International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Case No IT-95-14

  1. 1 Monday, 28th July 1997.

    2 (9.40 am).











    13 Pages 1043 to 1144 redacted - in closed session













  1. 1 (3.00 pm)

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Can we have the accused

    3 brought in, please?

    4 (The accused was brought in).

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Prosecution, we can now continue the

    6 statement of your witness, Mr. Djidic.

    7 MR. KEHOE: With the assistance of the usher, if Mr. Djidic

    8 could be brought up to the courtroom.

    9 MR. DJIDIC (cont'd)

    10 Examination-in-chief by MR. KEHOE (cont'd):

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Djidic, do you hear me?

    12 A. Yes, yes.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?

    14 MR. KEHOE: Thank you Mr. President. Good afternoon,

    15 Mr. Djidic?

    16 A. Good afternoon everyone.

    17 Q. Mr. Djidic, when we broke on Friday we were talking about

    18 the establishment of the Croatian community of

    19 Herceg-Bosnia in late 1991. After the Croatian

    20 community of Herceg-Bosnia came into existence did life

    21 for the Muslims in the Lasva Valley and in the Vitez

    22 area become more difficult?

    23 A. Yes. Life for the Muslims became more and more

    24 difficult by the day.

    25 Q. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber how?

  2. 1 A. First of all, the authorities of Herceg-Bosnia formed

    2 the authority of the HVO, which was a one nation

    3 authority, and in time and to be more precise in May

    4 1992, all Muslims were expelled from the bodies of

    5 authority. At that time, we had a joint parliament. We

    6 had a joint government. The Croats were in the majority

    7 and they controlled fully all authority. And knowing

    8 that, that they were fully in control, one may ask why

    9 did they chase the Muslims out of the bodies of

    10 government? That is the most important question, which

    11 shows that the Croats did not wish to have Muslims in

    12 the authorities.

    13 In the course of the spring of 1992, certain

    14 conditions started to be attached for the continued work

    15 of people within the bodies of authority. So that a

    16 separation occurred of the Muslims from the executive

    17 authorities. It is particularly worth noting that at

    18 that time the Croats offered to the Muslims a certain

    19 piece of paper which they had to sign, recognising the

    20 authorities of Herceg-Bosnia. All those who did not

    21 wish to do so could no longer continue working. In June

    22 an attack occurred against the police station, and on

    23 that occasion policemen of Muslim faith were disarmed

    24 and thrown out of the police station. This attack on

    25 the police station was carried out by members of the HOS

  3. 1 headed by Darko Kraljevic. After that date the Muslims

    2 never again returned to that station.

    3 Muslims then went to Stari Vitez and a few days

    4 later they formed a separate police station. That

    5 police station is operated in Stari Vitez to this day.

    6 At the time, that is in June and after June, the Muslims

    7 continued to be terrorised. The people were

    8 intimidated. Muslim owned hotels and restaurants were

    9 blown up. Then the Muslims' flats were broken into,

    10 with demands being made for them to give up weapons, and

    11 also money. The Muslims were taken away for so-called

    12 informative interviews, after which they would come back

    13 with visible traces of mistreatment. It is particularly

    14 worth noting that the HVO at that time, and throughout

    15 1992, was also settling accounts with disobedient --

    16 disobedient Croats and Serbs. Individuals were taken

    17 into custody for informative interviews. I do not know

    18 whether they were mistreated. Also, at about the same

    19 time, there were frequent attempts, many were

    20 successful, to restore peace to Vitez and there were

    21 endless meetings with the Croats, and, at times, some

    22 success was achieved. But the police has never worked

    23 together since, nor did the Muslims rejoin the

    24 parliament, or the government.

    25 Various kinds of provocations continued, which

  4. 1 frequently resulted in the arrests of Muslims, both

    2 civilians and members of the army. More and more people

    3 were being laid off. And roughly about that time the

    4 HVO introduced a new currency. We would be given our

    5 salaries in Croatian dinars, which is the currency of

    6 the neighbouring state of Croatia. The Muslims had to

    7 accept this, because they had no other currency, or

    8 rather the Bosnian dinar, at that time, was undergoing

    9 spiralling inflation and could not be used in the

    10 so-called Herceg-Bosnia.

    11 All attempts made to restore confidence for people

    12 to be able to live and work normally failed, and this

    13 went on like this throughout the year 1992, and at the

    14 beginning of 1993.

    15 Q. Mr. Djidic, going back to some of the statements that you

    16 just made concerning the legislature. You said that

    17 there was a greater percentage of Croats than there were

    18 Muslims. Approximately what was the ratio of Croats to

    19 Muslims?

    20 A. In relation to the Muslims in Vitez there were only 3 or

    21 4 per cent more Croats than Muslims. As for the figure

    22 itself, in nominal terms this means about 1,000 Croats

    23 more. The municipality of Vitez at that time had about

    24 26,000 inhabitants.

    25 Q. You also mentioned, Mr. Djidic, the HVO. What is the

  5. 1 HVO?

    2 A. The HVO is the Croatian Defence Council, which consisted

    3 of civilians, and of a civilian and military part. Both

    4 the civilian and the military authorities were referred

    5 to as the HVO.

    6 Q. Within the HVO was the civilian and the military side

    7 very close?

    8 A. Yes.

    9 Q. After the HVO came into existence did the legislature

    10 that you talked about continue to sit and discuss

    11 matters?

    12 A. The parliament or legislature continued to exist, but

    13 for a very short time. I do not remember exactly when

    14 it ceased to exist as a joint body, because I was not a

    15 member.

    16 Q. Mr. Djidic, were there particular political leaders in

    17 Vitez which in your opinion attempted to divide the

    18 Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Croats, and if so who

    19 are they?

    20 A. Yes, there were. At that time the most prominent among

    21 them were people who, in the municipal authority and who

    22 headed the HDZ party. Those were Mr. Ivica Santic who

    23 was the town mayor of Vitez at the time, then Pero

    24 Skopljak and Anto Valenta who was then President of the

    25 HDZ. Those were the key figures who worked to establish

  6. 1 the authority of the HVO, or the so-called Croatian

    2 community of Herceg-Bosnia.

    3 Q. Mr. Djidic, let us talk about these individuals one by

    4 one starting with Anto Valenta. Did you know Anto

    5 Valenta?

    6 A. Yes, I did, very well.

    7 Q. How did you know him?

    8 A. He worked as an engineer, a chemistry engineer in the

    9 military facility. While I was working in a school,

    10 Anto Valenta taught chemistry as a teacher. He was a

    11 friend of mine.

    12 Q. Did Anto Valenta publish a book of the ethnic division

    13 of the Lasva Valley and other areas in central Bosnia?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. Can you explain that to the court?

    16 A. Anto Valenta was the first to write a book with maps of

    17 the division of Bosnia-Herzegovina along ethnic lines,

    18 that is he envisaged ethnically pure areas. That book

    19 was published, and it is not difficult to come by it.

    20 It was published even before the elections in the '80s;

    21 and I think that much was taken from Anto Valenta's book

    22 for the establishment and the achievement of the

    23 division of Bosnia.

    24 Q. Did Anto Valenta have a particular role within the HVO?

    25 A. Yes. Anto Valenta was first the President of the HDZ,

  7. 1 Croatian democratic community, and after some time he

    2 was appointed Deputy President of the Croatian community

    3 of Herceg-Bosnia, the deputy of Mr. Boban, therefore he

    4 was a very high ranking Croatian official.

    5 Q. How about Ivica Santic, what can you tell the court

    6 about Ivica Santic?

    7 A. I know Ivica Santic very well indeed as well. He is

    8 also a chemistry engineer. He specialises in plastic

    9 materials. He was my teacher in secondary school. He

    10 taught chemistry, and we worked together in the

    11 factory. The house he was born in is only 1 kilometre

    12 away from mine, and our parents knew each other too.

    13 At the time, he was the town mayor in the Vitez

    14 municipality. We were friends as well.

    15 Q. When the tensions in the Lasva Valley began to rise in

    16 1992 what was the position of Ivica Santic concerning

    17 the rights of the Bosnian Croats and the HVO as opposed

    18 to the Muslims?

    19 A. Ivica Santic was town mayor, as I have said. All

    20 important decisions were taken by the mayor. In any

    21 event, he was very much in control. The Muslims were

    22 not a hindrance to him. However, the policies of the

    23 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosnia had different

    24 objectives.

    25 Q. Let us turn our attention to the third individual you

  8. 1 talked about Pero Skopljak. Can you tell the court

    2 about Pero Skopljak?

    3 A. Yes. Pero Skopljak, after the elections in 1991, was

    4 appointed head of the police in Vitez, of the SUP, which

    5 is the present Ministry of Internal Affairs. He worked

    6 there for a time, and then he went to work as the

    7 President of the HDZ. I did not know him as well as

    8 Santic and Valenta. I know that he graduated in

    9 theology at the university, so he was a priest.

    10 Q. How about the individual named Mario Cerkez, do you know

    11 Mario Cerkez and if you do can you tell the court about

    12 Mario Cerkez?

    13 A. Yes, I know Mario Cerkez very well. We worked together

    14 in the same factory. First we were colleagues in the

    15 same service and later on I was his superior. This was

    16 a young man who was very polite, disciplined. He liked

    17 to work. And his assignment in the service was to take

    18 care of material and technical resources, and of the

    19 weapons that we used in defence of the factory. We

    20 would visit each other for holidays, and when new comers

    21 joined us, or rather when we had -- when children were

    22 born we would exchange visits. He visited my house

    23 several times, as I did his.

    24 Q. Moving outside the Vitez area do you know an individual

    25 named Dario Kordic?

  9. 1 A. Yes. I did not know Dario Kordic until 1991. I met him

    2 as the leader of the Bosnian Croats. I think he was

    3 President of the HDZ in Busovaca and after some time he

    4 also became a very high ranking official in

    5 Herceg-Bosnia. Also I would see him frequently wearing

    6 a uniform. He had some military assignments and duties

    7 as well. I do not know much about him.

    8 Q. Did you know the accused Tihomir Blaskic?

    9 A. I met Tihomir Blaskic in 1992 when he came to Vitez.

    10 Q. Did you know him prior to that time?

    11 A. No.

    12 Q. What role did the accused, Blaskic, have in Vitez when

    13 he came in 1992?

    14 A. When Blaskic came to Vitez he came as commander of the

    15 operational zone of central Bosnia. At that time, the

    16 commander of the operative zone, or rather the

    17 headquarters of that zone, was actually being

    18 established at the time.

    19 Q. When you saw Blaskic in the Vitez area was he normally

    20 dressed in a military uniform?

    21 A. Yes.

    22 Q. Can you describe that uniform?

    23 A. Mr. Blaskic frequently wore a black uniform, and he also

    24 were a camouflage uniform. When we were officially

    25 introduced it was at the stadium in Vitez when the HVO

  10. 1 was taking an oath. That was when I met Blaskic. And

    2 at that time he was wearing a black uniform.

    3 Q. Just explain that oath taking ceremony a little bit

    4 more. Explain this oath taking ceremony. Was there an

    5 oath taking ceremony by the army of Bosnia and then by

    6 the HVO? Could you explain that to the court?

    7 A. Yes, I can. First of all members of the TO gave an

    8 oath, and that happened before the school where the

    9 headquarters was situated. I invited every one. The

    10 military and political authorities of the HVO were to be

    11 present there as guests to witness the oaths. A great

    12 number of Croats accepted the invitation and were

    13 present at the ceremony. A month or a month and a half

    14 later, HVO also gave an oath at the City stadium in

    15 Vitez. They also invited Muslims to be present as

    16 guests. I was one of the guests.

    17 Q. Who spoke at this oath taking ceremony for the HVO?

    18 A. As far as I can remember, the mayor spoke, the mayor

    19 Santic spoke, then Mario Cerkez and Dario Kordic.

    20 Q. What did they say? What did they talk about?

    21 A. The speeches made by these people mainly concentrated on

    22 saying that it was the duty of the Croats to defend

    23 Croatian areas, the so-called Herceg-Bosnia, with the

    24 aim of defending spaces which historically belonged to

    25 Croatia. And these areas were in fact areas which

  11. 1 belonged to both sides. It was specially Dario Kordic

    2 who called upon Croats to fight to the last man for

    3 these areas, for this territory. He also sent a message

    4 to Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, then President of the State,

    5 that soldiers of the HVO shall fight for Herceg-Bosnia

    6 with their bodies and souls. He was applauded and given

    7 an ovation, a military style ovation and it is

    8 especially noteworthy that they gave him a fascist style

    9 salute, ready for the motherland. That was the salute

    10 of the Ustasha from the second world war.

    11 Q. Did the speech by Dario Kordic make you uncomfortable,

    12 and if so why?

    13 A. Yes, it did. Dario Kordic's speech was specially

    14 unpleasant to me, very unpleasant. I was sorry to be

    15 there at all. I was sorry to be listening to those

    16 things. If anybody had told me beforehand I would not

    17 have believed them.

    18 Q. Mr. Djidic, what about that speech would you not have

    19 believed? Explain to the court. What got your

    20 attention?

    21 A. I would not have believed that there could be anyone in

    22 this world who could dislike coexistence between nations

    23 in Bosnia, and who wanted that state only for

    24 themselves, for one nation. Nor could I believe that

    25 Croats could be so much bothered by Muslims, because

  12. 1 there had not been a single gesture to show that in that

    2 so-called Herceg-Bosnia other nations were living as

    3 well, besides the Croats, such as Muslims, Serbs,

    4 members of other nationalities.

    5 Q. Was Blaskic there?

    6 A. Yes, he was.

    7 Q. Where was he seated?

    8 A. Mr. Blaskic was up there with the guests at the elevated

    9 stands.

    10 Q. Are you referring to a podium?

    11 A. Yes, it could be called that.

    12 Q. Mr. Djidic, you said that Blaskic dressed in black.

    13 A. Yes, I did.

    14 Q. What did the dressing in black indicate to the Muslims,

    15 or to you?

    16 A. It meant nothing to me personally. In my view, anybody

    17 is free to wear whatever they please. However, a black

    18 uniform is traditionally the uniform worn by the Ustasha

    19 in the Second World War. This is not to say that

    20 Mr. Blaskic is an Ustasha. There were also Muslims who

    21 wore black uniforms. Everybody had their own reasons

    22 for choosing a black uniform.

    23 Q. Mr. Djidic, is the individual you are referring to as

    24 Mr. Blaskic, Tihomir Blaskic, is he in the courtroom

    25 here?

  13. 1 A. Yes, I am.

    2 Q. Point to him.

    3 A. This is the man (Indicates).

    4 Q. Your Honours, at this time if we could hand out what has

    5 been marked as Prosecutor's Exhibit 80, with the

    6 assistance of the usher. (Handed). Mr. President, if

    7 I could ask the court's indulgence and ask for the usher

    8 to stand with Mr. Djidic and take this particular exhibit

    9 apart and put the photographs on the ELMO it might be a

    10 little more easier as Mr. Djidic is not as experienced

    11 with the use of the ELMO as the usher is.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that would be fine Mr. Kehoe.

    13 MR. KEHOE: I have marked a series of exhibits as

    14 Prosecutor's Exhibit 80. If we could take that apart

    15 Mr. Usher and go photograph by photograph. It might be

    16 easier on the ELMO if we just take it apart.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: This document which is 80, is this in fact

    18 the photograph which is on the ELMO?

    19 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, it is a composite Exhibit 80. In

    20 the lower right-hand corner there is a number 22-446.

    21 That will be the photograph on the ELMO right now.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, please go ahead.

    23 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Djidic, turn if you can with the pointer and

    24 with the individual photograph that is on the ELMO; do

    25 you recognise these two individuals?

  14. 1 A. Yes, I do. This man here (Indicates) is Mr. Blaskic.

    2 And this man here (Indicates) is Mr. Alagic.

    3 Q. In that particular photograph is the defendant Blaskic

    4 wearing a black uniform?

    5 A. Yes, he is.

    6 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph, which

    7 is Z2447. Who are the individuals in that photograph?

    8 A. This one is Mr. Blaskic (Indicates). This is

    9 Mr. Mahmuljin. This is Mr. Alagic, and this man I do not

    10 know.

    11 Q. By the way Mr. Djidic, General Alagic, who is General

    12 Alagic?

    13 A. General Alagic was commander of the VII Corp.

    14 Q. Let us draw our attention to the next photograph, sir.

    15 Who do you recognise in that photograph?

    16 A. (Indicates) This is Mr. Blaskic. Behind him (Indicates)

    17 the man in the white overcoat is a doctor from Vitez.

    18 I do not know anyone else here.

    19 Q. That particular photograph, your Honour, that is on the

    20 ELMO right now, Z2448. Now, in that photograph,

    21 Mr. Djidic, Mr. Blaskic has a camouflage uniform on, is

    22 that correct?

    23 A. Yes.

    24 Q. With the existence of the usher, turn your attention to

    25 the next photograph which is Z2449. Can you just centre

  15. 1 that a little bit? Do you recognise any of these people

    2 in Z2449?

    3 A. Yes. This man here (Indicates) is Milvoy Petkovic. And

    4 Mr. Blaskic is the one behind him.

    5 Q. Who is Milvoy Petkovic?

    6 A. Milvoy Petkovic is a high ranking officer in the HVO.

    7 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph which

    8 is Z2450. Again, who are these people?

    9 A. We see again Mr. Petkovic, Mr. Blaskic. I know this man

    10 here, but I cannot remember his name.

    11 Q. Keep going on, Mr. Djidic. We are talking about now

    12 Z2445. If we could put that next photograph on the

    13 ELMO.

    14 A. On this photograph I recognise Mr. Filip Filipovic.

    15 Q. He is the individual on the right-hand side with the

    16 grey hair?

    17 A. Yes, he is.

    18 Q. Okay. Good.

    19 A. Next to him sits Mr. Blaskic, and this man here

    20 (Indicates), is Franjo Nakic.

    21 Q. With the assistance of the usher could we move to the

    22 next photograph Z2456? Do you recognise any of these

    23 men?

    24 A. (Indicates) this is Mr. Kostroman from Busovaca.

    25 Q. Who is Mr. Kostroman?

  16. 1 A. Mr. Kostroman is an official of the HDZ from Busovaca.

    2 I think it was him. It was he who organised the press

    3 conferences of the HVO for the television in Busovaca

    4 and Vitez. I do not know for sure what his duties were,

    5 but he appeared very often at those press conferences as

    6 the host.

    7 Q. Who else appeared at those press conferences besides

    8 Kostroman?

    9 A. This man here is Dario Kordic (Indicates). This one is

    10 Anto Valenta, and this civilian is from Vitez, I think

    11 his name is also Anto.

    12 Q. Turn your attention to the next photograph, Z2457, if we

    13 could put that on the ELMO. Could you point out the

    14 individuals on that photograph that you recognise? If

    15 we could shift that a little bit to the right? Can we

    16 move that over just a little bit so we get the full

    17 photograph? A little bit more. Okay, thank you.

    18 A. This is Anto Valenta (Indicates). This is Pero

    19 Skopljak. This is Ivica Santic (Indicates). That man

    20 is the Tihomir Blaskic.

    21 Q. Mr. Djidic, are these the three individuals Anto Valenta,

    22 Ivica Santic and Pero Skopljak, who you described as

    23 being some of the political leaders of Herceg-Bosnia

    24 which gave such a difficult time to the Muslims?

    25 A. Yes, those are the people.

  17. 1 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph,

    2 Z2458.

    3 A. This is Mr. Blaskic (Indicates). This is Mr. Kordic

    4 (Indicates). Mr. Kulstrama (Indicates). I think this is

    5 Anto Spajic.

    6 Q. Staying with that photograph, Mr. Djidic, Z2457 you

    7 mentioned previously that Kostroman was one of the

    8 individuals at the press conference, and that Kordic was

    9 often there with him; is that correct?

    10 A. Yes, that is so.

    11 Q. Did you see the defendant Blaskic with him?

    12 A. Yes, I have seen Blaskic as well, but not many times.

    13 Q. When these individuals were on television what were they

    14 discussing at these press conferences?

    15 MR. HAYMAN: Can we have some clarification as to "these

    16 individuals".

    17 MR. KEHOE: The three individuals, Kostroman Kordic and

    18 Blaskic. When they were on television at these press

    19 conferences, Mr. Djidic, what were they talking about?

    20 A. Yes, press conferences were held very often. They

    21 usually discussed decisions of the HVO government,

    22 decisions of the government of the HDZ, the Croatian

    23 democratic community; and the assignments given by these

    24 authorities. Also these press conferences discussed

    25 military operations which were then underway in Bosnia,

  18. 1 carried out by the Serbian aggressor.

    2 Q. Did it appear to you, Mr. Djidic, that these individuals

    3 were working together?

    4 A. Yes, of course.

    5 Q. Let us turn our attention to the final photograph in

    6 this exhibit, Z2459. If we could put that on the ELMO,

    7 with the assistance of the usher. Again, just point out

    8 the individuals you recognise?

    9 A. (Indicates) This here is Mr. Kulstrama. This is

    10 Mr. Kordic (Indicates). This is Anto Valenta

    11 (Indicates). And this is another Anto. I do not

    12 recognise the others.

    13 Q. Your Honours, at this time the Prosecutor would offer

    14 into evidence Prosecutor's Exhibit 80. With the

    15 assistance of the usher if we could put that exhibit

    16 back together again, and we will move on with the

    17 questioning.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Dubuisson, with the agreement of both

    19 parties the whole album is going to be 80. Exhibit 80,

    20 is that correct? Actually, no, we are going to take a

    21 10 minute break because we are going to finish at 5. We

    22 will suspend the hearing for 10 minutes.

    23 (4.00 pm)

    24 (Short Break).

    25 (4.20 pm)

  19. 1 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume our hearing, please be

    2 seated. Mr. Kehoe, proceed, please.

    3 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Djidic, just to

    4 clarify a couple of points. During your testimony

    5 concerning the swearing in ceremony you noted there was

    6 a swearing in ceremony for the Territorial Defence.

    7 Could you explain to The Chamber what the Territorial

    8 Defence was?

    9 A. The Territorial Defence implied the organisation of the

    10 people of Bosnia-Herzegovina intended to defend the

    11 whole territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the areas that

    12 were not swept by the war, that is wherever that was

    13 possible. Its aim was protection of all citizens living

    14 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, or rather in those parts where it

    15 was possible to organise it. The Territorial Defence

    16 consisted of people of all ethnic backgrounds, but the

    17 Muslims were the most numerous.

    18 Q. Mr. Djidic, you were in the Territorial Defence in Vitez?

    19 A. Yes, I was.

    20 Q. Was it solely a Muslim function, or were there only

    21 Muslims in the Territorial Defence in Vitez?

    22 A. No. In the Territorial Defence of Vitez there were both

    23 Croats and Serbs and Muslims. In the TO headquarters

    24 there were officers who were Croats, who worked in the

    25 Territorial Defence for a period of time. Mostly all

  20. 1 the officers of the former JNA, who were expelled or who

    2 had fled from the JNA, were involved in the Territorial

    3 Defence. With the formation of the HVO, a separation

    4 occurred among these people, too, that is officers of

    5 Croatian ethnic background left the duties they

    6 performed within the Territorial Defence.

    7 Q. Did they leave voluntarily?

    8 A. Yes. The officers abandoned the Territorial Defence

    9 headquarters, but there was a certain amount of pressure

    10 on the part of the HVO on individual officers and

    11 soldiers. There were some who left the TO headquarters

    12 with tears in their eyes, because some of them did not

    13 agree with the policies of the HDZ, and the HVO.

    14 Q. Just changing subjects a little bit Mr. Djidic, can you

    15 explain to the court what the crisis committee was in

    16 Vitez, when it was established, and what it was set up

    17 to do?

    18 A. The crisis staff is a body formed with its main goal

    19 being to try to link the civilian with the military

    20 authorities, to tackle certain problems, and to focus on

    21 defence against the Chetniks. It was a group of people

    22 from the civilian and military authorities. It was of

    23 mixed composition, that is consisting of Croats and

    24 Muslims.

    25 Q. Do you remember who was on the crisis staff, who was on

  21. 1 the crisis committee?

    2 A. I do remember quite a number of them. They were mostly

    3 political and military leaders. The people I have

    4 already mentioned: the mayor, the presidents of the

    5 parties, the general managers of large work

    6 organisations, businessmen, simply people who were able

    7 to make decisions.

    8 Q. Mr. Djidic, are you saying that Mayor Santic was on that

    9 committee?

    10 A. Yes, he was.

    11 Q. Pero Skopljak?

    12 A. Pero Skopljak, Marjan Skopljak, Anto Valenta, Mario

    13 Cerkez. I was on it. Mr. Kaknjo, Mr. Kajmovic,

    14 Dr Mujezinovic and some others.

    15 Q. After the establishment of the HVO and -- did you

    16 attempt, through the crisis committee to have the HVO

    17 and the Territorial Defence work together?

    18 A. Yes. It was not just me. At that time the division was

    19 still not so pronounced. There were agreements in

    20 principle that a joint brigade should be formed, which

    21 would consist of both Croats and Muslims. There were

    22 even proposals as to who would be in the command of that

    23 brigade, since the Croats were the majority population

    24 in Vitez. On one occasion we had agreed that the

    25 brigade commander should be a Croat, Mr. Nakic, and that

  22. 1 his deputy should be a Muslim, and I was supposed to be

    2 that. We had a group of people, particularly officers,

    3 who had escaped from the former JNA whose assignment it

    4 was to prepare a plan for the establishment of such a

    5 joint brigade. People were enthusiastic about it.

    6 However, that joint brigade was never in effect

    7 established.

    8 Q. Were there any proposals on any side as to what this

    9 joint brigade was going to be named?

    10 A. Yes, there were various proposals made. But it was

    11 mostly expected to be a joint brigade, and its task

    12 would have been to defend Vitez. In the subsequent

    13 negotiations, the HDZ and the HVO did not agree to such

    14 a joint brigade, but demanded that there should be a

    15 joint brigade, but that it should be an HVO brigade. In

    16 other words, that the activities of the Territorial

    17 Defence in Vitez should be suspended, which was

    18 certainly not acceptable to the Muslims.

    19 Q. Who in the HVO refused to go along with the joint

    20 brigades of Muslims and the HVO?

    21 A. Mostly the political leaders. At a meeting once when we

    22 were discussing a joint unit and how we would call it, a

    23 friend of mine, a Croat who was sitting next to me at

    24 the meeting proposed, to me, that the insignia for the

    25 military could be HMVO, standing for the Croatian Muslim

  23. 1 Defence Council, the majority of people were eager to

    2 accept such a proposal. We left the meeting in the

    3 conviction that we would succeed. However, in a couple

    4 of days Anto Valenta said that nothing would come of it,

    5 and then there were further attempts made to link the TO

    6 and the HVO, but we were not successful.

    7 Q. Did Valenta tell you why nothing was going to come of

    8 this?

    9 A. He made explanations at meetings about this. The policy

    10 of the HVO in Herceg-Bosnia was that there could be only

    11 one army, and that army would have to be the HVO. That

    12 the TO should be extinguished. Anto Valenta, in

    13 particular, referred to the example of Mostar and at

    14 that time in Mostar there was a large scale war going

    15 on, major attacks by the Chetnics and a large number of

    16 Muslims were in the HVO. And he would say that the

    17 Muslims of Vitez, too, should come under the control and

    18 the command of the HVO, which did not favour a solution

    19 that will be acceptable to all.

    20 Q. Now during what time frame are these negotiations and

    21 discussions taking place?

    22 A. These discussions were taking place in the course of

    23 1992, and even into the beginning of 1993. First, there

    24 was talk of a joint army, then about the HVO alone, and

    25 then after the first clash talk was again revived about

  24. 1 a joint army.

    2 Q. Let us talk a little bit about this build up to the

    3 first clash. Can you describe that to the court? What

    4 was going on before the first clash, and then discuss

    5 with the court the actual first clash?

    6 A. The first clash between the army and the HVO in Vitez

    7 occurred on the 20th October, 1992. And on a broader

    8 area of central Bosnia, on the 18th of October, the HVO

    9 attacked Novi Travnik. The conflict went on for two or

    10 three days, and after that, approximately for a month,

    11 the HVO intensified its pressure on the TO, to place

    12 itself under the command of the HVO. A month later, the

    13 situation on the front changed. The Chetnics made

    14 advances on several fronts. And negotiations were under

    15 way regarding the new structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

    16 and people were waiting to see what would happen. In

    17 any event, around the month of October I received

    18 several ultimatums, to the effect that the Territorial

    19 Defence should surrender its weapons and place itself

    20 under the command of the HVO.

    21 The political situation led up to this actually

    22 not taking place. On one occasion, Mr. Blaskic, at a

    23 meeting when I went to him, said that no one had the

    24 right to force anyone to come under his command, which

    25 was correct on his part. Probably Mr. Blaskic, in those

  25. 1 days, was better informed about the situation on the

    2 front than the HVO political leaders. And after the

    3 conflict, there was a period of attempts being made to

    4 organise a joint struggle against the Chetnics. And

    5 there were some very good proposals made to send --

    6 deploy units on the front. Something changed within the

    7 HVO, and especially when, at the end of October, the

    8 Chetnics captured Jajce. The Chetnics captured Jajce

    9 immediately after the conflict in Vitez. And, as a sign

    10 of goodwill to co-operate and defend Bosnia, I proposed

    11 to Mr. Cerkez that we should jointly organise the Croats

    12 and the Muslims, and position them outside the hotel in

    13 Vitez, so that all the citizens of Vitez would see them,

    14 so that both Muslim mothers, and Croat mothers could

    15 weep as they despatched their sons to the front.

    16 My idea was to restore trust among the people, so

    17 that the people could feel more secure, because if they

    18 had seen Muslims and Croats jointly going to the front

    19 to fight the Chetnics, surely life in Vitez would have

    20 improved, and not only in Vitez but broader. My idea

    21 did not succeed. I did not manage to come to an

    22 agreement with Mario. In any case, at that time, it was

    23 Mr. Blaskic who took control, as well as Mr. Merdan who

    24 had highly productive meetings and agreements, first of

    25 all the army could move around without any difficulty,

  26. 1 but the agreement was that a day in advance the

    2 departure of the army to the front should be announced.

    3 The exact number of men going, and the line of movement,

    4 where they would be going to. This had to be done so as

    5 to ease tensions, and so that there would be no

    6 obstacles in passing through checkpoints which existed

    7 at the time. But unfortunately only TO members in those

    8 days were going to fight the Chetnics. The front was at

    9 Visoko and the Vlasic, Mont Vlasic. Whereas HVO members

    10 took positions on the nearby hill above Vitez, called

    11 Kuber, and there were never any Chetnics there. It was

    12 only later that parts of units of the HVO joined in the

    13 struggle against the Chetnics, on the ground, in the

    14 area between Novi Travnik and Travnik, where very few

    15 HVO soldiers from Vitez, I am talking about soldiers

    16 from Vitez only, very few of them were on the

    17 confrontation line with the Chetnics.

    18 Q. Now, just going back, Mr. Djidic, you mentioned that the

    19 first conflict was in Novi Travnik in October. What was

    20 that conflict all about. Why was there a fight in Novi

    21 Travnik in October 1992?

    22 A. I was not in Novi Travnik at the time, but throughout

    23 central Bosnia-Herzegovina the problems were very much

    24 alike and those were that attempts were being made by

    25 the HVO for TO members to be placed under the HVO

  27. 1 command, or rather for the Muslims to be disarmed. The

    2 situation in all the towns of central Bosnia was

    3 virtually identical. What were the real reasons? In

    4 Novi Travnik and how the conflict broke out I can only

    5 assume, but it is the same kind of policy of the HVO,

    6 that was implemented in Vitez as well.

    7 Q. During the conflict in Novi Travnik, did you participate

    8 in a phone call with Froid Kaknjo to Dario Kordic to

    9 discuss this conflict?

    10 A. I listened to a telephone conversation between Kordic

    11 and Kaknjo. The two of them were talking.

    12 Q. Tell us about that.

    13 A. On one occasion, Mr. Kaknjo needed to call up Mr. Kordic,

    14 because there was a lot of shooting going on in Novi

    15 Travnik, and in those days we were having meetings in

    16 Vitez. He wanted to consult him over something.

    17 However, when he raised the receiver and asked for

    18 Kordic he did not hear his voice, because Mr. Kordic was

    19 apparently speaking on another line, on maybe on the

    20 Motorola, so he passed the receiver to me, and he said

    21 listen to Kordic, and I heard clearly that he was

    22 issuing orders, among other words I heard, I heard he

    23 was shouting at someone, and he said "burn that over

    24 there", I do not know what he had in mind, what he was

    25 referring to. Then a couple of minutes later Kordic

  28. 1 took the receiver and said to Kaknjo, using rough words,

    2 unkind words, that he did not have any time for him. At

    3 that time, while the two of them were talking, Kordic

    4 was in Novi Travnik, and his number was known to Kaknjo.

    5 Q. Novi Travnik was in the central Bosnia operative zone at

    6 that time, was it not?

    7 A. Yes.

    8 Q. Who was the commander of the central Bosnia operative

    9 zone in October of 1992?

    10 A. At that time, Mr. Blaskic was the commander.

    11 Q. The defendant?

    12 A. Yes.

    13 Q. Shortly after the outbreak in hostilities in Novi

    14 Travnik was there trouble in the Vitez area including

    15 the village of Ahmici?

    16 A. Yes.

    17 Q. Could you explain that to the court?

    18 A. Yes, I can. Somewhere around the 18th October I was

    19 informed that the HVO had attacked Novi Travnik. In the

    20 afternoon I left home and at the checkpoint the HVO

    21 checkpoint at the railway station of Vitez, I saw a

    22 small column of vehicles, three or four trucks, with

    23 quite a large number of soldiers in them. In the first

    24 truck I saw Mr. Kordic. He was in uniform. He had a

    25 walkie-talkie attached to his lapel of his uniform and

  29. 1 the HVO soldiers, who happened to be at the checkpoint,

    2 were saluting him, even a neighbour of mine called Ivo

    3 Vidovic took out a big knife and waved it as a sign of

    4 greeting. The HVO tried to stop me at that checkpoint,

    5 but I managed to pass in the direction of Vitez. The

    6 column in which Kordic was left along the transit road

    7 going along side Vitez to Novi Travnik. After that,

    8 I got in touch with the brigade commander, or rather of

    9 the Territorial Defence, at that time, in Novi Travnik,

    10 Mr. Lendo, who told me that the TO had been attacked.

    11 Also, I got in touch with Mr. Merdan and told him what

    12 I had heard, and he told me that he had been informed

    13 about it. I asked Mr. Lendo how I could be of

    14 assistance, and he said: "There is nothing you can do,

    15 only perhaps if you could try to stop or prevent HVO

    16 troops," which were coming from the direction of

    17 Busovaca and we had been informed that from the

    18 direction of Busovaca a large column was on its way, of

    19 HVO troops, heading towards Vitez, or rather Novi

    20 Travnik.

    21 Q. Did you order that anything be done?

    22 A. I consulted with my superior command, and I was told

    23 that we should strengthen security measures at

    24 checkpoints and that we should not stop anyone if they

    25 were individuals, and that we should inform the staff of

  30. 1 what we were doing, but if a larger group of soldiers

    2 appeared, then that the headquarters had to be informed

    3 and an attempt made to prevent their passage through

    4 Vitez. In those days, I was in touch with Mr. Cerkez,

    5 and told him that these were very grave problems, that

    6 the HVO should not be allowed to pass through Vitez,

    7 that there was fighting in Novi Travnik. And he said

    8 that it was not my concern, that these were problems

    9 which would be resolved in Novi Travnik, which was not

    10 very convincing. A small barricade was put up of two

    11 ramps, and Cerkez demanded that it be removed. There

    12 were negotiations, and even in the medical centre these

    13 talks were organised by the local physician, who tried

    14 to reason with us, so that there would be no hostilities

    15 in Vitez. All attempts to end this peacefully failed,

    16 and the HVO wanted, by force, to pass through the

    17 checkpoint.

    18 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Djidic. Mr. President?

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I wanted to say that the witness should

    20 complete this answer by no further questions, because

    21 the Trial Chamber must end this hearing at 5 o'clock.

    22 Let him finish the answer to that question and then we

    23 will adjourn until tomorrow morning.

    24 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Could you continue,

    25 Mr. Djidic?

  31. 1 A. Thank you. The HVO tried to pass by force, and they

    2 managed, because the Muslims were not prepared to shoot

    3 and kill. That was not our aim. But they did not

    4 manage to pass through the proper checkpoint, well

    5 organised one, that existed -- that had existed for some

    6 time, for several months in fact, at Bila. The HVO

    7 troops probably went to Novi Travnik along some other

    8 road.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: The Tribunal will now adjourn and resume

    10 tomorrow at 10 o'clock.

    11 (5.05 pm)

    12 (Hearing adjourned until 10.00 am

    13 on Tuesday 29th July, 1997)