1 Thursday, 24 August 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Registrar, good morning to you. And
7 could you kindly call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is the case
9 number IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam.
11 Same advisory to all the accused: If at any time during the
12 proceedings you are not receiving interpretation, please draw our
13 attention straight away. Thank you.
14 I see no alterations in the team. Mr. Nicholls is here, and I say
15 it for the record.
16 Yes, are there any preliminaries? Madam Faveau?
17 MS. FAVEAU: [No interpretation].
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I can understand what you are saying and the
19 technical problem that you say you have but -- in relation to this
20 witness, but as far as I am concerned, I am not receiving interpretation
21 into English, and that is the second technical problem. And I am on
22 channel 4, so it is not a question of not being --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please repeat.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Faveau, could you kindly repeat your
25 remark or your comment.
1 MS. FAVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. It is
2 actually a technical problem I'd like to put to you. We have received the
3 transcript of the testimony of this witness last week, last Wednesday. We
4 only received the audio recording in B/C/S on Friday. We can't give such
5 recordings to our client until Monday morning, then Monday morning there
6 is the whole procedure of getting audio recording into the Detention Unit,
7 so that they only received it on Tuesday afternoon. They were able to
8 listen to it only yesterday afternoon. My client and others, I believe,
9 have had some problems to open the software in order to listen to the
10 testimony. We're not asking for the trial to be postponed. We're ready
11 to go, but we'd like you assistance for the Prosecutor to provide us with
12 this B/C/S material earlier so that the communication procedure with the
13 Detention Unit be better, smoother, and faster. Thank you.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Faveau, for pointing that out.
15 Who is going to respond to that? Mr. Nicholls.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: I agree, Your Honour, we will try and make sure it
17 isn't provided that late again.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Nicholls, and also for your
20 And incidentally, those of you who may wish to go last or towards
21 the end of the cross-examination because of this technical problem, please
22 make the necessary arrangements amongst yourselves and you will be
23 accommodated accordingly. Thank you. So the other thing I wanted -- yes,
24 Mr. Nicholls.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Just one small point, Your Honours. I think it was
1 discussed yesterday. We had prepared some map books. The Defence kindly
2 have not objected to those, so those should have been passed out to Your
3 Honours. Those are not yet, I understand, in e-court, but they will be.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, they are here. I thank you for them. The only
5 thing I want to mention is that if you intend to make use of these maps
6 with the witness or, for that matter, any other maps or any other photos
7 with witnesses, make sure that if there is an explanation, like there is
8 on this map, "Srebrenica has been Serbian and remains Serbian," et cetera,
9 or "Zepa is also Serbian," or a map with handwritten memos and indications
10 of places and sites, et cetera, that you don't use those maps with the
11 witness. Let the witness mark on maps, but don't give witnesses
12 ready-marked maps which would be tantamount to eliciting information which
13 is already there on the map or on photos. We had the same problems in
14 other cases.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: I understand that, Your Honour. I was thinking
16 about using map 5 in that book with this witness. It does have markings
17 on it and notations. In that case, I will not do that and we'll try to
18 get a different map during the break if I need to use a map.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: This one I think is harmless, if there is no
20 objection from the Defence. This seems to be a translation of what there
21 is handwritten on the map, so it does not really create a major problem.
22 But if there are other markings --
23 MR. NICHOLLS: I think it is map 5, Your Honour, does have some
24 markings on it.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, let me just go through them.
1 But by major problems is when you have, for example, a photo of a
2 destroyed house and then underneath: "House of Mirzad Dudic" and then ask
3 him: Do you recognise this house? for example, all right?
4 MR. NICHOLLS: I understand, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Or a photo of some place marked underneath,
6 indicating the location, and then you ask him, the witness: Do you
7 recognise this road in the countryside with the buildings in the
9 Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just on a related issue that might help speed
11 things along. As you know, Mr. Ruez will be testifying soon.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: And we have in the past had him mark maps prior to
14 him getting into court. It's not the -- sometimes the traditional way,
15 but it does save time and it's not the problem you're talking of, but it's
16 similar. So that is our expectation that he will have -- he will be the
17 one who will have marked the maps.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: That's not the problem I was referring to,
20 All right. Are there any other preliminaries? I just wanted to
21 confirm to you that later on in the morning we'll be handing down the
22 decision on the e-court filing of cross-examination documents, as per the
23 agreed suggestions. And nothing else, so we can -- yes?
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: I know everyone's working on it, but the final
25 dates for the confidential programme would help with setting up witnesses.
1 I know that's --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, I think we can go into private session for a
3 couple of minutes.
4 [Private session]
14 [Open session]
15 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you so much.
17 Yes, I think we can admit the witness. The witness is testifying
18 under the protective measures included in the -- indicated in yesterday's
19 decision - that is with a pseudonym - and we have to decide what number we
20 are going to give him because you've not indicated this in your motion,
21 consequently we did not allocate a pseudonym ourselves. And of course
22 with face distortion. Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm sorry we didn't put
24 that in our motion. We -- I believe we're up to PW-110 will be his
1 JUDGE AGIUS: PW?
2 MR. NICHOLLS: 110.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: 110, okay.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm not sure we need to bring the shutters down
6 when he comes in, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Pardon?
8 MR. NICHOLLS: I can't recall if we bring the shutters down
9 because he has a pseudonym.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
11 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: No, we don't need to bring down the curtain, I'm
13 being told, because precautions are taken.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, sir.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal. Very shortly you will
18 be starting your testimony as a Prosecution witness. As per your request,
19 we have granted you some protective measures. You will not be referred to
20 by your name, but by a nom de plume, a pseudonym. You are going to be
21 Prosecution Witness 110. And anyone who is following the proceedings from
22 outside this courtroom will not be able to see your face because we have a
23 mechanical means of hiding it, as you will see on your own monitor as we
24 go along. Otherwise, the other thing I wanted to tell you is that Madam
25 Usher, who is standing next to you, will be handing to you a solemn
1 declaration, which is tantamount to an oath in various jurisdictions, and
2 that is your undertaking to speak the truth in the course of your
3 testimony. If you at any time require a break, please tell us you're
4 feeling tired, and we will grant you -- we will give you a break.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
7 Please take the solemn declaration and read it out and that will
8 be your undertaking.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down.
12 Mr. Nicholls on the Prosecution side will be asking you a series
13 of questions. Please try to keep your replies, your answers, as brief as
14 possible, and when you are being asked for a yes or no answer, stick to
15 that. If you need to go further, let us know and we'll decide whether to
16 give you permission or not.
17 Mr. Nicholls.
18 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honours.
19 WITNESS: WITNESS PW-110
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Examination by Mr. Nicholls:
22 Q. Good morning, sir.
23 A. Good morning.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: The first order of business, if I could have the
25 assistance of an usher, is to show the witness the pseudonym sheet.
1 Q. Sir, please read that to yourself silently, and I'll ask you: Can
2 you confirm that your name is written on that sheet of paper which you've
3 been handed?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Would you kindly show it to the members of the
6 Defence teams, and then it will be handed to the registrar, who will enter
7 it into the records as a sealed document.
8 Registrar, could you please indicate to us which number you are
9 going to give it, which exhibit number.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: I understand in the future, Your Honour, these will
11 also be in the e-court system.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, do you want to see it, Mr. Nicholls?
13 MR. NICHOLLS: No.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
15 So this will become Exhibit Number?
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit Number P2101 [Realtime
17 transcript read in error "P2102"].
18 JUDGE AGIUS: P210 -- that's correct, then, because on the
19 transcript it's P2102 and I heard you say P2101.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour; P2101.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. That's corrected.
22 Mr. Nicholls, please proceed.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
24 I request we go into private session for some preliminary
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go into private session.
2 [Private session]
11 Pages 633-637 redacted. Private session.
3 [Open session]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
5 We are in open session now, Witness.
6 MR. NICHOLLS:
7 Q. Sir, how long did you stay in Konjevic Polje?
8 A. I was six days in Konjevic Polje, and during those six days I
9 believe that Mr. Morillon came, the commander of UNPROFOR forces, and he
10 went up there to a mosque in Hrncici. I don't know exactly because I'm
11 not familiar with the area. I believe it was the Hrncici mosque. This is
12 where he hoisted up the UN flags. And then the Serbs who were in Tumace
13 opened fire on the population right before Morillon's face. I'm not 100
14 per cent sure, but I believe that one UNPROFOR soldier was seriously hurt.
15 There were a lot of people killed, a lot of people injured. Morillon
16 was there and he was watching that with his own two eyes. If he was a
17 good man, he would be sitting here today and he would testify to the event
18 that happened right before his eyes.
19 Q. Thank you. That was a bit of a long answer to the question, but
20 thank you. Now, where did you go from Konjevic Polje?
21 A. After that, we moved to Pervane. That's where we stayed for three
22 days. And then a decision was issued. Everybody started withdrawing
23 towards Srebrenica. I and my two brothers arrived in Srebrenica on the
24 14th of March.
25 Q. 1993?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. While in Srebrenica, did you do any kind of work, you personally?
3 A. Yes, I worked as a farm worker. We had a horse, a cow. We had
4 the cow for milk and the horse to carry stuff for us, and that was that.
5 Q. You said you went with two of your brothers. Were either of your
6 brothers in the --
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Please wait -- thank you, but please wait for me to finish the
9 question. Was either of your brothers in the army, the Bosnian army, in
10 the enclave?
11 A. The one who had not arrived, he was a cook -- actually, a baker in
12 a private store in the village, throughout all that time. In my own
13 village, he was also a cook, he was never a soldier.
14 Q. Okay, just to be clear, are you saying he was a cook for the army
15 in the enclave?
16 A. Yes, yes. He was a member of the -- some sort of reserves. I'm
17 not a hundred per cent sure. The enclave was under the patronage of the
18 United Nations, the arms had been distributed, and he was acting as a
19 cook. He was something as a cook there.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: It is not clear. What time are we talking about
21 here? Is it still March, 1993, or later? Because he refers to Srebrenica
22 being an enclave under the patronage of the United Nations. If it's after
23 16th April, we're talking of the period of demilitarisation, and he speaks
24 of arms being distributed instead of arms being collected. Perhaps he
25 could clarify all this.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. The arms had been collected
2 by UNPROFOR. There was just an observation point at a most critical
3 point. They didn't have arms. Whoever was seen with arms by UNPROFOR,
4 the arms would be seized from them by UNPROFOR.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: That makes it clear.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. From the time you arrived until July, 1995, was your brother a
8 cook for the army, or reserve as you called them, in the -- in Srebrenica?
9 A. He was only observing. They could not hold arms because of the
10 UNPROFOR. They only had an observation point in an area that I am not
11 familiar with. I never went there, and that's the only thing they were
12 doing, they were just observing, without any arms.
13 Q. Listen to my question, please. I'm asking if your brother worked
14 as a cook for these reserves until July, 1995.
15 A. Yes, yes, yes. He was a cook. He was always a cook, before that
16 and during that time. He was never a soldier. He was always a cook, just
17 a cook.
18 Q. Now I want to talk a little bit about how you came to leave
19 Srebrenica. When did you leave Srebrenica?
20 A. When the Serbs started coming in in order to occupy Srebrenica.
21 We left on the 11th of July in the morning. Some went towards Potocari,
22 some of us went through the woods. On the 11th of September, the entire
23 population - I apologise, it was in July - on the 11th of July, the whole
24 population left Srebrenica.
25 Q. Very briefly - very briefly - describe to me what the week before
1 July 11th was like for the inhabitants of Srebrenica. What was going on?
2 A. Well, the area was rife with panic, and the people moved from the
3 upper part of Srebrenica. They all came to Vidikovac and lower down.
4 From Sunday till Tuesday, nobody was there, save for some bedridden
5 people, people who could not leave their houses.
6 Q. Now, were there any announcements made that you heard, about
7 leaving on the 11th of July?
8 A. No, no, no.
9 Q. You said that some people went to Potocari and some people went
10 into the woods --
11 A. Yes. Women, children, and the elderly went to Potocari. I don't
12 know if any younger people went there as well.
13 Q. Where did you go?
14 A. I went in the direction of the village of Susnjari. There we
15 formed a column and proceeded towards the free territory.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: I just thought perhaps a redaction.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because I was marking -- making a mark.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Not a huge issue, but --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, okay. Yeah. That's -- there isn't much of it,
25 but I think we need to redact line -- from line 16 to 18; I would redact
1 the three of them.
2 MR. NICHOLLS:
3 Q. Now, sir, what about your other brother? Where did he go?
4 A. My other brother was an invalid. He went to Potocari. And
5 luckily for him, although they kept people behind, he was allowed to go
6 and he went from there.
7 Q. When you say "they kept people behind," some people, who's "they"?
8 A. Serb soldiers.
9 Q. Are you okay, sir?
10 A. Yes, but my headphones keep moving on my head. Otherwise, I'm
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
13 Usher, please, if you could kindly make the necessary adjustments
14 for him.
15 Mr. Nicholls, and any of the Defence teams that are nearer to the
16 witness than we are, usually we can more or less have a very close visual
17 view of his face on the monitor, but when it's -- visual -- face
18 distortion, we can't. And you're much nearer to him than we are. If you
19 notice any sign of tiredness or need for a break, please draw our
20 attention straight away.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Because we can't see as much as we would see under
23 normal circumstances, in other words.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: There used to be an option to see the undistorted
2 video in the courtroom. I don't know if that is --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: No, we don't have it.
11 MR. NICHOLLS: Perhaps that's correct, Your Honour. Private
12 session just for one moment.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
14 So let's redact from line 5, please -- from line 6 to here, and
15 let's go into private session for a while.
16 [Private session]
11 Page 644 redacted. Private session.
13 [Open session]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in public session again. Thank you.
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. All right. Now I want to talk to you about something you spoke
17 about earlier, the formation of the column in Susnjari, and the night of
18 the 11th to 12th of July in Susnjari. Now, where did you sleep that
20 A. In Susnjari.
21 Q. But where in Susnjari? What type of place did you sleep in?
22 A. In a meadow, where everybody was, all the men who had arrived
24 Q. And how many men was that, approximately?
25 A. According to an estimate, there must have been at least 15.000
2 Q. Is that your estimate or an estimate you heard?
3 A. Well, we talked amongst each other. We looked at each other. We
4 thought that there may have well been over 15.000 people, even 20.000,
6 Q. Was it all men or were there any other women or children in this
8 A. At that time, there were neither women nor children there.
9 Q. What time did you leave Susnjari? I mean the --
10 A. I left in the afternoon, on the 12th of July. I was with the last
11 group of people who left Susnjari.
12 Q. And where was your other brother at this time? Don't say his
14 A. He was there. He was there.
15 Q. With you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you just describe for us a little bit, so we get a picture,
18 the terrain that you and all these men were walking through in the
19 direction towards Tuzla.
20 A. We were walking in a column -- actually, in several columns. Not
21 -- sometimes we were walking single file because of the way the terrain
23 Q. And were any men in this column armed?
24 A. Yes. There were very few armed men, and those men walked with the
25 front of the columns. They left with the first columns that left.
1 Q. Were you able to form an estimate of how many men were armed?
2 A. Maybe 400 or 500. It was very difficult to tell with so many
3 people being there. It was difficult to tell how many people were armed.
4 Q. I understand, sir. I didn't -- I wouldn't expect you to know an
5 exact number. What kind of weapons were they armed with?
6 A. Infantry.
7 Q. Infantry what? If you could explain what --
8 A. Rifles. They mostly had rifles.
9 Q. Were you armed? Did you have a rifle?
10 A. No, no.
11 Q. What about your brother?
12 A. No.
13 Q. What did you bring with you as you -- as you set out on this trek?
14 A. A rucksack, and I had three tins of meat that I had received from
15 humanitarian aid. I had a spare jacket across my shoulder and a sack of
16 sugar. That's all I had.
17 Q. And now if you could just look -- sorry. You had a jacket -- or a
18 spare jacket. What kind of clothes were these? Were they military?
19 Civilian? Could you describe your clothing.
20 A. No, I wore civilian clothes. I wore a leather jacket, a pair of
21 trousers, some shoes. I can't remember exactly. What I had on my
22 shoulder was a rucksack; that's all I had.
23 Q. And then you said you left in the afternoon of the 12th. Describe
24 a little bit that day in your own words where you went and what you did.
25 A. I'm telling you, on that same day we left Susnjari and we walked
1 until the sun set, when we could no longer see. I did not sleep at all
2 that night. I did not sleep the previous day, and I had not slept the
3 previous night, and then I lie down and slept that night. When the day
4 broke, my brother was no longer there. Some people were on their way
5 back. Some were moving forward. I returned a little, and then some
6 people started moving forward. I went with them. I found my brother
7 there. We sat down. We discussed as to what should be done. In the
8 meantime, the Serb soldier took a megaphones and --
9 Q. Let me stop you. Thank you. We'll get to those other parts of
10 what happened next. Do you know approximately where you spent the night
11 of 12th/13th July? You said you hadn't had much sleep, you laid down.
12 Where did you spend the next night?
13 A. In the forest called Buljim.
14 Q. So now we come to the 13th July. You started describing how you
15 woke up that morning. Let's start with where was your brother that
16 morning when you woke up? You began to talk about that.
17 A. I'm telling you, a group of people returned, and I returned with
18 them. And then the same group of people moved forward. I went with them
19 and he was a bit further down, close to the area where we exited from the
20 woods, this Samici, Lolici, I haven't a clue what the name is.
21 Q. The transcript says "Samici." I think you said "Sandici."
22 A. Not Samici. Sandici is the name.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you for pointing that out, Mr. Nicholls.
24 Thank you.
25 MR. NICHOLLS:
1 Q. If I can just clarify one moment, Witness, your last answer. You
2 woke up, your brother wasn't there, you moved with some other people
3 [Realtime transcript read in error "brother"], and then you were reunited
4 with your brother. Is that right?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. Now, you said the area where you exited the woods was something
7 like Sandici or Lolici, you're not sure what the name is. Tell me about
8 how you came to be --
9 A. No, no. No. It was also in Buljim, but when we went down, when
10 we surrendered, it was in Sandici. It was also Buljim, the place where I
11 found my brother.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I understand Buljim to be the name of the forest, if
13 I understand him well.
14 Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
15 MR. BOURGON: Your Honour, I would just like to get some
16 clarification. I'm looking at the question that was put by my colleague
17 at page 27, line 4. Of course it's kind of a leading question, but that's
18 not the point of my objection. I'd just like to get clarification,
19 because I don't quite get the question. It says: "Could you clarify.
20 You woke up, your brother wasn't there, you moved with some other brother,
21 and then you were reunited with your brother." And then the answer is
22 yes, but I fail to understand this part.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, you're a hundred per cent right. It's the
24 transcript which is wrong. He never said I moved with another brother, he
25 moved with some others and then he was reunited with the brother. So it's
1 the transcript that needs to be corrected.
2 MR. NICHOLLS: I thank my colleague for pointing out --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank Mr. Bourgon as well.
4 MR. NICHOLLS:
5 Q. Please describe how you came to leave the woods and how you ended
6 up in Sandici.
7 A. As I told you, the dawn broke, the Serb soldiers took up
8 megaphones, and started calling out to us to surrender. There were people
9 in camouflage uniforms amongst us who said: Yes, we will surrender, but
10 bring UNPROFOR and the Red Cross over. However, they made no promises;
11 rather, they issued an ultimatum to the effect that we should surrender by
12 10.00 or else. Since we did not surrender until 10.00, we were issued
13 with another ultimatum to surrender by 3.00 in the afternoon. It was at
14 that point that we decided to surrender ourselves.
15 Q. All right. Let me ask you a quick follow-up question. You said
16 you were up in woods and the Serb soldiers took up megaphones and started
17 calling out to you to surrender. Where were they calling from, these Serb
18 soldiers? Where were they?
19 A. They were a bit further away from us, but in the same general
20 area, in the same field. This was a rather large mountain, woodland, and
21 it would take you a couple of hours to cross it through, certainly.
22 Q. And you say you decided to surrender. What about your brother;
23 what did he decide to do?
24 A. He decided the same.
25 Q. And then what did you do? What happened?
1 A. The column set out to surrender. As we came down there, the Serb
2 soldiers approached us and asked us for any money that we might have in
3 all foreign currencies. They threatened us that if we should not
4 surrender all our money, we would suffer the same fate as those before us.
5 Of course we didn't ask who those before us were or what happened to them.
6 As we went along, there were women and children passing by in a
7 bus. I knew some of the women on the bus, and they were looking at us
8 just as I'm looking at you now. They went away whilst we remained there
9 as prisoners.
10 Q. Okay. I was going to talk about that a little bit later, but
11 let's talk about it now. How many buses did you see with, as you say,
12 women and children passing by?
13 A. Several vehicles went by. There was my aunt there, another lady
14 from Drinjaca near Zvornik. There was one -- third lady that I didn't
15 know, but she told my brother that we had been captured.
16 Q. Which direction were these buses going in on this road?
17 A. They went toward Vlasenica and the free territory there. That was
18 where the women and children were transported to.
19 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nicholls, I wonder if you could clarify with the
20 witness whether there were some armed people when they surrendered to the
21 Serb forces.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: I was -- I will do that now.
23 Q. If you heard Your Honour's comments, sir, were there any armed men
24 in the column at this point you surrendered?
25 A. No, no. There was one person among us who had military boots on,
1 and he was immediately criticised for it by Serb soldiers, but none of us
2 had any camouflage uniforms. This person wearing military boots had them
3 by necessity, of course, because probably he didn't have any other
4 footwear. It was summertime and it was very hot. It must have been very
5 uncomfortable for him.
6 Q. Well, that aside, then, just to be clear, did anybody have any
7 rifles at the time of this surrender? I think you answered it, but I want
8 it to be very clear.
9 A. No.
10 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Witness, did you know at the time that where 400,
11 500 who had been armed went?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They went off in the first column.
13 We didn't know where they were. This particular column had been cut off
14 from us, which of course we weren't aware of at the time.
15 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
16 MR. NICHOLLS:
17 Q. And I'll ask one question to try to continue to clarify that. I
18 think you answered this before, Witness, but where in the overall column
19 were you and your brother?
20 A. I myself was perhaps somewhere halfway through the column.
21 Q. And is that the whole column or your segment of the column?
22 Because you said it broke up.
23 A. No, no. Do you mean when we were surrendering? When we were
24 surrendering, I was in the last column to leave Susnjari.
25 Q. Okay. All right. Now, you talked a moment ago about soldiers
1 demanding money and foreign currency. What happened next after that?
2 A. We raised our arms. They told us to move, running, and people
3 were already seated in the meadow there. We were simply filling out the
4 ranks. There was one Serb soldier who had this red ribbon. He seemed to
5 be the main person there. He said: We were already negotiating for your
6 exchange with other -- with the UNPROFOR. And there was a young man there
7 who told me some 10 or 15 minutes later, when we saw women and children on
8 the buses passing there, he --
9 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise. I hate to interrupt the witness.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
11 MR. LAZAREVIC: But it seems we have some problems. I believe
12 that the witness is speaking too fast and it does cause some problems to
13 the interpreters, because we understand his language and we know what he's
14 talking. Well, let me just make one brief example. The witness just said
15 that the person with the -- the --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: The red ribbon.
17 MR. LAZAREVIC: -- that the governments are negotiating. Instead
18 of this, we read here that "we are negotiating with UNPROFOR," and it
19 basically does --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, it does make a difference, of course.
21 MR. LAZAREVIC: -- make a difference.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you for your observation and for your help,
23 Mr. Lazarevic.
24 Mr. Nicholls -- first of all, I do wish to have a confirmation
25 from the interpreter's booth.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour, this may have been the case.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly.
3 So I understand, Witness, that you need to speak a little bit more
4 slowly. Let me --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the way I speak, and I do
6 consider it to be slow.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: But it's not slow enough. Let me explain to you
8 what the problem is. Here, when I speak in English, as I am doing now,
9 what I am saying has to be translated by people behind the windows that
10 you see on the sides into your language - otherwise you would not
11 understand what I am saying - and it has to be translated also into the
12 French language for those who are following in French. Similarly, when
13 you are speaking in Serbo-Croat, the interpreters have to translate to us
14 in English and they have to catch up with the speed of your delivery of --
15 so the slower you speak, the better it is for them to be able to catch and
16 translate every single word that you say.
17 No one is criticising the way you speak or that this is -- we are
18 trying to make it difficult for you, but we're just asking you to slow
19 down a little bit more so that you make the interpreters' task a little
20 bit easier. All right? And I am sure you will cooperate in this. Okay.
21 I thank you.
22 Mr. Nicholls.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: And once more, thank you, Mr. Lazarevic.
25 MR. NICHOLLS:
1 Q. Yes, sir, please, I'll try to speak a little bit slower. Maybe we
2 both can. We want the record to be as accurate as it can be.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, and I think it's the case of going through
4 this part again, since, as Mr. Lazarevic pointed out, it's not correct or
5 it -- let me go through it. You were asked this question, sir.
6 Mr. Nicholls asked: "Okay. All right. Now, you talked a moment ago
7 about soldiers demanding money and foreign currency. What happened next
8 after that?"
9 And then you started answering. You said: "We raised our arms.
10 They told us to move, running, and the people were already seated in the
11 meadow there."
12 Do you confirm this?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Then in the transcript we have the following: "We
15 were simply filling out the ranks." Do you confirm that?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: And then I have: "There was one Serb soldier who
18 had this red ribbon," a bandanna. Do you confirm that?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was black.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: So that's the first item that needs to be corrected.
21 And then also in relation to this Serb soldier you are reported to having
22 said: "He seemed to be the main person there." Correct?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: "And he said: We were already negotiating for your
25 exchange with other -- with the UNPROFOR." Is this correct?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. No, none of us told us [as
2 interpeted] there were negotiations with the UNPROFOR, but rather that the
3 negotiations were in course between the Serb and Bosnian governments --
4 Bosniak government.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. And then we have: "And there was a young man
6 there who told me some 10 minutes or 15 minutes later, when we saw women
7 and children on the buses passing there --" and you were stopped in -- at
8 that point.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not a young man. There was a woman
10 with a child aged 10. This man with the black bandanna told the lady to
11 go down there where the bus was parked. We weren't able to see the bus
12 because of the lay of the terrain. The lady -- the woman thanked the
13 soldier for it. Two young girls also stood up. One that was more
14 beautiful of the two --
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. Stop right there. We'll get to that. We're getting a bit ahead.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
18 And I thank Mr. Lazarevic again. And if there are substantive
19 mistakes in the transcript, please draw our attention straight away. If
20 they are minor mistakes that can be rectified later, let's not waste time
21 on them. We will attend to them later on. But any substantive mistakes
22 in the transcript from what the witness is testifying are important to be
23 noted down immediately.
24 Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I ask Your Honours to ask the booth if the
1 problem is the speed the witness is talking or if there is any other
2 problem, because "UNPROFOR" and "government" --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I don't need to put the question now. They
4 have heard you. It seems that the problem, at least as far as I can say,
5 because I am not following the proceedings in French, is the translation
6 in the English -- translation from B/C/S to English. If you could
7 indicate to me what the problem is -- first of all, where is the -- that's
8 okay. I think it's there, if I can see well.
9 What is the problem?
10 THE INTERPRETER: It was the speed, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: The speed. Okay.
12 So as you can see, Witness, it's the speed that has complicated
13 matters. If you can slow down again, as I asked you to do earlier on, it
14 would be very important.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will try to slow down a bit.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
17 And if at any time, Madam Interpreters, he is going too fast,
18 please draw my attention straight away. Thank you.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour. I spoke we go to 10.30?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, correct.
21 MR. NICHOLLS:
22 Q. Now, sir, approximately how many men came out of the woods and
23 surrendered in this incident you've been discussing?
24 A. According to an estimate, there must have been over a thousand of
1 Q. When you reached the meadow where you say you were -- sat down,
2 was the meadow empty, or were there already prisoners there when you
4 A. There were prisoners there.
5 Q. How many would you estimate were already there when you arrived?
6 A. Perhaps about 500 of them, but others kept coming in.
7 Q. Now, were you able to sit anywhere you wanted in this meadow or
8 were you told where to sit?
9 A. No. Wherever there was an empty spot. We were just filling out
10 the ranks.
11 Q. Okay. And were there any soldiers at this field? Serb soldiers,
12 I mean.
13 A. Yes. The ranks were about 20 or more metres long, and every
14 single row was guarded by two soldiers at each end of the row.
15 Q. Row of prisoners, you mean?
16 A. Yes, yes, prisoners.
17 Q. Now, you've explained well that you were told that negotiations
18 were taking place between the governments for an exchange. Did that --
19 and then you started to tell us about how that soldier sent one woman and
20 her child to a bus to get on. Can you finish telling me about any people
21 who left the meadow.
22 A. When the soldier ordered the lady and the child to leave, he --
23 she stood and thanked him. There were two young girls there, too. When
24 they stood up, the Serb soldiers who were there told the more beautiful of
25 the two that she should -- they told this particular soldier that she
1 should stay behind. However, the Serb soldier did not listen to them. He
2 told the girls and the lady to leave. There were about a dozen young boys
3 who also stood up, but then the soldier told them: No, no, you should sit
4 down because you're capable of carrying a machine-gun.
5 Q. Okay. I think this is a point that might need clarification. How
6 many boys stood up -- you started talking about some boys who stood up to
7 leave. How many of them were there?
8 A. About a dozen. I don't know precisely. I didn't count them, but
9 there were about a dozen of them.
10 Q. Were any of them allowed to leave of these boys?
11 A. Pardon?
12 Q. Were any of these dozen boys allowed to leave and get on buses?
13 A. Oh, yes. They left, the dozen of them, perhaps a bit more or a
14 bit less than ten. I didn't count them all. I didn't know what was to
15 come. Had I known what was ahead of us, I would have tried my best to
16 memorise things better.
17 Q. That's all right. Nobody -- at least, I don't expect you to
18 remember everything from what happened 11 years ago. How many boys were
19 told to sit down because they could carry a machine-gun?
20 A. I think there was just one.
21 Q. About how old were the boys who were allowed to leave and were
22 allowed to get on the buses?
23 A. I think that none of them had -- were 15 yet.
24 Q. Now, on this meadow, how many -- how long did you spend there
25 before you were -- before you went someplace else?
1 A. We stayed there for a couple of hours at least.
2 Q. During that time, were you provided with any food?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Were you - and by "you" I mean the prisoners collectively -
5 provided with any water?
6 A. Everyone was given water, but I don't know if they had received
7 enough because we just couldn't get enough water with the thirst that
8 there was.
9 Q. Now, were you able to see whether there were any wounded prisoners
10 or any prisoners who looked as though they needed medical treatment?
11 A. Yes. There were wounded there. People were asking for bandages
12 from the soldiers, but the soldiers told them: No. Well, if you are --
13 can manage to find some bandages on your own, well, fine. But they
14 wouldn't provide us with anything.
15 Q. While you were on that meadow, was there any kind of physical
16 abuse of the prisoners by the soldiers?
17 A. No.
18 MR. NICHOLLS: It might be better to break now, Your Honour, if
19 that's okay, because I think the next little chunk might not finish in
20 five minutes.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Mr. Nicholls.
22 We'll have a 30-minute break because there were some redactions,
23 and because of that we need 30 minutes.
24 Yes, Mr. Meek.
25 MR. MEEK: I apologise, Your Honour. I was just trying to get
1 Steve's attention.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
3 MR. MEEK: Sorry.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Yes. Thank you.
5 Do we need -- because since there are members of the public in the
6 gallery, I suppose we need to put the curtains down before the witness is
7 -- leaves the courtroom. Alternatively, the guards can ask the members
8 of the public to leave the gallery now, and it will spare us having to put
9 down the curtains.
10 Wait, wait, wait, Usher.
11 And the cameras are not to focus on the witness as he exits the
12 courtroom. Thank you.
13 There will be a break of 30 minutes from now. Thank you.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.24 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. We left off before the break, sir, we were still talking about the
19 time you were held prisoner in the meadow at Sandici. While you were
20 there, did any senior officers arrive at the meadow?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you describe that, please.
23 A. As we were sitting on the meadow, this was close to the dusk,
24 General Mladic arrived. I didn't know him at the time, but certain
25 persons --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness explain who.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- told us that Mladic had arrived.
3 He told us, "Good evening, Neighbours." He also promised and said our
4 governments were negotiating and tomorrow you should all be exchanged, all
5 for all. He told us that we were to go to certain hangars. The soldier
6 wearing a black bandanna told us that we would receive some supper, but
7 Mladic said, No, you're not going to get any supper, you're just going to
8 get some water. Then he went away. Let me just say this once again:
9 When he told us that we would be exchanged the following day, all for all,
10 we applauded him and said, Thank you, sir.
11 MR. NICHOLLS:
12 Q. Thank you. Again I'll remind you to please, if you can - I know
13 it's difficult - to speak a little bit slower than you normally would.
14 Who was it who told you this person you hadn't seen before was
15 General Mladic?
16 A. Persons who were captured, who I -- I hadn't seen him before.
17 Q. Did you ever see a picture of General Mladic after these events?
18 A. I did. Later on, when he came to Potocari I saw it on TV when I
19 went to the free territory. And I'm a hundred per cent sure that that was
20 Ratko Mladic.
21 Q. We'd also finished, and you had explained to Their Honours that
22 there was no physical abuse of the prisoners in the meadow. Was there any
23 kind of humiliating treatment that you observed?
24 A. No. Only one person who was sitting on the transporter told us:
25 Let me not shoot you all and go straight to The Hague, because at that
1 time that was already something that existed.
2 Q. All right. Now, I'd like to have you please explain to us how you
3 came to leave the meadow, you personally, and what you could see how the
4 other prisoners left as well.
5 A. When they wanted to transport us from there, the lorries and the
6 buses that transported the women and the children and returned empty, a
7 command was issued, the first line run to the vehicles and load them, the
8 second line, and then all the way up to my line. And then I stood up. I
9 ran down the hill. They told us to get on the lorry. I got into the
10 trailer behind the lorry - it had high sides - and I saw a Serbian soldier
11 with a black cap, and he told us that he would get on with the driver.
12 And as a vehicle was full, it would leave. And as soon as it was dark, we
13 were driving up the hill and we saw vehicles moving by us. We didn't know
14 who they were, what vehicles those were. And when we arrived in Bratunac,
15 one driver who was there told us: Those are Vihor's garages on the
16 left-hand side. We could see the buildings on the right-hand side. We
17 couldn't see anything. We did not dare lift our heads or put our hand on
18 the sides of the trailer. Then the Serb soldiers surrounded the vehicles,
19 and they started asking whether there were -- there was anybody from the
20 villages around Srebrenica, for example, Husmanici, Potocari, Slatina,
21 Bljeceva. Glogova was also mentioned. In the meantime, if somebody
22 appeared, they would ask his father's name --
23 Q. Thank you, Witness. Again, I know it's difficult. Please try to
24 speak a little more slowly. We want everything to be captured by the
25 interpreters and captured by our transcript. So please continue a little
1 bit more slowly.
2 A. And then, as a person appeared, they would take him away. And the
3 driver who was with us in the same trailer, he told us: These are Vihor's
4 garages. I don't know to this very day where those garages are. And he
5 was a driver by profession. I don't know who he was affiliated with, but
6 I know he was a driver. And as the person was taken up there, we would
7 hear a blunt hit and the person would start crying out and wailing.
8 Q. Okay. Let me ask you a couple questions now.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, could we go into private session for
10 one moment?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's go into private session for a while,
13 [Private session]
10 [Open session]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session. Thank you.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. Let me ask you a few follow-up questions, sir, about your journey
14 to these Vihor garages. Which direction were the trucks, one of which you
15 were on, going on the road? Which direction were they going as they took
16 you away? Towards which town?
17 A. Bratunac.
18 Q. You said that a driver told you once the vehicles -- excuse me,
19 the lorry had parked, that it was Vihor's garages where you were.
20 A. Yes. The one who was captured together with us, he told us that.
21 I know his name, if you want me to tell you his name, and I know where he
22 is from. I had not met him before. I only met him in Srebrenica. But I
23 can tell you his name.
24 Q. That's what I wanted to clarify. The driver was a fellow prisoner
25 who worked as a driver; it wasn't the driver of the truck who brought you
1 to Vihor's garages?
2 A. That's correct, yes. He was not the driver of that vehicle.
3 Q. You said that the vehicle had high sides, the truck you were in.
4 Did it have a roof?
5 A. Yes, high sides but no roof. It was open -- an open lorry. There
6 were just some boards on the bottom, and that's all it had. Those boards
7 were there so as to have the women and the children not sitting on the
8 very bottom of that trailer. And that's all the trailer and the lorry
10 Q. Thank you. Approximately how many men were in your trailer?
11 A. There were at least 30 to 40 people there. We could not stretch
12 our legs. We had to sit very tight. The lorry was rather long, that
13 trailer was rather long.
14 Q. Once you were parked at the Vihor's garages, could you -- were you
15 able to see out of the truck or were the sides too high?
16 A. Nobody was allowed to lift their heads, and unless you lifted your
17 head you couldn't see a thing. That's how high the sides were. As we
18 were sitting down in the lorry, we could not see anything without lifting
19 our heads, which we didn't dare do.
20 Q. Did anybody try to look out?
21 A. I only heard somebody putting their hand on the side of the lorry
22 and was immediately hit with a rifle. Nobody else dared repeat that.
23 Q. From what you could hear, were you able to estimate how many other
24 trucks were parked alongside the lorry or trailer that you were in?
25 A. There was a column of vehicles parked there. I don't know how
1 many vehicles were there. Only on the following day could I see how long
2 the column is, as we were climbing up the hill. I don't know whether all
3 the vehicles were there, whether we were all there, or whether some other
4 -- some vehicles went in some other directions. I didn't know at the
6 Q. Thank you. You were talking about how you could hear people being
7 called out according to which village they came from, their names, and
8 then you would hear sounds of, you said thuds, I think, and screams and
9 shouts. Can you describe just briefly to us how that worked. Who was
10 coming and asking -- calling out names of villages and calling out names
11 of people?
12 A. We couldn't hear people introducing themselves. They went from
13 one vehicle to another. They came to our vehicle and asked whether there
14 was somebody from Srebrenica. Nobody was taken out of my lorry until the
15 next morning, and if somebody answered, they would take them away. They
16 would hit them with the rifle butts, they would threaten them. And as
17 they took them to the garage, which was some 50 metres away from our
18 vehicle, and when we heard those thuds, then these men started screaming
19 and then they would start yelling: Stop that, stop that. And then we
20 would hear a burst of fire, and this lasted the whole night. In the
21 course of the night, one Serb soldier jumped on the trailer and did not
22 ask for people from various villages. He was very specific and said
23 whether there was anybody from Srebrenica. One person stood up. I know
24 his name because I knew him. Our fields were next to each other, and he
25 said: I was from Srebrenica. And the person asked him: Which village
1 are you from? And he said from Ljeskovik. And then he said: Sit down.
2 He did not want to take that person away. That person was older than me
3 at the time. He may have been the same age as I am now.
4 Q. Thank you. While you were kept there on these trucks that night,
5 were you given any food?
6 A. No, never, never. We were never offered any food.
7 Q. Were you given any water?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And was there any offer of medical treatment to anybody that you
10 saw who might have needed help?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Now, you said the next morning someone was taken off your truck.
13 Did you spend the whole night on the truck?
14 A. The whole night. In the morning, the soldiers started shouting:
15 Don't let the civilians get away. Because I suppose they were afraid that
16 the civilians might have talked about the massacre. And they said: Don't
17 let the civilians anywhere near. And when it dawned, one Serb soldier
18 jumped on the trailer and said to one person which was in the left corner,
19 and he said: Where are you from? And he said: Omer, and I don't know
20 whether that was his name or his father's name. And then the soldier
21 said: Come off the truck. He took him away. The person got off the
22 truck. And then from the right-hand side they took another young man.
23 They had recognised him. I don't know who that Serbian soldier was. I
24 didn't know him, and he took that young man away from the trailer. And
25 then they started shouting: Take them to Fikret and Halija. The Serbs
1 speak in a different way. They had H's where it is necessary. Instead of
2 Alija they said Halija and instead of Halid they said Alid, and they said,
3 okay, take them to Fikret and Halija and have them exchanged.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic.
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: Well, since I was invited by the Trial Chamber to
6 do some comment, to be honest, even I didn't quite understand what the
7 witness was talking about even though I understand the language. Frankly
8 I understood that some civilians -- I didn't understand whether he was
9 saying that some civilians were trying to approach these detainees, or
10 what was this all about? If we can go through this again. I really don't
11 know what that was all about.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: I can ask that question again.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please do, Mr. Nicholls.
14 I thank you, Mr. Lazarevic.
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. Again, sir, please, as much as you can, try to speak a little bit
17 more slowly. You spoke about hearing in the morning: Don't let the
18 civilians -- hearing the soldiers shouting: Don't let the civilians get
19 away. And that you were --
20 A. No, no. The civilians were the local Serbs residing in Bratunac.
21 Those were not civilians from Srebrenica. Those were the local Serb
22 civilians, the locals of Bratunac. There was a building there. As we
23 arrived that evening, one young man peaked through the window and an
24 elderly lady pulled a curtain on the window so as to prevent the child
25 looking through the window. Those were the Serbs -- Serb residents of
1 Bratunac. There were no Bosniak residents of Bratunac at the time.
2 Q. So what you heard the soldiers saying was that they needed to keep
3 the Bratunac Serb civilians away from the trucks and the prisoners.
4 A. They didn't say "Serbs," they only said: Don't let the civilians
5 come up here to that street. They didn't allow their own civilians to go
6 there. They were not referring to the Bosniak civilians.
7 Q. All right.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Could we go into private session for just one
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session for a while, please.
11 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. We are back in open session,
24 Mr. Nicholls.
25 MR. NICHOLLS:
1 Q. I'd like you to tell the Court now how you came to leave --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because I don't think we have covered
3 the totality of Mr. Lazarevic's observation. So we've cleared one thing;
4 namely, that in the morning some of the soldiers were asking or shouting
5 that the civilians should not be allowed to come near the trucks. We've
6 cleared that. We've also cleared this last point that we had in private
7 session. But then earlier on when he was testifying, he said: "And when
8 it dawned --" at dawn, in other words -- "one Serb soldier jumped on the
9 trailer and said to one person who was in the left corner, and he said:
10 Where are you from? And he said: Omer." So this he needs to clarify.
11 Do you confirm this, first of all, Witness? Do you confirm that
12 at dawn or just after dawn one Serb soldier jumped on the trailer and
13 asked one of you who was on the left corner: Where are you from? Do you
14 confirm this?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it was not the soldier
16 who jumped on the trailer. He jumped on the back of the lorry, and he
17 recognised that prisoner. And I don't know whether his name was Omer or
18 his father's name was Omer, but this soldier recognised that person. It
19 was already daylight, and then he ordered that person to get off. And
20 then they -- this person also probably recognised the other man, the young
21 man on the right-hand side. He didn't ask the question that they had been
22 putting the previous evening, and that was what villages we were from.
23 They recognised two people on the trailer.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic.
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: I believe that the main misunderstanding was about
1 the question that the soldier posed to these men. We have here in
2 transcript the question allegedly posed was --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: "Where are you from?"
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: -- "Where are you from?" But actually what I
5 heard is the question was: "What is your father's name?" And the witness
6 did not understand.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. This is why it is important that you
8 slow down as much as you can, Witness. I know it's difficult sometimes.
9 It's difficult for me, too, but let's try a little bit better. Make a
10 next try of it.
11 So the question by this Serb soldier was not -- to this young man
12 was not: "Where are you from?" But: "What's your father's name?"
13 Do you agree to that?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. He asked him about either his
15 own name or his father's name. That's why I'm not clear whether Omer was
16 his name or his father's name. The questions differed in the evening from
17 those that were put in the morning. In any case, I know that this soldier
18 recognised this man.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: So this -- thank you. This person was then taken
20 off the truck. Is that correct?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: And he was taken away. Is that correct?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: And then you had continued, saying that -- "and then
25 from the right-hand side they took another young man. They had recognised
1 him. I don't know who that Serbian soldier was. I didn't know him, and
2 he took that young man -- and they took that young man away from the
4 Do you agree to this? Do you confirm this?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. He took him away just
6 like the previous one. I don't know where he took them, I haven't a clue,
7 because we did not dare lift our heads over the trailer side to observe
8 what was going on.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: And then we have another part in the transcript
10 which is very confusing and you need to clear it up for us, please. And
11 then you continued stating: "And then they started shouting: Take them
12 to Fikret and Halija." Then we have got something missing. So what did
13 they say? Take them to ...?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Take them to Halija and Fikret and
15 have them exchanged.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Did Fikret and Alija mean anything to you at the
17 time when --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] How could it mean anything? We were
19 prisoners. It didn't mean anything to us.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And then you are reported as saying here in the
21 transcript: "The Serbs speak in a different way." Did you say those
22 words? And if you did, what did you mean --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: What do you mean by that?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's what I said. I'm just
1 quoting what they said. An educated person uses correct grammar. If a
2 word starts with an A, then they will start their words with an A. If
3 they are not educated, then they would add an H before that A, and the
4 other way around. I lived all my life with the Serbs, and I know that the
5 Serb villagers talk like that. If a person is educated, an educated Serb
6 would not say Halija if he is supposed to say Alija.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I think the rest of the transcript does not
8 need any further clarification. It's self-explanatory.
9 Let's proceed now. Yes, Mr. Nicholls, he is all yours.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Now, remembering, please, try to speak slowly. Tell me about how
12 you left Vihor's garages, where the truck -- trucks went.
13 A. When we set off in the morning, the lorries started moving towards
14 an exit from Bratunac. The column stopped at the moment, and at one point
15 we heard them shouting: We're waiting for the UNPROFOR. And this is
16 where we were sitting. It was very hot. The sides were made of metal.
17 The driver was very correct, he often brought us water, and he was joined
18 by a 15- or 16-year-old man from Bratunac, and he also brought us water.
19 And that young lad asked if there was an Ismet there, and I believe his
20 family name was Ramic. He was a shoemaker from Bratunac. Some people who
21 were imprisoned with us asked him: Why are you asking after Ismet? And
22 he said: He is my neighbour. And while we were standing there, a lorry
23 that was in Srebrenica that was transporting humanitarian aid - it was an
24 old truck - a group of elderly Serbs appeared. Their average age was over
25 60. Some of them wore uniforms. They wore the uniforms of the former
1 JNA, and the others did not wear uniforms. They were all standing there,
2 and since the sides of the lorry were very tall, as they started passing
3 by the lorry, they started shouting: These are our people. What did they
4 mean by that, I don't know. And then that lorry went away. We probably
5 waited there for two or three hours. I don't know. At the time I didn't
6 have a watch. And then the column started moving on towards Konjevic
8 As we drove by the -- by Avdaga's field and we started climbing up
9 the hill, then I could see how long the column of vehicles was. After
10 that we were not stopped anywhere. We passed Konjevic Polje and Drinjaca,
11 and when we arrived at Josanica, where there is the stone quarry, some
12 people saw, either before the tunnel or after the tunnel --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Slow down. Because even I who don't understand your
14 language can sense the speed that you are going at. So please slow down.
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. Let me ask you a question, sir. You said you were stopped for two
17 to three hours, and you said in the beginning of your answer that this was
18 at an exit near Bratunac. I want to be clear: Is that where you
19 waited --
20 A. Yes, yes, from Bratunac.
21 Q. So you waited for two to three hours at the exit from Bratunac?
22 A. Yes. That's where we were stopped and that's where we waited all
23 that time. They said that they were waiting for UNPROFOR; that's what we
25 Q. Okay. Now, you talked about how at one point during this journey
1 you could see, because you were going up a hill, how long the convoy of
2 lorries or trucks was. How many -- if you remember, about how many trucks
3 were there in this convoy?
4 A. There was also a column of buses -- or rather, there were buses in
5 the column, and there must have been at least 20 vehicles in the column,
6 as it was very long, even 30.
7 Q. Now, you were just starting to tell us about something that
8 happened when you got to -- I think you said to a tunnel by Zvornik.
9 Could you explain where you were and what happened.
10 A. As we reached Josevac on the road to Josanica, there's a large
11 quarry there and we set out for Divic. As we came out of the tunnel
12 someone saw that there was an APC near the Vidikovac Hotel, which was
13 about 800 metres away from where we were. We continued our journey, went
14 through Divic. We reached Zvornik. In Zvornik we could only see two
15 persons going down there toward the Drina, and they were using a
16 pedestrian passageway towards Drina, and we continued our journey toward
17 Karakaj. When we reached Karakaj, the lorries and buses turned left
18 toward Tuzla. I was still hopeful that the exchange would take place,
19 that we would be taken in between the lines, and that we would be listed,
20 because we had not been listed up to that point. I was still hopeful as
21 we were setting out toward Tuzla that we would be exchanged. We -- the
22 drive was a short one, for maybe five or six minutes, and the vehicles
23 turned right.
24 At that point, it immediately dawned on me that we were not going
25 in the direction of Tuzla but in the direction of Krizevici. Next, the
1 vehicles pulled up. As soon as the vehicle was emptied, it went back. As
2 we were getting close, we could see a school playground or a school yard
3 there, and there were between 30 and 50 Serb soldiers there. And then we
4 realised that this was indeed a UN APC, but it had been captured by the
5 Serbs. It was parked in the yard to the left side. There were two
6 soldiers in the UN blue uniforms and two Serb soldiers there, and there
7 was a civilian who was aged above 50 and he was walking with them. They
8 removed the UNPROFOR insignia, but they had the C in the insignia, which
9 stands for S in Cyrillic, and this was the only thing that was visible on
10 the APC plates.
11 As we were -- as people were getting out of the vehicles, they had
12 to run toward the school. I was wearing a leather jacket, and as I went
13 out of the lorry I was told by a man there that I should take the jacket
14 off and just throw it there on the ground, and I did. As I entered the
15 building, the school building, we turned left along the corridor, which
16 was about 10 metres. We had to run through the corridor, and then one
17 reached a door leading to a large hall. People there were mostly from
18 Potocari. They were elderly people; the average age was 70. I knew them.
19 We were filling up the ranks, and so it went along. When the place was
20 filled up, there were four young boys there and there was a grey blanket
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. Let me ask you a few questions about what
23 you've been telling us, and then you can continue to tell us what happened
24 to you.
25 You said earlier that while you were on this journey and you
1 thought, hopefully, that you were heading towards Tuzla to be exchanged
2 that you hadn't been listed yet and no one had been listed. What did you
3 mean by that?
4 A. I meant to say that no exchange could be carried out before people
5 were listed because the Serbs didn't know how many people they had. Not a
6 single one of us was registered by them. They can't even know our
7 numbers. Only if they counted the dead bodies could they know how many
8 people there were. They can't know how many people they killed, and it's
9 true, they can't know, because nobody asked for our names. There was this
10 one person, there were probably officers among them, who asked whether
11 there was anyone from the Zvornik municipality amongst us. But nobody
12 responded to that call and they asked no further questions.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, please slow down.
14 MR. NICHOLLS:
15 Q. Thank you. I think you answered my question. Then you said --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: And if -- having gone through the transcript, I
17 don't think there is an indication in it where we are, where is this
18 building where they happened to --
19 MR. NICHOLLS: You're correct, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: So if you could address that --
21 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
23 MR. NICHOLLS:
24 Q. That's where we're going. Could you tell us -- well, first of
25 all, this area you've been describing, you've described the journey from
1 Bratunac to Zvornik to Karakaj and then left and ended up at this place
2 where you saw a school building. Which village were you in when the truck
3 stopped and you saw the school?
4 A. This was Grbavci or Orahovac, whichever way you want it. I know
5 that previously this place was called Grbavci; now it is called Orahovac.
6 I don't know whether the area now called Orahovac is larger than it was
7 previously, but I know that before this was called the Grbavci elementary
9 Q. Thank you.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: And if he could also confirm the date for us,
11 please, now.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. It was Friday, the 14th of July, I believe.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
16 MR. NICHOLLS:
17 Q. Next question I want to ask you is about the soldiers that you
18 said were in UN uniforms. Who were they? Were those UN soldiers?
19 A. No, they were Serb soldiers.
20 Q. How could you tell that?
21 A. I know that because they didn't tell us anything, and they wore
22 automatic rifles produced by Zastava, from Kragujevac.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Incidentally, while we are at this, this is
24 something that we discussed this morning and which I was meant to
25 communicate to you at some point in time in anticipation of several
1 mentions. We will be, in the course of this trial, have -- be referring
2 to various kinds of weaponry and other military equipment. What I would
3 like you to do as Prosecution is to compile a -- a document, a dossier,
4 which would indicate a picture or a diagram of the various weapons and
5 kinds of weaponry and tanks or armoured vehicles, whatever was in use in
6 the former Yugoslavia at the time, and to which witnesses will be
7 referring as we go along. Please, before you hand it over to the Trial
8 Chamber, make it available to all the Defence teams so that we ascertain
9 that they agree. I see Mr. McCloskey on his toes. Is there already such
10 a document?
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, as you know, you will soon see a
12 video of many of these events, and we have a book of video stills that
13 goes along with it that have the APCs, the weapons, but we will -- as you
14 say, we will get a nice list for you. But for your knowledge, the -- the
15 classic Zastava automatic weapon that is used is recognisable worldwide.
16 You will -- it's an AK-47.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Right. But we have no military background in the
18 least, and although of course from other cases I know what an APC is and
19 I've heard about Zastava and so on and so forth, we will be coming across
20 various descriptions. And in the past there have also been some
21 disagreement between Prosecution and Defence on the correct nomenclature
22 and description of some weapons. So if there is agreement on this, it
23 will make everyone's life much easier.
24 Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
25 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. Of course when I hear the
1 word "dossier" I get scared because it's not something I'm familiar with
2 and I don't like very much. But if my colleague wants to produce a
3 listing with pictures of weapons and types of weapons, I think that could
4 indeed be useful, however, I wouldn't like that he would say who was using
5 whatever weapon.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no.
7 MR. BOURGON: But to know it, to have a picture and a name of a
8 weapon, I think that may be useful.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I have a specimen myself which I can show you, let
10 you have, and see whether you will agree to something similar to that, and
11 you can bring it up-to-date or work on it.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: We can bring weapons in the courtroom, if you
13 would like.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: No, I don't think we need tanks and helicopters.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: I mean handguns, but there's very clear video of
16 all this. I think if we can leave weapons out of the courtroom, that
17 would be nice. But we do have this weapon down in evidence if there is
18 any need.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think there is any need for that.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: You have a weapon as well, Your Honour? It's nice
21 to be aware of that. Thank you.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So let's -- sorry for that interruption,
23 Mr. Nicholls. You may proceed.
24 MR. NICHOLLS:
25 Q. Were you able to observe how these soldiers with Zastavas were
1 interacting with the Serb soldiers you saw there who were in Serb -- who
2 were in normal army uniforms?
3 A. Let me tell you, there was no difference there because the Serb
4 soldiers -- the other Serb soldiers also carried Zastava weapons, and they
5 were good-quality weapons. Of course they only had side-arms - none of
6 them had Howitzers or anything else - because they were confronted with
7 people who were unarmed.
8 Q. Maybe I didn't ask the question well. Thank you. That helps to
9 clarify, but were the UN -- were the soldiers dressed in UN uniforms
10 behaving any differently than the other soldiers there or were they all
11 acting kind of the same way?
12 A. They reacted in no way whatsoever, and there was a civilian there
13 who was an interpreter, but there was no reaction on their part
15 Q. How many soldiers total at the school did you see, speaking now
16 about when you got off the truck?
17 A. Between 30 and 50 soldiers; quite a few of them.
18 Q. All right. Now, I was going to get to it a little bit later, but
19 I'll try to do it now.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. If I may interrupt you, Mr. Nicholls.
21 I'm curious about this interpreter reference. Answering your question, he
22 said that these soldiers, which previously he said were Serbs dressed in
23 UN uniforms, were not behaving or reacting in any way whatsoever. And
24 then he mentions: "And there was a civilian there who was an
25 interpreter." What's the significance of that? Because if we're talking
1 of Serb soldiers wearing UN uniforms and Bosnian Muslim captives, what's
2 the purpose of having an interpreter there?
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes. Yes, Your Honour.
4 Q. How did you know this person was an interpreter? Can you describe
5 this civilian; what they were doing and who they were?
6 A. Let me tell you how I knew that. That's the way the UNPROFOR
7 works. They always have a civilian who interprets for them, but these
8 were people impersonating UN personnel, and that's why they had this
9 person there who posed as an interpreter. But he was not an interpreter,
10 in fact, he was a Serb just as all the other Serbs there, even those who
11 were there to force us out of the truck. They parked the APC there, took
12 the UNPROFOR insignia off. Instead of an UNPROFOR registration plate,
13 there was just a plate with the letter C there, because Serbs using
14 Cyrillic, C stands for S.
15 Q. All right. So -- just so I'm clear, there was a civilian there,
16 and your impression was that this person was there to look as though there
17 was an interpreter?
18 A. It was just -- he was just there for pretense.
19 Q. All right. I'd like to now show you four photos and see if you
20 recognise the place in the photos. And we're going to try to do this on
22 MR. NICHOLLS: If I could ask the court officer for 1691 is the
23 first number.
24 Q. Sir, this will - or should - appear on the screen in front of you.
25 It's not there yet; it may be there in a minute.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: I do have hard copies, Your Honour. Not for
2 everybody, but in case we need them.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the school at Grbavci or
4 Orahovac. This here is the sports hall. In this part here, the lorries
5 were parked where people were taken off.
6 MR. NICHOLLS:
7 Q. Okay. Just wait a minute, Witness. Thank you for that.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Could we blow this up and is there some way he can
9 then -- he was pointing at the screen, but so that we can see what he is
10 pointing at when he describes these places? And I'm sorry, I don't know
11 how that -- I've been trained, but I don't quite remember what I need to
12 do there to make that happen.
13 Q. I'm sorry, sir, just wait. We're trying to find a way for you to
14 point on the image.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's see how it can be done.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: Do I need to change my screen?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the sports hall, and this is
18 the auxiliary building where we were taken to. At the time I was there,
19 it was not walled up as it is now with concrete blocks --
20 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm very sorry.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think it's going to work like that. If you
22 have a hard copy, we can put it on the ELMO and I think it will solve our
24 MR. NICHOLLS:
25 Q. You're not doing anything wrong, sir --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, of course not.
2 MR. NICHOLLS: -- up to you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think that's the way to go about it.
4 Yes, Mr. Meek.
5 MR. MEEK: Well, Your Honour, at least on my screen it appeared
6 that the witness did in fact touch the screen, and I see a red mark. I
7 think perhaps the witness just after that was not touching the screen. If
8 he just touched the screen and was shown how to do that, I think we could
9 probably proceed.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: We can try it once more, but the witness needs to
11 know how --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's try it once more first. I see a red mark on
13 the screen, but I don't know if that's the result of --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This red line?
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. Yes. What I want you to do is you were describing this area very
17 well on the building. What I want you to do is first of all -- you've
18 made one red mark. Tell me, if you can see it there, under the windows,
19 what were you indicating with that red mark?
20 A. No, I wasn't showing you this top of the hall. I was showing this
21 other auxiliary part of the building. I don't know actually how I made
22 that red mark up there.
23 Q. That's no problem. Let's try it this way: Please draw the number
24 1 on the auxiliary building with that pointer thing they've given you.
25 A. [Marks].
1 Q. Thank you. Please draw the number 2 on the building you called
2 the sports hall.
3 A. [Marks].
4 Q. That looks good. Thank you. And I think you -- I may be wrong,
5 but I think I heard you saying where you went into the building. If you
6 can see on here where you entered, put a number 3 at the entrance.
7 A. I think it was somewhere here, around number 3.
8 Q. All right. Thank you very much.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Will you be requiring him to make more
10 markings on this?
11 MR. NICHOLLS: Just one.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Go ahead. And then I tell you what the
13 problem will be.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: Okay.
15 Q. The last one, Witness, you said the trucks were parked "here," and
16 I couldn't see where you were saying the trucks were parked. If you could
17 just maybe draw an oval in the area where the trucks were parked.
18 A. Somewhere here in front of the school and inside the yard.
19 Q. All right.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Now, the problem that I need solved is the
22 following: Previously when we were -- we didn't have e-court in place,
23 this kind of photo would be on the ELMO, you will make the marks on it,
24 and then he will initialise it. Of course he can initialise what we have
25 here. However, since this is a protected witness and normally the photo
1 on the ELMO would then immediately go into a sealed envelope and marked as
2 a sealed document, we need to see how we are going to do the same,
3 protecting the witness, giving this photo a new exhibit number, separate
4 exhibit number from that we had discussed when we had the lessons or
5 training. So you tell us how we are going to go about this. I need his
6 initials on this photo without the initials appearing on the screen.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I don't know if this is acceptable: I
9 would suggest, maybe just for today, that we put -- that he write his
10 witness number, PW-110, if that's okay, and we can figure something else
11 out later.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. If you're happy with that.
14 Are you happy with that? I see Mr. Haynes tempted to say
15 something, but ...
16 MR. HAYNES: Not really. Just in case there's another PW-110,
17 perhaps he should put the indictment number on it as well, but no, I'm
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Meek.
20 MR. MEEK: No problem, Your Honour --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's do that.
22 So, Witness, could you please, the top left-hand corner put P --
23 write "PW-110."
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Yeah, yeah, that's good.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] W --
2 MR. NICHOLLS: Maybe just P --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. 110.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 110?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you very much.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Dobro. Thank you. And we can mark this document as
8 Prosecution Exhibit -- next number, 20 --
9 THE REGISTRAR: Sorry, Your Honour. That will be Exhibit Number
10 P2102, under seal -- I'm sorry.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Does it have to be under seal at this point in time?
12 THE REGISTRAR: No.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So it's P2102. Thank you. So we've solved
14 that problem.
15 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. All right. Good point. You haven't
17 tendered, as yet, the clean picture, Mr. Jones -- not Mr. Jones,
18 Mr. Nicholls.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Excuse me for the interruption, Your Honour.
20 Perhaps it would save time if at the end of the witness's cross we could
21 just offer the ones that we --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: -- think are appropriate.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. For the record, however, we'd
25 just like to point out that the witness made his marks on a photograph
1 that carries ERN number 0046-1633. Thank you.
2 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. The next photo I would like to show you, sir, is number 1692.
4 Sorry, before we do that -- before we do that. The photo I showed you
5 that you've made markings on, it's still up there, not the one you marked.
6 But is that a fair, accurate, representation of the Grbavci school as you
7 remember it in July, 1995? Is there anything major that's different that
8 you want to point out?
9 A. I don't know what the school building looked like from the
10 outside. I know that I was there during the on-site investigation. The
11 building was the same. A couple of old cabinets had been thrown away, and
12 the area where the trucks were, the -- this part was walled up in the
13 meantime. But all the rest was just the same as before.
14 Q. All right. Everything was the same other than some cabinets
15 missing and some kind of wall where the trucks were parked. Is that
17 A. Yes. At the spot where we were taken out from the room, there was
18 a lorry parked there. It was like with a ramp waiting for us to board it.
19 When I returned four years later, I believe, this particular part where we
20 came up from was walled up. All the rest was the same.
21 Q. Okay. Thank you. And we'll talk about that ramp a little bit
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have 1692 now, please?
24 Q. All right, sir -- now don't touch the screen yet -- but again do
25 you recognise the building here we've just been -- the building in front
1 of you?
2 A. Yes, I do. This is the sports hall and the auxiliary building
3 that we all had to go through.
4 Q. And is there anything on this photo which you would like to draw
5 our attention to? Otherwise, you don't need to mark anything on it if
6 you've already explained this well.
7 A. No. I just wanted to say that this was -- that this is a sports
8 hall and the auxiliary room. This was all there. At the front was the
9 place where we exited from that building. There is nothing special to say
10 about this picture.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Meek.
12 MR. MEEK: Mr. President, I don't know if this is important, but
13 before we took the last exhibit away from the witness - I'm looking at
14 page 68, line 21 and 22 - the witness indicated, "This particular part
15 where we came up from was walled up." And he didn't mark that -- 67, page
16 67, line 21, 22. That was never marked before the previous exhibit, 1691,
17 was taken away from the witness. So perhaps he could mark it on this
18 photograph, if it is in fact visible.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
21 Thank you, Mr. Meek.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: I didn't think that was necessary because he'd
23 indicated where the trucks were parked, if I recall by the number 3, he
24 said that was where the wall was --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: -- so I thought the record was fairly clear.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I think there are no walls here anyway, so let's
4 For the record, however, the last photo that the witness has
5 referred to was 0040-9640. Thank you.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We all agree that it is not necessary to go
8 back to this photo and see where the wall is. Let's proceed.
9 MR. NICHOLLS:
10 Q. Let me -- just to be -- let me ask one question about that wall
11 then. Was it directly at the same place where the trucks were parked on
12 the outside or was it somewhere else in relation to this school building?
13 Was the wall where the trucks were parked or was it somewhere else?
14 A. No, no. As we were taken away blindfolded, in this corner the TAM
15 lorry was parked. I know the lorry very well. This is where it was
16 parked, and I don't know how they had done that. I believe that the
17 podium is somewhat higher, as we climbed on the lorry we did not have to
18 take a large step. A TAM lorry is some metre from the ground, so if we
19 had to climb in from the ground, we would have had to take a long step.
20 Since we didn't have to do that, I believe they had built something like a
22 Q. Okay. So I think that was perhaps a translation, interpretation.
23 There was a ramp there or a podium to help people get onto the truck, but
24 not a wall. Is that right?
25 A. I don't know whether in the meantime this thing has been destroyed
1 in the meantime. This was walled up later on. This wall or podium had
2 been built before we arrived, and then it was all walled up. In 1992, it
3 was walled -- it was -- in 1998 it was walled up, but it was just the
4 bricks. So I believe that that podium had existed before for us to climb
5 on the vehicle.
6 Q. Okay. Can we go back to 1691 just --
7 MR. NICHOLLS: I think I do need to clear this up, Your Honour.
8 Q. Let me ask you this: The ramp or podium, what was that made out
10 A. You know what? This was something as high as your desk. It was a
11 structure. I believe this was not done at the moment when the building
12 was built. This may have been done a day two before, and that's why they
13 had destroyed that part of the wall. They just broke through one part of
14 the wall, and this is where the lorry was parked to facilitate the
15 climbing up. If you're blindfolded, how are you supposed to climb onto a
16 lorry, if the lorry is high, if there is no construction to help you get
17 onto the lorry?
18 Q. All right.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Could we go now to the next photo, which is 1694.
20 We have 1697.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: 1694 or 1697?
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Oh, you do have 1694, can we bring that up, please?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because I think we have -- okay. Now
24 it's changing.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: And I'll say for the record, this photograph has
1 the ERN number 00409650.
2 Q. Sir, take your time, take a look at that photo. Do you recognise
3 what is depicted in this photograph?
4 A. You can see the windows of the sports hall, and you can see
5 something like a basket for basketball.
6 Q. Is there any difference that jumps out to you of what you see in
7 this photograph that you remember from the sports hall in July 14th, 1995?
8 A. Let me put it this way: I can describe the entrance into the
9 sports hall. On the right-hand side there was a wall with the windows at
10 the top. Then on the left-hand side there was an opening leading into the
11 auxiliary room. This is the opening that we had to go through
12 blindfolded. The easiest for me is to look at a photo, but when I look at
13 this picture, I can only tell you that this is a sports hall with windows
14 and the basket, which is either drawn onto the fall or fixed onto the
15 wall. At the time when I was there, I don't remember this basket being
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. NICHOLLS: Now could we assign this an exhibit number and give
19 it 169 -- and then go to the next photo, 1697. Actually, sorry, he didn't
20 mark it, so --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you going to mark this one now or are you going
22 to stick to what you said earlier, that you will tender everything or
23 whatever later on?
24 MR. NICHOLLS: We will tender it later. I'm sorry, Your Honour,
25 I'd forgotten. If we could go to 1697.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment because I recognise Mr. Bourgon.
2 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. Now, the witness has
3 indicated that this is a gym --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Sports hall, he said.
5 MR. BOURGON: -- and windows --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: The word I heard in the translation was sports hall.
7 MR. BOURGON: Or -- yes, sports hall, sorry, but he indicated that
8 this is -- I'm not sure if he used it, I don't have the transcript here,
9 he used sports hall, but he did not recognise this as being the sports
10 hall he was in. If later on my colleague asks for this photo to be given
11 an exhibit number, we would not object, but we would like the witness to
12 know whether he recognises this - yes or no - as the place where he was
13 held. Thank you, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls, could you --
15 MR. NICHOLLS: I think he explained his reaction to it, but I will
16 ask again.
17 Q. Do you recognise this photo? Can you tell from the photo whether
18 it's the same sports hall you were held in on July 14th, 1995? And if you
19 can't, just say you can't.
20 A. Yes, yes. This is where I was. I was in no other sports hall.
21 That's where I was. They did not take me all over Zvornik to see some
22 other sports hall. This was the sports hall where we were kept as cattle,
23 sitting on the floor, on the wooden floor. I don't know what was on the
24 floor. I did not dare look around -- what was around me. This is the
25 sports hall where I was held.
1 Q. Do you remember, if you do, where you sat in relation to these
2 large windows we can see in the photo?
3 A. I was the closest to the auxiliary building, to the entrance into
4 that auxiliary building that everybody had to go through. I was not
5 sitting close to the big wall, but I was closer to the other, smaller
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Last one, then; 1697.
8 Q. Again, Witness, take a look. Take your time and tell me if you
9 recognise this place.
10 A. Yes, that's the sports hall in the school where we were kept.
11 MR. NICHOLLS: That's 00816804 [Realtime transcript read in error
12 "00816801"] is the ERN number.
13 Q. All right. Now, I briefly want to ask you some questions,
14 Witness, about your experiences in the sports hall at the Grbavci school.
15 You started off saying that you were forced to run into the school from
16 the lorry.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What happened when you went into the school? I think you said
19 your jacket was taken from you. What was taken from you and what was the
20 process as you entered the school?
21 A. They took the jacket, and previously, when I was captured, they
22 took away the rucksack. And when I arrived at the school there was
23 nothing left to take away from me. The only thing that they could -- that
24 they could have taken away was my soul, but fortunately enough, they
25 didn't do that.
1 Q. Was anything taken from other prisoners as they entered the
3 A. The clothes. Some had to take their shirts off. They were
4 probably not allowed to put their shirts back on. There was nobody like
5 that in our lorry, but there was a very thin, elderly man who was
6 shirtless. There were a number of shirtless men, but we were not forced
7 -- the others were not forced to take their shirts off. They only told
8 me to take my leather jacket off.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Nicholls, and again apologies for
10 interrupting you, but line 14 on the previous page, page 73. The ERN
11 number of the document is wrong. It's not 00816801, but it is 00816804.
12 That's just for the record. Thank you.
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
14 Q. Now, we've seen pictures of the room. How full was the sports
15 hall when you entered it?
16 A. When I entered, over half of it was full. And when everybody
17 entered, there was very little space left. But we all sat down crunched
18 and squeezed. We were sitting so tight that we could not move from the
19 place that we were assigned.
20 Q. From the time that you entered the sports hall, how long did
21 prisoners continue to arrive?
22 A. Five, six minutes, maybe even more. We were towards the back of
23 the column, but all this happened very fast. As you jumped off the
24 vehicle from either the lorry or the bus, before us there was a
25 Centrotrans Sarajevo bus with the registration plates that I saw for the
1 first time in the Cyrillic. We had never had Cyrillic registration plates
2 before. It was then that I saw that Sarajevo registration with two C's,
3 and also a Zvornik bus. At the time, they had special registration plates
4 in Cyrillic, and it was only later on that we were all ordered to use the
5 same Latinic registration plates.
6 Q. And once all the prisoners, as far as you could tell, had arrived
7 and had been -- and had run into the school, how many prisoners do you
8 think were in the sports hall, approximately?
9 A. Anything between 500 and a thousand.
10 Q. Where were the --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Can we be more precise? Because anything between
12 500 and 1.000, 1.000 is double of 500, so ...
13 MR. NICHOLLS:
14 Q. Yes. Just think about it for one moment and see if you can be
15 more precise. If you can't, then that's fine.
16 A. Let me tell you this: If I had known what would happen and what
17 -- that I would survive, I could count people. I could add up the width
18 of every person times the number of heads, but just like with the Serbs,
19 the Serbs didn't know exactly how many we were. They never made our list.
20 They didn't know how many we were. We don't know how many we were. Maybe
21 somebody was counting in secret. I can only draw my conclusion on the
22 length of the convoy. If everybody from the convoy had been put there,
23 then there must have been a thousand. But if people were separated, then
24 they -- there were fewer of us. But a lot of elderly people who arrived
25 before us filled up half of the room, and then the rest of us who had
1 arrived on the lorries on that day, we filled the sports hall up. There
2 were a lot of vehicles parked ahead of our vehicle, and a lot stopped
3 after our vehicle. I don't know how many.
4 Q. Thank you. You said there was some elderly people. Can you tell
5 us the approximate age range of the prisoners in the room, from the
6 youngest to the oldest, people that you saw.
7 A. The youngest was 15 and the oldest around 70. And that person,
8 the oldest person, was from my village and he was aged 70 at the time.
9 Q. Let me ask you to think about that. How young was the youngest
10 person in the room?
11 A. Save for the four children who were there, the four children that
12 were there, one child was 10 and the oldest of the children was 14. But
13 they were separated from us.
14 Q. How were they separated, these four children?
15 A. We were sitting in lines, and they were sitting next to the
16 entrance door. And they faced the rest of us. The whole crowd was facing
17 these four children who were sat by the main door.
18 Q. Now, during this time you were there, these hours, were there
19 guards at the door at the entrance?
20 A. Yes. Very young lads who were holding rifles in their hands.
21 Somebody addressed them as soldiers, and they said they were not soldiers.
22 They said that they were Karadzic's Chetniks, Young Chetniks. That's --
23 they took pride in that. When somebody addressed them as soldiers, this
24 is what they said. Sometimes they would shoot in the air when there was
25 commotion among the people, then they would shoot into the walls and into
1 the ceilings. And we could still see the traces of those bullets when we
2 went to the sports hall later on for field inspection.
3 Q. All right.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm sorry, Your Honour, are we stopping now or are
5 we going another five minutes?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: It's up to you. If it's more convenient for you to
7 break now, we can break now.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: I'll continue.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: We've got another five minutes to go.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Okay.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: This inspection that he's just referred to, field
12 inspection, could he tell us when it occurred.
13 MR. NICHOLLS: I'll -- I was going to get to that.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. When you said this field inspection, you said "we," can you tell
17 us now, after leaving the Grbavci school on the 14th of July, 1995, when
18 did you go back to the school and who did you go with?
19 A. I apologise. I did not understand your question.
20 Q. I'm sorry. You said a field inspection. When you came back to
21 the school you could still see traces of bullet holes from when the
22 soldiers had fired into the walls of the school. When was that you went
23 back to the school?
24 A. Oh, yes. This happened in 1999, sometime in the autumn of that
25 year. I don't know the exact date. I believe that there is a record of
1 that. There were two Campagnolas, the United Nations Campagnolas, and a
2 big transporter and SFOR troops, and the person who took -- who made the
3 record, and there was an interpreter as well.
4 Q. Now, again, similar question I've asked you before: While you
5 were in the school, was any food provided, was any medical care provided
6 while you were a prisoner, and to the other prisoners?
7 A. No. Nobody offered us any food. Some prisoners were asked to
8 bring water, but there were just too many of us. If they started from one
9 end, they could only give water to two lines of people. So we were always
10 thirsty. If you didn't experience that, then you can never know that
11 water is the most beautiful thing in the world. Nobody wanted bread, but
12 if somebody had brought you water, I believe that we would have drank 2
13 litres at once. That's how important water is, and that's why I'm saying
14 today that water is more important than bread. We were thirsty, and if
15 you've never been thirsty, you don't know the feeling. You cannot imagine
16 the feeling.
17 Q. What was the temperature like in the school that day?
18 A. I don't know. It was the 14th of July, the hottest period of the
19 year. It was very difficult to tell, but you know when you enter a room
20 full of people, even if it had been cold outside, the room would have been
21 heated up by the bodies of all of us in the room. And I believe that the
22 outside temperature was well in its 30s.
23 Q. And did any of the prisoners appear to you to need medical care?
24 A. Yes. People were complaining about feeling faint. I also wanted
25 to have more water. I -- but if anybody was feeling faint or sick, the
1 only thing that they would do was for that person to move a bit further
2 where they could be given water, and that's all the assistance we ever got
3 from them.
4 Q. Okay. So my last question before we take a little break, sir:
5 What kind of toilet facilities were provided for all the people in this
7 A. They gave us a bucket, but it was hot so nobody really felt the
8 urge to relieve themselves. It was just too hot. There were maybe a few
9 elderly people and a woman, maybe they used the bucket. The rest of us
11 MR. NICHOLLS: I think it's time for the break, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Nicholls.
13 We'll have --
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Excuse me, not "and a woman." It is not good
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It is line 10.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Elderly people and -- "elderly people and a
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, the women are mentioned in the -- in another
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
25 Witness, if you could -- I'll read it out to you. If there is a
1 mistake -- if there is a mistake, please point it out to us.
2 "They gave us a bucket, but it was so hot so nobody really felt
3 the urge to relieve themselves. It was just too hot. There were maybe a
4 few elderly people --" and then we have in the transcript "... and a
5 woman. Maybe they used the bucket."
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: So what is the correct testimony?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I apologise to the women who
9 are here in the room. I didn't say that there was a woman. I just
10 apologised to the women in the room for mentioning that there were people
11 who did relieve themselves in the bucket, because I mentioned that action.
12 I wanted to apologise to the women in the courtroom.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir.
14 We'll have a 20-minute break starting from now. Thank you.
15 Same precaution as before. If the guard could kindly ask -- all
16 right. The lady is leaving.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.29 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
21 Q. Sir, while you were in the sports hall, could you see whether
22 there was any physical abuse of the prisoners? And ...
23 A. No. Only one man was slapped about. Why, I don't know.
24 Q. At any time while you were there, did any officers, senior
25 officers, arrive at the school that you could see?
1 A. At the time I was there, some people arrived in civilian clothes.
2 They stood on one side, observing us. When the time came for us to set
3 out, a group of them gathered - I don't know whether they were civilians
4 or soldiers - and one of them asked, as I said previously, whether there
5 was anyone from the Zvornik municipality among us. Later on, I don't know
6 whether it was this same person who put the question before someone else,
7 when there was commotion in the hall, he said: Shut up, everyone. And we
8 did. And then he said: Four rows in the hall stand up. These were
9 mostly the elderly people I talked to you about. They stood up. He told
10 them to take the right turn and face the wall, turning their back to the
11 entrance. The next four rows had to do the same thing. This way they
12 faced the exit they were supposed to take.
13 As they approached my row, they issued the following order: Four
14 rows stand up, and we were supposed to face the other wall, adjacent to
15 the previous one. And in this way they lined us up. As you enter the
16 hall, somewhere to the right in the middle of the hall, a person said:
17 These people should not be killed. One of the Serb guards standing at the
18 entrance replied by saying: Who says so? And then this same person
19 repeated: These people should not be killed. This person wore only black
20 trousers and, I believe, a shirt. Nothing else. The soldier retorted:
21 Well, we'll see whether they should be killed or not. He said: Come
22 along. He took the person, the man, out of the school building. We heard
23 a rifle shot. The man started moaning. They took out another man, a
24 younger man than the previous one. He was maybe 30 years old. He was
25 also taken out, we could hear a rifle shot, and the man never returned.
1 The persons carrying water were also prisoners, and they were at
2 that point prohibited from going out to fetch water, probably because this
3 was an attempt to conceal the crime.
4 At a certain point later on a man wearing a red beret showed up --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Stop, stop, stop. It's running out of hand,
6 Mr. Nicholls. Unless you control your own witness, we'll have to control
7 him ourselves. The question was a very simple, straightforward one: At
8 any time while you were there, did any officers, senior officers, arrive
9 at the school that you could see? And instead of answering that question,
10 he has given us an entire description of events that he was not asked to
11 describe. So this is something that we cannot -- we cannot -- I'm not --
12 sir, one moment --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This other person was supposed to
14 say that I should stand up, too.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Be patient, be patient. We will get there when the
16 time arrives. But in the meantime, please try to answer the questions
17 that are put to you and not answer questions that are not put to you.
18 Mr. Meek.
19 MR. MEEK: Thank you, Mr. President. Again, I would just renew my
20 objection I made earlier today, and if you would look at page 82, line 3
21 and 4, the witness again is speculating on why someone did something.
22 It's pure speculation. He should leave that out, those extraneous
23 comments like that. That's my objection, Your Honour. "Probably because
24 this was an attempt to conceal the crime."
25 JUDGE AGIUS: But he is an --
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We don't agree with your objection, Mr. Meek. He is
3 -- if that is the impression he formed at the time and he wants to relate
4 it to us the way he considered it to be, he has every right to do so.
5 However, what we definitely want rectified is the mode -- system we are
6 proceeding with. At least we will try to interrupt as least -- the least
7 we can, but at the same time try to control your own witness.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: I --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: And just a brief statement, and it's -- when we --
11 when this witness first testified many years ago, it was under a different
12 system. The -- the Judge preferred not to hear much from the lawyers, and
13 they were pretty much just allowed to tell their story, and that's, I
14 think, partly what this witness is doing. We got closer to the question
15 and answer the last time, and so I think he understands this, but --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: -- that's part of the problem here.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I appreciate that, Mr. McCloskey, and that is
19 -- provides a reasonable answer. But at the same time, the truth of the
20 matter is that he has not answered the question. Of course, what he has
21 been telling us is important, and we will need to come to it, but he also
22 needs to answer the question.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: I understand that, Your Honour, and I can certainly
24 break it up more. I was letting the witness go a little bit longer
25 because I thought it was easier for him to explain things that way and I
1 was going to come back, but I will try to break this up a little bit more.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
3 MR. NICHOLLS:
4 Q. So, Witness, please try to have a little bit shorter answers, and
5 we'll go through this step by step, what happened to you. I understand
6 you are trying to tell us what you think is important that happened to you
7 that day. Now, I had asked you about whether any officers appeared, and I
8 believe - it's off my screen - but you said: No, but some people dressed
9 in civilian clothes came and started giving orders to the prisoners. Is
10 that right, that you didn't see any senior officers?
11 A. No. No. It wasn't people in civilian clothes who arrived.
12 Actually, the civilian people came into the room before the military men
13 were to come. Of course there were officers coming in, because after they
14 came in, the process of taking people out started. Because from the
15 auxiliary building a bag of rags was brought in, rags that were used to
16 blindfold us. And of course there must have been a command issued,
17 because otherwise they would not have proceeded to do that. It was after
18 their arrival that the people were being taken out.
19 Q. When the officers came, did you see them inside the sports hall or
20 were they looking in? Can you just describe how you could tell these
21 officers had arrived.
22 A. It was after they issued an order to that effect, because it was
23 them who lined the people up, and they lined it up so that they faced in
24 the other direction. They had their backs turned to the door and their
25 face to the other end of the hall. When the soldiers went away, probably
1 the people who were left behind there had received orders from them to
2 take the people out.
3 Q. Okay. Let me just be clear, and I think this will be the last
4 question on this topic: It was the officers who made the orders [Realtime
5 transcript read in error "officers"] for the people to line up and which
6 way they should face. Is that right?
7 A. Whether they were officers, probably yes. I didn't observe their
8 ranks, but they regulated the whole matter, and once they went away, the
9 process of taking people out started.
10 Q. And were --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Is he capable of distinguishing between
12 an officer and a soldier?
13 MR. NICHOLLS: That's what I was going to ask.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: If they were wearing --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, one moment.
17 Mr. Bourgon.
18 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. Just because the -- what
19 is on the transcript at line 6, page 85, line 6, "It was the officers who
20 made the officers for the people to line up." I heard something like it
21 was the officers who gave the orders, but I'm not sure that this is not
22 clear. "The officers who made the officers for the people to line up."
23 Could you clarify this, please.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Bourgon.
25 Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: Yeah, I believe I said it was the officers who made
2 the orders for the people to line up.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I think so, too, but I think Mr. Bourgon is also
4 right, so let's proceed. I think it's clear enough, but let's proceed.
5 MR. NICHOLLS:
6 Q. Could you see the uniforms of the -- these men who you said you
7 thought were giving these orders and -- I'll just ask that for now.
8 A. You see, in wartime, all people wore camouflage uniforms and one
9 could not distinguish between ordinary soldiers and officers, save for the
10 fact that the officers had ranks. I wasn't able to observe the ranks. I
11 know that previously the uniforms worn by officers were different from
12 those of ordinary soldiers, whereas in this particular period they all
13 wore equal camouflage uniforms. I know that their officers wore rank
14 insignia on top of their shoulders, and I know that these others had some
15 sort of insignia on their jacket pockets.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: I think that clears it, Your Honour, that he --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, he's your witness, Mr. Nicholls.
18 MR. NICHOLLS:
19 Q. Now, you started talking about this, about some blindfolds
20 earlier. I want you to describe how you and the other prisoners left the
21 gym. What happened? What was the process of leaving? And now I'm just
22 talking about how you leave the gym and go outside of the gym or sports
24 A. When the order came, they brought a bag of rags or strips of cloth
25 that were maybe some 50 centimetres wide -- some 5 centimetres wide -- or
1 rather, 15 centimetres wide. And they asked prisoners to put these
2 blindfolds on each other. Near to the entrance there were two armed
3 soldiers wearing camouflage uniforms and there was one woman wearing a
4 camouflage uniform. And the woman gave every prisoner a glass of water
5 after they had put a blindfold on. Why, I don't know. Anyway, they had
6 guards, two guards, placed at the entrance so that they may control the
7 flow of people. It all went along very quickly.
8 Q. A little bit slower, please. Continue.
9 A. The person who escorted people to be executed wore a red beret, he
10 was quite young, and he didn't speak to anyone. He would go away with the
11 lorry. I don't know whether he was in the cabin of the lorry or under the
12 tarpaulin. I only know that he escorted people to be executed. When my
13 turn came, at this point we were told that all of us had to pass through.
14 And this was sometime in the evening that I stood up. I was blindfolded.
15 I was given water by the woman. I boarded a lorry, and it was -- I was on
16 the right-hand side close to the cabin, the driver's cabin. There was a
17 bench -- or actually, there were two benches running along the two sides,
18 and the lorry was full of people. I don't know whether there were 30, 40,
19 or 20 of them.
20 Q. Just one moment, please. Thank you. That's very clear. I wanted
21 to ask you a couple of questions. You talked earlier about a ramp or
22 something that was used by the prisoners to get on the lorry. Can you
23 describe how high --
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... this TAM truck was?
1 A. I can't tell you how long the ramp was or how high it was, but it
2 may have been a metre above the ground, although we did not have the
3 impression of climbing high. I did -- of course didn't have occasion to
4 measure the height, but it was -- the ramp lay more or less at the height
5 of the TAM truck.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
7 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. Now, of course the
8 witness now has just mentioned the word "TAM truck," but the first time
9 that this was ever mentioned was by counsel, and I think in this way we
10 are leading the witnesses in terms of describing. He always referred to
11 that truck as being a lorry and he never said the word "TAM truck,"
12 Mr. President.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I recall having on my transcript "TAM truck" much
14 earlier on in the day.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: That's my recollection, too, Your Honour --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: No, definitely.
17 But I can assure you, Mr. Bourgon, that it has been mentioned
18 earlier on.
19 Yes, Mr. Krgovic.
20 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may be of
21 assistance, the witness mentioned the term "TAMic," small TAM, but it was
22 at a different point in time and in a different context.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
24 Let's continue. Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: One moment.
1 Just for your record, Your Honour, page 69, line 17, the witness
2 talks about being taken away blindfolded, and in the corner there was a
3 TAM lorry, T-A-M, and it was parked, and then he starts talking about the
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Nicholls.
6 Let's proceed.
7 MR. NICHOLLS:
8 Q. All right. Please describe now how many men were sitting in the
9 back of the TAM lorry and where they sat once you had been placed on your
11 A. I told you that there were two benches. I can't tell you how many
12 people can be seated on these benches. While people were boarding, we
13 still had our blindfolds on, and then as people -- other people got on,
14 there was no space on the benches. They occupied the floor between the
15 benches. People asked where these people were being taken, and the answer
16 was to the camp at Bijeljina, and after that no further questions were
18 Q. Okay. Just to be clear here, who asked where the people were
19 being taken? Was that the prisoners or somebody else?
20 A. Yes, yes. The prisoners themselves. As soon as they started
21 boarding these people, the question was put as to where the people were
22 being taken, and the answer was to the Bijeljina camp. After that, nobody
23 asked any more questions.
24 Q. Okay. Are you familiar with TAM trucks from before the war or
25 before you were placed on this one? Had you seen one before?
1 A. TAM lorries were small lorries normally owned by farmers to
2 transport agricultural products, and TAMic is what we use to refer to a
3 2-ton lorry.
4 Q. Now, the one you were on, how many men do you think would fit in
5 the back with you at the time you were there?
6 A. At least 30 people; ten on each of the benches and ten of them on
7 the floor between the benches. I think 30 of them can fit.
8 Q. Okay. How far did the truck travel once you'd been -- once you
9 had gotten into the back with these other men?
10 A. The trip was quite short. I didn't know where we were being taken
11 to at the time. We had our blindfolds on. In my estimate, the lorry
12 headed to the left and it drove for a while along the gravel road. We
13 shook quite hard at the beginning, and then at a certain point it
14 pulled up. We could hear the voices of people outside. We were then
15 ordered to get off the bus. We did. We were then lined up. I don't know
16 whether we were lined up in one or two rows. Shooting started. I could
17 hear a burst of fire from the right-hand side, and I was positioned at the
18 left. And the shots came from the right-hand side. People started
19 falling over, and I fell down with them and I had my arm over the chest of
20 the man next to me. Then there was one person saying: We should finish
21 them off. And the other person saying: Take it easy, take it easy. Then
22 shots were fired again upon people lying down. I have a scar here, which
23 was probably just a piece of gravel that hit me, and then the shooting
24 stopped. Then I could hear shouts to the effect that: We should start
25 taking their watches off, and so on and so forth. Then others saying:
1 No, we are not going to do that. At any rate, I didn't have a watch on me
2 at that time.
3 Then there was another lorry that arrived. The shooting was heard
4 again, and some 10 to 15 minutes later there was another truck arriving.
5 It was getting dark at that point.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Stop here for the time being. I didn't want --
7 Mr. Lazarevic, that's why I asked you to wait, because I didn't want to
8 interrupt the witness at such a crucial moment. But perhaps you could now
9 tell us --
10 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. I notice something in the transcript that I
11 haven't heard from the witness, actually, it is rather different, and it
12 deals with this moment when certain person asked the soldier to finish him
13 off. Here it says that -- well, allegedly one of the soldiers said:
14 Finish them off. What I heard was the person was begging. If
15 Mr. Nicholls could clarify this.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls, you've been able to follow.
17 Perhaps you can put a direct question on this.
18 MR. NICHOLLS:
19 Q. Let me go back over a little bit of what you said, sir.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: It does make a difference, obviously, because one
21 would be a Serb, the other one would not be a Serb.
22 JUDGE KWON: Line 20, 21.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: Perhaps I can assist Mr. Nicholls. It's on page
25 90, line 20, 21.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: I've got it.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: 20, 21.
3 MR. NICHOLLS:
4 Q. You said, sir, after the shooting had taken place and you'd fallen
5 down, that there was one person saying, and this is what the transcript
6 says: We should finish them off. And another -- and the other person was
7 saying: Take it easy, take it easy.
8 Can you tell me what you heard when you were lying on the ground
9 at that time.
10 A. No. There was one person who had been hit that said: Finish me
11 off. And then the other person saying: Take it easy, take it easy. So
12 it wasn't the persons who were shooting at people who said that; it was
13 rather the person who was shot that said that, and then the other person
14 telling him: Take it easy, take it easy.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: So that clarifies the matter. I thank you,
16 Mr. Lazarevic, for pointing it out. Thank you.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: And again, I mean, our attention is being drawn that
19 he is going too fast. He needs to slow down a little bit further.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm told that was a
21 translation error.
22 Q. Now, you said you heard somebody saying: Take it easy, take it
23 easy. Is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Who was that? Is that a --
1 A. It was the Serb soldier who was performing the killing.
2 Q. Just so this is clear, he was saying that in response to the
3 person saying: Finish me off? Are these statements connected?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 Q. Now, you said that you were slightly injured and you pointed at a
6 part of your body. Could you show the Court where you were injured and,
7 just to make it clear, tell us what that injury was.
8 A. Yes. Right here between the fingers.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Okay. So for the record, he pointed to his right
10 hand, just between the first and second finger.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Nicholls.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. And that wasn't a severe injury from what -- if I gather you
15 A. Most probably a stone was set in motion by a burst of fire and got
16 me on my hand, and I was lucky that it was just that slight wound.
17 Q. Now, you described hearing trucks coming, gun-fire, trucks leaving
18 every ten minutes or so. How long did that continue for, you could hear
19 these -- these trucks moving and then gun-fire?
20 A. Let me tell you, this was in the early evening and went on until
21 it was completely dark. I don't know whether it took two hours or
22 thereabouts. The people gathered next to the excavator that was
23 excavating a pit there, (redacted)
25 Q. Stop.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: I'd ask for a redaction, actually, Your Honour, of
2 lines 20 through 22. I think it will be clear why I'm asking for that a
3 little bit later.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's redact lines 21 and 22, please, thank you.
5 After -- actually, we can start from after the words "excavating a pit
6 there," and you redact the rest from those two lines.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: And that will need us -- require us to have a
9 30-minute break when you finish, of course.
10 MR. NICHOLLS:
11 Q. When -- now, you've described laying there for a few hours and
12 hearing these things. At any point did you take your blindfold off or
13 were you still blindfolded while you were hearing these shots and trucks
14 coming and going?
15 A. When it got really dark and when they went to a different meadow,
16 I took the blindfold off. The man who was lying over me, I didn't mind
17 that so much while it was still day-time. When it got dark and his body
18 got really cold and rigid, I couldn't feel my legs, they went numb(redacted)
20 Q. Stop.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated].
22 MR. NICHOLLS: If we could just take that name out, Your Honour,
23 and I will take care of this part --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated].
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Sorry about that. Lines 16 and 17, we redact
2 everything that goes after the words "they went numb."
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Can we perhaps go into private session?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it will be safer to do that because I can
6 see where you're going, so it will be easier for him because he can't
7 distinguish --
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: -- really between one question and what he's
10 anticipated to answer in the next one. So let's go into --
11 [Private session]
11 Pages 718-719 redacted. Private session.
12 [Open session]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session, Mr. Nicholls, and please
14 make sure that the witness understands you.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes.
16 Q. And I'll say it again, Witness: Please don't mention the names of
17 the people that we just finished talking about or their nicknames while we
18 were in private session.
19 All right. Tell me what happened next after you said these --
20 there was a discussion which you had overheard. What happened next? What
21 did you do?
22 A. They left to this other meadow. The three men stayed behind.
23 Later on some -- at a distance from me to there was some 300 metres. I
24 could hear shooting. In the meantime, a lorry came under light, and it
25 shone its lights on us, and all of them who had been killed were clearly
1 visible, and it parked next to the person excavating the pit and they
2 started talking amongst each other, and I couldn't hear them because both
3 machines' engines were on. And when that person with the lorry arrived --
4 Q. Sorry.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, Your Honour, could we go back into private
6 session for one minute?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go back to private session, please.
8 [Private session]
6 [Open session]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we are back in open session.
8 Mr. Nicholls.
9 MR. NICHOLLS:
10 Q. I'm sorry I interrupted you, sir. You were telling us that some
11 of the men left, and then a lorry came and shone its lights on the area.
12 A. It was not a lorry. It was a loader truck.
13 Q. Okay. A loader came. Please continue telling the Court what
14 happened when the loader truck came.
15 A. When this lorry came, there was a person alive next to the
16 excavator. He jumped on his feet, started running towards the woods.
17 Shots were fired after him. The person who came with the loader truck
18 turned his lights on the area of the forest where that person had fled
19 into. I moved at that moment and I heard the words to the effect of:
20 There is another person running away. Luckily enough, nobody heard him
21 and maybe he thought that he had just imagined, as his lights were shining
22 across the bodies. I looked around. Nobody was walking towards me. I
23 moved just twice, and I started crawling. I turned around to see if
24 anybody was following me, and then I jumped on my feet. I saw a stone --
25 Q. Thank you for stopping. The transcript said: "Luckily enough,
1 nobody heard him." I'm not sure, is that right? Did you mean nobody
2 heard you, or did you mean nobody heard somebody else?
3 A. Those who were standing guard, the Serb soldiers who had been
4 killing, did not hear him say that there was somebody else alive.
5 Q. Okay. I understand. And just one follow-up question. The
6 transcript said "loader truck" and I used that word "loader truck." Can
7 you describe what a loader is, what it looks like.
8 A. It's a construction machine that loads material onto lorries. It
9 has a hoe the capacity of which is 2 cubic metres. It's a very good
10 machine that is used in construction. It's not used for anything else but
11 for loading construction material onto -- onto trucks. And this is a very
12 good machine for loading trucks.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, if you could please continue. Tell us in your
14 own words how you escaped from this field, from where you were.
15 A. And then when I stood up, I started running along the stone -- I
16 didn't know where I was. I didn't know what was there. And when I
17 climbed onto that stone, there was a rail track. I crossed the rail
18 track. I fell down the bank. Luckily enough, I ended up in a cornfield.
19 I ran through -- halfway into the cornfield. And then I realised that the
20 corn was moving, and I was afraid that they would see me. Then I started
21 crawling and I hid in a little thicket. I could hear the water, but I
22 couldn't see any water. The Serb soldiers who were standing guard ran
23 around the cornfield. They fired shots but probably in the air. I could
24 hear the bullets and I could hear the bullets breaking branches. But then
25 they returned.
1 I was there all that time. And when all the shots stopped, I -- I
2 was thinking I know where I had been taken to, but when I was blindfolded,
3 I no longer knew where I was taken, whether towards Zvornik or where. And
4 when everything was quiet, I stood up, I started walking, and I was most
5 afraid when I left the cornfield that I would be awaited there by
6 somebody. Luckily enough, there was nobody there. I climbed onto the
7 railroad. I didn't know whether to go down the railroad or up the
8 railroad. I decided to go down the railroad.
9 And then I arrived in the same place. I arrived at a railway
10 station. The door was open, leading to a room. There was nothing there,
11 nobody there. I saw a village there which I didn't recognise, and I knew
12 I was not supposed to go there. I returned the same way: I went down to
13 the road by a well that was in the other meadow, and I saw the other group
14 of people that had been killed. That was the other meadow where the
15 soldiers had gone previously to kill the rest of the people.
16 Q. Thank you. We've got to finish in a few minutes. Witness, if I
17 understand, you left and ended up back at the same place, at the same area
18 and saw another field with dead bodies in it. Is that right?
19 A. That is right, yes.
20 Q. How far apart were these two fields?
21 A. Some 300 metres, not more.
22 Q. Difficult to say maybe, but how many bodies did you see in this
24 A. Let me tell you, the bodies were prostrated across the meadow.
25 Most of the area was covered. I don't know how many bodies were there.
1 There was a man who was barely alive who was separated away from the rest
2 of the bodies. And the sounds he produced were not human sounds. They
3 were more like animal sounds. And he was the only person who was a bit
4 away from the rest of the group. The people -- the bodies that were there
5 prostrated on that ground were either on their backs or on their bellies,
6 but they were spread out. That's how they had fallen when they were shot.
7 Q. And you said there was a well or something like that by the road
8 by this field. Did I understand you right?
9 A. Yes. It was a source of water, ever-running water that people
10 used to water their cattle. It was like a well that was taking care of
11 the people.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I have very little more, but I think
13 maybe if I could just finish that up in the first ten minutes tomorrow.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I think that will be better.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: It's virtually finished.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: That will be better because this has been a long
18 So I think the witness can be escorted out of the courtroom.
19 Sir, you will return tomorrow. We haven't finished as yet. There
20 will be a few minutes more when Mr. Nicholls, hopefully, will conclude his
21 examination-in-chief; and after that, we will start with the various
22 cross-examinations. I'll explain to you tomorrow. In the meantime, you
23 will be attended to. Important thing is that you're not to communicate
24 with anyone on the matters that you are testifying upon.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 [The witness stands down]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls and various Defence teams. I
3 mean, I've made a rough calculation. Two hours and a half has -- have
4 already become three hours and 35 minutes. So I'm not pushing you, of
5 course, because this is just the beginning and one understands that we
6 will need to be as flexible as possible, but at the same time try to
7 conclude, because obviously then we will need to ask the various Defence
8 teams whether they stand by their time schedule for cross-examination or
9 whether they would like it revised. So we will deal with all this
10 tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank you.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Friday, the 25th day of
13 August, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.