1 Tuesday, 17th November, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.10 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the
5 accused brought in, please.
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters. I would also like to be sure that they
9 can hear me. Very well. Good morning to the
10 Prosecution counsel and to the one counsel for the
11 Defence. We seem to have lost Mr. Hayman.
12 Have the witness brought in, please. What
13 did you say?
14 MR. NOBILO: Mr. Hayman will be with us
16 JUDGE JORDA: I thought that he had been
17 discouraged by the amount of time this is taking.
18 All right. Let us have Mr. Mladen Holman
19 brought in, please, for the conclusion of the direct
20 examination, and then we will move to the
22 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, while we're
23 waiting for Mr. Holman, I suggest that we move into
24 private session for the safety of the witness. We'll
25 be able to explain this in greater detail when we are
1 in private session.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Does the Prosecution have any
4 MR. CAYLEY: Good morning, Mr. President.
5 Until we know what it is about, we can't really make
6 any comment. I see the sense in going into a private
7 session so that Mr. Nobilo can explain to us the reason
8 for this.
9 JUDGE JORDA: I think it would be better if
10 you were to tell us at least a minimum number of
11 things; otherwise, we will have to go into closed
12 session in order to explain the reasons.
13 In general, can you give us the reason why
14 you want to have a private session?
15 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the witness is
16 now going to speak about a unit, a group of people that
17 you will all know very well, and the members of which
18 today live in Central Bosnia, and the witness is
19 frightened for his safety. If this were a public
20 session in the presence of journalists and so forth, it
21 would be difficult for him to speak about that
22 particular unit and the members of the unit.
23 MR. CAYLEY: I have no objection to a private
24 session on that basis, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Cayley. All
1 right. We will move into a private session and have
2 the witness brought in.
3 (The witness entered court)
4 (Private session)
13 Pages 14814 to 14823 redacted in private session
10 (Open session)
11 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Cayley:
13 Q. Good morning, Mr. Holman, my name is Cayley
14 and I'm from the Office of the Prosecutor.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. Now, I would like to, first of all,
17 concentrate on the time when you were released from
18 prison in Zenica in 1994. Do you recall what month
19 that was?
20 A. You mean when I was released from prison?
21 That was in 1994, in April.
22 Q. And where did you go when you were released
23 from prison?
24 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the period from
25 1994 onwards, after the witness was released from the
1 prison in Zenica, was not included in the direct
3 JUDGE JORDA: It seems to me that we did
4 speak about that, even though it wasn't specifically
5 spoken about, but the witness wanted to speak about
6 that period insofar as he was trying to demonstrate
7 certain things, including what happened during the time
8 he was in captivity. Therefore, I think if we look at
9 things a bit broadly, Mr. Cayley can ask that
10 question. Proceed, please, Mr. Cayley.
11 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Where did you proceed to after you were
13 released from prison in Zenica?
14 A. I would like to explain that a bit. An
15 exchange was agreed upon through U.N. observers, so the
16 prison authorities --
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Holman, please speak a
18 little more slowly.
19 A. Well, it was a bit complicated. I was
20 supposed to be exchanged and the U.N. observer vehicles
21 were supposed to take me. However, the prison
22 authorities had complicated things a bit. These people
23 from the Red Cross who were supposed to be there too,
24 told us that we had taken a step forward, but that now
25 we went two steps backwards in terms of our exchange.
1 Then, in different ways, they tried not only
2 to talk me into something, but to talk others into the
3 same thing too. That is to say, to be released from
4 the prison, but to remain in Zenica.
5 I had a lot of bad experience in the prison
6 in Zenica and I would not be deceived. I asked for the
7 exchange to be carried out properly. I wanted to go to
8 free Croatian territory and I wanted one of the Zenica
9 Croats to be present as well, because they had asked me
10 to sign an agreement for this kind of an exchange, that
11 is to say, without the presence of U.N. observers and
12 the Red Cross people. But I was afraid. I didn't want
13 to go without them.
14 For example, on the highway between Zenica
15 and Busovaca some units could stop me, and perhaps they
16 could abduct me too, because during the trial of the
17 extremist Muslim unit they tried to abduct me too.
18 Then these prison authorities established
19 some kind of a commission, but I said that I would
20 never sign this. I said that I would only sign this
21 paper when I came to the line of exchange. And so it
22 was. I was exchanged at Gavrine Kuce where the line of
23 exchange was. Gavrine Kuce belongs to the municipality
24 of Busovaca. I left the prison with a shopping bag in
25 my hands only, which had a track suit and a sweater in
1 it. When I came to the line of exchange, I signed the
2 relevant papers saying I was exchanged because the
3 Croat people in charge of exchanges were there.
4 From there I went to Busovaca to see my
5 family. While I was in prison they had fled to
6 Busovaca. Actually, first they fled to Vitez, and then
7 when the Croatian villages fell, Krizancevo Selo, et
8 cetera, then they went onto Busovaca, and that is where
9 my family was reunited.
10 Q. Did you subsequently serve with the HVO on
11 the general staff in Mostar?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And did you subsequently reach the rank of
14 major in the HVO?
15 A. Yes, I reached the rank of major. I was the
16 advisor for psychomotoric preparations. Perhaps it
17 would be easier for you to understand if I were to say
18 that I was advisor for sports.
19 Q. That's simple. Thank you. Were you
20 decorated by Dr. Franjo Tudjman in 1996?
21 A. Yes, I was decorated. Yes, a memorial medal
22 of the Homeland war, yes.
23 MR. CAYLEY: If the first exhibit could be
24 shown to the witness. Mr. Registrar, what is the
25 exhibit number of this exhibit?
1 THE REGISTRAR: This is 547.
2 MR. CAYLEY:
3 Q. Now, Mr. Holman, this is the public
4 announcement of your decoration and if you go to number
5 143, you will find that your name is stated there as
6 being a recipient of this award. What was the name of
7 the award that you were given?
8 A. I think it is called the Order of the
9 Croatian Trefoil.
10 Q. If you go to the final page, you will see
11 that Dr. Tudjman signs off on this award as the
12 president of the Republic and the High Commander of
13 Croatian forces. Do you see that?
14 A. Down here at the end, yes.
15 Q. In fact, I'm correct, am I not, that
16 Dr. Tudjman was commander of the HV and the HVO?
17 A. For the Croatian army, yes. I can say that
18 the president was the commander, but I cannot say that
19 he was commander of the HVO, because I don't know
20 that. At that time I know that my commander was
21 Mr. Zeljko Glasnovic and before that Mr. Zeljko
22 Budimir. I was not aware of the hierarchy further
23 above, and I wasn't supposed to be aware of it either.
24 Q. Can you explain to the Court how the
25 president of the Republic of Croatia was able to issue
1 medals and awards to members of the HVO? There are a
2 number of people mentioned in this order who were
3 serving with the HVO, including yourself.
4 A. Well, this could happen because we,
5 volunteers, veterans, as the former Yugoslavia fell
6 apart when the war in Croatia broke out, and then this
7 war went further on into Bosnia, so before the war in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina we joined the defence and
9 organisation of Croatian territories.
10 So through certain channels -- I mean, we
11 were aware of the fact that the war would break out in
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina, too. So in some organisations
13 I organised, through Croatia, the Croatian people in
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 Quite a few of those people lived in Croatia,
16 too. They had their houses there, their parents, their
17 relatives, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well. So
18 I think that those are the reasons why I was decorated.
19 Q. So, in essence, for the protection and
20 defence of Croatian people, both in Croatia and
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that was the purpose of this award?
22 A. Yes, the organisation and defence of the
23 Croatian people.
24 Q. Did you ever serve in the HV, or did you only
25 ever serve in the HVO?
1 A. From the very outset I was a member of HOS,
2 and HOS was involved both in Croatia and in
4 Q. But during your service in Mostar, were you
5 in HOS or in the HVO?
6 A. There was no more HOS. The HOS practically
7 no longer exists, there is only the HVO. But I'm
8 talking about before that, that I was involved in all
9 these territories.
10 Q. When you were serving in the general staff in
11 Mostar, you were in the HVO, as you said earlier.
12 A. Yes, yes.
13 Q. Did you ever fight in Croatia?
14 A. My units went to Croatia too, to defend Serb
15 territories, especially when the situation was
16 difficult around the Sava River.
17 Q. In what year was that?
18 A. That was before the conflict with the
19 Muslims. Perhaps it was the end of '92 or the
20 beginning of 1993, I cannot exactly recall. But they
21 did go up there. So the second half of 1992, possibly,
22 because that is when I was commander.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Holman.
24 Now, if we can move on. In your testimony I
25 think you said -- if we need to go into private
1 session, please just indicate to me -- that Blaz
2 Kraljevic was the commander of HOS in Bosnia.
3 MR. NOBILO: Yes, I would suggest that.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Move into private session.
5 (Private session)
13 Pages 14832 to 14838 redacted in private session
21 (Open session)
22 JUDGE JORDA: All right, we're going back
23 into a public session now. Mr. Cayley.
24 MR. CAYLEY:
25 Q. Mr. Holman, in your examination-in-chief you
1 stated that in January of 1993 you first thought about
2 switching to the HVO; do you recall that?
3 A. Yes, yes, I do. It was at the end of January
4 1993, after the slaughter of the Croats in Dusina were
5 carried out by the Muslim units.
6 Q. And I think you also stated, because of
7 intelligence that you had received, that the Muslims
8 were trying to take control of the "Road of Salvation";
9 do you recall saying that?
10 A. Yes, yes, they did try to take it, and the
11 information was that they wanted to have communications
12 towards Mostar and Tomislavgrad.
13 Q. Now, this is the road, I think, which runs
14 through Gornji Vakuf, Prozor and Tomislavgrad; is that
16 A. Well, there are several roads, but the safest
17 road was the one that I moved along, that is to say
18 over Vran Plamina towards Tomislavgrad. There was
19 another road down below going towards Mostar, I can't
20 remember exactly, but I did use that road too, although
21 it was a more difficult route because the Serbs at the
22 entrance to Mostar, and this is something that happened
23 to me when I went to Ljubuski on one occasion, that
24 they were better able to fire at us.
25 So this part of the road was not as safe,
1 communication with Herzegovina was not as good. I
2 crossed the dam on one occasion in a car when there was
3 a lot of shelling. So this other one was safer,
4 although the road via Mostar could also be used, but it
5 wasn't as safe.
6 Q. Now, you went to see Mr. Paraga in Zagreb and
7 you told him about your concerns?
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. This Court has heard testimony from Defence
10 witnesses that the town of Prozor was cleansed of
11 Muslims in late October 1992; are you aware of that
13 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have an
14 objection. We are now entering into a very broad area
15 of testimony which has nothing to do with the
16 examination-in-chief by Mr. Holman. We did not mention
17 Prozor at all.
18 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, may I respond?
19 The Defence are offering a case to this Court presented
20 through this witness that his main concern about
21 provocation amongst Muslims and Croats was the killing
22 of Croats in Dusina. This Court has heard extensive
23 testimony of HVO actions prior to this date, which a
24 Defence witness, Mr. Hayman's witness,
25 Mr. Dundas-Whatley stated, raised tension in the area.
1 I would like to know whether this witness knows about
2 these events and whether or not he told Mr. Paraga
3 about what had taken place.
4 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges would like to hear
5 the witness's reaction to what happened in Prozor.
7 Also, on timing, I timed the direct
8 examination so that I can now time the
9 cross-examination. We will take our break in five
11 MR. CAYLEY:
12 Q. I'll repeat my question, Mr. Holman. A
13 Defence witness testified the week before last that the
14 Muslims were cleansed from the town of Prozor in
15 October of 1992. Were you aware of that event?
16 A. That they were cleansed, I'm not aware of
17 that. I know that there were some problems, and when I
18 travelled on that road across Prozor on one occasion --
19 well, I'll tell you this: A Muslim officer was with me
20 on the occasion, and we heard about it from different
21 sources of information.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Look at the Judges, Mr. Holman,
23 please. Speak more calmly and turn toward the Judges
24 and speak to them, please. I know it's difficult for
25 you, but try.
2 A. Your Honours, I travelled throughout
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war, and I also passed
4 through Prozor, and I was accompanied by a Muslim, a
5 high Muslim officer. We passed through Prozor, and
6 they said that everything had been destroyed there and
7 burnt, but there was just one house which was partially
8 burnt, not burnt down. There had probably been a
9 skirmish of some kind. I said to this officer, "Look
10 at how tensions are being raised and how they are being
11 exaggerated and how something small is being
12 represented as being enormous," how they had been
13 inflated, the events there, and that how it will bring
14 us to even a more difficult situation. That the
15 Muslims had to flee from there, I don't know about
17 MR. CAYLEY:
18 Q. Were you aware that in 1992 in Busovaca,
19 Vitez, and Kiseljak, the HVO had taken control of those
20 towns and had excluded Muslims from civilian
21 authority? Are you aware of that?
22 A. I'm not aware of that, and I don't think they
23 were actually excluded. I cannot claim that but I
24 don't think they were in Busovaca and in Vitez. I do
25 know that in Vitez there were units of the BH army
1 which, at the end of 1992 as well or at the beginning
2 of 1993, they went to Turbe with us. I can't recall
3 the date exactly but it was somewhere in that time,
4 that these Muslim units, and their commander's name was
5 Fadil, that they went up together with us to Turbe to
6 launch a drive towards Varosluk and Vocnjak. So they
7 were included. These units of the BH army from Vitez
8 were included.
9 Q. Are you aware that in mid January 1993 there
10 was fighting between the Bosnian army and the HVO in
11 Gornji Vakuf and that a number of Muslim civilians were
12 expelled as a result of that fighting?
13 A. I am aware that there was fighting, that the
14 conflict did take place. Your Honours, I do know that
15 there was a conflict in Vakuf, and I remember because
16 the roads were closed. So this "Road of Salvation" was
17 closed, and it was difficult to find food stuffs in
18 Zenica and that the Muslims had been repulsed, and that
19 they had lost up there, I don't know that.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, I would like to
21 suggest that we take a break.
22 According to the registrar, the direct
23 examination lasted about two hours; is that right,
24 Mr. Dubuisson?
25 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that's correct, Your
2 JUDGE JORDA: And the cross-examination, the
3 maximum amount of time for the cross-examination should
4 not go beyond the amount of time used for the direct
5 examination. All right. We will resume in 20
7 --- Recess taken at 11.13 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.43 a.m.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Have the accused brought in,
10 please, and I see the witness is here.
11 (The accused entered court)
12 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We can resume.
13 Mr. Cayley, you can go until 1.00, until the end of the
14 morning session, maximum. Of course, if you finish
15 sooner, that would be good but maximum until 1.00.
16 MR. CAYLEY: That, I think, gives me 15
17 minutes less, Mr. President, than the Defence.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, you really are a
19 very, very good calculator but I'm relying on what
20 Mr. Dubuisson says. You've spent about three-quarters
21 of an hour, and they spent two hours. Mr. Dubuisson,
22 you be the arbiter.
23 THE REGISTRAR: In order to check the exact
24 time in Friday's transcript, it wasn't 40 minutes on
25 Friday but 30. Therefore, the Defence used 1 hour and
1 50 minutes exactly.
2 MR. CAYLEY: How much time have I used?
3 THE REGISTRAR: Since 10.30 until the pause,
4 until ten after eleven.
5 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Let's not cause any
6 incidents of protocol.
7 MR. CAYLEY: I'm wasting my time,
8 Mr. President.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you're wasting your time.
10 In order to regain that time, let's say that you have
11 to be finished by 1.00. I'm sure that you'll be able
12 to do that.
13 MR. CAYLEY: I'll try.
14 Q. Mr. Holman, prior to joining the HVO in April
15 of 1993, did you have a number of meetings with the
16 then Colonel Blaskic and Dario Kordic?
17 A. I did not have a number of meetings with the
18 then Colonel Blaskic. During the war, I saw
19 Mr. Blaskic only two or three times. Once I saw him by
20 accident, and we met when the transfer was agreed upon,
21 and once we had a contact when Jajce was in a state of
22 crisis. Mr. Blaskic asked for assistance in troops.
23 So he didn't order me. He requested help in terms of
24 troops because Jajce was in a very difficult position
25 before it actually fell.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Is this a private
2 session? This is a public session, let me remind you.
3 All right. This is a public session.
4 Mr. Holman, look at the Judges when you
5 answer, please, and try not to speak too quickly.
6 MR. CAYLEY:
7 Q. Mr. Holman, as we're short of time, we will
8 move on very quickly. Let's move on to the events of
9 the 15th to the 18th of April. In your
10 examination-in-chief, you stated that you came to the
11 site of the kidnapping of Zivko Totic on the 15th of
12 April in the morning; do you recall that?
13 A. I recall that.
14 Q. Are you aware that between the 16th of
15 February, 1993 and the 11th of April, 1993 the HVO had
16 illegally detained 11 foreign Muslims in the prison at
18 A. I'm not aware of that.
19 MR. HAYMAN: That is a fact not in evidence,
20 Mr. President. Foreign aliens with arms in a country,
21 there has been no proof that those individuals were
22 legally in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and he shouldn't pose a
23 question to the witness in that form.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, the question was
25 asked of the witness to find out whether he knew. He
1 can be asked to tell us whether he knew something. At
2 least in this Trial Chamber, we can ask questions like
3 that; otherwise, we will never get to the end of
4 anything at all. The witness can say "yes" or "no."
5 He's not asking for suggestions. You do exactly the
6 same thing when you are cross-examining, let me remind
7 you of that. Go ahead if you want to say something
8 further. I don't want you to say that I am oppressing
10 MR. HAYMAN: Maybe it's a translation issue,
11 Mr. President. The proper form would be "Did they do
12 something," and the Prosecutor said, "Are you aware
13 that," which assumes the truth of the fact. So it is
14 an objection as to form, but it is a subtly, and it may
15 not be coming through.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. It is something which is
17 very subtle, and I'm very sensitive to your subtleties,
18 but I think we can also consider that the witness is
19 also subtle. He knows what the Prosecution is asking.
20 That is the Prosecution's thesis, and he's going to try
21 to answer it by saying that he was not aware or he was
22 only collaterally aware.
23 All right. Ask the question again,
24 Mr. Cayley, in the way that you asked it.
25 MR. CAYLEY: I have an answer to Mr. Hayman's
1 point, but I won't make it because I'm so short of
2 time. The point is actually in evidence, it's in an
3 exhibit, and I can direct my learned friend to it at
4 the break.
5 Q. Are you aware, Mr. Holman, that there were 13
6 foreign Muslims detained in the prison at Kaonik? Were
7 you aware of that in April of 19 --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Were allegedly in detention.
9 That would perhaps please Mr. Hayman, that they were
10 allegedly in detention.
11 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, the witness has
12 just testified to these events. I mean, Mr. Hayman may
13 suggest that the witness was lying but somebody has
14 testified to it.
15 MR. HAYMAN: He's dropped "They were
16 illegally obtained," Mr. President. I have no
17 objection to the question now.
18 Were you aware that 13 foreign alien Muslims
19 were detained at Kaonik?
20 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Holman, give your answer
21 but look at the Judges while you speak.
22 A. Your Honours, I'm not aware of this at all,
23 that they were detained there. I did know that there
24 were foreign Muslim soldiers all around Bosnia, but I'm
25 not aware of their detention.
1 MR. CAYLEY:
2 Q. Are you aware that the Muslim authorities had
3 protested to the HVO about the detention of these
4 Muslims at Kaonik?
5 A. No.
6 Q. So you're also not aware that the reason that
7 Zivko Totic was kidnapped was as a bargaining chip to
8 ensure that these Muslims in Kaonik were released by
9 the HVO?
10 A. I know that Zivko Totic was kidnapped, and
11 I'm not aware that he was kidnapped for those reasons.
12 Q. In May of 1993, are you aware of an exchange
13 that took place in Zenica where Zivko Totic was, in
14 fact, exchanged by Mujahedin for these 13 Muslims that
15 were detained in the Kaonik prison?
16 A. I'm not aware of that. May 1993, I think
17 that I was already detained in a camp then.
18 Q. So you are not aware of the reasons why Zivko
19 Totic was kidnapped, are you?
20 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
21 Q. Thank you. Now, you said at the scene of the
22 crime in Zenica where these individuals, the escorts of
23 Mr. Totic, were killed, that it was an ugly sight.
24 That was your testimony.
25 A. Yes, that's what I said.
1 Q. And when you arrived, there were two
2 investigating judges from the Bosnian authorities who
3 were there to conduct an investigation of this
4 incident; do you recall that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you recall the names of either of those
8 A. I recall the name of Vlado Adamovic. I knew
9 him too. The other judge was a Muslim. I know that
10 because when I was being tried, Your Honours, that
11 judge, during this trial of mine, he said, "Ah, you
12 called that a crime up there. You called it highway
13 robbery," and I said, "Are you still justifying that?"
14 Q. Now, you would agree with me that the Bosnian
15 authorities reacted very quickly in commencing an
16 investigation of the events surrounding the kidnapping
17 of Zivko Totic?
18 A. I'm not aware of the actual proceedings but I
19 just saw those two judges there on the spot.
20 Q. How long did they arrive after the kidnapping
21 took place, these judges?
22 A. Well, it takes about ten minutes from the
23 district court to there.
24 Q. What time did you arrive at the scene of the
1 A. I needed about five or six minutes too.
2 Q. No, you misunderstood me. What time, in the
3 morning, did you arrive at the scene of the kidnapping?
4 A. It is very difficult to remember after more
5 than five years but it could have been around 8.00.
6 That is when Zivko was going to work to his command,
7 and I was going to work to my command, and working
8 hours started at 8.00.
9 Q. So now you're stating that you're not really
10 sure when you arrived at the scene of the kidnapping?
11 A. Around 8.00.
12 Q. Now, you stated in your examination-in-chief
13 that Colonel Blaskic called you at noon on the 15th of
14 April, and I think you gave him a situation report of
15 what was taking place in Zenica. Do you recall saying
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. Now, he told you to send troops to Kuber. Do
19 you recall that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And I think you stated that Kuber was a
22 dominant position that was necessary to hold in order
23 to control Vitez or Busovaca?
24 A. Yes, it was predominant there, and whoever
25 held Kuber could operate better in the battlefield.
1 Q. And that would be so whether you were
2 attacking or defending, wouldn't it, Mr. Holman?
3 A. Yes, both in the case of defence and in the
4 case of attack but it would be more useful for Vitez
5 and Busovaca. One would have a distinct advantage of
6 holding it.
7 Q. Did you receive any other orders from Colonel
8 Blaskic on the 15th of April?
9 A. I didn't receive anything else in addition to
10 what I already mentioned in my testimony.
11 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could be shown
12 Exhibit 267.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Is this a Prosecution or a
14 Defence Exhibit?
15 MR. CAYLEY: This is a Defence Exhibit,
16 Mr. President.
17 Q. Mr. Holman, while you're waiting for the
18 exhibit, with which HVO brigade were you cooperating
19 with on the 15th of April, 1993?
20 A. With the Francetic Brigade, I said that.
21 Q. Thank you. Now, this is an order,
22 Mr. Holman, that was sent to all of the brigades,
23 Brigades 1 through 12, by Colonel Blaskic at 10.00 in
24 the morning. You have never seen this order before?
25 A. No, I haven't.
1 Q. And you will see, if you go to the last page
2 in paragraph 3, that instructions are given to the HVO
3 brigades. And Vinko Baresic did not show you this
4 order on the 15th of April?
5 A. He did not show it to me, and he couldn't
6 show it to me because on the 18th of April, that was
7 when I succeeded in arriving at the Jure Francetic
8 Brigade headquarters.
9 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could now be
10 shown Exhibit 268, Defence Exhibit 268.
11 Q. Now, you'll see that this order was issued on
12 the same date, on the 15th of April, but at 1545 hours,
13 and one of the brigades to which it is addressed is the
14 Jure Francetic Brigade. Have you ever seen this order
16 A. No.
17 Q. Now, if you could look at the final paragraph
18 in this order, you will see that it states that regular
19 reports are to be sent at 1800 hours in the evening and
20 0600 hours in the morning, special reports as need may
21 be. Do you see that? It's the last paragraph before
22 the signature block.
23 THE INTERPRETER: I'm afraid I did not catch
24 the sentence.
25 A. That by 6.00 p.m. and in the morning by 6.00
1 a.m. as need may be, yes, I can see that sentence.
2 MR. CAYLEY:
3 Q. Now, you stated in your examination-in-chief
4 that, on the night of the 15th of April, it had been
5 agreed by the ABiH and the HVO to dismantle checkpoints
6 in Zenica; do you recall that?
7 A. Yes, I said that. That was what I was told
8 by Vinko Baresic over the phone, at about 8.00 p.m., it
9 could have been about 8.00 p.m., to dismantle the
10 checkpoints, that that was the agreement between the
11 U.N. observers and the Muslim and Croat side.
12 Q. Did the HVO, in fact, dismantle the
13 checkpoints in Zenica?
14 A. We dismantled the checkpoints. In fact, I
15 only had -- one checkpoint existed in Cajdras all the
16 time but I couldn't see it because it was three
17 kilometres away, but I did follow orders to dismantle
18 the checkpoints in the 11th of April Street, and these
19 were orders from Baresic. I couldn't see further than
21 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could be shown
22 Exhibit 521, that's Prosecutor's Exhibit 521.
23 Q. Now, can you read that satisfactorily because
24 it's not a very good copy?
25 A. Yes, I can read it.
1 Q. Now, this is a report by the Jure Francetic
2 Brigade, and the report is made at 0600 hours. And you
3 would agree with me that that is, in fact, in
4 accordance with Colonel Blaskic's order of the 15th of
5 April, 1993 that you've just seen; would you agree with
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the witness said
9 that he had never seen the order of April the 15th,
10 and, as far as I can see, he hasn't read it now.
11 JUDGE JORDA: That's not the question that
12 Mr. Cayley asked. Mr. Cayley just showed the order of
13 15 April saying that reports had to be made. He is
14 simply asking the witness to say whether he agrees that
15 it is a report which was done in respect of that
17 Continue, Mr. Cayley.
18 MR. CAYLEY:
19 Q. I'll just read, for the purposes of the
20 transcript, and this is the report made by the Jure
21 Francetic Brigade, which is the brigade to which you
22 were attached. You've just stated that. "The night
23 was quiet in the zone covered by the brigade (stop).
24 All units are holding the positions they had seized
25 (stop). The town is under control and our units are
1 letting unarmed civilians who are going to work pass
3 Now, Mr. Holman, you would agree with me that
4 this report by the Jure Francetic Brigade, in fact,
5 clearly shows that this brigade was one holding
6 previously seized positions in Zenica and was stating
7 to Colonel Blaskic that the town of Zenica was under
8 their control?
9 A. Your Honours, according to this report, I am
10 sorry, but I have to call it an idiotic report, the man
11 in the -- the operative on duty could not see anything,
12 and he could not have got information from the field.
13 I couldn't have sent him any, and anybody living in the
14 town of Zenica knows full well that the main
15 institutions were held by the members of the BH army,
16 that is to say, the barracks, the municipal buildings,
17 the court of law, and so on, the Prosecutor's office,
18 and of these institutions, we only held the machine
19 engineering faculty which was where my headquarters
20 were located. And three kilometres away from that,
21 there was the area owned by the Vatrostalna Company,
22 and I already said that the people in the schools, in
23 the kindergarten and in the schools, so only four
24 buildings, four facilities in all, that's what we
1 In the suburbs of the town of Zenica, as you
2 leave Zenica, the whole town was always and all its
3 institutions, all the basic state institutions, were in
4 the hands of the BH army. And I cannot understand that
5 somebody can do something, is irresponsible like this,
6 and it is because of people like this that we lost the
7 war in Zenica, precisely because of people thinking and
8 writing like this.
9 Q. Well, would it surprise you to learn,
10 Mr. Holman, that this document was in fact recognised
11 by Colonel Blaskic's operations officer in the Central
12 Bosnian Operative Zone?
13 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President.
14 JUDGE JORDA: I knew you were going to come
15 in, Mr. Nobilo, but go quickly, please, because this is
16 a question that was asked of the witness and he has to
18 MR. NOBILO: Well, Your Honour, at all
19 events, but you must not represent facts in a contrary
20 light. The witness for the Defence said the report had
21 reached the Operative Zone, but he did not confirm
22 anything as to the truthfulness of the contents, only
23 that a document of that type had reached the Operative
25 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, Mr. Cayley.
1 MR. CAYLEY: I checked the transcript and he
2 clearly recognised this document. Mr. Hayman wants
3 to --
4 MR. HAYMAN: It was received. He recognised
5 it as having been received, that's all Mr. Nobilo was
6 seeking to clarify, and that nothing else is being
7 represented to the witness.
8 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, the number of
9 objections that are being made, I would ask for extra
10 time at 1.00 if I don't finish.
11 MR. HAYMAN: Please, Mr. President, we're
12 making legitimate objections as to the form of
13 Counsel's questions, and we're prepared to move on, we
14 clarified the factual point of this question.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to have the
16 witness's answer clarified. He said it was a
17 ridiculous report. This is the first time that exhibit
18 has been called ridiculous. We have heard many
19 adjectives used for exhibits, but never that one. The
20 witness is stating his point of view on the exhibit,
21 that's his right, he is saying what he wants to say.
22 Now it seems legitimate to me to have the witness point
23 out, that this witness has certainly credibility in
24 respect of another witness that was heard. Continue,
25 Mr. Cayley.
1 MR. CAYLEY:
2 Q. Would is it surprise you, Mr. Holman, to know
3 that this particular document was recognised by Colonel
4 Blaskic's operations officer? He testified here a
5 number of weeks ago.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Cayley, may I hold
7 you a minute? Would the transcript need to be
8 corrected? What Mr. Hayman said is fused with what the
9 presiding Judge said, there is no separation. Am I
11 MR. CAYLEY: You're correct. I think where
12 the word "clarified" is where my learned friend
13 Mr. Hayman finished his comment and where it begins
14 "He" is where the President commenced his. Both are
15 equally eloquent people, Judge, it is very difficult to
16 distinguish between the two. I think that's correct.
17 JUDGE JORDA: We want the questions and
18 answers to be more clearly marked. Let's go back to
19 the question, Mr. Cayley.
20 Mr. Holman, did you understand the question?
21 You said that the document, you said it did not
22 correspond to the strategic reality of the time within
23 the Francetic Brigade. Mr. Cayley is merely saying, or
24 rather asking, are you surprised that this was
25 recognised by another witness who held a high
2 When you answer, Mr. Holman, please look at
3 the Judges and speak slowly so the interpreters can do
4 their work properly.
5 A. Your Honours, I know nothing about that,
6 whether that superior commander accepted this report or
7 not, but I would like to remind you of what I said.
8 From 2000 hours it was agreed that it was a
9 cease-fire until the morning. But I said that I had
10 come to work and that these checkpoints had been set
11 up, and this doesn't correspond to this report, that I
12 had to move in side streets and so on, and that I was
13 shot at after 6.00.
14 So it could have only been during the night
15 when this agreement was reached. It could be calm at
16 night. But to hold the town under our control, I
17 cannot agree with that. We could not keep anything
18 under our control, because we were pushed back towards
19 the suburbs of the town, its periphery.
20 JUDGE JORDA: We have understood, Mr.
21 Holman. Please continue, Mr. Cayley. Mr. Holman, we
22 understand your position. No point in going further.
23 Go to another question now, Mr. Cayley.
24 MR. CAYLEY:
25 Q. You would agree with me that this report
1 certainly indicates that the Jure Francetic Brigade did
2 not believe any sort of agreement had been reached
3 between the ABiH and the HVO?
4 A. They believed that an agreement had been
5 reached, but the Muslims did not abide by the
6 agreement. We had agreed to dismantle the checkpoints,
7 whereas they set up checkpoints. We decided there
8 wouldn't be shooting, there was shooting. I was shot
9 at in the streets.
10 So they did not respect the cease-fire. They
11 tricked us. First of all, they tricked us with the
12 checkpoints. So they did not respect the agreement
13 that had been made. And as Vinko Baresic informed me,
14 they did not abide by the agreement reached, and they
15 tricked us in the field. They agreed one thing and did
16 quite the opposite.
17 Q. And the HVO didn't respect the cease-fire
18 agreement in Zenica either, did they, Mr. Holman?
19 JUDGE JORDA: That's an evaluation. You can
20 ask your question without saying it that way.
21 MR. CAYLEY:
22 Q. This document shows that the HVO did not
23 respect that agreement that was made on the evening of
24 the 15th of April, doesn't it, Mr. Holman?
25 A. I can't see that. I think that it did
1 respect the agreement of the 15th of April.
2 Q. Let us move on to the 18th of April. This is
3 the period of time, I think, when you moved out of
4 Zenica. What date did you get to Cajdras?
5 A. On the 18th of April, you mean? I arrived
6 then, before that I was in Podbrezje and Zmajevac
7 hill. Following orders by Vinko Baresic, I went down
8 to Cajdras.
9 Q. And that was on the 18th of April?
10 A. Yes, on the 18th of April.
11 Q. And you stated that there were, I think,
12 5.000 refugees with you at the time; do you recall
14 A. When we descended towards Cajdras, I said
15 that columns of refugees were moving downwards. There
16 could have been 5.000, that was my assessment, because
17 people were coming to Cajdras from all sides.
18 Q. Do you know where those refugees eventually
19 arrived? Do you know where they went to?
20 A. Those refugees, all of them reached Cajdras
21 and couldn't go any further. That was where my own
22 family was. Because of the difficult situation there
23 was no organisation, the HVO units were dismantled.
24 Vinko Baresic said, "There is no army here. I don't
25 know who to talk to."
1 I went into the room, entered the premises he
2 was in, and he sent me to see what the situation was
3 like outside the headquarters. And when I heard Vinko
4 say that there was no army, that everything had been,
5 everybody had been scattered, I told one of my escorts
6 to try and find my wife and children for me, I said, I
7 told her to go towards Zenica, in the direction of
8 Zenica, and to go by road, and not to turn off the road
9 because she would be killed by the extremists,
10 extremist units, because we had information that houses
11 were being burned and people killed.
12 I always took great care about my wife,
13 because my wife had a birth certificate using her
14 maiden surname, and so I thought she would be able to
15 go with the children towards Zenica. Because,
16 according to the information we had received from the
17 soldiers, in the villages, in the surrounding villages,
18 terrible things were happening.
19 JUDGE JORDA: If you can, try to answer in a
20 more condensed way, more quickly. Try to concentrate,
21 try to focus more on the questions being asked.
22 A. Your Honours, I apologise, but I'm trying to
23 illustrate the type of situation we were in.
24 JUDGE JORDA: We're here to hear what you
25 have to say, Mr. Holman, but we're also here to make
1 sure that both the Prosecution and the Defence have
2 equal rights here. A certain amount of time has been
3 given to the Prosecutor, so try not to make too many
5 Mr. Cayley, go ahead, please.
6 MR. CAYLEY:
7 Q. Are you aware that several thousand of those
8 refugees ended up in an area called Grahovcici?
9 A. I am not aware that several thousand of these
10 refugees ended there. But I heard that they were able
11 to cross to the other side, whereas we who were down
12 below were not able to escape.
13 Q. To HVO controlled territory, that's what
14 you're saying?
15 A. Yes, that's what I mean. Those of us who
16 were in Cajdras, Zmajevac and Brodin, we were not able
17 to go further. We were encircled.
18 Q. This Chamber, Mr. Holman, has heard evidence
19 that the ECMM organisation tried to bring those several
20 thousand people back to Zenica and that they were
21 stopped from doing so by the HVO; did you hear about
23 A. Regarding the U.N. vehicles and Colonel
24 Stewart, there were a lot of refugees. I did not dwell
25 there any length of time, but the situation was
1 chaotic. A portion of these people wanted to go back,
2 others wanted to go to Vitez, so they were not able to
3 agree upon where they would be going.
4 Q. Are you aware that the ECMM were prevented
5 from bringing refugees back to Zenica by the HVO?
6 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, we should finish
9 by lunchtime.
10 Q. Mr. Holman, when did you take command of HOS
11 in Bosnia? Do you recall the date?
12 A. On the 9th of October 1992.
13 Q. When was your meeting with Darko Kraljevic
14 that you discussed?
15 A. Darko and I had made several appointments, we
16 managed to get together a few times. There was quite a
17 bit of tension involved, but this main meeting that I
18 refer to could have been, could have been after the
19 death of Mr. Blaz Kraljevic. So it could have been
20 late in August or the beginning of September 1992.
21 Q. When was the last time that you spoke with
22 Darko Kraljevic; do you recall?
23 A. Yes, yes, I think it was that time, roughly,
24 in September or October, that same year, 1992, I think
25 it was. And it was the last time that we talked.
1 Q. And that was, in fact, when he threatened
2 you, essentially?
3 A. Yes, and he had threatened me once before
4 that too. But then, when he threatened me, I decided
5 to cut off all relations with him and any
7 Q. Are you aware at the time that you were
8 seeing him that Darko Kraljevic was already under the
9 command of the HVO?
10 A. He didn't tell me that.
11 Q. Well, let me show you a document which was
12 put into evidence by the Defence, Defence Exhibit 250.
13 Now, this is a report dated the 18th of
14 February 1994, and it's addressed to the general staff
15 of the HVO of Herceg-Bosna; do you see that?
16 A. Yes, I see it down here.
17 Q. And you see in the first paragraph that it
18 states the unit PPN Vitezovi was formed on 10 September
19 1992, following the decree about the OS HZ-HB Mostar.
20 Do you see that? It's the very first paragraph under
21 the word "Report".
22 JUDGE JORDA: Do you see that, Mr. Holman?
23 A. PPN Vitezovi was formed on the 10th of
24 September 1992 following the decree about the OS
25 HZ-HB. It was devised as a special action unit with
1 pronounced manouvering capabilities on the 19th of
2 September 1992. The unit was collocated -- is that
3 what you're referring to?
4 Q. Correct. So at the time you were in command
5 of the HOS in Bosnia, and at the time of your last
6 meeting with Darko Kraljevic, the Vitezovi was already
7 under the command of the HVO; that's correct, isn't it?
8 A. Well, let's put it this way: I didn't know
9 anything about this. And I would like to note an
10 interesting detail, in case you're interested.
11 When Blaz Kraljevic was killed, I took a
12 vehicle and went to the funeral, and Darko Kraljevic
13 took two buses.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Please look at the Judges,
15 Mr. Holman. The Judges come to the decision, please
16 look at the Judges. Avoid sentences like "If you want
17 to hear what I have to say." Please turn to the
18 Judges, please, and speak slowly, without getting
19 excited, otherwise the Judge is going to get excited,
20 and that's not a good thing. Go ahead, calm.
21 A. All right. I don't know how widely I can
22 speak, so that's why I use this expression. I don't
23 know what breadth is allowed.
24 So I went to the funeral of Blaz Kraljevic
25 and Darko went with two buses of armed men to the
1 funeral. Somewhere along the way the HVO was stopped
2 at a checkpoint, so they never actually arrived.
3 Probably he was turned back, he probably had some
4 problems at some of these checkpoints. Actually, I
5 don't know where he was stopped.
6 After that, I saw him only once. He did not
7 tell me that he joined the HVO, and he did not tell me
8 about this unit for special purposes. I didn't know a
9 thing about it. And I didn't like to go to the Lasva
10 River Valley because he had been threatening to kill
11 me. That is what the intelligence report said. Our
12 intelligence people said it was not a good thing for me
13 to go to the Lasva River Valley anymore. I could not
14 fathom why he wanted to kill me, but he said he wanted
15 to kill me. So that is the only thing I can really
16 tell you about this.
17 MR. CAYLEY: Could the flow chart be placed
18 on the ELMO? The command chart? I don't recall which
19 number it was. It's D437, please.
20 Q. Mr. Holman, if the Vitezovi came under the
21 command of the HVO on the 10th of September, 1992, and
22 you didn't take command of HOS in Bosnia until October
23 of 1992, this chart is clearly incorrect. You would
24 agree with me there? Because Darko Kraljevic was never
25 under your command, as far as this Defence document is
2 A. According to the orders of Dobroslav Paraga,
3 our Commander in Chief, I submitted reports on my
4 problems with Darko, but he hadn't written him off
5 yet. He still wanted to talk to him, to communicate
6 with him. So we put him in this flow chart.
7 I did not receive orders from the Commander
8 in Chief that I should delete him altogether from this
9 chart. But I did have problems, and I told you about
10 that, and I didn't feel safe about going to see him. I
11 had been waiting for the Commander in Chief to do
12 something about this, but he was still involved. I
13 mean, I did not receive any orders that he did not fit
14 into this any longer.
15 I also said that perhaps he could be given
16 even greater independence, but let us prevent these
17 problems that he has been creating, so let him be in
18 charge of the Lasva River Valley. But I did not
19 receive any subsequent orders.
20 Q. Now, that's not what you stated in
21 examination-in-chief, Mr. Holman. Are you saying that
22 Mr. Paraga himself was not aware that Darko Kraljevic
23 had been absorbed into the HVO?
24 A. He was not aware of that because in one
25 conversation he said, "Well, where is Darko? Is he
1 here or there?" And I said, "I don't know, either.
2 See, with Darko, do whatever you can with him, because
3 I can't talk to him anymore."
4 The president, I mean, Dobroslav Paraga asked
5 whether he was here or there; and I said, "I have no
6 idea, either. I can't talk to him anymore."
7 Q. But you would agree with me there is a
8 contradiction between this HOS structure and commanders
9 in Bosnia in 1992 and this order which states that the
10 Vitezovi, on the 10th of September 1992, is in the
11 HVO? You would agree with me there is a
13 A. I cannot agree with you. There was a void,
14 so to speak, when we didn't know whether he was here or
15 there. But Dobroslav Paraga, our president and
16 Commander in Chief, did not tell me to exclude him from
17 the HOS structure. And he didn't know this, either.
18 But I said that we had already opted for
19 giving him greater independence, let him be commander
20 of the Lasva River Valley, but let him stay with us.
21 That is why the whole thing was there.
22 Q. So your testimony to the Court is when you
23 met him, Darko Kraljevic did not explain to you that he
24 was now part of the HVO?
25 A. No, he didn't explain it to me. I said that
1 it was in a very difficult, tense situation, and the
2 only thing he would say is, "I'm the boss in the Lasva
3 River Valley, where the Lasva River flows, that is
4 where I'm the boss," but he didn't say he wasn't with
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Holman.
7 Now, let us speak briefly about the
8 activities of HOS in Zenica while you were in command.
9 Do you recall a man by the name of Nusret Dedic, a
10 Muslim civilian who was shot by HOS members at a
11 compound at the medical school? Do you recall that
13 A. I recall that incident. At that time I was
14 sleeping at the Ljubuski Hotel, and they phoned me and
15 told me about this. Nusret Delic was not a civilian.
16 He was Delic, by the way, with an L. He was a member
17 of HOS.
18 I was informed by the commander of the
19 barracks, I could not find out everything at lower
20 levels, he was supposed to come for his guard duty,
21 Nusret Delic was, and there was an incident there.
22 There was some shooting with a special Muslim unit.
23 They were staying at a student hostel about 150 metres
24 away from us, that is to say, from the medical school.
25 And Mr. Brajinovic came to the actual site a
1 while before me, but then I arrived afterwards too. So
2 he was killed as a member of the HOS and, as it was
3 explained to me, it happened during the night, and
4 there was some shooting.
5 And how Nusret was actually killed and who
6 shot him, how come he was dead, well, Your Honours, the
7 members of the MUP, of the crime police, they were the
8 specialists for it. We allowed them to carry out an
9 investigation, but we did not receive any official
10 reports. And whether they have one, I do not know.
11 Q. Now, are you aware of a store in Zenica
12 called Mobilia?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And in 1992, by whom was that store owned?
15 A. In 1992, at a meeting in Ljubuski, a
16 gentleman showed up, he was the director general of
17 Mobilia Osjak. And he gave me documents stating that
18 we could use this area, but we should also take care of
19 it for them, because they wanted to prevent its
20 devastation, because quite a few facilities in town had
21 already been devastated.
22 So I took this space, and this was a shop
23 that actually provided logistics for HOS. The revenues
24 from that shop went to HOS, and then we allocated these
25 resources further.
1 Q. Are you aware that men from your unit, from
2 your HOS unit in Zenica, would go into Serb homes and
3 steal goods and sell them through that store? Are you
4 aware of that?
5 A. That kind of trade, selling such goods, that
6 I am not aware of.
7 Q. Did Mr. Mekic, the Chief of Staff of the
8 Bosnian army 3rd Corps, demand that you expel criminal
9 elements within HOS? Did he give you a list of
10 individuals to expel from HOS units under your command?
11 A. He didn't give me a list. Maybe he sent me
12 one, but I never received one. And as far as
13 criminals, either individuals or smaller groups are
14 concerned, we let the authorities know about this. We
15 sent them to the district military court, we sent them
16 to the prison. So we were not evading responsibility,
17 we were not protecting these criminals.
18 On the contrary, we allowed the authorities
19 in the region of Zenica, the district military court,
20 or whoever, we allowed them to take actions against
21 these people. And this was published in the media, if
22 somebody was suspended or if someone was excluded from
23 the HOS. So we would publicly disassociate ourselves
24 from these people and we would allow the authorities to
25 take action. And we even allowed them to be punished,
1 to be sent to a court, depending on their misdemeanour.
2 Q. Let's digress a moment, Mr. Holman, if you
3 could pick up the exhibit next to you.
4 Do you recall in your evidence in chief that
5 you stated that there were between three and four
6 hundred members of the Vitezovi? Do you recall that?
7 Or HOS members under the command of Darko Kraljevic, I
8 think, to be precise, that's what you said.
9 A. No, no, Commander Darko Kraljevic in this
10 area, he held Novi Travnik and Travnik. That is where
11 his subordinate units were, and that is the number of
12 people he could have had, about one battalion.
13 Q. How many individual soldiers was that?
14 A. He could have had about 400 soldiers,
15 according to this chart, Travnik, Novi Travnik, Bucici,
16 that is where Darko was in command.
17 Q. Would you look at the second paragraph of
18 this report of the 18th of February, 1994, and I will
19 read it to you.
20 "It," meaning Vitezovi, "was devised as a
21 special action unit with pronounced manoeuvring
22 capabilities on 19 September 1992. The unit was
23 co-located at the elementary school of
24 Dubravica-Krizancevo Selo. It numbered 120 men. Later
25 it would be composed of 140 to 180 men. Its soldiers
1 originated from the municipalities of Vitez, Zenica and
2 Travnik," and I won't read the rest.
3 Now, this report is stating that the
4 Vitezovi, in fact, numbered 120 men and then it
5 numbered 140 to 180 men.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Each time there is a document,
7 they're referring to a document which is going to be on
8 the ELMO, please indicate the number.
9 MR. CAYLEY:
10 Q. Do you agree with me, Mr. Holman, that, in
11 fact, you got the figure incorrect when you said
12 between 300 and 400 men were under his command?
13 A. It seems to me that we haven't understood
14 each other very well. Darko could have had about 150
15 men but with these units, Travnik and Novi Travnik, the
16 units there, he could have had about 400. You're
17 talking only about Vitez. In Vitez, yes, he could have
18 had about 150 people but then in addition to that,
19 there were the units in Travnik and Novi Travnik, and
20 that is why I'm saying that. When you put all of them
21 together, then he could have had a battalion but
22 otherwise he had a company, yes.
23 Q. The report states, Mr. Holman, that these
24 soldiers, these 140 to 180 soldiers, originated from
25 the municipalities of Vitez, Zenica, and Travnik?
1 A. No one could have come from Zenica. Zenica
2 was under my control. They could not get out of
3 Zenica. Travnik and Novi Travnik, possibly so, but I'm
4 not aware of that at all.
5 Q. Well, Mr. Holman, this is a report submitted
6 by the Defence into evidence signed by the deputy
7 commander of the PPN Vitezovi, Major Dragan Vinac. Are
8 you suggesting that he doesn't know the number of men
9 in his own unit? Is that your testimony?
10 A. No, I'm not saying that he didn't know how
11 many men he had in his own unit, but I cannot exactly
12 tell how many men Darko had. I already told you that I
13 had poor cooperation with Darko, that it was impossible
14 to cooperate with him, and he never gave me his actual
15 number of men. Do you understand what I'm saying? I
16 only received this information through intelligence
17 reports but Darko never actually told me. Do you
18 understand me now?
19 Q. The fact is you don't know how many men Darko
20 Kraljevic had under his command?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Thank you. Let's go back to the activities
23 of HOS in Zenica.
24 A. Let me just add something. On the 18th of
25 February, 1994, that was when the units in Zenica, HOS
1 and the HVO, they were (translation indiscernible), and
2 I can't speak about that because I don't know. The
3 18th of February, 1994, I was in prison. I left prison
4 in April, so I had no further units. I am a prisoner
5 of war. But, as I say, they first treated me as a
6 prisoner of war and later on --
7 JUDGE JORDA: I would remind you, please, to
8 limit yourself to answer the questions.
9 THE WITNESS: Yes, but the Prosecutor asked
10 me about matters during the time that I was in prison.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Answer the question, please.
12 That's been noted. Let's go on. It's twenty to one.
13 Mr. Cayley?
14 MR. CAYLEY:
15 Q. Although you're quite right, Mr. Holman, the
16 report is dated the 18th of February 1994, but it
17 actually covers events from September of 1992 through
18 to early 1994. So, in fact, it covers a period when
19 you were not in prison. We'll move on.
20 Do you recall a Serbian lawyer in Zenica
21 being beaten so badly by your men that he was actually
22 unrecognisable to anybody? Do you recall that event?
23 A. I remember the event. May I explain?
24 Q. Please do.
25 A. Your Honours, at that time, I was away on a
1 trip. I came on that day in the evening hours, I can't
2 remember the exact date, but I do remember -- that is,
3 I went to my morning briefing at 8.00, a regular
4 morning briefing. The informing officer, the Muslim
5 that was in HOS, in my HOS, came in, and I said, "Why
6 are you interrupting me?" And he said, "I have
7 something important to tell you." And he whispered to
8 me and he said, "We have problems." "What problems,"
9 I said to him. "Just wait for the meeting to be over.
10 It will be over in ten minutes." So I told him to come
11 back ten minutes later when the meeting was over. I
12 told him to come to my room and tell me what had
13 happened. And he said, "We have a man who's been
14 beaten down there." "Well, who beat him? What did I
15 tell you, that nobody was to be beaten."
16 My unit was well-known for not mistreating
17 the prisoners, and what I want to say is that I went
18 down to see what was going on. I saw the man. It is
19 true that he had a bruise over his eye. And I really
20 lost control, and I asked all my units, it was a
21 platoon, to stand to attention, and they said that that
22 particular officer, the officer who had done this,
23 Ismet Besirovic, was their superior, which is true.
24 After that, I ordered this individual -- that
25 is to say, a medical report, an examination for that
1 man, to be taken to hospital to have a medical
2 examination. And the lady doctor, she was a Muslim,
3 and she performed the examination. And the findings,
4 she informed me what she had found, and that is that
5 there were no grievous bodily injuries.
6 And Ismet Besirovic was suspended from duty
7 from that day onwards, and this was publicly proclaimed
8 on Zetel Television and Radio Zenica, and that we
9 distanced ourselves from him from that day on.
10 The individual to whom this happened was
11 drunk and he provoked the incident, and he was beaten
12 up by the Green Legion, and also the HOS people
13 intervened. That is why I replaced the officer, but he
14 entered a trap, and he was beaten up.
15 And later on, when we ascertained that the
16 man was healthy and that there had be no repercussions
17 on his health, we asked that he be released. And I
18 said to some of his friends or some relations when they
19 telephoned and asked to see him, I said that they could
20 come to see him and visit him and that I was very sorry
21 that all this had taken place.
22 JUDGE JORDA: I thought that Mr. Cayley was
23 going to ask you some other questions. We're not going
24 into an investigation. That's not the purpose of this
1 Do you want to ask another question? I think
2 you have gotten a very extensive answer from the
4 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could be shown
5 Exhibit 519, that is, Prosecutor's Exhibit 519.
6 Q. Mr. Holman, did you ever beat your own
7 soldiers if they didn't behave properly?
8 A. It did happen in incidents of this kind. I
9 slapped the officer because of what had been done. It
10 is true that I slapped him, and I also slapped two
11 drunken soldiers. That is also true. You see, on the
12 road to the barracks, there were two men crawling along
13 the street, and I thought they were going to kill me,
14 and it is true that I did slap him for having allowed
15 the beating to take place.
16 Q. If you could look at the document in front of
17 you, do you recognise this document? This is a
18 document which, I think, you signed when your unit was
19 transferred to the HVO on the 5th of April, 1993.
20 A. The 5th of April, did you say?
21 Q. That's right. Could you go to paragraph 7 of
22 this document, and I will read it to the Court: "The
23 HVO shall not be responsible for any criminal acts or
24 destructive behaviour of the HOS units while HOS was
25 under the command of the Bosnian army."
1 What criminal acts and destructive behaviour
2 is this referring to?
3 A. I'm not going to hide this. There were
4 members of HOS, and we enabled that they be brought to
5 the Court in Zenica in the 3rd Corps because goods were
6 being smuggled and so forth, so where the security
7 services had told us that things of this kind had taken
8 place. But we told the media that we had nothing to do
9 with them and we wanted to bring them to justice, and
10 we told the legal authorities to go ahead and initiate
11 proceedings against them, to bring them to justice.
12 And that is why paragraph 7 was included into this
14 Q. So everybody present at this meeting, at the
15 signing of this document, on the 5th of April, 1993 was
16 aware that there were criminal elements in the HOS
17 units that were being transferred to the HVO?
18 A. I said that there were, and we would always
19 place these individuals at the disposal of the legal
20 authorities. People came to the barracks as well, and
21 this isn't something that happened to us alone, but it
22 existed everywhere. Irresponsible people existed
23 everywhere. Some people had truly come to defend their
24 homeland. Others had come to gain fame. Others came
25 for other reasons, and there were those who came with a
1 motive of reaping personal profit from the
2 circumstances, that is true, but we were not able to
3 recognise them all, and that is why we had the security
4 services to deal with them and the legal authorities,
5 and we would always send these individuals to the
6 proper authorities to be dealt with by them.
7 Q. Now, you mentioned that after the events on
8 the 18th of April, you were, in fact, charged with
9 assaulting a public security official and that you were
10 sentenced, I think, to one year and four months
12 A. Yes, I mentioned that.
13 Q. Prior to that date, had you ever been charged
14 and found guilty of any other criminal offence?
15 A. Not in the war, no.
16 Q. Prior to the war, say, when you were a young
17 man, between 1976 and 1991?
18 A. Before the war, I was sentenced twice. Once
19 for political reasons, I called the president of the
20 municipality a dirty communist. And on another
21 occasion, when I returned back from a training session,
22 a friend invited me into a cafe, and a fight broke out
23 there amongst a number of individuals, and I was
24 unjustly -- it was claimed unjustly that I had hit a
25 man. But no criminal acts, I engaged in no criminal
1 acts, just those two problems that I had, the fight in
2 the cafe, when I was said to have beaten somebody, and
3 the other problem, I can't remember what year it was,
4 it was three or four years before the war, when I
5 called the president of the municipality a dirty
7 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could be shown
8 the final Prosecutor's Exhibit.
9 JUDGE JORDA: What is the last Prosecution
10 Exhibit number? The last one you tendered was what?
11 Exhibit 547, was it?
12 MR. CAYLEY: So this is 548, Mr. President.
13 THE REGISTRAR: It's 548.
14 MR. CAYLEY:
15 Q. We'll get straight to the point, Mr. Holman.
16 This is your criminal record from Zenica. I think I'm
17 correct in saying that your father's name is Carl, is
18 that right, and you were born in 1956?
19 A. If you say that I was born in 1956, you're
20 right, correct.
21 Q. Now, we won't go through every single one of
22 the offences that are listed here, but there are
23 criminal charges and fines and prison sentences in this
24 document dating back to 1976. Some of it is not
25 entirely legible, so I won't put a number on it, but
1 there are a large number of offences, you would agree
2 with me, would you not?
3 A. They are misdemeanours, offences, yes. These
4 are offences. They're not crimes. You mentioned
6 Q. But I think there's about 40 misdemeanours in
7 this document; would that be correct?
8 A. Well, I can't quite see the number of
9 offences but I see that there are misdemeanour, so not
10 criminal acts, what we referred to in the first part,
11 but misdemeanours.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Could we know what kind of
13 offences they are? Perhaps Mr. Holman could tell us.
14 He was better informed about them.
15 Could you tell us, Mr. Cayley?
16 MR. CAYLEY:
17 Q. Mr. Holman, could you explain to the Court
18 the nature of all of these offences?
19 A. Well, they were misdemeanours. As I was a
20 master of karate and a sportsman in various sports, I
21 frequently had problems with the Zenica bullies, and I
22 had to protect myself and defend myself often because
23 people wanted to test their force against me. And so
24 once again, at the price of committing a misdemeanour,
25 I had to react to these challenges. As I was a master
1 of karate, I did not want to harm any of these
2 individuals, so everything stopped at a misdemeanour.
3 I didn't go further. So people wanted to test their
4 strength and ability against me, their physical
6 Q. So all these crimes are for fighting and
8 A. I don't remember that there was anything
9 else, apart from assault and battery. They were mostly
10 fights. No criminal acts were involved.
11 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. I've
12 now concluded my cross-examination, and I think there
13 are two exhibits, 547 and 548, to be admitted into
15 JUDGE JORDA: No objection?
16 Mr. Holman, we're going to suspend our work,
17 and we're going to resume at 2.30. Rest up a little
18 bit, calm down. Are you still involved in karate,
19 Mr. Holman?
20 THE WITNESS: No, I now run a lot. Because I
21 am no longer an advisor for sport, I now do jogging to
22 keep up my physical condition. If you're interested, I
23 run the fartlek combined type of walk/run technique
24 because I'm already in my 40s, but I keep up my
25 physical condition.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Holman, relax, rest up a
2 bit. We will resume at 2.30 which will allow the
3 Defence to conduct their re-examination, and then the
4 Judges will have some questions.
5 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.59 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 2.43 p.m.
3 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
4 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please.
5 (The accused entered court)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Have the witness brought in,
8 (The witness entered court)
9 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
10 Mr. Holman, the Defence is now going to
11 conduct the re-examination.
12 Mr. Nobilo.
13 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President
14 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
15 Q. Mr. Holman, before the war in Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina did you organise the escape of Croats from
17 Croatia from the JNA barracks in Zenica and their
18 transport to Croatia?
19 A. Yes, I took part in that, and not only in
20 Zenica. Some soldiers who stayed on in the JNA, after
21 the conflict broke out in the territory of the former
22 Yugoslavia, well some of these soldiers -- I'm sorry,
23 Your Honours, sorry -- I got some of these soldiers,
24 even from Jahorina, and through Sarajevo I took them
25 via Slavonski Brod to their families in Croatia.
1 Q. Did you send your own soldiers, HOS soldiers
2 from Zenica to Croatia to wage war against the Serbs?
3 A. Yes. And Mr. Anto Prkacin commanded such a
4 unit, and I sent them to the Sava River. Some
5 important battles were taking place there, so I sent
6 that unit up there.
7 Q. Do you then assume that President Tudjman was
8 guided by those facts when he decorated you with this
9 Croatian order?
10 A. Yes, I think that that is why I was decorated
11 with this Order of the Croatian Trefoil, which, if I
12 remember correctly, is the medal of courage.
13 Q. In 1992 until April of 1993, you and the HOS
14 belonged to the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After
15 you left the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, until the
16 15th of April, 1993, did you fit into the Zenica
17 Brigade of Jure Francetic? Did you become an integral
18 part of it or not?
19 A. No, we could not fit in. There was very
20 little time. So no instructions on the restructuring
21 or structuring of a new setup. We simply couldn't get
22 that. It didn't move that fast. I mean, we couldn't
23 fit into the Jure Francetic Brigade.
24 Q. In those 10 or 5 days, whatever, did you see
25 any HVO orders at all?
1 A. No, no orders in writing, nothing.
2 Q. Your HOS unit in Zenica, what was its ethnic
4 A. It was roughly 50/50, 50 per cent Croats and
5 50 per cent Muslims.
6 Q. From the 15th or 16th of April until the 18th
7 of April, 1993, did the HVO of Zenica give any kind of
8 armed resistance to the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
9 meaningful resistance?
10 A. No, not any meaningful resistance. I already
11 mentioned that in my statement. These were scattered
12 groups of people. There was no plan of defence or
14 Q. Please tell the Court -- we are actually
15 speaking in the light of that report where the HVO and
16 the Jure Francetic Brigade are being sent to control
17 Zenica. According to your estimate, how many BH army
18 soldiers were there in and around Zenica and how many
19 HVO soldiers were there?
20 A. To the best of my knowledge, the army of
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina could have had 50.000 persons.
22 The 3rd Corps could have had 50.000 men all together,
23 and the HVO could have had from 700 up to 1.000 men.
24 However, they all could not be together. I shall
25 repeat once again, Your Honours, that I could not bring
1 together more than 30 persons in one single place, 27
2 to be exact.
3 Q. So in your opinion, on the day of April 16th,
4 1993, from daybreak onwards, under whose control was
6 A. On the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th, the Muslim
7 forces or the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina held under
8 their control Zenica and the surrounding hills. We
9 were only on the outskirts, in two streets, nowhere
11 Q. So they controlled the largest part of the
13 A. The army of Bosnia and Herzegovina held all
14 of it under their control.
15 Q. Now I would like to draw your attention to
16 D215 that my colleague from the office of the
17 Prosecutor showed to you, and that was the report of
18 the Vitezovi. So I would like to read from it, I would
19 like to read part of it.
20 In the second paragraph, after it says
21 "Report" it says, "The unit is located from the 19th
22 of September, 1992 in Dubravica-Krizancevo Selo in the
23 elementary school."
24 So could you please tell me, or rather tell
25 the Court, did you talk to Darko Kraljevic in the
1 elementary school of Dubravica in Krizancevo Selo or
2 somewhere else?
3 A. No, I talked to Darko in the Kruscica hotel.
4 I never went to the elementary school in Dubravica.
5 Your Honours, until the present day I have no idea
6 where this was. I do know where the Hotel Kruscica is
7 because that is where I talked to Darko.
8 Q. Is your conclusion, then, that this
9 conversation was held before he moved to Dubravica?
10 A. Your Honours, the conversation was certainly
11 held before that, because it could not have been held
12 anywhere else, because until the present day I do not
13 know where this school in Dubravica is. So it is
14 certain that it took place in the Hotel Kruscica.
15 Q. Please tell the Court whether you assumed the
16 duty of acting head of the main staff of HOS for Bosnia
17 before you actually received your appointment in
19 A. Yes. I assumed the duties of acting chief,
20 and Nedeljko, a man who was close to Dobroslav Paraga,
21 told me that things were moving in that direction, that
22 I would be taking over the command for Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina after I went to Zagreb.
24 Q. And before that, did you take over from
25 Jadranko Jandric this same post? Were you appointed
1 acting commander?
2 A. Yes, by the very nature of things I took over
3 because I was his deputy.
4 Q. And when we sum all of this up, according to
5 your present day estimate, when could this conversation
6 between you and Darko Kraljevic, when could it have
7 taken place, when you asked them to subordinate
8 themselves to the Zenica command?
9 A. This conversation could have taken place
10 after the death of Mr. Blaz Kraljevic. It could have
11 been the end of August or the beginning of September.
12 Perhaps that is why Darko was so impudent, because he
13 thought he would be in charge of the main staff for
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, this man called
15 Nedeljko probably told him the same thing that he told
16 me, so he was very arrogant towards me.
17 Q. We also talked about the number of Vitezovi,
18 that is to say, soldiers of the special purposes unit
19 of the HVO who called themselves the Vitezovi. Do you
20 know anything about the Vitezovi, how many soldiers
21 they had, what kind of unit it was?
22 A. According to intelligence reports, I found
23 out that the Vitezovi could amount more or less to one
24 company. I cannot say exactly how many men they had,
25 but the Vitezovi unit itself could have consisted of
1 one company at the maximum, not more than that.
2 Q. Do you know whether all members of HOS from
3 Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez joined the Vitezovi, or
4 only a small elite group?
5 A. I cannot say for sure, but I just know that
6 Darko's unit was the PPN unit Vitezovi.
7 Q. Please tell the Court the following: How
8 many soldiers were there? How did this vary? For
9 example, HOS, in its golden days in Bosnia, how many
10 soldiers did it have and how many soldiers did it have
11 before the April war of 1993?
12 A. In the best of days the HOS had 10.000 men,
13 approximately and in these difficult times, as tensions
14 grew between the Croats and the Muslims, we could not
15 even make up a single brigade in the entire territory
16 of Bosnia.
17 Q. My distinguished colleague the Prosecutor put
18 it to you, and you confirmed that it was true, that a
19 member of the Serb ethnic group was beaten up. And you
20 said that was true and you said that this was done by
21 Ismet Besirovic, a member of HOS. Please tell the
22 Court what ethnic group did Ismet Besirovic belong to?
23 A. Officer Ismet Besirovic was of Muslim
25 Q. You also confirmed, when the Prosecutor asked
1 you, that there were some criminal offences that were
2 committed within the HOS and you tried to deal with
4 Was this fact typical of the HOS, or was it
5 characteristic of other units too, or rather, of this
6 general state of war in Zenica and elsewhere?
7 A. Your Honours, all the units on the territory
8 of the former Yugoslavia, especially in Bosnia, had
9 problems with such irresponsible individuals or groups
10 of such individuals.
11 Q. What about crime in Zenica, did it go up
12 radically in '92/'93 as compared to the prewar
14 A. There was an enormous rise in the crime rate
15 in this area, especially within Zenica itself. The
16 state fell apart, the former Yugoslavia, and the system
17 broke down. And perhaps this is too strong of a word
18 but people went wild. They did all sorts of things.
19 Q. Please tell the Court, what about the man in
20 the street? Would people feel unsafe in the streets of
21 Zenica then?
22 A. At that time, no one felt safe in Zenica.
23 Q. And finally on this point, was this crime
24 characteristic of certain ethnic groups or were there
25 no boundaries in terms of the perpetrators and the
2 A. Regardless of nationalities, regardless of
3 the units involved, there was crime across the board.
4 That is the way criminals and thieves are.
5 Q. The Prosecutor showed your record of
6 misdemeanours, 40 fights in which you disturbed the
7 public order and peace. Realistically speaking now,
8 after all this time, can you tell us whether you were
9 involved in more than 40 fights?
10 A. There were considerably more than 40. There
11 were people who provoked me to fight with them in a
12 basement, at the Leveda Sports Centre, and I took them
13 on. For ten years, I was the most physically fit
14 person in Zenica, and various adventurers tried to
15 provoke me, and I took up these challenges, and
16 sometimes reports were sent to the police and sometimes
17 there weren't. Sometimes the police would even
18 congratulate me on this if I had beaten up some of
19 these former criminals, but sometimes they would
20 actually report me to the Court, and then I had to pay
21 fines for these misdemeanours.
22 Q. Is it true that, finally, you took all these
23 tough guys from the street with you, made up a unit,
24 and took them into the war with you?
25 A. Yes, that is true. In a way, I was an
1 institution that they respected, and they followed me
2 into battle, and it is only such people who could go
3 into the war at first. Other people faced a dilemma as
4 to whether we would manage to survive or not or whether
5 Yugoslavia would be in power again. These weaker ones
6 did not take any actions, so it is only with these
7 tough guys that I could start defending Croatian
8 territories and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 Q. You say that you were an institution in its
10 own right. You say that for ten years you were the
11 strongest guy in Zenica. How do you explain the fact
12 that you did not manage to subjugate Darko Kraljevic?
13 How do you explain that? Was he as tough as you were
14 on his own turf?
15 A. Your Honours, had this been in Zenica, I
16 would have subjugated him. But Darko Kraljevic was an
17 authority on the territory of Vitez, so I could not
18 deal with such authority there.
19 Q. The Prosecutor put it to you and you
20 confirmed that you even beat your own soldiers and
21 officers every now and then. In your opinion, now that
22 time has gone by, I mean, it's history now, in 1992 and
23 1993, was this a necessity in Bosnia? Is that the only
24 way you could command a unit?
25 A. Certainly, certainly, Your Honours, it was
1 out of necessity. You had to be strong and capable and
2 to exercise authority in such a way in order to be able
3 to command such persons. Soft commanders could not
4 lead a unit for a long time.
5 Q. You said that the state had broken up and you
6 created an army, not only you personally but others,
7 with guys from the street. What about orders
8 appointing a person to a certain post? Was that
9 sufficient in order to exercise true authority in terms
10 of command or did one have to have other capabilities
11 too in order to be truly in command?
12 A. Orders on appointments were not all that
13 important. It is local authority that was all
14 important. So you had to look in the entire setup. If
15 the local commanders wanted to listen, then things
16 could have gone according to plan. If the local
17 commander did not want to listen and if his unit
18 wouldn't listen, then they wouldn't listen to anyone.
19 Q. You were in the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 3rd Corps. The deputy commander of the 3rd Corps was
21 Dzemo Merdan, a very well-known person. Could you tell
22 the Court the story, the anecdote, of one of your
23 soldiers and Dzemo Merdan and a lamb?
24 A. Above the village of Serici where, together
25 with --
1 MR. CAYLEY: Excuse me. Mr. President, this
2 is beyond the scope of the cross-examination. We
3 certainly didn't raise Dzemo Merdan.
4 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, mention was made
5 of command responsibility vis-a-vis Darko Kraljevic in
6 HOS, and this is an anecdote which shows how important
7 local commanders were, far more important than those
8 who held higher positions. So it is not Dzemo Merdan
9 himself who is important, but we should see how the
10 chain of command functioned. And we did talk about the
11 chain of command within HOS, so it has to do with
13 JUDGE JORDA: Please proceed. Put your
15 A. So when they came into the hills where the
16 Serbs held a line and then they had withdrawn to their
17 reserve positions and these men from HOS had passed to
18 there, Dzemo Merdan was there, this commander, and then
19 these young men found some sheep. And they were
20 driving these sheep, and Merdan asked one of the HOS
21 guys whether he could give him a sheep. And he said,
22 "Well, you go and walk around the hills yourself and
23 get yourself a sheep of your own," and he said, "Who
24 allowed you to go there?" He said, "Well, if Holman,"
25 he was referring to me, "says that we should go ahead,
1 then we will go ahead, and I don't care who you are."
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. Did Dzemo Merdan say who he was?
4 A. Oh, yes, oh, yes. He said, "Do you know who
5 I am, the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps?" And he
6 said, "Well, if Holman tells me to go ahead, I will go,
7 but you can't give me any orders."
8 Q. Finally, my last question, your opinion, you
9 knew Darko Kraljevic. You knew the situation in
10 Vitez. In your opinion, what about Colonel Blaskic,
11 who was a former captain of the JNA and who was used to
12 working the way he was taught at the military academy,
13 who could not fight Darko Kraljevic, could he issue
14 orders to Darko Kraljevic?
15 A. A person like Blaskic could not order Darko
16 Kraljevic. Local authorities were too strong, and
17 Darko certainly held Vitez under his control. He held
18 his soldiers under his control. The families of these
19 soldiers lived there. So all of them were on the side
20 of Darko Kraljevic. Darko Kraljevic was the most
21 powerful person in Vitez.
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We
23 have thus concluded our questioning.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Judge Riad, do you
25 have any questions?
1 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Mr. Holman.
2 A. Good afternoon, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE RIAD: There are a few points which I
4 would like to understand more clearly, and I hope you
5 can help me.
6 Let us start by the order you received, the
7 order of the Croatian Trefoil from President Tudjman.
8 Was it customary that President Tudjman would give HVO
9 officers decorations and some kind of gratification?
10 A. I cannot speak about what was usual and what
11 wasn't, but I consider that for what I had done for
12 Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, I think that I deserved
13 an order of merit of this kind.
14 JUDGE RIAD: And this kind of order of merit
15 would be given by the President of Croatia to people of
16 the HVO?
17 A. Yes. I think that I got the decoration
18 because I saved the young men from the former JNA who
19 remained in the barracks when the war had already
20 broken out from the former Yugoslav army, and I think
21 that I did a lot to send the units to the critical
22 points in Croatia. And I think that I deserved the
23 decoration that I received and that it's normal.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Would President Tudjman also
25 promote officers? Did he promote Colonel Blaskic to
1 General or promoted the others too or promoted you?
2 A. President Tudjman did not promote me. I
3 received my rank from the HVO. I filled out a
4 questionnaire in the main staff from the ministry in
5 Mostar, the Defence Ministry in Mostar, and they gave
6 me this rank according to the official duties that I
7 performed. I was not given my rank by the President,
8 Mr. Franjo Tudjman.
9 JUDGE RIAD: Now, you mentioned twice that
10 HOS was -- first, you said that HOS was absorbed in the
11 HVO, that was the translation I got, on the 23rd of
12 August, 1992. And then you said again that on the 5th
13 of April, '93, there was a merger between HOS and HVO.
14 So when, really, did HOS become part of the HVO?
15 A. There are documents of the 5th of April,
17 JUDGE RIAD: That was the merger between the
18 two? They became one?
19 A. From the army of BiH, we were within the
20 composition of the BH army, and we were transformed
21 into the armed force and another component into the
22 Croatian Defence Council. Apart from the reasons I
23 mentioned and the problems with the Muslims, there was
24 another interesting point there. Because of poor
25 coordination, these two components of the armed forces
1 of the BH army and the HVO, and because of the poor
2 coordination that existed, according to my view, we
3 lost Komusina and Jajce precisely due to that lack of
4 coordination. And that was one of the reasons why we
5 decided to join the HVO, not to lose Croatian territory
6 anymore, that is, that Croatian units should not lose
7 Croatian territory under the Serbian aggression.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Speaking, in fact, of not losing
9 the Croatian territory, you mentioned that HOS believed
10 that Croatia should spread all the way to the Drina.
11 That's what you said. What would this cover? Which
12 parts would this cover? Would this include all of the
13 Lasva Valley, for instance?
14 A. This kind of propaganda came from the supreme
15 command and the president of the Croatian Party of
16 Rights, from Zagreb, and that included the Lasva River
17 Valley. However, after this, the Croatian Party of
18 Rights recognised Bosnia-Herzegovina, and we defended
19 equally both the Croat and Muslim territories. We
20 defended them where it was strategically interesting
21 for us to do so.
22 So we defended all the territories, both by
23 launching operations and defending the territory, as
24 far as we were able, of course, because the Serbian
25 army and the former Yugoslav People's Army was more
1 powerful. They had already been organised. They were
2 well-equipped. They had been trained for 50 years. We
3 set aside our income, parts of our income, towards the
4 army. And I remember when the Serbian units entered
5 the village of Ravno, that the Muslims at that time in
6 Sarajevo and in the presidency said, "It's not our
7 war," but it was. In fact, it was our war because they
8 attacked the village of Ravno and cleared it up,
9 cleansed it, and that is where the Croats lived. We
10 all lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina. So it can't not be
11 their war if we were suffering and just say that the
12 war was where they were taking casualties. So that's
13 what the situation was like.
14 JUDGE RIAD: Now, back to the merger between
15 the HOS and the HVO, you said it was the 5th of April,
16 '93, and before, on the 23rd of August, 1992, there
17 was some kind of absorption. But whatever the date is,
18 when HOS became part of the HVO, did it have autonomy
19 in action or was it completely under the control of
20 General Blaskic?
21 A. It was not completely under the control of
22 Blaskic. Some units, for example, Kalesja, quite
23 logically, Kalesja had to be under his control because
24 the majority population is Muslim in the area. And
25 Tuzla also relied on the BH army because the 2nd Corps
1 was predominant there and strong there. So not all of
2 them came under the command of General Blaskic. It
3 depended where we were. If we were nearer to the HVO
4 in an area controlled by the HVO, we would come under
5 the HVO. And the units controlled by the army towards
6 the Serbs belonged to them and defended, together with
7 them, the frontline against the greater Serbian
9 So let me say this again: Not all the
10 territory came under the control of General Blaskic.
11 JUDGE RIAD: But in the territory where
12 General Blaskic had command, would HOS be under his
13 command? Would they obey him?
14 A. There wasn't time to set this up. I
15 understood subordination very clearly, and I would
16 abide by it. Now, whether Robert Bresic, for example,
17 in Maglaj followed these orders, I don't think he had
18 time to. I don't think there was time for General
19 Blaskic to establish this military and army system and
20 hierarchy. There wasn't enough time to do this. So
21 the area turned towards the Serbs was not able to be
22 placed under the control of the Croatian Defence
23 Council. Some were and some others were not. So not
24 all of them were. I, myself, did place myself under
25 that command.
1 JUDGE RIAD: So people were free to place
2 themselves under the command or not or was it a
3 disciplined army?
4 A. No, it was not a disciplined army. Once
5 again, local commanders had their say, and they covered
6 the terrain that they felt they were entitled to, and
7 this was a detriment to us, the fact that we were not
8 well-organised but, unfortunately, we were not
10 JUDGE RIAD: But you would still receive
11 orders -- they would receive orders from General
12 Blaskic. They might obey it or not obey it but he
13 could give them orders or was it completely a parallel
15 A. Once again let me state that Mr. Blaskic
16 could not command these units. When I said that I
17 would move over to the HVO, he was not able to command
18 units in Kalesja or Tuzla because the BH army had them
19 under its control, if you understand me, that area
20 there, the upper area. So not everybody was under the
21 command of General Blaskic.
22 JUDGE RIAD: Not the BiH, of course, yes.
23 Thank you. Now, I want to ask you something concerning
24 the misdemeanours which you committed and for which you
25 were imprisoned. One of them was assaulting a public
1 security official. That's a very important thing. Why
2 did you do that? That was not a fight in the boxing
4 A. I have already explained this. It was the
5 military security forces, and we kept the frontline at
6 Serici at one time. I mentioned the young men and the
7 sheep and all the rest of it. So at one point, we did
8 hold these lines with the police forces and the line
9 towards the Serbs. Now, why did I do that? I said
10 that what I wanted to do was to save my men from the
11 extremist units and their hold, for these units and
12 MUP, because it was from these individuals that I
13 expected to have more correct conduct, proper conduct.
14 They knew the laws. They probably knew the Geneva
15 Conventions and the rules governing warfare, and that
16 is why I did this.
17 It was an interesting point. This particular
18 patrol passed into a sort of no-man's land where we did
19 not have enough men, and so they could have had
20 intelligence that we did not have enough men and not
21 enough units to man this area. So those were the
23 JUDGE RIAD: I'm happy to notice that you
24 mentioned the Geneva Convention, and you're aware of
25 it. Apparently, some of your soldiers would sometimes
1 commit offences against the Geneva Conventions. Would
2 you beat them? Was there any incidents where you would
3 beat them or punish them for offences, for any kind of
4 crimes against humanity?
5 A. I have already said that when they beat up
6 that particular individual and when I hit one of the
7 men, I said that I did this to reduce and prevent
8 incidents of this kind taking place, that is to say,
9 that they should bring people in and beat them up. I
10 wanted to prevent all violations of the codes
11 of knighthood. I call this the codes of knighthood. I
12 wanted to prevent individuals from breaking out in this
13 way. Not all of the men were educated. They did not
14 read much. They did not know what Geneva is and where
15 Geneva is. They don't even know where Switzerland is.
16 There were workers there, peasants, farmers, all types
17 of people.
18 I state once again that I relied on the MUP
19 unit because they were more educated, but they too had
20 amongst these units, wild units, catastrophic units,
21 who didn't know about Switzerland or Geneva, let alone
22 the Geneva Conventions and the codes of conduct in
24 JUDGE RIAD: So it recurred often, this
25 incident that you mentioned. Were there many other
1 similar incidents of people committing such actions
2 without knowing, of course, that it is forbidden?
3 A. As I said, there were incidents of this kind
4 in all the units, in the BH army, in the HVO, in the
5 HOS, in the Patriotic League, everywhere. Incidents of
6 this kind would occur everywhere. The structure of the
7 population education-wise was not the same everywhere.
8 There were people who were better educated and less
9 well-educated and wanted to further their own
10 interests. So people of this kind existed everywhere,
11 and they had different motives. They had motives of
12 personal interest and for personal gain, but I always
13 liked the people who wanted to protect their family,
14 their homes, their homeland, and so on, patriotic
16 JUDGE RIAD: You apparently tried to educate
17 them. Did other people too try to educate them and
18 prohibit such actions or punish them in HOS or in the
19 HVO, to your knowledge?
20 A. Well, I can't really say. I can say about
21 HOS. Political activities, there were certain courses,
22 and courses were held to talk about and discuss
23 conduct, and we always asked our men to behave in the
24 proper way. I think that this existed on the other
25 side as well but, of course, what did the people know
1 about what the Geneva Convention is and whether they
2 all responded to courses of this kind to instruct the
3 population and the men. Not everybody went to the
4 battleground or to the units or to attend courses of
5 this kind, educational and training courses.
6 Everything was poorly organised because there was a lot
7 of confusion everywhere.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Apart from the punishment which
9 you gave which was a good beating, I'm sure you're
10 strong, there were no other punishments, legal
11 punishments, for those who committed crimes, apart from
12 the beating, personal beating, to your knowledge, I
14 A. I apologise. Would you clarify what you
15 mean? What beatings? I didn't understand the question
17 JUDGE RIAD: You said that you would beat a
18 soldier who would commit a crime against the code of,
19 what you said, the honour of humanity, crimes against
20 humanity, because you knew the Geneva Convention and
21 they did not know it. But apart from this personal
22 punishment, because you were a champion and you could
23 beat the others, was there any legal prosecution?
24 Would they be punished legally or ordered legally not
25 to do it? Was there any other punishment except you
1 beating them?
2 A. Well, let me try and explain. I didn't beat
3 them up. I would give them one blow, so it wasn't
4 actually beating them up. I thought that it was better
5 for me to hit him once or to slap him once rather than
6 having him beat up an individual and inflict heavy
7 bodily harm. So I had to use methods of this kind. I
8 had no choice, because otherwise I would be held
10 HOS was an institution, and I was at the head
11 of that institution, so I had to settle accounts in
12 this way. I had no other choice. Justice could not
13 cover the whole field. As I said, crime was on the
14 rise enormously and justice just could not see to all
15 these crimes.
16 If there were more severe crimes being
17 committed, we, of course, did cooperate with the legal
18 authorities, with the law, as far as we were able. But
19 of course we couldn't do so in all the cases, nor were
20 we aware of all things going on, because there was
21 general chaos and confusion.
22 JUDGE RIAD: You understood my question,
23 perhaps. You said justice could not be applied to
24 everybody. But was there any legal action apart from
25 the blows, your blows, was there any legal action
1 against anybody for crimes committed, as you said,
2 against what you called the Geneva Convention or crimes
3 against civilians or crimes against humanity, legal
4 action, or military action?
5 A. Any of the more serious perpetrators, with
6 regard to crimes, criminal acts, as I said, I
7 cooperated with the military prosecution of the 3rd
8 Corps in Zenica. And if they were not able to do that
9 with their own security forces, to take it further,
10 then they would be taken to the municipal prosecutor's
11 office in Zenica. I always tried to cooperate as much
12 as I could with the security service centre, and I sent
13 people to court, to the military courts, to answer for
14 their acts.
15 JUDGE RIAD: Were there any punishments that
16 you know of? Because apparently you were aware of what
17 was happening.
18 A. Well, there were some punishments, some of
19 the men were sentenced, that is, they were punished,
20 they got sentence terms. In my opinion, and as I see
21 things, some of these sentences were deserved, others
22 should have gotten more severe sentences but were left
23 to go free.
24 I noticed in this whole prosecution
25 proceedings that a lot of sentences were under five
1 years. What does that mean? It means that somebody
2 sentenced to a term of imprisonment less than five
3 years can defend himself while he is still free, he
4 doesn't have to be in prison.
5 And so, this meant that there would be more
6 soldiers in the field, because they would be left
7 outside prison, although his five-year sentence was
8 still held true. And the municipal court of the 3rd
9 Corps would later on take up this matter, and whether
10 the sentence was ever fulfilled or not, I don't know.
11 But many of these sentences were below a five-year
12 term, if it was over five years, then of course they
13 would be remanded in prison. That is what I know about
14 the matter. I can't tell you any more.
15 JUDGE RIAD: I will just ask a last question
16 to clarify the relationship between HOS and General
17 Blaskic. Were there any clashes between some people of
18 HOS, not you, perhaps, but others with General Blaskic,
19 some open refusal of his orders, for instance, after
20 the merger, when they became one?
21 A. Mr. Blaskic could never control all HOS
22 units. My units were headed by a local commander. I
23 understood subordination, so he could exercise control
24 over my units; but not Darko, Darko did whatever he
25 wanted to do.
1 There are various funny stories, I don't know
2 if they are true, I heard about them from intelligence
3 reports, that Darko would often do all sorts of
4 things. If he really wanted to do something, he would
5 simply do it. If he liked a weapon he would simply
6 take it without the approval of the commander. That is
7 why they were so well armed.
8 For example, he would stop a truck and he
9 would take the equipment and uniforms that he needed.
10 So he didn't ask the commander for anything. I heard a
11 thing which is sort of funny, I don't know if it's
12 true, but that's what I've been told, and that is what
13 I read in the intelligence reports: On one occasion he
14 told to -- he said to General Blaskic at that time, he
15 said, "Colonel, you have a nice Jeep. Why don't you
16 give me this Jeep? If you have such a nice Jeep, I
17 should have a nice one, too." Darko wanted to exercise
18 his authority over things.
19 JUDGE RIAD: You made it clear that Darko was
20 what people would call "un enfant terrible" of HOS.
21 But apart from him, were there others under the command
22 of General Blaskic? Otherwise how would you say that
23 HOS was merged with HVO? It was either two different
24 groups or one. In other words, was General Blaskic the
25 undisputed commander or not?
1 A. General Blaskic could not have been the
2 undisputed commander in any way. This was true in my
3 own case, I realised that many units would simply get
4 out of control, and there were quite a few of them.
5 There were many units that refused orders to go to the
6 line. "I am not interested in that area," for example,
7 people would say that. And I, Mr. Blaskic and many
8 other commanders could not establish their absolute
9 chain of command in hierarchy.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Holman, my
13 impression is that the position you present is this:
14 During an earlier phase the HOS was part of the ABiH,
15 and then came the events at Dusina. And your
16 appreciation of the situation changed, and then you
17 moved across with your units in the HOS, over to the
18 HVO side; is my understanding of your presentation
20 A. Yes, yes. I transferred on that date that
21 this document shows, that is the 5th of April, and I
22 put my unit and myself under the command of then
23 Colonel, now General Blaskic.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, there were members
25 of the HOS who were Croats and members of the HOS who
1 were Muslims; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, that is correct.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you gave the
4 impression that the Croats were being victimised by the
5 Muslims and that was why you decided to move across to
6 the HVO side.
7 A. Yes, that was the basic reason.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: When you moved across
9 with the units which you took with you, were there
10 Muslims in those units which you took across with you
11 from the ABiH side to the HVO side?
12 A. The Muslims who were in the HOS stayed with
13 us in the HOS unit. They did not leave. Those who
14 were with us until the end. I pointed out before,
15 before I made my decision, some of them left.
16 Whenever an incident occurred somebody would
17 leave, somebody would go to the Muslim side, somebody
18 would go to the Croatian side; but they did not go to
19 the BH army, these people who stayed to the end.
20 Mr. Blaskic and Mr. Kordic never said that
21 these Muslims should be removed from the HOS unit.
22 They never mentioned it. When I talked to Mr. Blaskic
23 and when he told me, "Send your people to Kuber," he
24 did not say, "Don't send Muslims, send Croats," he
25 simply said, "Send your troops to Kuber," he did not
1 say Croats, he did not say Muslims.
2 So Mr. Blaskic or Mr. Kordic did not make any
3 distinction between the two. They were good guys, they
4 fought fairly and honestly, and they were with us until
5 the end. I'm sorry if they are in trouble nowadays
6 because they were with us in Croatian units, but for me
7 they were good soldiers, they were crystal clear, they
8 were good fighters and they stayed with us for those
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Holman, I was
11 tempted to, but didn't, interrupt you as you spoke. If
12 you would be so kind as to listen to my question, you
13 may find it possible to give me a shorter answer.
14 Now, when you moved across to the HVO side,
15 did you find that you and your units were fighting
16 against the ABiH or the Muslims?
17 A. We were not aware of the conflict being of
18 wider proportions. In certain locations we realised
19 there was a war between Croats and Muslims, but we
20 could not realise that this kind of war was taking
21 place all over. I only realised that later, in prison.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Well, I wasn't so much
23 interested with the overall position as I was
24 interested in the particular activities of your HOS
25 units. Were they ever fighting against the ABiH or the
2 A. The HOS units that I had under my own
3 control, under my own authority, did not fight against
4 the Muslims. When I was being persecuted, when they
5 were after me in the streets and in the hills, they
6 even shot at me on several occasions, and my escorts
7 and I returned fire on a few occasions because we could
8 have gotten killed, but we did not wage war against the
9 Muslims, no.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Against whom did you and
11 your HOS units wage war?
12 A. We fought in the areas of Maglaj, the most,
13 and Seher, Serici, I already mentioned that, and we
14 fought and we defended ourselves and we did not want
15 the Serbs to take these Croatian and Muslim territories
16 from us. We held the territory half and half with the
17 Muslim forces.
18 I already said that I helped Mr. Blaskic by
19 sending units to Jajce and in other places. We were
20 still oriented towards defending ourselves from the
21 greater Serbian aggression, and that is where we were
22 involved the most.
23 We always sent our troops and weapons against
24 the Serbs. Maglaj, Teslic, Tesanj, and even in prison
25 they questioned me where my artillery was. And I said,
1 "Why are you asking me that? You know I sent those
2 artillery pieces to Maglaj to Commander Robert Bresic."
3 Because Serbs were attacking Maglaj, I didn't need
4 artillery in Zenica; so again, I was making it clear to
5 them that nobody wanted to wage war against them.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So you and your HOS
7 units waged war only against the Serbs.
8 A. We waged war only against the Serbs. We
9 didn't have enough time to fight anywhere else, and we
10 didn't really wish to fight our allies of yesteryear,
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: When you and your units
13 moved across to the HVO side, did the Muslim members of
14 your HOS units know that you had moved across
15 principally because of your perception that Muslims
16 were victimising Croats?
17 A. On that occasion a press conference was even
18 held, that is to say, when HOS moved across to the
19 HVO. We kept no secrets, and we thought that with this
20 move we would be making a step in the right direction,
21 that is to say, in this area where the Muslims were,
22 where the 3rd Corps was, where they were predominant,
23 we thought this was a step in the right direction, so
24 they should not wage war against the Croats and we
25 shouldn't fight against them. We still tried to save
1 the situation to the best of our ability. We wanted to
2 turn against the aggressors, real aggressors.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You wouldn't say, would
4 you, Witness, that when you moved across from the BiH
5 side to the HVO side you were taking up the position
6 that you and your HOS units would defend Croats against
8 A. We tried to have a reconciliation in this
9 way. I wish to repeat that. And at this press
10 conference it was explained very precisely, perhaps
11 there is even a recording of it, there was not a war
12 against the Muslims. That Komusina and Jajce had
13 fallen perhaps due to poor coordination. And in order
14 to have greater security in Central Bosnia and to have
15 a better organisation, it was explained very nicely
16 that no one wanted to jeopardise the other party in any
17 way. It was explained very nicely what the aim was.
18 And also, we wanted to reduce tensions between Croats
19 and Muslims in Central Bosnia.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One last question, time
21 is going, it has to do with your conviction record,
22 which I think is in BSC, and therefore, closed to me.
23 You have seen the document, have you?
24 A. You mean about my misdemeanours?
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you be so kind,
1 Witness, as to tell the Court which of these 45
2 misdemeanours carried the highest sentence?
3 A. The highest sentence was six months, and I
4 was given six months when I was going back home after
5 my workout, and a friend of mine asked me to join him
6 at the Phoenix Cafe for a drink. He ordered a beer, I
7 ordered Coca-Cola with mineral water.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you tell us very
9 briefly --
10 A. That was my highest sentence. This was a
11 mass fight, many people took part in it, many people
12 took part in it. Yes, it was a mass fight, and there
13 were several -- several participants involved, and one
14 of the participants suffered heavily bodily injury, I
15 cannot remember exactly, a fracture or something. So
16 this was the highest sentence I got, six months.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would I be understanding
18 you correctly to mean this: Not that you had a bad
19 temper, but you were strong and athletic and you sensed
20 a need to act firmly to exercise leadership in very
21 difficult circumstances? Is that your position?
22 A. If I understood your question correctly, it
23 was not that I wanted to impose myself as the strongest
24 one. I really had these ideals. I wanted to defend
25 myself and others from aggression, because that is
1 something I had always wanted to do, even in these
2 fights and these brawls. I always acted against
4 So I'm not saying that I really hit this man
5 badly, but he did suffer an injury. So all of these
6 were misdemeanours, really. And I would never attack a
7 person who was defenceless. I observed fair play from
8 the athletic field. If somebody would fall and if
9 somebody could not defend himself, I would give up on
10 fighting any further.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, Witness.
12 JUDGE JORDA: I only have one question to
13 ask. How did the accused make his power felt? Was it
14 through force, through his moral authority? Did he
15 make his authority felt? Did he have authority? Did
16 you recognise him as your chief?
17 I suppose that the accused is not the type of
18 person who would get involved in a fist fight in order
19 to get his point across. In order to make himself
20 understood or to get his way across, what would he do?
21 A. Again, I'm saying that we did not all have
22 the same degree of awareness. I was aware of the fact
23 that we needed better organisation of our units and I
24 behaved accordingly. Had I not realised that, I
25 probably would not have obeyed all orders, either. But
1 I matured during the war. I first commanded a platoon
2 and then a battalion, and I realised that someone who
3 was a professional should be in charge, and not someone
4 who exercised authority through force, that that kind
5 of person should lead us, and that is on what our
6 defence should be based.
7 I realised that, but not everybody did, and
8 that is why I listened to General Blaskic or I tried to
9 listen to General Blaskic in this short period of
10 time. But not everybody could realise that. Many
11 still counted on force and that kind of authority, et
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Holman. We have
14 finished, but not quite. Judge Riad would like to ask
15 an additional question.
16 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Holman, you just mentioned
17 to my colleague, Judge Shahabuddeen, that there was no
18 thought or idea of war against the Muslims. I just
19 would like to know how we could reconcile this with
20 things which just were mentioned today, here.
21 One of them, you mentioned that the Croatian
22 party was adamant to spread all the way to the Drina,
23 and you said that it would cover the whole Lasva
24 Valley. How could this happen without war?
25 And then this came out that Muslims were
1 cleansed from Prozor in October of '92, came into the
2 discussion, so how could this be done without war? Is
3 it logical with what you said, that no war was meant
4 against the Muslims? Please give me a short answer.
5 A. If you were to look at the statute of the
6 Croatian Party of Rights, and if you were to see what
7 this party promoted, you would realise they promoted
8 these objectives, or rather their attainment, together
9 with the Muslims. You know what I mean? Including
10 them, too. Croatians and Muslims together, that they
11 should go all together, all the way up to the Drina
13 I shall tell you one thing, I'm not a
14 politician, it is hard for me to say this, but I will
15 say this: There was some political adventurism too,
16 there on the part of Dobroslav Paraga, and it wasn't
17 quite clear what he intended to do with the Serbs from
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was their homeland too, you
19 know. So I said this before the court of law during my
20 trial, "Why did you go with the HVO? Why didn't you
21 stay with the BH army?" That's what they asked me.
22 And I said, "Gentlemen, the BH army and
23 Paraga, who was in favour of the BH army, they never
24 said what should be done with the Serbs." I shall just
25 mention a figure, there was a million of them, and no
1 reasonable people ever thought of harming them or
2 taking away their lives or expelling them or whatever.
3 So I did not understand this policy of Dobroslav Paraga
4 that was waged from Zagreb.
5 They said together with the Muslims to the
6 Drina, but it was utopia for me. Jadranko Jandric, my
7 predecessor, when I asked him why he was resigning,
8 Jadranko Jandric said that for him that kind of policy
9 is utopia, that it cannot be translated into reality.
10 And I had similar thoughts on this.
11 And what I liked was that all the people of
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina should be constituent peoples,
13 not to have any kind of sovereignty, absolute
14 authority. In Yugoslavia you had that kind of thing.
15 We wanted democracy. We wanted all three peoples to be
16 recognised as constituent peoples.
17 I'm not a politician, but I realise these
18 things, I saw that something was wrong and that some
19 things were pure utopia.
20 JUDGE RIAD: I hope your wishes will come
21 true. Thank you very much.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
23 A. People should live properly, everybody has
24 the right to life; but also, those who committed
25 atrocities and terrible things should be punished.
1 JUDGE JORDA: There are no further questions,
2 I think we can now adjourn for 20 minutes. Thank you
3 very much, Mr. Holman.
4 --- Recess taken at 3.53 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 4.31 p.m.
6 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume. Have the
7 accused brought in, please.
8 (The accused entered court)
9 JUDGE JORDA: Have the next witness brought
10 in. I've got the summary. Therefore, we don't have to
11 go through it. Simply say who it is, the name of the
13 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the next witness
14 is Mrs. Zeljka Rajic.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Can we have her brought into
16 the courtroom, please? I have a written resume in
17 front of me.
18 (The witness entered court)
19 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me?
20 THE WITNESS: Yes.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Please give us your name, your
22 given name, your profession, your current address, and
23 then you will take the oath.
24 THE WITNESS: My name is Zeljka Rajic. I was
25 born in Zenica. I lived in Zenica up until 1975. I
1 got married and went to Lasva, and that's where I lived
2 up until the war. I'm a housewife.
3 JUDGE JORDA: What is your current residence,
4 please, if you can tell us?
5 THE WITNESS: Yes. At present, it is in
7 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain standing as long
8 as it takes to read the oath that the usher is going to
9 give to you in your own language.
10 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
11 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may be seated.
14 You have agreed to come to testify in the trial
15 initiated by the Office of the Prosecutor against the
16 accused, General Blaskic, who is in this courtroom.
17 You are a Defence witness. Therefore, the Defence will
18 begin by asking you questions, the questions that it
19 considers appropriate, and then it will be the turn of
20 the Prosecution and then, of course, the Judges.
21 Mr. Nobilo, proceed, please.
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 WITNESS: ZELJKA RAJIC
24 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
25 Q. Mrs. Rajic, good evening.
1 A. Good evening.
2 Q. Tell me, that is to say, tell the Court,
3 please, some -- give us some biographical data. You've
4 already told us something. You said you were born in
5 Zenica and that you lived in Zenica up until 1975 when
6 you got married to the late Mr. Rajic, and you went to
7 his village to live, the village of Lasva.
8 Could you describe where Lasva is situated,
9 how far it is from Zenica and how far from Busovaca?
10 A. Yes. Lasva is 20 kilometres away from Zenica
11 and 20 kilometres away from Busovaca. It is
12 practically in the middle.
13 Q. So halfway between Busovaca and Zenica; is
14 that correct?
15 A. Yes, it is.
16 Q. Lasva as a place, as a village, how many
17 Muslims lived there before the war and how many Croats;
18 could you tell us?
19 A. Well, up until the war, there were about 500
20 Muslims and about 60 Croats.
21 Q. Would you explain to the court something
22 about your family? What did your family consist of?
23 A. Yes. You mean my family?
24 Q. Yes, your family members, you, your late
25 husband, Mr. Rajic --
1 A. And we have three children.
2 Q. What are their names and how old were they
3 when their father died?
4 A. Ankica was born in 1977.
5 Q. How old was she?
6 A. She was 15 years old. Ankica was 16 years
7 old, and Anto was 8 years old.
8 Q. Would you tell the Court, please, up until
9 the crime committed in Lasva, what did your husband
10 do? How was he employed, and what property did you
12 A. Yes. My husband was a transporter. He had
13 his bus, he had a bus, and we were well-off.
14 Q. He was one of the richer people of Lasva, was
15 he not?
16 A. Yes, he was.
17 Q. You are a housewife. You say you're not a
18 soldier. But as far as you know, is it correct to say
19 that your husband was the commander of the local HVO
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In Lasva, you mean.
23 A. Yes, in Lasva.
24 Q. In your village, how many HVO soldiers were
25 there commanded by your husband?
1 A. About 30 soldiers, about 30 men.
2 Q. Tell us, who chose him? Who elected him and
3 why? Why was he elected commander?
4 A. Well, he was elected by his own people,
5 chosen by his own people. He was chosen to be the
6 commander, their commander.
7 Q. In the course of this examination, we're
8 going to mention two localities. One village is called
9 Lasva and the other village is called Dusina. You
10 lived in the village of Lasva; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And the crime took place in Dusina; is that
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 Q. How far are these two villages apart from
16 each other?
17 A. Three kilometres.
18 Q. What was the local community, the
19 municipality, called?
20 A. It was called Lasva.
21 Q. Did the Lasva municipality incorporate both
22 Lasva and Dusina?
23 A. Yes, it did.
24 Q. Mrs. Rajic, tell the Trial Chamber, please,
25 in this small village of yours, when did you, for the
1 first time, become wary, to use the word wary, towards
2 your Muslim neighbours? What happened to make you
3 think about them?
4 A. Well, first of all, there was an incident
5 with the Serbs. This was in November.
6 Q. What year was that?
7 A. In 1992. And they encircled the village.
8 Q. Who encircled what village?
9 A. The Muslims encircled a Serb village, and my
10 husband was opposed to this. He went up to this Serb
11 village and asked why this had happened, and he asked
12 to be shown the order ordering this to be done. And as
13 these Serbs had surrendered, they had surrendered, they
14 had also surrendered their weapons, they had weapons,
15 and they wanted to move away, and allegedly, they had
16 Zvonko's telephone number, and they called him and
17 asked him to come.
18 Q. Who is Zvonko?
19 A. Zvonko is my husband. So they asked him to
20 come up to the village and to bring another man, a
21 neighbour, a Muslim, to come and collect the weapons
22 and for the weapons to be taken to the local
23 community. My husband went together with this man,
24 they went by car, and they took this to the school, to
25 the local community, and divided up these weapons
1 amongst the Muslims and the Croats, the weapons that
2 they had.
3 Q. And after the Serbs had voluntarily
4 surrendered their weapons to the local community, which
5 the Muslims and Croats divided up, what did they, the
6 Muslims and others, do to the Serbs?
7 A. Well, once they had received weapons, several
8 days elapsed, and they encircled their village. The
9 Muslims encircled the Serbs, the Serb village which was
10 called Bozici. They surrounded the village, formed an
11 encirclement around it, and killed a pregnant woman.
12 They killed her husband and beat up another man who
13 died from the beating because they beat him with
15 After that, we saw that we could not have any
16 trust in them. And when my husband intervened and
17 asked why they were doing this, he was told, that is to
18 say, this Muslim told him, I don't remember his name
19 exactly, that the same thing would happen to him as
21 Q. And what did the Serbs do then?
22 A. Well, nothing. After several days went by or
23 two weeks, they all left, and they no longer live in
24 that village.
25 Q. Now we shall start speaking about the tragic
1 events that occurred in Lasva and Dusina on the 25th
2 and on the 26th of January, 1993. Tell us, did you
3 have any information that your Muslim neighbours could
4 possibly attack you?
5 A. Well, there was some information that we
6 would be attacked. My husband did not believe this.
7 On that day, on the 25th, I asked him that I leave with
8 the children because reports were coming in that they
9 would attack us and kill all of us. He wouldn't allow
10 me to do so. After that, a friend came and asked him,
11 on his behalf, to let me go, and that's how I left.
12 Around 2.00 p.m. on the 25th of January, we
13 could not get anywhere because the weather was very
14 bad. There was a lot of snow, so we spent the night
16 Q. Where did you spend the night?
17 A. At Dusina.
18 Q. So from Lasva, you came to Dusina, and you
19 spent the night in that neighbouring village; right?
20 A. Right.
21 Q. What happened on the next day, the 25th of
22 January, 1993?
23 A. You mean the 26th?
24 Q. Yes, I mean the 26th of January.
25 A. In the morning on the 26th at 5.00, the
1 Muslims attacked. We were shocked that morning. We
2 only heard cries Allah-u-ekber, but we could not
3 imagine that that was it. We were waiting for them to
4 get closer. We went into the basement of a house, all
5 of us together, the entire group, to see who these
6 soldiers were.
7 Q. Tell me, the village of Dusina, was it
8 attacked by anyone from the HVO?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Was there an organised defence?
11 A. No.
12 Q. What did you see in the next moments? Would
13 you please describe it to the Court?
14 A. I raced into the room. I called my husband.
15 I told him --
16 Q. How did you call your husband?
17 A. I telephoned him, he was at home, and I told
18 him that we were under attack, and he was surprised. I
19 said, "Zvonko, Dusina is surrounded, attacked. A young
20 man was killed." He couldn't believe it. We left.
21 Just as I got out of that room, a missile hit that
22 house, and I went into the basement together with the
24 Q. Were there any soldiers in the house who
25 would offer any kind of resistance or were there only
2 A. There were no soldiers, only old men, women,
3 and children.
4 Q. Then what happened? Could you please explain
5 this to the Court?
6 A. Afterwards, when we saw, from the basement,
7 that all of them were dressed in white, that they had
8 green headbands on, and they kept shouting
9 Allah-u-ekber all the time, we got out of the basement,
10 and we held our hands up above our heads. Then they
11 got very close to us. They grabbed our chests, and
12 they threw us against the wall. They wanted to shoot
13 us. They were intimidating us and --
14 Q. Could you please explain to the Court what is
15 it that you had around your neck?
16 A. It is a cross. We wore rosaries around our
17 necks. These are crosses with beads that we wear as
18 necklaces, and we use it during prayers. So they tore
19 all of them off, and they took us out to a clearing.
20 They put the old men on one side and the younger people
21 on the other side.
22 Q. What conclusion did you come to afterwards?
23 Why did they separate the younger people from the older
24 people there in that clearing? What was the purpose of
1 A. What was the purpose of that? Well, my
2 husband had already gotten out to this quota, and they
3 wanted us to be living shields for them.
4 Q. A human shield, you mean?
5 A. Yes, I mean a human shield. They were
6 shooting. They didn't let us lie down. They wanted to
7 kill all of us, and they were saying that they wanted
8 to burn the other houses.
9 Afterwards, a neighbour came who said, and he
10 was using a megaphone, he said that Zvonko, my husband,
11 should go out and that they should negotiate.
12 Q. Just a minute. Could you please explain to
13 the Court where your husband was? He was on a hill
14 nearby; right?
15 A. Right.
16 Q. As the crow flies, what was the distance
17 between you, the human shield, and your husband?
18 A. Well, as the crow flies, about 50 metres, so
19 it wasn't very far. And the Muslims who were behind
20 us, also, they were about 20 metres away, something
21 like that. And these Mujahedin were there. They wore
22 beards. It was terrible. So they were standing there
23 behind the locals.
24 Q. Before we move on to the negotiations between
25 the Muslim who had the loudspeaker and your husband,
1 tell me, who were the soldiers that you recognised
2 there? Were some of your neighbours there with
3 uniforms and weapons who lived near you before that?
4 A. Yes, some of them were there too, and then
5 there were also some strangers.
6 Q. When you say "strangers," what do you mean?
7 A. I'm talking about people who are total
8 strangers. As soon as I heard them shouting
9 Allah-u-ekber, I was sure that they were Mujahedin.
10 They couldn't speak our language, so these neighbours
11 of ours showed them the sign of the cross, and that is
12 how they knew who we were.
13 Q. When you say that they couldn't talk, you're
14 trying to say that they couldn't speak the Croatian
16 A. No, they couldn't speak Croatian or Bosnian
17 because they are foreign people. And the man who did
18 know how to speak our language, he used a loudspeaker
19 to talk to my husband.
20 Q. And what did your husband say? What did he
22 A. He wanted them.
23 Q. Who is "them"?
24 A. The Croats, the soldiers where my husband
25 was, he wanted them to come down to surrender and to
1 negotiate in Zenica. My husband did come down two or
2 three times, down this hill, and their soldier who
3 talked to my husband also went down into this valley,
4 and they talked, the two of them. Then my husband went
5 back up. And the last time, as he was going down, he
6 had a white flag. Well, I don't know what it was. It
7 was something white that he had tied to a stick, and
8 they were all going to go to Zenica to negotiate.
9 Q. When you said "something white on a stick,"
10 are you trying to say something that resembled a white
11 flag that negotiators carry?
12 A. Yes, yes, that's it.
13 Q. How many Croat soldiers went to Zenica, and
14 how many Muslim soldiers went to Zenica for the
16 A. There were about 10 of our people and 20 of
17 their people.
18 Q. Did you see your husband as he was leaving to
20 A. Yes, yes, I saw him.
21 Q. And what happened to you after that? Could
22 you explain it to the Court?
23 A. After that, they took us back. Their head
24 man, I imagine, took us to this village, and he wanted
25 to show us to the locals. He wanted to show that we
1 were prisoners, and there were also some amongst us who
2 were wounded, and they laughed, and they said that all
3 of us should be killed, that we were Ustashas.
4 Q. Who said that, your neighbours, the Muslims?
5 A. Yes, our Muslim neighbours, and they said
6 that that would happen. They took us all back into a
8 Q. And in this house --
9 A. Oh, yes, yes, this house was in Dusina.
10 Q. Just a minute, please, Madam. How many
11 Croats were there in this group with you? How many
12 were detained, and could you tell me what their age was
13 and what sex these prisoners were?
14 A. Well, there was a total of 30 Croats up
15 there. As far as age is concerned, I mean, when you're
16 talking about age, what do you mean?
17 Q. I'm asking you who the youngest people were
18 and who the oldest people were who were there?
19 A. Oh, yes, yes, I see. The youngest were
20 18-year-old soldiers and then all the way up to the age
21 of 68.
22 Q. And your 15-year-old daughter, was she with
24 A. Yes, yes, she was, but I was talking about
25 the male sex. I was talking about the men who were
1 there. But as far as children are concerned, the
2 girls, they were from age 3 up to age 15.
3 Q. So a total of 30 were in Dusina in this
4 house. You were prisoners there, and then who came to
5 this house?
6 A. Serif Patkovic called Geler came to this
8 Q. What was he? What army did he belong to?
9 A. He belonged to the 7th Muslim Unit.
10 Q. What did he say? What did he do?
11 A. Patkovic had a notebook, all the lists of
12 persons he was supposed to kill. He took people out
13 one by one.
14 Q. What was the first name he called out? Could
15 you please explain this to the Court? What was the
16 first name he called out?
17 A. First, he killed my husband.
18 Q. How did you find out about that?
19 A. I heard about it from him.
20 Q. How did he tell you that?
21 A. When Patkovic came, I was sitting, and he
22 said, "See, Zvonko took care of his family, and he left
23 you to be killed by us." And a friend of mine, a lady,
24 said, "That is not true. Zvonko did not take care of
25 his family at all. His wife and child are here." He
1 looked at me, he sat down, he sat on a table there,
2 perhaps this was about half a metre away from me, and
3 he said, "Mrs. Rajic, I can describe your husband now,
4 what he's wearing." I was looking at him, and I really
5 felt lost. I wondered why he was telling me all of
6 this. He described my husband, that he had a helmet on
7 his head, that he had a flak jacket on, that he had a
8 Scorpio, that he had a camouflage jacket, like all
9 other soldiers, and he said that he fired an entire
10 round into his head and that afterwards they committed
11 a massacre.
12 Q. You mean over your husband's body?
13 A. Yes, that is what I meant. They massacred my
14 husband's body.
15 Q. Did you believe it immediately?
16 A. No, I didn't believe it at first because I
17 knew that they were going to Zenica to negotiate.
18 Afterwards, when I saw that he was calling out the name
19 of Augustin Rados to go out with him, and then a shot
20 rang out, after that, two or three more shots, and then
21 he would walk back into the house.
22 Q. Just a minute, please. After he took Rados
23 Augustin out, you heard a shot; right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did Patkovic come back on his own or with
1 Rados Augustin?
2 A. Patkovic came back on his own. We didn't see
3 Augustin after that.
4 Q. So what did you conclude? What had happened
5 to him?
6 A. Well, we heard the shot, so we concluded that
7 he had killed him.
8 Q. And now Patkovic, after having killed
9 Augustin, he came back. Did he call out the next
10 victim's name? Tell me, what did he do?
11 A. No, Patkovic would simply sit down. He would
12 sit in a chair. He would start talking. He'd have a
13 glass or two of brandy because there was some. He
14 would have a bite to eat.
15 Q. When you said he would have a bite to eat,
16 what would that mean?
17 A. Well, that meant that he was supposed to have
18 a nibble or two while he was drinking, as if everything
19 were just fine.
20 Q. So he was talking to you in a friendly
22 A. Yes, he was talking to us in a friendly
24 Q. How long did this friendly conversation go
1 A. About 10 to 15 minutes.
2 Q. And what happened then? Please tell the
4 A. Again, he would take his notebook. He would
5 look at it. He would call out somebody else's name.
6 He would go out. Again, Patkovic would go out with
7 this person. Again, we could hear a shot, one shot,
8 and then two or three more, and then again, Patkovic
9 would come back alone, and the same story. He would
10 sit down. It was really like a provocation.
11 Q. As he was sitting with you, eating, drinking,
12 you were wondering who the next one would be, whose
13 name he would call out; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Let us not burden the Court with dramatic
16 stories, but tell me, how many times did Patkovic go
17 into the house, kill people, and then come back into
18 the house, talk to you, drink, eat?
19 A. Eight times, eight times. So he killed my
20 husband too, and that was the ninth, and the tenth one
21 was killed immediately. So eight times altogether he
22 went out and went back in and called out people's
24 Q. And every time, did he make the same kind of
25 break during which you would be expecting who would the
1 next person be?
2 A. The last person whose name he called out was
3 Stipo Kegelj, a man who was terrified, he hid. And he
4 said, "Stipo Kegelj, come out," and this man didn't
5 come out. He repeated it twice, and he said that if he
6 did not go out that he would kill all the rest of us.
7 And the man was hiding practically in the flour. When
8 he saw where he was hiding he started making fun of
9 him. He talked to him a bit, "What are you scared of?
10 Nothing will happen to you, come out with me." The man
11 went out and he never came back.
12 Q. Tell the Court, these men who were killed,
13 were they armed?
14 A. No, they were not armed.
15 Q. And what about Mladen Kegelj, what did you
16 see in his case?
17 A. Mladen Kegelj was up to the age of 19. They
18 made him undress and he stood there naked and barefoot.
19 Q. And it was snowing at the time; right?
20 A. Yes, it was snowing. They tied his hands
21 with a wire on the back, they beat him, tortured him,
22 and they cut off his ears.
23 Q. Tell me, what happened to the village, to the
24 cattle, to the property and the houses, TV sets,
25 stoves, VCRs, automobiles?
1 A. Well, as some were killing and torturing
2 people, the others killed all the cattle, all the
3 animals. Whatever valuables they could find, TV sets,
4 VCRs, stoves, they carried all of that away.
5 Q. These soldiers, you said that Serif Patkovic
6 was from the 7th Muslim unit, did you see any insignia
7 or did somebody tell you he was from the 7th Muslim
9 A. No, I saw the insignia, I saw Patkovic's
10 insignia. It said the army of BH.
11 Q. So how did the killing stop? Why did it
13 A. It stopped, information came from Zenica
14 saying that no one should be hurt in the slightest
15 bit. But they didn't really observe that. That
16 further enraged them, and they said, "Well, what did we
17 come for then?"
18 So again, they locked all of us up into a
19 room, they were throwing some kind of fuel around the
20 house, they wanted to set us on fire. And then
21 Patkovic came back and said to me that I would be the
22 cherry on the top.
23 He ordered the other soldier to take me
24 upstairs. The soldier came, and I didn't even dare
25 look, it was terrible, all these people. As I was
1 walking upstairs he said, "What about her? What do we
2 do with her? Where do we take her?" And one of them
3 said, "There's a room up here, get her into that room."
4 And this other one, this friend of my late husband,
5 former friend, said, "Don't, she has money, we will
6 need her some more." I took the money out.
7 Q. And how much money did you have on you?
8 A. I had one hundred thousand German marks. And
9 he said, "How much money do you have?"
10 "I have one hundred thousand marks," I said,
11 and he gave me 270 marks back. He said that I should
12 take good care of this, that others would come just as
13 they came and that they would finally kill me.
14 Q. After that, in the evening, around 8.00 p.m.
15 they took you to the elementary school in Lasva; right?
16 A. Right.
17 Q. But before we move on to the other part, tell
18 me, what happened to your property? What happened to
19 the bus, your husband's bus? What happened to the
20 automobile and all the things in your house?
21 A. As we were going back towards Lasva, I met a
22 man, a Muslim, a local Muslim who was driving my
23 husband's car. It was a Siera Viberg (phoen), it was
24 taken away immediately. The bus was torched, all the
25 property they could take away they did. They took away
1 the stove, the TV set, the VCR and 40.000 German marks,
2 what I had hid in the chimney, they found that, too.
3 Q. You entered the school at about 8.00 in
4 Lasva, and they held you there until the morning.
5 After that which direction did you take?
6 A. Well, we went towards -- we went into the
7 school building, and one gentleman asked that we be
8 given a fruit juice or cigarettes and to have a rest,
9 and we said the Ustashe would probably not get anything
10 and that we would be killed as well. And the women
11 said that, too.
12 One man asked me where my husband was, and I
13 wasn't fully conscious of the fact that this was done
14 by Patkovic. Afterwards when we went down there a
15 soldier crossed towards me and said, "Why are you
16 looking at me? I didn't kill your husband."
17 And then I became aware of the fact that he
18 had killed everybody, and my husband, and this young
19 man was frightened, as well, frightened of being
20 accused of having done this deed.
21 Q. After going to the school, which direction
22 did you take after that?
23 A. We went home.
24 Q. And after going home?
25 A. We went into one of our houses, that is my
1 uncle's house, and they gave us some soldiers by way of
2 protection. They said that nothing would happen to us,
3 and they guarded us, and in the morning at 8.00 a.m. I
4 went towards Zenica.
5 Q. Madam, we're now going to hand around
6 transcripts of the video cassette, and while this is
7 being handed around, I asked you in preparation for
8 this trial whether you would be capable of looking at
9 the dead bodies of your husband and his friends, and
10 you told me that you would be capable of this.
11 Do you still say that you will be able to see
12 pictures of this and to comment on them? May we show
13 the videotape to this Trial Chamber?
14 A. Yes, you can.
15 Q. Thank you very much.
16 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the first part of
17 the tape, it is difficult for me to describe it, but it
18 is an atrocious tape. You are professionals, of
19 course, but because of the viewers in the Court, if
20 there is anybody who is at all queasy, perhaps they
21 could leave the room, because it will be very short,
22 very brief. May we have the lights dimmed, please?
23 (Videotape played)
24 MR. NOBILO: May we have the translation,
1 INTERPRETER: May we have a copy? May the
2 interpreters have a copy of the text?
3 "This is the body of Rajic Zvonko, Rajic
4 Franjo, Kegelj Stipo."
5 INTERPRETER: I'm afraid we don't have the
7 "Kegelj Vinko, Kegelj Gragan, Ljubicic Pero,
8 Stanisic Vojo, Kegelj Mladen and Rados Augustin. In
9 the attacks by the Muslim aggressors army, they lost
10 their lives in Lasva. May they rest in peace."
11 JUDGE JORDA: We can stop, if you would
12 prefer us to stop, Mrs. Rajic, do you want to rest a
14 THE WITNESS: No, no, there is no need for
15 that, I can take it.
16 MR. NOBILO: The next picture is the picture
17 of the lady's husband. Can we stop the tape here and
18 rewind it?
19 Q. Mrs. Rajic, is that your husband? What is
20 this large hole here in the middle? What did you hear
21 about that?
22 A. His heart was plucked out.
23 Q. We can continue.
24 (Videotape played)
25 INTERPRETER: "This is the body of Commander
1 Rajic Zvonko. On the basis of statements, he was first
2 shot at in the head with a Scorpio rifle, and then all
3 these crimes were committed over him. You can see his
4 heart has been plucked out, his hands have been cut off
5 and everything else that you can see on the pictures.
6 After this tape you will be able to see the people
7 before this event had taken place, where the Muslim
8 forces had set up barricades at Lasva, and you will see
9 what the people have to say."
10 MR. NOBILO: Would you continue, please?
11 (Videotape played)
12 INTERPRETER: "These are the barricades that
13 were suddenly put up at the entrance of Lasva two days
14 ago. The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina units put up these
15 barricades for no special reason or explanation, and
16 that is the main reason why television
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina paid a visit to Lasva, to find out
18 why these barricades had been set up."
19 MR. NOBILO: Just one moment, please.
20 Q. Mrs. Rajic, this man with his hands in his
21 pockets who started to speak, who is that?
22 A. That's my husband Zvonko Rajic.
23 Q. The one in the middle?
24 A. Yes, that's right.
25 Q. And the lady behind him, is that you?
1 A. Probably, I was blond then. Yes, it's me.
2 Q. So it's you. Please continue.
3 (Videotape played)
4 INTERPRETER: "We have one fact, the conflict
5 from Gornji Vakuf spread all over the weight of these
6 territories, in middle Bosnia, the municipality of
7 Travnik. We are the HVO from Busovaca and this
8 conflict spread to all these territories of middle
9 Bosnia, municipality of Travnik. We are the HVO from
10 Busovaca, and this territory belonged to the
11 municipality of Zenica, this border. At the moment,
12 according to some negotiations from Geneva, the
13 municipality of Travnik goes up to the River Bosna.
14 Probably they found out that the border was the River
15 Bosna itself and they reinforced the entrance to Lasva,
16 and they are saying that this is the municipality of
17 Zenica, and that it will stay that way. As I have said
18 before, we Croats will agree with every map that will
19 be decided on at the highest level. That will come
20 from Geneva. Whether it be the municipality of Zenica
21 or Travnik, we will agree with it. We can't change any
22 map or border that they make. We want peace and we
23 will wait as people wait for the game to be over, the
24 football match to be over, so that we know the game is
25 over and the final results. That is what we're waiting
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, I think we can stop
3 there for a minute.
4 Q. Mrs. Rajic, your husband used sports terms,
5 he was waiting for the match to be over, but we see
6 that he did not live to see the end of it.
7 Can you explain something to the Court for
8 another ten minutes, and we can continue tomorrow. You
9 said that Serif Patkovic had killed your husband and
10 you said that he had killed all the people in a
11 sadistic manner, he would talk to you in a friendly
12 manner, eat and drink and then go out and kill the
14 Did I show you yesterday the Slobodna Bosna
15 paper, this week's edition?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And who did you see in the papers?
18 A. Serif Patkovic himself.
19 MR. NOBILO: I should like the following text
20 to be handed out. And yesterday, thanks to the
21 Registry, we succeeded in translating portions of the
22 text, and I would now like to ask the usher to hand the
23 text around, and a copy for the transcript and for the
24 interpreters. This will be Defence Exhibit, would you
25 assign it a number, please?
1 THE REGISTRAR: The video is D438, and the
2 transcripts are 438A. This document which has been
3 given to us is D439.
4 Q. While we're waiting for the document, you
5 made a signal to me to tell me that it was not you on
6 the tape, it was some, another lady, a neighbour.
7 Madam, would you take the, look at the page
8 that you have before you. May we place Patkovic's
9 photograph on the ELMO, please, so that everybody can
11 Mrs. Rajic, is the man who killed your
12 husband and all the others in Lasva on this picture?
13 A. Yes, that's the man, that's Patkovic.
14 Q. You recognise him?
15 A. Yes, I do, yes.
16 Q. He is a Colonel in the army of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Have you ever heard that he was
18 punished for his crimes?
19 A. No, no, unfortunately never.
20 Q. I'm going to read some of the parts that have
21 been translated. The paper is the Slobodan Bosna of
22 the 7th of November, 1998, where Colonel Patkovic,
23 Serif, has given an interview. May we have it on the
24 ELMO, please?
25 "Colonel Serif Patkovic, 30-year-old former
1 commander of the controversial 7th Muslim Brigade, he
2 was awarded the Golden Lilly, who in 1994, to Hadji
3 Izetbegovic, handed a decree as being the honorary
4 commander, is today one of the 1.000 wartime invalids,
5 has for the first time, after a long silence, decided
6 to reveal to our editor in detail the background to key
7 war developments, particularly the unsuccessful
8 attempts to lift the blockade of Sarajevo."
9 After this headline in paragraph 3, it
10 states, "The 7th Muslim Brigade was established towards
11 the end of 1992 by Halil Brzina, Mahmut effendi Karalic
12 and effendis Adilovic and Celikovic from Travnik and
14 I am going to read the introduction to the
16 "The former commander of the 7th Muslim
17 Brigade, under whose command the brigade was awarded
18 the titles of glorious and gallant, Colonel Serif
19 Patkovic has kept his silence for years, already. He
20 says that he is reassembling the mosaic of the war,
21 which passed like a film. The battle cry, Tek-bir
22 Allah-u-ekber, with which the members of this brigade
23 paraded through Zenica, went into battle against the
24 Bosnian crags, began and ended their troop reviews, was
25 synonymous with the 7th Muslim Brigade. It was said
1 that this battle cry froze the blood in the enemy's
2 veins, that before engaging in battle the troops said
3 their own dzenazas, prayer for the dead, that they were
4 sad if they survived because Allah had not wanted
5 them. Such and similar mythical stories were told as
6 an integral part of the way things are interpreted
8 And on the next page we have a picture with
9 the title Colonel Serif Patkovic, Mahmut ef. Karalic,
10 Alija Izetbegovic, and Sakib Mahmuljin. So this is the
11 inscription underneath the photograph of the people.
12 That is the caption.
13 MR. NOBILO: And Mr. President, I think this
14 is a good time to break for today, until tomorrow.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I'm sure that viewing these
16 pictures was extremely painful for the witness, as it
17 was everybody here. I suggest we stop now and remind
18 you that tomorrow morning the Trial Chamber, with a
19 different panel of judges and other work, will be
20 involved in another case, and so, we will resume
21 tomorrow at 2.30.
22 Mrs. Rajic, try to rest and we will resume
23 tomorrow at 2.00, 2.00.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
25 5.30 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the
1 18th day of November, 1998 at 2.30 p.m.