1 Monday, 19 November 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Call the case, please.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-98-32-T, the Prosecutor versus
7 Mitar Vasiljevic.
8 JUDGE HUNT: While we are waiting for the witnesses to return,
9 Mr. Domazet, I understand you've got a report at last.
10 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Have you served it?
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have not because I
13 left a message this morning for Mr. Loran ^ to say that I was in the
14 Defence room, to hand it to him, however, he didn't turn up before the
15 trial began so that I have it. I have the report.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Anyway, you're going to file it today, are you?
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, at the first opportunity during
18 the first break, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE HUNT: Now, have you got -- sorry, is there something you
20 want to add?
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, I do, Your Honour. Before the
22 witness enters the courtroom, I should like to say something, that is to
23 say, the Defence has a comment to make, a criticism to make with respect
24 to the procedure regarding the Defence witnesses last week. Most --
25 although I am well aware of the fact that it is the task of
1 cross-examination, in addition to referring to the examination-in-chief
2 topics and the credibility of the witness, I think that quoting portions
3 of certain statements which are by unidentified witnesses who have not
4 testified in this case with respect to the Defence witnesses testifying
5 here is something which can upset the proceedings and have consequences on
6 the Defence case. That is to say, witnesses can either refuse to come to
7 testify or refuse to come to the Tribunal at all to testify, because I
8 think the manner in which the Prosecution examines some of the witnesses
9 or, rather, most of the witnesses during their cross-examination was, in
10 the opinion of the Defence, untenable. It's surpassed the -- what is
11 allowed for the credibility of witnesses.
12 Some witnesses were directly asked whether they had taken part in
13 killings, and this was done in such a way that they were quoted they had
14 -- they had quotations held at them from sources that we don't know where
15 they are, whether they existed at all or whether they had come up in the
16 course of this trial at all.
17 So I should like to discuss that particular matter before we go
18 ahead with the Defence witnesses because I fear that this might have
19 serious repercussions on the trial and it would jeopardize our intention
20 and desire to have this trial be a fair trial in an atmosphere of
21 equitable relations. Thank you.
22 JUDGE HUNT: But Mr. Domazet, there are two matters that you
23 raise. One was the use of unidentified witness statements saying, "We
24 have a statement that says," and that, I must say, was something which I
25 had never seen before and I did not think that it was appropriate, but
1 perhaps Mr. Groome has got some justification for it.
2 But the other point, I'm not sure that I understand where you --
3 where you stand. If Mr. Groome had simply said, "I want to put to you
4 that you were involved in the killing of a number of people on a bus," and
5 then gave the details, without having said that it was in a statement, how
6 could that not go to the witness' credit? It also, as I understand it,
7 goes to one of the -- went to one of the incidents upon which the
8 Prosecution relies to establish an attack upon the civilian population.
9 So it went to an issue in the case as well as to credit.
10 Is the only objection you're taking the use of -- or the reference
11 to statements? Because if that is the burden of your complaint, I
12 understand it, and subject to anything Mr. Groome says, I agree with it.
13 But you cannot stop a party cross-examining your witness on credit, and
14 credit may involve matters as serious as being involved in the killings of
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, I fully agree, Your Honour. My
17 criticism was the reading out of the statements which could create in
18 public, as this is a public trial, it might lead the public to surmise and
19 conject that there were -- was evidence to that effect. Where -- I am not
20 questioning the right of the Prosecution, not only Mr. Groome but the
21 entire Prosecution, to ask any questions which it wants to regarding
22 witness credibility, but I don't think that they can use completely
23 unknown portions, not even full statements, but portions of statements of
24 witnesses that have not testified here. So that is the gist of what I
25 wanted to say.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you.
2 Well, Mr. Groome, I of course grew up, as you did, in a jury
3 system of criminal trials. If you had asked those questions in a trial in
4 Australia, the jury would probably have been discharged. What is the
5 purpose of referring to the fact that the allegation you are putting to
6 the witness in cross-examination comes from a statement?
7 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, simply to make clear that I have
8 obviously have no personal knowledge of the events that I'm inquiring of
9 this witness and that the source of my information is from a statement.
10 JUDGE HUNT: But it carries with it the implication that there is
11 evidence of that fact, and there is no evidence of that fact in some of
12 the ones you did. There was in others. But may I suggest to you that
13 your concern about it is not being of your knowledge, is something you can
14 use if proceedings are taken against you for some unethical conduct, but
15 it is, if I may say so, gravely wrong to assert that you have a
16 statement. What do you say about it?
17 Witnesses are not entitled to be asked -- I'm sorry, parties are
18 not entitled to ask witnesses to comment upon other evidence, but the
19 allegation can be put to them and put to them squarely. And the way you
20 do it, the way in which something more than 40 years of experience has
21 taught me, you say, "I want to suggest to you that you did so and so."
22 Now, that's the proper way of doing it, and may I suggest you follow that
23 in future.
24 MR. GROOME: I will, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE HUNT: All right. Well, all right, now let's get on with
1 Witness VGD23.
2 MR. GROOME: I'm going to ask that the witness be shown a copy of
3 Defence Exhibit 22.1.
4 WITNESS: Witness VGD23 [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Groome: [Continued]
7 Q. Witness VGD23, I'm going to ask you to look at that list and ask
8 you to indicate which of those names you recognise. If you do recognise a
9 name, I would ask you at this stage not to tell us that name but rather
10 refer to that person by the number to the left of their name. So for
11 example, if you recognise the first name on the list, you would say that
12 you recognise VGD3.
13 Are we clear?
14 A. [No audible response]
15 Q. I'd ask you to look down that list and when you've finished, would
16 you tell us which of those people -- which of those people's names you
18 A. I recognise VGD10, VGD12, VGD15, VGD16, VGD17, VGD18, VGD19.
19 That's all.
20 Q. Now, when you say you recognise these names, are these people that
21 you personally know?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Aside from these people that you personally know, are there any
24 other names on this list who you've heard of or have had some dealings
25 with, with respect to your job as a [redacted]?
1 A. No. The other names don't. I heard about the surnames. I did
2 hear of some of the surnames but I can't say anything specific with regard
3 to the name and surname. I recognise some of the surnames. I know that
4 there are families like [redacted] and so on in Visegrad but
5 not the names, first names.
6 Q. There's been testimony by a Defence witness that some of the names
7 on this list are men that were involved in paramilitary activity in the
8 Visegrad area. Are either of the names of the people you know or the
9 other names, do you recognise any of these names as being associated with,
10 or any of these people, as being associated with paramilitary activity in
11 the town of Visegrad?
12 A. I don't know any of these people as having been in any
13 paramilitary units.
14 Q. Were any of the people that you've indicated you know on this
15 list, were any of them present in the escort that you provided for that
16 bus past Olovo?
17 A. None of the ones here was with me in the escort for the convoy.
18 Q. There was some testimony earlier in this trial from a survivor of
19 another convoy, again describing an attack upon Bosnian Muslim men, and it
20 was in the same area as you described the convoy that you were part of.
21 Had you ever heard about other convoys of Bosnian Muslims being taken from
22 Visegrad and some of those people being killed before they arrived where
23 that convoy was allegedly supposed to go?
24 A. Yes, I did hear about a convoy and before my convoy, the convoy I
25 escorted, it wasn't taking people away, it was just escorting them, but
1 there were convoys after my particular convoy, but I didn't hear anything
2 about any attacks on Bosnian males, Muslim Bosnian males. But when I took
3 on my assignment together with the other members of the team to escort the
4 convoy to Olovo, I understood the seriousness of the situation and I knew
5 the risk I personally was taking, the members of my team were taking on.
6 Let me also mention the risk the driver took, the drivers driving
7 those buses and trucks, and especially for the women and children who were
8 in the convoy. So that on the journey, I saw on their faces and in their
9 eyes that they were full of fear. I tried to help them overcome their
10 fear, although I did know that we were passing through untapped territory,
11 and they told us that we would be using some byroads to some Serb villages
12 and through some Serb villages which were probably controlled by Serbian
13 forces, but this did not exclude the possibility of paramilitary
14 formations, both Serb and Muslim, intersecting the roads.
15 I said to them, "Well I'm with you, the drivers are with you. If
16 anybody shoots at the buses and vehicles, they'll kill me too and you, so
17 we're in the same position. And I am here to try and assure you that we
18 will get to our destination safely." And let me stress that in the bus, a
19 male who was blind was killed. He was about 60 years old, a blind man,
20 and I think that that happened because the rest of the passengers got out
21 and probably were taking out some things, their things from the buses, and
22 he stayed on the bus and they should have gone back for him. So those
23 people who had set the ambush and prepared the attack for us, they
24 probably thought that all of us had got off the buses, and they wanted to
25 incapacitate the buses and trucks so they would be able to overcome us
1 easier, more easily afterwards.
2 So I think that we were lucky in getting out alive, us and the
3 drivers and all the other people, except for the two people who were
4 killed. We were all alive and well. I think that God repaid us for the
5 humane thing we were doing.
6 Q. So none of the escort team was injured in any way; is that
8 A. No, none of the escorts or the drivers, although one driver did
9 receive a wound from a hunting weapon which would make it 12 times 12
10 calibre, a brener type that is used in a hunting weapon. So it
11 actually -- actually, it hit the door by the driver, whizzed passed the
12 driver and lodged somewhere behind the driver, but actually the driver was
13 not hurt.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's mistake, the driver was not
16 MR. GROOME:
17 Q. Is it your testimony that the people who were killed that day were
18 killed from the gunfire from this elevated area you referred to or were
19 they killed from fire from the escort when they returned the fire to the
20 people who were shooting at the escort?
21 A. No, nobody could have been killed by the escort because the
22 vehicles were behind our backs so the attack came from the frontal part
23 where the area is flat and then the elevation comes after that. And so
24 all of the passengers who were not able to get far away from the vehicle
25 were right by that little hill. They were hiding behind it. I was there,
1 Hecimovic was next to me. I can't -- I can't remember his first name. I
2 know he is Hamdo Hecimovic's father, and he said, "Neighbour, what's this
3 happening to us?" And I think that all the passengers without exception,
4 at least that is how I experienced it with the -- they were very grateful
5 to us, from what I could see on their faces, because they understood what
6 risk we had taken with our lives to enable them to be secure and to arrive
7 at their destination unharmed and safely.
8 Q. So after this attack, did you put the people back into the bus and
9 take them to their destination safely?
10 A. No, not all of them, a part of them. I can't tell you exactly how
11 many, a smaller portion of the people, out of fear, had gone back into
12 either one or two of the buses, I can't remember now. I think it was --
13 they went back into two buses, and those passengers, together with us,
14 reached Sokolac and that's where we saw that two passengers were dead, the
15 blind man that I mentioned and another woman.
16 Q. Do you agree with me that it is possible that some of the other
17 people that had fled the buses and into the woods surrounding the buses
18 may also have been killed and you were not aware of it from your own
19 personal knowledge; correct?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. Did you return fire that day to these people that were firing at
22 you from the elevated position?
23 A. I can't say that all of them did return fire. Two or three men,
24 perhaps, shot two or three bullets in the direction of a hill.
25 Q. Did you return fire?
1 A. Yes, I shot two or three bullets, perhaps.
2 Q. Is it possible that you shot some of these Muslim people by
3 accident when you were returning fire; is that a possibility?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Is it your --
6 A. No, no, there is absolutely no possibility of that having happened
7 because I did not fire at any target. It was more up in -- upwards as a
8 warning, up in the air as a warning. So I didn't actually target anyone,
9 so I am 100 per cent certain that I could not even have hit a bird, let
10 alone a man.
11 Q. And the other shots fired by the members of your escort squad, did
12 they also fire their shots as warning shots up into the air?
13 A. When we arrived in Sokolac and after that event, when they
14 analysed the situation, they told me that they had also shot up in the air
15 as warning shots, and the passengers who had already been -- who had
16 already got off the buses screamed out, "Don't shoot. They're women and
17 children. Don't shoot, they're women and children." And we were
18 conscious, at least I was 100 per cent conscious of the fact that if they
19 were to open stronger fire -- if we were to open fire more, they would
20 have reacted and that there would have been many more casualties than
21 there were.
22 Q. Can you estimate for us for how long a period of time this fire
23 came from the elevated position or how many shots were fired, if that's an
24 easier way for you to estimate the character of the fight that you were up
1 A. Well, I couldn't tell you how long it went on for because, you
2 know, time flies in situations like that or perhaps time is very slow in
3 moments like that -- at moments like that, so I can't really say how long
4 it went on for, but it wasn't very strong gunfire without intermission.
5 It wasn't strong bursts of gunfire but it was shots here and there aimed
6 at the buses and trucks and the transport vehicles, actually.
7 Q. So it's your testimony here today that this fire that was coming
8 at you that was hitting the bus behind you killed at least two people that
9 you are aware of, that in light of that kind of attack upon you and the
10 people you were trying to protect, no one in the escort team fired
11 anything other than warning shots? Is that what you're telling us here
13 A. Well, I couldn't do anything more than that because they were
14 shooting from the hill. We had taken cover behind this embankment.
15 Q. And from what you're telling us, it appears that upon hearing
16 these warning shots, whoever it was, however many men decided to attack
17 you and the convoy, upon hearing these warning shoots, they ceased their
18 attack, allowed you to load up some of the people back into the bus and to
19 continue on your way; is that your testimony?
20 A. No. No, it lasted a short period of time. The bus drivers and
21 truck drivers jumped into their buses and trucks and they began shouting
22 out, "Jump into the bus. Come on board." And although I was in the first
23 bus to begin with, I managed to jump into the last bus. And had I not
24 reacted so quickly, the drivers who were afraid themselves would have left
25 me there. They wouldn't have actually even realised that they had left me
1 behind, perhaps.
2 So I had to, regardless of what was going on, I had to jump into
3 the bus. Otherwise, I would have stayed behind at the mercy of the people
4 who were shooting from up above.
5 Q. And as soon as the people were in the bus, the bus took off to try
6 to get to a safer area; is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, you've told us several times you were the first person in the
9 bus. You haven't mentioned anything about any obstacle or any tree being
10 across the road, so can you describe for us why it was your bus, the first
11 bus, stopped in the first place?
12 A. We arrived at the spot where the passengers were supposed to get
13 out. We had a guide in Knezina Sokolac, too, in fact who knew the area
14 because neither us escorts or the drivers knew the road from Knezina
15 onwards, so we got these two guides and they took us and they said you
16 have to go through the woods, but there is a plateau there, a wider space
17 where the buses could -- and trucks could turn around and the passengers
18 from the convoy could get off and carry on, on foot, and the buses could
19 turn around, because there is a Muslim settlement nearby, not far off, and
20 that part was controlled by Muslim forces so that would mean that the
21 passengers could go on foot to that area and they would enter an area of
22 the Olovo municipality.
23 So we had reached the spot where we were supposed to get to and
24 there was no obstacle there, nor were there any obstacles along the road.
25 We just stopped once on our way where we saw that there was some water, so
1 I got out and two or three younger women got out, we took some water, we
2 took bottles and filled them with water for the children and the elderly,
3 and that's what happened.
4 We asked anybody whether they needed to be excused, go to the
5 toilet, and that was all.
6 Q. I'm getting confused now. If this is the final destination of the
7 people, why is it necessary for some people to be allowed to use the
8 toilet and others to collect water? If this is where you are dropping the
9 people off and they are going to continue on foot from there, this sounds
10 more in the nature of a break; isn't that -- why is there a necessity to
11 have people use the toilet and to get water if this is the final
13 A. I don't think you understood me or it wasn't properly
14 interpreted. I said, "On the way from Visegrad, somewhere before
15 Sokolac," that's where we stopped to -- on the right-hand side, there was
16 water so it was on the way. It wasn't at the destination. It wasn't when
17 we got to our destination. There wasn't any water there or anything, it
18 was on the way before reaching Sokolac that this happened, en route.
19 Q. Let me ask you this: The driver of the bus you were in was a
20 Serb; correct?
21 A. All drivers were Serbs.
22 Q. And what was the name of the bus company that provided the
24 A. Visegradtrans.
25 Q. Now, did you assist in the organisation of the buses that were
1 going to be used in this convoy?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Who did that?
4 A. I wouldn't know.
5 Q. Well, who contacted you and asked you to provide the security for
6 this convoy?
7 A. Dragan Tomic, the chief of the police station.
8 Q. Now, I asked you last week about whether or not you had anything
9 to do with the detention of Muslims, and let me put it to you, sir, isn't
10 it a fact that you were actually had a role of primary responsibility for
11 those Muslims that had been detained by the police during the spring and
12 summer of 1992; isn't that a fact?
13 A. No, it isn't. I didn't have any such responsibility.
14 Q. Are you aware of where Muslims were detained? Muslims that had
15 been detained by police in Visegrad, are you aware of where they were
17 A. I do not remember a single case. I simply do not know that the
18 police detained anyone at that time.
19 Q. Would it be fair to say that you being a police officer, if
20 Muslims were being detained on a regular basis, that you would have been
21 aware of that fact; is that correct?
22 A. Well, there is -- it is also possible that I wouldn't be aware of
23 it because I wasn't always in town or, rather, I came to town very, very
24 seldom. I spent most of my time in the field. As I said, I was providing
25 security along the roads, and I seldom came to town, just to take a bath,
1 for a change of clothing and get some rest before I would go back into the
2 field, but I am simply not aware at all of such cases that you mention.
3 Q. Can you give us an idea, what was the distance between the town
4 and these areas where you worked, that you patrolled, how far out of the
5 town were they?
6 A. Could be as many as 10 kilometres.
7 Q. And where did you report in the morning to work or at the
8 beginning of your shift at whatever time of the day that was, where did
9 you report when you were reporting to work?
10 A. It was not always in the morning. Sometimes it was in the
11 afternoon or, at times, a time was not specified at all. I would report
12 to the commander or he would send a driver to fetch me, to my place. For
13 the sake of efficiency, he simply sends a driver, the driver gets to my
14 home and he says, "We're off to a mission."
15 Q. So it's your testimony that rather than going to the police
16 station, Dragan Tomic would send a driver to your home, pick you up, bring
17 you to wherever Dragan Tomic wanted you to work that day and leave you
18 there for your shift; is that correct?
19 I'm sorry, can you please answer that question?
20 A. I never went on a mission by myself, alone. We were always in a
22 Q. But am I correct in hearing what you are saying that Dragan Tomic
23 would send a driver to pick up you and perhaps other men and bring them to
24 wherever it was he wanted them to work for the day; is that correct?
25 A. No. The driver would take me to the police station and there, the
1 rest of the group would also come together and then we'd take that
2 vehicle to a particular section of the road. We would get off there and
3 then provide the security for a section of the road, moving on foot.
4 Q. Is this the police station in Visegrad?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So every day you would be brought to the police station in
7 Visegrad, issued your orders and then you would go out to wherever you
8 were going to patrol that day; correct?
9 A. No, it is not. At times, we stayed seven, sometimes less, but
10 also sometimes more days on the ground. We returned to town very seldom.
11 Q. And it's your testimony that at any time you were in the police
12 station, you never saw any Muslims detained in that police station?
13 A. Not me.
14 Q. Now, I want to draw your attention to the 20th of April, 1992.
15 Were you present with other soldiers in the village of Drinsko and
16 there you were asking people to turn over their weapons? Do you recall
17 ever being in Drinsko around the 20th of April, collecting weapons from
19 A. No, I was not there.
20 Q. Were you ever involved in the collection of weapons from people in
21 Visegrad town?
22 A. No, I was not.
23 Q. Isn't it a fact that you were present in Drinsko on that day and
24 you demanded with the threat of force that the Muslims in that village
25 turn over their weapons to you, many of those weapons for which people
1 could produce valid licences for; isn't that a fact?
2 A. No, because I was not there.
3 Q. There's been testimony from two Defence witnesses regarding people
4 being handed weapons early in the year of 1992, Serbs being given weapons
5 during that period of time. Were you aware of any such instances of Serbs
6 being provided weapons by the Serb authorities or, in particular, the SDS
7 political party?
8 A. I am not aware of any such case.
9 Q. During the course of your duties or outside of your duties, did
10 you ever have occasion to search houses?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Isn't it a fact that you searched the Podzic house - that's
13 P-O-D-Z-I-C - that you searched the Podzic house in the spring of 1992;
14 didn't you do that?
15 A. Not true. Not only spring of 1992, never.
16 Q. Sir, in your duties on protecting the highways, did you ever have
17 any incident that you were involved in, in the course of your duties?
18 A. I don't understand what incident do you have in mind, a traffic
19 one or something else?
20 Q. I'm asking you to describe for us any incident of a serious
21 nature, not a minor traffic incident, but any incident of a serious nature
22 which occurred on the roads that you were involved in while you were
23 protecting or patrolling those roads.
24 A. From 1992 onward; is that the period you're asking me about?
25 Q. Let's confine ourselves to the spring and summer of 1992 for the
2 A. No, I wasn't involved in any incident.
3 Q. Did you have ever an occasion to use your weapon during the spring
4 and summer of 1992?
5 A. No.
6 Q. We ended on Friday with my asking you about an Ibrasim Kesmer, and
7 I believe you said -- well, let me ask you, do you know that person? That
8 person is from Drinsko as well?
9 A. I was born in the village of Drinsko, that is, in its hamlet, one
10 of its hamlets, and the surname Kesmer never existed in Drinsko. I can
11 affirm it and I can prove it. That name Ibrisim Kesmer, never. I know
12 those people, perhaps not all of them, but I know all the surnames, the
13 surnames of all the people living there and that surname, Kesmer, they
14 never lived in the village of Drinsko, never.
15 Q. Well, sir, can I take it from that then that it would be very
16 unlikely from somebody from Drinsko to mistake you for somebody else if
17 they were claiming that you had done something in Drinsko? That would be
18 very unlikely that person would be mistaken since you, yourself, are from
19 Drinsko; correct?
20 A. I know everybody, at least elderly people, I knew them all. So
21 following the same logic, the majority of them should know me, too.
22 Q. Let me ask you this: I'm talking about an incident which occurred
23 on the Visegrad bridge on the 25th of May - maybe give or take a day in
24 either direction - 25th of May, 1992, when a large group of Muslims from
25 Drinsko were crossing that bridge and came under fire at that time. Two
1 of them were injured, Ibrisim Kesmer and his wife. Did you ever hear of
2 that incident?
3 A. No, I did not hear about it, and I repeat once again that Ibrisim
4 Kesmer is not from Drinsko.
5 Q. Isn't it a fact, sir, that after Ibrisim Kesmer and his wife were
6 shot and lie wounded on the bridge, that you, yourself, pulled up
7 alongside them and picked up both of them and put them into your car and
8 drove away with them? Isn't that a fact?
9 A. It is not.
10 Q. Did you ever place the bodies of two people that had been shot on
11 one of the bridges in Visegrad into your car?
12 A. Never.
13 Q. Do you know a person by the name of Midhat Tabakovic?
14 A. I don't, no.
15 Q. Did you ever beat a person by that name and remove their pistol, a
16 legally-owned pistol?
17 A. No.
18 Q. We were told that an incident occurred in Sarajevo airport that
19 involved you and somebody who recognised you in the airport. Can you
20 describe for us your account of what occurred? What did that person
21 accuse you of doing?
22 A. Well, it's not that I was accused of it directly, but as we waited
23 for the plane, and it could have been three hours, perhaps more, we
24 approached the bar, three of us, Dikic, [redacted] and myself, to have a
25 coffee. We were served by the barman, who looked at me and then asked me,
1 "What was your name?" And when I gave him my last name, he then said my
2 full name, my first and my last name. And then he said, "Aren't you
3 ashamed? Shame on you, you've killed my brother. Pray to God that we
4 met here. Had it been somewhere else, you'd be begging me for mercy," or
5 something like that.
6 He gave me his name. And all I said was, "What do we have to do
7 with it?" So we finished our coffee and went back and sat over there, I
8 mean where our bags and luggage were.
9 Q. That man was from Visegrad; correct?
10 A. That's right.
11 Q. And did he tell you how he knew or upon what he was basing his
12 allegation that you had killed his brother?
13 A. Not me. He said it -- "you," plural, he was addressing the public
14 at large, meaning Serbs, that Serbs had killed his brother, and his
15 brother was killed and I learned about his brother, I mean that he had
16 been killed sometime in 1997, 1998, but he used to work with me in the
17 police station in Visegrad and I guess that was the reason why.
18 Q. So you knew this man's -- you did know this man's brother?
19 A. In 1992, he was still a boy. I think he just enrolled the
20 secondary school, so I knew him by sight, yes, I knew him.
21 Q. And it seems that you know the circumstances under which his
22 brother was killed; you told us it was 1997, 1998. Do you know the
23 circumstances under which his brother was killed?
24 A. No. The circumstances, I do not know them, but he was killed
25 in -- towards the end of 1992 or in 1993. That is something that I
1 learned about in 1997 or 1998 when I came across another colleague, a
2 Muslim, who had come from Sarajevo to Visegrad to get some papers. And he
3 knew that I worked there, so he looked for me. We then went to have a cup
4 of coffee, and he told me that Fikret Podzic had been killed in a battle
5 near Visegrad and that he commanded there a unit which had come from
6 Sarajevo to reinforce the Muslim forces near Visegrad.
7 Q. And isn't it a fact that this man who recognised you threatened to
8 somehow ascertain when your flight was returning to Sarajevo, and didn't
9 he threaten to meet you somehow after you returned to Sarajevo and harm
10 you? Isn't that a fact?
11 A. No.
12 Q. So was any threat made to you if you returned through Sarajevo?
13 A. Not directly, although from what he said, "You must thank God that
14 we met here, if it had been elsewhere, then you'd see who was your -- who
15 was your Lord." And that definitely sounded like a threat, but not a
16 definite threat, not a specific threat.
17 Q. For those of us who aren't all that familiar where Sarajevo
18 airport is, isn't it correct that Sarajevo airport is a matter of maybe
19 100, 200 metres from the Republika Srpska? It's very close to the border
20 of the Republika Srpska; is that not correct?
21 A. Well, I can't say quite exactly yes. Could be 500 metres, a
22 kilometre maybe, 500. Can't be more accurate.
23 Q. And of all the Serbs that travelled through Sarajevo airport, it's
24 your testimony that this man who works at the airport singled you out for
25 these implied threats and for this verbal attack simply because you are a
1 Serb, that it was addressed not to you personally but to all Serbs in
2 general; is that your testimony?
3 A. Well, more or less. Not to me directly but I'd been passing
4 through Gorazde, through Sarajevo, before that going to Zenica. I've been
5 moving through the Federation and never had any trouble and never fearing
6 for myself.
7 Q. Did you kill this man's brother?
8 A. I didn't.
9 Q. You were given a guarantee, were you not, before you came to
10 testify here that you would not be arrested for anything you might have
11 done in Bosnia; is that correct?
12 A. Not only I. The lawyers told us that they had got -- obtained
13 guarantees for everybody, that nobody would have any problems between
14 Visegrad and The Hague and The Hague and Visegrad, that we would have
15 absolutely no problems whatsoever.
16 Q. Who did you ask for such protection?
17 A. Personally, I did not ask for it from anyone.
18 Q. Is it your fear that had you not had that guarantee, that you
19 might have been arrested in The Hague and made to face charges for your
20 conduct in 1992?
21 A. No. I know that I haven't done anything. Last year -- rather the
22 year before last, during a UN mission, a policeman from my police station
23 went to East Timor on a mission, and I had also applied, but because of my
24 insufficient knowledge of English and that was the principal or one of the
25 principal terms apart from experience to go there; in other words, I knew
1 that I had done nothing and that it would not be difficult for me, that
2 they would be quite all right for me to work with other policemen who are
3 either Muslims or Croats or coming from any other part of the world.
4 Q. So it's your testimony here today that you never sought any such
5 guarantee but it was simply offered to you, it seemed like a good idea and
6 you accepted it; is that correct?
7 A. I took it as something which is -- which comes in the normal
8 course of events, which is regulated, which, in a way, makes part of
9 testimony, and I took it to be established practice and that is it. I
10 didn't ask for anything.
11 Q. During your time as a police officer in Visegrad, did you ever
12 become aware of police or ex-police officers or perhaps current police
13 officers from the Serbian town of Obrenovac being present in Visegrad?
14 A. No, I was not aware of that.
15 Q. Sir, isn't it a fact that you, just as the accused in this case,
16 both worked with Milan Lukic during the period of spring of 1992 through
17 to the end of the summer of 1992? Isn't it a fact that both of you were
18 associated with Milan Lukic and helped him perpetrate many of the crimes
19 he did on the people, the Muslim people of Visegrad?
20 A. No, I did not.
21 MR. GROOME: I have no further questions.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Re-examination, Mr. Domazet?
23 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
24 Re-examined by Mr. Domazet:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. VGD23, good morning. I have a few questions
1 which I would like you to answer related to the questions that Mr. Groome
2 asked you on Friday and today.
3 Let me start with the incident at the airport. Mr. Groome
4 understood your answer, and with respect to the comment you got from the
5 waiter, I think you said that he had said, "You killed my brother." And
6 Mr. Groome understood that to mean you personally. You explained what was
7 meant by that, and that you considered that he meant the Serbs in general,
8 but that the person you knew was a policeman in Visegrad; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel repeat that question, please?
11 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
12 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
13 JUDGE HUNT: You are being asked to repeat the question.
14 MR. DOMAZET: Okay.
15 JUDGE HUNT: We got lost, I gather.
16 MR. DOMAZET: Okay. [Interpretation] I'm not sure what question is
17 being referred to. Just a moment, please.
18 JUDGE HUNT: The one you were --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Domazet mentioned brother and policemen,
20 could that part of it be repeated.
21 JUDGE HUNT: Did you get that, Mr. Domazet?
22 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
23 Q. [Interpretation] The person who you said died was a policeman and
24 your colleague in Visegrad; is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And who was the person you mentioned a moment ago when you said
2 that he was fairly young and that you saw him around in Visegrad? Who was
4 A. That was his brother, Muhidin, who had made the threats to us at
5 the airport, who had threatened us at the airport.
6 Q. So you were thinking of him when you were speaking about a young
7 person, a boy, whom you knew by sight in Visegrad; is that right?
8 A. Yes. That's how I understood the question.
9 Q. Thank you. Because I thought that you were thinking of the
10 brother who later died, who was later killed, and it wasn't logical in
11 view of the year.
12 Now, his brother, the one who was a policeman, was he somebody
13 your age or younger or older than you?
14 A. He was younger than me, perhaps 10 years younger. I can't say
15 that that is 100 per cent correct, but at least 10 years.
16 Q. Do you remember until when he was in Visegrad working for the
17 police force?
18 A. Until 1992. When we left the police station, he stayed on working
19 in the police station.
20 Q. Can you tie that to the time the Uzice Corps left? After the
21 Uzice Corps left, was he still working there or not?
22 A. No, he was no longer in Visegrad as far as I know, and the
23 colleagues that I met in 1997 and 1998 say that he left Visegrad for
24 Sarajevo and that he was the commander of an elite unit, as they were
25 called, of the Muslim army.
1 Q. Did you see him from the moment you mentioned about separation and
2 when you were in Visegrad, did you ever see him after that?
3 A. No, never.
4 Q. You said that, to the best of your knowledge, he died as the
5 commander of a platoon during some fighting around Visegrad. Do you
6 happen to know any more about that, what kind of fighting and what place
7 he was killed at, how he came to be killed?
8 A. As far as I know, according to the information I received, he died
9 near the village of Lijeska, which is inhabited by a purely Serb
11 Q. And just one more question in that area, although I think that you
12 have already answered it, but in view of the direct questions you were
13 asked, whether the information you received told you that he was killed in
14 battle or was he liquidated or rather killed in some other way?
15 A. He died in battle during the attack on the front line, the defence
16 line, defending the village of Lijeska.
17 Q. When the front lines that you mention are concerned, as you have
18 explained that you worked in the field in the spring of 1992, can you
19 explain to us what those lines were? Were there contacts between the two
20 sides? Was it a front line and war and fighting between the two sides or
21 something else? What did you have in mind?
22 A. I meant the people providing security for the village, defending
23 it from possible attack.
24 Q. So when you say "line," are you thinking of a demarcation line
25 between the Serb and Muslim forces of any kind?
1 A. Well, yes, more or less that would be it. A little -- a line is
2 the demarcation line. The delineation line was further in, further in
3 depth, whereas he was killed between the demarcation line and that
5 Q. Yes, I understand, but I was asking you generally about
6 demarcation lines as you were in the field and probably had to pay
7 attention to where the Serb forces were located and where the Muslim
8 forces were located. So was there a rule? Was it linked to villages,
9 Serb villages or Muslim villages, or were those lines independent of that
10 at that time, and I'm speaking about the spring of 1992 and the Visegrad
11 environs, of course?
12 A. In the spring of 1992, the lines were around those ethnic areas.
13 Q. Do you happen to know what was going on or, rather, what happened
14 if a village exclusively populated by Muslims or a majority of the Muslim
15 population was within the line that, conditionally speaking, belonged to
16 Serb forces, that is to say which was not under the control of Muslim
17 forces? Were there cases of that kind where Muslim villages were in
18 Serb-controlled areas?
19 A. Yes, there were.
20 Q. Do you personally happen to know -- did you personally see or hear
21 that in villages of this kind, despite such a situation, that the
22 population, the men, male population, able-bodied men, did they stay in
23 the villages, did they remain in the villages, able-bodied men?
24 A. I personally don't know about that, but most of them, when the
25 reservoir of the hydroelectric power plant, the water was released, fled
1 to Gorazde, went to Gorazde or some other places like that.
2 Q. There were several questions relating to your function in the
3 police force before that period and during that period. I don't think you
4 explained sufficiently what your job in the police force was and what you
5 did up until the outbreak of the war.
6 A. Up until the outbreak of the war, I was the [redacted]
7 [redacted] in the police station of Visegrad.
8 Q. What did that mean to be the [redacted] in
9 the Visegrad police station?
18 Q. Does that mean that up until then, you personally had no function
19 or post in the struggle against crime; you had nothing to do with
20 criminals, their detention and arrest, or anything of that kind, anything
21 outside the realm of traffic and traffic accidents and road safety?
24 Q. You were also asked about the detention and taking into custody of
25 people at that time. Did Visegrad have a court before the war and later
2 A. Yes. Visegrad did have a court, a basic court, and a
3 misdemeanours court.
4 Q. Do you happen to know that in cases where the court would
5 prescribe detention for a certain case, and in other cases where the law
6 provided for custody and detention, were those -- where were those
7 facilities provided for? Did Visegrad have a prison or a detention centre
8 before the war, before 1992?
9 A. No, it did not. Individuals who were taken into custody were sent
10 to the central prison in Sarajevo, where they were incarcerated.
11 Q. So up until 1992, if anybody was detained according to the --
12 detained according to the law, these individuals were sent to Sarajevo
13 because Visegrad had no detention unit; am I reading you correctly?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Was that possible in 1992 as well, was it possible to do that from
16 April, May onwards? Do you happen to know was it possible to do that at
17 that time, too?
18 A. No, it was not possible.
19 Q. And do you know whether a detention unit was set up of any kind in
20 the Visegrad area because of the prevailing situation?
21 A. I'm not aware of that, no.
22 Q. You spoke, sir, about a situation in which during those days when
23 the Visegrad dam, when the threat was made to the Visegrad dam, a group of
24 policemen was arrested by the Muslim side. Now, I should like to ask you
25 to take a look at the list you have before you and look at D22.1, that is
1 the list, and tell us whether those people are on the list and, if so, who
2 those people were for whom you know were detained at the time, because I
3 think you said you saw them later on?
4 A. Yes. VGD10, VGD17, VGD18.
5 Q. In answer to the question, you said that you saw these people
6 after that. Can you describe what they looked like?
7 A. Yes, I can. I saw them straight after they were freed. Their --
8 they looked terrible. Their hair was all cut, they were disfigured, their
9 bodies were black and blue. You could see visible marks of abuse and
10 everybody was able to see that later on, all those people who watched
11 television and followed this incident through the media, they could all
12 see that for themselves.
13 Q. Witness VG61, whom you mentioned as being a man who was in
14 Medjedja, he said here in court that he only saw VG10 of the people after
15 they had been released and that he hadn't been injured in any way nor was
16 anything, any injuries noticeable. Now what you said a moment ago, does
17 that refer to the person on the list under VG10? Does that apply to him,
19 A. Yes, it applies to him, too, and if I may say so, in my opinion,
20 he had the worst signs on him and he was probably the person who was --
21 had been most abused compared to the others, but none of them -- I think
22 there were 12 of them, all of them looked terrible and had signs of
23 mistreatment all over their bodies, marks. They had bruises and they were
24 black and blue and had other types of injuries and they were all -- all
25 their hair had been cut short, and they said that they were threatened,
1 that -- and they had to cut each other's hair, and one of them had the
2 sign of the cross shorn into his hair.
3 Q. Did they tell you where they had been incarcerated?
4 A. Yes, they told me. First of all, they were held in the police
5 station, and then later on in the silo belonging to the Gika [phoen]
6 Company. After that, they were kept prisoner in the basement, the cellar
7 in the hydroelectric power plant. I don't know how to refer to this area,
8 but they were where the machinery was kept and there was water flooding in
9 up to their knees. So they spent the whole night standing in a pool of
10 water, and they were interrogated and ill-treated and tortured and that
11 kind of thing.
12 Q. And I have one more question about that: Do you know where they
13 were arrested and why?
14 A. Yes, I do. They were arrested in the village of Nikitovici, in --
15 at the time when they were patrolling the settlement. It's a Serb
16 settlement, and there was seven of them in the group. They were taken
17 prisoner in a house belonging to a man called Nikitovic and with the seven
18 of them, five others were taken away, five other people who happened to be
19 in the village at the time, Serbs, of course, so that there were 12 of
20 them in all.
21 Q. In answering the question about what job you did at the time, what
22 your function and post was, you said that you were in town rarely, those
23 were your words, and that you, as you said, ensured security for road
24 communications. Did that job have anything to do with the work you had
25 previously done in the traffic department or did you have additional
1 assignments and functions to perform during that time?
2 A. Well, I understood my job to be the kind of work that I had done
3 previously. I was asked to do the job precisely because of the experience
4 I had gained previously in the work that I did.
5 Q. When you spoke about the convoy whose escort you were, and when
6 you answered questions about that and you were asked to say what role you
7 played, on Friday, you mentioned the names of several people and I assume
8 that they were in the bus that you escorted. Did I understand that
10 A. Yes, you understood that correctly. And I do believe that when we
11 meet up, when I meet those people again, if I ever have occasion to do,
12 and I hope I will meet them again, I will be very happy to, and I'm sure
13 they will be happy to see me again. I'm sure that they will at least
14 thank me for the risk that I took, I and my colleagues and, of course, the
15 drivers - I mustn't forget them - for the efforts we invested and the
16 risks we took to ensure their security.
17 Q. Can I take it then that you consider that all those people, if
18 they were to testify about what happened, would testify that you truly
19 were there just to protect them and that you did not abuse that job of
20 protection; is that what you mean when you referred to those people?
21 A. Yes, I am profoundly convinced that, quite literally, all of the
22 people from the convoy would testify in the interests of truth and would
23 confirm my statement, and I think that the quotation from the alleged
24 statement could not, I am deeply convinced, could not have been given any
25 of the passengers from the convoy. I'm quite sure of that because I know,
1 and they know, how much we risked to ensure a safe journey, to ensure that
2 their journey would have no problems. If a statement does indeed exist,
3 it could only have been made by somebody who was not present, who was not
4 there at the time.
5 Q. So all the people in the convoy that you mention, they were all
6 Muslims; is that right?
7 A. Yes, I meant the Muslims. I meant the 250 or perhaps more, give
8 or take a few. Without exception, they would say that, at least that is
9 my conviction; that is what I think. I think all of them without
10 conviction [as interpreted] would confirm what I have said. They would
11 stand by what I have said.
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. VG23, I have no
13 further questions for you.
14 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir, for coming to give evidence and for
15 the evidence which you have given. You are now free to leave.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you, too, for giving me the opportunity of
17 coming here to testify.
18 May I just say that I felt very uncomfortable in certain portions
19 because some people were accusing me of having done things that I could
20 never do. Thank you once again.
21 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE HUNT: There's no point in starting the next witness now,
24 but Mr. Domazet, have you got somebody to fill in for the Friday of this
25 week or for the latter part of the Friday of this week?
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the next witness will
2 be Ilija Zecevic, who was to have been heard earlier. He came last
3 Thursday and then he was heard on -- in order to be heard on Friday but he
4 wasn't heard, so that we have shifted the schedule somewhat. But if we
5 get through the witnesses quicker today and tomorrow, then, together with
6 the Victims and Witness Unit, I will ensure that on Friday, we do have
7 more witnesses in addition to the ones that I have listed.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Well, we're very grateful to you for that. I must
9 say the list of witnesses for last week which I received has no reference
10 to Mr. Zecevic. Perhaps there was an amended one which I didn't receive.
11 Very well, then, well, we'll return at 11.30 for the purposes of
12 hearing your next witness.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.58 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.28 a.m.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE HUNT: Now, sir, would you please make the solemn
17 declaration in the document which the court usher is handing you.
18 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
19 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 WITNESS: ILIJA ZECEVIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 JUDGE HUNT: Sit down, please.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, Mr. Tanaskovic.
25 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Examined by Mr. Tanaskovic:
2 Q. Good morning, Mr. Zecevic.
3 A. Good morning.
4 Q. To begin with, will you please tell us your full name?
5 A. Ilija Zecevic.
6 Q. And your date of birth is and where were you born?
7 A. I was born on the 20th of October 1951 in the village of Pretisa,
8 in the municipality of Visegrad.
9 Q. Since when have you been living in Visegrad?
10 A. I was been living in Visegrad since 1972 or so, I mean in the town
12 Q. And what education do you have?
13 A. I came out of the secondary catering hostelry school. I am a
14 waiter by profession.
15 Q. Can you tell us where and when did you complete that?
16 A. In 1973 in Novi Sad.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Will the counsel and witness please make a break
18 between question and answer.
19 JUDGE HUNT: Both of you, please, would you pause, counsel, before
20 the question is asked and, witness, before the answer is given to allow
21 the interpreters to catch up.
22 Is the screen showing the transcript in front of the witness?
23 Sir, you will see there the -- on the screen, the transcript,
24 albeit in English, being typed. That will give you some idea of when the
25 translation which we are receiving in English and French has finished. So
1 please wait until you see the typing has finished before you give your
2 answer, and Mr. Tanaskovic, you know how to do it, please.
3 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your
5 Q. So tell us, when did you get your first job and where?
6 Did you hear my question?
7 A. Yes, I heard it, but I'm -- my first job with the Panos Visegrad
8 in 1981.
9 Q. And until when did you work there?
10 A. I worked there until the conflict, right up to the conflict. I
11 worked there until the conflict broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Q. Tell us, how many and which facilities does this Panos hostelry
14 A. The Panos company, in 1981, had several facilities: Panos
15 restaurant, Visegrad Hotel, Bikovac Hotel, Vilina Vlas hotel, Mesaline
16 restaurant, Pruga restaurant, Grill place, then Express, a fast food
17 restaurant, but then it split in 1984 into a company called Tourism and
18 Vilina Vlas hostelry, so that Valina Vlas and Stara Banja [phoen] became
19 the rehabilitation centre called Valina Vlas, and all the other facilities
20 were under Panos hostelry company.
21 Q. Of these facilities, could you tell us in which ones of them did
22 you work mostly? Now I have to ask you, will you please wait for me to
23 finish my question, to avoid further warnings by the Court.
24 A. I mostly worked in the Visegrad Hotel. It was only when there
25 would be some big parties or when I would be standing in for somebody who
1 was on holidays, then I would work in the Dobrun restaurant. When the
2 staff was on holidays, then I would be there or I worked at Vilina Vlas
3 , for instance, on New Year's Eve or on various other occasions, and I
4 also worked in the Pruga restaurant which was at the bus terminal.
5 Q. Let me ask you now, do you know Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic?
6 A. I know Mr. and colleague Mitar Vasiljevic very well since 1972
7 because we attended the school in Novi Sad together, that is, in 1970, I
8 was in Novi Sad and he was in Split. But then there was some complication
9 in Yugoslavia so that students from Split were tranferred to Novi Sad or
10 to Subotica, so that Mitar Vasiljevic and I and some other colleagues of
11 other ethnic ethnicities were together with us. There was a class of
12 cooks, another one of waiters and a third one of bakers. We had some
13 Ramiz Gushki with us, Nastko Sulkic, Milan Kosimitz, Ismet Murtic. We
14 lived in a hostel and were on the same floor, even those were rooms for
15 three so that is in some rooms there were three students sleeping, in
16 others four, and so on and so forth.
17 Q. From what you just told us, it means that with all those you
18 mentioned, including Mr. Vasiljevic, you graduated, you completed your
19 training as a waiter that year; is that right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. A while ago, you said that you know Mr. Vasiljevic as a colleague
22 too, as a fellow waiter. Now, my question is: Does that mean that
23 Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic also worked as a waiter?
24 A. Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic was a waiter from 1974 onward until those
25 things began to happen in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as I said. He worked for
1 the Panos company in Visegrad and I already said that it was in 1981, that
2 is after him that I joined that company. We worked together. There were
3 other colleagues, those who had been our school fellows in Novi Sad,
4 Subotica and Split, but not all of them. Some others left. One of them
5 became a well-known athlete, but majority of these people came back and
6 worked for our company.
7 Q. To make it quite clear, it means that Panos is a company from --
8 with its seat in Visegrad; is that it, a Visegrad-based company; is that
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. Can you tell us, during that period of time of, say, while you
12 worked for Panos, how large was the staff; how many people did Panos
13 employ, on the average?
14 A. I am not able to give you an exact number, but it was about 260 to
15 280 employees.
16 Q. In your view, if we look at the ethnic structure, how many Serbs
17 were there, how many Muslims, how many others?
18 A. I think about 40 per cent were employees of Serb ethnicity, and 60
19 per cent were Muslims.
20 Q. I suppose that being colleagues, not only Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic
21 but others, you also socialised, didn't you?
22 A. As people working for Panos company, we were inseparable, at
23 work; we also socialised. We visited one another, visited, that is, our
24 Muslim colleagues and they came to our homes. We never made any
25 distinction between the two. We'd go to Mitar Vasiljevic's place. We
1 were there to mark the birth of his son and other birthdays, and we also
2 visited other colleagues. I don't know how to put it. Whether a Muslim
3 or a Serb, a waiter would, for instance, pay for all that we had to obtain
4 and then we would share it or we would all sign it. We all -- one of the
5 colleagues would keep all the money and we would split amongst us. If
6 there was something left over, that is, if we were given some tips, then
7 we would sit down and spend it all together as we were want to do.
8 After work, we would go to some perhaps private outlets and have a
9 drink, sing, make merry, or sometimes we would come back to my home and
10 there drink and sing after hours or we would go to a Muslim colleague of
11 ours, to Meho Dzafer. Also we'd go to his place, sometimes they would
12 come to our place. Sometimes we went to them and they came to our places.
13 We never made any distinction whether it was a Muslim or a Serb,
14 Meho, Alija, whatever, there was never any separation, never any
15 differentiation. I or other Muslims, we got along very well like brothers
16 both at work and out of work, in the street, or when we would have time
17 off, sometimes we would come to our working place to just socialise, to
18 have a drink and things like that.
19 Q. A moment ago what you explained, one purse, one wallet, when
20 you say you were all on one wallet that we don't have to go into that
21 because I do not think it is all that important, and I think you explained
22 that because it wasn't quite clear what you meant when you said one
23 wallet, that you all worked from one wallet or with one wallet.
24 You said that you also went to see Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic at his
25 home. Could you tell us how often that was? Was that often or was it
1 only once that you went to his home and what were the occasions on which
2 you visited with him?
3 A. We visited Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic a number of times, I don't know
4 how many, once, twice, three times, depending on the company we were in,
5 where we were sitting, where we socialised, the mood and possibilities
6 and whether perhaps somebody would not be free to go because at times we
7 had to work until midnight or half past 12.00 at night, or perhaps
8 somebody's wife would be ill or a child, that he'd have to go home, that
9 is, he simply could not invite us. But whoever was free and did not have
10 any problems, he'd invite us and we'd go to him and we all sit together.
11 But we all went in a bunch. We were always happy, enjoyed our company.
12 We were always very hospitable, whether it be at his place or at my place
13 or somebody else's place.
14 And the merriment and the party would go on and on and on. I
15 don't know how to put it. We'd stay together, enjoy ourselves as long as
16 we felt like it, and talk and then we'd part company. If somebody had a
17 car, then he'd give a lift to somebody else, whether it be a Serb or a
18 Muslim. For instance, if I had a car, then I'd take a Muslim home or
19 perhaps if a Muslim colleague had a car and I didn't have my car with me,
20 then he'd give me a lift and take me home. So that we always helped one
21 another. We always were there to help whoever needed any help.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Do you think we could move on to what is in issue in
23 this case?
24 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
25 Q. You talk about these parties, about these binges. When it comes
1 to Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic, what parties were there, if you attended any of
2 those? What occasion were those parties?
3 A. Once, I remember we went when his son Nikola was baptised and also
4 his birthday, that is, he invited us two or three days in advance because
5 he said he would mark that, that all his relatives would be there and his
6 neighbours, and he also invited his fellow workers to be there at the
7 party. So depending on whether we were off at that time, those, that is,
8 who did not work at the time because, of course, some had to work and
9 others had to go and attend at the baptism. Say, for instance, it was at
10 12.00 or at 2.00, for instance, so that those who did not work, those who
11 had their hours off, and I could give you the names of colleagues who were
12 there. It was Meho Dzafic, Medo Dzafic, Omer Koric, Ibrahim Koric, Senad
13 Sabanovic, Ismet Karcic, myself, Nedzip Hadzic; he was the maitre of the
15 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Tanaskovic, we really must move on. Can't you
16 lead him to what it is you want him to give evidence about? We can't
17 have a description of every party they've been to. Please take him to the
18 particular event that you want him to describe.
19 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. You've just told us -- I apologise, yes, I'm about to move to
22 You told us that you knew Mr. Vasiljevic both as a waiter and as
23 somebody who lived in Visegrad like you. You also said that you
24 socialised, that you drank together. Now, one thing is -- that I want to
25 know, are you aware that Mr. Vasiljevic would sometimes get drunk on such
2 A. Mr. Vasiljevic would get drunk on such occasions and make merry
3 endlessly. He was really a merry fellow. He loved the company. He did
4 not like to be alone. He liked to have lots of people around him, and he
5 would make merry until he could -- until one could afford, that is,
6 financially, if he couldn't afford it outside, then he'd invite people
7 home so that we would proceed then to his house so we could go on making
8 merry, drinking. He was very sociable, very hospitable. He was not
9 aggressive either when drunk or sober. I don't know what else I can say
10 about that.
11 Q. Mr. Zecevic, we'd like to know whether on those occasions or on
12 any other occasion, if you can remember during that period of time when
13 you worked together, did Mr. Vasiljevic ever have any words with any of
14 his colleagues at work, especially, I mean, colleagues of Muslim
15 ethnicity, any quarrel, any bones to pick with?
16 A. Mr. Vasiljevic never had any problems at work, either with his
17 male colleagues or female colleagues or with head waiters or with his
18 bosses or with managers. He never ran into any trouble with anyone and
19 nobody could hold any grudge against him. I have already said that every
20 waiter, every waitress, every cook, every barman, every barmaid trusted
21 him, and me and everybody else who worked there, absolutely no words, no
22 falling out. We always shielded one another regardless of ethnicity.
23 There was absolutely no difference between us, especially when it comes to
24 the ethnic origin. We never had any manifestations of hate.
25 Q. Mr. Zecevic, will you please be shorter. Try to give us short
1 answers especially to these questions; there is no need. My question is:
2 Where were you in May and June 1992?
3 A. In June 1992, the 13th of June, 1992, I was organised in the
4 barracks at Uzamnica.
5 Q. The transcript says, I think you said June of 1992, and my
6 question was where were you in May and June 1992?
7 A. I apologise. This is my first time to be here, possibly that I
8 said that, but the truth is that on the 13th of May, I was engaged at the
9 barracks in Uzamnica and in late May and in June, I was again in the
10 barracks at Uzamnica.
11 Q. And from that day on, on the 13th of May, as far as you know, it
12 was still the Yugoslav army, wasn't it?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And what were you doing at Uzamnica?
15 A. The Territorial Defence had organised us to take -- to look after
16 the barracks before -- after departure, that is, that we should take over
17 and guard the barracks and that I should prepare the food and feed those
18 soldiers who were in the barracks.
19 Q. And when the Uzice Corps left, did you stay on?
20 A. Yes. Yes, I did.
21 Q. And what did you do then?
22 JUDGE HUNT: You are both not pausing. Please pause before the
23 answer and before the question. You should ask the question again now,
24 Mr. Tanaskovic.
25 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. And when the Uzice Corps left, my question was whether you stayed
2 on at Uzamnica?
3 A. Yes. Yes, I did.
4 Q. And what did you do?
5 A. In the kitchen, I distributed food.
6 Q. Tell us, who did you distribute the food to?
7 A. Soldiers who were like me, engaged at Uzamnica.
8 Q. And what were those soldiers doing at Uzamnica then?
9 A. Those soldiers were assigned there as guards, as keepers of depots
10 and the barracks.
11 Q. You say you were a cook. Tell us, did you also prepare the food
12 and distribute it?
13 A. I neither cooked nor distributed food. The food came from the
14 command, and I only, when ordered, gave the food to -- served the food to
15 the soldiers in the canteen, or if somebody had been detained in the
16 detention unit, that is, they would ask for a meal for him and I would
17 only pour it out. That is I only poured food out into bowls or plates,
18 and they would then take this food, to whom and where, I don't know.
19 Q. You say if somebody was in detention. Does that mean that there
20 was also a detention facility there?
21 A. Well, soldier's rooms and a storage room was turned into a
22 detention facility because there was no other facility in Visegrad.
23 Q. Tell us, before the war, was there a detention facility or a
24 prison in Visegrad?
25 A. In Visegrad, before the war, in Visegrad there was a night-time, I
1 think, detention facility at the police station for one person. There was
2 no prison. There were prisons in Foca and Sarajevo.
3 Q. Mr. Zecevic, that prison for one night in the police station, I'm
4 not sure I know what that means. Could you explain that?
5 A. Well, if somebody had got into trouble during the night and made a
6 misdemeanour, then they would be held there for one night and then be sent
7 on to Sarajevo or Foca if he needed to go to prison for a longer period of
8 time or he might be released after the one night stay in the police
10 Q. While you were in the kitchen, do you happen to remember that
11 Mr. Vasiljevic spent any time in detention in Uzamnica?
12 A. Mr. Vasiljevic did spend time in detention in Uzamnica for two or
13 three days.
14 Q. Do you happen to remember what period this was when that happened?
15 A. At the end of May or perhaps the beginning of June, so the end of
16 May or the beginning of June. I don't know the exact date, but I do know
17 that it was the end of May and the beginning of June 1992.
18 Q. Do you happen to know why he was taken into custody and detained?
19 A. I do not know why he was taken into custody and detained but I
20 heard from the soldiers who were in the Uzamnica barracks that he was
21 brought in drunk and that with one of the superior officers in the Bikovac
22 command -- actually, he had refused to carry out an order. He didn't want
23 to go to take up his positions at the line or something like that, and
24 that's why he was disarmed, a rifle was taken away from him, and he was
25 brought to prison.
1 Q. You said a moment ago that you were colleagues. Did you have a
2 chance to talk to Mr. Vasiljevic then?
3 A. Yes, I did, because the following day, he didn't want to eat. He
4 said he was going on a hunger strike because he was angry with the
5 command. He didn't want to eat their food, and then he -- they let him
6 out of the prison to walk around the compound. He came into the kitchen
7 where I was. I was trying to make him have something to eat, but he
8 didn't want to. He was angry. He said he was taken into custody without
9 any reason. They wanted him to go to the unit. He was exhausted. You
10 could see that he was exhausted from all the alcohol and that after a day
11 or two, he asked medical assistance from a doctor.
12 Q. Do you know who Vasiljevic asked to be given medical assistance,
13 urgent medical assistance?
14 A. I don't know. I don't know who he asked for assistance, I just
15 heard from the soldiers in the dining room that he did ask to be given
16 urgent medical assistance, and that that was done.
17 Q. Do you happen to remember who came to administer first aid?
18 A. I do remember, Dr. Radomir Vasiljevic came with Marica Stubel
19 [phoen], the nurse. I was able to see that through the window. He came
20 by car, I don't remember what make it was. It was white; the car was
21 white. I don't know whether anybody else was with them because it was
22 getting dark. It was already dusk, actually dark.
23 Q. Do you know what Dr. Vasiljevic and the nurse did on that
25 A. Well, I know that they gave him an intravenous drip. Whether it
1 was a drip or an injection into his vein, I am not quite sure but that's
2 what they did. It was in front of the barracks and I could see them.
3 Q. Can you tell us what happened next with Mr. Vasiljevic?
4 A. That evening, I distributed the supper and had a free day. I
5 don't remember what day it was or what date, but next day I had a free
6 day. I would have a free day every 24 hours. And when I came the next
7 day, Vasiljevic wasn't there.
8 Q. According to what you have just said, how long would you say that
9 Vasiljevic spent in detention?
10 A. Two to three days.
11 Q. When Vasiljevic left the detention, did you, and if so, when did
12 you see Vasiljevic?
13 A. I would see Mr. Vasiljevic two or three times, that is to say, I
14 saw him two or three times after he came out going from the Uzamnica
15 barracks home, sometimes going from home to the Uzamnica barracks. Once,
16 I happened to meet him in front of the grill, the Panos grill, and he was
17 cleaning the street and I said hello to him. He gave me his hand, he
18 said, "Look colleague, see what I'm doing; I'm cleaning the streets." I
19 said I was just off duty, I was going home from work. I was in Uzamnica
20 for a few days. I'm going home to take a rest, to change my clothing, to
21 see my family, to see what needs to be done at home.
22 There were some other people with him who were also cleaning the
23 street, the papers that had been thrown about and the posters that had
24 been stuck to the shop windows, and I said to him, "It would be a good
25 idea if everybody working in the shops would clean up their own shop
1 window and so on." And so that the cleaners wouldn't have that much to
2 do. They could clean up the other things, the other garbage in the
4 Q. Mr. Zecevic, those occasions, the several occasions that you
5 happened to see Mr. Vasiljevic doing his cleaning work, can you remember
6 how he was dressed, just perhaps on one of those occasions or at any time,
7 can you remember what he was wearing?
8 A. Yes, I can. My colleague, Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic, was wearing some
9 dark short-sleeved shirts or T-shirts and brown trousers, the trousers we
10 were issued when we were working in catering establishments before the
11 war. Sometimes he was wearing the SMB olive-green/gray type of trousers,
12 the kind that we all had when we were reservists in the Yugoslav Peoples'
14 Q. Do you consider that when you saw Vasiljevic doing that, that the
15 town was cleaner than it had been before this cleaning operation had been
16 started and him doing the cleaning?
17 A. The town was much cleaner than it had been before he started
18 cleaning it. He had a red ribbon on his arm like an orderly or something,
19 and everybody, when they saw him with the ribbon, thought he was in charge
20 of the town cleaning and that they would be able to walk around normally
21 in town because the town was much cleaner as far as hygiene was concerned
22 than it had been before that.
23 Q. Can we go back to the prison, the detention facility one more
24 time. Could you explain to us what kind of detention facility it was in
25 Uzamnica, for whom? What was it used for?
1 A. It was a prison or detention facility, I don't know. Actually, I
2 was a little further from the barracks. There was the kitchen in the
3 barracks. But anybody who had transgressed in any way or failed to carry
4 out orders by superiors or failed to join up with a unit, so mostly they
5 were detention facilities in the space that was taken up by the Yugoslav
6 Peoples' Army in the dormitories of the soldiers. So it was a sort of
7 prison or detention facility for anybody that had transgressed in any way,
8 for offenders.
9 Q. Were Muslims and Serbs brought to that detention facility?
10 A. All citizens of Visegrad were brought there regardless of their
11 ethnicity, both Muslims and Serbs and others, other people belonging to
12 other ethnic groups, but actually I don't remember that there were any
13 others, there were just Serbs and Muslims.
14 Q. After the name of Mitar Vasiljevic, can you remember or enumerate
15 any of the other people, some Serbs and Muslims? Can you remember anybody
17 A. I can remember several names. There were a number of Serbs.
18 Petar Simsic, he was with Mitar, and they were released. I can also
19 remember Predrag Pecikoza. He is a brother-in-law. I can also remember
20 Nutko Arsic. I can also remember Saban Muratagic, and a man they called
21 Nurkica; he was a Muslim. Dizdarevic was his surname. Probably Nurko was
22 his name and they called him "Nurkica." I don't remember the other names
23 because I didn't have any contact with them, just if I happened to know
24 some of the names before the war. So I heard that Nika was in this
25 detention facility, the other one was in another room, that sort of thing.
1 Q. In your testimony when you mentioned Mr. Vasiljevic and Mr. Petar
2 Simsic, you said they were released -- let outside from prison. Would you
3 explain what you mean by let outside? What did you mean when you said
4 "let outside"?
5 A. When I said let out, I didn't mean released. They were just let
6 out of the room they were in because regardless of ethnicity, if they
7 thought -- they would be allowed to walk around the compound, and if they
8 wanted to do anything, they were allowed to do that. They could cut the
9 grass, for example, or trim the bushes or clear up the barracks compound,
10 but nobody was released outside the compound.
11 Q. Can you tell us, daily, on a daily basis, how many detainees or
12 prisoners or whatever you like to call them did you have, and how long did
13 people usually stay in those detention facilities as a rule, generally
15 A. I can't tell you the exact number of detainees. I never had a
16 list. I just got the food from the headquarters and commanded that it was
17 distributed to the prisoners and the soldiers, those who were on guard
18 duty there. So I don't know the number of soldiers or the number of
19 detainees, but I do remember that there were sometimes 6, sometimes 10,
20 15, sometimes 3. They would bring some in and release others, take others
21 away, so some people would get 10, 12 day sentence of detention and then
22 three days later, this would be mitigated and they would be released.
23 They would have to go out for some reason. So they were taken back to
24 where they had been brought from.
25 Q. How long did you, yourself, stay in Uzamnica?
1 A. I stayed in Uzamnica up until mid-June 1992, approximately.
2 Q. After you left Uzamnica, did you happen to see Mr. Vasiljevic
4 A. When I left Uzamnica, I did not see Mr. Vasiljevic any more, but I
5 heard that he had broken his leg and was in hospital in Uzice.
6 Q. Do you remember who you heard that from and how it happened or,
7 rather, why he was in Uzice hospital?
8 A. I don't remember who I heard it from, probably from an
9 acquaintance who knew me and him, but I do remember that he had fallen off
10 a horse, that he was riding a horse through town somewhere in the centre
11 of town, I don't know exactly where - I wasn't an eye witness, of course -
12 but that he fell off a horse. The horse broke his leg, and that he was
13 in Uzice hospital.
14 Q. As a colleague of his, did you visit him in the hospital at Uzice?
15 A. I remember going to Uzice, not just to visit my colleague but my
16 children were staying with my sister in Uzice, so I went to visit my
17 children sometime at the end of June 1992 and I was passing by my
18 hospital, so when I was on my way back from my sister's, I was hurrying to
19 catch the bus but I did go into the hospital to visit my colleague for a
20 few minutes and I did see him. I saw him there with two other patients.
21 They were lying -- Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic was lying next to a glass
22 partition, and there were two other patients behind him. I think one of
23 them was a Muslim, and the other, I don't remember what ethnicity he
24 belonged to.
25 Q. Did you talk to Mr. Vasiljevic on that occasion?
1 A. Well, a little bit, briefly. I asked him how he was, but he was a
2 little tense. His leg was all bandaged up and raised up. He was lying on
3 the bed but I couldn't actually talk to him much. He would start one
4 topic and go on to another, and I didn't have much time either, so I just
5 saw him literally for a couple of minutes.
6 Q. Was Mr. Vasiljevic mobile?
7 A. No, he wasn't mobile. He was lying on the bed and the other two,
8 too. His upper part, he could move his upper -- the upper part of his
9 body, his head and shoulders, but otherwise he was reclining, lying on the
10 bed with one of his legs raised and it was all bandaged up in something
11 white. I don't know whether it was a plaster cast or whatever, I'm not an
13 Q. When you say his head was mobile, what about his arms, could he
14 move his arms?
15 A. His arms were tied but not -- they weren't tied -- they were
16 loosely tied, whether to the bed or what, I don't remember.
17 Q. You said a moment ago that you asked him something or -- and that
18 he would switch topics and move from one topic to -- switch from one topic
19 to another. What do you mean by that?
20 A. Well, he didn't actually realise -- I don't think he realised that
21 I had come to see him and that I was conveying messages and greetings from
22 his wife and colleagues. He just went on talking, sort of saying what he
23 was saying, how somebody was ill, how a doctor did something, incoherent
24 sort of rambling.
25 Q. You described who was in the hospital room with Vasiljevic and you
1 said that one man was a Muslim, I think you said. How can you know that?
2 What led you to conclude that?
3 A. Well, there were three beds, and on each bed, behind, there was a
4 hospital list and I glanced through it. I glanced through what it said on
5 the beds, the first, second, third, and I saw that one of the names was a
6 Muslim name in that third bed. Now as to the second bed, I wasn't quite
7 sure whether it was a Serb name or what it was.
8 Q. After that, did you, and if so when, see Mr. Vasiljevic at all?
9 A. After that, perhaps a year or a year and a half later, I did see
10 Mr. Vasiljevic after his spine operation, and I also saw him at home when
11 he had a plaster cast on his leg. I went to visit him and he had crutches
12 and was in a plaster cast. And then a year and a half later, I saw him
13 again for the same -- I saw him again. I saw him again a year or a year
14 and a half later after this, when he had had a surgery done to his back in
15 Belgrade and he went to the Vilina Vlas recreation and therapy centre; he
16 went for rehabilitation in a swimming pool there.
17 Q. When you visited him and saw him on crutches, did you talk to him
18 about the time you had visited him in hospital? Did you mention that?
19 A. Well, I did mention that I had visited him, but I saw he didn't
20 have any recollection of that and I said, "You know I went to visit you
21 when you were in hospital in Uzice once," and he seemed to be surprised
22 and he said, "When?" And I said I had dropped by for a few minutes and I
23 said probably quite a lot of people had visited him because lots of people
24 went to the Uzice hospital. So if they would drop by, they would go and
25 see him. So he didn't seem to remember that I had visited him at all.
1 Q. As a colleague of his, you ought to know whether or not
2 Mr. Vasiljevic had a nickname of any kind.
3 A. Mr. Vasiljevic did not have a nickname.
4 Q. Do you happen to know if he ever had a beard, a moustache, or
5 anything like that?
6 A. From 1970 up until the present day, and as far as I can see today,
7 too, he never had a moustache or a beard. He was always clean-shaven. We
8 always had to be clean-shaven on the job, and even when we were on holiday
9 we would be clean-shaven. No, he never had a moustache or a beard.
10 Q. What I just asked you, I asked you practically for the time about
11 since -- from 1992 onward.
12 JUDGE HUNT: You got an answer from 1970 until the present
13 day. I think that includes that. Let's move on to the next point,
15 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Zecevic, you heard that your colleague, Mr. Vasiljevic, had
17 been arrested?
18 A. Yes, I did, in the media. When he was arrested, the media said,
19 "Mitar Vasiljevic has been arrested at the Tuzla airport," so that is in
20 the media. I saw it and heard it and I was really surprised and stunned
21 and, to this day, I do not know why did that happen.
22 Q. Tell me, why were you surprised? You say you were surprised. Why
23 were you surprised?
24 A. I was surprised because I never saw him in a unit or with any
25 weapon. I knew him, that he was a perfectly harmless man, not depressive,
1 not aggressive, not to mention that SFOR soldiers were staying at his
2 place and he was on good terms with them. I served them personally in
3 Visegrad. So that it simply came as a surprise.
4 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I do not
5 have any further questions.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Cross-examination, Ms. Bauer.
7 MS. BAUER:
8 Q. Mr. Zecevic, I'm appearing on behalf of the
9 Prosecution and I'd like to ask you a couple of questions. You told us
10 that basically that Mitar Vasiljevic was a fairly well-liked person before
11 the war, wasn't he?
12 A. Of the personnel in those facilities, he was a well-liked,
13 well-loved, well-thought of, popular -- well, popular, I don't mean like
14 "Miss Something" or something like that, but he was sociable, he was a
15 good pal and everybody was fond of him. All the male and female workers,
16 all the employees there, they all liked him.
17 Q. And you also told us that everybody, Muslims liked him very well
18 and Serbs alike; is that correct?
19 A. All that I said is correct. Yes, Muslims and Serbs equally liked
20 him, colleagues he worked with, colleagues he socialised with, colleagues
21 that he and I socialise with when we were together, while we were together
22 and in the enterprise in which we worked together.
23 Q. So may I take it then that actually nobody, according to you, had
24 any reason to lie about Mr. Vasiljevic or to wish him anything ill;
1 A. Could you repeat the question, please, and make it clearer? I
2 don't quite understand.
3 Q. Yes, of course. What I mean is Mr. Vasiljevic was such a really
4 popular and -- or well-liked personality that nobody would have had any
5 reasons to lie about him or to wish him anything bad, would they?
6 A. It is true that they had no reason for it, but as far as I could
7 see from the media, yes, there was that, too.
8 Q. Now, you told us a lot about the Uzamnica prison. I'd like -- I
9 am not quite sure I understood it, but is it correct that the Visegrad TO
10 took over the Uzamnica barracks and prison from the JNA, the Uzice Corps,
11 in particular?
12 A. The Territorial Defence took over the barracks on the 18th of
13 June, 1992, when the Yugoslav army pulled out all its -- after the
14 Yugoslav army pulled out of there and took away all the weapons, that is,
15 emptied the depots at Uzamnica.
16 Q. Who was the commander of this TO unit that took it over, the
17 barracks and the prison?
18 A. The commander of the barracks was Pero Kovacevic. He was either a
19 captain in the Yugoslav Peoples' Army, and he was the one who took over.
20 Q. And isn't it correct he's a Serb by ethnicity; right?
21 A. Yes, yes, it is.
22 Q. Now the TO soldiers there were also Serbs by ethnicity; isn't that
24 A. They were Serbs but there was also one Muslim.
25 Q. Now, when you were mobilised, at that time you were mobilised into
1 the Serb Visegrad TO, right, in May 1992?
2 A. Yes, on the 13th of May, 1992.
3 Q. Were you issued a weapon at that time?
4 A. Yes, a pop rifle.
5 Q. And did you carry along this weapon to your job at Uzamnica
7 A. Yes, I had this rifle with me. It was always in the kitchen when
8 I worked during my working hours, and then I'd take it back home after
9 work and bring it back to work the next day.
10 Q. And you also wore a uniform at that time; is this correct?
11 A. It is.
12 Q. Now, as far as I can tell, and please correct me if I am wrong,
13 this prison that was established was predominantly a military prison,
14 wasn't it?
15 A. No, it was the army barracks, and there were different premises,
16 that is, where the dormitories where the JNA soldiers slept, then the
17 offices of the former JNA, offices of the officers and non-commissioned
18 officers, and then what do I know, where they had the till and all the
19 rest. There were a number of rooms on the first floor and a number of
20 them on the second floor, and that is where prisoners were put. And there
21 were also some premises, some areas what they called them storage areas or
22 hangars, where they kept the armament and everything that the JNA had
23 pulled out, so that those were empty and prisoners were kept there,
24 sometimes on the upper floors. It depended on the number of prisoners and
25 on the space available, but I was never in any one of those areas.
1 Q. The offences for which people were brought into you said were
2 mostly disregarding orders, probably minor offences like not showing up at
3 your position, et cetera. Wouldn't you characterise that the prison --
4 that were military offences if you wouldn't obey military orders at that
6 A. That prison was mostly for misdemeanours, that is breaches of
7 military discipline, and also for civil petty offences. If somebody had
8 committed an offence. Now I didn't have a list with me to know who had
9 been brought there and why, but according to stories, soldier's stories,
10 and at times I could see perhaps through the window when he would be
11 brought in in a vehicle, those men, those people who usually brought by
12 the military police but not all of them. So I presumed that those were
13 not soldiers, disobedient soldiers, but people who must have caused some
14 outburst or committed an offence but I never asked to see the list to see
15 why and who had been brought there but there were also people who were not
16 in uniform there.
17 Q. Now, you told us that Mitar Vasiljevic went to the kitchen and
18 told you, actually, that there was no reason for his arrest. So he never
19 told you at one single point in time, did he, that he did something wrong
20 or admitted to any kind of minor wrongdoing which would warrant him being
21 incarcerated; is this correct?
22 A. It is correct that he did not commit any offence. He refused to
23 obey his superior, and that is something that I overheard from soldiers
24 that he had not committed any offence, he was, again, a civilian, he was
25 not in military clothes. He had not committed any offence, but he had
1 simply refused to obey the order of his superior or he had some words with
2 his superior or refused to obey his order or something. Not an offence.
3 Q. But he didn't assume any kind of responsibility that -- I mean he
4 was in the army, he was mobilised like you, he didn't obey an order, for
5 whatever reasons, but he didn't say, "Okay. It was wrong that I didn't
6 obey the order," did he?
7 JUDGE HUNT: The witness has already accepted that. Let's get on,
9 MS. BAUER: Okay.
10 Q. Well, you told us also that Muslims were incarcerated in this
11 prison, right? Were they actually detained together or separate from the
12 Serb prisoners?
13 A. I did not -- I was not an eye witness to these prisons. I was in
14 the kitchen, but according to stories when they would come to ask for
15 food, they would not say this is food for Muslims or for men or for women
16 because there was both a male and female prison, separately of course, but
17 whether Serbs and Muslims were kept together, that, I don't know.
18 Q. So you told us that sometimes people were allowed to walk around
19 freely but you haven't seen any Muslim walk around freely, have you?
20 A. Yes, they could do that, both Muslims and Serbs. Those who --
21 when they did not think that somebody might want to escape from the
22 prison, so they would allow people to move around the compound, within the
23 compound, if they would volunteer to, say, sweep the barracks or trim the
24 trees or anything, if they did not think that somebody might try to escape
25 from the barracks. And I believe I already mentioned names of one or two
1 Muslims but I know that Muslims, yes, were allowed to move around the
2 compound, and at night, they were in the rooms.
3 Q. Mr. Zecevic, you were at war with the Muslims at that time, right?
4 A. It is.
5 Q. And you tell us that they walked around freely in the Uzamnica
6 barracks and engaged in some voluntary labour; is this what you are
7 testifying today?
8 A. They could move freely around the barracks, I've just said it, I
9 don't know whether you understand me. They could move around the
10 compound, inside the compound, equally Serbs and Muslims. If the guard or
11 the commander allows them to come out, if he simply feels that they are
12 not the ones to attempt an escape. So that if he would be sure they would
13 not attempt any escape, he would allow them to move around the compound
14 but not go outside the compound.
15 Q. Did anybody ever die in the prison?
16 A. Well, no, not when I was there because I wasn't there long, less
17 than a month.
18 Q. And did the police come in at times to sort of supervise the
19 prisoners or to watch the prisoners?
20 A. Military police came.
21 Q. Were people mistreated in the prison?
22 A. In that prison, while I was there, no, they were not mistreated.
23 I mean this word "mistreatment," I don't quite understand what it means
24 but I know more or less. No, I as a cook, was -- or cigarettes, I first
25 had to take it to prisoners, and only after the food had been given to
1 prisoners, then it was served to the soldiers and we were the last ones to
2 eat. So I do not think they were discriminated against insofar as food
3 was concerned.
4 Q. You said you left Uzamnica at one point in time. Did you ever
5 return to Uzamnica in your capacity as cook or food distributor?
6 A. From Uzamnica, I left sometime in mid-June 1992, I have already
7 said, and that is when I left Uzamnica. And sometime in 1993, late 1993,
8 my health deteriorated, I also had to go for an operation in Uzice, so
9 that in late 1993, I was brought back to Uzamnica to work in the kitchen
10 once again.
11 Q. Now, do you know a person called Resid Oruc, who is a 90-year-old
12 man from the village of Meljine?
13 A. If you mean a village between Cajnice and Gorazde, then I know the
14 name of Resid. If it is outside that or the environs of Gorazde, then it
15 would be Resid. Then it could be, yes, because I know there was a man in
16 his 90s.
17 Q. And was there another person at the time you returned to Uzamnica,
18 a person named Momir Nikolic, another one of your colleagues?
19 A. Momir Nikolic, no, I don't remember that he was at Uzamnica but
20 very many Serbs were being brought into custody, that is 6, 7 men would be
21 brought day in and day out because they refused to go to positions or fled
22 from the positions and so that many people were being brought in and then
23 released and so on.
24 Q. So how long did you stay altogether then from end 1993 in
1 A. End of 1993, I think it was sometime latter half of December when
2 I was transferred to Uzamnica again to serve food, and I stayed there
3 until about, I think, end of 1994. I'm not sure, but it would be about
4 that time, end of 1994.
5 Q. Now, coming back to the person we talked about before, Resid Oruc,
6 did you ever see him in the Uzamnica barracks in 1994?
7 A. Mr. Resid, if it is a man in his 90s, he told me because I talked
8 to him and he said that he remembered World War I and World War II and
9 that captured either at Cajnice or Gorazde, and I used to see him because
10 at that time, they already let people out to walk around the compound.
11 They all went on labour duty. So I knew him, yes. I think his name was
12 Resid, but that was a man in his 90s. He was around 90, maybe over 90.
13 Q. Mr. Zecevic, did you ever beat this person with a self-made baton
14 in October of 1994?
15 A. Excuse me, I don't understand the question. Q. Did you
16 personally ever beat Resid Oruc with a baton in the
17 Uzamnica barracks in October 1993?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Well, Mr. Zecevic, I have to put it to you that in fact you were a
20 prison guard in Uzamnica and that you did beat Mr. Oruc, who subsequently
21 died of his injuries; correct?
22 A. No, it is not correct. Mr. Oruc was exchanged in 1994, I
23 believe, if that is the man that you have in mind.
24 Q. Now, you told us about Mitar Vasiljevic, when he was in prison
25 that a doctor was called because he fell ill. The doctor that was called,
1 who was that doctor, Mr. Zecevic?
2 A. It was Dr. Radomir Vasiljevic. Dr. Radomir Vasiljevic. How do
3 you want me to tell you? He worked -- he was with the Health Centre
4 before the war, during the war, and he's still there.
5 Q. Was he the doctor that usually was called when some prisoner fell
6 ill or only in this particular instance?
7 A. No, no, if somebody fell -- if you fall ill, then you call the
8 Health Centre and ask for the doctor on duty and whichever doctor is on
9 duty, he responds. So he's not the only one. I mean, he would come, yes,
10 too, but not always. I mean sometimes some other doctor was on duty.
11 Q. Now, you said the next time you saw Mitar Vasiljevic, once he was
12 released from prison, was cleaning the streets and you've referred to him
13 that he was somehow an orderly. Did you imply with him he commanded the
14 group of people?
15 A. No, he didn't have a group of people under him, but otherwise you
16 are quite right. He was in charge of cleaning so when he would meet in
17 the streets somebody he knew, he'd warn them that streets should be
19 Q. Did he tell you who put him in charge of the cleaning operation?
20 A. No, he did not tell me that, and I never asked him. He had some
21 arm band, a red arm band, rather broad, on one of his arms; I don't
22 remember whether left or right.
23 Q. Did you ever see this red arm band anywhere else than on Mitar
24 Vasiljevic, like in the kitchen in Uzamnica, for example?
25 A. Because these red arm bands were also borne by soldiers in
1 olive-green/grey uniforms and sometimes they would wear yellow ribbon,
2 rather long, and a red ribbon rather long. In Uzamnica, no, only those
3 who had -- they would have on their shoulders a yellow and black ribbon on
4 the shoulders of their olive-green/grey uniforms.
5 Q. What was the significance of these ribbons?
6 A. Those ribbons meant that it was the territorial army, the
7 Territorial Defence. I guess that's what it meant.
8 JUDGE HUNT: At the time the witness said that he was pointing to
9 his shoulders, so we are very clear that it was the ones on the shoulder
10 that refer to that.
11 MS. BAUER:
12 Q. But did any other person than Mitar Vasiljevic, to come back to my
13 first question, wear a red ribbon around his arm?
14 A. A red arm band was usually worn by some monitors, people who were
15 either in Bikovac or near some other headquarters, so either couriers and
16 then monitors, people on duty, they usually had such red arm bands.
17 Q. Could you maybe explain what you mean under "monitor"?
18 A. Well, it is a man on duty. For instance, duty officer on a
19 shift. Well, as in every house, he's, for instance, in front of a house
20 and he directs you to somewhere and tells you where to go, where you are
21 supposed to go, so he is a kind of a janitor. If it is inside a house,
22 then he is responsible for the order in that room, in that area. Things
23 like that.
24 Q. So I take it from your response that he was in some kind of
25 commanding position, in some kind of position of ordering somebody to do
2 A. At the time, I don't know under whose orders but he had -- he
3 received that order from somebody to sweep the streets because there
4 were all sorts of posters and there were tins and cans and waste paper and
5 all sorts of garbage were in the streets, so that there were some private
6 outlets, be it taverns or shops or something. So his orders were to tell
7 people working there, owners of all those outlets to clean it, to clean
8 their windows, to remove that glass, to collect all the refuse and all
9 the rest.
10 Q. So -- I'll move on. That's fine.
11 MS. BAUER: Your Honour, I was reminded that it's apparently time
12 to break. I'm sorry.
13 JUDGE HUNT: Very well then. We'll resume at 2.30.
14 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, before we break, may I address the Court
15 for a second?
16 JUDGE HUNT: Yes.
17 MR. GROOME: Just to let the Court know that the issue that came
18 up last week, I am prepared to discuss that further with the Chamber. I
19 would ask that we perhaps do it between witnesses at a time when a
20 witness is not present in the Chamber and at the Court's convenience.
21 JUDGE HUNT: At the rate we are going, I'm not sure when we will
22 finish this witness. I am at a complete loss to know what it is we are
23 dealing with here, but perhaps if the cross-examination can speed up a
24 little bit, we may get something in this afternoon.
25 We'll resume at 2.30.
1 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.28 p.m.
2 JUDGE HUNT: Ms. Bauer.
3 MS. BAUER:
4 Q. Mr. Zecevic, just before the break, you told us that the
5 90-year-old man called Resid was exchanged in 1994; correct?
6 A. I apologise, I understood you to mean Resid, Oruc Resid, and he
7 was taken prisoner at the Cajnice Gorazde battlefield and I know that he
8 was exchanged, not Rasim but Resid. He was 90, maybe more.
9 Q. Do you know when he was exchanged, who ordered that he would be
10 exchanged, who decided that, who made this decision?
11 A. I don't know who made the decision and I don't know the time of
12 the exchange either but I think that it was the last or penultimate
13 exchange of prisoners from the barracks, just like the other people were
15 Q. How did you personally learn about his exchange?
16 A. Well, at that time, when I was in Uzamnica for the second time, I
17 was also a cook at Uzamnica and I know that everybody who was there in
18 1994 was exchanged.
19 Q. So now you say that this 90-year-old man was actually captured on
20 the battlefield, so that was the reason he was incarcerated. Did I
21 understand that correctly?
22 A. Yes. Yes, on the battleground, he was -- it was Resid Oruc, I
23 remembered his name. He was an old man, 90 or more. He was taken
24 somewhere in that region there, the last battleground around Gorazde, in
25 that area. That's what people said, the people that had brought him in,
1 the police.
2 Q. And you personally stayed in the barracks until the last exchange
3 was over or until the end of 1994, or how long did you stay on for in the
5 A. From the end of 1993, the second time, I had an operation, an
6 ulcer operation, so I was deployed there at the end of 1993 and he stayed
7 until -- I'm not sure whether it was the end of 1994 or to mid-1995 but I
8 was there until the last exchange of prisoners took place, the ones that
9 were brought in in 1993, the ones I met there when I was -- came in 1993
10 and the ones who were changed in the last and one-but-last exchange, in
11 the last two exchanges.
12 Q. And is it your testimony that at no time ever was any of these
13 Muslim prisoners beaten by anybody?
14 A. The first time, I was there for barely a month. As I said, I was
15 not able to see. I don't know. I can't say. But the second time, I was
16 there from the end of 1993 onwards, nobody was, because I served out the
17 food, I could see the people and we were on duty. For example, I would be
18 on duty two days looking after the prisoners, the Serbs and Muslims, I
19 would hand out their food and that kind of thing.
20 Q. Then you testified also that you visited Mitar Vasiljevic in the
21 hospital around end June 1992; is this correct?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Wouldn't you agree with me, Mr. Zecevic, that this is a rather
24 important detail that you testified to today?
25 A. Yes, I would agree with you there.
1 Q. And you gave a statement to Mr. Tanaskovic in June of 1992; is
2 this correct?
3 A. Yes. 2000, I gave the statement in 2000.
4 Q. Yes, I'm sorry for the wrong date. And you probably knew that it
5 was rather important to recall all the events as accurately as possible at
6 that time; right?
7 A. Yes. Yes. And in the statement that I gave when I was
8 questioned, I spoke about some events that I recalled connected to
9 Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic. Now, if I were to go into it all, and then of
10 course four years is a long time. I know lots of things but lots of
11 things I don't know that are related to Mitar Vasiljevic.
12 Q. But you would agree with me, wouldn't you, that not with one
13 single word that you mentioned visiting Mitar Vasiljevic in the hospital,
14 did you, at that time?
15 A. I can't -- I don't agree with you. I did visit Mitar at the end
16 of June 1992. I went to the Uzice hospital, the orthopaedics ward. I
17 remember that very well. I think the room was Room 5.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Don't repeat your evidence. You were asked a simple
19 question: You haven't said anything in your statement about it. That's
20 the question.
21 A. Well, not in the statement. I didn't remember that. How shall I
22 put this? I didn't remember that I had visited him and that's why it
23 simply why I didn't -- not because I didn't want to say but I just didn't
24 remember on that occasion.
25 MS. BAUER:
1 Q. But do you agree with me that in the statement you signed it did
2 not mention --
3 JUDGE HUNT: Look, we've got that agreement. Let's get on with
4 it, please.
5 MS. BAUER:
6 Q. Now, Mr. Zecevic, you are in an area in Visegrad that's called
7 Seganje, is that correct, or Seganje Street?
8 A. Seganje, Gornja Seganje or Upper Seganje.
9 Q. And this is a settlement like Bikovac or Pionirska in Visegrad;
11 A. No. No. It's a settlement to the left of the bus stop. As you
12 go on from the bus stop, Pionirska is over there, Seganje is like this,
13 Bikovac is like that.
14 Q. I'm sorry, maybe you understood me. It is a settlement, can we
15 agree on that?
16 A. Yes, yes, we can agree.
17 Q. And is there anybody with the same family name and surname like
18 you in this settlement?
19 A. With the same surname, you mean? Yes, there are people with the
20 same surname.
21 Q. So there are more Ilija Zecevics living in this part of town; is
22 this what you are saying?
23 A. No, not Ilija Zecevic, just the surname, Milan Zecevic, for
24 example. As far as I know, there was a Milan Zecevic.
25 Q. Was there also a person also called Jovica Planocevic living
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And did you know this person?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And could you please tell us what the profession of this person
7 A. Driver.
8 Q. Driver for what?
9 A. Heavy-duty vehicles, trucks.
10 Q. Was he some kind of friend of yours?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Acquaintance?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And did there live also a shoemaker called Omer Omerovic in 1992
15 in the settlement?
16 A. Omerovic, the surname rings a bell, but not in that settlement. I
17 think it was another one. Omerovic, they used to live in the Bikovac
18 settlement, I think, Ban Polje, Bikovac, somewhere there but not in this
20 Q. Do you know whether this person is still alive today?
21 A. I don't know.
22 Q. So isn't it a fact, Mr. Zecevic, that this Jovica Planocevic
23 killed him in 1992?
24 A. I'm not aware of that.
25 Q. And you at no time were Mr. Planocevic's right-hand man
1 during this time period?
2 A. No, not right hand and not left hand either.
3 Q. Now, you said you heard for the first time sometime in June that
4 Mitar Vasiljevic fell from a horse. Did you learn whose horse that was?
5 A. No, I never learnt whose horse he fell from. All I knew was that
6 he fell off a horse and broke his leg, but whose horse it was, I don't
8 Q. And you also didn't hear how he came about to ride that horse;
10 A. I don't know, No. I just heard comments that he was a little
11 tipsy riding through the centre and that he fell off. Now, how he came by
12 the horse and what actually happened, I don't know.
13 Q. And you never discussed with Mitar Vasiljevic, that accident and
14 how he came to ride about the horse?
15 A. I didn't because we didn't see each other afterwards. We didn't
16 see each other for about a year or year and a half after I had visited him
17 in hospital, so sometime like a comment and a joke later on, there was a
18 man who would get drunk before the war, ride a horse, and then they'd put
19 him in prison, so we'd joke about that kind of thing and he -- we sort of
20 said you've taken the place of that man that used to -- I think his name
21 was Ivo who used to ride through town a bit drunk, so you decided to do
22 that for him, that kind of thing, joking around.
23 Q. So when you visited him apparently at home, as you told us, and
24 saw him in a cast, you never asked him about that, did you?
25 A. No. No. Because I thought he might be angry or he might not like
1 it, that he'd be embarrassed.
2 MS. BAUER: No further questions, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Any re-examination?
4 Re-examined by Mr. Tanaskovic:
5 JUDGE HUNT: I'm afraid we're not getting any translation.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear?
7 JUDGE HUNT: We need what Mr. Tanaskovic has said. It will be the
8 question, I should think. Would you like him to repeat it?
9 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Repeat the question, please.
11 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
12 Re-examined by Mr. Tanaskovic:
13 Q. On page 55 of the transcript, Mr. Zecevic, you said that the Uzice
14 Corps left Uzamnica on the 18th of June, 1992. Was that a mistake or is
15 that what you think?
16 A. No. If I said that, then it's a mistake in the month. The Uzice
17 Corps left on the 18th of May, 1992, the 18th of May or the 5th month of
18 1992. Perhaps I misspoke when I was saying the month, but it was the 18th
19 of May, 1992.
20 Q. Asked by the Prosecution, you said that you didn't beat an
21 individual that was mentioned, I don't know what his name was. Now, my
22 question was: Did you hit or beat anyone, under any circumstances, in any
24 A. No, never. In no circumstances and no situation.
25 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir, for coming to give your evidence and
2 for the evidence which you have given. You are now free to leave.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, Your Honours, for
4 giving me the honour of being here. I said what I knew. I told the
5 truth, if you can believe that.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, sir.
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 JUDGE HUNT: Now, Mr. Groome, you want to explain what the
9 Prosecution case is now, do you?
10 MR. GROOME: If that pleases the Court, Your Honour.
11 Your Honour, I have considered your colloquy of last week and
12 hopefully I can address it completely here. Just a couple of minutes of
13 remarks and then we will be willing to answer any questions the Court may
15 As I understand the Court's question, it is whether in light of
16 evidence that has been adduced at trial whether the Prosecution's theory
17 of the case has altered in such a way that it may not be necessary
18 for the Defence to call some of the medical personnel to meet that case.
19 The Court indicated that it thought that one of my final questions
20 to the accused may have indicated a change in thinking. It does not. The
21 Prosecution theory of the case remains as follows: The Prosecution theory
22 of the case is that the crime in this case began when the accused
23 misrepresented himself as a member of the Red Cross and instructed a
24 number of people to remain in a particular house. Further, that he
25 returned a short time later with Milan Lukic and other paramilitaries and
1 participated in the robbing of those people. He participated in moving
2 them to another house, where they were then set on fire and, finally, he
3 participated by shooting at or helping to shoot at some of the people who
4 tried to escape out of the windows of that house.
5 Now, the Defence has raised an alibi defence that at some point in
6 the middle of this crime as alleged by the Prosecution, he was injured and
7 could not have been present when the people were robbed and killed. In my
8 view, that raises two issues, a factual one and a legal one. The factual
9 issue being, was he present at the fire? In light of the alibi, that
10 places upon me the burden to eliminate the reasonable possibility that his
11 alibi is true. And secondly, the legal issue is: When did this crime
12 again? Does the alibi matter?
13 The Prosecution will attempt to eliminate the reasonable
14 possibility that the alibi is true adducing evidence from which the Court
15 can properly infer that the medical records which apparently support the
16 alibi are unreliable and should not be depended upon by the Chamber. The
17 Prosecution will adduce that from its own expert and eye witness testimony
18 as well as attempting to elicit evidence from Defence witnesses who are
19 put forward in support of this alibi.
20 Now, it seems beyond question at this stage that in light of the
21 X-rays taken this past summer, that the accused did, in fact, break his
22 leg at some point prior to his arrest. The Prosecution theory of the case
23 does not include any intention to introduce evidence of or make legal
24 argument regarding how we believe he actually broke his leg. My question
25 to the accused was not intended as an indication of a shift in the
1 Prosecution theory. I was simply attempting to have Mr. Vasiljevic
2 recognise the possibility that the fracture of his leg, even assuming it
3 did occur on the day of the crime, as he alleges, was as consistent with
4 falling down the creek bed as it was falling off of the horse.
5 I want to make one additional comment regarding the report that I
6 provided to the Chamber at the Chamber's request last Thursday. As I
7 understood my obligation a week ago this Monday, I am obliged to file an
8 expert report 21 days before I intend to call that witness. At this
9 juncture I do not intend to call Dr. Debakker as a witness. Dr. de Grave,
10 for all his flaws, took a more scientific and studied approach to the
11 comparison of the two X-rays than did Dr. Debakker. We also know that Dr.
12 Debakker's findings are directly contradicted by the accused's own
13 testimony of his observations of the original X-rays and what he was told
14 by his doctors at the time he was treated.
15 Having said that, it was my opinion that Dr. Debakker's report did
16 constitute Rule 68 material in that it impeached Dr. de Grave's findings,
17 and under my continuing obligation under Rule 68, I provided that report
19 Mr. Domazet the day after I received it.
20 It is not my intention to file Dr. Debakker's report as I do not
21 intend to call him as a witness. I will do so if I am instructed to do so
22 by the Court. Mr. Domazet is free to speak to Dr. Debakker and to
23 introduce that report if he wishes. From Your Honour's comments the
24 other day, I received the impression that the Court perceived or
25 attributed some improper motive regarding my failure to file the report.
1 I believe I've demonstrated in the pre-trial phase of this case my
2 practice of expeditiously turning, tendering all information and evidence
3 which might possibly constitute Rule 68 material.
4 I hope that this explanation sets the record straight regarding
5 the report of Dr. Debakker.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Are you finished?
7 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE HUNT: There is no suggestion of an improper failure to file
9 the report, Mr. Groome. I don't know how you could have obtained that
10 impression, but if you did, I regret it. It certainly is not intended.
11 MR. GROOME: Thank you.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Well, then that makes it clear. We're back to square
13 one, and your question to the accused was not intended to put to him what
14 your case was. That's so, as to whether he is falling down the grassy
15 slope issue.
16 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE HUNT: Now the next matter, you said we will adduce from our
18 own testimony, as well as attempt to elicit evidence from the Defence
19 witnesses. I'm not quite sure why you are using the future tense about
20 your own witnesses. You've called your witnesses on this issue. You
21 don't get a right to raise this in reply unless there is something new
22 that comes that was not put to your witnesses during your case in chief.
23 I don't want there to be any misunderstanding about that. You
24 bear the onus and you've always borne the onus because the issue was
25 raised during the -- well, in fact, before your case even commenced so it
1 was an issue you had to meet. You will be entitled to called evidence in
2 reply in the ordinary way, if it is in reply to the Defence case but you
3 don't get another go at it, as it were.
4 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour, I understand that.
5 JUDGE HUNT: That's all right. Well, thank you very much for
6 that. It's somewhat dismaying news about the fact that eight witnesses
7 have to be called, but I understand that and, of course, it will be
8 necessary for them to be called.
9 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, can I raise two other matters?
10 JUDGE HUNT: Before you do that, I want to say this: That last
11 witness took an hour in chief to say what I could see to be three relevant
12 facts of not very great importance.
13 We have to move more quickly than this. I hope that the Defence
14 is choosing their witnesses for quality and not quantity and, really, when
15 a witness is as verbose as that one was, it is very unwise to ask him in
16 cross-examination, "Do I understand you to say," because all you do is
17 get a repetition of a very long answer. There are ways of dealing with
18 these witnesses and one of them is don't ask them anything which invites
19 them to spend five to ten minutes saying what they've already said. We
20 really do not have that amount of time.
21 Now, Mr. Groome, you want to say something different?
22 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour. Last Friday during my
23 cross-examination of VG23, the Court admonished me to refer to VGD10 by
24 his pseudonym and not his name. I guess I want to clarify an
25 earlier Court ruling regarding VGD10 and whether or not protective
1 measures have been inadvertently extend today him.
2 The Chamber will recall the use of pseudonyms by the Defence began
3 when I raised the issue during my cross-examination of Mr. Vasiljevic that
4 during his statement of the 16th and the 17th, he said in his statement
5 that his description of the activities of two people might endanger his
6 family, and at that time, it was agreed that we would allow Mr. Vasiljevic
7 or the Court permitted Mr. Vasiljevic to refer to those people by a number
8 in order to protect his family.
9 Then Mr. Vasiljevic then produced a list of other names that he
10 wished to refer to by pseudonym again once to protect his family. The
11 interest, as I understood it at the time, was to protect the family of the
12 accused and not VGD10 himself. It would be the position of the
13 Prosecution that this limited interest to protect Mr. Vasiljevic's family
14 is no longer served by referring to VGD10 or any of the men on that list
15 by pseudonym. It is also the position of the Prosecution that given this
16 person's relationship to the matters before this Court, that it would be
17 inappropriate to refer to that person by a pseudonym.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Well, that depends, does it not, on the circumstances
19 in which you referred to him. It has always been the Prosecution's
20 attitude that if somebody is entitled to have himself protected by not
21 referring to somebody by name, that they -- that that protection
22 throughout the case, and if there's any possibility of tying up your
23 questions with the evidence which the accused gave, then you have
24 destroyed that protection which the accused has sought.
25 MR. GROOME: Well, Your Honour, speaking about the specific
1 instance on Friday, it was an allegation that this witness participated in
2 a crime with VG10 with no reference to the accused. I guess I'm just
3 trying to clarify, have we inadvertently extended protective measures to
4 VG10, and is that appropriate.
5 JUDGE HUNT: It's not a question of whether they have been
6 extended. The protection which we afforded to the accused remains. If
7 you feel that you can safely refer to a name in a context who is one of
8 those persons without in any way tying it into the accused and his
9 evidence, then it would be appropriate to do so. But you would have to be
10 very, very careful, and so far as I can see, it would be safer, in my
11 view, in those circumstances, unless you can be absolutely certain, that
12 you keep to continue to refer to them by those pseudonyms. We can work
13 out who they are.
14 The Prosecution, if I may say so, goes very hot and cold on
15 these protective measures. I've given something like eight decisions in
16 another case about protective measures which the Prosecution has sought.
17 They go right over the top in many ways but they don't seem to be so keen
18 when the Defence wants them.
19 MR. GROOME: I appreciate the point, Your Honour, and I will
20 abide by your wish to continue referring to them as a measure of caution.
21 There is one other final matter I would like to raise with the
22 Court. Earlier today I received an application by the Defence to have the
23 accused examined. Given the time pressures that the Court has made us
24 aware of, I would ask that as soon as that -- if the Court should grant
25 that application, as soon as that psychiatric professional interviews the
1 accused, if the Prosecution could be notified or given a draft report
2 before the final report is done so that we can begin the process of
3 identifying a Prosecution expert and possibly make arrangements to have
4 the Prosecution examine Mr. Vasiljevic as well.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Well, that seems fairly reasonable.
6 Mr. Domazet, bearing in mind this case has been something like 12
7 months in preparation, I am still dismayed at the thought that experts are
8 still being obtained. What is the issue to which this doctor's opinion is
9 sought, as to his state of mind at the time or now? And in either case,
10 how is it relevant to the case? There's been no notice given of any
11 question of diminished responsibility on the issue of sentencing, so where
12 is this relevant?
13 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think it is important
14 and relevant for an expert to assess his accountability at that time, that
15 is, in 1992, since at the Uzice hospital, after the injury and during the
16 treatment of his fracture, he was also treated at the psychiatric ward and
17 suffered those crises which have already been described.
18 We have also learned that he had received some hospital treatment
19 even on prior occasions. With the expert witness, I tried to obtain from
20 him some preliminary finding based on the documentation available to us
21 but I was told what I already know from my experience, at least in my
22 country, and I've been a lawyer for more than 30 years. I was told that
23 no expert would write a report prior to an interview or examination of the
24 person about whom the report needs to be written.
25 I believe it would suffice if this expert did that in the
1 detention unit next Saturday/Sunday so that we could have the report of
2 that expert next week.
3 JUDGE HUNT: But Mr. Domazet, you have been in this case for over
4 12 months. Now, if this was something which you wanted to do, why is it
5 being left until this stage with all of the problems about the time limits
6 which the Rules provide?
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, believe me, I was
8 simply not aware of the problem. I did not think that such a motion would
9 be made, that there would be any need for this. It was only after we
10 received some information from the Uzice hospital, and earlier, we
11 requested from them only documentation regarding the physical injury and
12 the alibi. But afterwards, after talking to the accused himself, who, I
13 don't know why, but tried to conceal the fact that he was treated before
14 and tried to conceal the fact of that crisis that he had suffered.
15 Of course, I do not know whether -- what the finding will be,
16 whether it will tell us anything about his state of mind at the time, but
17 perhaps it will explain some elements of his behaviour if it is found that
18 his behaviour was not a normal behaviour, either with regard to what he
19 said at the time or what he did at the time.
20 I think that this expert analysis and testimony is needed, and I
21 think we can solve all the problems that we have in this manner.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Well, Mr. Domazet, I'm sure we do not want in any way
23 to have your client lose an opportunity of producing some evidence which
24 may turn out to be relevant, but you are so late in doing this that I
25 think we are entitled to say we will do so, grant you this, only upon the
1 basis that you do as Mr. Groome has suggested, you produce a report
2 immediately, even a draft one, so that the Prosecution can meet it.
3 I perhaps am unfair in reminding you of your insistence upon the
4 compliance with the Rule, the 21 days notice, but where you are doing
5 something so late, particularly as this question of his being moved into
6 the psychiatric ward was referred to in the hospital records which were
7 produced months ago.
8 Now, are you prepared then to have this doctor produce a report
9 immediately here in The Hague before she returns, he or she returns, so
10 that it can be given to the Prosecution? Otherwise, we will just never
11 finish this case.
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] As I have just said, of course, I
13 will do my best. I think it is important to organise the interview over
14 this weekend, that is, Saturday and Sunday. The expert witness is quite
15 ready to come and do that, and I shall insist with this expert to draft,
16 to write the report so that I can disclose it to the Prosecutor as soon as
17 it is possible.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Well, what is it that the Trial Chamber has to do?
19 This is not an application to have her appointed by the Registrar. What
20 you want is to have her permitted to have a private consultation with him
21 on a medical basis out at the Detention Centre. Is that so? Because I
22 don't think that we have any powers over that.
23 May I suggest to you that this afternoon, you speak to the Office
24 of the Legal Aid and Detention to see just what is necessary and we will
25 certainly do what we have to do in order to have this done over the
1 weekend, but I can't emphasise enough that because of the extraordinarily
2 long delay in getting on to this, you have got to pull out all stops to
3 get this to the Prosecution as soon as possible.
4 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE HUNT: And I remind you that the Rules require you to give
6 notice of any issue of diminished responsibility which is relevant to
7 sentencing and that is a formal matter which you'll have to comply with if
8 that is what the doctor comes up with, have to do that straight away.
9 Anyway, you come back to us in the morning. Perhaps ask the OLAD
10 people to give you a draft of what they feel we have to order so that it
11 can be done first thing in the morning. Have you done something about
12 getting a visa for the doctor?
13 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, the doctor has obtained a
14 visa, no problems in this regard. The doctor can come immediately.
15 JUDGE HUNT: All right then. Well, we'll deal with that first
16 thing in the morning. Now, next witness.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE HUNT: Now, sir, will you please make the solemn declaration
19 in the document which the court usher is handing to you.
20 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
21 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 WITNESS: PETAR MITROVIC
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 JUDGE HUNT: Sit down, please.
25 Mr. Tanaskovic, would you please lead this witness through to the
1 relevant point and not spend so much time on completely background
2 material of no importance.
3 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
4 Examined by Mr. Tanaskovic:
5 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, good afternoon.
6 A. Good afternoon.
7 Q. Will you please give us your full name, where and when were you
9 A. Petar Mitrovic, I was born on the 30th of January, 1949 in
10 Sarajevo, and I teach physical education in a secondary school and have
11 been living in Visegrad since 1952. Do you need anything else?
12 Q. No, it will be enough for the time being.
13 To begin with, tell us, do you know Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic?
14 A. Yes, I do. I know quite a number of Visegradians because I have
15 been living there for a long time so I know many people in Visegrad, and
16 he is one of them. We know one another because it is a very small town so
17 that we keep coming across one another.
18 Q. Do you know what Mr. Vasiljevic did, what is he?
19 A. Yes. He worked in the hostelry business in catering and he worked
20 not far from the building that I live in, I mean a waiter. He served
22 Q. Could you tell us where were you in the first half of June 1992?
23 A. I was assigned as a reservist, as a police reservist, to the
24 Visegrad Hotel. That is where we were put up.
25 Q. Can you very briefly tell us where is that hotel? Can you
1 describe it?
2 A. The hotel is next to the well-known bridge on the Drina described
3 in a novel by the Nobel winner, Ivo Andric. You must have heard of it.
4 Q. Before you came -- went into the -- before you were assigned to
5 that hotel, do you know if anyone else was quartered there?
6 A. I don't know because, before that, I was assigned elsewhere before
7 that and when I came, the hotel was empty.
8 Q. Now, I'd like to ask you to focus and try to bring back to your
9 memory that first half of June 1992. Can you tell us if at that time you
10 used to see Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic around?
11 A. Yes. Yes, I did. And I also heard a great deal about him because
12 at that time, I do not know who it was who had assigned him, but he was
13 the man responsible for the hygiene in the town, cleaning the streets and
14 all that, and I saw him several times in passing and would wave my hand at
16 Q. Can you tell us with whom did he clean those streets and who else
17 did that?
18 A. Well, it was shop owners of Serb and Muslim ethnicity who worked
19 in those outlets in the grocer's shops and in other shops that were open
20 at the time.
21 Q. If you remember, could you tell us about at least one occasion
22 when you saw him, what was he wearing then?
23 A. I saw him once, he had on a dark suit, no weapons, and he had a
24 red arm band of about five, eight centimetres wide.
25 Q. When you say he had a red arm band, where did he wear that arm
2 A. On his arm. I think it was on his right arm, on the upper arm. I
3 think it was on his right arm. I didn't really pay much attention, and I
4 am a left-handed person myself.
5 Q. Can you recall until when did you see him doing what you told us
6 he was doing?
7 A. Well, I said I saw him on a couple of times until he broke his
9 Q. And how did that come to pass?
10 A. Well, I was standing in front of the hotel at the entrance, at the
11 front door of the hotel, and I heard some noise, that is, somebody was
12 shouting something. And then I looked and saw Mitar on a horse, riding a
13 horse, and he was turning from the main street into a side street, and I
14 can explain it if you want me to tell you. I was -- he was coming from
15 the north, moving southward, and then turned eastward into a bystreet,
16 into a side street. And seeing him on a horse was, it was a rather
17 strange sight, so I shouted, "Hey Mitar," because I was surprised to see
18 him ride a horse.
19 When he saw me, because we know one another, he turned towards me,
20 and it was raining and this street is slightly sloping towards the hotel,
21 and Ratko, the teacher, saw him above from the terrace and he was also --
22 he was surprised, too. And he shouted, "There you go. Good boy, Mitar,"
23 and he turned to see who it was who was calling out to him and the horse
24 fell. And as the horse fell, his head faced eastward and his legs towards
25 the hotel, and I could see in front of the hotel, it was about 50 metres
1 away, I could see that the horse wasn't standing up and nor Mitar was
2 standing up. So we started to run towards him.
3 And he swore at me, and he says, "Why did you call me," or
4 something to that effect, "My leg's broken." And because the horse was
5 lying over his leg, we didn't know what to do. But the horse was
6 frightened, too, and jumped up. And he -- he told us to call an
7 ambulance, and I don't know who went into the hotel, and the ambulance
8 came and we helped to put him on a stretcher and take him into the
10 Later on, I heard that he had been moved to Uzice and that he had
11 really suffered a fracture. So I asked him when he fell, when I came to
12 him, "How do you know?" And he said, "Well I heard it, I heard my leg
13 breaking." And he immediately felt pain and started moaning.
14 Q. Now that you tell us all this, when you said that you shouted,
15 "Hey, Mitar" and waved, you showed that you waved your hand. We need to
16 say that for the record. So you waved your hand inviting him to come
17 close, is that it?
18 A. Yes, yes, and he turned and I realised because the horse refused
19 to obey, I suppose, it wasn't used to walking on the asphalt.
20 Q. And you also said that Ratko called out to him. Who is that?
21 A. Ratko is another teacher, works in the --
22 Q. And what is his last name?
23 A. His last name is Ratko Simsic. Well, we all call him "Ratko."
24 That's his nickname. Radomir, I suppose, is his full name. I don't know
25 Q. Can you describe somehow the place, the spot where that happened?
1 A. It happened -- well, Ratko lives nearby. There was a square which
2 has been renovated, and he lives in a building above the former
3 Jugoplastika store, and he had started and on the corner was the Sipad
4 store but now it's Kristal Banka, and below that is the grill restaurant
5 and then comes the department store. So it was between the grill
6 restaurant and the Sipad store. There is no sidewalk there but that was a
7 kind of elevation where you could park a car.
8 Q. If I understood you, you said that Vasiljevic was moving towards
9 the hotel in which you were. From the centre of the town towards the
10 hotel; is that it?
11 THE INTERPRETER: The witness nods.
12 Q. And now what you have described as -- where is that?
13 A. It was to the right of Mr. Vasiljevic. When this man called him
14 out, he started to the left and that is why it happened, that is why he
16 Q. And what is -- what was on the left-hand side of Mr. Vasiljevic as
17 he was riding towards you?
18 A. I told you, a state-owned restaurant, grill restaurant, and a
19 small garden and -- or a terrace restaurant and then there is some
20 greenery there and there is the billboard where you put posters for
21 cinema, for upcoming films.
22 Q. Does that mean that this billboard is between the department store
23 that you mentioned and this grill restaurant?
24 A. Yes, nearer the grill restaurant than the department store because
25 there is a passage between the department store and that restaurant.
1 Q. Do you know who it was that notified the Health Centre and got the
3 A. I don't know. Somebody said, "Well, go and find an ambulance,"
4 and somebody did, and it turned up not long -- not much later, that is,
5 perhaps, 10 minutes later or something like that.
6 Q. Do you, perhaps, know the driver of that ambulance car?
7 A. I do know the driver. Everybody calls him Zika. His last name is
8 Savic. I don't know what his full first name is.
9 Q. And Mr. Savic, did he -- was he alone in that ambulance car?
10 A. I think so, but I don't know. I didn't pay much attention to
11 that. I was looking at Mitar because he was obviously in great pain. I
12 know that that man, Savic came, that he drove that ambulance. Whether
13 somebody else was with him, I don't remember.
14 Q. And you said you helped somebody, I presume the driver, to put him
15 in the ambulance car?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. And who else was there?
18 A. Well, I don't know. There was Djordje Brusavic [phoen] who is now
19 the principal of my school, and somebody else. But I simply don't
20 remember who else. I know the two of us, that is why we got together,
21 that is why I remember. Who else was there, I just don't recall.
22 Q. Can you briefly describe how is it that you took him into the
23 ambulance in view of all that pain and, as you say, his moans?
24 A. Well, whichever way we tried to turn him, whichever way --
25 wherever we touched him, he was all right, but when we tried to touch his
1 leg, then he would really cry out loudly, and my neighbour who was up
2 there told me that the true pain started later on. And he really cried
3 when they got him to the X-ray because he had to take off his shoes or,
4 rather, I think it was some boots that he had on. And it hurt him
5 terribly. And a neighbour told me how he unlaced those boots, took out
6 the laces, and they didn't really know how to manage it, how to get this
7 boot off because he was in such great pain.
8 Q. You said that this street is at a certain slope towards the hotel?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And tell us, what was the weather like, if you remember it?
11 A. Yes, I do. There was nobody in the street. There was some
12 drizzle so that the pavement was wet and the horse, I don't remember what
13 colour exactly it was, but it was dark because even the horse was wet.
14 And Mitar was wet, too.
15 Q. Now, when you -- we're talking about the horse. Do you remember
16 if that horse had a saddle, bridle or something?
17 A. No, all he had was some reins. Well, I don't know much about
18 horses. He had a rope or something that he held, but no saddle or
19 anything like it.
20 Q. Well, if I explained the reins or is it the bridle that you put
21 in horse's mouth, or rather the bit that you put in the mouth, but nothing
22 else and some rope?
23 A. No, no, no, he had. So he had a tether, a rope, and I don't think
24 he had a bit or anything. I do not think he -- there was anything, no
25 saddle. I don't really know much about horses.
1 Q. And can you tell us what colour was that horse and how tall?
2 A. Not very tall, and they called it -- I learned about those horses
3 in school. They called him Bosnian mountain horse, and I think that must
4 have been one of those horses. I live in the town, so I don't see very
5 many horses around, but it was rather dark, a dark brown or something. I
6 don't remember because it was wet, so it was quite dark, but I know it was
7 a dark-coloured horse.
8 Q. Do you know what happened to that horse afterwards?
9 A. No, I don't. The horse stood there for a while as if hypnotized,
10 and as soon as the ambulance car arrived, we, of course, went back into
11 the hotel because there was this drizzle, so that I don't know what
12 happened to the horse.
13 Q. Can you remember there where it happened, did you see any other
14 objects, was anything found there?
15 A. No, there was nothing there. I don't remember. No, I don't think
17 Q. Was a megaphone, a loud speaker found there or seen thereabouts?
18 A. No. I didn't see one.
19 Q. You said you heard that Mr. Vasiljevic had gone to Uzice?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you see him around afterwards or not?
22 A. Well, I saw him walking through town with crutches. I didn't talk
23 to him. I assumed he was angry with me because it was because of me that
24 he broke his leg, so we just said hello, but I didn't stop to chat.
25 Q. A moment ago when I asked you how Mr. Vasiljevic was dressed, I
1 don't think I asked you, although you did write this -- did he have a
2 light coat with him or on him?
3 A. No, he didn't. He was wearing a dark suit, a jacket and trousers,
4 I know that it was of a darker colour, and he was wearing boots and I
5 learnt from the doctor -- I realise this because I learnt from the doctor
6 that he had trouble taking the boots off.
7 Q. What about a hat?
8 A. No. I know Mitar and he never wore a hat.
9 Q. You said you were at the hotel, put up at the hotel. Now, while
10 you were on duty, or perhaps you happened to know from someone else, do
11 you know whether Mr. Vasiljevic at any time or in any way would come in
12 front of the Visegrad Hotel or enter the Visegrad Hotel in that period of
14 A. While I was there, I did not see him.
15 Q. And when you saw him on some other occasion, wherever that was,
16 was he wearing a uniform? Did he have a weapon of any kind?
17 A. No, he wasn't in uniform and he wasn't carrying a weapon of any
18 kind. And my wife, if I can add that, said, "Well, thanks to him, the
19 town is clean, so I take my hat off to him for that."
20 Q. Now, do you know who assigned him to do that work?
21 A. I think that somebody assigned him, but who assigned him, I don't
22 know. I wasn't interested in learning about that. But judging by the
23 comments made by the Visegrad population, they were satisfied with the
24 work he was doing and they were satisfied that somebody had been assigned
25 to do that kind of work.
1 Q. When you spoke about the red arm band a moment ago or ribbon, can
2 I ask you what you thought that band or ribbon represented? To you, what
3 message did it convey to you?
4 A. Well, in our parts, when somebody puts a band on, it means he has
5 been assigned to do some duty work, and at school, when we went to school,
6 when I went to school, we would get these bands or ribbons when somebody
7 was a monitor on duty or something like that.
8 Q. When did you learn that Mr. Vasiljevic had been arrested and who
9 did you hear that from?
10 A. I can't remember when the news flashed around town that Mitar had
11 been arrested. I think I saw him on that particular day, actually, but we
12 learnt about it only in the evening, and people said that his wife didn't
13 know where he was and she called Prelaz. As it's a small town, news
14 travels fast.
15 Q. What was your comment when you heard about it?
16 A. Well, my comment was, on the basis of what people said, that it
17 was a mistake. People were saying that it was a mistake and that they
18 might have mixed him up with Mitar the Chetnik. That was this man's
19 nickname, but I didn't know that person, Mitar the Chetnik. But everybody
20 said in town that it was a mistake.
21 Q. When they mentioned this man Mitar the Chetnik, did they say what
22 he had done, whether he had done anything? How did they mention him, in
23 what context?
24 A. Well, he said that he must have done something because I moved
25 around town, parts of town, that I didn't know what was happening in town,
1 so I could just rely on the comments that I heard. And this man had done
2 something in retribution. I don't know the history of Visegrad much
3 because I'm not from Visegrad myself, but he was taking revenge for
5 He left Visegrad, actually. His family went off somewhere, and
6 they wanted revenge from the previous war because they were
7 slaughtered; their family was slaughtered during the Second World War. So
8 that this man had come -- I don't know. The man drank a lot.
9 Q. You said a moment ago that you don't know that man, Mitar the
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did you ever see him?
13 A. Well, I might have seen him but I didn't know what he looked like,
14 who he was because it's a -- but it's a small town so I might have.
15 Q. A moment ago, you said that you know Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic as a
16 co-citizen and as a worker and so on. Do you think, in view of knowing
17 Mr. Vasiljevic the way you do, do you think he was capable of doing
18 something which would bring him before this Tribunal, which would merit
19 that he be brought before this Tribunal?
20 A. I don't think so, because he was always -- we would always joke
21 when we met each other. I don't frequent catering establishments much,
22 but when I registered my car which I had bought - it was an imported car -
23 he translated something that had to be translated from German and he
24 didn't want to accept any payment for that. That was a service he did for
25 me, so he was always nice to me.
1 MR. TANASKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, I have no further
2 questions. Thank you, Your Honour, I hope that I stuck to the time limit
3 and I was more efficient with this witness.
4 JUDGE HUNT: There was no time limit but you certainly were more
5 efficient, if I may say so. Cross-examination, yes, Mr. Groome.
6 MR. GROOME: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Groome:
8 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Mitrovic, my name is Dermot Groome and I will
9 be representing the Office of the Prosecutor this afternoon and asking you
10 a few questions.
11 A. Good afternoon.
12 Q. Can you please tell us, what part of Visegrad town do you live in?
13 A. I live in the northern part of Visegrad, which means to say the
14 part from the hotel northwards, opposite the hotel, in fact. As it's a
15 small town, let me say that it's opposite. The hotel is in the south and
16 I lived in the northern part of town.
17 Q. And approximately how long would it take you to you walk from your
18 home to the hotel?
19 A. As I work in the gym, there's a gym across the road from the
20 hotel, so it takes seven or eight minutes, approximately.
21 Q. Did you tell us today that during this time period, you were
22 living in the hotel as part of the reserve police force; is that what you
23 are telling us?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And can you explain for us the reason for living in the hotel when
1 your own home was just, as you say, seven minutes' walk away?
2 A. I was the reserve -- a reservist in the police force and we were
3 in charge of providing security for communication, that is to say, we had
4 points, checkpoints, at the entrance to town. We would control the
5 comings and goings to and from town to ensure that nothing amiss happened.
6 Q. Can you tell us approximately how many checkpoints altogether
7 you manned in town or had in town?
8 A. I was deployed in the hotel, and it was my job to make the
9 schedules whereas the checkpoints were -- I can't tell you exactly, but
10 they were roughly in front of every bridge underneath the dam, the
11 electric power plant of Visegrad towards Uzice at the petrol pump. Then
12 there was one towards the subtransformer station.
13 Q. Would I be correct in thinking that every road in and out of town
14 had some type of checkpoint on it?
15 A. Yes, you wouldn't be wrong. You would be correct.
16 Q. Would I also be correct in thinking that if I were living there at
17 the time and I tried to cross through a checkpoint, if the police
18 reservists on the checkpoint didn't recognise me, I'd be asked to produce
19 my identity papers? Would that be correct?
20 A. Well, probably, but we all knew each other so there wasn't the
21 need for any strict controls, really.
22 Q. Now, you said that you were deployed at the hotel itself. Was
23 that just this day or during the -- your entire work during this period
24 were you deployed at the hotel?
25 A. No, I was in the police station first because it was the
1 beginning, that was at the beginning. And after that, they transferred me
2 to a building near the new bridge, more northerly from my own house. I
3 don't know how long I was there actually, but we were then transferred to
4 the hotel after that. And they would joke with us and say, "Well the
5 situation is like it is and you're staying in a hotel."
6 Q. Now, when you were -- let me ask you this, what time did you begin
7 your duties on this day at the hotel?
8 A. We had shifts in the morning and in the evening, so if you had a
9 night shift, for example, as there weren't many of us, then you would rest
10 for 12 hours, you'd be off duty for 12 hours and perhaps you could go home
11 and then have a night shift again, and this would go on for five or six
12 days, because there were only two shifts, either a day shift or
13 a night shift. So it was difficult for us. It was difficult to
14 distribute the people because there weren't many of us. There were very
15 few of us to go around.
16 Q. Am I correct in thinking that you were assigned to the day shift
17 as you were in front of the hotel when Mr. Vasiljevic fell off the horse?
18 A. I went home in the morning. I wasn't on duty in the shifts
19 like the others. I went home to freshen up because there was no
20 possibility of taking a bath at the hotel, so I came back to the hotel at
21 3.00 p.m.
22 Q. And at 3.00 p.m., did you remain at the front of the hotel or did
23 you go somewhere else inside the hotel to fulfil your duties?
24 A. I was in the hotel and then I stepped outside. I didn't have an
25 assignment, I just went outside. There's an awning in front of the
1 entrance and I stood there alone for a while - I think I was alone - some
2 people were inside. So I like looking at the rain when it was raining.
3 Q. Can you approximate for us how long you were there in front of the
4 hotel before you saw Mr. Vasiljevic fall off the horse?
5 A. Perhaps 10, 15 minutes. I don't remember exactly. I would go in
6 and come out. Somebody would stop to ask something, but my office or room
7 was upstairs, but we didn't have anything much to do so we were a bit
8 bored and we would roam around that area.
9 Q. So according to your estimation, it would have been approximately
10 3.15 that afternoon that Mr. Vasiljevic fell off the horse?
11 A. No. No. I came at around 3.00 and went into my room and stayed
12 there half an hour, an hour, I don't remember exactly. Perhaps even two
13 hours went by after I had come back into the hotel, but it was a long time
14 ago so I can't be more specific.
15 Q. Now, there's been testimony in this trial that during this period,
16 there were members of White Eagles stationed at that hotel as well as some
17 other men involved in paramilitary activity. During the time you were
18 working with the police reservists, did you see any indication of White
19 Eagles or other paramilitaries either living in or hanging around the
20 Visegrad Hotel?
21 A. No. I said at the beginning, I think Rade asked me, when we came,
22 there was nobody in the hotel when we arrived.
23 Q. Now, on this day, prior to seeing Mr. Vasiljevic fall off the
24 horse, did you see any large groups of people congregating in front of the
1 A. That was in the morning. Some people needed two or three buses, I
2 saw that from home. Later on I heard that a convoy was going to Olovo, I
4 Q. Where did you hear that from?
5 A. That's what they told me when I arrived at the hotel, and I saw
6 the buses, it's a small place, a small town, you know.
7 Q. What was the name of the bus company that provided the buses that
9 A. I can't remember. It's a Visegrad company. Now, whether it
10 changed its name, whether it was Centrotrans or Visegradtrans, one or the
11 other. It's Visegradtrans now, but whether -- it's changed its, name but
12 whether it was Centrotrans or Visegradtrans, I can't be sure.
13 Q. And are you saying that when you arrived to work that day that the
14 buses were in the square in front of the hotel?
15 A. No, no, I didn't see the buses. I was at home and somebody, one
16 of the neighbours told my wife that there was a convoy going, and then I
17 went out on to the terrace and saw three buses.
18 MR. GROOME: I'm going to ask that the witness be shown
19 Prosecution document 152. I'm go to ask that the copies be provided to
20 Defence and the Chamber. I'd ask that it be placed on the desk in front
21 of the witness. I think it would be easier for him to make marks on if
22 while it is in front of him.
23 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, I'm just showing you Prosecution document 152. Do
24 you recognise what is depicted in this photograph
25 A. Yes. This is my one here, opposite the hotel, this is the grill,
1 this is the building.
2 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, can you just tell us now what is depicted in it? I
3 will ask you to make some specific markings to indicate different things
4 that you testified to. Is this a picture of the square in front of the
5 Visegrad hotel that you testified about before us today?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. GROOME: I'm going to ask that the witness be given a pen, I
8 see some pens there. I would ask that the witness be given the fine point
9 pen. There's a fine point pen in the ELMO, that he be given a blue one.
10 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, I would ask you to begin by just writing your name
11 at the bottom of that photograph so we know that it's you that's making
12 markings on it.
13 Mr. Mitrovic, I will ask you to make some marks on it, so I would
14 ask you not to make any marks until instructed to do so, and the first
15 mark I would ask you to make is can you put an X to indicate the spot
16 where you saw Mr. Vasiljevic fall off the horse.
17 A. [Marks] As this is at an angle, it's roundabout here. Whether
18 it's a metre left or right, I can't quite specify because this photograph
19 has been taken from an angle.
20 JUDGE HUNT: Can we be let into the secret and see what it is the
21 witness has done by having it put on the ELMO?
22 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE HUNT: Whereabouts is the X?
24 A. There's an area here where cars are parked on the right. So I
25 don't see how far the street goes. So this X should be a little further
1 over here. I can't orient myself. It's rather a -- there's a lot of
2 light in this photograph shining on the street so I can't actually see.
3 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, Mr. Domazet.
4 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm afraid we're going
5 to have a problem with this because this is quite obviously a photograph
6 taken from a height, from a helicopter, and the building that can be seen
7 at the bottom of the photograph, you can't see what's behind it or rather
8 the parking space that the witness has mentioned.
9 So the square has been hidden by the building at the bottom of the
10 photograph. It doesn't show the square properly, and I don't think this
11 is a useful photograph for identification because you can't actually see
12 the spot from the angle that this photograph has been taken. Perhaps we
13 could find another photograph which shows the whole square because there's
14 a whole part of the square that can't be seen from the building that gets
15 in the way.
16 A. May I say something, please?
17 JUDGE HUNT: Just one minute.
18 Mr. Groome, have you got any other photographs or have you got a
20 MR. GROOME: No, Your Honour, this is the best photograph that we
21 have of the square from the hotel.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Do you have any photographs or a plan, Mr. Domazet?
23 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I seem to remember that the
24 Prosecution did have some better photographs of this area, but I'm not
25 quite sure. I can't find them just now.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Well, Mr. Groome, we're in your hands. I will ask
2 the witness if he's got the answer to it, but it seems to me we're not
3 going to get very far if we can't see the actual point.
4 MR. GROOME: I realise there are limitations to this drawing.
5 Hopefully the witness, by qualifying his marks with a description "several
6 metre this way or several metres that way," it may give the Court some
7 kind indication or idea where events happened.
8 JUDGE HUNT: I have not been through your photographic volume to
9 check, but are there any other photographs of this square?
10 MR. GROOME: There are other photographs of the square, Your
11 Honour. This was selected not because -- obviously, I did not know where
12 this man was going to, say, put an X today. It was picked because it was
13 the best picture of the overall square. The most - how should I say -
14 directly above the square. There are other pictures but they are at such
15 extreme angles that very little of the square is visible from overhead.
16 JUDGE HUNT: You don't have a photograph that shows the front of
17 the hotel, for example?
18 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour, we do have a photograph that shows
19 the front of the hotel.
20 JUDGE HUNT: I understand that's what the witness is trying to say
21 he would be able to show it on better.
22 MR. GROOME: I don't want to quarrel with the Court's
23 interpretation of what the witness said, but I don't believe he's placed
24 the X anywhere near the hotel.
25 If I can ask him to make a few more marks on this, I think it
1 would be clear where the hotel is with respect to the X that he's made and
2 I will look tonight to see if there are other photographs that may show
3 that precise spot that he's indicating for us.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Well, before we run out of time, the witness wanted
5 to say something to explain.
6 Yes, sir.
7 A. Thank you. On this photograph, I couldn't see Mitar on a horse
8 looking at it from here. This is where I was standing here under this
9 awning and from this area, you -- from this angle, you can't possibly, on
10 the basis of this photograph, see -- this is a catering establishment and
11 it masks the vision. So Mitar was 150 metres away from me, and if I were
12 to draw a line across the photograph from this angle, the corner of this
13 building would prevent me from seeing where he was over here. So you
14 see I should have placed the X more this way.
15 When I placed the X, I saw that I had made a mistake. This is the
16 grill, this is the taxi space. There were no taxis there, parked there at
17 the time. So this is a small tree.
18 MR. GROOME:
19 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, perhaps we can do this. Perhaps -- it seems where
20 you want to change where you've placed the X. Can you put another X where
21 you think it is more -- where you now say you saw him fall off the horse
22 and just put "-2" to so we know where you put the second X and put "-2" to
23 know where the second X is.
24 A. Can I -- if that's the raised level where the parking was, can I
25 draw a line there.
1 Q. I would ask that you put a line there and put a "-2" so we know
2 that it's the X that you have.
3 A. If this is the middle of the street, then X-2 would be here.
4 Q. Now, we --
5 A. I think. Although I'm not quite clear, I can't get my bearings on
6 this photograph.
7 Q. Let's label a few of the buildings so that we all can be oriented
8 to where you are. Are you familiar with a furniture store on the square?
9 A. Yes. The furniture store is on this corner here. It's a bank
11 Q. Can you please put a number --
12 A. It used to be a furniture store but it's a bank now.
13 Q. Can you please put a number 1 on the roof of the building that
14 you say used to be a furniture store in 1992?
15 A. You want number 1?
16 Q. Number 1 on the roof of the building that used to be the
17 furniture store. Can you keep it on the desk in front of you, and put a
18 number 2 on the roof of the building that is the UPI terrace grill?
19 A. This is the terrace of the department store but it's on the ground
20 floor level. There are just some tables outside in front of the tree.
21 Q. Where the department store is, can you put a number 5 on the roof
22 of the department store?
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. Is it your testimony that the UPI terrace grill is inside the
25 department store or is that another building?
1 A. The UPI building and the department store and the grill, in front
2 of the grill, there was several tables laid out whereas this is a terrace
3 which you go upstairs to reach it. Can I indicate that?
4 Q. One second now. Can you please put the number 3 on the roof of
5 the Visegrad Hotel and would you please put the initials RS to indicate
6 where is the balcony that Radomir Simsic -- where is Radomir Simsic's
8 A. I don't think you can see it but it's here abouts, give or take a
9 few metres, NS. Is that what you want?
10 Q. RS, please.
11 A. RS, I'm sorry, yes. RS. So I have to rub this out, cross it out.
12 MR. GROOME: I'd ask that that now be put on the ELMO so the
13 witness can indicate his markings to us.
14 A. Here you are.
15 Q. Can you show us where you put 1 to indicate where the furniture
16 store was?
17 A. One.
18 Q. Can you show us where you put 5 to indicate where the
19 department store was?
20 A. Number 5.
21 Q. Can you put a 3 to indicate where you -- where the Visegrad Hotel
23 A. This is the hotel, number 3.
24 Q. And can you show us where you put RS to indicate an approximation
25 of where Radomir Simsic's house is? And that's just off the bottom edge
1 of the photograph on the street next to the furniture store; is that
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE HUNT: He has also put some dotted lines coming out from
5 that bottom building, which I had thought had been described as the hotel
6 but it is the department store. Is that the raised area that you referred
7 to, sir?
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, it's now 4.00.
10 JUDGE HUNT: Yes. If you can even compile by reference to
11 photographs some idea of a plan, it may be easier for the witness and for
12 us to follow this.
13 MR. GROOME: Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE HUNT: But if you've got any photographs of the inside of
15 the square, I think we should have them. As a matter of curiosity, is the
16 department store leaning over or is that some sort of a visual error?
17 MR. GROOME: I believe he would be able to -- the witness might
18 be able to answer that than myself, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE HUNT: It's out of curiosity, Mr. Groome. We'll resume
20 tomorrow at 9.30.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
22 at 4.02 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
23 the 20th day of November, 2001, at
24 9.30 a.m.