1 Tuesday, 16 October 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Would the registrar please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Case number
8 IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor against Blagoje Simic, Milan Simic, Miroslav
9 Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning, Witness. You are still under oath.
11 Mr. Prosecution, you are continuing.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. If Your Honours please, perhaps just
13 before I recommence my examination-in-chief, I understand the Tribunal was
14 concerned to know the order of witnesses in the near future, and I would
15 just like to let the Tribunal know of that projected order, and also for
16 the benefit of my learned friends so that they may prepare.
17 It is expected that Muhamed Bicic will give evidence next, Hasan
18 Bicic after that, Ibrahim Salkic after that, and then we would propose to
19 recall Mr. Tihic for his cross-examination. Now, I know that the Chamber
20 has expressed a view that, if possible, all the Milan Simic victims - I
21 use that in a -- strictly taking my guide from the indictment - but those
22 witnesses should be dealt with all at the one time. But Mr. Tihic must be
23 back in Bosnia for Ramadan, and it would be risky in the extreme to finish
24 them all and not call him, because Ramadan -- he has to be back in Bosnia
25 by the 12th of next month. So that's why we propose that order, but it
1 will be three of the Milan Simic witnesses, so to speak. Of course, their
2 evidence touches on other matters. Thank you.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I would like to hear anything from the Defence
4 that's in accord. I'm sure that's sufficient notice.
5 MR. ZECEVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. It is sufficient
6 notice. We don't have anything against this. Thank you.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much.
8 The Prosecution can go ahead, please, with examination-in-chief.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
10 WITNESS: IZET IZETBEGOVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examined by Mr. di Fazio: [Continued]
13 Q. Mr. Izetbegovic, on the last occasion, we had dealt with the
14 period of time you were in the SUP following your arrest, and I made it
15 clear to you towards the end of my questioning that I was asking you only
16 about that period of time in the SUP and before you were transferred to
17 the TO building. Do you recall that?
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 A. It was a rather hard time at the time of arrest, because those
21 were the first days when I lived through all the things that one had never
22 dreamed of as being possible. I just don't know where they found those
23 methods. They beat us all the time. They took turns. Each of them would
24 come after the same thing, asking, "Where have you left your money, your
25 jewellery, your gold?" Quite a number of times they insisted I tell them
1 who are the sniper shooters in the Muslim part. My response was always,
2 "What are you talking about? I have no idea about any snipers," and that
3 in fact was the truth. I didn't know them, nor did we have any snipers,
4 nor did we have any such things.
5 Q. Thank you. Now, in the time that you were in the SUP building and
6 before you were transferred to the TO building, you have said that you
7 didn't have much chance to view or see other prisoners because of the fact
8 that you were locked up alone.
9 A. I did not, except for those that were put in the cell with me.
10 But at one point we were so crowded one night. They brought in, I think,
11 some 50 of them. They were from Hasici. I recognised many of them. Some
12 were sons of my friends, friends that I used to work with in the furniture
13 of wickerwork, in the factory of wickerwork furniture, and I heard that
14 some had been executed, including the son of this friend of mine who was
15 executed. It was terrible. They kept beating us, especially in the
16 evening. They would come and they were under the influence of alcohol.
17 They were not locals. They were all those people who were brought there,
18 probably to do what they did. It was impossible to bear.
19 One night they took me to this room opposite. They beat me up
20 really badly and then they said, "Wait. We'll see what we're going to do
21 next." And so I waited for almost an hour until the next man came, asked
22 me, "What are you doing there?" And I said, "What am I doing? I'm
23 waiting." And then this policeman took me back to where I was before.
24 This other one never came back. He probably forgot about me. He had
25 vented his fury and left.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Prosecutor, some clarification. In the beatings
3 that were going on, any implements used, if any?
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I'll cover those general elements now, if
5 Your Honours please.
6 Q. Mr. Izetbegovic, I'm still confining my questions now to the
7 period of time in the SUP building before the transfer to the TO.
8 Firstly, can you tell us, of the people who were incarcerated with you in
9 the SUP building, what was their ethnic background?
10 A. They were all Croats. I was the only Muslim. Later, they brought
11 in another two or three Muslims, but then they took them away again.
12 Also, in the morning at dawn, they took these Croats away too.
13 Q. While you were in the SUP building and before being taken to the
14 TO building, did you see incarcerated with you any obvious soldiers or
15 military types, the people who were locked up with you?
16 A. I think that the brother of Vinko Dragicevic - I think it was
17 Dragicevic - was there. I think that was his name. He had allegedly been
18 in Djakovo, in a military formation, and then what happened there
19 happened. He moved to Bosnia. But he was not wearing a military
20 uniform. He was the only one I knew.
21 Q. So I take it from your answer that none of the prisoners were
22 dressed as soldiers or obviously soldiers; is that correct?
23 A. No. No. They were all civilians. I understand now what you're
24 asking me. They were all civilians. No one was -- there were no
1 Q. Her Honour asked -- was concerned to know whether, in the course
2 of your being beaten and any beatings that you might have observed in the
3 SUP building, whether weapons or instruments were used. Now, that can be
4 anything, of course. It can be boots and so on. But can you tell us if
5 objects were used at all in the course of your beating and other beatings
6 you saw?
7 A. Most frequently they beat with batons. In the old days, it was
8 called a correctional baton. I don't know what they call it now. But
9 they also used other objects.
10 When they would take us in that room, it was dark. There was just
11 the candle in one corner, so one could hardly see at all. One could
12 barely see one another. So they beat with whatever they got hold of, but
13 especially they liked to kick. They used their fists in the face and
14 eyes. I still have an injury in one eye. Thirty per cent of my vision
15 has been reduced, and that was after the operation. This was done to me
16 by someone called Cero. He punched me in the eye, together with six
17 others that he brought with him.
18 But it was dangerous to fall on the ground when you were being
19 beaten, because once you fell on the ground, you never knew what happened
20 to you, because they would kick you and then your ribs would suffer. So
21 one didn't know what was the best position to take. They beat you to
22 unconscious and then they'd get hold of you by the legs or by the collar
23 and drag you along the floor and then shove you from wherever they'd
24 brought you, and then they'd bring in the next one.
25 It's like when they take lambs for slaughter.
1 Q. Thank you. I'd like --
2 A. It was terrible.
3 Q. I'd like to ask you now to turn your attention to the period of
4 time that you were in the Territorial Defence, the TO building. You've
5 given evidence that, in fact, you were transferred there, and we all know
6 that it was across the road from the SUP building.
7 I'd like you to tell the Chamber what you saw when you were first
8 taken over to the TO building.
9 A. When I was taken to the TO building, this one said that new ones
10 were coming to these cells, that they needed to process them too, probably
11 the same way they had processed me. I really had been beaten up there. I
12 could hardly walk. They took me there, opened the iron door, and threw me
13 inside like an object.
14 Q. What did you see when you were thrown inside? What was in there?
15 A. Inside, there was, I would say, around 50 detainees. All of them
16 had been beaten up. They were lying down. One had an eye injury. Others
17 had his lips swollen and cracked. They were all black and blue, with
18 their clothing torn, bloodstained.
19 When they caught sight of me and saw what I looked like, some of
20 them, I heard later, were glad, because they thought things were changing
21 and that I had escaped, but I had not been guilty of anything anyway.
22 So we were there in this room. Mr. Lukac was there too, and then
23 these two witnesses that you mentioned a moment ago, the Bicics, and
24 Salkic too, then [redacted], among the people I knew. I am mentioning
25 those names. Luka Gregurevic, who was killed. Then there was a Dikan,
1 Brandic. He was killed too in front of our very eyes. First he was hit
2 with a pole in the head, in the back of the head.
3 Q. I'll ask you to pause there. I just want to get now some more
4 details of the people who were in custody. I asked you before of the
5 ethnic background of the prisoners in the SUP. Can you now comment on the
6 ethnic background of prisoners who were in the TO with you.
7 A. Again, only Croats and Muslims.
8 Q. Again I ask you, were there any apparent soldiers or military
9 types in custody with you?
10 A. No one was in uniform, but I noticed a couple of them who had not
11 been hurt at all. They were sitting there. I don't know for what reason
12 or what their role was, but they hadn't been touched.
13 JUDGE SINGH: Mr. Izetbegovic, you have told us about all these
14 beatings in the various places. Did anyone tell you why you were being
15 beaten or why the other civilians were beaten? That's anywhere. If not,
16 can you tell us any reason or reasons why you were, and the others, being
17 beaten up.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They never told us why they were
19 beating us. They just -- sometimes they would say, "You are Ustashas, you
20 are Green Berets," and things like that. "What did you want? You wanted
21 power in this state." I don't know what power, what they're talking
22 about, because the authorities were already in existence, the lawful
23 authorities, which they too had elected. They too were a part of those
24 authorities, so what more did they want? So they beat mercilessly, and
25 when they walked in drunk, it was so terrible. They had no criteria.
1 They would beat until they themselves got tired of it. One day, they beat
2 me up so badly that I could neither lie down or sit up. It was just
3 terrible. They insulted me and my family. This was this Laki who beat
4 me. I don't know what his name is. They called him Laki. He cursed at
5 me, he yelled at me, he used all kinds of offensive language about my
6 children and family. It was really horrific.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
8 Q. I'm going to ask you about general conditions in the TO building
9 now, as I asked you about the general conditions in the SUP building. Can
10 you comment on the food that you were given whilst in the TO building.
11 You've told us about how, when you were in the SUP, they took you for
12 lunch sometimes to the Utva factory, but now I'm talking about the TO
13 building. What sort of food, how were you fed whilst there?
14 A. They would take us from there to the Tekstilac and Utva. Those
15 two companies were where the food was prepared. However, it was not their
16 obligation to bring that food regularly. If they were to decide to give
17 us lunch that day, we would have lunch. If they didn't make such a
18 decision, we didn't have lunch.
19 As far as conditions inside are concerned; a concrete floor. If
20 anyone had some paper to sit on, he was lucky. It was wet. It was
21 terrible. There were two buckets in a corner where we had to relieve
22 ourselves. So that really, it was -- I just don't know that a normal
23 person could do something like that because, after all, nature has made us
24 the same, and how can one man do such a thing to another? I will not ever
25 be able to comprehend. The torture was so awful that I haven't seen the
1 like in films about medieval times, and I wonder myself how I managed to
2 survive. Why all that was necessary, I really don't know.
3 Q. What about blankets at night? Did you have anything on top of
4 you, at least? I know you didn't have anything much underneath, just a
5 piece of paper, but what about on top? Did you have some blankets?
6 A. No. There was nothing in the TO, no covers. If someone had
7 something to put under his head, it was his own shoe. I spent two nights
8 completely wet through on the concrete because this one, when he had
9 beaten me up, he took a bucket of water and poured it over me, probably to
10 bring me to because I had lost consciousness. And I had nothing to change
11 into, so the clothing dried on me, and that's how it was.
12 Q. We'll get to that beating shortly. Can you comment on the guards
13 who were at the TO? Were they all foreigners or were some locals? When I
14 say "foreigners," of course I mean people not from the local area.
15 A. The guards were all locals. And the misdeeds were carried out by
16 outsiders, but the guards were locals. Perhaps that was our good fortune,
17 because I must be quite frank and admit that some of them helped us. I'd
18 rather not mention any names, because I wouldn't like them to suffer any
19 consequences. They would bring us a glass of water or something like
20 that, or even they would convey to us a message from our homes or would
21 tell us about how our families were faring. So we had some luck there.
22 But later, they learnt from the others and so they acted similarly
23 to those others. The quickest to learn the trade was this Cera, who was
24 taken into their ranks. This is a person -- a worthless person. He
25 doesn't deserve to live, never mind to do things like that.
1 Q. Was Cera a local from Bosanski Samac?
2 A. Yes, a local. He was born in Bosanski Samac. His mother was not
3 a local, but he grew up there. He went to school with my son and they
4 were together, and just imagine what he did to his school friend's
6 Q. You will provide with us a description of what he did shortly, but
7 I'm still asking general questions about conditions in the TO. Were you
8 ever forced to sing whilst in the TO?
9 A. Yes. That was the rule. As they came in through the door, they
10 would say, "Come on, start singing." And as soon as we'd hear them
11 coming, we would have to start singing for them to take one out and start
12 beating him, so that his screams would not be heard. And they only sang
13 Chetnik songs, "From Topola to Ravna Gora" and "Draza Mihajlovic."
14 So we knew that the Yugoslav People's Army and there were Chetnik
15 songs being sung, so nobody could understand anything any more. So we
16 learned some songs we had never heard before in our lives.
17 But that is what we sang all the time, all the time, until they
18 left. And then when they'd leave, the guard would come in and say, "Stop
19 now. Take a rest. They've gone."
20 As I was saying, there were some guards who had some human
21 feelings, and they just couldn't watch it. Their conscience got the
22 better of them.
23 Q. Thank you. While you were singing these songs, were you forced to
25 A. Yes. That was compulsory. We had to stand on our feet. Even me,
1 who had been beaten up so much. They wiped the blood off me once. Hasan
2 Bicic and Salkic, they wiped me. And I had to sing, all beaten up like
3 that. They would hold me under my arms. But they didn't allow me to be
4 on the floor, because if I was on the floor, everybody would be beaten
5 again. So they kept me standing up, and I had to sing. And he came up to
6 me and put his ear to my mouth to hear whether I was actually singing.
7 I was so -- everything hurt me so much. There was blood coming
8 from my nose, from my mouth, from my ears, but still I had to keep
9 singing. They abused me in different ways and took pleasure in it.
10 Q. You mentioned in your evidence a name, that of Dikan. Was he
11 incarcerated in the TO with you?
12 A. Yes, he was incarcerated in the TO. One afternoon he came. I
13 can't say for sure whether it was Lugar or Laki. And they said, "You have
14 the two sons. They're in the Zenga organisation. We're going to kill you
15 first, then we're going to kill your wife and children next."
16 And this man took up immediately an object, a wooden object - I
17 think it was the back leg of a chair, a long piece of wood - and hit him
18 so hard behind his neck that the man fell down and began to groan and
19 moan, and blood shot out of his head. There was a pool of blood
20 underneath him, and he still gave signs of life. He still moved around in
21 this agony.
22 Then the man took him up. There was a big pool of blood left
23 behind him. We went completely rigid. We thought they'd take us in
24 order, and we didn't know what to do. Apart from being able to glance at
25 each other and give eye signals, we didn't dare talk to each other.
1 Then the man took him by the leg, pulled him outside by the door.
2 You have photographs of that. I've seen them. And he took out a pistol
3 in front of the door and shot two bullets in his head, killing him. It
4 was probably better for him to be killed rather than to have to suffer,
5 because his skull was all hit about.
6 And then he called another man to take him off to a warehouse on
7 the opposite side. They took him off there. When they took him away from
8 there, I don't know. Allegedly they threw him into the Sava River at some
10 Q. Now, the man who wielded the wooden object and hit Dikan, are you
11 saying that it was either Lugar or Laki, one of the two, but you don't
12 know which one?
13 A. I can't say which one. We were afraid, you see. When they came
14 inside, we would all have to bow our heads. We didn't dare look at them
15 at all. If anybody were to look, to glance, and they would notice, that
16 would be the end of him. So it was more by recognising their voices. But
17 of course, when somebody came up to beat you individually, you would
18 recognise that person. But I think that it was one of the two.
19 Q. The comment, "You have two sons. They're in the Zenga
20 organisation," can you make any sense of that? What ...
21 A. Well, the Zengas. They were units, Croatian units. These Narodna
22 Garda, or National Guard. So some of them went. They paid them. It was
23 a professional army, and anybody who didn't have a job, who was
24 unemployed, went to join the Zengas because they would be paid. But I
25 don't think they followed any ideology. They didn't know where they were
1 going, and many of them ended up as they did.
2 Q. Now I want to ask you about the beating that you've touched upon
3 only briefly, and that is the attack you suffered at the hands of Cera,
4 the man you said was a local from Bosanski Samac.
5 First of all, is it your position -- just answer yes or no. Is it
6 your position that beating happened whilst you were in the TO?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: I'd like to show the witness some photographs,
9 please. They are parts of Exhibit P14, and the photographs that I want to
10 show are F3 -- perhaps if the whole bundle could be taken over by the
11 usher, but the ones I immediately want to go to are F3 and F4.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Let's get the binder that was admitted later, the
13 one without captions, please, and that is P14A.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Perhaps if you could place on the ELMO photograph
15 number F3 and have ready also photograph number F4, but first if we could
16 look at F3.
17 Q. What does that photograph depict, Mr. Izetbegovic, just
19 A. It shows part of the TO building. The right-hand side was where
20 the offices were, and the higher building is the residential part which is
21 not part of this TO building. Down at the bottom were the other offices
22 that were used for various purposes, and part of the yard. And you can
23 see a tap here, and they took me to that tap to slaughter me.
24 Q. We'll get on to the tap in just a minute. But if you
25 were -- where were the cells where you were being held?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. On quite the opposite side, over here, opposite from this here.
2 Q. I see. So as you look at that photograph --
3 A. Diametrically. It was diametrically away or diagonally away.
4 This is where the entrance to the cells was.
5 Q. Thank you. And if you would now look at photograph F4. I'm sure
6 there won't be an objection if I suggest that shows the same courtyard,
7 and you can see that tap area more clearly in that photograph. Are you
8 saying that the cells where you were kept were opposite the building that
9 you can see in the photograph which also has on it a grapevine, so that
10 the cells were directly across from that part of the building?
11 A. Yes, opposite that part of the building.
12 Q. If one had come and stood at the door of the cell in which you
13 were and looked out, is that what one would have seen?
14 A. We could see this very well from our cell, and the door was hollow
15 from the bullet shots. When they came into the yard, what they would do
16 is they would shoot at the door, shoot several bullets at the door, so we
17 knew that we shouldn't stand by the door. So that's what they would do,
18 although some of the bullets ricocheted. And nobody was killed, although
19 one man was grazed because he was standing nearby. So we could see
20 through those holes often.
21 Q. I see. So the way -- the reason you had a view out was the fact
22 that people had shot holes through the door.
23 A. Yes. They shot -- there were holes in the door, and we managed to
24 learn what was going on in the courtyard through those holes. But it was
25 risky business. The people who dared to peep through the holes, they
1 would give us -- make sign language and show us what was going on. They
2 would show us by giving us sign language what was going on outside.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: If the photo could just stay there.
4 Q. Can you tell us now of how the beating with Cera proceeded.
5 A. They came, and before me they had beaten up another man. I don't
6 remember his name now. But they had beaten him first and taken him back.
7 Then somebody shouted out, "Izet should come out next." I just turned to
8 glance at my friends and everything was clear to me. I went outside.
9 Then they took me away, along this wall. They took me along this wall and
10 told me to kneel down. Cera issued the orders and I knelt. I bowed my
11 head down. That was the rule. You had to do that, bow your head.
12 Then from this area here, six other men turned up, and he was
13 standing here, next to me, over here. Then they started swearing,
14 shouting. One of them had a red cap on, and I learnt later that that was
15 from the State Security. Somebody must know him. He was fair. He had a
16 red beret, the only red beret, on. All the others were wearing camouflage
17 uniforms, masked, and they're the ones that started all this evil. And
18 then they started beating me. They beat me and beat me until I was
19 unconscious. Then they dragged me off to this tap here. They put my head
20 down on this part of the concrete. My face was turned downwards to the
21 ground. They came up behind me and asked each other, "How are we going to
22 slaughter him? Are we going to slit the back of his neck or the front of
23 his neck?" And I cannot find words to express how I felt at that moment.
24 Then something happened. I don't know what happened, actually,
25 but they kept me there for a long time, beating me and abusing me, and
1 they kept flashing their knives and sharpening and brandishing their
2 weapons, their knives, so to speak. And then someone from this building
3 here shouted out something. They said, "Leave the man alone. Don't do
4 that." And I saw many other voices round about, saying, "Don't do that.
5 Don't do that. The man hasn't done anything. He's not to blame." And
6 then one man took out a pistol and shot a bullet up in the air from the
7 balcony here, towards the balcony here, and then there was silence.
8 Everything became quiet. And there was swearing and cursing, and the man
9 said, "We're not going to get him. We're going to get the person who is
10 defending him." And they were two buildings adjacent to each other. I
11 still stood there for some time, until Cera came back again and kicked me
12 and said, "Get in there. Shove off," and I moved into that part again,
13 into the part of the cell where I had been beforehand. And I wasn't
14 slaughtered; I survived.
15 Now, I can think about it in a different way now and say that
16 maybe these were threats and they might not have done it, actually,
17 carried out the threat, but whatever the case, I wouldn't wish this to
18 happen to anybody, even my worst enemy. I wouldn't wish this fate upon
19 even my worst enemy.
20 Q. Did you receive any particular injuries on this occasion? By
21 that, I mean other than bruises and the like.
22 A. Well, it's like this: From the very first moment they beat me,
23 and later on when they beat me, I couldn't know which injury was from
24 which actual beating, because they would be repeated; the injuries would
25 be repeated. I couldn't count how many broken ribs I had. My face was
1 all bashed in, with the same injuries occurring. I couldn't see out of
2 one of my eyes for some time. Up until 1993, until I had an operation in
3 Zagreb, I was unable to see out of one eye. And all the rest of it.
4 My hands were all bashed in, I forgot to say. They did this in
5 the SUP. They would place my hands on the table and then they would beat
6 me on the hands, and the man that did this said, "You won't be able to
7 sign anything ever again. You won't need the use of your hands any
8 more." And it was all swollen and inflamed, terrible. And I was lucky to
9 find a little bit of water somewhere and put my hands in the water to ease
10 the swelling and inflammation.
11 Finally, when I was exchanged, I learnt that I actually had nine
12 broken ribs, I had no teeth left in my head, I had my damaged eye,
13 completely damaged. My sight has been impaired 70 per cent. I can only
14 see 30 per cent, whereas I never had to wear glasses before. I do now. I
15 was never ill in my life, except a fracture perhaps, but nothing serious.
16 I was never, ever ill in my life. And the number of blows to my head, I
17 can't even count them. They would especially target my head and keep
18 hitting me on the head with the batons they had, so that even today I feel
19 frequent pain, particularly when the weather changes.
20 Q. Thank you. You mentioned injuries to your hands. Do you still
21 have -- I'll rephrase my question. Do you have full movement in your
22 hands and fingers?
23 A. Everything has been reduced. I can't stretch any of my fingers
24 normally. Look, like this. That's the best I can do, because a lot of
25 them -- there were a lot of fractures.
1 My little finger, I can't straighten that at all, or the middle
2 finger either. Each finger -- the function of each finger has been
3 impaired and deformed.
4 JUDGE SINGH: I'm sorry, Mr. Izetbegovic. We didn't quite see
5 your hand. Can you put it up and do that again?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is what it's like.
7 MR. DI FAZIO:
8 Q. Hold them up. Perhaps you can show them on the ELMO as well.
9 Perhaps one at a time. We can get a good view there. One at a time, and
10 turn them over, if you can. Thank you. Thank you very much.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: And I've finished with the photograph, that
12 particular photograph. Perhaps if the bundle could just remain at the
13 ELMO machine.
14 JUDGE SINGH: For the record, Mr. di Fazio, could you describe
15 what we saw there.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Is Your Honour referring to the hands?
17 JUDGE SINGH: Yes.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, for the purposes of the
19 transcript, Mr. Izetbegovic demonstrated both of his hands on the ELMO.
20 One could see one of the little fingers on his hand -- on his right hand
21 completely bent back, and the middle finger on one of the hands, I'm not
22 sure which, bent sideways.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Trial Chamber has observed deformed
25 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you.
1 Q. When you were being beaten by Cera in the courtyard of the TO
2 building, were you screaming out or crying out?
3 A. Well, you know what it's like when it hurts. I can't actually
4 remember how much I screamed, but others say -- whether I screamed, but
5 other people said that I screamed and groaned every time they hit me.
6 That's what the others told me that I met from the building. They said,
7 "How could you take it all? We thought that they had killed you."
8 That's what they said.
9 Q. You described having to -- spending two nights in the TO building
10 drenched or wet. When did you spend those two nights wet through in
11 relation to this beating by Cera, before or after?
12 A. It was after that. Before the others went to Brcko. Cera also
13 beat me afterwards, when the others had gone off to Brcko. And that night
14 I stayed and three others stayed with me, me and three others, whereas the
15 rest went to Brcko. And they told us that we were being kept back and
16 that they would execute us, that that's why they had left us behind.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: If I could show one more photograph and it's the
19 last one for the time being, and that's photograph F1 of the exhibit. F1,
20 the first photograph.
21 Q. What does that depict?
22 A. This has been altered. I assume that this is the cell we were
23 locked up in, but this door seems to be new. It's not the broken-down
24 door that I remember, or they have altered it in some way, because you can
25 see this building and that was right opposite where we were. But they
1 seem to have altered it. You can see that they have built in a new door
2 and put some mortar on it. But I assume that that's where we were locked
4 Q. Thank you. And if you look at the photograph carefully, is part
5 of the grapevine that you can see in the other photographs that I showed
6 you, F3 and F4, is that partly visible through the door, in the distance?
7 A. Yes, you can see it. Here it is. That's the grapevine.
8 Q. Thank you. Now look onto the ground near where the policeman or
9 soldier is standing. You see what appears to be a square with a handle on
10 it on the ground, like a drain cover. Do you see that?
11 A. Yes. That's where it was, in front of the door.
12 Q. Did --
13 A. And it saved us. The drain saved us once, the drain cover.
14 Q. Tell us.
15 A. Because when they would beat us, then underneath -- they beat us
16 with chains as well as blunt objects, iron blunt objects. And then one
17 morning, they would take us out there to relieve ourselves if we wanted
18 to, to do our physiological -- see to our physiological needs, because the
19 WC was opposite. And then we'd go one by one. We'd go outside. One of
20 us would go off and then come back, one by one. And during that time,
21 one -- they used chains to chain off the area.
22 Once they lifted the manhole or drain cover and threw the --
23 lifted the lid and threw the chain inside, and none of the guards saw
24 us -- saw this chain being thrown away. We thought it would be easier to
25 take blows with blunt objects rather than being beaten with a chain. So
1 we threw the chain away down the drain.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: And if Your Honours please, and I can tell the
4 usher that I've finished now with the photographs.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Before we leave that section, I'd like to ask the
6 witness for clarification. Was it a metal chain? And regardless of the
7 answer, was that -- did you see that chain being used to beat anybody?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were metal chains, and I saw
9 them being used. I think that it was used against the Bicics too. But
10 their nephew, nicknamed Roma, hid the chain.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. You mentioned that prisoners were taken to Brcko. I want to now
14 ask you about that occasion. Were you in the TO building at the time that
15 they were transferred to Brcko?
16 A. Yes. The truck turned -- a truck turned up in the evening hours,
17 towards evening, and the guards came with a list. And they called the
18 names out from the list and put the men one by one into the truck. Luka
19 Gregurevic, myself, we stayed on, and two others, the father the Vinko
20 Dragicevic, and the other person that stayed behind was Dr. Kedacic.
21 That's right. He stayed. We stayed behind. And when we asked why, why
22 we weren't on the list - I didn't ask but others asked - they said,
23 "You'll stay behind because you're going to be executed, shot."
24 The others boarded the truck and left in an unknown direction.
25 Later on, we heard that they had in fact gone to Brcko, whereas they
1 transferred us that night to the police station, up there to the cells
2 where I had come from originally.
3 Q. How long did you remain back in the SUP building, in the cells
4 where you had come from originally?
5 A. I cannot remember exactly, but it could have been a day or two.
6 Until I had to go for the making of that infamous film by Mr. Zaric, which
7 is an absolute lie, a fabrication, exactly in the way in which things were
8 done in the former Yugoslavia, the false trials and all those things.
9 Q. So your position is that that interview took place after the men
10 had been transferred to Brcko.
11 A. Yes. But they were brought for that filming of that cassette
12 nevertheless. They were brought there. I saw them there. When I was
13 taken inside, they were leaving. So I suppose they took them back to
14 Brcko again.
15 Q. Thank you. We'll get on to that tape shortly. What was -- what
16 ethnic background was Dr. Kedacic?
17 A. He was a Croat from Vinkovci, on duty in Bosanski Samac. He was
18 employed in the health centre.
19 Q. He was a doctor, was he?
20 A. Yes. Yes, a doctor, I think.
21 Q. A medical doctor, a physician?
22 A. Yes. Yes, a physician, a medical doctor. He may have been a
23 specialist as well, but I don't know.
24 Q. Had he been beaten?
25 A. Yes. He was beaten quite a bit too.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just bear with me for a moment,
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I'd like now to show the
6 film "Genocide in Bosanski Samac." The exhibit number I don't have at the
7 top of my -- off the top of my head. I'd just ask for it to be
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Is it P6? I hear it's P6. Yes.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: P6. Thank you. If that could be arranged now to
11 be shown. I believe transcripts have already been provided to the Court.
12 If that could be shown. I believe that transcripts have already been
13 provided to the Court, and I have arranged with the gentleman in the
14 technical room to take us to the relevant portions rather than play it --
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: -- the whole of the tape in its entirety. And I
17 think, for the record, it should be P16.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: It's P16.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: P16 rather than P6.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm corrected. Yes.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm grateful to the Chamber.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could the interpreters please be given a
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Prosecutor, the interpreters are asking for
1 MR. DI FAZIO: That should have been provided, I believe. It
2 was -- I don't propose to refer to the content of the interview itself.
3 I'm merely going to ask the witness to identify the various portions.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: The various places.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: The various places, those places that are depicted
6 in the interview itself, so we won't need the transcript today.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: So I would ask that the exhibit could be made
10 Q. Mr. Izetbegovic, we're going to play a tape, and I would like you
11 to watch it.
12 [Videotape played]
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
14 Q. Firstly, Mr. Izetbegovic, do you recognise that gentleman that you
15 can now see on the screen?
16 A. Very well. Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: If we could now just proceed to 11:20 on the tape,
18 on the video cassette, on the counter, at the point 11 minutes and 20
19 seconds, please, or thereabouts.
20 [Videotape played]
21 MR. DI FAZIO: And if we could --
22 Q. Now, do you recognise the gentleman currently shown?
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Could we just stop there, please. Just rewind it
24 back again for Mr. Izetbegovic.
25 A. Yes. That is Mr. Zaric and the journalist.
1 Q. Thank you. Now, look at Mr. Zaric's right -- sorry, left arm. Do
2 you see a white object just underneath the microphone?
3 A. Yes. That's the white ribbon that they tied. I don't know why.
4 I don't know what the reason was. Probably to recognise one another, to
5 know who was a member of the 4th Detachment. I don't know. They know
6 best what it meant.
7 Q. Yes. You've described earlier in your evidence last week that
8 members of the 4th Detachment had white ribbons. Can you tell us if they
9 were wearing the sort of white ribbon that you can see there on Mr. Zaric?
10 A. Yes. Just like that, a piece of white rag tied to the shoulder.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 A. Just like that.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Could we now proceed to the point 13:06 on the tape
15 [Videotape played]
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Pause there, please. Could we just go back and
17 pause where we can see the gentleman in the tan jacket.
18 [Videotape played]
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. There.
20 Q. Now, who is that?
21 A. This is a journalist from Novi Sad who interviewed us, who was
22 probably the leader of the team, together with Mr. Zaric.
23 Q. I'm more interested in the gentleman on the right.
24 A. I suppose that's me.
25 Q. Look at your hand.
1 A. Yes. I know very well what it looked like.
2 Could the technicians please enlarge the hand, if possible, focus
3 in on the hand, zoom in on the hand? I have this tape at home, so I think
4 it's possible technically.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, I don't think it is, but we'll be able to see
6 the hand in closer detail, if we could just go back to that.
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. di Fazio. I wonder whether you
8 could also zero in, if it's possible, on the witness's face, because it's
9 my understanding a few moments ago, I believe, that Mr. Izetbegovic had
10 mentioned that he didn't wear glasses until recently, or until after these
11 events, and it could be my eyesight, but I seem to see him wearing glasses
12 in this video.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I don't recall him saying that, but there is
14 a shot that will show precisely what Your Honour is concerned about, and
15 I'll ask him about the question of the glasses as well.
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. Thank you.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Thanks. If we could just go back to the film now.
18 [Videotape played]
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Now, just pause there.
20 Q. Now, Her Honour asked if you were wearing glasses there. Now,
21 it's not very clear in that one. We'll get to a clearer photo. But can
22 you see if you're wearing spectacles there?
23 A. Yes, I do have glasses there. They gave them to me. And when you
24 see the rest of the film, you will see that most people have glasses,
25 because those who were really badly beaten were given glasses.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
2 Could we just continue now the film at normal speed.
3 [Videotape played]
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There you see my hand. They can
5 wind back a little bit to show that hand.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Could we just rewind briefly now to the point at
7 which you can see Mr. Izetbegovic. If we could just rewind briefly.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I request for my hand and head to be
9 shown close up. I think it is very important.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Could the film be shown, please.
11 [Videotape played]
12 MR. DI FAZIO: And could it be rewound briefly to the point at
13 which we were looking at before, around 13:06, 13:16.
14 [Videotape played]
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Now, if we could just pause it there,
16 please. If we could just go back briefly, thank you, and just pause it to
17 where we can see the two men, the interviewer and Mr. Izetbegovic.
18 [Videotape played]
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
20 Q. Now, you said that you were supplied with spectacles or glasses.
21 We'll see precisely what sort of glasses later, I think. Were you a
22 wearer of glasses before April 1992?
23 A. I never wore any dioptric glasses, except for sunglasses
24 sometimes, like all other people. The fact that I look so nicely dressed
25 here, they sent somebody to our homes to find our suits. We had a bath,
1 we had a shave, we got dressed for the filming that day, to look normal.
2 Otherwise, we were all bloodstained and look awful in the clothes we wore
3 normally. All this was rigged. Nothing was real.
4 Q. And you -- just leaving it, holding it there, you mentioned that
5 it was TV Novi Sad.
6 A. Yes. Yes, Novi Sad.
7 Q. Was the interviewer apparently Serbian, of Serbian origin or
9 A. I noticed that he came from Novi Sad, because they have a dialect
10 of their own, a special way of speaking, so I don't really know what his
11 ethnicity was.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Could we now fast forward the film to
13 the point 15:30 on the counter, please.
14 Q. The gentleman with that astonishing hairdo, do you recognise that
16 A. I do very well. Ramusovic, also known as Tota, a man who was
17 turned back from his regular military service. I know him rather well
18 because he was my next-door neighbour. He was turned back from the army.
19 He didn't complete his military service as being immature. And he turned
20 out to be one of the reliable, more reliable members of the
21 4th Detachment.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Could we now fast forward it to the point 24:40 on
24 the counter. Thank you.
25 [Videotape played]
1 MR. DI FAZIO:
2 Q. Now, do you recognise that gentleman also wearing sunglasses?
3 A. Very well. Omer Nalic, technical director of the
4 Elektrodistribucija company. He never wore glasses, but those are
5 sunglasses. We had several pairs of spectacles on the table, and this
6 gentleman taking the film knew what they needed among props. And they
7 would give glasses to us to try, and those that they thought fitted
8 business, that is, that covered our bruises best, were left on us.
9 And never for a moment -- when Mr. Zaric was talking, he saw that
10 we were beaten up, and never for a moment did he ask us, "What is that?
11 Why? How did you get those bruises?" Why did he film us? How can he
12 justify that? That's what I'm asking.
13 Q. Was Omer Nalic incarcerated in the TO building when the group of
14 50 men or so were there, whilst you were there?
15 A. Yes. He was brought when I was transferred to the TO. Until
16 then, he was doing his normal duties in the power supply system, because
17 everyone went to work. And that is where they picked him up.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Could we now proceed to the point 25:30 on the
21 [Videotape played]
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Just pause there.
23 Q. Do you recognise that gentleman?
24 A. Yes, I do. Safet Hadzialijagic, also known as Coner. He was head
25 of the water supply system in Bosanski Samac. That is where I was
1 arrested, in his apartment, in front of my daughter's. I crossed over to
2 him in my slippers, and that is where they found me. He went occasionally
3 to examine the water supply system until they finally took over.
4 And I was in the SUP, in the cell, and then I saw him being
5 brought in and thrown into another cell, so that there wasn't enough time
6 for him to be beaten so badly as to need glasses. His face was clean,
7 unhurt, unbruised.
8 Q. Thank you. This gentleman's surname, Safet what?
9 A. Hadzialijagic, and also known as Coner. Hadzialijagic.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: And if we can proceed now to the point 29:09 on the
13 [Videotape played]
14 MR. DI FAZIO:
15 Q. Who is that man?
16 A. That is attorney Sulejman Tihic.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: If we could now proceed to 33:10. And for the
19 assistance of the technical room, the point -- the objects that I'm
20 looking at this point are the depiction of some houses of worship. I
21 believe they're at 33:10.
22 [Videotape played]
23 MR. DI FAZIO: If we could just pause there, please.
24 Q. What's that place?
25 A. It is the Catholic church.
1 Q. In Bosanski Samac?
2 A. Yes, in Bosanski Samac.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: And could we just continue the film now at normal
5 [Videotape played]
6 MR. DI FAZIO:
7 Q. What's that building there with the stripes?
8 A. That is the Orthodox church or place of worship, across the way
9 from the Catholic church.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. If we could proceed again.
11 [Videotape played]
12 MR. DI FAZIO:
13 Q. And what's that building that we could see depicted there?
14 A. That's the Muslim place of worship, or mosque.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: If we could now proceed to the point 35:20 on the
17 Q. While we're getting there to 35:20, can I ask you,
18 Mr. Izetbegovic, do you know if the mosque and the Catholic church are
19 still standing in Bosanski Samac?
20 A. I know that they're not standing. They were both destroyed.
21 There's not a stone left of the Muslim mosque to know that that is where
22 it stood. As for the Catholic church, they have done some repairs.
23 I went there on my own by car. I passed through Samac. I didn't
24 even stop at my own house, because I had had enough of everything. I got
25 in the car, drove around, and went back. I feel even worse than before I
2 It doesn't look like the town it used to be. I just can't
3 understand how those people intend to live if they go on in that way. The
4 town will disappear. I simply don't know why they needed to destroyed
5 those places of worship. By this very act they demonstrated that they
6 didn't wish to have members of the other ethnic group in their vicinity.
7 We used to visit one another. We used to go to those places of
8 worship. I attended the midnight service, as I said once to a question
9 from the attorneys. We looked forward to those events. There was
10 absolutely no reason to do something like this. It's such a shame. These
11 were the only historical documents testifying to the way people used to
12 live. How will the future generations see that we existed there, that we
13 lived there? They have destroyed all traces of that. I just don't know
14 why, what the gentlemen who did that wanted to achieve.
15 I don't wish to generalise. I do not wish to say in that Tribunal
16 that this was done by the people. I still think it was done by
17 individuals who were sick in the head and led by sick ideologies. And
18 that is why this Tribunal was formed, to try those sick minds and not to
19 put a whole nation on trial.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Izetbegovic. Now, look at the film.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: If the film could just be played at normal speed.
22 [Videotape played]
23 MR. DI FAZIO:
24 Q. Now, you can see your hand there. Was it swollen?
25 MR. DI FAZIO: Just pause there. Perhaps if we continue just a
1 bit further with the film.
2 [Videotape played]
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Just pause there.
4 Q. Can you see any black around your eyes?
5 A. Yes. My eyes were swollen. Everything was black. I don't know
6 how these gentlemen who were making this film - I don't wish to mention
7 any names - how they weren't ashamed to film me looking the way I did
8 without asking me, "What happened to your eyes?" To beat me first and
9 then to film me. I really don't know whether they have any honour or any
10 feeling or any sense in them, or were they so imbued with this idea that
11 if people didn't think the way they thought, then -- if they didn't think
12 like the police, like the UDBA, thought in the old days, then they were
13 not fit to live there. That is how they acted, anyway.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Could we just continue the film at normal speed.
15 [Videotape played]
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. It's 11.00. If Your Honours please,
17 would that be an appropriate point to adjourn for the morning break?
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We will have our break now, and we will
19 continue at 1130 hours
20 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.33 a.m.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Prosecution is continuing.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I don't want to show the
24 video to the witness any more, but I do want to refer him to the content
25 of it, and the simplest way of doing it, I think, is by asking to be
1 produced to the witness the transcripts, or rather, the B/C/S transcript
2 of the video. The interpreters' booth has, I've been assured, both
3 English and B/C/S versions, and the Court, the Chamber, should have its
4 own copies, of course, of the transcript. So can the witness please be
5 provided with P16A/1 ter, which is the transcript of the video that we've
6 just been looking at.
7 Q. Mr. Izetbegovic, I believe that the transcript of the B/C/S has
8 now been given to you. I don't need to use the ELMO for purposes of this
9 portion of the examination-in-chief.
10 Mr. Izetbegovic, you were shown twice on that tape. I'm
11 interested in the second occasion in which you appeared. And on the
12 English version, the English translation of the transcript, which is at
13 page 13, if Your Honours please, is at the very end of the tape. So I
14 suggest that you go to the end of the B/C/S version, and you will see
15 yourself identified. In fact, I believe it's also on page 13 that you can
16 see the transcript begin. I'd ask you just to read from the point where
17 the journalist commences, "All the people who had agreed to appear on
18 television and who talked to us," and would you just read, read the
19 transcript to yourself to the bottom of that page, all of the next page,
20 and to the end of the transcript on page 15.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: For the assistance of the usher, I believe it's on
22 page 13 of the B/C/S version, and I think the word "novinar,"
23 n-o-v-i-n-a-r, is "journalist." It's from that portion until the end of
24 the portion that I'm interested in.
25 Can you just read that.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am going to try and answer with
2 respect to the first question put to me by the journalist, although I
3 think that the question itself has been posed in such a way that I don't
4 really know what to say. They said -- when they say that I'm guilty, that
5 I was to blame, then I think that we should ask them whether they were
6 voluntary witnesses or not. We were afraid of everything. If they said,
7 "Did you kill a man?" I might have said yes, just to stop them from
8 beating me, because everything under duress, under threat, coercion. I
9 don't know what other witnesses will say, but I too was under the effects
10 of this fear. I spoke as frankly as I dared. I didn't wish to sidestep
11 any responsibility, because I was one of the leaders of the people that I
12 lived with, like everybody else. But I didn't have the consciousness of
13 having done any harm to anybody. I did not arm [as interpreted] anybody.
14 There was not a single bullet shot fired. This had nothing to do with
15 Alija. What I have been accused of --
16 MR. DI FAZIO:
17 Q. What I'll do is I'll assist you, Mr. Izetbegovic --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Counsel.
19 MR. DI FAZIO:
20 Q. I'll assist you, Mr. Izetbegovic, by asking you questions and
21 directing you to certain portions of the transcript, okay? Now, firstly,
22 the initial question of the --
23 A. Very well.
24 Q. -- of the portion of the transcript that I've directed your
25 attention to is a journalist speaking, who says, "All the people who have
1 agreed to appear on television blame you." Now, before you went into this
2 interview, had you been informed or told who the people were and what they
3 had said?
4 A. No. They didn't tell me who the people were.
5 Q. Thank you. Thank you.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Judge, please.
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: If I could ask Mr. Izetbegovic a question. The
8 other people who appeared on the programme, were they brought to the TV
9 station with you in the same vehicle?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, they weren't.
11 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, thus far I've only dealt
13 with the actual interview itself, the content of it. I will, at the
14 conclusion of this, ask some questions about the surrounding
15 circumstances. So I'll cover that aspect later. I've perhaps approached
16 it the wrong way around, but I will cover the circumstances under which
17 the --
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Because I could see from the very beginning,
19 when you introduced the transcript, that you're trying to show what were
20 the circumstances --
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: -- and were the people, especially the witness
23 himself, was he still in custody.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Yes. I'll attend to all of those matters
25 once I've dealt with the actual content of the interview itself.
1 Q. Mr. Izetbegovic, you say -- a journalist asked you about your name
2 being on the list of SDA military headquarters, and you replied that you
3 had a security commission but it had too much authority and it was your
4 biggest mistake.
5 First of all, was that a correct reflection of your own views; and
6 secondly, was it correct in fact that the security commission had too
7 much, too much authority and power?
8 A. I cannot accept at all the film, the tape that was filmed and the
9 conversation with the journalist as something normal, because normal
10 conditions simply did not exist. When you have in front of the door armed
11 guards with bayonets and inside where you're sitting you have people
12 wearing uniforms, asking you, then I ask you now, how would anybody behave
13 were they in my place? So I had to say something and accept something and
14 take responsibility for something, as far as I dared, and to make it a
15 text that would be acceptable to all parties.
16 So I said I do not wish to say that I am not entirely to blame.
17 Perhaps there was some blame that I did not prevent the people from being
18 arrested. That's where I saw my blame.
19 As for arms and weapons, everybody was armed. Everybody could buy
20 weapons for themselves. And I said that in a previous contact with you.
21 So that I still feel guilty for not putting this under control and having
22 the weapons surrendered, handed in, as far as I was able.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. But the interviews were not normal. They were not conducted under
25 normal circumstances. They all said what the others wanted to hear. I'm
1 not even saying that they were actually coerced, but they went in one by
3 Q. In the course of this interview, and you can see it in the
4 transcript that I've directed your attention to, you discuss a joint
5 HDZ-SDA staff for Bosanski Samac, that you were against it, the formation
6 of such a staff, and that, for you, the formation of such a staff was a
7 declaration of war. Now, do you see that in the transcript?
8 Now, all I want to know is does that accurately reflect reality?
9 A. There was a meeting where we tried to do something along those
10 lines. I prevented it at the outset. I didn't allow it. One side pulled
11 in their direction, but it is also true that the other side pulled in the
12 other direction. And we were a party which somehow was - what shall I
13 say - was the smallest as regards population and numbers, and I prevented
14 this. I didn't allow it. And I did say that this would be a declaration,
15 and we know a declaration of war to whom. If the two of us pooled
16 together, then it would be against the third party.
17 So I wasn't in favour of that variant, because I thought that this
18 arming and weapons and everything else, that it would all calm down, that
19 this was just a burgeoning of one particular moment by people who had come
20 in who knows where from. So I too probably wasn't fully conscious of what
21 it would all lead to. But it was difficult. That's how things stood.
22 And I mixed up the meeting and said that the SDA would not -- never enter
23 into a coalition with anyone, but we wanted to agree. We didn't want to
24 have a classical type of coalition. We rejected that straight away at the
25 very outset.
1 Q. Thank you. Towards the end of the transcript, you were asked by
2 the interviewer whether Muslims and Serbs could find a common language
3 because of a lack of historical differences, and you reply, and in your
4 reply you stress that your family comes from Belgrade, that you're the
5 only Izetbegovic family from Belgrade. What was the purpose of referring
6 to that? The reference to Belgrade, I mean.
7 A. The purpose of mentioning that was that I was asked a very
8 difficult question by the journalist, and that was: "Why do you Muslims
9 hate the Serbs?" That was his question. And I tried to answer, first of
10 all, by saying that I was going to answer in a way that wasn't usual but
11 if they would believe me.
12 And Mr. Zaric was present on the occasion. And I indicated a
13 banal point. I was conscious of the fact that arrests were being made and
14 that they were burgeoning, and now I kept thinking about what would happen
15 to the people. Where were they taking the people off to? And I wanted to
16 try and calm this down, to say that not everything was like that. Why
17 should the Muslims hate the Serbs, as we had lived so well together?
18 There weren't any instances of conflict on the whole of the municipality
19 between Serbs and Muslims or with the Croats, or between the Croats and
20 Serbs either. But at that -- during those times, that's what happened.
21 And so I answered. I told him how this came about, and what I
22 said was that I had played a lot of football in my life and that I was
23 well acquainted with football. I was an active fan and an active member
24 of the Bosanski Samac football club. And, "When you say and maintain that
25 the Muslims hate the Serbs, then answer my question and tell me why
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 everybody from Bosanski Samac, all the fans, are in favour of the Partizan
2 club and the Red Star, Crvena Zvezda club? And if they hated them, they
3 wouldn't rally for them." And they laughed at this. And the people who
4 are still in Samac today said, "Well, you couldn't think of anything to
5 talk about except those stupid little things."
6 They're not stupid things. That was a last attempt, a final
7 attempt to have the people doing this realise that that wasn't the reason
8 and that they would say, "If that is like that, just leave the people
9 alone. It's not true that they hate them." But I didn't succeed in doing
10 what I wanted to achieve. They carried on doing what they wanted to do.
11 Q. Thank you. Okay.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: I've finished with the transcript, if Your Honours
14 Q. Now, Mr. Izetbegovic, you've told us about the content of the
15 interview, and we've seen parts of the interview. I now want to ask you
16 about the circumstances of the interview.
17 You've said that it occurred after the men were taken to Brcko.
18 Do I understand you correctly, therefore, to be saying that it occurred
19 whilst you were in custody but in the TO -- but in, sorry, the SUP
21 A. I was down there in the SUP building, and that's where they took
22 me, processed me, cleaned me up, cleaned me up and took me to be filmed.
23 Q. How did they clean you up? Where were you taken? Who took you
25 A. That morning, or rather, the evening before, Todorovic turned up
1 and took me out of the cell. He took me outside, in front of the door.
2 And it was dusk. It was getting dark, but you could still recognise the
3 faces of people who were there. And he said, "Some relatives have come to
4 see you. Come out and see them." I didn't know what this was all about,
5 and I saw a whole television crew standing at the door. And Todorovic
6 said, "Now do you believe that he's there?" They were asked to come and
7 conduct that interview and they took me back to the cell.
8 Then, in the morning, a policeman came and said, "Come on. You're
9 going --" First of all, they asked me whether I had anybody at home who
10 could bring me a change of clothing. I said, "Yes, my daughter, but she
11 is not at home. She is married and lives with her in-laws." And then
12 they said, "Can we go and fetch her for her to find you a change of
13 clothing so that you can change?" And I said, "Well, if you manage to
14 find her, you can." They didn't say I was actually going to be filmed.
15 They said, "You're going to be exchanged." They said, "You're going to be
16 exchanged, so it would be a good idea for you to get cleaned up and
17 changed a bit," and I waited for a little while for them to go to my home
18 and bring these things back.
19 In the meantime, a man came to see me, and I can say of that man
20 that he was well disposed towards me. He helped. He helped the
21 prisoners. I don't wish to state his name, but he did have a significant
22 role in all of this. I can't say that he did any bad things in Samac. I
23 don't know if he did elsewhere. But he said, "Here's a carton of
24 cigarettes, a pack of cigarettes. I've brought this to you now, but I
25 don't dare do it again. I don't know if I'll ever see you again, in
1 fact." And I whispered to him, "It seems that I'm going to be exchanged
2 today," and his answer was, "Oh, I don't think you're right in the head.
3 Who is going to exchange you for whom? They don't dare do that. They
4 have to treat you first and then when you have recovered, they can
5 exchange you." And he left and I never saw the man again.
6 Then the policeman came to fetch me, and my daughter had come as
7 well, bringing me a change of clothes, underwear and a suit. And when she
8 saw me, well, it was a very difficult moment. It was difficult for her
9 and it was difficult for me.
10 Q. Were you able to bathe, shave?
11 A. Yes. They put me in a Golf car. There were two policemen with
12 me. And they took me to the Separacija, by the bricklaying factory. They
13 took me over there to the factory bathrooms to shave and wash, have a
14 shower, and they stood guard throughout that time while I was washing and
15 shaving. So that that's what I did. I finished cleaning up, I changed my
16 clothes, and they took me back to the SUP building. They didn't take me
17 back to the cell. They put me in one of the offices on the upper floor,
18 and that's where I waited. I didn't know what was going to happen.
19 Then at one point they came to fetch me again and took me to Omer
20 Nalic's office and I saw Simo Zaric there, and the journalists with their
21 cameras were there and everything had been prepared. That was quite
22 clear. And there were a lot of these sunglasses laid out on the table,
23 five or six different pairs of sunglasses, and I had to take some glasses
24 and the filming began. Zaric didn't ask me anything. It was just the
25 journalist that put the questions to me. But when I got the entire
1 tape -- and I can say that I got it from Belgrade, and there are people
2 there too whose conscience is clear and who are good and well-intentioned
3 people, and they sent me that. And I have a lot of other things from
4 Belgrade sent to me too, what the papers wrote about me as well. And
5 that's where the filming of that tape started.
6 When I saw the tape later on and saw what Mr. Zaric -- well, I
7 hope he won't take this amiss, but he is a professionally deformed
8 person. He never did anything else in his life but police jobs. He was a
9 director for a very short time, and his retirement was what he took the
10 hardest, because he thought that it was only up to him to think about the
11 fate of Yugoslavia. He thought that everybody was of less value when it
12 came to Yugoslavia's fate. That's what I think about him, and I think
13 that many people would agree with me. So it was this professional
14 deformation on his part which is costing the people, and all of us; it has
15 cost all of us a great deal. And everything that he showed on the tape,
16 the children who were armed, those are all lies. In the entire region,
17 there is no institution for retarded children. Where he found that, where
18 he got that from, I don't know. And Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic mentioned
19 some three days of fighting when they moved from one river bank to
20 another. There was no fighting - let me make that clear - except when
21 they started shooting to make the people frightened when they came into
22 Samac. Nobody offered any resistance. There was no fighting whatsoever,
23 and it is in their fear that they shot while they were walking along the
24 streets to instill fear in the people. That's what happened. And that's
25 what it was like right to the end of the tape. The whole tape was filmed
1 as somebody wanted it to be filmed, because they probably expected to
2 become a general at the end of it all. So I can't accept any of the
3 details on the tape as being actually correct.
4 Q. Thank you. Now, you've mentioned some of the people who were
5 present. We can see --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
7 MR. DI FAZIO:
8 Q. We can see from the tape itself that the interviewer was obviously
9 there, Mr. Simo Zaric was there, you were there. At the time of your
10 interview, at the time that you were speaking, was Simo Zaric present?
11 A. He was. He was sitting opposite me, I think. Yes, yes, he was
13 Q. Was Stevan Todorovic ever around?
14 A. I think that he too was sitting at his desk, and there were the
15 cameramen, one or two of them. You see, it's hard to remember. When
16 you're in such a situation, one is full of fear. There was fear, above
17 all else. I am not ashamed to say that I was scared, and perhaps I didn't
18 really register all the people who were present. I was looking at the
19 journalist most of the time.
20 Q. Thank you. We can see that a number of other people were
21 interviewed for the purposes of the same programme: Omer Nalic, Sulejman
22 Tihic, and so on. On the occasion that you were interviewed, did you have
23 a chance to see them being filmed or photographed, or even just speak to
24 them, prior to or after their filming?
25 A. I didn't see them at all. It was only on tape that I realised
1 that they were filmed too, but this was later, when I left the camp. And
2 I learnt also later what their opinion was about all those things, how the
3 film was made and everything. They also said more or less what I am
4 saying. We were fearful, and when one is afraid, one says things --
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. di Fazio, do you need that evidence? The people
6 can come and say so on their own.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
8 Q. Just try and confine your answers to my questions, if you can,
9 Mr. Izetbegovic, and if I need more information, then rest assured that
10 I'll ask you to expand upon a particular point.
11 How long did the filming take, obviously the portion that you're
12 involved in?
13 A. It seemed to me to last a long time. I assume I must have spent
14 at least an hour there, because I know I smoked quite a number of
15 cigarettes. They gave me these cigarettes. So I can't tell you exactly.
16 I didn't have a watch on, so I don't know. Under such circumstances, it
17 seems like eternity, but I think it was about an hour.
18 Q. You've commented already on the content of the interview. Was
19 there any discussion prior to the interview of what the questions were to
21 A. No. No, not at all. When I was taken inside, it was only then
22 that I realised what was going on and what I was expected to do. This
23 journalist said to me, "You are going to give an interview. Do you
24 agree?" And I said, "Yes. What I know, I'll tell you; what I don't know,
25 I don't know." I didn't know what he was going to ask me.
1 Q. Following the interview, were you taken downstairs, back to your
3 A. Yes, they took me back to the cell and nothing came of the
4 exchange. It was all a lie. I was misled.
5 Q. Were you eventually transferred away from Bosanski Samac?
6 A. Yes. A couple of days later, they put Dr. Kedacic, myself, and
7 Dragicevic in a police Golf car, and two policemen drove us. We were
9 Q. Thank you. Just tell us, where were you taken?
10 A. We were taken to Pelagicevo.
11 Q. I'll get on to that in a moment, but before I leave the topic of
12 your period of time in Bosanski Samac, I want to ask you about the
13 presence of or lack of the defendants in and around the SUP building.
14 Now, you have told us in some detail of encounters that you had
15 with Mr. Simo Zaric. Whilst you were in Bosanski Samac and in prison,
16 either in the SUP or in the TO, did you see any of the other defendants
17 around the buildings?
18 A. I did, roughly. I said I saw once in the corridor -- I was being
19 taken upstairs - I don't know what the reason was - and there was
20 Dr. Simic in the corridor. He must have seen me. He couldn't not have
21 seen me.
22 And then I also saw Simo Zaric, since the door is thin and you can
23 hear in the corridor what is being said inside, and I could hear his voice
24 quite a number of times in the corridor. And I could recognise almost all
25 of them by their voices.
1 And I also saw -- when they would take us to lunch, when we were
2 being boarded onto trucks, then we would cast a glance around, and I would
3 then see Simo Zaric. And I also saw Simo Zaric -- you see, we forgot
4 that, but it's very important and I do apologise for having to go back
5 again to the TO.
6 I saw him there under far-from-pleasant -- in a far-from-pleasant
7 encounter. I didn't expect that of him or of Dr. Simic. If I can tell
8 you about that now. If that is acceptable, I could tell you about it.
9 Q. Could you just tell us about the time you described as a
10 far-from-pleasant encounter when you saw Simo Zaric.
11 A. When we had really had enough of this torture and these beatings,
12 I appealed to a policeman, who was the son of a friend of mine, to find
13 Simo Zaric, for him to come and see what we looked like and for us to ask
14 him something. He did as I asked, and he went and told us Simo would
15 come, but we didn't know when. And we waited for him.
16 And he came in the afternoon in a camouflage uniform, of course.
17 As soon as he came through the door, he said to us, "Don't let anyone ask
18 me anything, but let me say this to you: These men who beat and tortured
19 you, they have left today. From this moment on, I am taking over full
20 command of the town. You will all be processed, and who is guilty will be
21 held responsible. Who is not guilty will, of course, be released." And
22 we rejoiced, because this would be the first night that we would not be
23 beaten. That was the first reason. And he left, because he said no one
24 may ask him anything.
25 In the evening, around 9.00, these men came, and that was the
1 worst beating we had, because, in fact, they had never left.
2 I don't know what Mr. Zaric intended. If he had let us speak
3 up -- he must have seen how we looked. Fifty per cent of the people were
4 people who socialised with him, who were friends. And surely in those 15,
5 20, or 30 years, he could have known who these people were, that they
6 hadn't deserved that. He never moved a finger. He just left. And that
7 evening, we were really badly beaten up. And they continued their daily
9 So this was just a minor incident -- an incident that I had
10 forgotten. We can now resume where we left off.
11 Q. Thank you. Yes.
12 A. Thank you for letting me mention it.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. di Fazio, before I forget the point that I have
14 in my mind, this incident when the witness says Mr. Simo Zaric met them
15 and told them no more beatings and the people had left, when was it; in
16 April, May? In relation to the period when he was in custody and the
17 period up to the time he was released, was it in May, at the beginning, in
18 the middle, or towards the end?
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Perhaps I can ask the witness this. That
20 might be of some assistance.
21 Q. This occasion when Simo Zaric came along and told you he had taken
22 over control of the town and you were going to be processed and so on,
23 when did that occur in relation to the transfer of the men out of the TO
24 to Brcko?
25 A. This occurred before the people were transferred to Brcko. I
1 think it was immediately after the murder of Dikan. Somewhere there. But
2 it did occur. Please don't ask me to be quite specific about it, because
3 I can't remember the date exactly. But it happened --
4 Q. Yes?
5 A. -- exactly in the way I've told you.
6 Q. Thank you. So you place it sometime between the murder of Dikan
7 and the transfer of the majority of men to Brcko?
8 A. Yes. Yes.
9 Q. Now, let's go -- now, we dealt with Mr. Zaric. Now let's go back
10 to Mr. Blagoje Simic. You told us that you saw him in the SUP, and you've
11 also given evidence that you saw him on occasions at the Utva when you
12 were having lunch. I'm interested in the occasions at the SUP.
13 How was he dressed when you saw him on that occasion?
14 A. He was also wearing a camouflage uniform.
15 Q. And did you see him on only one occasion or more than one occasion
16 at the SUP?
17 A. I think it was only on that one occasion. Maybe twice. I'm not
18 quite certain about the second occasion. I wasn't in a normal state. You
19 know, when you get a good hiding, you can't remember so well.
20 Q. Yes. Thank you. Now let's turn our attention, please, to your
21 transfer away from Bosanski Samac. You started telling us that you were
22 taken to Pelagicevo in a car. Who went with you?
23 A. Two policemen. I knew them before, but I'm afraid I've forgotten
24 their names now. I can't remember their names. But I knew both of them.
25 Q. And who else?
1 A. And the three of us on the back seat, Dr. Kedacic, Dragicevic, and
3 Q. What happened when you arrived at Pelagicevo?
4 A. In Pelagicevo, we stopped in front of the cultural centre or the
5 school, whatever it was. I think it was the school. No, no. It was the
6 cooperative centre. And then they said, "Don't you try anything." They
7 locked us up in the car, and we waited.
8 At one point in time, two of them came out and a commander of
9 theirs, and I could see that they were quarrelling. And we looked at one
10 another, thinking, What next? And only when they approached the car we
11 could hear them saying, "I will not take out a firing squad unless I have
12 at least ten people. I will not take out a firing squad for three."
13 We went -- we were petrified. We looked at one another, and then
14 Dr. Kedacic said, "This really is the end." Believe me, we said to one
15 another, "Forgive me for everything." We consoled one another. We were
16 really terrified. So I really don't know what my thoughts were at that
18 Then they moved away from the car, went inside. They continued
19 quarrelling. I kept looking around at the little -- at the thickets where
20 they would take us, and I thought to myself where my bones will lie and no
21 one will know where they are.
22 And then after some time, they did take out a firing squad. Ten
23 men under arms, in camouflage uniforms, came out, and they went in the
24 direction of the helicopter which had previously landed. When we had
25 arrived, it was already there. It was a military helicopter. And we
1 thought to ourselves they would board us on the helicopter and then take
2 us someplace, into a wood somewhere far, where no one would be able to
3 find us.
4 They lined up, and then -- we were still in the car. We were
5 still waiting. A small vehicle came up carrying a coffin with a dead man
6 inside. They took out the coffin. Then they performed the tribute of --
7 firing tribute. Then we realised that this was all it was about.
8 Then they boarded the coffin after the salute, and they came back
9 for us, put us in the helicopter. One of them fired a shot with a
11 I still have the scars from the handcuffs. Nobody took off those
12 handcuffs. We were tied one next to the other, and we boarded the
13 helicopter in that way. And when we got inside, I saw --
14 Q. I'm sorry. Perhaps I shouldn't have interrupted you. What did
15 you see when you got inside?
16 A. I saw on the coffin the surname Zurovac and the birth. It was my
17 good friend's son, Raka Zurovac, in Orasje, who was killed on the front
18 line. He was dressed.
19 As we were neighbours, next-door neighbours. We celebrated when
20 he was born. I remember that.
21 Q. Were you taken anywhere in the helicopter?
22 A. Yes. The helicopter started. There were several men under arms
23 with us inside. Again we thought they were -- would throw us out of the
24 helicopter someplace. Never for a moment did I think that they were
25 taking us for some good reason, for something positive. All that we had
1 in mind was that they were going to execute us.
2 Suddenly the helicopter landed. Again we didn't know where.
3 Q. I see. Were you joined by anyone?
4 A. Yes. The door opened and I saw Mr. Tihic come in, also Dragan
5 Lukac, the vet Anto, Franjo Barukcic. He's no longer alive. A policeman
6 who used to be in active duty before, his name was Sejo. I can't remember
7 his surname. Then also -- there were nine of us in all.
8 Q. Thank you. And did the helicopter take off and depart for
10 A. Yes, it took off again, and we travelled for some time. Where we
11 had landed was in Bijeljina. After that, we were in the air for some
12 time. We again didn't know where we were going, and then it landed again.
13 Q. Where did you land?
14 A. At first, we didn't know where we were. Later, we learnt that we
15 were at Batajnica, near Belgrade.
16 Q. Thank you. Now I'd like you to tell us about conditions at
18 A. As soon as we got off the helicopter, the torture started again.
19 The captain, the army captain, air force captain - he was wearing a blue
20 uniform - ordered us to lie down, face down, quickly. Then he started in
21 his own -- the way that army was wont to do. He lectured us: "It's a
22 shame to execute you. Bullets are expensive. You're not worth
23 a phennig." And then: "We'll get rid of you in another way."
24 Then the order came to get up. A small van came. We boarded it.
25 We travelled for some time, until we came to the area in which we were
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 incarcerated. So the van got to in front of the door, and as soon as we
2 got out, we entered the hallway. So we couldn't see anything of our
3 surroundings because we were covered by a tarpaulin, but we were still
5 Q. Yes. Thank you. Can I ask you: How long did you remain at
7 A. I was in Batajnica for a total of 25 days.
8 Q. Were you eventually exchanged?
9 A. They took me from Batajnica to Pale, by helicopter again, and that
10 too was --
11 Q. Thank you. And can you remember [Previous translation
12 continues] ...
13 A. It was the 24th of May.
14 Q. Thank you. Now let's go to the period of time that you were in
15 Batajnica, and I want to ask you about the conditions. But I'll ask you
16 the questions, and then you can be focused on various aspects of the
17 conditions in Batajnica and things that happened there.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. di Fazio, before you do that, as a matter of
19 clarification, I'm wondering, in terms of the indictment, count 1, re:
20 persecutions, correct me if I'm wrong, but we seem to be restricted to
21 persecutions throughout the municipalities of Bosanski Samac and elsewhere
22 in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
24 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So I'm wondering what the relevance of what went
25 on in or near Belgrade has.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, would Your Honour just bear with me?
2 [Prosecution counsel confer]
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Firstly, it depicts a certain pattern in terms of
4 persecutions, in the sense of two ethnic groups being targeted,
5 perpetrators of a certain ethnic group, in other words, following the
6 pattern that occurred in Odzak and Bosanski Samac. It also is relevant to
7 the issue of systematic and widespread attack, because it shows the full
8 scope and extent of the attack on those populations, not just in one
9 geographical area but in another geographical area as well. And thirdly,
10 it also demonstrates the international nature of the conflict, in other
11 words, that people who are Bosnian, Bosnian citizens, were taken to Serbia
12 and mistreated there. So that's the reason why it's relevant. I don't
13 propose to go into this evidence chapter and verse in the same way that I
14 dealt with the conditions in Bosanski Samac, of course. I propose to deal
15 with it more speedily than I have with the other material. But they are
16 the principal reasons why it's relevant.
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: What I just wanted to add on to what you were trying
19 to explain was that, even though the indictment restricts the events, the
20 occasions, to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the territory of former
21 Yugoslavia, that's paragraph 6, maybe you are also trying to show that the
22 atmosphere and the facilities, even in Belgrade or outside this territory
23 described in the indictment, were also such that they were able to receive
24 these people, and the torture and the ill-treated continued because it was
25 directed against certain ethnic groups.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. That's one of the reasons, yes. Thank you.
2 I'm grateful to Your Honour for putting it in that way, but that is one of
3 the reasons as well why it's relevant.
4 Q. Now, Mr. Izetbegovic, perhaps you heard that exchange that I just
5 had with the Judges, and I don't want to go into what happened at
6 Batajnica in the same amount of detail that you have told us of events in
7 Bosanski Samac, but I do want to know what happened there.
8 Firstly, you've described in the past in your evidence that you
9 were forced to stand and to sing Chetnik songs, or to sing Serbian songs.
10 Did that occur at Batajnica?
11 A. Most of it occurred in Batajnica. It was the finale of the
12 beatings. I apologise. I would like to tell you about Batajnica, for
13 many reasons, because I still ask myself the question of why we had to go
14 to another state with our own state [as interpreted]. Why didn't they
15 take us to America or England or some other state? Why was it precisely
16 to Yugoslavia, the then-Yugoslavia, when we were a sovereign and
17 internationally recognised state ourselves? Why? And that is a very
18 important point, and I want to have those details expounded, not only for
19 me but with other witnesses as well.
20 Q. Thank you. Just leave that to us, Mr. Izetbegovic. But what I'm
21 actually concerned with is conditions now in Batajnica, and I'm interested
22 in the singing of songs and standing, standing up. Were you forced to
23 stand up?
24 A. Yes. From 4.00 in the morning until the evening, we had, with
25 brief intermissions for lunch, to stand.
1 Q. Was there any apparent reason why you were forced to stand?
2 A. No reason, as far as I was able to gather, except the desire to
3 torture. My hands were swollen, as were the hands of others. We had to
4 stand 30 centimetres from the wall, with our eyes bowed down, our hands
5 beside our sides. Many of us couldn't take it. We would fall down from
6 that rigidity. And if anybody did fall down, they would be beaten so hard
7 that it's difficult to describe the intensity with which they would be
9 Q. Can you tell us what sort of frequency this particular form of
10 torture took, this standing, I mean. Was it a daily occurrence, a weekly
11 occurrence in the time that you were there, every two or three days?
12 A. Every day. It happened daily. But as time went by, they would
13 introduce new forms of torture. For example, they made me crawl through a
14 small stool which was so narrow that I could hardly get my head through,
15 but I'd have to crawl through without touching it. And when I didn't
16 succeed in doing this, then they would beat me. And one of them said,
17 "You'll lose enough weight to be able to crawl through that little stool
18 in due course." And then they made us sing songs, and that's when the
19 worst thing happened in the room next door to us. Other people were
20 brought in. None of the rooms had doors. They were open apertures and
21 you could hear all the conversations taking place. You could hear
22 everything. Those people were brought in from somewhere around Bosanski
23 Brod, the village of Kolibe.
24 Q. Thank you. The question I asked you in relation to prisoners in
25 Bosanski Samac was their ethnic background. What was the ethnic
1 background of the prisoners in Batajnica?
2 A. Exclusively and only Muslims and Croats.
3 Q. Can you tell the Chamber if the prisoners that you were
4 incarcerated with at Batajnica appeared to you, for any reason, to be
5 soldiers or ex-soldiers? Perhaps I should be clearer: captured soldiers.
6 A. No. They were young soldiers, regular soldiers, conscripts that
7 were mobilised, and the reservists. In fact, it was all the Yugoslav
8 army, and the uniforms were the same, that kind of uniform.
9 Q. I think perhaps you misunderstand me. I'm talking about the
10 prisoners, the prisoners who were incarcerated with you, your fellow
11 prisoners. Were they apparently captured soldiers?
12 A. Ah, yes. In the other room, when they brought those people from
13 Bosanski Brod, one of them was wearing a camouflage uniform. They said he
14 was an American. That's what people said, that he was an American
15 mercenary. And there were two others, sort of partially dressed that
16 way. One of them had military trousers and the other had a military shirt
17 on. And then they would make us beat each other, and they would love
18 this, this spectacle, and watch it.
19 Q. Let's just stop there and let's isolate each piece of activity so
20 the Chamber can focus upon it. You've now mentioned being made to beat
21 each other. What happened on these occasions?
22 A. What happened was that when we beat each other, we tried to do
23 this as painlessly as possible, but then they would notice that we weren't
24 actually beating properly and then they'd take over. Then on one occasion
25 they beat two people up really well and good. They gave them a good and
1 proper beating. So there was no chance of beating less forcefully.
2 And the worst thing was when they started to ill-treat us
3 ourselves. They made this group of people perform oral sex on each
5 Q. Now, I'm going to ask you about that, but before I do so, can I
6 ask you if you know -- if you know the names of any persons who were
7 forced to engage in oral sex on each other, I'd ask you not to mention
8 their actual names. Do you understand? So try and describe them in some
9 other way.
10 Now, tell us if you observed any sexual mistreatment of prisoners
11 in the time that you were in Batajnica.
12 A. Yes, there was. There were such things in the second group.
13 Luckily, I myself did not experience this, but it was just a split second
14 that prevented the same thing happening to us, us nine brought in from
15 Posavina. But the other people did have to go through that, yes.
16 Q. Now, you've mentioned the second group. Which group is that? Are
17 you referring to the group from Bosanski Brod?
18 A. Yes, the group from Bosanski Brod.
19 Q. What sort of sexual mistreatment did they suffer, and how do you
20 know? How do you know that they suffered sexual mistreatment?
21 A. As we were only separated by a part of the wall, everything else
22 was open, open plan, and you could hear -- even with they were whispering,
23 you could hear what was going on and the orders that had been given. And
24 from the orders, we understood what he said. He said, "Form two lines.
25 Take the bottom part off. Turn towards each other." And then he said
1 quite clearly, "You're going to perform oral sex, first of all one kind
2 and then the other kind -- one line, sorry, one line and then the other
3 line." And that's what happened. And he would say, "This one's a
4 professional. This one's an amateur." Then they'd start beating. It was
6 And then somebody turned up. Somebody came and there was a melee
7 of some kind, and we were spared having to go through that ugly act
8 further. And allegedly -- and actually, the others never came back, those
9 who made us do that, who ordered us to do that.
10 Q. Do I take it --
11 A. They left.
12 Q. Do I take it from your last answer that this occasion was a
13 once-off occasion of sexual misconduct? It wasn't repeated again?
14 A. I experienced it only once. I don't know what happened later on,
15 whether anybody else came, because I left.
16 Q. Can you just answer my next two questions with a yes or no. Were
17 you beaten whilst you were at Batajnica?
18 A. Yes, very hard. More than in Samac.
19 Q. Thank you. Did you see other people beaten?
20 A. I only saw the nine of us being beaten, whereas in the other room,
21 when they joined us together with this other group and had to beat each
22 other, one had his skull smashed in. And Dr. Kedacic examined him and
23 said that he was a goner. And he screamed so much that it was terrible to
24 hear. And he said, "I can't help him." And they made the doctor --
25 because they knew that he was a doctor, they made him do this.
1 Q. When you were personally being beaten, were any instruments used?
2 A. They beat us in Belgrade exclusively with batons and with their
3 feet - they kicked us - and with their arms. That sort of thing.
4 Q. And what about the use of objects or instruments when other
5 people, apart from yourself, were being beaten?
6 A. I think that in the next-door room they used this, when they
7 managed to bash in the skull of this man, but in our own room, I didn't
8 notice any other objects or instruments. Possibly there were some, but I
9 didn't notice any.
10 Q. You keep referring to your own room. Do I take it that you were
11 incarcerated for a longish period of time at Batajnica with the same group
12 of prisoners?
13 A. Yes. There were nine of us. We were all together in one room all
14 the time.
15 Q. Bosanski Samac people?
16 A. Yes, from Bosanski Samac.
17 Q. Can you remember some of them, some of their names, the nine of
18 you who were together in the one room?
19 A. Mr. Tihic, Mr. Lukac, Mr. Barukcic, Mr. Sejo the policeman,
20 [redacted] Mr. Dragicevic, Mr. Anto the vet.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. Myself. Is that nine?
23 Q. That's close enough. Thank you, Mr. Izetbegovic. [redacted]
2 Q. Thank you. At the time that you were in Batajnica, were you
3 interrogated from time to time?
4 A. Yes. I was taken out three times. They would come to fetch me,
5 put handcuffs on me, tie my eyes and take me off somewhere. I assume that
6 it was 3 or 4 kilometres away, because that's how long we spent in the
7 vehicle. So I judged it to be that far away.
8 Then I was led off by two people with my eyes blindfolded until
9 they brought me to a room where they would interview me, interrogate me.
10 Then they would take off my handcuffs, untie my blindfold, and I was able
11 to see the room I was in and the people who were interviewing me. There
12 were three of them or two of them.
13 Q. During these occasions, were you beaten?
14 A. No, not then. They did their work professionally. They were
15 solicitous even. They gave me cigarettes, asked me if I was hungry. I
16 suppose those are the methods they employ. They work that way.
17 Q. What sort of questions were you asked during these
19 A. They asked me all kinds of things related to state authority, the
20 party business, who I had contacted in Belgrade of the military
21 authorities. I was somebody through whom an exchange had gone of Vukovar,
22 and I know that -- the gentleman knew full well that I was the
23 representative of the authorities from Bosanski Samac and I was in charge
24 of civilian defence, civil defence for one period, and those were my
25 obligations and responsibilities. Then there were people from the
1 ministries of Bosnia. There was a police minister from Belgrade. And
2 General Tomanov who came from Belgrade, who was head of Kos for Yugoslavia
3 at the time. I knew him very well. Then there was General Puljic and
4 many other important people.
5 Q. Do I understand you that you were asked questions about these
7 A. Yes, you understood correctly. They asked me about those people,
8 what I had to do with them. And I kept repeating, "Please, if you can,
9 could you bring General Tomanov here? He knows about all my activities
10 and my intentions, what they were, that I'm not to blame for anything."
11 And I kept saying that if they put me in contact with him, that he would
12 take me under his protection, that they would release me. But they didn't
13 allow that to happen. And they asked me what I talked to him about when I
14 had the meeting with the general. So that is that unfortunate UDBA
15 organisation, and the police that never works the way it should.
16 And on two occasions ...
17 Q. I just want to ask you if on any occasion that -- during your
18 period of time in Batajnica, or indeed in Bosanski Samac, when you were
19 locked up, incarcerated, if you were ever told of any charge that had been
20 brought against you, the nature of the charge, the nature of any wrong
21 that you had committed.
22 A. I was told that I was charged with having overthrown and taken
23 part in the breakdown of the Yugoslav system. I don't remember what
24 count. And I thought, What Yugoslavia? We're no longer in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We are Bosnia-Herzegovina, a recognised state. It
1 was nowhere in my mind to overthrow or break down something and to make it
2 topple. I wouldn't have know how to go about anything like that anyway.
3 Q. When were you informed of the charge of having overthrown or taken
4 part in the breakdown of the Yugoslav system; whilst at Batajnica or in
5 Bosanski Samac?
6 A. The first processing took place in Bosanski Samac, and then in
7 Batajnica, that was at the end, because a big file followed me there, and
8 they had a big file on me in front of them there. And I heard about some
9 things for the first time there. They told me who I was and what I was.
10 I had no idea that I was that kind of person. And all that was the same
11 was my name and surname. But they told me all these things and charged me
12 with having overthrown the system, and what were my intentions in future.
13 And they condemned me and read out my death sentence in front of a
14 line-up. And they said that the execution would take place over the next
15 few days when they read all this out, the charges.
16 Q. We'll get to the death sentence in just a moment, but let's go
17 back to the first processing in Bosanski Samac. I asked you when you were
18 first informed about the charge of insurrection or overthrowing the
19 Yugoslav system, and you said the first processing took place in Bosanski
20 Samac. Do I take it from that answer that you meant that you were first
21 informed of the charge in Bosanski Samac? Just answer yes or no.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Who informed you of the charge?
24 A. I was told that by the person interviewing me, Mr. Vlado
25 Sarkanovic, the interrogator.
1 Q. Thanks. Now, let's go back to Batajnica. You mentioned a death
2 sentence, when you were lined up and told. Firstly, were you the only
3 person to be informed on this occasion of a death sentence? In other
4 words, were you the only person lined up?
5 A. Nine of us from Bosanski Samac were all lined up, and Mr. Tihic
6 was told, "You are the lawyer. You were the public prosecutor. You are
7 well-versed in reading out things of this kind." So he read it out to
8 me. To all nine of us, actually. For us two there was this sentence.
9 And he brought Belgrade newspapers where this had been published anyway.
10 Q. On this occasion when you were lined up and told that the death
11 sentence had been passed upon you, were you informed what it was for? In
12 other words, was there some connection between the imposition of this
13 death sentence and overthrowing the system or whatever that you'd been
14 informed about in Bosanski Samac?
15 A. It was mostly based on everything from Bosanski Samac. And they
16 kept talking about the undermining and overthrow of the system and the
17 failure to report for the mobilisation of the army, that he hadn't
18 responded to the call-up, that I was seen as a deserter. And I said,
19 "Well, it's no longer my army. It was once, but it is no longer my
20 army. It's a different country altogether, a different state
21 altogether." That was my defence. I defended myself in that way.
22 However, they did what they wanted to, and that's how everything ended.
23 Q. You say they kept talking about the undermining and the overthrow
24 of the system and the failure to report for the mobilisation of the army.
25 Who kept talking on about that?
1 A. Well, precisely those people who interrogated us throughout that
2 time, Sarkanovic in Bosanski Samac and the ones in Belgrade, because they
3 were the only ones that gave us reasons for which we were there. That was
4 the reason they gave.
5 Q. Thank you. That explains it. If you can answer my next question
6 with a yes or no, please do. In the time that you were incarcerated in
7 Bosanski Samac and Batajnica, did you ever have access to a lawyer or
8 facilities to defend yourself against these charges?
9 A. Nothing existed there that was anything similar to a civilised
10 form of conduct. The lawyer was something you could only dream about. On
11 one occasion in Belgrade, I asked for a physician, to see a doctor because
12 I was in pain, I had a lot of pain. And they said, "You'll get a
13 doctor." And then they came by in the evening and gave me an even greater
14 beating. He said, "I'm the doctor and here you are." Heaven forbid, no
15 lawyer of any kind, nor did anybody ever ask us. All we had to do was to
16 keep quiet, to keep silent, and they would inform us, they would tell us.
17 We didn't have the right to say anything. If we told the truth, we would
18 be beaten. If we said what they liked to hear, well, they would accept it
19 and support it and then give us a lecture back and brainwash us.
20 Q. Thank you. In the time that you were at Batajnica, did [redacted]
21 [redacted] Franjo Barukcic leave the prison or the cells?
22 A. You mean where they separated them from us?
23 Q. No, no. What I mean was were they actually permanently taken away
24 from the prison at Batajnica or the place that you were detained at
1 A. I was taken away first, so I don't know what happened after that.
2 Q. And what about Mr. Tihic, Sulejman Tihic? Was he still there when
3 you were taken away or had he been transferred somewhere else?
4 A. All I learnt was after the camp, Tihic was taken to Mitrovica the
5 next day. One day after me, he was taken to Mitrovica. Some were
6 returned. [redacted] others were taken back to Samac, but the
7 others were taken away. I learnt that when we met up again after the
9 Q. Now, you've given evidence that you were transferred eventually
10 from Batajnica. Where were you taken?
11 A. I was transferred to Pale, to General Mladic, and I had personal
12 contacts with him.
13 Q. We'll get there in due course, but first of all, can you remember
14 the date on which you were transferred?
15 A. I was transferred on the 24th of May.
16 Q. Were you transferred alone or did other prisoners go with you?
17 A. Just me.
18 Q. How were you transferred?
19 A. By helicopter.
20 Q. Was it a civilian helicopter or an army helicopter, air force
22 A. Army helicopter, and there were 25 people armed to the teeth in
23 it, soldiers, army soldiers belonging to the Yugoslav army who were going
24 on assignment to Pale as reinforcements.
25 Q. What happened when you arrived at Pale?
1 A. When I arrived at Pale -- before the helicopter started, let me
2 just mention that an officer came up to me. He was a captain by rank, a
3 young man. He was a captain in the Yugoslav army. You could see that he
4 was something different than many of the others. He gave me some
5 cigarettes. He said, "We don't know each other. I know what you have had
6 to go through. I'm very sorry for that. I don't know where you're
7 going." But he gave me a couple of boxes of cigarettes. He talked to
8 me. He showed me some planes, the plane that had come from America or
9 Canada, the one that Kikas, whom I was in the room with, had brought the
10 weapons. He showed two airplanes of the presidency of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He said, "Those are the planes." And he was a very
12 nice man, very frank, and his conduct was very proper. He said goodbye to
13 me very nicely. He said, "See how you're going to fare." And that's it.
14 We got to Pale, but on the way I was so frightened that they might
15 throw me out, because from the very beginning they had masked their faces,
16 were using different paints and colours, and they were prepared for an
17 immediate assignment. And I think that's what happened as soon as we
18 landed. We got out and we heard the people greeting them, saying, "Have
19 you brought Izetbegovic?" And the person in charge of me said, "Yes,
20 General." Now, which general it was, I don't know, but when I got out,
21 General Mladic was standing there and he introduced himself, said, "I'm
22 General Mladic." That was the first time that I had heard of him.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
24 Now, if Your Honours please, I think you can tell that I'm nearing
25 the end of my examination-in-chief, and I'll finish it -- it's now 1.00.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 With the leave of the Chamber, I suggest that we break, and I could finish
2 this witness's testimony tomorrow.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, because it's our lunch-hour break. And the
4 question that Judge Williams raised about the indictment limiting the
5 activities to the territory, and the point which I made, perhaps the
6 Prosecution should look at this seriously concerning the whole indictment
7 and the charges and see whether or not at this early stage it would be
8 necessary to have an amendment.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: It's your case, so you decide.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: We shall rise and continue tomorrow at 0930 hours.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.02 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 17th day of
15 October, 2001, at 9.30 a.m.