JUDGE RODRIGUES: We're back in public
hearing, fine. You have the floor, Mr. Mikulicic.
MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your. Honour, the
Defence calls Anto Juric.
(The witness entered court)
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, sir, you are
Mr. Anto Juric, aren't you?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Can you hear me? You are
going to read out the solemn declaration which will be
handed to you by the usher.
THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
JUDGE RODRIGUES: You can sit down. Are you
comfortable Mr. Juric? You are going to answer
questions put to you by Mr. Mikulicic who is on your
THE WITNESS: ANTO JURIC
Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
Q. Good morning, Mr. Juric. I am Mikulicic, I'm
the attorney for the defendant, Aleksovski, in this
trial. I have a few questions for you and I kindly ask
you to respond to them to the best of your knowledge
and as far as you can remember. Mr. Juric, tell me
when were you born and where?
A. I was born on the 30th of May 1961 in Zenica.
Q. Where did you attend elementary school?
A. In Busovaca.
Q. Tell us, Mr. Juric, what are you by
A. I'm a Croat.
Q. Are you a religious person?
Q. What denomination do you belong to?
A. Roman Catholic.
Q. Mr. Juric, you said that you attended
elementary school in Busovaca; after that did you
continue your education?
A. Yes, I completed secondary school in Zenica.
It was a secondary school for machine building.
Q. Did you find a job after that?
A. Yes, I did. In Drivusa near Zenica, metal
works near Zenica.
Q. Mr. Juric, at that time did you do your
service in the former Yugoslav People's Army?
A. Yes, I did in the reserve officer's school
and then in Pula.
Q. Do you remember when this was?
A. In '81,'82.
Q. Mr. Juric, when you did your military service
in the Yugoslav People's Army did you get a rank?
A. Yes, I did. I became a lieutenant when I got
out of the army, and after that I was a reserve
Q. Tell us, Mr. Juric, what are you involved in
now? Where do you have a job?
A. In Vitez, and I am an operational officer in
Q. So, now you are a professional soldier;
A. Yes, I am.
Q. What rank do you hold now?
A. I'm a major.
Q. Mr. Juric, when did you join the military
units from a professional point of view?
A. Professionally I joined the military units as
soon as the HVO was established, but before that I was
a volunteer. I was a guard when the Serb aggression
started against our territories.
Q. You mentioned the Serb aggression against the
territory of central Bosnia; do you remember when this
A. Could you please repeat your question?
Q. Do you recall when you joined the village
defence, the village defence against the Serb
A. This was on the 15th of November, 1991.
Q. At that time you joined the defence of the
village, what village is this?
A. It is the village of Ravan a small village
Q. Mr. Juric, who took part of the defence of
the village, were these only Croats or were there
Muslims, how was this organised? Could you tell us?
A. The village of Ravan is a purely Croat
village so only Croats performed certain duties there
in that area.
Q. Oh, I understand. But after these events at
the end of 1991, what kind of activities were you
A. After 1991, and until 1992 on the 8th of
April, the HVO was established and that is when I
received my first command. I came to command a platoon
and I spent my time and activities in the HVO.
So we fought against the Serbs, the Serb
army, which this was the Serb army that was moving in
this area, well, we would stop them and in the area
near Gavrine Kuce we had guards throughout the
territory and that's what we were involved in.
Q. Mr. Juric, tell me at that time, you
mentioned that you had checkpoints too where there were
guards. Were these also units of the HVO only or were
there also units that consisted of Muslim persons too?
A. In the mountains, we had a facility called
Luska and during a certain period of time we acted
together with the units of the Muslim army. We had
joint guard duty and joint checkpoints up there.
Q. Do you remember how long this lasted and how
this cooperation stopped?
A. For reasons unknown to me this cooperation
stopped. It is not clear to me why they gave up on
this. I mean on working with us, but they did stay up
there in that area, but we weren't in the same facility
any longer, not in the same facility where we were
before that. Perhaps I could say more about this.
Q. I am trying to make a break between the
questions and the answers so that the interpreters
could give a full translation of what is being said.
Mr. Juric, if I understood you correctly,
this means that the members of the Muslim military
units who, together with members of the Croat military
units held under their control certain checkpoints
against the JNA army and the Serb army. That the
Muslim units left this cooperation of their own
A. Yes, yes, that is correct. I imagine that
this is the case. I don't know why they withdrew.
Q. Do you remember when this was?
A. The second half of 1992. But I don't know
the exact time.
Q. Well, yes, of course. Mr. Juric, what
happened after that, at the end of 1992 and the
beginning of 1993, in the region of the Municipality of
A. At that time, I mean later, when I thought
about these events, strange things were happening. At
the end of 1992, a patrol of ours was stopped in the
region of Crni Vrh near Busovaca. This is a mountain.
They were disarmed. Their armaments were taken away
from them and they were released. They were allowed to
Q. Who did this?
A. Our disarmed men said that they recognised
these people as being Muslims from Pezici and
Kovacevac, from that area.
Q. Did they say why the members of the Muslim
military units did this?
A. No, they didn't say why, but they assumed who
did this. When they came back they said these were the
people who did it, and the then commander listened to
what they had to say. I was present there and I asked
the commander to allow me to go to that village and to
talk to the Muslim commander of the units there. To
ask them to return these weapons to us on the
assumption that that his soldiers took these weapons
from them. The commander allowed me to do this. I
went to the village. I found the Muslim commander.
His last name was Sibra. I can't remember his first
name. Monib, I think. I told him what it was all
about. And he said, "I think that it is our people who
did it, but we're going to find these weapons and give
them back to you."
Q. And did this actually happen?
A. No, it didn't.
Q. After that, in Predoci near Losic (phoen),
the place I mentioned where our units used to go, the
Muslims deployed a unit of theirs up there which had
never been there beforehand. And then, the commander
again issued orders to me to go up there and to see why
they deployed their units in that area. Why they took
that position. I carried out my orders. And, at that
point, our unit went there to assume their shift of
their Luska, I accompanied them. I got out of the
truck in a certain point and they continued to Luska.
I stopped where these soldiers were. I looked for the
commander of the Muslim unit. I wanted to talk to
him. The commander came. We sat and talked. They
even prepared some coffee for me. And I asked him,
"why are you here?"
And he replied that they were there so that
they could cut off our communications there towards
Luska, our communication lines.
And I said, "but there is no need for that.
Why are you doing that? Because you know what our task
up there is and there is no need for you to do that to
And he said then, "if it were up to me, I
would cut off all your communication lines. You
couldn't move around at all." And I felt very
unpleasant at that point.
And at, one moment, I noticed that something
was going on in their ranks. The commander got up and
went to them and they were casting glances in my
direction and I saw that something was wrong. And I
even thought that I could get up and leave that place
myself, but I didn't do it after all. I had expected
the same people who brought me up there to take me back
to Busovaca. So I sat there for about an hour and a
half. I thought about all of this and then the people
who brought me up there came to pick me up again.
I went back to Busovaca. At the entrance to
Busovaca, one of my soldiers, one of our soldiers,
stopped me and said, tell me, do you know what
happened? And I said, no, I don't know. And he said
Ivica Petrovic was killed in Kacuni and then I realised
that the commotion I witnessed up there was this
unusual thing that I had noticed amongst them.
Q. Mr. Juric, do you remember when this event
A. Well, I can't tell you the exact date, but it
was one or two days before the 20th of March.
Q. Of what month? And what year?
A. It was the 23rd of January, 1992 or 1993.
No, it was 1993.
Q. Mr. Juric, could you tell us how you
performed your military duties at that time?
A. When that happened, I was the commander of
the brigade, the post was together with the civilian
authorities, it was a sort of coordinator for the
territory at that particular time when the incident
Q. Yes, I understand. Thank you.
Mr. Juric, when we're speaking about these
events at the beginning of 1993 in the Busovaca area,
can you tell us whether you were there on the territory
for the entire time?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. May we then conclude that you are well
acquainted with the events that took place in the
Municipality of Busovaca in that particular territory?
A. Yes, I do know of the events full well
because I spent some time there.
Q. You mentioned the date when in the village of
Kacuni, Ivica Petrovic was killed. Can you tell us
what happened in the village of Kacuni? Who inhabited
the village of Kacuni? Whose village was it?
A. Well, Kacuni, in my opinion, was a village
with Muslims and Croats living there. But there were
dominant Muslims. But there were Croats there as
And I recall another event that took place in
the region. In the same period when this took place on
the Crni Vrh area. Whether on that particular evening
or the next evening, a Croat came also from Kacuni and
he asked us, he told us, "why don't you tell us to
move? Why don't you tell us to move out of Kacuni?"
I happened to be there quite by chance with
the commander and I said, "Why? Why should I do this?
Tell you this?"
Well, he said "because up there the Muslims
were coming in from Busovaca, women and children, and
something is happening there; whereas you're telling us
nothing." And he said that people were talking about
war up there.
I said that I am with the commander of the
brigade and I said, "what war are you talking about?"
So that was more or less what took place and I recall
this particular event with that man.
Q. Mr. Juric, in talking to the man, did you
come to conclude that he was a Croat living in a Muslim
encirclement and that he was uneasy about the events
which would lead to an attack of some kind? How did
you understand this?
A. Well, to tell you the truth, I did not take
him seriously. I did not take his statements
seriously. I did know that there was a certain amount
of tension boiling. That there was a certain amount of
latent unrest. But a battle or war, to tell you the
truth, I had no idea of this. I did not think about
that at the time.
Q. You mentioned on several occasions that
according to your function, your position, that you
were with the brigade command. Could you tell us
whether, during your stay with the command there, you
heard or saw anything that would tell you that, in the
brigade of the HVO, certain preparations were taking
place for an attack on the Muslim population?
Q. Mr. Juric, do you recall the day which
followed the killing of the Ivica Petrovic in Kacuni,
that is to say the 24th of January, 1993, what happened
on that particular day?
A. Well, it's difficult to describe this in
simple terms. On the occasion, the commander, when the
killing of Ivica took place, the commander decided that
I should take over the command. And he said, take over
the command, take up your up post. I did this on that
same evening. And as the killing had taken place, we
were sort of prepared on a state of alert, a kind of --
for any possible events that could ensue.
And, in the morning, the next day, there was
gunfire from all sides. It is difficult to recall what
happened exactly. I was confused on that morning
because I had never experienced anything of the kind.
Although I had been to the battle grounds of Jajce
against the Serbian army there. But, as I say, gunfire
began, there was shooting and I think the command from
the brigade called us from Nezerovici. They called
Croats, the Croats called and said, what are we to do,
we're being fired at?
And we had a radio link with the Point 12.
And they said that they were being attacked as well.
As I had links with both sides, I asked -- I wanted to
draw them out towards Busovaca because Busovaca itself
is predominantly Croatian population there. And I
wanted to bring them away from Kacuni to Busovaca and
from Lasva to Busovaca as well. From Nezerovici, some
people succeeded in fleeing. They went towards
From Dusina, the people remained there. They
did not listen to me, although I do think they could
have withdrawn from that position. They said that
Zvonko, commander at that time, wanted to talk to them
and negotiate. They were taken prisoner and later I
learned that a lot of them were shot as well. So the
battle had already brought. We had units in Lavna, in
Busina, in Kacuvina, Kula (phoen) and all over the
territory. And with all these units we were able to
set up a defence around Busovaca.
Q. Mr. Juric, if I understood you correctly, and
I should like you to be as precise as possible, not to
say "them," and use the terms "us" and "them" and so
on, but to say who you actually mean so that the Trial
Chamber can understand you correctly. So if I
understood you correctly, there was a coordinated
attack from the Muslim positions where the Muslim
villages were located on the Town of Busovaca; is that
A. Yes, it is.
Q. Mr. Juric, I am now going to show you a map
of the area and I am going to ask you, when speaking of
these events, to illustrate this by pointing to the map
so that the Trial Chamber and all of us here in the
Chamber could get a better view of what was actually
happening. Would the usher show the witness the map,
which is evidence P-78. I don't know if we can focus
the camera on the map so that we can see the map
Mr. Juric, would you take a look at the map
more closely and could you tell me whether you can find
your way around? Can you find your way on the map and
find Busovaca on it and the areas that we mentioned a
THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
THE WITNESS: I can see Travnik and Zenica.
Q. So you can find your way on the map. Mr.
Juric, the points on the map have been conceived, the
markings, that is, have been conceived in such a way
that the blue separated line are the positions of the
BH-Army, whereas the red dotted line denote the
positions of the Croatian Defence Council. Those are
the markings on the map. Can you tell us by looking at
the map whether in your opinion these positions are in
keeping of the events that you recall and your
experience, globally speaking?
A. Yes, they are.
Q. Mr. Juric, you have been a professional
soldier for some time now, can you explain in the
military tactical sense where the Lasva Valley is
located, what the terrain is like on the left and right
side in comparison to Busovaca and who had taken over
the terrain overlooking Busovaca?
A. Well, the Lasva River Valley is a valley as
it says and Busovaca is along a communication line
between Sarajevo, Kiseljak and Zenica, Kaonik and
towards Travnik. Busovaca is located at some 400
metres altitude and on the left and right it is
surrounded by hills and mountains. On the right hand
side, somewhere above Busovaca, some 400 or 800 metres
and on the left hand side is at an altitude of 1.200
metres. Which means Busovaca as a town is in a
Let me also tell you that in Busovaca, the
Municipality of Busovaca is much broader than is shown
here. So the municipality encompasses a broader area
and there were somewhere around 50 per cent Muslim
population and 50 per cent Croat population. But
Busovaca as a town and the areas immediately around
Busovaca were inhabited by Croats; whereas the external
regions were populated by the Muslim population.
Q. Looking at the area in depth, you said that
there was an area which was predominantly inhabited by
the Muslims with a large town, which is the town of
Zenica in the area?
A. Yes, that's right. This is where Zenica is
located and the population is predominantly Muslim.
All this is Muslim. Down here we have Kakanj and
Visoko. And so on. But mostly this is an area
populated by Muslim population.
Q. Would you agree with me now, Mr. Juric, by
saying that Busovaca was surrounded by a territory
which geographically was at a high altitude and
population-wise it was inhabited by the Muslims?
A. Yes, that's true. And you can see this on
the map, if you look at it. Those are the facts as you
have stated them.
Q. Mr. Juric, you said that through this area,
which is surrounded by a Muslim population, through the
valley, that there is an important communication line?
Q. Is it true that that communication line in
fact links up two Muslim regions, if we looked from
Sarajevo on the one side and from Zenica on the other?
A. Yes, it is a very important communication,
both towards Zenica and towards Travnik. And
Travnik/Zenica line and from Travnik to Kiseljak.
Q. In the military strategic sense, is this
communication line an important one?
A. Yes, it is. All communication lines are
important. This is a particularly important one.
Q. If I were to ask you, Mr. Juric, in your
opinion of command of the unit on the defence of
Busovaca, the reason for the attack on Busovaca, why it
happened, what would you tell me? What would your
A. Well, there could be several reasons for the
attack. From the political reasons, so to speak, to
the military reasons. In my opinion -- let me give you
two or three reasons. One of the reasons, in my
opinion, is that lots of Muslim were expelled from the
Serbian territory. And they did not have enough space
in the area of Zenica and Travnik to which they
gravitated. They needed more space for living.
The other reason was that they did not like
having another army except a Muslim army in the region,
which means that they wanted to have complete authority
over this entire region.
And, from a military aspect, they wanted to
rule over this area to use its communications, to cut
across the territory and to achieve their political
goals, to implement them in the region. That is my
personal opinion, of course.
Q. Mr. Juric, in recalling the events from the
first half of 1993, and the military activities which
your unit performed, can you tell us what kind of
military activities were they? Did you launch attacks
or were you concentrated on a defence?
A. Well, as I said earlier on, when the war
began, it was our aim to save the population and the
region to protect them in the area where we were
located. And that is what we did, where we could do
this, of course. And that is the region. You can see
this on the map. We set up lines along this region,
quite simply, to protect this small region here from
Q. Do you recall, Mr. Juric, at that time, how
many soldiers you had in your unit and the length of
the defence line that you had to hold with your men?
A. Well, I could divide the soldiers up into the
ones defending the area and the men supplying the
population with various needs. But about 550 soldiers
was in this locality on my squad, 550 along this line.
So that is the region, about 36 kilometres. And about
550 soldiers were located in that region.
Q. You, Mr. Juric, had 550 soldiers to defend
the defence line running the length of 36 kilometres?
A. Yes, more or less, approximately.
Q. Do you know how many men the BH-Army had who
attacked this defence line? How many men did they
A. They could have had as many as they wanted,
but I estimate that they attacked these particular
points. I think that there were five soldiers to every
one soldier of ours, that they were five times more
I must stress that all the men capable, able
men were set up here to defend the area, whereas many
more men could have been engaged in this wider region.
So, it is difficult to say the real ratio of forces,
the exact ratio of forces. It is difficult to say at
Q. But you said that the ratio of forces was
about five to one to the advantage of the BH army, they
had more men.
You said earlier on, Mr. Juric, that looking
at the territory in depth, that the Muslim army, the BH
army, had a predominantly Muslim population behind it,
so that the army had this population as its background.
On the other hand the HVO army which defended this army
around Busovaca, what was it able to rely on?
A. Only on its own forces. It could not rely,
was not able to rely on anything else but its own
Q. What about supplies and the fact that you
were in an encirclement? Were communications free?
A. No, and several times we had several convoys
going across the mountains, we had to use horses to
bring in our supplies.
Q. But in the second half of 1993, for example,
supplies, the first half of 1993, that is what we're
discussing now. What were the supplies like in the
first half of 1993, were the communication lines open?
A. No, they weren't, not a single line was open.
The only thing we could do was to use
Busovaca-Vitez-Novi Travnik lines.
Q. Can you tell us whether this valley, which we
can say was an enclave within the territory with a
predominantly Muslim population, was it in its entirety
linked up, or were the communications severed within
the valley itself?
A. The communications in Vitez, the entry to
Vitez was also severed because there was action along
these lines, so this communication was not used. We
used the other roads, byroads, which allowed us to move
between Busovaca and Vitez, but they were very bad
roads. But the main communication lines were not open.
Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Juric, you mentioned the
defence activities that your squad performed; what was
one of the basic military strategies of the units
setting up a line of protection? What did they do
vis-à-vis the terrain? Do they build any shelters?
A. Well, I think this is always the same type of
activity, that you have to dig yourself in, trenches,
to have somewhere where you can hide your men. That is
the basic defence activity, the building of trenches
and so on.
Q. So, you would agree with me that the digging
of trenches and fortification for the lines is a basic
activity which an army does in order to protect itself?
A. Yes, and that is what every army must do.
Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Juric, whether your unit
used this tactic in its defence.
Q. You said you had 550 soldiers defending 36
kilometres of a defence line; were you able, in view of
this manpower, to use soldiers to dig the trenches and
do this type of engineering work? Or did you use other
individuals -- I apologise for interrupting you, I
think the witness could sit down now, we don't need the
map any more, so perhaps the witness could take a seat.
Let me remind you, Mr. Juric, my question was
as follows: In setting up your defence lines and in
digging trenches and building up your fortification
line, did you use your own soldiers or did you use
other individuals, as well?
A. When battles were going on, and when it was a
very serious situation where soldiers were engaged in
defence, we used other people, civilians from the
Busovaca area to dig trenches and set up fortification
lines. Later on when there was a lull in the fighting,
soldiers would do these tasks.
Q. Mr. Juric, what we're interested in, in this
particular matter, is the use of the civilian
population for work of this kind.
Viewing the situation, can you tell us what
people you used? Were they reservists, or you said it
was the population from the Busovaca region?
A. I think they were conscripts, and those who
were not able, either due to age or disability, were
not able to take part in the fighting, were not able to
carry a rifle.
Q. Or perhaps there was not enough weapons to go
around; was that the reason?
A. There were not enough weapons so that was one
of the reasons, as well, but the other reason was also
Q. Mr. Juric, could you tell us, based on your
experience, how did you organise this type of work?
For example, if the need arose to fortify part of the
lines by digging trenches or digging some other
fortification, how did you recruit the civilian
population from the Busovaca municipality, how did you
bring them up to the defence line and organise work of
this line, fortification work?
A. As the military commander, I would ask for
someone to come in to help me with the fortification
Perhaps I should add the following: There were people
who volunteered and went up to the lines straightaway
and said, "let us help and let us do what we can do to
help you." So, I would ask for 10 or 20 persons for
digging, and if they are able to do so, they do it.
Q. Tell me; when you ask for these people to
come in and help you with the digging of the trenches,
where do they come from?
A. What do you mean where do they come from?
Q. Where were they staying before that? Were
they civilians in their homes in Busovaca, or were they
people who came from other quarters?
A. Most of these people were from the territory
of the municipality of Busovaca. They were the ones
who were digging up there, the civilian population. I
think there were also persons from all ethnic groups
from, they were all involved in digging trenches.
Q. Does that mean Croats and Serbs and the
Muslims, all nationalities were digging trenches?
A. Yes, all nationalities.
Q. Tell me, Mr. Juric, do you know perhaps who
went to pick up these people and who called them up?
Was this members of your unit or the military police or
who was this?
A. It wasn't my soldiers who did this, because
they were on the lines. It was the military police
that usually brought them in, and after work would take
Q. Mr. Juric, do you know the military prison in
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Were you ever there in that prison?
A. Well, yes.
Q. Do you know, Mr. Juric, at the beginning of
1993 in Kaonik, citizens of Muslim ethnicity were
interred there from the territory of Busovaca?
A. Yes, I'm familiar with that fact.
Q. Do you know, Mr. Juric that these citizens
interred in Kaonik and brought in, they would also be
brought in to dig trenches, they were brought by the
Q. Were they the only ones brought in, or were
other civilians who stayed at their homes brought in to
A. Everyone was brought in, because it was
important to act fast. And it wasn't sufficient for
people to come on foot, for as long as we had fuel,
gasoline, that they were brought in trucks.
Q. Mr. Juric, we mentioned Kaonik, and we
mentioned these civilians, these interned Muslims who
were there; do you know why these Muslims, this
population from Busovaca, why they were staying at
A. Well, this is not my job to think about this,
but I think that at that point in time there was no
other adequate place where they could stay. Kaonik is,
after all, one of the safest places for putting up a
number of people.
Q. But I'm asking you, do you know the reason
why these people were staying there?
A. Well, there are several reasons. In my
opinion one of the important reasons is the safety of
these people, because even our own soldiers could take
revenge on them, because Croats were being killed by
members of their ethnic group. That is one of the
reasons, in my opinion.
Another reason, to my mind, is that these are
the members of a people who are attacking us, and
perhaps some of them could do something behind our
backs. So, in my opinion these are the two most
Q. However, if I understood you correctly, you
personally did not participate in the procedure of
detaining these Muslims?
A. No, no, no, because I was involved at the
front line itself.
Q. Tell me, Mr. Juric, you commanded a unit
consisting of 550 soldiers; how many commanders did you
have serving under you?
A. My zone of responsibility was divided into
sectors in order to make work easier, and in this
period there were several sectors. The situation would
change, depending on the needs involved, and also we
formed companies afterwards. But at that time I had
commanders of sectors.
A. Yes, sectors.
Q. Mr. Juric, did the commanders of certain
sectors in urgent cases, when there were strong attacks
against these sectors, did they take independent
action, in terms of asking to have people sent in to
help with the fortifications?
A. Well, yes. There were some arbitrary
requests of this kind that were made, and this was
without my knowledge as commanding officer. Sometimes
the commander of the sector himself would decide on
taking such a step.
Q. I imagine that your mutual communication was
not always ideal. Perhaps I'm mistaken.
A. It couldn't have been ideal, because our
communication was through regular communication lines;
but they were cut very often, and they could not
function properly. And you saw what the roads were
like, they were dangerous, and sometimes they were cut
off, too. And, after all, this is a big area, 36
kilometres, and you couldn't make it to every point.
Q. Mr. Juric, you were commander of the first
battalion which was in a way responsible for the
defence of Busovaca and the area around Busovaca?
Q. I presume, and you said this yourself, that
you are familiar with the events and operations taking
place in this area. Tell me, did you personally ever
see or hear of the Muslim population being used as a
human shield in these operations?
A. I do not know about this at all.
Q. Did you perhaps hear about this? Did
somebody tell you something of this sort?
Q. Mr. Juric, you mentioned, you know, Kaonik,
and you said that you were in Kaonik; could you tell us
about Kaonik? What it was before 1993, before these
events, what was the purpose of this facility?
A. Beforehand this was a facility that belonged
to the former JNA, there were various warehouses there,
storage space, et cetera.
Q. And when did you first get into contact with
A. As commanding officer, on several occasions I
would punish some of my soldiers by detaining them and
then they would be sent to Kaonik, to spend their
detention time there.
So, then I had the habit of going to visit
such soldiers to see how they behaved, whether they
understood why they were there, and whether a
particular soldier of this kind realised why he was
being punished, and whether this had the necessary
effect on him. And then I would bring this soldier
back to the unit if this educational measure was
Q. If I understood you correctly, as military
commander you had the authority to take disciplinary
action against one of your soldiers who would make
infringements in terms of discipline; is that correct?
Q. How far did your authority go? What was the
maximum detention that you could order?
A. Up to 15 days.
Q. So, these soldiers would stay at the
detention facility at Kaonik; right?
Q. Mr. Juric, when you would come to the prison
in Kaonik, did you come to know the warden?
A. Yes. Yes, in an official capacity, so to
speak. I would see him, I would say hello to him,
Q. Do you know the name of this person, what his
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Please tell us the name of this person?
A. Zlatko Aleksovski.
Q. Could you recognise this person here in the
A. Yes, I think I would.
Q. Could you please point out this person here?
A. I can't see him right now -- oh, yes
Q. For the purposes of the transcript, may it be
stated that the witness is showing the prisoner who is
behind this bench where I'm standing.
When did you first meet Zlatko Aleksovski,
A. I can't tell exactly. I think it was after
the violent clashes that took place.
Q. So, could we say that this was sometime in
March, April, February, 1993?
A. I think it was later.
Q. I see, later. And then you would come to
Q. You said that you would come to talk to your
soldiers whom you had punished, against whom you had
taken disciplinary action?
Q. Did you notice at that point that there were
Muslims from Busovaca who were also detained at Kaonik?
A. No, no, I didn't even try to notice this. I
came with my own objective in mind, and when I would
achieve what I had set out to do, then I would simply
Q. Mr. Juric, did you have the opportunity of
getting into the rooms where people were detained?
A. Perhaps I did have the opportunity, but I
didn't do it.
Q. You didn't do it?
A. No, no, perhaps I would just walk into the
ante room and that is where I would talk to my
Q. You didn't walk into the cells themselves?
Q. Do you remember what the general impression
you had was in terms of the building that you saw
there, that you walked into? Was it dirty? Was there
an unpleasant smell? Could you tell us of your
memories of this building itself?
A. I think that it was a normal building, and it
was quite clean, what I saw, in the building and in
front of the building. And then, you know, it did have
the stench of a prison. I don't know.
Q. Tell us, Mr. Juric, you mentioned your
authority -- of the authority you had to take
disciplinary action and to punish your soldiers and to
Q. And Zlatko Aleksovski, as a warden of this
prison, did he have this kind of authority to decide on
how long a person's punishment would go on?
A. No, no, no, I was the one who would decide on
that. If it would be over 15 days, then my commander
would have to decide on that particular punishment.
Q. So that would be a higher officer?
A. Yes, a higher officer, but up to 15 days I
Q. If it was your assessment that a person
against whom you took disciplinary action, in terms of
detaining him for 15 days, could leave earlier, you
would tell the warden, Zlatko Aleksovski, he should
A. That's right.
Q. Was he duty bound, then, to release that
A. Yes, there was no need for him to keep him
any longer because if the person who sent him to the
prison for detention said he should be released, he was
to be released.
Q. Tell me, Mr. Juric, do you remember when you
came to see Kaonik and when you were in touch with
Zlatko Aleksovski, do you remember the clothes he wore?
A. Well, it depends. Sometimes he wore a
camouflage uniform like soldiers wear, and sometimes he
wore civilian clothes. I didn't go there very often,
so I can't exactly recall.
Q. Do you remember when he wore this camouflage
uniform, did he have any military insignia on the
A. No, he didn't, no, he didn't, for sure,
because I think that he did not belong to our military
unit in Busovaca, and I don't think he belonged to any
military unit at all.
Q. At that time when this war was raging, and
even today, was it customary there in Busovaca for
persons who did not belong to military units to wear
parts of the military uniform the soldiers wore?
A. Yes, even children wore that. Until the
present day people wear camouflage uniforms. Until the
present day you could see a farmer tilling his land and
wearing a camouflage uniform.
Q. You were the commander of the first
battalion, and I imagine that you took part in various
meetings where military affairs were discussed?
A. Yes, of course I did, in terms of the things
that I was in charge of.
Q. Was Zlatko Aleksovski ever present at any one
of these meetings?
Q. Do you know whether he was a member of any
A. No, I'm not familiar with that.
Q. Tell me, Mr. Juric, at the time of these
events, as commanding officer, did you have the
opportunity of meeting any other soldiers, apart from
HVO soldiers? For example, did you see soldiers who
had insignia with HV, the Croatian army?
A. I state that there were no such soldiers in
this territory, that is to say members of the Croatian
army, there were only us members of the domicile
Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Juric. No further
questions from the Defence.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: We will now take a short
break and then, Mr. Neimann, I'm sure you will have
some questions to put to the witness. We will now take
a break, 20 minutes. Thank you very much
--- Recess taken at 10.26
--- On resuming at 11.25 a.m.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, please
Cross-examined by Mr. Niemann:
Q. Mr. Juric, I think you said that you're a
professional soldier now; is that right?
Q. And do you still hold the rank of major, or
do you have another rank?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. What is the name of the unit that you're
presently with? Is it the same as what it was in '93
or is it is a different one?
A. No, it's now the 3rd Corps, the Vitez 3rd
Q. I see, did that 3rd Corps exist in 1993 or
has it been created since then?
A. Later on, with the signing of the agreements,
it was previously known by another name.
Q. And I am just trying to trace your -- how you
got into this position in the 3rd Corps. The 3rd
Corps, is that a unit of the HVO or the unit of the
Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
A. The 3rd Corps is a unit within the
composition of the 1st Croatian guard, of the
federation, army of the federation.
Q. So it's part of the army of the federation?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. Now, when did that come into existence?
A. Do you mean the 3rd Corps, when did the 3rd
Corps come into existence?
Q. Yes, the unit you presently belong to, when
did it first come into existence, do you remember?
A. The name, "The 3rd Corps," was a name that
was applied six months ago. Before that it was a
command region. So it got its name six months ago.
With the new set up of the army of the federation, it
became known as the 3rd Corps.
Q. Now just going back to 1993, or perhaps I
might go back a bit earlier. You mentioned in your
evidence about 1992, you said initially you were a
volunteer, what unit were you a volunteer of? Can you
describe that for us?
A. I was in my place of residence. It was
called -- it was not organised in units at the time in
the military sense, in the army sense. They were, in
fact, units in the villages, in the localities. My
locality was Ravan and it was called the Ravan Company
Q. This wasn't part --
Q. This wasn't part of the Territorial Defence,
was it? Was it something separate to that?
A. I don't know how my command functioned with
Territorial Defence. But at the time from 1991 to the
8th of April, 1992, I was just a soldier.
Q. And were you organised into regular units and
wore uniforms and things of that nature? Or, can you
tell us how your unit was made up?
A. At the time -- you mean the uniforms?
Q. Yes, the ones when you --
A. Well, some of us had uniforms, others
didn't. Some of us had rifles, others didn't. But,
generally speaking, the population were being organised
for purposes of defence. To defend themselves from the
Serbian aggression and the JNA and portions of the
JNA. Because, at the time, the war had already started
in the Republic of Croatia.
Q. And then I think you said that the HVO was
established sometime in 1992; is that correct? You may
not have said the time.
Q. And who established that so far as you are
concerned? Who established the HVO?
A. I don't really know. Probably some
institution of the Croatian community of Herzeg-Bosna.
I can't give you an exact answer as to who actually did
this. I know that it was proclaimed, the HVO was
proclaimed. And in our documents, it was around the
8th of April that the HVO came into being.
Q. Now you spoke of the establishment of the
HVO, I think, in April of 1992, do you know whether it
was established by a political group or a military
A. For that particular period I didn't think
about things like that, who established it. But I do
think that it was a political group or political will.
And it was politics which established the HVO. The HVO
was not only an army, it was the overall -- how shall I
call it? The overall organised movement for the
defence of the population and the territory.
Q. Now when you speak of the population and the
territory, can you tell us what population it was
organised to defend?
A. At the initial moment, the Republic of
Croatia, when they saw that there was a war being waged
and that we could expect a war on our territory, the
JNA was already established in our territory. They had
some movements and so on. And it was to be expected
that an aggression would ensue by the JNA on the people
and the territory living in that part of
Q. I would be right, wouldn't I, if I said that
the HVO's primary focus and intention was to protect
the Bosnia and Croatian population on the territory
that they lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
A. Not only the Bosnian Croats, but everybody
living in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time.
Q. Well, you would agree with me, wouldn't you,
that the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was established and
was operational during the course of 1992?
A. Let me give you an example. When the army
was organised, I know that the TO, Territorial Defence
existed. Parts of the TO functioned, or the army, I
don't know what they were called. But, as I have
already said, on certain locations, they worked
together with us. But I also know that there was a
certain amount of resistance and that they did not wish
to work in certain areas. For example, we set up a
barricade, a point, checkpoint, in the Village of
Grablje where on the left-hand side there is a Muslim
village and on the right-hand side a second Muslim
village. And along that barricade, there was nobody
belonging to the Muslim people to prevent the passing
of the Serbian army and the JNA along that
Q. But the -- I would be right, wouldn't I, if I
said that the Government of the Republic of
Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
in the course of 1992, was to protect all parts of the
territory that was being attacked by forces of the JNA
and members of the Bosnian Serb population? That would
be right, wouldn't it? If you could just answer that
yes or no. If you can give me a yes or no answer.
A. I would like you to repeat the question,
Q. It is correct, isn't it, that the Army of
Bosnia-Herzegovina had as its goal the purposes of
protecting the whole of the territory of
Bosnia-Herzegovina from the attack by the JNA and
Bosnian Serb forces?
A. According to my knowledge, no.
Q. Well then, if it's different to that, tell
me, what is your understanding of the situation?
A. The Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, from the
information media and so on, I recall at least on
television the village of Ravan was said to have been
attacked. At the time the army limited itself from
those attacks and I think that the president, Mr.
Izetbegovic, said that it was not their war. And then
the army, that is the Yugoslav army at that time, they
also did not take part. And so I gained the
impression, I had the feeling that the Army of
Bosnia-Herzegovina had its separate goals. And I had
the feeling that at that particular time in 1992, that
it was not ready to fight for the overall territory of
Bosnia-Herzegovina. I had the feeling that it did not
wish to do so.
Q. But this was more a result of it not being
able to rather than not having the will to do so,
surely you would agree with that?
A. I don't wish to discuss its will or lack of
will. I don't know. I was not within the ranks of the
army, therefore, and I can't speak in their name.
Q. Now, who was your commander when you joined
the HVO unit in 1992?
A. In 1992, the commander in my locality in the
Municipality of Busovaca was Ivo Brnada.
Q. And where did he come from?
A. He was a Croat and he was from Busovaca. I
don't know up to what month. But he was a Croat and he
was from Busovaca.
Q. And what was the name of your unit in 1992?
What was its title?
A. When the HVO was established, as far as I
recall, my unit was called the Municipal Command of the
HVO of Busovaca.
Q. And can you tell me who was the overall
commander of the HVO in the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina
at that time?
A. In the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I might
be wrong, but I think, I am not quite sure, I think it
was Milivoj Petkovic, but I am not sure.
Q. Have you heard of a General Bobetko?
A. I heard of him later.
Q. Well, he later became the overall commander
of the HVO, did he not, of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
A. Never. I never heard of him being the
overall commander and I don't think he ever was.
Q. And, well, you don't know who was there?
A. Later on, during the course of my life and
work, I came to learn of this. When the regions of
Serbian/Croatia were liberated, I came to hear it was
General Bobetko who commanded those particular units.
Q. Those particular units were not only
operational in Croatia, but they're operational in
Bosnia-Herzegovina as well, weren't they?
A. In our regions, I never saw a Croatian
soldier, a Croatian army in our territory and I never
left the central part of Bosnia during the war.
Q. Where did you get your uniforms from? Do you
know who supplied those in 1992?
A. Who? Well, the rear that was set up in
Central Bosnia and the logistics there and they were
the ones who supplied us with the uniforms.
Q. I should perhaps ask, the next step is where
did they get their uniforms and equipment from, the
Central Bosnian logistics?
A. I don't know, but I presume outside Central
Bosnia, but we'd have to ask them who supplied them.
Q. What about weapons, do you know where the
weapons came from that you had?
A. In the same way, I believe.
Q. Did they come from Croatia?
A. Did the weapons come from Croatia? Is that
A. I believe that there were weapons from that
direction, but from where the weapons actually came, I
don't know. They had to come from that direction, or
perhaps some other.
Q. Now, 1993, the early part in 1993, your
position changed, I believe, or at least the unit that
you belonged to changed?
A. Yes, that's right.
Q. And can you tell me what command you had?
There appears to be some confusion so far as I can
see. Were you a commander of a battalion or of a
Q. In 1993.
A. In 1993 I was the commander of a battalion.
Q. And, in the evidence, and this may be just a
problem with the translation, but in the evidence you
speak of being a commander of a brigade. Were you at
any stage a commander of a brigade or did you just go
straight into being a commander of a battalion in
A. I was never the commander of a brigade. It
was probably an error in the interpretation. I said
that I performed a duty in a brigade which was called
the coordination, territorial coordination. That is to
say I was the liaison for relations with the civilian
population, the civilian part of the HVO and the church
and so on. Everything dealing with the civilian
population, but I only did this for a very brief period
Q. I see. Well, that's where the confusion
arose. Tell me when was it that you had this duty as
coordination in the brigade? What period of time?
A. Well, it was some time in November 1992 or
December and up to the beginning of the war between the
Muslims and the Croats. Those two or three months.
Q. And the beginning of the war between the
Muslims and the Croats, what's your understanding of
when that started? The date, if you can help us with
A. The date, it's difficult to say, but I would
say that it was the beginning of the 23rd or 24th of
January, 1993. I know that on the 23rd, Ivica was
killed and from that moment on, events evolved as they
were to do later on.
Q. Now, before the war started, before the 23rd
of January, 1993, and when you were performing this
role as coordinator, what were your duties? What were
A. Well, my duties were not clear cut. At the
time we tried to set up that brigade, that is, to make
it operational and to have all its parts formed, it was
my duty, more or less, to cooperate with the church,
the municipal authorities and its structures and so on
and so forth. To be a link between that particular
brigade, which was located in the municipality and the
Q. And who was in charge of the civilian
authorities, so far as you knew at that time, in the
A. I think it was the president of the
municipality, Mr. Zoran Maric, I believe.
Q. And did you have any dealings with him as
such or were you dealing with other people in your
A. I already said that I performed this duty for
a very brief period of time and that there was no great
need for us to meet.
Q. Well, did you have any meetings at all?
A. I don't recall at that particular period.
Q. Okay. We'll move on now to after the
commencement of the war on the 23rd of January on
1993. Is that when you became commander of the
A. Yes, that's right.
Q. And is the title of the battalion the 1st HVO
military battalion, is that the correct title of it?
A. The 1st battalion of the Nikola Subic Zrinski
Q. And was your rank a major at that stage or
did you have a lower rank?
A. I did not have a rank, I just had a duty to
Q. And that is duty as commander?
Q. And was there a regiment over and above the
battalion or didn't you have a regiment?
A. I don't know what you mean by regiment, what
a regiment means actually.
Q. Well, what was the next military group, if I
can call it that, above the battalion in the HVO army
at that time?
A. There was the brigade.
Q. I see. So you went straight from battalion
to brigade and then after brigade, what happened after
that? Was there another military structure above
A. There was an operative zone, whether it was
called a command or an operative zone, I don't quite
Q. And what was the operative zone, can you tell
us what the larger area was? Just give us the names of
the main towns or cities in the operative zone.
A. Busovaca, Vitez, Novi Travnik and so on.
Q. And what was the headquarters of the
A. It was in Vitez.
Q. And who was commander, if I could call a
person that, of the operative zone?
A. General Blaskic.
Q. And who was the commander of the brigade,
which is the next level down?
A. You mean our brigade?
Q. No, I thought you meant battalion. You were
the commander of a battalion, were you not?
A. Yes, that's right.
Q. Yes, well, I will ask you about your
battalion in a minute. I was just asking about the
brigade. I thought you said a moment ago that the
structure was: battalion, brigade and then operative
zone; is that right?
A. Yes, that's right.
Q. Now coming down to the next level, the
brigade, who was the commander of the brigade?
A. Dusko Grubesic.
Q. And where was the headquarters of the
A. It was in Draga and later on in the Sumarija
building at Busovaca.
Q. Now can you tell me how long in periods of
time that the operative zone was functional? It
started, I think -- am I right in assuming that it
started around about January of 1993, what period of
time did it continue on and last until?
A. I can't give you an answer to that question.
I don't know.
Q. Can you assist us by saying -- well, I'll ask
you this question: How long did the battalion, which
you were commander of, how long did it last for? It
started in about January, did it not? Or did it start
earlier? Perhaps you can assist us.
A. It was set up on the 19th of December 1992
and it went on to exist until the signing of the peace
agreements. That is to say the establishment of the
army of the federation.
Q. And, so far as you know, did the operative
zone continue throughout all that time or did it
A. It changed, but there was always somebody in
command above the battalion.
Q. Well, do you know what the changes were?
What changes took place and when in this command
A. I don't know when the changes took place, but
I can just tell you that the battalion functioned
throughout the entire time in one form or another.
Q. Now, you were asked some questions about the
operational area of your battalion, and you were shown
a map that seems to have been taken down, I think it
was exhibit 78, D-78, it might assist to you look at
that, it's not necessary for you to get up and point to
it, but you may like to have it there with you.
Whatever is most convenient for you.
Mr. Usher, I think it would be better if the
witness is given the map to have in front of him. I
want to elicit certain names, and Your Honours
hopefully will be able to follow it. If not, I will
show Your Honours later by the map.
I just wanted to get, as best I could from
you, the parameters or limits of the battalion of which
you were a commander in 1993. And I know you've said
in evidence that it was approximately 36 kilometres,
but I just wanted to see if you could help me by
telling me the towns.
If I start at the top of the map, not right
at the top, but the top part near the Lasva Valley
area; how far did your area of responsibility go
towards the town of Vitez? Where did it cut off? Are
you able to help me there?
A. I will try to tell you. Start from here, and
here, over here, where it says Polom, you see down
Q. Sorry for butting in, I think we need to go
much more slowly.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Neimann, would it be
possible to put the map on the ELMO? Because if you
are talking about a small area, we might be able to
have it on the ELMO.
Q. What I suggest is we centre it on the ELMO.
Mr. Juric, if you could assist by centring it on the
ELMO to focus on the particular area that was under the
responsibility of your battalion.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Usher, something else,
sorry. Is it possible to have earphones for the usher?
Mr. Usher -- Mark can you help us, can you pass the
headphones to the usher?
Mr. Usher, would you like to change the
microphone to the other side of the witness, please?
Q. Mr. Juric, I would like you to very slowly
take us through the boundaries of the battalion,,
pointing to various towns as you do so. And there is
no necessity to rush this process, because we have to
So, very slowly, if you could just start off
perhaps with the southern extremity, and I'll do it on
the points of the compass. Can you show me how far
south the battalion was responsible for, and just name
the nearest town to that?
A. The town is Busovaca.
Q. Now, can you take us to the extent of the
battalion's command in its northerly position, the most
A. I'll try to show you the entire line by using
a ballpoint pen to show you exactly where the area of
Q. Okay, now, if you do that and you are tracing
it with a pen, pointing to it with a pen, would you
please name the towns as they appear on the map when
you do so? Because otherwise when it comes back to
reading the transcript we won't understand if you don't
do that for us. So would you be kind enough to name
the towns as you trace the boundaries?
A. Not all the villages and towns are here, but
I'm going to show you -- I'm simply going to tell you
what is where, and then perhaps note could be taken of
that. I'm starting from Polom. The next locality, see
how it goes, the area here is called Kapak.
Then the places here, I mean these mountains,
this is very small for you, but they are called
Orlovaca, Marina Vrsica, Sekrk. And over here it goes
up into the mountains towards Suva Voda. So it's Suva
Voda, then over here Busovacke Staje, then Ravna
Stojana and then Rog.
Then it goes down to the village of
Kovacevac, then Rovna. And then further down to near
this river, to Podspilje, Safradin, yeah, you can see
it here, Safradin. So that is one part.
And then it is interrupted here. And then it
continues from up here, from Loncari, then Putis,
Katici, Bobovisce, Vrata. And this should be point
712, but magic marker was used so you can't really see
it on this map.
Q. Thank you. Now, just while you're there, you
say that the area near Vitez, it sort of cuts across
the Lasva Valley. Can you tell me the neighbouring
area, under what battalion or command was that?
I'm concentrating mainly on the Vitez area.
Who was responsible for that area? Or what unit was
located in that area? Can you remember? In 1993,
particularly, I'm asking.
A. Could you please repeat your question? I
didn't quite understand it. Did you ask me what unit
was in Vitez, or which was the unit on the border next
Q. The HVO unit next to you. And I think you
pointed to the town of Safradine, if I have that, and
Q. I think you then said that you went across to
Santici, around about that area, I understood that to
be the limit of your area?
A. Well, next to Safradine, that is where it is
interrupted, and that is where a zone was through which
we used to go. So, it was kind of a free zone, up to
this next line, the blue one that you can see here.
You see, this area here was without soldiers. How
should I put this?
Q. So, there was a free zone, and where was the
location of the next HVO neighbouring unit from there?
Can you help us with that?
Q. And was that a battalion like yours, or was
it a different military structure?
A. Vitez also had a brigade which also consisted
Q. Now, going, then, around the parameter that
you kindly pointed out to us of your battalion area,
can you tell us the places in particular that you can
recall where your troops were dug in? In other words
where trenches were being built or dug?
A. The trenches were being dug approximately
here, where they are depicted; although this is not one
hundred per cent accurate, but this is the area where
trenches were dug, too, the way it is shown here. And
also over here on the other side.
Q. Okay, perhaps I might mention some names.
A. This way.
Q. If I mention some names, can you tell me
whether or not you had trenches dug in at these places
or in the vicinity of these places? I'm going to start
at top at Loncari, do you recall whether you had any
trenches located at Loncari, in that region?
A. We had trenches in Loncari, before we were up
there at Kuber. And then when we moved to Loncari we
stayed there, and naturally that is where we had dug
Q. What about Strane, in the area of Strane, did
that have any trenches? There, did your units have any
A. Yes, we did.
Q. And coming down a little further, what about
Skradno, did you have any trenches at Skradno? I'm
moving down, now.
A. Up here, above Skradno we had trenches. So,
if you look in the direction of Kakanj, see, over here
towards the River Bosna, if you look at that direction,
that is where we had trenches.
Q. And that is more into the mountain type
region; was it, the higher ground?
A. Trenches were -- I mean, the trenches were
not dominant in any particular area, our trenches.
Possibly there were some trenches over here, Kaonik,
here, here. But usually they were lower than that.
Q. Now, dealing with the town of Busovaca
itself, was there trenches around Busovaca?
A. I don't know if there were, but I was told
afterwards that they found some trenches that were dug
by the Muslim forces.
Q. I'm only concentrating on the trenches that
you were involved with, yourself.
Do you know where the place of Kula or
Merdani is; do you know that area?
A. Yes, yes, I do.
Q. Were your forces involved in digging trenches
in that area during the course of 1993?
A. Yes, at Kula they were digging trenches but
not in Merdani, that is where the Muslim forces were,
Q. I want to go on the other side, on the other
side of the map, over to Bare, do you remember a place
called Bare, or do you know that place?
Q. Do you recall whether in 1993 your troops had
trenches dug in there, that place?
A. In 1993 as well, when the aggression was
carried out, when the Muslim Croat war broke out, that
is when people started digging trenches wherever this
Q. And that is a place you remember trenches
were dug for your forces or by your forces?
A. In 1993 it is only in Kovacevac, in front of
Bare, that we dug trenches. At one point in time in
the fighting we managed to drive the Muslim forces out,
and that is where we remained until the end of the war.
We didn't move anywhere from there, either in front or
Q. I'm sorry to keep you standing, but it
probably assists to refer to the map in the course of
your evidence of the next few questions.
Can you tell me where the main attack by the
army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was made in the very early
part of 1993? And I'm talking January. Where was the
main concentration of their attack?
A. It was concentrated from the direction of
Kacuni, from Lasva Kula, and down here, Gavrine Kuce.
However, the two main directions were these. From
other directions, too, you know, but here Nezerovici or
Gavrine Kuce, that is where we had our unit. And down
here in Lasva, we also had a unit of ours, which then,
as you know, they were taken prisoners and shot,
executed down there in Lasva, and then others were
killed elsewhere, but some people managed to get into
Busovaca between these units.
Q. And do you know who your, do you know the
name of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina unit that, or
units that you were confronting during 1993 in the
early part? You may not know the answer.
A. To tell you the truth, at that time I didn't
think about names at all, as this was taking place, but
later on I realised this was the 333rd, or 305th or
whatever. But at that particular point in time I
didn't know what the names or numbers of these units
were, I found out later.
Q. And the units of the army of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, in January, February of 1993, were
they taking offensive action, or were they taking
defensive action, in the very early part?
A. You mean this area that we are talking
Q. Any of the area where your battalion was
operational. Were they taking offensive action or
A. We weren't taking offensive action anywhere.
We were defending ourselves invariably. So, this was
the defence of these smaller places and of the town of
Busovaca itself. We did not have the ability to carry
out offensive action. We tried to take Kovacevac, and
we managed to take it over, it had a predominantly
Muslim population, and we had other operations where we
So this was simply improving our tactical
position. But you cannot speak of any offensive
action. So this was defence, with the establishment of
more favourable tactical position, where we could not
carry out an offensive anywhere, this is where Zenica
is. This is a large area. We were not in a position
to do so, and did not have any intention of doing so,
either. But, no.
Q. Now, your main operational goal was to
maintain HVO control of your particular area; that's
correct, isn't it?
A. Our main objective was to preserve this area
from those who were attacking us.
Q. But there was no initial attack, was there,
from the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina? It didn't invade
the valley or anything of that nature.
A. I don't understand, what do you mean by "they
Q. The point I'm making is that, I know later on
there was offensive action taken by the army of
Bosnia-Herzegovina into this whole region, but in the
early part of 1993, the true position is this, isn't
it; that both armies were in fact holding their
particular, relatively, their relative ground.
So, your battalion was holding its territory,
and it had a confrontation line with the army of
Bosnia-Herzegovina. There was no offensives of any
major sort on either side.
A. That is correct, until the mentioned date
there wasn't an armed conflict. At that time it was
agreed where we had our units, Luska and the other
places I mentioned, Kula where they had their units,
and they had their anti-aircraft weapons here; so all
of this was arrived at by mutual consent. But when
they violated the agreement, when they got their unit
up there to Pridolice without us knowing about it, and
then they started circling around this mountain, and I
mentioned that they took away our weapons, I mean from
the members of our units who were coming back from that
At that time, I mean, this attack, which you
say did not happen, was carried out against Nezarovici,
Lasva, near the Bosna River and in the direction of
And at that time we were up here in
Solakovici that is where there was also a Croatian
population, and everyone was expelled from there, too.
And then behind Solakovici and underneath Solakovici,
that is where the line was established.
Q. Now, there were offensive actions taken in
some areas, in some particular towns by the HVO, or its
military groups, such as Ahmici; was there not? That
was an offensive action taken?
A. For Ahmici, I can't say, because that was my
zone over here. So, that as far as Ahmici is
concerned, I cannot tell you anything about that. I
really don't know exactly. I can just tell you what I
heard, hearsay or guess.
Q. Now, you would have known the units other
than the battalion that you were the commander of, you
would have known if they were operational in your area,
I take it, if there were other HVO or HVO related
A. In my area no command was effective.
Q. You may sit down if it is more comfortable.
But isn't it true that there were special
units or special forces operational in the area at the
time? And I'm talking about Vitez, Busovaca area.
A. I don't know what you consider to be special
units or special forces. In the zone I had, under my
command, there was just, the first battalion was on the
defence line. The other formations, that is to say the
special ones, which they were, and if they existed,
these were formations with people from those areas.
So, possibly there were formations of this kind with,
let us say, of the manoeuvring type.
Q. These special forces that you heard of or
knew of, where were they operational?
A. I can't tell you. They were operational, and
the commanders of those particular formations, but in
my particular zone they did not take part in the
Q. Do you know the names of any of the special
forces? Did they have any names that were used at the
A. I heard that in Vitez there was a force
Q. And was that the only one you're aware of?
A. The there was another called Frkovci. But to
be quite frank, I never thought about these forces or
their activities. I don't know.
Q. Well, you spoke of the fact that you had
never heard of people being used as human shields; I
take it you're not excluding the possibility that these
special forces could have been using people as human
shields, but you didn't know about it?
A. I cannot suppose anything. All I know is
that I did not hear of anything of this kind, nor do I
know of it.
Q. But do you rule out that possibility?
A. I can't believe that it existed.
Q. Well, these special forces that you spoke of,
do you know their chain of command? Who was their
A. I don't know.
Q. And do you know who they reported to? Who
were their superiors? Was it the department of defence
of the HVO or police or what was the structure of them?
A. I don't know. I don't know the chain of
command and their organisation. We had, let's say, in
Busovaca in 1992, a sort of company which was made up
of Muslims and Croats. But that was within the
composition of the brigade, and as time went by that
platoon disintegrated when it went from Mt. Luska. It
was taken prisoner by the Muslims, so that's what we
had within the composition of the brigade, but I don't
know about the special forces, how they functioned, who
was the commander, what the chain of command was, I
really can't say.
Q. What was the link, if any, between the
military structure and the political structure of the
HVO? Did the politicians give orders to the military,
and vice versa? Can you tell us that?
A. I was not at that high level of command for
me to take orders from politicians. I was not at that
echelon, I don't know what it was like. I took my
orders from my superior officer, from my commander.
Now, what their relationship was and what the links
there were, I don't know.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Neimann, if I may
interrupt for a second, do you have many questions to
put to the witness still? I remind you that the
hearing should end at about 1.30, if that is the case I
think maybe we should take a break just now for maybe
--- Recess taken at 12.24
--- Upon commencing at 12.42 p.m.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, you have the
Q. Mr. Juric, in 1993, when the forces of the
HVO and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina were
confronting each other, the conflict with the Bosnian
Serb forces were still ongoing, was it not?
A. Yes, it was.
Q. And prior to 1993, those Bosnian Serb forces
were being confronted by a combination of the HVO and
the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
A. If I understood you correctly, you said that
the Serbs attacked the forces of both the army and the
HVO. If that is the case, then my answer is yes.
Q. Now that situation did not continue, I take
it, in 1993 where the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
the HVO forces were confronting the Serb forces?
A. In Busovaca, there were no Serb forces, nor
lines. I suppose that the forces of the HVO continued
to fight against the Serbs as they did in Zepce, in
Herzegovina and so on. But there were no Serbs in
Busovaca. No Serbian army to be fought against.
Q. You're quite right about that. There was,
however, a Serbian army line, not in Busovaca, but much
further out, am I right in saying that, from Busovaca?
A. For example, tell me where?
Q. Well, perhaps you might be able to tell me
where. You must have known where the Serbian lines
A. I know that they were -- that in Zepce, the
HVO had a line confronting the Serbs in the environs.
I know that in Kiseljak there was a line confronting
the Serbs and I said that where we were, there was a
line of this kind.
Q. Yes, quite so. The point that I am making is
this: It is true, is it not, that prior to 1993, there
were times and at places where the HVO and the Army of
Bosnia-Herzegovina joined forces, as it were, and
cooperated together to confront the Serb forces, that's
right, isn't it? A yes or no answer will suffice for
A. Yes, they joined forces.
Q. Now, that arrangement broke down in 1993?
Yes or no?
A. I couldn't say what happened in Zepce and
Q. Was there any stage when the military units
of the HVO that you were involved with, worked in
cooperation with the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or did
you never work in cooperation with that army?
A. I personally did on two or three occasions
have zones of responsibility near the army lines. For
example, once this was in Jajce in 1992. And then, the
second time, whereas Paklarevo with the Muslim forces
to the left of us were stationed. And in 1992 in
Potkraj somewhere. But directly, direct cooperation,
that to say that I cooperated with them, I did not.
But I do know that to the left of us or to the right of
us, depending on the situation, there were forces of
Q. And my point is that that situation didn't
continue into 1993, did it? So far as you're
A. In 1993, I never went further from Busovaca
and the lines that I showed you, so I can't say. How
can there have been cooperation? Because I was there
and there were no Serbs there. And I said that I don't
know happened in Zepce or Kiseljak because I never went
there during that particular period.
Q. You spoke in your evidence of using civilian
labour to perform duties to assist you in your military
duties and obligations, is that right, during 1993? Do
you remember saying that?
A. The civilians dug trenches for us. They
brought us food and so on.
Q. And apart from digging trenches and bringing
food, did the civilians do anything else that you can
A. I don't recall, but they dug for the most
part. Some of them would bring food, cakes, something
the women would make. They would bring that to us.
They were our sisters, our mothers, who would cook for
us and there were our fathers and the other civilian
population, they would bring us things of that kind.
Q. Who organised this civilian labour in
Busovaca? Who is responsible for organising it?
A. I can't say with any certainty. I don't know
and I don't want to think up other things, other people
know that. What I know is that where I was, they
worked, dug and so on. But their organisation, how
that was set up, I really can't say. And I don't want
to think up things that I am not sure of.
Q. No, I don't want you to do that. Tell me, if
you needed civilian labour or you needed food for your
troops or whatever, what would you personally do? Who
would you personally contact in order to secure the
assistance of civilians?
A. It is -- it was -- there was never one single
individual to whom I could go to ask to be sent labour
group. What I would do was I would send out a request
to the commander and he would either grant it or not.
And that is how they would come to me. What they did
in their turn, I don't know.
Q. Well, that's the question I am asking, who
did you send it to? The command? What's the command?
What do you mean by that?
A. To the brigade, the command of the brigade.
Q. And who was that?
A. The command of the brigade is a body. The
commander was Dusko Grubesic.
Q. Did you send it to him, the request for
civilian labour or did you send it to some other
particular individual? And, if so, who?
A. I never sent my request to any individual,
but just the command of the brigade as a body.
Q. And did you ever have occasion to communicate
with the command of the brigade in any other way other
than by some written communication?
A. There were written reports where I would have
to answer for some orders that had been given.
Q. So when you communicated with the brigade in
order to get civilian labour, did you do that? How did
you do that? What form of median did you use? Did you
use a telephone? Did you write a letter? Did you send
a runner or how did you do it?
A. I think there were different forms of
communication and each one you mentioned could have
been used. Now, what exactly was used, when the time
didn't allow, when it was urgent, then a telephone call
would be sufficient. But, if there was enough time,
then a written request would be sent.
Q. Now, in those urgent circumstances, when the
telephone call had to be made, did you make the
telephone call yourself?
A. I don't recall. I could have ordered
somebody else to do so within my unit, to call the
command and to request that they send a certain number
of individuals for trench digging, for example.
Q. Now, I think you said in your evidence that
the persons responsible for bringing the people to the
frontlines where the trenches were being dug, was the
police. Was that your evidence?
A. They brought them, that is they ensured their
labour. They were up there while the people worked and
took them back.
Q. Now, when the police came, that's when the
prisoners from the Kaonik camp, the Muslim prisoners
came; is that right?
Q. In addition to bringing them to you and
taking them back, they're escorting them, weren't
Q. And they were armed, these police, that
brought the Muslim prisoners up to the frontline?
A. Yes, they were.
Q. And the Muslim police kept them under guard
during the period of time that they were at the
A. How are we going to -- how are we going to
term their stay up there? I don't know. But they were
up there while the labour was being done. I don't
think that this would need be called an escort or a
guard because it is usually when you are guarding an
installation, for example. But they were there as a
sort of a security measure.
Q. But if the Muslims tried to escape, for
example, these police would try prevent them from doing
so, wouldn't they?
A. I don't know. And I don't know of any cases
where somebody tried to escape. But somebody did
Q. I notice the transcript says "Muslim police."
If I said that, then, Your Honours, I would ask that
the transcript be corrected.
JUDGE NIETO NAVIA: You said that.
MR. NIEMANN: I did say that.
Q. Perhaps I should clarify that by asking the
The Muslim prisoners that were brought up to
dig trenches in the area over which you had command was
under the guard or control of the HVO police?
A. The police, there was a sort of security
measure for these people, not a classical form of
Q. Well, these Muslim prisoners that were taken
out of Kaonik were not permitted just to wander off
across the frontline and go and join the Army of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, were they?
A. Well, nobody was allowed to do that. Either
the Muslims or the Croats, nobody was allowed to move
around freely between the frontlines because can you
imagine a situation where somebody was allowed to
disclose secrets as to the distribution of our forces
and on and so forth.
Q. Now, realistically and sensibly, the Croatian
population would have very little interest in crossing
the lines and going and joining the Muslims at that
stage, would they?
A. That's right, but there were two cases where
they did cross over, not on the side of the army, but
because of a lack of knowledge and through streets.
And they were taken -- they were arrested by the Muslim
forces and were taken to a detention unit. They were
captured by the Muslim forces, these two Croats who
happened to cross over.
Q. Now, the obligation was on the HVO police to
bring them back to the Kaonik camp, that is the Muslim
detainees, at the end of their time when they were
required for trench digging, wasn't that true?
A. I have already stated that the military
police was with them, both when coming, during the
actual labour and during their return.
Q. Now, when the Croatian, Bosnian/Croatian
civilians came up and started digging trenches, were
they under the guard of the police as well?
A. The police was everywhere, was present
everywhere, not only because of the Muslims, but for
the Croatians as well, the Croatian soldiers. And the
police had its duties to perform in the normal run of
events. Wherever there were people, people would be
prone to do something against the rules governed by the
situation. And so it was the police who was there to
ensure security in the normal run of things. So they
were there to see that law and order was enforced.
That is why the police was there from the frontline
towards the depths of the territory, inwards.
Q. The Croatian trench diggers, if we can call
them that, were volunteers, though, weren't they?
A. I don't know. All the civilian population
and the army and the people, there were clauses whereby
there were responsibilities to do army duty and to do
some labour. So those people who did not wish to
perform the duties of a soldier and to take up arms did
something else. So not everybody was a volunteer.
There were certain responsibilities. There was a law
whereby people were duty-bound to perform their
military service and to perform their duties,
Q. I am sure there were lots of laws of that
nature. The question that I am putting to you is that
the Croatian civilian trench diggers were volunteers.
Now either you know that or you don't know it?
A. There were probably some 100 per cent
volunteers. But then, on the other hand, there were
certainly others who preferred to stay at home and lie
down rather than go out and dig trenches.
Q. Now the Muslims detainees in the Kaonik camp,
they were not volunteers, they were forced to come and
dig trenches, weren't they?
A. That I don't know. They know whether they
were forced or not.
Q. You would agree with me, I think, that common
sense would suggest that if they were being kept in
prison and that the opposing forces was the forces of
the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it would be an
exception if they did this duty voluntarily, you would
agree with that, wouldn't you? That's a sensible
A. I don't think I understood you correctly.
Q. I'll move on. You said that the Muslim
civilians kept in the Kaonik camp were kept there for
their own protection, do you remember saying that?
A. I did not say that. I did not say that they
went to the Kaonik prison for their own protection. I
said that one of the reasons why they were taken there
was to protect them. I did not say that they went
there for the sake of their own protection. I think
that is the wording I used.
Q. So they were arrested and imprisoned in
Kaonik for their own protection?
A. I said that that was one of the reasons, but
I also said that one of the reasons was that they could
have also carried out subversive activities on our
territory against our forces. I am referring to
individuals, of course.
Q. That's the protection of the HVO. I am more
interested in the protection of the Muslim detainees in
the Kaonik facility. Presumably, if they're arrested
and taken to the Kaonik facility for their own
protection, then somebody had a vested interest in
ensuring that these people, these civilians, were
protected from being in harm's way by the war?
A. I suppose that that is the way it was. But I
was not there, I was at a completely different place.
Q. I take it that you would agree with me that
taking these Muslim civilian citizens to the frontline
is hardly consistent with trying to protect them from
being in harm's way as a consequence of the war; you
would agree with that, wouldn't you?
A. Look, I don't know who can be protected when
there is a war that is going on, but, you know, these
people there, the inhabitants of Busovaca, they were
equal to all the other people, the Serbs, the Croats.
But there was a war that was going on between the
Muslims and the Croats. And then, naturally, this is
an entirely different circumstance all together in view
of this entire population. But, at any rate, one group
and then the other and a third group were duty-bound to
help the army to defend that area through their work,
et cetera. There were also some Muslims who carried
weapons on the side of the HVO.
Q. But the bulk of the Croatian,
Bosnian/Croatian population in the Busovaca area were
not interned in the Kaonik prison for their own
protection, were they?
A. No, because a Croat is not going to do
anything to another Croat if his brother was shot at
the frontline. But it is possible that a Croat who had
a relative killed in Lasva or the frontline or at
Nezerovici, that they could take revenge against this
Muslim population and the territory of Busovaca. At
any rate, in my opinion, they were the safest out
Q. Now are you aware of the fact that, from time
to time, Muslim civilian detainees in the Kaonik prison
were sent home when they become ill?
A. I don't know. I really don't know what the
situation was like at the prison and what was being
Q. When you captured prisoners of war on the
frontline during 1993, those prisoners of war were
taken to Kaonik, were they?
A. When I would capture them I would send them
to the command in charge and I would imagine that the
command would send them to Kaonik.
Q. When you wished to have someone imprisoned in
Kaonik, such as your soldiers who you were
disciplining, did you need to write out any orders or
communicate any special command to anybody?
A. Yes, yes, I would write that out.
Q. And who would you address that to?
A. To the military police and to my command, so
that they would be aware of the fact that I took
disciplinary action against someone and the military
police were supposed to carry this out. And then one
copy of this order would go to, to the prison, to the
persons in charge in prison. And one would go to the
commander of the brigade. The military police, as I
said, would take this person to the detention facility
and the commander would be made aware of it, so that's
Q. Did you have direct dealings with the warden
of the prison at the time yourself?
A. I didn't have reason to have any special
communication with him. The communication boiled down
to what I told you about. When I would come to the
detention facility, I would ask him to let me see the
prisoner in question. So I would say hello to him. I
would tell him why I came and then he would grant my
request that I see that particular prisoner.
Q. Now, I take it that you know nothing about
Mr. Aleksovski's authority with respect to the civilian
Muslim detainees that were in Kaonik?
A. I do not know at all what his authority was.
Q. During 1993, were you being paid a salary?
A. In 1993? I cannot recall. I don't think
so. I don't know, I don't know, I can't remember.
Q. When you were in the HVO, were you paid in
A. In 1992, in the HVO, yes, yes, in Kunas,
yes. I got my salary in Kunas afterwards when they
started giving salaries. Sometimes it was German
Marks, sometimes it was Kunas, it depends.
Q. Can you tell me, what was the Central Bosnia
operational zone as such? Was that a military area?
A. The operational zone, I think, is the name of
this institution. I think it is the name of this
institution, I mean a military institution. The
operational zone, that's what I think it was called.
But I cannot say with certainty anything with regard to
these particular matters.
Q. Now that was a part of the defence
department, wasn't it?
A. No, I really don't know.
Q. Well, did you ever use any seals or stamps
during the course of the period of time that you were
commander of the battalion?
A. As commander I never had a seal or a stamp as
a commander of a battalion.
Q. Did you ever receive any orders or directions
or anything of that sort from the Central Bosnia
A. I did not. I did not ever get anything
directly with a stamp or a seal from the operational
zone. I mean, I never received any document.
Q. Perhaps the witness might be shown Exhibit D
21-B, please. Perhaps you might just have a look at
this document for me and then we'll put it on the ELMO
so that everyone can see what we're referring to. I
just want you to concentrate on the seal that is there,
just look at the seal at the bottom of it.
Q. Do you see that seal?
A. I see.
Q. Perhaps it could be placed on the overhead
projector. Do you recognise that seal? Have you seen
A. I cannot remember it, because in my unit, in
my command, I did not have any contact with that seal
and stamp. And if some particular document
accidentally strayed into our possession, it was just
by accident; so, this really doesn't mean anything to
Q. So, you've never seen that before?
A. I tell you this doesn't mean anything special
to me, what's this Herzeg-Bosna -- what?
Q. No further questions.
A. I really don't know.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, do you have
any further questions for this witness?
MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, perhaps one or
two questions only.
Q. Mr. Juric, my distinguished colleague the
Prosecutor asked you who brought these civilians, these
Muslim civilians from Kaonik when they were supposed to
dig trenches. And you answered that they were brought
in and taken away and secured by the military police;
is that correct?
Q. In addition to that, you said that, apart
from the Muslims in question, that the Croats living in
Busovaca dug trenches too, like Serbs and others who
belonged to the population of Busovaca itself; is that
Q. Tell me, Mr. Juric, this other group, not
these Muslims from Kaonik, but these other people, how
were they brought in there?
A. In the same way, I mentioned it, it was the
military police that was in charge of all measures that
were taken from the front line into the territory
Q. According to your memory and your
recollections, was there any difference in the
behaviour of the military police towards the Muslim
detainees from Kaonik and these other people who were
also digging trenches?
A. I believe that no difference was made between
the two; although I, as an individual, as a person, did
not particularly monitor this, because after all, I was
commander of a broader zone. So, I didn't really tire
myself, so to speak, with this problem. But I believe
they were treated equally.
MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you. The Defence has
no further questions.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Juric, I wish to ask a
couple of questions of you.
You said that Mr. Aleksovski did not belong
to your military unit. I suppose you meant by that,
that Mr. Aleksovski was not part of your military unit.
Would you know to which organisation or unit Mr.
A. No. If he belonged to anything, it was some
kind of judiciary, or something, I don't know. But to
the best of my knowledge, he did not belong to our
military units. I don't think I belonged to any
JUDGE RODRIGUES: However, you went to Kaonik
on several occasions; didn't you?
A. I said yes.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: And according to you, was
Mr. Aleksovski military or a civilian man?
A. Mr. Aleksovski was a civilian person, in my
opinion and in my conviction, in judging by what I saw.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: You were -- regarding Mr.
Aleksovski as being the warden of the Kaonik prison; is
A. I don't know. I mean, what his real duty,
his real post was, I really don't know. I just heard
from various conversations, from different people, I
heard that there was some person called Zlatko
Aleksovski, that he was down there in the prison,
Zenica, that he was knowledgeable in legal affairs and
stuff, but I didn't hear anything more than that.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: So, you heard that there
was a Mr. Aleksovski there, that he was an expert, and
that he was in the prison. So, when you would go to
the Kaonik prison --
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Did you have to introduce
yourself at the gate, or could you go into the prison
A. I would come to the prison and probably, and
there was usually a policeman at the door; and if he
didn't know who I was, I would say who I was and why I
came, and then he would call Zlatko and say, "well,
this person has just come now, and he needs
such-and-such a thing," and I would get permission to
do what I had intended to do, and that is to see the
soldier who was there after the disciplinary action I
took against him.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, Mr. Aleksovski
was free to turn down your request to go into the
prison; couldn't he?
A. I don't know whether he could do that, but
had he told me that I couldn't go in, I would have gone
back to my command and I would have explained what I
wanted and then I would have sought a possibility of
doing what I had intended to do. He never refused me,
but whether he could refuse me or whether he wanted to
refuse me, that --
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Something else. Was Mr.
Aleksovski free to refuse checking in the prisoners
sent by your commander, or people sent by the military
A. I think that in those moments, I mean, if you
look at the period in question, and if you look at the
situation, then, I mean, there was a war going on. I
told you that some kind of a brigade had been set up on
the 19th of December, that this was very short lived.
And aggression was carried out by the army, and then
other people were involved, another army, too, not only
the people who were in the brigade until then, and
probably there were such commanders, too, at a lower
level, at a lower level than that of a battalion.
So, perhaps it wasn't legal, but in that
situation they could have asked Aleksovski. Let's take
a simple example. They could have asked, give me ten
people to dig trenches, for example, you know, that
kind of thing.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: When you went to Kaonik,
did you see civilians working in Kaonik? Not as
detainees in Kaonik, but working there.
A. I cannot remember. I really -- I don't know.
Later something was done in Kaonik, but in that
period I can't remember. I remember that we had some
kind of timber there or something, but I can't remember
exactly in that period.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Let me give you an example.
Let us assume that there were guards at the entrance.
What was the status of those guards? Did they belong
to the military police, or were they civilians that
were organised so as to organise the letting in of
people? Also people belonging to Domobrani?
A. I imagine that was the military police, but I
certainly do not think they were civilians or anything.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Were there any dealings
between the military police and the HVO?
A. How, and in which way they had communicated
that, I don't know. What the chain of command was
between them, I really don't know. I already said that
I had my own zone of responsibility, I had my own
duties to discharge, but I didn't know other things.
I knew what happened in my battalion, and the
people from companies in my battalion would address me
and I would address the headquarters of the brigade;
but what the situation was like elsewhere, I really
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Let me put it in another
way: Was the military police part of the HVO? Was it
integrated into the structure, into the organisation,
into the goals of the HVO?
A. The HVO, I mean, everything that belonged to
the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, everything was
the HVO, the president, the military police, the
brigades, all of that was HVO.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: As to the civilian, the
civilian organisation, what was it like? Let's speak
of the Department of Justice, was it also under the HVO
from the administrative point of view?
A. I don't know. I don't know the set up of
this civilian service. I really don't know exactly
what the set up was like exactly. But at any rate,
then, as the war was on, I mean, everything was HVO.
Everything was, everything served the purpose of
JUDGE RODRIGUES: That means that Mr.
Aleksovski, being warden, some would say being also the
commander of the Kaonik facilities, was he also part of
the HVO in this war time, as you said?
A. Let me tell you, perhaps the legal people
will explain it to you better what the HVO was. I
don't know legally. I just know as a military man that
the army was only one component of the HVO. So, the
army was only one component of the HVO, but the HVO was
a broader thing than that.
When you say HVO, for example, not all of it
is an armed force, not all of it is an army. The army
is only part of the HVO. And Aleksovski, what was
Aleksovski in all of that, I really don't know. I mean
to tell you quite frankly, I really don't know exactly.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: I believe you testified
that when the military prisoners had served their
penalty at the Kaonik facilities, you would give Mr.
Aleksovski the order to release them. Did I hear you
A. A request would be given to him to release
the person that I had sent to prison. I'm sorry,
again, let me say, it was not addressed to Aleksovski.
Nothing was ever addressed to Aleksovski, but to the
prison, so it was not his name and surname that these
requests were addressed to. It was all addressed to
the prison as an institution.
And now, who would take care of that in the
prison, I really wasn't interested in that.
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, but seeing it from
that angle, the guards, the military police that was
also the prison as such, represented the prison; didn't
you have somebody who was responsible, a warden, or a
commander, commanding officer?
A. I just know who the commander of the first
battalion was, who the commander of the brigade was and
who the commander of the operational zone was; whereas,
the commanders of all other facilities, there were
civilian structures, too, the judiciary, et cetera. I
don't know who these people were, I can only engage in
JUDGE RODRIGUES: Fine. Well, thank you. I
think that we don't have any further questions to ask
of you. Thank you very much for coming to testify.
Have a safe journey home. Thank you very much.
Mr. Usher, can you please help the witness?
JUDGE RODRIGUES: I think that time is up, we
finished on time today. We shall reconvene tomorrow at
the same time as today. See you tomorrow.
--- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
1.30 p.m., to be reconvened on
Tuesday the 25th day of August, at