1 Monday, 19 March 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The Accused Coric not present in court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. This is case number
9 IT-04-74-T, the proper versus Prlic et al.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar. We are
11 the 19th of March, 2007. Today I would like to greet all the people in
12 the courtroom, the representatives of the Prosecution, the lawyers, the
13 accused. Mr. Coric, I see, is not here today. I hope he will be able to
14 return to the courtroom very shortly.
15 I would also like to greet the court officers the usher.
16 I shall give the floor to the usher so that he can read out two IC
17 numbers for us.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you very much Your Honour. OTP has
19 submitted a list of documents to be tendered through Witness L. The list
20 shall be given Exhibit number IC 492. 3D has submitted a list of
21 objections to the document tendered by the OTP through Witness L, and this
22 list shall be assigned Exhibit number IC 493.
23 Thank you very much, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, I understood what you
25 said, but I don't think there was a translation of what you said.
1 Just a minute. I'm checking.
2 THE REGISTRAR: I can read again, Your Honours. Okay. OTP has
3 submitted a list of duties to be tendered through Witness L -- no.
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter in the French booth did work.
5 THE REGISTRAR: We can try again, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Still nothing.
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter can hear and they are working.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I can't hear anything in any
10 I think it should be all right now. Yes, that's fine. Very
11 well. So it's working.
12 The Trial Chamber will hand down an oral decision as far as
13 Petkovic's request of the 12th of March, 2007 is concerned. On the 12th
14 of March, 2007, the Petkovic Defence team sought leave from the Chamber to
15 reply to the Prosecutor's response office, 12th of March -- 7th of
16 measure [as interpreted]-- 2007 concerning its motion dated 12 of February
17 2007 to take out or withdraw from the indictment allegations of
18 co-perpetration and direct perpetration and direct co-perpetration and
19 complicity. The Trial Chamber feels it should grant Petkovic Defence's
20 request so long as its motion is restricted to issues never addressed
21 before. Consequently, the Trial Chamber rules that Petkovic's Defence has
22 seven days from today onwards to file its reply.
23 Now, as far as the follow-up to Mr. Karnavas's speech on Thursday,
24 a number of things have to be clarified before I take the floor. My
25 colleagues would like to address you and then I shall personally take the
2 JUDGE PRANDLER: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
3 Your Honour.
4 [In English] On behalf of Judge Trechsel and myself, I wish to
5 make the following statement. Last Thursday, March 15th, 2007, the
6 president of the Chamber, Judge Antonetti sitting on the case of the
7 Prosecution versus Prlic and others made inter alia the following
8 statements: Point 1, and I quote: "And my feeling is, and I've already
9 said that in 90 per cent of the cases, 95 per cent of the cases, most of
10 those questions are in favour of your clients."
11 It is from page -- transcript page 95, lines 2 to 4.
12 According to his ordinance of the President of the same day, he
13 meant to say -- he explained that up to 95 per cent of the questions led
14 to answers favourable to the Defence.
15 Point 2, and I quote again: "So you see, many questions are in
16 favour of the Defence." It is from the transcript page 95, line 13.
17 Then in his ordinance he meant to say that the answers to many
18 questions were favourable to the Defence.
19 Point 3, and I quote from the transcript page 95, lines 13 to 16,
20 and I quote: "And when you say that it is not a totally fair trial, would
21 I like you to tell me of another Chamber that is to such an extent in
22 favour of the Defence."
23 In French, the original, it was said that: "[Interpretation] In
24 favour -- [no interpretation]".
25 We, two of us, we wish to declare that these statements do not
1 reflect our attitude for the following reasons: As far as points 1 and 2
2 are concerned, we do not keep records of whether answers to our questions
3 may ultimately be considered to benefit one party or the other. We are
4 not aware of any inequality in this respect.
5 As far as point 3, as quoted above, is concerned, we would like to
6 say that while we are certainly mindful of the rights of the Defence, it
7 is our firm belief that the principal task of the Chamber is to ensure
8 that the trial is fair in accordance with Article 20(1) of the Statute.
9 In our view, the pursuit of fairness is tantamount to the search for a
11 [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you very much.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 I shall now take the floor to clarify a number of points, because
14 of course the -- the translation sometimes doesn't always come across as
15 it should, and sometimes don't always reflect what I said. I shall read
16 out what I'm about to say slowly.
17 That last Thursday, on the 15th of March, 2007, Mr. Karnavas took
18 the floor after the testimony of a witness. I responded to him briefly
19 and responded to a number of points. I was unable to give the floor to
20 Mr. Scott, the court officer having told me that due to the recording of
21 the audiotape we could no longer hold the hearing. I shall give the floor
22 today to the Prosecution if it wishes to respond to the comments made in
23 this courtroom.
24 That said, I am taking the floor again today because of a
25 translation problem from French into English which might lead to some
1 confusion or misunderstanding. This is why I wish to shed some light on
3 Last Thursday, at the beginning of the afternoon, I came to
4 realise on reading the English transcripts -- transcript, as I did not
5 have the French transcript at that time, that some sentences did not
6 reflect the meaning of what I had said. Therefore, on Thursday afternoon,
7 I immediately informed the parties that I would shed some light on this.
8 I thus rendered an order aimed at providing this clarification and adding
9 a number of sentences in order to add a number of things to my oral
11 On reading the French transcript afterwards, I would like to
12 clarify two important points to make quite sure there is no
13 misunderstanding about what I have said.
14 There are two different topics that were briefly addressed last
15 Thursday, the rights of the accused, which is the first topic, and the
16 second, which is a Q and A session.
17 The first pertains to the rights of the accused, i.e., in generic
18 terms, the right of the Defence. The rights of the Defence, as far as I'm
19 concerned, encompass the rights of the accused and the rights of the
20 accused's counsel. It is important to be very clear about this. The
21 rights of the accused means that when an accused person puts a question to
22 the witness as he or she is entitled to do according to the Statute, and
23 the rights of the Defence -- of Defence counsel means, for instance, that
24 Mr. Karnavas can expand on his cross-examination and can do so without
25 being hindered by questions that would upset or interfere with his line of
2 Now, as far as the rights of the Defence are concerned, I have
3 noticed that the transcript in English uses the word "Defence," whereas
4 this means the rights of the accused. So when I say that this Trial
5 Chamber and the Bench have done much for the Defence, I didn't mean in
6 favour of. I just stated that we have done a lot and protect the rights
7 of the Defence. I quoted the Blagojevic case to indicate that this Trial
8 Chamber, pursuant to the Statute, had entitled the accused to put
9 questions directly. To bear in mind the rights of the accused is one
10 thing. To bear in mind the rights of the Defence counsel is another, due
11 to the neutral position of the Judges vis-a-vis the parties.
12 The second topic I'd like to address is the questions and answer
13 process. I think it's important to remember that Mr. Karnavas had asked
14 to hold a hearing to discuss a number of issues he -- or problems he
15 encountered when cross-examining the witness due to questions that had
16 been put by the Bench. This is not the first time that this request was
17 made, and the Trial Chamber felt so far that it was not necessary to hold
18 such a meeting.
19 In light of the assistance of Mr. Karnavas and other counsel and
20 the Prosecutor, we shall in due course hand down a decision on this
21 particular matter.
22 On reading some of the sentences in English in the transcript for
23 somebody who is not well-versed in these matters could lead to some
24 confusion. This is why I feel it is necessary to provide additional --
25 for additional explanation.
1 When a witness comes to testify, I explain to the witness how this
2 works. I explain to him that there are questions that are going to be put
3 to him. And this is on transcript page 11451, and I shall read out what I
4 said: "The four Judges that are before you, when they deem it necessary,
5 will put questions to you." Let me read it out again: "The four Judges
6 who state before you can, when they deem it necessary, put questions to
7 you." This is in line with the practice and the case law of this
8 Tribunal. The Bench is not restricted to the scope of their question
9 neither in form or content.
10 In addition, you will see that the questions are varying
11 questions. The Prosecution put questions that are not leading. The
12 Defence, as part of the cross-examination, may put leading questions to
13 you. The Bench, therefore, do their utmost to put questions which are as
14 objective as possible, insofar as, on the basis of your answers, we try to
15 understand the situation, or the context, or what it is you're saying.
16 On several occasions in the past I have said to the witness that
17 when a Judge put a question to him or her this question was different in
18 nature to the question put either by the Prosecution or Defence counsel.
19 Each party puts questions to the witness according to the Prosecution's
20 case or Prosecution's -- or Defence case. The Bench wish to discover the
21 truth, and sometimes when they ask their questions this is in line with
22 some of the questions put by either the Prosecution or the Defence. This
23 means that sometimes the Bench wishes to have a more detailed explanation
24 for the answer provided or wishes to put a question on something that has
25 been omitted by either party.
1 Pursuant to Rule 90(F)(i) [as interpreted] of the Rules of
2 Procedure and Evidence, the Bench is there to apply the Rules of Procedure
3 and make sure that the truth is unraveled.
4 I have on several occasions specified this, and I have put
5 question after an objection has been raised. You may find this on page
6 15722 and 15723. I quote: "As a rule, when the Bench asks a question,
7 you will understand that the questions we put are elaborate questions. We
8 pick up on what the witness has said. We add to that what other witnesses
9 have stated, and the question we put is an open question of a general
10 nature which, normally speaking, enables a witness to answer in several
12 Let me give you an example which I mentioned briefly but which is
13 a good indication of what I'm after, what the Bench is after.
14 A while ago a witness answered a question put by the Prosecution,
15 and the same witness talked about the -- the presence of a tank in the
16 Heliodrom, and then the witness had moved on to something else. The
17 Prosecutor had -- hadn't asked any questions to the witness about the
18 presence of this tank in that location either for put the question to the
19 witness, who confirmed that he had seen a tank in the Heliodrom. And if I
20 remember correctly, and I'm quoting: He had even indicated that the tank
21 had fired a shot.
22 A few days later another witness was called to testify it. I
23 waited for the Prosecutor to put questions to the witness about this tank
24 that -- by way of confirming or denying the presence of a tank. The
25 Prosecution did not put the question to the witness. I also waited for
1 Defence counsel to put the question. Defence counsels didn't either. So
2 in the end I put the question to the witness, and I asked him what his
3 view was on the presence of this -- about the presence of this tank. The
4 witness then replied that there was no tank. So, seeking the truth, I put
5 the question to the first witness and then to the second witness.
6 That said, I would like to say that on page 15831 of the
7 transcript I must indicate that there is a mistake there or a slip of the
8 tongue on my part. I would like to quote the sentence in question. "I
9 have already told you in 95 to 90 per cent of the cases the questions we
10 put are in favour of your clients," and I noticed this morning that
11 between the word "question" and "are in favour" I had paused, but being
12 carried away, I had completed my sentence.
13 What I wanted to say was this, and I shall read the sentence out
14 again: "I have already told you that in 95 to 90 per cent of the cases,
15 most of the answers to our questions may be in favour of your clients."
16 This sentence has to be put into perspective and relate to the following
17 pages: 15451 and 15722. This pertains to the questions put by the
19 If a question is put, this requires an answer. I have said that
20 as far as the end result is concerned, it seemed to me that sometimes
21 several answers had been provided in favour of the Defence. In other
22 cases the answers had been provided in favour of the Prosecution. This
23 might require more scrutiny, but in a number of cases Defence counsel had
24 largely been the beneficiaries of the answers provided to the questions
25 that had been put.
1 My colleagues may not share my point of view, as I have not
2 discussed with them these figures, i.e., 95 to 90 per cent of the cases.
3 The figures might be much lower than the one I have quoted. I have not
4 worked it out personally. This is a feeling I had about it, but I had not
5 checked the figures, the percentage figures.
6 As far as this particular matter is concerned, it is important to
7 indicate that a response provided when a question has been put should be
8 assessed according to its relevance and probative value, and once this
9 answer is provided at a particular point in time the -- the weighing of
10 the answers is, of course, a temporary assessment and in no way can be
11 considered to be a final decision. The final decision only is taken once
12 Prosecution case and Defence case have been heard.
13 The question pur by the Bench, totally unbiased when these
14 questions I put, is part -- these questions are put and comply with the
15 Rules of Procedure and Evidence. The question is there to discover the
16 truth. To achieve this the question may pertain to the credibility of the
17 witness, may pertain to which additional details are required, may pertain
18 to issues not yet raised in the interests of justice.
19 The second point I would like to highlight is as follows: The
20 response provided to a question may, in terms of its provisional
21 assessment and probative value, be either in favour of the Defence case
22 or -- either in favour of the Prosecutor case or in favour of the Defence
24 The third point I would like to highlight is the following: The
25 word used in English in the transcript, "Defence," should be understood,
1 according to me, as the rights of the accused.
2 This is what I wanted to say in order to avoid any
3 misunderstanding or misconception.
4 That said, the issue raised by Mr. Karnavas on the holding of a
5 meeting will be decided by the Bench towards the end of the week.
6 Mr. Karnavas's speech last Thursday enabled us to spell things out and
7 better understand the issue which Mr. Karnavas faced. So in the decision
8 I will hand down I hope to meet his demands.
9 Mr. Scott, last time Defence counsel had taken the floor and I
10 had taken the floor, and as we reach the end of the hearing I did not give
11 you the floor. So I would like to give you the floor, if you wish to take
12 it; but if you don't wish to take it, we shall then bring in the next
14 MR. SCOTT: May it please the Court, I had not intended to speak
15 today for a number of reasons. One is, as usual, we have a very busy
16 trial schedule this week, and even the time we've lost now will impact our
17 ability to complete all the witnesses this week. So it was not my
18 intention to speak this afternoon.
19 Mr. Karnavas last week had asked for time for a hearing to be set
20 in the future, and it was my assessment, if you will, that if in fact the
21 Chamber set such a time that would be the more appropriate time to make
22 any observations that I may have, and I think on Thursday also
23 Judge Trechsel had indicated that it was not the best time to take these
24 matters up because there were only two Judges on the Bench. His Honour
25 Judge Prandler wasn't here, His Honour Judge Mindua wasn't present, so
1 this was not in fact the time to address these matters. So I put that in
2 the context of where we are today.
3 I now feel, however, with the comments that have been made and the
4 Court's, again, intention of setting -- issuing a ruling later this week
5 before the Chamber -- before the Prosecution will have had the opportunity
6 to be heard, that I now feel that if I don't speak now there's no
7 indication that I will have a further opportunity to be heard prior to the
8 time that the Chamber issues a further ruling. Therefore, I feel as if I
9 have no choice, really, but to make my observations at this point.
10 In doing so, I would start by saying --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, not to lose time, the
12 decision which the Chamber will hand down will only pertain to the fact
13 whether, yes or no, a hearing will be held on matters relating to the
14 cross-examination and the Prosecution, and whether and how the questions
15 are to be put by the Bench.
16 MR. SCOTT: I hear that and appreciate that, Your Honour, but
17 unfortunately based on past track record, I can't take too much comfort in
18 that assurance. I was about to say a moment ago that unfortunately one of
19 the problems in my respectful submission has developed to date is that
20 Your Honour, Mr. President, you sometimes have a tendency to issue rulings
21 without having heard from the parties and in particular from the
22 Prosecution, and last week the Defence spent about 20 minutes on Thursday
23 without response from the Prosecution. I'm not being critical of the
24 Defence in saying that I'm simply making the observation that the Defence
25 had 20 minutes to address these matters in addition, in addition to any
1 additional time they would receive at a future hearing. The Prosecution
2 up to this moment had received zero minutes. So given the circumstances,
3 Your Honour, I will take my equal amount of time, the 20 minutes, to
4 address the matters that have come before the Chamber.
5 All that is by way of introduction. I now say, may it please the
6 Court, and while I will speak with great respect to the Chamber, the
7 Chamber will also understand if I speak very plainly.
8 A number of people asked me following last Thursday's trial day if
9 I was feeling okay, if I was all right, as I was sitting, you may
10 remember, at the Prosecution bench with my head down. A number of people
11 watching the proceedings asked me about that. I put my head down last
12 Thursday because I was doing the best I could to disappear from this
13 courtroom. I was so embarrassed for this institution, I was embarrassed
14 for myself, I was embarrassed for anyone watching these proceedings.
15 Frankly, I was even embarrassed for the Judges. So I simply wanted to
16 disappear as much as I could.
17 The Prosecution is very concerned whether the victims, the
18 Prosecution, the international community will receive a fair trial in this
19 case. We are very, very concerned about that on a number -- for a number
20 of reasons, including the time limits placed on our case, but also
21 repeated statements and comments by the Chamber and by the President, and
22 the way certain things have been handled. I will keep back to this at the
23 conclusion of my remarks because I want to address specifically some of
24 the points that were raised last week, and I do want to raise without any
25 further risk that the Chamber might issue -- indeed issue a ruling without
1 the Prosecution first having been heard.
2 Party presentation of the case: Mr. President, Your Honour Judge
3 Trechsel, and Your Honour Judge Prandler, I've been practising at this
4 Tribunal for more than nine years. I am well familiar with the oft-made
5 statement that it is a hybrid system and not based on any one national
6 system or any one legal approach. And I certainly agree with that and I
7 deed it has been one of the privileges and pleasures of my experience here
8 over the last nine years to gain greater insights into the other systems,
9 the strengths and weaknesses of various systems, and enrich my own legal
10 experience, my professional experience, having participated in this
11 professional international environment.
12 I am no generic defender or advocate of the adversarial common law
13 system even though I come from that system. Like every system, it has its
14 strengths and its weaknesses. I think there is much that common lawyers
15 can learn from the civil law system. However, I am also no generic
16 defender or advocate of the civil law system. Like every system, it has
17 its strengths and its weaknesses. I think there is much that
18 practitioners from the civil law system can learn from the adversarial
19 common law system. I am also not one who suggests that everything that
20 might be wrong with the ICTY's legal system could be "fixed if only we
21 adopted a civil law system." That is undoubtedly a simplistic position
22 and would not in fact fix, in my view, the various problems or challenges
23 that this institution faces. I see nothing about the civil law system
24 that is inherently superior or more noble than the adversarial system.
25 There are two ways of getting to, hopefully, more or less the same point.
1 Again, they both have their strengths. They both have their weaknesses.
2 Having said all this and when the early Judges and the senior
3 leaders of this institution many years ago designed the system that would
4 be the ICTY, they put in place a system which, hybrid as it is, is
5 decidedly more adversarial than not, decidedly more common law than not.
6 For better or worse, whether the Judges agree with that assessment or the
7 weight given to each system or not, that is the system, that is the path
8 we have gone down these last 13 or 14 years.
9 It is essentially an adversarial system with some adjustments
10 based on the fact, for example, that we have professional Judges and not
11 lay jurors, and because of the nature and circumstances of our cases and
12 evidence, and some of the structural and unique challenges and limitations
13 that this institution faces. Given there, and whether one likes it or
14 not, the adversarial system is primarily a party-driven system. Each
15 party, the Prosecution and the Defence, have both the responsibility, and
16 a weighty responsibilities, and the opportunity to present its case. Not
17 the Court's case, not the Judges' case, its case. The Prosecution case
18 and the Defence case. The Trial Chamber cannot and should not try to
19 perform all roles at once, to be Prosecutor, Defence counsel, Judge, jury
20 and executioner. If the Trial Chamber begins to cast itself in the role
21 of the Prosecution and to shape the Prosecution's case to prove the
22 Prosecution's case against the accused, then I assume that my brethren on
23 the Defence side will object to that. Indeed, I will object to that.
24 Likewise, if the Trial Chamber casts itself as Defence counsel to the
25 accused directing the Defence cases, putting forward and protecting the
1 Defence cases, then indeed I, the Prosecution, will object to that, and
2 presumably, at least in some circumstances, the Defence counsel will
3 object to that.
4 Therefore, as Mr. Karnavas said the other day, the principal role
5 of the Trial Chamber during each party's case is to act as a neutral
6 procedural umpire. To use an American sports example, and I'm sure
7 examples could be drawn from every system, every national sport of those
8 in the courtroom, to use a baseball example you call the because and the
9 strikes, but you don't determine -- you don't tell how -- the batter when
10 to swing and you don't tell the pitcher when to pitch. You do not direct
11 or present the Prosecution's case or the Defence case.
12 Now, specifically on questioning witnesses. In light of what I've
13 just said, a party must be given a reasonable opportunity to conduct its
14 examination according to his or her own plan. A plan is disrupted, it is
15 made more difficult, confusing, takes more time if there are constant
16 interruptions and detours. For example, taking a witness off in a
17 particular direction before the examiner, him or herself, is ready to go
18 in that direction himself or herself.
19 If the Prosecution has not asked a question, Your Honours, or does
20 not ask a question, I would say nine times out of ten there are very good
21 reasons why the Prosecution has not done so. Number one, the Prosecution
22 will indeed ask the question but hasn't gotten to it yet. An examination
23 is not, or should not be, a random -- a series of random questions but is
24 a set of questions hopefully intended and structured to get the evidence
25 before the Chamber. A great time and effort -- a great deal of time and
1 effort, I'm sure not only for the Prosecution but also for the Defence,
2 goes into preparing an examination according to a certain logic and
3 framework. Particular documents may be selected in a particular order for
4 various reasons. Give the examiner an a chance to carry out his or her
5 examination before the Chamber tries to jump ahead and intervene. As I
6 submit to you, Your Honours, I'm pretty confident nine times out of ten,
7 you'll find the examiner is going to get -- was going to get to the same
9 Number two, another reason perhaps why the Prosecution either does
10 or does not put a question, the Prosecution has already explored the topic
11 or question in meeting with the witness and already knows essentially what
12 the witness is going to say, that the witness has nothing to say about the
13 topic. Why didn't we ask about, Did you take -- did you walk around the
14 left side of the building to see what was happening on that day? We
15 didn't ask that question because - you know what? - we asked -- we asked
16 that question to the witness when we met with the witness, and the witness
17 said, "I don't know anything about that." Therefore, when we only have
18 very limited amount of time in the courtroom, guess what? We don't ask
19 that question because we know it's not going anywhere.
20 Third, with all respect, the questioner item asked or to be asked
21 by a Judge may be interesting, or to be asked by counsel may be
22 interesting, but again unfortunately either largely irrelevant or less
23 important than other points that have to be pursued, given the time
24 constraints in the case. Your Honours, there is virtually not a single
25 witness that I have presented to the Trial Chamber since this trial
1 started that I would not have asked more or additional questions to or
2 sought to clarify some answer, but we are constantly, every day, faced
3 with the situation of having limited time. I can't ask that question. I
4 skip those questions in my outline. I wish we could clarify that. We
5 don't have time. That is the day-to-day truth that we have to live with.
6 Just to further -- I'm cutting through some of my notes in the
7 interest of time because I think the point's been made. I'll just add
8 this additional item on this point: The same complication happens,
9 Your Honour, when the Prosecution has given the Chamber a good faith
10 estimate of what it thinks the witness -- the time for a witness
11 examination will take. If we say four hours, we didn't just pull that
12 number out of the air. We didn't flip a coin. We didn't role dice. We
13 looked at the evidence, we looked at the statements, and we gave a good --
14 our best, our good faith based estimate of what we think -- how much time
15 we thought it would take to get the evidence from that witness for the
16 benefit of the Chamber. And when we say four hours, I mean, when I walk
17 in or Mr. Mundis or some other -- one of our other colleagues walks in and
18 says, Well, we decided you have three hours, that has an immediate impact
19 on our ability to present the evidence because now I'm standing on my feet
20 and I'm cutting questions as I go. And indeed, in that environment,
21 I may miss an important question. I may miss an important exhibit, but
22 I'm standing on my feet trying to cut an hour out of an examination based
23 on the limited, shortened time the Chamber has allowed. That is the
24 reality that we have to deal with.
25 I should briefly address the other side of the coin. The Judges
1 may sometimes, Why did the Prosecution spend so much time on that set of
2 questions? And, Your Honour, we may miss -- we may indeed miss it
3 sometimes, but it's because, based on what we know of our overall case -
4 and we do know our case - and maybe some evidence is going to come six
5 months from now, or two weeks from now, how that's going to connect. And
6 something that may seem to you, on first blush, as a waste of time may
7 indeed be, or we wouldn't be offering it, important evidence that we
8 believe the Chamber should hear. Now maybe the Chamber will decide
9 ultimately that it wasn't important, but of course we can't know that.
10 This takes us full circle to my opening point, and that is the
11 Prosecution is presenting the Prosecution's case. It is not presenting
12 the Court's case. It is not presenting any of Your Honours' case. Again,
13 I invite any of Your Honours, if any of you wants to be put on the Defence
14 case, come down and join the Defence; if any of you would like to present
15 the Prosecution case, please come and join the Prosecution. But until
16 that happens, let each of the parties present their case.
17 The Prosecution, Your Honours, as I've told a number of time, are
18 working very, very hard, myself personally and my entire team, to present
19 this case to you as best we can. It won't be perfect. We've made
20 mistakes already; we'll make more mistakes before it's over. But we're
21 working very, very hard to present this case as best we can, under very
22 difficult circumstances I might say. Let us present our case.
23 I turn very quickly to the number and use of exhibits in the case
24 because that was also mentioned last week. The Presiding Judge made
25 comments again about the number of exhibits in the case. First of all,
1 and some of you have heard me say before, there should be no surprise that
2 in a leadership case of this type involving six senior political and
3 military leaders, the six accused in this case, there should be no
4 surprise that this kind of a case would involve a large number, even
5 thousands of documents, just as the Nuremberg trials involved thousands
6 and thousands of documents. In fact, frankly, I'm more bemused when I
7 encounter the reaction in the building, you know, from Judges or from
8 other legal staff, This seems like an awful lot of documents to us. We
9 can't possibly deal with that. And I have to respond to that, the only
10 way I can respond to that, Your Honours, is to say: What kind of cases
11 did people think they were coming to the Tribunal to deal with? These are
12 not second degree burglary cases where someone stole a bicycle and a
13 couple of silver dishes. They are complex, complicated cases, and they
14 require a great deal of evidence, including a great deal of documentary
15 evidence. So no one, no one should be surprised at the nature of the
16 evidence that is required to present one of these cases.
17 This is indeed a -- largely a document case. I'm not sure if the
18 Chamber has fully appreciated that. The Chamber is only going to ever
19 hear a small percentage of the total evidence from the witness. A witness
20 account, the witness who was a victim in a village can only take you so
21 far. But a great deal of this evidence in this case lies in the
22 documents, the internal documents of the HVO and the organisations that
23 these men were part of, and if the Chamber does not receive that
24 documentation by whatever means appropriate, and we can touch on that
25 further if and when we have time, indeed the Prosecution will not have
1 been given an adequate opportunity to present its case, and the Chamber
2 will have not received some of the very most important evidence in the
3 case, because it's in the documents. You have to look at and study the
5 Further, we don't expect the Prosecution to actually tender
6 anything like 10.000 exhibits. Of course not. As we have said before,
7 the trial process is a living, breathing process. The need for particular
8 proof changes and evolves as the trial goes forward. It happened just
9 last week. There were a number examples with the evidence of the witness
10 last week. I won't go into the reasons for them, but Mr. Flynn and I at
11 the end of the day went back and said, We really thought that was going to
12 be disputed but - you know what? - it wasn't. So we don't have to put on
13 any more evidence of that. So we cut evidence. We cut exhibits. It's
14 not disputed. It was admitted in court. The Defence said, That's not an
15 issue. So we adjust our proof. We don't think it will be anything like
16 10.000 exhibits but it will certainly be thousands, certainly be
18 And further, Your Honour, it's not the number of exhibits but how
19 they are dealt with. In the Tuta Stela case which I tried, and a much
20 smaller case, crime base, much smaller than this one, two accused at a
21 much lower level than these six men, we put forward -- the Prosecution
22 tendered and had admitted approximately 2.450 Prosecution exhibits in a
23 much smaller case than this one. That case had nothing to do with Stolac
24 or Capljina or any number of places, Gornji Vakuf. It was a much smaller
25 case, 2.450 Prosecution exhibits. The Presiding Judge in that case, Judge
1 Liu, did not seem to encounter any problems with that. They came in, they
2 were handled in good stride, there was no reason -- there is no reason
3 that this Chamber should have any problems with the volume of exhibits,
4 properly managed.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, could you give the
6 figures again for the transcript because -- exclamation marks instead. If
7 my colleague had seen it, he would have said so himself.
8 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. In the Tuta Stela case, the
9 Prosecution tendered and had had admitted 2.450 exhibits and I checked
10 those statistics just over the weekend.
11 In fact, in my nine years at the Tribunal, Your Honours, I have
12 heard it said a number of times, including by Judges, including in the
13 context -- no, I won't say that because I shouldn't probably comment.
14 In a number of contexts "why doesn't most of these exhibits be
15 admitted before the trial starts? Couldn't we save a lot of time if so
16 much of this was handled during the pre-trial process?" I have heard that
17 said repeatedly, including, again, as I say, by ICTY Judges. The evidence
18 in this case could be received more efficiently, or could have been. The
19 Prosecution tried to do, tried to present both through pre-trial motions
20 and earlier particular witnesses to submit collections of exhibits.
21 Indeed at an earlier time, Your Honour, Mr. President, during the
22 pre-trial phase you indicated that a collection of exhibits from a
23 particular organisation or operation, I'll just choose one by example,
24 ECMM, would be admissible through a single representative witness from
25 that organisation. The Prosecution took that to heart. We prepared our
1 case accordingly. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we then removed
2 away from that to a much more cumbersome regime for the admission of
3 documentary evidence.
4 Now, having said that, I think we may have -- there may be
5 different views on this in the courtroom but I think we've moved in the
6 direction of more efficiency, handling documents and exhibits more
7 efficiently and we have moved, in my submission, in the right direction.
8 I hope that we will continue to do so. I will preview, I will preview to
9 Your Honours and to the Defence that in the next few weeks we anticipate
10 tendering a large -- another large set of documents being largely the HVO
11 documents received from the Croatian government, including the HVO archive
12 in this case. That will indeed be a further -- shall I use the word test,
13 or indication of our ability to present this case in a fair and efficient
15 Let me come back, Your Honour, and I'm about to conclude with my
16 more general -- I'm coming back to the more general concerns I stated at
17 the outset. I am very concerned, I am very concerned, Your Honours, as a
18 professional, as someone who is very committed to this process, I'm very
19 concerned that the victims, the Prosecution, and the international
20 community are not going to receive a fair trial in this case. I'm very
21 concerned about that. If one learns by watching what appears to work or
22 what succeeds for others, I think sometimes the Prosecution should be much
23 more vitriolic, should be much more adamant and - how shall I say it? -
24 exercised about our positions. But I would resist doing that,
25 Your Honour, because I would hope that the Chamber ultimately -
1 ultimately - will respond more to reason and common sense than to
2 vitriolic statement.
3 I know that the Chamber has comment -- has made its comments today
4 which we take on board, but I have to say again that what I heard last
5 Thursday, and frankly what most of the English speaking world heard, and I
6 heard this from outside this -- the ICTY, I heard it from outside the OTP,
7 was great concern at what had been said when the statement, to this
8 effect, and again so there's no misunderstanding, now corrected, but the
9 statement that was heard on Thursday, I dare say around the world, was
10 this one: "And my feeling is, and I've already said, that in 90 per cent
11 of the cases, 95 per cent of the cases most of those questions are in
12 favour of your clients. So you see, many questions are in favour of the
13 Defence. And when you say that it is not a totally fair trial, I would
14 like to -- I would like you to tell me of another Chamber that to such an
15 extent in favour is in favour of the Defence."
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, I have provided a
17 corrigendum. You talk about Thursday, and I have corrected the meaning of
18 that sentence. So if you have prepared what you are saying now
19 beforehand, I understand. Maybe you did not understand what I said a
20 while ago.
21 MR. SCOTT: I have understood, Your Honour, the corrections, and
22 I'm just simply telling you where many of us were coming from and reacting
23 to last Thursday based on what we heard -- what was heard in the
24 courtroom, and I know what -- and what other people heard.
25 I state my concerns about the fairness of the trial. I won't
1 state it -- I'll leave it to the Defence, of course, to state their
2 positions, as they always have in a forceful way. I hope the Trial
3 Chamber will prove me wrong, and that is when I say prove me wrong, my
4 concerns about the fairness of the trial to the victims, to the
5 Prosecution itself, and to the international community. But I have to say
6 to Your Honours to speak plainly, and other counsel have gotten away with
7 speaking plainly so please extend to me the same opportunity, I'm not
8 persuaded simply by words. Words, unfortunately, are easy to deal with.
9 They can be explained away as translation errors or misunderstanding or
10 what have you. Actions speak louder than words, and it is the actions,
11 not just the words, of the Chamber that I and my colleagues will be
13 I take my responsibility, Your Honours, for those of you have not
14 noticed, to the victims and to the international community, indeed to what
15 I consider the extremely important Prosecution function itself very
16 seriously. I have said it before. I will say it again. The victims and
17 the Prosecution and the international community are absolutely just as
18 entitled to a fair trial as the accused. Not more of a fair trial but
19 also not less of a fair trial. Not something of a fair trial, not sort of
20 a fair trial, but a fair trial. And just as Mr. Karnavas and some of the
21 other Defence counsel may get very agitated and noisy at times about
22 fairness to the Defence, Your Honour, I'm going to be, if necessary, and
23 if that's what it takes - if that's what it takes - I will be just as
24 agitated and noisy about fairness to the Prosecution. With respect, with
25 great respect to all three of you and also to Judge Mindua, who is absent,
1 if you think that I, as a Prosecutor, am going to sit back and watch a
2 double standard being applied of fairness and different treatment for the
3 Defence, even now in the Defence case when the Prosecution has been
4 treated differently on the feeling or kind of expressing an opinion or an
5 attitude of, well, it's only the Prosecution, we can give it less concern,
6 less concern for fairness. We can tell the OTP what to do; it's only the
7 OTP, after all. But I am afraid, Your Honours, if that's the Chamber's --
8 ever the Chamber's attitude you have the wrong Prosecutor. You have the
9 wrong Prosecutor. Because whatever other Prosecutors might do, I will not
10 sit back and allow that to happen without comment.
11 And I close with this: As I said, I do not mean -- I hoped not to
12 make these comments this afternoon but I felt at the end that I really had
13 to. I've often wondered what it would be like if we had six victims
14 sitting behind the Prosecution side over here. Six victims to whom the
15 Chamber would say hello to everyday. Six victims who could ask questions
16 of witnesses. Six victims who could pop up at any moment and make
17 comments and arguments and statements to the Chamber. Six victims who
18 could express their views on whether they, and the thousands of people
19 like them, believe that they are receiving a fair trial.
20 I will be firm, Your Honour, about representing those victims and
21 representing our interest. Thank you, Your Honour.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: If I --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, I shall give you
24 the floor.
25 Mr. Scott, we've listened to you. As I have told you, we will
1 hand down a decision and try to meet the legitimate demands of each
2 party. So await the decision before making any final pronouncements. We
3 have not handed down a decision yet. We know why Mr. Karnavas said he
4 wanted to cross-examine without being interrupted, and he clearly told us
5 why. You have also explained quite a number of things to us right now,
6 and I am sure that this decision will bear in mind the interests of both
8 Mr. Karnavas, please do not -- please do not -- sorry, add any
9 water to the pan and make it short.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll be very brief. First I want to commend the
11 Prosecution for its comments, and I, for one, at least have tried to
12 express the same sentiments with respect to the right of the Prosecution
13 to put on its case and to represent the rights of the victims.
14 Number two, I ask for the hearing, and that's what I wanted to
15 say, that before a decision is made, I think we do need a hearing. You
16 have an unprecedented situation here where both the Defence and the
17 Prosecution are, at least in my opinion, or unlike my experience in 25
18 years, both are crying for a fairer process, and they both seem to be
19 joined in that -- in that request.
20 The Prosecution moved for certification, this is now the second
21 time, on the reasoning as to why their time was cut. We joined in that
22 certification process, we the Defence, on the basis that the Trial Chamber
23 did not give sufficient reasoning at the request of the Appeals Chamber,
24 based on the remand. We do think a hearing should be held as
25 expeditiously as possible. This is not something that is going to go
1 away. I'm not as eloquent as Mr. Scott or some of my other colleagues,
2 but I must say, if we could just have a hearing where we could just clear
3 out some of these technical issues, I think that would -- the case can
5 This is by far -- when you look at the indictment and when you
6 look at the size of the case, this is by far the most complex case that
7 exists today and that will exist for the remainder of this Tribunal, and I
8 think your colleagues will understand if it's going to take us a little
9 bit longer. And so I think that we have tried to make the process
10 smoother, faster, more efficient, but I think now we probably need to take
11 a step back and see how we can get the train back on the tracks. It's not
12 too late. But in any event, I just want to remind Your Honours that we
13 would like to have this hearing, and again I want to thank Mr. Scott for
14 his eloquence today. I share in the Prosecution's pain in trying to get
15 their case. There's nothing more frustrating than an advocate who has
16 worked very, very hard and is unable to put on their narrative for their
17 questions as a result of some interruptions. The results may be
18 unintended, but nonetheless when you're on this side of the table it can
19 be rather frustrating. And again I want to apologise for having raised my
20 voice last week. It was clearly not intended as disrespectful but I've
21 been cursed with this personality. I'm going to work on it some more, to
22 be much more understanding to -- to your interventions. Thank you.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas. I have asked for the
24 floor. The President has given it to me.
25 I recall what I have said. It was an exchange between yourself
1 and myself on Thursday, that the hearing you have asked the Chamber to
2 decide upon, you have practically started it on Thursday. I -- I would
3 have hoped that we would have had it perhaps in a -- in a reduced
4 composition, in the absence of the accused, because it's a matter of pure
5 legal issues. I can very well understand, Mr. Scott, that you felt you
6 wanted to put your nail into the board, too, as the other party has it.
7 I'm aware of the fact that some other Defence counsel also would
8 like to intervene in this more thoroughly, but still I think we should not
9 do it surreptitiously but should now go to the hearing of the witness who
10 is waiting. It's also a matter of politeness, not to let them wait for
11 hours. So perhaps the President will decree the break right now and then
12 we can settle down to work.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you are on your
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. As
16 Mr. Scott, the representative of the OTP, presented certain views which
17 have to do with us accused here, as well and everybody else, and that is
18 in view of the fact that victims exist and the accused are already here
19 sitting here in the courtroom that the equation -- simple equation,
20 according to Mr. Scott, is that we have already been convicted and that
21 Their Honours need not, say, give us the time of day and say hello. This
22 goes against the rights of Europe. We are innocent until proved guilty,
23 until there's a court ruling about our guilt.
24 Now, as regards the international community on the victims, the
25 victims of what happened in the former Yugoslavia, we know what happened
1 in the former Yugoslavia. We know all the things that happened. And as
2 to the concept of the international community, it has not yet been defined
3 and there are 500 to 600 wars which the international community among
4 other things and among others the country from which Mr. Scott comes from
5 waged after World War II. We don't remember any trials being held, but
6 there were if not -- there were just as many victims in as there were in
7 the former Yugoslavia if not more.
8 Now, after the French Revolution, in Europe a principle was
9 heralded by which everybody was equal before the law --
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak. Mr. Praljak, you have been given a
11 right to ask questions because sometimes the accused can know better than
12 his lawyer what the facts were, but you are not here as a lawyer, and I
13 should not intervene on a question like this. Your counsel can do that.
14 Thank you.
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I think that according to
16 the Statute I do have the right to present views which are opposed to
17 other people's views, Judge Trechsel. Please. He directly went along
18 these lines and I want to ask one more thing. It has to do with
19 elements -- we're talking about a fair trial and rights.
20 Now, I would like to say the law according to which Mr. Scott
21 wishes accuse and then ask that I be found guilty do not hold true for
22 Mr. Scott, and the justness of a thesis like that is something that we
23 could debate. And if we are debating it, then I, as an intellectual,
24 regardless of how far I've been trained in the law, do have the right to
25 say what I want to say, because Mr. Scott is trying me under the laws that
1 do not apply to him. I have just as many -- just as much right here as
2 anybody. Thank you for your attention.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you,
4 Mr. Praljak.
5 It is now 3.30. We shall bring in the witness. Mr. Scott, are
6 there protective measures for the upcoming witness? I believe not. No.
7 No protective measures. You have planned to lead this witness for an hour
8 and a half and the Defence will have an hour and a half, so we shall have
9 a 20-minute break now and resume in 20 minutes' time.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Before Mr. Karnavas took
11 the floor, Judge Antonetti said: "You needn't add fuel to the fire to
12 make matters worse as everybody is calm today."
13 --- Recess taken at 3.28 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 3.51 p.m.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 WITNESS: SALEM CERENIC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, I think we need an IC
20 THE REGISTRAR: 4D has submitted a list of objections to document
21 tendered by the OTP through Witness DE. Such list shall be given Exhibit
22 number IC 494. Thank you very much, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. I hope you
24 hear the translation in your mother tongue. Could you give us your first
25 name, family name, and date of birth, please.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Salem Cerenic, and I was
2 born on the 16th of October, 1962, in Vares.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Do you have an
4 occupation? Are you employed currently?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what you mean.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Are you employed? Do you work?
7 What do you do?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I work in the Vares municipality.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Sir, have you
10 already testified before a court in the events that unfolded in your
11 country, or is it the first time that you come to testify today?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I testified at the cantonal court in
13 Zenica, also linked to the case of Vares-Stupni Do, the events dating back
14 to 1993.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I would like you to
16 take the oath, please, and read what's on that sheet of paper.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
18 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, just some explanation I'd
22 like to give you. You are a Prosecution witness. A number of questions
23 will be put to you by Mr. Flynn whom you have met I believe yesterday or
24 this morning. The Prosecution will have an hour and a half to ask you
25 questions, after which Defence counsel and sometimes the accused will put
1 questions to you as part of the cross-examination. The Bench, which faces
2 you, can also put questions to you if it so deems it is necessary.
3 That said, questions put are neither in favour of the Prosecution,
4 neither in favour of the Defence, are just put with a view to discover the
5 truth. I will only put questions to you once Prosecution has finished and
6 once the Defence counsel has finished, which will enable me to check out
7 the translation at the same time. So I shall now give the floor to
8 Mr. Flynn.
9 MR. FLYNN: Thank you very much. Good afternoon to Your Honours;
10 good afternoon members to Defence and everybody else in the courtroom.
11 Examination by Mr. Flynn:
12 Q. And good afternoon, Mr. Cerenic. I believe you're from the town
13 of Vares. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that's where I was born too.
15 Q. And can you tell it us where you were living in the first half of
17 A. I've already said that from birth I've been living in Vares, and
18 at the time, that is in 1993, I lived there with my family, my wife, and
19 my two children. We lived in Vares.
20 Q. And at that time did you have an occupation, or how did you occupy
22 A. In 1993, I was a member of the BH army.
23 Q. When did you join the BH army?
24 A. I joined at the beginning of 1993, straight away in January.
25 Q. Can you tell us which unit you were a member of, what your rank
1 was, and what your duties were, please?
2 A. I didn't have a rank of any kind, but I was member of the platoon
3 attached to the staff in Vares municipality and performed the task of a
4 security detail. I provided security for facilities, et cetera.
5 Q. And were you stationed in Vares all of -- all during 1993?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Can you tell us where else you were stationed and why you moved to
9 A. If I understand the question correctly, I was at the battlefront
10 for a time facing the Chetniks, mostly. And in the unit attached to the
11 staff, as I said, I provided security for individual facilities and
13 Q. Have you ever heard at the time of a town or village called
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Were you ever attached to any unit there?
17 A. You mean in Dabravine?
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. In Dabravine I was a member of the BH army.
20 Q. And why did you move from Vares to Dabravine?
21 A. It wasn't only me who was moved. On the 1st of July, 1992, the
22 HVO units forcibly took power from the legally elected authorities in
23 Vares so that the HVO was in Vares, and all the other legally elected
24 authorities, like the police, the War Presidency of the municipality, was
25 moved to Dabravine.
1 Q. So moving to the summer of 1993, you were in Dabravine on the
2 front line; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did something happen to you when you were on the front line?
5 A. I was wounded.
6 Q. And what injuries did you sustain?
7 A. I was wounded by the shells in my right leg and my shoulder,
8 shoulder blade.
9 Q. Did you have to spend some time in hospital?
10 A. Yes. I was in hospital, but I can't remember for how long. I was
11 put up in Breza, which was the clinic at the time. We couldn't enter
12 Vares to receive treatment at that time.
13 Q. Now, you were in Dabravine during this period. Did you get leave
14 from your unit from time to time to visit your family?
15 A. I think it was in September that I requested leave from my
16 superiors. I asked them to let me go for two reasons. At that time, my
17 late mother was very ill, and I asked to go and visit her. And the second
18 reason was that I had to go home because we didn't have any money to buy
19 firewood for heating during the winter. So I went into the forest to cut
20 down some firewood and take it home. So those were the reasons for which
21 I requested a little longer leave of absence.
22 Q. And during the month of October where did -- the early part of the
23 month of October leading up to the middle of October, where were you?
24 A. I was in Vares.
25 Q. Now, do you remember at some stage during the month of October,
1 while you were in Vares, did you receive news concerning visitors arriving
2 to the town?
3 A. On the 21st and 22nd, I think -- well, I don't know the exact
4 date, but a neighbour of mine came by with his wife, and he told me that
5 about 200 Ustasha soldiers had arrived in Vares led by their commander,
6 Ivica Rajic.
7 Q. When you say Ustasha soldiers, did he -- did he describe the name
8 of the unit? Did he identify the units that had arrived, the soldiers
9 who -- which had arrived?
10 A. Well, I think he mentioned the Apostoli and the Maturice. They
11 were units from Kiseljak.
12 Q. At that time in October of 1993 did you know anything about the
13 units, Apostoli or Maturice?
14 A. I had heard of them through the local television station, and when
15 they took over power in Vares they had installed -- or, rather, the local
16 television station was operational. It was called Bobovac of the Vares
18 Q. In Vares town itself, did Vares have its own military unit?
19 A. There were only the HVO units in town, of course.
20 Q. Was that unit known as the Bobovac Brigade?
21 A. Yes, that's what it was called.
22 Q. Now, referring to these it troops who had come from Kiseljak, did
23 you know at the time why they had arrived to Vares?
24 A. Well, no. We weren't informed that they had arrived, let alone
25 the reason for their arrival. But at that time Bosnia was well-known that
1 other units -- when other units went to another town there would be
2 trouble there. And when we used the word "belaj" meaning "trouble" in
3 Bosnia, it meant that they would do something bad.
4 Q. Did the arrival of these units cause you any concern or were you
5 relaxed about it?
6 A. Well, I think that in my last answer I answered this question too.
7 It caused an upset. The population became upset when units came in from
8 outside somewhere.
9 Q. Did anything unusual occur to your family immediately after their
11 A. On the 23rd, in the morning, straight away, three people in
12 camouflage -- when I say camouflage, they were wearing camouflage uniforms
13 and had soot on their faces. They had some sort of -- well, I'll call it
14 soot, but their faces were covered in black. They stormed into my house
15 where my wife, my two children, and I myself were sitting.
16 Q. Did you recognise any of these soldiers?
17 A. No, I didn't.
18 Q. And were you able to determine from their uniforms which military
19 force they represented? Did you recognise the uniforms?
20 A. Yes. On their sleeves, I don't know whether it was the left or
21 right sleeve, but they had the HVO insignia, HVO patches on them.
22 Q. But you didn't recognise any of them. At that time, would you
23 have known -- as -- as a resident of Vares at that time, would you have
24 known soldiers who made up the HVO Bobovac Brigade?
25 A. I knew most of them, but Vares is a very small town and everybody
1 knows everybody else. So had I known any of them -- well, no, I didn't
2 know them. They were from elsewhere.
3 Q. So can you describe for the panel, please, what happened after
4 they came into your house?
5 A. Three men stormed into the house, three soldiers wear camouflage
6 uniforms whom I didn't know, and they started shouting. They said, "Give
7 us your money, your weapons, and your gold." Of course I didn't have any
8 weapons or gold or money, so I had nothing to give them basically. There
9 was a lot of provocation. They swore a lot. They called us "balija"
10 and, "You Turk," and words of abuse like that. They cursed my mother,
11 father. And the more they insisted, at one point they shoved a rifle into
12 my mouth, asked for what I told you earlier on, money, gold or weapons.
13 Q. So are we to understand that you didn't give them any money at
15 A. Well, I can't remember exactly whether I gave them anything. I
16 can't quite remember. If I had some on -- if I had some, I would have
17 given them some.
18 Q. So after making these demands, what then happened? Can you tell
20 A. Well, to put it mildly, they threw me out of my own house
21 without letting me put anything on to keep me warm. It was October. It
22 was cold. They didn't let me put anything on my feet, and I think I was
23 just wearing a T-shirt of some sort. A red one it was, I think.
24 Q. So you weren't dressed in your ABiH uniform at the time they came
25 to your house? You were in civilian clothes?
1 A. No. No.
2 Q. And while you were outside the house, what happened then?
3 A. They pushed me and shoved me with their small arms. They threw me
4 out of my house and out of my yard. And there were some small groups, so
5 I might have seen about 50 or 70 metres from the house another little
6 group of soldiers, and they ordered me to run towards them with my head
7 down looking at the ground, not to look left or right, and I had to keep
8 my hands behind -- hold my hands behind my head. And I went from one
9 group to the other. They shouted at me, swore at me. Well, I suppose you
10 want me to repeat all this. I heard coming from the side, so I suppose
11 they were expelling other people, too, because I could hear this same sort
12 of shouting a little ways away. So that's how we left, with these swear
13 words being shouted at us. And we were taken to in front of the secondary
14 school building or centre, which was called Ivan Goran Kovacic in Vares,
15 and they took us inside and took us to the gymnasium hall of this
16 secondary school.
17 Q. Before you were forced to proceed off to this secondary school, do
18 you remember, were you wearing a wedding ring?
19 A. A wedding ring. The wedding band as we call it. That's what you
20 get when you marry. Yes, I did have a wedding ring on my finger, and at
21 Vratnica, the exit to -- when I was going outside my yard, one of these
22 Ustashas said, "Take that off your hand, your finger." I said that was my
23 wedding ring and he shouted out that I should take it off, so I did take
24 it off or he'd cut off my finger. So I did take it off and I gave it to
1 Q. Okay. So going back you were forced to go towards Goran -- this
2 Ivan Goran Kovacic. How far would that have been from your house that you
3 were forced to run in your bare feet? Or without shoes, I should say.
4 A. Well, it's not a straight road. It curves for about a kilometre.
5 Perhaps a bit more than one kilometre. Not less. I would say more, but
7 Q. And what happened witness you got to the school?
8 A. When we reached the school, as I said, they forced us inside to
9 the sports hall of that same secondary school. So I entered the school,
10 and I saw -- well, there were already some 70 to 100 other people there in
11 the sports hall. The only thing that was evident was that a man was lying
12 down in the middle of the hall, and let me say that the town is a very
13 small one, so we all knew each other mostly, but I managed to find a seat,
14 somewhere to sit down amongst all those people.
15 Q. And this man lying down in the sports hall, did you know him?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you describe him and name him for us, if you do?
18 A. Ibro Likic. He was wearing a light blue uniform, the kind that
19 the civilian protection wore at the time.
20 Q. And was there anybody with this man or was he alone?
21 A. As I said, he was lying down on the floor, and there were two
22 uniformed people, two uniformed men standing above him. Well, I don't
23 know when there were two, but I think two.
24 Q. And do you know what he was doing lying on the floor? Did you
25 hear any words spoken to this man?
1 A. Well, the men standing above him, the soldiers, shouted at him.
2 Well, I don't have to mention that they kept swearing at them. They
3 called them balijas, Turks, and so on, and they asked for -- where his
4 hunting rifle was because he was a hunter at the time quite legally. So
5 he -- they told him to surrender his hunting rifle.
6 Q. Can you remember what condition this man was in?
7 A. He was in a very bad state physically. He was all bashed about on
8 his face. He was bleeding. He had bruises. He was all black and blue,
9 and quite visibly he'd been beaten up a great deal.
10 Q. And what age would this man have been at that time
12 A. Well, I don't know if I can give you an approximation, but he was
13 over 40, thereabouts. Yes, he was certainly over 40.
14 Q. Did you have an opportunity of looking around the hall, and did
15 you recognise any of the other 70 to a hundred people that you said were
16 in the hall when you arrived?
17 A. The persons who were present in the room, of course, yes, in the
18 hall, I saw them all. They were people from Vares. I repeat yet again
19 that we all know each other because it's a small town. I knew
21 Q. And can you tell us were there any females amongst these
23 A. I don't remember. No.
24 Q. And from what ethnic division would these people have come
1 A. They were all Bosniaks, Muslims, who were forcibly brought into
2 the hall. They were Bosniak Muslims.
3 Q. Were you in a position to see whether they were young or old or
4 middle-aged? What ages would these people have been?
5 A. All ages, all ages, say from age 16 up to 70. Very old men,
7 Q. Were you told why you had been brought there to the -- to the
8 school and what was going to happen to you by anyone?
9 A. No one said anything.
10 Q. And so, when you told us that there were 70 to a hundred people
11 when you arrived initially. Did these numbers stay static or were some of
12 them released, or did the numbers increase?
13 A. No, no. The number increased from one minute to the other,
14 unfortunately. Of course they were all Bosniaks, Muslims, who were
15 brought there forcibly.
16 Q. So how many people do you say were held in the school at the end
17 of the day on the 23rd of October, 1993? How many people were in this
18 hall or gym?
19 A. Well, around 300 people.
20 Q. And were you given any instructions by anybody to -- on what to do
21 while you were in there, inside the building?
22 A. They were giving us instructions, HVO soldiers were. They were
23 telling us that we put everything we had in front of us, everything,
24 everything we had in our pockets. Somebody had, say, rings, jewellery,
25 keys. Whatever they had on them or in their pockets. Quite simply we
1 were forced to take everything off and out and put it in front of us, and
2 then they would come up and take all of that.
3 Q. Do you remember on this first day if the HVO approached you for
4 anything else apart from taking these things from you, as you've just
6 A. You're asking me personally?
7 Q. Yes. Did anybody person -- did any of these soldiers personally
8 approach you at any stage on this first day?
9 A. The first day, yes. One of these men in uniform spoke to me. He
10 walked in through the door and said, "Who is Salem Cerenic?" I was
11 really, really surprised to hear that, because I didn't really know any of
12 these soldiers and I was wondering how it was that they knew me, and he
13 asked me to come up to them.
14 Q. And what happened then?
15 A. When he call out my first and last name he told me to come up to
16 him. I was sitting closer to the end of that gym, and I came up to him.
17 I was a few metres away from him only, and he ran into me, jumped at me,
18 kicked me in the chest, and I fell on the ground. While I was on the
19 ground, others had joined him. He was not on his own. He did not enter
20 the hall on his own. There were five or six of them, I think, who entered
21 the hall, and they all started beating me with whatever they had in their
22 hands. They had bats. They had rifle butts. They were kicking me with
23 their feet, and they had these heavy boots on their feet. So they were
24 hitting me, kicking me. That's when they started, that is.
25 Q. And as they were beating you as you've described, or even after,
1 did they give any explanation for this treatment?
2 A. Well, first they asked who Salem Cerenic was, or in actual fact
3 they called out my name, and it seemed to me that later they called me
4 Kiseljacanin, as in man from Kiseljak. They had received some kind of
5 information that I was on the front, around Kiseljak, as a member of the
6 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And again, all of this was accompanied with
7 cursing of my balija mother, Turkish mother, how come they hadn't killed
8 me there, and things like that.
9 Q. And how long did this beating last for?
10 A. The first one?
11 Q. Yes, this beating that you're talking about now.
12 A. Yes. Well, it went on for almost an hour, because the seven of
13 them were taking turns, actually. So they would bounce me from one to the
14 other. I don't know. And then if one of them would get tired then the
15 other one would take over, and it went on that way for almost an hour.
16 On that occasion they kicked out two of my teeth. They broke my ribs
17 and ...
18 Q. Did you sustain any other injuries apart from broken teeth, broken
20 A. Well, yes. There were visible injuries on my face. I had
21 haematoma on my face. I was black and blue. You can imagine what it
22 looks like if a man is beaten by six or seven other men with I don't know
23 what. I already told you bats, rifle butts, hands, legs, not to go into
24 all of that again.
25 Q. Please remember that the Judges don't know any of this now.
1 You're addressing them and you're telling the story to them. I know you
2 and I have talked about this before, but the Judges haven't heard your
3 story before.
4 Did you -- while they were beating you, did you receive any blows
5 to the head?
6 A. Blows to the head? Of course. And X-rays established afterwards
7 that -- now, I can't remember how doctors called this. My skull was
8 fractured in a few places, and I'm suffering from the effects of that to
9 this day. I have terrible headaches, and also my cervical spine has been
10 in bad shape to this day.
11 Q. Well, immediately after the beating, do you remember were you
13 A. Well, I cannot say with any degree of certainty as to how
14 conscious I was, but I think that I remember, well if I can put it that
15 way, that I crawled on all fours to the place where it was that I was
16 supposed to be sitting. This beating took place in the hall, and I
17 crawled on all fours or perhaps a colleague helped me to get back to the
19 Q. And can you tell us, were you the only one singled out to be
20 beaten on this first day?
21 A. Well, I've already mentioned Ibro Likic who was lying right in the
22 middle of the hall all black and blue, visibly beaten up. They were
23 calling out peoples names. There were three or four men who were
24 Albanians and who were called out. They said, "The Siptars should come
25 out." And I saw that they were beaten up indeed. And this man called
1 Adanalic who still lives in Vares, of course, and then I and Ibro Likic,
2 and then you could hear the beating. I mean, you could hear beatings in
3 addition to the ones I've already mentioned.
4 Q. Did you know any of the persons carrying out these beatings?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Were you offered any kind of medical assistance after the beatings
7 for the injuries that you sustained, or did you ask for any medical
9 A. I didn't get anything as for medical assistance.
10 Q. How long were you kept in the gym, in high school? How many days
11 were you kept in it?
12 A. I personally? I personally was there for five or is six days, I
13 think. I personally and a group of other people. And then they carried
14 out some kind of selection. I don't know. Say, they singled out about
15 half of the military-aged men to the hall of the Vladimir Nazor school in
16 Vares. And in this gym the people who stayed behind were very old and
17 sickly, whereas we military-aged men were transferred to Vladimir Nazor.
18 That's what the school was called then, I mean.
19 Q. Can you tell us approximately how many men went to the second
20 school, the Nazor school, and how many people were left behind in the
21 original high school?
22 A. Well, more than half of us were taken or transferred to this
23 elementary school. If you want to talk in terms it of numbers, perhaps
24 160 or 170 of us were transferred to the elementary school and the rest
25 stayed at the secondary school in the hall there.
1 Q. Before we move to the secondary -- the second school that you're
2 talking about to where you were moved after five to six days, can you
3 just briefly tell us during the five to six days you were kept in the
4 high school the conditions that were existing in the high school, can you
5 tell us if you received food? Did you have water? Did you have water to
6 wash, to drink? Did you have water to wash? Did you have toilet
8 A. None of that. We had none of that. We had -- well, if I can put
9 it this way: If they were in a good mood they would let us leave for
10 about 10 seconds to relieve ourselves. As for food, I think that the
11 first day or two, people coming from the municipal Red Cross would bring
12 us food, but then they did away with that as well. We lay on gym mats.
13 You know what gym mats are? How could I explain this? Those are things
14 that you have in a gym. I don't know if I can explain that. So not
15 everybody was lucky enough to be lying on a gym mat. Some had to lie and
16 sleep on the floor, the parquet floor, that is.
17 Q. This was October, mid-October. What were the weather conditions
18 like inside the hall? I mean, was it cold, warm?
19 A. Vares is cold, a cold town generally speaking even in the month of
20 August, and in October it was cold indeed.
21 Q. So turning now the to second school to where you were brought.
22 Can you tell us what happened to you when you were there? First of all,
23 can you tell us were you beaten in this school?
24 A. Yes. Yes, they beat us there too. I have to say with a lesser
25 intensity, if I can put it that way. Not as often as over there. If I
1 were beaten, say, five or six times, if I went through this torture five
2 or six times out there, then here it was two or three times a day. So
3 they reduced it bit.
4 Q. And how long were you kept in this second school?
5 A. In the second school, I don't know exactly how much time we spent
6 there, because we were actually taken to two or three different locations
7 within that school, within the building itself. We were at two or three
8 different locations or, rather, we were hidden in two or three different
10 Q. And can you tell us why you were hidden? What was the purpose of
11 your being hidden in these two or three different locations?
12 A. Well, we talked about it amongst ourselves, and it seemed to us
13 that the main reason was that we should not be seen. The International
14 Red Cross came to register the camp inmates, and since we were - how
15 should I put this? - group of 25 or 27 men, and we were beaten up very
16 visibly, so they were hiding us so that the representatives of the
17 International Red Cross would not see us. Also, they said that it was
18 UNPROFOR that was coming there at the time, that they were coming to see
19 the inmates.
20 Q. And this group of people who were beating up, you said it was
21 quite visible. Can you tell us what age group of men this was? Were they
22 the same age as you or older, younger?
23 A. Well, at any rate all of us were military-aged men, say from 20 to
24 35 up to 40.
25 Q. And you told us about being beaten in the second location again.
1 Not as severely as you had been -- or as frequent as you had been in the
2 previous -- in the first location. Did you sustain any additional
3 injuries in this second location from these beatings?
4 A. They only made things worse. They only made the injuries that I
5 had already sustained even worse. I told you that I had many broken ribs
6 and teeth knocked out and fractured bones perhaps. So -- well, we in
7 Bosnia would say that I was like a broken wickerware basket.
8 Q. And I asked you about the first school, the conditions, and asked
9 you to describe them. Can you tell us were the living conditions in the
10 second location where you were kept any better? Can you describe the
11 conditions there? Were you given food, water? Did you have facilities --
12 toilet facilities? Did you have bedding to sleep on? This is the second
13 location, the Nazor school.
14 A. No, nothing. The conditions hadn't changed over there either.
15 Q. Well, did you receive any food at any stage during the period you
16 were held there?
17 A. I cannot remember.
18 Q. And how about the toilet facilities? Were you permitted to go to
19 the bathroom?
20 A. I personally do not remember ever having gone out. As for this
21 school Vladimir Nazor, as for myself and this group of 27 men that I've
22 already referred to, and I've already mentioned that we were taking
23 them -- taking us here or there, from one place to another, I don't
24 remember going to the toilet. I don't remember receiving anything.
25 Q. How about bedding -- were you provided with mattresses there and
2 A. No way. No, no, no. No. What mattresses? Come on. We didn't
3 even have any blankets.
4 Q. So how long in all did you spend in this second school?
5 A. The elementary school, in the gym there? I think I spent two days
6 there. And then from that hall they rushed us out with a lot of swearing
7 to the third floor of that school. They took us to a classroom up there.
8 I cannot remember now how much time I spent there. I know I spent one
9 night there. I'm sure about that, but I'm not sure whether I spent two
10 nights there.
11 And then as for this classroom that we were in, well, you know
12 what a classroom looks like in a school? There is desks and chairs, and
13 we spent the night there. And that is how we spent our time there. And
14 then they rushed us out of there. All of this was done in a great hurry.
15 They took us to the heating room of this same elementary school,
16 and then -- now, I can't remember exactly how much time we spent there,
17 how much time we spent in the heating room, but from the heating room we
18 were taken out of some back door, taken out of that school, and that is
19 when we got out.
20 The Catholic church is right next door to the school, so -- how
21 should I put this? - we were right in the church yard. And actually, they
22 were herding us to the school, or to the church. And then there were
23 these vehicles there and --
24 Q. Do you remember the date on which this occurred that you were
25 herded out of the elementary school into the church premises?
1 A. The date? I cannot remember. Well, let me try to do my math and
2 give you an approximation. If I spent five or six days at the school and
3 then -- then another two days in the elementary school, and then -- well,
4 if you put all of it together it's about ten days, nine days or ten days.
5 Q. Nine days in custody -- in detention before you were moved to the
6 church premises?
7 A. We were not located in the church. That's just the route we
8 took. We were brought to the entrance into the church. We were in the
9 church yard, and there were two vehicles, a small TAM truck and a kombi, I
10 think, and then they herded us onto these vehicles, and then from there
11 they transferred us to a third or fourth or fifth location, whatever.
12 Q. Did this occur during the daytime or at night-time?
13 A. Night-time. It happened at night-time.
14 Q. And this -- this third location to where you were taken, can you
15 tell us where this was, what it was?
16 A. They took us in those vehicles to Majdan. Of course we didn't
17 know where we were until we actually get there. Vares-Majdan is a suburb
18 of the town of Vares. It is three kilometres away from Vares. They
19 brought us to a building. We were in front of this old building. Before
20 it was called the so-called old industrial school, and in the basement of
21 that school, well, that's where we were put up. And what was prepared
22 there was kind of prison -- or, rather, there were these rooms or should I
23 call them cells.
24 Q. And in total how many of you were in put in these rooms or
1 A. Well, there were this group that had been taken out to the third
2 floor. There were between 25 and 27 of us. 27, I think, would be more
4 Q. Were there any other prisoners in this third location when you
5 arrived there?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Were there any guards in the building when you arrived?
8 A. Yes. Yes.
9 Q. Did you know any of them?
10 A. The military police were there. I did know some of the guards.
11 They were members of the HVO of the Vares brigade Bobovac, and I think
12 that I saw some members of their military police.
13 Q. And what happened while you were kept there?
14 A. As I was saying, we were in these two cells. We were divided into
15 these two cells. Half were in one and half were in the other. And from
16 there we were taken out to dig trenches. Some people were. Well, most
17 people were -- or, rather, I never went to dig trenches.
18 Q. Were you beaten while you were in this third location?
19 A. Not there. That's where the local people were, if I can put it
20 that way, the local members of the HVO.
21 Q. While you were there did you have any visitors?
22 A. Do you mean acquaintances, friends, family members?
23 Q. Well, let me put it this way: What -- during the period you were
24 held in this facility did anybody come in and speak to you or did anybody
25 come in and visit you? I don't mean acquaintances or friends.
1 A. As for friends and acquaintances and family members, they didn't
2 let any of them come. As a matter of fact, they didn't even know where it
3 was that we were. I remember on one occasion soldiers came, and they wore
4 caps, and they had Chetnik cockades on their caps. So there were Chetniks
5 there. They would come there -- rather, they came once.
6 Q. And did they speak to you when they came?
7 A. Well, yes. One of them, as a matter of fact, said something very
8 taunting or insulting or inhumane. I don't know how to put it. He told
9 us that Stupni Do had been levelled to the ground. I can't remember the
10 exact word he used, but he did mention that Stupni Do had been destroyed
11 and the population killed.
12 Q. At this time, which was October 1993, do you know if there was
13 any cooperation between the Serbs and the Bosnian Croats in the conflict
14 with -- between ABiH and the Muslims?
15 A. Well, specifically in the Vares area the cooperation between the
16 Croatian Defence Council and the Serb territories -- well, the Croats --
17 or, rather, Vares was surrounded on all sides. On the one side by Serb
18 forces, on the other side by the BH army forces. Now, how they came by
19 this agreement, well, they had their corridor whereby they were able to
20 pass through Serb territory and go down to Croatia. Convoys, they had
21 convoys to bring in food and so on and everything that was necessary for
22 the life of the population in a town.
23 Q. So how long did you spend in this third location?
24 A. Three or four days, I believe.
25 Q. And what happened after three to four days?
1 A. I know that this cell of ours was right by the road. The wall was
2 right by the wall -- the road, and we had a barred window. We weren't
3 able to see through it very well, through the window, but we heard
4 Croatian soldiers with megaphones, with loudspeakers, going out and
5 appealing to the Croatian population to evacuate from the lower part of
6 Vares, called Vares-Majdan, to Vares, and then from Vares through Serb
7 territories that I mentioned a moment ago onwards to Kiseljak.
8 Q. Were you released from this detention centre?
9 A. No, no. We managed to escape on our own. We broke down the door
10 and fled.
11 Q. And after fleeing, where did you go?
12 A. When we broke through the entrance door and broke out through the
13 cell, at the entrance door itself there was an iron door there. We found
14 a key there, but all the HVO guards had escaped and gone to see what was
15 happening to their families. We found the key and managed to go out onto
16 the road, and at one point we saw UNPROFOR, an APC belonging to UNPROFOR,
17 and we waved to them and gesticulated and used sign language, and they
18 took us in. And they called in two or three other APCs, and they
19 transported us to Vares that way.
20 Q. And was this the end of your ordeal in detention?
21 A. When I reached the Vladimir Nazor elementary school in Vares, I
22 came across the population from Vares there. There were some people
23 there, and the school was guarded by UNPROFOR soldiers and I felt very
24 safe there.
25 Q. Now, were you able to return to your regular duties with your ABiH
1 unit immediately after securing your release?
2 A. No, no. I couldn't do that, and I mentioned a moment ago that I
3 was so badly beaten up, with so many fractures that I spent several
4 months undergoing treatment, and afterwards I didn't return. And they
5 helped me out and offered me a job, and in fact it's the job that I still
6 do today.
7 Q. And was this treatment arranged through the ABiH?
8 A. Could you repeat that question, please?
9 Q. The treatment that you got for your injuries, was that arranged
10 through the ABiH or did you arrange it independently?
11 A. It was in the local health centre in Vares. That's where I was
12 treated by a doctor.
13 MR. FLYNN: I wonder with the assistance of the usher if the
14 witness could be shown the booklet of exhibits.
15 Q. And Mr. Cerenic, I'd like you to turn to the first exhibit number,
16 06042. And it's in English and in Bosnian. You'll need to turn about
17 eight to nine pages until you come to the Bosnian.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, do we need to spend
20 time on showing this document, because the document -- well, we cannot
21 speak of the authenticity of the document. It hasn't got a stamp or a
22 signature or a number or when it was compiled or who it was compiled by or
23 anything like that, and also the medical documents attached to the
24 document, at least in certain parts of it, not in all of it, but we can't
25 see that there were any injuries that could be linked to the torture the
1 witness allegedly suffered, because one of them just speaks about an eye
2 examination, no trauma. In another case, again there's a borderline
3 syndrome mentioned which according to my modest knowledge has nothing to
4 do with that. It's a psychological state that could have existed
5 earlier. But anyway, my objection is raised on the fact that it would be
6 difficult to ascertain the authenticity of the document. It hasn't got
7 the elements necessary for being admitted into evidence. It hasn't got
8 any of the different elements.
9 I don't mind setting aside the medical documents from -- of this
10 witness. He can say if he recognises them, that's fine, but as to the
11 rest, no.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Flynn, I think you're going
13 to answer this. Could you reply to the objections -- to the objection.
14 MR. FLYNN: Very briefly, Your Honours. I do appreciate that --
15 that there are no -- that there are no signatures on some of the
16 documents, but if I can direct Your Honours to the Bosnian documents at
17 the start of the Bosnian package. You will see that there appear to be
18 photocopies of stamps.
19 The document, I can tell you, for what it's worth at this stage,
20 the document was presented to us by the Bosnian authorities, and I was
21 merely going to ask the witness some short questions to see whether or not
22 the findings of the various specialists mentioned in the medical reports
23 were consistent with the injuries that he had described to us.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I shall turn to my colleagues
25 and ask them what they think about it.
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as I said, I don't
2 object to the witness dealing with the medical documents where his name is
3 mentioned, but now I'm talking about the technical aspect. These
4 documents were offered along with one other document as a part of that
5 document, and we don't know anything about that basic first document, who,
6 when, how, or anything like that. So if the Prosecution wishes to use the
7 medical documents referring to this witness, because there are others that
8 don't have anything to do with the witness, they can go ahead. We don't
9 object to that. And quite obviously the witness can say, "Yes. I went to
10 see doctor that day and that is what it says." But he can't claim that or
11 state anything about the other witnesses, and he cannot address the
12 document itself, nor can anybody confirm what the document in fact is,
13 because on page 2 we can see an index, the contents of the document. So
14 it is obviously a part of something else, a part of some other document,
15 but we have no way of checking that out. So that's an unknown quantity.
16 And then on page 3 we see a description of the event but we don't see who,
17 when, what or anything like that. And then page 4 we see that this is an
18 attachment, these medical documents are an attachment. So we can deal
19 with the attachment through this witness and as far as he is concern, but
20 not as far as anybody else is concerned.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Flynn, on looking at the
22 document, the first page is a three-line summary. The second page is a
23 table of contents, description of events, medical documentation, 19 pages,
24 a Red Cross identification, 37 pages, statements of detained person, 418
25 pages. I don't have the 37 pages relating to the identification process,
1 and I don't know where this document comings from. Could you shed some
2 light on this for us, please?
3 MR. FLYNN: All I am in a position to do think stage, Your Honour,
4 and this was one of the documents that I would be presenting obviously as
5 an exhibit, all I am in a position to do is to say that this document was
6 obtained by the Office of the Prosecutor from the Bosnian authorities some
7 years back. You will see from examining the document that it appears to
8 contain copies of receipts and various diagnoses --
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
10 MR. FLYNN: -- and certificates, and of course it has to be
11 taken -- obviously the panel will have to assess its value. Perhaps I
12 could turn to the first relevant document.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Trial Chamber
14 has deliberated and feels that you are entitled to continue putting your
15 questions, and we shall assess the medical data. We wish you to focus on
16 the medical data because there are stamps and names and signatures here.
17 Without this adversely effecting the work of the Prosecution, the Bench
18 feels that your questions should focus on the medical data, with all due
19 respect for the work you're doing.
20 MR. FLYNN: And that was my intent, Your Honour, and I hope I
21 won't be too long with this continuing aspect of it.
22 Q. Mr. Cerenic, there's a lot of documents in this. If I could draw
23 to your attention on the B/C/S version. At the bottom of the page you
24 will see a long number starting 0031. If you could turn to 00315983, and
25 it's page 6 on the English version.
1 You told us that while you were in custody or while you were in
2 detention on this first day that you were struck in the chest by this HVO
3 soldier and that you sustained other injuries. Now, we have before us
4 what appears to be a medical document making reference to a diagnosis for
5 a contusion to the head. Status, cause, contusium capitus. Did you have
6 injuries at the time to your head? And did you receive treatment from
7 doctors after you were released from detention for these injuries?
8 A. Well, I said that I was hit all over. Now, as far as the head is
9 concerned, that's true, and that's what I stated in what I said, that I
10 had fractures on my head. That's what I said.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] With the Court's permission I have
12 to use some time, but I have to say that this document does not have much
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic. Mr. Kovacic, you
15 know that what you say is of great interest to me. Let me get back to
16 what happened last week. Everything occurred because you objected to the
17 fact that the Prosecution was putting questions or the way the Prosecution
18 was putting questions, and therefore the Trial Chamber had to intervene.
19 We have already told you that you may raise objections. You may put your
20 questions as part of the cross-examination. During the cross-examination
21 you can turn to the -- to the witness and say, This document has no stamp,
22 no signature, what do you feel about it? And then otherwise the
23 Prosecutor will tell us that we are hindering their work. If you raise
24 objections all the time to what the Prosecution is saying we will find
25 ourselves in the same position as last week.
1 The Bench has understood. We can see these documents -- well, the
2 first page we don't know where it comes from. Also I realise and I can
3 tell you now that undoubtedly some of the documents have undoubtedly been
4 photocopied one on top of each other, the 315984. These are photocopies.
5 Trust the Bench. We are perfectly capable of establishing the distinction
6 here. I know whether the document is reliable or not, and you can trust
7 me. That is for sure. I have all the time in the world. We can spend
8 hours at this if you so wish, but is this in the interest of all the
9 parties concerned?
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would agree as whole, but starting
11 out from this struggle for time, I don't think there's any sense in losing
12 time over a document that you probably will not admit into evidence
13 tomorrow and then perhaps one of the parties will object, and then this
14 will need greater time to solve the issue. But I just want to take the
15 example of this document, and I won't go into the other medical documents.
16 Based on this document and the date, it seems to have been
17 compiled on the 15th of May, 1994. So that would be seven months later.
18 Now, in the diagnosis we can see "post-contusion capo capitus." We all
19 know that much Latin and we know what post-contusio capitus means. So
20 from the witness statement these -- that's what he was suffering from, but
21 contusio capitus, we all know that much forensic medicine. You can see
22 that 10, 15, 20 days or a month after the injury, but seven months later
23 there are no visible medical traces of contusio capitus, and then the
24 physician goes on to say that the person suffered trauma. Yes, I do
25 believe he did, but you can't see this from this piece of paper, this
1 medical document, so it is just my proposal to save a minute or two,
2 although I've spent five now, but to save future time because this is
3 senseless. There is to sense to it.
4 MR. FLYNN: I haven't been wasting the time. I was merely going
5 to show the documents and it'd be a matter for the court to assess them
6 afterwards, and if you have an objection you can file a written objection,
7 and more power to you.
8 Q. So I was asking you, did you sustain injuries to your head?
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. And did you obtain treatment for those injuries?
11 A. Well, not adequate treatment. I did undergo examinations, but as
12 to adequate treatment, not really, because I'm still -- well, I haven't
13 got the money for the proper kind of treatment that I would need. I can't
14 do that even today.
15 As to my headaches, well, I have headaches and backaches and neck
17 Q. And if you look at the next document and the one after that, this
18 makes reference to bruising to the chest. Did you sustain bruising to
19 your chest, and did you receive medical treatment for that?
20 A. Well, yes. That related to what I've already mentioned, the
21 fractures, fractured ribs and things like that.
22 Q. That's all I wanted to ask you in that respect.
23 Now --
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Are you leaving these -- these documents,
25 Mr. Flynn?
1 MR. FLYNN: I just wanted to go to one last one, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Yes.
3 MR. FLYNN:
4 Q. The document that we discussed initially, the one about the head,
5 my colleague was suggesting that this was in 1994. When did you actually
6 take treatment for that?
7 A. Would you repeat that question, please?
8 Q. When did you actually take treatment for the bruising to your
9 head? What period of time?
10 A. Well, as soon as I left. Well, not literally as soon as I left,
11 but a couple of days later when the medical centre in Vares began
12 functioning properly. I was supposed to go there and have some
13 examinations in Zenica as well, because in Vares they didn't have the
14 necessary equipment at the medical centre. But as I said a moment ago, I
15 still haven't completed my treatment with respect to my head and cervical
17 Q. And the documents which we have now before us show that -- the
18 dates and the certificates certainly on the English version show that the
19 doctors looked at you and gave their opinions on -- inter alia between the
20 15th of December, 1994, and the 19th of January 1994. Would this be
21 correct? Did you go to see the doctors during this period?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. When did you manage to go back to work?
24 A. I didn't go back to the BH army for health reasons, as I said.
25 Now, I can't quite remember when I began in 1994, but I did begin working
1 in 1994, and the lady president of the War Presidency in Vares
2 municipality persuaded me to start working, and I started working as an
3 economist in Vares municipality.
4 MR. FLYNN: I don't have any more questions in relation to those.
5 Perhaps before I move on to the next thing, Your Honour has something to
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. I would like to ask you, Witness,
8 have you seen any of these medical documents before? Yes.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. They're my documents.
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: You have obtained them personally?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right, personally.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
13 MR. FLYNN:
14 Q. And --
15 A. If I need to say this, I can tell you that I have the originals at
16 home. I have them stored at home, all of these.
17 Q. Just as a follow --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Flynn, I do my
19 job as a Judge here, but document 315983 - and I favour neither party -
20 this document, I believe, is the document which concerns him. I do my job
21 in all impartiality.
22 I see that in the B/C/S version, I see a stamp which is half
23 hidden. So an average Judge or a specialist will ask himself or herself
24 whether this document is not a photocopy of two documents. Do you
25 understand my point? I see this document, and I ask myself the question,
1 and I can put the question to the witness.
2 Witness, did you follow what I just said? Are you quite sure that
3 this is a document --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I explain that? I'm sure that
5 it is one document, and I can explain how this came about or how you
6 happen to see this on two or three pieces of paper where you can see two
7 stamps. Do you wish me to explain.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, yes, please. That's
9 a question we have.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As you can see, this -- these are
11 smaller pieces of paper, and I put these little pieces of paper on one
12 copy when I photocopied it. I put several of them on the photocopy
13 machine so that I could copy them at the same time.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the truth of it, the whole
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Is it -- is it correct, Witness, that the
18 document underneath is the document here on page 00315980? Because if one
19 looks at what one sees at the bottom for the other documents, it always
20 seems to be exactly what one sees on the document of the ophthalmologist,
21 the doctor that examined your eyesight.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's precisely what I wanted
23 to tell you. If you see if you look at the bottom they're the findings
24 that come before the other documents, and they're the same ones --
25 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Thank you.
1 MR. FLYNN:
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Flynn.
3 MR. FLYNN: I beg your pardon. Just as a follow on to
4 Your Honours' questions:
5 Q. Do you remember whom you gave these documents to initially? Did
6 you hand these documents over to the OTP, or did you hand them over to
7 investigators from the BiH authorities? Do you remember? Did you hand
8 the documents to anybody in authority?
9 A. I think I gave them to the OTP. Already photocopied, that is.
10 Q. And you had performed the photocopies; is that correct?
11 A. I think I handed over the photocopy.
12 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Murphy.
14 MR. MURPHY: -- to the extent it matters, and I don't know whether
15 it does, if Your Honours are concerned with this, clearly it would be
16 possible, from what the witness says, to have the original documents
17 produced. I do notice some interest back on pages 54 and 55 of the
18 transcript where Mr. Kovacic raised a point about the authenticity of the
19 accompanying documents. Mr. Flynn represented that these documents, or
20 that one, had been obtained from the Bosnian authorities, but now it now
21 appears that it may have been obtained directly from the witness. So
22 perhaps that can be clarified. And if the witness has the originals, it
23 may be perhaps possible to have them faxed or -- so we can get to the
24 bottom of the problem.
25 MR. FLYNN: I will undertake to -- to clarify it as much as I can
1 for Your Honours. Our case manager tells me that the records at this
2 point in time suggest that the document was obtained in 1995 from the BiH
3 Ministry of Interior through the state security services in Visoko. It
4 was in a file of events relating to Vares, dated the 23rd of October,
6 I can't tell you any more, though, other than that at this point
7 in time. I'll try and clarify it further for you.
8 Q. Mr. Cerenic, just moving on, following your -- your ordeal in
9 detention, did you form -- with others, did you form an association of
10 ex-prisoners, of people who had been held in the detention centres?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And were you an official of that association?
13 A. From the very inception, well I was the president of the
15 Q. And can you tell Your Honours what -- very briefly what the
16 purpose of the association, forming the association was for?
17 A. Well, the situation in Bosnia was such that as for organised
18 groups, associations of citizens and things like that, attempts are made,
19 well, to help people who got out of the war as invalids, veterans, then
20 there are associations of camp inmates. An effort is made to help them
21 exercise their rights, like the right to health insurance, medical
23 Q. Did you compile a list of those persons who had been held in the
24 detention centres in Vares starting on the 23rd of October, 1993, up to
25 the release that you described?
1 A. Yes, we did. Yes.
2 Q. And what criteria did you use to compile that list? Did you refer
3 to official documentation?
4 A. The documentation that is required to prove that a person was a
5 camp inmate are cards issued by the International Red Cross that are
6 received on the spot. So that was one of the criteria for proving that
7 somebody was a camp inmate.
8 Q. Now, I'd ask you to turn to Exhibit 08850, and if you go to the
9 last page. This appears to be a list of names compiled by the
10 Association of Detainees from Vares, and on the last page there is a stamp
11 and a signature. Do you recognise that signature on the B/C/S version?
12 A. Yes, that's my signature. Yes, that's my signature.
13 Q. And this list of names, there is a total of 249 names on it. Is
14 this correct? Were there 249 people held in detention in Vares during the
15 period which I referred?
16 A. The figure is actual little bigger than that.
17 Q. And for each of those persons that are on this list, did you have
18 a corresponding ICRC document?
19 A. I don't think that everyone had a document like that.
20 Q. How accurate is the list therefore?
21 A. The list is 100 per cent accurate.
22 Q. Now, during the course of your evidence you told about being
23 beaten, and you told about other people being beaten. Can I ask you to
24 turn to Exhibit - I'll just get the number - 6180. Do you have it? This
25 is a report dated the 28th of October, 1993.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Issued by the Medical Corps of the HVO, of the Croatian Defence
3 Council, and it's signed by Dr. Drazen Grgic. Did you know who -- do you
4 know -- did you know Dr. Drazen Grgic?
5 A. Grbic.
6 Q. Did you know Dr. Drazen Grgic?
7 A. I did.
8 Q. Was he a medical officer assigned to the Croatian Defence Council
9 in Vares?
10 A. Probably, because I saw him in uniform with HVO insignia.
11 Q. And did you see him -- did you see him in any of -- sorry, Mr.
12 Kovacic is on his feet.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that we have a
14 mistake in the transcript, or my colleague misspoke. I'm not sure. On
15 page 67, line 1, it says that the 28th of October is the date of this
16 document. However, the date I see on the document itself is the 27th. So
17 let's prevent any problems in terms of identification later on.
18 MR. FLYNN: I was looking at the -- the -- and I see it on the
19 Bosnian version too. 28th of the 10th, 1993, a daily report from the
20 Bobovac Brigade for the 27th and the 28th of October, 1993.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I'm afraid that we're not talking
22 about the same document then if we are talking about 6180, and that is the
23 one that appears on the transcript, too, 6180, that is a document issued
24 on the 27th of October. That's what it says on the top of the page. And
25 in the first line of the text, it says that it's a daily report of the
1 Medical Corps of the Bobovac Brigade for the day of the 26th of October.
2 So that is the identification of the document as such.
3 MR. FLYNN: You're perfectly correct, and my apologies. I was
4 looking at the next document, which is --
5 Q. So in this -- in this Exhibit 6180, you have a letter from the
6 Medical Corps Bobovac Brigade dated the 27th of October, 1993, and if you
7 look at the last sentence, it says: "There are 25 -- there are 251 Muslim
8 civilians under supervision in two schools of which 27 sick and elderly
9 people will be released today," and it's signed by Dr. Drazen Grgic. I
10 think you've confirmed that he was the medical officer. Did you see him
11 in either the high school or the elementary school at any stage while you
12 were held there?
13 A. I remember while we were at the Ivan Goran Kovacic secondary
14 school, I remember that once he came in, in order to help us, those of us
15 who were there. I don't know, to give us pills and dress our wounds. And
16 then the HVO soldiers literally kicked him out of the room. I cannot
17 remember his exact -- their exact words, but they were saying things
18 like, "He's treating the balijas," or something like that.
19 Q. And so Dr. Grgic would have been in a position to have seen the
20 number of people in the schools; correct?
21 A. Well, yes. Yes, he had been in a position to do that, yes.
22 Q. And I think that the numbers you gave us originally exceeded 251.
23 So when Dr. Grgic talks about 251 Muslim civilians, this is more or less
24 in line with the numbers you were talking about?
25 A. Yes. There were several of us.
1 Q. And would Dr. Grgic have been in a position to observe that people
2 held there were beaten?
3 A. Yes. Well, a few minutes ago I said that he came with that
4 intention, to help us. I'm talking about medical examinations, helping us
5 that way.
6 Q. So if you turn to the next exhibit, two -- 6201 --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Flynn, you're not referring
8 to this document any more, 6180; right? You've finished with that
10 MR. FLYNN: No. I now turn to 6201.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now, I'd like to
12 draw your attention that when I compare the B/C/S version and the English
13 version, since there seem to be a lot of translation problems here, we
14 have to be very careful if the document is admitted. When I look at the
15 it English version it indicates there were no report on Croatian civilians
16 who were wounded and that the commander of the brigade informed the
17 Medical Corps that there were 25 members of the MOS, Muslim armed forces,
18 and then there's a dash and says 20 civilians who were killed in the
19 battle of Stupni Do, whereas in the B/C/S version the text it says the
20 word "I," - I - appears. And so my question is this, and I'd like to ask
21 you this as well, Mr. Flynn. These 25 members of the MOS and 20
22 civilians, which would make it 45 persons killed. I'm not sure I
23 understand the text as it stands.
24 MR. FLYNN: Well, I'm not in a position to help you on that
25 aspect, Your Honour, because this document is not produced with reference
1 to this specific section of the document. The document is being produced
2 purely by reference to the last sentence which -- which confirms that
3 there were Muslim civilians under supervision in two schools. So I didn't
4 examine the issue of --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, very well, but there,
6 Mr. Scott -- no, Mr. Scott. I was thinking of Mr. Scott, but I mean
7 Mr. Flynn. You just said that your question was based on the last
8 sentence, but when we, the Judges, have to deliberate in a number or in
9 the coming years, I don't know what -- we're going to take a look at the
10 document, which might be admitted, I don't know yet at this stage, makes
11 mention before the 251 Muslim civilians that there were 25 members of the
12 MOS and 20 civilians who were killed. So that's where my question's
13 coming from.
14 MR. FLYNN: But my point is this, Your Honour, and it goes to what
15 Mr. -- Mr. Scott was saying today, there are some questions we know we
16 don't ask because we know the witness can't answer it. The witness wasn't
17 asked to deal with this issue, because we know that he's not in a position
18 to deal -- to do so.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
20 MR. FLYNN: I can only address the last part of the document.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. So that is quite
22 precise. But what I'm saying is that, if we don't -- nobody comes back
23 to that later on at a later stage, neither you or the Defence, the Judges,
24 when they come to deliberate, are going to look at the document and they
25 could reach certain conclusions on the basis of that. So that's what I
1 want you to understand.
2 MR. FLYNN: And it could well be the case that there may be
3 another witness that will come before Your Honours at some stage during
4 this crime base that will be able to address that issue, but certainly not
5 this witness.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 MR. FLYNN: I know that it's time for a break, but I'm almost
8 finished. I don't know whether you wish me to continue or whether you ...
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just finish your question and
10 we'll have the break afterwards.
11 MR. FLYNN:
12 Q. So I was asking you if you would move on to the next document,
13 6201. And you told us that Dr. Grgic would have been in a position to see
14 detainees had been beaten --
15 MR. MURPHY: Well, Your Honour, the witness did not really say
16 that. He clearly cannot say what Dr. Grgic saw, and it's not an
17 appropriate use of this document to try and prove it by those means. May
18 we just point out how right Your Honour was in his separate opinion the
19 other day to say that the Prosecution should call these witnesses in the
20 right order, in which case these problems would not arise.
21 MR. FLYNN: I'm going to ask the witness the question anyway.
22 Q. Mr. Cerenic, can you tell the panel whether or not Dr. Grgic was
23 in a position when he came into the hall to see whether or not the
24 prisoners had been beaten?
25 MR. MURPHY: Well, Your Honour, I don't know how he can answer
1 that. I don't mind him asking whether he saw Dr. Grgic examining
2 prisoners or looking around him and he can describe what the doctor would
3 have seen if he was there at the same time, but how can he possibly as
4 what conclusion Dr. Grgic should have drawn from that, which is exactly
5 what he is trying to do.
6 MR. FLYNN: My response to that was the witness's evidence was he
7 was beaten. There were a number of other people beaten. When he came in,
8 he saw somebody beaten without it being drawn to his attention, and it's
9 quite simple. Either he -- either the doctor, because of the conditions
10 that prevailed in the hall, the doctor may have been in a position to see
11 that there were people beaten. He may not have been in a position to
12 see. I don't know. Perhaps we should let the witness answer the
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes, he could see. As a
15 matter of fact, he tried to do something to some of them in medical
16 terms. I don't know what it was; perhaps he wiped off the blood off
17 their faces. And he went through the entire hall. He saw all of us. He
18 could see us quite well. Of course he could see that people had been
19 beaten up, of course. And he helped some of them, as I already mentioned,
20 a few of them.
21 MR. FLYNN:
22 Q. So if you look at paragraph 4 of the letter of -- the gentleman is
23 talking about 27 October 1993, Dr. Grgic says on the second sentence of
24 paragraph 4: "Those detained have access to medical care and are allowed
25 visits by UNPROFOR members unlike -- and unlike before, they are no longer
2 Does this correspond to what you've just told us, that he would
3 have been in a position to see that prisoners had been beaten?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Flynn, it looks as if you were done with this
7 MR. FLYNN: I am.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Could I then add a question?
9 Witness, can you confirm or deny that after the 28th of the -- of
10 October, the prisoners were no longer beaten? That's what the doctor
11 states in the document.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Whether they beat the ones in the
13 hall of the elementary school or secondary school, I don't know that. I
14 already told you that I was at this third location. I was at Majdan. I
15 think I was then at Majdan. It's already been mentioned.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
17 MR. FLYNN: I don't think I have any further questions for the
18 witness, Your Honours. I'm sure Your Honours may have some questions, but
19 I don't have any further questions at this point in time.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. Thank
21 you, Mr. Flynn.
22 We shall have a break now, it's 25 to, and resume in 20 minutes'
24 --- Recess taken at 5.33 p.m.
25 --- Upon resuming at 5.55 p.m.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed. We have
2 one hour and five minutes ahead of us.
3 Mr. Flynn. MR. FLYNN: Just before you start with the
4 cross-examination, Your Honours, I wonder, could Your Honours give me
5 direction on the next witness. As you know, we had another witness
6 scheduled for today, but given the lateness of the day, I'm interested to
7 know whether your -- it will be Your Honours' intention. Perhaps my
8 colleagues on the Defence could give you some indication whether they have
9 many questions.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, that would depend on the
11 Defence teams, if their Defence has no questions to put. I don't know.
12 We said that Defence counsel would have an hour and a half, so that would
13 be 15 minutes for each Defence counsel. As far as I'm concerned, I can't
14 tell you. This will depend on Defence counsel and the accused.
15 Mr. Karnavas.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Good afternoon, Mr. President and Your Honours.
17 We'd like to thank the gentleman for coming here to give his evidence. We
18 have no questions for him.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Mr. Murphy.
21 MR. MURPHY: We don't have any questions, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Ibrisimovic.
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that we
24 were the first to be asked and we give our time to Mr. Praljak.
25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. Praljak asked to
1 put a few questions to this witness.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic also?
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that about 15
5 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] I actually tried to signal
6 that we have some questions, but not more than 10 minutes.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So we shall begin.
8 Who would like to start first?
9 My colleagues are telling me that we won't have enough time, so I
10 think it's better to ask the second witness to come tomorrow. Very well.
11 MR. FLYNN: Thank you. We'll do that, Your Honour.
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Good afternoon,
13 Your Honours.
14 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Witness. I will have a few
16 questions for you, so could you please tell me what you know, and what
17 you don't know, just say that you don't know about it. I'm not going to
18 deal with the bad things that happened to you. I don't really want to do
19 that. I don't want to put salt into the wound, as it were, but we are
20 going to deal with other matters.
21 You said that Vares was surrounded by forces of the army of
22 Republika Srpska on one side. You said Chetniks, but let's say the forces
23 of Republika Srpska. And on the other side, the 2nd and 3rd Corps. Is
24 that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you. Is it correct --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, please put the
3 microphone in front of you.
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation]
5 Q. You said that the HVO in Vares had some kind of agreement so that
6 the convoy with food and other supplies would go through the area
7 controlled by the army of Republika Srpska so that people could live there
8 and have enough food.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know that this same corridor was used for the passage of
11 the convoys that then went to Tuzla, for instance, via Vares?
12 A. I don't know about that.
13 Q. Oh, you don't know about that. But you know that Tuzla was a big
14 area with lots of people and that they had to eat something.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you know of any other way in which convoys reached Tuzla?
17 A. I don't.
18 Q. You don't. Do you know that the population, the Croatian
19 population from Kakanj left Kakanj or was, rather, expelled from Kakanj in
20 June 1993?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Tell me, do you know who did that, who told them, "Go"?
23 A. In their view it was done by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 Q. Do you know that more specifically this was done by the forces of
25 the 3rd Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
1 A. Since Kakanj was within the then 3rd Corps, I guess that's the way
2 it was.
3 Q. All right. Tell me, you're a metalworker by training.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In Vares -- well, Vares was a type of industrial centre, a
6 smallish one, but a significant segment of the labour force was there.
7 A. That was one of the biggest mining towns in the former
9 Q. But what kind?
10 A. Well, yes. Sorry, let me just say this: We exploited iron ore,
11 whereas they had coal mines.
12 Q. All right. At the same time in Kakanj and in the surrounding
13 villages there was a Muslim population?
14 A. In Kakanj.
15 Q. No, sorry, Vares.
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. And there was a relatively decent number of Serbs? Isn't that
19 A. Yes. Can I just add something to this?
20 Q. Of course you can.
21 A. There were Serbs, some Serbs, and then they packed up and left
22 Vares. So in this period that is essential to all of this, there were
23 very few in Vares. That is to say in 1993.
24 Q. The year of 1993 is a long time.
25 A. Well, October 1993.
1 Q. But up until October there were Serbs there?
2 A. Well, then I have to say something. When the HVO forces attacked
3 the Serb villages, Planinica and Slavin, now, when was this in what month,
4 I can't remember exactly, I just know it was before the month of October.
5 And I think that it was in summertime.
6 Q. So at that time the HVO was still fighting against the army of
7 Republika Srpska?
8 A. Well, you know what? It wasn't actually fighting. It's not
9 fighting like fighting that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Well, I'm
10 telling you now about what I heard. The HVO asked for the disarmament of
11 these two villages, and since they refused to do that then they attacked
13 Q. All right. At any rate, a military action to secure the rear area
14 of the Serb villages. Can we put it that way?
15 A. I'm not very competent to speak in strategic terms, whether that
16 is the rear area or whatever. I just know that there was fighting, that
17 there were casualties, that there were people wounded, killed. I don't
18 know about the reasons.
19 Q. Well, so it's exactly the way I put it. There was fighting. But
20 then let us go on. So these colleagues of yours, or parts that are called
21 people who live in Bosnia, and your colleagues, workers from Kakanj, when
22 they came, when they were expelled, as we say, what about the Bosnian
23 Muslims and you personally? Did anybody go and see these people, talk to
24 them, help them, try to explain what it was that happened, pacify them?
25 There were thousands coming; right?
1 A. Yes, there were lots of them coming. I think that the figure was
2 about 15.000 or so.
3 Q. Well, here comes a question. Do you remember that any of the SDA
4 leaders, the Presidency that was in this village then, went to these
5 people and said, "People, we're not the ones to be blamed for this"? Did
6 they talk to them? Do you remember any such thing?
7 A. I cannot really answer that with any degree of certitude. I don't
8 know about that.
9 Q. That's fine. Thank you. And do you know, for instance, that
10 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, who was the commander of all the forces of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that he issued some kind of order to all his forces
12 saying, "What you did is impermissible, and you are going to return all
13 the expelled people from Kakanj to their homes"? Are you aware of any
14 such order?
15 A. No.
16 Q. All right. Do you know in this area that was under the control of
17 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- well, this is my question: At one point
18 in time you went to this village, the name of which is -- just a minute,
19 please. Davrani --
20 A. Dabravine.
21 Q. Dabravine. You went there, and at one moment you got a bit of
22 rest and you went to Vares before all of these things that happened; is
23 that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you know of any person from Kakanj going from Vares to Kakanj
1 and asking for permission to cut some firewood there to provide heating
2 for his family and things like that?
3 A. Well, I don't know about any such thing but they probably didn't
4 want to do that. They probably didn't want to go. Because you have to
5 take into account the fact that there were quite a few Croats, Catholics,
6 in the municipality of Kakanj who stayed behind, who didn't go anywhere.
7 Q. Well, what is this figure, if you know?
8 A. I don't know, but I just know that there were quite a few of
10 Q. Were they under the protection of the United Nations force there
11 or were they free to move about Kakanj as they pleased?
12 A. I think I would take up a lot of your time if I were to tell you
13 by way of an answer all the things that I heard and all the things that I
14 saw in terms of the Croatian population in Kakanj.
15 Q. All right. What about people from Vares, Croats, either those who
16 came from Kakanj or from Vares? Could they freely go to Zenica or Tuzla,
17 for instance, to the free territory that was held by the two still regular
18 armies of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO,
19 that is?
20 A. Sorry, could you please repeat that question?
21 Q. Well, Vares is full of people from Kakanj and is surrounded by
22 people from the army of Republika Srpska and in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Tuzla
23 and Zenica are under the control of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 A. Right.
25 Q. Do you know that these people in the free territory it of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina could freely go from Vares to Tuzla for medical
2 treatment, to visit -- I'm talking about Croats, that is, to Tuzla or
3 Zenica. Could they go freely?
4 A. Well, they could go to Zenica because there was a hospital there,
5 the cantonal hospital, and Croats and Bosniaks and Serbs went there for
6 medical treatment. I mentioned a while ago that Vares, for instance --
7 well, as far as medical services are concerned there aren't really that
8 many. I don't know really about this medical terminology so I cannot
9 express myself, but I think there is only electrocardiograms and X-rays.
10 If they needed anything else they had to go to Zenica. Well, Tuzla is
11 pretty far away from Vares. I don't know. I think it's over a hundred
12 kilometres. I think it's over a hundred kilometres.
13 Q. All right. Tell me, please, do you know at the time all this was
14 happening in Vares how many Croats were left in Zenica, and if there were
15 few of them, where did they end up, those who had to leave Zenica?
16 A. To tell you the truth I don't know, but I know as a member the
17 army I heard from an elderly neighbour of mine who had some relatives in
18 Zenica that he sent them things from Vares to Zenica or, rather, that I
19 took things to these relatives of his. I don't know, like a sack of
20 flour, oil, things like that. It's not that this Croat did dare not leave
21 Vares, but simply that he was an elderly man and that's why. So that's
22 the answer. There were more Croats who lived there in Zenica.
23 Q. So you don't know the number of persons who remained or those who
24 were expelled?
25 A. No, I don't. You mean who was expelled from Zenica?
1 Q. Yes?
2 A. I don't know. As a matter of fact, I don't know whether anybody
3 was expelled at all.
4 Q. Fine. Now, tell me this, please: In your statement here you said
5 that on the 21st or 22nd of October, 1993, 200 Ustasha soldiers turned up,
6 Apostolis and so on. You used the word "Ustasha," right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So tell me, what are the Ustashas?
9 A. Well the term "Ustasha" is a term known from World War II and
10 before, and I think that individual people in Vares felt this as
11 something -- well, they liked being called Ustashas.
12 Q. Yes. I don't question that.
13 A. But you know that at the time in Bosnia they were divided into
14 balija, Ustashas, and Chetniks, the people, based on the ethnic
15 composition, ethnic structure.
16 Q. I know that certain people did use those terms, those expressions,
17 but I don't know whether that should have been the case, whether those
18 terms should have been used, but what I am asking you is the following:
19 The Ustashas were an army of a regime in Croatia which together was linked
20 to Germany, Nazi Germany, and they were convicted of crimes, and Ustashas
21 were part of the army of that regime. You know that, don't you?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, do you know the percentage of the armed forces of Croatia
24 from World War II belonged to the Ustashas and to the Home Guards, the
25 Domobrani or regular army?
1 A. I don't know that.
2 Q. Do you know how many Muslims in World War II were in the Ustasha
3 units, members of the Ustasha units?
4 A. I don't know that either. I can't tell you what the percentage is
5 or the number is.
6 Q. All right. You never heard about the famous Handzar Division?
7 A. Yes, I heard about that.
8 Q. It was an Ustasha division or, rather, a division that belonged
9 to the Wehrmacht, the SS troops, that was predominantly composed of
11 A. As I said, I have heard of the Handzar Division, yes.
12 Q. All right. Fine. You went on to say the following, that the
13 Croats took over the power and authority in Vares and, in a way, replaced
14 the really elected authorities that moved to this village called
15 Dabravine. Is that what you said?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, in this legally elected government of the first democratic
18 elections there was the had HDZ, the SDA, the communists or reformed
19 communists, and the SDP and the Reformist Party of Ante Markovic. Were
20 those the main parties in Vares?
21 A. Yes, I think that's right. There were all these parties, yes.
22 Q. Now, when you went to Dabravine, was anybody in that legal
23 authority, as you call it, from the SDB which was composed mostly of Serbs
24 and partially of Croats as well? Can you remember a name from that
25 legally elected authority in the first elections in the SDP and the
1 Reformists with a Serb or Croat in that authority in Dabravine?
2 A. I say with full responsibility that there were Croats in Dabravine
3 as well, and in the War Presidency of the time in Vares municipality as
4 well. For example, I'll give you a name. There was Kreso Romic, and in
5 the War Presidency -- that was in the War Presidency under military
6 structures too. Perhaps I'll omit to say somebody, but I know there was
7 Kreso Romic, I know there was Ljudevit Mijatovic. There was Kreso Romic.
8 Q. Yes. Kreso Romic you've said twice.
9 A. I apologise if I said Kreso Romic twice. I know he was in the
10 army so I tried looking at the civilian structure first but I think I gave
11 three names. But there were more as regular soldiers, ordinary soldiers,
12 and the legally elected government, authority for the entire population of
13 Vares. It was the legal authority elected at the democratic elections
14 with the proviso that at first I think those who won -- are you interested
15 in that?
16 Q. Well, I know about that and I'll ask you my questions. Now, in
17 the first democratic elections the SDP secured 26 or 7 seats - a witness
18 told us that - of a possible number of 50 seats. Now, how many of those
19 26 SDPs were legally elected whether in this legal -- in this legal
20 authority or government in Dabravine?
21 A. I can't tell you that.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, tell me the following: When Vares, under the
23 attacks of the 2nd and 3rd Corps when the Croats moved out, and when the
24 authorities returned, you said, from Dabravine you're talking about a war
25 Presidency. Now, who appointed the War Presidency?
1 A. The War Presidency. Well, at the time I wasn't abreast of
2 political trends, but who could have appointed the War Presidency at the
4 Q. Why don't you say, I don't know?
5 A. All right, I don't know.
6 Q. Now, tell me the following: Wouldn't it be logical once the
7 authorities returned to Vares and it wasn't -- no longer the illegal
8 government but the legal government, the legal authorities, and that
9 people should have been returned from the results of the election of the
10 1990s who were legally elect. So those same people, to have them
11 returned, without any need for a War Presidency at all, because the War
12 Presidency means somebody imposing power.
13 A. No. All the Presidencies, the municipal Presidencies were
14 referred to and called War Presidencies in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 Q. All right. That's on the Bosniak side. Now, in that War
16 Presidency did you have the same composition of people who were elected at
17 the first democratic elections in Vares? That's what I'm asking you
18 about. If you don't know, say so.
19 A. Could you repeat that question, please?
20 Q. In the War Presidency, did you have the same people sitting in the
21 War Presidency as were elected at the first democratic elections in Vares,
22 the 13 HDZ members, 20 others, and so on, that kind of structure?
23 A. I don't know that.
24 Q. Right. You don't know. Now, do you know that in -- the expulsion
25 of Croats from Kakanj, that the Mujahedin took part, too, who were in
1 Zenica at the time?
2 A. I don't know about that.
3 Q. Do you know anything at all about the number of Muslims who on the
4 territory of Zenica existed -- well, the number of Mujahedin, I mean. Did
5 you hear anything about the Mujahedin? Did you know anything about them,
6 how many of them there were, the way in which they waged war?
7 A. No, I knew nothing about that.
8 Q. Right, nothing. Tell me the following, please: After you went
9 through all these terrible times, and I don't want to say anything nice
10 about those terrible calvaries, that you had to experience, but when you
11 went back to Vares with the UNPROFOR vehicles, did you come across Croats
12 who had been there beforehand?
13 A. Yes, in the elementary school there were Croats and Bosniak
14 Muslims who found refuge or asked for refuge and shelter from the -- who
15 asked the UNPROFOR forces for that. There were Croats and Bosniaks.
16 Q. So can we say most of the Croats left Vares?
17 A. Well, that would take time. Well, yes, most people did, most of
18 them did leave Vares.
19 Q. Now, these Muslims who sought shelter in this elementary school,
20 what were they seeking shelter from, and safety from, since the BH army
21 was already there? What were they afraid of? Were they afraid of parts
22 of the BH army forces who did what they did in an uncontrolled manner in
23 Vares? Can we put it that way?
24 A. Well, I wouldn't put it that way. It was a very special moment.
25 You didn't know who was there, whether there were HVO soldiers or
1 whoever. The Bosniaks fled without knowing that the entire Croatian
2 population was evacuated from town and that with them all their army units
3 had left as well. And if I tell you the following fact, that the Croats
4 forcibly expelled the Croatian population from Vares to evacuate even
5 those who did not wish to leave Vares.
6 Q. All right. Now, on the 23rd, in the morning, you were arrested in
7 a very unseemly way and taken to the school.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you said for nine or ten days you were incarcerated there in
10 different places, actually; is that correct? That's what you said, I
12 A. No. If I remember what I said, the Prosecutor asked me how long
13 I'd spent in the schools, the three schools, and then I said I spent six
14 days or five or six days in the secondary school called Ivan Goran
15 Kovacic, and that I spent two days in the elementary school in Vares on
16 the third floor, and that then they hid us after that and that we spent in
17 Majdan in the mines -- well, I don't know how long, but 14 or 15 days all
18 together. That's the time I was incarcerated for.
19 Q. Now, tell me, when you were in detention, when you were
20 incarcerated during that time and some HVO members were mistreating you
21 and beating you even five times a day, how did you come to learn that the
22 HVO soldiers forcibly expelled Croats from Vares municipality, forced them
23 out of Vares municipality?
24 A. A moment ago I mentioned that while we were in Majdan, in the
25 mine - this was prior to the evacuation of the Croatian population from
1 Majdan - that the HVO vehicles were passing by and that an HVO soldier
2 used a megaphone to appeal to the population to evacuate.
3 Q. They can -- they said that the defence lines had been broken and
4 that there was no more protection. So that's why they appealed to them to
5 evacuate. So that's all you could have heard.
6 Now, did you ever hear or see any forcible evacuation of the
7 population? And when I say forcible, when one says forcible, one means
8 with rifles. Did you ever witness that?
9 A. No. I wasn't at a place where I could see that, but we heard all
10 about it.
11 Q. Well, we all heard lots of things after the war, and that's the
12 general principle. One hears terrible things after a war. But tell me
13 the following: You were shown two documents here. One was from the
14 doctor. What was his name? One was dated the 27th, and the other was
15 dated the 28th.
16 Now, if, as you say, you were in these three different schools
17 before you went to Majdan, if you were there for nine days, and a moment
18 ago you said that you did not see what the doctor could have done, et
19 cetera, but is it correct that on the 27th and the 28th of October, 1993,
20 you were in a school, an elementary -- a secondary school and saw the
21 doctor arrive?
22 A. I was in the secondary school and saw the doctor arrive, yes.
23 Q. And as a member of the HVO, the Medical Corps of the HVO, he went
24 there to help the people, to tend to their wounds and so on?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And then some HVO members kicked them with their legs, with their
2 feet, and threw him out; is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Tell me the following: When the people of Kakanj arrived in
5 Vares, and nobody called them back, nobody issued orders to the forces
6 that had expelled them to have them returned, with this War Presidency
7 which was established in Vares, did it happen that the entire -- the whole
8 of the War Presidency or part of the War Presidency, did they go and say,
9 the Croats of Vares -- "You Croats of Vares, come back, return from
10 Kiseljak to Vares. We guarantee your safety and security. We guarantee
11 that we will take care of you. We guarantee that you can move around
12 liberated territory"? Did that happen?
13 A. Well, I did hear a document was sent to Kiseljak, but you couldn't
14 go to Kiseljak for security reasons. However, I did hear that a document
15 was sent to the War Presidency -- or from the War Presidency appealing to
16 the Croatian population to return to Vares. And I think that at the
17 beginning of 1994 people began returning -- the Croats began returning of
18 their own free will to Vares.
19 Q. Now tell me the following --
20 A. I don't think; I'm quite sure, actually.
21 Q. All right. Now, tell me the following: Are you aware that
22 anybody from the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency issued orders to the
23 commanders of the 2nd and 3rd Corps that they should form some elite
24 units, send them to Vares, send representatives from these units and the
25 civilian authorities to the Croats to say, Come back. We guarantee your
1 safety now? Was that possible? Was that possible at all in your
3 A. I don't think I understood you. I do apologise, but I wasn't
4 following. Could you repeat that question?
5 Q. Yes of course. We have some more time. I can do that. Now, do
6 you know -- you were working, attached to the War Presidency.
7 A. No, I wasn't.
8 Q. Very well. But anyway, from the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency did
9 anybody issue orders to the army, to the commanders of the 2nd and 3rd
10 Corps to form certain units, send them into that area, and then tell the
11 civilian authorities, "Go and call the people, appeal to the people who
12 left this area to return because we guarantee their safety and security on
13 the free territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina"? If you're not aware of that,
14 then you don't know.
15 A. I don't know. I'm not aware of it.
16 Q. Right. Now, tell me this: Do you know that whether to the
17 Bosniaks in Vares the people of Kakanj, the Croats from Vares and the Serb
18 inhabitants that were there, whether they from any part of the then
19 authority in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Presidency, for
20 instance, of Tuzla, Zenica, whatever, whether they received any material
21 resources at all, fuel, weapons, firewood, food, anything like that,
23 A. I don't know about that. I don't know.
24 Q. Right. You don't know. Now, do you know, when you returned --
25 JUDGE PRANDLER: I'm sorry to interrupt you. I would only like to
1 ask you how many more minutes would you like to take because of the other
2 counsels as well. So let us -- because we now have 30 minutes left.
3 Thank you.
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. That was
5 my last question, actually. I wanted to round off the questioning.
6 Q. Now, if these people in Vares gathered together in that way, were
7 not able to leave freely to Zenica or Tuzla unless under some special
8 agreement with the Serbs, they didn't receive flour or oil or anything
9 like that, were they a sort of -- how shall I put it mildly? Was this a
10 sort of closed camp, a closed environment which depended on some convoys
11 coming in from Croatia and passing through Serb territory, in your
13 A. Well, I think that a place like that, in an encirclement without
14 having any resources coming in, probably [as interpreted].
15 Q. My last question is this: When you yourself returned to Vares,
16 when you returned to Vares, you found the BH army in Vares. Do you know
17 that the BH army, when it entered Vares, looted, set fire to the place?
18 Did you see this on television, on any TV footage, or did you see it with
19 your own eyes when you entered Vares? Did you see what Vares looked like
20 after the BH army had entered? Give us a frank answer.
21 A. That's what I want to tell you. I didn't go in after the army,
22 but UNPROFOR broke -- brought us in when the town was empty of both
23 armies, the HVO and the BH army. That's when we were brought there. And
24 they took us to the elementary school, and we spent the night there or
25 however much time, and I went home after that because my wife had already
1 been evacuated by UNPROFOR to the UNPROFOR base. She returned -- or,
2 rather, she had her key and she was able to unlock our front door. And
3 later on, to answer your question whether I saw anything, I did not
4 because I spent several months being -- I was very ill for several months,
5 and I would just go to the health centre for treatment from my house in a
6 car. I didn't move around town.
7 Q. But Vares is a small town --
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Praljak, would you tell the Chamber how many
9 last questions you intend to ask? Because you had before an answer it was
10 the last one.
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, yes. I just wanted
12 to clarify this, what can be seen from the car when you go through a
13 small town and what the situation was, especially since all of this was
14 shown on television too. I wanted to ask him what he knew about what this
15 town looked like after the liberation army of Bosnia-Herzegovina entered
17 Q. Do you know anything about this?
18 A. Well, what I saw was that there was a building that had been
19 torched by the HVO soldiers when they were leaving, and also I saw where
20 the military police was, the HVO military police. At that place where
21 they were, the windows were broken.
22 Q. I just have to ask you one more thing. How did you see the HVO
23 torch that building?
24 A. Because that was -- well, I don't know. I say that -- in that
25 evacuation of the population it was set ablaze while the soldiers of the
1 HVO were still in town.
2 Q. A moment ago you said that you entered town when the HVO was no
3 longer in town. Thank you very much. No further questions for you.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Alaburic.
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I will have just a few very simple
8 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Can you first tell us whether you handed over all
10 your medical documentation to the Office of the Prosecutor?
11 A. To tell you the truth, I don't know, but all the medical
12 documentation from that period. Well, perhaps not all of it, but I have
13 all the originals at home.
14 Q. I'm asking you this because if I saw this medical documentation
15 well in the exhibit that was shown to you by my colleague from the
16 Prosecution, it is obvious that the 31st of December, 1993, is the date of
17 the first document, and now you told us that as soon as you came to Vares,
18 that is to say on the 30th -- or, rather, on the 3rd of November, 1993,
19 you went to see a doctor. So I was wondering how come there were no
20 medical documents for these roughly one month and 20 days or so. Can you
21 explain that?
22 A. Well, I don't know how to explain this to you as simply as
23 possible. I went to the health centre, but -- how should I put this? - I
24 didn't get any findings or any major findings. Or I couldn't conduct any
25 big-time tests there. First I went there and I just got some
1 pain-killers, pills for, I don't know, headaches for the most part, and
2 mostly for my ribcage. I mentioned already that I had fractured ribs, and
3 they used some kind of medical bandages for treating that.
4 Q. The first document, your first document, actually, is a
5 prescription for eye-glasses; is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Tell us, Witness, why did you use the words "Ustasha" as in
8 Chetniks when you talked about members of the HVO and members of the army
9 of Republika Srpska?
10 A. Well, I've already mentioned that once. That's terminology that
11 was used for the three peoples.
12 Q. What about the word "balija"? Is that something that is equal
13 categorisation for the Muslim people too?
14 A. Well, that's what they called us.
15 Q. You've said to us that you testified before the cantonal court in
16 Zenica about what happened in Stupni Do. Can you just tell it us what
17 trial this was, against who?
18 A. As for Stupni Do, I did not take part in that on account of what
19 was going on in Stupni Do. Actually, these were proceedings against
20 Dominik Iljasevic, Como.
21 Q. Tell it us, was it quite customary for members of the army of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, all the way up to September 1993, come home to get
23 only rest, to spend a few days in Vares, and then return to their
24 respective units?
25 A. Well, yes. Yes, it was it.
1 Q. Tell me, did you come to Vares in your military uniform or in
2 civilian clothes?
3 A. No, in civilian clothes. Would you like to hear why it was that
4 people came?
5 Q. Perhaps later if we have enough time. You told us that Vares is a
6 small town, as you had put it.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Tell me, the inhabitants of Vares, did they know that you were a
9 member of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina? I assumed that that was no
10 secret. Was it?
11 A. Well, most people knew.
12 Q. Tell us, the unit that you blocked to, you told us that this was
13 the platoon attached to headquarters. Was this an independent platoon or
14 was this a platoon within a larger military unit?
15 A. It was the platoon attached to the headquarters or to the War
16 Presidency of the municipality of Vares.
17 Q. Tell me, the command of your platoon, was it aware of the plans
18 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in terms of Vares and the surrounding
20 A. I don't know about that.
21 Q. What about you personally? Did you have any knowledge about the
22 plans of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina to take Vares?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Tell us, in September 1993, when you came to Vares, was it
25 approximately the end of the month, mid-September?
1 A. I think it was the beginning of the month, the beginning of
3 Q. When you say that you got a 30-day furlough; right?
4 A. Yes, a month.
5 Q. Tell me, how was it that you were in Vares in -- on the 23rd of
6 October? That's about 20 days longer than that.
7 A. Well, you see, I asked subsequently for some additional leave,
8 because I had not prepared firewood. I explained that a few moments ago.
9 I had to do this by hand so that I could provide for my family so that
10 they would have something for the winter by way of firewood.
11 Q. Tell me, as you lived in Vares did you hear that there, before the
12 20th of October, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had taken some Croatian
13 villages in the surrounding area of Vares?
14 A. No.
15 Q. What about the village of Kopljari? You didn't hear of that
16 village falling into the hands of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
17 A. I'm telling you again that I was preoccupied with this work that I
18 came to do so that I could go back to my job properly.
19 Q. You spent all your time in the woods cutting firewood?
20 A. Well, yes, most of the time. If you do it by hand it takes a long
22 Q. Yes. We all know how this is done.
23 A. Yes. And the forest is pretty far away from my home.
24 Q. On the 23rd of October, you say that that's the day when you were
25 brought into custody, tell me, were all the detainees men? All the
1 persons brought into custody, were they men?
2 A. I think so.
3 Q. Tell me, were they military-aged men?
4 A. All ages.
5 Q. Military-aged men or not?
6 A. There were all ages there. Military age, older ones, and then
7 also younger boys of, say, 17 to 18, up to some kind of grandfathers,
8 people who were about 70.
9 Q. You know full well that military-aged men are boys age 16 or even
10 15 according to regulations of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
11 A. I don't know what it was at that time.
12 Q. Tell me, at that time among the members -- among the people who
13 were there, in addition to yourself, were there any other members of the
14 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
15 A. Well, yes.
16 Q. Can you tell me how many?
17 A. I don't know exactly.
18 Q. Would it correspond to the group that you mentioned that was
19 singled out specifically?
20 A. No, no. There were perhaps a total of three or four of us, not
21 more than that.
22 Q. All right. You said to us today that you were not released but
23 that you escaped.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. From Majdan.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell us about this in greater detail, how it is that you
3 managed to escape? And, with your permission, before that I would like to
4 remind you of part of your statement, and I will tell you what the date
5 was. The 7th of April, 1994, given to the centre for the investigation of
6 war crimes. You then said in terms of how you left, you said the
7 following: "A night before the army entered Vares --" that's the very end
8 of the document that I'm quoting from. "The night before entering Vares,
9 we had no guards so we were wondering how to escape. Around 9.00 the
10 guards came and asked us what we needed. They gave us buckets to relieve
11 ourselves, and water, but we were not given any food in that prison.
12 Seeing the movements of Croats from Vares, we knew that our people would
13 enter town soon.
14 "The next morning we called the guards, but no one responded to
15 us, and one of us always kept guard by the door to see whether anybody
16 would come up and free us. After a while a truck was heard near the
17 prison. We thought that it was the HVO army, and we were getting ready to
18 defend ourselves. However, Kreso Pejcinovic came and told us that he was
19 going to see Ivica Gavran to see what to do with us. However, if he would
20 not come soon that we should run wherever we could."
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note we did not have the document.
22 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Witness, what I read out to you, does it actually correspond to
24 what happened before you left the facility where you were?
25 A. Yes. Do you want me to explain how this happened?
1 Q. No, no, no. No details. You gave a very similar statement later
2 on as well. There is no need for me now to elaborate, I think.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Flynn.
4 MR. FLYNN: I apologise for -- for intervening. I think it would
5 be only fair if Ms. Alaburic would read the next sentence to complete the
6 paragraph, and the entire matter would fall into context.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. You're quite right,
8 Mr. Flynn. It is always good to understand a sentence against a backdrop
9 of the general context.
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. So the next sentence is: "An hour later, Meho Trklja broke the
12 door. We went into the hall, and we let the others go till we went to the
13 UN, and they transferred us to Vares to a safe place."
14 I don't think that what follows changes the sense of what I read
15 earlier on in any way. My intention was not to skip these two lines that
16 are usually read.
17 Q. So, Witness, does this correspond to what happened as you were
18 leaving the facility where you were detained?
19 A. Yes, because the HVO soldiers that were guarding us left having
20 told us that they would leave us on our own for a few hours to see what
21 was going on with their families. So that is how we had no guards, and
22 that's how all of this happen.
23 Q. Just one more question --
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Ms. Alaburic, would you be kind enough and tell
25 the Chamber from which document you have been quoting.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] This is a statement that we got
2 from the OTP, a statement by this witness to the Centre for Investigating
3 War Crimes on the 7th of April, 1994. This document was not exhibited by
4 the Prosecutor, but I assume, Your Honours, that you have received all of
5 the statements made by this witness just as we have. I can read the ERN
6 number, too, if you wish. There is yet another statement --
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The exhibit number would be of use. I see
8 Mr. Kovacic shaking his head. We do not have it, just for your
10 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Trechsel, I've
11 just said the Prosecutor did not exhibit this document.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] If I may be of assistance to my
14 colleague. Your Honours, of course we don't know what it is that you
15 received or not, but in previous situations it seems that you always
16 received these statements made by the witnesses involved to the Prosecutor
17 and also statements given to the Centre for the Investigation of War
18 Crimes, if any. So far this seems to be the case. We apologise. Of
19 course, we don't know what the OTP gives to you and what they give to us.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I do apologise --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The fact is sometimes we have no
22 statement at all. Sometimes we have a statement given to the
23 investigators to the OTP. Sometimes we have more, but this time we have
24 just one. I'm not blaming anybody. I just want you to know. But I also
25 wonder whether you should not leave the floor to Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic who
1 wanted, I think, 15 minutes. I don't know. Maybe you have direct contact
2 between the two of you to make sure that no one gets frustrated by the end
3 of the day.
4 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Oh, absolutely. Well, my colleague
5 tells me that she won't need more than five minutes. I simply have one
6 more question left, and I've cut my questions as short as possible.
7 Q. Witness, in your statement to the OTP you spoke about the changed
8 atmosphere in Vares itself in September 1993 when you came for that 30-day
9 leave. Can you tell us what this change in atmosphere was, since you
10 haven't spoken about this until now?
11 A. Well, the attitude of the Croats from Vares - well, not all of
12 them - had changed, at least among some of them. I repeat yet again,
13 Vares is a small town. We all knew each other, and, as we say, people who
14 were my friends until only yesterday no longer wanted to look at me. I
15 don't know for what reason, but they simply didn't want to and --
16 Q. Sorry. I need to put questions to you. This change of
17 atmosphere, did it have anything to do with the arrival of 15.000
18 inhabitants of Kakanj in Vares?
19 A. Probably. The people from Kakanj were angry at the Bosniaks and
20 the people of Vares.
21 Q. I'm going to remind you of your own statement. Paragraph 4, for
22 those who want to check. You say that it was hard to get into town
23 because about 15.000 Bosnian Croat refugees from Kakanj had some to Vares,
24 that they were angry with the Bosnian Muslim inhabitants of Vares since
25 they blamed the Bosnian Muslims and the ABiH for having been expelled from
1 their homes.
2 Is that correct what I read out just now from your statement?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you still think so?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tell me, these 15.000 Croats from Kakanj, where were they put up?
7 Were any of them staying at the school?
8 A. That's why they were angry at the Vares Croats, because they had
9 to be put up there. Again I'm saying it's a large number of people who
10 came in Vares. They were put up the elementary schools and -- well, in
11 the building of the elementary school and the secondary school. I don't
12 know what the name is of this particular facility now where there are some
13 rooms sort of, and that is where they were put up. That is where there
14 were some makeshift toilets above the river and things like that.
15 Q. Tell me, please, were they schools and facilities in which you
16 were put into, you and the Muslims of military-able age who were
17 incarcerated on 23rd of October, 1993?
18 A. Yes, that's right. They were two schools, the two Vares schools,
19 but we were put in into the halls of the elementary school and secondary
20 school, and they were placed in the classrooms that had already been
21 adapted. Well, not adapted, but they had already been rearranged to take
22 in these refugees. There were blankets there and mattresses and so on.
23 Q. And if we can use the word you inherited what was there?
24 A. No. No. We in the hall didn't find anything there. There was
25 nothing in the hall when we arrived. You know these gym mats -- do you
1 know what a gym mat is?
2 Q. Yes, I do know what a gym mat is.
3 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] My time is up unfortunately so I
4 have to stop and give my colleague a chance?
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ms. Alaburic.
6 Cross-examination by Ms. Tomasegovic Tomic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] I'm on my feet as quickly as possible and my
8 question follows on something you said from the direct examination, and
9 then Judge Trechsel asked you something linked to that, and I think that
10 once you answer my question you will have in part answered Judge
11 Trechsel's question and what he had in mind when he asked, and as well as
12 Mr. Praljak's question.
13 Now, we heard today that on the 27th and 28th you saw that
14 Dr. Grgic or, rather, you didn't know what his name was at the time, but
15 you saw that on the basis of the document later on, that he was in the
16 hall, in the school hall, and that he was giving medical assistance there
17 and that he was even attacked physically; is that correct? Is that what
18 you said?
19 A. The second part is correct but I didn't say nor do I claim now
20 that was on the 27th or the 28th or any date. I didn't mention any date
21 when I saw Dr. -- Drazen in the hall. I didn't mention any date nor did I
22 know what the date was.
23 Q. But you did see his arrival in the hall and the events that took
24 place there.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Then you said you were transferred to Majdan; is that correct?
2 A. From the is secondary school we were transferred to the elementary
3 school and from the elementary school to Majdan.
4 Q. And then you were guarded in Majdan by guards who were soldiers
5 and military police belonging to the Bobovac Brigade.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You said that they didn't physically abuse you in Majdan or beat
9 A. That's right.
10 Q. May we now take a look at a document together? You can look at it
11 on your screen it is 5D 02017, the number of the document. You'll get a
12 hard copy as well. You already have the hard copy, I believe. And it is
13 a document dated the 28th of October, 1993, from the brigade commander,
14 the Bobovac Brigade, Kresimir Bozic, sent to the military police of the
15 HVO, and judging by what we saw of the documents today it would be on the
16 second day of Dr. Grgic's visit.
17 Now, may we have a look at the first sentence of this document,
18 and it said: "I prohibit the application of repressive measures, and
19 especially physical abuse and mistreatment of persons temporarily placed
20 in isolation in the area of responsibility of the HVO Bobovac Brigade."
21 Now, according to my calculations you came to Majdan after the
22 28th of October. If you were arrested on the 23rd, you spent five or six
23 days then?
24 A. Probably we were at Majdan if I can do the sums properly.
25 Q. According to my calculations from this document it would emerge
1 that in Majdan, this act prohibiting physical mistreatment was put into
2 effect. Is that right? We've already said that, actually. Just give me
3 a yes or no answer.
4 A. Well, probably it did apply.
5 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
6 I have no further questions.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Flynn, do have
8 any re-examination in the few minutes we left?
9 MR. FLYNN: I had just one question. I don't know if the witness
10 can answer it.
11 Re-examination by Mr. Flynn:
12 Q. Mr. Cerenic, Mr. Praljak asked you in the course of his
13 examination something about the Croatian population leaving Vares and you
14 said the Croatian population was expelled and that those who did not wish
15 to leave Vares even had to leave. They were forced out by their own
16 people. You didn't see this, but you heard about it. Can you tell us who
17 you heard about it from?
18 A. To be quite honest I can't remember the name of the person but
19 he's there to the present day, and it's a story going round Vares and the
20 Croats said so, too, when they came to Kiseljak as refugees that they were
21 called "the balijas of Vares. We should have killed you, too, in Vares."
22 So that was the story told to the present day in Vares, the rumour going
23 round. But I can't recall who it was I heard it from first.
24 MR. FLYNN: Okay. I don't have any further questions,
25 Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, I thank you for having come
2 to testify about the events that took place in your country. I wish you a
3 safe journey home. I shall ask the usher to escort you out of the
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm now turning to Mr. Mundis to
8 ask him what has been planned for tomorrow. We are running late, because
9 I understand there was a witness waiting today. I don't know, can we
10 catch up on lost time, Mr. Mundis?
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm certain we'll do
12 everything we can to catch up. I'm meeting with members of the team
13 tomorrow morning to see what further cuts can be made in order to get us
14 through the remaining six witnesses that are scheduled. We will start
15 tomorrow morning with the witness previously scheduled for this afternoon,
16 so we will go in the same chronological order set as set forth on the
17 calendar but we will be taking a look to see where time can be saved, if
18 at all possible.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. If the witness is
20 not a protected witness could you give thinks name, the one you intend to
21 call tomorrow?
22 MR. MUNDIS: I believe that protective measures either have been
23 sought or will be sought with regard to the next witness.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We shall reconvene
25 tomorrow. We will be sitting in the afternoon this morning -- this week,
1 and we shall meet again tomorrow at a quarter past 2.00, which will give
2 me enough time to read through the transcripts.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
4 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 20th day
5 of September, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.