1 Wednesday, 6 September 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Registrar, could you call the case,
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours, this is case number
8 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic and others.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
10 Just let us make sure first that interpretation is being conveyed
11 regularly. If there are problems, please let us know, as usual. I see
12 representations are okay. And Defence teams, yes, again. The middle man
13 is absent in the Beara team. The rest seems to be full. You would have
14 noticed immediately that Judge Kwon is not with us today. A reason is
15 that he is away with another Judge of this Tribunal on official business
16 and he will be away for the entire week. So we will today, tomorrow, and
17 Friday, we will be sitting as per this composition, Judge Kwon --
18 Judge Prost and myself in virtue of Rule 15 bis, and of course we have
19 Judge Stole as Reserve Judge with us. That's the first piece of news I
20 needed to communicate.
21 Second one is this: I have a personal medical problem that I need
22 to attend to with some urgency today. I need to go to hospital later on
23 in the day so I would ask you to cooperate so that we stop the sitting at
24 1.00 so that I can leave. Which basically means that we will try to work
25 out, Madam Registrar now will do that, we'll try and work out a sitting
1 with one break only, if possible.
2 Tomorrow, everything should be back to normal, as this is nothing
3 serious or that you should worry about but you know how things are here in
4 the Netherlands. If I miss this appointment now it will be another three
5 months before I get another one and that's if I managed.
6 So let's go into private session for a while. I need to discuss
7 something with you.
8 [Private session]
19 [Open session]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session. Any preliminaries? I see
22 Madam Usher, please.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, sir.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Welcome to this Tribunal.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I notice that you are receiving interpretation in
4 your own language of what I am saying in English. If at any time there
5 are problems with interpretation, with the reception or -- either because
6 it's not reaching you or because of the sound level, please draw our
7 attention straight away.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. My name is Carmel Agius, I am the
10 Presiding Judge. To my right I have Judge Prost, who is one of the Trial
11 Judges. To my left I have Judge Stole. Judge Prost is from Canada, I am
12 from Malta, Judge Stole is from Norway. We are missing one Judge today he
13 will be with us on Monday but hopefully your testimony will be over by
14 then and he is Judge Kwon from South Korea.
15 Very soon you will be starting your testimony here. Our rules
16 require that before you start giving evidence you make a solemn
17 declaration equivalent to an oath in some jurisdictions, that in the
18 course of your testimony, you will be speaking the truth, the whole truth,
19 nothing but the truth. Madam Usher, who is standing next to you is
20 handing you the text of this solemn declaration. Please read it out aloud
21 and that will be your solemn declaration with this Tribunal that your
22 testimony will be the truth.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
24 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 WITNESS: AHMO HASIC
1 [Witness answered through Interpreter]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Sir, make yourself comfortable, please.
3 So, within a minute or so, Ms. Soljan for the Prosecution will
4 be -- will start putting a series of questions to you, which we call
5 examination-in-chief. She will then be followed by members of the various
6 Defence teams with cross-examination. It is important that you keep your
7 answers to all questions, irrespective of where they are coming from,
8 Prosecution or Defence, the shortest possible but also as precise as
9 possible. Don't try to answer more than you are being asked. Just answer
10 the question, the whole question, and nothing but the question. Otherwise
11 you will be here for days and days and days. Do I make myself cheer?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's clear.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. The other thing is this: If at any
14 time, sir, you are feeling tired or you need a break, you only have to say
15 so and we will have a break, all right?
16 Ms. Soljan.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
18 MS. SOLJAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: We will have a break at 10.45, thank you.
20 Examination by Ms. Soljan:
21 Q. Good morning, sir. How are you?
22 A. Good morning. I am very well, thank you.
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... questions and we'll carefully
24 listen to your answers. Occasionally I may interrupt you in order to
25 clarify points. Is that okay?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What is your name, sir?
3 A. Ahmo Hasic.
4 Q. And what is your date of birth?
5 A. I was born in 1937.
6 Q. And where were you born?
7 A. In Srebrenica, municipality of Srebrenica. I lived in a village.
8 Q. Is that where you spent most of your life?
9 A. Yes. Most of my life. Occasionally I would leave to go for jobs,
10 odd jobs, agricultural work.
11 Q. And are you a Muslim by faith?
12 A. Yes, I'm a Muslim.
13 Q. Sir, where were you living in July 1995?
14 A. In 1995, I was living in Srebrenica, in the town of Srebrenica,
15 because we had been forced by the army or the forces to come down from the
16 villages to the town, so I was living in town.
17 Q. And what were the conditions of life for you and your family
18 during that time?
19 A. It was very difficult because the humanitarian aid came sometimes.
20 Sometimes they would let them pass from Bratunac and sometimes they would
21 stop them or they would keep a couple of trucks for themselves, keep what
22 they wanted, and then leave the rest to go to Srebrenica. This happened
23 in Bratunac. Life was very difficult, especially towards the end. There
24 was a shortage of food. So people had to go to Zepa and get some food for
25 there. They had a little bit more food there. They would bring it in on
1 their backs. It took 11 hours of walking to go there, to bring back some
2 food for your children.
3 Q. Now, can you please tell us about what you did on 11 July 1995?
4 A. There was shelling on the 11th of July, for five days straight
5 actually. They were falling at Srebrenica, around Srebrenica, so on the
6 11th of July we wanted to get to the UNPROFOR. The UNPROFOR was located
7 close to Srebrenica. Their main headquarters were in Potocari so we were
8 walking, running, crossing the streets, the shells were falling, and we
9 saw that we had to leave Srebrenica. They left. They took the wounded
10 and put them on UNPROFOR trucks, and the UNPROFOR transported them to the
11 main headquarters at Potocari. I also went with them and all the people
12 had gathered there. It was a very long column. It stretched from
13 Srebrenica to Potocari, perhaps, and they were getting off the buses at
14 the factories that were there, the factories were full of people who had
15 arrived, men, women, children, and there were as many people outside in
16 front of the factory as there were inside because not everyone could get
17 inside the factory. There was over 30.000 people there. I was among
18 them. I had no possibility to get inside so I was sleeping out in the
19 open, and that's how it was. When we went down there, that first night,
20 the people had assembled together and then the shells were falling around
21 the people, all around the people, because they didn't want anybody to
22 escape, I guess. They kept shelling. And that's how we spent the night
24 We managed somehow and then the next day --
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I wanted to ask you whether
1 you took family members with you from Srebrenica.
2 A. Yes. My family was also there. My grandchildren, my children, my
3 wife, grandmother, they were all there.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... with you?
5 A. I had four grandchildren.
6 Q. And how about children?
7 A. My children left through the forest, two of them. And none of
8 them crossed, none of them managed to cross alive. I buried one of them
9 last year, the doctors found him in a mass grave, and the other one I
10 still haven't found any trace of yet.
11 Q. Thank you. And why did you want your family to leave Srebrenica
12 and go to Potocari?
13 A. The shells chased us out. That's why we wanted to go. If we
14 hadn't left, we would have been killed there. The shells were killing
15 everyone. They weren't looking to see if it was a child, a woman or a
16 man. A shell would just kill indiscriminately. That's why we had to
18 Q. Now, that first night, the night of 11 July, after you arrived in
19 Potocari, where did you spend that night?
20 A. I spent that night out in the open. I had lost my family. They
21 were amongst the people, so I lost them and I don't know if they were
22 inside, but I spent the night out in the open and the shells were falling
23 outside. When we passed that night, the next day a Serb came with a
24 loudspeaker and he said, "People, don't be afraid." He said, "Our
25 soldiers now are going to walk around amongst the people, just to check if
1 anybody has any weapons or anything like that, just to go through, pass
2 around through the people." And that's how it was. Then the soldiers
3 came. A few of them, they were walking around amongst the people. I saw
4 about eight dogs. They were German shepherds. I saw eight dogs walking
5 with them. And that's how it went for as long as it was day. When night
6 fell, you could hear screaming and moaning and the shouting began. They
7 started to take out people one by one, and then when -- then at -- in a
8 certain place, if somebody started screaming, then everybody around them
9 would get on their feet and then after that, after about 15 minutes or so,
10 you could hear moans, a little bit further away from the people, where
11 they were hitting, beating, killing. You could see different sounds, and
12 then they would be getting lower and lower and lower and then that would
13 be it. Sometimes there would be a burst of fire and then you would hear
14 nothing. You wouldn't hear any screams or voices. And that's what went
15 on all night. For a while, we were lying down to go to sleep, but it's
16 not as if the people really wanted to sleep. They just lay down out of
17 fear. Some soldiers came by. There were about -- there were two by two
18 walking around. They would take some sand or dust and throw it on the
19 people who had covered their heads and then when they would raise their
20 heads, they would look to see who it was and if it was a man they would
21 bring him out. And if it was a man, it didn't matter what age that person
22 was, they would lift him and take him away, away from the rest of the
23 people and then you could hear the shouting, the screaming. That's what
24 went on all night.
25 At one point, two soldiers came along, they walked amongst us.
1 One had a bloody hand all the way up to the elbow. It was completely
2 covered with blood. And he was asking the women there if they had any
3 water bottles so he could wash his hands. One of the women asked him,
4 "What happened to you?" And he said, "I hurt myself." And she
5 said, "Well, we don't have water. The river is close by so you can wash
6 your hand there." There went on all night. Nobody was trying to stop it.
7 The moaning, the screaming went on. It couldn't have been worse. I think
8 that it was hell on earth. They say hell is in the other world, but
9 actually there is a hell in this world too, and that night I spent in
11 And then that day, when it was Tuesday, the day Srebrenica fell,
12 then Wednesday, we were also there. I survived. I could see them
13 bringing in bread in a TAM truck and they were throwing the bread to the
14 people. I managed to catch a loaf of bread. I gave it to my
15 grandchildren to eat. And they were filming how this bread was being
16 thrown and filming the people catching the bread. They wanted to show the
17 world how humane they were. But when they were committing genocide they
18 were not taping anything.
19 Q. You say they were filming. Who was the "they"?
20 A. The Serbs, Serbian army. I saw them filming. They had
21 binoculars, they were tossing bread out from the truck, and the Serbian
22 army, the Serbs, were filming that. They were filming all that.
23 Q. Was there enough to eat for the people who were at Potocari?
24 A. It wasn't enough. The quantity was just to be filmed. It wasn't
25 enough. 100 per cent sure it wasn't enough. It was a very small
1 quantity, maybe 100, 200 loaves of bread.
2 Q. So after your second night at Potocari, what did you do the next
3 day, on July 13th?
4 A. On the 11th and the fall of Srebrenica, the 12th, I was in
5 Potocari. I described that. On the 13th, I went out from Potocari.
6 There was a barricade, a check-point, that would let through 200 to 100
7 people at one go, so that to avoid crowds. Approximately 15 metres beyond
8 there was another check-point where people were separated, men from women
9 and children. They were led away to a house. We stayed at that house
10 until it was filled with people. When it was filled with people, one
11 person, Serbian soldier, came and said, "Do you have any felt-tip pen?"
12 One person said, "I have one." The other one said, hurry up, hurry up
13 before the other --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: German marks, not
15 felt-tip pen. It sounds the same.
16 A. So he gave him the German marks and --
17 Q. Please go on.
18 A. When the house was filled with men, I was on the ground floor,
19 some people were on the first floor. A bus came and we were told, "You
20 can go." We had spent one hour there. I emerged from the house. There
21 were two buses, waited outside. We boarded the buses and were driven to
23 Q. Sir I'll stop you again.
24 A. Vuk Karadzic.
25 Q. Thank you. You said there were other men with you in that house.
1 Do you know how many men there were?
2 A. There was a room. I couldn't say but there were people upstairs
3 as well. I was on the ground floor in that room. I don't know how many
4 people could be crammed into this room, 40, 50, maybe, I don't know how
5 many were upstairs. They brought two buses. We boarded those two buses
6 and we were taken to the Vuk Karadzic school in Bratunac.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the house in Potocari?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, while you were in the house, did any Serb soldier
10 ask you for your name?
11 A. Nobody asked me.
12 Q. In the house, did any Serb soldier interview you?
13 A. As far as I'm concerned, I wasn't. I haven't seen any other. I
14 just heard that person seeking money, German marks.
15 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Why you were being detained?
16 A. Nobody said anything. They would just say that we are being
17 separated, that we are going to be interrogated, and then we are going to
18 be let go to reach Tuzla. This is the only thing they used to tell us,
19 nothing else. They didn't interrogate us on any other matters.
20 Q. And you were starting to tell us about how you were taken to the
21 school in Bratunac.
22 A. We were taken to this school in Bratunac. At Bratunac we reached
23 the service station. Then we took a left turn and reached the Vuk
24 Karadzic school. When we were about to enter the school, we were forced
25 to leave the bags with food in front of the school. I thought, well, I'll
1 take my food when we come back, but when they took us into the school,
2 they never let us out so those bags were left outside. That night, as far
3 as I can remember, maybe one, maybe two nights we spent there, they would
4 take people out and kill them outright, throughout the day, throughout the
5 night, without respite. They were working in shifts, a single shift could
6 not cope with that. It was a 24-hour process. There were people killed,
7 moaning, screaming, outside.
8 One policeman entered the school when we arrived there. A person
9 was there, close to the door. The policeman started kicking him, and
10 while he was kicking that person, another Serb brought a hose, a rubber
11 hose, to him, handed it over, and said, "Use this." And he took the hose,
12 hit him two or three times but found it wasn't very handy, and grabbed a
13 rifle and started hitting that person. He was bloodstained. His face and
14 shirt were bloodstained. That policeman, I believe he was a policeman, he
15 wore a blue uniform. He had a white belt, and a pistol in a white
16 holster. And that beaten person, the beaten man, remained among us, but
17 after one hour, they came back to the door and pointed him out and
18 said, "You, get out with us." Of course, he was hesitant, he knew his
19 fate. They screamed at him, "Get up." And as -- he never came back. We
20 could hear moaning and screaming. We stayed there. Later, they said, as
21 far as I can tell, one day and two nights. And then we were told that we
22 are going to proceed to Tuzla.
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... questions about the Vuk
24 Karadzic school. You mentioned that there was a policeman there. Do you
25 know if it was a military or a civilian policeman?
1 A. Well, now, could be a military policeman, judging by his holsters
2 and belt, but judging by the uniform, he looked like a civilian. So I
3 couldn't tell. I was not familiar with the uniforms. White belt, I
4 remember military police wearing white belts, but the uniform was blue,
5 and blue as in the civilian police.
6 Q. Did you also see Serb soldiers in or around the school?
7 A. Yes. They would walk around. They would sometimes enter the room
8 and take people out.
9 Q. Do you know how many Serb soldiers there were?
10 A. I wouldn't know. There were many of them because they had a
11 headquarters there. Most probably there were many of them. They sent
12 people out to catch our people who were trying to go through the woods and
13 they had a detachment of soldiers to take care of us.
14 Q. Were they wearing uniforms?
15 A. Yes. They did. Their soldiers, camouflage uniforms, they looked
16 like soldiers.
17 Q. And for the roughly two nights that you say you spent at that
18 school, can you give an estimate of how many Muslim men were in the
20 A. I can tell you, we were told you are going to Tuzla, we emerged
21 from the school, boarded the buses. We were not permitted to look outside
22 because a soldier or two would be standing next to the driver. They were
23 making sure that we won't look outside so we were supposed to just look in
24 the seat in front of us. At one point, I managed to sneak a peek and saw
25 seven buses, Bratunac-bound.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Ms. Soljan, sorry to interrupt you at
2 this stage but I see that you are embarking on another phase in your
3 examination-in-chief and I think there are still several matters that the
4 witness testified about which are not exactly clear. And I'm trying to
5 take them one by one. Perhaps you can ask him first.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, please ask me. Maybe I've
7 skipped something but these are details, minor details. It's not as if I
8 had a script in front of me and I was reading out off it. I may forget
9 certain things.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I fully understand, Mr. Hasic, and please be patient
11 with us. We are just trying to make sure that your presence here would be
12 made use of to the best possible.
13 Perhaps you can ask him first whether he ever served in the JNA,
14 what he did, and how familiar he was with ranks, insignia, et cetera.
15 Then we can proceed from there.
16 MS. SOLJAN: Mr. President.
17 Q. Sir, did you ever serve in the Yugoslav National Army?
18 A. Yes, I did. In former Yugoslavia.
19 Q. Do you remember when that was?
20 A. 1960, I came back home from national service. During Tito's time,
21 I served Tito.
22 Q. And are you familiar with military insignia?
23 A. Yes. With the former ranks, but with the modern ones, they are
24 being changed, I'm not very familiar with. I was familiar with the former
25 ranks in the JNA.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Thank you.
2 Could he describe the uniform of a military police in the army, in
3 the JNA, during peace time, in other words?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in peacetime, they would wear
5 the same uniform as the rest of the soldiers, they would have a white belt
6 and a pistol in a white holster, and this is what distinguished them as
7 military police.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: But the colour of the uniform itself would it be the
9 same colour as that of an ordinary soldier or not?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I can remember, yes, it
11 was the same uniform. I forgot certain things. I left the army in 1960.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Was the colour of the ordinary uniform of the
13 Yugoslav army, JNA soldiers, drab olive or what colour was it? Was it a
14 green olive?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it used to be, while I did my
16 national service.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So you've told us basically that one -- in peacetime
18 one would distinguish a military police from an ordinary military officer
19 or soldier from the white belt and white pistol holster; is that correct?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. This is how I understood
21 that somebody was a military policeman. Officers had special uniforms.
22 They had either stripes on their sleeves or stars.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: And would a military police officer have any
24 insignia anywhere on his uniform that would also distinguish him as a
25 member of the military police?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't really remember
2 anything else, any other insignia.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] White belt and white holster, and
5 since this was a long time ago, maybe something else was there, but I
6 forgot because I did my national service and finished it in 1960.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: No problem, Mr. Hasic. Now, I'll take you to
8 civilian police now. What was a civilian policeman's uniform like in the
9 former Yugoslavia?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was blue, civilian police was
11 blue uniform.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Blue uniform. And do you remember the colour of the
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that the belt was an
15 ordinary one.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: And if they carried a holster and a pistol, the
17 colour of the holster would also be ordinary leather? Brown, black,
18 white? What colour?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, usually similar to the colour
20 of uniform, maybe blue.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Now I take you back to one answer you
22 gave to a question that was put to you earlier on, and perhaps you can now
23 explain a little bit as we go along.
24 Madam Soljan asked you -- you mentioned there was a policeman
25 there. Do you know if it was a military or a civilian policeman? And you
1 said, you answered, "Well, now, could be a military policeman" -- one
2 moment let me read it first and then I will ask you the questions. "Well,
3 now, it could be a military policeman judging by his holster and belt but
4 judging by his uniform he looked like a civilian so I couldn't tell. I
5 was not familiar with the uniforms, white belt, I remember military police
6 wearing white belts but the uniform was blue and blue is as in the
7 civilian police."
8 So I will just ask you a simple question. So do I understand you
9 now to say that the person that you saw there in the Vuk Karadzic school
10 had the uniform of a civilian policeman but the holster and belt of a
11 military policeman?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know now. I cannot get
13 round to it myself, whether he was a military or a civilian policeman but
14 he was a policeman, as long as he wore a gun and a white belt. I remember
15 that well. I noticed it straight away.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: What's a military police in your language? What are
17 the words, the Serbo-Croat words, for military police?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Vojni policajac" or "vojna
19 policija," military policeman, or military police if there are more of
21 JUDGE AGIUS: And did you see those words anywhere, either in
22 their full form or in an abbreviated form, VS, on the uniform of that
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not see that. I wasn't
25 looking for such. I was quite frightened. I really did not notice such
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I thank you for that information. Now
3 I'm going to take you to another part of your testimony dealing with
4 something completely different and perhaps you can then answer my
5 question. You are referring to the first night when you arrived in
6 Bratunac, when they took you in and didn't let you take your food with
8 And then you said, "That night, as far as I can remember, maybe
9 one, maybe two nights we spent there, they would take people out and kill
10 them outright, throughout the day, throughout the night, without respite.
11 They were working in shifts, single shift could not cope with. It was a
12 24-hour process. There were people killed, moaning, screaming outside."
13 So let's take it bit by bit. How do you know that people were being
14 killed? Did you see anyone being killed?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't see with my own eyes, but I
16 would hear them moaning and screaming, then I would hear a burst of
17 gunfire and then these people were never taken back to my room or other
18 rooms, most probably they were killing them but I didn't see them with my
19 own eyes. But it is a known fact this is 100 per cent sure. They found
20 some graves in Potocari. They found two mass graves very recently, mass
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Hasic, please try to understand me that we need
23 to know exactly what happened in Bratunac during those two nights. The
24 fact that they found graves in Potocari and elsewhere does not necessarily
25 mean that those people were indeed killed in Vuk Karadzic school on those
1 two nights when you were there. So you need to be very precise in your
2 testimony. I'm going to hand you back to Ms. Soljan.
3 I think this part needs to be elaborated. We can't have testimony
4 which just assumes and concludes that several people were killed and
5 shifts -- in shifts and -- on a 24-hour basis, et cetera, because at that
6 rate I would imagine that the whole population of Muslims in Vuk Karadzic
7 school would have been exterminated according to the witness so you need
8 to elaborate on this part. Thank you.
9 MS. SOLJAN: I understand, Your Honour. Thank you.
10 Q. Sir --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: And I'm saying because there is no allegation that
12 there was mass killing in Vuk Karadzic school. There is an allegation of
13 opportunistic killing in Karadzic and some other killings but not to the
14 extent -- all right.
15 MS. SOLJAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Mr. Hasic, I'm still asking you questions about your period of
17 time in the Vuk Karadzic school in Bratunac. Can you give an estimate of
18 how many Muslim men were taken out of your room that were not returned to
19 your room?
20 A. I could tell you from my room, some six, seven people were taken
21 out. From other rooms how many people were taken out, I cannot say,
22 really. I wouldn't be in a position to say how big was the school and how
23 many people were imprisoned there but screaming were constant, daytime,
24 night-time. We could hear bursts of machine-gun fire that would suddenly
25 cut the screams. Then sounds of screams would diminish and then stop.
1 Q. Just from your room, how often were people coming -- how often
2 were people taken out of your room?
3 A. Perhaps after about an hour, a couple of hours. It depends.
4 Perhaps in an hour or a couple of hours or in three hours. It depended.
5 Q. And who took these men out of your room?
6 A. The soldiers themselves, in camouflage uniforms, soldiers. They
7 did whatever they wanted. There was nobody there to say, "Stop," to
8 prevent that.
9 Q. Did you ever see any of the men from your room later perhaps, in
10 the buses?
11 A. Of the Muslims?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. No, no. I never saw them again. It was over. Those people who
14 were there, I didn't see them any more. People that I knew, I didn't see
15 any more. I buried my brother last year. They found him in Pilica. He
16 was identified. That was a brother who was seven years older than myself.
17 Another brother I buried this year, on the 11th of July. He was five
18 years older than me. They were at that time almost 70, the older brother
19 was almost 70, and I was almost 60. I had passed the age of 55. I was
20 almost 60.
21 Q. Thank you, sir. I'll ask awe few more questions about the
22 conditions in the Vuk Karadzic school. While you were there, were you
23 allowed to go to the toilet?
24 A. It was allowed but with escort. They would line up in the
25 corridor, four or five of them, and then as people were passing by on
1 their way to the toilet, as they walked by, they would be hit on the ribs
2 with the rifle butt. This would happen a couple of times, if people
3 wanted to go out and then later people didn't want to go out any more.
4 They were afraid, so they would just urinate where they were. That's what
5 they did. They didn't want to go out any more.
6 Q. Did you see this happen, sir?
7 A. Yes, I did see that, of course. I saw them urinating where they
8 were or to urinate in a bag. The others would rush because they wanted to
9 drink, meaning that there was a shortage of water as well.
10 Q. So did the soldiers give you any water during those two days you
11 were in the school?
12 A. Yes. They did. Had they not given us water, more than half of
13 the people would have perished. They did give water but it was
14 insufficient and they didn't give any food.
15 Q. Sir, did anybody require medical treatment, of the men who were in
16 that school?
17 A. Probably they did require medical treatment, but why would anyone
18 want it when they were probably be taken out and killed? What use did
19 they have then of -- to get medicines? There were such people but what
20 was the point of treating them and then killing them? They didn't let
21 anyone go. Did they let anyone go?
22 Q. Sir, the soldiers, the Serb soldiers did not give -- you did not
23 see them give any medical aid or medical treatment to anybody during those
24 two days?
25 A. No, no, no, not at all. If they felt sorry for people, they
1 wouldn't have done that. Why would they just give people medical
2 treatment? They didn't give any food. They gave insufficient water. The
3 food that the people had was confiscated from them. Why would they bother
4 to provide medical treatment for these people? They were not interested
5 in that. I was living in a village --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I'll try to help you finish your testimony as early
7 as possible. Try to answer the questions that are put to you with a yes
8 or a no as required without going into further detail. I mean, we all
9 understand here. You don't need to explain certain things to us, but
10 certain questions have to be asked and they need to be answered. If they
11 can be answered with a yes or a no, please restrict yourself to a yes or a
12 no, and you will be out of this place much earlier than you think. Thank
14 MS. SOLJAN:
15 Q. Sir you said you were placed on buses after being taken out of the
16 school in Bratunac. Who all was placed on these buses?
17 A. The Serb soldiers and drivers.
18 Q. Are you saying they alone were on the buses or they were the ones
19 who placed the Muslim people from the school into these buses?
20 A. They put the Muslims in the buses to transport them further. They
21 said we were going to Tuzla. They gave us some bread, couple of slices
22 each. That was all. And then when we set off, we could see we were going
23 in a different direction. We were not going in the direction of Tuzla but
24 in the direction of Zvornik, and then in Zvornik the buses crossed into
25 Serbia, seven buses, so we went through Serbia. And maybe somewhere near
1 Loznica, they crossed back into Bosnia again, over a bridge. At one
2 point, when they were already close to Pilica, they stopped and they
3 stopped for so long that one person lay down in the aisle, this Muslim,
4 and these people started shouting, "lift him up" because then you cannot
5 walk up and down the aisle and they left lifted him up and they were
6 saying, he's dead. They were just thinking that he lay down, just like
7 that, but he actually died and they said, "Just take him out and lay him
8 on the side of the road." And that's what they did. They laid him down
9 on the side of the road and he remained there and then there was a person
10 who asked if he could go out to urinate and the Serb soldier allowed him
11 to go out and he went out and then he started to run, and the Serb
12 soldiers cut him down with a burst of gunfire. He knew that he would be
13 caught like that, but he, I guess, preferred to be killed by a bullet than
14 to be the subject of genocide, and this is what happened.
15 Q. Did you see the man being killed?
16 A. Yes. I did see that. How could I not have seen it when I was
17 sitting in the bus? I was sitting close to him. I was sitting next to
19 Q. Did you actually see him get killed?
20 A. No. I didn't see him. He wasn't killed there. He just died by
21 himself. He died of fear. Perhaps he wasn't healthy. Maybe he would
22 have needed some assistance, but nothing of that happened.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please wait for translation?
24 Thank you.
25 Q. You had mentioned that the -- a man had died and had been taken
1 out of the bus. A man who had helped take him out from the bus asked to
2 be able to allowed to urinate. He then tried to run away, started to run
3 and was killed.
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 Q. Did you see him be cut down with a burst of gunfire?
6 A. I saw him. He was in the woods and there were two bursts, the
7 gunfire. The first one did not get him but the second one cut him down
8 and he fell.
9 Q. Thank you, sir.
10 Now, how long did you stay on these buses?
11 A. We stayed there for about an hour, an hour and a half, and it was
12 already getting dark. I don't know what they were waiting for, and it was
13 dark for about half an hour or so, and then we went to Pilica. We were
14 almost at Pilica, at the entrance to Pilica, and then when we entered we
15 turned to the left to a school or a cultural hall, something like that,
16 and then when it was already dark, we took the stairs to get in, and they
17 forced us there to take all of our caps off, all of us had to take our
18 caps off. Us elderly men we all wore caps. They were the French kind of
19 caps, berets, we were all wearing berets, we took them off there and we
20 entered the rooms and the same thing happened there. They immediately
21 started taking people out, beating them. You could -- killing them. You
22 could hear screaming and moaning. If somebody would get up and look
23 through the window, if I did it or somebody else did it, there would be a
24 burst of fire, gunfire. They were killing outside. You could hear
25 screaming, shouting, moaning, from outside. This went on like this. And
1 I think that if I can remember correctly, I was there for one night or two
2 nights, possibly for two nights, I was there, and then at approximately on
3 the 17th, people were already being taken out for execution.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he just touched on what I was going to refer
5 to now. If he could be precise as to the exact date when they arrived in
6 Pilica, this particular spot in Pilica, if he remembers when they left
7 Bratunac and when they arrived in Pilica, whether it was on the same day
8 and in that case, what was the date?
9 MS. SOLJAN:
10 Q. Sir --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: And when did the events that he is describing
13 MS. SOLJAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Mr. Hasic, do you remember the date you arrived to Pilica?
15 A. I think it was the 15th.
16 Q. Thank you. And could you roughly tell how many Muslim men were in
17 this building in Pilica?
18 A. In the room where I was, the room was full. You couldn't move
19 around. If a person stood up, they couldn't sit down later. There was no
20 space. It was very tightly packed in the room where I was. In any case,
21 the room was full. I didn't go into the other rooms and I don't know how
22 many people there were. You weren't allowed to go out. You didn't dare.
23 If you went out into the corridor, you were hit with the rifle butts. You
24 didn't even dare to go to the bathroom. Many of them didn't dare go to
25 the bathroom. They urinated where they were.
1 Q. Could you tell how big the room was you were being kept in?
2 A. I don't know. Perhaps three and a half metres by five,
4 Q. Okay. And could you roughly tell how old the Muslim men who were
5 being kept in the room with you --
6 A. There were some elderly people there too. Up to the age of 80.
7 That's for sure. 100 per cent. There were also children of 15, 16 years
8 of age. They asked who was 15 or 16 and they said, "Come, line up here so
9 that we can see you." And there were about 12 children like that ranging
10 from 15 to 16 and they said, "We need people or kids like this for Abdic,
11 Abdic is looking for people like that and they took them out. I don't
12 know what they did with them. This is what happened in that room. As for
13 the other rooms, how many of them there were, how many they could
14 assemble, I don't know. Perhaps it was 100, 120 of them that they
15 assembled from the other rooms. In any case, they were taken out and were
16 never heard of again.
17 Q. Sir, you mentioned that they asked who was 15 or 16 and said to
18 come up and line up. Who -- who were the "they"? Who were the people who
19 asked the question?
20 A. Yes. It was the Serb soldiers who were guarding us and keeping us
21 there and doing whatever they wanted with us.
22 Q. Could you tell how many Serb soldiers were around or in the Pilica
23 building, who were guarding the Muslim men?
24 A. I can say that approximately there were about 10 who were there,
25 and there were another 10 at the place where they were killing, where the
1 executions were going on, so the 10 there, the 10 were up there, then
2 there were two or one always on the buses who were escorting and I noticed
3 at the school that there was a deaf and dumb person, and one of our men
4 asked if there was anything to eat, and this other guy said, "We don't
5 have anything to give you." And then after about half an hour or so he
6 brought a loaf of bread and he was breaking off bite-sized pieces and
7 giving them to the people and I think, if I can remember correctly, we
8 spent about two nights there.
9 The following day, after those two nights, it was said that those
10 who wanted to go to Sarajevo and has the money can pay for the bus to go
11 to Sarajevo, and one of them said, "I have 100 German marks and I'm going
12 to pay for my friend, my colleague, my neighbour. We can pay for five of
13 us." And that's how people left. As long as they had the money, they
14 could go, allegedly to Sarajevo. After people ran out of money, then it
15 was said, "You are going to Tuzla," so now it was possible to go even
16 without money. It was possible to get on the bus without money. And then
17 after that, they brought two sheets. They were long ones. And they
18 said, "This has to be torn into strips" and we were going to be tied up
19 and two men were tearing them, this sheet, up, and tying our hands behind
20 our back. And people were leaving, the buses were going quickly, and
21 returning quickly. I thought, well, I was going to get tied up as well.
22 Very few people were left in that room and I placed my hands on my --
23 behind my back and that's how they tied me up. We were going out, and as
24 we were going out, going down the stairs, and when we reached the ground
25 floor, there was a man who was dead there. There was blood, a pool of
1 blood all around him. He was lying at the bottom of the stairs. He was
2 dead. We went outside. We were going towards the buses. There were two
3 buses there.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Stop there, Mr. Hasic. Mr. Lazarevic,
5 I noticed you before. Something wrong with the transcript, I imagine.
6 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, Your Honour is right. What I have noticed
7 when the witness was giving his evidence regarding this event that he had
8 with Serb soldier, it's on page 28 -- in a moment I will find, yes, well,
9 basically what I heard the witness saying is that Serbian soldiers
10 said, "We don't have enough food for ourselves and that's the reason why I
11 cannot give you food." And if Ms. Soljan can clarify this.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Hasic, you've heard what Mr. Lazarevic has
13 just stated. Is it correct that when the soldier --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard that. That was true.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, okay. Then we can proceed.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's true that he said that.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's proceed, then, with the rest of
18 the examination-in-chief, Ms. Soljan.
19 MS. SOLJAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So, when I came down from the first
21 floor, and I said --
22 MS. SOLJAN:
23 Q. I'll just stop you and just take you back to a few more questions
24 about what was happening in Pilica. During the time that you were there,
25 you mentioned that there was also mistreatment, there were killings going
1 on. Did you see any of those killings happen?
2 A. I didn't see anything. All I heard was moaning and the screaming
3 outside. This went on day and night, constantly. It was incessant. They
4 were probably killing in shifts. This is 100 per cent certain.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Ms. Soljan, because earlier on when he
6 also said more or less the same thing, let me find it- apart from
7 screaming and moaning which he has repeated now, he also mentioned, at
8 least that's what we have in the transcript, bursts of fire, gunfire.
9 What I would like to know is whether the screaming and the gunfire -- and
10 the moaning that he heard was at the same time he was hearing the fire,
11 the gunfire, or whether it was -- whether it was --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The screaming and the moaning was
13 before, and then after the screaming, when you hear the burst of gunfire,
14 then there is no more screaming. It's finished. It's quiet. That means
15 that they were get -- being killed. If we were to look through the window
16 or if we were a little bit noisier inside, then the burst of fire would be
17 directed at us, so we didn't dare look out of the window. And that's why
18 we didn't see what was going on.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
20 MS. SOLJAN:
21 Q. Sir, do you recall how many times these bursts of -- or the
22 shooting happened?
23 A. I don't know. It happened many times. I cannot describe it. I
24 didn't count it at the time, but I also heard several voices, moaning, at
25 the same time, when four or five people were taken out at the same time,
1 they were being dragged here and there. I would hear four or five voices,
2 sometimes, and then there would be a burst of gunfire cutting them down
3 and then everything would be quiet and then after a certain interval, more
4 people would be taken out. This is how it happened. And I saw this dead
5 person there when we were leaving the school. I saw the person, the body
6 at the bottom of the stairs as we were going on -- as we were on our way
7 to the buses. One of the buses, I remember very well, was a Sedmo Julac
8 Sabac bus. It belonged to that company, the 7th July company from Sabac.
9 I don't remember who the other bus belonged to. I just remember this
11 Q. How big were these buses? How many men fit inside?
12 A. Maybe about 50 or so. We got to the buses. There were about 10
13 soldiers escorting us to the buses and when we reached the buses I looked
14 across a little bit. I saw four officers standing in the shade. These
15 soldiers were swearing at us, telling us to move forward. They would hit
16 somebody occasionally with a rifle butt. The others they didn't do
17 anything. They were just watching and perhaps saying a few words amongst
18 themselves, and then we entered the buses. When we got on to the buses,
19 and we were tied up, we were told that we were going to Tuzla.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Soljan, we've come to a particular stage now in
21 the -- covering the events in Pilica. Until this particular time, when
22 now he is together with others being taken out of the school, to the
23 buses, and from the time he left Bratunac, apart from soldiers that he's
24 been continually referring to, did he ever see military police or any
25 other members of the armed forces or armed personnel?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't see military policemen. I
2 just saw the regular multi-coloured uniform that they were wearing.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Whether they were wearing any berets?
4 MS. SOLJAN:
5 Q. Sir, were they wearing any berets?
6 A. We were wearing the French berets, black or blue ones.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Any of the soldiers wore any berets and whether you
8 could see any ranks, insignia or any identification as regards ranks
9 amongst the soldiers that you saw there.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was not looking out for insignia.
13 I just noticed their variegated uniforms. There were officers for sure
14 there but I wasn't on the lookout for that. People were being killed.
15 People were terrified. I was terrified whether I would survive or not.
16 There were times that I was counting that -- reckoning that my life would
17 last only seconds.
18 MS. SOLJAN:
19 Q. Sir, up to this point, since you left Bratunac, did any of the
20 Serb military ask you for your name?
21 A. They never asked me personally. They would take out individuals,
22 ask them questions. Some of them returned. Some of them never returned
23 after being led away. Maybe if they knew somebody personally they would
24 ask them questions after taking them out of the room.
25 Q. Thank you, sir. Did any of the Serb soldiers register you with
1 the ICRC at any time since you left Bratunac?
2 A. Nobody registered me. There were people who were registered but
3 never came. The wounded who would be registered but -- he would disappear
4 there -- are no more.
5 Q. Did you see people being registered anywhere from Bratunac to your
6 arrival in Pilica?
7 A. I did not see that. I believe that they did the registration at
8 the headquarters somewhere, where the Dutch government or defence was
9 located. They did some registration there. I heard about that. I never
10 saw that. I -- there are some of my neighbours who were registered but
11 who never came back.
12 Q. Thank you, sir. You said that you were placed, that there were
13 two buses in front of the Pilica building and that you were placed on one
14 of these. Were any of the Serb soldiers on these buses?
15 A. There would be one or two soldiers. There were escorts, they
16 would sit next to the driver. We would be sitting on the seats and were
17 not supposed to look outside the window, just straight ahead of us.
18 Q. Were these the same soldiers you had seen in the Pilica building
19 before that?
20 A. The same soldiers. They would escort us to the bus, we would
21 board the bus and then one or two would enter the bus with us and the rest
22 would stay at the school building. The point where we came to, there was
23 a group of soldiers who would wait for the buses to off-load and then
24 would execute people.
25 Q. Sir, how long did you travel in those buses?
1 A. It wasn't a short -- it was a short journey, two and a half
2 kilometres approximately. We climbed a hill. We heard bursts of gunfire.
3 When we reached the place where there was gunfire, the buses stopped and
4 as soon as they stopped, the doors would open. Serbian soldiers gathered
5 round the buses. Said -- and they were cursing our mothers and us, and
6 Haris Silajdzic's mother as well. They said, "They don't want you. Get
7 out of the bus." And then death -- you could see death in their eyes.
8 Until that point, you feel you never knew what was going, because
9 they would say one thing, do another, and they started -- people started
10 emerging from the buses and after the buses were half empty, they would
11 stop people from disembarking. I was still on the bus and was looking at
12 what was going on. They took the people down a path in the field, there
13 are dead people, bursts of gunfire would cut people down. People fell
14 dead to the ground. When this was finished, they would come back. I
15 emerged from the bus. There were cursing, "Fuck your mother and Alija and
16 Haris." "They don't want you." "Get out of the bus." "Come here." And
17 you reckon there are still a couple of seconds of life left. When
18 everybody disembarked from the buses with their hands tied, including me,
19 we formed a column and there were dead people in the column, there were
20 dead people on the path, you could see them lying on the ground. They
21 didn't even reach the execution site. They were killed in between. One
22 Serb soldier, he was walking in front of me, he said to me, there were
23 some eight of them, walking next to the column, he told me, "Give me some
24 German marks." I told him, "I don't have any." And I was ready to be
25 killed. He kicked me in the stomach. I doubled back and crouched,
1 started screaming, screaming for help, and the Serb soldier who was
2 walking behind me, he called to the first soldier, "Don't perpetrate
3 genocide, be a soldier about it. Take a rifle if you want to kill
4 anybody." I stood up, and started following the column, and the soldier
5 who kicked me asked me, whether I want to convert to and register as Serbs
6 to survive? There are only two people in the column who opted for that,
7 but to no avail. Even those two who opted for this, one of our people
8 from the column asked, "Give us water and then you may kill us." You see
9 how thirsty we were, hungry and thirsty. But to no avail. If somebody
10 felt sorry for us, they wouldn't be leading us to be executed.
11 Q. Sir --
12 A. 100 metres --
13 Q. Was there anything particular about this location, any prominent
14 buildings or other objects that stood out in this location, as you recall?
15 A. Where we disembarked the buses, there was an apple tree. I
16 noticed a garden, and a house in some distance, maybe two. I couldn't
17 notice, I was too terrified. And there was a ditch leading away from the
18 homes, those houses, and there was a glen 100 metres down the path, this
19 is where they executed people. We were put in lines and people lay dead
20 in lines. We reached the people who had been murdered and we passed
21 through the ranks of the dead, through the lines of the dead, and they
22 would be expanding these lines starting from the top. There was an
23 incline where people were killed. I was somewhere in midline. When we
24 reached that point, there was a command, "Turn around, turn your backs to
25 us." We did so. And instead of fire, they commanded, "Lie down." But
1 before somebody issued such a command, they would open fire. I fell
2 immediately. The others fell down when fire was opened at them. When the
3 bursts of fire died down, one of them asked, "Are there any survivors?" "I
4 survived," said one person, and the other one said, "I survived. Kill
5 me." So they -- that person would go from one survivor to another and
6 fired a single bullet to the head. I thought about notifying them that I
7 was alive. I was contemplating if I could free my hands, then I would --
8 if I could not free my hands, then I would yell that I was alive and they
9 would kill me but I reckoned if I could free my hands then I would be able
10 to survive and escape, and there I lay.
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... supposed to be reaching our
12 break now.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Let him finish this part of the testimony.
14 MS. SOLJAN:
15 Q. Please continue, sir.
16 A. So there were seven columns of people that they brought here. I
17 was lying down. Rounds of ammunition hit all around me. Fortunately none
18 of the bullets hit me. They would excavate earth. I was hit by soil, by
19 stones, but lie down, one hit me in the elbow. Nothing else. Seven
20 columns of people were then executed. I noticed that they were dead.
21 There were very few people remaining in my room. Then they took a
22 break to the house where the buses stopped. They would sit down in the
23 shade. I tried to free my hands. Fortunately, I managed to free my
24 hands, and then assumed the same position because I knew that they would
25 be patrolling, and half an hour later, a patrol of five soldiers came. I
1 could hear them speak. I could hear their steps and I would take a peek
2 every now and then. And suddenly I heard, "one of them escaped," "another
3 one escaped." I would hear gun bursts and people would escape. One
4 remained there of the five. Two of them came back after a while and
5 said, "What happened?" The one who left behind asked, "What happened?"
6 And the answer was, "When one of them hid, and the other two are still
7 looking for the other one. So one was killed the other one was still
8 being chased."
9 One of them said, "We committed genocide, the likes of a genocide
10 in Jasenovac in 1941."
11 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We will have a break now and it will be
12 a 30-minute break. Thank you.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.47 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.21 a.m.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Soljan.
16 MS. SOLJAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Sir, you were just telling us about you lying on the ground after
18 the execution. Could you tell us how you were finally able to get away
19 from the spot, the execution site?
20 A. When they left the place to retreat to the shade, somebody close
21 to me was whispering the second line, I turned around and whispered is
22 there anybody alive? Let's get away. We were trying to ascertain the
23 time before night-time. It was some two hours before dusk. I was trying
24 to see whether there was a forest close by to hide in. People were lying
25 in lines. I knew that they would be bringing earth-moving machinery.
1 They wouldn't -- it was clear to me, they wouldn't try to bury those
2 people manually. So below the field, there was a ditch, the ditch that I
3 mentioned close to the houses, close to the spot where the buses parked.
4 There was some shrubbery, some 150 square metres of shrubbery and trees.
5 I decided to head towards the scrub, the shrubbery. I tried to
6 free my hands to be able to move better. When I freed my hands, I took a
7 look. Two people were crawling into the shrubs, shrubbery. I jumped to
8 my feet to crawl some distance. I was afraid there would be a patrol
9 coming back. I jumped to my feet. I decided to risk it. I trod on dead
10 people, on soil. I tried to avoid treading on dead people but I could not
11 avoid it. And I was listening for a cry, "Look at him, he's running
12 away." I knew that if I were -- was spotted, I would be dead. I crouched
13 and travelled some 20 metres until I reached the bushes. Two other people
14 were crawling and they ended in the same shrubbery. The four of them, and
15 I was the fifth one, we lied. Everybody else was dead. Among -- 1.000,
16 1.500 people that were killed there, in my estimate. So we were concealed
17 in the shrubbery. There was a patrol. They walked around the dead,
18 making sure that nobody escaped. We were close by in the shrubbery. They
19 did not check whether there were anybody -- any survivors in the
20 shrubbery. We lay low until dusk.
21 When darkness fell, they left, and we emerged to the other side
22 from the shrubs. There were dead people in the field as well. I did not
23 know that before. Those were the people who were taken away in the
24 morning, who were presumably paying their way to Sarajevo. They were
25 killed there, probably. There were five of us. We crossed that field
1 until we reached a forest. There was some moonlight. When we reached the
2 forest, I couldn't see anything. I was exhausted by that time, thirsty,
3 hungry, terrified, and I was of an advanced age. The others were younger,
4 ranging from 16 to 25, judging by their appearance. They went away. I
5 was left there alone. I didn't know what to do, where to go. My progress
6 was very slow.
7 Q. Sir --
8 A. Some five minutes --
9 Q. You mentioned these four other younger men who were with you. Do
10 you know who they were, where they were from?
11 A. I asked one. He said that he was from the Jagonje village. I
12 didn't ask him his name. And I don't know it. I asked them whether they
13 reached their target but I couldn't find out. They did not, because I
14 asked whether anybody from that village managed to escape. They told me
15 no. Maybe two years ago, I heard that they were captured, they were led
16 away to Zvornik, and Zvornik is a notorious place.
17 So I continued alone. I reached an ambush because they -- around
18 the place where they executed people, they would set up ambushes to catch
19 those who managed to escape. There was one who managed to escape. I
20 started to cross the road. A soldier cried out, "Who is it? Who is it?"
21 I meant to escape but I reached a village with some civilians living so I
22 could not enter the village. I tried to hide where I was. That patrol
23 started threatening that they would be throwing a grenade. Identify
24 yourself, they yelled. They knew I was somewhere in the dark. I tried
25 not to move. They issued some military-style orders, "Left flank, right
1 flank, turn left," they opened fire, rifle fire. I was keeping very
2 silent and some two hours passed in this manner. They went away. I
3 crossed the road and entered the woods above the road. I could not
4 proceed towards the village because it was very steep. So I traversed the
5 woods throughout the night, over some hills. It was very difficult to
6 make progress. I was exhausted. And it was difficult to walk in the
7 woods, through the thicket. At the crack of dawn I reached a mountain and
8 a meadow. I managed to find some water, some unripe fruit, plums and
9 apples, some wheat. I ate some wheat grains, managed to eat something,
10 fell asleep. And this is how I managed to survive.
11 After that night, I planned to cross a wood to enter a valley that
12 day but I heard some noise, some trucks. It was a truck or a tractor, so
13 it meant I couldn't proceed in that direction because there was somebody
14 there and could be the site of a mass grave. So I hatched a plan to go in
15 another direction. I reached a tarmacked road. I took that tarmacked
16 road some 20, 30 metres to reach another wood, that was the second day.
17 It was one and a half hours before sunset. I reached the tarmacked road,
18 and I took the road towards the woods, some 20 metres, but when I took a
19 look there, the road, the tarmac, was bloodstained, half a metre wide, a
20 flow of blood in the direction of the commotion or noise. And as soon as
21 I reached the woods where I was supposed to take a turn, a truck emerged
22 right -- driving towards me. As soon as I took a look at the truck, I saw
23 it was filled with dead bodies up to the height of the driver's cabin.
24 And somebody shouted from the truck, "Look, there is the one who escaped
1 And the truck stopped, and it took about 30 or 40 metres for the
2 truck to stop. The truck stopped, and since I heard what was said, I
3 didn't dare go into the woods. I just continued walking along the road.
4 I reached a bridge. The bridge is about ten metres wide and 15 metres
5 long. There is no water beneath it. There is no woods there. It's an
6 irrigation ditch or something. I crossed the bridge, I didn't turn around
7 any more. I walked for a while, and then I looked back. It was going
8 behind me. It reached the bridge, and was standing there and looking at
9 me. I wasn't running or fleeing. I was just walking straight down along
10 the street, and he kept looking at me. He thought I was a Serb, I guess,
11 and at that point, the person turned back and started running back towards
12 the truck. I turned into the ditch so if that Serb was still looking at
13 me I wanted him to see me, that I was not a Serb. I wanted him to see me
14 because he wanted to get me, to throw me on the truck and kill me and put
15 me in the mass grave. I wanted him to see that it was me.
16 Q. If we could go into private session now, please?
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go into private session for a while,
19 [Private session]
11 Pages 1209-1212 redacted. Private session.
23 [Open session]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session. Thank you.
25 MS. SOLJAN: Thank you.
1 Q. So sir, you were telling us about how you were in a bus. Where
2 were you being taken to?
3 A. We were brought to Karakaj and we were told to report to the
4 command and we set off to do that and then someone else said, "Go back, go
5 to the truck and you can go together with this guy." It was a two tonne
6 truck covered with tarpaulin. I went to the truck and then I could see
7 that inside there were some other people who had been caught in the woods.
8 There were 27 of them all together. And the two of us also, 29. Then
9 they shouted out that they should all be tied up. And I did not -- I was
10 not tied up. I was given a water bottle and I was told that if anybody
11 wanted to drink, I was supposed to give them water to drink. So I wasn't
12 tied up, and all the others were tied up. We were under the tarpaulin.
13 One of our people said, "It's a good thing that the Red Cross is here.
14 They will be accompanying us." So that's how we set off and we were being
15 escorted by the Red Cross.
16 And we were going through Bijeljina and we reached Batkovic where
17 we were put in a camp. We received pallets there where we would sleep.
18 We were issued two blankets, one we could put on the pallet, the second
19 one we used to cover ourselves. If you had something to put under your
20 head, very well; if not, that was it. That day, we shaved, all of us
21 shaved. We had baths. We had haircuts. The Red Cross was there and they
22 registered us that day. This was the 26th of August, I remember very
23 well, if you want to write that down.
24 Q. And how long approximately were you at the camp?
25 A. The 26th, not August. It's July actually. It was the 26th when I
1 got there.
2 Q. And how long were you there until? What was your last date
3 there? Do you remember?
4 A. The Red Cross was registering us. The last day was actually the
5 24th of December, shortly before new years. That was when the last
6 exchange took place. I spent a full five months in that camp.
7 Q. And sir, where did you go once you were released from the camp?
8 A. We were exchanged. Serbs came from Tuzla and us Muslims were
9 brought from Batkovic, so this was an exchange that took place on the 24th
10 of December, shortly before the new year.
11 Q. And where did you go from there, from the exchange point?
12 A. I went to my family. I had grandchildren, a daughter-in-law, a
13 daughter, my wife. I went to Gracanica.
14 Q. Sir, if I may, I will just -- I'd like to take you back to the
15 13th of July. You were mentioning that on that day, there were
16 separations taking place. Could you tell us about it in a little more
17 detail? Who was separating whom and how?
18 A. There were two barricades, and they were letting through about 150
19 to 200 people who were supposed to go on the buses. They were letting
20 them through. There was another barricade about 15 meters further along
21 down the road and there were soldiers there who were immediately
22 separating the men from the women and the children. That day, I came out,
23 it was Thursday, the 13th of July, and every day people were coming out.
24 This didn't happen just on that day. It went on every day for as long as
25 this was going on. People were leaving every day. And the separation was
1 also something that was ongoing.
2 Q. And who was controlling these separations at both the barricades?
3 A. Serb soldiers in multi-coloured uniforms. They were conducting
4 these separations. That's what they were doing.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: One thing, I just want to make one thing clear for
6 clarity's sake, when the witness says, multi-coloured uniforms, we are
7 referring to camouflage uniforms. I mean, I just want to make sure that
8 one is equivalent to the other. Because most of the time, in other
9 testimonies and other trip transcripts we have camouflage --
10 MR. LAZAREVIC: There was one more thing that I heard from the
11 witness and I don't see it in the transcript, and I believe that the
12 witness said that the separation was going for five days. I believe that
13 is what I heard.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Is that correct, Mr. Hasic?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It's correct, because so many
16 people couldn't leave in one day. What I'm saying -- what I'm talking
17 about is what I went through on Thursday. I'm talking about what happened
18 on that day but the same thing was going on during the other days, and the
19 others told about that, that there was the separation that was being done,
20 and these men didn't come. That's what it looked like as I was leaving
21 and it's possible that this was going on throughout that whole period.
22 The people couldn't all leave in one day, 30.000 people or more. They
23 couldn't leave in a day. That's 100 per cent for sure. So it means that
24 it took five days for all of them to leave.
25 MS. SOLJAN:
1 Q. Sir, who was with you? Was any of your family with you when you
2 were making it through these barriers?
3 A. My grandchildren and my daughter-in-law were with me. My wife had
4 fainted and my daughter had taken her to get some medical assistance and I
5 was with my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren. I had a large water
6 bottle with me so -- a canister so that we would have children [as
7 interpreted]. I was carrying water and my small grandchildren were
8 walking in front of me. And I quickly gave the water canister to one of
9 the grandchildren so that they could have water and I turned aside, and
10 the four small grandchildren, together with my daughter-in-law, went off
11 by themselves and I guess they were loaded on to the truck. It was very
12 crowded and people were struggling and pushing in front of the trucks in
13 order to get on to the trucks as soon as possible.
14 Q. And, sir, when you were being separated, do you remember what the
15 person separating you from your family looked like, what he was wearing?
16 A. They were wearing the multi-coloured uniforms, the soldiers'
17 uniforms that the Serbian soldiers were wearing, multi-coloured uniforms.
18 They were soldiers. Five or six soldiers at the barricade, they were
19 holding hands, and if they wanted to let somebody through, they would let
20 them through, women and children to one side, and men to the other
21 side. "Go, you have to go that way."
22 Q. And sir, when you mentioned multi-coloured uniform, you are
23 talking about camouflage uniform?
24 A. Camouflage uniforms, but they didn't have any camouflage on their
25 heads. But just from the head down, they were wearing the multi-coloured
1 uniforms, the Serb multi-coloured uniforms.
2 Q. And do you recall, sir, if these soldiers had weapons on them?
3 A. Well, as far as I can remember, they had rifles slung over their
4 shoulders. They were holding hands and at one place they would let
5 through 150 people and then the next barricade would hold firm and would
6 direct people to go in a direction and they would have their rifles slung
7 over their shoulders.
8 Q. Thank you, sir. One final question: Can you please try to
9 describe for us the impact that your separation, detention and attempted
10 execution had on you, your family, your life?
11 A. Well, I don't feel good, no. The effect -- I look back and think
12 back to what happened. There are many people who have been traumatised,
13 they live with the trauma. Many people will bear consequences, and the
14 children who survived that and who remember what happened. That's it.
15 It's not good.
16 Q. Thank you, sir.
17 MS. SOLJAN: Mr. President, Your Honours, I have no more
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam.
20 MS. SOLJAN: Your Honour, if I could ask the next witness is
21 waiting at the moment.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I don't think there is a point in keeping him
23 here because we haven't started with one cross-examination and I don't,
24 even though you took less than the anticipated time, I'm not that sure
25 that we will be able to finish all the cross-examinations in one hour. So
1 I think Mr. Ruez can leave. Also we have to hand down our decision before
2 he starts giving evidence, which you can expect first thing tomorrow
3 morning. Thank you.
4 So let's do some homework before -- yes, I see Mr. Bourgon.
5 MR. BOURGON: Good morning, Mr. President. I would just like
6 to --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you.
8 MR. BOURGON: In the event we do not finish with this witness
9 today, or that we finish just towards the end, I -- there is one issue I
10 would like to raise with the Trial Chamber which needs to be raised before
11 the next witness. Thank you, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: So what I suggest we do is we start with the
13 cross-examinations now. How much time do you require to raise there
15 MR. BOURGON: No more than five minutes, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: But how much would you expect the Prosecution then
17 to be engaged in it?
18 MR. BOURGON: It is an issue on which we have a disagreement and
19 it deals with the way we will proceed with exhibits. Of course, pending
20 the decision of the Trial Chamber whether the next witness will proceed or
21 not at all, but the way we'll proceed with exhibits I think in five
22 minutes, we can --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We'll allow ten minute towards the end. So
24 whoever is cross-examining the witness we'll need to stop ten minutes to
1 Yes, Defence team for Mr. Popovic? Mr. Zivanovic -- Mr. Hasic,
2 the gentleman standing at the moment is Mr. Zivanovic and he is lead
3 counsel for accused Popovic. He will go first. He will be
4 cross-examining you.
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
6 Q. Good day, Mr. Hasic. I would like to remind you, you remember
7 that you gave a statement to the investigators of The Hague Tribunal.
8 That was in 1996, on the 25th of May 1996, to be more precise. In that
9 statement, apart from other things, when describing the events at
10 Potocari, you stated that the first night, night of between 11th and 12th
11 of July, was tranquil?
12 A. Nobody bothered us. Only the shells struck the perimeter of the
14 Q. So they did not land at Potocari, they landed in the distance,
15 somewhere in the distance, not the place where the refugees were housed?
16 A. Well, the refugees crowded a place and the shells struck outside
17 that area. I did not say that, so they struck the area around.
18 Q. This is not what I meant to say. I meant to say --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic, I hate to interrupt you but I think
20 we need to slow down, both of you, all right?
21 Mr. Hasic, when Mr. Zivanovic has finished putting the question to
22 you, we need you to pause a little bit before you answer it. The reason
23 is we don't understand your language and it has to be translated to us.
24 So we need that small interval --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Somebody is interpreting?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And that's why we need that pause of time so
2 that the interpreters finish their interpretation to us and then you can
3 proceed, all right? So allow five seconds before you start answering any
4 question that -- and the same applies to you, Mr. Zivanovic.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, I will.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And the same applies to you, Mr. Zivanovic.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I won't count the seconds. I
8 can give them some time.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation].
10 Q. So we can conclude that that night, between 11th and 12th of
11 July, the UN facility at Potocari housing the refugees was not targeted
12 by shells?
13 A. Shells landed around, as I told you. At that night when we
14 arrived there, when the people gathered, shells did land around the
15 facility, around the people, around all the buildings, not just one
17 Q. Thank you. Thank you.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated] Yes. Mr. Meek for
19 accused Beara will now be cross-examining you.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Meek:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Hasic, how are you?
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. I'd like to thank you for coming here to testify and I just have
24 a few matters I would like to clarify with you, if I could.
25 The Prosecutor asked you, sir, if you could estimate the number
1 of Muslim men being held with you at the Vuk Karadzic school in Bratunac.
2 Do you remember that?
3 A. Well, I cannot say. I know that they asked me but I cannot tell
4 you, I know how many people in this -- in my room let alone in the whole
5 school, because I could not get outside my room. They would rifle-butt
6 me and it was impossible to walk around because we were not free to move.
7 We would be risking our heads, our lives. Nobody asked us whether we
8 were guilty of anything or something. Nobody interrogated us,
9 interviewed us. They -- all they know was that we were of a different
10 faith, that we were Muslims, and this is why we treated us so. This is
11 how it went.
12 Q. Mr. Hasic, could you please estimate for me or tell me how many
13 Muslim men were in your room, then, at the school?
14 A. That room, they crammed so many people, as I've said, maybe 150
15 to 200 people. It was so crammed that if you stood up, there would be no
16 place for you to sit down. You could not move around, even move your
18 Q. You also mentioned that throughout the day, at the school, they
19 were continually killing people; is that correct?
20 A. They did kill people. They would lead them away, outside. What
21 I saw was that they beat one person, he was bloodstained. They would
22 take people away. There were screams and moans outside and we could hear
23 bursts of gunfire. We were not supposed to look out the window because
24 we could be then hit by a burst of gunfire.
25 Q. But you testified that the Serb soldiers were taking the men out
1 continually, all day long; is that correct, from not only your room but
2 from other rooms? Was that your testimony, sir?
3 A. Yes. I did say from other rooms as well, they would take out
4 people and kill them, not only from my room. I did not see them taking
5 out people from other rooms but I saw what they did in my room but what
6 happened in my room happened in other rooms so they were not spared.
7 Q. How many other rooms were there, if you know?
8 A. I don't know. I never entered that school in peacetime. I did
9 in wartime. I never had visited that school. I had not lived there. So
10 I don't know it in great detail. There were class rooms and whatever is
11 needed for a school.
12 Q. Thank you. Can you then estimate approximately how many people
13 were taken out of these various rooms and killed while you were there,
15 A. I can tell you from my room, some seven people, from my room.
16 From other rooms, I don't know how many were led away. I couldn't see.
17 But there were moans and screams outside that could be heard, and they
18 were constant, day and night.
19 Q. Sir, you later were taken to another school in Pilica, correct?
20 A. Yes, at Pilica, from Bratunac to Pilica, I was housed in that
21 school and I was taken from Pilica to execution by firing squad.
22 Q. Now, Mr. Hasic, you testified about the Pilica school and you
23 said that in the room where you were being kept, there were some
24 children, 15 or 16 years of age. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, in my room, I know this very well, some 12 of them. They
1 were lined up, they were looked at, and they said about them, "Avdic
2 seeks people like this, maybe to be soldiers," I don't know. They were
3 led away. How many of such people were in other rooms, maybe 100, 120,
4 and I don't know what happened to them. I can't say whether they were
5 murdered or they were taken to this place or to other place. What counts
6 is that they are no more.
7 Q. Well, frankly, sir, you don't know what happened to them. They
8 could be alive and well and living in France today, correct?
9 A. Well, maybe if they are alive they would have made contact, maybe
10 some of them would survive and would come out to testify that they were
11 at Pilica at that camp but nobody is around to testify that they survived
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Hasic?
14 A. I cannot say that they were murdered because I did not see it
15 with my own eyes.
16 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me, sir, how you estimate that there
17 were perhaps 100 to 120 children of this age range in the other rooms at
18 the school, if you did not see them?
19 A. I did not see that, but I think that if there were 12 of them in
20 my room, I'm not sure how many rooms there were, but if a dozen emerged
21 from each of those rooms, this is my reckoning, approximate reckoning,
22 that that would make up this number.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Hasic. I understand that answer, but you still
24 cannot tell me how you even come up with the estimate of how many rooms
25 were in the building, do you?
1 A. I did not make an estimate, but since we had large class rooms,
2 maybe 10 class rooms were in the building and other rooms. I cannot tell
3 you precisely how many. What I know precisely is that there were 12
4 children in my room.
5 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, was -- it was at Pilica that you learned of
6 people being registered; is that correct?
7 A. Not at Pilica, while I was at Potocari I heard that some people
8 were being registered at Potocari, where UNPROFOR or their headquarters
9 was located, that people are being registered. I know of some who were
10 registered but never came back.
11 Q. Mr. Hasic, I was looking at your testimony on page 33 of today's
12 transcript, where the Madam Prosecutor asked you, "Did you see people
13 being registered anywhere from Bratunac to your arrival in Pilica?" And
14 your answer was: "I did not see that. I believe that they did the
15 registration at the headquarters somewhere, where the Dutch government or
16 defence was located." So is it your testimony now that this was not in
17 Pilica, nor was it in Bratunac?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I would leave it at that, Mr. Meek, because I don't
19 think anyone doubts where.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I never saw.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. No one doubts where the Dutch
22 government as it is in the transcript or defence was located. Everyone
23 knows where they were located.
24 MR. MEEK:
25 Q. Now, Mr. Hasic, you've also testified that there were some Muslim
1 men that were being interrogated. Do you recall that testimony?
2 A. What I saw was that two people were taken out, interrogated,
3 asked questions, and they were brought back. But I didn't see other
4 people being brought back.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Soljan, sorry.
6 MS. SOLJAN: If Mr. Meek could just provides a reference?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I don't think you have any further questions
8 on this, have you, Mr. Meek?
9 MR. MEEK: Not really on that.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: If you have you need to be specific, as Ms. Soljan
11 has pointed out. Thank you.
12 MR. MEEK: Page 32, line 20 and 21, Judge.
13 Q. So, Mr. Hasic, how long did the -- did the individuals -- how
14 long were they interrogated or questioned?
15 A. Well, they were taken out, I don't know. They asked a couple of
16 questions. Not long. And they were brought back to that place. I knew
17 those two. They did not come back. They were later captured, taken away
18 and killed because they did not cross over to the other side.
19 Q. And do you believe that there were other Muslim men from other
20 rooms in the school being taken out and questioned also?
21 A. That's for sure.
22 Q. Sir, in looking at your testimony today, it appears that at the
23 first school you went to, you believe that you stayed there one night or
24 perhaps two nights. Correct?
25 A. Correct, Bratunac.
1 Q. And then at the second school, in Pilica, you stayed there either
2 one night, perhaps two nights, you're not sure, correct?
3 A. Possibly two nights. On the 17th, the execution took place, 17th
4 of July.
5 Q. Well, you went to Bratunac on the 12th, correct?
6 A. Can't be the 12th. It is -- it was the 13th, and I said it but
7 you didn't write it down.
8 Q. 13th, and you stayed --
9 A. On the 14th and 15th, I was in Bratunac. Then we were dragged
10 over to Pilica, so around the 17th it was the mass execution that took
11 place, without any questions being asked whether we were guilty or not.
12 Nobody was asked anything. Their aim was for you to cease existing.
13 See, that's how it was.
14 Q. Thank you very much. But you just answered that you could have
15 stayed one night in Bratunac and not two. And now you say it was two.
16 I'm just asking you which was it? Was it one, was it two, or do you
18 A. Maybe one, maybe two. It's possible two nights. It's possible.
19 MR. MEEK: Thank you very much. I have no further questions,
20 Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Meek.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 12 years have passed. It didn't
23 happen yesterday. Somethings have, you know, lapsed.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Meek. Thank you, Mr. Hasic.
25 Now, Defence for Mr. Nikolic headed by Ms. Nikolic will go next.
1 Ms. Nikolic.
2 Cross-examination by Ms. Nikolic:
3 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Hasic.
4 A. Good day.
5 Q. I'd like to ask you a couple of questions if you can assist me to
6 understand some events that took place during the period that you
8 A. Yes. Well.
9 Q. Today, you told us about several officers that you saw in Pilica
10 who were standing in the shade and talking.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Do you remember if those officers had automatic rifles with them?
13 A. I know very well. I remember well, it was hot, they were wearing
14 light clothes. Their shirts were unbuttoned and they had an automatic
15 rifle on their shoulder.
16 Q. Thank you very much. When you were at the house, at the
17 beginning of all of these ugly events?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You were told all of those who were detained would be
20 investigated and after that you would be taken to Tuzla?
21 A. Yes, they said, yes, would be a little bit.
22 Q. Yes. And you assumed you would be exchanged until you arrived at
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I'm going to go back with a few questions to the most serious
1 part of the events that you went through. And those are the events on --
2 in the field near Pilica.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You said today that according to your estimate, there were about
5 1.000 to 1500 bodies in that field.
6 A. That was my estimate, an approximate estimate, but it was for
7 sure between 1.000 and 1500 bodies. This is definitely 100 per cent for
8 sure. I didn't give you a definite figure. It was an approximate
10 Q. Very well. Thank you. For you it was a very difficult day,
11 which has marked you for the rest of your life and I'm sure you were very
12 frightened and you wanted to leave that place as soon as possible.
13 A. Yes. All I could see was the backhoe loader trying to collect
14 all the bodies.
15 Q. There were many such bodies in the field. You saw a lot of
16 bodies in the field; is that correct, but you could not count them?
17 A. No. I couldn't count them but there were a thousand, between a
18 thousand to 1500, and that is where they found both of my brothers, who
19 were older than me. One of them was five years older than me. The other
20 one was seven years older than me.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Hasic. I'd like to ask you a few questions about
22 the exchange from Batkovic, when you were released in late December 1995.
23 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since I have a
24 document here from the Srebrenica collection, which is from the
25 republican commission for Srebrenica, and there are names mentioned in
1 the document, I think that perhaps we could move into closed session so
2 that I could put these questions to the witness so that we would not
3 reveal the identity of some people.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Nikolic. That's exactly what we
5 will do. Let's go into private session for a while, please.
6 [Private session]
21 [Open session]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session. Thank you.
23 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions, Your
24 Honour. Thank you.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Ms. Nikolic.
1 Now, Defence team for Mr. Borovcanin, and Mr. Stojanovic will be
2 going next. Mr. Stojanovic.
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
4 Cross-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
5 Q. Ahmo, I'm going to ask you some questions relating to those first
6 things that happened. Let's try to go in sequence, Tuesday, 11th of
7 July, you said you came to Potocari; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, that was the day that Srebrenica fell.
9 Q. What time was it?
10 A. When I came, perhaps it was around noon or maybe 2.00 p.m.,
11 something like that. I cannot really say exactly what time it was.
12 Perhaps I didn't even have a watch at the time.
13 Q. You said that there were people already inside the factories?
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. You said that you couldn't get inside?
16 A. No, I couldn't. I was outside.
17 Q. Since we are familiar with the layout, can you please tell us
18 whether you're talking about one building or several buildings where the
19 people were?
20 A. The people were in a number of buildings. I don't know exactly
21 how many but perhaps there were five or six of these buildings,
22 factories, that are there. There is the lead factory, the Zinc Factory,
23 accumulator, Feros, perhaps some other ones. There were some other
25 Q. How far are the buildings, how much apart are the buildings? How
1 much of an area do they occupy?
2 A. They are perhaps 60 metres apart, one factory from another. That
3 was the distance between them.
4 Q. Would it be right if I said that the factories took up an area of
5 a surface of 300 square metres where these buildings were?
6 A. No. It had to be more. You couldn't put them all in an area of
7 300 metres, no.
8 Q. Could you please try to tell us a little more precisely how far
9 the buildings were apart from each other, these buildings where the
10 people of Srebrenica were being placed?
11 A. The people were being placed in these buildings, in the
12 factories. They are quite close to each other. Some are above the road,
13 some are below the road. Maybe they are 50 to 60 metres apart, up to 100
14 metres, depending on the factory. And then there were people again in
15 between the factories, because you couldn't fit 30.000 people into the
16 buildings, all of them. That's quite clear.
17 Q. So you really couldn't see all of the factories and know where
18 all the people were, from the place where you were standing?
19 A. No, I couldn't see everything. This is quite a large compound.
20 I walked around a little bit, I would be bringing water to the children,
21 going looking for water, so I was passing amongst the people. So I know
22 that there were people all over.
23 Q. Well, I would like to clarify something now, something that
24 wasn't clear to me. You said today that you did not enter any of the
25 factories but that you were outside.
1 A. Yes. That night, I stayed by myself. I had lost my family.
2 They were somewhere amongst the people. And afterwards, when it got
3 light, I walked around and I found my family. They were in the factory.
4 The second night, all of us slept outside.
5 Q. Precisely. I would like us to proceed in order. On the 11th, in
6 the afternoon, and that night, you are in Potocari, the night of the 11th
7 and the 12th you were separated from your family and you were sleeping
8 outside; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, those two nights.
10 Q. The night of the 11th to the 12th, the first night, you slept
11 separately from your family?
12 A. Yes. I was separated from my family. The second night I was
13 together with my family outside.
14 Q. So the second night, the night of the 12th to the 13th, you were
15 with your family but you were not sleeping inside any of the factories?
16 A. No. On the 13th I left Potocari and went to Bratunac. Finally I
17 hope it's clear to you.
18 Q. You also told us that that first night, the night of the 11th to
19 the 12th --
20 A. Yes, go ahead, ask me.
21 Q. You did not see that there were any killing or separation of
22 people that night; is that correct?
23 A. No. There was none of that the first night but it did happen on
24 the second night. It was a catastrophe on the second night.
25 Q. This is exactly what I wanted to ask you.
1 A. Yes, go ahead. Ask me.
2 Q. When you're talking about that catastrophe you're talking about
3 the night from the 12th to the 13th, that was the second night that you
4 spent there; is that correct?
5 A. The night of the 12th and the 13th, actually, I know that as the
6 second night. That's what I'm talking about, the 12th to the 13th. In
7 any case, it's the second night, on Tuesday, the 11th, I know very well
8 was when Srebrenica fell. That's when we went down to Potocari. That's
9 the first night. The second night was dangerous for many. Many lost
10 their lives. Many were moaning that night, and the next day after that,
11 on Thursday, Bratunac, Vuk Karadzic, where what food we had left was
12 taken away from us so we would have nothing to eat. Yes, that's how it
13 was. So that we would die of hunger, that we would be feeble, we would
14 have no strength, that we would have nothing. They had the weapons. Our
15 arms were tied.
16 Q. You're talking about Bratunac now?
17 A. I'm talking about Bratunac and wherever you like.
18 Q. I would like us to proceed step by step. It would be easier that
19 way. We are going to stop now because we are going to talk about
20 Potocari now.
21 Those people whose moans and screams you heard on the second
22 night in Potocari, did you see where they were being taken out from?
23 Were they taken from inside the factory or were they taken away from the
25 A. I couldn't see that. I was outside. They were not taking them
1 close by from me, perhaps they were taking away somebody from half a
2 kilometre away and then from some other side completely. But you could
3 hear them. Everybody would jump up around them and they would be saying
4 things and then after that, you could hear the screaming and the moaning
5 of those people who were being killed.
6 Q. So you didn't see that, you just heard it?
7 A. Yes. I just heard that. I trust what I see with my own eyes and
8 what I hear with my own ears. I trust myself. And nobody can tell me
9 that this wasn't so, then.
10 Q. And all of this happened on the second night?
11 A. The second night.
12 Q. Is that right?
13 A. Yes, that is right.
14 Q. Very well. Now, I would like to ask you to help us with this:
15 Where did they take you? Which house? Where is that house in Potocari
16 where you were taken to?
17 A. On the way out, away from the factories, as you pass the
18 factories there was a house to the left side. That's the house where
19 they took us.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: In the direction of which, in the direction of
21 Srebrenica or in the direction of Bratunac?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the direction of Bratunac, where
23 we were going. It couldn't have been in the direction of Srebrenica
24 because that's where I came from. Now I was going the other way.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
1 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. So to a house on the left side, going in the direction of
4 A. Yes, on the left side, in the direction of Bratunac, passed the
6 Q. How far is it from the main asphalt road?
7 A. Perhaps it's about 15 to 20 metres off from the main road.
8 Q. Was that a house with one floor or two floors, with an attic? Was
9 it just a single-storey building?
10 A. The house had a ground floor and first floor. I don't know if it
11 also had an attic. I wasn't really observing everything and seeing
12 exactly how it looked, and I didn't have a pencil with me to be writing
13 down all the dates and all that was happening.
14 Q. Ahmo, can you help us? Can you remember whether there were any
15 tape, was there any tapes around the UN compound, the check-point?
16 A. I don't know about -- around the check-point, I'm sure that there
17 were, I didn't see any but I'm sure that there were because wherever they
18 did have a check-point, they had some tape or wire around the
19 check-points. There were also sandbags on the -- on the ground. That's
20 how they fortified them. They used sandbags to build up the check-point.
21 Q. And were the people separated by tape, the place where they were,
22 was nylon tape separating the people?
23 A. No. That wasn't there. Then you would have needed to tape off
24 the entire area of Potocari, but that wasn't there.
25 Q. Who told you that? Where did you see that?
1 A. The Dutch.
2 Q. So are you telling us that there were no tapes or that you didn't
3 see this tape?
4 A. I didn't see it. Maybe there was some tape somewhere but not
5 around the entire compound. I don't think so. In any case, I didn't see
6 any. This was a large area that these people were occupying, the people
7 were sitting, lying down, it was a large area. I didn't go around the
8 edges of the area to check if there was any tape there.
9 Q. If I understand you correctly, on the 13th of July, the second day
10 in Potocari, you were outside together with your family, is that right?
11 A. That night, that was the last night at Potocari, on the 13th, I
12 was taken to Bratunac.
13 Q. I'm asking you this because of the following: When did they give
14 out the bread and when you could give that bread to your grandchildren?
15 A. It was the first night, from the 11th to the 12th, we arrived.
16 And on the 12th they gave us bread. And I was out of there on the 13th.
17 It was Thursday, the 13th.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Stojanovic, we will be stopping in five minutes'
19 time but before we do that, what are you trying to achieve? Are you
20 attacking the credibility of the witness or what?
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I want, through
22 the testimony of this witness, I'm trying to position where the unit under
23 the control of Mr. Borovcanin was, according to the indictment, because
24 later on it will be made clear when they came to Potocari, whether they
25 were there from the 11th to the 12th of July, and I'm going to agree with
1 what the witness is saying and it is not my intention to compromise.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I suggest you go straight to that point because we
3 have been going around and around in circles and I think what you've just
4 said is more important to you.
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Well, Ahmo, what I'd like to ask you now is this: The two
7 check-points that you mentioned, do you remember them, at Potocari?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I can understand the objection.
10 Yes, Ms. Soljan?
11 MS. SOLJAN: I'm sorry, Mr. President, Your Honours, but his first
12 name is Ahmo. He has a last name and I believe it would be appropriate to
13 address him with respect and address him by his last name. Thank you very
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know. Maybe it's the practice over there
16 but I would tend to agree with you. If you could address him as Mr. Hasic
17 I think it would be better. I mean -- it could lead to incidents. It has
18 led to incidents in other cases, Mr. Stojanovic. In fact, I didn't like
19 it in the beginning when you first started that way.
20 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. I will address you as Mr. Hasic.
22 A. Whichever way you want. You can call me a bucket. Whatever.
23 Q. Mr. Hasic, my question pertained to the two check-points that you
24 mentioned. Do you remember that?
25 A. The two check-points of UNPROFOR at Potocari, I know that there
1 was one, I don't know anything about two check-points. I never testified
2 to that. There was the check-point of UNPROFOR where they had their
4 Q. On your way to the buses, how was your progress to the buses
6 A. Well, my movement was that I could move through the throng. I
7 used to fetch water for my family. I could walk. But when -- as we
8 proceeded towards the exit, it was terrible. Everybody was pushing and
9 shoving others. Nobody could be stopped. People were shoving and
10 pushing. But I would have progressed more slowly but I could not, because
11 I was carried by the people and this is how we reached the exit point.
12 There was the check-point, as I said, they would let a certain number of
13 people through, 150, 200, as I testified.
14 Q. My question pertains to that check-point. As you said, barricade
15 or point, where they would let through 150 to 200 people. Would -- were
16 they letting through both men, women and children?
17 A. Yes, all of them but the second check-point, some 15 metres away,
18 was the place where they separated men from children and women. They
19 would point men to go in the direction of the house, and women and
20 children in the direction of buses or trucks.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Here, if you -- the rest that is the three remaining
22 Defence teams, if you could give me an indication of how much time you
23 would require, Madam Fauveau?
24 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour, between 30 and 45
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Krgovic?
2 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, half an hour.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And Mr. Haynes or Mr. Sarapa?
4 MR. HAYNES: 20 minutes.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So I reckon Mr. Ruez needs to be here right after
6 the first break tomorrow or rather to play it safe maybe he should be here
7 right from the beginning. Mr. Usher you can accompany the witness out.
8 Mr. Hasic, we will have to stop here and you come back tomorrow. You will
9 be finished tomorrow morning or during the day any way.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can take a break. It's only
11 one day. I need to take a break, yes.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. The staff will make the arrangements for you
13 that suit you most.
14 Mr. Hasic, you are not to communicate -- one moment, let me
15 finish. You're not to communicate with anyone between today and tomorrow
16 on the subject matter of the events you are testifying upon or the subject
17 matter of your testimony.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Okay.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will not.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll see you tomorrow morning.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Bourgon, try to keep it short, please. Yes,
24 Mr. Bourgon, what's the problem?
25 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thought there were no problems with the next
3 MR. BOURGON: At there point in time, Mr. President, we are
4 awaiting for, of course, a decision from the Trial Chamber.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: We are going to hand a motion down as soon as you
6 finish. If you want to hear it before we can proceed with it straight
8 MR. BOURGON: I anticipate that the witness will be proceeding
9 because you just mentioned a few minutes ago that the witness will be
10 proceeding tomorrow.
11 So with this in mind, Mr. President I would like to address one
12 issue which might bring some difficulties during the testimony of this
13 witness. On 21 August, further to the order issued by the Trial Chamber,
14 the Prosecution filed a submission in which it included a list of exhibits
15 it intends to use with the first witnesses. Now, that includes witness
16 number 1, witness Ruez. On this list, contained about 100 exhibits along
17 with Rule 65 ter number, and in some cases ERN number, and in some cases
18 references to exhibit number in past cases. Now, this allowed us to do
19 the groundwork and to prepare for this witness and we located almost all
20 of these 100 exhibits other than for maybe five to ten.
21 The difficulty arose on the 24th of August, when we received a
22 CD-ROM by the Prosecution and on this CD-ROM is -- you find about 260
23 pictures or exhibits intended to be used with Witness number 1, and on
24 this CD-ROM, there are no longer any ERN numbers, no longer any 65 ter
25 number. So it is not possible for us to make a match as to what the
1 Prosecution wants to use with the list that was initially given to us or
2 with the official list of the Prosecution dating back to 28 April.
3 Moreover, on this CD-ROM, all over the exhibits, there are markings which
4 have been added on the exhibits.
5 Now, this was further complicated on 30th August whether we
6 received an additional CD-ROM with about something like 14 additional
7 pictures and some videos. I'll try to make this short. We are not
8 worried with the markings that were added. We have been informed by -- my
9 colleague has informed us that in order to save time, he would ask the
10 witness to mark -- make markings in advance and if we can save time the
11 Defence is always willing to assist the Court in saving sometime. So
12 that's not our main problem. However, it is our understanding that if the
13 Prosecution wants to use any exhibits, it must be an exhibit which was on
14 its list, on this Rule 65 list dating back to 28 April. Now that's the
15 object and purpose of Rule 65 ter is that -- to allow the Defence to
16 prepare a case knowing which exhibits will be used. That's why, when the
17 Prosecution wants to add new exhibits, it files a motion, like the latest
18 motion was filed to try and add 300 new exhibits.
19 Now, in this case, we have a witness that will appear tomorrow and
20 we have some 280 exhibits and there is no way for us to tell whether these
21 exhibits are or are not either on the e-court list or the Rule 65 list or
22 any other list. I introduced this issue to my colleague last week - maybe
23 we did not understand each other correctly - and we further spoke this
24 morning. There is a misunderstanding, of course, as to what is the object
25 and purpose of the Rule 65 ter. We believe that it must be there right
1 now we can mot proceed without having references to that list.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I thank you. Point taken.
3 Mr. McCloskey would you like to address it now or tomorrow in?
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: I should address it now, Your Honour. Mr. Ruez,
5 the list that we originally gave them was basically the material used in
6 the Krstic and the Blagojevic, including many video tapes. Mr. Ruez came
7 back from France and gave us a revised list based on that material on a
8 nice CD that had everything on it that we provided the Defence with and I
9 haven't heard any objection on any photo or anything on that list.
10 Defence is correct in that that CD doesn't have, we didn't go
11 through the effort to try to figure out all the -- what 65 ter numbers
12 went with the new CD but I can tell you, after he told me this issue I
13 went with some of our legal help through all the new photos and most of
14 them are repeats of the photos that have 65 ters. Some are stills from
15 the videos that also had 65 ters. Others are a slightly better picture
16 from a better angle or a better quality picture because many of our old
17 exhibits weren't the best quality, frankly and we now had access to a
18 better digital.
19 So I went through each of the -- some 24 crime areas and did not
20 find any surprises, any new pictures, that were -- would have surprised
21 the accused in any way. There are for example, Cerska valley, he's put
22 more Cerska valley pictures, there are more holes in the ground that they
23 dug than were on the 65 ter list but fundamentally I didn't see any
24 surprises. The one thing a couple of pictures were the hills where the
25 column was leaving from which was an issue that had been brought up that I
1 thought and Mr. Ruez thought you may be interested in. There are some
2 pictures of those hills but not just like the ones he's provided. But
3 otherwise I didn't see any surprise. No one's told me of any surprise and
4 if there is some surprise I will consider withdrawing the picture if it's
5 a big deal.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. McCloskey, I suggest that you continue to try
7 and iron this out between you, between now and tomorrow. I don't
8 anticipate a great problem as we go along, if you identify any of these
9 and if they require a decision to be taken it will be taken. In the
10 meantime let's proceed with anticipated oral version of the decision on
11 the Ruez testimony that I will sign -- I have already signed, will be
12 filed later on. Basically -- yes, are you still standing, Mr. Bourgon?
13 MR. BOURGON: Excuse me, Mr. President, I'd like to reply briefly
14 because there is new material.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: When the problems arise, we will take them in their
16 stride and we will decide accordingly.
17 I have taken the point and then I've heard what Mr. McCloskey had
18 to say as well. I still don't think there will be major problems and, if
19 a problem arises, we will tackle it there and then. So the position is as
20 follows in relation to the Defence motion, joint motion, requesting the
21 termination as to the admissibility of testimony of Jean-Rene Ruez.
22 I've taken note of all the filings and all the submissions. We
23 considered that the Prosecution, first of all we have taken note that both
24 of you declared that you agree and accept the relevant jurisprudence of
25 the -- of the Tribunal. We also take note of the Prosecution's assurance
1 to the Defence, Trial Chamber, that they will neither -- was neither going
2 to ask Mr. Ruez to speculate or make an appropriate conclusion that will
3 not be helpful to the Court to get into the problems, et cetera. That
4 we've also considered that although the transcripts of the evidence given
5 by the witness in previous cases do indeed raise concern regarding the
6 scope and form of his testimony, the Trial Chamber is of the view that
7 there is no need for pre-emptive ruling on the contents of his evidence in
8 the current case. Then ultimately and this is the cornerstone of the
9 decision that we have the overall responsibility under our rules of
10 overseeing the proceedings of trial in light of the principles laid down
11 both in the Statute and our Rules, particularly as described in Rule 90,
12 to wit exercise control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses
13 and presenting evidence so as to, first, make the interrogation and
14 presentation effective for the ascertainment of the truth, and, second, to
15 avoid needless consumption of time.
16 We do also make a point in our decision that we would have
17 preferred that from -- the Prosecution to have provided the Defence with
18 an early witness statement. That would have facilitated much and probably
19 avoided all this incident. And precisely because of this concern that we
20 have, we do enjoin you to fully explain to the witness, either during the
21 remaining briefing period, if there is any left, or before he is called to
22 give evidence, the substantives of this decision, which we will be handing
24 The rest I think you can safely leave in our hands and we'll take
25 good care of it.
1 Thank you. We will resume tomorrow morning. I would take it that
2 the first session will be still with this witness. Thank you.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.03 p.m.,
4 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 7th day of
5 September, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.