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Celebici trial: Further witness testimonies

Tribunal Update 24: Last Week in The Hague (April 14-19, 1997)
By IWPR ICTY

Delic's US lawyer, Tom Moran, confronted the witness with "discrepancies" between the statement she gave on February 20, 1996 to a representative of the Office of the Prosecutor in which she said that she was raped on multiple occasions and her statement before the Tribunal in which she said she was raped "only" three times.

Antic replied that when she gave her first statement, she was "in a state of shock," that she was re-experiencing those events at the camp, and that she had bottled up her emotional sufferings for almost four years before finally accepting to speak to the Tribunal investigators in February 1996.

After Tom Moran insisted that Antic confirm that she was not raped "on multiple occasions," Judge Odio-Benito interrupted Delic's lawyer and asked him, in an angry tone, what he considered to be "multiple", when talking about rape? She even clarified her question by asking the defence counsel how many times must a rape occur to be "multiple"? Moran answered: "At least two times." After that, he no longer insisted on the "discrepancies".

After the cross examination of Antic, the prosecution called its 12th witness, who gave evidence as "Witness N" to conceal his identity. Witness N is a young man from the mixed Serb-Croat village of Viniste near Konjic. he was taken to the camp with two other people from the village on May 23, 1992. he said that he was unarmed and not a member of any defence group.

The day after he arrived in the camp, "N" was interrogated and beaten around the head with a cable and after he fell down, was kicked in the head and kidneys. Two of his teeth were knocked out and his jaw was cracked. For several days he could not open his mouth to eat.

The witness also gave a detailed description of other incidents and inhumane treatment of other detainees. A particularly drastic incident took place on July 15, 1992. On that day, says Witness N, the accused Esad Landzo, took him out of the hangar where he was detained, put a gas mask on his face, took him behind the adjoining hangar and made him sit down. Landzo had a knife in his hand, which he heated on a flame. He first took the witness's left hand and made three burn marks on it. Then he heated the knife again and burnt the witness's left leg, then his thighs through his tracksuit.

Then he kicked the witness, but "N" could not feel these blows because of the pain of the burns. Landzo hit "N" on the neck with a chain, ordered him to eat grass, and put a fistful of clover in his mouth. "N" said that the gas mask was used so his screams could not be heard. When he screamed, he could not breathe. When he was burned, he could not breathe and felt as if his eyes were popping out. The witness did not receive any medical treatment for several days, by which time his wounds began to fester.

As a result of this and other similar treatment by Landzo and other guards, "N" has scars from the burns on his hands and legs. He has evidence of broken teeth, and said he felt the pain of his cracked jaw for a long time. The prosecution and the defence filed a joint application to have the witness examined by an independent medical expert.

In addition to what he had undergone himself, Witness N also spoke of events he had witnessed which are described in specific points of the indictment. Among other things, Witness N said that he saw Delic beating Scepo Gotovac in the hangar, then Landzo took Gotovac outside, and when Gotovac was thrown back into the hangar he had an SDA or SRS badge pinned to his forehead. Gotovac died in the hangar (Counts 1-2 of the indictment). Witness N identified Delic and Landzo in court.

Witness N remained in Celebici until August 31, 1992, when he was transferred to Musala Sports Hall in Konjic. There he was detained until December 1992, and two months later he was released in an exchange deal.

On Monday April 14, 1997, the Office of the Prosecutor filed a motion "to withdraw counts 9 and 10" of the Celebici indictment. These two counts charged Landzo for beating to death with a baseball bat a person surnamed Miljanic. According to the prosecutors, "further investigation has revealed that this charge was based on erroneous information resulting from witness confusion concerning the victim's identity."

Under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, an indictment can only be amended "with leave of the Trial Chamber" if presentation of evidence has commenced.

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