1 Friday, 28 September 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
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: Madam, would you please stand and make the solemn
10 declaration in the document which the Court usher is showing you.
11 WITNESS: WITNESS VG81
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Sit down, madam.
16 Mr. Groome.
17 MR. GROOME: Good morning, Your Honours.
18 I would ask that the witness be shown her pseudonym sheet.
19 JUDGE HUNT: That will be Exhibit P82 and it will be under seal.
20 Examined by Mr. Groome:
21 Q. Witness 81, I'm going to ask you to look at that piece of paper in
22 front of you and ask you if that is your name on the top line of that
23 sheet of paper.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And is that your date of birth on the second line of that piece of
2 A. [redacted]
3 JUDGE HUNT: It's all right; it will be redacted.
4 MR. GROOME:
5 Q. For the purposes of concealing your identity, we're going to be
6 referring to you as Witness Number 81. If you need to refer to any other
7 witnesses, I'd ask you to refer to the sheet below and use their number.
8 I'd ask you to begin your testimony here this morning, would you
9 briefly describe for the Chamber what your educational background is.
10 A. I completed a secondary technical school for typists, secretary
12 Q. And without telling us where you worked, is it fair to say that
13 you were a professional working woman in the years around 1992?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And are you from Visegrad?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And did you have a business in that town?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What is your ethnicity?
20 A. I'm a Bosniak.
21 Q. Is there -- was there a point in time in the spring of 1992 or
22 early summer of 1992 that you moved from one area of Visegrad to another?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you tell us what area you moved to.
25 A. First I moved to Gorazde, then I went back, and then again I moved
1 to a neighbourhood, a suburban area near Visegrad.
2 Q. And what is the name of that neighbourhood?
3 A. Kosovo Polje.
4 Q. And approximately how far is Kosovo Polje from the centre of
6 A. Less than two kilometres.
7 Q. And approximately how far is Kosovo Polje from Pionirska Street?
8 A. Well, two kilometres and between three and four hundred metres,
10 Q. And would I be correct in describing Kosovo Polje as one of the
11 first areas outside of Visegrad that is rural, that is made up primarily
12 of farming fields?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I want to ask you, do you know a person by the name of Mitar
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I'd ask you to describe for the Court how it is you know a person
18 by this name.
19 A. Mr. Vasiljevic lives halfway between Visegrad and Kosovo Polje,
20 where I would pass by on a daily basis when going to work and once, when I
21 got married, when going to visit my parents.
22 Q. And can you estimate for us what year it was when you first came
23 to know this person as Mitar Vasiljevic?
24 A. Since Mr. Vasiljevic's parents had a house there, I had known
25 Mitar for at least 15 years prior to 1992.
1 Q. Now, on January 18th of this year, did there come a time when you
2 were asked to view a number of photographs by an investigator of the
3 Office of the Prosecutor?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And did you recognise anybody in those photographs?
6 A. Yes. I instantly recognised Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic.
7 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I'd ask that we go briefly into private
9 JUDGE HUNT: For what purpose, Mr. Groome?
10 MR. GROOME: I want to place the photo array on the ELMO.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Very well. We'll go into private session.
12 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 JUDGE HUNT: We are now back in public session.
9 Yes. Is there any objection to the tender of that document, Mr.
11 MR. DOMAZET: No, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. It will be Exhibit P20-81 and it will be
13 under seal.
14 MR. GROOME:
15 Q. At the time you first saw that set of pictures, was there any
16 writing of any kind on those pictures? Witness 81, at the time you first
17 saw those pictures, did you see any writing on the pictures?
18 A. No.
19 Q. I'm going to ask you to look around the courtroom today and ask
20 you, do you recognise anybody in this courtroom here this morning?
21 A. Mr. Mitar. I'm sorry. When I saw him I just got lost for a
23 Q. Can you describe who you're identifying at this point in time,
24 using their first and last name, and describe where they're sitting and
25 what they're wearing.
1 A. He's wearing a brown suit, headphones, and I think he's sitting
2 behind his counsel, as far as I can understand, next to one of your police
4 Q. And what is the full name of the person you are now indicating to
6 A. Mitar Vasiljevic.
7 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, may the record reflect she has
8 identified the accused in this case.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Yes.
10 MR. GROOME:
11 Q. I want to now draw your attention to the latter part of April in
12 1992 and ask you, did you have occasion or interaction with Mr. Vasiljevic
13 at that time?
14 A. In the month of April?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. No, but -- yes, in May.
17 Q. Would you describe what occurred in May.
18 A. On the 18th of May, 1992, Visegrad was abandoned by the former
19 JNA. That is, the former JNA left the town of Visegrad and withdrew to
20 the outskirts of the town. On the following day, I went with my family to
21 Kosovo Polje with the intention to work on our land, and I was carrying a
22 wicker basket with some seeds. And at the entrance, at the gate of
23 Mr. Vasiljevic's house, there stood Mitar with his wife and three unknown
24 uniformed individuals, wearing former JNA uniforms, that is. At that
25 moment, Mitar Vasiljevic approached us with his wife and they wanted me to
1 show them my identity card. I handed over my identity card to Mr. Mitar
2 Vasiljevic and he asked me when I intended to come back from Kosovo Polje.
3 And I said, "Around 1800." He kept my identity card and he told
4 me, and I quote: "Don't let me look for you." I left for Kosovo Polje
5 with the intention of avoiding what I had already experienced in Visegrad.
6 Q. And did this occur -- the house that you're referring to, was that
7 on the road between Visegrad and Kosovo Polje?
8 A. It happened in front of the entrance, in front of the gate to
9 Mitar Vasiljevic's yard, to the yard of his house. There was a creek on
10 the left side which passes along the house belonging to the Sisic family,
11 which is the adjacent house.
12 Q. Can you describe for us what road this house is on.
13 A. On the road to Visegrad, towards Kosovo Polje, on the right side,
14 and opposite -- across the street from Mr. Vasiljevic's house, there are
15 no houses at all along the distance of some 200 or 300 metres. There are
16 no houses there.
17 Q. Approximately what time of the day is this?
18 A. Around noon.
19 Q. And how was Mr. Vasiljevic dressed at that time?
20 A. He was wearing his waiter's uniform, a black waiter's uniform, I
22 Q. And did he have any weapons that you could see?
23 A. Mitar and the three other individuals had rifles. They were
24 armed. Whereas his wife, Milojka, she didn't have any. She was just
25 wearing her ordinary civilian clothes, ladies' clothes.
1 Q. The other three men that you're describing being present at this
2 time, did you recognise any of them?
3 A. No, I didn't recognise any of them. I don't think that they were
4 from Visegrad. I wasn't able to recognise them.
5 Q. I want to now draw your attention to a time just before the Muslim
6 holiday of Kurban Bajram. Did you have occasion to see Mr. Vasiljevic
7 around that period of time?
8 A. I remember as if it were yesterday. The first day of Bajram was
9 the 11th of June, and on the 10th of June, Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic, while on
10 the road in the location called Gajic, he was going along the road, along
11 that road in a green Zastava car. Somebody else was driving while Mitar
12 was sitting in the passenger's seat, carrying a black flag with skull and
13 bones on it, and he was calling out to Muslims to -- he was yelling out
14 from the car, "Muslims, we are distributing Kurban meat tomorrow."
15 That happened on the 10th of June, that is, the day before Kurban Bajram.
16 Q. And does part of the Muslim celebration of Kurban Bajram involve a
17 special meat?
18 A. According to the customs and the Muslim tradition, is that, for
19 example, if you have a parent who died recently and who passed it on to
20 his brother or sister to slaughter sheep then, that can be done for the
21 immediate kin or on behalf of those who died, and then the meat is
22 distributed amongst relatives, which is usually done in the afternoon
23 hours on the first or the second day of Kurban Bajram.
24 Q. I want to now draw your attention to the 14th of June. Do you
25 recall that day?
1 A. The 14th of June was the fourth day of Kurban Bajram, which is
2 celebrated for four days. The festivities last four days.
3 Q. Witness, before I move on, I just want to ask you one question to
4 clear up something. The village of Gajic that you've referred to, can you
5 describe where that is in relation to Kosovo Polje.
6 A. It is situated before Kosovo Polje, on the road to Visegrad, some
7 200 or 300 metres away from it. There is a little hill there from the
8 direction of Kosovo Polje towards Visegrad.
9 Q. Are you familiar with where the village of Koritnik is?
10 A. Yes, I am.
11 Q. And where is that in relation to where you were staying in Kosovo
13 A. Koritnik is situated on the road to Sase Pod Greben and you have
14 to turn right off the road to reach Koritnik.
15 Q. On the 14th of June, did there come a time when you saw a group of
16 people on the road in front of Kosovo Polje?
17 A. Around noon. There was a large group of people consisting of some
18 50 or 60 people, including men, women, and children, and they were
19 carrying - I don't know how to describe it - some bags and bundles, small
20 bags and the like. And [redacted] was amongst them. She used to be
21 our neighbour. She lived some 200 metres away from Kosovo Polje but still
22 in the part which belongs to Kosovo Polje. She was with her relatives,
23 because she is also from the Kurspahic family, but she had built her house
24 near Kosovo Polje. So she joined them and she was going towards the town
25 with them. She only came to get some clothes, and she told me that they
1 were going to join a convoy for Olovo, so they were at that point in time
2 heading towards Visegrad.
3 Q. And did you have any conversation with any members of this group?
4 A. I did not talk to them, but I did speak to Igbala, because up
5 until the 14th, she was living in Kosovo Polje. She was spending a lot of
6 time in Kosovo Polje, actually. She had two sisters there, where she was
7 staying at the time, because she had fled from her house.
8 Q. Later on that day, did you have occasion to see Mr. Mitar
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And who did you see him with?
12 A. So on the first day of Kurban Bajram, on the 11th, and then until
13 the 14th of June, a lot of Muslims were slaughtered and destroyed in
14 Visegrad. I could see that with my own eyes, because the Drina River is
15 some hundred metres away from my house. There was blood in the river and
16 bodies were floating on the surface of the Drina. Since I have two
17 daughters -- there were a lot of women, maybe 10 or 12 young girls. We
18 were trying to move those young women away, so we were withdrawing from
19 the area of Gajic, some 50 metres away from there, and there were 10 or 12
20 of us there at one point in time.
21 And I saw a Passat car passing by. Because at that time we knew
22 that the car belonged to a woman by the name of Bahija [phoen], and
23 according to the statements of witnesses, she was killed by Milan Lukic.
24 And Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic came out of that car together with Milan Lukic
25 and another individual unknown to me who was wearing a JNA uniform. And
1 it was at that moment that we saw Igbala Kurspahic -- no. Sorry. I
3 No. That was on the 9th of June. Sorry, I have to concentrate a
4 little. Yes. We saw Mitar and Milan then, together with another
5 individual, and Professor (redacted) came by. He's a short man, wears
6 glasses. He couldn't see anything without his glasses. And they were
7 arguing on the road. We were in one of the bushes near the
8 road. And they pushed Rasim into the car and drove him in the direction
9 of Visegrad. I don't know what happened to Rasim after that, but he
10 hasn't been seen ever since.
11 Q. Can you tell us what was the colour of this car?
12 A. Red.
13 Q. And approximately what time did this occur?
14 A. Around 6.00 p.m. Later in the day, at sunset.
15 Q. You've mentioned Milan Lukic. Can you describe for us how it is
16 you know this person?
17 A. I have known Milan Lukic ever since he was a child. [redacted]
23 Q. And can you describe how Mr. Lukic was dressed on this day?
24 A. On that day, he was wearing a camouflage uniform.
25 Q. And did he have a weapon?
1 A. I saw a weapon on Lukic on that occasion, but I didn't notice that
2 Mr. Vasiljevic had any weapon on that particular occasion. But I did see
3 the man being pushed into the car.
4 Q. The third man that you've described, did he have a weapon?
5 A. He had a rifle. I don't know what kind of rifle it was, but he
6 was carrying it across his shoulder, slung on his shoulder.
7 Q. Did any of these three men have any disguise or covering over
8 their face?
9 A. He had a cap which was covering his face, with holes for eyes and
10 his mouth. It was black in colour.
11 Q. Which person had this covering on his face?
12 A. I couldn't recognise them.
13 Q. So it's the person that you did not recognise who had his face
14 covered; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you describe for the Court where you were when you were making
17 these observations?
18 A. Let me think. I can't remember the names of these various
19 paramilitary formations. At a certain point in time, we wanted to hide
20 the girls and the young women in a building, in some bushes, because
21 whenever they broke into villages, they didn't dare go into the meadows or
22 the creeks or the streams so they would just go into a small path, and
23 whoever they found, they would either kill them or take them away or ask
24 them to lead them to others who were in hiding.
25 Q. And where exactly were you?
1 A. We were on the right-hand side, next to the property of a
2 neighbour of mine, because there were some trees there, some small trees,
3 and we were hiding there.
4 Q. And can you approximate for the Court the distance between you and
5 the red Passat?
6 A. Just below the road, maybe 20 or 30 metres away.
7 Q. I'm going to ask you to look down on your sheet of paper there.
8 I'm going to ask you: Did there come a time when you saw Witness number
9 13 after this event that you have just described for us?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. When did you see her?
12 A. [No interpretation].
13 JUDGE HUNT: We've lost the interpretation.
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises. I failed to switch
15 on my microphone.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Do you want the witness to repeat the answer?
17 THE INTERPRETER: If possible, yes, or I can repeat it.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Have you got it there? You sufficiently noted it to
19 be able to repeat it without having to repeat the evidence itself?
20 THE INTERPRETER: She was saying that between 4.00 and 4.30 a.m.,
21 between the 16th and the 17th of June, without getting to the verb.
22 MR. GROOME:
23 Q. And where was it that you saw Witness number 13?
24 A. Let me repeat: This happened between the 16th and the 17th, about
25 4.00 a.m. or 4.30 a.m. I was sleeping, and my neighbours knocked on my
1 door. They said, "Can you come and bandage a woman?" I know that there
2 was no shooting in our neighbourhood that night, so I was surprised. How
3 come there was a woman wounded who needed treatment? So I got up. I had
4 some bandages. I went outside. I saw in front of me the person number
6 Person number 13 was wearing a lady's vest, but it was covered in
7 dried blood, and she had tights. Her feet -- she didn't have any shoes
8 on. She was holding her left arm and she was wounded in the thigh, I
9 think it was of her left thigh. She asked us to give her first aid. At
10 the time, she looked like a witch, to put it that way. Her hair was on
11 end, untidy; she was dirty. I took her into the cornfield, I washed her
12 and we cut her hair because you couldn't comb through it, put a comb
13 through it. I just managed to put a bandage on her arm. However, it was
14 warm at the time - the weather was warm - and there were a hundred flies
15 that collected around this bandage, like a beehive, so you couldn't
16 approach her four or five metres away.
17 I took her back to the cornfield. I gave her another bath. I
18 washed her again. However, when I removed the bandage, the muscles were
19 falling out. The bone had been broken and there was pus everywhere. And
20 I asked my neighbours for their help. We believed in a particular plant
21 which needed to be put on the wound. Then I took some antibiotics out and
22 put some powder there, but that didn't help either. I bandaged the arm
23 again and I asked them to bring some pure alcohol, because my mother was a
24 sick woman and she used alcohol for her feet. And they brought half a
25 glass of alcohol and I poured it onto this wound. In a couple of minutes,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 I saw worms that were more than a centimetre long, white worms. I put
2 some plum twigs and pulled out, worm by worm, five or six of them. We
3 found a piece of wood and we put it under her arm, and again I found this
4 plant, I squeezed it and, with the juice, I covered the wound and bandaged
5 it again.
6 Q. Approximately how much time did you spend with this woman?
7 A. The third day, we left.
8 Q. Had you known this woman before you met her this night?
9 A. At first I couldn't recognise her, because she had changed so
10 much. Her face had gone black, perhaps because of the bleeding. But when
11 she told me whose daughter-in-law she was, I knew her in-laws very well.
12 Q. And did she know you?
13 A. Later she remembered. When I told her who I was, then she
14 remembered me.
15 Q. Did she tell you who did this to her?
16 A. At the time, she told me everything. As far as I'm able to
17 recollect, she said that they had been chased out of Koritnik, allegedly
18 to go for the convoy to Olovo. They were taken to Pionirska Street, to
19 one house then to another. Then apparently Mr. Mitar came and Mr. Milan
20 Lukic and Bosko Djuric, that they had forced them into a house, that they
21 had shot -- that they had set the house alight, that she, with her son,
22 this person number 13, had managed to jump out the window, but at the time
23 she never knew whether her son had survived.
24 Q. Now, after your treatment of Witness number 13, did you ever see
25 Mr. Vasiljevic again?
1 A. I did.
2 Q. When is the next time you saw Mr. Vasiljevic?
3 A. On the 18th of June.
4 Q. And can you describe for us the circumstances under which you saw
5 him at that time? I'm sorry, let me ask you this first: At what time on
6 the 18th of June? Can you approximate for us that?
7 A. It was about 1800 hours, so late in the afternoon.
8 Q. And where did you observe him?
9 A. I asked a Serb neighbour of mine to drive me home.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, it would be helpful, I think, if we had
11 some idea from the witness why she is certain that it was that date or
12 that it was after the previous event or something like that. It is rather
14 MR. GROOME:
15 Q. Can you tell us why it is you say that this day was the 18th of
16 June? How is it that you remember?
17 A. Because the things we lived through in Kosovo Polje were
18 intolerable. Ten to twenty various groups would break into the village on
19 a daily basis. Some were looking for jewellery, some for German marks,
20 some for money. They killed, they slaughtered, they set houses on fire so
21 we could no longer stand it. And on the 19th of June, in the evening,
22 we officially decided, we got together in a stream and we officially
23 decided to cross from the right bank of the Drina to the left bank of the
24 Drina and to look for salvation in the woods. And I know exactly that it
25 was on the 18th of June I asked my neighbour to take me home because I
1 had been thrown out of my house without anything. So I wanted to get some
2 clothes and food to feed my children.
3 Q. I want to take you back to the 18th. Can you describe the
4 circumstances surrounding your observation of Mr. Vasiljevic on that day.
5 A. Mitar knows very well on the 18th of June that he came to Kosovo
6 Polje with Milan Lukic. Milan killed Nurka Kos. Next to Murka -- Nurka,
7 he tore up the ID card of a man, and the children brought it and we glued
8 it together so we were able to see who the man was. So next to the killed
9 Nurka Kos, he left this ID card in shreds. This happened -- 14, 16 -- at
10 17 or 1800 hours. But since there was a lot of shooting about 300 metres
11 away from us, in the creek called Sase - this went on for days and nights
12 - I went with person number 98, my intention being to prepare some beans,
13 the planting of beans. It's not far. It's just around a bend. And there
14 was Milan Lukic, Mitar Vasiljevic, and another man. And in front of them
15 were four civilians whom I couldn't recognise. This was, after all, 150
16 to 200 metres away. They shot at them, they killed them, and they fell
17 into the Drina River. I went back and told my neighbours about this and
18 that night, we firmly decided that on the 19th of June we should leave
19 Kosovo Polje and go to the left bank of the Drina.
20 But in the morning, when we went to another neighbour to ask what
21 we should do - the neighbour's name was [redacted], and he said, "Dig
22 in. We can't help you any more. Lukic's gang was killed Stankoka
23 Pecikoza." That was on the 19th of June. So we went back and we managed
24 to collect a hundred or 120 people. We had a boat which had been shot at
25 and there were holes from bullets. But the men found a way to stop up
1 those holes and, at 2.00 in the morning, we crossed the Drina River.
2 Q. I want to take you back to your description of what you observed.
3 You said that you were approximately 100 to 200 metres away and was not
4 able to recognise the victims. How is it you were able to recognise the
6 A. Well, you see, if you know someone for 20 years and even more than
7 20 years, and if you see a man up to ten times a day, like I did Mitar,
8 and Mitar knows very well where I worked and that we went to eat there,
9 that he served us, and we often sat together and had a drink and had fun
10 together, then you can recognise him, no matter how many metres away he
12 Q. Now, on the 19th, when you crossed the Drina River, would you
13 describe for the Court the condition of the river at that time.
14 A. I wouldn't like any one of you to see such a scene. There was a
15 boat that I said was riddled with holes, and it took a lot of effort to be
16 able to use it. And I was the first to enter the boat, carrying my
17 daughters. As we were crossing the Drina, we had to push away dead bodies
18 with the oars so that the boat could move. Some were hanging on trees,
19 some were on the shallow end, and I had to hold my nose. When I got out,
20 my husband asked me where the children were, and I was not aware that they
21 were not with me in the boat. And that night we all crossed to the
22 Jelacic village, the neighbouring Bosniak village close to Kosovo Polje.
23 Q. After you crossed over the Drina on this day, did there ever come
24 a time when you had to cross back over the Drina and return to Kosovo
1 A. Yes. Being a woman, I crossed three times - but my husband
2 wouldn't let me cross again after that - because we hadn't taken anything
3 with us. All we cared about was to save our lives and the lives of our
4 children. I crossed back for the first time on the 21st of June, the
5 second time on the 23rd of June, and for the last time on the 25th of
7 Q. I'd like to draw your attention to the 21st of June, and can you
8 describe for us what, if anything, you saw from Kosovo Polje on that day.
9 A. I apologise to Your Honours. May I address Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic
10 in answering this question?
11 JUDGE HUNT: I think, madam, it would be best if you just answer
12 the question. I don't want to be difficult, but it would be provocative
13 and unnecessarily so. So just answer the question that counsel has asked
14 you and we'll get along a lot more happily.
15 MR. GROOME:
16 Q. Can you please describe to the members of the Court what it was
17 that you observed when you crossed --
18 A. Yes. The first time I crossed, on the 21st of June, we went to
19 get some food, because our village had still not been burnt down. A man
20 called Selim Musanovic, he had brought large quantities of beehives to
21 Kosovo Polje. At the time, we didn't have sugar and we went to collect
22 the honey from those beehives. This was after 2200 hours. Mitar came
23 along from the direction of Sase. He was tipsy, with a rifle on his
24 shoulder, and he was with Veljko Planincic, also known as Razonoda, a
25 former policeman. They were singing various songs about the Bosniaks and
1 they went off, probably in the direction of Mitar's house.
2 Q. And how far away were you from Mr. Vasiljevic at this time?
3 A. Maybe about 15 metres.
4 Q. And to your knowledge, did he see you?
5 A. He couldn't have seen us, because they were armed, they were
6 singing, they were tipsy, and these beehives are rather large, maybe as
7 big as this table, and we hid behind them until they passed, singing. And
8 right next to them was the Orthodox cemetery.
9 Q. Now, you've mentioned two other occasions that you crossed the
10 river. On either of these occasions did you see Mr. Vasiljevic?
11 A. The last time that I saw Mitar was the 25th of June. He was
12 walking alone. He was tipsy, with a rifle. He was passing through Kosovo
13 Polje. He was singing songs. He would first pass the Serbian cemetery,
14 then the Bosniak cemetery. He was coming from the direction of Sase on
15 the 25th of June. That was the last time I crossed the Drina River to go
16 to Kosovo Polje.
17 Q. And how far away were you from him at this time?
18 A. It is very close. I always said 10 or 15 metres. It may be 20 or
19 30, because if you come across someone with a rifle or something, all you
20 do is to hide. I wasn't alone. There would always be 20 or 30 of us
21 crossing the river to bring food.
22 Q. Witness 81, as you sit here today, is there any doubt in your mind
23 that you saw Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic after you treated Witness VG13?
24 A. Let me say once again: I'm telling the truth. Right up until the
25 25th of June, 1992, I personally, and others, saw Mitar Vasiljevic coming
1 from the direction of Sase, going towards Visegrad and passing through
2 Kosovo Polje.
3 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Witness 81.
4 I have no further questions.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Domazet:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Madam, in answer to Mr. Groome's question and
8 Judge Hunt, I think that the dates you mentioned, the 19th, the 21st,
9 23rd, and the 25th, and the other ones, the 18th, the 14th to the 18th,
10 that you are quite certain of these dates, linking everything to your
11 crossing of the Drina, which occurred on the 19th of June, in the evening;
12 is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I have to wait for the transcript. So relying on this date, the
15 19th, when you talk about the 21st, the 23rd, and so you are saying it is
16 two days after you crossed, four days, and so on. Is that how -- am I
17 correct in interpreting your memory of those dates as being two, four, and
18 six days after you had crossed the river?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You also explained, madam, that on the 19th of June you went to
21 the [redacted] house and learnt that he was killed, but I didn't understand
22 quite who told you that.
23 A. I and another three people who went to visit [redacted], with
24 whom we never had any problems, and we still don't, and [redacted] said,
25 [redacted] was killed this morning at 6.00 a.m. They were supposed to
1 take some money. Lukic and his gang killed him. Dig yourself in into the
2 ground, because we can no longer help you."
3 Q. Will you please tell us what [redacted]
5 A. They were probably the close relatives.
6 Q. [redacted]
7 A. [redacted]
8 Q. [redacted]
9 A. [redacted]
10 Q. What time of day was it when you learnt about that?
11 A. We first went sometime about 8.00 the first time, and the second
12 time he told us, "Come around 10.00 and I will tell you the real truth,"
13 and that is when he said, "Please dig into the ground because we can no
14 longer help you." That is verbatim what he said.
15 Q. You're, of course, talking about half past 7.00 in the morning and
16 10.00 in the morning.
17 A. If I was talking about 10.00 in the evening, I would have said
18 2200 hours.
19 Q. So it was at 10.00 that he gave you the whole truth. What did he
20 tell you at half past 7.00?
21 A. Will you let me finish for the transcript, please. We have to
22 make breaks between questions and answers.
23 JUDGE HUNT: Just a moment.
24 MR. DOMAZET:
25 Q. So what did he tell you the first time?
1 JUDGE HUNT: Madam, because you and counsel are speaking the same
2 language, there's a problem in relation to the translations. We are
3 receiving your evidence translated into English and into French, and the
4 interpreters have to be able to keep up with you. So would you please
5 pause before you answer the question, just as Mr. Domazet is pausing
6 before he asks you a question. In that way, the interpreters can keep up
7 and we don't lose anything that you say. Do you understand that?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you.
10 Mr. Domazet.
11 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. [Interpretation] So let me go back to this question. You said you
13 went there twice, first at -- was it 7.30 or 8.30? It doesn't matter.
14 What were you told the first time and what were you told the second time?
15 A. [redacted], who is still alive, told us the first time, "It
16 seems that Lukic and his gang have killed [redacted]. Come around
17 10.00 and I will be able to tell you the truth."
18 Q. Thank you. And at 10.00, he told you that he had been killed?
19 A. Yes. [redacted] told us at 10.00, [redacted] has been
20 killed. We can no longer help you. Dig into the ground," and we turned
22 Q. Were you still in Kosovo Polje [redacted] body was
23 brought to his house?
24 A. On the 19th of June, [redacted], the deceased, was not
25 brought there. We just watched from a distance of some 300 metres, from
1 the Drina, friends and neighbours and citizens coming to express their
2 condolences to the family of [redacted].
3 Q. Yes, I understand. So you did not see a car bringing his body.
4 A. It was not on that day, for sure.
5 Q. I see. And the next day, you were no longer in Kosovo Polje; is
6 that right?
7 A. In the evening, at 2200 hours, we crossed from the right bank of
8 the Drina to the left bank of the Drina, and found accommodation in the
9 Bosniak village of Jelacic.
16 Q. The people who were watching the funeral, did they tell you when
17 that was, when it was that he was buried?
18 A. See, while we were in that village, hundreds of shells were
19 falling down every day, so we did not have time to think of anything else
20 but how to get some food and save the lives of ourselves and our children.
21 Q. Can I therefore interpret your answer as meaning that nobody told
22 you that, that is, that you didn't know when [redacted] was buried, nor the
23 day when he was killed?
24 A. I know that some people watched the funeral, but I don't know the
1 Q. You said that it was on the 21st that you returned for the first
2 time, in the evening hours of the 21st, that is, two days after you had
3 learned about [redacted]. Does that help you in any way? Does it
4 mean that it was after his funeral or not?
5 A. Once again, sir, I have to tell you that I don't know the date
6 when late [redacted] was buried, but it was on the 21st that I first returned
7 to the [redacted] to get some food for my family.
8 Q. So it was on that day that you said you saw this large group of
9 men taking honey from the beehive belonging to the individual that you
11 A. Yes, including myself and a couple of other women and Bosniak men,
12 because we didn't have any sugar. We wanted to use the honey to take it
13 to the left bank of the Drina River so that we have something to eat, to
14 survive on.
15 Q. Were you all together while crossing the river? Did you cross it
16 by boat?
17 A. We crossed the river in two or three groups, in boats which were
18 completely packed, because we had to be at the river, by the river, at a
19 specific time so that we could cross over together at the same time.
20 Q. Do you remember the names of the men who were with you on that
22 A. Well, you're asking too much. I really cannot tell you the names
23 now. I don't want to mention the names now.
24 Q. Do I understand you correctly that you do remember the names but
25 that for various reasons you don't wish to tell them?
1 A. I am a hundred per cent sure about the names, but I do not wish to
2 mention them now.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Madam, I remind you, please do pause before you
4 answer the question. You came straight in after the question there,
5 understandably, but you must try and pause, otherwise we lose some of your
6 evidence. I think the interpreters were able to catch up this time, but
7 they can't always.
8 Yes, Mr. Domazet.
9 MR. DOMAZET:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Could you tell the Court the reasons why you
11 decline to tell us their names?
12 A. I am not required to give you or the Court the reasons why I do
13 not wish to disclose the identity of those people.
14 Q. Very well, then. Let me go back to the events that you describe
15 took place on the 19th of June, before the death of Stanko Pecikoza and
16 before you crossed the river Drina. You said that the day before that,
17 that is, on the 18th of June, you had seen Mitar Vasiljevic on two
18 occasions. Once you saw him in the afternoon hours, in Sase, and the
19 second time in Kosovo Polje, when Milan Lukic killed Nurka Kos; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Are you sure about the way and the time it happened? Are you sure
23 that it had taken place before you crossed the Drina River, that is,
24 before you learnt about the death of Stanko Pecikoza?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. The second occasion, you said you observed him from a somewhat
2 greater distance, and you said that you had gone to a field to pick some
3 plants. The location in question is quite a way from your village, the
4 creek in Sase, that is?
5 A. If you listened carefully to the interpretation, you could realise
6 that it was not very far from the area where I was born, because the man
7 in question was, after all, someone I had known for many years.
8 Q. No, no, no. That was not my question. You already explained that
9 to the Court. You said you were able to recognise the individuals from a
10 hundred or 200 metres' distance and you gave us the reasons for that. I
11 just wanted to know how it came about that you happened to be near the
12 brook, near the creek in Sase, because it was far away from Kosovo Polje
13 where you were on that day.
14 A. If you are familiar with Kosovo Polje and Visegrad, from the
15 Kalate community centre up until the village of Sase, the whole area
16 belongs to Muslims, Bosniaks. They have their properties there near
17 Kosovo Polje.
18 Q. I'm quite familiar with the area in question. Of course I do not
19 know the owners of the property there, but my question concerned the
20 actual distance, because on that day you were hiding in the village, and
21 it was on the same day that you went very far, because the creek in Sase,
22 as you will agree with me, is far away from Kosovo Polje, especially when
23 you go on foot and especially if you bear in mind the fact that you were
24 in hiding on that day. Am I right?
25 A. You're not right at all, because throughout that period of time,
1 from the month of April until the 19th of June, it was not possible for a
2 Bosniak to move freely around the area. We were all looking for a hole to
3 hide. And the Drina River is very near that area. And if you should try
4 to walk along the river on that portion of the territory, you will see
5 that it is quite possible to observe the surroundings with the naked eye.
6 Q. That is precisely the reason for my question. I know that one can
7 easily observe the area in question, but I would like to know whether it
8 was possible for you on that day, after a very serious incident that you
9 had witnessed, to go, to dare and go to the Sase creek, together with the
10 individuals who were, like yourself, quite visible there. And you have
11 explained us that you were in hiding in those days, that you were afraid.
12 A. I didn't tell you that I was at the creek in Sase but that I was
13 some two or three hundred metres away from it. If you should become
14 interested as to the whereabouts of my property, you can go to the land
15 registry service to find out for yourself. But I simply had to go there.
16 I had to go and forage for food to help my family survive.
17 JUDGE HUNT: Now, both of you, you must pause. You really must.
18 Now, madam, I know this is probably the first time you have had to worry
19 about this, but it is impossible for the interpreters to keep up when you
20 answer the question straight away. Now, you came in straight away after
21 the question, and it was a very long question and it was a very long
22 answer. So I really must insist that you do keep in mind the need to
24 Mr. Domazet, you came in with a question pretty quickly there too.
25 MR. DOMAZET:
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. [Interpretation] When you spoke about the incident which had taken
2 place before this one, that is, the arrival of Witness VG13 in your house,
3 you told us that it had taken place between the 16th and the 17th of June,
4 in the early morning hours, around 4.00 a.m. Does that mean that it took
5 place in the night of that day, that it took place on the 17th, at 4.00,
6 that that was the first time you met with that witness?
7 A. It took place in the early morning hours, at about 4.00 a.m.
8 Q. In view of what we discussed about the date, does that mean that
9 that took place two days after your crossing over of the Drina River on
10 the 19th of June?
11 JUDGE HUNT: Stop. Just stop. May I suggest to you, madam, that
12 you watch the screen in front of you -- just check to see that the
13 transcript is showing, will you? You'll see a transcript being typed in
14 front of you on the screen. When you see the typing stop, that is the
15 time to answer the question. Do you understand that?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you.
18 Yes, Mr. Domazet. You'll have to ask the question again, I
19 think. I'm sorry.
20 MR. DOMAZET:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Let me repeat the question, madam. My question
22 concerned the basis on which you concluded these dates, linking them to
23 the 19th of June, when you crossed the Drina. Can we conclude that your
24 sighting of Witness VG13, which you said took place in the night between
25 the 16th and the 17th of June, at 4.00 a.m., was two days before you
1 crossed the Drina River?
2 A. Once again, I have to say that it is very difficult for me to
3 remember. Ten years have gone by. But I know that it took place two or
4 three days, not more than that, because the person VG13 didn't stay longer
5 than that in Kosovo Polje.
6 Q. Very well. Let us now move on to the incident that you described
7 took place five days before the crossover, the incident involving Rasim
8 Torohan. Could you explain to us in greater detail where you and others
9 who were with you were at the time you witnessed this incident, as you
10 described it today.
11 Q. I think I've already said that, and if you listened carefully, you
12 were able to hear everything and record everything.
13 Q. Do you want to answer my question?
14 A. No.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, may I suggest that if there is any
16 particular matter about which you want further detail, you ask her about
17 it. It was a very general question. I think you'll get perhaps a more
18 helpful attitude if you ask her specifically in relation to any particular
19 matter. This is the professor, is it, who couldn't see? Perhaps you
20 could ask her step-by-step through the story she told.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Madam, were you present in the field called Gajici, that is, in
23 the area which is situated immediately next to the road leading from
24 Visegrad to Prelovo? Were you in that particular field?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You testified today that you were hiding there with some other
2 individuals. Where exactly were you hiding? Behind what structure, under
3 what structure? Could you explain that to us, please.
4 A. I think I have already explained that and described how it was.
5 Q. What was the crop on that field?
6 A. [redacted] One
7 part of it was grass, one part of the field was maize, then I also had
8 some carrots there, I remember, onions, and on the right-hand side there
9 were some bushes.
10 Q. Madam, when you said that "on the right-hand side," do you mean
11 looking from the road or from some other vantage point?
12 A. Well, I think that as you look from the direction of the road.
13 Q. Is your field situated below or above the road Visegrad-Prelovo?
14 A. Below the road.
15 Q. In that part of the village, is Rasim Torohan's house situated
17 A. Yes. It was nearby.
18 Q. Was his brother's house located there as well?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Are those houses located between the Visegrad-Prelovo road and the
21 Drina River?
22 A. Near the section of the road leading to Sase, Visegrad-Sase road.
23 Q. Yes, Visegrad-Sase. But between that road and the river, and the
24 Drina; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Is his brother's house near the road, more towards the road,
2 behind Hasim [as interpreted] Torohan's house?
3 A. His brother's house is closer to the road.
4 Q. Could you tell us: When you saw Rasim Torohan, where exactly was
5 he in relation to the houses? Was he on the road, level with the houses?
6 Was he moving towards, in the direction of Visegrad? Where exactly was
8 A. Rasim was going towards Kosovo Polje.
9 Q. What about the car, the red Passat car driven by Milan Lukic? Was
10 it driving in the same direction or in the opposite direction?
11 A. When they took him, they drove him in the direction of Visegrad.
12 Q. Yes, but my question concerned the direction in which the car was
14 A. The car was driving ahead of the car where I was, from Visegrad.
15 Q. So you were able to observe that from your field, from the spot
16 where you were at the time?
17 A. I apologise, but --
18 Q. Could you answer my question with yes or no, please.
19 A. No, I'm sorry. I have to apologise because I made a mistake. I
20 linked it up with another incident which took place on the 9th of June. I
21 was able to see everything that was going on, that is, when he was
22 stopped, when they were arguing, when he dropped his glasses, and when he
23 was pushed into the Passat car.
24 Q. Do you remember what the weather was like that day?
25 A. It's hard for me to remember when my father died. Sometimes I
1 have to ask my sister about the date of his death.
2 Q. Yes, madam, but it seems to me that your memory is very well in
3 respect of certain other things that you've been testifying about, so I
4 thought that you might be able to remember the details concerning that
5 particular day as well. However, if you cannot remember, I will not
7 A. If I should start telling you about the details, you know ...
8 Q. Madam, would you please answer my questions. You lived for a very
9 long time in that area, in that ethnically mixed area, so I'm sure you are
10 familiar with some ethnic customs of Serbs. Is it customary for Serbs,
11 for individuals who are in mourning, to sing songs as part of that custom?
12 Is that a Serbian tradition or not?
13 A. I know that they are moaning, they're wailing while at the
14 cemetery, during funerals. I don't know about singing.
15 Q. When you spoke about the first time, that is, when you spoke about
16 the departure of the Uzice Corps, you said that you were stopped in front
17 of Mitar Vasiljevic's house by himself, his wife, and three other
18 uniformed individuals. Do you remember, since you were in front of that
19 house, what the gate of the house looked like, of Mitar Vasiljevic's
20 house, that is? Could you describe it, if that was indeed the location
21 where the incident happened, as you told us.
22 A. Well, as far as I remember, it was a simple wooden gate.
23 Q. Do you know that in the vicinity of that house during the time
24 when the Uzice Corps was there, there was a checkpoint or a barricade
25 where soldiers controlled the traffic? Do you remember that?
1 A. Yes, but it was further below Mitar's house.
2 Q. Yes, but in the vicinity of his house, is that correct, near the
3 house? Madam, I asked you whether it was near the house.
4 A. It was not very near Mitar's house.
5 Q. One further question: Before Mitar Vasiljevic's arrest, did you
6 ever give a statement to any official authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
7 that is, the MUP, or maybe to the investigators of the Prosecutor's
8 office, or was it only after his arrest that you gave your statement?
9 A. I don't have to answer that question.
10 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, madam.
11 This concludes my cross-examination of the witness.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, you've accepted each time she said she
13 didn't have to answer something. If you want a direction, you're entitled
14 to seek it. It's a matter for you.
15 MR. DOMAZET: No. Thank you.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Well, except for this, Mr. Domazet: If you want to
17 later on ask the Prosecution to accept there's something in her
18 statement which is to the contrary of her evidence, then you have an
19 obligation to put it to the witness herself. You understand that?
20 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
21 JUDGE HUNT: Very well. And you don't want to get an answer to
22 that question?
23 MR. DOMAZET: Can I ask her after --
24 JUDGE HUNT: No, no. If you want to --
25 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
1 JUDGE HUNT: -- obtain an acceptance from the Prosecution that
2 there is some inconsistent statement, you have an obligation to put that
3 inconsistent statement to the witness to enable her, if she wishes to, to
4 explain it or to say it's wrongly recorded or whatever. So I think that
5 if you do want to follow that procedure, you will have to ask her the
6 question and I will tell her she has to answer it.
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Very well, then, Your Honour. My
8 intention was to do it somewhat later in the proceedings. I will ask the
9 Prosecutor to agree that in the statement that she gave to the
10 investigator --
11 JUDGE HUNT: I'm sorry. I don't think you've understood the
12 problem that I am raising with you. As counsel, and as a matter of
13 fairness, you have an obligation to put an inconsistent statement to the
14 witness if you want to rely upon it later, to give the witness an
15 opportunity of dealing with that inconsistent statement. We're all very
16 well aware of the way in which these statements are taken and the problems
17 that all the translations -- that the procedure goes through, but I think
18 that the fair thing, for you to rely upon it, is to give her the
19 opportunity of dealing with it.
20 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since the witness is
21 refusing to answer those questions concerning individuals who may have
22 been witnesses to what she described today, and I tried to elicit
23 something more about it from the witness, in particular, concerning the
24 incidents that took place between the 14th and the 19th of June, and even
25 after that date, but the witness either avoided those answers or
1 specifically indicated that she didn't want to answer those questions, I
2 don't see any way to pursue the matter further and to insist thereupon,
3 because it is obvious that such is her wish. However, if there is a way,
4 some other way, some other possibility for those names to be mentioned,
5 the names that she refused to indicate, I should like it to be done. I
6 should like to ask for that permission.
7 JUDGE HUNT: Well, Mr. Domazet, what she said at the time was, "I
8 don't have to answer that question," when you asked her who they were.
9 If you had asked me, I would have told the witness that she does have to
10 answer them, and if she doesn't, a great deal less weight will be given to
11 her evidence, because she is denying you the opportunity of testing that
12 evidence, and I'm sure the witness would understand the reasonableness of
13 that. If she has a particular problem with identifying these people, we
14 want to know what that problem is. There may be ways around that problem,
15 and if there aren't, at least we have an explanation. But the attitude
16 which the witness has demonstrated to a number of questions you've asked
17 demonstrates that she believes that she does not have to answer them. I
18 would explain to her, if you asked me to, why she should answer them. But
19 it would be unfair to her not to give her the opportunity of explaining
20 these things so that when we come, in the end, to judge what weight should
21 be given to her evidence, we have that explanation. If she refuses to
22 give that explanation, unfortunately, she will be told that we will have
23 to give less weight to her evidence than we otherwise would have. Now,
24 it's a matter for her whether she wants to help us or not. If she doesn't
25 want to help us, then her evidence will be given less weight.
1 Now, It's after 11.00. I'll simply just explain that to the
2 witness and we'll come back to it after the adjournment.
3 Now, madam, you are here to help the Tribunal, I assume, are you?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I am here, but I simply cannot
5 tell the names of persons who will perhaps one day appear before the Court
6 as witnesses. I don't wish to tell you their names or surnames. I can
7 give that information to whoever needs it, but I cannot be as public and
8 open towards the Defence. I cannot tell the names of potential witnesses.
9 JUDGE HUNT: If you have a valid reason for not giving us their
10 names, then that is a matter we can take into account in judging what
11 weight is to be given to your evidence, but your belief that you can't
12 give them is not sufficient. Now, if you want us to rely upon your
13 evidence, you either give us the names or you give us a proper explanation
14 as to why you can't give the names. It's not a question of who asks you
15 the questions; it's a question of whether you want to help the Tribunal
16 with your evidence.
17 Now, we'll give you some time to think about it. We're going to
18 adjourn until 11.35, and when we resume, either we want you to give us
19 your names or we get from you a valid explanation as to why you can't do
20 it. Merely because the Defence asks, may I suggest to you, is not a valid
22 We'll adjourn now until 11.35.
23 --- Recess taken at 11.06 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.34 a.m.
25 JUDGE HUNT: Now, madam, there are two problems that we have here.
1 First of all, we can understand your diffidence or your wish not to
2 disclose the identity of certain persons, but we do have to know the
3 reasons for it. And I can see no reason why you can't give us those
4 reasons. That's the first thing.
5 The second thing is, you were asked, Did you make a statement to
6 the Prosecution's investigator, and you said you didn't have to answer
7 that question either. Well, that is something you do have to answer. We
8 know very well you made a statement to the Prosecution's investigator. We
9 haven't seen it, but we know you've made one.
10 Then you will be asked, in relation to that, didn't you say
11 something in that statement? Now, my guess is it's something which is
12 inconsistent with what you've already said in evidence here, and there may
13 be a very good reason why you have said something different to what is
14 recorded in that statement. And it is very important, from our point of
15 view, to know why it was different, if it was in fact different, because
16 it may be a very reasonable explanation, and we need to know that in order
17 to know what weight to give to your evidence.
18 Now, it's very important. We have to judge what weight to be
19 given to your evidence because it's going to be contradicted by people
20 being called by the Defence, and we have to, in the end, decide whether
21 your evidence should be accepted. Now, we want to help you to help us,
22 and if your evidence is going to be accepted, we can only be helped by you
23 if you tell us these things.
24 Now, first of all, in relation to the men that were with you on
25 the boat crossing the Drina, that was the first one, wasn't it, Mr.
2 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour. That was the first one.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Now, you say you don't want to reveal their
4 identity. Can you explain to us why you don't want to? What is it you
5 fear? For their safety or something like that?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, I didn't understand
7 that the question was about the men who were crossing the boat. I
8 understood it to be the men on the 18th who were looking when Rasim was
9 taken away. As for the men who were crossing in the boat on the 19th,
10 there's no problem there. On that day, the whole population of Kosovo
11 Polje crossed the Drina River.
12 JUDGE HUNT: So that when you were speaking of some men on the
13 boat, it just was part of the population of your locality or place where
14 you used to live?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was one boat that would cross,
16 and then it would come back to pick up another group, and it maybe made
17 three or four crossings, because 150 people couldn't get into one boat.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Right. Well, then, if you were asked to name some of
19 those persons, you would be able to do so; is that so?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can remember some names, judging
21 by the households, the names of the people who crossed on the 19th of
22 June. So if necessary, I can name the households, the families.
23 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you.
24 Now, the second thing was in relation to the statement which you
25 gave. Now, you said you didn't want to answer that. Do you understand
1 now that you really should answer that question and you will then be asked
2 some questions about what is recorded in that statement? Are you prepared
3 to answer those questions?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Do you mean on the 19th, the people
5 crossing by boat?
6 JUDGE HUNT: No, no. I myself do not know what it is that Mr.
7 Domazet wants to ask you about, but he will want to put to you something
8 which is recorded in this statement as having been said by you to the
9 Prosecution's investigators. Now, do you have any problem with answering
10 those questions? You'll be shown the document, if you need to have it, to
11 check what is written in it, but you had said previously you weren't going
12 to answer those questions. Are you able to say now that you will answer
13 those questions?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Well, thank you very much.
16 Mr. Domazet.
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, but I would
18 ask you for your assistance again, because a moment ago, when you put your
19 first question to the witness, the witness answered that she could give
20 the names of the people who crossed by boat on the 19th to the other bank
21 of the Drina River. But that was not my question. I was not referring to
22 those men on the 19th of May. I was referring to those who, two days
23 later, were with her when they were collecting honey, and allegedly saw
24 Mitar Vasiljevic and Planincic singing and walking along the road. The
25 witness said that a group of men was with her, and my question was in
1 relation to those men who were with her that evening, who they were, and
2 not what the witness said a moment ago.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Well, I'm very sorry, but I did ask you whether that
4 was what you were after and you gave me your assent. That's why I took it
5 up with the witness. Now, you want, then, to these ones on the 19th of
6 June -- was it the 19th of June? 21st of June. One moment.
7 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour, the incident the 21 of June.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would be glad to give the names of
9 the men who were with me, but in view of the fact that I assume that those
10 men will appear before the Tribunal, because of their personal safety and
11 revealing their identity, I would not like to mention their names. That
12 is the only reason.
13 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, are these people witnesses in the case?
14 MR. GROOME: No, Your Honour. I'm just going to ask if that the
15 witness is going to name these people, that we go into private session.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Well, certainly, yes, but I'm still looking for it in
17 the transcript as to when the question was asked. Have you got any
18 reference to it, Mr. Domazet? I remember the questions, but I want to
19 make sure that we're all talking about the same thing this time.
20 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I believe we've found it. It's at the
21 end of page 19.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you very much. That's her evidence-in-chief,
24 MR. GROOME: I'm sorry, Your Honour. That's my mistake. We're
25 looking for the cross now.
1 Your Honours, it's at the top of page 41.
2 Please disregard that, Your Honour.
3 MS. BAUER: I think the first answer of the witness was on line 12
4 of page 27.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. I was just on that page when I was
6 diverted to 41.
7 MS. BAUER: Sorry. At the end of 25, not 27.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you.
9 Now, these are the questions:
10 Q. It was on that day that you said that you saw
11 this large group of men taking honey from the beehive
12 belonging to the individual that you've mentioned?
13 A. Yes, including myself and a couple of other women
14 and Bosniak men, because we didn't have any sugar. We
15 wanted to use the honey to take it to the left bank of
16 the Drina River so that we have something to eat, to
17 survive on.
18 Q. Were you all together while crossing the river? Did
19 you cross it by boat?
20 A. We crossed the river in two or three groups in boats
21 which were completely packed because we had to be at the
22 river, by the river, at a specific time so that we could
23 cross over together at the same time.
24 Q. Do you remember the names of the men who were with
25 you on that occasion?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Now, is that the one that you're worried about, Mr. Domazet? That
2 is the one that she declined to answer.
3 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Well, it's not exactly tied, as far as I can see it,
5 to any particular incident of having seen your client. I'm glad to see
6 that my recollection of it wasn't all that faulty, although I may have had
7 the wrong crossing. If you want to pursue this issue, may I suggest you
8 ask the questions again, the ones that you want answered, and then if the
9 witness says she can't or does not wish to identify any particular person,
10 we will then give her the opportunity of explaining why. But perhaps
11 before you do that, I should say this to the witness:
12 Is your fear that, by disclosing their names, they might be
13 brought here as witnesses? Is that what you're worried about?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not worried in the least as to
15 the willingness of these people to say what they know here in the
16 Tribunal, but if I were to give the names of those men who know what I
17 know, I fear for their safety, because those men just now are down there
18 and they are building their houses in Visegrad, or they are coming and
19 going to visit what remains of their homes which were burnt down.
20 JUDGE HUNT: Well, perhaps I better put it to you directly: Are
21 you concerned that there is somebody in Visegrad who may retaliate if they
22 are going to give evidence in this case?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I fear for every returnee, not just
24 witnesses, because the situation in Visegrad is still far from civilised.
25 JUDGE HUNT: And they are returning to live in Visegrad?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They are returning and they are
2 building houses, and they are coming and going. And I do believe that
3 every witness who is called and who has seen and knows what he knows will
4 respond to a call from the Tribunal, and it is for those reasons that I
5 would not like to give the first and last names of those people.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Am I correct in understanding you as saying that you
7 believe that they would want to give evidence?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know who those witnesses
9 are, but all those people who saw and experienced everything I know, and
10 maybe more than that, will certainly come to the Tribunal to tell the
12 JUDGE HUNT: Well, if you think that they are willing to give that
13 evidence, what is your fear in revealing who they would be?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me be quite frank, because that
15 is my nature. If the Defence of Mr. Vasiljevic is here who can use his
16 mobile telephone tonight and say the names of these people, then I fear
17 that those witnesses, if they are witnesses, will not dare to come here,
18 and they will have to abandon Visegrad for good.
19 JUDGE HUNT: Now I understand you. Thank you.
20 Yes, Mr. Domazet. I realise there was an insinuation against you
21 which is understandable, perhaps, to somebody who is ignorant of the
22 responsibilities of counsel, but it's not only you who that fear would
23 be related to. That is one of the problems that we face very regularly in
24 this Tribunal.
25 It means, of course, that the incident is untested, and for that
1 reason it may, unless it's otherwise supported, may have less weight in
2 the overall evidence in the case. But may I suggest that, first of all,
3 you take her to her statement. I don't know whether there's anything in
4 her statement about this.
5 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour, but Mr. Groome is standing up.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Sorry, Mr. Groome.
7 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, may I offer just a practical solution.
8 One possibility would be for, after the witness's testimony, to provide
9 those names confidentially, and after the Prosecution has rested its case
10 and in the break before the Defence case, the Prosecution would take steps
11 to have these witnesses brought to the UN office in Sarajevo and make
12 them available for Mr. Domazet to interview these people, if he would
14 JUDGE HUNT: I'm not sure that that will meet the witness's
15 concerns, but if you have any such suggestion, we can deal with that
16 later. At the moment, from my own point of view, I would not ask the
17 witness to identify them here in court, whatever may happen in other
19 MR. GROOME: Yes.
20 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, what about the statement?
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will ask
22 the witness a few things in connection with her statement.
23 Q. First of all, I have to ask once again, and I hope I will get an
24 answer: Did you give a statement to the investigator of The Hague
25 Tribunal in January this year?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you give any statements or reports in connection with things
3 that happened in Visegrad to anybody, any other institution?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Are you referring to the Office of the Prosecutor of this Tribunal
6 in The Hague?
7 A. No one even dreamt that there would be this Tribunal, or any
8 other, for that matter.
9 Q. But my question was whether you gave a statement to the
10 investigator of the Office of the Prosecution; once or several times?
11 A. Twice.
12 Q. Apart from the statement in January of this year, when was the
13 other one?
14 A. I think both were in January.
15 Q. So that is one and the same statement. And who did you make
16 statements to prior to that?
17 A. I wouldn't like to answer that question if I don't have to.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Madam, this is a very fair question to ask of you.
19 There are cases, and I'm not suggesting it has happened here, that
20 witnesses elaborate their stories; they tell one version to the
21 Prosecution's investigator, they tell another story to the MUP, and then
22 they come along here in court and tell a third story. That's very
23 relevant to know what weight should be given to that witness's evidence.
24 I repeat: I'm not suggesting that's what happened here. But the Defence
25 counsel is entitled to ask whether you have given any other statements to
1 anybody else. Now, you've given one to the Prosecution. Did you give one
2 to anybody else: That's the question. Is there some problem that you
3 have with answering that?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that I did make a statement
5 in 1993.
6 JUDGE HUNT: And is there some problem in telling us to whom you
7 made that statement?
8 A. No, there's no problem, because it is a man who, on his own
9 initiative, investigated the suffering of Bosniaks in Visegrad
10 municipality. He took it down in an ordinary book and he interviewed
11 people about what they had experienced.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Are you able to tell us his name?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, that man has died.
14 His name was Mesanovic.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, Mr. Domazet.
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
17 Q. So if I understood your last answer properly, you made a statement
18 to this gentleman, Mr. Mesanovic, who was writing a book, but you didn't
19 give any statements to the MUP authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that
21 A. I don't remember at all that any MUP institutions took any
23 Q. But you would probably remember if you had been interviewed by
24 anyone from the MUP of Bosnia-Herzegovina or that you had signed such a
1 A. I did not give a statement in the MUP, but there were commissions
2 for the investigation of war crimes against Bosniaks.
3 Q. Did you mention the name of Mitar Vasiljevic in your earlier
4 statements, including your statement to this gentleman Mesanovic?
5 A. To Mesanovic I did not, but about Mitar, I did.
6 Q. Madam, if Mesanovic is the only one you gave statements to apart
7 from the investigator of this Tribunal, if you say that you didn't talk
8 about Mitar Vasiljevic to him, then to whom did you speak about Mitar
10 A. I have already told you that there was a commission for the
11 investigation of war crimes - that was the name of the commission - for
12 the area of Drina.
13 Q. I have to ask you again: Did you give them any statement
14 regarding the incidents in Visegrad during the war?
15 A. I have to tell you now that [redacted]
18 Q. Madam, I asked about you, yourself, personally. Did you make any
20 A. I can't remember.
21 Q. Thank you. Let me now ask you a few questions about this
22 statement of yours, which I assume you remember, because it was in January
23 this year. I looked through it carefully after your testimony today, and
24 in the statement I did not find anywhere you mention seeing the group from
25 Koritnik on the 14th of June. Is it true that in your statement you did
1 not mention that?
2 A. Let me tell you: At the time, I was giving a statement only about
3 victim number 13 and the condition she was in and how I saw her, but I'm
4 now telling what I saw in the morning that they went by, and Igbala
5 Kurspahic from Kosovo Polje joined them, and who, with the villagers from
6 Koritnik, was burnt in the same house.
7 Q. Madam, I have listened to your testimony today. Do you agree with
8 me that you did not mention that particular fact in the statement that you
9 gave to the investigator of The Hague Prosecution office?
10 A. If it is not mentioned in the statement, then it means that I did
11 not state it in the statement. However, I repeat once again that I saw
12 them coming from the direction of Sase towards Visegrad, a group of 50 or
13 60 people.
14 Q. You have told us today that VG13 had told you about the persons
15 who took part in the fire, and you said, first of all, if not only, Mitar
16 Vasiljevic. That is not contained in your statement to the investigator
17 of the Tribunal, that the witness VG13 had indeed told you that. Do you
18 agree with me that that is not mentioned in your statement?
19 A. I don't know what is written in this January statement, but I wish
20 to state before this Honourable Chamber that the victim number 13
21 mentioned Milan Lukic, Mitar Vasiljevic, and Bosko Djuric.
22 Q. Yes, madam. You have stated that today. However, you did not
23 mention that particular fact in the statement given to the investigator.
24 Do you agree with me on that?
25 A. Right now I cannot even remember what is written in there, but it
1 probably -- the victim number 13 will tell you about her experiences. I'm
2 just telling you what I heard, but I did not see when it happened.
3 Q. Also in your statement, when you spoke about Rasim Torohan, you
4 said that he was going towards Visegrad in the statement to the
5 investigator. Today you testified that he was going in the opposite
6 direction, that is, towards Sase. Do you remember having declared that to
7 the investigator?
8 A. I don't know whether you've had an opportunity to be in the area
9 of Visegrad since 1992, and if you experience death occurring before your
10 very eyes, sometimes it seems to you that he's going towards the town,
11 sometimes in the opposite direction, sometimes towards the woods, in order
12 to save his life. I know that he was pushed into the car and that he was
13 taken in the direction of Visegrad, sir.
14 Q. Am I correct in understanding you that, because of what you have
15 just stated, you cannot be sure as to the direction he was going to?
16 Because if we take into account your fear at the time and the overall
18 A. Once again I have to tell you: If you're witnessing death before
19 your very eyes... The man had just lost his glasses. He was thrown
20 into the car. He was going towards Visegrad. And it's so difficult,
21 because all these images, maybe a dozen of them, are happening at the same
22 time before your very eyes.
23 Q. Very well, madam. I can really understand that. But does it mean
24 that in view of the fact that you have given two different statements
25 concerning the event, that you cannot be sure whether he was going towards
1 Visegrad or in the opposite direction, that is, towards Sase? Can I
2 interpret your answer in that way, for the reasons that you have just
4 A. Since his house was close by, in my opinion, he was trying to find
5 shelter in Kosovo Polje, so he was going towards Kosovo Polje. He was
6 walking in the direction of Kosovo Polje at the moment it happened. He
7 was probably turning around, looking for help, asking for help.
8 Q. Madam, he was on the road, he was walking along the road, so I
9 don't see how you can say that he was trying to find shelter. He was on
10 the road. In the statement given to the investigator, you stated that he
11 was walking towards Visegrad. Today you have stated something different.
12 I want to know whether you could clearly see that, whether you could
13 clearly see that once when he was pushed into the car, where he was taken
14 to, in which direction, towards Visegrad or the other one, or if you
15 cannot tell us that.
16 A. For me, the most important is the way in which he was taken away
17 and the fact that Professor Torohan has never come back, has never been
18 seen since then.
19 Q. Yes, but you haven't answered my question. If you wish to answer
20 my question, you can at least tell me whether you remember that that is
21 what you stated to the investigator, that he was walking toward Visegrad.
22 A. Well, if that's what's stated there, then it means that that is
23 what I stated. But try to put yourself in my shoes. Would you really be
24 turning around and looking at death happening before your very eyes?
25 Q. Yes, but in that case you can tell us that you don't know, if
1 those were the reasons that you didn't see --
2 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, look, I really think that we've spent
3 enough time on this. The statement will speak for itself, and the
4 importance of this particular matter is so minute, it's not worth this
5 sort of pressure. Is there anything further you want to ask her?
6 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree, Your Honour. The same
7 event is described in the statement to the effect that the witness was in
8 a cornfield in Kosovo Polje. That is in the statement that she gave to
9 the investigator. Today she told us that she was in the woods.
10 Q. I don't know whether that exists in your field, and is it true,
11 Witness, that you were in the cornfield on the 18th of June?
12 A. Well, I'm really sorry that the fall is nearing its end, but -- so
13 I'm not able to take you there. There was a cornfield in Kosovo Polje,
14 the Black Locust Wood, also and everything the way I described it.
15 Q. Is it true that you told the investigator that you had been in a
16 cornfield on that occasion?
17 A. Counsel, the cornfield is next to the Acacia wood. It is linked,
18 it is connected with that piece of land.
19 Q. Very well. And just one more question, Your Honour.
20 In your statement, madam, [redacted]
22 [redacted]. What is the name of that place and where exactly was that house?
23 A. I don't know whether you have been in Rujiste in [redacted]
1 [redacted], and all other villages in the municipality of
3 Q. I was only interested about his house.
4 A. I know where it is. I know where he was born, I know exactly
5 where his new house in town is. I know everything.
6 Q. [redacted]
8 A. Well, you go down the hill, you pass through the meadow, and you
9 get to his grandmother's house, and there's a very old house next to it,
10 and it's the adjacent house.
11 Q. Thank you. And I'm sorry, just one more question about an event
12 which was not described in the statement, that is, the event which took
13 place on the third day of Kurban -- I'm sorry. On the eve of Kurban
14 Bajram, the day before. You said that Mitar was singing something about
15 the meat that is customarily eaten on the Muslim holiday. You did not
16 describe that event in your statement. Do you remember that?
17 A. Sir, if I had spoken about everything that I know and everything
18 that I saw, the Tribunal wouldn't be finished with me for three days. On
19 the 10th of June, 1992, all of the residents of Kosovo Polje were able to
20 see, to observe, because they were all herded in one group. They could
21 see Mitar Vasiljevic in Gajic, standing -- driving -- on the left of the
22 driver, in the passenger's seat, carrying a black flag with skull
23 and bones on it --
24 Q. Madam, I am not asking you about that. You have spoken about that
25 during your testimony today. I just wanted to know whether that incident
1 was described in your statement given to the investigator, because I was
2 unable to find that particular event. That is all I want to know.
3 A. I wish to finish my sentence.
4 Q. Could you please answer my question, madam?
5 JUDGE HUNT: You are being asked whether you had described that
6 incident to the investigator. You've already told us about the incident
7 here. You are being asked, however, whether you told the investigator
8 about it.
9 A. I don't know whether I did. I should have done it, if I didn't,
10 but it did happen on the 10th. Mitar was calling out Muslims, telling
11 them that the next day the Kurban traditional meat would be distributed,
12 and that is true.
13 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, madam. I have no further
14 questions for you.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome.
16 Re-examined by Mr. Groome:
17 MR. GROOME: Witness 81, there's been quite a bit of testimony now
18 about Stanko Pecikoza. Can you tell us what his ethnicity was?
19 A. He was a Serb.
20 Q. And was he a Serbian -- was he a Serb that helped Muslims during
21 this time?
22 A. [redacted]
23 [redacted], a very kind and good person, like everybody
24 else from the Pecikoza family. Stanko Pecikoza was one of the wealthiest
25 Serbs in the municipality of Visegrad. He was initially the president of
1 the SDS. I don't know what happened to him later on, what kind of
2 function he had, but there was a disagreement of some sort amongst them.
3 But Stanko Pecikoza helped a lot the Muslim residents of Visegrad. He
4 enabled them to leave the town and go to Serbia.
5 MR. GROOME: Thank you very much. I have no further questions.
6 JUDGE HUNT: I think I should say this, Mr. Domazet. There was
7 absolutely no suggestion to her that she had got the date of his death
8 wrong. Now, I hope that we're not going to be faced with a situation that
9 you come along later to prove that she was wrong. You've got to give her
10 the opportunity to explain anything you want to put in opposition to her
11 evidence. Now, you had better come clean, as it were, as to the point
12 you're going to make about that.
13 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if Your Honour wishes
14 me to do so, but concerning the death of Stanko Pecikoza is indeed -- the
15 date of the death of Stanko Pecikoza is indeed different from what the
16 witness has indicated. Does Your Honour wish me to explore the matter
17 further on?
18 JUDGE HUNT: Well, you've got to give her the opportunity to
19 explain whether she may have been in error. That's the whole point of a
20 fair cross-examination. If you don't do it now, it means we may have to
21 bring her back for the Prosecution in a case in reply. There's a rule
22 which actually specifically requires counsel to do this now. It used to
23 be just thought to be an obligation of fairness.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. According to what
25 I was able to learn while investigating the case, and I have some
1 documentary evidence about that, Stanko Pecikoza was killed on the 20th of
2 June. At the time, nobody knew about that. The matter became known on
3 the 21st, and he was buried on the 22nd. So that is the information that
4 I was able to obtain. We can put it to the witness, that is, that it was
5 on the 20th of June that Stanko Pecikoza was killed, but that his family
6 was unaware of that fact on that day.
7 JUDGE HUNT: But let's assume it's one day out. What does it
8 matter? The importance of this evidence is that she says that she saw
9 your client, and that's the whole point of it. Now, both of them are
10 after the 14th of June and that's the only relevance of the evidence.
11 That, if I may say so, would not destroy the credit to be given to her
13 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree with you, Your Honour.
14 You know the reason why those dates are very important for me, and it is
15 important for me that the witness has spoken about the dates of the
16 crossing over and the dates of the events that took place before that, and
17 she said that she crossed the river on the 19th, and she linked several
18 other dates to that particular date, and that's why it was important to
19 me, because she linked it with the date when she learnt about the death of
20 Stanko Pecikoza and when his family said that they could no longer expect
21 their protection. So those were the reasons for my questions concerning
22 this particular matter, and the Defence will call evidence as to the
23 whereabouts of Mitar Vasiljevic at that time.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Well, that's a very different matter, but from the
25 point of view of putting it to the witness, I don't think there's any need
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 to do it unless Mr. Groome has some other idea, because the point that she
2 made was that it was after the 14th of June, after she had spoken to --
3 she had tended this woman whose pseudonym I've forgotten but who had been
4 injured in the fire. So that -- as long as it's after the 14th, that's
5 the point of her evidence, really. A day in, a day out would not make any
6 difference. But you can certainly pursue it later on.
7 Mr. Groome, would you agree that there's no point in putting that
8 to her in cross-examination? She might have been a day out?
9 MR. GROOME: Yes, I would, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Okay. Well, then, there's no need for you to put it,
11 Mr. Domazet.
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I'm not
13 going to pursue the matter any further, of course, but I should like to
14 ask Mr. Groome for his agreement, that is, that what I have just indicated
15 is not contained in the statement given to the investigator, so that we do
16 not need to tender the entire statement into evidence. If necessary, I
17 can perhaps repeat the relevant points, the inconsistencies, that is. Do
18 you wish me to repeat the inconsistencies?
19 JUDGE HUNT: This is a matter that, if it's not easily worked out
20 between you in court, could be worked out after. The witness doesn't have
21 to be here, we can get on to the next witness. That's what I'm concerned
22 about. Perhaps could you speak to Mr. Groome about it later and there
23 will be an agreement, if necessary, by checking it against the transcript
24 and the statement?
25 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, by all means, if it is
1 agreeable to Mr. Groome.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you.
3 Any re-examination?
4 MR. GROOME: No, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Well, madam, that completes your task here. Thank
6 you very much for coming here to give your evidence and for the evidence
7 you've given. You are now free to leave.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I just repeat
9 something, please?
10 JUDGE HUNT: I'm a little concerned about what it is going to be.
11 What do you want to say? What's the subject matter of it?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Once again, I have to state that the
13 late Stanko Pecikoza was killed around 6.00 a.m. on the 19th of June, and
14 throughout that day people were coming to express condolences to his
15 family. People were crying. His brother Mlado came to the village and
16 he said that, in addition to what Mr. Stanimir Pecikoza told us, what he
17 told us, the allegations of the Defence are not true. The late Stanko
18 Pecikoza was killed on the 19th of June.
19 JUDGE HUNT: Well, thank you for that. The Prosecution will no
20 doubt follow that up with you, but you are now free to leave.
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 JUDGE HUNT: Now, Ms. Bauer, we won't be sitting after lunch-time
23 today but I think it's worth getting the witness under way.
24 MS. BAUER: Yes, I agree, Your Honour. The Prosecution calls
25 Witness VG78.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 WITNESS: WITNESS VG78
3 JUDGE HUNT: Now, madam, will you please make the solemn
4 declaration in the document that the Court usher is handing to you.
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Sit down, please, madam.
9 MS. BAUER: Could the pseudonym sheet marked 87 please be given to
10 the witness and to the Court.
11 Examined by Ms. Bauer:
12 Q. Witness VG78, please -- good afternoon. Relax, sit back.
13 A. Good afternoon.
14 Q. In order to conceal your identity, you have been given the
15 pseudonym VG78. I just want you to look at the sheet of paper and state
16 with yes or no whether it contains your name, your date of birth, and the
17 place where you were born.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. VG78, can you please describe to the Court your educational
21 A. Secondary school. I graduated from secondary school for textile
23 Q. Where did you go to primary --
24 JUDGE HUNT: Just a moment. The pseudonym sheet will be Exhibit
25 P78 and it is under seal.
1 I'm sorry, Ms. Bauer, but it's better to get them in while we
2 think of it.
3 MS. BAUER:
4 Q. Where did you go to primary school?
5 A. I went to primary school in Prelovo.
6 Q. And your secondary school you were just talking about, where was
8 JUDGE HUNT: I'm sorry to interrupt again.
9 A. In Visegrad.
10 JUDGE HUNT: That should be P87, not 78. I'm sorry. Perhaps I'm
11 developing dyslexia.
12 MS. BAUER:
13 Q. Did you in 1992 live with your family in the village of Koritnik?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you please look at this sheet and just state with yes or no
16 whether VG101 is your sister.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What's your ethnicity?
19 A. Muslim.
20 Q. Did there come a time in June 1992 when a Serb neighbour called
21 Radomir Djuric came to your village?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. When was that, approximately?
24 A. The 13th of June he came, and he told us to move out on the 14th,
25 in the morning, at 6.00 a.m., that a bus would be waiting for us in
1 Koritnik, the village, in the village where Serbs lived. That is where
2 the bus station was.
3 Q. Did he tell you why you had to leave the village that day?
4 A. He said that our neighbours don't dare protect us any more if some
5 other people come, and that is why we left on the 14th of June. We left
6 the village of Koritnik.
7 Q. When you refer on the 14th of June with "we," do you refer only to
8 your family or do you refer to more people from the village?
9 A. The whole village.
10 Q. Including the Serb population of the village or only the Muslim
11 population of the village?
12 A. The Muslim population.
13 Q. Could you estimate for the Court, please, how many people,
14 approximately, were in this group?
15 A. About 50 of us, and then from other settlements, two families
16 joined us.
17 Q. VG78, we'll come to that point in time. Did you find that the bus
18 station -- was there a bus waiting for you the next day?
19 A. No. No.
20 Q. Was your neighbour there the next day?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Did you decide to go on to the neighbouring village, Greben, to
23 wait for a bus there?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did the bus come in that village?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Were you told that the bus broke down and you ought better to go
3 to Visegrad?
4 A. Yes, that is what we were told.
5 Q. You just said a moment ago you were joined by more people from
6 other villages. Can you recall which villages those villages were?
7 A. The village of Sase and Banja.
8 Q. And how many people do you estimate joined your group from
10 A. I think two families.
11 Q. About how many people would that be?
12 A. Seven. Seven members.
13 Q. At what time did you approximately arrive in Visegrad?
14 A. About 12.15, when the buses had left. So we didn't arrive in time
15 to catch the buses who left at 12.00, that is, the convoy.
16 Q. Where did you go when you went to Visegrad?
17 A. We went in front of the hotel, along the Drina, and we stood
18 there, and --
19 Q. Who, apart from your group, was there at the hotel?
20 A. Mitar Vasiljevic was there and those people who were collaborating
21 with him. They were looking after the people who were to join the convoy
22 and those who missed the convoy, to put them up for the night, and so they
23 accompanied us --
24 Q. I would like to stop you there. Before you go on, you just
25 mentioned a person called Mitar Vasiljevic. I would like to know how you
1 know Mitar Vasiljevic.
2 A. I knew him by sight. He worked in Visegrad as a waiter. I would
3 see him several times in the bus. The bus would stop at Greben and then
4 drive on to Prelovo, carrying passengers.
5 Q. Would Mitar Vasiljevic be a passenger or the driver of the bus?
6 A. A passenger.
7 Q. Do you know anything about his wife?
8 A. I just know that she worked at Banja, in a shop. I knew her by
9 sight. I would see her there. I would go into the shop.
10 Q. Did there come a time when an OTP investigator showed you a colour
11 photo spread?
12 A. I don't understand the question.
13 Q. Did there come a time when you were shown by an OTP investigator,
14 a representative from the OTP, 12 different pictures of men on one sheet
15 of paper?
16 A. Yes.
17 MS. BAUER: Your Honour, at this point I would like to go into a
18 short private session. The photo spread is already in evidence under
19 seal, P55-78.
20 JUDGE HUNT: It has a signature on it, does it?
21 MS. BAUER: Yes.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, we'll go into private session, then.
23 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 MS. BAUER:
24 Q. VG78, would you be able today to recognise the person you were
25 talking about?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Could you please take a look around in the courtroom and describe
3 where the person sits and what he is wearing, without, please, standing
5 A. He's sitting in the last row, next to the wall. He has a greyish
6 suit. I can't see very well from here.
7 MS. BAUER: May the record --
8 Q. Can you maybe --
9 A. And he's got headphones on his head.
10 MS. BAUER: Could the record reflect that the witness identified
11 the accused, Your Honour?
12 JUDGE HUNT: Well, the colour of the suit is not quite right.
13 MS. BAUER: I know.
14 JUDGE HUNT: But he's the only one in the back row that is wearing
15 a suit. The security guard is wearing a shirt. I think we can agree,
16 can't we, Mr. Domazet? Yes, she pointed to the accused.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see well from here.
18 MS. BAUER: Don't worry, Witness 78.
19 Q. When you saw this person, Mitar Vasiljevic, there at the hotel for
20 the first time, what did you see him doing?
21 A. Well, he was telling us where we should go for the night, because
22 the buses had left for Kladanj, and they said that we should go to Mahala,
23 to spend the night wherever we wanted in those houses, and he went with us
24 with another two or three persons whom I didn't know --
25 Q. Could you stop for a moment, please. You said he was telling you
1 to go spend the night in some houses. What was Mitar Vasiljevic wearing
2 that day? Can you recall that?
3 A. I remember he had a greyish coat and a hat on his head and a
4 uniform underneath the coat, and he had a rifle on his shoulder.
5 Q. Was there anything covering his face?
6 A. No.
7 Q. When you saw Mitar Vasiljevic at the hotel, how far away were you
8 from him at that time? Maybe you want to look towards the Judges and say
9 was it closer than the Judges, further away than the Judges, or about the
10 distance from the Judges?
11 A. About ten steps away. When he walked up to slap a person, she
12 said something and he went up to her and slapped her, and then he moved
13 away. He was walking around in front of the hotel.
14 Q. You said he told you to go to a certain settlement in Nova
15 Mahala -- in Mahala, sorry. Is Pionirska Street --
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. -- part of Mahala?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You also said that he accompanied you. Was he --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. -- alone?
22 A. No. There were two or three others. I knew them by sight but not
23 by name, so I didn't really know who they were.
24 Q. Was Mitar Vasiljevic dressed in the same clothes that you just saw
25 him at the hotel, Visegrad?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Was he still armed?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was there anything disguising his face at that point?
5 A. No.
6 Q. And where would he walk? Would he walk right beside you or in
7 front of you?
8 A. Beside us and in front of us. He was accompanying the column.
9 Q. You said it was a column. Was it a column by lines or
10 individuals? What was the column like?
11 A. In line, one behind the other.
12 Q. Was VG101 at that time with you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Could you have touched Mitar Vasiljevic from where you were
16 A. No.
17 Q. Did there come a point in time that you stopped on Pionirska
19 A. We stopped when we reached the settlement in front of the houses,
20 and then we entered those houses and that is where we put up, in two
22 Q. Did anybody tell you to enter those houses?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Who told you to enter these houses?
25 A. Mitar Vasiljevic said, "Go in there. You will spend the night
1 there." He said it, and the men with him, and we got in and settled down.
2 Q. In reference to the school on Pionirska Street, approximately, did
3 you pass the whole school or did you just see the school? Was it across
4 the school? Where were those houses?
5 A. We passed by the school, and those houses were left of the school,
6 to the left of the school. Jusuf Memic's house was the one we were in,
7 and the other house, the surname was Delija, the family name. So we were
8 in those two houses.
9 Q. The larger group was in which house?
10 A. In Jusuf Memic's house.
11 Q. Did you stay throughout the time on the ground floor of that
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. How many rooms were in that house?
15 A. Two rooms, a kitchen and a corridor. And there was an attic, but
16 there was no one up there. We were just in those two rooms and in the
17 kitchen and in the hallway.
18 Q. Would you give your best estimate; how much time would you say
19 elapsed from when you came from the hotel to the place where -- to the
20 house where you stayed?
21 A. I think about 45 minutes, something like that. We spent a little
22 time down there, then we moved over. Something like that.
23 Q. Mitar Vasiljevic, did he stay with you or did he leave?
24 A. First he went into the house and took out three persons, and then
25 he brought them back, after about an hour, not even that. And after that,
1 I didn't see him in the house, but one person said Mitar Vasiljevic is
2 calling people to come out to give some kind of a certificate, and that if
3 anyone were to come, he should be told, and that no one must bother us,
4 and that we would be the first to leave by bus to Kladanj. And then I saw
5 these people coming into the house and taking this note.
6 Q. Could we please stop there for a moment. Who told you that Mitar
7 Vasiljevic issued a safety passage?
8 A. A person from my village, a woman who was with us, and she said
9 that he was calling out a person to go out. She didn't go, but this other
10 person went. And then they got this note for safe passage, that we would
11 be the first to go in the morning to Kladanj.
12 Q. Did she tell you to whom he might have given this card?
13 A. I don't know exactly who he gave it to. I know that people went
14 out and brought back this certificate, this document.
15 Q. Did you see this certificate?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Did you know a certain Milan Lukic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And where did you know him from?
20 A. [redacted]
21 [redacted]. So that is how I knew him.
22 Q. Did there come a time that afternoon that Milan Lukic arrived?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. How much later was this in relation to the last time you saw Mitar
1 A. About an hour later, maybe less. I can't remember exactly.
2 Q. Was it still light outside or already dark?
3 A. It was light.
4 Q. Did Milan Lukic request you to take -- to give away all your
5 valuables, including money, gold, and watches?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did everybody have to give away whatever they had on themselves?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you have a watch at that time?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Did you see anybody else at that time, apart from Milan Lukic?
12 A. No.
13 Q. What did he do, apart from taking your valuables?
14 A. He came to the door and said, "Give us money and gold. If we find
15 any on anyone, we will cut your throat and cut off your fingers." And he
16 took out a young girl from the village of Musici, and he took her away and
17 I didn't see her again.
18 Q. Was this woman previously said to have been raped by Milan Lukic?
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE HUNT: These Perhaps were not terribly much at issue, Ms.
21 Bauer, but there's been a series of leading questions over the last page.
22 May I suggest you let the witness give the evidence.
23 MS. BAUER: Yes.
24 Q. When Milan Lukic left, did there come a time when a group of men
25 came back later that evening?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Who were these men?
3 A. They were the same ones who were there during the daytime. They
4 told us to get out of this house, to go to another one. They wanted to
5 search our things, allegedly to see if there were any weapons. And that
6 is how we came out, one by one, and crossing from one house to the other.
7 With VG101, I managed to escape, to run away, and so I didn't stay there
8 any longer.
9 Q. When those men arrived, were they outside or inside the house?
10 A. No. In front of the door they were. They were between the two
11 houses, watching the people as they were moving into the other house. One
12 was in front of the house, with a rifle. He had a moustache. I don't
13 remember his name. I just noticed his face as I was leaving this house.
14 Q. Did you recognise any of these men?
15 A. I saw Milan Lukic and Mitar Vasiljevic walking between the two
16 houses. They were not in front of this house which I was leaving, but
17 over there next to the other house. But I ran away, together with VG101.
18 I hid behind the shed and then went down to a creek and through the woods,
19 as far away as I could from the town.
20 Q. What did Mitar Vasiljevic wear at that time?
21 A. What he wore in front of the hotel: this coat and a hat. I just
22 saw him for a moment, his profile, in front of the house.
23 Q. It was dark. Was there any lights outside the house?
24 A. There was. There was a light and you could see everything; it was
25 lit up.
1 Q. Where did you stand when you saw Mitar Vasiljevic?
2 A. I was standing at the edge of the shed. I was about to leave, and
3 I cast a glance that way. I heard the grass moving, and together with
4 VG101, I followed her, and that is how we managed to escape.
5 Q. When you turned around to take a glance, what did the person Mitar
6 Vasiljevic do?
7 A. He was walking around with those men of his. They were
8 supervising the people moving. He was looking more towards that house
9 than towards this one where we were.
10 Q. If you say "this one" and "that one," you mean -- which house do
11 you mean? He stood closer to the house you were let out or closer to the
12 other house where you were supposed to be let in?
13 A. Closer to the house that we were supposed to be let into, not over
15 MS. BAUER: I would ask to go into another private session for
16 introduction of a document.
17 JUDGE HUNT: I think it would be preferable if we took a break now
18 and you can do that on Monday.
19 We will resume at 9.30 on Monday. We will now adjourn.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.57 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Monday, the 1st day of
22 October, 2001, at 9.30 a.m.