1 Wednesday, 12 December 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 3.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, kindly call the case,
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Good afternoon,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar. Today we
11 are the 12th of December 2007. I'd like to greet the representatives of
12 the Prosecution, Defence counsel, as well as the accused and all the
13 people present in the courtroom assisting us.
14 We have a witness that is due to testify this afternoon. From
15 what I understand, there are no protective measures. Is that right,
16 Mr. Scott?
17 MR. SCOTT: That's correct, Your Honour. After the witness
18 arrived in The Hague and after further discussions, he's indicated that no
19 protective measures are necessary, and I'll say while I'm on my feet that
20 Mr. Flynn will be taking the witness. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'd like to greet
22 Mr. Flynn whom I haven't seen for a very long time. I'm happy to see him
23 back in court today. So please bring the witness in.
24 But in the meantime, I will give the floor to the registrar so
25 that he can give us some exhibit numbers, please. Registrar.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 The Prosecution has submitted its response to exhibits tendered by
3 1D, 3D, and 6D for Witness BB. This list submitted by the Prosecution
4 shall be given Exhibit numbers IC 747, 748, and 749 respectively.
5 6D has already submitted his reply to the Prosecution's response
6 to exhibits tendered by Pusic Defence for Witness BB. This reply shall be
7 given Exhibit number IC 750.
8 Several parties have submitted lists of documents to be tendered
9 through Witness Ribicic Ciril. The list submitted by the OTP shall be
10 given Exhibit number IC 751, the list submitted by 1D shall be given
11 Exhibit number IC 752, and the list submitted by 2D shall be given Exhibit
12 number IC 753.
13 Thank you, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
15 [Interpretation] I have -- I was saying that a number of decisions
16 will be recorded today, and I invite the parties to read these.
17 Good afternoon, sir.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me check that you can hear
20 properly and that you can hear the translation of what I am saying in your
21 own language. If that is the case, please tell me.
22 THE WITNESS: Okay.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So I shall ask you to kindly
24 stand up and take the solemn declaration. Prior to that, can you give me
25 your first name, last name, and date of birth, please.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Husnija Mahmutovic, born on the 3rd
2 of March 1957 in Vares.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current occupation,
4 if you have one?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am an official in the Vares
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Have you already
8 testified before a court, whether it be before there particular court or a
9 domestic court, on those events that unfolded in your country; and if that
10 is the case, in which case did you testify?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. In 1998, I think. That was in
12 the Josip Bozic case.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Kindly take the
14 solemn declaration.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
16 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 WITNESS: HUSNIJA MAHMUTOVIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir. You can sit
21 So I'd like to provide you with a few explanations. You will be
22 examined by Mr. Flynn whom I'm sure you have met already. This will not
23 take much time; and, after that, the Defence counsel who are sitting to
24 your left will put questions to you as part of the cross-examination. The
25 Bench before you may put questions to you also, if the need arises.
1 We shall have a break in an hour and a half approximately. If at
2 any point in time you do not feel well, please do not hesitate to let me
3 know so that I can stop the hearing.
4 I shall now give the floor to the Prosecution as part of the 92
5 ter procedure.
6 MR. FLYNN: Good afternoon to Your Honours, to everybody else
7 around the courtroom.
8 Examination by Mr. Flynn:
9 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.
10 MR. FLYNN: To follow normal procedure with the 92 ter procedures
11 which we have been adopting throughout, I will start with a brief summary,
12 Your Honours, if that's in order.
13 In this case, the witness was the president of the community in
14 Stupni Do in 1993. The Croatian Defence Council took control of Vares in
15 July 1992. They took over all the political and military functions in the
16 municipality. The witness stated that the situation in Stupni Do and the
17 takeover of Vares by the Croatian Defence Council.
18 He states that after the arrival of the refugees from Kakanj, the
19 situation for the villagers in Stupni Do became more difficult. They were
20 often harassed when they tried to go into town. He testified -- he
21 testifies on the ultimatum given by the Croatian Defence Council to the
22 villagers of Stupni Do.
23 People in Stupni Do were evacuated about 20 days in fear of an
24 attack following that ultimatum. However, the Croatian Defence Council
25 did not attack on that occasion. In July, the Croatian Defence Council
1 military and political authority told the villagers that the trenches had
2 to be filled and the villagers had to stay in Stupni Do.
3 Afterwards, the situation for the villagers became even more
4 difficult. Several days before the attack on Stupni Do, six Armija,
5 Bosnian army, soldiers were arrested at the Croatian Defence Council
6 check-points in Patafan [phoen].
7 Small correction here. On the 22nd of October 1993 --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Slow down somewhat, Mr. Flynn, please.
9 MR. FLYNN: On the 22nd of October 1993, the brother of a Croat
10 woman came to take her and her husband away. On the 23rd of October
11 1993,, around 8.00, the Croatian Defence Council launched an attack
12 against the village. Witness told his family to go to a shelter, and he
13 went to a trench. The Croatian Defence Council used anti-aircraft guns.
14 They also used inflammable ammunition. The bullet would immediately burst
15 into flames and started to burn the houses.
16 About an hour later, he went to his house and told the villagers
17 to try to escape because one line of defence had been broken. He went
18 back to the forest and stayed there until late afternoon, early evening.
19 I put a small insertion in here. He returned to Stupni Do on the
20 23rd of October 1993, and he saw that his house had been burnt and
21 property destroyed.
22 He then went to join the others and left the village during the
23 night. The witness indicated on a map the name of the owner of each
24 houses and the farm in the village, and he gave -- he also gave a list of
25 the villagers and their stature.
1 That's a brief summary of the testimony which he gave.
2 Q. Witness, the president asked you whether you had given testimony
3 before any other court, either in your own country or here.
4 Do you remember, did you testify before the Trial Chamber in the
5 case of Kordic in 1999 in this -- in The Hague?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And at the time you gave that testimony, did you answer the
8 questions posed to you by the parties truthfully and correctly?
9 A. I don't understand the question.
10 Q. When you gave your evidence during the Kordic case, you were asked
11 a number of questions by the Prosecution and by the other parties, and you
12 gave answers?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Were those answers truthful and correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And did you give the answers freely, without any force or
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And do you remember that when you travelled here to The Hague, a
20 few days ago, you met with myself and an investigator?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And at that time, were you given an opportunity to discuss the
23 testimony which you had given during the Kordic case?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And having gone through your testimony, does that testimony --
1 does the transcript accurately reflect what you told to the Trial Chamber
2 during the Kordic case?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And do the contents of the transcript reflect what you would tell
5 the Trial Chamber here today had you to give all that evidence over again?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And I think yesterday, during our meeting, you expanded a little
8 on that testimony, and we'll come to that shortly; isn't that correct?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 MR. FLYNN: And, Your Honours, you know that as part of the 92 bis
11 procedure, we've already tendered the transcript in the Kordic case which
12 is Exhibit P10015.
13 Now, I've prepared a booklet of documents referred to in the 92
14 bis annex. Not all of the documents will be shown to the witness as a
15 result of your 92 bis decision but some of them will, and I propose to
16 deal with that now.
17 Q. Witness, I just want to ask you briefly at this point some general
18 questions and to show you some documents; and if time allows, we'll come
19 back to the actual events happening in Stupni Do on the 23rd of October.
20 But if you remember, during your testimony to the Kordic trial
21 panel, you stated that, in your village, you had approximately 36 to 37
22 soldiers in the defence unit poorly armed with little ammunition, and that
23 was on page 10895; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you went on to say that the attack on Stupni Do started with
1 small arms and artillery fire on the 23rd of October, on page 10906; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And between pages 10904 and 10909, you give an account of what
5 happened: The fighting, what you saw, and what you heard. Is that
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. On then you told the Trial Chamber that on returning on the
9 evening of the 23rd of October, you found your -- to Stupni Do, that you
10 found your house burnt and properties destroyed, and that's on page 10908
11 of the Kordic transcript; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, can you tell us, as a result of the attack on Stupni Do on
14 the 23rd of October 1993, were there any deaths caused as a result of this
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you tell us how many people were killed?
18 A. Thirty-eight.
19 Q. And when did you actually get back into your village after that
20 first day on the 23rd of October 1993? When did you come back to Stupni
22 A. I went back there in the early evening hours; in fact, it was in
23 the late afternoon. It was raining, it was foggy, it was getting dark.
24 Yes, it was getting dark.
25 Q. And did you stay very long?
1 A. I stayed there for two hours, maybe two and a half.
2 Q. And when was the next time that you returned to the village?
3 A. I went back after Vares was liberated, the second or the third day
4 after the liberation. That might have been the 4th or the 5th of November
5 of the same year.
6 Q. And can you tell us when the bodies of the people, the 38 people,
7 were found in the village, if you know?
8 A. The first group of people that were found by the Nor-Bat group
9 soldiers were put in APCs and were taken to the town cemetery in Visoko to
10 be autopsied. The next group, so the rest of the 38 bodies in addition to
11 the first 16, were found in the burnt-down houses. They had to be dug
12 out, and they were identified by their next of kin.
13 Q. The Panel have heard evidence that UNPROFOR, when it entered
14 Stupni Do on the 27th of October, found 16 bodies. Can you explain to the
15 Panel why the other bodies, the other 22 bodies, would not have been
16 recovered or would not have been visible, if you can?
17 A. Yes. The HVO soldiers wanted to cover up the crime, and they
18 threw the dead bodies on to the burning houses -- into the burning
19 houses. So the houses collapsed once they burnt down, and they -- the
20 debris covered the bodies. They deliberately burned those people in order
21 to cover up the crime. This is what happened in my father's house. So in
22 my father's house, I found four bodies --
23 Q. Were you personally involved --
24 A. -- charred bodies.
25 Q. Were you personally involved in digging those bodies out?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Were you involved in digging any other bodies, apart from those
3 four, out?
4 A. Yes, yes. UNPROFOR soldiers assisted me, too, and so did the
5 locals, the relatives of those people.
6 Q. And over what period of time did this discovery of bodies and the
7 digging out of bodies that had not been found initially by UNPROFOR, how
8 long did this last?
9 A. About a month after the attack.
10 Q. And are we to assume, therefore, that a month after the attack,
11 all 38 bodies had been recovered?
12 A. A total of 37 bodies were found. An elderly woman was never
13 found. We never managed to find her. And, later on, based on the
14 statement of Radomir Rosevic, a neighbour of hers who was in America at
15 the time, on his return, he explained that the 38th victim had been killed
16 and thrown on to a hay stack that was then burnt down. So, in fact, they
17 first set fire to the hay stack, and then threw the woman's body on to the
18 hay stack, and that's why we were not able to find the 38th victim.
19 Q. Now, sometime after the events in Stupni Do, was there a
20 commission formed in the municipality to investigate the number of people
21 who were killed and the damages caused to the properties, by the local
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 Q. And did you take part in that process?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And did you prepare and present documents and lists for that
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Were you a commissioner or sitting on the commission or were you
5 an official working with it or were you a separate layman outside the
7 A. I was a member of that commission.
8 Q. And can you tell us how did the commission operate? How did it
9 gather -- how did it gather its information and data?
10 A. Most of the information we got from the relatives of those who had
11 been killed were from the survivors of the attack. In most of the cases,
12 they were able to pinpoint the exact location where a body might be found,
13 body of their mothers, fathers, children, whoever, so that we were able to
14 locate the bodies with a fair degree of certainty.
15 The biggest problem we faced was when we tried to dig out the
16 bodies because the houses were collapsing. In some cases, the victims
17 were elderly, infirm people, who could not move, so they had -- the
18 ceilings would just cave in and collapse on top of them. It would take us
19 two or three days to dig, to get to those bodies, to the site where they
20 were when they were killed, and when they were set on fire.
21 Q. So did the commission or members of the commission go to the field
22 and inspect the site of the crime, the location of where bodies were
23 purported to have been found, and interview the family members?
24 A. Yes. Well, mostly the relatives were present there.
25 Q. I'd like -- you'll see a booklet in front of you of documents, and
1 there are a number of tabs in it, like the booklet which you had
3 Would you turn to the -- the third tab in the booklet. It
4 reads, "8461."
5 MR. FLYNN: For the record, it's P08461.
6 Q. The first part will be in English and if you proceed on you'll
7 find the Bosnian version.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you have that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you recognise this document?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Is this a list of those killed in Stupni Do on the attack on 23rd
14 of October 1993?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Was this prepared and signed by you?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Have you any doubts that this list is accurate?
19 A. No, no.
20 Q. Have you any reason to believe that any of the people mentioned in
21 this list are still alive and living elsewhere?
22 A. No, no, no.
23 Q. In fact, I think there are a number of people with the name
24 Mahmutovic mentioned on the list, if you go down to 16 and 17. Are these
25 relatives of yours?
1 A. Yes. The person listed under number 16 is my brother, and the
2 person listed under number 17 is my father.
3 Q. And did you have an opportunity of viewing any of the bodies of
4 the people mentioned in this list?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. How many of the people on the list did you see?
7 A. I saw all of them, with the exception of Likic, Hafit [phoen], the
8 38th victim.
9 Q. Based on your observations and what were you told by family
10 members, were you left in no doubt but that the body you viewed was the
11 body of the name attached to that person?
12 A. Well, no, there was no doubt.
13 MR. FLYNN: Could you turn now to the next exhibit, 8462, please?
14 Q. And if you go to the last page of the Bosnian version you'll find
15 a signature at the bottom of the page. Please tell us if you recognise
16 that signature.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is that your signature?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Is this list another list that you prepared of destroyed and
21 burned houses that were burned in the attack on Stupni Do?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And I think when we went through it yesterday, there was a total
24 of approximately 76 individuals who had their property damaged; isn't that
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And, again, for the purposes of preparing this list, did you take
3 information from the occupants or owners of the properties to attribute --
4 that would lead to you attribute it to the attack on Stupni Do on the
5 23rd-24th of October?
6 A. The village was not big. I knew all the villagers, all the
7 locals. I was in every house, and I knew well how people lived there and
8 what possessions they had, what movables and immovables they had.
9 Q. Have you any doubt that any of the property mentioned in this list
10 that you're looking at now was not caused as a result of the attack on
11 Stupni Do?
12 A. Could you please repeat your question?
13 Q. Looking at the list that you prepared, have you any doubt --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. -- that the property was not damaged as a result of the attack on
16 Stupni Do?
17 A. All the property in the list was destroyed or burned down
19 Q. And if you go then to the next list, it's 8463.
20 MR. FLYNN: For the record, P08463.
21 Q. Tell me when you have it.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. The title of this is, "A list of devastated cattle found during
24 the attack on Stupni Do." Is this another list and document that you
25 prepared for the benefit of the commission, signed by you on the second
2 A. Yes, yes. This is my signature, yes.
3 Q. And, again, are you satisfied that the contents of this list are
4 truthful and accurate and that all of the damage or all the loss of
5 property referred to on the list can be attributed to the attack on Stupni
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, I want you to look at one more exhibit for me, please, if you
9 go to Exhibit 8377. When you have it, please tell me.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you tell the Panel what this is, please?
12 A. A special commission was appointed on behalf of Vares
13 municipality, with Muhamed Sabanovic, architect and engineer; Omer Kadric,
14 engineer and economist; and Hajrudin Vezir, a construction engineer. They
15 toured all the torched houses in the local commune of Stupni Do.
16 They measured the area, they took photos of all the houses, and
17 compiled a record based on what they had seen in the field. Every
18 property owner, every house owner, if they were alive, was present,
19 together with them, so they could measure everything and they could make
20 the record of the damage that had been inflicted upon every household.
21 This is just one of the series of those records, and this record
22 reflects the damage to my family house.
23 Q. And if we go to the last part in the record, we have a photograph.
24 Is this a -- does this photograph depict your family home following the
25 attack on Stupni Do?
1 A. Yes. This was a completely new house, and a completely equipped
3 Q. Now, on the subject of the houses, can you tell us if any of the
4 houses in the village including your house had anywhere to shelter in the
5 events of an attack? Had they any special part set aside?
6 A. Yes. Under the law that prevailed in former Yugoslavia, if you
7 were to be given a building permit, your design had to incorporate a
8 shelter, a shelter in case there was a war or a chemical attack.
9 So every newer house, i.e., recently constructed house, a house
10 that was built after 1980-something, I don't know the exact year, but I
11 know that every new development had to have a concrete shelter that had to
12 be adjacent to the cellar of the new-built; otherwise, the commission that
13 had to approve your house for habitation would not approve it if it did
14 not have the so-called atomic shelter.
15 Q. And would it be correct to say that she is shelters were stronger
16 than the other part of the house?
17 A. Yes. They were made of reinforced concrete, and they mostly did
18 not have any windows. They only had a door and some ventilation shafts.
19 Q. And did any of these houses -- did any of these rooms or basements
20 have outside protection?
21 A. Yes. My house, for example, had very thick wooden panels on the
22 outer windows that protected it from shelling. The house that you're
23 looking at, it had windows at the bottom part and they were sheltered with
24 sandbags; and, behind those, there were wooden panels, very thick wooden
25 beams, in case of attack.
1 Q. And can you tell us, could any of the rooms or basements within
2 the village, which were used for these protective -- as these protective
3 shelters, could they have been used or converted into a fortified command
4 post or a bunker from which one could conduct a determined defence?
5 A. No, no.
6 Q. Now, you told us -- you told the Trial Panel in the Kordic case
7 that you came down to your family, and you told your family to leave for
8 the forest. Where had your family been at that time?
9 A. My family was in the atomic shelter in this very house. What you
10 see beneath in white brick, that was the basement, and the shelter was
11 under the ground and it was made of reinforced concrete.
12 Q. And apart from your family - and I don't need to you mention any
13 names just yet - but apart from your family, was anybody else in this
14 basement, sheltering with your family?
15 A. There were neighbours. In this particular street, there were five
16 more families. So all those families were there, save for the handicapped
17 persons who stayed at home. There were two such people. So apart from
18 those two people, everybody else was together with my family, a total of
19 17 of them.
20 Q. Now, so you had this protective room where they were hiding.
21 Despite the fact that they were hiding there, were your family safe or did
22 something happen to them during the attack on Stupni Do?
23 A. My family was safe from shelling and from any external influences.
24 However, when the HVO troops arrived, they started going from one house to
25 the next, from one basement to the next, and chased people out of those
1 premises. They killed people in front of their houses. They burned them
2 alive. They had lined them up first.
3 Out of the 17 that I mentioned, four were killed; three fled on my
4 order to the forest beneath the houses, a small thicket; the rest were
5 lined up, plundered, raped. Behind this house was my brother's house.
6 The rest -- the remainder of them were locked in that house, and they
7 torched the house. These people burned alive. Luckily enough, they still
8 remained alive. They didn't die; and how this came about, only they can
9 tell you.
10 Q. And can you tell us that in the shelter on that occasion, do you
11 know if there was somebody by the name of Rasida Likic, in your shelter?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And did she survive the attack?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Do you know what happened to her?
16 A. She was killed because she had told them, "Don't touch us," and I
17 quote her: "You can take anything from the house, just leave us alone,"
18 then one of the soldiers fired a bullet into her, and that's how she died.
19 Q. And was this something you witnessed or something that you came to
20 learn about later?
21 A. I wasn't there. I learned that subsequently from the survivors.
22 Q. And can you tell us, does the name Mehmed Likic mean anything to
23 you? Was this person also in the shelter on that occasion?
24 A. Yes. Those people were actually disabled.
25 Q. And did Mehmed Likic survive the attack?
1 A. No. He was killed also.
2 Q. Does the name Rifet Likic mean anything to you? Was he in the
4 A. Rifet Likic was a neighbour of mine. He was a very nice young
5 man, and he was disabled. His both feet were deformed. That's how he was
6 born. It was congenital, and he was not fit for the military service.
7 Q. We don't have much time now. I just need to know if he was in the
8 basement --
9 A. His throat was slit. He was in the basement, and his throat was
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Flynn, you have to finish
13 MR. FLYNN: I'm almost finished, Your Honour.
14 Q. The last question: Your father, Zejnil Mahmutovic, was he killed
15 during the attack?
16 A. Yes. He was killed, above the house.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. FLYNN: I don't have any further questions.
19 Questioned by the Court:
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a few follow-up questions.
21 You were in the village at the time of the attack. Did you have a weapon
22 at the time?
23 A. Yes. I had a hunting carbine.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you fire a shot?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now, around the
2 village, were there any shelters or bunkers to protect the village, around
3 the village, I mean?
4 A. Yes, near the village. And those were used by the civilian
5 population in case of shelling.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the Bogos hill which is just
7 next door, were there any soldiers on that hill top.
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And they were defending the
10 hill, were they?
11 A. Yes. That was a strategic elevation.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Out of 224 inhabitants, there
13 were 36 soldiers?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] These 36 soldiers, were they
16 part of the so-called Territorial Defence or were they part of an ABiH
17 unit or affiliated to such a unit?
18 A. At first, at the beginning of the conflict or the war, they were
19 Territorial Defence. That's what they were called. Later on, they joined
20 or they became the BiH army, so one can say that they were BiH army.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Among these 36 soldiers, was
22 anyone in charge? Was there a commander, somebody who was in command of
23 these 36 soldiers?
24 A. No. The true commander of that unit had been arrested seven days
25 prior to that at the check-point in Mala Rijeka. The HVO had the
1 check-point there; and on my insisting, they headed for home. They were
2 in Breza in a small town near Vares. They headed home because I had sent
3 a message that something was happening in Vares, and there was something
4 wrong there, and they were arrested, the six of them.
5 I went to the head of the HVO municipality to let them go, but he
6 wouldn't do that. So during the attack on Stupni Do, they were in the HVO
7 prison in Vares, and I suppose that under the torture, they said what
8 they --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me get back to the village.
10 The commander had been arrested a week before. Weren't you acting as a
11 commander? Yes, da. So you were the commander of those soldiers who were
12 there. You were acting commander, weren't you? Is that right?
13 A. No, no. I was not a commander, no.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So was nobody there in charge?
15 Who in military terms was in charge then?
16 A. There were squad leaders. One of them was Suad Likic. Those were
17 people who did not have much knowledge about the doctrine of warfare or
18 the doctrine of command.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]
20 ... that you went off into the forest; and if I've understood you well,
21 the HVO had not completely surrounded the village because you were able to
22 escape. If you were able to escape, there must have been escape holes.
23 A. There was an exit. We didn't know exactly where they were because
24 fire was opened from all sides; and at that moment, we didn't know how to
25 escape, how to leave the village. The village is located in a valley,
1 It's surrounded by the hill tops, and fire was being opened from all those
2 hill tops, from all sorts of weapons.
3 It was only in the evening that some of the survivors managed to
4 escape to a rocky part of the thicket, following the little path that goes
5 behind this house that is depicted in this photo.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And you went into that direction
7 also, did you?
8 A. No. I went in an opposite direction. I passed by the HVO
9 soldiers at some 100 metres distance, by the check-points that they put up
10 during the night after the end of the attack.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, my last question now. You
12 have told us that shots were fired. You told us that you were made aware
13 of the fact that there were HVO soldiers. How many were there, 20, 50,
14 100, or do you have no idea?
15 A. There was a huge number of them. The terrain is of that aspect
16 that if you were to line them up next to each other, there were a lot of
17 them; but, later on, I learned that about 500 men participated in that
18 attack. So, in addition to the men who had been brought from Kiseljak,
19 from the so-called Maturice and Apostoli, there were also people from the
20 villages that are located around Stupni Do, which were predominantly
21 inhabited by the Croats.
22 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, I have two brief
23 questions to put to you. In the transcript on page 17, line 11, 12, and
24 13, today's transcript, you have said that your family was saved and were
25 not hit by the shells. You also said that some people were burned alive.
1 What does this mean?
2 A. You did not understand me properly, Your Honour. Those people who
3 were not executed in front of the house that you see on the screen, some
4 of them were looted. They even tried to slaughter my younger son. At one
5 point, when Rifet's throat was slit, this same man approached the five or
6 six year old boy and tried to slit his throat.
7 My wife was in his house robe, and he had a very thick gold chain
8 around the neck. When he approached the young child, he saw the chain, he
9 grabbed the chain, snatched it from my wife, and he forgot all about the
10 child. But the child was so scared that, from that moment on, he could
11 not speak for some six months; and even when he spoke -- started speaking,
12 he started stuttering.
13 The remainder of the persons, save for those four that had been
14 killed, were taken to a house behind the house that you see in the photo.
15 They locked them in, they were alive, and they set the house on fire.
16 That was just before they started pulling out of the village. The house
17 started burning, and they continued walking. The centre of the village is
18 below my house. Then when this house started burning and when these
19 people started suffocating in the house, they used an ax. They broke out
20 of the houses, and that's how they survived. They fled to the forest. So
21 they did not burn alive.
22 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Witness. I
23 did say I had two questions. You partly answered my second question
24 because you said that there was somebody who was a child under age, and
25 the other people that were shut up in the house and that burnt. Were all
1 these people civilians?
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sir, a while ago, you told us that your house
5 was, so to speak, fortified; in other words, there were sandbags in front
6 of the windows. You added that nobody had fired a shot from that house
7 and could not be used as a fortress, so to speak.
8 In the village, were there other houses, one or several others,
9 that were reinforced in the same way and that could have been used as a
10 defence fortification, where somebody might have fired shots from against
11 the attackers.
12 A. No. There were a few houses; for example, the command building
13 was fortified and this house is in the meadow below my house. It was
14 fortified, but at the moment there was nobody there.
15 As for the rest of the houses, people were scared, and they
16 spontaneously withdrew to the other part of the village; and at one point,
17 only one of the villagers, my cousin and my deputy in the civilian sector,
18 who was also a member of the committee that looked after the village, when
19 they approached close enough to kill the other civilian, he threw two
20 grenades from the immediate vicinity. According to him, he had wounded
21 some of them, and that's how they had given up on any further attacks.
22 So there was no fire opened from any of the houses. People just
23 grouped and tried finding shelter where they thought that they would be
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question and then I
2 will give the floor to the Defence. So we had a witness who told us that
3 somebody had come from Vares a few days before to ask the villagers to
4 hand in their weapons, and that the villages did not want to hand in their
5 weapons; is this true or not? What can you tell us about this?
6 A. That was not seven days before that. It was around the 20th or
7 the 21st of June of that same year. I don't know whether it was just
8 their tactic or something that existed in all of their orders. They
9 simply called me and asked me to inform the military commander that all
10 the weapons in the village had to be handed over; and in return they would
11 feed us, they would give us humanitarian aid, and that they would defend
12 us from the Serbian side.
13 I returned to the village, I called a meeting. I informed the
14 commander, but we knew from experience what the surrender of weapons meant
15 and that it would only mean death for us. We did not want to hand the
16 weapons over. That was two months before. They gave us an ultimatum, and
17 they told us that they would attack us if we did not hand our weapons over
18 by 7.00 that morning.
19 At the meeting, we decided not to surrender the weapons. The
20 village nearby called Dastansko did surrender their weapons, and they were
21 treated very badly. We knew from experience what it meant to hand over
22 one's weapons, and that's why we didn't -- that's why we didn't hand them
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Those who handed their weapons
25 in the village next door, you said that they were badly treated or
1 suffered a very --
2 A. Because when they handed over the weapons, the other side didn't
3 really trust, didn't believe that all the weapons had been handed over,
4 and that is quite natural. So the villagers had to leave, go to the
5 neighbouring villages. All the men of military age had to do that. They
6 had to go to the neighbouring villages to the BH army-controlled
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You told us that you had a
9 hunting rifle and that you were very badly equipped. What could you do
10 against people who were better armed, who were greater in number? Wasn't
11 it dangerous to just keep a few weapons, as you did?
12 A. Well, we had the superior command, too, in the village of
13 Dabravina, and we notified them that night. The weapons that were
14 obtained with such great difficulties, we didn't want to and we couldn't
15 surrender them.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So the Supreme
17 Command had told you, "Keep your weapons," is that right?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So who will begin?
20 Ms. Alaburic.
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Witness, everybody in
22 the courtroom, good afternoon to all of you.
23 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
24 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, My name is Vesna Alaburic. I'm an attorney from
25 Zagreb, and I'm representing General Petkovic at this trial. I will be
1 asking you some questions primarily regarding the defence of Stupni Do,
2 and some questions generally related to the defence in accordance with the
3 regulations and rules of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 As a follow-up to Judge Antonetti's question whether the military
5 unit in Stupni Do was part of the Territorial Defence or the BH army, and
6 you said -- you gave your reply, but I would just like you to explain to
7 the Judges what happened with the terms, the names that were used.
8 So I would like to ask you to look at document 4D 404, 404, in the
9 set of documents that you have. You will see there are stickers at the
10 side. That's 404.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. I don't know whether you've seen this document, but I'm sure that
13 you will be familiar with the contents.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] This document has already been
15 admitted as an exhibit. This is an order of the Presidency of the
16 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina signed by Alija Izetbegovic dated the 23rd
17 of June 1992, where it says that the name, the Territorial Defence of the
18 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, shall be changed to the Army of the
19 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, could you please tell us, this is precisely what
21 you told His Honour Judge Antonetti, that the Territorial Defence became
22 the Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that so?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So from June 1992 onwards, we can say, we can only speak about the
25 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in accordance with this decision of the BH
1 Presidency; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Fine. Could we now look at the defence of the village of Stupni
4 Do. Mr. Mahmutovic, could you please tell us who was the commander of
5 the BH army unit in Stupni Do?
6 A. Esel [phoen] Likic.
7 Q. You told us that he was one of the six members of the army that
8 were arrested on the 18th of October 1993; is that so?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Are you familiar with the name of Ekrem Mahmutovic?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Could you tell us who that is?
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speakers please
14 make pauses between question and answer.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was the commander of the tactical
16 group according to my information; but at the time of the attack, he was
17 not there. He was no where near the area in fact. He was not anywhere
18 near Stupni Do or Vares.
19 Q. So can we then say that he was the commander of a military units
20 of the BH army? We don't want to go into all the details whether it's a
21 tactical group.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speakers please
23 not overlap.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I would like to draw your
1 attention, Your Honours, that under 4D 869, I've prepared for you a
2 statement by Mr. Ekrem Mahmutovic.
3 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, let me now put to you some of the things that he
4 said, and now we will try to determine what is actually true and what is
6 Mr. Ekrem Mahmutovic, in his statement, said that after the arrest
7 of Mr. Likic, who was the commander of the unit of the BH army in Stupni
8 Do, that actually you took over his post as the president of the local
10 Regardless of the fact that you answered a similar question asked
11 to you by Judge Antonetti, can you please tell us whether this statement
12 made by Mr. Ekrem Mahmutovic is correct or not?
13 A. No, it is not true.
14 Q. Does that mean that after Mr. Likic's arrest in Stupni Do, there
15 was no commander of all those squads in this BH army platoon, so there was
16 no one commander?
17 A. I explained to His Honour that there were just the squad leaders.
18 I know one of them. I know -- and I gave the name to the Trial Chamber.
19 Suad Likic was the commander of one of the squads.
20 Q. So you're trying to tell us that there was no single commander in
21 Stupni Do who would be in command of all --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a second, please. Please
23 make a break between questions and answers because you're speaking the
24 same language and we have a problem then.
25 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, we understand what you told us about the squads.
2 My question now is whether what you answered meant that there was no
3 single person who would be in charge or superior to all of the commanders
4 of those squads.
5 A. I know that this one person was the commander or leader of one
6 squad. Now, whether he commanded all of them during the attack, I don't
7 know that. We didn't have any radio stations, we didn't have any
8 Motorolas. But at the time of the attack, there was a large circle around
9 the village. So a lot of the front line was not covered, and there was
10 virtually or absolutely no coordination among the soldiers. We had some
11 trenches that were four or five kilometres away from each other.
12 Q. Yes. Fine. We will go back to the trenches, to the radio
13 stations and the radio sets and the communication that you were table to
14 maintain. But now I would like to address the issue of weapons. You
15 mentioned that you had a hunting rifle.
16 Could you please tell me other members of the BH army, what kind
17 of weapons did they have?
18 A. As for the exact number of weapons, I don't know that. But that
19 would be up to maybe 30 rifles: Old rifles, newer rifles, PAP rifles,
20 semi-automatic rifles, and there were maybe five or six. The PAP rifles
21 are semi-automatic rifles, there were maybe five or six automatic rifles,,
22 and there was a mortar that was never used. It was not used on that day
24 Q. So this would be the 60-millimetre mortar?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. What about the rockets launcher, what would that be?
2 A. I don't know about any rocket launchers.
3 Q. You never heard of it?
4 A. No, I didn't.
5 Q. And did you hear about anyone being in possession of hand grenades
6 or bombs in the village?
7 A. People did have hand grenades. They would buy them. They
8 actually, the two hand grenades that one of the household heads had,
9 actually saved many lives because the massacre would have been even worse.
10 Q. And could you please tell us how many bullets did you have?
11 A. I personally had 80 bullets for this rifle, the hunting carbine
12 rifle. Now, as to how many bullets there were in the village, how many
13 bullets the BH army soldiers had, I can't tell you that.
14 Q. Could you please tell us how long did the effort of the HVO to
15 take the village of Stupni Do last? How long did the fighting last, half
16 an hour, an hour?
17 A. From 8.00 -- ten minutes past 8.00 in the morning until the
18 afternoon, maybe two or three in the afternoon.
19 Q. So that would mean that the fighting took maybe five or six hours?
20 A. Well, I don't know. I didn't have a watch on me, but I know that
21 it did last some time.
22 Q. Fine. Please tell us, although you don't remember and you don't
23 know how many HVO troops were involved, but could you please tell us
24 whether the HVO soldiers were well armed?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. Could you explain to us how come that it took the well-armed and
2 probably numerous HVO forces six hours to take the village of Stupni Do?
3 Was the resistance offered by the BH army so fierce that the fighting had
4 to last six hours?
5 A. The lads that were deployed above the village in the Lipa sector,
6 as it was called, offered the fiercest resistance. They resisted for the
7 whole of that day. Actually, that trench was never taken. As for the
8 rest, the village is surrounded by the woods. It took four hours of
9 fighting before they actually managed to leave the wooded area and get to
10 the meadows, because the village is where you first have the houses, then
11 you have two or three kilometres of meadows, and then the wooded area.
12 And, of course, the HVO soldiers didn't really feel like going out
13 in the open. I think that was the reason why they didn't take the village
14 all that quickly.
15 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, could you please tell me, do you know how many HVO
16 soldiers were killed or wounded in this attack?
17 A. No, I don't know that.
18 Q. But do you know that the HVO suffered casualties?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. And can you tell us how you know that?
21 A. Well, I was told later that ambulances came in after Abid Likic --
22 after the wounding by the hand grenade, and then they picked up those
23 casualties, dead or wounded, and took them to Vares.
24 Q. In one of the reports on the people who were killed, you said that
25 there were 220 inhabitants in the village and eight displaced persons at
1 the time of the attack. Is that an accurate piece of information?
2 A. Yes, but this number may have varied by two or one, two or three,
3 because people left through -- left the village. They went out through
4 the woods in order to get some food, because we were no longer allowed to
5 go to Vares and to buy food there.
6 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, regarding the knowledge of the HVO plan for the
7 attack on Stupni Do, I will now read a part of the statement by Ekrem
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] In the Croatian -- or rather,
10 B/C/S, that would be on page 11 and 12; and in the English version, that
11 is on page 10.
12 Q. So Ekrem Mahmutovic says the following, I quote: "On the 21st of
13 October 1993, when the HVO unit arrived in Vares, the War Presidency in
14 exile ordered the evacuation of the village of Stupni Do because there was
15 a rumour that the HVO might attack Stupni Do and Dastansko."
16 So, Mr. Mahmutovic, have you ever heard of there decision of the
17 War Presidency in exile on the evacuation of Stupni Do or not?
18 A. The evacuation plan did exist. But that evening we did not
19 receive any orders to evacuate, or anything else; except, except for
20 something that I could only guess or speculate about when the brother of a
21 Croat who was Croat woman who was married to a neighbour of mine by the
22 name of Alija. When he came into the village, picked up his sister, and
23 Alija, his brother-in-law, he took them away from Stupni Do.
24 So it was some kind of an alarm. It rang the alarm bell that
25 there might be an attack. I didn't know anything about the evacuation,
1 and I didn't do anything to that end.
2 Q. Fine. Mr. Ekrem Mahmutovic says in his statement that this code
3 for the evacuation was broadcast via radio communications to Stupni Do and
4 that the signalman in Stupni Do radioed back that the villagers refused to
5 leave the village. But they insisted that if they come under an attack,
6 they should get assistance.
7 A. I don't know about that.
8 Q. Let's first focus on radio communications. Not only Ekrem
9 Mahmutovic but many other witnesses spoke about radio communications and
10 the signalman who was in Stupni Do.
11 Mr. Mahmutovic, do you know anything about the fact that Stupni Do
12 had radio communications with the -- with any BH structures, the
13 Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or whatever?
14 A. Yes. They did have radio set. It was an RUP 1, 2 or 3. I don't
15 know what it was called. They had it.
16 Q. [No interpretation] --
17 A. Just a moment, let me finish.
18 Nobody from the military structures notified me about anything,
19 including this thing that there was this warning.
20 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, but were you aware that it was possible to
21 communicate, or rather, that there was this communication via radio that
22 night, regardless of whether you were involved in it or not?
23 A. Yes, I did know that.
24 Q. Can you tell us what did you know? Were you aware of this order
25 and the refusal to obey it?
1 A. No, I didn't know that.
2 Q. What did you know about this exchange of messages?
3 A. I have to wait for the interpretation.
4 I knew that there was a radio set. All the local communes had
5 such sets. All the local communes in the Vares municipality had radio
6 sets or radio stations. They were used for civilian or military purposes
7 alike. If somebody got sick, it would be used. While the HVO was in
8 Vares, we communicated with them. If anyone got sick, then that person
9 could be taken down.
10 Q. I'm not asking you about the technical possibility to communicate.
11 I'm asking you about the contents of the radio messages that were
12 exchanged on the 22nd of October 1993, on the eve of the attack.
13 Were you aware that anyone was sending any messages to anyone that
14 some warnings were sent out and that somebody in the village decided to --
15 that the population should remain?
16 A. [No interpretation]
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speakers please
18 not overlap?
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The answer was no.
20 Q. I'm going to show you another statements by the same person.
21 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] This is page 10 in the English
23 Q. Ekrem Mahmutovic says, and I quote: "I was in Breza. Around 1900
24 hours on the 22nd October 1993, when we received a message from Stupni Do
25 sent by radio that something might happen in Stupni Do. Husnija
1 Mahmutovic ordered his signalsman to send a coded message to Breza, and
2 the message was that Alija Likic had informed him that Stupni Do would be
3 attacked by the HVO."
4 Mr. Mahmutovic, can you confirm whether this is the truth or not?
5 A. Whatever Ekrem Mahmutovic stated, he learned only subsequently,
6 much, much later. And whatever he stated here, I believe is a blatant lie
7 because after this crime, people exaggerated, distorted things. And since
8 he was personally an inhabitant of that local commune, as a commander, he
9 should have known more.
10 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, I don't know what the relationship between the two
11 of you is. I only want to hear the truth, and I want to hear whether
12 there is accord or discord between you in these matters.
13 Tell me, please, whether you have any knowledge that the villagers
14 of the village had meetings, that they tried to decide what to do, and
15 that they made a certain decision on the eve of the attack on the 22nd of
17 A. In the evening, I informed the Crisis Staff, which consisted of
18 elderly and rather serious people, and we decided to reinforce the guard
19 duty, to step up the guard duty, in case of attack. However, during the
20 night, we could not see anything different from the things that had been
21 happening before. There were no movements of soldiers or anything that
22 could alert us to the fact that in the sector of Stupni Do or in its
23 vicinity, there would be an attack the following morning.
24 Q. In the Kordic case, you said that the municipality council had a
25 meeting and decided that all the villagers of the village should be
1 mobilised and that the village should prepare itself for defence.
2 Is this more or less what you have just tried to tell us?
3 A. Yes. For a year and a half, we had been in prison; and for a year
4 and a half, we had been mobilised every night.
5 Q. We'll come to that, Mr. Mahmutovic. I really want to you tell us
6 everything that happened. You also said, in the Kordic case, that some
7 days before the attack, the trenches had been dug out and that the
8 preparations had been carried out for medical assistance; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, in case of attack.
10 Q. You also said that from before, there had been some shelters and
11 trenches, that there had been sandbags and water prepared; and on the eve
12 of the attack, you only inspected all those locations. You repaired
13 whatever was necessary to repair, and you had a short first aid course.
14 Is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can we then conclude that on the 22nd of October, you undertook
17 everything that was possible in order to prepare the village for defence?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Tell us, please, the trenches around the village, what was the
20 distance between the first line of those trenches and the first houses in
21 the village alone?
22 A. Can you please repeat your question.
23 Q. What was the distance between the trenches and the first houses in
24 the village of Stupni Do itself?
25 A. Some were three kilometres away, some were six kilometres away,
1 some five. It depended on the configuration of the ground. The farthest
2 trench was on Bogos hill on the strategic trigger points which was some
3 seven kilometres away from the village.
4 Q. Tell us, please, when it comes to the defence of the village, did
5 you organise it in such a way that even the most distant trenches would be
6 manned by the defenders who would bar the entrance to the village?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Is it true that in the course of the attack, the BiH army
9 abandoned some of those trenches that were far away from the village and
10 that they started approaching the village itself?
11 A. They abandoned just the one trench, the trench facing Bijelo
12 Borje. Those were very inexperienced young men. Actually, 99 per cent
13 had their first encounter with attack with rifles, with fire. So a few of
14 the lads abandoned the trench and ran towards the village.
15 Those men on Bogos, they died; and as for the third trench, that
16 was facing the village of Mir, they could not leave the village because of
17 the configuration of the ground.
18 Q. Now I'm interested in the approach of the BiH army troops to the
19 centre of village.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] A lot of people have spoken about
21 that in this case. I can prepare all of their statements for after the
22 break. But in nutshell we can summarise them by saying that the defence
23 during the attack --
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, were you granted
25 more time by other lawyers?
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as far as I know,
2 only Praljak Defence and Petkovic Defence have prepared cross-examination.
3 General Praljak needs some 15 [as interpreted] minutes, and the remainder
4 of the time belongs to me.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 50 minutes.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, there have been people who -- here who have told
8 us about the defence of the village approaching the centre of the village,
9 and I'm going to quote some of those statements, which stated that the
10 Defence approached houses that served as shelters. For example, Mr. Ejub
11 Likic said that Salih Likic was killed in the area around the shelter
12 which was defended by 14 members of the BiH army.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Just for the record, I'm going to
14 say that this is Exhibit number P08121, item 27 AF.
15 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic is it correct that 14 members of the BH army were
16 defending the shelter which housed the civilians in the very centre of the
17 village, i.e., in the village of Stupni Do itself?
18 A. It's not correct. It's not correct, and I can explain.
19 Q. What is not correct?
20 A. It is not correct --
21 Q. What is not correct, the figure of 14 or that there were any
22 members of the BiH army defending that shelter and that building?
23 A. From the position where I was, I could not see that part of the
24 village where the entire civilian population had withdrawn to. But I know
25 that at the moment of the attack, and some hour or an hour and a half into
1 attack, there was completes chaos and Ejub Likic's statement is not
2 correct because he himself had also fled the area.
3 Q. Let's analyse what you've just told us, please. You have told us
4 that you did not see the part of the village to which the civilian
5 population had withdrawn to. Does that mean that all of those 200-some
6 civilians had withdrawn to that one part of the village that you yourself
7 couldn't see?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And tell us, please, were they all in one central shelter?
10 A. I wouldn't know that.
11 Q. And when you say that Mr. Ejub Likic is not saying the truth
12 because he had fled, can you just tell us briefly what the problem may be,
13 what was his problem?
14 A. Ejub Likic was on Bogos hill which was a very strategically
15 important point at which lads had died. At the moment when the trench was
16 falling, he left the mortar that was up there. He had not fired a single
17 shell. He just left it there and he ran down to the village without a
18 rifle, without a hand grenade. There were several lads who had done that,
19 so there was a chaos everywhere.
20 Q. Tell me, please, in the village itself, where was the position of
21 the mortar. In the village itself, where was the mortar in Stupni Do?
22 A. It had been taken to Bogos hill.
23 Q. So in the village, there was no mortar?
24 A. Of course not.
25 Q. Mr. Ejub Likic also stated that Amit Likic another member of the
1 BH army from that position, near the shelter in which there were
2 civilians, threw a hand grenade at the HVO.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The exhibit is the same, at item 27
4 AI and AK.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Another blatant lie, and can I
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. We don't have the time unfortunately. You've already heard Their
9 Honours rushing me. I just wanted to show you another statement before
10 the break.
11 Avdija Likic stated the following: "The defence forces of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina were focused around the main shelter in the village,
13 where there was a majority of the civilians." This was Ejub Likic's
15 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The exhibit number is P06978, item
16 38 C.
17 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Mahmutovic, this is another person's
18 statement about the concentration of the Defence forces of the BiH army
19 around the main village shelter; is it true or not true?
20 A. Not true. There could have been two or three soldiers, but 14?
21 No. That's beyond belief.
22 Q. Ejub mentioned the number of 14; Avdija speaks about a high
23 concentration, but that doesn't matter.
24 Before we start talking about civilian population, there is
25 another important detail. Mr. Avdija Likic stated that the HVO had called
1 civilian population of the Stupni Do to surrender in the course of
2 fighting, but that the BiH army refused to surrender and decided to
3 continue fighting despite the situation on the ground.
4 Tell us, please, whether that is correct or not?
5 A. Lie, lie.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Just for the record, I would like
7 to say that this is the same exhibit number, item 38 D.
8 Now, Your Honours, I find this a convenient time for our first
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're absolutely right, but
11 there is just one question.
12 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, there are two
13 documents, 080182 [as interpreted] and 06978. These are P-documents.
14 It's Prosecution documents, aren't they? Because in your binder, I can
15 not find them.
16 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, these are statements
17 of the witnesses that have already been admitted into evidence. Those
18 were not viva voce witnesses. They were witnesses whose statements we
19 adopted in this case. Unfortunately, I've not prepared them because they
20 were not important, and I don't want to tender them into evidence.
21 They were just the basis for putting questions to this witness,
22 and I have provided the references to the specific items in the statements
23 so the statements may be checked. If you so wish, I can prepare both of
24 these statements for the session that starts after the break, so you may
25 be able to verify all the -- everything.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you not continue for ten
2 more minutes, and that way we can take a break at 5.00?
3 JUDGE TRECHSEL: With your permission, I would like to put a
4 question to the witness.
5 Witness, you stated not long ago, very clearly, that it was a
6 mistake to say that the HVO had invited the inhabitants of Stupni Do and
7 the defenders of Stupni Do to surrender. How can say that it was not true
8 when were you so far from the area where the civilians were?
9 Is it not possible that there was such a call but that you simply
10 had not heard it?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From conversations, Your Honour,
12 from conversations with the people who had thrown grenades, with the
13 person who had defended those civilians. Drugged soldiers had killed at
14 random so nobody stood a chance in hell to remain alive. They killed
15 everybody. There was no chance for anybody to remain alive, or for them
16 to call anybody to surrender.
17 If you can appreciate the situation as it was on that day, them
18 calling somebody to surrender is beyond belief. I spoke to people, to the
19 civilians who were in that shelter. Nobody ever called to anybody to
20 surrender, and I really don't know where this statement came from. How
21 could anybody have stated this?
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] Did you put the question clearly
23 to the person you spoke to? Did you ask them whether they heard anything,
24 a call, a speech, or somebody from the -- or something from the HVO?
25 I understand that there was a moment when people were firing shots
1 and nobody was careful. But if I have understood you well, people were
2 cautioned, and this preceded the time you have just spoken about.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. This is the first time, since
4 12 or 13 years ago, do I hear somebody saying that somebody called
5 somebody. After so many stories and things told, after the end, this is
6 the first time I hear from anybody that people had been called to
7 surrender, which obviously shows you this is not true. Can you imagine
8 200 or 300 men firing at a handful of people? I really, really don't
9 understand this.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, we have had witness here. We have had women who
12 spoke about that. One of them was a messenger, but we won't go into
13 that. Now I would like to talk about the civilians.
14 A. I apologise, if I may interrupt you. I really can't stay calm.
15 If the Trial Chamber would allow me, I would like to explain.
16 Q. I would kindly ask to you leave that to the end of today's
17 session, because my time is really restricted. I would like to explain
18 for the Trial Chamber something else, and I believe that you are the ideal
19 person to help us with that.
20 The list of the fallen persons, my learned friends Flynn showed
21 you that under 58641. This is the list of 38 people, and I suppose that
22 you know very well who these people are. You're familiar with the list,
23 but I would like to show you one person on number 28, Rasema Likic.
24 I would like to tell you that for that person, one witness, a
25 female witness whose name is Salifa [phoen] Likic. Said as following --
1 as follows: "While they were hiding in the forest, one elderly woman
2 died. She had been identified as Rasema Likic. She probably died from
3 exhaustion or a heart attack."
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] This is the statement under P06798,
5 item 19 F.
6 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, do you have any knowledge about Rasema Likic
7 having died in the forest after she had managed to leave Stupni Do, rather
8 than having been killed in Stupni Do itself?
9 A. Yes. That woman died at the exit. Her heart stopped from fear.
10 Q. Now, before we start talking about the civilians, let's try to
11 clarify, for the benefit of the Judges, the words "CZ" next to some of the
12 names. Does this abbreviation stand for "civilian protection," to help
13 you answer?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Tell us please, the civilian protection, was that one of the forms
16 or aspects of the defence activities of the citizens of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the same was true of the citizens of Croatia and
18 all of the other citizens of the former Yugoslavia?
19 Can we agree on that, that the civilian protection was one form of
20 defence activity?
21 A. Yes. But our civilian protection looked after the civilian
22 population, and dug out trenches around the villages.
23 Q. Can you please now look at 4D 00408?
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] This is a decree on defence, the
25 defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The date is November 1992.
1 Q. I believe it would be very useful if we could together explain to
2 the Trial Chamber what were the rights and duties of the citizens in
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Let's look at Article 46 of this
6 Q. I believe you're waiting for the document to appear on the screen,
7 but you have it in your binder, article 46.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] I apologise for being
9 fastidious. But according to the transcript on line 6, page 44, you have
10 said that the date of the decree is November 1992. I'm looking at the
11 first page, at any rate, of the translated version we have, and we have
12 the date of the 20th of May 1992.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you're perfectly
14 right, as regards the passing of the decree itself; but it was published
15 in the Official Gazette in November 1992. So that when I said November, I
16 actually was referring to the time of the publication. But the date that
17 was mentioned by His Honour Judge Trechsel was, in fact, more important,
18 because the decree enters into force on the date of its passing, not
20 Q. So could we please look at this Article in front of us, 46?
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Interpretation] The document here says that this
22 is a copy of the Narodni List of the Official Gazette. But I think there
23 is a slippage here between the original and the translation, because I see
24 here that in the original text, we have the date 15th of November.
25 I don't think one needs to be a linguist to understand this. This
1 might be a translation error.
2 Please proceed. I don't wish to delay you.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you are right, as
4 usual. There is a mistranslation here on top, and I have to admit that I
5 did not pay any attention to that particular part of the translation.
6 Q. So at any rate, Article 46, let us look at the rights and
7 obligations --
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [No interpretation]
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. -- of the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina in defence. It says here
11 that they have military obligation.
12 So let us take it one at a time. Citizens are under the military
13 obligation. Was military obligation one of the obligations that the
14 citizens had in the defence of their country?
15 A. As far as Article 46 is concerned, in the case of Stupni Do, the
16 civilians and the civil defence --
17 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, we will get to that.
18 A. The civil defence had only the right to be killed without the
20 Q. We will get to the civil defence, civilian protection; or, in
21 fact, I just want to show the Judges what are the obligations of the
22 citizens in the defence of the country, and that this was just a pretext
23 for me to do so.
24 So military obligation is number 1 obligation?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. The second one is work obligation?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Let us now look at Article 48, so that our judges are able to get
4 a picture --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]
6 ... you said so. The people who were part of the civil defence,
7 according to what you know, were these people around in your village or
8 were they not? I'm talking about --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues] ...
10 Your Honour, for a year and a half, we were under a media blockade. We
11 could only see one TV channel, and everything that is now shown on the
12 screen is something that I may have got my hands on after the war. But
13 during the war, all those Official Gazettes and everything, that is now
14 being shown to me, that is nothing to do with me.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm not asking about the media.
16 I'm talking about your fellow citizens who were in your village and who
17 were part of the civil defence. Were these people armed or not?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were not armed, Your Honour.
19 They were not armed.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. That's what I wanted
21 to know. We need to have a break now. It is 5.00, and we are having a
22 20-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 5.02 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 5.21 p.m.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Alaburic. You have the
2 MR. FLYNN: I wonder if I may, before Ms. Alaburic continues, I
3 had wanted to say this, but I didn't want to break her train of thought
4 when she was cross-examining.
5 Just by way of record, on page 38, at line 6, Ms. Alaburic, when
6 she was questioning the witness, suggested that there had been a lot of
7 people who had told us various things for the Tribunal here, concerning
8 what had happened in the village of Stupni Do; then she proceeded to put
9 to the witness the statements of certain people, including Ejub Likic,
10 another Likic member whose name I can't pick up from the transcript; then
11 she referred to various exhibits, some of which were P exhibits.
12 Just for the record, I want to say that these are not 92 bis
13 witnesses. Those are not witnesses who ever testified in any shape or
14 form before the Tribunal. And as far as I can see from looking at
15 P exhibits over the break, they are effectively statements which were
16 collected by the UNPROFOR military police or various other law enforcement
17 officers who were investigating Stupni Do in the course of the
18 investigation which took place afterwards. So they are statements which
19 were untried and untested.
20 I just wanted that to be on the record because she had introduced
21 them as statements from people who had told us.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So it's been recorded on the
24 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, my learned
25 colleague, Mr. Flynn, is completely right. This is all about the relaying
1 of the statements made by those people.
2 Q. So but let us go back to the rights and duties of the citizens of
3 BH in the defence of the country. We mentioned the military obligation,
4 which is self-evident, and then we have the work obligation.
5 And can we now look at Article 48 which is in front of you on the
6 screen. Could we please try and explain to the Judges what that is? You
7 know that as the president of the local commune.
8 So in accordance with the ordinance on defence, all citizens able
9 to work, above the age of 15, were under the work obligations. The work
10 obligation could be carried out in the organs of the state administration,
11 companies, and other legal persons, and it could also be discharged by
12 carrying out temporary work for the needs of the defence.
13 So you do know what the work defence is, Mr. Mahmutovic?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Could you please tell us, in the former Yugoslavia, and in all the
16 countries of the former Yugoslavia, was it a rule that people above the
17 age of 15 could be put under an obligation to work in a state organ or a
18 company that is vital for the defence? Is that so?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And was there a rule that citizens, mostly men who were under the
21 work obligation, did not have to serve in the army; is that so?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can we then conclude that, in fact, the work and military
24 obligations are actually complementary; in other words, a single person
25 can be either under the military obligation or under the work obligation?
1 Is that so?
2 A. [No audible response]
3 Q. Could you please speak up, because your answer was not recorded in
4 the transcript?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. So it is clear that the work obligation is one of the forms of the
7 defence of the country, is that so?
8 A. Yes. In normal conditions, it is so.
9 Q. Well, we will see what the situation is like in wartime
10 conditions. The next thing that is mentioned in Article 46 is civilian
11 protection. You gave some explanation when Judge Antonetti asked, but let
12 us see what is stipulated in greater detail in Articles 72 of this
14 I will read. So this is Article 72, and it says that the civilian
15 protection shall be organised, prepared, and carried out as a system of
16 the protection and rescue of people, physical, and cultural property
17 against wartime destruction, natural disasters, industrial disasters, and
18 all the other risks in peace and wartime.
19 Was this the task of the civilian protection, to your knowledge?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Could you please tell us, members of the civilian protection,
22 through their work in the civilian protection, contributed to the defence
23 of the country; is that so?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Members of the civilian protection were not at the same time
1 soldiers and were not under the work obligation, is that so?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In Article 51, one of the obligations imposed on the citizens --
4 rather, I apologise. It is not Article 51; it is Article 47,
5 paragraph 3.
6 There is an interesting obligation that is imposed on the
7 citizens, and let me quote: "They shall provide information pertinent for
8 the defence that they learn or observe, and they shall provide them to the
9 alerting centre or state organs as soon as possible."
10 Mr. Mahmutovic, does that mean that the citizens of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina were under the obligation to inform those alerting
12 centres about any information that is relevant for the defence of the
13 country and to contribute to the defence of their country in this manner?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Mr. Naumovski, who defended the Accused Kordic, in your previous
16 testimony, showed you the statement by Mr. Ekrem Mahmutovic, who had said
17 that there were 50 soldiers in Stupni Do; not 36 or 37, as you indicated.
18 When this was put to you by Mr. Naumovski, you replied, and I
19 quote: "Everybody served. There were old age pensioners and others."
20 Did I quote you right? Did you say that everybody served in the
21 defence of the country?
22 A. Yes, yes. But there is this difference: Some were armed and
23 others just had spades.
24 Q. But the fact that some had spades was due to the fact that they
25 had their own tasks in the defence of the country?
1 A. Yes, yes.
2 Q. In your statement to the Office of the Prosecutor, on the 3rd of
3 November 1998, you said that "all healthy men of military age in the
4 village were under an obligation to join the Territorial Defence which
5 later became the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina." Is that correct?
6 A. Yes. But that was on a voluntary basis, because we didn't have
7 the police. We didn't have any kind of system, or anything of that sort,
8 that would force those who were unwilling or punish them so that they join
9 the army. So everything was on a voluntary basis, precisely because the
10 village had been under a siege or had been encircled for a year and a
12 Q. This was, as you indicated right at the beginning of the
13 Territorial Defence. But Mr. Mahmutovic I would now like to focus on
14 civilians and see how out of those maybe 200 civilians - you may correct
15 this figure - how they managed to leave the village of Stupni Do.
16 You have told us that they were located in the houses that served
17 as shelters, and you told us something that is quite interesting. It is
18 something that I, as a lawyer, with quite some experience and of -- in
19 fact, I can't recall any law that bound the civilians building their
20 private homes to have atomic shelters in their houses. I consulted my
21 colleagues from other parts of the former Yugoslavia, from Sarajevo, and
22 they also were unaware of this regulation.
23 So I put it to that you this is not correct, what you said, that
24 private homes in Bosnia-Herzegovina had to be equipped with shelters in
25 case of an attack. Would you agree with me, despite what you had said
2 A. No, I cannot.
3 Q. Fine. So in those shelters, atomic shelters, as you put it, there
4 were maybe some 200 civilians; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you please explain to us, we can use your list to ascertain
7 how many civilians were killed, some 20 or so, could you please tell us
8 how did the 150 to 180 people manage to leave Stupni Do and to save their
9 lives? To begin with, can you please tell us when they left Stupni Do?
10 A. They left in the night. It was -- it stopped raining, but it was
11 overcast and foggy. The HVO troops withdrew to the hills around the
12 village, to the check-points around the village. They set up fires, and I
13 know that because I passed by one such check-point. The column moved out
14 when they saw that --
15 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic --
16 A. Let me finish, please.
17 Q. No, no, please, because we will not be able to go through
18 everything that I want to go through. You said, "during the night," so
19 could you tell us where were these people during that day?
20 A. In their shelters, or as you put it, the atomic shelters.
21 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, that was the term you used, and I quoted you when
22 I used that term. But that's immaterial now.
23 At the time, when the HVO soldiers entered the village, the
24 villagers were in the shelters?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. The villagers, for the most part, remained in shelters after the
2 HVO soldiers left the village; is that so?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Does that mean that the HVO soldiers did not go from house to
5 house and did not look into the shelters where civilians were at the time?
6 A. I explained a little while ago, the HVO soldiers stopped the
7 attack after one of their number was wounded by the grenade. They stopped
8 the attack. The villagers did not dare leave the shelters until it was
9 dark, and only then did --
10 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic --
11 A. -- only then did they form a column and leave.
12 Q. There is something that is unclear to me, and I believe that it is
13 unclear to some other people, too. When the fighting stopped, the HVO
14 soldiers entered the village. Some HVO soldiers did enter the village.
15 You mentioned --
16 A. Yes, they did.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The speakers will have to
18 stop overlapping. It is impossible to interpret.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. All the other villagers were in the second half of the village --
21 in the other half of the village; is that what you're trying to tell us?
22 A. Yes, with the exception of those who lived in the -- on the
23 outskirts of the local commune.
24 Q. Those people were not in the way of the HVO soldiers who had
25 entered the village?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Are you trying to tell us, then, that a part of the village of
3 Stupni Do, on the 23rd, was not entered by the HVO soldiers; that the
4 population living in those parts of the village were not touched by
5 anyone; and that as soon as it got dark, those villagers were able to
6 leave the village, to hide in the woods and then managed to save their
7 lives by escaping as it was described? Is that what you're trying to tell
9 A. I said a little while ago, Abid Likic, when they reached the last
10 destination, there were just two or three house that is were not taken
11 yet, and it is in that house that most of the civilians were. He lobbed
12 two hand grenades on them, they were wounded, and the attack stopped at
13 that moment.
14 Q. Let us focus on these two or three houses. You told us a little
15 while ago that they were in the part of the village that the HVO did not
16 enter. Now you said two or three houses.
17 Does that mean that the HVO went through the whole of the village
18 and held under control all the houses in Stupni Do, with the exception of
19 those two or three houses, or did I misunderstand you?
20 A. It did not establish control over those two or three houses. This
21 is where those civilians were left. That's what I explained.
22 Q. Okay. So the HVO controlled all the houses, with the exception of
23 those two or three houses in Stupni Do?
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 Q. And all 170 inhabitants of Stupni Do, let us use that figure, were
1 in those two or three houses?
2 A. Well, more or less, yes, plus/minus ten.
3 Q. Could you please tell me, were all the civilians there right from
4 the beginning of the conflict, or did they move from one shelter to
5 another as the conflict progressed to get further away from the axis of
6 the attack of the HVO?
7 A. Yes, yes. They were fleeing, they were fleeing, they were
8 saving -- trying to save their lives.
9 Q. When you talked about the people, the civilians who were killed in
10 the first part of the village, you said that some of them had been
11 disabled. Some are described as very young people, children, really.
12 Can we then conclude that in the first part of the village, only
13 those people were left who were less mobile, so to speak, and who could
14 not move quickly enough to shelters that were further away from the axis
15 of the HVO attack?
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, could you please tell us, how come that if you
18 suspected that the HVO might attack Stupni Do, how come that the BH army
19 did not take care of the people who were less mobile, to evacuate them
20 promptly, or at least to move them further away from the axis of the HVO
22 A. Let me repeat this for the third time: The village had been
23 encircled for a year and a half. We had to go through the woods to get
24 the food. The location of this local commune is such that it is
25 surrounded by the Croatian villages.
1 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, I understand all of that, but the fact is that 170
2 people were able to save their lives. It is a fact that the people who
3 were less mobile could not be saved. That's what you told us yourself.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. So my question is: If there were any indications that there would
6 be an attack, an army first has to think about how to protect its citizens
7 who are disabled or less mobile for other reasons.
8 So can you explain to us why did you fail to take care of those
9 people who were not able to move on time?
10 A. I was not aware that there would be an attack. The civilians that
11 managed to get out, I explained to you a little while ago, they fell into
12 the hands of the HVO soldiers again.
13 Q. Now, these HVO soldiers, did they meet them and did they take them
14 to the UNPROFOR base and were people saved in that way?
15 A. No. No. I'm -- an UNPROFOR vehicle came by. They would have
16 returned them to Vares. That's what they wanted to do.
17 Q. In any case, there is no doubt in your mind that these people were
18 taken care of and saved?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know that some of these people were thankful to the HVO for
21 the fact that they had been saved and how they had been saved? Do you
22 have any knowledge about that?
23 A. Yes. I can share with you the example of my mother. My mother --
24 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, I am happy that you're aware of such cases. This
25 brings me to an end of my cross-examination. Mr. Mahmutovic, I would like
1 to thank you.
2 A. I apologise, Your Honours. You do not allow me to finish my
3 sentences. My mother was recaptured. She was recaptured. They tied a
4 dog to her body, a very dangerous dog, and they were to exchange her for
5 one of their soldiers.
6 That's how they saved people, and for what people had to be
7 thankful to them? She was an elderly woman. She was 60. Before that,
8 she had seen with her own two eyes how they killed her son.
9 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, I'm very sorry that this happened. There is no
10 reason at all for me to doubt your words, but we have not read any such
11 thing in any of the reports, either by the UNPROFOR or the European
12 monitors or any other organisation. We are rather well informed about the
13 destiny of any citizen of Stupni Do who -- whom something bad had
15 A. There is my mother's statement.
16 Q. It hasn't been presented to us in this courtroom, and I'm really
17 sorry to hear that. Thank you very much.
18 A. Thank you, too.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to follow up a bit, because you seem
20 to have given an ironic answer. When counsel asked you whether you were
21 aware of people from Stupni Do being grateful to the HVO, you said yes.
22 But then you gave an example which, of course, illustrates rather the
24 Now, I'm repeating the question: Are you aware of any people from
25 your village that were, for some reason or other, grateful to the HVO?
1 I'm not aware of the foundation for this question, but there it
2 is. I'm sorry, I have not heard your answer.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, no.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] If you will allow me, Your Honours,
7 I would like to tell Judge Trechsel what the foundation for my question
9 I believe that after a large number of witnesses and a relatively
10 large number of statements and a relatively large number of the latest
11 statements contained in the UNPROFOR report, we were clear on the fact
12 that the HVO received people who had left Stupni Do, that they transferred
13 them to the UNPROFOR bases, and that was my foundation for the questions
14 that I put to the witness.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Praljak's Defence has 50
16 minutes, Mr. Kovacic.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for the opportunity with
18 regard to your defence dated 10 May, and especially paragraph 11 and 12 of
19 this decision. I would like to ask you to allow the Accused Praljak to
20 put the questions to the witness.
21 We have learned a lot of things about Stupni Do so far. It is not
22 in dispute that this was an armed conflict, that this was fighting that
23 took place in the village and around the village.
24 And given the context of the fighting, and given the consequences
25 that to a certain extent are rather dubious, and bearing in mind that
1 Praljak was a soldier, that he was familiar with the situation, that he
2 was clear on the circumstances under which such events happened, I believe
3 that he meets the criteria of the decision because he has specialist
4 knowledge and he is better-suited to put questions on this area.
5 That it would be my oral submission.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, can you answer a
7 question from the Chamber? General Praljak was not present at the time,
8 was he? Did he have any knowledge about what had happened?
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] It is true, Your Honours, that
10 General Praljak was not there, and we have seen from some of the documents
11 and from the words of certain witnesses that he had been briefed
13 We know that there was a certain investigation; in other words, he
14 was subsequently informed about all the details. That's one foundation.
15 The other foundation is that similar events, i.e., conflicts between the
16 army attacking and the army defending irrespective of who the attacker and
17 who the defender was, evolved in a similar ways following similar
18 regularities. In that respect, he has special experience.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, to be more accurate, what
21 kind of military issue of a technical nature will he talk about?
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] If you wish, Your Honours,
23 Mr. Praljak has added some things during the testimony of this witness.
24 He could inform you better than me. I can provide you some general
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you have the floor.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you very
3 much. I have been charged with the events in Stupni Do; although, as you
4 said it yourself, I was not there. I was 200 kilometres away from there,
5 but I was still charged with Stupni Do in the indictment.
6 In addition to being there, there are also statements of the
7 witnesses which form the factual basis, but there is only a logic that
8 puts these facts in a certain relation; for example, the logic about the
9 exact number of trenches around Stupni Do, how far they were apart from
10 each other - I've prepared a little map - the fact whether Bogos is seven
11 kilometres away from Stupni Do, whether these trenches were three or four
12 kilometres away from Stupni Do, further on whether the units of the BiH
13 army in Stupni Do also had machine-guns and how many. This has been
14 omitted. Thank you very much.
15 Cross-examination by Accused Praljak:
16 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.
17 A. Good afternoon.
18 Q. As you've already heard, I'm going to try and clarify certain
19 matters and certain technical and military matters, as well as some other
20 facts, and I'm going to try and put them in certain perspectives.
21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the usher
22 to put before us a map on the thing over there.
23 Q. On this map, you will see some markings.
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can you put the part with
25 the circles.
1 Q. You will see eight circles there, marking the village of Kopjari.
2 Can you see that?
3 Witness, can you please look at the map: The village of Kopjari;
4 the village of Dragojevici; Mijakovici; Lijesnica, that's a hill top;
5 Bogos hill; Stupni Do; Mir and Dastansko villages.
6 I'm going to ask you this: During the attack on Stupni Do, did
7 you know that the units of the BiH army of the 3rd Corps had attacked the
8 villages of Kopjari, Dragojevici, and Mijakovici several days before that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Along the axis indicated by the green arrow pointing towards
11 Vares, were you familiar with that?
12 A. Yes, I was. I've heard of that.
13 Q. Thank you very much. You can see that to Stupni Do and Mir and
14 Bogosi have been marked. You said that a while ago that Stupni Do is some
15 seven kilometres away from Bogos hill.
16 This map that you have is in the scale of 1:100.000, and that
17 means that seven kilometres to be seven centimetres on the map. Would you
18 agree with me that it is not at all possible if you look at the map, and
19 you will see that --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. I'm somewhat
21 lost. The Bogosi hill is seven kilometres away from the village, is it?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, if you walk there on foot.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On foot. Seven kilometres on
24 foot. Seven kilometres.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You have to go to Mir, then there
1 are serpentines, you have to negotiate a trail up the meadows; and
2 Mr. Praljak is talking about the distance as the crow flies.
3 As the crow flies, it may be one or two kilometres; but in order
4 for you to climb, you can't go straight. You could if you were a mountain
5 climber, an alpinist. That's the whole point.
6 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Very well. You will agree with me that the houses in Stupni Do
8 are rather scattered and that the distance between the houses on the left
9 side to the right-hand side is about one kilometre and a half, would that
10 be correct, if we consult the map?
11 A. I apologise, Mr. Praljak. I did not understand your question at
13 Q. We'll take it slowly. Is it correct that the village of Stupni Do
14 is rather elongated, so that one from side of the village to the other
15 side of the village, the distance is about a kilometre and a half at
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you very much. Here I've also marked the lines of the
19 Republika Srpska army in red. Will you agree with me that this is more or
20 less how the things were at the time?
21 A. I can't really see this map very well. I apologise.
22 Q. Look at the red colour?
23 A. Yes. I can see the red colour, but nothing is legible on the map,
24 so I'm not able to follow.
25 Q. Look at Dastansko towards Zvijezda?
1 A. Yes, I'm clear on that.
2 Q. Thank you very much.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, to better understand where
4 the Bogos hill is and where the village is, we have a photograph which has
5 been given to us by the Prosecution. Could we put it on the ELMO, please,
6 and the witness could then tell us where the Bogos hill stands which would
7 make everything much clearer.
8 We have a photograph here. Can we see the Bogos hill here?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, on the right-hand
10 side, you can see this rather large hill. Here, on the right-hand side of
11 the map, there is a meadow. You can see that towards the centre, and
12 there is a little forest. And from there, on the right-hand side, Bogos
13 hill starts, but it is not depicted in the picture. That's where it
14 starts. It's a very steep slope, and it goes towards the right side, but
15 it's not depicted in this photo.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. We can just see the
17 beginning of it. Right.
18 Please proceed, Mr. Praljak.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 Q. I have also marked by an arrow that goes from Vares to Dastansko.
21 This has nothing to do with you. But just for the information of the
22 Trial Chamber, according to your knowledge at that time and later on, was
23 this road that the HVO soldiers and Croats used to withdraw from Vares
24 when the BiH army had attacked Vares, and they went to Dastansko?
25 A. Thank you.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can I have the IC number for
2 this map, Your Honours?
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could we have an
4 IC number of the map with circles on it.
5 THE REGISTRAR: The map shall be given Exhibit number IC 754.
6 Thank you, Your Honour.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can this piece of paper also
8 be placed on the same place so that we may take a look, merely.
9 Q. A witness drew this map, and I'm not going to say his name. He is
10 supposed to appear before this Trial Chamber. We have received this map
11 from the Prosecutor's Office, and this map depicts seven trenches, seven
12 trenches around the village from number 1 to number 7.
13 According to your knowledge, is this a true marking of the
14 trenches that were placed around the village of Stupni Do?
15 A. Just bear with me for a moment.
16 Q. Take your time.
17 A. Mr. Praljak, please, could you explain the meaning of this circle
18 and number 3 next to it?
19 Q. That's that trench. This witness claims that there was a trench
20 here, a BiH army trench, or a trench of the forces that were in Stupni Do.
21 He also made a sketch of the roads around the village, and he also drew
22 the seven trenches around the village. Do you agree with this sketch?
23 It's not a map; it's actually a sketch, a drawing. Can you agree
24 with it?
25 A. Yes, with everything, except for number 3. I don't know what that
2 Q. Very well. It's enough.
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the IC
4 number for this sketch, please, and then I'll move on.
5 Q. Can you correct the distances that you provided to the Trial
6 Chamber? You will see -- you will see it on the film. Can you agree that
7 this the distances were not two or three kilometres, that these trenches
8 were much closer to the village?
9 A. Mr. Praljak, I never measured any of these distances. I didn't
10 have a tape measure or anything else. But judging by the logic of the
11 thing, if the distance between Vares and Majdan and Stupni Do, if that's
12 two kilometres and 800 metres, it's only logical that all these trenches
13 were between two and seven kilometres away.
14 Q. Okay. If you want to stick to that, be my guest.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can I please have an IC
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. What will be the
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, that will be Exhibit number IC 755.
20 Thank you, Your Honour.
21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
22 Q. In your statement, and I'm reading from the statement that was
23 provided to us by the Prosecutor's Office, you said that you heard the
24 first shots around 8.00 in the morning and that you thought that it was
25 some lads fooling around because that had sometimes happened.
1 A. Yes. There had been provocations before that.
2 Q. Thank you very much. And then you heard from the surrounding
3 hills not only infantry weapons but also some heavy weaponry, artillery
4 weaponry, and particularly the answer aircraft cannons; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The aircraft cannons ranging between 20, 40 millimetres?
7 A. Yes. I was their target as well.
8 Q. And then you say that they targeted the houses at the beginning of
9 the village, in the lower part of the village?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And that that was the inflammatory bullets that set houses on
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And then you go on to say that the lines were falling, you were in
15 a trench, then you saw 19 soldiers advancing from the direction of the
16 forest, and then you returned to your house to the shelter there; is that
18 A. But I never entered the shelter. I came to the door of my house,
19 and I told them to that they had to leave, that they had to leave the
20 shelter, all of them to go to the forest, to take the road to the rocky
21 part of the forest in order to save themselves because the line on Bogos,
22 the first line of defence on Bogos, had fallen.
23 Q. And you say that half of the people from the shelter who were
24 women and children reached the forest safely. You are saying here that
25 children and women, regardless of the bullets falling around them, had
1 reached the forest safely; is that correct?
2 A. What I said is correct. I was watching the first group of people
3 that left the shelter. The four of them jumped over the fence. If you
4 understand what I'm saying, they jumped over the fence that was below the
5 house, and they went towards the forest, and they were followed by the
6 others. However, the shooting was so strong that they were afraid to
7 proceed, and they returned to the shelter. They didn't dare proceed.
8 But I didn't know that they had returned to the shelter because I
9 with my father had headed towards the line.
10 Q. I understand you, sir, but the fact that they returned because of
11 the shooting is not part of your statement, and I'm glad that you've
12 clarified. You didn't know that they had returned?
13 A. No, I didn't know.
14 Q. And afterwards, you too went closer to the woods where there was
15 an underground shelter; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. And you stayed there until late afternoon or early evening, as we
18 already heard, which was when you went back, and you stated that half of
19 the village was on fire and the other half of the village was not on fire;
20 is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You encountered a neighbour in the fields. His name is ML. I'm
23 not going to give you his full name. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. We have dealt with this. But I'm now interested in the
1 following: You stated that you know that 38 people died or were killed in
2 Stupni Do; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, you have to understand that I have to ask this for
5 the simple reason that we are trying to come to the truth about Stupni Do.
6 I'm going to show you a film that was taken by UNPROFOR, by UNPROFOR
7 police that conducted an investigation, after it entered the village of
8 Stupni Do.
9 So my question to you will be the following before we go on to
10 show you the clip: In the meantime, between the arrival of UNPROFOR and
11 the departure of the people from Stupni Do, did anyone bury the people,
12 the dead people, in Stupni Do? Did anyone bury any of the dead bodies?
13 A. Could you please repeat your question?
14 Q. The people from Stupni Do, and you yourself, left in the night
15 between the 23rd and the 24th of October 1993. After that, UNPROFOR came
16 in, I think it was on the 25th -- or rather, the 26th. It entered the
17 village of Stupni Do, and some footage was filmed showing everything that
18 could be seen there; and at that moment, 15 or 16 bodies were found.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. My first question to you is the following: In the meantime, did
21 anyone bury any of those people who died or were killed, or was the scene
22 intact until the arrival of UNPROFOR to your knowledge?
23 A. Well, to my knowledge, and what I know is true, the HVO in Vares
24 did not allow UNPROFOR to enter the village for three days after the
25 attack, for three days.
1 Q. Yes, we know that. This is not controversial.
2 A. None of the villagers could not and did not dare to get in there.
3 Q. Why I'm going to ask you to watch closely, and I apologise in
4 advance because I'm sure that this -- that you will be affected by
5 watching this film. It will take you back to everything that you lived
6 through, but I have to show it to you. Why? You told us that sometime on
7 the 4th or the 5th of November, you had gone back to Stupni Do, that you
8 went to the burned out remains of the buildings, and that you took three
9 or four days to dig out all the bodies from the charred debris.
10 So now we will see what the houses looked like, and --
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me, Mr. Praljak, on line 12 of page 86,
12 there is an answer which has a double negative: "None of the villages
13 could not and did not dare to get in there. That means that all the
14 villagers could and dared to get in there." Is that what you wanted to
15 say, witness?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, no, Your Honour. Nobody
17 dared to go back there until Vares was liberated.
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you for the clarification.
19 Excuse me, Mr. Praljak.
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 This was a double negation. Any way, let us look at P06321.
22 [Videotape played]
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
24 Q. So is it correct that now we can see the basement, the shelters,
25 the windows, we can see the sandbags around those windows in the
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I don't know what's going
4 Q. Sir, we have seen the terrible images in another film, and the
5 charred bodies of the people who came to be autopsied. I don't know how
6 the autopsy was carried out. We will see them standing around locations
7 where there was no burning, and there had been no burning. His Honour
8 Judge Antonetti noticed that, too, when we first saw this film.
9 What I am bothered about is how the bodies in this other film came
10 to be charred beyond recognition when those houses that we are about to
11 see cannot burn to such a degree. You can see the roofs, the structures,
12 and people inside could have some burns and could perhaps suffocate; but
13 how could some bodies be burnt beyond recognition?
14 Did you --
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could you please stop
17 Q. Did you look for an answer to that question? Here, we can see
18 three women who had been killed.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I don't know whether this is
20 very visible or not, or how clear we can get it.
21 Q. The woman, the first woman here, is in a military uniform. My
22 question to you is whether there was a woman among the BH army troops in
23 Stupni Do?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Unfortunately, this image could be of better quality.
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could we please continue.
2 [Videotape played]
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You can see she is wearing a camouflage uniform, and below her
5 there are two other women. In the background, we can see those images, we
6 can see the sandbags. We can't see the windows does, though.
7 Another question that I'm going to ask you is whether you know for
8 a fact that from those basements that were protected, that there was no
9 fire on the HVO troops?
10 A. Yes, I know that.
11 Q. So nobody opened fire from the houses?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. My next question is: If you were in one position from 8.00 a.m.
14 onwards and then you left this place and you were with your father at one
15 point, so I'm asking you how do you know that?
16 I'm asking you to distinguish between what you really knew was
17 going on in the village that was a kilometre and a half long, and what you
18 learnt subsequently.
19 At that time, on the 23rd, in the morning and during the day, were
20 you in a position to know and to see that fire was not opened from the
21 houses, from the basements, on the HVO, or was that something that you
22 could not know?
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could you please stop
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. You have to stop the
1 picture here, please. We can -- could we see once again the previous
3 [Videotape played]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please stop here.
5 This seems to be a body, calcinated body, and I can notice that
6 all around the body there are no traces of burning. If there had been
7 some combustion, that whole area would have been blackened.
8 Do you know, Witness, why and how is it that aside from that
9 calcinated body, nothing else seemed to be burned around it?
10 I am putting there question to you because there is a hypothesis
11 according to which the calcinated body may have been brought there after
12 wards, after the fact, and that the body may have been burnt elsewhere.
13 What do you say to this hypothesis?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't recall this building,
15 specifically; and since the image is a bit blurred, if I could see the
16 building from the outside, then I could tell precisely whose building that
17 was, whose house that was, and who was on -- who is depicted here. But as
18 it is now, I cannot tell that. It is not clear.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Witness, you also told us that you were able to
20 identify all the bodies that were found. Could you explain how you could
21 identify a body charred like this one, assuming it is, but that's what we
22 are told.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The easiest way to identify the
24 victims was through the relatives, the survivors, mothers, fathers,
25 grandmothers, grandfathers, because they knew the precise location where
1 the victim was left, either dead or wounded, and this was our main source.
2 This is what helped us most to identify the victims. To be quite
3 specific, at Ejub Likic's house, I was able to retrieve seven burnt
4 bodies: Two small children, his wife, his sister-in-law, his brother, and
5 his mother. He helped me in that.
6 They were all in the basement; and once we dug them out, we were
7 able to ascertain that they had been in the basement. So in most cases,
8 we were assisted by the next of kin to identify the victims.
9 This was done also at the town cemetery in Visoko when efforts
10 were made to identify the victims. We didn't have the DNA analysis, but
11 we had relatives identify them because parts of bodies would be remain
12 whole. They were parts of bodies that were not burned. I remember a
13 little girl whose foot remained intact. The rest of her body was charred.
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 Q. This is yet another body in another house, not the same one. We
16 can see that walls are white and only the ceiling had caved in. It is
17 obviously, I don't know, a child or I can't -- I don't know who did the
18 analysis. But when the Judges asked their questions, it is really
19 difficult for me to accept that these people were burnt right here on
20 these locations.
21 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] But can we move -- can we
22 move on.
23 Q. You can see we have a mortar shell.
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could we please stop here.
25 Q. Is this a mortar shell, a part of a mortar shell, not a 60
1 millimetre mortar shell but a larger calibre?
2 You can see a barrel or a tube next to it. Are you sure that
3 mortars were not fired from the village?
4 A. Yes, I'm sure.
5 Q. How can you be sure?
6 A. Well, I know what we had, Mr. Praljak.
7 Q. But this was filmed by UNPROFOR, not by Praljak unfortunately. So
8 I'm asking how could UNPROFOR in the village of Stupni Do on the 26th film
9 everything that they saw? They saw 16 bodies, one was doubtful. They saw
10 the houses that had been set on fire, houses that had collapsed, and they
11 also saw this mortar shell. Whence is this mortar shell here?
12 A. Let me explain to the Judges, Mr. Praljak. UNPROFOR forces
13 entered the village after the HVO gave its approval, and this footage was
14 made by UNPROFOR. So there are living witnesses who filmed that.
15 Let me put it this way: They picked up the bodies that were
16 visible. They were either whole or charred. They put them into their
17 APCs, and they took them in to the town cemetery in Visoko. So the first
18 16 persons, these are the persons.
19 So in order to get at the truth, we have to ask them, one of them,
20 the difference. The rest of the people were underneath the rubble. They
21 only took away the bodies that were visible on the surface, and we went
22 after the ones that were under the rubble. So there was this difference
23 in the reports. 16, 38; 16, 38. People kept saying, "Well, 16 people
24 were found, 16 people were found by UNPROFOR."
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, I would like you to explain for the
1 Chamber this picture. I see on the right something blurred; then a piece
2 of a -- of a tube; then something that could be a mortar grenade, half
3 hidden under what may be paper bags or something; and to the left of that,
4 again something which has more or less the form of a mortar grenade.
5 Do you agree? Do I see it correctly, interpret the picture
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, definitely.
8 This thing to the right, mortar shells are kept in some kind of a casing,
9 just as you would a piece of paper. This thing to the right should be the
10 casing where this mortar shell was supposed to be. That's my explanation
11 based on what I know, and I do know a couple of things. This is how you
12 actually package mortar shells.
13 Q. But at any rate, sir, an UNPROFOR witness, a police officer who
14 was in charge of the whole investigation, told us that the investigation
15 had been carried out under their auspices.
16 You told us that in the first month - and this does not tally with
17 what he had said - that the search for the dead bodies lasted until March
19 I asked him how many new victims were found each month to increase
20 the total for the victims in Stupni Do, and he was unable to explain, to
21 tell me that.
22 Now I'm asking you, with which UNPROFOR members, where, at which
23 houses, were you able to find the remaining bodies, the difference between
24 the 16 and the 38 bodies? So which UNPROFOR member, in which houses did
25 you dig, and when did do you that?
1 So which house had been destroyed to such an extent that the body
2 was buried under the rubble, yet the buildings -- the only ceilings had
3 caved in on those buildings?
4 Now let us look at those houses that had been set on fire by
5 incendiary bullets to what extent that they were actually burnt.
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Including your own house. I will show you your own house. You
9 can see, well, there is no roof there, but we can't see the kind of
10 rubble, at least not on these houses, that would necessitate that kind of
11 excavation to get at the victims. You will answer when, where, with whom,
12 from UNPROFOR, you actually did the digging?
13 A. Well, I don't remember the name of that UNPROFOR member. Those
14 were their police officers. They had -- they were armed. They had
15 cameras. And in Milos Rozevic's house, we found a body -- the body, Alija
16 Likic's body. His father name was Osman. Ostoja Danilo's house is
17 destroyed to this day.
18 There is another house where we found Alija, and there was another
19 house that was also destroyed. This is where we found the two disabled
20 persons who had been burnt down. So there are quite a few buildings that
21 haven't yet been renovated.
22 Q. Yes. That is not controversial, but we have those charred bodies
23 and nothing else. Look at the houses here. They are burned down. They
24 are destroyed, but there was fighting. A crime was committed. This is
25 not in dispute here, but the extent of this crime is something that I am
1 really fixated on.
2 When were you able to dig out the remaining people to make up the
3 difference between the 16 and the 38 victims?
4 The investigation ended in March, yet the number of victims kept
5 growing. Was the investigation really completed in March, or did new
6 victims of Stupni Do emerge later?
7 A. Well, I don't remember the exact date when I completed the
8 investigation. I explained to the Trial Chamber that only one victim out
9 of the 38 has not yet been found, and I learned later from a witness what
10 happened to that person.
11 But as for all the others, I don't remember whether it lasted a
12 month or a month and a half; but at any rate, I was able to find and bury
13 all the victims. I explained about all those cases. If I am not speaking
14 the truth, there are other victims -- witnesses. There is footage taken
15 by the Nordic Battalion, and they filmed and they were present when I
16 found Likic, Alija. That's just one example.
17 Q. We had a man here who showed us some really ugly photographs here
18 of the 16 --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You just mentioned something,
20 sir. When you found the bodies, you say that the Nordic Battalion was
21 already there. Did they take any pictures? Did they the shoot a video as
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, yes.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Apart from the 16 bodies - one was doubtful here, too - we did not
2 see any photographs taken in the course of the excavation, exhumation, or
3 the bodies themselves, because the bodies would be completely decomposed
4 after a month and a half, and given that there had been raining -- there
5 had been rain. We never saw any photographs of those bodies being exhumed
6 or taken anywhere. We have the information only regarding the 16.
7 So I'm just asking whether anyone would bring here photographs
8 that would show what really happened in Stupni Do, but let us not dwell on
9 is that.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] You can take all of this
12 Q. Let me just ask you some more questions.
13 Sir, a witness says that there were 43 guards in the village, and
14 he says that since there were seven guard posts, there were three men on
15 each of them, 21 men per shift. We had people say there were 20 people,
16 and this guy says 43. And you were not a commander, but is it possible
17 that in Stupni Do there were 43 armed people, as a protected witness
19 A. No, Mr. Praljak. The shifts were -- these were not real soldiers.
20 The shifts were like the shifts that you would have in a factory. People
21 did not take their weapons home. A soldier would go to do his shift; and
22 after 12 hours, he would hand over the rifle to another soldier to replace
23 him, and he would go home.
24 Q. Okay. So this witness says there were 43 of them, and he goes on
25 to say that the worst guard post was Potok, the stream, because it was
1 located between two hills and it was the place that was very good for an
2 attack. So anyone guarding that post would be in dire straits if they had
3 to defend against an attack there. Is that so?
4 A. This was a post halfway between the village of Stupni Do and Vares
5 Majdan. Now, as to whether it was really that dangerous or not, I'm not a
6 military analyst. I can't tell you.
7 Q. Is it true, according to you, that on that day, there were five
8 people -- at least five people at Bogos from your village?
9 A. I don't know the exact figure. I know that two people were killed
10 in the trench. They remained there. I know that Ejub Likic was there,
11 and I know that he ran out of the trench leaving his rifle behind. He ran
12 to the village. He's mentioned here.
13 I know that the father of one of the lads who got killed up there
14 went in that direction. He was unarmed, and he was shot and killed by the
15 HVO halfway up.
16 Q. So Momir and his father, Salkin Sekjia [phoen], were all killed?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. And then he says that they prepared for the fight and the fighting
19 that ensued lasted two and a half hours. Are you familiar with the fact
20 that on one of these positions - and apparently this is the position which
21 is close to Bogos - that the fighting lasted for two hours and a half and
22 that the distance between the attackers and the defence was 50 metres?
23 A. Well, I don't know that, Mr. Praljak.
24 Q. Do you know that apart from this group that was in the centre of
25 the village, as this one witness put it, not in the shelters of two or
1 three houses, do you know that a group of about 40 people had pulled out
2 earlier, going through the woods to the HVO check-point, where they were
3 given water, UNPROFOR was called, and they were transferred to the free
4 territory, territory controlled by the BH army?
5 Are you aware of that fact?
6 A. No, Mr. Praljak, but I think that this is not true.
7 Q. Fine, fine. I'm just talking about testimony that we heard.
8 A. No, no. I don't know about that, and I can't tell you things that
9 I don't know.
10 Q. Yes. Thank you very much. You just tell us what you know, and we
11 will be able to proceed.
12 MR. FLYNN: Before we do, Your Honours, if I may. I will need
13 about four minutes for redirect, if that's possible.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] No problems. I will
16 conclude briefly.
17 Q. Let me just tell you this: Are you aware of the fact that a
18 statement -- that a witness said that: "Near our trench at Stensiska
19 [phoen], I saw the dead body of Zejnil Mahmutovic. He had a very large
20 wound on his back caused by a dumdum bullet."
21 Do you know that Zejnil Mahmutovic was killed next to the trench?
22 A. This was my father, and I know for a fact where he was killed. I
23 know that for sure.
24 Q. I'm sorry, sir. I didn't know that. I didn't have that
1 A. Let me just explain. There was no trench there. This was a place
2 above those houses. The last time that I left my father there, he didn't
3 want to leave the two people, the people who couldn't move, who had
4 been -- who later got burnt in the rubble. He didn't want to leave them
5 behind he was such a good man. I found him, or rather, UNPROFOR found him
6 and UNPROFOR took him away.
7 I was able to see him just before the funeral. He had four
8 through-and-through gunshot wounds on his chest, So he was not killed by
9 a dumdum bullet. It was a sower of death, a machine-gun, and the bullet
10 wounds were from the top going to the side. This I can tell because I was
11 able to see him in the coffin.
12 Q. I'm sorry. I just put to you the testimony of a witness who
13 testified as a protected witness. So this is not what I'm claiming. I'm
14 just trying to put together this jigsaw puzzle.
15 A. And I'm here just to tell the truth, Mr. Praljak.
16 Q. Whatever happened - and the Trial Chamber will be able to
17 ascertain that on the basis of various elements in the end, I'm sure - I
18 want to know the following: You claim that at least 500 HVO soldiers, and
19 two of the units as we came to learn, were special units, Maturice and
20 Apostoli, and that they attacked the village that was defended by a
21 certain number of people who had rifles, machine-guns, and whatever. 170
22 people were gathered in a place. You said that some of those who attacked
23 the village were under the influence of drugs.
24 So how is it possible that if the overall plan was to kill the
25 inhabitants of Stupni Do, how is it possible that an armed force of this
1 magnitude, that included two good units in military terms, that they
2 decided not to attack 170 people defended by a handful of people after
3 just two hand grenades were thrown? Is this possible?
4 If somebody is really bent on killing these people, as you're
5 saying, who would decide not to proceed after only two hand grenades were
6 thrown? Is this, according to you, logical in military terms?
7 We all went through this war, so did you see that or did you just
8 hear stories about that?
9 A. The information about the accurate number of participants in
10 Stupni Do village I read in the autobiography by Mr. Miroslav
11 Pejcinovic -- actually, it was Ante Pejcinovic, the then chief of the
12 Vares HVO, who published a book. The Defence line was very long, and a
13 lot of people were needed to man that line.
14 According to Mr. Pejcinovic, between 400 and 500 men participated,
15 and I'm talking about real soldiers, those who had already participated in
16 fighting. There were about 120 according to his statement, and they were
17 Maturice and Apostoli. The other HVO troops were from our own mess, from
18 the neighbouring villages close to the Stupni Do commune.
19 There was the Pukovnija Brigade from Mir, there was one from
20 Bijelo Polje, from the village of Perizici [phoen], all of which were
21 close to the local commune of Stupni Do.
22 Q. Very well, then. Just tell me whether you saw anybody throwing
23 hand grenades and whether you saw those soldiers under the influence of
24 drugs giving up on their attempt. Did you see it?
25 A. I heard that from the people who were in that atomic shelter that
1 I spoke about a little while ago.
2 Q. Was that just one atomic shelter or were there more houses? There
3 is no single house in Stupni Do that accommodate 200 people.
4 A. The attack reached the two or three houses that remained there in
5 the bottom part of the village. As for the exact number there were in the
6 first or second or third house, I really can't tell.
7 Q. But Mr. Mahmutovic, if the lines are long and if people withdrew
8 together with the army to the three houses, there are no longer the lines
9 of defence of the BiH army. The HVO was around those three houses. How
10 can there be lines? How could the village had fallen? How come people
11 were in the houses? There is no logic to that.
12 A. You said it, Mr. Praljak, that our soldiers went to the HVO road,
13 that the UNPROFOR took them away.
14 Q. I was saying -- I was just relating the witness's words. If there
15 were three houses left with a few soldiers that were defending them, that
16 means that the rest had been already captured by the HVO and that the HVO
17 with 150 or 200 troops was around those three houses. And even after the
18 two hand grenades were thrown --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, I have a question which
20 perhaps will clarify matters for the Bench.
21 We had a witness, I will not give his name, who clearly indicated
22 what the purpose of this military operation was. According to him, it was
23 to take control of the Bogos hill. According to this witness, this was a
24 hill of a strategic -- of strategic importance, and enabled the people
25 taking it to control the village.
1 So there was an attack and fighting on this hill, and there were
2 wounded people on the HVO side. Two people were injured. After the
3 attack, the hill was taken and the HVO troops who were not -- there were
4 not 500 soldiers but much less.
5 This is what this witness said to us. Does that fit in with what
6 you saw, Because were you there at the time.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know whether the witness
8 said in that statement that one trench, where there were five BH army
9 soldiers and which was above the village to the left, towards the village
10 of Mir, was never captured. It was never taken.
11 They sent the woman to the trench, the one that the lady lawyer
12 spoke about. They sent the woman with the message for these soldiers to
13 surrender. There were some 20 to 30 soldiers around it, and they were
14 trying the whole day to take it but they never succeeded. That trench was
15 between Mir and Stupni Do. That was the second elevation in terms of
16 strategic significance, and some of those --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And this trench wasn't taken?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never. It was never taken, and it
19 was three kilometres away from the village itself.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the HVO had sent this woman
21 so that these people would surrender?
22 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
23 Q. I adhere to my question. If the lines except for the trench that
24 was never taken, if all the other lines in Stupni Do were taken, and
25 majority of the population, 107 plus/minus were in the three houses, the
1 HVO is all around, then according to your information, the HVO has
2 anti-aircraft cannon that can pierce every wall of those three houses.
3 According to military logic, would take be of these houses have
4 been any problem at all for the HVO force that was there at the time, in
5 your view?
6 A. The moment when the HVO soldiers entered the village, or at least
7 one part of the village, the mortar fire stopped, the mortar fire
8 stopped. The artillery fire because, of course, they would not shoot at
9 their own men. Everything else that happened was by death sowers and the
10 automatic rifles.
11 Q. Very well. So mortars are easily movable, so are the
12 anti-aircraft cannons, but I won't dwell on that.
13 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can we please look at
15 Q. There is a photo of your house.
16 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] P083877 is the number.
17 Q. Can you please confirm that this is your house? The roof had
18 burned down. It is not habitable, but it is not devastated. And if you
19 want to dig, there is nothing to dig because what had fallen off from the
20 roof, what had burned down, does not pose a problem and cannot bury
21 anybody who would be underneath.
22 A. Yes. The house existed, it's still there, it has not been
23 reconstructed. You can see it any day, any time of day. There is also
24 the atomic shelter. Everything is there.
25 Q. My question to you, sir, was this: Is it true that there is
1 nothing to dig out from here? If there was anybody dead in the basement,
2 anybody who came up to the house could have seen that person?
3 A. Sir, the house was absolutely brand new at the time.
4 Q. I'm not in dispute of that. I'm asking you: The way we see the
5 photo, when the house burned down, when the roof caved in --
6 A. This is not my house.
7 Q. This is not your house?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Then this is the problem on the side of the Prosecutor, because
10 the Prosecutor claims that this is your house.
11 A. No. A while ago that was my house, in the photo.
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Can you please show it
13 again, P08377.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my house.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
16 Q. We don't have that photo. I cannot tell whether this is correct
17 or not. There is no telling. Is this your house?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. Please, I know it was new. I know that it was torched. All that
20 is correct. But my question is this: If somebody had been killed or died
21 in the shelter outside the shelter around the house, should there have
22 been any digging for these bodies?
23 If there had been a body, you could see it. You didn't have to
24 excavate for it, especially if they were in the shelter.
25 A. Mr. Praljak, 50 per cent of the houses were old. They were made
1 of wood and bricks.
2 Q. Sir, I'm asking about your house. You said that something had
3 happened here and that you had to dig for days.
4 A. No, no. Not here. Here the people were killed in front of the
5 house. That's why I never attempted to reconstruct it and renovate it.
6 Q. The house -- the Judges can see this on the film. I can't embark
7 on any further analysis. This would be -- thank you very much, sir.
8 I'm sorry I had to show you things that evoke unpleasant memories.
9 I would like to thank the Judges and you.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I have to further questions.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, after my learned friend
12 from the Prosecution, I would like to reserve a few minutes that I need.
13 We would have a housekeeping matter, very short, if I can reserve that
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So we shall, first of all,
16 finish with the witness.
17 The Prosecution, Mr. Flynn? Mr. Flynn, you have the floor.
18 MR. FLYNN: I limit it to one question, if not two, Your Honours.
19 Re-examination by Mr. Flynn:
20 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, some doubt has been cast on the number of deaths
21 attributable to the attack on Stupni Do and whether all these bodies were
22 bodies that were fallen, people who had fell during the attack on Stupni
24 If you look at the list that you prepared under 8461, the 38
25 people --
1 A. 88641?
2 Q. No, 8461. Do you have that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Are you in a position to assist the Tribunal in any way to verify
5 this list, other than through information you received from families? For
6 example, how many of these people on this list did you yourself, if you
7 can remember, did you yourself see on the 23rd of October or on the 22nd
8 of October?
9 Did you have occasion to see any of them apart from say your
10 family members? Did you have occasion to meet any of them prior to the
12 A. You mean before they were killed, sir?
13 Q. Yes.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a question. On this list,
15 I see in your language, the word "borac." I believe this means "soldier."
16 So ten of these people were soldiers, ten.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I saw a majority of these
18 people. I didn't see the children on that day.
19 MR. FLYNN:
20 Q. And following the attack, did you have occasion to meet any of
21 them immediately after the attack? Did you ever meet any of them again?
22 A. No, sir. I saw them dead.
23 Q. And do you know if any of them died through natural causes or some
24 other means other than the attack on Stupni Do?
25 A. Only the elderly woman, Rasema, who died from fear as she was
1 leaving the village. Her name is Rasema Likic. Her father's name is
2 Besmir [phoen]. They left her there to lie on the road.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I must put a very important
4 question to you. This is most important for the Bench. These ten
5 soldiers who are on the list, did they die in combat?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not in combat. Medina [phoen]
7 Likic, she did not die in combat, the one that Mr. Praljak asked me about.
8 She worked as a cook in the BiH army, and she was killed in a trench. We
9 saw the footage when Mr. Praljak asked me about a uniformed woman, that
10 was the woman who was a member of the army.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What about the other soldiers?
12 Where did they die during combat operations [as interpreted]?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 MR. FLYNN: I leave it at that, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation]
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. We do not have your answer, witness,
18 to the question of the President, Where did they die during combat
19 operations? Can you give an answer to that question?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to go back to the list, I'm
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] [Microphone not activated] If you
23 will allow me, Your Honours, the answer to the Honourable Judge's
24 Antonetti's question was not recorded. The question was whether the rest
25 were soldiers and the witness said, "Yes, they were."
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I'll put the question
2 again, witness. On the list, there are the names of ten soldiers, and my
3 question was a very precise question.
4 As far as you know, those people here who are on the list and who
5 were there on the list as soldiers, did they die in combat?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, except for my brother who was
7 killed in front of our own house, Edin Mahmutovic, son of Zenil [phoen],
8 and Edina Likic, daughter of Sulejman, who was working as a cook for the
9 army, and she was killed in Kemal Likic's house that we saw. The rest
10 were all killed in --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Witness, you have
12 now completed your testimony. I would like to thank you, unless Mr. Flynn
13 wanted to add something.
14 MR. FLYNN: Just one question following up on the president's
15 question, just for clarification, if I may.
16 Q. Mr. Mahmutovic, very briefly, could you tell us if these soldiers
17 died in combat, did they die in combat within the village proper or did
18 they die in combat outside in the trenches, if you know, and how do you
19 know? I mean, do you -- were you present when they were killed? How was
20 it you know that they died in combat?
21 A. I know about my father because he was very close to me. I know
22 that he was killed there. As for the others who were killed on Bogos, I
23 learned about them from other people, from other combatants.
24 Q. All nine others?
25 A. No, seven, seven remain. The rest were killed outside the
1 village --
2 Q. Did you witness any of --
3 A. -- except for Semir Rahic [phoen]. He was killed at the very
4 entrance into the village.
5 Q. And you didn't see any of these deaths occurring, did you?
6 A. No, no, no, no.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll stop here. Let me sum up
8 so there are no ambiguities. Out of these ten, you said that seven were
9 killed outside the village, seven. And as far as the other three are
10 concerned, the other three on the list, you said that one was killed at
11 the entrance of the village and the two others is mentioned in the
13 Sir, I'd like to thank you for having come to testify. I wish you
14 a safe journey home, and I would like the usher to escort you out of the
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic you have the floor.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, I hope this
19 will not take too long.
20 I would kindly ask the Trial Chamber to approve the extension of
21 time for the three last submissions by the Prosecutor. We have received
22 one Prosecutor's submission according to Rule 92 bis, for Witness Brix
23 [phoen] Anderson, on the 7th of December 2007, and we will reply within
24 the stipulated term, even before the deadline, towards the end of this
25 week or the beginning of next week.
1 However, on the 10th of December, we received three submissions by
2 the Prosecutor. I must say that they are rather lengthy. The first
3 witness is 92 bis Hasan Rizvic. This is probably not lengthy, but some
4 things have to be checked. There are diverging opinions among the Defence
5 teams. We would like to submit our joint submissions, so it will take us
6 time to agree on the submission.
7 The second is a request to introduce documentary exhibits
8 including the request for the reconsideration, and the third submission is
9 the motion to add two expert opinions to the 65 ter list and also that the
10 documents be admitted into evidence. For this, we will also need time.
11 Your Honours, it is our fondest wish to reply in one joint
12 submission which we will be able to provide very quickly for the first
13 motion --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Those three motions, one has to
15 do with 92 bis witness. That is not extremely complicated. There is the
16 motion which is a reconsideration motion, which everybody is familiar with
17 because it's the third time that the issue arises. The third motion is
18 the adding on of expert reports on Goranci and DNA.
19 So as you can see, I've had time to scrutinise these three
20 motions. Normally speaking, you had 15 days after the 7th, so 15 plus
21 seven equals 22. So I must just confer with my colleagues to see what
22 extra time we give you.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may add to this,
24 we have only received them recently, on the 10th. Two days ago we
25 received the last three. Your Honours, it seems that my microphone was
1 not on. The last three that will take some time to agree on the
2 positions, we only received two days ago.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber has
5 deliberated, and gives you until the 7th of January for these three
6 motions. You have understood full well that this date was not given out
7 of the blue.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would like the registrar to
10 move into private session for a few minutes, please.
11 [Private session]
24 [Open session]
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, before we adjourn, I just wish on
1 behalf of the Defence to wish everyone in the courtroom a good holiday,
2 good rest. You'll need it. We hope to come back next year with more
3 vigour, and we hope to see everybody here after having spent a very good
4 holiday with their families and friends. Thank you.
5 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, that leaves it incumbent on me. I can't
6 possibly be left out of the good wishes. So all the Judges, to those
7 assisting us in the courtroom and to counsel, I wish them a good holiday.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'd like to thank
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Monday, the 7th day of January,
12 2008, at 2.15 p.m.