1 Wednesday, 10 December 2003
2 [Appeal Proceedings]
3 [Closed session]
12 Pages 400 to 479 redacted, closed session
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, we are in open session.
10 JUDGE POCAR: We are in open session now?
11 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session now.
12 JUDGE POCAR: But with face distortion, everything. Okay.
13 THE REGISTRAR: With facial distortion and a pseudonym for the
15 JUDGE POCAR: So we can proceed.
16 Good afternoon, Witness.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
18 JUDGE POCAR: Can you hear me?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 JUDGE POCAR: So could you please read the solemn declaration that
21 the usher will give you.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
23 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
24 WITNESS: WITNESS BA4
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you, Witness. You can now be seated.
2 The witness is appearing for the Defence, so I give the floor to
3 the Defence. First we have to identify the witness for the purposes of
4 the record.
5 MR. NOBILO: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Could the
6 witness be shown this piece of paper with his name written on it, for him
7 to confirm whether that is indeed his name.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. [In English] Maybe one letter
9 is mistake.
10 MR. NOBILO: Maybe you can correct.
11 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
12 [Appeals Chamber confers with legal officer]
13 JUDGE POCAR: Mr. Nobilo, I understand that this witness, when he
14 was heard in the trial, in the Kordic trial, gave testimony partly in open
15 session, partly in private session. So if you refer to the transcript in
16 your examination, and you have to refer to parts that were given in
17 private session, you should take care of that, and we will go to private
18 session to consider these parts, if you make reference to this. You may
19 start, Mr. Nobilo.
20 MR. NOBILO: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Witness, we will be referring to you as BA4.
23 That is your pseudonym. I will not be asking you any particulars, to
24 protect your identity, but perhaps you could tell us where you were born
25 and where you were brought up, in which place in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 A. I was born in Busovaca, and my whole life, up until 1993, was in
3 Q. Are you familiar with the situation in Busovaca from that time?
4 A. Yes, indeed. I come from the very centre of town. I was well
5 known. I knew many people, and I think everyone knew me. It's a small
6 town, where everyone knows everyone else.
7 Q. Tell us, please: What kind of a town is it? Is it possible to
8 conceal information there? How do reports spread about?
9 A. It's a small town, a small carsija, as we used to call it. So
10 anything that would happen in any part of the town, news about it would
11 spread very quickly everywhere. So it was not possible to keep any secret
12 information, or information about any event. It would become known to all
13 within a very short span of time.
14 Q. I'm not going to ask you about the details, to save time, as to
15 what happened in May 1992, but would you agree with me if I say that the
16 HVO in Busovaca, as a result of an armed intervention, took over power in
17 Busovaca in May 1992?
18 A. Yes, that is quite correct. I would say that this was the
19 classical military coup, a takeover of power. Everything was taken over.
20 Q. Could you tell Their Honours which person took over power in
21 Busovaca at that point in time?
22 A. Yes, of course. There was only one person who was in charge of
23 everything that happened then and that happened later on. It was just
24 one, and one person only, Dario Kordic, with his followers, but he was the
1 Q. Who were his right arm, his closest collaborators in this
3 A. I'm talking exclusively about my own town, my Busovaca, and in
4 that case it was Anto Sliskovic, who liked to call himself Ban, and they
5 called him Ban, or Count, who was a blind follower of Dario Kordic.
6 Q. What was his position? What did he do during the wartime period,
7 I mean officially?
8 A. Officially, well, I don't know to what extent I will remember
9 everything, because it was quite a lengthy period of time, but he liked to
10 brag that he headed the SIS, the SIS, in that area, that he was in charge
11 of all the followers who committed all the misdeeds under his command.
12 Now, what their names were, I think the Jokeri were involved, and I can't
13 really remember specifically all the various positions, but he had plenty
14 around him. So that he was the number-two responsible for everything that
15 happened in Busovaca.
16 Q. When you mentioned that he was head of the SIS, isn't it an
17 abbreviation for the Security and Information Service of the Croatian
18 Defence Council?
19 A. Yes, indeed, precisely so.
20 Q. Did you know a person by the name of Vlado Cosic?
21 A. Of course I did.
22 Q. What do you know about him?
23 A. He was a former policeman in the ex-Yugoslavia, and he was among
24 the first who joined those detachments. He liked to wear insignia with
25 the letter "U," to wear black, and he was also one of -- now, whether he
1 was a leader, but he was one of the commanders in those small units and
2 detachments that carried out executions, persecution, looting, kidnapping,
3 et cetera. Now, what exactly the name of those units was, I don't know.
4 Q. Did Vlado Cosic at a certain point in time become a commander in
5 the military police in Busovaca?
6 A. I'm really not able to say with certainty whether he was the
7 number-one man in the military police, but that he was highly ranked in
8 the police; he was.
9 Q. Who was Mirko Cosic?
10 A. That is his brother. His brother, as far as I know now, who, in
11 the beginning, was a very nice man and who behaved in a patriotic manner,
12 with respect to us Muslims, until the conflict, when he also revealed his
13 real face. And as far as I know, he also had some 30 or so men around
14 him. Now, I don't know what they were called, but I do know that he had
15 30-odd men with him who did all kinds of things.
16 Q. Now, sometime around January 1993, the situation in Busovaca
17 deteriorated. Could you tell Their Honours briefly what started to happen
18 in January 1993?
19 A. Yes. Some ugly things started to happen in relation to us. When
20 I say "us," I mean the Muslims in Busovaca. So that Muslim shops started
21 to be blown up with explosive devices, then looting during the night of
22 homes. During the day, it was, after all, more or less quiet. They would
23 sometimes allow us freedom of movement, but during the night, no one could
24 move around, because it was very dangerous. And then this culminated with
25 the looting of the first house that was looted and that was set on fire
1 the following night, and that was my house.
2 Q. To the best of your knowledge, and you said that everything was
3 known in Busovaca, who led those night-time raids? Who headed these
4 groups that were terrorising the Muslims in January in Busovaca?
5 A. Who led them? Well, it was Sliskovic, and no other. He was the
6 executioner. And it was following his orders that all the looting and
7 nightmares occurred by his followers, by his subjects, who were in the
8 Jokers, in the police, and in the military police. But I say again: This
9 was all under the control of Dario Kordic.
10 Q. In the night between the 21st and 22nd of January, if I remember
11 well, your house was attacked with explosives. Could you describe to
12 Their Honours what happened that night.
13 A. Yes. On the 21st, in the evening, as far as I can now
14 remember - I'm not quite sure to the minute - but about 10.00 or 10.15 in
15 the evening I heard steps on my porch, and I knew that something ill was
16 about to happen. And the next moment, a powerful explosion was heard in
17 front of the windows of my house, so that the panes broke into pieces. I
18 was inside, with my wife and children. Of course, I jumped up to protect
19 my wife, and the children were still rather small, and then there were
20 cries and shouts: "Open up. It's the police. We are here to protect
22 And then there was all-out shooting at the house. My house had a
23 lot of windows, large windows, so they started shooting through the
24 windows. I managed to get out with my wife through the back door, with my
25 wife and children.
1 And then during the night they continued to loot, and they took
2 everything they could, everything that was in the house. They literally
3 moved me out that night, moved out my belongings.
4 Q. Did you flee the house?
5 A. Yes. I escaped through the back door, and I was lucky that they
6 weren't at the back. So I managed to get out with my wife and children,
7 towards the back garden, which is very large.
8 Q. Did you see anything on the basis of which you might be able to
9 identify who it was who attacked your house and looted it?
10 A. Yes. The vehicle was easily recognisable. It was the property of
11 Dario Kordic's brother.
12 Q. Did his brother belong to a group?
13 A. I think -- I can't say exactly which group he belonged to, because
14 I think, I think, this was some sort of a separate group that carried out
15 these night-time raids.
16 Q. And who commanded them?
17 A. Anto Sliskovic, Anto Sliskovic, with the coordination of
18 Dario Kordic. Because whatever happened in Busovaca - and I'm talking
19 about Busovaca - was under the strict control of Dario Kordic and then
20 came Sliskovic.
21 Q. Finally, your house was set on fire, wasn't it?
22 A. Yes, the next night. They torched it with a very powerful
23 explosion again, so that the house was burned down to the ground.
24 Q. We shall now move on to the 25th of January, 1993, because in the
25 meantime, you started living in your second house in the centre of
1 Busovaca. However, on that day, you were arrested and taken to the prison
2 in Kaonik?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Could you explain to Their Honours the circumstances and who it
5 was that arrested you.
6 A. Yes. On the 25th of January, sometime in the morning, about 6.00,
7 very early, therefore, we could hear the fire siren, and this was a sign
8 for them to start their rounding up of us in the centre of town. And this
9 indeed happened. Around 3.00, we were all, all of us civilians, including
10 women and children, and us adult males, we were all forced into the square
11 in the very centre of the town, and then they separated the children under
12 age, and the women. They sent them back home. As for us adult men, among
13 whom there were a couple of boys who were 15 or 16, were taken by bus to
14 Kaonik, where everything was prepared for us: The hangars, the cells, and
16 Q. You were heavily beaten in the Kaonik prison, weren't you?
17 A. Yes. I had special treatment. I was given special treatment for
18 what had happened.
19 Q. We won't go into the details of the suffering you went through.
20 We can only imagine how hard it was. But could you tell the
21 Trial Chamber: When they beat you or your colleagues up, what did they
22 say to you, those who were beating you? Who did they convey greetings
24 A. Yes. I had several such greetings. At one point in time, one
25 night -- actually, I was thoroughly beaten up every night, but on one
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 occasion I was conveyed greetings from Mr. Cosic, in particular, who
2 really -- and I was badly beaten up. And a second time I had greetings
3 once from Sliskovic. This was during the interrogation, which went on in
4 my conviction, I didn't have a watch, but it lasted something between
5 three and three and a half hours, and I was beaten.
6 Q. Tell me: Who was in command of that prison, the direct prison
8 A. May the Court forgive me, but I can't call them with the title
9 Mister. It was Aleksovski.
10 Q. And who was Aleksovski's superior?
11 A. Sliskovic and Dario Kordic exclusively, because that man didn't do
12 anything without their signature, without their approval and permission.
13 Q. Could you tell the Court of examples when you were present and
14 when you heard yourself comments on the basis of which you concluded that
15 Anto Sliskovic or Kordic were in command of the Kaonik prison?
16 A. Yes. I was present on two occasions when I came to the direct
17 conclusion to that effect. The first was -- but I am afraid I can't tell
18 you the date, but anyway, between the 25th of January, when we were taken
19 into detention, until the 8th of February, so I think it was the 3rd or
20 4th of February. I can't guarantee that. But anyway, I was digging at
21 the Putis location. We were digging trenches all night. And around 12.00
22 the next day, they were taking us back from Putis towards Kaonik, towards
23 the prison, the camp. And at the Kaonik bridge, a jeep came up - I think
24 it was a jeep, yes - with UNPROFOR markings on it, and they stopped. And
25 a couple of soldiers came out of the jeep with weapons, and a cameraman,
1 and a lady, who was probably the interpreter.
2 The man who was leading us, who was in fact one of the people that
3 were escorting us back, was up front, and I was immediately behind him.
4 He was an HVO soldier. We were in a column. She asked him directly:
5 "What's going on?" She wanted him to explain what was happening with
6 these men, where they were being taken, where they had been, why they were
7 under such strict control of armed soldiers.
8 His simple answer was: "Why are you asking me that? Go ask
9 Kordic. He brought me here too. He knows everything."
10 That is one example.
11 Another example took place in the camp itself, in front of the
12 hangar, when we had been brought back from a spate of digging, and then,
13 as we were waiting to be let in, a guy came up - I know his name was
14 Gudelj. I don't remember his first name - He also came from the centre
15 of town. We all knew him. His name was Gudelj, and he was carrying a
16 piece of paper. And in front of the hangar, he showed Aleksovski this
17 piece of paper. Of course we didn't know what was written on it. We
18 couldn't see it. None of us could. But Aleksovski's reply, and I cite
19 him literally, is: "You can't get the men. On this piece of paper,
20 there's no signature of either Sliskovic or Kordic."
21 His answer was so rough and so incomprehensible for us, because he
22 said: "These are not men I'm leading; these are cattle."
23 After a brief period of time, he came back again, and he did take
24 the men off, so he came with a new piece of paper, which means that
25 probably the paper bore the signature of Kordic or Sliskovic, which
1 granted him permission to take the men away.
2 Q. This falls from your testimony, but could you please be specific.
3 Can you formulate the chain of command from the commander of the Kaonik
4 prison, Aleksovski, all the way up to the top? Who was his immediate
5 superior and then up to the top?
6 A. Well, we all knew that quite well. Aleksovski's superior was only
7 Sliskovic, and then the next one in the chain of command was Dario Kordic.
8 Q. Do you know a person by the name of Pasko Ljubicic?
9 A. Yes, I do know the name, but I have never seen this man. He had
10 also come from somewhere. He had been brought in from somewhere. I
11 didn't see him. I cannot make any comments or observations regarding him.
12 Q. Did you hear that he was the commander of the military police?
13 A. Yes. Yes. He was appointed to that post.
14 Q. Was he close or was he not close to this group that you mentioned,
15 Kordic, Sliskovic, Cosic?
16 A. Well, at any rate, one could deduce that they worked together, but
17 I have to reiterate that all the events, everything that happened in
18 Busovaca, right from the start until all the way down to the killings and
19 the expulsions of the population, that nothing was done without the
20 explicit orders from Dario Kordic and Anto Sliskovic. They are the really
21 evil men.
22 Q. You mentioned the Jokeri unit, and you said that Sliskovic was in
23 charge of it and then, further up, it was Kordic. Are you familiar with
24 the term "the intervention platoon"?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Who was in charge of the intervention platoon?
2 A. Well, this intervention platoon did exist. Now, as to who was the
3 immediate commander, the first in command of this platoon, whether that
4 was Cosic or somebody else... But at any rate, Sliskovic was in charge of
5 that platoon.
6 Q. Did Sliskovic have any influence over the military police?
7 A. They had influence over everything. Everything was under their
8 control, everything, everything. HVO units, this police, that police,
9 intervention platoon, the Joker unit. They were all the minions of
10 Dario Kordic and Sliskovic.
11 Q. What was Tihomir Blaskic at Busovaca at the time when you were
12 there? How much weight did his name carry?
13 A. I can state quite clearly: Zero weight. His name didn't mean a
14 thing. As far as we were concerned, we didn't know that man at all. We
15 may have known that somebody by the name of Tihomir Blaskic had come to be
16 the overall commander of all that and that he was given the rank of
17 general, but as far as Busovaca is concerned, uh-uh. That man, as far as
18 I know and as far as every other Muslim knows, he did not mean anything to
19 us because all the things that were done were done by the villains
20 Sliskovic and Kordic. Everything was under their command.
21 Q. If I were to tell you that at one point in a single room there
22 were 50 to 60 members of the military police, most of them from Busovaca,
23 and the Jokeri, that Pasko Ljubicic issued an order to them to commit a
24 crime and that Anto Sliskovic was present there, what would you say? Who
25 was behind that?
1 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I'm going to object to that. Obviously
2 the witness has given a broad characterisation of what he believes
3 Mr. Kordic's role was, but now when we get down to very specific incident,
4 I think this is sheer speculation. Counsel has put a hypothetical to the
5 witness, says who would you guess the person was, essentially. I would
6 object to that.
7 JUDGE POCAR: Mr. Nobilo, could you put your question in a more
8 factual -- asking facts to the witness, and not just opinions.
9 MR. NOBILO: [Interpretation] Yes. I wanted the witness to use his
10 knowledge of the functioning of the military police, the Jokeri unit,
11 Sliskovic, Pasko Ljubicic, and Cosic, and I wanted him to draw a
12 conclusion on this basis. But if the Appeals Chamber deems this to be
13 speculation, I don't need to have this witness draw such conclusions.
14 If that's it, we would be finished with our examination-in-chief.
15 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you, Mr. Nobilo.
16 Can we proceed to cross-examination, Mr. Scott. You have the
18 Cross-examined by Mr. Scott:
19 Q. Are you okay, Witness BA4?
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
21 MR. SCOTT:
22 Q. Are you okay? You look like you were --
23 A. [In English] It's okay.
24 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
25 A. Thank you.
1 Q. Sir, just a few questions. I don't think this will take a great
2 deal of time. I'm not questioning you -- it's only just to make it very
3 clear at the beginning, I'm not going to question you about the very
4 important role that you say that Dario Kordic played in the town and area
5 of Busovaca. My questions to you are more along these lines: Beyond the
6 scope of Busovaca, when you get out of the immediate -- move away from
7 Busovaca itself into the wider area of the Lasva Valley and
8 Central Bosnia, in Vitez, in Travnik, in Kiseljak, by what other means and
9 by what other persons, if you will, did Dario Kordic exercise his power?
10 A. [Interpretation] I couldn't really comment on this. I know only
11 about the things that happened in Busovaca, and I know who was responsible
12 for the events in Busovaca. Now, as to who was in command in Vitez,
13 Kiseljak, and how this chain of command went, I couldn't comment on it. I
14 don't know about that.
15 Q. All right.
16 A. And perhaps I don't remember.
17 Q. All right, sir. We appreciate that. And just so the
18 Judges -- it's very important for the Judges to understand the scope of
19 your testimony. You cannot really assist them, if I hear you correctly,
20 with any knowledge or information about things happening outside the town
21 or immediate area of Busovaca; is that correct?
22 A. I don't know what you mean when you say the immediate area, how
23 you define that. But if we're talking about Vitez, Kiseljak, and those
24 areas, I really don't know about that, because I wasn't there. I can only
25 tell you about things -- about the places where I was and things that I
1 went through.
2 Q. Apart from the groups you've mentioned, such as Mr. Sliskovic, do
3 you know or did you have any insights into how Mr. Kordic carried out his
4 powers, if you will, through more formal military means? What connection
5 or relationship did he have with the HVO armed forces?
6 A. It is a known fact that he was the deputy president of the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. It is also a known fact that - again
8 I'm talking about Busovaca - he had the absolute military, political, and
9 any other kind of power in his hands. He liked to refer to himself as
10 "Colonel," and he liked wearing a camouflage uniform, and he liked to show
11 off in that way.
12 Q. I believe you said on direct examination, sir, that you knew the
13 name Tihomir Blaskic and you knew that he was the senior military
14 commander in that area. But again, if I heard you correctly, you cannot
15 assist us with anything more than that, in terms of the role he played in
16 Central Bosnia; is that correct, sir?
17 A. Yes, precisely.
18 Q. Were you, during 1993, ever able to see documentation or overhear
19 communications, for example, between Mr. Kordic and Colonel Blaskic?
20 A. No. As far as I know, no Muslim was able to see any documents,
21 and I did not have any opportunity to listen in on any of their
22 conversations. There was not a chance to do so. I can't remember ever
23 seeing or hearing anything of this nature.
24 Q. Concerning this group that you mentioned, the Jokers, again I take
25 it, given your position as a Muslim in the area who, unfortunately, was
1 ultimately treated very poorly, did you have any insights, however, into
2 the internal workings of that group or, apart from Mr. Kordic, who else
3 they may have reported to, who they received their arms from, the wider
4 structure, if you will, related to that group, other than Mr. Kordic? Did
5 you have any knowledge or insights into that?
6 A. They primarily reported to Sliskovic, and he, in turn, reported to
7 Kordic. As to where they received their arms, they received it partly
8 from Croatia, a part of it they took all the weapons of the Territorial
9 Defence, so they were very well armed.
10 Q. Did you know, sir, that this same Anto Sliskovic, who you've
11 mentioned very prominently in your testimony, Mr. Sliskovic was on the
12 command staff of Colonel Blaskic, that he was the assistant for security
13 on Colonel Blaskic's Central Bosnia staff?
14 A. I don't know whether he was in the operational staff or whatever
15 it's called, of Tihomir Blaskic. I really don't know. I cannot comment
16 on it. For us, it was something that we didn't know. We couldn't know
17 who was on the staff. But I'm just telling you what Sliskovic did, and
18 under whose command he was.
19 Q. I take it from what you've just said, sir, you would have no basis
20 to quarrel with the proposition or representation that Mr. Sliskovic was
21 on Colonel Blaskic's staff; you have no contrary information. Is that
23 A. Yes, that's correct. I cannot confirm or deny, because I don't
25 Q. When you were at Kaonik prison, you were held there for
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 approximately two weeks, I think the latter part of January 1993; is that
2 correct, or early February?
3 A. Yes, from the 25th of January until the 8th of February.
4 Q. During the time that you were held, did you ever see Dario Kordic
5 at the prison?
6 A. No.
7 Q. And did you ever see Colonel Blaskic at the prison?
8 A. No.
9 Q. And again, given your position, sir, I take it you would have had
10 no opportunity to see any flow -- see or hear the flow of communications
11 from Mr. Aleksovski and other persons to whom he related; is that right?
12 A. I think I did not understand your question. Sorry.
13 Q. My apology. Sir, as a prisoner, I take it - but just to
14 confirm - you would not have been in a position to see internal HVO
15 documentation, prison communications, to know who it was that
16 Mr. Aleksovski was communicating with; is that correct?
17 A. That's correct. Yes. We didn't -- we were not in the position to
18 see any documents. The only thing I saw was the things that I described.
19 Q. Just back to Mr. Sliskovic for one moment. Do you know anything
20 more about this organisation SIS, the Security and Information Service?
21 A. I do have some general knowledge of it. I know that it was the
22 intelligence service and that they took the same name as the Croatian
23 service, and that they cooperated with it. He liked to boast that he was
24 number-one person in SIS for Busovaca.
25 Q. And when you say for a moment, just so the record is clear, took
1 the same name as the Croatian service, you mean the same name as the
2 intelligence service for the Republic of Croatia; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, I think so. I think that's how it was.
4 Q. Would it be correct, sir, that as far as you know, the
5 organisation SIS would be in a position to know about Mr. Sliskovic and
6 other people in that service? Is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Just a couple of final questions. How long did you remain in
9 Central Bosnia? Once you were released from Kaonik prison. Don't say any
10 particulars about where you went, to protect you, but just how long after
11 you were released did you stay in Central Bosnia?
12 A. Until 2001, until May 2001.
13 Q. And I believe my final question to you, sir, is: Going back to
14 Mr. Sliskovic, did you have any knowledge or understanding that after the
15 atrocities that were committed in the village of Ahmici, Colonel Blaskic
16 tasked or assigned Mr. Sliskovic to do an investigation?
17 A. I don't know about that.
18 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. No further questions.
19 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you, Mr. Scott.
20 The Defence, for re-examination.
21 MR. NOBILO: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we don't have any
22 questions in re-examination.
23 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo.
24 We may have some time. I would like to start putting a couple of
25 questions myself.
1 Questioned by the Court:
2 JUDGE POCAR: Witness, you were mentioning, during your testimony,
3 that all units - and you specifically mentioned HVO unit among them - were
4 under the control of Kordic and Sliskovic. Could you mention any
5 situation or incident which revealed to you that HVO units were under the
6 control of Kordic and Sliskovic?
7 A. Everything I say always refers only to Busovaca. This is what I
8 know. This is what I saw. This is what I was through. Everything that
9 was done by the units that did this job was done under the command of
10 Anto Sliskovic and Dario Kordic. All the units were under their control.
11 All the night-time incidents before that fatal day, fateful day, were
12 always done under the charge of Sliskovic and Kordic, because the houses,
13 the shops, and the people were carefully selected. These were men who
14 meant something in the town. Perhaps I should even say people who were
16 JUDGE POCAR: Well, another question I wanted to put to you:
17 During your testimony in the Kordic trial, you mentioned, among others, an
18 incident in which you were brought out to dig trenches at Putis, and where
19 the soldiers who were guarding you were of the Vitez Brigade. And you
20 mentioned on that occasion that these soldiers did not mistreat or beat
21 you, and you said, "because these were from Vitez and treated us very
22 correctly and fairly." I was quoting your testimony.
23 Can you tell us if there was a difference in the treatment of
24 prisoners by the Vitez Brigade as opposed to the other HVO units? Can you
25 give us some examples?
1 A. In my case, the things that happened in Putis, as regards this,
2 was quite correct. The guards who were there where we dug the trenches
3 and connecting trenches were from Vitez. I knew them and they knew me.
4 Likewise, the guards at Kula - I know that for a fact - that was in the
5 night between the 6th and 7th of February. I was there and I was
6 maltreated. The whole day and until 10.00 p.m., when the shifts changed
7 and when the guards from Vitez came on duty, they were also fair and
8 treated us nicely, correctly.
9 JUDGE POCAR: So it is your position that the soldiers of the
10 Vitez Brigade treated prisoners better than the other units?
11 A. Absolutely. As far as I am concerned. And the group that was
12 with me the two nights that I was talking about.
13 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you. I will now give the floor to
14 Judge Schomburg.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Only a few details. In your testimony you
16 mentioned that Vlado Cosic liked to use insignia, and you referred
17 especially to the letter "U." What does it stand for, please?
18 A. The letter "U," under those circumstances, was a sign for the
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And then - my apologies that I have
21 to come back to the crimes committed against you - you told us that when
22 beaten up, greetings were conveyed to you from Mr. Cosic. Beforehand you
23 stated that they were brothers. Which of these two brothers was the
24 greeter, to put it this way: Vlado or Mirko?
25 A. First of all, he didn't pass on the messages. He just told the
1 person who was going to beat me up to pass on this message, and it was
2 Vlado Cosic.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It was Vlado Cosic. And could you very briefly
4 elaborate on the role in the hierarchy of this Mr. Vlado Cosic.
5 A. As I said, he was a former policeman in the former Yugoslavia, so
6 that he had experience, and he continued working in the police, in
7 Kordic's police. He wasn't an ordinary policeman. He had the higher
8 rank. He was one of the police commanders. Now, whether he was number
9 one or number two, I'm afraid I can't tell you. I may be confusing
10 things. But he was high up; I know that.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you know who was his superior?
12 A. The superior to all of them were Sliskovic and Kordic, and they
13 followed instructions blindly, from Sliskovic, whom they called Ban, or
14 the Count, and Kordic, whom they liked to refer to as being their god.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The final question: During your detention in
16 this prison, was there ever a visit conducted by high-ranking or
17 higher-ranking visitors, be it now from the Croatian side or from
18 international observers?
19 A. I don't know whether anyone came to visit, but I do know that we
20 were very, very fortunate in so much that the Red Cross from Geneva
21 discovered us and registered us all, four or five days into our detention.
22 They were the only ones who came to the prison and who registered us.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you very much.
24 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you.
25 Judge Guney, please.
1 JUDGE GUNEY: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Witness, would you please tell us, within the framework of the
3 Busovaca municipality that you belonged to, who controlled the Jokers?
4 A. Sliskovic.
5 JUDGE GUNEY: [Interpretation] Was he the only authority, the only
6 person who controlled the Jokers?
7 A. One could put it that way. They reported to him and they obeyed
8 him blindly.
9 JUDGE GUNEY: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you.
11 This concludes the examination of Witness BA4.
12 Witness, you may be excused, but wait for leaving the room in
13 order that you will not be recognised going out. We thank you for your
14 cooperation with the Tribunal, and we apologise if we had to go back to
15 your sufferings in examining you.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you. Thank you so much.
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 JUDGE POCAR: Well, we have another witness to hear, I understand,
19 one witness to hear, tomorrow. We can adjourn now. May I ask the parties
20 how long the examination of this witness may require?
21 MR. HAYMAN: We would expect it to be either the same length or
22 perhaps a little even shorter than the witness we've just concluded, so
23 it's not going to take very long.
24 JUDGE POCAR: The Prosecution?
25 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, Mr. Harmon will actually be taking that
1 witness. In deference to Mr. Harmon, I will reserve his whole time, but I
2 suspect in reality it might be less than that. But it certainly doesn't
3 appear that we'll have any trouble finishing in the morning.
4 JUDGE POCAR: May we, in those circumstances, convene at 9.00
5 instead of 8.00 tomorrow.
6 MR. HAYMAN: We would welcome that, Your Honour.
7 MR. SCOTT: So agreed, Your Honour. So agreed.
8 JUDGE POCAR: So we adjourn now and reconvene tomorrow morning at
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.36 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 11th day of
12 December 2003, at 9.00 a.m.