1 Wednesday, 4th March 1998
2 (10.00 am)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, ladies and
5 gentlemen, shall we continue with our case? Before
6 that, I should like the Office of the Prosecutor to
7 introduce itself, to have the appearances, please.
8 MR. NIEMANN: My name is Niemann and
9 I appear with my colleagues, Mr. Marchesiello and
10 Ms Erasmus, for the Prosecution.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: And for the Defence?
12 MR. MIKULICIC: Good morning, your Honours,
13 my name is Goran Mikulicic and with my colleague,
14 Mr. Joka, we represent the Defence on behalf of the
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The interpreters are
17 ready? In that case, we can continue with the
18 testimony of Mr. Sivro, I think it was.
19 (The witness entered court)
20 Good morning, Sir. Do you hear me? You may
21 be seated. I wish to remind you that you read a solemn
22 declaration yesterday pledging to speak the truth, the
23 whole truth and nothing but the truth. You are today
24 in the same -- under the same commitment, yes?
25 Therefore, you are going to answer questions that are
1 going to be put to you by the Prosecutor in
2 continuation of yesterday's proceedings.
3 Mr. Prosecutor, you have the floor.
4 MEHO SIVRO (continued)
5 Examined by MR. MARCHESIELLO (continued)
6 Q. We are in fact resuming the chief examination
7 which had been stopped yesterday in the afternoon. May
8 I please ask the Registrar to put on the ELMO the map
9 that had already been introduced into evidence and
10 which was shown yesterday to the witness?
11 Can you hear me, Mr. Sivro?
12 A. I do, I hear you well.
13 Q. Thank you. Before resuming and in order to
14 let the judges know where the -- the history, the story
15 Mr. Sivro is going to tell us, will you please show on
16 the map and sign and circle with the pen the area in
17 which you were at the moment you were being taken away
18 from the frontlines?
19 A. I can. (Witness marked photograph).
20 Q. You were on the way from Jelinak to Strane,
21 is it not so?
22 A. No, we were first going from Jelinak towards
24 Q. Now, we left you yesterday in a very
25 distressing and painful situation. You all, guards and
1 prisoners as well, were fleeing away from what seemed
2 to be a very heavy BiH shelling, so let us resume at
3 that moment. You had already been in a way sentenced
4 to death, because the commander of the guards you were
5 under -- you were with, as you said yesterday, had told
6 them to kill you and now the only problem was to choose
7 the place where you should have been executed. Please,
8 go on with your story now.
9 A. After -- we escaped the first threat of
10 death, so to speak, when we reached the house where
11 I think their command was, we continued our way to
12 Loncari, because this house was still in the village of
13 Jelinak at the bottom of the village. When we started
14 off towards Loncari from that house, the only thing
15 I thought of was how to escape, because I heard orders
16 being given up there to kill us in the village of
17 Loncari in a place called Bare; whether it was some
18 kind of a pool or wood called Bare, I did not know.
19 When we had almost reached the village, the
20 shooting started from HVO weapons -- whether it was an
21 anti-aircraft gun or anti-aircraft machine-gun. It was
22 still dark, and they probably could not see the tree
23 and the bullets were hitting this tree and the shrapnel
24 from these bullets started showering upon us. When
25 I saw that the guard was the first to lie down, I took
1 advantage of the opportunity and started to run, but
2 I was third in the line and, when I turned around,
3 I saw that the prisoner behind me was not there, but
4 that he was running towards the right. I did not want
5 to follow him, so I turned left, and I was going up a
6 slope, and I was running.
7 When I reached the top of this little hill,
8 I saw large fields -- it was already dawning and I saw
9 that it was wheat that was growing there. I ran across
10 the wheat fields for about a kilometre, and, as they
11 were on a slope, there were large fences between the
12 fields so I jumped over them and, when I reached the
13 end of those fields, I took a rest and I looked up and
14 I saw two HVO policemen standing above me.
15 I immediately raised my hands. One of them started
16 shooting immediately, whereas the other one was calmer
17 -- he asked me where I was from and he said, "So you
18 have come here to slaughter our women and children" and
19 I said that I had been captured and that I had spent
20 time at the Kaonik camp, that I had not killed anyone,
21 that I was a civilian. However, they were emphatic,
22 they ordered me to lie down. I did. They took off my
23 belt and tied my hands with it. They kicked me in my
24 body and one of them, who had this rifle, hit me with
25 the rifle butt on the head.
1 I had my head fractured in 20 different
2 places. Luckily the butt was covered with rubber at
3 the end so that the blows did not inflict heavier
4 damage and I remained alive. I begged them not to kill
5 me and I do not know whom I have to thank, but anyway
6 they took mercy on me and they did not kill me. They
7 took me back to the village, because nearby was an
8 additional unit that had come to the assistance and
9 they wanted to boast of having captured me.
10 Among those soldiers I recognised a number of
11 them, but one in particular and I addressed him. He
12 was from Novi Travnik. I begged him to help me since
13 he knew me. He just waved his hand and said more or
14 less, "Never mind." The father of this man used to
15 work for me and I was his foreman in the past.
16 Then they decided to take me to the command
17 after all. I begged them to report to the camp that
18 they had found me and to hand me over there, but they
19 did not have time for that and they said that they
20 would take me to the headquarters in the village of
21 Strane, so we set off towards the village of Strane.
22 At one point in time they told me to crawl,
23 and the path was muddy, because trucks had probably
24 passed along that track overnight and they forced me to
25 crawl in the mud, but, as that is impossible to do,
1 I had to lean on my head as well to be able to crawl
2 and I think that I only covered three metres and then
3 the soldier --
4 Q. Sorry, did you have your hands tied up behind
5 your back at that time?
6 A. Yes, yes, my hands were tied all the time
7 with my own belt behind my back.
8 Q. Then you arrived at Strane to the HVO
9 headquarters and what happened then?
10 A. I just wanted before that -- I did not finish
11 the story, telling you how he stepped on my head. He
12 tried to suffocate me in the mud. He probably thought
13 that I was done for. This went on for 10 or 20 seconds
14 but I survived. I probably inhaled some of that water
15 or mud, and I felt I was choking. My lungs could not
16 start working again before I managed to spit it all
18 Anyway, we went on towards the village of
19 Strane. We got close to the village in a copse and
20 they said, "let us not take him like this", because my
21 appearance was terrible, my head was fractured, my
22 teeth were broken, I was dirty. The Muslims still had
23 not left the village. They thought it better for them
24 not to see me. They said, "let us kill him here
25 anyway". There was a big oak tree there, and I stood
1 against it and he fired 3 to 5 bullets, but the bullets
2 did not hit me --they whizzed by my head 2 or 3
3 centimetres away. Of course, I wet my pants, my legs
4 gave way under me.
5 Then the soldier said, "I could have killed
6 you, but I did not want to". I could not get up. He
7 helped me get up. He took me out of this wood, and the
8 village was nearby --the village of Strane. He ordered
9 me to sing as I was entering the village and I sang, of
10 course, and we reached the HVO headquarters in that
12 In front of the building, I saw three
13 soldiers and a half-roasted calf was leaning against
14 the wall. The fire had not been extinguished yet.
15 They were all drunk, there was no commander in the
16 headquarters, so I had to wait for him to come to
17 decide what he would do with me. In the meantime
18 I asked who was the commander, because quite a number
19 of these boys were in the same dormitory as me when
20 I went to school in Zenica so I was hoping I could find
21 someone who would help me. Then I heard the
22 commander's name was Ivica Andrijasevic. That is how
23 I knew his name. They came, all beat me, each and
24 every one of them, but the worst beating was when they
25 asked me, "what is the name of this State?". I said,
1 "Bosnia Herzegovina", I said "Croatia", whatever
2 I said, they beat me. I just could not remember to say
3 that the name of the State was Herceg-Bosna. They beat
4 me, they thought I was stubborn and I did not want to
5 give them the name of the State.
6 In the meantime a Muslim came by. They
7 ordered me to crawl under a vehicle, a very old vehicle
8 with the tyres that were flat and even a cat could not
9 crawl under it, but they insisted and they kicked me
10 but I just could not.
11 Then I started begging them to kill me.
12 I did not feel the pain so much anymore because I was
13 all swollen by then, I was all numb. Then one of them,
14 drunk as he was, asked the commander, "Let me slit the
15 throat of a balija for once in my life". He said, "Go
16 ahead, do it, but at the end of the village and make
17 him dig his own grave first". He accepted this with
18 joy. He took me along their frontlines to the end of
19 the village. All of them beat me, but I remembered one
20 more than the others, a blond fair man, who sort of
21 encouraged me, who swore at them and cursed their
22 Ustasha mothers for mistreating me. When I started
23 believing he was going to help me, he kicked me, in
24 between the legs. Of course I fell. I do not know for
25 how long I lay there. He lifted me up and we resumed
1 our way. Some soldiers followed us, probably to watch
2 the spectacle of me being slaughtered. This soldier
3 who was leading me took out a knife, and he --he had
4 turned the blunt edge of the knife under my neck.
5 Again, I wet my pants from fear. And that is
6 how we reached the end of the village. I kept thinking
7 of the horrible death awaiting me when he was going to
8 slit my throat. He told me to turn around --I did
9 --and he emptied his whole magazine. I just felt that
10 I had been hit in the left arm. I stood there for a
11 couple of seconds maybe. Whether I was dreaming or
12 I really experienced something, and I heard a sound --
13 it seemed to me -- saying "run", and this soldier who
14 had emptied his magazine, he wanted to recharge and
15 fire again, but as he was drunk, he just could not fix
16 his rifle properly. So I jumped up and I threw myself
17 over a fence.
18 As it was very cold that morning, the grass
19 was totally white from the frost and, when I threw
20 myself over this fence, it was as if I was wearing skis
21 and I skidded across down the slope. The people who
22 had come to watch started shooting, but by then,
23 because this was a slope, I had already put quite a
24 distance between us and they started shooting at me.
25 At about 80 metres away there was another fence,
1 I thought I would not be able to stop there, that
2 I would hit against this fence, because I had gained a
3 lot of speed, but it was as in a film, I managed to
4 stop, to jump over the fence again, and I found myself
5 among the houses of Gavro Katici. There is a petrol
6 station there.
7 I tried to cut off my arm there because I was
8 still tied up. This arm was just hanging on the skin.
9 But as I tried to break it off, the belt slipped away
10 from my hands, so I rested a while and I saw that they
11 were not following me. I realised that this was
12 no-man's land and that is why they were not following
14 I cleaned up a little bit, and I collected
15 myself and ran across the road to the petrol station.
16 I ran, but I heard shots. Because there was a
17 clearing, and then I thought: what should I do? If
18 I run to the left, where our territory was, the
19 territory controlled by the BH army, an automatic rifle
20 would be there waiting for me and, if I ran in their
21 direction, then, again, I would probably reach Lasva
22 before they noticed me. So I ran and close to Lasva
23 they started shooting at me. I jumped into the Lasva
24 River and wet, beaten up, my right hand would not
25 function -- whether it was a cramp or what, I do not
1 know. I had on me a thin raincoat and I had shoved it
2 into my trousers and, luckily, it swelled up a little
3 and it served like a balloon and helped me surface.
4 I went along the left side of the Lasva,
5 because I was afraid on the right-hand side they would
6 see me and shoot me.
7 The Lasva was bloody with my blood -- I must
8 have been bleeding a lot -- and when I felt that my
9 right arm was coming to again, I went as far as the
10 bridge, about 200 or 300 metres down river. I got to
11 the right bank, I got hold of a branch and got out.
12 They continued firing, and, when I got out, it was
13 probably the BH army that realised what was happening
14 and I heard voices saying, "Hurry up, there is a sniper
15 following you." I ran across the ploughed fields,
16 I heard the shots whizzing past me, but, luckily, they
17 did not hit me. The distance between the Lasva River
18 and the railroad is about 500 metres.
19 I heard voices saying, "Cross the railway
20 track and rest there", and that is what I did.
21 I rested for a while on the other side of the tracks
22 and I was probably unconscious for a while and, when
23 I felt I had the strength, I started climbing up
24 towards the village of Merdani. By then I knew that
25 I was exposed to the sniper fire, but I thought to
1 myself: I will try and whatever happens will happen.
2 I managed to reach the first house, and I kept hearing
3 exchanges between members of our army -- there was
4 somebody saying, "Do not run into that house, go to the
5 fourth house" and I managed to reach the fourth house.
6 There was a nurse waiting for me; she gave me an
7 injection and after that I was transported to the
8 Zenica hospital.
9 Q. What about your arm, did you recover it?
10 A. Yes, I had to undergo four surgeries.
11 I think I can use it up to 60 per cent. I was also
12 injured in my head.
13 MR. MARCHESIELLO: I have no other questions,
14 your Honour.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, do you wish
16 to put any questions to this witness?
17 MR. MARCHESIELLO: Can we suspend for
18 5 minutes? I see the witness is in a difficult
19 psychological situation.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, maybe we could have a
21 15 minute break then.
23 (A short break)
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Sivro, we have deep
1 respect for what you have been through. Are you able
2 to continue? Are you feeling okay now?
3 A. Yes, yes -- yes, we can -- I do apologise to
4 the court, but I just could not help it.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: We do understand.
6 Mr. Mikulicic, do you wish to put questions to this
8 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, my co-counsel,
9 Mr. Joka, will be asking questions of this witness.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The floor is yours,
11 Mr. Joka.
12 Cross-examined by MR. JOKA
13 Q. My name is Mr. Joka, I am Defence counsel for
14 the accused. First of all, on my own behalf and on
15 behalf of my colleague, I wish to express our deep
16 sympathy for what you have been through and for what
17 you are suffering and, also, that we are glad to see
18 that you are well now, and do believe that it is really
19 from the heart. We will not have many questions for
20 you. I just wish to confirm something and see if
21 I have properly understood you.
22 After your first escape, when you were first
23 captured -- after which you were captured?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Am I right in understanding that you were
1 detained in Kaonik and after that you asked to be
2 returned to Kaonik?
3 A. Yes, I did explain that. I explained to them
4 that I was a detainee and that I came -- had come there
5 to dig trenches and I begged them to take me back, or
6 to call the prison, and I begged them to be returned to
8 Q. Now, I have to ask you why you did that, why
9 did you beg them to do that?
10 A. Because I simply thought that there was no
11 more life for me otherwise.
12 MR. JOKA: Thank you, no more questions.
13 MR. MARCHESIELLO: No questions, thank you.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Sivro, you have
15 completed your testimony here. Thank you very much for
16 having come here to the Tribunal. We wish you a safe
17 return to your country and thank you very much.
18 A. Thank you.
19 (The witness withdrew)
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Prosecution, do you have
21 another witness?
22 MR. MEDDEGODA: The Prosecution will call
23 its next witness, Mr. Edib Zlotrg.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Do we have to apply any
25 protection measures for this witness?
1 MR. MEDDEGODA: None whatsoever.
2 (The witness entered court)
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, Sir. Can
4 you hear me? Would you please read the solemn
5 declaration that the usher is tendering to you?
6 A. I solemnly declare that I will speak the
7 truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Please be seated.
9 Thank you for having come to the International Criminal
10 Tribunal. You are now going to answer questions that
11 will be put to you by counsel for the Prosecution,
12 Mr. Meddegoda. Mr. Meddegoda, the floor is yours.
13 EDIB ZLOTRG
14 Examined by MR. MEDDEGODA
15 Q. Could you please state your full name for the
16 purposes of the record?
17 A. My name is Edib Zlotrg.
18 Q. Your date of birth?
19 A. 21st of October 1953.
20 Q. You are Bosniak by ethnicity?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And your religion is Islam?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Witness, what is your current occupation?
25 A. I am a forensic expert -- I work for the
2 Q. Have you followed any courses in forensic
3 science or forensic technology?
4 A. Yes, I have.
5 Q. And what courses of study have you followed?
6 A. I completed two courses -- two 6-month
7 courses -- to be trained as a forensic technician.
8 Q. Where did you follow these courses of study?
9 A. In Sarajevo.
10 Q. In what educational institution was that?
11 A. It was an institution belonging to the
12 Ministry of the Interior.
13 Q. And, today, to which police station are you
15 A. The police station in Vitez.
16 Q. And there you work as a forensic technician?
17 A. Yes, since 1992.
18 Q. Witness, in 1993, where were you residing?
19 A. In Vitez, in Marsala Tita Street, number BB.
20 Q. Do you recall the date 19th April 1993?
21 A. That is the day I was arrested by members of
22 the Vitezovi unit, which was an HVO unit.
23 Q. What time of the day were you arrested by the
24 members of the Vitezovi unit?
25 A. I was arrested at 7.30pm.
1 Q. Do you know which members of the Vitezovi
2 unit came to arrest you on that day?
3 A. One of them was a colleague of mine from the
4 police station, who used to work in the communications
5 section, and his name is Drazenko Rados.
6 Q. What was he wearing at the time he came to
7 arrest you?
8 A. He was wearing a camouflage uniform and had a
9 coat of arms on his sleeve with "Vitezovi" written on
11 Q. Do you know who the commander of the Vitezovi
12 unit is -- or was at the time?
13 A. Darko Kraljevic.
14 Q. When the Vitezovi members came to arrest you,
15 did they say to you why you were being arrested?
16 A. No, they did not -- they just insulted me.
17 They cursed me, my State and they asked me how come
18 I was not in Stari Vitez to defend Alija State and
19 similar things.
20 Q. Could you tell this court what happened when
21 they came to your house in Marsala Tita Street in
23 A. When they entered the building, I happened to
24 be at my neighbours on the second floor and we were
25 watching news. There was a shelling of Zenica on that
1 day and many civilians were killed in front of the
2 department store. This colleague of mine came in and
3 he attacked me -- he accused me of hiding from them,
4 and it was impossible to hide from them in that
5 apartment. So, from my neighbour's place, he took me
6 to the fourth floor where I lived, together with
7 another member of the Vitezovi unit and there they
8 searched me. They asked me whether I had any weapons,
9 because they knew I had weapons officially assigned to
10 me, but, prior to that, I had handed over my weapons to
11 the municipal headquarters of the Territorial Defence
12 and I had a valid permission for that, a valid
13 certification for that, which I produced to them and,
14 again, they cursed me, my State, my President, and they
15 wanted to know how come I was there, how come I was not
16 defending my State in the place called Mahala, and that
17 is how they referred to Stari Vitez, to the town of
18 Stari Vitez.
19 Then Drazenko was surprised that I was still
20 alive and I said, "You can see for yourself, I am
21 alive." So he told me to take my things with me and we
22 left the building. They put me in a van, where there
23 was some elderly men and, from there, we were taken to
24 the Workers' University, to the basement of the
1 Q. Now, that is the building which is called the
2 Radnicki University building?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Could you tell this court what this Radnicki
5 University building was?
6 A. It was a building with some offices --
7 offices belonging to the League of Communists, to the
8 union -- there were also premises that were used for
9 adult education and there was also a cinema hall there.
10 Q. When you were brought there, were there
11 others already detained in the basement where you were
12 brought to?
13 A. That basement used to be the boiler room of
14 the building, and it was crowded, so, from one end to
15 the other, you really have to elbow your way through
16 the room. It was completely crowded and I think that
17 there were some 250 people there, maybe more, so, when
18 I was brought in, I realised that there were many
19 people I knew, many acquaintances, and they expressed
20 their condolences to me because they heard my brother
21 and my sister-in-law had been killed. But they were
22 also laughing, because apparently they had heard that
23 I was also killed, together with my wife, so they were
24 actually glad to see me alive.
25 Q. You said it was fully crowded with about 250
1 people. To what ethnic group did these people belong?
2 A. They were all Muslims.
3 Q. Did you happen to know any of those persons
4 who were detained at the time you were brought in?
5 A. Of course, yes.
6 Q. And for how long did you -- were you detained
7 in this basement of the Radnicki University building?
8 A. Since they kept bringing more people every --
9 all the time, the place became really crowded, so,
10 after a few days, they offered to take a group of
11 people to the cinema hall. There were no windows in
12 the cinema hall, so I went to the cinema hall together
13 with some other 50 or 60 detainees. It was maybe three
14 or four days after we were detained.
15 Q. Do you remember being taken out of this
16 cinema hall during the period you were detained?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And, when was that?
19 A. It was on the 24th, at about 10pm.
20 Q. Were others taken out with you on the 24th --
21 the evening?
22 A. Yes, they were. There were two or three of
23 us that were taken from the cinema hall and more people
24 were brought from other camps, so there was a group of
25 about 10 people.
1 Q. And do you know -- do you remember where you
2 were taken to from that place?
3 A. They took our names down, and they put us in
4 a van, and transferred us to the village of Nadioci, to
5 the location called "Bungalows", and we got off the van
6 and the guards ordered us to march with our hands
7 behind our back. The driver and the escort went to the
8 Bungalow, and I heard my former colleague, Vladimir
9 Santic, laugh at that time. He said something like,
10 "I know him for a very long time, we are
11 acquaintances", and things like that.
12 Q. For how long did you spend at the Bungalow in
14 A. We stayed there for about an hour, an hour
15 and a half and from there we were taken to Kaonik.
16 Actually, at that time we did not know where we were,
17 but when we got off the vehicle, we found a lot of
18 civilians there, 50 or 60 civilians were already there
19 and they told us that it was a camp -- the Kaonik camp.
20 Q. So what time was it when you reached the
21 Kaonik camp?
22 A. I -- it must have been some time after
24 Q. Would you describe to this court what
25 happened upon reaching the Kaonik camp?
1 A. When we arrived in Kaonik camp, the escort of
2 the driver, who was a member of the HVO, gave the list
3 with our names to the guard and they put us into a
4 hangar. There was only one stove in that hangar, and
5 in the right corner there was a row of wooden pallets
6 and people were sleeping on them. Those who were not
7 fortunate enough to have a pallet were -- had to walk
8 around the hangar or try to warm themselves near the
10 From the conversation I had with people over
11 there, I learned that there were some people who had
12 been there for about 25 days -- people who were
13 arrested while travelling on a bus, or a truck, and
14 there were even some workers from the Bratstvo
15 factory. Apparently they simply move the entire bus of
16 people to the Kaonik camp. There were people from
17 Busovaca there, from the village of Strane and other
18 villages I do not know very well. But there were quite
19 a few people from the vicinity of Busovaca.
20 During my time in Kaonik, at the beginning of
21 my time in Kaonik, there was a group of people who had
22 just returned from trench digging, and they said that
23 killings were quite usual and that people also often
24 got wounded while trench digging.
25 An elderly man whose name I cannot remember
1 told me a story about a young HVO soldier who took a
2 sniper rifle, put it on his shoulder and started firing
3 after that -- in the direction of the BH army lines,
4 and, after he reacted, apparently this young HVO
5 soldier then went together with him to the shelter.
6 Q. You do not recall the name of this elderly
7 man who narrated this story to you -- narrated this
8 incident to you?
9 A. No, I do not.
10 Q. For how long were you kept in the hangar of
11 the Kaonik camp?
12 A. Until the 25th -- until 10, 11, and that is
13 when they came back to pick us up.
14 Q. When they picked you up around 10 or 11 in
15 the morning, were you taken anywhere?
16 A. Yes, we were. Again, they put us into the
17 Volkswagen van and they took us to the place called
18 Kratine; they took us to Miroslav Cicko, who was in
19 charge there, and we were supposed to dig trenches
21 Q. About how many people were taken in the
22 Volkswagen van to the place called Kratine?
23 A. There were 10 of us, but there was already
24 one group of other people there, so there were about 15
25 or 20 of us at Cicko's location.
1 Q. Do you know who this Cicko is, or Miroslav,
2 or Cicko is?
3 A. Yes, I do -- he is a member of the HVO
4 Croatian Defence Council, who, in 1992, committed a
5 crime in the village of Nadioci. He called Esad Salkic
6 and I was in charge of the investigation on behalf of
7 the BH army. On that occasion, members of the HVO
8 police told us that Miroslav Bralo had been arrested
9 and that he was in prison. There is a video recording
10 of that.
11 Q. Were you surprised to see Miroslav Bralo when
12 you in Kratine that morning?
13 A. Of course. According to the information
14 I had, he was supposed to be in prison, because he had
15 committed a heinous crime.
16 Q. And did he speak to the detainees who had
17 been brought for trench digging, or did he address the
19 A. When we got there, he lined us up in sort of
20 half a circle, and he stood in the middle and he said
21 that we were not Muslims, that we had never been
22 Muslims, and that we were Croats, that we no longer had
23 our religious institutions, that everything had been
24 demolished by them and that we would continue being
25 Croats. So he said that he was having a kind of
1 competition with a member of the HVO in Busovaca as to
2 who will kill more Muslims, and apparently he had
3 killed about 80 women and children.
4 Q. What else did Cicko Miroslav ask you to do?
5 A. He wanted us to learn to make the sign of the
6 cross. He made us do it several times and he made one
7 man from the previous group show us how to do that, and
8 after about half an hour, when his training was
9 supposed to finish, he came back to see whether we had
10 learned how to make the sign of the cross.
11 So, my group, all 10 of us, except for one
12 gypsy, we all knew how to make the sign of the cross,
13 but he did not, this gypsy man, so Miroslav Bralo came
14 back and some 10 or 15 metres away from the command
15 building, he took an axe and he turned the blunt part
16 of the axe above the head of that person and he said,
17 "If you cannot do it now, this is it", so that person
18 was probably frightened and he managed to do it the
19 right way, he managed to do the sign of the cross. So
20 Miroslav Bralo made him do it 10 times so that this man
21 would make a mistake so that he could kill him, but he
22 managed to do it properly all 10 times, so finally he
23 had to give up.
24 Q. Do you remember Miroslav Bralo bragging about
25 one particular killing that he had committed?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What was that?
3 A. I think it is the incident that happened on
4 the 26th in the afternoon, as we were resting during
5 the lunch break, while we were digging trenches at the
6 line in front of the command building, an HVO patrol
7 brought three men to that place and they handed them
8 over to Miroslav Bralo. The only thing we could
9 observe at that time was that those young men were
10 crawling across the field, and that he was taking them
11 somewhere. After we came back, the guards told us that
12 those three young men were from the village of Loncari
13 and that they were hiding in a house and that they were
14 caught by a patrol and brought over there, so Miroslav
15 Bralo apparently tied their hands behind their backs,
16 and they -- he made them clean up the field, and they
17 had to do it with their teeth and their mouth and,
18 after that, he took them to a pond in the vicinity of
19 the headquarters, and the guard told us that whoever is
20 taken -- whoever was taken to the pond to that location
21 will never come back; and, indeed, we never saw these
22 three young men again. They were probably slaughtered.
23 Q. For how long did you have to dig trenches at
24 Kratine, witness?
25 A. On the 25th, at 11 o'clock, we started, and
1 we finished on the 26th at 10 o'clock, with short
2 breaks for lunch, maybe one-hour breaks.
3 MR. MEDDEGODA: Your Honours, may I seek your
4 Honours' permission to show to the witness an excerpt
5 of Exhibit P4? It is a map of the area where he was
6 taken to for trench digging. There are copies for your
7 Honours and a copy for learned counsel for the Defence,
8 your Honours.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Please, Registrar, could
11 you give us the number of the exhibit?
12 THE REGISTRAR: It is exhibit number 62.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Please, go on,
14 Mr. Meddegoda.
15 MR. MEDDEGODA: Witness, could you please
16 look at the map on the ELMO and, using the pointer,
17 point out the place, to the place called Kratine to
18 which you were taken for trench digging on the 25th of
19 April? (Witness indicates on photograph).
20 MR. MEDDEGODA: Could you please, using one of
21 the highlighters on the table, circle that area and
22 mark the area with the letter "A". (Witness marked
24 I move that Exhibit P62 be admitted into
25 evidence, your Honours.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes.
2 MR. MEDDEGODA: After trench digging,
3 witness, until the 26th, the morning, where were you
4 taken to?
5 A. In the evening of the 26th, around
6 10 o'clock, I was returned to the cinema hall of the
7 Workers' University, Radnicki University, in Vitez.
8 Q. Whilst at that building, were you registered
9 by the ICRC?
10 A. On the 27th, a delegation arrived. There was
11 one on the 26th as well, and they registered all of us
12 except -- everybody except our group, who was digging
13 trenches on that day, so they came back on the 27th to
14 take our names down as well.
15 Q. And you were registered on the 27th of April?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. How many days thereafter did you spend in the
18 Radnicki University building?
19 A. We stayed -- I stayed there until 30th of
20 April, when the BH army commander, Sefer Halilovic,
21 signed an agreement with the commander of the HVO,
22 Petkovic, where it was agreed there would be an
23 exchange on the principle all-for-all, so he came to
24 the university and he said that we were free and that
25 we would be able to go wherever we wanted to. However,
1 the HVO police did not allow that to happen in my
2 respect, because I used to be a member of the police,
3 so I was simply returned to where I was before.
4 However, this former colleague of mine,
5 Zeljko Sajevic, he was a member of the staff of the
6 local HVO brigade and he arranged for me to be released
7 on 30th of April and that is when I went home.
8 Q. You said that there was an agreement signed
9 between the BH commander Sefer Halilovic and Petkovic?
10 A. That is what was told to us by Mr. Halilovic
11 when he came to the cinema hall and spoke to us.
12 Q. What rank did Petkovic have at the time he
13 signed the agreement? Are you aware of what rank he
15 A. I do not know what rank he held. I know he
16 was the commander of the main staff, but I do not know
17 what rank he had.
18 Q. Commander of the main staff of HVO, is it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know whether Petkovic was a Croat or a
21 Bosnian Croat?
22 A. I do not know.
23 Q. Before being released -- before being
24 released from the Radnicki building, did you have to
25 sign any papers?
1 A. Yes, I had to sign a paper saying that I was
2 leaving voluntarily, in one piece, safe and sound, and
3 the president of the commission for the exchange of us
4 prisoners on behalf of the HVO was Borislav -- I do not
5 remember his surname -- he was a security officer in
6 the special purpose industry in Vitez -- he was killed
7 during the war.
8 Q. After being released on the 30th of April,
9 for how long were you at liberty?
10 A. On the 1st of May about 3pm, Anto Kovac and
11 Jurcevic, whose name I do not remember but his nickname
12 was Butur, he came to fetch me allegedly for a
13 statement and I would be immediately released and they
14 took me to the cinema hall.
15 Q. Who was Anto Kovac and Jurcevic, who were
17 A. They were members of the military police who
18 were in charge of the security at the camp in the
19 Workers' University, because the Workers' University
20 had people detained in the basement, in the cinema hall
21 and upstairs on the first floor. Anto Kovac I think
22 was a commander of the platoon.
23 Q. To which army did they belong?
24 A. The Croatian Defence Council.
25 Q. That is the HVO?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you said you were again taken to the
3 Radnicki University building?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, when you went there on the 1st of May,
6 did you see others detained in that building?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. About how many others were there?
9 A. About 50 or so.
10 Q. And could you describe to this court what
11 happened when you were brought to this building on the
12 1st of May?
13 A. I think it was the next day, on the 2nd of
14 May, that Kovac Anto and Jurcevic came into the hall
15 and told us all to go to the bottom of the cinema. The
16 two of them sat at a table on the stage. They were
17 sitting facing one another, one of them had a red
18 agenda, the other one had a blue one and all of us had
19 to go up to them, one by one, and to give our
20 particulars, and they would enter them, for some people
21 in the blue agenda and for others in the red one.
22 There were five or six of us whose names were entered
23 in the red agenda and we were later moved from the
24 cinema hall.
25 Q. Where were you moved to, from the cinema
2 A. With another six persons, who had been
3 brought there from the premises of the SDK and the
4 primary school, we were transferred to the premises of
5 the chess club, which were close to my own apartment.
6 Q. Witness, for how long were you detained at
7 the chess club?
8 A. A couple of days -- two or three days, until
9 about the 5th, so two nights -- two nights and three
11 Q. And what happened on the 5th of May?
12 A. On the 5th of May, in the afternoon, around
13 3pm or 4pm, a combi van was parked in front and we were
14 told to get in and to leave our things and they drove
15 us somewhere, we did not know where. When we reached
16 our destination, the driver and co-driver left the van
17 and we were surrounded by HVO members under full combat
18 gear, helmet, flak jacket, long barreled rifles and
19 they held us there for about an hour, an hour and a
21 Later on, one by one, we were put in the
22 prison -- first searched and the 13 of us were pushed
23 into one cell.
24 Q. Do you know -- do you know now to which cell
25 you were put in on that day?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. And which cell was that?
3 A. Immediately to the right, right next to the
4 premises where the policemen on duty were.
5 MR. MEDDEGODA: Your Honours, may I seek your
6 permission to show to the witness aerial photograph of
7 the Kaonik camp? There are five copies for your
8 Honours as well as for Defence counsel. (Handed).
9 THE REGISTRAR: It is exhibit number 63.
10 MR. MEDDEGODA: Witness, looking at exhibit
11 number 63, which is now on the ELMO, could you please,
12 using the pointer, point out to the building where you
13 were taken to on the 5th of May, the building with the
14 cells? Could you please circle that building and mark
15 it with the letter "B". (Witness marked photograph).
16 Witness, you would also recall that you were
17 brought to the Kaonik camp on your way -- on your way
18 from Nadioci. You said you were brought to a hangar
19 building. Do you see that hangar building on the
20 exhibit that is on the ELMO?
21 A. I do.
22 Q. Could you please point out that building, the
23 hangar building? (Witness indicates).
24 Once again, using the highlighter, could you
25 please circle that and mark that building with the
1 letter "A"? (Witness marked photograph).
2 Now, you said you were put into a cell with
3 the others. How many others were put into your cell?
4 A. Thirteen.
5 Q. And which cell were you put into, you and the
6 12 others?
7 A. I do not remember the number exactly -- it
8 was number 13 or 16, but it is the cell right next to
9 the room where the guards were, which means when you
10 enter the prison, to the right of the entrance.
11 MR. MEDDEGODA: Your Honours, may I have your
12 permission to show to the witness exhibit number 20,
13 which has already been admitted into evidence? These
14 are copies of that same exhibit, your Honours.
16 THE REGISTRAR: It is Exhibit 64.
17 MR. MEDDEGODA: Once again, witness, could
18 you look at Exhibit 64 and, using the pointer, try to
19 identify the cell to which you were brought in on the
20 5th of May? (Witness indicates on photograph).
21 Thank you. Could you please mark -- you can
22 see the door of that cell; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Could you please mark that door with the
25 letter "A"? (Witness marked photograph).
1 Witness, do you recognise any other object on
2 this photograph?
3 A. Right next to us, this was the room where the
4 guards were. There was a TV set in the corner, which
5 could be seen when we had lunch, because I usually sat
6 here on this side so I could see the TV. On a number
7 of occasions I saw Kordic making statements -- I did
8 not hear anything but I, you saw him making a statement
9 dressed in a camouflage uniform. These were excerpts
10 of TV programmes.
11 This is the table where we had lunch. The
12 inmates of two cells never had lunch together, it was
13 cell by cell. When we finished eating, then the people
14 from the next cell would be allowed to eat. On this
15 other side was the stove which heated the whole prison,
16 and just underneath the window is a bed where HVO
17 members would rest and who would talk until late into
18 the night about their accomplishments, about their
19 killings and lootings in the village around Busovaca.
20 Q. Could you please mark -- you identified the
21 room in which the guards were. Could you please, using
22 a highlighter, mark that room with the letter "B"?
23 (Witness marked photograph).
24 And also the table at which you had meals
25 with the letter "C". (Witness marked photograph).
1 Thank you. Now, witness, could you please
2 describe the size of the cell -- the cell to which you
3 were put into?
4 A. I do not know exactly, but I think it was
5 about four metres by 360. I just know that 13 of us
6 could not lie down on the kind of bed that existed, but
7 that two of us slept on the concrete. We had blankets
8 and we slept on those blankets on the floor.
9 Q. And what was the kind of bed that existed
10 inside the cell?
11 A. It was a wooden bench, stretching from one
12 wall to the other, and I must say that when we first
13 came to the cell we lifted all the blankets there were
14 in the cell and we found a knife and we called in a
15 guard to show him the knife. This was probably planted
16 there by a -- by the HVO.
17 Q. Was there any heating inside the cell?
18 A. No, just this stove, which was in the
20 Q. Were there any electric lights inside the
22 A. Not inside the cell.
23 Q. Now, when you were brought to Kaonik, could
24 you describe to this court what happened immediately
25 upon being brought into the cell?
1 A. When we were brought to the cell, the
2 colleagues asked me, because I was in the police, for
3 my advice, and I said to them, "I have never been a
4 prisoner. I did imprison others". But I suggested to
5 them that we should remove all the objects from the
6 bed, that we shake out the blankets, and, when you are
7 looking into the cell from the door, on the right-hand
8 side towards the end was this knife, so we knocked on
9 the door, the guard came, and he later brought in the
10 commander -- the commander of the shift -- a young man,
11 who had come, just before the conflict, from Canada.
12 At first he shouted at us, thinking it was our knife
13 and then we said, "But you searched us; you saw we had
14 nothing on us," so, he took the knife. We arranged the
15 cell a little bit. Then they brought in a tin to be
16 used for urination in the cell.
17 Q. What was this commander of the shift wearing
18 at the time he came into the cell?
19 A. A camouflage uniform. He did not have boots
20 on his feet, because one of his legs was injured, so he
21 was walking around in slippers.
22 Q. When you were brought to the cell, did you
23 have occasion to see or meet the commander of the camp?
24 A. Yes. A couple of days later, he entered our
25 cell, wearing a camouflage uniform, with his sleeves
1 turned up, with a pistol at his belt, and he asked,
2 "Who is Zlotrg Edib?", and I said it was me. Then
3 introduced himself at Zlatko Aleksovski. He said that
4 he had spoken to my sister and brother-in-law and that
5 they had enquired about me and he asked me how I was
6 and whether I needed anything. I was afraid that this
7 may be a provocation. So I said that I was fine and
8 I did not need anything. And he went off.
9 Q. Would you be able to recognise Mr. Aleksovski
10 if you see him again?
11 A. Due to the fact that I know that it is him --
12 I could hardly recognise him otherwise, because I saw
13 him twice in my life for 10 or 15 minutes each time,
14 though I later did see his photograph from his former
15 workplace, but this photograph was taken when he was
16 much younger.
17 Q. And you just said that you saw him twice in
18 the 10 to 15 days that you spent in the days that you
19 spent in the camp?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, you described an occasion on which he
22 came into your cell -- was it the first occasion or the
23 second occasion that you saw him?
24 A. That was the first occasion. On the second
25 occasion was when we were being released from prison.
1 We had to sign a paper, a release paper, in his office.
2 Q. Now, witness, when you were detained in the
3 camp, did you hear any beatings and screams and cries
4 going on in the camp?
5 A. Yes, at all times of day and night one could
6 hear blunt blows and moans, but we did not see
8 Q. Did you see or hear detainees being taken out
9 of the camp on labour detachments?
10 A. Almost every morning, Muslims were called out
11 and, when a Muslim is called out, then he would say the
12 number of cell he is in, then the cells would be opened
13 and the people would come out. When they were called
14 out, they would be told "Strane", "Kula", "Loncari" or
15 wherever they were supposed to go, and we could hear
16 them leaving the prison premises, but I did not see
18 Q. Do you know whether prisoners in the camp in
19 Kaonik were subjected to interrogation?
20 A. Yes. From my cell, a guard came to call
21 Alija Basic, who was director of the Sintevit factory
22 in Vitez a plant belonging to Unis. When Alija came
23 back, he said that Darko Kraljevic had interrogated
24 him, together with two other members of the Vitezovi.
25 Q. What was the guard wearing when he came into
1 the cell?
2 A. Camouflage uniforms.
3 Q. Did he have an insignia on his sleeves?
4 A. They all had the insignia of the Croatian
5 army, that is the HVO.
6 Q. During the time you spent in custody in the
7 Kaonik camp, witness, did you have sufficient food to
8 eat and water to drink and water to wash yourself?
9 A. We did have three meals a day, but it was a
10 very poor quality. Before my arrest I weighed 96
11 kilograms, and on the 16th of April, when I left, I had
12 63 kilograms.
13 The hygiene was terrible, there was just a
14 toilet at the bottom of the prison that was used by all
15 the prisoners, and a wash basin, so if you needed
16 water, or if you wanted to go to the toilet, you had to
17 knock on the door to indicate the name of the cell, and
18 wait for the guard to come and unlock it. There was no
19 other way you could go out.
20 Q. So for how long, witness, were you detained
21 in Kaonik camp?
22 A. From the 5th of May until the 13th or 14th of
23 May. On the 16th, we were exchanged and we were
24 released a couple of days before that.
25 Q. When were you released from the Kaonik --
1 when were you taken out of the Kaonik camp?
2 A. I think it was the 14th of May.
3 Q. And from there, where were you taken to?
4 A. We were again taken to the cinema hall of the
5 Radnicki University in Vitez.
6 Q. You said you were exchanged on the 16th of
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you know the circumstances under which
10 your exchange was secured?
11 A. I think it was the International Red Cross
12 that mediated between the army and the HVO to arrange
13 the exchange, because 13 or 14 of us were exchanged on
14 this side, and a couple of Croats were exchanged,
15 also. Anyway, the exchange was attended by a
16 representative of the International Red Cross.
17 Q. And, after you were exchanged, where were you
18 taken to?
19 A. To Zenica.
20 MR. MEDDEGODA: I have no further questions,
21 your Honour, in examination-in-chief.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I think that this is a
23 good time for us to break. But I would like to take
24 advantage of the opportunity to say something.
25 I notice that in the public there are many young
1 students, and I should like to greet you as the hope of
2 humanity and to wish you welcome to the International
3 Criminal Tribunal. So we are now going to have a
4 15-minute break.
6 (A short break)
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, you have the
10 Cross-examined by MR. MIKULICIC.
11 Q. Thank you, your Honour.
12 Good morning, I am Goran Mikulicic. I am
13 Defence lawyer from Zagreb. I am representing the
14 accused in this place. I will ask several questions
15 and would you please answer them to the best of your
17 Mr. Zlotrg, you described for us in the
18 introduction the events in which you took part in April
19 and May 1993. Let me take you back to your first
20 arrest when you were taken to the Workers' University.
21 You said that your name was registered on that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, it is.
1 Q. Who registered you?
2 A. Members of the HVO police.
3 Q. Do you know who the commander was who
4 commanded these people who registered you?
5 A. I do not know higher commanders but I do know
6 that Anto Kovac was one of the commanding officers. He
7 was later killed. I think he and another man were
8 shift commanders.
9 Q. Okay. I will focus on the events relating to
10 the Kaonik facility, because this is relevant for these
11 proceedings. You said that you were brought to
12 Kaonik. Who brought you there?
13 A. The first time or the second time?
14 Q. The first time and then the second time as
16 A. Members of the HVO police.
17 Q. When, the first time?
18 A. The first time was on the 25th, in the
19 morning around 12, half past 12.
20 Q. And the second time?
21 A. The second time was on 5th May in the
22 afternoon around 4 o'clock. I did not have a watch on
23 me, so I do not know.
24 Q. Yes, I understand. You have described for us
25 that some kind of record was being kept at the Workers'
1 University, that there were two agendas, a red one and
2 a blue one; who took your names down?
3 A. Anto Kovac was the one who took our names in
4 the red agenda and another person whose nickname was
5 Butur did the other agenda. They were members of the
6 HVO military police.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: Mr. Zlotrg, I will now show you
8 the same photograph that has been already shown to you
9 by the usher, and which has been admitted as
10 Prosecution Exhibit P63.
11 I would kindly ask the usher to put the
12 photograph on the ELMO. Thank you.
13 I would kindly ask the technicians to focus
14 the camera so that we can see the whole photograph on
15 the screen -- thank you.
16 Mr. Zlotrg, on this photograph you identified
17 two facilities and you have marked them with two
18 letters. I would kindly ask you to use the pointer and
19 to circle that part of the photograph which you believe
20 represents the Kaonik facility?
21 A. You mean the place Kaonik or the facility
22 where we were detained?
23 Q. Yes, would you please circle the building in
24 which you were detained?
25 A. During my first time there, I was detained.
1 Q. I am not only referring to buildings but the
2 whole area.
3 A. We were brought in at night so I do not know
4 exactly where it was. It used to be a military depot
5 and it used to be premises. I could circle it for you,
6 but it would be approximately, so before the conflict
7 access was not allowed to these premises.
8 Q. I understand. I do not wish you to circle
9 something you are not sure about, but could you
10 identify for us other facilities -- other buildings
11 that can be seen on this photograph?
12 A. Yes, I can.
13 Q. Would you please do that?
14 A. I can show you the location where the
15 intervention squad of the Croatian Defence Council was
17 Q. Yes, could you please show that to us?
18 A. (Witness indicates on photograph). In this
19 building here.
20 Q. Could you mark the building the same way you
21 have marked buildings so far but using another letter,
22 please? (Witness marked photograph).
23 Mr. Zlotrg, how do you know that the
24 intervention platoon of the HVO was located in that
1 A. I know that, because our colleague from the
2 cell Fuad Kaknjo spent one night there, and we had to
3 pass by that building, which was situated 30 metres
4 away from the entrance to the Kaonik facility.
5 Q. I understand. Could you also identify other
6 locations on the photograph? Do you know for which
7 purpose they were used and what they were?
8 A. I just know that the facility used to be a
9 military depot, a military warehouse.
10 Q. Mr. Zlotrg, you said that guards were wearing
11 uniforms in Kaonik?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You said that you also met the warden and
14 later you came to know his name, Zlatko Aleksovski?
15 A. He introduced himself.
16 Q. Okay, he introduced himself. How was he
18 A. He was dressed in a camouflage uniform and he
19 had a pistol in his belt.
20 Q. Did you notice any insignia on his uniform?
21 A. He was wearing a shirt and the shirt did not
22 have any insignia and I did not see him wearing a
24 Q. Mr. Zlotrg, you said that you saw photographs
25 of Zlatko Aleksovski; where did you see them?
1 A. Before he became a member of the HVO, he used
2 to work at the Zenica correction facility. He used to
3 be a deputy -- I do not know exactly which function he
4 had, but he knows that.
5 Q. Could you tell us, was that prior to the
6 events or after the events?
7 A. After the events.
8 Q. Did you see his photograph anywhere else?
9 A. No, I did not.
10 Q. To your knowledge, Mr. Zlotrg, was Zlatko
11 Aleksovski commanding the military police or the
12 intervention platoon?
13 A. I do not know what kind of competencies he
14 had, whether he was commander of the intervention
15 platoon, but I know that he commanded -- the guards who
16 guarded us.
17 Q. Mr. Zlotrg, my colleague from the Prosecution
18 asked you whether you had heard any screams, moans, or
19 some similar noise during your time at Kaonik. I will
20 ask you a different question. Did you see any actions
21 which would result in such noises?
22 A. We were locked up in the cell, and we did not
23 have an opportunity to see anything, except for what
24 was going on in our cell, but we could clearly hear the
25 sounds coming from the surrounding cells.
1 Q. Mr. Zlotrg, you said that you were given food
2 three times a day?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you maybe see what kind of food was given
5 to the guards in Kaonik?
6 A. I do not know exactly what they ate. I just
7 know that we took meals after them.
8 Q. Did they use the same place to have their
10 A. As far as I know, they did not.
11 Q. How do you know that?
12 A. I did not see them, I did not hear a noise
13 coming from the use of cutlery -- because this was
14 right across my cell.
15 Q. So how do you know that they did actually
16 take meals?
17 A. Well, I believe that no-one would have
18 guarded me if they had not had anything to eat.
19 Q. So, this is merely an assumption?
20 A. Well, in order to live, you simply have to
22 Q. Mr. Zlotrg, you obviously have some
23 experiences as a policeman, so you have to tell me from
24 your experience what guards were eating -- did you see
1 A. I did not see that, but the people who
2 brought us food told us that the food was being
3 prepared all together and what we had to eat was very
4 hard pieces of meat, but the rest was simply water.
5 Q. Mr. Zlotrg, while you were at Kaonik, did you
6 personally see any mistreatment or beatings of
8 A. I personally did not see anything.
9 Q. Thank you, thank you, that is enough.
10 A. But, when Fuad Kaknjo was returned to the
11 cell, we noticed he had bruises all over. How he
12 sustained them, we do not know. Maybe he had fallen
13 down or something.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: Mr. Zlotrg, thank you very much
15 for your answers. I do not have any further
17 Re-examined by MR. MEDDEGODA
18 Q. I have a couple of questions that arose out
19 of cross-examination.
20 Witness, you were shown Exhibit 63,
21 Prosecution Exhibit 63. You marked on the exhibit
22 buildings with the letters "A" and "B", the buildings
23 in which you were detained?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Were you, during your stay in Kaonik, taken
1 to -- taken out of those buildings to any other
3 A. No, except for the first time I was there,
4 when I was sent to dig trenches, when I was taken from
5 this building here. (Witness indicates).
6 Q. Were you ever taken to the building where the
7 intervention group was located?
8 A. I was not, but I know that Fuad Kaknjo spent
9 the time after the interrogation in that building.
10 MR. MEDDEGODA: Thank you, I have no further
11 questions, your Honours.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, I do not
13 think that we have it on the record that the witness
14 has identified the building of the intervention platoon
15 of the HVO. It has been identified with a letter "F"
16 -- I think it has to be confirmed -- do you agree?
17 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you for your concern,
18 your Honour. The Defence agrees.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Zlotrg, we do not have
20 any further questions for you. You have completed your
21 testimony, and we would like to thank you once again
22 for having appeared before this Tribunal, and we wish
23 you a safe return to your country. Thank you very
25 A. Thank you.
1 (The witness withdrew)
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Prosecutor, we still
3 have a half hour before the lunch break. I should like
4 to know whether you consider it useful for us to begin
5 the next testimony, or should we have the lunch break
6 now. What is your opinion, please?
7 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honour, we are in your
8 hands as to what you find most convenient, but we are
9 in a position to start with the next witness now and to
10 continue after the luncheon break.
11 I should say, though, your Honours, that this
12 is the last witness for today; we will have another
13 witness for tomorrow, but we have no other witnesses
14 for today.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Perhaps, if he is the only
16 witness for today, we could try and make an effort and
17 then we would not meet in the afternoon at all?
18 MR. NIEMANN: I am not sure that we would be
19 finished -- I do not think we would finish -- we will
20 see how we go. We can try, your Honour.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Let us try. I do not know
22 whether the interpreters agree to prolong the morning a
23 little, and then we would be free for the afternoon --
24 THE INTERPRETER: We agree.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Then we will try.
1 Could you have the witness brought in,
3 (The witness entered court)
4 Good morning, Sir. Do you hear me well?
5 A. I hear you very well, thank you.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Please read the solemn
7 declaration handed to you by the usher?
8 A. I solemnly declare that I will speak the
9 truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You may be seated. Thank
11 you for having come to the International Criminal
12 Tribunal, and, first, you will be answering questions
13 put to you by Mr. Marchesiello of the Prosecution.
14 A. Thank you.
15 ENES SURKOVIC
16 Examined by MR. MARCHESIELLO
17 Q. Good morning, Professor Surkovic. Could
18 you --
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. Could you please start by stating your name,
21 age and date of birth?
22 A. My name is Enes Surkovic. I was born on 2nd
23 of March 1949 in Konjic. I am a Bosniak of ethnic
24 origin. My religion is Islam, I am a member of the
25 SDP, the Social Democratic Party and I am a graduate
1 mechanical engineer. Most of my career I spent working
2 as a teacher in Vitez, I was a teacher for about 20
3 years. I taught mechanical engineering in that school
4 and I also spent some time involved in politics. For a
5 time, I was a professional politician, and during my
6 working lifetime, I was a manager -- a director of a
7 secondary school, a manager of a factory in Vitez.
8 Vitez, for me, is a very familiar town. I am very well
9 versed in the political climate before the war. I am
10 also familiar with the activities of the political
11 parties during the war.
12 I wish to declare here, with full
13 responsibility, that before 1990, before the
14 multi-party elections in Vitez, there were absolutely
15 no conflicts. The Croats and Muslims lived in close
16 relations amongst each other.
17 As a teacher, I often went to the villages,
18 I spoke to people there, and among the elders no-one
19 recollected any nationalistic conflicts between Croats
20 and Muslims in the past.
21 Q. Thank you, Professor. Could I ask you some
22 questions? You mentioned -- in order to make the court
23 more aware of some of the facts you have referred to,
24 you said you were involved -- you were a member of the
25 SDP Party. Can you explain, briefly, what the initials
1 mean and which were the main characteristics, or are
2 the main characteristics of this Party, please?
3 A. I have to make a correction. In 1980, I was
4 President of the League of Communists for the
5 municipality of Vitez. In those days, the leaders of
6 the present-day republics, Mr. Kirog Gligorov, the
7 President of Macedonia, Mr. Milan Kucan, Mr. Milosevic,
8 Mr. Franjo Tudjman, Mr. Bulatovic, all of them were
9 members of the League of Communists. It is known only
10 for Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, the President of Bosnia
11 Herzegovina, was never a member of the League of
12 Communists and he was persecuted in those days and
13 spent some time in prison. I was President of the
14 Party for four years in that period.
15 Q. I am sorry to interrupt you, and I know that,
16 as a policy-maker, you are deeply involved in that
17 activity, and you have had a lot of experiences and
18 facts and events that you are familiar with; but
19 I would rather go and ask you about the facts and ask
20 you to follow what I am going to ask you. I simply
21 wanted you to explain to the court which were the main
22 characteristics of the Party you were a member of and
23 actually you were the President of that Party in Vitez.
24 To start with, what do the initials "SDP"
1 A. With the collapse of Tito's Yugoslavia, in
2 Bosnia Herzegovina and in the other republics, a number
3 of parties cropped up. Among them was the Social
4 Democratic Party, a modern political Party with a
5 European orientation, a Party advocating democracy,
6 human rights, a market economy and, of course, a
7 unified Bosnia Herzegovina. This political Party is
8 open to Serbs, Croats and Muslims. It is not a single
9 ethnic Party, but a multi-ethnic one and it is open to
10 all people of goodwill.
11 Q. Thank you, I think that is enough. Could you
12 please explain and tell the court how was the political
13 situation in Vitez after the 1990 multi-Party election
14 -- I am concerned particularly with the seats
15 apportionment in the local Parliament?
16 A. The new Parliament -- the Parliament formed
17 after the first multi-Party elections, numbered 60
18 aldermen or deputies. In that Parliament the HDZ had
19 23 deputies; the SDA, 16; SDS, two; and the Opposition,
20 which consisted of the SDP, the Reformists and the
21 Liberals, we had 19 seats.
22 Q. In November 1991, the Croat Community of
23 Herceg-Bosna was established. Did the situation you
24 described of the Muslim people in Vitez change
25 significantly thereafter, compared to the Croat
1 community situation?
2 A. Yes, the situation changed significantly.
3 The newly formed political Parties interpreted
4 democracy erroneously, I would say, in that -- and
5 especially HDZ, because the word "democratic" implies
6 democracy and, within a short period of time, the SDP
7 Party, the SDA Party, the trade unions -- all of them
8 were thrown out of their premises and these were
9 occupied by the HDZ. People who did not agree with the
10 HDZ, and among them were my friends, members of the SDP
11 -- Ivanic Mijo, Stipo -- they are terrorised and one
12 night they were taken from the SDP premises to the
14 They were shot behind their heads; they were
15 threatened if they went to SDP meetings. I claim that
16 at that time members of the Serb people, and there were
17 only 5.4 per cent of the population were Serbs --
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I am sorry for
19 interrupting you. Could you slow down a little bit so
20 that the interpreters can follow you, because we would
21 like to understand everything that you are saying.
22 Thank you.
23 A. Yes, I will.
24 MR. MARCHESIELLO: Now, Professor --
25 A. So, shall I continue -- may I?
1 Q. I would rather ask you to describe to the
2 court, how did the Muslim community react to this new
3 and difficult, for them, situation -- very difficult,
4 extremely critical situation, as you described it? How
5 did the Muslim community react? Did they organise in
6 some way?
7 A. You see, I pointed out a moment ago that
8 there were no conflicts between the Muslims and Croats
9 in Vitez in the past and the Muslims wanted to avoid
10 conflict at all costs, and at the level of the Vitez
11 municipality, a council was set up for the protection
12 of the interests of the Muslims. I was not a member of
13 that council, but my friends were -- Dr.
14 Mujezinovic, Mr. Fuad Kaknjo and others were members of
15 this council. Whenever an incursion occurred into a
16 Muslim house, and there were cases of people being
17 beaten up -- for example, Mr. Dzevad Ridzanovic, who had
18 an MA in technology, he was beaten up in front of his
19 wife and children, a sack was thrown over his head, he
20 was taken out of his flat to the woods and he spent two
21 days and two nights in custody.
22 Mr. Fuad Salkic, an MA in electrical
23 engineering, he was also taken. Private shops and
24 kiosks owned by Muslims were blown up; monuments from
25 the past; a bust of a revolutionary, Mose Pijade, a man
1 who was a fighter against fascism, who was very
2 prominent in the Second World War, his bust was broken
3 up and blown up, and the Muslim Council, the Council
4 for the Protection of Muslim Interests, reacted by
5 issuing statements, and making those statements on
6 Croatian television in Vitez. I must admit that these
7 statements were correctly read out on television, but
8 nothing came of it all. There was little use -- little
10 Q. Thank you, Professor. Let us go to your
11 personal experience and I would be grateful if you
12 could tell the court what, briefly -- what happened to
13 you and your family on 16th April 1993?
14 A. 16th April, I was in my flat at the time.
15 I was working in the secondary school as a professor,
16 and about 20 past 5, we were woken up by shell fire,
17 mostly mortar fire and light infantry weapons could be
18 heard. We went into the basement. The lights were on,
19 however, there were no tenants there. Obviously,
20 somebody had come there earlier on, unlocked the door
21 and switched on the light. As we were alone, we went
22 back to our apartment. 20 minutes or so later, I was
23 looking through the window and I saw a flame in Stari
24 Vitez, obviously houses were on fire.
25 From the direction of Ahmici, one could hear
1 artillery fire, probably mortars were operating there
2 and there was a fire that could be heard from Stari
3 Vitez as well. I went down to the basement again with
4 my family and, this time, there were many tenants there
5 -- almost all of them were there, women and children,
6 both Croats and Muslims. All of us were frightened.
7 Both the Croatian and the Muslim women were crying,
8 because it was obvious that we had war and that the
9 situation was getting more and more complicated.
10 About 6 o'clock, some young men knocked on
11 the door wearing camouflage uniforms. A Croatian woman,
12 a neighbour of mine, opened the door. I wanted to open
13 it, but she said, "No, you will not open it, I will
14 open it." We were in the basement, and these two young
15 HVO men came to the door, and told us that the men
16 should go and unlock their apartments.
17 Q. Sorry, Professor, could you describe these
18 soldiers in camouflage. Did they have something on
19 their face -- did they wear masks or something similar?
20 A. I cannot describe them. Let me continue.
21 I turned towards my apartment door. When I got hold of
22 the handle, the door was unlocked and I was surprised
23 to see in my kitchen a man in a camouflage uniform with
24 a black stocking over his face. You could just see his
25 eyes, there were slots for his eyes. He was tall
1 wearing a camouflage uniform.
2 Next to him was my older son -- these local
3 people of Vitez covered themselves up with masks.
4 Q. How old was your son at that time?
5 A. My son was 15 at the time -- my older son who
6 was there. He was a secondary school pupil. May
7 I continue?
8 Q. Yes?
9 A. As the order was for the men to unlock the
10 doors, I called my son over, because I saw that this
11 man had an automatic rifle on him. And I must point
12 out that, before that, this young man standing there
13 had broken the door on the cupboard in the kitchen with
14 his rifle, and I had a pistol in that cupboard and this
15 was locked, because of my children, but I had a permit
16 for that pistol.
17 My oldest son told me later that he had asked
18 the soldier for permission to go downstairs and get the
19 key for the cupboard, but he would not let him, so he
20 broke the door and this man had looked through my
21 papers and my documents. He was obviously looking for
22 something and I was scared for my child.
23 So I said to Denis -- and that was my son's
24 name -- "Go to the basement." This young man was
25 obviously surprised, because, after all, they were not
1 sure of themselves. They were in another person's
2 apartment, and he said, "No", the young man could not
3 -- the child could not go downstairs, but I begged him
4 to let him go because I was afraid he would get
5 killed. I insisted that he go down and this masked man
6 took his automatic rifle, he cocked it, pointing it at
7 me and said he would kill me.
8 I tried to remain as cool as I could, and
9 collected. I knew that this man probably knew him,
10 because I had worked in the secondary school in Vitez
11 for some 20 years. So I said to him, "Listen, young
12 man, if you are looking for weapons, if you are looking
13 for the pistol, I have put it away. Just let the boy
14 go downstairs and keep me here." He asked me, "where
15 is the pistol?", and I said that it was in the
16 washing-machine where I had hidden it.
17 The boy moved towards the bathroom where the
18 washing-machine was. I pointed to my son, telling him
19 to come out. I must point out that behind me was a
20 Croat, my neighbour, Ilija Azinovic, who was ringing
21 his hands and who kept saying, "please go downstairs,
22 please go to the basement", as if he felt that
23 something terrible would happen.
24 My son went by me and I followed him. On the
25 staircase I was met by another young man, who was not
1 wearing a mask. He was about 180 centimetres tall, he
2 had freckles, he was wearing an earring in one ear. He
3 was not masked and I could recognise him if I were to
4 see him. He passed by me. He reached my apartment.
5 My neighbour, Ilija Azinovic, told me later, "Thank God
6 the masked man entered your flat first. If it had been
7 the other blond one, he would have killed you".
8 I said, "Why would he do that? I do not believe he
9 would have killed me." Mr. Azinovic said to me that this
10 blond fellow, when I went down the stairs, took a rifle
11 and pointed it at my back, he wanted to shoot, but the
12 masked man had come out of the apartment in the
13 meantime and he prevented him from doing that. My son
14 and I went to the basement.
15 Q. I have another question to put to you as to
16 this moment. In your experience, was somebody killed
17 during this episode in your basement -- actually
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Would you please tell the court?
21 A. I can.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness be asked
23 to slow down, please?
24 A. When I entered the basement we could hear
25 rifle fire.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Perhaps in your testimony,
2 you could make pauses, because the interpreters cannot
3 follow you, so please make a pause when you come to the
4 end of the sentence. Do you understand the need to
5 slow down and to make a pause at the full stop -- can
6 you continue?
7 A. Yes, yes, of course I understand. I can, but
8 I think that you are probably tired and you want to get
9 through this as quickly as possible, but I will slow
11 MR. MARCHESIELLO: Professor, I would like
12 you not to comment and not to make these kind of
13 comments, just answer my questions, possibly, and as
14 the President told you, try to slow down in order to
15 help the translators to do their job. Did you
16 understand that, please?
17 A. Yes. I do understand, thank you.
18 When we got to the basement, my boy and
19 myself, we heard bursts of fire on the upper storeys of
20 the building I lived in. My neighbour, Ms. Jasmina
21 Omerdic, started crying. We asked her why she was
22 crying. She said that her husband was not amongst us.
23 We did not dare go upstairs to see what was happening.
24 A couple of minutes later, we heard the sound
25 of military boots on the steps. Obviously, HVO soldiers
1 were leaving our building. Shortly after that, the
2 entrance door banged shut. I asked my neighbour,
3 Franjic, a Croat, to come with me to see Salih or
4 Omerdic's flat, to see whether the man was alive. The
5 man went with me for a couple of steps, but then he
6 moved away from me, and said that he did not have the
7 courage to go upstairs.
8 A good friend of mine, Ilija Azinovic,
9 offered to come with me, and we went to Salih Omerdic's
10 apartment. Salih was killed. His head and shoulders
11 were on the floor. His middle area and his pelvic area
12 and his legs were on a couch. I saw on the right-hand
13 side of his face a wound -- obviously, that was the
14 entry wound of the bullet. I moved closer to him.
15 I raised his head, and, from the other side of the
16 head, that is, in the same direction, was a larger
18 I bent down over the man and I saw another
19 wound on his neck -- as the head was leaning over to
20 one side, I saw that this was a blow with a knife. The
21 muscles of the neck had been cut. This part here
22 (indicating) had not been cut. Therefore, this was a
23 penetrating wound -- he had been stabbed. The man did
24 not show any signs of life.
25 Q. Did you go back to the basement?
1 A. No. Ilija Azinovic and myself laid the man
2 on the floor. I closed his mouth, and eyes. Then
3 I buttoned up his collar below his neck, so that his
4 wife, if she were to come to her apartment, would not
5 see this wound in his neck. Then we covered him with a
7 Another two neighbours came up then --
8 Professor Hajrudin Zisko and Emir Priganica -- they saw
9 this, and all of us then went back to the basement. We
10 had to let his wife know what had happened.
11 MR. MARCHESIELLO: Mr. Surkovic, I know how
12 concerned you are with the facts I am examining you
13 about and I do not want you to have the impression that
14 we are pushing you ahead. I want you to have all the
15 time you need -- you think necessary to tell what is
16 relevant to the case, but even if it is important for
17 you to say, we have to find a good measure as to this.
18 So, do you think it will take you a long time to go
19 ahead telling us your story from this point of view? .
20 I am saying that, because, your Honours,
21 I hope they will understand -- I think it is important
22 for the witness not to have the impression that all
23 what he has to say, and I personally will take care
24 about the fact that everything he is saying is relevant
25 to the case, but I think that psychologically he should
1 not be put in the situation where he is urged to
2 deliver his declarations, so I am sorry to say that,
3 but I am afraid that we will have to -- I cannot
4 maintain the promise I made to the court, and I think
5 I will take it a little longer time to go ahead with
6 this witness, if your Honours understand.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: No problem. You just
8 promised to try.
9 MR. MARCHESIELLO: Yes, I did.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, I think it
11 would not be advisable to pressure the witness. It is
12 just a question of organisation. The Trial Chamber is
13 fully conscious of the fact that we should not exert
14 any pressure on the witness. Therefore, I think it is
15 better for us to have our luncheon break and then, in
16 the afternoon, we can continue, calmly and quietly, and
17 at ease, so we are going to have a lunch break now and
18 we will resume work in the afternoon.
20 (The luncheon adjournment)
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good afternoon. Is
3 everybody ready to proceed?
4 MR. MARCHESIELLO: Yes, your Honour, we are.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The Prosecution has the
6 floor. Please proceed.
7 MR. MARCHESIELLO: Do you hear me,
8 Mr. Surkovic?
9 A. Yes, I can hear you very well.
10 Q. I did not have the same impression this
11 morning, but anyway, let me remind you that I will put
12 the precise question on a matter of fact and I am
13 expecting you to answer these questions. You have to
14 know and realise that this is not in an historical or
15 political context, or a sociological context -- it is a
16 judicial context -- yes? So I will ask you some
17 precise facts and please answer to them.
18 Now, I left you in your apartment building in
19 Zenica. Now, what I want to know and what the court
20 wants to know is what happened after that -- where were
21 you taken, if you were taken somewhere else?
22 A. The apartment was not in Zenica -- I was
23 talking about Vitez -- the apartment was in Vitez.
24 Q. Excuse me, Vitez.
25 A. So, at about 10 o'clock, three HVO soldiers
1 arrived. We were in the basement, and they ordered
2 Croats, both men and women, to one side of the basement
3 -- to go to one side of the basement and the Muslims
4 to go to the other side of the basement. Both Croatian
5 and Muslim women started crying, because a murder had
6 already happened in the building and we did not know
7 what was awaiting us.
8 After that, an order came for the Muslims,
9 both men and women, to take their children and go to
10 the premises of the Workers' University.
11 Q. And were you conducted there and by whom, if
13 A. May I just add something, please? Some women
14 fainted. HVO soldiers asked me, because they
15 recognised me, to tell them that we were only going to
16 the Workers' University to sign a piece of paper and
17 that no harm would be done to anyone, so these three
18 HVO soldiers took us to the basement of the Workers'
20 Q. Which kind of situation did you find there?
21 Were there other Muslim people gathered?
22 A. Once we got there, there were about 20
23 persons there -- there were women and children, and
24 children 10 years of age. Dr. Ekrem Mahmutovic was
25 there as well. The rest of us were all men.
1 Q. What happened then, were the women and
2 children sent back home later on?
3 A. New groups of people were being brought in,
4 including women and children, who were camped there for
5 about four hours.
6 Q. And what happened then?
7 A. Then women and children were released and
8 sent back home, whereas men between the age of 16 and
9 70 and over remained there at the camp.
10 Q. Was it a camp or a building?
11 A. I say it was a camp. There was no barbed
12 wire around it. However, we were not free -- it was
13 not a usual prison. Those were premises in the
14 basement, but the reason I am referring to it as a
15 "camp" is because innocent people were being detained
17 Q. I understand your point of view. How long
18 did you remain there?
19 A. In that camp, I remained until the 3rd of May
21 Q. Which were the conditions within the Radnicki
23 A. We did not have any blankets there, there
24 were no beds. We were given a can of fish a day and a
25 quarter of a loaf of bread. However, our families were
1 allowed to bring us some food and some blankets as
3 Q. During your stay there, did you notice
4 whether some of the prisoners were taken out of those
5 premises, and for what reason, if so?
6 A. Three days later, we were allowed to, whoever
7 wanted to go, to move to the cinema hall and to the
8 upper storey and about 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock, groups
9 of people were being taken to dig trenches.
10 Q. Did all of them return on those occasions, or
11 were some of them missing?
12 A. Since I used to work as a teacher, I knew
13 many as young men, I remember Almir Gadjun, who used to
14 be a student of mine, who never came back. The people
15 who were there with him told us that he had been killed
16 while digging trenches.
17 Q. After how many days did you leave the cinema
18 where you had moved, and how many of you did leave the
20 A. On the 30th of April, representatives of the
21 BiH army and the HVO arrived and they told us that we
22 would be released on the 1st of May and that we would
23 be sent home. However, this did not take place, and
24 there were about 85, 86 people at that time at the
25 cinema hall. A number of them, perhaps 60 of them, did
1 go home on the following day -- that is, on the 1st of
2 May, whereas 23 of us remained at the cinema hall.
3 Q. And when did you leave the cinema hall --
4 those who had remained?
5 A. On the 3rd of May, around 4 o'clock,
6 20 minutes past 4, Zlatko Nakic arrived in the cinema
7 hall and he called names of certain detainees. He
8 called out seven names, seven of us, and he ordered us
9 to take our things and to get out to the corridor.
10 They took us to a van, and they transported us from
11 there to the chess club.
12 Q. Do you remember the names, or some of the
13 names, of those who were with you on that occasion?
14 A. I remember all of them -- Fuad Kaknjo was
15 with us, an engineer; Bahtija Sivro; Suad Salkic, also
16 an engineer; Edib Zlotrg, Alija Basic, and two more
17 persons whose names I cannot remember right now.
18 Q. So, how many of you were taken to the chess
20 A. Seven of us were taken to the chess club from
21 the cinema hall, and later on five more people from
22 Vitez were brought to the chess club, all of them
23 Muslims. One more man by the name of Sahman joined us
24 later on. He had been at Manjaca, in one of the
25 Chetnik camps and, after he was released, he came back
1 to Vitez and then he was arrested again.
2 Q. Professor Surkovic, were you able, in those
3 circumstances, to send a message? You say that your
4 relatives were allowed to visit you with food; were you
5 able to have a message to your relatives delivered --
6 the fact that you were being brought away from the
8 A. I suspected that something was wrong, because
9 they had released a large number of people from the
10 camp, and the 13 of us were transported to the chess
11 club, so I had an inkling that something bad would
12 happen, so I made a list of people, all 13 of us who
13 were there at the chess club. I sent -- I gave that
14 list to the wife of a colleague of mine, who was there
15 with me at the camp, who happened to be passing under
16 the window. Her last name is Karajko and her husband
17 was there with me. He told her to bring him some food
18 to the chess club, and on that occasion I gave her the
19 list, and I asked her to take -- to make copies of that
20 list and to give it to our families and to UNPROFOR
21 and, if possible, to the command of the 325th Vitez
23 Q. So, your assumption is that it was known you
24 were being taken away from the cinema and brought to
25 the chess club?
1 A. Well, since -- at 4.30, 4.20am we were taken
2 from the cinema hall, only seven of us from that camp,
3 it was obvious that I could not expect anything good to
4 happen to us, and also, in view of our previous
5 experiences and considering the murders that had taken
6 place in Vitez, and in view of certain provocations to
7 my family, to my relatives; late night calls, the
8 destruction of my property in Vitez and so on.
9 Q. I understand you were asked not to bring your
10 things with you -- your belongings -- is that correct?
11 A. At the chess club, we spent two days and two
12 nights. When they took us from the chess club to
13 Busovaca, it is true that Mr. Marko Vidovic answered to
14 my question whether I shall take personal belongings,
15 he said that we would not need anything there and that
16 we should not take anything with us.
17 Q. When you left -- on leaving the chess club,
18 the HVO soldiers did not give you any indication about
19 the place you were going to be taken to?
20 A. No, they did not say anything to us and I had
21 the feeling that they were doing it in secret -- in
22 secrecy. A van arrived and Marko Vidovic called us out
23 and told us to get on the van. The driver turned on
24 the engine and we set off.
25 Q. So you said you did go to Busovaca, or Kaonik
1 more precisely. How long did this trip take?
2 A. This all happened five years ago and, to the
3 best of my recollection, I believe that we set off
4 around 10 o'clock on the 5th of May -- that we left the
5 premises of the chess club. Kaonik is not very far
6 from Vitez. However, when we got there in front of the
7 former military warehouse at Kaonik, we did not get off
8 immediately, but we stood -- we remained sitting in the
9 van for about an hour, an hour and 20 minutes. We did
10 not know why we were waiting, and what they planned to
11 do with us.
12 Q. And what happened then?
13 A. Then we were ordered to leave the van, to get
14 off, and we had to walk in a single file, one by one,
15 to the premises of the former military warehouse that
16 had been redone in the meantime. We were searched at
17 the entrance. We had to take out all our belongings
18 from our pockets and raise our hands so the HVO
19 soldiers could search us. They then took us to cell
20 number 13.
21 Q. Can you describe the interior of this
22 building in which you were searched and then detained
23 into cell number 13?
24 A. In my estimate, it is a square building which
25 is approximately 30 metres long. In front of the
1 building was a kind of platform -- the kind they have
2 at warehouses from where trucks are loaded. There was
3 a large corridor running across the middle of the
4 building and there was also a table with chairs, where
5 we used to take our meals. Also, in the building,
6 inside the building, was a large stove that had been
7 made of a barrel -- an oil stove that heated all the
8 premises inside the building, so that was at the
9 entrance -- at the entrance of that particular
11 On the right-hand side, there was an office
12 of the police and, on the left-hand side, there was the
13 office of Mr. Zlatko Aleksovski.
14 MR. MARCHESIELLO: If I am permitted, I would
15 like to introduce as evidence one photograph.
16 THE REGISTRAR: It is document exhibit
17 number 65. (Handed).
18 MR. MARCHESIELLO: Mr. Surkovic, can you look
19 at the photograph which is on the ELMO and tell the
20 court whether these are the premises you have been
21 describing to us?
22 A. Yes, this is the area I have been
23 describing. You can see the stove here and the table
24 at which we took our meals (indicating), both lunch and
25 dinner. Here on the sides (indicating), you can see
1 doors. Here (indicating) was cell number 19 where
2 prisoners were detained.
3 Q. Can you show us and sign with a pen the
4 office where the guards used to stay?
5 A. Here on this photograph I cannot really
6 recognise the office, but I know it was on the left
7 side as you enter the building -- it was behind glass,
8 so that those people could control movement. I do not
9 remember very well and I cannot observe this particular
10 detail on the photograph.
11 Q. And can you point to cell number 13 where you
12 have been detained?
13 A. Cell number 13 -- I believe it was behind the
14 stove. As you get in here to the corridor
15 (indicating), the police were on the right-hand side
16 and, after the police office, the office of the police,
17 was cell number 13. So, if the entrance is here
18 (indicating), then cell number 13 should be thereabouts
19 (indicating). So, the first door after the police --
20 after the office of the police.
21 Q. Can you mark with a pen and the letter "A"
22 the cell number -- where you did locate cell number 13?
23 A. I believe that this is the bed that used to
24 be here (indicating). The police must have been here
25 and I believe that behind this area here (indicating)
1 was cell number 13. It was five years ago. I am not
2 quite sure, but I believe it was there (indicating).
3 Q. Will you be so kind as to draw a letter "A"
4 near the cross you marked? (Witness marked
6 Thank you. Do you remember something
7 specific happening immediately after you were put into
8 the cell? Did some sort of incident occur?
9 A. Yes, I remember an incident that occurred
10 then, although it was some time ago -- we entered the
11 cell and it was normal for us to tidy up the area a
12 little bit. There was a wooden pallet there with a
13 mattress and some blankets on it, but it was all messy,
14 so we wanted to clean it up a little bit. The
15 professor who was brought there with me, Kadir Dzidic,
16 found a big knife under the blanket.
17 Q. And then what did you decide to do with this
19 A. We then called the shift commander, and we
20 showed him the knife. This gentleman was very angry
21 when he saw the knife and he started shouting at the
22 guards, and he wanted to know how the knife had ended
23 up there, and one of those young men was honest and he
24 said that he had forgotten the knife there by accident
25 and the shift commander said that he would investigate
1 the whole case and that this young man would be
2 punished for that.
3 Q. Professor Surkovic, during your stay in
4 Kaonik, you spent all your time in the cell -- you,
5 personally -- did you?
6 A. Yes, I did, except for one day when I went to
7 a medical examination -- I only stayed four days at
8 cell number 13. Later on, I was transferred -- we were
9 transferred to another cell where there was more room
10 for sleeping, because in this other one there were 13
11 of us and that cell was only 15 or 16 square metres
12 large, so they wanted to give us somewhat better
14 Q. Thank you. And, during your stay in Kaonik,
15 were some of you interrogated and who, if so?
16 A. The first amongst us was taken, I think, on
17 the third day for interrogation -- his name was Serif
18 Causevic. He is now deceased. He was taken about
19 6 o'clock in the afternoon. He stayed there for about
20 four hours. When he came back from the interrogation,
21 he was crying. We asked him did anyone beat him. He
22 said they had not, but that the interrogation was very
23 hard to bear. He said it was some sort of
24 cross-examination; there were three investigators; he
25 was extremely depressed. We thought he had been beaten
1 up, but he said -- he denied it, but he just found the
2 interrogation difficult.
3 Q. Where had he been taken in order to be
4 interrogated -- did he tell you?
5 A. He told us that they had taken him outside
6 the building. To tell you the truth, he did say where,
7 but I do not remember now -- I think he was taken to
8 town, to the MUP premises, or the municipality. In any
9 case, it was not there he was interrogated; he was
10 taken somewhere by car.
11 Q. Can you tell who did call him out of the cell
12 on that occasion?
13 A. No, I do not know.
14 Q. And did he not tell you anything about those
15 investigators -- were they from the police, were they
16 HVO, from the military police -- did he give you any
17 indication about that?
18 A. He said that there was a highly experienced
19 man among them, that he was a professional to all
20 intents and purposes -- a man who must have worked in
21 the judiciary before, who knew how to put the questions
22 and who expected exhaustive answers. But he did not
23 mention any names, because he did not know the people
24 who interrogated him.
25 Q. And who else was interrogated after that?
1 A. After that, engineer Fuad Kaknjo was taken
2 for interrogation. He was kept there a long time. He
3 did not come back the whole night, but I was not in his
4 cell when he was taken away -- I was in cell number 9.
5 But, later on, he told me that it was very hard for
6 him, that we had a lot of problems. He said he was
7 beaten during the interrogation and, when we left the
8 camp, he still had some bruises on his body. After
9 Fuad Kaknjo, engineer Bahtija Sivro went for
10 interrogation and Basic Alija, and I do not think they
11 took anyone else for interrogation.
12 Q. During your stay there, were you visited by
13 the Red Cross or by ECMM?
14 A. Yes, yes -- there were two visits. The first
15 was by the International Red Cross. They filmed the
16 cells, they talked to us, they filmed us. We asked the
17 International Red Cross to organise medical checkups
18 for us and, also, for them to intervene and prevent us
19 being taken to dig trenches, as we were afraid that
20 someone might get killed there and I can confirm now
21 that, out of our group, no-one was taken to dig
22 trenches, and that the very next day we were taken to
23 see a doctor for an examination, and whoever wanted to
24 see a doctor was enabled to do so.
25 Q. And what about the ECMM visit?
1 A. Yes, yes -- they came, too. I remember that
2 these men in cell number 9, and there were five of us,
3 asked me to talk to them. We presented our comments in
4 a nice manner so that our stay in Busovaca was
5 facilitated by these visits, by the International Red
6 Cross and the European Monitors. We felt freer, safer,
7 we knew people knew where we were, and we did not
8 expect anything bad to happen to us if the world knew
9 where we were.
10 Q. Was the camp commander with them?
11 A. No, no, he was not. I saw the camp commander
12 only two or three times in my whole life. If
13 necessary, I can explain when I saw him.
14 Q. First of all, did you know his name?
15 A. The first time, that is, the third day after
16 we arrived in the camp, Mr. Aleksovski came in to cell
17 number 13. He called out, asking for Edib Zlotrg.
18 Zlatko introduced himself. He said he was the camp
19 commander, Zlatko Aleksovski, and that he had come to
20 convey to them a message from his relatives in Zenica.
21 That was the first time.
22 Q. Then, was there another name?
23 A. Yes. After the European Monitors left,
24 Zlatko came by to cell number 9 once. He talked to us
25 for a while and he offered people cigarettes. The
1 third time was when we were about to leave to be
2 exchanged, and I asked Mr. Aleksovski then for some of
3 my things to be returned, which had been seized from me
4 in cell number 9 by HVO soldiers.
5 Q. And then when were you released?
6 A. On the 14th of May orders came for us to be
7 released, and for us to be exchanged. Clearly, we had
8 to sign those orders and that was the third time I saw
9 Mr. Aleksovski, because he told us this, and we were not
10 released straight away, but we were taken back to
12 When we reached the cinema, we were told that
13 we had to wait for half an hour for some HVO commanders
14 to come for us, to sign some papers and that we would
15 then be released. However, that was not what
16 happened. We were held in the cinema for another two
17 days and two nights, which means the 15th and the 16th,
18 and it was only after that that we were released.
19 Q. Did some meeting take place during your stay
20 there, during those two days?
21 A. Yes. One day -- I think it was the second
22 day of our stay -- it was the 15th of May, two young
23 HVO men entered the cinema and they called out Suad
24 Salkic, an engineer, to come out. I asked whether
25 anyone else should come with him and he said there was
1 no need, because these were his acquaintances and
2 neighbours from the village of Sadovaca. However,
3 shortly after that we heard some strange sounds in the
4 corridor. I opened the door and I saw that these two
5 young HVO men were beating Suad Salkic with a wooden
7 The policeman on duty ran up and we also came
8 out of the cinema hall, so that we grabbed engineer
9 Salkic away and the policeman on duty started yelling
10 at these two young men who had beat Salkic. One of
11 them had hit him with this pole at the back of the
12 head, so that he was bleeding. He was as white as the
13 wall; he was terrified. We took him back into the
14 cinema hall, and that was how the incident ended.
15 Of course, I personally later informed
16 Mr. Santic about this, as well as Mario Cerkez, Stipo
17 Krizanac and Boro Zozic, who came to visit us two hours
19 Q. Why did they come to visit you?
20 A. Mr. Ivica Santic, not being aware of this
21 incident, proposed that we should not leave Vitez. He
22 asked that we stay and that, within a period of two
23 hours, they would return our apartment keys to us.
24 I asked Mr. Ivica, "How safe will we be in our
25 apartments and will we be protected adequately?"
1 Mr. Ivica answered that we would be as protected and as
2 safe as he and that we had nothing to fear and he asked
3 us to stay, saying that, if we left Vitez, that many
4 other people, including both Croats and Muslims with
5 high qualifications, would leave Vitez, following our
7 I turned Mr. Suad Salkic around and he was
8 still bleeding at the back of his head and I asked him,
9 "Is this the kind of safety you are guaranteeing for
10 us?" They were extremely surprised to see the man
11 bleeding so heavily, and I explained to them then what
12 had happened.
13 I said that we would not stay in Vitez --
14 under no circumstances -- and that, if they had really
15 wanted us to stay, they would not have taken us to a
16 camp, deprived us of our freedom, and I also said, "If
17 you do not let our families go with us, then we will
18 protest, too, and we will not move from here."
19 I wish to point out that I had learned
20 previously from people who had passed through this
21 area, from Croats, my friends -- and I stressed that
22 every Muslim family had at least five or six Croat
23 friends, so there were decent honourable people -- and
24 I learned that my family had already been moved to
25 Zenica but not the families of my friends and that is
1 why I insisted that our families should go with us,
2 that is, the families of the other people who were with
3 me in the camp.
4 Q. So, when were you exchanged?
5 A. On the 16th of May, about 12 o'clock in the
6 village of Poculica, the exchange took place. We were
7 taken to Zenica with our families.
8 MR. MARCHESIELLO: Thank you, I have no more
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, you surely
11 have questions to put to the witness.
12 Cross-examined by MR. MIKULICIC
13 Q. I do have some questions, your Honour, but
14 not too many.
15 Good afternoon.
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. My name is Goran Mikulicic, I am an attorney
18 and I represent the accused in this case together with
19 my colleague, Mr. Joka, sitting next to me. I should
20 now like to ask you a number of questions and I would
21 ask you kindly to answer them to the best of your
23 Mr. Surkovic, in view of your previous life
24 that you have described to us, you were a prominent
25 figure in Vitez and the surroundings. What I mean is
1 that you knew many people and many people knew you; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Similarly, during these critical events that
5 we are discussing, that is, the first half of 1993, you
6 had contact with some quite important people in the
7 area; is that correct?
8 A. One could say that.
9 Q. Mr. Surkovic, did you ever have any contact
10 with Mr. Zlatko Aleksovski?
11 A. I saw Mr. Aleksovski in Busovaca three times
12 and I knew nothing about him from before that.
13 Q. So, you saw Mr. Aleksovski for the first time
14 in Kaonik?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You have described to us the events, your
17 arrival at Kaonik, and the entrance to the building
18 where you were put up. Do you remember whether, at the
19 entrance to the building, there was any kind of board?
20 A. I do not recollect that.
21 Q. Do you remember whether there were locks on
22 the doors of the cells where you were?
23 A. The door could only be opened outwards. We
24 could not open the door from the inside, but, if we
25 needed anything, we had to knock, and the guard on duty
1 would remove a kind of lid that was on the door, he
2 would peep inside and ask us what we wanted and then he
3 would open the door from the outside.
4 Q. Do you remember how he opened the door?
5 A. On the door, there was a kind of latch, a
6 kind of lever, which was lifted (indicating) and on the
7 door frame was another latch and that is how the door
8 could be opened.
9 Q. Do you remember, Mr. Surkovic, that, in
10 addition to people of Muslim origin, there were people
11 of other ethnic origins?
12 A. I remember very well that one evening, about
13 10 o'clock, a Croatian soldier was brought to cell
14 number 9. His name was Zoran. He was a bit tipsy --
15 he was under the influence of alcohol. He was very
16 talkative. He had no weapons on him. He told us that
17 he had fled from the front, that the fighting was
18 fierce, and that he had somehow found a bottle of
19 spirits. He had drunk it, he had been caught by the
20 HVO police and they had brought him to cell number 9.
21 If you need any more details, I can go into
23 Q. No, that is fine, Mr. Surkovic. Mr. Surkovic,
24 you said that during your stay in Kaonik you saw Zlatko
25 Aleksovski on three occasions; do you remember how he
1 was dressed?
2 A. He was dressed in a camouflage uniform, but
3 I did not notice any ranks indicated on the uniform of
4 Mr. Aleksovski.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Mr. Surkovic. Thank
6 you, your Honours, I have no further questions.
7 MR. MARCHESIELLO: No further questions.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Surkovic, I have a
9 question. At one point, you said that you asked
10 Mr. Aleksovski for the property which had been taken
11 away from you previously by the HVO; did I understand
12 you well?
13 A. Yes, you did, you understood me very well.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Did Mr. Aleksovski say
15 anything to that?
16 A. Mr. Aleksovski was very angry when I said that
17 HVO soldiers had entered the cells on a number of
18 occasions and they had indeed entered, and that, on one
19 occasion, they had taken some of our personal
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But did Mr. Aleksovski give
22 you back your property? What was his answer to you?
23 A. The gentleman was very angry when he learnt
24 about this --
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But why was he very angry?
1 A. I said that HVO soldiers had entered the
2 cells on a number of occasions and they had mistreated
3 some of the prisoners and, on top of that, they had
4 taken some of my personal belongings. He said that
5 this should not have happened. He appeared to be
6 astonished, because these people who, with me in the
7 camp, knew that my family was in Vitez, that my
8 apartment had been destroyed, my car had been destroyed
9 and everything, but this was something I cared about,
10 I cherished, so I did -- I decided that I wanted to get
11 it back.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Surkovic, you have
13 completed your testimony here at the International
14 Criminal Tribunal. We wish to thank you for coming,
15 once again, and we wish you a safe journey home. Thank
17 A. Thank you, your Honours.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I think that we have some
19 other witnesses for today, Mr. Prosecutor?
20 MR. NIEMANN: No, your Honours, there are no
21 more witnesses for today. We have another witness for
22 tomorrow, but not for today.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: In that case, we meet
24 again tomorrow.
25 (The witness withdrew)
2 (The hearing adjourned until 10.00 am
3 on Thursday, 5th March 1998)