Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 18228

1 Tuesday, 9 May 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 9.38 a.m.

5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.

6 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

7 Your Honour.

8 May it please the Court, could I please have

9 two minutes in private session? I would like to finish

10 with the story about the witness that the Prosecutor

11 started yesterday, the witness who allegedly was in the

12 courtroom following the proceedings on Thursday.

13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, you can do it, but

14 would you do it quickly, because we must get on with

15 the evidence, please.

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15 [Open session]

16 JUDGE MAY: If we could have the witness too,

17 please.

18 MR. NICE: As the witness is coming in, can I

19 explain to the Court that there are a few documents to

20 put to this witness. I'll try and deal with other

21 matters, if his memory isn't complete, by showing him

22 documents that don't have to be exhibited. But the

23 Chamber may be comforted by the knowledge, I think,

24 from what we are told, that this is the last of the

25 witnesses dealing with these areas which are likely to

Page 18231

1 be the more document-heavy areas, and that after that,

2 I should think there's much less chance of documents

3 having to be produced at all.

4 [The witness entered court]

5 WITNESS: LUKA SEKERIJA [Resumed]

6 [Witness answered through interpreter]

7 MR. NICE: May the witness have before him an

8 existing exhibit that we've looked at, 372.2.

9 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice [cont'd]:

10 Q. Major, we are going to leave the early part

11 of 1993, but for completeness, before we do so, I would

12 like your comments on a document produced by Dzemal

13 Merdan. We, that is, the Judges and counsel, have seen

14 the document before, but it wasn't very -- it wasn't

15 dealt with in great detail, and I would like your

16 comments on it.

17 You will remember, Major, that we were

18 looking yesterday at documents from the International

19 Community at about the same time as this 17th of

20 January document which you have, on this occasion, in a

21 language which you understand and that we can have and

22 the usher can very kindly place on the ELMO, please, in

23 English.

24 What I would like your help with first is

25 that this refers to a commission for negotiations to

Page 18232

1 resolve the conflict in Gornji Vakuf and is dated

2 either the 16th or the 17th of January. Can you

3 remember anything about that commission?

4 A. Your Honours, could I please read the

5 document first, if possible, and then I'll answer.

6 Q. It's a long document, but I'm happy for him

7 to do that.

8 JUDGE MAY: Well, would you like to take him

9 to the relevant parts.

10 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly.

11 Q. You'll see the heading refers to the

12 commission for negotiations to resolve the conflict as

13 early as the 16th of January. Do you recall that such

14 a commission was established at an early stage?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. The first paragraph, he refers to

17 intermittent artillery fire, less intense than on the

18 previous day, and the surrounding villages of Voljevac,

19 Here, and Pridvorci being shelled because of the

20 movement of their troops being detected. Is that

21 correct? Did you shell those villages?

22 A. The range of the artillery that I had

23 available could not have reached those villages. If

24 there was any kind of shelling or any conflicts between

25 the HVO and the Muslim army, then it only could have

Page 18233

1 been from Rama Prozor, the neighbouring municipality.

2 Q. You see, this is an internal document. It's

3 from Merdan to the chiefs of the supreme staff of the

4 RBH armed forces. And that's his account.

5 And then at the next paragraph he speaks how

6 at 1750 hours Colonels Andric and Siljeg arrived,

7 having been at Prozor to discuss matters with Praljak,

8 accompanied by Lucic. And during the meeting they set

9 forth their demands, which were for organisation of the

10 provinces being temporary, based on reciprocity. If

11 there were changes in Geneva, the Croats would abide by

12 the changes. HVO demanded withdrawal of units, return

13 of units, to places from where they set out. They

14 guaranteed they would do nothing against Muslims who

15 had not perpetrated war crimes. They said they'd

16 respect equality, and there was an order to abandon

17 trenches and the army could no longer be commanded by

18 Topcic, Agic, or Prijic, and so on.

19 Now, I just want to know: Is what it set out

20 there by way of the HVO terms the reality?

21 A. Your Honours, I was not a member of this

22 commission. I cannot give any answers concerning the

23 work of this commission.

24 Q. I'm going to stop now, because the point I

25 want to make is an obvious one. This is an internal

Page 18234

1 document, Muslim to Muslim. Now -- not intended for

2 your sight. Have you read so far, please, anything in

3 this document that you say is false, or is it all thus

4 far true?

5 A. Your Honours, excuse me. All negotiations

6 and discussions -- I can say the following in

7 connection with all of that. A ceasefire was agreed

8 that was fully respected by the HVO. During these

9 ceasefires, there was frequent sniper fire where we

10 lost more soldiers than in the actual fighting. That

11 is to say that the Muslim side did sign most documents,

12 but they did not abide by them.

13 JUDGE MAY: You haven't answered the

14 question. The question is: Is there anything in the

15 document, which has been read to you so far, that is,

16 which is false or not true, or can you not say?

17 A. I wish to say that this is a document of the

18 commander of the Muslim army to the Muslim units that

19 were operating in the area, and I cannot speak about a

20 document that does not relate to me personally.

21 JUDGE MAY: You can, Mr. Sekerija. Just

22 think. You are being asked whether the terms which are

23 represented in the documents as being the terms of the

24 HVO were in fact those terms or not, or are you not in

25 a position to say?

Page 18235

1 A. I'm not in a position to say anything.

2 MR. NICE:

3 Q. The position, Major, is that you're going to

4 deny knowledge of anything that you find is

5 embarrassing for your cause, and it's as simple as

6 that, isn't it?

7 A. No.

8 Q. We've heard evidence from a witness Williams,

9 from the International Community, that Colonel Andric

10 gave an ultimatum to the ABiH to hand over their

11 weapons on the basis that Gornji Vakuf was in a Croat

12 canton. Now, did Colonel Andric give that ultimatum?

13 A. I repeat: I was not present at such

14 negotiations at UN headquarters in Vakuf and I indeed

15 cannot speak about that. I personally have not had any

16 document about this in my own hands.

17 Q. I'm going to go back for 1992 and I'll finish

18 with the latter part of 1993. You joined the HVO in

19 April 1992. You speak of Kordic advocating 50 per cent

20 of weapons to go to Muslims. Well, which particular

21 set of weapons was he making this proposal for?

22 A. It was exclusively a question of weapons that

23 were taken over from the former barracks of the former

24 Yugoslav People's Army, and these were small arms.

25 Q. And was he not so much advocating a division

Page 18236

1 as pleading to get some weapons for himself? Is that

2 the reality of the position?

3 A. He did not have to plead with anyone, because

4 the HVO units that were under HVO-held territory took

5 those weapons, so he didn't really have to plead with

6 anybody for that.

7 Q. Where is this documented, this offer of his,

8 as you would have it, that 50 per cent of the weapons

9 should go to -- who is it? The Territorial Defence?

10 A. At the meeting where I was present once,

11 where all the presidents of governments within the zone

12 of responsibility of Central Bosnia, where logistic

13 support was being discussed to units on the ground, and

14 at the front line, that is, I think that on several

15 occasions equipment that was in the territory of one

16 municipality that had an abundance of it would go to

17 those municipalities where there was a shortage.

18 Mr. Kordic also advocated a half/half division. If we

19 had, for example, a thousand guns, he asked that half

20 of this be given to the Muslims and half to the Croats,

21 depending on the needs expressed by various

22 municipalities.

23 Q. You've one more chance, and I'll move on.

24 Can you tell me, please, where I can find or where we

25 can find documents to support what you're saying about

Page 18237

1 this?

2 A. I personally had a diary of my own where I

3 made such an entry. After I was injured, my vehicle

4 disappeared and my documents and everything, so I made

5 this kind of an entry in this diary that I had. I

6 cannot find another document to corroborate this.

7 Q. Well, now at this time, April and May of

8 1992, what legitimacy did the HVO have, please? You

9 were a member of it. What legitimacy did it have, what

10 right did it have, to have arms from the former

11 Yugoslavia? Tell us.

12 A. Well, it didn't have any right to do it, but

13 what we seized from the barracks of the former JNA is

14 what we had and what we distributed.

15 Q. And were you doing something that was truly

16 dedicated to the continuation of the independent

17 Bosnia-Herzegovina or were you doing something that was

18 aimed at the interests of wider Croatia, please?

19 A. I exclusively did all my work in the

20 interests of Bosnia-Herzegovina, because it is my one

21 and only homeland.

22 MR. NICE: Exhibit 2360.18, please. Original

23 for the witness, English version on the ELMO.

24 Q. Now, you had already joined the HVO, you were

25 a couple of months into it, at the time Bobetko from

Page 18238

1 the Republic of Croatia set out in this document that

2 he was forming or there was to be formed an IZM for

3 Central Bosnia, with the aim of organising effective

4 defence and integrating the existing commands in

5 Central Bosnia. He ordered the establishment of an

6 IZM, Central Bosnia, in Gornji Vakuf. Can you explain,

7 please, to the Judges how it came about that the State

8 of Croatia at this time was involved in doing what it

9 was?

10 A. As Brigadier Zarko Tole came to the area of

11 Uskoplje, this order, that was signed by General

12 Bobetko that you just showed me now, I see for the

13 first time now. I don't know what kind of political

14 line this is and who this was agreed with, but it is

15 true that Brigadier Tole managed to come to Uskoplje

16 and he did try to organise units there until he was

17 taken by the Serbs. And as for the rest, I already

18 said that in my previous statement.

19 Q. Are you telling the Judges that you there, in

20 Gornji Vakuf, about which you give evidence, had no

21 knowledge that the appointments of Tole were being

22 ordered from Croatia? Do you have no knowledge of that

23 at all, please?

24 A. Your Honours, I already said that this is the

25 first time I see this order. Tole came under the

Page 18239

1 orders of the late Mate Boban to set this up probably

2 through political structures at top level, as this was

3 agreed both with the Muslim and the Croat sides. It is

4 possible that this exists. This is the first time I

5 see this document. I cannot discuss it, because it is

6 not my document, and I did not sign it either.

7 Q. But you were there. Now, was what you were

8 doing related to the interests of Bosnia-Herzegovina or

9 was it, to your knowledge, related to the interests of

10 Croatia and dominated by instructions coming from

11 Croatia, please?

12 A. No, I worked in the interests of

13 Bosnia-Herzegovina alone, only, and this is the first

14 time I see this document.

15 Q. Before we move from this period of time, the

16 time when Kordic was engaged in offering 50 per cent of

17 the weapons, as you say, to the Muslims, can you

18 explain again -- you answered one of the Judges about

19 this yesterday -- can you explain again, please, how it

20 is that Kordic dealing with allocation of weapons is

21 not a military function?

22 A. As far as I know, in any country the

23 government of a country or the presidency of a country

24 are responsible for the logistical supply of the army.

25 Mr. Kordic -- and I affirm that once again he had no

Page 18240

1 command authority to issue orders to units on the front

2 line, nor did he participate in the design of the

3 strategy in the territory that we kept.

4 Q. Logistics is a function of a politician

5 because -- or at least to this extent: the politicians

6 may have to find the money to buy the guns, and that

7 may be dealt with by a president, or prime minister,

8 or, I suppose, a minister of war.

9 Now, the logistical functions that you're

10 referring to here, are those, as it were, the political

11 functions of somebody like a minister for war or a

12 minister for defence; is that what you're saying?

13 A. Well, I think all the political functions of

14 a government, yes, indeed, all those functions are

15 political and they are not military. And even if we

16 talk about the Minister of Defence, it is once again a

17 political function.

18 Q. The Minister of Defence is plainly more

19 closely associated with war than, for example, the

20 Minister of Social Security or the Minister for

21 Education. Is there any politician that you can name

22 who was more closely associated with the political

23 functions of defence than Kordic?

24 A. The supreme commander of the Croat Defence

25 Council was Mate Boban, as one can see from the rules

Page 18241

1 of the armed forces of the Croatian Community

2 Herceg-Bosna, which he signed with his own hand. Then

3 the link between the supreme commander of the armed

4 forces of the HVO and the government was the president

5 of the government or the prime minister, that is,

6 Jadranko Prlic, who held that post at the time. And in

7 his government, there was the Ministry of Defence,

8 which was the link with the Main Staff of the HVO. And

9 the Main Staff of the HVO issued orders, that is,

10 military orders, about the deployment of forces on the

11 ground, their commands to the commanders of the

12 operative zones, and then they transmitted those orders

13 to brigades and other subordinate units.

14 Q. Well, with such a complete chain of political

15 responsibility for military matters, why would it be

16 necessary for Kordic to be negotiating over the

17 allocation of weapons? Why didn't he leave it to Prlic

18 or Boban?

19 A. Well, I've just explained that Mr. Kordic was

20 a vice-president of the Croatian Community

21 Herceg-Bosna, and he was responsible -- presumably he

22 was responsible for the area of Central Bosnia

23 regarding the logistical support on behalf of the

24 Minister of Defence. But I repeat, he had nothing to

25 do with the military command, or if he did anything to

Page 18242

1 do with it, then it was limited to logistical support

2 through the presidents of individual local governments

3 which were in our area of responsibility.

4 Q. I'll discuss that further with the witness.

5 As a matter of record, do you accept -- I have the

6 document, if you need it to confirm it, but as a matter

7 of record and for purposes of dates, that Blaskic

8 appointed you on the 4th of July as commander of

9 Operative Zone Number 1, which covered Bugojno, Gornji

10 Vakuf, Jablanica, Kaonik, Kupres and Prozor. Do you

11 accept that date?

12 A. I cannot recall the exact date, but I know

13 the order that you are referring to, since I was at

14 that time Colonel Blaskic's deputy. Then we divided

15 Operative Zone Central Bosnia into four subzones. In

16 one of them, I was the commander, and the duty that I

17 was supposed to carry out was performed by Vlado Bandic

18 until the late Baldo [phoen] Strujic was appointed to

19 that office.

20 MR. NICE: There's one document I will come

21 back to out of sequence in a second in order to deal

22 with things swiftly. May the witness see, please,

23 Exhibit 207, which is a new exhibit.

24 Q. Now, this is a document. You have the

25 original. The English version is on the ELMO. It

Page 18243

1 doesn't have a date, but it's in the hand of,

2 apparently, and signed by Dario Kordic, with a stamp

3 for the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. It reads:

4 "Tiho and Sekerija". That would appear to be you;

5 correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. It says that:

8 "Mr. Franjo Masusa, a HOS commander from

9 Novi Travnik, has been to see me, and that they have

10 decided that a platoon of 30 troops should go to

11 Jajce. Organise other people from other

12 municipalities. I have prepared three lorry loads of

13 supplies so that everything goes together."

14 The same question, please, Major. I know

15 your answer will be that this is not a military order.

16 Can you please tell the Judges why it's not a military

17 order?

18 A. Well, Your Honours, there is an established

19 system as applied in Central Bosnia regarding the

20 participation of all the units in defence of Jajce

21 against Bosnian Serbs. And that system said as

22 follows: Every municipality in our area of

23 responsibility would give 20, 30, 35 men, depending on

24 the number, and all those men would come together and

25 go to the front in Jajce. And it says also here, very

Page 18244

1 nicely, that a HOS platoon will also go. It was not

2 under the direct command of the command of the

3 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia that it would come

4 with us, but that we should ensure three lorry loads of

5 medicines, food and fuel to go with them, because there

6 were just too many Chetnik shells there and that was

7 the only surplus. Everything else was in short

8 supply.

9 So, Your Honours, I simply do not agree that

10 this is a military order. This is merely a request to

11 find somewhere three lorries in order to take food,

12 medicines and fuel, which was in short supply on that

13 front line.

14 Q. The first thing is that the first sentence,

15 or the first clause of the second paragraph, says,

16 "organise other people from other municipalities,"

17 doesn't it?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Perhaps nothing to do, on its face, with

20 medicine or supplies. It appears to be other armed

21 people from other municipalities. It doesn't bear any

22 other interpretation, does it?

23 A. That is true, but I already told you that it

24 was already a well-established system, that the units

25 in the area of our responsibility took shifts every two

Page 18245

1 or three weeks; some would come back and others go to

2 the ground, and we used the same lorries to bring those

3 back and take those out. The roads there were very

4 difficult. We had to -- routes were dangerous. We had

5 to use macadam roads at night, without any lights

6 whatsoever. So these vehicles that Mr. Kordic is

7 talking about, three lorries of medicines and food --

8 and I do remember well the duties about food and some

9 fuel for generators, because there was no power there

10 to organise that and to take it there, because such a

11 convoy could not be sent in that direction without

12 proper escort. And in that --

13 Q. Major, I'm not going to cut your answers off

14 if you think they're helpful and responsive to the

15 question, but please focus on the question. "Organise

16 other people from other municipalities," it's a

17 military instruction, and it hasn't been necessary for

18 Kordic to go via Blaskic, it hasn't been necessary for

19 him to go up to the Ministry of Defence. He gives the

20 instruction himself. This is a military instruction;

21 correct?

22 A. I am telling you that it was a

23 well-established system. What was he intending to

24 organise with? Well, we were already organised. He

25 could have written anything he liked at that time, but

Page 18246

1 he could not order anyone to go and get killed in

2 Sumarija, because he was not a part of the chain of

3 command in the units.

4 Q. Before I part from this document, can you

5 think of any good reason, please, why this order comes

6 from him and not from someone in the military chain of

7 command like Blaskic?

8 A. I do not know.

9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Brigadier --

10 Sorry, Mr. Nice. I just wanted to ask a

11 question.

12 After you received this communication from

13 Mr. Kordic, did you have the other people organised,

14 the other people from the other municipalities

15 organised, following receipt of this communication?

16 A. All this -- Your Honours, this had all been

17 done before. I told you that it was a system which we

18 had been using for months by then. And, for instance,

19 I am giving an example: In July 1992 you will send so

20 many men every week. There is such an order, and it

21 was sent out to all the units by the command of the

22 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. Here it says

23 "organise other people," but they were already

24 organised, so that this document is only -- tells me

25 only what it does say: Prepare three lorry loads so

Page 18247

1 that you can send in some assistance, in medicines and

2 food and fuel. And all the rest had already been done

3 before. I didn't need anything else. And I do have

4 this document, and I do not really see it as an order.

5 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation

6 continues] ... by you of the people following receipt

7 of the document, irrespective of whether you might have

8 done it before. What I'm asking is whether, having

9 received this document from Mr. Kordic, you went ahead

10 and organised people from other municipalities,

11 irrespective of whether it is something that you would

12 have done and did do before.

13 A. Yes. Before this document, I had already

14 written an order and sent it to municipalities which

15 were to send 30 men to prepare, 30 men, each fully

16 equipped to go to the front line in Jajce. I had also

17 provided three lorries to take this assistance that is

18 referred to. Yes, I did that.

19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.

20 MR. NICE:

21 Q. And somewhere in the archive, no doubt, there

22 will be a reply you will have sent to this important

23 vice-president confirming that, as it happened, what he

24 was asking you to do had already been done. Is that

25 your position, please?

Page 18248

1 A. Well, I cannot recall now. If you really

2 want me to answer about this letter, then we need to

3 have some reference number, a date or something else.

4 This to me is a piece of paper, rather than an order

5 about which I can give you an answer. How can I answer

6 if it says here Luka and Tiho? There is no reference

7 number or anything. How can I refer to this document?

8 So I do not think that there will be a report in the

9 archive or any document to show that I had replied to

10 this, at least as far as I can recall.

11 Q. Forgive me, Major, but when His Honour Judge

12 Robinson was asking you about the second paragraph, you

13 seemed to have detailed recollection of having already

14 made the arrangements that were requested of you or

15 ordered of you there. Would that be wrong? You don't

16 have detailed recollection of what you spoke about in

17 answer to Judge Robinson? Which is it, detailed

18 recollection or no detailed recollection?

19 A. I repeat: Your Honours, if you are

20 addressing me with my rank, then I should be addressed

21 with the rank I truly have, but I much prefer to be

22 addressed as "sir".

23 Now, I have already said that it was a

24 well-established procedure, that I do remember some

25 details and some details I do not recall. I recall it

Page 18249

1 being told that we would get three lorry loads of this,

2 because that was a major assistance for Jajce. And I

3 should also like to mention that decent food and

4 medicines and fuel were distributed amongst the Croats

5 and Muslims in Jajce.

6 Q. I'm very sorry. Thank you for that, and I'm

7 sorry not to have been referring to you by your rank in

8 which you retired, a brigadier, and of course I'll do

9 so.

10 One of the things you say, with the authority

11 of your experience, Brigadier, is that there were

12 criminals acting in their own self-interest. You

13 haven't yet identified who these criminals were.

14 Before we come to that, we've also heard from other

15 witnesses of various special units, PPNs, I think.

16 Now, who are you referring to when you speak of

17 criminals acting in their own self-interest?

18 A. If we are talking about 1992 and the time I

19 spent in the territory of Central Bosnia until I went

20 back to my native municipality for reasons of health,

21 then, Your Honours, I can say that individuals were

22 indeed criminals, and they committed criminal offences

23 in their own self-interest, not only in one

24 municipality; in all municipalities. I call them local

25 sheriffs, who refused to be subordinated, to place

Page 18250

1 themselves under the command of the HVO or any other

2 institutions that existed at the time. And all the

3 plunder or whatever they did, they did only for their

4 personal gain, and in this manner they did a disservice

5 to the Croat people, to the interests of the Croat

6 people.

7 Q. Well, now, are these individuals different

8 from, for example, the special units, the PPNs, or are

9 you saying that the PPNs were the people acting

10 illegally and out of control?

11 A. I repeat: During my stay in 1992 in the

12 territory of the Operative Zone Central Bosnia, no

13 special purpose units were formed at the time.

14 Q. And when they were formed, to your knowledge,

15 they were under the command of the Operative Zone for

16 Central Bosnia; that's correct, isn't it?

17 A. I guess so.

18 Q. Because if we look at another new exhibit,

19 which I'm afraid we have no translation, but it's a

20 short exhibit, and it's going to be 179.1. The

21 translation must follow.

22 JUDGE MAY: It's no good giving it to us

23 unless it's translated.

24 MR. NICE: It can go on the ELMO.

25 JUDGE MAY: Just give it to the witness.

Page 18251

1 MR. NICE: Yes.

2 JUDGE MAY: It's not to be exhibited unless

3 it's properly translated.

4 MR. NICE: Certainly, but I think that the

5 witness can help us materially, and the document, to a

6 large degree, speaks for itself.

7 Q. If you look at this document, if you look at

8 the stamp on the top, it's hard to read, but it would

9 appear to be the 8th of August of 1992. It's a typed

10 document coming from you, and if we look at item number

11 4 -- perhaps you'd just like to read item number 4 out

12 in your own language, and then it will be translated

13 for us, please.

14 A. "Units of the Vitez HVO Special Purpose Unit

15 is to be ready for engagement along the

16 Vitez-Busovaca-Kiseljak line and to report to the

17 HVO-Kiseljak command."

18 Q. So is it right, as I would suggest this

19 document shows, that as early as August of 1992, clear

20 command -- clear lines of command for special purpose

21 units from Central Bosnia Operative Zone were known of

22 and operated, including by yourself?

23 A. This is a military police platoon. I recall

24 that event. I recall that this was a military police

25 unit. It was to clear the road and remove all the

Page 18252

1 obstacles along the road.

2 Q. My general point remains. The special units,

3 as you refer to them generally in that order, were

4 under Central Bosnian control, and there's no evidence

5 that you can point to, or no suggestion that you point

6 to, that the special units were other than under

7 Central Operative Zone control.

8 A. Yes, correct. I agree with you. I do agree

9 with you. These units were. The military police was

10 under the command of the staff of the Operative Zone

11 Central Bosnia. But I did not say that they were

12 engaged, involved, in some nefarious deeds. Those were

13 individuals, or groups of individuals, at least, during

14 my stay in the Operative Zone for Central Bosnia.

15 Q. I don't want to trouble you with another

16 exhibit, but will you confirm -- I've got an exhibit to

17 look at if you want to, but would you confirm that

18 where an anti-aircraft gun was being moved, one that

19 had been first of all moved by you and then was being

20 moved again because Blaskic thought it should be

21 returned to Kresevo, where that happened, the movements

22 of the gun would be well documented. In this case it

23 was a document on the 5th of October of 1992. Do you

24 understand the point? Movements of heavy artillery

25 would always be well documented on paper. You accept

Page 18253

1 that?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Thank you. I needn't trouble you with any

4 exhibit.

5 Exhibit 248, however, a document of yours

6 that I'd like you to look at. This is a document --

7 you have the original. The English version on the

8 ELMO -- dated the 23rd of October of 1992. It goes to

9 the command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, Vitez

10 and Busovaca, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic and to Dario

11 Kordic.

12 Just before we go on, why are you sending it

13 to the two of them? This isn't being sent to separate

14 addresses so that one can provide a copy to the other;

15 it's being sent to both of them at the same address.

16 Please, why?

17 A. I've already explained, Your Honours, that

18 the communications that we had at our disposal at that

19 time were not really adequately suited to our needs,

20 and this is merely a letter, or rather an order of the

21 main staff, Mr. Milivoj Petkovic, who orders, in

22 military terms, the following to the Operative Zone

23 Central Bosnia. He presumably could not get it. This

24 cable reached Uskoplje, that is, Gornji Vakuf, that is,

25 me. I was there on a sick leave. And I simply rewrote

Page 18254

1 that letter. And I did get some rumours that Blaskic

2 or Kordic had been captured, and I was glad to hear

3 that it was just a false rumour, and that is what I

4 mention in this letter.

5 Likewise, if I may, Your Honours, I should

6 like to say the following: I say here that the

7 situation in the territory of Gornji Vakuf is tense,

8 but nevertheless is still under control. And yesterday

9 I said that even in October 1992 was really a question

10 of whether the conflict -- there would be a conflict or

11 there wouldn't be, and the conflict was hanging in the

12 air. So that all the matters concerning transport or

13 materiel sent towards Novi Travnik, all such convoys

14 are blocked precisely because of the units which are

15 not under our control.

16 Q. The question was about why you sent it to

17 both of them. Your earlier explanation yesterday about

18 needing one to provide the copy to the other won't do,

19 because you're sending it to the same address. If we

20 look at it in detail, it replies to a telegram. Is

21 this an example where you have a recollection of the

22 detail of the telegram or where you don't? Do you

23 recall the telegram? Nobody will criticise you for not

24 recalling it this time after the event, and don't feel

25 pressured to remember it. Just tell us, do you

Page 18255

1 remember the telegram?

2 A. No.

3 Q. It would appear from the letter that you're

4 doing two things. In the first part, you're replying

5 to the telegram and you're saying the situation is

6 tense, transports going in the direction of Novi

7 Travnik are blocked. That's a general report on the

8 military position in Gornji Vakuf, and you're sending

9 that to Blaskic and Kordic. Why to Kordic?

10 A. I have already said that in case Blaskic does

11 not get it, then we -- then it might go through

12 Mr. Kordic's fax, who can have easier access to --

13 Q. [Previous interpretation continues]... your

14 only explanation for sending this letter to Kordic, is

15 it?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. I respectfully suggest to you that that's

18 nonsense, Brigadier, and you know perfectly well you

19 were sending this letter because he was a man with

20 military authority and military interest, and you know

21 that.

22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

23 I apologise. I waited for the interpretation. With

24 all due respect, but this is once again a comment of

25 the Prosecutor. He comments on the witness's

Page 18256

1 statements. I do not think one needs to go into

2 argument before witnesses. Arguments should be left

3 for the end. Thank you. I apologise.

4 JUDGE MAY: It's a perfectly proper question,

5 because the explanation which is given is that this

6 document was being sent to Mr. Kordic in case it did

7 not get through to Colonel Blaskic. The Prosecution

8 are entitled to put that the real reason for sending

9 the document was because Mr. Kordic had military

10 authority. Now, the Prosecution are entitled to put

11 that as a question, and the witness is entitled to

12 answer.

13 Now, is there anything you would like to say

14 about that?

15 A. Yes, Your Honour. I don't know which time

16 this is that I'm saying here that Mr. Dario Kordic

17 never issued military orders either to me or to my

18 subordinates. That is the core of the matter. Never.

19 I came here to speak the truth, the whole

20 truth, and nothing but the truth. The Prosecutor

21 obviously doesn't seem to be pleased that I'm not

22 speaking the way he would like me to speak. I'm

23 explaining this for five times now, and I'm explaining

24 things the way they actually happened.

25 As for this letter, 248, I assert that I

Page 18257

1 acted in a way which would ensure that Mr. Blaskic,

2 Colonel Blaskic, would get the letter as efficiently as

3 possible.

4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,

5 Mr. Nice.

6 General Sekerija, while you say it's only

7 because it was easier to do it, but I would like to put

8 this question to you: Obviously, this communication is

9 sent to somebody. Is it not sent to Mr. Kordic because

10 he's one of the main people in charge within the HZ

11 HB? After all, it's not just a mailbox, he is a person

12 and an important person. Are you not informing him as

13 a person with responsibility in the Croatian Community

14 of Herceg-Bosna?

15 A. Your Honour, by way of information, yes. But

16 to submit a report to him on military matters, that,

17 no, not under any circumstances.

18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] What is the

19 distinction? What kind of information would you send

20 to him? What is the difference to be made between

21 military things and what is, in fact, part and parcel

22 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?

23 A. May I say this, Your Honour: If there was

24 anyone who was supposed to report to Mr. Kordic about

25 this situation, about political tensions in town, et

Page 18258

1 cetera, it was the president of the local government,

2 that is to say, the head of the local municipality.

3 The president of the local government could have

4 received information from me, and then he could have

5 sent it further up along the line of political

6 responsibility.

7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Therefore,

8 you admit that Mr. Kordic, as a person with

9 responsibility in the HZ HB, must be informed of the

10 way the situation would develop on the ground?

11 A. Yes, but not by the military; rather by the

12 political people, the political structures in the

13 territory of the municipality where something was

14 happening.

15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.

16 A. You're welcome.

17 MR. NICE:

18 Q. From your answers, you do not accept at all,

19 if I understand it, that Kordic had any even remote

20 possibility of being involved in military matters;

21 would that be correct? I don't want to overstate your

22 position. Kordic didn't have even the remote

23 possibility of being involved in military matters;

24 correct?

25 A. Had he been involved in military matters,

Page 18259

1 well, it depends which ones. As for the logistic

2 supply of manpower for units, yes, I agree, he was

3 involved in that. But as for giving orders to units is

4 concerned, assigning tasks to them, I state with full

5 responsibility that he had no possibility of doing

6 that.

7 Q. Exhibit 249, please. This is five days -- I

8 beg your pardon, no. This is one day after the letter

9 and order that you've sent, and you, I think, were

10 what, number 3 in the hierarchy of Central Bosnia?

11 Would that be about right, please?

12 A. When the command of the Operative Zone of

13 Central Bosnia was formed, I was a chief of staff of

14 that Operative Zone, in a military sense, or deputy

15 commander.

16 Q. You would have to know what was going on, for

17 example, if Bugojno was going to be shelled, wouldn't

18 you?

19 A. [No audible response]

20 Q. Sorry? Would you like me to repeat the

21 question? You would have to know what was going on if

22 Bugojno was going to be shelled, Brigadier?

23 A. Exactly, but I already mentioned that as I

24 was wounded at the Jajce front line, when this document

25 was written I was at home, I was on sick leave, I was

Page 18260

1 recuperating. And this was written on the 23rd of

2 October. Therefore, I cannot discuss this document.

3 Q. The last document that we looked at was dated

4 the 23rd of October. This document, according to the

5 handwritten receipt, is sent on the 23rd or the 24th of

6 October. So you still appear to be in the office. And

7 it says: "Information that a unit of the BH army is

8 moving Bugojno," and so on. "Should these units

9 participate in the fighting, we shall use long-range

10 artillery on Bugojno," a deadline, and it's signed

11 by -- the first signature, Dario Kordic, and the second

12 signature, Colonel Blaskic. Now, you were there. Why

13 is Kordic signing an order like this, please?

14 A. I repeat, Your Honours. At the end of

15 September, I was wounded at the Jajce front line, and

16 it says very nicely in my CV that I was on sick leave

17 for a month and a half or two. Mr. Prosecutor, at that

18 time I was not in the area of Central Bosnia. I do not

19 wish to speak about a document that was signed by

20 someone else involving something that I was not a

21 participant in.

22 JUDGE MAY: I think there may be an

23 explanation. We needn't pursue this, but according to

24 my note, you said that you were wounded in 1993. These

25 documents are, in fact, 1992, and that may be the

Page 18261

1 explanation.

2 A. Your Honour, here in one of the points -- let

3 me just find it. Point number 15 says I worked for

4 Zarko Tole and his successors as HVO Chief of Staff in

5 the Operative Zone Central Bosnia from May of 1992

6 until early January 1993 for a period of about one

7 month. Beginning on September 23rd, 1992, I was in the

8 hospital, recovering from an injury which I sustained

9 at the Jajce front line. I was wounded on the 4th of

10 August, 1992, and since then I have permanently become

11 a disabled person to a very large extent.

12 JUDGE MAY: It was not clear, then, from your

13 evidence that it was 1992 that you were talking about.

14 However, we now have it clear.

15 MR. NICE:

16 Q. But if that's right, Brigadier, you must have

17 recovered by the 23rd of October, when you were signing

18 the document we've already looked at and which you

19 haven't challenged as being yours, but goes to both

20 Blaskic and Kordic about the situation in Gornji

21 Vakuf. So you had recovered by the 23rd, and therefore

22 you were in a position to know about what was happening

23 on the 24th?

24 A. Your Honours, I repeat. I was in the area of

25 Gornji Vakuf, Uskoplje, that is, at my own home. I

Page 18262

1 still had plaster on, because I was still at home,

2 still recovering. An order signed by Milivoj Petkovic

3 had reached us because it could not go any further.

4 Q. Please look once more, then, at Exhibit 248

5 just for this point, because this is actually a signed

6 order, Brigadier, and we've got a copy of your

7 signature on your proof of evidence. The signature on

8 Exhibit 248 is your signature, and you were working on

9 the 23rd of October. So whatever ill health you had

10 suffered and whatever injury you had suffered, you were

11 back at work on the 23rd; correct?

12 A. That's not true. I was in Gornji Vakuf, and

13 I stopped by the brigade of Ante Starcevic every now

14 and then that was stationed in Jajce. I was not in

15 Central Bosnia. And it says nicely here, "Municipal

16 Staff of Gornji Vakuf," that that's where I was, Your

17 Honours.

18 Q. Very well. How would you -- can he look at

19 Exhibit 261, please. It's the last of the exhibits for

20 1992 I'm going to ask you to look at.

21 This is an order dated the 29th of October,

22 dealing with Jajce -- so wherever you were, it's

23 something you would have had an interest -- signed by

24 Ivica Rajic, and it says, on the 29th of October: "We

25 received an invitation from the deputy commander, Dario

Page 18263

1 Kordic, deputy commander of the HZ HB." I hope the

2 translation is correct. Would you accept that that's

3 the word that's used?

4 A. The expression is wrong. It was supposed to

5 say "Vice-President of the HZ HB". I think that this

6 must be a typo, Your Honours.

7 Q. Well, it goes on to say that: "Based on an

8 order of the chief of the General Staff of the HVO,

9 Petkovic, to send to Jajce immediately all available

10 forces and all available materiel." And Ivica Rajic

11 goes on to stress that this is the final call for

12 Croats and real fighters to save the city and the

13 people, and he therefore issues an order pursuant to

14 Kordic's request.

15 Just your explanation. You were there -- not

16 necessarily here, but your explanation as to whether

17 this shows Kordic doing something that's military or

18 not.

19 A. Your Honour, I don't want to comment on a

20 document that does not pertain to me. However, there

21 is one thing I wish to say.

22 Your Honours, we know that at the end of

23 October 1992, the town of Jajce had fallen, where about

24 15 or 17 thousand Croats had lived -- the same number

25 of Muslims as well -- and they all got out. This is a

Page 18264

1 normal document, in my opinion, for any man or any

2 politician calling upon all to go and try to get the

3 people of Jajce out, Croats and Muslims. I don't see

4 anything bad in this.

5 However, I wish to delineate this from what I

6 said, that is to say, this does not pertain to me

7 personally.

8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] You don't

9 want to comment on that. Fine. You're here to

10 testify, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and

11 nothing but the truth.

12 You've already stated that Mr. Kordic -- you

13 said that -- previously you said that Mr. Kordic was

14 not in the chain of command. Now, does this document

15 not show that Mr. Kordic is well in the chain of

16 command, or how do you view this document in relation

17 to the issue of the chain of command?

18 A. Your Honours, I view this document in the

19 following way: "Let us all rally together and let us

20 save what can be saved," because Jajce fell at the end

21 of October. This is a call upon all Croats. Often we

22 had to traverse very tough mountains in order to get

23 all these people out, regardless of their religious or

24 ethnic affiliation.

25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Well, you're

Page 18265

1 not answering the question that the Prosecutor and

2 myself put to you. It is your right. So if you decide

3 not to answer that question, we take due note of the

4 fact that you do not want to answer.

5 MR. NICE:

6 Q. I'm going to move now, as swiftly as I can,

7 beyond the passage of time I dealt with yesterday at

8 the beginning of -- one or two other questions on '92

9 and then I'm done.

10 Kordic was called a colonel. Why?

11 A. During my stay in Central Bosnia, and I said

12 quite a few times what this period was while I was

13 there, I personally never addressed Mr. Kordic by his

14 rank. I addressed him as "Mr. Kordic", because I was

15 not aware of this rank of his. Afterwards, I heard

16 that this rank was conferred upon him in haste

17 allegedly because of some negotiations in Sarajevo.

18 However, during my stay there, Mr. Kordic never had a

19 rank.

20 Q. And the important negotiations in Sarajevo,

21 they were important, weren't they?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. They were about military matters, weren't

24 they?

25 A. Political and military.

Page 18266

1 Q. So how could he deal with the military side

2 of things, please?

3 A. Your Honours, I already said that I heard

4 that he had been at these negotiations. I don't know

5 whether he was there.

6 But please do not trouble me with such

7 questions any longer. I already said that during my

8 stay there, he never had a rank, I never addressed him

9 by this rank, and I heard later that allegedly he got

10 some kind of a rank from Mate Boban and some piece of

11 paper. That's what I heard -- but that's not what I'm

12 asserting -- because of some kind of negotiations that

13 were held at a higher level in Sarajevo. That's the

14 only thing I know about Dario Kordic's rank.

15 Q. Why was he promoted to brigadier, then?

16 A. I don't know.

17 Q. Your promotion to brigadier is a genuine

18 promotion, reflecting your military ability,

19 presumably?

20 A. One could say so.

21 Q. In 1993, you had been moved from the Central

22 Bosnia Operative Zone to Gornji Vakuf. As a matter of

23 interest, you now call Gornji Vakuf by another name,

24 don't you?

25 A. Your Honours, before the Turks came to this

Page 18267

1 area, Uskoplje, which is the name that is used today

2 also in the area where Croats lived, was called

3 Uskoplje. When the Turks came, this name was abolished

4 in 1670 something. Don't take my word for it; I'm not

5 very good at history. Uskoplje was abolished, and this

6 town of mine got the name of Gornji Vakuf. The word

7 "Vakuf" itself is a Turkish word, and it reflects

8 religious heritage or something like that. I'm not

9 very good at interpreting things like this. When the

10 war broke out in '93 and later, the Croats of Uskoplje,

11 by way of referendum, decided that this town should be

12 called Uskoplje.

13 Another fact is interesting. In this town,

14 only one election was held. The first multi-party

15 elections were the only ones that were carried

16 through. After that, there were elections that were

17 held, but the results were never carried through.

18 These are -- this is a town that has two names, that

19 has two populations, and that is divided between two

20 sides.

21 Q. And when the name Uskoplje was adopted, it

22 was adopted without referendum, without reference to

23 Sarajevo; is that correct?

24 A. As far as I know, the referendum was held

25 amongst the Croat part of the population in terms of

Page 18268

1 changing the name from Gornji Vakuf to Uskoplje. The

2 municipal government of the municipality, that was not

3 functioning legitimately yet within Bosnia-Herzegovina,

4 submitted a request in 1996 for this name to be

5 adopted. To the best of my knowledge, this could be

6 approved by the beginning of August this year, that

7 Uskoplje definitely be established as a newly formed

8 municipality in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

9 Q. In 1993, I think your evidence would be in

10 summary that there was no use of HV troops from Croatia

11 in your area; is that correct?

12 A. From January 1993 until the 4th of August,

13 1993, when I was wounded, taken to hospital, I assert

14 that the Croat army was never used in this territory.

15 MR. NICE: Your Honour, in light of the time

16 problems, I'm not going to take the witness through the

17 various documents in the international armed conflict

18 binder and elsewhere that are already in evidence. I

19 can provide the Chamber or my friends opposite various

20 numbers that I could ask about. I'll confine myself to

21 dealing with two documents that are outstanding, and

22 then they'll be part of an overall library of documents

23 for this area and for the international armed conflict

24 issue.

25 Q. Will you look, please, first, at a new

Page 18269

1 document, 2404.1.

2 MR. NICE: This one may actually be in the

3 IAC, but I'm going to ask the witness to deal with it

4 in any event. And there's one outstanding Exhibit.

5 Q. This is dated the 22nd of February of 1993,

6 as you can see. It comes from Zrinko Tokic. It goes

7 to the 4th Brigade in Split, and it says: "Further to

8 your inquiry regarding the death of your combatant,

9 Stanko Posovac, son of Franjo, and from Gornji Vakuf,

10 it was established that Stanko Posovac took part in the

11 fighting between the so-called BH army and the HVO in

12 Gornji Vakuf, was wounded by a sniper bullet on the

13 13th of January, transferred to hospital, died,

14 buried."

15 Your combatant, Stanko Posovac, in a report

16 to the 4th Brigade of the Drazevac barracks in Split.

17 Please explain, if you're sticking to your evidence

18 that the HV made no contribution.

19 A. Your Honours, in my report, I already said

20 that there were individuals, not some organised unit of

21 the HVO that was fighting in the area of Uskoplje or

22 Gornji Vakuf. In my period, until the Split agreement

23 between Izetbegovic and Tudjman was signed, not a

24 single Croat soldier came to this territory. As for

25 this particular case, when I said yesterday that we had

Page 18270

1 seven soldiers who were in the HV and who came after

2 the outbreak of the war to join us, two of them were

3 dead. This is confirmed by this document as well.

4 I claim, with responsibility, that this

5 document was given only so that his parents could get a

6 retirement pension in the Republic of Croatia. It is

7 undeniable that this late person was a member of the

8 4th Brigade of the Croatia army. But here this is a

9 case of individual persons only.

10 Q. One more --

11 JUDGE MAY: In fact, it's 11.00 now. How

12 much more do you have?

13 MR. NICE: I don't have much more. What I

14 must do, and I'm cutting out stuff, but apart from a

15 couple of more particular exhibits, I shall seek the

16 witness's comments on a couple of the contemporaneous

17 milinfosums so that we may have his view on that.

18 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn for

19 half an hour.

20 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.

21 --- On resuming at 11.34 a.m.

22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.

23 MR. NICE:

24 Q. Brigadier, do you accept --

25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Nice,

Page 18271

1 please.

2 MR. NICE:

3 Q. Brigadier, do you accept that in 1993

4 documents will exist, and I'm going to number them and

5 summarise them: 385, going to the 4th Brigade of the

6 HV army, reporting on a combatant who took part in

7 fighting; 2407.1, an order by Andric listing five

8 members of the 101st HV Brigade who were serving on the

9 southern front. Do you accept that such documents

10 would have existed?

11 A. I would have to see them to tell you,

12 otherwise I don't know what it's about.

13 Q. Do you accept -- this is 619 -- that there

14 would be an order for all HV officers present to be

15 listed at some stage? Do you accept that would have

16 happened?

17 A. No.

18 MR. NICE: I think I've said that. That's

19 619. I'm not going to show it to the witness. It's

20 just for identification at this stage.

21 Can he see 644, please, which is similar but

22 a different date.

23 And simply for the Court's benefit, while

24 that document's coming, the other documents that cover

25 this topic are 2418, 2415, 2420, 2427.1, 2431.1, and I

Page 18272

1 think 2435.

2 Q. We'll just look at this document, Brigadier,

3 644. It's dated the 12th of April, 1993, it comes from

4 Siljeg, and it's for the attention of all brigades.

5 And it says:

6 "Submit a list of all HV officers present in

7 your units and headquarters." It asks for the name,

8 the father's names. "Submit the orders which

9 authorised his referral to the HVO, rank and number of

10 decree of promotion, the duty he's carrying out in your

11 army, and the duties he has carried out, and submit

12 that information to the headquarters by the 16th of

13 April."

14 Now, what do you say about that?

15 A. Your Honours, I have to say the following:

16 It is quite true that this order refers to the Dr. Ante

17 Starcevic Brigade in Gornji Vakuf, that is, Uskoplje,

18 but it is also quite true that there were no such

19 officers, that is, HV officers in that area.

20 Q. What do you say, then, as an officer that had

21 been in central headquarters, what do you say to the

22 fact that this order was submitted to all these areas?

23 It shows, doesn't it, as clear as daylight that there

24 was a substantial contribution from the HV to the

25 fighting that was going on in Central Bosnia?

Page 18273

1 A. Your Honours, I have already said that from

2 every municipality, when the aggression against the

3 Republic of Croatia began by the former Yugo army and

4 Serb renegades, there would be a man from here and from

5 there going from Bosnia-Herzegovina to join the

6 Croatian army in its defence. When the war broke out

7 in our country, those men came back to our territories

8 to defend them. These were in no way organised units

9 of the Croatian army. Those were individuals who had

10 been born in the area, so that -- that I mentioned

11 here. In Gornji Vakuf, I already told you, we had

12 seven such soldiers.

13 MR. NICE: In light of that answer, if the

14 following exhibit's in court, I will ask you to look at

15 one more exhibit, 2415, if it's there.

16 I think I've been given an incorrect

17 reference, in which case -- unless I can have the

18 document again. Can I look at what the witness has,

19 please? Can I just have a copy of that myself? Thank

20 you very much.

21 Yes, I may have given an incorrect reference,

22 and unless I can come back to it, I'll have to leave

23 that point. Your Honour, just give me a minute. No,

24 I'll let Ms. Verhaag do it. Thank you.

25 Q. I want to ask you very briefly, please,

Page 18274

1 Brigadier, about Ahmici. Are you saying you know

2 absolutely nothing about it?

3 A. Yes, because Ahmici happened at the time when

4 I had already left the territory.

5 Q. You were in regular contact with

6 headquarters?

7 A. Not with the main one. With the command of

8 the Operative Zone Tomislavgrad, where I belonged at

9 the time.

10 Q. Are you telling the Court that you had no

11 knowledge of any preparations of the deployment of

12 troops in the middle of April of 1993?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And are you saying that in all the period of

15 time that has passed since then, neither Blaskic, nor

16 Kordic, nor anyone else has ever explained to you what

17 happened in Ahmici; are you saying that?

18 A. I am.

19 Q. You've met Blaskic since then, haven't you?

20 A. Yes, and that was in August '94.

21 Q. By that time, the massacre at Ahmici was a

22 well-known international event and, indeed, disaster,

23 wasn't it?

24 A. I've heard from media that a crime had

25 happened there. But who committed it and things that

Page 18275

1 came to pass there, I really don't know about that.

2 Q. You're really saying that you never took the

3 opportunity to ask anyone who could know and who could

4 have told you what had happened; is that your case, is

5 that your evidence?

6 A. It is. And, Your Honours, if I may, I really

7 never discussed that crime with anyone, because I

8 simply had too many problems of my own and other things

9 I had to do in order to tire myself with it.

10 Q. Moving on to August of 1993, you've described

11 what you say was the large-scale attack and so on.

12 Before we look very briefly at what contemporary

13 documents show of that, the position so far as Gornji

14 Vakuf is concerned is that it was always capable of

15 being reinforced from Mostar; is that correct?

16 A. I don't understand the question. What forces

17 do you have in mind?

18 Q. Were you, the HVO, always in a position to

19 draw on the road from Mostar for reinforcements if you

20 required them?

21 A. The road to Mostar could not be used because

22 of military operations in Jablanica and below it, and

23 it was only the bottleneck that we used was the Vran

24 Mountain and we had connection with Tomislavgrad.

25 Q. So you were able to draw on reinforcements

Page 18276

1 when you required them?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. That meant that in real terms in Gornji

4 Vakuf, the HVO were always in the position to call the

5 shots, to set the agenda, however you describe it,

6 ultimately. The HVO were always in charge, weren't

7 they?

8 A. Let me tell you. Dr. Ante Starcevic Brigade,

9 which was defending positions in Gornji Vakuf, that is,

10 Uskoplje, did not have anything more than the Muslim

11 side or, rather, the BH army. The BH army had

12 connections with Bugojno, Novi Travnik and Travnik.

13 And our Operative Zone, the one that we belonged to,

14 was Tomislavgrad, and it was made of the municipalities

15 as listed in earlier documents that you showed to me.

16 And we were using only and exclusively the mountain --

17 the forest road across Vran in order to reach the

18 civilised world.

19 Q. You describe an incident concerning a

20 humanitarian convoy which you say was subject of advice

21 by priests Milicevic and Tomas. Can you give me any

22 information that will enable me to date that event? Is

23 there any document you can point to that will tell me a

24 little more detail about it? If you can't, I'm not in

25 a position to deal with it at all.

Page 18277

1 A. It is true that in mid-June, and I really

2 wouldn't know the exact date, a humanitarian convoy --

3 Q. [Previous interpretation continues]... your

4 evidence. I simply want to know can you point me to a

5 date, a document, or something that it going to enable

6 me to deal with this in detail? Because otherwise, I

7 simply can't.

8 A. Likewise, Your Honours, I do not have any

9 document in my possession. If there is such a

10 document, then it must be somewhere in the archives.

11 But I do not have any document with me that would deal

12 with this matter.

13 Q. I'm afraid I can't cross-examine on that

14 topic. Likewise, the incident you've spoken of

15 involving the old man and his daughter, Okadar, it's

16 not something which I'm in a position to deal with one

17 way or the other.

18 The Ante Starcevic Brigade was named after a

19 person who was what?

20 A. A very prominent political figure in the

21 Croat history.

22 Q. What period of the Croat history?

23 A. Prior to World War II.

24 Q. With which political group was he associated,

25 please?

Page 18278

1 A. A man who tried to create a homeland for

2 Croats.

3 Q. Was he, in short, a member of the Ustasha and

4 a prominent one?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Was he associated with that group?

7 A. I don't think so.

8 Q. Do you think there's any way in which using

9 his name, in an area where there were other ethnicities

10 apart from the Croats, was a provocative act?

11 A. I think not, because the name of Ante

12 Starcevic was mentioned a great deal before the World

13 War II.

14 Q. My mistake about the original exhibit I was

15 asking you about, the contribution of the HV. Can he

16 see 2420, please, which is the exhibit I should have

17 asked him to look at, and very briefly.

18 This comes from Gornji Vakuf, from your

19 brigade, from Zrinko Tokic. It's dated the 16th of

20 May, and it goes to the 2nd Brigade of the Croatian

21 army. It requests that they leave their officer, Mate

22 Kunkic, at the disposal of the brigade in the zone of

23 the brigade's responsibility.

24 It goes on in the second paragraph to say:

25 "Given that we are familiar with your plan to withdraw

Page 18279

1 Officer Mate Kunkic from this area soon, we ask you not

2 to do so until further notice," and it sets out

3 reasons. And without going into those reasons in

4 detail, Brigadier, if you go down two paragraphs,

5 you'll see it says this: "In all battles so far, each

6 person had their individual place and role, but

7 Mr. Mate Kunkic has traced a special place for

8 himself," and so on.

9 This document is the clearest possible

10 evidence of contribution from active HV units of

11 important personnel to your unit; correct?

12 A. No, it is not. I knew personally late Mate

13 Kunkic. He was born in a village next to me, the

14 village of Paloc, municipality of Gornji Vakuf, and

15 that is where he lived until the outbreak of war in

16 Croatia. He studied there, and he reported to the

17 Croatian army. When the war broke out, late Mate

18 Kunkic came to his own turf because his parents, his

19 family, his wife and his children lived there.

20 It is also correct that late Mate Kunkic had

21 a say -- had a certain influence in one of the units

22 within Dr. Ante Starcevic Brigade, that is, the

23 reconnaissance company which was made up exclusively of

24 students -- of young lads, of students who all knew one

25 another and who all belonged to one and the same

Page 18280

1 generation of people. And that means that Mate Kunkic

2 here is an individual and in no way an organised unit

3 of the Croatian army active in that area.

4 Q. But you would accept from the document that

5 we've looked at, that to retain him you had to seek

6 permission from the HV, who had apparently deployed him

7 there?

8 A. Correct. I did not say that those men were

9 not members of the Croatian army, and he was a member

10 of the Croatian army. But with the outbreak of the war

11 in our lands, all those men who were there, and it

12 is -- they are seven, they total seven -- they came and

13 reported to the staff in Uskoplje, that is, Gornji

14 Vakuf, and spent there a certain period of time. It is

15 correct that Mate Kunkic sought this certificate

16 presumably to justify his absence from his mother

17 republic, that is, in the Croatian army. But one

18 cannot say that the Croatian army operated there,

19 because it was not an organised unit; it was an

20 individual.

21 Q. And finally on this general topic, do you

22 know a soldier or did you know a soldier called Ivica

23 Jeger?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Do you recall seeing any newspaper articles

Page 18281

1 published by any soldiers, whether by this man or not,

2 explaining how they were -- in 1993 -- explaining how

3 they were finding themselves fighting in your area,

4 coming, as they did, from Croatia? Did you see any

5 such newspaper articles?

6 A. Believe me, I don't know. I don't know those

7 articles, I don't know who wrote them, but as of May,

8 or rather early June 1993, until I was wounded, there

9 was neither a shop there, a news shop, or any

10 newspapers, because there was only fierce fighting.

11 And I was then wounded and went to hospital and I

12 returned in 1994, and I really know nothing about any

13 article.

14 Q. Will you accept --

15 A. Newspaper articles.

16 Q. Will you accept that on the 26th of May of

17 1993, you will have been the officer to organise the

18 oath-taking ceremony for new recruits? I've got the

19 document if you want to have a look at it, but will you

20 accept that from me?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Will you explain to the Judges why, in your

23 own itinerary of events to happen at the oath-taking,

24 the music to be played included the national anthem of

25 Croatia, when your interest, as you tell us, was in the

Page 18282

1 state of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Why play the national

2 anthem of Croatia for such new recruits, please?

3 A. Because we had no other anthem, and we are

4 Croats.

5 Q. Did it occur to you that playing the Croatian

6 national anthem might itself be provocative to others

7 in the same way as -- did it occur to you that might be

8 provocative?

9 A. Your Honours, I'm answering loudly and

10 clearly that there were no other peoples there as of

11 the January conflict. The municipality and people were

12 divided; on one side there were Croats, and on the

13 other, Muslims. So we could not really offend anyone

14 with it. And that was the will of the Croat people in

15 those lands.

16 Q. Why not play a piece of music, or the

17 national anthem, associated with the very republic in

18 whose interest you say you were fighting, please?

19 A. We did not have any such music, so we did not

20 air that. We aired the Croatian anthem. And that was

21 not the only such instance. People often requested and

22 listened to that anthem.

23 Q. You knew, as did many members of the HVO,

24 that one of the aims of all your efforts was possible

25 unification of a part of the territory with Croatia,

Page 18283

1 didn't you? You knew that?

2 A. No, it is not true. The only purpose of the

3 unit I belonged to, Dr. Ante Starcevic, was to preserve

4 the Croats against the persecution of the Muslim

5 invasion, as of January 1993, until the signing of

6 Dayton Accords. No annexation, no integration with the

7 Republic of Croatia. I never said anything like that

8 to my soldiers or to my subordinates, because I simply

9 never believed that.

10 Q. I'll now deal with what you say happened in

11 August of 1993. You say there was a large-scale

12 attack?

13 MR. NICE: Can he have, please, Exhibit

14 1154.1. Coming up.

15 Now, this document, Your Honour, is dated the

16 4th of July of 1993, but it seems to -- it may well be

17 that the date is incorrect, because the milinfosum is

18 numbered and the adjacent numbers all relate to August

19 of 1993, and that would fit in with the date given by

20 the witness yesterday as the 4th of August.

21 Q. This is an English document, and I can tell

22 you, Brigadier, that it's dated the 4th of July but

23 that there may be reason to doubt the accuracy of the

24 date. It probably should be the 4th of August. And in

25 respect of Gornji Vakuf, at the foot of the first page,

Page 18284

1 it speaks of the following:

2 "An intense firefight broke out in the

3 following areas: Muslim Gornji Vakuf and the Partisan

4 cemetery, Batusa and Trnovace, and Bistrica, Krupa, and

5 Trnovace. During the engagements, rounds passed close

6 to B Company's location ..." That's the British

7 battalion. "The action was assessed as being a BiH

8 attempt to clear the Partisan cemetery. The assault

9 was unsuccessful, as the HVO are still present in both

10 locations."

11 Do you accept that that is accurate?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. I'll pass over 6, unless anybody wants me to

14 read it out, and go to 7. It says this:

15 "The morning was described as relatively

16 quiet, although a round entered the sergeant's mess

17 accommodation ..." That's in the British battalion

18 headquarters. "... narrowly missing one individual.

19 At 04/1200 the HVO began firing from ..." And then

20 there's a location given. "... into BiH-held areas,

21 such as Relay Hill and Krupa."

22 Do you accept that that is accurate?

23 A. No. You are right, Mr. Prosecutor. This is

24 a document from the month of July 1993. That's when

25 the Muslims tried, tried, to take Krupa, Ponir and

Page 18285

1 Zvizda, and they did not succeed in that. With their

2 gunfire, as they were attacking these villages, it is

3 true that they could have jeopardised the UN base, and

4 these villages were in front of the UN base. The

5 villages were attacked from the direction of the

6 Vranica Mountain.

7 Q. Did you lose any heavy weaponry on that July

8 incident, as you say it was?

9 A. I do not remember. In the month of July?

10 Q. You might remember if you lost something

11 significant, mightn't you? Because in August you did

12 lose something significant, namely, the tank in which

13 you were when you were injured; correct?

14 A. Correct.

15 Q. Because under paragraph 7, the report goes on

16 to say this: "The tank fired between 90 and 100 rounds

17 into those areas but was blown up itself." Was that

18 your tank that was blown up, one that had been

19 attacking Relay Hill and other places?

20 A. No. Dates are confused here. This is the

21 4th of August. When I was injured, that is when the

22 tank was hit by an anti-armour projectile. And the

23 very idea of having hundreds of shells being fired, I

24 shall take the liberty of saying that we never had that

25 many shells for a tank. Even when we had some, we had

Page 18286

1 five to eight at the most, and this tank was out of

2 order most of the time rather than operative.

3 Q. Just to complete what they say in the

4 comment, they go on to say that a major firefight began

5 throughout Gornji Vakuf and was still ongoing.

6 Artillery mortars were reported as falling at the rate

7 of approximately 4 rounds per minute. And the comment

8 of the officers is:

9 "The fighting is reported as being the most

10 intense since the initial BiH attacks on the 1st of

11 August, but is believed to be an HVO counterattack.

12 Details are scant, it's limited at present, because

13 Gornji Vakuf are all involved in closure of Route

14 Diamond. It's possibly linked to this if the HVO are

15 actually attacking. The fight for the town shows few

16 signs of abatement and looks set to continue for some

17 time. In both Travnik and Bugojno, the BiH had secured

18 virtual full control by this stage."

19 What I want to suggest to you is that when

20 you suffered in the very bad way that you did, you were

21 engaged in an attack by the HVO, or a counterattack, as

22 this report suggests, if the date is indeed August.

23 A. Again, I assert the Croatian Defence Council

24 never carried out any attack, because we did not have

25 the strength to do that or the equipment to do that.

Page 18287

1 The command post of my brigade was in Jacija [phoen],

2 in Gornji Vakuf, and this command post is only divided

3 by a wire fence from the UN base. That is to say that

4 everything that was fired at this command post and the

5 UN base could only have been done by the other side,

6 because it seems outrageous to me that I would be

7 firing at my own headquarters.

8 Q. The last document to look at, which is

9 unequivocally dated the 5th of August, is 1155.1, so

10 it's either the following day or a month and a day or

11 so later. And it's another milinfosum, Brigadier.

12 That's a document from the British battalion.

13 JUDGE MAY: It seems to be numbered the next

14 in sequence. The last one was 97. This is 98. And of

15 course the first one referred to an instance on the 1st

16 of August. So it looks as though it was the 1st of

17 August -- the 4th of August, rather than the 4th of

18 July.

19 MR. NICE: Yes.

20 Q. Now, here, Brigadier, we've got -- again, I'm

21 sorry it's not in your own language. I'll read the

22 passages in context, and I hope slowly enough for you

23 to take them in. But under Gornji Vakuf there's quite

24 a long entry, which I'll try and summarise fairly.

25 It speaks of the heavy fighting in Gornji

Page 18288

1 Vakuf, it speaks of the area around the former HVO

2 hospital being in frames, as an example, to jog your

3 memory. And then it says at the bottom of what is the

4 first page:

5 "The day before, the officer commanding B

6 Company met with Enver Zejnilagic, commander of the

7 317th Brigade, who claimed the HVO initiated the

8 action, which was an attempt to interrupt BiH

9 communications to Novi Travnik and Travnik by severing

10 them at Krupa. This attempt was unsuccessful."

11 Do you accept that or do you reject that,

12 Brigadier?

13 A. I disagree with this report, because on the

14 4th of August, 1993, I was heavily wounded and I was in

15 a coma for 11 days after that. But I know what I left

16 behind. I know what kind of misery was left behind

17 me. So I cannot accept this report. I know what was

18 there, I know what I suffered. Had we attacked such a

19 strong force, which was reinforced by the Bugojno

20 forces and which was already in BiH army control, and

21 part of the Mujahedin forces that were indeed strong

22 and notorious in that area. And in the village of

23 Voljevac and these other hamlets that are near the

24 forest, then the 17th Krajiska Brigade. So I already

25 mentioned, Your Honours, that I saw with my very own

Page 18289

1 eyes a report that was shown to me in December, but

2 this is not the report that was shown to me.

3 Q. I'm going to --

4 A. May I quote what was said in this report that

5 I saw?

6 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. If Defence

7 counsel wants to ask you something, they can in

8 re-examination, but meanwhile, just deal with the

9 questions which counsel asks.

10 MR. NICE:

11 Q. The British officer's report goes on to say

12 that the only route for direct reinforcement open to

13 the BiH is Route Diamond, which is one of their names

14 for a route. And in reporting what they've been told

15 by the BiH, the officer said that the BiH officer had

16 received orders to cease offensive actions which they

17 were obeying, and claimed to the BiH officer that his

18 diversionary force had destroyed two T55s on the Podovi

19 feature and also a transporter.

20 He then goes on to say that Slobodan Praljak

21 admitted that the reason that Route Diamond had been

22 closed by the HVO at the Makljen checkpoint was to

23 prevent aide convoys driving into the middle of the

24 attack. Do you accept that?

25 A. I do not accept that, because these are

Page 18290

1 fabrications of the commander of the 317th Brigade of

2 the Muslim army who had a conversation with the

3 commander of the U.N. unit, and what this man told him,

4 this gentleman then wrote in his report.

5 I know the real truth about this. Never did

6 we have two tanks in the area, we only had one tank,

7 and you cannot destroy two if we only had one. That is

8 the first thing I want to say.

9 The second thing I want to say: We did not

10 have any kind of armoured vehicle, an ACV or anything

11 like that. There was no transport during those days, I

12 repeat again, until the 4th of August from Makljen

13 onwards, and I don't think there were any convoys in

14 the area on that day.

15 Q. In which case the last point I want you to

16 deal with, Witness, is the comment of the officer. I

17 jump over the next few lines, unless anybody wants me

18 to read them, and the comment is this:

19 "The situation in the town is currently a

20 stalemate, with the BiH clearly having lost the

21 initiative they enjoyed on the 2nd of August. The HVO

22 have surrendered no additional ground but have been

23 unable to rest control of former Croat areas. The

24 fighting is currently five days' old. At a similar

25 point in the fighting for Travnik, Kakanj and Bugojno,

Page 18291

1 the BiH had all but seized the towns. The reasons for

2 the relative BiH failure this time round are myriad but

3 intrinsically seem to turn upon the HVO's ability and

4 willingness to reinforce the area and their own

5 apparent inability to do so."

6 I suggest that the last line relates back to

7 the BiH. But it's right, isn't it, that so far as your

8 area is concerned, the HVO did have an ability and a

9 willingness to reinforce the area and, by the time that

10 you were telling the Court you suffered the very

11 serious injury that you did, had already turned the

12 tables on the BiH; correct?

13 A. Correct.

14 Q. Thank you.

15 A. The BiH army or, rather, the Muslim army got

16 wings, so to speak, when the towns were taken. What is

17 stated here is not exactly correct. Until the 25th,

18 approximately, of July 1993, Travnik, Bugojno and

19 Kakanj were taken. They had full control under the

20 territory over the municipality of Bugojno, the Muslim

21 army did. They expelled 18.000 Croats and they

22 continued their penetration towards Mostar, and they

23 were stopped then in the area of Uskoplje. That's

24 where the heaviest fighting was taking place.

25 We were losing territory, Paloc, Polurici

Page 18292

1 [phoen]. These are purely Croat villages

2 traditionally, and that is where we stopped all this

3 metal that the Muslim army had.

4 I also wish to say that at Mount Vranica,

5 they controlled the road to Travnik. It is not true

6 that that is the only route. They called it

7 Diamond. There is another one --

8 THE INTERPRETER: The witness is going too

9 fast for the interpreters. I'm sorry.

10 JUDGE MAY: Could you slow down a bit for the

11 interpreters. Yes. I think, in any event, we've dealt

12 with the question.

13 MR. NICE: And my last questions relate to

14 this:

15 Q. You, in giving your evidence yesterday, and I

16 make no complaint of this, read from the first line of

17 paragraph 19 of your summary -- there's no need to turn

18 to it again -- and saying the strategic goal of the

19 Muslim leadership was to expel -- there's no need to

20 turn to it, Brigadier -- was to expel the Croats from

21 Central Bosnia, and you referred to some evidence in

22 support of that. Tell us again, what is it that

23 enables you to say that the objective of the Muslim

24 leadership, the strategic goal, was to expel the Croats

25 from Central Bosnia? Tell us about that.

Page 18293

1 A. Yesterday, I already mentioned that when I

2 talked to my former colleagues from the former

3 Yugoslavia, they told me that they received such and

4 such orders, et cetera, et cetera. I don't have to

5 repeat all of this. However, one thing is obvious,

6 that the army, the forces of the BH army, as they

7 attained this objective, they expel the Croats of

8 Konjic, where the military industry is, Novi Travnik

9 and Bugojno as well. Is this not a well-conceived

10 policy in order to have a well-rounded process of

11 production? And come on, you asked me.

12 Q. I want to know what your evidence is, and I

13 think you've confirmed that your evidence comes from

14 the contact with the two named people you've spoken

15 of. Is that the only evidence that you're turning to

16 to support your suggestion that this was the objective?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, then, please tell us where and when it

19 was that you claim to have met these two men.

20 A. This was mid-April 1994 when, by sheer

21 coincidence, the war operations, the combat operations,

22 had stopped, the Washington Accords had been signed,

23 checkpoints were established, the soldiers returned

24 home, although there were very little homes on our side

25 to return to because everything was devastated. And in

Page 18294

1 a place called Fontana at the line of delineation -- I

2 still used crutches because I could not walk yet -- I

3 saw these former colleagues of mine on the other side

4 of the street, and they were friends of mine too. And

5 then we discussed all of this, what do we need all of

6 this for, why was such a pretty town destroyed, why did

7 so many people come to hate each other, such deep

8 wounds would last for a long time. They said, "Those

9 are the orders that we got from the military and

10 political leadership of the Republic of

11 Bosnia-Herzegovina," or, rather, from their superiors

12 in Zenica, "to cleanse the territory of Central

13 Bosnia." He did not say "Central Bosnia", he said,

14 "cleanse the area of Bugojno and Gornji Vakuf, where

15 Muslims would come to live, those that were expelled by

16 the Bosnian Serb army." They did not attain this

17 strategic objective of theirs. The Croats of Uskoplje

18 remained where they had lived.

19 Q. Well, now I only want to know what they

20 said. Is there anything else they said that you want

21 to tell us about, because I want to be quite sure that

22 we've got it accurately so that we can take the matter

23 further. Is there anything else they said? Anything

24 else you asked them and that they replied, please?

25 A. In this conversation -- well, let's put it

Page 18295

1 this way: Let's say we sort of said hello to one

2 another, but we gave each other dirty looks, sort of,

3 and we kind of said hello, "Hello." The first thing I

4 asked them was how were their families, whether they

5 had all survived, et cetera, and then in this

6 conversation, this chatting that went on for five or

7 ten minutes -- no, not even five minutes -- we just

8 talked in haste, because even a year later the Muslims

9 were afraid to talk to us, they were afraid of their

10 superiors. So I asked him, and he answered me the way

11 I already explained, Your Honours.

12 Q. Well, which one do you say of the two men

13 used the word "cleansing" and said that they were given

14 instructions by their superiors to cleanse an area,

15 please; which one?

16 A. That was Fahrudin Agic, who was later trained

17 in Pakistan after the Washington Accords were signed.

18 Q. And when he said this, it was together with

19 the other man, was it, Goran Cisic, so that he could

20 hear?

21 A. Cisic, Cisic, yes.

22 Q. Did they say which of their superiors had

23 given them this extraordinary instruction?

24 A. No, they mentioned no names. But that's what

25 they said, that they received orders from the political

Page 18296

1 and military leadership, probably through their own

2 chain of command, that they had to cleanse Bugojno and

3 Gornji Vakuf and that that is where allegedly the

4 Muslims would come to live, those who were expelled by

5 the Bosnian Serb army from other areas.

6 Q. Did you write this down or report this

7 important event at the time to anyone?

8 A. Well, I didn't have to write it down because

9 I had a witness. Well, I'm not going to say "500

10 per cent", but 100 per cent invalid and a friend of

11 mine, Borislav Posavac, who is here with me and who

12 will confirm all of this, if necessary, this statement

13 of mine, if necessary.

14 Q. But you didn't record it anywhere, nowhere,

15 did you?

16 A. Well, believe me, had I known that this would

17 happen, I would have recorded this on a tape-recorder.

18 But I did not know that this would happen and that this

19 would be needed, just like many other things.

20 Q. Did you find yourself working with the man

21 Fahrudin Agic at a later stage in some organisation in

22 the area of is it Kupres?

23 A. No. I only encountered him once in

24 conversation with General Alagic. We were then

25 undergoing liberation operations, we were some kind of

Page 18297

1 partners then, and I saw him at the Kalin Hotel in

2 Bugojno, and I've never met him since, I've never met

3 him since. This could have been the end of 1994 or the

4 beginning of 1995.

5 Q. Are you aware that the man Cisic is now dead?

6 A. I found out about that, I think, two or three

7 months after he got killed. He got killed somewhere

8 near Prusac.

9 Q. I'm in a position to cross-examine on this

10 material to this extent: that I must suggest to you

11 that there was no such meeting of the type you

12 described, and there was certainly no such

13 acknowledgement of an instruction to cleanse an area you

14 suggested, and that what you're telling us about that

15 is wholly false.

16 A. Your Honours, I already said that I would

17 speak the truth. And what would give me the right now

18 to lie and to besmirch the name of a person who is not

19 here? It is embarrassing for me to say bad things

20 about a person who is not present, and I never did such

21 a thing. You asked me about this, and I responsibly

22 state that what I said is true.

23 I also responsibly state that I was at one of

24 the meetings with the representatives of the BH army in

25 Bugojno at the Hotel Kalin at the end of 1994, the

Page 18298

1 beginning of 1995, in relation to the area of Kupres,

2 or a plateau above it, as to how far a unit should go.

3 This was at General Alagic's, and that's when I saw

4 Agic again. I gave him a cigarette and we smoked a

5 cigarette together at the door of this hotel, and that

6 is how we talked.

7 I have to mention, if I already haven't said

8 this, this Fahrudin Agic is four years younger than I

9 am. We were together for about ten years. We grew up

10 in the same village. His house and my house are about

11 150 metres away from each other. So we knew each other

12 very well. That is why I want to say that this is what

13 a man I know very well told me and who was a high

14 officer in the BH army, and also he was my boss in the

15 former army.

16 MR. NICE: That's all I propose to ask on

17 that. As the Court will understand, I can't deal with

18 it in great detail. But as to the specific allegations

19 put, that's challenged, and I will return to it at a

20 later stage in the trial, if necessary.

21 That's all I ask.

22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

23 Your Honours.

24 Re-examined by Mr. Naumovski:

25 Q. Mr. Sekerija, a few final questions. Let us

Page 18299

1 just conclude this subject.

2 These two gentlemen or, rather, Mr. Agic, you

3 said, if you agree with me, that you heard certain

4 pieces of information from imprisoned BH army soldiers

5 who were not from the area of Uskoplje or Gornji Vakuf

6 but also from other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the

7 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

8 A. Exactly. Your Honours, in conversations with

9 persons who had stayed behind, who were imprisoned or

10 who did not get out on time, usually one would take

11 prisoner persons who were members of the 317th Brigade

12 or, rather, who were in the BH army. I didn't know

13 their chain of command, nor was I particularly

14 interested in it. However, when we talked to these

15 men, when we asked them where they were from, for

16 example, the person would say that he's from Jajic

17 [phoen] or somewhere in Eastern Bosnia, and I

18 personally asked one such man who had been taken

19 prisoner -- I personally asked him, I said, "Man, what

20 are you looking for in this area?" The official

21 leadership of their army, the military and the

22 political leadership, he said, "promised us that we

23 could come to live in any Croat village that we took."

24 That is the truth.

25 Could I just say one more thing? Could I

Page 18300

1 just add one more thing? I would like to corroborate

2 this by saying the following: I think there is some

3 kind of written trace of this in the archives of this

4 former unit of mine or whatever. I think there is a

5 written trace with the chief of security or somebody

6 who was carrying out these interrogations. This is not

7 a fabrication, and I do not want to deceive the Court

8 and I do not wish to lie here.

9 Q. Right. I believe this matter is clear.

10 I have quite a number of questions about

11 documents, because so many of them were shown to you,

12 but let us try to do it very briefly and clearly and

13 try to finish as quickly as possible.

14 298.3 mentions the Ustasha flag. I do not

15 really want to tax the patience of the Honourable Court

16 with this, but you're telling us that you always and

17 invariably referred to the flag of the Croat people; is

18 that so?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. But you used a phrase and you said it was

21 never a Ustasha flag, and you gave us the colours of

22 that flag. Do you remember that?

23 A. Yes. If it vexed the Muslim side, the flag

24 that was hoisted up on the post office on the eve of

25 the Christmas, then this was the flag of the Croat

Page 18301

1 people, the Croat flag, the tricolour red/white/blue

2 with the Croat coat of arms in the middle, and that was

3 the flag that was there and it was no Ustasha flag,

4 because the Ustasha flag is very different from the

5 Croatian flag.

6 Q. Very well. Just one last question about

7 that. Did you ever hoist up a black banner, a black

8 flag, or whatever Ustasha used as their emblems in the

9 Second World War?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Thank you. Z298.5, it is about those

12 villages there, and Zenica, and things like that. You

13 answered a moment ago that you had no artillery pieces

14 to fire on those villages because they were too far

15 away from the town; is that so?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. So if there were any combat operations in

18 that area, it had nothing to do with the Dr. Ante

19 Starcevic Brigade?

20 A. Correct, because our artillery, if you look

21 at the map, I can show you the positions where the

22 mortars were and what was their ultimate range. It's

23 about 3.800 metres to 4.200, and not even in theory

24 could we reach the area that was covered by the

25 Muslims. So perhaps there could have been some

Page 18302

1 individual operations between Prozor and Rama and the

2 Muslim army on the other side which was bordering on

3 that side with Uskoplje, that is, Gornji Vakuf.

4 Q. Very well. Thank you very much. We have to

5 wait a little bit because of interpretation.

6 Let us move on to Z372.2. That was a report

7 written, as it says -- or rather signed by the

8 commander of the 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic, and

9 at the bottom we also have the name of Dzemal Merdan,

10 so it is a document which was written for the army of

11 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Prosecutor insisted on the

12 word "ultimatum" or, rather, that you, the Croats, had

13 issued the BH army with an ultimatum. However, I must

14 say that here this document, that is, the paragraph one

15 before last -- no, the second before last on the third

16 page, that it was a categorical stance, not the

17 ultimatum; that is how it is interpreted. But I want

18 to ask you once again. Even though you took no part in

19 those negotiations, did you, the Croats, mean the

20 brigade Dr. Ante Starcevic that you were a part of, and

21 did you issue the advisory with any kind of ultimatum?

22 A. No. Such documents with the signature of

23 Hadzihasanovic and Mr. Dzemal Merdan were, rather than

24 mentioned, they are just the scum of the earth, they

25 are the warmongers of the Muslim people, they are the

Page 18303

1 riffraff. And a lot of this has been mentioned, but

2 you find it only document [as interpreted] that they

3 write to one another.

4 Q. Z236.18, and that is an order by General

5 Bobetko of May '92?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. So my basic question is: This document of

8 May 5th, '92, who was your enemy in Bosnia-Herzegovina

9 or, rather, who was the common enemy of the Muslims and

10 Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

11 A. Why, the army of Bosnian Serbs, supported by

12 the former JNA.

13 Q. We can move on. Chronologically speaking,

14 this question comes as the logical second question.

15 It was said a great deal about Mr. Kordic,

16 who was advocating to split the weapons, to divide the

17 weapons on a 50/50 basis, and the Prosecutor said that

18 that is something that the Ministry of Defence normally

19 would be dealing with. So my question is: Do you know

20 at all when the Department of Defence of the Croat

21 Defence Council was founded?

22 A. I believe it was in '93/'94, because nothing

23 worked, really. I told you it was the armed people.

24 No army from barracks had ever come out. It was the

25 people who armed themselves. Some bought rifles. They

Page 18304

1 took the money out of their own pockets to purchase

2 some weapons.

3 Q. When you spoke about the distribution of

4 weapons, at that time the JNA still had its barracks in

5 the area -- if you are not really well, shall we --

6 A. I shall manage somehow.

7 Q. All right. I shall try to do it faster. So

8 I was about to ask: The time that we are talking

9 about, May '92, would you agree with me that the JNA at

10 that time still held the barracks in early May '92 both

11 in Travnik, and the depot at Slimena, and Kiseljak,

12 Kaonik, and who knows where else?

13 A. Correct.

14 Q. And you, the Croats, and also the TO, that

15 is, the Muslims at that time were operating on a sort

16 of semi-legal basis, because the JNA was still in that

17 area?

18 A. Correct.

19 Q. So these are the early days of the

20 organisation, both yours and the TO's?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Very well. And those are -- now the letter,

23 207. This was also discussed a great deal. I don't

24 have it here. But be that as it may, it's a letter.

25 It is a handwritten letter, and you commented on it

Page 18305

1 when it was shown you by the Prosecution. The period

2 of time referred to in the document, that is, fighting

3 in Jajce, going to Jajce, and so on and so forth, it is

4 fighting against whom?

5 A. Fighting against Serbs, because it is Serbs

6 all the time.

7 Q. So this document that you were given, you

8 told us that was not an order; it was just an

9 information or something like that.

10 A. Well, it was a request, no order. Please,

11 please, get us three vehicles and transfer this

12 humanitarian relief. It must have contained flour,

13 perhaps some tins, perhaps some fuel, to supply the

14 hospital in Jajce, which was simply full to the brim

15 with the wounded. I don't have anything of any

16 military order.

17 Q. Z248 was another document.

18 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Sekerija, are you all

19 right? Would you like a break?

20 A. No. I'll somehow manage to the end. At

21 times my hands begin to -- I get a tremor in my hands.

22 But it takes only three to five minutes, and no

23 longer. No problem. You may go on.

24 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Naumovski, perhaps you

25 can be as rapid as possible.

Page 18306

1 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Ten minutes,

2 perhaps. I'll do my best. I'll hurry things up.

3 Yes, why don't you have some water. I was

4 about to suggest it to you.

5 THE WITNESS: Well, this is not the first

6 time it happens to me. So what.

7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

8 Q. So 248. You said that you forwarded the

9 information that you received, that is, General

10 Petkovic's order. But in this document it is curious

11 that the addressees are to the towns Vitez and

12 Busovaca.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And that agrees with what you explained.

15 This document, the 23rd of October, 1992, this is your

16 signature. I am not a handwriting expert, but I think

17 it is different from your other signatures. But you

18 mentioned that you were in a cast, in a plaster cast at

19 that time, so could you please explain to us how could

20 you sign it?

21 A. No. At that time -- well, you can see it. I

22 still have some screws in this hand and I also have

23 some rods in my shoulder. So at that time I was still

24 wearing a plaster cast. So if you compare my signature

25 now and my signature then, they look alike, but they're

Page 18307

1 not identical. Because at that time, I was telling

2 you, I was still on a sick leave and I was still in a

3 plaster cast, but I went back to the headquarters of my

4 brigade and I did as ordered.

5 Q. 261 is a document, and His Honour Judge

6 Bennouna had questions to ask you about it. Have you

7 ever heard, to begin with, something were to be deputy

8 commander of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna? Have

9 you heard --

10 A. No. There is the deputy commander of a

11 military unit or a vice-president of the political

12 leadership, a vice-president of, but a deputy commander

13 can exist only in a military unit. But there is no

14 such thing as the deputy commander of the Croat

15 Community of Herceg-Bosna. I think it was a mistake,

16 somebody slipped or something.

17 Q. And when asked by the Prosecutor and by His

18 Honour Judge Bennouna, you gave us your view about this

19 document. But I'm not quite sure whether you really

20 got the gist of what His Honour was asking you, so that

21 I shall repeat the question. We can show you this

22 document if you wish, but perhaps you already know what

23 document we're talking about.

24 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Will this

25 document please be shown, Z261. Will the usher please

Page 18308

1 help the witness.

2 THE INTERPRETER: Will Mr. Naumovski please

3 slow down.

4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

5 Q. Sir, I will ask you this question now. His

6 Honour asked you, but I'm not sure that you understood

7 what he was driving at. Does this document show that

8 Mr. Kordic was part of the chain of command, military

9 chain of command, or not? What do you think?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Very well. Do you want to read it or --

12 A. In any country, and in any war, the military

13 hierarchy was accounted to the political leadership of

14 a country, of a region, or a municipality. So what we

15 are dealing with here, this is not a document of

16 military nature, the deployment or use of forces,

17 taking positions, defensive positions. That is out of

18 the question. The only thing it can be to, that the

19 bravest, the most loyal sons of the Croat people are

20 being sent to where they should be sent in order to

21 rescue those famished, starving, emaciated people of

22 Jajce, and with that I do agree.

23 Q. And yet another question about this

24 document. According to you, does this document mean an

25 invitation to defend it at all costs, or is it a

Page 18309

1 surrender of Jajce?

2 A. These are cries for help. These are wails

3 for help rather than invitations.

4 Q. Very well. Thank you.

5 Document 2404.1, that is, the letter about

6 the death of late Stanko Posavac. Just one detail

7 which nobody pointed out, and you must know it, because

8 Posavac is a surname from your area. Posavac, son of

9 Branjo, is from Gornji Vakuf. He was born there, isn't

10 it, and he was buried there too?

11 A. Yes, and that is the irony of the whole

12 thing, because his mother and my mother are two

13 sisters.

14 Q. So he was your nephew?

15 THE INTERPRETER: The witness nods.

16 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

17 Q. Let us move on. There is a handout by

18 Siljeg, Z644, addressed to all the brigades. Evidently

19 it is a routine letter seeking information about those

20 HV members.

21 A. Yes. Your Honours, I have already said, and

22 I shall never go back on that: It is quite true that

23 in our area, or rather from our area, from

24 Uskoplje/Gornji Vakuf, in the beginning of the war in

25 1991, some Croats left and went to fight with the

Page 18310

1 Croatian army. And when the war broke out in our

2 lands, those men came back. It is seven individuals

3 that we're talking about.

4 Q. Now, my last question about this: You do not

5 know whether those men had regulated the status with

6 the HV or not?

7 A. No.

8 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

9 there was mention -- there were several questions about

10 Ante Starcevic. I do not know whether this witness

11 knows or not, but it is for the sake of the Court that

12 I will say this, even though it is not the subject.

13 Ante Starcevic is a well-known Croatian intellectual

14 thinker, politician, who was active in late 19th

15 century in Austria Hungary at that time and who was

16 upholding and fighting for the rights of Croats. That

17 is all.

18 JUDGE MAY: If you want to give evidence, you

19 better go there.

20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

21 Your Honour. If it were a fact or something, I

22 wouldn't have, but I think this was simply a question

23 to do with history.

24 Q. There was also mention about the Croatian

25 anthem in the area of Uskoplje in May 1993. Which

Page 18311

1 anthem did the Croats play after the war, that is,

2 after the Washington Accords were signed in 1994, 1995,

3 in Uskoplje and in the territory of

4 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

5 A. Croats invariably played the Croatian anthem,

6 not only before that, but 1994, 1995, until an anthem

7 was written for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

8 Q. But the anthem that is played now, that

9 anthem was prescribed --

10 A. The higher representative, the higher

11 representative, because three peoples could not agree

12 on one common anthem.

13 Q. So every people had his own?

14 A. Yes, and they use them to this day.

15 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

16 I believe this is the end of my re-examination, and I

17 should like to thank Mr. Sekerija for his patience,

18 especially during these last five minutes.

19 THE WITNESS: Oh, I've been through worse

20 things before. This was quite all right.

21 JUDGE MAY: Brigadier Sekerija, that

22 concludes your evidence. Thank you for coming to the

23 International Tribunal to give it. You are now

24 released, free to go.

25 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.

Page 18312

1 [The witness withdrew]

2 JUDGE MAY: The next witness is Mr. Drmic, I

3 take it.

4 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour. Actually, as

5 you can see, the next four witnesses are produced to

6 talk about two separate sets of issues. In that

7 regard, Mr. Drmic and Mr. Vinac basically talk about

8 the same incident. And we've submitted to the Court,

9 or actually we filed before they testified, the

10 affidavits of two other corroborative witnesses, Ivica

11 Drmic and Franjo Drmic. The next two witnesses deal

12 with the Kacuni checkpoint incident, that is,

13 Mr. Grubesic and Mr. Arar, and we have filed, prior to

14 their testimony, three corroborative affidavits.

15 JUDGE MAY: I don't think we've seen those

16 yet, but --

17 MR. SAYERS: We have extra copies, if the

18 Court wishes. We actually filed them this morning.

19 Those are of Mr. Milenko Arapovic, Mr. Brano Kristo,

20 and Mr. Bogdan. They're all extremely short and they

21 deal with specific facts.

22 JUDGE MAY: Well, it may be sensible to take

23 the break now, I think, rather than start the witness,

24 and we'll come back at 20 past 2.00.

25 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.

Page 18313

1 JUDGE MAY: But we should get through these

2 four witnesses fairly rapidly, I would think.

3 MR. SAYERS: I certainly hope so. We may --

4 I want to alert the Court, if we get through these

5 witnesses as rapidly as I certainly hope we will, we

6 may run out of evidence this week. We have only one

7 more witness who's scheduled to come in this week.

8 JUDGE MAY: I think we understand the

9 difficulties of getting witnesses in the particular

10 circumstances of this Tribunal, so for the moment there

11 would be no criticism.

12 MR. SAYERS: Thank you very much, Your

13 Honour.

14 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now for an hour and

15 a half. Twenty past 2.00, please.

16 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.50 p.m.

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

Page 18314

1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.

3 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President. We're

4 just waiting for our next witness, Mr. Branko Drmic, to

5 be brought in.

6 [The witness entered court]

7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the

8 declaration.

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly

10 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,

11 and nothing but the truth.

12 WITNESS: BRANKO DRMIC

13 [Witness answered through interpreter]

14 Examined by Mr. Sayers:

15 Q. Good afternoon, sir. I believe your name is

16 Branko Drmic, and you were born on August the 22nd,

17 1955, in the town of Vitez; is that correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Just a few very preliminary matters,

20 Mr. Drmic. You are a Bosnian Croat, and a Roman

21 Catholic by religion, a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

22 I believe.

23 A. Yes, Your Honours.

24 Q. You are married, sir, and you have two

25 children, and you currently live with your family in

Page 18315

1 the town of Vitez today?

2 A. Yes, Your Honours.

3 Q. I believe that you received your primary and

4 secondary education in Vitez, and then you completed

5 two years of high school in Sarajevo, graduating from

6 the High School for Social Work in 1978?

7 A. Yes, Your Honours.

8 Q. And before the civil war broke out in

9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, you worked at the Vitez Slobodan

10 Princip Seljo factory in that town, in the purchasing

11 and marketing division of the business; is that right,

12 sir?

13 A. Yes, Your Honours.

14 Q. All right. Now, did you own a bar in the

15 village of Donja Veceriska called the Cafe Ravne?

16 A. Your Honours, I, Branko Drmic, together with

17 my brother, Franjo Drmic, had a cafe together with my

18 brother in Ravne. It was called Cafe Ravne.

19 Q. And this cafe, sir, was located actually in

20 your brother's house in Donja Veceriska, even though

21 you owned it, the cafe, that is, I believe.

22 A. Yes, Your Honours. A compromise solution was

23 found. The house was his, and the cafe was owned by

24 me.

25 Q. And you both ran it together --

Page 18316

1 A. It was in my name.

2 Q. Sorry. And you ran it together with your

3 brother, Franjo?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. All right. Now, sir, is it fair to say that

6 Donja Veceriska is a very small village and that it had

7 only a total population of about 700 before the war

8 broke out?

9 A. Your Honours, it is correct that Donja

10 Veceriska had a population of about 700.

11 Q. All right. Now, sir, we have made you aware

12 that a man by the name of Midhat Haskic has made a

13 statement which has been admitted into evidence in this

14 case. In that statement, he claims that Mr. Dario

15 Kordic was supposedly in the Cafe Ravne, your bar, for

16 several hours during the evening of April the 15th,

17 1993, and that he was attending a party for Mile

18 Vinac's son. Could you tell us, is that contention

19 true or not?

20 A. Your Honours, that contention is not true,

21 because on that day and at that time, Dario Kordic did

22 not come to the Cafe Ravne. The village is a very

23 small one. On that day, I worked after 5.00 p.m. That

24 is to say, on that day, Dario Kordic was not in this

25 cafe.

Page 18317

1 Q. Would you have recognised Mr. Kordic if he

2 had been in the cafe, sir, and if so, could you tell

3 the Court precisely how?

4 A. I certainly would have recognised Mr. Dario

5 Kordic, first of all, because he was a well-known

6 figure. That is to say, I knew him through the media.

7 He has a very special kind of hair style. His hair is

8 cut in a special way.

9 Q. Has Mr. Kordic ever visited your bar at any

10 time or during the time that you owned it, sir?

11 A. No, no. To the best of my knowledge, Dario

12 Kordic was never in Donja Veceriska, and he absolutely

13 never visited the bar.

14 Q. All right. Two more minor matters.

15 Can you tell us, Mr. Drmic, was Mr. Mile

16 Vinac in your cafe on the evening of April the 15th,

17 1993, as contended by Mr. Haskic?

18 A. Your Honours, Mile Vinac was not in the Cafe

19 Ravne on that day either. Midhat Haskic was not in the

20 cafe on that day either. So that statement is

21 incorrect as well.

22 Q. The second matter of detail, Mr. Drmic.

23 Could you tell us whether, as far as you know,

24 Mr. Kordic has ever been to Donja Veceriska?

25 A. I shall repeat. As far as I know, Dario

Page 18318

1 Kordic was never in the village of Donja Veceriska.

2 Q. All right. Could you tell the Judges,

3 please, a little bit about Midhat Haskic? Do you know

4 him? If so, what do you know about him, please?

5 A. Yes, I know Midhat Haskic very well. He is a

6 man who, in his 30s and 40s, was involved in business.

7 He had asthma, that is to say that he had lung

8 problems. Although he was not allowed to drink, he

9 would have a drink every now and then. When he would

10 have a drink too many, he would be known to provoke

11 other people.

12 Q. All right. Do you have any view on whether

13 he was a man who could be trusted? Could you give your

14 views to the Trial Chamber on that particular subject,

15 sir, or don't you have a view on that?

16 A. If the honourable Trial Chamber wishes to

17 hear my opinion, I believe that this person cannot be

18 trusted 100 per cent.

19 Q. Now, you say he was not in your bar on the

20 15th of April, 1993. How can you be sure of that,

21 Mr. Drmic?

22 A. I am sure because of the events that

23 followed. I kept thinking about this for a long time,

24 what had been happening in general at that time.

25 Q. Can you remember an incident in which the

Page 18319

1 house and the bar were damaged before, in the month

2 before the time when Mr. Kordic is alleged to have

3 visited your bar, sir?

4 A. Yes. Your Honours, I remember that

5 incident. That incident occurred about a month before

6 the conflict broke out. I think it was during the

7 night. We cannot exactly ascertain at what time this

8 happened. A few explosive devices were thrown at the

9 cafe. One exploded in the parking lot in front of the

10 cafe. That is to say that when we look at the entrance

11 of the cafe, the right-hand side was -- the right-hand

12 glass was broken, and a bullet went through this glass

13 and ended in the bar itself, and I think that there are

14 marks from this shrapnel until the present day.

15 On the next day we found two more unexploded

16 explosive devices. Perhaps I should be more specific.

17 We saw that these two explosive devices were made of

18 cans, of tins.

19 Q. If I might interrupt you. If the Prosecution

20 has any questions about those matters of detail, then

21 you can certainly elaborate upon that, but let's just

22 go on, because I have just two more questions for you.

23 Did Muslims continue coming to your bar,

24 Muslim people from Donja Veceriska, or elsewhere, after

25 the bomb incident in March of 1993, sir?

Page 18320

1 A. Until this incident, they came to our bar

2 regularly. However, after this incident,

3 spontaneously, no one entered our bar. I believe that

4 a considerable part of the Muslim population was simply

5 ashamed of entering our cafe.

6 Q. And did that include Mr. Midhat Haskic, or

7 not?

8 A. Yes, Your Honour.

9 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Your Honours. No

10 further questions.

11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

12 the Defence of Mr. Cerkez has no questions of this

13 witness.

14 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

15 Q. Before the conflict, who was in the majority

16 in Donja Veceriska, Muslims or Croats?

17 A. Your Honours, as far as I know, the number

18 was equal.

19 Q. Or may it be the case that there was even a

20 Muslim majority there before the conflict?

21 A. Your Honours, if there was any deviation, I

22 was not aware of these figures. However, this

23 possibility does exist, because quite a few refugees

24 moved into Donja Veceriska over a very short period of

25 time. I'm referring to Muslim refugees, that is to

Page 18321

1 say, the Bosniak people.

2 Q. And immediately after the conflict, how many

3 Muslims were there in Donja Veceriska? None?

4 A. Your Honours, I am not aware of that.

5 Q. Well, can you cite any Muslims who were

6 living there immediately after the conflict, just so

7 that I can check it?

8 A. I could not.

9 Q. Just to complete the picture of the ethnic

10 composition and ethnic affections and disaffections in

11 the village, first the topography of the place. It's a

12 kilometre or so outside of Vitez on ground that rises

13 up from a plain; would that be about correct?

14 A. Your Honours, I can give my version of where

15 the village of Donja Veceriska is. That is to say that

16 Donja Veceriska is on a small hill about 4 kilometres

17 away from Vitez. That is to say that a part of the

18 village of Donja Veceriska borders on the business

19 compound of Vitezit. And it is precisely this part,

20 Your Honours, that borders on Vitezit, has a Bosniak

21 population.

22 Q. It's an isolated but visible community; that

23 is to say, it's separate, but you can see it from the

24 road, and you can see the main road from it. Correct?

25 A. Yes, Your Honours. This statement is

Page 18322

1 correct. I do not understand what you consider to be

2 the main road, because if you look from Jardol, you can

3 see all of Donja Veceriska. And naturally, it's the

4 other way around too. From the village of Donja

5 Veceriska, you can see this road which goes around

6 Vitez, so to speak.

7 Q. Its proximity to the Vitezit factory made it

8 strategically important to the HVO; would you accept

9 that?

10 A. Your Honours, for us, that is to say, all the

11 villagers of the village of Donja Veceriska, the

12 business was very important for all of us. Ninety per

13 cent of us were employed there, and that was our only

14 source of revenue. So from my own point of view, I'm

15 saying that this was a very interesting business, where

16 people earned their salaries.

17 Q. I image you understand what I mean by

18 something being strategically important in the time of

19 the conflict of the HVO. That's what I'm asking you

20 about in relation to this factory. Do you accept that

21 it was strategically important to the HVO?

22 JUDGE MAY: The witness is not a soldier, is

23 not being put forward as one.

24 MR. NICE:

25 Q. Were you a member of the HVO, please?

Page 18323

1 A. Yes, Your Honours.

2 Q. Starting when?

3 A. I, Branko Drmic, was a member of the HVO from

4 the 25th of February, 1992. That is to say, with your

5 permission -- or I don't know if there are going to be

6 other questions related you to this -- I was first

7 mobilised within the defence department of the

8 Territorial Defence in 1992.

9 Q. That's all I need for the time being. Thank

10 you.

11 Concluding what I wanted to ask you about the

12 composition and ethnic attitudes in general within the

13 village, would you accept that by, say, about 1998, I

14 think, if one of the Muslims whose house had been

15 destroyed in the conflict wanted to return to Donja

16 Veceriska, the atmosphere in the village was such that

17 his house might still be burnt down before he was able

18 to return? Would you accept that that happened as late

19 as 1998?

20 A. Your Honours, I can say that now, that is to

21 say, before I came here, as concerns the village of

22 Donja Veceriska, the complete Bosniak population has

23 returned. I cannot make any comments about this

24 incident. That is to say that Bosnia and Herzegovina

25 is becoming a state where there is rule of law. There

Page 18324

1 are institutions that can and should resolve all

2 negative developments that may be taking place

3 anywhere.

4 Q. To conclude that topic, as a matter of fact,

5 do you know the house or the location of the house of

6 the man Nesim Haskic?

7 A. Yes, Your Honours.

8 Q. Can you confirm that that house was blown up

9 before he was able to return to it, as recently as a

10 couple of years ago?

11 A. Your Honours, if we are talking about Nesib

12 Haskic, there was an old house that belonged to his

13 parents, and he also had a newly-built house which was

14 only covered. During the war, and I don't know why,

15 part of the house remained roofless. That is the only

16 thing I know about this particular matter.

17 Q. Now, you say of Midhat, who I think would be

18 a relation of Nesim, perhaps his cousin, you say he was

19 not to be trusted 100 per cent. Now, don't be

20 embarrassed. Just tell us, because the Judges need to

21 know this, why.

22 A. During the first part, I already said that he

23 liked to drink, and when he would have a drink too

24 many, he would sometimes say a word or two that were

25 superfluous, and he was not a trustworthy person.

Page 18325

1 Q. The first account of this, in answer to

2 Mr. Sayers, was, I think, that he said things that were

3 provocative, unless my recollection is wrong. Being

4 provocative doesn't make you, in any sense,

5 unreliable. Is it these provocative words that you

6 rely on to say that he's not to be trusted 100

7 per cent?

8 A. Your Honours, I know Midhat Haskic very

9 well. He would offend a person by way of a joke, and

10 if he was under the influence of some alcohol as well,

11 then that was no longer the way it was.

12 Q. But, of course, as is obvious and has been

13 famously said, you can be drunk in the evening, but in

14 the morning, you're sober. When sober, he was not

15 provocative?

16 A. Your Honours, again I have to repeat what I

17 said. He tried to be funny, and his humour would

18 become embarrassing at a given point in time.

19 Q. Thank you. And sober, there would be no

20 reason not to trust his word, at least when he wasn't

21 being funny, would there?

22 A. Your Honours, on several occasions I already

23 stated my opinion.

24 Q. I want you, please, to help me and the Judges

25 with some other things that Midhat Haskic has said.

Page 18326

1 You haven't seen him, I think, for many years, and are

2 you aware that he's dead?

3 A. Your Honours, if you were to ask me about the

4 year, I would not know, but I have heard that Midhat

5 Haskic allegedly died. That is the only thing I can

6 say.

7 Q. You, in the HVO, can confirm that your cafe

8 served the purpose not just of being a cafe but it was

9 also a command post, wasn't it?

10 A. Your Honours, until the conflict broke out,

11 the cafe only worked as a cafe. However, after the

12 conflict broke out, the defence department mobilised

13 the entire facility; that is to say that it was mostly

14 only used for military purposes.

15 Q. Was it the only cafe in Donja Veceriska at

16 the time?

17 A. Yes, Your Honours.

18 Q. Has it been renovated and rebuilt since?

19 A. Your Honours, you know what are the

20 conditions of life in general in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

21 The inventory is the same, and here or there, one works

22 a little.

23 Q. But has it been rebuilt or renovated perhaps

24 in the last couple of years or not?

25 A. Your Honours, nothing except that windows

Page 18327

1 were glazed and that it was painted inside. Nothing

2 was added to the building.

3 Q. I have a photograph of -- a recent photograph

4 of what looks like a cafe in Donja Veceriska, and it

5 may show the way the cafe was. But it may be it's an

6 entirely different picture of an entirely different

7 building, so I wanted to know what had happened. Just

8 have a look at it very quickly. Tell me if this

9 relates to your cafe or not, and if it doesn't, we'll

10 take it no further.

11 A. Your Honours, these are the pictures of the

12 cafe. However, this part that was built on, I see it

13 as the exterior, and only the terrace had been

14 covered. I understood the question to mean whether the

15 interior of the cafe had been renovated, added, and so

16 on.

17 Q. Put the other photograph on the ELMO as well,

18 please. This shows from a vehicle with a mirror on it,

19 as you can see, driving in the direction of Vitez along

20 the street of Donja Veceriska, the cafe on the

21 left-hand side. Is that broadly the same size as the

22 cafe was at the time of these events in April '93?

23 A. Your Honours, the cafe covered an area of

24 some 80 metres square. At present, I, Branko Drmic,

25 have in one part. Looking at this photograph, in the

Page 18328

1 left part I have another business of my own, a shop.

2 And my brother, Franjo Drmic, in its other part now has

3 a cafe of his own. And this situation has existed for

4 the past three years.

5 MR. NICE: The photographs, then, seem to be

6 helpful. They are numbered 2820.1, and the other one

7 is numbered 2820.

8 JUDGE MAY: Do you want to admit those?

9 MR. NICE: Well, I'm neutral. The Court has

10 seen them. I only want them for the size of the

11 building, really.

12 JUDGE MAY: Well, yes, Mr. Sayers.

13 MR. SAYERS: No objection, Your Honour.

14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll let them be

15 admitted.

16 MR. NICE:

17 Q. This bar, and we now can see its size, you

18 see, was well able to accommodate the local HVO, of

19 which you were a member before this conflict, and it

20 regularly enough did so; correct?

21 A. Your Honours, I already said that until the

22 conflict broke out, the cafe was only a cafe. And

23 there are also documents to show when the cafe was

24 mobilised and demobilised. At that time it served for

25 military purposes.

Page 18329

1 Q. In explaining to the Judges how it was you

2 were able to say that Midhat Haskic was not in the cafe

3 on the night in question, you said, "I've kept thinking

4 about this." When did you first have any reason,

5 please, to think about this particular night and about

6 whether Midhat Haskic was there?

7 A. Your Honours, with my family and friends, I

8 analysed frequently the course of events, and as a man

9 who is concentrating on business, think that the whole

10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina was struck by a terrible

11 disaster.

12 Q. But when did you first have to think back,

13 please, as you tell us you have done, to the night of

14 the 15th of April and to whether Mr. Midhat Haskic was

15 in your cafe on that night, or not? When did you start

16 that mental process?

17 A. I already said, Your Honours, that something

18 that leaves an impression on you by itself will also

19 leave some trace in a man, so these things are

20 imprinted on my mind since before.

21 Q. Forgive my pressing you on this, but what was

22 there about April the 15th, 1993 that made it stick out

23 from April 14th or the 13th or the 12th? What was so

24 important about that night that it sits in your memory,

25 please?

Page 18330

1 A. Your Honours, I cannot -- I don't know how to

2 explain it to you. Simply, certain things seem more

3 noteworthy, such as the ones -- we are simply compelled

4 to remember the date of birth of your child, the date

5 of your marriage, as well as something bad, such as a

6 day before the break-out of fighting.

7 Q. But I can accept that you might have this day

8 in mind, but that it wouldn't, on your account, I

9 think, be important until after the event. Or was

10 there something happening that night that made it

11 important at the time it was happening, please?

12 A. I have already said it, and repeatedly so,

13 Your Honours. I do not know how else to answer your

14 question.

15 Q. Let me help you. In fact, the 15th probably

16 does stick out in your memory, because that was the

17 day, or one of the days, when the Croat population was

18 being evacuated from your village, ahead of the

19 conflict. Why were the civilian Croats being evacuated

20 ahead of the conflict, please?

21 A. Your Honours, that contention is completely

22 untrue. For instance, my family, and very many other

23 Croat families, were not evacuated. If necessary, we

24 can list a number of other reasons during the shelling

25 by the Yugoslav People's Army of the industrial complex

Page 18331

1 at Vitezit. On two occasions my family fled to

2 Croatia, and then we simply got inured to those

3 things. So that day my family was at home.

4 Q. But other Croat families had left, and they

5 had left because they had been warned to go. Would

6 that be correct?

7 A. Your Honours, I can remind you that before

8 the conflict broke out, there were a number of

9 adversities. One of them was the capture of Zivko

10 Totic, and when some of his escorts were killed, all of

11 us, all of us, did not approach this same problem,

12 because some were more cautious than others.

13 Q. You say a family fled as far away as

14 Croatia. Why go all the way to Croatia?

15 A. Your Honours, because there was a general

16 feeling of uncertainty in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and

17 especially in this part of Central Bosnia. You're

18 aware that war began in one town, another town, third,

19 fourth, and unfortunately some people who did not

20 believe that war would break out in their town

21 unfortunately paid it with their life.

22 Q. I'll move on. I just want to -- your last

23 answer on this. Is it a correct picture of that bar of

24 yours and of the small village of Donja Veceriska, on

25 the night of the 15th, that a large number of Croats

Page 18332

1 had moved out and that there were a large number of HVO

2 soldiers in your bar? Is that the picture that should

3 be painted?

4 A. Your Honours, as on previous days, on that

5 day, the 15th, was just a day like any other; for me,

6 just another working day.

7 Q. If that's really your case, you see, if

8 that's really your account, if it's just another

9 working day, we come back to the first question: Why

10 should Midhat Haskic feature so prominently by his

11 absence or presence? And you simply say that you can

12 remember it, do you?

13 A. Your Honours, I thought that you understood

14 what I meant when I said that after the explosive

15 devices were thrown at our outlet, nobody -- none of

16 the Bosniaks came again to our outlet.

17 Q. Where were you at about 2.00 in the morning

18 of the 16th, please?

19 A. Your Honours, I was at home, asleep.

20 Q. By what were you awakened?

21 A. Your Honours, at 2.00 I wasn't roused by

22 anything.

23 Q. Are you saying that there was no attack on

24 the morning of the 16th?

25 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, this is way beyond

Page 18333

1 the scope of the direct examination. I didn't ask him

2 anything about that whatsoever. I asked him only about

3 a very limited subject. That's why he was brought

4 here.

5 [Trial Chamber deliberates]

6 JUDGE MAY: In this case it doesn't matter,

7 because it goes to his credit about his evidence as to

8 what happened a bit earlier.

9 MR. NICE:

10 Q. Are you saying there was no attack at all on

11 the morning of the 16th?

12 A. Your Honours, this last question you asked

13 me, in the evening of the 16th, and I was at home,

14 asleep. And on the 16th, in the morning, I heard a

15 couple of bursts of fire, and I thought then that once

16 again somebody perhaps had got drunk and fired just

17 like that. But then a number of events succeeded one

18 another very quickly, and at 6.00, with my family, I

19 evacuated, that is, my family.

20 Q. As a member of the HVO, you would no doubt

21 learn, if not the same night, thereafter, what had

22 happened. Let's deal with that in two stages. Did you

23 learn, or indeed see, the same night what was happening

24 metres from your house, please?

25 A. Your Honours, that night, that is, I did not

Page 18334

1 notice anything that would -- that might indicate

2 anything out of the ordinary.

3 Q. Did you, having heard these two explosions or

4 whatever they were, did you telephone anyone? Or come

5 to that, did you receive phone calls from anyone?

6 A. Your Honours, no. Neither did I make phone

7 calls, nor did anyone notify me.

8 Q. There's no reason to believe that your phone

9 line had been cut?

10 A. Your Honours, I said that neither did I call

11 anyone, nor did anyone call me.

12 Q. But you've spoken to people since. There was

13 no reason to believe the Croats' telephone lines were

14 cut that night, was there?

15 A. As far as I know, the telephone lines were in

16 working order.

17 Q. You see, in the same statement that Midhat

18 Haskic deals with what he saw in your cafe, he said

19 that he realises his phone was dead and he had to move

20 from house to house. Any reason for the Judges to

21 doubt the accuracy of that part of his statement?

22 A. Your Honours, I'm not aware of that fact.

23 Q. He tells the reader of the statement, does

24 the late Midhat Haskic, that he saw five soldiers in

25 his brother's yard at about half past 2.00, one of whom

Page 18335

1 was Franjo Sapina and then another man called Cano, son

2 of Anto, together with two men from Mosunj. Any reason

3 to doubt that, or perhaps you can confirm some of that?

4 A. Your Honours, I am not aware of that.

5 Q. He goes on, in the same statement, to explain

6 how his brother was gunned down by the man -- probably

7 by the man Franjo, or certainly by the man Franjo

8 Sapina.

9 A. Your Honours, I'm not aware of that.

10 Q. You had been woken up. Were you looking out

11 of your window or what?

12 A. Your Honours, my house is near -- that is,

13 near the cafe, some ten metres behind it, and the

14 easiest way for me is to go out through the back door,

15 so I go out into the garden.

16 Q. I needn't trouble you with perhaps some of

17 these details if this is the position: Is it going to

18 be your position, please, that you saw nothing of what

19 was happening all night and were able to evacuate your

20 family the following morning, still totally ignorant of

21 happenings that night, and that you remain ignorant of

22 what happened that night to this day; is that going to

23 be your position?

24 A. Your Honours, my position is that there was

25 nothing out of the ordinary that night either.

Page 18336

1 Q. Nothing out of the ordinary. What happened

2 to the houses of the Muslims of Donja Veceriska at the

3 time of this conflict on the 16th of April of 1993,

4 what happened to the houses of the Muslims?

5 A. Your Honours, in the morning, when I heard

6 the gunfire and explosions, after about 15 or 20

7 minutes I realised that the Muslims had attacked us,

8 and so I, number one, evacuated my family.

9 Q. I see. Just an attack by the Muslims, was

10 it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Since you understand it was an attack by the

13 Muslims, can you explain then, please, how it was that

14 Midhat Haskic's brother was killed? It may even be his

15 throat was cut.

16 A. Your Honours, I am not -- I am completely

17 unaware of that.

18 Q. Both at the time and since?

19 A. Your Honours, after a while -- and I must say

20 that I really am sorry for all the victims of either

21 ethnicity -- I learned that there were fatalities

22 amongst the Bosniak people.

23 Q. Tell us then, please, now that you've learned

24 about it, how they came about if they didn't come about

25 because they were attacked by the HVO?

Page 18337

1 A. Your Honours, I'm unaware of that. I cannot

2 comment on it.

3 Q. One of the houses that we've been dealing

4 with -- that would be the house of the relation of

5 Midhat -- was actually blown up by bombs that very

6 night. Are you really telling the Court that you have

7 no knowledge of that?

8 A. Yes, Your Honours, I have no knowledge of

9 that.

10 Q. Or of the shelling that happened to the

11 village later on that night?

12 A. I can't hear. There's some interruption.

13 Q. Shelling that happened to that village that

14 night?

15 A. No, Your Honours.

16 Q. You see, the truth is exactly as Midhat

17 Haskic described it in his statement, and you probably

18 know that. And the truth was that on that night, the

19 15th, there was a gathering of HVO soldiers in your

20 cafe in the way they regularly gathered there, and

21 that's the truth you daren't explain to this Court.

22 That's right, isn't it?

23 A. Your Honours, since the tension was rather

24 high because of a series of incidents, it was common to

25 see in the village both Bosniak troops and Croat

Page 18338

1 troops, so that it was a common occurrence.

2 Q. It's not an answer to the question. In your

3 cafe, on your own account, the only soldiers you would

4 expect to find on the 15th of April would be the HVO.

5 Are you now accepting there were soldiers there, and if

6 so, was it the HVO, please?

7 A. Your Honours, I repeat that there was the

8 usual -- the common number of patrons as was normal in

9 the earlier days.

10 Q. Kordic was there as well, and he was spending

11 time with a man, Vinac, who was pleased or complimented

12 by Kordic's intimacy with him, by his closeness to him;

13 isn't that the truth?

14 A. Your Honours, I have already said -- I have

15 already given my answer to this question. Neither

16 Kordic nor Mile Vinac were in my cafe.

17 Q. How about Ivica Drmic?

18 A. Your Honours, Ivica Drmic was an HVO member,

19 and at that time he was commanding a company.

20 Q. Are you saying, by that answer, that he was

21 or that he was not present in your cafe, or don't you

22 know?

23 A. Your Honours, I cannot recall all the names

24 and persons. If I could, I'd be a computer.

25 Q. So Ivica may have been there?

Page 18339

1 A. Your Honours, you assume -- I can't give an

2 answer to this question.

3 Q. I must suggest to you that Ivica Drmic was

4 not only there but he was communicating regularly --

5 talking regularly to Kordic and, indeed, giving him

6 pieces of paper with intelligence or information on

7 them. As a company commander, he might have access to

8 information, mightn't he?

9 JUDGE MAY: Well, that's a matter for

10 comment. I think we've got the witness's evidence on

11 these points.

12 MR. NICE: Yes, thank you very much. In

13 fact, I've come to the end of what I wanted to ask in

14 any event. Thank you.

15 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

16 MR. SAYERS: No questions, Your Honour.

17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Drmic, thank you for coming

18 to the International Tribunal to give your evidence.

19 You are free to go, now that it's over.

20 [The witness withdrew]

21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] I do

23 apologise. Your Honours, our next witness is Mile

24 Vinac. I believe he will be brought in any minute

25 now.

Page 18340

1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, we'll go on until

2 10 past 4.00, so if you come to a convenient moment

3 then, we'll adjourn.

4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

5 I think that I will finish the examination-in-chief

6 even earlier. We are in your hands. However, we

7 haven't got too much of a programme for the next two

8 days, so I believe that we will deal with all our

9 witnesses.

10 [The witness entered court]

11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the

12 declaration.

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I

14 solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole

15 truth, and nothing but the truth.

16 WITNESS: MILE VINAC

17 [Witness answered through interpreter]

18 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a

19 seat.

20 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:

21 Q. Mr. Vinac, we can start with the questions.

22 Please give us your full name and surname.

23 A. Mile Vinac.

24 Q. Mr. Vinac, you were born on the 23rd of

25 January, 1960, in the village of Donja Veceriska; is

Page 18341

1 that right?

2 A. Yes, that's right.

3 Q. The Honourable Trial Chamber has already

4 heard about the fact that this is a village that is

5 relatively close to the town of Vitez. Tell us,

6 please, you completed elementary school in Vitez and

7 secondary school in Travnik?

8 A. Yes, that's right.

9 Q. After completing your secondary school

10 education, you became a mechanic?

11 A. That's right.

12 Q. You are married, and you have four children?

13 A. Yes, that's right.

14 Q. And you still all live together in Donja

15 Veceriska; is that right?

16 A. Yes, that's right.

17 Q. Before the war broke out in

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the civil war in

19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, like most of your other fellow

20 villagers, you worked in the Slobodan Princip Seljo

21 factory; is that right?

22 A. Yes, that's right.

23 Q. Let us not confuse the Honourable Judges.

24 That was the previous name of the factory, and later it

25 was renamed Vitezit. But it's the same factory, isn't

Page 18342

1 it?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. By ethnicity you are a Bosnian Croat, you are

4 Roman Catholic by religion, and you are a citizen of

5 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

6 A. Yes, that's right.

7 Q. Please, because of the interpretation that is

8 involved into the official languages of the Tribunal,

9 please don't hurry too much with your answers.

10 And as concerns your CV, you entered the

11 military when the war broke out, and you're a

12 professional officer until the present day?

13 A. Yes, that's right.

14 Q. You are a captain in the army of the

15 Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

16 A. Yes, that's right.

17 Q. And at present, you work in Vitez?

18 A. Yes, that's right.

19 Q. Tell me, with regard to your CV, just one

20 more thing. You have a nickname. What was the

21 nickname by which some people called you in the

22 village?

23 A. Well, I have got some kind of a nickname,

24 Prco.

25 Q. Very well, thank you. The Judges already

Page 18343

1 heard about the location of various villages around

2 Vitez, and they already heard about the population of

3 the village, that is to say, how many Muslims and how

4 many Croats there were. I imagine you know that there

5 were some more Muslims than you Croats in the village,

6 but that is a fact, isn't it?

7 A. Yes, that's right.

8 Q. As we said a few minutes ago, Mr. Vinac,

9 you're the father of four children; is that right?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Your first child, Irena, was born in 1994 [as

12 interpreted]; is that right?

13 A. Yes, on May 20th.

14 Q. 1984?

15 A. Yes, 1984.

16 Q. Your daughter was christened. Who was her

17 first godmother?

18 A. It was Kata Vinac, nee Skopljakovic [phoen].

19 Q. Your other child and your only son, Mario,

20 was born on the 27th of October, 1985?

21 A. That son was also christened.

22 Q. Who were his godparents?

23 A. The godparent was Marijan Ceko from Poculica,

24 the municipality of Vitez.

25 Q. Is that the only godparent of the child?

Page 18344

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Very well. After your son Mario, your

3 daughter Marija was born?

4 A. Yes, that's right.

5 Q. When was she born?

6 A. On the 21st of June, 1990.

7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

8 I would like to tender a document now. This is just a

9 birth certificate of this third daughter, Marija. It

10 is from the Seti Juri [phoen] department in Vitez of

11 the archbishop's office. This is a birth certificate

12 for Marija Vinac.

13 THE REGISTRAR: Document --

14 THE INTERPRETER: Could we have the document

15 in English.

16 THE REGISTRAR: -- D213/1.

17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

18 Q. Mr. Vinac, this is the birth certificate of

19 your daughter, Marija. When was she christened? You

20 have the original in front of you, so take a look.

21 A. She was christened on the 11th of October,

22 1990, in Vitez. My daughter Marija's godparent was

23 Mrs. Zeljka Santic, nee Papic. Fraulein Mikic

24 christened the baby. That is to say, that was the

25 priest who christened the baby on that 11th of August,

Page 18345

1 1990.

2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I

3 just wanted to remind the Trial Chamber that it just so

4 happened that this priest is one of the two friars who

5 was killed in the monastery in Fojnica in 1992 [as

6 interpreted].

7 Q. Your fourth child, Lucija, she was born after

8 the war?

9 A. Yes. My fourth child, my third daughter, was

10 born on the 24th of April, 1998.

11 Q. And again her godmother?

12 A. Her godmother is Dragica Cosic from Busovaca.

13 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] There seems

14 to be a mistake in the transcript. I was referring to

15 November 1993, not November 1992.

16 Q. So now we've spoken about all of your

17 children. I asked you about their respective birth

18 dates and when they were christened. My question is

19 the following: After your daughter Marija was

20 christened in 1992 [sic], in 1993, you did not have any

21 children who were supposed to be christened?

22 A. Your Honours, no.

23 Q. Tell me, please: Was Mr. Kordic ever the

24 godparent of any of your children or anybody's

25 children?

Page 18346

1 A. Your Honours, Mr. Dario Kordic was never the

2 godparent of any one of my children.

3 Q. Tell me, was Mr. Kordic ever your guest at

4 your house in the village of Donja Veceriska?

5 A. Your Honours, Mr. Kordic was never my guest,

6 either in my home, nor in Donja Veceriska; at least, I

7 never saw him.

8 Q. Since Mr. Kordic was a well-known person, had

9 he ever been in a small village? Would you have to

10 know about that?

11 A. Your Honours, had Mr. Kordic come to Donja

12 Veceriska, I certainly would have known about it. I

13 would have heard about it or something in that sense.

14 But he was never there. At least, I never heard of it,

15 nor did I ever see him.

16 Q. Once again, we are making it quite difficult

17 for the interpreters. Please don't answer my questions

18 immediately. Just wait for a few moments before my

19 question is interpreted.

20 Very well. Mr. Vinac, your name was

21 mentioned in this case even before you came here to

22 testify. You know about Midhat Haskic's statement?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. In it he claimed that on the 15th of April,

25 1993, in the cafe of one of the Drmic brothers -- one

Page 18347

1 of them testified just before you did now -- you were

2 together with Mr. Kordic and you were celebrating the

3 christening of your child.

4 A. Your Honours, this piece of information is

5 incorrect. On that day, the 15th of April, I was at

6 work in Vitez, in the military district of Vitez then.

7 Q. Did you have any kind of celebration at your

8 home? He says that it was your son's birthday party.

9 A. Your Honours, on that day I was not in the

10 cafe at all, nor was there any kind of celebration. I

11 came home around 6.00 p.m., and I was not in the cafe.

12 And on that day Mr. Kordic was not in Donja Veceriska

13 at all, or was he ever there.

14 Q. So, in conclusion, were you, either on your

15 own or with Mr. Kordic, in the cafe owned by the Drmic

16 brothers in the Cafe Ravne in Donja Veceriska on the

17 15th of April, 1993?

18 A. Your Honours, I was never with Mr. Dario

19 Kordic in the cafe owned by the Drmic brothers, nor did

20 I ever entertain as a guest Mr. Dario Kordic at my

21 home.

22 Q. Since we're talking about Mr. Midhat Haskic

23 already, I assume that he knew you. He was another

24 person from the same village that you're from?

25 A. Yes, Your Honours, I knew Mr. Midhat Haskic.

Page 18348

1 May he rest in peace. He is a dead man. I personally

2 knew him.

3 Q. So you know that he died?

4 A. Yes, I know that he died, and he was buried

5 in Donja Veceriska.

6 Q. Very well. Tell me, when you said that you

7 knew him, you knew him in all kinds of life situations;

8 you lived alongside him for years. Could you tell us

9 what he is like? Was he sick? Did he like to have a

10 drink or two? Tell us anything about him.

11 A. Your Honours, I knew the late Mr. Midhat

12 Haskic. He was a salesperson. He liked to have a

13 drink or two when he would drink, he would like to tell

14 some kind of stories.

15 Q. What are you actually referring to?

16 A. Well, when one has a drink or two, well, then

17 he would add a few things to the truth. Again, I

18 repeat, may God rest his soul.

19 Q. If I understood you correctly, what is your

20 conclusion, from your angle? Could he be trusted?

21 A. From my angle, this is a falsehood, I mean

22 the story he told, that Mr. Kordic was my -- was the

23 godparent of one of my children and that he was in

24 Donja Veceriska. So he was telling lies. This was

25 nothing. It was just stories. Everybody in the

Page 18349

1 village knew that he liked to talk a bit too much, and

2 otherwise, as far as I know, he was a sick person. I

3 think he had asthma. He had some kind of a lung

4 problem.

5 Q. Thank you. Tell me, Mr. Vinac: Quite a few

6 inhabitants of Donja Veceriska share the same surname

7 with you, and some are distantly related to you, others

8 are closely related to you. I want to ask you about

9 Dragan Vinac, who is distantly related to you. Do you

10 know whether Dragan Vinac, or anyone else, for that

11 matter, from the Vinac family, in the narrower or

12 broader sense of the word, was ever Mr. Kordic's escort

13 or driver, or do you know of any one of them having

14 worked in Mr. Kordic's office in any capacity?

15 A. Your Honours, no member of the Vinac family,

16 including Dragan Vinac, was not the bodyguard or the

17 driver of Mr. Kordic.

18 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

19 this completes my questioning. I wish to thank

20 Mr. Vinac.

21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] The Defence

22 of Mr. Cerkez has no questions for this witness.

23 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

24 Q. Of what HVO unit were you a member?

25 A. Your Honours, I belonged, at the time, in

Page 18350

1 February 1992 all the way up to June 1992, to the

2 municipal staff; that is to say, I was attached to the

3 defence department in Vitez. Then I was transferred to

4 the military district of Vitez, that is to say, the

5 Operative Zone before that.

6 Q. We've heard of various names of units based

7 in Vitez. Which unit were you a member of?

8 A. I was a member of the Operative Zone.

9 Q. You know of the name Vitezovi, don't you?

10 A. Your Honours, yes.

11 Q. What was your connection to that unit or to

12 its leader, Kraljevic?

13 A. Your Honours, my connection to the members of

14 the unit was absolutely nonexistent.

15 Q. What about the Viteska Brigade? What was

16 your connection to that brigade?

17 A. No, Your Honours, I never had anything to do

18 with that brigade, or was I a participant in it.

19 Q. And you say that with equal force, do you, to

20 what you've just said about the Vitezovi; you're

21 definitely not a member of either group?

22 A. Your Honours, I was neither a member of the

23 Vitezovi or of the Viteska Brigade.

24 Q. Do you have another name as well as Mile? I

25 don't mean a nickname. Do you have another given name

Page 18351

1 apart from Mile?

2 A. I have a nickname. I already said that.

3 Q. Yes, but do you have -- I don't know. Is the

4 naming system in your country such that you can have

5 more than one given name, and if so, do you have a

6 second given name?

7 A. Your Honours, no. They're just nicknames.

8 Q. You've probably given it to us. What is your

9 nickname?

10 A. Well, it was Prco.

11 Q. But you were born in 1960?

12 A. Your Honours, exactly.

13 Q. And does the name Nike associate itself with

14 you in any way, Mile Nike Vinac? Is that you?

15 A. Your Honours, that is my father's name, Niko

16 Vinac.

17 Q. So therefore, Nike probably means "son of" or

18 something like that, does it, and so your full name

19 would indeed be Mile Nike Vinac?

20 A. Your Honours, exactly.

21 Q. I will turn to that in a minute. What you're

22 saying about the reliability of Mr. Midhat -- I want to

23 deal with in a little more detail, Mr. Midhat Haskic.

24 What are you saying about his telling of untruths,

25 please? Don't feel embarrassed about the fact that

Page 18352

1 he's a dead man. We all have to deal with these

2 things. Say what you want to, full strength, about

3 whether he told untruths.

4 A. Your Honours, Mr. Midhat Haskic spoke

5 falsehoods. Whatever he said was false and untrue.

6 Q. Forget the statement for the time being, that

7 is, the statement that he made in relation to these

8 matters. But generally around the village, just you

9 tell us how far he went in telling untruths.

10 A. Your Honours, that man, wherever he went, he

11 would, after a glass or two, tell all sorts of stories;

12 not only around the village, all around throughout the

13 area.

14 Q. Good-humoured stories about catching an

15 oversize fish, or were they bad-humoured stories,

16 telling bad gossip that wasn't true about people? I

17 want the full picture, please, no holds barred.

18 A. Your Honours, he said all sorts of things

19 after a few glasses, all sorts of.

20 Q. Well, first of all, let's break that down.

21 It's only after a few glasses, is it, that this

22 propensity to say things that weren't true could be

23 detected?

24 A. In a number of cases. But even without

25 drinking, he was wont to say some untruths from time to

Page 18353

1 time.

2 Q. Well, then let's have some examples. Don't

3 worry about this statement. We'll come to that in a

4 minute, in due course. Just you tell us some examples

5 of what he said that was a tall story.

6 A. Your Honours, I cannot recollect now exactly,

7 but there were very many of them, and it was a long

8 time ago. I can't remember.

9 Q. Mr. Vinac, you've been brought here in order

10 to help the Judges with an assessment, amongst other

11 things, of the honesty of this man who is now dead, and

12 you've told us, in your signed summary, that he was a

13 well-known teller of improbable stories. That's the

14 way you put it. I'd like one of the improbable

15 stories, please.

16 A. Your Honours, I cannot remember it now. It

17 was a long time ago, and right at the moment I can't

18 remember. I repeat it. Because I was personally

19 offended and hurt by these lies, and Mr. Kordic too,

20 because that was nothing but a lie, nothing but

21 untruth.

22 Q. Mr. Kordic was offended, was he, by what

23 Mr. Midhat Haskic said about him? Was he?

24 A. Listen. I don't know how everybody felt.

25 That is how I felt, because that was nothing but a

Page 18354

1 lie. It was a pure fabrication.

2 Q. You said that Mr. Kordic was also offended.

3 Was he or wasn't he?

4 A. Your Honours, I repeat it. I do not know how

5 other people felt, because I did not discuss it with

6 Mr. Kordic. I did not talk about it with him at all.

7 But I did feel hurt and offended, because that was

8 sheer fabrication, sheer lie. And I've come here to

9 tell the truth, and I solemnly declared that I would

10 speak only the truth, and now Mr. Prosecutor is

11 bringing pressure on me to admit to something that

12 never was.

13 Q. I hope I'm not putting any pressure on you

14 except that which may be proper.

15 You were the neighbour of Mr. Haskic for how

16 many years?

17 A. Well, Your Honours, we were neighbours ever

18 since I was born.

19 Q. You tell us that he had a habit of telling

20 untrue stories. Did he tell them to you as you spoke

21 across the garden fence, if there was a fence, or when

22 you were outside the houses, coming and going? When

23 did he tell you --

24 JUDGE MAY: I think you've put the matter

25 fully, Mr. Nice, on that topic.

Page 18355

1 MR. NICE: Very well.

2 A. Your Honours, sometimes I heard it with my

3 own ears, sometimes from other people, that he told

4 untruths. And I repeat, I was personally hurt because

5 that was a sheer lie, it was a fabrication and nothing

6 but.

7 Q. Where were you on the night of the 15th/16th

8 of April?

9 A. I was at home, in my own house in Donja

10 Veceriska.

11 Q. What time were you woken up on the morning of

12 the 16th?

13 A. I woke up around 7.00.

14 Q. You heard nothing in the way of unusual

15 noises throughout the night?

16 A. No, I heard nothing.

17 Q. How many metres from Midhat Haskic's house

18 was your bedroom, please?

19 A. Your Honours, do you mean as the crow flies

20 or by road, because these are two different things.

21 Q. If you were neighbours, it may not make much

22 difference, but as the crow flies.

23 A. As the crow flies, about 800 metres.

24 Q. I see. So if I've misunderstood it, you

25 weren't immediate neighbours of this man -- no, no, I'm

Page 18356

1 sorry, it's my mistake. I'll withdraw that question

2 and come back to it in another way.

3 On the 16th, what did you do on the day of

4 the 16th and then on the evening of the 16th?

5 A. Your Honours, I didn't understand the

6 question. Could it be repeated.

7 Q. What did you do on the day of and the evening

8 of the 16th?

9 A. Your Honours, on the 15th of April, in the

10 evening, I was at home, and sometime around 1900, I was

11 watching television. I was watching massacred guys,

12 Colonel Zivko Totic. And at sometime around 2100, I

13 went to bed, and so did my family.

14 Q. And you heard nothing --

15 A. I shall continue.

16 There was a story going round the village

17 that the Muslims and Croats might go to war, and when

18 we saw that on television, those massacred young men,

19 some of the population moved out towards Gornja

20 Veceriska; I didn't, with my family, with my children.

21 Sometime around 1.00, after midnight, I

22 picked up the phone and I called the younger officer on

23 duty at the military district, and I asked him about

24 the situation in the area of responsibility because I

25 knew that officer on duty, and he told me, "It's all

Page 18357

1 quiet, no problem." So I went back to bed on the 15th

2 of April.

3 In the morning, however, around 7.00 I was

4 woken up by detonations. First I did not react to

5 several detonations, because in our village it was

6 rather a custom for some to just throw something like

7 that. But as the time went by, it was becoming ever

8 louder, and I could see, when I came out, that there

9 was a war raging all around me. Then I put my family

10 into a motor vehicle, and I took my wife and my three

11 children to the neighbouring village, because my fourth

12 child was not born yet. And then I went back to defend

13 my homestead. There was fighting during that day on

14 both sides.

15 Q. You were part of the attack on the village by

16 the Viteska Brigade; would that be correct?

17 A. I didn't understand the question, Your

18 Honours. Could you repeat it, please?

19 Q. Yes, of course. You were a part of the HVO's

20 attack on that village, and you were there probably as

21 a member of the Viteska Brigade?

22 A. Your Honours, the HVO did not attack, nor do

23 I know -- nor am I aware that it attacked the Muslims

24 in Donja Veceriska, because when the gunfire began, I

25 was asleep and I could not tell exactly who started the

Page 18358

1 fire. But I assume, and that is what I heard from

2 neighbours in my village, that it was the Muslims who

3 were the first ones to open it.

4 Q. You were injured on the 17th, weren't you?

5 A. Indeed. Your Honours. Not only was I

6 lightly wounded next to my home, defending my home, but

7 that day a projectile from a mortar blew to pieces my

8 motor vehicle, as it was a direct hit, and my family

9 house, from the western side, it damaged. It broke the

10 window panes. And as I said, I remember how a mortar

11 shell hit a pine near my house and simply split it into

12 half. The projectiles were flying very high, so that

13 the front of my family house was pretty well damaged.

14 All the glass and all the window panes were gone, and

15 the walls too were damaged.

16 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I know you said 10

17 past 4.00. I shan't be able to finish in just five

18 minutes. I shan't be very much longer, but I've got a

19 couple of documents I want to put to the witness which

20 have only recently come to my attention, and if I could

21 do it tomorrow morning, I could probably do it more

22 tidily. I don't know if that, in those circumstances,

23 would make this convenient.

24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, that would be convenient.

25 Mr. Vinac, would you come back tomorrow,

Page 18359

1 please, at half past nine in the morning to conclude

2 your evidence. Would you remember, during the

3 adjournment, not to speak to anybody about your

4 evidence until it's over, and that does include the

5 Defence teams, and of course don't let any of them or

6 anybody speak to you about your evidence.

7 Half past nine tomorrow morning, please.

8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

9 4.05 p.m., to be reconvened on

10 Wednesday, the 10th day of May, 2000,

11 at 9.30 a.m.

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