1 Wednesday, 7 February 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, call the case,
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
9 IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On this Wednesday, the 7th of
11 February, 2007, I'd like to greet all those present from the courtroom.
12 The Prosecution, that is complete. The Defence counsel, the accused, and
13 the witness. We're going to continue the testimony, but before I do so
14 I'd like to give the floor to the registrar for IC numbers.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honours. Two parties have
16 submitted lists of documents through Witness DC. The list submitted by
17 OTP shall be given Exhibit number IC 372 under seal, while the list
18 submitted by 3D shall be given Exhibit number IC 373. Thank you,
19 Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
21 Yes, the Prosecution.
22 MR. FLYNN: Good afternoon to Your Honours and to everybody else
23 in the court. Before we broke yesterday afternoon it occurred to me that
24 I had omitted to ask for IC numbers for two screen shots that the witness
25 was presented with and gave certain evidence. The first one -- both of
1 the screen shots were extracts from Exhibit 09139, and the first one, if
2 you may remember, was the screen shot which displayed the telegraph pole.
3 That wasn't marked. And the second one was the angle shot of the alleyway
4 in which the witness put an X on where he thought the police post was
5 located. I kindly ask Your Honours for an IC number for both of those.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. The first picture will become
9 IC 374, while the second one, second photograph, will become IC 375.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. We're going to start
11 off with -- well, we were going to start off request a question from the
12 bench but there is no point in asking it now because the witness already
13 answered it in response to Mr. Praljak's question. I am going to give the
14 floor, without further ado to the Defence to start off the
15 cross-examination. I don't know what order they're going to take it in.
16 Who is going to start?
17 Mr. Stewart.
18 MR. STEWART: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
19 WITNESS: ENES VUKOTIC [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Stewart:
22 Q. I would like to follow on from a point that arose at the end of
23 last night. You said in the course of your evidence yesterday, when you
24 were asked about the entry/exit wounds, you said, "I can't see to the back
25 of my leg to see the exit wound. You can see the entry wound very
2 Now, I want to give you the opportunity to think and make sure we
3 have this absolutely straight. Are you saying that the exit wound is in
4 the back of your leg?
5 A. I understood you to say that I said that the exit wound was at the
6 back of my knee, whereas it was the other way around. The entry wound was
7 at the back, and the exit wound was in front. So you can see the traces
8 of the exit wound of the bullet. Now, where -- at the back where the
9 entry wound is, I didn't see that, nor can I see that now. Nor could any
10 of you see what there is on the opposite side of your knee, or the back
11 side of your knee. So let me repeat. The entry wound was at the back.
12 Q. Witness, that's clear. It isn't what you said yesterday, but I'm
13 not quibbling about that, I just wanted to get it plain today and give you
14 that opportunity.
15 Now, when you were at home before you went to the bridge that
16 evening, you said in your statement that you were meant to start your
17 shift sometime that evening. And you mean your -- your military shift,
18 don't you?
19 A. Yes, that's what I mean. My military shift. And I forgot to say
20 yesterday that I went to fetch my daughter's medicines during the day for
21 the precise reason that in the evening I was supposed to take up my shift
22 duty. I can't remember the exact time.
23 Q. Well, that --
24 A. Have I been clear?
25 Q. Thank you, yes. My next question is to ask if -- even though you
1 can't say the exact time, can you remember the approximate time when you
2 were due to start your shift?
3 A. I really don't remember. I -- it was to be a night shift, but as
4 to the exact time, I really don't remember.
5 Q. Where -- where were you actually to work on your shift? Was it --
6 first of all, was it at one fixed location that your shift work was to
7 take place?
8 A. Mostly I stood guard in the area of Donja Mahala, around my house.
9 However, there were a number of guard posts, so we would change around.
10 And that was the practice, that you stood guard at different locations
11 from time to time.
12 Q. So is this right: You did -- you wouldn't have known until you
13 reported for duty that evening exactly where you would be sent? Is that
15 A. I don't think I knew. Sometimes you knew it in advance, but on
16 that particular night I don't think I did know in advance.
17 Q. Where did you actually have to report to at the beginning of your
19 A. I repeat, I really don't know what time I started doing my shift
20 duty. It was to have been a night shift, but when I took over the shift,
21 I don't remember.
22 Q. I think there was some misunderstanding about my question. My
23 question was, where did you have to report to?
24 A. Oh, to the command.
25 Q. And was that the same side of the river as your house or on the
1 other side?
2 A. The eastern side of the river, and of my house, if you mean the
4 Q. Well, I mean where it was you had to report to. That's clear,
5 isn't it? So where you had to report to was on the east side of the
6 river, correct?
7 A. The right bank. The right bank of the river, that's West Mostar.
8 The right bank of the Neretva River, that's where the command was, on the
9 right bank, and that is considered -- there must have been a slip there,
10 that's considered to be West Mostar.
11 Q. That's fine, witness. We cleared that. So it follows then, does
12 it, that where you had to report for duty was on the same side of the
13 river as where you lived?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. How old was your daughter at the time?
16 A. 19.
17 Q. And --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stewart, we're trying to
19 understand and to follow. What is the importance of the precise hour at
20 which he stood guard and the age of his daughter with respect to where he
21 was when he was hit by the bullet. As we've already said, there are just
22 two things that we are interested in here, precisely: The direction of
23 the shot and the location of the victim. Everything else is secondary.
24 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, there is one point that may be
25 considered secondary but important to the examiner is to test the veracity
1 and credibility of the witness. That is a fair approach, Your Honour, and
2 may I proceed doing that? My questions are not irrelevant or I wouldn't
3 ask them, Your Honour.
4 Q. Witness, your daughter was 19 years old, she had been wounded, I
5 think you said three days previously. Had she had hospital treatment when
6 she was wounded?
7 A. I personally put her in to a car and risking our lives, both of
8 our lives, I drove her to the local commune, which is on the same bank,
9 the same side, I don't know if you know Mostar, but it's about 300 metres
10 away from my house by car taking the main road and from Stotina you can
11 see the road and the sniper or snipers, I don't know, didn't expect
12 anybody to be that much of a fool, to move around that road in broad
13 daylight. So we were lucky to get there. Anyway, I went to the local
14 commune, and they gave her first aid, which is to say they just bandaged
15 up the wound with an ordinary bandage, and then I took her back home
16 straight away.
17 And with the first group of wounded through UNPROFOR she was
18 transported to Turkey. However, not even there did she receive adequate
19 medical aid and assistance.
20 Q. Now, Witness, you told the Trial Chamber yesterday that your
21 neighbour, whom I won't name, but your neighbour who accompanied you
22 across the bridge was wearing civilian clothing, and you indicated that
23 the reason why he was wearing civilian clothing was to reduce the risk
24 of his being sniped at when he crossed the bridge. That's right, isn't
1 A. I don't know that I told you the reason for which he was wearing
2 any kind of clothing or civilian clothing. I spoke about myself. I said
3 that I wanted to be dressed as lightly as possible, to be able to run
4 across the bridge better. Why he was wearing civilian clothes, well I
5 don't think I said that. I didn't consult him on that issue.
6 Q. Is it -- excuse me, Your Honour.
7 You said, "I don't think he was wearing military uniform,
8 precisely because he was afraid of snipers while crossing the bridge."
9 Now, those are your precise words. So do you agree that seems to bear out
10 the suggestion I have made that that was a reason that you gave for his
11 wearing civilian clothes - that implies clearly, doesn't it? - to reduce
12 the danger to him from crossing the bridge? Do you agree?
13 A. That's logical. Logical.
14 Q. So what's also logical then, do you agree, is that it clearly was
15 his view that there was a lower risk for civilians crossing the bridge
16 than there was for people who were identifiably military?
17 A. I don't know whether I said that there were very little military
18 uniforms and very few soldiers, very few of them had any army uniforms.
19 Whether he had an army uniform at all, I don't know, I don't think he did.
20 And I don't think he was wearing a military uniform in crossing.
21 Q. There comes a point when I can leave logic to the judges and we
22 can stick to the facts with to you. You described, if I recall it - it is
23 correct, is it? - that when you crossed the bridge, you did actually run,
24 did you, from pillar to pillar, stopping at each of those large pillars?
25 Is that the way that you crossed the bridge?
1 A. I don't remember saying I stood by every pillar, but just that I
2 used the pillars as shelter and to try and confuse the sniper. So we
3 would stay 10, 15 seconds, 20 seconds by some of the pillars, thinking
4 that we would trick the sniper in that way so that they wouldn't know when
5 we would emerge from what pillar.
6 Q. And your neighbour adopted the same technique, did he for crossing
7 the bridge? He stopped, at least, behind some of the pillars and waited
8 before dashing forward? Is that right?
9 A. I'm not sure, but I think he applied the same tactics. I wasn't
10 following him, I was doing my best to take shelter and hide and it was
11 only once I had left the bridge and was on the left bank that I could see
12 him and see what he was doing. But that's what we had agreed beforehand,
13 that that's the tactics we would apply in order to protect ourselves from
14 the sniper fire.
15 Q. Thinking back, can you remember any reason at all why your
16 neighbour should have gone with you on this particular excursion to fetch
17 medicine for your daughter?
18 A. I really don't know the reason why he went to town, but I use --
19 seized the opportunity. Now, who suggested that we should go first, I
20 don't know. I know why I went. Now why he went into town, I really can't
21 say. He went on a -- he had some private business to see what was going
22 on, on the left bank because we were isolated, two or 300 metres from
23 where we were, we didn't know what was happening. So we didn't know what
24 was happening on the other bank. And I thought he was just curious to see
25 what was going on, on the other side. Now, whether he had any relatives
1 there or not and that was an additional reason, I really don't know.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment.
3 Mr. Stewart, looking at the time, I assume that you have been
4 allotted extra time by your colleagues, have you?
5 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I haven't. But, Your Honour, my
6 position is this: I don't have very many more questions but the
7 questions which I do have, and my next one will certainly indicate that,
8 go absolutely critically to the heart of what it is that this Trial
9 Chamber needs to know from this witness. May I put the next question,
10 Your Honour, and Your Honour will see where we are going and how important
11 it is.
12 Q. Witness, what you have described about your going to the bridge
13 and the way in which you crossed the bridge, dashing from pillar to
14 pillar, do you agree that that shows very clearly that you regarded
15 crossing this bridge at that time as extremely dangerous?
16 A. I can tell you that you are very lucky not to have been in my skin
17 then. You would have risked your life and I risked my life and even more
18 so perhaps the life of my daughter, so I went consciously, I took the risk
19 consciously and you ought to know, and I assume that you weren't ever in
20 such a situation, but life was cheap. So I didn't think about myself and
21 my life too much, but to save my daughter's arm.
22 Q. Witness --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, you agreed that it was dangerous to
25 cross the bridge. What was the danger you were afraid of?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know how many times I have
2 to repeat this. A sniper, whether it was an ordinary rifle or sniper, I
3 can't go that far and say which it was, but that's what I was afraid of.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
5 MR. STEWART:
6 Q. I want to get it clear, Witness. It's just your own description
7 of your own activities that indicate how dangerous you considered it to
8 be, dashing from pillar to pillar, but it was so -- the need for your
9 daughter who had not been hospitalised apparently, had got first aid, the
10 need for your daughter to have medicines on that particular afternoon, was
11 so compelling that you were prepared to risk leaving her fatherless by
12 crossing this dangerous bridge. Is that what we are to understand?
13 A. Please, I entreat you, could you mention my daughter as little as
14 possible, please. I said, and I will say it again today, I was ready to
15 give my life. What would happen afterwards, I didn't give it that much
16 thought. She had a mother. Now, what would happen to me, that wasn't
17 what I was thinking at that time. I didn't give that much thought.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stewart --
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I finish what I was saying?
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stewart, could you stay what
21 you wish to show us, because it seems we've lost 20 minutes of our time,
22 up to now. With all due respect, we haven't advanced not even by a
23 millimetre. I'm sure you have a goal in mind, so show it. Because this
24 is 20 minutes wasted. I'm sure you're going ask a question that will
25 throw light on this matter because so far we are in the fog.
1 MR. STEWART: I will proceed and try to --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And let me add, all the more so,
3 since from the very beginning the witness explained that there were these
4 pillars on the bridge and that he used the pillars to protect himself. So
5 for us it was quite obvious that the passage across the bridge was
6 dangerous. That was in evidence from the very beginning, and yet you're
7 coming back to that question. And there was not a shadow of doubt that to
8 cross the bridge you ran a great danger. It wasn't for his own pleasure
9 that he crossed the bridge.
10 MR. STEWART: Your Honour seems, with respect, to be expressing
11 conclusions which normally would wait until the end of the evidence. But
12 Your Honour I'm not going to enter into argument in the presence of the
13 witness about the -- about where all this matter leads. In due course,
14 all the threads of everybody's cases will be tied together.
15 Q. Witness, you said in your statement that people were blowing up
16 bridges at that time, and you have indicated that this bridge was being
17 guarded. So there was more military activity in relation to this bridge
18 than sniping, wasn't there, according to you?
19 MR. FLYNN: If I may, Your Honours. With respect, my recollection
20 was that the witness gave evidence that there were policemen on both sides
21 of the bridge, policemen ununiformed on the Donja Mahala side, and
22 policemen with uniforms on the Luka side. There was no mention that there
23 were any military whatsoever anywhere near this bridge.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Petkovic.
25 Just a moment, Mr. Stewart. Your client is on his feet.
1 Mr. Petkovic, perhaps you're going throw some light on all this.
2 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like
3 to point to a fact. We cannot speak about a policeman as if some -- as
4 being something alien to an armed struggle. A policeman who belonged to
5 the BH Army to the Muslim people, to the MUP, is a member of the armed
6 forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina by the same token. So to say that he was
7 unarmed, that's just a story. That's the first point.
8 When my counsel asked the question, I gained the impression that
9 here in this courtroom what is said is this: What wasn't on the Bulevar,
10 that the civilians were in-depth. Now you have the front-line and you
11 have the depth. What is in-depth? A battalion might have its line, and
12 then one kilometre in-depth. We heard that there was the Medical Corps
13 over there and various other -- the ZIS was over there too. So the main
14 infantry firing goes to a depth of at least 400 metres. And that that's
15 where there are civilians, whereas it seems that we're looking at the
16 matter like this: If you have left the front-line, all the rest is
17 civilians. Now this is somebody who is running across a military bridge
18 so nobody can know if he is running across the bridge to fetch ammunition.
19 I don't want you to take this as criticism, but it seems to me that
20 everybody here thinks that unless people are at the front-line, all the
21 rest were civilians. Whereas the firing was firing within a range of 400
22 metres and it can be successful even further than that. That's what a
23 military science tells us.
24 So the targets are not only up at the front-line where you have
25 one soldier next to another soldier but it is in this whole range and
1 surrounding area where you don't only have only civilians. So I'm glad
2 that we are going to have an expert witness who's going to address these
3 matters. That's what I wanted to point out, because I felt the need to do
4 so. So we cannot say that the apart from the front-line, all the rest,
5 all the rest of the area is filled with civilians. The BH army, the
6 brigade of the BH Army took up its positions in the whole of East Mostar,
7 and deployed its men all around, its armed forces. So I would really like
8 a military expert to come into court to say how this brigade deployed. A
9 mortar shooting from two kilometres is in town, he is part of the combat,
10 and then by the same token, he can be targeted as well. That's what I
11 wanted to explain.
12 MR. STEWART: My client --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're going to have the floor
14 in just a moment, Mr. Stewart. But I'd like -- would just like to say
15 that that did not escape me, and from the beginning of the
16 cross-examination, and the testimony, I asked the witness to which unit of
17 the BH Army he belonged to, and he explained, he said that he belonged
18 to -- I'm talking from memory now, I think he said he belonged to the 2nd
19 Battalion, was it?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, 1st Company, 2nd Battalion.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There we have it. So your
22 preoccupations, Mr. Petkovic, are those which the judges are already
23 thinking about and have in their heads. And I even asked the witness
24 where the 2nd Battalion was and he told me that he was providing security
25 for the area of Donja Mahala. So your preoccupations are something that
1 we have already thought about. You expressed them in military terms but
2 it did not escape us that when you have the front-line, you have an
3 occupation in-depth into the BH and ABiH. Having said that, Mr. Stewart,
4 please continue.
5 MR. STEWART: I'm very much obliged, Your Honour. I would just
6 like to say I am completely at one with my client, which is a happy
7 situation to be in, on what he said. And that was all in response to an
8 objection by Mr. Flynn to a question which, in fact, I see was -- was
9 precisely and carefully put by me. I didn't suggest it was anybody other
10 than policemen guarding the bridge, but I did put it to the witness that
11 there was more military activity in relation to this bridge than sniping.
12 And, Your Honour, where the witness has himself said that there were
13 people blowing up bridges, it would be an extremely narrow interpretation
14 of the word "military" for that not to be properly embraced in my
16 Q. So my question is, Witness, that there was -- there was more
17 violent activity in relation to this bridge, wasn't there, than just
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Stewart, where is the foundation?
20 Who has ever alleged any violent action? It was said that bridges were
21 blown up, and that precautions were being taken against this particular
22 bridge being blown up. But I cannot regard this as a violent action.
23 Where is any violent action, please?
24 MR. STEWART: I will make this qualification in response to
25 Your Honour's observation.
1 Q. There was clearly, at the very least, a very strong fear giving
2 rise to specific action on the Muslim side that there would be violent
3 attacks on this bridge beyond sniping. That's right, isn't it?
4 A. I apologise, but are you asking me that question?
5 Q. Yes, I am.
6 A. I said that bridges were being blown up in order to separate the
7 banks from each other, to make it easier to take the right bank of the
8 Neretva where I was, but -- I don't remember this moment, but I think that
9 at that point in time almost all of the bridges had been blown up.
10 Whether the Serbs or the Croats blew them up, well, I don't know exactly.
11 But that pedestrian bridge, not a military one, as was just described by
12 the gentleman a minute ago, the pedestrian called Kamenica in Donja
13 Mahalica [as interpreted] was considered to be a military bridge because
14 we had a location of ours that we were defending. On the other side of
15 the Neretva, there was another company that was defending the harbour. So
16 there was very little communication between the troops on both sides, on
17 both banks.
18 There was the Lucka company guarding the harbour. There were very
19 few troops who crossed that bridge, so my claim is that you can't consider
20 that pedestrian bridge to be a military one.
21 Q. You have said that there were about 30 to 40 men living in the
22 Donja Mahala area that would guard the area around the clock, protecting
23 themselves again an attack from the HVO, and this bridge was being
24 specifically guarded, wasn't it?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. I put it to you, Witness, and this is -- the foundation for this
2 is your own evidence, that what you are saying about sniping activity on
3 this bridge is exaggerated, that you were prepared to take the risk of
4 crossing this bridge and you did take the risk of standing where you
5 stood, where you were shot, precisely because it was not actually sniping
6 activity at that time that was the real concern for you crossing the
8 A. To be quite frank, I haven't understood your question, but I
9 naively believed that a sniper or someone using an ordinary rifle was
10 opening fire on the bridge, and I thought that where I was standing was a
11 safe location. I didn't think I was within the range of a sniper. I
12 thought it was a sufficient end to that alleyway to be quite safe. I
13 quite simply thought that I couldn't be seen at that spot.
14 Q. Witness, you were in the military, you lived in Mostar, you were
15 standing close to policemen who were sheltering, and yet you stood, only
16 just, but you stood in the open, though according to you, you had dashed
17 across the bridge from pillar to pillar because it was so dangerous. I do
18 put it to you, Witness, that your attempt to say retrospectively that you
19 were foolish, is not really the explanation. It's actually that you are
20 exaggerating the risk from snipers and you are now saying that that was
21 the problem when it wasn't.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Stewart, with due respect, I think you are
23 grossly exaggerating. You want the witness to say something which he
24 obviously does not want to say, because it does not correspond to what he
25 lived. When I asked him quite a while ago what was his fear, he was
1 already weary because he had said so many times that it was fear of
2 sniper. Now, this is the second or the third time that you insist that
3 the witness should say what you want him to say. I do not think that this
4 is a correct behaviour, I'm sorry. It may be in other jurisdictions
5 but --
6 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, it's --
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: -- I think you are losing our time.
8 MR. STEWART: Well, it's absolutely correct behaviour,
9 Your Honour, and I do not, with respect, accept a rebuke that it's
10 incorrect behaviour. I am putting the Defence case. If Your Honours are
11 unpersuaded ultimately by any of what we say, you are unpersuaded. But I
12 put my case, I put it professionally, I invite the answers, the witness
13 gives his evidence, we hope truthfully, and that's it, Your Honour. I
14 leave the matter there.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, we will move on to
16 another Defence team.
17 Counsel Tomic.
18 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] We have no questions.
19 Thank you, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ibrisimovic.
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no questions,
22 Mr. President.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Mr. Karnavas.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: We wish to thank the gentleman. We have no
1 questions for the gentleman this afternoon.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Murphy.
3 MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Your Honours. We have no questions for
4 the witness this afternoon.
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, but could
6 you give the floor to Mr. Praljak.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours.
9 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Vukotic.
11 A. Good day.
12 Q. I will just go through some technical matters with you to clarify
13 certain things. Could we have document 3D 00756. 0743 is the photograph.
14 0743, could we have it up? 3D 00756 and then 0743, could we have it up in
15 the screen in the e-court system.
16 And could you please tell me the following: There is one thing
17 that I am trying to clarify here. I think it's also important for the
18 Chamber at the beginning of the conflict when the JNA was still present
19 and the reserve forces, who could have obtained an M48 rifle for example?
20 Was it relatively cheap and easily available, if you had the money?
21 A. I really don't know. Perhaps I had enough money to buy such a
22 rifle, I had heard that it was possible to obtain it on the black market,
23 but not through a regular channels.
24 Q. Yes, but on the black market, but it was being sold and bought?
25 A. Yes, but it's difficult to say that in wartime anything is done in
1 a regular manner.
2 Q. Yes, I know.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, Mr. Praljak asked you a
4 question about the M48 rifle. In Mostar was there a black market which
5 made it possible for one to buy weapons as far as you know?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had been told that it was possible
7 and that people who had sufficient funds would buy rifles. Perhaps not
8 M48s, but rather more modern rifles and there were quite a few such
9 rifles. Most -- many of them in our company, I don't know how such rifles
10 ended up in our company, but that was the situation.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So as far as you know, it was
12 possible if one had the financial means, to buy weapons, but you said that
13 the weapons that were bought were certainly more modern than the M48,
14 that's what you have just told us. Isn't that correct?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. That's logical. It's
16 logical that the men wanted more modern weapons for their own personal
17 defence, or rather whoever had his own weapon --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you were in the 1st company
19 of the 2nd Battalion and were on guard in Donja Mahala, what sort of a
20 weapon did you have?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, usually it was an M48. The
22 rifle had different owners. It went from one soldier to the other. It
23 was handed over from one soldier to another, because there were very few
24 rifles available. So when your shift arrived the guard would hand his
25 weapon over to the new shift.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Let's go back to 1992. Who destroyed all the bridges over the
3 Neretva? Apart from the old bridge, who did that?
4 A. Well, believe me, I'd like to know who was responsible for that.
5 The assumption is that the Serbs destroyed the bridges when the ABiH and
6 the HVO fighting together. The assumption is that the Serbs did that. I
7 wouldn't want to say something that's not correct.
8 Q. In 1992 and 1993, was there constant shelling of Mostar from the
9 Serbian positions?
10 A. Well, to be quite frank, if you want my opinion - my opinion -
11 there was far more shelling from the Croatian side than from the Serbian
13 Q. Mr. Vukotic, that's not something I was claiming. All I wanted to
14 know is whether throughout that period there was shelling from the Serbian
15 positions. I'm not asking you whether one side shelled the town more than
16 another, but was there shelling from those positions?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. As far as military uniforms are concerned, some people had
19 trousers, some people had jackets, some people didn't have anything. Was
20 it very varied, as I have described it?
21 A. Yes, yes, that's correct.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, this question is one that
24 deals with an important issue that the judges will have to decide about.
25 You have just confirmed that during this period of time the Serbs shelled
1 Mostar, the Serbs also shelled Mostar.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are quite certain about
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll repeat what I have said, that
6 the ABiH and HVO were allies at the beginning. I will also repeat that
7 most of the shells came from the Serbian side. I myself was on guard in
8 Podvelezje. Not that frequently, that's true, so I could observe
9 the shells flying above our heads, and then out of curiosity we observed
10 Mostar from our positions in order to see where the shells would fall and
11 I can claim that I personally experienced this.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We will try to be more precise.
13 On the 9th of May, 1993, you know what happened on that date. What I
14 would like to know is what happened after the 9th of May. Did the Serbs
15 shell Mostar after the 9th of May?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they did. But far less
17 frequently, quite seldom.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's take an example at random.
19 When a shell fell at location X in the town, how did one know that the
20 shell came from Serbian positions or Croatian positions or positions held
21 by the ABiH? You, as an inhabitant and as a member of the ABiH, what did
22 you do to establish that the shell had come from such-and-such a location,
23 such-and-such a sector.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A minute ago I said that I was
25 rarely on guard in Podvezelje, and I observed those shells that
1 flew over our heads and hit Mostar. These shells arrived from Serbian
2 positions. As far as shells coming in from the Croatian side are
3 concerned, I was on -- at a location when, for example, the old bridge
4 was targeted from a mountain, from Planinica, I think, and then from
5 Stotina or Abauce [phoen], they shelled the bridge from both sides and
6 I personally saw shells being fired from Croatian positions on that
7 occasion, on such occasions. If I may continue. May I continue?
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
9 Q. You said seldom or not as frequently. Not as frequently in
10 comparison to 1992, but was the shelling from Serbian positions really not
11 as frequent than in 1992? What would you say, Mr. Vukotic?
12 A. As I said, I was seldom on guard in Podvelezje, my colleagues
13 were also on guard in Podvelezje, and that is information that they
14 conveyed to us, to the company when returning from guard duty. What I
15 have seen, I have told you about, what I have heard from others I have
16 also told you about. My conclusion was that there were far more shells
17 from the Croatian side than from the Serbian side. I told you that we had
18 Podvelezje under our control, that is the line between the ABiH and the
19 Serbs. And the each and every shell fired from the Serbian position flew
20 over our heads. You could hear the sound, I mean.
21 Q. Thank you. Have a look at this photograph, please. Would you
22 agree with me that it was taken from Stotina?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. We can see these houses here in the foreground. You have said
25 this was the aluminum company. Is that correct?
1 A. I'm not sure. But I don't think so.
2 Q. Very well. Tell me the following: Before the beginning of the
3 war these houses were in a fairly dilapidated state, but had they been
4 fully constructed before the conflict between the Croats and the Muslims
5 broke out?
6 A. Well, not all of them but most of them, yes. May I continue?
7 Q. Can you point to one that hadn't been fully constructed and to
8 what extent had it been built?
9 A. Well, look, the third group of the buildings, I don't think it
10 existed then because I know that we were on guard there in those
12 Q. Very well. Were they only partially built or did they not exist
13 at all?
14 A. Well, the construction or rough constructions did exist at the
15 time, but whether they had been fully constructed, I can't remember. But
16 they had commenced construction.
17 Q. Very well. Now, have a look at the photograph and point to the
18 location of the small, suspended bridge, and the location where you were
19 wounded, the entrance to that small alleyway which is vertical to the
20 Neretva. You have a marker so you could mark the photograph with it.
21 A. One comment.
22 Q. Go ahead.
23 A. This photograph was taken from Stotina, but a little to the
25 Q. Yes, that is correct. We'll have other photographs too.
1 A. It's more to the right, that's my claim, because I think that you
2 can't see the suspended bridge from these positions.
3 Q. Sir, just put number 1 at the location where you think the
4 suspension bridge is and then we will move on to the following photograph.
5 Don't worry, we will do this in a technically correct manner.
6 A. [Marks]. Could be here, somewhere here.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. Sir, you said
8 something that Mr. Praljak failed to notice, but I did notice it. When we
9 have a look at the buildings in the foreground, I believe that you said
10 that we stood guard in there. Does that mean that the three groups of
11 buildings we have in front of us, your battalion, your company, went on
12 guard duty in these houses, which were still being built? Because others,
13 other people and children who played there, well they said that they
14 played there too. So did you go on guard duty in these houses?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We stood guard in all those groups
16 of buildings, even in the first group.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you mark that in with your
18 pencil? Can you show us where you stood guard? Mark the place. You can
19 place an X, for example.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I were at Stotina, I could
21 determine the locality, but this way, from the building I did see Stotina,
22 but I can't say which flat it was. I -- it had been devastated,
23 destroyed, burnt. Because we thought that the enemy would think that
24 there was nobody there. And there was guard duty on the other group of
25 buildings as well, and we were able to monitor the access to the road.
1 And the third group of buildings, which were still under construction,
2 hadn't been completed, was where our third guard post was.
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Vukotic, would you put an A, B, and C where you stood guard in
5 these buildings? So place an A, B, and a C in the three localities,
7 A. [Marks]
8 Q. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. You've
10 just marked the places that you stood guard, and I think that this is
11 something that might have slipped the attention of those who were
12 listening. We see a Bulevar there, so it was the other side. Now, I had
13 the impression that the HVO were not very far from you. Is that right?
14 Is that true or not?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As the crow flies, well, it would be
16 roughly a distance of -- well, from Stotina and the first buildings, that
17 might be a distance of about 100 metres, roughly.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'm just looking at
19 the English transcript, and at line 25 of page 24, that as the crow flies
20 it was about 100 metres. That's very important for me, so I was just
21 checking that. Thank you.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
23 Q. May I have that same 756 document, 744 is the number of the
24 photograph. 744 is the next number.
25 THE REGISTRAR: To save the image, we need to assign an IC
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, let's have an IC number
3 first, Mr. Praljak.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become number IC 376.
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] What about the initials,
6 Your Honour?
7 Q. Sir, will you place your initials on the photograph, please.
8 Place your initials.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak likes seeing
10 initials on the document, so put your initials there, please. It's not
11 absolutely necessary, but if it gives you pleasure, then I see no reason
12 why we shouldn't do that.
13 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, pleasure or not, I
15 thought it was procedure, Your Honour. If it isn't proceed, I will just
16 move on Your Honour.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukotic. Could I have the next document in that
18 series, it is 744. 3D 00756, and then it is 0744. The photograph number
19 is 0744.
20 Here we have it. This is a similar location, Mr. Vukotic; you can
21 see the same line of houses but behind the houses we see the pillars that
22 I think you referred to. The pillars of the suspension bridge. Take a
23 look, and tell me if that is right. And if so, then mark the place where
24 the suspension bridge used to be, and the position at which you were
1 A. I assume those are the pillars of the suspension bridge, unless
2 the photograph has been tampered with.
3 Q. Mr. Vukotic it certainly hasn't been. This photograph was taken
4 two or three days ago, no montage there, no rigging. We see the pillars,
5 there is a path above that.
6 A. There is a football pitch there, I think. Somewhere there. So if
7 we assume that the pillars belong to the suspension bridge, then it would
8 be over here somewhere, 10 or 12 metres along the river-bank from the
9 right pillar on the left bank of the Neretva River.
10 Q. Well, could you find that place and put a number 1 there, and
11 number 2 for the pillars, indicating the pillars?
12 A. Can I put number 2 for both those pillars?
13 Q. Yes, a number 2 there. But where were you wounded exactly?
14 A. I have already marked the spot. I put a number 1.
15 Q. Put an X as well where you leaned against the wall. You said you
16 leaned against the wall with your right arm, you put one leg forward.
17 A. Well, perhaps this young lady could see the spot. I can't really
18 find it.
19 Q. Never mind. May we have an IC number for the photograph, please?
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you put your initials on
21 the photograph as well, please? And then we're going to have an IC
23 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will become Exhibit IC
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, a question comes to
2 mind in looking at this photograph, which shows a lot; it shows the
3 pillars, the place you were wounded, and the buildings in which you stood
4 guard. Now, on the day that you were wounded, that you were hit, I assume
5 that your friends from the 2nd Battalion probably continued to stand guard
6 in those houses, did they?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean at that time when I was
8 crossing the bridge, whether they were on duty in the houses there
9 standing guard?
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. We would stand guard the whole
12 day, although there were less people on duty during the day because they
13 wouldn't attack during the day.
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
15 Q. You mentioned Lucka, Luka and Lucki most or Luka bridge, and this
16 area and where the Lucka company was. So could you indicate the area
17 referred to as Luka and the Lucki bridge as well, and you can put a number
18 3 there.
19 A. As an inhabitant of Mostar, looking at this area from the north,
20 it begins with Lucki bridge and stretches roughly to the new bridge, or
21 Hasan Brkic bridge, as it's called, and we can't see that on the
23 Q. All right. Then just draw a circle.
24 A. I'm going to put an arrow to show you the direction.
25 Q. Yes, draw a big arrow. You don't have to save on the paper and
1 pen. And the photograph will be clearer and you will save perhaps me or
2 somebody else if you draw in a bold arrow so we can see it. And draw a
3 bold circle around the Luka area and the Lucki bridge.
4 A. I think this is Luka and that's Lucki bridge.
5 Q. Right. Put a number 3 there, and that will do it. Thank you.
6 Thank you, Mr. Vukotic.
7 Next photograph please, 745. To make the geography of the region
8 even clearer --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] May we have an IC number.
10 THE REGISTRAR: This will be IC 378.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]. I'd like the next
12 photograph on our screens now, 745. It's from the same set. That's the
13 next photograph, yes. Here we have it.
14 Q. It's a close-up view. Now we can see it all clearly. We see the
15 houses up in front, we know what they were used for and what they looked
16 like. And then we see three pillars. We see a sports pitch there, sports
17 ground, and we can see a bridge, which is the Lucki bridge. Now, is what
18 I have said correct? If so, put a 1 by the pillars, a 2 by the football
19 pitch, and a number 3, the spot where you were standing when you were
20 wounded, when you were hit.
21 A. You want me to mark the pillars first, do you, with a number 1?
22 Q. That's right.
23 A. And then the spot where I was wounded? I can't see the spot. I
24 can't see the spot because -- well, the bridge isn't there anymore.
25 Q. Yes, but you can see the pillars, so could you put an arrow in the
1 general direction of where you were wounded?
2 A. Well, I don't want to do that because you might use it against me
3 in times to come.
4 Q. Mr. Vukotic, of course not. Put a number 2 and then a question
5 mark. Maybe it was there, maybe it wasn't. Mr. Vukotic, after your
6 testimony, we're going to have an expert witness come into court and I
7 assume, I suppose, he managed to indicate the exact spot. So put a number
8 3 by the bridge, the bridge we can see there?
9 A. The Lucki bridge, you mean?
10 Q. Yes, Lucki bridge.
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. And your initials, please, and let's move on.
13 A. [Marks]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] An IC number, Mr. Registrar,
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will become IC 379.
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] While we are trying to find
18 these photographs, it's all a rather slow process, can we have an IC
20 Q. At Stotina, let me ask you that, the HVO soldiers were at
22 A. Well, I suppose you know that.
23 Q. Yes, but I'm asking you. Do you agree with me that the HVO
24 soldiers were at Stotina?
25 A. Please, I'm certain that it couldn't have been the Serbs.
1 Q. Tell me now, please, how long that bridge of yours that we can see
2 quite nicely from Stotina, how long it was functioning as a pedestrian
3 bridge, and as a bridge across which the soldiers crossed and civilians
4 crossed, and food was taken across the bridge. How long was that bridge
5 standing, to the best of your knowledge?
6 A. Mr. Praljak, I'm happy to have met you, however I'm not quite
7 clear on what you are asking me. You keep saying that the bridge was a
8 military facility used for -- by soldiers and to transport food to the
9 other bank. I don't agree with you there. Perhaps it was, but I don't
10 think it was used for that purpose. That's my first comment. That is
11 what you are telling me, but I --
12 Q. It's enough for one soldier to cross a bridge and the bridge
13 becomes a military target.
14 Now my next question is this: Now, this bridge number 3, had that
15 been destroyed during the war? Was it standing at the time?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Tell me now, why, if there was a better bridge, another bridge, a
18 safer and firmer bridge, why did you risk your life to cross a bridge and
19 run the risk of being shot at when there was another bridge? Now wasn't
20 it logical that a bridge was used to transport food to soldiers, to carry
21 any wounded people and things like that? That was logical, wasn't it?
22 A. Can I answer that? On what basis do you claim that on the left
23 bank of the Neretva there was a food factory for us? Why don't you say
24 that we had logistics or rather that we had our families our -- our
25 parents who fed us? Why would we need to get food from the other side?
1 You just said that food was carried across the bridge, transported
3 Q. No, Mr. Vukotic, I didn't mention any food factory or anything
4 like that. That just didn't exist.
5 A. Yes, but if food was transported then the food must have been made
7 Q. All I'm asking you is whether food had to reach an enclave, if not
8 every day, at least once a fortnight. Some food had to come in. If bread
9 was baked, then you needed flour. And flour needed to be transported.
10 JUDGE PRANDLER: [Previous translation continues]
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Tell me this: How long was that bridge standing there to the best
13 of your knowledge?
14 A. I don't know. I really don't know.
15 Q. All right. If you were a commander and you wanted to blow the
16 place up and you placed a tank at Stotina with a ZIS, a tank, or any other
17 weapon, was it possible to destroy that bridge in five minutes or in the
18 morning or during the day or at dusk or twilight or whatever? Is it an
19 easy job? Is it easy to blow up a bridge? What do you think, you
21 A. Well, I'll tell you. That was a conundrum for us too.
22 Q. Right. A conundrum. Now, can we put this up on the overhead
23 projector? We're getting through this rather slowly. I don't want to try
24 the man's patience. I just want to have a look at two or three other
25 things and we will be finished quickly.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Mr. Praljak,
2 there is a question from the Bench.
3 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, while we are waiting for
4 the document come up on the overhead projector. Mr. Praljak seems to have
5 shown you another route that you could have taken, the big bridge that we
6 see on the photograph. Now, my question for you is this: When you were
7 the object of the shooting, this big bridge was the -- did the bridge come
8 under fire from snipers? Was the bridge sniped at as well? Was that a
9 dangerous bridge too? Was it as dangerous to cross the big bridge as the
10 small one?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that bridge did not
12 exist; it had been destroyed. You couldn't cross that bridge because
13 allegedly the Serbs had blown it up.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, that's what I understood.
15 That's how I understood it. So you seem to have been a little hesitant in
16 asking Mr. Praljak's questions. Now, without being -- we see Luka and
17 Donja Mahala and how they are connected, and we know that there is a
18 front-line there between the ABiH and the HVO. And you said a moment ago
19 that you were standing guard in the buildings at Donja Mahala. And we
20 could assume that the BH Army was deployed in-depth in that zone. And so
21 that is perhaps why the bridge was of strategic importance, because it
22 linked the two banks. And everybody who has done their military service
23 in the army knows that there are logistical problems, and that these
24 soldiers need to have supplies coming in, whether they be food supplies or
25 military materiel, or weapons, or whatever, other supplies.
1 So someone of medium intelligence could perhaps think that people
2 were walking across the bridge bringing in logistical support to the BH
3 Army. That was deployed opposite the front-line. So my question to you
4 is a very simple one: To your knowledge, to the best of your knowledge,
5 on this little bridge with the pillars, and we only see the pillars
6 standing now, did you ever see any of your colleagues, BH Army soldiers,
7 transporting food, weapons, or other resources and material? You see,
8 it's quite clear.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, look, given the situation, the
10 sniper fire, everyone moved around as little as possible. Only when it
11 was really necessary, so there was no need for me to go there to observe
12 anything. I would just go to the guard post, to the command, and home.
13 And that was the case for everyone else because of the shelling, because
14 of sniper fire, and so on. Movement was limited, everyone limited their
15 movements. I can't remember having crossed over that bridge at the time
16 of the war apart from on that occasion, on that one occasion. So I had
17 never been to that bridge before, and was not able to observe what you
18 have been referring to.
19 Now, in terms -- I apologise, but if I may continue, I would like
20 to answer Mr. Praljak's question, I have remembered something in the
21 meantime. I don't know what sort of weapons he listed to -- that could be
22 used to fire on the bridge, but does he think one could climb up to
23 Stotina without this being noticed on the side of Luka? They could have
24 gone to the top of Stotina with a ZIS or a tank, but that would have been
25 dangerous because it would have been possible to open fire on those
1 objects from Luka.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Yes, naturally, the 4th Corps had its artillery on Luka and they
4 could have prevented that but we'll deal with that later. But that bridge
5 wasn't destroyed, but let's have a look at the first photograph on the
6 ELMO now.
7 You can see a man standing on Stotina, in front of a house that
8 you will see later on. What you can see in the background, is that
9 Mostar, photographed from Stotina? You see that?
10 A. No, not right now.
11 Q. Have a look at the mosque, these houses, you can see that this
12 photograph was taken from Stotina, that you can see the bridge in the
14 A. Well, I knew Stotina very well, as a child I used to play ball
15 there, it was a playground. But this is a black and white photograph.
16 Q. Can you see the buildings to the left, can you recognise a single
17 building, can you recognise the mosque to the left?
18 A. I can see it, but I don't know which mosque it is.
19 Q. The mosque in Donja Mahala.
20 A. The mosque in Donja Mahala. When was this photograph taken?
21 Q. Two days ago.
22 A. Why isn't it in colour? I really can't say whether this is taken
23 from Stotina. If it was in colour, it would be easier for me to find my
25 Q. Can you now see that this is Stotina? We have zoomed in. Can you
1 see that this was taken from Stotina?
2 A. Well, I can't see some buildings to the right.
3 Q. They are down below, but in front of the mosque can you see these
4 two buildings?
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, Witness, I haven't been on
6 the Stotina hill, but apparently there are certain objects that permit
7 identification, there is the minaret, and this might lead one to belief
8 this was taken from Stotina. You played football there, you were an
9 inhabitant, you were on guard. Are you telling us you don't recognise
10 this photograph.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have told you I was on Stotina 30
12 or 40 years ago and Stotina has changed since that time.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation].
14 Q. Let me help you, Witness. Do you know the street that goes from
15 this mosque by these two buildings that you can see here? The street that
16 is called Gojka Vukovica street, can you see these two Sokol buildings in
17 the Gojka Vukovica street, just by the minaret?
18 A. I can see one building and some kind of a fir tree, yes.
19 Q. But we have zoomed in, so these buildings seem to be close to each
20 other, but do you recognise this building as a building in Gojko Vukovica
22 A. That's where I live, but I can't see my house. I lived to the
23 left of the Sokol buildings but I can't see it because of the obstacles.
24 Why are you asking me whether this is a view from Stotina. If you know,
25 if this is the mosque in Donja Mahala, then my house is by the Sokol
1 building to the left of the house. If you saying this is a view from
2 Stotina, then why are you maltreating me? If that is the case, then that
3 is the case. The coloured photograph, yes, I don't know about the other
5 Q. Mr. Vukotic, you agreed to testify, if the judges could solve the
6 problem through me, they would interrogate me, examine me, and we would
7 have solved the problem. Witnesses come here to help the Judges by
8 working with the Prosecution and the Defence in order for us to establish
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, put your question.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Was this photograph taken of Stotina, yes or no?
13 A. I'm not sure.
14 Q. Let's move on. Let's have a look at the next photograph. These
15 are the legs of this man. Do you recognise the photograph as having been
16 taken from Stotina now?
17 A. Well, where are the two Sokol buildings? You should have the one
18 next to the other.
19 Q. Do you see the Luka bridge in the distance?
20 A. Yes, if that is the Luka bridge.
21 Q. You can see that there are two buildings there --
22 MR. FLYNN: There are photographs of these on e-court, if that
23 would help the Court. They are in colour, not in black and white.
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Put the last one up on the
25 screen, the one in colour. Could we have a look at the next photograph?
1 Let's have the last one. That's the one. Just the one in colour.
2 Q. Has this photograph been taken from Stotina?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Put your initials on it and could you mark the location of your
5 house with the number 1 and an arrow, approximately?
6 A. [Marks]. May I continue?
7 Q. Mark the location of the pillars where the bridge was with number
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. Very well, thank you. Could we have an IC number?
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] An IC number.
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] And your initials,
13 Mr. Vukotic, please.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become IC 380.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would like to say something
16 for the transcript. In this photograph I can note that there is an
17 individual in the photograph, and at the level of the individual one can
18 see the bridge that was destroyed and the location where the witness was
19 when he was wounded by a projectile. From this view-point this can be
20 seen very clearly. I wanted to say this for the sake of the transcript.
21 Mr. Praljak, do continue.
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]. Could we have the next
23 photograph in colour. The one on the ELMO represents a building in
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have we had an IC number? Very
1 well then, let's move on to the next photograph.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] It's sufficient to place it
3 on the ELMO. We're just interested in the building.
4 MR. FLYNN: Your Honours may I just interrupt Mr. Praljak for one
5 moment to inquire what his line of questioning is because as I see it, he
6 is just presenting a photograph and asking the witness if he recognises
7 certain buildings in it and then he moves on to the next photograph. I'm
8 not certain that this is advancing the case or assisting the Court.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but I assume that he will
10 put a question that will enlighten the Judges.
11 JUDGE PRANDLER: May I have a follow-up question? The --
12 Mr. Flynn the -- asked Mr. Praljak really to ask a question from the
13 witness, and Mr. Praljak has asked his -- has started his questioning
14 actually 10 to 3.00, so it is now more than 45 minutes, and it is really
15 quite a good time to -- to listen to his questions. I have been following
16 his questions very carefully, and I was pleased to know more about Mostar,
17 and about the bridges, and about important questions. I am sure of that.
18 On the other hand, really, I am afraid that we have been losing great kind
19 of good time for this, so I also would like to ask Mr. Praljak to proceed
20 with his question. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, put your question
22 that is more the result of what you have been demonstrating so that your
23 procedure can be a useful one. Otherwise the Judges will say, Yes, we've
24 seen Stotina, the view from Stotina, the location where the witness was
25 wounded, but it's necessary for you to tie up everything that you have
1 been demonstrating by putting a clear question to the witness.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] We'll see another photograph
3 of a building from which allegedly a sniper opened fire.
4 Q. My question is: If on the sketch that we had a look at we saw the
5 angle of the street that descended to the Neretva River and in we saw the
6 way in which Mr. Vukotic was leaning against the wall, then it's more than
7 clear for anyone who has any notion of Euclidean geometry that the
8 entry/exit wound to the leg, the wound that penetrated the leg from the
9 back is not a wound that can be inflicted if fire is opened from Stotina.
10 This is something we will determine through the expert witness.
11 My question is as follows: Mr. Vukotic when you have a look at
12 this photograph, you leave the bridge, you lean against the wall as you
13 demonstrated for the benefit of the Prosecution, and now you see Stotina
14 before you, but -- and please try to use your imagination. Is it
15 possible, if your back it turned to Neretva and you are facing Luka, is it
16 possible for a bullet to arrive from this point, this view-point, to
17 penetrate the back of your knee and exit at a right angle? No one
18 disputes the fact that you were wounded, but the bullet that hit you,
19 could it have been fired from this location? No one disputes the fact
20 that you were wounded, but given the way or the position in which you were
21 standing, could this bullet have been fired from Stotina? You know, you
22 don't know, or you can't say?
23 A. Well, I apologise I am an economist. If you asked me what five
24 times five is, I could answer that question. If you ask me what angle the
25 bullet could have hit me at and whether my leg was to the left or right of
1 the Neretva bank, well, I really couldn't say, sir. Don't address this
2 question to me, you should address this question to the expert.
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. The
4 entire demonstration was done for it the sake of this question,
5 Your Honours.
6 Q. According to your information, is this the building in Stotina
7 from which the notorious sniper opened fire?
8 A. Well how would I know which house the sniper opened fire from? If
9 someone had seen him from Donja Mahala, he probably would have opened fire
10 on him. How am I to know? All these holes on this building, I don't know
11 whether these three windows are facing Donja Mahala or somewhere else, but
12 these HVO soldiers also made such holes in order to open sniper fire
13 through those holes. This was done deliberately.
14 Q. They have some windows. Why would they make any holes?
15 A. Well, to deceive others, I'm not that naive. Naturally he's not
16 going to use a window, because he is visible there. He will use a hole.
17 We did that too.
18 Q. Thank you very much. So you did that too. Thank you.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, for
20 your patience; unfortunately, I had to proceed in this way because it was
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I think all the
23 Defence teams have completed their cross-examinations.
24 Would the Prosecution perhaps have an additional question or two.
25 MR. FLYNN: No, Your Honours have covered anything that I might
1 have had.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Vukotic, on
3 behalf of my colleagues I would like to thank you for having come to The
4 Hague and for having answered all the questions put to you. Perhaps
5 certain questions were a little difficult for you to understand, but you
6 should know that the Judges need to obtain certain answers to very
7 legitimate questions that one has to ask in such situations. I do thank
8 you. I wish you a safe trip home, and I will now ask the usher to escort
9 you out of the courtroom.
10 It's now 20 to 4.00, we will have a 20-minute break and we will
11 resume our hearing and we will be calling the expert witness into the
12 courtroom after the break. I think we will have sufficient time for the
13 Prosecution to conduct its examination-in-chief of this witness, and
14 tomorrow we can start with the cross-examination. So we will resume at 5
15 past 4.00.
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 4.07 p.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We resume. Sir,
20 would you stand, please? Sir, would you stand, please, because you're
21 going to take the solemn declaration. For the transcript, you are going
22 to give us your name, surname and date of birth.
23 THE WITNESS: My name is Patrick van der Weijden. My date of
24 birth is the 26th of September, 1971.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And what is your current
2 THE WITNESS: I am a Dutch Army officer in the Dutch special
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What rank? Captain?
5 THE WITNESS: I am a first lieutenant.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
7 Lieutenant, have you ever testified in a court of law about the events
8 that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, 1993, and 1994, or is this
9 the first time that you are testifying?
10 THE WITNESS: This is the first time I am testifying.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Would you now go
12 ahead and read the solemn declaration.
13 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
14 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 WITNESS: PATRICK VAN DER WEIJDEN
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
17 Some explanation from me to start off with. This is the first time you
18 are in a court of law. You are going to start off by answering questions
19 put to you by the Prosecution, will be based on a written report compiled
20 by you, and it refers to sniping. After that first stage, which should
21 last about two hours, the Prosecution have two hours, perhaps the bench
22 will have some questions to ask you. You will see that I have a number of
23 highly technical questions to ask you, but anyway we will finish the day
24 according to that schedule.
25 Tomorrow it will be the turn of the Defence. There seem to be a
1 lot of Defence counsel, but one counsel will be representing each of the
2 accused, and that is the cross-examination stage. And almost certainly
3 seeing as we're dealing with highly technical matters, the accused will
4 probably have questions to ask you as well, because the Trial Chamber has
5 given the accused the right to ask questions themselves. So you will
6 therefore be answering their questions too.
7 So that, in general terms, is how the proceedings will evolve. As
8 we're going to have very highly technical questions to ask you, try and be
9 as specific and clear as possible, and you must start out from assuming
10 that the Judges only have rudimentary knowledge in the area of arms, of
11 weapons. So your answers should explain things to us. Of course, your
12 written report has already cleared up a lot of facts and points, and I
13 have consulted your report ten times so far and found it very helpful. So
14 that in general terms is how the proceedings will evolve. Without losing
15 any more time, because time is of the essence and very precious, I am
16 going to give the floor, without further ado, to the Prosecution to start
17 off with the examination-in-chief.
18 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Examination by Mr. Mundis:
20 Q. Good afternoon, Lieutenant van der Weijden. As I mentioned
21 yesterday, we need to pause between question and answer so that the
22 interpreters and the court reporters can follow us. Do you understand
23 that sir?
24 A. I understand.
25 Q. Let's start off if you can briefly tell the Trial Chamber about
1 your military career from the time you joined the Dutch Army to the
3 A. I was -- I entered the Dutch Army in 1991, 1990, as a conscript
4 and a group sergeant in the mechanised infantry. I left the army for two
5 years, returned to the army as a private in the Dutch air mobile brigade
6 as a sharpshooter. In 1995 I joined the Dutch special forces, again as a
7 sharpshooter, and later received my training as a sniper. And I joined --
8 entered the Dutch special forces, I enter as a corporal. After two years
9 I went to military school to become a non-commissioned officer and got my
10 officer commission in 1999, January.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Lieutenant, I will stop you
12 there. In English I noticed the word sharpshooter. Is there a difference
13 between an elite shooter and a sniper? Is it the same idea, or is there a
15 THE WITNESS: There is a difference. A sharpshooter is common in
16 most infantry units, and a sharpshooter is usually a soldier within an
17 infantry unit, whereas a slightly better rifle than the rest of his squad,
18 but is still operating within that squad, so he still receives his order
19 from a team or group commander. The sniper is different, that he can
20 operate alone of -- at least in a two-man team. He is -- he is -- he is
21 also of course a sharpshooter because he is trained for long-range
22 shooting, but he gets an additional technical training which allows him to
23 operate with two or three people, operate independently.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. We have made
25 significant progress.
1 MR. MUNDIS:
2 Q. Lieutenant van der Weijden, would you tell the Trial Chamber about
3 the types and levels of military training you have received since
4 rejoining the Dutch Army in the early 1990s?
5 A. The first military training I received when re-entering was, of
6 course, the basic military training and advance military training for an
7 air mobile brigade. In addition I received my individual specialism as a
8 sharpshooter at a sharpshooter course given by the Dutch Army. When
9 transferring to the Dutch special forces after completing our selection
10 course, I got into advanced special forces training, which includes my
11 specialty as a sniper. I further on during my career, apart from the
12 career courses, such as the military school and the military academy, I
13 received an advanced sniper training in urban environment but that's a
14 training and courses as a firearms instructor, given by the Dutch police,
15 police academy, as well as the sniper instructor course given by our
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And a follow-up question from
18 what you have just said. To your knowledge, in the NATO-member states, as
19 you said, is there any special training to be a sniper?
20 THE WITNESS: To my experience most armies I have trained with or
21 operated alongside with do have sniper units or snipers employed in their
23 MR. MUNDIS:
24 Q. Can you tell us, lieutenant, what are the specific subjects that
25 were taught at the sniping course that you have attended?
1 A. The main subjects that are taught in the sniper course is the
2 sniper theory, which gives the sniper background as to what the sniper and
3 what his tasks are in operations. The practical subjects are shooting, of
4 course, at longer ranges under various conditions. The tactical training
5 is made up of stalking, which is getting closer to the target without
6 being seen, and there are several other subjects that allow him to do
7 that, and those are camouflage and concealment, which is a sort of
8 stationary training where you have to take in fire position unseen and be
9 able to observe the target. In addition, another one is judging distance,
10 which allows you to judge the distance correctly without the use of laser
11 range finders, by formulas or just experience. And those are the main
12 subjects of the sniper course. And before I forget, one is observation.
13 Observation is very important for the snipers. It's the skill that allows
14 him to detect, identify, and observe the enemy or the target.
15 Q. And, sir, you also mentioned that you attend a sniper trainer's
16 course. Can you tell us what you learned at that training course?
17 A. The sniper instructor course runs parallel to the sniper course
18 given at my unit. It is -- the course trains you to set up a sniper
19 course for other snipers so that you have to plan, stalk which can -- the
20 trainees can execute. You have to plan and set up observation ranges.
21 Yeah, that is the type of training you receive at the sniper instructor
23 Q. Lieutenant van der Weijden did you successfully complete --
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, may I add a question on the training?
25 Are snipers also trained in identifying objects and in limits as to the
1 legitimacy of their engagement? Are they told you can shoot at
2 such-and-such a target but not at others?
3 THE WITNESS: The snipers are taught that -- the sniper courses
4 that I am familiar with are taught about identification in so far that you
5 have to identify certain objects which are usually military objects. The
6 identification or the legal side of it, so what can the sniper shoot and
7 what not depends on the rules of engagement he receives in a conflict.
8 But are not discussed in the sniper course itself, but are discussed prior
9 to deployment.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you specify what you mean when you
11 say "usually military targets"?
12 THE WITNESS: Oh, usually military, the objects that are used in
13 the observation ranges during the sniper course could be military objects,
14 also rifle magazine, water bottles, shovels, just any military type of
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's go to the heart of the
18 matter straight away because everything you say is very important. But
19 could you very quickly tell us, as far as you are able, within the Dutch
20 Army training and I think that it -- the same applies to NATO, what does a
21 sniper have the right to do and not to do? Can he snipe at a tank, a
22 house inhabited by a civilian, or perhaps a civilian walking? Can you, in
23 general terms, tell us what a sniper is entitled to do and what he is not
24 entitled to do, based on the rules of engagement as taught to you?
25 THE WITNESS: I -- as I have said before, it's the rules of
1 engagement depend on the type of deployment. A peacekeeping mission will
2 have different rules of engagement than a police enforcement mission or a
3 regular conflict, but in general the rules of engagement that I have
4 received during my deployments included the threat to own personnel. If
5 there was a threat to our own personnel, you could use appropriate force,
6 or if there was a threat to the civilian population, you were also
7 allowed --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What we are mainly interested in
9 are the rules of engagement that govern an armed conflict. We are not
10 talking about a -- law and order. What can a sniper do in a wartime
12 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour just so we're clear --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Murphy, let the witness
14 answer the question and you will have sufficient time, unless there is an
15 error in the transcript.
16 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, I would just like to ask, just for
17 clarification, if Your Honour is asking the witness for a legal opinion,
18 whether Your Honour's question is directed to the practice of the Dutch
19 Army. Just what the parameters are so that the record is clear as to what
20 the witness's opinion is.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Murphy, if you are following
22 what I was saying, and as I know that you know French, that's the case for
23 the witness too, I asked what the rules of engagement were. The rules of
24 engagement that he was taught during his training, and the question was
25 quite precise, what sort of training did he have.
1 So my question is, what were you taught in conflict situations, or
2 when you were in a conflict situation, if your country is at war with
3 another country, your country is country A and you are a sniper of country
4 A engaged in a war against country B. What could you do, how could you
5 act as a sniper. What were you not allowed to do, what would you not be
6 allowed to do? According to what you were taught, I'm not asking you
7 about the law, I'm asking you what you were told, what sort of margin for
8 manoeuvre you had in the field.
9 THE WITNESS: We were told not to engage civilian targets, unless
10 the civilian targets were actively participating in a, you know,
11 threatening role. So if they were using weapons then they were not --
12 were not to be considered civilian anymore, but a combatant, part of the
13 warring factions.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So that was a
15 general principle that you were taught.
16 THE WITNESS: Yes.
17 MR. MUNDIS:
18 Q. Lieutenant let me just ask you about one other training course
19 that you attended. You mentioned before the police academy that you
20 attended. Can you tell us what you were taught at the police academy and
21 particularly the subjects that were relevant to producing the report that
22 you have produced for us here.
23 A. There are a lot of similarities between the police arms instructor
24 course compared to the sniper instructor course. Both cover shooting
25 training, so how to plan exercises for -- for trainees to become better
1 shooters than they usually are. Apart from that, we got subjects we were
2 trained on ballistics, how weapons are made up, how weapons operate, how
3 they -- and on the ballistics we received the lessons in how bullets
4 behave when they enter a soft tissue like human tissue.
5 Q. Other than that last subject matter, the effects of bullet
6 when they enter soft tissue, have you had, sir, any medical training
8 A. We do at my unit receive specialised medical training in which we
9 are shown wounds, bullet wounds on slides, so not live because that's
10 reserved for our medical personnel. But we do receive training as to how
11 bullet wounds, what they look like, what's an entry wound, what's an exit
12 wound and also what happens in the body when -- what a bullet does within
13 the human body.
14 Q. Lieutenant van der Weijden I'd now like to move on to another
15 topic, which is sniping in general, if you will. There is a section in
16 your report where you talk about laypersons' perceptions of sniping. Can
17 you briefly tell us about that part of your report?
18 A. In my experience there is a lot of difference between the military
19 sniper as trained in most western armies and the sniper as is portrayed
20 usually in the media. The military sniper is a professional who acts
21 within strict rules of engagement and who is considered a valuable tool on
22 the battlefield because he is able to surgically take out targets without
23 the risk of collateral damage. The media sniper, if I might call it like
24 that, is just of usually an unseen gunman that shoots at whatever he sees.
25 Examples of that are the Washington Sniper, as a couple -- for what
1 happened a couple of years ago, who wasn't a sniper but with a rifle. He
2 did have a scope, so there are some similarities. But it's different,
3 there are a lot of differences.
4 Q. Let's turn, sir, to the military use of the sniper. Can you tell
5 us what the functions and specific missions or taskings that are typically
6 given by militaries to sniper teams?
7 A. The main task of the sniper as is given, as are used in the NATO
8 armies are the neutralising of enemy personnel in the order of other
9 snipers or enemy snipers, enemy commanding personnel communication
10 specialists, cruiser weapons and command and control structures. So they
11 can be used in anti-materiel role as well. Apart from that, intelligence
12 gathering, covert intelligence gathering, by observation, advice to higher
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Lieutenant, we're going into
15 technical details more and more, and we're beginning to deal with rather
16 complicated issues. I would like what you say to be very clear. You said
17 that you were part of a special forces unit. And my question is: A
18 sniper within a special forces unit, is such a sniper identical to a
19 sniper in a classical military unit or is a special forces sniper a sniper
20 of a different kind? Does he have different sort of training, a different
21 weapon, different -- a different technique that he employs or is there
22 absolutely no difference?
23 THE WITNESS: There are differences between the snipers in special
24 forces operations or special forces and regular infantry units. The tasks
25 of the sniper that I've written down in the report are the task of the
1 general sniper, sniper in general, which are also applicable in regular
2 units. In addition, special forces snipers are by their nature, able to
3 operate more independently and behind enemy lines and -- but usually are
4 used in support of direct action operations, so a raid on a -- on -- yeah,
5 compound, in support of the assault element.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as equipment is
7 concerned, does a special forces sniper who is in the enemy's depth has --
8 have equipment that is different from that used by traditional units in
9 the field? If I just refer to the special forces, American in Vietnam, as
10 far as I know they had equipment that was different from the equipment
11 used by regular units. Could you provide us with some information on
12 these technical details? A minute ago I told you that we would be dealing
13 with technical issues, and here is the proof.
14 THE WITNESS: There are differences between -- in the equipment of
15 special forces units and regular units. In the Dutch Army and in most
16 NATO countries, actually, snipers in special forces units and the regular
17 unit have the same type of position rifle, so the same type of sniper
18 rifles, but special forces units in addition to have access to extra
19 sniper rifles. So maybe, for instance, suppressed rifles, which allow a
20 sniper to silently take down his target, or anti-materiel rifles which are
21 larger calibre, just to give special force teams which usually operate
22 on -- with a small amount of people, some extra power. But the basic
23 sniper rifle is usually the same as in regular infantry units.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And to finish this question and
25 also links up to a concern we had when a witness testified here, in the
1 case of special forces with a certain type of weapon, for example in
2 Vietnam, who didn't have an M16, they had a colt commando 15, which is a
3 smaller weapon than the M16, well, I'm interested in the flash at the time
4 that the shot is fired. When the ball exits the weapon of special forces
5 sniper or some other sniper, is there materiel that one can use, equipment
6 that can be used to conceal the flash when the shot is fired?
7 THE WITNESS: There are two ways to low -- to diminish the amount
8 of flash visible at the time of firing. The first one is the flash Hider
9 which is used on two rifles in the report, which is the Dragunov and the
10 M76. They do have a flash hider. It's a small metal addition at the end
11 of the barrel, with some -- some holes which allow the flame to
12 disintegrate in smaller flames, which makes it less -- less visible. The
13 other way to hide the flash would be to use the use of a suppressor, which
14 also diminishes the sound of the -- of the shot. And that absorbs the
15 flame of the -- the flash of the shot within the suppressor.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So a weapon that didn't have
17 these two devices, if it was used to fire a bullet, did that mean that the
18 flame coming out of the barrel is visible in daylight at a certain
20 THE WITNESS: In sniper training you also receive training in how
21 to -- because you have to approach the target and then shoot at the
22 target, but you also have to get away unseen of course for your own
23 protection. So there are ways in choosing your position, in which a flash
24 would be less visible. The bigger concern for the sniper is not the flash
25 but it is more the smoke that can be generated if the -- the rifle has not
1 been clean enough and there is some oil remnants within the barrel.
2 That's a bigger problem for the sniper than the flash itself.
3 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Lieutenant, I just have one
4 question that concerns the difference between a sharpshooter and a special
5 forces sniper. Can a difference be made on the basis of the distance
6 between them and their target? In other words, what's the greatest
7 possible distance that one could have between the shooter and the target,
8 and is there a difference as far as this distance is concerned when it
9 comes to these three categories of shooters?
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We apologise, Mr. Mundis, if you
11 wanted to put these questions. But as you can see the judges are so
12 impatient to go to the heart of the matter that we are already dealing
13 with these very technical details.
14 THE WITNESS: The differences would be that the sharpshooter would
15 have -- in most armies has a slightly different weapon. He has the same
16 rifle as the rest of his squad, but in addition he has a small scope on it
17 or a rifle sight, optical sight. Which allows him to strike out a little
18 farther than the rest of his squad, and the sniper in regular units, in
19 western armies has a bolt-action rifle which is a manually operated
20 rifle. Every time you shoot around you want to shoot again, you will have
21 to manually operate the rifle, pull it back, feed a new round into the
22 chamber, put the wire bolt forward, and then you will be able to fire
23 again. Most sharp shooters employ semi-automatic weapons that do that
24 automatically but have a mechanism within the trigger group which does not
25 allow them to fire automatically. So there is, on the distances, it
1 depends on the weapon system, it depends on the experience and the
2 qualities of the shooter so that it's different to say if -- but if I
3 would say a sniper with the same weapon as a sharpshooter, they would be
4 able to strike out at the same distance.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My colleague asked you to inform
6 us of the approximate distances. So that we could have an idea without
7 going into all the details, because we certainly will go into the details
8 during the course of your cross-examination. But roughly speaking what is
9 an average distance, what is the minimum distance, what was the greatest
10 possible distance.
11 THE WITNESS: The closest distance, of course, is -- well,
12 depending how far the target would be from the shooter. It can be very
13 close. If you look at police snipers, the average distance for police
14 snipers usually is 25 metres, so that's really close.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Kindly slow down, Witness, please, for the
17 THE WITNESS: Sorry. For military snipers would usually in
18 western armies with the ammunition that is used there, which is slightly
19 similar to the rounds that I've described in the report, the distance
20 for -- the maximum distance for a trainee to be able to hit a target would
21 be 800 metres and harassing fire, which is maybe hitting the target but at
22 least stopping him from doing what he was doing, would be 1.000 metres.
23 But the -- the maximum distance, there are records as early as in Vietnam
24 of 2500 metres. So depending on the calibre, it can be a very long
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And to conclude with this issue,
2 I think we've made much progress already. Depending on the distance one
3 might assume that the sight on the weapon plays a role. According to the
4 literature, it seems that the sight is X 4, X 6, X 10, times four, times
5 six, times ten. So the field of vision one has through the scope, if one
6 has an M82, for example, can one fire at a very long range?
7 THE WITNESS: It is possible to fire with -- even with a 10 times
8 magnification, to fire at over two kilometres. The chances would
9 diminish, of course, because of 10 times magnification, but it is possible
10 as long as the quality of the optic is good.
11 MR. MUNDIS:
12 Q. Can you briefly, Lieutenant van der Weijden tell us about the
13 methods or the methodology that snipers employ in carrying out their
15 A. It would be -- the difference -- I will split them into static --
16 static operations and -- or offensive operations. In offensive operations
17 a sniper would be given a target or an area on a map which he -- which he
18 would have to cover. He will do a map study, identify ways to approach
19 the target to get within a distance, within shooting distance. Then with
20 his spotter, who is a colleague sniper, but he is -- who is equipped with
21 usually optical equipment of a larger magnification such as a 20 times
22 magnification then with a team they will be inserted by tracked vehicle,
23 wheeled vehicle or on foot, ask they will infiltrate, make their way into
24 a sniper height or a position where they can keep their presence up for
25 the time asked for in the order, and they will set up their operations and
1 wait for the target to appear to take out the target.
2 In static operations, in a defensive environment, they could be
3 asked to occupy one position, map out or draw out range cards, which is a
4 card they draw out, what they see in front of them, houses, trees, measure
5 out the distances to the houses or trees so that when they have to fire
6 they can quickly determine what range it is so they can fire at their
7 targets, which takes, yeah, usually about a couple of hours to -- nowadays
8 with laser range finders to correctly draw out the cards. So there is --
9 for static operations there is less preparation necessary than for
10 offensive operations.
11 Q. You have mentioned sir laser range finders. Would you be able to
12 draw out or map out, produce range cards without laser range finders? And
13 if so, how would you do that?
14 A. Laser range finders have only been around since the mid-1990s and
15 then in small numbers. They're pretty common right now at this time, and
16 most sniper teams are equipped with laser range finders. But prior to
17 laser range finders the more conventional methods were taught and so that
18 judging distance, there are some -- you can, of course, first just on the
19 map identify your own position and with the use of built-up areas so you
20 can identify a house, try to locate on the map, just measure out the
21 distance, that would be one way, the easiest way. Another way to be to
22 compare -- comparative method is to pick yourself, in your mind, football
23 fields, if you are an active footballer, you will know about -- just about
24 at what distance a football field would be in the field and then multiply
25 the number of fields it would be until the target. That's the
2 Then you have a method, if the person's arms would be visible, it
3 would -- the person would be at 100 metres, if he would be just -- just a
4 silhouette, you wouldn't see any extremities, he would be at 200 metres,
5 just the way of appearance. But one of the most accurate methods is there
6 is -- the use of a formula, and with the use of the optical equipment.
7 But I would have to draw out that to -- to make it obvious because it is
8 very difficult to explain just verbally.
9 Q. Let me ask you this, sir: If there are ways -- you have talked a
10 number of times about distinguishing targets and distinguishing targets.
11 Are there ways that you can acquire the skills of how to make such
12 distinctions and if so, how do you do that?
13 A. Well, I think the quality of the -- the ability to distinguish
14 people from -- from one another is a quality that everyone has, except a
15 sniper might be able to do it at longer ranges because of training or
16 experience. As I have written in the report, a child compared to an
17 adult, if they were walking in front of a house at 500 metres, you
18 would -- and there was a doorway, the child wouldn't come up -- wouldn't
19 be -- would only come up to halfway the door, so that would easily
20 identify -- be identifiable as a child instead of an adult, who would come
21 up to three quarters of the doorway. So that would be one way to
23 The other way would be for combatants, non-combatants, camouflage
24 uniforms, colourful clothing, hairstyles, their actions, what they are
25 doing. If people are playing football, in combination of the way they
1 move. Because older people move differently because of the bone
2 structure -- yeah, young people, just normal observations, actually.
3 Q. Lieutenant van der Weijden, now you have talked about these
4 various training courses that you have attended. Would it be possible to
5 acquire many of these same kinds of skills without undergoing this type of
7 A. I do think so. If -- especially on shooting, if you would have a
8 hunting background, in hunting a lot of the skills used in sniper courses,
9 they come from hunting. The stalking, the term itself comes from stalking
10 the prey or just getting close to the prey you want to shoot. The Ghillie
11 suit, the camouflage equipment that we use as snipers is traditionally a
12 Scottish gamekeepers' uniform, so that it is -- there are a lot of
13 similarities between hunting and sniping. The -- a hunter would also be
14 to get close to its prey because animals have a -- more acute senses, so
15 if they detect people nearby, they will try to get away. So it will be
16 very important to get close to the animal unseen. And also if an animal
17 is not hit at the right spot, he will run away and die later out of your
18 sight, so you wouldn't have the -- the meat, if you wanted to eat the
19 animal. So it would be very important to hit the target at the right
20 spot, which would mean that you would have to correctly judge the distance
21 and know where to shoot at the animal. So there is a lot of similarities
22 between sniping and hunting. An observation, I think, I guess in my
23 opinion, just regular observation of people would give someone the ability
24 to distinguish people from combatant or civilian.
25 Q. Now, can you tell us again, let's switch back to the -- a
1 situation where there is a sniping training regimen, if you will, or
2 sniping courses. What level of skill would a shooter have to have in
3 order to be either selected for or to successfully pass, and again a
4 western or NATO-type sniping course?
5 A. Well, the shooter would have -- the trainee would have to be able
6 to hit the target with consecutive shots at almost the same -- he would
7 have to be able to get a group on the target at almost the same spot. So
8 even if he might be able to hit a target once, at exactly the right spot,
9 but would not be able to hit the target several times at the same spot,
10 that would make him less suitable instead -- compared to the shooter who
11 is not hitting the target at exactly the right spot but is able to hit the
12 target at that spot where he first hit for several times. So shooting
13 skills is of course important. But otherwise from that he would have to
14 be responsible, because he would operate alone or with a very small team.
15 He would have to be intelligent, he would have to be physically fit, good
16 eyesight. Although with good optical equipment, sometimes glasses would
17 not be that big of a problem.
18 Q. But just so that we're clear, sir, it's not possible to take a
19 typical infantry company and turn every one of them into a sniper?
20 A. No, because most people don't have the shooting skills to hit
21 targets at longer ranges, even with precision rifles.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My question concerns the current
23 situation rather than 1993 but, when training, are there psychological
24 test that is allow one to establish what the right psychological profile
25 for a sniper would be, I'm talking in particular to self-control, to
1 morale, to those sort of things. Are there well-developed tests for this
2 category of combatants?
3 THE WITNESS: For my unit we would already have a high filter just
4 to the unit, so we don't have additional psychological training for
5 becoming a sniper within my unit, and within the Dutch Army people are
6 usually tested psychologically to be able to operate under stress. And if
7 they are not able to operate under stress to a high degree, they would not
8 be placed at a responsible position, so they wouldn't be made a group
9 commander or a platoon commander.
10 MR. MUNDIS:
11 Q. Now, Lieutenant, I'd like to turn now to a new topic. Can you
12 tell us, sir, in taking on this project to produce your report, what were
13 the instructions that you were provided? What were you told to do in
14 producing this report?
15 A. From the ICTY I received of -- the minister of defence receives a
16 request for support in this investigation. Through my unit they asked me
17 if I could help them. I was asked to take a look at several incidents and
18 try to determine if the position that the witnesses gave as the possible
19 shooting location, if that was possible. If it was possible, at what
20 range would the shooting location would have been. For what type of rifle
21 would have been used, and if there were would be any other options of
22 course, if it would be the only position that the shots were fired from,
23 or would there be more possibilities.
24 Q. And in order to produce your report, sir, what materials were you
25 provided with by the Office of the Prosecutor?
1 A. Well, I have them with me. I was provided with photographs of
2 some of the scars of the victims to try to determine what kind of
3 ammunition or rifles were used. I was provided with the medical reports
4 as well as death certificates of the victims. And with some -- a map of
5 Mostar, some photographs of Mostar, and two cities, one with witness
6 interviews and one with 360 presentation of Mostar, which included all the
8 Q. Now, Lieutenant van der Weijden, when you say witness interviews,
9 can you tell us what that was, the video with the witness interviews, what
10 was the gist of those witness interviews that you have referred to?
11 A. On the witness interviews there was the investigator Carry Spork,
12 who was in contact with at the location where the incident happened, asked
13 the witnesses or victims to point out where the exact location was where
14 they were shot at, what they believed -- what their actions were at the
15 time, if they were -- if they were aware where they were fired on, from
16 where they were fired on. Just in general the -- try to -- the
17 description of the incidents.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One word, sir. You didn't go to
19 Mostar, you didn't visit the sites?
20 THE WITNESS: Well, in addition that's the instructions I
21 received, on the DVDs. After receiving the basic information, so the --
22 the photographs and the witness reports, for me it would have been -- it
23 was very helpful to be able to go to Mostar, to visit the sites, and also
24 to visit the alleged shooting locations to try to determine if it would be
25 possible to fire from those locations at the incident sites. So I did go
1 to Mostar for three days.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You went with Mr. Carry Spork,
3 did you?
4 THE WITNESS: Yes, I travelled along to Sarajevo, I was picked up
5 by Mr. Spork, accompanied -- together with a interpreter, a local
6 interpreter of the Sarajevo field office.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And did you meet any of the
8 victims there?
9 THE WITNESS: I didn't meet any of the victims. I did meet --
10 well, meet, I saw a witness in case number 3, he was the husband who found
11 his wife on the terrace. He had to open his door for me to take a look at
12 the terrace. So I didn't talk to him directly but I did see him.
13 MR. MUNDIS:
14 Q. Now, Lieutenant van der Weijden, do you recall whether you were
15 provided with any written statements of any of the witnesses to read?
16 A. I wasn't provided with any written statement. The only
17 description of the incident, apart from the video of the -- the DVD
18 compilation, was a summary of the incidents with the GPS coordinates of
19 the incident, just a quick description of the incident itself. I didn't
20 get the names of the victims. And there was also the alleged shooting
21 location on that summary.
22 Q. Now, sir, can you tell us, did you at any point in time read any
23 of the trial transcripts or watch any of the trial testimony, either live
24 or on the internet or on DVD, of any of the witnesses who have testified
25 in this case?
1 A. No, I have not.
2 Q. Now, Judge Antonetti a few moments ago asked you about your
3 mission to Mostar. Can you just -- and I'm going to go through each of
4 the incidents in the report with you a little bit later, but in just
5 general terms can you tell us what you did during the mission with respect
6 to each of the incidents that are set forth in the report? Just a very
7 broad description of what you did?
8 A. When I visited Mostar I visited each incident site and on the
9 exact location I set up a tripod with a laser range finder, a
10 military-grade laser range finder which is visible in one of the
11 photographs in the report. And from that location I tried to identify
12 which possibilities there would be for a sniper or a shooter to shoot from
13 at the incident site. Taking into account the differences in new
14 buildings or tree that is might have grown in the 10 years since the
15 incident. Measuring up -- lasering the exact distance, which has a
16 deviation of about two metres at 500 metres, so it can be two or -- two
17 metres more or two metres less. And drawing up rough sketches of the
18 situation itself, measuring up the angle towards the alleged shooting
19 location with a compass. And that's -- that's about it.
20 Q. And --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have explained how you
22 worked very well, but a crucial question is as follows: When you went to
23 the sites were you familiar with the military situation in 1993, which is
24 the time of the events? Were you familiar with the positions of units
25 that were present in the field, namely the HVO, the ABiH, and the Serbs?
1 Was this information integrated into your report, into your case study, or
2 did you make these sketches, these plans, did you reach your conclusions
3 without taking these various elements into consideration?
4 THE WITNESS: I wasn't familiar with the Mostar situation. I have
5 been to Bosnia on two deployments, the first time with UNPROFOR to Simin
6 Han [phoen], next to Tuzla, so I was more or less familiar with the
7 overall situation. As so -- yeah, just the difference in warring
8 factions, where the battlefield was. But not with Mostar in particular.
9 I passed through Mostar on going into Simin Han and going back to the
10 Netherlands just passing by in a truck. So I didn't get any glimpse of
11 Mostar at that time. Not more than a glimpse of Mostar at the time. And
12 the information I included on the equipment of the HVO is strictly from
13 literature conclusions from photographs that were -- from newspapers and
14 on the internet in which HVO, the HVO military was carrying those rifles
15 in their hands on the photograph. But I wasn't familiar with the military
16 situation at the time.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you did not incorporate into
18 your report the positions occupied by the HVO, the Serbs, and the BH Army,
19 because obviously the point of departure of the shots is fundamental and
20 the question is to know where they came from and who militarily occupied
21 those positions. But you didn't deal with that aspect.
22 THE WITNESS: No, I don't deal with that aspect. From a
23 military -- from my military background, I was able to identify all the
24 shooting of -- the alleged shooting locations as being very dominating
25 features within Mostar. So that they would be very suitable for military
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just to follow up more brutally, you did not
3 worry about who could have shot from there?
4 THE WITNESS: No, I just looked at it technically; was it possible
5 and what type of rifle would have been used.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
7 JUDGE PRANDLER: Again, a follow-up question. Even if you had not
8 worried about who could have shot from there, as Judge Trechsel just said,
9 but you are able to indicate to determine from what kind of place the shot
11 THE WITNESS: Yes, a lot of -- in most of the situations the
12 layout of the structures around the location extremely limited the
13 possibilities for the shooter to be at. So if we -- if we are going to go
14 into depth in the report, I could explain why -- almost the only
15 possibility to fire from would be the Stotina or Spanish Square or the
16 glass house.
17 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Mundis. You
19 probably intended to go into the cases one by one.
20 MR. MUNDIS: Well, I -- I am indeed intending on doing that,
21 Your Honour. I am simply at this point, trying to follow the guidelines
22 at least in part that were provided to us yesterday.
23 Q. Let me ask one more question, sir, in terms of how the report was
24 produced. Can you tell us how you actually produced the final version of
25 your report based on the information that was provided to you and the
1 information you obtained while you were in the field.
2 A. After returning to the Netherlands I -- well, I tried to -- I
3 tried to filter the information that I acquired in the field, and tried
4 to -- you know, put up a form that incorporated the questions that the
5 Tribunal wanted answered. So, you know, what would be -- just a short bit
6 of text about the type of rifle, the type of ammunition, a part on the
7 identification would have been possible to identify people at that
8 distance. Just an overall layout of the situation, and from -- from my
9 point of view, I added an appendix on the weapons that might have been
10 used together with a short part on the ammunition that was used. A
11 feature on the long-range shooting in general, the influences when you
12 fire a shot at long range, and just a general introduction on sniping in
14 Q. Let's turn now to --
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Mundis, I have a technical
16 question which I find important.
17 I am not exactly familiar with English, Dutch or any other
18 terminology, so I will describe what I mean. When you fix any of these
19 weapons absolutely, and you shoot 100 shots, all in the same direction,
20 what you get is not one big hole, but you get a dispersion or a diversion
21 or variance; what would be the correct word, and how does that look in
22 these cases? It depends, of course, on the distance. Could you give us
23 more information about this, please?
24 THE WITNESS: The difference in -- the number of -- if it's a
25 group of shots we just call it a group, just -- and the difference between
1 the holes which the bullets may get just a target on a range, they're
2 influenced from second to second wind conditions can change so that can
3 alter the sight deviations. But also the most important one is the first
4 shot that you shoot out of a rifle with a clean barrel, the barrel is
5 still cold and we call that a cold-bore shot. Because the gases -- the
6 gases that are produced within the bullet, the firing pin strikes the
7 primer, the propellant starts to burn, and the heat -- the heat of the
8 gases will push the bullet out of its casing and out of the barrel. In
9 doing that, the period of time it gets out of its casing and barrel, the
10 heat is also absorbed by the barrel, which means there will be less power
11 because there is less heat to be taken up by the barrel. So that
12 changes -- that means at longer ranges you get a difference in the height
13 but there is a just a lot of factors that come into play when shooting at
14 a long-range. Longer range.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Usually, at least that is what I have
16 experienced, learned and experienced in shooting, no weapon is so perfect
17 that at a distance of several hundred metres even perhaps not necessarily
18 considering the wind, humidity in there and all that, the bullets will not
19 all be in the same spot, and normally one produces pictures which show a
20 dispersion which resembles a bit the curve of Gauss and then one -- there
21 are is a terminology, and a standard to say at this distance so and so
22 many shots are within this range, but in a larger and still a few are far
23 off. Would you confirm that?
24 THE WITNESS: That is correct. It is caused by all -- by all
25 these influences. Sniper rifles nowadays, and also sporting rifles, they
1 have sort of a certificate of accuracy, so -- which they call minute of
2 angle, which is at 100 metres 1.25 centimetres. So if a rifle is a half
3 MOA, as we call it, accurate, it means that you can fire three or five
4 shots within 1.25 centimetres. But it's not technically possible to at
5 every time at a long distance get the bullets in the same hole.
6 What we do is at a longer range we measure up the group and then
7 determine the -- a difference --
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The mean distribution.
9 THE WITNESS: The mean distribution and use that as our
10 information for next time we shoot at that distance.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: And is it correct, Lieutenant, that the
12 progression where the distance is geometric; that is to say, it augments
13 by the square?
14 THE WITNESS: Yes.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A question which is along the
16 lines of the questions already posed. In theory, a sniper at a distance
17 between four and 500 metres with his rifle and his optic sights, is he
18 capable of hitting an individual at a certain point in his body, a
19 specific point? For example, the heel of a leg, can he do that?
20 THE WITNESS: Well, from my personal experience it would be
21 possible, but if he is hit at the heel, the sniper will probably just
22 aimed at the person and the bullet ended up at the heel. So it's --
23 for -- in my unit we maintain for a head shot to have a certified head
24 shot in case of a hostage situation. We don't give a guarantee above 300
25 metres so we would have to get closer to the target to hit the target at
1 300 metres. So it's very difficult to say, I'm going to hit him there,
2 because -- because of all the conditions that come into play.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does that mean then, because
6 what you're saying is very important, does that mean then that at a
7 distance above 300, 400 metres, it is impossible for a sharpshooter to
8 pick a part of the body and hit it exactly? He would be actually
9 targeting the body - is that what you said? - and then the bullet would
10 hit either the head, the neck, the thorax, the leg. Or with a good weapon
11 with a weapon that's already shot with the heat from the gases and by
12 using optic sights, if one had all that and if one was targeting the head,
13 he would hit the head; if he was targeting the arm, he would hit the arm;
14 if he was targeting the leg, he would hit the leg. What can you tell us
15 about that?
16 THE WITNESS: That would be a very -- if you wanted to just wound
17 the person, it would be very unwise at large -- of greater distances above
18 300 metres to aim at the person and say I want to shoot him in the arm.
19 Because -- because of the spreading conditions, it's -- it -- the chances
20 are too big that you might hit the body instead of the arm.
21 MR. MUNDIS:
22 Q. Lieutenant van der Weijden, I'm going to turn now to weapons and
23 ammunition, and this is covered -- this is covered in appendix A of your
24 report, which if we want to put it up on e-court is page 43. This is P
25 09808. The report is P 09808, and page 43 in e-court.
1 Sir, you have a copy of your report in front of you, do you not?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. If you could turn please to appendix A. Can you describe for us
4 what appendix A sets forth, what information, what type of information is
5 contained in this appendix to your report?
6 A. In the -- in the appendix I tried to give an overall view of
7 the -- of weapons that were used at the time. With their -- what their
8 calibre was, what their maximum effective range was, which is different
9 from their maximum range in total. It's just the effective range that --
10 that's when the shooter might have a reasonable chance of hitting the
11 target. So the bullet will actually go a lot further, but with a very
12 slight chance that you might hit the target and just with a general
13 comment of what -- a general description of the weapon.
14 Q. Now, let me just ask you a follow-up questions, sir. First of
15 all, what is the source of the information that's contained on this
16 weapons chart that's appendix A to your report?
17 A. The source is, as I have written on the last page, it's -- it's
18 Jane's infantry weapons, which is a big book, which is describes basically
19 all the infantry weapons of the world, which are currently in service
20 along with their main characteristics and photos.
21 Q. Okay. Now, line 2 of page 71 in capturing an answer to an earlier
22 question, you say, "Weapons that were used at the time." And my question
23 to you, sir, is, used by whom or used by which military forces?
24 A. These were weapons used by the HVO. I realise that I didn't get
25 any instructions as to who might have fired the shots, but I am aware of
1 the case of course, that it's -- so I assumed for myself that the HVO was
2 the point of interest. Most of the weapons were actually used by all
3 warring factions but some weapons were specific for the HVO.
4 Q. And again two follow-up questions: How do you know that these
5 specific types of weapons were used by the HVO?
6 A. These two weapons I know of is they appeared in some literature,
7 which is the book, "Stalk and Kill" by Adrian Gilbert in addition, as I
8 have referred to earlier, from photographs at -- from that time, which
9 show HVO soldiers with those weapons.
10 Q. You have also mentioned, Lieutenant, that most -- and again this
11 is lines 22 and 23 of page 71, "Most of the weapons were actually used by
12 all warring factions." Can you elaborate upon that part of your
13 statement, and particularly in light of the comments box on the far
14 right-hand side of appendix A?
15 A. Could you ...
16 Q. I note, sir, that in the comment part on the farther right-hand
17 column of your report, some of these weapons are Soviet bloc or American
18 made or western made. Can you elaborate upon that part of your report in
19 light of what you told us that most of these weapons were used by all the
20 warring factions?
21 A. Yes, I can. Yugoslavia had a very active weapon industry,
22 Asastafo [phoen], which was the main factory and the main supplier for the
23 Yugoslav army, produced the M70 and the M76 and the M59. They were all
24 present at the time the conflict started and were used by all factions as
25 what's shown in news reports and photos in the media as well. For the
1 western sniper rifles, from my experience and from military reports the
2 Croatians -- this is somewhat on assumption on my side. The Serbs made up
3 a lot of the -- of the medium and higher cadre of the Yugoslav army and
4 therefore had more access to the former Yugoslavian army equipment. The
5 Croats therefore had to procure more weapons from where they could be
6 procured, such as the Steyr and the SIG-Sauer.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, looking at the list of
8 weapons, I have two observations to make. I can see that the M48 doesn't
9 figure there. It's a weapon that the Defence brought up with several
10 witnesses on several occasions. Do you know about this M48 rifle? What
11 it is?
12 THE WITNESS: The name -- I know -- I can't picture myself the
13 exact weapon. I might recognise it when I see a picture of it, but, yeah,
14 sometimes there can be differences.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence will certainly come
16 back to the matter, but in looking at the photographs of the weapons, the
17 first observation that I can make is that there are some weapons with
18 tripods, which were probably used by snipers that are in a -- that are
19 hidden. And then the SSG69, that's another weapon, and we have the
20 impression that these are weapons that can be used by somebody who is
21 standing, like Lee Oswald, Adelis [phoen], and so on, these people who
22 had rifles like that and shot, and they were standing in a standing
24 Now, are there different techniques for somebody who is crouching,
25 shooters standing and shooters that are prone, in the prone position and
1 in the standing position?
2 THE WITNESS: The first -- the photo -- the pictures of the rifles
3 shown, is that page 71 or 72. Because in my report I don't have the --
4 the same numbers as.
5 MR. MUNDIS: It's page 44 in e-court is appendix A, page 2.
6 THE WITNESS: So on page 44, the only weapon that would not be
7 suitable for standing, shooting standing up, would be the M82 because it's
8 too heavy, it's over 10 kilo, so that is a bit heavy for standing shooting
9 up [sic]. But all rifles can be fired shooting -- for standing up. The
10 only difference is the bi-pod aids the shooter in a prone position, so
11 lying down. But if there is no -- for me personally, I prefer shooting
12 from a sandbag instead of the bi-pod because with the bi-pod it is a
13 different kick every time you fire. So the SSD69 is a very suitable
14 sniper rifle but just doesn't have the bi-pod.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you. Please
17 MR. MUNDIS:
18 Q. Again, Lieutenant van der Weijden let me ask you about the weapons
19 that are contained on appendix A, the first page of that under the
20 subcategory rifles. Which of these weapons listed under the rifles
21 category would be suitable for a military sniper to use?
22 A. Well, that would be the difference between the Soviet approach or
23 the former eastern bloc approach and the western approach. In the western
24 approach, snipers have always -- snipers have always been equipped with a
25 bolt-action rifle which is a more precise rifle in general, which allows
1 the sniper to -- yeah, they usually have a longer range than
2 semi-automatic rifles. The snipers in the western armies, as described in
3 the introduction, are usually employed in a separate sniper platoon at the
4 battalion level. The Soviets had a different approach, they had -- the
5 Dragunov or the M76 which is similar in a lot of ways was mainly used at
6 platoon level, so they placed their snipers at the platoon level, but the
7 semi-automatic and therefore has less reach than a bolt-action rifle. Of
8 course depending on the ammunition that is used.
9 Q. Again, perhaps my question wasn't clear, but of the rifles listed,
10 and there are eight rifles listed on appendix A, which of those are
11 suitable for use in sniping?
12 A. The ones that would be suitable would be the M76, the Steyr SSG69,
13 the SIG-Sauer 2000 or 3000, the Dragunov could be suitable but is a bit of
14 an overkill for shooting on people, and the H and K G3SG/1, those are all
15 suitable. The ones that are not suitable for sniping are the M70 or the
17 Q. And why are the M70 and M59 not suitable for sniping in your
19 A. It's on two parts. As for semi-automatic, it can be used -- a
20 semi-automatic sniper rifles they do exist and they do produce reasonable
21 results. Depending on how you look at it, but it's the calibre mostly
22 that makes the rifle not suitable for sniping. If I compare the round,
23 the 7.62 times 39, the 39 stands for the length of the casing, and
24 therefore also for the amount of propellant available for the bullet, if I
25 compare that to the ammunition that is used in the Dragunov or the M76,
1 which is the 70.62, which is the same calibre times 54, so it's the same
2 calibre but with a longer case, the energy which the M76 has when leaving
3 the barrel is more than 4.000 joule, and the energy the M70 has when
4 leaving the barrel is 2.000 joule. So that's a big difference. At 500
5 yards the energy of the M70 would already have dropped 75 per cent to
6 around 500 joule. At the same range, the M76 round would still have
7 almost 2.000 joules, almost the same as the M70 had as zero -- when
8 leaving the barrel. So that makes -- that's the big difference.
9 And the M59 used the same ammunition as the M70, and the other
10 concern is that the M70, although some versions do have a mounting
11 platform for a night vision scope or a different type of scope, the basic
12 sights of the weapon are open iron sights in -- which in my opinion are
13 certainly not suitable for long-range shooting because they are
14 comparable, the sights on those rifles are comparable to the sights found
15 on the basic air gun. So it's a short sight line that's the distance
16 between the dioptre or the open feed and the front post. So it makes it
17 difficult to aim at a longer distance.
18 Q. And Lieutenant van der Weijden, of these rifles that you have
19 identified as being suitable for sniping --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petkovic. You will
21 have ample time to ask questions later, but what was it you wanted to
23 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Just an explanation from
24 the witness. The M76 rifle, would you read out the calibres it uses,
1 THE WITNESS: The calibres that the M76 uses, according to Jane's
2 infantry weapons, so they were produced at some time is the 7.92 Mauser
3 round, which is an older round from the Germans in World War II and older
4 actually, a machine-gun produced in Yugoslavia. The 7.62 times 54 R,
5 which is a Soviet round, and it was produced for export in 7.62 times 54
6 NATO, that's a NATO round, according to Jane's infantry weapons, of
8 THE ACCUSED PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] One more question. You are
9 here as an expert. Is it possible that a rifle uses 7.92 and 7.62
10 calibres? Look at the difference in calibre. Now, will this lower
11 calibre just fall through the barrel, it will just fall through the
12 barrel, the 7.62 one. Let me tell you this too: The 7.9 [as interpreted]
13 millimetre is not used, so as an expert you could have seen that the two
14 that are -- one rifle cannot use two different types of calibre. You
15 can't put a big thing in a small hole, if I can put it that way.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I took note of that problem
17 because in the Zastava 76 you say 7.92 Mauser, 7.62, 54 R, 7.62 51
18 millimetres, and there you say NATO. That was a question I asked myself
19 too. The Zastava M76, can it use three types of ammunition of different
20 calibres? And although the difference is slight between the 7.62 types,
21 it is quite a lot with respect to the 7.92 Mauser, so that is the question
22 I was asking myself too and wondering about.
23 THE WITNESS: I didn't maybe make myself clear that much. The
24 rifles were produced in those calibres, it doesn't mean that they were
25 suitable for all calibres at the same time. So if you -- they made one
1 rifle chambered because you would have a different chamber because it's a
2 longer casing, so they wouldn't be able to fire all three rounds from one
3 rifle. You would have three rifles basically the same, only the chamber
4 difference for the 7.69, slightly bigger diameter.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So the Zastava M76 rifle had a
6 chamber and a canon for the Mauser type, whereas another one could only
7 use the 7.62, which means that the M76 could come in three different
8 formats, so to speak.
9 THE WITNESS: That's correct.
10 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. Now, Lieutenant van der Weijden, of these rifles that you have
12 listed in appendix A and which you have indicated were suitable for
13 sniping, which of those rifles to your knowledge, if any, were used by the
15 A. I believe at the time all rifles were present. But it would be
16 very difficult to determine exactly which rifle was used at the time of --
17 for each incident, but it would be possible to determine what type of
18 calibre was used. So it would be a group of rifles that could have been
19 used for the incident, for the shot, instead of just specifying one
21 Q. My question then, sir, is what the group of rifles that are among
22 those listed on appendix A that you have identified as being suitable for
24 A. Those would be the rifles that I've read out before. It's the
25 M76, the SSG 69, the SSG 2.000/3.000 - those are two models, actually -
1 the Dragunov, and the G3 SG/1.
2 Q. Let's turn now to the next subsection of appendix A which lists
3 two types of machine-guns. Can you tell us whether either of those two
4 types of machine-guns would be suitable for sniping?
5 A. Well, the machine-guns, they can be used for sniping. It's --
6 it's not suitable, but from my experience with the machine-guns we have in
7 the Dutch Army, it is possible, if you -- instead of using length
8 ammunition, and you put one round on the feeding tray to hit a target at a
9 longer range, so it is possible, but then again with the M70 it would be
10 possible to at a long-range, hit a target, but you wouldn't have a
11 guarantee, you would have a very small chance of hitting it.
12 Q. And the same question then, sir, with respect to the anti-aircraft
13 canyon that you have listed at the very bottom of appendix A at the top of
14 page 2 of that appendix. Would that be suitable for use in a sniping
16 A. That would not be suited for a sniper role. It would be suitable
17 for a ground role, so they are very -- very efficient, actually in a
18 ground role, but they are not used in the sniping role.
19 Q. Can I ask you then, sir, why you included these two machine-gun
20 types and this anti-aircraft canon in the report just for purposes of
22 A. In case number 5, which -- let me just look for certain. Yeah,
23 incident number 5, there was a case in which three females were shot
24 within the apartment, so they were fired, shot at through the wall, and
25 there was talk of explosions within the room. Therefore, you would have
1 to use a larger calibre, which would be able to held some type of
2 explosive or incendiary ammunition, which is -- produces or starts fire.
3 And they only exist in the anti-aircraft or the larger machine-guns.
4 MR. MUNDIS: And again, Your Honours, Mr. President, for the
5 record, incident 5 and incident 12 were removed from the schedule of
6 sniping incidents based on the expert's report. So he has made reference
7 to incident 5 as a result of this report incident 5 and incident 12 are no
8 longer listed in the report but I believe his answer explains why those
9 weapons are contained in the report.
10 Q. Let me just ask you perhaps one last very short line of questions
11 before we take the next break. And that deals with ammunition, and what
12 types of ammunition are suitable for use in sniping. And I know that this
13 is contained on pages 4 and 5 of appendix A to your report. Can you just
14 briefly tell us first of all, sir, what are the various subcomponents of a
16 A. Of a bullet itself, so it's not the round.
17 Q. Actually, I misspoke. Let's talk about the round itself first.
18 A. Okay. The round itself consists of the bullet, the propellant, a
19 shell which contains the propellant and a firing cap which contains the
20 very sensitive explosive material which can cause the propellant starting
21 to burn. The propellant doesn't explode, as is sometimes thought, but it
22 burns. So it is made out of the components of the case or shell or casing
23 and the bullet, and then the propellant within the case.
24 Q. And again, for purposes of clarification, when you talk about the
25 propellant, what would a layman consider the propellant to be, or how
1 would a layperson refer to the propellant, generally?
2 A. Probably gunpowder, but gunpowder is older. New materials have
3 been made. Gunpowder produced a lot of smoke at the time, but now they
4 have, based on nitrocellulose, they have made gunpowder that is almost
5 smoke free.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For those who aren't in the
7 know, could you describe the exit of the projectile, the firing pin, the
8 charge? Could you -- the primer? Could you describe what happens, in
9 fact, before the projectile exits the barrel?
10 THE WITNESS: When pulling the trigger a firing pin is released
11 which strikes the firing cap within the firing cap there is a sort of --
12 the firing pin acts as the hammer and there is a little bent or a little
13 metal surface which acts as an anvil, so very little explosive charge is
14 within the firing cap, and between sort of the hammer and anvil, and that
15 compression of the material starts, causes the material to cause a flash.
16 That flash starts to burn, if -- the propellant starts to burn because of
17 the flash. The flash, because of the gases that heat up, they want to
18 expand, which pushes the bullet out of the -- out of the casing and out of
19 the Chamber into the barrel. Within the barrel there is rifling, which
20 is, for those people who have ever seen a James Bond movie, in the opening
21 scene there is sort of a diaphragm, and that's what you would see if you
22 look through a barrel. So it's a rifling that pushes the bullet and
23 stabilises the bullet when it leaves the barrel. So that is the process
24 in general of a rifle shot.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And when the bullet exits the
1 barrel, what speed does it travel at? How many metres per second?
2 THE WITNESS: It depends on the number of the -- the round, of
3 course. For instance the 7.62 times 39, so the standard Kalashnikov
4 round. I have it here. It depends, of course, on the -- which -- which
5 factory produces it and what type of bullet it is but in general it leaves
6 the barrel at about 700 metres a second, slightly above 700 metres, but
7 the more suitable sniper rounds, they leave the barrel at over 800 metres.
8 So 820, 860 metres per second, with zero velocity [sic].
9 MR. MUNDIS:
10 Q. I have just a couple more questions about ammunition and then we
11 could --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At 860 metres per second, that a
13 means that a target at about 400 metres can be reached in half a second.
14 By a bullet travelling at that speed.
15 THE WITNESS: That would be only possible in a vacuum, because of
16 the wind resistance or the air resistance, which can be different because
17 of humidity, the altitude at which the shot is fired causes the bullet to
18 slow down. So at -- if there would be no gravity but just air resistance,
19 at a great range you would be able to just pick the will you tell out of
20 the sky because it had slowed down that much.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: As seen from the target, first you would see the
22 light, second the sound, or second the bullet and third the sound?
23 Excuse me. Excuse me. In which order does the target get
24 information of the shot? First it must be the light, and then the bullet
25 and then the sound, or first the sound and then the bullet? I think it is
1 above sound speed, but I'm not quite sure.
2 THE WITNESS: It depends on the type of ammunition. If you have
3 subsonic ammunition that travels under the speed of sound, well, the
4 bullet would be slower than the speed of sound. So it is -- depends on
5 the range that the shooter is. But first typically it would be the flash,
6 the muzzle flash or the smoke because you can see that at the speed of
7 light, which is the fastest speed that we know, then there would be the
8 bullet striking the target, and afterwards you would hear the -- the
9 sound. But at closer ranges, so under 300 metres, the sound would
10 almost -- of the shot would almost reach you simultaneously, with the
11 bullet it would be just too -- too little time to clearly distinguish the
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. All of that
15 information was very precise.
16 Mr. Mundis, it is necessary to have our break.
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could we just correct some
18 information? The speed of sound is 330 metres a second. If a bullet
19 travels at 800 metres per second then it can cover 100 or 200 metres or
20 500 metres to its target. There will always be a difference between the
21 point at which a bullet impacts. If the bullet hits the head the person
22 will die, won't hear anything. If he is wounded then after a certain time
23 he will hear the sound. If he is incapable of hearing the sound, whether
24 it is a distance of 300, 400 or 500 metres, the speed of sound, which is
25 twice the speed of sound [as interpreted], can never be simultaneous with
1 the sound heard. Thank you very much.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, do you agree with what
3 the accused has just said?
4 THE WITNESS: I do agree to a certain point. As I explained,
5 there will always be a difference in time between the bullet striking the
6 target and the sound. But unfortunately our brain doesn't always
7 cooperate. So for the senses to get the message through to the -- to the
8 brain, and it's the same with -- with eyesight, for the brain it will --
9 for the person itself those will be at shorter distances, shorter ranges
10 they could arrive in -- in the victim's perception at the same time. So
11 it -- well, physically from a physics point of view, they would arrive at
12 a different time, but for his perception it would be very difficult to
13 distinguish the sound that -- yeah, can be the same thing for the victim.
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: To put the issue very simply, by no way would the
15 victim hear a sound and maybe even have a chance to put down his or her
16 head before the bullet comes, that is completely illusory, right?
17 THE WITNESS: Yes.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
20 Mr. Mundis, we have to have our break now. After the break we
21 will have another hour at our disposal. Will one hour be sufficient for
22 you to cover all the incidents for which we have sketches and various
23 hypotheses concerns the weapons involved and the ammunition.
24 MR. MUNDIS: You had one other area to talk about and that was
25 just some basic information about basic ballistics and trajectories and
1 scopes and how to compensate for these matters, and then going through the
2 various incidents. We will do the best we can with the time available,
3 Mr. President.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will resume at
5 five past 6.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 5.48 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 6.06 p.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have 55 minutes left. I'd to
9 inform the parties that we have to stop at 7.00 p.m., and likewise
10 tomorrow because we have worked overtime twice this week and that causes
11 problems for the interpreters, other staff members. At 7.00 p.m. We have
12 to stop.
13 Please go ahead.
14 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Now, Lieutenant van der Weijden, can you very briefly describe --
16 you've told us the components of the round, can you tell us the bullet
18 A. The bullet itself, it's made up of a copper mantle, usually
19 copper, there are some other, but mainly it's a copper coating around a
20 lead core. And that's the usual, but if it's a full-metal jacket that's
21 usually used in the army. Apart from that, within the army there is also
22 a component bullet which still has a full copper coating, but inside there
23 is a steel tip for better penetration. So it's made up out of two
24 components within the core, a small steel tip, and just behind that the
25 lead core of the bullet. The copper coating is primarily for
1 anti-oxidation of the lead, but also for pushing the bullet into the
2 grooves to get the right twist going through the barrel.
3 Q. Now, Lieutenant van der Weijden, I would like to ask you a few
4 questions, a very few questions about basic ballistics and I would ask if
5 perhaps the usher could hand the witness just some blank paper. We
6 discussed yesterday or the day before sir using a big white board, but I
7 think it might be easier if we put the paper there and everybody can
8 observe that on their computer screens.
9 Can you just draw a basic diagram of the trajectory that a bullet
10 takes upon exiting the barrel of a rifle?
11 A. Well, if this would be just a barrel, just because it's physics
12 and with the main influence of gravity, if a bullet goes out of a barrel
13 it starts to go down and never goes above the barrel if the barrel is
14 completely level. And because the problems that would cause at longer
15 ranges because the bullet would be going into the ground, with the use of
16 a scope or other sights, the bullet, the barrel is compensated for the
17 range, so and with the sight above it, it would come together at a certain
18 distance at which distance you know the line of sight, so the sight
19 picture that the shooter would have would completely coincide with the
20 bullet trajectory. This means, of course, that if you -- this --
21 incorrectly judge the distance, so if this would be 300 metres but the
22 target would actually be at 250 metres, the bullet would strike above the
23 target or higher in the target. If you would -- if the distance would be
24 350 metres, the line of sight, so that he thinks he would be aiming here,
25 but the bullet would actually strike lower in the target. So it is very
1 important to get -- to get the sight adjusted for the right distance.
2 Q. Now, can you please explain how the sight is adjusted to get to
3 the right distance, as you put it?
4 A. Yes, well, I will explain for an optical sight, just the basic
5 shape of an optical sight as most people know it. It would be a tube like
6 this, and if we would enlarge this within this circle, you would have a
7 sort of a rubber O-ring, which holds a tube within the tube. So that's --
8 you know, this is the -- a glass lens, which -- it contains a glass lens.
9 If you would look through it, it would contain the radical with which the
10 shooter aims.
11 On the scope itself there are controls or turrets. Those turrets
12 are -- this one would be the elevation. It does hold a screw, if the
13 screw -- the fret would be like this. If you would turn the turret like
14 that, you would press this part, the tube, you would press it down, which
15 would alter the line of sight compared to the -- the barrel. Is that
16 adequate enough?
17 Q. Can you tell us what would physically happen to the sight as it's
18 mounted on the rifle, if anything, as a result of making this adjustment
19 on the screw of the sight?
20 A. Well, because the controls are done internally, I will go to the
21 next page, so again just a basic set up of a scope, if the rifle is --
22 this would be the stock and just the rifle, it would mean that at the
23 longer distance you would have to compensate by holding the barrel up.
24 The side picture would go down, which would cause the shooter to get the
25 right side picture, would cause the shooter to aim the barrel higher. So
1 that would be the interaction between the sight and the barrel.
2 Q. Can you tell us, sir --.
3 MR. MUNDIS: Perhaps I could ask those diagrams be given IC
4 numbers, please.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Put your initials on the first
6 one. And we will have an IC number for this first sketch.
7 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become IC 381.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And do the same for the second
11 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And a second number for this
14 THE REGISTRAR: The second sketch will become Exhibit IC 382.
15 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you very much.
16 Q. Lieutenant van der Weijden, could you please tell us what factors
17 will influence the bullet as it leaves the barrel of the rifle and travel
18 the downrange?
19 A. The main influence would be the gravity that pulls the bullet down
20 to earth, which causes the bullet to drop. That would be the biggest
21 influence. The part that I mentioned before, the air resistance, the
22 thickness of the air causes more friction to the bullet, which slows the
23 bullet more. So in a tropical country the bullet will slow down faster
24 than in a temperate climate. In addition, the air at a higher altitude
25 contains less molecules will slow down a bullet less than at sea level.
1 The air at sea level is thicker, so more air resistance, so -- yeah, more
2 slowing down of the bullet. And for the sideways correction, the big
3 influence is the wind cross-examination. At 500 yards, which is
4 approximately 450, 460 metres, for the 7.62 times 54 rounds, which is used
5 in the -- in M76 or the Dragunov, at 500 yards, the deviation with a
6 slight wind, which is just a small breeze, will already push the bullet
7 out of its way 45 centimetres to the left or the right if the wind would
8 be complete a cross wind. So a difference if it deviate, if the wind came
9 from just -- just right behind you, in front of you, in coming from -- a
10 2.00 position, is that so that would push the bullet in a different way,
11 of course so this is a cross wind, exact 90-degree angle. That is the big
13 There is another one shooting at an angle, upwards or downwards,
14 which I can explain easily with a drawing. If the shooter would be up
15 here, so this would be the rifle so the shooter would be up here and the
16 target would be the circle at the bottom, he would measure the distance
17 like this, but the gravity only pulls on the bullet for this distance. So
18 either shooting up or down, you will -- it's the -- you will -- the bullet
19 will always end up higher than you -- sorry. Than you intend. So yeah,
20 it's just Pythagorus, or a simple calculation. You calculate the distance
21 and set up the rifle for the distance, but it is actually only this
22 distance that would be covered by the bullet ballistically.
23 Q. Again, if you could sign that document and we would ask for an IC
24 number for this sketch as well, please.
25 A. [Marks]
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A number, please.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become IC 383.
3 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you very much.
4 Q. Lieutenant van der Weijden, can you tell us the steps that a
5 shooter would take to compensate for all of these factors that affect the
6 trajectory of the bullet?
7 A. For this -- the shooter has the ability of his -- the distance
8 measuring methods, so nowadays use -- well mostly it is done by laser
9 range finding. Before he would use his calculation, the map or as I
10 explained before, he would compensate for that in -- with the use of a
11 table which tells him at what distance, how many adjustments he has to
12 make to the sight to compensate for the influences, so for the wind or the
13 distance or upward angle.
14 Q. Let me ask you, you told us earlier this afternoon about shooting
15 from a static location. Do you remember talking about that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In terms of compensating for these various factors, would there be
18 certain advantages for a shooter who was at a static location?
19 A. There would be. If you arrive at a -- during an offensive
20 operation, you end up -- you arrive at a location, you usually only have
21 one moment for the shot, so you would have to be very secure, if you are
22 in a static position for a longer time, you would be able to take shots,
23 see what their impact is, and compensate for the impact so that next time
24 when shooting on that location, on the exact same spot, you would be able
25 to hit the spot where you intend to hit it.
1 Q. We're going to turn now, Lieutenant, to the specific incidents,
2 the 12 incidents that are contained in your report. And before we do
3 that, I'd like you to again just very briefly tell us, we will turn first
4 to incident number 1, which is page 9 in the written report, page 10 in
5 e-court, and again it's P 09808 and in e-court page 10, otherwise page 9
6 of the hard copy. Now, Lieutenant, again, to be as general as possible,
7 can you tell us using this incident as an example, the steps that you took
8 while on the mission in Mostar in the autumn of 2004?
9 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, if this would be a good moment so that I
10 only have to do this once, but for the record I would like to place on the
11 record my objection to the witness being asked for his opinion on these
12 incidents. Now, this has been a very interesting symposium on various
13 aspects of shooting and, like everybody else in the courtroom, I admire
14 the work that Your Honours have done in preparation for this and your
15 knowledge of these aspects.
16 But this is a trial. And we have to have some standards here.
17 What's going on is this: That a decade after the event this witness, who
18 has no background in criminal investigation whatsoever, is going to be
19 asked to reconstruct these events. Your Honour, if I may finish, we've
20 had a long afternoon, I'm only asking for two minutes here. There is a
21 class of expert witnesses called ballistics experts whose job is to
22 reconstruct crime scenes. This witness is not such an expert. No
23 contemporary investigation was done. He has not spoken to any of the
24 witnesses. It's speculation on speculation.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Murphy, the Chamber has
1 decided that this witness should testify. So this does not pose a problem
2 of any kind for us. In our opinion he is quite capable of testifying.
3 The Prosecution is now showing him a sketch that he drafted and the
4 Prosecution will ask him why he drafted such a sketch, why he determined
5 that there were certain angles there. We will draw our conclusions and in
6 the course of your cross-examination you can prove the contrary. You will
7 have ample opportunity to demonstrate that his work is of no worth. But
8 before that, we want to listen to the witness. We are -- you are making
9 us waste time. We are not a common law system, we are working within a
10 system of international justice, and there is a procedure that provides
11 for expert witnesses to testify. And the Judges decide on matters after
12 the examination-in-chief and the cross-examination has been conducted. We
13 have to establish beyond all reasonable doubt where the shots were fired
14 from. We had a witness who came here to explain these things to us. We
15 now have someone who has come to provide with other information.
16 Mr. Praljak provided us with demonstration to the contrary. You may also
17 act in that manner. So there we have it.
18 Mr. Mundis please continue, and, Mr. Murphy, if you want to repeat
19 that, you will do so in the course of your cross-examination. The
20 transcript says that it's not an expert witness and [indiscernible] would
21 be best for him to leave immediately. We have understood your submission,
22 but we believe that the examination should continue.
23 So please continue, Mr. Mundis.
24 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Now, Lieutenant van der Weijden could you please use incident one
1 as an example to give us more detail of how you went about producing the
2 report in -- of the incidents in terms of what you did while in Mostar in
3 the autumn of 2004, please.
4 A. Using incident one, the first three captions, the situation, GPS
5 reading, and alleged shooting position, those were the -- was the
6 information provided to me in the summary. I visited the incident site at
7 the exact GPS reading, with the use of a GPS at the location of the
8 victim. I set up a tripod with a laser range finder and scanned the --
9 the surroundings for possible shooting locations, taking into account the
10 type wound that was caused, made a sketch of the situation to include in
11 the report, and determine the range to the location which I thought was
12 most suitable as a shooting location. I included additional information
13 from the distance at the time I -- together with the investigator, I -- I
14 also made a stop with a good overview of Mostar at which -- with the naked
15 eye, as well as with the use of optics tried to distinguish at the larger
16 distances if I would be able to identify people as combatant or
17 non-combatant, so if they would be female, elderly people. And that's
18 included into the -- the report.
19 Additionally, I visited the alleged shooting location to get an
20 image, if it would be able, if it would make a good shooting position.
21 Because not always is the alleged shooting position suitable for the --
22 for the job.
23 Q. And with respect to incident number 1, when you talk about the
24 alleged shooting position, where did you actually go?
25 A. I went to Stotina, which was on the map of -- would point out with
1 one of the maps that I -- can I use this on -- yeah? On the map of Mostar
2 that the house is visible, and I circled the house here, that is the house
3 in front of which I took the photos. I took the photo on the second page
4 of the incident description two metres in front of the house, towards the
5 incident sight.
6 Q. Let me ask, I have a still photo and I would ask that that be
7 shown to the witness. Sir, do you recognise what's visible in this
9 A. Yes, these are -- this is the house, the house that I encircled is
10 the house from which I believe the shots were fired from.
11 Q. Now, let me be very precise in my question, sir. At the time you
12 visited this location and you have told us about taking the photograph,
13 can you place an X on the approximate location where you were stand when
14 you took the photograph?
15 A. [Marks]
16 Q. Lieutenant van der Weijden, while you were at this location in
17 Stotina, did you at any point in time go into the house that you have
19 A. Not, that was not possible at the time.
20 Q. Can you describe for us approximately, and I can see from the X,
21 but can you describe for us approximately how far away from the house you
22 were at the time you took the photograph?
23 A. It would be two metres in front of the house.
24 Q. Now, let's perhaps if you could again sign this photograph, we
25 would ask for an IC number with respect to that photograph.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A number.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will become Exhibit IC
4 MR. MUNDIS:
5 Q. Now if we could please turn in the hard copy to page 10 of your
6 report, and this in e-court would be page 11 of P 09808. The photograph
7 that you see on this page, can you tell us, sir, how this picture was
9 A. This picture was produced with the use of a digital camera, which
10 did have zoom but which I don't use because I took the photo through the
11 lens of the laser range finder which has a seven times magnification.
12 Q. Can you compare this photograph, sir, with what would be visible
13 to an individual with a scope on a rifle?
14 A. This would be very similar, and you can see in the picture the
15 sort of a reticle which is an example of the reticles used in most optics
16 which aid in the judging of distance in case the laser fails. And it's
17 similar to what a shooter would see through a scope. It is taken through
18 a seven times magnification, but the compression of the photo would reduce
19 it to somewhat -- six times magnification.
20 Q. Sir, in producing your report or this photograph in particular,
21 can you tell us about the arrow that's been placed on the photograph? Who
22 put that there and what that represents?
23 A. I placed the arrow with the letters beneath of case number 1. I
24 placed them on the -- on the photo myself, and to precisely point out the
25 location of the victim at the time of the incident.
1 Q. Can you tell us, Lieutenant van der Weijden, because you were
2 standing two metres in front of the house at Stotina, what would be the
3 effect on this view if you would have been inside the house?
4 A. There would be no effect apart from if I could see the -- the
5 picture of the house again. Is it possible?
6 Q. For the record I believe this is IC 384 that we are returning
8 A. As is visible on the house, there are four windows there. At the
9 time that I visited the house, or the -- Mostar, all windows were breaked
10 up, so there was no window anymore. And the lower levels didn't have any
11 windows, but were blocked from view from this incident site by the rocks
12 in front of the house. For that I determined that the higher levels would
13 be very suitable as a location from which the shots came from, but the
14 higher angle would only me -- give more sight on the location by going up
15 into the house.
16 Q. And, sir, based on the steps that you took while visiting both the
17 Stotina location and the location of the shooting, can you tell us the
18 distance between those two locations?
19 A. The distance was taken with the laser range finder and was 760
20 metres, which includes the -- the deviation of plus two or minus two
22 Q. Lieutenant van der Weijden, in light of the specific instructions
23 that you were given in producing this report, and which you have told us
24 about, can you tell us what your conclusions were with respect to this
1 A. The conclusions were -- if we would look at page 9, the sketch in
2 combination with the photo on page 10, there was -- there were too many
3 structures on -- behind the victim or on the eastern side of Mostar, I
4 believe. Which would rule out the -- the possibility of the shooter being
5 at that location. The problems on the other side of the river, well the
6 victim indicates that he was shot at a -- when -- in the standing in a
7 certain position, from that I concluded that the shot came more or less
8 from down the river, so down the river of Neretva instead of the opposite
9 side of the river which led me to conclude that looking in that direction
10 the only good option there was for the shooter would be the houses at
11 Stotina or the house at Stotina.
12 Q. And for the record, when you say the house in Stotina, which house
13 are you referring to?
14 A. It's the one that I have encircled on the picture. This one.
15 Q. Let's -- -- let's turn please to incident 2, which is -- or pages
16 11 and 12 of the hard copy. Pages 12 and 13 in e-court.
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you can intervene
19 tomorrow. We have to finish. So tomorrow.
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] We will lose 10 minutes
21 coming back to this tomorrow, so may we go back to the first case and
22 could the Prosecutor ask the witness on the photograph where the victim
23 was exactly when he was hit? There is a number 30, and an arrow.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you will have ample time to
25 ask in the cross-examination.
1 Continue, Mr. Mundis.
2 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Let's turn to incident 2. You've already told us how the steps
4 you took with respect to incident one. Were those steps the same for
5 incident two in terms of what you did to produce this part of your report,
6 or did you do anything differently?
7 A. The difference in this case was because of the picture on page 12,
8 in that picture I highlighted a building that I learned from the
9 investigator at the time, which was checked through the cadastre that that
10 house was built after the incident, time of incident, which now blocks the
11 view on the -- on the incident from Stotina. This picture was also taken
12 from the same location as incident number one. It did mean that I took
13 two steps back, a couple of steps back to get a clear view of the house,
14 to determine the direction of fire, because along the street there was no
15 other suitable location for the shooter to be at, apart from standing out
16 in the open on the street. So that's the difference. In this incident, I
17 stepped back, and the difference as well is that in the situation a
18 fragmentation bullet is mentioned, in my opinion fragmentation bullets
19 don't -- they are not -- it would be technically possible to make a bullet
20 that would strike -- that would disintegrate on striking on the -- when
21 striking the target, but in my opinion and experience, when shooting
22 through glass, which was the case in this, a bullet is stripped of its
23 copper -- copper coating, which -- and -- if the bullet would have been
24 consisted of the steel tip with a lead core that would already mean that
25 there were three separate parts of the bullet within -- just after the
1 windshield, which would cause wounds similar to fragmentation.
2 Q. Perhaps I misunderstood part of your answer, sir, during the
3 course of that answer, but at -- can you tell us again for the record with
4 respect to an -- I'm focusing now on the photograph on page 12 or page 13
5 in e-court. Can you tell us, if you were standing at the location where
6 the victim was or at another location?
7 A. The location from which I took the picture was taken from two
8 metres in front of the house in Stotina. And the arrow indicates the
9 location of the victim, which is -- was just below the roof line.
10 Q. Okay. And again, sir, can you tell us based on the steps that you
11 took while on mission the distance between the alleged location in
12 Stotina, or the house in Stotina, and the spot where the victim was
13 located when shot?
14 A. Because of the new building blocking the view, what I did is I
15 marked that spot where the victim was shot, took enough distance back to
16 get a clear view of Stotina, and then measured the distance from the
17 location where I took -- lasered the distance to the distance of the
18 victim and added that to the total distance. And then I came to a 426
19 metres in total.
20 Q. And again, sir, in light of the instructions that you were
21 provided and which you have told us about earlier today, what conclusions
22 did you draw with respect to incident number 2?
23 A. Incident number 2, also because of the buildings visible on the --
24 on the sketch, and the -- the bullet striking the front windshield of the
25 truck, the -- I concluded that the bullet must have come from the general
1 direction of Stotina in which -- in looking in that direction the best
2 option for a shooter location would be the house in Stotina.
3 Q. And again, sir, when you say the house in Stotina, which house are
4 you referring to?
5 A. It would be the same house as this one. The other ones were not
6 visible from the incident site because they were blocked by the rocks, but
7 the upper levels of the encircled house were visible.
8 Q. And that's the how that you have circled on the IC -- is it
10 A. Yes, it is the same house.
11 Q. Or 384, IC 384. Thank you. Can we turn now, please, to incident
12 number 3, which is described in pages 13 and 14 of your report, in e-court
13 pages 14 and 15?
14 A. The difficulty here was that I wasn't able to take a direct line
15 to Stotina, and because of newly-built structures. What I did to get the
16 correct range was to move at the same distance I made a curve and tried to
17 locate a location where I would get a sight line to the location -- to the
18 direction of fire. The victim was shot dead and what I believe is that
19 there were no -- she was found. The additional information is -- it was a
20 woman on the -- on a terrace when she was hit, so that's -- led me to
21 conclude that she would have been identifiable, the range 420 metres which
22 wasn't that extreme.
23 Q. If we could now turn, sir, to incident number 4, pages 15 and 16
24 of the hard copy, pages 16 and 17 of the e-court version. Can you tell us
25 about this incident, please?
1 A. In this incident an elderly male was shot in the ankle. He was
2 shot -- well, I made a mistake, there was some -- a slight mistake as to
3 the victim and the witness. The location of the victim marked on the
4 sketch was actually the location of the witness, and the location of the
5 victim was somewhere on the cemetery but was not given precisely.
6 Q. Sorry to interrupt, but if I could, when you say the location of
7 the victim was somewhere on the cemetery, there are, on this sketch, two
8 locations labelled cemetery. Can you tell us which of those two
9 locations you're referring to when you say the victim was somewhere on the
11 A. On the witness on the DVD, the witness points to the cemetery on
12 the eastern side of the road. So that's the upper portion of the --
13 portion of the sketch. And again here you have the side picture of -- the
14 photograph on page 16 was again taken from Stotina, and apart from being
15 able to get a clear view of the witness, you would also have been able to
16 get a clear view of the -- of the graveyard. Not always, of course,
17 because there are tombstones and trees but you would be able to see people
18 move on the graveyard.
19 Q. Again, for purposes of clarification and to make sure that we all
20 understand what you are talking about, on the photograph on page 16 or
21 again page 17 in e-court, the arrow indicating case number 4, what does
22 that arrow point to?
23 A. The arrow points to the location of the witness instead of the
24 victim, because there was no precise location of the victim given by the
25 witness, apart from the graveyard, on the cemetery.
1 Q. And again on this photograph, which of the two visible cemeteries
2 are you referring to?
3 A. I am referring to the upper part of -- the one above the road with
4 the -- the higher wall with the red car in front.
5 Q. And again, Lieutenant van der Weijden, in light of the
6 instructions that were given to you, what conclusions did you draw with
7 respect to incident number 4?
8 A. The conclusion would be that it would be very difficult, because
9 of all the tombstones and the trees from the eastern side -- from the
10 eastern side of the cemetery, or just around him to get a clean shot of --
11 a clean sight picture of the victim. And in that, unless he would have
12 been intentionally shot in the ankle at that short range, which I think
13 is -- is unlikely. But the picture represents the view from Stotina from
14 the same location as the previous incidents.
15 Q. Okay. Now, sir, in order to in effect cluster the incidents based
16 on the alleged shooting location, I would now ask you to skip ahead,
17 please, to incident number 9, which is on pages 27 and 28 of the hard copy
18 or pages 28 and 29 of P 09808 in e-court.
19 Lieutenant van der Weijden, can you please tell us what steps you
20 took to produce the report concerning incident number 9?
21 A. Again, the exact location of the victim was determined with the
22 use of the DVD, and also pointed out by the investigator with the use of a
23 GPS. On the location of the victim I tried to determine what
24 possibilities there were for the shooter to take a position. The origin
25 of the -- the direction the victims came from would -- would have been
1 ruled out. Because it is completely blocked by structures, there is no
2 way to get a view on the victims unless from an extremely close range that
3 would be under 25 metres. The rear, to the north, would be covered by
4 the -- the buildings as well, along with the small alleyway to their east.
5 That only leaves the alley and towards the south. And if we look at the
6 picture on the second -- on page 28, from Stotina, in these cases, in
7 urban scenarios, streets often create a sort of a tunnel, which points
8 back to the victim, which points back to the -- to the shooter location.
9 And from the location of the victim, the only houses you could see which
10 would offer a shooting position were -- was the house in Stotina. So they
11 look straight down into the alleyway.
12 Q. Now, this incident, sir, offers an opportunity for me to ask you
13 questions about the amount of time that the victim would have been visible
14 to the shooter and what effect that would have on the shooter's ability to
15 distinguish the target and/or to take a shot at the target. Can you
16 comment on that based on the photograph contained on page 28 or page 29 in
18 A. Well, it would be very difficult in a short amount of time. The
19 victims -- what they might have been doing is first peeking around the
20 corner and then walking across. They would only be visible for a couple
21 of seconds. It would be sort of shady conditions, so it would be very
22 difficult for the shooter to identify the people -- the victims. The
23 only thing that is different in this is that there are boys. In the
24 picture there is visible the windowsills of the house with the satellite
25 disk, the satellite disk, and in that same sight picture were the victims
1 so you would be able to quickly compare them, it would still take time
2 during which time they could have already have crossed, so it would be
4 Q. What about if the location at Stotina were to be considered a
5 static location, would that have any impact on the answer that you just
6 gave us?
7 A. It would still -- it would give the shooter more time -- of -- it
8 would take the shooter less time to calculate the distance and compensate,
9 scope for the distance. But it still would be -- would be difficult to
10 identify the victims.
11 Q. What about, sir, in a situation, in a hypothetical situation,
12 perhaps, where a number of individuals passed in front of this spot over a
13 given course of time? How would that impact, if at all, upon the shooter?
14 A. Well, if shooting like this and are -- shooting ranges like this
15 where I have fired myself where you look down alleys, it's very difficult
16 because the human eye is -- especially in a side picture like this there
17 are lots of roofs and if you look down at the roofs, the thing that stands
18 most -- stands out most is movement. So first if there was a group of
19 people, the first you would be alerted to would just walk across. You
20 would be alerted, and then with more people walking that way, you would
21 probably only be able to fire at the third or fourth person identifying --
22 after having identified them. So it -- it takes time.
23 Q. Now, Lieutenant van der Weijden, in -- again in light of the
24 instructions that you were provided, can you reach any conclusions with
25 respect to incident 9?
1 A. It's very difficult after that time to be completely 100 per cent
2 sure, but the -- almost the only option that there was from that location
3 which offers a shooting position would be the house on Stotina, the upper
5 Q. And, sir, if you would now turn to incident 10, which is reflected
6 on pages 29 and 30 of the report, or pages 30 and 31 in the e-court
7 version of P 08908 and I would ask you, sir, what exact steps you took to
8 produce this part of your report.
9 A. Here again it's -- I visited the exact incident site, made a rough
10 sketch. From there I tried to determine what possibilities there were,
11 possibilities there were. 180 degrees is blocked by the house east of the
12 victim, which I have made -- which I coloured grey. The action of the
13 victim, what he was doing, he was walk towards the water and back to get
14 water and walking back up. If the shooter would have been on the other
15 side of the -- of the river the victim was almost out -- out of sight for
16 the shooter if he had been on the other side of the bank. Which would
17 make it very difficult -- very -- not very obvious for the shooter to be
18 on the other side of the banks, of the river. Again, looking in the
19 direction that the arrow is pointed, so roughly 186 degrees, that again
20 points to the house in Stotina as being the most suitable shooting
22 Q. Now, sir, let me ask you just a hypothetical question. This route
23 that you've drawn of the victim relatively -- relatively straight line
24 from the river to the house, if that route of the victim had been rather a
25 different route and he had gone between the two flower beds, as you've
1 drawn them, what effect, if any, would that have upon the information
2 contained in this part of your report?
3 A. It give -- it would give the shooter more time to take -- take aim
4 of -- judge the distance, compensate, and take the shot.
5 Q. And again, Lieutenant van der Weijden, let me ask you now sir to
6 turn to page 30. There are several photographs. Photo A, can you tell us
7 what photo A on page 30 or page 31 in e-court represents?
8 A. Photo A is the exact location -- is taken from the exact location
9 of the incident towards Stotina, and with -- within the picture I blew up
10 the house to a bigger size to identify the possible locations which were
11 the breaked-up windows, which I was told that -- that weren't present at
12 that time. And the second photo, photo B is just a reverse side picture
13 taken from Stotina two metres in front of the house towards the incident
15 Q. And again, sir, based on the instructions that you were given,
16 what conclusions did you reach with respect to incident 10?
17 A. That the most suitable location would be Stotina. And that the
18 range -- through the range, 450 metres, would be adequate enough to
19 identify the victim -- the victim as combatant or non-combatant.
20 Q. If you could turn sir to incident 13 which is on page 34 and -- 34
21 through 36 of the report and those would be pages 35 through 37 of the
22 e-court version. Can you tell us, Lieutenant van der Weijden, what steps
23 you took to produce this part of your report?
24 A. Again, visiting the location, this again was blocked by new
25 buildings by moving up the -- the apartment building above the same --
1 right above the incident site on the floor one -- one below the upper
2 level, from there I took the picture that I -- that shows the house in
3 Stotina. With this incident, because the apartment building is U-shaped,
4 that limits -- that just points back to a certain direction where the shot
5 must have originated from. Again, that possibility of pointing back to
6 the house in Stotina.
7 As for the victims -- of himself, he was an eight-year-old boy.
8 At the entrance there was a doorway. An eight-year-old boy reaches up
9 about halfway the door, so would be readily identifiable as a child and he
10 was playing, so he had been -- he would have been visible for a longer
11 time. On the alleged shooting position, which is the ridge of Mount Hum,
12 which was 800 metres away, I don't agree with that because that position
13 would have been out in the open and given the time of the incident on the
14 2nd of February, it would be cold and if looking on the photo A above
15 Stotina, Mount Hum was not covered by trees. So it would have been very
16 difficult to move about during daylight unseen. The temperatures would be
17 low, so it would be -- yeah, not likely that someone would be outside, out
18 in the open, take a shot there and stay there. So for me, the conclusion
19 was that the house in Stotina, which offers protection from the elements,
20 would be a far more likely option.
21 Q. And, sir, what was the distance, if you were able to calculate it,
22 from the house in Stotina to the location of the victim?
23 A. The house in Stotina was 533 metres so that's nearby -- it's still
24 a considerable -- considerable distance for -- but compared to the ridge
25 at 800 metres away.
1 Q. Thank you, sir.
2 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I note the time. It was, of course,
3 our intention to go through all 12 of the incidents. We have been able to
4 go through seven of them. We would respectfully request the opportunity
5 to go through the remaining five incidents first thing tomorrow. In the
6 event we are not able to do that due to time constraints, so be it, but we
7 would ask the same series of questions with respect to the remaining five
8 incidents which we have asked with respect to the first seven. So we are
9 entirely in the Trial Chamber's hands.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you. The mastery
11 that you used to get through what we have seen today, and there are five
12 remaining cases which will perhaps take you 15 to 20 minutes. So that
13 will give the Defence the four hours to cross-examine. The Judges will do
14 their best not to ask any questions to allow the Prosecution to finish,
15 and then Defence to cross-examine. As it's 7.00, we adjourn until
16 tomorrow, 2.15, and we will have to finish by 7.00 tomorrow. So until
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.59 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 8th day of
20 February, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.