1 Monday, 22 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Case
8 number IT-04-74-PT, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 As the members of the Prosecution are somewhat different today,
11 could we have the appearances for the Prosecution.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon, Your
13 Honours, counsel, and to everyone in and around the courtroom. For the
14 Prosecution, Daryl Mundis, Vassily Poryvaev, Miguel Longone, and our case
15 manager Skye Winner.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mundis. The
17 members of Defence counsel have not changed. It's not necessary to have
18 the appearances.
19 I'd like to greet everyone present in the courtroom; the accused,
20 members of the Prosecution, and the Defence counsel and everyone else in
21 the courtroom.
22 We'll be continuing with our work today, and we'll be calling a
23 new witness. Prior to calling the new witness, we would have two oral
24 decisions that we would like to render that concern questions put to us
25 last week. On standby we had the issue of two video sequences, two video
1 clips. A request was made to have them admitted on the 16th of May, 2006.
2 This was a Prosecution request. P 01015 is the number that the video was
3 marked with for identification. The second video clip was entitled
4 "Greater Croatia," the number was P 07437, marked for identification.
5 Given the explanations provided to us by Belinda Giles, the
6 witness Belinda Giles, and given what was said in the course of the
7 hearing, we believe that it is necessary to admit these two video clips as
8 exhibits. Mr. Registrar, could we have the numbers for these exhibits,
10 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. These
11 two exhibits will be admitted into evidence under the following numbers:
12 [In English] The first video is admitted under the reference P 01015. The
13 second video is admitted under the reference P 07437. I also note for the
14 record that both videos are admitted with their respective transcripts.
15 Thank you very much.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
17 Now for the send oral decision. The accused Coric had a motion
18 that concerned the expert Donia's report. On the 15th of May, 2006, the
19 accused Coric stated that he was opposed to having the expert witness's
20 report admitted as evidence. This concerned Donia, the Donia report. The
21 accused Coric also said that if his motion was rejected, he would request
22 that his arguments be taken into consideration when determining the
23 probative value of the report. The Chamber wants to remind you that on
24 the 15th of May, 2006, they decided on the admissibility of Donia's
25 report, and this report was given the number P 09356.
1 As a result, the motion of the accused Coric has been rejected.
2 As far as the second part of the request is concerned, the Chamber
3 would like to remind you that the arguments presented in the motion will
4 naturally be taken into consideration at the time that the Chamber decides
5 on the probative value of the report in question.
6 Those are the two oral decisions I wanted to render today.
7 Without wasting any more time, we will now call the witness into the
8 courtroom. Mr. Usher, would please call the witness into the courtroom.
9 Yes, Mr. Coric.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the accused, please.
11 THE ACCUSED CORIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Last week I
12 contacted the Registry with regard to appointing counsel. They said that
13 the documents had been sent to the Chamber. Time is passing by and I
14 would like a member of the team to be admitted to the case as soon as
15 possible. Therefore I would be grateful if you could provide me with some
16 information as to when this matter could be dealt with. Thank you very
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Coric, for that.
19 We the Judges will discuss it and we will then inform you of your
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good day, sir. I would first
23 like to make sure that you are receiving the interpretation of what I'm
24 saying into your own language. If so, please say that you can hear and
25 understand me.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand you very well.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you have been called here
3 as a witness for the Prosecution. Before you read out the solemn
4 declaration, could you please tell me what your first and last names are
5 and also your date of birth.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Fahrudin Rizvanbegovic.
7 I was born on the 4th of February, 1945, in the town of Stolac.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you tell me what your
9 current profession is, please.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm now a university professor in
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Professor, have you already
13 testified before an international court or before a national court with
14 regard to the events that took place in your country in 1993 and 1994? Is
15 this the first time?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Please could you
18 read out the solemn declaration now.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down
23 WITNESS: FAHRUDIN RIZVANBEGOVIC
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Professor, before I give the
1 floor to the Prosecution who will conduct your examination-in-chief -- who
2 will conduct their examination-in-chief, I'd like to provide you with some
3 information regarding the procedure we'll be following. First of all, you
4 will have to answer the questions put to you by the Prosecution. They are
5 to your right and you certainly met them when you were proofed for the
6 hearing. Once this phase has been completed, Defence counsel, who are to
7 your left, will conduct the cross-examination. And you will notice that
8 the questions put to you in the course of the cross-examination are quite
9 different from the type of questions put to you by the Prosecution.
10 Remain calm. Do your best to answer the questions in a clear way.
11 If you encounter any difficulties, do inform us of the fact. The four
12 Judges sitting before you may at any point in time, if they deem it
13 necessary, put questions to you, questions that you are here to answer.
14 But as a rule; we prefer to wait for both parties to finish putting their
15 questions to you before we intervene.
16 As you have just taken the solemn declaration, this means that you
17 should avoid giving false testimony, which is a violation that is
18 punishable by this Tribunal.
19 These are the rough guidelines I wanted to provide you with. In
20 addition, I'd like to point out that every one and a half hours we have a
21 short 20-minute break, and then we continue for an hour and a half and
22 have another 20-minute break. If you feel uneasy or if you have any
23 difficulties of any kind in the course of the hearing, inform me of the
24 fact and we can have a break.
25 Having said that, I will now give the floor to the Prosecution for
1 their examination-in-chief.
2 Examination by Mr. Poryvaev:
3 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. First I must introduce myself again.
4 To the Trial Chamber first of all, my name is Vassily Poryvaev.
5 It's not my first trial here and always the Trial Chamber, the Judge had
6 problems with my full name although it's not very difficult. It's
7 pronounced Poryvaev, and if you have some doubt or forget it, I will not
8 feel offended if you call me Mr. Prosecutor. Having said that, I'm not
9 pretending to be the next after Carla Del Ponte, her deputy, my senior
10 trial attorneys and so on, it's just a practical matter.
11 Mr. Rizvanbegovic, you just told the Trial Chamber that your
12 current occupation is professor of Sarajevo University. Let's go back a
13 little bit to your background, and I will lead a couple of questions just
14 to abbreviate this part of the examination-in-chief.
15 From 1964 to 1968, you studied in Zagreb in the faculty of
16 philosophy; is that correct?
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. Then you completed your master degree and post-doctorate in
20 A. In Zagreb, yes.
21 Q. Then for some period of time, for three years, you were working as
22 professor in the high school and high school for juvenile criminals;
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. Witness, were you ever you involved in any social activities apart
1 from your permanent job as a professor?
2 A. Yes. As a student, and later on as a professor, I was involved in
3 various social activities, but on the whole I was involved in cultural
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
6 MR. PORYVAEV: I'm sorry.
7 Q. Were you ever a member of Council of the Congress of Bosnian
9 A. I'm a permanent member of the Congress of Bosnian Intellectuals.
10 I'm a member of the Congress today as well.
11 Q. What about your family status? Are you married, have children?
12 A. I'm married. I have two children. My children are professors.
13 Q. What is your place of residence now?
14 A. I live in Sarajevo. I live in Sarajevo and in Stolac. I spend
15 half the week in Sarajevo and the other half in Stolac.
16 Q. Witness, did you belong to any political party before the collapse
17 of Yugoslavia?
18 A. There was only one party at the time, and I was a member of that
19 party for a while.
20 Q. Did you join any political party shortly after the collapse of
22 A. When I left that party, which I did voluntarily a few years before
23 the war -- well, after I had left that party I didn't join any other
25 Q. Witness, since you were born in Stolac and lived many years there,
1 I suggest you should know about the demographic situation in Stolac
2 municipality. Let's begin with 1991. I mean, the last official census
3 before the war. I -- I --
4 A. That was the last census. That was the last census before the
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. After that date, there were no other censuses.
8 Q. Could you tell me what was the ethnic composition of the
9 population of the Stolac municipality in 1991?
10 A. I'm not sure I can answer that question precisely, but out of
11 18.000-odd inhabitants, I would say that 44 per cent of them were
12 Bosniaks, 33 per cent were -- per cent were Croats, 21 per cent were
13 Serbs, and the others were people who were not members of any of those
14 three ethnic groups.
15 Q. I suggest, Witness, you are giving some approximate figures to the
16 Trial Chamber. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes. The figures are approximate. I didn't realise that this is
18 something I should have known, but as an intellectual, yes, I have some
19 knowledge of the approximate numbers.
20 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the registrar to help me and show the
21 witness Exhibit P 08559.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, I see that I don't
23 have a copy of the document. I apologise. It was the registrar's fault
24 for not having provided me with a hard copy.
25 MR. PORYVAEV: It's page 3, line 25. Year 1991.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could this be enlarged, the part
2 that relates to Stolac? That's fine.
3 MR. PORYVAEV:
4 Q. Do you agree that the data that we have here on the whole
5 corresponds to your testimony about the ethnic structure of the population
6 in 1991?
7 A. I think this is from the Statistical Institute, that this
8 information comes from the Statistical Institute, and these figures are
10 Q. When did the first municipal elections take place in Stolac
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone for the
14 MR. PORYVAEV:
15 Q. When did the first municipal elections take place in the
16 municipality Stolac?
17 A. It's a well-known fact that this was in the 1990s. That's when
18 the elections were held. Elections were held throughout Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina, and this was also the case in Stolac.
20 Q. Were those elections held in a multi-party system?
21 A. Those were the first multi-party elections held in Bosnia and
23 Q. And which party --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MR. PORYVAEV:
1 Q. Which party won the elections?
2 A. The Croatian Democratic Union received the largest number of
3 votes, the second party was the Party of Democratic Action, the SDA, and
4 the third party was the SDS, as far as I can remember. Those were the
5 three nationalist parties. And after those three parties, the SDP
6 received the largest number of votes; Social Democrat Party.
7 Q. And what was the role of the leading party, which was HDZ, in the
8 setting up of civilian authorities in the municipality?
9 A. The HDZ provided the president of the municipality, whereas the
10 SDA appointed the president of the Executive Committee. The SDS provided
11 the chief economy and for certain other activities. I think that that is
12 how it worked.
13 Q. And who was elected the president of municipality?
14 A. The president of the municipality was Zeljko Raguz.
15 Q. And who was elected the president of government, of the
16 government, the executive body?
17 A. The President of the Executive Board was Alija Rizvanbegovic.
18 Q. How long did he hold his position as chief of Executive Board? I
19 mean Rizvanbegovic.
20 A. Alija Rizvanbegovic was the president of the Executive Board until
21 the 12th of June, 1992; until the time that the Croats who had fled from
22 Stolac returned, on the 12th of July [as interpreted].
23 Q. Witness, we will come back to this issue a little bit later but
24 now we will switch on to some other questions.
25 It is a fact well known that by the decision of the 19th of
1 November, 1991, Herceg-Bosna Community was created. When did you learn
2 about it?
3 A. I learned about that decision very late. I learned about it in,
4 once I had got out of the concentration camp. I knew that that community
5 had been established, but I wasn't aware of the date. This is something
6 that I found out in Zagreb.
7 Q. But when did you observe that the structural power in Stolac
8 municipality - or Mostar municipality, since you were working there -
9 started changing?
10 A. Well, this happened in Stolac on two occasions; first in April
11 when the Serbian --
12 Q. Which year?
13 A. -- army arrived.
14 Q. Witness --
15 A. In 1992. 1992. Most of the Croats fled. Only about 150 of them
16 stayed on, those who were undesirable, so to speak, those who didn't agree
17 with the HDZ. The president of the municipality, Zeljko Raguz, left with
18 them too, so that the Executive Board took control of the town after the
19 Croats had returned to Stolac. Zeljko Raguz was the president again, but
20 for a very brief period of time. He was then rapidly replaced by Andjelko
21 Markovic. So there were these changes. Alija Rizvanbegovic was expelled
22 from Stolac. They threatened to arrest him for cooperating with the
23 Serbs, and other conditions were established in town.
24 Q. Witness, were you familiar with Andjelko Markovic?
25 A. I didn't know him well. I knew him by sight. He worked as a
1 doctor in hospital for bone diseases, and my sister worked there, so I
2 knew him from before the war. My sister is also a doctor.
3 Q. And what happened in the Stolac municipality that the Croats fled
4 it in April 1992?
5 A. The Serbian troops appeared. They passed through Stolac, so to
6 speak. Some of the troops remained in Stolac. They continued in the
7 direction of Capljina. They stopped at the entrance to Capljina. Stolac
8 had been completely enclosed from that point in time onwards, and at that
9 time the Croats set off in the direction of the Neretva, Pocitrn [phoen],
10 and Capljina, and they would cross the Neretva. They would have to pass
11 by Serbian tanks on the way. And naturally we weren't aware of that
12 immediately, only after they had left. Not even my friends informed me of
13 the fact, and I had a lot of Croatian friends there.
14 Q. So let's say that the local military formation did not put up any
15 resistance to the Serbs' aggression.
16 A. There practically was no local military formation of any kind. At
17 least, I was unaware of its existence.
18 Q. And what was the power continued functioning in the Stolac
19 municipality during the Serb occupation?
20 A. During the Serb occupation, the Municipal Assembly continued
21 working. It was mostly composed of Assemblymen who were members of the
22 SDA, SDP, and the SDS. I think that they met only once or twice but not
23 after that.
24 Q. Witness, could you tell us, were there any attacks on the Serb
25 forces against the local population of Stolac municipality?
1 A. At the time when they came and passed through Stolac, there were
2 no attacks. However, there was very intense fire from artillery or
3 infantry weaponry, and naturally that caused a lot of fear among the
4 population, especially since they could see that that wasn't the army
5 acting in a regular way, if one could say so, but, rather, an army that
6 wanted to intimidate civilians.
7 Q. Were there any mass destructions or damages caused to businesses,
8 dwellings, cultural objects, religious sites?
9 A. Throughout that period while this army was staying in town, not a
10 single facility was destroyed in town itself. We were unable to leave
11 Stolac, and I heard and later saw myself that in Dubrava the houses owned
12 by various people were destroyed whereas in town itself not a single
13 monument or facility was destroyed up until the 12th of April -- no, I
14 apologise, 12th of June.
15 Q. When did the Serbs leave the area of Stolac?
16 A. On the 12th and the 13th of June, the Serbs withdrew from Stolac.
17 There was some minor combat in Osanici, which is an old area above Stolac,
18 above the town. In town itself, there was no significant combat. And at
19 that point it was completely clear that there had been an agreement
20 between the two sides who decided to draw a border in the area where the
21 border between the nowadays Federation and Republika Srpska runs.
22 I was in town, and I saw this in town. I don't know what was
23 happening outside of the town.
24 Q. Mr. Rizvanbegovic, just -- we're talking about 12th and 13th of
25 June. Which year??
1 A. 1992. All of this pertains to 1992.
2 Q. And what about the line of defence? Did the Serb forces try to
3 recapture Stolac??
4 A. There were some fake attempts, pseudo-attempts in the course of
5 1992, but to my knowledge there were no real attempts to do that. They
6 held the lines, the positions established at that time, and these
7 positions remained there until the end of the war.
8 Q. What units were the first to enter Stolac and, let's say, kick out
9 the Serbs?
10 A. The first units which entered Stolac were those of HOS. Behind
11 them came the Croatian army from Metkovici, Ploce, and Split. And then
12 there was the Dubrava-Stolac battalion of the Territorial Defence. The
13 HVO was in the second echelon as well.
14 Q. Do you know what particular HVO units entered the town?
15 A. As far as I know, that was the unit under the command of Nedjeljko
16 Radovic [phoen]. This unit entered town together with other units. The
17 commander of the Stolac segment was somebody with the last name of
18 Pavlovic. I can't remember his first name.
19 Q. Witness, I would like you to clarify the full name of the
20 commander. Nedjeljko --
21 A. Obradovic.
22 Q. Was Pavlovic's unit subordinate to Nedjeljko Obradovic?
23 A. Yes. Throughout the war it was subordinated to the unit under the
24 command of Obradovic. I believe he was a colonel.
25 Q. What other units were deployed in the area after the Serb defeat?
1 A. As I have already mentioned, there was a unit from Metkovici, the
2 116th Unit under the command of Beneta. I had occasion to meet him once
3 they arrived there, and this is how I know that he was the commander of
4 the unit. Then there was the Stolac Unit, which had logistical ties to
5 the 116th Unit. The logistical support, the supplies for this unit in
6 Stolac arrived from Metkovici.
7 Q. Metkovici Brigade, from where was that unit?
8 A. This unit was from Croatia.
9 Q. How do you know that?
10 A. Well, this is the first Croatian town in the vicinity of Stolac.
11 I went to that town almost on a weekly basis because we used to all live
12 in one country. After that, I went with a friend of mine, Miroslav
13 Palameta, to that unit. We were supposed to go there so he could see why
14 the food hadn't arrived on time and the funds for salaries for soldiers.
15 So this is how I know that this is what happened, because I went with him
16 several times when he lodged in his protests.
17 Q. What kind of protest did you lodge?
18 A. The protests were not lodged by me. Rather, by my colleague. He
19 protested about the lunch not arriving on time, salaries not arriving on
20 time. It was some kind of a verbal protest. He went there to inquire
21 about it.
22 Q. How long did this unit stay in Stolac municipality?
23 A. I don't know exactly how long it stayed there because I myself
24 didn't visit the positions and various lines, and I didn't know which
25 positions were held by which unit, but I think that it stayed there for
1 quite a while.
2 Q. Witness, you just told the Trial Chamber that all former
3 authorities which left the town during the Serbs' occupation came back.
4 Were they functioning after June 1992 in their former composition?
5 A. No. It was only the military authorities that were functioning,
6 those of the HVO. That was practically the only authority functioning in
7 Stolac. This is why Zeljko Raguz left the office of the president, but
8 I'm not sure exactly about the relations between them.
9 Q. And in general, when the HVO Presidency was set up in Stolac?
10 A. I think that it was established back while they were near Ploce in
11 Gradac, in the Makarska area. I don't have detailed information about
12 that, but I think that they were established there while they were in
13 exile. We didn't know that such units existed until they arrived in
14 Stolac. Stolac had Territorial Defence which was supposed to be a
15 legitimate organisation. When the Croats arrived in Stolac, the residents
16 had to put on their houses "TO" or "TO-HVO," and it was only then that we
17 learned for the first time that there existed something called the HVO,
18 those of us who were surrounded there.
19 Q. And what coat of arms did they have?
20 A. It was a Croatian coat of arms. When they came to Stolac, all
21 types of old signs and inscriptions were taken off. I saw with my own
22 eyes Marijan Prce and some other people doing that, taking down the signs,
23 and gradually they put up new signs with the various inscriptions of
25 Q. And were all these signs of new power accepted by the population?
1 A. Other than Croats, nobody else.
2 Q. Mr. Rizvanbegovic, did you continue working at the Mostar
3 university at that time?
4 A. At the time, I was unable to leave Stolac during the Serb
5 occupation. The first time I was able to go to Mostar was on the 25th of
6 June, and I went to the university because I was deputy dean of the
7 pedagogical department, the teacher training department. So I to my
8 department, and I found in Mostar a military unit, which was quite a
9 surprise for me. I looked for the dean. His name was Rudolf Kraljevic.
10 He had been absent for quite a while. I asked that the documents and the
11 records which were strewn in the corridor be gathered and put in order. I
12 asked the soldiers to do that. That university or, rather, that
13 department had records going back to -- going back 40 years, and I wanted
14 that to be protected. These records pertain to various things, including
15 alumni and so on.
16 I had some problems with the commander and also somebody else
17 threatening me, saying he would kill me and what was I doing there,
18 interfering with their business? Following that, I went to the office of
19 the president of the university to see what was to be done about it.
20 Q. Witness, let's wait a little bit. We'll come back to the issue of
21 university a little bit later, but now could you get Mostar quite freely
22 without any impediments?
23 A. Unfortunately, throughout that period until I was taken to the
24 concentration camp, I and also other Bosniaks were unable to leave Stolac
25 without a written permit. We would wait in lines for these permits to
1 allow us to go to Mostar, to Capljina, to see our relatives in Dubrava or
2 anywhere else. We had to wait for something that we at the time,
3 recognising what was going on, referred to as "ausweiss". They were
4 issuing permits on forms displaying signs of Croatian Community of
5 Herceg-Bosna. I think that's what it was called at the time. A special
6 office was established to deal exclusively with these permits.
7 Q. Did these rules --
8 A. I apologise. In addition to that, there were a large number of
9 checkpoints where they checked for these papers to see whether we had
10 them. One couldn't leave without them.
11 Q. And who was running the checkpoints? Who was in command of
12 checkpoints? Do you know?
13 A. The HVO soldiers. I think it was the military police. I wasn't
14 paying attention to their insignia, though, but they were definitely the
15 HVO soldiers.
16 Q. Did these rules of "ausweiss" apply only to the Muslim population?
17 A. I think that it was in place only for Muslim residents and for the
18 few remaining Serbs there. I'm not sure as to how many Croats took out
19 those permits. I don't know anything about that. I'm not sure. I know
20 for a fact that the Muslims had to have them.
21 Q. And let's go back to the university issues. What was the main
22 problem there at that time when you came there in June, 1992?
23 A. The first session of the university council, whose member I was,
24 was scheduled for the 26th of June, I believe, and it was convened in
25 order to change the name of the university, to change the curriculum, to
1 change the language of the instruction into exclusively Croatian language.
2 This was proposed not by the president of the university or his deputy
3 but, rather, by Bozo Zepic. I think he was a professor of Marxism back in
4 the socialist system, and I think this is how he tried to gain more
5 prominence for himself.
6 The changes were aimed at amending the very essence, the very
7 essential image of the university. Bozo Coric, the president of the
8 university at the time, objected. Soon thereafter, he resigned, left the
9 university, went to live in Zagreb where he lives to this day. I have
10 very good relations with him.
11 Q. And was this problem solved, I mean the problem of the university
12 status, the language of instruction, and other issues?
13 A. Unfortunately, we, the professors who were members of the council,
14 were unable to accept something like that. I remember that I personally
15 proposed that Mostar University not be called a Croatian university but,
16 rather, university in Mostar or Mostar University. And I remember that I
17 even joked about the word they were proposing for "university,"
18 "sveuciliste," saying that that was a word of a Serbian origin first used
19 in Novi Sad. Unfortunately, they didn't accept my joke well.
20 Some professors left the session of the council and later on left
21 the university itself.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters believe that those were Bosniak
23 professors, but we're not sure.
24 MR. PORYVAEV:
25 Q. Just clarify this issue, as requested by the translator. Did the
1 Muslim professors leave the university, or any others as well?
2 A. The Serb professors had already left the university by that time.
3 The Muslim professors left the university because their proposal was not
4 accepted, namely to have the instruction held in Bosniak and Croatian
5 languages in addition to the proposal about accepting a curriculum that
6 would reflect humanitarian ideas and not claustrophobic ideas, which meant
7 that the university would be shut to the outside world.
8 Their ideas were not accepted under the circumstances, these ideas
9 about a multinational university. As a result of that, 42 Bosniak
10 professors left the university.
11 We continued working in a different way. Our students who were
12 enrolled at the university up until 1992, we examined them and we marked
13 them with the traditional grading system, which was from 6 to 10, whereas
14 the Croat professors continued teaching using the new Croatian curriculum.
15 Q. One other question: When did this group of professors who were --
16 did not agree with the leadership of university try to solve this problem
17 through the official Herceg-Bosna authorities? I mean not only the
18 problem of university but the problem of the language as well.
19 A. We established a Council of Muslim Intellectuals. This council
20 was supposed to be some sort of an intellectual conscience of Mostar. We
21 sent many appeals and many requests to put an end to this division in
22 Mostar, this kind of an apartheid. Since the problems in Mostar were
23 increasing, and there was also the resolution of the Herzegovina Muslims,
24 and also the event when the Serbian Orthodox Church in Mostar was blown
25 up, it was that that prompted us to draft a resolution attempting to
1 protect the multi-cultural identity of Bosnia and attempting to ensure
2 that it was only the legal organs of Bosnia and Herzegovina that would
3 continue to exist.
4 Q. By that time, Witness, were you aware of HDZ political, cultural
6 A. It was quite obvious at every step. Wherever one went this
7 programme led to intellectuals rallying round the Council of
8 Intellectuals. We asked for a -- we looked for a creative solution aimed
9 at preserving the cultural, ethnic identity of Mostar, of that town.
10 Q. What was the main goal put forward by your new association on your
11 organisation of Muslims?
12 A. We drafted this resolution. A team started working on this
13 resolution, and it was tasked with writing a draft resolution. Professor
14 Zupcevic, university professor, was included into this effort, then
15 myself, then Ico Mutevelic, who was a writer and a publicist, then the
16 Mostar mufti Smajkic, and Adem -- I will remember his last name a bit
17 later. We received the first version drafted by Ico Mutevelic, and we
18 considered it at the meeting. Then I was tasked with providing a final
19 version. When I gave the statement, I asked for the resolution to be
20 given to me to refresh my memory, because I would like to inform the Trial
21 Chamber about some of the details of the resolution.
22 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the registrar just to -- the witness
23 to be shown Exhibit 00374. That will be page 2 English version, and page
24 1 B/C/S version.
25 Q. Witness, in your resolution - and you were one of the fathers of
1 the resolution - you emphasised that you don't recognise any parastate of
2 Croatians. What Croatians did you mean?
3 A. Under I, the third paragraph from below, it says that the Muslims
4 are in favour of a whole and indivisible Bosnia and Herzegovina and will
5 not recognise any parastate formations, in the plural. So the Bosniaks
6 were not in favour of establishing Herceg-Bosna. And similar, they were
7 against any other parastates, because the Serbs had established the SAO of
8 Herzegovina, et cetera, the autonomous regions. Everyone is aware of
9 fact. So we quite deliberately said that the Muslims were in favour of an
10 integral Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we said that the Muslims would not
11 recognise any parastates.
12 Under number I, the second paragraph reads as follows: "We
13 suggest that the Muslims live in harmony and love their honourable
14 neighbours and fellow citizens, because there is no such thing as a
15 collective sin, and therefore there is no such thing as collective
16 responsibility. Every adult is responsible for himself and for his own
18 Q. Witness, my next question will be in paragraph I, page 3 of the
19 English version, and page 1 in B/C/S version. You emphasised that Muslims
20 seek the introduction of total equality for the Bosnian language, and so
21 on, and you mentioned that 37 of the total inhabitants, according to the
22 last census, declared themselves to be speakers. I would like to clarify.
23 Did you mean only Muslims or all Yugoslavian people? Because it's not
24 clear for me -- to me from the text of the resolution, especially the last
25 part, with the Croatian and Serbian languages.
1 A. I'll read through the text: "The Muslims requesting full equality
2 for the Bosnian language. 37 per cent of the inhabitants registered were
3 in favour of this at the last census. They wanted to have equal status
4 with Croatian and Serbian." What does this mean? It means that all those
5 who used the Bosniak language, regardless of their nationality, should be
6 fully equal with regard to those who call their own language the Croatian
7 language or the Serbian language. So we were in favour of full equality
8 for the Bosniak language. We weren't requesting that the Bosniak language
9 have any exclusive rights. We wanted this language to be a language for
11 Q. Witness, it's a very delicate question, of course, because it's
12 not the first trial here when the issue of the Bosnian language is
13 discussed, and on many occasions the Defence raised the issue that the
14 Bosnian language as such did not exist. What could you answer to this
16 A. If the Trial Chamber allows me to do this, I'd like to say that
17 there was a delegation from this council composed of Ramiz Zupcevic, the
18 president of the university, Professor Alija Piric, and the lawyer Damir
19 Sadovic. And at the time, they visited the Prime Minister of the Croatian
20 Community of Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Jadranko Prlic at the time. I sent an
21 original and a copy of a grammar book on the Bosnian language from 1890.
22 I don't know whether he was provided with a copy of this grammar book. If
23 not, I am quite prepared to send him a copy whenever he so requests. The
24 Bosnian language, it's something I could give you a lecture on. I've
25 given a hundred lectures on this matter. But the Bosnian language is the
1 usual name used for the language used in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this
2 grammar book is older than Maretic's grammar book on the Croatian
3 language. It's made it possible -- it was made possible in 1991 for
4 people to declare what language they used, and the Bosniak language was
5 one possibility. 37 per cent of the population declared that the language
6 they used was the Bosnian language. So this was an issue that was raised
7 on a number of occasions. And at the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina, it was also an issue that was discussed, because this term
9 was abused, and the Croats called this language the Bosniak language --
10 Q. Let's stop for a moment with linguistic problems and go back to
11 the resolution.
12 In paragraph 3 of the --
13 A. I apologise. I apologise. Is there something else I can add?
14 Q. That's enough for the moment.
15 A. I apologise.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... additional questions or the
17 Defence will have questions, they will ask you, and the Judges as well.
18 For the moment, the Prosecution is satisfied with your response.
19 Witness, if you look at paragraph 3 of the resolution, this is
20 page 4 English version and page 2 B/C/S version.
21 A. I don't have it. Oh, there it is.
22 Q. You don't have it on the screen? Do you have it now?
23 A. Yes. Could it be enlarged, the part that your question will
24 concern? I can see it now.
25 Q. Is it possible? Yes. Do you see it now?
1 A. Yes, I can see it. Which part are you interested in?
2 Q. Paragraph III. You say that you protest against any forms of
3 military dictatorship and new fascism. What did you mean by these two
4 very, very serious terms?
5 A. Could I see number III? I can see number IV and V. I can't see
6 III. There it is.
7 Q. Paragraph III. Paragraph III, page 2 of the B/C/S version. Do
8 you see it now?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. Could you explain? Could you answer my question about the
11 dictatorship and neo-fascism you were protesting against.
12 A. If the civilian population isn't allowed to move around freely, if
13 some people wear the insignia of the fascists from the Second World War,
14 if window screens have the photographs of Ante Pavelic in them, if --
15 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the person you mentioned now?
16 Explain, please, to the Trial Chamber.
17 A. Ante Pavelic was the leader of a quisling creation, the
18 Independent State of Croatia, during the Second World War. So if certain
19 songs are sung about people who were fascists during the Second World War,
20 if this is done on a massive scale, well, in that case we protested
21 against such neo-fascism, against reviving such neo-fascism, and against
22 any acts that were carried out in the spirit of fascism.
23 Q. But what kind of people were wearing such kind of signs and
24 singing such kind of songs?
25 A. Members of the HOS and of the HVO would wear such insignia, and
1 this was on a massive scale.
2 Q. And in -- let's go to paragraph V. Paragraph V. This is page 5
3 of the English version, and page 2 B/C/S version.
4 Do you see it, Witness?
5 A. Yes, I do. I can see it, I've got it before me.
6 Q. I've got a question: In this paragraph you call on all Muslims
7 fit for military service to join the ranks of defenders of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina. Against whom? What did you mean to be ready for the
9 defence? Against whom?
10 A. Well, as you can see in this paragraph, it says: "We appeal to
11 all those Muslims who were fit to serve in the military and who have not
12 engaged yet to join the defenders of Bosnia and Herzegovina." And then
13 you can see what follows. It says that we're appealing to all such
14 individuals to participate in the defence against the aggression, the
15 Serbian aggression at the time. We didn't want them to join only the
16 ranks of the BH army. We wanted them to join the ranks of the defenders
17 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are many Bosniaks who at the time were
18 members of the HOS, the HVO, and the ABiH. We wanted them to commit
19 themselves to the defence of their homeland.
20 Q. Was this resolution made public?
21 A. This resolution was made public. A number of press conferences
22 were held with regard to this resolution, and I believe that it was
23 published in certain newspapers, it was read out on Radio Mostar, et
24 cetera, et cetera.
25 Q. Was it easy for you to go back to Stolac after such kind of
2 A. Naturally. I thought that this document was quite correct. I
3 thought that it was a document that could be accepted by all people of
4 goodwill, and I wasn't really afraid of returning to Stolac. I was afraid
5 each time I returned there because sometimes there would be unpleasant
6 experiences at the checkpoints. There were some threats, there were some
7 disruptive people, but I always ignored it.
8 Q. Witness, just one question: You were talking about "ausweiss",
9 so-called permits to leave the territories of Stolac municipality. Was it
10 applied to Croatia also? You could not go to Croatia?
11 A. You could only go to Croatia if you had received authorisation
12 from Herceg-Bosna. If I wanted to go to Croatia, I had to receive
13 authorisation from the relevant office in Stolac. Other documents issued
14 by the legal bodies in Mostar - when I say "the legal bodies," I mean
15 bodies loyal to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina - these other
16 documents were not recognised, and many people had problems when crossing
17 the border.
18 Q. And do you know where those "ausweiss" were printed, printed out?
19 A. All the Herceg-Bosna documents were printed in Grude. And on all
20 of the documents - and I was the director of a secondary school for many
21 years, and as a result I know you have to have the year of printing on
22 each document - on each document -- on each form, it said February, 1992.
23 So this was two months prior to the declaration of the independence of
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 School certificates, and these other documents were printed there
1 as well as all other forms. All of these forms and documents were printed
2 before Bosnia and Herzegovina was declared to be an independent state.
3 Anyone who has such documents can check this.
4 Children didn't want to take such documents, Bosniak children.
5 Q. Witness, let's go to another part of questions. Somewhere in
6 September, 1992, there was a meeting of representatives of Muslim's
7 organisations and independent Muslim intellectuals in Mostar. Did you
8 participate in that meeting?
9 A. Yes. That was a meeting of representatives of all organisations
10 involved in culture, education, science, religion, et cetera, et cetera.
11 It was a meeting of all those who participated in social life at that
12 point in time.
13 Q. To what extent your resolution served the foundation document for
14 this Council of Muslims?
15 A. Well, the Council of Muslims wasn't an official institution. It
16 was a coordinating body, or it was a body that coordinated institutions
17 that existed at the time. It was a coordinating body that attempted to
18 act in a coordinated way without posing a threat to anyone. They
19 attempted to protect the interests of the Bosniaks who were at great risk
20 at the time.
21 Q. I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit -- Prosecution
22 Exhibit 09579. On page 1 in both versions.
23 You see the name of Faruk Cupina. What was his official position
24 and role in the organisation and functioning of this association?
25 A. As you can see, this is an excerpt from the minutes of that
1 meeting. It was held on the 19th of September. 230 representatives from
2 Mostar, Jablanica, Capljina, Konjic, Prozor, and other cities
3 participated. There were other intellectuals from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Faruk Cupina and others presided over the meeting, and the Council of the
5 Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina was formed there. Bitanga and Suta also
6 presided. Faruk Cupina - you will see this later - was appointed as
7 president of the Executive Board of that council at the time.
8 Q. And if you go further to this document, just analysis of the
9 situation in Herzegovina. Page 1, we're dealing with items on the agenda.
10 Could you briefly say, if you remember, of course, how did you assess the
11 situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina at that time in September, 1992?
12 A. That was a situation in which it was necessary for us as
13 intellectuals to state our position. That's why this Council of
14 Intellectuals was formed, and then this coordinating council, because the
15 constitutional and legal system of Bosnia and Herzegovina was at threat,
16 was at risk. In September, the Constitutional Court rendered a decision
17 according to which Herceg-Bosna was an entity that had been established
18 counter to the constitution. So we were wondering what to do. We had to
19 examine the situation and see how we could continue to cooperate. We had
20 very serious problems with certain people at the time, certain people from
21 the Party of Democratic Action who collaborated, cooperated with
22 Herceg-Bosna and representatives from Herceg-Bosna. They were playing a
23 sort of quisling role. We believed that it was necessary to take certain
24 steps to protect the interests of the Bosniaks who were at risk.
25 Q. In paragraph 7 - that's page 6 English version and page 2 B/C/S
1 version - you express your protest "to the official organs of the Republic
2 of Croatia over its refusal to recognise public documents of the Republic
3 of Bosnia-Herzegovina at border crossings. Inform the official organs of
4 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the contents of this protest."
5 Did that kind of facts actually take place?
6 A. Unfortunately, such things did occur, and this could no longer be
7 tolerated. A certain threshold had been crossed so it could no longer be
8 tolerated. It was no longer a matter of individuals creating problems.
9 At the time the border was practically closed for people who had
10 legitimate documents from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Anyone who didn't have
11 authorisation from Herceg-Bosna couldn't cross the Bosnian and
12 Herzegovinian border, and that is why we lodged a protest with the
13 government of Croatia and informed the bodies of our state of the fact.
14 Q. Did you receive any feedback from the Croatian authorities? I
15 mean the Republic of Croatia.
16 A. Unfortunately, we didn't. We had a public press conference at
17 which we made all of these facts known, but unfortunately, no, we didn't
18 receive any kind of feedback.
19 MR. PORYVAEV: Your Honour, I have finished with this set of
20 questions, and I intend to pass on to another set of questions. Maybe it
21 makes sense to break now.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. It's time for the break,
23 but for the sake of the transcript, the last document is 9579, whereas
24 initially it was said 9779. So the number is 9579.
25 We'll have our break now. It's now 20 to four, and we will resume
1 at 4.00.
2 --- Recess taken at 3.40 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 4.03 p.m.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We are resuming our
5 hearing. You can continue with examination-in-chief.
6 MR. PORYVAEV:
7 Q. Witness, now we covered 1992 and let's pass on to 1993. How were
8 you personally treated by the official Stolac authorities in 1993?
9 A. Unfortunately, starting in 1993, in the very beginning of the year
10 I had problems. I lived in my family house, and in April I had
11 significant problems because they banned me from having any visitors in my
12 house and I was banned from leaving my house, so in a way I was imprisoned
13 in my own home. It was sort of a home detention.
14 Q. Whose decision was it?
15 A. The decision was written in the form of an order issued by a
16 commander of the unit to which the unit which was in my brother's house in
17 Begovina was subordinated. The document, the order, was signed by Veselin
18 Veso Raguz. He was commander of that battalion.
19 This order was affixed with a nail to the front door in Begovina.
20 One can still see the nails on that door.
21 Q. Did you file any complaint -- official complaint against any such
22 kind of decision, such kind of arrest?
23 A. I immediately took a bicycle and rode to the command of that unit,
24 to their headquarters. I found Mr. Raguza [as interpreted]. I was
25 absolutely shocked to see that in the headquarters, in a room there, was a
1 large picture of Ante Pavelic in the area where they used to hang a
2 photograph of Josip Broz Tito. I protested very firmly and energetically,
3 and I said that I wanted this to be clarified to me, that I was just an
4 ordinary, loyal citizen. However, I received no explanation.
5 Q. Witness, I would like you to clarify "Raguza." What was his
6 position, and what is his first name? Mr. Raguz, to whom you turned to --
7 A. Veselin Veso Raguz, at the time, was in the commanding post of
8 that battalion, which was in Stolac. Two months later, he was appointed
9 commander of a unit that was in town, the unit that deported the residents
10 of Stolac and sent them to concentration camps. Other remaining
11 civilians, women, children, and the elderly, were driven out of that town.
12 That's the man I am speaking of; Veselin Veso Raguz.
13 Q. And so after this visit you remained after this home arrest.
14 Until what time?
15 A. Up until the 1st of July, 5.00 a.m., when I was arrested and taken
16 to Kostana hospital, or an orthopaedic hospital, which that year
17 celebrated its 100th anniversary. I was taken to that hospital for a
18 so-called informative interview.
19 Q. Who arrested you, and who brought you to the hospital building?
20 A. In the morning at 5.00 the soldiers came, the military police,
21 with automatic rifles. They banged on the door. I woke up, opened the
22 door for them. The only thing they allowed me to do was put my jeans on,
23 Adidas shoes, and a T-shirt. And this is how I went to have this
24 interview which, unfortunately, lasted for several months.
25 Q. And were there any arrests before the 1st of July in Stolac? I
1 mean, arrests of the Muslim population.
2 A. I think that the reason I was put under house arrest was that on
3 the 20th of April, the entire crew of civilian protection was arrested.
4 All Muslims. They were not Croats. They were taken to a camp in Grabovo
5 near Capljina. At the time a unit which was an ally of the HVO, a brigade
6 which was in the vicinity of Stolac was disarmed, and one must know that
7 this legal brigade was unable to cross into the territory of the town of
8 Stolac. It was at a distance of some 20 to 30 kilometres but was not
9 allowed to cross into the territory of Stolac proper. It was at that time
10 that the entire brigade was disarmed and taken to prison, together with
11 all of the members of the civilian protection. I can give the names of
12 the people who were taken on that occasion.
13 Q. First of all, I would like you to clarify the name of the brigade,
14 because it's missing in the record, in the transcript. What was the name
15 of the brigade?
16 A. The brigade was called Bregava Brigade. It was the brigade of
17 defenders from Stolac, and it was named after the river which passes
18 through -- which runs through our town.
19 Q. Was it a pure Muslim unit or mixed unit?
20 A. It was a Muslim unit. I think that it had two or three Serb
22 Q. And you were talking about some names. Who was commander of that
24 A. The commander of that unit was Bajro Pizovic, a teacher. Staff
25 Commander, and his deputy was Colonel Dzemil Sijacic. Mehmed Dizdar was
1 arrested on that occasion, and the entire commanding cadre, including
2 Sacir Turkovic, who was from civilian protection, another teacher, a
3 Muslim teacher, and then Ibrahim Mahmutovic, also a teacher. They tried
4 to arrest the intellectuals, the educated people.
5 Q. And what was Mehmed Dizdar's position?
6 A. Mehmed Dizdar was, before the war, deputy police chief. And this
7 also was so while the Serbs were in Stolac. After that, he had serious
8 problems. He had to go into hiding because the HVO threatened to kill
9 him. He went for a few days to HOS and from there he went to the army of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina and was a member of the command staff. He wrote a
11 book about his experiences there.
12 Q. Were there any other facts of arrest at the beginning of July,
13 1993, in Stolac?
14 A. The Croatian name for the month of July is Srpanj. The word "srp"
15 denotes a scythe that is used to cut wheat or grass. It was then that all
16 male residents from Stolac under the age of 65 were taken to Dretelj,
17 Heliodrom, and other places. I was arrested among the first one. I was
18 the second or third to be arrested. And then, following that, others were
19 arrested as well. I myself was sent to Dretelj.
20 Q. And what about members of your family and your close relatives?
21 Were they arrested?
22 A. Unfortunately, all members of my extended family, those who
23 happened to be in Stolac, were arrested and taken to camps. My brother,
24 who resides in the Netherlands nowadays, was taken to the notorious tunnel
25 in the camp, which I'm sure will be mentioned later. So all of the
1 members of my extended family were arrested.
2 Q. And what about your wife?
3 A. My wife and my daughter remained in the house after I was taken
4 alone with some 30 soldiers. My wife didn't know what was going to happen
5 to me. She tried to get in touch with people in town. She tried to go to
6 the command headquarters to inquire about my fate. Nobody wanted to talk
7 to her. She could see that something serious was going on. She came back
8 home quite anxious.
9 Several days later, upon receiving some information from
10 acquaintances of ours that I was in Dretelj, she came to see me there,
11 trying to bring some clothing for me and other things. She came back on
12 the 10th of July, and after that she was no longer allowed to go back to
13 our house. She then took up residence with our neighbours some 200 to 300
14 metres from Begovina. And for some three or four days she would go to our
15 house during daytime, and following that, she was completely banned from
16 entering our house. Both she and our daughter were banned.
17 Q. And what happened to her later in 1993?
18 A. On the 4th of August of that year, 1993, all residents of Stolac
19 who remained living there - the elderly, women, children, the infirm - all
20 of them were loaded onto trucks and taken to factories, schools, and were
21 deported from there to the separation line near Mostar, near Buna, several
22 kilometres from the town of Blagaj. From there she, together with her old
23 and elderly parents, walked for several kilometres every day. Her mother
24 could not -- no longer continue. She was very exhausted. A lot of the
25 elderly were killed on that road, because they used to fire at them. And
1 then a young man appeared, and he used a wheelbarrow, a construction
2 wheelbarrow in order to transport my mother-in-law for the remaining
3 portion of that trip. She was 80 years old.
4 Only 16 Bosniaks remained in Stolac out of 5.000 something. You
5 saw the statistics yourself.
6 Q. From whom did you hear this information about the circumstances
7 under which your wife and other people from Stolac were deported?
8 A. I received first information while in Dretelj. Some people were
9 in hiding, and some 10 to 15 people came into the hangar where I was, and
10 they told us that everybody had been deported from Stolac. So I learned
11 about her fate while in Dretelj. I didn't know anything about my son for
12 several months, though. And what made it especially hard for me was that
13 in his hangar there were some 15 schoolmates of my son, 15 and
14 16-year-olds, children who were imprisoned in camp together with me.
15 There were also some elderly people there, including Hamdija Mesak, who
16 was over 80 at the time. I described him at length in my statement.
17 Q. And let's go back to your arrest and the hospital building. How
18 long -- for how long were you kept there?
19 A. Once I arrived in the hospital, I asked to meet with the military
20 police commander, Mr. Puljic. He was a mechanical engineer. He used to
21 go to the high school where I was a principal. I thought that he didn't
22 know what was going on, so I thought I should inform him. As soon as I
23 mentioned that, I received a blow with a fist in my jaw. They broke my
24 jaw on that occasion, and I was taken to the basement of the hospital, and
25 I spent some two or three hours there - I'm not quite sure, but around two
1 or three hours - following which I was deported together with another two
2 men, Esad Suta, and another one who told me that this would not last for a
3 long time because his school friend Valenta Coric would interfere as they
4 were school friends. The other man was called Camil Medar. I believe
5 that he was an economist. They drove us in a closed van. The driver and
6 the person escorting us were armed. These two young men used to greet
7 each other with this gesture throughout that trip.
8 I came to the gate of Dretelj, and I was there taken to Ivica
9 Kraljevic. He started creating a list of all of those who were brought
10 there. He took my personal ID, and after that I didn't have a single ID
11 on me.
12 Q. And what was his position? I mean, Ivica Kraljevic.
13 A. Ivica Kraljevic was deputy commander or deputy warden of the camp
14 in Dretelj.
15 Q. How many people were brought along with you to Dretelj on that
17 A. On that day and on the following day, a total of 3.500 to 3.600 of
18 people were brought there. Why did I say on the following day? Because
19 on the following day the HVO soldiers came, and these were Muslims,
20 Bosniaks, members of the HVO. That was a unique event where, without any
21 kind of an armed rebellion, soldiers of an organisation, of a military
22 organisation, were disarmed and arrested. They were brought there
23 directly from front lines. Front lines facing the Serbian army.
24 Q. Professor, but at the time when you were brought to Dretelj, were
25 you interrogated by anyone, any officials of the camp?
1 A. No. Nobody interrogated me. They took me immediately to a
2 makeshift building, house, which was used as a storage for fuel and for
3 oil. Everything was dirty, smeared with fuel and oil, based on which I
4 concluded that this facility was used as a storage. On the floor we had
5 only concrete.
6 Q. And who was commander of Dretelj?
7 A. I don't know the man. I saw him. I think that his name was
8 Anicic. Later on, Tomo Sakota was the commander.
9 Q. And who was providing security to the camp? I mean on the
10 perimeter of the camp Dretelj, by whom was it guarded?
11 A. Military police.
12 Q. And do you know who --
13 A. I saw only military police when I came there. I don't know
14 whether there was anybody else there. Later on, I had no occasion to go
15 out and see. But those who guarded us, whom I could see, were military
17 Q. And those who were guarding you within the camp were also from
18 military police or from any other HVO unit?
19 A. Yes. These are the people I'm referring to. I believe that they
20 were military policemen. I didn't pay too much attention to their
21 insignia. At the time, it was not important for me. They were
22 definitely, though, members of the HVO.
23 Q. And on one occasion you mentioned a person, Valentin Coric, who
24 could help one of the prisoners or persons who was arrested along with
25 you. Did you know his position at that time?
1 A. I didn't. I didn't know the man from before. I had no contact
2 with him.
3 Q. And who told you that it was possible to help another inmate how
4 to get away from the arrest?
5 A. At the time, various letters of guarantee arrived from all over
6 Europe, from friends who had been residing abroad for many years. Based
7 on those letters of guarantee, very rarely they would let somebody out.
8 So an insignificant number of people were fortunate enough to leave the
9 concentration camp.
10 Naturally, I attempted to send a message to my sister to have her
11 try something similar. Unfortunately, it was useless.
12 Q. Where were you kept in Dretelj?
13 A. In Dretelj I was in a makeshift house. I told you what it had
14 been used before. It had a huge door. I assume that they needed this
15 huge door to bring in the fuel in containers.
16 This building had four or five windows, I'm not sure exactly how
17 many. They were 1.5 by 0.5 metres with iron bars on them. There was
18 glass in the windowpane. Later on we had to break the glass in order to
19 have some air.
20 This makeshift house had a very light type of roof called Salonit,
21 and we were there in that empty building lying on a cement floor.
22 Q. And how many people were detained in that barrack?
23 A. I never counted the people, but I know this: Somehow we could
24 manage to sit down, but the only way to lie down was for all of us to lie
25 on our sides. To this day, I have black marks on both sides of my body.
1 There would be 50 people in one row. Once our bodies became numb, and if
2 we wanted to turn to another side, all of us had to turn at the same time.
3 There were many rows of people, and one can actually do the math to see
4 how many people there were there altogether.
5 For a long time, I had bruises on both sides of my pelvis.
6 Q. And how many barracks were there in Dretelj complex?
7 A. I think that there were seven such areas where about 3.500 people
8 were kept. I think there were five makeshift houses and two tunnels. We
9 called them tunnels because those were entrances into subterranean
10 storages that had no exit on the other side. So this was just a huge
11 storage area, and above them were bars plus the door, which was five to
12 six metres wide. And those openings were the only openings through which
13 the air came to the people who were in the tunnel. My brother was in one
14 such tunnel and I was in a makeshift house.
15 Q. And what categories of detainees were detained in Dretelj?
16 A. They were all detained. There were no exceptions. The worst
17 thing was that there were children there. Perhaps it's because I've spent
18 my entire life with children that that affected me. Perhaps it was
19 because my son went to school with them, but that's something I will never
20 forget. That's an image that will never fade from my memory. They grew
21 thinner from day to day. Their eyes grew larger, their ears grew larger;
22 everything else grew smaller.
23 So these people were there, and there was some elderly people in
24 the place that I was detained in. The others were citizens who weren't
25 members of any military units.
1 The soldiers who were in the HVO were in the tunnels, and they
2 fared the worst.
3 Q. And your brother was also member of the HVO? Sorry. Yes, former
4 member of HVO or not?
5 A. No. He was a member of the civilian protection. He came to see
6 my wife, to find out what had happened to me. When they were disarming
7 troops that were in my brother's house, they collected him. He also went
8 see his father in flip-flops, and he was wearing some sort of a sports
9 T-shirt, and that's how he appeared.
10 Q. Were there any elderly people within the Dretelj camp?
11 A. Yes, there were elderly people there, from the age of 65 and over.
12 There were quite a few of them. I saw a number of them in my shack, in my
13 hut. I saw someone called Hamdija Mesak, who is a neighbour of mine, also
14 a godfather. It's a long story. There was this elderly man who was 83
15 years old who looked very miserable in that situation. There was another
16 agronomist, Mizo Dizdar, and every morning he would raise his hand and
17 say, "Sir, I'm an engineer of agronomy. Can I go to my site because if
18 the wind blows, the vines will be ruined." So imagine a person involved
19 in cultivation, the cultivation of such things to find himself in such a
21 Q. So, Witness, did you have enough water within your barrack?
22 A. Unfortunately, we didn't have water or food. Once a day we would
23 receive something that they called lunch. 33 aluminum pots would be
24 placed on the floor. 33 aluminum containers would be placed on the
25 asphalt. And they'd fill all these pots up from a large container. It
1 was water with a bit of pasta or a couple of beans inside. We would take
2 it in turns, and on each occasion 11 of us would go out and receive this
3 ration. Six hundred grams of bread would be divided into 16 portions.
4 Try and imagine this. So that amounted to two or three mouthfuls of
5 bread. After we had drunk that hot food, because we had 17 minutes to
6 have that so-called lunch, after which we'd go and drink water, and that's
7 all the water we would get. My mouth, my lips, my throat were constantly
8 irritated. I no longer had a mucous membrane. It was terrible.
9 Q. And what about toilet facilities? Did you have any?
10 A. Unfortunately, for a very long time it's not just that we didn't
11 have a toilet to use, but we just weren't provided with the possibility of
12 leaving the hangar to relieve ourselves. So what did we do? Sometimes
13 someone would bring a bag of some kind or a plastic bottle, a plastic
14 bottle of Coca-Cola, et cetera, or whatever they would find in the hangar.
15 We would urinate into those bottles, and at night we'd pour the contents
16 out through the broken windows.
17 When we had to defecate, we would use those bags, and at night we
18 would throw those bags out of the windows. That was one of the most
19 humiliating things that we experienced there.
20 Q. Did you receive any medical assistance?
21 A. After a certain period of time, there was a shack that was used to
22 keep fire extinguishers in before, and something like a clinic was
23 established there. Let's call it that. And there was a doctor who was
24 also a camp detainee who was taken there. And when it was necessary to
25 provide people with first aid, that's where they were taken to. This
1 doctor had very little -- very few medical supplies at his disposal. The
2 facilities were terrible. It was something that existed there more for
3 the sake of -- of form. It was pro forma.
4 MR. PORYVAEV: Now, I would like to pass on to some exhibits. Is
5 it proper to put hard copies to the witness or to use e-court system?
6 Which is better? Hard copy?
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's try to provide the witness
8 with an electronic version of the document. If it doesn't work, we'll use
9 the ELMO. Could you please provide us with the number of the exhibit.
10 MR. PORYVAEV: Okay. First exhibit, that's 9019. It has two
11 pictures with digit numbers 01092986, 01092987. 86, not 68. I repeat:
12 01092986. Page 10 of the album.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I think it would probably be
14 best to use the ELMO. We'll place the photographs on the ELMO.
15 MR. PORYVAEV: Yes. Yes. Exactly.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's quicker this way.
17 MR. PORYVAEV:
18 Q. Okay. First photo. Witness, do you recognise this place? Have
19 you ever been there before?
20 A. Yes. This is Dretelj. If I can point this out. Well, you can
21 see the tunnel here. And these are the shacks.
22 Q. Which one is the shacks?
23 A. This is a shack, and this is the tunnel.
24 Q. I would like --
25 A. This is the tunnel here.
1 Q. -- you to mark just the tunnel by encircling it with the marker.
2 And put number 1, your initials, and the date.
3 A. [Marks].
4 Q. Yes, the date. Your initials. You should put the date just
5 inside the circle. You might.
6 A. [Marks].
7 Q. And your initials.
8 A. I've done that. You've got my initials there.
9 Q. And the barrack should be circled as well. Put number 2.
10 A. [Marks].
11 Q. Okay. I think that that will be enough with this exhibit.
12 MR. PORYVAEV: Now I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit
14 Q. Do you see this exhibit, Witness?
15 A. Unfortunately, yes. This is the shack that I was detained in.
16 Q. Which one? There are three.
17 A. To the right you can see the shack that I marked with number 2
18 just a minute ago.
19 Q. Just -- you may mark it now with number 3.
20 MR. PORYVAEV: Again, we should --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: On the screen.
22 MR. PORYVAEV: I'm sorry.
23 THE WITNESS: [Marks].
24 MR. PORYVAEV:
25 Q. No. You should mark the barrack, not the sky.
1 A. [Marks].
2 Q. Your initials.
3 A. [Marks].
4 Q. Okay. Thank you very much.
5 MR. PORYVAEV: Now, Your Honour, I would like the registrar to
6 capture these exhibits and give them e-court numbers.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, we need some
8 exhibit numbers. The first one that was on the ELMO should be dealt with
10 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. [In
11 English] [Previous translation continues] ... will be allocated the --
12 assigned, sorry, the Exhibit IC 00012. The second exhibit marked on the
13 e-court system will be assigned the Exhibit IC 00013. Thank you.
14 MR. PORYVAEV: Thank you.
15 Q. Witness, when did you meet your brother in the Dretelj camp first?
16 A. Well, perhaps it was a month and a day later at this place where
17 they would distribute lunch. Well, my brother came from this direction, I
18 came from the direction of the shacks. We met quite by chance. That was
19 the only way we could have met.
20 When I saw him, I didn't recognise him until he was only a metre
21 and a half or two metres away from me. And when he approached me, there
22 was mould, green mould, on his body.
23 Q. What is his name, your brother?
24 A. His name is Smail Rizvanbegovic. He's a civil engineer.
25 Q. Witness, were you visited by the Red Cross at an occasion in
1 Dretelj camp?
2 A. Red Cross representatives came on one occasion. This is referred
3 to in documents that I have provided to you. It's referred to in a Red
4 Cross certificate. They visited the camp, and that was the first time
5 that we met someone from the outside.
6 They spent a number of days examining us. They measured our
7 height. They weighed us. I have documents to support the claim that I
8 was 60 -- I weighed 64 kilogrammes at the time, whereas I weighed 87 when
9 I first arrived in the camp. It also says that I was 1 metre 82
10 centimetres tall. So I was just skin and bones.
11 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit 0996.
12 Q. Just -- is it -- do you see the document?
13 A. No. No.
14 MR. PORYVAEV: Then I would like the witness to be provided
15 with --
16 Q. Yes. Now do you see it?
17 A. Yes, I can see it now. That's the identification document that I
18 received from the Red Cross at the time. And I could remember the number
19 of my personal identity card which I jotted down on this certificate.
20 Q. And if you turn to the second page of this document. Do you
21 see --
22 A. Yes. That's what I was talking about. They wrote down the weight
23 and height of the individuals that they registered. This was done by
24 official representatives of the Red Cross. I weighed 64 kilos, and my
25 height was 1 metre 82 centimetres. And they did this for all those whom
1 they examined. And I do believe that they examined everyone there.
2 Q. Did they have enough time to talk to each of you?
3 A. They spent several days there. And the certificate that I
4 received in Zagreb after I had left the camp, it mentions the date of
5 their visit and how long they stayed there. They were not able to speak
6 to all of us, that would have required far more time, but during the
7 several days that they spent there, they did speak to a certain number of
9 Q. I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit 7366.
10 Do you see the document, Witness?
11 A. Yes. This is a certificate that I requested in Zagreb. I wanted
12 to have some form of identification so that I could move around Zagreb. I
13 went to the Red Cross and to the UNHCR. You can see the dates here. It
14 says that I was visited regularly from the 6th of September until the 15th
15 of September, 1993. That's when they came and visited us in the camp.
16 Q. And I see that the document was issued on the 28th of December,
17 1993. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes. That's when it was issued. At the time, I was already in
19 Zagreb, and that's when I went to the Red Cross to obtain some kind of a
21 Q. Okay. We'll come back to this document a little bit later when we
22 will talk about a different topic.
23 And now about the treatment of inmates in the Dretelj camp. How
24 were you treated by the people who were guarding the camp and who were
25 attending you?
1 A. Unfortunately, it really was a concentration camp. As you have
2 already heard, the food we were provided with was such as I have already
3 described it. On one day I had a mouthful of bread, and I had another
4 small piece of bread in my other hand. The guard who saw that I had held
5 onto a little piece of bread in my hand asked me what I had in my hand. I
6 said I had a piece of bread. He hit me so hard with his rifle that I fell
7 onto the concrete a few metres away from him, on the concrete that we saw
8 in front of those shacks a minute ago.
9 And he said, "Balija, don't you know you should say 'kruh' and not
10 'sreb.'" I will explain this. In the Croatian language, "kruh" is the
11 word for bread, and in the Bosnian language, you use both words; you would
12 use the word "kruh" and "sreb." I couldn't get up because I had no more
13 air in my lungs. He asked me what I did, what my profession was. I said
14 I was a professor, and that's when he really got angry. He put me down on
15 the floor, and it was 1.00 p.m. He put me down on the scorching ground
16 because it was mid-July, 1993, and then he said I had to stare at the sun.
17 I did so for a while, and then I could no longer keep my eyes open. My
18 eyes started fluttering. He put his leg on my chest then. He put his
19 rifle to my forehead, and he said, "If you blink once more, I'll kill you.
20 You will no longer need your eyes." And I really stared at that summer
21 sun for so long that I went totally blind. He then called to the men to
22 take me inside. And when they took me inside, the white part of my eye
23 was completely bloody, and you couldn't distinguish the pupil from the
24 rest of the eye.
25 And this isn't something that I alone experienced. This was done
1 to another young man, Saric, who is now the director of Norfis [phoen].
2 This is one drastic example of the way in which they treated an ordinary
3 detainee. But there were others who received special treatment, and there
4 were many of them whose cries we heard and whom we saw. I will mention a
5 few names. There was the president of the Islamic Community, Alija
6 Festic. He was also 65 years old. And he was so badly beaten that his
7 neck was wider than his head. You couldn't see his eyes. His lips were
8 completely bloated.
9 Then there was someone called Maric, also known as Zenga. I could
10 mention many other names, but I don't want to waste your time, because
11 many individuals were treated in this cruel way.
12 Q. Witness, just one question: Were the guards of the camp all the
13 time within the barracks alone with the detainees?
14 A. They were never in the shacks with the detainees. They would
15 appear in the morning, they would open the big doors, three or four of
16 them would stand there. There would be the guard commander in the middle.
17 He would appear, raise a finger like this without saying anything, and all
18 the detainees inside had to sing a song, a fascist song from the Second
19 World War: "Here's the dawn, here is Jure Boban." And it refers to Ante
20 Pavelic, the leader, and these other two criminals from the Second World
21 War also well known. He would raise his hand like this and we would have
22 to sing the song, then he would put his hand down and we'd have to stop
23 singing the song. He'd raise two fingers again and we'd have to sing a
24 different song. "Sarajevo is beneath Trebovic and we will have Ante
25 Pavelic again." I'll never forget that song. When he put his hand down
1 again, there was silence, and then he would raise his hand for a third
2 time and he'd raise three fingers in the air, and we would then have to
3 sing, "I don't like you Alija because you are a balija. The Drina will
4 take you away and some Mujahedin will be taken away every day." We would
5 have to sing that song every morning for a long time. And that's what
6 they did. They'd go from one shack to the other, and everyone had to sing
7 all these songs.
8 Q. Witness, were you ever visited by any officials of Herceg-Bosna
10 A. As far as I know, only once. A delegation came comprising
11 representatives not only of Herceg-Bosna but also the Republic of Croatia.
12 Minister of foreign affairs of Croatia came, Mate Granic, then
13 Mr. Jadranko Prlic, Mr. Soljic.
14 Q. Mr. Prlic, what position was he held at that time?
15 A. While I was free, he was Prime Minister of the government of
16 Herceg-Bosna. I suppose that he held the same office when he came.
17 Q. And did they communicate with the detainees?
18 A. They passed through the camp. They spoke to some of the
19 detainees. One of them was Emir Mrgan and Mr. Prlic set him free on that
20 day. Then two days later he was brought back. Whether this was
21 coincidental or staged, I can't say. At any rate, they saw all of us,
22 they spoke to some of us. They saw what we looked like. One glance was
23 sufficient to know exactly what was going on there.
24 Tomo Sakota had voluminous documentation about the camp. He moved
25 through the camp, taking pictures of us, and I think that this should be
1 with him, or with somebody else, the documentation. On that occasion when
2 he walked around with this delegation, he also had a camera on him.
3 Q. Did you know Jadranko Prlic before?
4 A. We knew each other to the extent that both of us were professors
5 at the Mostar university. Prior to that, Prlic was deputy president of
6 the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, back in the old days. So we
7 knew each other through the efforts to improve the teaching at the
8 university. There were various projects at the university. So we knew
9 each other to the extent that people know each other when they work at the
10 same university.
11 Q. Did he recognise you in Dretelj?
12 A. You should ask him that. I don't think that he was unable to see
13 me, because I tried to stand as close as possible to the fence, the yellow
14 one that you saw on the screen just a minute ago. I think that he was
15 able to see me. Unfortunately, he didn't pay attention to me.
16 Q. Did they enter the barracks and the tunnels?
17 A. They took us to stand in front of the shacks. Everybody sat on
18 the ground, on the asphalt, and they passed next to the people. Now, as
19 to whether they entered some of the empty shacks, I think they did, but I
20 think you need to ask the gentlemen about that. At any rate, they saw the
21 conditions under which we were kept.
22 Q. Did ever representatives of the mass media visit Dretelj while you
23 were kept there?
24 A. Not until then. Some media representatives came with that
25 delegation. A notorious journalist, Lovrenovic, came with them. He even
1 got on a big boulder and held -- gave a speech. As though it wasn't
2 enough that he wrote terrible articles prior to that, he also gave us a
3 speech, a horrible speech. I think that CNN broadcast some footage or a
4 picture from the camp. My sister, who had previously spent some time in
5 Capljina as a doctor, was in Norway, and she saw that on CNN. She taped
6 that footage, because my brother was in that shot. Whether other media
7 outlets reported on this, I don't know. I was locked in. But it would be
8 sufficient to just glance through several issues of Slobodna Dalmacija
9 from that time to see what a terrible machinery it was, the propaganda
11 Q. You mentioned that Slobodan Lovrenovic wrote some terrible
12 articles. Please, could you explain what kind of horrors were described
13 in his articles.
14 A. Later on I read that. At the time, I was unable to read it.
15 Although, before I went to the camp he had already been active writing
16 warmongering texts. He was always one of the journalists who generated
17 hatred among ethnic communities.
18 In all of his texts, he accused us camp inmates for being camp
19 inmates. This would be his position in a nutshell. I think that you can
20 find his articles in various libraries and so on. I think it's very easy
21 to see what the reaction of Croatian media was at the time, especially
22 reaction of Slobodan Lovrenovic.
23 Q. One question: Could you recall whether that Mr. Jadranko Prlic's
24 visit to the Dretelj camp was performed after or before the Red Cross
1 A. I can't say that with certainty, but it would be easy to establish
2 that because it was recorded by the media. You see the date in my ICRC
3 ID. So it's easy to establish that. It happened within a few days.
4 Q. Before or after?
5 A. I don't know that. I can't say with certainty. I wouldn't dare
6 to give you an answer to that.
7 Q. Again, one question: Were you ever interrogated in the Dretelj
8 camp by some investigator?
9 A. Never. Nothing ever.
10 Q. Did they explain to you for what reason you, a civilian person,
11 were being kept for so long time?
12 A. Sir, all of us were civilians. Even the disarmed soldiers, after
13 being disarmed, were treated as civilians. So all of us inside were
14 civilians. They had absolutely no reason to explain anything to us. If
15 you inquired about something, there was always a danger of them killing
16 you, beating you up, breaking your ribs, splitting your head open.
17 If they asked you something, it didn't really matter what you
18 answered. If you said yes, then they would say to you, "Balija, why did
19 you do that?" If you answered no, then they would say, "Balija, why
20 didn't you do that?" So it really didn't matter what we answered. And
21 the general system was such that nobody received ever any kind of an
23 Q. And what happened to your brother? How did he manage to get
24 released from the camp, from the Dretelj camp?
25 A. We received a letter from my sister-in-law, who is from Slovakia.
1 I have two sisters-in-law because I have two brothers. One of them is a
2 Serb lady, and the other one is a lady from Slovakia.
3 The lady from Slovakia sent me letter. My other sister-in-law was
4 staying with her at the time. So they sent a hear from Hana's parents, a
5 letter of guarantee for him to be able to leave. This letter
6 reached us via Zagreb. My name was also in that letter. My name was
7 ignored. And as for my brother, he wasn't released. Rather, on the 20th
8 of August, I believe, he was transferred from Dretelj in order not to be
9 found there, and transferred to Gabela. Transferred from Dretelj to
10 Gabela. He remained in Gabela even after the Dretelj camp was closed
11 down. I think that he was set free on the 23rd of November, set free from
13 This letter that reached us on the 20th -- this letter reached us
14 on the 20th of August, and I left on the 10th of December. I have a stamp
15 in my documents, and you can see on which date I left. As I said, the
16 letter reached us on the 20th of August.
17 Q. Did you see that letter in Dretelj?
18 A. No. One day they called me in to tell me that a letter had
19 arrived. Then they showed a list of 64 names that may absolutely not be
20 released. This list contained the names of 64 intellectuals.
21 Unfortunately, later on I realised that this list was an authentic one,
22 because all of the people from that list were later on transferred to the
23 prison in Ljubuski. I was on that list, too, and I was also transferred
24 to the prison in Ljubuski after the camp in Dretelj was closed down.
25 Q. I asked you about the document where your brother name and your
1 name was included. When did you see it first?
2 A. Yes. I saw it when Tomo Sakota brought it to me in Ljubuski.
3 That was a document with which I was supposed to cross the border of
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina. That was on the 10th of December. Prior to that,
5 it had been concealed from me. However, you have that document in -- you
6 have that letter in your documents.
7 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like witness to be shown Exhibit 4366.
8 Q. Do you see it now?
9 A. Yes. That is the document. The 20th of August, 1993. And then
10 it says here, "On the 14th of October, 1993, border crossing in
11 Metkovici," which is where my brother crossed the border. And then below
12 it is the date of the 10th of December, when I crossed the border. So the
13 upper date is the one when my brother was released, and the other one is
14 when I was released.
15 I apologise. It wasn't November, it was, rather, October. And
16 this document is signed by Adalbert Rebic.
17 Q. And where did your brother leave for?
18 A. My brother went to Croatia, to Zagreb, and then from Zagreb he
19 went to Slovakia. From there he went to Germany, to my sister-in-law's
20 uncle, and then from there they came to the Netherlands, which is where
21 they reside now.
22 Q. Did he go to Slovakia alone or with his family?
23 A. His family had left prior to that, when they received an
24 invitation from my sister-in-law. So they were already in Slovakia, his
25 son and his wife.
1 Q. Witness, do you remember the circumstances in which you left
3 A. I think the term "left" is an inappropriate one. They put
4 handcuffs on me, and then they took me to a completely closed van without
5 any windows. Another two men were brought in. One was president of the
6 Islamic Community, Alaga Fetic that I mentioned to go a bit ago, and Esad
8 Q. I would like to clarify his name because you just told us a
9 different name. Festic.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Who else?
12 A. Esad Suta. Then they took us to the camp in Gabela. They were
13 supposed to fetch some other people there, but they didn't find them
14 there. So it was just the three of us who were taken to a place that we
15 didn't know. We didn't know where we were going, because the van was
16 closed, without windows. So we didn't know where we were being taken. It
17 was only several days later that we learned we were in the Ljubuski
19 Several days later, they took us outside of the prison perimeter,
20 and then they took me to the solitary confinement cell, which was
21 completely dark. I didn't know whether it was day or night-time. There
22 was nothing in it except for the floor.
23 Q. How many people were taken to Ljubuski? Please repeat. Repeat
24 it, please.
25 A. I was unable to know for a long time how many people were in
1 Ljubuski, but --
2 Q. No, no, Witness. I meant this time when you were transferred from
3 Dretelj to Ljubuski.
4 A. It was just the three of us on that occasion, just the three of
6 Q. Do you know --
7 A. They told us that there should be another two men with us. We
8 were told this by the drivers, but we didn't know who these other two men
9 were supposed to be. I think that later on we heard that Maric, the
10 person whom I mentioned who had been beaten a lot, and somebody else were
11 supposed to be these additional two men. However, they were not taken
12 there with us.
13 Q. Do you know the date when you were taken to Ljubuski?
14 A. I think it was on the 23rd of September; the date when the camp in
15 Dretelj was being shut down. They decided not to release us from the camp
16 because those were instructions from the international community.
17 Instead, they got all of us intellectuals and they took us to the prison
18 in Ljubuski.
19 Q. Do you know whose order it was to transfer to Ljubuski?
20 A. I don't know. I suppose that the order came from the chief of the
21 military police, because that was a military prison.
22 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like witness to be shown Exhibit 5312.
23 Q. Do you see this exhibit?
24 A. Yes. I can see who signed it: Mr. Valentin Coric. I can also
25 see that it says here that I should be taken there with the utmost
1 security measures en route and transferred to Ljubuski. The security
2 measures were indeed successful. I was tied up.
3 Q. And what about the names which are indicated there? Are all
4 familiar to you or not?
5 A. I was the president of the cultural society, Preporod. Alija
6 Festic was president of the Islamic community of Stolac, and Ahmed Habota
7 and Esad Suta were in the SDA party. One of them was the chairman of the
8 party in our region and the other one was president of the Executive
9 Board. As for Salko Maric, I think I mentioned him before to you as the
10 man who was severely beaten so that his head was twice the size. I think
11 his nickname is Zenga.
12 Q. Okay. Let's now pass on to the Ljubuski prison. So, as you have
13 just explained to the Trial Chamber, on the day when you were transferred
14 there, you were put into the solitary cell. Could you describe the
15 witness in that solitary cell.
16 A. I told you that there was nothing in it. I sat on the floor.
17 Frequently they would intimidate me. They constantly were fumbling with
18 the keys and opening or unlocking and locking the door. There was
19 constantly that type of noise.
20 On one occasion, two men came, opened the door. One of them
21 started yelling at me. I was taken aback. He was yelling and saying they
22 would do this to me and that to me. And then he took a pistol out, and he
23 shoved it into my mouth. And he shoved it so deep that all of a sudden I
24 vomited. And he pulled back his pistol unexpectedly and broke two of my
1 When I came to Zagreb, I went to the dental school there, and they
2 created some kind of a temporary solution for me.
3 When I threw up, some of the contents of it landed on his shoes,
4 and then he started yelling so hard and took the pistol and hit me right
5 here in my jaw and broke the teeth in this area.
6 So that was one of the events in that prison. I can tell you
7 about another event, extraordinary event and extraordinary man.
8 Rudolf Jozelic was a pilot --
9 Q. Witness, we'll pass on to this person later on, but right now
10 let's finalise the situation with the solitary cell.
11 Did they give food to you, water?
12 A. It was similar to the situation in Dretelj.
13 Q. For how long did they keep you in the solitary cell?
14 A. I think for a few days. I'm not sure. As I told you, I didn't
15 know about the time of the day, but I think I stayed there for several
16 days. After that, they transferred me to another cell where there were
17 seven of us.
18 Q. Who was there in the next cell? Do you know those people?
19 A. I do. Several days before they transferred me to this other cell,
20 they brought another man from Stolac, Mirsad Mahmutcehajic. He came into
21 my cell, so for a while there were two of us in that cell and then they
22 transferred me to another cell where there were seven of us: Rudi
23 Jozelic, Esad Suta, Alija Festic. People were gathered there from
24 different solitary confinement cells. So there was Alija Festic, Mehmed
25 Zilic. Those were the men who were there with me.
1 The conditions there were a bit better. I didn't lie on concrete
2 floor; rather, there were some mattresses there, and we lay next to each
3 other, crammed in like sardines.
4 Q. Witness, sometime before, just you mentioned some names, some list
5 of detainees which you saw in the Dretelj camp with some names which were
6 familiar to you. I would like witness to be shown -- is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit 7785.
9 Q. Do you see this list?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Are any of the names indicated in that list familiar to you?
12 A. Yes. I know almost all of the names, because these are people
13 that I know. Most of them.
14 You can see for yourself these are all doctors, professors.
15 Intellectuals, in other words.
16 Q. Whom you know the best of all these detainees?
17 A. I know most of these people. Dr. Muhamed Kapic was director of
18 the Kostana hospital. Mahmutcehajic went to school with me. Zijo
19 Demirovic was an architect. Mehmed Zilic is a relative of my wife. I
20 think that he had a position in the army or, rather, in the Territorial
21 Defence. He worked there. Rudolf Jozelic was a pilot. I don't know
22 Alija Demirzic. I know Hamdija Jahic. I have know Dr. Esad Boskailo. I
23 know Professor Mehmed Dizdar, I know Veledar, I know Vlado Fink, I know
24 Professor Ragib Dizdar. I know most of the people here.
25 Q. That's enough. Were all these people kept in Ljubuski along with
2 A. Yes. All of them were in various cells in Ljubuski.
3 Q. Did you happen to see them during this period of time?
4 A. Sometime towards the second half of my stay in Ljubuski they used
5 to take us out for some kind of a prison walk. They would let us walk
6 around in the yard with our hands on our backs. We were not allowed to
7 talk among each other. Then after this five-minute walk, we had to stand
8 against the wall.
9 Mr. Jozelic would be taken out then every day and put in the
10 middle of that area.
11 Q. Okay.
12 A. I tell you about it now?
13 Q. Yes. We have a few minutes before the technical break.
14 A. Mr. Rudolf Jozelic, Rudi, was in the army of Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina. He used to be a pilot before the war. They would take him
16 out every day. If the nationality is of any importance, and it was at
17 that time, well, his nationality was Croatian. They were taken to the
18 middle of the grounds, and then they would ask him whether he had changed
19 his mind; would he transport Alija Izetbegovic or Franjo Tudjman in a
20 plane? He wouldn't reply. Then they would tell him to do push-ups, he
21 would then do them, and then they'd tell him to fly and they'd humiliate
22 him. He'd have to spread out his arms, run around in a circle, and when
23 he arrived at the end he had to pretend to be turning around in an
24 aeroplane. The humiliation of an honourable man was endless. When he was
25 exhausted, when he could no longer run around, he would fall down and they
1 would usually kick him in the face. He was wearing some sort of a
2 tracksuit covered in blood, a grey tracksuit, and blood would drip onto
3 it. He was bleeding in the face. And this went on for a few days. It's
4 something that is hard to believe. This was done before all of us.
5 MR. PORYVAEV: Now I think it is time for the break.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. It's time for the break.
7 How much longer do you need?
8 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like to finalise my examination-in-chief
9 today, but I cannot promise you, Your Honour. Maybe I'll leave some time
10 for tomorrow.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's half past five
12 now. We will resume at ten to six.
13 --- Recess taken at 5.33 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 5.52 p.m.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to the
16 Prosecution, there is a question that the Chamber would like to put to
17 you. One hour and a half had been scheduled for this witness, so you have
18 already used twice that amount of time, three hours for your
19 examination-in-chief. As Defence counsel will have the same amount of
20 time as you had, that means that with regard to the other witnesses
21 tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and on Thursday, it will be necessary to
22 shorten the length of time for their examination. I see Mr. Mundis
23 nodding. Yes, Mr. Mundis.
24 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. As Mr. Scott has indicated
25 on a couple of prior occasions, these estimates are simply that,
1 estimates. We are well aware of the time limitations placed on all of the
2 parties, and we will, of course, do what is necessary to ensure that the
3 witnesses that are scheduled for this week are completed this week, and if
4 that means making reductions in the two remaining witnesses, we of course
5 will do that.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. Very well. Thank
7 you. Please proceed.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, Your Honour --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Karnavas. It is not
10 necessary to intervene right now because this is a problem that concerns
11 the Prosecution. The Prosecution has just said that they will reschedule
12 their witness. Unless you want to say that you prepared yourself for an
13 hour and a half and now you have three hours. Is that it?
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, all I can say, Mr. President, is every
15 Thursday the Defence feels squeezed. We will not be squeezed any more
16 because the Prosecution is taking more time. So if they can't finish
17 their witnesses, their witnesses may have to stay over the weekend. I'm
18 telling that because they know their witnesses better than we do.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Mundis, Mr. Karnavas
20 has pointed out that there is this problem. It's true that when we have a
21 schedule and when we expect a witness to be examined for an hour and a
22 half, everyone prepares on that basis, prepares for an hour and a half of
23 examination. But in this case we see that you've almost doubled the time
24 you require for your examination-in-chief. So this can cause a problem,
25 and Mr. Karnavas's objection is quite legitimate. But it could have been
1 done when it was time for Defence counsel to commence with their
3 Very well. You may proceed now.
4 MR. PORYVAEV:
5 Q. Mr. Rizvanbegovic, who was the camp commander in Ljubuski?
6 A. Ivica Kraljevic was the commander for a certain period of time,
7 but when I arrived there, I don't know who the commander was. I think it
8 was Ivica Kraljevic. I'm certain it was Ivica Kraljevic for a certain
9 period of time because he interrogated me there.
10 Q. And do you remember the circumstances of that interrogation? What
11 questions were you asked?
12 A. On two or three occasions I was taken to a room where they
13 interrogated me, where Ivica interrogated me. Two armed soldiers took me
14 there. They would stand behind me when Ivica spoke to me. There were two
15 other men in military uniforms. They were sitting there. The questions
16 put to me were almost totally insignificant. Ivica kept repeating that he
17 had a lot of documents on me, et cetera, et cetera, but he never put any
18 questions that had much sense to me. At one point in time I asked him,
19 "What are you accusing me of?" He said, "For destroying the
20 constitutional order of Herceg-Bosna." I laughed. He asked me why, and I
21 said, "Herceg-Bosna is not a constitutional entity. I cannot destroy
22 something that doesn't exist." I think that was the last time I was
23 interrogated. I think it was a quite insignificant event, so I really
24 didn't really have problems of that kind.
25 Q. But were the investigators taking any written notes of your
1 statement or not, or was it a verbal interrogation?
2 A. I think that these two men took notes of some kind, but I don't
3 know what they did. Ivica didn't take any notes. He just spoke to me.
4 Q. Did you affix any signature to any of your witness statements?
5 A. No, I never did that.
6 Q. Witness, you informed the Trial Chamber that you were released
7 from Ljubuski on the 10th of December, 1993. Could you just explain, how
8 did you manage to get released from Ljubuski?
9 A. My sister was first in Graz [as interpreted] and then Hvar and
10 then Zagreb, did everything she could. The other sister, not the doctor.
11 She did everything she could to contact my friends in Croatia, because I
12 did have a lot of friends in Croatia. That's where I studied, that's
13 where I did my post-graduate studies and where I obtained my doctorate.
14 Ivo Franges, the late Ivo Franges, the academic, was someone who supported
15 me in particular, and Dunja Falisevac, who studied with me and was the
16 chief of the literature, supported me, and there were other people who
17 supported me. They wrote requests and sent them to President Tudjman's
18 office. One day I received some information from my sister through
19 certain individuals who were in touch with her. I don't know what
20 channels were used exactly to establish such contact, but these were
21 people who provided me with information. I don't know them, they never
22 introduced themselves, but they said that all their requests had been
23 useless because there were some people who had a flat in Mostar -- or
24 someone said I had a flat in Mostar with a lot of ammunition. I was
25 surprised by this. I never had such a flat in which I'd kept ammunition,
1 but my wife had the address of my relative in America, Suad Rizvanbegovic,
2 and his wife is a friend of the governor of Grenada, and that person is a
3 friend with Galbraith, so they then informed the American ambassador in
4 Zagreb, and I think that that is how they first -- I first obtained
5 support. And then there was this group of intellectuals that had links
6 with a literary association in Croatia, and they launched an initiative
7 which bore fruit, I think. And in the end, I was released on the 10th of
9 When I met them, they were all surprised by the way I looked and
10 they all supported me and I'm now on extremely friendly terms with all
11 those who supported me at the time and with all those who didn't even know
12 the sort of situation I was in at the time.
13 Q. On what condition were you released from Ljubuski?
14 A. Tomo Sakota arrived. He brought that piece of paper, the document
15 that we saw on the screen a while ago. He also appeared with another
16 document, an authorisation for my release. And then went to Capljina with
17 these documents. Tomo took me to our friend Zdenka, who unfortunately
18 wasn't at home. But my alternative was to go to her friend's place if she
19 wasn't there. That's where I went. I had a bath. I had a lot of lice.
20 All the detainees in Dretelj and later in Ljubuski had a lot of lice, so
21 they had to shave our heads.
22 After I had had a bath, I was provided with a JNA uniform. That's
23 what they provided us with when it was cold. My sister then sent some
24 clothes that I put on. I then went to Gradac and then to Split, and she
25 found a German in Split who took me to Zagreb by plane. I stayed with my
1 aunt's daughter, and she had provided me with a guarantee for my stay in
2 Zagreb. My friends then helped me, and so on and so forth.
3 Q. Sir, you were released, as far as I understood, on condition that
4 you would travel somewhere from Herceg-Bosna.
5 A. I was released, and I was to travel to some third country. The
6 idea was that I should go to Germany. While I was in Ljubuski, I found
7 out that my son was -- well, he was first in Slovakia and with our
8 friends, with friends of my sister-in-law Hana. There were too many of
9 them there, so then a friend of mine from Banja Luka took him to Berlin,
10 and then I went to see my son in Berlin, but I saw that that was
11 senseless. As an intellectual it wasn't for me to go abroad. It was for
12 me to stay in Bosnia. So I got in contact with Enes Durakovic, the
13 minister of education, and I told him that I wanted to return to Sarajevo.
14 I waited for two or three -- two or three months in Zagreb, and finally I
15 arrived in Sarajevo. I didn't want to go abroad.
16 Q. Witness, and who made the final decision to release you from --
17 from, sorry, Ljubuski?
18 A. I think the decision came from the president's office in Croatia.
19 A letter arrived, and then information that the military police had
20 provided authorisation.
21 Q. And did you see the letter which gave you -- yes.
22 A. No, I never saw the letter. I saw the authorisation form.
23 Q. Signed by whom?
24 A. Perica Juric.
25 Q. Please spell the name, full name.
1 A. Perica Juric, or Jurkic. He provided the authorisation.
2 Q. What position did he occupy?
3 A. I think he worked for the police. I don't know what his position
4 was exactly. I didn't really pay much attention to that document. I have
5 it on me [as interpreted], but if you show it to me, I could identify the
7 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit 7097.
8 Q. Do you see the document, Witness?
9 A. Yes. As you can see, it says: "Release him from Ljubuski." Then
10 it says, "Authorised by Mr. Perica Jukic." Then the person who signed
11 this, the signature says, "The head for the office for exchanges," then it
12 mentions Berislav Pusic, but the authorisation was provided by Perica
13 Jukic. It says on the basis of the guarantees provided, and et cetera, et
14 cetera, release such-and-such a person. I received this document from
15 Tomo Sakota, and I had to show this document at the border in order to
17 Q. And who provided guarantees to you for your stay in Zagreb?
18 A. The guarantee to stay in Zagreb was provided by my aunt's
19 daughter, who lives in Zagreb. And I stayed with her when I studied
20 there. Her name is Muhiba Levan, and she lives in Medvescak.
21 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit 9578.
22 Q. Do you see the document?
23 A. Not yet.
24 Q. Do you see it?
25 A. Yes. That's the statement given by my relative to the MUP, to the
1 police in Zagreb.
2 Q. So was it Muhiba Levan --
3 A. Levan.
4 Q. Who gave you financial guarantees; yes?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. And perhaps I will show you the last document for the Ljubuski.
7 This is Exhibit 4667. If you open the -- in B/C/S version, the page with
8 digits 01520527. That's not the page. 27 should be the last. Page 111.
9 111, yes. And in English version, it will be page 13. The date, the 10th
10 of December.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Do you see -- could you make out the handwriting?
13 A. No, I can't recognise it.
14 Q. No. I don't ask that you can recognise or not. Can you read it?
15 Can you understand what is written there?
16 A. Yes. I can read it. It's a report on the guard shifts, the
17 brigade police guard shifts in Ljubuski. I can see the date, the 10th of
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. It says, "104 Muslims, two Serbs." That's what it says. It says
21 12 Serbs and then 12 was crossed out. It says a hospital in Split, one in
22 Livno. It says Muslims 104, two Serbs. It mentions an Albanian and a
23 Catholic. The 10th of 12, 1993, and then it mentions a shift, Dragan
24 Milos, Vinko Radisic, et cetera. Then it says that Radis Santic was
25 released at 9.15 because he was ill and authorisation was obtained from
1 the office for exchange, and Fahrudin Rizvanbegovic was released. He was
2 taken over by Tomo Sakota with the knowledge of the war prison warden,
3 Mato Jelicic. The prisoner was released at 10.45.
4 Q. So is it consistent with what you've just told us about the
5 circumstances of your release from Ljubuski?
6 A. Those are the facts that I mentioned a while ago.
7 Q. Mr. Rizvanbegovic, let's pass on to another topic. That's about
8 the destruction in Stolac. When did you see the facts of first
9 instructions -- I'm sorry, destructions have been committed in Stolac
10 during 1990, 1993?
11 A. In 1993 and 1992, they'd already started setting houses on fire.
12 Mostly Serbian houses were set on fire and blown up. But in 1993, on the
13 20th of April, 1993, that was on the day that members of the civilian
14 protection were arrested as well as members of the Bregava command, on
15 that day Faruk Pitic's house was set on fire and two days later, a house
16 in Begovina that belonged to Alija Rizvanbegovic was set on fire. This
17 was at done 11.30 on the night between the 22nd and 23rd. Begovina is a
18 cultural monument, and it is a house that is situated within a complex of
19 cultural monuments of the first category.
20 Q. Did you see who set on fire Alija Rizvanbegovic's house?
21 A. I didn't see who -- the person or the persons who set it on fire.
22 It was at night. There were two individuals on guard in front of my door.
23 Dragan Peric was one of them, and the other person was Jozo Presic
24 [phoen]. They were standing in front of my door when they shouted out
25 that Alija's house was on fire. We then ran out of the house. We tried
1 to put the fire out. My wife went to a water reservoir was about 3 or 400
2 metres from our house, and there was a firefighter called Rizovic, and he
3 brought this reservoir, this tank of water, which we used when we
4 attempted to put the fire out from 11.30 until 5.00 in the morning. We
5 weren't able to put the fire out, but we prevented the fire from spreading
6 to the other houses. Unfortunately I do have to say that not a single
7 Croatian soldier wanted to participate in our attempts to put the fire
8 out. Only Muslims, HVO fighters, took part in the attempt to put the fire
9 out. And let me repeat this: I feel very sad when I have to say this.
10 Q. Did you report this case to the police?
11 A. On the following morning I immediately went to the civilian
12 police, reported the event to them, described how this had happened. I
13 don't know whether they made a record of any kind, but I didn't sign
14 anything. However, no results were obtained. No member of the police
15 appeared. From the commander of a unit in Begovina -- or to a command of
16 the police was in Begovina, Prce, he was a commander of a platoon in
17 Begovina, and as such it was his duty to inform the military police of the
18 event. I don't know whether he did so or not, but I'm sure that the
19 people from that unit set that house on fire, because no one could reach
20 Begovina without them knowing. They had guards. No one could come from
21 the north of Begovina because the line was above Begovina. The line was
22 to the north. That's where the soldiers were.
23 Q. Witness, as has been said, the Judges invite us to abbreviate a
24 little bit the issues, and maybe we should dwell on the cardinal questions
25 relevant to the destruction and other issues which are left here.
1 I am not beating about the bush. I will go straight to Begovina
2 complex. Begovina complex, to what date does the history go back?
3 A. The Begovina compound is a historical complex from the end of the
4 18th century. It belonged to an aristocratic family of Rizvanbegovic.
5 This was the first category cultural monument.
6 Q. When was made a decision to declare this complex as a protected
7 complex of first category, or the first category?
8 A. In 1952 by a decision issued by the Bureau for Protection of
9 Cultural Heritage, this decision declared that Begovina was a first
10 category cultural monument, and there was a plaque on the entrance
11 declaring that it was protected by the state. The declaration proclaiming
12 it to be a monument was renewed twice. Every time the law was changed,
13 the decision would be renewed and reissued and placed under the state
14 protection. The last time, I believe, was in 1973 when it was declared to
15 be a listed building. And at that time the decision was expanded not only
16 to the residential buildings but also to other areas including the
17 environment itself, the ambiance. Today, it is listed in the Dayton
18 Accords as a cultural monument that is protected.
19 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit 0001.
20 Q. Do you see this document?
21 A. Could it be enlarged, please? This document is dated 18th of
22 April, 1962, and it refers to a decision issued by the Bureau for
23 Protection of Cultural Sites, under certain number, when this site was
24 declared to be a cultural monument.
25 MR. PORYVAEV: Now I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit
2 Q. That might not be the best quality, but are you able to make it
4 A. I have the original, and I'm familiar with this document. I
5 mentioned it a bit ago. It's dated the 31st of July, 1973. I have it in
6 my documentation and also in the documentation of the Bureau for
7 Protection of Cultural Monuments.
8 This decision broadened the protected area. It was broadened not
9 only to include the residential buildings but also the ambiance, the
10 environment around it.
11 Q. And for what purposes was your complex, Begovina complex, served?
12 A. The Begovina complex consisted of family homes belonging to my
13 family. There were a total of four houses. One belonged to my father,
14 and one belonged to me. In addition, there were four inns. That's what
15 they would be called today. They were dwellings for guests. Then there
16 was also a school, a large number of outbuildings. So there was an entire
17 infrastructure which was typical for aristocratic families of that period.
18 This compound belonged to one of the most prominent, one of the
19 most powerful families of that early period. It included residential
20 buildings, outbuildings, inns for guests, and schools.
21 Q. Was it intended for tourist visits?
22 A. Just before the war I wanted to open a business there. I made a
23 contract with companies from Dubrovnik, and two or three years before the
24 problems erupted in Croatia, they started bringing visitors. On a yearly
25 basis, several thousand visitors would visit the area.
1 Q. Just -- Witness, I would like you to take a look at some pictures
2 and give some explanations so the Trial Chamber could understand or could
3 make some conclusions if really this complex was -- was of great value.
4 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit 8918
5 and with digits 00905254.
6 Q. Do you have --
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Next page. Digits 00905254. Do you have it?
9 A. This is a portion of the Begovina compound. The house on the
10 left --
11 Q. Could you take a marker and show to us, first of all -- electronic
13 MR. PORYVAEV: Please, Usher, go help the witness.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my house.
15 MR. PORYVAEV:
16 Q. Please encircle it and put number 1, your initials, and date.
17 A. [Marks].
18 Q. Under number 1, the witness encircled the house which belonged to
20 And the next building?
21 A. The next building belonged to Alija Rizvanbegovic.
22 Q. Please put number 2, again your initials and date.
23 A. [Marks].
24 Q. And under number 2, the witness identified the house belonging to
25 Alija Rizvanbegovic. Is it the house which was burnt down in April?
1 A. Yes. That's the house that was put on fire on the 22nd of April,
3 MR. PORYVAEV: Could you move up the picture now, because there is
4 another picture on the same page.
5 Q. And what is there?
6 A. This is my house nowadays.
7 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the registrar -- yes. Yes.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And this is the house of Alija
9 Rizvanbegovic. This is an identical photograph taken from the same
10 position. The one you saw first was made by me before the war, and I took
11 this picture in 1998. So this is house number 1, and this is house number
13 MR. PORYVAEV:
14 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... number 3. It's the picture
15 of the house belonging to the witness taken in 1998.
16 A. [Marks].
17 Q. And number 4, the picture taken at the same time, and the house
18 which used to belong to Alija Rizvanbegovic.
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like this picture to be captured and given
21 e-court numbers.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, can you please
23 give us the numbers.
24 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. These
25 are documents marked by the witness. [In English] [Previous translation
1 continues] ... assigned the exhibit number IC 00013. The second picture
2 will be assigned the reference IC 00014. Thank you. Terribly sorry about
3 this. A rectification: The first picture will be assigned IC 00014, the
4 second IC 00015. Thank you.
5 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to be shown the same
6 exhibit but numbers 00905260. There is something different. Ah, yes.
7 Now it's okay.
8 Q. Witness, do you see this picture? What is depicted there?
9 A. This is my house from the southern side. You can see the portion
10 of the yard and the house.
11 Q. And -- okay. You may put number 5 on this exhibit.
12 A. [Marks].
13 Q. And also encircle it. Encircle it, this part of the house.
14 A. [Marks].
15 MR. PORYVAEV: Under number 5, the witness identified the southern
16 side of his house.
17 And now I would like the witness to be shown the same exhibit.
18 Digits number 00905267.
19 Q. Do you see, Witness, what --
20 A. Not yet. Not yet.
21 MR. PORYVAEV: Ah, yes. I would like the previous exhibit also be
22 captured and given e-court number.
23 THE REGISTRAR: This exhibit will therefore be assigned the
24 reference IC 00016, Your Honour.
25 MR. PORYVAEV:
1 Q. Witness, what is depicted here?
2 A. This is a room in my house. This is what it looked like in 1993.
3 This is the interior. The room has carved woodwork, and it had an
4 original screen. Everything was authentic and old. About one and a half
5 century old, almost two centuries.
6 Q. And what value did it represent to history, to architecture,
8 A. Since this was a monument of cultural heritage of the first
9 category, then you must know that it is considered to be a very high level
10 document. It was important in the architectural sense and also in terms
11 of its interior. It was perhaps even more important in terms of its
12 interior because it had one of the most beautiful wood carvings. I don't
13 think that there was another example of such beautiful interior in the
14 Balkans. It was rated as the top example of its kind. It was rated so by
15 all of the experts who looked at it.
16 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like the witness to take the marker and put
17 number 6 on this exhibit.
18 Q. Your signature and date.
19 A. [Marks].
20 MR. PORYVAEV: I would like this exhibit to be captured and given
21 an e-court number.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar.
23 MR. PORYVAEV: As interior of Mr. Rizvanbegovic's house in 1993.
24 THE REGISTRAR: This exhibit will therefore be assigned the
25 reference number IC 00017.
1 MR. PORYVAEV:
2 Q. Witness, we know that you were arrested on the 1st of July, 1993.
3 When your complex was destroyed, did you know? When did you know, learn
4 about it?
5 A. The house of my father was set on fire in the evening, on the 19th
6 of July, 1993, on the day of Saint Alidja, who was then declared to be the
7 patron saint of Stolac. The house was set on fire with the songs glaring
8 over the loudspeakers. My wife was in our neighbour's house and
9 eyewitnessed this.
10 The next day another house was set on fire, and that repeated
11 itself on each of the following days so that the entire Begovina complex
12 was destroyed by this barbarian act.
13 I learned that this had happened once new inmates were brought
14 into Dretelj on the 4th of August, that is to say just several days after
15 this took place. They informed me about this because some of them had
16 stayed on in Stolac after I left. Specifically, I was informed by Esad
18 Q. What other buildings in the complex were destroyed?
19 A. All of the buildings. All of the buildings of this compound were
20 set on fire and burned down to the ground. Only the bathrooms remained in
21 all of the houses, because they were located in the yards, they were not
22 attached to the houses. Deliberately and cynically they left the toilets
24 Q. Witness, were there any military storages, other objects, or units
25 deployed, military units deployed in your complex at that time?
1 A. As I said during my testimony, my brother's house was next to my
2 house. We just shared a wall. In his house a unit was billeted. Several
3 days before my father's house was set afire, that is to say on the 15th,
4 16th, or 17th of July, this unit left my brother's house and moved into
5 the first house next to Begovina, some 200 metres to the south. It enabled
6 it to control the entire road. Nobody could pass without them noticing.
7 And they went from there to the lines. And it was from this position that
8 they set the houses on fire. The unit was moved away the moment they
9 decided to put the entire -- to set the entire compound on fire. My wife
10 observed this directly.
11 Q. And you were talking about some kind of songs that were broadcast
12 at that time. What kind of songs they were singing?
13 A. These songs were known to everyone at the time. They were usually
14 played over the loudspeakers placed on balconies of the houses. Those
15 were Ustasha songs and fascist songs from the Second World War, the songs
16 I mentioned to you earlier in my testimony.
17 This was heard not only by my wife but by everybody in the
18 vicinity. The whole -- the whole street vibrated from these songs. This
19 was like an orgy.
20 Q. What about mosques in the Stolac area?
21 A. All of the mosques, without exception, were set on fire or blown
22 up. In town itself, four mosques were completely destroyed. Three of
23 them were turned into parking lots, and one of them had just the walls
25 Some 10 kilometres or five kilometres to the south of Capljina and
1 Buna, south of Mostar and Stolac, this was a sort of a triangle, and in
2 that area 22 mosques were either turned into parking lots or blown up.
3 Not a single one was left intact.
4 Q. Was your complex, Begovina complex, the only one in Stolac which
5 represented historical and cultural value and protected?
6 A. Begovina was just one of the monuments in Stolac. Stolac was a
7 museum. It had dozens of houses which were rated or graded as monuments.
8 One of them was under the protection of the state. The mosques were also
9 protected as cultural monuments.
10 All of the houses which in any way represented the heritage of
11 Islamic and Mediterranean architecture were blown up, destroyed, or set on
12 fire. Not a single one which bore such features was left intact.
13 Your Honours, not a single bullet was fired in Stolac in any
14 combat between the two armies. Not a single bullet. There was absolutely
15 no combat in Stolac. So this entire cultural heritage was destroyed
16 literally by barbarian hands.
17 Q. Witness, when did you see -- when did you come back to Stolac for
18 the first time after you had been released?
19 A. For a long time after the federation was founded one couldn't
20 enter Stolac, up until the end of 1997. When the first refugees started
21 going back, I went with my family there. Naturally, I was unable to enter
22 the ruins because everything was covered with weeds. In my kitchen, there
23 was a tree which had grown there, and it was two storeys tall.
24 Q. In what -- in what condition is the Begovina complex now?
25 A. Last year we started renewing the Begovina compound owing to the
1 assistance of the Bureau for Protection of Cultural Heritage and also the
2 Ministry of Culture which had initiated this project. We received a
3 donation from the government of Malaysia, so that now we managed to put
4 the roof on one house or, rather, two houses, my house and my brother's
5 house. I hope that this summer we will put the roof on another house and
6 thus protect the walls from further deterioration.
7 Q. Do you live in that complex now?
8 A. In the meantime, I use my own funds to renew the part of the house
9 where I live. My wife is currently there. So I live in Sarajevo for
10 three days in the week while I'm teaching at the university there, and
11 after that I spend the rest of the week in Stolac. And I work tirelessly
12 on repairing the house, and let me tell you, I'm quite fit.
13 Q. And what about the mosques now? Have they been rebuilt?
14 A. The Sara mosque, or the central mosque, has been rebuilt, the
15 one in Moslavici. Alija Rizvanbegovic's mosque is being rebuilt, and I
16 think that the fourth mosque is about to be rebuilt in town. All of the
17 work is conducted by the Bureau for Protection of Cultural Heritage as
18 well as the Islamic community. I'm not very involved in this project so I
19 can't tell you about this.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Professor, I'd like you to
21 clarify something with regard to the destruction of this complex, because
22 in the indictment, paragraph 166, it says that this paragraph [as
23 interpreted] was allegedly destroyed on the 4th of August, but you said a
24 minute ago that it was on the 19th of July that your brother's house was
25 destroyed, and the destruction continued on the 20th of July. If I've
1 understood you correctly, you found out about this destruction while you
2 were detained and you were detained on the 4th of July.
3 As far as the dates are concerned, what makes you say that it was
4 on the 19th of July? Because in the indictment the date provided is the
5 4th of August.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you for asking me to clarify
7 this. If some misunderstanding occurred, my wife was a witness of this
8 event, and Esad Sefo, who informed me of what happened, was someone she
9 lived with. They were in the immediate vicinity of the complex, and they
10 saw the house being set on fire with their very own eyes. Hundreds of
11 people observed this. It's a large complex. There's a lot of wood there.
12 And when Alija Rizvanbegovic's house was on fire, I must say that the
13 flames lit up the entire town. But on the 4th, I found out that the
14 entire complex had been set on fire. Esad Sefo told me about it. This is
15 the person who came from Stolac. So perhaps a slight error occurred in
16 the indictment, but these are facts that I can confirm. And other
17 witnesses can probably confirm this. My wife is a direct eyewitness of
18 the event and she made a note of the date.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According to what your wife
20 said, at the same time as this complex was set on fire were the mosques
21 also set on fire as well as houses in the centre of Stolac? According to
22 what your wife said, did all this -- was all this destruction inflicted on
23 the same day or on the days that followed? What did she tell you exactly
24 because the indictment -- or what is stated in the indictment is not very
25 precise, and as Judges it's necessary for us to describe the exact train
1 of events, so what could you tell us about this?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My wife, since she was my wife,
3 couldn't walk around freely very much, especially since I was detained in
4 a camp. But she said that the town hadn't been set on fire. Once every
5 night certain houses or buildings were set on fire. So this all took
6 place over several days. I think there are sufficient number of witnesses
7 of these events, but because my wife was my wife, it was not advisable for
8 her to walk around the town.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you very much.
10 The Prosecution may proceed.
11 MR. PORYVAEV:
12 Q. And my final topic: Witness, did you ever see any group of
13 refugees, Croat refugees, moving around the Stolac area?
14 A. Yes, on one occasion, because to the north of Stolac, in that part
15 mostly -- it's mostly inhabited by Serbs. There aren't any Croats.
16 On one day a large group of Croats, several trucks full of Croats
17 came from the direction of Bileca. We were involved in the Red Cross at
18 the time, so we met them there. There was the late Ale Poljarevic and a
19 certain Boskovic, Andjelko Boskovic, they met them, and we found out that
20 this was a group of Croats from Konjic. They had arrived via Nevesinje to
21 Berkovici. From Berkovici, they carried on as far as Stolac. They were
22 afraid we didn't even know who they were because it was customary for
23 Muslims who had been expelled from Bileca, Gacko, Trebinje, et cetera, to
24 arrive from that direction. We were all surprised to see that these
25 people have arrived -- had arrived from that direction. They were very
1 afraid and it was very difficult for them because I think they had spent
2 two sleepless nights in Nevesinje. That's what they said. And they
3 feared for their lives because some people in that area, some Chetniks,
4 threatened them, called them various names, and they spoke about this very
5 reluctantly, but they did speak about it. And I was a witness of these
6 events when they arrived.
7 Q. And what happened to those people afterwards?
8 A. Some of them were taken south of Stolac in the direction of
9 Capljina, and in the southern part of Stolac they were put up in houses.
10 Three settlements were constructed. One was called Suskovo village. The
11 other was called Bobanovo Selo - I assume you know who this concerns -
12 And the third settlement, which was -- the third settlement was south of
13 Stolac in the southern suburbs of Stolac. Some people still live there in
14 these newly constructed settlements. They were built on rocky terrain,
15 and as far as I can now see, not many people live in these settlements
16 today. As far as I can see, only the elderly live there. I think there
17 are very few young people living there.
18 Q. Were they all Bosnian Croats?
19 A. Yes. All of the people living in these settlements were Bosnian
20 Croats. They came from Vares, from Kakanj, there were these people from
21 Konjic, and there were people from other parts of Central Bosnia. They
22 live there now. These settlements were established for them. It was the
23 Republic of Croatia that established these settlements.
24 Q. And my final question, and very -- I ask you to answer it very
25 briefly: What is the demographic situation now in Stolac?
1 A. The Croats returned earlier on, but all the Bosniaks in the
2 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and those who had stayed in Germany
3 and other countries in the vicinity returned to Stolac. This return was
4 quite successful. The people loved this town. And I think that the
5 current number is -- well, I think there are slightly more Croats than
6 Bosniaks now, and I can see that this is a situation on the basis of the
7 children in schools. But there are many problems. In the financial part,
8 in the financial office of Stolac, there are only a few Bosniaks. In the
9 administration, there are only a few Bosniaks. The others are Croats. I
10 think there is some sort of apartheid as far as employment is concerned.
11 The Bosniaks can't even invest. They can't launch economic initiatives
12 because you must be aware of the fact that all those who went through the
13 camps were deprived of their possessions, of their money. My wife's money
14 and jewellery was taken. A pupil of hers, since she's a teacher, searched
15 her and searched through her underwear. So everyone from Stolac was
16 robbed. Even people who have certain skills can't launch economic
17 initiatives, can't establish businesses. So this is the problem in
18 Stolac. And the situation is similar as far as poorer Croats are
19 concerned, because the smuggling people were involved in has now ceased.
20 Regardless of the ethnic group they belong to, people are depressed. The
21 situation in the town is very difficult.
22 Q. Witness, thank you very much for your testimony.
23 MR. PORYVAEV: My examination-in-chief is over. Thank you very
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Tomorrow the hearing
1 will start at 9.00. I will give the floor to the Prosecution so that they
2 can give me a list of all the documents they will be asking to be admitted
3 into evidence. If I have understood this correctly -- but the legal
4 officer will provide me with more precise information. If I've understood
5 this correctly, the Prosecution has taken up four hours. So in accordance
6 with our decision of the 8th of May, our oral decision, the Defence will
7 have eight hours tomorrow. It's for the Defence to see -- I apologise.
8 Four hours. I doubled the amount of time. So Defence counsel will have
9 four hours, and it's for the Defence to decide how to divide this time
10 among themselves.
11 Thank you, and I will see you all tomorrow at 9.00.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 23rd day of May,
14 2006, at 9.00 a.m.