Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 1304

          1                 Monday, 31st August 1998

          2                 (Open session)

          3                 (The accused entered court)

          4                 (The witness entered court)

          5                 --- Upon commencing at 9.31 a.m.

          6            THE REGISTRAR:  Case number IT-95-16-T, the

          7  Prosecutor versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,

          8  Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic,

          9  Vladimir Santic, also known as "Vlado."

         10            JUDGE CASSESE:  Thank you.  Good morning.  I

         11  wonder whether the Prosecutor -- sorry.  You have

         12  already finished with the witness -- whether the

         13  Defence counsel are ready to cross-examine the witness.

         14            Mr. Pavkovic?

         15            MR. PAVKOVIC:  Good morning, Your Honours.  I

         16  can notify you that the witness will be cross-examined

         17  by Madam Slokovic-Glumac, Mr. Radovic, and Mr. Susak.

         18            JUDGE CASSESE:  Thank you.  Ms. Glumac?

         19                 WITNESS:  PAYAM AKHAVAN (Resumed)

         20                 Cross-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:

         21       Q.   Good morning, Mr. Akhavan.  I don't know how

         22  to pronounce your name correctly.

         23            In examination-in-chief, we heard that you

         24  are a lawyer by profession.  Is it correct you work for

         25  the Office of the Prosecutor?  That's right.  Regarding

Page 1305

          1  your work here, have you had an opportunity to see

          2  Sakib Ahmic's statements given to the Prosecution at a

          3  later time?

          4       A.   No, I have not seen these statements.

          5            THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone to the witness,

          6  please.

          7       A.   No, I have not seen these statements.

          8            MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:

          9       Q.   While you were compiling your report on human

         10  rights for which you gathered data, as you told us

         11  during your examination-in-chief, how was the data

         12  analysed later on?  Did you send it to Geneva?  Did you

         13  work on preparing the report yourself in part?  Could

         14  you tell us more about it, please?

         15       A.   This was usually a cooperative effort between

         16  the field office, which was based in Zagreb, and the

         17  headquarters in Geneva.  The field officers would

         18  always play a predominant role in analysing the

         19  information since they were situated on the ground and

         20  were most intimately familiar with the facts.  The

         21  office in Geneva was largely responsible for editing

         22  and formatting the paper, the reports, so that it would

         23  be appropriate for submission to the Human Rights

         24  Commission.

         25       Q.   Let me ask you about the text that we have

Page 1306

          1  here in front of us.  Who wrote this text?

          2       A.   This text was drafted in part by myself, in

          3  part by one or two of my colleagues in Geneva.

          4       Q.   Which part was drafted by you; can you

          5  recall?  Are these the specific parts, or are there

          6  conclusions, or perhaps the introductory part?  Can you

          7  tell us which part you drafted yourself?

          8       A.   Specifically, the parts which I drafted were

          9  paragraphs 9 through 12, on the town of Vitez, and

         10  paragraphs 13 to 25, on the village of Ahmici.  The

         11  paragraphs on the city of Mostar were drafted by other

         12  staff, and generally speaking, the -- I'm sorry,

         13  paragraph 37, on arbitrary executions by Bosnian

         14  government forces in the Vitez area was also drafted by

         15  me.  The conclusions were almost invariably those of

         16  the Special Rapporteur himself, Prime Minister

         17  Mazowiecki.

         18       Q.   In other words, the portion which deals with

         19  specific incidents is what you actually drafted, the

         20  paragraphs which you just cited here; there were no

         21  other people involved?  Did also ...

         22            THE INTERPRETER:  Could counsel please repeat

         23  the name of the person?

         24       Q.   Did (redacted) also work on it?

         25       A.   Yes.  My colleague and I conducted the

Page 1307

          1  investigation together, so we gathered information.  In

          2  certain meetings, we were together; in other meetings,

          3  we were separate.  But the drafting of the actual

          4  report and its legal analysis was predominantly my

          5  responsibility.

          6       Q.   While you were analysing events and when

          7  meeting with people who were eyewitnesses to the

          8  events, did you use any notes or videotape, did you

          9  tape anything, or did you just take down notes?

         10       A.   We took down notes.

         11       Q.   So you did not use any other means or

         12  equipment?

         13       A.   No, we didn't.

         14       Q.   I am now focusing on paragraph number 17.

         15  You said that you personally drafted that part of the

         16  report.

         17       A.   Yes.  That was based on the testimony of

         18  Sakib Ahmic whom my colleague, (redacted), had

         19  interviewed in Zenica on the day that I was

         20  interviewing Colonel Blaskic and Mr. Dario Kordic.  So

         21  I was not present at that particular interview, but

         22  this reflects the information which my colleague (redacted)

         23  gathered from that witness, but this information was

         24  verified in a visit to Ahmici where we visited the home

         25  of the individual in question, and what we found there

Page 1308

          1  very accurately confirmed his testimony as to how many

          2  people had been present in that home, how many had been

          3  killed, the description of the house and the rooms and

          4  so on and so forth.

          5       Q.   You say that this description fully reflects

          6  what Sakib Ahmic told your colleague?

          7       A.   Yes, to the best of our ability, this

          8  reflects his testimony.

          9       Q.   For the record, I would like to read this

         10  paragraph, and please tell me if it is accurate:  "One

         11  eyewitness related how he had hidden behind a couch in

         12  one room as Croat HVO soldiers burst into the other.

         13  The family of the house were in the next room:  a

         14  father, mother, four-year-old boy, and three-month-old

         15  infant.  The witness heard a burst of machine gun fire

         16  and saw the husband and wife fall to the ground.  The

         17  soldiers then poured petrol, which they carried in

         18  glass bottles, all over the rooms -- all over the

         19  rooms, including the couch behind which the witness was

         20  hiding.  The house was then ignited with matches.  The

         21  witness was unable to determine whether the family had

         22  been killed by the gunshots before being set on fire."

         23            Is this the report which was compiled upon

         24  your having interviewed Mr. Sakib Ahmic?

         25       A.   Correct.

Page 1309

          1       Q.   Thank you.  Can you tell us, did (redacted)

          2  (redacted) interview Mr. Sakib Ahmic in the hospital?

          3       A.   I believe so, yes.

          4       Q.   Do you know this for certain, because from

          5  your statement my understanding is that you were in the

          6  centre in Zenica together where you interviewed a

          7  number of survivors of Ahmici, you mentioned 50 to 60

          8  people.  Then following that, (redacted) conducted an

          9  additional interview which concerned the exact location

         10  of the house, and you also said that another woman was

         11  with him, whom you believed to be his cousin.

         12            So from that I construed that you also

         13  conducted an interview with Mr. Sakib Ahmic.  That is

         14  the first one.  Can you recall this, please?

         15       A.   Yes.  Firstly, I don't recall having

         16  mentioned anything about a woman being with him,

         17  whether his cousin or someone else.

         18            When my colleague, Thomas, went to Zenica on

         19  that day, I stayed in Vitez.  When he came back, as we

         20  did every evening, we would share notes about the

         21  activities and interviews which we had conducted on

         22  that day.  Thomas informed me that he had gone to the

         23  hospital, I believe, in Zenica, where he had

         24  interviewed an elderly gentleman who had been there for

         25  treatment of his burns.  I recall Thomas mentioned that

Page 1310

          1  the name of the man was Sakib Ahmic, and that he had

          2  indicated the story as it is reflected in paragraph 17

          3  and that we should go back to the village in order to

          4  confirm the veracity of his testimony.

          5            So I am quite certain that that is the person

          6  whom Thomas had interviewed in order to arrive at these

          7  conclusions.  It is possible that he may have

          8  interviewed additional people who may have had some

          9  testimony with respect to the same home as well, but

         10  I'm not aware of that.

         11       Q.   The conversations which you conducted in

         12  Zenica, where exactly were they conducted?  Was this

         13  some kind of a refugee centre?  How was this organised?

         14       A.   Yes, there was what appeared to be a refugee

         15  centre.  I believe it was in a building which may have

         16  been a cinema or something of that nature.  These

         17  people had just been released, about 150 of them, from

         18  a school in Dubravica where they had been held after

         19  the attack on Ahmici.

         20            We found these people through a Centre for

         21  the Documentation of Genocide and War Crimes, I

         22  believe, which was an organisation in Zenica, but the

         23  interview was not prepared in advance.  We simply went

         24  to Zenica, spoke to the representatives of that

         25  organisation, and they took us right there and then to

Page 1311

          1  that centre, and we had the opportunity to interview

          2  the witnesses without interference.  Since my

          3  colleague, Thomas, had been a Serbo-Croatian

          4  translator, it was not necessary for us to have anyone

          5  else present.

          6       Q.   In other words, you selected the people among

          7  those present; there was no organisation which guided

          8  you as to whom you were going to interview?

          9       A.   That is correct.

         10       Q.   You said that the people with whom you talked

         11  were, for the most part, children, women, and the

         12  elderly.  Did you have an opportunity to speak to a

         13  male person of military age from Ahmici who could have

         14  been involved in the military?

         15       A.   In that particular visit, no, I don't recall

         16  any such person.

         17       Q.   Were there such persons in this centre?

         18       A.   Among the group from Ahmici, no, we didn't

         19  see any such person.  We were informed that the men of

         20  military age had not been released by the HVO, that

         21  only the women, children, and elderly had been

         22  released.

         23       Q.   Did the people with whom you talked mention

         24  the existence of the Territorial Defence in Ahmici?

         25       A.   I don't recall.

Page 1312

          1       Q.   Did they mention any kind of armed resistance

          2  having taken place on the 16th of April?

          3       A.   No, they did not.

          4       Q.   Did they tell you that the fighting in Ahmici

          5  took two days and that only after two days a front-line

          6  was established above the village?

          7       A.   We were informed that the fighting lasted

          8  approximately one day but not two.

          9       Q.   Who gave you this information?

         10       A.   This information was gathered from several

         11  sources.  We interviewed some of the witnesses who were

         12  survivors, we interviewed members of the British

         13  battalion, some of whom had arrived in the vicinity of

         14  Ahmici towards the latter part of April 16th, when the

         15  attack had taken place, and we were aware that certain

         16  people may have fled and hidden in the forest.  If that

         17  is considered resistance, yes, it may have been that

         18  some of those people were not captured until after

         19  April the 16th.  But in terms of the actual destruction

         20  and take-over of the village, our impression, based

         21  primarily on the testimony of members of the British

         22  battalion, was that on April 16th, a take-over and

         23  destruction had been completed.

         24       Q.   Given that in the report you mention that

         25  over 100 persons took part in the take-over of the

Page 1313

          1  village, would the information that you gathered lead

          2  you to believe that there was armed resistance in the

          3  village since it took a full day to capture it?

          4       A.   Firstly, I believe the number which was

          5  indicated in our report was at least 50 and possibly up

          6  to 150 soldiers.  That is in paragraph 23.  We came to

          7  that conclusion based on the information given to us by

          8  military experts, members of the British battalion, who

          9  suggested that the scale of the destruction in the

         10  village, the number of killings, the number of homes

         11  that had been set on fire, the use of mortar, so on and

         12  so forth, would not have been a small operation which

         13  could have been done, let's say, simply by a band of

         14  ruffians, that this was a concerted and organised

         15  military operation.

         16            We cannot come to specific numbers, but those

         17  are approximate numbers which I think were very

         18  realistic in view of the extent of destruction in the

         19  village.

         20            Now, what we mean by "military resistance" I

         21  think is a complex question.  If we mean that someone

         22  who was in his home and saw that soldiers were coming

         23  to harm himself or his family, would pick up, let's

         24  say, a hunting rifle and try to defend himself, well

         25  then, it's possible that there may have been such

Page 1314

          1  resistance.  But I don't think that in our mind that

          2  would have changed the character of the attack, that

          3  Ahmici was an undefended village, that there was no

          4  significant military presence or target which would

          5  have justified the attack; and that even

          6  hypothetically, had there been some sort of military

          7  presence, the scale of destruction was clearly

          8  disproportionate to any such military threat which may

          9  have been posed by that village.

         10            So it was on that basis that we disregarded

         11  the possibility of any serious resistance or, rather,

         12  the possibility that the resistance may have changed

         13  the character of the atrocities and their unlawfulness.

         14       Q.   Can you tell me whether, during your

         15  fact-finding process, you also ascertained a number of

         16  victims on the Croatian side?  Five Croatian soldiers

         17  were killed and nine wounded during the operation in

         18  Ahmici.  Was that factored in during the preparation of

         19  your report?

         20            JUDGE MAY:  You put that, Mrs. Glumac.  Is

         21  this a matter you are going to establish with

         22  evidence?

         23            MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:  Yes, yes.  Yes, Your

         24  Honour, this will be part of our evidence which we will

         25  present.  It is something that we are going to

Page 1315

          1  establish, and since we have an expert witness here, we

          2  have to try to bring that analysis to the foreground.

          3       A.   We had approached the HVO authorities in the

          4  region; as I explained, we had spoken to Dario Kordic,

          5  Tihomir Blaskic, and Mario Cerkez.  None of them had

          6  indicated to us that there were any serious HVO

          7  casualties in the Ahmici operation.  We did understand

          8  that there were five Croatian casualties in the Vitez

          9  operation, and this is reflected in this report.  I'm

         10  not certain if the five individuals you are speaking

         11  about may have been from Vitez rather than Ahmici.

         12            In Vitez, the Bosnian Muslim resistance was

         13  much more sustained than that in Ahmici where, as I

         14  said, the village was destroyed and taken over.  Even

         15  two weeks after the events of April 16th, I believe in

         16  Stari Vitez, the Bosnian Muslims still controlled a

         17  part of the city, and in that case, the padre of the

         18  British battalion had indicated that five Croats had

         19  been buried along with 96 Muslims in the Vitez area.

         20            To the best of our sources, to the best of

         21  the ability which we had to get information from

         22  sources, there were no similar casualties on the

         23  Croatian side.  The other casualties which we came

         24  across were in the hamlet of Miletici, where I believe

         25  between three to five young Croatian men had been

Page 1316

          1  attacked and beheaded by what appeared to be rogue

          2  elements.

          3            Those were the only casualties which we were

          4  aware of.

          5       Q.   If we take into account that we have five

          6  casualties and an additional nine wounded, would that

          7  change your view as is to the existence of armed

          8  resistance in Ahmici because we say that these are the

          9  victims from Ahmici?

         10       A.   No, it would in no serious way change my

         11  view.  The number of casualties in Ahmici -- actually,

         12  the number who were killed, were approximately 200.

         13  From what we recall at the time when we arrived, about

         14  100 were confirmed dead, a large number of whom were

         15  women, children, elderly, many of whom were burnt alive

         16  in their homes, shot on their doorsteps, or executed by

         17  snipers in this so-called killing field in front of the

         18  Catholic cemetery.

         19            There were an approximately -- at that point,

         20  there were approximately 200 others unaccounted for,

         21  I'm sure many of whom were in hiding, but I believe

         22  that in the end, the result was that some 150 to 200

         23  people, most of whom were civilians, were killed in

         24  that operation.  I don't believe that five HVO soldiers

         25  killed with nine wounded, as a result of some sort of

Page 1317

          1  spontaneous resistance, would have changed the

          2  character of this unlawful attack.

          3       Q.   The Prosecutor does not have a list of about

          4  200 casualties.  He operates with a figure of about 100

          5  casualties, as far as Ahmici is concerned.  So where do

          6  you get your numbers, please?

          7       A.   When we arrived in the region, according to

          8  our sources, some 100 casualties had been confirmed

          9  because they had been identified and buried.  The

         10  problem was that there were still many people buried

         11  under the rubble, many people who were burnt in their

         12  homes or many who were executed and left in the

         13  village.

         14            The British battalion had tried to identify

         15  and bury as many of these bodies as possible; but the

         16  fact, for example, that we found four bodies in the

         17  home of Sakib Ahmici is an indication that there were

         18  many other such bodies.  We could even smell, if you

         19  like, corpses in the village.  There was a stench even

         20  some two weeks after the attack which we detected.  The

         21  problem was that many of the homes were booby-trapped,

         22  there was a possibility that there were mines or other

         23  dangers which would have made it an extremely costly

         24  and difficult operation to retrieve all the bodies.

         25            So we, having spoken to the International Red

Page 1318

          1  Cross, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, and the

          2  witnesses, figured out that at that point in time, in

          3  addition to the 100 killed, there were some 200 people

          4  unaccounted for.  Many of these people, as I said,

          5  could have been hiding somewhere and may have been

          6  recovered later, but based on some of the accounts

          7  which we heard from the witnesses, we estimated that

          8  there could be possibly up to an additional 100 people

          9  who had been killed but who were not yet located.

         10       Q.   But from these assumptions, have these facts

         11  actually been determined anywhere; in other words, has

         12  this number, which you mentioned, been determined

         13  positively anywhere?

         14       A.   I'm not aware of that, but for the purposes

         15  of the report, we did not claim that so many people had

         16  been killed.  I will find the relevant part of the

         17  report.  I believe it's -- it is paragraph 19.  Of the

         18  89 bodies which have been recovered from the village,

         19  most are those of elderly people, women, children, and

         20  infants.  A list of 101 possible victims was obtained

         21  through the testimony of displaced persons who had

         22  witnessed killings.

         23              And towards the end of that paragraph, it

         24  is estimated that as many as 100 bodies may still

         25  remain under the rubble in the village, but items to

Page 1319

          1  retrieve them are very hazardous due to the instability

          2  of remaining walls.  The village is described as

          3  stinking of death.

          4            I believe that there is another part of the

          5  report, paragraph 22, which says that approximately 300

          6  of the original Muslim inhabitants of Ahmici have yet

          7  to be accounted for.

          8            So I believe that those paragraphs and the

          9  language which has been used very carefully indicates

         10  what our sources are, and there's no attempt to suggest

         11  that 100 people were actually killed, the language is,

         12  "As many as 100 bodies may still remain".

         13            But the fact was that of the bodies which

         14  were retrieved, there were very few, if any, which were

         15  men of fighting age.  We do appreciate that there is a

         16  distinction, in general, in combat activities  between

         17  killing armed men of fighting age and elderly people,

         18  women, children and infants, and that's why the

         19  possibility of some Croatian casualties would not, in

         20  any significant way, have changed our perception of

         21  events.

         22       Q.   Another question related to the list of

         23  casualties.  You said, in point 19, that it was 101

         24  person who fell -- who were casualties in Ahmici.  This

         25  is the official number you quote.  You also say that in

Page 1320

          1  Vitez, point 9, you again mention the number of 101, 96

          2  Muslims and 5 Croats.

          3            Is there a bit of a confusion?  Because

          4  according to our data, a total of 101 was buried in the

          5  cemetery, from Vitez, Ahmici and the surrounding

          6  villages altogether.  Is there a bit of a confusion

          7  here, because we are not aware of another hundred,

          8  because you used the same number in several points.

          9       A.   We were told, once again by the padre of the

         10  British battalion who was involved as a religious man

         11  in such burial ceremonies, that there were 101 people

         12  buried in Vitez.  It is possible that some of those

         13  bodies may have been brought from neighbouring

         14  villages.  That we did not ascertain.

         15            In the case of Ahmici, we were told by

         16  members of the British battalion that they specifically

         17  recovered 89 bodies from that village, and a

         18  significant number of those bodies were in that field

         19  across from the Catholic cemetery which I mentioned.

         20  According to them there were 89 people.

         21            When we spoke to some of the survivors in

         22  Zenica, people began to give us their own accounts of

         23  having seen people killed, or not necessarily having

         24  seen people killed but realising someone whom they knew

         25  had been left behind and was probably dead.  Based on

Page 1321

          1  those accounts, we indicate there had may be a list of

          2  101 possible victims in addition to those which had

          3  been recovered.

          4       Q.   So according to that, that is a total of 202,

          5  101 in Vitez and 101 in Ahmici.

          6       A.   Well, the 101 were possible victims.  We

          7  could only verify 89, but we would consider those to be

          8  in addition to the 101 people who were buried in

          9  Vitez.

         10       Q.   All right.  Thank you very much.  Could you

         11  please tell us who gathered the corpses around the

         12  village?  Was that the job of the UNPROFOR or the Civil

         13  Defence?  You mentioned at one point that UNPROFOR

         14  recovered the bodies and then drove them back to

         15  Vitez.  I mean the corpses from the village of Ahmici.

         16       A.   I was informed that UNPROFOR had gathered

         17  many of these bodies.  I had spoken with soldiers who

         18  had personally participated in putting the bodies into

         19  bags.

         20            My impression was most of the bodies were

         21  actually taken to Zenica where there was a morgue.

         22  There was one body, for example, of a family which

         23  apparently had been burnt alive in their basement, and

         24  this was broadcast on the television.  That body, I

         25  understand, was taken to Zenica for an autopsy.  So I'm

Page 1322

          1  not sure how many of those bodies were actually buried

          2  in Vitez, how many were taken to Zenica for autopsies

          3  and burials, especially because many of the survivors

          4  were in Zenica, and they would have wanted to have the

          5  burial at a location to which they would have access.

          6       Q.   Were the corpses of Sakib Ahmici's family

          7  buried?  Do you know that?

          8       A.   I'm not aware of that, that occurred after we

          9  left the area.

         10       Q.   You mentioned that under -- along the road

         11  there was a flat area which you refer to as the killing

         12  field.  You mentioned 20 bodies were found there.  Were

         13  they brought -- had they been brought there by someone

         14  from the UNPROFOR or people from the village, or were

         15  those people killed on the spot?

         16       A.   According to what I was told, they were

         17  killed on the spot.

         18       Q.   Could you tell the Court where you get this

         19  information?  Who gave you this information

         20  specifically?  Could you identify the person?

         21       A.   I could not identify the specific individual,

         22  this is some five years ago, but they were members of

         23  the British battalion whom we had spoke with.  We had

         24  very extensive discussions with anywhere from 15 to 20

         25  members of the battalion.

Page 1323

          1       Q.   In which parts of the village?  You mentioned

          2  in your report that you visited three locations, along

          3  the road, by the upper mosque and the lower mosque.

          4  Can you remember where the great number of empty shell

          5  cases were found?

          6       A.   There were shell casings around virtually all

          7  the homes that had been destroyed, so I don't think

          8  they were concentrated in a particular part of the

          9  village.

         10       Q.   But you did not tour the entire village.  You

         11  said you toured the part around the mosque, and then

         12  you later went to the upper part of Ahmici and back

         13  down towards the road.  Those are different locations.

         14  Were the casings present in the Upper Ahmici, around

         15  the houses and elsewhere?

         16       A.   Yes, they were.  We toured several homes when

         17  we were in the village, not just one or two.  We walked

         18  from home to home inspecting the damage, and we noticed

         19  that almost without exception there were many rounds of

         20  bullets around homes.  In certain cases shell casings

         21  coming from anti-aircraft guns, in some cases shells

         22  coming from rocket-propelled grenades.

         23       Q.   Did you hear from the refugees and the people

         24  who left their homes get the information that fighting

         25  began only after people left their homes?  Did they

Page 1324

          1  tell you how they ran away, how they fled Ahmici and

          2  along which roads?

          3       A.   No.  The information which we received was

          4  that fighting erupted when most people were still

          5  sleeping, very early in the morning, somewhere around

          6  the time of the morning call to prayer.

          7       Q.   But you're speaking about the part of Lower

          8  Ahmici, the place you identified clearly, around the

          9  lower mosque and the part of the road leading up to

         10  Upper Ahmici.  Whereas Upper Ahmici is separated from

         11  the Lower Ahmici, as you have noticed, perhaps.

         12       A.   Yes it is separated, but not such that I

         13  think there would have been a very big difference

         14  considering the attack.  To the best of our knowledge,

         15  the attack was directed at the village as a whole, that

         16  the attack began with a mortar shelling towards the

         17  upper part of the village, forcing many people to flee

         18  to the south where many were killed by sniper bullets

         19  or otherwise harmed.  Our impression was that the

         20  attack, as a whole, began very early in the morning,

         21  and that most people were completely caught by

         22  surprise.

         23            It may have been that some parts of the

         24  village were affected somewhat later, depending on

         25  where the attack began from, and that may have given

Page 1325

          1  those people a somewhat better opportunity to prepare

          2  themselves to escape, but that I'm not aware of.

          3       Q.   Were you told by interviewees from Zenica

          4  what were the paths of escape from the village?

          5       A.   Most of the people indicated the forests as

          6  being the best path of escape, and I believe there were

          7  forests towards the north of the village.  Some

          8  suggested that the reason why the mortar shelling was

          9  towards the north of the village was to prevent people

         10  fleeing into those areas, and I believe that if my

         11  bearings are correct, also towards the east of the

         12  village there was a wood area where people could have

         13  fled.

         14       Q.   During your mandate when you visited the

         15  Lasva Valley, was it -- it was part of your mandate to

         16  establish human rights violations in the entire Lasva

         17  Valley, not only in Ahmici and Vitez, but in all the

         18  other areas, and also to establish human rights

         19  violations against Croats, Muslims and others alike.

         20            Did your mission accomplish both these tasks

         21  successfully?

         22       A.   Well, our mandate covered the entire

         23  territory of the former Yugoslavia.  We were

         24  particularly responsible for the Republic of Croatia

         25  and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  We had published, up to that

Page 1326

          1  point, as many as ten reports covering different

          2  incidents, different situations.  It so happened at

          3  that time there was what we perceived as a

          4  Bosnian/Croat offensive against the Bosnian Muslim

          5  forces and population in the Lasva Valley region.  We

          6  were concentrating, at that point in time, on the Vitez

          7  area.  Subsequent submissions looked at other areas of

          8  the Lasva Valley.

          9            We interviewed all the sources, all the

         10  relevant sources which could have given us information,

         11  including the HVO authorities, and we did not come

         12  across information suggesting that there was anywhere

         13  in the Lasva Valley a victimisation of Bosnian/Croat

         14  civilians remotely approaching that which we had

         15  witnessed in Ahmici.

         16            The hamlet of Miletici is one example of the

         17  great efforts to which we went through to be

         18  impartial.  Miletici was a very remote and inaccessible

         19  place.  We even had problems approaching there by

         20  armoured personnel carrier, we had to walk quite a

         21  distance, but we ensured that we would equally cover

         22  atrocities which had been committed against Bosnian

         23  Croat civilians.

         24       Q.   It says in the report that the incident in

         25  Miletici took place around the 16th, so it is possible

Page 1327

          1  that it took place on the 16th?

          2       A.   I need to consult my notes.

          3       Q.   Page 8.

          4       A.   Yes, yes.  It is possible.  We were not sure

          5  about the exact date.  Our impression was that it was a

          6  revenge killing.  That was our impression.

          7       Q.   You did not write that though?

          8       A.   No.  That was really not relevant.  We -- in

          9  these reports, we are less interested in a sort of

         10  sequence of events, if you like, than in reporting

         11  atrocities which had been committed.  The purpose of

         12  these reports is, firstly, to inform the International

         13  Community of events to try to provide objective sources

         14  of information about what is transpiring in that

         15  region, but also to try and pressure the respective

         16  authorities into respecting human rights.

         17            So the point which we had in paragraph 37,

         18  was to indicate that the Special Rapporteur was not

         19  going to close his eyes to atrocities against Bosnian

         20  Croats, or Bosnian Serbs for that matter, simply

         21  because the Bosnian Muslims were disproportionately

         22  victimised.  That's why we went to great lengths in

         23  virtually every report also to include certain

         24  paragraphs on human rights violations committed by

         25  government forces.  But this did not suggest that those

Page 1328

          1  violations were the equivalent of what had been

          2  committed by the other sides.

          3       Q.   Tell us, please, you mention here the

          4  existence of Mujahedins.  Did you really establish that

          5  they existed and were they involved in any way in the

          6  BiH army, in the parts about Miletici?

          7       A.   This is based on the testimony of the Croat

          8  villagers which we spoke with.  They -- of course, the

          9  term Mujahedin was used in a very loose fashion.

         10  Generally it would refer to elements which were foreign

         11  to Bosnia.  Some of the villagers indicated to us that

         12  the people looked different and spoke a different

         13  language, which made us believe that they were

         14  mercenaries or others who were not from Bosnia itself.

         15            We were told that there was also one

         16  uniformed officer wearing the uniform of the Bosnian

         17  army, which, of course, was not uncommon.  Virtually

         18  every man of fighting age was wearing a uniform.  Also

         19  that there was some individual living in the lower part

         20  or in the vicinity of Miletici who was known for

         21  participating in criminal activities, in black

         22  marketing and so on and so forth.

         23            So the impression which we got is that it was

         24  a group of this so-called Mujahedin, together with one

         25  or two or three locals.  It was not a large-scale

Page 1329

          1  operation, of course.  It may have been something like

          2  eight to ten individuals who simply came in to what was

          3  a very small hamlet of maybe ten homes in order to kill

          4  a few people, steal some property and walk off.

          5       Q.   But you said that those people were beheaded

          6  and 27 people you mentioned in your statement, 27

          7  Croats fled the village, so it was not an innocuous

          8  incident, was it?

          9       A.   Clearly beheading someone is never innocuous,

         10  but we are simply reflecting -- there is no hidden

         11  agenda, if you like, in this paragraph.  It is a very

         12  accurate recollection of what we were told by the

         13  survivors.  This is a -- I'm not sure what the motives

         14  of the perpetrators were, their motives could have been

         15  simply some sadistic gratification, or trying to get

         16  property from other people, but the effect clearly was

         17  to create such fear in the local population that they

         18  ended up leaving, which is not surprising at all.

         19            When we arrived there, there were very few

         20  people, mainly people who were so old that it was

         21  difficult for them to go anywhere else, who had chosen

         22  to remain.  But we were also told by the local people

         23  that there was one individual who was wearing the

         24  Bosnian army uniform, and that usually they would be

         25  protected from such attacks, which were not organised

Page 1330

          1  military attacks but simply attacks of thugs, rogue

          2  criminal elements, but that on this occasion this

          3  individual had not protected them.  They did not

          4  suggest, though, that this individual was the one who

          5  did the beheading, but simply that he had not stood in

          6  the way of those who had come into the village.

          7       Q.   Thank you.  You also mentioned in the

          8  conclusion that it was established that government

          9  forces, as it says here, paragraph 40, in the area of

         10  Zenica have performed several arbitrary executions,

         11  tortures, et cetera.  And those were on days before

         12  your arrival to the Lasva Valley, and that in Zenica,

         13  at that time, 600 Croats were held captive.

         14            Wasn't that information alarming and didn't

         15  it require some additional investigation?

         16       A.   I'm sorry, you're saying that this

         17  information is contained in the report or that it was

         18  an allegation?

         19       Q.   It is in the conclusions, paragraph 40?

         20       A.   Yes.  We did receive information that there

         21  had been some such incidents in Zenica.  We did not

         22  receive information that they were committed on a large

         23  scale.  Certainly not against 600 people.

         24            There was, clearly, a climate of violence,

         25  and fear, and terror in that region.  The tensions were

Page 1331

          1  extremely high.  There were on many occasions isolated

          2  incidents of killing or torture, and these,

          3  unfortunately, were quite frequent throughout Bosnia

          4  throughout the war.

          5            One of the problems which we have with

          6  limited resources in the context of such widespread

          7  human rights violations, is the task of selecting what

          8  we believe are the most egregious, the most serious

          9  violations.  For us in the case of Zenica, there was no

         10  indication, no evidence whatsoever that there had been

         11  large-scale killings or even killings numbering in the

         12  tens, if you like.  So we focused our attention on the

         13  events in the Vitez area, especially in Ahmici where

         14  there was very clear evidence of large-scale killings

         15  of civilians.

         16            So we, as I said, took great care in order to

         17  be impartial and to include, as well, allegations that

         18  some such isolated incidents had taken place, and to

         19  put the Bosnian government on notice that simply

         20  because the Bosnian Muslims had been disproportionately

         21  victimised that they would not -- that we would not

         22  overlook violations committed against others.  But I

         23  don't think that it would be fair to say that the

         24  allegations of large scale atrocities against Bosnian

         25  Croats in Zenica were credible at that point in time.

Page 1332

          1       Q.   Will you please tell us, except for people

          2  from Ahmici, have you interviewed people of Croatian

          3  nationality from surrounding villages, concentrating on

          4  the Vitez area?  I would mention Kruscice, Gacice,

          5  Poculice, Bukve.  Villages from which Croats had fled

          6  and where tortures and murders took place.  Have you

          7  interviewed such people?

          8       A.   We made an attempt to approach some Croats,

          9  inhabitants of Ahmici, at which point two snipers,

         10  apparently from the HVO, tried to kill my colleague and

         11  I.  That gave us the message that we weren't

         12  particularly welcome and clearly affected the rest of

         13  our mission, where we decided instead to focus on those

         14  who were in the Bosnian Croat leadership, who would

         15  have the best overall knowledge of what is transpiring

         16  in that area.  This is why we met with Dario Kordic and

         17  Blaskic and Cerkez.  We invited them to give us

         18  information, to give us explanations.  And what was

         19  given us to is reflected in this report.

         20            You must follow that it was extremely

         21  difficult to move around that area, especially when the

         22  Bosnian Croats had indicated an intention to kill us.

         23  And indeed, even in Vitez we had to move in -- under

         24  heavy guard, in constant fear that a sniper or other

         25  person would try to kill us.

Page 1333

          1       Q.   You mentioned that Bosnian Croats attempted

          2  to kill you.  From where did these sniper shots come?

          3  Did you see the soldier firing?

          4       A.   No.  These -- as we indicated in this report,

          5  Ahmici was clearly under the control of the HVO.  There

          6  was little doubt about that, and it was only when we

          7  approached the elderly Croatian lady, who I believe was

          8  with two younger children, that the sniper fire began.

          9            Now, we ran back to the personnel carrier

         10  which was some distance away, and fortunately got there

         11  alive.  We then had to base our information on what the

         12  members of the British battalion told us.  The snipers

         13  were not located -- the fire was coming somewhere from

         14  the village, which was very difficult to discern.

         15       Q.   From which part of the village, could you

         16  tell us?  From the north, the east, which exact part?

         17       A.   It's very difficult to remember with

         18  exactitude.  I could say that if my bearings are

         19  correct, it would have been roughly from the western

         20  part of the village, but it's very difficult to tell.

         21  One of the --

         22       Q.   You had been warned that approximately a

         23  distance of 500 metres from the village there were

         24  frontlines.  You have probably -- you had probably been

         25  told that when you were leaving for Ahmici?

Page 1334

          1       A.   No, we were not told that there were

          2  frontlines approximately 500 metres.  I would have been

          3  surprised, considering the geography, topography of the

          4  region if the sniper would have been that far away.

          5            I think that the firing, according to the

          6  soldiers which were with us, would have come from the

          7  village itself.  There was reason to believe that the

          8  local inhabitants were not interested.  I shouldn't say

          9  the local inhabitants.  Those remaining in the village

         10  were not interested in our presence.

         11            On a second occasion when, we went back to

         12  the region together with three European Community

         13  Ambassadors, once again a certain individual in the

         14  village came and made some threats to Colonel Stewart,

         15  and Colonel Stewart immediately asked to us leave the

         16  village.

         17            It was clear that the constant visits to the

         18  village were perceived as a threat by those Croats who

         19  were remaining in the village, many of whom were

         20  probably involved in the killings.  That was what we

         21  surmised.

         22       Q.   During the time you spent in the Lasva

         23  Valley, did you go to Stari Vitez, Old Vitez?

         24       A.   Yes, we did.

         25       Q.   What did you see there?  Were there any

Page 1335

          1  fortifications, barricades, trenches in the part held

          2  by the Muslims?

          3       A.   Yes.  Stari Vitez was fortified and defended.

          4       Q.   Did you see and could you specify how many

          5  members of the BiH army were under arms?

          6       A.   Excuse me.  The VH army?

          7       Q.   No, the Bosnian Croatian army, BiH?

          8       A.   I can't recall exact numbers, but there were

          9  clearly members of the Bosnian army there in uniform

         10  with various weapons.  I would say that the weapons

         11  were generally somewhat primitive compared to those we

         12  saw elsewhere and I would also say that the

         13  fortifications in Stari Vitez were somewhat, if you

         14  like, of an island in the middle of an HVO sea in the

         15  sense that Stari Vitez was disconnected from other

         16  Bosnian Muslim-controlled territories.  It was an

         17  enclave within Vitez, and I think that for the

         18  inhabitants of Stari Vitez, it was extremely difficult

         19  even to try to get food and to continue their life,

         20  because whenever they had to leave that area in order

         21  to obtain food they faced sniper fire.

         22       Q.   Was there any sniper activity from the Old

         23  Vitez towards the part of Vitez inhabited by Croats?

         24       A.   Yes, actually, we did notice that some -- one

         25  particular individual was carrying a sniper gun, but

Page 1336

          1  whether that sniper gun was used against HVO soldiers

          2  or against civilians is something which we could not

          3  ascertain.

          4       Q.   During the preparation of your report, did

          5  you also talk to the members of the BiH army?

          6       A.   Yes, we did.

          7       Q.   Can you say whether you talked about their

          8  presence in the Lasva River Valley, how were they

          9  organised, how many brigades there were, what was the

         10  military organisation there, where were their commands?

         11       A.   This, once again, is very difficult to

         12  remember five years later, but what I recall is that

         13  the Bosnian Muslim military presence was largely on the

         14  front facing the Bosnian Serb army, that the Bosnian

         15  Serb army posed such a threat, and the Bosnian Muslim

         16  forces were so weak that they were not nearly as

         17  concerned about a potential Bosnian Croat offensive, or

         18  the scale of such an offensive.  Of course, I believe

         19  that after the events of April 16th, that situation

         20  changed and significant Bosnian Muslim resources were

         21  poured into a counteroffensive against the Bosnian

         22  Croats.  At that point in time, the Bosnian military

         23  presence was minimal, and it was largely outside of the

         24  Vitez area, from Zenica onwards.

         25            We toured the region, and we may have seen

Page 1337

          1  possibly one old tank belonging to the Bosnian army.

          2  That was maybe the extent of heavy weaponry which we

          3  had seen, possibly some artillery pieces, all of them

          4  at some distance away from Vitez, but we failed to see

          5  any significant or menacing Bosnian army presence in

          6  that region.

          7       Q.   This is a bit inconsistent.  That means the

          8  weak forces, which you just talked about of the BiH

          9  army, and paragraph 9 in your report concerning the

         10  town of Vitez where you say that very little territory

         11  changed hands, even though the town of Vitez now is

         12  divided between the two forces and that most of the

         13  villages managed to defend themselves, and now you're

         14  saying that the resistance was minimal.  In other

         15  words, that with the exception of Ahmici, all other

         16  villages managed to defend themselves, and even Vitez

         17  itself, that one part of Vitez, remained under the

         18  Bosnian control throughout the war.  Can you explain

         19  this?

         20       A.   I'm sorry, how is this inconsistent?  I'm

         21  trying to understand.

         22       Q.   You just said that you ascertained that there

         23  were only minimal BiH army forces present in the Lasva

         24  River Valley, that most of them were defending the

         25  frontlines against the Bosnian Serbs.  However, in the

Page 1338

          1  report, you say that the villages managed to defend

          2  themselves, including Old Vitez; and with the exception

          3  of Ahmici, no other village changed hands.  This is

          4  what -- I quote you here.  This is in paragraph 9.

          5            So don't you feel that there is some

          6  inconsistency between what you just stated here and

          7  what was written in the report?

          8       A.   Well, it's very difficult to speak about

          9  territory changing hands when the population is mixed

         10  in the region.  What we understood is that the HVO

         11  already controlled the Lasva Valley region, so in that

         12  sense, very little territory changed hands.  The

         13  front-line, if you like, or the area of HVO control, did

         14  not change, but the Bosnian Muslim civilian population

         15  was eliminated.  That we would not consider a change of

         16  territory in the sort of language which we would use in

         17  these reports.

         18            Now, we did not say, first of all, that the

         19  villages were successfully defended, we say that they

         20  were defended, that there was some resistance --

         21       Q.   I say that it was not.

         22       A.   That, I'm sorry, that --

         23       Q.   There was no change.

         24       A.   I'm sorry, I don't understand.

         25       Q.   I'm only interested in the discrepancy

Page 1339

          1  between these two statements.  You said that there was

          2  no change - you probably had demographic changes in

          3  mind - and that this front-line was established.

          4       A.   Yes.  "Very little territory seems to have

          5  changed" does not mean that the demography has not

          6  changed.  Had we written this report after the Bosnian

          7  Muslim counteroffensive which came in the weeks which

          8  followed, then our report would have said that the

          9  frontlines have changed, that indeed the Bosnian Muslim

         10  forces have now taken over areas which were previously

         11  under HVO control.

         12            But, once again, we have indicated here that

         13  there was resistance.  This does not mean that the

         14  resistance was between forces of equal power.  On the

         15  contrary, our impression was that the Bosnian Muslims

         16  in that region were largely on the defensive.

         17            In terms of the dynamics of those attacks,

         18  our impression was that when one is engaging in a

         19  military offensive, the resources generally have to be

         20  larger than those of the other side which is engaging

         21  in a defensive posture.  Some of the military people

         22  would tell us that the ratio between offence and

         23  defensive, in terms of resources, is usually 3 to 1;

         24  and certainly, when people are in a village, fighting

         25  for their lives and they understand that defeat means

Page 1340

          1  their execution or other unpleasant outcome, they are

          2  likely to resist to the very end.  So indeed, in many

          3  cases, the resistance was very fierce.

          4            But this does not change the general pattern

          5  of what was transpiring in that region, which we

          6  believe was a campaign to try and eliminate the Bosnian

          7  Muslim population, to change the demography in order to

          8  consolidate HVO control over what was then to be Canton

          9  10 in the Vance-Owen Plan.

         10       Q.   Just several additional questions.  In your

         11  report, you said that you noticed in that region and in

         12  Bosnia overall that most people of fighting age did

         13  wear uniforms on both the Bosnian and Croatian side; is

         14  that correct?

         15       A.   Correct.

         16       Q.   In other words, this was some kind of a

         17  fashion almost in addition to being a widespread

         18  phenomenon; is this what you feel given the mass

         19  proportions of it?

         20       A.   I'm not sure if calling it a fashion would be

         21  most accurate.  I think that, at that time, all men of

         22  fighting men were mobilised, and it was understood that

         23  because of the severity of the conflict, that all

         24  able-bodied men were to participate in the war effort.

         25  This also included people who may not have been, let's

Page 1341

          1  say, very young.  I also saw many people in their 40s

          2  and 50s were also donning uniforms, and I'm not sure

          3  what implications can be drawn from that in terms of

          4  whether these people were members of organised units or

          5  not.  Although men wore uniforms and were carrying

          6  weapons, it seemed as if there was still a certain

          7  degree of order and stability.  It was very clear who

          8  was really in control, but that's another discussion.

          9       Q.   My last question:  In your report, this is in

         10  D8, you conclude that the main communications line

         11  through Central Bosnia passes through the Lasva River

         12  Valley and that this region is of great strategic

         13  importance for both the BiH army and the Croatian army

         14  and that everybody was trying to establish control in

         15  this area; is that correct?

         16       A.   Correct.  As I have described, we tried to

         17  provide the background to what may have been the source

         18  of the conflict, but then to make a sharp distinction

         19  between attempts to vie for control and atrocities

         20  committed against civilians.

         21            Our impression at that point was that the

         22  Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna was increasingly

         23  trying to assert its independence from the Bosnian

         24  government -- for whatever reason, it's not

         25  important -- and that there had been isolated acts of

Page 1342

          1  violence.  For example, I believe in Travnik, there had

          2  been a flag-raising ceremony shortly after the arrival

          3  of then Defence Minister Susak, and the raising of the

          4  Croatian flag had resulted in some violence, some

          5  shooting incident between HVO forces and Bosnian

          6  government forces.  There were clearly a lot of

          7  tensions, and the Bosnian government had no intention

          8  of surrendering control over that area, which did not

          9  mean that they were engaged at that point in a

         10  large-scale military offensive, in large part because

         11  they may not have had the resources.  But this is

         12  simply to explain that there were tensions in the

         13  region.  The killings did not come out of nowhere.  But

         14  it was clear, in this respect, that one side, in this

         15  case the HVO, had decided to vie for control of the

         16  area using the sort of methods which we saw in the

         17  village of Ahmici.

         18       Q.   Can you tell me, when you state there -- you

         19  established that this communications line was passing

         20  through the village of Ahmici; correct?

         21       A.   Correct.  The road, we were told, was of

         22  strategic importance, and that was apparent.

         23            MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:  Thank you very much.

         24            JUDGE CASSESE:  Thank you,

         25  Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac.  Thank you.

Page 1343

          1            Mr. Radovic?

          2            MR. RADOVIC:  Thank you.

          3                 Cross-examined by Mr. Radovic:

          4       Q.   If I understood you correctly, you were in

          5  Ahmici on the 1st or 2nd of January of 1993?

          6       A.   In May.  I was in Ahmici on three occasions.

          7  I believe the --

          8       Q.   Just the first time.  I'm interested in the

          9  first time when you went there.

         10       A.   That was the 1st of May.

         11       Q.   I'm interested whether your colleague, (redacted)

         12  (redacted), did talk to Sakib Ahmic immediately following

         13  your first visit to Ahmici when you went back to

         14  Zenica.

         15       A.   No.  I believe that the date of the visit

         16  must have been on the 5th of May.

         17       Q.   Did your colleague tell you whether he was

         18  inquiring, and was this reflected in his notes, before

         19  he spoke to Sakib Ahmic, he had already talked to the

         20  local police?

         21       A.   Excuse me, that he had spoken to which local

         22  police?

         23       Q.   The Bosniak --

         24       A.   In Zenica?

         25       Q.   Yes.

Page 1344

          1       A.   I do know that on the previous day, I believe

          2  on May the 4th, that we had spoken, not to the police,

          3  but to the representatives of the War Crimes

          4  Documentation Centre in Zenica, which I believe was

          5  associated with the government.  I'm not sure how close

          6  a relationship it had.  Whether on the following day,

          7  my colleague Thomas spoke to the police or not is

          8  something which I do not know.

          9       Q.   But do you know whether Sakib Ahmic, before

         10  his conversation with Thomas, talked to the police, not

         11  with the Documentation Centre but with the former

         12  secret police, that is the State Security Services

         13  which was taken over from the former Yugoslavia by the

         14  Bosnian government and then later renamed?

         15       A.   This I don't know.

         16       Q.   Very well.  When you were compiling your

         17  report based on the notes of (redacted), do you

         18  know where those notes are right now?  Are they still

         19  around?  Have they been destroyed?  Do you know what

         20  happened to them?

         21       A.   I do not know where those notes are.

         22       Q.   Where is (redacted) now?  We are asking

         23  you what (redacted) said.  (redacted) was

         24  directly involved, but we are not talking to him even

         25  though he was the one who interviewed Mr. Ahmic.  Where

Page 1345

          1  is (redacted) now?  What does he do now, if you

          2  know?

          3       A.   I believe he works with the Office of the

          4  Prosecutor.

          5       Q.   He does, just as you do right now?  Very

          6  well.

          7            You are a Canadian citizen, as far as I can

          8  see.  Did you serve in the military there?

          9       A.   No, I have not.

         10       Q.   How do you know certain military details, for

         11  instance, such as that one side had certain primitive

         12  weapons whereas the other side had less primitive

         13  weapons?

         14       A.   Well, it is the sort of knowledge which one

         15  acquires in such situations.  We dealt a lot with

         16  military people throughout our stay in the former

         17  Yugoslavia, largely members of the United Nations

         18  protection force but also often the various

         19  belligerents, whether they were Bosnian Croats, Bosnian

         20  Serbs, or Bosnian Muslims.  Very often we would have

         21  military manuals which would help us better understand

         22  the means which were devised for warfare since this

         23  knowledge was essential to our understanding; what

         24  constituted legitimate killing or destruction in the

         25  conduct of hostilities, and what constituted unlawful

Page 1346

          1  killing or targeting of civilians.

          2       Q.   I asked one question and I got an answer to

          3  another one.  What would constitute a primitive weapon

          4  to you, which you said was in possession of the

          5  Bosniaks and, let's say, unprimitive weapons which, as

          6  you said, were in possession of the Croats?  What is a

          7  primitive weapon, what is an unprimitive weapon,

          8  according to you?

          9       A.   Well, let's say a hunting rifle as opposed to

         10  an AK-47 assault rifle.

         11       Q.   Very well.  In addition to the hunting

         12  rifles, did Bosniaks also have automatic rifles, such

         13  as Kalashnikovs?  Did you see those?  Do you know what

         14  a Kalashnikov automatic rifle is?  It was, I think, the

         15  most widespread in this area.  Did the Bosniaks also

         16  have such Kalashnikov rifles?

         17       A.   Yes, they did.

         18       Q.   In the area of Vitez, did you see any tanks

         19  on the Croatian side?

         20       A.   No, we did not.

         21            MR. RADOVIC:  I could go on for a while.  I

         22  think that I have clearly stated my purpose through

         23  this question.

         24       Q.   You said that when you were in Ahmici, that

         25  in some houses, you saw the local inhabitants; did I

Page 1347

          1  understand you correctly?

          2       A.   Correct.

          3       Q.   How do you know that the persons who were

          4  there were local inhabitants?

          5       A.   We were told that there had actually been a

          6  number of displaced persons who had come from other

          7  regions to Ahmici, so it is possible that they were not

          8  local in the strict sense of the word.  What we were

          9  told is that those who remained in the villages and

         10  those homes which were not destroyed were those of the

         11  Croat inhabitants of the village, and I did not have an

         12  independent means of verifying this.  This was the

         13  information which we received from the British

         14  battalion which I presume had intense familiarity with

         15  that region having spent six months patrolling the

         16  area.

         17       Q.   Very well.  So this is information passed on

         18  to you by the British battalion and not through contact

         19  with the local population.  This is how you determined

         20  that these were the local inhabitants; is that correct?

         21       A.   That's correct.  As I explained, the local

         22  population wasn't exactly eager to speak with us,

         23  although we made efforts.

         24       Q.   You related your personal experience when you

         25  were in Ahmici and you talked to an elderly Croatian

Page 1348

          1  woman with a couple of children or something.  You said

          2  that you had been shot at.  In addition to you being

          3  threatened by these shots, was the woman and those two

          4  children who were with her, were they also threatened?

          5       A.   Actually, no.  It was very clear that the

          6  snipers were not interested in hitting the woman and

          7  the children.  The only factor which saved us was the

          8  fact that the woman was interposed between us and the

          9  sniper.  The first couple of bullets were coming from

         10  above our heads, which were clearly an attempt to get

         11  us into the open.  Once we were into the open, then the

         12  sniper fire became much more direct, and it was very

         13  clear that once we were in the open, that they were

         14  trying to kill us.

         15       Q.   Was the elderly lady also scared by the

         16  bullets which were flying and did she also seek shelter

         17  at the time when you talked to her?

         18       A.   I'm certain she was scared of the bullets and

         19  she immediately walked away at that point, but there

         20  was no attempt to hit her.  It was very clear.

         21       Q.   But wait a minute.  How do you know, when a

         22  bullet comes whizzing past you, how can you say that it

         23  cannot hit her?  You seem to be very certain of it.

         24       A.   Common sense.  The possibility for the sniper

         25  to have hit the woman was very easy as she was standing

Page 1349

          1  in front of us.  The possibility of the sniper to hit

          2  us would have been extremely difficult.  It was clear

          3  that the direction of the bullet was coming from behind

          4  her.  Once we were in the open, the bullets were no

          5  longer coming from some distance above our head but

          6  were directly targeted to us.  So based on those

          7  observations, I would arrive at the conclusion that

          8  they were not interested in killing the lady.

          9       Q.   How do you conclude that these bullets were

         10  aimed above you and not right at you?  I would like to

         11  know what objective criteria you are using in reaching

         12  this conclusion so that this sniper did not aim at

         13  you.  In other words, do you allow for the possibility

         14  that a sniper can also miss you when targeting you?

         15       A.   It's possible that they could have missed.

         16  The objective criteria I'm using are sight and sound.

         17  The lady, the elderly lady, with the two children was

         18  standing in front of us.  The sniper fire came from

         19  behind her.  She, in effect, was blocking, I believe --

         20  would have been blocking the sniper's view.  It is

         21  possible to hear and even to see, in a very vague way

         22  perhaps, where the fire is coming from, and at that

         23  point in time, it was some distance above our head.

         24  Once we were out into the open and fleeing, then the

         25  bullets became increasingly close, and our impression

Page 1350

          1  was that the sniper would have had a very easy shot had

          2  he wanted to kill the elderly lady since she was

          3  standing still.  Once we began running, it would have

          4  been somewhat more difficult to target us, obviously.

          5       Q.   If this Croatian woman stood in front of you,

          6  and the way you describe it, she was sort of a shield

          7  for you, why would the Croats shoot at an area where

          8  they could also have shot at a Croatian woman?

          9       A.   Our impression was that they did not want us

         10  in the village and clearly they did not want us

         11  speaking to anyone.  When we approached the lady, we

         12  asked her whether she could tell us anything about what

         13  had happened on April the 16th and who may have been

         14  responsible.  She was clearly very fearful of speaking

         15  with us and said that she did not know anything, she

         16  had not seen anything, and it was very soon after we

         17  began speaking with her that the sniper fire came.

         18            It would have -- on a balance of

         19  probabilities, one would say that that would have been

         20  an attempt to prevent us from obtaining further

         21  information from the local inhabitants for fear that

         22  someone may actually talk.

         23       Q.   In closing, let me ask you:  I believe that

         24  somewhere you stated or wrote that you received

         25  information on persons who were -- some 18 names who

Page 1351

          1  were involved in the attack, and I think that you

          2  mentioned that 18 persons were identified as belonging

          3  to those who took part in the attack.

          4       A.   Correct.  This was given to my colleague,

          5  (redacted).

          6       Q.   By which side?  Who gave it to him?

          7       A.   The survivors in Zenica.

          8       Q.   Do you know approximately what date this was?

          9       A.   At least a month.

         10       Q.   I could use as accurate information as you

         11  can provide.

         12       A.   I believe it was on the 5th of May, the day

         13  when I stayed behind in Vitez and my colleague went to

         14  Zenica.

         15       Q.   Do you know these names which were given to

         16  you, and were there, among them, the names that were

         17  provided by Sakib Ahmic?

         18       A.   I'm not aware what names appeared on that

         19  list, nor was it really of great interest for us to

         20  have the names of particular perpetrators.

         21            We were not involved in a criminal

         22  investigation.  We were involved in preparing a human

         23  rights report which looks at overall accountability of

         24  parties to the conflict for humanitarian law

         25  violations.  The fact that the survivors were willing

Page 1352

          1  to give us great detail, including names of specific

          2  perpetrators, helped us confirm the veracity of their

          3  story and the fact that indeed members of the HVO armed

          4  forces were involved in the attack on Ahmici.

          5            Those 18 names were of no particular interest

          6  to us at that point in time.  They were given to the

          7  commission of experts which was established by the

          8  Security Council which, at that point, was tasked with

          9  gathering specific information about humanitarian law

         10  violations with a view to possible prosecutions in the

         11  case that a Tribunal, such as this one, would be

         12  established.

         13            I do not know whether the name of any of the

         14  particular accused present before us today was included

         15  in that list; however, I would not be surprised if it

         16  were.

         17       Q.   Would you be surprised had that not been the

         18  case?

         19       A.   No, you see, because we did not

         20  systematically interview each and every person.  There

         21  were about 50 to 60 survivors out of a much larger

         22  population in Ahmici, so the names which we got would

         23  have been very random.  It would have depended on whom

         24  we happened to interview on that particular day.

         25       Q.   Well, in paragraph 17 of your report you

Page 1353

          1  described a conversation which your colleague (redacted)

          2  (redacted) had with Sakib Ahmic.  Was this draft based on

          3  (redacted) notes of this interview and was this put into

          4  your report accurately?

          5       A.   Yes, certainly it was put into our report

          6  accurately.  It was based on the notes of (redacted)

          7  and it was based on the on-site visit to Ahmici the

          8  following day on May 6th, where we--

          9            MR. RADOVIC:  Very well.  I'm just interested

         10  in the conversation and whether it was reflected

         11  accurately in the report in paragraph 17.  So I'm just

         12  interested in --

         13            JUDGE CASSESE:  This is a question that has

         14  already been put by Mrs. Glumac.  So --

         15            MR. RADOVIC:  Well, I'm finished thank you.

         16            JUDGE CASSESE:  We decided we would not

         17  repeat the same question.  Thank you.

         18            MR. RADOVIC:  Yes, and I pay attention to

         19  that, and I thank you for this.  I will -- I am

         20  finished.  I just wanted to reconfirm this particular

         21  point regarding Sakib Ahmic, given his statement.

         22            JUDGE CASSESE:  Thank you.

         23            Mr. Susak, have you got many questions?

         24            MR. SUSAK:  Mr. President, I'm going to be

         25  very short this time because my colleagues have asked a

Page 1354

          1  number of questions.  I have just two.

          2                 Cross-examined by Mr. Susak:

          3       Q.   My name is Luko Susak, I'm a lawyer, attorney

          4  for Mr. Josipovic.

          5            In your report you stated that besides

          6  identified corpses, there remained another up to 100,

          7  which may have been under the rubble.  You also

          8  mentioned it was hazardous to retrieve them because of

          9  the instability of the remaining walls.

         10       A.   Correct.

         11       Q.   However, today you said that the bodies were

         12  not retrieved because the area was mined, the land

         13  around the buildings were booby-trapped.  Would you

         14  explain the difference between that and what you said

         15  in the report?

         16       A.   It may have been mined.  I did not say that

         17  it was, but there was a high probability that there

         18  were mines or other explosives which would have posed a

         19  great risk.  I also mentioned that in addition to that

         20  risk there was the problem of resources.  It would have

         21  required a tremendous amount of resources to lift out

         22  of that rubble -- all of that rubble in order to search

         23  for dead bodies underneath, and since the British

         24  battalion was already stretched very thin as an

         25  interposition force between the two sides in a

Page 1355

          1  relatively wide area, they did not have the resources.

          2  I think the danger of collapsing roofs or walls was

          3  part of the difficulties associated -- part of the

          4  resource constraint which prevented such activities

          5  from taking place.

          6       Q.   Right.  I just wanted to make a point that

          7  there is a difference between your report and your

          8  statement today.

          9            Another thing, you said that you wrote the

         10  report, you drafted the report, whereas the conclusions

         11  were written by Polish Prime Minister Mazowiecki, is

         12  that correct?

         13       A.   Yes.  Not only the conclusions but also the

         14  introduction and certain other parts of the report,

         15  especially those relating to the city of Mostar.

         16       Q.   What I'm interested in is the area in Vitez.

         17  Were there any supplements or amendments made to your

         18  report before -- by a third party before the draft ever

         19  reached Mazowiecki?

         20       A.   For the portions relating to Ahmici and

         21  Vitez, no.

         22       Q.   In your statement, you said that some

         23  additions and corrections have been made -- had been

         24  made to the report.

         25       A.   The additions and corrections I mentioned

Page 1356

          1  were not maybe additions or corrections, but they were

          2  editing.  There's an editing process where the office

          3  in Geneva would take reports or drafts which we have

          4  submitted to them and make the necessary changes in

          5  language, and structure and organisation of paragraphs

          6  in order to make it into a suitable format -- a format

          7  suitable for presentation to the Commission on Human

          8  Rights.  But substantive editing of the facts I don't

          9  think was involved in that process.

         10       Q.   You said that after adding certain facts and

         11  corrections the report was then forwarded on?

         12       A.   Yes.  The facts were not related to

         13  Ahmici/Vitez.  As I explained, the parts of the report,

         14  for example, dealing with Mostar, were not prepared

         15  based on information which we had given the Geneva

         16  office, or information relating to the situation of

         17  human rights in other parts of the -- other parts of

         18  Bosnia-Herzegovina.

         19            So those parts were included by the office in

         20  Geneva, but the information on Vitez and Ahmici came

         21  almost exclusively from the field staff.  Geneva would

         22  not have had access to sources additional to those

         23  which we provided for the report.

         24       Q.   You said today there were other reports

         25  submitted from the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

Page 1357

          1  You mentioned there were ten of them.

          2       A.   Approximately.  I'm not sure at that point,

          3  but I think that would be a safe guess.

          4       Q.   Have there been any additions or amendments

          5  to those reports, as was the case with your report?

          6       A.   I recall only one amendment being made to any

          7  of the reports that had to deal with the destruction of

          8  a mosque in Prijepolje, in Serbia Montenegro,

          9  where erroneous information had been received, and

         10  there was a core agendum in a subsequent report which

         11  indicated that that mosque in a particular town had

         12  actually not been destroyed but had been damaged.  But

         13  on the whole, I don't recall any other such core agenda

         14  or amendments, and this is from roughly 20 reports over

         15  several years.

         16       Q.   And one more question.  You said that you had

         17  arrived to the area of Vitez in order to establish to

         18  what extent human rights are observed; is that

         19  correct?

         20       A.   Correct.

         21       Q.   Would you please tell us what was your

         22  particular task?  Which particular kind of human rights

         23  violations were you sent to establish?

         24       A.   In the context of such violence, clearly the

         25  sort of violations which one would look at would not

Page 1358

          1  be, let's say, freedom of expression or freedom of

          2  assembly, but the right to life, cases of torture,

          3  cases of rape and sexual assault.  In general,

          4  violations involving grievous bodily harm or death, in

          5  addition to, let's say, wanton destruction of property,

          6  which is an indication of discriminatory policy or act

          7  of persecution.

          8       Q.   Did you arrive with a plan previously made to

          9  deal only with human rights violations against Muslims,

         10  not Croats?

         11       A.   No, we clearly did not.  We only came with

         12  the LAN to look at violations in the Lasva Valley

         13  region, because that is where there had been a

         14  considerable amount of violence.  At no time in this or

         15  any other investigation would we have such ethnic or

         16  religious preference in making our reports.

         17       Q.   All right.  Are you aware that Serbs from the

         18  village of Tolovici had fled the area, and do you know

         19  who is now living there?

         20       A.   I have no idea where this village is and what

         21  transpired there.

         22       Q.   Because there have been human rights

         23  violations against Serbs by the Muslims, by Bosniaks.

         24            Another thing; are you aware of the fact that

         25  Mazowiecki's reports sometimes differed from UNPROFOR's

Page 1359

          1  reports?

          2       A.   Do you give me some examples?

          3       Q.   I'm saying that because I found that out from

          4  the press, and I'm asking you if you are aware of this,

          5  because you had been employed at the centre -- at this

          6  centre at the time, because reports sometimes did

          7  not -- were not identical, Mazowiecki's reports and

          8  UNPROFOR's reports.  You can answer with a"Yes" or"No".

          9       A.   Well, what I can say is that the mandate of

         10  UNPROFOR was not to monitor human rights.  Their

         11  mandate was to engage in peacekeeping, and where there

         12  was no peace to keep, to facilitate humanitarian

         13  relief.  Now, it is conceivable that UNPROFOR may have

         14  had reports which differed in certain respects, because

         15  they came across information accidentally or incidental

         16  to the discharge of their primary mandate, which was

         17  not human rights monitoring.

         18            On the whole, we relied heavily on what

         19  UNPROFOR soldiers had witnessed, since they were one of

         20  the reliable sources and one of the sources which had

         21  intimate familiarity with the situation on the ground.

         22  But I am very interested to know if in addition to what

         23  the press has to say, and the press says many things

         24  without substantiating it, I would be interested to

         25  know if there was ever any serious contradiction on any

Page 1360

          1  serious matter between the reports of Tadeusz

          2  Mazowiecki and UNPROFOR.

          3            To the extent that there may have been a

          4  contradiction, I don't think "contradiction" is the

          5  right word.  It could be that UNPROFOR was less

          6  interested in exposing atrocities than Prime Minister

          7  Mazowiecki was, and this is because of complicated

          8  factors which we need not get into here, but that is

          9  not a contradiction, in my eyes.

         10            JUDGE CASSESE:  I'm sorry, are you through

         11  with your questions?  Because, actually, you said you

         12  would put two questions, but eventually --

         13            MR. SUSAK:  I was just concluding.  Thank

         14  you, Mr. President.

         15            JUDGE CASSESE:  Thank you.  I think we -- I

         16  don't know whether the Prosecutor is going to

         17  re-examine the witness.  Let's us break now for 30

         18  minutes.

         19                 --- Recess taken at 11.17 a.m.

         20                 --- On resuming at 11.50 a.m.

         21            JUDGE CASSESE:  Mr. Terrier?

         22            MR. TERRIER:  Mr. President, I only have a

         23  few questions following along the cross-examination.

         24                 Re-examined by Mr. Terrier:

         25       Q.   Mr. Akhavan, Mr. Radovic stated that you were

Page 1361

          1  of Canadian nationality.  Did you note this information

          2  somewhere?  Is this information found in the written

          3  report, the report from the Human Rights Commission, or

          4  did you give such information in the course of your

          5  various interviews or testimony?

          6       A.   No, I did not.

          7       Q.   Would the fact that you are of Canadian

          8  nationality be an obstacle to your activities?

          9       A.   I would hardly think so.

         10       Q.   Mr. Akhavan, I would like for you to stand up

         11  and to approach the aerial photograph of Ahmici.  Would

         12  you please show this Tribunal where you were located

         13  when shots were fired in your direction?

         14       A.   To the best of my recollection, we had -- the

         15  Scimitar armoured personnel carriers had been parked in

         16  the vicinity of the mosque with the destroyed minaret,

         17  so that would have been somewhere in this area

         18  (indicating).  We had walked up this road and observed

         19  the elderly lady and her two children walking along a

         20  footpath, I believe, in this area.  We should have

         21  approached her across this small field here.  The

         22  sniper fire would have probably come from this

         23  direction here (indicating).  There was a slightly

         24  wooded area here.  The British battalion members

         25  believe that that would have been the most likely

Page 1362

          1  location for the sniper fire.

          2            We ran back in this direction across this

          3  road, and the sniper fire continued in this direction

          4  (indicating).  It's based on some of the bullets that

          5  hit the wall that I can safely predict that the

          6  direction of the sniper fire would have been from this

          7  area.

          8       Q.   Was anyone hit or wounded by this gunfire?

          9       A.   Yes.  One of the members of the British

         10  battalion who was accompanying us was hit by a bullet.

         11  He was exceptionally fortunate because the bullet went

         12  in one side of his flak jacket and out the other side,

         13  from behind the arm, and he had a rather serious flesh

         14  wound which did not penetrate his body, however, and

         15  this, I believe, was captured on television camera even

         16  after he took off his flak jacket.  He was extremely

         17  fortunate not to have been more seriously injured, but

         18  it became very clear to us that we were being very

         19  deliberately targeted, and it could not conceivably

         20  have been accidental that he was hit, and he was

         21  targeted after we had safely arrived in the armoured

         22  personnel carrier at which time presumably the snipers

         23  could no longer direct their fire against us.

         24       Q.   Thank you, Mr. Akhavan.  I have a few more

         25  questions.  When you met with the authorities, the

Page 1363

          1  military and political authorities for the Croat

          2  community there in Vitez, did either of them admit that

          3  HVO forces had entered into Ahmici village and took

          4  part in fighting there?

          5       A.   None of the authorities which we spoke with

          6  admitted that the HVO were responsible for the

          7  atrocities in the village.  I specifically asked both

          8  Dario Kordic and Tihofil Blaskic, firstly, whether the

          9  area in the Lasva Valley region was firmly under the

         10  control of HVO forces, to which they responded in the

         11  affirmative.  I then asked them whether the HVO forces

         12  had been responsible for the attacks in Ahmici, to

         13  which they responded in the negative.  Then I asked

         14  them to provide me with an explanation as to who would

         15  have been responsible if it was not the HVO, to which

         16  they responded by saying that they did not know,

         17  although Dario Kordic tried to suggest that it may have

         18  been either the Bosnian Serbs who would have come

         19  across tens of kilometres to commit this atrocity and

         20  to leave undetected or that the Muslims themselves may

         21  have committed the atrocity in order to provoke

         22  international sympathy.  But at no time was there any

         23  willingness to accept that the HVO was in any way

         24  involved.

         25       Q.   Did any of them advise you that any type of

Page 1364

          1  strategic military activities were going to take place

          2  in Ahmici; in particular, in that area, in Busovaca and

          3  Vitez?  Did they state that Ahmici was of strategic

          4  importance?

          5       A.   I believe that the road neighbouring Ahmici

          6  was of strategic importance.  That was an obvious fact

          7  readily recognised.  I specifically asked Colonel

          8  Blaskic whether there was a significant military

          9  presence or threat in Ahmici which would have justified

         10  such an attack, to which he responded in the negative.

         11  He did not suggest that there was somehow a major

         12  Bosnian Muslim military presence in the village.

         13       Q.   A moment ago, Counsellor Glumac talked about

         14  five Croat deaths and nine wounded in Ahmici.  Had this

         15  information already come to you before then?

         16       A.   I had never heard this information before.

         17       Q.   When you went to Zenica, do you remember

         18  having met with Sakib Ahmic?

         19       A.   No, I did not meet personally with Sakib

         20  Ahmic.

         21       Q.   Did you meet with other refugees from Ahmici?

         22       A.   Yes, I did.

         23       Q.   Would you please tell this Tribunal in what

         24  psychological state and perhaps even physical condition

         25  these persons were found?  I'm referring to the

Page 1365

          1  refugees from Ahmici.

          2       A.   Well, many of them were clearly in shock

          3  based on the events which they had witnessed.  Almost

          4  all of them had seen people who they knew, in many

          5  cases members of their family had been killed in cold

          6  blood before their eyes, they had seen their homes

          7  burnt, destroyed.  So on the whole, they tended to be

          8  very silent and they tended to speak about the events

          9  in a rather detached way, which I took to be an attempt

         10  to distance themselves from events which had so

         11  overwhelmed them.  This applied equally to some of the

         12  elderly people with whom we spoke and equally to

         13  smaller children.  We spoke to a girl who may have been

         14  anywhere from nine to 12 years of age.  So on the

         15  whole, the people, I think, were in a state of shock.

         16  That's how I would describe them.

         17            In terms of their physical appearance, those

         18  who were injured, such as Sakib Ahmic, were not at the

         19  refugee centre, they were in a hospital or elsewhere

         20  for treatment, but the people who we saw, of course,

         21  were largely wearing the same clothes which they were

         22  wearing at the time when they fled, and they had very

         23  few, if any, possessions with them.

         24       Q.   Do you have any information about this Centre

         25  for the Investigation of Genocide located in Zenica?

Page 1366

          1       A.   I have relatively little information.  Some

          2  of my other colleagues were dealing with this centre

          3  more frequently than I did.

          4            What I do recall is that the centre was

          5  somehow related to the Bosnian government.  I'm not

          6  sure whether it was specifically an agency of the

          7  Bosnian government or if it was a non-governmental

          8  operation funded by the Bosnian government.  We usually

          9  referred to them in order to find the location of

         10  potential witnesses, but we were generally cautious in

         11  our relation with them.

         12       Q.   Do you know whether or not this Centre for

         13  the Investigation of Genocide employed persons who were

         14  skilled in the area of investigations; for example,

         15  police officers?

         16       A.   I'm not in a position to give an opinion.

         17  What I do know is that at that point in time, given the

         18  scarcity of resources and given the overwhelming

         19  military threat which the Bosnian Muslims faced, that

         20  most able-bodied men of fighting age would have been

         21  enlisted in the armed forces.  I do recall that the

         22  director or head or representative of the centre that

         23  we met in Zenica on that occasion was a man possibly in

         24  his 40s, but I'm not aware of some of the other staff

         25  members and what their qualifications were.

Page 1367

          1       Q.   With regards to your own methodologies, the

          2  methodologies you used and that of your colleague, and

          3  also with regard to your own objectives, can you

          4  imagine that one day your report, the human rights

          5  report, will be submitted to an international criminal

          6  Tribunal?

          7       A.   Definitely not.

          8            MR. TERRIER:  No further questions,

          9  Mr. President.

         10            JUDGE CASSESE:  Thank you, Mr. Terrier.  I

         11  have just one question for the witness.

         12       Q.   Mr. Akhavan, it has been alleged by the

         13  Prosecution that the HVO forces attacked in April, the

         14  16th of April, '93, both Vitez and the nearby villages

         15  of Ahmici as well as Donja Vecersha -- sorry for my bad

         16  pronunciation -- Sivrino Selo, Santici, Nadioci, Stara

         17  Bila, Gacice, Pirici, and Preocica, and these were all

         18  villages very close to Vitez.  I wonder whether you had

         19  the opportunity, while preparing the report for the

         20  Mazowiecki Commission, whether you had an opportunity

         21  to look into this HVO attack in villages other than

         22  Ahmici?

         23       A.   We, unfortunately, did not have the

         24  opportunity.  At that point in time, the entire field

         25  operation of Prime Minister Mazowiecki was (redacted)

Page 1368

          1  (redacted) and myself.  There were only two people

          2  responsible for all of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina,

          3  and we generally tended to rely on information from

          4  other sources and we reserved on-site investigations

          5  for particularly egregious atrocities.

          6            In this case, our mission to the region took

          7  approximately one week, during which we were only able

          8  to visit certain locales in the region and to meet only

          9  certain authorities.  So we did note in the report that

         10  there were attacks in other areas, this is in paragraph

         11  9 of the report, where we indicate that there were also

         12  simultaneously and apparently concerted attacks by

         13  Croat HVO forces on the surrounding villages and that

         14  most of the villages appear to have been defended and

         15  combat ensued.

         16            Ahmici was once again singled out because it

         17  was one of the villages in which there was apparently

         18  no sign of any sort of serious resistance and where the

         19  civilian casualties were apparently the highest.

         20            JUDGE CASSESE:  Thank you.  I have no other

         21  questions.  I assume there is no objection to the

         22  witness being released.

         23            Thank you, Mr. Akhavan.  You may now be

         24  released.

         25                 (The witness withdrew)

Page 1369

          1            JUDGE CASSESE:  Mr. Terrier, I assume from

          2  the document we received over the weekend that --

          3  actually, I got it this morning -- that your next

          4  witness, number 4, has dropped out.  Is that correct?

          5            MR. TERRIER:  Yes, number 4.

          6            JUDGE CASSESE:  So we move on to witness

          7  number 5.

          8            MR. TERRIER:  Witness 4, Mr. President, on

          9  the list which is dated the 28th of August, 1998, this

         10  is a protected witness, should be using a pseudonym, we

         11  should be calling him Witness F, and that witness is

         12  present and ready to testify.  Witness F.

         13            JUDGE CASSESE:  No, I asked that question

         14  because, if I understood you correctly, he is not

         15  included in the list of witnesses which is in the

         16  document filed on the 28th of August.  Nonetheless,

         17  what counts is that you can confirm that number 4,

         18  Witness number 4, is ready to testify.

         19            MR. TERRIER:  Yes, Your Honour, he's ready to

         20  testify.  He's outside.

         21            JUDGE CASSESE:  Yes.  Let us benefit from the

         22  fact that the witness is not yet here to ask a

         23  question.  For this witness in particular, it is true

         24  we only have the witness statement from the 26th of

         25  July, 1995.  I see that we have always stated the

Page 1370

          1  various dates in which an interview was made of a

          2  certain witness.  This is the date I have before me.

          3                 (The witness entered)

          4            JUDGE CASSESE:  Good morning.  May I ask you

          5  to make the solemn declaration, please?

          6            THE WITNESS:  I solemnly declare that I will

          7  speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the

          8  truth.

          9            JUDGE CASSESE:  Thank you.  You may be

         10  seated.

         11                 WITNESS:  Witness F.

         12                 Examined by Mr. Terrier:

         13            THE REGISTRAR:  Prosecution Exhibit 100.

         14            JUDGE CASSESE:  Sorry.  May I just for the

         15  record, I'm afraid the transcript is not correct.  I

         16  didn't say that we have always stated the various dates

         17  that an interview was taken of a certain witness.

         18  Actually, I said that we have received, and we are

         19  grateful to the Prosecution for that, a document filed

         20  on the 28th of August indicating, for various witnesses

         21  to be called this week, the dates of their statements,

         22  and since the present witness is not included in this

         23  list, I was simply asking the Prosecutor whether

         24  actually we have, for this particular statement, only

         25  -- for this particular, sorry, witness, only a

Page 1371

          1  statement he made on the 26th of January, '95.  Just

          2  for the record because, as I say, the ...

          3            MR. TERRIER:  Mr. President, I would simply

          4  like to clarify one matter.  With regards to the

          5  previous statements by the witness, in the motion which

          6  we have submitted to this Tribunal, in accordance with

          7  the order of 20 of May, 1998, it was mentioned that

          8  this witness has made two statements, one before the

          9  International Tribunal for the Office of the Prosecutor

         10  on the 26th of January, 1995, and also on the 13th of

         11  May, 1996, at the Centre for the Investigation of War

         12  Crimes and Genocide.

         13            JUDGE CASSESE:  Thank you.

         14            MR. TERRIER:  May I proceed, Mr. President?

         15            JUDGE CASSESE:  Yes, go ahead.

         16            MR. TERRIER:

         17       Q.   Witness, you are here as a protected

         18  witness.  Your name would not be divulged outside of

         19  this room, and your face cannot be recognised outside

         20  of this room.  I'm going to ask you a number of

         21  questions.  I'm going to ask that you respond without

         22  giving any information which may reveal the identity of

         23  yourself or your family.

         24            During these proceedings I'm going to show

         25  you a photograph of Ahmici so that you can indicate to

Page 1372

          1  us where your house is located, but at that time I will

          2  request leave of the Honours in this Tribunal to go

          3  into closed session so that that information will not

          4  be known outside of this room.

          5            Would you please state to this Tribunal how

          6  old you are and how old you were at the time of the

          7  events in 1993?

          8       A.   I was about 14 years of age.

          9       Q.   And today you are of adult size.  Could you

         10  please tell me what your size was at that time, age 14?

         11       A.   About 1.40 metres.

         12       Q.   Could you please indicate for this Tribunal

         13  what is the composition of your family, without giving

         14  any names?

         15       A.   We were five members of the family, my

         16  father, mother, sister, brother and myself.

         17       Q.   How old was your brother?

         18       A.   He was eight years old.

         19       Q.   And your sister?

         20       A.   Four years.

         21       Q.   And at that time you were in school, were you

         22  not?

         23       A.   Yes.

         24       Q.   Where did you go to school?

         25       A.   I went to the Dubravica elementary school.

Page 1373

          1       Q.   Do you have any Croat friends?

          2       A.   Yes, I did.

          3       Q.   Before April 1993, what relation did you have

          4  with these Croat friends?

          5       A.   They were regular relations.

          6       Q.   At one time or another did you note to

          7  yourself whether or not your Croat colleagues were

          8  aware of the political situation in the area?

          9       A.   They were telling us when we were being bussed

         10  to the school, they were saying that Ahmici was going

         11  to be another Vukovar.

         12       Q.   In your mind, what did that mean, that Ahmici

         13  would become a Vukovar?

         14       A.   That everything was going to be burned down

         15  and everybody killed.

         16       Q.   That's what you felt that that meant?

         17       A.   Yes.

         18       Q.   Let us now move on to the day preceding the

         19  16th of April, 1993.  During that day, on the 15th of

         20  April, 1993, which is a Thursday, did you notice any

         21  unusual or disturbing events in that area?

         22       A.   Yes, I did.

         23       Q.   What were they?

         24       A.   Every day after school, in the evening, we

         25  used to play soccer, but that Thursday our Croat

Page 1374

          1  friends did not show up to play soccer, which was

          2  surprising, I think.

          3       Q.   In your opinion, why did they not come to

          4  play football on that day?

          5       A.   They must have had some reason for it.  I

          6  don't know what.

          7       Q.   Could you please tell this Tribunal in what

          8  neighbourhood of Ahmici, without giving too many

          9  details, in which neighbourhood in Ahmici you were

         10  living?

         11       A.   In the lower part of Ahmici.

         12       Q.   The lower part of Ahmici.

         13            MR. TERRIER:  Mr. President, perhaps at this

         14  time it would be appropriate for this Tribunal to know

         15  exactly where the witness's family was living.  Perhaps

         16  we could go to closed session so that I can submit the

         17  photograph, the aerial photograph to the witness.

         18            JUDGE CASSESE:  Very well.

         19                 (Closed session)

         20  (redacted)

         21  (redacted)

         22  (redacted)

         23  (redacted)

         24  (redacted)

         25  (redacted)

Page 1375

          1  (redacted)

          2  (redacted)

          3  (redacted)

          4  (redacted)

          5  (redacted)

          6  (redacted)

          7  (redacted)

          8                 (Open session).

          9            THE REGISTRAR:  We are in open session.

         10            JUDGE CASSESE:  Yes, we are in open session.

         11            MR. TERRIER:

         12       Q.   Witness, do you recall what you did in Ahmici

         13  on the afternoon of Thursday, the 15th of April, 1993?

         14       A.   I was playing with my peers who are Muslims.

         15       Q.   What were you playing?

         16       A.   We played some soccer and other things.

         17       Q.   At what location were you playing?

         18       A.   We were playing near the main road, the

         19  Busovaca/Vitez road, and near the school in Ahmici, in

         20  the schoolyard in Ahmici.

         21       Q.   In the courtyard of the school in Ahmici.

         22  This school is near the mosque, is it not?

         23       A.   Yes.

         24       Q.   And on that occasion when you were playing in

         25  Ahmici with your Muslim colleagues and friends, did you

Page 1376

          1  note any unusual actions or facts in Ahmici?

          2       A.   Yes, did I.

          3       Q.   What do you mean?

          4       A.   While we were near the main Busovaca/Vitez

          5  road, I saw a vehicle belonging to Ivo Papic leaving

          6  with women -- with some women and coming back with some

          7  other people who had not left with them.

          8       Q.   At what moment in the afternoon did that

          9  happen?

         10       A.   Sometime around 2.00 or 3.00 in the

         11  afternoon.

         12       Q.   Do you remember who was in the vehicle in the

         13  beginning?

         14       A.   I only recall that there was a woman and some

         15  children.  I did not see the driver, I only saw their

         16  heads.

         17       Q.   And do you remember when you saw that car

         18  come back?

         19       A.   After about an hour, I believe.

         20       Q.   And you yourself was located at what location

         21  when you witnessed this?

         22       A.   Near the Redzo Pezer's house.

         23       Q.   Which means what in relation to the main

         24  road?  Is it far from the main road?

         25       A.   No, it was right by the road.

Page 1377

          1       Q.   Exactly what kind of car was it?  Was it a

          2  car that you recognised?

          3       A.   Yes, it was a red Lada.

          4       Q.   Who did this car belong to?

          5       A.   I believe that it belonged to Ivo Papic.

          6       Q.   On the 15th of April, on that afternoon did

          7  you see anything else happen that was unusual?

          8       A.   Yes, I did.  I saw that -- I saw Ivica

          9  Kupreskic leaving with his family from Ahmici, but I

         10  did not see them come back.

         11       Q.   When was that when you saw Ivica Kupreskic

         12  and his family leave?

         13       A.   Sometime around 4.00, 4.00 to 5.00, before

         14  dusk.

         15       Q.   What kind of car did they use?

         16       A.   It was a Mercedes, a 200-D model.

         17       Q.   Do you remember who was driving the vehicle?

         18       A.   I do.

         19       Q.   Who was it?

         20       A.   Ivica Blaskic (sic).  In the schoolyard, near

         21  the fence.

         22            MR. TERRIER:  Do you know in which direction

         23  this car went?

         24            THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreter missed the

         25  question preceding that one.

Page 1378

          1            JUDGE CASSESE:  The answer was "Ivica

          2  Kupreskic," I think, not "Blaskic," just for the

          3  record.  Thank you.

          4            MR. TERRIER:

          5       Q.   Do you know in which direction this car was

          6  going?

          7       A.   I don't.

          8       Q.   I'm going to show you a photograph.

          9            Yes, I think there's a problem with

         10  interpretation with regard to the Mercedes which you

         11  saw leave, driven by Ivica Kupreskic.  What model car

         12  was that?  I believe there's some --

         13       A.   200-D.

         14            THE REGISTRAR:  Prosecution Exhibit 102.

         15            MR. TERRIER:

         16       Q.   Witness, what is on this photograph?

         17       A.   This is the four-year elementary school.

         18  Yes.

         19       Q.   When you said you were playing football near

         20  the elementary school in Ahmici, is this the school

         21  you're referring to?

         22       A.   Yes, I did.

         23       Q.   In what location were you located when you

         24  saw the Mercedes belonging to Ivica Kupreskic leave?

         25  Is this area visible on this photograph?

Page 1379

          1       A.   Partially, yes, I can see it here, here.

          2  Around here, behind the fence.

          3       Q.   Is the road where the Mercedes drove, is it

          4  far from there?

          5       A.   No.  It was right around here somewhere.

          6            MR. TERRIER:  Thank you.  I have no further

          7  use for that photograph.

          8            Mr. President, we are now going to go on to

          9  the issue of the 16th of April.  Perhaps this might be

         10  an appropriate time to interrupt proceedings, because I

         11  see it is 12.30.  It's as you wish.

         12            JUDGE CASSESE:  No, I believe you were going

         13  to go on until quarter to one so I believe another 15

         14  minutes would be useful for us to continue.

         15            MR. TERRIER:

         16       Q.   Witness, can you now, please, describe what

         17  happened, to the best of your recollection, on the 16th

         18  of April, 1993?  Go ahead.

         19       A.   I can't hear the interpretation.

         20       Q.   Please go ahead.  Please state to this

         21  Tribunal what happened on the 16th of April, 1993.

         22       A.   I was awakened by heavy shooting in the

         23  morning, and I heard a conversation between my mother

         24  and most probably my grandfather.  She was saying that

         25  we should get ready and leave the house.  I came out

Page 1380

          1  into the hallway in order to put on my track suit, but

          2  the entrance door to the house was open and I saw an

          3  arm throwing in a large-sized hand grenade.

          4            My mother attempted to throw out this hand

          5  grenade, but it exploded in her hand and it wounded her

          6  in the side.  It cut her arm off and it also killed my

          7  brother.  And I then left and looked and saw another

          8  hand grenade at my feet.  It also exploded and it

          9  injured me in the lower part of my body.

         10            Then I went to the bedroom and hid behind the

         11  bed where we were sleeping, and another hand grenade

         12  was thrown in there and it exploded.

         13            Then an unknown man came into the room and

         14  started pushing the door in and told me to get out.  I

         15  stepped out and he first said, "Do you have matches?"

         16  I told him that I did not.  Then he asked me whether

         17  there was anybody else upstairs.  I told him that there

         18  was nobody there.  He asked me where my father was.  I

         19  told him that I did not know.  He said that I had to go

         20  and find him because my mother needed assistance.  I

         21  still -- I maintained that I did not know where he

         22  was.

         23            Then he went upstairs and some explosions

         24  could be heard up there while he was up there.  While

         25  he was there we hid in the pantry, myself, my mother

Page 1381

          1  and sister, while my brother remained in the kitchen.

          2  He was dead.  When my mother told me to go and carry

          3  him over to us in the pantry, I saw that the kitchen

          4  was already on fire.

          5            I tried to approach him a couple of times,

          6  but the fire was already coming through the door, so I

          7  could not.  I took a deep breath and attempted to enter

          8  there, and fortunately I was able to grab my brother by

          9  his feet and drag him outside into the hallway.  Then I

         10  told my mother and sister to come out of there because

         11  we couldn't stay there any longer, the house had all

         12  been all in flames.

         13            When we attempted to leave the house, a

         14  bullet came from the direction of Husein Ahmic's house,

         15  and it again hit my mother somewhere in the stomach

         16  area.  There, at Husein's house, there was a small

         17  group of four or five soldiers who were there and who

         18  were expelling Husein and his family members from the

         19  house.

         20            I carried my brother to the barn and came

         21  back for my sister whom I also carried to the barn, but

         22  I put her in a manger.  I went back to help my mother

         23  so that she could join us, but she said that she did

         24  need assistance, that she could come there by herself.

         25  So I went back to the barn and she joined us there as

Page 1382

          1  well, and there she was for about 15 or 20 minutes and

          2  then she expired there.  Her last words were that I

          3  should take care of my sister, and that I should find

          4  my father.

          5            I also lay down in the manger together with

          6  my sister and I lost consciousness.  I only came to

          7  sometime in the middle of the night, 2.00 or 3.00 in

          8  the morning.  I saw that the roof of the barn was on

          9  fire, and I could hear some conversation around the

         10  house -- around the structure.

         11            When we had all entered the barn, I had sort

         12  of blocked it but not so much that it could not be

         13  reopened again, and then I heard the soldier saying

         14  that everybody had been killed around the lower mosque

         15  and that they should move up towards the upper mosque.

         16            When they all left, one of them started to go

         17  into the barn.  He saw that the door was stuck.  He

         18  tried to break in the door.  He saw that he couldn't do

         19  it.  Then he called out to his colleague.  He said,

         20  "Mirko, come.  I can't enter the barn."  Then the two

         21  of them broke in the door, that is, they pried it open

         22  enough so that they could all throw in a hand grenade,

         23  and then they went around the other side.  They broke

         24  the window.  They said that only a child and a woman

         25  were inside.

Page 1383

          1            Then they asked someone else whether they

          2  should bring out the cow or if they should leave it

          3  there, and they got the answer to bring it out.  They

          4  said, "Well, how are we going to do that with all the

          5  dead bodies in there?"  And then they said, "Well,

          6  whatever you want to do."  Then they threw another hand

          7  grenade under the cow and then they finished it off

          8  with a rifle, and they also killed a lamb which was

          9  inside the barn.  Then they left.  I again lost

         10  consciousness and I came to around noon.

         11       Q.   I'm sorry, I have to interrupt you a moment.

         12  We are going to let you resume in a moment.  I would

         13  like a number of clarifications about what you just

         14  stated.  A moment ago you stated that when you heard

         15  the first gunfire on the morning of the 16th and you

         16  got up, your father was not there.  Your father was not

         17  in the house.  Why?

         18       A.   He was probably on guard duty.

         19       Q.   You are saying "he was probably."  Do you

         20  know or you don't know?

         21       A.   I did not know, but later on, he told me that

         22  he was on guard duty.  I did not know at that time.  I

         23  learned that later.

         24       Q.   The first soldier that you saw who entered

         25  into the house and threw a grenade, can you describe

Page 1384

          1  him?

          2       A.   He was wearing a camouflage uniform, he had

          3  his face painted black, he was carrying an automatic

          4  rifle, and on his back he had a rocket launcher.  He

          5  also had some kind of orange armband and he also had

          6  some kind of emblem.  I did not know whether it was

          7  HV or HVO insignia.

          8       Q.   Can you describe this emblem?  What colour

          9  was it, for example?  What was the colour of the

         10  emblem?  What colour were the letters?

         11       A.   The field was green and it had some kind of a

         12  circle, yellow, and I believe that the letters -- the

         13  lettering was also yellow -- yellow or black, I'm not

         14  sure.

         15       Q.   When you talk about a piece of orange cloth,

         16  are you referring to a ribbon?  Was that person wearing

         17  a type of ribbon?  Did you see a ribbon?

         18       A.   No.  He had -- it was like a ribbon which was

         19  cloth -- I don't know.  It was here, it was hanging

         20  from here (indicating).  It was orange in colour.

         21       Q.   When you left the house, you stated that, at

         22  that moment, other soldiers were trying to get people

         23  to get out of the neighbouring house.

         24       A.   Yes.

         25       Q.   Do you remember how these other soldiers were

Page 1385

          1  dressed?

          2       A.   I do recall.  They were also wearing

          3  camouflage uniforms.

          4       Q.   Did you recognise any of these soldiers?

          5       A.   I recognised Ahdelko Vidovic, called Acko.

          6  He was leaning against Husein's -- I think it was a

          7  shed of some sort.

          8       Q.   What was he doing?  What was he doing next to

          9  the cellar of your neighbour's house?  What was he

         10  doing?

         11       A.   I believe that he was either standing there

         12  or taking shelter from something.  I don't know.  I'm

         13  not sure.

         14       Q.   You stated that when they went out, your

         15  mother was wounded, wounded by a bullet.

         16       A.   Yes.

         17       Q.   Do you know who or what group fired that

         18  shot, which group of soldiers fired that shot?

         19       A.   I believe that the bullet came up from

         20  Husein's house, from this group who was in Husein's

         21  back yard.

         22       Q.   So after taking refuge in the stables, you

         23  said that you tried to seek some sort of refuge in

         24  the --

         25       A.   Yes.

Page 1386

          1       Q.   -- manger for the cattle.  It was indeed a

          2  manger for the cattle, was it not?  What size was that

          3  manger?

          4       A.   About 50 centimetres.

          5       Q.   Was it an appropriate shelter?

          6       A.   Yes.  They were all made of concrete.

          7       Q.   You said at one moment you heard voices

          8  outside of the stables and that there were people using

          9  a Motorola.  When you refer to a Motorola, what do you

         10  mean by that?

         11       A.   It was some kind of radio device by which two

         12  groups communicate.

         13       Q.   Did you see this radio yourself?  Motorola is

         14  a brand name.  Did you see that yourself?

         15       A.   No, I did not see it.

         16       Q.   When the soldiers saw the body of your mother

         17  and your brother in the stable, what did they say?

         18       A.   They said that a woman and a child were

         19  there.

         20       Q.   How did they say that?  Were they horrified

         21  when they said it?

         22       A.   They said it in a cold voice; they said a

         23  woman and a child were there.

         24            MR. TERRIER:  Perhaps we might go back to his

         25  account, but now, Mr. President, perhaps might be a

Page 1387

          1  good time.

          2            JUDGE CASSESE:  Yes.  We rise now.  We have

          3  no hearing this afternoon, as you know, so we will

          4  therefore adjourn until tomorrow morning at 9.30.

          5                 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at

          6                 12.50 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,

          7                 the 1st day of September, 1998, at

          8                 9.30 a.m.