Case No IT-95-14
1 Friday, 26th September 1997
2 (10.00 am)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. The hearing is now
4 resumed. Registrar, would you have the accused brought
6 (Accused brought in).
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, good morning.
8 MR. HARMON: Good morning, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Does everybody hear? I see the Prosecutor
10 does. Is the Defence able to hear? Does Mr. Blaskic
12 MR. BLASKIC: Good morning, your Honour, I hear you well.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. All right then, we can resume the
14 questioning of our last witness, who was not being
15 covered by protective measures. I think he can be
16 brought in and we can begin the examination, since we
17 only did the preliminary part.
18 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning,
19 Mr. President and your Honours, good morning counsel.
20 (Witness entered court)
21 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning, Doctor. Do you hear me?
22 A. Good morning, I hear you fine.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me?
24 A. I do, sir.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Dr. Zeco, you are under oath as a Prosecution
1 witness. Did you rest well? Do you feel good?
2 A. Yes, fine thank you. I got a good rest and everything
3 is fine.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon.
5 FUAD ZECO (continued)
6 Examined by MR. HARMON (continued)
7 A. Please, I beg your pardon, could I hear the
8 interpretation a bit louder, please? Just a bit louder,
9 please. That is fine. I think it is fine now. Do
10 I hear you now? Fine, fine, thank you.
11 Q. Good morning, Dr. Zeco.
12 A. Good morning.
13 Q. Yesterday, when we concluded the first portion of your
14 examination, you told us a little bit about yourself and
15 your life in the Vitez municipality. Now let me ask
16 you, Dr. Zeco, can you describe what life was like in the
17 Vitez municipality before the start of the war, and
18 particularly between the various ethnic groups.
19 A. Life in the territory of the municipality of Vitez,
20 I can say in the area of the Lasva Valley too, because
21 I was there throughout the Lasva Valley, life was
22 very pleasant there. I usually say that it was even an
23 idyllic life, because all the different peoples lived
24 together there, and life was truly wonderful in the area
25 of the Lasva Valley, namely the Vitez municipality.
1 Q. Were there harmonious relations between the various
2 ethnic groups, Dr. Zeco?
3 A. Absolutely. The interethnic relations I think were such
4 that no distinctions were made between Croats,
5 neighbours, Serbs, Muslims. I personally, who moved
6 throughout the area, was welcomed everywhere. I had the
7 strong feeling that I was welcomed as a very dear guest
9 Q. When, Dr. Zeco, did relations between the Muslims and the
10 Croats begin to change?
11 A. Well, after the elections in 1991 these relations were
12 changed, in a way. Changes certainly did take place in
13 relation to the previous system, the previous state
14 system, which was only to be expected. However, as time
15 went by, these relations became ever more complicated
16 and complex, later on difficult, and finally they went
17 through the worst thing possible.
18 Q. Did the HVO seize control of the Vitez municipality?
19 A. Absolutely. I think that some time at the beginning of
20 1992, when the Serb Chetnik aggression was carried out
21 against Bosnia-Herzegovina, namely in the immediate
22 vicinity of the Lasva Valley, the relations were already
23 disrupted, the relationship with the Serbs. The HDZ was
24 already politically active, very active. Later on when
25 the military option was there too, namely the HVO, then
1 the situation was really complicated, and profound
2 problems were there in the territory of the municipality
3 of Vitez.
4 Q. After the HVO seized control in the Vitez municipality,
5 did life for the Muslim people become more difficult?
6 A. Yes. The Muslims who lived in the territory of the
7 municipality of Vitez, particularly those who were in
8 the field of communications and who knew what was going
9 on, they were -- excuse me -- exposed to certain
10 physical assaults even, by HVO members. They were
11 attacked physically. Money was taken away from them,
12 various objects were taken away from them, automobiles,
13 they were not in control and that was the situation as
14 concerns the members of the Muslim national group in the
15 territory of the municipality of Vitez.
16 Q. Did the Muslims in the Vitez municipality, as a result
17 of what you have just described, form the Co-ordination
18 Board for the Protection of Muslims?
19 A. Yes, that is precisely what I wish to speak about. In
20 the area of Rijeka, where we lived together, the Croats
21 and Muslims together, I was in touch with my neighbours,
22 at least with some of these people who were prominent in
23 this area of Rijeka, both Croats and Muslims, and
24 I asked them that we meet together, which they
25 accepted. These were prominent people, and we managed
1 to meet at my place, at the veterinary station. There
2 were 10 or 15 people present. Perhaps there were a bit
3 more Croats than Muslims present. These people were
4 intellectuals, and that is the question we raised; what
5 was going on? What could we do? What should our
6 attitude be in this situation?
7 However, we did not have a special answer to all
8 of this. At that point in time, it was the Croats who
9 said they would see these friends of mine who were
10 there, they said they would see, but at that point in
11 time they could not say anything specific, but they were
12 hoping that everything would be all right.
13 However, nothing came out of it. The situation
14 was getting worse and worse, and later an invitation
15 followed, the Party of Democratic Action called upon the
16 Muslim people, all prominent Muslims, people who were
17 well respected in the territory of the municipality of
18 Vitez were invited to come together to meet, and to see
19 what could be done, regardless of their ideological
20 orientation. This invitation was issued some time in
21 mid 1992. I responded to that invitation, I did.
22 The problems were presented there, the overall
23 situation, and a civic body was set up on that occasion,
24 which was supposed to have a certain task, a certain
25 role. It was called the Co-ordinating Body for the
1 Protection of the Muslim People. I was also elected to
2 that body, and I became a member of this Co-ordinating
4 Q. What role did you play, Dr. Zeco, in this Co-ordinating
6 A. Personally, I had specific tasks. Throughout my stay in
7 the territory of the municipality of Vitez, as head of
8 the veterinary service, from the very outset and
9 throughout this period, I was a member of the municipal
10 civilian defence staff. I was in charge of the
11 development of livestock production, so I had certain --
12 had a certain role to play in the development of
13 agriculture, so in the Co-ordinating Body I was in
14 charge of resolving issues related to agriculture, to
15 livestock production and problems related to civilian
16 defence, so this was the specific role I had to play in
17 the Co-ordinating Body for the Protection of the Muslim
19 Q. In respect of your role, being involved with
20 agriculture, can you explain to the Trial Chamber some
21 of the types of problems, the specific problems that you
22 dealt with?
23 A. I could. Regardless of all these problems that cropped
24 up, in the structures of government, in terms of the way
25 certain institutions and services were to function, life
1 went on nevertheless. In the area of the municipality
2 of Vitez, namely the Lasva Valley, agriculture was the
3 most important activity, so spring was coming up and all
4 problems related to agriculture were supposed to be
5 resolved and I was involved in all of this.
6 There was already a certain division of power. It
7 is well known that a Croatian government was set up
8 there, of the HVO, namely the Croatian Community of
9 Herceg-Bosna. A Co-ordinating Body was set up for
10 protecting the Muslims, which also tried to function and
11 to make it possible for life to go on. Afterwards a War
12 Presidency of the municipality of Vitez was established,
13 but agricultural activities had to be pursued too.
14 I was personally involved in all these different
15 commissions, both in terms of the Co-ordinating Body and
16 also by the HVO. They were supposed to set up joint
17 commissions for the spring and autumn planting and
18 sowing. This commission was supposed to work on a
19 larger scale, within the Chamber of commerce, so I was
20 involved in all these activities.
21 The Co-ordinating Body and later the War
22 Presidency gave me personally explicit instructions that
23 I pay great attention to this, when seed is distributed,
24 for instance, that Croats should not have any kind of
25 disadvantage, that seeds should be distributed evenly
1 and fairly, and in that situation, I think that all of
2 us who were involved did our best and did things
4 Q. At some point in time while you were involved in the
5 Co-ordinating Body, was a problem brought to your
6 attention involving Muslim butchers and cattle? Could
7 you explain what that problem was?
8 A. Yes. On one occasion, I had a very difficult problem.
9 In Vitez itself, and this was characteristic of the town
10 of Vitez, there were 14 or 15 butchers who were running
11 their own small businesses. Perhaps I could acquaint
12 this distinguished court with the fact that Vitez was a
13 transit area between the rural and urban areas, cities
14 like Banja Luka and Sarajevo, so a lot of meat and meat
15 products were going through Vitez. That is why it was a
16 thriving business. There were 14 or 15 independent meat
17 businesses. These butchers would buy livestock at
18 Busovaca, Travnik, Bugojno and once they went to the
19 market in Busovaca and all the cattle they bought at the
20 market was taken away from them by the HVO, by HVO
21 soldiers, namely the military police of the HVO. They
22 came to see me, they expressed their regrets -- I was in
23 charge of veterinary inspection too, and they asked me
24 to help them with this problem, because they had
25 purchased quite a bit of cattle then.
1 I went to the municipality. At that time there
2 was an HVO government there, I told them what it was all
3 about and they said "we will solve that". I know that
4 after a few days, in Busovaca there is a market always
5 on Saturday, Saturday is the market day, so this was a
6 few days later, and some of the butchers were asked to
7 come and to get their cattle. They went there, but none
8 of them got all their cattle back. Perhaps a few heads
9 of cattle, the big cattle, is what they got, but they
10 could not get their sheep or their lamb. That is what
11 they did not manage to get back.
12 So this is the role I played with regard to this
13 question, and this activity of mine within the
14 Co-ordinating Body.
15 Q. These butchers were Muslim butchers, is that correct?
16 A. I did not understand you.
17 Q. The butchers who you were intervening on their behalf,
18 were they Muslim butchers?
19 A. Yes, they were Muslims. I must say that when I asked
20 them, they told me that there were a few Croats, a few
21 Croats too whose animals were taken away, and later
22 taken on to the Kacuni military barracks. Later on,
23 I found out that these Croats, that is what the Muslim
24 butchers told me, had a much better deal and that some
25 of them even earned a profit. That is what I know, and
1 that is what I was told then.
2 Q. Dr. Zeco, where had the cattle that the Muslim butchers
3 had purchased, where was that taken?
4 A. It was taken to the army that was located in Kacuni. It
5 was taken there and handed over to that army. I got
6 that information from these butchers, because later they
7 went to that area where the military barracks were.
8 Q. Later on, Dr. Zeco, did you become a member of the War
9 Presidency, and if so, can you just explain briefly what
10 your role was in the War Presidency?
11 A. Yes. In January 1993, when it was established, I was
12 appointed a member of the War Presidency as the
13 commander of the civilian defence staff for the
14 municipality of Vitez. I held that office until
15 10th October 1995.
16 Q. Dr. Zeco, did you serve in the JNA?
17 A. I served in the JNA. Actually I was demobilised from
18 the JNA in 1953. Immediately upon demobilisation,
19 I went to university to study veterinary medicine.
20 After that I graduated from university, I became a
21 veterinarian and after that time, I was never involved
22 in the military in any way.
23 Q. So you were not a member of the Territorial Defence in
25 A. No, I was not a member of the Territorial Defence of the
1 municipality of Vitez, but I was a member of the
2 municipal staff for civilian defence, civilian
3 protection, and there were a few seminars, a few
4 training courses, all in the domain of civilian
5 protection, all the activities that are involved in the
6 field of civilian protection, from radioactive, atomic,
7 biological warfare, so I learned all about that.
8 I attended these seminars at that time throughout
9 Yugoslavia, even went to Belgrade, republican and local
10 seminars, but my orientation was to be involved in those
11 activities that could help people who needed help.
12 Q. Okay. Now in your living in the Vitez municipality, did
13 you get to know Anto Valenta?
14 A. Yes. I often had the opportunity of meeting him. We
15 did not have a very close relationship, but we would say
16 hello to each other, exchange a few words. In certain
17 situations, we even had discussions on certain matters.
18 If this distinguished court wishes to hear about this,
19 perhaps I could mention that he knew that I was involved
20 in certain political activities, so he presented his
21 views and brought up certain questions that we then
23 There was a characteristic case. This was in the
24 offices of the municipality. My wife worked there; she
25 was involved in geometry and I would often meet Mr. Anto
1 Valenta there because he often sought maps, so we
2 started discussing these maps. He was looking for
3 certain locations there, and he said that it was
4 desirable to have Muslims in one area, Croats in the
5 other and Serbs yet in another area.
6 At one point, it seemed outlandish -- perhaps I am
7 using too crude a term, but it really seemed outlandish
8 and we discussed this, but he said that that should be
9 done, but he would like to say that it should be done in
10 a humane way. I did not understand that at all. What
11 was this "humane way" of resettling people, making them
12 move from an area in which they lived to an area where
13 they do not want to live? So I had the opportunity of
14 having such discussions and conversations with Anto
16 Q. Dr. Zeco, did you have occasion to see the following
17 people on television: Dario Kordic, Anto Valenta,
18 Tihomir Blaskic, Mr. Kostroman? Did you see those people
19 on television in the Vitez municipality prior to
20 16th April 1993?
21 A. Yes. In the course of 1992 or rather 1991, 1992 and
22 1993, local television was organised by the HVO, or
23 rather the HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Community, later
24 Herceg-Bosna, local radio and television. In Busovaca
25 and in Kiseljak and in Vitez. On local Vitez
1 television, they were present all the time. This was a
2 local TV station. It only had Croats who were editors,
3 Croats, so it was their media that made these broadcasts
4 throughout the area.
5 From 1992 until the fateful date of April 16th,
6 this media campaign, as it were, was present
7 throughout. As the Prosecutor said, you could see very
8 often, all the time, Mr. Tihomir Blaskic, Dario Kordic
9 Anto Valenta, Kostroman Ignjac and others too, but these
10 people were on local TV very often.
11 Q. How was Tihomir Blaskic presented or introduced, or
12 described, when he would appear on these television
14 A. Mr. Tihomir Blaskic was in uniform. He was commander of,
15 I think it was -- he was commander of the units in the
16 Central Bosnia region. He always was wearing uniform,
17 that is how he appeared on the monitor.
18 Q. Let me turn just briefly to Dario Kordic. What sorts of
19 views was he expressing through the course of these
20 television programmes?
21 A. Dario Kordic was exclusively a politician, and he
22 obviously expressed political views, and he presented
23 himself as a representative of the Croatian people.
24 Very often, he attacked the official authorities of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He very often would single out
1 certain actions of Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, President of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He said that these leaders who
3 represented the Muslim population were not doing things
4 right, that they were not doing things well for all
5 people and that the Muslim population would not fare
6 well because of that; that they should ally themselves
7 with the Croatian people, that they should submit to the
8 Croatian authority and that that would be good for them.
9 On several occasions he even expressed something
10 like threats. I remember well a statement on local
11 television that he gave when he said that should the
12 Muslims not comply, that they would disappear from that
13 region. Personally, I was dismayed by such a statement,
14 because I knew and I was very friendly with the Kordic
15 family, with his father, who is also a veterinarian, so
16 a colleague of mine, and his mother, and we were very
17 good friends. We even exchanged visits very frequently
18 during the period of time when I worked in the Vitez
19 area, I would substitute and I would step in and replace
20 him when he would go on vacation. He was a veterinarian
21 for the Busovaca municipality, so I would take over his
22 job when he was on vacation.
23 Q. Dr. Zeco, do you remember approximately when Dario Kordic
24 made the statement that the Muslims would disappear?
25 A. I think that this was some time in the second half --
1 maybe September 1992.
2 Q. Now let me turn your attention to Tihomir Blaskic. What
3 types of subject matter would Tihomir Blaskic address?
4 What kind of statements, as you recall, did he make?
5 A. Mr. Tihomir Blaskic, as far as I can recall, also
6 mentioned that the Croatian people need to become
7 militarily capable, so that they would be prepared to
8 defend themselves, to fight for their rights, even
9 militarily, if needed.
10 Q. Did he make any other comments about Croatian aims or
11 Croatian territory?
12 A. Since this is purely military matters, I did not enter
13 that much into that, but he did point out the need for
14 arming for defence the military organisation. Those
15 were mostly his statements. But since I was not very
16 interested in things military, I did not pay that much
17 attention to it, but basically, he called for the
18 Croatian people to organise themselves so that they
19 could demand their historical rights and if necessary
20 should realise them even militarily.
21 Q. What kind of statements did Anto Valenta make on the
22 television, do you recall?
23 A. Yes, I can. Mr. Anto Valenta even made threats to the
24 Muslim people, and was also making comparisons, saying
25 the Croat people were armed whereas the Muslim people
1 were not. He said that they were -- they had their own
2 army, that they were secure, and that they should be put
3 under the command of the HVO.
4 Q. Did he make any public statements, Dr. Zeco, about the
5 inability of Muslims and Croats to live together?
6 A. Yes, he did, on several occasions. He made such
7 statements on several occasions, saying that it would be
8 desirable to create areas for Muslims, for Serbs, for
9 Croats, that that would be the best solution. That was
10 the sense in which he made his statements.
11 Q. Lastly, Mr. Kostroman. What kind of statements did he
12 make, if you can recall?
13 A. I think that Mr. Kostroman was making very similar
14 statements to what Mr. Anto Valenta was stating. Those
15 were the subject matters that he raised.
16 Q. How often, if you can recall, did you see these four
17 gentlemen you have just testified about appear on
18 television? Was it once a week, was it more frequent or
19 less frequent?
20 A. Very frequently. As I said, these television programmes
21 were there daily. They very frequently appeared on
22 television, very frequently, so you could comfortably
23 say that in a single week, all these gentlemen would
24 appear there at least once.
25 Q. Dr. Zeco, I would like to turn your attention to a man by
1 the name of Darko Kraljevic. Do you know Darko
2 Kraljevic and the Kraljevic family and if so, can you
3 explain to the court how you knew the man and the
5 A. I knew Darko Kraljevic as a child, who grew up with my
6 own children. I knew him very well from when he was
7 very small until he grew up. I was very good friends
8 with his family, because we were neighbours. His father
9 was the director of the Forest Bureau. We lived in the
10 immediate neighbourhood. We often would meet both
11 officially, because we shared the field of forestry and
12 agriculture, and Darko's mother was a colleague of my
13 wife's, because they worked in the Land Registry office,
14 and I often gave rides to Darko or his brother Slavan
15 and mother, or I would take them to school together with
16 my children, or their mother together with my wife, so
17 that for years we were friends in Vitez.
18 MR. HARMON: Now, Mr. President, if I could direct your
19 attention and the witness's attention to exhibit 103.
20 The court may wish to examine the exhibit at the same
21 time the witness is. I am not sure --
22 JUDGE JORDA: Do you have exhibit 103? Is it a map of some
23 sort? Has it already been identified?
24 MR. HARMON: Dr. Zeco, if you could turn your attention,
25 please, to exhibit 103, I am going to come over next to
1 you and ask you some questions about it. Dr. Zeco, could
2 you please approach exhibit 103? Yesterday, Dr. Zeco,
3 you showed us the location of the veterinarian station,
4 and your home. Could you now show us, and point with
5 the pointer, the apartment building where Darko
6 Kraljevic lived?
7 A. Kraljevic lived over here, where the arrow is showing.
8 This was the building where Darko Kraljevic lived.
10 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, your Honour, I cannot hear a
12 JUDGE JORDA: You are not getting an interpretation, you are
14 MR. HARMON: I am not getting translation from this system.
15 I am getting the Bosnian Croat translation, not the
16 English translation -- I think it is my fault, your
17 Honour, I do not think I had it on the right number.
18 Could you say something please, Dr. Zeco?
19 A. I just showed --
20 Q. Okay. I am sorry for the interruption. Please,
21 Dr. Zeco, you pointed to number 3 as being the apartment
22 building of Darko Kraljevic, is that correct?
23 A. Yes, he lived with his wife and a child that was born
24 later and that is precisely the building where he lived,
25 that is where the arrow is pointing.
1 Q. Can you now point out to the court where the home of
2 Darko Kraljevic's parents was?
3 A. (Indicates). This number 4, the arrow is pointing
4 precisely at the building which belonged to Darko
5 Kraljevic's house, it is their own property. I know
6 this because I was frequently in that house.
7 Q. Can you point out the forestry station and where that is
8 in the Rijeka area?
9 A. (Indicates). This is under number 1 and the arrow
10 points directly to the forestry station building, where
11 very often there were certain HVO units and military
12 units, so they occupied that building.
13 Q. Dr. Zeco, will you take a look at that once again. You
14 indicated that it was number 1. Yesterday your
15 testimony was number 1 was the veterinarian station.
16 I would like you to examine closer and ask you where the
17 forestry station was located, what number and what arrow
18 points to the forestry station.
19 A. That was number 5, I apologise, so number 5 is the
20 forestry station. Can you hear me? I do not know if
21 I was heard on this. It was number 5, so I apologise,
22 because it was actually number 5 and number 1 is the
23 veterinary station. Am I being heard?
24 Q. Yes, you are. Lastly, Dr. Zeco, can you point out on
25 this particular exhibit the location of the Hotel Vitez?
1 A. The Hotel Vitez is under number 6, and the arrow points
2 directly at the building of the Hotel, the Hotel
4 Q. Thank you, Dr. Zeco. You can take your seat again.
5 Dr. Zeco, was Darko Kraljevic a member of the HVO?
6 A. Yes, he was. I know the whole situation as it
7 developed. Darko Kraljevic at first was a member of the
8 HOS and wore the HOS insignia, at the beginning of his
9 military career, if I can call it that way. Later on,
10 I think that was in the middle of 1992, the HOS units
11 were absorbed into the HVO units, and then he was a
12 member of the HVO units, and they were known as the
13 Black Knights.
14 Q. Did you have occasion to see Darko Kraljevic in an HVO
15 uniform and can you explain to the court those
17 A. Yes. I even remember a television programme which
18 showed, in a rather decorous way, how the HVO units were
19 being absorbed into the HVO. There was a line up and
20 then there was a ceremony whereby they became the HVO
21 units, and then later they became known under the name
22 of the Black Knights.
23 Q. I am just looking at your transcript right here, Doctor,
24 and the translation says that you saw:
25 "... a television programme which showed, in a
1 rather decorous way, how the HVO units were being
2 absorbed into the HVO."
3 Do you mean how the HOS units were being absorbed
4 into the HVO?
5 A. Yes, the members of the HOS, of the HOS, then became the
6 HVO units. That was the television programme that was
8 Q. Were the Black Knights also known as the Vitezovi?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. What role did Darko Kraljevic have in the Vitezovi, if
11 you know?
12 A. He was the leader, he was the commander of this unit,
13 and I frequently saw him. He always had an escort of
14 several soldiers and entourage and I think they provided
15 protection for him. I think that they behaved as
16 subordinates to him, so they were something like his
18 Q. Did you see him wearing HVO insignia?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you explain how often you would see him with an HVO
21 uniform on?
22 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, the insignia on this uniform, it is
23 a question I have about the translation here; "when was
24 he wearing the insignia", and then I heard, "when was he
25 wearing the uniform".
1 MR. HARMON: Let me ask another question, Mr. President.
2 After the HOS units were absorbed into the HVO, did you
3 see Darko Kraljevic in an HVO uniform with HVO insignia
4 and if so, can you explain to the court when and where
5 you saw him?
6 A. Yes. Darko Kraljevic was wearing a camouflage military
7 uniform with the HVO insignia on it. You asked me
8 whether I saw him frequently; I would meet him
9 frequently and on one occasion, if I may say so, I had
10 taken my car to be serviced, and I drove it to this work
11 canal and at that point, Darko Kraljevic drove in in his
12 car. This was a private shop. My car was immediately
13 pulled out. We greeted each other, he just nodded his
14 head, so my car was driven out and his car was put in.
15 They took out a machine gun, several crates of bullets
16 were pulled out, and he told me that he needed to go out
17 to the field and there were the HVO insignia there.
18 Q. Dr. Zeco, I would like to focus your attention on another
19 event. Can you explain to the court the incident when
20 you were attacked in November 1992?
21 A. I usually would spend most of my time out in the field,
22 and I was coming back from Krizancevo Selo at that time
23 and I was passing the school in Dubravica and HVO unit
24 was stationed in that school building and after
25 I passed, a car came up behind me with the HVO
1 soldiers. This is a very narrow road. I could not pull
2 over and they were driving behind me. It is about 100
3 metres away from the intersection where it feeds into
4 the main road, so I sped up a little bit, but still
5 cautiously enough so that I would not slide off the
6 road, but they caught up with me and they started
7 bumping me from behind and then I turned off and their
8 vehicle passed me and came out on to the main road and
9 about 50 metres later, they stopped, and three or four
10 soldiers jumped out.
11 There was one who pulled at the door of the
12 passenger side, so I leaned over to open it, and then he
13 grabbed -- he jumped in with his legs first and he hit
14 me in the face, and I was bleeding, I realised that my
15 nose had been broken. Then a soldier came out and
16 pointed the automatic rifle and another soldier came and
17 took him by the arms and said "okay, let him go" and he
18 told me, "get going". I closed the door and I started
19 in the direction of Vitez. I immediately, without
20 thinking, went to the police.
21 I came to the police station, I was all covered in
22 blood, and at the door of the police station, the chief
23 of the police station, Mirko Samija, was standing.
24 I had very good relationship with him, he asked me what
25 had happened, what was that, and I told him what it was,
1 I told him that I was attacked by the HVO soldiers, and
2 then he said, "okay, let us go", and he got into my car
3 and we went to the health clinic. He ordered two
4 policemen to immediately go to that spot where this
5 incident had happened and to determine what had
7 So I went to this health clinic with him, to the
8 health centre and I was given medical care there, and
9 after that, I went home. When I arrived home, about
10 half an hour later, the same chief of police station
11 came to my house with the two policemen, and
12 apologised. He said that at that time, they could not
13 do anything, that this was the military, that there was
14 nothing he could do, that it was too dangerous, but the
15 time would come. Then he expressly told me to go to the
16 Travnik hospital to have a proper exam and to bring him
17 the finding of this, so that he could have the document
18 with him.
19 From the experience that I already had, I realised
20 that he was powerless to do anything and that is where
21 it all remained, the whole incident.
22 Q. Let me just clarify one or two points, Dr. Zeco. Mirko
23 Samija, the policeman to whom you reported, the incident
24 where your nose was broken, was he an HVO civilian
1 A. Please, could you repeat your question? I did not quite
2 hear what you were saying.
3 Q. Let me ask you this, Dr. Zeco: to what organisation did
4 Mirko Samija belong?
5 A. Mirko Samija was head of the police station. I know
6 that personally, because when the representatives of the
7 Muslim people and of the then established HVO government
8 were trying to reach agreement on setting up joint
9 authorities et cetera, I know this for sure, because
10 I was one of the people who supported the appointment of
11 Mirko Samija as head of the police station. I did this
12 on behalf of this Co-ordinating Body for the Protection
13 of the Muslim People. I wanted Mirko Samija to be
14 appointed head of the police station, and he was head of
15 the police station.
16 Q. Was he a member of the HVO police?
17 A. No, he was the civilian police.
18 Q. Thank you. To your knowledge, Dr. Zeco, were any arrests
19 ever made of any HVO soldiers who had attacked you?
20 A. No.
21 Q. To your knowledge, Doctor, were any HVO soldiers ever
22 prosecuted for the attack on you?
23 A. No, by all means no, because Mirko Samija told me that
24 he was powerless, that he could not do anything, and
25 that at that point in time, he would not do anything on
1 his part, and he personally apologised to me because of
2 that, but he said that that is the way things had to be
3 at that point.
4 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I am prepared to break at this
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we are going to take our break now and
7 resume in 20 minutes at 11.35.
8 (11.20 am)
9 (A short break)
10 (11.35 am)
11 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now. Have the
12 accused brought in, please.
13 (Accused brought in)
14 JUDGE JORDA: We can begin in now, Mr. Harmon.
15 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Dr. Zeco, one question on the last subject area
17 that you covered. The gentleman by the name of Mirko
18 Samija, was he a Croat or a Muslim?
19 A. Mirko Samija was a Croat.
20 Q. Let me turn your attention, if I can, Dr. Zeco, to
21 16th April 1993. Where were you on the morning of
22 16th April 1993?
23 A. On 16th April 1993, I was at home. I had spent the
24 night there, and on the morning of 16th April, at 5.30,
25 we could hear explosions and shooting. Only my wife and
1 I were at home. It came as quite a surprise to us. We
2 jumped out of bed, and what followed was like a film.
3 Everything was so fast. Everything happened so
4 quickly. I got up at 5.30. At 6.30, I was already
5 arrested, taken to the building of the veterinary
6 station. In the morning, when we got up, I was still
7 wearing my pyjamas. Soldiers came, in front of the
8 house. They knocked at the door, my wife opened the
9 door. Two soldiers walked in, they told me to get
10 dressed. They were wearing full war gear. It was quite
11 unusual, though, that their skin was all painted and
12 black. I think it was like soot, and they told me to
13 get ready and that they would take me away.
14 Two soldiers walked into the house, but there were
15 three or four of them, three or four soldiers around the
16 building. I got ready, I got dressed, I saw that they
17 were armed, and I went out. They took me to the
18 veterinary station --
19 Q. Let me ask you a question, Dr. Zeco, were these HVO
21 A. They were HVO soldiers with HVO insignia on their
23 Q. Did you ask them where they were taking you?
24 A. Yes, I asked them "what is going on? Where are we
25 going", and they told me that I would see. I saw that
1 there was no specific answer that they were willing to
2 give, and that all further discussion would be
3 superfluous. I knew these soldiers, but I just let them
4 do what they had to do. I did what they asked me to do.
5 Q. You testified that they took you to the vet station.
6 Did they leave your wife at your home, or did they take
7 your wife with you?
8 A. No, my wife stayed at home. I wish to mention here,
9 though, my wife's words. She said, "do not take Fuad,
10 take me". They said that they did not have anything to
11 do with her and that they had orders to take me.
12 Q. Did your wife stay at your home during the entire period
13 of your captivity?
14 A. Yes, she stayed at home all the time, because I was
15 taken to the veterinary station. That is about 100
16 metres away. She had the opportunity of coming to the
17 vet station when they allowed her to bring in food, so
18 she stayed in our house while I was at the veterinary
20 Later, when they moved me from the vet station to
21 the school in Dubravica, she remained at home.
22 Q. Let me ask you, you were taken to the vet station, can
23 you explain what happened at the vet station?
24 A. At the vet station, we were met by a man I knew, in
25 uniform, Zeljko Matkovic, who said that he was the one
1 who decides over there, and that he is the person we
2 were supposed to address. There were two or three other
3 soldiers in HVO uniform too. I also knew them. When
4 I was brought to the veterinary station, I found about
5 10 or 15, I do not know the exact number, other people
6 at the veterinary station. They were in the hall, in
7 the office, and in the examination room, the room where
8 animals were examined.
9 At that point, there were some 10- or 15-odd
10 people, I cannot tell. Others were being brought in
11 too. All of them were Muslims.
12 Q. Were they all males?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. How many people ultimately were detained at the vet
15 station while you were there?
16 A. We were counting how many of us there were, and I know
17 that at one point we managed to count 76 men, 76 of us.
18 76 Muslims were detained in the veterinary station in
19 the basement. The conditions there were very, very
20 poor, because the basement was underground and during
21 the winter, water could penetrate. Fortunately there
22 was no water there then, but we had to sit on wood that
23 we found there, so that we could protect ourselves from
24 the dampness.
25 Upstairs, there were two very small offices, and
1 members of the HVO were there primarily, they were
2 coming and going. There were a few of our detainees up
3 there too. I had the privilege to stay in these offices
4 and the rest were in the hallway and in the room for
5 examining animals. All of it was very small, we were
6 crowded, we spent three nights there, and on the
7 fourth day, we left the veterinary station.
8 Q. What were the range of ages of the detainees?
9 A. This is the way it was. I think that from the area of
10 Rijeka, all the men -- I cannot say 100 per cent, but
11 most of the men from the age of 16 to 70 were detained
12 there in the veterinary station.
13 Q. Dr. Zeco, after you arrived at the veterinary station,
14 was there any interrogation or questioning about
16 A. Yes. I think it was the next day, the day after we were
17 brought in. The man who supervised us, under whose
18 control we were, this Zeljko Matkovic, he summoned us
19 and told us that now all of us who had weapons and
20 ammunition at our homes should say so then, and that HVO
21 soldiers would come and take each and every one of us
22 home in order to bring in these weapons. But he told us
23 to pay attention, and he particularly pointed out that
24 by no means should anyone have arms and not surrender
25 them, because members of special units would be coming
1 in, specially trained units from Herzegovina, and he
2 said that they were capable of finding these weapons,
3 even if someone tried to hide them, and that it was
4 impossible to hide weapons, and that if that were done,
5 they would burn these houses down and whoever would try
6 to do that would bear the consequences.
7 After that warning, some people said that that was
8 the case, that they had weapons and then soldiers
9 escorted them to their homes and they brought these
10 weapons in. These were negligible quantities of weapons
11 and ammunition. As far as I can remember, it was one
12 rifle, a Karabin, there were some bombs, a few pistols
13 and I think that there were two hunting guns as well.
14 When it was all brought together, it was in a basket
15 where people would usually keep their linen, it was a
16 basket that big. Then one of them said "what is this?
17 Are these all the weapons that the Muslims have", and
18 that was the end of that.
19 Again, he threatened us, he said that we should be
20 very careful because the members of the special units
21 who came in from Herzegovina specifically for that
22 purpose were coming in.
23 Q. While you were detained at the veterinary station, what
24 happened to your car, Dr. Zeco?
25 A. I had two cars. I owned both of them, because we used
1 our own cars when we were on duty, but we were
2 compensated for that, for using our own cars, and I had
3 one car only for family use, and the other one, the
4 Renault 4, was used only for my work.
5 The next day, a HVO soldier came, and he asked me
6 to give him my car keys, because he said that my wife --
7 is this okay, is this working? My wife said -- they
8 first went to see my wife. They asked her to give them
9 the key and she said she did not have the key, she said
10 that I had the car key and that I was at the veterinary
11 station. A soldier came and he asked me for the key to
12 the car and I gave it to him, because I knew from the
13 experience of others that their cars were taken away, so
14 he took the keys and he went to the garage, which was
15 only about 20 metres away from the building.
16 He came back shortly and he said "I cannot turn it
17 on". He asked me whether I knew what was wrong with my
18 car and I said I did not know what was wrong, although
19 I did know what was wrong, because I had disconnected a
20 cable, because at that time during the night, people's
21 cars would disappear, Muslims' cars, and this was a
22 minimal precaution that I had taken.
23 So they said, "all right", they pushed the car out
24 and I looked through the window accidentally and I saw
25 HVO soldiers driving my car. They realised why the car
1 did not work before. The next day, they came to take
2 the other car. I said that this time, and that was the
3 truth, this car that I was using for work was really out
4 of order, and that I could not agree with the repair
5 man, he was supposed to come in one of those days to
6 repair the car for me, so when I told him that the car
7 was no good, that I could not use it and he threatened
8 me and he said "we know you and you are going to pay for
9 this". But they went to see the car and they realised
10 that it was partly taken apart they gave up on taking
11 that car.
12 Q. After your release from custody many days later, and we
13 will get to that later in your testimony, did the HVO
14 ever return the car that they had taken from you? Did
15 they ever return your car to you?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Did they ever compensate you for the car? Did they ever
18 give you any money for the car they had taken?
19 A. No, no, never. I never got any compensation or anything
20 in relation to my car.
21 Q. Dr. Zeco, I would like to turn your attention to an event
22 that occurred while you were in custody at the
23 veterinary station, that is a large explosion that
24 occurred and that you heard. Can you explain to the
25 court what warnings, if any, you received from
1 individuals who were guarding you about that particular
3 A. Yes. Within the building, within the area where we were
4 detained, we tried to adjust to the situation and to
5 help each other. But at that point, the same person
6 came in, this person who organised this prison of ours,
7 Zeljko Matkovic, and he said "all of you, each and every
8 one of you, should go to the basement and that is it.
9 Something is going to happen now". He said that we had
10 to go to the basement. We were curious, we were
11 surprised, wondering what it was. It was not clear at
12 all, but he specifically asked us to hurry and to go
13 down to the basement. The staircase was narrow and
14 those people who got downstairs had to make room for
15 others, so we were not moving at the speed they wanted.
16 Nevertheless, we all did manage to get down and we
17 huddled in there. It might be a room 3 metres by 6 to 7
18 metres, and a few moments after we got down there, we
19 felt an explosion, which was really strong.
20 There had been explosions until then too, but none
21 of them matched this one. It was long, it was strong,
22 and to the best of our knowledge, it was pretty far
23 away, but it was something big. We did not know what it
24 was all about, but then we realised that that is what
25 was supposed to happen.
1 As we were getting out, this same person, Zeljko
2 Matkovic, said "now it is over with the Muslims".
3 Again, this was not clear to us. He said, "now it is
4 over with the Muslims".
5 Q. Did you later find out the source of that explosion?
6 A. I did not. Later, we found out, when we were
7 transferred to Dubravica and when our families came, our
8 wives, our children, when they would come and bring us
9 food, they told us that in Stari Vitez there was an
10 explosion, that the HVO had loaded fuel on to a truck,
11 that drivers were tied up and this truck with explosives
12 was sent to Stari Vitez, and that quite a few people
13 were killed from the explosion, quite a few were
14 wounded, and also that there was a lot of material
15 damage involved.
16 Later on, we found out about all of this, about
17 all the effects of this, so that was the truth.
18 Q. Dr. Zeco, you said you remained at the veterinary station
19 for three nights and on the fourth day you left. During
20 the time period when you and the other detainees were at
21 the veterinarian station, I would like you to briefly
22 describe whether men in captivity were taken out to go
23 dig trenches and I would like you to summarise that, if
24 you could, within just a few minutes.
25 A. From the very first moment when we were detained, from
1 time to time HVO soldiers would come to see Zeljko
2 Matkovic, and they asked him for five, six, ten
3 detainees that they were supposed to take away. Later
4 on we found out that they were taken out to dig
5 trenches. This happened throughout those three days,
6 and perhaps the fourth day too, although I am not too
7 sure. I think we were taken away at 12.00, but
8 people -- prisoners were taken every day to dig
9 trenches, and we knew where they went, because we were
10 curious, we wanted to know what was going on, what the
11 situation was and we knew that they were taking them to
12 the area of Rijeka to dig these trenches, trenches along
13 the lines, and there were some war operations going on
14 over there already.
15 Q. Were any of the detainees who had been taken to dig
16 trenches killed or wounded?
17 A. Yes, unfortunately there were people who were killed,
18 there were people who were wounded. According to what
19 the people who went there told us, some were killed by
20 bullets coming from rifles and they did not know from
21 what side, a bullet would simply kill a person, whereas
22 Ibrakovic Jusuf was killed by a member of the HVO who
23 took them out there to the line where they were supposed
24 to dig trenches. That is where Hurem was killed, his
25 name was Hurem. I knew him very well because he was a
1 neighbour of mine over there too. I know him, he had a
2 horse, and he would take his horse and carriage and
3 carry goods that way and that is what he lived on. He
4 had four children. He supported them. His horse was in
5 very poor health, so I had to intervene often. He was
6 killed too.
7 As far as I can remember, Salko Salibasic was also
8 wounded. Also after the end of the war, as I was
9 carrying out my duties, I did my best to ensure medical
10 treatment for him in the hospital in Tuzla. He
11 underwent five or six operations.
12 Q. Dr. Zeco -- do you have something else you would like to
13 add to your testimony, before I ask the next question?
14 A. Yes, there were also some other people who were wounded
15 there, and then they were transported to the hospital.
16 There were some who were lightly wounded too, but they
17 never came back. Later, I learned that they were taken
18 to another prisoner camp which was in Vitez, up in
19 Vitez, very near the clinic. That is where they were
20 given some medical care and so that is where they
21 stayed. They never came back down there, where we were.
22 Q. What day did you leave the veterinary station?
23 A. We were detained on the 16th, so three nights and the
24 fourth day was 20th April, when we were transferred. We
25 were told to get ready, and to line up to go to the
1 forestry station, which was very close from there, about
2 100 metres, that we would be transferred to another
3 place. We still did not know where that was going to
4 be, so we walked in file and then they said that this
5 was enough. We came to the forestry station, to the
6 courtyard there and there was a minibus there.
7 Q. Where were you taken, Dr. Zeco?
8 A. We were taken to the school in Dubravica. Later, after
9 our group was transferred there, the rest of them who
10 had stayed in the vet station were also transferred
11 there, so we were all reassembled there, and this was in
12 the school building in Dubravica near the railway
13 station. In Vitez it was locally known as the area
14 around the railway station.
15 Q. Did you remain in captivity there until 30th April 1993?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Approximately how many people were detained at the
18 Dubravica school?
19 A. When we arrived there, we found another group, a sizeable
20 group there. There were men and there were also some
21 women and children. We found out that these were some
22 families, so those were wives and children of some of
23 the men. There were no men though, they were all from
24 Ahmici. There were other ones who were detained from
25 Santici, Novaci, Krizancevo Selo, railway station. In
1 other words -- Sivrino Selo, so the surrounding areas,
2 and since immediately next to that there was the
3 wood-processing factory, and they had night shifts, so
4 the men who were coming out of the night shift, so there
5 were men from other outlying areas, so these were the
6 workers there who had worked there, so they also were
7 detained in the school in Dubravica.
8 Further, there were some refugees from other
9 municipalities, who, following the Serb Chetnik
10 aggression and the JNA aggression, had been put up in
11 Vitez from Jajce, from Mrkonjic, so in sort they were
12 all Muslims.
13 Q. After you arrived at the Dubravica school, did you hear
14 any small arms fire, any gunfire in the vicinity?
15 A. Yes, when we arrived in Dubravica, during that night,
16 there was shooting around, all around in the area. In
17 my assessment, it was sporadic and sometimes it was
18 closer by, sometimes it was farther away, so we knew
19 there was fighting going on between the army and the HVO
20 and depending on the war, the combat situation, that is
21 how the shooting was occurring.
22 Q. While the shooting was going on, did the detainees --
23 did you hear any particular threats uttered by the HVO
24 in respect of what would happen to the detainees?
25 A. Yes. We were hoping, we counted on the luck turning in
1 towards the BH army, that we would be liberated, and at
2 one point, the shooting came very close, we noticed
3 that, and we could also observe it by the behaviour of
4 the HVO soldiers who were there with us in the school,
5 because they came and told us expressly not to leave the
6 school by any means, because everything around it was
7 mined, so we would all be killed. They said "do not
8 rejoice, do not rejoice about your army".
9 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Please continue. Go ahead.
10 MR. HARMON: Please continue, Dr. Zeco.
11 A. "Do not rejoice", because as they said, "even if the
12 army came, it is not going to be good for you, because
13 down there, we have a fuel truck filled with fuel and we
14 would blow it up so you will not fare well", so
15 immediately we started enquiring among each other and
16 indeed we learned from some who had seen it that there
17 was a fuel tank or a fuel truck there which had fuel,
18 because it was used for heating of the school, and since
19 I had this role for -- I was involved in the civilian
20 protection, I started immediately thinking what we could
21 do if something like this took place, what we were to
22 do. Somehow we started planning if this should happen
23 that we would break some of the bars that were there and
24 we assigned this operation to some people, so that we
25 would -- if such a thing could come that we would keep a
1 certain order there --
2 Q. Excuse me, Dr. Zeco. In the translation there appears to
3 be a reference to a "fuel truck" or a "fuel tank". Was
4 what was described to you by the HVO a fuel truck or a
5 fuel cistern?
6 A. Like a cistern, like a reservoir. It was a tank.
7 Q. Now the record has been clarified. So without going
8 into great detail about essentially the escape plan
9 should something happen, would you continue with a
10 description then of the events that happened after these
11 particular threats were made to you and to the other
12 detainees. What happened then?
13 A. Yes. However, at one point when this shooting really
14 drew close, we observed -- we sensed at one point that
15 we were by ourselves, that the soldiers who used to
16 guard us there had gone, had disappeared, so at one
17 point, the shooting stopped and the soldiers
18 reappeared. Then we learned that the army had advanced
19 and that the soldiers had retreated. However, the
20 shooting suddenly stopped and the soldiers reappeared,
21 we were there surprised, we were disappointed, because
22 the army did not appear, we were not liberated.
23 Q. Did you later learn why the army, the Armija, had
24 stopped its advance in the direction of the Dubravica
1 A. Yes. They had threatened us that should Armija come,
2 that they would blow up the entire school building with
3 that fuel that they had there. Then we found out later,
4 when we were expelled, I had got in touch with
5 command of the army and I asked them at that point why
6 did they stop there, why did not liberate us then and
7 then they told me, those officers, that they had
8 received confirmation from the HVO that if they
9 continued to advance towards the school building that
10 they would blow up the Muslims who were detained in it.
11 This is what the BH army officers told us, this is the
12 information that they gave us, and they cited it as the
13 reason for their not liberating us. This was later
14 verified by the command as well.
15 Q. Dr. Zeco, do you remember the approximate date when this
16 advance stopped, that you have just described?
17 A. This was on the 22nd, 22nd April, that is.
18 Q. Now I would like to focus your attention on a different
19 subject, and that is trench digging done by the
20 detainees from the Dubravica school. First of all, can
21 you explain to the court what you saw while you were
22 there, in respect of that particular subject?
23 A. Yes, one of the big problems that we had during our stay
24 in the school in Dubravica was precisely the demands by
25 the HVO soldiers to give as many prisoners as possible
1 to go to dig trenches. The soldiers would come in, they
2 would come together with guards who were guarding us,
3 and then it was their choice, they would choose 10 to 15
4 prisoners. Mostly they were picking people who looked
5 physically more fit, so a group would leave and then the
6 next group would come in and take another group of
7 prisoners with them, and so it would happen that within
8 one hour three separate groups were being taken to dig
9 trenches, and after a while, they would come back.
10 There were situations that those who came back --
11 because these demands for prisoners were more and more
12 frequent, so it would happen that if a group came back,
13 they would be turned around and taken to dig trenches
14 again. There were those who looked physically fit but
15 in fact were sick, so it was very hard on them. Then
16 there were some who managed not to go, so we realised
17 that things were not right here, and so we started
18 talking among ourselves how to do this.
19 Q. Dr. Zeco, before you get into this area of your
20 testimony, let me ask you, approximately how many times
21 a day would the HVO come to take civilian detainees and
22 approximately what percentage of the men who were
23 detained were taken out to dig trenches?
24 A. I can tell you that I cannot be very far off if I say
25 that at least a third of the total number, which
1 included the old and women, so a third would have been
2 involved and taken to dig trenches.
3 Q. Were you ever taken to dig trenches, Dr. Zeco?
4 A. No, I was never taken to dig trenches. I did not go
6 Q. You started to describe what you and the other detainees
7 saw as a problem developing. Can you explain very
8 briefly what the problem was and what you and others did
9 to solve the particular problem?
10 A. Right. That was a problem. We saw that certain
11 prisoners were finding themselves in a very difficult
12 situation, because they were completely exhausted, and
13 they risked being taken there to dig trenches again, so
14 we made an agreement and we established a delegation of
15 sorts. I was part of it and Pasa Mujanovic was part of
16 it, and Mirhat Hodzic, who used to be a mayor of Vitez
17 before he was replaced by Ivica Santic, so the three of
18 us were representatives of the prison Muslims and we
19 asked to see the camp commander, Marinko Placic, to
20 address him with respect to this problem, to explain the
21 situation, that there were people who were not able to
22 dig trenches and were taken there, and we had a very
23 specific proposal for him.
24 So we presented that problem and that proposal to
25 him, and we said that we would put together a list of
1 people who could go to dig trenches, and that the people
2 who were coming and asking for a certain number of
3 people to go and dig trenches, that we would provide a
4 list and that we would sort of arrange for them, so that
5 we would not have situations where somebody would be
6 overexposed to this and others would not, so we put
7 together a list of all people up to 50 years of age,
8 taking into account their health condition, and so we
9 selected a group. During this time that we were there,
10 Pasa Mujanovic was in charge of this, so in case this
11 demand was passed on to us, he would be the one who
12 would decide if he would assign people, and so if the
13 HVO soldiers came in and said, "We need ten", these
14 people would just respond themselves. This proposal was
15 accepted by the camp commander.
16 Q. Did you ever object to the use of civilians being used
17 to go out and dig trenches?
18 A. Yes, when we first went there, we told him that the
19 situation was very difficult, that people had a lot of
20 problems, that there were people who were at the end of
21 their strength, that he should not be doing that, that
22 there were sick people there, et cetera, but he said
23 "this is a job that has to be done", because he
24 received an order that he had to secure prisoners to go
25 and dig trenches, and that there is no discussion
1 possible there.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me for a moment, please. I was turning
3 to my colleague. I did not quite understand the
4 interpretation, whether the camp commander accepted that
5 suggestion or did not accept that suggestion.
6 MR. HARMON: Dr. Zeco, did the camp commander, after you made
7 your proposal, did he accept your proposal or did he
8 reject your proposal?
9 A. No, he accepted the proposal. This was solving the
10 problem of involvement of prisoners in trench digging,
11 but there was the order, it had to be done, that the
12 prisoners had to be taken to dig trenches and it was --
13 but it was up to us who would select the people, but we
14 had to obey the order, that is when the demands came, we
15 had to provide enough prisoners, so the order had to be
16 carried out.
17 Q. I take it, Dr. Zeco, that that is then how prisoners were
18 selected to go dig trenches after they were -- after
19 demands were made by the HVO?
20 A. I am sorry, I apologise, I did not understand the
21 question. Would you repeat it, please?
22 Q. The system that you recommended to the commander was
23 then followed for the remaining days while you and the
24 others were in captivity, is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Let me ask you, after prisoners had returned from the
2 trenches where they had been taken to dig, did you have
3 conversations with them about their experiences, where
4 they had been, what had happened to them? You can
5 answer that with a yes or no.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Dr. Zeco, did they tell you where they had been taken to
8 dig trenches? Can you identify the various locations?
9 A. Yes. They were taken -- I am going to go from one end
10 of the municipality. These were the border areas. This
11 was the area where the combat operations were taking
12 place, so this was the area of Kuber, Nadioci, Pirici,
13 area of Sivrino Selo, Krizancevo Selo, Tolovici,
14 Krcevine, Gornja Dubravica. For the most part that was
16 Q. What about Rijeka?
17 A. And Rijeka, yes.
18 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, with the assistance of the usher,
19 if I could have the photograph turned over, I would now
20 like to have the witness's attention directed to exhibit
21 29I, which is the large map.
22 Dr. Zeco, if you could kindly approach the map and
23 mark with a -- there should be a bright pink pen in
24 front of you -- could you mark the areas with that
25 bright pink pen -- Dr. Zeco, in front of you there is
1 a -- that is correct. Could you mark those areas with
2 the bright pink pen where prisoners had been taken to
3 dig trenches, starting with --
4 A. This is the area of Nadioci, here it is, Nadioci. This
5 is the area of Kuber, here it is, Kuber. (Indicates).
6 Q. Dr. Zeco, could you please put a mark, at least a longer
7 broader mark in the areas you are referring to, because
8 this is going to be used as an exhibit and we have to
9 see what you are marking. Would you identify by name
10 each of the areas that you are marking.
11 A. This is the area of Kuber; this is the border area with
12 the municipalities of Busovaca and Zenica, so these are
13 the territories of the other municipalities, Loncari,
14 and then this area that goes to the north, due north
15 towards Zenica and then Vrhovine, so these are the
16 areas. These are the farthest points of the Vitez
17 municipality. This is the area where they went to dig
18 trenches. (Indicates).
19 Q. Dr. Zeco, let me ask you --
20 A. This is Kuber. (Indicates).
21 Q. Let me ask you specifically, in your direct examination
22 you testified that the prisoners told you they went to
23 the area of Nadioci. Have you marked that area on the
25 A. Yes, this is the area of Nadioci. It is right here,
1 there it is. (Indicates).
2 Q. Dr. Zeco, you next mentioned the area of Kuber. Have you
3 put a mark in the area of Kuber?
4 A. Yes, here is Kuber. This is the area of Kuber. This is
5 north of Nadioci. (Indicates).
6 Q. You also mentioned the area of Pirici. Could you put a
7 mark in the area of Pirici?
8 A. Pirici.
9 Q. You mentioned the area of Krizancevo Selo. Could you
10 put a mark in the area of Krizancevo Selo?
11 A. (Witness marks map). Here is where Krizancevo Selo
12 should be. Hold on. That is that area.
13 Q. You mentioned the area of Krcevine. Could you put a
14 mark in the area of Krcevine?
15 A. Krcevine is this area. (Indicates).
16 Q. You mentioned Sivrino Selo. Could you mark that area?
17 A. Sivrino Selo.
18 Q. You mentioned Gornja Dubravica? Could you put a mark in
19 that location?
20 A. Gornja Dubravica.
21 Q. You mentioned the area of Tolovici?
22 A. Tolovici.
23 Q. And lastly you mentioned the area of Rijeka. Could you
24 put a mark in the area of Rijeka?
25 A. (Witness marks map).
1 Q. Thank you, Dr. Zeco. You can sit down now. Dr. Zeco,
2 those are at least the areas where the prisoners told
3 you they had been taken to dig trenches. That does not
4 necessarily represent the exact locations of the
5 trenches themselves, does it?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I would move that Prosecutor's
8 exhibit 29I be admitted into evidence at this time.
9 JUDGE JORDA: If there are no objections, that can be
10 admitted as evidence.
11 MR. HARMON: Now if I could have placed on the ELMO exhibit
12 29C. Dr. Zeco, would you take the pointer, please, and
13 with that pointer, would you please indicate the
14 locations of the following areas. Nadioci.
15 A. (Indicates).
16 Q. For your information, Doctor, the centre of the first
17 circle is the Hotel Vitez. Can you tell me, at least
18 looking at that exhibit, how many kilometres away from
19 the Hotel Vitez Nadioci is located?
20 A. Six to seven kilometres.
21 Q. Could I have that focused a little bit better? Thank
22 you very much. All right, Doctor, now the area of Kuber
23 which you also mentioned in your testimony. Where is
24 that? Could you put the pointer on Kuber?
25 A. (Indicates).
1 Q. How many kilometres is that from the Hotel Vitez,
2 according to that exhibit 29C?
3 A. Eight kilometres.
4 Q. Could you place the pointer next on Pirici?
5 A. (Indicates).
6 Q. How many kilometres is Pirici from the Hotel Vitez?
7 A. Five kilometres.
8 Q. Next could you put the pointer on Krizancevo Selo?
9 A. Sivrino Selo. (Indicates).
10 Q. How far away is Sivrino Selo?
11 A. Three kilometres, Sivrino Selo.
12 Q. And the area of Krizancevo Selo?
13 A. (Indicates).
14 Q. How far away is that?
15 A. Two kilometres.
16 Q. The area of Tolovici, how far away is that from the
17 Hotel Vitez?
18 A. (Indicates). Four kilometres.
19 Q. Next could you place the pointer on Gornja Dubravica?
20 A. (Indicates).
21 Q. How far away is that from the Hotel Vitez?
22 A. Three kilometres.
23 Q. Lastly, could you place the pointer on Rijeka?
24 A. (Indicates).
25 Q. According to that exhibit, how far away is Rijeka from
1 the Hotel Vitez?
2 A. Two kilometres.
3 Q. All right, thank you very much, Doctor.
4 Mr. Usher, I am finished with that exhibit, thank
5 you kindly.
6 Dr. Zeco, now let me turn your attention to --
7 actually, let me ask you one more question in respect of
8 the trench diggers. Were trench diggers from the
9 Dubravica school killed and wounded?
10 A. There were people who were killed and people who were
11 wounded. I am not sure, but I do know for sure that
12 some people were killed and that some people were
13 wounded. The wounded did not come to the school, they
14 were probably taken away for medical treatment
15 immediately. I do not know what they did with the
16 killed people, but I do know that some people were
17 killed and that other people were wounded.
18 Q. Dr. Zeco, let me turn to another subject and that is your
19 release from custody at the Dubravica school. Can you
20 explain what happened, how you were released and the
21 circumstances of your release?
22 A. We received information from the people who were
23 guarding us that we would be released, but before that
24 we were supposed to say whether any one of us wanted to
25 leave Vitez; if so, buses would be organised to take us
1 to Zenica, so that those who wished to go could go,
2 whereas those who wished to stay at their homes could
3 say so, could say that they wished to go home. But
4 before that, we were all supposed to go to the offices
5 that were prepared, there were two or three tables there
6 with people who were keeping records. There were some
7 women there too who were keeping these records, who had
8 these lists that were already made, and before that, we
9 were supposed to say for the record what we wished to
10 do, to declare whether we wished to leave or whether we
11 wished to stay. We were told to line up and to go, two
12 by two, to one of the tables. One group was supposed to
13 go to one of the table, the other group was supposed to
14 go to the other table and that is what we did.
15 I personally said that I would go home, and
16 I should particularly like to point out here that all
17 the young people who were sent out to dig trenches,
18 which was obvious, each and every one of them,
19 regardless of the commitments they had, the remaining
20 families they had at their homes, they all said
21 invariably that they would go to Zenica, while the older
22 people said, as I did, that they would go to their
23 homes, and that is what was done that day. We were told
24 that buses would come there to take us either to Zenica
25 or to Rijeka, and those who were in the immediate
1 vicinity of Dubravica, that is Novaci, Krizancevo Selo,
2 Stanice, they could go on foot by themselves, whereas
3 the people who lived in Rijeka and Vitez could wait for
4 the bus if they so wished.
5 Q. Dr. Zeco, were people who were being released given a
6 free choice to go either back home or to the area
7 outside of Vitez? Were there any suggestions made as to
8 which choice should be taken?
9 A. Personally, I was cautioned by a HVO soldier. He told
10 me personally, "it would be better for you, Doctor, to
11 leave Vitez". I knew him, and I understood that this
12 was a friendly caution, and that it was in my interests,
13 but I said, "no, I am going home".
14 Q. Dr. Zeco, did you ultimately arrive at your home on
15 30th April?
16 A. Yes. I was waiting for other people, because we wanted
17 to move in larger groups and I thought it would be best
18 to take the bus after all, so I was waiting for the bus
19 there on the side and there were HVO soldiers there and
20 they had beer, crates of beer, they were there right
21 next to us, they were already tipsy --
22 Q. Dr. Zeco, excuse me just a minute. Let me move past
23 that, because I want to move this testimony along a
24 bit. Let me ask you, after you arrived home, did
25 anything occur at your home the first night you were at
1 home, or did that night pass peacefully?
2 A. That night passed peacefully. I came home, and there
3 were no problems that night. I spent that night at
4 home. My neighbours came, Muslims, women, Muslim
5 women. Men did not come, because some of the detained
6 men did not come that evening from Dubravica, and I said
7 that we were all released and I said that we were given
8 a choice and that we could wait for the bus, and
9 probably there were special reasons involved, but at any
10 rate, I know the next day that each and every one of
11 them had left this camp which was at the Dubravica
12 school, so that evening, nothing special happened.
13 Q. Dr. Zeco, I am going to conclude my examination at this
14 point, and we will pick it up again with what occurred
15 to you on the second day.
16 Mr. President, if this is an appropriate time, we
17 are going to go into another area.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, this would be the proper time. I would
19 however remind you about what was said during the status
20 conference, which I do not want to repeat before this
21 witness, but you know what I am alluding to.
22 MR. HARMON: I do, your Honour.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Specifically in terms of your own list,
24 Mr. Harmon. I thank the witness and I appreciate his
25 patience and calmness in answering these long questions
1 which remind him of events which are very painful, but
2 I do permit myself to remind you of your own
3 commitments, Mr. Harmon, and if they cannot be honoured
4 then the Trial Chamber must take other arrangements.
5 The court stands adjourned and will resume at 2.30.
6 (1.00 pm)
7 (Adjourned until 2.30 pm)
1 (2.30 pm)
2 JUDGE JORDA: Let us have the accused brought in, please.
3 (Accused brought in)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, you have the floor.
5 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President, thank you,
6 your Honours.
7 Dr. Zeco, the second night after you were released
8 from the Dubravica school, can you tell me what HVO
9 soldiers did to you?
10 A. The second night, some time between 9.00 and 9.30, two
11 HVO soldiers came and they said that they had some
12 information that there was a radio in the house, and
13 I said, "no", and they said that they would search the
14 house for this transmitter, and they went all around the
15 house. They searched it for about 15 minutes and then
16 they left. Some time around 11.00, somebody was
17 knocking at the door again, and torch lights were turned
18 on. They asked us to open the door, my wife opened the
19 door and two HVO soldiers walked in with insignia on
20 their sleeves, but they had masks on their faces, like
21 stockings, you know, like hoods. They told me to get
22 ready, that I was supposed to go with them. They
23 handcuffed me, they handcuffed my hands behind my back,
24 and they took me away. There was another soldier
25 outside and they took me to a plateau above my house,
1 towards Kruscica. You could hear shooting up there.
2 On this plateau, a few houses were still under
3 construction, so we were walking between these houses,
4 about a kilometre, less than a kilometre away from this
5 plateau. In the meantime, they received a message that
6 they were supposed to stop. A soldier of theirs came to
7 speak to them, and then they told me to go back, so we
8 went back to a little cottage. I think that it was used
9 only for temporary housing while the big house was under
10 construction. They told me to go in.
11 When I walked in, what particularly struck me,
12 because I was looking all around, I was wondering where
13 I was and what would happen, first of all amazed when
14 I walked in because the walls in the room were all
15 bloody, spotted with blood. There were empty beer cans
16 strewn about, there was a table, a bed and two chairs.
17 When I walked in, one of them hit me immediately.
18 He said that I would remember them. He was cursing. In
19 the meantime, they told me to sit down. I sat down and
20 quickly they told me to get up again. Then he hit me
21 and he told me not to turn around. I turned around
22 mechanically and he hit me with his pistol. He told me
23 to lie down on the couch. He covered me with a cloth,
24 the cloth smelled, I must say. I know the smell of
25 blood from my profession, so the cloth smelled of
1 blood. So I lay on the couch and just above my head,
2 I felt a pistol shot.
3 I was wondering whether I was hit, and no, he had
4 just shot but he did not shoot at me. He told me if
5 I moved again, he would shoot me. While this was
6 happening, somebody knocked at the window. I heard
7 conversations, then they brought in my neighbour, Midhat
8 Hodzic. Midhat Hodzic was one of my closest neighbours
9 and at the same time, he was the President of the
10 municipality, before Ivica Santic became President of
11 the municipality as a HVO member. He was ill, he had a
12 cold, and he was hit. They hit him with their fists as
13 he was being brought in. They told us both to sit down
14 on those chairs and they gave us paper and they told us
15 to write, first of all to write down all our personal
16 data, and to put the date and the time and to make a
18 They asked us the same questions, and they were
19 masked all the time. In some situations, when they
20 would speak, they would even put handkerchiefs into
21 their mouths when they would speak. As we would often
22 go through Stari Vitez, they asked us to describe the
23 positions there to show where the machine-guns were and
24 were the soldiers were. I said I did not know and that
25 I did not go into all these military matters. They
1 asked me to say who the persons were who gave voluntary
2 contributions for getting weapons for the army of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I did not have any such data, so
4 I could not give it to them.
5 Whenever we replied, they would hit us, they would
6 hit me and my neighbour. They were not satisfied. In
7 certain situations, they asked us who were the persons
8 who were in command of certain units. Neither I nor
9 Midhat Hodzic could provide such purely military
10 information. After some time, I know it was 2.30 at the
11 end, they asked me how much money I had at home, and
12 I said that at home I did not have more than about 400
13 Deutschmarks, that would be all. Then they said, "we
14 will go there together, we will go down there
15 together". They took us out. They did not handcuff me
16 that time, but they did handcuff Midhat Hodzic. They
17 took us down and at one point, Midhat Hodzic fell, so
18 they took his handcuffs off too and we reached our
20 When we went into my home, I told my wife, "get
21 the Deutschmarks we have", and this money was in an
22 envelope. She got it, she gave it to them, and they
23 told us that we should bear the following in mind, that
24 until 5.00 pm the next day, we should not be there, that
25 we have to leave the house, we have to leave our own
1 home by 5.00 pm the next day. Of course, we could not
2 get any rest or any sleep that night, we were worried.
3 The next morning, my daughter came with her
4 children, she lived in the centre of the town. She came
5 and I told her to go to the police station immediately,
6 to notify the police and to ask the police to come, and
7 that I was seeking police intervention, that I wanted
8 them to make an inquiry.
9 Q. Dr. Zeco, did the HVO police come in response to your
10 daughter's request?
11 A. The police came from the police station, two policemen
12 came and they asked me to tell them what had happened.
13 I told them all of it and I insisted that they tell me
14 whether I should remain at home and if I stayed on,
15 whether I would have any kind of protection. They said
16 that they were police of the civilian authorities, and
17 that this was the army, so I asked them to go to
18 Sumarija, across the street from the veterinary station,
19 where the local headquarters of the HVO was, to go to
20 their command to tell them about this and to ask them
21 whether my wife and I would be protected if we stayed at
22 home. They said that they would do this and that
23 I should stay, but as I watched them go away through the
24 window, they did not walk towards Sumarija, towards the
25 HVO headquarters, they went to town, to the centre of
1 town and I realised that this request of mine for
2 protection would not be met, and I was worried, so that
3 was about it.
4 Also, at one point in time, a friend of ours came
5 by car, a Croat. He said that he had heard that I was
6 released from the camp, and he wanted to come and say
7 hello to me. This was the brother of Ivica Santic, who
8 was head of the Vitez municipality. He came to our home
9 and when he heard what happened, he said that we, my
10 wife and I, should come with him to his house, that we
11 would be under his protection, and he said that if that
12 is what they told me, that I should not stay at my own
13 home; it would be better for me to do that, to move to
14 his house, because his family had already gone to
15 Zagreb. We tried to get some things, but he said, "no,
16 do not take anything with you, we will come back
17 tomorrow and we will get some of your things". We moved
18 to his house.
19 The next day, with my wife, they took the car and
20 went to our house. They came back shortly after that,
21 because they could not do a thing, they were not
23 Q. What did they tell you happened at your house the
24 following day?
25 A. Yes. They came and told us that somebody had already
1 moved into our house, that Croats had already moved into
2 our house that evening, and the people who moved in told
3 my wife something strange, they said, "do not come in,
4 do not rob us". She said, "how can I rob my own
5 things?" This friend of ours intervened, so my wife
6 walked in and she took a minimum of linen and things.
7 In the meantime, she went to Sumarija. Soldiers
8 came shortly after that, and they drove them away. My
9 wife and this friend of ours, they were in front of the
10 house, and this friend of ours says "nothing doing, we
11 should better leave".
12 Q. So after HVO soldiers came to the house, you were
13 informed that your wife and this gentleman then left the
14 house and returned to Mr. Santic's house, correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Let me ask one clarifying question about what you have
17 previously testified about. When you were interrogated
18 in this small room the night before, you said there was
19 a man by the name of Midhat Hodzic also interrogated.
20 Was he a Muslim?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. After you returned to Zvonko Santic's house, tell
23 me what your next contact was with the HVO.
24 A. We were there together the next evening too, and the
25 next day, the third day -- the first evening was the day
1 we came, the next day was the day my wife went back to
2 our home, and the third day we were staying there,
3 Zvonko Santic came in the morning and he said, "I have
4 to go, you can use my apartment. Obviously somebody
5 does not like the fact that I have helped you". He said
6 that he had to go to the front-line. We stayed in that
7 house, we stayed on, and six or seven days later,
8 military policemen came with military police badges and
9 insignia and they told me to get ready and that I was
10 supposed to go with them. I left, my wife stayed behind
11 in the house. They took me away, they took me to the
13 Q. What hotel was that?
14 A. The Vitez hotel. I did not understand what you asked.
15 Q. What was the name of the hotel that they took you to?
16 A. The Vitez hotel, the hotel in Vitez run by the Kruscica
17 catering establishment.
18 Q. What happened there?
19 A. They took me into the hotel by the cafe restaurant.
20 I know the hotel; I know the layout. They took me to a
21 room near the cafe restaurant. An unknown person
22 wearing a uniform was in there. I walked in, because
23 I was brought in by one of the policemen, and I was
24 there for about 10 or 15 minutes. Nobody asked me
25 anything. They asked me what kind of military plans
1 were found in my house, and I said that I had no
2 military plans. If I did have any plans, I only had
3 plans for protecting the civilian population,
4 particularly a programme of civilian protection, because
5 it was my task -- actually, I was, at my own initiative,
6 entrusted with this task of protecting the Muslim
7 population if the HVO attacked. I said that I was
8 exclusively involved in the protection of the civilian
9 population, if there were to be an attack or war
11 Five or six minutes went by without any questions
12 being put, and finally he called a policeman and told
13 him to take me to the police station. I was taken to
14 the police station. They took me to an office there,
15 where they asked me about these plans of mine, and
16 I assured them that the plans they had that they got
17 when they took my car were only related to the
18 protection of the population, how to take care of women
19 and children and protect property, so it was protection,
20 protection for that category of the population.
21 After this interrogation, they put me into
22 solitary confinement for 48 hours. After 48 hours, they
23 took me out and they took me again with an escort to the
24 house of Zvonko Santic. I was reunited with my wife
25 there. They told me that I was in custody, that
1 I should not leave the house at any cost. Afterwards,
2 with my wife, I wondered what to do, and I told her to
3 try to get in touch with Dr. Mujezinovic, so that we
4 could see what the possibilities were. I had heart
5 trouble anyway. I am a heart patient, and I was
6 wondering what the possibilities were for my leaving
7 Vitez, because I realised that I had to do something on
8 my own, because no help was coming. So we agreed that
9 my wife should go to the health clinic and that she
10 should say that I had a heart attack, to pretend that
11 I had a heart attack, so that is what we did.
12 She went to the health clinic, she pretended that
13 I had had a heart attack. He sent an ambulance to my
14 home in the morning, this was on 13th May, he sent an
15 ambulance, the ambulance came, we got into the
16 ambulance, and we went through villages and across the
17 hills to Travnik, and the ambulance took me directly to
18 the hospital in Travnik. When I came to the hospital
19 there, I explained to them that I was not a patient,
20 that I had to do something like that. I knew most of
21 the doctors there, and that is what I knew from Vitez,
22 from this fateful 16th April until 13th May, that is the
23 time I spent in Vitez.
24 Q. Have you ever recovered your house? Have you ever moved
25 back to your house, Dr. Zeco? Yes or no?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Is it still occupied by Croats?
3 A. Fifteen days ago I received information from friends,
4 Croats, that the family that was in my house during the
5 war moved out, and that they went to America; that
6 before they left they sold everything and that they even
7 sold a concession to the person who moved into my
8 house. Now, on 13th of this month, my wife and I went
9 to Sumarija, that is to say the forest station, we went
10 there to vote. We performed our duty. My wife was very
11 shaken, because she could only look at her own house
12 furtively, because it was only about 100 or 150 metres
13 away. Until then, she had no opportunity of being close
14 to our home. When the war operations stopped, I went by
15 the house often, but I never went in.
16 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I would move to introduce
17 Prosecutor's exhibit 103 into evidence.
18 MR. HAYMAN: Is that the aerial, may I enquire?
19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman?
20 MR. HARMON: That is the large aerial image, your Honour.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, I do not have any interpretation
22 yet. I did not have the interpretation for the last
24 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, that is the large aerial image
25 that has been referred to by the witness. It has six
1 numbered arrows on it.
2 JUDGE JORDA: No objection?
3 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, although they do not involve
4 matters of great factual import, as a matter of
5 principle the Defence objects to pre-marked exhibits
6 where both the location and a legend is provided to the
7 witness. We think this type of information will be more
8 reliably obtained if the witness, him or herself,
9 actually identifies the locations. Indeed, this witness
10 confused two of the pre-marks, labelled with legend
11 locations, during his testimony, so as a matter of
12 principle, we make that objection.
13 JUDGE JORDA: It seems to me that the witness went over to
14 the map this morning and yes, the places are identified
15 already, but seemingly he recognised them, he confirmed
16 it. It is in the transcript, at least that is what
17 I think, Mr. Hayman.
18 MR. HAYMAN: It is a form of leading the witness. One could
19 do all the work, all the markings for a witness, label
20 them and have them confirm them. We just think more
21 reliable testimony will be extracted if the witnesses
22 themselves actually indicate what a location is, what it
23 means and so forth. As I said, these factual matters,
24 this is not of great import, but as a matter of
25 principle we make the point.
1 JUDGE JORDA: It is not really very important, Mr. Hayman.
2 The witness approached the mark, the map was
3 pre-identified which saved us some time, which is a
4 constant concern of the Tribunal. The witness very
5 clearly identified the labels that were there. I do not
6 think we are going to ask the witness to go to the map
7 and identify them. The Tribunal considers it is
8 perfectly well informed about what the witness did. The
9 Tribunal overrules this objection.
10 Have you any other questions, Mr. Harmon?
11 MR. HARMON: No, I do not. I would just like to make the
12 record perfectly clear, however, your Honour. The
13 reason this particular exhibit was pre-marked was because
14 an order that had been placed by the Prosecutor's office
15 for copies of that particular map did not arrive in
16 time, and in order to resolve the issue, that particular
17 photograph cannot be marked, so it was pre-marked because
18 we did not have a copy that the witness could approach
19 and put circles on the particular houses. That is the
20 reason why we pre-marked this particular exhibit.
21 JUDGE JORDA: I think the Tribunal has already settled this
22 issue. This is the end of the examination. Who is
23 going to be the cross-examination, Mr. Nobilo or
24 Mr. Hayman? Mr. Nobilo, you can begin your
25 cross-examination. Mr. Harmon, do you have another
1 objection? I say very clearly that the procedure must
2 be carried out within a certain amount of time and we
3 will be careful to ensure that that is done. Anything
4 which is delaying will be noted. Have you finished your
5 examination, Mr. Harmon?
6 MR. HARMON: I have no additional questions. I wanted to
7 thank the witness for his direct examination,
8 Mr. President.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Fine, Mr. Nobilo, you can begin the
11 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO
12 Q. Mr. President, Mr. Zeco, good afternoon, I am Anto Nobilo
13 and I defend Mr. Tihomir Blaskic.
14 A. Thank you.
15 Q. On several occasions, you mentioned the HVO; do you make
16 a distinction between the HVO as a military structure
17 and the civilian authority?
18 A. As far as the military aspect is concerned, there is a
19 difference, and I do distinguish between the purely
20 operative units of the HVO and throughout my contacts
21 with them, the HVO were very closely linked to certain
22 persons who were active in the civilian authority, so
23 those were specific persons, but it was all under one
24 name, the HVO, because the civilian authorities also
25 bore the name the HVO, so I think it was a complex
1 organisation that combined the two and that was how
2 I proceeded.
3 Q. Was the HVO government of which Ivica Santic was the
4 President military or civilian?
5 A. That was the civilian.
6 Q. Ivica Santic, was he a civilian official or a military
8 A. The civilian.
9 Q. When you say that the HVO took over the power in the
10 municipality, are you also saying that the HVO as a
11 whole took over?
12 A. The HVO as a civilian authority, the HVO government
13 which had the power in Vitez municipality, which
14 organised and lead the civilian structures was also
15 always in touch with the military structures.
16 Q. You said that there were problems at control
17 checkpoints, and that tensions were growing between the
18 Muslims and the Croats and that because of that, a
19 co-ordinating body was established, a Muslim
20 co-ordinating body.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Could you tell us, what incidents do you remember
23 between the Muslims and the Croats which then led to the
24 establishment of this?
25 A. I can tell you what --
1 Q. We are talking about the first half of 1992.
2 A. As a veterinarian, I moved around in my vehicle, and
3 already in some villages there were points established
4 for control, and I was stopped by the HVO soldiers and
5 they asked me to stop, and they searched my car. They
6 all knew me, they knew that I was going to carry out my
7 duties to the Croats and so the Serbs and to everybody,
8 but they asked me about weapons. I told them
9 immediately that I had no weapons, that I was not
10 involved in the military matters, but that I was only
11 carrying out my duties and doing my job. I experienced
12 those things.
13 At that time, I also had a technician of mine and
14 there was also a colleague of mine who came to help out
15 from Travnik, and they also experienced similar things.
16 Q. So those were the reasons?
17 A. That was one of the reasons.
18 Q. Right. So that was one of the reasons, for protection
19 of -- before we continue on with the questions regarding
20 the Co-ordinating Body, while we are still at the
21 checkpoints, is it true that in February 1993 in Jardol,
22 during the search of your official vehicle which you
23 used for your official use, a large amount of ammunition
24 was discovered which was intended to the BH army units
25 in Jardol, is that correct?
1 A. I did hear the question, yes. No, it is not true.
2 I know with whom this was discovered. I did not do
3 those things and that information is not correct.
4 Q. And with whom was it discovered?
5 A. It was discovered with the veterinary technician. He
6 was a member of the BH army.
7 Q. Was that your vehicle?
8 A. No, this was a vehicle of this technician who was the
9 member of the army, and as I said, I never involved
10 myself in that kind of work, and in any kind of
11 activities relating to this situation.
12 Q. Did you see what was discovered in that vehicle?
13 A. No. I know exactly what you are talking about. I was
14 informed of that.
15 Q. Let us go back to this Co-ordinating Body for Protection
16 of Muslims. You said that your role, your duties would
17 involve agriculture and the livestock industry. Was it
18 true that Mahmutovic Saban was in charge of the police
19 and so on and so forth, not to go down the entire list?
20 Can you tell us whether this Co-ordinating Body had
21 certain characteristics of a government with different
22 kinds of duties?
23 A. During the time when this co-ordinating board was
24 active, I can tell you, and I take responsibility for
25 this, there was no individual on that board having any
1 ambition to create a government. This was just a desire
2 to use people and their particular expertise to approach
3 the authorities and to be part of resolving all problems
4 that arose, so this was an initiative of the political
5 structures that were active in that area, so that was
6 the Party of Democratic Action, that was the political
7 party of -- and then there was the HDZ party, so that
8 was the goal. The goal was to put ourselves at disposal
9 as an informal group.
10 I personally was in contact very often with Ivica
11 Santic, and I asked, simply asked, as somebody who was a
12 friend, somebody who worked together with him, "do we
13 really need somebody outside to resolve our problems?",
14 so those were elements that all contributed to create
15 this situation for this co-ordinating board. That is my
16 view at least, and this is my reasoning.
17 Q. You said that the official authority was suspended, the
18 one that won the election. Who suspended it?
19 A. It was suspended in the way that the municipal bodies
20 appeared with new organisation and this was the Croatian
21 Community of Herceg-Bosna. In the preamble of all the
22 documents, in addition to the Executive Board and other
23 bodies, there had to be this preamble containing the
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, which was not a
25 legal authority, especially since they asked of all
1 people who had jobs in town to sign off a pledge of
2 loyalty to the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. So
3 all appointments or all the municipal -- in the
4 municipal bodies, so all officials had to sign off on
5 this, or else they would not be allowed to work.
6 Shortly thereafter, the soldiers moved into the
7 municipal building, and after that, it was suspended.
8 Q. In the middle of 1992, was there not a Crisis Staff
9 which was active?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What was the division or distribution of power among
13 A. At that time, all problems were being solved by the
14 Crisis Staff. However, it is a fact that throughout
15 this period these problems were not resolved. In fact,
16 the problems piled up and they became bigger and bigger.
17 Q. And then as a result of all this?
18 A. This Co-ordinating Body was established for protection
19 of Muslims.
20 Q. We will move away from this topic. Kalco Nusret, was he
21 in charge of the agriculture?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Just so that we go quickly. Salihbasic Hasan for
24 finances? For education, Kadir Djidic? For social
25 questions, Kadir? Viteskic Suljo -- Salkic Suad for
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. For health, Mujezinovic, and for logistics Ahmic Cazim?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. These were the members of the Co-ordinating Body for the
6 Protection of Muslims?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Tell me, if you were to adopt any decision in any field,
9 let us say in the police, how would that be implemented?
10 A. That decision would have to be implemented in contact
11 with the representatives of the government of the HVO.
12 Q. In other words, the decision would be done in accordance
13 with the Croatian authorities?
14 A. Yes, and if it were only the Muslims, it was asked
15 expressly we should keep with Croats and this was asked
16 of all of us; in other words, to reach agreements and
17 keep contacts with the Croats.
18 Q. We were just informed to try to speak a bit more
20 Can we then conclude that there were two
21 authorities, one Croatian, one Muslim, which tried to
22 co-operate and to keep the contact going?
23 A. I can guarantee that there were not. The co-ordinating
24 board was never active and was never presenting itself
25 as an authority, body of authority.
1 Q. What was the War Presidency and who establishes it?
2 A. The War Presidency was established pursuant to the law,
3 and it was by recommendation of the republic and the
4 state authorities. I do not know exactly what law this
5 was. I do not know the name of this law, and it was
6 pursuant to this law that the War Presidency was
7 established. It had power of law.
8 Q. But who appoints the War Presidency?
9 A. The Municipal Assembly establishes it, the
10 representatives of the assembly. The official
11 representatives of the Parliament. In fact, they
12 appointed the War Presidency. At the time they were
13 called "the delegates", the delegates of the
14 municipality, and in this particular case, they were the
15 Muslim delegates that were in the Municipal Assembly,
16 they appointed the War Presidency.
17 Q. If I understood you correctly, correct me if I am wrong,
18 the Muslims were meeting separately and they appointed a
19 War Presidency?
20 A. They made the appointment of the members of the War
22 Q. Tell me now, when the War Presidency was appointed, was
23 that an authority?
24 A. That was supposed to be the organ of government for this
25 area, where Muslims were supposed to be represented
1 officially. The other authorities were suspended, they
2 were not operating, they were not there, they did not
3 have access at a given point in time, and that is why
4 these representatives of the Muslim population were
5 appointed, because in this way there was one side and
6 another side.
7 Q. So now we can conclude that there are two organs of
8 government, the Muslim Bosnian on the one hand and the
9 Croat on the other hand.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. In the same area?
12 A. Yes, in the same area.
13 Q. Now, the War Presidency. Is it the political leadership
14 of the army and the police in the municipality of
15 Vitez? Is it superior to them?
16 A. The War Presidency, as you said a few minutes ago, was
17 established as yet another body which is supposed to
18 represent the authorities in that area. However, this
19 political body, this authority that was created through
20 this political action, even when they reached certain
21 decisions, it made every effort to have all these
22 decisions that were reached by this organ accorded with
23 the HVO government, and they were there at the same time
24 when the War Presidency was. They tried to work things
25 out together, they tried to reach agreement on all the
1 problems that would crop up and in view of every
2 situation. So that is how they operated, at least I ,
3 when I was entrusted with certain tasks, I would meet
4 with the representatives of the Croats, we would work
5 together, and we would pass joint decisions and as such,
6 they were carried out in practice.
7 Q. But you did not answer my question, whether the War
8 Presidency had political leadership, and whether it was
9 in charge of the police, or the Territorial Defence,
10 I mean the Muslim part of the police?
11 A. No. At that time, when the War Presidency was
12 established, there was not a Muslim police, only Saban
13 Mahmutovic was appointed, who represented it and in the
14 police and the police station, he was together with the
15 Croats I do not know, but I think that when the police
16 were disarmed, when the Muslims and the police were
17 disarmed and when they had to leave the service, later,
18 after this political debate and discussions, it was
19 decided that the Croats would provide the chief of
20 police -- that was Mirko Samija -- and that the Muslims
21 would provide a commander for the police, that was Saban
23 So the objective was for them to co-operate, to
24 work together. We, the Presidency, were ordered not to
25 get into any kind of conflict with the Croats, not at
1 any cost, and to try to work things out with them and to
2 reach common agreement.
3 Q. Now that we are talking about the head of police, you
4 mentioned Mirko Samija; he was your friend, a Croat?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tell me, when was he appointed, can you remember, 1992
7 or the beginning of 1993?
8 A. He was appointed in 1992.
9 Q. Do you know when?
10 A. Approximately in the second half.
11 Q. Of 1992?
12 A. Yes, of 1992.
13 Q. How long did he hold this post?
14 A. He stayed on after 16th April, after 13th May, rather,
15 when I left the area.
16 Q. Can you remember who was the head of police before him?
17 A. I can remember, it was Skopljak, Pero Skopljak.
18 Q. When did he stop being head of police?
19 A. Probably when this other man took over.
20 Q. You told us in different ways that you were a member of
21 the headquarters for civilian protection, or commander.
22 Could you clarify this and could you explain if you
23 became commander, when you became commander, et cetera?
24 A. Yes, I can do that. I can give you the exact date, too.
25 Q. Fine.
1 A. I can tell you that I became a member of the civilian
2 protection staff of the municipality of Vitez ever since
3 I came to Vitez, yes. When certain problems already
4 appeared in 1992, in the second half of 1992, then we
5 met the municipal headquarters, the municipal staff
6 where we still worked together within this joint staff,
7 we worked together as the official staff for civilian
8 protection, with all the necessary measures taken within
9 the staff. It was agreed that that a more operative
10 civilian protection staff should be appointed, which
11 should be -- which should have both a military option
12 and a civilian structure involved, so the HVO government
13 appointed for military matters Marko Krezic was there on
14 behalf of the Croats and Rudo Strbac, that is for the
15 civilian structures.
16 For the Muslims, I do not like to divide us into
17 different sides, but I was there, I was appointed by the
18 civilian structures and Sulejman Kalco was appointed on
19 behalf of the military structures, the BH army, so that
20 was this joint staff of civilian protection, which we
21 needed at any rate, but from an operative point of view,
22 it never came into being. If I understood you
23 correctly, that is this activity of mine as a member of
24 the staff, and on 14th January 1993, I was appointed by
25 the War Presidency, and at a meeting of the War
1 Presidency, as head of the Municipal Staff for Civilian
2 Protection. This was also the decree of the Minister of
3 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. Tell me, the Municipal Staff for Civilian Protection.
5 You told me you were appointed at a meeting of the War
6 Presidency. Did it fit into another structure, a
7 military structure? Who was your immediate superior?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Could you explain this organisation to us a bit?
10 A. The Municipal Staff for Civilian Protection exclusively
11 functioned as a structure of representatives of civilian
12 authorities, according to the Geneva Conventions, it was
13 supposed to discharge its duties and responsibilities.
14 I can tell you that immediately after the war operations
15 I was under certain pressure from the army of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I would not allow any kind of abuse
17 of members of the civilian protection. Civilian
18 protection should not be used for military purposes and
19 I insisted on that. We were so busy, and the total
20 civilian protection was supposed to be involved, because
21 we had all these people who were physically in poor
22 health and we had so many problems after the war
23 operations, given the current situation, in some
24 situations it was a very unfavourable thing belonging to
25 the civilian protection in those times. That is how it
2 Q. Thank you. Tell me, October 1992, there was that
3 conflict in Travnik and this heightened tension in Vitez
4 too; you were then a member of the Co-ordinating
5 Committee for the Protection of the Muslims. Can you
6 tell me how the HVO army was stopped in Ahmici?
7 A. Could you please repeat your question?
8 Q. I will repeat it. In October 1992, there were certain
9 tensions when the Territorial Defence near the village
10 of Ahmici put up roadblocks and stopped HVO units that
11 were passing by there. You were then a member of the
12 co-ordinating committee for the protection of Muslims,
13 so I am asking you, what do you know about those events?
14 A. I know that at that time a roadblock was put up and HVO
15 units went that way. The roadblock prevented them from
16 passing there, these units of the HVO. I know that,
17 because immediately after this conflict broke out,
18 because there was certain damage caused and also there
19 were victims. Once this communication was
20 re-established -- I cannot really say anything specific
21 in terms of when this broke out. I came there when it
22 was already all finished. My duty was to take care of
23 things, and to do whatever I could in order to handle
24 the situation and to alleviate all the damage that was
25 done. That is what I was supposed to do and that is
1 what I can tell this distinguished court.
2 We even met with the understanding of the Croats
3 because we managed to collect funds, that was one of my
4 tasks, to collect material and financial funds, and to
5 compensate all of those who had suffered damage. These
6 were 27 establishments altogether. Impregnacija was
7 affected, Vetrenice was affected, all these different
8 companies that were in that area. That was my concern
9 and that is where I was involved.
10 Q. But do you know, perhaps, as a member of the
11 co-ordinating committee, why the roadblock was set up
13 A. No.
14 Q. You talked about some persons of Croatian nationality
15 appearing on television. Can you tell me the following:
16 when you told us that Tihomir Blaskic spoke, how the
17 historic right of the Croats would be materialised, if
18 necessary even by military means, can you tell me when
19 this was said?
20 A. Let me tell you, I saw Mr. Tihomir Blaskic so many times
21 on television that it is very difficult for me to tell
22 you when this happened.
23 Q. Can you recall who he was sitting with when this was
24 allegedly said?
25 A. I could only be involved in guesswork.
1 Q. Can you remember the context, whether he was saying this
2 in the context of the conflict with the Serbs or the
3 conflict with the Muslims? Can you remember that?
4 A. I think that it is possible, because Mr. Tihomir Blaskic
5 spoke as the commander of the HVO during the time of the
6 conflict with the JNA, the Yugoslav army too. That is
7 the only thing I can say. I can only say that
8 Mr. Tihomir Blaskic, in a certain way, asked for the
9 Croat population, for the Croats to become militarily
10 able, to be trained.
11 Q. Can you tell me what was your impression of
12 Tihomir Blaskic from his appearances on television; as a
13 Croatian extremist or as a moderate soldier, now in the
14 final analysis?
15 A. First of all, as a soldier.
16 Q. Tell me, do you remember the Novi Travnik Radio? Did
17 the Bosniaks have radio stations like Novi Travnik
18 Radio, Radio 325 Vitez?
19 A. I never listened to Radio Novi Travnik. Radio Vitez,
20 yes, 325. Personally, personally, on one occasion
21 I spoke on Radio Vitez, in the capacity of the commander
22 of the Municipal Staff for Civilian Protection.
23 I informed the Municipal Staff for Civilian Protection
24 in Vitez that in the case of fighting, direct conflicts,
25 that they should become involved in protecting the
1 overall civilian population and all material goods, and
2 that we would function together and carry out our
3 duties. That was what I spoke of on radio in my
4 civilian protection capacity.
5 Q. Let us go back to television, we are still talking about
6 radio and television. Can you remember when you were
7 speaking about the HOS being absorbed by the HVO; did
8 you see this personally or did somebody tell you about
10 A. I personally saw a TV programme showing that the HOS
11 joined the HVO.
12 Q. During your direct examination, in response to the
13 Prosecutor's questions, you said that on the morning of
14 the 16th you were surprised by the attack. So, my
15 question is: did you expect an attack on the 16th, or
16 were you really surprised?
17 A. I can present a fact to you in order to corroborate what
18 I said, and that is that I was surprised. The fact is
19 that in my car plans were found for protecting the
20 Muslim population. On 15th April, I had a meeting, as
21 the Chairman of the Commission for Spring Sowing and
22 Planting, Chairman of the Joint Commission, that is what
23 I was. It consisted of Croats and Muslims. So we were
24 supposed to constitute this commission, and we were
25 supposed to represent it before the Chamber of Commerce,
1 and that day we had a meeting at 12.00 in the municipal
2 building in Vitez.
3 The meeting was over some time at about 2.00, and
4 I went back to a meeting of the War Presidency, which
5 was nearing its end. I asked, towards the end of the
6 meeting, I put an ultimatum to them; I said that a
7 meeting of the War Presidency should be held the next
8 day with only one item on the agenda, and that is the
9 elaboration of a plan for protecting the Muslim people
10 in case of a HVO attack. That evening I was making a
11 draft for this, and those are the papers that were found
12 in my car after I was detained and after they took away
13 my car. Those are the papers, these unfortunate plans
14 of mine that were found.
15 Q. Can I just ask you the following: at the meeting of the
16 Presidency, you did not expect an attack on the 16th?
17 A. No, no attack. There was not a hint of that.
18 Q. So at the meeting of the Presidency, did you get an
19 ultimatum from the HVO or the Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna, saying that, "if you do not do such and
21 such things by 15th April, we will do the following on
22 the 16th"?
23 A. I do not know anything about that.
24 Q. But you were a member of the Presidency, you would have
25 to know that, had it occurred?
1 A. I do not know.
2 Q. Thank you. Please tell me, how often did your wife
3 bring food to you during your detention? Was that every
5 A. Let me tell you, while I was in the vet station there
6 was absolutely no problem for my wife to come there.
7 She would come to the station, but I was not -- I did
8 not have much of an appetite, I would take just a
9 mouthful or two, but there were others who were hungry,
10 so my wife brought food for those in need, not only my
11 wife but other women came too. So in the vet station,
12 as regards food for those three or four days, there was
13 no problem.
14 Q. Thank you. Can you say which buildings in Vitez were
15 public buildings, I mean major buildings? What I mean
16 by that is that were owned by the municipality. I do
17 not mean residential buildings.
18 A. Yes, I know. Many of these public buildings, that is
19 public premises, were in residential buildings, but if
20 you look at the entire structure, first of all it was
21 the municipal building. Then next to it was the
22 police. First it was called SUP, then the MUP
23 building. Then it was the secondary school for craft,
24 and then it was the post office.
25 Q. Was the cinema also municipal?
1 A. Yes, the cinema and cultural centre.
2 Q. What about the vet station?
3 A. Yes, the veterinary station as well.
4 Q. What about the school in Dubravica?
5 A. Yes, also.
6 Q. Thank you. Please tell me, what unit -- which unit
7 members took your car away from you with that plan?
8 A. I personally know that in the forestry station building,
9 which was also a public building, there was the Rijeka
10 HVO headquarters, and Karlo Dragavic was the commander,
11 he was the commander of the HVO there. The Vitezovi,
12 the Knights, the unit of Darko Kraljevic was stationed
14 Q. Do you know the person, to which unit did the person who
15 took the car away from you belong?
16 A. I do not. I did not know of who belonged to which HVO
18 Q. Zeljko Matkovic who, as you said, was some kind of a
19 commander, to which unit did he belong in the HVO?
20 A. I do not know that.
21 Q. Those who broke your nose, do you know to which unit
22 they belonged?
23 A. They were in uniforms and they had the HVO insignia. It
24 is possible -- I know one last name of this one soldier
25 who broke my nose, I know that his name was Grbavac.
1 I later obtained this information and I know that he was
3 Q. Do you know to which unit he belonged?
4 A. I do not know to which HVO unit he belonged.
5 Q. When you came to Samija, you met him at the entrance of
6 the station; what exactly did you tell him, who did you
7 tell him had hit you?
8 A. I told him I was hit by the HVO soldiers.
9 Q. Then Samija comes back and comes to you to apologise to
10 you; can you tell us exactly what he told you?
11 A. I can, yes. He escorted me to the clinic and before we
12 went there, he went there in my vehicle, before we left,
13 he ordered -- I know those members of the police, one of
14 them is called Ramljak, and he gave the order expressly
15 to him, to go down there to that spot and to check out
16 the situation and then we went to the clinic and
17 I received medical care there, and then I went home and
18 Mirko Samija told me, "very well, go to Travnik tomorrow
19 by all means, and bring an objective medical finding".
20 He also asked me whether I needed transportation to
21 Travnik. I told him that I would do it tomorrow, and
22 then I went home.
23 After about half an hour, Mirko Samija came with
24 those two policemen and he said, with apologies, that at
25 that time he could not do anything, that the situation
1 was difficult, that there were certain reasons, it was
2 not advisable. And then he asked me to go tomorrow to
3 take a X-ray, and then to bring in the results of this
5 Q. In your direct examination to the Prosecutor, you said
6 that the reason for his not doing anything was because
7 there were soldiers and he was a civilian policeman and
8 now you say something different. What was the reason he
9 said that he could not intervene there?
10 A. He said that he was the police, and they were the
11 military, that there were specific threats against him
12 doing an investigation, that he had different ways of
13 obtaining the final results, and that I should not do
14 anything at that time and I should leave it be.
15 Q. So what was the main reason, because it was the military
16 or ...
17 A. He never explained it to me until the end and I never
18 asked him to. He just let me know and he asked me to
19 let it be that way, and later on he would handle the
20 whole situation.
21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I would like to present a
22 document, but if you think that this would be a good
23 time to break?
24 JUDGE JORDA: No, I think that we should really take our
25 break around 4.15 or 4.20. I think we still have some
2 MR. NOBILO: Mr. Zeco, have you given any statements to anyone
3 before today in connection with all the events during
4 the war that you related?
5 A. Yes, I gave a statement in the MUP, in the Zenica
6 municipality. I gave a statement there when I was
8 Q. Did you give a statement to the investigators of
9 The Hague Tribunal?
10 A. Yes, that is the one.
11 Q. Was that one statement? Did you give two statements?
12 A. On two occasions, I gave two statements.
13 Q. On both occasions they were the statements to the
14 investigators of The Hague Tribunal?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you give any statements to any security authorities
17 in the BH?
18 A. No, never. I said that I gave this statement in the MUP
19 building, but it was the investigators of the Tribunal
20 that I gave the statement to.
21 Q. Who informed you of this?
22 A. They came in person and they told me to go there at such
23 and such an hour and that the representatives of the
24 Tribunal were there and they would wait for me and
25 I would give this statement.
1 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, may we have the usher -- we would
2 first like to read to you a record of the statement you
3 gave. I would like to read it in English --
4 JUDGE JORDA: What statement is that, please?
5 MR. NOBILO: This is Mr. Zeco Fuad's statement which he gave
6 to the representatives of the Prosecutor of The Hague
7 Tribunal on 14th July 1995. We received this statement
8 from the Office of the Prosecutor. I will attempt to
9 read in English.
10 MR. HARMON: Counsel, before reading, if you could just
11 direct me to the page?
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon?
13 MR. HARMON: I have a copy of that statement and if counsel
14 could direct me to the page he is reading from, it would
15 assist me in following.
16 MR. HAYMAN: I have a highlighting copy, your Honour. I can
17 provide that. (Handed).
18 MR. HARMON: Thank you.
19 MR. NOBILO: This is on page 5, the fourth paragraph from the
20 top, and it is highlighted in yellow and I read:
21 "After being beaten by the Darko's soldiers, I was
22 taken to hospital by a man called Samija Mirko, the
23 chief of the police. He come back to see me and excused
24 himself that he could not do anything at this moment
25 because Darko's soldiers, who were in a cafe in Vitez
1 together with Darko, were too dangerous."
2 That is the end of the quote. Were those the
3 words that you used in describing why Mirko Samija could
4 not intervene when you spoke to the investigators of the
6 A. At that time, I do not deny that I said it was Darko's
7 soldiers, because I considered those soldiers to be the
8 HVO soldiers, and they were dangerous, those who did
9 such things, and I thought they were Darko's soldiers.
10 Q. So you confirm what you said in 1995 to the
11 investigators is correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. I would like to read on page 6, for the Prosecutor also
14 highlighted with yellow marker, the following text:
15 "On 19th April 1993, soldiers of Kraljevic came to
16 me and told me they wanted my car and I had to hand them
17 the keys."
18 Is that what you stated to the investigators in
19 1995, that Darko's soldiers took the car away from you?
20 A. I did not distinguish between them. They were both
21 Darko's and the HVO, those were the units. In my view,
22 it was not precluded that the ones who were the HVO were
23 also not Darko's.
24 Q. Is what I read correct?
25 A. It is possible that I said something like this, yes, it
1 is possible.
2 Q. But is it correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Same page, again yellow highlights, it is the following
6 "Matkovic Zeljko, who was one of the Kraljevic
8 Matkovic Zeljko, you identified him as one of the
9 Kraljevic's men, was that correct?
10 A. No, I do not think that Zeljko Matkovic was one of Darko
11 Kraljevic's men, that he was in his unit. That could
12 have been a mistake. I know that he was not a member of
13 Darko Kraljevic's unit, he was a member of the military,
14 which was the same -- military but it was not the same
15 unit, so he was not part of his circle.
16 Q. But you allow that you may have said it so that it may
17 be interpreted that way?
18 A. It is possible, but here I say that the unit that was
19 commanded by Darko Kraljevic, Zeljko Matkovic was not
20 one of them.
21 Q. Which unit was stationed in Dubravica school, under
22 whose command?
23 A. This was a HVO unit. It was just a HVO unit, it did not
24 have a special name. I am not familiar with any special
25 names, just that they were the soldiers of the HVO, so
1 they were just called the HVO soldiers.
2 Q. Do you know that Darko Kraljevic's command was there?
3 A. No, there was no command there.
4 Q. You were a neighbour of Darko Kraljevic?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you tell us what reputation he had among the Croats
7 and what reputation among the Muslims at the end of this
8 war, let us say.
9 A. I think that Darko Kraljevic had a reputation of a
10 somewhat undisciplined person. He had a tendency to
11 consume alcohol. I know that Dr. Mujezinovic once went
12 to Darko Kraljevic and he said that he was in a very bad
13 condition, that he was under the influence of drugs, and
14 it was he who told me and we agreed on this, that he was
15 someone who could be influenced, who was unstable. We
16 discussed this to friends. I thought of Darko Kraljevic
17 as my own son, as someone who needed help, because he
18 was somewhat out of control. Later, he became violent
19 and after that, when he entered into -- when he got
20 power, he became pretty dangerous. That is how
21 I perceived him.
22 Q. People who were in his unit, how were they in
23 relationship to the alcohol and drugs?
24 A. It was very bad, the way they behaved.
25 Q. What were their tendencies?
1 A. Violence and binges, things like that.
2 Q. Were people afraid of Darko Kraljevic?
3 A. Especially in the latter part of 1992, the Muslims
4 really feared all armed units that were on the Croatian
5 side. The Muslims really feared, with a reason, because
6 they were experiencing difficult situations.
7 Q. Was Darko especially prominent in that?
8 A. No more than the units that come from Herzegovina, there
9 were other units too, so it was not much different from
10 the units in the school, that vocational school. They
11 were also afraid of those soldiers, and the Muslims
12 experienced all kinds of unpleasant things from both
13 those who were with Darko and the others.
14 Q. Were drugs, alcohol binges and all that, were they
15 characteristics for all these units, what you describe
16 for Darko's unit, or was that an exception?
17 A. No, you cannot compare them. It was an exception.
18 Q. While you were detained in the vet station, was there
19 any detainee who was wearing a BH army uniform there?
20 A. I do not recall.
21 Q. You said that there were threats that should the members
22 of the special units from Herzegovina came they would go
23 and search the houses. Did they ever come to search
24 houses while you were in detention?
25 A. No.
1 Q. You mentioned Jusuf Ibrakovic, who was killed while
2 digging trenches. Do you know how he was killed, under
3 what circumstances?
4 A. On that day, which was a tragic day, the telephone in
5 the vet station was operational, and Zeljko Matkovic
6 called me on the phone. He called me to the telephone,
7 he said that a woman was calling, and wanted me on the
8 phone, so I picked up the receiver and Ibrakovic's
9 mother, so Jusuf's mother, asked "is my Jusuf there?
10 Please, Doctor". He was very strong, and so he had a
11 big appetite too. We witnessed that. My wife kept
12 bringing food and he really had a good appetite, so my
13 wife ensured there was enough food there. Five minutes
14 before that information came that Jusuf Ibrakovic,
15 called Jusa, I think his full name was Jusuf, that he
16 was killed, so I was shaken because of the mother and
17 everything. I had received information that he was
18 killed by the HVO members who were taking him to dig.
19 Q. But was Jusa staying with you or in some other place?
20 A. He was in the vet station.
21 Q. Hurem that you mentioned, was he staying with you?
22 A. Hurem, yes.
23 Q. You mentioned that additional people were killed, you
24 could not recall the names. Can you explain this to
25 me? If there were lists of people and somebody did not
1 come back, is that not major news so that people talk
2 about it?
3 A. At that time, there were no lists, no registration, but
4 it was just what people knew and what people remembered
5 when we were in the veterinary station and in the camp
6 in Dubravica, so that the final list of those who were
7 killed had become big, and I cannot tell you, off the
8 top of my head, where and how people died, but after
9 that, a list was compiled and people were accounted for.
10 Q. But you personally do not have particular persons in
11 mind, apart from persons that you described in the
12 school in Dubravica?
13 A. No.
14 Q. You said that you were in the school in Dubravica and
15 that people were taken to dig in Kuber?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. But do you know that Kuber was taken by the BH army
18 before you came to Dubravica?
19 A. Kuber is a wider area, that is Gola Kosa and the area
20 above Nadioci and Loncari, and the area next to Loncari,
21 and so the people who were taken there, people who would
22 come back, would say "we were at Kuber", and that is how
23 I accepted it, that is how I accepted that as Kuber.
24 Kuber was this demarcation line, this confrontation
25 line, and even during the period when I was part of the
1 civilian protection, it was not part of the Vitez
2 territory, so I did not know enough about Kuber, but
3 that is the area that borders on Zenica and Busovaca
4 municipalities. It is on that borderline between these
5 three municipalities and it is possible that part of it
6 was occupied by the BH army.
7 Q. So you allow that could be Nadioci, Gola Kosa and all
8 that. You mentioned Vrhovine; Vrhovine at that time was
9 also with the BH army?
10 A. I know, because I worked in that area in my capacity
11 within the civilian protection. I know exactly that
12 there were HVO lines next to that forest, that is the
13 area of Vrhovine.
14 Q. But it was ethnically cleansed of Croats.
15 A. Yes, but only the village.
16 Q. But the territory of Vrhovine goes all the way to
18 A. All the way to Pirici? No.
19 Q. Yes, all the way down to Pirici. You also mentioned
20 Sivrino Selo. Did not the army hold Sivrino Selo all
21 the time?
22 A. No, a good part of it was under the control of the HVO,
23 from Sivrino Selo all the way up to Mahala. That was
24 part of Sivrino Selo, so part of Sivrino Selo was under
25 the HVO and those were the HVO lines, and that was the
1 part of Sivrino Selo which was designated as Sivrino
3 Q. Around the school in Dubravica, did you observe any
4 fighting or did you just hear about it? Did you observe
5 any positions of the HVO army positions?
6 A. I do not know where the units were on either side, but
7 when I arrived in Dubravica, that is when I was brought
8 there to the school, there was a machine gun nest on the
9 very premises, in a compound of the school, which was
10 there in the corner of the courtyard and I could only
11 surmise during these operations, during the shooting,
12 where the units of either side may be, because there
13 were shots fired which you could locate and define. But
14 personally, I have no knowledge of it.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, perhaps this might be the time to
16 take our break, unless you have one more question in
17 this line; otherwise we will take our break now.
18 MR. NOBILO: No, thank you.
19 JUDGE JORDA: We will take a 20 minute break and start after
21 (4.20 pm)
22 (A short break).
23 (4.45 pm)
24 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now. Please bring
25 the accused in and please be seated.
1 (Accused brought in)
2 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to apologise to the
3 interpreters. It is true -- I would like to apologise
4 to Mr. Nobilo as well, because the break should have been
5 a bit earlier, but we can now begin again until 5.30.
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Zeco, I have four
7 or five questions left, five at the most and then we
8 have finished. I think that there was some lack of
9 precision in the interpretation when I asked you about
10 Tihomir Blaskic on television, about those historic
11 rights of the Croats which will perhaps be achieved
12 through military means as well, and I asked you whether
13 this was said in the context of the struggle against the
14 Serbs, because they were the main enemy. Can you
15 remember what you told me in response?
16 A. When I answered that question of yours, I was talking
17 about the situation when there were direct operations
18 with the Serbs in this area as well. I know
19 Mr. Tihomir Blaskic in terms of that activity of his too,
20 and I also know that Mr. Tihomir Blaskic is a person who
21 fights for his people, for his Croat people, and he
22 carried out his activities as a representative of the
23 military option, vis-à-vis the Serb Chetnik aggression,
24 and later in terms of the achievement of the rights of
25 the Croatian people in Central Bosnia. In that sense,
1 he is the representative of the Croatian people, a
2 military commander. I was speaking in that sense.
3 Q. I know what you told me, but for the benefit of the
4 transcript, when I asked you whether it was possible
5 that this TV programme was in the context of the war
6 against the Serbs, what did you tell me?
7 A. Yes, I am thinking about that now. Mr. Tihomir Blaskic
8 appeared on television very often. I cannot say
9 anything for sure, I can only try to remember when this
11 Q. Also, do you remember when Dzemo Merdan spoke together
12 with Tihomir Blaskic on television?
13 A. Yes, I remember that.
14 Q. What is your assessment of that appearance of
15 Tihomir Blaskic on television?
16 A. A person who tried to resolve common problems in terms
17 of the Defence of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 Q. Do you recall Tihomir Blaskic saying anything against
19 the Muslim people on television? Do you recall
21 A. I did not say that.
22 Q. Again, the English translation. Can you just say yes or
23 no: did Tihomir Blaskic ever speak against the Muslims
24 as a people?
25 A. No.
1 Q. We have to be precise for the sake of the translation.
2 When you said that you were a commander of the staff for
3 civilian protection, you said you got orders from the
4 Minister, what Minister?
5 A. The assistant Minister, the assistant Minister for
6 Defence for the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. This plan, because of which you had problems -- I am not
8 a military expert, or for civilian protection, but can
9 you tell me what was in there? What does this plan
11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, you cannot ask a witness to answer
12 yes or no, although you did ask that that be allowed to
13 be asked. He has to wait for your question, but in this
14 case, as a principle, you asked for a yes or no answer,
15 which in theory -- and then asked a question which does
16 not always lend itself to that kind of answer, yes or
17 no. One answers yes or no if one is given a list of
18 names and one says "was the person at this place" and
19 you say yes or no, but the last questions that you asked
20 could call for more detailed answers. I ask you to be
21 careful when you ask for that kind of an answer.
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. I think there was a
23 bit of confusion, though. I asked the witness to answer
24 yes or no in relation to Blaskic's appearance on
25 television against the Muslim people, whether he ever
1 spoke against the Muslim people on television, yes or no
2 and that is what he answered. Now we have moved on to a
3 new question, so that is what it was all about.
4 Now my other question: this plan, what was this
5 that you had drafted, what was this population supposed
6 to do?
7 A. This plan designated certain areas, especially in the
8 urban part of Vitez where the Muslims were. Certain
9 persons were in charge of certain buildings or certain
10 sites; namely, they were supposed to take care of women,
11 children, to protect them, find shelter for them in the
12 case of war operations. They were the ones who were
13 involved, so that was the plan. Even if the army were
14 to break in, the civilian population was supposed to
15 move to other areas where they could survive, so that
16 was the essence of this plan.
17 Q. For example, do you remember the inhabitants of Rijeka,
18 the Muslims from Rijeka, where would they move?
19 A. I can tell you quite specifically. They were supposed
20 to go in the direction of Kruscica.
21 Q. The Muslims from Kolonija, where were they supposed to
23 A. They were supposed to go from Kolonija to Gradina, to
24 Gacice, in that direction of Gacice.
25 Q. The Muslims who were in Santici and Nadioci, where were
1 they supposed to go?
2 A. The Muslims from Santici and Nadioci to Pirici. It was
3 a natural shelter, if you look at the configuration of
4 the land, so they are good natural resources there.
5 These are not typical military targets. There are no
6 military targets there, so that is the area where the
7 civilian population was supposed to move to.
8 Q. Did this plan include the Croat civilian population from
9 these same areas I mentioned to you?
10 A. The leadership had already made a division. The
11 civilian population, the Croatian civilian population
12 had their own civilian protection. They were appointed,
13 and they were probably doing their part of the job.
14 Q. So this plan was aimed at protecting the Muslim civilian
15 population in case of HVO attack, in case of HVO
16 attack. And the civilians of Ahmici, were they supposed
17 to stay on, or were they supposed to go some place?
18 A. The civilians of Ahmici, they are there in their own
19 area. They have proper natural setting there. Their
20 protection was supposed to be ensured in that area.
21 Q. Thank you. In 1993, the War Presidency from January to
22 April 1993, was there a special Bosniak police in
23 Mahala, for example?
24 A. In Mahala, I think there were two or three members of
25 the police.
1 Q. Who were they accountable to, to the War Presidency?
2 A. They were supposed to keep law and order to ensure
3 safety, there was no special reasons.
4 Q. Djidic Sefkija of the Territorial Defence, was he a
5 member of the War Presidency?
6 A. Sefkija Djidic was not a member of the War Presidency,
7 but -- yes, he was. He was a member of the War
9 Q. So he was a member of the War Presidency?
10 A. Yes, he was.
11 Q. Did you ever personally see Tihomir Blaskic?
12 A. Personally only on one occasion. I was told that
13 Mr. Tihomir Blaskic was at the hotel, and I could see
14 him, only his face, but personally I never --
15 Q. You never talked to him, you never attended a meeting
16 where he was present?
17 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, your Honour, I would ask that the
18 witness is permitted to conclude his answer before the
19 next question is asked.
20 JUDGE JORDA: I grant that objection. Let the witness
21 answer, please.
22 MR. NOBILO: Yes, perhaps I went a bit too fast, I am sorry.
23 This is my last question to the witness. Did he ever
24 attend a meeting where Tihomir Blaskic was present,
25 where local problems of Vitez were being resolved?
1 A. I did not attend a single meeting where Mr. Tihomir
2 Blaskic was present.
3 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, that would be all. Thank you,
4 Mr. President.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. Mr. Harmon, do you want
6 to rebut?
7 MR. HARMON: No, your Honour, I have no additional questions,
8 thank you.
9 JUDGE JORDA: My colleagues, Judge Riad, have you any
10 questions that you would like to add?
11 JUDGE RIAD: Dr. Zeco, I would like to ask you a few
12 questions, just to clarify things in my mind. You
13 mentioned, and I try to quote you, that General Blaskic
14 used to speak about the historic right of the Croat
15 population. What was exactly the dimension of this
16 right, in his theory, with regard to the Muslim
17 population, as well as to the territory where they
19 A. The statements made by the top political people in the
20 HDZ, including the military structures, were always --
21 it was always highlighted in the statements that the
22 areas inhabited by the Croats were areas where they had
23 historic rights, where they were supposed to organise
24 government, and everything else that was supposed to be
25 done in these areas, and that this was their right,
1 which is supposed to be carried out in these times.
2 With all their political activities, this right was
3 supposed to be carried out, and they would exercise this
4 right, and if necessary they would do this by resorting
5 to military means too. This was often presented in such
6 a way on television.
7 MR. HAYMAN: I apologise for interrupting you --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Has the witness completed the answer? Have
9 you answered what you wanted to answer?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. HAYMAN: I apologise for interrupting, your Honour, but
12 I do object to the answer as non-responsive and vague as
13 to the speaker.
14 JUDGE JORDA: I do not know whether one of the parties
15 should object instead of the judge who has asked the
17 JUDGE RIAD: I will continue with my question in order to
18 clarify something, to try to get the things I want.
19 In the light of this principle, was that the
20 reason why when you went back to your home you found
21 that there is a Croat family living there and that other
22 Muslims came back and found their homes occupied by
23 Croats? Was this the application of the theory, of the
24 principle of the historic right of the Croats?
25 A. Practically, these structures started resolving the
1 situation in this way. Actually, their wishes, as the
2 situation was evolving, that was our impression -- as
3 I said, this is what we experienced in camps, we were
4 mistreated physically and psychologically and there were
5 victims, et cetera. If I understood your question
6 correctly, and if this is an answer to your question.
7 Q. To your knowledge, where did the orders come from to
8 replace the inhabitants of Vitez by people coming from
9 other parts of the Croatian territory?
10 A. I know that in these activities, because I was directly
11 told by him, that Mr. Anto Valenta was directly involved
12 in these activities and he was President of the
13 Executive Committee of the HDZ for Central Bosnia.
14 Q. To which authority would he be responsible, to give
15 account or to receive orders?
16 A. Only the structures that were organised by the Croatian
17 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
18 Q. You mean the HVO or something else?
19 A. Within the HVO too, because in this situation one could
20 by no means distinguish between the HVO military option
21 and the civilian structure, which was the HDZ. They
22 worked together.
23 Q. My second question concerns when you mentioned the
24 attack on you and they broke your nose, and you added
25 that when people were attacked by HVO military, no one
1 was prosecuted and no punishment was imposed on them.
2 Do you know of any other cases of that than your case?
3 A. Yes. I know of other cases too. I do not know of a
4 single case when the perpetrators involved in any
5 incident were held responsible or bore the consequences
6 that they were supposed to bear. I am not familiar with
7 a single such case.
8 Q. In the same line, you mentioned that Darko Kraljevic,
9 when he was drunk, he became fearful and brutalised the
10 people, and you even added that other military HVO were
11 in the habit of getting drunk. Was this almost a
12 frequent event, that they get drunk and brutalise the
14 A. In the second half of 1992, as time went by, as the
15 fateful conflict of April 16th was getting closer, it
16 became increasingly undesirable for Muslims to be near
17 the members of HVO units, because one never knew how one
18 would fare and what kind of situation one could get
19 into. I personally had really been moving around a lot,
20 and I was provoked a lot, I was insulted and I tried to
21 avoid meeting them, especially in the later stage when
22 units from other parts came to the municipality of
23 Vitez, those that did not include soldiers from the
24 Vitez municipality area, but from other territories,
25 because they did not know me personally, they did not
1 know the other local people either, so the local Muslims
2 avoided getting in touch with them.
3 Q. In short, as a conclusion, would you consider that,
4 considering this accident of the attack against you and
5 the other features of brutality, do you think that the
6 HVO were under no strict discipline and they could act
7 with impunity towards the population?
8 A. I cannot say that these soldiers were undisciplined.
9 One could feel that they had a military discipline, but
10 at any rate, there was a certain kind of discipline that
11 they had as far as Muslims were concerned. I had the
12 opportunity of being in the company of Croats too, but
13 these HVO members, soldiers who did not know us, they
14 would react and they would make me feel unwanted, but
15 they had a military discipline, and as regards their
16 attitude towards the Muslims, I think that they were not
17 prevented from doing certain things that they did. That
18 is the impression that one got.
19 Q. You mentioned that when the detainees were given the
20 choice after their return, they were given the choice
21 either to leave or to stay in Vitez. What happened to
22 those who decided to stay in Vitez? Do you have any
23 knowledge or experience of that?
24 A. Yes, I do. All of those who stayed on after being
25 released from prison, all of those who stayed on, except
1 those in the urban part of Vitez, they all left the
2 municipality of Vitez, except 90 or 100 people. Those
3 were the Muslims that remained in the urban part of
4 Vitez, so all the Muslims had left. They either left of
5 their own volition or they were expelled, so only 90 to
6 100 people were left. I am not sure, but I think 96
7 have stayed on, 96 Muslims have stayed on only in Vitez,
8 after the Muslims were expelled from the Vitez
9 municipality in the area where the HVO was operating
10 after the conflict with the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 Q. In other words, what was the percentage of the Muslims
12 who stayed afterwards compared to the percentage in the
13 beginning, if you know it?
14 A. I cannot tell, because this is the urban area, but
15 approximately from my own point of view I could say that
16 it could only be up to 5 per cent of the Muslims in the
17 urban part of Vitez. When I say the urban area, I am
18 including Rijeka too, Mlakici also, the part towards
19 Kruscica, the part towards Gacice. Out of the total
20 number, it is possible that the percentage was not
21 larger, I think it was not even 5 per cent, that it was
23 Q. What was it before the event?
24 A. In the very centre of the town, the Muslims and the
25 Croats and the Serbs, according to the census from 1991,
1 they were about 40 per cent out of the total population
2 in that area, because the centre of Vitez had a mixed
3 population. The members of all three ethnic groups
4 lived there, and they were equally represented,
5 approximately, but I think about 40 to 50 per cent in
6 the centre of the town were Muslims, in the central part
7 of the town of Vitez. Those are my estimates.
8 Q. My last question concerns the warning you had concerning
9 the explosion in Stari Vitez. You said that they told
10 you the day before that, I think, "you have to go to
11 protect yourself", and you discovered the next day that
12 there was a great explosion as a result of the truck
13 which exploded in Stari Vitez. Who warned you about
15 A. We were warned that something would happen. The
16 organiser and the person who led the detained Muslims in
17 the vet station, he was the one who informed us of this,
18 and he asked all of us to go to the basement, because he
19 said that something would happen. At that time, we
20 could not have known, we had no information as to what
21 would happen. We went there, we were guessing, we were
22 talking about all of it and after about an hour, we
23 heard a strong explosion, an explosion that was strong,
24 and we were wondering what had happened. It was unusual
25 compared to the other detonations that we heard that day
1 and everything.
2 After a short period of time, this same person
3 came and said, loud and clear, "now it is over with the
4 Muslims". During the day, as our families came, we
5 found out that it was an explosion, that it was a truck
6 bomb that had exploded that was in Stari Vitez.
7 Q. You said that, thank you. I just wanted to know then
8 that there was a preplanning of the whole thing and the
9 leader of the detainees knew about it, knew that there
10 was a planning and a scheme to explode Stari Vitez; is
11 that the conclusion?
12 A. Absolutely, that is exactly it, because he knew that
13 this was going on, those soldiers that were present
14 there sort of rejoiced, looked happy that this happened.
15 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen?
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Doctor, you spoke about finding refuge
18 for yourself and wife with the brother of Ivica Santic,
19 who later lost his life. Did other Muslims also find
20 refuge with other Croat families?
21 A. I have to apologise here if I somehow mentioned this
22 brother of Ivica Santic, Zvonko Santic -- he was not
23 killed, but he really sincerely helped me. There were
24 other Croats, a sizeable number of Croats who really
25 helped the Muslims.
1 However, it is also a fact that there were some
2 Muslims who asked Croats for help, and they would openly
3 state that they would gladly help, but they did not dare
4 do it, and I know of several examples personally of
5 Croats who did help the Muslims, and I know that they
6 suffered very grave consequences on the part of these
7 military units, those Croats who helped. In some ways,
8 I think they may have even suffered worse things and
9 more brutal consequences than the Muslims themselves.
10 Q. Do you yourself still have Croat friends in Vitez?
11 A. I have a number of Croat friends in Vitez, and it is my
12 hope that we are still friends. There were Croats who
13 did try to help me in that period, but they let me know
14 that they could not do it, and I had friends, and the
15 friends that I had were not the ones that I selected on
16 ethnic grounds, they were all good people, and they were
17 my friends.
18 Q. Let us go to these television broadcasts in which
19 General Blaskic participated. We do not have the actual
20 words which he might have used, we have your impressions
21 of what he said. Was it your impression that the
22 position which he took when he spoke of military matters
23 only was that his conception of his task was to use the
24 military apparatus under his command to implement the
25 policies of the HVO, whatever they were?
1 A. My impression, precisely, as regards the statement by
2 Mr. Tihomir Blaskic, that he was a soldier, a soldier
3 that serves, that he is committed to the ideals and that
4 he has a model of the professional expertise and I think
5 that he very professionally discharged his duties. His
6 statements were such that he as commander would ask and
7 demand that everything is prepared and enabled to carry
8 out the task that it is supposed to carry out and to
9 reach the goal which was set out in all of this.
10 Q. That goal to which you refer would have, on the basis of
11 his statements, been set out by whom?
12 A. That goal was set out by the policy, the policy that
13 existed, because a significant part of all this was the
14 involvement of the entire leadership, which even
15 included the Republic of Croatia in Vitez; for instance
16 when the authority was, the local government was
17 suspended, and when the Croatian Community of
18 Herceg-Bosna was established and when the police station
19 and the municipal buildings were taken over, it was the
20 flag of the Croatian state that was flown there, so that
21 everything that was going on in the territory of Vitez
22 came from the higher places and not within the local
23 area which would be this municipality.
24 Q. Doctor, forgive me for interrupting you, but I am only
25 asking you of your own impression as to what he
1 understood to be the source from which the goal would
2 come? Who would set the goal for him?
3 A. I could not assess or say if anyone specifically gave
4 him this task, but the fact is that everything boiled
5 down to invoking the right of the Croatian people, and
6 it was in that context that his appearances on TV came.
7 Q. Let us go to those appearances on TV. You know
8 sometimes you could have on TV a panel discussion in
9 which each member of the panel speaks individually.
10 Then you could have another kind of show in which a
11 group of people appear to present a common programme.
12 You said you saw General Blaskic on several occasions,
13 together with a group of people on TV. Was the position
14 this, that each member of the group was speaking
15 separately and only for himself, or was the position
16 this, that each member was presenting an aspect of the
17 group's common policy?
18 A. Absolutely. These were not discussions really, but in
19 fact certain positions were expounded, positions that
20 were clear, and its goal was to present a position that
21 was part of that policy in this given situation, so
22 these were not discussions during the appearances of
23 these leaders, be they civilian or military. So they
24 were presenting the position.
25 Q. A last question concerns Mr. Kraljevic and the HOS.
1 I think you said that at one point the HOS came to be
2 incorporated within the HVO. Do you remember that
3 branch of your testimony?
4 A. Yes, I do remember.
5 Q. Did the HOS become incorporated in the HVO before
6 15th April 1993?
7 A. Yes, there was a TV broadcast, and it was shown that the
8 HVO -- that the HOS was incorporated into the HVO and
9 that was I think in the latter half of 1992. That is
10 when they joined the units of the HVO.
11 Q. One little supplementary question to that last one.
12 After the HOS became incorporated as part of the HVO,
13 did members of the HOS wear any insignia or other
14 identification marks connecting them with the HVO?
15 A. They did. They also had certain other insignia, but for
16 the most part most of the members had the HVO insignia.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, Doctor.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Doctor, I have only one question, you must be
19 already very tired and the Tribunal does understand your
20 position. You were kind of a privileged witness, and
21 I hope that you understand what I mean by "privileged".
22 I know that you did suffer, but at the same time you
23 were a prominent person and someone who was trusted by
24 Croats and by Muslims as well, this is what I wanted to
25 tell you. You who were a witness to all those events,
1 I wanted to ask you a question: do you have a feeling
2 that that level of sufferance, level of destruction and
3 the level of hatred, whether it was the result or the
4 cause, could have been attenuated, alleviated by the
5 military or politicians within the framework of
6 historical factors and political considerations that you
7 told about to Judge Riad? By admitting the Croatian
8 revendications, do you think, by looking back in the
9 field, that the level of sufferance by the population
10 could have been lowered down somehow?
11 A. I think that the most precise answer to your question
12 would be by citing an example, and with your permission,
13 that is how I would answer this question. In Mali
14 Mosunj, which is an exclusively Croatian community, two
15 pigs were taken ill, they were infected. I came over
16 there and I gave them injections and so I gave them
17 therapy and told this woman that I would come back
18 tomorrow, because they may need additional treatment.
19 The next day, when I came back, both pigs -- both ran
20 high temperature and were refusing food and were
21 completely exhausted. Now they were completely -- they
22 were very lively now, they were vivacious and I was met
23 by this woman and she was very joyous and she said
24 "thank you, Doctor" and then she added "you see,
25 Doctor, they are telling us to be against you. How can
1 I be against you and you are doing such good things to
2 us?" Then my answer to her was that all this, whatever
3 was being done there was being directed, was being said
4 to be done by certain persons who told them that this
5 should be done this way, and that it was my -- I felt
6 honoured, and also I feel very honoured now that I have
7 been given an opportunity to give my own contribution,
8 as far as I could, to your mission and I wish you all
9 the best in this mission of healing so that this would
10 not happen to the future generations, the things that
11 happened to all three ethnic groups in that area, the
12 Muslims, the Croats and the Serbs, so thank you.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Doctor. This testimony is now
14 finished and it is also the end of our hearing today.
15 The Tribunal is thankful for your coming here, for your
16 testimony, and we wish you all the best for the
17 continuation. I would kindly ask the usher to escort
18 our witness.
19 (The witness withdrew)
20 JUDGE JORDA: We will continue on Monday at 2.30, so Monday
21 at 2.30, because the courtroom will be taken up by
22 someone else.
23 (5.40 pm)
24 (Court adjourned until 2.30 pm on Monday,
25 29th September 1997)