1 Thursday, 3 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 8.33 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, could you
6 please call the case.
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] Thank you, Madam Registrar.
10 Today is Thursday, and I greet everyone here. I welcome the
11 associates of Mr. Seselj, Mr. Seselj. I welcome representatives from the
12 OTP, represented by Ms. Dahl and Mr. Dutertre, as well as by other
13 associates, and I also welcome all the others helping us around the
14 courtroom and in the courtroom.
15 Before giving the floor to Mr. Seselj, who has a few topics to
16 address, a few housekeeping matters to address, I would like to say
17 something to Mr. Seselj.
18 For justice to be rendered serenely and effectively, I believe I
19 need to say this. The Trial Chamber and myself have noted for some weeks
20 now that when witnesses come, a cross-examination is mainly focused on
21 the issue of Seselj's men. I take the opportunity of having Mr. Seselj's
22 legal advisers in the courtroom to say this.
23 It is true that in the indictment, Seselj's men are mentioned.
24 However, the responsibility of the accused also deals with crimes being
25 perpetrated by others, be it Arkan's men, White Eagles, Red Berets, and
1 other formations, which means that focusing the cross-examination on one
2 single issue, the issue of Seselj's men, could be a risk for the Defence.
3 I wanted to tell this to Mr. Seselj, notably since a few weeks ago I read
4 the relevant -- I reread the relevant paragraphs in the indictment.
5 I can also tell you that earlier, the Prosecution, i.e., Mr. Marcussen
6 himself, gave the Prosecution's case, as far as the entities committed,
7 the crimes were concerned.
8 Mr. Marcussen, and I -- you can check the transcript and see that
9 liability also has to do with the crimes being committed by other
10 elements than the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party.
11 I wanted to say this in order for the Defence to be fully aware
12 of it. Of course, it's important to know who did what. But as the
13 indictment stands, responsibility and liability comes from crimes being
14 perpetrated by a number of perpetrators, whatever their subordination
15 link might be with the accused or with others.
16 I believe I had to say this, Mr. Seselj, in order to make sure
17 that you fully understood what was the indictment.
18 You're representing yourself, you have no counsel, and I believe
19 you absolutely must take this into account.
20 Of course, if you want to focus your Defence and your Defence
21 case on Seselj's men and on Seselj's men only, that's up to you, but I
22 wanted to give you to be fully aware of what is in the indictment
24 Mr. Seselj, you wanted to raise some housekeeping matters?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. President, I first have
1 to say something about this reminder of yours.
2 It is true that the indictment contains all those elements that
3 you've just presented, but we've already heard 32 witnesses here and a
4 number of documents has been tendered, and the Prosecution has failed to
5 show any connection between me and those other forces and the crimes that
6 they committed.
7 The fact that the Prosecution has accused me of all the crimes
8 that were committed in this war in certain locations, that is -- well,
9 perhaps they just didn't have enough strength to take into account all
10 the locations. But I am not here to prove my innocence. They have to
11 prove my guilt. And I came here voluntarily to defend the honour, first
12 of all, of the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party and then of the
13 Serbian people as a whole.
14 As for the repercussions, well, to tell you the truth, this would
15 not be the first trial where the judgement is rendered without any
16 evidence prejudicial to the accused. That it has happened before at this
17 Tribunal. Why should I be responsible for Draskovic's Serbian Guard,
18 White Eagles, Arkan's men, Djindjic Panther's, Mauzer's men? I'm not
19 interested in that. I don't want to go into all that? It is my
20 intention to prove that the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party have
21 been accused with no grounds whatsoever and when we're talking about
22 general allegations to prove that the whole of the Serbian people has
23 been unjustly accused or blamed, and that here before the Tribunal in the
24 The Hague we don't have an impartial Prosecution policy, that the
25 Prosecution policy is tendentious and biased and that crimes committed by
1 the Serb side are being augmented, and the crimes committed by the
2 Croats, Muslims and Albanians are being played down. This has nothing to
3 do with my case, but I want to say that this is the essence -- this is
4 the way in which the Tribunal is working.
5 And you can see that the Prosecution is interrupting me, and
6 every time I interrupt the Prosecution, you're criticising me.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Doll.
8 MS. DAHL: A proper defence obviously includes of course includes
9 demonstrating bias or motive to fabricate or actual fabrication, but
10 rhetorical insults do not serve as a Defence; and I object and ask the
11 accused to be reminded it is improper to levy insults. He is to present
12 evidence of his Defence, rather.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Seselj,
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The statistics of the work of this
16 Tribunal so far shows quite clearly that there is an enormous number of
17 Serbs that charges were brought against and an enormous small number of
18 all the others. The statistics, when we look at the sentencing, the
19 statistics, when we look at this application of this quasi legal category
20 of joint criminal enterprise, all this speaks in favour of my arguments
21 and not of the Prosecution.
22 And I have two very brief housekeeping matters to deal with.
23 That is why I asked to address you before the witness comes in.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Go ahead for the other two
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In the course of the
2 cross-examination of Prosecution witness Redzep Karisik the day before
3 yesterday, I presented some documents from the Military Court in Mostar,
4 saying that this was disclosed to me by the Prosecution. Madam Biersay
5 for the Prosecution persistently claimed that this was not from the
6 Prosecution because there is no ERN number there. And I said that
7 probably it existed in the English version, but that by mistake it was
8 not entered into the Serbian version. And as always, I was right. This
9 is evidence.
10 These are the documents that I used, both of them, and you can
11 see the translation into English, and in the English version you can see
12 that there is this N number, and so I would ask the usher to hand these
13 documents to you.
14 MS. DAHL: Your Honour, if I can briefly reply in order to save
16 With the help of the registrar, we were able to identify the
17 source of the document used by Mr. Seselj. It highlights the problems
18 and waste of time created by untimely disclosure of documents to be used
19 in cross-examination. It appears that Mr. Seselj used a document
20 translated by CLSS in cross-examination that came from the package
21 submitted with Dr. Osman Kadic. It doesn't have an ERN number because it
22 hadn't been filed as a translated document by the Prosecution. So
23 I think that there is no issue here regarding the Prosecution. To the
24 contrary, it underscores the confusion created by Mr. Seselj bringing in
25 documents that we cannot read. If he brings them in in advance, in a
1 working language of the Tribunal, we can avoid these problems entirely.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is true that we had a
3 problem last time when Mr. Seselj wanted to introduce, during his
4 cross-examination, the document in B/C/S. It was a document that he had.
5 The trial attorney then stood to her feet, and out of memory - I don't
6 have the transcript here because, so I didn't know we were going to talk
7 about this - but if I remember right, Ms. Biersay said, "Where does this
8 document come from," because she had doubts as to the document. To
9 answer, Mr. Seselj said that the document had been disclosed by the OTP.
10 Best proof of it was that in the B/C/S version, there were references
11 regarding the Registry.
12 As far as I was concerned, I was fully convinced the document had
13 been disclosed to the accused, since the document came from the Mostar
14 Military District of February 16, 1993. Of course, such a document had
15 to be in the hands of the OTP, and of course the OTP had to have
16 disclosed this to the accused. That was it for the moment, and now today
17 Mr. Seselj is showing us the English translation with the ERN number.
18 Well, we'll try to run a better show next time, if the same
19 problem crops up.
20 Second topic, please, Mr. Seselj.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Judges, on the 17th of July, I
22 received the latest work programme from the Prosecution. The date is the
23 13th of June, and they envisaged Witnesses VS-1022 and Witness 1024. The
24 they are supposed to testify under 92 ter, and they should be testifying
25 about the crime base in Nevesinje. That's for the 17th of July.
1 We have yet to get the first witness to testify viva voce about
2 those -- about this location, and there will be no such witness, in fact.
3 And I ask you to review your decision and to decide that at least one of
4 those witnesses -- I would like to have all of them to testify viva voce,
5 but in light of the principles that you, yourself, imposed, that at least
6 one of them be heard in viva voce.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, your motion is
8 noted. Maybe the Prosecution would like to answer, but the Trial Chamber
9 will deliberate, and we'll give you our ruling.
10 Ms. Dahl, do you have anything to say on this right now or
11 nothing to add?
12 MS. DAHL: Your Honour, I think it elevates form over substance
13 to require these witnesses to testify viva voce. Their material is
14 concise and relates to the crime base, and in this instance we are trying
15 to expeditiously present evidence before we get to the recess, and it
16 made sense to put together a couple of the 92 ter witnesses so that we
17 could move forward in the order of lineup.
18 If you want something from us regarding the type of evidence,
19 then I would ask for a particular date and time to make those submissions
20 so that I can have the trial attorneys who will be leading that evidence
21 address the Chamber.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, just like in the
23 previous cases, we will look at the statements, we'll check the
24 statements. We'll see whether there's a real need for viva voce
25 testimony or not. If it's a witness that does not bring in anything
1 essential and who doesn't really need to be cross-examined, we'll see.
2 I can't answer you like this, offhand, without having looked at
3 the two statements. I can't tell you exactly right now what my position
5 Ms. Dahl.
6 MS. DAHL: I'm sorry, Your Honour, but I want to object to the
7 motion that the form of testimony should depend on whether or not
8 Mr. Seselj wants to avail himself of the right that he has under the
9 Rules. 92 ter allows Mr. Seselj, in every instance, to cross-examine.
10 In an accommodation to him, the Prosecution has not tried to use the
11 92 bis rule, which does tender evidence without any cross-examination,
12 but the Chamber should not accede to his decision to waive
13 cross-examination as a matter of principle. That is his choice, and it
14 should not be used as a basis on which to make a determination of how to
15 lead the evidence.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What you just said will be
17 taken into account by the Trial Chamber. Of course, we know it's not up
18 to the accused to say what he wants, as far as procedure is concerned,
19 because there is a rule that exists, and everybody must abide by the
21 However, the Trial Chamber does have a discretionary power and
22 can decide, in the interests of justice, who should testify in viva voce
23 or under Rule 92 ter, or maybe also Rule 92 bis, which is why when there
24 are 92 bis motions, the Trial Chamber usually turn them down, saying that
25 a cross-examination is absolutely necessary.
1 There can be motions for viva voce where Trial Chambers say the
2 evidence would be better led as Rule 92 ter, and the opposite also
4 It's up to the Trial Chamber to rule on how witnesses are to be
5 heard, and the Trial Chamber must take into account different parameters,
6 the position of the Prosecution, the position of the Defence, as well as
7 time constraints.
8 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I apologise, Ms. Dahl. I don't
9 want you to think that this Trial Chamber never took into account the
10 fact that the accused said he would waive his right to cross-examination
11 under Rule 92. Sometimes we ruled otherwise, you know. The Trial
12 Chamber has its own parameters on which to make decisions.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. No more
14 administrative questions. Let's now bring the witness into the
16 Madam Usher, could you please go and get our witness.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, sir.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing will resume, and
21 the examination-in-chief will continue.
22 As I told you yesterday, if at any moment you feel ill at ease,
23 just raise your hand and ask for a break. Otherwise, the break is
24 scheduled for 10.00.
25 Mr. Dutertre, you have the floor.
1 MR. DUTERTRE: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Welcome to everyone. I welcome the Defence, and I also welcome
3 or witness, Mr. Bilic.
4 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
5 WITNESS: FAHRUDIN BILIC [Resumed]
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 Examination by Mr. Dutertre: [Continued]
8 Q. Mr. Bilic, yesterday you told us that the Sjeverni Logor barracks
9 could be seen from your home and that the JNA were stationed in them.
10 Could you please tell us what happened next to the Sjeverni Logor
11 barracks on April 3rd, 1992?
12 A. You mean in the shelter, what happened there, the shelter?
13 Q. Next to these barracks, did anything happen on April 3rd, 1992?
14 A. Yes, yes. A tank truck was set there, and it exploded.
15 Q. When you say "we" or -- you're not giving us -- you're not saying
16 who did this. Do you know who did it?
17 A. Well, it was just set -- put there to explode, and then the train
18 of events was put in motion after this tank truck exploded.
19 Q. So it was deliberate. Who placed those explosives, if you know
21 A. Well, I don't know. I can't really answer that, because I didn't
22 see who put it there. All I saw was it was there. I could see it from
23 the balcony of my building.
24 Q. Very well, thank you. So a tank truck blew up. It had been
25 placed there. Did you see the explosion, did you hear it, were you
2 A. At that moment, I was passing by the tank truck and came to my
3 own home. I got everybody -- well, I drove past it, and I was coming
4 back from town, going home from town. And when it exploded -- well, I
5 was passing by it, and just as I reached my flat, that's when it
6 happened, it exploded, and then windows were shattered and fell down,
7 doors, and everything from the explosion.
8 Q. Were there any casualties?
9 A. Not then, not at that moment, but there was a Skoda car that was
10 buried under the rubble that happened to be going past, so from the
12 Q. After this explosion, did you note that more -- a greater number
13 of Serbian soldiers were now in your area?
14 A. Yes. Immediately after the tank truck, soldiers began to rally.
15 The Montenegrin soldiers came, and they drank there, ate there, and in
16 the evening attacked civilians.
17 Q. Would you tell us what units the Serbian soldiers belonged to?
18 Was it the regular army, were they volunteers?
19 A. Well, they were wearing military uniforms of the olive-green
20 kind, the SMB olive-green kind, but they were from Montenegro, judging by
21 the way they spoke, from Montenegro.
22 Q. Did they have specific insignias that you might remember?
23 A. No, no insignia, just denoting that they were soldiers, just
24 having military uniforms.
25 Q. According to you, did they look like soldiers from the regular
1 army or did they look like volunteers?
2 A. Regular army, like the regular army.
3 Q. After this explosion, given the extensive damage and the possible
4 risk of a new attack, where did you seek refuge?
5 A. After the tank truck, we took shelter in the shelter underneath
6 my house. There was an atom bomb shelter there, so we went there to be
8 Q. How many people were in the shelter, more or less?
9 A. About 300, to begin with.
10 Q. You remember the ethnical background of the 300 people that were
11 in the shelter with you?
12 A. Well, they were mixed. Everybody was there, Serbs, Croats,
14 Q. Could you tell us whether there were women --
15 A. Women, men, children, elderly people. Everybody was there.
16 Q. Very well. Do you remember the names of some of the people that
17 were with you in the shelter?
18 A. Well, I knew most of them -- well, my neighbours, but the ones
19 who came from other parts, from Brankovici and further afield, I know --
20 well, I knew them, but didn't know all the names. The first one was a
21 Serb, Milos. Then there was a Vojo, who guarded us there in the shelter
22 with an automatic weapon so we didn't have to leave.
23 Q. I'm not speaking about the people who were standing guard there,
24 but those people that were in the shelter. Could you give us the names
25 of some of the people who were in the same shelter?
1 A. Well, there were quite a lot of families from my building, who
2 lived in the same building as me, like Omanovic, Milos, Benca. All those
3 people were from my building, they all had flats there.
4 Q. Any other names that come to mind, people who were living in the
5 same block of flats as you, for instance?
6 A. [No verbal response]
7 Q. If it doesn't come to mind, it doesn't matter. I'll move on to
8 something else.
9 You mentioned that someone was guarding the shelter. Could you
10 tell me -- I don't want you to give me any names, but could you tell us
11 whether there were guards in front of the shelter right from the
12 beginning, as soon as you got there?
13 A. Straight after the tank truck, the guards turned up, because we
14 happened to be in the shelter. Shells started falling, and we had to go
15 down to the basement and take refuge. Thousands of shells fell on the
17 Q. To get back to my question, was the shelter guarded by soldiers
18 as soon as you got to the shelter?
19 A. Straight after the tank truck, that's when they appeared, they
20 came. They came in a vehicle, and they came there. Milos, my neighbour,
21 he led them. No, he kept lists of all of us in the shelter.
22 Q. I shall -- I would like to move for a brief instant into private
23 session, please, if you will allow me.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Private session, please.
25 [Private session]
11 Page 8957 redacted. Private session.
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, the Prosecutor has
6 been putting questions to you over the last ten minutes about what
7 happened when this fuel tank exploded, and I'm totally lost, I must
8 admit. If you will allow me, I would like to go back a little bit in
10 There is this fuel tank that is placed next to the barracks, so
11 the barracks where there are Serbs; you agree with me on that, do you?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The fuel tank explodes. You
14 don't know who has caused the explosion; you don't know?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, I don't know about
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Then for fear of another
18 explosion, the neighbours go and seek refuge, together with you, in this
19 shelter, and you have said that there were 300 of you there, and you
20 provide an important detail, to my mind. You say that in the shelter,
21 there are Serbs, Croats and Muslims. Is that right? That is what you
22 said, isn't it? And you said that at some point soldiers prevent you
23 from coming out, so one has reason to believe that the soldiers that are
24 there are there to protect you and secure the area, and that you
25 civilians have been asked to stay in the shelter for your own protection.
1 That I understand. I understand this so far.
2 But after that, you say that there were shots fired and shells
3 that fell in that area; isn't that what you said?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Shells were falling from
5 Podvelezje, that area up there.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Shells fell on the
7 shelter when there were Serbs inside the shelter?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Serbs, just afterwards when they
9 took us away from the shelter, the ones they had on their list, they
10 separated the Serbs into a bus which they drove towards Zijemlje, up
11 there. The bus came to fetch them, just them.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand you correctly,
13 everybody was in the shelter. Then the Serbs came and asked the Serbs to
14 come out of the shelter; is that right?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they separated the Serbs and
16 took us to north camp, according to a list. That's how it was.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. But what I would
18 like to understand, because this is rather complex: When the shells fall
19 on the shelter, at that time are there Serbs inside the shelter together
20 with you?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right; Serbs, Croats
22 and Muslims, they were all inside.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were there. Can you tell
24 us why the Serbs shot at Serbs and why they shot at the shelter? Do you
25 have any reason to give us or none?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Everybody fled from their flat
2 after the explosion. Shells were falling, but you couldn't stay in your
3 flat. You had to go down to the shelter. We had two shelters in Zalik.
4 One was underneath my building and the other one was a little further
5 away, two atomic bomb shelters.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, I'll give you
7 the floor again.
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, thank you for
9 having clarified all of this. I was about to address it myself, but now
10 it's done.
11 Q. Mr. Bilic, were you free to leave the shelter?
12 A. No, you couldn't go outside -- or, actually, just the women could
13 leave to bring in food and to cook something in the shelter, prepare some
14 food. Otherwise, well, they wouldn't let us cook in our flats.
15 Q. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that you were not
16 free to leave the shelter, but women were entitled to go and fetch some
17 food; is that right?
18 A. Yes, but they had to come back straight away, of course.
19 Q. What would have happened if they hadn't come back?
20 A. Well, they'd go and search for that person, so the women had to
21 come back. It's all there. You can't escape. You can see the whole
22 area, so nobody could actually escape.
23 Q. When you say that you couldn't run away, could you clarify this,
25 A. Well, there were soldiers all over. You couldn't go from this
1 side to the other side, cross over to the other side, because --
2 Q. When you say "from one side to the other," what do you mean?
3 A. I was in the civilian protection. They made us work. We were
4 forced to work, and we had to clean streets from the shells from the
5 bridge to the tobacco factory.
6 Q. I might get back to this later.
7 A. They mined all the little streets towards the other side, the
8 Serbs did. All the little streets were mined, so you couldn't go to the
9 Neretva River. Otherwise, the people of Mostar could have swum across,
10 but you couldn't because of all these little mines that were placed in
11 the side streets.
12 Q. Very well, you've clarified all this. Thank you.
13 According to you, what was the purpose of this? Why did the Serb
14 soldiers guard you without allowing you to move around freely? Why were
15 you kept in these shelters?
16 A. Well, they stood guard for as long as the large army came down
17 from the church and surrounded the whole area. They were the
18 White Eagles, Seseljevci, local Serbs. All the people we knew from
19 Zalik, actually, these ones.
20 Q. I'll get back to this later, but to answer the question
21 accurately, what was the purpose of this? Why did the Serb soldiers
22 stand guard here and prevent you from moving around, since you were only
23 allowed to go and fetch food?
24 A. Well, they stood guard there and kept saying that nothing would
25 happen to us. But what happened happened; that is to say that 120 people
1 were killed.
2 Q. You say that White Eagles and Seselj's men and local Serbs came.
3 When did this happen? When did you see the White Eagles, Seselj's men
4 and the local Serbs?
5 A. In April 1992, I think. Yes, 1992.
6 Q. Were you in the shelter already or how much time after the
7 explosion of the fuel tank did this happen?
8 A. Everybody saw that, when they came down and came in front of the
9 shelter and all the rest of it. I wasn't the only one who saw all that.
10 All the people who were in the shelter saw it.
11 Q. Very well. Could you tell us how the White Eagles were dressed?
12 A. The White Eagles had hats and feathers in their hats. They had
13 long beards. Some even had cockades.
14 Q. Can you describe these cockades to us, please?
15 A. Round ones with the sign there, the sign of the eagle.
16 Q. Anything specific which gave you reason to believe that these men
17 were White Eagles?
18 A. Well, the White Eagles, they weren't as dangerous, didn't look as
19 dangerous. But the other ones, well, my god, they were more dangerous,
20 the ones with the beards. They were much more dangerous.
21 Q. Just to get back to my previous question, were there any other
22 distinctive signs to make you believe that these were White Eagles, or
23 did you hear that these men were White Eagles?
24 A. Well, I heard that from others, from the Serbs themselves who
25 were in the shelter when these men arrived, and they said who they were,
1 which soldiers they were. I didn't invent it, I didn't think it up.
2 Q. And when you talk about the Serbs who were there with you, are
3 you referring to the Serb soldiers or to the Serbs that were in the
4 shelter together with you?
5 A. The ones who were there, the Serbs in the shelter. They worked
6 for the Serbs. They did what they asked them. This one worked in the
7 printing works, so that meant for the lists. And the ones that were on
8 guard -- the one that was on guard, he didn't let anybody leave, this
10 Q. You mentioned the White Eagles, and you also mentioned Seselj's
11 men. Could you tell us how Seselj's men were dressed?
12 A. They had uniforms and the caps and the cockades. I don't know
13 what else I can say. The cockade with the eagle. And they stood guard
14 in the port. They were down there when we cleaned the streets. They
15 whole port, the main street towards the factory. They stood by the road
16 and brandished their -- and sharpened their knives, because that's where
17 we had to pass -- we had to pass by them.
18 Q. Can you tell us exactly what kind of uniform they had?
19 A. There were some in civilian clothes and others in the SMB
20 olive-green uniform, like the military shirts, the army shirts.
21 Q. Could you describe them to us? What did they look like,
22 physically, I mean? Did they look like regular servicemen or could you
23 give us a description, please?
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Dutertre, your question is
25 somewhat leading. Just ask him to describe the soldiers.
1 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes. That was the end of my
2 question, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Dutertre, well,
4 rephrase your question.
5 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I was just wanting to move on.
6 Q. Could you tell us what Seselj's men looked like?
7 A. How can I describe them? They were dressed in both ways, mixed;
8 civilian trousers and other types of shirts. Well, they didn't look like
9 regular soldiers. They had long beards.
10 Q. I wasn't interested in the clothing, per se. I was interested in
11 physical characteristics, the hair and so on and so forth. So what did
12 they look like, physically, I mean? You mentioned the long beards.
13 Could you give us any more details?
14 A. As far as beards go, well, he had -- they had caps on their head,
15 so I couldn't really see their hair.
16 Q. When a little earlier you mentioned that those that had beards
17 were dangerous, these were Seselj's men that were bearded? These were
18 the ones you wanted to refer to or not?
19 A. Yes, that was them. I saw them at the institute where I did some
20 painting, a paint job. I was there painting their kitchen, and I stood
21 beside them, in Bijelo Polje.
22 Q. We'll proceed in chronological order, if you don't mind.
23 Otherwise, everything will get all mixed up.
24 So in the shelter, among those soldiers that were standing guard,
25 were there any of Seselj's men?
1 A. No -- yes, one from Novi Sad. He was with us in the shelter. He
2 wasn't standing at the door. He was with us. They had the automatic
3 doors, and he was inside, right inside by the office, and everybody,
4 well -- well, he'd just sit there sharpening his knife. And he kept
5 silent. He didn't like talking much. Well, they didn't let us go up to
7 Q. Could you tell us whether he was from the beginning -- what I
8 mean, from the moment you got there, was he there?
9 A. He came at a time when all those soldiers came down from the Serb
10 church. They surrounded the whole of Zalik, and that's when he came,
11 too, when these others came down from the Serbian church, when all these
12 other soldiers came.
13 Q. What time period are we talking about? How many days after the
14 explosion of the fuel tank are we talking about; five days, ten days?
15 How many days?
16 A. Four days later or five days later, at the most. They appeared
17 straight away. It didn't last long; for three or four -- we were in the
18 shelter for three or four months, all of us civilians, but you had -- it
19 wasn't a long time, but you had to survive living in that shelter, let me
20 tell you.
21 Q. Was this person there permanently or was he just there from time
22 to time, this man whom you call Seselj's man?
23 A. In the shelter until they took us away, those of us who could
24 move, to north camp, according to the lists they had.
25 Q. Did he have an accent when he spoke?
1 A. Well, Serbian. We asked him where he was from, and he said he
2 was from Novi Sad. We asked him.
3 Q. How do you know that this man was one of Seselj's men?
4 A. Well, we didn't determine that he was a Seselj man straight away.
5 He didn't have a beard.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat whether he had a beard
7 or not?
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
9 Q. How did you get to learn that, because you said you didn't know
10 it right away?
11 A. We asked him, and what he told us then is what I'm telling you
13 Q. If I understand you correctly, it is he who told you that he was
14 one of Seselj's men?
15 A. He told me personally. I was in the group when they asked him.
16 Q. Could you tell us how he behaved with the people who were
17 detained there?
18 A. [Previous translation continues] ... there and followed the
19 situation in the shelter.
20 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think the court
21 reporter needs to have a short break.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's have a break. We shall
23 have a break and have a 20-minute break now.
24 --- Recess taken at 9.30 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 9.55 a.m.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing's resumed. Good
2 morning, Madam Court Reporter.
3 You may proceed.
4 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you. May we move into
5 closed session?
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Madam Registrar, please
8 [Private session]
11 Page 8968 redacted. Private session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
21 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Bilic, am I to understand that the person you have just
23 mentioned - no need to say his name because now we're in open
24 session - that this person would go to the shelter where you were kept?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I was sure this was bound to
2 happen. I was sure he was going to say the name.
3 Madam Registrar, can you please redact.
4 Please proceed.
5 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
6 Q. This person, whose name you've just given, would he come to the
7 shelter? Don't say his name again.
9 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I'm so sorry, Mr. President, I
10 wanted to remain in open session but --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, we'll start again. Let's
12 go back into private session.
13 [Private session]
11 Pages 8971-8972 redacted. Private session.
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
23 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation].
24 Q. Could you tell me where the military institute of Bijelo Polje
1 A. It's right next to Bijelo Polje.
2 Q. As part of the work that you were forced to do whilst the Serbian
3 forces were still in Zalik, did you have to go and work at the Bijelo
4 Polje military institute?
5 A. Yes. (redacted), my neighbour, and I - my neighbour who worked in the
6 same company as me and he died after the war - we went.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, we'll have to
8 redact line 22, the neighbour's name.
9 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes. I guess that this man was
10 rather a victim.
11 Q. And what kind of work did you do at the military institute?
12 A. Painting work, painting, wall painting.
13 Q. Where exactly?
14 A. The kitchens, the kitchen and the reception area and the lobby.
15 Q. How long did it take, that work at the military institute?
16 A. Not long, two or three days, until the chief officer arrived and
17 said something was going to happen and we could leave, and then we went
18 back to the shelter in Zalik.
19 Q. Did you see soldiers during the two or three days you spent at
20 the military institute?
21 A. We saw them on every step in the institute.
22 Q. Could you tell us which units they were member of?
23 A. There were all sorts, not just the regular JNA, there were other
24 soldiers as well, paramilitaries and others.
25 Q. You mentioned paramilitaries, all sorts of soldiers. Which group
1 did these soldiers belong to?
2 A. There were also soldiers wearing civilian clothes, soldiers
3 wearing JNA uniforms, soldiers wearing mixed clothing, civilian trousers
4 with a military jacket. It was all mixed up.
5 Q. Were you able to hear or see whether these individuals who were
6 not regular soldiers, as you said, were members of specific groups or
8 A. Well, I don't understand these things very well --
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not understand the last
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Did you see some of Seselj's men in the military institute?
13 A. There were those with beards who sharpened knives, and I would
14 pass by them in the compound itself, they stood next to the hospital in
15 the institute, that's where they were standing in front of the door to
16 the hospital because there used to be a military hospital there.
17 Q. Did you see whether the soldiers whom you describe as Seselj's
18 men wore any insignias?
19 A. The ones in the institute only had big beards, they didn't have
20 any insignia; the ones I saw in town at Luka and in Zalik, they did have
21 insignia, the ones guarding the harbour, the Luka next to the tobacco
22 factory down the road.
23 Q. I suppose that's -- you saw them during your work obligation.
24 You're mentioning an insignia, could you describe it, those people who
25 were at the bridge?
1 A. For the most part they walked around in military uniforms and
2 then the officers with their ranks, they had epaulettes, I saw quite a
3 few of those, because their military hospital was there. And once I took
4 some medicine back to the shelter because the children had upset stomachs
5 because the water was bad in the shelter, and there were officers there
6 and they gave me medicines to take back.
7 Q. Very well.
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Can we move quickly for a brief
9 moment to private session.
10 [Private session]
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're in open session.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's move back to private
24 session because Mr. Seselj wants to say something.
25 [Private session]
11 Pages 8978-8981 redacted. Private session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're in open session.
21 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Bilic, who came to the Zalik shelter on June 13th, 1992?
23 Maybe I can reformulate my question. What happened on June 13th, 1992,
24 in the Zalik shelter?
25 A. You mean the speech in Zalik that went on -- the talking that
1 went on all night?
2 Q. You told us that a certain day you were taken to the north camp
3 and then to Sutina. What date did that happen? When was that?
4 A. The 4th, April 1992, or the 4th, thereabouts.
5 Q. We know that you entered the Zalik shelter in April 1992, but you
6 also told us that you were taken to the north camp and then to Sutina at
7 a point in time. Could you tell us when that was?
8 A. I can't remember now. I can't remember the exact date.
9 Q. Was it in May? In June?
10 A. I think it was in May.
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Mr. President, may I jog the
12 witness's memory?
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It seems that he does not
14 remember things, and of course the Appeals Chamber allowed memories to be
16 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] This is the hearing of -- page 5,
17 paragraph 2, this is the hearing of January 25th, 2001, and it starts
18 with -- I won't continue what I was reading because it's not the point.
19 Q. Mr. Bilic, do you remember whether you were taken to north camp
20 and Sutina on June 13th, 1992?
21 A. It could be that day.
22 Q. Very well. What happened that day? Could you tell us who
23 arrived into the shelter?
24 A. I came to the shelter -- well, the JNA soldiers came and the
25 officer with them. General Perisic was with them, he was the commander
1 at north camp at the time.
2 Q. What time was it?
3 A. At about 10.00 in the morning, they took us to north camp, we
4 went there on foot to the premises there and the corridor, and we were
5 surrounded with automatic rifles --
6 Q. We'll do this step by step. Among the soldiers who came, were
7 there locals, were there also soldiers coming from the outside?
8 A. There were locals too, this man Boro, there were people from
9 Rastani and Bijelo Polje, locals, they escorted us too.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, marginal question.
11 You're saying that General Perisic who was commanding the north barrack
12 came also?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the corridor too when they took
14 our ID cards from us.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. When you were
16 interviewed in 2001, we have your statement, you do not mention
17 General Perisic. Why is that?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was the general there. Now, the
19 other men -- well, there were lots of officers. He wasn't alone, there
20 wasn't just one, there were lots of officers all in military uniforms.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but in your statement you
22 say that there's a group of about 15 soldiers who came, you're talking
23 about soldiers only, you're not mentioning any officers and certainly no
24 general; and suddenly you're talking about a general. And I wonder why
25 it is that in 2001 when you were interviewed you never mentioned this
1 general, but now you're mentioning him.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as the general is concerned,
3 he could -- well, I could state on other occasions when his daughter was
4 captured, for example, when she was on Radio Mostar, then he gave our
5 prisoners in exchange for his daughter, the ones he had captured at
6 Podvelezje, that area. He was the general all the time and issued orders
7 in north camp while others did too.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
9 Mr. Dutertre.
10 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
11 Q. You said there were also locals, but -- you said there were
12 locals, but I guess that there were also soldiers who were not locals,
13 who were from another area?
14 A. Mostly it was the locals that escorted us, those from Rastani,
15 Bijelo Polje, Vrapcici, those Serbs, mostly them; and they were in the
16 trucks, they loaded us up when they drove us to Sutina. One was in that
17 small van.
18 Q. Let's not move ahead. We are going to go on a step-by-step
19 basis. So you're telling us that most of them were locals, but some of
20 them were not locals; is that right?
21 A. They were the ones that went in front. These others escorted us
22 on the sides. The normal soldiers went in front, the others guarded us
23 from round about, from the sides, because it was a big column.
24 Q. When these men came into the shelter, what did they order you to
25 do and what did they do? We are still in the Zalik shelter and they just
1 entered. What did they ask you to do?
2 A. Nothing. They just rushed around and said any -- all of you who
3 can move should start -- get going and the others, the elderly people who
4 weren't able to walk properly, they stayed on in the shelter, all the
5 others went outside.
6 Q. Once you were out, what happened?
7 A. They put us in a line and we set off in a column towards north
9 Q. Did the women stay with the men and children, where were they
11 A. The women, elderly, and children stayed behind of course in the
13 Q. So the men were separated and left?
14 A. [Previous translation continues] ...
15 Q. Can you tell us what ethnicity were these men? What was the
16 ethnicity of these men who were separated from the women and children?
17 A. Muslims, just Muslims.
18 Q. How did you reach the north camp?
19 A. We went on foot, out of the main gate, or rather, into the main
20 gate and into north camp, on foot to north camp, the building, which was
21 near the gate.
22 Q. How many Muslim men left the Zalik shelter to go to the north
24 A. Quite a few of us, about 80, thereabouts.
25 Q. How long did this walk take?
1 A. Well, five or six minutes, it's quite near, towards town.
2 Q. During that trip who was escorting you, who was guarding you?
3 A. Those soldiers with the weapons they had in their hands. They
4 escorted us.
5 Q. Once in the north camp, i.e., Sjeverni Logor barracks, you said
6 that you went into a building. What happened in that building? What did
7 you have to do?
8 A. They took us into a large hall, a long corridor actually, some 40
9 or 30 metres long, it's a big building, you know, and there's a faculty
10 there now in that building. In front at the door there was some soldiers
11 with officers, I saw some officers there. Well, it was the main office
12 and they took our ID cards and drew up a list one by one, and I gave a
13 Serb who was there the keys to my house because I had the feeling that
14 they would take us away somewhere else and I gave this man the keys to my
15 home to take back to my wife, and he did that.
16 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Can we now please move to private
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar.
19 [Private session] [Confidentiality partially lifted by order of Chamber]
11 Page 8988 redacted. Private session.
18 happened because you told us you gave your IDs and what happened after
20 A. After that they put us into vans and there were benches there and
21 there was six or seven of us in this small van or jeep and they drove us
22 away and there was a soldier with a gun sitting there in between, between
23 us, guarding us in the van.
24 Q. Where did they take you?
25 A. To Sutina, to the cemetery, Gradsko.
1 Q. What time did you arrive in Sutina more or less?
2 A. Well, we arrived at around 10.00 or 11.00 -- 10.00. We spent the
3 whole day and the whole night there in Sutina.
4 Q. Did all the men who had arrived with you in the north camp
5 eventually ended up in Sutina or did only part of them arrive in Sutina?
6 A. They loaded us all up and took us to Sutina but as they arrived
7 they disappeared.
8 Q. I'll come back to this. In Sutina where were you placed, you
10 A. There were three rooms and they put us in -- all into a smaller
11 room but there were three rooms actually in that corridor. It's just at
12 the entrance where their sort of refrigerator area was in Sutina, and
13 there was one man wearing a white coat. He was an officer too and he had
14 a list and read out names from the list who would be killed and who
16 Q. Well, take us in chronological order. There are three rooms, you
17 were all placed in the same room. Could you tell us exactly what this
18 room looked like, was it small? Was it big? Was it dark? Was there a
19 lot of light? Tell us, please.
20 A. It was large [as interpreted]. You could get 20 people in there
21 like sardines, about 20 people, you could cram them all into that room.
22 There was no WC, there was no light, nothing, it was dark, total dark, we
23 were all in total darkness.
24 Q. Do you know the name of some of the people who were locked up in
25 this room with you?
2 wherever, he was with us there. There were Muslims there, quite a lot of
3 them, a lot of Muslims, two or three Croats. There wasn't a single Serb
4 there with us, and that was normal. There wouldn't have been, would
6 Q. Were there only men or were there also women and children?
7 A. Just men. The women stayed behind in the shelter like the
8 children and the elderly people.
9 Q. Do you know whether among the people detained in this room some
10 had uniforms or were they all dressed in civilian clothes?
11 A. All civilians, all the ones they brought in were civilians. None
12 of them were soldiers.
13 Q. Have you heard, seen, or heard whether other people were locked
14 up in the two other rooms that you mentioned?
16 there, the one who did the driving. I was transferred later on. When
17 these people were transferred to the small room, they transferred me to
18 this other room. When it seemed that the killing started sooner, so it
19 went on the whole night, the whole day and the whole night.
20 Q. When you were in that room with some other 20 people, could you
21 hear what was going on in the other rooms?
22 A. No, but we did hear the ones coming in and reading out the names
23 from the list, the man in the white overcoat, they read out the names,
24 opened the door, and then said, You go out, you outside, and they
25 separated them and as they left, they left never to return.
1 Q. Did you hear what was happening to them, when these people were
2 told to leave the other room?
3 A. All you could hear was a burst of gun-fire from a machine-gun
4 from behind the building, two machine-gunners, and they would shoot from
5 time to time. They would let them sort of go and then they would mow
6 them down with the machine-gun fire. There were two machine-guns that I
7 personally saw, but I can't describe them.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Judges, does all this need to be in
9 private session? I think we should have moved into open session ages
11 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] -- it's justified we could have
12 moved, we were a bit negligent. Please ask the question again.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could we please move into open
15 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes, after the series of names,
16 you know, we can move back into open session, maybe if we could do this.
17 This part of the transcript can become public after the series of names.
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're in open session.
22 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Sir, have you heard anyone putting up resistance or maybe
24 rebelling, any of the other people who were in the other rooms?
25 A. You could hear screaming, blows on the concrete, and then the
1 shooting and then nothing after that. They kept coming and going -- oh,
2 the small vans, the jeeps, kept coming and going.
3 Q. At that point in time you were also locked up, you were hearing
4 everything. What did you think was happening? What did you infer from
5 all this?
6 A. [Previous translation continues] ... like all the rest, what was
7 going to happen would happen until Boro came by --
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear what --
9 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Let me reformulate. What did you think was happening to these
11 other people who were taken out of the other rooms?
12 A. They killed them, what else? That's what happened and that's
13 what I'm telling you -- and that's what I was waiting for, the same fate
14 just like all the rest, but he came and saved me, got me out of there.
15 Q. At what time did the shooting start?
16 A. Well, the whole day when we were shut up there we were in total
17 darkness and you could just hear people being taken away, comings and
18 goings, jeeps coming by, taking people away.
19 Q. We've talked about the other rooms. Did some men -- were some
20 men taken out of the room in which you were?
21 A. Not from the other rooms, just from our room while this was going
22 on, but I couldn't see what was happening in the other rooms.
23 Q. You said some men were taken out of the room in which you were.
24 Who took them out? We understood that there was a man or person dressed
25 in white. Who was the person who took them out of the room?
1 A. Well, we were taken out by those people in uniform.
2 Q. Were these local soldiers or non-local soldiers?
3 A. There were two wearing olive-drab military uniforms.
4 Q. Did they have an accent?
5 A. Well, I can't tell you specifically yes or no because they were
6 all mixed up.
7 Q. What do you mean by mixed? In other words, some had an accent
8 and some didn't? Could you specify, please.
9 Did some of the soldiers have an accent and some others did not
10 have an accent? If you remember of course could you tell us.
11 A. Well, I remember that they were shouting, making a lot of noise,
12 but I was not in a situation where I could actually determine their
13 accents. I know that they were shouting and screaming and pushing people
14 out with their rifle-butts as they were taking them out.
15 Q. How long did you stay in this room where you had been put
16 together with another 20 people?
17 A. I remained in that room until 2.00 or 3.00 a.m. in the night,
18 that's when I was saved and I went back to the shelter in Zalik, or
19 rather, to my apartment above the shelter, and I hid there so that they
20 couldn't find me anymore.
21 Q. You said that you left the room. When you left the room where
22 were you put then?
23 A. To a large room where Hamdija and another man --
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the name.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- from the small room into the big
1 room, where Hamdija was.
2 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Could we briefly move into closed
3 session to address the names, please.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could we move into private
5 session, please, Madam Registrar.
6 [Private session]
11 Pages 8996-8998 redacted. Private session.
6 [Open session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're in open session.
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
9 Q. What makes you say, Mr. Bilic, that this man who was threatening
10 you with a knife in the second room was one of Seselj's men?
11 A. Well, it needn't necessarily be so, but he was from Serbia. His
12 accent was different from the accent of the local Serbs that I was
13 familiar with.
14 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Could we move for a few moments
15 into closed session, please.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, please.
17 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're in open session.
14 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Bilic, I shall just say the person who saved you. I won't
16 mention his name and I don't wish you to mention his name in open session
17 either. So this person who saved you, where did this person take you to?
18 A. He took me from Sutina, and then I was able to walk over the hill
19 to my home and his home was just behind this block of flats. So I just
20 went to Zalik, and I shut myself in my apartment and I found shelter
22 Q. What time was it approximately when this person saved you and
23 enabled you to leave Sutina?
24 A. Just before dawn, so the dawn after that night when all those
25 people went missing. It was not dawn yet. When I get to Zalik, it
1 became light.
2 Q. That is a useful clarification. On leaving Sutina, were you able
3 to see whether -- what did you see when you left Sutina? Did you see
4 armed men? What did you see?
5 A. Well, I saw machine-gun and two people who were dug-in just
6 behind the building, behind where our rooms there, so there was a
7 machine-gun nest there and the whole night they fired this machine-gun --
8 well, there was some lulls in the shooting, but for most of the time
9 there was fire.
10 Q. Did you ask the person who had saved you what was happening?
11 A. Yes, I asked him what was going on.
12 Q. And what did he say?
13 A. He didn't let me talk a lot, but he did say that he was this
14 close to being promoted to the rank of major.
15 Q. Did he say anything about what was happening in Sutina? Did you
16 question him on that account?
17 A. He didn't want to talk about that at all because nobody would
18 give you any answers anyway.
19 Q. Did he go straight to your flat or did you go via the shelter?
20 A. [Previous translation continues] ... I took the keys from my
21 wife in the shelter and I went up, I just fled.
22 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Could I move into private session
23 for a few moments, please.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please.
25 Just a moment.
1 [Private session]
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
6 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Bilic, the people who were in the shelter, did they question
8 you about what had happened to your companions?
9 A. Yes, they did ask me about that. I didn't know what to tell
10 them. Well, they saw me alive and the others were gone, and then they
11 started threatening me, that I would not live and things like that and
12 yet here I am, still alive after the war.
13 Q. What is your feeling about the degree of organization and
14 preparation relating to what happened in Sutina?
15 A. Well, I don't know what to think. I can't speak on other
16 people's behalf. Those people who set that up should tell you that; it's
17 not my place to do that.
18 Q. Did you think that all of this had been organized, had not been
20 A. It was war, there's nothing more to say; and in this war
21 everybody's true nature came out.
22 Q. In light of the speeches or in light of what you'd heard --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
24 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
25 Q. -- in the shelter, somebody came to talk to you for a whole
1 night. Did you think that what was happening in Sutina was a direct
2 consequence of that? What were your feelings about this?
3 A. Well, it was genocide to destroy us Muslims, nothing else, just
4 as they had agreed with the Croats, that Croats should do it on one side
5 and they on the other and that they should throw all of us Muslims into
6 the Neretva River -- well, it was made public in speeches, it was said on
7 TV. So that was what they wanted to do, but they failed to create
8 Greater Serbia.
9 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have no
10 further questions.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I just have a short follow-up
12 question to put to you. When you were released by the person whose name
13 I'm not going to mention, you came back to your flat. And then after
14 that, sir, did you stay there or did you change your place of residence?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remained in the same apartment,
16 that's where I live now.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How long did you stay there
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I stayed there four or five days,
20 that's when the troops barged in, that's when the Croats crossed the
21 Neretva. They first went to Sutina and then they went to Zalik because
22 the troops were all mixed up. There were us, our guys, with the lilies
23 and the Croats, and they found me there around the corner.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, the mixed
25 troops, i.e., Croat and Muslims who accounted for the fact that you were
1 totally free?
2 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is a clarification after.
4 It is now 11.30. We shall have a 20-minute break, this will be our last
5 break. We shall resume after that and as you know, we will finish at a
6 quarter after 1.00 and the cross-examination is likely to be continued
7 next week.
8 --- Recess taken at 11.26 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 11.48 a.m.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing's resumed.
11 Mr. Seselj, you may proceed for your cross-examination.
12 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Mr. President, allow me one
13 observation. We have just received a document disclosed in B/C/S.
14 Mr. Seselj plans to use it. I do not know when he wants to use it, but
15 obviously if we are to continue next Tuesday with the cross-examination
16 maybe he should use it then so that we have time to read it and have it
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Seselj, there is a
19 document that has not been translated. If you plan to use it, it might
20 be better to use it next week so as to give time to the Prosecution for
21 the document to be translated. This being said, I do not have the
22 document. I see Madam Registrar has a copy.
23 Yes we have it now. Thank you. You may proceed.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Seselj:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Bilic, yesterday during the
1 examination-in-chief you marked the locations of the places mentioned,
2 and I intervened because I thought it was an accidental mistake when you
3 said it all took place on the right bank of the river Neretva. You know
4 that the Neretva has its source underneath Mount Bjelasnica and flows
5 into the Adriatic Sea, do you not?
6 A. It has its source in Hodzici under a mountain called Jabukova
7 that's where the spring is, it's not in Mount Bjelasnica.
8 Q. Below?
9 A. Below in Konjic.
10 Q. Does it flow into the Adriatic Sea?
11 A. Yes, in Ploca.
12 Q. And when you look from the source towards the mouth, all these
13 things, Zalik, Sutina, Obarak, they're all on the left bank; is that
15 A. Well, after the war it's been referred to as the left bank;
16 before the war we never referred to the left bank or the right bank, it
17 was all the same.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Madam Dahl.
19 MS. DAHL: I note the pace, between the speaker question and
20 answer was quite quick. And if you would remind both the accused and
21 witness to please pause.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I forgot to remind
23 Mr. Seselj and the witness they both speak the same language and
24 therefore they should wait until the question to be interpreted before
25 they answer. This goes for you, Mr. Witness, so the interpreters can
1 interpret because the problem is when you speak at a very swift pace the
2 interpreter has not finished translating and Mr. Seselj already puts a
3 new question so it's hard to follow. There is one solution. When
4 Mr. Seselj has put a question to you, you count until five in your head
5 and then you can answer.
6 Mr. Seselj, go ahead.
7 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation].
8 Q. Well, Mr. Bilic waited so long that I was afraid he wouldn't
9 answer my question at all, so I think this intervention was quite
10 inappropriate. Mr. Bilic waited three times longer than was necessary.
11 But all right, Madam Dahl likes to intervene although she's unable to
12 find real reasons for doing so?
13 Mr. Bilic, before the war --
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, this is out of
15 place. Ms. Dahl made an observation. Let us endeavour to work serenely.
16 It may be that at times the witness waited, but it could happen also that
17 he wouldn't wait and would answer straight away. So I just want to
18 pre-empt that. I think it's better.
19 Please continue, Mr. Seselj.
20 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Bilic, before the war everybody knew where the left and right
22 banks were, right? Zalik, Sutina, and Duborak [phoen] are all on the
23 left bank, as is the north camp barracks and the military institute; is
24 that right?
25 A. Yeah.
1 Q. And the JNA was there from the beginning, right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is it correct that as early as September 1991 there was a
4 Croatian armed rebellion in Mostar and in western Herzegovina?
5 A. I've heard about that.
6 Q. Did you see it? Were there certain divisions in the Mostar area
7 as early as September?
8 A. At that time there were no changes in Mostar yet.
9 Q. Were there conflicts between the JNA and the Croatian
10 paramilitary forces?
11 A. Yes, and also the territorials, the territorials defending Mostar
12 began to gather there.
13 Q. Who were they defending Mostar from?
14 A. Well, you were stirring things up.
15 Q. Who was?
16 A. You, the Serbs.
17 Q. Well, how come you say the Serbs did that when it was the Croats
18 who rebelled?
19 A. Well, you stirred things up, first in Croatia --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could witness and the accused please slow down.
21 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
22 Q. In Sarajevo you killed the father of the groom --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Look at line 5, page 65, the
24 interpreters are asking you to speak more slowly because you've started
25 again, you know, question and answer, no stop and the interpreters need
1 to breathe.
2 Witness, you answered a question by Mr. Seselj. Even if you
3 don't like the question, you have to answer it. It is important for the
4 Judges to know what happened, and since also as to events prior to the
5 tank truck explosion which may have caused several events to take place,
6 but there may be other causes. And through the questions we discovered
7 that before that there had been a conflict for some time in Mostar, a
8 conflict between the Croats and the Serbs, Croats, Muslims, and Serbs.
9 So we may as well try to unravel all this. If you don't like the
10 question, that's not the issue, you have to answer it, you have to answer
11 questions and answer that question alone. It is your obligation to
12 answer questions because the proceedings in this Tribunal are such that
13 it's driven by parties. The parties put questions. The Judges do have a
14 part to play, but not the main part as is the case in your country. So
15 Mr. Seselj is entitled to ask any questions he wants to, provided he
16 doesn't insult you, of course, or provided he doesn't broach topics that
17 may lead to discussions. But that put aside, he can ask any questions,
18 you have to answer them.
19 This being said, and of course this is not going to be taken out
20 of the time given to Mr. Seselj, he may now proceed.
21 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Bilic, is it correct that at the beginning of that conflict
23 in Mostar in September 1991 the JNA held the two predominant features,
24 Velez and Hum, Velez is on the left bank of the Neretva and Hum on the
25 right bank; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Is it correct that the Croatian paramilitary forces took most of
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] It's such a general question, I
6 mean Mostar when? It is absolutely vague.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, could you ask the
8 witness when the Croatian paramilitary forces took over Mostar. You say
9 September 1991 and then we don't know, but it may be that the witness is
10 not in a position to answer. I don't know.
11 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
12 Q. In September 1991 there was a conflict between the Croatian
13 rebels and the JNA. Bosnia and Herzegovina was not at war yet at that
14 time. The government of three national parties in coalition was
15 functioning, the SDA, the Muslim party; the SDS, the Serbian; and the
16 HDZ, the Croatian party.
17 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] My objection is not that now
18 Mr. Seselj would testify himself as to the events that took place. He
19 needs to seek information from the witness as to the date when the
20 events. It was inadmissible because it was too vague.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, the Trial Chamber is
22 already aware of what you say. You have to ask a question of the
23 witness. Tell him: Witness, do you know that in September 1991 there
24 was a conflict between the Croatian rebels and the JNA? And he anyway
25 say yes, no, or I don't know, otherwise the Prosecutor will be on his
1 feet saying you are testifying.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, it would be best for the
3 Prosecutor to cross-examine instead of me. This is really pointless.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, I am not willing to
5 let you manipulate the proceedings. There are rules. You are to conduct
6 the cross-examination, and in this Tribunal cross-examination is governed
7 by certain rules arising from Anglo-Saxon law. You are entitled to ask
8 questions, but you're not allowed to testify through the questions you
9 put. That is the difference, and if you are to testify systematically
10 you're going to have objections from the Prosecutor and that will be a
11 waste of time; you know that as well as I do. When the Prosecutor does
12 not comply with Anglo-Saxon rules, you are the first one to object.
13 Let us avoid this. Therefore, put your question in such a manner
14 that even if you want to highlight an event you have to seek confirmation
15 by the witness of the events through leading questions; that is
16 authorised. That's it. Please continue.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, now you've made me so
18 frustrated with this initial noise that I don't even feel like putting
19 questions, but I'll do my best. I didn't observe you yelling like that
20 at representatives of the OTP, but that's up to you and your --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you are impolite,
22 you are impolite, discourteous. You spent your time criticising
23 everybody, including Judges; this is inadmissible. I reminded you what
24 the rules were that prevail in this Tribunal. You may comply with them
25 or turn them down. Everybody's got their own opinion, but that's the
1 rules. Questions are put by the Prosecutor as part of the
2 examination-in-chief and the Prosecutor is not entitled to testify, he is
3 allowed to ask questions which he does in a non-leading way; and if he
4 ever does, as you could see this morning, he is out of order by the
5 Trial Chamber and you at times do the same. You criticise the Prosecutor
6 for doing that. That's the Prosecution part of the examination. When
7 cross-examination comes, you can ask any questions, but you're not
8 entitled to testify. If you testify, the Prosecutor will be on his feet
9 and will object. This is what I'm telling you now, and you do not want
10 to admit it, but these are the rules.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Before I continue my
12 cross-examination, I must first thank you for telling me that I'm
13 impolite. I'm very grateful to you for that.
14 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Bilic, do you know what the JNA controlled on the west bank
16 of the river Neretva apart from the hill of Hum before this conflict
17 broke out?
18 A. Podvelezje.
19 Q. Well, we said that Podvelezje is on the west or east bank. The
20 river Neretva divides Herzegovina into east and west Herzegovina and it's
21 been like that for 500 years; isn't that right?
22 A. You controlled Siroki Brijeg up there, there were a lot of tanks
23 up there.
24 Q. Well, look, the army pulled out of that area. Siroki Brijeg is
25 almost 100 per cent inhabited by Croats?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And the army found it intolerable there because of the Croatian
3 rebellion and the army pulled out of there?
4 A. Well, they were forced to leave.
5 Q. Well, they may have been forced to leave because it was a
6 large-scale uprising by Croats. So you are unable to say what else the
7 JNA held on the west bank apart from the hill of Hum?
8 A. I don't know.
9 Q. Is it correct that throughout September, October, November,
10 December 1991 there was an exchange of fire between the JNA and Croatian
11 paramilitary units across the river Neretva? The JNA was firing on one
12 side and the Croatian paramilitary forces on the other. Is that correct?
13 A. Yes, it is. There were tanks underneath Podvelezje, yes.
14 Q. Well, not just from Podvelezje. There was artillery firing from
15 the west bank also. There was also sniper fire on both sides. Is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. There was artillery fire. Very well. And now, when Vance's plan
19 was adopted it was towards the end of December 1991 there was a
20 cease-fire; is that right?
21 A. I'm not a politician. I didn't concern myself with that truce.
22 Q. But for a while there was no shooting, there was a status quo,
23 whoever was in control of certain area remained there.
24 In 1992 was there fire in Mostar in January, February, March in
25 1992? Was there military activity?
1 A. You mean our side?
2 Q. Was there any shooting at all?
3 A. All I know is that the army and the JNA collected the weapons
4 from the civilian protection so that when they burst in no one had any
5 weapons. The JNA collected all the weapons to prevent people from
7 Q. Well, first of all, the civilian defence didn't have any weapons,
8 it was the Territorial Defence that had weapons?
9 A. They had rifles.
10 Q. In early 1991 the army took the weapons from the Territorial
12 A. Yes, right away.
13 Q. Before the war in Croatia broke out --
14 JUDGE HARHOFF: Slow down, both of you.
15 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Can you confirm that in January, February, and March 1992 in
17 Mostar there was no fire on either side?
18 A. There was no fire until the tank truck exploded.
19 Q. That's what I wanted to hear. Thank you very much. So it was
20 the explosion of the tank truck in front of the wall of the JNA Barracks
21 that was the signal for new armed hostilities?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. When the tank truck exploded --
24 A. That's when it started.
25 Q. -- that's when the real war broke out?
1 A. -- that's when I got back from the Gacko, from the field, it
2 started from up there, from Gacko.
3 Q. The explosion was so strong that it almost destroyed one of the
4 barracks buildings and many surrounding civilian buildings; is that
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Many flats were damaged by the detonation and were unfit to live
8 in; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. When that happened you went to the atom bomb shelter; is that
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. That atomic shelter was built for a real nuclear war?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So it has an automatic door that would seal itself, it was a vast
16 area where hundreds of people could take shelter and food could be kept
18 A. Yes, yes, yes.
19 Q. And there were also devices to cleanse the air. So you were
20 quite clear from nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, even had they
21 been used?
22 A. Well, as for nuclear and biological weapons and so on, not all
23 the work had been finished, but there was enough air.
24 Q. But the artillery certainly couldn't harm you in that shelter?
25 A. Hundreds of shells and tank shells and everything and mortar
1 shells fell on the shelter, but they couldn't harm us.
2 Q. You said thousands of shells fell?
3 A. Yes, because there were two wars, one on each side.
4 Q. Very well. I just said that those shells that fell on the
5 shelter were fired from Podvelezje; is that right?
6 A. Mostly, yes, mostly from up there.
7 Q. Well, did somebody target the shelter intentionally with
8 artillery from Podvelezje?
9 A. The Serbs from up above, I don't know whether they saw what they
10 were shooting at, but there were shells falling around about the shelter.
11 Q. Well, I assume the JNA from Podvelezje targeted Croatian
12 positions and not their own forces and their own civilians?
13 A. Well, both sides targeted this, in the Serb war and the Croatian
14 war, they targeted the shelter.
15 Q. I just want to put right what you said in the
16 examination-in-chief when you said that the shells were coming from
17 Podvelezje and targeting your shelter, that's impossible, because the
18 shells falling on your shelter were fired by the Croatian forces; isn't
19 that right?
20 A. Well, when they began their war.
21 Q. But we said that the war began after the 3rd of April, the real
23 A. Well, the Serb army hadn't withdrawn yet when the shells were
24 still falling.
25 Q. It was still the JNA until the 19th of May, wasn't it, right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. The JNA targeted Croatian positions from the left bank and the
3 Croatians from the right bank targeted the positions of the JNA and the
4 inhabited settlements of civilians as well; isn't that right?
5 A. I know when you from Podvelezje targeted the Croatian side and
6 some of our main buildings too were destroyed in town, Tito's Street,
7 Razvitak and companies like that.
8 Q. Is Tito's Street on the west bank, the right bank?
9 A. On our side under Podvelezje.
10 Q. Under Podvelezje, I see. Well then that was targeted by the
11 Croats too, not the JNA. Why would the JNA target territory under its
12 own control, there's no logic there, is there?
13 A. Well, it was Croats and Serbs targeting, they both targeted.
14 Q. Well, yes, both sides targeted but not themselves, they targeted
15 the other side, the opposite side. Am I right? Why would you target
16 yourself if you can target the enemy, right?
17 A. Well, I don't really know.
18 Q. All right, fine.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Witness. I felt
20 like asking the question Mr. Seselj just put whilst the Prosecution was
21 questioning you, but I had some doubt as to who targeted the shelter. I
22 even asked you this. I said were there Serbs in the shelter with you,
23 and you said yes there was Serbs and Croats. So I wondered why Serbs
24 would target their own Serbs. Now in his questions Seselj highlights the
25 fact that it was the Croatian artillery that targeted the shelter. Do
1 you agree with him on this point, on his idea, on his suggested
2 explanation, namely, that when you were in the shelter the shells falling
3 were fired by the Croats not by the Serbs?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All I know is that the main road is
5 above the shelter which leads to the sea, and on in fly-over on the main
6 road there was a tank there all the time, the latest type of tank, the
7 big type of tank, it was stationed there and didn't move until the Serbs
8 withdrew. It was there all the time and did the shooting. Yes, it shot
9 at the Croatian side and they had already united the Muslims and Croats
10 to fight together; that's how it was. And then afterwards when they
11 started shooting from up there, Podvelezje, that's when shells fell on
12 the shelter, around the shelter. They would hit somebody's flat, kill a
13 whole family, things like that, just any old which way.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Seselj.
15 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
16 Q. That shelter protected all of you, the Serbs, the Croats, the
17 Muslims, civilians from artillery and sniper fire, right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And the civilians were forbidden to move around except for the
20 bare necessities, to go and fetch food or clothing or something like
21 that, right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And you weren't allowed to move around because it was dangerous,
24 a threat to your lives, right?
25 A. Yes, from the shells.
1 Q. All right. Now we're progressing a little, we're making headway.
2 Mr. Bilic, you were in that shelter from the 4th of April, which is the
3 day after the explosion in front of the barracks, up until the 13th of
4 June, right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. April, May, June, that's almost two and a half months, right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And your neighbours, the Serbs, how long were they in the shelter
9 with you, the civilians?
10 A. They were there right up until we were taken away, until the bus
11 came and took the Serbs away from the shelter.
12 Q. That was a little earlier, was it?
13 A. In the bus.
14 Q. The bus arrived much earlier than you were taken away to Sutina?
15 A. They were separated and sent to the bus and -- when I came back
16 from Sutina to my flat, when I came back from Sutina.
17 Q. Mr. Bilic, it wasn't quite like that you said something different
18 a moment ago. You said that the buses had arrived to take the Serbs away
19 from the shelter and that they took the Serbs to Zijemlje which is an
20 outskirt of Mostar?
21 A. Yes, yes, when I was saved, that day, that's when they were
22 getting ready and preparing everybody --
23 Q. Just a moment, Mr. Bilic, just a moment, let's take this step by
24 step. This happened more than a month before the 13th of June, it
25 happened sometime at the beginning of May, that's when that took place.
1 And when the Serbs were taken away from the shelter the artillery fire
2 stopped pounding the shelter. You told us that during the
3 examination-in-chief, right?
4 A. Yes, of course.
5 Q. So as soon as the Croats heard that the Serb civilians had left
6 the shelter and that that remained were the Muslim and Croatian
7 civilians, they stopped their artillery and sniper fire targeting
8 civilian features, right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And then you were able to leave the shelter and go about your
11 work obligations, right?
12 A. Yes, well we worked, but there was still shooting.
13 Q. All right, you went to work where the sniper fire couldn't reach
15 A. Between the buildings.
16 Q. Yes, that's right. So your job was to clear up the rubble from
17 the destroyed buildings, to deal with the rubble, the bricks and
18 everything else --
19 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Please slow down.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I asked you to wait
21 before you answer, and you're not doing so. Mr. Seselj is also firing
22 questions at you even when you aren't finished answering, so because of
23 this we have overlapping and we have a big problem with interpretation.
24 So with this please try and wait before you answer, otherwise there's so
25 much overlapping we cannot follow.
1 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
2 Q. I just resolved the problem, Mr. President, that cropped up
3 during the examination-in-chief, and you and the Prosecutor were unable
4 to deal with it. When the Serbs left the shelter, the shelling stopped,
5 and then it was possible for the work obligations to go ahead and for the
6 people who were in the shelter and able-bodied men could be sent to do
7 certain work and certain jobs, and that's the problem solved. That's
8 that cleared up --
9 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think the witness
10 said the opposite. He said that he started working when shelling was
11 still going on, so Mr. Seselj is not using the witness's words.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you heard Mr. Seselj
13 say that according to him when the shelling stopped you were able to go
14 to work and people started to be able to move again. This is what
15 Mr. Seselj is saying. The Prosecutor is saying that that is not the
16 case. You're the only one to tell us what happened. Is Mr. Seselj
17 right? Is he right? Is he wrong? If he's wrong, why is he wrong?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, he wasn't right. That's not
19 when there was -- well, when the Serbs left. There was no work
20 obligation then, after that. These were taken -- these people were taken
21 to Sutina and that's when we worked, before we were taken to Sutina. And
22 once they took us to Sutina there was nobody left to work, to do the
23 work. All the people who could do some work had been killed. Only women
24 and children and two or three elderly persons remained in the shelter.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, given what the
1 witness said, you may proceed.
2 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
3 Q. In two places in Mostar you saw groups which you identified as
4 being Seselj's men, Seseljevci, right? And that was in Luka or the port
5 and the military institute, right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You described them?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How did you know that they were Seselj's men?
10 A. The person who led us, Savo, he said himself, These men are not
11 from here, they're not ours, they're not our local people, they're people
12 from up there, from Novi Sad, or rather, Serbia -- from far away.
13 Q. The fact that they were from Serbia was sufficient for you to
14 conclude that they were Seselj's men, right?
15 A. Well, you can tell by looking at them and, yes, they had big
16 beards, they had insignia, markings, what else can I say?
17 Q. Did they have a beard like me? What did you say, a beard like
19 A. You haven't got a beard, just like me, I haven't got one either.
20 Q. Well, how would they be Seselj's men by the fact that they wore a
21 beard when I never wore a beard. Perhaps there was another way to
22 identify them as being Seselj's men, not everybody wearing a beard can be
23 identified as Seselj's men?
24 A. Well, the others weren't capable or weren't responsible for what
25 the others did.
1 Q. So they were most capable for doing their job and that's why you
2 thought they were Seselj's men, right --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This answer is not
4 satisfactory. Mr. Seselj is asking you whether just wearing a beard is
5 sufficient to make you a Seselj's man. You're not answering that.
6 Mr. Seselj adds that he himself is beardless, is clean-shaven. So
7 through his question he's trying to highlight the fact that -- the
8 connection, the possible connection between being -- having a beard and
9 being a Seselj's man. You're not clear in your answer. When you say
10 they were Seselj's men because those men had beards, does that mean that
11 for you having a beard is sufficient to make anyone Seselj's man, but
12 Mr. Seselj wears no beard? Do you understand my question or do you want
13 me to reformulate it?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand it. Well, it -- they
15 need -- it wasn't obligatory that they would have been Seselj's men, but
16 I saw Seselj's men on television so that's why I thought it -- there were
17 ten of them.
18 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
19 Q. All right. So we agree that you concluded that they were
20 Seselj's men. Let's leave it at that, because they're similar to some
21 people you saw on television. I'm satisfied with that answer. We don't
22 have to dwell on that.
23 But anyway, you had direct experience yourself with two men whom
24 you also identified as being Seselj's men, right? And one of them was
25 from Novi Sad together with you in the shelter, right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Was he from the 4th of April right up to the 13th of June in the
3 shelter with you, all that time?
4 A. When they came down from the Serbian church, when the soldiers
5 surrounded us and he came and he was there from then on.
6 Q. So from the 4th of April to the 13th of June he was there all the
8 A. He disappeared from Zalik, my wife told me, she was there, she
9 was in the shelter. He left, they took him away.
10 Q. And you knew that he was Seselj's man although he didn't have a
12 A. Well, he talked to us and he said he was from Novi Sad and was a
13 Seselj's man.
14 Q. Yes, I heard that; but he didn't have a beard, did he?
15 A. No.
16 Q. He was in the shelter with you because he had a girlfriend,
17 Vojo Pejanovic's daughter, and was she in the shelter with you too?
18 A. Yes, she was but she was mostly in her flat.
19 Q. But she was with him all the time?
20 A. Yes, they were going out together.
21 Q. So this allegedly Seseljevci was in love and was with his
22 girlfriend straight away and it didn't enter his head to go into battle?
23 A. Well, he was at the airport, he took her in an aeroplane or to
25 Q. So that was his participation in the war, was it, going around
1 with his girlfriend, right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now you said that when this man Seseljevci was in the shelter
4 with you, that he sharpened his knife. Did he sharpen his knife every
6 A. He did nothing else but just kept quiet, was silent and sharpened
7 his knife.
8 Q. So for two and a half months he was sitting there sharpening his
9 knife --
10 THE INTERPRETER: This is impossible to translate at this speed.
11 Thank you. Could the speakers please slow down.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj at line 18 the
13 interpreters lost track of what you were saying so please slow down.
14 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Was it a knife sharpener that you used or was it with -- was it
16 an electrical appliance or what?
17 A. Well, no, it was a grindstone, a wet stone, you did it by hand.
18 Q. He was there sharpening his knife. All right.
19 Now, if he sharpened his knife for two and a half months, that
20 knife must have been as sharp as a needle, as thin as a needle?
21 A. Well, I didn't look at it, I don't know.
22 Q. All right. But you said these other Seselj men too whenever you
23 would see them were sharpening their knives, the Seseljevci in the
24 institute and in Luka?
25 A. Well, whenever we passed by them, they would be sharpening their
2 Q. So whenever you came by they would take out their knives and
3 start sharpening them --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters cannot hear the answers of the
5 witness because it's just too fast and overlapping.
6 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You did your military service for a time, right?
8 A. For a short time.
9 Q. But you were issued a weapon, weren't you?
10 A. No, I didn't have one then and I underwent training.
11 Q. Well, you couldn't have undergone training without a rifle?
12 A. Well, yes, I did it for the air force --
13 Q. You had to do infantry training, Mr. Bilic?
14 A. I was in the aviation and technical service, so we didn't need a
16 Q. All right. But it was the M-48 rifles that were in use, the
17 carbines, at that time, dating back to the 1950s and the 1960s that the
18 army had?
19 A. I know they had rifles, but I really don't know what they had.
20 I'm not well up on rifles, on weapons.
21 Q. All right. Now, the people that you saw, what weapons did they
22 have in their hands, the men you referred to as Seselj's men?
23 A. Well, mostly those short automatics.
24 Q. You mean Kalashnikovs?
25 A. Something like that.
1 Q. Or the AK-47, which was the JNA type of weapon?
2 A. The old type, you know, you would put the charge inside.
3 Q. Do you know the kind of bayonet that goes with a Kalashnikov?
4 A. I don't know anything about bayonets.
5 Q. Well, you have a knife which is shorter than the classical type
6 of bayonet but it's wider, precisely the type that you describe, the
7 semicircle shaped knives that you mentioned, the Kama?
8 A. Well, yes.
9 Q. And that's placed on a Kalashnikov for close-up fighting?
10 A. Well, you have a long one on a rifle --
11 Q. Those are the old rifles with these long straight knives --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, wait for the
13 answer, please, and you're going much too fast and the interpreters are
14 losing track.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. We've cleared that up
16 as well now.
17 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
18 Q. You mentioned another Seselj man who put a knife to your neck,
20 A. Yeah, that was a dangerous one.
21 Q. Right, dangerous. And you said that you concluded that he was a
22 Seseljevci because he was dangerous?
23 A. Judging by his accent, he didn't speak like the locals.
24 Q. Did he speak like Serbs in Montenegro or like Serbs in Serbia,
25 people in Serbia?
1 A. Well, I really can't answer that, I don't know -- how should I
2 know what part of Serbia he came from?
3 Q. All right. I can understand that you're afraid and couldn't
4 concentrate on that, but you should be aware that in Herzegovina itself
5 people in certain areas speak with different accents; is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Well, for example, my mother and my father come from Trebinje
8 municipality and they speak differently than people in Mostar do. People
9 from Trebinje and people from Mostar don't speak the same way.
10 A. Well, the differences aren't very great.
11 Q. No, but you can still tell where someone comes from by those
13 A. Well, I worked in Gacko I've worked in Trebinje.
14 Q. So only by the fact that his accent was different did you
15 conclude that this man who put a knife to your throat was a Seseljevci,
16 you have no other reason for saying so?
17 A. No, I don't.
18 Q. All right. Can we have on the ELMO the decision of the military
19 court in Mostar --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Hold on, I interrupted because
21 the answer was not on the transcript, but now it is.
22 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Bilic, I'll try to be finished with my cross-examination very
24 quickly so that you are free to leave today. I see that you don't have a
25 lot of patience for my questions and you don't really like answering them
1 and I'll respect that --
2 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] These comments are totally
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Proceed, Mr. Seselj.
5 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
6 Q. I assume, Mr. Bilic, that you are aware that the military
7 prosecutor's office in Mostar in early 1993 submitted a criminal report
8 against people who perpetrated the crime at Sutina; is that right, have
9 you heard about that?
10 A. No, I haven't.
11 Q. Did you hear that there was an investigation into that crime?
12 A. They said there was going to be an investigation.
13 Q. Bodies were exhumed; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, yes, that was done.
15 Q. And exhumation of bodies is always an investigative activity,
16 right, so there was an investigation going on and in the course of the
17 investigation the bodies were exhumed. At the motion of the district
18 military prosecutor's office, the military district court in Mostar on
19 the 2nd of March, 1993, issued an order on conducting an investigative
20 procedure against 30 men. Is that on the screen? Yes.
21 Now, please look at this list. You don't have to say any of the
22 names out loud, just look through them and tell me whether there is a
23 single man here who is not a local man from Mostar or the surrounding
24 area. The first one is from Mostar, right?
25 A. (redacted), yes.
1 Q. Don't say names because when you start mentioning names we'll
2 have to move into closed session. So this second one is from Vrapcici,
3 right, from Mostar, and the third one is from Mostar too. Please don't
4 read the names out loud.
5 A. Yes, yes, from Zalik.
6 Q. Well, you can see the fourth one is from Mostar and so is the
7 fifth one, the sixth one. Are you following?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. The seventh one is from Mostar, right? What about the eighth
10 one, is he from Mostar? It says Mostar --
11 A. Well, they all lived in Mostar for the most part.
12 Q. Well, let's look at the next page, there are 30 in total. And
13 they are suspected of having committed the crime in Sutina on the 13th of
14 June, 1992. You see number 9, he's from Mostar as well, right, and then
15 number 10, he's from Mostar, the 11th person is from Mostar, are you
16 following me? Number 12 from Mostar. 13 is from Nevesinje. Have you
17 come to number 13 yet?
18 A. Yes, I can see it.
19 Q. Nevesinje, very well. And then the 14th is from Mostar again,
20 Vrapcici is in Mostar. The 15th also from Mostar, from Vrapcici, don't
21 mention his name; you know him, but don't mention his name. The 16th is
22 also from Mostar, is that right? And the 17th is from Mostar, you know
23 him too don't mention his name.
24 A. Well, I know almost all of them.
25 Q. Very well. Just don't mention their names.
1 A. I know them from before the war.
2 Q. Well, until there is a trial and until their innocence or guilt
3 is proved, we won't mention their names. 18 and 19 are also from Mostar,
4 number 20 is from Vrapcici, that's Mostar again, right. The 21st is from
5 Mostar, the 22nd is from Mostar. Let's look at page 3 now.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we move to page 3, please,
8 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
9 Q. 23 is also from Mostar, right? 24 is from Mostar, 25 is from
10 Mostar, 26 is from Mostar, 27 is from Mostar, Vrapcici; 28 is from
11 Mostar, 29 is from Mostar, and 30 is from Mostar. They're all from
12 Mostar except for one who comes from Nevesinje. Is that right? Can you
13 see that, Mr. Bilic? Are you convinced?
14 A. Well, I don't know about all of them, they're not all from
16 Q. Well, all right, not all of them because one is from Nevesinje.
17 Let me ask you this: The district military court in Mostar heard many
18 people in connection with this crime. All the survivors and people who
19 were able to know certain details in other ways, they also interviewed
20 certain Serbs who lived in Mostar. They didn't call you, they didn't
21 summon you, did they?
22 A. No one ever summoned me.
23 Q. All right. They didn't summon you, but I will show you two
24 statements by people who were interviewed in that investigation. One man
25 is called Dervo Topalovic, do you know him?
1 A. Bero, he was locked up in north camp.
2 Q. Well, he managed to survive by some miracle, so let's see his
3 statement before the military court in Mostar, we're now dealing with the
4 cantonal court in Mostar which took the proceedings over --
5 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was trying to
6 check, but I don't know whether these exhibits have been disclosed to the
7 OTP. They might not have ever been disclosed to the OTP. I would like
8 Mr. Seselj to let us know where these statements come from and whether
9 these have been disclosed to the OTP, and if they have not been disclosed
10 before the beginning of the hearing I object to these.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] These statements I assume,
12 Mr. Seselj, are statements given by people who are on the list that you
13 must have had them because the Prosecutor disclosed these to you or the
14 OTP did not disclose these to you and then you have got hold of them
15 yourself. If you -- this did happen, did you disclose these to the
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Prosecutor
18 provided me with all of this but the problem is the OTP doesn't know what
19 they gave me this is under Rule 65 ter 2569, page 4, it's the lady who
20 acts in the registry has it. I think she can put it on the screen in
21 English. The number is 2569.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for that information.
23 Mr. Dutertre, Mr. Seselj has just told us that these documents
24 come from the OTP. I had a question also on the topic. The Prosecutor
25 from Mostar conducted an investigation and drew up an indictment which we
1 have before us. What I would like to say is this: What happened to this
2 case? Did the OTP look into the matter and see what has happened? When
3 you look at the indictment like I do you can see that at the moment I
4 wanted to read it out the indictment disappears from the screen. In this
5 document it is mentioned that since April 1992 there are local Chetniks
6 and there are members of the JNA who have committed whole series of
7 offences which are listed here. Has the Prosecutor been made aware of
8 this? Has he used this document? Has he checked what has happened to
9 this or was there no follow-up to this case?
10 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as the
11 document that Mr. Seselj would like to use, there are a great number of
12 documents on its 65 ter list. We can't remember every single document
13 that is in there. As far as the investigation conducted in Mostar is
14 concerned, I will get back to you with accurate information as soon as I
15 can because off the top of my head I would probably be wrong, and I had
16 rather get back to you with the right information.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Seselj.
18 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Bilic, do you see that? Here at the top you see it's a
20 statement made on the 29th of December, 2000, to the investigating judge
21 of the cantonal court in Mostar, which means that the cantonal court took
22 over this case from the military court; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Well, now we have this statement before us. On the first page we
25 have the basic data and then on page 2, Mr. Topalovic, turn to page 2,
1 please, describes these events in similar way to the way you described
2 them, of course two people can't describe an event in exactly the same
3 way; but he gives his perception of this event and now on page 2 we can
4 see that nowhere does he mention any Seselj's men. Dervo Topalovic whom
5 I trust and whom I respect never mentions a single Seselj man. Can you
6 see that not a single Seselj man is mentioned here? That's the only
7 reason I'm showing this document, there's no other reason.
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] What is the exact question, Your
9 Honour? I would like to know what the question is actually.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, on the basis of
11 this document what is the question you are putting to the witness?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The question was very clear and
14 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Can you, Mr. Bilic, see anywhere in this statement made by
16 Dervo Topalovic any mention of Seselj's men? Please go through the whole
17 statement, it's a page and a half long, and confirm that nowhere does he
18 mention Seselj's men.
19 A. Well, his situation is one thing and mine is another. He didn't
20 walk around, he didn't see things, he was constantly locked up in north
21 camp until the Croats and Muslims came in and he was liberated.
22 Q. Very well. I have another statement here, it's a statement, it's
23 page 6 of this same document; it's a statement by Admir Boloban also made
24 on the 29th of December, 2000, to the investigating judge of the cantonal
25 court in Mostar. Can we have that statement.
1 Do you know Admir Boloban?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. Well, let's go through his statement now. Please turn to the
4 next page. His statement is somewhat longer, but on the next two pages,
5 on the following two pages, we can see that he doesn't mention Seselj's
6 men anywhere either. Can you see here that there's no mention of
7 Seselj's men? Are you convinced?
8 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] If the witness is asked to confirm
9 something, please allow for enough time so that he can read it.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, this document is rather
11 long. I have the English version and the B/C/S version. In a split
12 second if Seselj's men are mentioned in the document this is something
13 which you should be able to see, and seemingly this is not mentioned in
14 the B/C/S text. Can you confirm this, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can confirm, but what I saw in
16 Zalik and elsewhere, those insignia and all that, I can't say anything
17 different from what I've already said.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, the difference between
19 statements which are given to the investigators of this Tribunal or to
20 any other entity for that matter, in this case there's an investigating
21 judge -- in the year 2000, this statement was given in the year 2000,
22 this was no war at that time and the investigating judge hears the
23 witnesses. Any average investigating judge will try to find out who the
24 perpetrators were, and the judge in question asks questions. And as
25 you -- what you have before you is that the summary of the interview
1 between you and your neighbour - and I'm sure that this judge who was a
2 professional judge tried to understand what did what. Strangely enough
3 in the document we have before us, Seselj's men aren't mentioned.
4 Can you give us an explanation for this or not?
5 Well, the witness answers those questions that have been put to
6 him by an independent professional judge who wishes to get to the truth.
7 So when this neighbour of yours sits in front of the judge, the judge
8 wanted to find out who was there at the time. And the neighbour, your
9 neighbour, doesn't mention anything about this. You were not confronted
10 with this judge, but maybe you can provide an answer.
11 Yes, Mr. Dutertre.
12 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Admittedly, the indictment
13 mentions the Croats solely. It was difficult perhaps to extradite
14 people, but I wonder to what extent the witness can answer questions on
15 statements which were made when he wasn't there and a situation with a
16 judge which he knows nothing about, but I understand the purpose of your
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you answer this question,
19 Witness? Why did your neighbour not mention Seselj's men when it could
20 be very obvious? That could be the first thing he said to the
21 investigating judge: Yes, these were Seselj's men, we were captured by
22 Seselj's men. And this is not mentioned in the document, right? At the
23 end I see that a soldier of the JNA in uniform, so he did give a number
24 of details. Why doesn't he mention this? Perhaps you could say that you
25 don't know if you don't know or maybe you have your reasons.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know how to answer this.
2 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Very well. We won't dwell on this any longer, as we don't have a
4 lot of time.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Madam, this statement that I
6 received today from Belgrade, could you please put it on the ELMO.
7 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] This is precisely the statement
8 which I suggest should be shown at a later stage.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Seselj is trying to
10 move on quickly so that the witness can go back home as quickly as
11 possible. We shall do as best we can with the resources we have.
12 Your associate speaks B/C/S; unfortunately, we have no such
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And this will be interpreted by the
15 interpreter, Mr. President, I hope that you too have concluded just as I
16 have that this witness cannot hide his animosity towards me and that is
17 why I want to cut short the cross-examination --
18 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] This is totally inappropriate. I
19 would like these comments to be put an end to.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you are not to make
21 any conclusions. The Trial Chamber will draw its own conclusions when it
22 has enough evidence before it. You have a Bench with professional Judges
23 before you, so please trust them.
24 So this is the text you would like to show. Please proceed.
25 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Bilic, did you know Nedjeljko Bojanic?
2 A. No.
3 Q. He was born in Bogodol in the Mostar municipality, in 1956, and
4 he lived in Zalik in the high-rise building from the beginning of 1991 up
5 until June 1992 -- well, it's not really very clear here, you can't
6 really read it. And he says, having provided some general information
7 about Zalik, neighbourhood to the north of Mostar, along the -- between
8 the main Sarajevo-Mostar road and the north camp barracks. He says that
9 the population was mixed, just as you have told us, Serbs, Croats,
10 Muslims, and he says that the three peoples were there in about equal
11 proportion. Do you agree with that?
12 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] A procedural issue. I have a
13 four-page document, Your Honour. The fourth page which is a certified
14 copy is illegible as it stands, so we cannot see and read whether there's
15 a connection.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, we're not going to waste
17 any time over this. You never can tell. It might prove useful. All we
18 know is that in the local proceeding a statement is given and the
19 statement is given by each individual. This is then certified. The
20 Trial Chamber or the local court then certified it and it's signed and
21 stamped. As my colleague as reminded us on several occasions, what is
22 certified is only the signature. The stamp does not certify the content
23 of the document in question. Everybody knows that.
24 Please proceed, Mr. Seselj.
25 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Bilic, this gentleman here says that the north camp was
2 publicly criticised by Muslims and Croats as a large stronghold of the
3 JNA which advocated the survival of Yugoslavia and that's why protest
4 marches were organized in front of the barracks with demands being made
5 that the army move out. Do you remember those protest marches before the
6 explosion took place?
7 A. Well, it was a long time ago, I really don't remember that.
8 Q. Very well. He says that there were regular soldiers and some
9 reserves in the barracks, mostly Serbs and Herzegovina, which were in
10 favour of keeping Yugoslavia together. And then he goes on to say about
11 the tensions between the two polarised parties, Serbs were in the JNA and
12 the Territorial Defence and Croats and Muslims were in their own
13 Territorial Defence, the HOS, the Croatian armed forces, is that not
14 right, and in their police; is that correct?
15 A. Well, I don't know how to really answer this question. It is a
16 little bit complicated for me.
17 Q. Well, if it's complicated, then let us move on. He says that the
18 armed conflict between the polarised parties occurred when the extremist
19 from the Muslim-Croatian coalition attacked the barracks on the 4th of
20 March, there may be a mistake made by either him or you, he says the 4th
21 of March, you say the 3rd of March, but that happened around about that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And then he says the attack was carried out at 1700 hours in such
25 a way that a tank truck was brought in from Bijelo Polje, it was full of
1 explosives and various pieces of iron, it was parked next to the largest
2 building in the north camp barracks where the soldiers' quarters were
3 located. Since at that time the troops were resting in the dormitory, it
4 was obvious what the objective was. The explosion was so destructive
5 that it fully destroyed the military dormitory and caused substantial
6 damage to the other buildings close by in the barracks, and civilian
7 facilities that were across the road from the barracks. At the time of
8 the explosion I was outside of my building and my sister was in the
9 apartment with small children. They survived by mere miracle. My
10 building, 12 storeys, 64 apartments, was fully demolished and most of the
11 surrounding buildings were damaged. When this explosion took place over
12 70 civilians were wounded and two Croats who were passing by in a vehicle
13 were blown to pieces. Fortunately only one soldier was severely injured
14 in the dormitory, but he soon died. Is this an accurate description,
15 Mr. Bilic? You don't want to say anything?
16 A. Yes, yes, that's how it was.
17 Q. Okay. So that's how it was. And then he goes on to say --
18 THE INTERPRETER: The accused is kindly asked to read more
20 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I can understand that he wants to
21 go fast and release the witness, but he reads a long bit and then he
22 makes 10 or 15 proposals and asks the witness whether that's right. So
23 when the witness says yes we don't know what he says yes to. It might be
24 better to break it down. I know we are under time constraints. We also
25 need to have re-direct. So let's have some sense in this. Because the
1 answer yes, we don't know what it is yes to.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Seselj, please could
3 you ask for some explanation. What does he say yes to.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The description of the situation,
5 the consequences of the explosion. One building was fully demolished and
6 the others were damaged, the barracks building almost completely
7 destroyed. That's what the witness provided his answer to, and he says
8 well more or less that was it. He didn't give us a very decisive answer,
9 as far as I can remember.
10 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Okay. So when the troops started clearing up the rubble looking
12 for the victims, not knowing who was in the dorm at the time, gun-fire
13 was opened on them, first from the Orlac neighbourhood across the Neretva
14 river and then from the residential buildings in Zalik. It was quite
15 clear to us that this was a coordinated attack carried out in order to
16 destroy the army. After this day mortar and artillery attacks from the
17 other bank of the Neretva River controlled by armed Croatian Muslim units
18 owned the troops in the barracks were a daily occurrence so that several
19 soldiers were injured and there were even people who were killed
20 including a neighbour of mine Milenko Ivanisevic. Do you know about this
21 fire being opened from the Croatian Muslim side and the killing of
22 Ivanisevic, this soldier by the name of Ivanisevic?
23 A. Well, I don't know anything about that.
24 Q. Fair enough. He goes on to say:
25 "In the evening fire was opened from rifles in the residential
1 buildings in Zalik, that was a JNA-controlled area, on the soldiers on
2 the barracks resulting in injuries to three soldiers. For this reason
3 we, the loyal civilians, were asked by the army command in the barracks
4 to assist them to identify the assailants, but this did not help. I know
5 that after two soldiers were injured or wounded the reservist soldiers
6 from the barracks organized a search of the houses and apartments and
7 there was a pair of brothers, I think their last name was Kuko, who had a
8 house above the main road. They found some rifles and the barrels were
9 still hot. They were as far as I could hear from the others arrested and
10 taken away to the military prison in Bileca. Is that so?
11 A. Yes, that's so.
12 Q. On the suspicion that they attacked the army with snipers?
13 A. Yes we, that's quite true.
14 Q. After this comprehensive search of the apartments in Zalik that
15 was -- that were close to the barracks, the shooting incidents involving
16 the army became less frequent but there were such instances. Soon after
17 that, there was a complete blockage of the bridges on the Neretva River,
18 the Muslim and Croatian population in the part of Mostar south of the
19 railway station mostly crossed to the right bank of the Neretva which was
20 controlled by the Muslim-Croatian units, and -- but in Zalik most of the
21 population remained on the right bank. Since there were daily -- there
22 was daily shelling on the barracks and the Zalik neighbourhood which was
23 close to the barracks, the population for the most part moved to two
24 atomic shelters. They were together there, Serbs and the others. As for
25 the food supplies it was difficult and there was only one shop that was
1 next to the Matkovici -- or rather, it was owned by Matkovici, but at any
2 rate they were selling food to most people.
3 A. I don't know about that.
4 Q. Did you buy stuff from them?
5 A. I didn't.
6 And then he goes on to say: "For those reasons the barracks
7 command ordered that everybody should be in the barracks and that a list
8 of all people in Zalik should be made and to control whether they were
9 present in the shelters in the evenings. Some civilians were in charge
10 of making those checks. I personally did not know them because I had
11 spent a short time in Zalik. I know that everybody moved around freely
12 during the day, went to their apartments, and in the evening there was a
13 curfew in place. And movement through the neighbourhood was prohibited
14 for all those who were not members of the military or the TO. At the
15 Matkovic place there was a group of people, mostly his neighbours, from
16 the village and from Zalik who in collaboration with the military
17 maintained law and order in this neighbourhood. This situation lasted
18 until the JNA withdrew from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since Croats and
19 Muslims who were in Zalik were not in the army, a request was made to put
20 them in work units, to clear up the main road Marsala Tita's Street which
21 was impassable because of the rubble caused by the fighting."
22 And he goes on to say that: "The local police was also
23 involved," to cut a long story short and he doesn't know if there were
24 any other jobs to be done apart from this one. And that this street was
25 deep behind the confrontation lines and that people working there were
1 not exposed to direct sniper fire from the other side.
2 And then this is important: "In the Zalik area there were no
3 volunteer units from outside, not even Seselj's men. The only armed
4 units were those that belonged to the JNA, to the TO, and several police
5 officers" --
6 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Can we know what the question is?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] You will learn that in good time.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but upon reading all this
9 the witness is bound to get confused and so are the Judges. I mean,
10 they've lost it already some of them. So please break it down in various
11 questions, otherwise we get lost, because now you're moving on to another
12 topic which is the issue of Seselj's men, whilst before we had a
13 description. You should have finished by saying: So this is the
14 description given by that man, do you agree or not, and he would have
15 given you an answer, yes, no, I don't know.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I simply skimmed
17 this over, rephrasing it, to come here to the point where this
18 eye-witness says there were no volunteer units from the outside and there
19 were no Seselj's men in Zalik.
20 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Is this true, Mr. Bilic?
22 A. Well, the only thing I can tell you is that there in the Matkovic
23 shop there was the staff and there was a machine-gun on the top of that
24 house. That's all I know, all I can tell you.
25 Q. Well, thank you for that. He says the only armed units were
1 those belonging to the JNA, TO, and several police officers. It was hard
2 to get to Zalik from the south zone where the Mostar Municipal Assembly
3 was because a part of the road from the Orthodox church by the Sarica
4 cemetery and the mosque was daily -- was almost impassable during the day
5 because it was exposed to the sniper fire from the other bank of the
6 Neretva river, is that correct, that it was impossible to get to the
7 municipality by the day because of the sniper fire from the other bank of
8 the Neretva river. You don't know?
9 A. I don't know, well there was fire coming from all directions.
10 Q. Fair enough. As far as I know four civilians were killed by this
11 fire who moved to the southern part on their own risk and -- well, this
12 might be of importance to you. The Serbian Territorial Defence for all
13 intents and purposes did not have any military uniforms. They often wore
14 combined civilian and military clothes, there were no -- there was no
15 strict command or any orders to cut their hair or beards so that there
16 were people with long beards and long hair. Everybody did whatever they
17 pleased. Some of them obtained military uniforms through different
18 channels, some wore American boiler suits, camouflage, or single-colour,
19 it was complete -- a complete mess in this respect.
20 Is this correct?
21 A. Well, there were many people fleeing from the army ranks and
22 throwing down -- throwing away their uniforms. So you could find those
23 parts of uniforms.
24 Q. Okay. So now he talks about the withdrawal of the JNA --
25 A. As soon as this began people started deserting, some of them,
1 they went home.
2 Q. So he says after the JNA withdrew, the all-out attack from the
3 Croatian-Muslim side started on the 13th and the 14th of June. Do you
4 know about this attack and the breakthrough from Capljina to Stolac and
5 Mostar from the south?
6 A. Yes, I heard about that there were people talking about that.
7 Q. He says that the left bank of Mostar was defended by Serbs,
8 territorials, who were not used to fighting and there was -- there were a
9 lot of casualties, some people were wounded, some were killed, and there
10 was chaos?
11 A. Yes, well the fighting started.
12 Q. So he's talking about the withdrawal towards Vrapcici and Bijelo
13 Polje and he says at that time the Muslims attacked the command of the
14 Serbian army in --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused please read slowly. It is
16 impossible to interpret at this rate of speed.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I stopped you because the
18 interpreter was lagging behind. Please continue.
19 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] Yes, it's hard to follow. I will
20 have some very few brief questions in re-direct, so if we want to release
21 the witness, we should --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Seselj keeps that in
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I will complete my
25 examination right now so that the Prosecution will have a chance to do
1 the redirect.
2 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Could you please turn the next page and here Mr. Nedjeljko
4 describes the chaotic situation. Could you please move it a little bit.
5 And then he says about the mass withdrawal from the whole Neretva
6 valley, he says that for the most part all the houses in the Neretva
7 valley were burned, that Serbs there were killed. Have you heard about
8 that, that all Serbs in the Neretva valley, all the Serbs that were found
9 by the Croatian-Muslim forces?
10 A. No, no, I haven't heard about that. I didn't go there, I
11 couldn't go there.
12 Q. And he says: "Later on I learned that Muslims were killed in
13 this withdrawal, those who found themselves in the shelter in Zalik, and
14 for me and my colleagues this -- we took it as a great shame for us
15 because this had not been the practice of the Serb army that far. He
16 says he doesn't know how many people were killed and we know why, but he
17 says that as far as he knew this was a reprisal for those who were killed
18 in Vrapcici by their fellow fighters and this was the consequence of the
19 chaotic situation and the absence of chain of command and the resignation
20 after the loss of positions."
21 So this is his explanation why this crime against Muslim
22 civilians occurred. Do you think this lie as a basis, a motive, I'm not
23 trying to a justify a crime, a crime is a crime; but were those the
24 motives of the people who perpetrated the crimes? What do you think?
25 A. Well, I wouldn't say that. I would be more in favour of saying
1 it was genocide.
2 Q. Well, Mr. Bilic, if you say genocide, you have to know what this
4 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] The witness has answered.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That you would observe all over
7 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Well, this completes my examination. I wanted to go into some
9 other things, but in order to give some time to the Prosecution for the
10 re-direct, I will complete my examination now.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Seselj.
12 Your re-direct, Mr. Prosecutor.
13 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I shall be very brief.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you in advance.
15 Re-examination by Mr. Dutertre:
16 Q. [Interpretation] I'm not going to refer to transcript pages. You
17 heard the cross-examination. You said that Serbs, Mr. Bilic, were
18 evacuated from the basement prior to the 13th of June, that's what was
19 said in cross-examination. Could you tell us why -- why the Serbs did
20 not evacuate you as well, you and the Croats who were in the basements,
21 was it out of humanity? Did --
22 A. I didn't understand the question.
23 Q. Why the Serbs did not evacuate you, as they did evacuate their
24 Serb fellow citizens?
25 A. Well, we had already been taken to Sutina and there were just the
1 women and children who remained there. When I got back from Sutina I saw
2 buses picking up Serbs and only women and children remained. I saw the
3 bus in front of the shelter, it was white, a large white bus and they
4 headed up there towards Zijemlje.
5 Q. I understand. So the Serbs being evacuated from the basement
6 where you were, that happened on the day when you went to Sutina, is that
7 how I should understand?
8 A. But when I got back from Sutina, that was one day and one night.
9 Just before dawn I saw the bus taking away the Serbs, I saw them board
10 the bus to be taken away, and I saw them from my apartment because I had
11 already taken shelter in my apartment just around the corner. That's
12 where I spent four days and four nights without anything to drink or
13 anything to eat.
14 Q. And up until that day, had the shelter been shelled, had there
15 been artillery fire up until that day?
16 A. No, after I got there, there was no shelling.
17 Q. Okay, but had there been shelling until the day when you were
18 taken out of the basement to be taken to Sutina?
19 A. Well, shells were falling up until that time. We couldn't go
21 Q. Regarding this person who is -- who says he's a Seselj's man in
22 the basement. When he said so, that he was a Seselj's man, how far were
23 you from him?
24 A. Well, we sat right next to it. There was a group of us. We were
25 sitting next to him. There were about ten of us there. I wasn't alone.
1 Q. When you returned around the 14th, returned to your apartment --
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The previous question was
3 tendentious. Perhaps this soldier was Seselj's man in order to have
4 success with women, not to fight a war.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know that. You
6 should ask him, not me.
7 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation]
8 Q. When you returned to your home after having spent the night of
9 the 13th to the 14th in Sutina, you stayed there some time. But tell us,
10 were the Serbs still there in Zalik, at around Zalik, or was the attack
11 of the Croatians already started?
12 A. I was in a flat around the corner and they were still guarding
13 the north camp, and four or five days later, after they took away the
14 Serbs, after some four or five days, they came -- our people came from
15 the other side and came to the north camp and then the Serbs withdrew
16 with their vehicles and everything in the direction of Zijemlje and they
17 all withdrew, the civilians, the Serb civilians, and the soldiers as
19 Q. My last question. When you were forced to do labour outside, was
20 there artillery shooting, was there shooting from the artillery or
21 shooting from snipers, yes or no?
22 A. A shell would fall close to us, but nobody was actually targeting
23 us. We were doing our job cleaning up, loading up on to a truck.
24 Sometimes our men would climb up on to the truck to make the garbage more
25 compact and they would fall from it and break their arm. Things like
1 that happened. These were Vranica trucks belonging to the Vranica
2 Construction Company from Sarajevo.
3 MR. DUTERTRE: [Interpretation] I have no other questions.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, thanks to the
5 Prosecution and to the Defence's help, we were able to finish today, you
6 don't have to stay over the weekend. I would like to thank you for
7 coming to The Hague to testify, and I wish you a safe return home.
8 And now talking to Mr. Seselj and to the Prosecution we have the
9 witness scheduled for three days, and we will be sitting in the
10 afternoon. Therefore, we meet again on Tuesday at 2.15 p.m. I wish
11 Mr. Seselj's associates a safe return home also. They came here to
12 attend this hearing today. Thank you all, and we'll meet again on
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.19 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 8th day of
16 July, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.