1 Wednesday, 2 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 8.34 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
8 number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus Vojislav Seselj.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Today is the 2nd of July, 2008.
10 I would like to greet the representatives of the Prosecution, Mr. Seselj,
11 as well as all the people assisting us in the courtroom.
12 We shall move into private session, since the upcoming witness
13 has been granted protective measures. I would like you to drop the
14 blinds, please, and, Madam Registrar, if we could move into private
16 [Closed session]
11 Pages 8840-8921 redacted. Closed session.
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are in open session.
18 MS. BIERSAY: On his 13th birthday, the witness and members of
19 his family were hiding in the woods near his home to escape attacks by
20 Serb forces. As they tried to make their way to safety, they were taken
21 prisoners by Serb forces.
22 The witness, the members of his family and others were taken
23 prisoners to a primary school in another municipality, and they were kept
24 there for about five days. During this time, members from the witness's
25 group, including his family, were taken from the room and severely beaten
1 by Serb forces. The witness could hear the beatings and their screams,
2 and later saw their bloodied bodies and clothing. In front of the
3 witness, a Serb soldier used pliers to wrench out the teeth of a family
4 friend of the witness.
5 The next day, most of his family members who were with him were
6 taken away. Those family members he never saw again. The witness and
7 the rest of his family were later taken prisoners to a SUP building in
8 another municipality. While there, at one point a guard slapped the
9 witness across the face during his interrogation.
10 The witness and his young family members were kept in a
11 three-by-two-metre cell with other child detainees. The youngest child
12 was six months old and the oldest one was three. These detainees,
13 including the witness, were imprisoned in that cell for about 20 days,
14 with little water and food. He had to beg for food for the six-month-old
16 The witness and some of the detainees were later released.
17 And that would conclude the summary by the Prosecution.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ms. Biersay. Please
20 MS. BIERSAY: If we could please have, without publishing it
21 outside the courtroom, 65 ter number 5028. That is the B/C/S version,
22 and the English version is 5028A.
23 Examination by Ms. Biersay:
24 Q. Now, Mr. 1052, I'd like you to look at -- and, Madam Registrar,
25 if we could go in a couple pages, and the B/C/S version. The next page,
2 Do you recognise your signature on the first page that you see
3 before you, Mr. 1052?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And is this a statement that you provided to the ICTY on April
6 24th and 25th of April, 2004?
7 A. Yes.
8 MS. BIERSAY: And now, Madam Registrar, if we could simply flip
9 to the next page, and if we could go to the bottom of that page, please.
10 Q. Now, Witness 1052, you had an opportunity to read that statement;
11 is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And does that statement accurately reflect the events that you
14 describe in that statement?
15 A. Everything I said is the truth.
16 Q. And if you were asked questions about those events today, would
17 you give the same answers that are contained in this statement?
18 A. I didn't learn the statement off by heart, but anything that you
19 ask me, I will answer.
20 MS. BIERSAY: At this time, we move for the admission of 65 ter
21 number 5028, which is the B/C/S version.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, can we have a
23 number, please.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit P487, under
1 MS. BIERSAY: Your Honours, with respect to this witness, we have
2 no further questions.
3 Questioned by the Court:
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 Witness, I only have one or two small questions to put to you.
6 At the time these events took place, you were 13, so you were
7 very young. You do confirm that you were 13 at the time?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as you remember, those
10 people who arrested you, do you remember who they were, which unit they
11 belonged to, a small points of detail perhaps, or don't you remember
12 anything at all?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do remember some of the details.
14 When we were arrested, the people who captured us had long beards. They
15 had short hair. Now, as far as their clothing is concerned, some were
16 wearing camouflage uniforms. Others were wearing the JNA uniforms.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Had you, prior to that, already
18 seen the JNA uniform? Were you familiar with it?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right, because my house
20 was about one kilometre away from the training grounds where you did your
21 military service previously, and the Yugoslav People's Army would come
22 there for training. And we would go and see them when we were children,
23 we would go by that way.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Those who arrested you, were
25 they people you knew who came from the surrounding area or did these
1 people come from elsewhere?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't be quite precise on
3 that or explain it. As for the people who captured us, we didn't know
4 any of them.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At some point, you were taken
6 to the police station. Do you remember that?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You recognised someone whom you
9 knew. Don't give us his name. Just confirm to us that you recognised
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did recognise someone. I
12 recognised two men who were on very good terms with my late father before
13 the war.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] These two men, were these
15 policemen or neighbours?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those men were neighbours of ours
17 before the war, but at that point in time when they came for us and to
18 transfer us to another place, they were wearing uniforms of the Yugoslav
19 People's Army.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] From what you said in your
21 written statement, it seems that one wanted to find out where your pistol
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They weren't the same people. It
24 was another person who slapped me when we arrived to the place they had
25 taken us to.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So they were looking for a
2 pistol; is that right?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, he asked for a pistol. He
4 asked me to show a pistol, but I was a child. I never had a pistol, nor
5 did I ever see a pistol in my life before, or held it in my hand, or
6 anything like that.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you were beaten, were you?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That man, the man who asked -- was
9 asking for this pistol, and when I said I didn't know about any pistol,
10 he then slapped me.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] After a number of events, you
12 were released; is that right?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I shall turn to my colleagues
15 and ask them whether they would like to ask any further questions.
16 Mr. Seselj does not wish to ask any questions.
17 Any redirect? No.
18 So on behalf of my colleagues, I would like to thank you for
19 having come to testify. Your statement has been admitted, and the Bench
20 will address it in greater detail and will look into what you have told
21 the investigators of the OTP. I would like to thank you for having come
22 to The Hague. You've come from a long way, and I'd like to thank you for
23 having come to testify. And I would like to say that we have a great
24 deal of sympathy for you and your family members, who have had to put up
25 with all that suffering. You have told us that you want to live and
1 found a family, and we would like to wish you well.
2 I shall now ask the usher to escort you out of the courtroom.
3 [The witness withdrew]
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we adjourn, tomorrow's
5 witness is ready, is he or she? There's no problem with that?
6 MS. BIERSAY: [Previous translation continues] ... being ready
7 for tomorrow, Your Honour?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, tomorrow.
9 MS. BIERSAY: That is still the current plan. Mr. Dutertre will
10 be directing that witness.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I remember correctly,
12 because I do not have the filing before me, this will be a viva voce
13 witness - I think I have got this right - and I believe, if I remember
14 correctly, that the Prosecution will have an hour and a half and
15 Mr. Seselj will have an hour and a half.
16 MS. BIERSAY: Your Honour, I may be incorrect, but I thought it
17 was two hours, but I'm not sure. And I have been informed that should
18 the Trial Chamber wish to commence with the witness today, he is in the
19 building, if the Trial Chamber wishes.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If the witness is here, since
21 we have half an hour left, let's bring him in.
22 Had this witness been granted any protective measures?
23 MS. BIERSAY: Your Honour, I would have to confirm that, if I
24 could have a minute.
25 [Prosecution counsel confer]
1 MS. BIERSAY: I --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This witness had been granted a
3 pseudonym, but nothing further to that had been requested, if I remember.
4 But Mr. Dutertre is just walking into the courtroom, so we can put the
6 MS. DAHL: [Previous translation continues] ... wants to address
7 the issue of protective measures before the witness testifies.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Dutertre, the Trial Chamber
9 would like to ask you this question: Have you asked for any protective
10 measures for this witness, yes or no?
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the witness has taken
12 a stance on this, but I would like to address this in closed session.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can we move into closed
14 session, please.
15 [Private session]
11 Pages 8930-8935 redacted. Private session.
5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are in open session.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In open session, the
8 Prosecution has the floor to start leading the witness as part of his
10 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Examination by Mr. Dutertre:
12 Q. Mr. Bilic, good morning. I have a whole series of questions I
13 would like to put to you, questions which relate to your personal
15 First of all, what is your ethnicity?
16 A. I am a Muslim by ethnicity.
17 Q. How old were you in 1992?
18 A. Thirty-two. If we take that away from 68, well, I'm about 50, 45
19 or 50. If you take away 16, that means I was 52, 68.
20 Q. Fine. Were you married at the time in 1992?
21 A. Yes. Yes, I was married.
22 Q. Where did you live in 1992?
23 A. In the shelter in Zalik. I lived there --
24 Q. Where is Zalik located? Is Zalik a neighbourhood of a large
25 city, is it close to a large city? Where is it, exactly?
1 A. It's near the town. It's less than ten minutes on foot from
3 Q. Which town do you mean? Could you give us a name of the town?
4 A. Mostar.
5 Q. And in Mostar, Zalik is on the west bank or on the east bank?
6 A. On the right bank.
7 Q. Could you describe to us the ethnic composition of Mostar on the
8 right bank in 1992?
9 A. Before the war? Before or after?
10 Q. Before the Mostar events in 1992.
11 A. There was a Muslim majority, but Serbs, Croats and Muslims all
12 lived together.
13 Q. At the same time, what was the ethnic makeup on the left bank of
14 Mostar then?
15 A. It was mixed, there are too -- Serbs, Croats and Muslims, they
16 all lived together, just as they did on the right bank. It was all one,
17 like one body.
18 Q. At the left bank, was there a group that was a majority, compared
19 to the others?
20 A. At that time, there was a Muslim majority. Now, there's a Croat
21 majority on the left bank.
22 Q. I think this was clear. Did you serve -- did you do the national
23 service, Mr. Bilic?
24 A. I was in Sombor. That's where I did my army service for six
25 months, in the technical air force service, but I was released early as
1 unfit to serve in the army.
2 Q. When you say that you did your army service, could you tell us in
3 what army you did it?
4 A. Well, in the former JNA, in Sombor. The aeroplane technical
5 service at the airport in Apatin.
6 Q. During the conflict in Mostar in 1992, did you engage in combat
7 at one point in time?
8 A. No, I didn't.
9 Q. In 1992, right before the events, could you tell us what your job
11 A. During the war, during these events?
12 Q. Right before the war broke out, what was your job?
13 A. Before the war, I worked in a service company where I earned my
14 pension, and after the war I worked for a little bit in Merkur, in Merkur
15 Shopping --
16 Q. Let me stop you. Now, I would like to know what you did in this
17 company before the war. What was your post, your position?
18 A. Wall painter, a painter.
19 Q. Did you engage in politics also during your life?
20 A. Never, never did I engage in politics, never.
21 Q. Very well. Let's move to another topic.
22 Could you tell me where the Sjeverni Logor barracks are located?
23 A. The Sjeverni Logor barracks are right below Zalik. I could see
24 them from the balcony of my house.
25 Q. You answered my following question, so I'll move to the next one.
1 What were the Sjeverni Logor barracks used for? Was it a
2 football field, a social centre? What exactly did it house?
3 A. The former JNA was there. It had been a barracks for a long
4 time, while I was still a child in Mostar.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have an objection. I hope you
6 won't deduct it from my time, but I want to assist.
7 The witness probably erroneously spoke about the right bank of
8 the Neretva, Zalik, and the north camp barracks are both on the left bank
9 of the Neretva, so that's a confusion that should be clarified at once.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if you're coming from
11 Sarajevo, it's on the left bank, but if you're coming from the sea, it's
12 on the right side. It all depends on what side you're looking at.
13 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I'll take care of this,
14 Mr. Seselj.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Neretva flows down to the sea,
16 then it must be on the left bank. But if you're looking from the sea,
17 then it's on the right bank.
18 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Could we please have number 7025 of the 65 ter list on the
20 screen. This is a map, and I believe that with this we will solve the
21 problem raised by Mr. Seselj.
22 We might need the help of our usher with the pen.
23 Q. Mr. Bilic, on this map, which is obviously a map number 25 --
24 it's map number 25 that was given to the Court in the court binder given
25 to the Trial Chamber when the trial first started. Could you please show
1 us on this map where your house is? Could you please place an "A" and a
2 cross next to your house on this map?
3 A. What am I supposed to mark here?
4 Q. Please place a cross where your house is, approximately. You
5 said you lived in Zalik, so place a cross across there and an "A."
6 A. Zalik [marks].
7 Q. Thank you. Please place a cross and a "B" next to the
8 Sjeverni Logor barracks.
9 A. "B" [marks].
10 Q. Everybody can see that we are on the right bank in Mostar. I
11 would like this exhibit to be tendered, please.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm amazed by this sort of response
13 and reasoning from the Prosecutor. We can all see now that it's the left
14 bank of the Neretva. We know where the north is. We know in what
15 direction the river flows, so by all criteria it's on the left bank of
16 the Neretva, and yet the Prosecutor is talking about the right bank.
17 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Maybe there are specific
18 differences locally. I mean, we're going to talk about orientation,
19 east, west, north and south, maybe that will be easier, but I believe
20 that the Trial Chamber can see whether it is west -- whether it's the
21 right bank or the left bank.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: [Interpretation] What is the orientation of the
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A map is always with the north
25 on top, so the house of the witness is right of the Neretva, to the
1 north. And it is east of the Neretva.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: [Interpretation] It all depends on which way the
3 river flows. I'd like to know which way the river flows. Which way does
4 the Neretva flow? Does it flow north or does it flow south?
5 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Well, I don't really know. Maybe
6 if we limit ourselves to east and west, that will be enough. We know
7 where the north is, and obviously this is the east bank.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: [Interpretation] But normally there's a difference
9 between east and west, on the one hand, and right bank and left bank.
10 Normally, the left bank is always the left side when you place yourself
11 looking at the way the river flows.
12 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes, you're absolutely right,
13 Mr. Harhoff, but I don't know which way the river flows.
14 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Maybe we could just ask the
15 witness whether he knows where the Neretva starts.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Up there in Konjic. I never went
17 up to the source.
18 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Isn't it north? The Neretva
19 starts up north, so we know that the -- now we know where the right bank
20 and the left bank are. This is the way the geographical locations are
21 designed. It depends on which way the river flows.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We never looked at that, really, we
23 never thought about that a lot. We looked at Mostar as a single city.
24 We didn't divide it into right and left.
25 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I believe that everything is clear
1 now, and I would like Mr. Seselj to let me proceed.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll stop now.
3 Mr. Seselj, you're entitled to, of course, but you must -- your
4 objection must be grounded.
5 Now, we have a map here. The witness told us where he lives,
6 where the barracks are. This is enough for me. As to whether the right
7 bank, the left bank, we have a map that has the north, the south, the
8 east and the west, and we also see the Neretva flowing. That's enough.
9 Otherwise, we're wasting time.
10 Could we please now have a number.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit P488.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 It's almost 1.15. We started at 8.30 this morning and we must
14 absolutely stop at 1.15.
15 As I told you, Witness, we will meet again tomorrow morning at
16 8.30. You'll have to be ready for 8.30 here. The Witness and Victim
17 Section will take care of you to make sure you are here at 8.30. We
18 might finish tomorrow. I don't know. If not, you will have to stay over
19 the weekend here in The Hague, and we will resume next Tuesday.
20 The Witness and Victim Section, of course, will be in charge of
21 you for the weekend.
22 I wish you the best for this afternoon, and we will meet again at
23 8.30 tomorrow.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.14 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 3rd day of
1 July, 2008, at 8.30 a.m.