1 Thursday, 19th November, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.12 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Registrar, have the accused
5 brought in, please.
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters. Good morning to counsel. We can resume
9 for this final day of the week. Is this a protected
11 THE REGISTRAR: No, I have no request for
12 protective measures.
13 JUDGE JORDA: This is Mr. Miroslav
14 Pejcinovic? You don't have to give us a summary,
15 because we have one, I even have it in French. Have
16 Mr. Miroslav Pejcinovic brought in, please.
17 (The witness entered court)
18 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning. Do you hear me?
19 THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Please, while remaining
21 standing, please tell us your name, your given name,
22 your age, your profession, your residence, and then you
23 will read the solemn declaration which all witnesses
24 testifying before this Tribunal read. Go ahead,
1 THE WITNESS: My name is Miroslav
2 Pejcinovic. I am 36 years old, I was born in 1962 in
3 Vares. I am a graduated engineer of mining. I lived
4 in Vares up until the war and was then a refugee in
5 Seljanko (phoen), and in 1997 I returned to Vares. I
6 am married, I am the father of two children, and at
7 present I work as the deputy of the police
8 administration for Vares.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Please remain
10 standing for a few more moments, as long as it takes to
11 read your solemn declaration that the usher is giving
13 WITNESS: MIROSLAV PEJCINOVIC
14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
15 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much.
18 Please be seated. You have agreed to testify at the
19 request of the Defence as part of the trial initiated
20 by the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICTY against
21 General Blaskic, who at that time was a Colonel and who
22 is in the courtroom now.
23 You're going first to answer the questions
24 that Defence counsel asks you, and then the questions
25 asked by the Office of the Prosecutors, and finally by
1 the Judges. Mr. Nobilo, proceed, please.
2 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
3 MR. NOBILO: Thank you Mr. President, good
5 Q. Mr. Pejcinovic, you have already introduced
6 yourself, but would you please add something by telling
7 us what you did before the war?
8 A. Before the war I worked in the steel mine of
9 Vares, and I was the head engineer for pit
10 exploitation. And at the elections in 1990 I was
11 elected as deputy to the assembly of the municipality
12 of Vares.
13 Q. Would you explain to the Court, and it would
14 be a good idea if you could take the pointer and show
15 us what I'm going to ask you on the map, tell us where
16 the municipality of Vares is located, what the
17 neighbouring municipalities are, how far, for example,
18 the town of Vares is from Sarajevo and Kiseljak, some
19 towns that we're already well acquainted with, and
20 after that we're going to go over to discuss the
21 population according to the latest population census.
22 So while you're sitting in front of the microphone,
23 please tell, describe this to us?
24 A. The municipality of Vares is a municipality
25 which is located in Central Bosnia, geographically
1 viewed it is located 50 kilometres northeast of
2 Sarajevo, and the road to the town of Vares separates
3 Tortu (phoen), the junction is on the main road to
4 Sarajevo, it is some 60 kilometres away from -- and the
5 neighbouring municipalities to the south are the
6 municipality of Breza, to the west or the southwest we
7 have the municipality of Visoko, west is Kakanj, and
8 northwest is Zavidovici, to the north and northeast the
9 municipality of Olovo and to the southeast and east the
10 Ilijas municipality.
11 Q. Could you please point the town of Vares out
12 to us on the map? I hope we can see it on the map.
13 A. I can't find Vares, I'm afraid.
14 Q. Very well, please resume your seat. So we
15 don't have Vares on this particular map, but we're
16 going to bring maps which will show Vares in the course
17 of our examination-in-chief.
18 Tell the Trial Chamber, Mr. Pejcinovic, the
19 number of inhabitants of the municipality of Vares, and
20 you can use your notes, the number according to the
21 latest population census from 1991 and the relationship
22 between the Croats and Muslims.
23 A. According to the population census of 1991 in
24 the municipality of Vares there were 22.203
25 inhabitants. Of that number 9.014 were Croats, or
1 percentage wise, 40.6 per cent. There were 6.714
2 Bosniaks or 13.2 per cent. There were 3.644 Serbs or
3 16.42 per cent. And those who belonged to the
4 miscellaneous group, 2.892, or 12.74 per cent, and they
5 were, for the most part, those who declared themselves
6 as Yugoslavs.
7 Q. Thank you. May I ask to you speak a little
8 more slowly, please. Would you explain to the Court,
9 the first democratic elections were held in 1994. How
10 did they evolve?
11 JUDGE JORDA: Are you sure about those
12 percentages? 6.700 are 13.2 per cent, I'm not very
13 good at arithmetic, but I think there must be a mistake
15 A. 30.32 per cent.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, go ahead.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. There was a mistake in the translation, 30.2
19 per cent. Or in the transcript, I beg your pardon,
20 probably not in the translation, in the transcript.
21 So as you say, the elections were held in
22 1990, what were the results of the first democratic
24 A. After the first democratic elections the
25 municipal assembly of Vares numbered 50 deputies. Of
1 that number the most seats were won by the SDP 19, the
2 Social Democratic Party; 13 went to the Croatian
3 Democratic Community, the HDZ; nine seats went to the
4 SDA, the Party of Democratic Action; eight seats went
5 to the former Reformist Alliance, the alliance of
6 reformist forces of Mr. Ante Markovic; and one seat
7 went to the DSS, Rasim Kadic, that is a youth
8 organisation, a youth party.
9 Q. Tell me, please, did Vares differ from
10 practically all the areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that
11 is to say, in Vares the social democratic parties won
12 the elections and not the nationalist parties; is that
14 A. Yes, that is correct. In all 190 communes
15 before the war in Bosnia Herzegovina, of that number in
16 Vares the Social Democratic Party won, which is the
17 only one; whereas, in the other municipalities the
18 nationalist parties came to head them.
19 Q. In view of the results of these elections,
20 how was the authority set up in the municipality?
21 A. The executive power and legal authorities
22 were formed in conformity with the results of the
23 election results and the population census dating back
24 from 1981.
25 And so the first position, that is to say,
1 the president of the municipal assembly of Vares, went
2 to the SDP, and this post was performed by Mr. Dario
3 Andrijevic from the Croat people.
4 Q. The Social Democratic Party, that is what you
5 mean, the SDP?
6 A. Yes.
7 The second post of executive pound authority,
8 the president of the executive board, or the municipal
9 government, went to the Croatian democratic community,
10 and that post was performed by Mr. Zvonimir Dugonjic,
11 and a candidate from the Croat ethnic group.
12 The third post of vice-president of the
13 municipal assembly of Vares, which was an amateur
14 voluntary post, not a professional post, went to the
15 party of democratic action, the SDA party, and this
16 function was performed by Ms. Mervana Hadjimurtezic,
17 she was a member of the Bosniak ethnic group.
18 And the fourth post, vice-president of the
19 municipal government went to the SDP, the Social
20 Democratic Party, and that post was filled by Mr. Radko
21 Gajic, and he was a member of the Serb ethnic group.
22 Q. Thank you, once again we have been cautioned
23 to slow down. Would you try to speak a little more
24 slowly, please.
25 Mr. Pejcinovic, explain to the Trial Chamber
1 now which functions you held beginning with 1990
3 A. After the first multi-party elections in
4 November, 1992, I was elected deputy to the municipal
5 assembly of Vares, and I was also elected president of
6 the club of the deputies of the HDZ in the municipality
7 of Vares.
8 When the first signs of war came in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, a decision of the municipal
10 assembly of Vares, in April 1992, appointed me deputy
11 commander of the municipal staff for the Defence of
12 Vares for informatics and information. And I performed
13 this function in the 1st of July, 1992.
14 Q. The municipal staff for defence of Vares,
15 this was a joint organ of the Muslims, Croats, that is
16 to say, all the inhabitants of Vares?
17 A. Yes, that's correct, but it was appointed by
18 the assembly.
19 Q. So carry on. You were saying on the 1st of
21 A. Yes, on the 1st of July, 1992, when the Croat
22 defence council, as an executive organ of power and
23 authority was set up, I performed the function of a
24 member of the executive council of the HVO in the
25 municipality with regard to housing matters, and in the
1 operative part of the HVO, in the presidency of the
2 HVO, I was one of the five members of the presidency of
3 the HVO in Vares.
4 I performed this duty until the 18th of
5 October, 1993 when, with a convoy of refugees, I left
6 Vares and went in the direction of Herzegovina. When I
7 returned to Kiseljak, because Vares, in the meantime,
8 was under the control of the BH army, on the 26th of
9 November, 1993, I took over the duty of the deputy of
10 the Croatian assembly of Vares for Vares with its
11 headquarters in Kiseljak.
12 I performed this function up to the 1st of
13 April, 1994, whereby, by a decision of the president of
14 the assembly of Herceg-Bosna, I was appointed the
15 president of the municipal assembly of Vares, and I
16 performed this function right up until the
17 establishment of the joint pound authority on the 3rd
18 of February, 1998. And from the 10th of February, 1998
19 I am the deputy of the chief of police in Vares.
20 Q. This is a federal police force and it is
21 combined for the Bosnian Croat police force?
22 A. Yes, it is a Bosnian Croat police force, and
23 in that joint police force every six months I rotate
24 with my colleague, a Bosniak, as chief of the police
1 Q. Tell us, briefly, and tell the Trial Chamber
2 briefly, something about the development of political
3 relations in Vares, because the situation was rather
4 specific there compared to the other municipalities in
6 A. As soon as the war broke out in Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina, and actually even before that, in 1991,
8 due to the circumstances involved, we had a lot of
9 heavy industry there, and in 1991 they ceased to
10 operate. The situation in Vares was very difficult.
11 Basic food supplies were scarce, so it was difficult
12 for the population to survive.
13 Then the Croatian democratic community took
14 action to bring in considerable humanitarian aid from
15 Croatia and to distribute it equitably among the entire
16 population of Vares. This situation prevailed at the
17 beginning of 1992 also because the SDP, as a Social
18 Democratic Party, did have power, was in government in
19 Vares, but they could not establish contact at all with
20 the higher authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
21 because nationalist forces were in power there.
22 So they didn't have the right kind of links.
23 And they couldn't even provide the basic supplies for
24 the population, and also medical supplies, so that the
25 health centre could function properly. And also for
1 public utilities, public transportation, et cetera.
2 Then the president of the municipal assembly,
3 Mr. Dario Janjovic asked through the municipal prime
4 minister, he asked the HDZ to try to do something about
5 this, to bring in certain quantities of the resources
6 needed for the normal functioning of Vares.
7 And then, in 1992, already the first convoy
8 started going towards Herzegovina.
9 Q. What was the situation like with the army?
10 What about the military component within the
11 municipality, how was it organised?
12 A. In May 1992, after the well-known events in
13 Sarajevo, an extraordinary session of the municipal
14 assembly of Vares was convened, and a decision was
15 reached to establish a joint staff for the defence of
16 the municipality of Vares.
17 At that assembly, Mr. Borivoje Malbasic, a
18 Croat, was appointed president of this staff. It was a
19 mixed staff consisting of Muslims and Croats. The
20 units that were under the command of this staff were
21 units of the HVO and of the Territorial Defence, and
22 they primarily functioned according to territorial
23 principle in the villages. And one can say that 90 per
24 cent of the members of these units belonged to a single
25 national group.
1 Q. Thank you. So could you please tell the
2 Court now what happened afterwards, and how did this
3 split occur between the Bosniaks and the Croats in
5 A. I already mentioned that in May there were
6 intensive negotiations between the HDZ and the SDP that
7 had held most of the power in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
8 and at the level of Vares, they gave up their power. A
9 joint authority was set up with the participation of
10 both Bosniaks and Muslims because the representatives
11 of the Serb people had already withdrawn.
12 And then in April 1992, a part of the Serbian
13 villages reached a decision that they would secede from
14 Vares and they would become part of the municipality of
15 Ilijas. So those who remained wanted to have a joint
16 authority, and a meeting was held with the
17 representatives of the SDA so that we could agree on
18 this joint authority.
19 At this meeting, an executive branch of the
20 government was supposed to be established. The
21 Croatian Democratic Immunity wanted this to be called
22 the Croatian Defence Council, and the Bosniak side
23 proposed that this should be the War Presidency of the
24 Municipality of Vares. The negotiations were
25 painstaking and difficult because it was difficult to
1 reconcile such different views.
2 Ultimately, the president of the SDA for
3 Vares, Mr. Avdija Kovacevic, said that they realised
4 that the Croats could do a lot more in this kind of
5 situation and that they could accept this kind of
6 executive government but that they could not allow it
7 to be called the Croatian Defence Council. Let it be
8 called the Defence Council of the Municipality of
9 Vares, so that was about it.
10 After these unsuccessful negotiations, at the
11 end of June 1992, the crisis staff of the Croatian
12 Defence Community that was functioning in Vares reached
13 a decision to establish the independent authority of
14 the Croatian Defence Council, which was established in
15 Vares as at the 1st of July, 1992 as the executive
16 government of the municipality of Vares.
17 Q. What did this mean, in fact, for the
18 municipality, for the enterprises, the companies
19 there? Were there any pledges of allegiance? Did
20 people have to sign such papers? Were people laid off?
21 A. No, nobody was laid off from the municipal
22 authorities or anywhere. No one was left jobless,
23 except that certain directors of enterprises expressed
24 their support in writing to this government because,
25 during the first days of this government, they felt
1 that there was a drastic change, and that is as
2 compared to the government of the SDP because the
3 routes towards Herzegovina and Croatia were opened, and
4 all the necessary supplies were obtained, as well as
5 humanitarian aid in the municipality of Vares.
6 Q. How did the political leaders of the Bosniak
7 people react to this or, rather, the representatives of
8 the SDA party?
9 A. As soon as this government was established,
10 that is to say, on the 6th of July, 1992, a meeting was
11 convened of the representatives of the then established
12 government of the Croatian Defence Council with the
13 representatives of political parties that participate
14 in the assembly of the municipality of Vares.
15 At this meeting, from the Bosniak side,
16 Mr. Avdija Kovacevic was present, that is, the
17 president of the SDA, and Ms. Mervana Hadjimurtezic,
18 the vice-president of the assembly of the municipality
19 of Vares. An attempt was made to work out a
20 compromise, that the HVO would keep the executive
21 branch and that all parties should set up a presidency
22 of the municipality of Vares and that an assembly
23 should be convened of the municipality of Vares and
24 that these decisions should be verified.
25 However, the Bosniak side did not agree to
1 this, and on the next day, the 7th of July, 1992, they
2 established the War Presidency of the Municipality of
3 Vares in the village of Strijezevo within the
4 municipality of Vares. That's where their seat was.
5 Q. So, in fact, there was a division of
6 political power. Was that the case?
7 A. There was a division of political power and,
8 as a result of that, on the 9th of July, 1992, there
9 was a division in the joint staff of the municipality
10 of Vares, which was a joint staff until then.
11 Afterwards, the Croats established their Municipal
12 Staff of the HVO of Vares, and the Bosniaks established
13 their staff in the village of Dabravine towards Breza,
14 all within the municipality of Vares too.
15 Q. And what about the police, what about the
16 police, was it a joint force?
17 A. The police still functioned as a joined
18 force, except that the commander was replaced, the
19 commander of the police station in Vares. But the
20 police continued to function because Bosniak policemen
21 continued to work with their Croat colleagues, and this
22 situation went on until October 1992 when, in the
23 village of Dabravine, a police patrol of the police
24 station of Vares was attacked and disarmed. The Croats
25 were sent to Vares, and then the Bosniaks set up their
1 own public security station with their seat in
2 Dabravine for the municipality of Vares. And now the
3 civilian authority, that is, the War Presidency, also
4 moved to the village of Dobravina.
5 Q. So there was a complete division in terms of
6 all forms of power. What about the citizens, what
7 about companies, what about people who were employed
8 there, did this division of power have any effect on
9 the life of the ordinary citizens of the municipality
10 of Vares?
11 A. One can say that this did not affect their
12 lives at all. All of those who lived in the town of
13 Vares until then, regardless of whether they were
14 Bosniaks or Croats, continued to live in their
15 apartments, in their houses. There were no incidents
16 whatsoever. All of those people who were directors of
17 various companies continued to be directors, and those
18 who were employees continued to be employees, and those
19 who were in the units of the HVO and the Territorial
20 Defence were still registered in their companies but as
21 if they were on a waiting list, that is to say, they
22 were registered in these units, but this did not mean
23 that they lost their jobs.
24 In 1992, we also took Bosniak refugees from
25 Sokolac and Han-Pijesak, Bosnian municipalities. We
1 put them up in the collection centre. And even after
2 this division of government, they stayed on, and the
3 Croat Defence Council took care of them and supplied
4 humanitarian aid to them. And this was the situation
5 until the first conflicts broke out in 1993 in the
6 municipality of Vares.
7 Q. In January 1993, were there any conflicts
8 between Bosniaks and Croats in your area?
9 A. No. In January 1993, I said, and you also
10 mentioned, that there were two governments, the Croat
11 and the Bosniak, but there were no conflicts. And in
12 August and September, there were problems with the
13 passage of convoys taking humanitarian aid that were
14 going to Vares. As they passed through the village of
15 Dabravine, they were stopped there and they were not
16 given safe passage through the part that was under HVO
18 And as a result of these problems, the Croats
19 built a road in the direction of Kraljeva Sutjeska in
20 the municipality of Kakanj, and then they brought these
21 two roads together, and everything went through this
22 way, through the municipality of Kakanj. But the
23 situation was peaceful, although there were Bosniaks in
24 these villages too.
25 Q. What happened in April 1993 when the Bosniak
1 Croat conflict occurred in Central Bosnia?
2 A. Well, in April in 1993 when, in Central
3 Bosnia, conflicts start, Vares was completely
4 surrounded. There were no roads that were open for
5 receiving humanitarian aid in Vares. However, as
6 opposed to all other areas in the municipality of
7 Vares, there were no conflicts and there were no
8 incidents. The situation was quite peaceful.
9 Q. Were frontlines established between the HVO
10 and the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 1993?
11 A. The only decision that was reached by the HVO
12 of Vares was that, as the conflict broke out, because
13 our police kept sending reports from Pajto Han, that
14 checkpoint, that Bosniaks from the village of Bugozevo
15 (phoen) were going to the frontline towards Kiseljak to
16 prohibit the passage of uniformed persons belonging to
17 the Territorial Defence, and also they were not allowed
18 to walk around the town of Vares, but frontlines were
19 not established yet.
20 Q. When did the first incident break out between
21 the HVO and the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
22 A. The first incident between the army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO in Vares occurred on the
24 1st of June, 1993 when a sniper in the Lijesnica valley
25 killed Mario Miocevic, an HVO soldier. However, one
1 must say that this was an incident that did not cause
2 any reactions on the Croatian side. The situation
3 remained to be peaceful, and there was no revenge.
4 There was no reaction of this sort. Everything
5 remained as it was beforehand.
6 Q. Could you please explain to the Court what
7 happened on the 13th of June, 1993 on the day of St.
8 Ante in Vares?
9 A. On the 13th of June, 1993, it was a Sunday,
10 it was a holiday of the St. Ante, and many Croat
11 refugees came from the Kakanj municipality and from the
12 parish of Kraljeva Sutjeska. In one day, between
13 13.000 and 14.000 Croats arrived in Vares. Everything
14 collapsed. There was a total blockade. People came in
15 different ways. As I said, through the village of
16 Kopjari, which was the only way they could come, that
17 is the way they came, and also they walked over the
18 hill of Perun, and these were streams of refugees that
19 were coming in.
20 And the municipal HVO immediately established
21 special duty service, and we put up these refugees in
22 sports centres, in gyms, specifically, in the
23 elementary school and high school, and in the reserve
24 parts factory and the ready-make clothing factory, in
25 the village of Borovici, in different factories. This
1 is simply to say that the entire town collapsed and
2 nothing could function normally any longer.
3 Q. In addition to the 13.000 to 14.000 Croats
4 who came as refugees from Kakanj and Kraljeva Sutjeska,
5 did the people of Travnik come as well? If so, how
6 many and via which territory?
7 A. On the same day in the evening of the 13th of
8 June, 700 to 800 people from Travnik, recruits which
9 the Serbs from the camp of Manjaca transferred to
11 Q. And they were Croats?
12 A. Yes, they were.
13 Q. What did the refugees tell you? Why did they
14 start moving? Why did so many columns of people start
15 moving from the municipality of Kakanj, Kraljeva
16 Sutjeska, and Travnik? What had happened?
17 A. The people coming from Kakanj carrying
18 bundles said they were attacked by MOS, the BH army,
19 and that their villages were being attacked and shelled
20 and that they were frightened, that there were a lot of
21 them, and that they were crying "Allah-u-ekber" and
22 cries of that kind. In Kraljeva Sutjeska grenades were
23 falling. It was being shelled. Some of them took
24 refuge in the Franciscan monastery there, but the
25 majority of people fled towards Vares.
1 Q. Tell us whether the authorities succeeded in
2 securing the Muslim property and emptying Muslim flats?
3 A. Although there was a whole river flow of
4 13.000 to 14.000 refugees from Krajleva Sukica and
5 Kakanj, and although there were many flats which were
6 empty and closed and held by the members of the BH
7 army, the military and civilian police of the HVO in
8 Vares, led by Mr. Zvonko Duznovic did not allow anybody
9 to take up residence in these flats.
10 There were several attempts to break into the
11 flats, but as soon as reports of this kind reached the
12 police station, people were thrown out and the flats
13 were maintained as they had been before this influx of
14 refugees, and these were mostly empty flats; whereas
15 none of the Bosniaks in the town were maltreated or
16 thrown out of their flats. The refugees were sent to
17 collective centres.
18 Q. In the municipality of Vares at that time,
19 the police and military forces of the HVO were not able
20 to offer protection?
21 A. Yes. In the municipality of Vares, the war
22 had not started yet. The situation was tense, but the
23 HVO in Vares did not allow people from Kakanj to
24 undertake any actions of retaliation, but they tried to
25 negotiate with the municipality of Visoko because
1 people had come from Sasnivuci (phoen), these villages
2 from around Visoko, to have part of the refugees go
3 back to where they had come from, but this was
4 aborted. This attempt did not succeed.
5 This relationship towards the Bosniak
6 property, the HVO in Vares was to enter a conflict
7 situation with the people of Kakanj, and this was
8 reflected later on when the Croats from Vares went to
9 Kiseljak as refugees.
10 Q. You said that Vares had been completely
11 surrounded but that there was no war, that is to say,
12 there was no shooting. In a situation of this kind,
13 when it found itself totally encircled by the Muslims
14 and Serbs, how did Vares solve its supply problems?
15 A. At first, the situation was extremely
16 difficult. We lacked basic food stuffs. The refugees
17 were handed out a daily one-quarter of a loaf of bread
18 and some food. Very small quantities of food were
19 given for the children and the elderly because there
20 were no stocks.
21 In a situation of this kind, there was
22 general dissatisfaction amongst the refugees, and the
23 HVO in Vares decided, at the beginning of September,
24 that it had to find ways and means of bringing in
25 humanitarian aid to the municipality of Vares and, at
1 the same time, to see to the seriously ill, the elderly
2 from Kakanj to be placed in areas which were more
3 secure, which were safer. In that respect, a decision
4 was taken to try to contact the Serbs who, in the
5 municipality of Vares, held the municipality under
6 control in part, and the Croats and the Bosniaks had
7 not had any conflicts with them up until then.
8 The negotiations lasted about a month, a
9 month and a half, and the result of those negotiations
10 was that an agreement had been reached to have a first
11 convoy leave from Vares at the end of August and to
12 bring humanitarian aid and three buses to take the
13 people who were seriously ill and the infirm and
14 elderly from the area of Herzegovina. This convoy was
15 to pass through the Republika Srpska area, cross
16 Zvornik towards Dervan and enter Livno, and this
17 journey would last for about fifteen days, and the
18 Serbs were paid for allowing this free passage, and it
19 was paid a very high price, I might say.
20 Q. Were supplies more readily available then?
21 A. Yes, with that first convoy, a considerable
22 number of refugees left, and the situation improved
23 somewhat because the convoy included 64 trucks, and
24 these trucks brought all the necessary food, and the
25 situation improved.
1 After this convoy, we had other convoys, so
2 that the situation did improve. The shops began to
3 function again. The Croatian Defence Council's doors
4 opened, and the convoys brought in substantial
5 quantities of commodity goods such as coffee,
6 cigarettes, alcoholic beverage, et cetera. From that
7 moment on, trade began with the Tuzla base in the
8 Gradacac area, the Brcko area, the Tuzla area, and this
9 was an area mostly populated by the Bosniaks.
10 Q. How did this trade evolve? We have the
11 Croatian Defence Council with its own shop. Did
12 private shopkeepers have shops, and what did the
13 Bosniaks give in return?
14 A. In addition to the HVO with a chain of
15 stores, private enterprises also had stores, and this
16 trade was normal based on economic principles. Goods
17 were paid for in cash, in coal in Banovica (phoen) and
18 Tuzla, in salt, which was later transported to
19 Herzegovina, and a portion was used for food for the
20 winter, road service, for schools, hospitals, barracks,
21 and so on because at that time everything suddenly
22 began functioning normally. All the schools were
23 open. All children went to school, both from the
24 Bosniak villages and from the Croat villages.
25 Transport was organised for the children and for
1 anybody else, and everything functioned as it did in
3 Q. The Croatian Defence Council and its chain of
4 stores and the shopkeepers and others, did they trade
5 with the army of BH from Tuzla, and did they expect a
6 certain amount of protection from that area?
7 A. Yes. Because the representatives of the 2nd
8 Corps of the army of BH and the Croatian Defence
9 Council, the 115th Zvinski Division from Tuzla, because
10 supplies were going via them, there was no line
11 established towards the northern regions of Vares and
12 the municipality of Olovo where the area of
13 responsibility came under the 2nd Corps, and the
14 situation there was quite normal.
15 Q. What happened on the 17th of October, 1993?
16 A. On the 17th of October, 1993, a convoy
17 arrived, and I think there were about 104 trucks and
18 buses in that convoy, and they were to pull out the
19 refugees, Croats, from Kakanj via the Serbian territory
20 towards Herzegovina, to relocate them in safer areas
21 because the people were in collective centres in Vares,
22 and winter was coming on, and it was not possible to
23 ensure the necessary supplies and care for those
25 And so on the 17th of October, it was a
1 Sunday, everybody boarded the convoy, and when the
2 convoy was formed in the place called Ponikve above
3 Vares where the staff of the HVO existed, and on the
4 17th of October, it reached Vares. And I think that
5 Colonel -- he was Colonel at the time, Mr. Ivica Rajic
6 arrived to take one of the able men in a battalion via
7 Serbian territory to Kakanj.
8 Q. What happened next on that same night in
10 A. Because of the problems that recruits had in
11 passing across the territory of the Republika Srpska,
12 the convoy, which was to take the recruits from Kakanj
13 to Kiseljak, and the convoy for Herzegovina remained
14 where it was, and on that night, at 6.30 p.m., the BH
15 units attacked the lines of the Croatian Defence
16 Council in the Lijesnica valley. Two members of the
17 HVO were killed. One was arrested, that is to say, he
18 disappeared. The lines were broken through, and that
19 was, in fact, the beginning of the war in Vares.
20 Q. That took place on the 17th of October, 1993,
21 did it not?
22 A. Yes, it did.
23 Q. On the 18th of October, 1993, you leave for
24 Herzegovina. Would you explain to the Trial Chamber
25 where you went and why you went?
1 A. On the 18th of October, once again in the
2 morning, in the early morning, I came to the staff
3 headquarters in Vares of the HVO to depart on that day,
4 and the Muslim forces attacked the village of Kopjari
5 and took control of it for a brief period of time. The
6 situation was a chaotic one. Some people in the staff
7 headquarters maintained that there were a lot of
8 people, that the attack was launched by many men, and
9 that we would not be able to defend ourselves.
10 On that same day, between 2.00 p.m. and 3.00
11 p.m., Colonel Ivica Rajic left in the direction of
12 Kiseljak and took with him Mr. Borivoje Malbasic, the
13 former commander of the Vares brigade.
14 Q. So you left for Herzegovina; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And when did you return to Central Bosnia and
18 A. As I already said, I left for Herzegovina on
19 the 18th of October, 1992, on the evening, in the
21 Q. Would you speak a little more slowly, please,
22 and try to make pauses between your sentences?
23 A. I left in the evening with the task of taking
24 the convoy of refugees --
25 JUDGE RIAD: Interpreters say question and
2 A. On the 18th of October, 1992, I left for
3 Herzegovina. My task was to escort the convoy carrying
4 the refugees to Stolac and to bring a certain quantity
5 of food necessary and other things necessary for the
6 municipality of Vares.
7 However, in Herzegovina and Siroki Brijeg I
8 remained until the 26th of November, 1993, when I was
9 to return to Kiseljak, because in the meantime Vares
11 Q. You're in Herzegovina now, did you have any
12 contact with the people in Vares? And if you did, how
13 did you maintain those contacts? Would you explain
14 this to the Trial Chamber, please?
15 A. As I've already said, I was in Siroki Brijeg,
16 that was where the Vares HVO had its representative
17 offices, and thanks to the fact that in the village of
18 Dastansko in the Vares municipality, the locality was
19 known as Jelina Kuce, we had a mobile phone which was
20 functioning before the conflict, and it was Vares's
21 only link with the world. And I was able to contact
22 people every day using this mobile phone.
23 Q. So in that village, for the whole of the
24 Vares municipality, the mobile phone was there. The
25 transcript says you left Vares in 1992, whereas you
1 meant, I think, 1993; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, 1993.
3 Q. So we'll correct that in the transcript,
4 thank you.
5 And what information did you get? You had
6 daily contacts, several times a day, and what
7 information from Vares did you receive when you were in
9 A. As I've already said, I had daily contact, I
10 spoke several times a day with the people from the HVO,
11 and most often with the security chief, Mr. Zvonko
12 Duznovic. The information was that in Vares -- that is
13 the first information I received was on the 18th of
14 October, that a policeman at the HVO was killed.
15 The next information we received was on the
16 21st of October, 1992 -- 1993, yes, I'm sorry, but not
17 from Mr. Zvonko Duznovic, the information this time
18 came from a young man working with the Mobitel in the
19 Dastansko village. And he said that in Vares on the
20 21st of October, 1993 Colonel Ivica Rajic had arrived,
21 and that in Vares the civilian HVO authorities were
22 under arrest.
23 Q. Who arrested these civilian authorities at
24 the HVO?
25 A. Mr. Emil Harah, who at that time was the
1 commander of the Bobovac Brigade. On the 21st of
2 October, he called Ivica Rajic to assist him to
3 stabilise the defence lines which were attacked by the
4 BH army.
5 That same day, when Mr. Rajic came to the HVO
6 headquarters at Vares, he invited the representatives
7 of the civilian authorities, the HVO of Vares and
8 members of its presidency, to reach an agreement. And
9 when they were discussing matters, the head of the
10 police, Ivica Gavran, and the head of SIS, Zvonko
11 Duznovic, were arrested and transferred by Serb
12 territory to Kiseljak. And the other two presidents of
13 Croatian Defence Council, Mr. Ante Pejcinovic, and the
14 member of the presidency, Mr. Pavao Vidovic, were kept
15 imprisoned at the headquarters in Ponikve.
16 Q. Did Rajic come alone or was he accompanied by
18 A. He came to Vares accompanied by Maturicas
19 units, with the objectives of stabilising the lines in
20 Vares, as I already said.
21 Q. What about the commander of the brigade from
22 Vares of the HVO, were there any changes there?
23 A. As I said, on the 21st these people were
24 arrested, and on the 22nd a decision was reached to
25 replace Emil Harah, the head of the Bobovac unit, and
1 he appointed as head of the Bobovac brigade, Kresimir
3 Q. Who made this decision?
4 A. Mr. Ivica Rajic, as the Commander in Chief,
5 the superior commander.
6 Q. What did you hear later? What happened? Why
7 did these replacements take place? Why did these
8 arrests take place? Because this is not customary, not
9 even in Bosnia, really.
10 A. On the 21st of October, 1993, when I heard
11 this piece of information, the brother of the president
12 of Vares HVO, Ante Pejcinovic, or rather his brother,
13 Bosko Pejcinovic, called me and he confirmed these
14 people were arrested, and he asked me to intervene with
15 the president of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna,
16 Mr. Mate Boban, to see why they were arrested.
17 Q. What did you hear? What was this, politics,
18 or what?
19 A. I heard later that the motive, when I came to
20 Kiseljak and Herzegovina, and later as I was leaving, I
21 heard that allegedly this was smuggling and trade with
22 the Tuzla basin.
23 Q. You went to see Mate Boban, tell us about
24 this event. What did you hear about over there and why
25 did you go to see Mate Boban?
1 A. As I said, I went to see Mate Boban in Grude
2 in order to see why they were arrested, and I took with
3 me the deputy president of Vares, Mr. Zvonko Duznovic,
4 who was with me down there, and the representative for
5 the economy, Kruno Ridzic. But I asked them to come
6 with me, but they didn't want to see Mr. Boban, because
7 when they heard that these men were arrested, they were
8 afraid for their own safety.
9 And thanks to this, or rather, Mr. Vladislav
10 Pogac was head of Mr. Boban's office, and he was from
11 Vares, his father was from Vares, rather. I managed to
12 see President Boban immediately, and talked to him.
13 The first thing I told him was the
14 following. I said, "Mr. President, in Vares the
15 president of the HVO, Vares, Ante Pejcinovic, was
16 arrested, and the members of the municipal HVO." And
17 his reaction was the following. "No one is to arrest
18 the president of the HVO unless I give such orders."
19 I took the number of the mobile phone, and in
20 front of me he phoned the village of Dastansko on the
21 mobile phone. And when he asked whether Ante
22 Pejcinovic, president of the HVO for Vares, was
23 arrested, this man who was working on the mobile phone,
24 his name is Ljudevit, he said, "Yes, it is true and he
25 is locked up in the staff in Ponikve."
1 After this conversation Mr. Boban told me
2 that he would then call Mr. Petkovic in Kiseljak to see
3 what was going on in Vares.
4 Q. This is General Petkovic, head of the main
5 staff of the Croatian Defence Council; right?
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. He was in Kiseljak?
8 A. Yes, he was in Kiseljak.
9 Q. What happened then?
10 A. Mr. Boban talked to Mr. Petkovic, and as far
11 as I could hear, the only question was, "Please tell
12 me, check out what is going on in Vares and why was
13 Ante Pejcinovic arrested." I did not hear what
14 Mr. Petkovic answered.
15 Q. Did it occur to you or president Boban to get
16 in touch with Blaskic, who was the main commander over
17 there in Central Bosnia? If it did not occur to you,
18 why did it not occur to you?
19 A. I said that Mr. Boban called Petkovic
20 immediately, and he did not mention then Colonel
21 Blaskic or anybody else from the Vitez area. He only
22 called Petkovic, and he told him, he asked him to check
23 what was going on in Vares.
24 Q. Was this intervention of Boban vis-a-vis
25 General Petkovic who was in Kiseljak, was it
2 A. It was only the next day that I found out
3 that very same evening Ante Pejcinovic, the president
4 of the HVO, was released, as well as Mr. Vidovic, who
5 was a member of the HVO. And that very same evening
6 through a local television the president of the HVO,
7 Ante Pejcinovic, addressed the population, and he said
8 that there should be no panic and that everything is
9 under control and the situation was normal.
10 Q. Tell me, what kind of information was coming
11 from the town of Vares, and what kind of information
12 reached you? Practically, Rajic, with the assistance
13 of Maturica, had made a coup d'etat, carried out a coup
14 d'etat, figuratively speaking, and what was going on in
15 the town of Vares itself?
16 A. In town the situation was rather tense. All
17 the military conscripts, after Rajic came, were
18 mobilised, those who were not mobilised, I mean. It is
19 only natural the people were worried.
20 And already on the 23rd, in the morning, when
21 I called the mobile telephone company again, another
22 person answered the phone, Mr. Zamko Barkic (phoen),
23 who said that in Vares that morning an action was
24 launched by Rajic, or rather Maturica, to arrest
25 Muslims in Vares, and they were taken into school halls
1 under the pretext that they had weapons. And allegedly
2 these people had found their weapons and they took it
3 to the barracks in Zabrezje. And at the same time, in
4 Stupni Do, a cleansing activity had started.
5 Q. Were only weapons taken from Muslim
6 apartments, or were these apartments perhaps looted,
7 too? Was the Muslim population robbed?
8 A. Later on I found out in Kiseljak, from our
9 people who were refugees, that during these arrests,
10 the soldiers took away various equipment, jewelry,
11 gold, took away their cars, and through Serbian
12 territory they took it to Kiseljak.
13 Q. What did you hear about Stupni Do? You were
14 far away in Herzegovina, but through the mobile
15 telephone company what kind of information did you
17 A. The information I received then was simply
18 that --
19 JUDGE RIAD: Please say question and answer.
20 And I ask the witness to take it a bit more slowly.
21 We're not so familiar with all this, you know.
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Your Honour, we shall
23 move on to a different area now.
24 Q. So, please, let us try to take small breaks
25 between our questions and answers, so that the
1 interpreters can catch all of this properly.
2 So, as I said, or rather, I will repeat the
3 question that remained as my last question. What is
4 the information that you received in Herzegovina
5 through the mobile telephone company on the events in
6 Stupni Do?
7 A. I received information that fighting was
8 taking place, and that this was the second day of
9 fighting, and that Stupni Do could not be taken.
10 After that, I received information that the
11 action was completed, and it was a Sunday, by noon, I
12 think, and this was the first information I received,
13 and while I was in Herzegovina I did not receive any
14 other information about anything else.
15 Q. And now let us link this up to your return to
16 Kiseljak. Did you get any supplementary information
17 about Stupni Do?
18 A. Yes, from our people I received information
19 that over there in Stupni Do civilians lost their
20 lives, too.
21 Q. What happened after Stupni Do with the
22 Maturica? Did they stay in the municipality of Vares
23 or did they withdraw?
24 A. Although they came to reinforce the
25 frontline, they withdrew that very same afternoon from
1 the municipality of Vares, towards Kiseljak.
2 Q. Could you explain to the Court what happened
3 on the 30th of October, 1993 in Vares, to the best of
4 your information, that is the information that you were
5 receiving in Herzegovina?
6 A. On the 30th of October an all out attack of
7 the BH army started against the defence lines of the
8 Bobovac Brigade in Vares from all directions, under
9 pressure from Sarajevo. The forces of the 2nd Corps of
10 the BH army from Tuzla joined in this attack, as well.
11 On the 30th of October, the village of
12 Dubastica was attacked and taken, intensive shelling
13 took place of Gornji and Donja Borovica, and the
14 civilian population from those areas fled to Vares.
15 Also from the village of Ocevi and Supni Vijak (phoen),
16 all of it came to the urban centre of the town of
18 Q. Could you please explain to the Court, how
19 long did the fighting take place, and how long did the
20 defence of Vares take place from the army of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, until what date?
22 A. The defence of the municipality of Vares from
23 the BH army took place until the 2nd of November, 1993,
24 in the area of Perun, where the HVO forces were
25 concentrated. The lines broke down, there was general
1 chaos, and also in the village of Pogar. And between
2 the 2nd and 3rd of November 1993, a decision was
3 reached to evacuate the civilian population from the
4 town of Vares itself.
5 Q. Tell us, first, where were the civilians
6 evacuated to? How many civilians, Croats, were
7 escaping and how many were staying on in Vares?
8 A. Towards the village of Dastansko and the
9 village of Brgule, which is on the territory of the
10 Serb republic and through the Serb entity towards
11 Kiseljak and Kresevo.
12 Part of them went in the direction of Sokolac
13 too, in Republika Srpska. And they were set up in some
14 kind of refugee camp there, but subsequently they were
15 taken to Kiseljak. From Vares, during the night
16 between the 2nd and 3rd of November, 1993, and on the
17 3rd of November, about seven and a half thousand Croats
19 Q. How many Croats stayed in the municipality of
20 Vares after that?
21 A. 914 Croats remained in the municipality of
22 Vares. And also in a part of the Vares municipality
23 where they were holding the line, 1.600 HVO soldiers
24 remained, because the Serbs, of course, would not let
25 them pass through their territory.
1 Q. Tell me, in this short conflict with the
2 Serbs, sorry, with the Muslims, for these past, for
3 those few days, how many soldiers were killed?
4 A. In the fighting with the BH army, 63 members
5 of the Croatian Defence Council, the municipality of
6 Vares were killed, and most of them were killed in the
7 area of Perun, on the 2nd of November, 30 of them, and
8 in the village of Pogar, 11 of them. And subsequently,
9 after these killed soldiers were exchanged, it was
10 established that many were taken prisoner first and
11 then killed.
12 Q. And now chronologically we are going to stop
13 for a while and then we are going to go back to this.
14 But now, briefly, we go to a new area.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, perhaps we could
16 take a break now, since you're changing subjects.
17 We're going to take a 20-minute break and we will start
18 again at 11.40.
19 --- Recess taken at 11.18 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.49 a.m.
21 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
22 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please.
23 (The accused entered court)
24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
25 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Before the break, we said we would move to
2 another area, commanders of the HVO brigade in Vares.
3 Who was the first commander of the HVO brigade in
5 A. The first commander of the HVO Bobovac Vares
6 Brigade was Mr. Borivoje Malbasic.
7 Q. When and who replaced him and why?
8 A. In the summer of 1993, Mr. Malbasic, as the
9 commander of the Bobovac Vares Brigade, sent a letter
10 to the civilian HVO in Vares in which he expressed his
11 dissatisfaction. He was asking to be paid for his
12 work, a salary for his work, a large apartment for his
13 family, and as the HVO of Vares was not able to comply
14 with his request, and Mr. Borivoje Malbasic was given
15 to alcohol intake, the civilian HVO of Vares decided
16 that Mr. Malbasic should be replaced in his duty of
18 Q. Who then became the commander after him?
19 A. The commander of the brigade, the Bobovac
20 Vares Brigade, became Mr. Emil Harah.
21 Q. Who replaced him, when, and why?
22 A. He was replaced on the 23rd -- on the 22nd,
23 I'm sorry, of October, 1993 by Colonel Ivica Rajic, and
24 he appointed as brigade commander Kresimir Bozic.
25 Q. Who appointed Kresimir Bozic and who then
1 became commander?
2 A. Kresimir Bozic was appointed by Ivica Rajic,
3 and he was the commander up until the time the Croats
4 left Vares.
5 Q. After that?
6 A. On the 4th of November, he left for Kiseljak,
7 and he became the coordinator of the Bobovac Vares
8 Brigade in Kiseljak, and Borivoje Malbasic was
9 appointed commander.
10 Q. Who appointed Borivoje Malbasic as commander?
11 A. He was appointed by Ivica Rajic.
12 Q. Let us proceed with the chronology of the
13 events. Your municipality of Vares and the inhabitants
14 fled to Kiseljak. You returned from Herzegovina on the
15 26th of November, 1993 to Kiseljak, together with the
16 convoy. Can you tell us whether, while Vares was still
17 surrounded, that is, until the downfall of Vares, did
18 you attempt to return to Vares with the convoy, and did
19 anybody stop you in doing so? If so, why and who?
20 A. We tried, on several occasions, while Vares
21 was surrounded and while the fighting was still going
22 on, to return to Vares. However, at first, we were not
23 allowed -- we were not able to obtain the necessary
24 quantities of fuel for the return journey. When we
25 ensured the fuel necessary, we were not able to get
1 permission by the Serbs for free passage across their
2 territory, so that in actual fact, for 40 days, the
3 drivers of the convoy spent 40 days out in the open at
4 the broken down bridge in Capljina. I personally took
5 them bread so that they should have something to eat
6 from Medjagorja (phoen), from a humanitarian
7 organisation there, and it is called "Bread for the
8 Children," that particular humanitarian organisation.
9 Q. Tell us, how did you go back and how did you
10 negotiate the terms for your return?
11 A. On several occasions, I tried in Citluk with
12 General Stanko Matic to negotiate the safe passage of
13 the convoy, but we were not successful in this. And
14 then by telephone I talked to Mr. Rajic, and after
15 that, we were assured a safe passage, a safe passage
16 for the convoy up to Kiseljak.
17 Q. Tell us, please, from Herzegovina, did you
18 use a normal telephone to talk to Mr. Rajic?
19 A. Yes, a normal, ordinary telephone.
20 Q. When I say "normal," I'm not thinking of a
21 mobile phone but the other type of telephone?
22 A. Yes, and I just discussed the passage of the
23 convoy to Kiseljak.
24 Q. When you arrived in Kiseljak, what happened
25 to you? What duties did you perform, and tell us of
1 the situation you found when you returned to Kiseljak?
2 A. When I returned to Kiseljak, I met the
3 coordinator of the Bobovac Vares Brigade, Mr. Kreso
4 Bozic, who then took me to Colonel Ivica Rajic at the
5 barracks in Kiseljak. And it was there that I was told
6 to take over the command of the civilian HVO in
7 Kiseljak, the HVO of Vares, with its headquarters in
9 Q. What were your duties, in fact, in the
10 situation there?
11 A. That I had to deal with the refugee Croats,
12 their care and detention, that is to say, the Croats
13 who were located in the collective centres in Kiseljak
14 and Kresevo.
15 Q. What happened in Kiseljak related to the head
16 of SIS, Duznovic, and his colleague Gavran?
17 A. On the evening that I arrived in Kiseljak
18 with the convoy, through a friend of mine, a lady
19 friend, she worked at the radio station in Kiseljak, I
20 learned that Mr. Duznovic and Mr. Gavran were in prison
21 in Kiseljak.
22 Q. Who arrested them?
23 A. They had been arrested, once again, by
24 Mr. Rajic.
25 Q. And what was the charge against them?
1 A. Allegedly, they had been taken to protect
2 them from the HVO Vares soldiers who had run amuck, who
3 were enraged, and who found themselves in a very
4 difficult sandwich situation, positioned between the
5 Serbs and the Muslims.
6 Q. The head of SIS, Duznovic and Gavran, were
7 later released. Duznovic was an ordinary private
8 soldier. Can you tell us briefly what happened with
9 the head of SIS from Vares? What did you hear about
10 these events?
11 A. As I've already told you, when I returned to
12 Kiseljak, in the meantime, the president of the HVO
13 Vares up until that time, Ante Pejcinovic, had left
14 Kiseljak by helicopter, had gone to Grude. And
15 probably after his talk with Boban, Gavran and Duznovic
16 were released from prison. Mr. Rajic deployed them as
17 ordinary soldiers in the units that existed there.
18 With his family, Mr. Duznovic was sent to a collective
19 centre housed in the primary school in Lepenica.
20 Q. What happened next to Duznovic? What did you
21 hear about this?
22 A. On the 23rd of February, 1994, he was taken
23 away, and later on, I learned that he was killed.
24 Q. Who took him away?
25 A. He was taken away by the HVO soldiers from
1 Kiseljak, and his wife was told that he was being
2 sought after by Mr. Rajic.
3 Q. What was the reason for his killing; do you
5 A. The real reason was probably the fact that
6 Mr. Duznovic knew a great deal about the events that
7 were going on at the time.
8 Q. Let us now talk about the functioning of the
9 overall power or authority in Kiseljak. At the time
10 when you arrived, the government had been functioning
11 for some time. Describe to us how it functioned in
13 A. When I took over as commissioner of the HVO
14 in Kiseljak, I was told that every evening at the
15 barracks in Kiseljak meetings were being held of
16 military commanders and civilian presidents of the HVO
17 of Kiseljak, Kresevo, Fojnica, and that I was to join
18 them from Vares. And from that time on, right up till
19 the signing of the Washington Accords, every evening at
20 7.00 p.m., I was present at the meeting in the barracks
21 at Kiseljak.
22 Q. Did you conclude that the way in which the
23 authorities functioned had been functioning for several
24 months before you arrived?
25 A. Yes, I was told this by my colleagues, the
1 presidents of the HVO. They said that this kind of
2 power and authority had been established as soon as the
3 conflict had broken out in the area.
4 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber, please, how this
5 unified military and civilian government functioned.
6 Who presided? Who brought in the decisions? Describe
7 the atmosphere.
8 A. These meetings were presided over by Colonel
9 Ivica Rajic, and at these meetings, the members
10 discussed all essential issues pertaining to the
11 functioning of daily life in the area. This ranged
12 from military actions to civilian needs and lodging for
13 the refugees, the departure of the convoys, and so on
14 and so forth. In a word, we could say that we were all
15 there to execute the tasks assigned us by Mr. Rajic for
16 individual segments and departments, and nothing could
17 be done without him.
18 Q. Can we say then that Ivica Rajic combined the
19 civilian and military component of power and authority
20 in his person?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Tell the Court, please, where the refugees
23 from Vares were housed, lodged. Were there any
25 A. The Vares refugees, in the beginning, were
1 lodged in collective centres. In sports halls where
2 there were over 500 people, they were on the floors and
3 everywhere in the sports halls. As it was winter, the
4 refugees were dissatisfied with the conditions, their
5 housing conditions, and many said that there were empty
6 flats that they could go to and empty houses belonging
7 to Croats in Kiseljak and that the refugees were not
8 allowed to take up residence in them, at least the
9 families with small children and elderly family
11 Then a decision was made by Mr. Rajic, and I
12 was ordered to put it into effect, that is to say, that
13 I should talk to our people and to put them up in the
14 devastated Bosniak houses in Kiseljak, that is to say,
15 in the surroundings of Kiseljak, and these houses were
16 on the frontlines towards the BH army. People refused
17 this and asked that they be taken from Kiseljak to
18 safer areas. For this reason, we too had to come on
19 several -- we were faced with a situation whereby we
20 were not able to put these orders into effect, and our
21 lives were jeopardised in this way.
22 Q. You said that at --
23 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me. Interpreter, please
24 say "question" and "answer."
25 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour.
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. You were present over a period of time and
3 attended the regular daily meetings that were held at
4 Mr. Rajic's when he issued orders to the military and
5 civilians alike.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Tell us, please, did you ever hear of the
8 fact that Rajic referred back to an order given by
9 Colonel Blaskic? Did he mention any Blaskic orders at
10 the meetings where all the important decisions were
12 A. As I say, I was present at all the meetings
13 that took place, and when I was present, not a single
14 order had come in from Colonel Blaskic. It was not
15 read out at the meeting.
16 Q. Did Rajic ever mention Blaskic in any context
17 during these official meetings?
18 A. No, he did not.
19 Q. You were friends with people who were Rajic's
20 co-workers, assistants, either military or civilian.
21 Could you explain to the Court what you heard about the
22 relationship between Rajic and Blaskic, and what were
23 they saying about Blaskic?
24 A. It is true that I was friends with friends
25 and co-workers of Colonel Rajic's, and I got the
1 impression during that period that Mr. Rajic, how
2 should I put this, was holy to these people in
3 Kiseljak. If it weren't for him, they couldn't have
4 survived. That was the opinion of these people, that
5 he was a true fighter.
6 And when I talked to them, I found out that
7 before him in Kiseljak, Colonel Blaskic was in command
8 in Kiseljak.
9 And then Bilalovac was taken by the army of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the communication line
11 between Kiseljak and Busovaca was thus cut off, and
12 they were convinced that had Rajic been there this
13 never would have happened. That is what I heard then.
14 And also, when the situation was the most difficult in
15 Vitez, before Christmas 1993, some commanders said that
16 had Rajic been there, the situation would have been
17 like in Kiseljak.
18 Since I was not close to Colonel Blaskic and
19 I did not know him as a military man, I must admit that
20 I also got the impression, then, according to the
21 stories that they told, that this was a soldier who was
22 not capable of commanding.
23 Q. When you say that Rajic, for the army and the
24 people of Kiseljak, that he was absolutely holy to
25 them, what are you trying to say? That he was an
1 absolute leader? Explain to the Court what did you
2 mean by saying "holy"?
3 A. I already said nothing could have been done
4 without him. When a convoy was formed, in order to
5 evacuate the old and the ill from Kiseljak, we were
6 given an assignment. I was told that there would be 12
7 buses of refugees from Vares.
8 I was told to make lists and to bring them to
9 him, and that only after Mr. Rajic saw these lists
10 people got the green light, so to speak. He was the
11 one who left some people on the lists, and those whose
12 names were crossed out by him, they could not leave.
13 If any kind of incident occurred on the part
14 of irresponsible individuals, I'm referring to
15 soldiers, the only person who could calm down these
16 individuals and the only person who could actually have
17 them locked up, if necessary, was Colonel Rajic.
18 Q. Thank you. Now, we shall move into a
19 different area which we have not touched until now,
20 intentionally so, and that is the following.
21 What about the villages of the municipality
22 of Vares that the Croats had abandoned?
23 MR. NOBILO: Before we move on to that, I
24 would like to have a document distributed, and could
25 you please give me the number?
1 THE REGISTRAR: This is D440, D440A for the
2 English version.
3 Q. Did you get the document?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. All right. So could you tell us who wrote
6 this document, in what capacity, and who was it sent
7 to, and at whose request?
8 A. I wrote this document as president of the
9 municipal council of Vares. It is addressed to
10 Mr. Nobilo and it contains a chronology of the
11 suffering of the Croatian people in the municipality of
12 Vares in the period from the 3rd of November, 1993.
13 The document was made on the basis of
14 information gathered from the officials of the Vares
15 municipality, or rather, the members of the war crimes
16 commission of Herceg-Bosna, and also the Vares
17 Dastansko police force, also from the Vares Vijak
18 Borovica priest, and also on the basis of eyewitness
19 statements. It contains this entire subject matter:
20 The killing and suffering of civilians, the destruction
21 of cemeteries and churches, and the destruction of
22 family homes and entire villages that were rased to the
24 Q. Do you think that on the basis of the
25 methodology you applied in the municipality of Vares
1 all this information is reliable and true?
2 A. One can say they are one hundred per cent
3 correct and true.
4 Q. Let's go through this document a bit,
5 although it speaks for itself. We are going to skip
6 the civilian casualties. On page 7 there is a title
7 "Churches, chapels and cemeteries," so could you
8 please tell the Court about some of the greater
9 devastations of Catholic cemeteries?
10 A. As regards the devastation of Catholic
11 churches, chapels, cemeteries, the most difficult
12 situation was in the parish of Borovica. The local
13 church in the village of Gornja Borovica, together with
14 the priest's home, was torched, looted, and now it is
15 in ruins, the church is in ruins, and also it looks
16 like a dump.
17 The big cross from the church tower was
18 thrown in front of the door to the church. I first saw
19 this myself on the 6th of August, 1994, and the only
20 thing one could see in the church were burned pews, a
21 broken altar and remains of the aluminium roof that had
22 burned down.
23 Also, in the village of Gornja and Donja
24 Borovica, the chapels were looted, and also the crosses
25 were broken on all these chapels. In Borovicke Njive, a
1 small hamlet belonging to the parish of Borovica, the
2 chapel at the local cemetery was also demolished, and a
3 few tombstones as well.
4 In the neighbouring village of Kopljari,
5 which was the first to be destroyed, the Catholic
6 cemetery was desecrated and firearms were used to shoot
7 at the tombstones. All the iron crosses were broken,
8 and some were even throw out of the cemetery. Three
9 monuments were completely destroyed. The chapel was
10 demolished and damaged, and it was damaged in the
11 following way: A tree fell, a tree that was right next
12 to it fell, and that is how it demolished it.
13 In another Catholic village, Dubastica, as
14 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina entered the village, the
15 chapel was forcefully opened and all the items
16 belonging to the church were scattered all about.
17 In the village of Mir, which is in the
18 immediate vicinity of Stupni Do, on two occasions
19 Muslim soldiers desecrated the cemetery, and the last
20 desecration of the cemetery occurred afterwards, in
21 peacetime, in the night between the 2nd and 3rd of
22 November, 1996, when the chapel and 60 tombstones were
23 completely demolished, all the wooden and iron crosses
24 were broken, as well as the tombstones themselves.
25 During this same night, between the 2nd and
1 3rd of November, in the neighbouring village of Bijelo
2 Borje, the chapel was desecrated, too. It was damaged,
3 the church items were scattered all about, and 14
4 tombstones were broken. All the crosses, wooden and
5 metal, were broken and scattered all about. I saw this
7 Q. Perhaps we don't have to go into all these
8 details, because we have this document.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Just give us the locations where similar
11 things happened, in terms of Catholic churches and
12 Catholic cemeteries.
13 A. Also in the parish of Vijak, the parish
14 church was forcefully opened, the church items were
15 scattered all about, the priest's home was looted, and
16 the members of the BH army closed the cattle in it as
17 they were looting these villages.
18 Also in the village of Krcevine, on the bell
19 tower there are marks, obviously the bell was shot at.
20 And also the cross that is in the centre of the village
21 was broken. The same fate was suffered by the chapel
22 in the village of Ocevi where the cross was carried
23 away and it was turned into a dump.
24 And then in the village of Pogar, where two
25 grenades were fired at the church. And also in Vares
1 Majdan, the Catholic church of Saint Barbara was
2 forcefully opened, and relics were thrown all around
3 the floor. Nothing was taken away, but the place was
4 in shambles.
5 The church of the parish of Vares was,
6 suffered the most destruction, that was in the village
7 of Brezik. The members of the BH army used it as a
8 position against the HVO, so they fired from there.
9 Q. Thank you. We have all the other details and
10 all the other locations in the document. Now, we shall
11 move on to Croatian villages. Let us see what the
12 situation was like there.
13 But before that we would like to distribute,
14 a map of the JNA of Vares for one to 50.000. And as
15 this map is being distributed, could you please tell us
16 who made these marks on the map? And what do they
17 actually represent?
18 A. I did this. I made these marks on the map,
19 and these are Croatian villages in the municipality of
20 Vares that were harmed in various ways as the BH army
21 came into Vares.
22 MR. NOBILO: We have a different kind of map,
23 on this map of Vares 4, not all of it is depicted, so
24 that is why we added this other copy, and this is in
25 addition to the big map. So we have a big map and a
1 small map.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Document D441.
3 MR. NOBILO: There is a big map and small map
4 that go together.
5 THE REGISTRAR: If I understand this
6 correctly, we're receiving two large maps, and they are
7 different in respect of the notes on them.
8 MR. HAYMAN: The original is two large maps,
9 the copies of each set consist of one large map and
10 then only a portion of the second large map, because
11 only a small part of it is marked. They will fit
12 together for reference purposes.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Do you want the same number to
14 be on the small and the large one? That's what you
15 mean, isn't it, Mr. Hayman? In other words, the D442
16 will be the large map, to which the small one is added;
17 is that right?
18 MR. HAYMAN: I believe they will be D441 and
19 D441A for the small map, if that's possible.
20 THE REGISTRAR: All right, but the other maps
21 are not annotated in that same way.
22 JUDGE JORDA: What do you mean by that,
23 Mr. Dubuisson?
24 The map that you're giving to the OTP, that's
25 441; isn't it? This one, is that right? No?
1 MR. NOBILO: It's different. Mr. President,
2 there are two maps in the original that we give to the
3 registrar, and they should be included in the files.
4 Together they comprise the municipality of Vares.
5 However, the copies are one entire big map
6 and a small photocopy of another map. With your
7 permission, I would like to show this. This is the
8 first map and this is a photocopy of the other map, but
9 together we tender this as a document.
10 JUDGE JORDA: All right, it should be
11 numbered with the same number; is that right?
12 MR. NOBILO: Yes, yes, but we are not giving
13 the registrar the photocopy, we are giving him the
14 original of the big map, and everybody else is being
15 given a small map and a big map.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Can we do it that way,
17 Mr. Dubuisson?
18 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, no problem.
19 JUDGE JORDA: All right, no problem, says the
21 MR. NOBILO: Could you please put one map on
22 the ELMO? Yes, one map, it's better another map. And
23 then we can move it. Put the monitor on the screen.
24 JUDGE JORDA: All right, is everything in
25 order now?
1 MR. NOBILO: Yes, we are trying to sort this
2 out. Please, could you enlarge it? Yes, this is
4 Q. Now, Mr. Pejcinovic, your document, page 10,
5 let us use that, and use the pointer and show on the
6 ELMO this village. And could you explain what happened
7 in each and every one of these villages?
8 A. The village of Gornja Borovica, then Donja
10 Q. Please keep your pointer there, and as you
11 hold the pointer there, tell us what happened in that
13 A. In the village of Donja Borovica, the
14 following thing happened. After the withdrawal of the
15 army and civilians, a number of civilians remained,
16 nevertheless, there, and they were victims. And as far
17 as buildings are concerned, in the village of Borovica,
18 or in the parish of Borovica, which consists of Donja
19 Borovica and Gornja Borovica, these are two villages,
20 and you can see them on the small map, before the war
21 there were 262 households, Croat households. Three
22 hundred forty family homes were torched and 750 other
23 buildings, such as sheds, stables, barns, et cetera.
24 Q. And now let us move on to the village of
25 Kopljari. It's on the other map. Could we change the
1 map, please? Yes, that's the map. So on the other map
2 is the village of Kopljari. So please let us show this
3 on the ELMO.
4 Please put your pointer there. All right.
5 And what happened in the village of Kopljari?
6 A. The village of Kopljari was taken by the BH
7 army on the 21st of October, 1993. Before the war it
8 had a population of 150 persons, all of them Croats.
9 During the first assault -- actually I have to say that
10 the village was taken twice, the first time on the 18th
11 of October, when only two houses were torched, and the
12 second time on the 21st of October when the entire
13 village was rased to the ground.
14 And later on, a survey was made in order to
15 reconstruct the municipality of Vares, and we realised
16 that 60 family houses were burned down, and all the
17 other buildings, all together.
18 Q. Thank you. Can you show Borovicke Njive with
19 your pointer, please?
20 A. Borovicke Njive, this was a small hamlet in
21 the parish of Borovica. There were 11 households there
22 before the war, all of them were Croats too. All the
23 houses were looted and devastated, and it is impossible
24 to live in them.
25 Q. Village of Dubastica?
1 A. The village of Dubastica, this is in the
2 valley of the Dubastica River. Before the war, there
3 were 29 Croat households there. After the BH army
4 came, four houses were torched and the rest were looted
5 and devastated and all movable property was carried
7 Q. The village of Kopaliste?
8 A. The hamlet of Kopaliste had 17 households.
9 Also, all of them were Croat. No houses were torched
10 but all of them were looted, devastated. The roofs
11 were taken off some of them, and all movable property
12 was carried away.
13 Q. What about the village of Pogar?
14 A. The village of Pogar, before the war, 120
15 households lived there, all of them Croats.
16 Twenty-eight houses were torched and 16 other farm
17 buildings. The houses that were not looted were very
18 few, and I must say that the largest number of Croats
19 remained there. And as the members of the 2nd Corps of
20 the BH army entered the village, all the remaining
21 Croats were brought into the house of Mr. Stjepan
22 Surkic, and they were kept there for four or five days
23 until the other houses were looted, and all of this was
24 taken to Tuzla, Tuzla-Zivinice, and Banovici.
25 Q. Semizova, Ponikva, and Polozac, what about
1 those villages?
2 A. Those villages before the war were also
3 exclusively populated by Croats. Before the war, there
4 were 44 households. Twenty houses were torched and 34
5 other buildings. The houses that were not torched were
6 devastated and looted. All movable and immovable
7 property was taken away.
8 Q. What about the village of Ivancevo?
9 A. The village of Ivancevo, before the war, 49
10 households were there, all of them Croats, before the
11 war. In the houses, no one was left in these houses.
12 Everything was looted, robbed, and it was taken to
13 Dalska (phoen), and not a single house was torched but
14 five farm buildings were set fire to, although
15 everything was looted. And after this "liberation" of
16 Vares, this was where the public security station, the
17 police station, of Vares was.
18 Q. What about the village of Krcevine?
19 A. The village of Krcevine also had 75
20 households, and all of them were Croats. Eighteen
21 houses were torched and ten other buildings, and all
22 the other houses were looted very thoroughly.
23 Q. What about the village of Radosevici?
24 A. The village Radosevici had 62 households
25 before the war. All of them were Croats. The houses
1 were looted and devastated, all of them. No houses
2 were torched, but the roofs were taken off most houses,
3 and they were taken to Ligatici and Nisevici, Bozniak
4 villages, and also Krivaja, Kamensko, and Careva
6 Q. What about the village of Tribija?
7 A. This is also in the valley of the Tribija
8 River that had 15 households. One house was burned
9 while the others were looted and completely devastated.
10 Q. And the village of Donja Vijaka?
11 A. The village of Donja Vijaka had 50
12 households, Croats.
13 JUDGE JORDA: We have the report here. I
14 wonder whether we have to go through all of them. I
15 have the report in front of me. I'm trying to speed
16 things up a little bit. I'm not trying to take any of
17 the power out of your demonstration but I think that
18 the witness is reading. You have the village of Donja
19 Vijeka, there were 50 households. You're reading it,
20 aren't you? Perhaps we don't have to read the whole
21 thing. We have the map. We have the document. I'm
22 not sure we have to go reading through everything.
23 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President. That's
24 right. This is the information contained in the
25 report, and what the witness is saying is that. But it
1 was important for us that the Trial Chamber realise
2 that many villages were looted, torched, devastated.
3 That is why we went from one to the other, that it
4 would even become boring, in a way, although there's a
5 tragic fate behind each and every one of them. But now
6 that the Trial Chamber has realised what happened,
7 there's no need for us to go into all of this. Perhaps
8 we can just mention the names and show the location.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Let me rectify what I just
10 said. Let's be clear about things. My responsibility
11 as the Presiding Judge is to make sure that these
12 hearings go as quickly as possible. If I interrupt a
13 witness, it's not that we don't want to hear about the
14 atrocities that were committed, let's be clear about
15 that, it's simply in terms of the clear organisation of
16 the hearing. If the report is supporting what is being
17 said, we can say that this has been noted by the
18 Registry, and then the Judges will make their own
20 I don't want to give the witness or the
21 public the impression that the Judges don't want to
22 hear about atrocities that were committed. I want that
23 to be clear.
24 MR. NOBILO: I did not mean that. Perhaps I
25 have been misunderstood. I wish to say that I agree,
1 that perhaps it was excessively repetitious, especially
2 in view of the fact that you received the document.
3 But perhaps the witness could help us with the map, and
4 he could show us the other villages on this map where
5 there were lootings and torchings.
6 Q. For example, Ocevija, the village of
8 A. The village of Ocevija, Gornja and Donja.
9 Q. Bijela Borje?
10 A. (Indicating)
11 Q. The village of Mir?
12 A. (Indicating)
13 Q. The village of Diknici?
14 A. (Indicating)
15 Q. The village of Mlakve?
16 A. (Indicating)
17 Q. The village of Brezik?
18 A. (Indicating)
19 Q. The village of Przici?
20 A. (Indicating)
21 Q. The village of Kolonije?
22 A. (Indicating)
23 Q. The village of Tisovci?
24 A. (Indicating)
25 Q. The village of Javornik?
1 A. (Indicating)
2 Q. The village of Ljepovici?
3 A. (Indicating)
4 Q. The village of Ostoje?
5 A. (Indicating)
6 Q. The villages of Zvijezda and Ponikve?
7 A. (Indicating)
8 Q. The town of Vares and Vares Majdan?
9 A. (Indicating)
10 Q. Can you tell us, just off the cuff now, what
11 was the total of buildings that were torched,
12 destroyed, and that people could not live in any
14 A. To the best of my knowledge, it is about 450
15 dwellings, different dwellings, and about 1.000 farm
17 Q. What about the return of Croats to Vares?
18 Did Croats go back to the municipality of Vares?
19 A. I must say that as opposed to other parts of
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina, we can say that quite a few
21 Croats have returned to Vares, but the problem is that
22 there has been such devastation, and very few buildings
23 were reconstructed. On the territory of this
24 municipality, only about 20 houses were reconstructed.
25 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Mr. President, we
1 have thus concluded our direct examination. We would
2 like to have admitted into evidence D440, that is the
3 report, and D441 as maps, two maps.
4 JUDGE JORDA: No objections, no comments from
5 the Prosecution? We still have ten minutes. I think
6 we can begin the cross-examination.
7 Mr. Pejcinovic, you're going to be asked
8 questions now by the Office of the Prosecutor.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Cayley:
10 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Pejcinovic. My name is
11 Cayley. I'm from the Office of the Prosecutor. These
12 are my colleagues, Mr. Harmon and Mr. Kehoe.
13 Now, let's just talk about this map that's
14 been exhibited and the villages that were destroyed,
15 and if, indeed, these events occurred, they are as
16 tragic as you have stated. Can you tell me the time
17 period in which most of this destruction took place?
18 A. Most of the destruction took place, as I have
19 said, when most of the buildings was in Borovica, Donja
20 and Gornja Borovica, and this took place about the 5th
21 of November, 1993, and this period did not last longer
22 than seven days from that date.
23 This is borne out by the letter of the Major
24 of the Nordic Battalion of the United Nations,
25 Mr. Hakan Birger, which he sent personally to me to
1 Kiseljak, and it testifies to the destruction of the
2 villages Donja and Gornja Borovica. This was recorded
3 by his military police. I have a translation of that
4 document here, and we can say with certainty that those
5 villages were destroyed after the Croats had left and
6 after the units of the HVO and with the entry of the BH
7 army into the Vares municipality. In a direct
8 conflict, very few houses were destroyed.
9 Q. So the villages of Gornja and Dornja Borovica
10 were attacked and destroyed in November of '93; is that
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. Now, all of the other villages that are
14 marked on this map, were they all destroyed in that
15 same period of time?
16 A. Those villages were also destroyed in that
17 same period of time, but the looting of those things
18 that were not burnt continued and went into 1994 and
20 Q. Now, the village of Mir, when was the
21 cemetery desecrated in the village of Mir?
22 A. The cemetery in the village of Mir
23 was desecrated, as I said, on the 2nd, between the
24 night of the 2nd and the 3rd of November, 1996.
25 Q. The village of Bijelo Borje, that was also
1 desecrated in 1996, was it not, the cemetery there?
2 A. Not the village, only the cemetery. Yes,
3 only the cemetery.
4 Q. So much of the destruction that you have
5 actually described that occurred on the villages marked
6 on this map was an ongoing process through 1994 and
8 A. I said that most of the villages and all the
9 houses burnt were burnt in the course of November and
10 December of 1993.
11 Q. Let's talk about 1992, and I think you said
12 in your examination-in-chief that in July of 1992 the
13 HVO took executive authority in the municipality of
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, what did that mean for the Muslim
17 community of Vares?
18 A. It did not, in fact, mean anything for the
19 Muslim community of Vares because everybody stayed in
20 their homes and stayed in their jobs, the people who
21 were employed.
22 Q. But it meant that the Muslim community was
23 not included within the executive authority within the
24 municipality, didn't it?
25 A. They did take part. The representatives of
1 the Bosniak people took part, and so the department for
2 social activities was headed by Mufida Dzindo, and the
3 health department, Dr. Edim Ascerija, a representative
4 for civil protection, Rusmir Berberovic, he was the
5 representative, but they were not members of the SDA,
6 the Party of Democratic Action.
7 Q. So the Muslims, in July of 1992 and
8 thereafter, were equally as involved as the Croats in
9 the government in Vares?
10 A. Yes, but I would like to repeat, the Party of
11 Democratic Action did not take part.
12 Q. Let's take a look at Exhibit 456/95. Before
13 you're shown this document, Mr. Pejcinovic, it is an
14 excerpt from minutes of a meeting of the Croatian
15 Defence Council held in Busovaca on the 22nd of
16 September, 1992, and I think Ante Pejcinovic was
17 present at that meeting. Who was Ante Pejcinovic in
18 September of 1992? What was his function in Vares?
19 A. He was president of the Croatian Defence
20 Council of Vares.
21 Q. If you take that document in front of you, do
22 you see in the near top right-hand corner, it's
23 described as "Defence Military Secret"?
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 Q. Do you see it's a meeting, as I stated, held
1 in Busovaca on the 22nd of September, 1992?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, if you go to the section marked
4 "Agenda," do you see the first item there is the
5 implementation of decisions to establish HVO authority;
6 do you see that?
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. Do you see above that that the working
9 presidency is described as Dario Kordic, Anto Valenta,
10 Tihomir Blaskic, and Ignjac Kostroman?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And you see, I think, the members who took
13 part in the decision. We won't read through all of
14 them, but I think Ante Pejcinovic is described as one
15 of them?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, let's rapidly go through this document,
18 and I will try and find the -- I think it's on your
19 page 5. This document, you will see, describes the
20 conditions in every municipality within the then
21 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. What I'd like you
22 to do, for the benefit of the Judges, is to read out
23 what Ante Pejcinovic had informed the meeting about the
24 conditions in Vares.
25 Do you see where it says "Vares"? It's
1 directly below "Kakanj."
2 A. Yes. "Vares is the most outward post of the
3 municipality in Herceg-Bosna. The economy has almost
4 come to a standstill. The people are at the edge of
5 hunger. Complete authority of the HVO has been
6 established. From Vares towards Brcko and Tuzla, about
7 82.000 refugees have passed through. Taxes are reaped
8 from this transit. We are not going to apply the tax
9 rates according to the HZHD rates. The school has
10 started in the Croatian language. The town is being
11 supplied. Vares has received a certain amount of
12 relief from the reserves, but this is a minimum
13 quantity. There are 1.200 Muslim refugees and 800
14 Croatian refugees, and camps for the refugees are being
16 Q. Now, you just stated to the Judges that the
17 Muslims were equally involved in government in Vares.
18 Why did Mr. Pejcinovic thus state to this meeting that
19 the HVO was in full control of the municipality of
21 A. Well, he meant the institution of the
22 Croatian Defence Council of Vares. And in that
23 institution, the civilian authorities, called the
24 Croatian Defence of Vares, and it was appointed by the
25 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
1 Mate Boban, and it lists the names of the Muslims who
2 took part in the government of the Croatian Defence
4 Q. Was the HVO in full control in the
5 municipality of Vares in September of 1992?
6 A. It did have control over part of the Vares
7 municipality, if you're talking about territorial
8 control. And the power and authority of the Croatian
9 Defence Council functioned only in that area of the
10 Vares municipality; whereas the other part with the
11 Bosniak villages, it was the power and authority of the
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina authorities that was in control
14 Q. In that territory that the HVO controlled, it
15 had full authority, did it not?
16 A. The authority of the Croatian Defence Council
17 in which the Muslim representatives for individual
18 departments were represented, the main individual
19 Mufida Dzindo was in charge of education in schools.
20 Q. Now, you also read out that transit taxes
21 were collected. Who were these taxes collected from?
22 This document indicates that they were collected from
23 refugees passing through Vares; is that correct?
24 A. The transit taxes were collected from the
25 commercial goods which passed through the region of the
1 Tuzla basin, Brcko, Gradacac, and other municipalities,
2 and it was collected on the basis of a decision made by
3 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. The
4 humanitarian convoys and refugees were freed from
5 paying this tax.
6 Q. The document doesn't read in that manner,
7 Mr. Pejcinovic, but I'll allow the Judges to draw their
8 own conclusions from that. Now, in the --
9 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this is stated in
10 the document. What is not stated is that taxes are
11 being collected from the refugees, and I'm reading the
12 document in the Croatian language, and it says that the
13 taxes are collected from transit taxes.
14 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges can make their own
16 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, what it does not
17 say is that transit taxes are collected from commercial
18 convoys but I'll move on.
19 Q. Now, you also read out --
20 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps we could resume at
21 2.30, unless you have only one more question you want
22 to ask now.
23 MR. CAYLEY: If I can actually finish with
24 this document, perhaps.
25 JUDGE JORDA: All right. With the agreement
1 of my colleagues, go ahead so that we can make a
2 logical break.
3 MR. CAYLEY:
4 Q. You also stated, when you read out this
5 document, that the schools had started working in the
6 Croatian language. Did the Muslims agree with that in
8 A. I said that the Bosniak children went to
9 school in Vares, to the schools where they had been
10 going up until the war began in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 Q. Sir, you didn't answer my question. Did the
12 Muslims agree to have the Croatian language introduced
13 to schools in Vares, yes or no?
14 A. If they sent their children to school, then I
15 suppose they agreed. That would be logical.
16 Q. Did the Muslim individuals who were
17 represented in the government in Vares agree to the
18 introduction of the Croatian language into the schools
19 in Vares?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. They did? Are you aware of whether or not
22 Muslims agreed across the territories of the Croatian
23 Community of Herceg-Bosna to have the Croatian language
24 introduced into all schools?
25 A. I'm not aware of that.
1 MR. CAYLEY: We can finish on that point,
2 Your Honour. Thank you.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We will resume at
5 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.04 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 2.40 p.m.
3 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing will resume now,
4 have the accused brought in.
5 (The accused entered court)
6 JUDGE JORDA: I will remind you, it is not
7 only for the public, that as soon as the witness comes
8 in, what is happening now is the cross-examination of
9 Mr. Pejcinovic, Miroslav Pejcinovic.
10 Mr. Cayley, I take the liberty of saying to
11 you, don't think this is anything unpleasant, that the
12 direct examination lasted for one hour and five
13 minutes, and we have had 15 minutes of
14 cross-examination -- two hours and five minutes, excuse
15 me. So check on your priorities and don't be
16 frustrated the way Mr. Kehoe was yesterday.
17 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. Harmon issued us stopwatches
18 yesterday, Your Honour, so we --
19 (The witness entered court)
20 MR. CAYLEY: To be frank with you, I think my
21 cross-examination will take considerably less time than
22 Mr. Nobilo's examination in chief, so you shouldn't be
24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. All right, we can
25 now resume. Mr. Pejcinovic, do you hear me? Are you
1 ready? Did you rest up a bit?
2 THE WITNESS: Yes.
3 JUDGE JORDA: All right, Mr. Cayley is going
4 to continue asking you questions. Mr. Cayley, go
6 MR. CAYLEY: I have a number of final
7 questions on Exhibit 456/95, if the witness could be
8 given that document again, please.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Could we also have it on the
10 ELMO, please? Now the public can follow, as well.
11 MR. CAYLEY:
12 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Pejcinovic. If you could
13 turn to page 5 of that document in the BSC version,
14 when you receive it. And if you could go to the bottom
15 of the page, I think on your copy it's the bottom of
16 the page where it states "Observations noted in all the
17 municipalities"; do you see that? Do you see that,
18 Mr. Pejcinovic?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. If you could read the third entry, which
21 begins with the word "Mora".
22 A. "There has to be strong HVO propaganda
24 Q. Can you explain to the Judges what that
25 means? You were a politician and a prominent member of
1 the HVO community in Vares, could you explain to the
2 Judges what that means?
3 A. What does it mean, "There has to be strong
4 HVO propaganda everywhere"? Well, it means that the
5 real truth about the Croatian Defence Council must be
6 made known so that the people can have trust in it, in
7 the municipality that is the government, in the
8 interests of the whole population.
9 Q. If you could now go to the section, it's over
10 the page, on page 6, and there's a section which reads
11 "The economy must be revived," and there is a section
12 which begins "New refugees are arriving daily." Do you
13 see that? I think it begins with the word "uocava",
14 excuse my pronunciation. Do you see that?
15 A. "New refugees are arriving daily, especially
16 Muslims. This could disturb the ethnic balance in our
17 areas. The policy should be such that our municipality
18 serve as transit points for Muslim refugees who should
19 be directed to Muslim municipalities".
20 Q. And indeed that was the policy that was put
21 into effect across all the territory of the Croatian
22 community of Herceg-Bosna, wasn't it?
23 A. I don't think that I could agree with that
24 observation. I said that throughout the HVO pound
25 authority in Vares, there were camps with Bosniak
1 refugees from Sokolac, Pijesak and part of the Olovo
3 Q. But can you make commentary on any of the
4 other municipalities of the Croatian community of
6 A. I did not work in matters of this kind, and I
7 don't know the problems therein.
8 Q. Did Mr. Pejcinovic at this meeting state that
9 he disagreed with that policy of the municipality of
10 the community of Herceg-Bosna?
11 A. I did not say that I did not agree with the
12 policy, but I said what was going on in the Vares
14 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, first of all, I
15 have an observation to make, and second, there has been
16 a misunderstanding. My learned friend the Prosecutor
17 has asked whether Mr. Pejcinovic at the meeting agreed
18 with the policy of Herceg-Bosna. He probably has in
19 mind Ante Pejcinovic, who was present at the time;
20 whereas, the witness is answering thinking that as he
21 is, his name is Pejcinovic, the Prosecutor meant
23 Second, Miroslav Pejcinovic did not attend
24 the meeting, he was not present and does not know what
25 Anto Pejcinovic said at the meeting, so you can't ask
1 him what Ante Pejcinovic said at the meeting outside
2 what is written here.
3 JUDGE JORDA: This is a very relevant
4 comment. What would your answer be to that,
5 Mr. Cayley.
6 MR. CAYLEY: My answer is, Mr. President,
7 this gentleman represented himself as a senior member
8 of the HVO member from Vares. I would find it
9 astonishing if Mr. Pejcinovic came back from this very
10 important meeting in September of 1992 in Busovaca and
11 didn't brief a prominent member of the local community
12 on what was taking place.
13 MR. HAYMAN: Why doesn't my learned friend
14 ask him whether he was briefed, as opposed to this
15 slight of hand?
16 JUDGE JORDA: I think that's a valid
17 objection. First of all, was he at the meeting? Is it
18 the same individual? Ask the question, please, or else
19 I will ask it.
20 MR. CAYLEY: I will ask another question, Mr.
22 Q. As Mr. Nobilo pointed out, you thought I was
23 asking you whether or not you disagreed with moving
24 Muslim refugees out of territory controlled by the
25 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, and you said that
1 you didn't disagree with that policy. Did you agree
2 with that policy?
3 A. That observation is not correct, because
4 we're not talking about moving refugees from the areas
5 under Croatian control, but of the passage of refugees
6 in transit who were fleeing the Serbian aggression
7 through Croatian municipalities, and that is what this
8 document states.
9 Q. So your testimony is that you did not wish
10 these people to remain in territory controlled by the
11 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna because that would
12 upset the ethnic balance in the area.
13 A. No, that observation is not correct. I said
14 that in Vares, throughout the HVO authority there we
15 had refugees from Olovo, Sokolac and Han-Pijesak, and
16 they were in collective centres in the municipality in
17 Vares, and it was the HVO who attended to them.
18 Q. So your policy in Vares was contrary to the
19 policy that was being set by the presidency of the
20 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna?
21 A. The policy in Vares was in the spirit of the
22 policy which was evolved in all areas, and we could
23 take in only as much refugees as we had lodging
24 capacity. You must not forget that the municipalities
25 in Central Bosnia took in a great number of Croat
1 refugees from the areas where they were expelled from
2 by the Serbs.
3 Q. But you would agree with me that this meeting
4 of senior officials from the Croatian community of
5 Herceg-Bosna is making it quite clear that Muslims are
6 to be moved through territory controlled by the
7 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna in order to maintain
8 the ethnic balance.
9 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, one more
10 objection. The question was "Did Ante Pejcinovic
11 inform you of this document," but this witness has not
12 had a chance to read through the document. He just
13 read three lines of the document, and we're now
14 discussing a document that he's never read through and
15 never seen.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I think that our witness has
17 enough intellectual understanding to be able to
18 comprehend what this means and what this document is
19 about. Therefore, I don't think there's a problem with
20 the Prosecutor asking that question.
21 Please answer the question. If you want to
22 take a few minutes in order to read the document, to
23 familiarise yourself with it, then Mr. Nobilo will be
24 satisfied, you will be satisfied, and so will the
1 MR. CAYLEY:
2 Q. Do you wish to read the document,
3 Mr. Pejcinovic?
4 A. Well, there's no need. I didn't see the
5 document then at the time when it was topical, and I
6 don't want to comment on it now.
7 Q. Well, I'm going to ask you a number of
8 questions, not on the entire balance of the document,
9 but on some points of policy that were coming from a
10 senior body of the HVO. You are an HVO official. If
11 you didn't know of that position, then you can tell the
12 Judges that you didn't know.
13 Now, I will read it to speed up the process:
14 "Exiled Bosnia and Herzegovinan government and its
15 bodies with pro-Muslim policies are undesirable on our
16 territory, and their possible activity contrary to the
17 principles of HDZ bodies shall not be tolerated."
18 Are you aware of that HVO policy?
19 MR. NOBILO: We would like to know what
20 document is being read from and on what page so that we
21 can follow the text.
22 MR. CAYLEY: It's the same document, and I
23 believe it is page 6 of the BCS version.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Could you be more specific? I
25 have a French version in front of me. Is this part of
1 the observations, the observations noted in all of the
2 municipalities, is it part of that?
3 MR. CAYLEY: I can read the French,
4 Mr. President, better than I can read the English. It
5 starts in your section "les government du
6 Bosnie-Herzegovine," and it is on -- the number at the
7 top, the ERN number, on your French edition is
8 00516706, and it is about halfway down the page.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, all right. Thank you.
10 MR. CAYLEY:
11 Q. Mr. Pejcinovic, you've had a moment to gather
12 your thoughts. Were you aware of that policy of the
13 HVO in Bosnia?
14 A. No.
15 Q. And if I can read to you the last particular
16 policy statement which is as follows: "There is no
17 Bosnian language, and it is an insult to the Croatians
18 when anyone tries to make the Croatian language into
19 some kind of Bosnian language."
20 Now, were you aware of that policy statement
21 by the HVO in Busovaca?
22 A. I don't know of the policy of the HVO in
23 Busovaca. All I can say is that in 1992, up to the war
24 in our country, we had the Serbo-Croatian language and
25 that there was no other language.
1 Q. Mr. Pejcinovic, this is an excerpt from the
2 minutes of the meeting of Croatian Defence Councils in
3 municipalities of all Central Bosnia, not just
5 A. You asked me about the HVO in Busovaca.
6 Q. If we could now go to notes made by municipal
7 leaders, and I've almost finished with this document:
8 "Based on the observations of leaders in all
9 municipalities who attended this meeting, each
10 municipality should, with respect to its specific
11 conditions, at a session of the government adopt
12 decisions following these general outlines."
13 Now, you would agree with me, Mr. Pejcinovic,
14 that this statement is basically ordering the municipal
15 leaders from all of these municipalities of
16 Herceg-Bosna to adopt the policy statements made in
17 this document?
18 A. I did not understand your question.
19 Q. Based on the section of this document that I
20 have just read, you would agree with me that there is
21 an order being given by this meeting to adopt the
22 policy statements that are made within it; would you
23 agree with that?
24 A. I have not read the document, and I can't
25 speak about its entirety.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, Mr. Pejcinovic.
2 We have to be very clear here. You had the opportunity
3 to look at the document. You've just been read a
4 sentence which seems very clear to me. I think you
5 have to try to answer.
6 Let me repeat the question. At the bottom of
7 this document, it's a note from the municipal
8 directors, it was read to you, and the question seems
9 clear to me. Either you take the time necessary to
10 read the sentence, which is not very complicated, and,
11 of course, it's your right to take some time, but it
12 seems to me that you cannot simply answer that you are
13 not familiar with the document; otherwise, the Tribunal
14 is going to allow you the time to familiarise yourself
15 with that document.
16 MR. CAYLEY:
17 Q. Have you found it, Mr. Pejcinovic? It's on
18 page 7 of your copy.
19 A. Yes, I've read it.
20 Q. And you would agree with me that that is an
21 order from this meeting of all the municipalities of
22 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that the policy
23 decisions made within this document be adopted in those
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. But you're saying that in Vares you did not
2 adopt any of the particular policy decisions that I've
4 A. I only said that I don't recall this
6 Q. Did you implement in the municipality of
7 Vares the policy decisions that I have just read to
9 A. I've already said that in the municipality of
10 Vares, we implemented the policy that did not endanger
11 any of the inhabitants of the Vares municipality,
12 regardless of ethnicity.
13 Q. Did you approve of the Bosniak language in
14 the municipality of Vares?
15 A. I said, in answer to your question, that
16 everybody accepted it and that tuition at schools in
17 Vares was in Croatian. However, nobody prohibited
18 anybody from organising tuition in the Bosnian
19 language. In schools, teachers worked who had worked
20 there before the war as well.
21 Q. Was there ever a Croatian bank established in
23 A. No.
24 Q. Was the teaching programme that was
25 established in Vares the teaching programme approved by
1 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
2 A. The teaching programme that existed in Vares
3 was the programme that existed in all the
4 municipalities of the Croatian Community of
6 Q. And that was a teaching programme with a
7 particular slant or bias towards Croatian history,
8 culture, and language; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In fact, an exclusion of Serbian or Bosniak
11 Muslim culture, that was excluded from this programme,
12 wasn't it, Mr. Pejcinovic?
13 A. The teaching programme was the one that was
14 approved by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and
15 that is not my line of work, so I can't really say much
16 about it.
17 Q. We'll move on, Mr. Pejcinovic. Are you aware
18 of the Vance-Owen Peace Plan?
19 A. I am.
20 Q. Are you aware of the agreement that was
21 reached in January of 1993 in Geneva which was approved
22 of by Mr. Tudjman and Mr. Boban?
23 A. I'm not aware of that agreement.
24 Q. Let me refresh your memory, if the witness
25 could be shown Exhibit 19, Prosecutor's Exhibit 19.
1 It's a map, so you'll also be able to show the Judges
2 where Vares is, as I know this map to your right does
3 not cover the area of Vares.
4 Now, can you point to the Judges the
5 municipality of Vares?
6 A. (Indicating)
7 Q. Now, you may not be familiar with the
8 provincial boundaries of the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, but
9 were you aware that the area covered in blue on this
10 map was the area that was to be the Croatian cantons of
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were you also aware that when the agreement
14 was reached in January, Vares was to be part of a
15 Bosniak province controlled by the government in
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I'm right in saying that the HDZ HVO
19 authorities in Vares were not very happy about this,
20 were they, Mr. Pejcinovic?
21 A. The solution was the way it was, and our task
22 was to carry out whatever the higher levels of
23 authority signed to.
24 Q. Are you aware as to whether or not Mr. Ante
25 Pejcinovic communicated with the higher authorities in
1 Mostar or Zagreb about the Geneva peace plan?
2 A. Communicated with the authorities of the
3 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, but I don't know
4 specifically whether he had communicated in relation to
5 the Geneva plan.
6 Q. Would it surprise you to know that he made a
7 direct complaint to Mr. Boban and Mr. Tudjman about the
8 fact that Vares was not to be included in the Travnik
9 tenth province?
10 A. Well, I wouldn't be surprised because the
11 president of the HVO was the one who was supposed to
12 communicate with higher levels of authority with regard
13 to all matters.
14 Q. So I'm right in thinking, Mr. Pejcinovic,
15 that, in fact, you Croats in Vares wanted to be part of
16 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and not part of
17 the Bosnian state controlled from Sarajevo?
18 A. We, the Croats of Vares, wanted to be where
19 the entire Croatian people in Herceg-Bosna were.
20 Q. And you entirely rejected the authority of
21 the government in Sarajevo, didn't you?
22 A. The government in Sarajevo never showed any
23 interest in us in Vares, well, perhaps towards that
24 part of the authority that was held by the Bosniaks in
25 the municipality of Vares in the village of Dabravine.
1 Q. In fact, in your view, it would have been
2 much more beneficial to you and to all the other Croats
3 in Vares to be part of province ten of the Croatian
4 Community of Herceg-Bosna?
5 A. At that time, that was the opinion of the
6 Croatian people in Vares.
7 Q. Let's move on. You mentioned in your
8 examination-in-chief that you regularly travelled
9 through Serb controlled territory; do you recall that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. When did cooperation with the Serbs commence?
12 A. First convoy left at the end of August, 1993.
13 Q. Now, I would imagine that some fairly high
14 level negotiations took place in order to allow you and
15 other Croats to travel through Bosnian Serb controlled
16 territory; would I be right in thinking that?
17 A. I am not aware of any of that.
18 Q. So you are not aware who from Vares was
19 negotiating with the VRS in the Bosnian Serb
21 A. I didn't say that. I said that I was not
22 aware of the negotiations of higher levels of
23 authority. And from Vares, negotiations were held in
24 the village of Brgule and Sokolac, the head of SIS, Mr.
25 Zvonko Duznovic, he negotiated with the army of
1 Republika Srpska.
2 Q. So he was the appointed representative of the
3 HVO from Vares who negotiated with the VRS and the
4 Bosnian Serbs?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Did he have meetings that took place with
7 Radovan Karadzic in Pale?
8 A. No.
9 Q. With whom did Mr. Duznovic meet of the
10 Bosnian Serbs?
11 A. Mr. Duznovic only met with military
12 commanders of the Bosnian Serbs.
13 Q. And who was that; do you recall with whom he
15 A. I am not familiar with that, but I know that
16 he was in contact only with the military commanders,
17 because several times, as I returned with the convoy, I
18 would meet him at Sokolac, but I don't know who he was
19 in contact with.
20 Q. This cooperation with the Bosnian Serbs
21 commenced in August of 1993; that's what you stated,
22 isn't it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And that went on throughout 1993 and 1994?
25 A. I'm sorry, sir, this continued until the
1 Washington Accords were signed, when the roads were
2 open in order to traverse the territory of the Bosniak
3 Muslim Federation, then cooperation with the Serbs
5 Q. And that would have been in February or March
6 of 1994?
7 A. In March, 1994.
8 Q. Now, did these agreements with the Serbs have
9 to be approved in Mostar?
10 A. I don't know whether they were approved in
11 Mostar, because our only objective was to make sure
12 that Vares could receive necessary supplies and that
13 there were roads open for that purpose.
14 Q. Let's move forward in time to June of 1993
15 when you stated that a large number of refugees came
16 from the municipality of Kakanj to Vares; do you recall
17 stating that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, amongst those refugees there were Croats
20 from Kakanj and also a number of HVO military personnel
21 from Travnik; is that correct?
22 A. Both civilians and military men came from
23 Kakanj, about 13 to 14.000, and from Travnik it was the
24 military conscripts who came who were transferred
25 through the territory of the Republika Srpska from the
1 Manjaca camp.
2 Q. Are you aware during that time period whether
3 any Muslims who were residing in Vares were evicted
4 from their homes in order to make room for incoming
6 A. I'm not aware of a single case of this
8 Q. Had that taken place, would you have been
9 aware of it?
10 A. I should have been aware of it, because I
11 would have intervened, at any rate, because I was in
12 charge of housing affairs.
13 Q. Are you aware that the Bosniak government
14 made representations to bring these refugees back to
15 Kakanj? Are you aware of that?
16 A. I am not aware of that. I said that
17 negotiations were held with the municipality of Visoko,
18 but the agreement concerned the part of the Croats who
19 lived in that municipality, and however, no agreement
20 was regrettably reached with those Croats who lived in
21 Kraljeva Sutjeska.
22 Q. Let's move forward to October of 1993, and
23 the 21st of October, 1993. I think you stated in your
24 examination-in-chief that on that day Colonel Rajic and
25 the Maturica, a special unit of the HVO from Kiseljak
1 arrived in Vares; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, I said that I heard about that
3 indirectly via the telephone.
4 Q. Because, of course, you were in Herzegovina
5 and you were in daily contact on a mobile phone with an
6 individual in Vares.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, Ante Pejcinovic, Ivica Gavran and Zvonko
9 Duznovic by whom were they arrested?
10 A. They were arrested by Ivica Rajic. When he
11 came on the 21st of October to the command of the
12 Bobovac Vares Brigade, he asked them to come to the
13 command for a conversation and he kept them there. And
14 after an hour or two Gavran and Duznovic were
15 transferred to Kiseljak and Ante Pejcinovic and Pavao
16 Vidovic were kept under military custody in the Ponikve
17 hotel in the command of the brigade.
18 Q. And your testimony is that that was on the
19 order of Ivica Rajic?
20 A. Yes, at explicit orders of Ivica Rajic, who
21 on the very same day replaced the commander of the
22 Bobovac Vares Brigade, Emil Harah, and appointed
23 instead of him Kresimir Bozic.
24 Q. Would it surprise you to know,
25 Mr. Pejcinovic, that Ivica Rajic was acting on the
1 direct orders of Milvoj Petkovic?
2 A. I said that at that time in Kiseljak
3 Mr. Milvoj Petkovic was there, but I don't know who
4 ordered who to do what.
5 Q. So if Mr. Petkovic had ordered Mr. Rajic, one
6 of his subordinates, to arrest those three individuals,
7 you would not be aware of that.
8 A. I don't know, because I was told only that
9 which had happened. So the people went there, they
10 reported to the headquarters, and then the escorts of
11 Ivica Rajic disarmed them and they were put under the
12 control of the military security service. And also the
13 order that was personally signed by Ivica Rajic
14 regulated the replacement of the commander of the
16 I do not know whether Mr. Rajic received
17 orders from anyone, and that includes General Petkovic.
18 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel, I apologise. May I
19 just put on the record that counsel has asserted that
20 the Prosecutor apparently has information that Petkovic
21 was issuing direct orders to Rajic. We have never been
22 made privy to that information, which the Defence
23 maintains would be exculpatory as to then Colonel
24 Blaskic, because he was supposed to be in the chain of
25 command between General Petkovic and Ivica Rajic. I
1 simply wanted to note that for the record.
2 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, Mr. Hayman never
3 served in an army, it is --
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, go ahead.
5 MR. CAYLEY: It is normal in military
6 organisations for superiors to issue orders to their
7 subordinates, and that may well go down several levels
8 of command. By Mr. Petkovic issuing an order to one of
9 his subordinates, Ivica Rajic, under General Blaskic,
10 that is not exculpatory information.
11 MR. HAYMAN: So stipulated with respect to
12 all aspects of this case, that military orders can be
13 issued directly, skipping three and four, apparently,
14 levels of command. We so stipulate.
15 MR. CAYLEY: One level of command, in this
16 case, sir, Mr. President, as, however, my learned
17 friend is being economical with the truth.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, continue, please.
19 Mr. Hayman made his comment, which has been noted in
20 the transcript. And the Judges will evaluate it when
21 the moment comes.
22 MR. CAYLEY:
23 Q. Now, Mr. Pejcinovic, you, I think, intervened
24 on behalf of Ante Pejcinovic with Mate Boban; is that
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you went down to see him in Grude; is
3 that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And I think he directly called Mr. Petkovic,
6 who was in Kiseljak.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And Mr. Petkovic, I think, was the most
9 senior ranking officer in the HVO in the area at the
10 time; wasn't he?
11 A. I don't know exactly what Mr. Petkovic was,
12 but I think he was deputy commander of the main staff.
13 Q. At that time, Mr. Pejcinovic, he was in fact
14 Chief of Staff of the HVO, and directly below
15 Mr. Boban, who was the Commander in Chief of the
16 military forces of the HZ-HB.
17 A. Perhaps that's the way it was. I do not
19 Q. So are you stating to the Judges that you
20 are, in fact, not very familiar with the military
21 structure of the HVO throughout the Croatian community
22 of Herceg-Bosna?
23 A. I am quite familiar with it, but I do not
24 recall whether Mr. Petkovic was deputy or chief at that
25 time, because Mr. Praljak appeared later, so I don't
1 know who was appointed to what post, really.
2 Q. So you're familiar with the military
3 structure, but at this particular time you weren't
4 aware of who the commander of the HVO forces in the
5 Croatian community was?
6 A. I don't know what Mr. Petkovic was.
7 Q. Would you agree with me that it would be
8 perfectly reasonable for Mr. Boban to call his direct
9 subordinate to ask him to intervene in events in Vares,
10 that subordinate being Milvoj Petkovic?
11 A. That's what I said in my statement, that
12 Mr. Boban called Mr. Petkovic to ask what was going on
13 in Vares when I told him that the president of the HVO,
14 Ante Pejcinovic, had been arrested.
15 Q. And you would agree with me that since
16 Mr. Petkovic was normally based in Grude with
17 Mr. Boban, that it would be perfectly reasonable for
18 him to do that, if he wished to know what was going on
19 in Central Bosnia?
20 A. I only said in my statement what happened in
21 my presence in the office of Mate Boban. I cannot
22 speak about assumptions.
23 Q. Now, you stated in your examination-in-chief
24 that the village of Stupni Do, the Muslim village of
25 Stupni Do, was attacked by HVO forces under Ivica
1 Rajic's command on the 23rd of October, 1993; do you
2 recall that?
3 A. Yes. And I said that I had received this
4 information via the mobile telephone company.
5 Q. Yes, you were in constant contact with Vares
6 on your mobile phone during this time period.
7 Now, can you tell the Judges how many houses
8 were burned to the ground in that village by HVO
10 A. I can't say exactly, but I can give you an
11 estimate, about 60 houses.
12 Q. Which in fact, Mr. Pejcinovic, is most of the
13 village; isn't it?
14 A. I did not say that that had not happened.
15 Q. How many individuals were killed in the
16 village on that day?
17 A. I cannot tell you that, but I can just tell
18 you what I know from the Bosniak press, that it was 38
19 individuals, and that 10 of them were fighting men.
20 Q. Are you aware as to how many women and
21 children were killed during that attack?
22 A. I do not know exactly how many women and
23 children were killed during that attack.
24 Q. Are you aware of the number of Bosniak Muslim
25 women that were raped by HVO forces on that day?
1 A. I am not aware of that, either.
2 Q. Are you aware that Ivica Rajic accepted
3 responsibility to a Swedish army officer in Vares on
4 the 25th of October, 1993 for the events that had taken
5 place in Stupni Do?
6 A. I'm not aware of that.
7 Q. Are you aware that Ivica Rajic stated
8 generally that it was his troops from the command in
9 Kiseljak which had carried out the massacre in Stupni
11 A. I'm not aware of that, because when I
12 returned to Kiseljak no one talked about it any longer.
13 Q. Now, you would agree with me that the events
14 in Stupni Do were horrific, weren't they?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the Bosnian army attack on Vares, the
17 main thrust of the attack happened immediately after
18 the attack by the HVO on Stupni Do, didn't it?
19 A. The main attack followed immediately
20 afterwards, but I will not agree with your statement
21 that that was the main cause.
22 Q. You agree with me, nevertheless, that the
23 main attack on Vares occurred after the 23rd of
24 October, '93?
25 A. Yes, one may say that the decisive attack of
1 the BH army was taking Vares and expelling the Croatian
3 Q. Now, you were, I think, in Herzegovina while
4 all this was going on; were you not?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. But you were, as you've stated several times,
7 in constant mobile telephone contact with Vares.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Was General Petkovic present in Kiseljak
10 throughout this time on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of
11 October, 1993?
12 A. I am not aware of that, and I did not talk
13 about that to anyone except on that day, the 22nd, when
14 I did talk to Mr. Boban. I knew that he was in
15 Kiseljak then, but when he came and until when he was
16 there, that I do not know.
17 Q. But you would agree with me that after the
18 telephone conversation that took place between
19 Mr. Boban and Mr. Petkovic, that General Petkovic was
20 aware that Ivica Rajic was in Vares during this time
22 A. I don't know whether he knew or not. I can't
23 make an assessment.
24 Q. So you were present when a telephone
25 conversation took place between Mr. Boban and
1 Mr. Petkovic?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What did Mr. Boban say to Mr. Petkovic?
4 A. "Please see what's going on in Vares, because
5 I received information that the president of the HVO of
6 Vares, Ante Pejcinovic, has been arrested."
7 Q. Did he say by whom Ante Pejcinovic had been
8 arrested in Vares?
9 A. No.
10 Q. He just stated he had been arrested.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, in Kiseljak, in November, you were then
13 residing in Kiseljak; were you not?
14 A. Yes. From the 26th of November, 1993.
15 Q. Are you aware during that time period whether
16 or not Mr. Rajic or the Maturica were investigated and
17 punished for events in Stupni Do?
18 A. I don't know.
19 Q. Now, you attended daily meetings, I think,
20 with Mr. Rajic; did you not?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And I think if Mr. Rajic had been
23 investigated by anybody he would have perhaps mentioned
24 such an important matter at these daily meetings.
25 A. I've already told you that about those
1 terrible events and that problem, those problems in
2 Stupni Do, nobody spoke about them. And I did not ask
3 for, because for safety of my own life.
4 Q. Now, when did you leave Kiseljak?
5 A. I left Kiseljak to part of the Vares
6 municipality that was under the control of the Croatian
7 Defence Council at the beginning of September, 1994.
8 Q. And during that entire time period, are you
9 aware of any investigation or any punishment of anybody
10 in the HVO in Kiseljak for what happened in Stupni Do?
11 A. I'm not aware of that, no.
12 Q. And you're aware that by September of 1994
13 the accused, Colonel Blaskic, was then Chief of Staff
14 of the HVO?
15 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have gone one
16 year away from the boundaries of the
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley?
19 MR. CAYLEY: Absolutely not, Mr. President.
20 The document that they put into evidence covers events
21 in 1996.
22 JUDGE JORDA: The witness himself, Mr.
23 Nobilo, said that some villages experienced atrocities
24 and that this happened in 1994. So as regards an
25 important official in the HVO, the question doesn't
1 seem very strange to me, not strange at all.
2 You can continue, Mr. Cayley.
3 MR. CAYLEY:
4 Q. Are you aware that by September of 1994,
5 Colonel Blaskic was then chief of staff of the HVO? He
6 was, in fact, the commander of the HVO.
7 A. I don't know exactly when Colonel Blaskic
8 became commander of the HVO because at that time there
9 was peace. Peace reigned already. And I was president
10 of the municipal assembly of Vares of the civilian
11 authorities, and the army had already been established
12 at that time. And I don't know when commanders were
13 appointed and what posts they held, when who was
15 Q. But you knew that, at some stage in 1994,
16 Colonel Blaskic was the commander of the HVO in the
17 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna?
18 MR. HAYMAN: We're outside the period of the
19 indictment, Mr. President, by 11 months.
20 MR. CAYLEY: And the Defence have taken us
21 there, Mr. President, by the evidence that they have
22 put in.
23 JUDGE JORDA: It was the Defence that brought
24 up this point, Mr. Hayman. Therefore, Mr. Cayley, I
25 ask that you continue. Continue, please.
1 MR. HAYMAN: Just for the record,
2 Mr. President, we put in evidence --
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, everything is in
4 the transcript. Every time you say that, it's put into
5 the transcript, and you can use it at any moment as you
6 like, as does everybody, as the Judges do.
7 MR. HAYMAN: I wanted to state our position.
8 If I'm not being allowed to, then we won't be able to
9 get it in the record.
10 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Express your
11 position but this is part of your time, Mr. Hayman.
12 MR. HAYMAN: That's fine, Mr. President. We
13 introduced evidence of the deteriorating relations and
14 the state of adverse relations between these groups.
15 We did not comment on or introduce any evidence with
16 respect to the accused's activities, with respect to
17 specific crimes by Croats, whether somebody was
18 punished or not punished.
19 And to seek to tarnish the accused for
20 failing to do something in December of 1994 or March of
21 1995, over a year after the end of the charges as
22 stated in the indictment, that is wrong, because an
23 indictment limits and establishes boundaries for the
24 charges so that the Defence has notice and opportunity
25 to prepare to respond. That is what I wanted to
1 state. Thank you.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, you can respond or
3 else just continue. Respond, Mr. Cayley.
4 Let me remind that you the indictment goes up
5 to May of 1994. I think that's not the issue,
6 Mr. Hayman.
7 MR. HAYMAN: January 1994, Mr. President.
9 MR. CAYLEY: The first point that I would
10 make, Mr. President, is that the evidence introduced by
11 this witness does cover the period 1996 when it is
12 concerned with the destruction of Croatian villages. I
13 would also say, and I can only speak from my own
14 system, that evidence which, on a date basis, is not
15 strictly within the confines of an indictment is never
16 excluded if it is relevant for the charges before the
18 Because an offence is committed on a
19 particular day, for example, today, November the 19th,
20 1998, that doesn't necessarily exclude evidence from
21 three weeks beforehand or three weeks thereafter if
22 that is relevant for the Judges to decide on the guilt
23 of an individual. It's ludicrous to suggest that.
24 So I would submit to you that, in fact, it's
25 perfectly reasonable to ask whether or not General
1 Blaskic, as the commander of the HVO, ever did anything
2 about Stupni Do, about the events in Stupni Do.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me ask a question
4 like this: One issue is whether General Blaskic had a
5 responsibility to ensure that any miscreants were
6 punished. Suppose there was evidence that he did seek
7 to ensure that certain miscreants were punished long
8 after the dates prescribed in the indictment. Would
9 there be anything to stop the Defence from producing
10 that evidence? And is the fact that General Blaskic
11 later became chief of staff relevant or not relevant to
12 that question?
13 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, that's a very good
14 question. I think, though, that a priori question for
15 the Court is what is charged in the indictment. The
16 indictment is limited to four municipalities, Vitez,
17 Busovaca, Kiseljak, and Zenica, and it is limited to
18 the time period May 1992 to January 1994.
19 Clearly, what Mr. Cayley has suggested,
20 through his statement to the Court, is that this Court
21 can and perhaps should convict Colonel Blaskic for an
22 omission in December of 1994 or March of 1995, for an
23 omission, that is, failing to punish or investigate
24 someone, for an event that occurred outside of the four
25 municipalities charged in the indictment. That is
1 wrong under every system that I am familiar with, and
2 the Court shouldn't allow it.
3 I agree that evidence of character, if we
4 chose to put into evidence evidence of character or
5 other acts, good acts, perhaps, by the accused outside
6 the period of the indictment, that could be relevant,
7 but the position counsel has taken is not that. He's
8 just articulated a position that suggests that this
9 Court could convict and punish my client for conduct
10 way, way outside the scope of the indictment, both with
11 respect to geographic space and time, and that makes me
12 nervous. It scares me very much to hear an attorney
13 take that position in this high, esteemed court.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I cannot let you
15 insinuate in this public chamber that the Trial Chamber
16 Judges might determine the guilt or responsibility of
17 the accused based on facts that are not included in the
19 My second comment: One keeps speaking about
20 legal systems. Let me remind you that this is not a
21 problem of knowing whether we are applying the common
22 law system or the civil law system or I don't know what
23 other system. There are Judges here who are seeking
24 the truth, and let me recall that the Rules give them
25 all powers to do so. There are several provisions
1 which allow the Judges to arrive at many convictions
2 using various types of evidence.
3 Third, Mr. Hayman, during the
4 cross-examination or the direct examination, which may
5 be extremely long, sometimes these go on for days and
6 days, I very rarely allow myself to intervene because I
7 know that you can always answer at any time, "Your
8 Honour, you don't have the case file. Perhaps the
9 question which seems superfluous to you now will come
10 in support of our arguments three days from now or
11 three weeks from now or six weeks from now."
12 Allow the Judges who also, through the Rules
13 in the Statute, have the power to arrive at the
14 ascertainment of the truth, and they have Rule 98 which
15 they can use at any time that they like in order to
16 order production of other evidence, allow those Judges,
17 because there is a witness who exercised significant
18 functions within the HVO, allow him to answer on a
19 certain number of points; otherwise, he may have to be
20 called back, which would not be a very good way of
21 administering justice either.
22 My last point, which perhaps I should have
23 said first of all, is that the relevant comments of
24 Judge Shahabuddeen perhaps should have closed this
25 discussion and should have closed it quickly.
1 Judge Shahabuddeen?
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me add a little
3 remark to what the Presiding Judge has said. As you
4 know full well, it is not my habit to intervene in the
5 course of a presentation because I understand only two
6 well that counsel pursues a carefully studied scheme,
7 and it is not right to upset the presentation which
8 counsel makes in accordance with that scheme.
9 But the point which I wish to make is this:
10 I share entirely the assurance which the Presiding
11 Judge has given that you need have not the slightest
12 fear that this Trial Chamber will even think of
13 convicting the accused in respect of matters outside
14 the framework of the indictment. That was not the
15 point. The point I thought which you were making was
16 this: That evidence of developments which occurred
17 outside of the time frame prescribed by the indictment
18 was not admissible.
19 What I sought to get the benefit of your
20 assistance on was this: If there was a development
21 subsequent to the time frame prescribed by the
22 indictment, that development being favourable to the
23 Defence, is there anything in law which would prevent
24 the Defence from presenting that evidence? I don't
25 think so. The evidence would be presentable or not
1 depending on whether it is relevant.
2 MR. HAYMAN: I agree, absolutely, Your
3 Honour, but I don't think it's a symmetrical
4 situation. I don't think that means that the
5 Prosecutor can pursue something that they think is
6 advantageous that is outside of the indictment
7 geographically, outside of the indictment temporally.
8 MR. CAYLEY: Do I need to make a comment
9 about this, Mr. President or Judge Shahabuddeen, or can
10 I simply proceed?
11 JUDGE JORDA: You're going to continue. I
12 think that we have to know that using these Rules,
13 which is part of your system, Mr. Hayman and
14 Mr. Cayley, that is, the cross-examination is an
15 attempt to balance the cross-examination in terms of
16 the direct examination. It's simply a question of the
17 proper organisation of the hearing. I know that there
18 are common law countries where there is no limit to the
19 cross-examination. I think that I'm correct in saying
20 that. I look to Judge Riad for confirmation, but we
21 have many Judges who come from that system and say that
22 the rule of balancing cross-examination and direct
23 examination is not recognised in the same way by all
24 common law systems. Therefore, it's a complex
25 question. In addition, we are not bound by those
2 Together with my colleagues, we are trying to
3 administer these discussions properly. If there is
4 something said on one side, we want there to be an
5 answer on the other side. But I would like to say this
6 for the Prosecution and for the Defence, that this
7 cannot be applied without a minimum of flexibility.
8 Why do I say that? Let me explain it to you,
9 and I will be pedagogical for the public now. When you
10 bring in the witness, you, the Defence, or you, the
11 Prosecution, obviously you have prepared him. You've
12 discussed things with him. He, therefore, comes to
13 testify about a very specific and narrow field of
14 questions. Of course, it would be much more
15 counterable for you if the opposing party would limit
16 itself to those specific questions, but you know that
17 that's not how things happen. You used your right when
18 they were Prosecution witnesses, and we, the Judges,
19 whose principal mission is not to find out who is
20 right, the Defence or the Prosecution, but our major
21 task is to know what really happened. Therefore, we
22 cannot deprive ourselves at some point of information,
23 and this is part of what we need to know.
24 That does not mean that we are giving up on
25 the idea of having a proper balance between the
1 cross-examination and the direct examination, but it
2 has to be done with flexibility.
3 Mr. Cayley, continue, please.
4 If you agree, Mr. Hayman, this will not be
5 counted against your time because the Judges have taken
6 a large amount of time.
7 Finish your question, please, because then we
8 will take a break.
9 MR. CAYLEY:
10 Q. Mr. Pejcinovic, your evidence is that during
11 your time of residence in Kiseljak from November of
12 1993 until, I think, September of 1994, you were not
13 aware of any investigation or any punishment of Ivica
14 Rajic or members of the HVO in Kiseljak?
15 A. Let me just add to that, that with the
16 signing of the Washington Accords, the meetings ceased,
17 the daily meetings at 7.00 that I mentioned in the
18 barracks in Kiseljak. And from that time on, I had
19 less information and was not informed as I had
20 previously been informed up until the Washington
21 Accords. For that period, I can safely say that there
22 was no investigation or disciplinary action taken
23 against them, but then afterwards, I ceased to contact
24 the military men of Kiseljak.
25 Q. Were you aware of whether or not Ivica Rajic
1 was still in Kiseljak after the Washington Agreement?
2 A. I don't know exactly whether he left
3 immediately after the signing of the Washington
4 Agreement or 15 days or one month later. I just can't
5 remember because I didn't think about the matter.
6 MR. CAYLEY: We can take a break at this
7 point, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE JORDA: We will take a 20-minute
10 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 4.15 p.m.
12 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume now. Please
13 have the accused brought in.
14 (The accused entered court)
15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley.
16 MR. CAYLEY:
17 Q. Mr. Pejcinovic, good afternoon. Now, a
18 couple of supplementary points about Mr. Ante
19 Pejcinovic. When Mr. Boban made the call to
20 Mr. Petkovic about the condition of Mr. Ante
21 Pejcinovic, was he subsequently released?
22 A. Later on in my further conversations, I found
23 out that Pejcinovic was released on the 22nd of
24 October, 1993. And in the evening he addressed the
25 local population of the municipality of Vares on local
2 Q. So since Mr. Boban only spoke with
3 Mr. Petkovic, it's logical to conclude that General
4 Petkovic subsequently spoke with Colonel Rajic, who
5 then released Mr. Pejcinovic. That's correct, isn't
7 A. I can only say that Mr. Pejcinovic was
8 released after this conversation between Petkovic and
9 Mr. Boban, and I cannot -- I cannot tell what the
10 motive was and who intervened afterwards, and I really
11 don't want to agree with something that is an
13 Q. Now, Mr. Pejcinovic, on the 26th of November,
14 1993, you stated that Ante Pejcinovic flew by
15 helicopter from Kiseljak to Grude.
16 A. Ante Pejcinovic, before the 26th of November,
17 flew from Kiseljak to Grude, because I came to Kiseljak
18 on the 26th of November and I travelled a few days from
19 Herzegovina to Kiseljak. And just after I left Siroki
20 Brijeg I saw Ante Pejcinovic in Siroki Brijeg.
21 Q. How did you know Mr. Pejcinovic had flown by
22 helicopter to Grude?
23 A. He told me that in Siroki Brijeg, that he had
24 arrived by helicopter.
25 Q. Where was the helicopter landing site in
2 A. Helicopters that took the wounded would land
3 on the football stadium, the soccer stadium.
4 Q. And during your stay in Kiseljak, did
5 helicopters regularly fly in and out from Kiseljak?
6 A. Well, one cannot say that they regularly
7 flew, it was only according to necessity, depending on
8 the number of patients and wounded who should be taken
10 Q. Were you aware as to whether or not
11 helicopters ever flew from Kiseljak to Vitez or from
12 Kiseljak to Busovaca?
13 A. I am not aware of that, and as far as I know,
14 no. I can only speak of those helicopters that
15 transferred the wounded, because I would watch that
16 quite often, when ambulances would bring them in, and
17 then they would be transferred to the Split hospital.
18 Q. But you would be unaware of helicopter
19 landing sites in Busovaca or Vitez, yourself, wouldn't
21 A. No.
22 Q. No? Does that mean you're not aware of
23 helicopter landing sites in Busovaca or Vitez?
24 A. I'm not aware of helicopter landing sites in
25 Busovaca and Vitez.
1 Q. You stated that after the 26th of October,
2 1993, you were involved in regular meetings in Kiseljak
3 with Ivica Rajic and other officials in the town; is
4 that correct?
5 A. From the 27th of November, I mean, on the
6 26th, I arrived in Kiseljak.
7 Q. And those regular meetings ceased at the
8 Washington Agreement, at the time of the Washington
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, in those meetings, was the military
12 situation in Kiseljak and Central Bosnia regularly
14 A. At meetings all problems were discussed that
15 were related to the Kiseljak Kresevo enclave. The
16 other areas in Central Bosnia were not referred to very
18 Q. Mr. Pejcinovic, was the military situation in
19 Kiseljak discussed at those meetings?
20 A. Yes, it was, but not in detail.
21 Q. Were the frontlines of the confrontation
22 between the HVO and the ABiH discussed at those
24 A. Since I had come to Kiseljak I was not very
25 familiar with these frontlines, so I wasn't really very
1 interested in this. So all of that was foreign to me,
2 when this was discussed, I mean the frontlines and
4 Q. But it was discussed at these meetings?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, are you aware that Muslim prisoners of
7 war and civilians were used to dig HVO trenches on
8 those frontlines?
9 A. I'm not aware of that.
10 Q. Now, a Defence witness who testified two
11 weeks ago, a Catholic priest, Father Pervan; do you
12 know Ivan Pervan?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, he infrequently attended the meetings
15 which you are speaking of with Mr. Rajic, and he stated
16 that trench digging was a matter that was regularly
17 discussed at those meetings.
18 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the Defence
19 witness is being misinterpreted. He said he would come
20 to see Ivica Rajic in the afternoon for coffee, and he
21 did not say that he would attend these evening meetings
22 at 7.00.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, was it a meeting
24 where they were just drinking coffee, or was it a
25 strategic meeting?
1 MR. CAYLEY: I cannot recall whether the
2 witness discussed hot beverages at the meeting, to be
3 honest, Mr. President. I do recall that he certainly
4 stated that he attended a number of these meetings and
5 he raised the matter of trench digging with both
6 General Petkovic and Colonel Rajic. That is my
7 recollection of the evidence.
8 MR. HAYMAN: My recollection, for what it's
9 worth, Mr. President, is he met with Rajic, sometimes
10 at his house, sometimes at the barracks, but they were
11 personal meetings, they were not meetings of a larger
12 military or civil group of authorities.
13 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will ask the
14 witness. Thank you, Mr. Hayman, we will ask the
16 What kind of meeting was it? Did you meet
17 regularly to drink coffee, or whatever?
18 A. Your Honour, we would meet every evening at
19 7.00 p.m. for work meetings. At these meetings we did
20 not drink coffee, but Father Ivan Pervan never attended
21 those meetings.
22 JUDGE JORDA: All right, I think it's clear
23 now. Thank you.
24 Mr. Cayley, would you modify your question,
25 please, accordingly?
1 MR. CAYLEY:
2 Q. Mr. Pejcinovic, at these meetings in
3 Kiseljak, was the matter of the use of Muslim prisoners
4 of war and civilians for forced trench digging
6 A. No.
7 Q. How many times during this time period did
8 you visit the Kiseljak barracks?
9 A. Every evening meeting were held at 7.00 p.m.
10 at the barracks in Kiseljak.
11 Q. Were you aware during that time period as to
12 whether or not Muslim prisoners of war were being kept
13 in the barracks at Kiseljak?
14 A. When I would come to these meetings I would
15 report to the guard at the entrance and then I was
16 escorted by him to the command of the barracks in
17 Kiseljak, and that is exactly the way I would go back.
18 I did not walk around the barracks otherwise.
19 Q. So if there had been Muslim prisoners of war
20 in other buildings apart from the headquarters
21 building, you would not have been aware of their
23 A. I didn't see them, so that is why I cannot
24 say that they were there.
25 Q. Did you ever have occasion to go to other
1 buildings within the Kiseljak barracks apart from the
3 A. No, because there was no need for me to go
5 Q. Now, you stated in your examination-in-chief
6 that a number of people in Kiseljak said that had
7 Colonel Rajic been in command in January of 1993,
8 Bilalovac would not have fallen; do you recall that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And who was in command in Kiseljak in January
11 of 1993?
12 A. According to what they said, when Bilalovac
13 fell the commander was Mr. Blaskic, Colonel Blaskic,
14 and who was that in January, 1993, that I could not
16 Q. When did Bilalovac fall?
17 A. I do not know exactly, but I know that when
18 the conflict broke out in Central Bosnia, this was
19 sometime in mid-April, so it might have been in May. I
20 don't know.
21 Q. You're not aware that Bilalovac fell to the
22 Bosnian army in January of 1993?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Now, you said that a number of people stated
25 to you that Blaskic was not capable as a commander; do
1 you recall that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Are you aware that he was subsequently
4 promoted to the command of the HVO, in fact, as we have
5 previously discussed in your cross-examination?
6 A. I'm aware of that.
7 Q. So it would be right to say that the
8 authorities in Mostar had a different view of Blaskic's
9 military ability than those individuals in Kiseljak
10 that were speaking to you.
11 A. I don't know what the view of the authorities
12 in Mostar was, but I spoke about the informal
13 conversations I had in the "couloirs" among Rajic's
14 closest associates and the commanders of his units.
15 And the only true fighter for them was Ivica Rajic.
16 They did not even recognise Milvoj Petkovic or Tihomir
17 Blaskic as a true fighter, not anyone else.
18 Q. So this is the chitchat that was taking place
19 between friends and colleagues in Kiseljak, this was
20 the discussion on Colonel Blaskic's military
22 A. These were conversations with the closest
23 associates of Ivica Rajic that were in charge of
24 various areas, and this was before the formal
25 meetings. Before the meeting we would talk, and then
1 they would say that the only true commander of the
2 Croatian Defence Council for the Croatian people, the
3 only one who knows how to defend them, and this is
4 quite obvious in Kiseljak, is Mr. Ivica Rajic.
5 Q. Can you name those people with whom you
7 A. There were many names, but these were the
8 closest associates of his. I could not recall all
9 their names, and there were at least 20 of them.
10 Q. Can you name the closest associates of whom
11 you're speaking?
12 A. I knew some of them by their names, and
13 others I only knew their nicknames. I was never really
14 interested in what was their first name or their last
15 name, because they didn't ask me about my first name or
16 last name, either.
17 Q. Mr. Pejcinovic, you met with these people
18 every night; are you telling the Judges you didn't know
19 what they were called?
20 A. I did not say that I didn't know what they
21 were called. I said that I knew many of them by their
22 nicknames, and only some of them by their names.
23 Q. Name them. Name the people that you spoke
25 A. I can say that, but I don't know what it will
1 mean to you if I say Dzuna, Kopa, so on.
2 Q. Name some of these people with whom you
4 A. I've already said that I don't know their
5 real names.
6 Q. So your testimony to the Judges is that the
7 persons with whom you spoke about General Blaskic's
8 military ability, you didn't know what their real names
9 were and that you met these people every night?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. CAYLEY: The answer was "yes,"
12 Mr. President. The witness said "yes."
13 MR. NOBILO: Of course he said "yes," but
14 before that, he told you the names of those
15 individuals. Everybody knows who Cona is, and you
16 should too, and Dzuna, everybody over there knows who
17 Dzuna is, and they all know them by those nicknames.
18 MR. CAYLEY: We'll move on, Mr. President.
19 Q. Now, do you know when Ivica Rajic was
20 appointed to the command in Kiseljak?
21 A. I don't know.
22 Q. Well, let me refresh your memory. If the
23 witness could be shown Exhibit 456, please,
24 Prosecutor's Exhibit 456/62.
25 Have you had the opportunity to read it,
1 Mr. Pejcinovic?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You'll see that on the 4th of July, 1992,
4 Colonel Blaskic appointed Ivica Rajic as his
5 representative in Operative Zone number 3; do you see
7 A. I see it.
8 Q. And that Operative Zone covered the
9 municipalities of Busovaca, Fojnica, Kiseljak, Kresevo,
10 Kakanj, and Vares; do you see that?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Now, you stated in your examination-in-chief
13 that in November of 1993, Ivica Rajic was in command of
14 the municipalities of Fojnica, Kiseljak, and Kresevo,
15 did you not?
16 A. Kresevo -- Fojnica, Kiseljak, Kresevo, and
18 Q. But in November of 1993, Vares had fallen to
19 the Bosnian army, had it not?
20 A. Mr. Prosecutor, three villages were still
21 under the control of the Croatian Defence Council.
22 Q. So in that time period, in November of 1993,
23 Mr. Rajic was in command in Fojnica, Kiseljak, Kresevo,
24 and in three villages in Vares?
25 A. Kiseljak, Kresevo, part of the Fojnica
1 municipality under HVO control, and part of the Vares
2 municipality under HVO control.
3 Q. Now, Kakanj had come under Bosnian control,
4 hadn't it, by November of 1993?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And, in fact, Busovaca, although you won't
7 know this, was moved to another Operative Zone; were
8 you aware of that?
9 A. I'm not a soldier, and so I wasn't aware of
11 Q. Now, are you aware of who was in overall
12 command of the Central Bosnian Operative Zone from
13 September of 1992 to January of 1994, which included
14 the areas that we've just discussed and a number of
15 others which are listed in this document?
16 A. I know that Colonel Blaskic was the superior
17 for these areas, but as far as the regions I mentioned,
18 I maintain that this was only on paper.
19 MR. CAYLEY: I have no further questions,
20 Mr. President. Thank you, Mr. Pejcinovic.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Cayley.
22 Mr. Nobilo?
23 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President, very
25 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
1 Q. We mentioned language, although that is not
2 the most important thing in the world for this
3 particular case, but let's clarify the question of
4 languages, Bosnian and Croatian. Before the conflict
5 in Bosnia-Herzegovina broke out, that is to say, before
6 1992, what was the language called that you were taught
7 at school in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
8 A. The language was called Croato-Serbian or
10 Q. According to your knowledge, you are an
11 educated man, in the 50 years of the existence of
12 Yugoslavia, did the Bosnian language ever exist?
13 A. No, the Bosnian language never existed.
14 Q. Why did you throw out the word "Serbian" from
15 the Serbo-Croatian or Croato-Serbian language?
16 A. Because the Serbs had carried out an
17 aggression on the Croatian people in
19 Q. Tell the Court, please, Serbo-Croatian or
20 Croato-Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, whatever has
21 changed, did the teachers in the school teach the
22 children the same thing?
23 A. Yes, in Vares, the headmaster in Vares during
24 the HVO and today is Mrs. Senija Karamehic, and she is
25 a Bosniak.
1 Q. Were any of the teachers replaced?
2 A. No. The only replacement were teachers of
3 the Serb ethnic group that went to Serbia and
5 Q. Who was the head of the educational
6 department, the number one man for education in your
8 A. The number one man for education was
9 Mrs. Mufida Dzindo, and she was a member of the Bozniak
10 people. And Mrs. Mufida was appointed by decision of
11 Mate Boban, president of the Croatian community.
12 Q. Suad Imamagic, Rusmir Berberovic, what ethnic
13 group do they belong to and what were they members of?
14 A. They are Bosniak. One was in charge,
15 Mr. Rusmir Berberovic was in charge of civil defence,
16 and Mr. Suad Imamagic was in charge of the PTT
17 communications and links, but later on he left that
18 post, and he was appointed -- as I said, Dr. Edim
19 Ascerija was the president for health matters.
20 Q. Once again a Muslim?
21 A. Yes, a Bosniak.
22 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber, please, we're not
23 going to introduce all these documents, how did you
24 lose your job in the Vares mine?
25 A. I was sacked by decision of the commissioner
1 of the Vares mines. And in this order, it states that
2 I was no longer to perform my job as of the 2nd of
3 November, 1993, and the explanation given was that I
4 placed myself on the side of those hostile to the BH
5 side as a member of the HVO.
6 Q. May we then conclude that you lost your job
7 for political reasons?
8 A. Yes. Yes, I lost my job for political
9 reasons and so did all the Croats, military-able men.
10 They all received orders of this kind dismissing them,
11 and the women and men who were not of military age and
12 worked and went to Kiseljak and Kresevo, they were told
13 that they would no longer be employed because they had
14 not reported for duty for three weeks.
15 Q. You were asked by the Prosecutor, you
16 mentioned a letter of the commander of a Nordic
17 battalion. Would you read out the relevant portions of
18 that letter, very briefly? Give us the date. When did
19 you receive the letter? Who sent the letter? Just the
20 relevant portions of it, please.
21 MR. CAYLEY: Excuse me, Witness.
22 Mr. President, if the witness is going to read from a
23 letter, we would like a copy of it.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I think that the
25 Prosecution counsel should have the letter. That seems
1 more proper to me. Perhaps the Judges should have it
2 as well. At least the Prosecution counsel should. It
3 has to do with character references; is that correct?
4 MR. NOBILO: No, no. I don't have the
5 letter. I have never seen the letter. It is the
6 document belonging to the witness, and if he can read
7 out a part of the letter, well and good. If not, we
8 can skip over it and move forward.
9 MR. CAYLEY: We should have sight of the
10 letter, Mr. President, if the witness is reading from
11 documents; just as when we ask questions of the
12 witnesses, the documents are provided to the Defence.
13 MR. NOBILO: Well, we won't read the letter.
14 We don't want to take up the Trial Chamber's valuable
15 time. We desist.
16 Q. But will you tell us what is stated in the
17 letter? What did the commander of the Nordic battalion
18 tell you?
19 A. When I intervened --
20 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President --
21 MR. NOBILO: From what he remembers.
22 JUDGE JORDA: The witness can say something
23 that concerns him personally and that he not read the
25 What did you want to say? We're losing our
1 patience here. Go ahead.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. Give us the gist of it.
4 A. On the 8th of December, 1993, I sent a letter
5 via UNPROFOR to Kiseljak, to the commander of the
6 Nordic Brigade of the United Nations which was
7 stationed in Vares, and I received a reply on the 15th
8 of December, 1993. In my letter, I mentioned several
9 important facts which took place in the Vares
10 municipality and the suffering and what the villages of
11 Borovica Gornja and Dornja had suffered.
12 Mr. Hakam Birger, the commander of the Nordic
13 Battalion of the United Nations said as follows:
14 "As far as the events in Borovica are
15 concerned, one day after the fact that strong forces of
16 the BH army took control of Borovica, I sent a patrol
17 to that village. Several houses were burning in the
18 village. The interior of the Catholic church had been
19 devastated. We found one dead HVO soldier in the
21 Seven days after that event, I sent a second
22 patrol to the village of Borovica, and that patrol
23 observed that the whole village, including the Catholic
24 church, had been burnt to the ground. One day later,"
25 says Major Birger, "I personally visited Borovica and
1 was touched and moved by what had happened there. On
2 that occasion, my patrol found two dead soldiers,
3 civilians, and took them to the U.N. hospital in
5 And finally, in a final paragraph, it says,
6 "As far as the events in Borovica are concerned, I'm
7 very sorry that the destruction of Borovica was not --
8 that as much attention was not paid to Borovica as it
9 was to Stupni Do."
10 And at the end of this letter, he goes on to
11 state, "I have gained information that Vares for
12 centuries was populated by the Bosnian Croats."
13 Q. Now, Mr. Pejcinovic, please tell the Court,
14 judging by what you know, until the present day, have
15 you ever, ever heard of anyone being held accountable
16 for burning some 20 villages and hundreds of Croatian
17 houses and the looting of hundreds of Croatian family
18 homes in Vares?
19 A. For these murders, lootings and the killing
20 of 14 civilians in the most abhorrent manner, nobody
21 was ever held responsible, as if nothing had ever
23 Q. And let us be quite clear on this, do you
24 think that the fact that the unit came from Kiseljak
25 that perpetrated the atrocity at Stupni Do and then
1 withdrew from the municipality of Vares, and then
2 withdrew from there; was that a provocation towards the
4 A. Yes, this was a provocation, but it was not
5 the main reason why the BH army attacked Vares, because
6 in their report they say the preparations for the
7 attack on Vares started on the 1st of September.
8 Q. There has been by a mistake in the
9 interpretation, or maybe I have misspoke. This was a
10 provocation, in my original question this was a
11 provocation towards the Bosnians not the Croats, I'm
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. Judge
15 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Mr. Pejcinovic.
16 Perhaps I can have the benefit of your great knowledge
17 of the situation to clarify a few points.
18 You mentioned that Ivica Rajic was considered
19 by the people you knew, and I quote the word you said
20 in English, that he was considered as being holy.
21 Holy, that reminds me of a saint or something.
22 Now, would that exclude General Blaskic from
23 the picture? Would that mean that Blaskic's authority
24 was questioned, was disputed, and that his orders would
25 not be obeyed and that he was not in control of the
1 situation? Does the General need to be holy, too, or
2 can he survive beside a holy person?
3 A. Your Honour, as regards that, that everybody
4 swore by Mr. Rajic in Kiseljak, that is true. He was
5 considered to be an idol in terms of the Croatian
6 defence in that enclave. And when somebody is fully
7 surrounded, then it is quite logical that they accept
8 that kind of a fact.
9 And I said in my statement, on the basis of
10 all these stories I came to the conclusion that General
11 Blaskic, or rather Colonel Blaskic, was a very poor
12 soldier. Because it is not that there was such an
13 opinion of General Blaskic only, but all other officers
14 of the Croatian Defence Council, up to the top officers
15 the commanders in the main staff; because they thought
16 that only Mr. Rajic was the person who could defend the
17 Croatian people that were fully surrounded there.
18 JUDGE RIAD: Would that prevent Colonel
19 Blaskic at the time, prevent him from giving orders
20 when necessary?
21 A. As far as I understood, on the basis of
22 everything that happened there, it would not have
23 prevented him from doing it, but I don't think that
24 those orders would have been followed, because I said
25 what kind of an opinion existed concerning Colonel
2 JUDGE RIAD: Now, perhaps your knowledge can
3 extend. Tell me if some serious orders of Colonel
4 Blaskic were, in fact, not followed because of his
5 unpopularity, or anything of that, or his weakness, as
6 you said.
7 A. During the time I was in Kiseljak, at those
8 meetings I never saw or heard a single order issued by
9 Colonel Blaskic. I did not see any of his orders in
10 writing. It is one simple fact, and that is that all
11 orders were issued by Mr. Rajic.
12 JUDGE RIAD: You are speaking only of
14 A. Of Kiseljak, Kresevo, part of the
15 municipality of Fojnica, and part of the municipality
16 of Vares.
17 JUDGE RIAD: You never saw an order by him?
18 A. No.
19 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned, I think,
20 yourself, that the events in Stupni Do were horrific,
21 and you confirmed what the Prosecutor said about
22 burning 60 houses, or something like that, or you said
23 it yourself, that 60 houses were burned. That was by
24 HVO soldiers?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Now, granting, as you said, that
2 you're not aware that orders had been given by Rajic to
3 commit these atrocities, the fact that the soldiers
4 were left to commit them, would that mean that they
5 were under no serious control, or there was no serious
6 attempt to prevent them from doing such things?
7 A. These were special purpose units, and they
8 were under the command of Mr. Rajic, and I cannot claim
9 that somebody had issued orders to someone to commit a
10 crime, and I didn't say that.
11 JUDGE RIAD: No, my question is: You don't
12 know that somebody issued orders, but were the soldiers
13 of the HVO at liberty to commit atrocities with
15 A. Your Honour, as regards these units, the ones
16 I mentioned, I can say quite freely that they were at
17 liberty to act that way.
18 JUDGE RIAD: You said they were under the
19 jurisdiction of Rajic, or was it the jurisdiction of
20 Colonel Blaskic?
21 A. Under the jurisdiction of Colonel Rajic.
22 JUDGE RIAD: And Rajic was on equal footing
23 with Blaskic?
24 A. I only know, I'm not very knowledgeable in
25 these matters, but I know that the units were under the
1 command of Mr. Rajic, because he was in Vares at the
3 JUDGE RIAD: Yes, but in the chain of
4 command, was Colonel Blaskic his superior at that time?
5 A. I do not know what these Operative Zones were
6 like exactly, I'm not very knowledgeable in these
7 matters, but I know that Colonel Blaskic was in command
8 of the area of Vitez.
9 JUDGE RIAD: Now, in one of the documents
10 which we had, I think it's D456, or something, the
11 passage has been referred to by the Defence counsel, I
12 don't find it in English, I have it in French, so, it
13 says: "There is no Bosniak language, and this is an
14 insult to the Croats to try to transform the Croatian
15 language into any type of Bosnian language."
16 Now, would that indicate that those who wrote
17 this, I think it was the Croatian Defence Council, is
18 denying the cultural identity of the Bosniaks?
19 Language is a cultural identity; was that an expression
20 of rejection of this cultural identity in the area?
21 A. Your Honour, when that document was written,
22 then indeed there was no Bosnian language, because
23 there was not a single textbook in the Bosnian language
24 from which one could teach. There were only textbooks
25 in the Serbo-Croat or Croato-Serbian language.
1 JUDGE RIAD: So in a way there was no change
2 in the school, in the school curriculum at all?
3 A. No.
4 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much. By the
5 way, are you related to Mr. Ante Pejcinovic?
6 A. We are not next of kin, we are distantly
7 related. Half of Vares are Pejcinovics.
8 JUDGE RIAD: I see, thank you.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Riad.
10 Judge Shahabuddeen.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Pejcinovic, dreadful
12 things happened in Vares. Before those things
13 happened, would I be right in thinking that the
14 position was this: That the two communities lived in
15 harmony with each other, gradually, however, those
16 harmonious relations soured and deteriorated; would
17 that be a correct picture of the general situation?
18 A. Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, I want you to think
20 back to the period when relations between the two
21 communities were harmonious. At that time what was the
22 body in which authority resided?
23 A. At that time, sometime until April, 1992,
24 there was an assembly of the municipality of Vares, or
25 assemblymen in the assembly of Vares were the
1 legislative branch of government, and there was also an
2 executive branch, that is to say, a municipal
3 government that consisted of representatives of all
4 three national groups.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And then you said in
6 July, 1992 the HVO took authority in Vares. Do I
7 recall your evidence correctly?
8 A. Yes, Your Honour. Not in all of Vares, not
9 in all of the municipality of Vares, but only in part
10 of the Vares municipality which is populated by the
11 majority Croat population.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So the old arrangements
13 went out and new arrangements came in?
14 A. Yes, Your Honour. Because the assembly no
15 longer met. The representatives of the least numerous
16 people in the municipality of Vares, those were the
17 Serbs, they left all bodies of government in Vares, the
18 legislative and executive, and also part of the
19 villages of the municipality of Vares that were
20 populated by Serbs seceded from Vares and joined
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Under the previous
23 arrangements, did the Party of Democratic Action have a
25 A. Yes, according to the old system. In the new
1 system, when the HVO took over, the Party of Democratic
2 Action did not take part in government, but other
3 representatives of the Bosniak people did.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Why did the Party of
5 Democratic Action not take part under the new
7 A. Because they thought that since the president
8 of the municipal assembly, Dario Andric, had resigned,
9 a Bosniak should come in his place, a Bosniak lady, to
10 be precise, Mervana Hadjimurtezic, and that she should
11 head the body which should be called the Presidency of
12 the Municipality of Vares and which would replace the
13 assembly in conditions of war.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, I want you to think
15 of the two communities on the ground, the Croats and
16 the Muslims; were the Croats satisfied with the new
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Were the Muslims
20 satisfied with the new arrangements?
21 A. Your Honour, the majority, rather, 99 per
22 cent of the Bosniak population that lived in the town
23 of Vares, in the urban part of the town of Vares,
24 stayed on. They remained in their homes, they
25 continued going to school, to work, and also most of
1 the pupils from Bosniak villages continued to go to
2 school, and the teaching process evolved in 1992. And
3 during this part of 1993, until the refugees from
4 Kakanj came, the Croat refugees from Kakanj, it was
5 quite normal.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Pejcinovic, I have
7 listened to you, but I have to tell you that my
8 impression is that that was not an answer to my
9 question. People may stay on. My question is whether
10 the Muslims were satisfied with the new arrangements.
11 A. I cannot know, Your Honour, whether all of
12 them were satisfied, but the ones I talked to were
13 satisfied. And it is certain that there were some who
14 were not satisfied, because had all of them been
15 satisfied, a parallel government would not have been
16 established of the Bosniak people in the village of
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you have discussed
19 with us the language change. I ask you this question:
20 How did the Muslim community at large interpret the
21 language change? Did they see the change as intended
22 to replace a language they had been accustomed to by
23 another type of language, however related the two might
25 A. At the time when the HVO was in power, there
1 weren't any possibilities for carrying out a
2 fundamental change of the existing language. This was
3 a language with a few attempts made to introduce some
4 Croat language, but the old textbooks were still there
5 from the socialist system, and the teachers also from
6 the old system, quite a few of them were Serbs who
7 stayed on in Vares.
8 It was impossible during one period of time,
9 during a one-year period, to make such a drastic
10 change. And it was only at the end of '93 and the
11 beginning of '94 that textbooks first appeared in the
12 Bosnian and Croatian languages. And finally in the
13 Washington Constitution, that is to say, in the
14 Constitution of the Federation, we had two equal
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, my impression from
17 what you have been saying is that there was no real
18 difference between the two languages; is that
19 impression correct?
20 A. Linguistic experts say that it is a very
21 slight difference, but it does exist, if we look at it
22 carefully, but it's a very slight difference.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, if the difference
24 was slight, only slight, why was the change made, and
25 why was there insistence on making the change?
1 A. Your Honour, because the language that was
2 spoken in Bosnia and Herzegovina until the war was
3 called Serbo-Croat, but basically it had been the Serb
4 language. And after the Serb aggression on Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina, both the Croats and the Bosniaks could not
6 accept a language which was an aggressor's language to
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let us turn to the Lasva
9 Valley. Rather, let us turn to an entity called
10 Central Bosnia Operative Zone. Are you familiar with
11 that term?
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you say that the
14 area which the term comprehended was a fairly large
15 geographical area?
16 A. Yes.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: But would you say that
18 from the point of view of the HVO, it constituted a
19 single military constituency?
20 A. The area of the Operative Zone of Central
21 Bosnia, Your Honour, could not, or rather could be a
22 single military entity from a military point of view,
23 but from the point of view of the territorial
24 principle, this was impossible.
25 The command of the Operative Zone of Central
1 Bosnia included several enclaves where the Croats lived
2 as the majority population.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Tell me, would military
4 developments in one part of the Operative Zone of
5 Central Bosnia be capable of having an effect on the
6 military situation in another part of the zone?
7 A. In the beginning, this was during 1993, but
8 during 1992, at the beginning of 1993, the HVO was
9 under a single command, but one could notice that the
10 organisation of the defence was carried out exclusively
11 according to the territorial principle in very small
13 There was not a single system of defence, and
14 this was probably due to impediments in communication
15 between the different enclaves and various problems.
16 People within these enclaves probably organised
17 themselves on their own and prepared themselves for
18 fighting, for defence, and the result of this is that
19 these Croatian enclaves fell one after the other into
20 the enemy's hands.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me ask you this
22 question: Was the Kiseljak area, for example, one part
23 only of the zone?
24 A. Yes, yes, it was an Operative Group which was
25 within the Operative Zone.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, having a regard to
2 the problems you have mentioned, was it necessary to
3 have someone in authority who could coordinate actions
4 in the various enclaves?
5 A. Theoretically viewed, Your Honour, there was
6 a need for this, but it was very difficult to execute
7 this in practical terms. If you have no physical
8 contacts with your commanders, then it is difficult to
9 do that.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see the distinction
11 you're making, but I understand you to say that
12 precisely because of those local difficulties, it was,
13 if only theoretically, necessary to have a central
14 coordinator; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, it was necessary to have that, and it
16 was like that under normal conditions. But under
17 conditions of a conflict when the territory of Central
18 Bosnia was divided up into a series of small enclaves,
19 it was practically impossible to organise it.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, who was that
21 central coordinator?
22 A. If you mean the military part, Your Honour,
23 then it should have been the command of this collective
24 area. But because of the divided enclaves, Operative
25 Groups were appointed, and individual commanders of
1 those Operative Groups were the coordinators with the
2 brigades, if that was at all possible as well, because
3 it was impossible by telephone and by any other
4 communication link to command from Kiseljak a brigade
5 in Vares, which is at a distance of some 50 kilometres
6 as the crow flies, let alone by road.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, whatever the
8 difficulties were, was there a central military
9 coordinator in the Operative Zone for Central Bosnia?
10 A. On paper, yes, but I don't know how it
11 functioned in practice. I was not a military man
12 myself, and so I did not have direct contacts, Your
13 Honour, with the coordinators.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: On paper, if only on
15 paper, who was that central commander?
16 A. The commander of the collective zone, that is
17 to say, of the Operative Zone.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Who was that commander?
19 A. Colonel Blaskic.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, one last point: I
21 gathered from what you said that there were refugees.
22 The HVO took in the Croat refugees but arranged for the
23 Muslim refugees to pass on; is that correct?
24 A. When we're talking about the area which I was
25 linked to, the Vares municipality, in 1992, both the
1 Croat and the Bosniak refugees were taken in, both
2 Bosniaks from Sokolac, Han-Pijesak, part of the Olovo
3 municipality, and some Croats from the Ilijas
5 However, in 1993 when the refugees from
6 Kakanj arrived, nobody was able to be put up in Vares
7 anymore, whether they were Croats or Bosniaks. And in
8 1992, as the result of the Serbian aggression, the
9 municipality of Vares took in, while it had the
10 capacity to do so, both the Bosniak and the Croat
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was a stage reached when
13 the HVO sent off the Muslim refugees but accommodated
14 the Croat refugees?
15 A. In the municipality in which I lived, no.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you very much.
17 JUDGE JORDA: I have only one question to ask
18 you. In your opinion, did General Blaskic have
19 civilian powers?
20 A. No, it is my opinion that General Blaskic did
21 not have civilian powers, that he was only a military
23 JUDGE JORDA: For example, he couldn't give
24 any orders to civilians?
25 A. No.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Never?
2 A. I think never.
3 JUDGE JORDA: We spoke a great deal about his
4 authority which apparently was not recognised, among
5 others, by Ivica Rajic. From your point of view as an
6 official in political matters for the HVO, did you
7 recognise that he had any type of competence or
9 A. Your Honour, I did not understand who you
10 were referring to, whether to Colonel Blaskic or
11 Colonel Rajic. Who did you mean?
12 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Perhaps I didn't
13 ask the question clearly. Let me ask it again.
14 I thought that in that zone of command, Rajic
15 was considered as the chief, even as more competent,
16 more authoritative than the accused, if I'm not
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE JORDA: I want to ask you, you as an
20 important political official, did you recognise that
21 the accused had certain authority and jurisdiction or
23 A. For Colonel Blaskic at that time, the time
24 that I spoke about, I did not feel that he had any
25 authority over those areas that we discussed here
1 because, as I said, Your Honour, everything that took
2 place in the enclave, all the decisions made, both
3 civilian and military, the boss was Colonel Rajic.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Were you surprised when that
5 kind of responsibility was given to him, that is, to
6 the command of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia? I
7 suppose you must have been surprised.
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE JORDA: You were. Perhaps you can't
10 answer this, but what factors do you think would have
11 allowed the accused to have such confidence from the
12 political authorities, because basically many people in
13 high ranking positions were not competent, perhaps even
14 in the military sphere. To what do you attribute that
15 career at the time of so many complicated and difficult
16 situations? What would have propelled him to such a
17 high level of responsibility?
18 A. Well, probably it was the result of the fact
19 that the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina did not have any
20 educated officers, and so it was better to have any
21 kind of educated officer than an ordinary soldier.
22 JUDGE JORDA: So he was named because,
23 theoretically, he had been trained; is that correct?
24 A. I think that that's it, yes. Because after
25 all the stories and after all this talking, I'm talking
1 about a part of Central Bosnia and the mood there, and
2 I personally said during the examination-in-chief that
3 I too doubted the competence of Colonel Blaskic.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, my last question:
5 If everybody had doubts as to the military practical
6 abilities of the accused for such a high command, would
7 you be in agreement with me when I say that perhaps
8 people trusted him because he thought the same way as
9 the political project which was being developed by the
10 Croatian leadership? Do you understand what I'm
12 A. I understand your question but I don't know
13 whether everybody believed, Your Honour, whether they
14 all believed Colonel Blaskic. But I'm saying this and
15 I'm speaking for the part where I was personally
16 present, that in talking to people in my region, they
17 did not have confidence in him. I don't know what it
18 was like in the other enclaves because I never went
20 JUDGE JORDA: Well, you haven't completely
21 answered my question. What I was trying to ask, asking
22 you, you who were an official, a local, important
23 official, I was wondering why, in such a difficult
24 situation, in a war situation, the highest levels of
25 the political authorities and command trusted such a
1 high position to Colonel Blaskic?
2 You're telling me that he was not recognised
3 as being competent on the ground, and you're telling me
4 that it's because he was theoretically competent.
5 Well, I can understand that. He had gone to the
6 military academy, and perhaps that's a bit skimpy when
7 you're in a war situation.
8 My question was to know whether you felt that
9 he could have been appointed to that position because
10 politically he may have agreed with all of the
11 assertions that appear in the famous report which is
12 covered by 456 and 475. If you can't answer, then
13 don't. I'm not trying to force you to answer
15 A. Your Honour, I cannot say because my
16 competences are not as broad for me to be able to know
17 why Mr. Colonel Blaskic was appointed to that post, to
18 that position. I can only say, as a man, that it is
19 different when somebody is appointed when you don't
20 have a lot of problems in the region, and then the
21 problems turn up, and then you see the positive and the
22 negative aspects of the situation.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. That's where we
24 will stop. The Tribunal would like to thank you for
25 your contribution, which was a bit long and tiring, but
1 all the more reason for me and my colleagues to wish
2 you a good trip back home.
3 We will suspend until 2.00 on Monday; is that
5 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that's correct.
6 JUDGE JORDA: It's now 5.30. The Court
7 stands adjourned.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
9 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
10 the 23rd day of November, 1998 at
11 2.00 p.m.