1 Thursday, 14th January, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.10 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Mr. Registrar, have the accused brought in, please.
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters. Can everybody hear me?
9 As regards the organisation of our work
10 today, at 2.30 when we resume working, we will have a
11 Status Conference, 2.30. All right, Judge
12 Shahabuddeen, 2.30?
13 The Judge was made aware of our discussions
14 the day before yesterday, and so we will hear your
15 observations, but we will discuss things, that is,
16 discuss the situation in closed session, but this
17 morning, we can hear the Defence witness testimony.
18 Mr. Nobilo, are you going to be conducting
19 the examination-in-chief? If I've understood
20 correctly, there are no specific protective measures
21 for this witness.
22 MR. NOBILO: Yes, that's correct. He did not
23 ask for protective measures, and I will be conducting
24 the examination.
25 Mr. President, I have a request to make,
1 first of all. We didn't work yesterday, and on two
2 occasions, we're quite obviously going to devote some
3 time, very usefully and importantly I might add, to the
4 Status Conference, so that the time for listening to
5 witness testimony has been reduced.
6 We, in The Hague this week, have five new
7 witnesses which have not been heard yet. I'm going to
8 try and be as brief as possible and to focus on the
9 essence with each witness, but may we retain this
10 balance so that the cross-examination be equal in the
11 time span to the examination-in-chief. We're going to
12 speak of events and not of the chain of command. We're
13 going to speak of events that took place in their
14 villages, and if we were to focus our work on this, we
15 might be able to get through by Friday at 1.00 p.m., as
16 you know, Monday is a holiday, and so the costs would
17 be increased disproportionately. So could we try to do
18 this, please?
19 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to consult with my
20 colleague on a point.
21 Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. The Judges' answer
22 was the following: The time for the cross-examination
23 in principle will be exactly the same as the time of
24 the examination-in-chief, nonetheless, with a degree of
25 flexibility with the Prosecution being responsible for
1 demonstrating that he needs more time. Do we agree?
2 In other words, let me repeat myself. The
3 time that will be given to the Prosecutor for his
4 cross-examination, in principle -- in principle, I
5 repeat -- will be exactly the same, that is, cannot
6 exceed the amount of time that the examination-in-chief
7 takes. However, the Judges would like to introduce the
8 notion of flexibility and, therefore, depending on the
9 witness, the Prosecutor will have to tell the Judges
10 that he needs more time, and the Judges will make the
11 evaluation. But in principle, the cross-examination
12 will be the same amount of time as the
13 examination-in-chief for all of the witnesses, all the
14 way through the end of next week, that is, all of the
15 witnesses being heard pursuant to Rule 71.
16 Having said this, Mr. Nobilo, please have
17 your witness brought in.
18 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. This witness will
19 take the longest time, an hour and a half, I suppose,
20 for the examination-in-chief.
21 (The witness entered court)
22 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me, sir? Do you
23 hear me?
24 THE WITNESS: Yes, yes.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain standing for a
1 moment. Tell us your name, your first name, the date
2 and place of your birth, your profession, and your
3 current residence, and after that, you will take an
5 THE WITNESS: My name is Marijan Strukar. I
6 was born on the 6th of May, 1956 in Travnik. I now
7 reside in Vitez, and I work in the insurance company
9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You can now take
10 the oath by reading the statement that's being given to
11 you by the usher.
12 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
13 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may be seated.
16 You have agreed to come to testify at the request of
17 the Defence in the trial which has been initiated
18 against General Blaskic who, at the time of the events,
19 was a Colonel. You will answer Mr. Nobilo's questions
20 and then the Prosecutor's questions and then, perhaps,
21 the Judges' questions.
22 Mr. Nobilo, you may proceed.
23 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 WITNESS: MARIJAN STRUKAR
25 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
1 Q. Mr. Strukar, you've already told the Court
2 that you were born in Travnik in 1956. Can you tell us
3 where you went to school, what schools you have
4 completed, and what you did before the war conflicts
5 broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. I was born in Travnik, I was just born there,
7 but immediately after my birth, I went to Vitez where I
8 went to primary school. After that, I completed a
9 secondary mechanics school in Novi Travnik, and having
10 completed that school, I went to work in the Unis
11 factories in Vitez. The factory's name is Vitezit, and
12 I worked in the maintenance department and was later
13 head of production, head of the production unit and
14 department, for the packaging of plastic explosives.
15 This is a department which was composed of a printing
16 department, cartoning, and a mechanics unit.
17 Q. You said that you lived in Vitez. Could you
18 describe where your house was located, and then you can
19 point it out to us on the diagram that you have drawn
20 for us.
21 A. My house in Vitez, and we in Vitez call the
22 section where my house was located upper Vitez, Gornji
23 Vitez, it was some 200 metres before you come to the
24 Catholic church on the other side of the road, which
25 means approximately 200 metres from the Mahala, that is
1 to say, between the church and the Mahala.
2 Q. Can we define this by saying that your house
3 was what was later to become the frontline between the
4 Muslim forces and the Croat forces in Vitez, between
5 the Mahala and Vitez?
6 A. Yes. That was that particular locality.
7 That was where the delineation ran, the frontline, from
8 my house to that portion.
9 Q. Thank you. Let us now take a look at the
10 diagram. Could you tell us who drew up the diagram and
11 what it represents to help us become better oriented,
12 where the Mahala house is, where your house is, and
13 where the church is?
14 A. I, myself, drew up this diagram to be able to
15 recall where the houses stood, the houses that existed
16 before the beginning of the conflict. On the diagram,
17 I have included the Croat houses and the Muslim houses,
18 all of them, and the coloured ones are the ones that
19 were burnt in the first days of the conflict.
20 May I get up to indicate this?
21 Q. Yes, and would you please explain the symbols
22 you used to denote the Croat houses and the Muslim
24 A. This is my house here (indicating), and the
25 Muslim houses I have marked in the following way.
1 Q. Would you use this colour for your own house
2 and place an arrow, please, by your house?
3 A. (Marks). That is my house or the place where
4 my house was located on the diagram. This is the
5 Catholic church up here (indicating). Down here is the
6 part that we referred to as the Mahala.
7 Q. Just one moment, please. For purposes of the
8 record, you have used an orange marker and have placed
9 an arrow to designate your own house; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. Please proceed.
12 A. Next on the diagram, for purposes of
13 clarification, I have marked all the Muslim houses,
14 houses owned by the Muslims, with squares, whereas the
15 Croatian houses owned by Croats, I denoted with
16 triangles. The others are denoted with squares.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Nobilo, I have a
18 visual problem because the projector is in my way. No,
19 no, it's not necessary to move it. Perhaps Mr. Nobilo
20 can ask the witness to be a little clearer as to the
21 location of his house in relation, A, to the Catholic
22 church, and, B, to the Mahala. I may have missed it.
23 MR. NOBILO:
24 Q. Would you indicate your house once more, but
25 keep the pointer by your house so that the
1 interpretation can catch up with you, so don't move the
2 pointer away from your house for a little while. And,
3 secondly, could you mark the arrow a little more
4 clearly because I can't see it very well, let alone the
5 Judges. Now, try and indicate your house once again,
6 please, to us.
7 A. This is my house here (indicating).
8 Q. Where is the Catholic church? Point that out
9 to us now, please.
10 A. This is the street (indicating). At the
11 upper end lies the Catholic church, so this is the
12 street, going straight down here (indicating), and this
13 is where the Mahala starts, what we referred to as the
14 Mahala. So my house is somewhere midway between the
15 Mahala and the Catholic church.
16 Q. Thank you. We'll leave the diagram up on the
17 board for a moment, but I'd like Mr. Dubuisson to
18 assign a number for that diagram because we shall
19 tender it as evidence.
20 Let me now ask you, a week before the
21 conflict in Vitez broke out, which broke out on the
22 16th of April, 1993, were you employed? Were you
23 working at the time?
24 A. Well, I was employed at the time because my
25 employment did not stop, although in the last couple of
1 months prior to the beginning of the war, there was not
2 enough work for all the employees to do, so that in my
3 department, for example, and that was what happened in
4 all the other departments, we only had the absolute
5 minimum number of workers necessary to perform the
6 tasks that were there to be done, which means that our
7 work had dropped to about 20 per cent of what it
8 usually was, so we went to work for awhile and then
9 went back, and we, in fact, referred to this as
10 waiting. We were waiting for work to turn up for us to
12 Q. So you said that you were at home during this
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Any Muslim or any Croat, were they fired from
16 the factory in Vitez at the time, any single Muslim or
18 A. You mean by some other force?
19 Q. Yes, that they were fired, relieved of their
21 A. No. I don't know of any single case like
22 that. All of us, the Serbs, the Croats, and the
23 Muslims, there were some others as well, nobody lost
24 their job at that time. We were just waiting, and when
25 our time came up, we would spend, that is to say, 15 or
1 20 days at home, and then we would be called to come to
2 work when there was work for us to do.
3 Q. On the eve of the conflict, the 15th of
4 April, 1993, and prior to that, were you a soldier?
5 What was your status at the time? Could you explain
6 this for the benefit of the Trial Chamber?
7 A. Well, where I live, there were very few
8 soldiers, I did not know any, actually, very few, and
9 as far as I, myself, am concerned, for 20 years before
10 the war broke out, I was a member of the voluntary fire
11 brigade unit, and in the last five or six years, I was
12 chief of that fire brigade unit, so that sometime in
13 the autumn of 1992, I received my mobilisation call-up
14 from the Territorial Defence and the Croatian Defence
15 Council. We received joint invitations for
16 mobilisation into the unit for fire protection for the
17 whole town.
18 MR. NOBILO: I would like these two requests
19 for call-up to be handed out. We have copies, so would
20 you assign numbers to them, please, and hand them out?
21 Q. While we're preparing these call-up papers,
22 could you tell us, please, whether your unit was a
23 Croat fire brigade unit, a Muslim one, or a mixed one?
24 A. Well, principally, it was mixed, a mixed
25 unit, because it was composed of individuals who
1 wished, on a voluntary basis, to work in the fire
2 brigade without receiving remuneration for it, so there
3 were Serbs, Croats, and Muslims making up the fire
4 brigade. And the people that did this kind of work
5 were called up and invited to take up their duties in
6 that unit because of what was going on in Croatia and
7 in certain areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 Q. Tell us, please, this multi-national unit,
9 how long did it remain multi-national?
10 A. That unit remained multi-national practically
11 to the very last night before the conflict, yes, that's
12 right, to the eve of the conflict, and the last duty
13 shift that was done was done by a Croat, a Serb, and a
14 Muslim. They all took part in that last shift.
15 MR. NOBILO: I have these two call-up
16 invitations, unfortunately, only in Croatian, because
17 we have received them from the witness, so I would like
18 to read them out. The first is from the army of
20 Which numbers have been assigned to these
21 documents, please? Could you tell me?
22 THE REGISTRAR: For the map, this would be
23 D513. For the first document where the date is on the
24 upper left-hand corner, that's D514, and then the next
25 one would be D515.
1 MR. NOBILO: Now, could we define this
2 document, whether it is a BH army document or a
3 Croatian Defence Council document and the dates.
4 THE REGISTRAR: All right. D515 is the one
5 which has on the upper left-hand corner "Armija BH."
6 MR. NOBILO: Okay. Thank you.
7 Q. I am, first of all, going to read out
8 document D515, the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
9 BH army, the headquarters in Vitez, a call-up paper for
10 service in the BH army, for mechanic Marijan Vladimira
11 Strukar, born in 1956 in Vitez, and the other things
12 that are stated are the street, the street number, the
13 telephone number, and the place of employment have been
14 left blank. "To report, on the 23rd of November, 1992
15 immediately upon receiving the call-up papers to report
16 to the unit," and it says, "CZ," "civilian protection,"
17 that is, civilian defence, "and the fire brigade, to
18 report to the fire brigade headquarters," and it is
19 signed and stamped, and the signature is barely
21 The second document, D514, in the memorandum,
22 we have "Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croatian
23 Community of Herceg-Bosna, the Croatian Defence
24 Council," that is the heading, "Vitez." The number is
25 referred to as "SL." The date is the 23rd of November,
1 1992, and it is a call-up for Strukar, Vladimira
2 Marijan; date of birth, the 6th of May, 1956; rank has
3 been left void; ves, void again; residing in Vitez.
4 The municipality is left blank; street, blank; street
5 number, blank; telephone number, blank; place of
6 employment/company, blank. "To report immediately upon
7 reception of these call-up papers to the headquarters
8 for civil defence, the fire brigade. The locality to
9 be reported to, the fire brigade centre in Vitez.
10 Representative for defence is Dragan Strbac," as far as
11 I can see, signed and stamped, and the little letters
12 below the line states that if the individual fails to
13 comply with the call-up papers and report, that they
14 will be responsible in keeping with disciplinary action
15 that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna is entitled
16 to take.
17 Therefore, Mr. Strukar, are these photocopies
18 an authentic representation of the call-up papers you
19 received on or around the 23rd of November, 1992, the
20 documents that you mentioned a moment ago?
21 A. Yes, these are authentic representations.
22 The originals are here.
23 Q. Your headquarters were in the fire brigade
24 centre. Is that not where the Bosniak, it was called
25 the Muslim police at the time for Vitez, and the
1 Territorial Defence headquarters were, that is to say,
2 the army? So could you explain to us what this was
3 like? Did you have any problems with the members of
4 the army and police of the Muslims in Stari Vitez?
5 A. In addition to the fire brigade building,
6 which was there for years, at least 20 years, I think,
7 at any rate, for as long as I had been a fireman, there
8 are apartments upstairs, and downstairs, there are some
9 shops. And at that time, when they were looking for
10 premises, how should I put this, then some members of
11 the Muslim forces took these premises, the offices and
12 shops downstairs, so that that is where their police
13 was. Some of them were the civilian police, some of
14 them were the military police, I don't know, so it was
15 that building that I just described that leaned against
16 the building of the fire brigade.
17 Q. However, all these armed formations, either
18 civilian or military, belonged to the Bosniak people in
19 Vitez; right?
20 A. Yes, that's right. That's what I said.
21 These were Muslim police forces.
22 Q. Tell me, were there any conflicts or
23 incidents with your neighbours?
24 A. Yes. There were a few incidents. I would
25 like to specifically mention one where I was involved
1 and the fire brigade. One day, I cannot give you the
2 exact date, but that is the day when the bank caught on
3 fire and we went to try to extinguish the fire, my
4 firemen did, not me, because I couldn't make it. And
5 these firemen of mine, they were taken prisoner by
6 these Muslim policemen. I don't know if it is
7 necessary for me to go into all of this, but they got
8 out with rifles, and they sent them all back to the
9 garage, the men and the vehicles, everybody and
11 Q. Was there another incident near the shop of
12 Nikola Krizanac who is a Croat?
13 A. Yes, yes, there was another incident. I
14 would like to show this to you on this diagram, to show
15 you where this shop is. So if this is my house, the
16 shop I mentioned is here (indicating), and the fire
17 brigade building is 200 or 300 metres away from this
18 shop, but it's not here on the diagram, though.
19 Q. Just a minute, please. We have a transcript,
20 you see, so, of course, they cannot visually depict
21 everything that you're saying. So your house is marked
22 with an orange arrow; is that right?
23 A. Right.
24 Q. And Nikola Krizanac or, rather, his house is
25 marked by a triangle which is half red, and the third
1 building along the road going down from the bottom,
2 from Stari Vitez, the third one there; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So now could we hear your description of the
6 A. Yes. The fire brigade building that we
7 discussed is down the road, as we would put it, about
8 200 or 300 metres away from the shop I mentioned. I
9 don't know until the present day why, but the police
10 obviously had received some kind of a report stating
11 that something went wrong, and they came with their men
12 and weapons. They went to that shop, and they stopped
13 a cistern of the public utilities company, and they
14 stopped it on the road, and this took all afternoon and
15 all night.
16 At that time, there simply was no traffic
17 from the direction of my house and the fire brigade
18 building. However, since my house is nearby, during
19 the night, naturally, I was afraid, and I was wondering
20 what was going on, and I had to keep watching to see
21 what was going on, and during the night, I saw this
22 shop being looted. I phoned my own men at the fire
23 brigade building where there were some Muslims too, and
24 I told them, "Tell the commanders that the young men
25 who are there are looting the shop and that they're
2 Q. Who's nervous, the Croats?
3 A. Yes, yes, up there, my Croat neighbours, they
4 saw this too, and this was the situation where there
5 was no shooting and everything, and you don't know what
6 to do, and you see that things are being carried out of
7 the shop. So I informed my colleague from the fire
8 brigade to -- I asked him to talk to the commander
9 there, and he said that he had told him; however, in
10 the morning, when all of this was over, the shop was
11 empty. There was nothing left in it.
12 Q. Let us call this a military exercise of
13 taking positions vis-a-vis the Croats. When did this
14 happen? Can you remember, at least, approximately?
15 A. I really could not tell you the exact date,
16 but it was sometime before the new year of 1992, but I
17 can't remember exactly. Sorry, I said '92. I'm
18 actually referring to December '92, but it was supposed
19 to be the new year of 1993. I'm sorry.
20 Q. And now let us move on to the event that you
21 are actually supposed to testify about. The conflict
22 in Vitez broke out on the 16th of April, 1993. Could
23 you please explain about the 15th of April, the day
24 preceding the 16th? When did you become aware of the
25 fact that something was going on which will later on be
1 linked up to the events of the 16th of April and
3 A. In order for me to answer the lawyer's
4 question, I have to tell you that as soon as the war
5 broke out in Croatia and in the Republic of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we had self-imposed, so to speak,
7 some kind of guard duty around our houses. We did this
8 during the night. These were groups of people who
9 would not go to sleep, and together -- and we didn't do
10 this together with the Muslims. For some reason, we
11 guarded our own houses, the Muslims guarded their own
12 houses, and we took turns, and sometimes there wasn't
13 any guard duty at all when, I don't know, somebody
14 would phone someone and say that the situation was
15 normal. So at that time, on the eve of the 16th, there
16 was no guard duty of this nature, so it was supposed to
17 be some kind of a safe situation.
18 Sometime around 7.30 p.m., a friend of mine
19 came --
20 Q. You're talking about the 15th of April;
22 A. Yes. I'm talking about the 15th of April.
23 I'm talking about 7.30 p.m., approximately. A friend
24 came and said -- well, I cannot give you his exact
25 words, but approximately, he said, "The Muslims are
1 preparing something again. It would be a good thing
2 for you to come so that we could see what to do." I
3 was not really surprised because this had happened
4 before, as I already said. So I went up there towards
5 the Catholic church, and in front of the church, there
6 is a square where, from our childhood days, we would
7 gather and talk and we would play as children.
8 Can I show this on the map? It's over here
9 (indicating). It's this square up here. When I came
10 up there it -- there were already some 15 or 20
11 neighbours of mine who had already come and who had no
12 idea what was going on. Of course, we thought that we
13 should have this kind of guard duty again, to take care
14 of our houses. But since nothing was happening, and we
15 didn't know anything, somebody had received some kind
16 of information and said, "Nothing doing. Perhaps it
17 would be a good thing, nevertheless, for someone to
18 remain on guard duty afterall."
19 And we could not really reach agreement on
20 this. And we said, "Well, how about all of those who
21 are sleepy, going home to sleep, and those who were not
22 sleepy would stay up and patrol," and then they could
23 wake us up later when they were fed up. I was one of
24 the lucky ones who went home, and I went back home -- I
25 usually go to bed late. I sat and talked to my wife
1 for quite some time. My children went to sleep.
2 However, around 11.30 or 12.00 a friend of
3 mine said it would be a good idea if you went out
4 because something seems to be amiss. I didn't want to
5 worry my wife because there were sort of alarms of this
6 kind on several occasions and, when I went up there and
7 came to the square again, I found that there was a
8 group of people there once again, and once again they
9 didn't know anything. But something was felt in the
10 air, that something was wrong. One could feel that
11 something was wrong.
12 And when there were more serious threats and
13 alarms, so-to-speak, those of us who lived nearer to
14 the Mahala, that is to say all these houses here to
15 which I am indicating on the diagram, during these
16 alarms, would take their wives and children and take
17 them away to some of the houses that were situated
18 further away from the Mahala. And as we were not
19 certain what was actually going on, they cautioned me
20 and said that I should wake up my wife and go to a
21 place of greater safety, because, based on the
22 experience of the war in Croatia and
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was usually the civilians
24 closest to the areas where a conflict started were
25 usually the ones to suffer.
1 So that's what I did. I woke my wife up and
2 then the children and I said, "Let's go and look for
3 safety." I took them where there -- and as my parents
4 live in the house next door to me, and I'll indicate
5 this once again on the diagram here. I have my mother
6 and father, my sister and her child. They were all
7 living in the next door house. And so I took them to
8 the house of Nikola Banic, and that's this house up
9 there. Then I went back to fetch my parents. But my
10 father, like all fathers, said, "I don't want to take
11 part in these war games of yours. You've done this to
12 me several times before. I am not going." But I
13 managed to convince my mother and my sister and her son
14 to leave the house.
15 And all of this took place by 3.00 a.m. or
16 3.30 a.m., and some of my close neighbours also moved
17 their families out. And then nothing happened. And
18 the men folk, that is to say we men who were expected
19 to be able to tell their families what was going on,
20 and in fact where my family was being put up, some 20
21 other people were there. But we didn't know anything.
22 We just got information that the Muslims were preparing
23 something, but we actually know what. So we would just
24 stay around the house or smoke outside. And all of
25 this lasted up until dawn. It was still dark, though.
1 And we tried to get more information. I
2 remember that someone at one point said, "You shouldn't
3 worry any more," because we were worried for their
4 families and their safety. And somebody said, "You
5 needn't worry because some young men from Nova Bila
6 have arrived." Nova Bila is by Travnik. And they came
7 and said that we shouldn't be frightened. They said
8 that they were experienced fighters and that they would
9 protect them.
10 And we talked about this, but you could feel
11 the nervousness, it was tangible, and expecting
12 somebody in uniform to turn up armed. And so as people
13 were nervous, someone came and saw us sitting in front
14 of the house and sort of moaning, and they said -- he
15 said, "Now, what are you doing here? Leave that
16 place. Go back down to your houses." So that we were
17 moving around. Can I show this on the diagram? So we
18 moved from this house where my family was situated, we
19 went down this road from Ivica Blaz's house.
20 Q. So on the map those of the Croatian houses
21 are in the upper right-hand corner of the diagram, and
22 they have been designated with a triangle?
23 A. Yes. So we were moving around in this area
24 up here. And that's what happened in the course of
25 that particular night.
1 Q. How did everything start? Could you describe
2 that to us?
3 A. Sometime around dawn, it was already dawn but
4 not enough light yet, we heard a strong explosion. Up
5 until then there had been small scale explosions in
6 Vitez. Some young boys were playing around with
7 bombs. But this was a stronger explosion, stronger
8 than the ones we had previously heard. Now, I am not a
9 professional in warfare or for explosives, but I do
10 know that some form of lightening from the explosion
11 could be heard, and the detonation was audible from
12 where we were somewhere here. And it came across the
13 Lasva River, from across the Lasva River. At the time
14 there were no settlements there, there was just a
15 petrol station and perhaps one house. But I am certain
16 that's where the explosion came from. And we did not
17 know what this was all about. And there was silence
18 for two or three minutes after that explosion. Then we
19 heard sporadic gunfire and, once again, silence
21 However, at that particular moment we heard
22 shooting from this point here, and it was coming from
23 the street. It was coming from the street in which we
24 were located. I don't know what actually happened. We
25 were afraid. We didn't know who was shooting, who was
1 being shot at, why. This lasted some ten minutes, the
2 shooting lasted for about ten minutes, and then some of
3 us rushed up to their families who were put up in the
4 houses over there to protect them.
5 When I approached the house, that is to say
6 when I went from Nikola Banic, that is in the
7 right-hand corner, yes, where my family was located,
8 families were arriving, some Muslim families were
9 arriving, men, women and children. And the young men
10 from Bila expelled them from their own houses and sent
11 them to the houses where our civilians were located.
12 Q. When you say "our civilians," you mean the
13 Croat civilians?
14 A. Yes. I am thinking of my own family
15 principally because my family was there and two other
16 families and the inhabitants of the house.
17 Q. Was there serious shooting in that part of
18 Vitez at the time?
19 A. For me I would say that it was serious
20 shooting, because we heard shots, we heard shooting
21 from rifles. I heard that particular sound. And then
22 afterwards something stronger could be heard in the
23 course of the day. For example, a gun -- a cannon was
24 heard. It was on a truck, on a flatbed truck. It is
25 an anti-aircraft gun with 20 millimetre barrels, three
1 barrels of 20 millimetres, and in the houses where we
2 were located, as far as I could see, rifle grenade and
3 rifle grenades were being seen and shot. So they hit
4 the roofs, exploded and dropped into the yards. So
5 there was shooting of this kind from the rifle grenade
7 Q. What were you able to conclude? Where were
8 these rifle grenades coming from?
9 A. Well, these shells were coming from the
10 direction of the Mahala.
11 Q. Did you hear the whistle of bullets? Did you
12 hear shooting from the Mahala from small arms as well?
13 A. Well, we were protected by the houses in
14 front of us, but there were bullets that hit the tiles
15 of the roofs and, as I say, the rifle grenades which
16 hit the roofs and reverberated and fell into the yards
17 where we were located.
18 Q. What happened next? You were with your
19 father, were you not?
20 A. Yes. I had taken my mother and sister up to
21 the houses up there, but my father didn't want to
22 leave. So this was an anxiety for me. But I didn't go
23 any further because from the upper half, which -- the
24 upper half of the street we could see smoke coming from
25 that side, that is to say across the street. The side
1 of the road opposite my house I could see flames and
2 smoke and the Muslims coming from there were crying and
3 saying that their houses had been set on fire. So that
4 the shooting and the explosion and the houses on fire
5 all led to great fear. I was afraid, more than being
6 afraid for my father and his life.
7 So I was very worried about my own house as
8 well, what had happened to it, because it was set fire
9 to as well. And I consulted with my colleagues and
10 asked them what I should do, and a friend of mine, his
11 name is Mlakic, Darko Mlakic, and he lives in a house
12 in front of mine, towards the Mahala, and said that his
13 father had also stayed in his house because he was a
14 diabetic, and that his brother had remained to look
15 after the father, who was not able to stay on his own.
16 So we decided to go down, because there -- we decided
17 to go and see what had happened to our parents.
18 I remember that on several occasions we tried
19 to leave, but we were not experienced fighters, that is
20 to say we were no fighters at all, and we were very
21 much afraid. And we would move forward a couple of
22 metres or ten metres and then were so frightened that
23 we would rush back, because there were bullets being
24 fired all around.
25 And then we felt ashamed, of course, for not
1 being braver. And we had our sort of male pride, which
2 made us go out again. And then the friend in whose
3 house we were located was a huntsman and he said it
4 would be a good idea to take one of the rifles. And he
5 convinced us to do so, and he gave us his hunting rifle
6 with two barrels and two bullets. And I took this
7 rifle and then we went to move downwards with the
9 Q. How many bullets did you have, actually?
10 A. Two.
11 Q. Had you two bullets?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What about your colleague, the one that went
14 with you?
15 A. He had nothing.
16 Q. Proceed, please.
17 A. This probably sounds strange to you, but this
18 shotgun bothered us more than it helped us, because
19 they were really talking us into it. So the two of us
20 went back and went out again, but we went between these
22 Q. So this is on the side of the road that is
23 closer to the Lasva River; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, that's where my house is and where
25 Darko's house is. We were hiding behind houses, like,
1 you know, what you see on television. And at one
2 moment we realised that quite a bit of time had gone by
3 and we did manage to reach my house and my father's
4 house, and we found my father in the basement of the
5 house. He did go downstairs afterall, although he had
6 stayed in the house. And, of course, I was happy to
7 see that he was alive.
8 However, he said something like, "What is
9 this? What's going on?" And I remember telling him,
10 "Well, at least people are alive." Because until then
11 I had seen all my Croat neighbours, all the Croats, all
12 the Muslims, they were all alive and all of them were
13 in two or three houses --
14 JUDGE JORDA: Would you please turn to the
15 Judges when you answer. Thank you very much.
16 THE WITNESS: I am sorry. All these
17 civilians who were there, our neighbours, Muslims and
18 Croats, they were all staying at these houses, and I
19 know that nobody was killed. And I thought, well --
20 but it was very difficult for me to see the houses on
21 fire because for so many years I had belonged to the
22 fire brigade.
23 And then my father told me, "What do you mean
24 there are no people who are killed? Look at the dead
25 in front of the house." And I asked who, and then he
1 said, "Our neighbour Becko."
2 Q. What is his name?
3 A. Sadibasic is his name, but I remember from
4 the moment he was born, everybody called him Becko.
5 And I said, "Where is he?" He said he was right in
6 front of the house. Since we were in the basement and
7 the basement had a door facing the Mahala and our
8 neighbour Sulejman's door, I peeked through this door
9 and I saw Becko lying in the street, and of course
10 later on I realised that he was dead. Naturally, Darko
11 and I were horrified by this. This was a friend of
12 ours. And until then I had thought that there were no
13 people who were killed or wounded.
14 But then after that my father added that as
15 he went downstairs, he saw that Ejud Sadibasic had been
16 killed and the son of this man Sulejman and also some
17 refugees from Jajce near Salid's house. I tried to
18 talk my father into going back then. I was simply
19 afraid. And I had the feeling that these people who
20 were up there should be told what was going on, because
21 my father didn't want to stay in the basement, but
22 Darko and I went back.
23 Q. Before you describe how you went back, would
24 you tell us whether there were any problems with your
25 car. What had happened to your car and how had it
1 disappeared from your house?
2 A. During this explanation, while my father was
3 telling me about our neighbour Sulejman, that he was
4 killed, I said, "Well, how did this happen?" And he
5 said, "I don't know." But also a boy from Nova Bila
6 was killed too. And then in front of my father's house
7 is the garage where my car is. And he said that he had
8 been wounded there, but actually he had already been
9 dead, and they just thought that he was wounded. And
10 he said that they -- that "He was hit there and they
11 took your car," he said, "to take them to the
12 hospital." I saw that the door, the garage door was
13 ajar, but I didn't really think of going near the
14 garage at that point.
15 Q. And now we are going to stop the
16 chronological sequence of events. So could you please
17 just tell the Court at this point what you heard later
18 and from whom; how Becko was killed, his son and this
19 HVO soldier from Nova Bila, how did this happen?
20 A. At that moment, that is to say when I saw
21 Sulejman, I just knew what my father had told me, but
22 naturally one always tries to find out what had
23 actually happened. So two or three days later I talked
24 to another next door neighbour of mine, but the one who
25 actually lived across the street from me. I am going
1 to show it to you on the map. He lives in this house.
2 Pero Milosevic is the owner's name. He's a Serb, if
3 that's important.
4 And that morning, when there was this
5 shooting and when the houses were on fire and he, poor
6 man, did not know what was going on, because no one
7 called him, the Muslims or the Croats.
8 Q. You mean the --
9 A. Yes, the house is a bit high up and it's
10 rather dominant, so from his window he could see what
11 was going on. He saw these men in uniform, who were
12 running up and down the road, and at one moment he saw
13 -- it's not of course that he could really look
14 through the window. He was standing a bit further back
15 from the window. He saw Sulejman's oldest son, that is
16 the Sulejman I was telling you about who was lying dead
17 in the road, these young men who were coming from Nova
18 Bila. He ran out of the house with a gun and -- I am
19 talking about this house, Sulejman Sadibasic's house.
20 The door is on this side. And he ran out with a rifle
21 and he was running down here below the house. There's
22 a small stream down here. Then he went behind the
23 house and then there was natural shelter here between
24 the fences. And that's where he put his rifle. And
25 then he started shooting at these young men from Nova
1 Bila, and practically there between his house and mine
2 he killed this man from Nova Bila.
3 Q. Just a minute, please, before we proceed.
4 Let us try to clarify this. Sulejman Sadibasic, who
5 were killed, and his son and his sons are Muslims; is
6 that right?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. Could you please proceed now and tell us what
9 happened after that.
10 A. I am telling you about everything that
11 Pero Milosevic had told me. So this oldest son of
12 Sulejman Sadibasic, I think his name was Safet, he was
13 shooting and he hit this young man from Nova Bila. And
14 that's when all the shooting really started that
15 actually killed all these people. I did not mention
16 that before all of this had happened we were all
17 neighbours there. We all speak the same language. And
18 these young men who came in, they had some kind of
19 white bands on their arms. And that is how we
20 distinguished between themselves and us.
21 And, actually, so these men were shooting at
22 all these people who did not have these arm bands. So
23 that is when Sulejman was killed and Ejub Sadibasic and
24 Sulejman's son and another man from Jajce, I don't know
25 what his name was.
1 Q. According to this Milosevic's story, could
2 you use a green magic marker to show where Sadibasic
3 and his sons were killed, and could you use a red
4 marker to show where, according to this story, the
5 soldier from Nova Bila was killed. If you can do this,
6 please do, and I am going to give you the magic
8 I'm sorry I didn't realise that we did not
9 have a green marker. We have a blue one. So please
10 show the blue marker to show the place -- my colleague
11 has a green one, but I think this one is a stronger
12 colour, so we are going to use it. Thank you all the
13 same. So we are going to use the red pen for marking
14 where the man from Nova Bila was killed and we are
15 going to use the green one for showing the directions
16 from which the HVO soldiers from Nova Bila were
17 shooting. So you are going to show where the soldiers
18 from Nova Bila, where those who were shooting.
19 So first of all, where was -- yes. First use
20 the blue pen to show where Sadibasic was killed, and
21 these men, these Muslims whom you mentioned.
22 A. So now I am going to mark the place where I
23 saw Sulejman lying, and after that where I saw his son
24 and this other one. This is where I saw Sulejman
1 Q. So you put in a circle. Could you please put
2 in an even bigger circle, it's not really proportionate
3 to the house, but that's not important. So -- yes.
4 Yes. The blue circle represents the place where
5 Sadibasic was. Please proceed. Where were the other
6 Muslims killed?
7 A. I said that on that day I only saw Sulejman
8 where I saw him, but towards three days later they were
9 still there because nobody could come up to them, but I
10 didn't see it on that first day, but I found out later
11 that his son, Sulejman's son, was killed here on this
12 side. And also there was another body there too,
13 around here. Actually, there were two over there. So
14 I could not see that until later. But that's where
15 they were.
16 Q. Could you now please use the red pen to mark
17 a circle showing where you heard, according to the
18 story you heard, that the Croat from Nova Bila was
20 A. That's the place that my father described to
21 me, because he had already been taken away in my car,
22 and he was here.
23 Q. And now, please, would you use this green
24 marker that we got through the kindness of our
25 colleague, the Prosecutor, could you please draw lines
1 to show the direction in which the other Croats were
2 shooting after their colleague had been killed. Could
3 you please use the green marker to show that.
4 A. It's quite difficult for me -- no, no, no, I
5 am not having trouble with the pen. I mean I did not
6 see these people when they were shooting. I just heard
7 other people telling me about this. So they were
8 somewhere around these other houses that are up there.
9 But Pero told me where Safet had been, so I can only
10 guess, since Safet was here, they were shooting from
11 these houses, from the direction of these houses. Not
12 from the houses, but from the direction of these
14 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I would object to
15 this part of the testimony. This witness did not see
16 this. He is guessing. Guesses cannot help the finders
17 of fact, it appears to me, Mr. President, so I would
19 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the witness is
20 telling us what an eyewitness had told him.
21 Regrettably, the eyewitness had died and this is the
22 only testimony that we can provide.
23 JUDGE JORDA: You may proceed, Mr. Nobilo.
24 Mr. Harmon, the Judges consider that this is a relevant
25 question and the Judges will make their evaluation.
1 This is a very old discussion, that is the one having
2 to do with hearsay, and it was brought up by the common
3 law specialist, which includes, among others,
4 Mr. Hayman. I think each of the parties has allowed
5 each of the other's witnesses to speak when it has to
6 do with things that they did not witness directly.
7 Therefore, this is a relevant question which the Judges
8 will be in a position to evaluate at the proper time.
9 All right.
10 Continue, Mr. Nobilo, and, Mr. Strukar,
11 continue, please.
12 MR. NOBILO:
13 Q. Could you please mark the directions with
14 green arrows, that is to say the directions from which
15 the men from Nova Bila were shooting when they actually
16 shot these Muslims. So these are green arrows. Thank
17 you very much.
18 A. According to the story I heard, it was
19 supposed to be from this direction.
20 Q. Now we are going to continue in chronological
21 order, in terms of what you had seen yourself. So you
22 were coming back from your father, he remained at your
23 house or, rather, his house, and you were moving
24 towards the Catholic church where there were more Croat
25 houses. Could you please describe what happened after
2 A. As I was going back, most of these houses
3 that were marked by a red pen were already on fire.
4 Bullets could be heard. At that time I felt that they
5 were flying pretty low. Probably they were. Darko and
6 I were running. We simply wanted to get there and to
7 tell everybody what we had seen. Naturally, when we
8 got there, since there were both Croats and Muslims
9 there, we said that there were dead people there, and
10 that there was a real war going on.
11 Q. At one point in time did the young men from
12 Nova Bila withdraw?
13 A. After we told them this, they expected us to
14 go back again, to go back down there, because Darko's
15 father and Darko's brother were there too. And we were
16 supposed to try and see whether they were still alive.
17 However, as we were going back, the shooting had
18 subsided. I don't know if you can really say subsided,
19 but if you think of how intensive it was before that.
20 I realised that a single bullet is shooting, so if
21 somebody is shooting, even one bullet can do a lot of
22 harm, but the shooting wasn't that intensive any more.
23 I came across a young man over there near the house and
24 I said, "What is going on now?" And he said,
25 "Nothing. We ran out of ammunition." And I simply
1 couldn't believe it. What kind of an answer was that.
2 When I got down to my father, to my father's
3 house, and as we started wondering how we could reach
4 Zeljko Mlakic's house, all of a sudden these men had
6 Q. What do you mean when you say "these young
7 men?" You are referring to the young men from Nova
9 A. Yes, yes, the young men from Nova Bila who
10 were around my house and these other houses. They
11 simply -- they were nowhere to be seen. When I went
12 back to those houses where there were civilians, they
13 said they saw them get into cars and leave.
14 Q. Tell me, at that time was it around 3.00? Is
15 that correct?
16 A. Perhaps it was a bit earlier than that.
17 Q. All right. At any rate, in the afternoon of
18 the 16th of April, what did the defence of Vitez look
19 like on your side? Who defended the positions from the
20 Lasva River to the road and who defended the positions
21 on the other side of the street?
22 A. At that moment, that is to say when these
23 young men from Nova Bila left, on this side of the
24 street where the Lasva River is --
25 Q. Could you please show us this.
1 A. Yes. This is the side where my house is
2 too. We were there -- I mean, only my friend Darko and
3 I, and our fathers were still in their respective
4 houses. And we were wondering whether they were there.
5 Q. And the only weapons you had were -- it was
6 still the shotgun you told us about?
7 A. Yes, the shotgun I told you about. We did
8 not see anything happening on the other side, I am
9 referring to the other side of the street, because we
10 were not brave enough to call out anyone's name or to
11 peek or whatever. But in the afternoon we did manage
12 to see our neighbours who live on that side of the
13 street, Ljuban Pavlovic with his son, Ivica Tihi,
14 Zdravko Pavlovic, and then we managed to ask them about
15 what had happened to the rest of the people there, and
16 they said that they were on their own too.
17 Ljuban Pavlovic, Ljuban Pavlovic was also a huntsman,
18 so he had a shotgun too, a few of them. So they had
19 some shotguns. And I asked, "What about your other
20 neighbours?" And they said, "No one is there. Only
21 our Muslim neighbours from these houses, they were in
22 Ivan Tihi's house." I am showing you on the map now.
23 I am showing you where this house is.
24 So from them I found out that there were five
25 of them there and the Muslims were hidden in the
1 basement of this house, so that nothing would happen to
3 Q. So the defence was as you described it.
4 However, at one point, on the 16th of April, did you
5 get some help afterall?
6 A. I must say that we were very worried, because
7 that is not the way we had imagined a war to be, the
8 kind of war that was raging all around us. I am
9 referring to the Republic of Croatia and the Republic
10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. We were terrified. These men
11 from Nova Bila came in, they were shooting, they had
12 set some houses on fire and they left. And we realised
13 that our neighbours would feel that we were to blame
14 for what had happened. And we wondered what to do.
15 And we knew that the Muslims had weapons and
16 they had their own police, et cetera, so we were
17 wondering what would happen.
18 However, at dusk, Darko Kraljevic came with
19 his Vitezovi, and this is -- this is -- well, the first
20 time I saw them because before that I had only heard of
21 the Vitezovi.
22 Q. If we were to summarise this day, the 16th,
23 what is your experience? What did you understand? On
24 the other side, on the Muslim side in the Mahala, is
25 there some kind of a serious defence there, more
1 meaningful than the one you had? What was your
3 A. That was my conclusion. These young men from
4 Nova Bila who came and who were shooting to and fro,
5 they were shooting at them and they were shooting back
6 at them, when one of their own was killed, they
7 withdrew because they tried to do some more. They
8 wanted to go all the way up to the point where there
9 were Croat houses, and they didn't manage to do that,
10 and then they withdrew, and they realised that there
11 was some kind of a line over there that was being held
12 by someone.
13 Q. The night between the 16th and 17th, was that
14 a relatively peaceful night without any combat
15 operations of any significance?
16 A. During that night, I realised that it was
17 quite a peaceful night or, rather, later I realised how
18 peaceful the night had been. You could hear a bullet
19 or two or a burst of gunfire or two, and then UNPROFOR
20 tanks, I know that they were going up and down the
21 road, so it was quite a night in terms of some of these
22 events, but there was no fighting because the Vitezovi
23 were somewhere up there near Vlasic facing the Serbs,
24 so it didn't really mean anything for them. I mean,
25 they'd just fire a burst of gunfire into the air and
1 that was it, so it wasn't all that peaceful, but it
2 wasn't bad either.
3 Q. Tell me, as the war went on further, the
4 17th, et cetera, what are the events that you
5 particularly remember?
6 A. In order to explain that, I would have to go
7 back to this night that was quite peaceful, as I said,
8 that my friend and I had agreed to try to reach the
9 house where his father was.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, it's a rather long
11 explanation. Perhaps we could take a 20-minute break
13 --- Recess taken at 11.22 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.50 a.m.
15 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
16 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please?
17 (The accused entered court)
18 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Registrar, for
19 having had the heat turned up here. Otherwise, all the
20 Judges are going to get sick, then the lawyers, then
21 the accused, and then the witnesses, and finally the
23 All right, we can resume.
24 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
25 Q. We arrived at the night between the 16th and
1 17th of April, 1993. You said you would like to add
2 something to your description of the 16th.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I was having a
4 problem with my headset. Would you ask the question
5 again, Mr. Nobilo, if you don't mind?
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. I said that we had stopped with the events
8 that took place in the night between the 16th and the
9 17th of April, 1993, but I had the feeling that the
10 witness wanted to say something more on the events of
11 the 16th of April.
12 A. Yes, actually, I wanted to say something
13 about that particular night and my conduct during that
14 night. The night between the 16th and the 17th of
15 April, I said that there was a lull and that the father
16 of my friend who was with me was in the house in front
17 of the frontline with his son because he was ill. The
18 two of us had decided to try and reach the house to see
19 whether he was alive. We saw that the house was --
20 THE INTERPRETER: I think he said, "not on
22 A. Having been hit by bullets and rifle
23 grenades, and when it was quiet and we thought it was
24 safe, we decided that we would go down by the lower end
25 of the house, and I'll indicate that on the diagram.
1 The two of us were here at my house (indicating), and
2 his house was located here (indicating).
3 MR. NOBILO:
4 Q. So that is on your side of the road. The
5 triangle which is located behind the square house which
6 was half burnt down has a mark within the square?
7 A. Yes. We decided to go by this end where
8 there were no houses, there was just a stream and some
9 bushes, to try and reach the house to see if they were
10 alive. I was a little more afraid because it was not
11 my parent, actually, so I decided that I would stay
12 behind and let him go in front. And when he reached
13 the level of this house, which was half burnt down, he
14 returned because he did not dare go on further. When
15 he came back, he said he had noticed at a window of
16 this half-burnt-down house a light, something that
17 appeared to be a light.
18 Q. Could you show us this house. This is
19 Becko's house?
20 A. Yes, the one who was killed, and he was below
21 this stream, the creek. And when he came back, he said
22 that he felt that, although the house was in darkness,
23 he saw a faint light coming through one of the windows,
24 so he came back, he didn't dare go forward, and I
25 justified this and told him that it was quite natural
1 that he was afraid, and so he came back anyway.
2 So this is an interesting event during that
3 night. It would turn out to be something quite
4 different afterwards.
5 Q. Let us now move on towards the 17th of
6 April. What do you remember about the 17th of April
7 onwards, what events?
8 A. In the morning when it was dawn, shooting
9 broke out again. I did not know who started the
10 shooting, but there was shooting from both sides. The
11 two of us were still there alone, and my father was
12 there with us, and at one point, we did not even think
13 of crossing the road because there was shooting along
14 the road from both sides, and it would have been easy
15 to have been killed there. But the commander of the
16 Vitezovi, Darko Kraljevic, ran over to us to see what
17 was happening. He was a little braver, so he ran
18 across to us, and all we could say to him was that if
19 he could, one of his men or he himself should try and
20 reach the house of my friend to see whether his father
21 and brother were still alive. He promised that he
22 would try to do something, and he crossed the street
23 again. He went to the opposite side of the street.
24 After some time had elapsed, perhaps half an
25 hour or one hour, he told us, calling to us across the
1 road, that he had seen my friend's brother in the
2 house, that he had called out to him, and he said that
3 they were alive but that they were frightened to leave
4 the house, and he said it was rather dangerous for them
5 to return moving along our side of the road, but that
6 he would do his best to pull them out of the house.
7 We attended all this from my house and my
8 father's house, and we later found that he would take
9 out his father, and when he gave him the signal to
10 cross the road, he would do so. So we watched all
11 this, and at that time, Mario, with his mother, crossed
12 the street, but the father was old and infirm, and he
13 fell down in the middle of the road, and then heavy
14 shooting began from both sides, and that was when -- it
15 was like a film, and I saw for the first time one of
16 Darko's Vitezovi rush out into the street and cover the
17 two of them with his own body, sheltering the two, and
18 went down towards the Mahala.
19 Mario returned to collect up his father, and
20 they crossed over and stayed alive, but that is an
21 event that I remember very well to this day.
22 Q. At one point, your house was destroyed. Can
23 you briefly describe to the Court how your house was
25 A. Probably on the second day --
1 MR. NOBILO: We're going to see a video.
2 There is no tone but we'll look at the video.
3 A. Probably on that second day when my friend
4 came to my house and returned to where our families
5 were located, at one point, we heard a strong
6 explosion, and when we turned, we saw that there was
7 smoke coming from the direction of my house. Something
8 told me that it was my house, and I was very much
9 afraid for my father's life, as he was still down
10 there. We rushed back, and there was, indeed, smoke
11 coming from my own house, and I saw that something had
12 hit my house from the direction of the Mahala.
13 Q. Is that your house?
14 A. Yes, that's my house and the place where it
15 was hit by a shell.
16 (Videotape played)
17 A. As there was smoke in the house and the walls
18 were burning, and as I was a fireman by profession, I
19 wanted to extinguish the fire, but I couldn't see
20 anything for the smoke. I just tripped over something
21 that was not usually there, not a usual shape, and when
22 the smoke subsided, I saw that they were the remains of
23 a grenade which was used in a multi-barrel rifle
24 grenade launcher.
25 (Videotape played)
1 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps there is a coordination
2 problem between what the witness is saying and the
3 video or else have the witness comment on the video,
4 but he has to comment about the pictures that we're
5 seeing or else he should finish his narrative -- do you
6 see what I mean, Mr. Nobilo?
7 MR. NOBILO: Yes, indeed. I'd like to have
8 the last picture on the video and have a still of it,
9 if I may.
10 Q. So let's move on from here. I'm going to ask
11 you, and we can play the tape alongside this, whether
12 here on the facade we can see traces of bullets that
13 hit your house.
14 A. Yes, that's right. They are holes made by
15 the bullets.
16 Q. And what's this?
17 A. This is part of the grenade that fell onto my
18 house, and that was what it was like.
19 Q. On that grenade or missile, did you see any
20 markings and were you able to ascertain what type of
21 weapon stormed your house?
22 A. Yes. There is the motor to the rocket, to
23 this missile, it was a multiple rocket launcher.
24 Q. Is that what it said on the remains of this
1 A. Yes, it says so on the lower part where the
2 motor is located.
3 Q. Tell me, the hole in the wall through which
4 this grenade entered, where did it go towards?
5 A. It was turned towards the direction of the
6 Mahala, that is to say, between my house and the Mahala
7 is a meadow, a clearing, a clear space, and then you
8 come to the house which was their defence line, in
9 fact, so that there is a clearing there, in fact.
10 Q. Could you indicate the direction from which
11 the rocket came with a long red arrow using the marker
12 on the diagram, please?
13 A. I can draw this in for you, at least the
14 direction I thought it came from.
15 Q. Looking at the hole --
16 A. Would you give me the magic marker, please?
17 My house was hit here (indicating) from this direction.
18 Q. From the Mahala?
19 A. This is where the Mahala begins, down here.
20 Q. The holes from the bullets that we saw on the
21 facade of your house, where is this facade turned to?
22 A. It is turned towards the red arrow, the same
23 side, towards the Mahala.
24 Q. Go on with your description, please.
25 A. I took this shot several days later. My wife
1 and children were not there, so I took a camera and
2 took these shots to show the state that my house was in
3 because, of course, they were interested in seeing what
4 had happened to the house and didn't dare go and see it
5 for themselves.
6 So it entered half a metre from ground level
7 into the boiler room. On the right-hand side was where
8 the boiler room was located, and these are the doors
9 facing the Mahala. There is a narrow corridor between
10 the two premises. This is the boiler room, and the
11 rocket entered from the left-hand side, and you can see
12 an opening in the wall half a metre up from ground
13 level where it lodged and exploded.
14 (Videotape played)
15 A. That is the destruction to the ceiling of the
16 boiler room.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. And this hole, what about that?
19 A. That is the place of entry of the rocket.
20 Q. And that hole, is it facing the direction of
21 the Mahala?
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. We'll complete the
24 tape there and have the lights on again, please.
25 Q. What happened to the son of the man who died,
1 Sulejman Becko's son? On the evening of that day, did
2 you have a meeting with him?
3 A. Let me clarify matters. He had three sons.
4 One son was killed in the morning. The other son was
5 the one that I mentioned firing from the house.
6 Q. Do you have him in mind or the third son? Do
7 you mean the third son?
8 A. The third son. I said that in the evening,
9 the two of us tried to reach Zeljko Mlakic's house but
10 that Darko had returned because he had seen a light.
11 On the next day in the evening hours, the third son
12 appeared, Sulejman's third son, with a woman and two
13 children, and we asked him, "How come you're here now,"
14 and he said that he was in the basement of that
15 particular house, the house which was half burnt down
16 and marked in red here on the diagram. That house is
17 built in three parts. It has a basement which is on
18 par with the ground, on the ground level, one floor
19 above, and a sort of basement below, below street
20 level. And he said he was in the basement below street
21 level in a room with a woman who was a refugee from the
22 environs of Jajce and her children, and that they lived
23 downstairs in the basement, below ground level.
24 We didn't know what to do with him and them
25 because we were afraid of all the people with weapons.
1 And Darko thought something up quickly and, in fact,
2 put him up, him and the woman and the children, in the
3 house which was located behind my own house. There
4 were two houses here, so it was sort of behind my
5 house, Slavko Batinic's, and he was there with his
6 wife. Slavko's house is a well-built house and
7 protected from the front, and Darko told them to take
8 refuge in his house because nobody could tell what was
9 going to happen next. So he stayed on in that house
10 for two or three days, he was put up there, and we
11 didn't know what to say. We were very happy to see
12 that he was alive, and we were very frightened that he
13 wouldn't be killed ultimately, so he spent two or three
14 days there.
15 As we were armed with this one two-barreled
16 rifle, Darko thought up something and said, "Well, he
17 had an automatic rifle as a soldier. Let's ask him
18 where his rifle is," and we went in the basement to ask
19 him where the rifle was, and he said, "Well, I was
20 waiting for you to ask me that," and he said that the
21 rifle was in his own house, that is to say, the lower
22 half of the house was not completed. There was a mound
23 of sand, and that he had buried the rifle in this mound
24 of sand with the ammunition. And so Darko and I, in
25 the evening, went to recover that rifle which was
1 buried in the sand, along with the ammunition, so that
2 is how we came by a weapon of our own.
3 Q. What happened with Becko's third son in the
5 A. I think he stayed in Slavko Batinic's house,
6 I'm not sure how long, but six, seven, perhaps even
7 eight days. He stayed in the house with the other
8 people who were there, and at one point, we had to say
9 who was located in the house because the military
10 police arrived and they took them all away, the woman
11 and the children and all of them. He was taken away to
12 the part of the town that we call the colony,
13 Kolonija. He was taken to the colony, and several days
14 later when we got a binocular to look through, we saw
15 him in the Mahala, so he was probably allowed to return
16 to the Mahala at some point.
17 Q. Without describing all the shooting going on,
18 can we take note of the fact that there was shooting on
19 the 17th and 18th of April, 1993?
20 A. Yes. After that first day when we didn't
21 know what was happening, there was regular gunfire.
22 The Vitezovi shot towards the Mahala and tried to make
23 their way towards some of the houses there and then
24 would return. I don't know. I didn't see this, but I
25 do know that on the right-hand side of the street, one
1 of the Vitezovi was killed, and this left-hand side,
2 which is where my house is situated, two of them were
3 killed on the left-hand side, and one man was killed on
4 the right-hand side, so that there was shooting on the
5 17th and 18th.
6 Q. On the 18th of April, 1993, there was a
7 strong explosion in Stari Vitez. What can you tell us
8 about that explosion?
9 A. You say "Stari Vitez," you're thinking of the
10 Mahala, are you?
11 Q. Yes, the Mahala.
12 A. Well, I have to keep repeating that when
13 Darko and I went up to visit our families and came back
14 to our own house, we would stop and have something to
15 eat and drink up there.
16 Q. Just one moment, please. My learned
17 colleague has asked us to clarify something. There are
18 two Darkos. There is Darko Kraljevic and there is your
19 friend Darko. So when you refer to your friend Darko,
20 would you say so?
21 A. Yes, Darko Kraljevic was the commander of the
22 Vitezovi, whereas Darko Mlakic was my friend who was
23 with me all the time. He is a young man. He is about
24 22, 23 years old, so that is my friend, Darko. And it
25 was with my friend Darko that I went up towards the
1 houses where civilians were housed. We would go and
2 have something to eat and drink. At one point in the
3 house in which I was located, one of the men up there
4 came into the house and told us to take refuge because
5 there would be a loud explosion.
6 Q. Who told you this?
7 A. Somebody, that man that came to the house.
8 There was information from all sides, and at this
9 particular point, a man walked in and told us not to
10 leave the house, not to leave the premises, because
11 there would be a strong explosion. And, yes, indeed,
12 three to four minutes later, there was a terrible
13 explosion which shattered the windows of the houses.
14 In the church, all the glass fell out of the windows,
15 and we were very frightened, and the men, I know,
16 should have been braver, but they didn't dare go out to
17 see what was going on for the next three or four
18 minutes. And I, myself, saw a lot of smoke coming from
19 the direction of my house and further on from the
20 direction of the Mahala, so that only several days
21 later did I actually gain information that it was a
22 strong explosion.
23 Q. You did not see what happened. What did the
24 people who were there tell you? What was it and who
25 did this?
1 A. Well, you asked me what people had told me,
2 the people who were there with me. In the course of
3 our discussions, and when I talked to people, I came
4 across practically nobody who had seen what had
5 happened. They were just sort of popular tales and
6 fables, one man telling another and passing the
7 information on, and that they were sort of made up
8 stories with regard to the amount of explosives; that
9 explosives had been loaded into a truck and sent down
10 there, as the road was straight, and not a long way off
11 from the Mahala, and that they had sent a cistern down
12 there and that was what had exploded.
13 Q. Did you hear what the idea behind this action
14 was? What did they wish to achieve with this
16 A. No, I did not.
17 Q. You did not. Very well. Thank you. Let's
18 move onto another area. Let's try and round this
19 section off. Could you enumerate the houses in which
20 there were civilians, both Croats and Muslims.
21 A. Would you like me to point them out?
22 Q. Yes, but please point to them a little longer
23 and tell us the names of the owners of the houses which
24 are on the diagram.
25 A. So you want the position where my wife and
1 children were and a lot of Muslims. The owner was
2 Nikola Banic up here. That house was located up here.
3 I cannot be certain how many people there were. It was
4 a small house, but there might even have been 60 or 70
5 people located in that house. This place had persons,
6 both Muslims and Croats.
7 The second house where the owners of the
8 house were Croats, and I think that all the other
9 people there were Muslims, because it had a very
10 strongly built basement. And the house was owned by
11 Slavko Blaz, that was his name, the owner's name was
12 Slavko Blaz.
13 The third house on this side of the road,
14 which is the same side as my own house, is
15 Batinic Slavko's house. Slavko Batinic there was with
16 his wife, and Sadibasic's son and the woman, I don't
17 know her name, but she was a refugee and had come to
19 And the fourth house, I know that in that
20 house on the opposite side of the street was
21 Ivan Tihi. And in addition to the owner and his wife,
22 the others -- the other people put up there were
23 Muslims, and they stayed in those houses for a
24 considerable length of time, perhaps even as long as
25 one month. Not in all of them, but in some of them.
1 Q. Tell the Court now, please, at one point in
2 -- during those days an incident broke out, that is to
3 say the UNPROFOR forces arrived at the Catholic
4 church. What happened? What was that particular event
6 A. I don't really know how to describe this. It
7 wasn't really normal, but in one house there were some
8 remaining civilians, in a house that had already caught
9 fire. This is the house of Asim Topcic. It's this
10 house over here. It's a three-storey house. That's
11 the way it was. One of the brothers lived there who
12 was not married, and the other floor was the brother
13 who had a wife and children, and on the third floor
14 were the parents.
15 Q. Are they Muslims?
16 A. Yes, they are Muslims. And a lady from the
17 neighbourhood, from the house over here, happened to be
18 there. And when the house caught fire, they were
19 probably afraid of the shooting and they probably
20 didn't dare go out. They picked up the phone and it so
21 happened that the phone still worked. And one of the
22 women from the house called the office at the church,
23 the priest answered the phone and she said, "The house
24 is on fire. We are burning. And we don't dare go out
25 of the house." And then this priest went to that house
1 and -- see how brave he was. He got them out of the
2 house and took them into the parish house, the one
3 where the priests live, the one next door to the
4 church. And one woman asked them to let them use the
5 phone so that they could make a phone call. And they
6 did let them use the phone and she started making phone
7 calls all over Vitez. She didn't manage to reach
8 anyone. She reached some of her family in Zenica,
9 though. She said that they were all alive and well and
10 that they were at the church.
11 That is probably the information she gave,
12 because about half an hour later the UNPROFOR units
13 surrounded the church very quickly, and they probably
14 had received information that Croats were holding
15 Muslims captive there in the church. However, the
16 priest explained what happened, that no one was there
17 in the church and that he was actually keeping these
18 people in his very own apartments.
19 Q. Is that the kind of information that Radio
20 Zenica had continuously been broadcasting?
21 A. Yes, we heard that on Radio Zenica. It was
22 really hard for me to say exactly what it was, but the
23 Croats from Gornji Vitez turned the church into a camp
24 and they were keeping Muslim prisoners there.
25 Q. And now these civilians, these Muslims, lived
1 with Croat civilians. The war is going on and days are
2 passing by. How long did they stay there? Did anyone
3 arrest them at any point in time, take them captive,
4 take them prisoner? What was their treatment? How
5 were they treated? How were Muslim civilians treated?
6 A. To tell you the truth, I can't tell you
7 exactly how many days they had spent there. First of
8 all they were not all at the same place, and in those
9 houses they practically actually remained there until
10 they ran short of food. And everyone brought things
11 from their own homes. However, this went on for a
12 considerable length of time. So then all this food
13 that was there, that had actually been in these houses,
14 was finished. And Nikola Banic, he had a small kiosk,
15 a small shop across the street from his home, and that
16 is where they had food for the longest period of time.
17 And some of the Muslims that were in the
18 house of Slavko Blaz, it's this house here, see, they
19 agreed with the owner, because indeed no one came and
20 told us anything. They didn't tell us what to do. And
21 they said -- actually, one of the Muslims who was here
22 in the house asked whether he could ask someone to give
23 them permission to be transferred to a house that is on
24 the same side of the street but that is closer to the
25 church. It was one of their houses, you see, because
1 it was over here and up there. And they all could be
2 transferred there, so that they would be as far away
3 from the shooting as possible. And then they indeed
4 did move to this other house up there.
5 So this went on for about a month or so.
6 Some people found ways and means of reaching Travnik,
7 Zenica. I know that some people remained there even
8 until late in the summer.
9 Q. You are referring to 1993, aren't you?
10 A. Yes, I am.
11 Q. Tell me, at any point in time did anybody
12 detain them, arrest them, lock them up, put them under
14 A. No, no, no. I know that at these houses
15 where they were staying they lived under the same
16 conditions that my wife and children did. They walked
17 all over the house. They took whatever they needed.
18 They were not imprisoned by anyone.
19 Q. Was there any violence directed against
20 them? Living conditions were poor for all, but was
21 there any violence?
22 A. There was no special violence from no one's
23 side. I know of one case, though, because there are
24 some people who were not exactly on very good terms
25 from the pre-war days, and I know there was one case
1 when somebody went to seek someone else with a Muslim
2 with whom he had quarrelled before the war, but didn't
3 even find him.
4 Q. Did someone move them out in the sense of
5 putting them into trucks and leaving -- and making them
6 leave, or did they do this individually?
7 A. They did this on their own. They realised
8 that there was no food, that there were no clothes to
9 wear. They sought ways and means of leaving through
10 us. I should say, although I was in no position to
11 help anyone, they tried to find ways and means of
12 reaching Travnik, Zenica, so it wasn't that everyone
13 left at the same time. But when someone would find
14 someone over there, if there was a cease-fire or
15 something, then one by one these families were leaving
16 and going to Zenica or Travnik. It's not that someone
17 herded them altogether and took them somewhere.
18 You remember I mentioned Ahmed Topcic. He
19 stayed. He didn't feel like going anywhere and he had
20 no place to go. And some people tried to talk him into
21 trying to leave too, because he had some relatives
22 there and they had already found accommodation
23 anywhere. Then he left and went towards Travnik.
24 And once, after the war, I saw a picture of
25 an exchange taking place near a bus, and I saw him and
1 his family right by that bus.
2 Q. You described the military situation that
3 prevailed in that part of Vitez. So tell us, please,
4 after these first days of chaos, did you manage to get
5 organised somehow? Did you become a soldier? Did your
6 neighbours become soldiers? Did you get a commander?
7 How did all of this evolve?
8 A. I described the situation to you as to how I
9 got weapons from the mosusanta (phoen), et cetera, and
10 then my father remembered that the man from Nova Bila,
11 who was killed, had a weapon too. And then Darko found
12 his weapon as well near the garden. So we had these
13 two weapons, I don't know how to put this, military
14 rifles. But we were so tired, because we were so
15 frightened. We didn't dare go to sleep. Perhaps we
16 would just doze off a bit.
17 Then Darko Kraljevic, the commander of the
18 Vitezovi, was going back towards the church and he was
19 looking for these other people of ours, and he made
20 them replace us so that we could get some rest. And
21 day after day there were more and more of us down
22 there. And then we asked ourselves, could we please
23 know what is going on here and who was in charge. And
24 we ourselves appointed Nikola Banic some kind of
1 Q. Tell me, Nikola Banic, you chose Nikola Banic
2 to command what territory?
3 A. Perhaps it's going to seem a bit ridiculous
4 from a military point of view, but since we had no
5 contact with our neighbours across the road, because
6 they were still shooting there and there were bullets
7 flying all over and one could get killed, so we agreed
8 that he would command this part of the street, that he
9 would be our commander. I don't even know what to call
10 him. And then we found out that on the other side of
11 the street, that they had also agreed that one of them
12 should be in charge. And then we talked about it
14 During those first days of the war I truly
15 cannot remember who was in charge, Vlado Darnecar
16 (phoen) or somebody, but at any rate, that is the way
17 they elected one of them to take care of things and --
18 Q. So these were self-organised units, but when
19 were you mobilised? When did you actually get call-up
20 papers? When did you come to realise that you belonged
21 to a military unit? When was this?
22 A. Well, to tell you the truth, there were some
23 people who did have some knowledge of the military, and
24 they said that this was no way to proceed. And they
25 were shooting in the hills too. And then they knew
1 before the war there was -- an HVO commanded the hotel
2 or someplace like that, police wherever, and we asked
3 these people to go there and to ask them what we were
4 supposed to do.
5 And I know that we succeeded in these
6 attempts of ours. In the second half of May we
7 received, officially, some kind of certificate saying
8 that we belonged to some kind of unit of the Croatian
9 Defence Council. This was my first encounter with that
10 kind of thing.
11 Q. And until the end of the war, is that the
12 frontline that you remained at?
13 A. Yes, I remained at that frontline until the
14 end of the war, that is to say where my house is, but
15 afterwards, when there were a lot of people killed
16 around Vitez, and when there were hardly any
17 inhabitants left over there on those lines, and then we
18 received some kind of orders from our commanders there
19 that we were supposed to go to those lines too. And
20 then they would take us there for three or four days
21 and then we would go back, and then others would come
22 back and then we would go back.
23 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Oh,
24 just a moment, please.
25 So we have completed our questioning, but
1 before we offer into evidence the three exhibits we
2 wish to tender, could we define this map, could we show
3 things on this map.
4 Q. Is it true that Muslim houses are depicted by
5 little squares?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And Croat houses by triangles?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Is it true that the pink colour shows every
10 house that was on fire?
11 A. Yes. Red or, rather, this pink colour shows
12 the houses that caught fire, but houses where there
13 were only a few rooms or one room burning, those were
14 marked differently.
15 Q. So this situation with these burned houses,
16 how could we show this in terms of the sequence of
17 events, dates? When did this kind of situation occur?
18 A. This situation occurred practically on the
19 first day.
20 Q. On the 16th of April 1993?
21 A. Yes, yes. We in our parts call it the first
22 day of the war.
23 Q. And were there any changes afterwards, as far
24 as the burnt houses are concerned, or did everything
25 remain the same?
1 A. Until the war everything remained the same.
2 And as far as the burned houses, there were others that
3 were hit badly, but that's it as far as the houses that
4 were on fire are concerned, because afterwards there
5 was some kind of line, our line and Muslim line, that
6 was established. So that's the way it was.
7 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. So we would like to
8 tender into evidence these three pieces, that is to say
9 this map and the two other documents. Thank you.
10 JUDGE JORDA: No objection from the
12 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, no objection.
13 THE REGISTRAR: If you permit me, there were
14 four exhibits, because there was also a videocassette.
15 JUDGE JORDA: The map which is on the easel,
16 the two service orders, that is the call-up orders, and
17 then the video. And the video is D516. Very well.
18 Mr. Harmon, are you going to conduct the
20 MR. HARMON: Yes, I will.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, how long about
22 was the examination in chief? About. Flexibility.
23 THE REGISTRAR: One hour and 55 minutes.
24 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Two hours. Is that
25 about how much time you are going to need, Mr. Harmon,
1 or will it be less time than that? You don't have to
2 take two hours, you know.
3 MR. HARMON: I know, and I probably won't,
4 Mr. President.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. All right. We
6 still have another 30 minutes. I suppose you would
7 like to begin right now. All right. Proceed.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Harmon:
9 Q. Good morning, Mr. Strukar, my name is Mark
10 Harmon. I am going to be examining you. Seated to my
11 right is my colleague, Mr. Andrew Cayley, from the
12 Prosecutor's office, and to his right is Mr. Gregory
14 I would like to begin. I will go slow in my
15 questions, because you need time to listen to the
16 translation. If there is anything that's unclear,
17 don't hesitate to ask me.
18 Let me first of all ask a question about your
19 background. Did you serve in the former JNA?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. When was that?
22 THE INTERPRETER: Witness, please speak into
23 the microphone.
24 MR. HARMON: If you would speak into the
25 microphone. And when you answer my questions, if you
1 would address the Judges, as opposed to addressing me.
2 You can look at me when I ask the questions, but your
3 answer should be directed towards the Judges.
4 Q. And my question to you, Mr. Strukar, is when
5 did you serve in the former JNA?
6 A. In 1976.
7 Q. And in what unit did you serve in the JNA?
8 A. I served in the Strala S1M in light
9 anti-aircraft units.
10 Q. And in the course of your service in the JNA,
11 did you receive basic infantry training?
12 A. Perhaps the answer is going to be a bit
13 ridiculous, but I didn't really because I spent most of
14 my time as the commander's secretary.
15 Q. But did you familiarise yourself with arms
16 and weapons in the course of your year that you spent
17 in the JNA?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you have basic courses that related to
20 how to perform your duties as a soldier in the JNA in
21 the event of war or with a threat of war?
22 A. Yes. We finished that part. But I must add
23 that it was always against some kind of imaginary enemy
24 outside the former Yugoslavia.
25 Q. Now, you left the JNA in 1976, and I take it
1 you returned to Vitez; is that correct?
2 A. That is to say all of 1976 and then the
3 beginning of 1977, and I returned to Vitez only
4 afterwards because you actually had to do your military
5 service for 13 months.
6 Q. All right. And then, I take it from your
7 background, you eventually went to work in the
8 Vitezit factory; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, while you were in the fire brigade, and
11 you mentioned that you were the chief of the fire
12 brigade, did you have any kind of training that related
13 to physical fitness? Did you have courses? Did you
14 have to stay fit to be a firefighter in Vitez?
15 A. I belonged to the fire brigade before I went
16 to do my service in the army, that is to say I joined
17 up in 1973. So when I got back from the army I
18 rejoined the fire brigade and the commander of -- I
19 actually became the commander of this fire brigade six
20 or seven years before this war of ours broke out. And
21 there were no special requirements, if I understood
22 your question correctly, in terms of physical fitness,
23 except for the fact that firefighters, after a certain
24 period of time, would have to take certain exams as to
25 how to extinguish a fire, et cetera. So I went through
1 all of that. But this was not a professional
2 organisation. This was a voluntary fire brigade. Then
3 these members of this brigade elected me to be their
5 Q. Okay. Now, what is your father's name?
6 A. Vladmir Strukar.
7 Q. Does he go by the name of Vlado?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Was he a neighbour of Mr. Sadibasic, the
10 elderly gentleman you said had been killed?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, I would like to direct your attention
13 first, Mr. Strukar, to the evening of the 15th of
14 April, 1993.
15 A. (No translation)
16 MR. HARMON: We received something that may
17 have been an inadvertent conversation taking place in
18 the interpretation booth.
19 Q. Did you hear my question, Mr. Strukar?
20 JUDGE JORDA: The French was spared in this
21 case. Unfortunately, but apparently it was spared.
22 All right. Proceed.
23 MR. HARMON:
24 Q. You testified on the evening of the 15th that
25 a friend of yours came and said, and I quote, "The
1 Muslims are preparing something." Who was that friend
2 that came to your house?
3 A. I was thinking about that, because this
4 happened rather often, as I said, but on that key
5 evening of the 15th it was probably Ivica Blaz.
6 Q. And was Ivica Blaz a member of the HVO?
7 A. No. He was a driver in the fire brigade.
8 Q. Now, in your neighbourhood that you have
9 kindly drawn a diagram of, were there members of the
10 Viteska Brigade living in your neighbourhood?
11 A. At that time, before the war broke out, I'm
12 thinking now, I'm trying to think of all these people,
13 I'm trying to remember, this area (indicating) near the
14 Catholic church, I cannot remember a single person who
15 belonged to some of these units, so practically, no.
16 Q. Do you know who Mario Cerkez is?
17 A. Yes, I know Mario Cerkez. We worked in the
18 same factory.
19 Q. Was he a member of the Viteska Brigade, and,
20 if so, what role did he play?
21 A. You're trying to take me back to that time,
22 but I simply did not know that.
23 Q. I am trying to take you back to that time
24 because you've testified in great detail about that
25 time, so I would like to ask you some questions. Did
1 you know Mario Cerkez, and what role did he have in the
2 Viteska Brigade? Can you answer that question?
3 A. Yes, I can. I can tell you what I know in
4 the following sense: I heard that he was commander of
5 that brigade, but I never had the opportunity myself of
6 going to see him or seeing him in his capacity of
8 Q. Do you know where his headquarters was
10 A. I think that it was in the hotel.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Turn to the Judges. I
12 understand that it is not easy. You have the right to
13 turn to the Prosecutor when he asks you the questions,
14 of course, that's natural, but when you give your
15 answers, turn to the Judges, please. Thank you very
18 THE WITNESS: I apologise once again.
19 A. The gentleman asked me whether I know where
20 Mario had his headquarters, and my answer was that we
21 knew that they were in the hotel and that I knew that
22 it was in the Hotel Vitez in Vitez.
23 MR. HARMON:
24 Q. Did you ever visit the Hotel Vitez prior to
25 the outbreak of the war, and when I'm saying "prior to
1 the outbreak of the war," let me be more specific,
2 within a week or two prior to the outbreak of the war
3 in April?
4 A. A week or two before the outbreak of the war,
5 no, but everything that I considered to be my life,
6 when the HVO headquarters were in the hotel, I went
7 just once at the invitation of another man. I went up
8 to his office there.
9 Q. Who was that?
10 A. It was Pero Skopljak.
11 Q. What role did Pero Skopljak have in the
13 A. I think he was something in the civilian
14 police, perhaps the chief of civilian police. I'm not
15 quite sure.
16 Q. Now, on the 15th of April, 1993, in the
17 daytime, were you at work at the Vitezit factory or
18 were you at home or were you somewhere else?
19 A. Quite certainly on the few days prior to the
20 15th, I was waiting. I was on this waiting list at
22 Q. So you were probably at home on the 15th; is
23 that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. On the 15th of April, 1993, in your
1 community, did you see any unusual activity taking
2 place with HVO soldiers moving about, anything
3 different and out of the ordinary?
4 A. No. If you listened to me when I was
5 talking, I said that there were night watches,
6 together, separate, or so on, but on those days, there
7 was no night watch set up, nor was anything taking
8 place at all.
9 Q. So on the 15th of April, 1993, you don't
10 recall anything unusual taking place in your community
11 in respect of the movement of HVO soldiers or the
12 presence of HVO soldiers; is that your testimony?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay. Then I understood your testimony to be
15 that after your friend, perhaps Ivica Blaz, came to
16 your house and said, "The Muslims are preparing
17 something," and that was around 7.30 in the evening,
18 that you and others gathered, 15 to 20 neighbours
19 gathered near or in the square near the church. Were
20 the 15 to 20 people who gathered in the square near the
21 church all Croats?
22 A. Yes, they were Croats.
23 Q. Did you have a discussion with any of those
24 15 to 20 neighbours to find out what it was that was
25 about to happen?
1 A. Well, naturally we talked, because, as I
2 said, this was not the first time. These kinds of
3 alarms occurred previously, and it was just so much
4 smoke without fire. So these people and Ivica Blaz,
5 who told me on that particular evening that something
6 was wrong, was one of those people who were prone to
7 create a little more panic than was absolutely
8 necessary, at least that's what we thought.
9 Q. I understand. But what was it that you were
10 told was going to happen, if you were told anything at
12 A. Well, word for word, he told me that it would
13 be a good idea for me to go up there because it
14 appeared that the Muslims were preparing something,
15 words to that effect.
16 Q. Did you say, "What is that something they
17 were preparing?" Did you ask him what it was, to be
18 more specific?
19 A. No, because it had happened on several
20 occasions before that, and when I testified, I said
21 that we had problems with the cistern and other things
22 in the course of the day, I don't want to tire you with
23 that, some shooting. Someone would come with a car, he
24 would be stopped, and then there would be shooting on
25 the street. There were sort of alarms of this kind.
1 We considered it to be the normal run of things at the
3 Q. Now, given that you were on a heightened
4 state of alert yourself because something might happen,
5 did you see anything unusual in your community in
6 respect of the Muslims who lived in your community?
7 A. I didn't.
8 Q. So you didn't see any Muslim armed people
9 walking around in your community the night before the
10 attack; is that correct?
11 A. No.
12 Q. That is correct or that is not correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did you see any armed Muslims walking in your
15 community the night of the 15th of April or the early
16 morning of the 16th of April prior to the commencement
17 of the attack?
18 A. I did not, no.
19 Q. Now, as I understand your testimony, you went
20 home, but at 11.30 to midnight, your friend, again,
21 returned and said, "Get out. Something is amiss." And
22 you went back to the square, and, again, as I
23 understood your testimony, there were a large number of
24 people in the square. Did I understand your testimony
1 A. Yes, you understood it correctly, but you
2 just said "many people," and a moment ago, you said "15
3 to 20 people," so those were the same people who were
4 there at around 7.30 p.m.
5 Q. So at 11.30, were the same people who had
6 been in the square at 7.30 still in the square at 11.30
7 to 12.00?
8 A. Yes, because I said that we had agreed that
9 half of us would go home, and that after midnight, they
10 would wake us up when they had had enough and send us
11 there. And that was the time from the beginning of the
12 war conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was
13 quite normal that somebody would be awake all night and
14 patrol the house, around the house.
15 Q. Now, were there any Muslims in the square
16 when you returned the second time, that is, around
17 11.30 or midnight?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Now, did you, on that second occasion, ask
20 your friend, "What was it that was amiss?" Did you get
21 any additional details?
22 A. Well, quite naturally, I was interested in
23 knowing, but the information was coming in very
24 sparsely. It was difficult to arrive at any
25 information. People were just saying that there is
1 something wrong, we don't know what it is, but there
2 was nothing concrete, nothing said in concrete terms.
3 Q. Did you, based on your personal observations,
4 see anything that looked to you to be amiss?
5 A. Not at that point, no.
6 Q. Now, after you returned to the square the
7 second time, as I understand your testimony, and please
8 correct me because my notes are a little bit unclear
9 here, you went back to your house to get your family
10 and went to your parents' house to get your parents out
11 of their house, and you tried to get additional
12 information; is that correct?
13 A. More or less, yes, that is correct, what you
14 noted, but I said that first I took my wife and my
15 children, and then they told me up there, "Where are
16 your father and mother? It would be a good idea if
17 they were safe," and I said that this had already
18 happened on previous occasions. We were afraid for the
19 lives of our wives and children and parents, that they
20 would be the first to be attacked, but at least five or
21 six times, don't hold me to that figure, in the course
22 of the summer of 1992 up to those events, they would be
23 taken up there to sleep and be brought back and start
24 the whole process over again. So it did not seem to be
25 anything unusual for that particular occasion, out of
1 the ordinary.
2 Q. Now, during this time period that we've just
3 talked about, somebody told you you should not worry
4 because the men from Nova Bila had arrived?
5 A. I was not told this directly, I don't think I
6 said that, but as our wives and children and the
7 females who were in the house, there was not enough
8 room for all of us in the house, so we were outside the
9 house, and people would be coming all the time, and
10 there were some funny incidents. Somebody would fall
11 down the stairs. I don't remember who said what, but
12 information had arrived, not only to me, they told all
13 of us, "You needn't worry. Some young men have come
14 from the direction of Nova Bila," and they said that we
15 shouldn't worry.
16 Q. Did you understand that those young men who
17 had come from Nova Bila to be HVO soldiers?
18 A. At that time, that's what I thought, yes.
19 Q. And what time did you receive that
20 information, that you did not have to worry, that men
21 from Nova Bila had arrived? Do you recall,
22 approximately, what time that was?
23 A. It is difficult to say now, to give you the
24 exact minute and hour, but it was in the morning around
25 4.00 a.m.
1 Q. Okay. Now, you had gone back to a particular
2 house with your family, had you not, and you took
3 refuge in a particular house with your family after you
4 retrieved them; am I correct?
5 A. You said that I had taken them to safety, and
6 I thought, as a man, I needn't take cover, take safety
7 in the house, so we were all around the house where our
8 women and children were located.
9 Q. So you remained outside with your friends?
10 A. Yes. Actually, there were two houses and
11 some outhouses, so there was enough space to move
12 around outside all these buildings.
13 Q. Would you kindly take the pointer that's in
14 front of you and just point on the diagram that you
15 prepared, where was the house where your family had
16 taken refuge?
17 A. There are two houses there (indicating)
18 belonging to Mr. Nikola Banic. In front is an old
19 house, and this is the new house with a stronger-built
20 basement. So you enter the old house from this side,
21 and from the other side, the new house. So they were
22 in the old house and in the new house, and we were
23 moving around outside, around here.
24 Q. So it's a house that is located not far from
25 the Catholic church in Vitez?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, you testified next that you, at some
3 point in time, heard a strong explosion. Do you
4 remember approximately what time it was that you heard
5 that explosion?
6 A. It is difficult to say exactly what the time
7 was, but I do remember that it was dawn, and as it was
8 mid-April, it could have been somewhere around 6.00
9 a.m., because I know that it was dawn but not light
10 enough to be daylight, so it was still dusk. So I
11 don't know what time day breaks at that time of the
13 Q. Where were you specifically when you heard
14 that explosion?
15 A. I was situated here (indicating) by these
16 houses where the families were. There is a house here
17 belonging to Mirko Blaz, and there are some sheds here,
18 wood sheds, and so on, so there was a little shelter
19 there, and I was here (indicating), next to Mirko
20 Blaz's house.
21 Q. Were you inside a shelter?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Now, up to the point in time where you heard
24 that explosion at dusk, had you seen any Muslims with
25 arms walking in and around or through your community?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Did you notice any unusual activity in and
3 around the Muslim houses prior to hearing that large
5 A. No.
6 Q. Now, once you heard the loud explosion, to
7 your knowledge, if you know that, was it a shell that
8 detonated? Was it a cannon or a large weapon firing?
9 Can you describe what you heard?
10 A. Well, let me tell you, in addition to what
11 you asked me about my military experience, that is to
12 say, from my past, at that time, I didn't know any of
13 this. It was an explosion, a little stronger than the
14 ones I had heard before that when some grenades
15 exploded, because at that time, some people had
16 grenades of this kind and would throw them at shop
17 windows, but this time, it was a somewhat stronger
18 explosion, and in the course of the war later on, I
19 realised that it was a mortar.
20 Q. So you reconstructed from the noise later on
21 to conclude that the noise you had heard initially was
22 a mortar; is that fair to say?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you know where the mortar came from, the
25 firing came from? Were you able to reconstruct that as
2 A. No, no, because at that moment, at that time,
3 where we were located, nobody, and especially me and
4 all of us there, we could not have known. Perhaps we
5 had heard this earlier on, had we been accustomed to
6 hearing a noise of this kind, but it was just a strong
8 Q. So as you sit here today, can you testify
9 whether that mortar was fired by the HVO or by the
10 Muslims or do you know?
11 A. I'm not aware of that.
12 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, it's 1.00.
13 Mr. Strukar, thank you, we will continue at some point
14 after lunch. I have no further questions at this
15 point, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to try to organise
17 our work. We said that we would have our Status
18 Conference at 2.30, but it might be more appropriate to
19 finish with Mr. Strukar.
20 About how much more time do you need,
21 Mr. Harmon?
22 MR. HARMON: I think we're proceeding at a
23 decent rate, Mr. President, perhaps another hour, but I
24 don't want to be held to that. I certainly will
25 complete my examination within the hour and fifty-five
2 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. If Judge
3 Shahabuddeen agrees, I think that we would release the
4 witness this afternoon, which means that we would start
5 at 2.30 with Mr. Strukar, and then after about an hour
6 and a half, which would correspond with the afternoon
7 break, before we move to hear the next witness, we
8 would have our closed session Status Conference.
9 Do you agree with that, Mr. Hayman?
10 All right. Mr. Strukar, you'll be here again
11 at 2.30.
12 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- Upon commencing at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.
3 Have the accused brought in, please.
4 (The accused entered court)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Have the witness brought in,
6 please, Mr. Dubuisson.
7 (The witness entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Strukar, we are going to
9 continue with the cross-examination.
10 Mr. Harmon.
11 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President, Judge
12 Shahabuddeen, counsel.
13 Q. Mr. Strukar, we will continue with the
14 cross-examination now. I wanted to go out of the
15 sequence that we were following in your testimony just
16 to revisit an issue, and that is on either the 14th of
17 April, 1993 or the 15th of April, 1993 did you go to
18 the fire station where you were the chief of the
19 volunteer fire brigade?
20 A. I think that I did. I think I did, yes,
21 because they were sort of regular visits to the fire
22 station to see what was new there, and I would return
23 after that.
24 Q. And you testified that the Muslim Territorial
25 Defence forces were located either in the same building
1 or next door to the building of the fire brigade; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you see any unusual activity at the fire
5 -- at the Territorial Defence offices on either the
6 14th or the 15th of April, activity that was out of the
8 A. No, I did not see that, because I only moved
9 along the street from my home to the fire station,
10 which is also along the same street.
11 Q. Now, Mr. Strukar, I would like to return to
12 where we left off on the cross-examination just before
13 lunch. That point was that we were discussing the
14 explosion that you heard around dusk, and I believe
15 your testimony was, on direct examination, that after
16 you heard that explosion that you heard some shooting
17 from nearby. Would that be small arms fire, rifle fire
18 that you were describing?
19 A. It was the explosion in the morning hours
20 that I spoke about. If you are talking about that, I
21 did not say there was shooting from close-up, but from
22 that direction. I heard a burst of gunfire, small arms
23 gunfire, from that direction.
24 Q. And when you say "that direction," which
25 direction are you referring to?
1 A. The direction from this house where I was at
2 the time on the left-hand side of the Lasva River, from
3 the direction of the Lasva River, which means from that
4 side. And at the time I was not able to assess the
5 distance, how far away it was.
6 Q. Were you able to assess who was shooting,
7 whether it was the HVO or whether it was some other
9 A. My assessment is -- of course I could not
10 give any exact assessment. What we could see beside
11 the houses went up to the Lasva River. Across from the
12 river there are several houses inhabited by Croats and
13 we knew that from the distance that these houses were
14 that this was further up, where there were no more
15 houses, just a petrol station.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, in your direct examination
17 you then said that you went to a particular location
18 and you saw Muslim civilians starting to arrive, and
19 that those Muslim civilians had said to you that the
20 men from Bila had expelled them from their own houses.
21 Do you remember that testimony?
22 A. I remember that part of my testimony, but
23 what you have just said, that this was the men from
24 Bila, I said that. I did say that. But, in fact, they
25 did not know who it was, who had done this. I don't
1 know if you understand me.
2 Q. Fine.
3 A. Everybody was crying general -- everybody
4 saying something. So it was difficult to discern what
5 they were saying and whether that was actually what it
7 Q. Let me ask you, let me focus on that
8 particular series of events in your testimony. What
9 time of the morning was it that you first saw these
10 Muslim civilians arriving to your location?
11 A. Well, shall we say that a point for measuring
12 time was from the explosion that I heard, which means
13 that it was 10, 15 minutes after the explosion had
15 Q. Now, approximately -- when these Muslims
16 arrived, are you referring to men, women and children?
17 Can you describe the Muslims, how many there were, and
18 the composition of the group that you saw?
19 A. I think -- I saw this group where my family
20 was. That's the group I saw most often. And there
21 were men there and women and children of all ages. And
22 also that is parts of our family, my own family and the
23 families of others, so that there were, as I said, some
24 60 to 70 civilians located in that particular house.
25 And of that number, I can't tell you exactly, but, say,
1 half, half. Half were Croats, half were Muslims.
2 Q. Were any of the Muslims that you saw fleeing
3 toward your direction armed with any type of weapon?
4 A. No, no. But people said that the young men
5 who stormed their houses had been looking for arms and
6 said "surrender your arms."
7 Q. Did the group of Muslims we've been
8 discussing, did they appear to you to be frightened?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now --
11 A. We all were.
12 Q. -- did you have a chance, you personally have
13 a chance, to talk to some of these Muslims who had
14 sought refuge at a house where you were?
15 A. I talked to them, but I can't tell you
16 exactly whether this was straightaway in the morning or
17 in the course of the day.
18 Q. Now, will you tell the Judges what those
19 Muslims told you that happened to them.
20 A. They were ordinary reactions, that is when I
21 saw that they could talk to somebody of the Croat
22 ethnic group and that they could get information from
23 me, they would usually say, "Well, what's all this?
24 What's going on? What's all this happening?" But --
25 and those were the type of questions that they asked.
1 Q. Did they tell you that members of the HVO had
2 attacked their houses, had entered their houses?
3 A. Not formulated in that particular way. I
4 cannot assert that they formulated it in that way, but
5 we understood something of the kind. They did not
6 explain anything much. They just asked us what was
7 going on.
8 Q. To the best of your ability, do you recall,
9 Mr. Strukar, can you tell the Judges how they
10 formulated what had happened to them that morning?
11 A. Let me tell you in the following way.
12 Perhaps you are generalising matters, that they had all
13 come at the same time, whereas they would come family
14 by family from one house and another house. It wasn't
15 a sort of general stand. And when we asked what had
16 happened, they said that they had knocked on their
17 doors, asked for arms, and sent us towards this house.
18 Nobody brought them to the house. They just said, "Go
19 up there where all the others are."
20 Q. When you say the Muslims said "they," who did
21 you understand "they" to mean?
22 A. Well, I thought that these people, the people
23 who were there in the houses, because the times were
24 such that you didn't ask a lot of questions,
25 especially if you were afraid. Quite simply, it was
1 better for you not to ask if you see something on
2 fire. You know that lots of things could have
4 Q. I'm not sure, Mr. Strukar, you understood my
5 question. In response to my question, two questions
6 ago, you answered, "And when we asked what had
7 happened, they said that they had knocked on their
8 doors." And my question was: Who were the Muslims
9 referring to when they said, "They knocked on our
11 A. Quite obviously, they had in mind the people
12 who were there. You see, it was an event. Their
13 houses were on fire, they were shooting, and they were
14 conscious of the fact that it wasn't me, that it wasn't
15 the people who were there, but the people over there,
16 not those of us who were here.
17 Q. All right. Let me change the topic briefly.
18 If I could have Prosecutor's Exhibit 105, please, shown
19 to the witness.
20 Mr. Strukar, while the Registrar is getting
21 Prosecutor's Exhibit 105 to show you, you testified
22 that at some point in time that morning of the 16th of
23 April that you saw an anti-aircraft gun on the back of
24 a truck arrive in your area. Is that correct?
25 A. That's correct, yes, I saw it in the late
1 morning hours parked near my father's house.
2 Q. Now, let me show you Prosecutor's Exhibit
4 Mr. Usher, it needs to be changed. It's the
5 wrong -- and perhaps I will show it first on this
6 computer screen. But then if you could take that
7 exhibit and show it to the witness, because it's a
8 small image. Hand it to the witness.
9 Let me ask you, Mr. Strukar, is this the
10 anti-aircraft gun on the back of a truck that you saw
11 on the morning of the 16th of April 1993? Does it
12 appear to be similar to it?
13 A. Yes, I think that's it. Because it looked
14 something like that.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Strukar. Now, that
16 anti-aircraft gun was in the possession of the HVO, was
17 it not?
18 A. You keep referring to the HVO, but at the
19 time it belonged to those young men who had come on
20 that particular morning.
21 Q. Okay. Well, those were members of an armed
22 force group, were they not? They were members of the
23 -- let me backtrack. Were those men wearing
24 camouflage uniforms?
25 A. I said that -- I saw some of them in the
1 course of the day later on, and, yes, some of them were
2 wearing vests, camouflage sorts of vests, and green
4 Q. Did they have HVO patches on their
6 A. I can't say with any certainty because they
7 are insignia which could not have been seen. You
8 couldn't see what somebody had on his arm, but I know
9 that around their arms, they had white bands.
10 Q. Which side of the conflict did you think they
11 represented, the Croat side or the Muslim side?
12 A. I thought they represented the Croat side.
13 Q. All right. Now, let me ask you, in respect
14 of the white bands that you've described, could you
15 give me a little bit better picture of what those white
16 bands looked like, where they were? Were they attached
17 to the uniform? Were they hanging from the uniform?
18 A. I'll try. Perhaps I'll discover this
19 tomorrow or the day after, but they were individual for
20 each soldier, depending on how they had placed this,
21 and the day after or the day after that, I got a band
22 like that, and I pinned it on so that it was hanging
24 Q. What did the white band that you received
1 A. It signified a sort of permit to be able to
2 move around, not to be shot at and killed by the
4 Q. Did you see any soldiers with white ribbons
5 hanging from their uniforms on the 16th of April?
6 A. On the 16th, that is the first day, yes, I
7 think I did.
8 Q. Now, do you know the significance of those
9 white ribbons that were hanging from those soldiers'
11 A. At the time, I did not; however, after the
12 war, those ribbons changed. Sometimes they were red,
13 sometimes white, and at other times blue, depending on
14 who would determine what coloured bands were to be worn
15 one day and the other, so that the enemy would have a
16 different coloured ribbon and so that there would be
17 nothing mixed up.
18 Q. So those white bands and, later on what you
19 learned, other coloured ribbons were bands that were on
20 the soldiers' shoulders in order to identify them as,
21 for example, Croat soldiers and not Muslim soldiers; is
22 that right? It was a matter of identification.
23 A. Yes, that's what it was, sort of.
24 Q. Now, when was the first time that you were in
25 the Lasva Valley, Mr. Strukar, that you ever saw white
1 ribbons hanging from soldiers' shoulders. Was it the
2 morning of the 16th of April, 1993 or had you seen that
3 type of ribbon hanging from a soldier's shoulder prior
4 to the 16th of April, 1993?
5 A. No, I had not seen them previously.
6 Q. Now, were you aware that, in other parts of
7 Vitez and in other villages in the Lasva Valley,
8 including Ahmici, the Croat soldiers were wearing
9 similar types of ribbons hanging from their shoulders
10 on the morning of the 16th of April, 1993?
11 A. I was not aware of that, no, because what we
12 saw on the first two or three days, that was in a very
13 small region and not very far from where my family was
14 located and the house where I lived.
15 Q. Later on in the morning of the 16th of April,
16 as I understood your testimony, additional Muslims came
17 running from the area of the Catholic church, in that
18 general vicinity, and you testified on direct
19 examination that they were crying, that you could see
20 flames from houses in that particular area, and that
21 they, the Muslims, had said that their houses had been
22 set on fire. Do you remember that portion of your
24 A. Yes, I do. That was what it was, more or
25 less, but it was a group of Muslim civilians who came
1 to the house where my own family was, my wife and
3 Q. Now, who did they say had set their houses on
5 A. There were no names mentioned. Quite simply,
6 they were conscious of the fact that it wasn't us and
7 that we were the ones who should help them.
8 Q. Did they say that other Croats had set their
9 houses on fire?
10 A. More or less, that sort of thing.
11 Q. And did they say that those other Croats were
12 armed with weapons at the time they set their houses on
14 A. Yes, they said that they had weapons, and
15 they asked us who they were because they didn't know
16 them either, and we didn't know them because they were
17 not our neighbours.
18 Q. And did you conclude that the people who set
19 the Muslims' houses on fire may have been the soldiers
20 from Nova Bila?
21 A. We would find out about that only a few days
22 later as things developed further, when we realised
23 what was going on, when we managed to talk, and then we
24 asked each other whether anyone had recognised these
25 people, and that is how we found out that they had come
1 from Nova Bila.
2 Q. Let me ask you then, later in the morning, I
3 take it, you went then to try to find your father at
4 his house. Approximately what time of the day was
6 A. I said that it was late in the morning,
7 perhaps 10.00 or 10.30, up to 11.00 a.m. at the most.
8 MR. HARMON: If I can just have a minute,
9 Mr. President.
10 Q. And when you arrived at your father's house
11 later that morning, your father, was he the next door
12 neighbour of Mr. Sulejman Sadibasic?
13 A. Sadibasic, yes.
14 Q. Did your father have a weapon in his house,
15 to your knowledge?
16 A. My father did not have any military weapons,
17 but I know, when I was a child, that he had some kind
18 of a pistol because he worked at the electric public
19 utilities company, but I hadn't seen that particular
20 pistol for a long, long time, so I don't know whether
21 he did have any weapons then.
22 MR. HARMON: Could I have the assistance of
23 the registrar? Could I see Prosecutor's Exhibit 102,
25 Q. Mr. Strukar, I'm going to show you some
1 photographs and I'm going to ask you to identify them.
2 Let me show you the three photographs I'd like to show
3 you first, and then we will place them on the ELMO,
4 which is the machine to your left, so that the public
5 can see these as well, but let me show these to you
6 first so you can take a look at them, and the image, I
7 think, is much better when you take a look at them
8 before they're placed on the ELMO.
9 THE REGISTRAR: It would be better not to put
10 these photographs on the ELMO because they were
11 admitted as confidential documents.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Do you have a set for the
13 Judges? Well, I'm not sure how the Judges are supposed
14 to check on the work that is being done in the
15 courtroom if -- at least one so that Judge Shahabuddeen
16 and I could verify what the document is saying about
17 the photographs that are being shown to him.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Once they've been chosen, we
19 can first show them to you, and then show them to the
21 JUDGE JORDA: There are no other copies, is
22 what you're saying.
23 All right, Mr. Hayman is going to do us a
24 service. I want to thank you very much, Mr. Hayman.
25 I can promise you that, Mr. Hayman.
1 MR. HARMON: Mr. Registrar, thank you for
2 bringing that to our attention. We will not show these
3 on the ELMO.
4 Q. Mr. Usher, if you could show these to the
5 witness, and we'll start with the photograph,
6 Mr. Strukar, that is marked 232.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Actually, if you would take a look at 232,
9 233, and 234, the three photographs, first of all, take
10 a look at those photographs, the three of them, do you
11 recognise the body to be that of Mr. Sulejman
13 A. Yes, that is the body of Sulejman Sadibasic.
14 Q. And he is in front of a house that appears to
15 be burned. Was that his house?
16 A. Yes, that is his house.
17 Q. Now, as you look up the road in the direction
18 that the gun barrel is pointed, on the left-hand side
19 next to Mr. Sadibasic's house, there's a house that is
20 not burned. Whose house is that?
21 A. You said next to Sadibasic's house?
22 Q. Yes. In this ...
23 A. That is Zeljko Mlakic's house. When I
24 testified, I told you about him. He was ill and he was
25 at home with his son.
1 Q. Right. Is Zeljko Mlakic a Croat?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And proceeding next to Zeljko Mlakic's house,
4 there appears to be another house. Whose house is
5 that; do you know?
6 A. I think it is registered in the name of
7 Marijan Mlakic.
8 Q. And Mr. Mlakic is also a Croat, is he not?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, I think photograph 233 is just, you'll
11 see, a slightly different image, a different
12 perspective, of this very same image that's shown in
13 232, and the same is true in 234, it's a closer image.
14 So let me ask you some questions then about your visit
15 to your father's house and your viewing of the body of
16 Mr. Sulejman Sadibasic.
17 There has been testimony in this case from
18 the person who took this photograph that it appeared
19 that Mr. Sadibasic had had his throat cut. Did you go
20 close to Mr. Sadibasic's body and did you inspect it?
21 A. No, no, I never saw that.
22 Q. Did you see what appeared to be bullet wounds
23 of any kind in the body of Mr. Sadibasic?
24 A. No, I didn't see that either because I never
25 approached the dead body. There's a distance involved
1 from there to my father's house, it's about 30 metres
2 away, and I saw him from that distance, and not even
3 from this angle, but from the left-hand side through
4 the garden. That's the way I saw him.
5 Q. When you saw the body of Mr. Sadibasic, did
6 you see any weapons near his body?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Now, let me ask you, you said in your
9 testimony as well that some time later -- and I'm
10 finished with those photographs, you can give them back
11 to the usher, if you want -- some time later, I believe
12 you said you saw some other bodies in and around the
13 house of Mr. Sadibasic, and I wasn't sure when it was
14 that you saw those other bodies. Was it on the 16th or
15 was it a few days later?
16 A. No, it wasn't on the 16th. It was
17 considerably later because even the unfortunate
18 Sadibasic remained lying there by the road for a long
19 time, I can't remember exactly how long, but about
20 seven or eight days, and rumours -- people were
21 wondering where they were.
22 Q. How old was Mr. Sadibasic, the one whose
23 image is depicted in that photograph?
24 A. I'm sorry. I never really thought about it,
25 and now I'm trying to think in relation to my own
1 father. Well, I don't know, probably around 60. I
2 really don't know. He even looked a bit older than his
4 Q. Now, please assist me if you can,
5 approximately how many days later was it that you saw
6 the bodies of Sulejman's son and two other bodies that
7 you marked on the diagram that you prepared? How many
8 days after the 16th of April was it that you saw those
10 A. You're trying to get a very precise answer
11 from me, but I can't really give you that kind of
12 answer, six or seven or eight or ten days, I don't
13 know, but I could not see them from the part where we
14 were. So my friend Darko and I, we were planning this,
15 how we could get closer to Sulejman's body so that we
16 could bury it, but, I don't know, I think it was about
17 ten days or so. The Croats who were there from the
18 upper side, they tried to stop these UNPROFOR tanks to
19 ask them to put them away. I can't tell you exactly,
20 seven or eight days, I don't know.
21 Q. Well, that's fair, it's been many years ago,
22 and I'm not trying to pin you down to a particular
23 date, I'm just trying to get an approximation. But
24 when you ultimately returned and saw these other three
25 bodies, the son of Sulejman and the other two bodies,
1 did you go close to those bodies and did you inspect
3 A. No, no.
4 Q. Did you get close enough to see how they had
5 been killed?
6 A. No, no, no, because after these seven, eight,
7 or ten days or whatever, no, no, it wasn't really
8 acceptable at all for me to get that close.
9 Q. Now, you told us or you told my colleague,
10 Mr. Nobilo, about information that you had heard from a
11 third party about how Mr. Sadibasic had been killed. I
12 believe you said he had been a Serb. Did you ever have
13 an opportunity, Mr. Strukar, to talk to the wife of
14 Mr. Sadibasic and inquire of Mrs. Sadibasic how her
15 husband was killed and how her sons were killed?
16 A. No, no, not until the present day.
17 Q. And did you know Mrs. Sadibasic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Is she an honest woman?
20 A. I don't think so.
21 Q. Now, let me ask you in respect of who --
22 A. I'm sorry, sorry, you really confused me a
23 bit there, but in their family, the older members of
24 the family, Sulejman and his son, those who were
25 killed, they really had a fine reputation among us, the
1 neighbours, whereas his wife and another son did not.
2 That is why I said "no" in response to your question,
3 that that was my opinion.
4 Q. Okay. Now, Mrs. Sadibasic has a different
5 assessment of how her family was killed than your
6 Serb -- your friend with whom you had a discussion.
7 What she says happened is that on the morning of the
8 16th, soldiers came to her house, they knocked on their
9 windows, they were shouting, "Balijas, Vitez is ours."
10 They had white bands around their arms, that their
11 uniforms were black, that they took her two sons, Safet
12 and Sifet, outside, they were alive.
13 In addition, they had broken into her house
14 and took the sons out. They struck her in the back of
15 her head with a rifle butt, she identifies the people
16 who did that, and then she was forced outside. She
17 says that when she went outside, she saw her two sons
18 were alive and in the custody of the soldiers who had
19 taken them outside, that the soldiers who were guarding
20 them had camouflage uniforms on and that they had
21 started to take away her two sons. She then fled, and
22 she identifies a number of Muslim houses that she saw
23 were on fire.
24 Now, is it, in your opinion, equally likely
25 or more likely that Mrs. Sadibasic knows more about
1 what happened to her husband and to her sons than the
2 neighbour you have given hearsay information about or
3 do you have an opinion on that?
4 A. Possibly quite a few things happened because
5 it's her house, after all, but it's not really clear to
6 me. You asked a few minutes ago how old my neighbour
7 was. If they were shooting elderly people, how come
8 she stayed alive? I mean, it's not really clear to
9 me. How could she escape?
10 Q. Well, I'm not here to answer questions. The
11 Judges can draw whatever conclusions they want from how
12 she happened to survive and how it was that her husband
13 and her son were murdered, so the Judges will draw the
14 inferences and any conclusions they want from that.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Move to another question,
16 please. There were suggestions, hypotheses being
17 bandied about what was, might have been, and this or
18 that circumstance.
19 MR. HARMON: I understand.
20 Q. Now, let me turn to a different subject, and
21 that is that on a date sometime after the 16th of April
22 you returned to your house and you showed us and
23 commented on a video film that I believe you took
24 showing the remnants of a rocket of some kind. And you
25 identified, I think, you identified that rocket and the
1 remains of that rocket to have come from a multi-rocket
2 launcher. Is that correct?
3 A. That's the way it is, approximately.
4 However, I have to explain to the Judges that
5 afterwards, during the course of the war, I saw that
6 this was a rocket that is used in a multiple rocket
7 launcher and that both sides on the war did this. They
8 would take out one barrel. They would only use one
9 barrel, really. I don't know how many grenades there
10 are there. And that is why I am talking about one
11 barrel of a multiple rocket launcher, not a multiple
12 rocket launcher as such.
13 However, what I had filmed, I filmed a few
14 days after the house had been hit. I was trying to
15 explain to my wife and family what the house looked
16 like, because we had moved into the house only a few
17 months before that, so I got this little camera and I
18 tried to film for them what had happened to the house.
19 Q. Could I ask the usher to please pull
20 Prosecutor's Exhibit 82, please.
21 Now, if these photographs could be put on the
22 ELMO one at a time starting with Z2/461, which is the
23 first photograph in there.
24 Mr. Strukar, I am going to ask you just a
25 number of questions. Can you see those images clearly
1 on the ELMO before you on the computer screen before
2 you? Do you recognise that image of that particular
4 A. I can see this image clearly. I can see it's
5 some kind of a gun, but I never saw this in real life.
6 Q. These images, for your information, are
7 photographs that were taken by the members of the
8 British battalion, and these are HVO weapons that they
9 have testified about and have testified were present in
10 the Lasva Valley. Did you ever see the image, this
11 particular weapon in the Lasva Valley?
12 A. I didn't see it.
13 Q. Now, if we could turn to the next image,
14 Mr. Usher.
15 Have you ever seen this particular weapon
17 A. It's not the same thing, is it?
18 Q. I don't believe it is. It is? Well, I stand
19 -- we will get some testimony on it. It may be. If
20 it is --
21 We'll turn to the next image, which is
22 Z2/463. Have you ever seen that kind of a weapon in
23 the Lasva Valley?
24 A. May I see the photograph itself, please,
25 because I cannot see it at all here. No, I don't
1 really. I don't know what this is either.
2 Q. Mr. Usher, we are going to turn to 465,
3 Z2/465. This is a multi-rocket launcher. Did you ever
4 see a weapon similar to this in the Lasva Valley?
5 A. You keep asking me whether I saw things in
6 the Lasva River Valley, and I said this concerns the
7 Lasva River Valley that I spent most of the war by my
8 own home. I went out to the outer lines a few times,
9 but I was an infantryman in the trenches. I didn't
10 really see this kind of thing, but I did see it after
11 the war, but I didn't know who they belonged to.
12 Q. All right. Can we turn to this image,
13 please, the next image, 468. Do you recognise that
15 A. No.
16 Q. Do you recognise that kind of a weapon?
17 A. I saw it only in the newspapers.
18 Q. Okay. Can we turn to Z2/469. Do you
19 recognise the man who is holding the large rifle in his
20 left hand in that image?
21 A. I wouldn't like to miss. I would like to
22 know exactly who this is. I know the man in the blue
23 sweatshirt, but I'm not sure about the other ones.
24 Q. Who is the man in the blue sweatshirt?
25 A. Jako Krizanac is his name.
1 Q. That's the man on the left-hand side of this
2 particular image?
3 A. Yes. Yes. A dark blue sweatshirt with a red
5 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Usher. I am
6 finished with that exhibit.
7 Mr. Strukar, the rocket shell that you
8 recovered or observed in your house, did it have any
9 kind of markings that would attribute it to one side of
10 the conflict, the Muslim side, or the Croat side?
11 A. No.
12 Q. And did you see that rocket being launched
13 toward your house, or did you just see the smoke --
14 hear the detonation and see the smoke coming from your
16 A. The latter. At the moment when the explosion
17 was heard, I looked in the direction of my house and I
18 saw smoke. I did not see when the rocket shell
19 actually came.
20 Q. At the time the rocket shell exploded on your
21 house, was there fighting of some kind going on in and
22 around Vitez?
23 A. You mean the very moment when the explosion
24 occurred? I told you about some of our wartime
25 experiences. We thought that morning that war was when
1 you could hear a lot of shooting only, but afterwards
2 we realised that only if you hear a few bullets that
3 that's war too. But at that point I cannot really
4 recall how intensive the shooting was. However, there
5 was shooting. There were also rifle grenades and other
6 explosions, because -- I would like to tell you also
7 that the houses were on fire and sometimes something
8 would explode, for example, in somebody's attic, and
9 you would think that somebody had been shooting before
11 Q. Let me turn briefly to some very short items
12 that you covered in your direct examination. One of
13 the items you testified about was that a young man by
14 the name of Samet Sadibasic, son of the deceased man we
15 saw a moment ago, was taken, and then you said a few
16 were captured on the morning of the 16th of April.
17 Then you testified that sometime later you saw him in
19 A. I did not say that he was captured on the
20 16th. I just said that he spent a day or two in the
21 basement of his house with another woman, not with his
22 own wife, because he is not married, and also
23 children. And when he felt that the situation was a
24 bit more quiet, he went out on his own and he walked up
25 to us. And then he stayed at Slavko Batinic's house
1 for a while, six or seven, eight days, I really don't
2 know for how long, and then the police took him away
3 somewhere in the direction of the town. But afterwards
4 we saw him running from one side to the other from the
5 Mahala side.
6 Q. And do you know that the police took him to
7 the cinema where he was detained for a considerable
8 period of time, and where he was then forced to dig
9 trenches for the HVO? Were you aware of that fact?
10 A. No, no. Because the first contacts --
11 actually, I didn't even see him. But a friend of mine
12 asked him what happened to him, and I said the military
13 police took him away. And he said, "I've just seen him
14 in the Mahala." So then we could see him.
15 Q. Let me turn to your testimony about the large
16 bomb, large detonation that went off. We've referred
17 to it in this courtroom as the truck bomb explosion.
18 You said in your testimony that a man came to your
19 house shortly before the large explosion that you heard
20 detonated, informed you there would be a large
21 explosion. Who was that man who told you that?
22 A. I didn't say he came to my house, but he came
23 up there where we were all moving around and where I
24 was when I went to visit my family. And who said it
25 exactly, I really can't say, but someone just shouted
1 that we should take refuge and nobody should go
3 And this lasted one, two, three days, so
4 people were getting a little restless going around the
5 house. They would go out to light a cigarette and so
6 on. He said that nobody should move around and quite
7 simply we huddled down there by the houses and waited
8 to see what was going to happen.
9 Q. My question was who was it who warned you
10 about the bomb?
11 A. I can't remember, because, as I say, we
12 weren't just sitting there and somebody came up to us
13 to tell us something. It was just somebody shouting.
14 For example, I would like to say something that isn't
15 appropriate for this Court. And they would just say,
16 "Get the hell out of there. Get inside. Get
17 inside." So that they thought that something might be
19 Q. Did you find out after the explosion had
20 occurred that others in your community, other Croats in
21 your community had been warned in advance, like you had
22 been warned, that there was going to be an explosion?
23 A. No, we didn't discuss it, because as I said
24 before, it was better to keep quiet on some matters.
25 Q. Why was that?
1 A. Because from the 16th onwards everything that
2 we had seen up until then, on television and what was
3 going on in the Republic of Croatia, in Sarajevo, in
4 Gorazde or whatever, we quite simply saw that people
5 were being killed and that it was very possible to lose
6 one's life, and what people were capable of doing. So
7 we tried to save our lives and ask as little questions
8 as possible, regardless of what was going on.
9 Q. After the explosion, did you inquire about
10 who was responsible for the explosion?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Wasn't that the biggest explosion that took
13 place in the whole war, in Vitez?
14 A. I think it was, at least from what I heard.
15 Q. But you didn't inquire as to who was
16 responsible for that?
17 A. I don't think you seem to realise, to
18 understand me and the others who did not feel ourselves
19 to be soldiers, and so quite simply the less questions
20 we asked, the better for us. You asked what happened
21 after -- that was during the war. You asked what
22 happened afterwards. Well, in Mahala several Croat
23 houses -- several Croatian houses, and when they went
24 up towards us, they told us that it was a cistern. All
25 we knew was that there was a truck. And they told us
1 then that they had been told that it was a cistern
2 containing explosives. And so we arrived at some
3 information to fill in the puzzle. We got bits and
4 pieces to our puzzle to complete the puzzle. But we
5 kept that information to ourselves and kept ourselves
6 to ourselves.
7 Q. One last question on the subject matter,
8 Mr. Strukar. Since you lived relatively close to the
9 site of this detonation, at any time after the
10 detonation occurred did any member of the HVO military
11 police or the HVO army or the police in any capacity
12 come to you or come to others in the neighbourhood and
13 ask what, if anything, you knew about the detonation of
14 that large truck bomb?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Now, I want to turn to another area of your
17 examination, and that is that you testified that after
18 the 16th of April a number of Muslims remained in your
19 small community in and around, let's say, the Catholic
20 church area. Approximately how many Muslims was that
21 that remained in and around your particular area, if
22 you can recall?
23 A. You've asked me this for the second or third
24 time, that is to say you are asking me figures. I
25 never counted. I haven't done so until the present
1 day. But it was from my house towards the church,
2 everybody who was there then, all the Muslims, the men,
3 women and children.
4 Q. Then you testified, and I had a sense that
5 you had more of an appreciation for numbers, because
6 you testified in your direct examination that for about
7 a month some of the Muslims remained until summertime
8 and -- so I had a sense that you had a feeling about
9 how many Muslims there were that were in your
10 community. You testified some left, you testified some
11 remained --
12 A. Yes, but those were names, because up until
13 the summer, those who remained until the summer, there
14 were four or five of them, and you couldn't state their
16 Q. Okay. So up until the summer or in the
17 summertime there were about four or five Muslims who
18 remained in your particular area. Did I understand
19 your testimony right?
20 A. Those who had left, but some of them had
21 stayed on after that and are there today.
22 Q. Had the vast majority of the Muslims who
23 lived in your portion of the community left Vitez by
24 the summertime?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And after the summertime of 1993 did more of
2 those Muslims leave until only a small number --
3 actually, did only a small number of Muslims then
4 remain throughout the war?
5 A. I'm afraid I might not have understood the
6 question, but as you say -- did you say that after the
7 war people -- after the summer the people continued to
8 leave, the summer of 1993, whether any of them left?
9 Is that what you are asking?
10 Q. Yes, sir.
11 A. No, the last one left, Topcic, with his wife
12 and children, and then nobody left after that.
13 Q. Now, were the Muslims who remained in your
14 community fearful, were they afraid of the HVO? Were
15 they afraid of the Croats, were they afraid of the
16 military police, and were they afraid of the Special
17 Purposes Units, such as the Vitezovi and the Jokers?
18 A. Well, let me tell you. We were all afraid,
19 and I am purposely saying all of us in the sense of
20 myself and my family and them, because we didn't know
21 what could happen, as there was shooting on all sides,
22 in all parts of Vitez, and we knew that people did
23 die. So we were all afraid, and they were too. And
24 they wanted to ask what they should do. So they were
25 afraid, if that is the answer to your question.
1 Q. I want to separate, if I can for a moment,
2 general fear of something that might happen to them
3 because a war is going on from a specific fear that the
4 remaining Muslims had vis-a-vis the HVO, vis-a-vis
5 Croats. Were the Muslims who remained -- and you had
6 contact with them -- did they express a fear, the type
7 of which I have just described?
8 A. Let me answer in the following way. After
9 that they were not afraid of us Croats who were there,
10 their neighbours, but they were always afraid that
11 somebody might come in from outside, from elsewhere,
12 who did not know them. Because they saw situations in
13 which when some Croats did not want to come down to my
14 house to set up a sort of defence line, that the
15 Vitezovi, for example, would compel the Croats to do
16 so, threatening them with weapons and firing the
17 weapons above their heads. So they saw that you
18 couldn't joke around with people like that, but you had
19 to do what they wanted you to do.
20 Q. Now, the last area of inquiry that I have,
21 Mr. Strukar, is you have prepared this diagram to your
22 left, and I believe the houses with triangles are Croat
23 houses, is that right, on your diagram?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And it appears that the houses, some Croat
1 houses were burned on the 16th of April, 1993, and
2 those appear to be indicated with red; is that right?
3 A. Yes, that is true. But I said that this
4 diagram was composed on the basis of my recollections
5 and the first two or three days when there were things
6 going on. And on the first, second and third day I can
7 say with full responsibility here today that it all
8 appeared to be just one day. It all merged into one
9 day. So I can't tell you what actually happened on the
10 first, second, third or fourth day. It all merged into
11 one day for me.
12 Q. I understand. The question I am going to ask
13 you, though, is did you see any of those Croat houses
14 intentionally set on fire?
15 A. Only one.
16 Q. Tell me about that.
17 A. The house belonging to Vojislav Mlakic was on
18 fire on, let's say, the first day, and quickly after
19 that the fire was extinguished, the next day or the day
20 after, but don't hold me to that. I don't know exactly
21 what day it was. And looking at it from my house, from
22 the vantage point of my house, I saw some young men
23 from the lower side throwing something at the house,
24 and the house was then set alight. When I say
25 "something," perhaps it was some liquid. So then it
1 was set alight, it burnt, and then from this lower side
2 I saw somebody throwing something.
3 Q. Could you identify those men?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Do you know if those men were Muslims or
7 A. I cannot say, but I thought they were
9 Q. And would you point out on that diagram which
10 house you are referring to. For the record,
11 Mr. Registrar, what Exhibit number is that?
12 THE REGISTRAR: That's 513, if I'm not
14 MR. HARMON:
15 Q. The witness is pointing, for the record, to
16 the lower right-hand triangulated house coloured in
17 red. The lowest house on the right-hand side of
18 Defence Exhibit 513. Thank you very much, Mr. Strukar,
19 for pointing that out to us.
20 Mr. Strukar, let me ask you then one
21 additional question. In respect of the Muslim houses
22 that were burned in your community, did you see any of
23 those houses being set on fire, or do you know the
24 circumstances under which they caught fire?
25 A. No, I really cannot say. I really don't know
1 that. From the place where I was, I did not see that.
2 I just saw them burning.
3 Q. And after these events of the 16th and the
4 early phase of the war, you said you eventually became
5 a member of the HVO, and you became, I thought I heard
6 you say, an infantry soldier; is that right?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. And you were in the Viteska brigade, I take
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Who was your commanding officer?
12 A. You mean the commander of the Vitez brigade?
13 Q. Your commanding officer.
14 A. The first in line you mean?
15 Q. Yes, sir.
16 A. As I've already said, we first elected a
17 commander from amongst ourselves, and that was Nikola
18 Banic, and then later on it emerged that somebody
19 commanded all the houses that I spoke about. And after
20 that there was Vlado Drmic. However, later on again,
21 in the second half of May, nothing was going right, so
22 in the middle of the summer a new command was
23 established with a new commanding officer, and it was
24 Marko Blaz. Marko Blaz, I'm sorry, Marko Blaz.
25 Q. Mr. Strukar, thank you very much. You have
1 been very patient. I appreciate it.
2 Mr. President, I have concluded my
4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Mr. Nobilo?
5 So the exhibits which were filed were which
6 exhibits, then.
7 MR. HARMON: The exhibits that I used were
8 old exhibits which had previously been admitted.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
10 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President
11 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
12 Q. Mr. Strukar, I am going to try very briefly
13 to go ahead now. Starting with Sadibasic's house,
14 which was half burnt. Can you name the Croat owners of
15 the houses which were burnt on or around the 16th of
16 April, 1993, on your part of the street, on your side
17 of the road?
18 A. You mean these houses towards Mahala?
19 Q. Yes, between Sadibasic and the Mahala, which
20 houses were burnt on the 16th of April, '93.
21 A. This here is the house belonging to Marijan
22 Mlakic, which was burnt from this side, and then the
23 fire was extinguished. This is a dual building, a
24 little larger, a larger building, owned by Nikola
25 Mlakic and Zorka Mlakic. On the diagram I drew in two
1 buildings. They had several of them, perhaps three or
2 four. Some of them belonged to Nikola and some to
3 Zorka, to the owner of this house, and that is Vojislav
4 Mlakic's house here. So those were the Croat houses
5 which were burnt, yes.
6 Q. Can you enumerate the Croat owners on the
7 opposite side of the street towards the Mahala,
8 opposite to your side of the road, which was partially
9 burnt or completely burnt.
10 A. The first in line is Zvonko Mlakic's house,
11 then behind his house there are a series of buildings,
12 such as the summer house and the shed, and I know that
13 the fire was put out afterwards. And this house -- and
14 Nikola Krizanac's shop. Those were the Croats.
15 Q. You said that you were all afraid and that
16 the Muslims were afraid, the ones that remained, that
17 stayed behind. According to your overall knowledge,
18 when did the incidents take place, either towards the
19 Muslims or even -- the Muslim houses, that is to say,
20 set alight, so not only in your neighbourhood, as far
21 as you knew, when did these incidents occur?
22 A. As far as the burning of their houses is
23 concerned, I can refer to them as one incident, a
24 single incident, because practically all the Muslim
25 houses were set fire to on that particular morning.
1 Q. But I'm talking about the Vitez municipality
2 as a whole. In the course of 1993 when a house was set
3 alight, how did this happen? What was the general
5 A. Well, I can't tell you the general view. I
6 can only tell you my own opinion.
7 Q. Well, give us your opinion then.
8 A. Well, it is my opinion that these were
9 usually people who looted the houses and then set fire
10 to them.
11 Q. Let us return to the evening of the 15th.
12 Did you, at any given moment, go to reconnoitre or have
13 a look at what was happening in the Mahala and whether
14 the Muslims in the Mahala were preparing for any kind
15 of conflict?
16 A. No, no, I never even thought of doing so.
17 Q. Therefore, we can conclude that you do not
18 know whether the Muslims were preparing in the Mahala
19 or not?
20 A. Yes, that is what can be concluded.
21 Q. Those from Nova Bila, how many of them came?
22 Can you tell us?
23 A. I really cannot. I really can't because all
24 I saw was three or four of them running around. I
25 really don't know how many there were, even
2 Q. What did you think was the purpose of the
3 soldiers from Nova Bila sending Muslim civilians in the
4 direction of the houses where Croatian civilians were
5 already located? Why did they do this? What was your
6 opinion? What did you conclude then or later on?
7 A. Well, this was never quite clear to me,
8 except, quite simply, that they wanted to get them away
9 from the area in which they were. You mean --
10 Q. Where were they? Were they up at the
12 A. The Muslims?
13 Q. No, these people from Nova Bila.
14 A. They moved towards the line where this line
15 would be established, so all the Muslims from those
16 houses, they were sent up together with the other
17 Croatian civilians.
18 Q. The vast majority of Croatian civilians, had
19 they already left, evacuated, their Croatian houses in
20 the same area?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In Vitez around the church, you knew
23 Sadibasic and that he was a good man, and other people
24 knew him as well, most probably. Tell me whether you
25 ever heard that anybody slaughtered him, slit his
2 A. No, I heard that for the first time in this
3 courtroom here today.
4 Q. Tell us quite frankly and honestly, we are in
5 a court of law, Sadibasic's wife, was she capable of
6 lying in a situation of this kind? What do you think?
7 What's your opinion knowing her?
8 A. As I said to the Prosecutor a moment ago, I
9 don't like talking about her, but I really do not have
10 a good opinion of her, because we neighbours up there,
11 neighbours of hers, thought that, in fact, she had
12 spoiled her sons, her two sons, and that they stole and
13 so on, whereas their father and the ones who had died
14 were really good people, honest people.
15 Q. So you do not feel that Sadibasic's wife was
16 an honourable woman, an honest woman, and a woman of
17 high moral qualities?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Well, if we're going to get
19 into the considerations about the honesty of somebody
20 else who -- well, let's go through that very quickly.
21 MR. NOBILO: The Prosecutor was quoting what
22 that woman had said, and I thought that it was
23 important for us to know something about this woman,
24 but I have finished.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I just made a comment. I
1 could have made the same comment to the Prosecutor.
2 Let us never forget that we are here in the trial of
3 General Blaskic for extremely serious crimes, and we
4 want to try to get to the essential points.
5 Have you finished, Mr. Nobilo? I didn't mean
6 to interrupt you. Have you finished?
7 MR. NOBILO: Yes, I had just finished, Your
9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Let me turn to my
10 colleague. He has no questions. I have no questions
12 Mr. Strukar, the Tribunal is very grateful to
13 you for having come to The Hague to answer questions as
14 best you can about difficult events and which are now
15 rather far away in time, but you will now be able to go
16 home. Please don't move for a moment.
17 We're going to suspend the hearing, and we
18 will resume in a half hour. There will be a Status
19 Conference in closed session.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
21 3.55 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
22 the 15th day of January, 1999 at
23 9.45 a.m.