1 Friday, 5
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
8 Your Honours.
9 WITNESS: MARKO PRSKALO [Resumed]
10 [Witness answers through interpreter]
11 Re-examined by Mr. Naumovski:
12 Q. Mr. Prskalo, to round off your testimony
13 before the Court, yesterday when I saw the subjects
14 raised by the Prosecutor, I thought I would have quite
15 a number of questions. However, now that I went
16 through that, I think it won't take much time, not more
17 than ten minutes or so.
18 Yesterday, the Prosecutor asked you about
19 criteria laid down by Bozo Rajic concerning the work of
20 the IPD service. The Croatian word "promotion" does
21 not really mean "propaganda", does it? Do you know the
22 difference between these two words?
23 A. Yes. The word "promotion" practically means
24 promoting traditional Croat values. The other term,
25 and that is what the Prosecutor had in mind, concerns
1 propaganda. That is not that.
2 Q. So that is what I thought you would tell us,
3 you promote virtues, and that is the gist of the
4 meaning of the word "promotion", unlike the word
6 Yesterday, you were asked also why and whose
7 decision was it that prohibited the military in the HVO
8 to engage in politics. I suppose that at any given
9 moment during your military service, you had an
10 opportunity of reading the decree on the armed forces
11 of the HVO. Article 85 [sic] of the decree says that
12 all political activity in the military force within the
13 HVO is prohibited. Do you remember that?
14 A. Yes, I do remember that. However, when I
15 spoke yesterday, I meant -- and I think that was the
16 thrust of the Prosecutor's question, that there was a
17 document which regulated this matter specifically, and
18 I said that there was no such document. But what you
19 are saying is true.
20 Q. Thank you. Merely for the transcript, what I
21 meant was Article 25 of the decree, and the transcript
22 says "85". I suppose it was a slip. Now we can move
24 Mr. Prskalo, a great deal was said -- Your
25 Honours, this decree on the armed forces, it was
1 already adduced as Document D182/1.
2 I was saying yesterday a great deal was said
3 and the Prosecutor asked you a great deal about the
4 relationship between the late Mate Boban and
5 Mr. Kordic, and I suppose we should perhaps clarify
6 this topic from a different angle.
7 Mr. Prskalo, you were a member of the
8 military wing of the HVO, that is, the Croat Defence
9 Council, the armed forces; is that so?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. We can also agree, I suppose, that there was
12 also a civilian wing of the HVO, that is, at the level
13 of the Croat Community, that is, the Croat Republic of
14 Herceg-Bosna, the HVO government headed by Jadranko
15 Prlic; is that so?
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. And at the same time at the municipal level,
18 there were municipal HVO governments, weren't there?
19 A. Yes, that is also correct.
20 Q. In Central Bosnia, and that is the area of
21 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, at the same time
22 there was one vice-president of the HVO government,
23 that is, vice-president to Mr. Jadranko Prlic, Mr. Anto
24 Valenta, wasn't it?
25 A. Yes. He was the deputy prime minister.
1 Q. On the other hand, in the military
2 organisation there was the main staff of the Croat
3 Defence Council; is that so?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And then operative zones, and so on and so
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You have already told us -- we don't have to
9 repeat that -- that Mr. Boban was the president and at
10 the same time the supreme commander?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Yesterday, you were shown a document, Z223,
13 referring to a session -- to a meeting of the leaders
14 of the HVO, Central Bosnia, held on the 29th of
15 February, 1992. You couldn't find your way around this
16 document, but when I -- as I read it, I know I saw that
17 Bugojno was represented at the meeting by the deputy
18 president of the HVO, Anto Krajinovic.
19 A. Yes, I remember. He was present at the
20 meeting, and I know that man.
21 Q. A lot was said about this document and
22 decisions of this document in relation to Travnik. It
23 was put to you that the move of some of the offices of
24 the Croat authorities to Travnik would have a bad
25 effect on Muslims. Would you agree with me that the
1 ratio between the Croat and Muslim population, that was
2 about 50/50?
3 A. Yes, that is correct. Not in Travnik only,
4 but also in a number of other municipalities in Central
5 Bosnia, the population ratio, statistically speaking,
6 between the Muslims and the Croats was similar.
7 Q. You're aware, Mr. Prskalo, that in Travnik
8 the police administration for Travnik had its seat
10 A. Yes, the police was there, and after the army
11 of Bosnia-Herzegovina took Travnik, that seat moved to
12 Vitez and also some other offices. To all intents and
13 purposes, the crowd police was driven away from
15 Q. And Anto Valenta, whom we mentioned a moment
16 ago, who was the HVO vice-president, also had his
17 office in Travnik?
18 A. Yes. As far as I remember, he used to
19 commute to Travnik.
20 Q. And now, which is the capital of the Central
21 Bosnian Zupanija?
22 A. Well, if we look at where the first man of
23 the government was in that area, it is quite clear that
24 it was Travnik.
25 Q. Both according to Vance-Owen Plan, and after
1 Dayton, Travnik was envisaged, planned, to be become
2 the capital of that whole region, didn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Yesterday also there was mention of the
5 language, why would it be bad for Croats if the name of
6 the language was changed. And I didn't really want to
7 go into that, because it is very clear what it means to
8 a people if the name of its language is changed. But
9 would you know that the Bosnian Language Department at
10 the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo was founded only
11 after the war, that is, only after 1994?
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, during
13 re-examination, the rule is that counsel cannot lead
14 the witness. It is the same as examination-in-chief.
15 It's your own witness and you're not allowed to lead
16 him. Now, I haven't stopped you before, but I must
17 point that rule out to you.
18 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
19 Your Honour. I shall abide by it.
20 Q. I'll rephrase it. Do you know when the
21 Bosnian Language Department was set up at the Faculty
22 of Philosophy?
23 A. I received the information that that
24 department was founded, yes, practically after the war.
25 Q. Did the Bosnian language exist before?
1 A. The Bosnian language in Bosnia-Herzegovina
2 did not exist before, and I can affirm with certainty
3 that such a name did not exist ever; namely, in our
4 history, at the time of Kalay during Austria Hungary
5 yes, Kalay did make some effort to introduce the
6 Bosnian language, but it was never translated into
7 life. And I must tell you that such a language doesn't
8 exist. These are merely attempts.
9 JUDGE MAY: We are not assisted by this sort
10 of detail.
11 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 Q. Let us move on, Mr. Prskalo. Document Z233,
13 and that is the one that was somewhat questionable
14 yesterday, because; that is, the excerpt of the meeting
15 of HVO leaders held on the 6th of October, 1993. I
16 looked at the list of present, more or less -- not more
17 or less. They were all either presidents or
18 secretaries. Except you, more or less, all the rest of
19 them were presidents of the HVO from Jajce, Fojnica,
20 and then across the region.
21 It was put to you yesterday -- I do not know
22 whether the Prosecutor did not understand it, but it
23 was alleged that you had been promoted by the fact that
24 you became a member of the chair. But the chair, it is
25 a one-time duty. What does the chair, that is, the
1 working presidency, mean? What does it mean to be in
2 the chair of the meeting?
3 A. In the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so
4 how our language puts it, the chair, that is, the
5 working presidency, or the chair, is a body which
6 moderates a meeting. However, if I remember well, I
7 responded yesterday and said that I was no member of
8 the chair, because that body had not been elected by
9 anyone to moderate the meeting. It was merely a
10 conversation, a discussion, about some problems.
11 Q. Very well. Another question. If somebody is
12 a member of the chair, if somebody is in the chair of a
13 meeting, when does his duty stop?
14 A. The duty of the chair ends the moment the
15 meeting ends.
16 Q. Yes, of course. This is a civilian document
17 in full, and it is signed. If you have the document
18 before you, please look at the last page in the
19 Croatian language. Will you look who are the
20 signatories of the document. Can you find the last
21 page in Croatian?
22 A. Yes, I have the last page. It says that it
23 is the vice-president of the government of HZ HB, Anto
24 Valenta, and on the left-hand side the secretary. I
25 can't really see --
1 Q. Just the name, if you can recognise the
3 A. The name below is Ignac Kostroman.
4 Q. Very well. Thank you. Yesterday a great
5 deal was said. I don't really want to go into it, but
6 military matters were raised as a subject, in a broad
7 sense of the word, in relation to a quotation from some
8 speech, or rather of Mr. Kordic's. In your view, do
9 military matters have a narrow meaning, or can they be
10 placed in a broader context?
11 A. Military matters may be viewed in a broader
13 Q. So there are other questions apart from this
14 stricter issue of orders for a particular military
15 combat which could then be placed in a wider context of
16 military matters?
17 A. I didn't quite understand what you meant.
18 Q. Apart from professional things when orders
19 are issued --
20 JUDGE MAY: I didn't understand the question
21 either, and it sounds to me like argument, which you
22 can address to us in due course. Now, unless there's
23 some specific matter for the witness, I suggest we move
25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your
1 Honours -- no, all right. We can change the topic. I
2 thought that perhaps we might hear it from Mr. Prskalo,
3 but it doesn't matter.
4 Q. Yesterday a tape was shown and we could see
5 some business outlets demolished, something to that
6 effect. And you said that there were incidents on both
7 sides, and you were an eyewitness to those incidents,
8 weren't you?
9 A. Yes, there were incidents, on both sides.
10 And often this was done by members of one people to
11 members of others. Or sometimes a people did it to
12 members of its own -- members of the same people.
13 Q. For various reasons, isn't it?
14 A. Yes. I said yesterday that motives behind
15 that varied.
16 Q. Tell us, please, to your knowledge, insofar
17 as the damage inflicted on business outlets owned by
18 Muslims or Serbs, was it organised on the Croat side or
19 were there acts committed by individuals?
20 A. I do not have any information that there were
21 any organised actions of that nature in our lands, and
22 in my view, these were acts committed by individuals.
23 Q. Yesterday, Mr. Prskalo, you were asked who
24 was your provisional commander, if I may put it that
25 way, while Colonel Blaskic was in Kiseljak, and you
1 said the head of the staff of the Operative Zone
2 Central Bosnia. You didn't give us the name, so let us
3 try to clear this up.
4 A. The head of the staff of the Operative Zone
5 of Central Bosnia was Mr. Franjo Nakic, who also was
6 with me, part of the monitoring mission in Busovaca. I
7 believe we noted that yesterday.
8 Q. Very well. We can move on. Yesterday you
9 were given a transcript of an alleged conversation
10 between Dario Kordic, Mr. Dario Kordic, and Colonel
11 Blaskic. And in contrast to what the Prosecutor is
12 claiming, we believe that it is in dispute whether the
13 two of them talked.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes, go on.
15 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
16 Q. You were in Kacuni right after --
17 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. It's not in
18 dispute that the voices on the tape were those of
19 Mr. Kordic and Colonel Blaskic. That has never been
20 disputed. Are you trying to say now it's in dispute?
21 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] But I do not
22 think that we ever said that that conversation took
23 place. That was the thrust of my question. We are
24 referring to the conversation. We are not questioning
25 the voice of Mr. Kordic. As for Mr. Blaskic, I'm not
1 quite sure because, I don't know his voice. It is the
2 conversation that is at issue.
3 JUDGE MAY: What is the question?
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation].
5 Q. The question is as follows, Mr. Prskalo: So
6 you were in Kacuni after the ceasefire was concluded
7 following January conflicts. Had these multiple rocket
8 launchers attacked Kacuni, as it was suggested to you
9 yesterday, would you see the results of that in
10 Kacuni? Wouldn't you see that devastation?
11 A. I must say that I was in Kacuni several
12 times. If we're talking about this, I think that we
13 also need to say something about Kacuni, that is, the
14 part of the village which -- of the Muslim population,
15 and I couldn't really see all those projectiles falling
16 on it. I simply don't understand, had it really
17 happened that way, I don't understand how could I miss
18 that. I mean, there were also members of the
19 monitoring mission. They went there. We went
20 together. And then Muslims representatives and members
21 of the monitoring mission of the ECMM.
22 Q. So you did not see any destruction?
23 A. No, I did not see any destruction of such a
24 scale that would indicate such heavy weaponry.
25 Q. Very well. Thank you.
1 Let us move on to a different document,
2 Z419.3, and that is a letter in your handwriting to the
3 command of the brigade, do you remember, 30th of
4 January, 1993? Do you remember it?
5 A. Yes, I remember it. I saw that document
7 Q. One can see from this text that it is
8 self-evident that you are requesting that somebody be
9 nominated to this Joint Commission, but my question is
10 who is this addressed to?
11 A. This is addressed to the command in Kiseljak,
12 because we were asked to urgently designate a member to
13 work in the Joint Commission, because we decided that
14 there was no men available from that area and it was a
15 general conclusion, the conclusion of everybody, that
16 it would be good and that it would be purposeful if
17 Kiseljak were included too.
18 Q. So the letter was addressed to military
19 structures, wasn't it, not to civilians?
20 A. Yes, yes, quite so.
21 Q. Yesterday, a short video was shown, Z652, and
22 it was shot around the 13th of April or something like
23 that, it is said. We're not quite sure. But the Croat
24 National Council is mentioned in it. I suppose you
25 remember who are the members of this council. The
1 Prosecutor mentioned Dr. Komisic, Kljujic, and so on
2 and so forth. Do you recall the efforts, the attempts,
3 to set up this Croat National Council in Sarajevo?
4 A. Well, I do remember some attempts to set up
5 this National Council, but I couldn't really tell you
6 exactly who were its members.
7 Q. Let me then ask you this way: Could you tell
8 the Court which political party of the Croats was the
9 counterpart or, rather, the signatory or, rather, led
10 the negotiations with the International Community and
11 that eventually led to the Dayton Agreement, which
12 party of the Croats was it?
13 A. Well, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to my knowledge,
14 in the creation of that agreement participated the
15 Croat Peasants' Party. I don't mean the Croat National
16 Council that Kimisic was a member of, I mean the
17 Washington and Dayton Accords.
18 Q. Who signed it; do you know? The
19 representatives of which party signed that?
20 A. Why, the HDZ. If you mean which is the main
21 party, then that is it. I didn't really understand
22 what you were getting at, but it was the Croat
23 Democratic Union.
24 Q. Yesterday, Mr. Kljujic was mentioned, his
25 replacement, and so on and so forth. Did you have any
1 direct knowledge, what was the meeting that removed him
2 from office? Was it as before or did the practice
3 change, that is, when Kljujic succeeded Perinovic, an
4 earlier president of the party? Do you know about
6 A. From what I know, he simply -- the majority
7 simply -- there was not a vote of confidence in his
8 favour. As far as I know, the majority simply did not
9 place their confidence in him, and that was a
10 democratic choice.
11 Q. Very well, thank you. Z652A is another
12 document. That is, if you remember, a fragment from a
13 rather long letter which Mr. Kordic read between Mate
14 Boban and Jadranko Prlic, that is, the views of the
15 government of the HDZ on the implementation of the
16 Vance-Owen Plan. Do you remember that?
17 A. Yes, I remember some parts of that fragment.
18 Q. And after that, Mr. Kordic voiced some
19 thoughts which I believe are self-evident, but I
20 presume that you also took note of some of those
21 observations and thoughts. It arises from the
22 transcript that nothing will happen by force?
23 A. I remember that, but from what I remember, no
24 expressions nor terms were used to indicate any
25 violence, any squaring of accounts. Quite the
2 Q. There was an obvious intention of resolving
3 problems by political methods in order to avoid a
4 conflict, isn't it?
5 A. Yes, quite so.
6 Q. There is another document. I don't know if
7 you had enough time to go through that. Mr. Kordic was
8 finishing, and the journalist said, "Thank you,
9 Mr. Vice-President." Do you remember that detail from
10 the record?
11 A. I do not remember. If you mean the video, it
12 wasn't shown to the end, and I didn't really read the
13 record to the end. I only scanned a few sentences,
14 because I really had very little time at my disposal to
15 read all that.
16 Q. Very well, thank you. Let us go to this next
17 document, Z671.1.
18 The Prosecutor told you that in spite of this
19 document, that you did not complain because of the
20 attack to the other side, I mean, to
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, one of the explicit
22 requests in the document is the request to terminate
23 military operations. What does that mean?
24 A. Well, that is what I wanted to say. That is
25 what bothered me as of yesterday, because the
1 Prosecutor did not yesterday permit me to answer that
2 question. I'm really very happy that you are asking me
3 that today, that you really took note of that.
4 Namely, in these conversations, I said,
5 without mixing words, that it was the army of B and H
6 which had launched the attack against us, and I can't
7 understand how -- responsible people who were sitting
8 there with me must have taken note of that. I really
9 don't understand how can it be that they did not note
10 it down or did not report it higher up. It is simply
11 beyond me.
12 Q. And to round this off, Mr. Prskalo, you had
13 the opportunity to see hundreds of orders issued by
14 Mr. Blaskic or, I suppose, quite a number of other
15 officers within their fields of jurisdiction?
16 A. Well, I saw quite a number of orders, but I
17 couldn't, of course, see all the orders because I
18 mostly had to deal with those orders which concerned
20 Q. Yes, of course. But of all the orders that
21 you saw, did you ever see any military order issued by
22 Mr. Dario Kordic?
23 A. Not only I did not see such an order ever, I
24 have never even heard that such an order had been
25 issued or, rather, I simply do not know that Mr. Kordic
1 ever issued any such order.
2 Q. Mr. Prskalo, as I told you yesterday, you're
3 of course in the best position to tell us. Did you
4 ever, as Colonel Blaskic's deputy commander of the
5 Operative Zone or, rather, assistant for IPD, did you
6 ever issue any military orders or take part in the
7 formulation of these orders in any capacity?
8 A. Allow me to correct what you have just said.
9 In my work, I was only authorised to write
10 information. I simply had no authority to issue any
11 orders. And I should correct what you said. I was not
12 Colonel Blaskic's deputy. I was his assistant for IPD,
13 and that is not one and the same thing.
14 Q. Yes, I fully agree. My mistake. Assistant
15 for IPD.
16 JUDGE MAY: You said you would be ten
17 minutes, Mr. Naumovski. You've been half an hour.
18 Now, is there anything else?
19 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
20 you have just stopped me in time. I have finished.
21 Thank you.
22 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
23 Thank you, Mr. Prskalo, for coming. Your
24 evidence is now over. You are free to go.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers. Was there a
2 matter you wanted to raise while the next witness is
3 being brought?
4 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.
5 I understand that the Court actually wanted
6 to raise with us the status of the application that
7 we've made for the Court to issue a request for
8 assistance to the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
10 MR. SAYERS: If I might just update the Court
11 on that.
12 We would like to withdraw that request. We
13 have encountered no difficulty at all in gaining the
14 assistance of the authorities of the Federation of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina to have a judge appointed for the
16 purpose of authenticating affidavits, and in that
17 regard we submitted our first affidavit yesterday of
18 Brigadier Zviko Totic. That affidavit will be
19 submitted, Your Honours, in corroboration of the
20 testimony of one of the witnesses to testify next week,
21 Brigadier Luka Sikerija. We had hoped that we would be
22 able to call Brigadier Sikerija this week, and that's
23 why we filed the affidavit yesterday. But apparently
24 that's not to be.
25 That leads me to one subject that I would
1 like -- there are two issues.
2 JUDGE MAY: Let me deal, first of all, with
3 the affidavit question.
4 It may be sensible to collect your
5 affidavits, as it were, and we'll consider them as a
6 group at a convenient moment. The advantage of that is
7 that the Prosecution will then be able to decide
8 whether they want to make any objections or not.
9 Obviously, it's got to be done at a convenient time and
10 at a convenient time for you too. But rather than
11 doing them one by one, there may be an argument for
12 putting a group in together.
13 MR. SAYERS: If that is to be the case, Your
14 Honour, might I suggest that we have the argument
15 earlier rather than later, because as we understand 94
16 ter, it is done on an affidavit-by-affidavit or
17 case-by-case basis or, to be more accurate, a
18 live-witness-by-live-witness basis, and an objection
19 must be filed within seven days after a live witness
20 testifies as to the affidavit.
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Yes, I suspect you're
22 right. We better do it that way.
23 MR. SAYERS: Very well.
24 Let me just articulate a concern that we have
25 at this point, if I may. Our estimate of completing
1 our case by the August recess was based upon the
2 assumption that the Prosecution would be accorded
3 pretty much the same treatment as the Defence received
4 for 11 months of its cross-examination of the
5 Prosecution's witnesses, which was that, as a general
6 rule, the time of the direct examination would govern
7 the time available for cross-examination. We're
8 obviously aware, Mr. President and Your Honours, that
9 there were some exceptions to that. I can remember
10 right now the witness Colonel Stutt who testified, I
11 believe, for about one and a half hours on direct, and
12 I think we took about two and a quarter hours on
13 cross-examination. But the Court will recall that
14 there were a lot of documents to be introduced through
15 that witness and it was a rather laborious exercise.
16 But I must observe that generally here, in fact in
17 almost every case, the cross-examination of Defence
18 witness is taking at least twice as long as the direct
19 examination. I think that's true for every single
21 Now, we actually, in our estimate,
22 Mr. President, we built in some time to assume that
23 there would be, with respect to the first witnesses, a
24 fairly extensive cross-examination, and I think
25 notwithstanding the amount of time that's been taken to
1 date, we're still pretty much on target for our
2 estimate. But I might point out that a lot of the
3 cross-examination just consists of argument with the
4 witness, and I appreciate --
5 JUDGE MAY: No, that is not so. If it were
6 argument with the witness, it would be stopped. But I
7 think you can take it that the Trial Chamber is with
8 you on the various points you're making.
9 MR. SAYERS: Then I'll move on to the last
10 point, Your Honour. It concerns the witness for whom
11 we had made an application for a videolink, Srecko
12 Kristo. Let me just explain.
13 I think it's fairly clear to the Trial
14 Chamber that we are trying to put on our witnesses in a
15 thematic way. The last two witnesses that we have on
16 the chain of command issues will be today's witness,
17 Brigadier Totic, and the first witness after him,
18 Brigadier Sekerija. After that, we propose to move on
19 to the Kacuni checkpoint issues that have been raised
20 by the Prosecution.
21 Mr. Kristo, strictly speaking, does not
22 relate to the January the 20th to 21st checkpoint
23 incident. So he's not, strictly speaking, a part of
24 that cadre, if you like, but he does offer evidence
25 relating to an incident that occurred at the Kacuni
1 checkpoint on the 24th.
2 Now, I understood our application was denied,
3 but let me just represent to the Trial Chamber that as
4 of this point, we are not aware of any other witnesses
5 that we intend to call who will give evidence by
6 videolink. So it may be that at some point we would
7 ask the Court again to consider such an application,
8 hoping, I trust, that that doesn't fall afoul of the
9 rule that generally motions for reconsideration will
10 not be --
11 JUDGE MAY: No, I should have made that
12 plain, that the reason that it was denied was merely
13 the timing and the need to make logistical
14 arrangements. And, of course, the matter will be
16 What we invited you to do was to group your
17 witnesses. If you've only got one in Sarajevo, so be
18 it. But if you've got others elsewhere, it may be
19 convenient to try and deal with them all at the same
20 time. What I suggest you do is to start making your
21 list and then to approach the Registry, because it's a
22 major logistical exercise to arrange this.
23 MR. SAYERS: The ramifications were explained
24 to us yesterday, Your Honour. We had suspected that it
25 was a major logistical exercise, but I have to confess
1 that I did not realise quite how extensive it was. And
2 we're mindful of the need for economies, both in terms
3 of time and cost.
4 But as I say, at this point, unless we can
5 convince this gentleman to travel to The Hague, which
6 may be very difficult, it may be that the only way that
7 we can get his testimony before the Court would be by
8 videolink. But he is, as I say, the only one of whom
9 we are currently aware that we would anticipate
10 testifying by videolink from Sarajevo. There may be
11 one other witness who needs to testify through that
12 medium in Zagreb, but we hope not.
13 JUDGE MAY: Well, perhaps you can investigate
14 the matter and then identify a suitable time with the
15 Registry and make your application.
16 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, thank you.
18 Yes, I'm sorry.
19 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may just take
20 one minute. By the order of the Trial Chamber of April
21 28th, I'm ordered to justify to the Trial Chamber the
22 extensive number of the witnesses to be called.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
24 MR. KOVACIC: I was hoping that I will be
25 able to do that verbally and not be forced to write
1 down --
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. KOVACIC: Or is it too late now?
4 JUDGE MAY: We will identify a convenient
5 moment to discuss it.
6 MR. KOVACIC: Right. I just want to be sure
7 that you will call me, that it not is I who will not
8 respect the term.
9 JUDGE MAY: No, no.
10 Mr. Nice, can we return to this question of
11 cross-examination. You said in your submissions last
12 week, or earlier this week, rather, that
13 cross-examination was designed to assist the Trial
14 Chamber, and of course it is. I think we have to
15 balance the need for thoroughness, of course covering
16 relevant matters, with a need for expedition in this
17 case, and also, to some extent, the equality between
18 the parties. I make no comment on the quality of
19 cross-examination between the parties. As to why,
20 speaking for myself, I may have been led to stop
21 cross-examination during the Prosecution case because
22 of doubts about its relevance. But that aside, clearly
23 we should try and aim to run both sides in the same
24 way. That is one factor which I would ask you to have
25 in mind.
1 The other factor is to invite you to
2 reconsider the position about exhibits. To date, the
3 total number of Prosecution exhibits, I understand, is
4 2.392. That, by any standards, is an extensive
5 number. In fact, we could well consider that we're
6 swimming in these documents. It's not of assistance,
7 really, to have too many. So I'm not going to invite
8 you to address us on the topic at the moment, but I
9 would at this stage invite you to reconsider the
10 question of exhibits, whether it's necessary to put
11 more exhibits in, the Prosecution case having closed,
12 unless they are particularly relevant, going to
13 credibility or going to the witness's evidence, and
14 also to consider tailoring the cross-examination. I
15 say I'm inviting you to do it, which is all I am doing
16 at the moment, but I have to say that in due course we
17 will have to consider making orders. I hope that won't
18 be necessary.
19 The position is this: As I said the other
20 day, we have three other cases, all of them lengthy,
21 involving in some cases persons in custody, and we have
22 not only this case but those other cases to consider.
23 You, if I may put it this way, have had a year in which
24 to bring the Prosecution case, and we have to consider
25 cross-examination in that light and ask you to deal
1 with the matter expeditiously.
2 We do intend to complete Mr. Kordic's case by
3 the recess, and in that we shall require your
5 MR. NICE: And Your Honour will have it. And
6 I have to say, without in any way resigning from the
7 points I've made earlier, it's my intention, and I'm
8 sure that of all my colleagues, to be as brief as we
9 properly can.
10 The Chamber will have in mind -- and I'm not
11 going to argue the point extensively at all -- but the
12 Chamber will have in mind that the witnesses so far are
13 the witnesses who cover the whole of the case. I think
14 Filipovic, for example, basically covered the whole of
15 the Blaskic and Kordic case, and I cross-examined him
16 in a day. So these early witnesses are likely to be
17 longer. I'm anxious myself to avoid adducing exhibits,
18 and we'll be further cautious about producing exhibits,
19 and I really don't forecast, I hope, too much need to
20 do so.
21 Can I turn from that to one other timesaving
22 issue which I was going to raise myself in any event,
23 and it relates to the evidence, particularly, for
24 example, of the next witness, about Muslim atrocities
25 and other bad acts.
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
2 MR. NICE: Now, the relevance of that is
3 something that we've always doubted but we've never
4 challenged, because it would seem to us to give the
5 appearance of unfairness, perhaps, if we challenge the
6 matter too vigorously, or at all. We leave it to the
7 Chamber to confine evidence on those topics that is not
8 thought to be helpful. However, where details are
9 given, as they are, for example, in this summary, we
10 will attempt to make an institutional or
11 semi-institutional response at some stage to detailed
12 allegations, and we've also had a list of stipulations
13 on the same topic.
14 The Chamber will realise I can't admit
15 something in the sense that I'm not a party. I'm not
16 here standing for any group of people; I'm only here
17 for the OTP. So I can't admit something. I'm not the
18 Muslims concerned. But I should be able, with a
19 reasonable amount of time to discuss matters, I should
20 be able to agree that certain matters can be taken as
21 facts for the purposes of this trial only, and to that
22 extent I hope that we can then abbreviate issues. What
23 I can't do is simply turn it around over night, because
24 there are considerations of an institutional nature
25 that have to be taken in mind.
1 But I'm certainly intending to do that, and
2 I'm setting in train the procedures that will have to
3 be followed if and when detailed allegations of the
4 type that are raised in this sort of proof are capable
5 of agreement.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. That will be helpful.
7 Thank you.
8 MR. NICE: And then finally, on another
9 matter, just -- totally different matter, the position
10 on the audiotape, as the Chamber I think recollects, is
11 that the voices were quite specifically admitted in a
12 carefully thought-out process of offering the document
13 for listening to and agreeing to the voices. And
14 indeed, the Chamber will find somewhere, I think in an
15 exchange with Mr. Stein, that it was made clear by me
16 that the admission was not just a general admission but
17 was an admission as to the two voices and the way they
18 are associated with voices 6 and 7 on the tape.
19 JUDGE MAY: As I understand the Defence case,
20 it is this: that the voices are admitted, but that in
21 some way the authenticity of the tape is challenged,
22 and that it's said that this conversation didn't take
23 place in the way that it's alleged.
24 MR. NICE: I said initially there may be some
25 difficulties. There was then a suggestion to odd words
1 being added, and that's I think as far as we've got in
2 detail. But I've always approached the two witnesses
3 to whom I've put the tape on the basis that there may
4 be some challenge to its authenticity, but the voices
5 are accepted.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you.
7 MR. SAYERS: If I may, Your Honour, I think
8 that the position relating to the videotape is as
9 stated by the Court.
10 JUDGE MAY: The audiotape.
11 MR. SAYERS: Yes, indeed. I'm sorry. Yes,
12 the audiotape.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
14 MR. SAYERS: Secondly, with respect to the
15 matter addressed by the Prosecutor, the Muslim
16 atrocities, this is the last witness through whom we
17 would offer evidence of the atrocities at Dusina. And
18 I do recall an earlier exchange on this between the
19 Court and Defence counsel where it was suggested that
20 we prepare a short stipulation with no frills, just the
21 bare bones, and we did that. And I have actually
22 transmitted that. It consists of six paragraphs on
23 about half a page. I transmitted that to the Office of
24 the Prosecution, and I believe that's still being
1 JUDGE MAY: It may be helpful if you send a
2 draft to us.
3 MR. SAYERS: I have one now.
4 JUDGE MAY: Send one to the Trial Chamber.
5 Send it in due course to the Trial Chamber --
6 MR. SAYERS: Will do, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE MAY: -- so we'll know what's being
8 considered. Yes. On that topic, I had noted that out
9 of the six witnesses, three already have mentioned
10 Dusina, and I was going to invite you to think that
11 that was sufficient on that.
12 And also the other matter, which was the
13 deaths of the children at Vitez. You've called three
14 witnesses on that. Now, there comes to be a limit on
15 these matters, as we've said.
16 MR. SAYERS: Yes, indeed, Your Honour, and
17 we're mindful of that. There's only one other piece of
18 evidence with respect to the children, and that's an
19 actual videotape of the aftermath of that event, and we
20 would propose to introduce that at this time. But as
21 far as I know right now, we do not have any -- we
22 actually have one other witness on that, the mother of
23 one of the children.
24 JUDGE MAY: Is that not a sort of witness who
25 could make an affidavit, rather than bringing her
2 MR. SAYERS: It may be, and I would not want
3 to put her through that, especially if it required
4 showing the videotape, which is not appropriate.
5 JUDGE MAY: Indeed.
6 MR. SAYERS: Other than that, though, Your
7 Honour, I think the relevance of the evidence is as
8 we've previously stated. It's really not the sort of
9 tit for tat argument, the Tu Quoque argument. It's
10 really evidence as to who was persecuting whom, what
11 was going on in the area, and it's really relevant to
12 the allegations made in count 1.
13 And in respect of one of the judge's
14 questions yesterday, I just mentioned paragraph 36, but
15 with respect to the theory of a campaign or a policy or
16 some sort of official party line, so to speak, those
17 allegations are made actually in the earlier paragraphs
18 of the amended indictment too, and the evidence is
19 relevant to that.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could you slow down,
21 Mr. Sayers, please.
22 MR. SAYERS: As I said, I think the point has
23 been made, and we don't need to make the point really
24 anymore, other than with this witness's testimony.
25 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Let's call the
2 [The witness entered court]
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
7 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
8 and nothing but the truth.
9 WITNESS: ZIVKO TOTIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, we will sit till a
12 quarter past 1.00 today. We'll only take a 20-minute
13 break. So it may be convenient if you go on for --
14 until quarter past 11.00, something of that sort.
15 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour. I would
16 anticipate that the testimony of this witness would
17 last perhaps an hour and a half.
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
19 Examined by Mr. Sayers:
20 Q. Good morning, sir. Would you please state
21 your full name for the Court?
22 A. My name is Zivko Totic. I was born on 25
23 January 1958, in the village of Dolac, in the
24 municipality of Zenica, in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Q. All right. I'm going to take you very
1 quickly through some of the points in the outline that
2 you've signed in Croatian, and the English version of
3 which you've signed and initialled every page, sir.
4 Is it true that you are a Bosnian Croat, that
5 you're married and have one son, who will graduate from
6 electrical engineering school this year?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You currently work at the Ministry of Defence
9 of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo as
10 an advisor for the development of defence policy; is
11 that correct, sir?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And is it also right that you have held the
14 rank of Brigadier in the Army of the Federation since
15 December 31st, 1997?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You currently own an apartment in Sarajevo,
18 sir, but you're not able to live in it, either yourself
19 or your family, because it is currently occupied by a
20 Muslim refugee family; is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And where do you live during the week when
23 you work, sir?
24 A. During the week I live in Hotel Dalmatia in
25 Kiseljak, and otherwise I live in the town of Jajce
1 with my family.
2 Q. And you see them on weekends generally, or
3 more regularly?
4 A. Mostly over the weekend.
5 Q. Have you ever been a member of the Croatian
6 Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the HDZ BiH?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Let me just ask you a couple of other
9 questions in the hope of saving some time on
10 cross-examination. Have you ever signed any statements
11 to any institution or at the request of any attorney,
12 other than the statements that you've signed in
13 connection with this case, sir?
14 A. No.
15 Q. I believe, sir, that the first time that you
16 and I actually met face to face was earlier this week;
17 is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And the first time that you met my colleague,
20 Mr. Naumovski, in person was this week, having had with
21 him an earlier telephone conversation; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. But you have previously been interviewed by
24 the investigators for the Office of the Prosecutor,
25 have you not, a gentleman by the name of Stefan Obers?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You asked to sign a witness statement by the
3 investigator when he interviewed you, sir?
4 A. Not yet.
5 Q. All right. Well, let's move on to paragraph
6 6 of your outline, sir.
7 MR. SAYERS: And with the Trial Chamber's
8 permission, I propose to lead a large part of this
9 evidence, except on controversial matters, and I'm sure
10 I'll be told when we reach those.
11 Q. Is it true, sir, that you received your
12 elementary schooling in the village of Stranjani, near
13 the city of Zenica?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And after completing one year of vocational
16 school for business in Zenica, you were accepted at the
17 secondary military school in Sarajevo, which you
18 successfully finished, or you graduated from that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And then you attended your last year of
21 schooling at the military school, studying with the
22 Engineering Corps training facility in the town of
23 Karlovac; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And I believe, sir, that you served for ten
1 years in the Yugoslav People's Army as a
2 noncommissioned officer initially?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And first you commanded a squad, and then
5 your duties increased in importance; you commanded a
6 platoon in Serbia. Correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I believe that you were transferred to
9 Sarajevo in July of 1988, and then in 1990 and 1991 you
10 attended the higher military school for engineers in
11 Karlovac and Sabac?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You completed your military training at the
14 higher military school on December 4th of 1991, having
15 also studied by that time statistics and computer
16 science at the Department of Statistics in Belgrade; is
17 that right, sir?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Brigadier, I believe that on December 4th,
20 1991 you were promoted to the rank of second lieutenant
21 and became the commander of a company of JNA engineers
22 in Bihac, in the west of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And when the war broke out in your country,
25 or when your country was attacked, when the civil war
1 broke out, if I might be so bold, on April 26th of 1992
2 you resigned from the JNA and then moved back to your
3 hometown in Zenica; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. I wonder, sir, if we could just
6 have you testify in your own words as to what occurred
7 after you had been -- after you had made the decision
8 to resign from the JNA and returned to Zenica. What
9 happened then?
10 A. Shortly after my return to Zenica, and I
11 believe it was on the 2nd of May, 1992, I was invited
12 by the commander of the Crisis Staff of the Croat
13 Democratic Union in the village of Stranjani, I was
14 asked to attend a meeting of the Crisis Staff of the
15 HDZ BiH in Stranjani, and we discussed their prompt and
16 efficient establishment of the HVO.
17 Q. All right. Now, in Zenica at this time, were
18 there any organised units of Croats, any organised
19 military units of the Croat people in the city of
21 A. In May 1992, in the territory of the Zenica
22 municipality, there was something between five to ten
23 platoons of the HVO organised. In contrast, in the
24 town of Zenica and the municipality of Zenica, there
25 were a number of Muslim formations.
1 In early January 1992, the so-called 1st
2 Brigade of the Territorial Defence was formed, headed
3 by its commander Dzemal Najetovic. Shortly after that,
4 a battalion of the Patriotic League, headed by Ibrahim
5 Puric was also stationed in the town of Zenica. And
6 the Patriotic League then came out into the public. I
7 believe it began to come into existence sometime in
9 Q. Now, the Territorial Defence in Zenica was,
10 in fact, a predominantly Muslim military organisation,
11 consisting of about 97 per cent Muslim members; is that
13 A. More than 97 per cent.
14 Q. Could you give the Trial Chamber your
15 assessment, sir, your professional military assessment,
16 of the quality of organisation of the Muslim military
17 forces in Zenica at this time?
18 A. The Muslim armed forces in Zenica in 1992
19 were -- well, I must say they were well organised, and
20 personnel who had come from the former JNA mostly
21 commanded their ranks.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
23 referring to consisted of professional officers and
24 noncommissioned officers previously serving in the
25 former JNA; is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. And after you took over your
3 military duties in Zenica, sir, could you explain to
4 the Court what you did or what position you assumed in
5 June of 1992, and what you did in that position?
6 A. After I joined the Zenica HVO, I was first
7 appointed the commander of the company in -- which was
8 about to be formed, but it was never formed. After
9 that, I was asked to form a battalion in the village of
10 Stranjani, and I became its commander. I was
11 successful in setting up this battalion sometime in the
12 end of June 1992.
13 Q. And then I believe that on July 29th of 1992
14 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, the commander of the Central
15 Bosnia Operative Zone, appointed you to be the
16 commander of the HVO staff in the city of Zenica. Is
17 that accurate to say?
18 A. Yes. But shortly afterwards I was issued the
19 same order from the supreme commander of the Croat
20 Community of Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Mate Boban.
21 Q. All right. You were not appointed to your
22 position by any civilian authority, I take it, sir?
23 A. I was not appointed by any civilian authority
24 to the post of the commander of the Municipal Staff.
25 As it was said, I was first appointed by the commander
1 of the Operative Zone in Central Bosnia, Colonel
2 Blaskic, and after that by the supreme commander of the
3 armed forces of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna,
4 Mr. Mate Boban, who was at the same time the supreme
6 Q. All right. And as the commander of the HVO
7 staff in Zenica, you proceeded to reorganise HVO forces
8 that were under your command in that city; is that
10 A. Yes. I began to reorganise them as soon as I
11 took the office, sometime until mid-October. The
12 municipal HVO staff was made up of three battalions,
13 total strength about 1.450 men.
14 My other task, apart from this and the
15 training, was the formation of a combat group, some 60
16 to 200 men strong, which every 7 to 10 days took shifts
17 at the front in Jajce. I need to mention that the HVO
18 units at that time were fighting very fierce and bloody
19 battles for the liberation of the town of Jajce. And
20 in spite of the tremendous efforts invested by the
21 Operative Zone for Central Bosnia to defend the town of
22 Jajce, the Muslim units, in contrast, that is, the
23 Territorial Defence in the first place, I think they
24 did not send any significant, any noteworthy
25 reinforcements to the town of Jajce.
1 Q. All right. On the subject of Jajce, just a
2 few very brief questions. Is it correct that you were
3 responsible for maintaining a sector of the front lines
4 and that your specific responsibility in that
5 connection was to rotate a group of soldiers back and
6 forth to man the front lines against the BSA during
7 that time, sir?
8 A. In November 1992, after the fall of Jajce,
9 the army of Bosnian Serbs came dangerously near the
10 town of Travnik, and the Operative Zone of Central
11 Bosnia decided to set up three sectors. I was
12 appointed --
13 Q. If I might interrupt you, the question was
14 whether you were rotating groups of soldiers back and
15 forth on the front lines before the fall of Jajce. Is
16 that what you did? We can get into what happened
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. Now, with respect to the fall of the town of
20 Jajce on October the 30th, 1992, the position has been
21 taken by the Prosecution in this case that two things
22 happened; first, that the HVO basically abandoned the
23 front lines and, second, that that abandonment was due
24 to an agreement that was reached with the Bosnian Serb
25 artillery to surrender the city. The town of Jajce,
1 rather. Could you give the Trial Chamber, please, your
2 personal experience with respect to either of those two
3 arguments, sir?
4 A. About the agreements which existed or did not
5 exist, I know nothing. But it is not true that the HVO
6 units did not defend the town of Jajce. From the
7 Municipal Staff of Zenica, troops, some 120 men
8 commanded by Dobrica Jonjic, retreated on the 13th of
9 October; that is, crossed the bridge over the Vrbas
10 River. In contrast, the units of the 1st TO Brigade in
11 the village of Kruscica and Busic, set up control
12 points, and further on down to Turbe, while they were
13 plundering and disarming other people or soldiers who
14 were being pulled out.
15 Q. Did the town of Jajce fall as a result of
16 voluntary withdrawal or military defeat, sir?
17 A. Jajce fell because of the defeat.
18 Q. Now, after the fall of Jajce on October the
19 30th, 1992, sir, could you just tell the Trial Chamber
20 what your responsibilities became? And for the Trial
21 Chamber's reference, it's paragraph 15 of the summary
22 that you signed.
23 A. After the fall of the town of Jajce, I think
24 it was November 1992 the Operative Zone, Central
25 Bosnia, decided, in order to put up a good defence of
1 the town of Travnik, to form three defence sectors. I
2 was appointed the commander of Sector 2. Its area of
3 responsibility was from the Lasva River inclusive,
4 across Turbe, Mosunj, Glavicica, Slikovica and
5 Mravinjac to Kamenjas. My deputy was Mario Cerkez.
6 Q. Very well. And it's correct, I believe, to
7 say that on December the 4th of 1992, the HVO in Zenica
8 was reorganised completely pursuant to a decision
9 issued by the supreme commander of the HVO armed
10 forces, Mr. Mate Boban; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And as a result of that reorganisation, could
13 you tell the Trial Chamber, please, what was
15 A. As a result of this reorganisation, based on
16 the order of the supreme commander, Mr. Mate Boban, I
17 was appointed the commander of the Jure Francetic
18 Brigade, and his decision of the 18th of December, '92,
19 upon my proposal along the chain of command in the
20 Operative Zone, Central Bosnia, they appointed the
21 command of the brigade of Jure Francetic by the
22 commander of the staff of the HZ HB, Mr. Stojic.
23 Q. Are you saying that the Jure Francetic
24 Brigade was established as part of the early December,
25 December the 4th, reorganisation decision issued by
1 Mr. Mate Boban and that you were appointed as commander
2 of that brigade pursuant to a separate decision that he
3 issued later in the month on December the 18th?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. Turning to subheading D of our
6 outline, we have told you, sir, I believe, that the
7 Prosecution in this case theorises that there was a
8 widespread and systematic campaign of persecution
9 directed against Bosnian Muslims in the municipality of
10 Zenica first and also throughout each of the
11 municipalities that comprised the Croatian Community of
12 Herceg-Bosna. What can you tell the Trial Chamber
13 about the existence or nonexistence of such a policy on
14 behalf of Bosnian Croats in the area where you lived,
16 A. The persecution policy of Bosnian Muslims by
17 Bosnian Croats, I learned about this policy only after
18 I arrived in The Hague. The Croats did not persecute
19 anyone. Quite the reverse. The Croats were the
20 persecuted ones in Zenica and throughout the territory
21 of the municipality of Zenica.
22 Q. Let me try to take you through this quickly,
23 Brigadier. Did you ever, throughout your entire
24 association with the HVO, ever receive an order from
25 any superior officer or any kind of pressure, directly
1 or indirectly, to harass or persecute any persons who
2 belonged to any ethnic group other than Croats or to
3 give those non-Croats any kind of a hard time?
4 A. I never ever received that, nor did I ever
5 hear about that. And had I ever received that, I can
6 claim under full responsibility that I would not have
7 complied with it.
8 Q. All right. Is it true, sir, that Bosnian
9 Croats in the municipality of Zenica were in a distinct
11 A. It is true that the Bosnian Croats in the
12 town and the territory of the municipality of Zenica
13 constituted a clear minority. In the territory and
14 municipality of Zenica, Bosnian Muslims accounted for
15 about 55 per cent, Bosnian Croats for about 15.5
16 per cent, and Bosnian Serbs accounted for about 15.4
17 per cent. The rest were Yugoslavs or members of other
18 ethnic groups, and I believe they totalled something
19 around 20.000.
20 Q. So just for the record, is it accurate that
21 according to the 1991 census, as far as you can recall,
22 the total population of the municipality of Zenica was
23 in the region of 145.500, that about 80.300 or so were
24 Bosnian Muslims, 22.500 or so Bosnian Croats,
25 approximately 22.400 Bosnian Serbs, and about nineteen
1 or twenty thousand Yugoslavs or others; is that
2 accurate to say in a broad outline?
3 A. Yes, that is correct, and I just tried to cut
4 it short and gave you percentages a while ago.
5 Q. Yes, sir, I appreciate that. After the civil
6 war broke out, could you tell the Court approximately
7 how many Bosnian Muslim refugees came into the
8 municipality of Zenica?
9 A. After the civil war broke out in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina and after the fall of Eastern
11 Bosnia, Bosnia and Krajina, a river of refugees
12 streamed towards Central Bosnia and principally towards
13 the town of Zenica. I believe that in '92 and until
14 '93, something between thirty-five to fifty thousand
15 refugees arrived in that area, mostly consisting of
16 Bosnian Muslims. "Mostly", I said.
17 Q. Yes, sir. And we can all do the simple
18 arithmetic. From a pre-war ratio of about four to one,
19 the ratio of Bosnian Muslims to Bosnian Croats in
20 Zenica had risen to about six to one by 1993; is that
21 fair to say?
22 A. Yes, due to the influx. And I believe that
23 it was planned, that it was a planned transfer of
24 Muslim population to Zenica and the expulsion of
25 Bosnian Serbs by Bosnian Muslims, so that their number
1 went down to a mere 3.000. In the municipality of
2 Zenica, the ratio between Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian
3 Croats changed drastically. I think it was something
4 about 120.000 to 20.000 Croats.
5 Q. You say in paragraph 20 of your summary that
6 to try to persecute people who were six times more
7 numerous than the persecutors would have been stupid.
8 Can you just elaborate on that point to the Trial
9 Chamber, give them your views on that subject, sir?
10 A. Your Honours, to persecute an ethnic group
11 which is six times larger than we were would be a
12 theoretical and practical nonsense, and it simply could
13 not be done.
14 Q. All right. You make some comments in
15 paragraph 21 of your outline, Brigadier, regarding who
16 it was that was -- well, you say that Bosnian Muslims
17 were harassing and persecuting Bosnian Croats, and you
18 give an example specifically relating to the first such
19 expulsion of Bosnian Croats from their homes. The
20 Trial Chamber has heard evidence about this already
21 from Major Gelic, but could you just give, in a very
22 encapsulated way, your recollection of that particular
23 event, sir?
24 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Yes, excuse
25 me, Mr. Sayers. Before the witness answers your
1 question, I'd like to come back to the previous
2 question about persecution.
3 The witness said that it seemed to him that
4 to persecute people that are six times more numerous
5 than the persecutors would have been nonsense. I would
6 like to ask Brigadier Totic whether throughout history
7 you don't have examples of persecutions by minorities
8 against majorities. Is it always the case that
9 majorities persecute minorities?
10 A. I know that there are such examples in
11 history, but I also know what was going on in the
12 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I am absolutely clear
13 about what was going on in the municipality of Zenica,
14 and I affirm that Bosnian Croats never persecuted
16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 MR. SAYERS: Thank you indeed,
18 Judge Bennouna.
19 Q. I was just asking you some questions about
20 the first example of a Bosnian Croat family being
21 evicted from their home. I understand that you
22 yourself sent your subordinate, Darko Gelic, to
23 investigate that particular incident. Could you just
24 explain, in a very short way, sir, the recollection
25 that you have of that incident?
1 A. I believe it was in August '92 a family came
2 to me. They were a family of expelled Bosnian Croats
3 from the place called Bistrica near Zenica, and they
4 complained they had been evicted from their house by
5 the Mujahedin. I believe they were called Kovacevic or
6 Kovacic; I'm not sure. As soon as I heard that, I sent
7 an officer from the staff command, Mr. Darko Gelic, to
8 go out into the field and check the veracity of the
10 After that, Mr. Gelic reported to me, saying
11 that it was quite true that a family of Bosnian Croats
12 had been evicted and that their house was right next to
13 the training centre of the Territorial Defence. He
14 also reported to me then that the majority of people in
15 that centre were Mujahedin.
16 Q. Is it correct that you observed and heard
17 that TO troops regularly marched in full gear through
18 Croat villages in the municipality of Zenica in a show
19 of force?
20 A. Yes. It began as soon as the first TO
21 brigade was formed up, that is, as of May '92, and
22 those were -- that was one of their regular
23 activities. All they wanted to achieve with that was
24 to intimidate the Croat population in the territory of
25 the municipality of Zenica.
1 Q. And is it also true that Croats were
2 frequently evicted from their apartments in Zenica --
3 we've already heard from Major Gelic on that subject --
4 and that the Muslim-dominated wartime government
5 discriminated against its Croat members in a number of
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you give the Trial Chamber some
9 examples of that, just to allow the Trial Chamber to
10 have some concrete detail rather than broad
12 A. Your Honours, there were a number of
13 instances where Croats were evicted from their flats.
14 They did not care for the office that somebody held.
15 For instance, specifically in my command, in the
16 brigade command, the family of Mr. Darko Gelic's, who
17 was the officer responsible for intelligence affairs,
18 the family was evicted from their flat.
19 Q. All right. Is it also accurate to say that
20 as of April the 15th, 1993, both the TO and the HVO
21 were legally-recognised military formations of the
22 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as far as you can
24 A. Yes, indeed, it is true that the HVO and the
25 TO were equal military formations which made up the
1 armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 In addition to these two formations, there
3 were also a number of paramilitary formations in the
4 territory of Zenica municipality; in the first place,
5 the battalion of the Patriotic League, which was the
6 military wing of the SDA, then the Green Legion, headed
7 by brothers Anabel and Ervin Barisic, and also HOS
8 formations which at the time and later were comprised
9 of more than 70 per cent of Bosnian Muslims. I
10 perceived all these formations as paramilitary
12 Q. And did --
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Sayers, is the witness
14 aware of any instances of evictions of Muslim families
15 by Croats in Zenica?
16 MR. SAYERS:
17 Q. Brigadier, you've heard the Judge's
18 question. Could you answer it, please?
19 A. I'm not aware of this, and I should like to
20 hear one example. Could I be given one example, at
21 least? And I'm quite convinced that there are none.
22 Q. I'm unable to provide one, sir. But let's
23 continue on the outline here.
24 Paragraph 24. You give an example of an
25 attack against other non-Muslim ethnic groups, Serbs
1 this time, by the Muslim armed forces, an attack in May
2 of 1992 in the village of Drivusa. Could you just tell
3 the Trial Chamber what you know about that particular
4 attack, sir, and what you did after it?
5 A. Sometime in early '92, that is, in early May,
6 the Territorial Defence units from Zenica attacked an
7 undefended village mostly populated with Bosnian
8 Serbs. In that attack, in her house, which was at the
9 entrance into the village of Drivusa, Ana Mitrovic, a
10 Bosnian Croat, was killed. At that time, she was the
11 mother of three minor children.
12 Immediately after I became the commander of
13 the Municipal Staff, and I believe that was on the 1st
14 of August, '92, I publicly, over the media and in the
15 media, condemned the attack on the undefended Serb
16 village of Drivusa and the crime committed by the
17 Territorial Defence units. I said, literally, that I
18 would be ashamed if the HVO units had taken part in
19 it. And the military and political leadership of
20 Bosnian Muslims in the town of Zenica were quite
21 indignant when they heard that statement of mine.
22 Q. What happened to the Bosnian Serb population
23 of that village of Drivusa, sir?
24 A. The Bosnian Serb population from the village
25 of Drivusa has been almost completely expelled, not
1 only from Drivusa but from the territory of the
2 municipality of Zenica. From 15.4 per cent, I think
3 that the exact number of Serbs in Zenica were 22.433,
4 only about 3.000 remained afterwards.
5 Q. All right. You're talking now about the
6 entire city of Zenica, an exodus of about 19.000
7 Bosnian Serbs. But my question was actually related
8 more narrowly to the village of Drivusa. What happened
9 to the Bosnian Serb population of that particular
10 village, sir?
11 A. The village of Drivusa was expelled, as I've
12 mentioned. However, some villages in the municipality
13 of Zenica where Bosnian Serbs remained to live and who
14 did not intend to move out, the representatives of
15 those Serbs came to me to look for protection.
16 Your Honours, at the cost of being called a
17 Chetnik, I designated a platoon of 40 HVO soldiers to
18 guard the village of Kozarci -- it was the hamlet of
19 Lazic and the village Osojnica -- at night, and the
20 population of those two villages was almost exclusively
21 Serb. At the beginning, the HVO soldiers were very
22 skeptical, but soon -- and the time showed this, that I
23 was right.
24 Q. All right. Let me just skip over, in the
25 interests of time, paragraph 26, and go straight to
1 paragraph 27. I'm not going to ask you specifically,
2 Brigadier, about the murder of 12 Croats in Zenica,
3 other than to ask you whether you prepared a
4 contemporaneous document that recorded those events. I
5 believe that --
6 MR. SAYERS: Let me just show you a document
7 that we have marked as one of the very few exhibits
8 that we have for you, and I'd like to have this
9 distributed, if I may, and request a Defence exhibit
10 number for it, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked
13 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
14 Q. Brigadier, very briefly, is this a document
15 that you prepared? Or at least you'll see at the end
16 of it there's the Croatian original, and that appears
17 to be your signature. I would like you to confirm for
18 the Trial Chamber that it is.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. All right. There's no need to put that on
21 the ELMO. The document says what it says, and we can
22 all read it for ourselves.
23 Following the events at Dusina, Brigadier,
24 could you just tell the Trial Chamber whether there
25 were any visits by bipartisan delegations, if you like,
1 to that village, and if so, were you there, what did
2 you hear, what did you see?
3 A. Your Honours, as far as the crime of
4 Dusina -- in Dusina is concerned, I was in Donje Panje
5 [phoen] near Travnik at the command post when I heard
6 about it. I immediately set out for Zenica and
7 contacted the TO headquarters in Zenica, Mr. Jasmin
8 Saric. Also, the president of the Zenica HVO and HDZ,
9 through his lines of communication, contacted
10 Mr. Djidic and Mr. Besim Spahic, who was the Zenica
11 municipal assembly president.
12 The negotiations were very sluggish, but
13 after a while it was decided that the Lasva and Dusina
14 villages would be visited by the joint delegation of
15 Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs. I was appointed to
16 it as commander of the HVO, Jasmin Saric as the TO
17 commander, Josip Pojavnik as the HDZ president, and
18 Mr. Fuad Djidic as the SDA president in Zenica -- I
19 believe he's now a consul in Australia -- president of
20 the HVO, Dominik Sakic, and the head of the Zenica
21 municipality, Mr. Besim Spahic, who I believe now is an
22 Bosnian ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the
23 Republic of Turkey.
24 With his request and with my approval, a
25 journalist joined us, Mr. Andrija Tunjic, who worked
1 for the newspaper Vjesnik from Zagreb.
2 When we arrived in Lasva and upon entering
3 the room where the meeting was being held, I saw a man
4 carrying in some things. He opened the door, I
5 approached him, and it was clear that the Croatian
6 houses were being looted. I asked him what was going
7 on, and he said that he had been ordered to collect
8 things from Croatian houses and that these things would
9 later be returned. I'm not aware that any of these
10 things were later returned.
11 In the meeting, I publicly asked Mr. Besim
12 Spahic, the head of the municipality of Zenica, about
13 this. He said nothing, and he just gave me a cynical
14 smile which I will never forget.
15 Q. Did you actually, yourself, visit the village
16 of Dusina?
17 A. After this meeting and based on an agreement,
18 the delegation was supposed to go to the village of
19 Dusina. But the Muslim part of the delegation, led by
20 Besim Spahic, refused to go to the village of Dusina,
21 citing as an excuse that their car was not able to
22 negotiate the steep incline. So Mr. Andrija Tunjic,
23 Mr. Sakic -- there was a driver and his name was Tunjic
24 [sic] -- and I went up there.
25 When we came to the area of the hamlet of
1 Dusina, which was a Croat hamlet, we were stopped by a
2 member of the TO. I believe it was a local soldier
3 from the village of Lasva. He immediately warned
4 Andrija Tunjic that he was not allowed to take any
5 pictures. He knew that we had been announced. I
6 started a conversation with him, and I asked him what
7 had happened. He made excuses that it was not them who
8 did this, meaning the local Muslim population, but that
9 this was done by elements of the 7th Muslim Brigade,
10 17th Krajina Brigade, and the 305th Brigade.
11 After we entered the village of Dusina, I saw
12 that there were seven Croat houses with 35 members and
13 one Serbian house with eight people living there, and
14 everything was burned. And Tunjic published this, his
15 account of this, in a book a year later.
16 Q. I don't think we need any more detail, and
17 I'm sure the Trial Chamber will be grateful to know
18 that that's the last evidence we have on Dusina, with
19 the exception of properly authenticated death
20 certificates, which we'll offer in due course and we
21 need not take up time on that today.
22 Let me just address, you to two other --
23 JUDGE MAY: If you're moving on to a new
24 topic, that might be a convenient moment.
25 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now for 20
3 --- Recess taken at 11.14 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.42 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
6 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Three very short matters. First, we have
8 presented the death certificates, and at this point I'd
9 like a request to have a Defence Exhibit number,
11 THE REGISTRAR: The Exhibit is going to be
12 numbered D210/1.
13 MR. SAYERS: And the second and third are
14 transcript errors. Unfortunately, our LiveNote is not
15 working, so I can't ascertain what the precise page and
16 line numbers are, but perhaps we can clear it up this
18 Q. Brigadier, you earlier testified that the
19 bipartisan delegation that visited the village of Lasva
20 consisted of Bosnian Croats, and you said -- at least
21 the transcript says "Bosnian Serbs". Did you mean
22 Bosnian Muslims or Bosnian Serbs?
23 A. That was evidently a mistake in the
24 transcript. It was a joint delegation of Bosnian
25 Croats and Bosnian Muslims, and I also gave the names.
1 Q. Thank you. And a final clarification. You
2 referred to the 305th Brigade as one of the three
3 military formations identified by the Muslim soldier
4 that you met in Dusina. Is that the proper name for
5 that brigade? Is it known as the 305th Jajce Brigade
6 or Jajacka Brigade?
7 A. The number is 305, and it was also known as
8 the Jajce Brigade, with its command near the village of
9 Lasva. Immediately after the fall of Jajce, its
10 headquarters were at a place called Biljesevo.
11 Q. We had arrived at paragraph 28 of your
12 summary, Brigadier. I wonder if you could just tell us
13 what happened at the Cajdras checkpoint on March 28th,
15 A. On the 28th of March, 1993, at the Cajdras
16 checkpoint, two military policemen of the HVO were
17 killed. Their names were Bernard Kovacevic and Ivo
18 Laus. On the same occasion, a Mujahedin was also
20 The incident, or rather the gunfire, started
21 when a motor vehicle, a truck, with plates of the
22 defence centre, refused to stop, and when those who
23 were in the vehicle opened fire on the military
25 Immediately after that, I sent the brigade
1 officer, Darko Gelic, to the scene of the incident, and
2 he told me that Mr. Jasmin Saric was there also
3 representing TO headquarters in Zenica. And at a
4 higher level, the scene of this event, two or three
5 hours later, was also visited by Mr. Dobrica Jonjic. I
6 believe at the time he was deputy commander of the 4th
7 Battalion of the military police. And Mr. Dzemal
8 Merdan, who at that time was the commander of the
9 regional headquarters of Zenica TO.
10 After that, Mr. Dobrica Jonjic, in a
11 conversation with me, said that General Merdan had told
12 him that an incident had taken place, had happened,
13 because the HVO soldiers were refusing to allow the TO
14 to take their weapons and equipment through the
15 checkpoints and that they could not allegedly defend
16 themselves because we were preventing them from getting
18 Dobrica Jonjic then asked, "Well, is this
19 also an HVO soldier showing the Mujahedin?" And Dzemal
20 Merdan immediately retreated and said, but he is not
21 one of ours."
22 Q. All right. And we'll hear more about Colonel
23 Merdan later on. But let me just move on in the
24 outline to the next day, March 29th, 1993. I believe
25 there was an incident on that day, and I wonder if you
1 can tell the Trial Chamber about it, sir.
2 A. On the 29th of March, 1993, an HVO soldier
3 was killed from the 1st Infantry Battalion from
4 Cajdras. His name was Slavko Pudja. He was killed in
5 a facility where a squad of soldiers were spending the
6 night. According to the investigation which was
7 conducted the next day -- that is, that night and the
8 next day -- as there was snow outside, one could see
9 that the footsteps led to the villages of Preocica and
10 Lupac, which are in the territory of the municipality
11 of Vitez. The village of Vjetrenica is on the brow of
12 the hill, on the boundary between the municipalities of
13 Zenica and Vitez.
14 Q. Was any request made for an investigation
15 into the circumstances of this killing?
16 A. I asked the commander of the TO staff to
17 investigate the circumstances of the murder, but
18 nothing was done whatsoever.
19 Q. Let me move to the next item on the outline.
20 There's been a contention made by the Prosecution in
21 this case that certain transit charges, or per-head
22 transit charges, were charged by the HVO or by Bosnian
23 Croats to permit expelled Bosnian Serbs from the Zenica
24 municipality to transit through Croat-held territory to
25 I believe the Ilijas municipality, just north-west of
1 Sarajevo. Is that true or not?
2 A. No. This is the first time I hear of it.
4 Q. Have you ever met a gentleman by the name of
5 Dragutin Cicak?
6 A. Yes. Mr. Dragutin Zvonimir Cicak was a man I
7 met in the autumn of 1992. On that occasion a
8 delegation of the 314th Brigade of the Army of BH,
9 which was -- which came from the 3rd Corps had
10 announced that they would come to see me in my command,
11 and he arrived then with the commander of the 314th
12 Brigade. I believe his name was Mr. Smajlbegovic, Suad
13 Smajlbegovic. He introduced himself to me. He said he
14 was a member of the command, and I believe he was in
15 the department in the section responsible for the
17 Q. Just to clear up the record a little,
18 Brigadier, when you say, "He introduced himself to me,"
19 are you referring to Mr. Smajlbegovic or to Mr. Cicak?
20 A. No. Mr. Cicak, because that was the first
21 time that I met him.
22 Q. Now, was Mr. Cicak in civilian clothes or in
23 uniform, if you can remember?
24 A. Mr. Cicak, I remember well, was wearing a
25 uniform with the insignia of the Army of BH.
1 Q. And could you just relate the conversation
2 that you had with this gentleman to Their Honours,
3 please, as best you can recall?
4 A. In a nutshell, this was a short
5 conversation. At first glance, I thought it was a
6 rather unstable person, because without no cause
7 whatsoever, he immediately began to talk to me about
8 Mr. Dario Kordic. However, nothing was founded in all
9 his story. He voiced a number of accusations and
10 pejorative remarks about Mr. Dario Kordic. Until that
11 day, I did not know Mr. Cicak, nor did I know why was
12 he attacking and expressing himself so deprecatingly
13 about Mr. Dario Kordic.
14 Q. We can move fairly quickly through paragraph
15 32, Brigadier. You've already said that you dispute
16 the story that a transit charge per head was imposed
17 upon Bosnian Serbs who were trying to pass through
18 Bosnian-Croat-held territory. Could you just tell the
19 Trial Chamber why that is the case, why you dispute
21 A. I dispute this because I claim, under full
22 responsibility, that at no time was there a plan to
23 dislocate or, rather, remove the Serb population from
24 the Zenica municipality. Quite the contrary; I
25 believed, and I believe this still, that the only way
1 was to keep the Serb population in the territory of the
2 Zenica municipality. After the Serb population moved
3 from the territory of the Zenica municipality, the
4 forms of pressure against the Croat population to move
5 out became ever more intensive. I claim under full
6 responsibility that the Zenica HVO and, as far as I
7 know, the HVO of Central Bosnia, never had any plans,
8 nor did they do that.
9 Q. All right. Now, we'll -- a witness in this
10 case, Mr. Cicak, has claimed that the articifer of this
11 plan to impose transit charges was Mr. Dario Kordic.
12 We'll speak about him a little bit later in your
13 testimony, sir, but is such a plan consistent with
14 Mr. Kordic's personality, or what you knew of
15 Mr. Kordic from your knowledge of him?
16 A. As far as I know, Mr. Dario Kordic, he could
17 not have conceived of such a plan, as a man, or even
18 think of it. Quite the contrary; Mr. Dario Kordic --
19 and everybody in Central Bosnia knows that -- advocated
20 coexistence of all the inhabitants of the area.
21 Q. All right, sir. Let me move forward in time
22 a little bit to April of 1993. You were, in fact, the
23 commander of the Jure Francetic Brigade in Zenica in
24 April of 1993, immediately before your abduction; is
25 that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, could you tell the Trial Chamber whether
3 the HVO had any plan for offensive action against the
4 ABiH or Muslim armed forces at any time in April of
5 1993, as far as you're aware?
6 A. Insofar as I'm aware, Your Honours, at that
7 moment the HVO had no plan of any kind, nor was it
8 planning any combat operations against the army of
9 Bosnian Muslims. At that time, on the 14th, or rather
10 15th of April, 1993, the HVO, not only the one in
11 Zenica but also for Central Bosnia, was not prepared
12 for any combat operations; least of all was it prepared
13 logistically. Let me remind you that at that time in
14 the HVO of Zenica, as the commander of the brigade, I
15 had armament for only about 30 per cent of the troops,
16 that is, about 370 barrels. And of those weapons, no
17 weapon was complete, no set, no combat kit was
18 complete, so it would have been insane to think of
19 something like that.
20 Q. The Trial Chamber, Brigadier, has already
21 heard considerable evidence about the incidents that
22 immediately preceded the outbreak of fighting on April
23 15th or 16th, 1993. You were aware, I take it, that a
24 number of senior officers within the Stjepan Tomasevic
25 Brigade were kidnapped on April 13th, 1993 by members
1 of the 7th Muslim Brigade outside of Novi Travnik?
2 A. Yes, I am aware that on the 13th of April,
3 1993, three officers of the HVO Stjepan Tomasevic Novi
4 Travnik Brigade were abducted. I know all those three
5 officers. Kambic, Sliskovic and Kovac are their last
6 names. Subsequently --
7 Q. We don't need any further testimony on that,
8 because we're going to hear from Mr. Kambic, who was
9 one of those abducted officers, Brigadier.
10 But let me just address a broader subject.
11 Was there any kind of policy, as far as you could see,
12 aimed at deliberately kidnapping senior officers in HVO
13 armed units, or not?
14 A. Your Honours, I believe, and I think, that
15 there was a policy of abduction of HVO officers
16 conceived by Muslim military representatives, and it
17 came true at a later stage. It is my opinion that they
18 consciously were trying to leave HVO brigades without
19 their commanders so as to gain control over the
20 territory more easily.
21 Q. In addition to the three staff officers that
22 you've identified, sir, is it also the case that a
23 fourth HVO soldier, who was the driver of those staff
24 officers at the time of their abduction, was himself
25 kidnapped along with the three officers?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. Now, I want to turn our attention
3 to the incident in which you were kidnapped and in
4 which your guards were executed.
5 MR. SAYERS: We have a brief videotape, Your
6 Honours. We've already provided it to the technical
7 booth. I would anticipate that it would only last a
8 minute and a half or so.
9 Q. But before we show that videotape, Brigadier,
10 could you just describe to the Trial Chamber what
11 happened to you on the 15th of April, 1993?
12 A. On the 15th of April, 1993, as I went to
13 work, as usual, in the area of the village of
14 Podbrijzje, the vehicle in which I was riding -- I
15 believe it was Audi 100 -- a motor vehicle came
16 straight at it. I believe it was about 5 or 10 minutes
17 to 8.00 in the morning. And the driver said to me that
18 a fool was coming at us. I raised my head -- I think I
19 was just putting an audio cassette in -- and I saw the
20 vehicle heading straight for us. And I said, "Well,
21 let's try and go around it." The driver slowed down.
22 I think we were driving at about 30, 40 kilometers per
23 hour. There was a mild slope, and he wanted to go
24 around the vehicle. But at that moment, from the
25 vehicle, which was heading straight for us, very fierce
1 fire was opened.
2 Q. Would you explain to the Court what happened
3 to the person that was actually driving the car?
4 A. I think that in that fire, one of the first
5 bullets hit the driver directly in the head. His name
6 was Ivica Vidovic, and he fell against my left side.
7 That same moment, the escort -- his name was Tihomir
8 Ljubic -- said to a soldier whose name was Anto, "Anto,
9 look after the commander," and the soldier protected me
10 with his body. He simply lied over me. And the other
11 escort, Marko Ljubic, he told him to jump out.
12 Q. It's true that the person that was protecting
13 you or shielding you with his own body was actually
14 your brother-in-law, your wife's brother; is that
15 right, sir?
16 A. Yes, Your Honours, that is true.
17 Q. I understand, sir, that you were yourself hit
18 by a gunshot to the head and that you still bear the
19 scar of that wound today. Is that right?
20 A. Yes. In this attack on the vehicle,
21 everybody was wounded. I believe that in that moment
22 only Ivica Vidovic, the driver of the vehicle, was
23 fatally wounded. All the rest were showing signs of
25 I was also hit in the head, and as I was
1 bleeding and I was dazed, soldiers who wore masks
2 dragged me into the other vehicle. After I was placed
3 in the other vehicle, I was -- my hands were tied
4 behind my back with a type of handcuffs which are
5 called Indians. You put -- if you put them in the
6 water and if it gets wet, it will tighten in time and
7 it will render your hands completely numb. Then they
8 covered me with blankets -- with a blanket, and on each
9 side of me a soldier sat down, and this is how they
10 drove me in the direction of Zenica.
11 Then there I was taken out of the car. I
12 could only -- I saw a bridge there, and I was
13 transferred to another vehicle.
14 Q. [Previous interpretation continues]... that,
15 but were you present when the people that were
16 attacking your entourage and you fired bullets into the
17 car from which you had been taken or snatched?
18 A. I was sitting in a vehicle. The driver was
19 driving. All my soldiers were behind. After the
20 killing of the driver, I said that the escort called
21 Tihomir Ljubic, who was in charge of my security, and I
22 quote him, "Anto, cover the commander. Anto, jump
23 out." And I believe that by then the bursts of fire
24 were coming from all sides. I don't know from which
25 side they didn't shoot. I saw that one of the escorts
1 called Marko was hit as he was stepping out of the car,
2 and he was on the left-hand side. But at that moment,
3 he was only wounded.
4 After I was moved -- after I was taken to the
5 other vehicle, I heard a terrible fire, and I believe
6 that the three wounded soldiers were then killed in a
7 most brutal way.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Was this while they were in
9 the car?
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for
11 Judge Robinson.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Was this while they were in
13 the car? While they were wounded, they were shot in
14 the car; is that so?
15 A. Yes. One soldier, I remember his name was
16 Marko Ljubic, he had stepped out. He was sitting on
17 the left-hand side, and he had just stepped out and he
18 was hit as he was stepping out. He was just about to
19 get out or he was getting out. The rest of us were all
20 in the vehicle.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: With the benefit of
22 hindsight, you would say that the purpose of this
23 attack was to abduct you, rather than to kill all the
24 persons who were in the car?
25 A. Now and even at the time of my abduction, it
1 was clear to me that the goal was my abduction and the
2 execution or the -- of all the witnesses.
3 On this occasion, in addition to four HVO
4 soldiers, a Bosnian Muslim was also killed, the father
5 of six, who accidentally was there on his way to work
6 in Zenica.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
8 MR. SAYERS: Your Honours, if I might ask the
9 technical booth to show the videotape, I'll just ask
10 the Brigadier to confirm that this is an accurate
11 depiction of the scene of events that he's just
13 [Videotape played]
14 MR. SAYERS: Your Honours, that should be
15 enough, I think, to get the picture. Thank you.
16 That's enough, thank you.
17 Could we get an exhibit number for the
18 videotape, first of all, please?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 211/1.
20 MR. SAYERS:
21 Q. Could you confirm, Brigadier Totic, that that
22 is a videotape of what occurred to you and your escorts
23 on the 15th of April, 1993?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. All right. Could you just explain to the
1 Trial Chamber what happened after your guards had been
2 executed, and the passerby shot dead, and after you had
3 been kidnapped by the people that had attacked you?
4 A. After I was abducted, they took me outside of
5 the town of Zenica. We drove for about 30 to 40
7 I was held prisoner for 33 days in a family
8 home throughout this time in a room where I was
9 placed. There were guards. I believe that they were
10 3rd Corps soldiers. In the same room, there was a
11 piece of furniture which was moved away from the wall,
12 and I was handcuffed, and this is how I spent 33 days.
13 They took off my handcuffs for the first time after 30
15 Q. Could you actually identify your abductors in
16 any fashion, sir?
17 A. Your Honours, I cannot identify my abductors
18 accurately. Throughout my stay in this family home
19 where I had been taken and kept imprisoned, I saw the
20 face of only one man, and it was an Arabic man; I could
21 recognise that. But before and after that, no soldier
22 who came to me ever showed their face. They were
23 wearing masks, and also they wore gloves. I realised
24 that it was not only Mujahedin but it was a wider plan
25 conceived, I believe, at the top and at least in the
1 3rd Corps of ABiH.
2 As proof of this, after my release I was told
3 that at the intersection of the village of Podbrijezje
4 there was a 20-millimetre gun mounted on the vehicle,
5 and at that time, from what I know, the Mujahedin were
6 not an independent and a separate unit of the ABiH and
7 they did not have this weapon. This weapon was the
8 weapon belonging to the 3rd Corps.
9 Q. All right, Brigadier. This is, for the
10 Court's information, paragraph 37 of the summary. Were
11 any members of the International Community, members of
12 the Red Cross or any other humanitarian organisation,
13 permitted to see you at any point during your
15 A. No, nobody visited me during my
16 incarceration, no representatives of an international
17 organisation or the International Red Cross. And I
18 know, as --
19 JUDGE MAY: Could you just restrict your
20 answers to the question, please, Brigadier.
21 MR. SAYERS:
22 Q. Just on a broader base, Brigadier Totic, were
23 you aware that any members of the Red Cross or of the
24 International Community were permitted to register or
25 visit other detainees in facilities such as the music
1 school in Zenica, detention facilities run, I believe,
2 by the 7th Muslim Brigade?
3 A. I don't know that they ever visited those
5 MR. SAYERS: All right. I will not dwell on
6 this, Your Honour, because we actually have one of our
7 witnesses, someone who was a detainee in the music
8 school, and he can explain to you for himself what
9 happened there.
10 Q. In terms of what happened to you, Brigadier,
11 during your detention, could you just explain to the
12 Trial Chamber the interrogations that you were
13 subjected to and the circumstances under which those
14 interrogations occurred?
15 A. In those 33 days of my imprisonment, I was
16 interrogated two or three times. Before each of these
17 interrogations, I would be ordered to kneel down.
18 Around my neck they would wrap about a metre of fuse,
19 which was taped to 200 grams of a powerful explosive,
20 Trotil. And on the other side, they had an electrical
21 detonator, and one of the army soldiers, my abductor,
22 held the conductors and the battery which would have
23 lit this fuse.
24 As I was trained in explosives, I knew that
25 these were real explosives and I knew they were
1 activated, that I would be beheaded. But I also knew
2 that they would not dare do it, because this was a room
3 which measured three by four, and if they had activated
4 it, they also would suffer serious consequences.
5 During my interrogations, they were mostly
6 interested in military and also political matters.
7 They thought and they forced me to admit that Dario
8 Kordic was the commander. I knew that he was not, so I
9 couldn't say that, even if they killed me.
10 Q. We'll get into that in just a second, sir,
11 but is it true that you were released finally from
12 detention on May the 17th, 1993, as part of an overall
13 agreement between the HVO and the 3rd Corps of the
15 A. I don't know whether there was a general
16 agreement on exchange, but I know that the HVO and the
17 ABiH 3rd Corps agreed, with the assistance of
18 Ambassador Thebault and also the German representative
19 Salznik [phoen], and I believe that this is why we
20 remained alive.
21 Q. I don't believe there is any more need to go
22 into that. For the Court's information, the
23 circumstances of this prisoner release have already
24 been identified in D79/1.
25 The next subject which I would like to
1 address with you --
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Sayers, before you move
3 on --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Before you move on to
6 the next subject, I would just like to clarify what you
7 identified to the President this morning as the broad
8 purpose of your adducing evidence of Muslim attacks on
9 Croats. You said it was not in the form of a Tu Quoque
10 direct response to the Prosecution case but rather, if
11 I understood you correctly, by adducing this evidence
12 of Muslim attacks you are seeking to cast doubt on the
13 Prosecution's case of attacks by Croats on Muslims.
14 You're seeking --
15 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Your aim is to make less
17 credible the Prosecution story of attacks by Croats on
18 Muslims; is that it?
19 MR. SAYERS: The position is this, Your
20 Honour, if I may, if I understand your question:
21 Through this witness, obviously in the municipality of
22 Zenica, I confess I do not particularly understand what
23 the Prosecution's case is, because if the position that
24 the Prosecution is advocating is that there was an
25 attack by Bosnian Croats against Bosnian Muslims in
1 that municipality, then frankly I think that that's
2 misconceived and factually wrong, and I think that the
3 evidence that has been produced in the last week has
4 absolutely exploded that theory.
5 But insofar as the broader case is concerned,
6 the theory that's being advocated is that there was a
7 systematic and widespread policy of persecution, or a
8 campaign of persecution as I think it's referred to in
9 the amended indictment, solely by Bosnian Croats waged
10 against Bosnian Muslims, and we believe that that
11 simply is not the case. We're not defending and we
12 don't seek to defend the excesses committed by troops
13 of the HVO during this very bitter and extended civil
14 war, but we simply are trying to put before the Trial
15 Chamber the full picture that there were evil actions
16 going on both sides and that that was really,
17 unfortunately, the times. It wasn't the result of a
18 particular policy that was, if you like, imposed upon
19 or squeezed into the hearts of Bosnian Croats by their
20 leaders -- this was a civil war, unfortunately -- and
21 not the result of any kind of top-down theory of the
22 type that has been speculated by the expert witnesses
23 that have testified before Your Honours; Dr. Donia
24 being one example, Dr. Allcock being another. And at
25 various times, I think, through the testimony of
1 various witnesses, an explanation is sought to be --
2 well, I won't use the word "concocted", but an
3 explanation is sought to be developed to try to impose
4 some rationale upon an essentially irrational series of
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. I think I
7 understand what you're saying. It's a fine point.
8 MR. SAYERS: Yes, but thank you for asking,
9 Your Honour.
10 Q. Let me just go on, Brigadier. The next
11 subject is Mr. or now Brigadier General Merdan, I
12 believe. When did you first meet this soldier?
13 A. I met General Merdan in mid-1992 in Zenica
14 while he was the commander of the District Staff of the
15 Zenica TO. After that and after the Washington Accords
16 were signed, that is, two or three months after that,
17 we were part of the HVO delegation. I was the
18 president of the military executive committee of the
19 HVO, and he was the -- he had the same post with the
20 ABiH, and we worked in Uskoplje on the implementation
21 of the Washington Accords. After that, I had an
22 opportunity to get to know him better after '97, when
23 we worked in the army of the Federation of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina together until the April of this
25 year, when he took retirement.
1 Q. Very well, Brigadier. I don't want to take
2 too much time on this subject, so let's try to move
3 through it with speed so that we can fulfil our time
4 estimate for the Court here.
5 It's true that Colonel Merdan was never the
6 official commander of the 3rd Corps of the ABiH, but
7 could you give the Court your understanding of what his
8 functions within the 3rd Corps actually were, sir?
9 A. Your Honours, General Merdan was never the
10 commander of the 3rd Corps. Commanders of the 3rd
11 Corps changed. At first it was Hadzihasanovic, then it
12 was Alagic, then it was Mahmuljin. But throughout this
13 time, Dzemal Merdan was the deputy commander and acted
14 as a shadow commander. I had a number of opportunities
15 to satisfy myself that he was respected by commanders
16 not only in Zenica but from Travnik to Uskoplje, and in
17 my opinion he was the link between the political
18 leadership of Bosnian Muslims and the 3rd Corps of the
20 I also know that Dzemal Merdan was one of the
21 founders of the Patriotic League, which is the military
22 wing of the SDA, the Bosnian Muslim political party in
23 Bosnia, and it is also clear to me that throughout the
24 time of his stay in the 3rd Corps, he was an essential
25 link between the 3rd Corps and the 7th Muslim Brigade.
1 Q. What was the connection between then Colonel
2 Merdan and the 7th Muslim Brigade, as far as you
3 understood it, sir?
4 A. In my opinion, and it is generally known,
5 that Dzemal Merdan was one of the key organisers of the
6 7th Muslim Brigade. The 7th Muslim Brigade was founded
7 and composed of soldiers from the then liberated
8 territory, the territory that at the time had not been
9 occupied by the Bosnian Serb forces. It was not a
10 local unit, it was a unit established for quick and
11 offensive tasks. And throughout the war, we had ample
12 opportunities to confirm this.
13 Q. All right. Let me just turn your attention
14 specifically to June of 1993, during the offensives
15 that were launched by the ABiH in the Lasva Valley and
16 in the Kakanj area. Is it the case that the 7th Muslim
17 Brigade would be found deployed on the front lines of
18 those offensives in villages such as Maljine, Cukle,
19 Brajkovici, Susanj and Guca Gora?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And is the same true of the offensives later
22 launched by the ABiH where the 7th Muslim Brigade was
23 in the forefront of the attacks on Bugojno and Fojnica
24 in July of 1993 and in Vares in November of 1993?
25 A. Not only those towns but Kresevo, where one
1 of the commanders was seriously wounded. That was
2 Serif Patkovic.
3 Q. Now, did you ever have a conversation with
4 General Merdan in connection with your detention by
5 Mujahedin and a ransom note I believe he may have
6 delivered to a witness who has already testified in
7 this case, Colonel Vukovic?
8 A. Your Honours, on several occasions I talked
9 to Dzemal Merdan regarding my abduction. I was aware
10 that he was not going to divulge anything significant
11 in these conversations. But on one occasion while he
12 was upset during negotiations in the BritBat in
13 Uskoplje, he said, "Why didn't we kill you while you
14 were in our hands?"
15 Q. Okay. Let me move on to paragraph 45. I
16 believe you had several conversations with Dzemal
17 Merdan about Busovaca and its people while you were
18 travelling from Sarajevo to Budapest in March of 1999.
19 Could you just describe in very brief details those
20 conversations to the Trial Chamber?
21 A. I travelled both to Budapest and Vienna with
22 Dzemal Merdan, to conferences and seminars, in a car,
23 and on those occasions we had a chance to discuss and
24 debate things very widely.
25 In addition to his recollections of things
1 from his youth, occasionally he would attack, in a
2 rather insensitive way, anything that was Croatian in
3 Busovaca. I concluded that this was a man who simply
4 did not like Busovaca or its citizens, and that he was
5 especially hostile to Dario Kordic. He was telling me
6 how he had allegedly been detained for a day or two and
7 beaten up by some HVO soldiers. He also told me that
8 he knew everything and that he even knew which soldier
9 hit him in the head. And all the blame he put squarely
10 to Dario Kordic. And I said, "Well, why is Dario
11 Kordic to be blamed, if you know exactly the names of
12 the soldiers who beat you?" He remained silent.
13 Q. Was he ever able to come up with any specific
14 facts at all to support his allegations about
15 Mr. Kordic?
16 A. He never had any concrete facts.
17 Q. Let me turn to the subject of Mr. Kordic,
18 paragraph H of your outline on page 12. Could you just
19 give your assessment of Mr. Kordic's position in
20 Central Bosnia to the Trial Chamber, and please do it,
21 sir, in a fairly abbreviated fashion, because the Court
22 has already heard a lot of evidence from military
23 witnesses along the same lines.
24 A. After the communist single-minded thinking
25 and the introduction of a multiparty system, Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina, like many other states, became the scene
2 of the democratic processes, and it was at that time
3 that Dario Kordic began to be politically active.
4 For me, in particular, and for the Croat
5 population in Zenica, Dario Kordic was a hope, because
6 after so many years he had restored the self-confidence
7 in the Croat population in Central Bosnia.
8 Q. All right. You were aware that he held
9 certain political posts within the HDZ BiH and within
10 the presidency of the Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna, were you?
12 A. Yes. I know that Dario Kordic held offices
13 in the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
14 that he was one of the vice-presidents of the Croat
15 Community of Herceg-Bosna. I also know, Your Honours,
16 that at no moment was Dario Kordic part of the military
18 Q. Well, one of the problems with that, sir, is
19 that occasionally Mr. Kordic was referred to as a
20 colonel. Could you tell the Trial Chamber, from your
21 own personal experience with the HVO, whether this
22 Colonel Kordic, or Mr. Kordic, had any military powers
23 or authority that you could ever see or that you ever
25 A. Your Honours, I claim, under full
1 responsibility, that I do not know and that I have
2 never seen Dario Kordic enjoy any military powers or
3 command units. And as for ranks, how they were
4 conferred upon various people, I can give you my
5 example. On the 26th of April, 1993, I was indicated,
6 I was named in an order as a colonel. However, I
7 received the decree of my promotion to colonel only a
8 year and two days later.
9 Q. That was while you were still being detained
10 by the people that you've previously testified about;
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, have you ever heard of a group called
14 the Mixed Military Working Group that met at Sarajevo
15 airport at the end of 1992, sir?
16 A. I have heard that that Mixed Military Group
17 was engaged in negotiations and that Mr. Dario Kordic
18 was in it. According to the general idea, the
19 negotiations at the time, and that was also requested
20 by the International Community, the negotiations were
21 to be conducted by military persons. But we did not
22 have an army. In order to be able to negotiate, ranks
23 were conferred upon people overnight. At the same
24 time, no office in the army was held by them.
25 Q. All right. And is that your explanation for
1 the development of Mr. Kordic into an instant colonel,
2 for purposes of being able to participate in these
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. Sir, you've already testified
6 about what the abductors who interrogated you tried to
7 make you admit, and there's no point in going over that
8 again. But I would like to ask you whether you ever
9 saw or heard of Mr. Kordic having any authority,
10 ability, or power to give military orders at any time.
11 A. No. Never, ever did I hear anything like
12 that, nor was I ever issued any order by Dario Kordic.
13 I did not get such an order, and as far as I know,
14 nobody else did either.
15 Q. A question has previously been posed to a
16 military witness that if Mr. Kordic had tried to give
17 an order, what would the witness have done? What would
18 you have done, Brigadier Totic, if Mr. Kordic had tried
19 to give you a military order?
20 A. I would have returned that order to the
21 structure of the Operative Zone Central Bosnia. All
22 the orders that I ever received, I received from the
23 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. There was the chain
24 of command, and the principle of subordination there is
25 also quite clear. And the policy about the issue of
1 orders or instructions is also quite easy to discern,
2 because there is the Ministry of Defence, and such
3 policy always goes through the Ministry of Defence.
4 Q. Did you ever see a single written order of a
5 military type issued by Mr. Kordic to any unit of the
6 HVO, including the military police or any special
7 purpose units, or did you ever hear of such a
9 A. Neither heard nor saw.
10 Q. Now, did you --
11 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
12 Mr. Sayers.
13 Brigadier, during your work, did you get any
14 document concerning the strategy that was to be pursued
15 in Central Bosnia?
16 A. No.
17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] You never
18 received such a document. And according to you, who
19 was it that laid down the strategy that was to be
20 pursued in the area of Central Bosnia?
21 A. Your Honours, to my mind, as a soldier, the
22 strategy is clear. The strategy is created and carried
23 out from the top. The Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna
24 at that time, and as of mid-1992, had the rules
25 governing the conduct of the armed forces of the Croat
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna. We had our supreme
2 commander, and at that time it was the president of the
3 presidential council, Mr. Mate Boban. At that time we
4 had a defence department, with the headquarters in
5 Mostar, and it was headed by Mr. Bruno Stojic. The
6 strategy, I believe, was designed there.
7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Therefore,
8 to your mind, what were the relations between
9 Mr. Kordic and Mr. Mate Boban? Where was Mr. Kordic's
10 place in relation to Mr. Mate Boban, who, as you are
11 telling us, was the supreme commander, and he was the
12 one, therefore, who defined the strategy?
13 A. Your Honours, all I know is that Mr. Dario
14 Kordic was one of the vice-presidents of the HZ HB, and
15 I also know that throughout the time he was in
16 Busovaca. And what was the relationship between the
17 president, Mr. Mate Boban, and Mr. Dario Kordic, I
18 simply do not know anything about it. Personally, I
19 have never had an opportunity of even meeting Mr. Mate
21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 MR. SAYERS:
23 Q. Did you occasionally see Mr. Kordic giving
24 speeches over the television, or hear him giving
25 speeches over the radio, or see him giving speeches in
1 person, sir?
2 A. Yes. On rare occasions when I watched TV and
3 listened to the radio, because I spent most of my time
4 in the battlefield, I did listen to Mr. Kordic's
5 speeches. I was also present on several occasions,
6 mostly on the occasion of some anniversaries. When
7 Dario Kordic delivered speeches, I did not see anything
8 bad in his speeches. Quite the contrary; to my mind,
9 these speeches were positive and I believed them to be
10 in the service -- they were serving to create a front
11 against the aggression of the army of Bosnian Serbs.
12 Q. Did he ever give any speeches which made
13 derogatory comments about members of other ethnic
14 groups, as far as you can recall, Brigadier?
15 A. Insofar as I'm aware, he did not do that.
16 Q. All right. And just turning to the last
17 subject on your outline on the last page. Once again,
18 Brigadier, the Court has already heard quite a bit of
19 evidence regarding how the HVO was formed in April of
20 1992 and how the military arm of it and the civilian
21 arm gradually grew into separate organisations with
22 their own separate chains of command. Could you just
23 give, in a thumbnail sketch, in two or three minutes,
24 please, your views on that development to the Trial
1 A. The establishment of the HVO took place in
2 April 1992. At the outset, the political and military
3 functions in the HVO were rather closely interrelated.
4 But as I said, the Peoples Gazette of the HZ HB, I
5 believe, of July 1992 were given the rules of conduct
6 of the armed forces, of the HZ HB, signed by the
7 then-president of the HZ HB, Mr. Mate Boban, and the
8 rules defined clearly and separated, distinguished,
9 between military and political functions in the HVO.
10 Those documents, and those adopted
11 subsequently -- the discipline, or rather to improve
12 the discipline in the HVO, district military courts
13 were set up with district military Prosecutors. For
14 Central Bosnia, the district military court had its
15 seat in Travnik, and the district public Prosecutor was
16 likewise, or rather the office of the district military
17 Prosecutor, was also in Travnik.
18 Q. Just the last subject and the last exhibit.
19 As a brigade commander, it's right, isn't it, that you
20 were able to impose disciplinary punishments of up to
21 30 days of custody upon soldiers who had committed
22 military infractions?
23 A. Yes. In the area of responsibility where I
24 was the commander, I had this authority and I used it.
25 The commander of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia
1 had the authority to pronounce a higher disciplinary
2 section, up to 60 days of imprisonment. I, as a
3 brigade commander, I could pronounce the punishment,
4 including 30 days of detention. Before that you have
5 the reprimand, the warning, and so on and so forth.
6 Q. Two final questions, sir. Could you explain
7 in your own words what role, if any, in the
8 administration of military discipline and military
9 justice, civilians and politicians had?
10 A. The military disciplinary system was
11 exclusively within the jurisdiction of the army. No
12 political figure, or at least I do not know, had any
13 authority or was responsible for military discipline,
14 that is, pronounced punishment or something like that.
15 Quite simply, they had no right, they had no powers to
16 do so.
17 MR. SAYERS: All right. Just one final
18 question, if I might introduce this as the last
19 exhibit, Your Honours, just by way of an example.
20 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
22 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
23 Q. Brigadier, I'm sure there are many other
24 examples of this, but we've just produced this as one
25 example. You, as the brigade commander of the Jure
1 Francetic Brigade, actually had the authority, and you
2 had the authority before the brigade was actually
3 formed, to order arrests of soldiers on suspicion of
4 having committed murder; is that correct?
5 A. Your Honours, that is correct. I see this
6 order after many years. And even though it lacks the
7 seal, but I can see my signature on it. I remember
8 well those two soldiers. At that time, one must
9 realize that there were quite a number of criminals
10 around, and village thugs. And I believe this happened
11 after a murder of which they were suspected of
12 committing. Goran Medjugorac introduced himself as a
13 member of HOS, Special Purpose Unit in Vitezovi,
14 and Dragan Bilic, called Bambok [phoen] --
15 Q. If I might interrupt you, that matter of
16 detail is not important. I'm obliged to you.
17 MR. SAYERS: And I apologize to the Trial
18 Chamber for tiptoeing over my time estimate.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Can I ask you what kind of
20 murder were these two persons arrested for?
21 A. Your Honours, from what I remember, I believe
22 it was a murder which took place sometime around the
23 20th of October, murder of a TO soldier. I wouldn't
24 know his last name. I think he was TO. After we
25 talked to the commander of the TO headquarters in
1 Zenica, I talked to them and I realised that they
2 believed that it had been done by a group of soldiers
3 who were trying to square some accounts I believe some
4 debt was mentioned about.
5 MR. SAYERS: Thank you very much.
6 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
9 Q. Mr. Totic, good afternoon. I'm Bozidar
10 Kovacic, and with my colleague, lawyer Goran Mikulicic,
11 I represent Mr. Mario Cerkez. I shall ask you several
12 questions. I shall endeavour to be as brief as
13 possible, but I need to refer to some important things
14 where I believe you can be of some help.
15 Mr. Totic, you mentioned in your evidence --
16 and I should also like to tender a document to this
17 effect -- you were the commander of a sector as of the
18 26th of November, 1992, at the front line between
19 Turbe, that is, Gradina, to Strikanci, to hill feature
20 625, where Cerkez was your deputy?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And you were designated to that sector on the
23 orders from Blaskic; is that so?
24 A. Yes.
25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Will the usher
1 please help me distribute this document, and I should
2 also like to ask for a number.
3 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked D68/2.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. When you look at that document, could you
6 please confirm that this was the document designating
7 you the commander of the mentioned sector?
8 A. Yes, that is the document.
9 Q. On this part of the front, which was under
10 your responsibility, we also had some parts which were
11 replenished from Vitez and Novi Travnik?
12 A. Yes. About 200, 250 members of the Jure
13 Francetic Brigade, the Vitez Brigade, which numbered
14 some 60, 80, to 120, and the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade,
15 Novi Travnik, was some 150 to 200 men strong.
16 Q. When you say "Vitez Brigade", you are using
17 this term conditionally, because at that time it did
18 not exist.
19 A. The Vitez Brigade existed until the 4th of
20 December. And after the reorganisation in the HVO, it
21 was all one brigade, commanded by Borivoje Malbasic,
22 and what came to be known as the Stjepan Tomasevic
24 Q. Very well. Earlier, and today also you
25 mentioned that you met Mr. Cerkez. Could you tell us,
1 please, when was that and what were the circumstances?
2 A. Your Honours, Colonel Mario Cerkez I did meet
3 sometime in August or maybe September 1992, after my
4 assistants had informed me that Serb representatives of
5 the village of Trnovlje, on the boundary between the
6 municipalities of Vitez and Zenica, came to request HVO
7 protection, and that in return they were ready to lay
8 down their weapons.
9 As the village was in the territory of the
10 Vitez municipality, then I announced my visit to the
11 command of the municipal headquarters there. And when
12 I arrived there, I was met by the commander -- I
13 believe it was Mr. Marijan Skopljak at the time -- and
14 his deputy, Mr. Mario Cerkez, and that was the first
15 time that I laid my eyes on Mr. Mario Cerkez.
16 When I arrived, a representative of the local
17 Serbs was already there. I believe his last name was
18 Dzuric or Dzukic. And after that, in the war in 1993,
19 1994, I used to see him around Vitez. And I saw then
20 that Mario Cerkez was talking about the protection of
21 the local Serb population with that representative.
22 And my information served only as an ancillary
23 document. I saw that he was only taking care of that
24 and that there was no need for me to do it.
25 Q. Very well. Let us move on. The problem of
1 those Serbs with the HVO assistants in Vitez was
2 resolved in a satisfactory manner, was it?
3 A. I think it served -- that Vitez served as an
4 example of the relations between local Serbs and local
5 Croats. Throughout the war, local Serbs served in HVO
6 units. I could ascertain it myself.
7 Q. Mr. Totic, you mentioned this village of
8 Trnovlje specifically, which is on the boundary itself?
9 A. But a little lower, Tolovici.
10 Q. Yes, Tolovici. And what you said also
11 concerns Tolovici and other villages where there were
12 Serbs in the municipality?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In August/September in 1992, in Vitez, at the
15 time when you talked about it, the HVO was being
16 organised by the municipal headquarters of the HVO
17 Municipal Staff of the HVO in Vitez; is that correct?
18 A. Well, yes, but the HVO and the Municipal
19 Staff existed then.
20 Q. Yes, but at that time a brigade in Vitez did
21 not exist yet, did it?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Thank you. Those front lines were
24 replenished with shifts of soldiers coming in from
25 surrounding towns, depending on the sector for which
1 people were responsible. Could we -- those shifts on
2 the front, can we call them shift soldiers?
3 A. Your Honours, not only were they shift
4 soldiers; even brigades were only conditionally
5 brigades. All those soldiers, after spending some
6 eight to ten days on the front line, would go back
7 home, would go back to their regular jobs, either in
8 companies or in the field. We had no barracks, not a
9 single one, in Central Bosnia, with the exception of
10 Busovaca. But that was not the barracks; that was a
11 depot. It could not accommodate people. So those
12 soldiers from the front lines, with their rifles, went
13 back home and then worked.
14 Q. And that status of troops, if one can call
15 them troops, if one can call them soldiers, did it
16 require a certain definition of the rules of conduct?
17 The rules or regulations, when was somebody a soldier,
18 when he was not a soldier? Let us take a soldier who
19 served his shift above Turbe, at Kamenjas. He's in
20 there for eight days, goes back to his village -- never
21 mind whether it's Vitez, Novi Travnik, Travnik, or
22 what -- and at that day that he's back in the village,
23 what is he then?
24 A. When he's come back to his village, he goes
25 back to his regular activities, regular job. So at
1 that moment, he ceases to be a soldier; he's a
2 civilian. We did not have an army. It was an armed
4 Q. And from your experience and knowledge of
5 this situation, would you know if that soldier that we
6 just used as an example -- could he then also become
7 part of village guards, which were also a frequent
8 occurrence in villages?
9 A. Well, village guards existed in villages, but
10 they were often not set up by any commanders, because
11 they had their rifles with them and they themselves did
13 Q. But at that moment, insofar as the HVO is
14 concerned, the military wing of the HVO is concerned,
15 they at that time were civilians?
16 A. At that period of time, they were civilians.
17 That is, one becomes a soldier when he's with a
18 military unit and is issued -- and is given a task.
19 Q. Very well, thank you.
20 You mentioned a little while ago that on that
21 occasion when you met Cerkez, you also met -- or rather
22 you saw that he was talking to somebody called Djuric
23 who was representing those villages. Let me ask you,
24 in the course of that unfortunate war and after the
25 Washington Accords, did you -- once again, did you ever
1 have the opportunity, by a quirk of fate, to meet with
2 Cerkez on a common task?
3 A. Your Honours, after the Washington Accords
4 were signed and after four or five months of
5 preparation, the HVO and the army of BH invested joint
6 efforts to undertake liberation operations in
7 North-Western Bosnia. And as of that date, I believe
8 that was as of the liberation of Kupres in November of
9 '94, I began to meet Mr. Cerkez more often because we
10 were involved in joint tasks in liberation operations.
11 I was often in command of a battery of two shifts and
12 so on.
13 Q. Could you remember if, in those operations
14 or, rather, in the early days of those operations, the
15 commander of engineers in Cerkez' unit was somebody,
16 Gavro Mucibabic?
17 A. Yes, it was a Bosnian Serb from Vitez born in
18 1941. He was there all the time.
19 Q. You mean he was a Serb from Vitez?
20 A. I think that, yes.
21 Q. And he was a high-ranking officer in Cerkez'
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Just one more short question having to do
25 with the area of responsibility that you had on a
1 sector above Turbe. Will you agree with me that Cerkez
2 organised the replenishment of shifts arriving from
3 Vitez in a very -- very well?
4 A. Your Honours, I can confirm that.
5 Personally, while I was the commander and him my
6 deputy, he performed his tasks very well indeed. After
7 the incidents in Dusina, in Lasva, the HVO units in
8 Zenica were not allowed to move towards Travnik, and as
9 of that moment, Mr. Mario Cerkez took over the role of
10 the commander, and I think he was that until the end.
11 Q. We're referring to the sector?
12 A. Sector 2, defence from Turbe, Lasva, through
13 Ostriglava [phoen], Rilja [phoen], Strikanci, Bacenja
14 [phoen], including Kamenjas.
15 Q. Against the army of Bosnian Serbs?
16 A. Against the army of Bosnian Serbs. In front
17 of the front line, there were also two Muslim
18 villages. The villages of Polac and Bijelo Bucje were
19 in that area.
20 During that period of time, I crossed the
21 defence line. We daily removed clusters of mines on
22 the road in order to let through parts of the BH army
23 which were going over to take over shifts. And during
24 all the time and later when Mario Cerkez commanded
25 there, I do not know of any problems happening there.
1 Q. Do I understand you well that even though
2 there were tense relations and in Novi Travnik we had
3 an open conflict, the HVO and ABiH still cooperate and
4 still hold jointly the line against the Bosnian Serb
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. At that time, did you notice that in these
8 shifts which arrived from Vitez, there were a number of
9 Serbs and Romanija in the HVO units?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Would it be right to say that in certain
12 shifts, the number went to like 20 per cent?
13 A. Up to 30 per cent.
14 Q. Mr. Totic, you mentioned today the 17th
15 Krajina Brigade. You, of course, know that in the
16 period during 1993, the commander of this powerful
17 Muslim unit was Fikret Cuskic?
18 A. Yes. Your Honours, I know when the 17th
19 Krajina Brigade was first established, it's first
20 commander was General Alagic, and Fikret Cuskic was its
21 deputy. It was established in Borongaj in Croatian.
22 It was armed by Croats, and it was sent to Bosnia to
23 fight against the aggression of the Bosnian Serbs.
24 Mr. Cuskic later became its commander.
25 Q. And so do I understand you correctly that it
1 was established in Zagreb, in Croatia?
2 A. Yes, in the Borongaj barracks, and it was
3 bussed to Travnik in some 20 buses.
4 Q. And about what time was it sent to Travnik
5 from Croatia?
6 A. I think it was in the middle of 1992.
7 Q. Do you perhaps know what was the position or
8 the rank or even status Mr. Cuskic had in Zagreb before
9 coming to Travnik?
10 A. From what I heard, both Alagic and Fikret
11 Cuskic had been members of the HV.
12 Q. You mean together?
13 A. Yes, not only the two of them, but General
14 Jasmin Jaganjac, Armin Pohara, and others. General
15 Jaganjac was the military advisor to Alija Izetbegovic,
16 the president of Bosnia.
17 Q. All these men you have mentioned are Bosnian
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And they were all in HV -- in the Croatian
21 army before they joined the ABiH?
22 A. Yes, according to what I know.
23 Q. Is it correct or should -- I should say do
24 you know whether Fikret Cuskic was also a specialist
25 for psychological warfare? This is what people --
1 A. We in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone
2 respected him as a very professional, very capable, and
3 a very clever sort, and he was first in the 17th
4 Krajina Brigade and then in the 7th Corps when it was
5 eventually established.
6 Q. Given your general education and your
7 military education, in particular, could you just
8 confirm something for me. From some evidence which we
9 have heard, the fall of Jajce on the 30th of October,
10 1992, caused both the Muslim and the Croat population,
11 which means the soldiers coming from both of these
12 ethnic groups, to flee to the south, and they arrived
13 in Central Bosnia; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Would you agree with the assessment that the
16 sudden influx of the defeated soldiers of both these
17 sides, as well as the fleeing civilians, upset not only
18 the statistical balance of the population at the time
19 but also disrupted the supplies of livestock?
20 A. Yes, Your Honours, I can confirm that.
21 Q. Could anybody see this in the Lasva Valley?
22 A. Yes. Anybody, not only a specialist, could
23 see that throughout the Lasva Valley.
24 Q. Thank you. Today you mentioned that further
25 to the HZ HB decision of 4 December, the HVO was
1 reorganised. Do you recollect whether, in this
2 reorganisation, the municipal HVO staffs were abolished
3 and defence departments were established in
4 municipalities as military agencies?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So until the 4th of December, we had
7 municipal staffs, and after 4th December, there were
8 defence departments?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. They were territorially based?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I'm being
13 warned that I'm not waiting for the interpretation.
14 Q. In both cases, that is, the Municipal Staff
15 and the Department of Defence were part of the civilian
16 area, that is, political government?
17 A. Yes. Your Honours, the defence department or
18 our office is part of the municipal government, and the
19 Department of Defence was regional and they were
20 directly linked to the Ministry of Defence.
21 Q. During your evidence, you also mentioned an
22 incident at the checkpoint near Cajdras where two HVO
23 soldiers were killed and where the truck with
24 Mujahedins was. Was this truck going to Vitez,
25 carrying new equipment?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So it was carrying military equipment to
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And the road where this incident took place,
6 it passes through Poculica?
7 A. Yes, Cajdras, Poculica, and at Vjetrenice it
8 turns off towards two large villages, and later it
9 turns out to strongholds of the ABiH, Lupac and
11 Q. You mentioned your conversations with
12 Mr. Merdan during your trips and so on. Did he ever
13 mention Cerkez as an enemy?
14 A. No. Dzemal Merdan never mentioned him.
15 Q. Thank you. Mr. Totic, is it true that you
16 and Cerkez went back to Jajce together in 1995?
17 A. Yes. In the operations for liberation, I
18 said that we were often involved in the same
19 operations. And in '95, after the liberation of the
20 town of Jajce, I turned over the control of the
21 tactical group to Mario Cerkez, and I became commander
22 of the town of Jajce.
23 Q. In closing, Mr. Totic, just one more thing.
24 About 15 days ago, we saw on television that
25 a memorial was erected to the fallen HVO soldiers, the
1 soldiers who were killed on the 15th of April, and I
2 think that I saw you there on television. You unveiled
3 this monument; is that correct?
4 A. Yes. Your Honours, not only this, but I come
5 from a country in which somebody is elected a president
6 for the tearing down of a monument to the only
7 noble laureate, and what am I to expect.
8 Q. It was unveiled on the 15th of this last
10 A. Yes, and then it was destroyed in six to
11 seven hours.
12 Q. Was that act also registered by television?
13 A. Yes.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I have no
15 further questions, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE MAY: This will be a convenient moment
17 to adjourn.
18 Brigadier Totic, would you be back, please,
19 on Monday morning at half past 9.00 to continue your
20 evidence. Could you remember, during the adjournment,
21 not to speak to anybody, please, about your evidence
22 until it's over, and that includes speaking to members
23 of the Defence teams.
24 Half past 9.00, then, on Monday, when I think
25 we should be in Courtroom I.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
2 1.16 p.m., to be reconvened on
3 Monday, the 8th day of May, 2000,
4 at 9.30 a.m.