1 Friday, 24 March 2000
2 [Closed session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.05 a.m.
13 pages 1210-1243 redacted - closed session
3 --- Recess taken at 11.18 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.50 a.m.
5 [Open session]
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
8 Mr. McCloskey, I think some protective measures have
9 been ordered in respect of this witness.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
11 Pseudonym and face distortion is what he requested,
12 because his family requested him to do that.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Do we have
14 any objections from the Defence?
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No,
16 Mr. President.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well
18 then. Protective measures will be applied. The
19 pseudonym for this witness will be?
20 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Witness D.
21 WITNESS: WITNESS D
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Witness D,
24 can you hear me.
25 THE WITNESS: Yes. I can hear you very well,
1 Your Honour.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
3 morning, Witness D. First of all, you are now going to
4 read the solemn declaration.
5 THE WITNESS: Let me first of all bid good
6 morning to everybody here in the courtroom.
7 I solemnly declare that I will speak the
8 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You may sit
10 down, Witness D. The registrar is going to show you a
11 piece of paper with your name on it. You're simply
12 going to tell us if the name written on the paper is
13 yours or not.
14 THE WITNESS: Yes, it is mine.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you
16 very much, Witness D, for coming here to testify. I
17 hope that you are comfortable.
18 THE WITNESS: This is my obligation as well.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. We do
20 take note of that. You are first going to answer
21 questions put to you by Mr. McCloskey, who is
22 representing the Prosecution.
23 Mr. McCloskey, you have the floor.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President,
25 Your Honours.
1 Examined by Mr. McCloskey:
2 Q. Witness D, can you first tell us your date of
3 birth and where you were born, and remember, and I'll
4 remind myself, not to speak too fast.
5 A. I was born on the (redacted), in
7 Q. Are you Muslim by faith?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Where did you grow up?
10 A. I grew up in the area around the town of
11 Srebrenica and in the town of Srebrenica as well.
12 Q. What kind of education have you had?
13 A. I'm a machine operator by profession, but I
14 also did some additional training as well.
15 Q. Prior to the outbreak of the war, where were
16 you living and who were you living with?
17 A. Prior to the outbreak of the war, I lived
18 with my wife and my child in our house in the village
19 of Solocusa on the outskirts of Srebrenica.
20 Q. How old is your child now?
21 A. Ten.
22 Q. What was your occupation? What were you
23 doing prior to the outbreak of the war?
24 A. (redacted)
1 Q. Were their bauxite mine companies in other
2 towns near Srebrenica?
3 A. Yes, there were. There was a bauxite mine
4 that was opened in the municipality of Vlasenica, and
5 it was only in 1982 that such a mine opened in the
6 municipality of Srebrenica.
7 Q. Okay. Let me take you to July 11th of 1995.
8 Can you tell me where you were then and what you did?
9 A. On the 11th of July, 1995, I was in my house
10 because I had been wounded. I had been wounded at the
11 beginning of the war.
12 Q. Did you and your family decide to do
13 something that day?
14 A. On that day, I decided to go towards
15 Potocari, because I believed that I would be protected
16 there because I was a wounded person.
17 Q. Did you take your family with you?
18 A. Yes, I did. My wife went with me, together
19 with our small child, who was five at the time.
20 Q. Why did you feel a need to go to Potocari?
21 Can you tell us a bit about the events that caused you
22 to go there?
23 A. I felt the need to leave because there had
24 been so much hatred in Srebrenica during the war, and
25 because of that hatred, it was obvious that people had
1 become fearful. I wanted someone to offer me some kind
2 of protection because I was wounded, and I expected
3 that the Dutch Battalion would be able to do so.
4 Q. Was the Bosnian Serb army nearby on July
6 A. Yes, it was. According to what I was able to
7 see, units of the Serbian army were advancing. They
8 may have already entered the town -- I think that they
9 did, actually -- from the direction of Zeleni Jadar.
10 Q. Why wouldn't you just stay in your house and
11 let them advance around you?
12 A. Well, this would have been very difficult. I
13 would have been dead, because everybody who remained
14 ended up dead.
15 Q. Where did you go when you got to Potocari?
16 A. When we got to Potocari, I saw a huge crowd
17 of people there. I didn't have any adequate
18 accommodation at all. I went to a factory hall which
19 was part of the factory intended for inspection of
20 vehicles, and I happened to find a spot in one of the
21 corners of that hall.
22 Q. Was that known as a bus company or a bus
24 A. Yes, it was. They were in charge of
25 providing certain transport services in Srebrenica.
1 They were carrying out maintenance and technical
2 inspection of vehicles.
3 Q. And do you know about what time you arrived
4 in Potocari and went inside the building of the bus
6 A. I couldn't be very precise, but I think, as
7 far as I can remember, that it must have been around
8 noon on that day.
9 Q. And what did you do that afternoon and
10 evening, and your family?
11 A. In the afternoon of that day I personally
12 remained in that building. Meanwhile, my wife went to
13 fetch some food for our child in the evening. It
14 should be important to stress that my wife is from
15 Potocari. Their [sic] parents had a house in the
17 Q. And was she able to get some supplies from
18 that house?
19 A. Yes. She went there, took certain things,
20 talked to her father, and that was the last time she
21 saw him.
22 Q. And what happened, if anything, that first
23 evening in Potocari at the bus compound?
24 A. Nothing particular except that we could hear
25 powerful detonations of shells. I believe the
1 artillery was used to shell the centre of the town and
2 the surrounding area.
3 Q. Can you describe the situation inside the
4 compound; how many people, what their condition was,
5 how they were feeling?
6 A. In a nutshell, it was horrible. Very many
7 people in a very tight space. It was crowded.
8 Children were crying. Needless to say, they needed to
9 go to the lavatory. There was little food. They were
10 lying down on the concrete floor. Their mothers
11 somehow tried to manage. They brought hay from nearby
12 meadows and spread that on the floor so that the
13 children wouldn't have to lie on concrete.
14 Q. And did you get any sleep that night?
15 A. I did not manage to fall asleep that night,
16 because I was in a sitting position, and I tried to
17 sleep, but I couldn't.
18 Q. And on the morning, the next morning of July
19 12th, what happened?
20 A. The next morning dawned and these scenes were
21 almost the same, except that panic was mounting among
22 the people there. And later on that morning I saw Serb
23 soldiers in the same hall in which we were.
24 Q. Do you know what caused the panic to mount
25 that morning?
1 A. The mere presence of the Serb soldiers, even
2 though I must point out that those Serb soldiers
3 behaved very decently. I could give you some
4 description of those Serb soldiers. They looked
5 different. They were dressed differently than the
6 military who came from around Srebrenica; that is, they
7 had somewhat better uniforms and their speech reminded
8 me of the way that they speak in Montenegro.
9 Q. Now, where were these soldiers when you
10 actually were able to see them and hear them speaking?
11 A. You mean the soldiers?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. They entered in groups of two or three and
14 they moved amongst the people, seeking their identity
15 documents. They particularly asked for identification
16 documents from men, perhaps to check who those men
17 were, and I guess it was their task, that it must have
18 been a special group of soldiers tasked with checking
19 who was among those civilians there.
20 Q. And how many of those soldiers did you
21 actually hear speaking?
22 A. Well, I could hear two groups, perhaps. One
23 group talked to me personally and another one was in
24 the immediate vicinity.
25 Q. What did they say to you personally?
1 A. They asked to see my ID, and I showed it to
2 them. And they asked me why I was there, and I told
3 them that I had been wounded. They asked me when was I
4 wounded. When I gave them the date, they said, "Fine."
5 Q. And roughly what time was this?
6 A. It could have been -- well, I saw them
7 sometime in the morning, so it could have been around
8 noon sometime.
9 Q. Did you ever make an effort to look outside
10 the bus compound or did you pretty much stay inside the
12 A. Since the door had been removed, there was no
13 door, and the doorway was very broad, very wide, so one
14 could see lots of people outside too.
15 Q. And did you ever see any Muslim men taken out
16 of the compound?
17 A. I did not see that that day, but in the
18 office where they conducted technical inspection of
19 vehicles, I noticed that Ibrahim Mustafic and Hamid --
20 I can't remember his last name -- were missing. They
21 were involved actually in politics. They were in the
22 SDA party.
23 Q. And what happened to Ibrahim Mustafic?
24 A. They must have taken him away for some kind
25 of interview.
1 Q. Do you know what eventually happened to
2 Ibrahim Mustafic?
3 A. We know today that he is alive, that he was
4 exchanged at Pale, which means that he had been taken
5 to Pale for some interviews, I presume.
6 Q. How long did you stay inside the bus compound
7 on July 12th?
8 A. Towards the dusk, in late afternoon. From
9 those women and men who wanted to go out, to leave, on
10 that 12th, we heard that men were being separated, and
11 that frightened me, so that naturally I tried to find
12 some safety, to find a safer place where I wouldn't be
14 Q. And so where did you go?
15 A. I thought that the buses in front of the
16 building could provide -- could prove a good shelter.
17 Let me explain it. Those were buses which belonged to
18 the Srebrenica Express Depot, but they had been
19 completely broken down. There were no window panes or
20 anything, no wheels or anything. And I happened to be
21 on such a bus next to the road.
22 Q. And did you take your family into that bus
23 next to the road?
24 A. Yes. My wife and my child were also in that
25 bus, and on our way there we found -- we came across my
1 mother, who also wanted to be with us.
2 Q. So your mother was in the bus also?
3 A. Yes. She joined us as we were moving towards
4 that bus.
5 Q. And did you spend the night of July 12th in
6 that bus with your family?
7 A. Yes. I spent the night with my family in the
9 Q. And did you ever leave the bus that night?
10 A. No, I did not leave the bus that night,
11 because one could feel -- one could hear -- one heard
12 screams, loud screams, of women, of children; children
13 were crying and screaming. It was beyond description,
14 and I shall never forget that.
15 Q. Can you describe it in a little more detail,
16 what it was like that night, what you heard, what you
18 A. I could not see anything because I was
19 sitting down in that bus, and all around us and in the
20 immediate vicinity, one could hear loud screams such
21 as, "Let me go," "Don't," "Please let me be," "Leave me
22 alone," women crying, women screaming, asking for
23 help. All this was creating panic, creating an
24 atmosphere of fear. The atmosphere seemed to be
1 Q. When the morning finally came, what did you
3 A. When the day broke at long last, I decided to
4 start in the same direction as other people; that is,
5 to try to leave that area, because I could see that
6 that was the only solution.
7 Q. Prior to you leaving the bus, did your wife
8 go outside the bus?
9 A. Yes. My wife wanted to find some water for
10 the child. And as I have said in the beginning, she
11 used to live in Potocari. She knew well every house in
12 Potocari. So she went to a house across the road to
13 fill a bottle with water, that is, about a litre of
14 water. When she came back, she told me that she had
15 seen a lot of blood on the ground floor of that house.
16 Q. So then what did you decide to do?
17 A. Well, naturally I was shaken by that. But I
18 asked my wife not to tell that to my mother, because
19 she was terribly afraid as to what might happen next.
20 I picked up the child, and I headed for the group at
21 the exit where there were two UN APCs parked.
22 Q. What were your intentions at this time?
23 A. I wanted to get out. I simply could not
24 stand it any longer. And I was thinking, even if I'm
25 separated from them, right, I'm separated, but if I
1 leave, I've left. There was no other way out.
2 Q. So what did you do?
3 A. Well, I found myself in an even bigger crowd
4 of people, because everybody was trying to get out.
5 When I say "people," I mean both women and children,
6 and a few men were still in the same crowd, still. I
7 managed to, after quite a long period of time, that is,
8 after an hour or perhaps even more, I somehow managed
9 to make my way to those APCs, to the exit, and I was
10 carrying my child with me. My wife and my mother were
11 not far from me, but they were somewhat lagging behind
12 in all that throng.
13 Q. Okay. And keep describing what happened.
14 A. Yes. I managed to get through, and as I came
15 to the APCs, and I have said that they were to the left
16 and to the right-hand side of the road, and in front of
17 those APCs were UN soldiers, their hands tied together
18 into two lines so as to prevent uncontrolled passage;
19 that is, one had to -- only several people could pass
20 through at a time, not the whole crowd together. I
21 managed to get through.
22 Then I saw Serb soldiers who had already
23 reached the buses had moved away for a moment, and I
24 think that somebody must have called them and they just
25 moved away for a moment, and that proved to be a
1 correct assumption later on.
2 Q. So when these Serb soldiers left for a
3 moment, what did you and your family do?
4 A. I boarded a bus, and so did my family, my
5 wife and my mother, and I was carrying the child, as I
6 said. So I got on the bus and immediately ran next to
7 the -- next to the rear door of the bus. I just made
8 two or three steps and I sat down on the floor of the
9 bus. My wife followed suit, and my mother, and I
10 should say about ten women or so with children also got
11 on the bus. So I was quite covered by them as I was
12 sitting on the floor.
13 After that, I heard some male voices, rather,
14 Serb soldiers asking whether there were any men on the
15 bus. Nobody answered. None of those women said
16 anything, and they did not insist.
17 Q. So were you trying to hide from the Serb
19 A. Yes, as a matter of fact. And I did hide
20 from those Serb soldiers because the bodies of those
21 children and women hid me. After that, more people
22 crowded on to the bus, women and children, I mean.
23 Q. Why did you feel a need to hide from the Serb
25 A. It is quite clear why I felt such need.
1 Because they were separating all men and, naturally, I
2 was afraid that they might separate me too.
3 Q. Were you afraid something might happen to you
4 after you were separated or if you were separated?
5 A. Naturally, because of this major hatred, as I
6 said in the beginning. I knew that this major hatred
7 had developed amongst the Serbs, and because of that
8 hatred, anything could happen.
9 Q. Okay. So after you got on the bus and other
10 people got on the bus, what was the next thing that
12 A. The bus was overcrowded by that time, and the
13 driver tried to shut the doors several times. It was
14 very difficult, because there were just too many
15 people. But he finally managed to do that, and the bus
16 headed for Bratunac.
17 Q. Okay. Can you describe that trip? What you
18 know of it anyway.
19 A. Yes. What I could hear on the bus, that is,
20 women in the bus were commenting where the bus was
21 going, and they said, "Now we're in Bratunac." "Now
22 we're here." "Now we're there." So they were saying
23 that all the time until the bus stopped.
24 Q. Could you tell, from what they were saying,
25 what direction the bus was going in besides Bratunac?
1 A. Yes. The bus started in towards Bratunac and
2 then went on towards Vlasenica, through Glogova,
3 Kravica, Konjevic Polje, Nova Kasaba, Milici, on to
4 Vlasenica, Tisca, Luke, and that was the last stop
5 where all the buses stopped on a large ground, in a
6 large concrete area.
7 Q. Did you ever look out of the bus at any time
8 during this trip?
9 A. Yes. In Kravica, we heard loud screams and
10 crying, shrieks of women and children. I could not but
11 look as to what was going on, so I stood up from where
12 I was sitting, looked to the left and right of the
13 windows of the bus and I saw men, some who were lying
14 down in the meadow, and they did not seem to be moving,
15 and others who had been captured, with their arms and
16 hands up behind their -- at the neck.
17 Q. Can you tell about how many men you saw
18 captured with their hands and arms around their neck?
19 A. I think it must have been a group of about 50
20 or slightly more people.
21 Q. Could you tell who these people were, whether
22 they were Serbs or Muslims?
23 A. They were Muslims. I can positively claim
24 that because they were wearing civilian clothes, and
25 they looked horrified.
1 Q. Were there any soldiers anywhere near them?
2 A. Yes. Near them were several Serb soldiers.
3 Q. Were those soldiers armed?
4 A. The Serb soldiers, yes, they were armed.
5 Q. After that, on the trip towards Luke, did
6 anything else significant occur that you recall?
7 A. On our way to Luke, the bus was stopped
8 several times, and they also thought to check whether
9 there were any men, but the driver behaved decently and
10 kept telling them that he was taking only women and
11 children. At some point, they wanted to check that.
12 They asked him to open both the front and the rear
13 door. He had to open them, of course, but they did not
14 spot me.
15 Q. Did you see any other men on the bus you were
17 A. In that bus I did see a man but of a very
18 advanced age. He must have been 70 at least.
19 Q. So you just saw one other man or more?
20 A. Only one in that bus. I did not see any
21 other man on the bus.
22 Q. Okay. What happened when the bus stopped at
24 A. When the bus reached its destination, that
25 is, that platform, I heard the driver, who said to
1 women and children, "You have to get off here and
2 proceed on foot because your folk are nearby and you
3 will reach them in no time."
4 Q. So what did you do and your family?
5 A. I got off the bus too with my child in my
6 arms. My wife had her backpack on her back, and she
7 was supporting my mother because she was old and very
8 frail. So she was looking after my mother, and I was
9 taking care of my child and had it in my arms. My
10 child was five years old.
11 After we had got off the bus and had made
12 just a few steps, I noticed several Serb soldiers. One
13 of those Serb soldiers pulled me by the shoulder and
14 said, "Give the child to your wife and you come with
15 us." I had to do that. So I gave the child to my
16 wife. I tried to turn once again, because I knew that
17 was the last time I would see my child. As a matter of
18 fact, I was about to say something. I wanted to say
19 anything, but then I couldn't.
20 At that moment, the Serb soldier pushed me
21 with his rifle and said, "Move on." Then he turned to
22 a man who was sitting on a slight elevation by the road
23 and who was wearing camouflage trousers and a sweater,
24 and he said, "Major, what do we do with him?" And
25 that man indicated with his hand, and he was pointing
1 towards the rear, towards backward.
2 Q. Then what happened?
3 A. I started in front of that Serb soldier. He
4 was a few steps behind me. All of a sudden, he said,
5 "I seem to know you. Did you work for (redacted)
6 perhaps?" And I said, "Yes, I did." So he said, "Do
7 you know me?" I answered, "Perhaps from sight but not
8 really." Then he said that he had worked as a surveyor
9 and that I surely remembered him, because he, as he
10 said, used to come to our company quite often because
11 he was surveying that mine. I mean, he did his
12 surveyor's job and often came to the mine.
13 Q. Did you in fact recognise this person?
14 A. His face was familiar, but I didn't know his
15 name. And we continued along that road and then we
16 turned left. And there I noticed a structure. It was
17 the Luke school. And he brought me right -- we fetched
18 up right up in front of the house, of the school,
19 because I noticed and I recognised a young fellow from
20 Srebrenica, whose hands were tied behind his back, and
21 that fellow's name was Abdul Kadir. As a matter of
22 fact, he was a medical -- a lab technician, and he used
23 to work for the war hospital in Srebrenica.
24 Q. Let me take you back a little bit. When you
25 were speaking to this person that identified himself as
1 a surveyor, and he was speaking to you, do you
2 understand the various accents of the regions? I know
3 you described earlier some accents of Potocari. Do you
4 understand, do you know the accents of the regions of
5 Eastern Bosnia?
6 A. Yes, I do. I am familiar with the dialects
7 of the area. He spoke normally, the way we do, I mean
8 we Bosnians who lived in that particular area.
9 Q. And was the direction that the person that he
10 referred to as "the Major," was the direction the Major
11 pointed in, was that the direction you went in to the
13 A. Yes. Yes. We continued in the direction
14 which was indicated by that man.
15 Q. And do you know about what time you arrived
16 at the school?
17 A. Well, my assumption is that it may have been
18 sometime around 10.00 a.m., or perhaps a little later
19 than that.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, at this time
21 I'd like to show the witness a few exhibits. If we
22 could start with Exhibit 10/1. And that's a panorama.
23 And if I could ask a little help with the ELMO on that
24 so he can ...
25 A. On this photograph one can see the school
1 building. We were brought to the front of that
2 school. If you want me to, I can show you also the
4 Q. Okay. Can you maybe point out on the road
5 anything that you recognise, and tell us about it?
6 A. Yes, I can. So we came -- we were going
7 towards this place here [indicates]. We were moving in
8 this direction. We went off the road here [indicates]
9 and found ourselves in this part here [indicates], in
10 front of the school building. So this is where we
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: I have to interrupt for one
13 second. Indicating, for the record, it appeared he
14 started at the end of the road where it goes out of
15 view and brought the pointer back towards the school
17 Q. Can you tell from this photograph, can you
18 see the general area where you first were stopped and
19 separated from your family?
20 A. As far as I can see, in the back you can
21 perhaps see one structure in the distance. It's a
22 house. And as far as I could observe, at the time
23 there was indeed a house next to the road, which had
24 some business premises as well. So the house was not
25 far from here, where I'm indicating [indicates]. We
1 continued along the road and then turned off and went
2 to the area in front of the school.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Okay. And for the record, he
4 indicated sort of the end of the road as it goes out of
5 our view is the area where he started, and then he came
6 back and turned towards the -- what is the left side of
7 the house on the photograph.
8 Could we show the witness Exhibit 10/2.
9 A. Yes. Here as well one can see the school
10 building. There is a little path here leading behind
11 the school. It is going to be mentioned later on in
12 one of the testimonies. This is where the truck left
13 with prisoners [indicates]. You can see this area
14 here, this clearing in front of the school, and we were
15 standing on this far side of the school.
16 Q. Okay. Again, excuse me, Witness D. I just
17 for the record need to indicate that you first pointed
18 to what appears to be tyre tracks on the left side of
19 the school, and then you came around in the front of
20 the school and where some white vehicles are parked.
22 A. No. Maybe we don't understand each other
23 very well. I said that this spot would be mentioned
24 later on. At that time we were still standing on that
25 side. I'm just saying that I can see this particular
1 path, which will become important later on. But for a
2 while we were standing, or rather sitting, at the far
3 end of the school building.
4 Q. Could you point where you were standing or
5 sitting when you first got to the school, with the
7 A. You can't see the exact spot here, but it was
8 in the area behind the school. The area cannot be seen
9 on this photograph. Maybe you will have a more clear
10 picture later on. And later on we will see that there
11 is a tree here [indicates]. And I hope I'll be able to
12 indicate it on a better photograph later on.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: All right. For the record,
14 he was pointing to the area just in front of the white
16 And if we could go to the next exhibit,
18 A. Yes. This is where you can see it clearly.
19 This is what I was talking about. You can see the part
20 of the school that I mentioned. You can see the
21 stairs, which I will also mention later on. This is
22 the tree I was referring to and underneath which we
23 were sitting at the time. I know it very well.
24 Here you can see the access road leading from
25 the asphalt road [indicates]. It was actually a small
1 path which could not be used by trucks or other
2 vehicles. So we came from that direction over there
3 and we found a man sitting here, whose hands were tied,
4 and me and Abdul Kadir were sitting here next to him.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: And for the record, the area
6 of access of the building appeared to be an area near
7 bush. In the right-hand corner of the photo it looks
8 like there's a slight worn area there.
9 A. Yes, I guess you could call it that way.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Okay. Can we see the next
11 exhibit, which is 10/4.
12 A. On this particular photograph we can see the
13 classroom where we were brought in. Later on I will
14 tell you more about that. I will explain how it
15 happened. The classrooms were all the same. We were
16 brought to one of the classrooms first and then to
17 another one. There was no furniture at the time in any
18 of the classrooms, so these pictures must have been
19 taken later on.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: All right. Thank you.
21 That's all we need from the exhibits for now.
22 Q. And can you tell the Court what happened, as
23 you remember it, during the course of the day while you
24 were sitting in this area?
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: We may have a little glitch.
1 Let me try again.
2 Q. Witness D, can you hear me?
3 A. It's only now that I can hear you.
4 Q. Okay. Can you tell the Court what you did
5 during the course of the day by the side of this
7 A. Immediately after I had arrived, after I was
8 brought in by this Serbian soldier that I mentioned, my
9 hands were tied by some shoelaces, or boot laces, by
10 other soldiers, and I was ordered to sit down next to
11 this man, this young man, whom I have already
12 mentioned, whose name I have mentioned. So I was
13 sitting in the grass in front of the building and I
14 could observe other people being brought in.
15 As the time went by, the number of people
16 constantly increased. My back was turned towards the
17 road, but I could still hear the sound of trucks and
18 buses coming and leaving. So throughout that day I sat
19 on that meadow in the grass. There were other people
20 coming in and they were also sitting in our vicinity.
21 Not everybody was tied up. Mostly young men
22 were being tied up. Elderly people were not tied up.
23 Later you will probably read in one of the statements
24 that everybody had been tied with a wire.
25 Q. Okay. Let me ask you: Were you tied up with
1 your hands in front or in the back?
2 A. My hands were tied up in the back.
3 Q. And how about the person you've identified as
4 Abdul -- I forgot the last part of his name -- as
6 A. Abdul Kadir.
7 Q. And were his hands tied also?
8 A. Yes, his hands were tied as well. They were
9 also tied in the back, like my hands.
10 Q. And by the end of the day, how many people
11 had been brought to the group, total?
12 A. All together there were 22 of us.
13 Q. And what were the age ranges, roughly?
14 A. There were younger men as well, up to 20
15 years of age, but there were also some elderly people,
16 people over 60.
17 Q. What do you think was the youngest person
18 that was in your group?
19 A. I think that the youngest person was Abdul
20 Kadir, actually, and I believe that he was 19 or 20, or
21 perhaps even younger than that.
22 Q. All right. And can you describe what
23 occurred in front of you besides all these men being
24 brought to your location? What were you able to see
25 from your position here that happened that day?
1 A. Yes, I can tell you about that. I was simply
2 sitting there. I had a lot of time. I was able to
3 observe Serb soldiers coming and leaving the area.
4 They were probably leaving for other assignments, other
5 tasks. Some were threatening us, whereas others
6 behaved in a normal way.
7 I saw a soldier who was only answering the
8 telephone. It was a kind of military telephone that
9 had been set up on the stairway that I have indicated
10 on the photograph.
11 Q. What made you think it was a military
13 A. I was very familiar with that kind of
14 telephone. It was a field telephone which we used in
15 the Yugoslav People's Army. So I knew very well this
16 particular type of telephone.
17 Q. Were you able to hear any of the statements
18 or conversations that the Serb soldiers on the phone
19 were making?
20 A. I could hear only the words spoken by this
21 soldier whom they referred to as Zeljko. Zeljko was
22 one of those who behaved decently. While he was
23 talking on the telephone, he would simply say, "Yes,
24 sir. Yes, I'll do that. I will tell them that.
25 Everything is okay," something to that effect. Those
1 were his answers to the telephone calls.
2 Q. All right. And did you recognise any of the
3 Serb soldiers that were at this location?
4 A. Yes, I did. The first person I recognised
5 was the man who told me his name was Stanimir himself,
6 but he also mention that in a conversation with Abdul
7 Kadir. He actually approached us and he talked to
8 Abdul Kadir more. At one point he said, do you know
9 that you and your father are friends?" And Abdul
10 Kadir replied that, yes, he remembered him a little.
11 At that point the man told him that his name was
12 Stanimir, that he lived in Vlasenica, that he had a
13 flat there and a car, and I remember noticing that he
14 had arrived in a red car, Lada type.
15 I also recognised Savo Ristanovic. He was
16 one of the soldiers whose hair was very fair, blonde.
17 At one point he approached two prisoners, that is, the
18 people who had been brought from the buses. He came
19 near to them and they told him they had recognised him,
20 and they addressed him as a neighbour. This man said,
21 "How are you, neighbour?" But the man got very
22 angry. He said, "Why are you asking me how I am?
23 First of all, you should tell me who set my
24 grandfather's house on fire." But these two, one of
25 them must have said, "We do not know." Their names
1 were Fuad and Alija, and I knew them. They had been
2 wounded, these two individuals.
3 Then he told them, "You will probably learn
4 who that was who had set my grandfather's house on
6 There were lots of Serb soldiers coming in,
7 leaving the area. Many of them threatened us, but they
8 did not beat us. We were not beaten until we got into
9 the school building. They were very menacing. They
10 were cursing us.
11 Q. Okay. Are you sure it was Savo Ristanovic
12 that you saw or was there some confusion on that?
13 A. Savo Ristanovic, I knew his family name. I
14 know that his family name is Ristanovic, but later on,
15 after I had reached the free territory and in some
16 discussions with my friends, their wives told me or,
17 rather, confirmed his identity. Those women had also
18 been there. They had been brought in buses. At that
19 moment, I couldn't remember his Christian name, but
20 they told him that his name was Savo. Somebody else
21 was also asking about his grandfather's house and some
22 other problems that apparently had been happening.
23 Q. Was there a Momcilo Ristanovic?
24 A. Momcilo Ristanovic was also a cousin of his.
25 They looked alike very much. So when I talked to my
1 colleagues, first of all I thought that it had been
2 Momcilo Ristanovic [Realtime transcript read in
3 error "Ristanic"], but they corrected me and they told
4 me that they knew him very well, and they told me that
5 it had been Savo Ristanovic, but the two are cousins.
6 Q. Let me get back to Stanimir for a moment?
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I
8 apologise, Mr. McCloskey, but I heard other French or
9 English interpreters speak about a Ristanovic, but the
10 transcript says "Ristanic." Is there any difference
11 between the two? You could perhaps repeat whether we
12 are speaking about a man by the name of Ristanovic or
13 Ristanic. The witness has said "Ristanovic." This is
14 what I've been told just now by the interpreter, but I
15 can still see on the transcript "Ristanic." Could it
16 be investigated please, and could you repeat the
17 question to the witness, Mr. McCloskey.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
19 Q. Did Stanimir, the person you've identified as
20 Stanomir, talk to you about anything or anyone?
21 A. Yes. Mr. Stanimir, that is the Serb soldier,
22 was talking to Abdul Kadir for a while, and during that
23 time I was sitting next to Abdul Kadir. At one point
24 he turned to me and he asked me where I had worked
25 before. So I told him that I had worked in (redacted)
1 (redacted) Srebrenica. Then he told me, "So you
2 probably know (redacted), one of our guys who also
3 used to work in the (redacted) company in
4 Srebrenica," and I told him that that was the case.
5 Q. And did you, in fact, know this person?
6 A. Yes. I knew him quite well. Let me
7 please -- are you referring to Stanimir or (redacted)
8 (redacted) here?
9 Q. Good question. (redacted), please.
10 A. Yes. Yes. I knew (redacted) very well.
11 He was a colleague of mine. We used to work together,
12 because for a while we were in the same department. We
13 were very good colleagues and we were friends as well,
14 and we used to work together for quite a long time.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
16 Mr. McCloskey, again I'm sorry for interrupting you,
17 but I can see that the transcript is somehow
18 disappearing. My question concerned two family names,
19 "Ristanic" and "Ristanovic." That is what I wanted to
20 know exactly, but I cannot see this on the transcript.
21 I think that we are talking about two different names,
22 and the French interpreter has confirmed that the
23 witness said "Ristanovic." My question concerning --
24 my question, as it appears on the transcript, does not
25 reflect this distinction. I said "Ristanic" and then
1 "Ristanovic." I'm sorry to insist on this, but I
2 would like to know what the name of the person is. Is
3 it "Ristanovic" or "Ristanic"?
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry, Mr. President. I
5 thought the interpreter had cleared that issue up for
6 you. I didn't realise you wanted me to do that, but I
7 can do that now.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, it is
9 true the interpreters have enlightened me, but this is
10 not reflected on the transcript, and that's why I ask
11 the question again. Be that as it may, I think you
12 could ask the witness whether this was one in the same
13 person and whether the name of the person was
14 "Ristanic" or "Ristanovic." I think these are two
15 different names. At least this is how I hear them. I
16 can tell that there is a difference. I do apologise
17 for interrupting you.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Witness, can you perhaps clear this up? What
20 was the name of the person that you recognised? What
21 was the last name?
22 A. Yes. It is important to be very precise
23 here. The man's name was not "Ristanic" but
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: The record should reflect
1 that, Your Honour.
2 Q. All right. Back to your conversation with
3 Stanimir. You told us that he had mentioned a person
4 named (redacted) and that you had actually known
5 (redacted). Is that right?
6 A. Yes, it is. He mentioned (redacted), and
7 I asked him if it was possible for me to see (redacted)
8 (redacted), and I inquired as to the way it could be done.
9 But he simply laughed a little, and he said, "Well,
10 he's out in the field today, together with his
11 soldiers, but you will see him in the evening." So we
12 went on talking.
13 He spoke about (redacted) function in the army,
14 and he said that (redacted) was a Commander of a
15 Special Intervention Unit. He also said that he was at
16 Kravica, in the field, and that he had a mission to do
17 there, and he said that I would see him when that task
18 is completed. He said that he would come later on in
19 the evening.
20 And he praised (redacted) a lot. He said he was a
21 very good man, that he had done a lot for the VRS, and
22 he also said that he felt -- that he had been honoured
23 with the task of hoisting up a flag of the Serbian
24 soldiers' unit somewhere in Srebrenica.
25 He seemed to be delighted with (redacted)
1 (redacted). And he also said that (redacted) had been very
2 successful in his sabotage actions. One of them was
3 when they entered Srebrenica, near the tunnel.
4 And then we continued speaking, and he wanted
5 to know what happened when (redacted) men entered the
6 area. And I too praised (redacted), because I didn't want
7 to contradict him. I told him that they had done a
8 lot, their soldiers, that their action had been very
9 successful, but the truth is that in that action, they
10 had killed a number of civilians, including women and
11 children, that there had been a number of houses on
12 fire, and that there was a lot of shooting going on,
13 and that after that they withdrew.
14 Q. What is this tunnel that was referred to by
16 A. Stanimir mentioned a tunnel which belonged to
17 the lead and zinc mine in the vicinity of Srebrenica.
18 People who live in Srebrenica know very well that the
19 Sasi mine pit is dealing with export. They had also
20 dug a tunnel, a tunnel which reached as far as the
21 outskirts of Srebrenica, and that particular tunnel was
22 used in this military action.
23 Q. Did you see any other vehicles arrive,
24 besides this Lada that you talked about, at any time
25 during the day?
1 A. During the day, I didn't, except that
2 Stanimir came in his vehicle. I don't know if it was
3 his or the army's, but it was a red Lada. And then I
4 did not see anything else or, rather, I did not see any
5 other vehicle.
6 Q. In the evenings --
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
8 Mr. McCloskey, do you think we could make a break now?
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: This would be a good time.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Twenty
12 --- Recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 1.30 p.m.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
15 Mr. McCloskey, I believe that everybody expects today's
16 session to end at 2.30; however, I see that it was
17 scheduled to last until 3.00. But as you know, we have
18 another Initial Appearance at 3.30, and we need a break
19 for at least some lunch, to have something. So we
20 shall work until 2.30. And that is something that I
21 have to see with the Prosecutor about your schedule for
22 next week. Perhaps at the end of our today's work
23 perhaps you could stop at 2.25. That would be very
24 fine. But now you may continue with your examination
25 of the witness. Thank you very much, Mr. McCloskey.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Witness D, did you see any unusual vehicles
3 come that day or that evening to this school area?
4 A. As I have said, that Lada was the only
5 vehicle I saw during the day, but sometime in the
6 evening a white Jeep vehicle arrived, and it was driven
7 by the man who had introduced himself as Stanimir
8 earlier in the day.
9 Q. Could you tell who that white Jeep belonged
11 A. I think that a number of vehicles had been
12 misappropriated from the Dutch Battalion in Srebrenica,
13 and in my view, that vehicle had also been seized from
14 the Dutch Battalion. And later on it was used, as I
15 could see, by Serb soldiers.
16 Q. Did you see any Muslim women or girls get
17 separated and come over to where you were during that
18 day or evening?
19 A. That evening I noticed only one young woman
20 who had been brought in. She looked rather pretty and
21 quite young, perhaps around 17, and very, very pretty.
22 Serb troops brought her and ordered her to recognise
23 some of us or, rather, to try to identify some of us.
24 And because it was dusk, they used searchlights or
25 headlights. They would focus these lights in our faces
1 so that the girl could perhaps try to identify some of
2 us. But she did not do that, except for one elderly
3 man, and she claimed that he was -- that he lived near
4 her village. Those were villages Tokoljac and Urisici,
5 those two villages.
6 Q. And what occurred after this?
7 A. After that a Serb soldier said, "Well,
8 Turkish girl, aren't you pretty. Go and make us some
9 coffee." And then he made a gesture with his hand
10 towards her face as if to caress her, and she stepped
11 backward, and then he took her by her arm, or rather
12 under her arm, and took her into the school.
13 Q. And about what time was this?
14 A. It was happening at dusk. Well, it was a
15 summer day and the night begins to fall sometime around
16 9.00. So I could say that it could have been 9.00, or
17 perhaps slightly after 9.00.
18 Q. And so were all 22 men assembled together
19 with you at that time when she was taken into the
21 A. Yes. All 22 men were still in front of the
22 school, together with me, that group of 22. And one of
23 the Serb soldiers approached us and notified us that we
24 would be searched. He said, "You balijas are really
25 difficult to deal with. Perhaps some of you have might
1 have a knife or a pistol or a hand grenade or something
2 like that. We won't run that risk, so we shall search
3 you." As a matter of fact, it turned out that they
4 intended to search us in order to seize money or some
5 valuables, jewellery or rings, things like that. And
6 that appeared to be true when they searched me, and I
7 guess that that is what happened to other men as well.
8 Q. And can you tell the Court what the meaning
9 of the term "balija" is?
10 A. I'm not familiar with that term. I know that
11 some Serb soldiers used it, not all of them. I don't
12 really know what it means. I heard it during the war
13 for the first time.
14 Q. And when were you taken in? When was the
15 group taken into the school?
16 A. The group was taken into the school sometime
17 in early evening, or rather when the night had already
18 fallen outside. They said, "You'll be cold outside.
19 You have to go in. There you will be in a classroom."
20 And naturally it was meant cynically. First we entered
21 a classroom, the first one as you enter the building,
22 and then they seemed to change their minds and moved us
23 to the second classroom, next to the first one. What
24 we could see was that the classroom was empty.
25 But let me say first: As we entered the
1 school, as we entered the school building, a Serb
2 soldier had so many pieces of cut wire, that was
3 telephone wire, and they used it to tie our hands
4 behind our backs, all of us. And those of us who had
5 been tied before, they cut it with a knife and then tie
6 them once again with a thin telephone wire, which could
7 be wrapped several times around our wrists and then
8 tied into a knot.
9 Q. And what happened after you were taken to the
10 second room, second classroom?
11 A. When we entered the second classroom, so we
12 had our hands tied behind our backs, and we were
13 ordered to sit in a corner of that classroom. That was
14 the left corner as you enter the classroom.
15 So it is the left-hand side bottom of the
16 classroom. Men who came in sat down on the floor of
17 that classroom, in that corner. It had a wooden floor,
18 that classroom. I sat somewhere in front of that
19 group. So we were all sitting on the floor.
20 The Serb soldiers left the classroom for a
21 brief moment. Only one Serb soldier remained standing
22 in the doorway, in the entrance to the classroom,
23 sitting on a chair and with an automatic rifle in his
25 Q. Then what happened?
1 A. Then I heard the sound of some motor
2 vehicle. I think it was a truck, a lorry, because the
3 sound was quite loud. Immediately after that, a guy
4 appeared in the doorway, I mean, a Serb soldier, and he
5 strode across the floor and said "Who's from (redacted)
6 here?" I immediately recognised him by his voice.
7 That was my friend, my once colleague (redacted).
8 So they had arrived from Kravica and wanted to see
9 which ones of his fellow workers had been brought to
10 the school.
11 When he asked that question -- so he said,
12 "Who's from (redacted) here?" I stood up from where I
13 was sitting and said, "Me, (redacted)." And he recognised
14 me too and said, "What are you doing here?" And I said
15 that I had been wounded in Srebrenica and that I tried
16 to look for rescue in the area of Potocari and that I
17 managed to get there and that I had finally been
18 brought under custody in that school there.
19 Then he said, "I see. Well, this war hasn't
20 been good to you or to us, but what can we do? Right.
21 Very well. See you tomorrow." He just patted me on
22 the shoulder in a friendly manner. As I said, it was
23 quite a friendly gesture. He just patted me on the
24 shoulder and left the school room -- the classroom.
1 I can describe what he looked like. (redacted),
2 in comparison, when I had last time seen him, he
3 looked -- he seemed to have some slightly gained in
4 weight than before the war. He had a kerchief tied
5 around his neck, tied behind, and he was wearing a kind
6 of coveralls, a belt, and an automatic rifle in his
8 So he left the classroom, and immediately
9 after that --
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... for a
11 minute. I'm sorry, but let me ask you a question, if I
12 could. Were you able to notice any rank or any
13 insignia that allowed you to tell what rank he was or
14 what unit he was from, this person you identify as
15 Mr. (redacted)
16 A. (redacted). No, I did not notice any
17 insignia. Perhaps I forgot to say that there were no
18 lights in the classroom, no electric lights, so that it
19 was lit by a military headlight which was directed at
20 the ceiling, and it was run by the soldiers standing in
21 the doorway. This headlight was turned towards the
22 ceiling, so I really couldn't see any insignia on his
24 Q. Okay. You were telling us as he left what
1 A. Yes. He left, and as soon as he left,
2 perhaps a minute later, Serb troops came in. As soon
3 as they entered or while they were still in the
4 doorway, the Serb guard who was in the doorway talked
5 to them or, rather, he stopped one of those soldiers
6 and wanted to find out how had they fared in Kravica.
7 I heard that question. The question was, "How do you
8 fare in Kravica?" And the other one said, "Oh, great.
9 We've finished with the balijas. We fared great, and
10 we've had no casualties, which is the most important
12 Meanwhile, that group of soldiers, and I
13 think that there were more than ten of them, more than
14 ten of them, so a group of those soldiers came right up
15 to us, and they began to ask questions. Whenever they
16 would ask a question, they would also strike a blow.
17 They started from my left, is, as I was
18 sitting they started from my left dealing blows to
19 people. Whenever they asked a question, and the
20 questions were, for instance, "How many Serbs have you
21 killed? Where is your Naser? Why doesn't he help
22 you? Do you know who are we? Do you know that you'll
23 have to pay for all this?" All sorts of questions like
24 that. And every question was accompanied by a blow.
25 The blow would be with the rifle, on the head. That
1 is, they would hold the rifle in the middle, so they
2 one hit you either with a fist or the rifle on the
3 head, or perhaps kicks in the chest, because people
4 were sitting, so they could kick them easily in any
5 part of the body, and that is how they hit them.
6 They hit an elderly man who was using as a
7 walking stick a metal rod, and that Serb soldier bent
8 down, picked up that metal rod, and continued to beat
9 him with it.
10 I also saw that one of them had a flag, a
11 flag taken of the mosque, that is, a green flag with
12 the central emblem, with the crescent and the star. So
13 he asked those men, "Whose flag is this?" One would
14 say that that was the flag of the mosque, others would
15 say, "I don't know"; the third one, "I don't care."
16 There were all sorts of answers, but whatever the
17 answer, it would be followed with a blow by that metal
18 rod. So when he asked me, I said it was a flag taken
19 off the mosque. And he said, "What mosque? Fuck your
20 balija mother," and I was hit there [indicates], and I
21 will still have quite a visible scar above my right
22 eye, and I began to bleed and blood was coming down my
23 face. Then I was kicked once again on my right so that
24 I tumbled down on my left-hand side and blood, at that
25 point, covered all my face. So I was, therefore, lying
1 on the floor of the classroom. I was not fully
2 conscious by that time but I could still feel. I could
3 still -- I was still aware of what was going on, that
4 is, I had not fainted, but I knew that I wasn't really
5 all there, all present at that moment.
6 This beating lasted for up to half an hour.
7 People were all bloody. I can describe a man who was
8 sitting next to me. He was struck with a knife. At
9 first I thought it was -- he had been struck at the
10 neck, but as he was falling down, I realised that he
11 had been hit in the face and blood spurted down his
12 face. Serb soldiers --
13 Q. Excuse me, witness. Excuse me. I understand
14 this was a difficult time for you and the other men,
15 but is it fair to say that this was an awful scene
16 where you were beaten and your group was beaten by
17 these soldiers?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Had you seen this group of ten soldiers
20 before during the day or was this the first time that
21 they'd showed up at the building?
22 A. No. They did not appear as I described it
23 when I described Mr. (redacted) uniform. They were
24 wearing the same kind of uniform. It was a coverall
25 uniform, and the Serb soldiers during the daytime did
1 not have that kind of uniforms, nor did they wear any
2 bandannas, and those Serb soldiers, all those guys had
3 bandannas of different colours. Some were tied in the
4 back such as their special units, rather, sabotage
5 units wore it. They had it. That was part of their
7 Q. Could you tell from their accents where they
8 were from, this group of soldiers that did the
10 A. Judging by their speech, it was quite
11 normal. They spoke like all the other people who lived
12 in Srebrenica and around it. That is, it was quite a
13 normal speech, and I cannot really say if they came
14 from somewhere else.
15 Q. What happened after they finished beating all
16 you people?
17 A. I should say first that a Serb soldier, that
18 is, one of their comrades came, "It's time," and when
19 he said, "It's time," the other one asked him what time
20 was it, and he said it was 12.00 or, rather, 2400,
21 2400. So that was the 13th. Immediately after that, a
22 minute or two later, they left the classroom, and I
23 decided that they had to go somewhere.
24 Q. Had you, at this time, seen or heard from the
25 woman that was taken in the classroom? Excuse me,
1 taken into the school.
2 A. Before this group entered, I could hear this
3 young woman's screams, and I think that he started to
4 run across the passage. What was she crying out? "Let
5 me go. Don't touch me," or something like that. But
6 that stopped abruptly, and after that I did not hear a
7 single sound come from that young woman.
8 Q. Okay. What happened after the soldiers that
9 did the beating left?
10 A. When those soldiers who beat us left the
11 classroom, several, I think some five or six soldiers,
12 entered, those who were next to the school during the
13 daytime. One of them turned to us and said, "Don't say
14 that they beat you," and it was said with a great deal
15 of cynicism. I mean, the soldier could see people were
16 bleeding all over.
17 Then he said, "Right. Now you'll stand up
18 and stand against the wall." And he said it in a
19 normal voice, but because nobody could stand up or
20 nobody did stand up, then he shouted, then he yelled it
21 at us.
22 And when I saw that several men from this
23 group had managed to stand up by the wall, then I tried
24 to do the same, because I was afraid I would be beaten
25 once again. So I complied with the order, and I stood
1 against the wall. Those men could not -- simply could
2 not manage to stand for long. They just simply slid
3 down the wall, I suppose because they had been beaten
4 so badly. So they simply couldn't stand. Their feet
5 wouldn't hold them. The same happened to me. So we
6 were back on the floor once again.
7 He saw what the situation was. He realised
8 that men had been severely beaten, and then he said,
9 "Right. Now you'll go to repair our outhouses," but I
10 thought that he said we had to go repair their
11 trenches. That is what I thought he had said. He
12 said, "You'll come out of the classroom one by one.
13 There is a truck waiting for you. You will get onto
14 the truck and everything will be fine." So in front of
15 me was one man. Then I came. And as soon as I came
16 out of the school, I saw the truck which was parked
17 right next to the stairs that I mentioned. And the
18 truck came to the -- it came to those stairs with its
19 back to the stairs, and the ramp was adjusted so it
20 fitted the stairs.
21 And a Serb soldier who was at the bottom of
22 the truck said, contrary to what the previous soldier
23 said, that we are going to repair trenches, he said
24 that we were to go to a military prison and that it
25 would be quite nice there. And he said, "Don't be
1 afraid. Everything will be all right. So sit on the
2 right-hand bench and leave the left-hand bench free."
3 So this man who was walking in front of me
4 was the first one who sat on the right-hand bench, next
5 to the cabin of the truck; and then I was the next one;
6 and then other men -- I don't know how many men -- sat
7 down on that bench. Those people who could not climb
8 the truck by themselves, the Serb soldiers, two Serb
9 soldiers, would simply pick them up and bring them on
10 and simply loaded them onto that truck. They were just
11 loaded one over the other, heaped together, lying on
12 their backs or on their side, or perhaps they moved
13 only slightly. They were all lying there. And they
14 checked the number after they had loaded all of them.
15 They simply counted everybody and established that
16 there were 22 men in that truck.
17 The left-hand bench was still quite empty and
18 I tried to think why was that so, and then realised
19 that -- then I saw that four Serb soldiers took that
20 left bench. And three Serb soldiers went into the
21 cabin of the truck, the driver and the other two, and
22 the truck set off.
23 On the first map which we saw, I said that I
24 would tell you about that road later. So we took that
25 path behind the school, got to the road, and turned to
1 Vlasenica. It was moving rather fast and that air was
2 quite refreshing, so that I felt slightly better.
3 But I have to describe the truck now. It was
4 a conventional military truck with military benches,
5 and I know that, because I had served the Yugoslav
6 People's Army. And it has no tarpaulin, but it has
7 some -- it has the skeleton for the tarpaulin, but
8 there was no tarpaulin.
9 And so the truck went on towards Vlasenica,
10 and the Serb soldiers who were in the truck said,
11 "Don't you even think of fleeing, because you could
12 get killed, as we shall then have to open fire on you."
13 Q. Excuse me, Witness D. Can I interrupt you
14 for a minute? Can you tell us, the soldiers who got in
15 the truck, both in the cabin and the back, were those
16 soldiers familiar to you?
17 A. Those in the truck, no. One Serb soldier who
18 boarded the cabin during the previous day, he had
19 introduced himself as the commander of these men next
20 to the school, and allegedly he had also suffered as a
21 prisoner of the BH Army. And he said, "Well, that is
22 the least what you can expect too." That is what I
23 remembered about that Serb soldier, and I remember him,
24 and he boarded the cabin of the truck.
25 Q. Okay. So did the truck drive on towards
1 Vlasenica and eventually turn off to the left of the
2 road before going into the town of Vlasenica?
3 A. Yes. They ordered us to look -- to keep our
4 eyes on the floor, not to look around, and the only
5 thing I could see were the lights of a town; that is,
6 rather, I felt that suddenly we found ourselves in a
7 lit street. So we were already at the entry into
8 Vlasenica when the bus turned left and took a macadam
10 And as we were riding, I kept thinking about
11 how to try to jump off the truck, but I realised that
12 that would be a very ugly leap which could also mean
13 death. And I couldn't jump anyway, because my hands
14 were tied at the back. But as I was leaning --
15 Q. Let me interrupt you again. Sorry. Did you
16 hear the soldiers on the truck communicate with each
17 other about anything at some point on this drive?
18 A. At some point, when the truck turned left, it
19 reached a small stream, a brook, which was overgrown
20 with ferns and other grass, and I couldn't really see
21 anything there. But it stopped there briefly, and a
22 Serb soldier who was in that truck, with his fist,
23 knocked on the roof of the cabin, that is, above the
24 driver, and said, "Not here. Take them up there, where
25 they took people before." He said it very loudly and
1 it was quite clear. The driver understood him, so that
2 the truck proceeded.
3 And I have to explain here that I was trying
4 to somehow undo the knot on the wire that was around my
5 wrists. So on that bar there was a metal part, and I
6 suppose it must have been a screw of the tarpaulin
7 frame. And as I leaned backward, I could simply feel
8 that screw, how it pricked me. And I was trying to use
9 that screw somehow to undo the knot around my wrists.
10 I did not manage to do that, but I loosened
11 the knot, because this telephone wire is quite
12 flexible. I don't know whether you know that that wire
13 can even be torn apart, because it is only a
14 single-thread wire. However, in my case there may have
15 been several threads in that wire, but I nevertheless
16 managed to loosen it up.
17 Q. And did shortly after that the truck reach
18 its destination and then stop?
19 A. Yes, it did.
20 Q. And can you briefly describe the area that
21 the truck stopped in?
22 A. There is a great deal that I learned later
23 on. As we were making our way through, I learned from
24 a man who was in our group, whom I had told that I had
25 escaped the execution, and I described him the way I
1 took. So he explained to me exactly where it was that
2 we were taken. This man, who was explaining this to
3 me, was from the area, from the environs of Cerska, so
4 he knew quite well the region and he was sure about the
5 place he indicated, and he told me it was Rasica Gaj.
6 So it's a small place, not far from Vlasenica, on the
7 left side of it.
8 Q. We don't need to know exactly where it was,
9 but can you just describe: Was it dark out, light
10 out? What kind of an area was it that the truck
11 stopped in.
12 A. Yes, I can do that. The truck stopped in an
13 elevation after it had moved uphill, and there was a
14 little clearing or a pasture there that was probably
15 abandoned and was an overgrown meadow. I saw a partly
16 demolished house there. It was rather a not-finished
17 house; it had only one floor and the rest of the house
18 had collapsed. So the truck stopped near that house.
19 The engine was turned off but the lights, the
20 headlights, remained lit.
21 So those soldiers, the ones who were on the
22 truck, got off the truck -- there were four of them --
23 and I was sitting in the left corner of the truck.
24 They opened the front part of the truck and three other
25 soldiers got out of the cabin, the ones who had been
1 there, and they stayed near the truck, opposite from
2 the place where I was sitting. So I was facing them at
3 that time. The three of them were there. And one of
4 the group, which consisted of four Serb soldiers,
5 approached the ones that had been in the cabin. He
6 probably needed to talk to them about something.
7 The three men immediately set out on their
8 job. They started killing people. The killing started
9 by shooting down the people who were standing -- who
10 were actually piled up on the bottom of the truck. I
11 think most of them had been badly beaten up. One of
12 them may have even been already dead. So they were
13 quite weak. They would simply throw them off the truck
14 and then, with short bursts of gunfire, finish them
15 off. The second and the third man experienced the same
16 fate, but two other men who were sitting on the bench
17 next to me tried to escape. They jumped off the truck
18 and they manage to cover some 20 meters in the rear
19 from the truck.
20 I was able to observe all this. It was very
21 clear to me what was happening. The Serb soldiers who
22 were standing next to the rear of the truck opened fire
23 on them and they were hit. One of them fell on his
24 chest; the other one fell on his side. The one who
25 fell on his side shivered a little bit as he was
1 passing away.
2 At that moment I managed to free one of my
3 hands and I -- as soon as I had done that, I leaned --
4 or rather, I grabbed one side of the truck, the one
5 that was on my back, and I jumped off the truck. This
6 was immediately noticed by one of the persons standing
7 next to the cabin of the truck, and he shouted, "Look
8 at this balija motherfucker. He's fleeing, he's
9 escaping." So they immediately opened fire from all of
10 their weapons. There was lots of gunfire at that
11 moment, but I could feel the bullets hit the shrubbery
12 which was a little above me. I could hear this
13 siffling sound and I could hear bullets falling all
14 around me and I realised that I had to stay on the
16 What was working to my advantage was the fact
17 that they had to shoot above the truck because of where
18 they were standing. The truck was actually between
19 us. So both groups had to shoot over the truck. It
20 was nighttime. If you have followed my story, we were
21 still in school at midnight, so it must have been
22 sometime after midnight.
23 I was also assisted by the fact that the
24 forest was nearby. I managed to get to the forest, and
25 I was at that time hit by a branch. I couldn't see
1 anything in the forest; it was pitch dark. And I fell
2 down on the ground and I rolled down a slope. It was a
3 very steep and long slope, and I managed to reach the
4 bottom rather quickly. I could still hear bursts of
5 gunfire. Some of it was coming from the vicinity, some
6 of it from a distance, and I concluded that the gunfire
7 coming from the vicinity was from the group who was
8 following me and that the other gunfire was opened near
9 the truck.
10 So I reached a brook, where I stayed for a
11 while. I couldn't continue. I couldn't see anything;
12 it was dark. And I remained hidden behind a rock, as a
13 kind of shelter.
14 Q. And how did you feel then?
15 A. It was very difficult for me at the time. I
16 think it was the worst moment and the most difficult
17 moment of my life. Or perhaps not the most difficult
18 one. The most difficult one was when my child was
19 taken away from me, and because of the fact that I
20 couldn't utter a single word to my child as she was
21 being taken away.
22 But this time I felt that I was free, but I
23 also thought that they would find me and that their
24 threats would become true. I thought that there was no
25 way for me to escape, that I would be captured again,
1 that I would be tortured again, and I thought about
2 this possibility of being tortured intensely and I was
3 afraid. My whole body was shivering. I was trembling,
4 as if in a great cold, as if I were freezing. So this
5 lasted for a while, this situation I had found myself
6 in, probably throughout the night, until the dawn.
7 Q. Is it true that for the next approximately
8 seven days you wandered around the area trying to find
9 the free territory by yourself, living off the land?
10 A. Yes. I spent seven days wandering around. I
11 had no food whatsoever. I lived on what I could find
12 on the land -- a mushroom here and there, some apples,
13 plums -- and I was very weak as a result of that. I
14 still had my injury. My leg had been injured and the
15 wound became infected, so this was an additional
17 Q. Is it true that for another approximately
18 seven days after that you were able to meet up with
19 other Muslim men in a similar situation, and finally on
20 the last day you and a few others were able to escape
21 to the asphalt road near Kladanj? Is that right?
22 A. Yes, that's right. A little more than seven
23 days, I think. On the 27th of July, to be more
24 precise, I managed to reach the free territory, and I
25 ran into a group of people with whom I then continued
1 along the brook, along a small river, which was
2 actually situated on no man's land, between two lines.
3 The area was mined, and we saw a lot of bodies along
4 the brook. I think we saw more than a dozen of corpses
5 in the brook which was called Jezernica. It probably
6 got its name because of small waterfalls. It was not
7 an easily accessible brook, and the whole area was not
8 easily accessible, but it was still mined.
9 So I was in a group of those people. One of
10 them stepped on a mine, and as a result of that four
11 people were injured. I could only hear them scream. I
12 glanced in their direction and I saw that two bodies
13 were bleeding heavily. I didn't notice anybody else,
14 but I presume that four people were immediately injured
15 after that explosion.
16 What followed was gunfire by some Serbian
17 soldiers who were there lying in an ambush. It was
18 terrible. There was a lot of gunfire from light
19 weapons, from hand-held rocket launchers, rifles, and
20 so on and so forth. But we were assisted by a number
21 of large boulders, large rocks, so we managed to step
22 from one to another, hiding between those rocks. I was
23 again wounded on that occasion, but my wounds were not
24 as serious as the wounds of other people in the group.
25 The four of us who were not injured in the
1 mining incident were again wounded in the gunfire. One
2 of us was severely wounded, but the three of us managed
3 to reach the asphalt road. But once we were there, we
4 were completely disoriented; we didn't know which way
5 to go. Since I was in the best condition, I decided
6 which way we should go. We continued for another five
7 or six hundred meters, and at that point we ran into
8 two white vehicles. The first vehicle stopped, came
9 near us, and the driver spoke to us. He was speaking,
10 he was addressing us in a foreign language. I believe
11 he was speaking English, but we couldn't understand
13 There was another vehicle following the first
14 one, and this other driver spoke Bosnian. And he said,
15 "I can see you have been wounded. Do you need any
16 help?" So one of us couldn't trust that person, but
17 the person then showed us his identification card, some
18 kind of card, at least, and we believed him. So we
19 entered the vehicles, and shortly after that we found
20 ourselves in the free territory.
21 Q. Can you tell us the names of the people you
22 knew that died that night outside that truck?
23 A. There were few people whom I knew. Those
24 were Rizo, who was a neighbour of mine, and he used to
25 work for the Dutch Battalion as an electrician. I
1 don't remember his family name. Then there was a Fuad;
2 two brothers from the village of Bajramovici, near
3 Srebrenica; Azem Becic, the man from the village of
4 Kotjevac. He was wounded. He was walking with
5 crutches. Then there was a man called Sajko, from the
6 village of Jagodnja; Abdul Kadir, another paramedic.
7 There were actually two paramedics. One of them was
8 Hasan, who used to work in the hospital, during
9 peacetime, in Srebrenica.
10 Q. And many others that you do not know.
11 A. Yes, and many others whose names I don't
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I have no
14 further questions.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you
16 very much, Mr. McCloskey.
17 Mr. Petrusic or Mr. Visnjic, how long do you
18 expect the cross-examination to take, if you are in a
19 position to tell us?
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course
21 Mr. President. I assume that it will take much longer
22 than the time that has remained today for us, but I
23 should like to take this opportunity to raise a
24 question of principle which is closely related to this
1 As a Defence team, we wanted to ask the Trial
2 Chamber to make a ruling as regards the communication
3 between parties and the witness. So we do believe it's
4 an issue of principle which concerns the procedure.
5 After the witness has begun to testify under
6 oath, we think that he could no longer be approached by
7 any of the parties except pursuant to an authorisation
8 by the Trial Chamber. This same ruling was made in the
9 Kupreskic case, in paragraph 18 of the relevant
10 decision. From what I have heard from my learned
11 colleagues from the Prosecution, I do not believe that
12 they will have any objections, but let them say so if
13 that is indeed the case.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes,
15 Mr. Harmon. What is your position as regards this
16 application by the Defence?
17 MR. HARMON: Good afternoon, Mr. President
18 and Your Honours; good afternoon, counsel.
19 Mr. Visnjic and I talked about this earlier.
20 In principle, we have no objection to that insofar as
21 it relates to substantive discussions relating to the
22 testimony. However, we need to occasionally see how
23 the witness is doing, how his transportation is being
24 arranged, and in the course of everyday contact with
25 witnesses, we need to be able to have those minimal
1 contacts that don't discuss or touch upon the testimony
2 at all.
3 In principle, we have absolutely no objection
4 to a lack of communication, after the
5 direct-examination is concluded, on substantive
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon,
8 the contact that you have mentioned as necessary
9 contact after the witness has been sworn in, couldn't
10 that contact be made through the unit for protection of
11 witnesses and victims? Is it not the task of that
12 particular unit to assist the witness?
13 MR. HARMON: It is, Mr. President. We also
14 coordinate with the Victims and Witnesses Unit in
15 making those arrangements. So members of my staff will
16 be, I'm quite sure, in the presence of and possibly
17 communicate with these witnesses. That's a detail that
18 I don't get involved with. However, I have an
19 assistant who works closely with the Victims and
20 Witnesses Unit and does have contact with these
21 people. I know that my assistant does not deal in
22 substantive matters with these people.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Could I
24 please have a moment to consult.
25 [Trial Chamber deliberates]
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I believe
2 that Judge Wald has a question for you.
3 Judge Wald.
4 JUDGE WALD: Mr. Visnjic, you've heard
5 Mr. Harmon's reply to your motion, and I think there's
6 obviously agreement there should be no contact dealing
7 with the substantive testimony once it has begun. Do
8 you have objections, nonetheless, to his condition that
9 sometimes it's necessary to confer with the witness
10 about the logistics, and would it satisfy you if in
11 such case the Prosecution told you they were going to
12 have contact about logistics so you would know about
13 that, or be present, if you wanted?
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if
15 the problem couldn't be resolved in any other way, or
16 if the issues of logistics cannot be tackled in any
17 other way, we agree to this type of communication, the
18 way you have just described it.
19 JUDGE WALD: Thank you. Mr. Harmon, how does
20 that sound to you, that if such an occasion arises that
21 you need a logistic communication and coordination of
22 the Victims and Witnesses Protection Unit, that you
23 notify the Defence that you're going to have such a --
24 does that pose problems?
25 MR. HARMON: It does not. We're satisfied
1 with that.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon,
3 you may sit down. Thank you very much.
4 Mr. Visnjic, before we make a ruling, I
5 should like to know whether you are requesting this
6 because one other Chamber has made a ruling to that
7 effect, or is it because you have some very specific
8 reason for doing so?
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President,
10 we do not have any specific reasons for that. We just
11 wanted the matter to be settled in a formal way, so
12 that in future we do not encounter problems.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well,
15 Mr. Harmon, you told us that you had already
16 spoken amongst yourselves about that. Is it some kind
17 of a prevention or have there been any problems?
18 MR. HARMON: I'm unaware of any problems
19 whatsoever. Mr. Visnjic approached me this morning,
20 and my colleagues, and said that he was going to raise
21 the issue as a matter of principle with the Chamber,
22 and we said we understood that, and we agreed to the
23 issues that he was going to raise with the Chamber.
24 The only exception I would ask, at this
25 point, should the Court rule that way, is that we be
1 permitted to explain that to this witness, who is
2 finding himself, at this point in time, in a situation
3 where there may have been some anticipation of having a
4 conversation of some kind after the session was over.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm sorry,
6 I don't think I have understood properly your question,
7 Mr. Harmon. It's probably my fault. Could you please
8 be so kind and repeat what you have just said?
9 [Prosecution counsel confer]
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes,
12 Mr. Harmon.
13 MR. HARMON: I think the issue that I raised
14 with the Chamber can be resolved should the Court make
15 the ruling that Mr. Visnjic has requested. This
16 witness, if he could be informed of the reasons why we
17 will not have contact with him after the court session
18 today, that would clarify the issues for this
19 particular witness, who finds himself in the middle of
20 this debate.
21 The other point of clarification I would like
22 to make is I take it, under Mr. Visnjic's motion, the
23 Prosecutor's Office, at the conclusion of the
24 testimony, can have contact with the witness. We
25 traditionally do that, just to say, "Thank you for
1 coming from Bosnia," and, "Goodbye and have a safe
2 journey." So if that could be clarified, we would
3 appreciate it.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 Do you have something else, Mr. Visnjic? Anything else
6 you wish to raise?
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I
8 should merely like to announce that on Monday, I shall
9 have to raise two more issues. There is no time for
10 this now. So on Monday, in the beginning when we
11 start, before the witness comes in, we shall need to
12 raise some other issues, but it won't take more than
13 half an hour. Thank you.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Another
15 issue, Mr. Harmon, is that we should like to know where
16 are we as regards the next week.
17 MR. HARMON: Thus far, Mr. President, we are
18 close to the schedule that we had sketched out for
19 ourselves. Next week we have the testimonies of
20 approximately 14 witnesses scheduled. We did not
21 anticipate today that this particular witness would
22 carry over, so that will cause our schedule to move,
23 advance a little bit, but we are, I'm told by the
24 people who are responsible for contacting and moving
25 the witnesses here, that we have a full week next week
1 and that we will advance -- we hope to advance very
2 quickly through the testimonies.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] And for the
4 following weeks until the May the 2nd, that is, end of
5 April, could you tell us something about it?
6 MR. HARMON: I can. We have sketched out a
7 number of testimonies that carry us through April the
8 14th, and it is our anticipation that we will carry
9 through. I haven't calculated the number of our total
10 number of witnesses who will have testified, but if you
11 give me just a minute, I can make a fairly decent
12 calculation at that by counting the number of witnesses
13 on my planning through the 14th.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Right, but
15 the Chamber wishes to know -- because as you know,
16 there is the question of filling in the two weeks which
17 were formally assigned to another case. So you say
18 that we shall have witnesses for the next week. That
19 is so, Mr. Harmon?
20 MR. HARMON: Yes, we have witnesses scheduled
21 through April the 14th, as the schedule initially
22 indicated, then there was a hiatus, and we have not
23 then planned for the following -- I think it was a
24 two-week session that was scheduled next. I'd have to
25 look at my scheduled, but we have not planned for the
1 witnesses for the next segment after the break.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
3 Even if you do not have witnesses envisaged for those
4 weeks, we shall have enough witnesses until the 14th,
5 and you will be able also to think about planning for
6 the next period, if I understand you well.
7 MR. HARMON: That's correct.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
9 You may be seated, Mr. Harmon. Thank you very much.
10 As for the motion of the Defence and the
11 Prosecution, the Chamber will make an oral decision on
12 Monday. I should like to remind you that we shall be
13 back here next Monday at 9.30, and we shall then have
14 the opportunity to hear the issues which the Defence
15 wishes to raise.
16 At present, I turn to the witness to tell him
17 that we have indeed done all that we could to set you
18 free today. Unfortunately, we have not managed to do
19 that, and you will have to spend your weekend here and
20 to continue giving your evidence next Monday.
21 I believe there are no further issues. I
22 merely need to tell you that next week Judge Wald will
23 not be with us for three days of the next week so that
24 the Chamber will sit in two. Judge Riad and myself
25 will be sitting. We already know the conditions, which
1 are the conditions of Rule 15 bis of the Rules. Thank
3 If there are no other matters. I should like
4 to adjourn. I apologise for the slight delay. Thank
5 you. Nice weekend to all of you. We shall meet back
6 on Monday.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
8 at 2.37 p.m., to be reconvened on
9 Monday, the 27th day of March, 2000
10 at 9.30 a.m.