Case No IT-95-14
1 Tuesday, 29th July 1997.
2 (10.00 am)
3 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing. Registrar
4 would you now please have the accused brought in?
5 (The accused was brought in).
6 JUDGE JORDA: Does everybody hear? Is everybody ready?
7 Mr. Kehoe, are you expecting your witness?
8 MR. KEHOE: Good morning Mr. President and your Honours. The
9 usher went to get Mr. Djidic.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Just a point of order, the Trial Chamber is
11 -- it is important that the organisation of the
12 proceedings be correct, about how long do you plan to
13 question your witness, all morning long? We have some
14 delay here, which has nothing to do with our own will.
15 What do you think?
16 MR. KEHOE: I think that Mr. Djidic will probably testify
17 until some time mid to late afternoon, possibly until
18 the end of the day.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, all right. Tomorrow morning, we do not
20 meet. Therefore, we will resume in the afternoon, and
21 all day on Thursday. Right. I think that you can go
22 ahead now
24 MR. SEFJIKA DJIDIC cont'd
25 Examined-in-chief by MR. KEHOE
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Djidic, do you hear?
2 A. Good morning. I hear very well.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, the floor is yours.
4 MR. KEHOE: Thank you Mr. President. Looking to your left
5 Mr. Djidic you mentioned yesterday there was a conflict
6 in Novi Travnik. Could you point that city out on the
8 A. Yes, I can.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Very good. Everybody can see. Go ahead.
10 MR. KEHOE: Just to clarify Mr. Djidic on that particular
11 map, the name of Novi Travnik is Pucarevo, is it not?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. So when the judges look at the map and see Pucarevo that
14 is the same as Novi Travnik?
15 A. Yes, it is.
16 Q. Mr. Djidic, yesterday we ended off and you were talking
17 about a checkpoint in mid to late October 1992, where
18 HVO troops attempted to get through the checkpoint on
19 the way to Novi Travnik; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Where was that checkpoint?
22 A. That checkpoint was near the village of Ahmici at the
23 threshold of Vitez. At the other end of Vitez there was
24 a standing checkpoint held by the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina inside Vitez, more precisely at the
1 railway station there was an HVO checkpoint, and there
2 were many other local checkpoints.
3 Q. Now, this checkpoint in Ahmici, tell us what happened
4 when the HVO tried to get through that checkpoint?
5 A. The checkpoint operated for a brief period of time, HVO
6 chased out members of the Territorial Defence, and HVO
7 passed through. After that the locals from the village
8 of Ahmici received an ultimatum to give up their
9 weapons, and they did so, meaning that the village of
10 Ahmici was disbanded. On the same day the villagers of
11 Donja Veceriska also received an ultimatum to give up
12 their weapons. One soldier of the HVO named Petar
13 Mecava who was commander of HVO units in Donja Veceriska
14 told members of the Territorial Defence that a decision
15 had been taken by the HVO that all Muslims had to give
16 up their arms. However, the villagers of Donja
17 Veceriska refused to do so. The situation was similar
18 in all of Vitez, all members of the Territorial Defence
19 were required, by the HVO, to give up their weaponry.
20 Q. Approximately when did this event take place, this
21 disarming, of the residents of Ahmici and the
22 confrontation at the checkpoint in Ahmici?
23 A. That happened on the 18th, 19th and 20th October 1992.
24 Q. After the conflict in Novi Travnik did there begin to be
25 conflict in the City, in the town of Vitez, and
1 especially involving the headquarters of the Territorial
2 Defence in Vitez?
3 A. Yes. International factors such as the UNPROFOR and
4 members of the International Monitoring Mission set up
5 meetings with HVO and the Territorial Defence, which in
6 those two or three days that the -- of crisis, were held
7 at one meeting when we were there with the HVO in the
8 afternoon. I think it was on the 20th October.
9 Suddenly we heard loud shooting, and when we went
10 outside we were in front of the building of the post
11 office where the meeting was held. I saw that my
12 logistics department had been attacked. Mr. Ivica Santic
13 told members of the UNPROFOR: "Look, we are being
14 attacked by the Muslims". And that was not correct,
15 because an hour later we found out that the logistics of
16 the Territorial Defence was attacked, and members of the
17 Territorial Defence were arrested and taken to the Vitez
18 hotel. There were seven men imprisoned and the house
19 holding the logistics department was demolished.
20 Q. Where did Blaskic have his headquarters?
21 A. At that time, the headquarters was situated at the
23 Q. The Hotel Vitez?
24 A. The Hotel Vitez, yes.
25 Q. Mr. President, with the usher's permission if we could
1 take down the map which is Exhibit 29, and there is a
2 photograph that has been previously received in evidence
3 as Prosecutor's Exhibit 56, that is clipped to the
4 board. That is the next exhibit that we will be moving
5 to. Actually, Mr. Dubuisson, if we could use Exhibit 45
6 first. Could we use Exhibit 45 first? Could we put
7 that up, please?
8 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume now.
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Djidic, using Exhibit 45, could you use the
10 pointer once again and step up to the map, and with the
11 -- point to the area, first, of the Hotel Vitez and
12 then where your logistics centre was that was attacked?
13 A. This is Hotel Vitez (Indicates). As I said, this is
14 Hotel Vitez (Indicates). And this was where my
15 logistics centre was (Indicates), used to be.
16 Q. Mr. Djidic, can you hear me okay with that new set of
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What was attacked after your logistics centre was
21 A. After the attack on the logistics centre, next came my
22 headquarters, which was situated here (Indicates). It
23 was shot at from infantry weapons. Then there was a
24 cease-fire, when we agreed, at the same meeting, to go
25 out into the field. We agreed for a joint commission to
1 go out into the field, to have an exchange of prisoners,
2 and to remove all checkpoints in Vitez; and that is what
3 we did. The commission consisted of, on the part of the
4 HVO, Mario Cerkez and the local priest. On the part of
5 the Territorial Defence, there was myself and the local
6 Hodza, Muslim priest. We tried to convince people to
7 remove all checkpoints, because there was a checkpoint
8 in every village, both Croatian and Muslim; and we
9 managed to persuade them; and in the meantime the
10 exchange of prisoners took place. Seven prisoners,
11 seven members of the Territorial Defence, and one member
12 of the HVO were released. All members of the
13 Territorial Defence had visible traces of mistreatment
14 on their bodies.
15 Q. And where had those seven prisoners been taken to?
16 A. Seven prisoners were released to go home from the
17 Territorial Defence, and one prisoner who was a member
18 of the HVO was brought from Krusica and brought to the
19 Vitez hotel without any visible trace of abuse on him.
20 Q. Mr. Djidic, you said that the members of the Territorial
21 Defence that had been abused had been -- had been taken
22 to a particular location after they had been arrested,
23 where were they taken?
24 A. They had been taken to the Vitez hotel.
25 Q. You can sit down, sir. After this series of events, did
1 you have -- continue to have meetings with members of
2 the HVO concerning ways to settle the conflict?
3 A. Yes. The meetings continued. On the same night, after
4 having done our business, we went to the hotel bar.
5 I was there representing the Territorial Defence. There
6 were also members of the UNPROFOR, the International
7 Monitoring Mission, and of the HVO. I remained there
8 for about an hour or two, and when I meant to leave the
9 HVO suggested that I take an escort with me, an HVO
10 soldier, who very politely escorted me to the
11 cross-roads, where from the road led to the logistics
12 centre. I walked alone to the logistics centre, made
13 sure that there was -- found out there was nobody there
14 from the Territorial Defence. Then I came back to my
15 own headquarters, which was also empty at the time.
16 I noted that the headquarters were evicted from the
17 school. Members of the Territorial Defence left in the
18 direction of Stari Vitez, while we were removing
19 checkpoints. On the following day, and for several days
20 to follow, negotiations continued at which the HVO
21 demanded that all Muslim members of the Territorial
22 Defence of Vitez give up their arms and place themselves
23 under the command of the HVO. We were given an
25 Q. Who gave you that ultimatum?
1 A. The ultimatum was communicated to me by Mario Cerkez.
2 He told me that the government of the HVO had a session,
3 and decided that Muslims had to give up their arms
4 before the 24th at noon. I think it was the 24th, or
5 maybe the 25th, I am not quite sure.
6 Q. Did you have any questions with the individual that you
7 talked about yesterday, Pero Skopljak? Did he discuss
8 this matter with you?
9 A. Yes, we did. At the time when the negotiations were
10 held, Pero Skopljak played a prominent part, and at one
11 point he said that if the army, that is the Territorial
12 Defence, refused to place themselves under the command
13 of the HVO, we would have a fight, and he also said that
14 Muslims did not stand a chance, that HVO was much
15 stronger and that we had to comply.
16 Q. Was the HVO much stronger, at that time, in Vitez? And
17 if they were, why were they?
18 A. At that time, they were not significantly stronger, they
19 were stronger, because they had no soldiers on the front
20 line against the Chetniks, whereas members of the
21 Territorial Defence, who had the best weapons, the best
22 arms, and the best fighters, were, at that time, engaged
23 in Visoko and in Vlasic on the front lines. A small
24 group of the HVO was deployed in positions against the
25 Chetniks, facing the Chetniks between Travnik and Novi
1 Travnik. True, the HVO was better armed.
2 Q. At this time, Mr. Djidic, were most of the Territorial
3 Defence fighters at the line, up on the line in either
4 Visoko or Mont Vlasic?
5 A. That is so.
6 Q. Now, in late October, these events you testified to
7 occurred in and around the 20th October, 1992; is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In late October the Bosnian Serbs took over Jajce; that
11 is correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did that change the relationship between the Territorial
14 Defence and the HVO?
15 A. Yes, it did, and significantly so. After the fall of
16 Jajce, that means when the Chetniks occupied Jajce,
17 there began even more intense negotiations, discussed
18 with the HVO wherein they no longer require
19 disarmament. The meetings are more moderate in tone,
20 and we reach an agreement only 10 days after the
21 conflict, to organise a joint defence against the
22 Chetniks. We made good moves forward. In that period,
23 October, November, December, more precisely November and
24 December, the agreement I mentioned yesterday was
25 reached, between Mr. Blaskic and Mr. Merdan, announcing
1 movements of the army, to announce, more precisely, the
2 movements of the army, to not have the army remain for
3 longer periods of time in one place, and to know the
4 exact time and the number of people moving towards a
5 certain location. All in all, the situation improved.
6 Q. Let me direct your -- you are talking at this point
7 about improvement between October and November; is that
9 A. Yes, that is so.
10 Q. Mr. Djidic, let me direct your attention to approximately
11 20th November, 1992. On that date, did you have any
12 telephone conversations with the accused Tihomir Blaskic
13 or with another individual by the name of Pasko
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. Tell us about that.
17 A. On that day, around 10 pm, I received information that
18 two members of the Territorial Defence were killed and
19 one was injured. That happened in the settlement named
20 Krusica. They were killed by members of the HVO. Some
21 time around 11 pm, or maybe midnight, Pasko Ljubicic
22 called me.
23 Q. Let me stop you there. Who is Pasko Ljubicic?
24 A. Pasko Ljubicic was commander of the regional police of
25 the HVO. The regional military police of the HVO.
1 Q. Continue with what you were saying, Mr. Djidic.
2 A. Pasko asked me about members of the military police,
3 whether they had been captured and where they were at
4 the time. I did not know their whereabouts, so
5 I consulted some people in Krusica who told me that they
6 had captured, I think it was six members of the HVO, in
7 retaliation for the killing of two members of the
8 Territorial Defence. As I had been asked to have them
9 released, I ordered the HVO fighters to be released.
10 However, it was very difficult to achieve this. People
11 in Krusica demanded an investigation into the killing of
12 the TO members so that they would find out who it was
13 who had killed them, and if they were given promises
14 that such an investigation would be carried out, then
15 they would release the HVO fighters. I spoke with
16 Mr. Ljubicic again and told him that the fighters had
17 still not been released, but that they would be
18 released. In response Ljubicic said that he would,
19 together with members of the regional police and with
20 the military, begin to arrest Muslims, one by one, to
21 arrest and detain them; and about 3 am I spoke to
22 Mr. Blaskic, who gave me an ultimatum, and said unless
23 the HVO fighters are released by 8 o'clock in the
24 morning he would surround Krusica and attack it.
25 After that, I managed to obtain assurances and
1 promises from Mr. Merdan that an investigation would be
2 initiated, but that the fighters had to be released.
3 I guaranteed, with my life, to the soldiers in Krusica
4 that an investigation would be undertaken to find out --
5 to identify the killers the very next morning, and that
6 they must release the HVO members immediately. That is
7 what they, in fact, did, about 5.30 am. At 6 am
8 I called up Mr. Blaskic to tell him that the fighters had
9 been released; and his reply was: "Yes, they have been
10 released, but they were beaten up." And then he said if
11 by 9 o'clock we do not tell him who had done that that
12 both my headquarters and Vitez would be set on fire.
13 But it was not, then, on that day.
14 Q. Well, carrying on with the story, Mr. Djidic, were
15 soldiers of the TO arrested for beating up these HVO
17 A. Yes. The very next day Mr. Merdan came to my
18 headquarters. We went to Krusica together. We found
19 the people who had beaten the HVO fighters. We found
20 the things that had been seized from them, and they were
21 returned to their owners; and two TO members were taken
22 into custody in the prison at Zenica. Mr. Dzemal Merdan
23 took them there himself together with the Zenica
24 police. They were tried and they served a prison
25 sentence. From the HVO we never received any feedback
1 regarding what had happened to the killers of the TO
3 Q. At any point did Pasko Ljubicic or Blaskic tell you
4 there would be some investigation into the murder of
5 these TO soldiers?
6 A. I do not recall them saying that to me, but I assume
7 that Mr. Merdan must have talked to one of them, since he
8 did give me assurances that an investigation would start
9 in the morning.
10 Q. Now, after this particular incident, Mr. Djidic, were you
11 personally upset about this series of events? And if so
12 did you attempt to do anything?
13 A. Yes, I was extremely upset, so were all the people in
14 Vitez; and at the time of intensified negotiations with
15 the HVO we tried to set up a joint unit, that is to line
16 up Croats and Muslims together and send them to the
17 front against the Chetniks. And I proposed something to
18 that effect to Mr. Cerkez, but it was not accepted. We
19 went to the front against the Chetniks separately.
20 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Djidic, the name of the unit that
21 these HVO members who had been captured by the TO and
22 Krusica were a member of? Do you recall which part of
23 the HVO?
24 A. I think they were members of the Regional Military
1 Q. Under the command of Pasko Ljubicic?
2 A. Yes, that is correct.
3 Q. To your knowledge, Mr. Djidic, was an investigation of
4 the murder of the two Territorial Defence soldiers ever
5 conducted, and was anybody ever arrested and prosecuted?
6 A. Not that I know of. I never received any information to
7 that effect.
8 Q. Mr. Djidic, carrying on from there, into December of
9 1992, what is the state of the relationship between the
10 Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Croats in the Vitez area
11 coming into the new year, the new year being 1993?
12 A. As I said, that was a period of quite successful
13 negotiation. There were even proposals for all the
14 people of Vitez to be mobilised from one spot, that is
15 by the Defence office, so that the call up calls for TO
16 members should bear the stamp of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
17 for Croats the calls -- the papers calling up Croats to
18 carry the stamp of Herceg-Bosnia. That new location
19 would have to be found for the TO headquarters, as my
20 accommodation was most unsatisfactory. Meetings were
21 held with the highest ranking officers of the army and
22 the HVO, so that together we could march against the
23 Chetniks. I already noted that in those days we no
24 longer had problems regarding collection of weapons, nor
25 in connection with demands that we had to place
1 ourselves under the HVO command; but each side went to
2 the front independently, without there being any
3 problems between us. Notice was regularly given of
4 people being deployed on the front, and, at the time, a
5 ban was in force on wearing long -- carrying long rifles
6 in town. This applied both to HVO members and TO
7 members, because the HVO and TO members would
8 frequently, returning from the front, shoot, and disturb
9 the population, the inhabitants. So, there was a
10 definite improvement of relations between the HVO and
11 the TO, or rather between the Croats and the Muslims.
12 Q. Let me direct your attention, Mr. Djidic, and if we can
13 move up a little bit until January of 1993 and the
14 events that took place in Busovaca. Did the fighting in
15 Busovaca have some impact on the relations between the
16 Muslims and the Croats in Vitez?
17 A. Yes, it did. When, after the fighting in Busovaca, the
18 people were very seriously disturbed, and apparent peace
19 still prevailed in Vitez, but in Busovaca a conflict was
20 going on. Certain problems occurred when the HVO set
21 fire to a village, which is on the border between Vitez
22 and Busovaca.
23 Q. What village was that, sir?
24 A. It is the village of Kovacevac and Pezic. In the
25 immediate vicinity of Gornja Rovna and Vranicka.
1 Q. Were the HVO soldiers in Vitez involved in the fighting
2 in Busovaca?
3 A. I personally saw HVO soldiers passing along the road to
4 Busovaca. I even saw a 20 millimetre anti-aircraft gun,
5 which was on a truck, being driven in the direction of
6 Busovaca. And whether they participated in the
7 fighting, I do not know, because I did not eyewitness
8 that. I did observe, however, on several occasions,
9 passenger vehicles, private cars, and vans, and trucks
10 of the HVO transporting fighters in the direction of
11 Busovaca. I also saw some soldiers driving in certain
12 things from Busovaca. These were mostly household
13 appliances and TV sets. I do not know where they got
15 Q. Well, when you saw these HVO soldiers carrying in
16 household appliances and TV sets, what did you think --
17 where did you think they had gotten these items, and how
18 did you think they had gotten them?
19 A. At first I did not know, but I learnt later that they
20 were things that had been stolen from the Muslims in
22 Q. Mr. Djidic, where were you when you observed these HVO
23 soldiers bringing back looted property?
24 A. That was in Vitez, on the road leading to my house,
25 because I went to and from work daily; and one could
1 notice this in the day time, and particularly so during
2 the night, these movements became more frequent, because
3 my house is on the main road leading to Busovaca.
4 Q. Now, while this was going on in Busovaca, was there
5 relative peace in Vitez?
6 A. Yes, there was. The HVO was extremely polite. We had
7 friendly conversations. The idea was that we should not
8 interfere in the problems in Busovaca, that this would
9 -- settlement would be found locally, and we, from
10 Vitez, did not indeed interfere in the problems of
11 Busovaca, as far as the TO is concerned.
12 Q. Did you detect a certain philosophy or approach by the
13 HVO to try to have peace in one area where the -- while
14 the HVO was moving into another area?
15 A. Yes, you are right. That appeared to have been the
16 policy of the HVO, to maintain the peace in one town or
17 in several towns while capturing another region or
18 another town. This was a well known tactic from the
19 previous conflicts that had occurred in Vitez and Novi
21 Q. During these events in Busovaca, was there any request
22 on the part of anybody from the HVO concerning coffins
23 for the people in Busovaca?
24 A. On one occasion, at a meeting, we had at the mayor's,
25 the mayor, Ivica Santic said that he had received
1 requests from Busovaca for a large number of coffins.
2 What he meant was that we, in Vitez, needed to
3 co-operate, so that we would not go through what the
4 people of Busovaca were going through. I do not know
5 what his purpose was in saying this.
6 Q. Was it clear to you, Mr. Djidic, that the coffins he was
7 asking for were coffins for Bosnian Muslims?
8 A. I do not know that.
9 Q. After January of 1993, and the situation in Busovaca,
10 did the situation in Busovaca calm down?
11 A. Yes, it did.
12 Q. Tell the court what exactly happened after the situation
13 in Busovaca calmed down?
14 A. When the conflict in Busovaca came to an end, there were
15 very many Muslims who had been evicted from their homes;
16 but an attempt was made, by political means, again, to
17 come to some kind of an agreement and to stop the
18 conflict. And that time, I think, an agreement was
19 actually signed between President Tudjman and President
20 Izetbegovic on peace and co-operation, and in central
21 Bosnia joint teams were working, joint teams of the HVO
22 and the army, whose task it was defence against the
23 Chetniks. This situation continued until the month of
24 April when, at several meetings, it was noted that we
25 needed to wait for decisions to be taken at the
1 political level concerning central Bosnia, or
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina as such, and that we should
3 concentrate all our effort on the struggle against the
5 Q. Did things change in April of 1993?
6 A. Yes, things changed, and dramatically.
7 Q. Can you tell the court what happened?
8 A. At the beginning of April, the old problems re-emerged
9 regarding disarming army members, houses were broken
10 into, cars were confiscated, some kind of wild
11 checkpoints, irregular checkpoints were set up by the
12 HVO, and at these checkpoints most Muslims were looted.
13 And the situation became worse by the day. At the same
14 time, negotiations continued, and somewhere around April
15 the 13th we reached a stage when we were talking about a
16 joint police force, joint patrols, that would cover the
17 whole territory of the municipality of Vitez. We were
18 given assurances, by both the political and military
19 leaders of the HVO, that a war would never break out in
20 Vitez between the Muslims and the Croats. That we need
21 to live together, to work together and so on.
22 Q. What members of the HVO military and the HVO political
23 sides gave you these assurances? Do you have any names?
24 A. Specifically Mario Cerkez, who was invited to come as a
25 guest -- I beg your pardon -- to attend Army Day
1 celebrations which were held on April 14th. He would
2 say such things on April 15th, similar statements were
3 made by Mr. Samija, who was, at the time, head of the
4 civilian police in Vitez, to Mr. Saban Mahmutovic, who
5 was chief of police in Stari Vitez. Those statements
6 were that all problems have been resolved, that there
7 would be no war, and that we have a happier future to
8 look forward to; and many Muslims believed this.
9 However, that was not how things turned out.
10 Q. Well, did any Muslims change their behaviour or change
11 their homes as a result of these promises by the HVO
12 that there would be no fighting between the Muslims and
13 the Croats?
14 A. Yes. One of them was Saban Mahmutovic, whom Samija
15 convinced that there would be no war, that everything
16 was fine, he went to the country, to the village of
17 Sadovaca, his native village, and brought his family to
18 Vitez, and he spent the night in Vitez. And the attack
19 started the next day.
20 Q. Looking at Exhibit 45, where in Vitez did he bring his
21 family back to, if you could point to it?
22 A. This here (Indicates) is Saban Mahmutovic's house. It
23 is about 200 metres from the hotel, and 150 metres from
24 the cinema.
25 Q. Hotel Vitez being the headquarters of the accused,
1 Blaskic, and the cinema being the headquarters of Mario
2 Cerkez; is that right?
3 A. Yes, that is right.
4 Q. While you are standing there, Mr. Djidic, could you point
5 out on the Prosecutor's Exhibit 45 the area of Vitez
6 known as Kolonija?
7 A. The colony or Kolonija is this part (Indicates), these
8 apartment buildings here (Indicates).
9 Q. And on that map again the area of Stari Vitez is below
10 Kolonija; is that right?
11 A. Yes, that is right. This is Stari Vitez (Indicates).
12 Q. Mr. Djidic, if you could be seated again, please. Now,
13 you said, Mr. Djidic, that you received these assurances
14 from Mario Cerkez on the day that you celebrated Army
15 Day; is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And who was Mario Cerkez's commanding officer when he
18 was making those assurances?
19 A. His commanding officer was Mr. Blaskic.
20 Q. Do you recall what date it was that the TO or the army
21 of Bosnia-Herzegovina celebrated Army Day?
22 A. It was the 14th April, 1993.
23 Q. After the celebration of Army Day, were there any other
24 meetings concerning co-operation between the Bosnian
25 Croats and the Bosnian Muslims prior to the morning of
1 16th April, 1993?
2 A. Yes. There was a meeting of a commission, a commission
3 for the preservation of peace, for dealing with
4 incidents in Vitez, of which both Mr. Samija and Mr. Saban
5 were members, as well as some other people. And they
6 agreed, on that day, that they would, again, the next
7 day, on April 16th, have a meeting to agree on certain
8 concrete issues, such as joined police patrols. Of
9 course, that meeting never took place, because of the
10 attack in the morning.
11 Q. Take us to the morning of 16th April, 1993. What
12 happened, Mr. Djidic?
13 A. Yes, I will try to do that.
14 JUDGE JORDA: This might be the best time to take a break.
15 We will resume at 11.45.
16 (11.25 am)
17 (Short Break)
18 (11.45 am)
19 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the hearing. Please have
20 the accused brought in.
21 (Accused brought in)
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, and Mr. Kehoe, before we continue
23 with the examination of the witness, there is an
24 organisational point for our hearings, which means for
25 rules which are related to other cases in this Tribunal,
1 and only one Trial Chamber, there is a new change for
2 tomorrow which I will tell you now. Tomorrow morning we
3 will be able to meet for the Blaskic case from 10.30
4 until 1 o'clock. Then from 2.30 until 4 o'clock. And
5 after that there will be another hearing. But -- no,
6 I did say 10.30. It is 10.30. Again I repeat, the
7 Blaskic case 10.30 until 1 and then 2.30 until 4. Let
8 us hope there is no other change. I will be sure there
9 is no other change. Pardon me for this. Mr. Kehoe, you
10 may proceed.
11 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President, your Honours.
12 Mr. Djidic, my last question was turning to the events of
13 16th April 1993. Can you tell the court what happened?
14 A. 16th April 1993, did you say?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. Do you mean the day before, or exactly the 16th?
17 Q. Tell us about the day before, and then going into the
18 16th. Where were you, what were you doing? What was
19 happening? Then begin to explain the events of the
21 A. On 15th April, 1993, there were many detentions and
22 arrests of members of the army, as well as Muslim
23 civilians. One of my officers was arrested at the HVO
24 checkpoint, at the turning point on the road towards
25 Novi Travnik. His vehicle was seized and he was
1 detained, imprisoned. In that prison he saw many other
2 civilians and members of the army. Those civilians and
3 members of the army were also -- had also been arrested
4 in Vitez and were detained in the school building in
5 Dubravica. In the course of that day I managed to come
6 to an agreement with someone from the HVO to have my
7 officer released, and indeed he was released, some time
8 in the afternoon, but he did not get his vehicle back.
9 The people who were imprisoned in the school building
10 were not released that day. We had extensive
11 discussions, trying to obtain the release of the people
12 from the school building and the station, but we did not
13 manage to get that. The night passed rather peacefully,
14 without any incidents; and then the next morning, at
15 5.40 am I received a message saying that the village of
16 Ahmici was attacked. When I left my headquarters and
17 went outside, I could distinctly hear the shooting, and
18 I saw smoke rising. Houses were burning. Around 6 am
19 the attack on Stari Vitez began. The entire territory
20 of Stari Vitez was under shellfire, and was attacked
21 from all types of weapon.
22 Q. Using the map that is, or the photograph that is on the
23 easel, which is Prosecutor's Exhibit 56, can you point
24 to the various locations from which Stari Vitez was
25 shelled on the morning of 16th April?
1 A. Yes. (Indicates) this area, the area of Stari Vitez,
2 was shelled from the direction of Krusica (Indicates)
3 from the direction of Mlakici (Indicates) from the
4 direction of Gradina (Indicates) and from other
5 positions, from heavy guns.
6 Q. What type of heavy weaponry are we talking about?
7 A. I am talking about cannons of a higher calibre, 105
8 millimetre cannons, multiple rocket throwers --
9 launchers, 128 millimetres, and mortar shells of all
11 Q. Mr. Djidic, could you, when you were in -- let me
12 withdraw that question. Could you point on the map
13 where your headquarters was in Stari Vitez on the
14 morning of the 16th April?
15 A. My headquarters (Indicates) was here.
16 Q. Now, on the morning of the 16th, could you hear where
17 this shellfire was coming from?
18 A. Yes, I could hear that.
19 Q. From where the shellfire was, again, where is the Hotel
21 A. Most frequently the shelling came from Grbavica, from
22 Ahmici, from Gradina and smaller cannons, 20 and 40
23 millimetres in calibre, shelled from the direction of
24 Kolonija and from the direction of the factory.
25 Q. Mr. Djidic, if you could when you point to something on
1 the map could you just hold it there for a minute while
2 the cameraman just adjusts the camera.
3 Now, when Stari Vitez was shelled at 6 o'clock in
4 the morning, were any other areas in and around Vitez
5 being attacked at the same time, and if so could you
6 point those areas out?
7 A. Yes. At that time we could hear shellfire, and we also
8 received messages about shelling against Krusica,
9 against Ahmici against Busovaca, a part of Donja
10 Veceriska, then Dubravica, the Subrino Selo village,
11 Porcurica and Preocica. All those are villages around
13 Q. Were areas within the Vitez town itself also being
14 attacked, in addition to Stari Vitez?
15 A. Yes. Some time around 9 o'clock I talked on the phone
16 with an officer from the headquarters who is sleeping in
17 his own apartment in Kolonija, not far from the hotel.
18 Q. Where is Kolonija on Exhibit 56?
19 A. (Indicates) This area here, near the hotel, and this is
20 his apartment building (Indicates).
21 Q. You are pointing to the middle of the photograph.
22 A. Yes. That is approximately where the apartment of the
23 officer I was talking to was situated. He wanted an
24 ambulance vehicle and he said he and his wife were
25 injured. During that conversation we were disconnected,
1 and about an hour later I was informed that this man had
2 been killed, and so was his wife. The killings took
3 place in his apartment before their children -- before
4 their three children. I also received messages to the
5 effect that Muslims were being killed in their
6 apartments in Vitez and that arrests were being made of
7 Muslims in the location of Rijeka.
8 Q. Before you continue Rijeka is the area just up to the
9 left from Kolonija on the road going out, going out of
10 town. What did you learn about what was going on in
12 A. I received information that Muslims were being arrested,
13 and taken to prison, located at the veterinary station.
14 I had no further contact with them.
15 Q. Mr. Djidic, before we move on, if we could just clarify
16 the typed record and the photograph that you are
17 reviewing, which I believe is Prosecutor's Exhibit 56.
18 The area of Krusica that was being attacked is on the
19 upper right-hand side of this photograph; is that
21 A. Yes, this is Krusica (Indicates).
22 Q. And the area of Donja Veceriska is down in the lower
23 right-hand corner; is that correct?
24 A. This is it (Indicates).
25 Q. And the area of the factory, where the shelling was
1 coming from, is the lower right-hand corner as well?
2 A. That is here.
3 Q. And you said that shelling was coming from Crkva, and
4 that is on the left-hand side of the photograph; that is
6 A. That is so, it is here (Indicates).
7 Q. So, Mr. Djidic, you may have a seat, sir.
8 So in the morning of the 16th shelling is coming
9 from Crkva, the factory, Donja Veceriska and Mlakici; is
10 that right?
11 A. Mlakici.
12 Q. At the same time Muslims have being arrested and killed
13 in Kolonija, Rijeka and Ahmici is on fire; is that
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. Based on this information, did you, as a military
17 officer, reach any conclusions as to whether or not this
18 was a co-ordinated attack by the HVO?
19 A. Yes, it was obvious. The entire territory of the
20 municipality of Vitez was under attack, and the attack
21 had all the features of infantry attacks, shelling,
22 arrests of Muslims, in the most part of the
24 Q. At what time of day, sir, did you get the telephone call
25 from Ahmici that it was under attack?
1 A. That was exactly at 5.40 -- 5.45, sorry.
2 Q. And what time of the day was Stari Vitez shelled or when
3 did the shelling begin of Stari Vitez on the morning of
4 the 16th?
5 A. Around 6 o'clock, 15 minutes after Ahmici.
6 Q. Was it clear, sir, those artillery pieces were in
7 position prior to the attack of Ahmici at 5.30 in the
9 A. I did not understand the question.
10 Q. This attack was taking place, the shelling of Stari
11 Vitez was taking place from various locations; is that
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Was it clear to you at the time that the shelling of
15 Stari Vitez was a co-ordinated attack that was planned
16 prior to the attack on Ahmici?
17 A. Yes, that is so.
18 Q. Why do you say that?
19 A. One could notice that the area under shellfire, after
20 the first wave of shelling was subject to infantry
21 attacks. That means that almost simultaneously in the
22 greatest part of the Vitez municipality.
23 Q. Turning our attention back to Prosecutor's Exhibit 56,
24 the overhead photograph. From what directions did the
25 infantry attack come from after the artillery attack
2 A. Stari Vitez was attacked from three directions, from the
3 direction of Crkva.
4 Q. You are pointing to the bottom of the half of the
5 photograph, moving up; is that right?
6 A. Yes. From the direction of Mlakici (Indicates).
7 Q. You are moving from Mlakici from right to left?
8 A. From Mlakici towards Stari Vitez, and from the direction
9 of Kolonija.
10 Q. That is moving from the centre of the town down the
11 photograph into Stari Vitez?
12 A. Yes, that is correct (Indicates).
13 Q. You can have a seat, sir. Now, Mr. Djidic, how many
14 soldiers did you have in Stari Vitez at the time of this
16 A. At the time of the attack there were approximately 50 to
17 100 soldiers in Vitez. They were deployed. They were
18 accommodated in one room, in one building called the
19 fire fighting house. And some soldiers and officers
20 were in the headquarters, in the building which
21 I pointed out. A certain number of soldiers were in
22 their own houses, resting; and another set of soldiers
23 was on the front line in Visoko and in Vlasic, since at
24 that time, during the winter a brigade was formed.
25 There was also a number of soldiers from that brigade
1 who were residents of Stari Vitez, resting after their
2 time at the front. And on that day they were in their
3 own houses in Stari Vitez. Those were the only two
4 military buildings in Stari Vitez.
5 Q. How many civilians were in Stari Vitez at the time?
6 A. There were about 1,600 residents of Stari Vitez then.
7 Q. On that morning of the 16th April, did you expect to be
8 attacked, Mr. Djidic?
9 A. I was not expecting that attack. I did not anticipate
10 it; and I was taken very much by surprise. And so were
11 all the residents of Vitez.
12 Q. Why did you not expect the attack?
13 A. I did not expect it because intense negotiations and
14 discussions were underway, agreements had been reached
15 and assurances given, that there would be no war in
16 Vitez. Not a single member of the HVO had been arrested
17 in Vitez; and there was no reason for that attack,
18 although the situation was tense because of the arrests
19 on the eve of the 16th April.
20 Q. Speaking of arrests, there had been an arrest in Crkva,
21 was there not, of an HVO commander?
22 A. I learnt that -- I learnt about that on the first day of
23 the attack, when a meeting was set up with the HVO, with
24 the participation of members of the UNPROFOR. I heard
25 that an officer of the HVO was arrested, Zivko Totic,
1 and that the army had arrested three HVO soldiers, in
2 the -- in Opara, near Novi Travnik. All these locations
3 are outside Vitez.
4 Q. Mr. Djidic, going back to the attack on Vitez, on the
5 morning of the 16th. You said it was after the
6 artillery fire that an infantry attack started?
7 A. That is correct.
8 Q. Do you know what units in the HVO participated in these
9 infantry attacks?
10 A. I know about that. At that time I did not know what
11 units were involved. The soldiers who were seen by my
12 own soldiers and the locals were dressed in different
13 uniforms, in camouflage uniforms, black uniforms. Quite
14 a few of these people were wearing headgear covering
15 their faces, and painted with black paint.
16 Q. Take us through, Mr. Djidic, the rest of the morning of
17 the 16th. The artillery fire started at approximately 6
18 o'clock in the morning. Just take us through, time
19 wise, what happened the rest of that day?
20 A. Around 7 o'clock I received a message but I could also
21 see it for myself that from the direction of Kolonija
22 five or six houses were set on fire. Those were Muslim
23 houses, and they were burning. Ten or so Muslim houses
24 were set on fire, from the direction of Veceriska and
25 from the opposite direction. A man from Stari Vitez
1 came to my headquarters and told me that the HVO broke
2 into his house, that they wanted to kill him and they
3 set his house on fire. That house was in the immediate
4 vicinity of the barricade held by the civilian police in
5 Stari Vitez. That is where the HVO soldiers were
6 stopped. Panic reigned in Stari Vitez. First there was
7 shellfire, houses were burning, then came the infantry
8 attack. It was a madness. People did not know where to
9 hide. On that day members of the army did not have a
10 single trench in Stari Vitez. They hid behind houses
11 and local buildings, and from those positions resisted
12 the attack. No one, including myself, could possibly
13 anticipate such an attack. Then the wounded started
14 coming in. They were admitted into the local infirmary;
15 and around 10 o'clock the first victims, the first
16 casualties were recorded. Infantry attacks and
17 occasional artillery attacks continued throughout the
18 day with brief remissions in moments when Stari Vitez,
19 when members of the UNPROFOR reached Stari Vitez.
20 Q. Were civilian houses being burnt during these infantry
22 A. All the houses that were set on fire on that occasion
23 were civilian houses, without any significance, nor
24 could there be any doubt that they might be military
1 Q. When you said that these homes were of no significance,
2 they are of no military significance; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. Continue on with the day. You said that the infantry
5 and artillery attacks continued throughout the day. Was
6 there some intercession made by the UNPROFOR during the
7 course of the 16th?
8 A. Yes, in the course of the morning my headquarters was
9 hit. So we had to change location. And when UNPROFOR
10 members came there would be a slight lull in the firing,
11 though fire could still be heard in the distance, on
12 many sides. Particularly, at that time while UNPROFOR
13 forces were in Stari Vitez, HVO snipers continued
14 operating continuously. Life in Stari Vitez was brought
15 to a total standstill. People were terrified.
16 Q. Was there a cease-fire agreement organised or an attempt
17 for a cease-fire agreement organised by the British
18 battalion during the course of 16th April?
19 A. Yes. The officers of the British battalion managed to
20 organise a meeting which was attended on the part of the
21 HVO by an officer called Zoran Pilicic. He was a staff
22 officer in the operative zone. I think he stood in for
23 Mr. Blaskic. And another officer, called Marko Prskalo.
24 The wish of the British battalion was to achieve an
25 immediate cease-fire. And the HVO officers said that
1 Zivko Totic had been captured in Crkva and some other
2 HVO fighters in Novi Travnik, and if they were not
3 released the attack would not cease. Vitez had nothing
4 to do with that.
5 Q. Continue on with this meeting. What was the end result
6 of the meeting at BritBat on the 16th?
7 A. The final outcome was that we agreed on a cease-fire, and
8 that we should meet again the next day at the UNPROFOR
9 base to see what had been accomplished regarding the
10 cease-fire, and the cessation of hostilities. In the
11 course of the night UNPROFOR set up several checkpoints,
12 and said it would patrol Stari Vitez and Vitez, in the
13 desire to stop the hostilities, even though fire was
14 opened against them. Major Brian Walters said that they
15 had not returned fire because they had come to achieve
16 peace. And he asked us that each one of us should issue
17 orders to our respective armies not to fire at UNPROFOR
18 vehicles. It was stated on that day that HVO fighters
19 had fired at warriors in Ahmici when members of the
20 British battalion went to see what was happening there.
21 This was confirmed by the commander of the British
22 battalion at the time.
23 Q. During the course of these meetings -- the meeting on
24 the 16th, did Marko Perskalo make any statements as to
25 why the HVO was using artillery against Stari Vitez?
1 A. When I said that artillery shells were falling on Stari
2 Vitez and the surrounding localities, Marko Perskalo
3 said that the HVO was using its artillery because
4 allegedly members of the army had shelled HVO
5 positions. And it was clear that that was not true,
6 though later on there was an exchange of fire.
7 Q. Why initially was it clear that that was not true?
8 A. It was visible as most of the shells were falling on
9 Muslim villages, or rather the villages where the
10 majority of residents were Muslims, and also on the area
11 of Stari Vitez, which it was not difficult to see.
12 Q. Continue on. What happened after this meeting in
13 BritBat ended on the 16th?
14 A. During the day the infantry attacks ceased. A shell or
15 two would fall on Stari Vitez. From time to time a
16 sniper was fired, but mostly the damage that had been
17 done was repaired, and we tried to find accommodation
18 for the people whose houses had been burnt down with
19 owners whose houses were still standing, though on that
20 first day many houses had been visibly damaged from the
21 shelling of Stari Vitez. In fact, the whole area of
22 Stari Vitez. The night was more or less peaceful, with
23 some isolated shots. And then the infantry attacks on
24 Stari Vitez resumed on the 17th. Usually those attacks
25 were accompanied by heavy artillery fire. It was
1 obvious that the HVO wanted to capture Stari Vitez.
2 Q. So, Mr. Djidic, after this cease-fire agreement on the
3 16th the artillery fire began again on the 17th; is that
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Did the soldiers and the other citizens of Stari Vitez
7 attempt to defend themselves at this time?
8 A. Yes. On the second day defence lines were formed.
9 People stood behind their houses and various other
10 buildings on their farms, without any real shelter or
11 any trenches. At the same time, as the attack on Stari
12 Vitez on the 17th, the village of Novaci came under
13 repeated attack, and it is in the immediate vicinity of
14 Stari Vitez.
15 Q. If Mr. Djidic, could you go back to what has been
16 introduced into evidence as Prosecutor's Exhibit 56 and
17 point to the area of Novaci and hold the point there for
18 a moment so the camera can pick it up?
19 A. This here is the village of Novaci.
20 Q. That is the area, the village that is to the left of
21 Vitez or Kolonija?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you see that village being attacked on the 17th?
24 A. I saw it. The attack continued and one could clearly
25 hear the shooting. It is about 500 metres from Stari
1 Vitez, a part of the village is on a slope, on a hill,
2 and one can clearly see from Stari Vitez when someone is
3 moving in that part of the village. There again houses
4 were burning both on the first and the second day.
5 During the night, and the second day some 40 men fled to
6 Stari Vitez who did not want to surrender; and their
7 families stayed behind in their homes, which will --
8 they were later captured, and they were put up in the
9 cellars of -- cellars of houses and in the prison at the
10 school building in Dubravica, those people who entered
11 Stari Vitez stayed there throughout the war, and they
12 never saw their families until the truce was signed, and
13 they helped me a great deal in the Defence of Stari
15 Q. After those men fled, what happened to -- and their
16 families were taken prisoner, what happened to the
17 Muslim homes in Novaci?
18 A. Part of the Muslim homes were set on fire, not all the
19 houses, however, they are still standing. Not a single
20 house owned by a Croat was burnt down. They are still
22 Q. Could you see those Muslim homes on fire?
23 A. Yes, very well.
24 Q. This is on the 17th. Are there any other meetings on
25 the 17th at BritBat that you attended?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Tell us about those, sir.
3 A. A meeting held on the second day, I do not exactly know
4 where, it was also attended by HVO members. The subject
5 discussed was more or less the same, how hostilities
6 could be stopped. I had received a report that many
7 Muslims had been captured. I demanded their release,
8 and if possible that they be allowed to go to safety, so
9 that they should no longer be captured. Already on the
10 second day I knew what had happened in Ahmici. I heard
11 the news from local people who had fled, and also from
12 members of the British battalion. And the second day
13 came to an end without any success being achieved in
14 halting the fighting. And on the third day we went to a
15 scheduled meeting at the UNPROFOR base in Bila. Present
16 at that meeting, in addition to myself, was the deputy
17 commander of the 325th brigade, and Mario Cerkez, on
18 behalf of the HVO. As a second HVO member was not
19 there, I did not attend the meeting, but waited in the
20 hallway. The meeting lasted roughly two hours. And
21 roughly about 4.30 pm I heard a strong powerful
22 explosion. As I was in the UNPROFOR base at the time,
23 I could see clearly from that position a large cloud of
24 smoke and I could conclude from that that the explosion
25 had occurred in Stari Vitez; and this was confirmed
1 later. This big explosion was from automobile bomb, a
2 car bomb, which contained between 4 and 5000 kilograms
3 of explosives. When it went off the entire area of
4 Donja Mahala was destroyed, Donja Mahala in Stari
5 Vitez. On that occasion, five civilians were killed,
6 one member of the army, and more than 50 civilians were
7 wounded. And with the assistance of the UNPROFOR and
8 the International Red Cross they were evacuated to the
9 UNPROFOR base in Bila.
10 After that explosion, it was a day of great sorrow
11 in Vitez, a day of extreme panic, with the hosts of
12 wounded people, killed and very many houses destroyed.
13 Q. If I may, Mr. Djidic -- Mr. President with the court's
14 permission, if I can move into the next exhibit, which
15 is Prosecutor's Exhibit 81, with the assistance of the
16 usher. Again, Mr. President, with the court's permission
17 if we could again have the usher assist the witness with
18 the ELMO and the photographs it would be helpful to move
19 through these photographs expeditiously. (Handed).
20 Mr. President, with the court's permission again if
21 I could ask the usher to stand by Mr. Djidic and possibly
22 assist with the ELMO it would be very helpful.
23 Before we move to these photographs, Mr. Djidic,
24 after the explosion in Stari Vitez -- after the
25 explosion in Stari Vitez on the 18th April, 1993, did
1 you ride back in the same warrior with Mario Cerkez?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What was his reaction to knowing that there had been an
4 explosion in Stari Vitez?
5 A. When the participants in the meeting came out, they were
6 dumb, silent, nobody said a word. We climbed into the
7 same warrior, Mario, his escort, myself and Sivro
8 Sifet. He was the deputy commander of the 235th
9 Mountain Brigade. We all went to Stari Vitez. I got
10 out of the warrior. The warrior went on in the
11 direction of the colony. That is where Mario and his
12 escort probably got off. And Sivro Sifet was driven to
14 Q. So Mario Cerkez never made any comment at all about the
15 explosion in Stari Vitez during your entire trip back to
16 Stari Vitez, did he?
17 A. Not a word. Nobody said a word.
18 Q. Let us turn our attention to Exhibit 81. And the
19 photograph that is on the ELMO for the record is PH238.
20 This one on the ELMO. What is that, sir?
21 A. This picture shows a Muslim house which is closest to
22 the church in Stari Vitez. The shot was probably taken
23 on the first day of the attack.
24 Q. Turning our attention, Mr. Djidic, back to the
25 photograph, could you orient the court where on the
1 photograph this picture is taken, if you could step up
2 to Exhibit 56, which is the overhead?
3 A. I think it is this house, here (Indicates).
4 Q. So you are pointing to a little more than half way down
5 the photograph, okay.
6 A. Yes. The church is here, and this house is here
8 Q. Sir, is this a Muslim house or a Croat house?
9 A. It is a Muslim house.
10 Q. You be seated, sir. Let us turn our attention to the
11 next photograph, PH257, if we may. Do you recognise
12 that area, Mr. Djidic?
13 A. This is Stari Vitez, Donja Mahala, the spot where the
14 same vehicle exploded.
15 Q. Let us go to the next photograph, PH258. If we could
16 take that out of the sleeve and put that on the ELMO.
17 Do you recognise that, sir?
18 A. Yes, it is the same spot where the car bomb went off.
19 Q. Mr. Djidic, are these houses --
20 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps, Mr. Kehoe, since it is almost 1
21 o'clock and we have not finished with this photograph
22 album, if you do not mind we could resume at 2.30.
23 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE JORDA: The court is adjourned until 2.30.
25 (1.00 pm) (Luncheon Adjournment)
1 (2.30 pm)
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume our hearing. Please have the
3 accused brought in
4 (the accused was brought in)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, the floor is yours.
6 MR. KEHOE: Yes your Honour, Mr. President your Honours, good
7 afternoon. I believe we were talking about PH257. Is
8 that the photograph that is on the ELMO at this point?
9 Is that the one that is on? 258 we are on the next one,
11 Talking about PH258 again, what is that
12 Mr. Djidic? What area does that depict?
13 A. This is the areas of Stari Vitez, the place where the
14 car bomb exploded.
15 Q. Again, Mr. Djidic, you did not take these photographs and
16 you were not present when they were taken; is that
18 A. No, I did not, and I was not.
19 Q. Let us turn to the next photograph, PH259.
20 A. This photograph also depicts the place of the explosion
21 and the houses surrounding it, inside Stari Vitez.
22 Q. Mr. Djidic, were these civilian houses or were they
23 military installations?
24 A. All of these are civilian houses.
25 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph, which
1 is PH237.
2 A. What you see here are the remnants of the truck, the
3 cistern which exploded in Stari Vitez, only a small part
4 of it remained. The rest was blown up in the area.
5 Q. Mr. Djidic, is this photograph taken from the direction
6 of the Hotel Vitez down towards the church?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And the other photographs that we were looking at were
9 taken from the direction of the church towards the Hotel
10 Vitez; is that right?
11 A. That is right.
12 Q. Again, are these civilian houses in this photograph?
13 A. All of these houses are civilian houses.
14 Q. Let us turn to the next photograph, PH243.
15 A. This is a civilian house in whose immediate facility the
16 cistern exploded.
17 Q. Was anybody killed in this house?
18 A. A civilian male was killed here, and a young girl.
19 Q. Again, how many people were killed and how many people
20 were wounded as a result of this truck bomb?
21 A. I think six people died as a result of the explosion,
22 five of them civilians and one serviceman. More than 50
23 others were injured, 50 civilians, most of them were
24 evacuated with the help of the UNPROFOR and the
25 International Red Cross, immediately after the
1 explosion, and they were moved to the British
2 battalion's base in Bila.
3 Q. Let us start with the next photograph, 260.
4 A. This is one of the demolished houses in whose vicinity
5 the car bomb exploded, that is in Stari Vitez.
6 Q. Let us turn to the next photograph, PH263.
7 A. Here you can see several houses which were destroyed by
8 the car bomb explosion, that is in Stari Vitez, as
9 I said.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Djidic, was the mosque in Stari Vitez destroyed
11 or harmed or damaged in any way by the truck bomb?
12 A. The mosque was damaged. To be more precise, the
13 explosion damaged its roof, and the window panes were
14 destroyed as well.
15 Q. Can you turn to the next photograph, PH263? The next
16 photograph, if you could put that on the ELMO. PH262.
17 They are not necessarily in chronological order.
18 A. This is the mosque at Vitez. This part here, the roof,
19 had not been damaged before. Part of the roof in this
20 photograph has already been repaired, and new window
21 panes were put in. But you see here (Indicates) is the
22 minaret which had been hit. It had been hit by some
23 sort of a cannon from the direction of the column or
24 Kolonija, and that happened either in October or perhaps
1 Q. Of 1993?
2 A. That was in 1992, in the course of the first, very first
3 conflicts which were short lived.
4 Q. But the roof itself is damaged with the truck bomb on
5 18th April, 1993?
6 A. That is right.
7 Q. Now all of these photographs, sir, do they -- while you
8 were not present when they were taken -- do they
9 accurately reflect the damage to Stari Vitez as a result
10 of this truck bomb?
11 A. Most of the pictures do. This particular one, the
12 picture of the mosque, was made some time after, not on
13 the day following the explosion, and you can see that
14 the tile has been changed. This entire side (Indicates)
15 had the tiles damaged. This photograph was taken after
16 some repairs had already been completed.
17 Q. Okay sir. Now, in your prior statement you said that
18 there were snipers shooting into Stari Vitez on 16th
19 April, 1993; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did the sniper attacks continue through the entire time
22 of the siege until the cease-fire in February of 1994?
23 A. The snipers were shooting all the time, with the
24 exception of very few days during the truces, when
25 exchanges of prisoners or cease-fires had been
1 scheduled. But even the cease-fires were often broken,
2 so that always, at all times, one could be hit by a
3 sniper, and people could not move round freely.
4 Q. Could you hear, if you were in the Vitez area, could you
5 hear sniper fire? Was there a unique sound to
6 sniper fire?
7 A. Yes, I could, and I did hear it, and I was not the only
8 one. Everybody heard that. A sniper fire has a
9 characteristic sound. Those are individual shots
10 directed at targets in Stari Vitez. Such a shot was
11 usually slightly louder than a normal bullet. They were
12 most usually -- they were most often two shots together,
13 and especially characteristic, especially typical of
14 sniper fire when they used a higher calibre sniper the
15 shot was even louder than that of a normal sniper. What
16 was used in Stari Vitez was snipers of 9 millimetres,
17 10.5 millimetres and 12.7 millimetres. That is
18 anti-aircraft machine gun. Of all these snipers we had
19 casualties from all of these snipers. Most of the
20 casualties were not only soldiers but civilians,
21 regrettably the civilians were usually old people, and
22 even children. The youngest child to be killed by
23 sniper fire was only two and a half years old. And all
24 the old people that -- who fell victim to sniper fire
25 were over 60. Another child hit by a sniper of a higher
1 calibre was 8 years old. I still remember these
2 images. They are fresh in my mind.
3 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next two photographs,
4 Mr. Djidic, starting with PH337, if we may. What is
5 that, sir?
6 A. This is the first building outside Stari Vitez. We used
7 to call it the yellow building. It is from this
8 building that the snipers shot from the direction of
9 Kolonija, and the same is true of the building next to
11 Q. Let us go to the final picture in that exhibit, which is
13 A. This is the yellow building I described, photographed
14 from a greater distance, from Stari Vitez.
15 Q. This is taken from Stari Vitez looking towards Kolonija
16 and Vitez?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. With the assistance of the usher could we flip down the
19 first photograph, then, which is Prosecutor's
20 Exhibit 45? If we could clip that down. Mr. Djidic,
21 using Prosecutor's Exhibit 45, could you point on that
22 photograph where these photographs of the yellow
23 building are, the buildings where the sniper fire came
25 A. This is the yellow building (Indicates), and this is the
1 building next door (Indicates).
2 Q. And that would be just up to the left of the football
3 field; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Okay. How far is that location away from the Hotel
7 A. About 50 metres away, sorry 50 to 100 metres.
8 Q. If you were in the Hotel Vitez or around the Hotel Vitez
9 through the entire time of the siege, would you hear
10 this sniper fire?
11 A. Surely.
12 Q. Have a seat, sir. Your Honour, at this time the
13 Prosecutor would offer into evidence Prosecutor's 81 and
14 with the assistance of the usher we can put that exhibit
15 back together again?
16 JUDGE JORDA: Are there any comments? Perhaps I was not
17 paying attention, but I do not think that you identified
18 the person who took these photographs, Mr. Kehoe. There
19 are some with inscriptions on them which seem to say
20 they are official photographs. Perhaps I was not paying
21 close enough attention.
22 MR. KEHOE: These photographs, your Honour, were taken by
23 British soldiers, from the Cheshire Regiment and also
24 from the Prince of Wales Own Regiment of Yorkshire.
25 Many of those individuals will be testifying in this
1 regard, and certainly this exhibit is available for
2 additional examination by the court of those officers.
3 I raise it in the --
4 JUDGE JORDA: That is fine. Thank you very much. This is
5 81, then, is that not right? Yes.
6 MR. KEHOE: I believe that is correct, is it not
7 Mr. Dubuisson?
8 Mr. Djidic, after the truck bomb went off on 18th
9 April, 1993, what happened? What happened with regard
10 to the conflict with the HVO? Were other areas
11 attacked, that you saw? Tell the court what happened.
12 A. After the truck bomb explosion, which occurred on the
13 18th April, the village of Gacice was attacked.
14 Q. If I can stop you with the assistance of the usher if we
15 could again move back to Exhibit 56 and allow Mr. Djidic
16 to stand up and identify Gacice. Go ahead, sir.
17 A. This area here (Indicates) is the village of Gacice,
18 which is only 400 to 500 metres away from Stari Vitez.
19 Q. Okay, sir, you can have a seat, please. Did you see
20 this attack of Gacice?
21 A. I observed that attack. I saw soldiers moving from the
22 direction of Mlakici and surrounding the village of
23 Gacice. After some time, there was shooting, fierce
24 infantry shooting. One could occasionally hear a bomb
25 or a grenade. I cannot -- I could not say exactly. And
1 then, houses were set on fire, one after the other. In
2 approximately an hour's time about 20 houses were
3 burning in the village of Gacice. The people who were
4 with me confirmed that the burning houses belonged to
5 Muslims, and that turned out to be true later. The
6 following day I learnt that the HVO occupied the village
7 of Gacice, that civilians were detained and imprisoned
8 and a number of men managed to flea to the nearby
9 woods. From the woods they later moved to the village
10 of Krusica.
11 Q. Based on all of the attacks in Vitez and the attack on
12 Kruscica and Gacice what did you think that the HVO was
13 trying to do?
14 A. The HVO's objective, their purpose, was to kill and
15 destroy the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Bosnian
16 army's servicemen, to kill and destroy civilians, and
17 civilian targets, civilian property, and to ethnically
18 cleanse the City of Vitez, and they achieved that
20 Q. Ethnically cleanse Vitez of what ethnic group?
21 A. The Muslims.
22 Q. You saw the attack of soldiers running down the road
23 going to Gacice?
24 A. Yes, that is right.
25 Q. Did you recognise these soldiers?
1 A. I could not recognise them. Those were mainly soldiers
2 dressed in camouflage or black uniforms.
3 Q. Now were there various units in the Lasva Valley that
4 were part of the HVO that were dressed in black uniforms
5 and in camouflage uniforms?
6 A. There was one unit wearing black uniforms, and that was
7 special unit of commanders called Knights, or Vitozovi
8 in Serbian, but there were members of the HVO other
9 units wearing black uniforms, not as many as among the
11 Q. Tell us about the Vitozovi, what was the Vitozovi?
12 A. Vitozovi are a unit of commanders, otherwise it was an
13 unit of the HOS, Croatian Armed Forces, on the territory
14 of Bosnia. That unit later changed its name from HOS to
16 Q. When they changed their from HOS to Vitozovi did they
17 begin to work with the HVO?
18 A. Vitozovi, or the Knights, had special premises in the
19 school building in Dubravica. A part of them were
20 accommodated in the school building in Travnik, but they
21 always worked together with the HVO.
22 Q. Who was the leader of the Vitozovi?
23 A. It was headed by their then commander Darko Kraljevic.
24 Q. Prior to the conflict, on 16th April 1997, had you seen
25 Darko Kordic with any of the HVO military leaders?
1 A. Yes, I would see him, frequently, in the company of
2 Mario Cerkez. They were friends and -- anyway. I would
3 also see Darko Kordic, actually I saw him on October
4 20th, when my logistics base was attacked in the hotel,
5 in the HVO command building; and I learnt later that he
6 personally had participated in the attack on the
7 logistics centre and the TO headquarters.
8 Q. You are referring to the hotel, you are referring to the
9 Hotel Vitez, Blaskic's headquarters?
10 A. Yes, that is correct.
11 Q. Also in the valley was there a unit called the Jokeri?
12 A. Yes, there was. It was also a special unit, special
13 task force, like some kind of military police, with a
14 special purpose. They were housed in the hunting lodge
15 opposite Stari Vitez, and a part of that unit was housed
16 in the motel known as bungalow in Nadioci in the
17 immediate vicinity of the village of Ahmici.
18 Q. After the attack on Gacice what happened with regard to
19 the continuing conflict between the HVO and the BIH, the
20 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
21 A. Several days later the situation seemed to have calmed
22 down. A number of meetings were held between members of
23 the army and the HVO. A joint group was set up, headed
24 by Mr. Sefer Halilovic who was, at the time, chief of
25 staff of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
1 Mr. Petkovic, as the highest ranking officer in the HVO.
2 There were several other officers from the army and from
3 the HVO. The task of this group was, through the
4 mediation of UNPROFOR, to put an end to all armed
5 hostilities and to try to restore peace. They also had,
6 as one of its goals, the release of all prisoners, and
7 bringing relief to all victims. That group came to
8 Stari Vitez perhaps 10 days after the conflict first
9 broke out. The documents from that meeting I have
10 handed to the Tribunal, or rather a video cassette on
11 that meeting. It was requested at that meeting that
12 hostilities cease and that all civilians be released.
13 I did not have any captured civilians in Stari Vitez.
14 All the Croats who had lived in Stari Vitez were in the
15 cellars, together with the Muslims. And this could be
16 seen on the spot as this joint team, when it toured
17 Stari Vitez, was able to see. At the time, there were
18 about 80 Croats in Stari Vitez. They were offered the
19 possibility of crossing over to the new part of Vitez,
20 to the Kolonija. Some of them agreed, but most of them
21 remained in Stari Vitez, to live there with the Muslims,
22 as before. There was a total of 45 Croats, and 3 Serbs
23 who stayed in Stari Vitez throughout the war; and most
24 of them are still living in Stari Vitez.
25 This commission went from Stari Vitez to the
1 hotel. I did not go to the hotel. And I do not know
2 what they discussed there. After the hotel they visited
3 the cinema, and I had been informed that a large number
4 of Muslim civilians had been imprisoned in the cinema.
5 I do not know the exact figure, but not only in the
6 cinema, but there were captured Muslims in other places,
7 as well. And they were told that they would be
8 released; that each one of them should state where they
9 wanted to go, and this exchange actually occurred.
10 I think it was the next day.
11 I requested guarantees from this joint group for
12 the people who were staying on in Vitez, guarantees that
13 they would be safe, because there were no members of the
14 army in Vitez. We were given these assurances,
15 guarantees, but the people who were released then were
16 expelled from Vitez during the next three or four
18 Q. After this exchange did you see any individuals coming
19 back into Stari Vitez, as part of this exchange?
20 A. Yes. I saw about a dozen males who came to Stari
21 Vitez. Some of them had houses in Stari Vitez. Some of
22 them had apartments in Vitez; but they came to Stari
23 Vitez to stay with their parents. There were some who
24 brought along their wives and children. I knew them
25 all. I spoke to them.
1 Q. Did you look at their hands?
2 A. Yes, I did. And it was interesting because one of the
3 men complained to me that the HVO had forced him to dig
4 trenches. His hands were full of blisters, and they
5 were bloody. This was a man who was a guard in the
6 factory when I was in charge there.
7 Q. Did you see anybody digging trenches while you were in
8 Stari Vitez? Could you look in the outlying area and
9 see anyone digging trenches?
10 A. I did see the digging of trenches in the area around
11 Krcevine and I saw that it was a civilian digging a
12 trench. There were soldiers there, too, but I cannot
13 claim what ethnic group that civilian belonged to
14 because I could not see his face.
15 Q. Can you say that the trench digging was taking place
16 around Krcevine, can you use Exhibit 56 and point once
17 again to Krcevine?
18 A. This part here (Indicates). All this is known as
19 Krcevine. I saw the digging of trenches somewhere here
20 (Indicates). It is about 800 to 900 metres from Stari
22 Q. Thank you, sir. After this visit from General Halilovic
23 and Petkovic did there come a time when the citizens of
24 Stari Vitez buried their dead?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you tell the court about that?
2 A. The corpses were collected. The volumes of civilians
3 who had been killed in Ahmici, in the Kolonija and in
4 Donja Veceriska. The HVO wanted to bury them at the
5 City Cemetery in Vitez, but the people from Stari Vitez
6 insisted, and I supported them. It was agreed that
7 these people be buried in Stari Vitez. I think this was
8 12 days after the beginning of the conflict, through the
9 mediation of UNPROFOR the HVO permitted us to bury those
10 people. The people who were members of the Civil
11 Defence in Stari Vitez went to Vitez to the school where
12 the dead were placed in one of the rooms, tied, tied up
13 into long bags. The transportation -- transportation
14 began and all the dead were transferred to Stari Vitez.
15 I think that 105 corpses were buried on that day in
16 Stari Vitez. More than half of those corpses could not
17 be identified, although the HVO carried out the
18 identification. I was personally present when the
19 identification process began. I saw three corpses, and
20 I could not look any more. The corpses were mostly
21 massacred. They were burnt up, and there were bodies of
22 babies to old men. There was only one or two of those
23 corpses that was in uniform. The rest were all
24 civilians. It was a day of the greatest mourning in
25 Vitez. Everybody was crying, everybody, even UNPROFOR.
1 Those strong men, it was really very hard.
2 After that, and after the funeral there was no
3 peace, even that first night. The HVO snipers continued
4 their actions. The war continued.
5 Q. After the bodies were buried in Stari Vitez, did the
6 siege of Stari Vitez that continued until February of
7 1994 begin?
8 A. Yes. People were hoping that this would come to an end
9 soon, but having learnt from the experiences of the
10 previous conflict, no one believed that a neighbour
11 could do something like that to another neighbour. Up
12 to that point in time, up to that funeral of those
13 people, I had considerable problems, for people to dig
14 in. They did not want to, because they thought it would
15 be over soon. But when they saw the funeral of these
16 people, women and children, then they hurried themselves
17 to dig holes as deep as possible where they would be
18 able to hide during offensives, which occurred almost
19 daily against Stari Vitez. One day after another
20 I managed to reinforce the line of defence, to set up a
21 system of circular defence, and it was with those lines
22 that I saw the war come to an end.
23 Q. Would it be fair to say that from late April of 1993
24 until February of 1994 Vitez, Stari Vitez was surrounded
25 and under siege?
1 A. Yes, that is correct. Stari Vitez was totally
2 surrounded, and there was absolutely no way out of Stari
3 Vitez, nor could anyone come in, nor could anyone go
4 out, could leave Stari Vitez. The moment we had buried
5 the civilians the army swore not to leave the people and
6 to defend them to the last man, though I could have made
7 a break through from Stari Vitez, and could have pulled
8 out, together with the members of the army. And the
9 civilians appreciated this decision of mine, and the
10 decision of their closest family and friends, because
11 members of the army were their husbands and fathers and
12 sons who were protecting their homes and their
13 families. There were only a few refugees from Jajce
14 there. The rest were all residents of Vitez, and we
15 knew what our task and our aim was.
16 Q. Mr. Djidic, tell the court what life was like in Stari
17 Vitez during the period of the siege?
18 A. Life in Stari Vitez during the period of the siege was
19 very difficult. We had many problems. We had wounded
20 civilians, destroyed homes. Every day several buildings
21 would go down. There was a problem to find
22 accommodation for these people, so that in a single
23 small cellar there would be up to 100 civilians, people
24 lacked clothing. Many houses had been burnt down, or
25 ruined by explosives which were used in Stari Vitez
1 during the siege. We had very little food and it was
2 all of the same kind, no vitamins or any spices or fat.
3 A large number of people aged rapidly under those
4 conditions. We all lost weight. People were losing
5 their teeth. People suffered from stress. And we had a
6 5 year old child whose hair turned grey. That
7 photograph has toured the world. Simply, life was
8 intolerable, and I ask myself how we managed to survive,
9 despite so many difficulties, which the whole world was
10 familiar with.
11 Q. Mr. Djidic, were civilians killed during the siege?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Tell the court how civilians died?
14 A. Some of the civilians were killed at the beginning of
15 the war, five of them, when the car bomb went off. Most
16 of the other civilian casualties died from HVO snipers.
17 I already said that among them were children, women and
18 old people. Some of them survived and if they had been
19 evacuated and taken to a hospital, but because no
20 adequate medical attention was available maybe in some
21 cases a glass of blood would have been sufficient to
22 save somebody's life. However, being in Vitez they were
23 condemned to die.
24 Q. Why were they condemned to die? Why were they not
25 permitted to be taken out to get adequate medical care?
1 A. I do not know why they were not given adequate care. A
2 number of people were evacuated, and they survived,
3 though there were others who died. But in most cases,
4 when I asked for evacuation I had to indicate the name
5 of the injured person, and one could clearly see if it
6 was a child or a woman or an old man. When the
7 International Red Cross did not appear, then they would
8 say, in a couple of days, that they were sorry that they
9 could not come, but they would also add that the HVO did
10 not allow them to enter Stari Vitez. In the meantime,
11 the people for whom we had asked assistance had already
12 died, so it was too late for them anyway.
13 Q. Who was the HVO commander when you received the
14 information that the HVO would not allow you to evacuate
15 wounded? Who was it?
16 A. At that time the commander for central Bosnia was
17 Mr. Blaskic.
18 Q. Tell us about the siege. Did the artillery attacks stop
19 after April of 1993, or did they continue?
20 A. Yes, the artillery attacks stopped, probably because the
21 HVO ran short of shells. But they resorted to something
22 else. Towards the end of May they started to use
23 explosive devices which were very destructive, with a
24 lot of explosives and their aim was the destruction of
25 personnel and buildings in Vitez. Those devices were
1 made from fire fighting equipment; and between 6 and 10
2 kilograms of explosives could be put inside. And
3 these were fired by the HVO, with a handmade catapult.
4 And the whole territory of Stari Vitez was targeted.
5 Those devices were also made to be incendiary and later
6 on, during the war, we noticed that this device was
7 being fitted with pieces of steel, or nails, screws,
8 various other iron objects, so that there would be more
9 pieces to make them more lethal. And this, of course,
10 was a source of great concern, a large number of
11 buildings were destroyed. And they caused great fear
12 among the civilian population. As a result of these
13 devices, houses were destroyed, everything was killed in
14 the immediate vicinity where this device fell, and
15 people suffered from very serious stress syndrome,
16 because when 10 kilograms of explosives went off the
17 noise was terrible, and it was a horror. Those devices
18 were fired at us from May till February, at any time of
19 the day or night. And I can say that more than a
20 thousand of these devices fell on Stari Vitez. It is
21 not hard to calculate how much explosives that means.
22 Q. These particular explosive devices were in fire
23 extinguishers, were they not?
24 A. Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. And I believe the word you used to describe them were
1 "babies"; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, that is what we used to call them.
3 Q. Do you recall an attack using these babies on the 18th
4 July, 1993?
5 A. I recall it very vividly.
6 Q. Talk about that.
7 A. On 18th July, 1993, there was a general -- an all out
8 attack of the HVO against Stari Vitez. We were attacked
9 in the small hours, and the fighting lasted all day,
10 almost 12 hours. The HVO's purpose was to penetrate
11 Stari Vitez before the infantry attack. There was
12 shelling from various artillery weapons, and about 200
13 devices which we called babies were fired, covering --
14 and the shellfire covered more than a half of the entire
15 territory of Stari Vitez. In the course of the day,
16 when infantry attacks came one after the other, another
17 hundred of these devices were fired, all falling on the
18 territory of Stari Vitez and causing great damage,
19 injuries to a great number of civilians. There were
20 also injured soldiers in my units; and when the attack
21 was over, somewhere by the end of the day, only then
22 could I appreciate the extent of the damage. I could
23 hardly believe it. After that battle, after that
24 attack, there was not a single building left undamaged
25 in Stari Vitez.
1 Q. Civilian buildings, civilian homes?
2 A. Yes, civilian homes, but also my line of defence. The
3 device we called baby was very difficult to handle, to
4 control. You never knew where it would fall, because
5 this launcher does not have a name. It should
6 approximately, in the general direction of the target.
7 Q. So would it be accurate to say, Mr. Djidic, that the HVO
8 fired approximately 300 of these explosive devices,
9 having no knowledge where they were going to land,
10 because you could not aim them?
11 A. That is true.
12 Q. Where were they fired from, on 18th July, 1993?
13 A. From various sides. Most of them came from the
14 direction of Sirka, or the church, from the direction of
15 the factory from Ahmici, from the kindergarten, from
16 opposite the hotel where there is a platform in front of
17 the school building, and from the woods on one side of
18 Stari Vitez. You can say they came from all over the
20 Q. Again, when these babies were being fired at Stari
21 Vitez, Blaskic was the commander of the central Bosnia
22 operative zone?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. If I may, Mr. President, if I could turn to what is
25 marked as Prosecutor's Exhibit 82, I believe
1 Mr. Dubuisson, is that correct, 82? And with the
2 assistance of the usher I would like to review with you,
3 Mr. Djidic, some of the weaponry that was used against
4 Stari Vitez during the time of the initial battle, and
5 also the siege, including the sniper attacks, and the
6 babies. Just by point of clarification when you
7 mentioned that they were being fired from the direction
8 of the hotel, you were referring to the Hotel Vitez,
9 were you not?
10 A. That is true.
11 Q. Again, Mr. President, with your Honours' permissions, if
12 I could ask the usher to stand with Mr. Djidic and place
13 these individual photographs on the ELMO so that he
14 could explain them. The first photograph is part of
15 Prosecutor's Exhibit 82 is Z2-461. Mr. Djidic, do you
16 recognise that? Do you know what that is?
17 A. Yes, I recognise this. This is an anti-aircraft gun of
18 40 millimetres calibre. You see it placed on a truck.
19 Q. Did you see a weapon such as this in and around the
20 Stari Vitez area during the time of the HVO attack?
21 A. Yes, I did. I saw it around Stari Vitez.
22 Q. Where?
23 A. I think somewhere in Krcevine. And this vehicle was
24 moving and carrying this gun. It means that the HVO
25 often changed the position of this gun. The soldiers
1 understand very well why position is frequently changed.
2 Q. Did you have a weapon such as this in Stari Vitez during
3 the siege, at any time during the siege?
4 A. We never had such a gun in Stari Vitez.
5 Q. Did you have ammunition in Stari Vitez during the entire
7 A. During the siege we had ammunition for the weapons that
8 we had at our disposal, mainly infantry weapons.
9 Q. Again, what calibre is this weapon?
10 A. 40 millimetres, an anti-aircraft gun.
11 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph,
13 A. This is the same gun, photographed from a different
14 angle, placed on a truck.
15 Q. It is a placed on a truck to remain mobile, is it not?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph,
18 Z2-463. What is that, sir?
19 A. I think this is an anti-aircraft gun of 20 millimetre
21 Q. Have you seen any of these in and around the Vitez area?
22 A. I saw something similar to this. That is an
23 anti-aircraft gun, a triple anti-aircraft gun, which the
24 HVO had even before the war. It was also placed in a
1 Q. Let us turn our attention to Z2-467, which is the next
2 photograph. What is that, sir?
3 A. This is a house (Indicates) and this here I think is the
4 launcher of devices we call babies. This is the cat
5 from which these -- catapult from which these devices
6 were fired.
7 Q. If we can move up three photographs. If we could move
8 three photographs up, it is a little out of sequence, if
9 we move up three photographs I believe those photographs
10 follow. 467 should be followed by 466. Do you
11 recognise that, Mr. Djidic?
12 A. This used to be a fire extinguisher, and -- but now it
13 is an unexploded baby, a device which did not detonate
14 and it was sent to Stari Vitez.
15 Q. Correct me if I am wrong, this particular fire
16 extinguisher would be placed in that launcher we just
17 saw and then fired?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. How would it fly through the air? Would it fly through
20 the air like a missile or would it tumble?
21 A. Its line of flight was irregular. It was very noisy and
22 it tumbled, and that is what usually saved us, because
23 you could very clearly hear when it was fired. Then it
24 went up into the air, tumbling, and made a
25 characteristic noise (Demonstrates), that you could not
1 mistake for anything else. So people knew exactly where
2 it was heading, and they hid, if it was in the day
3 time. Those who are inside houses could not know where
4 it would fall; and in every house hit by this device
5 everybody was killed.
6 Q. Can you tell the court about any instances, and examples
7 of when these babies hit houses and killed all the
8 civilians in the house?
9 A. I can tell you of two typical cases. In one house, near
10 the stadium, a baby hit an old house where eight
11 civilians were injured. Of those eight two women over
12 65. They were sisters, and they were killed.
13 On another occasion, a baby hit a house inside
14 which four women were killed at the same time; but by a
15 twist of fate two small children survived.
16 Unfortunately they were mentally disturbed for life.
17 One of the four women killed could not be found by us.
18 We only found shreds of her clothes. In a corner we
19 found her foot; and that is all that we managed to
20 find. That was really a horror.
21 Q. Mr. Djidic, let us turn to the next photograph, which is
22 Z2-464. What is that, sir?
23 A. This is a mortar, 120 millimetres in calibre, or perhaps
24 82 millimetres. But I would say rather 120.
25 Q. Were mortars of this calibre or approximate calibre used
1 against Stari Vitez during the attack or the siege?
2 A. Yes, they were, especially in the first days, in the
3 early days.
4 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph,
5 Z2-465. What is that, Mr. Djidic?
6 A. This is a multiple rocket launcher, 128 millimetres in
7 calibre; and we were shelled from this gun too.
8 Q. When were you shelled from this gun, this type of
10 A. It was mainly in the early days of the conflict that we
11 were shelled, during the siege, and also in February,
12 towards the end of the war.
13 Q. Turn to the next photograph which is Z2-468.
14 A. What you see here is a glycerine gun, and it is called a
15 glycerine gun because it fires small grenades, small
16 shells filled with nitro-glycerine and it is mainly used
17 in battles in settlements, inside settlements. Its
18 effect is rather psychological than military, rather
19 psychological than destructive. In a closed space its
20 power of destruction is great.
21 Q. Was this glycerine gun used during the battle in Stari
23 A. Yes, this was one of the weapons used, but I would say
24 -- I would call it ridiculous after the big guns, after
25 the heavy guns.
1 Q. I understand. Let us turn our attention to the next
2 photograph, Z2-469. If you can look at the two
3 photographs, Z2-469 and Z2-470 one after another where
4 you have the same weapon in the individual's left hand,
5 that large weapon in that individual's left hand, what
6 is that?
7 A. What you see here is a sniper, 12.7 millimetres in
8 calibre. It is a high calibre sniper, and it was used
9 against Stari Vitez, and I can claim, with a great
10 degree of certainty, that at least three civilians were
11 killed from this weapon, and several were injured.
12 Q. Can you give the court an example of some of the three
13 civilians that were killed with this weapon or this type
14 of weapon, a 12.7 millimetre calibre?
15 A. Yes, I can. One of the civilians killed was a young man
16 named Boris. He was a driver for the UNHCR. He was hit
17 by this bullet. The bullet penetrated his chest and
18 went out, hit the hinge of the door of, of the car door,
19 and stopped there.
20 After the ballistics analysis conducted by the
21 UNPROFOR it was established that the shot was fired from
22 HVO positions from a 12.7 millimetre calibre sniper.
23 I saw that bullet, from the same side from which the
24 said Boris was killed, a woman was -- a woman over 65
25 years old was killed in her own garden in front of her
1 house, while she was pumping water. She was shot in the
2 heart. It was later established that the bullet was of
3 the same calibre.
4 An 8 year old child was hit from the same weapon
5 right in the heart, but the bullet came from the
6 opposite side. A number of other civilians, women, were
7 hit from this weapon, but luckily they stayed alive.
8 Q. Next photograph Z2-1470. That is the same weapon that
9 we were discussing before?
10 A. It is the same. Yes, it is the same weapon.
11 Q. That has got a scope on it, does it not?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And what is the purpose of that?
14 A. To destroy human beings. Snipers of this kind were
15 frequently used for elephant and bear hunting.
16 Q. What is the accurate range of this weapon?
17 A. I do not know exactly what its range is, but with this
18 sniper it is possible to hit any target with great
19 accuracy at a distance of 1000 metres and more.
20 Q. Let us turn over to the last photograph, Z2-471. What
21 is that, sir?
22 A. This is also an anti-aircraft machine gun, without a
23 sniper. I think it is also 12.7 millimetre in calibre.
24 Q. Was this the same type of weapon that you were
25 describing earlier as being used against Stari Vitez as
2 A. It is a similar weapon.
3 Q. Your Honour, at this time the Prosecutor will offer into
4 evidence Prosecutor's Exhibit 82. These photographs
5 have been taken by various members of the Cheshire
7 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, no objection --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, would you please allow Mr. Kehoe to
9 finish, then I will give the floor to you. You wanted
10 to finish with the identification of the photos before
11 we give the floor to the Defence to hear his objection.
12 Is that all you wanted to say?
13 MR. KEHOE: I wanted to complete the identification for the
14 court's purposes these were taken by the members of the
15 Cheshire Regiment, as I stated previously members of the
16 Prince of Wales Own Regiment of Yorkshire. That is who
17 provided these photographs to us.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Then they should be put under 82. Mr. Hayman,
19 do you want to express an objection? Go ahead.
20 MR. HAYMAN: Only as to Z2-463, your Honour. The witness
21 was not able to identify that as a weapon he was
22 familiar with concerning the battle, if you will, the
23 siege of Stari Vitez and the fighting in that area. So
24 it may well be a witness later on can authenticate it,
25 but I think that one photo has not yet been connected to
1 this case.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Well, yes, but I do not really see any
3 objection to having it be part of the exhibit. We have
4 taken into account your objection. You can raise this
5 again during the cross-examination, but I do not see any
6 problem having all these documents be put into the case
7 under number 82. It is now 5 minutes after 4. We will
8 break until 25 minutes after 4.
9 (4.05 pm)
10 (Short Break)
11 (4.25 pm)
12 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing. Please be
13 seated, have the accused brought in
14 (the accused was brought in).
15 MR. KEHOE: May I proceed, Mr. President? A point of
16 clarification Mr. Djidic. You stated that the truck bomb
17 attack took place on 18th April. When approximately did
18 the attack on Gacice take place?
19 A. A day, or maybe two after that.
20 Q. With regard to the sniper attacks, can you give the
21 court an idea of how many civilians were actually killed
22 from sniper attacks?
23 A. From the effects of sniper attacks, in Stari Vitez, at
24 least 10 civilians died.
25 Q. How about from the attacks of artillery or babies, how
1 many civilians died in those circumstances?
2 A. At least 15 civilians, at least -- that is the minimum.
3 Q. How many civilians were injured?
4 A. In Stari Vitez more than 200 civilians were injured.
5 Some people were wounded several times.
6 Q. During the siege, between late April and 1994, were you
7 and the individuals in Stari Vitez supplied by the
8 Bosnian government or by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
9 A. No. As far as the Bosnian government is concerned, and
10 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we did not receive
11 absolutely anything. All that we received was food,
12 through the mediation of the UNHCR; and this was mostly
13 limited to flour, lentils and rice.
14 Q. During the same period of time were the HVO being
15 supplied? And do you know how?
16 A. Frequently we could see convoys of trucks with food, and
17 when these convoys arrived in Stari Vitez the HVO would
18 prevent them from entering Stari Vitez, and then the
19 UNHCR suspended deliveries of food to the HVO as well.
20 However, Stari Vitez was totally under siege for about
21 100 days, when we did not have a single visit by anyone,
22 nobody could come in or go out from Stari Vitez. We
23 were simply being -- we had simply been abandoned,
24 probably to see how long we could survive without food;
25 and at the same time the HVO was supplied from the air.
1 Helicopters would bring ammunition, weapons, food and
2 probably troops, as well.
3 Q. Did you see these helicopter flights?
4 A. Every time the helicopters flew into Vitez we could all
5 see them, or hear them. If it was foggy, so they could
6 not be seen, we recorded more than 100 flights coming in
7 and out by helicopter.
8 Q. During this period of time when no one could come in or
9 out of Stari Vitez, were the sniper attacks continuing?
10 A. Yes, certainly.
11 Q. Did the sniper attacks -- were the sniper attacks
12 directed towards livestock as well as humans?
13 A. The sniper attacks were directed against everything that
14 moved in Stari Vitez, anything that lived, both human
15 beings and animals, so that several cows were killed,
16 several sheep, which provided milk for small children.
17 Q. Just going back again, you mentioned the fog. Did the
18 fog have any effect on Stari Vitez and how you tried to
19 work around the sniper attacks?
20 A. Yes. Vitez is well known for its fog. Even in the
21 summer we may have a day of fog, because it is situated
22 in the valley of the Lasva River. In order to survive,
23 the local people of Stari Vitez worked in their gardens
24 at night and early in the morning. And sometimes they
25 would not notice that the mist had lifted and they would
1 be hit by HVO snipers.
2 Q. The husband and wife that were close to 70 years of age
3 that you have mentioned before, were they in their
4 garden when they were hit by snipers?
5 A. Yes, both of them were in the garden. They were digging
6 the garden for potatoes. They were killed within a
7 period of 1 hour, one from the other, in the same
9 Q. If I can turn my attention to what has been marked as
10 Prosecutor's Exhibit 83. With the assistance of the
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, do you think that you will be
13 finished by 6 o'clock today?
14 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, I do. (Handed).
15 Moving through these photographs, Mr. Djidic, as
16 part of a Prosecutor's Exhibit 83, I believe that is
17 correct, is it not, Mr. Dubuisson? 83. The first
18 photograph is PH236. Before we go to that you said in
19 the latter part of April 1993 the bodies from Kolonija,
20 Ahmici and other areas around the Vitez area were
21 buried in the graveyard of Stari Vitez?
22 A. Yes, that is right.
23 Q. Turning your attention to the first photograph, what are
24 we looking at here?
25 A. This photograph shows the burial of the people who had
1 been killed in Ahmici, Vitez and Veceriska.
2 Q. Where are they buried in this photograph, can you point
3 to it?
4 A. This is in the immediate vicinity of the mosque in Stari
6 Q. These wooden markers coming out of the ground, what are
8 A. Each of these wooden planks is placed above the head of
9 the dead man. It has a number on it, and then you know
10 who was buried where, at least as far as those who were
11 identified are concerned. Then there was a separate
12 slab in the corner of the cemetery, indicating names of
13 those that we knew, and the number from this wooden
14 piece of wood, or plank.
15 Q. Turn to the next photograph, PH242.
16 A. These are also part of the digging during the funeral of
17 the mentioned people. A bulldozer of the UNPROFOR
18 helped us to prepare the earth.
19 Q. Turn to the next photograph, PH261.
20 A. Here you can see the laying of the bodies of the killed
21 in the ground, in the tomb.
22 Q. Next photograph, PH241.
23 A. This is the same cemetery that I was talking about,
24 after the funeral was over.
25 Q. Those photographs were from the funeral in April of
1 1993. I would like to turn your attention to PH319,
2 the next photograph. Is that a photograph as to how the
3 graveyard looks today?
4 A. I think it is.
5 Q. Is the outside -- sir, can you describe the set up of
6 this graveyard, with the gravestones on the outside and
7 the gravestones in the middle?
8 A. This line that you see (Indicates) in the back is where
9 the people from Ahmici were buried. There is another
10 row of those markers that cannot be seen. In the middle
11 here were people who were killed during the siege,
12 during the 11 months of siege. Most here (Indicates)
13 you see members of the army were buried, and the people
14 killed by explosive devices and snipers. The civilians
15 who died of natural causes were buried in the cemetery
16 next to the mosque, within the courtyard of the mosque.
17 Q. Let us take the next two photographs, PH267 and
18 PH266. You were talking before about a chart with
19 names and identification of those individuals. Is this
20 what you were talking about, sir?
21 A. Yes, that is the slab I had referred to. Here we see
22 the numbers, indicated on the markers, then, if we know
23 the names, they are written there, and those that were
24 not identified it just says MN, it may be a man or a
1 Q. Put the PH266 on the ELMO, if you could. There are
2 several unidentified bodies enumerated on that page, are
3 there not?
4 A. Yes, there are quite a number of them.
5 Q. Let us move on to the next one, PH268. You can look at
6 that, all three together, PH268, 269 and 270 and 271
7 and 280. If we could just move through those in
9 A. These are the numbers (Indicates), indicated on the
11 Q. 269.
12 A. It is the same.
13 Q. Is that the same?
14 A. It is the same. The photograph also shows the markers
15 with the numbers (Indicates). Photograph 271 more
16 markers with numbers. This photograph also has markers
17 with numbers on them.
18 Q. Moving to photograph PH272, could you put that on the
19 ELMO, sir? Some of these individuals have names on
20 theirs such as 48 Japcic Salem. Do you recognise that
21 man, that person?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. Who is that?
24 A. He is a man killed in Vitez in the Kolonija, and he was
25 a member of the civilian police.
1 Q. Do you know how he was killed?
2 A. I think he was killed in front of his apartment.
3 Q. How about 49 and 50, the ones right next to them, the
4 two gravestones next to them?
5 A. Number 50 is the tomb of Sali Sadbasic. He was an
6 elderly man. He was killed on the first day of the
7 attack, near the church, during the identification it
8 was established that his throat was cut, probably with a
10 Q. Do you know how old he was?
11 A. He was over 70, maybe even 80.
12 Q. How about the number 49?
13 A. It could also be a man killed near the church. I think
14 he was a younger man, and there is another spot, another
15 Sadbasic, an elder man his father, this one's father.
16 They were killed together on the first day of the
17 attack, near the church.
18 Q. Can you turn to the next photograph, PH274? You
19 mentioned an individual who moved back to Vitez after
20 the meetings on the 14th and 15th April, because he was
21 comfortable with how things were going between the HVO
22 and the Muslims; is that right?
23 A. Yes, yes, that is so. Yes. Here you see the tombstone
24 number 66, where Saban Mahmutopic lies buried. He was
25 chief of police who trusted the stories told him by his
1 colleague Samija. He went to the Kolonija with his
2 family, and in the next day or two he was killed. He
3 was killed in the street, like a dog.
4 Q. Let us turn to the next page, PH275. Here the
5 individual -- do you know the individuals in gravestone
6 71 and 72?
7 A. Salja Omerdic is number 71. I knew the man. He was a
8 civilian killed in the Kolonija. Next to him this white
9 tombstone is a tombstone to Mira Zlotic. She was a Serb
10 married to a Muslim. She worked as the treasurer in my
11 staff. It is the woman, if you remember when I was
12 testifying about the killing of her and her husband in
13 the apartment, in the presence of their three children.
14 Q. Let us turn to PH276, the next page.
15 A. This white tombstone, it is not really a tombstone, just
16 a marker, is the place where Nedem Zlotrg was buried,
17 the husband of Mira Zlotrg I was just speaking about.
18 And I spoke to him on the phone, when he asked for an
19 ambulance the first day of the attack. This marker here
20 (Indicates) is a tombstone of a lawyer, Mirhet Varupa.
21 He was 44 years old. He also was killed in his
23 Q. A civilian?
24 A. He was a civilian.
25 Q. Let us turn to PH277.
1 A. You can see here the tomb of an old man who was killed
2 in Donja Veceriska. I think he was over 70 years old.
3 Q. A civilian?
4 A. A civilian.
5 Q. Next page, 279.
6 A. The name you see here, under number 88 is Jrafeta Haskic
7 the wife of the man I just mentioned. She was also over
8 70. She was killed in Donja Veceriska.
9 Q. Next page. Next photograph, PH293. The gravestone on
10 the right.
11 A. This gravestone is the grave of a civilian killed in his
12 house when the truck bomb exploded. His house was the
13 closest to the spot where the truck bomb went off.
14 Q. Next photograph, PH315.
15 A. This gravestone -- the tomb contains parts of the body
16 of the man who drove the truck bomb.
17 Q. Had you concluded, based on talking to people in the
18 area, that the person who drove that truck bomb was a
20 A. We learnt that later, from people who were exchanged.
21 He was a refugee from Hrkonjic Grad who was captured and
22 held in the prison at the school near the railway
24 Q. Who had him drive this truck into Stari Vitez?
25 A. He was forced by HVO soldiers. That was the report
1 I received. Apparently the soldiers asked: "Are there
2 any volunteers who know how to drive a cistern truck?"
3 If he manages to pass with the truck through Stari Vitez
4 he would be released. And this man volunteered, and
5 ended up in the air.
6 Q. Let us go to the next photograph, PH314.
7 A. What you see here is the grave of a boy who was killed
8 by shrapnel.
9 Q. How about the one next to that?
10 A. This is the grave of a woman who was killed by an
11 explosion, I think she was over 70, too.
12 Q. Was she likewise a civilian?
13 A. Yes, she was.
14 Q. Let us turn to PH300, and the gravestone on the left
15 side of the photograph.
16 A. This is an inscription of the name of the civilian who
17 was killed together with this boy, by an explosion and
18 the grenade fell from the direction of Krcevine on to a
19 house with civilians in it. They had just come out of
20 the house from the cellar to breathe some air.
21 Q. Next photograph, PH291. The gravestone on the right
22 side of the photograph.
23 A. This is the grave of the third man killed by the same
24 grenade. He was a serviceman. His house was right next
25 to this one (Indicates). When he was killed he was not
1 in uniform.
2 Q. How many civilians were killed in that explosion?
3 A. Three civilians were killed by the same explosion, and
4 six were wounded.
5 Q. Let us get down to the next photograph, PH289.
6 A. Here we see a grave of a civilian, an engineer. We
7 called him "Dedo" as an endearment. He was hit by a
8 sniper because -- and he could not be evacuated after he
9 was wounded, by the morning he was dead from his injury.
10 Q. That paragraph is PH309. Why could he not be
12 A. The HVO would not allow it.
13 Q. Let us go to the photograph PH289 Abdic Mursad?
14 A. This was a member of the army hit by a sniper. Again,
15 in this case, the HVO would not allow evacuation. He
16 died two days after he was wounded.
17 Q. Let us go to the next one, PH299.
18 A. This is where an 8 year old boy is buried. He was hit
19 by a sniper in the street. The sniper was of a higher
21 Q. Is this the young boy that you mentioned previously that
22 was hit with the 12.7 millimetre round?
23 A. Yes, that is the boy. I am not sure if it is a 12.7 or
24 a smaller calibre, but he had both a penetration and the
25 exit wound.
1 Q. What were the size of those penetration, or more
2 importantly what was the size of that exit wound?
3 A. The size of the penetration wound was about 1 centimetre
4 in diameter and the exit wound was about 10 centimetres.
5 Q. Did you draw any conclusions based on the calibre, or
6 attempt to draw any conclusions based on the calibre,
7 based on the size of that exit wound?
8 A. That is correct. One could conclude that it was higher
9 calibre weapon or a dispersion bullet, which is also
10 banned by the Geneva Convention.
11 Q. Turn to the next photograph, PH283.
12 A. What you see here are two graves of a mother and
13 daughter who were killed in their house by an explosive
14 device. Another two women were killed on the same
15 occasion, if you remember when I spoke of four women
16 killed inside a house. This is the mother, and this is
17 the daughter. The only body part we found left of this
18 woman was a foot, and small pieces of clothing.
19 Q. Were they civilians?
20 A. Yes, they were.
21 Q. Turn to the next photograph, PH302.
22 A. This is the third woman killed in that house, her name
23 was Patkovic Katica. She was a Croat, married to a
25 Q. And the last photograph, PH288.
1 A. This is the grave of the fourth woman killed in the same
2 explosion, also civilian. All of them were civilians.
3 Q. All four were civilians?
4 A. Yes, all four of them.
5 Q. Killed in the same explosion?
6 A. They were killed by the same explosive device which
7 exploded in the room, and it fell inside the room
8 through the window.
9 Q. In the room of the house, that is correct?
10 A. Yes, that is so.
11 Q. When did this take place, do you recall?
12 A. I think that happened in December, perhaps January
13 1994. I cannot say for sure.
14 Q. Okay. Would it be approximately January of 1994?
15 A. It could be.
16 Q. Your Honour, at this time I will offer into evidence
17 what has been exhibit, the exhibit we have just been
18 discussing, Prosecutor's Exhibit 83.
19 JUDGE JORDA: All right, this is Exhibit 83. Continue.
20 MR. KEHOE: During the entire siege you stated during your
21 examination that Stari Vitez continued to be attacked
22 with these babies and occasionally with sniper fire and
23 with infantry fire; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Let me take you to early September of 1993. Were you in
1 a position to see the attack by the HVO on the village
2 of a Grbavica?
3 A. Yes, I saw that.
4 Q. Where is Grbavica, sir?
5 A. That is north of Stari Vitez, a kilometre, a kilometre
6 and a half distance. It is very clearly seen from Stari
7 Vitez, and I observed the attack on Grbavica. I could
8 see clearly what was going on there.
9 Q. Looking at the Prosecutor's Exhibit 56 would it be fair
10 to say Grbavica is just off the bottom of that
12 A. On this photograph you cannot see Grbavica.
13 Q. I am saying would it be just outside the bottom part of
14 the photograph?
15 A. Yes, somewhere here (Indicates).
16 Q. When you observed the attack on Grbavica in September
17 1993 what did you see?
18 A. The attack went on for two days. On the first day there
19 were artillery attacks using explosive devices,
20 so-called babies. We saw them flying through the air.
21 And on the second day I saw houses burning. At first
22 I thought there were set on fire by ammunition,
23 flammable ammunition, but it was a mistake. I looked
24 more closely and saw soldiers, and not only soldiers but
25 also civilians who were looting houses in Grbavica,
1 probably even then, as early as then the army had
2 retreated from Grbavica. When they took whatever they
3 wanted to take from the houses they set them on fire.
4 At one point, one could see over 100 houses on fire.
5 All of the houses belonged to Muslims. Only a few
6 houses belonging to Muslims escaped this fate in a
7 village which had over 200 houses. I think that on that
8 day the mosque also burnt in Grbavica, but the minaret
9 survived until the end of the war. It was not
10 demolished, but it was eventually demolished and
11 destroyed in 1994, when the truce had already been
13 Q. Was the burning of the houses in Grbavica consistent
14 with the pattern of burning Muslim houses throughout the
15 Lasva Valley?
16 A. It seemed so. Houses would first be looted and then set
17 on fire.
18 Q. Continuing on, sir, after September of 1993, up until
19 the end of the siege in 1994, did the siege stop? Were
20 Muslims free to travel in and out of Stari Vitez
21 throughout the winter of 1993?
22 A. No. The Muslims from Vitez were allowed to come out
23 freely until June, all those who were refugees in Stari
24 Vitez, and the HVO made no trouble for them then. But
25 evacuation of the wounded was a problem with them. The
1 International Red Cross gave guarantees as was their
2 duty, that after first aid and treatment of the
3 evacuated persons families would be reunited in Stari
4 Vitez. Again, those people were not allowed, on most
5 occasions, by the HVO, to return to Stari Vitez. Only
6 very few people were reunited with their families in
7 that way.
8 Q. How did the siege end, Mr. Djidic?
9 A. The siege ended on 25th February 1994, by virtue of the
10 signing of the Dayton Accord. However, 10 days earlier
11 fierce attacks were made against Stari Vitez. Those
12 were combined attacks, artillery and infantry attacks,
13 using huge sound effects and using the broadcasting of
14 specific songs, shouts, appeals for surrender to the
15 members of the Bosnian army. Two or three sentences
16 would be read over the public address system, and then
17 the artillery attack would follow. And that went on for
18 several days.
19 The time from 21st February to 25th February, in
20 that period we saw the fiercest attacks on Stari Vitez
21 which continued in waves, and they used the entire range
22 of artillery weapons they had at their disposal --
23 I mean the HVO -- in order to capture Stari Vitez. The
24 fighting went on for three days. The last attack took
25 place on the 25th, at 4.15 am. Around 8 o'clock
1 infantry attacks ceased. At noon the truce came into
2 force. No more attacks against Stari Vitez followed
3 after that.
4 It is noteworthy that the army of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the course of those two or three
6 days of attacks against Stari Vitez were issued orders
7 that there would be no offensives launched, and there
8 were none indeed. Nobody even helped us, apart from the
9 artillery support that we had. It seems to me that we
10 were left to our own devices in those three days. We
11 were left in the lurch, and to be captured by the HVO.
12 Thank God and thank people who defended Stari
13 Vitez, the HVO did not enter Stari Vitez. After that
14 there came the signing of the Accord and the end of the
15 war. Thank God, since then there has been no more
16 shooting in Vitez.
17 A meeting was held at the UNPROFOR base, where we
18 signed the maps, demarcation maps, indicating lines of
19 the demarcation between the HVO and the Bosnian army.
20 That meeting was attended by high ranking officers,
21 including Mr. Blaskic. That was when I saw him after a
22 long time, and to be truthful, I must say, at that
23 meeting when the signing took place we shook hands.
24 Q. Mr. Djidic, this is the end of hostilities. Have the
25 Muslims moved back to their homes throughout the Lasva
2 A. No, sir. No, your Honours. To this day not a single
3 Muslim has returned to Vitez. The Dayton Accord,
4 especially Annex 7, is not observed in Vitez at all.
5 Certain efforts are being made to achieve something, but
6 there are still people obstructing the implementation of
7 the Dayton Accord; and although this Accord proclaimed a
8 federation in which Muslims and Croats live together and
9 form the majority, but also the Serbs, in Vitez and
10 especially in Vitez nobody has returned to their home
11 yet. In other places there are certain improvements, a
12 great number of Croats returned to Zenica, to Travnik,
13 to Gugojno. A number of Muslims returned to Jajce, to
14 Zepce, to Srolac and to Busovaca, but none to Vitez.
15 And in conclusion of my statement, I kindly ask
16 you to do your utmost to prevent this crime from ever
17 happening again and to help as much as you can, if that
18 is at all possible, to help me live in Vitez again,
19 together with my neighbours, Croats and Serbs, who are
21 I would like us to live in one state again,
22 because we have no other state but Bosnia. Please do
23 not allow, if you have such a mandate, do not allow such
24 crimes to be repeated anywhere on this earth again.
25 Thank you very much for your attention.
1 Q. Mr. Djidic, just going back again, you are familiar with
2 this area, and you are familiar with the Hotel Vitez and
3 the entire Vitez area; is that correct?<