1 Thursday, 11th December 1997
2 (10.30 am)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Mr Registrar, please have
4 the accused brought in.
5 (Accused brought in)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Are our interpreters ready? Yes, thank you.
7 Can everyone hear me, my colleagues, the Prosecution,
8 the Defence, General Blaskic, you hear me?
9 MR BLASKIC: Good morning, your Honours, I hear you well.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Please forgive us for this delay, the Trial
11 Chamber is very much in demand, which is flattering for
12 the judges. We have many motions to deal with and we
13 need time to discuss them, so we take advantage of all
14 the time we have available, so please we wish to
15 apologise for this delay.
16 Ms Paterson, will you please continue, we wish to
17 remind you that we are listening to the testimony of
18 Major Hunter. Thank you, Judge Riad, for reminding me
19 of that.
20 Mr Registrar, can you have -- not the accused,
21 I am sorry, I am a bit distracted, have the witness
22 brought in, please.
23 (Witness entered court)
24 JUDGE JORDA: Is everything in order, Major? Do you hear
1 A. Yes, I can hear you.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Have you had a good rest?
3 A. Thank you, yes.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Ms Paterson, shall we continue
5 with your witness? You have just told us about the
6 first series of incidents relating to 19th May 1993,
7 when fire woke you, I think. Ms Paterson, it is up to
8 you now.
9 MAJOR ROY HUNTER (continued)
10 Examined by MS PATERSON
11 MS PATERSON: Thank you, Mr President.
12 Good morning, Major Hunter.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. I would like to direct your attention this morning to
15 the events of 20th May 1993. On that day, did you have
16 an occasion to attend a meeting at the Hotel Vitez?
17 A. Yes, after lunch, I took two Warriors and an interpreter
18 and went to the Hotel Vitez in order to meet some of the
19 leaders in the hotel. It was my first meeting with
20 them, in fact it was my last meeting with those people,
21 the one and only occasion I met them.
22 I will just carry on. The people I went to meet
23 were Mr Ante Valenta, Pero Skopljak and Ivan Santic.
24 They identified themselves, Ivan Santic as the mayor of
25 Vitez, Ante Valenta as the deputy President of the HVO
1 in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- deputy President of the
2 Croatian Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Pero
3 Skopljak identified himself as the -- I will have to
4 check my notes. I have forgotten.
5 Q. Major Hunter, perhaps if I show you an exhibit that may
6 help to refresh your recollection.
7 Could we have, Registrar, the usher show the
8 witness exhibit number 174?
9 A. Sorry, yes --
10 Q. Just a moment, Major Hunter. Let me just clarify for
11 the court what it is you are looking at.
12 A. These are the business cards the three individuals gave
13 me on arrival at the Hotel Vitez and I made notes on
14 them to translate it into English as they related it to
15 me. Mr Pero Skopljak's card says he is the President of
16 the Croatian Democratic Community in Vitez. On the
17 cards in manuscript, they added their new telephone
18 numbers, because obviously their cards showed their
19 usual telephone numbers before the start of the
20 conflict, so I have the numbers which were either inside
21 Hotel Vitez or in the PTT building, which was next
22 door. These were the two principal headquarters
23 buildings for the HVO in the town of Vitez and for the
24 whole of Central Bosnia, that region.
25 I was met at the entrance to Hotel Vitez, I cannot
1 remember who met me, went through the foyer and just
2 beyond the foyer, in a corridor, was a row of tables on
3 which I noticed there were some radios. These were
4 manned by two or three uniformed soldiers as watch
5 keepers. I was then taken further into the hotel on the
6 ground floor into what I would describe as the manager's
7 office. It was well furnished, there was a large desk,
8 some armchairs, a coffee table. I was in there with an
9 interpreter from our battalion, a Bosnian girl, for
10 about 90 minutes. Over coffee and Slivovic, we just had
11 a long discussion. It was my first chance to meet these
12 characters. We spoke in general about what UNPROFOR was
13 doing in the area, and they gave me their views of the
14 best way forward for solving the conflict in that part
15 of Bosnia.
16 Mr Valenta showed me a small pamphlet he had
17 written a few years earlier, in 1991 or 1992. This was
18 explained to me as a pamphlet which showed the ethnic
19 composition of the various towns and municipalities in
20 Bosnia. There were many pie charts, for example, a town
21 would be shown as 40 per cent Croat, 45 per cent Muslim,
22 5 per cent Serb, these sorts of charts for each town.
23 His main conclusion at the end was that he had forecast
24 ethnic strife in his pamphlet several years before it
25 had started and that since it was clear that the
1 different communities were unable to live together, it
2 would be necessary for them to live apart. This
3 I interpreted as a requirement to have ethnically pure
4 areas in Bosnia.
5 I was also given a proposal which I made some
6 brief notes of and I took the proposal back to my
7 headquarters so I could brief my commanding officer.
8 I was told the proposal would follow in writing from
9 Colonel Blaskic, but I am not sure whether that letter
10 ever actually arrived. However, the proposal was for
11 the problem of Stari Vitez, which is where some 2,000
12 Muslims had been contained in the old quarter. They had
13 been held there, unable to move out, since the explosion
14 of the lorry bomb, which I believe was on 16th April,
15 some two weeks before I arrived.
16 The proposal there was that UNPROFOR should go and
17 take the weapons from the ABiH, who were inside
18 Stari Vitez. We would then escort ABiH soldiers out of
19 the old quarter of the town across the lines towards
20 Zenica, and the HVO would then guarantee the safety of
21 any Muslim civilians who remained in Stari Vitez and
22 that the alternative to that proposal, were it not
23 accepted, would be the use of force, which I took to
24 mean the use of force against the military, the ABiH in
25 Stari Vitez.
1 I took notes of that proposal, and briefed my
2 commanding officer when I returned back to the base at
3 Stari Bila and as I said earlier, I do not know whether
4 that letter was actually followed up, whether the letter
5 from Colonel Blaskic actually came to the CO.
6 After some 90 minutes of this conversation, I left
7 the Hotel Vitez. I then had to go around the town,
8 although I was only going about 1,000 metres, I wanted
9 to go to the Franciscan church of Saint George.
10 Q. Major Hunter, let me interrupt you at this point to ask
11 you a few additional questions about the meeting at the
12 Hotel Vitez.
13 Do you recall why it was you went to this meeting
14 in the first place? Was it because you wanted to meet
15 these gentlemen, or did they ask to meet with you?
16 A. I cannot remember exactly. I think it was in order for
17 me to meet personalities for the first time, so I was
18 familiar with some of the leaders in the HVO in Vitez.
19 I should add perhaps that I never went back to the Hotel
20 Vitez, because the system that the commanding officer
21 wanted to use in future, after these very early days,
22 was to have a permanent liaison officer who would liaise
23 with the Hotel Vitez, and that is a man by the name of
24 Captain Lee Whitworth, so he became the CO's personal
25 liaison officer in Vitez, so there was no follow-up
1 meeting, certainly in the Hotel Vitez, for me. I went
2 back one more time a few days later to the PTT building
3 for a second meeting.
4 Q. Major Hunter, I just want to remind you, as I did
5 yesterday, that you and I need to slow down and take a
6 pause between our questions and answers.
7 A. Sorry.
8 Q. You said that when you entered the Hotel Vitez, you
9 walked through a foyer to another room, and that when
10 you walked through the foyer you saw some radios. Could
11 you describe in some details the radios that you
12 observed at that location?
13 A. With great difficulty. I have really forgotten, I did
14 not pay them a great deal of attention. Because I knew
15 it was the military headquarters, it was no surprise for
16 me that the radios were there. In fact for a long time
17 I was not able remember seeing them at all. It came
18 back to me in April that I had seen them. I paid more
19 attention to the watch keepers, I looked at the people
20 as opposed to the equipment. I believe they were
21 military radios, I think there were two or three, they
22 were what I would expect to have seen in a headquarters
23 of that size, so I am unable to describe the type. They
24 were table-mounted, they were the sort of radios that
25 would also fit in the rear of a vehicle, probably VHF.
1 Certainly if they were British radios of a similar size
2 and were VHF, they would give sufficient coverage over
3 the Lasva Valley, but maybe not as far as the likes of
4 Kiseljak or Gornji Vakuf.
5 Q. So were these radios similar in size and power to radios
6 that you had within the British military?
7 A. Similar in size, I did not pay sufficient attention to
8 the power, but assuming that the radio technology is of
9 a similar nature then yes, it would be similar to ours.
10 Q. You stated that part of the reason you went was to have
11 a discussion with them about a proposal they had to
12 solve the, as you said, problem in Stari Vitez. Do you
13 recall what the situation was in Stari Vitez on that
14 day? You said that the Muslims were still in that
15 area. Can you describe in just a little bit more detail
16 what the situation was?
17 A. Yes, the old quarter in Vitez, centred on the mosque,
18 was perhaps 1,000 metres long and 700 metres wide. The
19 HVO controlled the rest of the town, so this was a small
20 enclave. I understood there were some 2,000 people
21 living in that enclave. The only way in which was still
22 available for use was the main road which ran past the
23 Hotel Vitez, the PTT building, and the police station,
24 which were astride the road. Some 200 metres past those
25 buildings, there was a chicane with some anti-tank mines
1 and then you entered, that was the gateway into
2 Stari Vitez, the chicane was on the HVO side.
3 The other exits from the old quarter had been
4 completely blocked. At the other end of that same road,
5 by the Saint George's church, the road was blocked by a
6 large furniture lorry and an earthen embankment, which
7 was impossible to get by, so there was no movement in
8 and out except for UNPROFOR, we were able to go in and
9 out of Stari Vitez, which we did to take food in to meet
10 with the leaders in Stari Vitez. So that situation
11 remained until I left, actually, until after I left
12 Bosnia in November 1993, in the old town. There were
13 incidents of rifle fire certainly from both sides,
14 mortars, RPG-7, the anti-tank shoulder-launch fire, but
15 there were no major offences. It is very difficult to
16 size an area of buildings of that size, it swallows very
17 many soldiers to seize built-up areas, so there were no
18 major attempts to secure Stari Bila by the HVO -- sorry,
19 Stari Vitez.
20 The ABiH on the high ground around the
21 Lasva Valley --
22 Q. Major Hunter, let me just interrupt for a minute. The
23 translators have asked that you slow down a bit.
24 A. The ABiH to the north of Vitez did make several
25 concerted attempts to break through across the bottom of
1 the valley to relieve Stari Vitez, and they tried that
2 over many months. That was from what we call the
3 mountain road, which was the road from Zenica to
5 Q. Major Hunter, let me just interrupt at this point. When
6 you went to the meeting on 20th May 1993, do you have
7 any idea approximately how many Muslims were still
8 living in the area of Stari Vitez?
9 A. I understood there were some 2,000. I went into
10 Stari Vitez maybe 12 times, a lot of times in May and
11 June 1993. I had a lot of dealings with the Hodza in
12 the mosque, the Muslim priest, so he gave me a lot of
13 information about the number of people who had been
14 buried at the back of the mosque, which included many of
15 the victims from Ahmici. He gave me numbers of people
16 who had been arrested and numbers of people who were
18 Q. Okay, Major Hunter. Let me ask you a question about the
19 discussion you had with Mr Valenta in which he described
20 for you his writings and his view of the ethnic
21 situation in Central Bosnia. I believe you stated that
22 Mr Valenta was of the opinion that ethnic division was
23 inevitable. Did he explain to you in this conversation
24 how this ethnic division would be achieved?
25 A. No, I was able to witness on the ground the way it was
1 being achieved, or the way it was occurring, but he did
2 not say that in any words whatsoever.
3 Q. Okay, at this time I would like to show Major Hunter an
4 additional exhibit, it is a photograph already in
5 evidence, 80/7. Would you put it on the ELMO please?
6 Okay, Major Hunter, do you recognise any of the people
7 in that photograph and if so, would you explain to the
8 court who you recognise?
9 A. Yes, this man is Ante Valenta. This is the man I had
10 the meeting with in the Hotel Vitez, the author of the
11 pamphlet on ethnic composition. This man I recognise as
12 Dario Kordic (indicates). I saw him attend meetings at
13 our headquarters, although I never met him personally to
14 talk to. This man's face I recognise, but I do not know
15 his name or what position he held. I do not recognise
16 the man in civilian clothes at all.
17 Q. So just for the record, the man in the photograph with
18 the sunglasses you recognise as Ante Valenta?
19 A. Yes, at the front.
20 Q. And the man standing behind his right shoulder also with
21 glasses on you recognise as Dario Kordic?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Regarding this meeting at the Hotel Vitez, I have one
24 additional question. You said it was your understanding
25 at the end of the discussion that if this plan was
1 agreed to, that the plan would be put in writing in the
2 form of a letter, and the letter would be sent to the
3 British command under the signature of then
4 Colonel Blaskic, is that correct?
5 A. Yes, those were the notes I made.
6 Q. So even though Colonel Blaskic was not at the meeting
7 with you, you were told that it was his signature that
8 would go on that letter, is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Major Hunter, I would like to continue discussing
11 20th May, but move to a little bit later in the
12 afternoon. Did you have an occasion then to go on
13 patrol to the area of Donje Veceriska?
14 A. I did, yes. After leaving the hotel, I had to go all
15 the way around the town, because the road through was
16 closed, as I explained. I had a meeting first of all at
17 Saint George's church with the Franciscan priests and
18 was then returning back towards the base at Stari Bila,
19 but on the way, I took time to drive through Donje
20 Veceriska, with an aim really of just going on to the
21 high ground to a vantage point in order to familiarise
22 myself with the geography.
23 Q. Major Hunter, let me just interrupt you at this point.
24 Perhaps it would be helpful if we put an exhibit in
25 front of you that you could refer to as you talk about
1 this. Could we have Exhibit 175 put on the ELMO,
2 please? Okay Major, you may continue and refer to the
3 map when appropriate.
4 A. This village lies maybe three kilometres to the south
5 west of the town of Vitez. The large industrial things
6 you can see here (indicates) are all part of the Vitez
7 chemical and explosives works, which are obviously a
8 very sensitive location for the HVO. My patrol came up
9 the main road through the village. I noticed in the
10 centre of the village, which I already knew to be a
11 Croat village at this stage, Croat controlled, in the
12 centre of the village, at this junction were a number of
13 civilians and some HVO soldiers in uniform, but not
14 carrying arms.
15 I continued up the road and simply drove to this
16 high point here (indicates). That allowed me to have a
17 very good view of the whole of the Lasva Valley and the
18 town of Vitez. I had already noticed on my way through
19 that there was smoke coming from this area of the
20 village. This is down the side of a hill, it is
21 difficult to tell from this picture, but this factory
22 here is in a very deep valley and these houses were
23 already down a slope. As I drove by, I could not
24 actually see the houses but I could see smoke.
25 It was not an uncommon occurrence to see burning
1 houses at all at that time, but on my way back through
2 the village, I just thought I would go and investigate.
3 As you can see, it is a very sharp corner. The vehicle
4 I was in was a 28 tonne trekked armoured vehicle, so it
5 took me some time to negotiate that corner. It was a
6 neutral corner. It was already clear that my presence
7 down that road was not wanted by either the civilians or
8 the HVO soldiers, but I was in a large vehicle so it was
9 not a particular problem to continue.
10 I stopped the vehicle at the bottom of the hill
11 and dismounted. Here there were four or five houses
12 ablaze, completely ablaze. Their roofs had collapsed.
13 There was no activity, there was no sign of any
14 occupants and I already knew that this village had been
15 cleared of Muslim families five weeks earlier, in the
16 middle of April. I took a few photographs of these
17 burning houses, and at this time one of the HVO soldiers
18 approached me. He had followed down the road on foot,
19 and he wanted me to stop taking pictures, he wanted me
20 to leave the area altogether. He was not aggressive,
21 I had no interpreter with me, but it was quite clear
22 from his gestures that I had no business there and
23 should not be taking pictures of burning houses.
24 I finished what I was doing, left the location and
25 returned to the base. As I say, this was not unusual.
1 In fact, after that, I do not think I took any more
2 photographs of burning houses because it was a daily
4 Q. Major Hunter, before we move on to a couple of other
5 questions, I just want to clarify a couple of points in
6 relation to this photograph. You had an opportunity to
7 look at this photograph before coming to court, is that
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. Did you compare the legend in the corner with the
11 numbers on the diagram?
12 A. The legend, number 1 is the intersection where there
13 were civilians and HVO soldiers. Number 2 is the
14 burning houses and number 3 is the vantage point I had
15 used to look at the valley.
16 Q. When you said you came to that intersection number 1 on
17 the diagram you saw some HVO; can you describe again how
18 many and how they were dressed?
19 A. Yes, there were only four or five, they were not armed,
20 they were in clean combat uniform. Some of them wore
21 the HVO red and white chequerboard badge, clean shaven,
22 clean boots, had not been involved in anything dirty
23 that day at all.
24 Q. Okay. Then you stated that after going to the vantage
25 point number 3, you returned to the village and went to
1 point number 2 on the map, where you saw the houses
2 burning, is that correct?
3 A. That is correct, yes.
4 Q. It was at that location that you took this photograph,
5 is that right?
6 A. Yes, I took four or five photographs.
7 Q. Okay. Can we show the Major exhibit number 176, which
8 is another enlargement of this photo?
9 Major Hunter, does this photo show the area where
10 you took this photograph that you have described?
11 A. Yes, it does. The arrow is the spot where my vehicle
12 was parked. The photograph I am talking about was
13 taken, I was in this position taking a photograph
14 looking this way (indicates), and you will see that
15 there is an HVO soldier stood in front of my vehicle
16 there, waving me away.
17 Q. Can we show Major Hunter exhibit number 177, please?
18 Major Hunter, is this the photograph that you took
19 on that occasion of the soldier who was encouraging you
20 to leave the area?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Would you just describe for the court in a little bit
23 more detail what this photograph shows?
24 A. It shows my vehicle in the background, the HVO soldier,
25 who is not armed, he is in the normal combat uniform
1 that soldiers were wearing. The badge, which is very
2 unclear to see on this copy, is the HVO red and white
3 chequerboard badge.
4 Q. Did you have an interpreter with you on that occasion?
5 A. No.
6 Q. So you were not able to have a conversation with this
8 A. No, I did not see much point in asking, talking to him,
9 so I finished taking pictures, got in the vehicle and
10 went back to my base.
11 Q. Okay, Major Hunter, you stated earlier that when you
12 went to location 3 on the diagram that you were able to
13 get a vantage looking over much of the valley and back
14 to the village of Donje Veceriska. From there you could
15 see the burning smoke in the village. Can you estimate
16 whether it would have been possible to have seen the
17 burning smoke from this village in the town of Vitez
19 A. Yes, you would. The town lies -- I will put this back
20 on. The town centre lies in this direction, to the
21 north east. You would be able to see the smoke, but you
22 would not have seen the flames of those houses, because
23 they were in dead ground. But the smoke would have been
24 clearly visible. But as I say, from any point in the
25 Lasva Valley in those days in May, on a daily basis, you
1 would see houses burning.
2 MS PATERSON: Mr President, I have no further questions, but
3 before we allow cross-examination, let me just move into
4 evidence the exhibits that we have introduced. First of
5 all, exhibit number 172, which is the large aerial
6 photograph. I should explain that as with other such
7 large aerial photographs that have previously been
8 introduced, this photograph was provided to us by the
9 government of Great Britain, pursuant to Rule 70, and
10 I am informed that this photograph was taken on or about
11 9th November 1994.
12 We would also move into evidence exhibits --
13 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Ms Paterson. 172 is the
14 enlargement. It seems to have been -- it is a montage,
15 what I have here. It seems like a montage.
16 MS PATERSON: Mr President, the very large photograph is
17 number 172. Number 173, you are correct, is a montage.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, I understand. Any comments from
19 the Defence?
20 MR HAYMAN: We have previously stated our position, your
21 Honour. Under Rule 70, these photos are supposed to be
22 disclosed to us in advance and they have not been,
23 including this photo.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. But you are not objecting that
25 they be moved into evidence and you will then discuss
1 them, in any case.
2 MR HAYMAN: That is our only comment, your Honour. We have
3 no other comment.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Very well then, if there are no further
5 comments, we will number the other exhibits.
6 MS PATERSON: Yes, Mr President. Just so the record is
7 complete, I am moving into evidence Exhibits 172, 173,
8 174, which is the three business cards that Major Hunter
9 identified, 175 and 174, the two aerial photos of Donje
10 Veceriska, and number 177, the photograph of the
11 soldier. Thank you.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. We can now ask Mr Hayman to
14 Cross-examined by MR HAYMAN
15 Q. Thank you, Mr President.
16 Good morning, Major Hunter.
17 A. Good morning.
18 MR HAYMAN: First I would like to ask you a few questions
19 about the events of 19th May 1993 concerning the houses
20 which you described on Exhibit 173, which -- perhaps
21 that can be retrieved, your Honour, and provided to the
22 witness for reference. Would I be correct in stating
23 that as a result of holding the position marked 4 and 4A
24 on Exhibit 173, that the BH-Army controlled the main
25 road at that juncture between Travnik and Vitez?
1 A. Yes, they prevented the use of that road by the HVO.
2 Q. When I say the main road from Travnik to Vitez, in fact
3 is that the road which you can see abutting the
4 line which is 4A on Exhibit 173 after that line turns
5 the corner?
6 A. Yes, it is the main road that runs straight through the
7 centre of the picture.
8 Q. Because they were not able to use that road, did the
9 HVO -- were they forced to use a rough dirt track in
10 order to avoid areas where they would be exposed to fire
11 by the BH-Army?
12 A. Yes, the HVO had significantly improved a track about a
13 kilometre and a half to the south of this road, it went
14 behind a very significant hill feature. It had been
15 graded -- it was a very usable road, in fact I used it
16 quite often for my Warriors.
17 Q. That is a road they had to construct, basically?
18 A. That is right. They had made that themselves.
19 Q. Is that visible on this map?
20 A. No, it is not. It is visible on the large photograph on
21 the easel.
22 Q. To go into Vitez on that road, would you ultimately have
23 to go up into some hills and then go back down what is a
24 rougher track?
25 A. It was a bit of military engineering, if you like, to
1 allow HVO movement between Novi Travnik and Vitez.
2 Q. You were aware in the course of your tour, were you not,
3 that the BH-Army desired to cut the HVO or Croat enclave
4 which was the Vitez-Busovaca enclave, correct?
5 A. Certainly after the start of the conflict between those
6 two sides in April, with the clearing of Ahmici and
7 other villages, the BiH organised itself during the
8 month of May and began to close down on the Croatian --
9 on the HVO enclave, and their main targets were
10 obviously places like the explosives factory, the
11 control of the road through the enclave and the
12 liberation of Stari Vitez from the HVO siege.
13 Q. All important targets to the BH-Army.
14 A. Indeed.
15 Q. In fact, when you arrived in the theatre on 28th April
16 1993, there was active fighting between the HVO and the
17 BH-Army just north of the village of Santici, do you
18 agree with that?
19 A. Yes, that was the mountain road across to Zenica and
20 there was fighting in that area through May and into
22 Q. With respect to the houses marked on Exhibit 173 as
23 point 2, do you have that, Major?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. Would you agree that use of those houses was of concrete
1 military value to the HVO?
2 A. Yes, seizure of that ground and the houses allowed them
3 a better control and a better vantage point across the
4 bridge and across the road.
5 Q. There is a bridge here because there is a river on this
6 map, Exhibit 173, correct?
7 A. Yes, a small river.
8 MR HAYMAN: Perhaps this could be placed on the ELMO, your
9 Honour, so that the witness could point out, with the
10 usher's assistance perhaps, point out the river so we
11 can see the bridge and exactly what the strategic
12 significance of this location was.
13 A. The important thing about this is the bridge over the
14 river. This is the only road -- at that time the only
15 road from Split all the way through to Tuzla and it was
16 the road the UN used for all the aid convoys.
17 Q. Can you first indicate the general flow of the river?
18 A. Yes, the river flows from here in this direction. It is
19 quite small, it is only about 8 or 9 or 10 metres wide,
20 and about knee deep.
21 Q. But is it a river such that a bridge is a very useful
22 thing if you are trying to move trucks, cars and the
24 A. Indeed. You could cross it on foot with ease and in
25 fact the BiH used to cross it on foot in this area.
1 Q. Could you point out the bridge that crosses the river?
2 A. (Indicates).
3 Q. So it is just to the left of the white area adjacent to
4 points 2 and 3 on this map?
5 A. It is, yes.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Try to wait after you ask your question. It
7 complicates things otherwise for the interpreters and
8 for the judges. Thank you for your understanding.
9 MR HAYMAN: Yes, your Honour, I know it is very distracting
10 to listen to the presentation otherwise. I will
11 redouble my focus on that.
12 Major, were you ever made aware -- if the map
13 could be moved down slightly on the ELMO, were you ever
14 made aware whether the structure, which is roughly in
15 the shape of an U -- yes, exactly, the one you are
16 locating within the area marked 4 -- behind the
17 line marked 4A on Exhibit 173. Were you ever made aware
18 whether that structure was the command post of the
19 3rd Battalion of the 325th Brigade of the BH-Army?
20 A. I do not know the name of the unit, but I did go into
21 that building. It was occupied by the ABiH. I actually
22 went in as the result of a request from Pero Skopljak on
23 23rd May.
24 Q. Let me ask you, if you wished to strengthen your
25 position with respect to this bridge and an opposing
1 warring party at 4 and 4A, would you order the houses at
2 point 2 to be occupied by your forces?
3 A. I would, yes, but I would not expect them to shoot an
4 old man.
5 Q. You would not order them to shoot an old man, would you?
6 A. No.
7 Q. You would tell them that these houses are important, go
8 occupy them, correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. With respect to the 60 year old man who was killed on
11 this occasion, do you know how he was killed?
12 A. Only that he was shot.
13 Q. Do you know what the circumstances were?
14 A. No, I do not.
15 Q. I take it you were not there to see it?
16 A. No, as I said yesterday, I heard the rounds being fired,
17 just the one instance of ammunition being expended from
18 that direction. There was no return fire. I do not
19 know the circumstances, but he was shot.
20 Q. He was killed?
21 A. He was killed.
22 Q. Was there a fire in each of these houses on this
23 occasion, within the circle which is marked 2 on Exhibit
25 A. At least two of them had fires on the ground floor --
1 are you talking about fire as in conflagration as
2 opposed to bullets?
3 Q. Yes, I am speaking of fire as in flames and smoke.
4 A. Yes, two of them were, the large house here that
5 actually stood above the river and had a very good
6 vantage across it and I think possibly this one here,
7 I am not quite sure (indicates).
8 Q. If you could point on the ELMO, Major?
9 A. Sorry. This one here was burning and I think this one.
10 I went as far as here (indicates). I stayed in my
11 vehicle, I did not dismount.
12 Q. So you recall that perhaps two out of the five or six
13 structures within this circle had some sort of fire
14 within them?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did those fires consume the structures?
17 A. No, as you can see from this photograph taken later, the
18 roof is still intact.
19 Q. The roofs are intact on all of these buildings, correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Of course, that would be in the interest of the warring
22 party taking over these buildings not to destroy them if
23 in fact they wanted to use them, correct?
24 A. Yes, it would.
25 Q. Do you know whether any soldiers at the scene
1 participated in putting out any fires that may have
3 A. No, I do not know.
4 Q. You can turn back from the ELMO for the moment, thank
5 you Major. You spoke in your testimony of a later
6 conflict or military action involving this same terrain
7 in September 1993, correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Before we come to that in September, would I be correct
10 in stating that throughout the summer of 1993 the
11 BH-Army continued to hold the positions at 4 and 4A on
12 Exhibit 173?
13 A. Yes, that was very significant ground for the BiH.
14 Q. And the HVO continued to be denied the use of the road,
15 the bridge and so forth during that time period?
16 A. Yes, until September.
17 Q. Do you recall in late August or early September of 1993
18 the death of four or five Croat children from sniper
19 fire at a location near the UN club, which is a bit
20 above the point marked 3A, that is the letters 3A on
21 Exhibit 173?
22 MS PATERSON: Objection, your Honour, I believe this is
23 going outside the scope of direct.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, this is going outside the scope of
25 direct. I am sorry, Mr Hayman, this is completely
1 outside the scope of direct.
2 MR HAYMAN: I will state for the record, your Honour, the
3 witness described the attack on this location in
4 September 1993 by the HVO. If I am not allowed to
5 establish a rationale and a purpose for that action,
6 then I submit that I would urge the court to rethink
7 that ruling.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Ms Paterson, with the assistance of the
9 witness, can you tell us what happened during that
11 Major, could you remind us about what you said,
13 A. Yes, I described an attack in early September. At this
14 time I was not in Vitez, I was in Germany. I returned
15 on 8th September the day after the attack had been
16 completed. When I returned to the house here, which had
17 actually been very badly damaged by a mortar round, at
18 this time the HVO had succeeded in securing all of the
19 high ground here and the road was now open and there was
20 free traffic, HVO traffic, pedestrians and vehicles, now
21 crossing the bridge. From my colleagues who were in the
22 house who watched it from this location, they described
23 a very successful dismounted attack, with mortar
24 support, which very very quickly indeed secured that
1 JUDGE JORDA: You yourself were not there? That is you came
2 after the attack, in other words?
3 A. During the final attack, I was in Santici, unable to
4 proceed along the road to that location.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much.
6 MR HAYMAN: Your Honour, this attack is charged in the
7 indictment under counts 11 and 13, destruction and
8 plunder of property, as an attack on Grbavica in
9 September 1993, that is at page 9 of the second amended
11 JUDGE JORDA: I agree. Yes, that is part of the indictment,
12 that is true, but the Prosecutor did not consider that
13 it was important to dwell on that aspect in the
14 testimony at this point. The witness was not there at
15 the time.
16 Ms Paterson, do you wish to add something?
17 MS PATERSON: Just, your Honour, that the statement made by
18 the Major on direct was quite limited, simply
19 acknowledging that an attack did occur in September,
20 without going into any significant detail. As he
21 himself has said, he was not present on that occasion.
22 It is our position that this detailed questioning
23 concerning the attack is well beyond the scope of
25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that is correct. I agree with the
1 Prosecution. When you argue your case, Mr Hayman, you
2 can supplement things if you so desire, that is during
3 your part of the trial. Move to another question now,
5 MR HAYMAN: I will move on, your Honour. We would ask that
6 Major Hunter regrettably be made available in the
7 Defence case so he can address these issues and
8 illuminate them for the court.
9 JUDGE JORDA: You will do as you like in accordance with
10 your strategy, Mr Hayman. The presiding judge is not
11 going to be the one to tell you who to bring in and who
12 not to bring in. Go on.
13 MR HAYMAN: I am simply seeking the assistance of the court
14 in securing the reappearance of Major Hunter so we do
15 not have to go through a motion for him to appear and so
16 on and so forth. If the court does not wish to address
17 it now, I will not belabour the point.
18 JUDGE JORDA: No, we will not take up that issue right now.
19 MR HAYMAN: Let me direct your attention, Major, to your
20 meeting in the Hotel Vitez on 20th May 1993. You met,
21 as I understand it, with Messrs Santic, Valenta and
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. Did you understand them to be political or civil
1 A. I understood them to be the political leadership, or
2 representatives of the political leadership, of the HVO.
3 Q. When you say political leadership of the HVO, what would
4 the parallel be in the British military, political or
5 civil authorities?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. You spoke of seeing some radios in the Hotel
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I take it you are not able to identify the models?
11 A. Not at all. I actually made eye contact with the
12 operators rather than look at the equipment.
13 Q. Are you able to tell us that they were not British
14 manufactured radios?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. So one could not draw a direct analogy between these
17 radios and a radio in the stock of the British military?
18 A. Only that radio technology is the same all around the
19 world and some of the equipment I was initially trained
20 on was quite old, dating from the 1960s, so I am
21 familiar with what a set of a certain size is capable of
23 Q. Did these look like old sets?
24 A. Yes, I would say probably 60s, 70s technology.
25 Q. A proposal was made to you concerning the BH-Army
1 presence in Stari Vitez, correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Would you agree that the presence of the BH-Army in
4 Stari Vitez was of military significance to both warring
6 A. Yes, clearly it was.
7 Q. Can you illuminate that answer for us?
8 A. More important was the presence of the Muslim civilian
9 population. I am not sure of the strength of the ABiH
10 in Stari Vitez. It was not large.
11 Q. Let me ask you this. Would it be a drain on HVO
12 military resources and manpower to have to devote
13 resources to the containment and defence against
14 possible military actions from Stari Vitez?
15 A. It would be fairly easy to contain people within that
16 old quarter. What would be much more difficult would be
17 to capture it.
18 Q. You yourself said that during the course of the summer
19 there were attacks in the form of rifle fire, mortar
20 fire, RPG fire, both coming out of Stari Vitez as well
21 as going in?
22 A. Yes, generally more going in than going out. There were
23 clearly more HVO troops on the outside than there were
24 BiH on the inside.
25 Q. Those attacks that were coming out of Stari Vitez could
1 directly threaten the Hotel Vitez, the HVO command
2 location, correct?
3 A. There was not a line of sight.
4 Q. Could a mortar?
5 A. Yes, of course.
6 Q. An RPG?
7 A. No, it was line of sight.
8 Q. Only a mortar?
9 A. Just a mortar.
10 Q. When you came into the theatre, did you read any reports
11 or were you briefed on snipers firing on and indeed
12 hitting HVO negotiators as they were leaving UN Warriors
13 and entering the Hotel Vitez? Does that refresh any
15 A. I do not recall anyone being hit.
16 Q. Would you agree that if there was a line of sight sniper
17 fire from BH-Army positions in Stari Vitez to the area
18 of the Hotel Vitez, that would add to the military
19 threat to the HVO from that BH-Army presence?
20 A. There was clearly a threat from that presence, a threat
21 both ways.
22 Q. Would you also agree that the BH-Army had as a strategic
23 objective the linking up of other forces such as the
24 Third Corps forces in Zenica with BH-Army forces in
25 Stari Vitez?
1 A. Yes, a linking up with the aim of relieving the people
2 besieged in the old quarter.
3 Q. And providing munitions and new ammunition, arms and the
4 like, correct?
5 MS PATERSON: Mr President, we object again that this is
6 beyond the scope of direct.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I will try to bring some serenity back into
8 this courtroom. We have established a principle which
9 you are familiar with. This comes out of a certain
10 desire for finesse and not for Cartesian geometry. The
11 presiding judge speaking to you is attempting to ensure
12 that the questions of the examination and
13 cross-examination do not fundamentally go beyond the
14 scope of the examination, nor is the presiding judge
15 here in order to stop all possibilities which the judges
16 might have in order to get to the truth. Please, on
17 behalf of my colleagues a while back, I took a decision,
18 because it seemed to me that this was an attack for
19 which the witness had not been present at all. We can
20 allow the Defence to continue and I will be here to stop
21 things if things move too far away from the
23 Continue, Mr Hayman.
24 MR HAYMAN: Would you agree that there was a strategic
25 objective on behalf of the BH-Army to relieve the forces
1 within Stari Vitez?
2 A. More a humane one, I would have thought, because people
3 in there were quite hungry, obviously, and in fear for
4 their lives. I think the aim would have been to get
5 them out perhaps, or to make the place safer for them to
7 Q. You said that Mr Valenta expressed views which could be
8 described as being in favour of ethnic division,
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you ever hear of Tihomir Blaskic expressing any such
13 A. No.
14 Q. You were asked about whether Colonel Blaskic followed up
15 on this proposal with a letter or not and to your
16 knowledge he did not.
17 A. No, I do not know.
18 Q. You do not know either way?
19 A. I do not know either way.
20 Q. But you do know, correct, that this proposal was
21 followed up on 23rd May 1993 by Mr Skopljak in another
22 contact with UNPROFOR, correct?
23 A. I had a meeting with Skopljak on 23rd May.
24 Q. Did he state in that meeting, page 4 from your written
25 statement, third full paragraph:
1 "That the BH-Army troops in Stari Vitez should
2 hand over their weapons to UNPROFOR, the Army of BiH
3 would then be allowed to leave Stari Vitez and the HVO
4 would guarantee the safety of the Bosnian Muslims in
5 Stari Vitez."
6 A. Yes, this is a repetition of the original proposal.
7 Q. Was that proposal passed on to your commanding officer?
8 A. I briefed the commanding officer and as I said earlier,
9 I do not know whether the letter from Colonel Blaskic
10 was ever received.
11 Q. But you do know, do you not, that this proposal was
12 relayed to the Army of BiH and was rejected, correct?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. Now let me ask you to turn to your visit to Donje
15 Veceriska later in the day on 20th May 1993. This
16 village was located adjacent to the chemical works or
17 factory, also known as the SPS factory, correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. That was one of the largest explosives and munitions
20 factories in Bosnia, correct?
21 A. It was.
22 Q. Of tremendous military importance to both warring
23 parties, correct?
24 A. Absolutely vital.
25 MR HAYMAN: If I could ask the assistance of the Registrar,
1 your Honour, in retrieving Exhibit 164. I do not
2 believe there is any reason this should not be shown to
3 the witness, but I would ask the prosecutors to examine
4 the exhibit before it is given to the witness and to
5 confirm that. I do not believe this was a sealed
6 exhibit, Exhibit 164, involving the testimony of
7 Witness R.
8 MS PATERSON: I am sorry, Mr Hayman. I was speaking with
9 Mr Harmon. Can you repeat my question?
10 MR HAYMAN: My question to my learned colleagues across the
11 bar, your Honour, was simply to confirm that there is no
12 reason why this exhibit should not be shown to this
13 witness, Exhibit 164.
14 MS PATERSON: Yes, your Honour. The only reason -- there is
15 no problem showing it to the witness per se but it
16 should not be put on the ELMO, because it would identify
17 the witness who testified concerning that exhibit. So
18 as long as it is not put on the ELMO and made public in
19 any way, it is all right for them simply to refer to
21 JUDGE JORDA: You know, I know that you have systems
22 according to which judges are a little bit outside the
23 debate. My practice is somewhat different, so I do not
24 like it too much when you talk about exhibits amongst
25 yourselves. We can have a private session if you like,
1 but to participate in some kind of an agreement in front
2 of the judges, I do not find that quite convenient, and
3 I do not think it is acceptable in any legal system in
4 the world. I do not know what exhibit we are talking
5 about. If we have the agreement of the Prosecution, all
6 the better, but I want to know which exhibit we are
7 talking about, please.
8 MR HAYMAN: Of course, Mr President.
9 JUDGE JORDA: We can cut off the sound, if you prefer, but
10 the judges would like to know which exhibit we are
11 talking about.
12 MR HAYMAN: Yes, your Honour. I know these have been given
13 to the court, but I know retrieving them is very
14 burdensome and difficult. Exhibit 164 is an aerial
15 photograph and an accompanying legend that was utilised
16 during the testimony of Witness R, which was yesterday
17 and the day before, which I believe is public
19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
20 MR HAYMAN: This witness was in Donje Veceriska.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Fine, I see. You see, all we needed was a bit
22 of explanation, so I register too that we are not going
23 to have this exhibit on the ELMO, because it could
24 identify the witness. So please continue now.
25 MR HAYMAN: Major, I was looking at Exhibit 175, which if
1 you do not have it I would ask that you be provided with
2 it. That is the exhibit you have utilised to indicate
3 the points where you saw various things in Donje
4 Veceriska on 20th May 1993. Do you have that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Are you able to find the location of Exhibit 164 that is
7 what it depicts, on Exhibit 175 --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, Mr Hayman, please. I should
9 like the judges to have a copy of this exhibit. At
10 least one, please.
11 MR HAYMAN: Perhaps I can approach the witness and the court
12 can use my copy.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue. I think that we can all talk
14 about this now.
15 MR HAYMAN: Yes, Mr President.
16 Are you able to tell us, Major, on Exhibit 164,
17 which houses you saw burning on 20th May 1993, without
18 reference to the house identified as the house of a
19 particular witness. Utilising only the letters, please,
20 and the configuration of circles.
21 A. It is difficult to remember. Some of these houses were
23 Q. Some of the houses that are circled on Exhibit 164 at
24 the extreme right-hand edge?
25 A. Some of them were alight and the others had already been
1 burnt and there was no fire there. I cannot clearly
2 state which of the ones they were. I do have
3 photographs, but not with me, of the buildings which
4 would clarify that point.
5 Q. Do you think all of the houses you saw burning on that
6 occasion were houses that are circled on Exhibit 164, or
7 are you not able to make that statement?
8 A. Each of these circled houses was either alight or had
9 been burnt already.
10 Q. Were there any other houses burning, other than the
11 houses that are circled on the far right-hand extreme of
12 Exhibit 164?
13 A. None that I was aware of. The other houses shown as
14 burnt had already been burnt earlier.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Have we finished with this exhibit,
17 Mr Hayman?
18 MR HAYMAN: If I could just consult with my colleague, your
19 Honour? I think so, but I would like to consult.
20 (Pause). We are concluded with that exhibit,
21 Mr President.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Then, Mr Registrar, we should like to return
23 this exhibit, because we have it in our record from
24 yesterday's testimony. Thank you.
25 MR HAYMAN: Major, during your tour in Central Bosnia, did
1 you encounter any soldiers wearing HV patches, of the
2 Republic of Croatia, in Central Bosnia?
3 A. No, I never saw any. I understood that they were
4 present, but I never saw those badges.
5 Q. Where were they present? What was the basis of your
6 understanding in that regard?
7 A. Briefings which came from the intelligence officer of
8 the British battalion, who received that information
9 from superior headquarters.
10 Q. Where in Central Bosnia were you briefed that HV
11 soldiers were present?
12 A. I was not given specific locations.
13 Q. Were you ever told that HV soldiers were present in the
14 Lasva Valley in Central Bosnia?
15 A. I understood them to be present in the Lasva Valley, but
16 I never saw the badge.
17 Q. Can you tell us where we might find that information, if
18 you were briefed on some specifics, do you know where we
19 might find that?
20 A. It was never a specific detail, with a place name or
21 that sort of specific information. It was just that it
22 was thought that HV troops were present in the
23 Lasva Valley.
24 Q. But there was never a confirmed sighting by UNPROFOR, to
25 your knowledge?
1 A. Not to my knowledge.
2 MR HAYMAN: Thank you, Major Hunter. No further questions,
3 Mr President.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Ms Paterson, do you have any further points to
5 clarify in the re-examination?
6 Re-examined by MS PATERSON
7 Q. Yes, just very briefly, your Honour.
8 Major Hunter, when you went to the meeting at the
9 Hotel Vitez, you stated that you went to meet with three
10 what you thought to be civilian leaders, is that
12 A. I do not see the clear distinction between civilian and
13 military in the context of Central Bosnia. Yes, they
14 identified themselves as occupying civilian functions,
15 but a lot of people wore uniform, Mr Ante Valenta
16 himself wore a uniform. I saw it as part of the same
18 Q. When you went to the Hotel Vitez for this meeting, was
19 it your understanding that you were going to the
20 military headquarters of the HVO?
21 A. Yes, the three buildings, the police station, the PTT
22 building and the Hotel Vitez were three prime control
23 places for the HVO in Central Bosnia.
24 Q. Were you also aware that the Hotel Vitez was where then
25 Colonel Blaskic also had offices?
1 A. That was his headquarters.
2 Q. Finally, Major Hunter, in reference to the 2,000 Muslims
3 you said that were detained in Stari Vitez, that were
4 the subject of this discussion at the Hotel Vitez, can
5 you give us a rough estimate of how many of those 2,000
6 people were civilians, women and children, and
7 non-military people?
8 A. The great majority. Obviously, before the explosion of
9 the lorry bomb, most of the men of fighting age would
10 not have been in the town, they would have been on the
11 frontline engaging with the Bosnian Serb Army. The
12 explosion of that lorry bomb and the sealing off of
13 Stari Vitez left a predominantly old or young
15 MS PATERSON: Thank you, I have no further questions,
16 Mr President.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Judge Riad?
18 JUDGE RIAD: Good morning, Major Hunter.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. With regard to your meeting at the Hotel Vitez with
21 Santic, Ante Valenta and Pero Skopljak, you discussed as
22 you mentioned the problem of the ethnic strife, and they
23 came with the conclusion, as you mentioned it, that
24 there should be ethnically pure areas.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In the light of those, what would be done with the
2 minorities? Where were the minorities supposed to go,
3 were they supposed to be evacuated or killed or what?
4 A. The method of achieving the aim was not explained to me,
5 but the aim was made clear, that the HVO wanted a
6 Croatian Community and only a Croatian Community in
7 Central Bosnia in the Lasva Valley and that any Muslims
8 could go somewhere else.
9 Q. Would that mean that all the minorities would leave or
10 any place where there are Croats should be left to the
12 A. The proposal was tied in as well to the Vance-Owen Plan,
13 which was still alive at that time. This created
14 cantons in Bosnia, and these would be under the control
15 of one of the factions, and the canton that was proposed
16 in the Lasva Valley would have been a Croatian canton,
17 and the canton to the north, Zenica, would have been a
18 BiH Muslim canton, so this would tie in with Valenta's
19 policies, that any Muslims in the Lasva Valley ought
20 perhaps to be on the other side of the line in the
21 Muslim canton.
22 Q. So the idea was that the Lasva Valley would become
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. That was the bottom line?
1 A. That was quite clear, that this was a Croatian place and
2 Muslims really should not be there --
3 Q. The Lasva Valley?
4 A. The Lasva Valley.
5 Q. The proposals you mentioned, one of them that was
6 concerning Stari Vitez, one of them was that UNPROFOR
7 would take weapons from the Muslims and in case they do
8 not give up their weapons, the HVO will use force, is
9 that right?
10 A. Yes, that was the alternative.
11 Q. That was to use force in Stari Vitez?
12 A. Yes, to remove the weapons.
13 Q. To remove what, the civilians or the weapons?
14 A. He did not specify. It was the use of force -- the use
15 of force to solve the problem. He did not specify
16 exactly what that meant.
17 Q. In another -- when one of your other statements, you
18 said that you were also discussing it I think with Ante
19 Valenta, who did not indicate a solution, but you said
20 that you saw how it was done on the ground. I noted
21 that. How was it done on the ground?
22 A. By the forceful removal or killing.
23 Q. Removal or?
24 A. Killing.
25 Q. Of?
1 A. Of the Muslim people.
2 Q. Of the Warriors or of the civilians?
3 A. Of anybody, and then followed by the burning of the
4 houses, barns and the destruction of mosques.
5 Q. You mean the cleansing?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You mentioned that the BiH organised itself in the month
8 of May?
9 A. Yes, I think the BiH had not expected the attacks of mid
10 April by the HVO.
11 Q. That was after the attacks then?
12 A. Yes, they had to get together sufficient fighting men
13 back into the central Lasva Valley in order to create
14 defensive lines and, as I explained, to try to relieve
15 Stari Vitez. That took quite a long time, there was not
16 a great deal of transport, the movement of armies,
17 soldiers was quite medieval, it was on foot or on
18 horseback. It took time to get men and material in the
19 right place.
20 Q. But all that was after the events of April?
21 A. That is my understanding.
22 Q. After Ahmici and Stari Vitez?
23 A. After Ahmici and the explosion.
24 Q. So this did not provoke the events of April?
25 A. No, that was a response to those attacks.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Major.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Riad. Judge Shahabuddeen?
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Major, Defence counsel was talking to
4 you about fires burning in certain buildings, and about
5 HVO soldiers being present in the vicinity.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I think he asked you about whether any of them
8 participated in putting out the fires, and you said you
9 did not know. Was that your best answer, did you not
10 know, you saw them participating in putting out fires or
11 you saw them not participating in putting out fires?
12 A. These are the houses opposite the UN base on 19th May.
13 I did not even -- I went across the investigate the
14 buildings. I was aware of some movement amongst the
15 houses, but not a great deal. There were very few
16 soldiers there, maybe just eight, that sort of small
17 group. But they were not -- they did not make
18 themselves come out in the open, they were inside the
19 buildings. I just occasionally could see some fleeting
20 glimpses. Of course, that was a dangerous location,
21 they could be fired on by the BiH, as indeed happened on
22 a daily basis across that bridge. So I cannot clarify.
23 The fires did go out or were put out because the HVO
24 wanted those houses, they became part of their defensive
1 Q. Let me ask you another question. The HVO were in Vitez
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And ABiH were in Stari Vitez. When you take everything
5 into account, as an experienced military officer, what
6 judgment did you then make as to which side had the
7 military advantage?
8 A. The BiH in Stari Vitez were at a significant
9 disadvantage. They could only survive on any food that
10 we brought in, although they were able to grow food as
11 well, there were some fields and gardens they could grow
12 food in the summer, but there was no way they could
13 resupply themselves with ammunition.
14 Q. Let me go to a question which Judge Riad asked you. You
15 were talking about the conversation Mr Ante Valenta had
16 with you about ethnic division. Your words, as I took
17 them down, Judge Riad also took them down, were to this
19 "I was able to witness on the ground the way it
20 was being achieved, or the way it was occurring, but he
21 did not say in any words whatsoever."
22 Do I gather from that what you were saying was you
23 understood him to be declaring a policy of ethnic
24 division and an intent to implement that policy, but he
25 did not specify in words the methods by which the policy
1 would be implemented?
2 A. That was my understanding. In fact in my diary that
3 day, I used the word "fascist policy", as a shorthand
5 Q. Let me ask you a little question about the military
6 significance which contending military forces may attach
7 to the territory they are defending. Could it be like
8 this, that if you have two opposing military forces,
9 each force may see a distinct military advantage in
10 holding on to its own territory for its own sake. Then
11 you have another situation in which a military force may
12 not see any independent military advantage in holding on
13 to its territory, but would hold on to it merely for
14 some ancillary reason, such as protecting civilians; in
15 other words, if they were not there, that military force
16 would not see any military significance in holding on to
17 that territory. How do you react to this rather
18 convoluted statement of mine?
19 A. In Stari Vitez?
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. My understanding, the BiH presence was there because
22 they could not get out, you have to accept that there
23 was I think very little movement. There may have been
24 some foot movement across the fields at night, but very
25 low level. My understanding was that they were there to
1 protect the civilian population of Stari Vitez, and that
2 there was no particular advantage from a military point
3 of view of the BiH remaining there, other than the
4 protection of property, a very old mosque from 1590,
5 I think it was, but no military significance.
6 Q. May I sum up this phase of your testimony to mean this:
7 that while the BiH was there protecting civilians, they
8 would have seen some incidental military advantage in
9 holding on to some specific position for the purpose of
10 affording that defence to the civilians, but that if the
11 civilians were not there, they would not have seen any
12 military significance in holding on to Stari Vitez?
13 A. If somehow when the lorry bomb had exploded there had
14 been no civilian population in Stari Vitez but the BiH
15 had been there, I suspect they would not have remained.
16 Probably using UNPROFOR, they would have left.
17 Q. Against all that you have told us, what, in your
18 judgment as a military officer, would have happened to
19 the civilians in Stari Vitez if your military unit had
20 escorted the BiH soldiers out of the area?
21 A. I do not think they would have stayed there very long.
22 I suspect there would have been the use of force to
23 encourage them to leave straight away.
24 Q. You heard from your intelligence unit that the HV
25 soldiers were present in the Lasva Valley. Did you
1 understand that the HV soldiers were there acting
2 independently or acting in co-operation with the HVO?
3 A. I believe, this is an opinion, that they would have
4 identified themselves as being of the same group of
5 people, working towards the same end.
6 Q. Major, drawing on your military experience what is the
7 general position in this scenario, a scenario in which
8 different military units are co-operating with a view to
9 achieving a common objective. Is it the general pattern
10 that to achieve coherence, they would tend to act under
11 a single supreme command?
12 A. It would be very dangerous not to.
13 Q. From your information and from your observations, was
14 there a supreme military command on the Croatian side?
15 A. Yes, the organisation based in Hotel Vitez.
16 Q. And who was that commander?
17 A. Colonel Blaskic. You may be aware that there was during
18 the summer a Croatian helicopter landing frequently in
19 the quarry about two kilometres south of the British
20 battalion location, so this obviously gives the
21 possibility of communication and bringing in valuable
22 items such as detonators perhaps, which are low in
23 weight but high in value, so there was the possibility
24 of communication right the way through the summer of
25 1993 between Croatia proper and the HVO enclave in
1 Central Bosnia.
2 Q. Would I be right in supposing that the pattern of
3 organisation on the Croatian side was this, that there
4 would have been a political department and the military
5 department, but both acting in co-operation with each
7 A. Yes, the brain and the arms, if you like, of policy.
8 Q. Would Colonel Blaskic then have been the military
9 officer tasked with the responsibility of implementing
10 the policies of Mr Valenta and other senior political
11 Croatian leaders?
12 A. That would be the logical conclusion.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Major, for following these
15 questions. I have only a few clarifications.
16 Concerning the meeting in Hotel Vitez, you spoke about
17 the Vance-Owen Plan. You are not a politician, so you
18 would not like to make any judgments, but you were on
19 the spot. In your opinion, what interest was there in
20 putting into effect by force the provisions of the
21 Vance-Owen Plan, when that plan envisaged that this
22 canton, including the Lasva Valley, was to be Croatian
23 in any event? Was there any particular interest in
24 evacuating by force and violence a territory which, in
25 any event it would appear would have come under Croatian
2 A. I believe the Vance-Owen Plan gave that process a
3 deadline. It was better to achieve this ethnic
4 separation as quickly as possible, so that when the plan
5 came into operation and the cantons were created, the
6 Croat community would have a more secure canton; they
7 would have avoided any problems in the future, perhaps
8 when the area was more peaceful. They were trying to
9 clear the decks, if you like, before the Vance-Owen Plan
10 came into effect.
11 Q. In a sense it would not be wrong to say that they were
12 preparing against the possible return in the future when
13 this canton really became Croatian?
14 A. I believe they were attempting to remove any future
15 problems which a Muslim minority could have caused in
16 the government and the policies of that canton.
17 Possibly there may have been -- I would not have thought
18 there was an imperative perhaps towards that area
19 becoming a part of a greater Croatia, to some sort of
20 union federation with Croatia proper.
21 Q. At that same meeting that you attended, was reference
22 made to the customs, the rules and customs of war,
23 respect of civilians, protection of protected persons?
24 Was it referred to by these leaders who were both
25 military and political leaders, or not at all?
1 A. There were no military leaders present at this meeting.
2 In the words he used, which came to me through an
3 interpreter, I would add, he implied, it was implicit,
4 I think, that the involvement of UNPROFOR would
5 guarantee that this process would be carried out in that
6 manner, but I would say also that I had little faith in
7 that being the case. I saw it as a polite way of
8 explaining the policy.
9 Q. Would you characterise the situation you found in the
10 field during your tour as a situation of war, classical
11 war, or terrorism or -- how would you describe this, as
12 a military man?
13 A. In the Lasva Valley it was -- it was not classical war.
14 The position perhaps on the front lines, which had
15 stabilised with the Serb Army, you could call it
16 19th century-type of warfare, with trench lines and
17 bunkers and some movement, but inside the Lasva Valley,
18 in May and June, no, it was a very unpleasant murderous
19 business. There were purely military operations, of
20 course, and I am also aware that there were very
21 reasonable and decent people involved on both sides, but
22 at the same time, there were some extremely unpleasant
23 personalities and some very unpleasant deeds were
25 Q. Is it indiscreet to ask you why you took photographs?
1 A. Of the burning houses?
2 Q. Yes, the burning houses.
3 A. Not at all, no. I had my camera with me throughout the
4 tour, I had only been on the ground at that stage for
5 nine days, it was something that I thought it was worth
6 recording. I did not take many more such pictures
7 afterwards because it was an everyday occurrence.
8 Q. My last question, and do not answer it if you consider
9 it to be too personal. You have referred to your diary;
10 a personal, intimate diary?
11 A. Yes, I kept a diary from my day of arrival until I left
12 in November. I have it with me, it is just my thoughts,
13 mainly, of what I had witnessed, where I had been, the
14 sort of jobs that we were doing, a lot of personal
15 details as well.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Major. I turn to my colleagues, no
17 additional questions? In that case, the Tribunal should
18 like to thank you for coming to testify about your
19 experiences. You can now rejoin your unit.
20 The judges are going to have a 20 minute break and
21 we will resume work at 12.20. The hearing is
23 (12.05 pm)
24 (A short break)
25 (12.30 pm)
1 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume. Have the accused brought
2 in, please.
3 (Accused brought in)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Harmon?
5 MR HARMON: Good morning, Mr President, your Honours and
6 counsel. Our next witness is a protected witness, she
7 will be identified as Witness Q. Mr President, her
8 testimony relates to the following counts of the
9 indictment: count 1, counts 2 to 4, counts 11 to 13 and
10 counts 15 to 16.
11 Mr President, with this witness we will be moving
12 out of the Vitez municipality and into the Busovaca
13 municipality. This witness lived in a Muslim village of
14 Loncari and if I could have the ELMO turned on, I have
15 indicated with a pointer, Mr President and counsel, the
16 location of the village of Loncari.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Have the ELMO come on, please. In the future
18 perhaps if this could be prepared in advance during the
19 20 minute pause. The document is ready. There is a
20 slight technical problem. All right, continue
21 Mr Harmon, please.
22 MR HARMON: I will continue, Mr President. Witness Q will
23 testify that before 16th April, she saw Dario Kordic and
24 the accused on television on a number of occasions and
25 she will tell your Honours what she remembers about
1 those television programmes. Then, Mr President, she
2 will turn her attention to events that immediately
3 preceded the attack on the village of Loncari.
4 Specifically, Mr President, she will describe an
5 ultimatum by the HVO to the villagers of Loncari to turn
6 in their weapons, under guarantee that their safety
7 would be assured if they did that.
8 She will testify about events that took place
9 after that guarantee was given, how in the ensuing days,
10 the HVO came to her village, how they rounded up
11 civilian males and removed them from her village. She
12 will also then testify about the attacks on adjacent
13 villages, the adjacent villages being Jelinak, Putis and
14 Merdani, and her observations of those attacks. Lastly,
15 Mr President, she will testify about how HVO soldiers
16 came to her village, after the men had been rounded up,
17 and how they systematically burned every house in the
18 village of Loncari with gasoline, with the exception of
19 one Muslim house.
20 She will describe how she left the village and
21 lastly, she will describe how she never again saw her
22 husband alive. Those are the points, Mr President and
23 your Honours, about which she will be testifying.
24 Mr President, on the ELMO is now the image 29C with the
25 pointer pointed to the village of Loncari.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr Harmon. We can now have the
2 witness brought in and have the curtains lowered.
3 Perhaps this could be done in advance.
4 (Witness entered court)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Witness Q, do you hear me?
6 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can hear you.
7 JUDGE JORDA: We will first ask you to look at a paper and
8 see your name, but ask you not to say it out loud. Just
9 look at the name but do not say it.
10 THE WITNESS: Yes.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Now while you are still seated, we will ask
12 you to read the solemn declaration which has been given
13 to you. Go ahead. Please read the declaration aloud.
14 WITNESS Q (sworn)
15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Witness Q, you agreed to testify
16 here as part of the trial in this Tribunal of General
17 Blaskic, and the Tribunal is appreciative of that. The
18 Prosecutor must have explained to you how things will be
19 conducted, he gave us the general outlines of your
20 testimony. You will explain all of that in your own
21 words, the Prosecutor will ask you some questions,
22 either while you are testifying or afterwards.
23 Naturally General Blaskic's attorneys will also ask you
24 questions, as will the judges. You have nothing to
25 fear, you are under the protection of the Tribunal and
1 you are enjoying protective measures which are very
3 Mr Harmon, you may begin.
4 Examined by MR HARMON
5 Q. Thank you, Mr President.
6 Good morning, Witness Q.
7 A. Good morning.
8 Q. Let me ask you some background questions first. Are you
9 25 years old?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Are you a Bosnian by nationality and a Muslim by
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In April 1993, were you married and did you have two
15 small children, ages three and a half and aged 11
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. In April 1993, was your late husband employed at the
19 steel factory in Zenica and were you employed in the
20 home as a housewife?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In April 1993, were you living in the village of
23 Loncari, and had you been living there for five or six
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Is the village of Loncari located in the Busovaca
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Lastly, was the village of Loncari a Muslim village?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Let me turn briefly to just some preliminary questions
7 about your late husband. In April 1993, was he in the
8 Territorial Defence?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did he perform guard duty in and around your village?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. When he performed that guard duty, did he have any
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. At some point in time, and I would like you to tell the
16 judges in your own words, what happened to the weapons
17 that the Muslims in the village of Loncari had? Would
18 you turn your attention to the judges, please, and tell
19 the judges in your own words what happened to those
21 A. The weapons that we had, that is our men, were taken
22 from us by the HVO soldiers.
23 Q. If you could give a narrative form and add some detail
24 and just tell the judges the circumstances under which
25 those weapons were taken.
1 A. Yes. They gave us an ultimatum that we had to turn over
2 these weapons and then we would be safe. Then they
3 turned them over.
4 Q. As a result of that ultimatum, Witness Q, did the
5 Muslims in your village turn over all of their weapons,
6 to your knowledge?
7 A. Yes, they turned over everything that they had.
8 Q. After they turned in their weapons and prior to the
9 attack on the villages surrounding your village, did you
10 see any weapons in your village?
11 A. I did not understand you. Could you repeat, please?
12 Q. Yes. After the weapons were turned in as a result of
13 the ultimatum, did you see any weapons in your village?
14 A. No, there was none left in our village.
15 Q. Before I direct your attention to the attacks that took
16 place on the adjacent village and your village, I would
17 like to first have you examine the next exhibit which
18 I believe, Mr Dubuisson, is Prosecutor's Exhibit 178, is
19 that the correct number? Then if I could have the
20 assistance of the usher, Prosecutor's 178 placed on the
22 Let me ask you some questions, Witness Q.
23 A. Very well.
24 Q. Have you had an opportunity to see a large map and have
25 you circled on that map the villages of Jelinak, Putis
1 and Merdani and Loncari?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is the village of Jelinak indicated by the letter A, the
4 village of Putis by the letter B, the village of Merdani
5 by the letter C?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Please, Witness Q, I would like to now turn your
8 attention to the attacks that took place starting on
9 16th April. In your own words, can you tell the judges
10 in a narrative form what you observed on 16th April in
11 respect of attacks on other villages, to carry them
12 through all the way to the attack that took place on
13 your village. Take your time, in your own words, please
14 tell the judges what you saw.
15 A. On April 16th, just before dusk, we saw a lot of
16 soldiers, and we saw their women, that is the women and
17 children of the HVO, who were going in the direction of
18 Busovaca. After that, the shooting started, and
19 shelling, which was terrible. They were shooting
20 throughout the night, and shelled those surrounding
21 villages. This went on the whole night, the shooting
22 and the shelling.
23 In the morning, when the HVO military arrived to
24 search our houses, and they took our men away. They
25 were searching the houses, and then I saw in front of my
1 own house three soldiers who were standing there and
2 were banging at the door very hard.
3 I went up to see what they wanted, and to open the
4 door for them. Then they asked me where my husband
5 was. I told them that I did not know. I said that he
6 was probably in Zenica. I was lying then, because I was
7 afraid for my husband. Then they started cursing me,
8 they cursed my balija mother, and saying that I was
9 lying to them. Across from my house, about 30 metres
10 away, there was another house and he asked me, "who
11 lives there?". I said that a man lived there, an
12 elderly man lived there. Then he asked me, "how come an
13 elderly man lived there when there is a laundry up on
14 the line there, being dried?", and I said that probably
15 somebody was working there for him, because he was too
16 old to work.
17 Then they told me to walk in front of them, and
18 I went to my mother-in-law's house and my
19 brother-in-law, the late brother-in-law. In front of
20 this house, he asked me if there was anybody in that
21 house, and I told him nobody except my sister-in-law who
22 was pregnant. He said if I go in there and find
23 somebody, find a man, I am going to kill both you and
24 the person I find in there. I told him, "there is
25 no one there". After that, he came to my
1 mother-in-law's house and he asked my mother-in-law
2 where her husband was. She said that her husband died a
3 long time ago. He also started cursing her balija
4 mother, and he asked her where her sons were, and then
5 she said that she did not know where her sons were.
6 After that, they pulled back about ten metres away
7 from the house and they started talking. Then they
8 returned, and they took me out of the house. One of
9 them ordered me, and he had a gun pointed at me, he
10 ordered me to open each one of the rooms in the house.
11 I was walking in front of him and I had to open up each
12 door, so that he could see that no one was inside. When
13 I opened up the kitchen door, my children were in there,
14 and my sister-in-law's son and only women were there,
15 and then he saw that there were no men there.
16 Then he asked whether there was anybody behind the
17 sofa, and I said no, there was not anybody there. He
18 did not believe me, and he told me and my sister-in-law
19 to pull the sofa away. We did this, and there was
20 no one there. Then they came out and they asked me
21 whether there was anybody upstairs. I told him that
22 there was not, and in fact I did know that there were
23 people there, my husband was there, and my
24 brother-in-law, who was 15, and my aunt's son, who was
25 15, and they were hiding up in the attic. He said that
1 if he found anybody upstairs that he would kill me and
2 whoever he finds up there.
3 I then swore on my life that there was nobody
4 there and they left, they did not search. After that,
5 I looked through my mother-in-law's window. There were
6 a lot of men, children of 15 who they found in the
7 houses, and whom they took to a road, and obviously they
8 were carrying weapons, rifles and they were pointing
9 them at these people and they also had the HVO patches
10 on them. There were 25 people who were taken away then,
11 including the children of 15, and I never saw them
13 They took them away down in the direction of
14 Busovaca. After that, my husband and my brother-in-law
15 and the boy that was with them had to come downstairs
16 and to go and hide in the woods. We told them to flee
17 the house, and that is what they did. They left, in the
18 direction of the woods, of the forest that was there.
19 They went in and they hid there all day long.
20 After that, a neighbour of mine arrived who
21 brought me my husband's message, that I should prepare
22 some food both for him and the people who were there
23 with him. I went to my house, because my house was
24 about 30 metres away from my mother-in-law's house.
25 I went to collect some food. There was terrible
1 shooting at that time, I had to run, so I did. I came
2 to my house.
3 When I came in the vicinity of my house, I heard
4 some noise, behind my house there was a forest, and
5 somebody was saying, "stop, I will kill you". I took a
6 few things, food, that is, to go and prepare it for them
7 so they could have something to eat.
8 I came down to my house, I told my sister-in-law
9 that that is what I heard, that somebody was probably
10 captured there, so we prepared lunch or dinner. Nobody
11 was showing up from among our men. It was already late
12 in the evening when my husband and his relatives came.
13 They were very shaken, they could not speak, let alone
14 eat. My husband was just kissing my children and was
15 not saying a thing, not a word. He was just looking at
16 the children and filled with fear, what would happen to
17 his children, what was going to happen then. That night
18 the whole night we spent together, we were there.
19 In the morning, we had to get up early, because we
20 were not even sleeping. Early in the morning, I gave my
21 husband my robe and my scarf, so that he could put it on
22 and hide that he was a man. We went to the barn where
23 the hay was, and I covered him with hay so that he would
24 not be seen, and he told me not to say anything to the
25 mother about any captures, because he saw that his two
1 brothers were taken away by the HVO. I just kept silent
2 and I went back.
3 That day, there was also terrible shooting. It
4 was terrible, shelling and shooting. I went to see what
5 my husband was doing. He was very scared, he could not
6 talk and he did not eat anything that day either. We
7 were in the house and the shooting went on and on.
8 After that, I came out in front of the house. When
9 I turned around, I saw that Jelinak was on fire.
10 I entered the house to be with my children, and I was
11 not talking, I was crying, I was afraid.
12 After that, a relative of my husband appeared at
13 the door, who asked for my husband, where he was, to
14 tell him that they had to flee, because Jelinak was
15 already on fire and soon they will be coming to set our
16 own village on fire. Then I went to the barn to tell my
17 husband that they had to flee. My husband came out, he
18 came and he was still very afraid. He himself did not
19 know what to do. They saw that they had to run away and
20 they got ready for that.
21 After that, my husband came, came to the door and
22 asked me to bring out the children, to see his
23 children. He kissed them and he told me not to be
24 afraid, that nothing will happen to me, so he was trying
25 to keep me brave so that I would stay there with my
1 children. I was crying, he was kissing the children and
2 he had to go.
3 My husband left then, and I have never seen him
4 again. Half an hour went by, and terrible shooting
5 could be heard in the village, the shooting was terrible
6 and through the window, I saw the HVO military
7 approaching our house. My son was 11 months old then,
8 then I got him ready because I knew that I would have to
9 run and my daughter was three and a half at the time.
10 They came in front of the house, the HVO military, with
11 the HVO insignia. Some had stockings over their faces,
12 some did not. Then they told us to come out of the
13 house. We had to come out of the house.
14 I carried out my 11 month old child, and I was
15 barefoot, I was holding my daughter with my other hand.
16 They ordered us then to go to my sister-in-law's house,
17 and that is where we were standing in front of her
18 house, and HVO soldier entered into my sister-in-law's
19 house, he had a canister in his house. There was some
20 fuel, maybe petrol in it. I heard him banging around
21 the house and turning things over, breaking things.
22 I believe that he was looking for weapons then but he
23 did not find anything. I was standing in front of the
25 I asked one HVO soldier whether I could enter the
1 house to take Pampers for my child. He said that
2 I could, but I had to come back right away, so I went
3 in, I took them and I came back right out and I already
4 saw that he had taken the canister and he was pouring
5 whatever it was, it could have been oil or fuel, but he
6 set my sister-in-law's house on fire. Then he also did
7 it to my mother-in-law's house, I saw it burning. Then
8 the HVO soldiers told us to go in front of them. We
9 went to the mektep, and there were a lot of our people
10 there. The HVO soldiers kept their guns pointed at us.
11 They had the HVO insignia, insignia of the HVO. There
12 were a lot of people there from Jelinak, Putis, they
13 were all underage children, elderly men and children, so
14 there were the HVO and the HV people there.
15 Near the mektep, there was a cow mooing terribly
16 because it was on fire. When they gathered us all
17 together, the HVO soldiers, they also kept their guns
18 pointed at us and they made us enter the mektep and we
19 did enter the mektep. There were about 200 people
20 there, mostly children and women and the elderly. We
21 entered there and we sat there. They told us not to try
22 to come out, because if anybody did, they would kill
23 him. We did not dare come out, because we were told
24 that we would be killed if we did.
25 After a while, we saw that everything was on fire,
1 there was shooting and it was terrible, terrible. We
2 were in great fear, fear when you see that everything
3 was burning, and what would happen to us. Then I had to
4 go and see what was -- I had to go to my house, because
5 my child was 11 months old and he was hungry, my
6 daughter was hungry, all the children were hungry.
7 I went to my house to see whether there was anything
8 that I could find him so that they could eat. I went
9 with my sister-in-law, we were in great fear because
10 everything was on fire, terrible shooting. I went to my
11 house which had already burnt down. There was nothing
12 I could find there.
13 I went to my mother-in-law's, to her house, and
14 that house was also on fire, but I found a T-shirt which
15 I put over my nose and mouth so that I entered the
16 house, even though it was on fire, it was filled with
17 smoke, but I had to go in and see if I could find
18 anything for my children, for the other children, but
19 no, there was nothing there either. Everything had
20 burned down. There was just a bag with clothing which
21 had started to burn. I took that and I brought it out.
22 I then returned to the mektep, because everything had
23 burned down and there was nothing to be found there.
24 So for a while we were there in fear, and after
25 that, we decided to go in the direction of Vrhovine, and
1 then whatever the fate would give us, whatever would
2 happen to us, because there was nothing for us there, it
3 was over, everything had burned down. Then we agreed to
4 get going, it was already night, and we went up in that
5 direction, there was mud on the road, my three and
6 a half year old daughter was barefoot. She could not
7 walk, and I had to carry the 11 month old son, and I was
8 hungry too, I had not eaten anything. The children were
9 crying, they had nothing to eat, and they could not
10 walk. So we walked for a while, and we heard some
11 voices which were telling us to stop. We had to stop.
12 When we approached, we saw the HVO soldiers with
13 the HVO insignia on them. They asked us where we were
14 going, in which direction we were going, and we told
15 them that we were going up towards Vrhovine. They said,
16 "nothing doing, you are not going anywhere". They
17 started taunting us, they started cursing our balija
18 mothers. They said, "Alija fuck your mothers, you are
19 not going anywhere. You have to keep silent", so we
21 Then they ordered us to go into a house. We
22 entered this house, the house had three rooms, and 200
23 of us, women, children, we all had to accommodate
24 ourselves in those three rooms, and we entered and we
25 sat down. I was sitting on my knees, and holding on to
1 my two children. I had them in my lap, so I could not
2 turn, let alone move, because everything was packed. It
3 was a lot of children, helpless children, as well as
4 women and men.
5 We sat there, they brought in a candle for us
6 which could not last very long. The children were
7 crying because they were hungry. Then a soldier came
8 and was asking for me and my sister-in-law, and my
9 uncle's wife. I kept silent. I did not dare say
10 anything. So I was silent and I was looking at my
11 children. I covered them, because the children were
13 After that, an HVO soldier came who was terrible,
14 he had a long coat on him, and the HV insignia on him.
15 When he entered the room, he started cursing, "where are
16 your men, balijas? This is no place for you. You
17 belong in Turkey, that is where you should be". So he
18 cursed our balija mothers. We had to keep silent. We
19 were helpless and we did not dare speak. Then he asked
20 where our husbands were. We just kept silent, because
21 we did not dare say anything.
22 After that, he pulled out a big knife, a knife
23 which had blood on it, and this HVO soldier was Cicko.
24 I know him as Cicko, I know his name, Miroslav Bralo.
25 He pulled out a big bloodied knife, which he showed us
1 and he said, "you see, balijas, you see this knife?
2 With this knife, I was slitting throats in Ahmici and
3 that is exactly what I am going to do with you". We
4 just kept silent, we did not dare even look. Then my
5 daughter who was three, three and a half then, she
6 started to scream and she said, "cover me, he is going
7 to kill me, the soldier is going to kill me". I had to
8 cover her, because he said, "if I hear any child scream
9 or cry in front of me ", he would kill them. So
10 I covered my daughter with a blanket so that he would
11 not hear her. After that he left. We were in great
12 fear because that man, the man who talked such things,
13 he is still walking around Vitez and he is still
14 terrorising victims. He is still free.
15 After that, a relative of ours went out to the
16 hallway to ask something, probably to ask something, and
17 then we heard him being beaten, beaten with rifle
18 butts. He quickly returned. When he came back in, his
19 face was bloodied. He just bowed his head and looked in
20 front of him. That night was terrible, we were in
21 fear. There was shooting going on around the house
22 where we were. They were scaring us. They were
23 shooting a lot. We were just scared, scared.
24 When it dawned the next morning, the poor children
25 were exhausted. We were keeping them in our laps, even
1 two, even three if we had to, in our lap or in our
2 arms. A relative came who said that we should get
3 ready, that we would be searched, that we would be
4 frisked and then apparently that we would be let go, so
5 we got ready, we got our children ready and we were
6 prepared to come out. The daughter was with my
7 mother-in-law, I only had my son with me. When I came
8 out, my daughter was about 10 metres away from me.
9 An HVO soldier who had the HVO insignia was
10 frisking me to see whether I had anything. I asked him,
11 "please let me die together with my daughter, she is
12 over there with my mother-in-law, we want to die
13 together". He let me, and then I went over to my
14 daughter and a HVO soldier whose nickname was Joza, he
15 showed us the road where we were going to go. We
16 thought then that we were going to be taken to be
17 executed. We went, carrying our children, we thought
18 that at any moment they would start shooting at us. We
19 wanted to have our children next to us. We went for a
20 while and then the HVO soldier, whom I know by the name
21 of Joza, he told us to keep going straight, that nobody
22 was to go anywhere off the road, because if they did,
23 they would be killed.
24 So we went for a while, we went for quite a while,
25 and we came to Vrhovine. When we came to Vrhovine,
1 there was terrible shelling there. Any moment you would
2 expect it when you would just fall, you would be killed,
3 they were shooting and it was terrible. There was
4 shooting and shelling. We were in the basement. We
5 were spending horrible days and nights because there was
6 not a moment without shooting or shelling. We spent
7 seven days in this basement, and there was heavy
8 shelling all around us, we were expecting to be killed
9 at any moment.
10 After seven days, an elderly man, he had remained
11 in Loncari, he had trouble walking, he was very old, he
12 was 70 or 80 years old, I do not know exactly. He
13 arrived up there and he told us that he was in Ahmici,
14 because this man did not know what had happened, he was
15 in Ahmici when the HVO military spotted him, the men
16 with the HVO uniform and they shot over his head. They
17 were scaring him, they were telling him, "old man, we
18 will kill you now". He then said, "kill me, I am not
19 afraid of death". Then they told him, these HVO
20 military, "no, we will not kill you, old man. We will
21 kill your youth, we will kill the young ones".
22 This is what he told us when he arrived. The man
23 was very scared, he was a helpless man. This is about
24 it, I think.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Witness Q this was a very complete
1 narrative of what happened to you. We are going to
2 suspend the hearing and we will resume at 2.45, during
3 which time the Prosecutor will ask some additional
5 A. Thank you.
6 JUDGE JORDA: We will start again at 2.45.
7 (1.15 pm)
8 (Adjourned until 2.45 pm)
1 (2.45 pm)
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now. Please have
3 the accused brought in.
4 (Accused brought in)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Harmon, Witness Q, you told us about the
6 essential events at which you were present and I believe
7 that the Prosecutor will now ask you more specific
8 questions in support of the indictment against General
9 Blaskic. You will not repeat everything you said, but
10 you will be asked to provide some clarifications by the
11 questions that the Prosecutor will ask you.
12 Mr Prosecutor, please proceed.
13 MR HARMON: Thank you, Mr President.
14 Good afternoon, Witness Q.
15 A. Good afternoon.
16 Q. You testified that on 16th April, when you were awakened
17 by shelling, that you saw the villages of Jelinak, Putis
18 being attacked and you saw Merdani being shelled. Can
19 you describe to the judges what you saw in respect of
20 HVO soldiers advancing on the village of Jelinak? How
21 many soldiers you saw, which route they were taking,
22 which road they were taking?
23 A. HVO soldiers were coming along the road leading from
24 Busovaca. They were coming from that direction. At the
25 time, I saw some people coming in a van, others in cars,
1 some were coming on foot, and the men on foot. I saw
2 very many of those soldiers, I cannot remember the
3 number because at the time I really did not care about
4 counting them, I just saw them. But in any event they
5 were very numerous.
6 I saw them shelling Merdani and Putis from
7 Busovaca. The shells were falling. When the soldiers
8 got there firing could be heard first and after that
9 shelling. The sound was terrible, and I saw them
10 passing through and I saw them taking their own families
11 away. They were taking their wives and children in the
12 direction of Busovaca, of course. They were taking them
13 to Busovaca.
14 Q. On 16th April, your village, the village of Loncari, was
15 not attacked, was it?
16 A. No, it was not.
17 Q. Now I would like to turn your attention to the next day,
18 the day that the men were rounded up in the village of
19 Loncari. Can you describe to the judges how the
20 soldiers who came to round up the Muslim men in your
21 village were dressed and how they were armed?
22 A. The HVO soldiers were dressed in camouflage uniforms,
23 and they had the usual HVO insignia on their sleeves,
24 they were well armed, they held belts across their
25 chests and they had automatic rifles.
1 Q. Approximately how many soldiers did you see -- HVO
2 soldiers did you see participating in a round up of the
3 Muslim men in your village on that day?
4 A. Approximately there were about, I believe there were
5 more than 30 of them, because there were those who
6 rounded up our men, there were 25 of our men, they took
7 those 25 men away, and they ranged between 15 and 30
8 years of age, and the boys of 15 that were taken away,
9 I never saw them again, nor anyone else among us ever
10 saw them again.
11 Q. Those soldiers who came to your village were insulting
12 you and insulting the other people who lived in the
13 village. Can you be a little more explicit about the
14 insults that you were hearing them direct toward you and
15 toward the other villagers?
16 A. This is how they insulted us. They said "balijas, go to
17 Turkey, this is not any place for you. It never was.
18 This is Croatian land. This is the land of the HVO
19 army". They would also say that Alija should fuck our
20 mothers, that he too should go to Turkey, and all kinds
21 of such awful insults.
22 Q. Now, is the term "balija" an insult?
23 A. I think it is, because after all, we are one people, we
24 are by religion Muslims and he was insulting us by
25 saying this.
1 Q. Now let me turn to the third day, the day that your
2 village was set on fire. Did you have an opportunity to
3 look in the direction of Putis and Jelinak, and can you
4 describe to the judges what you saw the state of those
5 villages to be?
6 A. Do you want me to show it or to describe it? I did not
7 quite understand the question.
8 Q. Describe it, please.
9 A. To describe it, I see. I did see Jelinak and Putis,
10 which was shelled heavily, and exposed to a lot of
11 fire. I saw the village in flames, burning. We saw a
12 large cloud of smoke. I also heard from neighbours from
13 Putis and Jelinak that they had been chased out of their
14 houses and when they had been thrown out, they had
15 poured fuel around the houses and set fire to them, that
16 they had sacked the houses, raided them but they did not
17 find anything.
18 Q. When you say you talked to neighbours from Jelinak and
19 Putis, are those among the refugees who found themselves
20 in the mektep in your village on the third day, some of
21 the 200 or so civilians who were put in the mektep?
22 A. Yes, they came to our village. They came over to our
23 place and they were with us, shut up in the mektaba.
24 That is where they were. They told us how their houses
25 had been set on fire, how they too had been insulted and
1 how they had shot in the air around them to frighten
3 Q. You mentioned that the houses in your village were set
4 afire. Were the barns also set afire, and when the
5 barns were set afire, did they have livestock in them?
6 A. Yes, the houses were set on fire and so were the barns,
7 and the livestock in the barns burnt with the barns.
8 Q. On the third day, did you have occasion to see soldiers
9 wearing HV insignia?
10 A. Yes, I did.
11 Q. Can you explain to the judges what you saw in respect of
12 those soldiers?
13 A. What did I see? I saw the way they were dressed, they
14 were dressed in camouflage uniforms, some of them had HV
15 insignia, others had HVO insignia.
16 Q. Let me show you, with the assistance of the usher, if
17 I could, Mr Usher, and Mr Dubuisson, if I could have
18 116/2 and 100/2 placed on the ELMO in succession.
19 Witness Q, starting with 116/2, if that could be
20 placed on the ELMO, do you see that on your monitor,
21 Witness Q, and do you recognise that?
22 A. Yes, I can see it and I do recognise it. That is the HV
23 insignia. That is what it looked like in the HV and HVO
24 army. They did wear this.
25 Q. Now if I could have 100/2 placed on the ELMO. Could
1 I have your comments on this exhibit as well, Witness Q,
2 do you recognise that?
3 A. Yes, of course I do. Indeed. This is the insignia that
4 I saw most frequently among a large number of soldiers.
5 Cicko was wearing this same HVO insignia.
6 Q. In your direct examination, you have clarified that
7 particular point for me. It appeared on the transcript
8 in your direct examination that Cicko was wearing an HV
9 insignia. Was he wearing an HV insignia or an HVO
11 A. No, Cicko was wearing an HVO patch.
12 Q. All right, thank you very much, Mr Usher, I am finished
13 with those exhibits.
14 Later, Witness Q, did you learn that your husband
15 had been captured by the HVO and killed?
16 A. Yes, I learnt that the HVO had captured my husband, and
17 it was Cicko with the HVO patch who had captured him and
18 he killed him.
19 MR HARMON: Mr President, I have the next exhibit which
20 I would like to introduce. It will be Exhibit 179.
21 I will not be showing it on the ELMO, it is a
22 photograph, I will ask the witness merely to look at it
23 and identify it. I would ask that this exhibit be
24 admitted under seal. I have explained to the witness,
25 Mr President, the concerns of the Chamber in that
2 The usher is showing you, Witness Q, a photograph
3 that is Prosecutor's Exhibit 179. Can you identify the
4 person in that photograph?
5 A. Yes, this is my husband who was killed by Cicko, and at
6 the time, he was wearing blue jeans and a blue T-shirt.
7 Q. Let me ask you to -- I am finished with that, Mr Usher,
8 thank you. Now I would like to turn your attention to
9 another subject area and ask you if, prior to the attack
10 on your village, you had ever seen then Colonel Blaskic
11 and Dario Kordic and other individuals on television,
12 and whether you had seen them together on television.
13 Had you seen them on television together?
14 A. Yes, I saw Blaskic and Kordic on television, as we were
15 forced to watch only the HTV, Croatian television. We
16 had no other programmes, so I watched and I saw Blaskic
17 and Kordic, who were saying that this was Herceg-Bosna,
18 that Herceg-Bosna would remain as it always was,
19 Herceg-Bosna. That is what I heard on television.
20 MR HAYMAN: Vague as to who, your Honour.
21 MR HARMON: Let me clarify it then, Mr President. I am
22 happy to do so. Do you remember what General Blaskic
23 was saying specifically?
24 A. General Blaskic and Dario Kordic were using the same
25 words. They would express approval to each other of
1 what they were saying. They were pleased with
2 themselves, both General Blaskic and Kordic.
3 Q. Now let me change the topic once again. Since the peace
4 accord, have you had an opportunity to return to the
5 village of Loncari?
6 A. Yes, I went to my house.
7 Q. Can you explain to the judges what you saw on the two
8 occasions that you returned to the village?
9 A. The first time I went home, I had to jump over mines,
10 because it was very hard to reach my house, there were a
11 lot of mines there, but I did, by jumping over the
12 mines, manage to reach my house. When I got there,
13 I saw that the house had been burnt down, and in red
14 letters, it was written on my house, "HVO army, balijas
15 go to Turkey, there is no room for you here, there never
16 was", and this is written on the walls of my house to
17 this day. And the second time I visited my house,
18 I went there with my little girl and my son and my
19 brother-in-law was there too, he was looking after my
20 little girl and I was holding my son, because there were
21 mines there still. We did not stay for more than ten
22 minutes, and then the HVO troops came, those who had
23 thrown us out of the village. There were people who had
24 tried to sow some of the fields, but they chased us all
25 away. They said this was no longer our land and that
1 they did not want to see us there any more, so we left,
2 and I have never tried to go back again.
3 MR HARMON: Mr President, I have concluded my examination of
4 Witness Q. I would ask that Prosecutor's Exhibit 178,
5 which is the collage of portions of Exhibit 59, be
6 admitted into evidence.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I see there are no comments from the Defence.
8 MR HARMON: I thought I had moved to introduce under seal
9 179, but now I would move to introduce 179 as well and
10 ask that it be placed under seal.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Now the counsel for General Blaskic will ask
12 you some questions. I believe it is Mr Nobilo.
13 Cross-examined by MR NOBILO
14 Q. Thank you, Mr President.
15 Madam Q, as you have heard, my name is Anto
16 Nobilo, my colleague is Mr Hayman, we are Defence
17 counsel for General Blaskic and I have only a couple of
18 questions by way of explanation. You said that your men
19 had surrendered their weapons and that the HVO had
20 guaranteed their safety. When was this, in what month
21 and what year?
22 A. Let me see. I cannot tell you the month exactly, that
23 was the first time when they attacked the village of
25 Q. So this was when the first conflict occurred in the
1 Busovaca municipality?
2 A. It was not a conflict, it was an attack, it was an
3 attack on the village of Loncari.
4 Q. How much before this event that you told us about today
5 was it?
6 A. I do not understand the question.
7 Q. You are talking about the attack on the village of
8 Loncari, or rather the disarming of men. How much time
9 elapsed before that and this event that you have told
11 A. It was before this second event.
12 JUDGE RIAD: Let the interpreter say when it is a question
13 and when it is an answer, otherwise we cannot follow.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Riad. When the discuss is
15 being conducted in Serbo-Croat, that is extremely
16 important, thank you.
17 MR NOBILO: Thank you. I shall do my best.
18 How long before the April attack against the
19 village of Loncari were the men of the village of
20 Loncari disarmed?
21 A. About three months before the attack.
22 Q. Is it true that the Muslim men between 15 and 50 had
23 been mobilised for the BH-Army?
24 A. No, it is not true. We had no army at the time at all.
25 Q. You made two previous statements, and I should like to
1 draw your attention to something you said on 2nd and
2 5th February 1996, on page 3, right at the beginning.
3 I shall try and read it to you in English:
4 "All the men between 15 and 50 years of age in the
5 village were mobilised."
6 Is that what you told the investigators of the
7 Office of the Prosecution?
8 A. Yes, I do not exactly recall saying it, but if it says
9 that, I did. When I said "mobilised", it means nothing
10 more than that they kept nightwatch duty, so that in the
11 event of an attack, the population could withdraw.
12 Q. In the same statement, you go on to say:
13 "They fought against Chetniks."
14 A. I do not recall that, believe me. But if I made that
15 statement, I abide by it.
16 Q. Thank you. Was there any trench digging around the
17 village in order to protect it before or at the time of
18 the conflict?
19 A. Let me repeat, it was not a conflict, it was an attack
20 on the village and we had nothing, nor was anything dug,
21 nor did we have anything. It was an attack, not a
23 Q. On page 7 of this same report, the investigator who had
24 the interview with you said:
25 "She does not know anything about trenches, except
1 the one which was dug near her house by the Bosnian
3 Did you say that in your interview with the
5 A. This is what I told the investigator. It was not dug by
6 the Bosnian army, it was dug out by my husband and his
7 brother, so as to protect his children, but it was not
8 to defend anything or anybody, because we had nothing.
9 It was not a conflict, it was an attack. We did have a
10 trench behind the house so that I and my children and my
11 sister-in-law could hide there.
12 Q. Very well, so I think we can go on, but it was a trench?
13 A. It was not a trench, it was a shelter for me and my
14 children and my mother-in-law and women, other women.
15 Q. When you said that on 16th, 17th there was shelling and
16 shooting, was your village being shelled? Did a single
17 shell fall into your village?
18 A. On the 16th and the 17th?
19 Q. And the 18th.
20 A. And the 18th.
21 Q. In the village, did a single shell fall into your
23 A. Not a single shell fell in my village when I was there,
24 but in the surrounding villages there was a lot of
25 firing and shooting and shelling.
1 Q. There was an interruption by the interpreters, we are
2 speaking too fast, because we are using the same
3 language. Can I repeat, did I understand you well to
4 say that the village of Loncari was not shelled on the
5 16th or the 17th or the 18th April when you left that
7 A. No, it was not shelled while I was there, but the
8 surrounding villages that were very close to ours were
10 Q. On 16th, 17th or 18th April, did anybody shoot at you,
11 at your houses using small arms?
12 A. Yes, the HVO army did shoot when it came into the
13 village. They were trying to provoke us and intimidate
14 us and frighten us.
15 Q. Did they shoot at the civilians to kill them or in the
16 air to frighten them?
17 A. They shot above our heads to frighten us.
18 Q. When all this was happening, was there any military
19 attack on the village, or did the HVO soldiers just come
20 into the village and shoot to frighten you?
21 A. The HVO soldiers could enter the village whenever they
22 wanted, because the little weapons we had had been taken
23 away, so they could have come in and do whatever they
24 wished and frighten us in any way they wanted to.
25 Q. So there was no military attack, they just entered the
2 A. There was no military attack, of course it was a
3 military attack, because after all we are civilians and
4 they had rifles in their hands.
5 Q. Did HVO soldiers kill anyone in the village?
6 A. I did not see it.
7 Q. In your examination-in-chief, you said that they took
8 away men between 15 and 30 or 25, I do not remember what
9 you said, and that you never saw somebody again. Who
10 was that exactly?
11 A. There are ten persons that I never saw again, since the
12 day they were taken away. They never appeared, nor has
13 anyone else seen them.
14 Q. Do you know what happened to them?
15 A. Some of them were killed, and for others we still do not
16 know what happened to them, they are missing.
17 Q. Who was killed and where?
18 A. Who was killed and where? There are eyewitnesses who
19 were present and who saw them being killed.
20 Q. But I am asking you according to your own knowledge, if
21 you know anything about it.
22 A. I cannot say anything about it. There are eyewitnesses
23 who were there when they were killed.
24 Q. So somebody told you?
25 A. Yes, people told me.
1 Q. Who told you?
2 A. A man who saw my husband being killed told me about it,
3 and I know who killed him, Cicko killed him, and the
4 same applies to the others, there were eyewitnesses,
5 there were people who watched them killing people.
6 Q. Madam, I asked you regarding the 25 men who were taken
7 away, out of those 25, will you please tell me if you
8 know the name of the man who told you and described who
9 was killed and where and how, any one of those 25?
10 A. I cannot tell you that.
11 Q. So you cannot tell me that. So we have understood this
12 part, that Cicko killed your husband. We will not dwell
13 on that, I accept that.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Who was in control of the village of Merdani? Was it
16 the HVO or the BH-Army?
17 A. There was no BH-Army at the time, there were just the
18 inhabitants of Merdani.
19 Q. There was no BH-Army?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Madam, in that same report on page 5 in the middle, you
22 say, let me try and read it in English:
23 "From Loncari, she could see Merdani and she knows
24 that the Bosnian army was in Merdani."
25 Is that what you said?
1 A. The Bosnian army did not exist at all at the time, and
2 I believe even if there were any men there, they were
3 just defending their families to keep them alive and to
4 save them, but there were no military men, no army at
5 the time.
6 Q. Are you trying to say that in April 1993, there was no
8 A. I do not know.
9 Q. Who controlled Putis, in those days, 17th and
10 18th April?
11 A. 17th and 18th April, there were the inhabitants of
12 Putis, only the inhabitants of Putis, who were attacked
13 by the HVO.
14 Q. Did the HVO manage to capture Putis or not?
15 A. You are asking me whether they succeeded? I do not
17 Q. Jelinak, who controlled Jelinak, the village of Jelinak?
18 A. The HVO set fire to the village of Jelinak.
19 Q. Did it stay in Jelinak, or was the HVO thrown out, HVO
20 army thrown out of Jelinak?
21 A. In the village of Jelinak, there were only the people,
22 there was no army there. They could do with our people
23 whatever they wanted.
24 Q. Madam, on page 8 of the same report that we have already
25 referred to, in the middle:
1 "Many villagers from Jelinak went back, most
2 probably last year. This is so because the Bosnian took
3 Jelinak over and Loncari stayed in HVO controlled area."
4 Is that correct?
5 A. I do not know.
6 Q. You reached Vrhovine. Who controlled Vrhovine?
7 A. No one controlled Vrhovine, there were just the people
8 there, ordinary people just like us, because as I keep
9 telling you, we did not have an army at the time, we
10 just had the inhabitants that we stayed with.
11 Q. When Vrhovine was attacked, did anyone defend it?
12 A. I do not know, I was in the basement with my children.
13 Q. Did you see a single Croat in Vrhovine at the time?
14 A. I did not have a chance to go out, because there was
15 shelling and fire all around. I could not leave the
16 children to go out and look around.
17 Q. Let us now go on to another subject. In your
18 examination-in-chief, you mentioned a soldier near
19 Kratine coming looking for you, and you did not answer.
20 Was that a man called Joza?
21 A. Yes, it was, Joza.
22 Q. What did he say, why was he looking for you?
23 A. He did not say anything to me, I did not dare answer
24 him, but allegedly he told my sister-in-law that
25 apparently he would not hurt us, that he would save us
1 and if he saw our husbands there that if they are
2 brought under their control that he would apparently
3 help them, but that same Joza was there when my husband
4 was captured and he was there when he was killed.
5 Q. Is that the same Joza who showed you the way?
6 A. Yes, it is the same Joza, the road towards Vrhovine.
7 Q. How far is it from Kratine to Vrhovine?
8 A. From Kratine to Vrhovine, I do not know how far it is,
9 but it seemed ever so far away because I was thirsty and
10 hungry and I had to carry my children.
11 Q. Josip, this is probably the same man Joza, said that it
12 would be a good idea to go with him because if Cicko
13 came, you could be hurt?
14 A. Yes, he did say that.
15 Q. How many HVO patches did you see?
16 A. I saw so many that I could not count them.
17 Q. 30, 50 -- HV, I am asking for the HV.
18 A. I do not know exactly, but there were a lot.
19 Q. How many, roughly?
20 A. I do not know, because those were not times when you
21 wanted to count.
22 Q. Among the group in your village, that appeared in your
23 village, were there more or less than half with HV
25 A. The HV were much fewer. The HVO were far more numerous.
1 Q. The television incident with Blaskic and Kordic. How
2 often did you see Blaskic and Kordic together on
4 A. I had occasion to see them two or three times, because
5 I did not watch television, my late husband did.
6 Q. Could you concentrate, please, and tell us exactly what
7 it is that Blaskic said; not what they were saying
8 together, but what did Blaskic say?
9 A. What one said, the other approved of, so they were
10 absolutely the same. They said that it was
11 Herceg-Bosna, that it would remain Herceg-Bosna and that
12 it was always Croatian land, and also that their time
13 had come for them to prove that they had attained their
15 Q. How did they say that together, in one voice?
16 A. No, they did not. One would speak and the other would
17 support him, so when the other would speak then the
18 first one would support him.
19 Q. How, in what way?
20 A. In the sense that that was fine, that his words were
21 correct, that they were absolutely true.
22 MR NOBILO: Thank you, Mr President.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr Harmon. Do you want some
24 further clarifications?
25 MR HARMON: No, Mr President, thank you.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Riad.
2 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon.
3 A. Good afternoon.
4 Q. I have to call you by Witness Q. Why was the village of
5 Loncari attacked by the HVO? Had it any importance, any
6 military importance? Were there bases of the BH? Why
7 were they keen on coming to Loncari in particular, in
8 your opinion?
9 A. I do not know. There were no bases in Loncari,
10 nothing. They had no reason to come to mistreat us,
11 except that we were Muslim and I think that was really
12 the only reason.
13 Q. Then you said they collected 25 men and among them
14 children of 15 years old. Were they taken in fighting
15 as prisoners of war? Were they fighting, or were they
16 just civilians chosen from here and there?
17 A. No, they were not fighters or anything. We did not have
18 that. They came to the village, they simply gathered
19 these young men and men, they were civilians. At that
20 time, we did not have anything. They just rounded them
21 up and they took them away.
22 Q. Did they make any selection, did they just take anybody
23 they met, or they selected some special people, and why
24 did they select these people, in your opinion?
25 A. No, they rounded up all the ones that they could find,
1 all then they could find, regardless of the age, they
2 just rounded them all up and they took them away with
4 Q. You said that one of them, I think it was an HVO -- I do
5 not know if it was an HVO, that you said a man told you
6 in Vrhovine that he would not kill you but would kill
7 your young ones. What was that, was he an HVO or just
8 somebody trying to be cruel?
9 A. This man was my grandfather, he is an old man and they
10 told this to him. They told him that they would kill
11 the youth, the young ones.
12 Q. Who are "they" who told him?
13 A. That was the HVO army, with the insignia, with HVO on
14 their shoulders, on their arms.
15 Q. You said that when you were on your way you saw HVO
16 soldiers coming in great numbers from Busovaca and
17 shelling Merdani and Putis. Merdani and Putis were
18 important bases with the BH-Army, or were just villages
19 like yours, do you know?
20 A. Those were the villages just like our own. There were
21 only civilians there. We had no army there at the
22 time. We had nothing, we were not armed.
23 Q. There was no attack from there on the HVO? There was no
24 shooting back?
25 A. I cannot recall, but I do remember seeing everything on
1 fire. I cannot say precisely. I just saw that there
2 were a lot of the military were attacking them, there
3 was a lot of shells and I saw the neighbours who came,
4 they came here barefoot and they were talking about it.
5 They did not have time to get ready.
6 Q. You mean the inhabitants of Merdani and Putis were
7 running away?
8 A. Women from Putis were with us in our village. They had
9 fled over to us, because they were setting houses on
10 fire over there and they had to flee over to us.
11 Q. They have set a lot of houses on fire in your village?
12 A. In my village?
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. In my village, all the houses were burned down, with the
15 exception of one house, which was later ransacked and
16 they demolished it. They took even the door frames and
17 window frames and they wrote some obscenities on the
18 walls. Everything else was burnt down.
19 Q. Just by the way, you mentioned that they insult you by
20 the name of "balija". What is the meaning of "balija"?
21 A. I do not know. I cannot say this.
22 Q. What does it indicate, do you know? It has no special
24 A. No, it was specifically an insult, because we did not
25 know that before.
1 Q. That is how they called the Muslims?
2 A. Yes, that is the name they used for Muslims, they called
3 us Muslims and gave us names.
4 Q. You went back to, you said you went back to Loncari, and
5 then you had to leave the village and go away. Did
6 other people stay in the village or all the inhabitants
7 of the village had to go away, as far as you remember?
8 It was your choice to go away or was it a decision all
9 the Muslims had to leave, were forced to leave. Of
10 course their houses were burnt, but they could still
11 stay, or they could not?
12 A. No, they did not -- we could not stay, we had to leave.
13 We had to leave.
14 Q. You felt threatened?
15 A. We felt terrible.
16 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Witness Q, we are finished. You were very
18 courageous, and the Tribunal thanks you for your
19 testimony. You may now go home, and I hope that you
20 will find some peace and some serenity.
21 Registrar, we will first ask the Prosecutor
22 whether he has another witness.
23 MR HARMON: No, Mr President. We have concluded for the
25 JUDGE JORDA: Do you think that you will have a witness for
1 tomorrow morning?
2 MR HARMON: Yes, Mr President, we do.
3 JUDGE JORDA: You know that we only are going to meet
4 tomorrow morning?
5 MR HARMON: Yes.
6 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Witness Q, please do not move
7 until after the judges have left the room. It will be
8 then easier to ensure your safety. All right. Do you
9 want us to start at 9.30 tomorrow, we are not going to
10 use the afternoon.
11 MR HARMON: Yes, Mr President, 9.30 is fine.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, 9.30 tomorrow morning then.
13 I believe my colleagues agree.
14 Mr Hayman, did you wish to say something? Do you
15 have a problem with that?
16 MR HAYMAN: No problem with 9.30, Mr President. We had
17 spoken about the possibility of taking five or ten
18 minutes for a further status conference this week. I do
19 not know if that would be convenient, to try and use the
20 time this afternoon, but I raise the issue for the
21 court's consideration.
22 JUDGE JORDA: I would agree, for us to see where we are in
23 the case. I would only ask that Olivier Fourmy be with
24 us. All right, we can adjourn until 4.00 and then come
25 back. The judges will remain at the bench but we will
1 not be wearing our robes. Mr Fourmy will be here as
2 well, for a status conference at 4.00. The hearing is
4 (proceedings adjourned at, 3.45 p.m. until
5 Friday, 12 December 1997, at 9.30 a.m.)