1 Monday, 22 October 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The registrar please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Case number
8 IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Milan Simic, Miroslav
9 Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Good morning. Yes, Mr. Zecevic.
11 MR. ZECEVIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
13 MR. ZECEVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. With the permission of
14 the Court, we would like to have our two assistants Ms. Maja Dokmanovic
15 and Ms. Sipetic, Vanja present in the courtroom. We overlooked last week
16 that we were supposed to ask for the permission of the Court that they
17 sit. We sort of understood that the policy is that we can have our case
18 managers and assistants as well in the courtroom.
19 I'm sorry for this -- that we overlooked this, but I'm using this
20 opportunity now to ask the Trial Chamber. Thank you so much.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. They're allowed to sit in the courtroom as
22 long as they're properly identified.
23 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: So they can sit in the proceedings.
25 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: The Prosecution is continuing examination-in-chief.
2 Witness, you are still under solemn declaration and good morning
3 to you.
4 WITNESS: HASAN BICIC [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
7 MS. REIDY: Good morning, Your Honours. Before I continue
8 examination-in-chief, may I raise two short questions? One is the
9 Prosecution bench would just like to know whether or not we intend to sit
10 this afternoon from 3.30 until 5.00.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: It is the intention of the Trial Chamber, because we
12 were informed by the Registrar that the facilities are there. So for now,
13 we are sitting in the afternoon as well.
14 MS. REIDY: Thank you very much, Your Honours.
15 The second issue is just a matter of a document which was
16 disclosed to us on Friday by Defence counsel, and that document relates to
17 this witness. And my understanding is that the Defence intend to use it
18 in their cross-examination of this witness. Now, I'm not suggesting that
19 the late disclosure of this was in any way a trick or anything, it was
20 simply because, as is on the record, when exactly this witness would be
21 heard was still very much up in the air.
22 The consequence, however, is that one of those documents I've
23 had -- didn't know existed. I had no chance to take any instruction on
24 it. I've discussed with Defence counsel, and what I would like to ask the
25 permission of the Chamber is whether during the break this morning one of
1 the investigators from the Prosecution team could show that document to
2 the witness, just ask about -- solely about that document and take
3 instructions on it and then report back to me on that document. And I
4 understand from the Defence this morning that they wouldn't oppose that
5 way of proceeding if the Chamber was minded to grant permission.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I just want confirmation from the Defence.
7 MR. ZECEVIC: We don't object to that. That is right. The point
8 was that we understood that Mr. Muhamed Bicic will take the stand first,
9 and that is why we tried everything, with all our resources, to disclose
10 these documents relating to Muhamed Bicic and only then it was changed to
11 Hasan Bicic. That was why we disclosed it this late on Friday. Thank
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. So the investigator will be allowed to get
14 instructions from the witness on the document during the break.
15 MS. REIDY: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
16 Examined by Ms. Reidy: [Continued]
17 Q. Mr. Bicic, on Friday we finished the session discussing an
18 incident in which you told the Chamber you had been stopped at a
19 checkpoint manned by personnel in JNA uniform, and you, and I believe your
20 vehicle, had been searched. You also then began to tell the Chamber about
21 information that you had been given from an acquaintance of yours that
22 they had heard someone instruct the people at the checkpoint that you
23 should be stopped and searched.
24 On that point, I just want to clarify one or two matters. Can I
25 ask you: Have you heard of a unit called the 4th Detachment?
1 A. Yes, I have.
2 Q. What do you understand the 4th Detachment to be?
3 A. It's difficult for me to define it now in a sentence, but I would
4 say that it was an organised group of people, of uniformed individuals,
5 who had some kind of training and organisation of their own, and it was
6 common knowledge that their command, or headquarters, was in the AS Cafe,
7 the proprietor of which was Mr. Tadic.
8 Q. When you say "uniformed men," what kind of uniform are you talking
10 A. Well, I'm talking about military uniforms. I think they were
11 within the composition of the then Yugoslav People's Army.
12 Q. You said it was common knowledge that the headquarters was in Cafe
13 AS, and that was owned by Mr. Tadic. Do you know whether any of the other
14 defendants had a connection to the 4th Detachment?
15 A. I think that Mr. Zaric was one of the commanders or organisers of
16 the 4th Detachment.
17 Q. Now, again on Friday, you had -- I'm going to ask you one
18 question: When did you become aware, if you can remember, about the
19 existence of this so-called 4th Detachment?
20 A. I think several months prior to the conflict, before the war,
21 before the occupation.
22 Q. Thank you. Then on Friday you gave evidence that members of the
23 4th Detachment had been sitting in a cafe near a JNA checkpoint at Crkvina
24 and that they were providing the persons manning the checkpoint with
25 information as to who to stop.
1 A. I heard that from one of the locals from the village who was a
2 client of mine - I don't remember his name - who used to come by my
3 place. The young man told me seven days afterwards that he was present in
4 the restaurant, he was in the restaurant - because it's a large restaurant
5 which is called Trile - when one of the members of the 4th Detachment,
6 whom I knew to be a member of the detachment, had said that they should
7 stop me and search me because I probably had something on me that was of
8 interest to them, but I don't think I had anything that would interest
10 MS. REIDY: Thank you.
11 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have an objection.
12 In the question, the Prosecutor said, "You said on --" "Then on Friday you
13 gave evidence that members of the 4th Detachment had been sitting in a
14 cafe near a JNA checkpoint," but in fact, the witness did not say that.
15 He said members of the JNA, that they were members of the JNA. So could
16 we clarify that? And in his answer, he said members of -- not members of
17 the 4th Detachment, but other members. So could we clarify who was
18 sitting -- who were the members at the checkpoint, sitting where they
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I'm sure the Prosecution have understood that
21 and can seek clarification from the witness.
22 MS. REIDY:
23 Q. Mr. Bicic, the confusion appears to be the difference between the
24 people who were at the checkpoint and the people who were sitting in the
25 cafe where you -- that you were told about. I think it's clear from the
1 record, but could you just once again emphasise for us: The people on the
2 checkpoint, who were they? And then were also members of the 4th
3 Detachment there? And then who were the people sitting in the cafe who
4 you understand were passing intelligence information to the checkpoint?
5 A. I think I was quite clear. I said that at the checkpoint there
6 were persons in uniform, wearing the uniform of the JNA, whom I did not
7 know. And it is also clear that I said that I was passed on information
8 that there was information put out that I should be stopped and searched,
9 and this was sent out by the members of the 4th Detachment who were in the
10 restaurant called Trile, which is between Bosanski Samac and the
11 checkpoint. And I think that's clear. I don't think there's any
12 misunderstanding there.
13 Q. No. Thank you. I think that's now crystal clear. I'm going to
14 ask you: In the -- this period before the 17th of April, were you a
15 member of a political party at the time?
16 A. I was not a member of a political party, any political party up
17 until then, but I did vote, and I can tell you that I voted for the SDA
18 party. And the information there was accessible to one and all.
19 So I was automatically in favour of the party, although I did not
20 attend any of the party meetings except a founding session of the party, I
21 think it was, with all the ethnic groups represented. I think that it
22 took place in the Mitar Trifunovic memorial centre. But in principle, I
23 was not a member of the party, neither did I take part in the work of the
24 party or attend its party meetings.
25 Q. Were you a member of any other organised group, for example, the
1 Territorial Defence?
2 A. No, I was not a member of the Territorial Defence either, although
3 I had heard that I was on some lists. Now, who compiled those lists and
4 following whose orders, I really don't know.
5 Q. Did you ever have any discussions with anybody about joining the
6 Territorial Defence?
7 A. I think that possibly there were some contacts but nothing
8 official, no official meetings. And my agreement or anything like that
9 was not the case.
10 Q. At this time, were you in possession of any weapons?
11 A. Yes, I was.
12 Q. Which weapons did you possess?
13 A. I had a pistol, which I came by legally with a permit from MUP.
14 And later on, I bought two automatic rifles, one for my brother and one
15 for myself, because that was the general trend. Everybody was arming
16 themselves. And some people did so allegedly legally, that is to say,
17 they were armed by the army or Territorial Defence, or they were
18 themselves in a situation where they could seize weapons from the police
19 and Territorial Defence. And when I say that, I mean the Serbs and some
20 of their supporters, or if I can say so, sympathetic Muslims, Muslims who
21 were sympathetic towards them.
22 And on the other hand, the other side who was not able to come by
23 any weaponry or take it from the Territorial Defence had to fend for
24 themselves. They had to buy something on the black market in order to
25 defend themselves from the aggression.
1 Q. You said these two weapons which you acquired were from the --
2 what was your intention? What did you intend to do with these weapons,
3 having illegally acquired them?
4 A. Well, first of all, we procured those weapons so that if the need
5 arose, we could defend our homes and families and town. And also at that
6 time, you could buy a bomb at the marketplace, just like pears or apples
7 or eggs, whatever.
8 Q. Do I take it that you had one pistol which was licensed, two newly
9 acquired automatic rifles? Was that the extent of the weapons that were
10 in your home, or did you have other weapons?
11 A. We had other weapons as well; a pistol. My brother had a pistol,
12 and he came by it the same way that I did, with a -- legally licensed from
13 the MUP. He was a hunter, and he had a hunting rifle as well. And that
14 would be all. Those were the weapons we had.
15 Q. You said you had acquired the weapons, the two automatic rifles,
16 with the intention of defending yourself if it came to that. Who were you
17 going to defend, yourself or your family living with you at the time in
18 Bosanski Samac?
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 Q. Did your family remain with you in Bosanski Samac up until the
21 night of the takeover?
22 A. Luckily, no, they didn't.
23 Q. Where were your family at the time of the takeover?
24 A. Some five or six days before this, before the takeover of power,
25 I -- as luck would have it, I transferred my family across the border to
1 Croatia to stay with friends.
2 Q. What made you to decide then to take your family to Croatia?
3 A. Well, first and foremost, it was the wartime psychosis that
4 prevailed, and then the general events. I'm speaking about the explosions
5 that took place and the situation in general, the barricades that had been
6 erected. Quite simply, there was this aura of war. You could feel the
7 smell of war, in fact.
8 And I wasn't the only one to evacuate my family. The Serbs had
9 done that even before me, and I think some Croats as well. They took
10 their families away; the first to Serb villages, the second to Croatian
11 villages or to Serbia proper in Croatia. But nobody had to tell me this,
12 because there was a general feeling in town. The town had become
13 practically empty, and you could see this especially at night. You could
14 see where the lights were on in the windows and where they weren't in the
15 neighbouring houses.
16 Q. With all this general, as you call it, war psychosis, were there
17 meetings held in the community to try to discuss what was happening?
18 A. Well, there were probably quite a few of those meetings, but I
19 remember attending one particular meeting and that was held outside in the
20 open air, in a town square, and I think it was approximately seven days
21 before the occupation of Samac.
22 Q. Can you tell us who spoke at that meeting?
23 A. There were several speakers. I can't remember them all now, but I
24 do remember that amongst them were Mr. Simo Zaric, Borislav Pisarevic, an
25 elderly lady. She was a Muslim whose sons were in the Serb police force.
1 I can't remember her name. So there were quite a number of people who
2 spoke at that -- well, let's call it meeting, rally.
3 Q. And what exactly was the contents of the speeches made at that
4 rally? Or not exactly, but in general, what was the message that the
5 speakers were trying to give to those assembled?
6 A. Well, it ran along the following lines: that there will not be a
7 war, that people should not flee, that tensions were quietening down. And
8 quite simply, what I thought they were doing was trying to say that there
9 would be no war. That would be the gist of it and the message from that
10 rally, as I saw it.
11 Q. And did you believe the message?
12 A. Well, luckily I did not believe it, no.
13 Q. So what did you do, then, after this rally, even though you had
14 been told that there had been no reason to get worried about impending
16 A. I believed -- well, just to show how much I believed the meeting
17 was that, that very night I transferred my family out of there.
18 Q. And you testified that this meeting took place approximately a
19 week before the takeover. I'd like to bring you now to the events on the
20 16th and 17th of April. Do you remember what you were doing on the 16th
21 of April in 1992?
22 A. I do remember that day. I think on that day, or rather, that
23 evening, the war psychosis has reached its culmination. And I had my
24 customary working day. And sometime towards evening, or perhaps 8.00 or
25 9.00 in the evening - that was the peak period for our catering
1 enterprise - usually it was jammed with customers. But this time there
2 were only five or six customers, and you couldn't see anybody in the
3 streets. There were no passersby. Everybody seemed to have either left
4 Samac or withdrawn to their own homes, stayed at home in their flats or
6 And in one of the large buildings, on the left-hand side, opposite
7 my pizzeria - it was an apartment building with about 20 apartments - I
8 saw that at that time, only three -- there were lights on in only three of
9 the apartments in the building. And this war psychosis, quite simply, and
10 the atmosphere that prevailed in town had reached a peak. There was so
11 much tension and nervousness around.
12 Q. You said you had only very few customers in your pizzeria that
13 evening. Did you have any particular discussions or conversations with
14 anyone about why there were so few people that particular evening?
15 A. Well, we were outside, in front of the pizzeria. It was around
16 9.00 in the evening. I think there were a few people sitting inside. I
17 was standing outside with someone, and of course, the topic of our
18 conversation was the wartime psychosis and everything accompanying it.
19 Q. Did you remain in your pizzeria that evening?
20 A. I closed it early that evening, very early.
21 Q. And where did you go after you had closed your pizzeria?
22 A. After that, I went home. But I would like to add something before
23 I locked up.
24 Q. Please go ahead.
25 A. At one point - it was around 9.00 p.m., when I was chatting with
1 my neighbours and some of my customers in front of my pizzeria - a
2 neighbour of mine from the building I mentioned across from my pizzeria,
3 on the left-hand side, approached me to a distance of about five metres
4 and called me to one side. His name was Mladen Jordic. I knew him from
5 before. Our parents were acquaintances. He called me to one side, and he
6 asked me what was going on. He said, "What's going on, neighbour? You
7 wouldn't shoot at me, would you?" I think I replied that I assumed he
8 knew what was going on and that I wouldn't shoot at anyone, nor would I
9 shoot at him, and that I wasn't interested in that at all. I think he
10 knew what was about to happen, just as I did. I mention this because of
11 some events that followed later on.
12 Q. Thank you. Before you provide us with that testimony, you said
13 that you had, I think, closed your pizzeria and that you had gone home.
14 Can you tell us, then, how the events of that evening unfolded, as best as
15 you can recall?
16 A. Well, nothing special, until about perhaps 3.00 a.m., when
17 detonations were heard from various directions around the town, and
18 perhaps in the town itself.
19 Q. What did you do when you heard, what you called, detonations?
20 A. First, I thought that the war had really started. After that, I
21 went out onto the balcony, and I saw that some of my neighbours were
22 already out in the street. They all looked very disturbed, upset. And so
23 I also went out in front of my house.
24 Q. Did you -- when you went outside of your house, did you discover
25 any information that could tell you what was going on?
1 A. Well, there were various rumours going around. There was
2 speculation. But I thought -- well, I think there was panic. I think
3 there was quite a lot of disinformation, information people heard on the
4 phone from various parts of town, so that there was fear among the
6 Q. So what did you do? Did you stay outside in front of your house
7 with your neighbours, or did you do something else?
8 A. We stayed there for quite some time. I don't know how many
9 hours. And after that, I went as far as the town centre to try to see for
10 myself what was going on. But as I said, there was general panic. The
11 explosions and shooting were quite loud. People started panicking, and I
12 think many people used that day or that afternoon to flee from the town.
13 I think they had an opportunity to flee through Bosnia, or rather, over
14 the bridge on the River Bosna, which had not yet been destroyed. And
15 after that, I think they found ways to flee to Croatia.
16 Q. Thank you. I understand that night was quite panicky. After
17 you'd been downtown and that, what did you do for the rest of that night
18 and morning?
19 A. I was in two minds as to whether I should flee or whether I should
20 stay in my house. I tried discussing this situation and both options with
21 my brother, but -- unfortunately, we decided to stay at home.
22 Q. And did you just stay at home and wait, or did you try to find out
23 further information as to what was going on?
24 A. Well, I stayed. I don't know myself what I was waiting for, but I
25 stayed at home thinking I had a right to stay at home. And after some
1 time, I tried to get some information about what was really going on in
2 our town.
3 Q. How did you try to get that information?
4 A. I tried to think about who I could call and who could give me
5 correct information, someone who was influential, someone I knew and who
6 knew me, and then I phoned. I decided to call Mr. Borislav Pisarevic, and
7 I talked to him about the situation.
8 Q. Can I just clarify for the record? You said you called someone
9 that you knew. How did you know Mr. Pisarevic previously?
10 A. Mr. Pisarevic was a very well-known lawyer, and he used to
11 represent me as well. Apart from that, he was a customer of mine. So we
12 knew each other, and I had no reason not to trust him.
13 Q. When you called Mr. Pisarevic, what was he able to tell you?
14 A. Mr. Pisarevic told me that as far as he knew, the best thing to do
15 would be to stay calm. He said that weapons were being collected from
16 people and that if we had any weapons, we should hand them over to the
17 army, the police, or someone who was collecting weapons.
18 Q. When exactly, or as close, can you remember did you make the
19 telephone call to Mr. Pisarevic?
20 A. I couldn't tell you exactly now, but I think it was late in the
21 afternoon on that day when the occupation of our town began. I think it
22 was in the late afternoon or perhaps the early evening.
23 Q. And when you say "that day," do you mean the 17th of April?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you follow Mr. Pisarevic's advice?
1 A. I think I had no choice. The detonations were already coming from
2 all directions, from my street as well, and it was too dangerous to go
3 outside. So I simply obeyed and stayed at home, waiting for someone to
4 come and collect the weapons and to hand over our weapons to them.
5 I had the impression that the town was completely occupied and
6 that there was even fighting, although later I heard that there had been
7 no fighting but only intimidation and simply occupation.
8 Q. According to you, on the telephone Mr. Pisarevic said you should
9 prepare your weapons. You testified you had a number of weapons in your
10 home. What did you do with those weapons?
11 A. Nothing. The weapons were in the room. I was with my brother in
12 his apartment in our family house, and we waited. We simply waited. We
13 felt great uncertainty. Throughout the night, we were waiting to see what
14 would happen, and this feeling of expectation was mixed with fear.
15 Q. Did someone come to collect the weapons?
16 A. Yes. They came on the following day.
17 Q. Can you tell us what happened when people came to collect the
19 A. On the following day, that is, on the 18th of April - I think it
20 was in the morning; I don't remember exactly at what time - we heard
21 especially strong detonations around our house. We had already pulled
22 down all the blinds so that we didn't know what was going on outside. But
23 by the sound, we concluded that -- or, rather, by the sound of vehicle
24 engines, we thought that there were armoured vehicles. And by the sound
25 of the detonations, we thought they were large-calibre weapons.
1 So on the 18th of April, in the morning, I had the feeling that
2 our house was surrounded. And they were yelling very loudly - I think
3 they even had a loudspeaker - telling us to open the door, that they were
4 coming for our weapons.
5 Q. Did you open the door?
6 A. Yes. Well, in fact, the weapons were lying on the floor in the
7 room. Neither of us wanted to use the weapons. I think we had no
8 chance. We tried to open the door, but as we were trying to open it, when
9 we had opened it only a crack, the people in uniform - I don't recall what
10 uniforms they were, but I think they were all in military
11 uniforms - kicked the door in, and at the same moment they hit my brother
12 with a rifle butt. He fell down. And they pushed me. They didn't hit
13 me, but they pushed me, and I fell. They ordered me to get up, and they
14 put a knife to my throat.
15 Q. You said that you think these people were in military uniform.
16 Did you recognise any of them?
17 A. I said they were all in military uniform, but I was unable to
18 recognise any of them. Some of them wore masks and some had paint on
19 their faces so that their faces were black or -- well, they were covered
20 with paint, olive-grey. I think it was more black, black paint. I didn't
21 know any of them, or at any rate, I couldn't recognise anyone.
22 Q. You said they had hit your brother and they had a knife at your
23 throat. What else did they do? Did they ask you questions? Did they
24 take any further action?
25 A. Well, before they asked any questions, they did all this with a
1 lot of cursing. They cursed our Ustasha and balija mothers, threatening
2 to kill us, to cut our throats, or both. They asked for valuables. And
3 while some of them were holding us - and they had a knife to my throat,
4 and my brother was lying on the floor with an automatic rifle pointed at
5 his head - they asked where we kept our gold jewellery, our money. And
6 while they were questioning us like this, others were already ransacking
7 the house.
8 Q. What did they do with the weapons which you say you had laid out
9 on the floor?
10 A. As far as we were able to talk and explain that some of these
11 weapons were legally held, that we had licences from the MUP and so on, we
12 tried, but I think this did not have any effect. I think they were very
13 happy about the pistols, because they wanted them. They were vying with
14 each other as to who should get them. I think they had a high value on
15 the market. They were good pistols.
16 Q. The pistols are the ones which were the legal weapons?
17 A. Yes. They were pistols we had bought on the legal market, with a
18 licence from the MUP, and at that time people held them in high regard. I
19 think they were called CZ-99. They were produced domestically, but they
20 were very good pistols, and I think they wanted to keep them. Anyway,
21 they took all our weapons and they beat us, so I wasn't paying attention
22 to the weapons.
23 Q. When they beat you, what were they using to beat you?
24 A. Well, they beat us with rifle butts and they also kicked us, and
25 they had boots on their feet.
1 Q. Where did they kick you or hit you with the rifle butt?
2 A. All over my body.
3 Q. Did you sustain injuries from these kicks and hits?
4 A. Well, yes, I did, but at that moment I don't think I felt any
5 pain, because the situation was to survive or not.
6 Q. You testified that these military persons were wearing -- had
7 masks or painted faces. Could you recognise anything about them, though,
8 for example, through their accents?
9 A. I was unable to recognise anyone. As I said, some of them wore
10 masks and others had their faces painted. But it was very
11 characteristic - and I recognised this, I couldn't help but recognise
12 it - and that was their dialect, the dialect they used to speak to each
13 other. It was purely Serbian dialect.
14 Q. Did all the people speak with this dialect or only some of the
16 A. I think that the ones who spoke and who at that moment were
17 looting or beating us, that they used a Serbian dialect from Serbia.
18 Q. After the events you described, did the -- the soldiers, did they
20 A. They didn't leave. They pushed us out, out of our house, battered
21 as we were. In front of the house, a white Golf was parked. They pushed
22 us into that Golf, and I think there were three soldiers with us. They
23 put me in the back seat between two soldiers. One was driving. My
24 brother was sitting in front.
25 They pointed guns or, rather, pistols at both of us. A pistol
1 was -- there was a pistol against my forehead and another one against the
2 back of my brother's neck, and then they drove us away.
3 Q. When you were driving away, did you know where they were going to
4 take you?
5 A. No, I didn't know where they were taking us, but I began to
6 think. I thought this was the end and that they were taking us to the
7 River Sava to shoot us there, because that was the direction we were
8 driving in approximately.
9 Q. Did they in fact take you to the River Sava, or did you end up
10 somewhere else?
11 A. They took us, and it was in the direction of the Sava, but they
12 took us to the front of the police station, the MUP station in Bosanski
14 MS. REIDY: Could I ask if the usher would mind placing before the
15 witness the Exhibit 9 -- P9D, which was marked by the witness on Friday.
16 Q. Mr. Bicic, I was wondering, in front of you marked with the number
17 "1" and "2" the location of your house and pizzeria, if possible, could
18 you mark with a number "3" the SUP building where you say you were taken
19 in the white Golf. If you could use the pen and mark that on the map.
20 A. I think, as far as I can find my way on this map, I have marked
21 the place where the police station was.
22 Q. Thank you very much. So you were taken to the SUP in the white
23 Golf. Can you please tell the Chamber what happened upon your arrival at
24 the SUP?
25 A. When we arrived at the police station, I noticed a large group of
1 people in uniforms. I think there might have been even as many as 30 of
2 them. They ordered us to get out of the car and said that we were to go
3 into the police station.
4 Q. Do I take it that you went into the police station?
5 A. We wanted to go in. That was what they had ordered us to do. But
6 in the meantime, this group of soldiers or these people wearing uniforms
7 lined up in front of the entrance to the police station. They made a sort
8 of line, and we had to go through this line on either side of us to go
9 into the police station.
10 MS. REIDY: Could I ask the usher, would the usher mind showing
11 the witness Exhibit P14A, number 43.
12 Q. If you can see in front of you, is this the building that you were
13 taken to in the white Golf?
14 A. Yes, that's right. That's the building. It's the police station
15 in Samac.
16 Q. Would you mind just pointing out on the photograph where exactly
17 these men were when you said they lined up and you were to go between
19 A. I said that they were in front of the police station, and this
20 double line was at the entrance itself. This is the door, and they were
21 lined up in two columns here, and we had to pass between them.
22 Q. So you said you had to go through this line. Did they beat you or
23 do anything else to you whilst you were going through this line?
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Counsel, avoid leading questions, please.
25 MS. REIDY: Sorry, Your Honour. I'll rephrase that question.
1 Q. You said you went through the line into the police station. Could
2 you tell us if anything happened on your way into the police station.
3 A. Yes. We had to run the gauntlet. And from the first man to the
4 last man, they took advantage of this and seized the opportunity to beat
5 us. And while beating us, they swore at us, cursed us, and so forth.
6 They beat us all over our bodies with whatever they had at hand, with
7 their rifles. And if one of us would fall from the blow he had received
8 or the pain, they would proceed to kick us and make us get up. So we had
9 to pass through and to run the gauntlet.
10 Q. You said they swore at you and cursed you. What sort of swearing
11 and cursing was that?
12 A. The usual kind of swear words that they used. They cursed our
13 Ustasha mothers, our balija mothers, and sometimes our Muslim mothers as
15 Q. When you had finished running the gauntlet, what happened to you
16 then? I presume at this stage you were in the SUP.
17 A. Yes. When we succeeded in passing through this double line, in
18 the corridor inside the SUP building, I met Todorovic.
19 Q. And who was Mr. Todorovic?
20 A. Mr. Todorovic was -- well, I was to learn later on, in fact, that
21 he was the head of the Serb police, chief of police of that part that they
22 had taken control of through the occupation. But otherwise, I knew him.
23 Q. You knew Mr. Todorovic before this meeting at the SUP entrance; is
24 that -- that's correct?
25 A. I did know him, yes, well. He was a frequent customer in my
2 Q. What -- or did anything -- did anything happen when you met
3 Mr. Todorovic in the corridor inside the SUP building?
4 A. Yes. I tried to ask him, as I assumed that he held some sort of
5 function and that he wielded some sort of influence, what was actually
6 going on, what was happening to us and why, why we had been brought there
7 and why they were behaving towards us in the way that they were.
8 Q. Did you get an answer from Mr. Todorovic?
9 A. Yes. His answer was somewhat unusual. Todorovic's answer was a
10 little unusual.
11 Q. What was his answer?
12 A. He said something that first came into his head, I think. He
13 wanted to accuse us. What he said was, "Keep quiet and don't ask any
14 questions. In your pizza bar, the HDZ members meet regularly." And that
15 was quite absurd, because first of all, I myself am a Muslim; second of
16 all, members of all the ethnic groups frequented my catering
17 establishment. So the answer to me seemed to be ridiculous. Looking at
18 it -- looking back at it now, I thought it was rather unusual for him to
19 say that.
20 Q. After he had given you the answer, did he leave you alone?
21 A. He went off, or I think he did, whereas my brother and I were
22 separated into two different rooms, if I remember correctly.
23 Q. Where were you taken?
24 A. It was on the ground floor. They took me off to an office, and
25 there was a big wooden, heavy writing desk in that office. On the desk,
1 there was a plate of glass which was broken, and the fragments of that
2 broken glass were on the table, on the desk.
3 Q. What happened when you entered this office?
4 A. I had my back turned towards the door, and at one point I suddenly
5 felt that I just had to turn around, and I did. I turned around to see
6 what had made me want to turn around.
7 Q. And when you turned around, what had made you want to turn
9 A. At that particular moment, I happened to see my neighbour, Mladen
10 Djordjic, who was nodding his head, and said, "Yes, that's him."
11 Q. Is this the same person who you had met outside your pizzeria on
12 the evening of the 16th?
13 A. Yes, that's the same person.
14 Q. After you had spotted your neighbour, what happened to you?
15 A. They started beating me, and they ordered me to take my clothes
16 off, to strip completely.
17 Q. Who started beating you?
18 A. All the men who were in the room. I didn't dare turn around, nor
19 could I.
20 Q. How many men did you get the impression were in the room?
21 A. I had the impression that there were at least three or four of
23 Q. Could you tell if they were civilians, soldiers, police officers?
24 A. At that particular moment, I wasn't -- I don't know who beat me.
25 Probably those people in uniforms. Whether they were policemen or
1 soldiers, I don't know. But I don't think there were any civilians among
3 Q. So you said that they ordered you to take your clothes off, to
4 strip. And did you follow their instructions?
5 A. Well, you had to follow their instructions. Yes, I did. I took
6 my clothes off.
7 Q. And then what did you do?
8 A. They ordered me to lie down on my stomach, to lie across the
9 table, over this broken glass.
10 Q. And then what happened?
11 A. When I lay down on the table, they continued to beat me all over
12 my body.
13 Q. Again, do you have any impression about what they were using to
14 hit you with?
15 A. I think -- that is to say, while I was lying there on the table, I
16 thought they were hitting me with police batons mostly.
17 Q. Do you have any idea how long this beating went on for?
18 A. No, I don't know.
19 Q. Was it for a very long time or a short time? Just roughly, any
21 A. Well, not -- somewhere in between that, not too long and not too
23 Q. When the beating did finish, again, what did you do?
24 A. Then they ordered me to put my clothes back on again.
25 Q. Had you sustained any specific injuries or cuts from the beating
1 you had endured?
2 A. I didn't pay attention to that at all. I think that the state I
3 was in at that moment, my psychological state and all the fear that I
4 experienced, was too great to be able to tell you precisely now whether I
5 had cuts or whatever. I didn't think about that, didn't have time to
6 think about that at that time.
7 Q. You've mentioned your psychological state. Do I take it -- could
8 you just explain to us briefly what was your psychological state at that
10 A. It's difficult now, after so much time, to describe my state, but
11 what I can say is that I felt very, very bad. I felt as if they would
12 either cut our throats or shoot us or massacre us in some way at that very
13 moment. I felt very degraded and hurt and all beaten up, and all that
14 together; I felt all these things at the same time.
15 Q. After you had put your clothes back on, what happened to you?
16 A. When I got dressed, I saw that my brother was close by. I think
17 they took me out again, and we probably met in the corridor of the police
18 station, on the ground-floor level, and they ordered the guards to take us
19 away to a room up on the floor above.
20 Q. So you and your brother were put into a room on the first floor.
21 Did you stay there for the rest of the day, or how long did you stay in
22 this room for?
23 A. We stayed in that room on the first floor until nightfall. I'm
24 not sure what time it was, but until the evening.
25 Q. Were you in there by yourselves?
1 A. When they threw us into the room, there was just myself and my
2 brother. We were alone. They placed one or two guards - when I say "one
3 or two," what I mean is that sometimes there were two guards at the door,
4 sometimes just one - and they had not a mask on their faces, but they had
5 a sort of camouflage paint on their faces. And I heard them very clearly
6 ordering these guards that if we put a foot wrong, that they should shoot
7 at us and aim at our heads.
8 Q. So when you went into the room, you were alone. Did you remain
9 alone until nightfall?
10 A. No. No. I don't know the order in which this happened, but they
11 brought some other people into the room that we were in.
12 Q. Who did they bring into the room, even if you don't get it in the
13 chronological order?
15 (redacted) an old Albanian - his name was Ramadan Simnica - and a
16 third person whose name was Sulejman Tihic.
17 Q. Were you and the other people who were put into the room, were you
18 left alone during the day to your own devices, so to speak?
19 A. No. We were guarded the whole time, and the people who came in to
20 beat us would take turns, so that we had several visits by different
21 people. I don't remember by how many, but there were many people who came
22 in visiting, with different intentions.
23 Q. Could you tell us -- could you describe for us some of these
24 visits paid by people?
25 A. Well, for example, some people came in just to beat us and swear
1 at us and curse us and humiliate us. Some did the same thing, but they
2 also freed us or rid us of our gold chains, the gold chains that we had
3 round our necks.
4 Q. What sort of cursing and swearing would that be?
5 A. Well, while they were beating us, because we were sitting down on
6 the floor, they would swear at us, and the usual swear word they used was
7 that they would curse our Ustasha mothers or balija mothers or Muslim
8 mothers, things of that kind. And then they would curse our president,
9 and they mentioned Alija Izetbegovic. They had a broad span of swear
10 words and curses.
11 Q. You say that they freed you of your gold chains. Did you want to
12 be freed of your gold chains?
13 A. Well, I don't know if we wanted to be relieved of them or not.
14 Probably not. But as my brother was sitting closest to the door, they
15 noticed a gold chain round his neck first, and I think one of them pulled
16 it off my brother's neck, pulled it over his head.
17 And we were paid a visit by two individuals at this point. I
18 didn't know them, but judging by their accent and the type of swear words
19 they used, especially I was sure that they were Serbs from Serbia. And
20 then they happened to see the chain round my own neck just after that, so
21 that they each tried to seize the chain from me.
22 Q. Did they succeed in taking your chain?
23 A. Not in the first attempt, because they weren't able to break the
24 chain, so that they pulled my head along with it. Both of them held onto
25 the chain firmly and pushed my head downwards so that I had the feeling
1 that they could pull my ears off together with the chain. Luckily though,
2 I wasn't tied at that particular moment. So I helped them relieve me of
3 my chain and take it off over my head, and I was happy that my ears had
4 remained intact.
5 When they succeeded in getting the chain off over my head, I had
6 the feeling -- that is to say, they started a tug-of-war with the chain to
7 see who would get it, and I almost had the feeling that they were about to
8 shoot each other over this chain they were squabbling so much. They
9 didn't beat us too much on that occasion because I think they were
10 satisfied with the gold chains that they had managed to seize. When I say
11 "they," I mean the two of them, our two visitors, the two men that had
12 paid us a visit at that particular time.
13 Q. Was anything else taken from you that day in the room?
14 A. No. Not that day in that room, no.
15 Q. During that day, did you receive any sustenance, any food, any
16 water? Were you allowed to go to the toilet?
17 A. No. We weren't allowed to do anything. They didn't give us any
18 food or water, nor were we allowed to go to the toilet.
19 Q. You say you stayed there until nightfall. Where were you -- where
20 did you go to at nightfall?
21 A. When it was night-time, they transferred us to the Territorial
22 Defence, the warehouse of the Territorial Defence in fact, which was just
23 across the road. But may I just say one more thing in relation to the
24 room we were in at the police station, if I may?
25 Q. Of course. Go ahead.
1 A. Briefly speaking, when they brought Mr. Sulejman Tihic into the
2 room we were in, a man appeared wearing a uniform. I think he was wearing
3 a camouflage uniform, in fact, but a military uniform, at any rate. And I
4 was to come to know that man well later on. They referred to him by the
5 nickname of Lugar. I didn't know who he was at the time, but he took
6 advantage of the occasion and introduced himself to us straight away. He
7 did this by beating us all up in that short space of time. He beat us
8 with a police baton, but only on our heads and in our faces, not on our
9 shoulders or backs.
10 At one particular moment, he took up the telephone. And there was
11 still telephone communication. It was still working. And I think he
12 called up Serbia. I think he was calling his wife or his girlfriend or
13 someone like that, anyway.
14 He had a brief conversation with the woman, and then he ordered
15 Sulejman Tihic to kneel down beside him, and he beat him on his face with
16 the baton while speaking into the telephone mouthpiece. He was saying,
17 "Listen to the president crying." Sulejman Tihic was the president of
18 the Party of Democratic Action in Bosanski Samac.
19 That's just a detail that I wanted to recount.
20 Q. Thank you very much. Can I ask you: How did it make you feel to
21 watch the president of the Party of Democratic Action being beaten and
22 made to cry out loud?
23 A. Well, to put it in a nutshell, I felt completely helpless, and I
24 was in a very sorry state.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. REIDY: Your Honours, the witness has just testified that he
2 was moved to the Territorial Defence warehouse, and I would seek to go
3 through to his evidence as to what happened when he was transferred
4 there. But maybe, giving that it's close to 11.00, I would hold my
5 questions until after the break.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll take a break now and resume our
7 proceedings at 1130 hours.
8 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 11.31 a.m.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Prosecution is continuing.
11 MS. REIDY: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Bicic, just before the recess, you had testified to the fact
13 that you were transferred to the Territorial Defence building around
15 MS. REIDY: Could I -- again, could I just ask that the witness be
16 given Exhibit 9D.
17 Q. And for completion's sake, Mr. Bicic, could you mark with a number
18 "4" on the map where this Territorial Defence warehouse was where you
19 were taken.
20 A. [Marks]
21 Q. Thank you very much. So I can see from the map, it's across the
22 road. When you were taken across the road, what happened to you?
23 A. I don't know how many guards or armed persons took us across the
24 road, beating us along the way. And they pushed us into a room. I think
25 it used to be a storeroom belonging to the Territorial Defence. As far as
1 I can remember, this was the first room on the left-hand side, and it had
2 a metal door and bars on the upper part.
3 MS. REIDY: Thank you.
4 Could I ask the usher, could you show the witness P14A, number 2,
5 number 50 and number 5. Perhaps number 2 of that exhibit could be just
6 placed on the ELMO.
7 Q. Mr. Bicic, could you just tell us from the photograph what is in
8 that photograph?
9 A. Straight ahead is the police station, and the yard belongs to the
10 Territorial Defence. On the right-hand side is the building, on the
11 right. May I indicate it? If necessary, I can. I'm referring to this
12 building here. This is the Territorial Defence warehouse, and a little to
13 the right there is a metal door leading into the room where we spent the
14 following ten days or so.
15 MS. REIDY: Could I ask the usher, could you please place number 5
16 on the ELMO.
17 Q. Mr. Bicic, do you recognise what is now depicted in the
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And could you tell the Chamber what is depicted there?
21 A. The entrance to the room where we were locked up and the door of
22 that room.
23 Q. And those are the doors which you indicated in the previous
24 photograph as having been on the right-hand side?
25 A. Yes. Yes.
1 MS. REIDY: Thank you very much. I'm finished with the
3 Q. So I understand you were taken to the room shown on the photograph
4 that evening. Was the room empty?
5 A. No, it wasn't empty. There were, as far as I can estimate,
6 between 20 and 30 people in it.
7 Q. Did you know who any of those 20 or 30 people were?
8 A. I knew most of them very well. They were people from the town of
9 Samac. Most of them were good acquaintances of mine, and just like us,
10 most of them were in a very sorry state.
11 Q. When you say "very sorry state," what exactly do you mean by that
13 A. I mean by this that many of them were bloody and they had visible
14 injuries to the head. They were battered, like me, and they looked
16 Q. You said these were persons from the town of Bosanski Samac. Do
17 you know the ethnicity of the people in the room?
18 A. When I say they were persons from the town, I also meant -- I
19 really meant the municipality of Samac. They were from the surrounding
20 villages as well. And as for their ethnic composition, they were about
21 50/50 Muslims and Croats. Perhaps at that moment the ratio was 60 per
22 cent Muslims, 40 per cent Croats, but on the whole, I would say it was
24 Q. Can you recall if there was any --
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Excuse me. Oh, yes. Maybe I will allow that
1 question before I seek clarification.
2 MS. REIDY:
3 Q. Could I ask if there were any persons of Serb ethnicity detained
4 with you in that room?
5 A. I think at that moment it wasn't easy for me to distinguish Serbs
6 from Croats because up until then, we had never really focused on these
7 differences. But I think there was at least one man of Serb ethnicity.
8 His name was Dragan. I can't remember his last name, but I remember his
9 nickname. Dragan Mirin they called him.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I just wanted to find out, of the people that
11 you found in the room, the ones that were battered like you, the ones that
12 were in a sorry state and yourself, was there any one of them in military
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember seeing any of them
15 in military uniform, but there were a few of them in police uniforms or
16 uniforms of the reserve police force or something like that, or I think
17 the regular police. I'm not referring to the Serb police.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Proceed.
19 MS. REIDY:
20 Q. Mr. Bicic, when you were put into this room, could you then tell
21 us what happened -- if anything happened that evening or if anything
22 happened the next day?
23 A. Nothing special. There was nothing special that made it different
24 from other evenings. The evenings were all the same. We had frequent
25 visits by armed men, especially in the first days. We were frequently
1 beaten, tortured, maltreated, and humiliated, so that I can say that there
2 was no difference actually between the evenings.
3 Q. Mr. Bicic, I would like to question you some more about what you
4 mean when you say you were frequently beaten, tortured, and maltreated,
5 but could you first tell us, roughly over how many days were you kept in
6 the Territorial Defence warehouse?
7 A. In my estimation, about ten days. Maybe it was ten, but about
8 ten. That's as precise as I can be.
9 Q. So you testified that you were frequently beaten, tortured, and
10 maltreated, and I'd like you now to tell us a little bit about some of
11 these beatings. Could you tell me, just even at whatever estimation, how
12 frequently, how many times a day or in the evening you would estimate you
13 were beaten?
14 A. Well, let us say in the first days, I was taken to the police
15 station every day to make some sort of statements. Of course I assumed
16 that the territory we were on had been declared Serb territory. I had to
17 write these statements in the Cyrillic alphabet. But I think I managed
19 At every interrogation or giving of a statement, they were very,
20 very cruel. They frequently - I'm referring to the following days - they
21 frequently took us out into the Territorial Defence yard, two or three at
22 a time, and they took us to different parts of the yard and beat us. Each
23 one of us was beaten simultaneously by at least three uniformed men.
24 Q. May I just ask you to concentrate on the interrogations for the
25 moment. You said that also during the interrogations they were very
1 cruel. Whilst you were actually being interrogated, was someone hitting
2 you at that time?
3 A. I think this was the usual procedure at the time. Beating always
4 accompanied interviews.
5 On the first or second day -- I think it was the first. That was
6 the day after we were taken to the Territorial Defence warehouse. Two
7 guards arrived and said they had to take me to the police station to make
8 a statement. As I was crossing the road, at that very moment a vehicle I
9 knew stopped in front of the police station. This was my jeep. And a
10 gentleman, the one who had beaten Sulejman Tihic the previous day, came
11 out of it.
12 They took me upstairs in the police station. They brought me into
13 a room into which two armed men entered. I later learnt that one of them
14 was called Laki, and I got to know him later. It was characteristic that
15 he had only two or three fingers on one hand, and that's how I recognised
16 him afterwards. And I think his last name was Lazarevic, and he was known
17 as Laki.
18 There were two of them, I think. And on that occasion, they beat
19 me, as always. The only difference was that one of them - I don't recall
20 which one - put the barrel of his pistol into my mouth and pushed it as
21 far as it could go, and I was sure that he would damage my teeth. He
22 demanded that I give them the keys to my car, my Mercedes.
23 When I was brought into that room, I saw a crate of whiskey in a
24 corner and another crate with 50 packets of cigarettes, 50 packs. I had
25 two storerooms full of those goods. These were goods from my pizzeria.
1 They opened a bottle of whiskey in front of me and toasted each other, and
2 then they started questioning me and maltreating me and, of course,
3 beating me.
4 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me, when they were -- again, when they
5 were beating you, what did they use to beat you with?
6 A. I was hit several times on the head with that same pistol, but I
7 think that during that interrogation, they did not concentrate on beating
8 me. The purpose of this interrogation was different. I mean, they were
9 trying to get some material benefit, to extort things from me.
10 Q. Thank you. You said that during this interrogation, that you saw
11 bottles of your own whiskey and cigarettes which originated from your
12 pizzeria. How did you know that those goods were from your pizzeria?
13 A. Somebody had written "AS" [as interpreted] on the outside of the
14 boxes, and that was the name of my establishment.
15 MS. REIDY: Thank you very much.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
17 MR. PANTELIC: The witness said his nickname was Hase, H-a-s-e.
18 It's not "AS"; it's "Hase." Thank you.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Can you clarify that, Madam Prosecutor, please.
20 MS. REIDY: Thank you.
21 Q. Mr. Bicic, could you just clarify for us what was -- what the name
22 was that was written on the outside of the boxes.
23 A. I can spell it for you.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, please.
25 MS. REIDY:
1 Q. That would be helpful. Thank you.
2 A. H-a-s-e, Hase. And that is my nickname, of course. It's short
3 for my name.
4 Q. Thank you very much. You said this interrogation was not
5 concentrated on beating you. Was it these same people who used to
6 interrogate you every time you and -- took over, or did other people also
7 sometimes interrogate you?
8 A. I think they changed very often, and each of them asked different
9 questions or had different motives for taking me to be interrogated, to
10 make statements, and everything else that accompanied this.
11 Q. You've mentioned before that these statements were in Cyrillic.
12 Were you forced to handwrite the statements yourself, or was someone else
13 typing up these statements?
14 A. I had to write them out myself in my handwriting.
15 Q. And would they ask you a question and you would write down the
16 answer, or how did it go that you came to make these statements?
17 A. Well, I think that most of those who interrogated us had not been
18 trained to question people, and each of them said that he was a Serbian
19 inspector or policeman. But the questions were different, and so were the
20 methods of questioning. Sometimes they would give me a piece of paper and
21 a pen and say, "Write down everything you know." It was hard to
22 understand their questions and it was hard for me to ask questions of
23 them, because we were maltreated and beaten every time we were
24 interrogated. They cursed us. They humiliated us. And all this
25 accompanied the interrogations.
1 Q. Did you at any stage recognise any of the people or know any of
2 the people who were interrogating you?
3 A. Well, we were frequently beaten and interrogated, but this
4 happened mostly in the first few days, where most of the interrogators
5 were the people from Serbia. I and a few of us got to know them, got to
6 remember them during the first two days really well, because we were
7 really afraid of them. Sometimes I had the feeling that the local
8 policemen were also afraid of these people. They were very cruel.
9 Q. Thank you. During your interrogations or your transfer to the
10 SUP, did you ever see any local policemen around?
11 A. Yes, I did. Very often, especially when we were questioned in the
12 police station. I saw some inspectors and some policemen whom I knew from
13 before, so I frequently saw local people there.
14 Q. During these -- you testified that the subject matter of the
15 interrogation would sometimes be different, and you gave one example where
16 it was in the room where your whiskey and cigarettes were. What were the
17 other sort of questions or information that they wanted from you, apart
18 from where your car was?
19 A. After that, only during that interrogation, I think they wanted to
20 get hold of some loot or something like that. But in most of my
21 statements, most of the interrogations, questions were asked such as:
22 Where did you get your weapons? Who did you supply with weapons? I was
23 accused of being a member of the Party of Democratic Action and that I had
24 armed people. I was told that I was a member of the Territorial Defence
25 and that I had armed people, that I had given money to procure weapons.
1 The accusations were all in that direction.
2 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me -- well, you've said that sometimes
3 you were given a paper and told to write down what you know. Were you
4 forced to sign any statements that were taken during these interrogation
6 A. Regularly. I regularly signed the statements. Yes, I regularly
7 signed them.
8 Q. Thank you. So I will leave the topic of the interrogations, and
9 perhaps you could take us back to the description of your conditions
10 whilst you were in detention in the Territorial Defence warehouse.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Counsel, before we leave this question of signing
12 these statements which he was making, I think we need more information on
13 them. Did he read them or were they read to him? Did he agree with the
14 contents of those statements? And when he says he regularly signed them,
15 there can be a confusion with what he means by "regularly signing." It
16 could be a regular procedure or an irregular procedure. Can we have
17 clarification, please?
18 MS. REIDY: Certainly, Your Honour.
19 Q. Mr. Bicic, before -- again, to go back to the statements that were
20 taken in these interrogation sessions, would you say -- when you say that
21 you regularly signed them, what exactly do you mean that you regularly
22 signed statements?
23 A. I meant that I had to write a statement and when I finished it,
24 that I had to sign it.
25 Q. Before you signed the statement, were you given time to read the
1 statement, or was it read out aloud to you?
2 A. Usually, usually I didn't even know what I had written or,
3 actually, I wasn't in a position to know what I had written. In addition
4 to the questions about weapons, they asked me -- well, they didn't ask
5 me. They made me make up lists of people who I was in an organisation
6 with. And when I said that I was in no organisation at all, then they
7 would beat me especially after that. So I had to compile some kind of
8 list, some lists. I had to write down something.
9 I think that I tried to write down the names of people whom I
10 assume or whom I was certain were not there so as not to put these people
11 in the same position that I was in. But I was forced to write down
12 something. I had to write down some names. I had to write -- make up
13 some lists.
14 Q. Thank you. When you say you were forced to, if you hadn't written
15 anything down or if you had refused to sign a statement, what would have
16 been the consequence?
17 A. Well, I've already said on several occasions that for each
18 statement that we gave at that time to the Territorial Defence, I would be
19 beaten and abused and all the rest of it. And then I realised that it
20 would be better for me to comply and to write something down and so
21 satisfy my interrogators at least for that one time, to take it time by
22 time. I thought that it would be better to write down something, rather
23 than nothing at all. I don't think I had any great choice in the matter.
24 MS. REIDY: Your Honour, do you want some more?
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
1 So would you say that of all the statements that you were made to
2 write down and sign? Did they contain what the people who were
3 interrogating you wanted to say, or did they contain any truths according
4 to your own knowledge?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was something that they wanted to
6 hear or which could have proved satisfactory for the time being. I had to
7 write down something to do with the question I was asked. So when they
8 asked me about weapons, on many occasions I had to write down that I, too,
9 had procured two rifles illegally. And I gave a lot of statements on that
10 topic and received many beatings.
11 But I also had to compile lists of people who had allegedly
12 belonged to some supposed organisation, that I was a member, because most
13 of my interrogators were accusing me of being -- they said that my name
14 was on some lists, lists of people or organisations, and I think they
15 considered them to be their enemies.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Now, of the people whom you listed to belong to
17 these organisations, was that the correct information, that these people
18 you listed actually belonged to any of those organisations?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that they were certainly
20 members of some of those organisations, because let me tell you, I had to
21 be convincing because it was a matter of life and death for me. So I had
22 to write down some names, the name of some of the people that they knew
23 belonged to the organisation, some of those organisations, and that I
24 knew, those sort of compromised organisations allegedly, so that I assumed
25 that some of the people that I wrote down were safe. When I say "safe,"
1 that they weren't in custody or in town. So I tried to get round it in
2 that way and list some of those whom I assumed to be somewhere safe.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Proceed.
4 JUDGE SINGH: Mr. Bicic, what sort of organisations are you
5 referring to? What types?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know if I used the right
7 term when I said "organisation," but they seemed to imply that I was on
8 the list of members of the Democratic Action Party, for example, and the
9 newly formed Territorial Defence of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or
10 something along those lines.
11 JUDGE SINGH: Anything else?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Those are the two they had in
13 mind, the Territorial Defence and the Democratic Action Party.
14 MS. REIDY:
15 Q. Mr. Bicic, were you ever shown -- you said that they accused you
16 of being a member of these organisations. Were you ever shown these lists
17 where your name was alleged to have been found?
18 A. I didn't see those lists, but I heard on many occasions and in the
19 course of many interrogations and beatings that they would always mention
20 these lists where my name allegedly figured.
21 Q. But at no stage were you confronted with those lists; is that
23 A. No. No. As far as I remember, no.
24 Q. Mr. Bicic, now I will turn to, as I said, the conditions and
25 occurrences in the Territorial Defence building. You said that at the
1 beginning you were taken daily for interrogations. Whilst you were in the
2 Territorial Defence warehouse, what were the conditions? Were you left
3 alone when you weren't being interrogated?
4 A. I've already said that when they threw us into that warehouse
5 building or the warehouse of the Territorial Defence, there might have
6 been some 30 people there at the time. But over the next few days, new
7 people would be brought in on a daily basis. So at the end, there were 40
8 or more of us in one room which was about 40 square metres in size, I
9 would say.
10 As to the conditions, the conditions were inhuman to begin with.
11 We were on a concrete floor, totally unhygienic conditions. We were
12 beaten daily. Me and a few others were slightly privileged to have three
13 beatings a day, as many as three beatings, those of us who were
14 privileged, and I can even give you the names of the people they beat most
16 Q. If you could give those names to the Chamber.
17 A. In addition to myself and my brother Muhamed Bicic, the people who
18 were beaten most were (redacted) Izet Izetbegovic; Dragan Lukac; Ibrahim
19 Salkic, nicknamed Ibro; Mersad Gibic; Safet Hadzialijagic, nicknamed
20 Coner; Omer Nalic. All of them except the ones that I mentioned - maybe
21 I've left someone out - they were the ones who were abused and beaten up
22 most often. Of course I'm talking about the group that was in the room
23 with me.
24 Q. Thank you. I understand you said there were between 30 of you in
25 that room. That grew to be 40. What sort of facilities did you have in
1 terms of going to the toilet, eating your food, water?
2 A. At the beginning, we had some food. We would get water in a large
3 canister, can, and it was very often bloody, just like the floor and walls
4 of the room we were in.
5 And as to the other facilities, we would take advantage of the
6 situation. When the guards proved to be less brutal and cruel and if we
7 happened to know some of the guards, we would go to the toilet under their
8 sort of protection, because we were afraid if we went out to the
9 toilet - and this happened - some people on the way to the toilet would be
10 beaten up. So we didn't like to use the toilet very often because of
12 Q. You mentioned that sometimes you'd know some of the guards. Is
13 that that you got to know them over time or they were also people who you
14 knew prior to your detention?
15 A. Mostly they were people we knew from before the war.
16 Q. Can you tell me in general what was the ethnicity of those people
17 guarding you, if you knew?
18 A. They were policemen. We were guarded by policemen then, and they
19 were mostly Serbs and the odd Muslim. No, there were a few Muslim
20 policemen among those policemen working in the Serb police force.
21 MS. REIDY: Thank you. Could the witness be shown photographs 3
22 and 4 from Prosecution Exhibit 14A.
23 Q. Again, do you recognise the building depicted in this photograph
24 in front of you?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you tell us what it is?
2 A. I think that is the main building of the Territorial Defence, not
3 the warehouses. And in the corner, I can see - and I can show you as
4 well - the place where one of the toilets was located.
5 Q. If you could perhaps show us on the photograph. If you could use
6 the pointer.
7 A. Yes, I can. It's this area here.
8 Q. Is that the only toilet that everyone in detention had to use?
9 A. Yes, that was the only toilet that we were allowed to use.
10 Q. And so during those ten days that you were there, how many people,
11 roughly, would be using that one toilet?
12 A. As far as I know, just our group. Only our group was held in the
13 Territorial Defence, approximately 40 of us, or 45. I'm not quite sure of
14 the exact number.
15 MS. REIDY: Thank you. I've finished with that photograph.
16 Q. Mr. Bicic, you've mentioned often that you were subject to regular
17 beatings in the Territorial Defence. Would those beatings take place in
18 the room which you were held or elsewhere in the Territorial Defence
20 A. The frequent beatings took place in the room we were locked up in
21 and also in the courtyard, on the concrete floor. They were concrete
22 blocks, actually, in the courtyard. And there was a garage of some sort
23 or a shed or something like that. I think they stored wood inside. I was
24 beaten up there once. They took me off there to allegedly interrogate me
1 Q. When you say allegedly to interrogate you, do I understand that
2 the interrogation never took place?
3 A. On that occasion, I did not have to write a statement or anything
4 of that kind, but they told me, orally, that I would have to collect some
5 money. Actually, they threatened me. They said either I was to collect
6 some money or else they would kill my brother.
7 Q. What did you -- what was your reaction to that threat or ...
8 A. I tried to view the situation as realistically as possible, to
9 size up the situation I was in. And when they told me that they would
10 kill him unless I collected the money, I didn't doubt for a moment that
11 they would go ahead with their threat. So I was in a position to believe
12 them, and I had to take some kind of action.
13 Q. What action did you take?
14 A. They used different methods of intimidation. After blackmailing
15 me in that way, they took me out of the camp, and I have to say that I
16 looked dreadful. I was all beaten up and bloody. My clothes looked awful
17 and were bloodstained. But anyway, they took me down my own street. They
18 took me to my own street so that I could collect up the money, because if
19 I failed to do so, they had threatened to kill my brother.
20 Q. When you went back to your own street, did you go to your house,
21 or what did you do?
22 A. I did not go back to my own house. I passed by it. And while I
23 was passing by, I saw several of my neighbours, who sort of glanced at me
24 out of the corner of their eye. They didn't dare react. They didn't dare
25 do anything, because I was led off with a Scorpio automatic pistol aimed
1 at my head.
2 And one of my female neighbours, who was a Serb, an elderly lady,
3 who has a house across the road from my own house - well, not actually
4 facing it, but a little to the right - I saw that she was crying, and I
5 heard her say, "Hasan, my son." And that particular lady had known me
6 since childhood, since I was born, and she was a good neighbour of ours.
7 Q. Did you meet any of your other neighbours whilst you were being
8 marched at gunpoint?
9 A. I don't remember. I don't remember who I saw, but I had the
10 feeling that they were looking at me and watching from some corners or
11 from windows. But at that particular time, I was just doing my best to
12 think up a way of collecting the money they wanted to save my brother's
14 Q. So where did you go if you didn't go back to your own house?
15 A. Towards the end my street, or rather, a hundred metres on from my
16 street, or 200 metres, on the right-hand side - actually, it's the same
17 street and on the same side as my own house - there were two men living
18 there whom I knew. They were the Dagovic brothers, Esad and Safet. And I
19 was -- I thought that they would be people whom I could turn to in a
20 situation like this. And the gentlemen who were escorting me -- I was
21 telling the gentlemen escorting me what I had thought up in order to come
22 by the money, the idea I had, and they accepted it.
23 Q. For the record, what was the idea that you had?
24 A. What I had in mind was to ask those young guys to collect as much
25 money as possible and to give the money to the people escorting me, to
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 2670 to 2681.
1 save my brother's life. That was my plan.
2 Q. And did you then ask the two Dagovic brothers for the money?
3 A. When we reached their yard, they were still in the house. They
4 hadn't been detained. Their mother and the two of them came out and they
5 saw the state I was in. I've already described what I looked like, that I
6 was all bloody and beaten up, all black and blue. And they immediately
7 understood the seriousness of the situation I was in.
8 The gentlemen who had brought me there asked to be given a drink,
9 and the mother of the two guys brought out a bottle of wine. And I had to
10 ask Esad, in front of them, to tell him that the situation was serious and
11 that he should do what he could to collect up the money from his friends
12 and my friends and relations, and when he had collected all the money, to
13 hand it over to these two men. After I asked him to do that, they took me
14 back. But later on I heard that they were not satisfied with this
15 agreement but that on that particular occasion, they took from -- they
16 took Esad's car, they seized Esad's car.
17 Q. Thank you. The two men that you keep -- who accompanied you to
18 the Dagovic's, did you know who they were at that time? And if you
19 didn't, have you any idea since who they were?
20 A. Yes. Already at that time I knew that they were members of some
21 sort of - I don't know what the locals call them - some sort of specialist
22 forces from Serbia. Now, how far they were specialist forces and of what,
23 I don't really know.
24 Q. Thank you. Back in the Territorial Defence warehouse, you said
25 that because you were especially privileged, that you would be beaten up
1 to three times a day. Can you tell us: One, in general, what
2 those -- what would be used to beat you during those occasions; and then
3 after that, if, as a result of any of those beatings, you sustained any
4 specific injuries.
5 A. The way in which they beat us and abused us, and the times they
6 did this, differed. Sometimes they would just come by during the day. At
7 the beginning, they were members of the special forces, the Serbs from
8 Serbia. And then little by little, they were joined by some locals,
9 amongst whom particularly prominent and cruel and brutal was a young guy
10 who was -- whose name was Nebojsa. I don't know his surname, but his
11 nickname was Cera. He was the worst. He was especially brutal towards a
12 few of us. And I think he devised methods of torture very quickly and was
13 no different from the special forces from Serbia.
14 Q. Was he --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, counsel.
16 MS. REIDY: I'm sorry.
17 Q. You said he was especially brutal towards a few of you. My
18 question is: Did that include you, and if so, can you give us an example
19 of this special brutality that he used?
20 A. Yes, it did include me. Of course it did, because during those
21 ten days, which was the time we spent in the Territorial Defence building,
22 in the warehouse, at least -- I was beaten at least five times under his
23 directions and organisation. Let me highlight just one of those times.
24 Several of us were taken outside into the yard of the Territorial
25 Defence. They beat us from various sides, and they did this very
1 professionally. They beat us most often with their rifles. Up until
2 then, they had no more batons. They used up all their batons, police
3 batons. They probably split. So they had to use other objects, wooden
4 truncheons, which might have been the leg of a table, for example, wooden
5 objects of that type. They would kick us with their army boots. The
6 objects they used were different. Metal bars, for instance. Everything
7 that came to hand and that could inflict serious injury they liked to use
8 in these beatings.
9 On that particular occasion -- I'll describe that occasion with
10 respect to the young man whose nickname was Cera. What happened was that
11 three or four of them beat me at the same time, and they started giving me
12 several blows to my head, each of them in turn. I fell down, and I tried
13 to protect my head. So I crouched on the ground and tried to protect my
14 ribs, genital organs, and face. I crouched down that way. And just as I
15 had done that, I got a blow to my back, to my spine. Somebody kicked me
16 with his boot. And I had to open up my hands like this, and when I did
17 that, I received a kick in the face, so that I had no reason to doubt that
18 they were professionals in the beatings they were giving me.
19 They kicked me a great deal with their boots, using their legs
20 most. I was lying down on the ground. I don't know how long it might
21 have gone on for in minutes, but it seemed a whole lifetime to me. And
22 when they had had their fill, they went to tackle others, to beat others.
23 I remained lying on the ground all bloody in the yard, on the
24 concrete block. Cera was standing beside me. And then using his boot, he
25 jumped up and down on my left hand and broke the fingers of my hand. I
1 probably -- that is, I omitted to say that throughout this time, while
2 they were beating us, those of us who were taken out on that occasion, the
3 other prisoners throughout this time, this whole time, they had to sing
4 Chetnik songs, or as some of them liked to call them, patriotic, Serb
5 patriotic songs. So in the yard, we were moaning and groaning because of
6 those beatings, while those who were in the Territorial Defence, in the
7 warehouse, in the -- in prison, and the door was open, had to sing very,
8 very loudly. And I myself often had to sing.
9 And when Cera broke my fingers, I didn't feel any pain in my head
10 or in my back, although I'd been hit with rifle butts and kicked, but my
11 hand hurt so much that I almost cried in anguish. And when they pushed me
12 back into my place right next to my brother, I saw -- I saw at that moment
13 that my brother was weeping.
14 Of course they all had to go on singing because they were still
15 beating people, only now it was other people that they are beating. And
16 my brother asked them or gestured to them, asking them to sing as loudly
17 as possible so that he could make use of that to put my fingers back in
18 their place, because my hand up to that moment, because Cera had jumped up
19 and down on it with his boots on, had swollen. My hand was swollen like
20 it was the size of a loaf of bread. And I mean a loaf of bread, not a
21 slice of bread.
22 And the other prisoners did as he asked them to and sang as loudly
23 as possible, because my brother was afraid that they would cut my hand off
24 if they saw him setting my bones there in the prison.
25 We were afraid, and we were in a situation I had never known
1 before, something I had never even read about before. I would call it a
2 mass fear, when fear becomes contagious and when you're in a small space.
3 It's not really much fun.
4 After these beatings and during and before these beatings and
5 maltreatment, we had to sing Chetnik songs. The repertoire was varied.
6 For example, the special policemen from Serbia or the military persons
7 from Serbia had their own favourite songs and the locals had their own
8 favourite songs. The special policemen liked a song about King Petar a
9 lot. I can tell you the text, if you like, the lyrics or some of them.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
11 MS. REIDY:
12 Q. That's okay, Mr. Bicic. I think we --
13 JUDGE SINGH: What is the condition of your left hand now?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Satisfactory. Only one of my
15 fingers is damaged. Only my little finger. But that's nothing in
16 comparison to what I suffered psychologically.
17 MS. REIDY: Could the witness please be shown photograph 2 and 50
18 and number 7 -- 2, 50, and 7 from the Prosecution Exhibit 14A. Perhaps if
19 photograph 50 could be put on the ELMO.
20 Q. Mr. Bicic, I think we can agree that this looks like -- well,
21 maybe you could just simply depict for us what's in this photograph.
22 A. This photograph shows the Territorial Defence building and the
23 yard. The main building is on the right-hand side, the gate, and the
24 yard. And on the left-hand side was the room where we were locked up.
25 Q. Thank you. Perhaps with the pointer you could just indicate, if
1 you can see it, roughly where -- the sort of area where either the beating
2 you've just described took place and other beatings.
3 A. This is the yard, and we were beaten in various places. There was
4 no rule. We were often beaten in the room in which we were locked up.
5 And here there was some sort of shed where I was beaten once and where I
6 was blackmailed by these men, that I should collect money or they would
7 kill my brother.
8 Q. Judging by what you've shown us on the photograph, would it be
9 fair to say that many of these beatings which took place were in fairly
10 visible sight of people in surrounding buildings?
11 A. I don't know how much they could see, but I think they could
12 hear. They could hear our screams when we were being beaten. And it's
13 also possible that someone might have seen this from some of the
14 neighbouring buildings.
15 MS. REIDY: Thank you.
16 Could I ask for photograph number 7 to be placed on the ELMO.
17 Q. Again, Mr. Bicic, if you recognise what's portrayed in the picture
18 now on your screen, could you please tell the Chamber.
19 A. This, I think, is where the shed or room was where I was beaten
20 before I was blackmailed; and up here in the right-hand corner, this is
21 part of the main building of the Territorial Defence; and these are some
22 sort of windows or balconies. And if someone was not afraid, they might
23 have seen what was going on in the yard below, but I think they could hear
24 it, they could hear the screams and everything else, and especially the
25 songs, because we always had to sing in loud voices.
1 Q. Thank you very much. The beating you described in which your hand
2 was broken and your brother reset your fingers for you, is it possible to
3 tell us or to indicate to us when, roughly, in this -- within this
4 three-day [sic] period that this beating took place?
5 A. I can't remember exactly when it was now, but it was in the early
6 days, in the first few days. I don't know whether it was the second day
7 or the fourth day or the third day. I couldn't be sure now.
8 MS. REIDY: Thank you.
9 Just for the record, I see on the transcript that my question says
10 that I talk about a three-day period. If I did, then I meant a ten-day
12 Q. Mr. Bicic, during your detention period, was anybody killed while
13 you were detained in the Territorial Defence building?
14 A. Yes. Yes, from our group, from the group that was detained there.
15 Q. Were you an eyewitness to the killing?
16 A. Yes. It happened very close to me.
17 Q. Could you please tell the Chamber as to what you witnessed.
18 A. On that day - I think it was the ninth or the tenth day of our
19 detention in the Territorial Defence. I think it was the last day we
20 spent there - sometime in the morning, although the door was closed, we
21 were ordered to sing. This was usual, so we responded immediately. And
22 shortly after this, I heard a pistol shot. The bullet pierced the metal
23 door and entered the wall above our heads. Of course, we were afraid.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 A. Of course, we were afraid. We didn't know what was going on. And
1 not long after this, they opened the metal door and a man nicknamed Lugar
2 appeared in the doorway. He looked angry and upset. In one hand he was
3 holding a big, heavy truncheon, or perhaps it was -- no, it was a table
4 leg. It was a piece of wood. And when he entered the room, he started
5 hitting people on the head with this object. I think he first hit Osman
6 Jasarevic, also known as Roma. He hit him so hard that he fell down to
7 the floor. The second to be hit was Mersad Gibic, and he was hit with
8 such force that I think he fainted at once. He fell down and remained
10 Then he turned to Dikan, accusing him of being a Ustasha, cursing
11 his Ustasha mother, saying that his sons were in the Croatian army. Dikan
12 didn't have a chance to say anything. He didn't have time to answer
13 because he was constantly being beaten in the head. Dikan at that time
14 was aged about 55, and he was a frail man. He tried to protect his head
15 with his hands, but after a few strong blows his hands fell down, and
16 Lugar continued hitting him on the head.
17 As this was happening very close to me, I felt drops of blood
18 falling on my skin, and also parts of his head. I was petrified. I think
19 everybody in that room was in great fear.
20 After this ritual, Lugar set off for the door and said, "Brothers,
21 come out." He was referring to my brother and me. We had to go out into
22 the yard. And when we did, in the meantime, I heard Lugar order the
23 guards to throw the Ustasha out. He was referring to Dikan. And when my
24 brother and I went out into the yard, Lugar was standing in the middle of
25 the yard holding a thick metal rod. I think it was -- I don't know what
1 you call it, but it was used to tow trucks. At first I thought he was
2 going to beat our brains out also with that metal rod. He called to us,
3 and we had to approach him. Then Lugar addressed us, saying, "Brothers,
4 these Serbs really have something against you."
5 We kept silent, both of us, because any reply to a question like
6 this in such a situation would be wrong. So we both kept quiet. And then
7 Lugar said that he had orders to kill the two of us. This was very
8 convincing, and I did not doubt for a moment that he was telling the
9 truth, because half a minute before that, he had killed a man with that
10 piece of wood.
11 Dikan then -- or rather, Dikan had been dragged out by the guard,
12 and Lugar asked the guard, "Is the Ustasha breathing?" The guard bent
13 over and said, "No, he's not." Then Lugar pulled out his pistol, turned,
14 and shot into Dikan's head. I was completely numb. I couldn't feel my
15 legs. I don't know how I felt. But then, fortunately, something
16 happened. Somebody from the police building called out to Lugar to tell
17 him his coffee was ready. Then Lugar turned to my brother and me again
18 and said, "Well, brothers, some Serbs say you're not such bad guys after
19 all. Go back to the room. I won't kill you now." So we went back.
20 MS. REIDY:
21 Q. Thank you. You said that Lugar was wielding a long metal rod and
22 threatened to beat you with it. Did he actually hit you with it, or did
23 anybody else hit you whilst you were in the yard, or was it only threats?
24 A. He didn't threaten to beat us at all, nor did he beat us, but the
25 metal rod was in his hand. Whether he was in two minds as to whether he
1 should do it or not, whether he changed his mind or not, I don't know, but
2 it's true that on that occasion Lugar did not beat us. He only said he
3 had orders to kill us. And he said the words I have already mentioned, so
4 I won't repeat everything.
5 Q. Thank you. What happened to Dikan's body?
6 A. I really don't know whether it was we or some other people who
7 were given orders, but it was not us who took Dikan and put him on the
8 truck to be driven away. I didn't even hear of this. I don't know when
9 he told us he wouldn't kill us and when he told us to go back after that.
10 I didn't -- I wasn't in a condition to hear anything at all. So it must
11 have been another of the detainees who was taken by the guards and who had
12 to remove Dikan's body and possibly wash the place, because it was all
13 bloodstained. And there were probably remnants of Dikan's brain all over
14 the concrete.
15 Q. Thank you. You said earlier that this occurred on the ninth or
16 tenth day of your detention in the Territorial Defence building. What
17 happened after Dikan was killed?
18 A. That was actually the last day, because that evening, we were
19 taken to Brcko, to the barracks of the JNA.
20 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me what -- how did you come to be
21 transferred from the Territorial Defence warehouse to Brcko?
22 A. On that evening, some people came. I don't remember any more
23 whether they were policemen. I was in a state of shock after what had
24 happened with Dikan and Lugar. But men arrived with some sort of lists,
25 and they called out our names. And after calling out our names, they put
1 us on two military trucks, I think there were.
2 A few of the people in the group were left out of those lists and
3 they had to stay behind in the Territorial Defence warehouse, but most of
4 us had their names called out and we were sent on to Brcko. We didn't
5 know then where we were going, but they took us to the barracks in Brcko.
6 Q. Did you notice anyone who appeared to be in charge of this
8 A. Believe me, I was not in a situation to notice anything.
9 Q. Did you see any of the defendants before you were taken to Brcko?
10 A. I can't say with certainty that I noticed any of them.
11 Q. Thank you. Can you -- you were transferred on military trucks
12 from the Territorial Defence to Brcko. What happened when you arrived in
14 A. When we stopped, we had to get off of the trucks. We saw we had
15 been brought to a barracks compound, and by chance I knew the surrounding
16 area because there was a street nearby called Suljagic Sokak where my
17 close relatives lived. Their last name is Suljagic. And this was near
18 the very centre of Brcko. So we knew we had been brought to the compound
19 of the barracks and that we were in Brcko.
20 When we got off the trucks, we were beaten right away by the
21 soldiers who were there. I don't know whether they all took part, but
22 this was our welcome. And then they took us to a room which I think was a
23 sort of anteroom to the military prison. They tied our hands behind our
24 backs, and the last remaining valuables we had and our documents were
25 taken away then. I had kept the licence for my pistol, my personal
1 identity card, and a little money that was not confiscated before.
2 After this, they put us into different rooms or, rather, cells
3 with bars. As far as I could see, at the beginning of this long corridor
4 from where the cells continued, there was a heavy machine-gun. That was
5 probably for decoration. There were about ten of us in the cell where I
6 was. And that would be all I know about our arrival in Brcko.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MS. REIDY: Your Honours, I take note that it's just approaching
9 1.00, and I take it that I would continue with my questioning if we
10 do indeed sit again at 3.30.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We shall adjourn now - it's 1.00 - for our
12 lunch break, and the proceedings will resume this afternoon at 1530
13 hours. 1530 hours we start. We should be in the courtroom then.
14 MS. REIDY: Thank you.
15 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 3.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Prosecution is continuing
4 MS. REIDY: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Mr. Bicic, you had finished this morning's session by describing
6 your arrival in Brcko barracks in the evening, and I believe you finished
7 by explaining to the Chamber how the last personal possessions you had
8 were removed and then you were placed into a cell. Can you please now
9 tell the Chamber what happened the next day, when you awoke on your first
10 day in Brcko.
11 A. May I just add that that evening, a gentleman in civilian clothing
12 arrived and he addressed the military police when he saw that our hands
13 had been tied behind our backs, and I think he ordered them - and later on
14 I heard that he was in fact a major by rank - that he ordered them to
15 untie our hands. And just a few of us had -- a few of the other people
16 had their hands tied in front of them, whereas most of the rest of us were
17 freed; that is, our hands were untied.
18 The next day, and in the course of that evening, me and the people
19 who were shut up in the cell with me were left alone. Nothing happened to
20 us in the sense of any beatings or anything of that kind. The only thing
21 was that we kept having to listen to the groans and moans and cries from
22 the other parts of the prison, and later on I heard that they had in fact
23 been interrogating and beating some other prisoners. I think they were
24 from Brcko or the surrounding parts.
25 Q. Thank you. Did hearing those cries give you any concerns about
1 your own safety or what might happen to you?
2 A. I was concerned about my own safety the whole time, concerned
3 about my safety in life. I feared for my life, because it was terrible.
4 Altogether we were still in prison, and just listening to those cries and
5 moans made the situation worse and added to this terrible atmosphere that
6 we were in.
7 Q. Could you provide the Chamber with some of the -- with the names
8 of some of the people who you were detained with in the cell in Brcko.
9 A. It was mostly people who had been detained with me at the
10 Territorial Defence, including my brother and Ibrahim Salkic. All the
11 people who were there - well, not all of them; a few of them, three or
12 four from our group - stayed on, remained in the Territorial Defence
13 building, but all the others were in Brcko. Not to have to enumerate them
14 all, there were about 40 of them.
15 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Counsel, if I could just ask Mr. Bicic just two
16 short questions. The first is: What was the ethnic background of the
17 persons who were with you, both in Bosanski Samac and then also in Brcko?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were Croats, Bosnian Croats,
19 and Muslims.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. And the second question: To your
21 knowledge, were these persons non-combatants? In other words, were they
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, all of them were
24 civilians, with the exception of a few of them, a few policemen, in fact.
25 Whether they were members of the regular police force or some reserve
1 formation, but some of them wore police uniforms.
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
3 JUDGE SINGH: One question following from that: These policemen,
4 what was their ethnicity? Were they Croats, Muslims, or Serbs?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Most of them were Croats and
6 Muslims, although there weren't many of them, four or five. Perhaps not
7 even that many. Approximately. But Croats and Muslims, I would say.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: I think further from that: This police uniform they
9 were wearing, was it the normal police uniform you used to see them in in
10 Bosanski Samac before the attack, or was it a special and different police
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were police uniforms that I
13 recognised, the kind that the police force wore up until the war, the
14 standard type of police uniform.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
16 JUDGE SINGH: One more question from that: Do you have any idea
17 why policemen were also being detained with you and the others?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't really know, but I
19 assume that they did not join the Serb police or perhaps they didn't want
20 to. That's all I can say. I don't really know.
21 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Zecevic.
23 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, we would like to clarify one thing,
24 because with all due respect, the witness has already answered to many of
25 the questions which were posed by this Honourable Trial Chamber right
2 On page 32, 20 and -- row 20 until row 24, and previously row 9
3 until 13, where he was -- where he gave the different answer to the
4 practically same question about the ethnicity of the prisoners -- and I
5 would like my learned colleague, if she can really ask the question again,
6 to put the question to the witness concerning his previous answer this
7 morning on page 32. Thank you.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: But those are -- if they are contradictions to you,
9 those are matters that you take up in cross-examination.
10 MR. ZECEVIC: Okay. Thank you.
11 MS. REIDY: Thank you.
12 Q. Mr. Bicic, I'm going to turn now again to the next day in Brcko,
13 so your first full day there. Were you -- did you remain in your cell,
14 did you have to leave your cell, or what happened?
15 A. I'm no longer sure whether it was on the first day I was in Brcko
16 or the second, but luckily, they organised a bath for us; that is to say,
17 we were able to take a shower and wash ourselves for the first time.
18 Also - I don't know whether it was on the first day or my second day in
19 Brcko - I went to give a statement.
20 Q. Thank you. Can I ask: Is this the first time that you had an
21 opportunity to clean yourself since the 18th of April?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. After you had cleaned yourself, did you also get clean clothes, or
24 did you have to put on the same clothes you were wearing before you
1 A. We had to put the same clothes on that we were wearing before.
2 Q. Thank you. You went to give a statement. Can I ask you, where
3 were you taken to make that statement?
4 A. The guards took me off to make a statement in an office within the
5 composition of the barracks.
6 Q. And when you went to that office, was there anybody in the
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you know who the person who was in the office was or the
10 people who were in the office?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Could you put on the record anybody you knew who was in that
14 A. I knew Mr. Zaric personally - Mr. Simo Zaric - and I can't be sure
15 about the name of the other man. He also took statements, but I think he
16 was an inspector in the police force. I don't know. I think he was a
17 police inspector from Orasje or formerly an Orasje police inspector.
18 Q. Can you please explain to the Chamber more or less what happened
19 after you entered the room and you met with Mr. Simo Zaric and this other
21 A. Something happened which was a little different than had been the
22 case so far: I had the opportunity of sitting down; I was allowed to sit
23 and have a normal conversation with Mr. Zaric and make my statement in
24 that way.
25 Q. Can you explain to us how in Bosanski Samac your statement was
1 taken? Was this in the same manner? Did Mr. Zaric give you a pen to
2 write with or ask someone else to record what you said?
3 A. As far as I remember, I think Mr. Zaric himself used a typewriter
4 to type out the statement. Let me also mention that his conduct was very
5 proper during the interrogation and the giving of the statement by me.
6 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you -- you said Mr. Zaric himself used a
7 typewriter to type out the statement. Did you then read the statement, or
8 was it read to you?
9 A. Yes. Actually, I don't remember whether I read it out or he read
10 it out, but I was acquainted with the contents, with the details, with
12 Q. And did you sign that statement?
13 A. I think I signed it. Yes, quite certainly.
14 MS. REIDY: Could I just tell the Bench, I have a document which I
15 believe could be that statement that we're now talking about. It -- I--
16 from the Defence is one of those documents. I didn't intend to as such
17 introduce it now into evidence, and I indeed wouldn't have sufficient
18 copies as an exhibit, but in fairness, just for the completion of the
19 evidence, if the Chamber wish, I could put the document on the ELMO for
20 the witness, and if he wants to look at it and see whether or not it is
21 this statement, I'm happy to do that if that's of assistance to the
23 JUDGE MUMBA: You are saying that you have no intention of
24 producing it in evidence.
25 MS. REIDY: Well, Your Honour, I mean I didn't intend to produce
1 it into evidence, and it's -- the Prosecution -- there's nothing specific
2 in the statement that the Prosecution would like for its case to be on the
3 record. However, as I said, I know the Defence have a copy. They may
4 seek to introduce it into evidence. And simply, as I'm saying as matter
5 of clarity and completion for the record, I'm happy, since we are
6 discussing this document, to give the witness and the Tribunal now a
7 chance to see whether or not the witness recognises this statement as the
8 one he's just testified to.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. Okay. You can go ahead and show it to
10 the witness, and we'll have a number for identification only.
11 MS. REIDY: We have requested that copies be brought down to the
13 Q. Mr. Bicic, I don't believe you've seen this document. Have you
14 seen it before? Maybe not in recent times. But could you tell me, if you
15 have a look at it, do you recognise it?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Could I ask you if it could just be put on the ELMO, and then you
18 could maybe look at it on the screen in front of you, just so everybody in
19 the courtroom is aware of which document you're inspecting. Thank you.
20 MS. REIDY: Could I ask the usher just to raise the document a bit
21 to the bottom of the page, where I believe there are two signatures.
22 Q. On the left-hand side, left-hand corner of that document, there is
23 a signature. Do you recognise that signature?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Is it your signature?
1 A. Yes.
2 MS. REIDY: As far as the Prosecution is concerned, that's --
3 JUDGE MUMBA: What about the other -- on the right-hand side?
4 MS. REIDY: Sorry, Mr. Bicic.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Is that a signature or just a date?
6 MS. REIDY:
7 Q. On the right-hand side, in the corner, there's what appears to be
8 another signature. Is it, or is it some other notation?
9 A. I think it's a signature.
10 Q. Do you --
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Who signed? Did you see who signed there?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember. Perhaps I did
13 see, but I didn't think it important to make a note of it. Probably the
14 person taking the statement signed it, but I don't recognise the
15 signature. I don't know it, so ...
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the document, Mr. Usher, brought to the
17 Registry assistant for numbering, please, for identification.
18 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be numbered Prosecution document
19 28 ter.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Have we got the English translation?
21 MS. REIDY: There is an English translation with that -- of that.
22 Here we go. The document has just arrived into the courtroom. There is
23 an English translation of it. It's one again provided by the Defence.
24 I'm not sure who drafted it.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: No, no. I want to know whether it is an English
1 translation accepted -- the translation accepted by the Prosecution.
2 Because if questions arose on the contents of this statement, the Trial
3 Chamber wouldn't be able to deal with them if we have no English
5 MS. REIDY: There is an English translation. At this point, as
6 this is a recent document acquired, I have not had one of our translators
7 sit down and confirm that the translation is accurate or to our
8 satisfaction. I certainly undertake that -- to do that, and if the
9 Prosecution want to refer to the translation in defence, will indicate
10 previously if we have any concerns about the accuracy of the translation.
11 I have no reason to believe it's not an accurate translation and I'm happy
12 to use it as a working tool. And as I said, by tomorrow, our language
13 assistant should have been able to draw to our attention if there should
14 be anything that we are concerned about.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. So please do undertake that and make
16 sure that the translation is the proper one. Because even if it may not
17 be produced into evidence, it will still require an English translation.
18 MS. REIDY: Could I also just confirm for the -- I understand
19 that -- has this document been given an exhibit number or is it to be an
20 identification number?
21 JUDGE MUMBA: It's a number for identification only.
22 MS. REIDY: Okay. Thank you.
23 JUDGE SINGH: Ms. Reidy, can I ask you two questions?
24 MS. REIDY: Certainly.
25 JUDGE SINGH: The first question is: Do you want to make this
1 document part of the Prosecution's case? And if you do, what is the
2 probative value of that document in relation to your case?
3 MS. REIDY: Your Honour, the answer to your first question is no,
4 it's not necessarily part of our case. It was simply that it was a
5 document which now is in the possession of the Prosecution, and I felt it
6 proper that given that I had the document in my possession, that the
7 witness be given a chance to comment on it. I wouldn't want to have been
8 accused of the Prosecution not wanting to put all the evidence on the
10 As to its probative value, that is, of course, ultimately
11 something for the Chamber to determine. As far as we're concerned, I
12 think we've heard lots of evidence of the circumstances, the conditions
13 and detention of Mr. Bicic, and that would factor into any probative value
14 the Tribunal want to give it if they -- if the Defence do actually put it
15 as part of the evidential record. I just took the decision now just to
16 show the witness' signature, just, as I said, it was a document that I was
17 now aware of and I felt it appropriate to be completely open with the
18 Chamber on that matter. But it's nothing that the Prosecution necessarily
19 wants as part of its evidential record.
20 JUDGE SINGH: But really, you must make up your mind. It is not
21 necessary to thrust documents on the Court if they're not part of your
22 case and you don't want to make it part of your case.
23 MS. REIDY: Thank you. In the future, then, I shall -- if that's
24 the direction the Court wants to give, I'll bear that in mind. And as I
25 said, my answer to your first question is no, it's not part of the
1 Prosecution case. Just the fact that a statement was made is sufficient.
2 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Zecevic.
4 MR. ZECEVIC: If I may, it appears, as I understood, this document
5 is marked for identification. Shouldn't it have an "ID" or "IP" number
6 instead of "P" number?
7 JUDGE MUMBA: No. I think we went through it already.
8 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: We went through that problem at the very beginning,
11 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, I --
12 JUDGE MUMBA: What is important is that the record shows that it
13 is for identification only so it is not part of the evidence in this
14 trial --
15 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: -- at this stage.
17 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
19 MS. REIDY:
20 Q. Mr. Bicic, you've confirmed so far that in Brcko you had a shower
21 and you gave this statement. Could you just confirm --
22 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Sorry, Counsel. I'm sorry to interrupt again,
23 but I can see you're moving on. I just have a question really for
24 clarification in my mind. I wonder whether the witness could tell us
25 whether this statement which is now -- we have for identification purposes
1 only was given voluntarily. Because we heard this morning that those
2 earlier statements in Bosanski Samac were given knowing that there would
3 be physical repercussions, I think it was stated, if he didn't sign, and
4 you made lists of people who you thought had gone to Croatia or were not
5 available to be arrested.
6 I'm just wondering, in the context of this document, were you
7 giving this statement voluntarily or were you similarly fearing
8 repercussions if you didn't sign?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you for that question. I
10 think that nothing, absolutely nothing, the whole -- throughout the time
11 that I was in detention, I did voluntarily, of my own free will. I was
12 abused, beaten, tortured, beaten up, so I didn't do anything of my own
13 free will, willingly, voluntarily. But I also said that as far as that
14 particular statement goes, it was different from the other ones, in that I
15 was not mistreated, they didn't beat me. I was interviewed.
16 But let me also say that that statement, too, I wrote down or gave
17 with a certain amount -- that is to say, I thought about the ones I had
18 given previously, because I thought they might compare them. So I had to
19 do my best to make the statement similar to the previous ones that I had
21 MS. REIDY: Thank you.
22 Q. Mr. Bicic, you've testified that you gave this statement and that
23 you had a shower when you were at Brcko. Just to clarify, did you have
24 the shower first or did you give the statement first?
25 A. I couldn't be sure.
1 Q. Would you have an idea of what you would have looked like,
2 visibly, at the time that you were giving this statement?
3 A. I can't remember what I looked like, but that I had received quite
4 a number of blows, especially to the head, that was probably visible to
5 the naked eye. I probably looked beaten up.
6 Q. And if I understand your testimony correctly previously, you were
7 still wearing the same bloodied clothes which you had on you in Bosanski
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. This interview and the statement, how long would you estimate that
11 it lasted?
12 A. Well, how long can that kind of interview last? Perhaps 15
13 minutes to half an hour.
14 Q. And when the interview was finished, were you returned to your
15 cell, or were you taken somewhere else?
16 A. They returned me to my cell.
17 Q. Did you have to give any more statements whilst you were in
19 A. No. That was the only time, as far as I recall.
20 Q. How long did you stay in Brcko for?
21 A. We stayed in Brcko until the beginning of the attack on Brcko or
22 the start of the aggression on Brcko, whichever you like. I think until
23 May the 1st, which means not long. Perhaps four days; three, five. I'm
24 no longer sure.
25 Q. Did you see any of the other defendants whilst you were in Brcko?
1 A. No.
2 Q. When -- you said when the aggression on Brcko started, you left
3 Brcko. Did you return to Bosanski Samac?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Where did you go?
6 A. To Bijeljina.
7 Q. Can you tell us how you were taken from Brcko to Bijeljina?
8 A. What I can tell you is that last day in Brcko, we were woken up by
9 a big explosion, and I thought the cell -- the ceiling of the cell would
10 fall down on us. I felt that the explosion must have been quite nearby,
11 in the prison itself, but we later learnt that the bridge had been blown
12 up on the Sava River at Brcko and that we could hear detonations and
14 And they put us into a bus. I don't know how many of us there
15 were, but about 50 of us, and they transferred us with an armed guard to
17 Q. You testified that when you arrived in Brcko, a number of your
18 personal belongings were taken from you. Were these returned to you when
19 you were transferred out of Brcko?
20 A. I didn't say that a large amount was taken from me. It was just
21 my personal documents, my identity card, the licence I had for my pistol,
22 which I carried in my pocket, and some small change, an insignificant
23 amount of cash. And none of this was returned to us.
24 Q. Thank you. I think I've -- as you said, you were taken -- put
25 onto a bus and taken to Belijina. Where in Bijeljina were you taken?
1 A. We were taken to the barracks of the Yugoslav army, or whatever
2 its name was at that time, whether it was the JNA -- I think it was still
3 called the JNA. Anyway, we were taken to the barracks.
4 Q. And what happened to you when you arrived at the JNA barracks?
5 A. We were told to get off the bus, to put our hands on our heads, or
6 rather, at the back of our heads, and to start walking in a certain
7 direction. I don't know where they were taking us.
8 Q. Where did you end up after you followed their instructions?
9 A. They told us to march in single file, and an explosion was heard,
10 a shot. I was in front, and I couldn't see for myself what was happening,
11 but some detainees who were behind saw that a prisoner from our bus had
12 been killed. We didn't know who it was, but we heard from others that it
13 was a man from Brcko or the Brcko area. And he was shot at from an
14 armoured vehicle. I don't know what weapon was used exactly.
15 Q. After you heard this explosion, what happened to you then? Were
16 you taken to any particular location or ...
17 A. After this, they took us to -- I think it was either a dormitory
18 which had been emptied or a big hall. I don't mean a gym. But anyway, it
19 was a room inside the barracks.
20 Q. How many of you were taken to this room?
21 A. I think in my estimation, there might have been between 40 and 50
22 of us. I think it was about 50, because we had already been joined by
23 some prisoners from Brcko or the surrounding area who were transported
24 with us from the barracks or the prison in Brcko.
25 Q. So I understand now that there's about 40 or 50 of you mixed
1 people from Brcko and from Bosanski Samac. Is that correct?
2 A. Yes, that's correct. But most of the people were from Bosanski
3 Samac, from the camp where I had been detained, the Territorial Defence.
4 Q. And can I ask, did the -- maybe you can just put on the record:
5 In Bijeljina, what was the ethnicity of the persons detained with you?
6 And also, could you please let the Chamber know if there was anybody in --
7 any combatants in addition to the people that you'd previously been
8 detained with.
9 A. We were joined by a few. And when I say "a few," I mean eight or
10 ten people. And they were of mixed ethnicity, which means they were both
11 Croats and Muslims. And as for whether any of them was a combatant, I
12 couldn't confirm that, but they were all wearing civilian clothes.
13 Q. Thank you very much. Again I will go through in detail some of
14 the things that happened to you in Bijeljina, but could you tell us
15 roughly how long you stayed in Bijeljina overall?
16 A. I couldn't tell you exactly, but in my estimation it was about 20
17 days. I'm not absolutely certain, but I think it was about 20 days.
18 Q. During these 20 days, did you stay in this big hall, or were you
19 brought somewhere else?
20 A. First they took us to the hall I mentioned, and we stayed there
21 not for long. Afterwards, we were transferred to a gym within the
23 Q. Thank you. Could you just clarify? When you say you stayed there
24 not for long, do you mean that an hour or so afterwards you were taken to
25 the gym; or not for long, a day or two you were taken to the gym?
1 A. It wasn't a few days. It was a few hours.
2 Q. Could you please tell us the conditions of this gym in which you
3 spent, I presume, the next 20 days in? For example, were there any beds
4 in the gym for you? Was there a toilet to share amongst you? These sort
5 of details.
6 A. Well, the conditions in the gym, unlike those in the Territorial
7 Defence warehouse, were better. We each received a blanket. In the gym,
8 there was also a toilet, and we had showers. We were able to take a
9 shower. And sometimes they showered us while beating us. When I say
10 "they," I'm referring to all the people who came in to beat us in that
12 Q. Let me clarify that. You said all the people that came to beat
13 you in the gym. What sort of people came in to beat you in that gym?
14 A. The regular army, the soldiers that were there when we were
15 brought in, some military policemen who guarded us there, various
16 civilians who used to come there to beat us, and various Chetnik
17 formations who were passing through Bijeljina, I think from Serbia, on
18 their way to the battlefields in Bosnia and Herzegovina. So there were
19 all sorts of soldiers and policemen and military policemen and civilians
20 and paramilitaries and so on.
21 Q. What sort of -- what format, if you like, did these beatings
22 take? Say, for example, was there any pattern to how they beat you, if
23 they used anything to beat you, how long the beatings might last, how many
24 times a day it might happen?
25 A. Well, it varied. For example, sometimes we were forced to kneel
1 for hours with our heads down and our hands on the tops of our heads, for
2 hours, and no one had the right to move left or right. If someone moved
3 without permission, he would be kicked, I think in the back or kidneys or
4 wherever the kick landed. And they kept us like that for hours.
5 There was a sort of ritual for anyone who wanted to go to the
6 toilet. He would have to put a hand up while still kneeling on the floor
7 with his head down, facing the wall, and with his hand up, one of the
8 guards would hit his hand with something - I don't know what - which meant
9 that he could address him. And they had already told us how to address
10 them. We had to say, "Sir, Serbian soldier, may I go to the toilet?" And
11 then he would say yes or no.
12 Q. How did all this kneeling and particularly this ritual that you've
13 described make you feel?
14 A. Very nice. How would someone feel having to kneel for hours and
15 hours without any chance of shifting his position? And in the end, when
16 we had to go to the toilet, we were escorted by the policemen who allowed
17 us to go. We had to relieve ourselves with the door open.
18 But before that, as I said, we were escorted by a policeman who
19 threatened us the whole time so that no one would dare raise a false
20 alarm; in other words, go to the toilet just to get some rest, some relief
21 from all that kneeling, because if he didn't relieve himself immediately,
22 he would be beaten. But with the guard standing behind one's back,
23 hitting the door with his truncheon while waiting, tapping on the door, it
24 was very hard to concentrate on urinating.
25 Q. Did -- during your detention in Bijeljina, did you personally
1 sustain any injuries from the treatment you were subjected to?
2 A. Yes, I received on several occasions injuries. We were beaten
3 many times. But I would single out an occasion when a soldier - I later
4 learned that he was from the area of Novi Sad - beat me brutally while I
5 was kneeling. I don't know how many times he kicked me with all his
6 strength in the area of the kidneys. And as a consequence, for a long
7 time I -- there was blood in my urine.
8 Q. When you say "for a long time," do you mean -- or could you
9 indicate -- "a long time," does that mean a long time was in detention or
10 for a number of years after detention, or if you could give us some idea
11 of how you would quantify what "a long time" means.
12 A. Well, when I said "for a long time," I was referring to the period
13 of my detention and a few months afterwards, until I recovered from the
14 camp and the beatings.
15 Q. Do I understand you to say that after you were no longer in
16 detention, you continued to experience problems as a result of this
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Bicic, you've said you were in Bijeljina for
20 approximately 20 days. After those 20 days or so, where did you go?
21 A. After my detention in Bijeljina, they said they were taking us
22 back to Samac and that we would probably be released and allowed to go
23 home when we got back.
24 Q. Who conveyed that message to you?
25 A. Well, we got the message. I don't know exactly who conveyed it to
1 us, but this information was passed around, that we might be released.
2 And some people believed it; others didn't. Who it was exactly who said
3 it, I can't recall now.
4 Q. So were you all, then, indeed taken back from Bijeljina and
5 released in Bosanski Samac, allowed to go home?
6 A. No, we weren't all taken back. In the meantime, some people from
7 our group were collected. A helicopter came for them, and they were taken
8 to another place. We later learned they had been taken to Belgrade or
9 Zemun. And the rest of us were taken back to Bosanski Samac.
10 Q. Were you taken back to Bosanski Samac by buses, military
11 vehicles? How did they arrange for you to be taken back to Samac?
12 A. They took us back to Samac by bus, with a military escort.
13 Q. And when you got back to Samac, were you then released and allowed
14 to go home?
15 A. No. No, they didn't release us.
16 Q. If they didn't release you, where did they take you?
17 A. At first they took us to a place in front of a textile factory. I
18 think it was used as a barracks or a military headquarters at the time. I
19 don't know exactly, but I saw some soldiers guarding it. Go ahead,
21 Q. So you were taken -- could you just -- for the record, could -- is
22 there a name for this textile factory?
23 A. Yes. Yes, I know what its name was: the Samacka Industrija
24 Tekstila, the Samac textile industry, and it was referred to as SIT.
25 Q. Thank you very much. When you stopped at this factory, did
1 you -- were you told to get off the buses, or what happened?
2 A. They didn't tell us anything. We sat in the bus, and our escort,
3 the people who were driving us and escorting us, went to consult someone,
4 as I felt, and we sat there for about half an hour and then they drove us
5 in another direction.
6 Q. And which direction was that?
7 A. In the direction of the police station in Bosanski Samac.
8 Q. And did you dismount from the buses at the police station?
9 A. No. No, we didn't dismount.
10 Q. So what happened after you pulled up at the police station?
11 A. The same thing that had happened in front of the textile factory:
12 The people escorting us went to the police station. I am convinced they
13 went to consult someone. And the impression I had was that they
14 themselves did not know what to do with us, where to take us.
15 Q. These people who kept going in to consult the personnel in the
16 textile factory and in the police station, did you know who they were?
17 Were they JNA soldiers from Bijeljina or were they other people that you
18 could identify?
19 A. I couldn't tell you who they were, but they were escorting us.
20 They had arrived in Bijeljina from Samac, or maybe they were from
21 Bijeljina. I couldn't say what was the case.
22 Q. Were they dressed in military uniform or civilian clothing?
23 A. They were wearing military uniform.
24 Q. Thank you. After the police station, where eventually did you end
25 up dismounting from the bus?
1 A. Eventually they brought us to the front of the secondary school in
2 Bosanski Samac.
3 Q. And then I take it from your answer that you got off the buses at
4 the secondary school.
5 A. Not at the secondary school, but the gym of the secondary school
6 for economics, the economics vocational secondary school.
7 MS. REIDY: Thank you very much.
8 Could I please ask the usher to again give the witness Exhibit P9D
9 and also photographs 48 and 30 from Prosecution Exhibit 14A.
10 Q. Mr. Bicic, if you can again take a pen, please, and if it's
11 possible, if you can -- if there's room and if you can locate it on the
12 map, could you just show us, by indicating with the number "5," where the
13 textile factory was where you first stopped, the one that you said that
14 you think was being used as a military barracks.
15 A. I find it hard to orient myself, but it's somewhere here.
16 Q. Thank you. Again, could I ask you, as well as you're able to
17 orientate yourself, to indicate with the number "6" where the secondary
18 school was; specifically, if it's in a different location, the gymnasium
19 of the secondary school.
20 A. [Marks]
21 MS. REIDY: Thank you very much.
22 Could I now ask if the usher could put the first photograph on the
23 ELMO, not photograph 30, but photograph 48. Thank you.
24 Q. Mr. Bicic, if you recognise anything in this photograph, could you
25 please tell the Chamber what it is you recognise and what's depicted in
1 the photograph.
2 A. Yes, I do recognise this, and I'll show you what it is. This
3 here, on the right, is the gym hall of the secondary school centre. On
4 the left-hand side is the eight-year elementary school, and it had been
5 practically burnt down already then. In the middle here was the gym hall
6 belonging to the elementary school, and we were transferred there
7 afterwards from the secondary school centre.
8 Q. Thank you very much.
9 MS. REIDY: I would just ask the usher to put on the ELMO
10 photograph number 30.
11 Q. Again, Mr. Bicic, if this -- if what is depicted is familiar to
12 you, could you please tell us what it is?
13 A. Yes, I know what this is. I think it's the gym in the secondary
14 school centre, but on this photograph it looks better than it did then,
15 when we were in it.
16 Q. Do I understand this is the gym of the secondary school, even if
17 it's in better condition, that you initially -- where you were initially
18 taken after you dismounted from the bus that had transferred you from
20 A. Yes, that's it. That's the gym.
21 Q. Thank you very much.
22 MS. REIDY: And I'm finished now with the photographs.
23 Q. Mr. Bicic, if you could, as you were taken, you said, to the
24 gymnasium in the secondary school, could you then tell us what happened?
25 Were you made to stay in the gymnasium for a number of days, or were you
1 transferred somewhere else?
2 A. We stayed there for a few days, and some of us, or most of us,
3 underwent another shock there, because in Bijeljina it was said that there
4 was every probability that we would be released, allowed to go home. But
5 as soon as we dismounted the buses, they started beating us with rifles.
6 We were beaten by people wearing uniforms belonging to the Serb police
7 force, and there was not a single person who wasn't beaten while getting
8 off the bus and walking to the gym at the secondary school centre. They
9 lined us all up against a wall after that, and some of the guards or
10 policemen, or whatever, shot above our heads from automatic rifles, shot
11 at the glass, and beat us at the same time.
12 Q. And this is the first evening you arrived back in Bosanski Samac?
13 A. Yes. That was when it happened.
14 Q. One of your comments on the photograph you saw was that the gym
15 looked better in that photograph than it did at the time you were detained
16 in it. Could you perhaps explain to us what condition the gym was in when
17 you were detained there.
18 A. Well, it was far worse than it appears on this photograph. All
19 the windows were broken. It was dirty. That's all I can say.
20 Q. How many of you at this stage were being kept in the gym?
21 A. About 40, I would say.
22 Q. And were there any facilities for you to sleep or to sit down, or
23 what did you use for sleeping on?
24 A. We slept on the parquet flooring. We had nothing to cover
25 ourselves with or to put anything underneath us, nor were we allowed to
1 make the situation easier on us.
2 Q. You said on that first night, dismounting from the buses, not a
3 single person escaped a beating. Did you continue to be -- were you
4 beaten at any other time whilst you were held in the gymnasium?
5 A. Yes. They beat us often. At night, some of them would turn up
6 with flashlights because there was no electricity. Some were masked,
7 others weren't, and they would proceed to beat us. And we saw a
8 repetition of what we had experienced previously in the Territorial
9 Defence, when we were held in detention there, but this time round, the
10 people doing the beating were locals, for the most part.
11 Q. Can I ask you, did -- how many days were you detained in the gym
12 of the secondary school now, the one you saw depicted on the photograph?
13 A. A couple of days. I can't remember exactly, but a couple of days,
14 I'd say. Not long.
15 Q. During those couple of days that you were held there, did you see
16 any of the defendants in this case?
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 Q. Tell the Chamber who you saw.
19 A. I saw Blagoje Simic.
20 Q. Can you tell us the circumstances under which you saw him?
21 A. It was daytime. I don't know what the time was, but he appeared
22 at the entrance door and he came into the gym, several metres into the
23 gym, followed by Stevan Todorovic and some others whom I don't remember.
24 Q. And he came seven metres into the gym. What did he do once he was
25 inside the room?
1 A. I think he just looked around the room. He took us all in,
2 whether he was counting us or whether he recognised some of us or
3 whatever. But anyway, he didn't stay long, but he didn't say anything to
4 us. He didn't address us.
5 Q. You yourself were obviously detained in that room. When he looked
6 around and took everyone in, as you said, what would he have seen?
7 A. I don't know how good his eyesight is, but he could have seen each
8 person individually, what we looked like, what we were wearing, and the
9 state we were in.
10 Q. Thank you. As you were -- in the gym were the people, I presume,
11 who came with you on the bus from Bijeljina. Was there anyone else
12 detained with you in that gym hall for the two days you were there?
13 A. No. They brought us into an empty gymnasium. But number of
14 prisoners from our group varied. Some were taken off and didn't return,
15 and at other times we received new additions, new detainees. For example,
16 in our group, there were some guys who had been detained in Brcko and then
17 others that they had added on to us while we were in Bijeljina. And so it
18 was their luck that they -- or bad luck, rather, that they ended up with
20 Q. You said there were also some new detainees. Where did these new
21 detainees come from? From Bosanski Samac or other locations?
22 A. I'm not quite clear who you mean. Which detainees?
23 Q. I'm sorry. I thought you had said that there were some new
24 additions, some new detainees who joined you in the secondary -- in the
25 gym of the secondary school. If that is the case, if in the secondary
1 school there were additionally some new people who were added to the
2 group, could you tell me if you know whether they were local people - I
3 mean from the municipality of Bosanski Samac - or whether they may have
4 come from further afield?
5 A. I can't be 100 per cent certain now, but one evening we were
6 joined by a group of people from Bosanski Samac. Now, why I say I'm not
7 100 per cent certain now is that I don't know whether they joined us in
8 the gym of the secondary school or later on in the gym of the elementary
9 school when we were transferred there, but most probably they had joined
10 us in the secondary school gym one evening -- one of those -- one evening
11 that we spent there.
12 Q. Did this group of people from Bosanski Samac have any information
13 for you about what was happening outside of the detention centre?
14 A. Yes. We learnt a few things from them. They told us that they
15 had been taken from their homes. So they weren't transferred from another
16 camp, but that they were rounded up from their houses. And according to
17 what they said, the intention was that they were to say that we were them,
18 because allegedly the International Red Cross had heard about us, because
19 the rumours were going around town when we returned from Bijeljina. So
20 the International Red Cross asked to see the people who had been heard had
21 been kept there. And as we were looking so poorly and looked so pitiful,
22 I think they decided to round up a different group of people from their
23 homes who hadn't been beaten up, who were clean and well kept. I don't
24 know where they could have taken them to represent them as being us to the
25 International Red Cross. They swapped us -- were going to swap us, in
2 Q. So if I -- is it correct that the people who joined you told you
3 that they had been presented -- that they had been detained and then
4 presented to the Red Cross as the prisoners from Bosanski Samac?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you recall if they were able to -- or if they told you at the
7 time any details about where they were kept or who -- who saw them or who
8 arranged the -- their detention and presentation to the Red Cross?
9 A. No. No, but I can give you the name of at least one person from
10 that group. Not many of them were thrown in together with us, but I'll
11 give you a name of one of those who was in the group that was said to be
12 us, in fact. His name was Abdulah, nicknamed Avdo, Drljacic, and he was
13 from Bosanski Samac.
14 Q. Thank you very much. I think you said you stayed only in the
15 gymnasium for a day or two, or in the gymnasium of the secondary school
16 for a day or two. Where did you go to after this short period of time?
17 A. I said that we stayed on for a couple of days. After so much
18 time, so many years, I'm not quite sure how long, but two, three, four
19 days, possibly, and then they transferred us to the gymnasium of the
20 elementary school, and that was close by to the secondary school centre.
21 Q. And where in the -- so you said you were taken to the gymnasium of
22 the elementary school.
23 MS. REIDY: Could I again just ask the usher if he could put on
24 the ELMO photographs 48, 49, and 59 of Prosecution Exhibit 14A. If you
25 could put number 48 on the ELMO.
1 Q. Mr. Bicic, I think you've already identified this photograph.
2 Could again you just clarify for the record which of the buildings is the
3 primary -- the gymnasium of the primary school.
4 A. This is the elementary school complex and this is the gymnasium,
5 here, this building.
6 MS. REIDY: If the usher could put photograph 49 on the ELMO,
8 Q. Again, could you just talk us through this photograph, if you can
9 help us identify the buildings in it.
10 A. This is the elementary school, taken from a different angle, from
11 the courtyard, or from the direction of the secondary school centre.
12 These are the ruins, the remains of the school building, and this is the
13 gymnasium here. That's where we were. We were detained there until I was
14 exchanged; that is, I was detained there until I was exchanged, the whole
16 MS. REIDY: Thank you. And finally, could you place photograph 59
17 on the ELMO.
18 Q. Again, Mr. Bicic, if you recognise this room, could you tell us
19 what it is.
20 A. I recognise it, yes. That's the inside of the gymnasium belonging
21 to the elementary school.
22 Q. This is the room --
23 A. In Samac.
24 Q. Thank you. This is the room in which you were kept until you were
25 exchanged; is that what you said?
1 A. Yes, that's it.
2 MS. REIDY: Thank you very much. I'm finished with the
4 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Ms. Reidy. On some occasions the word
5 "primary school" is being used, on others "elementary," versus "the
6 secondary school." I assume that "primary" and "elementary" are being
7 used synonymously.
8 MS. REIDY: Yes, Your Honour. Insofar as I use the words
9 interchangeably, I mean the same building. I can clarify that with the
10 witness if you want, and in the future I'll try to use the word "primary
11 school" in my questioning.
12 Q. Mr. Bicic, could you just clarify: When you talk about -- or if
13 you do indeed refer to an elementary or primary school, are you talking
14 about two different locations, or are we talking about one location?
15 A. We're talking about the same location. The two terms are similar
16 and the same. They mean the same thing.
17 Q. Thank you. Mr. Bicic, could you tell us -- you were
18 exchanged -- you said you were detained here until you were exchanged.
19 What date were you exchanged on?
20 A. I think it was the 7th of July --
21 Q. So would it be fair to say you were --
22 A. -- or about the 7th of July.
23 Q. So would it be fair to say that you were detained in this
24 gymnasium for a number of weeks, five, six weeks, or ...
25 A. Yes, until the end, until I was exchanged.
1 Q. Could you tell us in general what the conditions of this - we've
2 seen a photograph - but the conditions at the time you were detained.
3 Again, were you sleeping on mattresses or on a floor? Did you have access
4 to a toilet? Could you just paint a picture for us of what it was like to
5 be detained in June 1992 in that picture we saw.
6 A. The elementary school, as you can see from the photograph that was
7 shown a moment ago, had been burnt in a fire, but the gymnasium, the gym,
8 was not set on fire, and so there were only slight damages to that. The
9 old toilets, the ones that existed in the school, were in a state of
10 disrepair, but we did our best to make them functionable. We knew that we
11 would have to use them, so we did our best to see that we could use them,
12 and we tried to put a bit -- introduce a bit of order there to give us a
13 decent toilet.
14 Q. Did you have showers in this gym?
15 A. No, there were no showers.
16 Q. So you survived this whole time in the gym without the opportunity
17 to shower or bathe; is that the correct understanding of your evidence?
18 A. That's right. We didn't have the facilities to take a shower or
20 Q. Did you -- what did you do for food whilst you were detained in
21 the gym here in the primary school?
22 A. Well, at the beginning there was some food. They brought it to us
23 in an organised fashion, in large containers, and we would distribute it
24 amongst ourselves, and, well, we had something to eat.
25 Q. And what would you do for anything to drink, water or
1 other liquid?
2 A. Some of the prisoners had to bring us water in cans or anything of
3 that sort, but we did have water to drink.
4 Q. During your detention in the secondary school -- in the primary
5 school gym, were you subject to any beatings?
6 A. Yes, very often, and very brutally beaten.
7 Q. Does "very often" mean daily, twice a day, as often as in the
8 Territorial Defence building?
9 A. More or less as in the Territorial Defence building, although
10 sometimes one or two days went by without me being beaten. On the other
11 hand, sometimes they would beat me up three times in one day by these
12 different visitors.
13 Q. When you say "different visitors," do you mean that the different
14 visitors were varied, so there was a variety of visitors, or do you mean
15 that they were different visitors to the ones who visited you in the
16 Territorial Defence?
17 A. When I said "visitors," I meant, of course, the people who came in
18 to beat us. And they would take turns. They weren't always the same
19 ones. Some of them only came once, or in passing - they would stop
20 by - whereas others were fairly regular.
21 Q. Could you tell us, in general: These beatings, where -- was there
22 a pattern to where you were hit and what you were hit with or how many
23 people would hit you?
24 A. No, there were no rules or patterns.
25 Q. Could you give some examples, then, of the sort of places where
1 you would be hit while you were being beaten?
2 A. Usually the beatings would be in the hall itself, in the large
3 hall of the primary school, but we would also frequently be taken out into
4 the other rooms of the primary school, like the corridor or -- there was a
5 changing room as well, so they would take us there. Different places and
6 with different instruments.
7 Q. Could you tell -- could you give examples of the different
8 instruments that would be used?
9 A. Usually weapons or rifles, rifle butts. Then there were wooden
10 batons, metal bars and truncheons, army boots. That was a standard
11 practice. And I can't think of anything else, but anything that would
12 inflict pain.
13 Q. Also, were there -- could you tell us which parts, if any, of your
14 body were targeted for beatings or blows?
15 A. All over. I forgot to mention baseball bats a moment ago.
16 Mr. Todorovic was particularly partial to those. He was very thorough,
17 which meant over the whole body, the head in particular.
18 After one -- after a beating from him, I happened to see my face
19 and head in the windowpane, reflected in the windowpane, and let me tell
20 you, I couldn't recognise myself.
21 Q. You said you were beaten by Mr. Todorovic. Were you ever beaten
22 by any of the defendants, any of the defendants in this case, whilst you
23 were in this gymnasium at the primary school?
24 A. Yes. I mentioned Todorovic. I said that he was the most frequent
25 one and the most brutal. But I was also beaten -- that is to say, he only
1 beat me once. And the gentleman sitting there.
2 Q. For the record, could you identify by name the gentleman sitting
4 A. Yes. It's Mr. Milan Simic.
5 Q. Thank you very much.
6 MS. REIDY: Your Honour, it's 5.00. I think this might be quite
7 detailed questioning. You may wish me to stop.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We will rise and continue our proceedings
9 tomorrow morning at 0930 hours.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.00 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 23rd day
12 of October, 2001, at 9.30 a.m.