1 Thursday, 17 August 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Jadranko Prlic and others.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
10 We are the 17th of August, 2006, today. The hearing has resumed
11 after the summer recess. I would like to greet the representatives from
12 the Prosecution, the Defence counsel, and the accused who are present in
13 the courtroom.
14 As you know, we ruled on a number of points before the 14th of
15 July, so I hope that all the attorneys have been advised of these
16 decisions. There are two decisions which will be taken very shortly. One
17 pertains to a motion filed by the Prosecution pursuant to 94(B), and
18 motions relating to Rule 92 bis. In addition, a decision will shortly be
19 rendered pertaining to Mr. Ibrisimovic's motion relating to documents that
20 have been presented by the Prosecution that were not on the Prosecution's
21 75 ter list. We will undoubtedly rule on the matter next week.
22 Also, a decision needs to be taken as regards a number of
23 documents pertaining to the witness Manolic. So all in all, we are not
24 running behind time and all the remaining decisions will be taken at the
25 beginning of next week, which means that this trial should unfold in the
1 best conditions possible.
2 We have a witness today. Mr. Mundis, how much time do you expect
3 to be leading this witness today?
4 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
5 Honours, counsel, and everyone in and around the courtroom. My colleague
6 Tonia Gillett will be taking the witness this morning, so perhaps she can
7 answer that question for Your Honours.
8 MS. GILLETT: Good morning, Your Honours. I anticipate that the
9 witness should take about two hours for the Prosecution.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. Thank you very much.
11 Defence counsel will have up until --
12 THE INTERPRETER: The counsel, interpreter's correction.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] -- will have up until a quarter
14 to 2.00. I hope on the Defence side that you have decided who will start
15 cross-examining the witness. If you have not decided, as you know, your
16 time will be divided between all six of you. This will include the time
17 for additional questions or re-examination.
18 We shall now ask the usher to go and fetch the witness.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 WITNESS: IBRAHIM SARIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, sir. Could you
23 give us your name, please; your surname and Christian name, please.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Ibrahim Saric.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you give me your date and
1 place of birth, please.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 18th of June, 1946, in Sarajevo.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current occupation?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a graduate electrical engineer,
5 and I deal in communications.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell me what positions
7 you held in 1992 and 1993, please.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992 and 1993, at the beginning
9 of the war I worked in the old post office, up to October 1992 or, rather,
10 September. After that, I joined the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the
11 4th Corps.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you already testified about
13 those events that unfolded in your country in 1992, 1993 before this
14 Tribunal or before any other domestic court, or is it the first time you
15 testify before a court of justice?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a witness at Mr. -- The
17 Mr. Dzidic et al. trial in Sarajevo, nowhere else. This is the first time
18 I'm testifying before the International Tribunal.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I would
20 like you to read out the text of the solemn declaration.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
22 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may sit down.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As you have just told us that
1 you have already testified before a court of justice, you know how the
2 proceedings unfold, but this Trial Chamber is a bit specific. To begin
3 with, you'll have to answer those questions that will be put to you by the
4 Prosecution that are seated to your right. The Prosecution has told us
5 that overall they would need two hours. After the examination-in-chief,
6 the Defence counsel, seated to your left, will put questions to you in
7 what is termed the cross-examination.
8 The four Judges, the Bench which is before you, will also
9 intervene and put questions to you directly sometimes. If you feel uneasy
10 at any point in time, please let us know.
11 I would like to remind you that you have just taken the solemn
12 declaration and therefore you have said that you would speak nothing but
13 the truth. The penalty you could incur, of course, is a penalty for
14 perjury or false testimony.
15 This testimony should end at a quarter to 2.00. We will have two
16 breaks, 20-minute breaks, in the course of the morning, and we need to
17 have these breaks for technical reasons.
18 I shall now give the floor to the representative of the Office of
19 the Prosecution who will start examining you.
20 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Examination by Ms. Gillett:
22 Q. Good morning, Mr. Saric. Mr. Saric, before the war in Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina started, where did you live?
24 A. I lived in Mostar.
25 Q. Who were you living with?
1 A. I was living with my wife and two children.
2 Q. In answer to the Judge's question just a moment ago, you mentioned
3 that you joined the 4th Corps of the Bosnian army. That's right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What was your function within the 4th Corps of the Bosnian army?
6 A. I was in charge of the communications centre.
7 Q. Where were you based to do your job?
8 A. At the time I joined, the base was in the Vranica building. It
9 was a building called Vranica because it had been built by the Vranica
10 construction company in Stjepan Radica Street.
11 Q. And what was the date when you joined the 4th Corps?
12 A. It was in October, 1992. Whether the 15th or the 20th, I'm not
14 Q. At that time, do you know who the commander of the 4th Corps was?
15 A. The commander of the 4th Corps was Arif Pasalic. Later on, he was
16 promoted to the rank of general.
17 Q. And who was your direct supervisor within the 4th Corps?
18 A. Mr. Pasalic had several assistants. One of them was Sulejman
19 Budakovic, chief of staff, and my unit was under him. My direct commander
20 was Sulejman Budakovic.
21 Q. Now, you've mentioned that you worked in the Vranica building.
22 MS. GILLETT: I wonder if the witness could be shown Exhibit
23 09413, and page 4 of that exhibit.
24 Q. Could you --
25 A. These three pictures.
1 Q. Could you identify those pictures for the Court, please.
2 A. Yes. This is the Vranica building. This is the Vranica building
4 Q. Thank you. Do you know how the 4th Corps came to occupy this
6 A. No. I don't know that.
7 Q. Now, within the Vranica building itself, where did you work?
8 A. Looking at the picture on the top, I was in the left-hand side of
9 the building. The -- a detachment of the 41st Brigade was on the
10 right-hand side.
11 Q. And which floor was that on?
12 A. The ground floor. That's where the offices were, and the
13 communications centre was in the basement.
14 Q. Was there any other group or body that was occupying the Vranica
16 A. At that time, I recall only that there was a court that was in the
17 direction of the MUP. That was a bit further away from Stjepan Radic
18 Street. Who else was there I don't know.
19 Q. You mentioned that the 4th Corps was in the basement of the
20 Vranica building. Do you know who occupied the floors above that?
21 A. There were civilian flats there.
22 Q. The communications centre where you worked, was that the only
23 communications centre under your control?
24 A. This communications centre was under my direct control. All the
25 other communications centres belonging to the brigades were under my
1 remote control, but they had their own leaders who were responsible to me.
2 Q. After you joined the Bosnian army, did you continue living at home
3 or did you move into army barracks?
4 A. No. I lived at home. Most of the soldiers at that time lived at
6 Q. And at that time, where was your home in relation to the Vranica
8 A. If we look at this picture and draw a line in front of the
9 building in this direction here, it was about a hundred or 150 metres
10 away, on the same side. That's where my apartment block was and my flat.
11 It's parallel to this street, Stjepan Radica Street. The name of the
12 street was Ante Suanica [phoen], and the next road crossing Ante Suanica
13 Street is my street, the street of Husein Skabuna [phoen].
14 Q. Could you see the Vranica building from your house?
15 A. This is a huge building. I think it has ten or more floors, and
16 it covers a large surface area, and it can be seen from many parts of
17 town. However, in front of this building there are other high-rise
18 buildings, and right in front of my building there was a building which
19 had more than three floors, and my flat was on the third floor, so it was
20 really impossible to see this building from my flat. My view was to the
21 east, towards the river Neretva and the whole town.
22 Q. Turning to the 9th of May, 1993, were you on duty on the 9th of
23 May, 1993?
24 A. No. On the 9th of May I was supposed to be on duty at 8.00, but I
25 was prevented by an attack which began at 5.00 in the morning.
1 Q. Where was the attack?
2 A. It was a frontal attack on the entire town, or at least a whole
3 part of town, the part of town with a majority Bosniak population.
4 Q. And what prevented you from going to your work at the Vranica
6 A. I was prevented by the situation, the shelling, the bullets, the
7 soldiers milling around who were not wearing insignia. I had insignia,
8 but they didn't. And it was clear to me that I had to report somewhere
9 else, because the place where I was supposed to report at 8.00, well,
10 nothing would be happening there.
11 Q. Which place were you supposed to report to at 8.00?
12 A. I was supposed to report to the command of the 4th Corps and take
13 over the duty of duty officer there.
14 Q. And that was where exactly?
15 A. The command was in the building we showed here, the Vranica
16 building. My office was on the ground floor, which you can see here. The
17 centre was below that.
18 Q. Was that building being attacked?
19 A. The building was being attacked very fiercely, and all the flats
20 above the offices had been gutted. I think you -- they're still gutted.
21 It was attacked very fiercely.
22 Q. How could you see this?
23 A. I didn't see it with my own eyes, but my wife was able to leave
24 the flat at that time, and she told me not to go there. I went downstairs
25 as far as the entrance to the building I lived in, and I saw there was
1 chaos in that direction and that it would have been crazy to attempt to go
3 Q. When you say there was chaos, can you describe what you mean by
5 A. When I say "chaos," in this case I mean very heavy shelling of the
6 building on the west part of the river Neretva, which is still under the
7 control of the majority population, the Croats, and this was a building in
8 which there were Bosniaks. All the other buildings were spared that
9 attack. Only this building was being fiercely attacked, both by infantry
10 and artillery. In front of my building there was chaos because there were
11 large numbers of people, both soldiers and civilians, who didn't know
12 where to go and what to do. So the soldiers probably had particular
14 Q. Which army were those soldiers from?
15 A. These soldiers were HVO.
16 Q. And how could you tell that they were HVO soldiers?
17 A. Only on the basis of the badges they wore on their left shoulder,
18 and also by their accents.
19 Q. Are you able to describe the badges that they wore on their left
21 A. Not in detail because I haven't seen it since that time, but I
22 know there was a chequerboard coat of arms and big letters HVO. I think
23 above that it said in small letters Croatian Defence Council, but I'm not
24 sure of that.
25 Q. Now, turning to the people from the 4th Corps, on the night of the
1 8th of May, how many people were on duty in the Vranica building?
2 A. In the Vranica building, in the course of a night, there would
3 never be more than 20 or 30 people there.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. I'm
5 sorry for interrupting. After a question that was put to you, you
6 answered but Madam Prosecutor did not pick up on one of these items. You
7 mentioned that these were HVO soldiers because of the badges they were
8 wearing and because of their accents. What did you mean to say when you
9 said that their accent was different to yours?
10 Have you understood my question? Would you like me to repeat it?
11 You mentioned -- you mentioned that these soldiers had an accent. What
12 did you mean?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, for me, it means that we in
14 Mostar can tell who is not from Mostar. People who come from 20
15 kilometres away are not Mostar locals, and we can tell that by their
16 accents, and especially so if they come from a hundred or 120 kilometres
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So these soldiers did not come
19 from Mostar.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
21 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can I -- in the same direction. Would you then
22 say that all the ABiH soldiers that were engaged in Mostar were actually
23 from Mostar? There were no soldiers on the Muslim side which came from
24 outside Mostar. Is that what you're saying?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the HVO soldiers I mentioned,
1 of course they were not all from outside. 90 per cent of them were from
2 Mostar. But the voices I heard, I recognised them as non-Mostar locals.
3 The same goes for the BH army. 90 per cent were local people from Mostar,
4 but there were also others. All those who felt that Mostar should be
5 defended from the aggression came and joined us.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
7 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Mr. Saric, you were explaining to the Court that during night duty
9 there would never be more than 20 to 30 persons on duty at any one time.
10 On the night of the 8th of May, were there 20 to 30 people on duty on that
12 A. Yes. That night the situation was the same. There were probably
13 25 to 30 people.
14 Q. Were those people all belonging to the 4th Corps or were those
15 people from other brigades or corps?
16 A. I said that in this building, when you look at the left-hand side
17 as in this picture, the 4th Corps was on the left-hand side, whereas the
18 41st Brigade was on the right-hand side. So if you add up the soldiers
19 from both brigades, there might have been about 30 in total.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think that the
21 accused are not receiving interpretation into a language they understand.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The interpreter, what is
23 happening in the interpretation booth? I cannot hear the translation.
24 It's fine now. Please repeat your question.
25 MS. GILLETT:
1 Q. Were those people, the 20 to 30 that you have described, all
2 belonging to the 4th Corps, or were these people from other brigades or
3 other corps?
4 A. There was nobody else from other corps. This was the 4th Corps,
5 which had a number of brigades, one of which was the 41st Motorised
6 Brigade, which was headquartered in that building. So the total of people
7 in both of these buildings, both of the brigade and of the corps, could --
8 could have been 30 to 35, not more than that.
9 Q. Do you know what happened to those soldiers who were on duty on
10 the 8th of May, the night of the 8th of May going into the morning of the
11 9th of May?
12 A. Well, let's say that there were 30 soldiers there, and I didn't
13 see what happened to any one of them, however, I heard of the fate that
14 befell many of them. Some of them managed to change into civilian clothes
15 and flee from that building. As for others who were caught, some of them
16 were shot on the spot, and some of them were taken to the building of the
17 school of mechanical engineering where they met their end.
18 MS. GILLETT: Could the witness please be shown Exhibit 08588.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, maybe I'm anticipating, but I would
20 like to know how you know that some of the soldiers were shot on the spot.
21 Did you see it?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have already said that I didn't
23 see any of this with my own eyes. I told you that I didn't see what
24 happened to them myself, however I heard about it. But what one normally
25 hears under those circumstances is usually true. Very seldom is there any
1 misinformation under the circumstances.
2 MS. GILLETT: I'm sorry. Could the witness please be shown
3 Exhibit 08551.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: It's on the screen.
5 MS. GILLETT:
6 Q. Mr. Saric, if you could take a look at the exhibit that is on the
7 screen in front of you, and you see that there is a list of names. You
8 see that there is a list of names on the exhibit. Do you recognise any of
9 those names?
10 A. I know many names, but there's a name that I'm familiar with
11 that's missing from the list, that of Juskovic. In those days, and
12 particularly later, there was a videotape showing their arrest. It was
13 frequently shown on TV of Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and probably in the
14 wider region. Following that broadcast of that programme, of that tape,
15 nobody ever saw those people again. As for the story that I heard, I
16 believe it to be fully true because there was very little misinformation
17 at the time. And soon thereafter, after these people were arrested, they
18 were killed at the school of mechanical engineering, or someplace else,
19 but very soon thereafter.
20 Q. The persons named on this list, are these people who you knew from
21 your work?
22 A. Under number 10, Penava Fahir, son of Halil, was in the Signals
23 Unit of the 41st Brigade. I knew him personally. As for the others, I
24 used to come across them inside the building, outside of the building, but
25 I didn't get into a conversation with them. They were junior in relation
1 to me in terms of their rank, and also younger than me.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation].
3 Mr. Saric, could you please repeat the name of the person under 10
4 whom apparently you knew because he was in the Signals Unit.
5 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we're having
6 problems again. It seems that we have B/C/S interpretation in the English
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Saric, you told
9 us just a bit ago that you knew somebody, you knew the person under number
10 10. Could you please give us the name of that person again, the person
11 who was in the Signals Unit, in the communications unit.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Fahir Penava.
13 MS. GILLETT:
14 Q. Mr. Saric, after the attack on the 9th of May, did the Bosnian
15 army, the 4th Corps, continue to use the Vranica building as its
17 A. It is clear that the 4th Corps had more than 30 people. There
18 were 30 people in the building at the time of the attack. Everybody else
19 was elsewhere. Some of them were in their homes. However, a large number
20 of soldiers and military leaders were on the left side, on the left bank,
21 where they remained after the attack.
22 Q. As far as the Vranica building itself is concerned, after the 9th
23 of May, did the soldiers in the 4th Corps continue to use that building as
24 a place of work?
25 A. I don't think that anybody came. I didn't, and I assume that
1 others didn't either. I assume nobody came there to work, because that
2 place was the one that was destroyed the most. So people wouldn't come
4 As for the information, the information is normally passed within
5 seconds, and we would learn that this is not located there any longer but,
6 rather, elsewhere.
7 Q. And what was then the new location of the headquarters?
8 A. There were a number of facilities that were used for the army at
9 the time. As for the command of the 4th Corps, if you have in mind the
10 commander and his assistants, then that was located in the building of
11 Energopetrol, which was a residential building. On the ground floor there
12 were some shops. And next to that building is the building of
13 Energopetrol, which is quite a dominant structure, as a result of which
14 that whole neighbourhood was called Energopetrol.
15 Q. And do you recall the date on which these premises started to be
16 used by the Bosnian army, the 4th Corps?
17 A. I don't remember because I wasn't there.
18 Q. You mentioned that after the attack on the 9th of May you did not
19 continue going to work. What did you do following -- in the days
20 following the 9th of May?
21 A. The situation in general after the 9th of May was very difficult,
22 especially for those who were persecuted at the time. I considered myself
23 to be persecuted at the time because I belonged to an army which wasn't on
24 its home terrain, so to speak, so I had to hide. I was unable to leave
25 town. I had to go into hiding, and I did that until the July -- the 7th
1 of July of 1993, which means that this involved two months of successful
3 Q. Where did you hide?
4 A. I was hiding mostly with Croats whom I considered to be friends.
5 I'm friends with these people to this day.
6 Q. Was this in Mostar or did you leave the city?
7 A. All of this was taking place in Mostar.
8 Q. Are you able to say where in Mostar you were hiding?
9 A. Initially I hid in the buildings in the vicinity of my apartment,
10 and later on in the part of the town called Ilic, where a long time ago my
11 ancestors had their estate. My father hailed from that area, and I went
12 to stay with the people who had purchased that estate.
13 Q. Whereabouts is Ilici in relation to Mostar?
14 A. This is an area to the west on the banks of the Radobolje river,
15 on both banks of that river. In the foothills is the source of that
16 river, which has its source there, and flows into the Neretva River near
17 Mostar. That entire area is known as Ilici.
18 Q. When did you go to Ilici?
19 A. I can't remember the exact date, but sometime in late May, towards
20 the end of May, because I know that I listened to the news of the 30th of
21 June in Ilici.
22 Q. You mentioned the date of the 7th of July earlier, saying that you
23 had to go into hiding and did so until the 7th of July, 1993. What
24 happened on the 7th of July?
25 A. What was quite unusual that day is that I took a nap in the
1 afternoon. They woke me up --
2 Q. If I could just stop you briefly. I apologise for interrupting.
3 Where were you?
4 A. What do you mean where? You mean where in the building or where
5 in Ilici?
6 Q. Both; whereabouts in Ilici, and in which building in Ilici?
7 A. In Ilici that was an area next to the Radobolje river where there
8 is a famous place called Londza where the estate of Sarici was, and this
9 building is almost immediately next to the current regional hospital of
10 Mostar. This is the family house of the man who had purchased this land
11 from my mother. He built that house there where I was hiding. The house
12 had a ground floor with a garage and a workshop, then it had the first
13 floor with living-room, some rooms, kitchen and so on, and then an attic
14 above it which at the time was not in use.
15 I was staying on the floor which was in use by the family, and my
16 room was facing the hospital, which means it was facing north, and it was
17 the door of this room that on the 7th of July they knocked on. The man
18 who took me in was knocking on the door and there were two soldiers with
20 Q. Now, you said that you were taking a nap to begin with and that
21 you were woken up. What time of day was this?
22 A. It was at 4.00 in the afternoon, about that time.
23 Q. What caused you to wake up?
24 A. The knocking on the door and the calling of my name. The man in
25 whose house I was staying called out my name.
1 Q. What did you do when you heard your name being called and the
2 knock on the door?
3 A. I put my trousers on and opened the door.
4 Q. What happened when you opened the door?
5 A. When I opened the door, I saw two armed soldiers standing behind
6 the man. They came in in quite a rough manner and started searching the
7 room. As they were searching, they found some jewellery which I had
8 hidden and which belonged to my wife, and they took it in quite a selfish
9 manner, as though they were hiding it from each other. And then they also
10 took some cash that I had in my bag. They searched the whole room and the
11 bed where I slept, and they found an automatic rifle belonging to the man
12 in whose house I was staying.
13 Q. What were the men wearing?
14 A. The soldiers wore uniforms, and at the time everybody had the same
15 uniforms - those were camouflage uniforms - and the only thing that
16 differed were the badges on their sleeves. Their badge was that of the
18 I knew one of the soldiers. He was Franjo Cvitkovic from Citluk.
19 He used to live in Mostar before the war. I don't know how long he had
20 lived there before the war. I just knew him as a resident of Mostar.
21 Q. So after they searched the property and found some jewellery, what
23 A. I was taken to a jeep which was parked in front of the door. We
24 got into the jeep, and we drove past Londza, the house of my parents, and
25 then we went to the olive grove. That is to say we went straight to the
1 school of mechanical engineering.
2 Q. What happened when you got to the school of mechanical
4 A. When I came to the school of mechanical engineering, they took me
5 to the basement and shut me in a room where there were already 15 people.
6 MS. GILLETT: Could the witness be shown Exhibit 09413, please.
7 And page 11 of that exhibit.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the pensioners' centre, and
9 then underneath is the Mostar hotel. The photograph on the top resembles
10 it, but I don't think it is. As for the bottom one, it's definitely not
12 MS. GILLETT:
13 Q. And could we turn to page 12, please. Do you recognise either of
14 these two photographs?
15 A. The bottom one. The bottom one, and the upper one, the right
16 corner. Yes, that's what it is. This -- this -- this right portion on
17 the upper photograph resembles it, but I don't think that this is the
19 Q. Now, you've mentioned you were taken to a room when you arrived at
20 the mechanical faculty.
21 MS. GILLETT: Could I ask you to be shown this document, please,
22 and a copy to be placed on the ELMO.
23 Sorry, there are two sketches, one of which I'm going to get to
24 later. I believe the witness has a different sketch. If I can just take
25 a look and I can show you.
1 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Could
2 our learned friend please tell us who produced this map. We don't see any
3 ERN number, nor is this document on the list of the documents.
4 MS. GILLETT: My learned friend for the Defence is quite right.
5 There is no ERN on the document, and I'm about to ask the witness some
6 questions about this document in order to identify the document, and the
7 explanation will then be forthcoming as to why the Defence are only
8 receiving this document this morning.
9 Q. Mr. Saric, could you identify the document that has been placed
10 before you.
11 A. Yes, I can. To the right you can see the basement of the school
12 of mechanical engineering.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... before we get into the detail
14 of the document, just to ask you where this document has come from.
15 A. What we are discussing now was taking place in 1993. It's 2006
16 now, which is to say that it's been 13 years since I last saw this --
17 these premises. I tried to recall it, and I drew this yesterday, last
18 night, and of course I was relying on my memories, but you have to take
19 into account that it's been 13 years, and 13 years which I was doing my
20 best to forget at that, so it's possible that all not all of the details
21 are accurate.
22 MS. GILLETT: I hope that answers my learned friend's question as
23 to where this document has come from, and I'd ask that the document be
24 given an In Court Exhibit number. That will be 00027.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That's correct. It will be IC 00-0027.
1 MS. GILLETT:
2 Q. Now, Mr. Saric, you explained that you arrived at the mechanical
3 faculty. Are you able to describe where you were taken to, with the use
4 of the sketch diagram if that assists you at all in your recollections.
5 A. I don't know whether you can see what I'm pointing to now, but the
6 entrance door, which is right next to the stairs, is the door facing the
7 street, the street with the trees. As you enter through the front door,
8 to the right there are stairs leading to the basement, and to the left are
9 stairs leading to the ground floor which is a bit above the ground. And
10 then there are these two rooms where I stayed when they brought me there,
11 but this was after the events which took place in the premises on the
13 So they took me straight to these stairs on the right and then
14 straight to the cell.
15 MR. MURPHY: Sorry to interrupt, but if -- if any of this detail
16 matters at all to the Prosecution, it's very difficult for us to follow
17 because we're not able to see what the witness is referring to, and I
18 wonder whether it might be possible for the Prosecution to devise some way
19 to deal with that.
20 MS. GILLETT: My apologies, I --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. The document is now
22 on the ELMO so everyone can see it.
23 Could you please use a pointer, a pencil, and could you show us
24 what you mean on the document itself.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If we compare the picture
1 underneath, this is the floor plan of the building. Here is the entrance,
2 and in front of it are the pine trees shown in this picture. That's the
3 street leading towards the interior of the university. And I was taken
4 down these stairs here and taken to this cell. There were some 15 or 16
5 people in this cell already.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Saric, please speak into the
7 microphone. The interpreters can't hear you otherwise.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was taken down these stairs
9 straight to this cell. In this cell there were about 15 people already.
10 The cell next door was empty, and in this one there were three or four
11 people. I don't know because we were locked in.
12 This is a wooden lattice, the sort that is usual in basements so
13 air would come in through that.
14 This big room here was used as the toilet. All those who passed
15 through the faculty of mechanical engineering, not as students but as
16 victims, went to the toilet here. This was never cleaned. Nobody ever
17 cleaned this.
18 This area labelled A was the room where they tortured prisoners,
19 where they beat them up, whereas B was used for executions. It was used
20 for killing. This was the famous slaughterhouse. This was the torture
21 chamber, and this was the slaughterhouse.
22 This was the audience, observing what would happen to them while
23 those who were completely out of favour were taken to B.
24 I remained in the cell, and fortunately, I survived.
25 MS. GILLETT:
1 Q. Mr. Saric, just to go through in some more detail. You've given a
2 lot of information there, and we'll go through in more detail the
3 descriptions that you've begin.
4 Taking, first of all, the room to you which you were put into when
5 you arrived at the mechanical faculty. You mentioned the number of people
6 that were in the cell. Can you describe the room; how big it was, whether
7 there were any windows, any furniture, whether it was clean or dirty, the
8 sleeping facilities, food and water.
9 A. Well, you see, no cleaners had been there for years. No one had
10 ordered the prisoners to clean it for years. It was probably the dirtiest
11 place where people lived at that time. I spent three very difficult days
12 there. Throughout those three days I was given no food and no water.
13 Q. How big was the room?
14 A. The room was very small. In my estimation today, then, it was --
15 well, today it's probably different the way I remember it from -- well, it
16 was 2.5 or -- metres or 2.80 metres wide and about 3 metres long. So
17 let's say 2.5 metres by 3 metres, or maybe 2.70 by 3.
18 Q. What about the conditions for sleeping?
19 A. The window was covered with bricks from the outside so that very
20 little light came in, although there was a little daylight, which was very
22 This was the wooden lattice door, and there was a board that was
23 placed against it.
24 The floor was covered only with pieces of broken furniture, a
25 cupboard door, things like that. And there was a small chair. The size
1 was that of a chair for a school child, and whoever managed to sit down
2 was very happy. The others had to lie on those boards or sit or squat.
3 You couldn't lie down and fall asleep. People slept in a squatting or
4 sitting position. Those who managed to sit down had the chance of dozing
5 off for a while.
6 Q. The 15 persons that you've mentioned as being in the room, do you
7 know what ethnicities they were?
8 A. All the people I knew were Bosniaks, and from what the others were
9 saying, all the others were Bosniaks too.
10 Q. And were these people male or female?
11 A. They were all male. There were no women there.
12 Q. Were they military or civilian people?
13 A. All the ones I knew, they were all civilians. I was the only one
14 who was a "military person."
15 Q. And what ages were the people in the cell with you?
16 A. They were mostly aged between 40 and 50. There was an elderly man
17 and also a young man who was about 20. He may have been the son of the
18 man I said was called Djukic, who had gone to the mechanical engineering
19 school. I had gone to the electrical engineering school. And his son was
20 held there for three days.
21 All the others were aged between 40 and 50.
22 Q. Did you know anything of these people?
23 A. I knew a few of them. This man Djukic, whom I knew from school.
24 There was Mustafa Pilatovac, an electrical engineer; then there was
25 Stupac, I can't recall his first name; then Hasan Trcalo, who had also
1 gone to school with me, to primary school. I can't recall any other names
2 now, but I'm certain I know these people.
3 Q. Were you able to see if there were -- there was anybody guarding
4 the door to the room where you were staying?
5 A. No, because if there had been a guard there, he would have been
6 punished like us. As the conditions were so horrible, no guard wanted to
7 be there unless he was being punished. The guards were up here, either at
8 the gate, at the door, or in this corridor here. As all the windows were
9 blocked, there were probably soldiers outside, guards outside, but none of
10 the guards spent any time in the basement except for the time it took to
11 torture or kill someone.
12 Q. On that first day that you spent at the --
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Excuse me. May interrupt to ask an additional
14 question on the conditions in detention.
15 Were you allowed to use the toilet?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This was the toilet here. It
17 was public and open. Everyone here used it. It was never washed. It was
18 just a room. There was no sewage. There was no water. It was just a
19 room where people went to do what they had to do there.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Hvala. Thank you.
21 MS. GILLETT:
22 Q. Following on from Your Honour's question, how did you get from the
23 cell to the toilet?
24 A. This part of the cell was closed with a wooden lattice, and it was
25 facing the stairway. Those who needed to go to the toilet, and those were
1 very few - as I told you, I had spent three days without food or water so
2 there was no need to go - but those who needed to go would call a guard,
3 and they would perhaps have to yell for about 20 minutes before a guard
4 would come, and he would just open this gate, take away the board, and he
5 would say, "Okay, go," and they would close the door and go upstairs
6 again, and then he would come back a minute or two later to lift the board
7 and put the man back in again.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Is it -- I'm sorry. Is it correct to assume that
9 there was a rather unpleasant smell in that cellar?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was terrible. "Terrible" is an
11 understatement. It was ten times terrible.
12 MS. GILLETT:
13 Q. On the first day that you were at the mechanical faculty, you've
14 explained you arrived and you were put in the cell. Did you remain in the
15 cell throughout that day?
16 A. Not the whole day. After an hour, half an hour - I can't be sure
17 - they took me for interrogation. I was brought to this room here. This
18 is the desk and the chair on which I sat.
19 Q. And from the diagram, is that room on a different floor from the
20 cell that you were contained in?
21 A. Well, I've drawn a thin line here, a slight line, to show that the
22 right-hand side was in the basement. The left-hand side was raised. It
23 was a mezzanine.
24 Q. Was there anybody with you in that room where you've shown you
25 were sitting?
1 A. Here? In this room there was no one. Occasionally soldiers would
2 go in and out. There were three doors, and they would go in and out in
3 order to confuse and intimidate me. So they would go here and here and
4 here, but they would all just pass through.
5 Q. Did anybody speak to you?
6 A. Only the commander of the military police, who came in through
7 this door. His name was Dzidic, also known as Dzida. He opened this door
8 and saw me here, and he made a sarcastic comment. He said, "What's up,
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Saric, you've just told us
11 that the commander of the military police was called Dzidic, nicknamed
12 Dzida. Is that the person who was prosecuted in a case in which you
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. But this was not the topic.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you are telling
16 us that the commander of the military police was called Dzidic; is that
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You see, I only heard this. What
19 his real position was, who the real commander was, who issued the orders,
20 I don't know, but people said that Dzida was the chief of police. Of
21 course, the overall chief of police, the main one, was someone else. But
22 in my view, Dzida, as far as I knew, was the chief of police in that
23 building where I was being held, the faculty of mechanical engineering.
24 MS. GILLETT:
25 Q. In the room where you saw Dzidic, how long did you remain in that
2 A. Three or four hours.
3 Q. And what did you do during that time?
4 A. I had a pen and paper, and I was supposed to describe the events
5 that had happened from the beginning of the war until the point when I
6 arrived in that building. It was supposed to be a kind of statement.
7 Q. And who asked you to make that statement?
8 A. I don't know that. One of the soldiers who was there.
9 Q. Did you make a statement?
10 A. I did, in pencil, in my own handwriting.
11 Q. After finishing the statement, where did you go to?
12 A. From this room I was taken straight back to the cell in the
13 basement. It was around 9.00 in the evening. It was already dark.
14 Q. By whom were you taken back to the cell?
15 A. The HVO soldier who was there on duty that day. I don't know what
16 his name is or who he is.
17 Q. When you got back to the cell at 9.00 that night, what did you do?
18 A. I tried to get some sleep. I tried to forget about all this, as
19 if it wasn't happening, but of course I couldn't do that. I didn't fall
20 asleep all that night. I was afraid for my family, and also I heard moans
21 coming from this cell here. There were three or four men in that cell.
22 And when there were no guards around, we would call out to each other from
23 one cell to the next, and so we learned that they came from Konjic
24 municipality and that that evening or the previous evening they had been
25 caught by HVO soldiers in the area of Salakovac and that they had been
1 brought to prison here.
2 One of them, who I think was the youngest and the strongest of
3 them, managed to come to the door of our cell, asking for water, and then
4 he told us the details. He said that the person who was moaning, that his
5 name was Hebibovic, or he said that they had already killed Hebibovic.
6 They kept saying, They killed Hebibovic. Whether it was the man who was
7 moaning or somebody who had already been killed before, I'm not sure, but
8 we thought Hebibovic was the man lying on the floor there. And this
9 Hebibovic, if that was him, took a long time to die. He must have been
10 very strong. We heard him moaning all night, and then it stopped at
11 around 5.00 or 6.00 a.m.
12 Q. You've mentioned that he was lying down. Is this something that
13 you were able to see?
14 A. I saw it with my own eyes only on the following day when I was
15 going to the toilet. I was unable to relieve myself and I went back, and
16 I saw him then. There was a mess here, and he was lying in the middle of
17 that mess.
18 MS. GILLETT: Could the witness be shown Exhibit 08534.
19 Q. As you'll see, the copy of this document is not very clear, but
20 are you able to identify this document?
21 A. I was --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for Mr. Kovacic.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Your Honours, I hate
25 to interrupt, but my learned friend did say that it was a poor copy. When
1 we received it, it was a poor copy. We tried to look at it in our office
2 under various kinds of light, but it's not just a poor copy, but the first
3 and last name of the person who -- whose death certificate this purports
4 to be is missing. So this document cannot be used. Thank you.
5 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, in response to my learned friend's
6 remarks, Your Honour can see that lower down on the document the last and
7 first names of the parents are legible.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may. The names of
9 parents need not mean anything. They could have had 15 children. This
10 happens in Bosnia. Or it could be another family called Hebibovic. There
11 is no first and last name. This is precisely why in the countries of the
12 former Yugoslavia death certificates look like this, to identify the
13 person. We need his first and last name, his date of birth and death, and
14 also his parents' names.
15 Let the OTP show the parents' birth certificates and marriage
16 certificates and then we might conclude that this person might be their
17 son, but this is not evidence, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think we have to be quick. We
19 only have five minutes left now. Please proceed.
20 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, my question to the witness, hopefully
21 addressing the remarks of my learned friend, would be regarding those
22 parents of the man that he witnessed to be dead in detention and whether
23 he knows who those people are.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know those people, although
25 I do know the family. It's a family from Glavaticevo above the Boracko
1 lake near Konjic.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you knew Mr. Ahmet Hebibovic.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But you've just said -- spoken
5 to the contrary. Which family are you talking about?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm speaking of the Hebibovic
7 family, but that is a large family that has been there for generations.
8 So the last name comes from that area. I know, for example, a journalist
9 whose last name is Hebibovic who works in Mostar, but there are Hebibovics
10 who do not know each other. The family is very large.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this document was
12 issued by Konjic municipality. You can see the number and the date here.
13 The office still exists in Konjic, so instead of looking at illegible
14 copies, the OTP has its office in Mostar, let them go to Konjic.
15 These are public registers. They're open to the public. Let them
16 get a valid death certificate and then we can discuss it.
17 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, if I can short circuit matters. We are
18 going to try and obtain the best copies that we can get a hold of, if that
19 assists any.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I have another question with regard to this
21 document. The events that the witness speaks about cannot have taken part
22 before the 7th of July. Actually, it must be the 8th of July that a
23 person the witness says was named Hebibovic died in the technical faculty.
24 However, on this document, date, month, year and hour of death one can
25 read a 6 and then a 7, which would refer to the month, perhaps, and that
1 would mean that the document predates the events the witness is speaking
3 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, I believe that Mr. Saric may be able to
4 assist in that regard if he's given the opportunity to answer a question.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes.
6 MS. GILLETT:
7 Q. Mr. Saric, would you be able to assist in that discrepancy in the
8 date, the events you describe having taken place on the night of the 7th
9 into the morning of the 8th of July and the death certificate, as His
10 Honour pointed out, being dated the 6th of July?
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the way this question
12 is put seems to me to be unacceptable, because we do not know whether the
13 certificate refers to that person at all. Therefore, information as to
14 whether he died on the 6th or the 7th is irrelevant.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think there are many more
16 essential questions we can put in this case, so I shall ask a question
18 The person you saw lying on the ground and moaning all night, the
19 person whom you saw in the early hours of the morning, you realised that
20 this person was dead. Could you tell us, please, what the surname and
21 Christian name of this person was, if you knew it at the time.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The man who died, his last name was
23 Hebibovic. I learned that from the man who was with him, who had been
24 taken prisoner with him and who had been in the cell with him. He came to
25 the door of our cell and told us that this man's name was Hebibovic and
1 that he was finished. I didn't know the man personally.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The man whom you spoke to told
3 you that they had been captured in Konjic; is that right?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, near Salakovac, near Dreznica.
5 Between Dreznica and Salakovac. That's 30 kilometres away from Mostar.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And this person named Hebibovic,
7 was he a civilian or a soldier from the ABiH army?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were civilians. They were on
9 their way to trade. These were people who tried to survive in that area
10 and to get something for their families, whether to buy something or
11 smuggle something, I don't know, and they were brought in as civilians.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. It is now 10.30.
13 For technical reasons we have to have a break now.
14 I'd like to remind the Prosecution that it had told us that it
15 needed two hours. Theoretically you have half an hour left.
16 We shall resume in 20 minutes' time.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're resuming the hearing. The
20 Prosecution has the floor.
21 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour. Your Honour, without taking
22 up any more time on this issue of the death certificate, the Prosecution
23 has found the copy of the original that was sent to us as the result of a
24 request for assistance from the government, and I believe it is somewhat a
25 trick of the light, but if you hold it in the right light you can make out
1 the name of the person on the face of the certificate. If Your Honour
2 would like to take a look at that.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I object to
4 this procedure as well. The first reason is for practical purposes,
5 because this document is supposed to be entered into e-court if it is
6 admitted. In the e-court system, none of us will be able to hold this
7 document up to the light and study it carefully under the light.
8 The second reason is that we don't have to be extra tolerant,
9 because this is not a document that came from various archives. No. This
10 is a document that came from the public source, public registry books. As
11 my learned friend said, they received a copy of it, so obviously it
12 shouldn't be a problem to receive another certified copy from the
13 municipality, because the photocopying of such documents is complicated.
14 This is how they protect it from forgery. So I think that they need to
15 mail us a new copy from Jablanica.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. We shall rule on
17 this objection at a later time.
18 You may now continue.
19 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Mr. Saric, in connection with the events that you were describing
21 in the mechanical faculty and, in particular, with Hebibovic and that
22 incident that you described, I have one further exhibit in connection with
23 that that I would like the witness to be shown, and that is Exhibit 03249.
24 On the B/C/S version of that document it is page 1. It's just a
25 single-page document of the B/C/S version. Page 2 of the English
1 translation thereof.
2 Mr. Saric, could I ask you to look about halfway down that page,
3 and if you could read out the paragraph that starts, "Pozorno patrolna
5 Mr. Saric, are you able to see the document that I've mentioned?
6 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, I'm going to object to this whole line
7 of questioning on which we've now spent a considerable time. The
8 witness's only information about this whole episode is apparently what he
9 was told by somebody else. There is -- there is no evidence whatsoever to
10 link any particular Hebibovic to the man who died in these unfortunate
11 circumstances. And furthermore, Your Honour, for the witness to be shown
12 this particular document which he -- he's not even been asked to recognise
13 it or to whether he can authenticate it, is in violation of the Court's
14 order for admission of evidence of the 13th of July, 2006, in which Your
15 Honours have said that in general a document will not be admitted unless a
16 witness is able to provide some information about it. So I object to this
17 whole line of questioning on this episode.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We heard what you had to say,
19 Mr. Murphy.
20 The only thing I see that can be achieved by your question is that
21 there is a report here whereby they're informing that 10 people were taken
22 into custody, among them Hebibovic. So the question that needs to be put
23 is this: Among the people who are listed here, are there any persons whom
24 the witness knew at the time?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Out of these 10 names, I knew --
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't hear the name of the
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He's currently employed in the
4 Mostar television --
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could you repeat the name of that person.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- company. And as for Adem
7 Hebibovic, I heard of him.
8 The man that I know is Salih Sijamija, number 10. I know him
10 As for Adem Hebibovic, I just read out his name here, and I
11 remember that he's precisely the person mentioned at the time. Adem was
12 mentioned at the time.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You just mentioned
14 Salih Sijamija. Please tell us, did you see this person in detention
15 while you were there, or not?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I didn't see him, however I know
17 him and I saw him after the war. He survived all of these terrible
18 atrocities, and as I told you, he's currently employed at the Mostar
19 television station.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And this person that you saw
21 before, you said that that person was in detention in the faculty of
22 mechanical engineering.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Adem Hebibovic.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But what about Sijamija? Was he
25 detained there as well or not?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not at the time while I was there.
2 MS. GILLETT:
3 Q. Mr. Saric, you've mentioned previously that you spent three days
4 at the mechanical faculty. What happened and where did you go on that
5 third day at the mechanical faculty?
6 A. On the third day there was another interrogation before the
7 investigative organs of SIS. That was once again at around 10.00 in the
8 morning. This interrogation took a couple of hours. It maybe went on
9 until 1.00. Following that, I was taken under escort to the prison at
11 Q. Did you return to the room in which you were being held at the
12 mechanical faculty after this interrogation on the third day?
13 A. Once they came to fetch me and take me to interrogation, everybody
14 else remained in the room. Upon my return, I found an empty room. There
15 was nobody in it.
16 Q. Do you know where those people went?
17 A. No. I didn't know at the time. Later on I learned that all of
18 them went to Heliodrom. I even saw some of them.
19 Q. Now, you've said that you were taken to Heliodrom on that day.
20 Who took you there?
21 A. I was taken by the military police, military police patrol. We
22 travelled in a jeep; two soldiers and a driver.
23 Q. And when you arrived at Heliodrom, what happened?
24 A. One of the soldiers escorting me had taken papers from the faculty
25 of mechanical engineering. They had been prepared in advance. And he
1 handed them over to the guard who opened the door. They didn't come
2 inside with me. The three of them went back in a jeep, and I entered the
3 Heliodrom building on my own. Based on the papers that the guard
4 received, I was sent immediately to the basement, to the area where there
5 were solitary confinement cells.
6 MS. GILLETT: Once again, I wonder -- there is a second sketch
7 that I distributed earlier entitled "Prison Heliodrom." I wonder if that
8 could be placed on the ELMO.
9 Q. Mr. Saric, before we begin with any detail on this document, as
10 with the previous sketch from the mechanical faculty, could you tell us
11 where this document has come from and identify it for us.
12 A. I drew this sketch as well last night, also relying on my memory,
13 and I can see that dimensions are not to scale. These empty rooms here
14 were not in use, so it's possible that proportions are not quite accurate
15 or clear. I drew this based on my memory and my experiences there
16 because, after all, I spent eight months in these surroundings.
17 Q. Now, turning to your previous evidence that you were taken to the
18 basement in Heliodrom, if it assists in using the sketch then do so, but
19 could you describe where exactly you were taken to.
20 A. This is the sketch of the basement of the prison. From the
21 entrance gate one enters a hallway, and then there are stairs leading
22 downstairs which take you to this three-part metal gate, which is as high
23 as this wall. That is to say it is about 1 metre below the ceiling, so
24 that there was this opening of 1 metre through which air and light came
1 Through that gate, once we passed it, we went into this area here.
2 I can't tell you now with full certainty whether there were only three
3 cells here. There may have been four or five. However, these cells were
4 separated with this wall, and there was an opening here without a door,
5 just an opening. And I was taken to the cell on the left. Regardless of
6 how many cells there were, I was in the one that was on the far left,
7 number 1. And I spent there from the 10th of July to the 20th of July,
8 and this is where I saw Habibi. This room was 2 by 2.5. It had a window,
9 it had natural light, so at first glance it didn't resemble a solitary
10 confinement cell.
11 Q. Were you alone in the cell?
12 A. No. There was a person there, Idris Habibija, whom I found when I
14 Q. Can you describe the conditions in the cell relating to
15 sanitation, whether you received food and water, and the sleeping
17 A. These 10 days is a very brief period of time when compared to the
18 entire stay there. My first impression upon arriving in cell number 1 was
19 this: I saw just one bed there. It had nothing on it except for
20 blankets. On the following day after my arrival, they took the bed out.
21 There was just a concrete floor and nothing else. We had several blankets
22 on that floor. We would place them underneath us and also cover ourselves
23 with blankets, although there was no need for that because it was
24 summertime and we didn't need many blankets then.
25 There was a bucket, an ordinary tin bucket, where we relieved
1 ourselves. Every week or so the bucket was emptied by the users of this
2 toilet, and it was taken to the toilet facilities that were shared in
3 these premises, which were at the end of this corridor. The corridor was
4 about 30 metres long, and at the end of it was this toilet. We had five
5 minutes' time to empty the bucket and to wash ourselves, and then we had
6 to be back.
7 This cell was dry. It was summertime, and the walls were filthy.
8 The concrete floor was all scratched. It wasn't new. But in relation to
9 what I experienced later, here and here, the difference was quite
10 dramatic, because this cell had daylight. It had a window, and the window
11 was not closed. This is as far as cell number 1 is concerned.
12 As you can see based on the dates, I left cell number 1 on the
13 20th of July, and I stayed in cell number 2 until the 25th of February.
14 So that was the longest that I spent in a cell. This window in this cell
15 was all walled up. The wall in front of the cell and the gate did not
16 permit for any light to pass through. Only just a little bit of light
17 would pass, so that in the lightest of days it was quite dark in there.
18 There was one light bulb here and here in the corridor. If in the
19 middle of the day the light went off, we didn't know in our cell whether
20 it was day or night. That is to say it was completely dark there.
21 This cell was very dirty, too, because it must have been used
22 previously. However, there were military-type mattresses on the floor,
23 and there was seven of us in this cell. There was no space for walking,
24 because the width of this cell was 2 metres. So when seven people lie
25 down, one could only jump over the bodies. That is to say there was no
1 opportunity for us to walk in the cell.
2 The guards would regularly bring, in the morning and in the
3 afternoon, some food. In the morning it would be tea and a piece of
4 bread, slice of bread, and in the afternoon cooked meals.
5 I see many people whom I knew from before and who stayed there
6 with me. And throughout my stay there, until the 19th of April, I
7 observed that a lot of them had lost a great deal of weight. They were
8 walking skeletons. Many of them were wounded, black and blue, experienced
9 great suffering.
10 This was basically a terrible prison, and all it lacked was a gas
11 chamber and then the picture would have been complete.
12 Q. How long did you spend in this second cell?
13 A. You can see here that I was in cell number 2 from the 20th of July
14 to the 25th of February. It could have been the 24th of February, I'm not
15 fully certain, but about five months -- more than five months.
16 Q. And during your daily routine within these first two cells that
17 you've mentioned, did you leave the cell at any time?
18 A. Listen, it was absolutely impossible. We could go for a walk just
19 once a week, and that was on our way to the toilet and back, and we
20 actually had to run. That was all the walking we received. And there
21 were seven of us in this cell. So the time needed to go to the toilet and
22 get ourselves ready for the following week was a very brief time indeed.
23 As I said to you, it was once a week and always in the morning when there
24 was nobody else there, because later on the prisoners from other floors
25 would arrive. So before they came down the stairway to the cafeteria or
1 to the dining hall which was here, that was the time we had available for
2 us to rush to these toilets.
3 Q. And just to clarify, what year were these events taking place in?
4 A. This was in 1993 and 1994.
5 Q. After you were in cell number 2, where were you moved to then and
6 what were the conditions?
7 A. From cell number 2 I was transferred to cell number 3. The
8 conditions were identical, although this cell was significantly larger; at
9 least, so it seemed to me, because I was alone in that cell.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please stop, Mr. Saric.
11 Mr. Praljak was on his feet, but please go ahead.
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] May I be excused, Your
14 MR. KOVACIC: But we can continue without his presence, no
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No problem. Very well. Thus we
17 can continue.
18 MS. GILLETT:
19 Q. Mr. Saric, you were in the process of describing your transfer to
20 cell number 3 and stating that the conditions were identical although it
21 was significantly larger.
22 If you'd like to continue your description from there.
23 A. It's possible. I drew it as a larger cell but it's possible that
24 it seemed larger to me only because I was there alone.
25 I was there alone for about one month and then they brought in
1 another prisoner, Enver Cibo, and we spent some ten days together, maybe
3 The general conditions, as I have said, were identical, and our
4 daily routine was also identical, which is to say that once a week we went
5 on our toilet round.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry to interrupt but something doesn't add
8 The witness has said that he was alone for one month and then
9 another inmate was put in the same cell and they were together for another
10 ten days. That adds up to much more than a month. But he has also
11 indicated that he has been in this cell all and all for one month.
12 So I would be grateful for clarification.
13 MS. GILLETT: Yes, Your Honour.
14 Q. Perhaps, Mr. Saric --
15 A. It's possible that it was during the last week. It's very hard
16 for me now to pinpoint the dates. I'm fully sure only about the first
17 date and the last date, that is to say the 10th of July and the 19th of
18 April. What happened in between is all approximate. But he stayed with
19 me for a week.
20 So as I was analysing this sketch, I wrote that it was a total of
21 one month that I stayed in this cell, including the time I stayed with
23 Q. And what happened after this period of time that you spent with --
24 I think you mentioned his name was Cibo. What happened after that?
25 A. Nothing remarkable happened during that month or during the time
1 when I was with him, but what was remarkable is that when I arrived there
2 by myself there was an iron gate there with bars, and what was interesting
3 was that this door was covered with a kind of a plywood, and there was a
4 hole punched through the plywood, and so through that hole I was able to
5 observe how people passed to the dining hall to have their meals. I could
6 see them going there and coming back.
7 So through this plywood I would also speak to them, and they would
8 look into my cell and I would look at them through the hole. Sometimes
9 they would pass a book to me or some cigarettes so that this cell was
10 quite a refreshment for me given that I had spent the previous five months
11 without any kind of support. The support that I received in cell number 3
12 gave me hope that something better would happen. And then Cibo joined me,
13 and then we spent some five to seven days together during which nothing
14 remarkable happened.
15 The good thing about cell number 3 was that it was bathed in
16 light. It had sufficient light.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, I failed to get the whole picture.
18 You said that your contact with the hall was through a peephole sort of,
19 and then you said that you received books. Did the books fit through that
20 hole or did the guards assist you in getting the books?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you can imagine a plywood on the
22 door with a hole through which I was able to look. This plywood was
23 attached with a wire and some flexible plastic wiring, so there was a
24 space of some 5 centimetres through which one could pass a book to me. I
25 think that it took me only one day to read a very long book because there
1 was nothing else for me to do. So the plywood could be moved, could be
2 moved for bit -- for some 5 centimetres, so something small could be
3 passed to me.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
5 MS. GILLETT:
6 Q. During your time, did you come into contact with any of the
8 A. No. The guards would come and do their job. They would mostly
9 inquire as to any property we may have had outside. They probably had
10 their plans about it. And then they would put questions to us, "What did
11 you do before? Were you a soldier or not?" and similar questions, and
12 they would mostly try to provoke some individuals who -- not that they
13 allowed it but were susceptible. There was, for example, Mustafa Hadrovic
14 there, who used to work as a reserve policeman when the war broke out, and
15 they particularly insulted and tortured him. I think that life was very,
16 very hard for him there.
17 Q. How do you know that this was taking place with Mr. Hadrovic?
18 A. Well, quite simply, he had been with me in room number 2. A guard
19 would come and call out his name. He would ask him to come out. When he
20 went out, the guard would take him off somewhere. On his return, he would
21 be all black and blue or bloody. He would be frightened. There would be
22 swearing, cursing, threats. He was very badly maltreated during his
23 absences, but they would bring him back to the same cell. He didn't go
24 anywhere else. And then he would tell us what happened to him, who had
25 done that to him and so on.
1 Q. Did you recognise any of the guards?
2 A. Well, you see, before these events I didn't know any of them, but
3 later on I found out some names. There was Zeljko Marjanovic, for
4 example, whom I may have mentioned, and he had been a guard at the faculty
5 of mechanical engineering while I was there. And there was a man called
6 Nikola. And the shift leader and the one who did the most provoking, I
7 would recognise his name if I heard it now. Later on he became either the
8 mayor or deputy mayor of a municipality in Mostar. A very bad man.
9 I didn't know any of them personally.
10 Q. Do you know who the commander of the Heliodrom was?
11 A. Well, in my view the commander was light-years away. The only
12 contact I had was with the guards. That was the level of contact I had.
13 But we did hear, in conversations, and when we went to the toilet there
14 would always be somebody coming out of this room here, and rumours spread
15 very quickly. We learned a lot, but it was all hearsay, not evidence. I
16 only know that there was a certain Smiljanic who was responsible for that
17 camp, but who that man is, what he looks like, I don't know, I never saw
18 him. They mentioned someone called Pusic, but these were all people who
19 were very far removed from the ordinary prisoner.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I?
21 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, yes.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I would like to come back to the events you have
23 described regarding Mr. Hadrovic. Him you mentioned, you said he had been
24 ill-treated. Have you said that as an example? Were there others who
25 were similarly treated, or was he, in your recollection, the only one?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was the only one who -- who
2 didn't suffer too much. All the others were terribly injured and suffered
3 terribly. In cell 3 I saw people who were worse off every day. They lost
4 a lot of weight. I was one of those who lost a lot of weight also. I had
5 always been over a hundred kilogrammes in weight, and then my weight fell
6 to 70.
7 Those people who came from the floor above looked terrible, those
8 who came downstairs to eat. There were people who went missing. I would
9 see them one day and not the next.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: My question is a bit more specific. Have you
11 witnessed other inmates being taken away and then coming back in a
12 situation which made you believe that they had been ill-treated?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could not witness the events
14 taking place, but I would see someone one day and I would see him the next
15 day, and I would see the difference. I would see wounds, bruises, and so
16 on. There were people whom I saw simply wasting away, becoming living
17 corpses. I saw people who were quite simply lost.
18 I had had two colleagues who learned while they were there with me
19 that their sons had been killed, and that was worse than anything physical
20 that could have happened to them. The things people heard about their
21 families was much worse than the physical mistreatment, which never
22 stopped and which was never lacking.
23 Very many people from upstairs were taken to the front lines as
24 human shields, and that's where people were killed or injured. A man
25 called Muharem Budic, who had been in my communications unit, lost his
1 life while he was being used as a human shield on the battlefield.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to ask you another
4 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness. When Ms. Gillett,
5 representative of the Office of the Prosecutor, put a question to you
6 relating to the commander of the Heliodrom, you said of course that you
7 were not in contact with the commander but that you had heard about a
8 number of people like Mr. Smiljanic and a certain Mr. Pusic. Could you
9 expand on this or could you talk more specifically about Mr. Pusic. Can
10 you say anything more about these two people or is this all you know?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that Mr. Pusic often came,
12 not to where we were but somewhere upstairs. All these were rumours. And
13 that he kept promising a speedy release, a speedy exchange, but none of
14 this ever transpired. He would arrive with false promises to calm people
15 down. It was mostly false promises that he gave.
16 That's what I know about him. But I never saw him in my life. I
17 never had any contact with him.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There are more questions to
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes. Mr. Saric, have you spoken to Mr. Hadrovic?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Did he tell you what had happened to him more
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We spoke about this very often, both
25 during the events and afterwards. To the best of my knowledge, nobody
1 took him away with the intention of killing him, of eliminating him.
2 Rather, the intention was to vent their spite, to humiliate him, to make
3 him wash the floors. And when he finished washing the floor, he would
4 have to start over again and wash the same floor again. If he so much as
5 dared to raise his eyes, he would receive a blow. The blows were not
6 fatal, they were meant simply to humiliate him and inflict pain on him.
7 He was also told to sing songs to the guards. Of course he
8 couldn't sing well, and when he sang out of tune he would be beaten. He
9 was constantly mistreated in these ways.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Hvala.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I would like to add something to
12 the question that has just been put to you. You have just told us that as
13 far as Mr. Hadrovic is concerned you spoke to him about these events
14 because you stayed with him in the cell for quite a long time. He told
15 you -- or did he tell you that the behaviour towards him were directed at
16 him personally by some of the guards that were not complying with the
17 instructions given by the commanding officers, or was this widespread?
18 What did Mr. Hadrovic tell you about ill-treatment? What did you feel
19 about this kind of behaviour?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Hadrovic is a very good example
21 of the things that happened. I assume, and you will discover whether it
22 was part of a system, a way of bringing to heel these who were
23 disobedient, but he was the -- or, rather, he was not the only one who was
24 treated this way. There were others of a similar mind-set, but nobody was
25 punished in the same way. We all went out occasionally into this corridor
1 and were beaten. We can't say that we were badly injured, but when
2 somebody hits you on the back with a truncheon, or kicks you in the shins,
3 or hits you in the kidneys, these are not things easily forgotten, and
4 there was a lot of that. However, the things that happened to Hadrovic
5 happened at least once a week, and he would come back with cuts and
6 bruises and terribly frightened and terribly humiliated. He would be made
7 to clean people's shoes, bring water, so on and so forth.
8 I don't know why nobody else from my cell was made to do the same
9 kind of things, but there may be people who would have rather been killed
10 than do those things. He, however, allowed himself to be humiliated,
11 which is probably why it happened again and again.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there seems to be an
14 error in the transcript. The witness -- I'm speaking of line 50.3. He
15 said that Mr. Hadrovic was the only one who was taken out of the cell and
16 maltreated, whereas the record says he was not the only one, that there
17 were others. At the end of this whole section of the witness's testimony
18 it's evident because he repeats that Hadrovic was the only one from the
19 cell who was tortured in this way. I think this is a major error, so if
20 it might be corrected. It can be checked, of course, with the witness.
21 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, sorry --
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Sorry. I distinctly remember that the witness
23 said what is here, and if you look, he then added and said that he himself
24 was also taken out into the corridor and -- or into the hall and beaten.
25 But there are two different sets of facts. This specific humiliation, as
1 I understand the witness, was typical only for Hadrovic, but taken out --
2 being taken and beaten was more general.
3 Did I -- would you agree, Witness? Is that what you wanted to
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, completely. Completely.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] With all due respect, Your Honours,
7 I don't think the witness understood the matter at issue. The tape can be
8 listened to. I think this is clear, but in line 13 he says, "I don't know
9 why nobody else from my cell was made to do the same kind of things." And
10 that is in line with what he said at the outset, but at the outset the
11 "not" is erroneously inserted, because he said expressly - I was
12 listening carefully to the original - he said, "Hadrovic was the only one
13 from my cell who was treated in this way." But it's best to ask the
14 witness directly, Your Honours.
15 With all due respect, your question was too complex. I'm sure the
16 witness did not understand it because there were two parts to it.
17 MS. GILLETT: Your Honours, if I might just shortly ask. I'm not
18 actually following which line my learned friend is referring to in the
19 transcript. I believe he mentioned line 53 --
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: No, 50.3.
21 MS. GILLETT: I'm grateful. Thank you.
22 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes, Mr. Saric. Were several prisoners taken
23 from the cell and beaten and then brought back?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but only in this area here.
25 Only in this area in front of the cell. Mustafa Hadrovic, however, was
1 taken who knows where. We heard that he was upstairs, and he would be
2 brought back an hour or two later. Nobody else suffered the same fate as
3 him. Other people were beaten but not taken upstairs and humiliated in
4 front of others and so on.
5 That was what I was constantly trying to say. I don't know how
6 it's reflected in the transcript.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You said that you personally had also been beaten
8 in that way in the hall. Can you confirm this?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can confirm it. I can't
10 prove it, however, because the bruises are not there any more. This
11 happened against this wall between these two doors. Two or three would be
12 taken out and two or three soldiers would arrive and then they would
13 exorcise themselves for about five minutes and then go away and we would
14 be put back in the cell.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were, I think -- well,
17 Prosecutor, you will have to wind things up shortly.
18 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, I am mindful of the time, and I only
19 have a couple of more questions for this witness which should be taken
20 very shortly.
21 Q. Mr. Saric, do you know why you were placed into these particular
22 cells that you've been describing to us?
23 A. Well, I assume because I was an officer in the army of the
24 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that perhaps for reasons of exchange or
25 other reasons I was supposed to be treated differently from the other
2 Q. What was the total amount of time that you spent in Heliodrom?
3 A. About eight months. That's what I always think. But here it is:
4 From the 7th -- yes, I never calculated this. I have been trying to
5 forget this ever since.
6 Q. Do you recall the exact date on which you were released?
7 A. The 19th of April, 1994.
8 Q. And how did you come to be released?
9 A. On that day everything was disbanded, the whole camp. At least
10 the building I was in. There was more than one building, but the building
11 I was in was emptied on that day. I had the honour to leave on the last
12 truck, so I could see all the others leaving before me. At about 4.00 or
13 5.00 in the afternoon I was already a free man. This emptying of the camp
14 lasted all day.
15 Q. Can you give an estimate as to how many persons you saw leaving on
16 that day?
17 A. Well, that's my personal assessment, but I think at least a
19 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, that concludes the questions I have for
20 the Prosecution. I would just ask that the sketch diagram that's been
21 placed on the ELMO and that the witness has been referring to in relation
22 to the Heliodrom be given an In Court number, please.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be IC 00-0028.
24 MS. GILLETT: I'm grateful. Thank you.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which other exhibit would you
1 like to tender into evidence? I'm now turning to the Prosecution.
2 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, the photographs that are exhibited,
3 number 09413, and that would be pages 4, 11 and 12; Exhibit number 8588,
4 Exhibit number 8534, and Exhibit number 3249. Thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you don't wish to tender
6 Exhibit number 8534 -- no, sorry. Yes, it's in there. We shall rule on
8 Mr. Kovacic.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] My -- I object to that document in
10 the form in which it is now.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. The Chamber will rule on
12 this matter now.
13 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I thought Mr. Kovacic would say
14 it. I think P 03249 is not admissible because, after Mr. Peter Murphy's
15 objection, the witness did not deal with this document any further. If
16 you remember, it is a daily combat report from the Mostar military police,
17 and the date is the 6th of July, 1993.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Chamber will deliberate on
19 this matter this afternoon.
20 Now, as far as the cross-examination is concerned, have you agreed
21 upon who will cross-examine the witness first?
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, quite honestly, we
23 haven't been able to discuss the details, but according to what we did
24 manage to discuss among ourselves, I believe that we will be able to
25 adhere to the time, and we will go in the same order that we had before
1 the recess, which means that I will be the first.
2 However, Your Honours, the Defence of Mr. Praljak has no questions
3 for the witness because we have no direct connection with the events the
4 witness is testifying about. However, by Your Honour's leave, knowing
5 that the other Defence teams do not have a lot to ask, Mr. Praljak would
6 like to use the presence of this witness, as he is a communications
7 engineer. There is a fact which is quite important for us in order to
8 understand the situation with regard to telephone communications in Bosnia
9 at the time, so Mr. Praljak would like to ask him a few technical
10 questions because he is the best educated in this respect, just to make
11 use of the presence of this witness. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Prosecutor, you have the
14 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, I've listened to what my learned friend
15 proposes to direct cross-examination for this witness, and it appears to
16 be beyond the scope of the evidence covered in chief.
17 MR. KOVACIC: If I may remind the Court --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry. [Interpretation] If I may remind Your
20 Honours, in his earlier statements the witness did discuss this in some
21 detail. We were, of course, preparing for the cross bearing in mind what
22 the witness was said to testify to. At the beginning of today's
23 examination, the witness did say he was the chief of communications in the
24 4th Corps command. In his CV, he did say that he was an electrical
25 engineer and that he had worked in the post office. Therefore, he is
1 sufficiently informed to say something on these matters.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Murphy.
3 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, if I may assist on the question that was
4 raised by the Prosecution. Referring to whether the questions would be
5 outside the scope of examination-in-chief, under Rule 90, subrule (H),
6 cross-examination may also occur where the witness is able to give
7 evidence relevant to the case for the cross-examining party. And clearly
8 the questions which Mr. Praljak proposes would fall into that category.
9 Furthermore, under the same Rule, Your Honour, subpart (iii), the
10 Trial Chamber may, in the exercise of its discretion, permit inquiry into
11 additional matters. It would seem to me that if we could avoid bringing
12 the witness back as a party witness for one of the accused we would save
13 time, and the proposed line of questioning does seem to fall within that
14 Rule. So I would submit that the Prosecution's objection is not well
16 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, further to the point that I just
17 raised, it is fair to say that in the chart that was submitted and filed
18 with both the Chamber and the Defence, there was no mention of the witness
19 giving any evidence relating to communications matter and the subject of
20 his job, which was simply mentioned at the beginning of direct
21 examination, that being his employment.
22 As far as cross-examination is concerned relating to Rule 90
23 subparagraph (H), once again I fail to see the relevance that the Defence
24 is raising in asking questions of this witness in relation to
25 communications matters.
1 MR. MURPHY: I think I can --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.
3 MR. MURPHY: [Previous translation continues] ... speak for Mr.
4 Praljak, but Your Honour, I think I can indicate the relevance of these
5 questions quite -- perhaps Mr. Praljak would prefer to do it himself, he's
6 indicated, Your Honour, so I'll defer to him.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall deliberate on the
8 matter right away.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There's a -- the Judges don't
11 all agree here. What is important is to understand how relevant this is.
12 Mr. Praljak, those questions which you wish to put to the witness,
13 how can they serve your interests? Because according to Rule 90(H) -- let
14 me it out: "Cross-examination shall be limited to the subject matter of
15 the evidence-in-chief ..." It seems that the Prosecution did not ask any
16 questions pertaining to communications, and affecting the credibility of
17 the witness does not apply. And this is where there might be a slot for
18 the Defence: "... and where the witness is able to give evidence relevant
19 to the case for the cross-examining party, to the subject-matter of that
21 So in what ways are the questions which you're going to put going
22 to be serving your interests?
23 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] The witnesses so far -- the
24 journalist whose name I can't remember, spoke about how difficult it was
25 to have telephone communication with other areas. Then there was a
1 witness who was into karate, and he said that the HVO disallowed any
2 telephone communication with Croatia. The entire system of communication
3 between the armies so far was covered by the people --
4 MS. GILLETT: [Previous translation continues] ...
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] -- who were completely
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me sum up and then I'll give
8 the floor back to you. The Defence counsel is telling us that a number of
9 witnesses has -- have talked about communication problems. I remember
10 that this issue was addressed a number of times. This is why Mr. Praljak,
11 who is an expert on the matter, would like to clarify a number of points.
12 So this is the position adopted by the Defence.
13 What do you have to say, Ms. Gillett, to this?
14 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, my first point and the reason I rose to
15 my feet - apologies for interrupting Mr. Praljak - is I wondered whether
16 we ought to be having this discussion with the witness still present in
17 the room in light of some of the matters that Mr. Praljak was actually
18 touching on.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Bench has reached a
21 consensus. We do not object to the fact that technical questions be put
22 related to communications, but we don't wish the -- we would like the
23 cross-examination to focus on what has been addressed during the
24 examination-in-chief. If there is time left, Mr. Praljak will have the
25 floor, but only if there is time left. What we are interested in are the
1 way in which the Defence counsel respond to what the Prosecution has just
3 Mr. Kovacic, at this stage you have no question to put as part of
4 the cross-examination?
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we don't have any
6 other questions for cross-examination. And to inform you, we initially
7 wanted Mr. Praljak to put his questions in the end because that was
8 natural. We simply didn't have time to arrange this in advance with other
9 Defence counsel.
10 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, but for me this is
11 very important, and I have to intervene. Since General Praljak is more
12 knowledgeable about this matter than I am, and I have prepared some
13 telecommunications questions for our defence, I wouldn't want to give our
14 reasons now in the presence of the witness, but I think it would be better
15 for Mr. Praljak to start first with his questions. I can inform you in
16 more detail about my reasons if the witness leaves the courtroom.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. If I understood
18 well, you actually do not have any questions covered in
19 examination-in-chief when it comes to the defence of Mr. Prlic. You only
20 have technical questions, and you think that it is only Mr. Praljak who is
21 competent enough to put questions in that area. In that case, we will
22 turn to the next Defence team.
23 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I propose
24 that we resume our regular order for cross-examination. We will all bear
25 in mind that Mr. Praljak needs some time for his questions. I also have
1 some technical issues, and I will leave enough time for Mr. Praljak.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. So what is the order
3 to be?
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon to everyone. My name is Vesna
7 Alaburic, I am attorney-at-law from Zagreb, representing General Milivoj
8 Petkovic here.
9 Mr. Saric, I will be putting some questions to you which are, to
10 my mind, very brief and simple, hoping that this would help us clarify
11 some contradictions and some things that were not clear in your
12 evidence-in-chief. I'm speaking deliberately slowly for the sake of
13 interpretation so that the people who do not speak our language can fully
15 We received from the Prosecutor your statement, given by you on
16 the 29th of August, 2002. That's what it says on the document that we
17 received. My question to you is: Did you really speak to the Prosecution
18 of this Tribunal, and did you really provide this statement on this date?
19 A. In my testimony so far today, that's precisely what I mentioned.
20 I said that sitting at this table here, I wrote a report as to what had
21 been happening to me that day before I was brought there, and that's
22 exactly the statement that you received. It was just retyped. I never
23 saw that statement before. I can't tell you what was written there and
24 then retyped.
25 Q. Mr. Saric, the statement that you're mentioning now is the
1 statement you provided to the Office of the Prosecutor; right?
2 A. What do you mean? I provided?
3 Q. You or somebody else. Was it provided to the Office of the
5 A. Yes. The Office of the Prosecutor has it, and I saw that
7 Q. Mr. Saric, unfortunately, we do not have the statement that you
8 are referring to. What we received from the OTP is just one statement
9 that you gave to the OTP on the 29th of August, 2002, and it seems
10 unlikely that this is the same statement that you wrote back then while
11 sitting at that table. This is the statement that begins with the
12 following text: "I am here of my own free will to give a statement to the
13 representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor," and so on.
14 Thus I'm asking you whether on the said day, the 29th of August,
15 2002, you really gave or signed the statement given to the OTP.
16 A. Could you repeat the date?
17 Q. 29th of August, 2002.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Yes. All right. Tell us, did you speak to the OTP on the 16th of
20 January, 1998?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. I will put some questions to you about your statement from 2002
23 because it is partially contradictory. It contradicts partially what you
24 were saying to us today.
25 Today, you told us that you were arrested by two soldiers. In
1 your 2002 statement, however, you say that there were three soldiers. No.
2 I apologise. In your 1998 statement, you speak of three soldiers. Can
3 you please clarify: Were you arrested by two or three armed persons?
4 A. Two. The third one was the driver. I don't know whether he can
5 be considered a soldier. If so, then there were three of them.
6 Q. Thank you. In your 1998 statement, you said that you were
7 arrested by the members of the military police of the HVO, whereas today
8 you only mentioned armed soldiers. Therefore, I'm asking you: Were you
9 arrested by the military police members?
10 A. I was arrested by Franjo Cvitkovic. It should probably be easy to
11 establish where he served at the time. I may be inaccurate because I'm
12 not privy to the records. In my eyes he was a member of the military
13 police or police, but during the war that is always the military police.
14 Now, as to his exact affiliation, you would need to look that up.
15 Q. Thank you. Today you told us -- you said that you were arrested
16 in the house where you were hiding, and in your 1998 statement you said
17 that you were arrested in your apartment. Can you clarify. Which is
18 true; what you stated in 1998 or what you said today?
19 A. I was arrested in Ilici in the house which wasn't mine. It wasn't
20 in my apartment.
21 Q. Thank you. Can you give us the name of the owner of the house in
22 which you were arrested?
23 A. His name was Andjelko. Unfortunately, he's deceased. He died
24 several years ago.
25 Q. Do you remember his last name?
1 A. No.
2 Q. All right.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are not giving us the last
4 name because you can't remember or because you don't wish for some reason
5 to give us his last name?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have no reasons not to give you
7 the last name. If you were to offer me ten last names I would probably
8 pick the right one out of them, but right now it escapes me.
9 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Saric. I will now be putting questions to you
11 about the Vranica building. Today, you talked to us about the attacks and
12 then you said, "That the building was destroyed in the HVO attacks." It
13 was recorded today on page 15, line 1, of the transcript.
14 Do you know that the Serb forces, in the course of 1992 and 1993,
15 attacked and shelled Mostar?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you know that the target of Serb forces, among others, was the
18 Vranica building?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know that the building was severely damaged by Serb shells?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Can you explain to us to what extent the Serb shells damaged the
24 A. All I can tell you is that the position of the building is such
25 that Serb shells could not hit the building. The building was destroyed,
1 damaged from the other side that the Serb shells were not able to reach.
2 Q. Would it be correct, then, to conclude that the Serb shells could
3 hit the building only laterally?
4 A. The building had damage in many spots, but on that particular day
5 that entire portion of the building where the corps was and the brigade
6 was completely burned down. It was the incendiary shells that hit it, and
7 that part of the building was completely destroyed. It was not usable
8 following that. That's why I said that it was destroyed. It wasn't
9 wrecked and knocked down.
10 Q. Tell us, please, was it visible on the photographs of the Vranica
11 building shown to you today by the OTP?
12 A. I think so. I think so, but don't hold me to it, because these
13 photographs are more of informative nature. The angle is not quite right
14 and there are many obstacles.
15 Q. Could we please put the photographs to the witness, Exhibit
16 P 09413, page 4. I don't think this is page 4.
17 A. This one. Look at the upper one, in the right corner. You can
18 see that this is damage inflicted by fire.
19 Can you please scroll down. The see this right angle. You see
20 this damage inflicted by fire, by burning. But it wasn't only there. It
21 was in a wider area, both at that height and lower.
22 Q. Tell us, please, based on this photograph, one could conclude that
23 in the apartments in proximity to that area almost on all floors there
24 were still residents living. You can see that the windows are open, there
25 are flowers on balconies.
1 Do you know whether people continued living in the apartments
2 which were not damaged?
3 A. Certainly. There wasn't a building in Mostar which was not in use
4 if it was possible. Only those apartments that were destroyed were
6 Q. Thank you. Is it then accurate to conclude that the Vranica
7 building wasn't destroyed after all, which is what you stated on page 15
8 of today's transcript?
9 A. Yes. If under "destroyed" you mean razed to the ground.
10 Q. You just mean that it wasn't usable.
11 A. Yes. There were apartments there were not liveable. If you
12 destroy my chair, then other people may continue sitting in their chairs,
13 but my chair is destroyed. The apartments that burned down were
14 destroyed, and to this day they're not inhabitable.
15 Q. All right. So you were speaking of individual apartments.
16 A. Yes, certainly, because this is a huge building, and I said that.
17 I said that it was very long and tall.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please slow down, because the
19 interpreters have to follow you.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Saric, please tell us, based on your information, the
22 communications system in every army is an important prerequisite for good
23 functioning of the army.
24 A. Certainly.
25 Q. In case of a conflict between two armies, would you say that both
1 of them are trying to learn as much as possible about the communications
2 system of the other one?
3 A. Naturally. That's an essential task.
4 Q. Based on the rules of warfare, is it standard procedure that one
5 army would try to disable the communications system of the other army?
6 A. Depends on the escalation of the conflict and military tactics. I
7 really can't give you an answer to this question. It's not a rule. The
8 rule is that we're trying to learn what the other side has, not that we're
9 trying to destroy it necessarily.
10 Q. If you had an alternative whether you wanted to improve or destroy
11 the communications system of the opposing side, what would be your answer?
12 A. Under no circumstances would we want to improve the system of the
13 hostile side.
14 Q. Thank you. At the time when the 4th Corps of the BH army decided
15 to station its headquarters in the Vranica building, which is a mixed
16 residential and commercial use building and where civilians lived on upper
17 floors, was the BH army command aware that should there be an attack on
18 the BH army, which would necessarily include both the attack on the
19 command and communications system, the civilians would be placed at great
20 risk? Do you know why the BH army command and communications systems were
21 placed in that building?
22 A. I will answer that with a question. The HVO units were located in
23 many buildings where civilians lived. Take, for example, my street. Many
24 HVO units were stationed in basements in the buildings there. So this is
25 a tactical issue.
1 Q. Absolutely. One day when you have occasion -- thank you, and I
3 Mr. Saric, this is the command of the BH army that we're talking
4 about. Is it impossible for you to draw a parallel with the HVO command
5 located in the basement of a commercial/residential building? This is why
6 I asked you whether you were aware of the grave risk that you posed to
7 civilians when you headquartered your command in such a building.
8 A. Listen, as I have told you, there were 20 to 30 soldiers stationed
9 in that building. It comes nowhere near close to the full strength of the
10 4th Corps and the brigade. These were just segments of these units. All
11 operative units were stationed outside. This was only a symbolic
12 presence, because if something really important is stationed in a
13 building, then there are more people guarding it.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is an essential question
15 that we wish to pose, and Judge Trechsel will do that.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Saric, who took the decision to locate the
17 centre for communications in the Vranica building?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was most likely a result of a
19 political agreement because they didn't do it on their own. The 4th Corps
20 didn't do it on its own. There was an agreement with the HVO, because
21 there was a cooperation between them and joint action against the Serb
22 enemy, and it was as a result of that that they distributed among
23 themselves locations. Everything was done in agreement.
24 Now, as to which particular people entered into agreement, I
25 wouldn't be able to say that.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. You gave us some
2 important elements, but this decision to locate the communications system
3 in the basement, everybody knows that every army in this world values
4 highly its communications system. Knowing that there was civilians living
5 there, in the basement, do you believe that the decision to place the
6 communications system in the basement was a reasonable one, because in the
7 event of a conflict with Serbs or anybody else, it was evident that shells
8 would be landing on the building where civilians resided? That was the
9 question put to you, and I wanted to reiterate that. What do you as chief
10 of communications system think of it?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, listen: There are
12 communications systems built and none of the buildings were built
13 purposely for placing the communications centre there. There were some
14 barracks and there were some parts inside those barracks that were used
15 for the armies of both HVO and BH army. BH army was in the southern part,
16 and in the Tihomir Misic barracks was the HVO. Therefore, it was normal
17 for them to select spots in town where certain units would be stationed.
18 That was the deployment. But what the 4th Corps had and what its
19 communications centre was was just a segment in the communications system
20 of the BH army. It was just a part of it, and it simply lost significance
21 overnight, but the whole system continued functioning from other
23 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Saric, you told us that the HVO was stationed in the Tihomir
25 Misic barracks in the so-called North Camp; correct?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. Are you aware of attempts of the HVO to agree with the 4th Corps
3 of the BH army about the relocation to the South Camp or, rather, about
4 the relocation of the 4th Corps command from the Vranica building?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you tell us what you know about these attempts; how they
7 arose, who negotiated?
8 A. I don't know about these details. It wasn't within my purview. I
9 know, however, that the initial intention was to relocate. It was up to
10 the command to decide which unit is important. Perhaps it's important for
11 you but not for the command.
12 The army was headquartered in the Mostar hotel, which we saw in
13 one of the photographs. The agreement was reached there to demilitarise
14 that building. That is to say to have the army leave the building so that
15 there would be nobody else there. And do you know what happened?
16 Q. What?
17 A. As soon as the BH army left that building, the HVO soldiers
18 entered it and they never left. That was the agreement which wasn't
19 observed. Who failed to observe it, why, whether such an agreement
20 existed, I don't know that, but that's what I can tell you. Therefore,
21 everything else was possible. Whatever comes to mind was possible.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. It's 12.30. We have
23 to take a break. We shall continue in 20 minutes.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 12.50 p.m.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have one hour left, so you
2 need to finish in the time we have left.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have
4 only two more questions. I think I will need only three or four minutes.
5 Could we please have in e-court Defence document of General
6 Praljak number 3D 00016. And because I didn't know we would need the
7 document, I did not prepare it in the file for Your Honours and for my
8 learned friends, but I do hope that it will be enough to remind ourselves
9 of it.
10 Q. Mr. Saric, I assume you can see that this is a document which on
11 the 21st of April, 1993, was signed by Mr. Arif Pasalic and Petar
12 Zelenika. Could you please read for us item 1 of this communique.
13 A. "A common or Joint Command will be issued for the removal of all
14 soldiers of the army of BH --" The letter R is missing, the army of the
15 Republic of BH -- "to Konjic, Juzni Logor, and the HVO to the Tihomir
16 Misic barracks and the Heliodrom barracks. The 3rd Brigade remains in the
17 existing building or facility and moves only toward the enemy line. The
18 deadline is 48 hours after the issuing of this order. The 23rd of April
19 at 1300 hours."
20 Q. Mr. Saric, can you tell us whether the HVO complied with this
21 agreement? To the best of your knowledge. If I can remind you, you've
22 already told us that the HVO was in Tihomir Misic barracks.
23 A. Yes, in the Tihomir Misic, but we haven't finished what we were
24 saying before about the Mostar hotel.
25 Q. But our topic is the Vranica building, not the Mostar hotel. We
1 don't have time to go into it.
2 A. Yes, but I haven't said everything I have to say about that
3 building. There's something I wanted to say about it. The Vranica
4 building, that is.
5 Q. Well, I didn't ask you anything about that hotel, so please let's
6 not waste time.
7 A. Sorry, about the Vranica building.
8 Q. Can you tell us, to the best of your knowledge, did the army of BH
9 comply with this agreement of the 21st of April, 1993?
10 A. I think it did. This is the deployment such as it was.
11 Q. Did the army of BH leave the Vranica building and deploy all its
12 members in the locations mentioned in this communique; in Konak and in
13 Juzni Logor?
14 A. What do you mean; all soldiers?
15 Q. Yes. Was the Vranica building abandoned or not?
16 A. No, it wasn't.
17 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions about this topic. My last
18 question I will skip over a lot of things because of shortage of time.
19 Could we have in e-court document 4D 00071.
20 Mr. Saric, could you please read through this statement very
21 quickly. These -- this is the record of your interview carried out on the
22 10th of July, 1993, and it was compiled by Mr. Frano Primorac and Toni
23 Ramljak, who are members of the military police administration, the SIS,
24 and can you tell us whether this is your authentic statement. Is this
25 what you really said during your interview?
1 A. There's a lot here that was said, but they wrote this up in the
2 way that suited them. This is not complete. Well, I can't say now
3 because it was a long time ago, but I wrote my statement in handwriting,
4 and this was typed out several days later. I don't know who typed it out.
5 I didn't see any Ramljak or the other person you mentioned, so somebody
6 did this without me. And what is written here is full of silly things
7 that I would never -- or it's been reformulated. There are a lot of facts
9 Q. By your leave, one last question: From what you say, it follows
10 that the statement that you wrote out in your handwriting in that room at
11 that small desk differs from this record of your interview.
12 A. Well, quite certainly the outline was the same, but I don't
13 believe that the phrases are mine.
14 Q. Well, no, because this is written in the Croatian language and you
15 speak differently. But the phrases are not important, it's the essence,
16 the meaning.
17 A. Well, there are many things here that are not correct.
18 Q. Does that mean that your handwritten statement is materially
19 different from this record?
20 A. No, not materially.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, due to shortage of
23 time, I will not put any more questions. Thank you, Your Honours, and
24 thank you, Mr. Saric.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Is Defence counsel asked --
2 going to ask to have this document tendered into evidence, number 71?
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The document of General Praljak's
4 defence, D3 0016 has already been admitted, and we tender document
5 4D 00071.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. The Chamber will rule on
7 the matter. When looking at the statement in B/C/S -- at the document in
8 B/C/S, there is no signature under the name.
9 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I
10 will try to be as brief as possible, but I wish to leave some time should
11 Mr. Coric, the accused, decide to ask a few questions.
12 Cross-examination by Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Saric, I'm Dijana Tomasegovic Tomic, and I am
14 Defence counsel for Mr. Valentin Coric in these proceedings. I would like
15 to start right away, and I wish to clarify a few points in your testimony
16 which I don't understand clearly. If I understood you correctly, you
17 spent the time from the 7th to the 9th of July at the faculty of
18 mechanical engineering. The 10th --
19 THE INTERPRETER: There was overlapping between the question and
20 the answer. The interpreter did not hear the answer.
21 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. I'm confused about this.
23 A. You'll remain confused. It was a long time ago. I can't recall
24 all the details. It's as it's written down.
25 Q. Well, then, we'll go day by day just to clarify, and perhaps this
1 can jog your memory: You were arrested on the 7th of July and brought to
2 the faculty of mechanical engineering. There you spent the night. You
3 were brought to a room where you wrote a statement on the first day, then
4 you spent the night, as far as I could understand. What happened on the
5 following day, the 8th of July?
6 A. Just waiting.
7 Q. Just waiting. And then we come to the third day, the 9th of July.
8 There's another night. And then on the third day you were interviewed.
9 That's the 9th of July, according to my calculation. And was that the day
10 on which you left the faculty?
11 A. Probably.
12 Q. Very well. If I understood you correctly, you said that you did
13 not leave the room where you were put except for when you were taken for
15 A. Only -- I didn't leave the basement. I did leave the room. I
16 could go to the toilet.
17 Q. So could we clarify. In your statement you said that for a full
18 three days you did not use the toilet because you had no need because you
19 were given nothing to eat or drink.
20 A. So I didn't walk about.
21 Q. Well, you didn't walk about, you remained in your room. Could I
22 get a yes or no answer. Does that mean that you were in your room, that
23 you weren't walking about? Yes or no.
24 A. Does that mean whether I used the toilet or not?
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. I didn't.
2 Q. Did you leave your room for any other reason except for
4 A. I went to the toilet once, but when I saw that dead man there, I
5 came back.
6 Q. Can you tell me what day that was when you saw that man?
7 A. I don't know. That happened in the course of those three days.
8 The last day. I think it was the last day.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry. I understand that you want to gain
10 time, but you do not gain time by speaking fast and overlapping all the
11 time, because that makes us interrupt you and tell you that you have to
12 slow down. The poor interpreter is completely breathless and we want to
13 be sure that we hear everything Counsel and the witness say.
14 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours.
15 I'll be careful.
16 Q. You said, then, that you went out only on that third day, the 9th,
17 to the toilet.
18 A. To the toilet.
19 Q. Tell me, please, in your statement you said there were two rooms,
20 one of which you call the torture chamber and the other one you call the
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. During those three days while you were in that basement, did you
24 personally see any torture or any execution in the rooms referred to as
25 the torture chamber or the slaughterhouse?
1 A. The first night we spent there a group of soldiers arrived, and
2 they used flashlights, looking for someone. In the night I couldn't see
3 anyone, but they were hitting someone in that group, and from the room
4 where the people from Konjic were we heard that they were beating someone.
5 Whether they were beating that man who died or someone else, I don't know,
6 but that night there was a beating.
7 Q. So two rooms away from your room, not in the room called the
8 torture chamber.
9 A. I don't know if you can imagine this. This was an open space.
10 The cells 1, 2, 3, the torture chamber, this was all basically the same
11 space, it was all so close. If you were standing at the door it was like
12 being in the other room. It was all one area.
13 Q. So you can't say precisely where this was taking place.
14 A. It was taking place in the basement.
15 Q. In the basement, but you can't pinpoint the exact spot.
16 A. Well, that's not important.
17 Q. Can you or can't you say? Don't tell me whether it's important.
18 Just tell me whether you can or you can't.
19 A. I don't know what you're asking.
20 Q. I'm asking whether you know precisely where what you heard was
21 taking place. You say you heard a beating. Can you pinpoint the precise
22 location where this was happening or can you only say that it was in the
24 A. It was in the basement, between cell 3 and the torture chamber.
25 Whether it was more inside or more outside or at the very edge I can't
1 say, but it was in this area.
2 Q. I now wish to go back to the part of your statement where you said
3 that you saw a person you referred to as Hebibovic, but you're not sure.
4 You saw dead in the corridor and then you decided not to go to the toilet.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. My colleague Ms. Alaburic, during her examination, put to you the
7 statement you made to the Prosecutors of this Tribunal on the 16th of
8 January, 1998. Let me remind you now of a part of that statement.
9 In that statement you say: "A man arrived in our room from the
10 next room. He was from the village of Glavaticevo, Konjic municipality.
11 He told me that they had been taken prisoner near a stream or a creek near
12 the Salakovac hydroelectric power plant. He said these were civilians.
13 They were beaten on the first day, and we heard the sounds of a beating.
14 One of them was lying on the floor in the corridor. His name was
15 Hebibovic. I don't know his first name. People from our room who were
16 passing him by and they saw him lying there and heard him screaming."
17 In this statement of yours I cannot find any reference to you
18 yourself seeing this man lying in the corridor. So could you please
19 clarify this discrepancy between what we heard today what I read out to
21 A. Madam, all this was taking place in an area 15 or 20 square
22 metres. Everybody knew everything that was happening. There were some
23 spots from which you couldn't see something because of the angle, but you
24 could use your ears and all your other senses.
25 Q. Please, we have very little time. Can you explain whether you saw
1 this man lying on the floor or whether you just heard about it from
2 somebody else.
3 A. I heard about it, and then, when I went to the toilet, I saw him
4 myself. I knew that he was there. He was already dead at the time I
5 passed by him. Up to that time, we heard him moaning less and less
7 Q. So today you say that you saw him.
8 A. I saw him lying on the floor, yes.
9 Q. At the beginning of your examination today you said that you had
10 already testified before a court in Bosnia-Herzegovina in a case against
11 -- against several accused one of whom was Zeljko Dzidic. Was this
12 before the county court in Mostar?
13 A. I don't know what court it was. Ibro Bulic was the name of the
14 Prosecutor. I don't know whether it's the cantonal or some other court.
15 Q. But you were heard in a court in Mostar in proceedings against
16 Mr. Dzidic.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you remember when this was?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Tell us, please, today you said that you were not heard concerning
21 the circumstances you testified about today during these proceedings; is
22 that correct?
23 A. I don't understand your question.
24 Q. I'll rephrase it. I apologise. In these proceedings in Mostar,
25 were you also questioned about the situation at the faculty of mechanical
2 A. Yes, yes. When I said that it wasn't about this topic, I thought
3 about the Heliodrom and other things, not just the faculty.
4 Q. Could we have in e-court Exhibit 5D 00515.
5 We have the document, but before we start with it, let me ask you
6 this: In those proceedings, did you give evidence about the murder of
7 Hebibovic, the person that you saw lying?
8 A. I think that that was the main issue, but I'm not sure. But you
9 should have everything in the court records.
10 Q. I would like to ask the witness to glance at the text on this
11 page, except for what was crossed out, and to refresh his memory as to
12 whether this is the evidence he gave in that trial in Mostar.
13 Mr. Saric, would you please let me know when you are done reading
14 these last two paragraphs.
15 A. I just finished.
16 Q. Can we see page 2, please. Would you please read -- can it be
17 enlarged? Can you zoom in to the second and third paragraph on this page,
18 please. Second and third paragraph, please.
19 I can read it out to you. That's easier. So in paragraph 2 you
20 say as follows -- the last five lines, it says: "The moaning was heard
21 until the morning. When some people went to the bathroom, they said that
22 they saw a dead man. I didn't go out, and I didn't see him. The man who
23 asked for water from us, I heard from him that the man who was killed was
24 called Hebibovic. He said that he was from the place near Konjic near
1 Can you remember whether you stated this before the court in
3 A. Most likely. I know, however, that when I went to the toilet I
4 saw him.
5 Q. All right. That's fine. Today in your evidence you said that
6 during the three days you spent at the faculty for mechanical engineering
7 you received no water or food; correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Based on your evidence today and based on the evidence you gave
10 before, it seems that the person from another room came to your room for
12 A. He came to us, asking for water, but there was no water.
13 Q. All right. There was no water.
14 Now, please, the same document that we have on our screens now,
15 could we see page 4 of it, please. Page 4. It says page 63 at the top.
16 I will read paragraph 7 to you: "When asked by victim Azra Penava
17 how come there was water in their room and how they received water, the
18 witness stated that he didn't know where the water had come from but that
19 there was a plastic bottle with water, whereas they received the food on
20 the second day."
21 Do you remember saying this in Mostar?
22 A. I don't know about this. I don't know where this came from.
23 Q. So you can't remember.
24 A. No, because I don't see the water.
25 Q. You didn't. Now, let me go to something from the beginning of
1 your evidence which confused me. You said in your statement or, rather,
2 in your evidence, when you were arrested in your friend's house that under
3 the bed on which you slept they found a Kalashnikov but that it wasn't
4 yours but, rather, that of your friend.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I don't understand. Why did your friend put his Kalashnikov under
7 your bed? Did you have some kind of a military role there? Were you a
8 guard there?
9 A. I don't know whether he had another two Kalashnikovs that he kept
10 elsewhere. This was an empty one. Unloaded. There were no -- there was
11 no ammunition there. I didn't know how many more he had.
12 Q. And you didn't find it odd that he placed this Kalashnikov under
13 your bed?
14 A. Odd. No, it wasn't odd.
15 Q. Did you talk to him about that Kalashnikov?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Before they found it?
18 A. No. I didn't even know that it was there.
19 Q. How do you know, then, that it wasn't loaded?
20 A. I know it because when they found it they saw that it wasn't
21 loaded, that there was no ammunition there.
22 Q. All right. I have no further questions. I am now yielding the
23 floor to Mr. Coric.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Coric.
25 ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Cross-examination by the Accused Coric:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Saric, I'm the accused Coric. Since my
3 Defence counsel exhausted almost all questions, I have just one
4 remaining. What were you doing in hiding from the 9th of May to the 7th
5 of July, 1993? You were in hiding. Were you doing anything else?
6 A. I had to kill time. There was a lot of activities. I would read
7 books, repair some electronic equipment, and so on.
8 Q. Thank you. Throughout that time did you have any contact with
9 your command?
10 A. No.
11 Q. None at all?
12 A. No.
13 Q. How did you reach Ilici?
14 A. On foot.
15 Q. Taking which route?
16 A. From Susinska Buna [phoen] to Rondo, and then from Rondo to Ilici,
17 and then Ilici through the swamps to that location.
18 Q. For us who are quite familiar with Mostar, would you say that this
19 is one of the most frequented roads leading to Ilici?
20 A. Yes, the most used.
21 Q. And you call that hiding?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. People from your corps, did they start a search for you when they
24 discovered you were gone?
25 A. I don't know about that.
1 Q. You know nothing about that?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Upon leaving in April of 1994, were you questioned by the security
4 organs of the 4th Corps?
5 A. Upon leaving the camp, I resumed my duties as chief of
6 communications, and naturally I gave a statement about my experiences in
7 that time.
8 Q. Since you are quite familiar with the military system, especially
9 wartime responsibilities, what is your comment to this fact that your
10 command knew nothing about you, had no contact with you?
11 A. I had no contact with them, but my wife was alive and she remained
12 in the apartment there.
13 Q. So she was your go-between with the 4th command?
14 A. Most likely. And all of my relatives learned that I had been
16 Q. So they knew that you were in Ilici?
17 A. Not in Ilici, rather, at Heliodrom. Nobody except for my wife
18 knew that I was in Ilici. At least, I don't think so.
19 Q. All right. I've concluded with this portion. I have just another
20 minor issue.
21 The people that you were with in the so-called confinement cells -
22 and based on what I heard from you those were not really solitary
23 confinement cells because they held up to seven people - how were people
24 designated to go to solitary confinement cells? Because we know that
25 people were also assigned to other floors.
1 A. You should be able to tell us what was the criteria in assigning
2 people to cells.
3 Q. When we change the roles, then, yes, you can put questions to me.
4 I put this question to you, so you can't respond with a question.
5 I asked you whether you heard of the criteria that was used --
6 used in order to distribute people to cells.
7 A. I supposed, and I said so, that it was done because I was the
8 officer of the BH army.
9 Q. Were the others all officers with you?
10 A. Mostly.
11 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to the
13 Q. As I can see, you did have some communication among you staying in
14 different cells. You probably talked to other detainees. Did they tell
15 you who interrogated them, who investigated them before they reached
16 solitary confinement cells?
17 A. No.
18 Q. There was no need for you to talk about them -- to talk to them
19 about this?
20 A. No.
21 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] I've concluded, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Mr. Ibrisimovic.
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have
24 just several questions. I know we are short on time, so I would like to
25 ask Mr. Saric to be as brief as possible so that we leave enough time for
1 other Defence counsel.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Ibrisimovic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] You said that upon arriving in Heliodrom you
4 basically didn't know anybody there. I have the HVO structure in mind and
5 the staff.
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. The only contact you had was with the guards.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. In the statement you gave to the OTP in August of 2002 - I will
10 read a sentence out of it - you say that there was no occasion for you to
11 get acquainted with the command structure at Heliodrom; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You mentioned Smiljanic. You said that he was the camp commander,
14 responsible for the camp; correct?
15 A. It's correct that I said that I had heard it. Now, as to whether
16 he indeed was in that position, I don't know that.
17 Q. When asked by His Honour Mindua, you said that you didn't know
18 Mr. Pusic and that you had never seen him and had no contact with him.
19 A. Up until today. I don't even know him to this day.
20 Q. Does the name of Mile Pusic ring a bell?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Ivica Pusic?
23 A. No, none of Pusics.
24 Q. In addition to the two statements you gave to the OTP in January
25 of 1998 and August of 2002, you also gave the statement in 1993. It was
1 given to the administration of the military police, and then, immediately
2 upon leaving Heliodrom, you gave a statement to the MUP in Mostar in July
3 of 1994; correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And then you gave a statement to the cantonal court in Mostar in
6 2002. Perhaps you can't remember all of them, but it amounts to five or
7 six statements that you gave about these events where you mentioned many
8 persons who were in a way involved in everything that you had lived
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. I read all of your statements, and I can tell you that in none of
12 them do you mention Mr. Pusic.
13 A. Most likely so.
14 Q. At least what I read didn't include his name.
15 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] I don't have any further
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The last Defence counsel before
18 we give the floor to Mr. Praljak.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I must admit I didn't hear you
21 because I didn't have my headphones.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I gave you the floor.
23 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
24 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Saric, my name is Senka Nozica. I am Defence
1 counsel of Mr. Stojic. I will be putting some very brief questions to
2 you, and I will be true to my word and leave some time for Mr. Praljak.
3 Sir, can you tell me, how did the officials treat you, at least
4 those people that you believed to be officials while you were at the
5 faculty of mechanical engineering?
6 A. It was decent in the sense that nobody beat me, if that falls
7 under the category of decent.
8 Q. When speaking of Heliodrom, can you tell me whether, in those
9 locations where you were, there were any Croats.
10 A. Yes, but they stayed there very briefly, and they were mostly
11 either criminals or people who violated military discipline rules. They
12 stayed there very briefly, but there were some of them.
13 Q. Did they stay in the same room with you?
14 A. Just one who stayed there very briefly. He was from Prozor, and I
15 believe his first name was Ante, but he stayed there such a brief period
16 of time that I simply failed to mention him. He was a true criminal, a
17 petty criminal, an informer. He stayed there very briefly and then he
18 left. He was the only person of different ethnicity staying with us.
19 People mentioned a man from Split, and then there were also some drug
20 addicts who had been at the front or I don't know where, and they would
21 tend to stay there a night or two and then they would be released.
22 Q. Can you please explain, just prior to you being taken to the
23 school of mechanical engineering, what were your duties? You said that
24 you were highly placed officer in the 4th Corps. What were your specific
25 duties? I'm now referring to the period of time just prior to you being
1 taken to the faculty of mechanical engineering. I'm referring to the
2 communications centre.
3 A. I was in charge of communications centre, which ensures
4 communication between the command and subordinate units as well as the
5 commander and his aides, and the command and the superior command.
6 Q. So you were a leader of sorts. Did you take part in any
7 negotiations? Did you send any documents signed by you?
8 A. No. No. That was an early stage.
9 Q. What did you say?
10 A. No. That was an early stage in the work of the 4th Corps, and
11 that was mostly done by the command.
12 Q. Are you trying to say that you did not send any messages?
13 A. I did not send any messages and I didn't sign any orders.
14 Q. Did you personally send any reports or transmit any reports by
15 your hand?
16 A. Naturally there was communication and there were reports.
17 Q. Written reports.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I'm sorry for speeding. This is all due to the lack of time.
20 Could we see 2D 00083.
21 Would you please look at this report, and would you please tell us
22 whether this is one of your reports.
23 A. This is not my handwriting, not my handwriting. Do you still want
24 me to read it?
25 Q. Is this your signature at the bottom?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So somebody wrote --
3 A. Just my signature. Somebody else wrote it. It's not my
5 Q. I'll read this out to you. A report: "Through the command of the
6 3rd Corps, strictly confidential, 02-2870-1/93.
7 "We are forwarding the text to keep you informed."
8 The text itself reads as follows: "On the 4th of July, 1993, in
9 the evening hours, in the sector of Scipe --" correct? -- "the HVO was
10 firing from infantry weapons."
11 A. I can't follow this because I don't have it on the screen.
12 Q. You don't have it on the screen? Is there a problem? Because I
13 have it.
14 A. I have it on the screen, but I don't see what you're reading now.
15 Q. Can that being zoomed?
16 A. It's all right now.
17 Q. I will go on.
18 A. You don't have to go on. I'll tell you what this is about. This
19 is the kind of report that every day the duty officer of the corps sends
20 to the Supreme Command.
21 Q. Well, I would like to read it until the end.
22 A. Go ahead.
23 Q. "Provocations are being carried out with infantry weapons. I sent
24 a patrol which captured and disarmed Ivanko Abram, a member of the 3rd
25 Uzedol Battalion. I then sent a 12-man team to take Vilic hill, the
1 dominant elevation overlooking Ivanici village and Pajici village. From
2 there there is a threat to our forces. During the 8th of April, 1993, the
3 HVO forces wanted to take our forces off Vilic hill with an infantry
4 attack but the attack was beaten back."
5 A. Well, what are you interested in here?
6 Q. I would like to know whether you remember this report and whether
7 you signed it.
8 A. I don't remember at all, but this -- where it says the content is
9 as follows, this means that this is a report that we received from the
10 ground, and we were forwarding it on. This was the usual kind of thing
11 that happened. Reports would arrive about the situation on the ground and
12 they would be forwarded.
13 Q. Yes. What I want to know is exactly what the situation on the
14 ground was on the 11th of April, 1993.
15 And finally, please, there are a number of contradictions, but I
16 will ask you about another statement that you made which has not been
17 listed where there is also a contradiction between what you say today
18 regarding the alleged death of Mr. Hebibovic.
19 Could we please see in e-court a Prosecution document, ERN number
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: RR 04775.
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Do you recall that during the investigation before the trial at
24 the court in Mostar you made some statements regarding the death of
25 Mr. Hebibovic?
1 A. I'm sorry, what do you mean whether I made any statements before
2 my statement in Mostar?
3 Q. My question was very precise. You made a statement at the trial
4 and my colleague presented part of that statement to you. What I'm asking
5 you is during the investigation stage in this same case, did you give a
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Well, I want to put to you the statement you made during the
9 investigation phase. As far as I can see, this is in English, if this is
10 it. No. In order to save time, I will read out part of that statement to
11 you, and we can put it on the ELMO. This is not ECM.
12 Could you please take it from my colleague and put page 2 on the
14 Today, when asked by my colleague Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic about
15 this, you said that it happened on the last day, what happened to
16 Hebibovic, the last day of your stay. Mr. Saric, I asked you a question.
17 A. Well, I don't know what to say. In the statement, it's all clear.
18 Q. In what statement is it clear? It's not clear to me.
19 A. Well, what we say today.
20 Q. Today you said --
21 A. Before I left, what I learned was that he was dead.
22 Q. Today you said, when asked by my colleague, that what happened to
23 Mr. Hebibovic happened on the last day; is that correct?
24 A. Of my stay there.
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Please look at what it says in your statement here, which you gave
3 under oath to the investigating judge in Mostar. That's page 2, and I
4 will read out to you what you said. It's not very legible, but that's
5 what it says here, and this is the part that's underlined: "I don't know
6 -- I do not know any of the accused. I only once heard the noises of a
7 beating in the corridor, and later I saw that the man who had been beaten
8 was dead, and he lay there for two days. Who did this I don't know."
9 Is that what it says in this statement?
10 A. Yes, that's what it says.
11 Q. Do you see the contradiction?
12 A. No, I don't.
13 Q. You don't?
14 A. Well, he was lying there from the first day. I don't say he was
16 Q. I leave some time for Mr. Praljak now. I have no further
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We just have five minutes left,
19 because there will be another case heard in this courtroom this afternoon.
20 So please be brief.
21 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Saric, for the sake of time, as regards
23 telecommunications in the former Yugoslavia, the centre for communications
24 with the world was Belgrade, yes?
25 A. No. There was also Ljubljana, Zagreb, and Skopje, who had direct
1 lines to other countries. The largest international switchboard was in
2 Belgrade, but there were also international switchboards in Ljubljana with
3 direct connections to Austria and Italy, in Zagreb with connections to
4 Hungary, and in Skopje which had connections with Greece and Bulgaria.
5 Q. But Belgrade controlled all communications?
6 A. Yes, Belgrade had absolute control.
7 Q. So the network was concentrated towards the republican centres;
8 Sarajevo, Popo [phoen], Bosnia-Herzegovina, Zagreb for Croatia, and so
9 on. These were the transit centres.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And they were connected with coaxial cables to start with?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And these are cables which can transmit large numbers of telephone
14 conversations all at once.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. After that, electromagnetic waves, high frequency electromagnetic
17 waves were used, and let it be said they have a very small angle. They
18 cannot go behind a hill.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. So they need relays from hill to hill until they come to the end
21 user; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In 1992, the Serbs destroyed the bridge in Rastani and the relay
24 at Velez, thereby cutting off all communication between Mostar and the
25 world; is that correct?
1 A. No. There was also the western part towards Stolac, but I know
2 what you're trying to say.
3 Q. Well, but for the most part towards Sarajevo, Jablanica, Konjic
4 there was nothing, and then they hit the AXI central switchboard.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So then it was moved -- it was moved to avoid being completely
7 destroyed by bombing, and in this way communication between Mostar and the
8 rest of the world disappeared.
9 A. Partly, yes.
10 Q. And the two lines which we call "parica," which were going
11 underneath the customs bridge, and when that fell, there was a cut-off in
12 telephone communications.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. So the HVO brought a coaxial cable which they set up between
15 Mostar and Siroki Brijeg and then they set up a relay towards Sveti Juraj
16 overlooking Makarska, and from Makarska to Split.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. A coaxial cable can have a greater or smaller capacity; is that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. It's expensive.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. It's sensitive.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So a smaller capacity cable was laid. It wasn't very
2 A. It was portable.
3 Q. Yes, and a very small number of numbers, starting 058 Mostar,
4 existed for links to Split and so on.
5 A. 120 at the most.
6 Q. Yes, 120 at the most. All communications with Central Bosnia had
7 also been cut off.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So you couldn't reach that by phone, that area. You -- well,
10 there were attempts in Tomislavgrad and elsewhere to try and link up
11 because they had been oriented towards Sarajevo and now they were trying
12 to reach Split.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. That was the situation in 1992 when we managed to beat back the
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. There were no public telephone lines. Those 120 telephone numbers
18 were very fiercely contested. People vied for those numbers, and the army
19 of Bosnia-Herzegovina had some of those telephone numbers; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In that army, in Vranica, you concentrated the two strongest, most
23 important headquarters of the 4th Corps, which from -- went from Konjic
24 and Jablanica to Stolac and the 41st Mountain Brigade, and you put that --
25 and you were one of the most important people in that staff. You were the
1 chief of communications; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I have no further questions. Thank you for this information.
4 A. No problem.
5 MR. KOVACIC: I have just one question to conclude this.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] I apologise, sir, but we have to make use of your
8 knowledge. One more question. The situation you just confirmed when
9 asked by Mr. Praljak, the public telephone network between Herzegovina and
10 other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, after 1992 when it was damaged, did it
11 ever start functioning again?
12 A. No. Not for the public.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have now finished. If you
15 have just one last question, all right.
16 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] No. I only wanted to say that
17 after the cross-examination of General Praljak, Dr. Prlic's Defence has no
18 further questions.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As far as the exhibits to be
20 tendered by the Defence are concerned, do you have any additional requests
21 in that area? Ms. Nozica?
22 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I tender
23 document 2D 00083, and I tender document -- the document we received from
24 the Prosecutor, RR 043775, and RR 043776, which could not be seen in
25 e-court, and we can check on Monday. Thank you.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right.
2 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Our team wishes to tender
3 5D 00515. Thank you.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Just one thing about General
5 Petkovic's Defence: The document we tender was received by the Defence
6 from the OTP. This is not a document we obtained.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak.
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, on Monday I
9 will ask you for five minutes for the following reason: As for the
10 computer I need in the Detention Unit is no longer an issue of reason. I
11 wish to address Your Honours in this respect because I no longer wish to
12 yield in this respect. I do have the right to prepare my defence.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall talk about this again
14 on Monday.
15 I'd like to thank you, Mr. Saric. On behalf of the Bench, we
16 would like to thank you for having come to testify. We wish you a safe
17 journey home.
18 And we shall meet again next week on Monday at a quarter past
19 2.00, in line with the schedule that has been prepared by the Prosecution,
20 and everybody has had a copy of this. Thank you.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Monday, the 21st day
23 of August, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.