1 Monday, 19th October, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.10 a.m.
4 (The accused entered court)
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, ladies and
6 gentlemen. We are going to resume our work. Good
7 morning to the technical booth and to the
8 interpreters. I hope that this is going to be our last
9 week when it comes to tendering evidence in this case.
10 There is a motion filed by the Defence for
11 the submission of evidence in the Blaskic case. We can
12 give an oral ruling, and we will have a written
13 decision later.
14 The ruling issued by this Trial Chamber is as
15 follows: This Trial Chamber is going to order that
16 public elements of the testimony by Admiral Domazet be
17 tendered into evidence and that other elements and the
18 video recording be tendered as well, as they were
19 presented in the Blaskic case. This is an oral ruling,
20 but we are going to put this into writing, and this
21 will be published in this way.
22 I thought it was relevant for both parties to
23 be informed of our position as just stated.
24 I think we can now start with our work.
25 Mr. Mikulicic, I think it is now your turn to take the
2 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
3 First of all, I wish you good morning, as well as my
4 learned colleagues a very good morning. We are
5 reaching the end of the proceedings and the presenting
6 of evidence in this case. The Defence would like to
7 call its last witness with regard to the facts, and we
8 wish to oppose some of the testimonies made by the
9 Prosecution witnesses.
10 We now call Witness Blazan Blazevic to the
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I'm sorry, Mr. Mikulicic,
13 but did you not ask for protective measures regarding
14 this witness? Is he going to be protected or not?
15 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, for this
16 witness, the Defence has not called for protective
17 measures, but it asks for protective measures for two
18 witnesses which it will be examining with regard to the
19 character of the accused.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Please have the witness
21 brought in.
22 (The witness entered court)
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, sir. Can you
24 hear me? I, the Judge, am talking to you. Good
25 morning, sir. I am going to ask you to read out the
1 solemn declaration which the usher is just handing to
3 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
4 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You may be seated.
7 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: How do you feel? Are you
9 feeling comfortable?
10 THE WITNESS: Well, I'm a little nervous.
11 I've never been to a court before, so I am a little
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: That's quite natural, but
14 you will be treated fairly. Don't you worry.
15 Mr. Mikulicic is going to put questions to you, and
16 we'll start with that.
17 Go ahead, Mr. Mikulicic.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
19 WITNESS: BLAZAN BLAZEVIC
20 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
21 Q. Good morning, Mr. Blazevic. As the Judge has
22 just stated, my name is Goran Mikulicic, the Defence
23 counsel. I'm going to ask you several questions, and I
24 would like to ask you to answer them to the best of
25 your recollection. When I ask my questions and when
1 you give your replies, please take into account the
2 fact that we must speak slowly and to make brief pauses
3 between sentences to facilitate the work of the
5 A. Yes, I will.
6 Q. Mr. Blazevic, would you please tell us when
7 and where you were born?
8 A. I was born on the 24th of May, 1949 in the
9 municipality of Busovaca in the village of Donje Polje,
10 which is where I now live.
11 Q. Mr. Blazevic, would you tell us what you are
12 by way of ethnicity and religion?
13 A. I am a Christian, a Roman Catholic and a
15 Q. Which is your ethnic group?
16 A. I am a Croat.
17 Q. Mr. Blazevic, what are you by profession?
18 What schools have you completed?
19 A. Eight years of primary school, and I worked
20 in the steelworks before the war for 15 years, up to
21 the war, that is. After the war, I am unemployed. I
22 have been unemployed and I'm at home. I have some
23 livestock. I have some land, and I work privately as a
25 Q. You said that you worked in the steelworks.
1 Do you mean the steelworks in Zenica?
2 A. Yes, the steelworks in Zenica as a crane
3 operator, skilled crane operator, 15 years up until the
4 war, but there is no employment for Croats in Zenica
6 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Blazevic, are you
8 A. Yes, I'm married. I had six children. Now I
9 have five. One of my children was killed during the
10 war. He was my son, a 17-year-old. Two others were
11 wounded at home tending to the cattle in the fields.
12 One was seriously wounded, and he is a 60 per cent
13 invalid. He was shelled in the stomach. The other one
14 is a 30 per cent invalid. I have two more sons, that
15 is to say, three sons and two daughters.
16 Q. Did you do military service in the former
17 JNA, the Yugoslav People's Army?
18 A. Yes, I did, for 18 months. I spent 6 months
19 in Krizevci, in Croatia, and the rest of the time I
20 spent in Ptuj, in Slovenia, as a radio telephonist
22 Q. Tell us, please, whether you had any military
23 training in the army and any rank?
24 A. No. I was a regular soldier.
25 Q. Mr. Blazevic, upon your return from the army,
1 did you become part of the reservist formations of the
3 A. Yes, and every other year I joined up as a
4 reservist for a period. I spent some time at Kaonik
5 near Sarajevo. I spent some 10 to 15 days around
6 Bosnia, that kind of thing.
7 Q. You're talking about the military training
8 that you were called to attend as a reservist; is that
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. Mr. Blazevic, you mentioned that, during the
12 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you lost a son and that two
13 other sons were wounded. Did you participate in some
14 way in the events in Bosnia-Herzegovina, beginning from
15 1991 onwards?
16 A. Yes. I was a volunteer in the war at the
17 outset of the war in Croatia. First of all, it began
18 in Slovenia, of course, and then it moved to Croatia.
19 The Yugoslav People's Army was fortifying their lines
20 in Bosnia at Vlasici, Jajce, and along the hills
21 there. They had positioned their heavy artillery and
23 I became a member of the Nikola
24 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, and then we went up to the
25 frontlines on guard there. I was in Jajce for ten
1 days. I was in Podvlasce for 10 to 15 days. Then we
2 would have night duty, night watch, at home. Two or
3 three of us would do this duty to prevent anybody
4 storming the village during the night.
5 Q. If I understood you correctly, Mr. Blazevic,
6 you talked about the part of the war in
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina which was waged against the Yugoslav
8 People's Army and the Serbian army; is that correct?
9 A. Yes. We were together with the Muslims. The
10 Muslims and Croats were together. We mounted the lines
11 against the Serbs, against the Chetniks. Up until
12 then, there was no conflict between the Muslims and the
14 Q. You say, Mr. Blazevic, that, at the
15 beginning, you had joint forces with persons of the
16 Muslim faith against the Serbian army. What happened
17 then afterwards?
18 A. Well, afterwards, the Muslim army and the
19 Croatian army separated, because the Muslim villages,
20 for the most part, were in the hilly areas, whereas us
21 Croats were below, like, Vitez, Kiseljak, Busovaca, in
22 the plains.
23 At that time, digging was going on in the
24 Muslim parts of the hills. Trenches were being dug.
25 My children tended to the livestock. I have 100 dulums
1 of land, and my children told me that they were being
2 expelled from our own fields by the Muslims, and they
3 started digging trenches on my land. So on one
4 occasion, I went to ask them what they were doing. I
5 said, "What are you doing?" And they said, "Well, we
6 are doing this against the Chetniks, against the
7 Serbs," and there were no Serbs there. The Serbs were
8 100 kilometres away.
9 On that occasion, we saw that, in fact,
10 something was being prepared, probably against us
11 Croats, so we had night watches in the villages to
12 safeguard our houses.
13 Q. If I have understood you correctly,
14 Mr. Blazevic, you know about this situation because it
15 was on your own land, on your own property, that the
16 members of the Muslim Bosniak nation dug trenches?
17 A. Yes. They dug trenches in the hills, and,
18 quite normally, I informed my superiors in Busovaca of
19 what I had seen. He said, "Well, that's none of your
20 business. It's not your affair. There are others who
21 will think about that." So I just kept silent after
23 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Blazevic, as far as you
24 can recall, when did these events take place? What
25 year was this?
1 A. It was probably, I don't remember exactly,
2 and I seem to have lost my memory rather a lot, but I
3 think it was 1993 or thereabouts, the beginning of
5 Q. Do you remember what happened at the end of
6 January and the beginning of February 1993 in the
7 Busovaca region where you lived? Was there any
9 A. In the spring, in the early spring, I don't
10 remember the exact date, our young men passed by
11 Busovaca towards Kiseljak. There was a car, a tam, and
12 there were five or six soldiers in Kacuni, the Croatian
13 soldiers in Kacuni, where the Muslims were. They fired
14 from a Zolja, a hand-held rocket launcher. They
15 attacked the car. I think one or two died on the
16 occasion. I think Miljenko Perkovic was one of them.
17 I don't remember his name. The other was wounded.
18 They took the vehicle and fled to the wood.
19 They came to Kiseljak two or three months
20 later, I believe, and on that occasion, we started
21 digging as well around our own houses, and there was a
22 dugout right by my own house. On the last day, they
23 attacked us. It was an organised attack. Five of our
24 young men in my vicinity were killed on that occasion.
25 That's how it began, in that year.
1 Q. That means, Mr. Blazevic, that you recall
2 that these conflicts between the Croats and Muslims, in
3 fact, started with the incident in Kacuni when two HVO
4 soldiers were killed; is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's correct. That was the main
7 Q. Before that, there weren't any. Two days
8 later, an attack was launched on Busovaca and on your
9 own village; is that right?
10 A. Yes. Two days later, I think it was the 26th
11 of January, and I don't remember exactly, but that's
12 when we were attacked by them. They formed three
13 lines. It was cold. There were a lot of soldiers, and
14 there were Muslims dressed in white. They launched a
15 massive attack. We had to move our lines a little, but
16 that is how it began between the Muslims and Croats.
17 Q. Where were you at that time? Which line were
18 you manning at that time?
19 A. Right by my house. We had made a sort of
20 sand fortification, and we used sand and manure,
21 because I had some manure. We made these dugouts, and
22 that is where I was when they launched their attack.
23 Q. You're talking about these events dating back
24 to January 1993. Tell me, please, how long did the
25 attack last? How long did these hostilities last; do
1 you remember?
2 A. Well, the same day.
3 Q. I don't mean just that particular day, but
4 how long did it last? How many days? How many weeks?
5 A. Well, it was an ongoing process. We
6 entrenched and they attacked. They were up above us.
7 We were down below. We had our trenches, our dugouts,
8 and we began digging. We were assisted in this digging
9 by the work platoon, and we did this digging at night.
10 That was the only time we could do it. There was
11 shooting all the time. This line by my house was a
12 permanent line, whereas the others shifted slightly
13 towards the town of Busovaca itself.
14 Q. Yes, I understand. Mr. Blazevic, you
15 mentioned that you had some assistance, that you
16 soldiers defending the frontline were given some help
17 in digging trenches and dugouts. You mentioned some
18 work platoons. Could you explain that and describe
19 that to us, please? Who were these people who helped
20 you? Where did they come from?
21 A. Well, I remember one night, there were some
22 20 people that came to help us. There were Muslims as
23 well and Croats, and they came to dig the trenches. I
24 recognised there three Muslims, my neighbours, and I
25 invited them into my house. I asked them whether they
1 were hungry, and they said, "Well, yes, we could have a
2 bite to eat. Thank you." They went into the house.
3 We had some coffee. They had something to eat, what
4 there was. They had a bath, and they went out to
5 continue digging up till dawn when the Military Police
6 came to take these people back, and probably they were
7 the prisoners, Muslims, Serbs, and Croats.
8 Q. Mr. Blazevic, you mentioned that they were
9 taken away by the Military Police. Who brought them to
10 your house to dig the trenches? Who was it?
11 A. It was the Military Police again, and they
12 deployed them there and told us to stand guard there.
13 There were also some guards and the combatants who were
14 guarding that particular line.
15 Q. Mr. Blazevic, the Bosnian nationals of Muslim
16 ethnic origin, where were they brought from by the
17 Military Police?
18 A. I learned that they had been brought to
19 prison, but why that was so, I would not know. I know
20 that the Military Police brought them to dig those
21 trenches, dugouts, and the like.
22 Q. Do you know which prison that was, as you
24 A. Well, the prison was the one in Kaonik.
25 There were no other prisons there. The Military Police
1 was also quartered there, and they brought them and
2 took them away, I mean, to work and from work.
3 Q. You mentioned that you also knew personally
4 some of those men, and some of them you invited into
5 your house, and the like. Do you remember certain
7 A. I do. I think Hamdo Ibrilic and two youngish
8 men. There were two or three young men with us who sat
9 in my house, had coffee, had some food, took a bath,
10 and the like.
11 Q. Mr. Blazevic, will you please tell us, apart
12 from those Muslims, the Bosniaks, were there also some
13 other men, Croats, who were brought to dig, or were
14 there only Muslims?
15 A. There were Croats and there were Muslims,
16 regardless -- and there was also a work platoon, and
17 they just worked, all of them.
18 Q. Do you know, those Croats who also worked
19 there, who were those people?
20 A. The Croats, those who worked there, were
21 mostly men who were not able-bodied, that is, who were
22 too old for the army, the elderly, and yet they were
23 there because they had to help in some way.
24 Q. To your mind, Mr. Blazevic, why did the
25 soldiers, who were defending the line, need all this
1 help in digging trenches? Were you sufficient enough
2 to do it or not?
3 A. No, we were not. We were not too many, I
4 mean, the soldiers, and we were not prepared for the
5 war, so not a single dugout was really dug until they
6 attacked us. Then the time was such that for 15 days
7 we would not take off our boots, and we were simply
8 exhausted and asked for some help, some assistance. So
9 let them dig trenches, if nothing else. There were
10 people who came and merely stood and watched when it
11 would start, so we simply needed some help.
12 Q. I see. I understand. Mr. Blazevic, you said
13 that those people came to help, that they were being
14 brought by the Military Police, and that there were
15 military sentry watching them as they dug those
16 trenches; is that correct?
17 A. It is.
18 Q. Do you remember if there were any incidents
19 or whether any of those men who dug trenches were
20 wounded or hurt or whatever; do you remember anything
21 like that?
22 A. No. No, nothing like that happened. Nobody
23 was to blame for this for it just happened, and they
24 were doing their job. We were there. But it was not
25 safe at the time.
1 Q. Mr. Blazevic, in that situation, when people
2 were brought to the defence line to help with the
3 fortification and digging of trenches, who was their
4 superior? Who ordered them? Who ordered them to dig
5 here or there, stop digging, and so on and so forth?
6 Who issued orders?
7 A. Those men who were up on the line. They knew
8 where it was necessary, when we had to dig, and so they
9 told them to dig here and wherever, and they always
10 obeyed without any problem, both Croats and Muslims
12 Q. When you say "we," I mean, what does it mean,
14 A. The combatants, we who were positioned on the
15 line. We were there.
16 Q. I expect that on that segment of the line
17 which you, the combatants, held, there was also a
18 commander too?
19 A. Yes. There was the commander, Dragan Akrap,
20 called Mance. He was the commander of the Nikola
21 Subic-Zrinjski, if I remember it well, the 1st
22 Battalion of the company.
23 Q. So Mance, as you call him, he was your
24 immediate superior?
25 A. He was the commander of the unit.
1 Q. And is it also true that he commanded -- he
2 was the superior of that work unit which was attached
3 to you to help?
4 A. Well, I wouldn't know with certainty, but I
5 guess that in all likelihood he was because they were
6 digging trenches there where we were.
7 Q. Mr. Blazevic, you mentioned that these
8 people, those Muslims from Kaonik, had been brought by
9 the Military Police to the place where they were to
10 dig. Did the Military Police also bring Croats, that
11 is, Croat civilians, also to dig trenches, or did they
12 come in some other manner?
13 A. No, they came together, both the Croats and
14 Muslims, and the Military Police would always bring
15 them there and then take them back; and the combatants,
16 those who were on the line, they stood watch, and these
17 people went back to the barracks over there.
18 Q. I see. So far, we talked about the events in
19 1993, that is, sometime in January and February, that
20 is, at the time of the first Muslim-Croat conflict in
21 the Lasva Valley. Could you now please try to remember
22 when the second conflict happened because, meanwhile,
23 there was a truce of a kind or something?
24 A. Yes. Up to the first conflict, the
25 cease-fire was signed, and if I recall properly, it was
1 in April, I think towards the end of April. I wouldn't
2 know the date exactly. Fifteenth, 16th -- no, I
3 wouldn't know. But at any rate, a truce was signed.
4 So we were sitting by the dugout -- the dugouts were
5 very close, I mean ours and the Muslim ones -- and one
6 morning, I remember that very well, the Muslims -- of
7 course, we knew each other very well because we were
8 neighbours because -- and one of them, especially
9 because we worked together at the steelworks and
10 commuted by bus every morning, and called "Dugonja,"
11 that was my nickname, "Come and have a cup of coffee."
12 Q. Excuse me for interrupting you. I'm sorry.
13 Will you please explain once again who was it that
14 called to you?
15 A. Muslims. They were some 100, 200 metres
16 away. They were very close.
17 Q. Are you talking about members of the B and H
19 A. Yes, correct. They called me, they called to
20 me, called to me, "Dugonja, come and have a cup of
21 coffee with us." There was no fire at the time. But I
22 answered, "No, I will not. Why don't you come over to
23 me?" Then a pause and then again they called to me,
24 "Come and have a cup of coffee with us." "I won't."
25 As a matter of fact, I did not dare. "Why don't you
1 come over to me?" "Here we come."
2 Q. Excuse me. May we clarify this thing? This
3 is happening at a time when you are in a dugout on the
4 defence line and it is the B and H army members who are
5 calling to you who are also on their defence line; is
6 that correct?
7 A. It is.
8 Q. And the distance between the two lines was --
9 A. Well, it was some 50 to 70 metres, I think,
10 so that we could hear well.
11 Q. And so you said, "I am not coming to you.
12 You come to me." Is that correct?
13 A. It is.
14 Q. And what happened then?
15 A. Well, they said, "Here we come." And they
16 came closer, some 20 or 30 metres, there were some
17 trees there, and I think they were behind a trailer,
18 and again he called, "Dugonja, here we come from the
19 dugouts." And then I came from the dugout and I
20 shouted to my combatants, "Don't fire because these are
21 my neighbours." So that's how it was.
22 Two of them came and I recognised them.
23 "Good morning." "Good morning." "Do sit down." A
24 couple of minutes later, two more turned up. They were
25 in uniforms with rifles in their hands, and that was
1 how it was.
2 And then I made some coffee and I also had
3 some plum brandy and there was also some bacon because
4 that winter I had slaughtered a pig. So we sat down
5 and talked over the coffee, since before, like
6 friends. So they started going back and said, "Please,
7 tell them not to fire at us." And I turned to my
8 combatants and said, "Fellows, don't you fire a
9 bullet." And so they went back. And we later on
10 agreed that we did not have really to fire at one
11 another because we did not need it.
12 Q. Excuse me. You mentioned that you told your
13 guys not to fire. But what were you doing there? Did
14 you have a rank or something?
15 A. I commanded a platoon and I covered -- I was
16 responsible for ten dugouts and looked after what they
17 needed, whether some would need food or firewood or
19 Q. What was approximately the length of these
20 ten dugouts that you protected?
21 A. You mean in metres? Well, I don't know
22 exactly. Two or three hundred metres. I wouldn't
23 really know. Ten dugouts.
24 Q. And that area was under you, you were
25 responsible for it; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, it was under my control, and, of course,
2 I had another commander.
3 Q. Yes. I realise that. Now, let us go back to
4 this event. So now, after your neighbours, those
5 Muslims, had a cup of coffee with you, had some bacon
6 and had a glass or two of plum brandy, they simply went
7 back to their lines; is that correct?
8 A. It is correct.
9 Q. Did anyone fire a shot at them or anything?
10 A. No, no. Nobody fired at them because we
11 simply didn't feel like having a war on our hands. We
12 didn't feel like that.
13 Q. What time was it about?
14 A. Well, it was about 10.00, I think, and I
15 think we sat for about two hours there, until about
16 noon, and then they went back. A very short while
17 later, my commander arrived, who said, "Were there
18 Muslims here?" And I said, "Yes, there were." And he
19 said, "Why?" And I said, "Well, you know." "And you
20 invited them?" "Yes, I did." And there was also my
21 neighbour in the trench, my next-door neighbour,
22 Miljenko Perkovic. "Miljenko, were you there too?"
23 "Yes, I was." So they came the second shift and told
24 us, "You come with me." So we went with him and he
25 questioned us again and took notes and made some
1 records and told us, "Go home and we shall see what
2 will happen."
3 So I went back home, took a bath, and the sun
4 had set, I think it was dark already, and I fell
5 asleep. At 1.00 in the morning, I heard some bangs on
6 the door. My wife got up and then called to me and
7 said, "It's the Military Police." And they were very
8 angry, very angry at the time. And they said,
9 "Dugonja, here are the orders signed by Mance. Seven
10 days in --"
11 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, the interpreter
12 could not hear.
13 A. "Well," I said, "I won't go. I mean, it's
14 night-time." "No, you must come." There were two of
15 them -- "These are the orders. You must come with us"
16 -- whom I knew. They were our guys. And they said,
17 "Dugonja --"
18 MR. MIKULICIC:
19 Q. I apologise for interrupting. You said the
20 Military Police came. That is why I interrupted you.
21 THE INTERPRETER: And the interpreter could
22 not hear.
23 MR. MIKULICIC:
24 Q. That they brought an order. Was it in
25 writing? Was the order in writing?
1 A. No. I did not see that, but I heard "seven
2 days of imprisonment." And I resisted. I said, "I
3 don't want to go. Wait," I said. "In the morning.
4 We'll go in the morning. No problem." "No, no, you
5 must come straight-away."
6 So I got ready and my neighbour Miljenko
7 Perkovic was already in the car waiting and we headed
8 straight for the gaol. So they put us together to see
9 what had we done, and I was really crying with rage.
10 Why do we need it? Why did we need any written
11 orders? Nobody fired, nobody was killed, nobody was
12 injured, so -- but -- well ...
13 That day we spent in the cell, lunch,
14 supper --
15 Q. Excuse me. You said that the Military Police
16 took you to prison. What prison?
17 A. Kaonik, Kaonik. There were no other prisons
18 over there, at least I don't know.
19 Q. And they turned you over to somebody there.
20 Who did they --
21 A. Well, the Military Police. Those who also
22 worked at Kaonik.
23 Q. Who also worked there as guards?
24 A. Yes, there were guards there. Also our guys,
25 I mean, and I knew them, and to each his job.
1 Q. So you and your neighbour Perkovic, you were
2 put in a cell?
3 A. Yes, we were in a cell together, and that
4 day, we, I think, went out two or three times. I think
5 it was two or three times that we were let out.
6 Q. Excuse me. I shall interrupt you once again
7 but we shall come back to this point. So that morning,
8 when you were brought early in the morning or late in
9 the night, I mean, as you like, you were put in a cell
10 and you spent the day in the cell; is that correct?
11 A. It is.
12 Q. Were you given anything to eat?
13 A. Oh, yes, yes. We went out, five or six of
14 us, and there would be a table there and we would eat
15 there, so we ate something.
16 Q. So you were taken out to eat.
17 A. Yes, yes, yes. We ate out in the passage.
18 Q. In the passage. In the passage of the
19 prison, you mean?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did only you and your neighbour Perkovic eat
22 there, or were there some men who were there?
23 A. No, there were five or six men who would come
24 out and have their meal, and then we would finish our
25 meal and go back to our cells, and others came to eat
1 and it went on.
2 Q. And what about the hygiene? What about your
3 physiological needs?
4 A. Well, it was very fine. I mean, we would
5 knock on the door and then the police would come, ask
6 what did we need, see us off to the -- take us to the
7 lavatory and then bring us back.
8 Q. Did you ever see any incidents in the prison,
9 whether anyone beat anyone or used expletives against
10 someone or anything?
11 A. No, everything was normal. Everything was
12 all right. Sometimes they would give us a cigarette or
13 two. So everything was normal. I never noticed any
15 Q. Right. So what happened after that first
16 day? What happened on the --
17 A. Well, the next day -- rather, the second
18 night there, the orders were read out in the passage
19 and we were also called out to go and dig the trenches
20 and dugouts. So we came into the passage. There were
21 about 20 of us. We came out two by two. We took the
22 hoes or spades or whatever we laid our hands on. And
23 the first night I went on foot, to dig the trenches, to
24 Strane, which is near Kaonik, near the prison. Not far
25 from it.
1 Q. Right. Mr. Blazevic, you said that somebody
2 in the corridor was calling out names. Do you know who
3 that was?
4 A. Military Police, the guards. They called out
5 names and we came out.
6 Q. Who took you from Kaonik to Strane where you
7 then dug the trenches?
8 A. Military Police again. The Military
9 Policemen took us there --
10 Q. Excuse me. So the Military Police took you
11 from Kaonik to Strane; is that correct?
12 A. It is.
13 Q. Were they the same Military Police who served
14 as guards in the prison or some other policemen?
15 A. Those who worked in the prison.
16 Q. Mr. Blazevic, I shall repeat the question
17 because it seems that you did not understand me.
18 Earlier you said that Military Policemen
19 served as guards in the prison. Did you know some of
21 A. Yes, I did. Well, as a matter of fact, we
22 were taken by the policemen who were in the barracks by
23 the prison, and those who were in the prison, they only
24 called out our names, and we were taken away by other
25 policemen who were next to Kaonik, in their Military
1 Police --
2 Q. Excuse me. So you say that the Military
3 Police were in the area of Kaonik?
4 A. Close to it, some 100 metres away, and those
5 Military Policemen took us away and brought us back and
6 we travelled by car. We also went to Prosije and to
7 Kula and we went by car.
8 And the Military Police who were next to the
9 prison, they had their barracks. They were the ones
10 who took us away and brought us back; that is, took us
11 to dig and brought us back from digging.
12 Q. I see. Right. So let us come back to that
13 first night when you were digging. You said you walked
14 there to a site called Strane; is that correct?
15 A. It is.
16 Q. How far is it from the prison, Kaonik?
17 A. Well, it's not far, perhaps 10 or 15 minutes
18 on foot. I do not know. We walked there by night and
19 came back. It was not far.
20 Q. Right. So you were brought by the Military
21 Police to that location, to Strane, and who was there
22 to receive you?
23 A. The combatants who were there, who were on
24 watch along the line. So they took us and then
25 positioned us there and said where we were to dig and
1 to see where we were to dig and how to dig so as to not
2 make too much noise because we were told that these are
3 our lines and there is the line of the army of B and H,
4 so they would fire on us, and the combatants would then
5 take us away while the fire lasted, they would take us
6 to a shelter so that we would not suffer, and when the
7 fire would stop, they would then take us back.
8 Q. So the soldiers, the combatants on the line
9 where you were digging, were taking care -- were seeing
10 to it that you would be safe; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So you said that the Military Police called
13 out the names for the work platoon. How many men were
14 roughly in the platoon?
15 A. Well, if I remember properly, there were
16 about 20 men, or perhaps 20, 25. I wouldn't know
18 Q. Who were among those 20, 25 men? You said
19 that you and your neighbour were there. Who else was
21 A. Well, there were Croats and Muslims too.
22 There were also some Serbs who had stayed there and who
23 then joined the unit and who were with the HVO unit
24 until the end. But we all went together.
25 Q. When you would finish work, the Military
1 Police would take you back to the barracks?
2 A. Well, yes, and they would either drive us
3 back or we would walk back, depending -- from Strane,
4 we would walk back, and to other places, we would be
5 driven to and from that place by car.
6 Q. Right. So you say that you personally, while
7 you were in the Kaonik prison, went to dig in three
8 places: Strane, then Kula, and Prosije?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did the labour platoon include Muslims in all
11 these three cases?
12 A. Yes, it did, in all these three cases.
13 Q. Do you recall if there were any incidents
14 during that time? Was anyone wounded or ill-treated or
15 physically harassed while digging?
16 A. While I was there, no, nobody suffered
17 anything. Everybody was perfectly safe, or at least I
18 do not know anything.
19 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Blazevic, how long did
20 you spend in the prison at Kaonik?
21 A. Well, let me tell you. I spent -- I was
22 sentenced to seven days' imprisonment, but I must say
23 that I did not stay there for seven days, I stayed for
24 five days, because -- and even five days was too much.
25 The Military Police came in one morning and told two of
1 us to go home. He said, "Mance said that you could go
2 back." And we went to the line. And then I asked him,
3 "Why did you condemn us to seven days' imprisonment?
4 What crime had we committed?" "Well," he said,
5 "because we did things on our own initiative. We
6 didn't ask him. Well, how can I ask him? It's all
7 very quick. I had no time to ask you." And I didn't
8 think that this was any of -- that this was any
9 misdemeanour or crime of any kind, and so I forgave
11 Q. So, Mr. Blazevic, you said that on the fifth
12 day of your imprisonment, the Military Policemen came
13 and told you that you could go, leave, and they also
14 said that Mance forgave you, that is, Mance let you off
15 these two days, these two additional days?
16 A. Well, yes, that's right. And this was -- we
17 liked this. We were very happy that he had done so.
18 Q. So your commander sent you to prison and he
19 amnestied you, that is, he let you off the two days?
20 A. Yes, that's right, because he had the right
21 to punish us even for as much as 15 days, but he only
22 gave us seven days' imprisonment and then reduced that
23 sentence to two days -- to five days. He let us off
24 for two days, and we were happy, very happy that he did
1 Q. You said that -- when you were released from
2 prison, where did you go?
3 A. We went up to the line straight-away because
4 there was no army, no soldiers. We went to where we
5 were before.
6 Q. Mr. Blazevic, while you were in Kaonik, did
7 you have occasion to see or hear who was the person in
8 charge of the prison there?
9 A. Well, at the time, of course, I heard from my
10 fellow prisoners that the chief of the prison -- he was
11 pointed out to me, he was Zlatko Aleksovski. I think
12 that was his name. I saw him on one occasion in front
13 of the prison building when we walked around. He was
14 wearing civilian clothes. And I once saw him having a
15 windjammer, sort of camouflage windjammer on. But I
16 saw him very briefly. I don't know the man. He is not
17 from Busovaca. Usually, I know my neighbours, but I
18 did not know him.
19 Q. So you say that you do not personally know
20 that man but that one of the prisoners pointed him out
21 to you and said that is the chief of the prison. Yes,
22 I understand. If you saw that man today, do you think
23 you would be able to recognise him?
24 A. Yes, I would be able to recognise him, and if
25 I'm not mistaken, I think that the gentleman sitting
1 over there is that gentleman in question, and as I say,
2 we met in -- I never sat down with him or shook hands
3 with him or had coffee with him, but I know him, and I
4 think it's the man sitting across in the courtroom.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: For the record, please
6 indicate that the witness has indicated the individual
7 who was introduced to him, pointed out to him as the
8 chief of the prison, Mr. Aleksovski.
9 Q. You have already said, Mr. Blazevic, but I'll
10 ask you again directly: Do you remember what Zlatko
11 was wearing when you saw him in Kaonik?
12 A. I saw him on several occasions. Mostly, he
13 was in civilian clothing. On one occasion, I saw him
14 wearing a sort of windjammer, sort of camouflage
15 windjammer and that's all.
16 Q. Do you perhaps remember, when he was wearing
17 this camouflage jacket, did he have any army insignia
18 on it?
19 A. I did not see any. I don't think he did. I
20 didn't see anything.
21 Q. During the time you spent there, did you see
22 what that individual did? Did he issue orders to the
23 guards? Did he communicate with the guards? What did
24 he do there; do you remember? And can you describe it,
25 if so?
1 A. Well, I cannot say because I never saw him in
2 the prison. I saw him outside, walking around. There
3 was a wood there, and on several occasions, I saw him
4 there. But I don't remember. I don't really know. I
5 don't know. I don't know who issued orders.
6 Q. So you cannot tell us anything about what he
7 did in the prison?
8 A. No, I don't know. I cannot say. It was the
9 Military Police which communicated with us. But with
10 this gentleman, the chief, I didn't meet him. I saw
11 him outside on several occasions and that's all.
12 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Blazevic, after you were
13 released from prison and after your commander had let
14 you off two days, you went to the line and spent the
15 entire time at the line; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. You did not go back to Kaonik again?
18 A. No, I didn't. That was my first and last
19 time there.
20 Q. Do you know, in the Kaonik facilities, what
21 was located there before the war?
22 A. In the same facility where the Military
23 Police was, well, it was the Serbian army that was
24 there, the Yugoslav Army.
25 Q. The JNA, you mean?
1 A. Yes, the JNA. That's correct, the JNA was
2 there. And then our police moved to there and it
3 became a prison.
4 Q. Very well, Mr. Blazevic. Finally, I would
5 like to ask you something that you mentioned at the
6 beginning of your testimony. You have a large family,
7 and you said that you had some casualties. Who, in
8 fact -- what happened to your immediate family? Were
9 you personally ever wounded?
10 A. No, I was never wounded. I said that my
11 three sons were wounded. One is a 60 per cent invalid,
12 the other is a 30 per cent invalid, and the third was
13 just hit in the hand and my brother was killed. Six
14 children remain. My 17-year-old son was killed when he
15 went to dinner and my wife's brother was killed. So I
16 paid dearly in this war.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Blazevic.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: The Defence rests.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, it might be
20 the right time for a break. You probably have
21 questions to put to the witness, but how about having
22 the break now, and then you can proceed. Does that
23 suit you? Fine. We are going to have a 20-minute
24 break. Thank you.
25 --- Recess taken at 10.05 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 10.30 a.m.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Blazevic, Mr. Niemann
3 is going to put a few questions to you.
4 Mr. Niemann, you may proceed.
5 MR. NIEMANN: If Your Honours please.
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Niemann:
7 Q. Good morning, Mr. Blazevic.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. Mr. Blazevic, you were speaking of the
10 location of --
11 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, do you think we
12 could have that screen put down? It's standing between
13 the witness and myself, and I think it would be easier
14 if it could be just laid down. Just push the top
15 down. That would be fine.
16 Q. That's better, Mr. Blazevic. We can see each
17 other now. You were speaking, in your evidence, about
18 the locality of the trenches in the vicinity of your
19 house when they were first set up. Do you remember
20 speaking about that?
21 A. Yes, I remember.
22 Q. Could you tell me when the first trenches
23 were put there by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina? When
24 did that first happen?
25 A. It happened in January 1993.
1 Q. How long had you --
2 A. And a little before that. I apologise. A
3 little before that, sometime before that, in the second
4 half of 1992, some six months earlier, that's how it
6 Q. They were there, would it be fair to say, in
7 at least October of 1992? They had already been dug by
8 that stage?
9 A. Yes, correct. That was how it was, yes.
10 Q. Was it manned by units of the army of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina from October 1992 up until, say,
12 January of 1993? Were there men there all the time,
14 A. Yes. Only Muslims, members of the BH, they
15 dug the trenches along the hills around Busovaca.
16 Q. I take it from October until January of 1993,
17 so from October 1992 until January of 1993, there was
18 no firing of guns or anything at you during that
19 period. It was only after January; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. I think you'd agree with me, from your
22 general knowledge, that during the period October or,
23 perhaps, even earlier, 1992 up until January 1993 at
24 least, there was a war going on between the Muslims and
25 the Serbs and the Croats at that stage, wasn't there?
1 A. Yes. That was in Croatia, whereas, where we
2 were, there was still no conflict. There was no
3 shooting yet. It was tense, but no shooting. We
4 thought that this would be avoided, that it wouldn't
5 happen in Bosnia, because there had never been a
6 conflict between the Muslims and Croats there.
7 Q. Yes. I'm not talking about that conflict.
8 I'm talking about the conflict between, let's say, the
9 JNA in Bosnia in 1992 and the Croats and the Muslims.
10 That was happening in 1992, wasn't it?
11 A. Yes. More or less, that was what happened.
12 Q. Sarajevo, at least, was under siege at that
14 A. Right.
15 Q. The JNA were carrying out military activity
16 in Dubrovnik?
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. Indeed, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
19 assisted by the HVO, were defending themselves against
20 the JNA in relation to --
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. -- attacks taking place in Bosnia. During
23 this period, when they first erected the trenches, up
24 until January, there was never any suggestion that they
25 were going to be directed towards you at that stage,
1 because there was a war going on between the JNA and
2 the Muslims; that's right, isn't it?
3 A. Yes, that's right. That is at least what
4 they said, and they personally told me that it was not
5 against the Croats, but against the Chetniks. But
6 where are the Chetniks? They are 100 kilometres away,
7 and they said, "Well, that's what it is." If I
8 remember correctly, I went to the president of the
9 municipality of Busovaca, Mr. Zoran Maric, I believe,
10 and I said, "Gentlemen, do something, because there
11 will be trouble." He just told me, "It's not your
12 affair. You have your own business to attend to.
13 Nothing will happen." I left, but I was right, in
14 fact, and that is an instance where I personally spoke
16 Q. Well, you weren't right to start with,
17 because nothing had happened right from six months or
18 so after they dug the trenches. But what you are
19 saying is that you ultimately were right, because it
20 was after January when the trenches were used in an
21 attack upon your area?
22 A. Yes, that's correct. That's right.
23 Q. Were these trenches manned by the Muslims for
24 all of that period, from, say, October of 1992 right up
25 until January? Were they there all that time, or did
1 they just dig them, go away, and then come back in
3 A. Well, I can't say for sure. I only know when
4 my children attended the livestock, that they were
5 digging trenches, and they took children away. Now,
6 whether they were digging all the time, I don't know.
7 I didn't move up around those hills. I didn't dare,
8 because woods are woods, you know.
9 Q. Yes, of course. Right up until January, in
10 the period leading up until January, did anyone
11 actually fire at your house, anyone from the army of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did they actually fire at your
13 house during that period, right up until January 1993?
14 A. Well, no, I don't actually remember. I don't
15 know that there was any shooting, but there was
16 tension. It was tense, but no shooting.
17 Q. But up until when the fighting started in
18 January 1993, did you feel safe enough to walk around
19 your property? Were you able to do that?
20 A. Well, it wasn't safe walking around along the
21 hills where they were trench digging. I was afraid of
22 walking over the hills, so I didn't dare.
23 Q. During that period, from October 1992 right
24 through to January 1993, was anyone, either your
25 immediate family or anyone nearby, neighbours, shot or
1 injured with rifle fire from this area that you can
3 A. I don't remember. There was no shooting up
4 until then. Until our two soldiers were killed at
5 Kacuni, there was no shooting up until then, but there
6 was tension, as I say. Quite simply, the situation was
7 tense, and you could see that there would be trouble
9 Q. When the fighting did begin in January of
10 1993, was that the time when you built trenches on your
11 own property?
12 A. Our soldier who was killed up there, up until
13 then, we did not have a single trench, nor was there
14 any digging until that shooting had taken place. Then
15 there was fighting between the natural shelters, but
16 there were no trenches until that happened.
17 Q. When was the soldier shot, what date? Can
18 you remember? I know it's a long time ago.
19 A. It was a Sunday. It was 12.00, 1.00 p.m. I
20 don't quite remember. It was the 25th or 26th of
21 January, I believe.
22 Q. Of 1993?
23 A. Yes. That's exact.
24 Q. Did the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina actually
25 move into Busovaca, into the town, the city of Busovaca
1 itself, that you can recall?
2 A. No. It did not enter the town of Busovaca.
3 Before our two soldiers were killed, in fact, from
4 Busovaca, they passed by my house, took cattle past my
5 house towards the hills where there were Muslims. The
6 women and children took the cattle that way. I was
7 personally able to notice that, to notice that we would
8 be attacked, but until then, it did not enter
10 Quite simply, they were in the hills, and it
11 is my personal opinion, I sort of imagined them -- I
12 sort of thought they would attack in the next two days
13 and storm Busovaca, and that's what happened. A young
14 man was killed then. Then we were attacked in an
15 organised fashion in three lines. I remember how it
16 happened. When my children shouted, one of my uncle's
17 children, he was crying, and he said, "Here they are.
18 They are all coming in white."
19 By the road, there was a truck and trailer,
20 and they said, "Hello there." It was sort of a
21 freestyle talking. "This is the Jihad war. This is
23 Q. I'm just interested in you telling me what
24 part the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina actually invaded
25 and what part they occupied in Busovaca? That's the
1 part I would like you to tell me, if you could. You
2 don't have to go off into other details. Just tell me
4 A. Well, by Busovaca, there was an
5 encirclement. They attacked, and each time they
6 succeeded in repelling our soldiers, driving them out,
7 sometimes 500 metres to one kilometre. Then we would
8 entrench again, so that we were an encirclement.
9 Luckily, in Busovaca, there was this encirclement.
10 There was one exit towards Sevischa (phoen) down
11 towards Bugojno and Kupres. So we were able to exit
12 that way, and some people did get out through there.
13 But luckily, that is to say, the Muslims cut across
14 this line, and so there was no where else we could go.
15 We were in sort of a pot, and that is where we stayed,
16 and we had no where to escape to. I know that they had
17 taken control of part of Prosije and Kula, so they took
18 control of these places.
19 Q. The places where they took control, by and
20 large, most of them were actually areas which were
21 mainly Muslim towns. That's right, isn't it? There,
22 up in the hills -- well, not necessarily the hills, but
23 they were mainly Muslim towns?
24 A. No. There was nobody's towns there. There
25 were woods and fields.
1 Q. Well, an area where a majority of Muslims
3 A. Well, I remember that they took a village
4 called Sokolic where they were inhabited by both
5 Muslims and Croats, but the Croats had withdrawn
6 towards the town, because they knew they couldn't stay
7 there, and they took control of that. There was Putis
8 and there was Kiseljak with a mixed population, but
9 mostly Muslim villages, though, and that's what they
11 Q. You then spoke of trenches being built up on
12 your property or in the vicinity of your property
13 before you were taken off to Kaonik yourself. When
14 they arrived, when those prisoners arrived, I think you
15 said that some of them were Croats and some were
16 prisoners; is that your evidence?
17 A. Yes, that's right. That's correct.
18 Q. Now, the Croats could have been from the home
19 guard, couldn't they? They could have been people who
20 were gathered up and brought up to big trenches?
21 A. They were Croats, yes, that's right, those
22 who were not able-bodied men for army service, those
23 who were slightly older and were able to dig, to cut
24 wood, and so on. It was mostly those people, whereas
25 the military-able men went up to the frontline.
1 Q. That's right. These people were basically
2 civilians but had been put into labour units to perform
3 the sort of work that involved digging trenches around
4 your place?
5 A. Quite.
6 Q. The prisoners that you saw, they were the
7 Muslims from Kaonik?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. When it came to bringing these people there,
10 these prisoners, particularly, from Kaonik, were you
11 able to see whether the Military Police stayed with the
12 prisoners, as opposed to the volunteers or the
13 able-bodied men who were brought there, the Croats who
14 were brought there? Were you able to see whether the
15 Military Police stayed with the prisoners?
16 A. No. The Military Police would only bring the
17 prisoners, and they would go back to the barracks. The
18 soldiers who were there, that is, the guards on the
19 line there, watched them, and the Military Police
20 returned to their unit.
21 Q. I take it that when it came to digging
22 trenches on your property, at that time, things had
23 become quite dangerous by then; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I think you said that it became unsafe at
1 that time. Was it unsafe for you to actually leave
2 your house and just walk around the fields around your
4 A. Let me tell you. I have to explain certain
5 things. I think you did not quite understand what I
6 was saying. My property is on the hill, a little bit
7 further away way, some three or four kilometres away.
8 Up there, I had some land where my cattle grazed, and
9 there, up in the hills, the Muslims were digging
10 trenches. By my house, that is where the Muslims came
11 to dig trenches. Up there, where they were digging, I
12 did not dare go there, nor did I ever go, because they
13 had already taken the hills around Busovaca.
14 You have to realise that there must have been
15 three or four, and I don't really remember, perhaps
16 even more, from the place where I had my property.
17 That is where the Muslims were digging before the
18 conflict erupted.
19 Q. You're quite right. I didn't understand
20 that. At the land where you had for grazing your
21 cattle, that's where the trenches were dug, not only by
22 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also by the HVO and
23 the Muslim prisoners, so both of them were built
24 together. Have I got it right now or not?
25 A. No, not yet.
1 Q. Tell me, firstly, where were the trenches dug
2 by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Were they dug at
3 your house or up in the hills?
4 A. Up in the hills where I have land. I told
5 you, some three, four, perhaps, five kilometres up
6 there, I have land. It cannot be worked with
7 machinery, so it was used for grazing. Up there, only
8 the Muslims dug their trenches. Then I went to notify
9 the president of the municipality and told him,
10 "Listen, this is not good, because it is my field
11 where they were digging, and they are asking no one."
12 Q. Fine. Tell me, when it came to the trenches
13 being dug by the prisoners from Kaonik and by the home
14 guard, where was that done? Was that done near your
15 house or, again, up in the hills near the Muslim
17 A. No, no, no. Then the Muslims and Croats came
18 to help us by my house. That was this very narrow,
19 very small circle which we had to defend, because we
20 could not take a larger area, as we were very few. So
21 they came to work at my house, and those were also
22 prisoners who helped us to dig trenches there by my
23 house, sir.
24 Q. The trenches which were later built by the
25 Muslim prisoners from Kaonik was near your house, and
1 did it face fresh trenches that had been dug by the
2 Muslims near your house?
3 A. Well, you can't see that, sir, if that was
4 far away from my house. There are woods and hills, and
5 you can't see that. You can see up to 100 metres, but
6 those hills are high. You can't see it because there
7 are woods and hills. It was all masked.
8 Q. I'm not asking you about the trenches that
9 were dug -- just excuse me. Just listen to my
10 question. I'm not asking you about trenches that were
11 dug in October of 1992. I'm now moving forward to the
12 trenches that were dug in 1993. You spoke of Muslim
13 prisoners and Croat home guards digging those trenches,
14 and you now say that that was near your house.
15 Are you saying that, by this stage, the
16 Muslim forces had moved down close to your house?
17 A. At that time, no, they had not moved. Well,
18 somewhere up in the hills where my unit was, they did,
19 perhaps, a few metres or so. I don't know. But as
20 regards my house and the Muslim house, you could not
21 see it, because the trenches were dug by night, at
22 night-time, so you could not see it. When the day would
23 come, you could see, of course, where the fire was
24 made. When they talked, you could hear them because it
25 was so close. But, otherwise, they worked at night, so
1 you couldn't see anything. I don't know, really, what
2 you mean.
3 Q. We are having difficulty communicating. I
4 agree. Tell me, the trenches that were built near your
5 house, presumably, faced the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 or did they face nothing? Were they dug there for no
7 particular military reason?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Tell me, where was the army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina located relative to the trenches
11 that were built near your house?
12 A. Everywhere around where our dugouts were, and
13 100, 150, or, perhaps, 200 metres away, depending on
14 the terrain, was where the Muslims were, all around
15 it. Around my house was, perhaps, no-man's land, and
16 perhaps not more than 50 or 70 metres away, as the crow
17 flies, was theirs, so that we could really talk. I
18 mean, once we raised our voices a little, we could
19 perfectly communicate.
20 Q. When they built trenches next to your house,
21 they were, in fact, building trenches on the front
23 A. Correct, yes.
24 Q. Therefore, the trenches that had been built
25 up in the hills in October 1992 were not the trenches
1 that were then being used in an attack on your place?
2 A. Let me tell you. I have to explain this.
3 The trenches or the dugouts were not in a straight
4 line, because, of course, it depended on the terrain.
5 Where we had our property up in the hills, yes, it's
6 true that the Muslims had their trenches. But down
7 there, they were further away from my house, but they
8 were next to each other. I mean, they weren't very
9 close. Of course, naturally, the Muslim trenches were
10 dug first, and then our army came as near as they
11 could, and then they dug trenches also there. I don't
12 really see why you don't think it all fits in.
13 Q. You shouldn't think that I don't think that
14 it all fits in. I'm merely asking you questions, and
15 I'm trying to ascertain the relationship between the
16 trenches that were dug in October 1992 and the trenches
17 that were dug in 1993. It's not a case of me not
18 thinking they don't fit in. I'm asking to you tell me
19 how they do fit in.
20 A. Those trenches which they dug in '92 must
21 have been -- and it was proved also for the heavy
22 artillery, sir, because from the altitude, from up
23 there, they could cover the valley. The infantry was
24 in front, as far as they could move, depending on the
25 configuration on the ground. That is where they dug
1 separate trenches. There were two or three lines,
2 because sometimes they advanced or went back, depending
3 on the attack.
4 What I'm trying to say is that the trenches
5 dug in '92 were there to house the artillery,
6 guns, cannons, and what not. I don't know what they
8 Q. Did you ever see firing, of either artillery
9 or anything else, taking place personally? Did you
10 personally see any firing from the trenches that were
11 built in October 1992?
12 A. Not once, but several times. Naturally, they
13 fired, because that is where they deployed their
14 artillery. Across from my property, at the other end,
15 they had something strong, I think a tank or something,
16 but an older tank. From there, they fired at my house,
17 because it's all been pierced. It's now like a sieve.
18 Q. But a tank, for example, wouldn't have been
19 in a trench, I take it. That's something which would
20 have been brought in.
21 A. That tank was at another vantage point, a
22 protected one. I don't know. I wasn't there. But a
23 tank, an old one or something, I think it was 100
24 millimetres. That is from that attack. Of course it
25 was protected. You couldn't see it, really. How did
1 they do it? I don't know. But that is where fire came
3 Q. Apart from knowing that something was being
4 fired from up in the hills, you wouldn't know precisely
5 where it was?
6 A. Well, I do not know exactly, that is true,
7 but they did fire from some rather powerful weapons
8 because the shells had completely pierced my house, I
9 mean, went right through it, so it must have been some
10 rather powerful weapon. The shells simply went through
11 my house.
12 Q. When you went to the Kaonik prison, when you
13 were taken there in the middle of the night, what part
14 of the prison were you put into? Were you put into the
15 cells or were you put into a big hangar?
16 A. I was in the cell where the JNA had been
17 accommodated. That was the first time I came there.
18 And by the road, right at the entrance which was
19 protected by wire, there was a building where the unit
20 of the Military Police was accommodated, and right up
21 to it, there were some trees and there was a hangar and
22 there were cells, and that is where they were put up,
23 and I was in a cell, yes, correct.
24 Q. Do you remember what cell number you were in?
25 A. No, I don't. I don't know.
1 Q. Do you know of any other prisoners who had
2 been in the HVO who were in those cells at the time
3 when you were there?
4 A. Why, yes, I did. There were some
5 neighbours. Why, what for, what offence they had
6 committed, I don't really know. We were in no
7 conditions to talk. With me there was this neighbour
8 of mine, and we went together to dig trenches and would
9 come back together, and I spent five days there and
10 then they released me. And that's all I know. About
11 the rest, I know nothing.
12 Q. But this was the neighbour that was taken to
13 prison with you. I'm talking about other people who
14 were there at the prison when you arrived.
15 A. They were in other cells. I was with my
16 neighbour in one cell. And in others, I don't know. I
17 wasn't there.
18 Q. Did you hear of a prisoner called Miroslav
19 Bralo otherwise known as Cicko?
20 A. No, no, I did not.
21 Q. Is it your evidence that you have no idea who
22 else was kept in the other cells?
23 A. Well, there were people, I don't know how
24 many of them. There were Muslims and Serbs and
25 Croats. All of them were there. But why they were
1 there, I really don't know, and I can't tell you what I
2 don't know.
3 Q. Now, you say there was -- apart from the
4 Muslims, that there were Serbs and Croats. How many
5 Serbs were there and did you know them by name?
6 A. I know a couple of Serbs and others. There
7 were two brothers, as far as I remember, and they went
8 back to the unit, to the HVO. Miroslav Bilic, Miro
9 Bilic; they were Serbs. One of them was even the
10 commander of the 2nd Battalion. And they're still
11 there. They're businessmen now, I think. They are
12 into wholesale trade and they still live there.
13 Q. Apart from the Bilic brothers, who you say
14 were Serbs, who else was there who were Serbs?
15 A. I don't remember. There are still Serbs
16 there who stayed behind. But I don't really remember.
17 It was night-time. You went out at night and came back
18 at night, so I can't tell you what I don't know.
19 Q. I'm talking about the prisoners in the
20 cellblock in which you were in. I'm asking you, in the
21 cellblock in which you were in, were there Muslims,
22 Croats, and Serbs? And that's what I'm specifically
23 asking you about.
24 A. Correct, yes, true. Where I was, in cells --
25 I mean, there were Serbs and Muslims and Croats, we
1 were all together, and we all went to dig together.
2 Q. Okay. Now, apart from the Bilic brothers who
3 were in the cells with you, who you say were Serbs, you
4 can't remember anyone else?
5 A. I can't remember. I mean, I really don't
7 Q. Okay. Now, apart from you and your neighbour
8 who were both Croats, I take it, who were the other
9 Croats that were in the cells?
10 A. Well, you know, it was a long time ago. I
11 really don't remember the names. I cannot say exactly,
12 but they were there. How many, I don't know, but there
13 were some and that is for certain. Whether it was for
14 theft or something else, I don't know.
15 Q. How do you know that they were Croats?
16 A. Well, I know who my neighbours were.
17 Q. But you don't remember who they were now?
18 A. Well, I simply do not remember it. I don't
19 really -- I don't know.
20 Q. The fact of the matter is that most of the
21 prisoners there were Muslims, weren't they? The
22 majority of them in the cells were Muslims?
23 A. Well, I couldn't see that. When we went out
24 digging, there would be two or three of them, but I
25 didn't see. I don't know.
1 Q. Now, what about in other parts of the prison
2 apart from the cellblock where you were? Did you see
3 any other prisoners kept in other parts of Kaonik?
5 A. I did not see any nor was I aware of the
6 existence or anything like that. It was my first time
7 there. I don't know.
8 Q. Now, when the list of prisoners were called
9 out to go trench-digging when you were in Kaonik, who
10 compiled that list? Who made it up?
11 A. I haven't the slightest idea. I know the
12 Military Police read them out. But who compiled the
13 lists, I don't know. I can't say I know. I haven't
14 the faintest.
15 Q. Now, did you hear of the fact, rather than
16 seeing it yourself, but did anyone ever tell you about
17 prisoners being beaten in Kaonik? Did you know that
18 that had happened there?
19 A. No, no. I don't know. I really don't.
20 Q. I think it's your evidence that you never saw
21 any prisoners beaten.
22 A. That is true. I never saw it. I really
23 don't know. At the time when I was there, nobody laid
24 a finger on anyone nor did anyone touch me.
25 Q. Now, was your cell locked or open? Did it
1 have a lock on it or was it open?
2 A. Oh, sure, locked, locked. The Military
3 Policeman would really lock it. If you wanted to go to
4 the WC, then you knocked. "Yes, please? What do you
5 want?" He would take me to the lavatory, I would
6 finish my business there, he brings me back and locks
7 it again.
8 Q. It's possible, do you agree, that people
9 could have been beaten there but you didn't see it or
10 maybe didn't hear it because your door was locked?
11 A. That's correct, I was behind locked doors,
12 and I did not see or hear anything. But whether
13 anybody was beaten, I simply don't know. Nobody ever
14 laid a finger on me.
15 Q. Describe the bed that you slept on. What
16 sort of bed was it?
17 A. Boards, just planks or something, but --
18 nothing but some planks, and we had some newspapers.
19 It was pretty cold then.
20 Q. Did you have mattresses?
21 A. No, just plain board, nothing else.
22 Q. Blankets?
23 A. Nothing. We had nothing. We only had some
25 Q. And was the cell heated?
1 A. Nothing. Nothing, I'm telling you. It was
2 bitterly cold.
3 Q. Did you have water in the cells?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Could you have a hot shower or a bath?
6 A. No, nothing. Just a few boards and that was
7 all. There was no light. One could see perhaps
8 through the window a little bit so that we could make
9 out the letters in the newspapers, but that was all.
10 Q. When you were taken trench-digging, were you
11 under guard?
12 A. Yes. The soldiers on the line, they
13 controlled us and said that we had to dig there and not
14 to try to flee because they would shoot if anyone tried
15 to escape. So it was those soldiers who were on the
16 line who guarded us.
17 Q. Was this hard work?
18 A. Well, what shall I tell you? Well, yes, it
19 was on the hard side because there were rocks there and
20 all sorts of other things, but we had to work. There
21 would be a tin of a kind or something, but it wasn't
22 easy because there was mud and rain and water. But who
23 asks you if you like it or not?
24 Q. Was it cold?
25 A. Sure, it was.
1 Q. Did you have enough warm clothing?
2 A. Well, whatever we happened to be wearing when
3 we were taken there. We had nothing down there.
4 Q. Did you have sufficient breaks, rest breaks?
5 A. Well, yes, to smoke a cigarette, five
6 minutes, ten minutes, fifteen. For a chat or so, but
7 we mostly dug.
8 Q. Was it dangerous?
9 A. Very. Very dangerous.
10 Q. Why was it dangerous?
11 A. 'Cause we were not allowed to talk. We were
12 not to do anything. We had to use the pick, to do it
13 very quietly because we were very close to the lines
14 and we would hear a burst of fire. Sometimes people
15 got killed. At the time when I was in the prison,
16 nobody -- there were no casualties, fortunately. We
17 all returned alive.
18 Q. Did you ever hear any stories of people that
19 were taken out for trench-digging who were beaten?
20 A. I did not hear that anyone had been beaten
21 but I heard that a Muslim had been killed, allegedly,
22 from the opposite direction. He was a neighbour of
23 mine and I personally knew him. I think his name was
24 Musafer Ibrilic called Cakara. I heard that he had
25 been killed on the line. But from what I had heard, it
1 was a stray bullet from the opposite direction, and I
2 know that he had been killed. I don't know about
4 Q. I take it that when you said in your evidence
5 that five days was too much in Kaonik for you, what you
6 meant by that was that these conditions where you had
7 no bedding, you didn't have adequate facilities in
8 order to wash yourself, where you were exposed to
9 danger, doing hard work trench-digging where you could
10 have been shot or killed, all of these things you put
11 together in your mind and said "This is really far too
12 much" for the small thing that you had done wrong?
13 A. Well, the worst thing was, when my own people
14 imprisoned me, people that I liked, we're all one, that
15 they should -- that had I been shut up by the BH army,
16 the Muslims, I wouldn't have minded. If they put me
17 away, I wouldn't mind. But this was done by my own
18 people and I even could have been killed.
19 I dug like an ox, like a horse. My
20 circulation is poor to this day in my knees because it
21 was so cold, and I cursed my commander, I told him of
22 all these things, but I had to stick it out. What
23 could I do? And that is the whole truth. It's
24 terrible, but it's true. Before the war, my hair was
25 dark, but I'm like -- I'm grey now, as white as a sheet
1 because I was spent. I experienced some terrible
2 things during the war. And it's a marvel that I'm sane
3 today. I don't think you could even make a film of all
4 the terrible things that I had experienced. But a man
5 can survive more than a horse, stronger than a horse,
6 and I somehow survived, and those are the things that I
8 Q. Just bear with me a moment. I'll just see if
9 I have any more questions for you.
10 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, Your Honours. Thank
11 you, sir.
12 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, do you want
14 to ask further questions of this witness?
15 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
16 Perhaps two or three questions, nothing more, for
17 clarification purposes.
18 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
19 Q. Mr. Blazevic, you answered the question put
20 to you by my learned friend the Prosecutor that you had
21 not seen anybody beaten or physically mistreated in the
22 Kaonik prison camp or on the lines; is that what you
24 A. Yes, that is correct. I didn't see any of
25 that happening.
1 Q. Did you perhaps see, when you were in the
2 working group, the labour group, the labour unit with
3 other prisoners, did you see anybody have any -- was
4 bloody perhaps or had any injuries or had black eyes or
5 bruises or anything like that?
6 A. No, I did not see anything of that nature.
7 Q. You mentioned, Mr. Blazevic, that in the cell
8 in which you were locked, that there was no heating.
9 Did you notice in the building, whether in the hall
10 there was a stove of any kind?
11 A. I didn't notice anything. I know that I was
12 cold. I froze to death there.
13 Q. I have one more question for you because I
14 don't think that it was recorded.
15 When you dug, up at the lines, were you given
16 any food, and if so, what were you given?
17 A. Well, fish tins, a piece of bread -- tins of
18 fish, a piece of bread, and that's it. Nothing more.
19 We were fairly hungry, and that's the truth.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you. I have no further
21 questions, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE NIETO-NAVIA: Only one question,
23 Mr. Blazevic. At that time, did you ever see soldiers
24 wearing uniforms with the HV insignia on them, the HV,
25 the Croatian army insignia on them?
1 A. No, I did not see that. I know the HVO -- it
2 was the HVO, but no other army. I did not see any
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Blazevic, do you feel
5 more rested? More at ease now?
6 A. I feel a little better now. It's a little
7 easier for me now, but not much.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I can imagine. I do have a
9 few questions to put to you. You stated that you and
10 another colleague of yours were detained in the same
11 cell. Were there other people in that very same cell,
12 or were there only the two of you?
13 A. Just the two of us, myself and my neighbour.
14 We were in the cell. Just the two of us.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I see. Did you get to know
16 other people who happened to be in Kaonik?
17 A. No. I could not have because I didn't have
18 occasion to. We were together in a cell, we went out
19 digging at night, we were taken back to our cell, so
20 you didn't have time or there were not the
21 circumstances for this.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I believe that you stated
23 that you had heard other people telling prisoners that
24 Mr. Aleksovski was the director of the prison. Did I
25 get you right?
1 A. This was told me by my neighbour, Miljenko
2 Perkovic. He said, when we went outside, "This is the
3 chief of the prison or head of the prison." I had
4 never seen him up until then because he doesn't live in
5 Busovaca. And then I saw him and that's all.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, when you said
7 that you had had other people tell prisoners --
8 actually, you heard your colleague being told that; is
9 that right?
10 A. Yes, from my neighbour. And when we went
11 trench-digging, he said, "The man outside wearing
12 civilian clothing is the chief of the prison." That's
13 all. I didn't know the man myself.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Fine. Well, I don't think
15 that the Judges have other questions for you. I hope
16 that you will go home safely. Thank you very much for
17 coming to testify here in this case. Thank you very
18 much, sir. You may be released.
19 THE WITNESS: Thank you all too. Thank you
20 very much.
21 (The witness withdrew)
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, you may
23 proceed. It's your turn.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, the Defence, in
25 its response, as a fact witness, it has only envisaged
1 to call Mr. Blazevic. The Defence felt that at this
2 point in time, we would be discussing our proposal for
3 including testimony from the Blaskic trial, and that is
4 why, for today, we have just called this one witness.
5 For tomorrow, we have envisaged other witnesses
6 testifying to the character of the accused.
7 So if the Trial Chamber agrees, the Defence
8 would like to propose that a decision be taken, a
9 ruling be made, with regard to the Defence request with
10 regard to the evidence.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic suggests that
12 we discuss the evidence which you wish to have tendered
13 as evidence; is that right? At any rate, I believe
14 that the Chamber has already ruled on this, even though
15 it was an oral ruling, so the matter is settled at any
16 rate. I'm quite willing to see what Mr. Niemann has to
17 say with respect to this.
18 Do you have anything to say, Mr. Niemann,
19 because in terms of our ruling -- you only asked for
20 the evidence coming from the Blaskic case to be
21 admitted as evidence in our case.
22 I was about to ask the registrar to give a
23 single number for the exhibit -- I think we are dealing
24 with the statement by Admiral Domazet, we are dealing
25 with the documents which were used during his
1 testimony, and we are also dealing with the video that
2 he also introduced through his testimony, so they will
3 be all marked as one exhibit, though we have to deal
4 with three different pieces.
5 This was an oral ruling which I issued, put
6 to you this morning, so we are going to ask the
7 registrar to give a single exhibit number, but we are
8 going to issue a decision in writing, and this will be
9 reasoned and you will see why we came to such a
11 But you made a specific proposal. Let me
12 hear what Mr. Niemann has to say on this.
13 Do you have anything to say, Mr. Niemann?
14 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, I would have said
15 a great deal, but seeing as Your Honours have made your
16 ruling, I don't think there is --
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Sorry, Mr. Niemann, yes.
18 I'm only speaking as to the suggestion made by
19 Mr. Mikulicic, because as to the merits, we have
20 already ruled. It's only whether -- you can also
21 appeal the decision, of course.
22 MR. NIEMANN: There's nothing I can say in
23 the face of Your Honours' ruling. Your Honours have
24 made your ruling and I'm content with that, and we move
25 on, so far as I'm concerned.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, did you want
2 to intervene?
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honours, if I may?
4 I proposed that this tendering of evidence of
5 General Domazet's testimony in the Blaskic case be
6 done, and with regard to that, you have already given
7 us a ruling. But I don't know how the Trial Chamber
8 feels -- and this is something that the Defence would
9 like to put forward -- that here, in the Trial Chamber,
10 we look at the videotape of that testimony, and so in
11 that way, we could all have direct knowledge of that
12 testimony as well as all the other elements which went
13 as part and parcel of the testimony and which you
14 suggested be one exhibit, three pieces. That was my
15 question. And I would like to have an answer in that
16 direction and to hear your stand on that issue.
17 MR. NIEMANN: I would like to address Your
18 Honours on that point, if I may?
19 Yes. I don't see why it's necessary, Your
20 Honours, why we have to all sit here and watch a
21 videotape or read the transcript, have it read out, or
22 whatever. My understanding was that there was an
23 application to have this admitted as an exhibit in the
24 proceedings that Your Honours could consider along with
25 all the other exhibits Your Honours have, and I think
1 it should be kept that way. I don't think there is any
2 necessity for it to be played. It's a matter for Your
3 Honours to consider when you come to consider the
4 totality of the evidence.
5 So, Your Honours, the Prosecution is opposed
6 to it being played or read out or whatever is
7 proposed. Your Honours made a ruling that it be
8 tendered, and that's the stage it's at at the moment,
9 Your Honours.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Well, to be more specific,
11 and I'm going to ask Mr. Marc Dubuisson to tell us what
12 this exhibit number, the single exhibit number will be
13 for all these documents.
14 THE REGISTRAR: It will be D35.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: To answer the question
16 raised by Mr. Mikulicic, let me tell you this: We have
17 ruled that this public document be tendered, be
18 admitted as evidence, which is now D35. Both parties
19 and the Chamber may, whenever they so wish, either read
20 the statement by this witness, look again at the video
21 clip, look again at all of these documents. Our ruling
22 did not aim at having the exhibit be displaced because
23 we are talking about public documents, public records,
24 and the Tribunal is aware of them. To make things
25 easier, we already know that we are dealing with the
1 Exhibit D35, which means that either the Defence or the
2 Prosecution may turn to the registry and ask for copies
3 of all these records.
4 We did not have in mind that the transcript
5 should be read or that the video cassette should be
6 viewed because we have the documents anyway and, you
7 know, we are working by half days, and it would take at
8 least two full days to either look at the transcript or
9 watch the video cassette.
10 Since we are talking about public records,
11 you have full access to them, and anybody interested in
12 such documents may feel free to access the documents.
13 So we are dealing with something else altogether. It
14 would be different if we were to have the physical
15 presence of Admiral Domazet, that would be totally
16 different, but the basis and the foundation for our
17 ruling has been given, everything has been tendered
18 into this case as evidence, so all of Admiral Domazet's
19 evidence has now become our evidence. You have the
20 documents, they have been tendered into evidence, they
21 are available to you, and there is no need for us to
22 see all this again.
23 I think it may be in the interests of the
24 Chamber to raise another question, and let us avail
25 ourselves of this opportunity to convene a short Status
1 Conference in closed session.
2 I am now turning to the technical booth. I
3 think we should move into closed session for a short
4 Status Conference. Thank you. Can we moved into
5 closed session?
6 (Status Conference ensues)
7 --- Whereupon the proceedings adjourned
8 following the Status Conference, to be
9 reconvened on Tuesday, the 20th day of
10 October, 1998, at 9.00 a.m.