to stay.
1 A. [Marks].
2 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record, the witness draws a line, a
3 perpendicular line, which comes down from Zaluzje, in the direction of
4 Sikiric, and a little bit further down. Thank you.
5 MS. SELLERS:
6 Q. And just for clarity, would this third force also be a force that
7 was part of the Bosnian Muslim army? You have to speak.
8 A. Yes, because the firing came from the Drina, and at the same time
9 it would come from the forest, too. And when it stopped from the Drina,
10 it stopped from the forest. And that's how it was, orchestrated, like an
12 Q. So in the house that night with the 35 men, did some of those men
13 then help you the next day in terms of picking up the bodies?
14 A. All the people helped. We divided up into three groups. The
15 doctors joined us. And if we found anybody still alive, then we took them
16 to the doctor. And we were divided into three groups. One group went to
17 the north, towards Zaluzje, to pick up those people around the houses, and
18 two groups went towards Sikiric. Just one group went up towards the
19 north, Bjelovac, that is, because there were more people who were killed
20 there. And I was in the group that went towards Sikiric, because my aunt
21 was in Sikiric, so that's why I went that way.
22 And we set off along the road. When we reached Jovanovici, a
23 hamlet, in a ditch we came across a woman called Veseljko Jovanovic. She
24 was middle-aged, and she was the only person who survived. She was
25 wounded in the hip. She wasn't able to move but she was alive. So we
1 took her off to the doctors and we picked up the other bodies and loaded
2 them up onto the tractors, people who had been killed, their bodies.
3 Truth be told, practically all of those had rifles. But when we
4 collected up the bodies, there were no rifles, which meant that the Muslim
5 forces went round picking the weapons straight away. We would come across
6 them in the houses where they were taking out the food from the houses,
7 they were looting food, mostly food, foodstuffs. Some technical
8 appliances, well, but mostly food. That's what we noticed.
9 So we picked up the corpses and took them off and sent them to
10 Grabovica, where there was a boat waiting to transport the bodies to
11 Yugoslavia. We collected them all up and took them to Bratunac, to the
12 health centre there, and they said that they would conduct an examination
13 there. What they did was they took all their clothes off and then
14 conducted those medical examinations or whatever. I don't know exactly.
15 And there were two or three television crews who filmed all this. I'm
16 sure you have the tapes, but if you don't, there are people who can supply
17 you with those tapes.
18 There were 109 bodies, and you can see that 50 per cent of those
19 bodies were people over the age of 50 or younger people, so there were
20 either over 50 or younger people, in Bratunac, that is.
21 Q. Thank you. Just to clarify for the Trial Chamber, are we now
22 talking about December 15th, when the bodies are in Bratunac, when you're
23 describing that over 50 per cent are old people -- older people. I'm
24 trying to pick up his -- I'm near that category too, Your Honour, so I'm
25 sensitive. Don't worry.
1 A. [No interpretation]
2 Q. And could you also explain to the Trial Chamber, on the 16th of
3 December, in Bratunac, what occurred with those bodies?
4 A. They were transported to the health centre for the post mortems,
5 and their relatives were called in to see if they recognised any of the
6 bodies, to help the doctors, because some of the bodies, the corpses, were
7 in a terrible state. Their faces been blown away by the shells and bombs.
8 So people were called in to assist the doctors. And anybody who had some
9 relatives who had been killed went in to identify the bodies. I went too
10 because there was a young relative of mine, a young guy who had been
11 killed, so that we could see who was who and not mix them up.
12 And on that day, there were 109 corpses. When the doctors counted
13 the bodies, there was 109, and I was an eyewitness to that. There were
14 several issue crews. There was CNN. You couldn't pass by that way. They
15 were busy filming. There were some children of 14 years old there. There
16 was some elderly people, too. So that's what it was, all of them
18 Q. Now, Mr. Rankic, were all of those bodies, just to confirm, were
19 they bodies of people who were Bosnian Serbs?
20 A. Yes, they were.
21 Q. And to your knowledge, they were all people who had died in the
22 attack that took place in Bjelovac and the surrounding areas on December
23 14th, 1992?
24 All right. And to your knowledge, just to confirm that these
25 bodies were then transported to Bratunac. And were they buried on the
1 16th of December, 1992?
2 A. I was present at the time. When they finished the post mortem
3 examinations, it was after 11.00, all the bodies were brought in front of
4 the church in Bratunac for the religious rites to be -- the religious
5 ceremonies take place. We paid our last respects to our relatives and
6 friends, and then we went to the cemetery for the burials. While we were
7 doing that, the others dug the graves so we could get through the burials
8 quickly. We buried the dead, and that was what we did until the evening
9 of the 16th of December. That's what happened on that day.
10 Q. Thank you. On the 17th of December, did you decide to try and go
11 and see what your house looked like in Bjelovac?
12 A. Well, as you had to have a permit to go, you couldn't go without a
13 permit, you had to receive a permit from the police. I, and the rest of
14 us who were interested in seeing this -- most people weren't, but I was,
15 because, although my house hadn't been burnt down at that time,
16 Filipovic's house had been burnt and those people, but my house remained
17 intact, and the houses opposite me, on the left-hand side, they were all
18 standing, they were intact. But I received permission, I got a permit to
19 go and see for four hours, and I went to Yugoslavia, in the direction of
20 Grabovac, where I came across a friend who worked in the Radnik company
21 with me. I was a crane operator, and he also worked there. He knew me
22 well. My name is Slavoljub, but they call me Slavko. And he said
23 "Slavko, I saw your house, it was on fire last night." And it was very
24 difficult for me at that point. And then I went up closer, right up to
25 the bank of the river.
1 And as there were some policemen there, the police was there, the
2 Yugoslav police and the army, standing guard at the frontier, the border,
3 I asked hem to lend me their binoculars to have a look. He gave me his
4 binoculars and I could see it, just close up, and yes, my house was burnt
5 down. So I went back and didn't return until March 1993, to Bjelovac. I
6 didn't want to go back.
7 Q. Mr. Rankic, about how far were you away from your house in you
8 were in Grabovica and you were looking over the river toward your house?
9 A. Well, 200 to 250 metres from my house to the Drina River, and then
10 the Drina is 80 metres wide. So that would be it. I got the binoculars.
11 The man lent me his binoculars, and I could see my house very well, very
12 clearly. And all the houses that had been set fire to beforehand, there
13 was smoke coming out of them. I noticed that too, I could see that too.
14 Q. So did you notice that there were several houses that were in some
15 stage of burning in Bjelovac on the 17th, when you looked at them from the
16 Grabovica side of Yugoslavia?
17 A. It depended. If the houses were made of concrete, they burnt down
18 slower. If they were wooden houses or had a lot of wooden elements, they
19 burnt down faster. The people from Grabovac told me that you could see
20 the smoke for several days, until it began raining. So you could see the
21 smoke coming from the houses that were burning, smouldering.
22 Q. Did anybody tell you on what day they noticed that the fires were
23 starting again in Bjelovac?
24 A. They told us that it was towards evening, or rather, late in the
25 night. Late at night.
1 Q. And that would be the night --
2 A. That's what they said.
3 Q. -- of the 15th, the 16th or the 17th?
4 A. Well, when night fell, thereabouts, when it got dark. Before
5 10.00 p.m., let's say.
6 MS. SELLERS: I would ask now we go to the Prosecution exhibit. I
7 think the number is 432. It's a very short video clip.
8 MR. JONES: If it's a video clip, it may raise an issue for us.
9 Is this from the documentary, I wonder, the Uncrowned King of Srebrenica?
10 MS. SELLERS: Yes. It is.
11 MR. JONES: We object to that video, and I can inform Your Honours
12 why, but I probably should not do this in front of the witness.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Could you please escort the witness.
14 We need to discuss something in your absence, a legal argument,
15 before you are shown a video clip, and in the meantime you can have a very
16 short break of about five minutes.
17 Yes, Mr. Jones.
18 MR. JONES: Yes, Your Honour. Our position as far as this
19 videotape is concerned, The Uncrowned King of Srebrenica, is that this is
20 essentially a Dutch propaganda film, if I may put it that way, which was
21 supplied to the Prosecution by the Dutch Evangelical Church. And that's
22 clear from the ERN 03633610, it's pre-trial exhibit number 385, P425. It
23 originates from the Evangelische Omroep -- I'm sorry, I'll go slowly for
24 the stenographer, who's giving me dirty looks.
25 As Your Honours will be aware, a Dutch battalion was stationed in
1 Srebrenica in July 1995 when the enclave fell, and the Dutch battalion and
2 the Dutch authorities were accused of not doing enough to save the people,
3 Bosnian Muslims, from slaughter by the Serbs. There was an inquiry as a
4 result of which the Dutch government fell in -- on the 16th of April,
5 2002. It's a major issue, Srebrenica, for the Dutch government, and this
6 film has to be understood - we say as propaganda - in that context. It's
7 designed very much to try and -- to take the blame away from the Dutch and
8 onto our client. And it's full will of inaccuracies which we can show --
9 we have an extract from the transcript where it's just that, for one
10 example, refers to Slavko Matic, who testified yesterday, as being a
11 teacher, and we know full well from her testimony, that she's not a
12 teacher. She illiterate, according to her. We say semi-literate.
13 We also say there's no way that this video can help this witness
14 with his testimony, and in essence the Prosecution is trying to slip in
15 evidence through the back door by introducing what will probably be
16 interviews with people in order to get that evidence in rather than
17 calling those people as witnesses.
18 You'll see, as I say there, the reference to Slavka Matic being a
20 So, it's, first of all, patently inaccurate. And secondly, you
21 can even see from this transcript that there are quotations, for example,
22 one has Suljo Hasanovic speaking there, he doesn't speak about Bjelovac,
23 but the Dutch journalist, I'm not sure if it's clear from this extract --
24 yes, refers to the attack on Bjelovac, and then there's a very brief clip
25 of someone saying something completely out of context, and that being
1 suggested that that relates to Bjelovac, which is entirely -- entirely
2 misleading. One can see the Dutch journalist says "an attack on
3 Bjelovac," then we have Suljo Hasanovic making statements which -- he
4 doesn't mention Bjelovac, so we've got no idea what he's talking about.
5 But there's a caption on the screen saying "attack on Bjelovac."
6 It's -- in our submission, it's a propaganda piece, this
7 documentary, and as I say, coming out of a major -- yes, a -- well, I'm
8 just going to read the selection relating to Slavka Matic. "A teacher,
9 married to Radivoje, two daughters, Gordana and Snezana." And we know --
10 we know full well she's not a teacher.
11 We are concerned that this trial will be hijacked, as I said in my
12 opening speech, by attempts to use this trial as an exercise in a sort of
13 Dutch political manoeuvre, and that would be, in my respectful submission,
14 would lower the tone of the proceedings at the very least.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Sellers.
16 MS. SELLERS: Yes, Your Honour, the Prosecution certainly would
17 take a bit of offence of being accused of slipping something in the back
18 door using our Prosecution work on behalf of the Dutch government, and
19 doing anything that we think wouldn't be putting through something that we
20 believe is factual and truthful evidence to the Prosecution.
21 More substantively, I think in terms of this video and the source,
22 I really don't know in terms of the religious character of whoever made
23 the video should in any way be an issue at this point. I think we need to
24 look at the veracity of what will be placed before the Trial Chambers, and
25 that this is certainly not under the conditions that we have been
1 discussing here, that we would not to malign any religious group nor any
2 ethnic group within the context of proving facts that relate to
3 allegations and our indictment.
4 I also would like to say that our learned friend's analysis or
5 observations are fruitful in that we do understand some of the critiques
6 that you might have. But as it pertains to this witness, what we have
7 proposed is to show a segment that does not involve any speaking from any
8 of the persons that you have named, that does not involve anything
9 relating to the transcript. We would be -- merely like to show a picture,
10 and almost hold the frame and, as we would any picture that we would
11 present to the Trial Chamber, ask him, does he recognise this picture of
12 this location.
13 This presentation that we are about to do, I think, certainly
14 comes within the bounds of his testimony. He has testified about burning
15 properties. We will show him that segment and ask him whether he
16 recognises it. We will not go into details as to the evangelical nature
17 of the picture, nor anything having to do with the witness that
18 Your Honours was [sic] able to listen to yesterday. And certainly since
19 we do ask the Trial Chamber, "Can we please show this exhibit," we're
20 coming right in the front door and asking, "Can we show an exhibit?", and
21 asking them to be able to rule on it.
22 Thank you.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: So the position is we go ahead, we admit this part.
25 For the time being, we are admitting this part of the video clip. We are
1 not interested in the entire video, unless you want to produce the entire
2 video, which you don't seem to be at this stage.
3 MS. SELLERS: No, Your Honours, that's absolutely correct. Just
4 this one part.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. And in answer to -- because we are
6 supposed to give a reasoned decision, and this is an oral decision,
7 particularly we considered the submissions made on who provided you with
8 this video, supposedly the Dutch evangelical church, in addition to the
9 fact that it is a Dutch production, to be completely irrelevant at this
10 stage. We're not talking of the events that took place in 1995, but we
11 are talking of the events that allegedly took place in 1993, and
12 particularly the attack on Bjelovac.
13 Mr. Jones himself seems to suggest that there may be a problem in
14 that Bjelovac is being identified in the video clip without, in reality,
15 any ground for that. It's being presumed to be. And for that reason
16 alone, we consider that the testimony of this witness may be crucial,
17 because he should probably be in a position to enlighten us on whether
18 what we see on this video, which we haven't seen, by the way, is indeed
19 the village of Bjelovac or not.
20 Finally, the fact that Slavka Matic is being mentioned here in her
21 capacity as a teacher, which is incorrect, will not really have any
22 bearing on our decision. It is something so marginal that we tend to
23 ignore it.
24 For these reasons, and also on the basis of submissions made by
25 Ms. Sellers, we consider this part of the video clip that we will see as
1 relevant, and we do not consider that the objections raised by the Defence
2 as sufficient -- sufficient to warrant the non-admission of this video
4 So we go ahead. Has this been organised with the technical people
5 or not yet?
6 MS. SELLERS: Yes, it's in sanctions, Your Honour. I believe we
7 can bring it up on the video evidence. We've given copies to the
8 registrar and Defence.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record, Judge Brydensholt is drawing my
11 attention, and he is right, that these events allegedly took place in
12 1993, actually it's 1992. So I'm just saying this for the purpose of the
13 record, and that would correct automatically the transcript.
14 Yes. Whenever you are ready, you may start.
15 MS. SELLERS: Certainly.
16 Q. I would like to ask that Mr. Rankic, would you please look at the
17 screen in front of you and tell the Trial Chamber, is this one of the
18 views that you had from Grabovica on the 17th of December, as you looked
19 back into the town of Bjelovac.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, can we delete the words and the
21 text that shows under the picture? I mean then they enjoin me in the
22 house where we sat down. I don't know if that's possible, but I don't
23 want to see any words.
24 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, it doesn't seem to be possible. I've
25 asked to see if we can just blacken out the text. The text is in
1 English --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: But those words will not be rolling, it will be
3 static, no?
4 MS. SELLERS: There will be a small rolling. They're in English.
5 My impression is that the witness doesn't understand -- doesn't read the
6 English language. But certainly we're not entering into evidence any of
7 the written text.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you increase the size of the picture?
9 MS. SELLERS: My case manager informs me that we cannot do that.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's proceed, and then we'll see
11 whether this causes any damage or not.
12 MS. SELLERS:
13 Q. Mr. Rankic, could you answer my question? Do you recognise this
15 A. Yes. I think this is Stevo Filipovic's house and Slavoljub
16 Filipovic's house, as well as Radovan Vucetic's house. Those houses were,
17 in fact, on fire that day in my neighbourhood, to the right and then
18 south, looking in the direction of my house.
19 Q. Yes. Where are those houses in relationship to your house?
20 A. They're towards Sikiric, about 100 metres from my house but closer
21 to the Drina River. If you look from the Drina, the distance is about 150
22 metres from the river, and Slavoljub's house, I think about 150 metres.
23 Q. Was the view of the burning village at Bjelovac similar to what
24 you're seeing today on the video? Was that the view you saw on the 17th
25 of December, 1992?
1 A. Yes. Yes.
2 Q. Did you see other houses in the village that were burning at that
3 time, on December 17th, 1992?
4 A. Yes. These houses, I saw these personally, in front of my house.
5 One of them had a concrete roofing which was cracking, as if under shots
6 that were being fired. But eventually we realised that it was the kind of
7 brick that was used that was to blame for the cracking sound.
8 Q. All right.
9 MS. SELLERS: Excuse me, Your Honours, we can zoom in on that just
10 a tiny bit. I would like to have that done.
11 Q. Okay, Mr. Rankic, does that assist you in perhaps viewing and
12 making certain that you can identify the houses in that video?
13 A. Yes. I'm certain -- Slavoljub Filipovic's house, Stevo
14 Filipovic's house, and Radovan Vucetic's house, that much I'm certain
16 Q. Thank you. Mr. Rankic, I have a few more questions for you.
17 Would you please tell the Trial Chamber if any of the Bosnian Serbs who
18 were able to leave the villages of Bjelovac, Sikiric, or the surrounding
19 villages after the attack, were they able to return and live in their
20 villages in that immediate time period after the attack?
21 A. No, they weren't able. They had no where to go. Their houses had
22 burned down. No. Also, for safety reasons.
23 Q. And then my last question is: Did the Bosnian Muslim army, in the
24 aftermath of this attack, reimburse you for the property that you lost in
1 A. I've got nothing for my house. Whoever I talk to, they tell me it
2 just isn't possible. My house sustained a great deal of damage. I did
3 carry out some repairs on my own, but that's not sufficient. There's much
4 more work to be done for years to follow.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Rankic.
6 MS. SELLERS: Your Honours, I have no further questions for this
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Sellers.
9 You're now going to be cross-examined by Mr. Jones.
10 Mr. Jones, you don't need to worry about the Dutch Evangelical
11 Church, because they will not -- they will sleep in peace tonight knowing
12 that they - only this shot was shown out of their video.
13 MR. JONES: Indeed, your -- and I should say it's not a question
14 of religion; obviously, it's a question of the Dutch authorities I was
16 I wonder whether this is the best place to start or whether we
17 should break.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Whatever, I mean I -- no, no, go ahead. Go ahead.
19 MR. JONES: If you'll give me one moment, Your Honour, so I can
20 get the lectern.
21 MS. SELLERS: Excuse me, Your Honour, might I -- I'm very sorry, I
22 don't believe I've tendered just this one segment of the document.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: You haven't tendered this one and you haven't
24 tendered the map, actually. I was coming to that at the end of the
1 MS. SELLERS: I would like to tender them both. I thought --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I'd tendered it myself. I had indicated the
3 Prosecution exhibit number.
4 MS. SELLERS: Excuse me. Could I tender the map, first of all.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, and could I ask the witness to sign that map in
6 some part which is blank and where he could affix his signature. Could
7 you help I am, usher, please.
8 THE WITNESS: [Marks].
9 MS. SELLERS: And then, Your Honour, I would like to tender just
10 that one segment of the video. I think it's been pre-identified as 432,
11 and we would call that small segment here at 432.1, if possible, if the
12 registrar would --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So it will be. And the other document, the
14 map, I have already confirmed it is Prosecution Exhibit P450.
15 Yes, Mr. Jones, he's all yours.
16 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Jones:
18 Q. Mr. Rankic, first of all, just some general questions about
19 Bjelovac. You've told us that Bjelovac, before the war, was 90 per cent
20 Serb and 10 per cent Muslim. Is it right that then there were about 300
21 homes in the village, of which about 30 would have been Muslim, before the
23 A. Bjelovac only had a handful of families, the ones that I
24 mentioned. I think you're confusing this with Zaluzje, which is adjacent
25 to Bjelovac. That seems to have been an error all along.
1 Q. If you could keep your answers short. I'm not confusing anything,
2 I'm putting questions to you, so if you just answer those. It's right,
3 isn't it, that there were about 60 Muslims in Bjelovac before the war?
4 Wouldn't that be about right?
5 A. I don't know about the official statistics. What they said was 10
6 per cent, but I don't know about the figures. I never checked.
7 Q. I'm not asking that?
8 A. I never asked.
9 Q. I'm not talking about the statistics. You lived in Bjelovac. I'm
10 asking you: Isn't it right that there were about 60 Muslims living in
11 Bjelovac; do you agree, disagree, or do you not know?
12 A. I disagree. Sixty, I disagree.
13 MR. JONES: For the sake of expediency, I'm not going to put the
14 census being put on the ELMO. I'd propose to just refer Your Honours to
15 Exhibit D82 and it's line 43 on page 72. There's no need to produce it,
16 continuing at line 43 on page 73 for the results of 1991 census, 15 [sic]
17 are Muslims.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: We saw them yesterday anyway.
19 MR. JONES:
20 Q. And in Bjelovac, it was suggested to you that people didn't keep
21 crops or have farms. That's not right, is it? There were farmers in
23 A. Yes. Very few, though. Everyone had a house and about an acre of
24 land next to the house. Those weren't large farms.
25 Q. An acre of land on which most, if not all people grew crops and
1 maybe kept some livestock, just to correct that misapprehension.
2 You were born in Sikiric, and you lived there until you were 26
3 years old, didn't you?
4 And it's right that in Sikiric, there were more Muslims than Serbs
5 before the war, something like 240 Muslims compared to about 200 Serbs.
6 A. The Muslims lived in three hamlets, Skela, Laniste and Strzelec.
7 Those were hamlets that were part of Sikiric.
8 Q. And again, for the sake of making progress, I would just refer to
9 Exhibit D82 of the census, line 32 on page 74, continuing at line 32 on
10 page 75.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Jones.
12 MR. JONES: 240 Muslims and --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. We appreciate the approach that you are
14 talking which is very pragmatic and very practical.
15 MR. JONES: I'll take your advice, Your Honour.
16 Q. Now, Sikiric is about 2 or 3 kilometres from Bjelovac, isn't it?
17 I'm sorry, could you answer, please.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, I'm just going to quickly show you another map, if that could
20 be put on the ELMO. I'm just using that map to put a point to you which
21 perhaps you'll agree with anyway, which is that it's right, isn't it, that
22 Voljevica is actually nearer to Bjelovac than Sikiric, isn't it?
23 Voljevica is really right next door to Bjelovac.
24 A. No, Zaluzje is. Voljevica is further down.
25 Q. If you could take the pointer and point on the ELMO to Voljevica,
1 and then -- Voljevica, thank you.
2 A. [Indicates].
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. This is Voljevica.
5 Q. And then so Sikiric.
6 A. [Indicates].
7 Q. Do you see the word Sikiric a little further down from the road?
8 A. That's where I was born, near the river. This is how far Sikiric
9 extends. That's where I was born.
10 Q. All right. Now, turning to Voljevica, in Voljevica alone, there
11 were something like 1.375 Muslims before the war, weren't there? Nearly
12 1.500 Muslims.
13 A. Not that I know of.
14 MR. JONES: And again, finally, Your Honours, I will just refer
15 you to the census, D82, line 40, on page 74, going on to page 75, 1.375
17 Q. Now, Mr. Rankic, isn't right that your region -- you don't have to
18 worry about the map for a moment -- that this area, and by that I'm
19 referring to Sase, Sikiric, Voljevica, Biljaca, Bjelovac, Zaluzje, that
20 whole area before the war was mostly Muslim.
21 A. Biljaca, yes; Zaluzje, yes; Voljevica, yes. Ethnically, 100 per
23 Q. Now, you've said in an earlier statement to the Prosecutor that
24 the Muslims in Bjelovac left their homes of their own free will in May
25 1992. Now, is that your -- is that your position, they left of their own
1 free will?
2 A. No one drove them away. They left of their own accord, for
3 reasons of their own safety. Whole families moved out. They went towards
4 Pribici and towards Zaluzje.
5 Q. Perhaps you could explain those reasons to us. Why would people
6 leave their homes that they've lived in all their lives and everything
7 they have unless they're forced to leave?
8 A. I had a friend named Hajrudin Begzadic. He was a close friend.
9 He came up to me and asked me: What do I stay about that. I told him to
10 stay, and he said he wasn't sure about that. He was afraid the Chetniks
11 would come from Serbia and cut our children's throats. That's what he was
12 afraid of, not his own neighbours, he told me on one occasion. And that's
13 why he moved to Pirici to stay with his brother Mustafa. I knew this man
15 Q. And that was a legitimate fear, wasn't it? That was something he
16 genuinely had to fear?
17 A. I don't know. That's what he told me.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record, before you proceed, are you making
19 use of this map temporarily, without tendering it as a --
20 MR. JONES: That's correct, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you so much. So then we have to enter into
22 the record the following: That the witness was shown a map which the
23 Trial Chamber could see on the monitor, and for the record, when asked to,
24 the witness pointed at the villages or -- the villages of Voljevica, to
25 Zaluzje, and further down to the village of Sikirici.
1 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Now, you've told us -- you've told us today that the Muslims were
3 provoking you, the Serbs, from the woods. The question I want to ask you,
4 and don't take this flippantly, but the Muslims, they're not monkeys,
5 they're human beings. Do you think they chose to live in the woods when
6 they could live in homes?
7 MS. SELLERS: Excuse me, Your Honour. I don't believe there's
8 been any testimony that they lived in the woods.
9 MR. JONES: Perhaps the witness could help us with that. He told
10 us --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Let the witness answer the question. I think he's
12 understood what is being asked of him.
13 A. Muslims are not animals. How shall I put it? Some of them were
14 my friends. Not all, by any means, but some. They went to predominantly
15 Muslim villages. But there were groups that would come over and carry out
16 acts of provocation in the forest, just behind our village. That's all I
17 wanted to say. They didn't live in the forest.
18 MR. JONES:
19 Q. But what you did say today is that they couldn't get to their
20 houses. Now, isn't it right that they couldn't get to their houses
21 because Serbs wouldn't let them get to their houses?
22 A. They couldn't get to their houses because there were guards there.
23 That's why they couldn't get through. In daytime, they could have passed
24 through, but not at night, because the guards trusted no one. You know
25 how it was.
1 Q. So your Serb guards were stopping Muslims going back to their
2 homes. You can answer yes or no to the --
3 A. By night.
4 Q. All right.
5 A. By night, no, they couldn't. And by day, yes, they do. No one
6 stopped them.
7 Q. You've also said that in May 1992, I think you said, that the
8 water supply to Bratunac was cut off by the Muslims in Voljevica. Now,
9 are you saying that the Muslims were still in Voljevica in May 1992, and
10 that they hadn't been expelled by Serbs?
11 A. That's what we were told, yes.
12 MR. JONES: I wonder if the witness could be shown an exhibit
13 which we have. It's a document dated 14th --
14 A. They didn't live there. They just came there to sow some crops.
15 MR. JONES: All right. This document is dated --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: To set up ambushes.
17 MR. JONES: This document is a letter dated the 4th of July, 2000,
18 from a Mustafa Sacerovic addressed to the Tribunal. There is an ERN
19 number, 03091801. It was used in the Deronjic case, just by way of
20 explanation. And this document refers to expulsions of Muslims from
21 Hranca, Glogova, Bijeceva, Suha. At page 7 it refers to killings in the
22 Vuk Karadzic school. And I would ask Mr. Rankic to turn to page 12 --
23 sorry, it's 12 in the English. First, to crimes in the villages of
24 Voljevica and Zaluzje, on the 13th of May, 1992.
25 Q. It's page 9 of the original, if you have that, Mr. Rankic.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Jones is kindly requested to slow down.
2 Thank you.
3 MR. JONES:
4 Q. Isn't it right, as stated there, that in fact on the 13th of May,
5 1992, the Bosniak villages of Voljevica and Zaluzje were surrounded by
6 Bratunac SDS paramilitary units, and that Muslim houses were torched,
7 civilians were killed, Muslim civilians? Isn't that something you're
8 aware of?
9 A. Yes. Yes, there were things like that happening.
10 Q. If I direct your attention further down, we see the same Slavko
11 Rankic from Bjelovac, if you stay with the document. It's about five
12 lines from the bottom in your version. It's the last line in our version.
13 Slavko Rankic, and your name there as an SDS supporter who was identified
14 at the scene of the crimes.
15 Now, you've told us that Slavko is a nickname you're known by.
16 That refers to you, doesn't it?
17 A. You've made a mistake. I was never a member of the SDS. Even now
18 I am not a member of the SDS. I've been a member of a different party,
19 the SDP. So that's a mistake. That's a fabrication.
20 Q. Well, that's a minor issue. Whether you're in the SDS, it doesn't
21 explicitly say that. It's right --
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. The scene of ethnic cleansing --
24 THE INTERPRETER: No overlap for the benefit of the interpreters,
1 MR. JONES: I'll put the question again.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I think that's how we work.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I think that's how we have to move. I think he had
5 arrived at "well, that's a minor issue," and then you continued saying
6 something else, Mr. Jones. I would enjoin you to repeat what you said to
7 the witness after he told you that he had never been a member of the SDS,
8 and then put any question after that.
9 MR. JONES: Yes.
10 Q. Leaving SDS aside, it's right, isn't it, that you were, on the
11 13th of May, 1992, in Voljevica, in Zaluzje, involved in ethnic cleansing
12 operations against Muslims.
13 A. No, I was never involved in anything like that. I stayed in home
14 all the time. That's where I spent all of my time. I vouch for this with
15 my life, for the truthfulness of my statement. This is a difficult thing
16 for me to face. These are lies.
17 Q. Isn't that the reason that you want to hide your face today, not
18 because you wish to prevent your employer from using potential clients?
19 A. No. As I've explained to the Chamber today -- well, I believe
20 you've heard the explanation, haven't you? What else could it have been.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Were you -- I mean, it's a very simple question, and
22 do answer it yes or no. In or on the 13th of May, 1992, when the villages
23 of Voljevica and Zaluzje were allegedly attacked by SDS or Serb
24 paramilitary units, were you there watching what was happening?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Where were you on that day, when the attack on those
2 two villages took place?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was in Bjelovac, in my own
4 village, all the time. I was guarding my own village. I never budged a
5 metre from there. Never, not once.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Jones.
7 MR. JONES: I would ask that this document be given a Defence
8 exhibit number.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: This document is being tendered and -- 89? -- And
10 admitted in evidence and marked as Defence Exhibit D89.
11 MR. JONES:
12 Q. It's right also, isn't it, that in Sikiric, the Muslims were
13 expelled in the same way; that you've just accepted that Muslims were
14 expelled from Voljevica and Zaluzje.
15 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, I really don't want to interrupt
16 counsel, but I think he's asking the witness to accept something he hasn't
17 said. I believe that was part of your questions, that the witness said he
18 didn't know anything about it. So I don't mind rephrasing the question,
19 but please don't attribute to the witness that he accepted that this is
20 the manner, according to this document, that crimes occurred. He didn't
21 say ethnic cleansing, he said crimes occurred in these villages.
22 MR. JONES: His answer was very clear, and we're just finding it
23 in the transcript. He accepted that these crimes were occurring, and the
24 crimes which I put to him were of ethnic cleansing. One moment.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, the ...
1 MR. JONES: The transcript may require correction, because I
2 certainly recall the witness --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't recall you asking him to admit that these
4 killings had taken place, but your questions were concentrating on whether
5 these two villages were, indeed, attacked by the Serbs on such and such a
6 day, which resulted with the removal of the Muslims from them. That's --
7 that was the gist of your questions.
8 MR. JONES: We may check the tape afterwards.
9 Q. Sikiric, the Muslims were expelled from Sikiric in May 1992, were
10 they not?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And Bratunac as well, it's right, isn't it, that you said in a
13 statement given to the Prosecution, "We returned to Bratunac and were
14 given Muslim homes and apartments to live in because we were refugees."
15 You could take those homes because the Muslims had been expelled, couldn't
17 A. I said in 1993.
18 Q. All right.
19 A. I said that in 1993, 1993, when Bjelovac fell, my house had burned
20 down. Where else could I go? I had to live in Bratunac. I was given a
21 house belonging to a Muslim who had left. I don't know how or why. And
22 this was a house that I used, legally.
23 Q. You've also referred, just before I move on to another subject, to
24 a Mr. Miroslav Deronjic who promised you food and came to Bjelovac.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. That's -- would that be the same Miroslav Deronjic who has been
2 indicted by this Tribunal, if you know, for crimes against humanity, or is
3 it some other Miroslav Deronjic?
4 A. Miroslav Deronjic, the teacher? Miroslav Deronjic, is that the
5 person you have in mind?
6 Q. Now I'm going to move on to a question about the village guard.
7 MR. JONES: I'm not sure whether the break would normally be.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: At this point we can have a break now, if it's more
9 convenient for you, obviously.
10 MR. JONES: This is a new area.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: So we'll have a break now -- do you think you'll be
12 able to finish by the end of the sitting?
13 MR. JONES: I'm afraid not, Your Honour. The Prosecution has
14 touched on a wide range of subjects. We have video material ourselves to
15 show the witness. We certainly would go into tomorrow, I'm afraid.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We'll have a break, but we'll resume at
17 10 minutes past -- 10 minutes past 6.00. Thank you.
18 One moment before we all rise. I take it now that it's too late
19 in the day or in the week to send back the last witness we have on this
20 list -- on the list for this week, that's the one coming on Friday. I'm
21 not going to mention names, because I don't know if there are any
22 protective measures. Is that witness here already?
23 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour, I've been informed that the witness
24 has arrived.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So basically what this entails is that
1 you get together, Defence and Prosecution, and organise yourselves so that
2 between now and the end of business day on Friday, we will finish these
3 two witnesses. I am not curtailing on this witness, because I consider
4 him an important witness, and he's been dealing with very important
5 matters. I don't know about the other two, because I try not to read
6 beforehand as much as I can. But you need to get together and see how you
7 can distribute the time for these two witnesses between you to ensure that
8 both are heard and finished with by the end of the week.
9 Yes, Madam Vidovic?
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may, the witness
11 appearing tomorrow, Mr. Filipovic, is a material witness, a very important
12 witness for us, and we have lots of documents to show the Trial Chamber in
13 relation to this witness. So regardless of the fact that the OTP have
14 already called a different witness for Friday, can we please have all the
15 time we need for tomorrow's witness, for our cross-examination. He is
16 very important. I will absolutely do whatever is within my power to keep
17 it as brief as possible, but this is not a witness in relation to which we
18 are prepared to make any concessions in terms of length.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, I want you to get together just the
20 same, see how you can agree on splitting the time, and I'll look into the
21 statements of these two witnesses when I get them. And I will consult
22 with the other two Judges and we'll decide tomorrow morning -- tomorrow
24 Break, resuming at 6.10.
25 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 6.15 p.m.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's proceed.
3 Mr. Jones, can I please plead with you to slow down, because I
4 have complaints coming from everywhere.
5 MR. JONES: Yes, I will, indeed, Your Honour. It's under the
6 pressure to make progress, I think, that made me speed up.
7 Q. Mr. Rankic, you've spoken today about the village guard in
8 Bjelovac. In fact, it's right, isn't it, that there was a TO Bjelovac
9 that was part of the Brcanska Brigade commanded by Svetozar Andric long
10 before December of 1992?
11 A. I'm not aware of that. I have no information about that. I don't
13 MR. JONES: If we can show a document, the ERN is 01320384, from
14 the Bratunac collection. That's the first page which says July 1992. And
15 then if the witness can turn over the pages, the page 01320428, we see
16 Bjelovac, or half of Bjelovac.
17 Q. Pausing on that page, I'd like you to look at number 14, Novo
18 Ilic. Is that someone you know from Bjelovac?
19 A. Novo Ilic, yes.
20 Q. Son of Stevo. Now, if we keep going, I'll ask you to go to page
21 01320430, and there we see July 1992. And then the next page, number 37,
22 Slavoljub Rankic. I think that's an N in between. Do you see that? Page
23 01320431, Slavoljub Rankic: It says "commander to vod".
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. That's you, isn't it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And that's your signature as well, isn't it, further down?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. It's right, isn't it, that you were actually in an organised unit
5 in Bjelovac --
6 A. Village watch, village guard.
7 Q. It says "commander to vod." Vod is a platoon, isn't it?
8 A. [No interpretation].
9 Q. So you were a platoon commander.
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. JONES: Could this document be given a Defence exhibit number,
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
14 MS. SELLERS: Excuse me, Your Honour, I really don't want to
15 interrupt counsel, but I'm just noticing on the document he's handed us,
16 in the translation, it looks like commander was placed to another name,
17 and I just wonder would he clarify that for us. I'm looking at the
18 English translation.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: English translation, it is 37, Rankic D Slavoljub,
20 31, 2nd squad, commander, apart from the wrong spelling of squad.
21 MS. SELLERS: Okay. This is what he's referring to?
22 MR. JONES: Yes. I think also Mr. Rankic agreed with me that
23 "vod" is a platoon, if that's something he can help us with. Probably
24 not, because it's a linguistic --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: What were you a commander of? Which platoon were
1 you a commander of?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From my house, there were three
3 guard posts stretching over an area of 50 to 100 metres. So in my
4 village, that's where I was, that's where I was standing guard. I was
5 sent to take up my position there, and the others did the same, for
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Let me ask you: You have seen this document, at the
8 end of which is your signature. Did you write this document yourself?
9 Did you compile it yourself?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We compiled these documents to
11 receive food and all the rest of it, so we would keep records like that.
12 To get a sack of flour, a sack of sugar, and oil, vegetable oil. We would
13 write down our names. Otherwise, you wouldn't be given -- issued any
14 food. So these were lists compiled in Bjelovac, not in Bratunac.
15 JUDGE ESER: Just a question with regard to the language. Does
16 "vod" have a special technical meaning, or is it an ambiguous term which
17 could be used for different types of commands? Is it a specialty with
18 regard to military, or are there any other sort of --
19 MR. JONES: No, Your Honours, it's a military term which I
20 understand is always -- usually translated as platoon, a "ceta" is a
21 company, an "odeljenje" is a section. These are standard terms used in
22 the military in the region.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: But the whole thing is, does this show that you were
24 part of the army or the Territorial Defence?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said. Just the village
1 guards for the defence, that's what we covered, and that's why we were on
2 guard, and that's what we were doing. Nothing else. If you can
3 understand me, if you understand what I'm saying.
4 MR. JONES:
5 Q. You were commander of whatever you call it, a village guard or
6 whatever you call it, you were a commander.
7 A. If you have 10 to 12 men standing guard, somebody would have to be
8 there. I would be there for a month, then somebody would replace me. And
9 hundreds of people rotated. You know, we took turns. They were
10 komandirs, not really trained, educated. That was our system.
11 Q. Subsequently, you became a soldier in the Bratunac Brigade. Yes.
12 And I'll show another document now with the ERN 0131 --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Have we given it a number? This is being tendered,
14 this document that has been shown to the witness is being tendered and
15 admitted and marked as D90.
16 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour. And the next document, I was
17 just reading the ERN number, the first page is 01319818, it came from the
18 Bratunac collection. And it's dated October 1992. I would refer the
19 witness to the page which has the ERN 01319822, where one sees Ceta
21 Q. Now, is it right that there was a company of soldiers in Bjelovac
22 as part of the Bratunac Brigade in October of 1992?
23 A. Which year?
24 Q. October 1992.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Of 1992, yes.
1 MR. JONES:
2 Q. This is on page 01319818, and then the next page, Ceta Bjelovac.
3 And I can refer you to the next page, number 663, Slavoljub N. Rankic,
4 "K.Dir ce." That's "commander of ceta," isn't it?
5 A. It was a replacement. Petrovic Petar was wounded with a sniper.
6 He's a neighbour of mine. So they were supposed to give out food and
7 cigarettes, and I took over from him. That's all. I was still the
8 komandir of the platoon. I was taking over from him because he was
9 wounded, that's what it was.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: What was his name?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Petar Petrovic. He was wounded, but
12 with a sniper.
13 MR. JONES:
14 Q. You signed this document, did you not, as commander of the ceta.
15 That's your signature at the end.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Anyone can --
17 A. Well, everything was written down there. All I know is that I was
18 the komandir of the guard. That's all.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Can anyone translate or explain to us, under 658,
20 what the words following the name of the person mean, "K.Dir ce," ceta,
21 and then "R forus" [phoen]? Can anyone give me a meaning?
22 Show the document -- the same document to the witness.
23 MR. JONES:
24 Q. Yes, can you help us with --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: A few entries above your name, there is the name of
1 the person you mentioned, Petrovic Petar, and then there is "K.Dir ceta,"
2 I suppose, and then "R forus." What do those words mean?
3 MR. JONES: Your Honour, may -- if it assists an English
4 translation, we do have an English translation.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I tried to look it up. I didn't find it.
6 MR. JONES: It should be on the last page, page 3, number 658 is a
7 reserve company commander and reserve lieutenant.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, I see. A reserve company commander and reserve
10 Do you agree that that's the meaning of those words? What's the
11 "K.Dir ceta"? Does that mean that he's a reserve commander of the
12 brigade, or what? I'm asking you, yes. What do those words mean after
13 Petar Petrovic's name? "K.Dir" --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know. I never had
15 anything to do with administration, so I'm not quite clear myself. This
16 is all written down here, but I really don't know what all this means,
17 because they wrote this down in the Territorial Defence. Who knows who
18 wrote this. I don't know what they wrote. All I know is that I was on
19 guard, regularly doing my duty. As to the rest of it, I really can't say.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's proceed, Mr. Jones.
21 MR. JONES: Yes. If that could be given an exhibit number, and
22 then we do just have one more document in this series.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: So this will be D91.
24 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour. And the next exhibit bears
25 ERN 01320783, again from the Bratunac Brigade.
1 Q. And my question for you, Mr. Rankic, is: It's right, isn't it,
2 that the Bratunac Brigade was established in November 1992? Could you
3 answer it with words, please, rather than just nodding?
4 A. The 14th of December -- the 14th of November, yes, 1992, yes,
5 that's it.
6 Q. So before the action in Bjelovac, the Bratunac Brigade had been
7 established, and you were a company commander of the 4th Battalion of the
8 Bratunac Brigade, weren't you?
9 A. Bjelovac, on -- doing village guard. Just as a guard.
10 Q. The 4th Battalion is my question, the company commander of the 4th
11 Battalion. If you could look at this next document.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we can't go on like this.
13 Question number 1: When was the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade
14 formed, constituted?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 14th of November, 1992, was when
16 it was founded.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Were you part of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade
18 at any moment since its inception?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't go out anywhere. We were
20 in Bjelovac all the time. We didn't have any meetings. Mr. Deronjic
21 would come and explain the situation to us, but we didn't leave Bjelovac
22 at all. We were in Bjelovac non-stop, we the defenders of Bjelovac.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: That's not answering my question. My question was,
24 and remains: Were you part of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade,
25 irrespective of where you were? Were you were enrolled as part of the
1 Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. The Territorial
3 Defence from Bratunac was the main body. Everything we received was from
4 Bratunac, until the fall of Bjelovac. When Bjelovac fell, then we
5 received, what's it called, the clothes, the booklets, saying that we were
6 part of the army. Up until then, we didn't have any documents, nothing.
7 You know, you could leave whenever you wanted to. Afterwards, you
8 couldn't leave because you'd have to stand a court marshal if you did.
9 That was after the fall of Bjelovac. That's what I remember, but nothing
11 MR. JONES:
12 Q. Can I direct your attention to page -- it's ERN 01320790, the
13 document that's been distributed, it's probably the last page, page 8 in
14 the original, and at the top it says: "4th Ceta, Rankic Nedja, Slavoljub,
15 komandir 4th Ceta."
16 A. That was written because he didn't come back from hospital, the
17 man Petrovic, Petar Petrovic, so I replaced him the whole time until he
18 came back. So I received a salary. It was all his, you see, I replaced
19 him because I was a soldier without any rank. I wasn't a specialist of
20 any kind. I was, well, one of the engineers. I knew about machines but
21 nothing about rifles.
22 Q. You've finally told us that you were a soldier. In fact, you were
23 a commander from July onwards, weren't you? You were always a commander
24 of some unit, July 1992 onwards. You were a commander of the Bjelovac TO,
25 and now you're a commander of the 4th Ceta, of the 4th Battalion of the
1 Bratunac Brigade. Isn't that what these documents show?
2 A. No. I don't know. I'm really not clear on this. All I know was
3 that in Bjelovac, I was the komandir of the village guard. I accept that.
4 As to all the rest of it, I really don't understand it all. How could
5 an ordinary soldier be a company commander, without any training, without
6 any qualifications? Would you take me in as a legal officer without any
7 legal learning?
8 Q. Can you try and keep your answers short, please, Mr. Rankic. We
9 don't have a huge amount of time, so if you could answer, where you can,
10 yes or no and abstain from lengthy explanations.
11 A. [In English] Okay.
12 Q. Do you know Svetozar?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You know him, don't you, because he was the commander of the
15 battalion in which you were. He was your commanding officer. Da.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Was he your commanding officer? Because you had a
17 number of questions in the same question. Was he your commanding officer,
18 Petrovic, Sreten.
19 MR. JONES: The witness replied "da," and it wasn't translated.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He did come with Deronjic. Now,
21 what he was, I had no idea. He never showed us any documents. He didn't
22 show us any documents so that we know who was what, and there were
23 villagers who didn't recognise him as commander.
24 MR. JONES: Your Honour, if I could perhaps request at some stage
25 the interpreters listen to the tape. The witness replied "da" when I
1 asked him if Petrovic was the --
2 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter notes that she thought Defence
3 counsel said "Da." I didn't realise that it was the witness.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I said that as well. I can't say that it was the
5 witness. But the thing is I put the question myself, because the question
6 that you put could have confused him, and by answering "Da," he could be
7 answering more than you were asking, actually, Mr. Jones. So that's why I
9 MR. JONES: I can ask again.
10 Q. Sreten Petrovic was your commanding officer, wasn't he?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: He's answered that now.
12 A. I saw him around. He would come. But how can you know whether
13 someone is a commander if there's no document to bear that out? How can
14 you know who the commander is?
15 MR. JONES:
16 Q. I'm going to ask you about the 4th Battalion, which, according to
17 this document, you were in. That was actually based in Sase, wasn't it?
18 It was dealing with the area around Sase, which you mentioned today. It
19 had the zone of responsibility towards Sase. Can you please just answer
20 yes or no.
21 A. I would see him around. He did come, but I don't know why he
22 came, on what business.
23 Q. I'm sorry, I don't know if it's a problem of translation, but that
24 was nothing like an answer to my question.
25 My question was: Wasn't the 4th Battalion in which you served,
1 did it not have a zone of responsibility towards Sase?
2 A. I don't know.
3 Q. Isn't it right that there was also a 2nd Battalion of the Bratunac
4 Brigade covering the Bjelovac-Sikiric area? And if you don't know, you
5 can simply reply, yes, no, or I don't know. There's no need for a lengthy
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I heard him say "nezda," which means "I don't
9 know," and now I see "yes."
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat his answer.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: The question was, sir, if you knew that there was
12 also a 2nd Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade covering the Bjelovac-Sikiric
13 area. Did you know of the existence of this 2nd Battalion? Yes, no, I
14 don't know? What's your answer?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't know.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Because in the meantime you had intervened, and he
17 said Da to something else.
18 MR. JONES: Maybe the witness is speaking to softly.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Or maybe you are running. Let's proceed slowly. We
20 have enough time. I mean, we will obviously go into tomorrow.
21 MR. JONES: Yes.
22 Q. Can I direct your attention to the page which is marked ERN
23 01320785. It should be in front of you. There we see "vod minobacaca,"
24 with three departments, "odeljenje," underneath. Now, can you tell us
25 what minobacaca stands for, what it is?
1 A. I don't know.
2 Q. You don't know that minobacaca is a mortar-- refers to mortars,
3 and that's a mortar platoon?
4 A. I'm not interested in things like that.
5 Q. So you yourself never served in a mortar -- you yourself never
6 served in a mortar unit?
7 A. No. This has been recopied.
8 Q. If we could show another document from the Bratunac collection.
9 The ERN is --
10 MR. JONES: I'm going to come back to that document. That's fine.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: You're tendering it now, aren't you?
12 MR. JONES: I'll tender it now and then come back to it.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. This will be D92.
14 MR. JONES:
15 Q. Now, this document with ERN 01319928 from the Bratunac collection,
16 if you could turn to 01319940, we there see "vod minobacaca," 82
17 millimetre, and at 518, Rankic Nedja Slavoljub. Is it right that you did
18 serve in a minobacaca unit?
19 A. Which year?
20 Q. The year isn't important, Mr. Rankic. My question is: Did you or
21 did you not serve in a minobacaca unit?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Are you saying that this document is -- the information is false?
24 A. This was written by people just to write something down. I had a
25 surgery in my thyroid gland at the time, and my name was on these lists of
1 people who were members of these units just for me have a posting. But I
2 was unable to serve in the military at that time. They were just filling
3 up empty posts. But I'd had a surgery in my thyroid gland at the time, so
4 I was no where at the time. And that's why my name is on these lists,
5 just to keep the posts from being empty --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And perhaps we can show him also --
7 A. -- and to get the rations.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: -- also show him the signature that appears next to
9 his name.
10 MR. JONES: Yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: And he can then tell us whether he recognises it as
12 his own or not, under 518. Perhaps it can be put on the ELMO and
14 You have to move it to the left, please. Yes, you have to put the
15 map further up. I will stop you -- I will tell you when to stop. Further
16 up. Stop -- no. Further down, stop. Stop.
17 That last signature which appears to the right of 0554, do you
18 recognise that signature?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see the year.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, forget about the year. Forget about the
21 year. There are two handwritten pieces there; one says 0554, and then
22 next to it there is the good sign and then a signature. Do you recognise
23 that signature?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Is it your signature?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't recognise the signature.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Jones.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't. I don't recognise it.
4 MR. JONES:
5 Q. Mr. Rankic, if I understand your evidence correctly, friends of
6 yours, or Serbs in any event, arranged for you to be on these lists so
7 that you could receive money or rations, even though you weren't doing
8 anything at all to earn those rations or that pay; is that what you're
9 telling us?
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you surprised, Mr. Jones?
11 A. I'd had a surgery.
12 MR. JONES: People don't normally get paid for doing nothing.
13 A. I'd had a surgery. I came back. They can't just -- not for not
14 doing anything. I had to get some rations. I had a wife and two
15 children. I needed food. That's why they put people's names on these
16 lists. This was the case in 90 per cent of the cases. Some were, in
17 fact, working, and some people's names were on the list just for food.
18 And some people tried to get their names in all possible lists, just for
19 the food, just for the rations. This was true of all sides, if you
20 understand my meaning.
21 Q. So the soldiers who were risking their lives were happy for other
22 people to sit back and do nothing and get paid for it; is that what you're
23 telling us?
24 A. We were -- well, I don't understand what you're saying.
25 Q. I'll move on.
1 MR. JONES: If that document could be given an exhibit number.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. That will be D93.
3 MR. JONES:
4 Q. Now, if we can go to the previous exhibit, and I'd drawn your
5 attention to the minobacaca. Now, you've told us that you weren't
6 interested in matters --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, the witness has a problem. Yes, go ahead.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992, we had no mortars
9 whatsoever. That's why I'm surprised where these documents come from.
10 There's no date on any of these. I would love to see a date of issue for
11 these documents. 1992, none whatsoever. That's why I'm surprised, and
12 that's why I'm losing control over everything else.
13 MR. JONES: Your Honour, there is a date on that document.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: If you think that the witness is tired, we can stop
15 here, Mr. Jones and Ms. Sellers. I don't know what your assessment is.
16 But having heard him say this, I start getting --
17 MR. JONES: I'm in Your Honours' hands. I would want to make
18 clear that there is a document on that -- there is a date on that exhibit,
19 and it's December 1992.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's see it. Let's see it.
21 MR. JONES: It's 01320783 --
22 THE WITNESS: No.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness says "no" in
25 MR. JONES: The date is December 1992.
1 Q. Do you see that page?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Yes, go ahead, Mr. Jones.
3 MR. JONES: Yes.
4 Q. It's number 01320783, and it says "List," and it has the date of
5 December 1992. Do you see that, Mr. Rankic?
6 A. Nothing like that. I don't see 1992 in any of these documents.
7 It is just not there. 1993, perhaps we can find something there. But in
8 1992, there was nothing. So this is the discrepancy I'm talking about in
9 relation to documents.
10 Q. Right. So you're disagreeing with the date, you're not saying
11 that you don't see a date.
12 A. No, no date, no where to be found. This is a fabrication. No
13 stamp, no date, nothing there. This was something that was tailored to
14 their needs. I am not a legal expert myself, but as far as I can see,
15 this --
16 Q. Mr. Rankic, you've agreed with an earlier document, that you
17 compiled it yourself, and that your signature is at the end of it. So
18 surely you're not suggesting that even as far back as July 1992, no
19 documents or records were being kept. You've put one of them together
21 A. As I've said, I said which documents were produced in order to get
22 something. That was what we were after, all of us. If that's what it
23 takes, I'll be a company manager just to get some flesh flour. But this
24 is not a proper document. There's not a stamp anywhere to be seen. These
25 are documents that were handwritten by some people.
1 Q. Well, it's --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Let me intervene a little bit here, and then we'll
3 stop for the day.
4 You know with precision the date of the inception, of the
5 creation, of the setting up, of the Bratunac Brigade, because you
6 indicated it to us; correct?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What we were told is that the
8 brigade had been set up. I wasn't there myself, but they said that it had
9 been set up on the 14th of November, 1992, that's what we were told, at
10 the Fontana Hotel. That's what we heard, but I knew nothing else about
11 that. Whether it's true or not, I can't say. I never checked.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: You also told us that, although you are mentioned as
13 being the commander of the 4th Ceta of this Bratunac Brigade, in reality,
14 you were nothing of the sort except that you were replacing Petar Petrovic
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: -- and that you were at the same time, all the time,
18 in your village of Bjelovac at the time.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. That's true.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: If you were at the time, in December 1992, in the
21 village of Bjelovac and you never actually participated in the activities
22 of the Bratunac Brigade, how do you know that the Bratunac Brigade, in
23 December of 1992, did not have any mortars?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The brigade did, but we back at
25 Bjelovac had none. I didn't even lay eyes on Bratunac since 1992, only on
1 the 27th, after the fall of Bjelovac, because we remained in Bjelovac
2 throughout. That's why I'm saying this.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: So you -- when this document says that the mortar
4 section, or whatever it is, consisted of several persons, you are not in a
5 position to confirm to us that, indeed, there was no mortar section in the
6 Bratunac Brigade in December of 1992. You don't know.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. Guards, yes. Nothing
8 wrong with that. I stood guard. But nothing aside from that, nothing
9 else, in Bjelovac.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I put it to you that there is nothing
11 wrong with being a soldier or a commander in your own -- in your country's
12 or in your government's army either. In times of need --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not what I mean.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: -- if you are recruited, you are recruited, and you
15 form part of the army. It's nothing to be ashamed of. No one is going to
16 punish you because possibly you were a member of the Bratunac Brigade in
17 1992, or you were a commander of one of its platoons or cetas.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1993, I became that. But in
19 1992, none of it, so there was a change there. That's why I'm saying I
20 recognise nothing in relation to '92. In '93, I was a member of a mortar
21 platoon, in '93. But back in '92, there was no such thing. That's where
22 I see a discrepancy between what I've been presented with. But how come
23 these documents are predated --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: We are getting there.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- to a period before '93? That's
1 what I don't understand.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: At which time in 1993 were you a member of a mortar
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had a surgery in my thyroid gland,
5 and I was not an able-bodied man to take part in military service, so they
6 sent me to the signals unit of the mortar unit, because I'd had a surgery.
7 That's where they sent me. I was part of that department, because that
8 was the only post that I could fill. I was not able to do anything else
9 because I had had a surgery. I was part of that squad. That's why I had
10 the salary and that's why I received the rations, and that's what you can
11 see here.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: My question was when in 1993 did you become a member
13 of this signals or mortar platoon?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember the exact date. I
15 know that it did happen, but I can't give you the exact date. It's been
16 12 years, after all. I have zillions of other things to worry about.
17 There's no document at hand to show that. But yes, it did happen back in
18 1993, that much is true.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you think that it happened in the first half of
20 1993 or in the second half of 1993?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] '92 -- second half of '93/'94.
22 Later I was with a platoon for a long time. I remained in the records of
23 the platoon for a long time.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right, Mr. Jones, if you have any further
25 questions for today, you can proceed. Otherwise, we can adjourn.
1 MR. JONES: I would simply put to the witness:
2 Q. You've said, "I was a member of a mortar platoon." Before when I
3 asked you that question you denied it. Why didn't you answer truthfully
4 the first time I put the question to you?
5 A. '93, in '92 -- I'm talking about '92. But '92, I came to answer
6 questions about the year of 1992. No questions had been asked by that
7 time about 1993. Where is a date? Can you show me a date? Because if
8 it's about 1993, there must be a date. That's why I disagree, and that's
9 what causes me to fail to answer any other questions.
10 MR. JONES: Your Honour, if you could direct the witness that he's
11 to answer questions --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: D93 does not show a date.
13 MR. JONES: The date -- I referred to the ERN number of the
14 document, so I don't have the exhibit number in front of me.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: The last document that you tendered.
16 MR. JONES: Oh, indeed. Indeed. I never claimed that that
17 document had a date.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: D93.
19 MR. JONES: I put to the witness that he had been in a mortar
20 platoon, without mentioning a date, and he denied that he had ever been a
21 mortar platoon. And I would be grateful if Your Honour would direct the
22 to answer questions regardless of dates.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: And I think he has given you a sufficient answer.
24 He said that when he answered that question, "I was referring to 1992,"
25 and not to any other specific date. And this document does not have a
2 MR. JONES: No, it doesn't, Your Honour. The question was whether
3 he had ever served in a mortar platoon, but he's not --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: And he's telling you that he did in 1993, second
5 half, towards 1994.
6 MR. JONES: Your Honour, we're not satisfied that that's a
7 truthful answer. That's our position. And I'll move on to another
8 subject tomorrow. I don't think there's any point pursuing it today.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
10 I think, witness, we will give you a rest now, and we will meet
11 again tomorrow in the afternoon, at 2.15.
12 Can you direct me which courtroom it is tomorrow? Courtroom II,
13 this one. This is not conducive to -- anyway, this courtroom.
14 Try to rest as much as you can, because tomorrow you've got a
15 few -- how much longer do you expect?
16 MR. JONES: Probably another hour, I would say, hour and a half.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So try to get the next witness ready
18 towards the end of the first session tomorrow, all right? Thank you.
19 We stand adjourned until tomorrow afternoon at 2.15.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.57 p.m.
21 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 2nd day of
22 December, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.