1 Tuesday, 18 July 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning. May the registrar please call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Case IT-96-23-T, IT-96-23/1-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac, and Zoran Vukovic.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We're continuing with the Defence case.
11 Good morning, Witness. Please make the solemn declaration.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
13 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 WITNESS: VELIMIR DJUROVIC
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, the Defence. Mr. Kolesar.
17 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Examined by Mr. Kolesar:
19 Q. Good morning, Witness.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. Before I start putting questions to you, I would like to ask you
22 to pay attention to the following: You and I speak the same language, and
23 it's easy for us to understand each other; however, what I ask you and
24 what you answer is being interpreted. So, please, when I finish putting
25 my question, could you wait for a second before this is interpreted, and
1 after that, would you speak slowly, loudly, clearly, close to the
2 microphone so the interpreters can hear you properly and interpret what
3 you're saying. I think we have understood each other. Is that clear?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you please introduce yourself to us?
6 A. My name is Velimir Djurovic.
7 Q. Where were you born and when?
8 A. I was born on the 30th of November, 1935, in Foca.
9 Q. What are you by profession?
10 A. I have a degree in languages and literature in Belgrade and after
11 that I held many jobs. For 11 years I worked as the chief of analysis and
12 information in the Communist Party committee in Foca. After that, for
13 five years, I worked as the director of the culture community for five
14 municipalities, in Podrinje. I also worked for 13 years as the director
15 of the adult education centre, which included also the radio station and
16 the Foca newspaper.
17 Q. Does that mean that for 13 years you were in charge of mass media
18 in Foca?
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 Q. Please, are you retired now? When did you retire, and did you
21 obtain your retirement within the adult education centre in Foca and Radio
23 A. Let me just add one thing. I was a journalist for a number of
24 years. Of course, this was a part-time job. I worked for many Yugoslav
25 and Bosnia-Herzegovina newspapers. I retired from the adult education
1 centre, that is to say, before the war broke out. As soon as the
2 nationalist parties won the election, I wanted to retire, because I didn't
3 want to join any nationalist party or any party for that matter. I
4 thought that these parties did not meet the requirements of my view of the
6 Q. Did you perhaps get involved in some scholarly efforts?
7 A. Yes. I worked on a scholarly team with 14 other people. We
8 worked on a project called "Foca Through the Centuries." I was part -- I
9 was author of part of this, that is to say, the part -- Foca between the
10 two world wars, 1941 to -- from 1914 to 1941.
11 Q. After that, did you continue to do work of this kind? Did you
12 publish some studies concerning the events in the territory of Foca?
13 A. Yes. I have been doing this for quite some time now. Recently a
14 book of mine was published, my view of the reasons for the war in the
15 former Yugoslavia, notably in Bosnia-Herzegovina, about media
16 manipulations that had quite an impact on the dramatic events that
17 occurred, and, of course, with special regard to events in this particular
19 Q. Where do you live nowadays?
20 A. I live in Foca.
21 Q. Have you lived in Foca ever since you were born?
22 A. Yes. Ever since I was born I have lived in Foca, until the
23 present day, except for my university studies and except for the time that
24 I spent doing my military service in the Yugoslav People's Army.
25 Q. Have I understood you correctly, that just before the war broke
1 out and during the conflict in Foca, you were in Foca or did you perhaps
2 leave Foca?
3 A. No, I did not leave Foca. On the contrary, before the conflict
4 broke out, I was very active in various polemics in the press. I wanted
5 to pacify people and things, and I wanted to work with all people of
6 goodwill so that bad things would not happen, but --
7 Q. This is precisely what I wanted to ask you about. Before the
8 conflict broke out in Foca, were you active, from a political point of
10 A. Yes. Before the outbreak, yes, I was active to a maximum. I
11 wanted to act from a balanced, reasonable, rational point of view, and I
12 wanted to show, on the basis of our history as well, how dreadful it was
13 to have any kind of divisions amongst us, because such divisions can only
14 lead to euphorias and to misfortunes.
15 Q. You said that you were an active member of the League of
17 A. Yes, yes, yes, I was. I even worked in those institutions. I
18 even worked as an analyst there.
19 Q. And after that when the League of Communists disappeared,
20 conditionally speaking, did you join any other party?
21 A. I already said that: No. But I have to emphasise the reasons why
22 not, although I already touched upon that.
23 First of all, while the League of Communists, the party, was
24 active, regardless of the programme which is a utopian one, there was a
25 very harmonious life in the territory of Foca and of Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 and Yugoslavia. If something did happen, it was very marginal; it was on
2 the margins. We were a harmonious society. We got along together well.
3 There was also mixed marriages.
4 I have to mention that there were certain things that happened,
5 like after the Second World War there was the trial of the young Muslim
6 group that tried to restore the Sirjad [phoen] from the 14th century into
7 the present day, and also --
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Kolesar, we are wondering where we are going
9 with the evidence of this witness. I think it's way too out of the issues
10 before this Trial Chamber. Please bring your witness back to what is
12 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my next question is,
13 what the inter-ethnic relations were like between the Serbs and Muslims
14 prior to the outbreak of the conflict. I think that that is relevant for
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. If we can be very choosy and only relate what
17 the main features are and not give too many details, please.
18 A. I do apologise. There's just one thing I wanted to point out, and
19 that is the very harmonious relations in that area between the Serbs and
20 Muslims. There was no hatred.
21 However, as our party fell apart and when nationalist ethnic
22 parties were formed, there was a lack of harmony, and I must emphasise
23 that as far as the area of Foca is concerned and this cannot be avoided,
24 although I imagine I am hampering you with this, this Focatrans affair
25 gave rise to divisions and tensions.
1 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Could you please tell me to the best of your knowledge, when were
3 political parties formed?
4 A. As far as I can remember, this was May 1990, that's when the SDA
5 was formed, and sometime in the beginning of September the SDS.
6 Q. Very well. Were founding assemblies held in Foca or rallies?
7 A. Yes, of both. The SDA in August, if I'm not mistaken, and the SDS
8 in the month of September. I attended both of these gatherings, not as a
9 member but as an ordinary citizen. I was curious, and I also wanted to
10 analyse this. After this, I published an analytical article where I
11 criticised the overtones from both gatherings.
12 Q. Thank you. I'm interested in hearing what your impression of the
13 SDS rally was?
14 A. The SDS? Well, there was very little difference in intonation
15 between the speakers at both rallies. At the SDA rally, they mostly spoke
16 against the other ethnic group, the Serbs; whereas the SDS, they mostly
17 criticised the previous system and the communists. And I wrote a very
18 balanced analytical article about that, and that's the way it was taken.
19 Q. Will you agree with me that the activity of these parties brought
20 about an even greater rift between the population of Foca on religious
22 A. Well, yes. Every political party is engaged in political
23 marketing for the elections, and then that gives rise to euphoria, and
24 every kind of ethnic euphoria brings about tension.
25 Q. Can you tell me when this rift culminated?
1 A. Well, it culminated most of all in the case of Focatrans. This
2 was a great misfortune for us all. And later, it probably had an impact
3 on all the events that ensued in the war.
4 Q. Tell me, please, when the referendum took place, the one that the
5 Serbs did not participate in, did that resound in Foca?
6 A. Well, yes, these are two events that I would particularly wish to
7 highlight, the referendum of the 29th of February and the 1st of March
8 that the Serbs did not participate in. A euphoria was created, a terrible
9 euphoria. There were columns and columns of cars and persons with
10 religious symbols only and also with Arabic inscriptions. There were no
11 state flags. Then they were all honking their horns. They were going
12 through the streets. They were shouting.
13 That happened both times, on the date that I mentioned and also on
14 the 6th when Bosnia-Herzegovina was recognised by the International
15 Community. That's when a column went from Visegrad via Ustipraca Gora,
16 Ustikolina to Foca. And I was sitting in front of the Cafe Grill with my
17 friends, Serbs and Muslims. A neighbour of ours did something bad to me.
18 I knew him well. His name is Asim Nesbo. He was a photographer. He was
19 waving that green flag, and he said, "Serbs to the Serbs, and you will be
20 doing Muslim prayers for me."
21 So when they passed towards the bus station in their cars, there
22 was an incident because a Serb, Slavko Ivanovic, grabbed his flag and hit
23 his car. I was afraid that this incident would involve even graver
24 consequences; however, things then quieted down.
25 Q. Do you know whether the Muslims were being armed, and if so, how
1 was this done?
2 A. Well, you know, the entire Focatrans affair broke out because
3 people realised that the buses of this company were being used for
4 transportation and that storage facilities were being used for weapons.
5 This was not a secret. Everybody knew this. The Muslims were not hiding
6 this either, people who I was in contact with and who were concerned over
7 all these developments.
8 Q. After the 6th of April, which you described briefly, what happened
9 after that?
10 A. Unfortunately, that evening there was a small incident that
11 occurred. Well, you can't really call it an incident, but it showed how
12 impossible things were, and that it was impossible to avoid an
13 inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflict. Namely, in Donje Polje, in a
14 cafe that was owned by Nebojsa Grujicic and Milic Jelena, Serbs, a group
15 of young Muslim men were sitting there. They were not from Foca, because
16 people would have known them. Some had knives and some had pistols. They
17 were decent for as long as they were ordering drinks. However,
18 afterwards, they didn't want to pay. When Nebojsa Grujicic, the owner,
19 asked them to pay, they said, "Get lost. All of this will be ours within
20 two days, one way or the other."
21 The next day this was the talk of the town, and then -- well, I
22 would not say that there was any kind of order that was issued, but there
23 was this tacit ethnic grouping. The Serbs started moving to a
24 neighbourhood, Cerezluk in Donje Polje, where there was a Serb majority,
25 and Muslims were quietly leaving their apartments to Donje Polje where
1 there was a majority Muslim population, and also Aladza and Pod Masala.
2 That's what the situation was like. It was so tense. There was
3 this degree of uncertainty. Something was in the making and there was
4 fear amongst both national groups.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 A. I have to tell you one thing. I moved to my brother's place in
8 Q. Yes. That was my next question. What happened on the 8th?
9 A. Oh, what happened on the 8th. People didn't sleep very much. I
10 was in front of my brother's house. Cerezluk is a bit uphill and it is on
11 a hill actually a bit above town, and some people who were observing what
12 was going on said that by the KP Dom, by the pine forest near the Dub
13 feature, that there was a group of armed men who were moving in that area
14 -- they were Muslims -- probably with the intention of taking this
15 feature of Dub. However, the Serb fighters met them in that area and
16 fighting started, and then shells were launched against the only Serbian
17 Orthodox Church in town. Fighting ensued until the early afternoon hours
18 when it abated, and then again, around 4.00, rather, 1600 hours. It
19 continued until the early evening hours.
20 I must say that this was very unpleasant. The first piece of news
21 that was heard, and that is that Ilija Radovic was killed in front of
22 Dzomba Halil's cafe. Ilija was not armed. He was driving his mother from
23 the hospital to the village. He wanted to get her away from there.
24 In the afternoon, when fighting broke out, there was a new piece
25 of news that Dimitrije Cancar, a Serb soldier, was killed, and after that,
1 Abid Ramovic was killed, who was patrolling with a Serb. If I'm not
2 mistaken, his name is Vukovic, but I personally did not know him, so I
3 don't really know.
4 Q. If I understood you correctly, just before the conflict broke out,
5 you left your own apartment and you went to your brother's place.
6 A. Yes, that's what I said.
7 Q. Tell me, en route from your apartment to your brother's house, did
8 you notice any roadblocks or some similar obstacles that would show that
9 there was a conflict that was in the making?
10 A. No, I didn't really notice anything. This is a small street. I
11 live in the centre, so I took the small narrow streets on my way up there,
12 and I didn't really notice anything when I was going to my brother's
13 place. I stayed up there for about five or six days, until the fighting
14 abated, until the Serb fighters prevailed. Then I went back to my own
15 apartment in the lower area.
16 Q. Tell me, please, what happened during the next days, that is to
17 say, after the 8th, and was there a conflict that developed further?
18 A. The conflict went on for about five or six days with the same
19 intensity. It continued in the morning, with small interruptions. In the
20 evening it would abate.
21 Around the 13th or 14th -- I'm not sure -- Muslim fighters
22 withdrew across bridges and went to the other bank of the Drina, the left
23 bank of the Drina. We can say that on that day, the fighting for the town
24 itself stopped. Of course, Foca remained encircled after that.
25 After the fighting stopped, when I realised that fighting had
1 abated, I went to my own apartment. I met some of my Muslim neighbours
2 and my friends, and I talked to them, and they were concerned too. I'm
3 going to mention three that I talked to immediately afterwards when I was
4 going back. This was Nezir Coric, Mustafa Ahmetbegovic, and Alija
5 Zerovic. We talked like human beings. We were worried. There was a
6 feeling of uncertainty amongst them and amongst us. What could happen?
7 How could things quiet down? But this was a big unknown for all of us,
9 Nezir Coric asked me, "Where are you going now? There's a
10 blackout. There aren't any supplies in the refrigerator, so I'll have to
11 go to my village. That's about 7 or 8 kilometres away, and I'll have to
12 bring some food." He said, "I'd like to go into that direction too,"
13 because his land was in that area too, "but to tell you the truth, I don't
14 dare." I just shrugged my shoulders because I said I didn't know where we
15 were going either but I had to find supplies.
16 I went in the evening. We saw each other again in the evening.
17 They were very concerned, and I had the feeling that the Serb and -- both
18 Serb and Muslim families had started packing to leave. So there was
19 additional concern, really.
20 In my opinion, the reasons for the departure of both Serbs and
21 Muslims, those families that left during those days, was to get as far
22 away as possible from the battlefield itself and to get to Yugoslavia and
23 perhaps even the outer world. Some families tried to go beyond the front
24 line because they would have felt protected if their own soldiers were in
25 front of them.
1 I think there are one or two more reasons for all this moving. It
2 was obvious that people were moving those days. The town was being
3 emptied. One was the appeal of the SDA for withdrawal, and the other was
4 the unfortunate sowing of panic by Semso Tucakovic, a journalist, who kept
5 saying a nonsensical thing every day over the radio, the Chetniks were
6 coming from all directions, although those directions were mostly under
7 Muslim control. He said that they were progressing and slaughtering
8 people. So he created additional panic, bringing about a tense situation,
9 and many people, therefore, thought it was necessary to flee from that
10 area. However, we who remained there, we the Serbs, were not exactly
11 serene either. There was a power blackout --
12 Q. May I just interrupt you here. You said there was a power
13 blackout. Could you tell me when this power blackout occurred, how long
14 did it last, and do you know how this happened, how come power supplies
15 were cut off for the town itself?
16 A. You know, during the combat operations, there was a power
17 blackout. Of course, we didn't know immediately the reason, but I suppose
18 that the transmission lines going to Foca along the left bank of the Drina
19 from Sarajevo and Visegrad were damaged by accident or on purpose during
20 the combat operations, but nobody could go there and fix it.
21 Regrettably, we were seized by panic --
22 Q. Just a moment, please. I asked you, for how long was Foca without
24 A. For a long time there was no electricity. I can't say precisely
25 now, but for quite a while. I know that I was left without any supplies.
1 I had nothing left in the fridge, and we remained without supplies for
2 quite a while.
3 Q. And what was the availability of food in shops?
4 A. Very poor. I suppose that what there was before the conflict was
5 bought wholesale in order to stock up because the shops were later empty.
6 Q. Was there food, and was it possible to meet the subsistence
8 A. No. I had -- if I -- if it was not for my mother in the village,
9 I would be completely without -- I would have been completely without
10 food. But I went to the village often, and we brought food from there and
11 shared as much as we could.
12 Q. Did you have any cosmetic supplies?
13 A. Well, in those conditions when there is fighting going on, you
14 don't think about niceties like that.
15 Q. I would like to ask you another thing. For a city like Foca,
16 electricity was the primary thing, and the other important thing was
17 water. What was the availability of water?
18 A. That was just what I wanted to say a minute ago. We, the Serbs,
19 were seized by panic. We were worried if the Muslims left, that the water
20 supply by Plin might be mined. You know that fear has no -- fear is not a
21 reasonable thing. We didn't know what would happen. Between the villages
22 of Mjesaja and Humar laid the water supply by Plin and was controlled by
23 Muslim fighters. We were afraid that if the Muslim citizens left, we
24 would be left without electricity and without water and that would make --
25 that would have made life insufferable. Fortunately, it didn't happen.
1 Q. You didn't say, or I didn't get it, what was the reason behind the
2 poor availability of food in shops. You said they were empty.
3 A. Well, you know, the main communications were all controlled by
4 Muslim fighters, and supplies could not get through. The only route which
5 was not controlled by them was through Zavajt, Celebici towards Pljevlja.
6 But even there, mines exploded at times, and it was quite a risk to take
7 this trip.
8 One family of four which was going to the village, the family,
9 Sekulovic, his nickname was Maradona, all of them were blown up by a mine
10 that had been precisely on that road. And the main thoroughfare towards
11 Scepan Polje going towards Gacko, Bileca, Trebinje, and Dubrovnik was also
12 completely under the control of Muslim fighters.
13 Q. Speaking of the situation in Foca, immediately after the
14 termination of the conflict in Foca, we were talking about May and June,
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In this period, May and June, were there still any Muslims left in
18 the town of Foca?
19 A. Yes, but their number was constantly decreasing. And even the
20 Serbs were leaving. Many Serbs left for Montenegro, fleeing the
22 Q. This ethnic situation and the poor situation with the food,
23 electricity, and water, how long did it last?
24 A. I can only presume, because I'm not an active fighter, nor was I a
25 member of any state authority, but I suppose that somewhere in mid-June,
1 Serb fighters, in order to get control of the water pipeline behind
2 Mjesaja, Humar, and villages like that -- after this operation, and even
3 before that, I must here emphasise a fact which I had forgotten to mention
4 before and which is important for those days, which was one of the reasons
5 for our fear and panic, is that refugees began arriving from villages
6 which had burned in the surrounding area.
7 After mid-June, I know that Serb fighters, in order to liberate
8 the water pipeline and the main thoroughfare going towards Gacko,
9 conducted -- carried out an operation, and I know that from the -- those
10 villages, refugees arrived which were accommodated in the school centre,
11 and some families were put up with their friends, whereas some other
12 families yet started towards the territory of Yugoslavia. That happened
13 after the operation to liberate the water pipeline.
14 Q. Do you know anything about the conditions of accommodation in this
15 Nikola Tesla high school centre, be it accommodation of Serbian refugees
16 or later the Muslim refugees?
17 A. Well, what can I tell you? I don't know about accommodation
18 conditions. What could they have been, after all, in a high school?
19 There was another building which was slightly more spacious, and that is
20 the Partizan hall right next to the SUP building and the municipal
21 assembly. There were few other buildings in Foca which could have
22 provided a better accommodation. I really don't know what the conditions
23 were exactly.
24 Q. After the fighting in the town itself stopped, were there any
25 other incidents?
1 A. Well, as a journalist and as a curious man, I was hard hit by two
2 things. First, the refugees. I know what it means to remain homeless, to
3 be left without all your property, to live in fear and uncertainty. I was
4 very sympathising. And I also knew that some mosques were destroyed.
5 However much I blame those who dared to destroy things like that, I must
6 say that those mosques and its towers were turned into machine gun nests.
7 It is common knowledge that in the oldest mosque, the Sarena Dzamija in
8 Aladza, was used to store big quantities of ammunition.
9 Q. Do you have any closer knowledge about this, how many mosques were
11 A. When -- I don't know how many or when, but I know that they were
12 destroyed. I don't know the exact number. It's either 13 or 17. That is
13 the number of mosques that existed in Foca, but I'm really not certain
14 about this.
15 Q. You told us that refugees of Muslim nationality were accommodated
16 in the Nikola Tesla high school centre and in the Partizan hall. Did you
17 hear about anything that may have happened in those accommodation centres,
18 specifically, cases of rapes?
19 A. No. I learned about cases of rape from the media many years later
20 when it was written that The Hague Tribunal is investigating crimes in the
21 territory of the former Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that
22 was when I found out about cases of rape in Foca.
23 At that time, we had no knowledge of that, neither the Muslims,
24 nor the Serbs. I didn't know about it then, really.
25 Q. And my last question, you know that the accused Kunarac, Kovac,
1 and Vukovic are on trial here. Did you know these persons before the war
2 or during the war?
3 A. No, I did not, although I know some people from their families,
4 but those are younger people -- these are younger people. I had no reason
5 to know them, and I moved in a different circle. It was a circle of
6 intellectuals, political workers, public figures. We -- very simply, the
7 age gap. I might have known their parents rather than them, but I don't
8 even know their parents.
9 Q. Did I understand you correctly, you neither knew them nor had you
10 heard anything about them?
11 A. That is right. If you don't have knowledge about a person, you
12 cannot have any interest in them.
13 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that was my last
14 question. Thank you.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you, Mr. Kolesar. Any other Defence counsel
16 who wishes to examine the witness?
17 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
18 MS. LOPICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we do not have any
19 questions for this witness. Thank you.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: The Prosecution, any cross-examination?
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour.
22 Cross-examined by Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff:
23 Q. Witness, when were you asked for the first time to testify?
24 A. Because I was a close friend with Luka Radovic, late Luka Radovic,
25 his son Voja once asked me just by chance, did you keep -- "Have you kept
1 a scrapbook of articles that you wrote earlier?" I said, "Yes. Would you
2 agree to show these articles, present them, and talk about them?" I said,
3 "Why not?" Because I participated in all pre-war events, and I have
4 witnessed them, there was no reason why not.
5 Q. These articles and this scrapbook, the information in there, from
6 where did you get it?
7 A. I don't know whether you mean the events during the war when I was
8 a dissenter of events. Was it during the war? I didn't quite
9 understand. Could you repeat it?
10 Q. When you prepared yourself for giving a statement here, what kind
11 of information did you have available, except for what you saw yourself?
12 A. Foca is a small town. Every inhabitant is familiar with
13 everything that is happening and everything is almost common knowledge.
14 So you don't need any special information. If you are talking about the
15 preparation of the book, and that refers to the beginning of the war, the
16 combat operations are another thing, destruction, et cetera. I have no
17 special information about that.
18 Q. Now, you just mentioned that you have a scrapbook and articles.
19 What kind of articles? What source?
20 A. At the beginning of the war, I'm stressing again I was an active
21 journalist. This is -- these are my own articles, my impressions from
22 rallies, my impressions about the Focatrans affair. I pointed in those
23 articles about the disservice that was done by the authorities then in
24 trying to restore the relations while it was actually destroying them, the
25 beating of the Serbs, the arrests of renowned citizens. I pointed -- I
1 had pointed to all that in my articles.
2 I also have an article, not with me here, but I have an article
3 titled "Destroyers of Serb-Muslim Relations." That was an analyst article
4 in which I was going into detail about this subject. I wanted to point
5 out the lethal consequences of this conflict, knowing how blood soaked our
6 history is.
7 So these were the articles I was talking about. I intend, later,
8 to deal with events of -- and individuals and the fate of individuals and
9 nations, but what I have until now deals with the pre-war atmosphere, the
10 causes, et cetera.
11 Q. You did not eyewitness all these events that you described to us,
12 for example, that the mosques were used as storage houses, the mosques
13 were used as sniper nests, you didn't see all that yourself, did you?
14 A. No, I did not see it myself, but I say it's a small town; nothing
15 can be kept a secret for long. But neither when the conflict broke out or
16 when the parties were established, I was never active in any authorities,
17 I was never on the front line, but I'm a good observer. I am a man who,
18 by his profession, knows how to analyse and observe. That's all there is
19 to it.
20 Q. When you gave your testimony about mosques being used as sniper
21 nests and for storage of ammunition, that comes from Serb sources, does
23 A. Please, please, the machine-gun nest, this reference is not
24 something I had heard. I saw that myself, because from many mosque
25 towers, they were shooting towards the area of the city -- I had mentioned
1 Cerezluk -- and I knew it was a machine-gun nest. I knew that
2 personally. About using mosques as storage for ammunition, that is
3 something I had heard from others, but this I saw myself.
4 Q. But my question was: When you heard something -- what you did not
5 see yourself, you basically heard from Serb sources and not from neutral
6 sources; is that correct?
7 A. Well, yes, that's true. That's true. I cannot --
8 Q. And if this information is incorrect, your statement would be
9 incorrect in this part as well, wouldn't it?
10 A. Well, yes, it would have been if it were, but as I'm saying, it's
11 a small town. It's hard to keep anything a secret. Detonations were
12 loud. Certain things were obvious. I'm not, after all, an amateur. I
13 can -- I know a detonation when I hear one, and I know where it's coming
15 I have to go back a little. It is true, and even Sead Basic and
16 Muslim sources at the time said that ammunition was stored in the
17 mosques. Whether they were withdrawn during combat operations during the
18 war, I don't know, but obviously it was impossible to remove this
19 ammunition in only six days, which means that there is certainly about
20 90 per cent truth in this, especially because this information comes from
21 Muslim sources. Other information comes from Serb sources, that's right.
22 Q. You mentioned the nationalistic speeches of the SDA party against
23 the other ethnic group, that is the Serbs; right?
24 A. Yes, I was.
25 Q. But you did not hear any SDS propaganda against the Muslims --
1 against the Serbs? Sorry, against the Muslims.
2 A. My analytical articles to that effect exist, and this is what I
3 stated in my articles. I will repeat. I just gave you a broad outline,
4 but now I will go into details.
5 From the Muslim SDA rally, very bitter messages were sent to
6 Serbs. They even mentioned numbers of Muslim victims, 257 Muslims that
7 were convicted by Serbs in the previous war, 10.000 victims were
8 mentioned, the building of the mosque was mentioned. So I wrote about
9 that, that it was not good for us Serbs or for Muslims to build places of
10 worship because of hatred.
11 Only Adil Zulfikarpasic said, at this rally, that we had to admit
12 that we always started first. I know that. I know every figure for every
13 victim in the two wars. But at the SDS rally, there were also such
14 things. The criticism was mostly aimed at communists. But since you ask
15 me, there were some instances in which Muslims were denied as an ethnic
16 group. There were statements that they were Serbs of Islamic faith. The
17 same thing that the HDZ rallies claimed, that it was claimed at the HDZ
18 rallies that they were Croats of the Muslim faith. Of course it caused
19 anger among Muslims, the fact that their ethnicity was being denied in a
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Madam Prosecutor, please guide the witness in your
22 cross-examination to what is relevant. We had guidance yesterday. We
23 don't need the details of the formations and the reasons for the
24 formations of these nationalistic parties, but you seem to be drawing out
25 those details.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Perhaps you might explain to me, at least, what the
2 relevance of it is if you claim at that it does have relevance.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The relevance of my question in this regard
4 is that the Muslims had reason to fear. They were threatened on these
5 rallies, and it's part of the common elements of the crimes against
6 humanity. That is what I'm heading at. This is what I want to get from
7 the witness, because he visited such rallies.
8 Q. You heard the Serb leaders speaking on these rallies threaten the
9 Muslims with war in case of Bosnia-Herzegovina would be declared
10 independent; right?
11 A. No. No. At the rally in Foca that I attended there were no
12 threats issued. The only thing there was that irritated Muslims probably
13 is the fact that their ethnic identity was denied. Communists in the
14 former regime bore the brunt of the criticism, the former regime that had
15 led to --
16 Q. You have already said that. It's not necessary to repeat that the
17 main aim was the Communist Party. But you heard Karadzic say that the
18 Muslims as a people would disappear, didn't you?
19 A. At that rally, no, he did not say that. He took into account the
20 fact that there was a mixed population there at the location where he
21 spoke, so I claim that at that rally that I attended, no such thing
22 happened. Whether he addressed any other rallies and said such things, I
23 don't know about that, but at this particular rally, no.
24 Q. The Muslims were concerned to be a threat to the Serb people;
1 A. Yes. Yes. They expressed that on several occasions, in
2 particular, in the events surrounding the Focatrans and the two parades,
3 the dates when they voted for their own independence. And the second date
4 was the 6th of April -- I mentioned that, I will not go into details
5 again -- when Bosnia and Herzegovina was recognised as an independent
7 Q. You mentioned that the Muslims armed themselves, but the Serbs
8 armed themselves too, didn't they?
9 A. I suppose that is so. I suppose because fear drives people --
10 irrational fear drives people to act irrationally.
11 Q. You said that you retired from your jobs when the new nationalist
12 parties were formed. Was it necessary to be in such party to have a job?
13 A. I don't know about that, but I simply did not wish to be involved
14 in that any more. I was bothered by this, because I grew up in communal
15 atmosphere. I was used to sharing everything, good and bad, and to live
16 in harmony, so that people could walk down the street and go to their jobs
17 without any fear.
18 As soon as this euphoria appeared, I simply wanted to retire and
19 not to have anything to do with it. I simply wanted to retire and to be
20 an old-age pensioner, to be with my family on my farm, and so on.
21 Q. You mentioned that the Orthodox Church in Foca was shelled in the
22 beginning of the war, but it wasn't destroyed, was it?
23 A. Yes. No, it wasn't destroyed, but the intention, obviously, was
24 there, because targeting a place of worship with shells, it's not a naive
25 thing. It is not something you do for show. The intention was there.
1 Intention is one thing, and the other thing is the inability to do so. It
2 was damaged, but it was not destroyed, razed to the ground.
3 Q. And Cerezluk, the Serb neighbourhood, wasn't destroyed either, was
5 A. No. No, it wasn't destroyed, that's right, because they, the
6 Muslim fighters, could not reach that neighbourhood. I can now engage in
7 guesswork, but at any rate, it was not destroyed.
8 Q. But the Muslim neighbourhoods, Donje Polje and Sukovac, they were
9 destroyed, weren't they?
10 A. I have to go back to an event which marked the beginning of the
11 burning of the buildings. Around the 6th day, in the morning, that was
12 the last day of the conflict in the town itself, an order issued by
13 Sahimpasic's deputy, a certain Subasic who was in command of his units,
14 reverberated in a completely irreal [sic] way. The order was burn and
15 kill everything that's Serbian, and then six Serbian houses were set on
16 fire in the outskirts of Donje Polje, slightly uphill from the health
17 centre. The owners of these houses, I know all of them. The first was
18 the house of the dentist technician Sehovic, then Momo Kovac, Drago
19 Plenic, Milorad Krnojelac, Ilija Radovic, Jovanka Obrenovic, Nebojsa
20 Grujicic. I don't know if I missed any of them. I think I enumerated all
21 seven of them.
22 After these houses were burned and after the withdrawal of the
23 Muslim fighters across the bridge, more flames could be seen. But in
24 Donje Polje -- Donje Polje was full of Serbian houses too, and those
25 Serbian houses that were in Donje Polje were also destroyed because -- not
1 only Muslim houses, because the last combat of Serbian and Muslim fighters
2 was in Donje Polje, so many buildings were destroyed, in particular
3 Prijeka Carsija, and there were more Serbian houses there. But that's
4 war, and there can be no humanitarian war. War, by necessity, involves
5 burning and destruction of buildings, tears and blood, suffering. There
6 is no selection. It's not selective.
7 Q. So your answer to my question is yes, the Muslim quarters were
8 destroyed; right?
9 A. No. No. I cannot agree to that. You have to know this. I
10 really apologise for the terminology that I use. You have to understand
11 that there is no pure -- there are no pure neighbourhoods.
12 At the beginning, I said that we grouped -- we were grouping, but
13 there were no ethnically pure Serbian and Muslim neighbourhoods. And in
14 those neighbourhoods that were destroyed, both buildings belonging to both
15 ethnic groups were destroyed, but in some areas there was a majority of
16 Serbian or Muslim houses.
17 In Donje Polje it's not an exclusively Muslim area. There are
18 Serbian houses, but less than Muslim houses. Fierce fighting was there
19 and most of the destruction was there.
20 You mentioned Sukovac. In Sukovac, there are Serb and Muslim
21 houses, and they were destroyed each -- all of them were destroyed due to
22 the fierce fighting in the area.
23 I don't know whether artillery pieces were concentrated there and
24 that's why most of the fightings and burning took place there, but what
25 I'm trying to tell you, there are no ethnically pure neighbourhoods in
1 Foca, in particular, in the town and its environs. There are no purely
2 Serbian or Muslim areas. If a neighbourhood was destroyed, everything
3 that belonged both to Serbs and Muslims was destroyed in that area.
4 Q. You were aware that Muslim villages were attacked and burned down,
5 right? You mentioned, for instance, Mjesaja?
6 A. The objective was not to attack the Muslim villages. I told you
7 what the most important strategic facilities mean. The water supply
8 system was paralysed. It was held by the Muslim soldiers. In order to
9 free it, you had to attack the area, and in the neighbourhood, they were
10 Muslim and Serbian villages. The Serbian village, it is true, is above
11 the water supply system, so there was no need to go as far. But the
12 fierce fighting around the water supply system took place because Muslim
13 fighters knew the importance of this strategic facility of the water
14 supply system which can be used to cause fear and to issue threats.
15 We were panicked. As a civilian, I can tell you this. We were
16 afraid that our water supply will be cut off. We prayed; we rejoiced. We
17 wanted the Muslims to stay with us because as long as they stayed, we knew
18 that the danger that the water supply system would be poisoned or cut or
19 destroyed was less.
20 Q. You were present in Foca when the Aladza mosque was blown up,
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. It was on the 2nd of August, right?
24 A. I don't recall the exact date, really.
25 Q. At that time there were no Muslims, especially no Muslim fighters,
1 in the town, were there?
2 A. No, there were no Muslim fighters in the town, that's correct.
3 Q. The Aladza mosque was the only mosque standing in August, wasn't
5 A. I cannot say that with any certainty, whether there were any
6 mosques left at the time. I can't recall. But it is not relevant. What
7 is relevant is this mosque was also destroyed, unfortunately. I really
8 say that with a great deal of regret. I don't know who destroyed it and
9 how, but there were allegations that there was a lot of explosives and
10 weapons in there. How this was done, I don't know. I really don't know.
11 Q. In August 1992 there were ammunition and explosives in the mosque?
12 A. You know, I did not see that. I have to repeat that several
13 times. But you have to know, please, that today, in this area, you will
14 still be able to find storage sites, the place where mines and ammunition
15 are buried in a secret cache. In that time, there were still such cache
16 found in the basements because the assumption was that they would be able
17 to retain to Foca for a longer time. And after six days, the fighting
18 ended, and the fighters were unable to take all the weapons and
19 ammunition, mines, and to empty those storage site and to take all that
20 with them, the storage sites that were filled before the conflict broke
22 Q. Isn't it true that after the 14th of April, 1992, Foca town was
23 securely in Serb hands?
24 A. The town?
25 Q. Yes, the town, yes.
1 A. The town, the town, but it was surrounded and all the roads were
2 blocked. I will mention the roads. The road leading towards Scepan Polje
3 and Montenegro was held by Muslims, all the roads.
4 Q. We are talking about Foca town now and not about other areas.
5 We're talking about Foca town, and you said that on the 14th of April it
6 was securely under Serb control. Right?
7 A. I think I did explain the Serbian fighters prevailed; the Muslim
8 fighters withdrew to the left bank of the Drina River. But the Muslim
9 population was still there. I spoke to you, I told you about my
10 neighbours. I talked to the neighbours I was with. I repeat, there are
11 three basic reasons why Muslims left in those days, why they left the Foca
12 town. The first one is --
13 Q. I have to interrupt you. You have already explained this. I
14 would rather like you to answer my questions narrowly, around the
15 question. Simply the question.
16 And after the 14th of April, the mosques in Foca were destroyed,
17 weren't they?
18 A. I cannot say exactly whether all of them were after the 14th or
19 during the combat operations. I mean, Howitzers flying from both sides,
20 it's very hard to tell. But I agree with you that most mosques were
21 destroyed later, I do agree with you. It seems to me that I'm not being
23 Q. Nobody was ever punished for destroying any mosque, right?
24 A. I don't know about that. I really don't know whether somebody was
25 or whether somebody wasn't, or whether an investigation was carried out or
1 not. There was one thing that I do know and that I have to point out,
2 that Adil on Radio Foca -- and I was not working in Radio Foca any longer
3 and I've emphasised that several times. The appeal on Radio Foca was not
4 to destroy places of worship and not to have the Muslim people move out,
5 to have all their rights guaranteed. However, the extent to which all of
6 this was honoured is something that I cannot go into or assess. I was not
7 part of the powers that be. And I heard that there was an appeal not to
8 have places of worship destroyed and to have the Muslims stay. That was
9 what was repeated several times on Radio Foca.
10 Q. You mentioned that Foca is a very small place, and there are no
11 secrets in Foca, so if anybody was punished, you would know, wouldn't
12 you? Punished for bombing -- blowing up, blowing up a mosque?
13 A. Well, I was not very interested at the time. I was not involved
14 in political life. I didn't know whether there were any processes,
15 whether there were any punishments. I didn't hear about this, and I
16 didn't hear any of the neighbours tell me something like that. I really
18 Q. And also, Foca was such a small place and there were no secrets,
19 you did not hear about sexual assaults against the women in Partizan and
20 Foca High School?
21 A. I claim with full responsibility, and I already pointed that out
22 and I already explained it to you, I did not hear about this, nor was
23 there any talk about this, either among the Serbs or the Muslims, about
24 these rapes.
25 I heard about rapes many years later through the media, not to
1 repeat all of that again, when I heard through the media that The Hague
2 Tribunal was established and that crimes were being investigated, and that
3 mention was made of rapes in Foca. Then we, the town people, were
4 wondering what kind of rapes these were and where this happened. I, of
5 course, never found out, and I didn't know who this referred to and where
6 this was and which persons were raped, et cetera.
7 Q. You mentioned the circle of people you socialised with, especially
8 intellectuals. You are aware that the Muslim, the Muslim intellectuals
9 were retained in KP Dom, aren't you?
10 A. I could not have known who was detained where. I mostly moved
11 within my family circle. People were concerned, but I do assume that the
12 KP Dom had been used for the same thing as it had for the past 15 years.
13 And who was detained there, not -- that I don't know, whether they were my
14 friends as well.
15 I was not involved in individual destinies. I haven't been
16 involved in individual destinies for the time being, but I intend to work
17 on that now.
18 We parted with great regret at the time, and we shook hands, and I
19 imagine some of them withdrew earlier. But who was detained and by whom,
20 that I really cannot tell you because what I don't know, I don't know.
21 Q. In which part of Foca did you live before the war?
22 A. The centre, the centre, the main street, the pharmacy. Above the
23 pharmacy on the 7th floor, that's where the apartment is.
24 Q. You probably had a lot of Muslim neighbours, didn't you?
25 A. Yes, yes, yes, indeed. I did in that building. There were four
1 or five Muslim families. They left in those days when they said that they
2 would leave. They said it would be better to be with one's own people,
3 and they said, "Well, we're worried, and we don't know what the future
4 holds in store for us."
5 Nobody could have assumed, I don't think so, I don't know. But I
6 don't think any of those families who lived in this same building got
7 killed after that. Some went in the part of Yugoslavia, some went in the
8 direction of Gorazde, and then the front lines, as I mentioned to you,
9 behind their own lines. I don't know.
10 I know very little about the fate of these people. And it is with
11 regret that I point out that I mourn for all of those who lost their lives
12 but who actually did, I really don't know. And they probably don't know
13 about me, whether I've survived. That's the fate of wars.
14 Q. Foca is no more Foca. Foca is now Srbinje, right?
15 A. Yes, yes. I must say that I was surprised by this very proposal
16 to change this name. I know very well when the name of Foca was first
17 mentioned in the Dubrovnik archives in 1474. So it's not a Christian name
18 or a Muslim name, it's an old Celtic word, a Celtic word. But I assume
19 that those who came up with this idea to have the name changed had
20 something else in mind.
21 The ill fate of the people of the Balkans and Bosnia-Herzegovina
22 was the most difficult in Foca. Foca was on the border with Montenegro,
23 too, and that is where the harshest methods of the Ottomans were applied
24 when they were there. So the bloody history of that town was such that
25 they probably wanted to get rid of the enanthema by changing the name of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the town. Of course, you cannot get rid of history.
2 I personally don't mind calling it Foca. I call it Foca most of
3 the time anyway. However, had anyone asked me, there was no need to
4 change it, but who asked who in war time?
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No further questions, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Re-examination, Mr. Kolesar?
7 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Prodanovic.
9 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Sorry, Witness, please sit down.
11 Ms. Lopicic?
12 MS. LOPICIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much, Witness, for giving evidence to
14 the Tribunal. You are now released. You may leave the witness box.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you.
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 JUDGE MUMBA: We have the next witness?
18 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. According to
19 our list, Rajko Markovic should be our next witness.
20 JUDGE HUNT: While we are waiting for the witness to come, I have
21 been looking at the short description of this evidence which this next
22 witness is called to give.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE HUNT: From your attitude yesterday, it seems you are
25 perfectly happy for this Focatrans dispute to become some sort of central
1 issue in the case, are you?
2 MS. KUO: Our position is that it's not really relevant, but we
3 did not want to create an issue if the Defence --
4 JUDGE HUNT: You led the evidence-in-chief in your case.
5 MS. KUO: There was --
6 JUDGE HUNT: But you're not disputing it?
7 MS. KUO: We're not disputing that it occurred.
8 JUDGE HUNT: You're not disputing the right of the accused to lead
9 this evidence?
10 MS. KUO: Yes, that's right, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE HUNT: You're not?
12 MS. KUO: We're not disputing the right of the accused, yes.
13 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you very much.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning, Witness. Please make your solemn
16 WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak the
17 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 WITNESS: RAJKO MARKOVIC
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
21 WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Prodanovic.
23 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I just
24 wish to say that this is the last witness that we are calling with regard
25 to the general situation, and we're not going to question him for very
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
3 Examined by Mr. Prodanovic:
4 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Good morning, sir. Could you please tell us your name and
7 A. Good morning. I am Rajko Markovic.
8 Q. [No interpretation]
9 A. I was born in 1936 on the 17th of March in Zavajta near Foca.
10 Q. Could you please tell us where this village is in relation to
11 Foca, and how far away it is from Foca?
12 A. It is to the east. Perhaps to the southeast, 25 kilometres away
13 from Foca.
14 Q. Is that village on the border with Montenegro?
15 A. Yes. It's not too far away, about 20 kilometres.
16 Q. Could you please tell us what kind of an education you've had?
17 A. I completed elementary school, then secondary school, and then the
18 teacher's college.
19 Q. Upon completing teacher's college you became a teacher; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What subject did you teach?
23 A. I taught the Serbo-Croat language.
24 Q. Could you tell us where you got a job?
25 A. I got a job in the elementary school in Brod by Foca.
1 Q. Could you tell us a bit more about the neighbourhood of Brod?
2 What is that?
3 A. Well, that is a workers' neighbourhood. That is where the Maglic
4 timber processing industry is. That's it.
5 Q. What year was that when you became a teacher?
6 A. 1961.
7 Q. How long did you work there as a teacher?
8 A. Until 1988.
9 Q. Let us go back to your job as a teacher. Can you tell us when you
10 worked as a teacher these 27 years, how many students did the school have?
11 A. Well, I think between 1.000 and 1.200, depending on the school
12 year. So 1.200 was the maximum. I don't think that there were ever less
13 than 1.000 pupils while I worked there.
14 Q. You said that this was a workers' neighbourhood?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you tell us what villages these -- what villages students of
17 that school came from?
18 A. Well, we were a central school, and we had also small regional
19 schools with four-year education. There were the schools in Bunovi,
20 Celikovo Polje, Bastasi, Kute, Mjesaja. That's it.
21 Q. Who lived in these villages? Were these villages ethnically
23 A. Not a single village was ethnically pure.
24 Q. Can you say what the percentages of the ethnic groups involved
1 A. Well, that depends from village to village. Bunovi was a Serb
2 majority village. Mjesaja was a majority Muslim village. However, not a
3 single village was ethnically pure.
4 Q. What was the ratio in schools with regard to the student body?
5 A. What do you mean, vis-à-vis the teachers?
6 Q. No. I mean the students.
7 A. Oh, you mean the teachers toward the students.
8 Q. I beg your pardon. You did not understand me. What was the
9 percentage of the two ethnic groups within the student body. Was it the
11 A. Well, it cannot be the same but it was almost the same. It was
12 about half/half. We never thought it was necessary to count to see who
13 was a Serb and who was a Muslim. That is the kind of educational
14 background that we had.
15 Q. What was the ratio like in terms of the teachers there?
16 A. I think there were more Serb teachers than Muslims, but I don't
17 know. We did not pay any attention to that either. We simply got jobs.
18 There were advertisements for jobs.
19 I know that Sefkija Rahman was a principal at my school for the
20 longest period of time, a Muslim. Then the school pedagogist was also a
21 Muslim, the secretary of the school was a Muslim. I remember that now,
22 but before I had no need to think about things like that.
23 Q. While you worked, were there any problems on ethnic grounds
24 amongst the staff of the school?
25 A. No, never, for as long as I worked.
1 Q. Where did you live during that time?
2 A. Well, I lived in my family house in Foca; that is 4 kilometres
3 away. I computed by bus, like most of my colleagues.
4 Q. In which part of town is your family house?
5 A. Well, how should I put this? It's in the eastern part of town, in
6 the Cerezluk neighbourhood, near the Orthodox Church, the only Orthodox
7 Church in Foca.
8 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have glanced at
9 the clock, and I see that it's 11.00. Would the time be right to take a
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. It's actually 1100 hours. We will break off
12 until 1130 hours this morning.
13 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: We continue with the examination-in-chief.
16 Mr. Prodanovic.
17 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
18 Q. My last question was in which neighbourhood in Foca your house
19 was, and you answered that. My next question: In that neighbourhood,
20 were there more Muslims or Serbs where you lived?
21 A. In my closest neighbourhood there were more Serbs than Muslims.
22 If you mean the broader area -- I mean the neighbourhood of Cerezluk and
23 Cohodor Mahala, there were more Serbs. I don't know the exact ratio, but
24 there were more Serbs.
25 Q. Did you have Muslims among your neighbours?
1 A. Not my next-door neighbours but perhaps 500, 600 metres or a
2 kilometre away, yes, there were Muslims.
3 Q. Would you tell us where the neighbourhood of Donje Polje was
4 located from your house?
5 A. It is on the end of the left bank of the Sutjeska and -- sorry,
6 not Sutjeska, of course, but the Drina, the Cehotina.
7 Q. Who lives in that part of the city?
8 A. This neighbourhood is not ethnically pure either. I think there
9 are some more Muslims than Serbs. That is my personal assessment. I
10 wouldn't know the percentage.
11 Q. What was the situation in the part of town called Aladza?
12 A. There were definitely more Muslims than Serbs. It is a small
13 neighbourhood. You have a complete overview of it from my house, across
15 Q. Can you tell us something about Prijeka Carsija, where this part
16 of the town is located? Is it a residential or a commercial
18 A. It has always been a commercial area, back to the times when Jews
19 populated it. It begins with the market and ends with the Sahat Kula.
20 That is one street.
21 Q. Does that mean that in that neighbourhood the buildings are mostly
22 shops, eateries, et cetera?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Could you tell us who were the owners of these establishments?
25 A. Do you want me to enumerate?
1 Q. No. I mean, were the owners members of the same nationality or
3 A. I don't know whether there were more establishments owned by Serbs
4 or by the Muslims. It was mixed, as was the entire town.
5 Q. Are you aware of what happened with this part of town, Prijeka
7 A. It burned down, the end of that neighbourhood, especially the
8 right side. This part of town which was very dear to us, people of Foca,
9 burned down. It had this very attractive architecture.
10 Q. As far as I understood, only this part on the right side of the
11 street, looking from the market, burned down?
12 A. Well, if the go from the market uphill, I think the angle is at
13 least 50 degrees, and then when you reach the flat terrain, that flat part
14 burned down in the length of 70, perhaps 100 metres up to the Sahat Kula,
15 up to the end of the street.
16 Q. Do you know, perhaps, this part of Prijeka Carsija which burned
17 down, who were the owners of the establishments? Were they members of
18 only one nationality?
19 A. No. There was one house. I think it was the only house in that
20 part of the town which burned down. It was owned by Mile Malis. There
21 was one state-owned shop. There was the hunters -- what was it called? I
22 can't remember. And there was jewellery owned by a Muslim, and another
23 Muslim-owned shop. Five or six establishments, no more than that. That
24 is as far as I can remember.
25 Q. Have you got any information how these establishments happened to
1 burn down?
2 A. I think the dilapidated building was set on fire by shells, and
3 then the fire spread. All these establishments burned at the same time.
4 Q. Mr. Markovic, I would like to bring you back to the beginning of
5 the conflict, but for a moment, let's stick briefly, but please very
6 briefly, to the relations between Muslims and Serbs prior to the breaking
7 out of the conflict. How were these relations?
8 A. They were good, fairly good. I thought a conflict could never
9 break out between these two peoples. But still, it did. It began with
10 the unfortunate Focatrans and the establishment of these national
11 parties. And if you allow me to quote something said by the great film
12 director, Emir Kusturica, he said that, "Those party donkeys will ruin
13 everything." And that's what happened. I can't stop thinking about what
14 he said.
15 Q. Do you have any knowledge about the rallies of SDA and SDS, and
16 what were the reactions to these rallies?
17 A. I attended both rallies out of curiosity. I needed to know and
18 find out what happened, what was happening in my city, so I attended.
19 Q. What were your impressions after these rallies?
20 A. I was losing hope in the future because both rallies transmitted
21 messages which somehow haled the war to come.
22 Q. Except for these rallies, were there any more political events in
24 A. Yes, there was a celebratory mood for the referendum. There were
25 appeals to people to turn out to the referendum, and then after the
1 proclamation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, appeals for an independent state, it
2 was a terrible euphoria. It was clear even then that the war was
4 Q. Please tell us, did you hear anything about the arming of Muslims?
5 A. Well, that sort of thing could have been heard during the war and
6 after the war. But before the war, I don't know. Rumour had it that they
7 were arming through Focatrans. Suddenly when the war broke out, everybody
8 was armed. Both sides were armed.
9 Q. Let us go back to the very beginning of the conflict. Could you
10 tell us when the conflict broke out in Foca?
11 A. You mean the shooting?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. I think it was in the early morning hours of the 6th of April,
14 that was when the first shooting started. And even then we harboured some
15 hope that this would quiet down. Party leaders were negotiating in
16 municipalities and in Sarajevo as well. Regrettably, nothing came out of
18 Q. After the 6th of April, what happened next?
19 A. Well, further on, there was sporadic fighting in the city every
20 day, perhaps for six, seven, nine days, I can't remember exactly. It
21 looked like forever to me, but I don't think it was more than ten days as
22 far as fighting in the town itself is concerned.
23 It started in Aladza, and I remember I was in the park then. I
24 was going to tell my son, who had driven his wife and son to the nearby
25 village, I was going to tell him not to come back because roadblocks were
1 being installed, but I didn't reach him because shooting started above the
2 Aladza park near a hill called Celovina.
3 Q. Did you participate in the fighting?
4 A. No, because my age does not -- did not permit that.
5 Q. Do you know how the fighting proceeded?
6 A. I don't know what you mean.
7 Q. How long did the conflict last?
8 A. I told you, about ten days in the town itself, and then after that
9 the town was surrounded, under observation, under fire. Shells hit
10 houses. The fighting went on in daytime; nights were relatively quiet.
11 Q. Were there any attempts to stop the conflict?
12 A. Yes, there were. Party leaders met and made appeals to stop the
13 war. I remember when the first casualties fell, there was still hope in
14 Foca that there would be peace yet, especially since the fighting hadn't
15 spread throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we kept hoping. And people
16 talked that passions would abate, but it didn't happen.
17 Q. When the war in Foca ended, were there any appeals for the Muslims
18 who had fled to return?
19 A. There were appeals to the effect that people shouldn't leave the
20 city, that the town would be in peace, that everybody would have freedom.
21 It was meant not only for Serbs but for Muslims also. Everybody was
22 appealed on to remain in the city.
23 Q. Were there any Serbs also who left the city?
24 A. Of course. Either they stealthily moved away, or they got permits
25 to pass the roadblocks which were controlled by the MUP, the Ministry of
1 the Interior, towards the exits of the city.
2 Q. Did Muslims leave Foca?
3 A. Yes. It was their own wish, and they left by buses. I personally
4 said my farewells to colleagues and friends. We all had tears in our eyes
5 when they were leaving.
6 Q. And my last question, I know this is difficult for you, did you
7 lose anyone in this war?
8 A. I lost my only son.
9 I want to go back just a little to this question. I remember
10 appeals made on the radio. Mr. Semso Tucakovic, I think he's still alive,
11 he is a journalist. He did a lot for Muslims not to feel secure in Foca
12 because he kept reporting that the Chetniks were moving closer and closer
13 from Montenegro, how they were burning down everything in sight which was
14 not true, because at the time, it wasn't happening. But it looked like a
15 calculated attempt to cause a rift.
16 Q. This reporting of his, was it transmitted by the radio?
17 A. Yes, by the radio. It's Radio Gorazde, a short wave one.
18 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no more
19 questions for this witness.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Any questions, Mr. Kolesar?
21 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Ms. Lopicic?
23 MS. LOPICIC: No, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Cross-examination, if any.
25 Cross-examined by Ms. Kuo:
1 Q. Just some questions about the date, Mr. Markovic. You said that
2 you believed the war in Foca started on the 6th of April, 1992?
3 A. Yes. I think that was the date.
4 Q. Isn't it true that on the 6th of April, 1992, was when foreign
5 countries first recognised the independence of BiH?
6 A. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. You are right. It was two days later, the
7 8th of April. You are right. It was my mistake. Perhaps it's my
8 arteriosclerosis at work.
9 MS. KUO: Thank you.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Any re-examination?
11 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you, Witness, for giving evidence to the
13 Tribunal. You are released. You may leave the witness box.
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your
16 permission. I'm afraid that we may have a problem. We have concluded our
17 work with these witnesses sooner than we expected, and we planned our next
18 witness for our next session at 1.00. So I don't know whether the witness
19 is already here. We have planned to start with the witness at 2.30,
20 because we finished sooner than we expected, and I took into account the
21 views expressed by the Trial Chamber, and I omitted a lot of questions
22 with these witnesses.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Who is supposed to be the next witness?
24 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] The next witness is Vaso
25 Blagojevic, an alibi witness. He has given a statement, and my learned
1 colleagues from the Prosecution have had the opportunity to talk to him
2 before his appearance here.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: How far is he from the Tribunal? How many minutes
4 would it take if he was to be fetched?
5 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] I really don't know. Probably
6 the Witness and Victim Unit should know that or the Registry.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, because we have more than one hour. Perhaps
8 let's adjourn and try -- I don't know who to order to bring the witness,
9 but with the assistance of the Registry maybe. I'm not sure. Because
10 other problem, depending on where he is, transport availability and things
11 like that. Maybe we'll leave that to you. Because really, wasting a
12 whole hour is a bit troublesome for the Trial Chamber.
13 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Prodanovic, this is your first alibi witness, is
14 it not?
15 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE HUNT: For some reason, the Prosecution kept us in complete
17 darkness about what your alibi notice is. Whenever we asked about it, we
18 were just told this is relevant to the alibi matters. Do you think it
19 might be of assistance to us if we saw something in writing as to what
20 your alibi defence is, the notice that you gave to the Prosecution?
21 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have had the
22 opportunity to see here the order, Prosecution Exhibit number 2,
23 indicating that Zaga and so on, was to obey a combat order as of the
24 7th of July. The witness who was there at the time will be talking about
25 this period, the period beginning with the 7th, when the operations
1 started, until the 21st of July, when the operation ended. And let me
2 remind you, Prosecution witness Osman Subasic talked about that.
3 So these are the circumstances that this witness will be
4 testifying about.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Well, you don't want to let us see this document
6 either, so I suppose if neither party wants us to see it, we won't ever
7 see it.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, the Prosecution, please.
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it may be of assistance to draw
10 your attention to a letter dated November 28, 1999, where the Defence had
11 outlined which witness will talk about which time period and where the
12 accused would be.
13 What we could also do today, we could give you the statement of
14 the following witness, the previous statement that the Prosecution took.
15 JUDGE HUNT: All of this was sought during the Prosecution case,
16 and we were told, "No, you just sit back and accept our assurance that
17 this cross-examination -- or this evidence-in-chief is relevant to the
19 It would have been so much easier if we'd been given it then for
20 us to have understood what that evidence was led to or what it was
21 directed at.
22 Somehow you seem to think that -- both sides here seem to think
23 that we are here just to listen without thinking. It does help if we
24 understand what the relevance of the evidence is and how it fits into some
25 sort of a picture.
1 I would have preferred to have had it earlier, but if you're
2 prepared to give it to us now, it will indeed be of some assistance to
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: But my understanding, Your Honour, is that
5 you had this already.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Well, nobody suggested that at the time when we
7 raised it, and we raised it on a number of occasions during the
8 Prosecution case, and we were just swept to one side, as it were.
9 Whereabouts is it?
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: We can make a copy, but you have this
11 document already.
12 JUDGE HUNT: You keep saying that, but where do we have it?
13 That's the question I'm asking you.
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: This I don't know. It was a letter from
15 Defence counsel, and it was addressed to Chambers and us. So that's why I
16 thought you --
17 JUDGE HUNT: No, no. No, no. I'm talking about the original
18 notice which you said that -- or Mr. Ryneveld told us you had received
19 from the Defence.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: We can provide it now.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: We are going to adjourn and see if the witness can
22 be brought. Maybe we can come back and receive the evidence.
23 So the Court will rise, and we'll wait for the Registry to notify
24 us. Otherwise, the proceedings will continue in the afternoon.
25 --- Recess taken at 11.55 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 12.21 p.m.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Good afternoon, Witness. Please make the solemn
4 WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak the
5 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 WITNESS: VASO BLAGOJEVIC
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
9 WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, and thank you.
10 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
11 Examined by Mr. Prodanovic:
12 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation].
13 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Blagojevic.
14 A. Good afternoon.
15 Q. I would like to ask you if you could wait for a minute before
16 answering my question because of the interpretation so as to allow the
17 interpreters to interpret everything that I have asked you.
18 When were you born and where?
19 A. I was born on the 17th of March, 1964, in the village of Ostrmci.
20 Q. Can you tell us, where is the village of Ostrmci located?
21 A. It is located on the right bank of the Drina River, around seven
22 or eight kilometres downriver from the town of Foca or Srbinje itself.
23 Q. Is the village of Ostrmci centrally located?
24 A. No. The village of Ostrmci is a hamlet in the Josanica area.
25 Josanica is the whole area which includes about 25 hamlets.
1 Q. Is there a central village of Josanica?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Does the village of Ostrmci still exist?
4 A. My village of Ostrmci does not exist any more. It was burned on
5 the 19th of December, 1992. It was burned by the Muslim forces in the
6 course of the war, as were most of the villages in Josanica.
7 Q. Where were your parents living?
8 A. In the village of Ostrmci.
9 Q. After the village was burned, where did your parents go?
10 A. They fled to Foca, and they found accommodation in Foca as
11 refugees or displaced persons.
12 Q. What were you -- what did you do before the war?
13 A. I had my own truck which I used for -- as a private shipping
15 Q. You said that Josanica was in fact a set of villages. Can you
16 tell us who inhabited those villages? What was the population like in
17 terms of their ethnic background?
18 A. In Josanica there were villages inhabited exclusively by Serbs,
19 villages inhabited exclusively by Muslims, and there were villages which
20 were inhabited by Muslims and Serbs alike.
21 Q. In this set of villages that we call Josanica, were there any
22 tensions between Serbs and Muslims immediately before the war?
23 A. Immediately before the war the tensions were present, just before
24 the war. After the Focatrans scandal, the tensions appeared between the
25 two groups of populations, the Serbs and Muslims.
1 Q. Was there any indication of the impending war, that the war could
2 break out? You said that there were tensions.
3 A. Yes, there were some indications, although I was hoping, to be
4 quite frank, that this would not happen, but indications were there that
5 these things would come to pass.
6 Q. What were those indications? Were there armed people that
7 suddenly appeared?
8 A. Well, people simply started to ask around about ways in which to
9 buy weapons, smuggle weapons on the black market. People were trying to
10 obtain weapons. You could see that amongst Serbs and Muslims. They were
11 trying to obtain weapons through illegal channels. There were also some
12 joint guards and then separate guards. Some measures were taken, some
13 security measures were taken, and it was quite obvious.
14 Q. You said that people started to keep guards. Where did they do
15 that, in the villages?
16 A. In the villages, yes. They were guarding the villages.
17 Q. Did you also? Were you also active as a guard?
18 A. Yes, although I tried to avoid it, so I did it to a lesser extent
19 than the others. I didn't like it.
20 Q. Can you tell us who organised those patrols or guards?
21 A. The villagers themselves. They organised themselves, and they
22 stood guard.
23 Q. Did the Muslims have guards too?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you know when the fighting erupted in Foca?
1 A. The fighting in Foca erupted on the 6th or 7th or 8th of April,
2 1992. So there was some shooting on the 6th, on the 7th, on the 8th.
3 This is where it officially began.
4 Q. Was there fighting in your village when the fighting broke out in
6 A. No.
7 Q. Do you know for how long the fighting lasted in Foca?
8 A. The fighting in Foca lasted for about 10, 15 days, thereabouts,
9 and then Serbs took over the town, Muslims withdrew towards Ustikolina,
10 and then on to Gorazde.
11 Q. Can you tell us, when was the Josanica Company established? You
12 said that you stood guard.
13 A. Yes. It was established after the takeover -- after the Serbs
14 took control of the town, and then it was formed there at that time, and
15 Josanica Company was formed after that period, after Foca was taken over
16 by Serbs.
17 Q. The people who lived in the village of Josanica, were they in the
19 A. Yes, exclusively.
20 Q. Was that how it was named?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. When did you join the company?
23 A. Right at the beginning.
24 Q. When were you issued your weapon?
25 A. We were issued weapons sometime after. People had some hunting
1 rifles, so it was used. Then later, when the Territorial Defence was
2 organised, the Foca TO, Territorial Defence, then we were given some of
3 the weapons and ammunition that was there in the Livade depot. That was
4 controlled by the Foca TO. This was then handed to the people.
5 Q. After the occupation of Foca, were you given your military task,
6 and where was the lines?
7 A. Our military task was on the right bank of the River Drina, which
8 means that after Muslims withdrew towards Gorazde, we were on the right
9 bank of the Drina, and we established the lines, which were not stable.
10 They changed. On any given day it seemed to us that it would be good to
11 hold the line at a certain point, and on another day it seemed to us that
12 it would be good to move them. So they were not stable.
13 Muslims held a feature of Cerova Ravan, and we held some other
14 hills in that area, a hill Crijetez.
15 Q. Was this the demarcation line between you and the Muslim army?
16 A. Yes, at that time, at the very beginning.
17 Q. Your company was a part of which larger formation? It was part of
18 which battalion?
19 A. It was part of the 5th Battalion. That was a battalion that
20 covered that area, the 5th Battalion.
21 Q. Do you remember, was there a large-scale operation in that
22 period? By "that period," I mean the early summer of 1992.
23 A. Yes. The operation was organised in early July, around the 7th of
24 July. An operation was launched to attack the Cerova Ravan hill that was
25 held by the Muslims. They captured the hill right at the very beginning,
1 and it was a dominant feature in this area. And they were able to
2 infiltrate the rear of our lines since it was impossible to cover the
3 entire line, and they used this feature to assault the rear of our lines.
4 They burned villages, killed civilians. And that was the reason why, at
5 least in my mind, this very important operation was undertaken.
6 Q. How come you remember that it was on the 7th?
7 A. I remember, because it was a major operation. It was the first
8 major, important operation for me, and I really was quite afraid, and
9 that's why I remember. I didn't view with equanimity. It was important
10 because the Muslims were able to inflict a lot of evil in this area from
11 this feature by breaking through the Serbian lines and entering the rear.
12 Q. When did you see Dragoljub Kunarac first?
13 A. I saw him on the 7th of July, when this operation was supposed to
14 begin, when it actually began.
15 Q. At what time of the day? Was it in the evening, around noon, in
16 the morning?
17 A. It was in the morning.
18 Q. Did you know Dragoljub Kunarac from before?
19 A. No. I had heard about him, but I did not -- I had never met him.
20 Q. You said that you had heard about him. How? What did you hear
21 about him?
22 A. Well, I had heard --
23 Q. Was it because of his bravery?
24 A. I heard only that he was a very brave fighter. That's what people
25 said about him, that he was a brave fighter. So mostly this is what I
1 heard about him.
2 Q. Did he have a nickname?
3 A. Yes. He was nicknamed Zaga. They called him Zaga.
4 Q. You said that you had not met him until that morning. Who had
5 told you that this was, in fact, Zaga?
6 A. I don't know. Somebody from the unit said this was Zaga and Zaga
7 was coming. This is how I heard it. Somebody from our unit had known him
8 from before, and he said, "This is Zaga."
9 Q. Did Zaga come alone?
10 A. No, he was not alone. He had five or six people with him.
11 Q. Did you know these people from before?
12 A. No. None of them.
13 Q. So this was the first time that you saw them?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you know where these people came from?
16 A. I heard that they were from Montenegro, that they were volunteers
17 that had come here to fight. That's all. That's what I heard, and that's
18 what I knew.
19 Q. Do you remember their names or nicknames?
20 A. Yes, I do remember. One was nicknamed Miga, one was nicknamed
21 Gaga, one was Goran, Goran Ilincic. He was wounded in the end of the
22 attack on the Cerova Ravan. I remember those names. I don't remember any
23 other names.
24 Q. Do you remember what were they wearing?
25 A. They were dressed in different kinds of clothes. The uniforms
1 they wore were not all the same. Some had parts of a military uniform,
2 some had civilian clothes and camouflage. They would say -- they would
3 have civilian trousers and camouflage jacket. It was all mixed up. It
4 was not any kind of uniform that would be the same for everybody.
5 Q. Do you remember, did they wear any hats?
6 A. Well, some had caps, some didn't have anything, some had scarves
7 around their heads, things like that.
8 Q. Did Zaga have anything?
9 A. Yes, he had a scarf tied around his head.
10 Q. Was there any insignia on their clothing?
11 A. I did not notice any insignia. I don't remember. I don't know
12 that they had any insignia.
13 Q. Did you notice whether they had any weapons?
14 A. Yes, they did have weapons.
15 Q. Do you remember which weapons they had?
16 A. Well, they had mostly automatic weapons, a few bombs, a few
17 tromblones, that's it.
18 Q. Did Zaga have a radio transmitter? Did you notice that?
19 A. Yes, he had a walkie-talkie.
20 Q. How did Zaga and the men who were with him behave towards one
22 A. Well, it seemed to me that this was a relationship of comrades.
23 There's nothing else that I could really infer from that. They behaved
25 Q. Could you conclude who the leader of this group was?
1 A. Well, I could not come to any important conclusions as to who the
2 leader was. Well, Zaga was said to be the bravest, and he always went
3 first when they had to go to minefields and into action, and that is why
4 we assumed that he was the main person there.
5 Q. You mentioned that this action was supposed to begin on the 7th of
6 July, 1992. Do you remember that first day of action by something in
8 A. I remember the first day of this action by the following: There
9 was heavy rain on that day. We got caught in this heavy rain. I think
10 that it was the worst rain that I had ever experienced in my life. It
12 Q. When this heavy rain fell, where were you?
13 A. We were underneath Gabelska Kosa. There is a hill called Gradina.
14 That is exactly where we were.
15 Q. What did you do when this heavy rain started?
16 A. When this heavy rain started, we got wet. Then we decided to go
17 back to the village of Sorlaci; that is three or four kilometres back.
18 There are some houses there, abandoned houses. We decided to go back
19 there to get a fire going, to spend the night there, and that's what we
21 Q. Did you all return from the Gradina feature?
22 A. Yes, all of us.
23 Q. You said that this village -- that this feature is a few
24 kilometres away from the village of Sorlaci. How did you go back?
25 A. We went back on foot, all of us, except for Zaga and his men.
1 They had some kind of a vehicle, so they returned in this vehicle.
2 However, between the Gradina feature and the mentioned village of Sorlaci,
3 during this heavy rain, in one part where there is a stream, the stream
4 had disrupted the road, so you could not take a car all the way back to
5 Sorlaci. So they also had to leave their car there and to continue on
6 foot, so they returned on foot. And then all of us there started a fire,
7 and we spent the night there in these abandoned houses. There was also an
8 old abandoned school.
9 Q. You mentioned that he returned with these men who had been with
10 him in a passenger vehicle. Can you tell us what kind of vehicle this
12 A. This was a Polonez vehicle. I remember very well. It was orange
13 or red, some kind of colour like that. I also remember that it didn't
14 have an exhaust pipe, and it made a lot of noise when it was driven.
15 Those are the details that I recall as for the appearance of this car.
16 Q. Did I understand you correctly, that evening of the 7th of July,
17 you spent the night in the village of Sorlaci?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you tell us what happened the next day?
20 A. The next day, again, all of us went back to the Gabelska Kosa and
21 Gradina features, and that's where we stayed.
22 Q. You said that the road between the village of Sorlaci and Gradina
23 was disrupted because the Sorlaci stream took away part of the road. Tell
24 us, please, how were food supplies brought in as well as materiel and
25 technical devices?
1 A. Food and all other supplies were brought to Odren on one side. On
2 the other side, Zaga would come to this place where the road was
3 disrupted, and then men would carry these supplies over to the other side
4 into the Polonez, and then they drove it further to Gabelska Kosa along
5 the line, and then it was distributed.
6 Q. Was it risky to transport food?
7 A. Yes, it was, because the feature of Gabelska Kosa or, actually,
8 the feature Cerova Ravan dominated over the feature of Gabelska Kosa. So
9 in some places there could be shooting, and someone could shoot at this
10 vehicle as it was moving from there to Cerova Ravan.
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note, could the witness please
12 speak into the microphone.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sorry. The interpreters can't pick up
14 everything. Please, can you push your chair forward and speak into the
16 A. Oh, of course. Just say so.
17 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Again, please don't hurry with your answers. Wait for the
20 A. All right.
21 Q. When did Zaga drive this food and this materiel in this car? What
22 time of the day?
23 A. He would usually do that just before dark and during the dark,
24 during the dark without his lights on, and also just before night would
25 fall. This was because of the danger involved.
1 Q. Were you present when his car was being shot at?
2 A. Yes. I could see and hear all of that because all of this was
3 happening right over there, before our very own eyes.
4 Q. You said that the road had been disrupted. Can you tell us how
5 many metres of road were taken away by the water?
6 A. Well, certainly 7 or 8 or 10 metres of the road were washed away
7 by this torrent.
8 Q. Throughout this time was Zaga with you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Was he attached to your company?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you describe one day for us? When you would get up in the
13 morning, how did the day continue?
14 A. Well, approximately -- of course we all slept in tents. We would
15 get up in the morning. If it would be possible to make coffee, we would
16 make coffee. Whoever had coffee would prepare coffee. Then we had
17 breakfast, of course. We'd eat, actually. Zaga would go to a certain
18 place where the road had been washed away, to take over food and the
19 rest. He would also go there when the time would be right, that is to
20 say, just before dark and when night would fall. Then there would be
21 sporadic gunfire from the Muslims, they would shoot at us, and that was
23 Q. Was there some moments during the day when Zaga would go away from
24 you towards the Muslim positions?
25 A. Yes, that would happen. He went to reconnoitre with his men. He
1 went to reconnoitre to see whether there were mines, how close one could
2 go to the enemy positions to see how they were deployed, yes. That would
3 happen, yes.
4 Q. Could Zaga go to Foca without you noticing him?
5 A. He could not have done so. Actually, people there saw him as a
6 source of their bravery and self-confidence. Had he left, the others
7 would have felt insecure, and they would have abandoned their positions
8 too. So I know it was not possible for him to go away, and he did not go
10 Q. Was there any fighting at the time?
11 A. No, there was not fighting, except for sporadic gunfire. No.
13 Q. Where would you usually spend the night?
14 A. Usually we would spend the night in tents.
15 Q. Did Zaga sleep with you as well?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you confirm here that every night while this operation was on
18 that Zaga was with your company and that you saw him?
19 A. Yes, I can.
20 Q. Can you tell us when the first time was that the road was
22 A. Well, the road was being repaired -- I mean, the repairs started
23 10 or 15 days after we arrived there. So it was not immediately. Around
24 the 17th, a bulldozer came. The repair took about two or three days. So
25 on the 20th the road was rebuilt.
1 Q. Could you tell us, at that time while the operation was on, what
2 was the weather like?
3 A. Well, the weather was bad, unstable, which impeded and slowed down
4 our action.
5 Q. You mentioned that a bulldozer came to repair the road. Do you
6 remember who drove this bulldozer?
7 A. It was a bulldozer driver. His name was Ivo, Ivo Pavlovic.
8 Q. Do you know whether there was a self-propelled vehicle in the
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you tell us what that is? What is a self-propelled vehicle?
12 A. Well, in my opinion --
13 Q. Is that an artillery piece?
14 A. Yes. Yes, it's an artillery piece that moved on caterpillars. It
15 had a turret and a long gun, and it looked like a tank to me, but
16 actually, it was some kind of a self-propelled vehicle. That's what they
17 called it. I'm not very good at this kind of thing. I'm not very good
18 with these military terms. It looked like a tank to me.
19 Q. Do you know whether this self-propelled vehicle went into
20 artillery action?
21 A. Yes, at certain moments it did.
22 Q. Could you tell us when this happened?
23 A. Well, this happened when the action started, when the main attack
24 was launched, that is to say, on the 21st.
25 Q. On the 21st of July.
1 A. That's when it went into action, and that is when the feature of
2 Cerova Ravan was taken.
3 Q. What about this landslide on the road and the unstable weather
4 conditions? Did this slow down the operation itself? Do you think that
5 the operation would have ended earlier had this not taken place?
6 A. I think it would have ended earlier.
7 Q. On that day when the self-propelled vehicle went into action, was
8 the feature of Cerova Ravan taken?
9 A. Yes. On the 21st the feature of Cerova Ravan was taken, on the
10 21st of July. However, while this road was being repaired, in one section
11 a part of a new road was made so that this self-propelled vehicle could
12 come closer and go into action. However, since it was exposed to the
13 Muslim lines, they made some kind of a metal shield for it, I mean, with
14 the bulldozer while they were building that road. They had to build this
15 kind of metal shield in this critical place so that this self-propelled
16 vehicle could come in and operate.
17 Q. That's precisely what I wanted to ask you. When the road was
18 repaired, when it was re-established, you said that a new road was built
19 up to a certain feature so that the self-propelled vehicle could go into
21 A. Yes. Yes.
22 Q. Was Pavlovic exposed to artillery fire in that part of the road?
23 A. Yes. Yes, in that part of the road he was exposed, and that is
24 why he needed this shield, this protection made of big metal panels.
25 Q. Are you trying to say that this also slowed down your action?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes. Yes.
2 Q. You said that the feature was taken on the 21st of July. Do you
3 recall whether someone was wounded on that occasion when the feature was
5 A. Yes. A volunteer was wounded who was with Zaga's group. I said
6 that a few minutes ago. Goran Ilincic. I remember that was his name. He
7 was wounded on that day, on the 21st of July when this action was carried
9 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps this would
10 be a good time to take a break because I see that it is 1300 hours.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll take a break and continue the
12 proceedings at 1430 hours.
13 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, we are continuing with examination-in-chief.
3 I see Mr. Ryneveld on his feet. Yes.
4 MR. RYNEVELD: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 If this is an appropriate moment, during my absence from the
6 courtroom today, I understand that there was an issue raised by the Trial
7 Chamber concerning a matter of notice with respect to alibi that was of
8 some concern to me, and I thought that it was prudent if I asked for
9 clarification because the comments of His Honour Judge Hunt were such that
10 I was concerned that perhaps I had misunderstood the nature of our
11 previous conversation concerning this matter. And I'm here not at my
12 colleagues' request, but on my own since I reviewed the transcript over
13 the lunch hour.
14 My concern is that the Court has indicated that the Prosecution
15 kept the Trial Chamber in darkness with respect to what the alibi notice
16 was. It was my understanding that on a number of previous occasions, we
17 had, in fact, indicated to the Trial Chamber that my learned friends had
18 supplied us with a letter which outlined the witnesses and the fact of
19 notice. I think it was a letter of November 28th, and I undertook to
20 provide that to the Court, and I believe I did that immediately after the
21 lunch break.
22 Now, if there is something else that I ought to have done, I
23 apologise, but I'm not clear as to what it was. Since this is a Defence
24 alibi, I just thought I'd be of assistance by filing that letter last
1 JUDGE HUNT: You may recall there was a challenge, I think, or a
2 question about some evidence you were leading. You told us it was in
3 response to the matters of alibi.
4 MR. RYNEVELD: Yes.
5 JUDGE HUNT: I said, "We do not have a notice of alibi."
6 MR. RYNEVELD: Yes.
7 JUDGE HUNT: Now, it was left at that, and I can recall saying to
8 you, so we're to sit here so that it goes over our head without any
9 understanding of what the issues are. You may remember me saying that. I
10 remember saying it very well.
11 MR. RYNEVELD: That may be.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Yes. Now, if you've filed something thereafter, that
13 is one thing. I haven't seen it. We were supplied this morning with
14 copies of it.
15 MR. RYNEVELD: Yes. That document dated November 28th would have
16 been the document to which Your Honour was referring, and it appears that
17 I, in fact, provided that document to the Court at the time that Your
18 Honour had raised it.
19 I have the transcript of the 22nd of May where the Court
20 questioned the issue, and I indicated that we had received a letter. You
21 indicated, "Well, it might be a good idea if someone could produce a copy
22 of that letter so we've got it on the file."
23 JUDGE HUNT: Yes.
24 MR. RYNEVELD: And that afternoon, lunch taken at 1.00, I came
25 before this Court and said, "Just before I start, I should indicate that
1 as promised, you should have before you the copy of the letter to which
2 reference is made which was given to the Prosecution setting out, I
3 believe, the matters that Mr. Prodanovic raised. Judge Mumba: Yes. And
4 we've produced that."
5 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, we have that letter.
6 MR. RYNEVELD: Yes.
7 JUDGE HUNT: But that didn't give us any idea; I don't know how
8 much of an idea it gave you, but it didn't give us any idea of what the
9 nature of the alibi was --
10 MR. RYNEVELD: Ah.
11 JUDGE HUNT: -- which is something which we should have had. And
12 that's why I said at the time, or at that time or earlier, you just expect
13 us to sit here so that it goes over our head, and we'll try and work it
14 out all later, which is really not a good way, if I may say so, of
15 treating a Trial Chamber. It is far better for us to know what the issues
16 are early in the piece.
17 MR. RYNEVELD: I can't agree with you more, Your Honour, and I'm
18 certainly glad I asked for clarification this afternoon because it is now
19 and only now that I understand that you were wanting something more than
20 what was contained in the letter. Unfortunately, we have nothing more
21 from the Defence than this November 28th letter, and therefore I would
22 respectfully submit that it is, in fact, my learned friends that ought to
23 supply the theory of the Defence and alibi.
24 I take it they deemed this to be full compliance with the Rule 67
25 with respect to alibi, and I don't know that we've received anything more
1 than this, other than the opportunity of interviewing some of the people
2 whose names appear in this letter. And I believe reference was made to
3 that, as well.
4 JUDGE HUNT: Well, we've got to the stage now where we do have a
5 lot more, so we are now a little more aware of what the nature of the
6 alibi is and how it's going to be established. So it's -- whatever the
7 fault at the beginning, it's now been remedied.
8 MR. RYNEVELD: Thank you. So there's, then just by way of further
9 clarification, there's nothing further that you are requesting from the
10 Prosecution with respect to any documents on the issue of the alibi, just
11 so that I'm clear? Because I don't want to be perceived as not complying
12 with the Court's request.
13 JUDGE HUNT: If you've given us everything you've got, then you've
14 done what you can.
15 MR. RYNEVELD: Thank you, Your Honour. I appreciate that.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Prodanovic, you can proceed if you wish. I'm
17 sure you understood the conversation between the Trial Chamber and
18 Mr. Ryneveld, and you know what your obligations are through your
20 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. In any case,
21 we will, on our part, try to observe all our commitments.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Thank you.
23 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Blagojevic, my last question to you before the break was: Was
25 anybody wounded on that occasion? And you said that on the 21st of July,
1 when this hill was captured, Goran Ilincic was wounded. My next question
2 would be: How was Goran Ilincic taken away from Cerova Ravan?
3 A. He was taken away in that vehicle, the vehicle which they used, I
4 mean, Zaga and his Polonez vehicle. There was no other vehicle there.
5 Q. Would you please tell us, who took Goran to the hospital?
6 A. Zaga did.
7 Q. You said the operation began on the 7th of July, 1992, and
8 finished on the 21st of July, 1992, when feature Cerova Ravan was
9 captured. Can you confirm for this Tribunal that for the entire duration
10 of the operation, the accused Kunarac was there in the area of Cerova
12 A. I can confirm and I already have.
13 Q. After that operation, did you see Zaga again?
14 A. From time to time, rarely. I seldom came across him in town.
15 Q. My last question would be this: You said villages Josanica and
16 the surrounding small villages were burned down. Were there any
18 A. Yes, there were many civilian casualties, 16 [sic] in just one
20 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that would be my
21 last question for this witness.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Any questions, Mr. Kolesar?
23 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Ms. Lopicic?
25 MS. LOPICIC: Your Honours, we do not have any questions, but I
1 would like to inform the Trial Chamber that on page 66, row 13, when the
2 witness answer, "Yes, there were many civilian casualties, 16 in just one
3 day," I understood "60."
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Let's ask the witness to clarify.
5 MS. LOPICIC: Thank you.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Was it 16 or 60?
7 A. Over 16 [sic] -- over 60.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Six zero. Okay.
9 MS. LOPICIC: Okay. Thank you very much.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Cross-examination by the Prosecution, please.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour.
12 Cross-examined by Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff:
13 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.
14 A. Good afternoon.
15 Q. You described to us the events between the 7th of July and the
16 21st of July, 1992 in quite a detailed way, right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. When were you asked for the first time to testify and question
19 about these dates?
20 A. It was sometime last year, that is, in 1999. Approximately a year
22 Q. Until this time, you did not have a particular reason to focus on
23 this particular time in July 1992, right?
24 A. No, I had no special reason to focus on it. I don't quite
25 understand your drift. Could you explain your question?
1 Q. There was no reason, before you were asked to testify, to think
2 about these particular dates, July 1992, right?
3 A. Well, there was no particular reason to dwell on it, but it was a
4 period which left an impression on me. It was a period I happen to
5 remember well.
6 Q. You gave us the exact dates and the exact locations; right?
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. Did you keep a diary?
9 A. No, I didn't.
10 Q. You have told us that you are from Ostrmci in the Josanica area,
11 and you told us that this area was burned down by the Muslim army and, in
12 particular, also your village, right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. So you -- the Muslims, are the enemy, isn't it?
15 A. That's what they turned out to be in this last war. That's how it
17 Q. You were a member of the SDS party; right?
18 A. Yes, I was.
19 Q. And you joined this party in 1990, that is, right after its
20 foundation, right?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. You did not do your compulsory military training, did you?
23 A. No.
24 Q. You gave a statement to the Office of the Prosecutor on the
25 13th of February, 2000. Do you recall this?
1 A. Yes.
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The Prosecution likes to enter this statement
3 into evidence and would -- it's already given to everybody.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Has the witness identified it?
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I would like the usher to give this statement
6 to the witness to look at it.
7 Q. Do you see your signature on this statement?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. It's your statement?
10 A. Yes, it is. I suppose, because I can't read English. This is my
11 signature. That's it.
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: We would like to enter it into evidence.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: The Defence, any objection?
14 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we are not
15 against -- we do not object, but we would just like to clarify. When
16 witnesses give statements, as it happened in this case, they sign the
17 English version of the statement. So the witness practically doesn't know
18 what he's signing. Only afterwards, when a translation is done, the
19 witness has the opportunity to say, "This," for instance, "is not how I
20 said it."
21 Our witness too signed the English version without knowing exactly
22 what he is signing, and only then is it translated into B/C/S. That was
23 the procedure when statements were made for the investigator in this
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Mr. Prodanovic, when you consulted him to come
1 and give evidence, you went through that with this witness, and he
2 explained to you that he signed the English version, did he?
3 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] I was present, Your Honour. So I
4 do not challenge -- I do not object to the admission of this document into
5 evidence, but I want the Trial Chamber to take this aspect into account.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The only reason you are bringing that up is
7 that maybe, after translation into Serbo-Croat, maybe there may be certain
8 sentences or meanings which the witness may challenge.
9 Now, I want to find out from you. You were present when this was
10 recorded in English, as you say, and he signed. After translation, did
11 you see to it that the witness read the Serbo-Croat version? Because you
12 were already on the scene.
13 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it was not
14 translated at that time. We received the translation, I don't know
15 exactly, but perhaps 10 or 15 days later. I cannot be more specific than
16 that. But the witness indicated to me when I gave him the statement and
17 the translation, he said that some things have not been translated
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Let's have it, then. You have no objection to this
20 being tendered into evidence, right?
21 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, that is correct, Your
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, the Trial Chamber will rule that it be admitted
25 into evidence. It's up to you to challenge the translation if you so
2 Can we have the number, please, from the registrar?
3 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] This is Prosecution Exhibit 235.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Proceed.
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
6 Q. Witness, when this statement was taken, it was written in English,
7 right? And you couldn't read it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. It was?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You couldn't -- that it was read back to you in your language at
12 that time before you signed it, right?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Then let me cite from the statement. There is a witness
15 acknowledgement attached to this statement. It says, "This statement has
16 been read over to me in the Serbian language." That would be false, then?
17 A. I really am a bit confused. I cannot state -- there is a
18 possibility that indeed it was like this, but believe me, I don't know.
19 It's possible. The interpreter that was there with the representatives of
20 the Tribunal who took my statement, the interpreter who was with them, it
21 is possible that he read it out in brief, but I don't think that it was in
22 any detail. Not every word and every sentence was read.
23 Q. But in your witness acknowledgement it says "this statement," and
24 it doesn't say a short version or a summary, it says, "This statement has
25 been read over to me in the Serbian language."
1 A. You claim that I said that?
2 Q. You signed it. You signed this witness acknowledgement that the
3 statement was read back to you, and this was actually my question: Was it
4 read back to you?
5 A. I have said what I said. It is possible that it was read to me,
6 but not in full.
7 JUDGE HUNT: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, this really is a problem with the
8 whole of all statements that you have produced in this trial. I can
9 understand the difficulties of not having a B/C/S version for the witness
10 to sign, but this is a problem that you are going to face with every
11 witness, just as when there was cross-examination of the Prosecution
12 witnesses, some of them said that that had been taken down wrongly.
13 You asked them to sign something in English which they can't read,
14 including that acknowledgement. You don't see the problem with it?
15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I actually don't see the problem because --
16 JUDGE HUNT: Well, I'm sorry if you don't. I can, and it's a
17 matter that will go to the weight of it.
18 But I don't see as you can criticise him for having signed
19 something which is written in English which he doesn't understand, and
20 then challenging the accuracy of the interpretation that is given to it.
21 That's the problem with this.
22 And as I say, I recognise the difficulties the Prosecution had in
23 not having a B/C/S version for him to sign which he could have read, but
24 it seems to me unfair for you to criticise him for having signed something
25 which he couldn't read.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I'm only asking him if it was read back to
2 him, and that is actually where I'm heading at.
3 JUDGE HUNT: If you asked me, if you read back to me from the
4 transcript here what I said now, I wouldn't know if it was accurate or
5 not. That's the problem with this whole system.
6 It seems me to be a little unfair for you to be criticising him
7 for having signed something which he couldn't read which says the whole
8 document had been read back to him.
9 Anyway, let's get on with it.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Let's get on, yes.
11 Q. You were declared incapable for serving in the army for
12 psychological reasons; isn't that true?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What psychological reasons?
15 A. Well, I don't know. The doctors probably wrote that. It couldn't
16 fit into my mental framework. I could not simply accept it, and the
17 doctors probably wrote this kind of diagnosis down. I don't know exactly.
18 I don't know exactly what the diagnosis was. It was in 1984, way back in
19 1984. But at any rate, my problems were of a psychological nature. It
20 was for psychological reasons.
21 Q. Nevertheless, during the war in Foca, you were mobilised, weren't
23 A. Well, I was mobilised on a voluntary basis. I did not have much
24 practice with the firearms. I was mostly involved with the logistics in
25 the rear and so on. I did not like weapons at all, and I was not very
1 good at handling them. That's the truth.
2 Q. Wasn't there a general mobilisation called at that time?
3 A. A general call-up for mobilisation, well, you could say that there
4 was. I think there was such a thing.
5 Q. You described how you met Mr. Kunarac for the first time.
6 Mr. Kunarac and his men were not part of the Josanica Company, were they?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Mr. Kunarac and these men who came with him acted like an
9 independent platoon, didn't they?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You have described to us the events on -- at Cerova Ravan, and you
12 mentioned that you all slept in tents, right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Mr. Kunarac and these men from Montenegro, they had their own
15 tents, didn't they?
16 A. Well, every three or four, five, six men, depending on the size of
17 each tent. That's how they were grouped, four men, six men per each
18 tent. But that was, but that was in the immediate vicinity, the Gabelska
19 Kosa. In the immediate vicinity, that was the narrow area. That's a very
20 small place; it's not a large place. This line may be about 150 metres or
21 so, the entire area.
22 Q. But you did not sleep together with Mr. Kunarac in one tent,
23 didn't you?
24 A. No, no, but tents were very close to each other. He was in the
25 tent next to ours, maybe five or six metres away. That was the distance
1 between the two tents.
2 Q. And you were in your tent. You couldn't see what he was doing,
3 could you?
4 A. Well, we were, we were in the tent. We were in our tent; they
5 were in their tent, but it was very close by. They were next to each
6 other, and that's how it was.
7 Q. When he was reconnoitring, as you have told us, you couldn't see
8 him either, could you?
9 A. Well, we saw him, let's say, when he was leaving in front of our
10 line in the direction of the enemy line or the line of the other side, the
11 Muslim line. We saw him when he went to reconnoitre the Muslim lines and
12 when he came back.
13 Q. You testified that Mr. Kunarac was a very brave soldier, right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And he encouraged all of you at Cerova Ravan, right?
16 A. Well, in a way. He was kind of a support and encouragement for
17 us, that's for sure.
18 Q. You admired him at that time, did you?
19 A. Well, to tell you the truth, I did. I would never have dared to
20 go where he went, to the firing lines, into the minefields, and so on.
21 Q. Soldiers in the field help each other, don't they?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And while you were in the field, Mr. Kunarac helped you as a
24 soldier, didn't he?
25 A. Well, we helped each other. If one of us needed something and if
1 one of us was in a position to help.
2 Q. You are aware that Mr. Kunarac is in trouble now and that he is
3 accused of having committed rapes, don't you?
4 A. Well, I see that this is happening here. I am aware of the fact
5 that this is what this is all about and that the trial is going on. I
6 don't know what's happening.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber would like the Prosecution to
10 point out any parts of this statement which the Prosecution is aware the
11 witness has partly challenged as not having been read to him fully. What
12 parts of this statement are you relying on for your case? If you can put
13 them to the witness so that the issue of whether or not that's what he
14 says is clarified. Otherwise, what's the use of having this put into
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The witness had answered my questions
17 according to what he said previously, and I see no reason that this
18 statement is now actually a piece of evidence. He has satisfied to the
19 questions I had asked, and I don't see any problems now.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: So no weight.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No weight.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
23 JUDGE HUNT: There seems to be some misunderstanding about the use
24 of statements in cross-examination by both sides about this. The usual
25 way in which you challenge somebody because they've made a prior
1 inconsistent statement is to put to them the statement that you
2 particularly want them to accept or deny and then you can prove it by
3 tendering the statement. But to tender the statement beforehand seems, to
4 me, to be putting far too much paper into this case. I know it's been the
5 way in which it's been done by the Defence all along, but perhaps we
6 should take a stand and say wait until it's necessary to tender such a
7 document before you do so.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: So maybe you can withdraw it.
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. No problem with that. I withdraw it.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: So P235 by the Prosecution is withdrawn.
12 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just one question, Your Honour,
13 if you will allow me.
14 Re-examined by Mr. Prodanovic:
15 Q. I would like to ask the witness: In the evening, when you slept,
16 did you stand guard during the night?
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] That would be all.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: It's rather -- I can't understand this because -- I
20 don't know. Maybe it's the interpretation. You asked him, while he slept
21 whether he stood guard. Some people slept, he slept, who stood guard.
22 Can you clarify it?
23 JUDGE HUNT: It was "before you slept." But if I may suggest it,
24 Mr. Prodanovic, if you want that question to be of any use at all, surely
25 we'd have to know if he did this each night. I mean, if you want this
1 witness to hold as an alibi witness so that he was in a position to have
2 Mr. Kunarac under his observation at all times, that question that you've
3 asked in re-examination simply doesn't do it. You haven't covered the
4 whole field.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: In addition, if they were standing guard in shifts.
6 Can we have that clarified?
7 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] I will clarify the question.
8 Q. In the evening, when you slept, since there were several tents,
9 was there a guard roster for guards who would be guarding the tents?
10 A. Yes. I can clarify that, with your permission.
11 Q. Did you stand guard?
12 A. Yes. We always stood guard in shifts of two to three. It was
13 never just one soldier standing guard. It was a small area and there were
14 quite a few people there, maybe 50 to 60 people, and there were always two
15 or three persons standing guard. Until 2400 hours, that is, until
16 midnight approximately, sometimes even later, 1.00 or 2.00 a.m., nobody
17 slept because it was summertime and the dusk fell late and everybody
18 stayed up for a few hours in the tents, around the tents. We were just
19 fooling around. We were all very close to each other.
20 Then after midnight, after 2400 hours, the guards were set up in
21 shifts of two or three, in groups. They were standing guard until 4.00 or
22 5.00, when dawn broke. It was summertime, so around 4.00 it was already
23 dawn. And that's what it looked like.
24 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] No further questions.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
1 Mr. Kolesar?
2 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. We have no
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Ms. Lopicic.
5 MS. LOPICIC: Your Honour, we don't have any questions for this
6 witness. Thank you.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you, Witness, for giving evidence to the
8 Tribunal. You are now free. You may leave the witness box.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 JUDGE MUMBA: I was wondering -- you wanted to say something
12 before the witness comes?
13 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Precisely, Your Honour. We have
14 envisaged three witnesses for today. We envisaged the fourth one for
15 tomorrow, and I don't know whether the witness has been informed that he
16 should come here.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Prodanovic -- yeah. It's your duty to make sure
18 that the Victims and Witnesses Unit bring at least an extra witness. I
19 mean, after this morning, you should have known that it's possible to run
20 two witnesses this afternoon.
21 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have indeed
22 reduced the number of our questions, acting upon instructions of the
23 Chamber. So things moved along more quickly than we had anticipated. We
24 also didn't -- well, I don't know whether it would be fair to our
25 colleagues from the Prosecution, because we told them who would be coming
1 in today. So we indeed expected us to work today until 4.00, and we
2 didn't think that we would even manage these three witnesses because --
3 may I say that last time we had a different kind of misunderstanding. We
4 didn't have enough time for our experts because the hearings went on for
5 so long. Of course, we shall do our best to avoid such misunderstandings
6 in the future.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: You see, Mr. Prodanovic, that is why the procedure
8 is such that if they are expert witnesses, you bring in their statements
9 under 94 bis, the other witnesses, summaries. That is an indication,
10 usually, of how long the witness will take. I'm sure from your experience
11 that you will notice that expert witnesses, depending on what it is their
12 expertise is on, are likely to be long, simply because the other side
13 takes their opinions very, very seriously, and they would like to
14 challenge that. So usually the ordinary fact witnesses, depending on the
15 summaries, are usually short. And when you don't ask them for a long
16 time, the examination-in-chief is fairly brief, in most cases
17 cross-examination is equally brief.
18 So if the rest of the witnesses are fact witnesses, it should be
19 visible to have an extra one because they're already in The Hague anyway.
20 So it would be advisable to have an extra one within the Tribunal premises
21 so that we use as much of our trial time as possible.
22 Maybe we can do the same thing. We'll wait and see if the next
23 witness can be brought. We will rise in the meantime.
24 --- Recess taken at 3.17 p.m.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 --- On resuming at 3.38 p.m.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Good afternoon, Witness. Please make the solemn
4 WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak the
5 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 WITNESS: GORDAN MASTILO
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
9 Yes, Mr. Prodanovic, please.
10 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Examined by Mr. Prodanovic:
12 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Mastilo.
13 A. Good afternoon.
14 Q. I would just like to caution you about one thing. When I put
15 questions to you, they are being interpreted, so please pause for the
16 question to be interpreted and answer only then, please. Have you
17 understood me?
18 A. Yes, I have.
19 Q. Can you please tell me where and when you were born?
20 A. I was born on the 1st of May, 1961, in Jabuka.
21 Q. Could you please tell us where Jabuka is? Is that a village, or
23 A. Jabuka is the local commune that consists of about 30 villages,
24 about 15 Muslim villages, about 15 Serb villages. It is in the northern
25 part of the municipality of Foca, rather, Srbinje. It gravitates towards
1 the municipalities of Pale and Trnovo, and it is underneath the mountains
2 of Jahorina, Borovac, and Kace.
3 Q. How far away is Jabuka from Foca?
4 A. Jabuka is about 25 to 30 kilometres away from Foca. This closest
5 point is 25 kilometres away.
6 Q. Very well. The village of Jabuka, is that the central village
7 according to which the entire village is called Jabuka?
8 A. In the local commune of Jabuka which consists, as I said, of
9 several villages, there is a village that is called Jabuka, and that is
10 probably how the local commune and the entire region got their name.
11 Q. The village that you live in, is that a village, or is it a hamlet
12 of the village of Jabuka?
13 A. The name of my village is Milotina. It is a village. Jabuka, as
14 I said, is a broader notion consisting of 30-odd villages, and among them
15 is a village called Jabuka.
16 Q. Can you tell me what you did before the war?
17 A. I worked in the Municipal Assembly of Foca, and I worked as a land
19 Q. Can you tell me what a land surveyor actually does?
20 A. Well, specifically, my job description was the following:
21 measuring land and making the land register. It has to deal with the
22 status of land, the changes in ownership, then measurement of plots, then
23 also various services related to civil engineering -- or, rather, road
24 construction, et cetera.
25 Q. So you said you were born in the village of Jabuka. You worked in
1 Foca. Did you live in Jabuka all the time, or did you live in Foca, or
2 did you commute between Foca and Jabuka, or Jabuka and Foca? How was this
4 Just a second, wait for the interpretation. Now go on.
5 A. Well, during the week I would live in Foca. I rented an apartment
6 there, although sometimes I would go home during workdays, but then I
7 would usually spend all weekends in the village where -- at home where my
8 parents lived.
9 Q. As you worked in the municipality, can you tell us when you first
10 noticed that there were tensions between the Serbs and Muslims?
11 A. I noticed that sometime in 1990. Actually, this was before the
12 national parties were founded.
13 Q. The tensions that arose in Foca, were they reflected on the
14 village where you lived?
15 A. Absolutely. The first thing that was felt was that there were
16 some problems related to Focatrans, that there were ethnic divisions
17 already then, and also, there were some smaller squabbles, but that was
18 the very beginning.
19 Q. Could you please slow down when you speak, please.
20 A. Yes, all right.
21 Q. Did that bring about a lack of confidence, distrust in the village
22 that you lived in?
23 A. Well, my village, no, but this did affect the relations with other
24 people from other villages, people of Muslim ethnic backgrounds.
25 Q. Was there fear?
1 A. Well, yes. Yes. That fear finally found its form when the
2 nationalist parties were founded. Already then people were discussing the
3 possibility of the outbreak of war and also there was guard duty, et
5 Q. You said that your parents lived in the village of Milotina and
6 that that's a purely Serb village. Were there other villages that were
7 purely Serb villages?
8 A. Yes. In the area of the local commune of Jabuka, most of the
9 villages were uni-ethnic except for a few villages that had a mixed
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter could not follow the names of
12 those villages.
13 A. Then the other villages were purely Serb or purely Muslim.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Could the witness please repeat the names of the
15 other villages. The interpreters couldn't pick them up.
16 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Could you please slow down.
18 A. Slavicici, Rodanica [phoen], Donje Selo, Jamici, and Lokve. There
19 was one Serb house there in an otherwise Muslim village.
20 Q. Tell us, please, do you know anything about the armament of
22 A. I specifically cannot give you any information and say what is
23 what, but there was a lot of talk about this, that Muslims were being
24 armed when the nationalist parties were being formed, and I already
25 mentioned the fact that there was a lot of fear among the people and
1 probably weapons were never silent.
2 Q. Did people stand guard in villages because of their fear that was
3 noticeable, as you put it?
4 A. Yes. Already after the nationalist parties were founded, guard
5 duty was organised in villages.
6 Q. Do you know when the conflict in Foca broke out, and can you tell
7 us where you were at the time?
8 A. Well, on the 8th of April, 1992, when the conflict broke out, I
9 spent that weekend in the village, and I did not go to Foca after that for
10 quite a long time.
11 Q. Was there a conflict in your village and in the surrounding
12 villages when the conflict in Foca broke out?
13 A. Well, no. People knew about the conflict in Foca. The war had
14 already started. But guard duty was organised. There were some smaller
15 provocations but nothing more serious happened for a certain amount of
17 Q. You said that nothing more serious happened for a certain amount
18 of time. Can you tell us when a more serious conflict broke out?
19 A. Well, a more serious conflict broke out on the 23rd of July, 1992,
20 when Jabuka was attacked, actually, when the Serb villages were attacked
21 and when there was a major massacre that caused a large number of
23 Q. Could you tell me, please, where you were on that day, the 23rd of
24 July, when the conflict started?
25 A. The conflict started in the morning at 5.15. I was at home. My
1 father woke me up. The day before that, I was building a road from
2 Previla toward Nekopi. I came home late and I went to bed. In the
3 morning, my father heard shooting and woke me up, and I got up and
4 realised that this was a more serious attack because there was diverse
5 gunfire coming from different directions.
6 Q. What did you do then when your father woke you up?
7 A. I got up and I went towards the village of Kolakovici with two of
8 my neighbours and the heaviest shooting was coming from there. I caught
9 up with more people. We arrived in the village of Kolakovici, which was
10 already on fire, and then further on towards Jamici. This area where the
11 Serb villages are were covered with a lot of smoke, and we realised what
12 was going on. We came across the first victims, the first casualties, old
13 men and women and children.
14 Q. Could you tell us whether before the war, the armed conflict, you
15 knew Dragoljub Kunarac.
16 A. No. I only knew his brother, Boban Kunarac.
17 Q. When did you first see Dragoljub Kunarac?
18 A. On the 23rd of April, 1992, between 9.00 and 9.30 in the morning
19 in the village of Podstijena or, rather, Milotina.
20 Q. Did somebody tell you that this was Dragoljub Kunarac? How did
21 you find out that this was Dragoljub Kunarac?
22 A. Well, amongst all this commotion, I realised that there were some
23 people who were not from that area, and I walked up to them, I introduced
24 myself, and he introduced himself, said his name, surname, and nickname.
25 Q. Was he alone?
1 A. There were four or five persons with him.
2 Q. What was he wearing?
3 A. Well, this entire group wore camouflage or, rather, they wore
4 diverse clothes. Some wore parts of uniforms and some wore parts of
5 civilian clothes. I remember that this one man, Konta, he wore jeans, and
6 he was clean shaven, and he wore civilian clothes in general. I'm not
7 sure that a single one of them was entirely dressed in military uniform.
8 Q. Did they have weapons?
9 A. They did have weapons, normal weapons. It was wartime.
10 Q. Did anybody have a radio transmitter?
11 A. Well, I'm not sure, and I cannot say that for sure, but I know
12 that while I was present that no one communicated with headquarters or
13 something like that, but I cannot assert whether someone had a radio
14 transmitter or not. This was a time of general chaos, and those days
15 while he was up there, we spent them looking for the persons who were
16 killed, and burying them, and things like that.
17 Q. Near your villages is there the village of Previla too?
18 A. Well, the village of Previla is about three and a half or four
19 kilometres away from my village. It is on the border between the local
20 communes of Jabuka and Ustikolina respectively. That is the last village
21 that belongs to the local commune of Ustikolina.
22 Q. Could you tell us, please, in the village of Previla, was there
23 the command of some battalion of the Tactical Group, the Tactical Group of
25 A. Yes. That is where the command of the 2nd Battalion was.
1 Q. This village of Previla, how far away is it from your villages if
2 one goes on foot or if one takes the road and takes a vehicle?
3 A. From my village it is about 40 minutes away on foot. Then as far
4 as driving is concerned, it depends on the speed at which you drive. It's
5 not a good road. It's a macadam road, so you can't drive very fast.
6 Q. You said that in the morning you saw Zaga. Did you notice the
7 direction from which he came?
8 A. Well, I already said. When I returned from the village of
9 Kolakovici, I caught up with other men, and I saw Zaga there with some
10 men. I don't know what direction he came from, but he only could have
11 come from Previla and Foca. That is the only direction that he could have
12 come from, not any other. I don't know whether he was there, but I know
13 that I was there because of the construction of this road, and I was not
14 communicating with headquarters in any way so that I could not know about
15 the movements of these people.
16 Q. Please tell us precisely. That day, where was Zaga and what was
18 A. Well, when things calmed down, when the surviving civilians got
19 out and when people realised what was there and who was not there, then I
20 suggested to these men to go look for the dead. Some people saw these
21 people who had been killed, and we had assumed that others had been
22 killed. There were a few other men there, and then also some elderly men,
23 and together with them we went to the village of Kolakovici. First there
24 we saw who was dead, and then we went to the hill of Korijeni where we
25 found some dead up there too, and that was it.
1 That day we came to that area and then we returned to the
2 village. Zaga, with some other men, was sleeping in the village of
3 Podstijena, and I and quite a few other civilians who were there all
4 together, there were some civilians from Foca there who had heard about
5 this and who were sleeping in my house and some other houses in the
6 village of Milotina, they were there also.
7 Q. Were there refugees from other villages?
8 A. Well, yes, some from the village of Kolakovici because it was not
9 certain whether some were simply missing or dead, whereas the others were
10 transferred to Previla where there was a school that was abandoned, and
11 that is where they stayed then.
12 Q. That first day, that is to say, the 23rd of July, did you have any
13 information about the killed?
14 A. Well, that first day, we did not know the exact number of persons
15 killed. Part of the population from the villages of Drazevo to Jamici, I
16 mean the survivors, went via Korijeni, or that is to say, along the slopes
17 of Jahorina to go to Vrhpraca, which is part of the municipality of Pale.
18 So during those days, we did not know for sure. However, on the fourth
19 day, or perhaps the fifth or the sixth day, we knew for sure because
20 information was received from Pale who was killed and who was not, and
21 that is how we finally got the figure.
22 Q. Is Pale --
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Would the witness, please -- is reminded to slow
24 down. The interpreters have to interpret what you are saying, and you need
25 to slow down for them to pick up every word.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Very well.
2 We already said at the outset that Pale is a municipality that
3 borders with the municipality of Foca, and that border runs along these
4 last villages, that is to say, the border is about a kilometre or two away
5 from there.
6 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Was this an all-out attack of the Muslim military against your
9 A. Well, according to everything I saw and everything I heard later,
10 I can state for sure that this was a very well planned military action
11 involving large forces, in view of the population and the number of people
12 who were staying in this area and this municipality, and I can state with
13 certainty that all the villages were attacked at the same moment.
14 Q. That first day, how long did the attack last if we look at it in
15 terms of the hour of the day? Was it in the morning, or was it in the
17 A. Well, the fiercest attack was around 10.00; however, you could
18 hear gunfire all day. The Muslims were retreating, and as they were
19 retreating, they were torching villages, and they were probably taking
20 things away, looting them, I don't know. There was sporadic gunfire that
21 you could hear until the early evening hours until we withdrew to the
22 villages of Podstijena and Milotina.
23 Q. On that day did you see what Zaga was doing and the men who were
24 with him?
25 A. Well, all of us were together, and our main objective was to find
1 the dead and the missing. On the first day, we did not bury anyone;
2 however, we managed to discover all of those who were killed or who had
3 disappeared, except for one of them, Radislav, who was found on the fourth
4 day. We found them at the village of Podgradje. And then we continued
5 searching for them in other parts of the local commune, that is to say, in
6 the area of the village of Jamici.
7 Q. Do you remember on this first day how many corpses you found?
8 A. I cannot say for sure, but if necessary, I could give the names of
9 all the persons who we found so then you would know who was who. I know
10 the total number of casualties, but I cannot tell you exactly who we found
11 on that first day. But I do know all the people who we found, and if
12 necessary, I can give their names.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Counsel, it's 4.00.
14 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] I beg your pardon.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: And we're adjourned and continue tomorrow.
16 Yes, the Prosecution.
17 MS. KUO: Your Honour, I wanted to address one matter very briefly
18 to clarify a representation that was made to the Court earlier.
19 The Prosecution is in possession of a number of statements of the
20 Defence witnesses which was provided by the Defence, and as well as
21 statements, as we saw earlier, which were taken by ICTY investigators. If
22 the Court wishes those to be provided, we are certainly happy to do that,
23 but I think there was the impression given before that we did not have
24 anything, and in fact we do.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Prodanovic?
1 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] I have been informed that this
2 morning the statements were handed over to you, including the statement of
3 Mr. Blagojevic.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Prodanovic, it's up to you to present the case
5 the way you want it. There are documents which are filed, documents which
6 may be provided to the Bench sometimes under a misunderstanding.
7 A document is only evidence if it is admitted into evidence, and
8 in any event, the evidence in that document may not be necessarily
9 accepted by the Trial Chamber.
10 So if anything is floating around, that does not mean it has been
11 admitted into evidence. It's up to you to decide what documents you are
12 relying upon, and say so. It's also up to the Prosecution, in case it's
13 their case or they're tendering even in cross-examination, to do what they
14 want to do with the documents.
15 So it's really not a question of saying they were supplied to the
16 judges; they may not have necessarily have been admitted into evidence.
17 Please note that very, very carefully when it comes to what documents are
18 floating around.
19 So we'll adjourn to tomorrow morning at 0930 hours.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.03 p.m., to
21 be reconvened on Wednesday, the 19th day of July,
22 2000, at 9.30 a.m.