1 Tuesday, 27th January 1998
2 (12.00 pm)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Could the Registrar please have
4 the accused brought in.
5 (Accused brought in)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Prosecutor?
7 MR HARMON: Good afternoon, Mr President and
8 your Honours and counsel. Mr President, our next
9 witness, we would ask that the session be closed.
10 I have discussed this with counsel, counsel is in
12 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, I was not able to
13 hear you. You want a closed session? You already
14 discussed it with your colleagues from the Defence, no
15 objections? In that case, we will go into a closed
16 session. Could the Registrar please ensure that we go
17 into closed session.
18 (In closed session)
13 Pages 6219 to 6246 redacted - in closed session
16 (Adjourned until 2.45 pm)
1 (2.45 pm)
2 JUDGE JORDA: We are resuming now. Please
3 bring in the accused.
4 (Accused brought in)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Kehoe.
6 MR KEHOE: Good afternoon, Mr President and
7 your Honours. We have another protected witness,
8 I believe this is Witness X, if I am not mistaken.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Registrar?
10 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is correct.
11 MR KEHOE: This is in all likelihood,
12 Mr President, our last witness with regard to the
13 Busovaca area. With regard to the specific events he
14 will talk about, he will briefly talk about the build
15 up of pressure and the growing number of HVO soldiers
16 in the Busovaca area subsequent to May 1992, how the
17 Croats put pressure on other Croats to join the HVO.
18 He will also talk about what exactly happened
19 in January when the conflict broke out, and the
20 individuals in his village were forced, rounded up and
21 taken to Kaonik camp. He was not taken simply because
22 he was watching from the woods, he was lucky enough not
23 to be home at the time.
24 He will then talk about the conflict to some
25 degree, he will talk about the burning of houses in and
1 around that timeframe in his little village. He will
2 then move ahead to talk about what happened after these
3 Muslims in his village -- the houses were vacated, how
4 members of the HVO who were from the town of Busovaca
5 moved into many of these houses and then thereafter
6 some houses were taken over by some refugees or Croats
7 from other areas such as Kacuni.
8 He then will move ahead and will talk about
9 the events that took place in April -- we will not
10 repeat, of course, your Honour what your Honours have
11 heard already, but he will talk about the specific
12 killings that took place in his area where his
13 neighbours were killed, how his house was burnt, how
14 his neighbour's house was burnt, individuals were
15 injured, how he, and this is directed, Judge Riad, to
16 something you asked this morning, how he specifically
17 informed the HVO whether or not this individual Zoran
18 had been arrested. They informed him that he had been
19 arrested when, of course, when he was in hiding he saw
20 Zoran driving around the street and Zoran had never
21 been arrested and has never been prosecuted, albeit a
22 member of the HVO and the information had been brought
23 to the HVO authorities.
24 Given that situation, he decided to vacate
25 and leave Busovaca in the first week of May 1993.
1 Similar to much of what has been set out by my
2 colleague Mr Harmon this morning, the evidence you will
3 hear, your Honours, will be directed in large part
4 towards, of course, the persecution count, it will be
5 directed towards count 5 and 10, the unlawful killings,
6 and that will be the focal point of those particular
7 charges at this time.
8 He will have some information, of course,
9 about the inhumane treatment of people, but he was not
10 taken away to dig trenches. However, he will discuss
11 the digging of trenches not only in January but also in
12 April. As I said at the outset, Mr President and
13 your Honours, he was in the woods when he saw his
14 neighbours being led away and he was not led away.
15 However, he will tell us that in April, the
16 HVO ordered a Muslim to take a list of Muslims, to go
17 throughout the area of Busovaca and round up Muslims on
18 a daily or nightly basis to take them out to dig
19 trenches, and this was as late as April 1993.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr Prosecutor.
21 I have been very interested in the fact that you
22 pointed out that you took care that the witness does
23 not repeat what has already been said and it is very
24 important that each witness brings us something new.
25 After these general considerations, could
1 you, Registrar, please ask the usher to bring in the
2 Witness X, and we should first of all put the blinds
3 down. This will be a public session.
4 (Witness entered court)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me?
6 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can hear you.
7 JUDGE JORDA: We are going to call you here
8 "Witness X". You have got protective measures such as
9 you have asked for. First of all, we are going to
10 present you with a piece of paper on which you have got
11 your name written down on it, but you will not please
12 say it, but will simply state whether that is correct.
13 Now you are going to read the solemn declaration, which
14 is going to be presented to you in your language. That
15 is your oath.
16 THE WITNESS: Aloud?
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, aloud.
18 WITNESS X (sworn)
19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, you have accepted to
20 come here as a witness in the case against General
21 Blaskic, and you have been asked by the Office of the
22 Prosecutor. We expect from you now a statement about
23 what you saw in Busovaca and what happened after May
24 1992 and also after April 1993. Please be concise and
25 speak about the events of which the Prosecution tries
1 to bring our attention to.
2 Please, Prosecutor, you can ask some
3 preliminary questions and after that, leave the witness
4 to give their statement. Please proceed.
5 Examined by MR KEHOE
6 Q. Thank you, Mr President.
7 Good afternoon, Witness X.
8 A. Good afternoon.
9 Q. Witness X, how old are you, sir?
10 A. I am 51 years old.
11 Q. Witness X, are you a Bosnian Muslim?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Until May 1993, did you live around the town
14 of Busovaca, or in a suburb of Busovaca?
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. Witness X, if you could, could you tell us a
17 little bit about your particular mahala, your
18 particular suburb, and then tell us what happened from
19 May 1992 through the events in May to January to April
20 1993, until your departure in May 1993. Could you do
21 that for us, sir?
22 A. Yes. First of all I would like to say
23 something about the communal life between the Croats
24 and Muslims in Busovaca before the war. Those
25 relations were real, we respected each other, there
1 were never any problems. However, in 1990 and 1991,
2 I noticed that the Croats and the Muslims started
3 pulling apart and the Muslims -- we the Muslims did not
4 know what was going on, that is we were not aware that
5 there could be anything between these two communities.
6 In 1991 the elections were held and
7 everything was all right. However, after the elections
8 we noticed that the Croats started pulling away from
9 the Muslims, they were not socialising the way they
10 used to before the war, so one could notice that
11 something was not right.
12 Personally, I could not decipher what it
13 was. I had no idea of any conflict being possible, so
14 I went about my regular life. However, in early 1992,
15 when the JNA attacked Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croats
16 and Muslims started separating even more. The Croats
17 started wearing the HVO uniforms with the HVO insignia,
18 while the Muslims did not have such uniforms. Nobody
19 was wearing such uniforms, and I thought I would ask
20 some of the Croats that I knew better what this meant,
21 and they said that we had to fight the JNA, the Serbs,
22 because Bosnia had been attacked. So that is how
23 I understood it and accepted it, until we noticed that
24 something else was going on.
25 I was about 1.5 kilometres from the centre of
1 Busovaca, where more Muslims than Croats lived, but
2 there was -- nobody abused anyone because one group was
3 larger than the other, that is until 1992. In early
4 May, there was a conflict at the Kaonik barracks
5 concerning some weapons, because this used to be a JNA
6 barracks, so there was a conflict there. However, an
7 agreement was reached, even though later the HVO took
8 over the control of the local government in the local
9 police station, so that we, the Muslims, could see that
10 this was no longer defence against the JNA but that it
11 was becoming critical for the Muslims to stay in the
13 As days and months went by, more and more we
14 noticed that the Croats had more uniforms, more
15 weapons, the HVO insignia, and the pressure and
16 intimidation became more frequent. Personally
17 I noticed that something was amiss, that those of us --
18 we could be the victims here. I did not understand
19 that I would need to leave my house, the house that
20 I had built with my own money.
21 In early 1993, in January, starting in
22 January, one could see that some Muslims were starting
23 to leave, which I did not understand because I could
24 not believe that I would have to leave Busovaca. We
25 always lived there together, both Croats and Muslims,
1 so that I stayed at my home.
2 On one occasion, I asked a Serb why he was
3 leaving, why they were leaving, because in 1992, Serbs
4 were leaving Busovaca and they had a collection centre
5 in a village called Podjele, from Novi Travnik, from
6 Zenica, from Travnik and they were going towards
7 Kobiljaca, which is where the border was where the
8 Serb Army was positioned. The price was 1,000 to 2,000
9 German marks, depending on what they were taking with
10 them, a car or a tractor. If they were taking more
11 belongings along, they would be obliged to pay more
12 money. I asked the Serb why they were leaving and he
13 said, "that is because they are chasing us away right
14 now, but your turn will come too". So I understood
15 that as a joke, I thought they were going of their own
16 free will, that nobody was expelling them, but on
17 23rd January 1993 -- 24th January 1993, I came back
18 from Zenica to Busovaca, I had been in Zenica and
19 I asked a friend of mine, I encountered him in town and
20 I asked him what was going on and he made a gesture
21 with his hands as if I needed to leave, that there
22 would be some kind of trouble.
23 So I came home, it was already late to leave
24 there at that time, even though some Muslims had left
25 on the previous Friday, which was the 22nd, the 21st,
1 two or three days before the conflict itself. (redacted)
4 Before the conflict, some Muslim refugees
5 from Jajce came. There were a lot of Muslim weekend
6 houses and they would move into these homes with the
7 agreement of the owners of these homes, so there were
8 these refugees from Jajce there. However, the conflict
9 broke out on the 25th, that is over there in Kacuni.
10 It started because an HVO vehicle, which was a
11 makeshift armoured vehicle, they launched an attack.
12 When you go down the road towards Busovaca, the
13 Kiseljak-Busovaca road was always open, nobody was open
14 and when they were going towards this barracks, our
15 people stopped them.
16 There was a silo there where wheat was kept,
17 a very large silo, 10,000 tonne, and I guessed they
18 were trying to take control of that, and maybe the
19 barracks too. So some fire was exchanged. Two HVO
20 soldiers died, and then the conflict broke out.
21 I could hear that down in Busovaca, there was shooting
22 in the hills, I could hear detonations from explosions
23 and then I realised that the conflict had started and
24 that it was too late to go anywhere.
25 On the 26th in the morning, the HVO started a
1 massive house search in town, in Busovaca and around in
2 the surrounding areas where they knew that the Muslims
3 lived. They were searching for weapons, for radios,
4 transmitters, anything that could be used in the war.
5 However, I doubt very much that they found any radio
6 transmitters because none of us could have bought one,
7 nor did we need them. And then on the right-hand side
8 from the road near Busovaca, there were about 20
9 Muslims who had hunting rifles of two kinds, and you
10 could observe from there what was going on in Busovaca,
11 because that was about 100 to 200 metres from Busovaca
12 in a straight line, so you could observe very well what
13 was going on down in Busovaca. So they offered
14 resistance, both those who did find some weapons and
15 those who did not, and those who were going in the
16 direction of Kaonik, this collection centre. I was not
17 there so I cannot tell you exactly what was down there
18 in Kaonik. So this exchange of fire went on for a
19 couple of hours and then the Muslims surrendered and
20 surrendered the weapons that they had and then they
21 were taken to Kaonik, all of them. I was about 1,500
22 metres from Busovaca in the opposite direction, so
23 I could not see all this in detail, because I was not
24 present at the scene.
25 The next week, some time mid-week, so on
1 27th, 28th or 29th January, there were more house
2 searches because we were maybe up to ten permanent
3 residents who had stayed in the mahala, in this
4 neighbourhood, and there were the refugees from Jajce.
5 However, the refugees from Jajce were driven out of
6 their homes, out of the property of the people who were
7 from other areas, from Sarajevo and Zenica, and they
8 were moving Croats in. I knew a few of them, so some
9 of them were moving in, or maybe they would move in for
10 two or three days, then they would take some belongings
11 from there that they wanted and needed and then they
12 would move into another house. I saw some of these
13 things myself.
14 After a few days, the military police arrived
15 in my neighbourhood and they started arresting the
16 Muslims who had remained, those ten who had stayed
17 there and the refugees from Jajce. Those who were of
18 military age they were taking to Kaonik and women
19 whereby then later driven away through the auspices of
20 Red Cross in whatever way they could. There was a
21 Croat who helped some of them with his car, so the
22 refugees from Jajce left shortly thereafter, so only
25 So after they had been arrested -- again,
1 I should stress that I was not at home at that time,
2 I was in one of the weekend homes at that time, but
3 I could observe from there because it was not a great
4 distance. When I saw they were being arrested, I left
5 this weekend house. I came to the edge of the wood.
6 There was a refugee from Jajce there, so I sort of
7 hugged the edge of the wood so they would not see me.
8 Nobody said that I was there where I was, so that I had
9 stayed in my neighbourhood. (redacted)
14 (redacted) It was only myself, but I was not taken
16 Later there were more house searches by
17 people who came. The police, they looked for radio
18 transmitter and weapons and I told them that all my
19 neighbours, Croats, know that I never engaged in such
20 things and that I was not even a hunter, I did not even
21 have a hunting rifle. I have no weapons, let alone a
22 radio transmitter. I did not expect any conflict with
23 my neighbours.
24 On one occasion, there was a refugee, a Croat
25 from Kacuni who lived in a house of a neighbour of mine
1 who had fled earlier, so there was a house search and
2 we went to the basement. He asked me, "why are you
3 following me?"; I said, "if there is nobody around,
4 sometimes some people would throw in a rifle or some
5 piece of weapon and claim that there is weapons there
6 that were not reported, so that is what I was afraid
7 of". I told him that I would follow him as he was
8 searching so that I would be sure that no weapons would
9 be discovered. He was a bit angry and then gave up the
11 So on 23rd January, they came again to the
12 (redacted) house and they came over to my house. Then
13 again they searched the houses and they told us that we
14 were not to leave the premises and our backyards, due
15 to the safety concerns. I had no reason to go
16 anywhere, to go down to the town because I had food
17 supplies, so I did not have any need to go, to buy
18 anything like that.
19 On 26th January --
20 Q. Excuse me, Witness X. You just said
21 23rd January and 26th January.
22 A. Yes, I got a bit confused. On 23rd January,
23 that is what I said, but what I meant was 23rd April.
24 It was three days before those two men came. I am
25 sorry, because I made a mistake here, because I wanted
1 to link that up to the fact that on 23rd April those
2 people came, those people who did to us what they did.
3 It was not them who came, but some other people who
4 told us not to go out and to remain there for our own
5 safety. I am sorry, I just was confused.
6 On the 26th, in fact on the 14th April, the
7 second conflict broke out between the HVO and the
8 Territorial Defence, so there was shooting going on
9 everywhere, and nobody knew where to go and what to do
10 and where we were, but we stayed on in our houses,
11 nobody went out and nobody came and nobody mistreated
12 us or put pressure on us or threatened us. We were
13 relatively safe up until 26th April at 10.00 pm. I was
14 at home with my family and so around 2200 hours,
15 somebody knocked at the door. I said to my wife,
16 "shall I answer?", and she said, "no, do not answer.
21 asked, "who is it?", and they said, "open the door, it
22 is the police. Where is (redacted)?".
23 Then very quickly, because the door was
24 locked, I agreed with my wife that I should jump out of
25 the house through the window, because it was on the
1 ground floor and that they should stay at home, because
2 I understood as they were asking of me that something
3 was wrong. I went out, I jumped out of the window on
4 the side of the house which is opposite to the house
5 entrance and so from that side, I went around the house
6 further away and went to a neighbour's house, a Croat,
7 which is to the right-hand side of my house when you go
8 towards the road, there was an elderly Croat who lived
9 there, aged 60 or 61, he was on his own at home. In
10 fact it was his son's house and he came there just for
11 a weekend, but stayed on because of the conflict. His
12 son worked somewhere abroad, so that person used to
13 come on several occasions, even before the war in that
14 particular house.
15 I asked him for help and I said, "some kind
16 of a police came, they are probably Croats. Could you
17 please help me and could you explain to them", and so
18 on, and he answered, "I cannot help you I must not
19 dare", something like that. I was rather frightened.
20 So I went towards my house and arrived to the window of
21 my kitchen. In the kitchen, the lights were on and in
22 the dining room we could only hear the television.
23 I could see at the dining table a person whom I could
24 see very clearly and a bit further away there was
25 somebody else who I could not see. Maybe the easiest
1 thing would be to show it on a piece of paper actually.
2 So the kitchen window was open because my son
3 also wanted to jump out of the window, but he did not
4 manage to do so because they came in before he did
5 that, so the window was just slightly open and there
6 was the curtain, so I could hear them well, I could
7 hear what they were saying. They asked when they came
8 in about me and my wife said that I went out in the
9 neighbourhood that evening and that I still had not
10 come back.
11 What I would like to stress: when I came back
12 from seeing that Croat whom I asked for help, I could
13 see on my way back that part of the house was already
14 on fire and in one of the rooms, one of the blankets
15 was caught up in the fire and the flames were going out
16 of the window. Then I suppose that they set the house
17 on fire and they insisted very forcefully on where
18 I was. My wife, as I said, had told them that I had
19 gone out somewhere in the neighbourhood, they were
20 insisting and insisting and they were shooting in
21 the -- they fired in the ceiling and I saw the arms of
22 the person whom I could not otherwise see, he took a
23 knife and put it under my wife's throat, so that she
24 would tell him where I was.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Would you maybe like to have a
1 little rest?
2 A. No, I would prefer to end my story first and
3 then maybe after that.
4 JUDGE JORDA: All right, please continue.
5 A. As my family did not say where I was, because
6 in fact they did not know where I was, they knew I was
7 outside but not even them, they did not know that I was
8 just standing by the window, so they insisted for some
9 15 minutes maybe, those people, and then they were told
10 not to go out of the house, that they were going to
11 kill them. They went to seek me.
12 But when I saw them going out, they said they
13 would be coming back. I went slightly more further
14 away, which you can see it in the picture, there is
15 another building there, so they went out in the
16 direction of the road. (redacted)
18 (redacted), I went into the house, I took my family and
19 directed them towards the woods that were at the end of
20 our neighbourhood. It was just near a Croat house and
21 I was sure that they were not going to look for them
22 there, because it was also during the night.
23 I stayed in front of the house, I took a hose
24 and tried to quench the fire, but that was too late and
25 then I went to the other side of the house, which was
1 not on fire, and took some belongings out and then
2 I realised there was no point in taking anything out
3 because the smoke was very dense. I started to
4 suffocate and the fire caught in the other room as
10 I understood from that that she was also told that
11 nobody should go anywhere and that she simply said,
12 "yes, that is okay".
13 Then I decided that depending on where they
14 would go, I would either go towards the road and in
15 case they went to the other side, that I would remain
16 where I was. So they went to the other side and
17 I remained where I was, but when they arrived to the
18 entrance gate of my house, and this house is some 25
19 metres away from the road, they went up the stairs and
20 I went down near the other building, and I stayed
22 They came somewhere halfway towards the
23 house, they were on the steps, and they were shooting
24 incendiary bullets and then they came back and swore
25 and one said to the other that they were not quite
1 satisfied, the job was not done properly, and they let
2 some people go. Then they went out of my house towards
3 the left where the house of Zoran Marinic was and of
4 Mirko. I thought that would be the end, that there
5 would not be any kind of torture any more. My house
6 was on fire but nobody was hurt and I was resigned to
7 that, so I went to try and find my family, I realised
8 I could not put the fire down in my house. I went out
9 on the street and towards where I said my family to go
10 and find shelter.
11 When I was going across the street and in the
12 meadow, some 20 or 30 metres, when I was on the road,
13 I could see Zoran's car going on the house, and
14 I thought at first that it was the police, that
15 somebody has called the police, but I simply jumped on
16 the floor, so that they could not see me with the
17 lights, and I could see a car, a blue car owned by
18 Zoran Marinic. He had moved in a weekend house and
19 I could see him every day. That weekend house used to
20 belong to the person from Zenica, if need be I can even
21 say that owner's name.
23 and I went to look for my family. It took me some 15
24 to 20 minutes to find my family, it was all during the
25 night, I called for them, they did not dare call back,
1 they were afraid, but we managed to communicate and we
2 went, all of us, on the meadow near the house of that
3 Croat. (redacted)
5 (redacted). In the meantime the
6 police had arrived. The Croat who told me he could not
7 help, he went to the police station and the fire men
8 came and the police -- the fire men tried to put down
9 the fire of my house. (redacted)
10 As the house was on fire, everything was lit up
11 and one could see for some 50 or 80 metres what was
12 going on. I could see they were taking something out
13 of the house but I could not see what.
14 I woke up a Croatian neighbour who was also
15 in the police and I had confidence in him. I asked him
16 to go down there and see what was going on. He went
17 down there, he was away for some 10 or 15 minutes and
18 when he came back, he told me that everybody was
19 killed (redacted)
22 the (redacted) was still conscious and he told the police
23 straight away who committed all that. I did not know
24 where to go, it was all during the night and what to
25 do, but my neighbour's mother went out of the house and
1 she said that we could stay in their house, that
2 probably nobody was going to look for us at that
3 moment, so that was what we did, we stayed there until
4 the morning.
5 I asked my wife to go to fetch help from
6 UNPROFOR, so that they would take us out of the area.
7 She went there very early in the morning and I went in
8 front of my house, (redacted)
10 (redacted). I went towards the
11 neighbour's house, that Croat in whose house I spent
12 the night, and the police came and wanted to have a
13 statement from us, knowing who did that -- and wanted
14 to know who did it. I told him, "you probably know
15 much better than I do who did it". They told me, "you
16 have to come with us to the police station and we are
17 going to take a statement from you".
18 I went down to the police station, gave the
19 statement and just as I told you here, I told them what
20 had happened regarding the killings and the burning
21 down of houses. In the meantime, my wife arrived from
22 UNPROFOR, and I asked her whether we could go and she
23 said that the police had to give a permit to UNPROFOR
24 because otherwise UNPROFOR would not want to take us
25 out of the area. I said that we wanted to leave at any
1 cost, because we were afraid, and they told us, "you
2 are not going to go anywhere; anyway, go out of here
3 and then we will see".
4 My wife and I went out of that office for
5 some ten minutes and after that time, they called me
6 and told me that we could not go anyway from Busovaca,
7 and they asked me whether there was a weekend house
8 that was vacant in my neighbourhood in Busovaca where
9 we could live. I said, "I do not want to stay here any
10 more because if you came to try and kill me in my
11 house, I am not going to stay in somebody else's
12 house". They asked me whether I had any relatives
13 there, and I said, "no, I have no relatives there",
14 because I wanted to go out of the area.
15 Then they said, "there is somebody called
16 Redzo Delijic at Busenji, there are more Croats in that
17 village". In that village there were only two Muslim
18 houses and out of two Muslim houses, one Muslim family
19 stayed and the other one left.
20 The road that we took, there was a relative
21 of mine who lived there. He also had left during the
22 conflict. He drove away a wounded woman. They were
23 also shooting into his house, they were five or six
24 people in his house at that time and as there was
25 shooting. One woman was injured, so he drove her away
1 to Zenica. His wife remained on her own there. So
2 I said to them that that was the house where I had to
3 go because they did not know that person, so they
4 thought that it was the house and I went out. I saw my
5 relative's wife in front of the house and they went
7 I thought to myself they were probably going
8 to look for me again, and within an hour, we went back
9 to town. We came to a street where there were more
10 Muslims that had remained, there were mostly Muslims
11 there. I was hiding in a house of a woman. That house
12 was very near the street and I could see who was going
13 there in the street. I spent seven days there. I saw
14 Zoran and somebody else with him. They were looking
15 for me. I was informed that they were looking for me.
16 On many occasions, I would see him go down the street,
17 two or three times per day.
18 But there is something I would like to
19 stress. I arrived there after that tragedy, around
20 3rd or 4th May. There was a Muslim who came to the
21 house of the woman where I was hiding and he showed a
22 list of us Muslims that had remained. I asked him what
23 that was. He answered that that was the list of the
24 Muslims who remained because of their work, and they
25 had to go and dig trenches on the front-line. I asked
1 him whether they were calling everybody to do that and
2 he said, "no, according to the needs. Sometimes they
3 need 10 or 15 people. Some people would work for 24
4 hours, others for 10, 15 hours", so those people would
5 go regularly to dig trenches on the frontline.
6 I was not there, but I suppose that they were
7 digging trenches. I asked him why he had to do that.
8 He said, "I had to do that because I was the one who
9 knows -- I am the one who knows very well who stayed
10 and so on and they give me how many people I have to
11 bring and where". So he would bring those people to
12 the HVO and then the HVO would do with those people
13 what they wanted to, and that was like that every day.
14 I told him, because my name was not on the
15 list, "please do not mention my name because in case
16 I go to the front-line, they will know that I am here
17 and that will be my end". He said, "no, no, I will not
18 ask for you -- in case they do not ask for you".
19 I said, "neighbour, they do not know that I am here and
20 where I am". He told me not to fear anything.
21 On 4th May 1993, my cousin's wife arrived and
22 she told me that Zoran with two others were looking for
23 me in the Busenji village where I was supposed to be.
24 They told her they were going to kill everybody and put
25 everything on fire in order to find me, they were
1 asking where I was. She came to tell us that. I told
2 my wife, she was less known, she did not meet those
3 people as I did. I asked her to go to the police
4 station and try and in one way or the other get the
5 permit for us to leave. She went to the police and
6 asked for that permit and they told her, "it will be
7 done within two or three days. There will be an
8 exchange made then and so everybody who wants can go",
9 but that she could not get the permit at that moment.
10 What I did not say in the statement, they
11 asked her where we were hiding for a week, and she
12 answered, "there where you sent us to go, but we are
13 not in the house, we are in the woods", because there
14 were some woods there about 150 metres from there and
15 she said we were simply there day and night. The
16 commander told her, "go where you came from, we are
17 going to send a police patrol to you right away". My
18 wife came to me and told me that, and I told her, "we
19 have to leave in any case", because I knew, in case
20 they found us in that house where there was somebody
21 else there, a husband and wife who had been expelled
22 from their house three days earlier and there was also
23 the family of that woman there. I told my wife, "it
24 really would not be right that somebody else gets
25 killed because of me", so we should go, we should go
1 through the town.
2 There used to be a railroad there to Zenica,
3 and there only remained a path now, and there was some
4 fields there, so I suggested we should go two by two,
5 so that nobody would notice that we were refugees, in
6 case we were in a group. There was another woman there
7 who came from Gavrine Kuce, that is a village towards
8 Zenica, and during the conflict she happened to be at
9 her sister's house. She has a son who is ten years old
10 or so and they came with us. I sent her and her son in
11 front of us and we remained some 100 or 150 metres
12 behind them. I was going with my younger daughter and
13 my older daughter and my wife and that woman were going
14 behind us, so we went out of the house with a distance
15 of some 150 metres.
16 So we went out of the town, we took that rail
17 track and we came to a company and a brick
18 manufacturing factory and then we went to Kaonik where
19 there is a junction, Travnik-Zenica-Busovaca, and then
20 we also continued to go separately and then we went to
21 our control point, towards Gavrine Kuce and then we
22 went to Zenica.
23 I would like to stress that the Muslims who
24 remained in Busovaca after we left in 1993, they were
25 exchanged, because quite a few soldiers came from
1 Zenica to Busovaca. There was an exchange. For
2 example, if I wanted to leave Busovaca, I had to ensure
3 that a family from an HVO soldier from Zenica would
4 come to Busovaca, so I would be allowed to leave
5 Busovaca to go to Zenica. That is how things were in
6 1993, I was in Kacuni and I was an eyewitness when one
7 of our soldiers had his wife and daughter that remain,
8 and also there was at another place at Kacuni there was
9 an HVO soldier whose mother had remained there so they
10 decided to make an exchange between Kacuni and
11 Busovaca. That exchange went well.
12 I think that maybe there were some three
13 Muslims that stayed on. One of them was severely
14 disabled and there were two that did not want to leave,
15 they were father and son, and there were also some 20
16 elderly women all in all who remained there during the
17 whole period of war.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much,
19 Witness X. In your statement, you have covered all the
20 events that the Prosecutor wanted you to talk about.
21 Mr Kehoe, would you like to point out
22 anything else, some additional questions, or would you
23 prefer to make a short break? Do you have many
24 questions to ask, Mr Kehoe?
25 MR KEHOE: I have a few matters to cover just
1 to clarify a few things and two exhibits,
2 Mr President. Whether or not there is a break, I leave
3 that up to your Honours and the witness.
4 JUDGE JORDA: How do you feel?
5 A. I am fine.
6 JUDGE JORDA: In that case, we will make the
7 break after the Prosecution has finished. Mr Kehoe,
8 please proceed.
9 MR KEHOE: Thank you, Mr President.
10 Witness X, I am going to ask you now a few
11 questions based on the narrative that you just gave the
13 At the outset, I would like to show you a
14 series of photographs, if we could, Mr Dubuisson, the
15 photograph album.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 241.
17 MR KEHOE: We do not need to put this on the
18 ELMO. I am not going to go through these photographs
19 in series, but Witness X, the series of photographs
20 that I have before you is a series of photographs of
21 your house and the surrounding areas prior to the
22 conflict, is that right?
23 A. Yes, they are.
24 Q. These are photographs that were taken in
25 better times in Busovaca?
1 A. These photographs were taken in 1991.
2 MR KEHOE: The next exhibit, Mr President, is
3 a map which is an enlargement of Exhibit 180.
4 Mr Dubuisson, would that be Exhibit 242?
5 THE REGISTRAR: 240.
6 MR KEHOE: A 50 per cent chance of being
7 right. Again, Mr President, if we could ask this not
8 be put on the ELMO, simply because it identifies the
9 location of Witness X's residence.
10 Witness X, taking a look at the map before
11 you and you see your house marked number 1, is that
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. That whole area that is inside the circle or
15 inside this rectangle, that is your mahala, that is
16 your neighbourhood, is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What was the approximate ethnic split in that
20 A. I think about 90 per cent Muslim, 90 or
21 95 per cent. I could probably put a list together,
22 because there were about seven Croatian homes which
23 were fully occupied.
24 Q. So seven Croatian homes and the balance of
25 them belonged to Muslims, is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. We will get back to that exhibit in one
3 moment. I wanted to ask you a few questions about the
4 activities that took place after May 1992 and you said
5 that there were more and more HVO soldiers in the
6 Busovaca area after May 1992, is that correct?
7 A. Yes, that is right.
8 Q. Did you ever speak to any of your Croat
9 neighbours regarding the pressure that was put on the
10 Croats to join the HVO?
11 A. Yes, I had a friend with whom I worked at the
12 Vatrostalna factory. For many years we worked
13 together, some time in 1992, and I cannot recall all of
14 this, but it was five or six years ago, let us say in
15 September or October this friend came to me and said
16 whether I could help him with some food supplies, the
17 companies were no longer working, he had no money, he
18 did not want to put on the HVO uniform, he did not want
19 to -- that he spent his savings, that he had no food
20 supplies and that he needed some in order to stay
21 there. I told him that I had some because I knew him
22 from before, and there was never any quarrel between
23 us. I gave him some food supplies which is what he was
24 asking for.
25 Later I heard, not officially, that he was
1 later forced to put on the HVO uniform and that he was
2 killed in 1994; I believe it was 1994, maybe 1993, but
3 in any event he was killed. It may have been from a
4 shell from the mortar that they were using, so it could
5 have been an accident.
13 On another occasion I asked a different
14 friend, I had known him a long time, why he went to
15 church now, whereas before he never went and we had
16 talked about it before because (redacted)
20 There were other things, this is just
21 sketching things out, so that I would present a picture
22 that there were some pressures in Busovaca, this was
23 five or six years ago. I may have not said everything
24 as it happened chronologically and I may not have
25 remembered everything in this moment, so if asked
1 additional questions I may remember more.
2 Q. Witness X, did your first neighbour who came
3 to you for help and you gave him food, did he tell you
4 what would happen if he did not join the HVO?
5 A. You mean what could have happened to him if
6 he did not join? I did not speak about that in any
7 detail with him, nor did I ask him any detailed
8 questions, but whoever wanted or did not want, you know
9 that all these companies collapsed and all the media
10 were under the HVO control, and those who did not want
11 to join the HVO, who did not have additional means --
12 people were running out of means, because those in the
13 HVO were supplied regularly, they would get all the
14 food and everything else that was needed, because this
15 was kind of a pressure, I do not know how else to call
16 it, so the people in a way had to go and join.
17 Q. Witness X, was this taking place at the same
18 time that the Serbs were leaving the area?
19 A. Yes. At first that is not how it went.
20 There was not as much pressure, people mostly left
21 voluntarily. I could not explain this. Those who felt
22 that -- those who were able-bodied and those who were
23 ardently Croatian, and then as days and months go by,
24 you could notice more weapons, more uniforms, weapons
25 were being carried all over, home and elsewhere.
1 No one would part with their weapons, so that was a
2 form of pressure for the Muslims to move out.
3 I remember on 22nd or 23rd about 100 or 200
4 metres away from our neighbourhood, in another street,
5 they provoked a young man whose name was Mirsad
6 Delija. They called him out from his house and they
7 shot him dead there. I thought that that was a clear
8 sign of intimidation, they wanted the Muslims to leave
9 at any price. I heard people say this would be
10 Herceg-Bosna, so whoever likes that, fine. I even
11 heard from these Croats who thought that they were not
12 saying much, but actually they were, that whoever takes
13 control of something that he -- that whatever territory
14 the Croats take, it will stay Croatian, that whatever
15 the Serbs do it will be Serbian and we were the victims
16 from whom this was to be taken. Both sides thought
17 like that, even though we lived there for centuries,
18 together with the others. That is how I understood it,
19 because there was no one else to take it away from
20 except Muslims, because later on, they had a truck that
21 they paraded around the neighbourhood on which an
22 anti-aircraft gun was mounted, so they would come to
23 the neighbourhood four or five times during a week.
24 All these were forms of intimidation.
25 On one occasion, I think this person was even
1 under age, 15 or 16 years old, the road that goes
2 through my neighbourhood, this soldier had a uniform
3 on, I saw that he was a child, he was 15 or 16, he
4 started shooting from his rifle and two men came to me
5 and they told me, "why are you shooting?". I said,
6 "I was not shooting, I have no weapons to shoot
7 from", and he said, "it was not me, it was you, you
8 have a rifle". I said, "I saw very well who shot", but
9 I could not prove it. It was impossible.
10 Q. Witness X, let me talk to you about the Serbs
11 leaving the area and one of the Serbs told you that
12 your turn would come. Did any of the Serbs tell you
13 how much money they were paying to be taken from the
14 area and who they were paying the money to?
15 A. Yes, I believe I said something about the
16 Serb insist my statement, maybe not enough. In the
17 Vatrostalna company, there were Serbs and Croats and
18 Muslims who were all employees there. I think that
19 there were equal numbers of Muslims and Croats, but
20 there were fewer Serbs, maybe there were only a total
21 of 2 per cent in the area. I had good relations both
22 with Croats and Serbs, the ethnic group and religion
23 was not a matter for me, as long as I could talk to
24 people. So I had friends who were Serbs and Croats.
25 So I asked one, whose name was Vojo Mujkic,
1 he was from Podjele, he was a Serb from the Busovaca
2 area, I asked him, "why are you leaving?"; he said that
3 they were not leaving because they wanted to leave,
4 they had to leave and after they left, it would be our
5 turn, the turn of the Muslims. Then I saw them selling
6 some of their belongings in the marketplace, they could
7 not take them along or something, it was too much for
8 them. I told them, "why are you selling it?". He said,
9 "we cannot transport all this". I said, "where are
10 you going? There is HVO in Kiseljak? You want to go
11 to Zenica? You cannot go there. Where are you going
12 to go?" Then he said, "they organised it, Kordic
13 organised a collection centre in Podjele for Serbs from
14 Travnik, Vitez, Zenica, wherever else. The price is
15 about 1,000 German marks if you go on your own, that is
16 without any belongings, but if you have a car then the
17 price is higher, 2,000, maybe 3,000, depending on what
18 you are transporting with you", so those who had a car
19 would pay for that, those who did not own a car would
20 go in buses, and they would go to Kobiljaca where the
21 frontlines between the army and the Serbs were and that
22 is where they were turned over and I do not know where
23 they went from there.
24 Q. Witness X, was there a time when you were
25 walking past Dario Kordic's house in Busovaca where you
1 saw some HVO soldiers that you knew outside the house
2 and did you ask them what they were doing?
3 A. Yes, I did. I forgot to mention it. Some
4 time starting in May 1992, there were barricades around
5 Busovaca which were getting bigger and bigger. There
6 was one outside of Busovaca, I do not know if I can see
7 it here on the map, then there was another one near
8 Kordic's house which I passed by there regularly on the
9 way to the town, where there were people standing
10 sitting around, five or six men, soldiers I mean,
11 guarding the house and I knew them. I asked one of
12 them who had worked with me in the company, "what are
13 you doing here? What are you guarding here? Are you
14 guarding Kordic?". He said, "no, we are not guarding
15 Kordic, we are guarding Herceg-Bosna". I said, "oh,
16 Herceg-Bosna", and he said, "yes, it is Herceg-Bosna we
17 are guarding". I moved on towards my house.
18 So the main Tisovacka street is there and
19 then there was a crossroad and there was a checkpoint
20 there and from thereon, my neighbourhood begins. There
21 were two HVO soldiers there and one stopped him.
22 I knew him and he knew me, because I would pass his
23 house all the time and he asked me where I was going
24 and I said I was going home. He said, "what home?" ,
25 and I said, "my own home". He said, "do you have ID?"
1 I said, "please do not pretend you do not know me, you
2 are my neighbour". He said, "I do not know anyone,
3 just give me the papers". I gave him the IDs, he did
4 not need them because he knew me. Then he said, "okay,
5 this time it is fine, you may go".
6 Then there was this other checkpoint maybe
7 300 or 400 metres further up the road, past our
8 neighbourhood towards Tisovac and so on --
9 Q. Going back to these individuals in front of
10 Kordic's house, did you ask them at that time what it
11 meant to be protecting Herceg-Bosna and if so, what did
12 they say in response?
13 A. I did not ask -- I do not remember.
14 Q. Okay. Let us move on to the conflict
15 itself. You said that the conflict in Busovaca started
16 on 25th January 1993, is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. After that, did you see an HVO anti-aircraft
19 weapon near your mahala that was shooting on to Muslim
21 A. Yes, above our mahala, our neighbourhood,
22 there is high ground and there is wood behind it and
23 then there is some open fields, mostly Croats live
24 there, so there was a wood over there, not very big,
25 and there were some anti-aircraft machine-guns and guns
1 and maybe a few mortars.
2 Q. Just turning back to this exhibit, is that
3 point 4 on the photograph?
4 A. Yes, it was not just one, there were several
5 over here, but at point number 4, there was an
6 anti-aircraft machine-gun placed.
7 Q. Let me move ahead to when the soldiers came
8 and took the men out of your mahala, out of your
9 village. Did you see these soldiers, and were they HVO
11 A. Yes, I saw soldiers, obviously they were all
12 HVO soldiers. For the most part they had masks on,
13 that is some kind of a stocking with openings for eyes,
14 so I could not recognise them. There was an older man
15 there, maybe around 60 and another one, men whom I met
16 over a period of time, the young man, but the other
17 ones I could not recognise because they wore masks.
18 Q. So you did recognise two of the soldiers that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Were they from Busovaca?
22 A. Yes, from Busovaca.
23 Q. After that, were the rest of the Muslim
24 residents and the Muslim refugees driven out of the
25 rest of their homes in your mahala?
1 A. When the arrests took place, all the Muslim
2 men who had stayed were arrested and everybody from the
3 refugees except for women, children and elderly men,
4 they left them, but the rest of them were taken away.
5 After that, all this abuse, mistreatment started
6 regarding the refugees from Jajce, so some left under
7 the auspices of the Red Cross, some found a way out
8 that way and there was also a Croat who was helping
9 people move out so that the whole thing happened very
10 quickly, so these refugees from Jajce all left.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Have you got many questions,
12 Mr Kehoe, because please try and get down to the
13 essentials. I wanted to -- can you end with your
14 questions before the break, please? Is it possible or
15 not? Because the witness made a very long statement,
16 with very many details and I think that the judges
17 could very clearly see what the witness had been
18 through. Maybe you have two or three things to make
19 more precise and point out? I am simply going back to
20 your summary now. Could you ask a couple of very
21 precise questions, because if not we will have to make
22 the break now and then end with your
23 examination-in-chief before the cross-examination, so
24 have you many things you want to point out now?
25 MR KEHOE: I do not have many things,
1 Mr President. I do not think I can do it in two or
2 three questions, candidly. I leave it to you,
3 Mr President, whether you take the break now or --
4 JUDGE JORDA: I am thinking here of the
5 interpreters. Everybody has started to feel tired and
6 also the witness himself is probably tired because of
7 his long statement. I asked you before that because
8 I thought you had only a couple of points you wanted to
9 raise. If you wanted to do another direct examination
10 from the start, that was another matter, so I think we
11 are all tired, the judges including. We are going to
12 make a break now and we will resume in 15 minutes.
13 (4.15 pm)
14 (A short break)
15 (4.40 pm)
16 JUDGE JORDA: Please have the accused brought
17 in. We will resume now.
18 (Accused brought in)
19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Kehoe, according to your
20 summary, what are the points that you would like to
21 point out with Witness X?
22 MR KEHOE: At this juncture, Mr President,
23 the point we would bring out is that with regard to his
24 particular neighbourhood, that first HVO moved into
25 houses that belonged to the Muslims, one of which was
1 Zoran Marinic, another was Mirko Milic. Those two
2 houses are reflected in numbers 2 and 3 in the chart.
3 Thereafter, Croats moved into the area from other areas
4 with the authority or with licences or permits by the
5 HVO authorities. It comes up, of course, because a
6 question was raised even just this morning about
7 whether or not the people that went in there were all
8 refugees. The fact of the matter is HVO soldiers from
9 Busovaca like Zoran Marinic took over a Muslim
11 The other feature --
12 JUDGE JORDA: The witness said that there
13 were people that moved in those houses, so the witness
14 does not need to repeat that, because I even jotted
15 that down. The witness has simply to speak about those
16 facts which he did not mention during his statement.
17 If not, we will at some stage have to put an end to it
18 and have the cross-examination start, because I have
19 the responsibility for it. Please ask the questions
20 which will very precisely give complementary moments to
21 complete the statement, but the statement has been very
22 complete and I would like to commend the witness for
23 that, so please do it very quickly and after that, we
24 will go on to cross-examination.
25 MR KEHOE: Yes, Mr President, I just will
1 focus on those particular points.
2 Witness X, after the Muslims either left or
3 were driven out of your mahala, did members of the HVO
4 come in and take over some of the houses in your
6 A. Yes, the people, mostly people from Busovaca,
7 also from village Ravne, moved into those
8 privately-owned weekend houses and also into the houses
9 of the Muslims who used to live there permanently.
10 I said that in some houses they would stay for two or
11 three days --
12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that was already said.
13 Please proceed to another question, Mr Kehoe now.
14 MR KEHOE: Witness X, were two of the houses
15 that they moved into on this particular map that is
16 before you, Exhibit 240, did Zoran Marinic move into
17 the house marked with number 2 and Mirko Milic, did he
18 move into house marked with number 3?
19 A. Yes, this was the house, the weekend house of
20 a man from Zenica and number 3 is the house of the
21 brother of (redacted) who used to live in Germany at
22 that time.
23 Q. You knew, because you saw Zoran Marinic, that
24 he was a member of the HVO military police, is that
1 A. Yes, I would see him every day, because the
2 distance was some 50 to 100 metres from the house where
3 he used to live, he moved into somebody else's house,
4 from that house to my house. It can be seen on the
6 Q. Did you see him wear a military police patch
7 on his uniform?
8 A. Yes, I would see him, he mostly wore the
9 patch of military police.
10 Q. You said that there were searches at your
11 house on 23rd April 1993. Those searches were not
12 done -- were done by other members of the HVO and not
13 Zoran Marinic and Mirko Milic, is that right?
14 A. Yes, those were other people, not Zoran nor
15 Mirko Milic.
16 Q. Let me move ahead to the actual burning of
17 your house and the killing of your neighbours. One of
18 your Croat neighbours called the police that night, is
19 that right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And the next morning, you went to the police
22 station to give a statement, correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Was that the civilian police or the military
25 police that you went to?
1 A. That was the civilian police. There were two
2 policemen that came by car, I know their names, Slavko
3 Katava and Ivica Vidovic. They came and said that
4 I had to give a statement, but the best thing would be
5 for me to go to the police station. I went into the
6 car and drove down there and I met some people I knew
7 there, as I used to live in the neighbourhood, so
8 I went into the office and I asked them to take me out
9 of the area and as I said --
10 Q. Witness X, let me ask you a question. Did
11 you tell the civilian police that Zoran Marinic had
12 been responsible for the killing and burning in your
13 mahala the night before?
14 A. Yes, they asked me who did it and I said,
15 "you know much better who did it than I, probably",
16 because he was probably asked to do so, otherwise I do
17 not think somebody would come on his own just in there
18 to kill somebody. I did not really know Zoran too much
19 when he used to go to school, I would sometimes give
20 him a cigarette if he asked it from me. We went out
21 from the police and they asked me and my wife to go
22 into that house where we spent the night and I asked
23 whether Zoran Marinic had been arrested because he
24 committed a crime and he said, "yes, he was arrested"
25 and my wife said that she could see him when she was
1 going back from Kacuni where she went to reach for
2 UNPROFOR and she went and UNPROFOR was in Hotel
3 Kiseljak, but she cross him when she was going in one
4 direction and he in the other direction around Kacuni,
5 but I simply gave her a sign to remain silent, because
6 regardless of the fact whether he was arrested or not,
7 there is law and if somebody commits a crime, that
8 person has to be arrested, but no, he was not
9 arrested. Even last year he was seen going around
10 Busovaca as a free man.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Witness X, here we
12 are not at the case against Zoran Marinic. I think
13 that is very important. What the Prosecutor would like
14 to know is whether he belonged to the HVO and this is
15 linked to the chain of command, but this is the trial
16 of General Blaskic and not of Zoran Marinic.
17 Please proceed, Mr Kehoe.
18 MR KEHOE: To conclude on this point,
19 Witness X, Zoran Marinic was a member of the military
20 police and to your knowledge he was never prosecuted or
21 arrested for the crimes that took place in your mahala
22 on the evening of 26th April 1993, is that correct?
23 A. That is correct, never a single person who
24 committed a crime was arrested there, that is correct.
25 MR KEHOE: Mr President, at this time we
1 would offer into evidence under seal Exhibits 240,
2 which is the map that is before us, and also the series
3 of photographs which also have some family members
4 belonging to Witness X. If I might have one moment to
5 consult with my colleagues, Mr President, I believe
6 that I have completed. Thank you, Mr President, I have
7 no further questions. Thank you, Witness X.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr Prosecutor.
9 Mr Nobilo is going to ask questions. This is
10 a very usual thing, this is a trial of General Blaskic
11 and now the Defence is going to ask questions.
12 Mr Nobilo, please proceed.
13 Cross-examined by MR NOBILO
14 Q. Thank you, your Honour.
15 Good evening, Mr X.
16 A. Good evening.
17 Q. Did the police when you arrived at the police
18 station to give the statement linked to those killings,
19 did the police tell you that they needed to know your
21 A. They did not tell me, they asked me whether
22 there was a weekend house in my neighbourhood where
23 I could live.
24 Q. Did the police, once you went out of the
25 police station, did they know where you were?
1 A. Yes, I mentioned in my statement here,
2 I decided I did not want to go into any of the weekend
3 houses up there, because they already came to kill me
4 in my house, it would be even worse in a weekend
5 house. They asked me whether I had a --
6 Q. Excuse me, could you please shortly answer --
7 MR KEHOE: Excuse me, if there could be some
8 break between the question and the answer.
9 MR NOBILO: I interrupted the witness on
10 purpose. We heard your story. Could you please answer
11 whether in the police station after you left it they
12 knew where you were going to stay for the following
14 A. Well, they took me to a certain place which
15 they chose, to a person who I did not know and that
16 person did not know me. After that, I went back to the
17 centre of the town, thinking they would be looking for
18 me again and that is what happened. I was in the
19 centre in a street where there were lots of Muslims and
20 nobody knew where I was, nobody could know exactly
21 where I was, they were looking for me for seven days,
22 I have got proof of that, people told me about it.
23 Q. Out of what you have just said, can
24 I conclude that in the police station, once you left
25 the police station, that they did not know any more
1 where you lived?
2 A. They did not know, but I was not at the place
3 where they brought me to.
4 Q. After you were hiding at those places you
5 left Busovaca. You did not have contact with the
6 police, is that correct?
7 A. That is correct. I said that only my wife on
8 24th May went to the police station to ask for a permit
9 to leave Busovaca.
10 Q. Were you a member of the BH-Army?
11 A. Not at that time.
12 Q. You gave a statement to the investigators of
13 the Office of the Prosecutor, this is the only
14 statement which is not dated, and in the first
15 paragraph, you say that you are a member of the army of
16 BiH --
17 MR KEHOE: I should correct you, there are
18 two statements.
19 MR NOBILO: One statement is a summary and
20 one is a proper statement.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Is that one or two statements?
22 MR KEHOE: I have two, Mr President, I am
23 just correcting counsel. Two were sent to counsel.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Hayman? This is something
25 that we would be able to clarify, I think.
1 MR HAYMAN: We have a Serbo-Croatian
2 statement with a half page English summary and we have
3 an English language statement, that is what our records
4 reflect we have. Only one English language statement
5 which is the witness's actual statement.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Okay, so this is an incident.
7 There was a problem of terminology. You are both
8 right. There are two documents but maybe not two
9 statements in these proceedings, so please, Mr Nobilo,
10 use both documents.
11 I think this incident is now behind us, and
12 Mr Kehoe, I gave you 50 per cent credit for it. There
13 are two documents that you gave to the Defence.
14 Mr Nobilo, please proceed.
15 MR NOBILO: Thank you, your Honour.
16 We are going to clarify things very quickly.
17 At the beginning of this statement you gave you said at
18 the moment that you gave the statement you are a member
19 of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that you have
20 been its member since 16th April 1992, I believe.
21 A. Let me clarify this. It says that I was a
22 member of the army since 16th April, but I never was in
23 that army, not before the conflict but yes, after the
24 conflict, in 1993 when I went out, when I managed to
25 get out, I joined the army. I think that you can
1 understand me. I have suffered so much, so it was
2 logical for me to join them. Now I am not a member of
3 the army. On 20th December 1994 I was demobilised.
4 Q. According to a military document, did you
5 join the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina on 16th April 1992?
6 A. I joined the Bosnian army on 31st May when
7 I joined it at Kacuni. You cannot be a member of the
8 army if you are not in it actually between 1992 and
10 Q. What is in your military papers?
11 A. It says that I am a member of the army as of
12 31st May 1992, and actually when I joined it.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Kehoe, do you have an
14 objection you wanted to raise?
15 MR KEHOE: No, your Honour.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Nobilo?
17 MR NOBILO: So is that statement correct?
18 A. The statement that I belonged to the army
19 between 31st May 1993 and 20th December 1995, that is
20 correct, then I was demobilised.
21 Q. So to the investigators of the Office of the
22 Prosecutor, you did not tell the truth when you said --
23 MR KEHOE: At this point I object. The man
24 said he was a member of the army from 31st May 1993
25 until 20th December 1995.
1 MR NOBILO: Your Honour, if you please,
2 I would like to find out whether this was a mistake,
3 wrongly written down, or the witness gave the wrong
4 statement to the investigators of the Office of the
6 JUDGE JORDA: All right, now I am turning
7 myself to the witness. This is an important question
8 for the Defence. Witness X, please be calm, Defence
9 counsel is asking a legitimate question of you and they
10 would like to know whether you were a member of the
11 army or not and in your statement, you said that you
12 were the member of the army. You said that for you,
13 there is a difference between enrolling and
14 participating in the operations. I am not quite
15 agreeable with you, you are either a member of
16 something or not. There is no trap in that question,
17 especially not coming from a judge, that is the parties
18 neither ask questions that would be a trap, so please
19 could you say that when you gave the statement you said
20 you were the member of the Bosnian army. Could you
21 please say whether at that time you were officially a
22 member of it, yes please.
23 A. In the HVO police that I said that I belonged
24 to the HVO? That is something I deny. They were
25 themselves witnesses that I was not a member.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, the fact to
2 participate in the operation is not really the
3 question. We want to know whether you were, even only
4 in theory, a member of the Bosnian army.
5 Mr Nobilo, please proceed.
6 A. I said that on 31st May 1993 up until
7 20th December 1995 I was a member of the Bosnian army.
8 I think that was clear enough.
9 MR NOBILO: Did you say to the investigators
10 of the Office of the Prosecutor that you were a member
11 of the army since 16th April 1992; did you tell it to
13 A. I cannot recall, I gave statements twice at
14 Zenica. Maybe the interpreter did not interpret that
15 correctly, there must have been a mistake.
16 Q. Thank you very much, let us proceed. During
17 direct examination you said that just before the
18 conflict in January, around 21st January 1993, two or
19 three days before that, a large number of Muslim
20 civilians had left Busovaca. Do I remember that well?
21 A. Yes, on 21st January.
22 Q. What I ask you now is why did those civilians
23 leave before the conflict broke out? How did they know
24 there would be a conflict?
6 (redacted). This friend said it to another friend and so
7 rumours spread. You know when people start to have
8 fear then you believe many things.
9 Q. Thank you. During direct examination, you
10 said that the conflict or the war in April 1993 started
11 on April 14th. How do you know that? How did you
12 remember that it was 14th April? What happened on that
13 date so that you concluded that the war broke out?
14 A. As you can see on this map, here is where
15 I lived, in this part, in this area (indicates), and
16 after our neighbourhood, where you can see the woods
17 and meadows, so there are the woods and they were the
18 HVO frontlines and the army frontlines and I was down
19 hill and so you could hear large detonations and
20 shootings and I could see some Croats. I had a feeling
21 they were some 500 metres away from Busovaca and that
22 there were shootings and they were also the Croatian
23 refugees who had moved in, they were also preparing to
24 go out, because they thought the army would go into
1 Q. So according to you, the war started on
2 14th April 1993, because you saw it yourself?
3 A. It started on 25th May, when the conflict
4 broke out.
5 Q. But yes, the actual war in April started on
6 the 14th?
7 A. I was not actually at that place, but I could
8 hear the detonations and I concluded there was conflict
9 going on and I know because when they took us from the
10 police to that house where we spent the night, the
11 night before the tragedy, my wife told a policeman,
12 "kill us here now and do not take us anywhere else".
13 He swore at her and gave her her rifle and said, "you
14 can shoot at me and kill me because I had been injured
15 from the people from the army". I said, "it is not my
16 fault, I did not tell anybody to go there and fight".
17 Q. You said that the Croats were forced in
18 various ways to join the HVO, so I ask you now, can we
19 say that most Croats that were capable to take arms did
20 wear a uniform?
21 A. Yes, mostly those people who were of military
22 age did wear military, even some elderly people, some
24 Q. How old were the youngest and the oldest
25 people in uniform?
1 A. There was a 15 or 16 year old boy whom I saw
2 shoot in my neighbourhood and I could see he was
3 underage, but all the others were of age.
6 A. I could not see whether that was civilian or
7 military police, because it was 10.00 or 11.00 in the
8 night when they arrived, but they investigated the case
9 probably that night, they did not allow UNPROFOR to
10 come, but they did not allow them and they said that
11 they would settle everything and there was no need for
12 UNPROFOR to come.
13 Q. When you were at the police station, were you
14 expressly forbidden -- not given permission to leave?
15 A. Yes, twice.
16 Q. Did you ask to be put in Kaonik rather than
17 leave because you would be safer there?
18 A. No, I did not tell them to put me in Kaonik,
19 because I knew what was going on there. I just wanted
20 to be in prison here because it was safer there in the
22 Q. You described the exchanges that took place
23 and you said that everybody needed to find a family in
24 Zenica and then organise the exchange in that way. Let
25 me ask you this: was this a voluntary exchange of
1 families and people?
2 A. This was voluntary, but the Muslims who had
3 remained in -- stayed in Busovaca wanted to leave at
4 any cost and the members of the HVO in Zenica, they
5 also insisted to have their families move over.
6 I think that there was talk about ethnic cleansing both
7 ways, so that all the Croats would be moved from Zenica
8 over here and then all the Croats from Zenica, and all
9 the Muslims from Busovaca.
10 Q. So that was the kind of exchange?
14 A. In a Croatian house.
15 MR KEHOE: I object to the line of
16 questioning on this score, it is a protected witness.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes.
18 MR NOBILO: Mr President, many Muslims live
19 in Croatian houses and vice versa. It is something
20 that this witness can identify.
21 MR KEHOE: I do not object to the specific
22 question, I do object with a protected witness when a
23 counsel comments on where a protected witness is
25 MR NOBILO: Mr President, with your
1 permission, I only ask about the type of house, not who
2 the owner is.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Is it really essential for you,
4 Mr Nobilo? Is it really very important?
5 MR NOBILO: It was already stated.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Hayman? This is not a very
7 good answer, Mr Hayman, it is not because the answer
8 was given that the objection has not got its weight,
9 but maybe in the transcript, we could put some kind of
10 an embargo to this answer?
11 THE REGISTRAR: Doubtless we can do that, a
13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr Hayman, we are going to
14 redact. So in the transcript, this answer will not
16 MR HAYMAN: As to the geographic place,
17 Mr President? I would hope, "in a Croatian house", can
18 remain in the transcript.
19 JUDGE JORDA: I will ask, it was a question
20 about the owner I think, as far as the village or the
21 town, it is maybe less important. Mr Prosecutor?
22 MR KEHOE: My issue, Mr President, was
23 counsel highlighting the specific town where a
24 protected witness is living. That was my objection.
25 JUDGE JORDA: I suggest that we delete in the
1 transcript the name of the village. The Trial Chamber
2 has got its responsibility towards the protection of
4 MR NOBILO: One more question: have you ever
5 seen our client Tihomir Blaskic in Busovaca at any
7 A. I never saw him in person, I saw him on
9 MR NOBILO: Mr President, thank you very
10 much, this concludes our cross-examination.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Would you like to reply now,
12 Mr Kehoe?
13 Re-examined by MR KEHOE
14 Q. Just briefly.
15 You were asked some questions on
16 cross-examination about if you told the police on the
17 morning after your house was put on fire, if you told
18 the police where you were going to be residing. During
19 that conversation, did the police tell you that Zoran
20 Marinic had been arrested?
21 A. Yes, I did not tell them where I would live,
22 I did not know where I would live, but they took me in
23 a car to a place, to a house where they told me to stay
24 with my family, and regarding the arrest of Zoran
25 Marinic, yes they confirmed that he was arrested, but
1 since my wife interjected and denied it, they looked at
2 one another and then I nudged her and told her to be
3 silent, because this was murder, and you can imagine
4 the tragedy that I went through, that I had my house
5 burned down and my family was there with me. I may
6 have omitted something, you lose your concentration
7 when you recall the images of things that happen.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Any other questions, Mr Kehoe?
9 MR KEHOE: No, Mr President, thank you very
10 much. I have no further questions.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Judge Riad?
12 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Witness X.
13 I will just ask you a few questions, I do not need a
14 long answer, but some precision. In your very lengthy
15 testimony, you mentioned that anti-aircraft was
16 shooting on Muslim houses; do you remember that, that
17 anti-aircraft was shooting at Muslim houses? Could
18 this anti-aircraft belong to somebody else than the
20 A. There was no possibility for it to belong to
21 anyone else, because we did not possess any weapons.
22 Everything was under the HVO control, all the
23 communications lines were under the HVO control, so we
24 could not move anything there. I actually even saw the
25 emplacement where it was, and I knew the soldiers who
1 were there. At that time, there was no reason for it
2 not to be seen, they had placed it there very early on.
3 Q. It was an army operation, it was an HVO army
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The houses which were being shot at, did they
7 have any military importance, or were they just
8 civilians' houses?
9 A. I said that on 26th January when the Muslims
10 saw what was going on, when they were being put
11 together then taken to Kaonik, they offered some
12 resistance, there were about ten rifles there, about 20
13 people, there were some hunting rifles, some Karabins,
14 maybe a few pistols and maybe some hand grenades that
15 were purchased from Croatian friends or something, so
16 when this conflict broke out, that was about a couple
17 of hours really, the HVO had superior power. That is
18 from this position number 4, there was some shooting.
19 It was 500 to 1,000 metres. From that position you
20 could see clearly every single house. These houses
21 were all civilian houses, there was nothing military
22 about them.
23 Q. No depot of ammunitions or fighters hiding in
24 those houses or that sort of thing?
25 A. No, just locals, no depots.
1 Q. You said the shooting came from 1,000 metres
2 away, it was not so far? Where did the shooting come
3 from, exactly? Do you have an idea?
4 A. This shooting came from point number 4, there
5 was a wood there, maybe it was 5 to 6 to 10 metres high
6 emplacement and there was positions there. It is about
7 100 metres away from my house and they were shooting
8 across over to the other side, maybe up to 1,000 metres
10 Q. You mentioned that people were taken to dig
11 trenches in the frontlines. What happened to these
12 people, do you know anything which happened to them?
13 A. I am not sure, they were taken there, I can
14 confirm that, I know a man, a Muslim, he was organising
15 these men and he is still alive to date. I talked to
16 him a little bit and then after the war, I talked more,
17 some people protected them, some people beat them.
18 I heard that two or three of them were killed from our
19 own army, because when you shoot you do not know who is
21 Q. You also mentioned that among other things
22 the Muslims who remained and who did not leave were
23 arrested by the military police. Was there any special
24 reason for arresting them? Were they caught fighting?
25 Why were they arrested, since they wanted to stay?
1 A. They were not captured during the fighting,
2 they did not have weapons, those were my neighbours who
3 lived there. There were no weapons there, there were
4 no uniforms there. They were simply able-bodied. That
5 is how it happened. There was this collection centre
6 or camp in Kaonik where they were taken.
7 Q. So they were arrested because nobody wanted
8 them to stay, is that the reason?
9 A. Probably that is -- I believe that was the
10 reason. This was a Muslim settlement, further on there
11 was a Croatian settlement called Ravan. I remember one
12 occasion in 1992 when I worked, I was building an
13 auxiliary building, property, and a Croat came by and
14 he asked me why was I building this. I said, "well
15 I needed a garage here for my car" and he said, "are
16 you not leaving here?", and I said, "no, where should
17 I go, leave my own house?", and then he said, "very
18 well". I think my view was that Busovaca was to be
19 cleansed because Croats considered it to be Croatian.
20 On one occasion I heard there was a celebration of the
21 anniversary of the independence of Croatia, and a
22 politician, a Croatian politician said that this would
23 be Croatia and that in the future, Busovaca would be
24 called Croatian Busovaca.
25 Q. In short, the Muslims were expelled as part
1 of the cleansing of Busovaca; is that what you mean?
2 A. Yes, 100 per cent I am.
3 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen, please?
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Witness, I have the
6 impression that you told Defence counsel, Mr Nobilo,
7 that you yourself never saw Colonel Blaskic in person,
8 you only saw him on television, is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you see Colonel Blaskic in court today?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Can you point to him, please?
13 A. (Indicates).
14 Q. Is that the same gentleman whom you saw on
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. How often did you see him on television,
19 A. Listen, this was local Busovaca television,
20 and they were taping things and then broadcast it
21 later. I did not pay too much attention to either
22 watch or listen to him, because I had not known him
23 from before and I did not have particular interest in
24 following his statements. I did know Kordic
25 personally, we had worked together.
1 Q. Did you see Kordic on TV?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you ever see Colonel Blaskic in company
4 with Mr Kordic on TV?
5 A. I said that this was local television and so
6 they were showing just the persons who were speaking
7 and so they were not showing group shots.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Then I thank you.
9 JUDGE JORDA: I will be very brief.
10 Witness X, you said when speaking about Croats who were
11 members of the HVO that there were people who were
12 enlisted by force. Please answer briefly to my very
13 simple question. In the HVO, were there some kind of
14 mercenaries, the HVOs, people who were paid for it; for
15 example, some people that told you, "yes, I have to go
16 to church now because now I wear an HVO uniform", or
17 were these people deeply devoted to the cause or were
18 they a mixture of both? Were simply part of them just
19 mercenaries who enlisted because they thought they
20 could have some profit from it, or were there people
21 who were extremely devoted to it with deep
22 convictions? Could you tell us, because you lived
23 through it all.
24 A. You could talk about two kinds of soldiers
25 here. I did not say that some rough force was used,
1 the force was more material, because he did not have
2 means of survival, he had no food and things like that,
3 so those who did not join were not getting these
4 things. As far as the mercenaries are concerned, as
5 far as I know, all HVO members received salaries,
6 whereas we did not.
7 I have a friend who is a Croat who currently
8 lives in Zenica. He used to live in Busovaca, and
9 I learned from him they had a supplement of 50 marks
10 assistance of sorts. Also the locals and the refugees
11 here in Busovaca received this. Then he told me that
12 he would either have to give up -- he was faced with a
13 choice that he would have to give up either this
14 supplement of 50 marks or the Bosnian pension to which
15 he was entitled. He had to make that choice and he
16 did, he opted for the pension.
17 Q. In your opinion, these financial aids that
18 helped people, that they were better paid than the
19 Bosnian soldiers; where did that money come from? Was
20 the HVO wealthy? Did it come from Croatia or from some
21 kind of political tax that had been levied? I would
22 like to simply know your opinion.
23 A. My personal opinion is that the HVO itself
24 did not have such financial resources which would --
25 these would be very large sums of money. What I read
1 in the papers was that Tudjman, that is Croatia,
2 financed this army in Herceg-Bosna, I do not know how
3 else to describe it, so that they would be paid,
4 because we in the army had no salaries towards the end
5 of the war, we would get about 40 marks a month so that
6 we could buy cigarettes, whereas they were receiving
7 400 to 500 marks.
8 Q. I am going to ask you a question that might
9 seem paradoxic to you, and I am sorry in advance in
10 case I shock you, but in troubled times, there are many
11 variations in mentality and here is my question: you
12 told us that there were Croats that maybe did not take
13 you in their house, but did help you, help you in one
14 way or the other, you used to have good relations with
15 them before the war, and good understanding. My
16 question is: are there amongst Muslims people for
17 various reasons, because they wanted profit or because
18 of mixed marriages or convictions, that joined the
19 HVO? I do not ask you in general whether there were
20 people in Busovaca, because you know that region?
21 A. Not in Busovaca. After the conflict at
22 Kaonik regarding the JNA barracks, a representative of
23 the HVO, I do not know his name, but I knew him from --
24 in fact two of them came to our neighbourhood, we
25 gathered there, the Muslims, so that they could give us
1 this information, so he said, "we came here to invite
2 you to join the HVO voluntarily, because this is your
3 Busovaca". Then we kind of looked at each other and
4 kept silent, then we said, "why should we all go to the
5 HVO, why do we not all join the army if we are fighting
6 the JNA and the Serb Army under the same flag, then we
7 will be all together there". Then he said that
8 flag did not mean anything to them, that had nothing to
9 do with them. Then I said, "how come it means
10 nothing? Stjepan Kljujic is in the government, he was
11 legally elected". He said, "we broke all relations
12 with him, we have no contact with him, we do not want
13 to". I said I was not going to go to the HVO, because
14 I am not even a member of the army, but I would like us
15 all to go under the same flag, whether it be the HVO or
16 the flag of Bosnia. If we were going to fight against
17 the JNA, we should all do it together. I could not
18 think of a conflict between Croats and Muslims, because
19 traditionally we lived together and we would for
20 instance work together if somebody was building a
21 house, things like that. I could not even imagine to
22 any fight with the Serbs, our neighbours, here in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I never thought there were Croats
24 in Bosnia, I thought they were Catholics. If he was
25 born here, he would be a Bosnian and not a Croat, same
1 with the others, if he were born in Croatia, he would
2 be a Croat, but I was wrong.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Witness X. The end
4 of the statement. I think that you had the opportunity
5 to say everything that you want the. This Trial
6 Chamber would like to thank you for your coming here.
7 Please remain seated because you are a protected
8 witness and we have to ensure your protection.
9 We are now at the end of a long day and the
10 interpreters had to translate many difficult things, so
11 I suggest that we adjourn for today and we will start
12 again tomorrow morning.
13 (5.30 pm)
14 (Hearing adjourned until 10.00 am the following day)