1 Wednesday, 21 November 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning. Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. This is the case number
8 IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Milan Simic, Miroslav
9 Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Prosecution is continuing with
12 WITNESS: WITNESS L [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examined by Mr. di Fazio: [Continued]
15 Q. Now, Witness, yesterday you described to us two meetings that you
16 attended, one at the TO and one at the Buducnost factory.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I want to leave that topic now and ask you about some aspects of
19 your life in Bosanski Samac. [redacted]?
1 A. [redacted].
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise, but we're
4 having problems with the interpretation. We only hear the voice of the
5 witness, but we don't hear the interpretation. Maybe we need to change
6 our channel. We're not getting the B/C/S translation, so we would need
7 some help with that.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Maybe we can ask the technical people to help
10 MR. LUKIC: On the 7 channel we can hear the witness, but we
11 cannot see [sic] the translation on the 7. [Interpretation] We cannot
12 hear the witness on channel 6, and on channel 7, we can hear the
13 interpreters, but we don't get them on the same channel.
14 Yes. Now we can hear the interpreter, but I don't know whether we
15 can hear the witness.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Maybe the witness -- maybe counsel can ask --
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [redacted]
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I can hear the witness directly, but I
20 don't hear him on my headphones. Yesterday we had both the witness and
21 the interpretation on channel 7, but today we have the witness on one
22 channel and the interpretation on another.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll just wait for the technical people to
24 look into it.
25 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Is there still a problem?
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the technician is fixing it.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. All right.
4 THE REGISTRAR: It seems to be working now.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Maybe we can test the system by proceeding.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
7 Q. Now, Witness, can you hear me clearly?
8 A. Yes, I can hear you.
9 Q. Good. [redacted]
15 [redacted] And I
16 put the phone down, and then I informed the SUP. I informed the
17 fire-fighting service and got dressed very quickly, and I went to the
18 shop. And when I arrived at the shop, the gentlemen from the police
19 station were already there, as well as the firefighters. So they took
20 over the case.
21 At 7.30 only, when the technical service came from the town of
22 Doboj, they disarmed the explosives. And there is a report about this at
23 the SUP.
24 Q. Thank you for that. I just want to clarify one aspect of your
25 answer. [redacted]
2 [redacted]. I'm not clear if you mean that you should leave the dynamite
3 there or whether it was being suggested that you leave the store. Do you
4 understand? Can you please clarify that aspect of your answer?
5 A. Yes. Yes. He just said that dynamite was placed [redacted]
6 [redacted], and he meant that I should do something,
9 Perhaps it was some well-meaning citizen who wanted me to at least save
10 something, because I had suffered some damage several months before.
13 Perhaps I need to clarify one further aspect [redacted].
14 About when was -- did this dynamite incident occur [redacted]
16 A. As far as I can remember, this was sometime in the month of March
24 This happened sometime at around 10.30 or -- 8.30 or 9.00 in the
1 firefighters came as well in their fire truck. We took all possible steps
2 so that the fire truck would get as close as possible [redacted]
4 This happened, as far as I can recall, sometime in October or
5 November of 1991. [redacted]
12 Q. Did you report the matter to the police and try and get some
13 investigation going as to who had caused this damage to your farm?
14 A. Yes. I reported it to the police, and the police came several
15 times to that location. They made a report. [redacted]
16 [redacted]. But they were so busy with many
17 such other cases, because things like this occurred several times per
18 week, so that they couldn't manage to process each of these cases, and
19 they couldn't find out who were the people who were committing this.
20 Frequently, when I went to town, I would hear from my fellow
21 citizens that either their shop was burnt down or blown up or some power
22 lines for electricity or weekend houses were also destroyed.
23 As far as I understood it, they had too much work and there were
24 too many cases to deal with, including my case. I didn't get any
25 results. And I tried to find out as soon as possible who did this,
1 because I never harmed anybody.
2 I engaged a lawyer privately. [redacted]. As
3 far as I know, he worked at the SUP in Tuzla. Because we had those
4 changes in 1990 or 1991, he probably saw that it was better for his
5 business to work privately, so he opened a private office. So I engaged
6 him, and he was working on that case until the 17th of April, 1992.
7 On two occasions I met with him, once near Tuzla and once in the
8 centre of the town of Modrica.
9 Q. Is this gentleman's occupation properly described as that of
10 lawyer or was it something else?
11 A. Yes, most probably. Since he had such an office, he probably did
12 have some such profession. He was a criminal inspector.
13 Q. I see. And did he carry out an investigation [redacted]
14 [redacted] into who had committed those acts?
15 A. Yes. Yes, he did, because it was mutually beneficial for me to
16 gain the information for him to earn some money in return. He asked for
17 an advance from me twice. Once I gave him, as far as I remember -- and I
18 have a receipt somewhere. So I gave him 200 marks once, and the next time
19 I gave him 600 German marks.
20 The second time that we met in the centre of town of Modrica,
21 there were several of us because I had requested that. I was afraid that
22 I wouldn't get adequate information but that I would give the money for
23 it. So I brought my wife with me, and I took one of my fellow citizens.
24 His name is Sulejman Tihic. He worked as a public prosecutor at the time
25 in the town of Modrica. I also want to add that for a while, he worked as
1 a public prosecutor, but at that time he was a lawyer with a private
3 So in the presence of these persons [redacted], whom I
4 mentioned before, he told me that there are all the indications that this
5 was committed by Fadil Topcagic and Igor Rukavina, my fellow citizens from
6 my town, but he asked us to keep this quiet until he forwards all the
7 documents to the official SUP authorities in my town.
8 Q. Did he ever get an opportunity to do that?
9 A. At that time then, the war happened to break out in Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina and in my town.
11 Q. Thank you. Was your case - and I'm referring to the case of the
12 farm - ever commented upon in the press?
13 A. Yes. Sometime at the beginning of 1992, an article appeared in a
15 [redacted]. And there
16 was a photograph and also an article on one page, with the general -- I
17 cannot tell you the general sense of the whole article, word by word, but
18 it went something like this: In Bosanski Samac, there's been another
19 burning and another explosion on such-and-such a date. [redacted]
1 A. Somebody was quoted as saying -- and there was a comment between
2 the journalist and that person at the Palma restaurant, across the street
3 from the courthouse in my town.
4 Q. And who was the person?
5 A. Borislav Pisarevic.
6 Q. Now, I just want to be clear about what the comment was. It
7 was -- the comment was that there had been an assumption that weapons were
8 being hoarded or kept at your farm?
9 A. Yes. Yes. It's been translated properly. That was the general
10 sense of the article. And it was also added that one helmet was found in
11 there, which was a souvenir, and also some bullets, which were also
12 souvenirs. Other than that, there was nothing else. There were three
13 bullets and a helmet, souvenir.
14 Q. All right. Can you remember anything else about the newspaper
15 article, or is that the extent of your --
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. di Fazio. Can we get a
17 clarification as to how the helmet and the bullets were souvenirs?
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Souvenirs of what?
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I'll clarify that, Your Honour.
21 Q. Witness, you heard Her Honour's question. Can you explain what
22 you mean when you say that there were --
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. -- reports of bullets and helmets as souvenirs? That's what's a
25 little puzzling.
1 A. Yes. Yes. I called it a souvenir, but my son, whose name is
2 such-and-such --
3 Q. Don't mention --
4 A. -- was close to the village of Crkvina, three or four days. His
5 car had broken down in front of an inn. The inn was called Vegas. And
6 the owner of that inn was Trile. So his car broke down while there. At
7 that time, there were columns of tanks from Croatia and Slovenia full of
8 our soldiers, the JNA. The forces of the JNA were withdrawing probably
9 from the front. So according to what he said, everybody was throwing down
10 from those trucks and tanks their helmets, their weapons, their
11 ammunition. So he got this helmet and those three bullets. [redacted]
14 When I saw that the next day and the day after, I was not in
15 favour of that; I was opposed to it, and I was waiting for a reason to get
16 rid of that. However, this burning happened at that time, sometime in the
17 month of October or November - I can't remember - so that when they were
18 searching, because they had been given an assignment to do that, I gave
19 them the keys so they could search the premises. [redacted]
21 [redacted]. So during this check, as
22 they were leaving [redacted] they set it on fire.
23 Q. I see. Did the newspaper comment on the fact that the helmet and
24 bullets were found at the farm following the fire?
25 A. Yes. It said that only a helmet and three bullets were found
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me again, Mr. di Fazio. If we could go
3 back on the transcript, page 9, and the witness's response. I'm unclear,
4 the lines 15 through to 20. The witness says: "I gave them the keys so
5 that they could search the premises," but it seems that then in the last
6 part -- the last sentence: "As they were leaving [redacted], they set it on
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
9 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So I wonder whether we could get a
10 clarification. Witness gives "them" the keys and then "they" set it on
11 fire. If we could find out who the "them" and the "they" are.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I'll endeavour to clarify that, Your Honour.
13 Q. First of all, who did you give keys to so that your premises could
14 be searched?
15 A. I don't know if I was interpreted properly. I literally said:
16 Had they asked me, I would have given them the key to search [redacted]. So
17 had they asked me for the keys, I would have given them the keys to search
19 Q. Thank you. Now, please explain who you mean by "them" and
20 "they." To whom would you have given the keys to search [redacted]
21 A. At that moment, I didn't know. However, later I found out about
22 these two persons, that they were there at that facility, and I gave their
23 names previously.
24 Q. You're talking about this Fadil Topcagic and Igor?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Yes.
2 JUDGE SINGH: [redacted]
3 THE WITNESS: [redacted]
8 In the meantime, the police came from the town of Samac. They
9 recorded what was to be recorded, and we saved what we managed to save.
10 MR. DI FAZIO:
11 Q. Thank you. Now, you've explained that the bullets and helmets
12 [redacted] were souvenirs that your son had collected and taken there.
13 Were these bullets and helmets commented upon in the newspaper article?
14 That's what I'd like to know.
15 A. Yes. Yes. In the newspaper article, it said that only a helmet
16 and three bullets were found.
17 Q. Did the newspaper article explain that they were souvenirs or is
18 it the case that you are now explaining to us that the truth was that they
19 were souvenirs?
20 A. I considered it to be that way, but in the article, it did not say
21 that they were souvenirs. And it did not say in the article how they had
22 reached my farm.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I'd like to produce into
24 evidence and ask this witness to mark a further enlargement of P9. I
25 understand that this -- an enlargement, a similar enlargement, was placed
1 in evidence yesterday and marked P9G. So I suppose this would be next in
2 sequence. And I'm going to ask the witness to mark a few points on it.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
4 JUDGE SINGH: I've just one more question for you. How soon after
5 your son had got the three bullets and the helmet did you know that he
6 kept the bullets in the house, [redacted]
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Perhaps the same day or perhaps the
8 next day.
9 JUDGE SINGH: And how long later did this fire take place?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Three days later.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the formal number for the map that the
12 witness is going to mark?
13 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The number is P9H.
14 MR. DI FAZIO:
15 Q. Mr. Usher and Witness, I have a red marking pen which ...
16 JUDGE SINGH: Just one more question on that for you. How old is
17 your son, or was your son at that time?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My son was born in 1970.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. di Fazio.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I'm just waiting to get the -- yes. I've got
21 it on the screen. Okay.
22 Q. Now, Witness, I'd like you to mark a few features around the town,
23 using the red pen. And I also have a black pen which you can use in
24 conjunction with it.
25 Now, first of all -- don't touch the map yet, please, Witness.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
4 A. Here.
5 Q. Thank you. And could you please use the black pen just to write a
6 very small number "1" next to that. So the dot and the number "1" next to
7 the dot.
8 A. [Marks]
9 Q. Thank you. That's fine. Good. Thank you.
10 A. [Marks]
11 Q. Now, can you also find on the map the location [redacted] and
12 also mark that with a small red dot? You may have to shift the paper
13 around to get to the point.
14 A. Here.
15 Q. Thank you. And now using the other black pen, can you write next
16 to that red dot a small number "2"?
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Mr. Usher just remain there for the next
20 couple of questions that I need to ask.
21 Q. Following the takeover of the town of Bosanski Samac on the night
22 of the 16th and the 17th, did you subsequently visit [redacted]? Just
23 answer me yes or no.
24 A. After the 17th of April, I could not visit [redacted]
1 Q. Yes. But -- okay. You were perhaps prohibited from visiting it,
2 but did you succeed in visiting it?
3 A. Yes. I managed to go with the help of Mile Simic -- Milan Simic.
4 Q. Thank you. I'll get on to that story in just a moment, but before
5 we get there, I'd like to ask you this: On the occasion that you did
6 manage to visit the farm, did you have to go through a checkpoint?
7 A. Yes. Yes. At the exit out of my town, at the crossroads, or to
8 be more precise, of the streets that forked off. So the entrance was from
9 the direction of Modrica. One street forked off towards the railway
10 station and the bus station, and the other one went in the direction of
11 the centre of town.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, I'd just like you to mark again with a red dot on
13 the map where the checkpoint was.
14 A. Here.
15 Q. Thank you. And again, would you mark next to that point where the
16 checkpoint has been depicted a small number "3," using the other black
18 A. Thank you.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay. I've finished with the map now. Thank you.
20 Q. Right. Now, I want to get details now of this -- of this visit to
21 [redacted] and the manner in which you accomplished it.
6 [redacted]? My fellow citizens were saying that there was a
7 checkpoint at the exit out of Samac. So I could not leave without some
8 kind of paper. [redacted].
9 Q. How did you solve the problem?
10 A. I asked how a person could get that, and the answer was given to
11 me by Pero who worked with me. His name was Pero Blagojevic. That I
12 should go to Uniglas and that I should try to get this. In Uniglas, there
13 was some kind of an office. At that moment, I didn't know who was working
14 there or why.
15 So I went to the Uniglas factory at the entrance of my town in the
16 direction of the village of Tisina. When I got there, in the hall in that
17 building, in the factory, there were many of my fellow citizens. We were
18 chatting amongst ourselves and asking why, which person came there, and I
19 found out that, in that office, people could get a paper allowing them to
20 leave town. That's what I needed too. And I was pleased to hear that. I
21 was pleased to have gotten to the right place.
22 Not much time went by, and Milan Simic appeared. Since we knew
23 each other for many years, he said hello to me. He patted me on the
24 shoulder and said, "Did you need anything, [redacted]?" [as interpreted]
25 I started telling him about my problems, and he said, "Wait. I'll take
1 you into the office. I'll have your name called out." And not much time
2 went by. My name was called out at the door by Milan Simic, and my name
3 was the first. There were many people in the hallway, many other people.
4 Inside, I found his colleague from work. His last name was Jovanovic.
5 Q. Can I just interrupt you there, please.
6 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, I'm sorry. I have an objection to the
7 transcript. If my learned colleague can ask again the witness to repeat
8 what Milan Simic exactly told him, because what the witness has said is
9 not in the transcript.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: I can do that.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, counsel can do that.
12 MR. DI FAZIO:
13 Q. Can you just tell us again what it was that Milan Simic said to
14 you when you encountered him in the office. Just tell us the words that
15 he said again, please.
16 A. When Milan Simic saw me, he put his hand on my shoulder and he
17 said, "What did you need, [redacted]?"
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Does that solve the problem for counsel?
19 MR. ZECEVIC: Yes, thank you. Because that was exactly what the
20 witness had said, and it was not in the transcript. Thank you.
21 MR. DI FAZIO:
22 Q. Now, I just want to ask you some questions about what you've
23 already said before you go on to tell us more about this episode. First
24 of all, how many people were gathered there?
25 A. In the hall, in front of the door of that office, there were about
1 six or seven of us.
2 Q. What were their ethnic backgrounds?
3 A. Now that I think back, they were all --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not understand the answer.
5 MR. DI FAZIO:
6 Q. Can you please repeat your answer.
7 A. Now that I think back, all of these people were of Serb ethnicity.
8 Q. This Uniglas office, as far as you're aware, at the time that this
9 occurred, this visit occurred, was Mr. Milan Simic employed by them or
10 working with them?
11 A. He never worked in that factory, as far as I know.
12 Q. Did the place have a secretary or clerks working there?
13 A. No. I didn't notice a secretary. I didn't notice any clerks.
14 However, at the factory, I saw many soldiers in camouflage uniforms that
15 were working around the machines. They were doing something. This was on
16 the second floor. And the view from there of the machines that were
17 downstairs, where the machines were - this Uniglas, they made glass - you
18 could see everything. You could see the entire working area of the
19 factory. And I saw many people who were in uniform. I don't know what
20 their assignment was, why they were in there.
21 Q. Well, were these soldiers armed or were they just in uniform?
22 A. No, they were not armed.
23 Q. Thank you. Did you know what the purpose was or what the people
24 were seeking, that is, the Serbs, the six or seven Serbs you say who were
25 assembled there?
1 A. Before I said that, through contacts with them -- I mean, while I
2 was waiting for Milan Simic to come up, I already stated that they were
3 waiting for passes, for movement. Some people needed to go in the
4 direction of Brcko, some people needed to go in the direction of
5 Bijeljina, some people needed to go in the direction of Serbia, Belgrade,
6 things like that. I remember these conversations as if they were taking
7 place right now. So as far as I could understand then, I came to the
8 conclusion that I could also get this paper in order to get to the farm.
9 At that moment, I did not know who was working inside.
10 Q. Okay. Now, you've told us that Mr. Simic appeared and patted you
11 on the back and asked you what you needed.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were you eventually granted -- I'll rephrase that. Did you
14 eventually get to see him?
15 A. Yes. Yes. Soon after that, he opened the door. He called out my
16 name. I walked in. I found his colleague from work and him. He asked me
17 about my family, about my children. We asked each other. And then he
18 asked me what I needed. I explained to him enough, at least to my mind,
19 [redacted], and I
20 didn't have to explain all of this to him in great detail. And I told him
21 that I did not have the possibility to go there, because that was in the
22 direction of Skarici. And also, there was a checkpoint at the exit out of
23 my town, so there were problems. He sat at the desk --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Can the witness speak slowly?
25 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
1 Q. Witness, just slow down a bit. Slow down a bit, because your
2 voice has to be interpreted, and the interpreters are having a hard job of
3 it, so just slow down. There's plenty of time and you can tell us the
4 story a bit more slowly, okay?
5 A. So after that, when I explained to him why I had come, since we
6 asked each other about how we were doing, he took a piece of paper, and
7 there were several of these certificates in front of him. He wrote my
8 name and surname on one of them, the direction of movement, and he signed
9 it for me. We shook hands and I left that office and this factory, and I
10 went in the direction of my house.
11 When I got home, I told my wife about all of this. At that time
12 my car was still in front of the house. We got into the car and we set
13 out [redacted] When I got to the outskirts of town,
14 that is the location of the [redacted].
15 The guards stopped me there and they said, "Where are you going?" These
16 guards were my neighbours who lived there at the outskirts of Samac,
18 and I went several times during the day to that place, so I called them
19 all neighbours. I showed them this paper and they let me go through.
24 [redacted]. I suggested to my wife that we get into the
25 car and go back, and that's exactly what we did.
1 When we got home, we were wondering what to do and how to do all
2 of this, [redacted] and everything, and the situation was such that
3 obviously we could not go every day. However, the permit was
4 unrestricted. There was not a specific date there. It said that I had
5 the right [redacted].
9 [redacted]. We could hardly wait for the next day.
11 [redacted]. That's what we did. Well, as we
12 were getting in and out, we would always hear this shooting at us from the
13 direction of these back houses that were bordering on the outskirts of my
14 town of Samac. So that is to say --
15 Q. Thank you, Witness. I don't actually need to know about what
16 happened [redacted]. What I'm actually interested in is the use of
17 the document. You were able to use the document to gain -- to get through
18 these checkpoints on at least two occasions; is that correct?
19 A. Yes. Yes. There wasn't a date on this document at all. It said
20 my name and surname and the direction of movement.
21 Q. Now, you have said that movement was prohibited. I'd like you to
22 look at this document that I produce to you, please.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: And for the benefit of Defence counsel, they will
24 know of it as C12 in the list of Prosecution exhibits. I have copies for
25 the Chamber and the registry, and it's been officially translated.
1 Q. Witness, can I ask you, please, to just read that document.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, it will be my intention to
3 seek the admission of this document into evidence at this point.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. May I hear from the Defence if there is any
6 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, we are not aware of the document
7 because we have not received.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Because the Prosecution said it can be identified --
9 MR. ZECEVIC: Sorry?
10 JUDGE MUMBA: He did --
11 MR. ZECEVIC: Yes, he did indeed identify it as C12, but we -- we
12 haven't got our folders of C documents. So if we can have at least one
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: I have copies here and I'll --
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. If they can --
17 MR. DI FAZIO: -- get --
18 JUDGE MUMBA: -- be shown to the Defence.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you. My colleague Ms. Reidy also
20 points out that, in correspondence that we have received from the Defence,
21 this is indicated as one of the documents that they will not be objecting
22 to. So that might also assist -- assist the Defence.
23 Q. Now, Witness, have you had a chance to look at that document?
24 A. Yes, I have read this document.
25 Q. The document says that exit and entry to the town is prohibited
1 without the consent of the chief of the public security station or a
2 person authorised by him, based on the prior authorisation of the
3 municipal Crisis Staff of the Serbian people of Bosanski Samac in
5 Now, do you have any knowledge of authorisation being required by
6 the chief of the public security station or a person duly authorised by
7 him or the municipal Crisis Staff?
8 MR. ZECEVIC: Objection.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Microphone.
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Before the witness answers -- yes. Your microphone.
13 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry. Objection, Your Honours, because this is
14 clearly speculation -- speculating, because how can witness know that?
15 MR. DI FAZIO: With respect, it can't possibly be objectionable,
16 because the witness may know about it. He may have heard from witnesses.
17 He may have had contact with the Crisis Staff. I don't know. The
18 question is certainly legitimate. The witness --
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I thought so.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: -- the witness can't speculate, and if that is what
21 Mr. Zecevic is concerned about, then of course I agree with in that
22 respect, but the question isn't objectionable. It really depends on what
23 the witness answers. And the --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, because the witness is being asked whether he
25 has any knowledge.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: He may have knowledge. He may have attended a
2 meeting, for all I know. I mean, we'll just have to hear what he says,
3 and then the Chamber will be able to assess as to whether or not it's
4 speculative or --
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think the answer -- the question is
6 legitimate. You can go ahead.
7 MR. DI FAZIO:
8 Q. I'll just repeat the question, Witness. The document says that
9 entry into and out of Bosanski Samac is prohibited unless you've got
10 permission from three sources -- one of three sources; chief of the public
11 security station, someone authorised by the chief of the public security
12 station, or based on authorisation from the Crisis Staff.
13 Now, do you have any knowledge of this sort of authorisation being
14 required before you could move in and out of town?
15 A. Yes. We would often hear on the Radio Serbian Samac this order.
16 I don't know whether it said "We hereby order," or, "It is hereby
17 ordered," but what I see in front of me now is something that circulated
18 amongst ourselves, my fellow citizens, that you were not permitted to
19 leave Samac. And I heard from my wife that she had heard this order or
20 such an order on the radio. But since I had to leave the town anyway
21 [redacted], we were concerned how we would do it and so on.
22 But had this order not been -- had I not known about this order, I would
23 have probably left [redacted] on my own initiative to perform all the
24 tasks that I had to perform.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I believe it hasn't been
1 given a number.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: No. No, because I was waiting for the Defence to
3 look at it, and you had said that they had indicated they would have no
5 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, I first of all have to apologise. I
6 misunderstood the question. That is why I objected. I'm sorry for that.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
8 MR. ZECEVIC: Let me -- just bear me one moment, because I have --
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
10 [Defence counsel confer]
11 MR. ZECEVIC: No objection, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Could we have the number for both the English
13 and the translation.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. For the English one is P35, for the B/C/S
15 version is P35 ter.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
17 MR. DI FAZIO:
18 Q. One other aspect of this episode of your travelling [redacted]
19 [redacted]that I haven't clarified is when this happened. In relation to the
20 events of the night of the 16th and the 17th of April, when did you go
21 [redacted] and produce the note that Milan Simic gave you and get
22 through the checkpoint? When?
23 A. The next day, I had the obligation to go to the Territorial
24 Defence. The day after, I had the obligation to go to the furniture
25 factory, the Budcnost factory. So this could have happened on Monday or
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Tuesday of the following week. So it was probably on the 21st or the 22nd
2 of April.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: 1992?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1992.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
6 Q. Now, I want to move to another topic.
7 JUDGE SINGH: Just before you do that, may I just ask the
8 witness: The permit that you obtained, was it a multiple entry/exit
9 permit, in other words, allowing you to travel between [redacted] your
10 home as many times as you like, or was it just for one trip?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It didn't say how many times I was
12 permitted to go. It only held my name, my last name, and the direction of
13 movement. So I could have gone back and forth several times. Nobody took
14 this permit or certificate from me. I had it with me all the time.
15 JUDGE SINGH: And you did move up and down more than once?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I said earlier that I went on
17 two occasions. The first time, I wasn't ready [redacted]
20 MR. DI FAZIO:
21 Q. And was that the last time that you used it?
22 A. Yes. That was the last time [redacted].
23 Q. You've told the Chamber that you had a working life involving
25 [redacted]. Following the 16th and 17th of April, 1992, did you
1 find a new line of work?
2 A. Yes. After the 17th of April, on the radio it was broadcast for
3 us to come so that they could make a list of the population, a census. So
4 I mentioned this. I went to the TO building once as well, and these lists
5 were made there. And according to these lists, work groups were made up.
6 After that, on the 18th of April, or the 19th - I don't remember the date
7 exactly - I went to my work obligation. My work duties comprised the
8 following: I was digging --
9 Q. Witness. Witness, I'll get into all of that shortly, but I need
10 quite a bit more detail before we get to that.
11 First of all, you -- how did you come to report for what you
12 referred to as your work obligation?
13 A. As far as I remember, I explained yesterday that I was at the TO
14 building. I reported there as a conscientious citizen.
15 Q. Yes. And you told us that your name and details were taken. On
16 that occasion, was anything said to you about work obligation?
17 A. Name, last name.
18 Q. Yes. Thank you. And on that occasion, was anything --
19 A. No. No, nothing was said.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: May I just -- can I call the registry assistant,
23 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, you may proceed.
25 MR. DI FAZIO:
1 Q. When did you first find out about this work obligation, and how
2 did you find out about it?
3 A. A courier came to my front door and informed me that I needed to
4 come before the retired persons' building - that's what we called it, the
5 pensioners' building, and that's where the local commune was - because of
6 the work obligation and because there was a lot of fear. I was afraid,
7 and so were the other citizens, so I reported -- I responded to this
8 call. When I got to the local commune building, I met a lot of my fellow
9 citizens there.
10 Q. Thank you. Can I just --
11 A. And --
12 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you to stop there. I'd like you to
13 indicate on the map that I showed you before the location of this
14 community hall. It's P --
15 JUDGE MUMBA: P9H.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: P9H. Could that be produced to the witness,
17 please. And Mr. Usher, perhaps we could use the same marking pen and
18 black numbering pen.
19 May I approach the witness and have a look at the map, if Your
20 Honours please? I've forgotten the last number that we used.
21 [Prosecution counsel confer]
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, my colleagues tell me that it was 3.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That was the last one, 3.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
25 Q. Okay. Witness, can you please just indicate where the community
1 hall was that you had to report to and mark it with a red dot, and next to
2 that write in a small number "4."
3 A. [Marks]
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Counsel, we have a problem with having it on the
5 ELMO, because then it will be shown -- the public may see it. What we can
6 do is the witnesses can mark off the ELMO number "4" and then it can be
7 shown around within the courtroom, rather than use the ELMO.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: So you can ask him to have the map in front of him,
10 mark it number "4," then the usher will show us all.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I'm grateful to Your Honours. I hadn't
12 considered that.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The problem when there are protective measures
14 is that you have all these intervening matters that you have to take care
16 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, it's a community hall. I'm sorry.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
18 MR. ZECEVIC: It is a community hall.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: No, no. We are talking about the other places
20 which --
21 MR. ZECEVIC: Oh, the other -- yes, yes.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, which are already on the map.
23 MR. ZECEVIC: Yes. I understand. I'm sorry.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Actually, Mr. di Fazio, I have a short question
1 for yourself. I'm just wondering what is the relevance of us knowing
2 where the community or commune hall is on the map?
3 MR. DI FAZIO: It's not particularly relevant, if Your Honours
4 please. I mean, it really wouldn't matter if it was in the spot indicated
5 that the witness has placed that, or anywhere else, but it does give you
6 background evidence of where this place was, and that's its only
7 significance, if Your Honours please. There's no evidential point that
8 I'm trying to score here or make.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, let's continue with your narrative, Witness,
10 please. You were telling us how you reported to the community hall and
11 that you saw your fellow citizens there. Tell us what happened when
12 you -- you reported, and I'm now --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. -- talking about the first time, of course.
15 A. When I reported to the local commune, I received the task, as well
16 as several other of my fellow citizens, to put sand into bags, to make
17 sandbags. There was a small truck waiting for us in front of the local
18 commune building. We got into the truck and they took us in the direction
19 of the Silos factory, and it was part of the agricultural combine, and
20 this is where we made sandbags all day. Other of my fellow citizens
21 received different duties, and this is what it was like every day. Six or
22 seven people would go in one group, and the next day it wouldn't have to
23 necessarily be that you would be in the same group of people. And this is
24 how things proceeded until I was detained in August.
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the exact date.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
2 Q. We'll get on to your detention at a later time.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: You heard what the interpreter said? They didn't
4 catch the date.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sorry. Yes.
6 Q. Could you just let us know the date of your arrest in August,
8 A. The 11th of August.
9 Q. Thank you. When you first assembled at the community hall, can
10 you tell us what the ethnic background of your fellow citizens who were
11 assembled with you was?
12 A. All those who went to forced labour were of Muslim or Croat
14 Q. Just answer me briefly: Did you assemble inside the community
15 hall or outside the community hall?
16 A. In front of the local commune hall.
17 Q. Just keep your answers brief. Did this assembling outside, or in
18 front of the community hall, represent a pattern that occurred; in other
19 words, in the following months, is that where you would normally assemble
20 before going off to your tasks?
21 A. Yes. Whenever I went for work obligation, I would come in front
22 of the local commune building.
23 Q. Did you ever see any of your fellow citizens inside the community
25 A. Yes, I did see them often. A restaurant was opened inside, where
1 you could drink coffee or juice.
2 Q. And who would gather there inside the community hall?
3 A. Inside the building were mostly people - if that's what you
4 mean - people of Serbian ethnicity.
5 Q. Would you see them there in the mornings when you assembled to be
6 given your tasks?
7 A. Yes. We would usually go to our work duties around 7.00 or 8.00
8 in the morning, and the town was, to a degree, already lively at that
9 time. People were coming and going. And inside the restaurant as well, I
10 would see people sitting and drinking coffee or drinking juice.
11 Q. Did you ever see any signs or placards outside the community hall?
12 A. Yes. A poster or a placard appeared on the door of the local
13 commune, and this was ten or so days later. So sometime around the 27th
14 of April a poster appeared on the door of the old pensioners' hall, and it
15 stated: "Entry forbidden to Muslims, Croats, and dogs." This poster was
16 there the whole day. As far as I remember, it wasn't there the next day.
17 It had been taken down.
18 Q. How did you feel when you saw that? Please tell us.
19 A. It was very difficult.
20 Q. Now, I'd like to ask you questions about the general pattern of
21 your work. First of all, I'd like you to tell the Chamber the sort of
22 jobs that you did in between those days when you first started, shortly
23 after the takeover, and your arrest. You've already described one task.
24 That was the filling of sandbags. Please describe other tasks that you
1 A. Mostly I was digging trenches and I was digging bunkers when the
2 lines changed, the separation lines changed in the direction of the
3 village of Prud. So when we were going down towards the embankment, in
4 that direction, we were told to dig bunkers. We were told to make those
5 bunkers as strong as possible.
6 One of our tasks also was to go on trucks in the direction of the
7 Samac-Sarajevo railway line and to take the rails there and to load them
8 into -- or to take the wooden parts of the railway line and load them onto
9 the trucks and to reinforce the bunkers. We also mowed the grass in front
10 of the bunkers. This is mostly what my duties were.
11 Q. Thank you. As far as the railway tracks are concerned, were they
12 the wooden sleepers that go underneath the two rail tracks that you had to
13 dig up?
14 A. Yes. Yes. Yes. The wooden -- the wooden parts that are placed
15 beneath the rails.
16 Q. Now, tell the Chamber how the wooden sleepers would be used after
17 you had dug them up and loaded them onto trucks.
18 A. We would come close to the line of separation, and then four of
19 us, or six of us, depending on how many of us were in the group, we would
20 carry these railway sleepers and we would take them to the bunkers, and
21 then we would place them crosswise on top of the bunkers, and then on top
22 of that we would put some more earth in order for this bunker to be
23 reinforced properly.
24 Q. When you were carrying out this operation, how far were you from
25 the front line?
1 A. You could hear shots frequently from the other side, and according
2 to my estimate, now that I think about it, it was maybe two to three
3 hundred metres, as the crow flies.
4 Q. What about the actual trenches themselves, the actual holes in the
5 ground, so to speak? Did you ever perform any labour digging those?
6 A. Yes, I did, the communication trenches and trenches, and in our
7 language it's one and the same thing. So when the lines changed, we would
8 dig new ones, as well as after every rainfall we would repair the old
9 ones. Because the earth was freshly dug in the direction of the line of
10 separation, so that when it rained, all the water would come into the
11 bunkers and it would be difficult to move because of the mud. So then I
12 was given the task of cleaning all that out and placing it outside as a
13 sort of parapet.
14 Q. Do I understand from your evidence that the question of a trench
15 is not simply a matter of digging it and that's -- once that's happened,
16 the task is completed; it needs to be maintained, and on occasions, new
17 ones had to be dug as the lines --
18 A. Yes. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. Earlier you described how you went to the Silos
20 factory and made sandbags. Do you know what those sandbags were used for?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. Tell us what they were used for.
23 A. Yes. We would load those sandbags into a truck and then use them
24 to protect certain buildings in Samac, like the municipal building. We
25 would also place these sandbags in front or behind windows, as a parapet.
1 In that same building, the Silos building, another team had the task of
2 taking them upstairs to offices somewhere. We would be filling them
3 downstairs, another two or three men would be bringing those bags upstairs
4 and placing them in the windows of that building where we were making the
5 sandbags in order to make a sort of protection from bullets.
6 Now that I remember, and when I analyse, my town seemed more like
7 a barracks to me, a barracks that was within firing range, and also the
8 target of other weapons, so that the separation line, the line of
9 separation, was in the direction of the north, 300 metres away from my
10 house, 500 metres in the direction of the east -- of the west, and in the
11 east, two or three kilometres away, so that we lived inside as if we were
12 exposed to constant shelling. So that these bags and these wooden
13 sleepers were all used for that purpose.
14 Q. Was the digging of trenches and the maintenance of them all
15 conducted in areas around the town of Bosanski Samac?
16 A. Yes. Mostly we worked around or near Bosanski Samac, but we went
17 to other towns and neighbouring villages. And also when the town of Odzak
18 was captured, I also went for forced labour to Odzak.
19 Q. I'll ask you about Odzak later, but I now want to ask you about
20 transportation from the community hall to the work site, the place where
21 you would be digging these trenches. How did you get there?
22 A. If we were to go further, to Pisari or Zasavica, we would be taken
23 there by truck. But if we went closer, towards the direction of the River
24 Sava and Croatia or in the direction of the village of Prud, that was
25 quite close. I said it was 200 to 300 metres away from the line of
1 separation. Then we would go on foot.
2 As we were passing by, if we were going on foot, it was very
3 difficult to move because there were frequent checks in the town, and they
4 were practically capturing Muslims and Croats only because their name
5 wasn't right, and they would take them to the municipal building. And all
6 of us citizens knew that, so that when we were going home on our way back
7 from work, if we were on foot, then we would hide. We would walk very
8 close to the houses. And then we would also jump over fences and go
9 through the backyards and gardens in order to reach our homes in the least
10 noticeable way.
11 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you briefly one last question perhaps
12 before the morning break? When the men -- when you were taken on trucks
13 to your work sites, were you guarded?
14 A. Yes. There was a guard sitting in the front of the truck and also
15 one in the back in a camouflage uniform and with a rifle.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Is this an appropriate time, if Your Honours
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We will have our break and resume our
19 proceedings at 1130 hours.
20 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.37 a.m.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Zecevic.
23 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honour, yes. Before my learned colleague
24 proceeds on, I would like to inform this Honourable Trial Chamber that my
25 client is not feeling well today and that he will waive his right of his
1 presence in the afternoon.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. He will be allowed to do so.
3 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: You can proceed, Mr. di Fazio.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you. If Your Honours please, I've
6 gathered that the technical staff are having a bit of trouble with keeping
7 private or confidential some portions of the evidence that might tend to
8 identify this witness. I hadn't appreciated what I was doing, and now
9 that I've been apprised of the situation, apparently it would be desirable
10 for me to ask that we move into private session from time to time to avoid
11 that problem arising.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Yes. Because it's very difficult to keep
13 checking every word to make sure that identifying matters are not exposed
14 to the public.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. So --
16 JUDGE MUMBA: You divide up your areas of evidence, and when you
17 feel we should go into private session, you say so.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I -- yes. I've been set straight now, and I
19 understand my obligation, and I apologise for any inconvenience caused to
20 the technical staff. Thank you.
21 Q. Now, Witness, can you tell us of the conditions under which you
22 worked? And by that, I mean the hours that you worked and the days per
23 week that you worked.
24 A. Working hours usually began in the morning at 8.00, and the
25 working day would end [as interpreted] for as long as there was daylight.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 So this evil happened on the 17th of April, 1992. In my country, this is
2 a spring month. As the days and weeks went by, the days became longer, so
3 as the summer came, the days would get longer and we would work throughout
4 the day for as long as it was light. Conditions were hard. We did not
5 have food on the ground. We had to make do, bringing things from home,
6 bringing sandwiches. People would take whatever they had, actually, and
7 we would share it. We would share it amongst ourselves at the place where
8 we worked.
9 Q. When you were actually working, digging trenches or filling
10 sandbags or cleaning out trenches, were guards, armed guards, standing
12 A. Yes. These lines were always operational. Depending on the
13 number of soldiers there, there were always guards inside with us, these
14 soldiers who were manning the line.
15 Q. What sort of numbers of people would assemble at the community
16 hall in the mornings before you went off to your different tasks?
17 A. There would be 100 to 150 of us. Every morning we would not all
18 get duties. Sometimes somebody would be off and could go back home.
19 However, most people had to work. Some people went to the forest to chop
20 wood, others would go to the agricultural farm to milk the cows. Some
21 groups went to clean various facilities, from the glass and rubble that
22 was there. There were groups that went to certain villages that had been
23 taken in order to collect the remaining livestock, agricultural products
24 as they were coming in, as various crops were getting ripe, and also to
25 collect things at abandoned houses.
1 Q. Can you comment on the ethnic background of these 100 to 150
2 people who would assemble in the mornings?
3 A. All were exclusively of Serb and Muslim ethnicity. I beg your
4 pardon; Croat and Muslim ethnicity.
5 Q. You've spoken of having to work close to the front lines. Were
6 you exposed - I mean you personally - were you exposed to danger, to
7 shotgun fire or weapon fire?
8 A. Yes. Yes. At every moment, from the 17th of April until I was
9 released, until I was sort of set free, I was exposed to danger. While I
10 was at home, I was exposed to danger, searches of my very own home. While
11 I was walking from the house to the local commune, I was exposed to the
12 danger of mistreatment and humiliation. While I worked, I was exposed to
13 the dangers of the enemy side, while there was shooting and while there
14 were exchanges of gunfire. Often it would happen that in front of the
15 parapets, in front of the trenches, in front of the bunkers, we would
16 clean the area, and an exchange of gunfire would start, and then we would
17 lie on the ground and crawl back to the trench that we had dug previously.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. That happened several times.
20 Q. Did you ever have to mow grass or cut grass?
21 A. Yes. Yes. There were situations when I had to cut grass in front
22 of the parapets, in front of the line, in front of the communication
23 trenches, so that those who were behind the parapet would have a better
24 view in front of them.
25 Q. Thank you. You described some of the tasks that the assembled
1 people had to do as collecting things from abandoned houses. Can you tell
2 the Chamber with any more detail what precisely that meant?
3 A. That means that when the line would shift, or when a certain
4 village would be taken -- I can't talk about a lot of towns, because as
5 far as I know, there is only one town that was near the place where I
6 was. So these were mainly villages, like Garevac, Kornica, Zasavica. My
7 local people went for work drives on trucks in order to collect goods from
8 empty houses. Citizens who lived in those houses had fled, and then they
9 were taking -- these other people were taking furniture, appliances, and
10 other things that were there.
11 Q. How would it be collected and taken away?
12 A. It was collected in front of the house, and it was taken on trucks
13 in the direction of Samac.
14 Q. Do you know what happened to the material that was collected in
15 this way?
16 A. No. No, I wouldn't know.
17 Q. Did you ever personally engage in that particular job, collecting
18 stuff from people's houses?
19 A. No, I did not.
20 Q. In the time that you worked on the trenches or doing work
21 associated with trenches, were any of your fellow co-workers injured or
23 A. There were such things on several occasions.
24 Q. Can you tell us what happened on those occasions, please.
25 A. Well, while digging in front of the trenches, my fellow citizens
1 who were exposed to direct fire, direct gunfire and bullets, would
2 sometimes get hit. If a person were lucky, then this person would not be
3 hit in a vital body part and then they could survive, but then others
4 would not survive. As far as I know, two or three men, fellow citizens of
5 mine, got killed as they were cleaning trenches and cutting grass in front
6 of trenches.
7 Q. Is that something that you heard of or is that something that
8 occurred nearby when you were actually performing the sort of work you've
10 A. I heard all of that. I was not in any such team of six or seven
11 men. However, this was so picturesque that there was one case practically
12 in my family.
13 A work colleague of mine who worked with me, called Galib Nurkic,
14 had a son named Dzevad. One morning, we went in different directions to
15 carry out our work obligation, and in the afternoon, we were informed that
16 this son of his, Dzevad Nurkic, was killed while digging trenches.
17 There were other such cases among my fellow citizens, but I don't
18 know their names. But I did know that these things happened.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Can -- I just wanted to seek clarification on this
20 person who was killed, because we have evidence of others being killed by
21 the guards. Now, can we have an explanation of who killed him, or how was
22 he killed?
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. You heard Her Honour's question. The Chamber wants to know how it
25 was that Dzevad Nurkic met his death. Was it the result, as far as you're
1 aware, of being caught in crossfire or was he killed by a guard or
2 something like that?
3 A. Caught in crossfire, not by a guard.
4 Q. And the other cases that you said you heard of, were those -- were
5 they people who were killed as a result of crossfire?
6 A. Yes. I meant them.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 JUDGE SINGH: Just one little clarification, one little
9 clarification. You worked on the trenches, and you said you cut the
10 grass. I take it you cut the old growth in that area.
11 Now, from where you were, could you visually see the front line or
12 the soldiers, the Croat soldiers on the other side? Were they within your
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could not see the soldiers on the
15 other side. However, I did see the parapets on the other said.
16 JUDGE SINGH: And how far would you estimate these parapets were?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] About 200 or 300 metres.
18 JUDGE SINGH: Thank you.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. di Fazio, I just wonder in terms of the
20 translation. Page 39, line 13, concerning the death of the son of the
21 witness's co-worker. The sentence reads: "However, this was so
22 picturesque" --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: It is a literal translation
24 of what the witness said. It sounds the same way in the original language
25 as it does in English.
1 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you, Interpreter, but I still don't
2 understand what the meaning is that the witness is trying to convey.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm none the wiser either, if Your Honours please.
4 I'll see what I can do to clarify that.
5 Q. Witness, Their Honours are just concerned about one particular
6 expression that you used. We want to be clear and we want to understand
7 it. You said that you were not a team of six or seven men and, "... this
8 was so picturesque," picturesque, "that there was one case practically in
9 my family." And we're not sure what you mean by that word "picturesque."
10 Can you just tell us what you meant to say, what you meant to convey, the
11 meaning of what you --
12 A. I wished to say that my colleague was so close to me.
14 [redacted]. When he was killed, I was very sorry, and I commiserated with him.
15 He was only 20 years old.
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you for the clarification. I think maybe
17 we just forget the English version of what the word means.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: I respectfully don't think it's going to matter
19 much in the overall picture, if Your Honours please.
20 Q. You were also asked about the distance and the parapets that you
21 could see. Could you see tracer fire coming across the river towards
22 where you were working?
23 A. I never worked during the night. As far as I know, a tracer
24 bullet can be seen only during the night.
25 Q. So that when you were working during the day and you heard
1 gunfire, you wouldn't know where the gunfire was being directed at?
2 A. No. No. We didn't know what was being shot at and where it was
3 coming from. If somebody did not lie down before you did, you'd say, "Lie
4 down." So we would lie down and we would crawl in a certain direction.
5 If we were in front of the parapet, then we would crawl away in order to
6 hide in the communication trenches and the bunkers. And if we were in the
7 bunker up there or if we were finishing moving the earth, whatever, then
8 we would also jump into the trenches so that we would protect ourselves
9 from bullets, from gunfire.
10 Q. Doing the best you can, about how many people did you hear of
11 being killed in the way that you've described, between April and August
12 when you were arrested?
13 A. I think that I said two or three men. Several persons were
15 Q. Thank you. You've described to the Chamber the fact of being
16 guarded by the work site when you were digging trenches and also on the
17 trucks when you were being taken out to the places you had to work at.
18 Can you tell us who was guarding you? And in particular, I'd like to know
19 if they were locals.
20 A. So in the morning when we would get to the local commune, in the
21 morning at 8.00, we would get our work schedule from the gentleman who
22 worked there at the local commune. He would read this out to us, what the
23 groups were that were supposed to be sent to do particular work. We would
24 then separate in front of that building. That is to say, if you were
25 going a bit further off, then you would have a truck waiting for you
1 there, with a driver and guards, locals. They were familiar with the
2 terrain and they knew where you were supposed to be taken to, on this
3 truck, that is.
4 However, if we were going somewhere nearby, then we would be
5 escorted by a local guard, again a person who would be familiar with the
6 terrain, and that person would take you to the very spot. When we would
7 get to the very spot, then his task was not to guard us. He would hand us
8 over to these soldiers who were in the trenches. They were the ones who
9 gave us assignments as to what we should do, whether we should repair or
10 clean the trench or build a new bunker --
11 Q. And who were the soldiers --
12 A. -- or if some grass should be cut in front of the trenches or if
13 it should be cleaned. And most of the soldiers in the trenches were
14 locals of Serb ethnicity. Here and there, there were some persons that I
15 didn't know, who were not from my town.
16 Q. Have you ever heard of a body called the 4th Detachment?
17 A. Yes, I heard of the 4th Detachment sometime at the end of
18 1992 -- 1991.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter correction.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
21 Q. I'd like to know if any of the men who were guarding you or
22 transporting you on the trucks were members of the 4th Detachment, as far
23 as you're aware.
24 A. Now that I go back to it and think about it, since it's a small
25 town, it was known who was a member of the 4th Detachment even before the
1 war. During the war, as far as I know, many of those people who were
2 issued with weapons and went to firing practice, shooting practice before
3 the war were members of the Serbian army during the war.
4 Q. Yes. And what I'd like to know is: Did you ever see any members
5 of the 4th Detachment guarding you, either on the way to your work
6 locations or at the work locations? That's what I'd like to know.
7 A. Yes, I did. After the 17th of April, the 4th Detachment wasn't so
8 important, and I don't know any more whether it was even called the 4th
9 Detachment. After the 17th of April 1992, it was called the Serbian
10 army. As far as I know, the 4th Detachment became or merged into the
11 Serbian army.
12 Q. Now, the soldiers at the front who actually handed out the tasks
13 in respect of trenches, as far as you're aware, were any of those members
14 of the 4th Detachment? I'm not talking about the guards on the truck or
15 the guards who escorted you; I'm talking about the soldiers who were at
16 the trenches once you arrived and who assigned tasks in respect of the
18 A. Yes, I did notice. It's difficult for me to recall the names. We
19 in Samac used to know each other more by our nicknames, so that I know all
20 of the neighbours, my close neighbours who were close [redacted]
21 [redacted]. The people that I addressed as neighbours, they were in
22 those trenches that we dug and cleaned and maintained. Yes, they were in
23 those trenches.
24 Q. Thank you. And if I understand correctly, your position is this:
25 In respect of the soldiers who were in the trenches engaged in warfare, a
1 number of them, as far as you could tell, were in the Serb army, and
2 secondly, were locals. Is that a fair assessment of your position?
3 A. Yes. That is also what I thought. So locals, my fellow citizens,
4 did used to go to those exercises of the 4th Detachment and were issued
5 with weapons, and they were in the trenches after the 17th of April, 1992.
6 Q. And those men occasionally gave you orders in respect of tasks at
7 the trenches, at the trench locations?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Now, all this work that you were doing, did you ever get paid for
11 A. Never. I never received a single dinar, not even one kilo of
12 bread. During the period from the 17th of April, 1992 until the 11th of
13 August, 1992, I never received one single thing.
14 Q. During that very same period, did you ever see any of your
15 co-workers receiving money or pay?
16 A. This is the first time that I'm hearing of it.
17 Q. During that same period, did you ever hear, was it ever reported
18 to you, that co-workers were receiving pay?
19 A. No. I never heard, nor did anybody ever draw my attention to the
20 fact that anyone received any kind of compensation for the work
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Or during that same period, did anybody promise that
23 all of you would be paid for the work that you were doing at some time?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness please be shown Exhibit D22E/2
2 Q. First of all, Witness, do you read Cyrillic?
3 A. Yes, I do. I learnt it at school.
4 Q. Thank you. The document has a number of columns.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just bear with me for one
6 minute, please.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
8 [Prosecution counsel confer]
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. I withdraw that question.
10 Q. The document speaks for itself. It has a list of names, total
11 days, and total sum, in three columns. Do you see that?
12 A. Yes. Yes, I do.
13 Q. And it purportedly applies to the months of April, May, June,
14 July, August of 1992; correct?
15 A. Yes. That's also what I see. It is a list of workers, and that
16 is before me now, yes.
17 Q. Thank you. And I would be grateful if you would read out the
18 title of the document into the transcript so we can have that clarified at
19 least, please. The title at the top of the document, page 1.
20 A. "List of workers engaged in the work brigade for the months of
21 April, May, June, July, August 1992."
22 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I think this evidence would
23 be the sort of evidence that requires private session, because some names
24 will be mentioned that are linked to this witness.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, we can move into private session.
1 [Private session]
13 Pages 4297 to 4315 – redacted – private session.
16 [Open session]
17 MR. DI FAZIO:
18 Q. Now, you've told us all about the work conditions. I want to ask
19 you about other aspects of life in Bosanski Samac between April and August
20 1992. You touched upon the question of searches of your home. Can you
21 tell the Chamber if, in those months, your home was searched, by whom, and
22 how often?
23 A. Several times; from the first days, all the way up to when I was
24 brought into custody. When I was brought into custody, that was the last
25 time that the house was searched. They were looking around houses. I
1 don't even know myself any more what they were looking for, but they were
2 always stating that they were looking for radio transmitters, weapons.
3 They would always close us off in part of the premises and a guard would
4 always remain with us with a rifle on the ready, and two others would
5 search the house, and they would search drawers, cupboards, the bathrooms,
6 pantries, the attic. That's the kind of house I had.
7 These people were not from the territory of Samac. As far as I
8 know, there were several such groups, led by persons unknown to me. But I
9 found out from other citizens that one group was led by a man called Laki,
10 that one group was led by a man called Zvjezdan, and there was another
11 group led by a man called Teri. In these groups, there were usually two
12 to three men respectively. Usually when they would come to my place,
13 there would always be three men. During the first days, they searched my
14 house several times, and as time went by, they would come once in 10 to 15
15 days and then they would order us to sit down, either in a chair or on a
16 couch. One of them would be guarding us and two would search the house.
17 This was painful. However, they never mistreated me physically.
18 Q. Thank you. Was your house ever searched by any other men or was
19 it always the same group that would come?
20 A. It would always be different groups. So I remembered one group,
21 led by Laki. He came on several occasions. However, I had lots of
22 searches. I can't remember the exact number. He did not always lead that
23 group, and he was not always a member of that group either.
24 Q. When were the searches conducted; at night or during the day?
25 A. During the day I wasn't at home most of the time, so they did not
1 come. However, when the curfew would start, then they would come, during
2 the night. This would happen at 11.00 or 12.00, at 3.00, after midnight.
3 You would have to open up when they would knock at the door so that they
4 could get in.
5 Q. Your last answer raises one last issue on the question of your
6 work obligation. You've told us of the hours of work that you did, but
7 how often per week would you have to perform your work obligation in the
8 trenches and so on?
9 A. I don't know. In this period, from the 17th of April until the
10 11th of August, 1992, was I off perhaps three or four times? So four to
11 five days I got time off, and I was working during all the rest of these
12 days, every day.
13 Q. Weekends included?
14 A. Weekends included. War was waged during weekends too.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I know it's one minute --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: I know it's one minute to 1.00, but could we break
18 here? I realise there's one last topic on forced labour that I need to
19 complete before I move into general conditions, and this would be an
20 appropriate moment in the evidence.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. Yes. We'll continue the proceedings in
22 the afternoon at 1530 hours.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.59 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 3.34 p.m.
2 [The accused M. Simic not present in court]
3 JUDGE MUMBA: The Prosecution is continuing.
4 MR. DI FAZIO:
5 Q. Earlier in your evidence, you mentioned going to Odzak in the
6 context of this work obligation. I'd like to ask you about that.
7 Firstly, can you recall when you went to Odzak?
8 A. Yes, I remember. The first day when I left for Odzak was the 17th
9 of July, 1992.
10 Q. Had there recently been any military action in the area, that is,
11 around the 17th of July, 1992?
12 A. In 1992, on the 17th of July, 1992, the next town to us to the
13 west, which is 20 kilometres away, was captured by the Serb army in the
14 fighting. I and ten of my fellow citizens, in the morning, received the
15 job in the morning in front of the local commune to go in the truck of the
16 Serbian army with a soldier in the front and in the back of the truck to
17 go to the town to help in the cleaning and the sorting out of some
19 Q. Thank you. May I just interrupt to ask you this: You've referred
20 to the next town 20 kilometres away. I'd like to be clear. Is that
21 Odzak? Is that the town that you refer to?
22 A. Yes. I'm speaking of Odzak. On that day, the 17th of July, we
23 were told to go to the town of Odzak to help in the cleaning. More
24 specifically, to clean the SUP building, because the town was deserted or
25 abandoned by the soldiers of the Croatian and Muslim ethnicity.
1 As far as I know, that was one of the first days after the Serb
2 soldiers entered the town.
3 Q. When you arrived, did you see any evidence or signs of recent
5 A. Yes, I did. There were many animals who were upset and were just
6 running about on the streets, in the parks, all around. There were a lot
7 of killed animals on street which had just been pushed to the side. There
8 were a lot of shattered windows in the town. The whole town of Odzak was
9 teeming with Serbian soldiers.
10 Q. And what task did you start upon once you arrived in Odzak?
11 A. Six of us men and four women were instructed to clean the SUP
12 building which was in the centre of Odzak.
13 Q. How many days did you stay in Odzak engaged in this task?
14 A. I went on two occasions, on the 17th and the 18th of July, 1992.
15 Q. You didn't stay overnight. You returned to Bosanski Samac and
16 then returned back the next day. Is that a correct assessment?
17 A. Yes. You understood me properly. I never did have the misfortune
18 to have a spend the night out in the field. I would always return home.
19 Q. Had you been to Odzak before the war began? Were you familiar
20 with the town and its environs?
21 A. Yes. I had a lot of friends in Odzak, and I often used to go to
22 shop in Odzak, and I was familiar with the town.
23 Q. Did the town have a mosque?
24 A. Yes, right next door to the SUP building which we were instructed
25 to clean.
1 Q. When you first arrived in Odzak to start your task of cleaning up
2 the SUP building, was the mosque standing?
3 A. When we arrived at Odzak, we were ordered to leave the truck, so
4 Serb soldiers were already deployed there. We were told to go into the
5 SUP building and to carry out the task, which I will explain later. I saw
6 that there was a mosque next to the SUP building, and it was -- the
7 building -- the mosque was perfectly all right.
8 Q. Now, I'm going to ask you about the mosque in just a moment, but
9 before I do so, I want to be absolutely clear about something. You say
10 that the town was teeming with Serb soldiers. Do I take it from that that
11 the Serb soldiers were in absolute control of the town?
12 A. Yes. It means that they had complete control of the town. Some
13 were leaving the town with loaded tractors, full of goods. These goods
14 were, for example, furniture, TV sets, bicycles, different kinds of
15 engines, anything that could be loaded on the truck and carried away. So
16 some of them were leaving Odzak with these goods, while others were
17 entering Odzak in columns. As I arrived from the direction of Modrica, I
18 could see that they were -- they, Serbian soldiers, were coming in in
19 columns. They were wearing camouflage uniforms and they were armed.
20 Q. Thank you. In the time that you stayed in Odzak, did you see any
21 destruction or damage caused to the mosque? Just answer me yes or no.
22 A. Yes. I saw that the mosque was destroyed on the 17th of July,
24 Q. I'm sorry. I'm not quite sure. Was that the first or the second
25 day you were there?
1 A. The first day we were on work duty, the first time that I went to
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown P14A, please, and in
5 particular, photograph 9.
6 Q. Witness, would you please have a look at that photograph and tell
7 me if you can tell us if, first of all, that's in Odzak.
8 A. I assume that this is the location where the mosque used to stand
9 in the town of Odzak.
10 Q. Witness, I'd just like to ask you about your last answer. You say
11 you assume that. The Court has to be sure if you know whether that is the
12 location. Just have a good look at the photograph. Feel free to look at
13 it. It's on your right. You don't have to look at the TV screen. Have a
14 close look at the photograph and tell us if you can speak with any
15 certainty or whether you assume that is the -- whether you are merely
16 assuming that that's the location, okay?
17 A. On the photograph, on my right side there is the SUP building.
18 That's where it should be, on the right side. And this building straight
19 ahead that has foil on the windows, plastic, this is the house of my
20 friend, a veterinarian, Adnan Cizmic, who inherited that house from his
21 father-in-law and his wife.
22 Q. And the vacant block, is that where the mosque stood once?
23 A. That is the place where the mosque used to stand.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. I've finished with the photograph,
25 Mr. Usher.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. All right. Now, I'd like you to tell us of the circumstances in
2 which the mosque was destroyed. You've told us that you were at work
3 cleaning the SUP and that it was destroyed on the first day. Please take
4 the story from there. Tell us how it happened.
5 A. We were almost at the end of our job which was given to us, as
6 men, in the SUP building. This was around 12.00 or 12.30 of that day. We
7 were told by Serbian soldiers to go down into the cellar of the SUP
8 building and to take shelter there, because in our immediate vicinity, the
9 mosque was blown up by Muslims and Croats. Explosives were placed under
10 the mosque, at the mosque. So they were trying to disarm these
11 explosives, and there was a possibility that we might be hurt. When we
12 heard that, we ran downstairs. I didn't even know that there was a
13 shelter in that building. When we went downstairs, that's when I saw it.
14 We didn't even manage to close the door. When four or five Serbian
15 soldiers appeared at the door - because they also had the intention of
16 taking shelter in the same place - when they came in, they were surprised
17 to see us down there.
18 Q. Thank you. I'd like to know the names, please, of these Serbian
19 soldiers who appeared and took shelter with you.
20 A. These were my fellow citizens. One of them was called Simo
21 Zaric. Together with him there was Toso Tutnjevic, also Savo Popovic, and
22 also Ninkovic.
23 Q. I think I understand you, but I just need to be absolutely clear.
24 You say one of them was called Simo Zaric. Is that the same Simo Zaric
25 that you identified yesterday in court?
1 A. Yes, Your Honours, the same Simo Zaric, [redacted].
2 Q. Now, I want to know with some detail, please, how events
3 transpired in the shelter. Can you recall any of the conversation that
4 occurred, if any?
5 A. Yes. There was a conversation. Since we were all from the same
6 town, they asked us what we were doing there. And I, out of the ten of
7 us, told him that we were there to help the Serbian soldiers to clean the
8 town of Odzak and the SUP building. And I started to explain our tasks to
9 him in detail, and he just said, "Very well. Very well." He had a
10 flashlight in his hand, and he kept turning it in our direction.
11 Not long afterwards, we could hear or we could sense the ground
12 shaking. We felt a tremor. After three or four minutes of this tremor,
13 we opened the door, and as we did that, dust rushed in. We closed the
14 door again for another minute or two and opened it again even though the
15 dust hadn't settled yet. So we went outside into the yard of the SUP
16 building, using the stairs, all of us together.
17 Q. And when you went outside, was the mosque still standing?
18 A. The mosque should have been on my left side, but it was no longer
19 there. All the pieces of the building and the minaret were flung
20 everywhere, in a radius of 500 metres. There was a lot of rubble
21 everywhere around the SUP building and in the yard.
22 Q. The explanation that was given to you by the Serb soldiers was
23 that the building had been mined by Croats and Muslims. Is that the
24 effect of your evidence?
25 A. Yes. That is what I said and that is what I meant to say.
1 Q. In the time that you worked at the SUP building in those two days
2 in Odzak, did any other buildings suffer the same sort of fate as the
4 A. During those two days that I was there, no other buildings had the
5 same fate as the mosque. According to what my fellow citizens said, if I
6 remember well, on the 27th of July, ten days later, in 1992, the Croatian
7 church was blown up, which was right next to the hotel in the centre of
9 Q. In Odzak?
10 A. In Odzak.
11 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. di Fazio, I'd like the witness to clarify
12 something concerning the participation of the Muslims and Croats mining
13 the mosque. Would the witness be able to tell us who it was thought
14 placed the explosives under the mosque? Who placed the explosives?
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, I'll certainly ask that if Your Honour
16 pleases. I gather from his evidence that he wouldn't know, but I'll
17 certainly ask the question.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Because I'm just a little bit confused,
19 because -- I haven't got that bit of the transcript here on the screen in
20 front of me, but what the witness said seemed to imply, in my
21 understanding of it, that there were explosives under the mosque, and the
22 Muslims and the Croats were trying to defuse those explosives and, as a
23 consequence, the mosque blew up.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: No. My understanding is this, if Your Honour
25 pleases: He was taken downstairs by the Serbian soldier. The Serbian
1 soldier told him that the mosque had been mined, had been mined by the
2 Muslims and Croats, the defeated Muslims and Croats who had been sent out
3 of the city or militarily moved, had lost, but that the building had been
4 mined by them, by the defeated Croats and Muslims.
5 The truth of that is something that the Prosecution will be
6 addressing the Chamber on. It's -- you can imagine what the Prosecution's
7 submission is going to be on that particular issue.
8 Does Your Honour follow me?
9 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. Well, I certainly follow you, Mr. di
10 Fazio. It's just that the witness did not say the defeated Muslims and
11 Croats. You're adding that in. I just wouldn't mind if, if you would, to
12 ask the witness just to say --
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
14 JUDGE WILLIAMS: -- to answer the question again, basically.
15 MR. DI FAZIO:
16 Q. Perhaps you heard Her Honour's inquiry and that's something I
17 would like to clarify with you now.
18 I understood your evidence to be that when you arrived in the town
19 of Odzak, that it was teeming with Serbian soldiers and that the Croats
20 and Muslims had been defeated. Their armies and fighters had been
21 defeated and sent out, ejected from the town of Odzak. Is that a correct
23 A. Yes. That's how it was.
24 Q. Right. Now, when you were taken downstairs to seek shelter, the
25 Serbian soldier who accompanied you told you that this building next door
1 had been mined, mines had been placed in the building by the retreating
2 Croat and Muslims forces. Is that the effect -- is that a correct
3 understanding of what the Serbian soldier told you?
4 A. Yes. That day, that is the information that I received, and that
5 is what I meant to say.
6 Q. Let me ask you this: Did you believe the Serbian soldier, that
7 the defeated Croat and Muslim soldiers had mined --
8 MR. PANTELIC: Objection. Speculation.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. Yes.
10 Mr. di Fazio, the objection is sustained.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Perhaps stretching matters there, if Your Honour
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I think, Mr. di Fazio, I would have preferred if
14 you would just let the witness say what happened again rather than leading
15 him through it.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Yes. I'll bear that in mind in the future,
17 if Your Honour pleases. Has the topic been clarified for Your Honour?
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: No, no. I understand now. It was just that the
19 words "defeated," "retreating" were not the words that came from the
21 MR. DI FAZIO: I understand.
22 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
23 MR. DI FAZIO:
24 Q. Now, you also mentioned in your evidence the -- that you had been
25 informed that the Catholic church had also been destroyed in the town of
1 Odzak. Did you know what the location of the Catholic church -- where it
2 was in Odzak?
3 A. Yes, I know. In the centre of Odzak, right next to the hotel,
4 across from the Beograd department store.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Could the witness be shown another photograph,
6 please, photograph number 10 from Exhibit P14A.
7 Q. Witness, would you please have a look at that photograph and tell
8 us if you recognise the location it depicts. Only tell us if you know.
9 Don't tell us anything that you assume, okay?
10 A. Yes. Here on the left side was the hotel building, and behind my
11 back was the department store, and in front of me, the building that is
12 destroyed is the Croatian church, which was standing on the 17th and the
13 18th of July, 1992.
14 JUDGE SINGH: Can you please use the pointer and show us.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
16 Q. Use the metal pointer --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 MR. DI FAZIO:
19 Q. Perhaps -- just use the --
20 A. The hotel, the department store, the yard of the church, and the
21 place where the church was.
22 Q. Thank you. How did you feel once you saw the mosque reduced to
24 A. I felt uncomfortable, because I was a member of the Muslim faith.
25 I didn't like it.
1 Q. When you emerged from the cellar or the place that you had taken
2 refuge in, did anyone say or comment -- say anything or comment on the
3 sight that greeted them?
4 A. No. No. We didn't comment about the tremor of the ground in the
5 shelter. We didn't comment either amongst ourselves or with the Serbian
6 soldiers, but we commented in a silent way by just keeping our heads down,
7 the ten of us, about what had happened, and I mean the ten of us who were
8 there to carry out our work obligation. We commented on it amongst
10 Q. Prior to the destruction of the mosque and while you were still
11 working in the SUP, had you seen any Sappers or soldiers involved in
12 trying to remove mines from the mosque?
13 A. No. No, I didn't see, because my task was to clean the glass and
14 the papers that were strewn about, also to clean human faeces, and also
15 there were two dead dogs there. There was lots of rubble there. We did
16 not make any comments about the Sappers, I nor the other people there, and
17 we didn't see them either.
18 Q. Thank you. Let's go back to Bosanski Samac, and I want to ask you
19 some more questions about the conditions of life there. Was there ever a
20 curfew imposed?
21 A. A curfew was imposed on the first day, the 17th of April. It was
22 broadcast on the radio, the Serb radio.
23 Q. What were the conditions of the curfew?
24 A. It was not allowed to walk about in the month of April from 8.00
25 p.m. until 5.00 a.m. As time went by, the days got longer, and in this
1 summer period, this curfew was imposed from 2200 hours until 5.00 a.m. We
2 did not have the right to walk about during the curfew hours, while
3 citizens of Serb ethnicity did have the right to walk about. Often I
4 would hear commotion, men and women passing in the street, but I did not
5 dare watch through the window, because that was forbidden.
6 Q. From your home, were you able to see if the lights were on in
7 neighbouring flats and apartments?
8 A. Yes. I could see in the building right next door to me. There
9 were about 50 apartments there in two buildings. I would often see lights
10 on in those houses. Not all the windows were dark, although the order was
11 that all the windows had to be kept dark. Often there would be power
12 cuts, and then while electricity would come back, the windows had to have
13 blinds drawn on them.
14 Q. Do you have any idea of the ethnic background of the occupants of
15 the houses whose lights shone?
16 A. Serb ethnicity.
17 Q. Did you have lights on in your home?
18 A. Yes, but blinds or curtains had to be drawn on the windows.
19 Q. How long did this curfew last?
20 A. Until I was detained. After that, I don't know.
21 Q. Was there any prohibition against the gathering of people in the
23 A. Yes. Yes, there was a prohibition against the gathering of more
24 than three persons.
25 Q. Did that apply to all people or was it selective?
1 A. It was selective; that is to say, three Muslims, or two Muslims
2 and one Croat. People like that could not assemble in one place. Whoever
3 did not abide by this could be taken into custody at the SUP and never
4 return home after that.
5 Q. How did you become aware of this prohibition?
6 A. This prohibition was read over the radio, Serb Radio Samac.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I want to produce a
8 document to the witness. The Defence will know it. It is document C80 in
9 the Prosecution's list of exhibits. Copies have been provided to them. I
10 have copies for the Chamber, for the Registry. I'd ask that -- it's my
11 intention to seek the full admission of this document into evidence.
12 Perhaps the Chamber can look at it first. I don't know if the Defence --
13 JUDGE MUMBA: And we have English translation for it?
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Oh, yes, yes.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Any objection from the Defence?
16 MR. ZECEVIC: None, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
18 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the numbering, please.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. For the English version, it's
21 P40. For the B/C/S version, it's P40 ter.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the title?
23 MR. DI FAZIO: "Order prohibiting the gathering of three or more
24 Muslims or Croats."
25 Q. Have a look at this document, please, Witness. It's probably a
1 little hard to read, but do your best, please. The document speaks for
2 itself. It's apparently signed by Stevan Todorovic, and it appears to be
3 dated the 4th of August, 1992 and prohibits the gathering of three or more
4 Muslims in public places. What I want to know is this: Is it your
5 position that this prohibition contained in this document actually applied
6 prior to August of 1992?
7 A. Yes. This prohibition was in force, and I heard of it through the
8 media. I never had this in my hands.
9 Q. I appreciate that. I understand that. But my question is this:
10 The document says that it's prohibited for that sort of gathering, but
11 it's dated August 1992. Is it your position that a prohibition against
12 the gathering of small groups of Muslims or Croats applied before, before,
13 August of 1992?
14 A. Yes, that is my opinion, because I abided by that prohibition for
15 a long time while I was still seemingly free. For a long time I abided by
16 that, and it was in force a lot earlier.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Mr. Usher. I've finished with the
19 Q. Now, you said that you were arrested on the 11th of August. Tell
20 us how it came to be that you were arrested and tell us where you were
22 A. As usual, I left in the morning, because a messenger had called
23 me. I went in front of the local commune, not far away from my home. I
24 went there for forced labour. On that day, I was given the assignment of
25 cutting the grass in the churchyard in front of the Serb church. I worked
1 all day, together with three or four other locals, my fellow citizens.
2 Around 3.00, Serb soldiers came and they said that we should go home
3 because we had completed our assignment.
4 I got very tired that day. I went home. It was a hot day. I
5 found a bit of water in the yard. That had been prepared by my wife.
6 Since there was no water in the house, water was warmed in the yard, in a
7 pot. I washed a bit and I hurried into the house to lie down, because my
8 back had hurt from all that work, practically every day. I had not slept
9 for 15 or 20 minutes, not more than that, and I fell asleep straight
10 away. My wife woke me up with the following words: She said that I
11 should get up, that Serb soldiers came to take me for an interrogation.
12 When I went out into the hall, at the entrance door I recognised
13 two Serbs, of Serb ethnicity, and one person whom I did not know. All
14 three were in camouflage uniforms and armed. I knew from before, the two
15 or three months that I had spent in the occupied Bosanski Samac, that
16 these drivers drove a blue Lada vehicle. Whoever was taken away in that
17 Lada never returned home again.
18 I asked my fellow citizens, whom I knew -- one of them was Milan,
19 from the village of Crkvina, and the other one was very familiar to me,
20 but I did not know his name. He worked at the department store where
21 wall-to-wall carpeting was sold.
22 I asked them whether that meant that I was being taken away, and
23 they said, [redacted]. Get dressed and put on some warm clothes,
24 because you are going for some kind of an interview."
25 Since I had just been awakened, I was still drowsy and I'd hardly
1 dressed. I put on a T-shirt and shorts only. When I reappeared in the
2 hall, he asked me to put on some warmer clothes, and I said, "It's the
3 11th of August. It's hot. I'll be hot." And he said, "Well, get
4 dressed. You'll need it." My wife, who was listening to all of this and
5 saw all of this and heard the entire conversation, said to them, I think,
6 "Does that mean that my [redacted] is not going to come back?"
7 I don't know. I was already crossing the hall, going to the room
8 in order to listen to what they said, to wear something warmer. I heard
9 her crying. I got dressed. I went into the hall. And I was in better
10 shape than I am in now, and I said, "Oh, come on. Don't cry. Can't you
11 see that these people are just taking me for an interview and I'll come
12 back? What's with you?"
13 I did not spend much time in the hall, and I asked them that we
14 should get going. Their vehicle was parked on the other side of my house,
15 that is to say, right by the heating plant, right by the heating plant
16 that is near my house, the one that heats the apartment building. They
17 brought me to that vehicle, and when they put me into that vehicle, I knew
18 that there would be no return to my home.
19 The drive from my house to the SUP building did not take long.
20 And also, geographically speaking, we weren't far away. It's about 700
21 metres. But it felt so long to me. It seemed as if I'd never get there.
22 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Witness. Your expectation was that you
23 weren't going return to your home. Did that in fact turn out to be the
25 A. Yes. Yes. It is true. I never returned home.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Did you -- how long were you kept in the SUP?
2 A. I was detained in the SUP all the way up to the 27th of November,
4 Q. Where in the SUP were you kept?
5 A. There was a procedure involved. When one enters the SUP, one has
6 to leave all the things that one has in his pockets; cigarettes, house
7 keys, money, everything. You have to leave it all. Watches. You have to
8 leave all of that with the porter, actually, by the reception office, the
9 first one on the left-hand side. That's where I spent the first seven
11 Q. I'm going to ask you just general questions now about life in the
12 SUP or conditions in the SUP. Were you beaten?
13 A. This first room on the left-hand side, we called that the
14 reception room, we amongst ourselves, we who were detained. And that is
15 where the interrogation procedure takes place and also the giving of
17 I was mistreated in that room, I and three or four of my fellow
18 citizens. On several occasions, soldiers in camouflage uniforms came and
19 beat us, mostly during these first seven days or so.
21 [redacted], this was a man called Stojan. His last name was
22 Blagojevic. He would come.
23 Q. Did you see your fellow prisoners being beaten?
24 A. Yes. They beat all of us. When they would enter the room, they
25 would beat all of us. And they had had the misfortune of being arrested
1 before me, and they were tied up by wire. Their hands were all wounded
2 from this wire that was tied tightly around their wrists. They were
3 wounded black and blue over the face and body. One was called
4 Hadzialijagic Dasa. The other was called Rukavina Igor. The third one
5 was Hamid. He was the one who had a fish restaurant. So there were four
6 of us, and we spent six or seven days there in this reception office.
7 Q. Who was conducting the beatings? Give us some names of men who
8 conducted the beatings.
9 A. In this reception office, I was beaten by Stojan Blagojevic the
10 most. Later, after I gave my statement -- the crime inspector upstairs,
11 his name was Simo Bozic. I was transferred to the second office on the
12 left-hand side of the hall. That's where I spent about ten days or so.
13 Almost every night, Stevan Todorovic came with several Serb
14 soldiers in uniform, and he mistreated us collectively. That is to say,
15 he beat and mistreated all of us. Those whose names were called out
16 individually had it the worst. I did not have that misfortune of having
17 had my name called out individually. When a detainee would go out
18 individually, then he would be beaten the most, and if we would go out
19 collectively, I guess they would get tired as they beat us and not all of
20 us would be beaten very much.
21 In that room, there were about 15 of us detained there for about
22 ten days.
23 Q. Witness, you were there until late November. Was there ever a
24 cessation or a day -- did a day go past without yourself being beaten or
25 other prisoners being beaten?
1 A. No. It never happened. They always beat us, either in the
2 morning or in the evening or very late, either collectively or they called
3 out the names of my fellow citizens and they mistreated them.
4 We had the opportunity of hearing all of that. That is to say,
5 there were many days when I did not receive a single blow, but I was
6 forced to hear the moans and wails of others who were beaten.
7 Q. Were instruments used when the men were being beaten?
8 A. Yes. In these beatings, they usually used various things. They
9 hit us with their hands and with their feet in boots. They hit us with
10 rifle butts, with sticks, with truncheons, bats. I don't know whether
11 this was prepared for that particular purpose previously.
12 Q. You mentioned that wails and moans could be heard. Were these
14 A. Yes, they were, because this was three or four metres away.
15 Everything could be heard in the SUP building.
16 Q. When you were -- I'll use this term advisedly, but when you were a
17 free man, before you were arrested, had you ever heard any sounds coming
18 from the SUP building or the TO building in the course of your travelling
19 around the town, off to do your work?
20 A. Yes [redacted]
22 [redacted]. So I often heard, while I was in the
23 town of Samac, from the 17th of April until the 11th of August, during the
24 night I would often hear screams and moans of people who were being beaten
25 in these three facilities that I mentioned.
1 It was a small town. I was a very busy man. There were many days
2 when I was busy, but often my wife would have some time off, and when she
3 would go to town, she would try to get hold of something at the market and
4 then hurry back home. I don't know whether this was an assignment or not,
5 but she would see my fellow citizens on the trucks. They were bloody,
6 beaten, and tied up. And often she would come with news to the effect
7 that such-and-such a person was beaten, that his teeth were pulled out,
8 and that this particular person would be disfigured from the pain and from
9 the blows.
10 This made me feel afraid. When I went for my work obligation, I
11 was kind of hoping that I be detained too, because it was so hard for me
12 to listen to these moans from home during the night. And after the news
13 that we received when we got back home, I was terrified, and I often
14 weighed my options: whether it would be better to get arrested as soon as
15 possible so that I would be with my fellow citizens, or should I continue
16 to go to clean trenches and have a hard time that way? I was hungry and
17 mistreated several times.
18 Q. You could hear screams from up [redacted] and you heard
19 reports from your wife of bloodied figures being driven around on trucks.
20 A. Yes. I could hear the moans from [redacted], as the crow
21 flies, but I didn't know at which location they were beating these people,
22 because the elementary school gym is [redacted], the secondary school
23 gym is [redacted], the yard of the TO building was [redacted],
25 Q. Tell the Chamber if --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 MR. DI FAZIO:
3 Q. Tell the Chamber if these signs and -- I'll rephrase my question.
4 Tell the Chamber if these sorts of screams and yells that you've described
5 could be heard throughout the period of time that you were in Bosanski
6 Samac before your arrest, that is, from April to August, or was it a
7 one-off incident or confined to a particular time?
8 A. Several times during the night it used to happen, but it didn't
9 happen every night.
10 Q. Before I leave the SUP, I'd just like to ask you: In addition to
11 the beatings of yourself and your fellow prisoners, were there any other
12 forms of mistreatment that were either inflicted on you or the other men?
13 A. Yes, there were, such as turning towards each other and slapping
14 one another. I heard in other rooms, but I didn't take part in this, that
15 there was also sexual mistreatment or sexual abuse between people of the
16 same sex.
17 Q. What was the ethnic background of the prisoners who were kept in
18 the SUP between August and late November?
19 A. We were all Muslims or Croats.
20 Q. When did you eventually leave the SUP?
21 A. On the 27th of November, 1992, everybody in the rooms was ordered
22 to come out into the yard of the Bosanski Samac SUP. We had the rare
23 opportunity to go outside into the yard, and we were very happy, because I
24 had spent the entire time in a cell intended for two persons. There were
25 11 of us at all times inside, without any floor covering or any
1 conditions, without any toilet facilities.
2 Q. Yes. I'm sorry, Witness. I forgot to ask you about that. Can
3 you tell us -- you've already described it as being overcrowded. Were you
4 able to at least lie down at night to sleep?
5 A. We didn't have the opportunity, because there was no space. After
6 ten days which I spent in another room on the left side, I was transferred
7 to a cell across from that second room. This cell was meant for two
8 prisoners. According to my assessment - and I can't remember precisely -
9 by the end of August, I was already in that cell, detained with 11 of my
10 fellow citizens. I spent the entire time there without a coat, without a
11 blanket, without water, without a toilet, in an area of 9 square metres,
12 all that time until the 27th of November.
13 We had the possibility to go to the toilet, but there was no water
14 in the toilet, and we could do this after asking the guard who was
15 standing in the corridor. So that means that we had to open the door,
16 greet the guard, and then ask whether we would be allowed to use the
17 toilet. Each person on duty took care that we did not go to the toilet
18 several times, so we avoided going to the toilet, because he used to come
19 after my fellow citizens, the person on duty, or a fighter from the
20 Serbian army, and beat up that fellow citizen who happened to go to the
21 toilet. He would come back all bloody and in bruises, and he would tell
22 us why he was in that state, so that we avoided going to the toilet.
23 Q. Tell us about the food that you received in the time that you were
24 kept in the SUP.
25 A. Food was brought by a Serbian soldier in a van. Initially, during
1 the first 15 days, I had the opportunity to see that through the window,
2 because I was on the left side of the SUP building. It was brought in a
3 van. One or two prisoners would quickly run out when the guard would
4 order them to go out. They would go out and take the food. Usually we
5 would get one kilogramme of bread, to be distributed amongst 20 or 25
6 people, and this would be sometime between 1.00 and 1.30 p.m. And we
7 would get a little bit of tea, which was hardly enough to fill a soldier's
8 ration. And this is what we would receive once every 24 hours.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, I started to ask you about your departure from
10 the SUP. Can I ask you to return to that topic? When did you leave the
11 SUP, and under what circumstances did that occur?
12 A. I left the SUP after the command, "Go out," and I think this
13 happened during my two or three months' stay there, that we would go
14 outside on two or three other occasions. Then on those occasions we would
15 go out to the SUP yard, which was facing the Sava River. And we tried to
16 stretch our legs as much as possible, because we didn't have the
17 opportunity to do that in the cell. However, the commander of the police
18 station appeared. This is how he introduced himself, by the name of
19 Stoko. I think that he said that he worked at the Orasje police station
20 before the war. He ordered us to tie white ribbons or bands around our
21 eyes, around our heads, which were distributed by Serbian soldiers. So we
22 received blindfolds. People were there in the yard also from the TO
23 building, and also I think that people came from the secondary school,
24 people who were detained in the gym there. According to my estimate,
25 there were about 150 of us there. All of us were loaded into three buses,
1 wearing blindfolds, and these buses were full. They were parked right
2 next to the yard, the SUP building yard.
3 We were issued with the command to put the blindfolds on and to go
4 into the buses, and we obeyed this order. We went into the buses with the
5 help of the Serbian soldiers who most probably, as far as I can remember
6 and as far as my ears can serve me because I wasn't able to look, they
7 were counting us and loading us into those buses. I heard the sound of
8 those trucks, those buses when the engines were turned on.
9 We travelled for a long time in a direction that I didn't know.
10 At several points, I heard the conversation of Serbian soldiers who were
11 in the buses -- in the bus. I guess they were accompanying us. And I
12 also heard the men who were manning the checkpoints, "Who are these people
13 who are inside? Where are they going and why are they going?" at the
14 checkpoints, it was often said, the checkpoints in my town of Samac.
15 Later, I would hear that I arrived at the village of Batkovici,
16 which is at the place where the River Drina flows into the River Sava.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 A. So later, I would hear that this is where I arrived.
19 Q. Thank you, Witness. Thank you. Thank you for describing that.
20 Can you just give us a date, if you can, please, or at least an
21 approximate time when you were transferred from SUP to the Batkovic?
22 A. Later in the afternoon. According to my estimate, it could have
23 been 4.00 or 4.30 in the afternoon on the 27th of November, 1992.
24 Q. Now, how long did you remain at Batkovic?
25 A. From that date until the 4th of October, 1994.
1 Q. Where were you detained in Batkovic?
2 A. In the hangar of the Pik agriculture cooperative. Pik Semberija.
3 I think that's what it's called.
4 Q. Approximately how many men were kept there with you in that period
5 of time?
6 A. There were two hangars full of men. According to my estimate,
7 because I had plenty of months to figure out its size, it was 26 by 50,
8 and at certain points there were even 700 of us who were detained there.
9 Q. You endured that place for close on two years. Were most of the
10 men who were kept there from Bosanski Samac or were they men who came in
11 from different parts of the former Yugoslavia?
12 A. According to my estimate, there were about 150 of my fellow
13 citizens there, while the others were from Srebrenica, from the town of
14 Tuzla, from the town of Prijedor, from the town of Kozarac, and from the
15 town of Kljuc, because that is what they told me.
16 Q. And what was the ethnic background of the men who were imprisoned
17 with you?
18 A. We were all Serbs [as interpreted] and Croats except for -- on a
19 couple of occasions for those who were arrested at the lines. To this
20 very day, I cannot come to a proper conclusion, but when they captured a
21 large number of people, they would bring them here so that on a couple of
22 occasions, people of Serb ethnicity were also brought there who were
23 captured during attacks on some territories.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. di Fazio, can we look at the first line of
1 the answer? "We were all Serbs and Croats." Maybe we could have a
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I'm just about to do that. I'm grateful to
4 Your Honour.
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay.
6 MR. DI FAZIO:
7 Q. Witness, you just-- your first answer -- sorry. In the previous
8 answer you said, and I quote from the transcript that I see, "We were all
9 Serbs and Croats except for -- on a couple of occasions for those who were
10 arrested at the lines." Is that what you meant to say?
11 A. No, that is not what I meant to say. My real proper answer should
12 have said, "Muslims and Croats."
13 Q. Thank you. Did anyone ever explain to you, either at the SUP or
14 in Batkovic, what it was that you'd done wrong to cause this imprisonment
15 of yours?
16 A. Around the beginning of 1993, material most probably came from my
17 municipality, the municipality of the town of Samac, and it was an
18 indictment by Serb soldiers against me so that court proceedings were
19 initiated, so that I and a couple of my other fellow citizens were taken
20 by a vehicle. And this happened on several occasions. I was taken for
21 trial to the military court in the town of Bijeljina.
22 Q. What was the accusation levelled against you?
23 A. The charges were that we wanted to kill and occupy the Serbian
24 people which were in favour of life together. They were nice. They were
25 good. They were our fellow citizens, and we wanted to occupy them with
1 those weapons that I received on the 16th of April, 1992.
2 Q. I see. I see. Did the charge somehow relate to the gun that
3 you'd been given at the TO? Is that your understanding of the
4 accusation? That's what I'd like to know.
5 A. Yes. Yes. That is what I was told. And I told them, just as I
6 have told you now. I said everything from A to Z in the courtroom and
7 during my questioning, that I received a rifle on the 16th, held onto it
8 for 16 hours and returned it to a Serbian soldier. I was and tried to
9 remain an honourable citizen of Bosanski Samac, but I don't know how much
10 I succeeded in that.
11 Q. What was the result of this trial that you underwent in
13 A. The result in Bijeljina was three and a half years' imprisonment
14 because of aggression against the Serbian people and Serbian territory.
15 Q. Did you have a lawyer?
16 A. I did have a lawyer who was assigned to me.
17 Q. Did you have a chance to speak to him and did he assist you to
18 deny the charges?
19 A. I didn't have the opportunity, and I noticed, since we spoke in
20 the same language, we understood one another very well, my attorney, the
21 one assigned to me, was more against me than in favour of me.
22 Q. Have you got any idea when you received this sentence of three and
23 a half years, at what point of time?
24 A. Sometime in the month of February or March 1993.
25 Q. Thank you. I'd like to ask you briefly about conditions in
1 Batkovic in the two years or so that you were there. Were there
3 A. Yes. They often beat us. I say "often" because up until before
4 the war, I wasn't used to being beaten by my parents, and I wasn't used to
5 it as a way of upbringing or correction. So it would be for 15 or 20
6 blows. But we were taken out for forced labour. Also they would come to
7 the hangar and beat us collectively and individually. I did not have the
8 opportunity, the misfortune, of being individually beaten. However, on
9 several occasions I had the opportunity, after just being woken up from
10 sleep, at 2.00 or 3.00 a.m., to be ordered to turn around to the first
11 person sleeping next to me, so that we would slap one another, and we
12 would have to slap one another in the presence of Serbian soldiers. Those
13 who did not comply were hit on the knuckles with a rifle butt. I also was
14 present during individual beatings of my fellow citizens, and this was
15 very difficult for me to see.
16 Q. Can you --
17 JUDGE SINGH: Just a clarification here. In Batkovic, after you
18 had been sentenced, were you beaten?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before that and after that.
20 JUDGE SINGH: Thank you.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just bear with me, please.
22 [Prosecution counsel confer]
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
24 Q. Can you tell the Chamber if the frequency of beating at Batkovic
25 was different from that of the SUP? And in general, can you tell the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Chamber if there was any difference in the conditions in Batkovic and the
3 A. Yes, there were conditions, if you can call it that way. We were
4 overcrowded inside during the first few weeks of my detention in
5 Batkovic. I didn't have clothes on me, because the clothes that I was
6 wearing when I left my house were torn by the 13th of December, 1992. No
7 one helped me by giving me any kind of clothing. The clothes that I was
8 wearing were in tatters.
9 So until that date that I mentioned earlier, then the Red Cross
10 for the first time to register me. According to what they said - and I
11 didn't know what this meant - they tried to calm us down by saying we were
12 safe now, that we could not be liquidated. The conditions were before the
13 27th of November. We arrived around 8.00 in the evening to the hangars in
14 Batkovic. They ordered us to take our blindfolds off. In front of me
15 there was a wire fence, a line of Serbian soldiers wearing probably
16 Serbian camouflage units [as interpreted], and we were supposed to run
17 this gauntlet from the bus to the gate. We were beaten with rifle butts
18 on our backs, on our shoulders, and we were ordered to move faster.
19 When we arrived in the yard of the building, which was surrounded
20 by a wire fence which, according to my estimate, was about two and a half
21 metres high, and I did have enough time to register that -- when I left
22 the hangar, I could see two guard houses in front of me, observation
23 towers, and there would always be a soldier in a camouflage uniform with a
24 rifle at the ready towards the gate where we would go out.
25 The yard building was very large. When we would go outside, we
1 had space to stretch our legs and to walk around, and that was what they
2 had ordered us to do. Most probably we would have remained fit -- this
3 was done most probably so that we would keep fit. The conditions there
4 were slightly better. We received a meal twice a day, which was not
5 sufficient, since we kept going out for work day in and day out. Fifty
6 soldiers -- fifty inmates would go to Panafleks, fifty would go to
7 Hranaprodukt, fifty would go to the fields, fifty would go to gather the
8 corn. So that sometimes we were not all taken out, so those who remained
9 in the hangar would not be permitted to go out and to move. And those
10 lucky ones - and I say lucky ones - who would go out to work, did have,
11 really, they did have better food, and we were anxious and we fought to
12 get onto that list. The list was compiled by a man who slept at the
13 hangar with us. Sometimes it was a Croat or sometimes it was a Muslim,
14 and we would beg him to put us on the list. On that day when fewer
15 workers were required, we would be very sad, because the majority would
16 remain hungry in the hangars.
17 Q. Thank you, Witness. I'd just like you to now just list for the
18 Chamber the sorts of labour that you did in Batkovic. I don't need to
19 know all the details, but just give us a general, quick description of the
20 sort of work that you did in the time that you were there.
21 A. I was digging the next year, so it was in the spring of 1993. I
22 planted in the fields, I cultivated the fields, and I gathered into burlap
23 sacks wheat which had been harvested the year before. I went to the
24 forest to cut wood. I went out into the field for two or three days to
25 Majevica, to dig trenches, and then again to the line of separation
1 between the B and H army and the Serbian army.
2 Q. Did you do much work on trenches in the two years that you were in
3 custody at Batkovic?
4 A. No. I wasn't assigned to trench digging very much, but when I was
5 taken to Majevica - the exact location is Piperi - that is where I was
6 digging the trenches and that is where we used to sleep also, in a school.
7 Q. Just answer me briefly, if you can: Did you ever have the hope of
8 being exchanged?
9 A. Yes. I hoped each time when the gate to the hangar would open.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, it's 5.00 now, and you may
11 have gathered I'm getting very close to the end of my
12 examination-in-chief. I'll certainly complete it fairly quickly in the
13 morning, and it's a new topic. Would this be an appropriate time to
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Before we break, I did announce earlier that
16 we would sit up to Thursday afternoon. I've been informed that because of
17 the diplomatic meeting in the gallery, the technical people will not use
18 the -- we will need to use the equipment from the courtroom, so that we
19 wouldn't be able to have the equipment with us if we were to sit in the
20 afternoon. So tomorrow we will sit up to 1.00, and the next proceedings
21 will be Monday next week. So the Court will rise.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.00 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 22nd day of
24 November, 2001, at 9.30 a.m.