1 Wednesday, 12 September 2001
2 [The accused entered court]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [Open session]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-98-32-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Mitar Vasiljevic.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, it may have been filed but we've not yet
10 received your response to this issue of the attacks by the Muslims upon
11 the Serbs. Have you filed anything yet?
12 MR. GROOME: We haven't and we are going to, in light of your
13 comments the other day, to respond to it orally, unless the Court would
14 like a written response to it.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Well, it's going to have to be dealt with at some
16 stage. There has already been some evidence led which I would have
17 thought fell within it, without objection from the Prosecution, but let's
18 wait until we get the evidence in chief of this witness through and then
19 we may have to deal with it then.
20 MR. GROOME: Just one matter. In light of yesterday's events in
21 New York City, I was unable to do a couple of things I need to do for this
22 afternoon so I'm going to ask the Court's apology and absent myself for
23 this witness here. Ms. Bauer will handle this witness, and Mr. Ossogo
24 will take the witness after that and I will return for this afternoon's
25 session so, I ask the Court's indulgence for my absence this morning.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, you have our approval in advance if you
2 have to do some work. You have some very capable assistants there to look
3 after it while you're away, just as they, obviously, at times working on
4 the case and are not here. There is no need to seek an excuse or to be
5 excused each time. You go when you have to, provided you've got somebody
6 here. Yes, Mr. Groome, just continue with this witness.
7 MR. GROOME: Just another matter. The second witness for this
8 morning, VG11, has notified us he no longer wishes protective measures.
9 He thinks it's time that he testified publicly, so we would be seeking to
10 amend the Court's order and allow this witness to testify under his own
12 JUDGE HUNT: It's very good to hear someone wants to say it in
13 public. We will certainly revoke the order for protective measures for
14 that particular witness.
15 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 WITNESS: WITNESS VG79 [Resumed]
17 Examination by Ms. Bauer: [Continued]
18 Q. Witness 79, can you hear me this morning?
19 A. Fine.
20 Q. Yesterday, we stopped when you were describing how you hid in your
21 house in the basement and how people were searching for you, and that your
22 wife saw these people. Can you please describe to the Court what your
23 wife told you, how these people looked like and how they arrived at your
25 A. They came to the house and they were looking for me. They had had
1 orders to that effect or something. However, she said that I was working
2 at the company and she said that I had not come home from the company the
3 previous day, and they were masked. They were wearing something black,
4 some kind of uniform, allegedly.
5 Q. Did your wife tell you in what kind of car they arrived?
6 A. No. She did not tell me because they didn't let her get out of
7 the house, the apartment, whatever.
8 Q. Did there come a time when these people came again?
9 A. Yes, they came again, after midnight. They were looking for gold,
10 jewellery, I don't know what. And the next day, she left with the
11 children, crossed the hills and went to stay with her relatives.
12 Q. Did there come a time when you decided to leave your house as
14 A. Yes. Because one car was behind my brother's house, it was parked
15 there. It was a Lada Niva. Then this car left. My old mother said, "The
16 car left. Run. Because again they are looking for men." She didn't know
17 who they were looking for exactly or whatever, so then we left around 8.00
18 in the evening. We went towards the same hills where my wife had gone.
19 Q. And where was this?
20 A. Towards Jelacici. That's where her sister was. I don't know.
21 Q. And what -- at what -- approximately when was that?
22 A. The beginning of June, around the 4th of June, that's when I got
24 Q. I want you now, please, to take a look at a document that's
25 Prosecution number 19.1.
1 MS. BAUER: I think copies can be handed out.
2 Q. Could you please point out to the Court where the region of
3 Jelacici is? On the map.
4 A. [Indicates]
5 Q. And I would like you now to describe what you have observed from
6 there, looking across the river in the beginning of June.
7 A. I came here, and the next day I found my family. And then I spent
8 about 24 hours there and then they told me that some villages were burning
9 and then we set out towards Hamzici. There was shelling. We were
10 walking with a friend of mine. And then we were walking back in the
11 afternoon and we saw some people there who had been expelled to Sase and
12 across the Drina. We saw some people, you see. And we stopped there for
13 a while. We watched, and they were taking them from the road by the Drina
14 towards Peljevina and this was somewhere --
15 Q. Let's take it one step by the other. So you said -- could you
16 just point once with the pointer to the area where you stood and observed
17 the other side of the Drina? Just once.
18 A. Here.
19 Q. Okay. Thank you. And then how did you observe the other side of
20 the Drina River?
21 A. Because I was watching. They told us before that that there were
22 some houses that were burning, and we wanted to see whether it was my
23 house that was burning or my neighbour's, so we had some binoculars and we
24 were watching here. We were looking in the direction of Sase and we saw
25 these people being forced towards the Drina River. They were being forced
1 by some other people. There were about 10 or 11 people.
2 Q. How did they arrive, these people you were talking about?
3 A. They arrived in some kind of cars.
4 Q. How many cars?
5 A. There was a little Paglica car, mauve, and also a Yugo, olive
6 green, something like that, because we did not really pay attention to the
7 cars, we were looking at these people.
8 JUDGE HUNT: I wonder if you could get him to point just once, as
9 you did before, where these people were that he saw. The pointer has been
10 moving around too much for us to be able to note it.
11 MS. BAUER:
12 Q. Could please be so kind and follow Your Honour's advice to
13 point just once where approximately did you see those people at the Drina
14 River, and just once, not going around too much with the pointer?
15 A. Here, Sase towards the Drina River, here.
16 Q. You probably take the pen, there is a marker, and just mark it
17 with an X.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. Thank you.
20 A. Here.
21 Q. Thank you. That's enough. So how many cars -- I think we can
22 remove this for the moment, please. Thanks.
23 How many cars did you say were there?
24 A. One car was probably parked up there and two cars arrived with
25 these people.
1 Q. So you said one was olive green. The other, can you remember just
2 the colour of the other car?
3 A. It was sort of burgundy, one of the cars.
4 Q. So when those two cars stopped, what did you see next?
5 A. I saw some people who walked out, and set out towards the Drina
6 River, as I already told you.
7 Q. Were these people all the same or were there some distinct people
8 from each other?
9 A. Of course, those who were in front were different. Some wore
10 uniforms, others had different kinds of clothes. We didn't really --
11 behind them were three or four men. They were like black, I mean, they
12 had some kind of hat on their heads.
13 Q. What kind of hats?
14 A. Well, hats, longish, going up a bit this way, and also they had
15 something on their shoulders.
16 Q. Were they armed?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What kind of arms did they have?
19 A. I wasn't looking at what kind of weapons they had. Some kind of
20 automatic weapons, snipers, similar to snipers.
21 Q. How many men were walking in front and how many men approximately
22 were walking in the back?
23 A. In front, there were about seven people, and behind there were
24 three and sometimes four, I guess, as they were going towards the Drina.
25 Q. You said sometimes three, sometimes four. Was there anything
1 obstructing your view to be absolutely sure about the numbers of people?
2 A. A tree, by the Drina sort of, we could not see this fourth man
3 very well but probably he was there.
4 Q. Could you see the faces of these men, the armed men I'm talking
5 about now?
6 A. No. It was far away, 400, 500 metres as the crow flies. We could
7 not really see the faces, of course.
8 Q. Did you recognise anybody of this group of people?
9 A. Yes. I recognised Meho Dzafic and Amir Kurtalic, that they were
10 walking towards the Drina.
11 Q. Did you know these two people from before?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were they friends of yours?
14 A. Yes, they were, good friends.
15 Q. When they were walking towards the Drina, what did you observe
16 happen next?
17 A. When they came to the Drina, there must have been some kind of
18 order because they stopped, and then I saw straight away that they were
19 shooting from those rifles, and I saw one man fall and then Meho fell
20 after this man. Then I took these binoculars, or rather my friend did.
21 Unfortunately, this friend of mine got killed afterwards. He's no longer
22 amongst the living. And he said, "Look what they're doing." And I closed
23 my eyes, I couldn't watch. I couldn't watch people being shot.
24 Q. Did you hear the shots?
25 A. Yes, I did.
1 Q. How long did the shooting last for?
2 A. Briefly, two or three individual gunshots.
3 Q. What did you observe when you next watched again?
4 A. When I looked again, all these people were lying by the water and
5 these men with the weapons returned to the cars that were up there, and
6 two turned around and shot into the water again, and they went into their
8 Q. You said two of them turned back?
9 A. Yes. And they shot once respectively.
10 Q. Did you observe how they drove away?
11 A. Yes. They left and that's when I left too, towards Jelacici. It
12 was so hard for me when I saw this, of course.
13 Q. After a couple of minutes, did you observe anything else, after
14 those two people were gone?
15 A. When those two left, I left too. I walked for about five minutes
16 and then I saw two men getting out of the water in order to leave. And I
17 thought to myself, thank God somebody survived. Of course, they left that
18 execution site. They were walking downstream. And they were crossing the
19 Drina to the other side where Jelacici is.
20 Q. How long did you stay in Jelacici for?
21 A. I stayed for about two months.
22 Q. Why did you have to leave Jelacici?
23 A. Because all of it was shelled, from the village of Koritnik,
24 Haluga, Prelovo, there were about 5.000 to 7.000 people who had left the
25 town of Visegrad, and they went to these villages and then continued
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
14 English transcripts
1 towards Medzedza, there were two convoys, one of 2.000, the other was
2 5.000 people and they all crossed to free territory.
3 Q. Do you know who fired those shells?
4 A. I don't know, some kind of military. They told me to get out of
5 the company, that some kind of unknown military had come, the Arkan's
6 people, the Seselj's people and we were told to take care of ourselves and
7 I left together with my colleague.
8 Q. Which nationality or ethnicity were the people told -- were you
9 told who were those people who shelled you?
10 A. Well, probably Serbs. All the villages on the other side of the
11 Drina had been ethnically cleansed. It couldn't have been Muslims.
12 Q. Was there anything else you observed while you were in Jelacici at
13 the Drina River?
14 A. Of course, there were many corpses in the Drina. We could not
15 walk up to get them because there was shooting all the time from the
16 direction of Jelacici. If we would walk up in the evening, during the
17 night, they would turn floodlights on so we couldn't really save anyone.
18 We saw a woman and a young child on a board floating down the Drina River.
19 However, we didn't manage to get them and save them.
20 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask you, do you know the accused from
21 before the war?
22 A. Of course I do. He worked at Panos. He was a waiter. He brought
23 me a drink several times. We also had drinks together. Meho Dzafic too
24 worked together with him. He was his colleague. He was also a waiter.
25 Q. Did you see Mitar Vasiljevic any time after the Uzice Corps left
2 A. I did not.
3 Q. Have you heard with whom Mitar Vasiljevic was associated?
4 A. Mitar Vasiljevic? Just a minute. Well, he had this blond girl
5 and when Uzeir Demir was taken away, a neighbour of mine nearby, they took
6 him away and he was there with this blonde woman and there were two lights
7 in the car.
8 Q. Did you see Mitar Vasiljevic at that time?
9 A. I got out of the house to see, and all of a sudden he turned
10 around by my brother's house and I just saw them a bit from the side and
11 they went there. People were returning from Vardiste and Gorazde and they
12 took one of these people to Visegradska Banja. He stayed there for a
13 while and then he was returned. That's what my lady wife told me.
14 Q. Who was returned?
15 A. This man from Gorazde who was taken there.
16 Q. Who was this man?
17 A. Emir, Emir is his name. I can't remember exactly. I can't
18 remember his name exactly. He stayed there for quite a while in that
19 neighbourhood, in my neighbourhood, and also they took them in a Lada, in
20 a Lada car.
21 Q. At what time, or approximately, was this before the Uzice Corps
22 left or after the Uzice Corps left?
23 A. It was after the Uzice Corps, as far as I can remember.
24 Q. Can you recall how Mitar Vasiljevic was dressed at that time?
25 A. Well, probably it was their uniform, something like olive green,
1 black, something similar to that. And they also had some kind of flags,
2 skulls on their shoulders.
3 Q. Did he wear anything -- did he wear any head gear?
4 A. Yes, a hat on his head, a black hat.
5 MS. BAUER: Thank you, Your Honour, no further questions.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet?
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Domazet:
8 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Witness 79, today you are speaking about events that occurred
10 about nine years ago. In the meantime, have you made some statements
11 about this to any official authority?
12 A. Yes, this year.
13 Q. You first made a statement about this, this year? Was it a
14 statement given to the investigators of this Tribunal?
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE HUNT: I'm sorry to interrupt, Mr. Domazet but they are not
17 the investigators of the Tribunal. I have to make that point apparently
18 in every case. This is not a civil law Tribunal. The investigators
19 belong to the Office of the Prosecutor. They have nothing to do with us
20 at all.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. However, the OTP
22 is part of this Tribunal too. I did not mean to imply that that was the
23 Court but the OTP is not separate from this Court. It is part of this
24 Court, this Tribunal.
25 JUDGE HUNT: I can assure you it is entirely independent of the
1 Tribunal in so far as the judges are concerned, entirely independent.
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I know that.
3 Q. Well, at the beginning of this year, you gave your first statement
4 concerning these events from 1992?
5 A. Would you please repeat that?
6 Q. At the beginning of this year, you made your first statement
7 concerning the events that occurred in 1992?
8 A. Yes, that was the first time that I did that. I talked about this
9 event. Of course, I said what happened in Visegrad in 1992, and -- and it
10 was written down there briefly what I actually said.
11 Q. Would you like to explain how come this happened that you appeared
12 in this capacity of witness?
13 A. As a witness? I gave this statement. They asked me, and I gave
14 this statement voluntarily.
15 Q. Yes. I believe that you did give this statement voluntarily, but
16 I was just interested in hearing how did they find you? Did you apply to
17 testify or did somebody find you and appoint you to do that?
18 A. Yes. When they saw me, they asked me about this and I talked
19 about it and, of course, I said I was willing to talk about it.
20 Q. Perhaps you didn't quite understand me. What I asked you was how
21 they came to learn about you. Did you go to them? Did you come forward
22 and say you wished to make a statement or did it come about in some other
24 A. No, I did not go to find them. I did not come forward. Somebody
25 had said that I was there and they asked, "Would you say such and such?
1 Would you give a statement?" I said I would and that's how it happened.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Just one moment, Mr. Domazet.
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Sir, when you and Mr. Domazet, the counsel there, are
5 speaking the same language, the interpreters, who are interpreting both of
6 you for us into English and into French, don't have the benefit of the
7 pause that they have when people are talking in different languages, so
8 after the question has been asked, would you just pause for a short time
9 before you give the answer? It enables the interpreters to catch up. You
10 will notice that Mr. Domazet, thankfully, is pausing before he asks you
11 the question when you finished your answer, so just wait a few moments.
12 MR. DOMAZET:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Do you know when Mitar Vasiljevic was arrested
14 and transferred to The Hague?
15 A. I did not know for a long time, and then said he had been
16 arrested, why he was arrested.
17 Q. What for, the reason?
18 A. I don't know. Because --
19 Q. Yes? Please go ahead. You wanted to add something.
20 A. The people who survived, they know that. They know why he was
22 Q. Did you see this news item on television or did you see any
23 programmes at all on television about that?
24 A. Yes, I did. I heard on television that he had been arrested.
25 Q. Where you live, did you have occasion to see articles about the
1 arrest or any articles about him in general?
2 A. I did read something about it once in some newspaper in an
3 article, but I wasn't that interested to keep reading about it further.
4 Q. Do you happen to remember the name of the newspaper, what the
5 newspaper was called?
6 A. It was the daily Avaz. That's where I read it once or twice but I
7 wasn't very interested.
8 Q. Along with this article, was there perhaps a photograph?
9 A. Yes. I saw a photograph once.
10 Q. Once again, to go back to that newspaper, the Avaz, for people
11 who don't know, can you tell us where that paper is published, in the
12 Bosnian federation or in the Republika Srpska? Where does the paper come
14 A. It comes out in the Federation, the daily Avaz.
15 Q. At the beginning of this year, when you made your statement to the
16 investigator of the Prosecution, in that statement, did you describe
17 everything that you recalled from those events in 1992?
18 A. Yes, what I lived through, what I experienced, I, of course, said
19 in the statement.
20 Q. Was the statement read back to you, and did you say that the
21 contents were indeed true to what you had said?
22 A. Yes, what I said, and I have said the same thing here today in
23 this Court.
24 Q. That's precisely why I'm asking you, because in many fairly
25 important details, your statement and testimony today differs from your
1 statement. Do you know where the differences are?
2 A. I don't know where the differences are, to explain that.
3 Q. In today's testimony, you said that you had seen ten or eleven
4 individuals, of whom seven in civilian clothes and three or four wearing
5 military uniforms; is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In your written statement on -- in several parts, you speak about
8 numbers, the number of individuals that were there. You mention the
9 number, but you make no mention anywhere of the fourth soldier or the 11th
10 person. All you talk about are the figures 7 and 3. Do you remember
12 A. Yes, seven and three, but the fourth individual, he was near a
13 tree and we couldn't see properly from that angle, and I say that it --
14 now that it was 10 or 11, probably 10 or 11 people, because on the
15 left-hand side he was probably partly covered by the tree, as you go
16 towards the Drina River.
17 Q. If I understand you correctly, you did not mention that fourth
18 soldier because you weren't able to see him properly, and you think he
19 was behind a tree, behind some trees; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Three soldiers, the three soldiers that you were able to see
22 properly, as you say, according to your statement, they wore black
23 uniforms and had some sort of black scarves where you could see a skull or
24 something like that on it. Do you remember saying that?
25 A. Yes. It was like a scarf or a band, I don't know how to explain
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
14 English transcripts
1 this, what it actually was, and it was rather far off so I couldn't
2 discern exactly what it was but it looked like a black uniform to me.
3 Q. Do you allow for the possibility that it could have been a
4 camouflage uniform, perhaps a dark form of camouflage uniform?
5 A. Well, at that distance, I wasn't quite able to see whether it was
6 a camouflage -- it wasn't a camouflage uniform, it was of one colour, and
7 it seemed to me to be black. I would say it was black, but it was one
9 Q. I agree that it was at a distance. It was at a considerable
10 distance if we look at your description, but you looked at this through
11 binoculars, didn't you? You watched through binoculars?
12 A. Yes. I did use binoculars and looked -- watched through
13 binoculars, and the colleague who was with me, he did so, too. He watched
14 for longer. Unfortunately, he's not alive. And even using binoculars,
15 you can see 10 to 12 metres away but not 400 metres or a greater distance.
16 Q. Today, and in your previous statement, you say you recognised two
17 of those individuals, and identified them as Meho Dzafic and Amir
18 Kurtalic, I therefore assume that you saw this using the binoculars and
19 that that is why you are sure that it is precisely these two men.
20 A. Yes. That's right. I kept watching the man, Meho, to see whether
21 it was really him, and yes, it was him and Amir, because we spent a lot of
22 time together. We were acquaintances.
23 Q. And you saw the actual point at which he fell into the water when
24 he was hit? I think that was what you said during your testimony today.
25 A. Yes, that's right, I did see that. I saw one man fall into the
1 water first, and Meho was the second.
2 Q. So first of all, you say another man fell and then Meho fell over
3 him; is that right? Did I understand you correctly?
4 A. Yes, that's right, that's how it was.
5 Q. This other man, the man who fell before Meho Dzafic, you don't
6 know who he was? The only person you know from that group was Amir
7 Kurtalic; is that right?
8 A. Yes, that's right, I didn't know any of the others, just those
9 two, the ones I mentioned.
10 Q. Can you remember where he was in the group? Did he stand next to
11 Meho Dzafic or further off from him?
12 A. All of them were separate from each other, at a distance from each
14 Q. Can you explain how you mean separate or at a distance? Were they
15 in a line, one next to another, or was there a certain distance and space
16 or gap between each of them?
17 A. Yes, there was a space between each of them.
18 Q. Can you tell us how far they were standing from each other? Would
19 you say the space of a man, more or less?
20 A. Well, 50 or 60 centimetres from each other, I would say, but at
21 that distance, I wasn't able to tell. I can't be precise and give you the
22 exact centimetres or metres but they were spaced out, in a line.
23 Q. Were they turned towards you or rather towards the river, or were
24 they facing the other side, the other direction?
25 A. They were facing the river, all of them.
1 Q. In your previous statement, you said that you saw the shooting of
2 three soldiers who were behind them. You saw these soldiers. Could you
3 tell us how far away they were from the group that they were shooting at?
4 A. They were four or five metres away, perhaps, but you couldn't
5 quite -- you can't see behind their backs, you can't assess the exact
6 distance in metres but they were separate, they were standing at a
7 distance, yes.
8 Q. Did you recognise any of those soldiers?
9 A. No, I didn't recognise anybody.
10 Q. Do you remember that in the statement you made at the beginning of
11 the year, you spoke about Milan Lukic as being one of those soldiers?
12 A. Yes, I did speak about Milan Lukic, but I don't know him. I
13 didn't know him before either, so I don't know. I don't know him
15 Q. Let me remind you, in your statement, you describe the man, you
16 say he had fair hair, he was tall, and that judging by the descriptions,
17 you concluded later on that it was Milan Lukic; is that right?
18 A. Yes. I did describe the people, but I don't know who those people
20 Q. My question is the following: Do you remember that in the
21 statement you say that from the description and how you saw the man, you
22 were able to conclude that later on that the person was Milan Lukic?
23 A. Well, no. I didn't know him. I didn't know him, that that was
24 him. The people who were shot at but survived, they know that.
25 Q. When you made your statement to the investigator, did you
1 personally draw something? Did you draw the distribution of the people as
2 you remembered them, how they were standing? Did you make a drawing?
3 A. I didn't give the drawing. I just showed what it looked like. I
4 didn't actually draw, just made a sketch.
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to tender
6 into evidence, that is to say I would like to present the Court with this
7 sketch and have the witness identify it and tell us whether it is in fact
8 the sketch that he drew.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Before we see, you had better get the witness to
10 agree that it is his sketch. Otherwise, it's not relevant. I assume it
11 was given to you with a copy of the statement, was it?
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 JUDGE HUNT: Ask the witness to have a look at it and ask him
14 whether he made that sketch.
15 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you.
16 A. Yes. I did this personally, how they went towards the Drina. It
17 was a -- I thought you meant a proper sketch or a map. I didn't do
18 anything like that. I just jotted down these things. Yes, that's it.
19 Q. So you recognise this as being what you drew and signed?
20 A. Yes, I recognise it.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 JUDGE HUNT: You want that now to be put into evidence?
23 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, please.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Any objection, Ms. Bauer?
25 MS. BAUER: No objections.
1 JUDGE HUNT: It will be Exhibit D1. If there is some conflict I
2 think you better put the conflict to him, Mr. Domazet, to give him the
3 opportunity of explaining it. Is there some conflict from -- between the
4 sketch and his evidence?
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] The only inconsistency I see is in
6 the fact that the fourth individual is not marked on this drawing, but the
7 witness explained today that the -- that individual was somewhere among
8 the trees and he couldn't see the person properly so that is why he didn't
9 draw him into the sketch. But he does recognise the sketch, and I have
10 asked that it be tendered into evidence.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, well, you certainly put that to him already.
12 Thank you. It's already in as Exhibit D1. We will get some copies made
13 of that later.
14 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I'll hand copies of this exhibit
15 straight away. Six copies are enough, I believe, Your Honour; is that
17 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you very much, Mr. Domazet. If you're one
18 short, we can get one made. It's all right.
19 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, we have one.
20 Q. [Interpretation] You saw the departure of -- you saw these two
21 survivors leaving -- actually, you saw them going down the Drina; is that
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, while I think of it, that better be
25 under seal because it has the witness's signature on it. So D1 will be
1 taken under seal.
2 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, I agree, Your Honour.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Did you talk to either of them or both of them
4 after this event? Did you meet them at any time and talk to them?
5 A. No, never. I didn't know -- I just said thank God that they
6 survived, at least someone.
7 Q. Are you sure that you didn't see them after the event took place?
8 A. No, never, I'm quite sure. I didn't know them before, and during
9 that conflict, the shooting, I went to see them once. I didn't see them.
10 They went to their people, their family, and I wasn't interested in
11 looking at them.
12 Q. That's precisely why I asked you, because in your first statement,
13 you said that one day later, that is to say the next day, you went to
14 their village. I don't want to name the village. You went there to see
15 them but that you don't remember what their names are today. So you say
16 you went there but you didn't see them, and I can understand that.
17 A. Yes, to go and see them, who the people were, but where were
18 they? They had left, they had left to go and join their families
19 somewhere, and I didn't investigate. I wasn't interested in doing that
20 and going to see them and meet them after.
21 Q. But did you perhaps have -- happen to see them recently, in the
22 few days before your testimony here?
23 A. Yes, I did see them here in -- at the Tribunal. I met them for
24 the first time here at the Court.
25 Q. Did you perhaps discuss these occurrences with them?
1 A. No.
2 Q. I'd like to move on to another area now, referring to the --
3 another part of your statement. You mention an event with respect to
4 Himzo Demir. You said today that at the time you saw Mitar Vasiljevic,
5 although you do say that you saw him from an angle, if I understood you
6 correctly. Now, could you explain that to us in greater detail? Are you
7 quite sure that you saw Mitar Vasiljevic on that particular day or are you
8 not quite sure? Because you explained to us how you had seen him and that
9 it was at an angle.
10 A. Well, when the vehicles arrived, I rushed out to take a look, I
11 rushed out of my house, and I immediately went towards the opposite -- he
12 went towards the opposite side. He turned his back to me and went over to
13 that house. It was two or three seconds, perhaps.
14 Q. You say two or three seconds, and in those two or three seconds,
15 you had occasion to see him. Are you quite sure that it was in fact Mitar
16 Vasiljevic and not somebody else?
17 A. Yes, 50 per cent -- I'm 50 per cent sure that it was him and not
18 somebody else.
19 Q. Your assessment is that the probability of it having been him is
20 50 per cent. That's what you're saying?
21 A. Yes. Well, we sat together several times and when he turned his
22 head, I saw the shadow of this part of his head, and he went off towards
23 the opposite house.
24 JUDGE HUNT: I'm sorry, I did not see the witness's movement.
25 Where did you say, what part of the head did you see the shadow of?
1 A. This part here.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Next to the left ear, would you agree?
3 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, I agree.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir.
5 MR. DOMAZET:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Was Hajrudin Curic one of your neighbours there?
7 A. Yes, I heard that he had been taken off, that they took Evdin, his
8 son-in-law -- brother-in-law, that they disappeared.
9 Q. Do you remember which time of the day this was? If you can't
10 remember the day, even approximately?
11 A. Well, it was around noon, as far as I can remember.
12 Q. You cannot give us an approximate date?
13 A. No, no. I can't remember the date. I was very depressed.
14 Q. Can you give us a more accurate approximation of the date in view
15 of the departure of the Uzice Corps from Visegrad and your own departure
16 from Visegrad, when you went to Jelacici, because this is not a very long
18 A. Yes. I don't know the exact date. I can't say. I was lost, and
19 it's been such a long time, and to remember the date, I mean hardly.
20 Q. Do you know about Himzo Demir, that this time was the only time he
21 was taken away, the time you told us about? Or was he taken away and
22 brought back or taken into custody on other occasions as well?
23 A. Well, I remember once, but other people talked and said that he
24 was taken and brought back several times. I did not see that, but that's
25 what they said. And I heard this once when they said they took Himzo
1 again. Whether he was taken several times, that I don't know.
2 Q. You mentioned a car, an automobile, on that occasion. Did this
3 car come before you saw some person with this blonde woman taking Himzo
4 Demir away? Did these people come in a car?
5 A. I did not see Himzo in the car, and his car was there right by the
6 house, parked below my house, a Volkswagen, and I just peeked through the
7 window and my wife said, "Move. Here they come." And they took Himzo. I
8 did not personally see it. I think they also took another relative of
9 his. I hid in the basement.
10 Q. You were talking about a car, a Volkswagen, as you said, that
11 belonged to Himzo Demir that was in front of the house. Was there another
12 car that came?
13 A. Yes, went behind the house, because I did not see this. I did not
14 see which vehicle and what kind of vehicle it was.
15 Q. Did you see who was in the car or who drove it?
16 A. No, I did not.
17 Q. You knew Mitar Vasiljevic by sight. You saw him several times in
18 Visegrad. Do you know whether he ever had a car, of his own?
19 A. Yes. I did see him. I don't know at all whether he had a car of
20 his own, or not. I was not really interested in asking him that. When I
21 would come, he would serve me nicely. I'd have a beer. I'd leave. And
22 if I'd go out to the restaurant, I'd sit there for a while, and that's it.
23 Q. It is my understanding that you saw him in the car but you do not
24 know anything more about that. Was this his car? That's what I'm asking
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
14 English transcripts
1 A. I don't know whether it was his car or not and whether he had a
3 Q. Do you know that he never had a driver's licence, that he never
4 took a driver's test, that he never drove a car?
5 A. I don't know that.
6 Q. You mentioned a blonde woman who was there when, as you say, Himzo
7 Demir was taken away. Did you manage to recognise her? Or can you
8 describe her in greater detail, what she looked like, what she was
10 A. This blonde woman had kind of longish hair, but I was not watching
11 her clothes. She also went in the same direction when they went to this
12 house, and that's the only thing I saw, and then I escaped to my
14 Q. One witness who gave a statement to the investigators of this
15 Tribunal -- to the OTP said that Dragan Sekaric and Milan Lukic took Himzo
16 away, and also a third person, blonde, with an earring in his ear. Did
17 you hear of such an event, if you did not see it yourself?
18 A. No, I did not hear about this event. I did not see it, and I
19 don't know about it.
20 Q. Do you perhaps know this name, Dragan Sekaric?
21 A. No, I don't. I don't know that name.
22 Q. Did you see Himzo leave or, rather, did you see the moment when he
23 left and in which car?
24 A. I did not see that. I did not see the moment when he was leaving,
25 what happened after that.
1 Q. Can you tell us who was driving this vehicle of his, if you saw
3 A. I did not see who was driving because when the vehicle stopped,
4 they got out of the car and my wife pushed me and said, "Run away, they
5 have come." I don't know, some Eagles or somebody like that.
6 Q. Once again, in order to be more certain as regards time, if I
7 understood you correctly, after this occurrence that you saw on the banks
8 of the Drina River around the 7th of June, you did not return to
9 Visegrad. So all of this that you spoke of could pertain to the period
10 before this date. Am I right?
11 A. It was before that date, the 7th. I did not return home to stay
12 at home, because nobody was there. All the people left that
14 Q. While you were still in Visegrad, did you hear about some actions
15 related to cleaning the town, cleaning the shop windows, streets, things
16 like that?
17 A. Yes, I did hear when they talked about that, some kind of cleaning
18 up. I don't know. Some women who walked around talked about it. I don't
19 know. I did not see them. I didn't go there anymore
20 Q. So you do not know anything about this, who was in charge and how
21 this took place?
22 A. No, I don't know about that.
23 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
24 questions, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE HUNT: Ms. Bauer, any re-examination?
1 MS. BAUER: Sorry, Your Honours, I forgot to tender officially the
2 document into evidence.
3 JUDGE HUNT: I was going to ask you about that. That's the
4 document which is marked 19.1, the map.
5 MS. BAUER: Yes.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Any objection to that Mr. Domazet?
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, I have seen this and I have no
9 JUDGE HUNT: No objection, thank you. That will be Exhibit
10 P19.1. That was the map shown to the witness and marked by him.
11 Re-examined by Ms. Bauer:
12 MS. BAUER:
13 Q. Witness 71, I had one question. Did you at any time
14 hear who were the people associated with Milan Lukic in Visegrad?
15 A. Yes, yes. I did not hear about this. I did not walk around in
16 order to be able to see it. I only know that these people came here to
17 testify, those who walked with him.
18 MS. BAUER: I'm sorry, to clarify, it was Witness 79, not 71, in
19 case I have made the mistake.
20 JUDGE HUNT: Yes.
21 MS. BAUER:
22 Q. And Witness VG79, so your answer is you didn't hear who was
23 associated, or you did hear? I think that was a bit unclear in your
25 A. Yes. I did not hear who was associating with who, who was going
1 where, because I did not have any other opportunity of seeing anything
2 but this execution, which I saw.
3 MS. BAUER: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour, no further questions.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir, for coming here to give evidence, and
5 thank you for the evidence which you gave. You are now free to leave.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 JUDGE HUNT: Now, who is the next witness?
9 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] May I speak in French? We are going
10 to have some interpretation problems, perhaps.
11 JUDGE HUNT: You certainly may speak in French. It's an official
12 language of the Tribunal. At least, I am quite used to hearing French
13 counsel and it hasn't worried me yet. Of course, it will give us the
14 added advantage that there will always be a pause between the questions
15 and answers because of the need to translate. Anyway, who is your
16 witness, Mr. Ossogo?
17 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] My next witness is Mr. Ferid
18 Spahic, and as my colleague said, this witness has renounced the
19 protective measures that were ordered by Your Honours on the 24th of this
21 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, thank you for that, but it may be necessary
22 still to have a pseudonym sheet if he is going to refer to anybody who has
23 got a pseudonym. Is he likely to be referring to any other person in the
24 case who is known by a pseudonym?
25 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] No. In his testimony, he won't be
1 referring to other people accorded protective measures in this case.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. Let's have the witness, please.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE HUNT: Sir, will you please make the solemn declaration in
5 the document which the usher is showing you?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 WITNESS: FERID SPAHIC
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE HUNT: Sit down, please, sir. Thank you. The other
11 microphone is not on. Thank you.
12 You proceed, Mr. Ossogo.
13 Examined by Mr. Ossogo:
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Ferid Spahic.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. I am going to ask you some questions about what you know with
17 respect to the events that happened in the locality in which you were.
18 You will answer calmly and try and speak slowly, to allow the interpreters
19 to interpret you so that we can all follow: myself, the judges and
20 everybody else taking part in this hearing. Do you agree?
21 A. Yes, I agree.
22 Q. Very well. Can you briefly introduce yourself to the Tribunal,
23 where you live, what your name is, and where you lived in 1992?
24 A. Yes. My name is Ferid Spahic. I was born in 1963, in the village
25 of Smrijece, the Visegrad municipality, and that's where I lived up until
2 Q. What month in 1992 did you live there -- until what month?
3 A. Until the 14th of June 1992.
4 Q. Can you tell us what happened in the month of April 1992, in the
5 locality in which you were living? What happened in April 1992?
6 A. In April 1992, that is to say the beginning of April, barricades
7 were set up. The Serbs set up barricades on one side, and on the other
8 side, the Muslims. A paramilitary unit from Serbia was introduced into
9 the Dobrun territory and there was an armed conflict. According to the
10 documents that were seized by one such group, the people involved were the
11 so-called White Eagles, and they had membership cards. They were
12 membership cards, these documents. Actually, they were not filled out
13 membership cards, membership in the White Eagles, admission to the White
14 Eagles, admission slips.
15 Q. You said that there was a conflict between the Serbs and the
16 Muslims. What was the general situation for the Muslims in your village,
17 in the hamlet you lived in? What was their reaction with respect to these
19 A. The situation in my hamlet, in those first days of April, was
20 secure. It was safe, fairly safe. The reactions were more one of -- ones
21 of surprise. People were surprised rather than anything else. We all
22 asked ourselves what was going on, what was happening?
23 Q. And you yourself, what was your reaction?
24 A. I looked on all this, it was all strange, and I was worried. I
25 never dealt in politics much. Nor was I -- did I have any party
1 affiliation, so that I was perhaps too naive and looked upon this
2 situation too naively.
3 Q. Did you stay where you were in your village? Did you remain
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Who did you have in your house as family? Who were the family
7 members in your house?
8 A. I had my old father and my wife.
9 Q. Did those two people also stay on where they were?
10 A. My father stayed at home, stayed in the house, but my wife -- I
11 don't remember the date -- but I sent her off to Visegrad to stay with her
12 sister, and I myself withdrew to a village, the name was Zagre, the
13 village of Zagre, a little further into the forest, into the woods.
14 Q. Why did you leave?
15 A. My house is the first house from Bosanska Jagodina and from the
16 main road running from Visegrad to Uzice, so that I was the first, so to
17 speak, in line, and in the village, I had a lot of school friends, people
18 whom I could contact, and talk to and discuss the situation with. But at
19 that time, I wasn't afraid. People weren't afraid yet.
20 Q. And what did you do in Zagre?
21 A. Nothing special. We sat around talking, discussing the events,
22 making comments. I stayed there until the 5th or 6th of April, and then I
23 went to Visegrad myself.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Perhaps we could take it up again at 11.30,
25 Mr. Ossogo. We will adjourn now until 11.30.
1 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Ossogo?
4 MR. OSSOGO:
5 Q. [Interpretation] We shall resume where we stopped a moment ago,
6 Mr. Spahic, Ferid. You stated that you went to Visegrad, when you came
7 back from the woods in Zagre; is that true? From Visegrad, in Visegrad,
8 where were you exactly? Were you in a house, were you hidden?
9 A. I was -- that is to say my wife was at her sister's, and that's
10 where I found her. That's where I was, in a house.
11 Q. You were in a house, you stated?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Whose house was it?
14 A. It was the house in which my sister-in-law lived as a tenant. I
15 think the owner's name was Medjuselec, but I don't remember his first
16 name. That was the surname.
17 Q. When you went to Visegrad, or before you went, did you notice any
18 military movements at all?
19 A. No. There were no military movements. There was a barricade at
20 Bosanska Jagodina. That's a village opposite my own, a Serb barricade.
21 But no army, no.
22 Q. Did you return to your own village then? Did you go back to your
23 family afterwards?
24 A. Yes, I did, but after the Uzice Corps entered, and that was at
25 about -- around the 20th of April.
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
14 English transcripts
1 Q. Is that the date when the Uzice Corps left? Was that the date?
2 What was the month, exactly?
3 A. It was April. However, that particular date wasn't linked to the
4 Uzice Corps. It was the date that I returned to the village.
5 Q. Because you mentioned the Uzice Corps, there seems to be
6 confusion. What exact month was it when the Uzice Corps left your
8 JUDGE HUNT: Is there any real dispute about this or is it
9 important to this witness's evidence? I thought that there was no dispute
10 whatsoever about the date that they left. Put it to him. Tell him what
11 date it was and then ask him when it was he returned to his village by
12 reference to that date. It will save us an awful lot of time.
13 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
14 Q. Could you tell me when you returned to your village, please?
15 A. About the 20th of April. That's when I went back to my village.
16 Q. And when you went back, had any particular ethnic groups, had the
17 men made any particular decision?
18 A. The corps was already in Visegrad, in full force. It entered on
19 the 13th of April. And we continued life in the village normally, as far
20 as was possible, of course. There were patrols every day, passing through
21 the village. My father didn't leave the house at all. So that when they
22 entered the village, and when they searched the terrain, they found my
23 father in the house. But he wasn't mistreated in any way, and some of
24 them even came -- became fond of my father so that when they were on
25 patrol through the village, they would always stop by to see him and have
1 a cup of coffee, some of them, individuals that is.
2 Q. The soldiers and the military men of this corps occupied certain
3 strategic positions in the town, didn't they?
4 A. Yes. If we take into account the fact that the Muslim population,
5 when the corps entered the town, left the town, the Muslims left, and a
6 very small number, just 200 or 300, predominantly elderly persons, stayed
7 in the town, which means that they had a completely ethnically clean town.
8 Q. Have you received -- did you receive any particular invitation,
9 any particular request, to stay or to leave?
10 A. While the Uzice Corps was there, during those days, while they
11 were patrolling our villages, I contacted those people, I had contacts
12 with them, and they asked us to surrender our weapons, anybody who
13 happened to have any, of course, and I spoke to those people. Some of
14 them said that while they were there, that is to say the corps, while the
15 corps was there, that we oughtn't to worry, we need not fear, that there
16 would be no problems. However, once they left, and they probably knew
17 that they would leave at some point, God help us when they left. I
18 couldn't understand this myself, what it all meant. I didn't know the
19 significance of it all.
20 Q. And when indeed they left, what was the attitude of the
21 non-Muslims, in your regard?
22 A. The corps withdrew, I think it was on the 18th of May. As far as
23 I was able to see, and I could see their withdrawal, they half withdrew,
24 partially withdrew, with respect to the men and materiel. After their
25 withdrawal, various paramilitary formations arrived in Visegrad. I
1 personally did not meet them, have any contact with them, but judging by
2 the comments that went around, what other people said, they were Seselj's
3 men, Arkan's men, the black shirts, and who knows who else.
4 Q. Did you yourself see, or were you asked to leave the town?
5 A. Let me emphasise just one point. In the patrols that passed
6 through our villages, almost always there was somebody who was a little
7 different than the others in the patrol, who would stand out, and one of
8 these people who drank coffee in front of my house, once the corps had
9 withdrawn, I saw in the hamlet of Bare and that was on the 3rd of June
10 when I saw this same person, when two women were killed, so that those
11 people had probably come in with the Uzice Corps. They took stock of the
12 terrain and, after the withdrawal of Uzice Corps, they stayed on.
13 Q. You referred to two women who were killed. Do you know how they
14 were killed?
15 A. One of them had one leg shorter than the other, Musa Karaman and
16 Hadzira Karaman, this second one was an elderly woman, and they were
17 killed on the 3rd of June. The group turned up in two vehicles. I
18 watched this from a nearby hill with binoculars. They were killed in one
19 house and set fire to. When the group left, I and Musan went down the
20 hill towards the house that was already on fire. Musan Karaman, we
21 found in the courtyard, and she had been hit in the back of her head, and
22 we managed to save her from the fire. But we couldn't find the other
23 woman, Hadzira. It was only the next day that we found her bones when the
24 house had burnt down. And in that group of people who did that, among
25 those six people, there was this man with the long beard who drank
1 coffee -- drank the coffee on that particular day in front of my house.
2 Q. And where did this take place, in your own hamlet or some place
4 A. My village is made up of several hamlets and one of the hamlets is
5 called Bare, and that's where the crime took place.
6 Q. Do you have any information about other persons who were killed in
7 this hamlet at the same time as Musa Karaman and Karaman, Hadzira?
8 A. It happened before the two people were killed, and that is the
9 hamlet of Brijeg, some 500 metres lower down from that first hamlet,
10 and it was the same group of people, but before they arrived in the other
11 hamlet, there were three -- killed three women, a retarded little girl,
12 too, and set fire to them in the shed. One of the women was pulled out of
13 the fire by her daughter, and I buried that woman in a field by the
15 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Ossogo, it would be of assistance to us if we
16 knew the source of his information, because it is hearsay and we have to
17 be able to judge what weight we should give to that.
18 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Yes, of course.
19 Q. Mr. Ferid, the President of the Court has asked that you tell us
20 how you obtained this information that you've just told us about. Who
21 gave you the information or how did you find out what you've told us?
22 A. That day we were hiding in the nearby woods, and the first thing
23 we saw and heard were shots, and then we saw smoke in the hamlet of
24 Brijeg. I assumed at the time that they could come to the hamlet of Bare
25 as well, and with Musan, I took the binoculars and we ran out on to a hill
1 near the Bare hamlet, and I saw the car turn up. I saw them getting out
2 of the car, and entering into the house. We heard the shots and after
3 they had left, on the spot I found Musa dead, and we found Hadzira the
4 next day. But when Fatima Celic arrived, and she succeeded in the village
5 of Bare in escaping into the long grass which was some 20 metres away from
6 the house, and she pulled her mother out from the fire, from the flames,
7 and from her, I learnt about the four women. And that same day, I went
8 down to the hamlet and buried her mother Musa, and the husbands of the
9 other women, of the other two women, they buried their wives in the
10 cemetery. I did not dare go to the cemetery. So that we saw that right
11 next to the house in the field.
12 Q. So it was Fatima, if I understood correctly, Fatima Celik, who
13 informed you of the murder of the three women that you have just
15 A. Four, in fact, three women and this retarded little girl.
16 Q. Do you know the names of these women and the little girl? Do you
17 remember the names?
18 A. Yes, I do. Musa Celik, Ramiza Celik, Mina Celik, and the little
19 retarded girl was Hidajeta Celik.
20 Q. Of the individuals who were killed, did you notice any particular
21 facts, any acts that were committed by the soldiers?
22 A. It was a classical type of killing, as far as I was able to see,
23 looking at Musa's body. She was shot with two bullets in the chest, but
24 Fatima told me that she heard the conversation because she was quite
25 nearby. She heard the conversation between the killers and their
1 victims. He asked her for gold and money. She had neither. Then he
2 asked her, "What are we going to do with her?" He asked the other guy who
3 was with him. And the other man said, "Kill them." And then he forced
4 them into the house, shots were heard, and after that, when he left,
5 Fatima found her mother dead and pulled her out of the flames. And the
6 house was set fire to and was burnt.
7 Q. Were there any other houses that were burned other than those that
8 you just mentioned?
9 A. Yes. Musa Celik's house was burned as well, Ramiza Celik's house
10 as well, and Mina Celik's in that same hamlet. Musa and Ramiza were
11 thrown into the shed and they were set fire to in the shed, and Hidajeta's
12 bones were found where the chicken coop once stood, and that all happened
13 in the hamlet of Brijeg, whereas in the Bare hamlet, only Musa
14 Karaman's house was set fire to, and those who were in it. These hamlets
15 only have a few houses, just several houses to a hamlet, not many.
16 Q. The victims you've mentioned are all women. Where were the men?
17 A. Up until then, women weren't killed so the women weren't afraid
18 either. They didn't leave their homes, whereas we men hid in the
19 surrounding woods, the woods around the hamlets, and that was the first
20 case, the first instance, in which women were killed, and that's why they
21 stood there quite freely when the men came. They didn't flee. They
22 didn't try to escape.
23 Q. Then we may conclude that the men, the husbands of these women,
24 were hidden in the same place that you were?
25 A. Well, not quite the same place, no, but thereabouts. It's all
1 nearby and we were in contact with one another. They were at a distance
2 of let's say some 500 metres.
3 Q. After these events, after the death of these women in the two
4 hamlets of Bare and Brijeg, what did you do?
5 A. That happened on the 3rd of June. We stayed on in the woods for
6 sometime after that. Then I, myself, went through the woods to Dobrun and
7 there was a group of men there hiding in the woods. And we quite simply
8 looked for a way out. However, when the houses were burnt in those
9 hamlets, there was no more electricity, the electricity was cut off, and
10 we -- no news was coming in about anything. We didn't know where to go,
11 and our wives, before this incident, would go into Visegrad regularly on
12 market day and nobody would molest them in any way, but they would always
13 bring us news, some new piece of news, about the killings that took place
14 in the town. And that 3rd of July was market day, too, and not long after
15 the women had come back from the market and from making their purchases at
16 the market, they had just come back and these men came after them a short
17 while later. So that we just couldn't find a solution. We didn't know
18 what to do. But the solution imposed itself on the 13th of June when a
19 neighbour, a Serb, from Bosanska Jagodina, his name was Djordje Gacic,
20 arrived in the village of Zagre, to which we had withdrawn before that.
21 We were already in Zagre, and he offered us the only acceptable solution
22 at that time, what seemed to us to be the only acceptable way out.
23 Q. What was the ethnic origin of this neighbour, Djordje Gacic?
24 A. Djordje Gacic is a Serb from Bosanska Jagodina.
25 Q. Was he invited to a meeting?
1 A. No, no he came of his own free will to that village. I was the
2 first one to walk up to him and then a few other men did. And he said the
3 following, literally: "Ethnic cleansing, the convoy for the departure of
4 the inhabitants of these villages, my village and the other villages in
5 that area, was supposed to leave the next day, on the 14th of June.
6 Skopje, Olova, Kladanj were the directions in which they were going.
7 And that we were supposed to join these convoys, because I repeat
8 that he highlighted "ethnic cleansing". He asked two men from Zagre
9 Osmanca to go to Bosanska Jagodina to reach agreement. We left, Dervis
10 Kasapovic and I, with Djordje's car. It was a Fiat 750, and in Bosanska
11 Jagodina, in Rzavski Bregovi, a restaurant, there were two other men,
12 Alibeg Kustura and Ismet Kustura, and I think Salko Merovic, from the
13 hamlet of Potok was also there, but I can't be sure of that now. These
14 were the people who received the same kind of information that we did. We
15 all came to this meeting to see what this was all about, actually.
16 In the restaurant were these Serbs from Bosanska Jagodina: Rado
17 Simic, Dusan Simic, Dusan Maric. Later on, Ljupko Tasic came, who was
18 wearing a camouflage uniform. He was wearing -- he was carrying a weapon.
19 He started talking to us, and apparently he was in charge of this. While
20 we were waiting for him to come, he gave us a brief explanation, that the
21 convoy would leave on the next day, that it would be escorted by the Red
22 Cross. Whoever did not respond -- I mean, the army is there on the border
23 with Serbia. He was referring to the Uzice Corps. They would come to
24 search the area. They would kill whoever they would find. I just asked
25 him to have some of them escort us, these neighbours of ours whom we had
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14 English transcripts
1 known for years. And I asked him whether something would happen like what
2 happened to the previous convoy that was organised in Visegrad, and the
3 men ended up there in the vicinity of Bosanska Jagodina. That is when 17,
4 18, 19 people were executed, I don't know the exact figure. Among them
5 was my sister-in-law's husband.
6 Q. Just a moment before we continue. Djordje told you that ethnic
7 cleansing had begun and he was a Serb, whereas you are a Muslim. This is
8 a fact. Did you trust him?
9 A. I did. I did. I did believe that at that moment, he meant well,
10 as far as we were concerned, because I spent 30 years with them, so I had
11 no reason for any doubts. Ethnic cleansing was a relatively new notion,
12 as far as I was concerned, so I didn't really pay attention to the meaning
13 of this word. I was giving more thought to the following: These people
14 who were in the forest for days in all kinds of weather, rain, wind, that
15 they be transported to a safer place, and this convoy was the only way
16 out, given the trust we had in these Serbs.
17 Q. Were there any official organisations in this convoy, the convoy
18 that Djordje proposed to you?
19 A. In his words, at Radio Visegrad, there was an invitation that was
20 being extended to all citizens to join this convoy and it was being
21 replayed, and as I said, the Red Cross had been active, according to what
22 he said, of course, and we could not check that out. As a matter of fact,
23 they promised me that these people in the convoy would be escorted by
24 individuals from Bosanska Jagodina, people I grew up with. So we did
25 not really have any more reliable information as far as this convoy was
1 concerned except for what Ljupko told us.
2 Q. The -- was this convoy really organised? Did you come together?
3 What exactly happened?
4 A. Nobody had any experience with regard to these matters. A convoy
5 was a pretty new idea to me as well. After this meeting, we went back and
6 informed the people as to what all of this was about. We told them to
7 think about it and to decide whether they wanted to leave or not.
8 However, since there was really no other way out. The next day we saw
9 people from Zagre as well. We spent that night at Bare but the people
10 from Zagre had left. They set out, all of them, and we left, too. We
11 trusted them, of course. We believed what our Serb neighbours had told
13 Musan, my neighbour, was at Djordje's, and he left some things in
14 his safekeeping until all of this blowed over, so everything really looked
15 as if there would be no problem whatsoever.
16 Q. Where were you? Where were you, and where were the people from
17 Zagre and the other hamlets?
18 A. That day when we had this discussion in Jagodina, this man Dervis,
19 who was at the meeting with me, is an elderly man, and he asked me that we
20 walk slowly from one hamlet to another and to tell people what all of this
21 was about actually, and that is how I arrived in Zagre, together with
22 him. When we conveyed what we heard at that meeting, I returned to the
23 hamlet of Bare, to Musan Celik's house, and that is where we spent the
24 last night before the convoy.
25 Q. Were any vehicles provided?
1 A. I'm sorry, provided? I mean, are you referring to the next day
2 when the convoy was supposed to leave?
3 Q. Yes, that's it. That's what I meant.
4 A. At 7.00 or 7.30 in the morning on the 14th of June, two buses
5 arrived in Jagodina. People had already arrived from neighbouring
6 villages, from my village, from Zagre, so we boarded these buses, that is
7 to say there was an organisation involved. These women, these few women,
8 Serb women, were there to see people off. There were even tears. We
9 started towards Visegrad on these two buses, and on the way, more people
10 came onto the bus.
11 Q. What direction was suggested, and where did you choose to go?
12 A. Well, from this place where I was, and where I was in a position
13 to establish contact with people, since we were offered these three
14 directions, we chose the direction of Skopje because if we were supposed
15 to go, then let's go to a place that was really safe. We didn't know what
16 was going on at these other places. We knew that there was shooting and
17 that practically there was a war going on.
18 Q. Did you have an idea of the precise number or an approximate
19 number of how many people were with you?
20 A. Had I known that I would be needing this, I certainly would have
21 counted them, but I think, from these hamlets, about 100, 150 people.
22 This is an approximate number. I really -- all people were there, though.
23 Q. About -- and the bus was big enough to hold all these people, that
24 is the number of people that you've just mentioned?
25 A. There were two buses actually. Yes. And these two buses managed
1 to take all these people.
2 Q. Did you yourself, or the person who organised this convoy, did you
3 or anyone else record the names of the people in this convoy or perhaps
4 those who organised the convoy? Did anyone take a list of the names?
5 A. At that moment, in Bosanska Jagodina, no, but when the buses
6 arrived in Visegrad, and when the convoy was actually established, more
7 buses joined in at that point. That's when we were asked to make lists,
8 with the names and surnames of all the people who were on the buses.
9 Q. The recording of the persons in the convoy took place in
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Where exactly did that take place in Visegrad?
13 A. Where we established the convoy. That's the square by the old
14 bridge, and the Visegrad Hotel.
15 Q. You stated that two buses were brought to the point of departure
16 where the convoy was organised. How many other buses joined this initial
17 convoy of two buses?
18 A. I think that three more buses came, and two trucks, because not
19 everybody could fit into the buses, two trucks with their tarpaulin
20 covers. But at that moment, it didn't matter to me how many buses there
21 were, how many trucks there were, but I think that these were the actual
23 Q. What was -- what were the feelings of the passengers? Were they
24 trustful? Were they frightened?
25 A. We still believed that we were on the right track. When I say
1 "we", I'm saying that I was still trusting them. And according to the
2 prevalent feeling on the bus, the women were pleased to be leaving this
3 situation of uncertainty and also the rain and the forest. We men were
4 also pleased. There was always a degree of reservation.
5 Q. At the Visegrad Hotel, did you meet with any soldiers or
6 paramilitary men?
7 A. I talked to a schoolmate of mine, Slavisa Tasic, who was there
8 probably on the security detail of this convoy. There were soldiers
9 around the hotel in different uniforms. It was obvious that this was not
10 an organised unit. However, they did not walk up to the buses and there
11 were no problems.
12 Q. Were they ordinary soldiers or paramilitary soldiers?
13 A. To my mind, everything that is not organised is unorganised. Any
14 army, if it has a commander, should be organised. However, this did not
15 resemble any kind of organisation. First of all, in respect of their
16 uniforms, their behaviour.
17 Q. Did you recognise any individuals amongst these soldiers other
18 than the ones you have already mentioned?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Were any of the passengers approached by the soldiers?
21 A. Not in those moments. But later on, as we were getting ready to
22 leave, when we were all on the buses, a person walked in and later on, I
23 heard that his name was Mitar Lukic. I'm sorry, Milan Lukic. I did not
24 know him. It was my bus that he got into. And he stood next to me. I
25 looked at him then for three or four seconds, perhaps, but he was looking
1 for a young man nicknamed Zenga, who was on my bus, and they were
2 schoolmates, the two of them. He asked him to come out. But before Zenga
3 went out, there was some kind of commotion in front of the bus. Ljupko
4 Tasic was discussing something with Milan Lukic. I did not hear what they
5 were saying. But after this discussion, Zenga returned to the bus. That
6 is the only incident that had occurred in that convoy until then.
7 Q. What exactly is Zenga? Is it a name, a nickname?
8 A. Yes. That young man's nickname was Zenga, and unfortunately, he
9 came to be called Zenga in an unfortunate time. Otherwise, he wasn't an
10 actual Zenga. There was a killing that he had committed before the war,
11 and he was serving a prison sentence in Zenica. When the Zenica prison
12 was disbanded, someone in Visegrad said they had seen him in Croatia, in
13 the Zenga, and the Zenga is the term for a unit of the Croatian army, that
14 he had his unit in fact, that's what they meant. But that wasn't true, as
15 far as I know. And he returned to Visegrad. But the nickname Zenga
16 stayed with him.
17 Q. So an individual that you didn't know wanted to have Zenga get out
18 of the bus, is that it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Why was that?
21 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Ossogo, I don't quite understand how this witness
22 can tell us what was in the mind of the person who asked for him to come
23 out. But do we really need this detail? It is the events which happened
24 later during the course of this convoy which are important. Do you think
25 we can perhaps get to what's relevant in the case? Is it important to
1 know why this man was called out?
2 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Mr. President, sir, I agree with what
3 you've said. Yes, we can -- the reason I want to continue is to
4 understand the purpose, or the intentions, of the organisers, that is to
5 transfer these people and to -- or to discover that they were in good
6 faith when they transported them. And when someone asks a person to get
7 off the bus, it could be to save that person, in which case we might
8 conclude, then, that they know perfectly well what is going to happen to
9 the other persons in the convoy on the bus, or that they are in good faith
10 and that the individual who is being asked to get off the bus will be led
11 to some other fate. That is the purpose of my question.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Well, if it is important, it certainly wasn't clear
13 from the summary we received of this witness's evidence. But if it is
14 important, may I suggest you simply say to him, "Was anything said to this
15 Zenga as to why he was to come off the bus?" And then we'll get on to it,
16 but this is taking an inordinate amount of time, if I may say so, and I am
17 anxious that we get to the relevant part of this witness's evidence.
18 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] I think we -- I understand what
19 you've just said. We are getting there.
20 Q. Mr. Ferid, you told us you do not know Milan Lukic yourself. You
21 don't know him personally?
22 A. I don't know him, in fact, no.
23 Q. So that day, it is June 14th, isn't it, when the convoy was
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. The convoy was going in what direction, toward what village?
2 A. It moved through town in the direction of Uzice. However, at the
3 exit to the town, it took a byroad across the new bridge, across the
4 Drina, and the lake, and we took Rogatica road. I'd like to stress at
5 this point if I may, with the Court's indulgence, while we were on the --
6 in the square, still in the square, a vehicle appeared with the Red Cross
7 insignia, and it was Prinsgoa [phoen] with the military colour, and it
8 displayed the Red Cross emblem, and made a circle round the square, and
9 then quite simply left.
10 Q. Did anybody get out of the vehicle and take part in the
11 organisation and the departure of the convoy?
12 A. No. He just came from the direction of town, made a circle around
13 the square, and left towards town again. And I never saw him again.
14 Q. The direction of the convoy, was it the one that you yourself
15 chose, the same direction?
16 A. No. As far as I know, the other buses, that is to say I learnt
17 later on, after some time had passed, that we were all on the list,
18 passenger list, and we stressed that we wanted to go in the direction of
19 Skopje. However, the direction that we went off in did not lead towards
20 Rogatica, towards Sarajevo, but of those three possibilities, there
21 was still Olovo and Kladanj, Olovo and Kladanj.
22 Q. Where did you stop after you -- your departure? Where did you
23 stop, where was your next stop?
24 A. In front of Rogatica, just before Rogatica, and let me stress at
25 this point that it was a byroad towards Rogatica. It wasn't the main road
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14 English transcripts
1 towards Rogatica. We took a bypass because a barricade had been set up,
2 or checkpoint. And as the drivers talked to the people manning the
3 checkpoint for a short time, the drivers told us that we couldn't go to
4 Rogatica, but that we had to take another road with a macadamised road
5 surface to the right, and to go towards Sokolac, to reach Olovo, because
6 Olovo was our aim, and that road led through Serb villages. There were
7 provocations along the way by the local inhabitants, but there were no
8 serious problems until the last stop, the hill above Olovo, Misarica.
9 Q. And en route, were you accompanied or guarded in any way or were
10 you free to move around alone?
11 A. We were escorted, yes. There was an escort in each of the buses,
12 Two people per bus, and they were armed with automatic weapons. I knew
13 one of them, one of the escorts in my bus. He was a waiter from Visegrad,
14 but I don't know his name. So that it was even a good thing that I knew
15 the man. I felt safer. So I assume that the other buses had their own
16 escorts, too.
17 Q. In your bus, the soldiers, the people who escorted you, what
18 ethnic group did they belong to?
19 A. They were Serbs. I didn't know the other one. I knew one but not
20 the other, and as I didn't know him, I didn't know what ethnicity he was,
21 of course, either, but it was logical to assume that he was a Serb, too.
22 Q. When you first stopped, after your first stop, which direction did
23 you take?
24 A. You mean the last location that we stopped at, the hill, Iscarica
1 Q. After leaving Visegrad, you said you stopped en route, on the way?
2 A. I see what you mean now, yes. We passed the checkpoint before
3 Rogatica and then we had to stop a second time. We were delayed a second
4 time because the man who wanted -- who in fact introduced himself by
5 saying that he worked in the Srna news agency, that is the Serb news
6 agency, Srna he asked the driver -- he stopped the bus and asked the
7 driver where he was taking all the people, and how many people there were
8 in the bus. And the driver said, "We are taking them towards Olovo," and
9 he said that there were about seven to 800 of us. I really don't know how
10 many there actually were but that was the figure that the driver gave him.
11 And we stopped one more time in Sokolac for a brief period of time, I
12 don't know exactly for how long, and then we went on to Iscarica Brdo and
13 we didn't stop until we got there. And we encountered no other problems
14 en route.
15 Q. And you're still talking about the 14th of June 1992, are you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you spend the night anywhere? Because I assume you weren't
18 moving day and night.
19 A. That time, from Visegrad to Iscarica Brdo, and the whole
20 organisation around the convoy, it all took place during the day, and it
21 was finished during the day. We passed that road and arrived at Iscarica
22 Brdo that day in one day. It was still daylight and it was still the 14th
23 of June. It was still daylight.
24 Q. Did you have any things with you, any particular personal
1 A. Yes. We had our personal documents, money, some clothes that they
2 let us take with us. They didn't let us take as much from our homes but
3 what clothing they allowed us to take with us, we took, so ID documents,
4 clothing, money, and some other personal belongings that everybody has,
5 the usual kind of thing.
6 Q. Were you able to keep your property throughout the journey?
7 A. Yes. Nobody asked us anything with regard to those things, this
8 time, up to Iscarica Brdo, that's what I mean. On that journey, there
9 were no problems, nobody asked us anything, until they began to separate
10 us, until the separation started, when the elderly and the children were
11 separated from the able-bodied men.
12 Q. Yes. We are getting there. This brings us to the 15th of June
13 1992, when you took up your journey. What happened then?
14 A. To get to the 15th of June, we have to go back a step and go to
15 Sokolac where we spent the night. So after the separation of the elderly
16 people, women and children, after they were separated, and they were taken
17 to towards Olovo, they went towards Olovo, we were sent back in the
18 direction of Sokolac, and dusk was falling. The car lights were switched
19 on. And we arrived in Sokolac as it was getting dark. I worked in
20 Sokolac in 1988 but it was dark and there was no light. There were no
21 lights at that time when we arrived. It was already dark, so that I
22 couldn't see where we actually were, where we stopped, and from all the
23 buses where there were people, where people still remained, they -- all
24 the people got out of the other buses and were sent to my particular bus,
25 where there were most of us, most of us stayed in the bus. We were given
1 two armed guards to stand guard over us, and that's where we were supposed
2 to spend the night. In fact, that is where we spent the night.
3 Q. You said that it was a bus and that they had emptied the other
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. How many buses remained with people in them, the buses that you
7 left Visegrad in?
8 A. I think that all the people that were sent back from Iscarica
9 Brdo, I don't know how many there were in the individual buses, but all
10 those people were sent into my own bus, which was the fullest anyway.
11 There were most people who remained in my bus and the people from the
12 other bus were sent to my bus.
13 Q. How many people would that be?
14 A. The next day, when we started our journey towards Rogatica, I
15 tried to count how many people there were, but some people were lying down
16 at the back of the bus, so that I stopped counting when I reached a figure
17 of 45 or 6. I counted up to 45 or 6 and then stopped counting because I
18 realised I wouldn't be able to count them all anyway. And it wasn't
19 essential at that time because other things were happening that were far
20 more important, and our return wasn't part of the plan and the agreement
21 that we had reached in the first place. So that even an idiot would see
22 that something was going wrong.
23 Q. Were you mistreated in any way? Any violence -- experience any
24 violence during all that time, during this change, changeover?
25 A. No.
1 Q. You said that before you stopped the first time, your personal
2 belongings that you had with you, that they were checked once. Were they?
3 A. Money and so forth. No. Up until the time in Sokolac, where we
4 spent the night, nobody asked us what we had with us.
5 Q. But afterwards?
6 A. Afterwards, yes, after we arrived in Rogatica, that's when the
7 real problem started. When we stopped near the silos, on this macadam
8 road, at the front of the column, and some kind of agreement had been
9 reached, and they came to the door of our bus and ordered that our
10 personal belongings, our ID papers, money, jewellery, rings, watches, that
11 we should put all these things into some bags that they handed round,
12 plastic bags, and they allegedly said that this property would be returned
13 to us. So I assume we all handed over what we had. I kept back a certain
14 sum of money, which I didn't hand over, some money that I had on me,
15 because this whole situation boded ill. I didn't like the looks of it.
16 And I said to myself, "If I manage to get through, well and good. If not,
17 you won't have the benefit of what I -- of my property either."
18 Q. The goods that were taken, were seized, were they ever returned to
19 you, all this property, as they had promised? Did they ever give you back
20 your belongings?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Did any exchanges take place or were you promised any exchange at
23 the end of your journey?
24 A. When they took us back from Iscarica Brdo, they said that we were
25 going to be exchanged, in fact, and that the women shouldn't worry, that
1 they shouldn't be afraid, that everything would be okay. And we still had
2 this hope that we were actually going to be exchanged. We still harboured
3 this hope because that was the only way out. There was no more agreement,
4 no chance of agreement. We knew who was in charge, who was in command.
5 All we did was to obey orders, obey what they told us. What could we do?
6 We were mere objects in their hands.
7 Q. And what was this exchange supposed to be like? How was it
8 supposed to be conducted? Were you told how the exchange would actually
9 take place?
10 A. No. Nobody ever told us anything, what the whole thing was
11 supposed to look like, how it was to be conducted. We didn't know
12 anything about this, or what to expect. All we knew was that we had to
13 seize upon this idea of an exchange and believe that we were actually
14 going to be exchanged as our only way out.
15 Q. In the bus that you were in, what ethnicity were the passengers?
16 A. They were all the local inhabitants, Muslims, 100 per cent Muslim.
17 Q. And the exchange that was proposed, did it consist of exchanging
18 one ethnicity for another?
19 A. I assume that that's how it should have been, but we didn't have
20 any -- there was no concrete plan for the exchange. We didn't know about
21 any concrete exchange plan. It was only afterwards, when we had been
22 beaten and tied, did one of the Serb soldiers, let me call them that, said
23 that they were going to give 50 of us for ten of their own people, and
24 that they were very good in agreeing to do that. So that was something
25 specific. Those were some of the details. But at that particular point,
1 they had already tied us up. We were already tied. And it didn't look
2 like an exchange. You don't tie people up if you intend to exchange them.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Ossogo, it's 1.00. We will take the luncheon
4 adjournment now, and we'll resume at 2.30.
5 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Ossogo?
3 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour, sir. I
4 would like to ask the witness to give us some indications as to the place
5 from where they left Visegrad, that is the actual starting point from
6 Jagodina, because we need to have a precise idea of where they left from
7 and where they arrived precisely, and where the last events occurred.
8 This is Exhibit number 19.2, which I would like to present to the Court.
9 JUDGE HUNT: You'll have to get it identified before it can become
10 an exhibit, but wait until you've shown it to the witness and what he's
11 got to say. We will look at it, the Defence will have it and then we'll
12 make it an exhibit.
13 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. But the document is
14 numbered 19.
15 JUDGE HUNT: 19.2, thank you.
16 MR. OSSOGO:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ferid, please, would you point out where your
18 hamlet is situated, that is where you lived?
19 A. This was the first house out of the two here, there was another
20 one here but it's not depicted here so perhaps this was the first one
21 viewed from Bosanska Jagodina.
22 Q. So you referred earlier to the fact that people were collected
23 before they left. Could you tell us where that place was where people
24 were brought together, where the people from your hamlet and neighbouring
25 towns were brought together before the convoy left? In Jagodina.
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14 English transcripts
1 A. A few people here from this part, Luke, where I am from, were
2 hiding there, two men and two women. This part here, this should be a
3 hill. The people were right behind the houses in the woods. This part
4 here is called Bare, Gornja Bare and Donja Bare. And I was with these
5 people here.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Excuse me, sir, we are not asking you where they were
7 before. What we want to know is where you were collected together when
8 the convoy started. Could you just point that out on the map, and we can
9 come back to this if it's thought to be important later, but the question
10 was directed to where you were collected before the convoy started.
11 A. Bosanska Jagodina, at the station in Bosanska Jagodina. People
12 from Velatovo came, also from Cengici. There is a hamlet here, a brook
13 also. It's not marked here, Smerjin Jagarin [phoen], and as we were
14 progressing towards Visegrad, we took these people in from Dubovik and
15 these houses that were just by the road. We were not joined in this
17 MR. OSSOGO:
18 Q. [Interpretation] In other words, the final assembly took place in
19 Visegrad. Could you point out where that took place, please, on this
21 A. This was on the square by the old bridge in front of the Visegrad
22 Hotel. This is where the convoy was established, and there were people
23 from different parts of Visegrad, from the surrounding villages.
24 Q. Fine. Thank you. That was what we were asking, that is where
25 people came together, and we also know that as you went along, other
1 people were added to the convoy. Thank you. Thank you very much.
2 Now, we shall come back to the return of your bus and the fact
3 that it stopped at Rogatica in front of the Sladara factory.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Before you proceed, do you want to tender that now?
5 Is that all you wanted from this particular map?
6 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Yes, sir.
7 JUDGE HUNT: Any objection, Mr. Domazet?
8 MR. DOMAZET: No, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE HUNT: That will be Exhibit P19.2.
10 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, sir.
11 Q. I was stating that when you returned to Rogatica, you stopped at
12 Sladara, which is a factory, and before they took your identification,
13 your money and your belongings, did you notice that there was another
14 vehicle, a smaller vehicle, that had stopped next to your bus?
15 A. Yes. After our documents and personal belongings and money were
16 taken away, we, from this bus, went to the head of the column. There was
17 an armoured vehicle there, a military vehicle, and there was the other
18 bus. It was a bus that belonged to a company from Visegrad called
19 Terpentin, and it was headed in the opposite direction as compared to the
20 direction that we had come from.
21 Q. Yes, we will come back to the Terpentin bus. My question was:
22 Was there another vehicle, a smaller vehicle, that stopped next to your
24 A. That moment, when we were heading the column, a vehicle arrived
25 from the direction of Rogatica, a Citroen vehicle, which stopped between
1 these two buses, and two men got out of that car from the front seat and,
2 from the back seat, they took a person out, a person whose hands were
3 tied in the back and a head scarf was covering that person's face or that
4 person's eyes. The man who was sitting next to the driver in this car was
5 kicking this person in the stomach. Then they brought this person to the
6 Terpentin bus and put this person on to the bus.
7 Q. Were you able to identify the owner or the driver of this
9 A. No, no. I did not know these people. I had the impression that
10 they didn't know who we were either and what we were doing there, because
11 the driver of this Citroen -- I mean, later on, I found out that this was
12 Slavisa Vukojicic from Rogatica. At one moment, he looked at our bus and
13 asked a soldier, who had insignia on his shirt pocket - to be precise,
14 there were two stars on his epaulette - and he said, "Who are these guys?"
15 He said it loudly so I could hear it. However, what the soldier with the
16 insignia said is what I did not manage to hear.
17 So after this conversation of theirs, an order was issued by
18 Slavisa Vukojicic, "Get out, you cattle." There were about 20 of these
19 soldiers there and they lined up between the two buses, and then we had to
20 jog slowly and enter the Terpentin bus.
21 Q. So you got out of the bus that you had been in when you arrived in
22 Rogatica, in front of the factory, the Sladara factory, to get into the
23 Terpentin bus; is that it?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. When you got into this bus, how many people were there at that
2 A. I don't know where I was in the line, and how many people boarded
3 the bus before I did, but I noticed this young man who was put in before
4 all of us. He was lying on the seat behind the driver's seat. I know
5 that I just asked him how many days he had spent in jail, in order to have
6 an idea. Maybe we were heading for prison, too. He said, three days, and
7 that was our entire conversation.
8 Q. Where was the military -- the armoured vehicle, the military
9 vehicle, that you referred to earlier? Where exactly was that vehicle?
10 A. It was on my left. While we were on the bus that brought us from
11 Sokolac and now when I was looking from the Terpentin bus, it was on the
12 right-hand side, a bit by the road, and the crew members were there, the
13 members of the crew of that vehicle, actually, this one man who was
14 outside the turret.
15 Q. Was this a soldier, a military person?
16 A. I really can't remember.
17 Q. Once you boarded the Terpentin bus, what happened then?
18 A. These Serbs who made us board the bus talked for a few minutes, I
19 don't know about what, and then Slavisa Vukojicic came to the bus door and
20 ordered us to get out one at a time so that we could be tied up. So when
21 they would tie up one and return him, then another person could get down.
22 Between these tyings up, seven or eight of us were literally beaten up,
23 for a variety of reasons, because of a green sweater, for example, or they
24 simply didn't like us. So it wasn't everybody. It was about seven or
25 eight of us. We were all tied up. I don't know whether they had pliers
1 when they were tying us up, but it hurt a lot.
2 Q. What did they use to tie you up? Was it string? Was it rope?
3 Was it -- what was it exactly?
4 A. No, it was a wire, and only later I saw that it was a half steel
5 wire. It was so tight that every movement caused pain. One man
6 complained about that, though, when we were all tied up and we were all on
7 the bus. This man said to one of these other men that it hurt a lot and
8 could he loosen this wire a bit? And this other one said, "Now we are
9 going to hand you over to your own people, so let them do that for you."
10 Q. Did you have your hands in front or tied in your back?
11 A. In the back.
12 Q. Thank you. You stated that you were beaten. How exactly did this
13 take place? What were the weapons used to hit you?
14 A. I'm going to tell you about my own case. I was standing on the
15 steps and it was my turn to be tied up, and that moment one of our escorts
16 from Visegrad who was escorting these buses, the convoy, walked up to
17 Slavisa Vukojicic and said to him that he had a Zenga on the bus. I
18 overheard this conversation because it was taking place only three or four
19 metres away from me. He asked me -- he asked him what he was like, and
20 the other one answered that he was fair. Then Slavisa Vukojicic looked at
21 the bus and saw me, our eyes met, and he asked me whether I was a Zenga,
22 and I said I was not, and he said, "Who is?" And I said that I didn't
23 know. Then he asked me to get off the bus and he started beating me with
24 his hands, and blood splashed on the bus. I was so shaken that I held on
25 to the bus so that I wouldn't fall. He asked me again who was a Zenga and
1 I said that there was a young man who was nicknamed Zenga, and he said,
2 "Call him." I entered the bus and I said, "Esad, they are looking for
3 you," because Zenga's real name was Esad Kustura. He said, "I'm not a
4 Zenga," and I said that I knew that but that there was nothing I could
6 He got out and three men started beating him. They tied him up
7 and they returned him to the bus. Then I went out again so that they
8 could tie me up because I had been untied. Slavisa Vukojicic walked up to
9 me and asked me what had happened to me, because I was all bloody because
10 of the beating that he had given me before that, and I said it was
11 nothing. I said everything was fine. And he repeated this, "Do you hear
12 what I'm asking you?" And I tried to speak to him in a very formal
13 manner, using the plural form, and I think that that is a sign of respect.
14 However, he continued beating me then. I said that I'd fallen off a
15 bicycle and that I had hit myself and they all laughed, all of them who
16 were there, and that's when they tied me up and returned me to the bus.
17 A man whose last name is Kustura was hit on the head by a rifle
18 butt and his head was bloody when he returned to the bus.
19 Q. Mr. Ferid, could you tell us, if you know, of course, the names of
20 any other people who were in the Terpentin bus? Can you give us a few
21 names, please?
22 A. I can. I knew all these men well. They are my neighbours, at
23 least the group from my village, but I also knew the others quite well.
24 For example, Hamid Abas, Hilmo Celik, Musan Celik, Sabit Karaman,
25 Zaim Karaman or Kasapovic. That is from Zagre.
1 Now, Salko Omerovic, Ismet Kustura with his two sons, Izet
2 Karaman, with his four sons, Saim and Esad Kustura, brothers, and their
3 father, Medo. Hamid and Abid, the Ahmet Spahic brothers, I think.
4 Ebishvic Munikoza; Esad Spahic from Veratoa [phoen]; Omerovic, Omerovic;
5 Musa, with his two sons.
6 I knew all these men.
7 Q. Thank you. Thank you for recalling all those names. After this
8 bad treatment that you underwent at that point, did your attackers decide
9 to leave?
10 A. After a brief discussion they had in front of the bus, I think
11 three of them walked in and also the bus driver. Mico Gavrilovic was the
12 driver, and they sat in front next to the driver. Of course, they were
13 armed. Predrag Milisavljevic was among them. I knew him well. We used
14 to go fishing together in Bosanska Jagodina before. He has a twin
15 brother. They are totally identical. I was looking at him but I could
16 not believe that something terrible could happen because, after all, I
17 knew the man very well. And when they got in, Slavisa and a few more
18 people got into his Citroen and then we went towards Zakum [phoen],
19 towards Sokolac, back towards Sokolac. We came to a house, when we
20 actually came to this hill, there was a house on the right-hand side, and
21 then there was a small clearing there, and that's where we stopped. All
22 of them got out, again they were discussing something. Slavisa turned the
23 Citroen on and went behind the curve, and I was thinking at that moment
24 that perhaps he went to see where the exchange would take place. However,
25 in the meantime, this soldier came in, the one who had the two stars, and
1 he made a kind of speech to us, along the lines that they wanted some kind
2 of a life together. He mentioned Alija. He was probably referring to
3 Izetbegovic, so simply he talked and we listened. He gave us some water
4 to drink, and when he left the bus, another Serb got in, who had gloves
5 with the finger part cut off, and all of a sudden, he had an idea and he
6 said, "Oh, but you know how to sing." He ran to the house that was
7 nearby, and he brought half a bottle, half a litre of brandy, probably,
8 and he ordered Zenga to start singing. Zenga started. He had to.
9 Q. What kind of song was he singing? Was Zenga told to sing a
10 particular song?
11 A. He probably told him to sing a particular song but I don't
12 remember what it was, but Zenga did start singing. He started singing the
13 song called from "Od Topole pa do Ravne gore," and then he ordered us to
14 join in and accompany him in this singing. So that it was like an
15 orchestra, 50 people all singing with one conductor.
16 And while we were singing, Slavisa Vukojicic turned up with his
17 car. They held a consultation outside once again, and then the driver of
18 the bus came in and another soldier with him, and the others cocked their
19 rifles and started along the bus. Right after the bend, some 100 metres
20 off, the one -- the person who was next to the driver said that, "That's a
21 good spot for it." He was probably thinking -- I thought that he meant a
22 good spot for the exchange to take place. The bus stopped and we had to
23 get out and stand in a column two-by-two next to the bus.
24 Q. Before we continue, Ferid, you referred to the others. Did you
25 mean the soldiers? Who do you mean exactly?
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
14 English transcripts
1 A. I meant the soldiers. Because we were one group and they were a
2 separate group.
3 Q. Well, you said they loaded their rifles, if I understood you
5 JUDGE HUNT: It's been translated as "cocked their rifles."
6 Rather than "loaded," if that's what you mean. In the English transcript
7 it reads then the driver -- "and the others cocked their rifles and
8 started along the bus."
9 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you. There was a slight
10 confusion in vocabulary.
11 Q. Please go on. So what occurred then? The soldiers moved?
12 A. We came to that place where the soldier said that that's a good
13 place for it, and they ordered us to stand two by two up by the bus,
14 against the bus, but one of the Serb soldiers, whom I knew from Bosanska
15 Jagodina while the Uzice Corps was still there, took me by the hand and
16 separated me from the column. He took me out, he took Zenga out,
17 Munikoza, whom I also knew, and this other young man who was brought into
18 the bus at Rogatica. And along the way from Sladara, while we were still
19 in the bus towards this place, this spot, he was sitting next to the
20 driver, and said, "My brother-in-law is a Muslim. And he'll have to pay
21 for it, both of them, him and his wife." And then he said he'd cut off an
22 ear from one person and a nose from another. So that when he set me
23 aside, took me out of the column, the four of us actually, he took the
24 four of us out, and when all the others stood in line in a column, two by
25 two, we were at the head of the column -- end of the column, sorry, we
1 were at the end of the column.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's mistake.
3 A. Then we were told to bow our heads down and we looked towards the
4 forest, the woods. We were not allowed to look anywhere else, just in
5 front of us, and the order was, "Quick, be quick." That was the order
6 given. Along that road, the person select -- making the selection in
7 front of the bus, who selected us, took the -- took Zenga, who was the
8 last man in the column, and asked him how long he had been a member of the
9 Zengas and how many Serbs he had killed as a Zenga. And he said that he
10 was -- had been in the Zenica prison and hadn't killed anyone.
11 This man started beating him, beating Zenga and somebody from
12 behind, some of the escorts, the Serb escorts, said, "Don't hit him so
13 hard." And he said, "Why not? What do you mean, don't? We will see what
14 these ten look like. And then we will discuss it." So he still gave us
15 some hope that they would see their ten people and that we were actually
16 going to be exchanged. He let Zenga go, and when Zenga went back to his
17 place, probably out of fear, he went past by the two of us and was the
18 third man in line, and so I was the last man in the column now.
19 The man came up to me next and asked me how many Serbs I had
20 killed. I said, "You know where we met? Where you saw me?" He said,
21 "I'm not asking you that. That's not what I'm asking you. What I'm
22 asking you is how many Serbs have you killed." And I had no answer to
23 that question. And he hit me with his rifle butt in the back, but it
24 didn't hurt me too much, perhaps because I was afraid, and all this abuse
25 in front of the bus, all this mistreatment, took place, and by that time
1 we had come to a clearing and somebody shouted, "Stop." We all raised our
2 heads to see where the exchange would take place, where the others were,
3 because that was our last hope.
4 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Just a moment, please. When -- between the time when you -- when
6 the bus stopped and you got off the bus and then when you stopped, how
7 much distance did you walk, approximately? How far was it from the bus?
8 A. It seemed at the time that it might have been 100 to 150 metres,
9 perhaps 200 metres at the most.
10 Q. Fine. Were your hands still tied behind your back?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What was the position of the soldiers? Was the soldier that was
13 accompanying you, was he behind you or were they all over? Can you tell
14 us where they were?
15 A. While we were moving towards this spot for the exchange, we were
16 not allowed to look left or right so that all I saw was the soldier who
17 was mistreating Zenga, and I could hear the one behind him telling the
18 other man not to beat him so much. You couldn't see anything else, nor
19 were we allowed to look around. But when we arrived at that spot, the
20 clearing, we didn't wait for any orders to look around. We instinctively
21 looked to see where we were and where the others were who were to be
22 exchanged. But they continued doing -- going about their business.
23 They took up positions round a bush on the upper part. There were
24 some of them up in front, four of them were around the bush, and we stood
25 waiting and watching to see what was going to happen. Slavisa Vukojicic
1 went up to the column with another man, a tall man. He was taller than
2 me. He was wearing a leather uniform. He was all dressed in leather.
3 And they separated the first ten people. They took the first ten people.
4 At that moment, I thought that they would be exchanging ten of us
5 for ten of them, or that they would perhaps do away with us. My brain
6 kept working and ticking along those lines. Those ten people went up to
7 the bush. Predrag Milisavljevic and another Serb had automatic rifles.
8 The one whose name I don't know had a flak jacket on him, and they stood
9 there around that bush with their rifles positioned. I don't remember
10 whether they ordered, whether there was an order or whether they just
11 showed -- indicated to the people by using their rifles that they were to
12 move towards the bush.
13 The first two men, Hilmo Celik, who unfortunately joined the
14 convoy last and who didn't actually want to go in the first place, he came
15 to the pit first -- the bush, actually. He came to the bush first. And
16 they went down a step. There were some fresh earth by the bush, and they
17 stepped down on to this sort of step, and turned towards Predrag
18 Milisavljevic and the other man wearing the flak jacket, and then there
19 was a just a short burst of gunfire. Predrag was the one to shoot first,
20 and the people just disappeared behind the bush.
21 At that moment, I realised that there was no exchange, and that it
22 was just a classical form of execution. I looked down the column because
23 I was the last one in it, whether anybody would start fleeing, but they
24 just stood stock still, all of them. Nobody tried to escape. Only Zenga,
25 who was third in front of me turned round and -- to see where he could
1 possibly escape to. I also looked in the direction he was looking in, but
2 three or four steps away from us, there was a soldier positioned. He had
3 an olive-green/grey army jacket with an automatic cocked at us. I don't
4 know whether at that particular moment I asked him or whether I only
5 thought I'd asked him to let me go. He just bowed down his head and
6 looked at me from the waist down and remained there holding his automatic
7 rifle. Everything that went on in my head at that moment is difficult to
8 express. My brain was blocked. I just couldn't think straight. And the
9 young man who was holding the automatic rifle seemed familiar to me at
10 that moment, but I'm sure I don't actually -- I didn't actually know him.
11 I turned round to look at the road we had -- the path we had come
12 by, seven or eight steps behind me was an elderly man with greying hair
13 and a grey mustache, wearing a worker's overall, and he had a hunting
14 rifle over his shoulder, slung over his shoulder and he wasn't looking at
15 us. He seemed to be rolling himself a cigarette. He wasn't paying any
16 attention to us. I didn't try to catch his eye. I just turned towards
17 the head of the column and the first ten people who were taken out of the
18 column were no longer there.
19 Then they came up to the next lot of ten men and took them off to
20 the bush. I still couldn't see the men. I could just see the bush. And
21 then I began to lose my reason. Somebody, probably Slavisa Vukojicic,
22 because he always had the last say, called the other two men who were at
23 the back, to move towards the front of the column, and I think it was as
24 if somebody had told me at that moment that I realised, well, I realised
25 this is it, and I just kept quiet. And looked to see what was happening,
1 the one with the two barrel rifle went to the head of the column, the
2 other man with the automatic rifle was on the -- at the back of the
3 column, and I leaned towards the young man who was standing next to me.
4 He was the young man who had joined us in Rogatica, the handkerchief that
5 was over my eyes fell down and I just said to him, "Run." And some great
6 force seemed to expel me from the column and I suddenly found myself
7 moving towards the part of the woods where the soldier had been standing,
8 and for the first five or six steps, nothing could be heard. Then
9 somebody shouted, "He's escaping." And they started shooting, and that's
10 when the shooting started, everybody started shooting, there was a general
11 burst of fire from everybody's weapons. I don't know what was going on
12 behind me. I can only assume that the people that remained, 40 of them or
13 30 of them, that they had been aroused by what was going on suddenly.
14 They came out of their stupor and they began to flee themselves. If this
15 hadn't happened, if I had only tried to escape, then probably one of those
16 11 Serb soldiers who were there would have run after me and caught up with
17 me. But there was a general melee, shooting, I just tried to get as far
18 away as possible without falling down, without stumbling and tripping. I
19 felt bullets whizzing past me but they didn't seem to be hitting me, and
20 some 30 paces or metres from the place that I stood, I did eventually slip
21 and fall. I tried to get up. I was on all fours going along the ground
22 in the leaves but I managed to get up on my knees. I turned around to see
23 what was happening, but I kept seeing this bush, that is to say there was
24 a bush in front of me so I couldn't actually see the people, any of them.
25 I got up and continued to run through the woods. I crossed a road, a
1 field, I tried to hide in, by a juniper tree. I knew that I would be a
2 witness, an eye witness, and that they would look for me. I was in
3 unknown territory. However, with my hands behind my back, I couldn't hide
4 there, so I continued on, and from the hill that I was on, I could see a
5 village down below, and I started taking stock of the situation and I
6 tried to act normally. A woman came out of one of the houses down below.
7 She was in mourning. She was wearing black, and that was a sign that the
8 village was inhabited by Serbs, too, that that village was inhabited by
9 Serbs too.
10 Q. Well, I think we are going to stop there at this point and come
11 back to the situation again when you were still in the column. How many
12 people were in this column and how were the people arranged in this
14 A. You mean the column of prisoners? My column?
15 Q. Yes. That's what I mean.
16 A. Before the execution, the shooting, we were standing two by two.
17 We were not tied together, luckily. I was the last man in the column.
18 And we came up to about -- to within ten metres of that pit or bush.
19 Actually, it was a bush.
20 Q. You mentioned the bush. Was it a -- was it low bushes or higher
21 bushes? You mentioned earlier that you couldn't see from behind the bush,
22 that the bush hid something from you.
23 A. Yes. Actually, the bush was an entrance into a natural pit, and
24 there was some medium-sized trees growing around the pit, shrubs or -- but
25 you couldn't see the actual entrance to the pit. I couldn't see the
1 entrance to the pit. And the people would disappear behind the bush, but
2 what actually happened to them was they fell into the pit, into the
3 ground, into the pit behind the bush.
4 Q. So it was a big hole, it was a hole, from your impression?
5 A. I had occasion to see the hole after all these events, later, at
6 some later point. It was terrible. That was the first time that I
7 actually saw it.
8 Q. Were there shots -- were people shot at or were people carrying
10 A. Well, everything was going according to plan, before my escape,
11 before I attempted to escape. The first -- the first two men that I saw
12 went to the edge of the pit, turned around towards the two soldiers,
13 Predrag Milisavljevic, and quite simply they were shot at, the bullets hit
14 them, and they fell into the abyss. At that particular moment, I was
15 looking for a way out, for a way to escape, so I didn't see the manner in
16 which the others were killed. But I can only assume that all the people
17 were killed in the same way, because it all went very smoothly, one after
18 another, and -- but let me say that few people in -- I think that very few
19 people have ever experienced anything like it. You become paralysed.
20 Everybody seemed to be paralysed and were just obeying orders. They were
21 waiting for some mercy to be shown, but there was none.
22 Q. When the two persons you mentioned, I assume soldiers, were at the
23 top of the pit, there were no guards near you; is that right?
24 A. At the moment I decided to flee, at that particular moment, the
25 Serb, the young Serb on my right, and the one who was behind me, they
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
14 English transcripts
1 moved towards the front of the column, but somehow, from the end of that
2 column where I was standing, the other Serb soldiers were standing further
3 up. And among them, the first person next to me, whom I saw when I told
4 the young man from Rogatica to try to escape, to flee for his life, was
5 Ceho Borica [phoen], who was wearing a uniform of the reserve police
6 force, and
7 he was carrying a submachine-gun in his hand. So they were standing on
8 the upper portion of the pit, for example, the further side, whereas the
9 lower side was free.
10 Q. Was this person being particularly careful?
11 A. I didn't really understand your question.
12 Q. Was this guard watching you, was this guard being particularly
13 careful to watch? Was he paying attention?
14 JUDGE HUNT: Do you mean the old man who was rolling the
16 A. You mean the man who was rolling the cigarette? No, not at that
17 moment, when I was watching him, he was not paying attention. He really
18 seemed uninterested.
19 MR. OSSOGO:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Where you walked to, were there shrubs and trees
21 or not at all? Was there a lot of vegetation?
22 A. Yes, yes. There were some trees but it's not classical trees.
23 It's thinner, and it's just like a small forest. It's not that it was
24 really a kind of shelter, as I was trying to run away. You couldn't
25 really hide there.
1 Q. So from time to time, there was open space, there were clearings?
2 A. I will eventually reach some villages, as I was fleeing, and near
3 these villages, people had cattle, and this cattle had actually grazed
4 there and then this lower part was barren, therefore. There were just a
5 few trees here and there. It was not a thick forest. Now the trees have
6 grown very big. I've just been there.
7 At that moment, I can remember these parts, but I can't really
8 show you what the trees looked like then. I know that these trees could
9 not provide shelter. You could not hide behind one of these trees.
10 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you. With the permission of
11 the Court Chamber, I would like to show you a sketch, and I'd like to ask
12 you to recognise it.
13 A. Yes. That is this rough sketch.
14 Q. Did you make this sketch yourself?
15 A. Yes. I think that when I made my first statement, I think it was
16 in 1997.
17 Q. Can you show us where the bus stopped, first of all, and where you
18 got out of the bus and where you started to walk toward the bushes that
19 you mentioned a moment ago?
20 A. We first stopped by this house, where they forced us to sing.
21 From there, we were escorted around the bus and we came approximately to
22 this point here. This is where they lined us up, and they made us go up
23 here towards the place where the exchange was supposed to take place.
24 However, it turned out that -- well, this is where we were lined up, about
25 ten metres away from the pit, and then we were brought there. Predrag
1 Milisavljevic and this man in armour were here, and these ten people were
2 brought in by Predrag Milisavljevic, with this man who wore a leather
3 suit. Ceho Borisa stood here above the column.
4 Q. Excuse me, there is a second diagram further on. The purpose of
5 this sketch is to show where the bus stopped and where you started
6 walking, where you started marching toward the bushes. Thank you.
7 The Prosecutor would like to present this sketch as an exhibit,
8 and the number will be 134.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Any objection, Mr. Domazet?
10 MR. DOMAZET: No, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. It will be Exhibit P134.
12 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation]
13 Q. If I may, I have a second sketch to show you. Would you please
14 explain for the Court Chamber the different points and perhaps describe
15 the names that are indicated here and tell us what this diagram means?
16 These dots around the circle, could you explain what that means, please?
17 A. This was the place where we stopped, where the bus stayed behind.
18 This is the way we went towards the pit. This is the distance involved.
19 These points here depict our column -- my column, actually. Here, by one
20 of these points, the last one here, is my name and surname.
21 This point here shows this young guard while he was at this place,
22 and this other point depicts the old one with the mustache. Then Ceho
23 Borisa is the first one here. There is this line of five people who were
24 standing above the pit. I described them in great detail, but I did not
25 know any of these men here.
1 This is the pit. Predrag Milisavljevic is here, and the man in
2 armour. Those are the two men who were carrying out the execution.
3 Slavisa Vukojicic and the man in the leather clothing actually singled
4 people out and brought them to the pit. This was the direction in which I
5 left, let's put it that way, slightly downhill. These were the people
7 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you very much. The
8 purpose here was to better understand the position of the column and of
9 the guards and the executioners. I would like to --
10 JUDGE HUNT: Are you going to tender the document?
11 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Yes, excuse me, I'm sorry. We have a
13 JUDGE HUNT: 135.
14 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] 135.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Any objection, Mr. Domazet?
16 MR. DOMAZET: No, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, that will be Exhibit P135. Yes,
18 Mr. Ossogo.
19 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. We would like to come back to your position. You went downhill,
21 as you said, when you ran away, and you met a Muslim woman in a village.
22 How far was this place where you met the woman from the place where you
23 began running away?
24 A. When I arrived in this Muslim village, when I finally realised
25 that I was alive, when I talked to the villagers, I found out that from
1 the pit where the execution was carried out, there is 15 or 20 minutes of
2 a normal walk to that village. However, again, according to the local
3 people, gunshots were heard in the area around 11.30. We did not have a
4 watch to orient ourselves because they took everything away from us in
5 Rogatica, and even if we did have it all, we could not orient ourselves.
6 As for when I arrived in that village, they say that it was 4.30
7 or 5.00. On the way, as I was fleeing, above the village of Kalimanic
8 [phoen], I hid in a bush. I didn't dare cross a road, but due to all the
9 pain, because the wire had already cut into my -- cut through my flesh all
10 the way to the bone, and I had bruises all over my body, and perhaps I
11 passed out a bit over there, I decided to wait for night fall and to try
12 to untie myself, but the pain was awful and the sun was still high up. So
13 I decided to cross the road. So it would be either/or.
14 However, nobody noticed me there, and I got to the other village,
15 which simply appeared before me. And then I was looking around. I was
16 really splitting hairs because houses are the same, everything is the
17 same, in any ethnic group. A lady walked out with a child, though, and
18 she was wearing pantaloons. However, at that moment, the pantaloons
19 seemed straight-legged and they looked more like a dress than like this
20 old Muslim attire. So this was not a sign, and then I saw a brook. As I
21 was burning, I decided to jump into it. It was in the middle of this
22 valley. However, at that moment, about 50 metres away from that village,
23 I noticed an old lady called Zemia [phoen] who wore the old Muslim
24 national costume with a samija, and then I knew that I was safe.
25 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ferid, thank you very much
1 for this testimony. I have no further questions, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. Mr. Domazet?
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Domazet:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Spahic, as you started testifying today, you
5 talked about April 1992, and a paramilitary formation that came from
6 Serbia, and you had the opportunity of seeing their admission documents or
7 membership cards; is that correct?
8 A. [No interpretation]
9 Q. Since the sign Beli Orlovi, White Eagles, can mean quite a few
10 things and since in Serbia, there was a political party whose youth
11 organisation was called that way, do you remember these admission
12 documents or rather the contents? Were these membership cards for a
13 specific political party or a military unit?
14 A. There was no special sign on them, as far as I can remember. It
15 only said Beli Orlovi, White Eagles, admission document, and then there
16 were various blanks to the filled out below that, name and surname, et
17 cetera, so I do not really know whether it was political.
18 Q. They were from Serbia; is that right?
19 A. That's what I assume. This was around Dobrun and that's where
20 these papers were taken, and that's what I heard when I talked to these
21 people from Dobrun.
22 Q. You also talked about barricades, roadblocks by Bosanska Jagodina,
23 if I'm not mistaken
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. If I'm not mistaken, that is the road between Visegrad and Uzice?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you know why the roadblocks had been placed there?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You said today that when the Uzice Corps came to Visegrad, most of
5 the Muslims or all of the Muslims from town left?
6 A. Yes, the Muslims and the Serbs.
7 Q. Were there any Serbs in Visegrad at the time?
8 A. No, there weren't any Muslims or Serbs, excluding perhaps these
9 200 or 300 people, elderly people, who did not set out for Gorazde,
10 but decided to stay behind in their houses.
11 Q. My question was whether the Serbs left Visegrad considerably
12 before the Muslims did.
13 A. When I got to Visegrad from Zagre, at that moment there weren't
14 any Serbs in town. So I cannot know when they had left, and I know that
15 already at that moment, they weren't there. Of course, I heard people
16 talk about this.
17 Q. Which date are you talking about now? Could you please tell us,
18 if it's not a problem?
19 A. It's very difficult to remember these dates but say it is the 6th
20 of April 1992, the 5th or 6th of April.
21 Q. So on the 5th or 6th of April, you came to Visegrad. Before that,
22 you did not come? And you did not notice any Serbs in Visegrad then?
23 They had already left?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Was that a "yes" or a "no"?
1 A. No, I did not notice any Serbs in Visegrad.
2 Q. Right.
3 A. I'm sorry, but I didn't really move around much so I heard more
4 than I saw.
5 Q. The rest of the population, that is to say the Muslims, did they
6 leave town because of the threat that the dam at the hydro electric power
7 plant would be opened and that there would be a flood?
8 A. A lot of the population had left town before that, but most people
9 left, most Muslims left for Gorazde when the dam was opened, so the dam
10 could be somewhere halfway.
11 Q. So in your opinion, the last -- the last wave in terms of
13 A. Yes, that's what I meant.
14 Q. It was when the dam was open and that's when the Muslims went to
16 A. No, that's not what I said. I said that that day, when the dam
17 was opened, that this last wave of people went to Gorazde. Whether it
18 was due to the danger because of the dam or something else that people
19 left town, I can't say, but it seems to me that on that day, most people
20 went to Gorazde.
21 Q. Do you know that an enormous number of these people sought shelter
22 at the barracks in Uzamnica, that is to say above Visegrad?
23 A. Yes. As a matter of fact, I think they stayed there until the
24 Uzice Corps came.
25 Q. After the Uzice Corps came, did these people return to Visegrad,
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
14 English transcripts
1 many of the people who had left?
2 A. Most of these people returned to Visegrad. They were talked into
3 doing that by the members of the Uzice Corps, because practically at that
4 moment, Visegrad looked like an empty town before the Uzice Corps came
6 Q. When you talked about Djordje Gacic, if I got it right, you said
7 that he mentioned ethnic cleansing then. That was the first time you'd
8 heard that term; is that right?
9 A. Yes, that's right. Perhaps before that, I heard about it on
10 television or watched it because the war was already taking place in
11 Croatia, but that is when I heard it directly from a person's mouth.
12 Q. Is that the term that was used then, as we put it then, ethnic
13 cleansing, or was there an explanation as to what that was?
14 A. No, nothing was being explained, but it is true that the word was
15 used in that context.
16 Q. Can you tell me what was said, what was actually said? What was
17 this? Was it the Muslims moving out of that area or something else?
18 A. I think it was just a brief comment that we should go to our
19 territory where the Muslims were, momentarily, and that the area there
20 should be freed. I think that Djordje explained that very briefly, in a
21 few sentences only, while he was there but not more than that.
22 Q. I also noticed that you said then that somebody had said the
23 following: "Until all of this blows over." Is that the way you put it?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you explain what was meant by that, "Until all of this blows
1 over?" Was this considered to be a temporary situation or were they
2 telling you that, when all of that were to blow over, things would be
3 resolved in a different way?
4 A. You should ask the person who said that because I don't know what
5 he had in mind.
6 Q. Did you ask what that meant?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Were you not interested in what it meant or did you already
9 interpret that in your own way what this could mean?
10 A. Let us say that I interpreted it in my own way, nothing terrible.
11 Perhaps it was these roadblocks in my mind.
12 Q. Thank you. I shall go back to your departure on the 14th of
13 June. Do you recall approximately the time --
14 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, it's just about 4.00. If you're
15 starting a new subject, I think it might be a good idea to take the break
16 now. So we will resume at 9.30 in the morning. We will adjourn now.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
18 4.00 p.m., to be reconvened on 13th day
19 of September, 2001, at 9.30 a.m.