1 Wednesday, 31
2 [Closed session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
12 Pages 19851 – 19880 redacted – (closed session)
19 [Open session]
20 MR. SAYERS: With respect to the audiotape,
21 Mr. President, we would appreciate the opportunity to
22 make a written response to the written submission made
23 by the Prosecution. We'll have that available within a
24 day or two.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes. You can have seven days
1 normally to deal with that.
2 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
7 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
8 and nothing but the truth.
9 WITNESS: MILENKO ARAPOVIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Examined by Mr. Sayers:
13 Q. Good morning, sir. Would you please tell the
14 Court your name.
15 A. My name is Milenko Arapovic. I was born in
16 Busovaca on the 16th of November, 1969.
17 Q. Mr. Arapovic, you signed, on May the 8th,
18 2000, a one-and-a-half-page affidavit. Do you remember
20 A. I do, yes.
21 Q. This was signed in front of a judge in Vitez,
22 Judge Maric; correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you check the statements made in the
25 affidavit carefully to ensure that they were accurate
1 before you signed it?
2 A. Yes. What I signed is the truth, and nothing
4 Q. You stand by the statements made in that
5 affidavit today, sir.
6 A. I do.
7 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Your Honours. No
8 further questions.
9 MR. NICE: So far as this witness is
10 concerned, there are matters that I want to ask him
11 that mostly are effectively matters of credit, but also
12 arguably extend beyond that and beyond the content of
13 his affidavit and relate to matters that have been
14 touched on directly in evidence, not least by
15 Witness T.
16 MR. SAYERS: I think the point has come, Your
17 Honour, when it's time to make objections to extensive
18 cross-examination that goes way beyond the scope of
19 direct examination or the factual statements made in
20 the affidavit.
21 JUDGE MAY: We'll hear the argument.
22 What is the relevance of this? I don't
23 remember Witness T.
24 MR. NICE: Of course not.
25 JUDGE MAY: So perhaps you could remind us
1 what the point is.
2 MR. NICE: Witness T dealt with an incident
3 at Tisovac in the spring of 1992, and since I don't
4 understand the evidence given by Witness T to have been
5 accepted or admitted on behalf of the defendants, it
6 would be quite absurd for the Chamber not to take the
7 opportunity of checking with this witness whether what
8 has been said about him is accurate or not.
9 I'm going to say after the adjournment
10 something more about the use that's being made of
11 affidavits and the effect it's having on the trial, but
12 it is, in our respectful submission, unrealistically
13 confining when you have a witness who is actually
14 spoken of in a trial directly and where it's suggested
15 that the Prosecution can't ask questions relating to
16 direct and material evidence.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: The question, Mr. Nice, is
18 whether when an affidavit is tendered and the Chamber
19 rules that the affiant be brought for
20 cross-examination, does he become a witness at large,
21 or is he still not a witness in respect of the evidence
22 in the affidavit?
23 MR. NICE: I would respectfully suggest that
24 the last proposition would be absurdly limiting and
25 entirely artificial.
1 The Chamber makes the decision as to which
2 witnesses it wishes to hear. Indeed, I thought when
3 the Chamber was referring to this witness that the
4 Chamber had already become aware of the fact that his
5 name had been mentioned earlier. It may be the Chamber
6 wasn't having in mind Witness T's evidence, it had in
7 mind some other part of the evidence about the
8 checkpoint incident. So I may have misunderstood the
9 Chamber there.
10 But in answer to Your Honour's point, once
11 the witness is here, it would be artificial, in the
12 extreme, to say that he's not a witness at large, in my
13 respectful submission.
14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, if you continue to the
15 adjournment, I shall remind myself of what Witness T
16 said during the adjournment and we'll consider the
17 matter afterwards.
18 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
19 Q. Now, Mr. Arapovic, tell us a little bit about
20 the preparation of your evidence. Had you been seen at
21 an earlier stage by lawyers or anybody else acting for
22 the defendant Kordic?
23 A. The contact was established, I think, about
24 two years ago.
25 Q. Was that with lawyers for Kordic or with
1 lawyers for anyone else?
2 A. Mr. Kordic.
3 Q. Where did you see them?
4 A. I think in Busovaca.
5 Q. At that time did you have any documents to
6 show them; did they have any documents to show you?
7 A. Well, I mean, as a citizen of the
8 municipality of Busovaca at that time, I naturally
9 watched media so I knew that Mr. Mitko was Mr. Kordic's
10 lawyer, and there was no need for me to try to learn
11 anything else.
12 Q. You misunderstand me. I don't mean documents
13 for Mr. Mitko to show who he was, I mean documents
14 about the incident in respect of which you were going
15 to give evidence. Did you have any documents to show
16 them, the lawyers; did the lawyers have any documents
17 to show you?
18 A. I'm sorry. What incident do you mean?
19 Q. When you gave your affidavit, what was the
20 evidence you were giving all about? Tell us.
21 A. Well, it was the locality called Kacuni where
22 the BH army stopped at the checkpoint, without
23 announcing it previously, Mr. Kostroman, and all the
24 rest. If need be, I shall repeat it all as it was.
25 So we were coming back, I think, from Travnik
1 or Stari Travnik, from a session --
2 Q. Pause for a minute. I'm going to ask you
3 about that later.
4 When the lawyers first saw you a couple of
5 years ago, did they see you about that incident or did
6 they see you about something else?
7 A. Only about that incident.
8 Q. They didn't ask you, for example, about
9 anything that may have happened at a place called
10 Tisovac; just yes or no to that.
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did they show you any documents, any
13 contemporaneous documents or otherwise, when they spoke
14 to you about the checkpoint incident a couple of years
16 A. We only talked about it, and I naturally
17 stated what happened that day and how it happened.
18 Q. I see. When you then saw them more recently
19 for the preparation of your affidavit, when was that?
20 When did you see them in relation to the preparation of
21 your affidavit?
22 A. Well, you see, the judge in Vitez merely
23 summoned me to read my statement. I read it and I saw
24 that it was all true, as I said it before, and I signed
25 that statement in Vitez.
1 Q. The statement that you say was presented to
2 you before the judge, when was that statement actually
4 A. That statement was drafted when I saw
5 Mr. Mitko for the first time, which was two years ago.
6 Q. Did you sign the statement at that stage?
7 A. No.
8 Q. When you arrived at the judge's for your
9 affidavit, the statement was already in final form, was
10 it, just waiting for you to sign it?
11 A. I read the statement once again, studied it
12 and saw that nothing had been changed from what I said
13 two years ago, that it was all as correct as it was
14 then, and then I naturally signed it.
15 Q. Without any alterations.
16 A. Needless to say, without any alterations.
17 Q. Tell us, then, please, how you remember this
18 incident. Do you have your own diary?
19 A. I don't have any diary about that. But if
20 you have 50 rifles pointing at you, then you don't
21 forget that day.
22 Q. Just before we move forward, had you had any
23 contact with the lawyers in that intervening two-year
25 A. No.
1 Q. So what was the date of the incident, please?
2 A. Well, don't ask me about the date. I
3 remember the month. We were coming from Novi Travnik
4 or Travnik, from a meeting, and I was in Mr. Kordic's
5 car --
6 Q. I'm going to stop you there. Don't ask you
7 about the date; you can't remember the date.
8 A. You know, there were so many dates, Your
9 Honours, I really can't remember every one of these
10 dates. Every day has a date. I know it was the month
11 of January.
12 Q. Well, you see, if it be the case that your
13 affidavit has a date in it, that can't have come from
14 your memory presumably because you don't remember the
16 A. Your Honours, there were two instances when
17 we went through Kacuni. January was when we were
18 attacked by the BH army, and it was then when I stayed
19 in the area. I cannot remember the exact date, that
20 is, when the checkpoint was put up. I simply know that
21 we were coming back from Novi Travnik or Travnik,
22 passing through Busovaca, where we left Mr. Kordic at
23 home after we heard over the Motorola that the BH army
24 had set up a checkpoint at Kacuni. Mr. Kostroman, who
25 parted company with us in Kacuni, he wanted to --
1 JUDGE MAY: We've read all that. We don't
2 need to go through it.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 JUDGE MAY: Is that a convenient moment?
5 We'll adjourn now.
6 Mr. Arapovic, could you remember during the
7 adjournment not to speak to anybody about your evidence
8 until it's over, and not to let anybody speak to you
9 about it. That does include members of the Defence
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well, Your
13 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, we've had the
16 opportunity of looking at the evidence of T, which was
17 about a specific matter in relation to this witness.
18 That we consider you can put. It's clearly relevant,
19 if for no other reason than it goes to credibility.
20 More generally, as far as the
21 cross-examination of these witnesses is concerned, we
22 think it should be limited to matters in the affidavit
23 or to matters going to credibility, unless there is
24 some specific point, as this one is, which would allow
25 wider cross-examination.
1 What we do not think is that it should be the
2 opportunity for a roving commission, because to do so
3 would, to some extent, defeat the whole purpose of
4 having affidavits, which is to try and achieve an
5 expeditious trial.
6 MR. NICE: Thank you.
7 Q. Mr. Arapovic, have you in the break taken the
8 opportunity to read your affidavit again?
9 A. On that day in Vitez?
10 Q. No. Today.
11 A. So that was now, in May?
12 Q. Today, in the last half an hour, have you
13 taken an opportunity to read --
14 A. No, I did not.
15 Q. Very well. I want to go back to what you've
16 been saying about seeing the lawyers two years ago and
17 making a statement two years ago. That statement -- or
18 let's get to what you mean by two years ago. Can you
19 be a little more precise? We're now in the year 2000,
20 so two years ago takes us back to, at the very latest,
21 some part of 1998. Yes, 1998. Can you tell us when it
22 was that you saw the lawyers, please?
23 A. That must have been the summer or fall. I
24 could not recall. Somewhere around the middle part of
25 the year, Your Honours.
1 Q. Well, you made a statement to them. At the
2 time that you made the statement, what detail of the
3 allegation or of the evidence did they have? What did
4 they tell you was the evidence that had to be dealt
6 A. You see, it referred to that day, the date
7 when we went from Novi Travnik and Travnik to Busovaca,
8 and Mr. Kostroman, in the direction of Kresevo, that
9 is, the road that takes you on to Sarajevo.
10 Q. Were you informed that the Prosecution were
11 going to lead evidence about what the Prosecution said
12 happened on that day?
13 A. You see, I just had to explain what happened
14 that day. We never discussed the Prosecution. I don't
15 know why we should have discussed the Prosecution.
16 Q. Well, you see, your statement that's been
17 prepared, or your affidavit that was prepared in that
18 two-year period -- I don't mean -- at some point in
19 that two-year period, deals with one incident and one
20 incident alone. It deals with Mr. Kostroman, the car,
21 and his release at the checkpoint, doesn't it?
22 A. I don't know how you did this. You reduced
23 it. My statement is much more detailed. I can repeat
24 all the details. From Novi Travnik and Travnik, and
25 then what was -- what we heard in Busovaca, and then
1 what happened at the checkpoint, Your Honours.
2 Q. Yes. What your affidavit does is deal with
3 that. It deals with coming from Travnik to Busovaca
4 through Vitez, it deals with what happened then and
5 what happened to Mr. Kostroman, but it deals with this
6 single incident. And what I want to know from you,
7 please, is: When you were asked about this at some
8 time in 1998, did the lawyers have with them some
9 summary or did they present to you some summary of the
10 evidence that the Prosecution was going to lead on this
12 A. Your Honours, I do not recall all the
13 details, but what I put down in my statement is how it
15 Q. And that statement that you made two years
16 ago, have you had a chance to look at it since then and
17 to compare it with the affidavit that you made at the
19 A. No. No, Your Honours, I did not.
20 Q. But you would be happy for -- would you be
21 happy for other people to see that earlier statement,
22 if it exists, in this Court?
23 A. I don't know. I said what I said at that
24 time and then I signed it. I don't know what other
25 statement you're referring to. It's the same statement
1 as it was then, Your Honours.
2 Q. You see, I'm going to suggest to you that
3 what you tell us can't be accurate, because the detail
4 of what passed, according to the Prosecution witnesses,
5 at the checkpoint was simply not served on Defence
6 lawyers in 1998, and therefore there can have been no
7 way, unless I'm mistaken -- if I'm mistaken, I'm only
8 too happy to be corrected -- there can be no way they
9 can have got you to deal with these matters in detail.
10 JUDGE MAY: Can you answer that or not? It
11 seems to me more of a comment, really.
12 Mr. Nice, perhaps you'd move on.
13 MR. NICE: I've made my position clear, and I
14 want to know this:
15 Q. You say in your affidavit, reflecting your
16 earlier statement, something about how Mr. Kostroman
17 was released. How was he released?
18 A. I think that had we not made it to Kacuni,
19 where Mr. Kostroman had been stopped with his escort,
20 that it would have been an end for him, because when
21 you have 50 to 100 barrels pointed at you, you put
22 yourself in that position and decide for yourself. Had
23 we not arrived and parked right next to him -- he was
24 already being pointed toward the silo, which was near
25 the main road. So we talked to them, we negotiated
1 with them.
2 Mr. Bogdan knew one of the Muslims from
3 Busovaca, and he said, "You can pass, but Mr. Kostroman
4 stays." And then we said, "If he stays, we are
5 staying. It's either/or."
6 You should have been in my place or in
7 Mr. Kostroman's place in order to know what was going
8 on. And the UNPROFOR who arrived -- actually, UNHCR,
9 for us they were -- to us they were all the same. This
10 was all in the beginning. We didn't distinguish
11 between them. Had they not arrived, I think that we
12 all would have ended like Mr. Petrovic and other men
13 who died at that checkpoint.
14 So, Your Honours, that's all I have to say.
15 Q. What I want to know is: In your first
16 statement two years ago, did you mention UNPROFOR or
17 UNHCR as being instrumental in some way in releasing
18 Mr. Kostroman?
19 A. Your Honours, I think the UNPROFOR or UNHCR,
20 I think arrived by pure accident. Had they not
21 arrived, we would have been buried under ground now,
22 like the ones before us.
23 Q. Did you mention UNPROFOR and UNHCR when you
24 spoke to the lawyers sometime in 1998? That's all I
25 want to know. If you did, it will be in your
1 statement. And if it's there and I'm shown it, I shall
2 be happy to accept it. Did you mention UNPROFOR or
3 UNHCR when you saw your lawyers -- not your lawyers;
4 Mr. Kordic's lawyers -- in 1998? I don't want to take
5 any bad points in this case, you see.
6 A. Your Honours, I have already stated. What I
7 said in the statement, that was so. If I had not
8 mentioned UNHCR, that means that nobody had prepared me
9 for this, because one cannot recall everything. But
10 now I am sure that the International Community
11 representatives arrived, and they in a way couldn't
12 pass through, because these obstacles were erected at
13 the checkpoint by the ABiH, the ones that are called
14 hedgehogs, or apex obstacles.
15 Q. And just finally, before I move on, this must
16 be right, musn't it: There must have been a reference
17 to UNHCR or UNPROFOR in your original statement,
18 because when your affidavit was presented for you for
19 signing at the Court on the 8th of May of this year, it
20 didn't require any amendment, alteration or additions;
21 you just signed it?
22 A. I first read it through, and I came to the
23 conclusion that it was the way it had been written
25 Q. Thank you. You, I think, were a member of
1 Mr. Kordic's special bodyguards; correct?
2 A. I was his personal security. I don't know
3 where the word "special" comes from, Your Honours.
4 Q. Is it right that you were regularly in that
5 work in company with Damir Cosic and Bogdan Santic?
6 Are these regular bodyguards?
7 A. That is correct, Your Honours.
8 Q. As bodyguards, you had special training;
9 would that be correct?
10 A. You see, who could have had any special
11 training at that time? I was what I was. Apparently I
12 was good enough, so I remained in that position.
13 Q. How were you selected?
14 A. On the 26th of April of 1992, when the JNA
15 bombed the town, I happened to be there by accident,
16 and when the bombs started falling we started running.
17 You may appreciate how it looks when you're being
18 bombed and you're there with a pistol in your holster.
19 I happened to be by Mr. Kordic, and as the buildings
20 were burning and several people were also killed, I was
21 with Mr. Kordic that night, by sheer accident, and then
22 it just continued from there, because somebody had to
23 be with that -- with this man.
24 Q. It's right, is it not, that at some stage you
25 had been to both Grude and to Zagreb in the course of
1 the war. Was that for training purposes?
2 A. During the war I never left Busovaca.
3 Q. Tell us about this: The Tisovac -- one other
4 question. The group to which you were a member, were
5 they called the Scorpions?
6 A. Your Honours, I never heard of the unit
7 called Scorpions.
8 Q. Can you give any explanation for how that
9 name might be associated with you? Was there any name
10 of a group that might be similar to "Scorpio" or
12 A. I already said, I don't know of a Scorpio
13 unit or anything like it.
14 Q. At the time that you say you were recruited
15 you had a pistol. In what capacity was it that you had
16 a pistol at your belt?
17 A. Excuse me. What kind of recruitment are you
18 talking about?
19 Q. Well, you told us how you had a pistol, how
20 Kordic was there, houses were burning, and you
21 continued because somebody had to look after him.
22 That's what I'm referring to. How come you had a
23 pistol with you at that time?
24 A. You see, big things were going on in
25 Croatia. The Croatian people were suffering and being
1 killed there, and we supported them back home by taking
2 over some barracks; that was one way of helping out our
3 suffering brethren in Croatia. Obviously, in those
4 barracks there were all kinds of weapons,
5 long-barrelled and short-barrelled, and many other
7 Q. In the spring of 1992, you were already
8 guarding Mr. Kordic up in Tisovac. Do you remember an
9 incident when a couple of men, probably going fishing,
10 were stopped by you and arrested and taken to the
11 Tisovac area?
12 A. Your Honours, that day the gentlemen that the
13 Prosecutor is referring to were invited to stop at the
14 checkpoint in Tisovac but they didn't stop. The home
15 guards which were manning the checkpoint were unable to
16 do anything.
17 Then they called us on the field telephone,
18 that those gentlemen did not obey their orders. I
19 don't know how quickly they were able to fish but they
20 were already past us up there, and so I quickly went
21 with some guys. We saw them walking by the river; they
22 were even skulking about. We called them and we said,
23 "Weren't you told to come back?" This was downstream
24 from the Ivancica River. We told them, and I quote,
25 "Gentlemen, you have to go back to Busovaca. This is
1 not a place for fishing. We have our offices here."
2 They then obeyed, they complied, and they
3 walked away. I think that we even secured a vehicle
4 for them to go back to the town. That was all that
5 happened on that day, Your Honours.
6 Q. Before they were allowed to return to the
7 town, you took them and forced them to strip, didn't
8 you? Why was that?
9 A. Your Honours, I didn't do that, nor any of my
10 fellow soldiers who were there with me.
11 Q. It was only when Grubesic took over that they
12 were released; correct?
13 A. Your Honours, I hear this for the first time
14 now, and I say that it is not true. Before I sat down
15 in this box, I read my statement and I was told that I
16 would be asked only questions from this statement.
17 Q. You've presumably been told that something
18 may be asked of you about your being named as a war
19 criminal, have you?
20 A. From which side? By whom?
21 Q. Have you been named as a war criminal?
22 A. I hear this for the first time, Your
24 Q. By the court in Zenica?
25 A. Excuse me. But when Zenica could do it, it
1 would condemn all the Croats of Central Bosnia, right
3 Q. Do you accept, then, that you may have been
4 named as a war criminal in Zenica?
5 MR. SAYERS: I object to that question on the
6 grounds that it calls for speculation. The man's been
7 asked the question does he know and he says he
9 MR. NICE: I could show him the documents but
10 I don't want to take time.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Go on to the next one.
12 MR. NICE: Yes.
13 Q. I'm going to suggest that you are and
14 probably know that you've been named as a war criminal
15 in Zenica for ethnic cleansing and other offences;
16 isn't that the truth?
17 A. Those allegations are not true, Your
19 Q. Just a couple of more questions, then. The
20 meeting you were coming from, what was it all about?
21 That is, on the day of the Kostroman event, what was
22 the meeting you were coming from all about?
23 A. I think that the negotiations were conducted
24 between the Croatian and Muslim side, but I wouldn't
25 know what was discussed because I wasn't present there
1 at all.
2 Q. Or is the reality that you were actually at a
3 meeting in Fojnica, travelling in the reverse direction
4 from that which you have described?
5 A. That is absolutely not correct. We were
6 going from Travnik or Novi Travnik. I said that I have
7 given an oath or a declaration here, and based on that
8 I say that we went from Travnik or Novi Travnik. I
9 don't know where this idea came from that we were
10 coming from Fojnica.
11 Q. You, as Kordic's bodyguard, know perfectly
12 well that he was present and that, indeed, he made a
13 threat in the course of the disarming of a man at that
14 checkpoint on that day. That's the truth of the
15 matter, isn't it?
16 A. I already stated that those allegations are
17 not true. Mr. Kordic stayed at home, and after what we
18 heard via the Motorola about the checkpoint which had
19 been erected between Silo and Kacuni, we went there in
20 our vehicles. I already said what would have happened
21 had we not arrived and had the UNPROFOR not -- that is,
22 the UNHCR not arrived.
23 Q. Well, the UNHCR or the UNPROFOR were in a
24 position to log, to record, this incident if they'd
25 wanted to, weren't they?
1 A. I don't know what the gentlemen's duties were
2 at the time. I don't know whether they were supposed
3 to assist both ethnic groups to protect us, and I don't
4 know what they were supposed to log.
5 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm sorry, I should
6 have said, I am obviously -- but would be grateful for
7 sight of the witness' earlier statement, if that is
8 made available, in particular in relation to the point
9 that I'm making about UNPROFOR and UNHCR.
10 Re-examined by Mr. Sayers:
11 Q. Mr. Arapovic, two years ago when you were
12 speaking with Mr. Naumovski, he didn't have you to sign
13 a statement, did he?
14 JUDGE MAY: That's a leading question. The
15 damage has been done.
16 Did you sign the statement that Mr. Naumovski
17 showed you?
18 A. You mean in 1998? I can't remember, I really
19 don't know if I signed it or not, but I know that we
20 discussed it and that I stand by what I said at that
22 MR. SAYERS: That's the only question that I
23 had, Your Honour, but if the Court wants to hear from
24 Mr. Naumovski, as far as we are aware, there is no such
25 signed statement. The witness was never asked to sign
1 one and did not.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Arapovic, that concludes your
4 evidence. Thank you for coming to the International
5 Tribunal. You are free to go.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 JUDGE MAY: We'll turn next to the question
10 of the affidavits. Before we do that, it may be
11 convenient to deal with one other matter.
12 Mr. Nice, you asked us yesterday to delay
13 consideration of the motion on adjudicated facts. Are
14 we to take that as, in effect, a withdrawal of the
15 motion which you proposed to resubmit at a later
17 MR. NICE: Not so much withdrawal as amend
18 down, yes, indeed.
19 JUDGE MAY: That's a very equivocal answer.
20 MR. NICE: It has to be the same motion
21 because it's the same application, but what I would
22 forecast is that in due course the Prosecution would
23 seek to rely on limited, probably far more limited
24 findings than those necessarily listed on a broad basis
25 at the time of the making of the original application;
1 and that the degree to which we can reduce the original
2 application will be best known at the end of the
3 evidence by which time the progress of the other
4 appeals will be better known as well.
5 Now, obviously the ideal position, in one
6 sense, for tidiness would be for us to amend down to
7 nothing, for us to say that we don't seek to rely on
8 anything. I think it's unlikely that we will go that
9 far, but I think it highly likely that we will amend
10 substantially so that only a limited number of matters
11 will sought to be relied upon.
12 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I think that
13 your answer remains ambiguous because you present us
14 with a motion and you say that the contents of which
15 will be examined at a later stage, which means it
16 remains open. So you have to decide when you present
17 such a motion to the Trial Chamber, you do it for the
18 Trial Chamber to give an answer. If you think that it
19 is not on the agenda any more, you should withdraw it
20 and then present another motion, an amended one, and
21 then you should tell us so at a point which you deem to
22 be appropriate. But you can't leave open a motion in
23 front of the Chamber without determining the actual
24 status of this motion. We would have preferred had you
25 given us more clarification.
1 MR. NICE: Well, I'm sorry that it seems or
2 is unclear. The technical reason for my proceeding in
3 this way was to forecast before the end of our case and
4 remains -- the technical basis for proceeding this way,
5 and let me try to explain it again. If one looks at
6 all --
7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me.
8 Don't really try to prolong this debate. I have
9 understood all too well the reasons. But this is thus
10 a matter of procedure. It is simply a technical
11 point. You speak about a motion. I ask you not to
12 give an answer to this motion and say that it will be
13 presented at an appropriate moment. It would have been
14 better to withdraw it and then present the motion at
15 another time. My point is merely a point of
16 procedure. It's nothing about the contents or the
17 substance about it.
18 MR. NICE: I quite understand that. The
19 point I was trying to emphasise was that there had to
20 be within our Prosecution case and before the end of
21 the Prosecution's evidence an application to rely on
22 judicial facts elsewhere, because assuming, one way or
23 another, this case reaches the Appeals Chamber, there
24 may be technical issues raised about what was the state
25 of the evidence at the end of the Prosecution's case.
1 And it was with that possibility in mind that it seemed
2 appropriate to raise the issue by the general
3 application that we made before the end of the
4 Prosecution's case, and for that reason it seems to me
5 still possibly safer to proceed by way of later
6 amendment. But it, in substance, would be little
7 different from, if different at all from, withdrawing
8 this one and making a further more limited one at a
9 later stage. But I would ...
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MAY: Very well, Mr. Nice. We shall
12 treat it as if it's withdrawn.
13 MR. NICE: I'm grateful. Then the arguments
14 on both sides that exist in these pleadings can
15 probably be incorporated for economy at later
16 applications when made.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
18 MR. NICE: Thank you.
19 JUDGE MAY: I turn next to the affidavits.
20 At the conclusion of this discussion, there is a
21 further matter I want to raise and it concerns the
22 progress of the case. We are in the position where we
23 must start listing other cases before this Chamber, and
24 therefore we need the assistance of the parties about
25 the future of this case. So after this matter we will
1 have some discussion on that.
2 The affidavits have come before us, complete
3 with a summary of affidavits 13 to 20. It may be
4 convenient to deal with them. We've also had an
5 application to admit a portion of a transcript. It may
6 be convenient to discuss that too. But we'll begin
7 with the summary of the affidavits.
8 Number 13 is Jozo Sekic. We've ruled on
10 The next one is Mr. Branko Golub, affidavit
11 14, from Fojnica. Is there any point the Prosecution
12 want to make about him?
13 MR. NICE: Your Honour, before I deal with --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 MR. NICE: -- Mr. Golub, can I make some
16 general observations about affidavits, and inform the
17 Chamber that our slight concern about the present
18 circumstance is something we're going to reflect in a
19 written motion in a day or so. In short, we are going
20 to be expressing concern on a number of affidavits that
21 are coming in, and inviting the Chamber to exercise
22 caution before admitting them in this volume.
23 The position at the moment is that some 25
24 affidavits already, I think, have been served, to be
25 contrasted with the position in the Prosecution's case
1 where a total of 12 were intimated. Of those, five
2 were ruled out, simply on the grounds of lateness,
3 despite their having been forecast and subject to the
4 possibility of reviving them in rebuttal, and despite
5 the fact that they covered the same territory in form
6 as the material dealt with in Your Honour's absence on
7 the other side a couple of days ago. So there's those
9 The other seven, I think it is, one falls
10 into a special category, because it was Mr. Morsink,
11 and he was provided at the direction of the Chamber.
12 And the others were notified in November, in the
13 overview of witnesses, and in due course dealt with at
14 the end of the case.
15 Now, so numerically there's a very stark
17 JUDGE MAY: Well, pausing there, one needs to
18 look at the history of the matter. I don't know when
19 it was that there was first an intimation that you
20 might call affidavit evidence, but as I recollect,
21 there was difficulty which you experienced obtaining
22 them. And also this has got to be looked at against
23 the background of a developing practice in a new
25 MR. NICE: All of that I accept, and indeed
1 for Your Honours's assistance, I think the utility of
2 the affidavit rule was mentioned first to me probably
3 informally even before the case began, so its potential
4 interest in Chambers of this institution is
5 well-known -- interest to. I accept that. And Your
6 Honour is quite right; we had very grave difficulties,
7 including opposition by the Defence, as to the legality
8 of what we were doing, in our way. Nevertheless, there
9 was only a limited number that we sought to call, and
10 although, of course, sometimes on contentious issues,
11 not on absolutely central issues. And the Chamber will
12 recall that our general approach to non-direct evidence
13 was that matters that should be admitted should have
14 gone in in some other way, and so on.
15 Now, the present position is that there is a
16 small flood of affidavits, outnumbering, I think -- is
17 it outnumbering it?
18 JUDGE MAY: Not outnumbering the live
20 MR. NICE: No.
21 JUDGE MAY: In fact, I think the number is
22 21, and there have been 30 live witnesses.
23 MR. NICE: Yes, but beginning to match it.
24 And these, which of course deprive the Prosecution of
25 any cross-examination, are affidavits on central
1 issues, such as Mr. Kordic's role, presence, and so
2 on. So that there is a stark difference in our two
4 We have in mind the continuing stance of the
5 Kordic defence in the Appeals Chamber, where they
6 maintain that the simple objection by either party to
7 the adduction of an affidavit is determinative as to
8 whether the affidavit can be called, which is why I
9 have announced and continue to express an objection in
10 principle to all the affidavits, save those which I
11 expressly say are agreed; none so far.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE MAY: I think we've got the general
14 drift of these submissions for general submissions, and
15 you're going to make them in writing and then we'll
16 consider them.
17 MR. NICE: Yes. And I'm mentioning it now so
18 as not to be thought that I'm changing my position.
19 What we're inviting you to do is to have the overall
20 landscape in mind. Because, for example, if the
21 Appeals Chamber rules in favour of the interpretation
22 of the Defence, and the Defence now prayed in aid in
23 their latest pleading, in observation of Your Honours
24 last week, to support their position. If they rule in
25 favour of that interpretation, then there will be no
1 affidavits on either side, and that is something that
2 we've got to have in mind, or we would invite you to
3 have in mind, when you consider the balance between
4 affidavit witnesses and others. But yes, indeed, our
5 position in writing will be coming your way in a day or
6 so's time.
7 We've prepared a short schedule of the
8 Defence affidavits that I think are going to have to be
9 dealt with today. Can I hand that in?
10 Meanwhile, can I --
11 JUDGE MAY: Do you accept any of these
13 MR. NICE: I maintain my objection to all of
14 them. As Your Honour will remember, the approach I was
15 taking was to identify, having made my in principle
16 objection, I was then to identify special reasons
17 relating to individual ones, or particular reasons, as
18 I spoke of earlier, I think.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
20 MR. NICE: And as to this witness, the first
21 one, Branko Golub, you'll see that we have analysed the
22 points of evidence in the affidavit and the points
23 which it is said it can act as corroboration, and
24 therefore here there's a reasonable match. And I don't
25 think, subject to what I observed at an earlier stage,
1 I think, about paragraph 12's generality, I don't think
2 there's anything particular beyond the general that I
3 refer to on this witness.
4 JUDGE MAY: We can admit it.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE MAY: We'll admit this.
7 The next one is Dr. Pavlovic.
8 MR. NICE: We have made a separate filing in
9 respect of that which sets out our position. It seemed
10 particular --
11 JUDGE MAY: Let me find that.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE MAY: To remind ourselves, this is the
14 doctor --
15 MR. NICE: -- seeking to produce documents --
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
17 MR. NICE: -- which then say something about
18 the mental health of the witness.
19 JUDGE MAY: He was at the Busovaca Medical
20 Centre, known the witness for some time, saying he's
21 reviewed various documents pertaining to Mr. Cicak's
22 disability --
23 MR. NICE: Correct.
24 JUDGE MAY: -- and confirms they are
25 authentic, including a letter of discharge from his
1 work. And your objection --
2 MR. NICE: There are many objections here,
3 apart from the fact that the witness wasn't asked about
4 any of this. And I don't actually have the pleading
5 myself, but don't worry about that. I can remember it;
6 at least, I can remember most of it.
7 The problems include, so far as the utility
8 of Rule 94 is concerned, that the witness in whose
9 support he is said to be, or one of them, if Your
10 Honour recalls, had no knowledge of mental ill health,
11 and eventually reduced his evidence to: He had a
12 feeling about him, or something to that effect, and it
13 got worse, because it was then revealed that the only
14 reason he put anything in his summary about mental ill
15 health was because he had been told by the lawyers that
16 the doctor had found the man to be mentally unwell or
17 mentally ill. Completely circular, and therefore what
18 Dr. Pavlovic would be corroborating was his own
19 material, because his material then found its way into
20 the witness's summary. The witness says that's what
21 the doctors say he is, and they then sought to bring
22 the doctor in to corroborate. So wholly unsatisfactory
23 on technical grounds. But in any event it's expert
24 evidence, and not served as expert evidence. In any
25 event, it's hearsay. And on top of all that, there are
1 serious questions of privacy which are sourced in the
2 motion, but I don't have it before me at the moment,
3 which would make it inequitable and wrong for this
4 evidence to be given. And I refer again to the fact
5 that the witness himself wasn't asked about these
6 matters and hasn't had a chance to deal with them.
7 JUDGE MAY: You refer, so we can have it in
8 mind, in your submission to the jurisprudence of the
9 European human rights organs.
10 MR. NICE: Yes.
11 JUDGE MAY: The European Commission says the
12 collection of medical data and the mentions of medical
13 records falls within the sphere of private life, Chare,
14 nee Jullien, against France. And you refer to a
15 textbook of -- an English textbook on the subject, and
16 also the legislation from various countries, such as
17 Germany, repressing, as it's put, unauthorised access
18 to and disclosure of personal data contained in private
19 or public databases.
20 There is also the broad objection, with which
21 those of us from common law systems will be familiar,
22 about the attacks on the credibility or otherwise of
23 witnesses; the mounting, as it were, of discrete and
24 different issues outside the central issues in the
25 case. Yes.
1 MR. NICE: Well, indeed. I was going to
2 express that in a less well-articulated form by saying
3 that of course there's no evidence connecting whatever
4 his mental state may have been with any unreliability
5 in his evidence.
6 [Trial Chamber confers].
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
8 MR. SAYERS: Just a number of responses. I'm
9 not going to respond generally to the attack on
10 affidavits unless the Court wants a general
11 exposition. I think the Court knows what the arguments
13 We've had a very long trial. We must find a
14 way to expedite it. We think we've found a way to
15 expedite it by introducing affidavits on insignificant,
16 collateral matters that are corroborative of the
17 testimony of a live witness. You're going to hear from
18 a live witness, one witness after this, about the
19 particular issue that this affidavit corroborates. I
20 want to emphasise that this is not a private medical
21 record. This is an administrative proceeding which was
22 conducted in order to evaluate this gentleman's
23 continued ability to work.
24 And insofar as the insinuations made by the
25 Prosecution to the effect that no cross-examination on
1 this subject was concerned, I merely have this to point
2 out, page 1533 and 1534 of the transcript, where I
3 asked the gentleman, "You were retired at the time,
4 were you not?" And he says, "I was never retired." I
5 asked him, "Were you ever treated by Dr. Petar
6 Pavlovic. He says, "I think you've got the name
7 wrong. He's a very good man. Mr. Pero Pavlovic never
8 treated me."
9 And then there was a direct question from
10 Judge Robinson to the witness, "Did you retire or did
11 you not?" I don't have that before me right now.
12 We'll try to get it in the seconds available. But I
13 have a very clear recollection of that question, and
14 this gentleman gave a very good emulation of Rudolf
15 Nureyev for trying to dance around the question and
16 never answering it. But we have the answer. He was
17 retired in 1984, and it was as a result of a proceeding
18 conducted by the Zenica branch of the Socialist
19 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina's Institute for
20 Evaluation of Work Ability. I think that
21 Dr. Pavlovic --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could you slow down,
23 Mr. Sayers, please.
24 MR. SAYERS: -- Dr. Pavlovic sat on the panel
25 which considered this matter. He simply authenticates
1 the documents from the Zenica institute, saying, "Yes,
2 this is an accurate copy of the finding, assessment,
3 and opinion. Yes, this is an accurate copy of the
4 discharge letter," and the documents basically speak
5 for themselves.
6 If the Court wants us to bring along
7 Dr. Pavlovic to say exactly what is stated in the
8 affidavit, we will do so.
9 JUDGE MAY: The issue is one of
10 admissibility; it's not whether we want the doctor here
11 for cross-examination.
12 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
13 JUDGE MAY: The issue, really, is whether
14 this evidence is admissible or not.
15 MR. SAYERS: That's precisely the case, Your
16 Honour. We had to evaluate what is the value of
17 bringing the doctor here to say what we could get him
18 to say in an affidavit, to authenticate documents that
19 speak for themselves, that are not controvertible.
20 These are not private records. The person whose
21 eligibility for early retirement was considered had an
22 opportunity, as I understand it, under the law of the
23 Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to file an
25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
1 Mr. Sayers. In order for us to be able to follow what
2 you're saying, the problem which you are speaking of is
3 to know how much does this affidavit follow the
4 framework of Rule 94, which means can it corroborate a
5 statement made in front of this Chamber? At first
6 glance it doesn't seem so; it doesn't seem that it
7 corroborates any other witness' declaration in front of
8 this Chamber.
9 Could you please explain, when you mention
10 the document, the document which says that this person
11 has actually retired, if I managed to follow you well,
12 has this document already been tendered, or are you
13 going to do so? Is there an official document? I
14 think, if I understood you well, there is such an
15 official document. Will this witness come here in
16 order to confirm it? Could you give me more
17 clarification, please.
18 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.
19 First of all, in addressing the privacy
20 matter, I want to emphasise that this doctor was not
21 the personal physician of Mr. Cicak. He was simply a
22 member of a fitness-for-work review board, and as such
23 a determination was made that Mr. Cicak was not
24 eligible to work and that's why he took early
1 As you see from the documents that are
2 attached to Dr. Pavlovic's affidavit, and we say
3 this -- I think he authenticates the finding,
4 assessment, and opinion of April the 14th, 1984,
5 Exhibit A, as being an accurate copy of an official
6 document --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Sayers, will you slow
8 down, please.
9 MR. SAYERS: -- and the same thing with a
10 letter of discharge, dated April the 14th, 1984, which
11 is authenticated as being an accurate copy of that
12 document, paragraphs 11 and 12.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, we are agreed on one
15 thing: that it's not appropriate to have this witness
16 as an affidavit witness. If he is to be called at all,
17 he must be called live.
18 Speaking for myself, I have doubts about
19 admissibility, as I've indicated, and I could put them
20 to you for your consideration when you're considering
21 whether to call this witness.
22 First of all, the issue of privacy, which is
23 certainly arguable; secondly, the issue of whether he's
24 an expert or not; he's authenticated these documents as
25 a doctor and therefore prima facie sounds like an
1 expert; thirdly, the question of relevance, whether
2 it's really going to take this case any further to hear
3 that one particular witness retired early due to mental
5 Perhaps you might like to consider all those
6 things when you're deciding what to do next. But we'll
7 not admit it as an affidavit.
8 MR. SAYERS: Very well, Your Honour. If we
9 have to bring the doctor along, we'll do that. As I
10 say, I don't think that his direct examination will
11 last very long at all. Who knows how --
12 JUDGE MAY: You better consider whether he's
13 an expert and the way to approach that.
14 MR. SAYERS: We'll consider that too,
15 obviously, and comply with the appropriate provisions
16 of Rule 94 bis, if that's way the Court wants us to
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Also you have to consider
19 the issue of privacy which has been raised, but there's
20 no need to argue that. The affidavit is not admitted.
21 Let's move on to the next one.
22 MR. NICE: The next one is Jure Carava, and
23 this is subject to very specific objections. This
24 affidavit doesn't fall within the provisions at all and
25 in any event should be excluded when one looks at
1 what's sought to be done.
2 It's said to be supportive of Niko Grubesic.
3 The points of evidence are, if we deal with them in
4 each case, summarising what the witness would say and
5 what it would be supporting, if anything: He's a
6 member of the command of the Zrinjski Brigade. The
7 witness only mentions Dusko Grubesic as being commander
8 for most of 1992 and 1993.
9 Over the page, it's suggested that he can
10 give evidence that Kordic never had military authority
11 over that brigade which was under the command of
12 Blaskic. The only evidence given there of that is that
13 the witness doesn't believe he had a headquarters at
14 the PTT building. Although the Zrinjski Brigade had
15 headquarters there, he didn't know whether Kordic was
16 there or not, as he wasn't there. So there's no
17 support or corroboration there.
18 Three, Grubesic never took orders from Kordic
19 in relation to the humanitarian convoy on the 28th of
20 April. In cross-examination the witness said he didn't
21 know who was in political command over Grubesic. His
22 view is that the chain of command went via Blaskic.
23 Basically he's ignorant of this matter and isn't
24 suggesting that the incident didn't happen at all, just
25 that he didn't know about it.
1 Four, Dusko Grubesic never orchestrated the
2 seizure of a 40-truck convoy on the 28th of April, no
3 such convoy was taken, and to that he only says he's
4 never heard of such a convoy, that is, the witness.
5 There was a leading question about it in any event.
6 What is being sought in reality with this
7 affidavit is to get in by a door, maybe a back door or
8 a side door, evidence, really, about the commander of
9 Dusko Grubesic, who maybe isn't going to be called.
10 He's listed. His evidence doesn't corroborate the
11 evidence given by the witness, who himself is not in a
12 position to say many of the things that it's sought to
13 have corroborated.
14 JUDGE MAY: Is Dusko Grubesic on the list?
15 MR. NICE: He's on the list. He's on the
16 list, yes.
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, you're going to call
18 Dusko Grubesic?
19 MR. SAYERS: We have not made a final
20 decision with respect to him, we reserve our right to
21 do so, but I don't know whether it's going to be
22 necessary to do so, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MAY: Maybe it's sensible to consider
24 the application of this affidavit after Dusko is called
25 or not.
1 MR. NICE: I entirely agree.
2 JUDGE MAY: If it's corroborative of him. It
3 also goes to, I must say, looking at it, an important
4 issue in the case.
5 MR. NICE: Certainly, yes. That as well,
6 but ...
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, we have in mind
9 waiting on whether Dusko Grubesic is called and then
10 considering this affidavit. These are important
12 MR. SAYERS: Yes. Well, let me just respond,
13 if I may.
14 First of all, I think it's rather unfair to
15 put us in the position of producing something like this
16 in open court, this document that the Prosecution has
17 given us, and ask us to react on our feet. But I will
18 react on our feet.
19 Firstly --
20 JUDGE MAY: If it was unfair, Mr. Sayers, I
21 wouldn't allow it. It's not unfair. You know your
22 case. These are perfectly fair points. Yes.
23 MR. SAYERS: This is not submitted in
24 corroboration of the testimony of Dusko Grubesic, and
25 our summary says exactly that. It's submitted in
1 corroboration of the testimony of Niko Grubesic.
2 Second, Jure Cavara was in the staff
3 headquarters of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade until
4 he took over command of that brigade from Dusko
5 Grubesic in the autumn of 1993. This affidavit is
6 submitted in corroboration of the points that we've
7 summarised on page 4 of the document that we've
8 submitted to the Court, including Mr. Grubesic's
9 testimony that there was no seizure of any UNHCR convoy
10 on April the 28th, 1993.
11 So this affidavit stands or falls by itself.
12 It is submitted in corroboration of the specific
13 testimony of Niko Grubesic, to whom we asked specific
14 questions about these subjects. Once again, if the
15 Court wants to bring him here simply to say what he
16 said in his affidavit, I'm sure we can arrange that.
17 JUDGE MAY: It's not a question of simply
18 saying what he says in his affidavit. The question is
19 whether he should be cross-examined about these
20 matters, whether it's unjust to the Prosecution to
21 allow the affidavit evidence to be given without any
22 cross-examination. That's the issue.
23 But if you want us to make a decision about
24 this witness, we will at this stage, but it may be
25 better to leave it and decide here whether Dusko
1 Grubesic is coming, in which case we can deal with it
3 MR. SAYERS: I think we should make the
4 decision at this point, Your Honour, because that may
5 have an input into our overall witness selection for
6 the remainder of our case.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE MAY: We shall not allow this
9 affidavit. This is clearly an important issue, a
10 number of important issues in relation to the chain of
11 command, and the witness should be called.
13 MR. NICE: Ivo Brnada is a name which will be
14 familiar to the Chamber, because his name appears as
15 one of the cosignatories on that arguably important
16 document, Z100, countersigned by Kordic as HVO
17 vice-president, and although that's not the only time
18 that he appears with that title -- indeed we've seen a
19 video clip with him being introduced by that title --
20 it's plainly a title being rejected on his behalf, or
21 said to be of no significance.
22 Thus far no one has been able to explain the
23 signature, and we see -- it's over the page in
24 Brnada -- that all that the witness Niko Grubesic could
25 say about it was that he'd heard about the order which
1 he hadn't seen before and didn't know whether that
2 position existed.
3 It's interesting to note in the summary of
4 the next witness to be called but one, the mayor of the
5 municipality, that he was present at the meeting but
6 claims to have left before the document was drawn up
7 and therefore would himself be in no position to
8 explain how the signatures were appended and why that
9 particular job title was chosen.
10 So -- and I take you to this straight away,
11 although it's not the only point on Brnada's
12 evidence -- if this evidence is allowed in by way of
13 affidavit, it may be we will have no opportunity of
14 discovering from somebody who must know, assuming that
15 Kordic doesn't give evidence himself, we may have no
16 opportunity of discovering from someone who must know
17 why that document was countersigned by the defendant in
18 the way he did. For that reason alone, it's vital to
19 have that witness before you as a witness to be
21 Going to the earlier four points, number 1,
22 it's not material. Number 2, the agreement as to the
23 50/50 share allegedly reneged on by the Muslims, the
24 evidence that witness gave is to the effect,
25 summarised, that he doesn't know about the agreement.
1 He sets out something about Draga going to the Croats,
2 Kacuni to the Muslims, and the Croats to get the Kaonik
3 barracks, with weapons equally divided, but I'm not
4 sure that he went further than that. As to 3, the
5 contingent of Muslims, headed by Merdan, arriving on
6 the 9th of May, it may be that on review of the
7 evidence the witness and counsel calling him were in
8 some state of confusion over Kaonik and Draga barracks;
9 Merdan was not mentioned at all and the Kaonik barracks
10 were taken over by the Zrinjski barracks on the 10th of
11 May, the witness unaware of whether Kordic was
12 involved. We would say finally in relation to number 4
13 that the evidence is unclear.
14 So that as to corroboration, effectively of
15 no value, because it's not clear that it's
16 corroborating matters that are given by the witness.
17 But in any event this signature on Z100 is not a
18 trivial matter; it's an important matter, and it
19 shouldn't be avoided by the witness or not made
20 available to us by the witness not being called.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Before we hear from
23 Mr. Sayers, I just want to say that in my view in
24 considering these matters, the centrality of the issue
25 is perhaps more important than the corroborative
1 significance of the effect of the evidence, and I think
2 argument should be more directed to that, to show that
3 the issue that the evidence addresses is so central
4 that the person should be called for
6 Also, in my view, corroboration in that Rule
7 cannot be anything more than purport to corroborate. I
8 think that is all it means. So that eventually it will
9 be for the Chamber to assess the question of the weight
10 of the evidence.
11 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm grateful for that
12 assistance, with the way Your Honour is approaching the
13 problem. And in relation to this witness, as I hope
14 I've made plain, the issues, particularly of the
15 barracks, and in particular Z100, the document that
16 deals with, it may be thought, the takeover, are
17 absolutely central issues and issues upon which the
18 Chamber would require assistance as to how it came
19 about. That Kordic signed, and signed in the capacity
20 he did, is really a central issue.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
22 MR. SAYERS: Well, insofar as the document
23 Z100 is concerned, there isn't any dispute from the
24 Defence's part that the signatures are on there.
25 They're in there in the capacities stated.
1 There is, I think, equally no dispute in the
2 evidence thus far that as of this extremely early date
3 in the evolution of the HVO, which is an organisation
4 that was about a month old at that time, there was no
5 office of vice-president. In fact, the office of
6 vice-president was not created, as we know from looking
7 at the paper trail, until the -- until about the 17th
8 of -- 14th of August, when the first vice-president,
9 Mr. Ivanovic, was appointed, and then there were two
10 other vice-presidents appointed in October. The Court
11 has already heard evidence about that. The publication
12 in the Narodni List testified by about Dr. Ribicic
13 established that beyond doubt.
14 So the centrality of the issue, I don't see
15 it being a central issue. The signature is the
16 signature, the described title is the described title,
17 and the Court knows what the circumstances were under
18 which that document was signed. But once again, if the
19 Court wants Mr. Brnada to come to Court and be exposed
20 to cross-examination to test whether what he said is
21 true or not, we're more than happy to bring him along.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,
24 I would like to ask a question. Maybe you could assist
25 the Chamber, in order to try to have a fair and
1 expeditious trial.
2 You say that on the one hand the signature is
3 not important; on the other hand, it is important, we
4 don't dispute anything, and the rest is not as
5 important. Why do you really introduce this
6 affidavit? What is the new thing that it brings --
7 this is the matter, in fact -- if apparently the
8 Prosecutor attaches a certain importance to the
9 question of the signature, the signature which is here,
10 and in the way in which the signature has been
11 interpreted? We can read that Dario Kordic was never
12 an HVO vice-president, although the title appears in
13 document Z100 because the Croats did not have any
14 formal organisation and so on and so forth. And you
15 say: We don't contest anything, we don't dispute
16 anything, we don't dispute the signature. Could you
17 explain to us what is the interest of this particular
19 MR. SAYERS: Yes, happily, Your Honour. The
20 affidavit simply corroborates the testimony of
21 Mr. Grubesic, and Mr. Grubesic was completely unaware
22 of Mr. Kordic being a vice-president, or indeed that
23 there was any office of vice-president as of this
24 time. It should be emphasised once again that this is
25 the very earliest embryonic time in the evolution, not
1 only of the HVO on a national level, but certainly on a
2 local level. In fact, I believe it's uncontroverted
3 that there was no HVO prior to the date that document
4 was actually signed, which was on the evening of May
5 9th or May 10th.
6 So that's the -- it's not that the affidavit
7 brings anything new. It doesn't. That's not the
8 purpose of an affidavit. The purpose of an affidavit
9 is to corroborate that which is in evidence, and that's
10 what we think it did.
11 The only importance that we attach to the
12 signatures -- I don't think that it is an important
13 issue, and I've explained why. We do not contest the
14 accuracy of the signatures. They speak for
15 themselves. And furthermore, the putative capacities
16 in which the persons who signed the document sign it
17 are explained on the document.
18 The Court has had plenty of evidence about
19 the circumstances under which this document was
20 signed. It knows what the circumstances are. It can
21 make up its own mind whether, in fact, Mr. Kordic was
22 an HVO vice-president within a month of the formation
23 of the body from the signature of the decree by Mate
24 Boban and there being no prior to documentation to this
25 effect in Busovaca.
1 But once again, as I stress, if the Court
2 feels that it's important, in fairness to the
3 Prosecution, I guess, to have the signatory of this
4 document come and explain those facts and be subjected
5 to cross-examination on that, we're happy to do it.
6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Could I ask
7 you, then, Mr. Nice this time: Do you dispute that for
8 you the signature was actually made in his capacity as
9 vice-president, I mean the signature of Mr. Kordic? Is
10 this the disputed point? Is this where you would like
11 to cross-examine?
12 MR. NICE: The central issue here is what was
13 going on at the time that Merdan was being arrested and
14 agreements were being withdrawn and so on. Was
15 Mr. Kordic a military man with military authority? Was
16 he the supreme authority in the area?
17 As to his technical position, we're probably
18 unaware of whether he was in any sense technically the
19 vice-president. What is important is that he signed
20 this document in this capacity and that he was the
21 authority signing the document, and the only people who
22 can explain that fully are those present at the moment
23 of signing and the two signatories.
24 But as to the suggestion that it matters not
25 whether he was HVO vice-president or not, the Chamber
1 will recall that when I led a little bit of videotape
2 where he was introduced as the vice-president, the
3 cross-examination was clearly aimed at minimising the
4 significance of that by saying, "Well, he didn't say he
5 was vice-president. He was simply introduced as
6 vice-president and he never acknowledged it."
7 So whatever is now said, there is concern in
8 the Defence camp about this adoption of an apparent
9 high rank. We say the adoption, whether reflecting
10 underlying formalities or not, of that rank, is
11 important and reflects the real authority of the man at
12 the time, as the signatories to the document would be
13 able to reveal.
14 So in answer to Your Honours's question, it's
15 not really technically the title and so on; it's the
16 overall circumstances in which he signed using that
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. He must be called for
19 cross-examination. We'll continue our consideration of
20 these affidavits after the adjournment, and then we'll
21 hear some further evidence when we've also considered
22 some dates. An hour and a half.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.08 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.41 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Bohutinski.
3 MR. NICE: The next three, no special
4 observations to make. The Chamber can see the degree
5 and relation to which the third, Zarko Zec, is not in
6 fact corroborative. But notwithstanding that, bearing
7 in mind the concerns of the Chamber, no special
9 JUDGE MAY: We will admit all three. There's
10 another one come in, Mr. Bilanovic. Have you had that,
11 Mr. Nice?
12 MR. NICE: If we have, I certainly haven't
13 considered it, I don't think. I think there were four
14 others, is it, that have come in recently but I don't
15 think they're due for consideration this week.
16 The ones that we've just dealt with are those
17 that were due for consideration somewhere in the
18 seven-day period ending about now, I think, and
19 although this may offend technically the seven-day
20 rule, it may be thought that the convenient way is to
21 batch whatever is outstanding now until the end of the
22 week and to deal with those at some convenient point
23 next week.
24 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, all of the
25 outstanding affidavits corroborate the testimony of
1 Mr. Maric, which is expected to be over by this Friday,
2 so one week from then would be the appropriate point
3 within which to consider them.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. That, then, concludes the
5 matter of the affidavits.
6 I wanted to consider the question of timing.
7 The Trial Chamber has got to list other cases, not just
8 this one.
9 Mr. Sayers, you can help us with this. It
10 appears that we are running on schedule to date. I
11 know you're going to point out that three more
12 witnesses are going to be required as a result of this
13 morning's rulings, but I note that in the 24 days of
14 the Defence case, 30 witnesses have been heard, or will
15 have been heard by tomorrow or the day after. I think
16 you told us that that was about half the case. Is that
17 as I recollect?
18 MR. SAYERS: Yes. That was based upon our
19 then estimates, and I haven't had the opportunity to
20 consider the position in light of the Court's rulings
21 today. But let me just assure the Trial Chamber that
22 we are going to do our level best to keep our word and
23 to try to have this case put in by the August break,
24 and currently, notwithstanding the addition of three
25 witnesses at least, we anticipate that that will be
2 JUDGE MAY: The position is that there are
3 some 30 to 35 days left before the break, so you have
4 not as yet had half the time. Do you anticipate that
5 it's possible you might finish before the break?
6 MR. SAYERS: Prior to today I would have said
7 yes because I have to admit that our trial strategy was
8 to bring to court those witnesses that we thought were
9 necessary and not to waste the Court's time with those
10 witnesses that we did not think were necessary. I'm
11 sure the Court can appreciate that the rulings today
12 have ramifications beyond the three immediate
13 witnesses. So I'm not as sure as I was this morning
14 that we would be through earlier than the break.
15 That's a possibility but I really cannot say for
17 JUDGE MAY: We will work on the assumption
18 for the moment that your original estimate is the right
19 one, and that is that you'll finish by the recess.
20 MR. SAYERS: We certainly have not been
21 dragging our heels, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MAY: No. We will work on that basis.
23 Mr. Kovacic, assuming that that is right and
24 that you will start your case on the 4th of September,
25 I think you told us that two months was the time
1 estimate which you had in mind.
2 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Your Honour, I did. I'm
3 trying also to submit, and I will do that as soon as I
4 find some time, new details. I'm sure that that is the
5 maximum amount of time that I will need.
6 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Of course, there is no need,
8 probably, to remind you about the variable elements
9 which, unfortunately, does not allow me to give you
10 some more precise estimate. But I'm pretty sure that
11 within that time I can do it, one way or another.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you. If necessary,
13 you may be called on to start your case before the
14 recess, although at the moment that is not on the
15 cards. But it's still a possibility.
16 MR. KOVACIC: I'm trying to be prepared, and
17 in the case that the Kordic Defence will be done
18 earlier, I will be prepared to deliver at least 10 to
19 12 days of the case before August.
20 JUDGE MAY: Very well. But at the moment it
21 looks as though September the 4th is the date, and
22 we'll work on the basis that you will be finished by
23 the end of October, which would be something like the
24 27th of October.
25 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, perhaps it's a
1 good time just to mention one thing -- I'm not
2 proposing anything -- but I would just like, indeed, to
3 share a problem which I feel could probably arise
4 during the next couple of weeks.
5 I don't know whether the Court is informed,
6 and I'm sure that my colleagues from the other desk
7 will add something --
8 MR. NICE: This may be something we ought to,
9 in the general interest, deal with in private session,
10 if it's the topic that Mr. Kovacic and I were
11 discussing just before, for reasons that I'll come to
12 in a minute.
13 MR. KOVACIC: If Mr. Nice thinks private, it
14 could be private. I didn't want to go into the
15 details, but ...
16 JUDGE MAY: We'll go into private session,
17 and then we can hear what it is.
18 [Private session]
5 [Open session]
6 MR. NICE: And perhaps if I can help with
7 what our thoughts are in case they are helpful.
8 Obviously if the Kordic case finishes before the
9 recess, very desirable for the Cerkez case to start
10 immediately, because if you look to the end of the time
11 period, Christmas and next year are looming up. Even
12 if one eliminates, or truncates to a minimum, any gaps
13 between cases, defence and rebuttal, there is likely to
14 be a period of time that has to pass between the close
15 of the evidence and submission of written arguments,
16 although there's no doubt those can be prepared
17 substantially in advance. I assume that it will be
18 mutual exchange of written briefs, followed by the
19 usual comparatively short period of time for oral
20 argument in court. And being realistic, I would hope
21 that we can all work towards those stages being
22 completed before Christmas. But unless we keep our
23 feet on the accelerator, in the way we are all doing,
24 there's a terrible risk, one can see, of the thing
25 extending into another year.
1 JUDGE MAY: What I can tell you we have in
2 mind at the moment is to start another case at the
3 beginning of November, that being the close of the case
4 for Mr. Cerkez, and before rebuttal evidence, to allow
5 a short period for rebuttal and rejoinder evidence.
6 You would then no doubt ask for a short period before
7 having to have the briefs in. But the whole matter to
8 be concluded, as far as evidence and submissions are
9 concerned, by the end of the year.
10 MR. NICE: Well, I'm pretty sure, without
11 having discussed it with my friends opposite, that
12 everyone would share that sentiment. I don't see
13 anybody nodding, but then I don't see anybody shaking
14 their heads either. And we will, of course, do
15 everything we can to ensure that that happens.
16 May I very respectfully invite the Chamber to
17 consider making that a priority concern even over the
18 listing of the other case, because the consequences of
19 this case going after Christmas, where it could go
20 before, are pretty unappealing, I think.
21 JUDGE MAY: This case has the same priority
22 as any other case.
23 MR. NICE: Well, quite.
24 JUDGE MAY: We have to have those cases in
25 mind. At the moment that is what we propose to do, in
1 very general terms.
2 MR. NICE: Thank you.
3 JUDGE MAY: And I would be grateful if
4 everyone would have that sort of timetable in mind, and
5 if anything is likely to affect it, to let the Trial
6 Chamber know as soon as possible.
7 MR. NICE: Your Honour was going to deal with
8 the affidavit of Ljuba Vidovic, and in particular the
9 transcript. This has been, I hope, sufficiently set
10 out in our short application. In our respectful
11 submissions, it would be entirely fair that that
12 passage of her transcript should be admitted into
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers, is there any
17 MR. SAYERS: In conformity with the previous
18 position taken in the case, if a piece of Ms. Vidovic's
19 testimony is to be considered for admission, we would
20 prefer all of her testimony to be considered.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We think there's
23 force in the submission that the whole transcript
24 should go in. The whole transcript goes in.
25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: May I add something.
1 I think in general taking one sentence
2 outside the context is not very honest in the sense of
3 the methodology of analysing texts in general. I say
4 it is not compatible with certificate analysis of
5 whatever text it is. Taking the sentence outside of
6 the context doesn't signify anything in general. So if
7 you take the whole text and then you say, "We are
8 relying on this part or this one," then it's different,
9 but just taking a sentence doesn't mean anything.
10 Of course, I am speaking -- this is my
11 personal view, on my own. I am not speaking on behalf
12 of the Trial Chamber in general.
13 MR. NICE: It's helpful to know what Your
14 Honour's views on these matters are. In this
15 particular case we had, of course, put in a couple of
16 pages because they thought that was context enough.
17 But with the whole statement or the whole transcript
18 in, then the overall context will be available. It's
19 the same pages upon which I think we will be relying,
20 but I'm grateful for that.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll have the next
23 Mr. Sayers, we'll go on until ten past four.
24 I take it this will be Mr. Bilic?
25 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Mr. President.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
5 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
6 and nothing but the truth.
7 WITNESS: ZORAN BILIC
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Examined by Mr. Sayers:
10 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
11 A. Good afternoon.
12 Q. Would you please state your full name for the
14 A. My name is Zoran Bilic.
15 Q. Mr. Bilic, I'm going to go over very quickly
16 with you some basic details concerning yourself.
17 It's true, I believe, that you were born on
18 January the 4th, 1951, in the village of Granice, which
19 itself is in the municipality of Busovaca.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You are a Serb by ethnicity and a practising
22 Orthodox Christian.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You're a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
25 you live in a small village or hamlet near Kaonik that
1 contains five other Serb houses apart from your own.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You're married and you have four children,
4 all of whom still live with your wife and you.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I believe, sir, that by training you are a
7 locksmith and that you worked in Zenica for 22 years
8 for a metal parts manufacturer called Metalno.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You worked there until April of 1993, when
11 the Muslims who controlled the company fired all
12 non-Muslim employees; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, I was fired, and I got it in writing.
14 Q. You currently work for a company called RIS
15 Busovaca, a trucking business owned by your brother.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In 1990, sir, I believe that you became a
18 member of the SDS, the Serbian Democratic Party, which
19 is the main Serbian political party in
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Are you still a member of that party?
23 A. No.
24 Q. I believe that in the first free elections
25 held in the country you stood as a candidate for the
1 SDS and that you were actually elected to be a member
2 of the Busovaca parliament, the municipal parliament.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. All right, sir. Let me just turn your
5 attention to a period in the first third of May of
7 There was a confrontation in connection with
8 the takeover of the former JNA barracks located in
9 Kaonik. Could you tell the Court, in your own words,
10 what you know about that confrontation, sir.
11 A. What I can state is that I live near that
12 location, this is where I reside, and one day in early
13 May I noticed a number of people gathering near the
14 barracks. I couldn't observe everything but there were
15 a number of people there. Later on I learned that it
16 had to do with the takeover of the JNA barracks, which
17 is located there, and that there was some conflicts and
18 misunderstandings between the two parties regarding
19 this takeover.
20 Q. The gathering of people that you've just
21 described, were they gathered at a nightclub called the
23 A. Yes, it is in front of this nightclub called
24 Leptir. Later on I learned that these were TO people
25 from Zenica, that they came from Zenica to take over
1 these barracks.
2 Q. All right. Now, Leptir is owned by a Muslim
3 resident of Busovaca municipality, or was at the time?
4 A. Yes, the owner was a Muslim. He lived in the
5 neighbouring village of Skradno; that's where the owner
6 is from. But the owner was a Muslim, yes.
7 Q. These TO soldiers from Zenica, do you know
8 whether they arrived with or without prior advance
9 notice to the Croats, sir?
10 A. They came unannounced. There was no
11 announcement of their arrival.
12 Q. All right. Do you know anything about any
13 agreement for arms division reached between the Croats
14 and the Muslims in Busovaca municipality or not?
15 A. I didn't know anything about that situation.
16 Q. All right. What happened later in the night,
17 as far as you're aware, Mr. Bilic?
18 A. Later we learned that there were some wounded
19 people, that there was a conflict, that there was a
20 quarrel and that what followed was that the government
21 in Busovaca was replaced.
22 Q. All right. Now, could you tell the Court,
23 sir, what impact that change in the municipal
24 government had upon you.
25 A. As a citizen of that municipality, and
1 because I do not live in the town itself but rather
2 three kilometres outside of town, I noticed no
3 changes. But we knew that the war was raging all
4 around us and we were just looking to prepare food
5 supplies. We didn't notice anything except that there
6 were more soldiers around town.
7 Q. All right. Did you have occasion to go into
8 town at all, into the town of Busovaca?
9 A. Yes, I could but I did not go to the town
10 very often.
11 Q. When you did, though, did you notice that
12 anything had changed in particular, or did it still
13 look the same to you?
14 A. There were no particular changes which one
15 could observe. Everything looked normal, as that was
16 possible in circumstances like those.
17 Q. All right. You said that your objective was
18 to prepare food supplies. Could you just elaborate a
19 little bit upon that for the Court, Mr. Bilic. Tell
20 the Court why that was an important goal, if it was,
21 and what you were doing in that connection.
22 A. It was important because there were food
23 shortages already in town and we needed to have enough,
24 and the refugees of Serbian ethnic background started
25 leaving Central Bosnia and they were crossing through
1 the Busovaca municipality.
2 Q. All right. We'll get to that in just a
3 second, Mr. Bilic, but let me just ask you one question
4 in connection with the HVO police force that replaced
5 the old police force in Busovaca.
6 Did you notice anything in particular in
7 regard to the makeup of police officers?
8 A. We couldn't notice anything because the
9 people who were there before, who were of Serbian
10 ethnic background, in the police, stayed in their
11 posts. They weren't replaced so we couldn't observe
13 Q. All right, sir. Did you or any of your
14 neighbours, as far as you knew, hear anything about the
15 municipal HVO government expelling or firing Muslims
16 from positions of authority that they had held in the
18 A. No, I haven't heard anything about that.
19 Q. All right. You just touched upon, Mr. Bilic,
20 the subject of the passage of Serb people from
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, from the municipality of Zenica,
22 through the municipality of Busovaca. Could you tell
23 the Court when this exodus occurred and, if you know,
24 why it occurred.
25 A. As early as May 1992, the Serbian civilians
1 from Zavidovici, Zepce, Breza, Visoko, Zenica
2 municipalities started arriving in Busovaca. They had
3 been beaten, mistreated, and abused. We had the
4 charity organisation Dobrotvor, and this is where the
5 refugees started coming. They were then transferred to
6 the Serbian territory through Kiseljak. With the help
7 of the HVO, convoys were prepared. They were leaving
8 Busovaca to Kiseljak, and then on to the
9 Serbian-controlled area in Radovac.
10 Q. All right. In your statement, sir, you make
11 reference to people who came from, or who were expelled
12 from, two villages; one called Janjski Vrh and the
13 other one called Drivusa. Did people from these two
14 villages transit through the municipality of Busovaca,
15 and if so, did the Croat population do anything to help
17 A. Janjski and Drivusa were in the Zenica
18 municipality. They were expelled from there and they
19 came through Busovaca. We received them, fed them, and
20 then sent them off. But it wasn't just those two
21 villages. There were many other villages. About
22 30.000 ethnic Serbs came through Busovaca
23 municipality. We provided food and shelter for them.
24 And it wasn't that they were just transiting for one
25 day. Some of them stayed as long as 21 days. But the
1 HVO and local government in Busovaca provided
3 Those people from Janjski Vrh asked
4 assistance from their neighbours, Croat neighbours, and
5 they helped them cross over to the Busovaca
6 municipality, where we received them.
7 Q. All right. Just one matter of historical
8 interest. You've described an incident that occurred
9 in the village?
10 A. The incident which took place was in the
11 Busovaca municipality, and the village was called
12 Grablje. Serbs and Muslims lived together there, but
13 it was majority Muslim. There were 13 Orthodox
14 households. Then they were attacked, their weapons
15 were taken from them. The people then asked for
16 assistance from the Busovaca police. They arrived
17 there to try to calm things down, but then a Muslim
18 pulled out a grenade, which he then dropped, and the
19 grenade killed him and wounded another Muslim.
20 Then we had the meeting of the leadership of
21 the three parties: HDZ, SDS and SDA. Mr. Kordic was
22 also present there, and it was asked that this conflict
23 be resolved in a peaceful way to lower the tensions and
24 to allow people to live there in peace. He --
25 Q. Mr. Bilic, you said it was asked that the
1 conflict be resolved in a peaceful way. Who was it
2 that made that request?
3 A. This request was made by Mr. Kordic when we
4 arrived in the crisis staff, that is, to find a
5 peaceful solution.
6 Q. And were you a participant in those
7 discussions, Mr. Bilic?
8 A. Yes. I was present at this meeting and I
9 took part in a discussion.
10 Q. So you heard Mr. Kordic's words with your own
11 ears, so to speak, rather than filtered through someone
12 else's recollection?
13 A. No. I was present there in person.
14 Q. Now, you've already said, sir, that during
15 1992, about 30.000 people of Serb ethnicity left
16 Central Bosnia, travelling through Busovaca
17 municipality to reach Serb-held territory to the
18 south-east of Kiseljak. A contention has been made by
19 the Prosecution in this case that transit charges or
20 fees were charged by the HVO in Busovaca or by
21 Mr. Kordic to Serbs passing through the territory of
22 Busovaca. Is there any truth to that?
23 A. There is no truth in that statement. There
24 were no fees, there were no charges.
25 Q. Did the HVO and Mr. Kordic try to obstruct
1 the passage of Serb refugees through the territory, or
3 A. No, they did not try to obstruct the passage.
4 Q. Was any assistance given by the municipal HVO
5 authorities in Busovaca municipality to the unfortunate
6 people who had been expelled from their homes to the
7 north, in Zenica?
8 A. Yes. They provided shelter, they provided
9 food. They even -- the Busovaca Croats even received
10 ethnic Serbs in their homes to stay with them until
11 they were able to move on.
12 Q. All right. Now, about how many Serbs lived
13 in Busovaca municipality before the war broke out?
14 A. About 800 ethnic Serbs lived in Busovaca
15 municipality, and at the end of the war only about 200
17 Q. How many of those 200 remained in the areas
18 that were controlled by the Muslim forces, the army of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the ABiH?
20 A. The majority of ethnic Serbs lived in the
21 villages which -- near or -- near Muslim villages or
22 were shared with the Muslim population. None of them
23 remained. The only Serbs who have remained in the area
24 are in the areas controlled by the HVO. There was
25 Grablje, Podjele, Kuber, Topala, Katici. Those
1 villages have been completely emptied of Serbs.
2 Q. All right. As a resident of the
3 municipality, sir, do you recall an incident that
4 occurred at a checkpoint that was erected by the TO or
5 the ABiH in the summer of 1992?
6 A. An incident in summer of 1992? I don't know
7 much about it, but I know that we were passing through
8 that area. We had to take that road and we had to pass
9 that checkpoint where the first incident occurred,
10 during which two Croats were killed.
11 Q. And when were those Croats killed?
12 A. Those Croats were killed -- the incident was
13 on the 24th of January, 1993. Was it 1993? Yes, 1993.
14 Q. Do you recall where those Croats were killed,
15 Mr. Bilic?
16 A. That place is called Kacuni. It is also part
17 of the Busovaca municipality, but it is some distance
18 away from the town itself.
19 Q. All right. Could you tell us, please,
20 whether Serbs like you, who lived in predominantly
21 Croat-populated areas of Busovaca municipality, felt
22 any pressure to leave their houses? Were they
23 subjected to any pressure to do that?
24 A. We were under no pressure to leave our
25 homes. In fact, they were telling us not to leave; to
1 stay, to live together with them. We never had any
2 pressure to leave. We were not under pressure to
4 Q. All right. And did the Serbs who actually
5 stayed in the municipality end up in the Croat Muslim
6 civil war taking sides, either Croat or Muslim? Could
7 you tell us a little about that?
8 A. I can. We, through the Serbian Democratic
9 Party, where we were active, we asked to stay neutral,
10 because we were a minority population. We asked not to
11 have to side with either the HVO or the SDA, but we
12 said that we would defend Busovaca if this situation
13 deteriorated. And unfortunately, the situation did
14 deteriorate and we had to join with the HDZ to defend
15 Busovaca from the Muslim attacks.
16 Q. Just one question along the lines of what
17 you've just said, Mr. Bilic. Was there any pressure or
18 compulsion exerted upon you or your fellow Serbs to
19 join the HVO and to link arms with Croats against the
20 Muslims, or not? Tell us about that, please.
21 A. There was no coercion on the part of the
22 local government at the time. It was all based on
23 agreement and what Mr. Kordic said. He would -- he
24 didn't want to have Serbs go to the front lines, where
25 there were front lines against the Serbs. He said that
1 it wasn't right for the ethnic Serbs to fight, the
2 ethnic Serbs.
3 Q. Just one more question concerning the time
4 before the war broke out in Busovaca in January of
5 1993. Can you think of any incidents of mistreatment
6 of Serbs by Muslims in the Lasva Valley? And if you
7 can, could you just tell us a little about that,
8 Mr. Bilic.
9 A. Yes. I can recall that on the 13th of June,
10 1993, the village of Grablje was attacked, those 13
11 homes, populated by Serbs, and they took the weapons
12 away from them. And this is when we asked local
13 Busovaca police to come and protect us, and they came
14 and protected us.
15 Q. Were there any incidents in which a Serbian
16 priest had been mistreated and anything that you were
17 asked to do in that regard, sir?
18 A. Yes. Mr. Florijan Glavocevic asked me to go
19 to Travnik, because a Serb priest had been harassed in
20 Novi Travnik, to get him out and bring him to
21 Busovaca. One of HVO Croats, or rather he was with the
22 police, he worked for the police, and he went with me.
23 We brought that priest to Busovaca and then on to the
24 Serb side.
25 And also, as for the town of Busovaca, in
1 1991, before the war, the flat of the priest who lived
2 in Busovaca was robbed. In 1992 his flat was robbed
3 twice. We found the jacket of the young man who had
4 perpetrated this offence, and he was of Muslim origin.
5 Subsequently we found out that he was selling the
6 priest's property in Livno and other places.
7 Q. Just addressing your attention to the
8 outbreak of the war, sir, who attacked whom?
9 A. As far as I know, the Muslims in that part of
10 our land, the Muslims attacked the Croats.
11 Q. All right. And if I might just take you
12 through this fairly quickly, Mr. Bilic. I believe that
13 you were called upon by the HVO to dig trenches for
14 your mutual defence against the ABiH on January the
15 24th, 1993, in the village of Skradno.
16 A. Well, trenches were not dug before that. On
17 the 24th of January, 1994 [as interpreted], I was asked
18 to go dig trenches in the village of Skradno. That is
19 the day of the incident. That is the day when two
20 Croats were killed in Kacuni. And after that I no
21 longer went to dig trenches, and instead I assumed the
22 duties of the priest in the town of Busovaca, and they
23 did not ask me to go dig trenches or do similar chores
25 Q. All right. How about in April of 1993? Were
1 you called upon to report to the HVO for work duty?
2 A. I was not called to report to work duty
3 before. It was the first time, on the 24th of April,
4 1993. 1992 nobody asked me to do that, because I had
5 other duties. For a while I worked in Dobrotvor and
6 was organising the passage of Serb refugees through the
7 town of Busovaca.
8 MR. SAYERS: Your Honours, I don't propose to
9 ask any questions about paragraph 17. The Prosecution
10 can cross-examine on that if they wish.
11 Q. Now, going on to paragraph 18 of your
12 outline, for the Court's information, Mr. Bilic, we've
13 heard a lot of evidence about Croats leaving
14 ABiH-controlled parts of the municipality of Busovaca
15 to the south. Do you know anything about that?
16 A. Most -- half of the Croats in the
17 municipality of Busovaca left. They had trouble there,
18 because Muslims were attacking them since they were a
19 majority population in that area, and those Croats left
20 the town because they had been attacked. And it became
21 particularly difficult when in June 1993 refugees
22 arrived from all sides, from Guca Gora and from the
23 Travnik municipality. And then the demographic
24 structure of the population changed so that the number
25 of incidents grew and there was less order in our
1 life. And then the incidents escalated in November
2 1993, when the Serbs took the town of Jajce, and all of
3 the Croat refugees were then expelled and moved towards
4 Travnik and Busovaca. Many of those refugees came
5 straight to Busovaca. And this resulted in lawlessness
6 and impossibility to control everybody's behaviour.
7 Q. Mr. Bilic, you said that the Serbs took the
8 town of Jajce -- you mean the Bosnian Serb army or
9 BSA -- in November of 1993. Is that right?
10 A. Yes. Yes. The first refugees arrived on the
11 1st of November.
12 Q. Are you sure about the year there, sir? Is
13 it 1993 or should it you be 1992?
14 A. Excuse me. I'm sorry. It was 1992.
15 Q. Now, we've heard a lot of evidence about
16 Muslims moving out of the town of Busovaca with their
17 families. Were there any Muslim families that stayed,
18 as far as you know?
19 A. Yes. Some Muslims stayed in Busovaca. Their
20 families lived as we did. I mean, I don't know if you
21 can call it normal life under wartime conditions. But
22 food was provided for the Serbs and Croats and Muslims,
23 because food was being distributed from one centre. So
24 we were provided. And those who stayed behind suffered
25 no consequences, nor were they harassed. Those who had
1 jobs continued to go to those jobs. They were not
3 Q. All right. We've also heard evidence in this
4 case about the problems caused by snipers and
5 artillery, specifically Muslim snipers and ABiH
6 artillery. Do you have any experience or observations
7 to add with respect to the frequency of sniping
8 incidents or shelling of the town of Busovaca?
9 A. Well, Busovaca was shelled almost every day.
10 Until 1993, I can merely confirm that we could not have
11 any funerals by day, we always had to bury people at
12 night, because even cemeteries, the whole of the town,
13 places around the town, were all shelled by day.
14 Q. Mr. Bilic, you've described the influx of
15 refugees and the problems that that caused, involving
16 the increase in incidents, as you put it; I might
17 suggest to you "the crime rate" might be a way to view
18 that. Could you tell the Court whether any particular
19 group was targeted by this crime wave, or were all
20 three ethnic groups, or principal ethnic groups,
21 victims of this criminal activity?
22 A. All three ethnicities were victimised by such
23 activities. I didn't see any one in particular have
24 initiative or anything like that.
25 Q. All right, sir. Is it the case that
1 throughout the war the civilian community relied for
2 sustenance principally upon the delivery of supplies of
3 humanitarian aid to the municipality?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Was there any discrimination in the
6 allocation of humanitarian aid supplies to one
7 particular or a number of particular ethnic groups as
8 opposed to another?
9 A. No. Food was equally distributed among all
10 the ethnic groups in Busovaca.
11 Q. Now, you, sir, were one of the heads of
12 Dobrotvor, or you were the head of Dobrotvor, the Serb
13 humanitarian organisation in Busovaca, I believe.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you ever make deliveries of food received
16 by you on behalf of Dobrotvor to Muslims that lived in
17 the municipality?
18 A. Yes. Muslims shared the list with us, and
19 they received food relief at the same time that we
21 Q. All right, sir. Now, one of the principal
22 claims being made by the Prosecution in this case is
23 that Bosnian Croat political organisations, including
24 the HDZ-BiH, engaged in a campaign of discrimination or
25 persecution, or adopted a policy of persecution and
1 harassment specifically of Bosnian Muslim civilians
2 throughout the Lasva Valley, but also specifically in
4 Could you give the Court your perception, as
5 a resident of the municipality, sir, throughout those
6 difficult years, whether there's any force or substance
7 in that version of events.
8 A. In my view, and I lived there, there were no
9 pressures at all, nor any attempts made to have some
10 population evicted from that territory, at least that
11 is not something that I ever noticed there.
12 Q. Now, you yourself obviously are not a Croat,
13 but have you ever been involved in any Bosnian Croat
14 political organisations?
15 A. No.
16 Q. As a private citizen, sir, have you ever
17 heard discussions amongst your Croat colleagues --
18 A. No, never.
19 Q. All right.
20 A. No.
21 Q. When did you first meet Mr. Kordic, Dario
23 A. In 1992. I met him in the municipal hall.
24 Q. All right. Did Mr. Kordic express any views
25 in regard to whether Serb residents of the municipality
1 should stay or go?
2 A. Mr. Kordic always said that we should not
3 leave, that we should remain, in our hearts, and also
4 told us to prevail upon our other Serbs who wanted to
5 go, and saying that, "If one of you goes, then the
6 whole village will leave." He was one of the first
7 people who were trying to prevail upon us not to leave
8 our hearts in that town.
9 Q. Did he attempt in any way to give help to the
10 Serb community, the Serb residents in the municipality
11 of Busovaca, throughout the war, as far as you could
13 A. We were full-fledged citizens there, enjoying
14 equitable treatment. When food was distributed or
15 perhaps fuel for agricultural machinery, or anything
16 else, we shared it all with Croats and with Muslims on
17 an equitable footing. There was no discrimination.
18 Q. The Court's heard considerable evidence about
19 Mr. Kordic's public speaking activities. Have you ever
20 heard Mr. Kordic refer to anyone, any group, any
21 person, in a derogatory manner, or make any attempt to
22 incite violence against any ethnic group, sir?
23 A. From all the times I talked with Mr. Kordic
24 or listened to him talking, I never heard him say
25 anything like that or use derogatory terms against
2 Q. How would you characterise, from your
3 personal perspective, Mr. Kordic's attitude towards the
4 various ethnic groups that lived in the municipality,
6 A. As I see it, he has a positive attitude
7 towards all the communities which lived in Busovaca.
8 Q. There was one point, I believe, sir, in 1992
9 when you asked the Central Bosnia Operative Zone
10 commander of the HVO, Colonel Blaskic, to help you
11 organise a convoy of Serbs that were leaving from
12 Zenica. Could you just tell the Court what the
13 response to that inquiry was.
14 A. As a paper had to be signed for the passage
15 of the convoy, I had to go and talk to Colonel Blaskic
16 to ask him for permission to pass through Busovaca. He
17 replied, "I have nothing to do with that matter because
18 that is a civilian matter. Talk to Mr. Kordic." And
19 then I went to Mr. Kordic and was issued the pass for
20 the convoy which was to go through Busovaca.
21 Q. Thank you, indeed, Mr. Bilic.
22 MR. SAYERS: No further questions.
23 A. Not at all.
24 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry. No, sir. Thank
25 you. I don't have any questions for this witness.
1 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:
2 Q. Mr. Bilic, how long has your family been in
4 A. My family has lived in that part of Busovaca
5 for over 200 years.
6 Q. Are both your parents Serb?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Is your spouse Serb?
9 A. She is.
10 Q. Do you have adult children, and if so, are
11 any of them married to a --
12 A. I have.
13 Q. -- are any of them married to a non-Serb?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Would you name the child, and would you name
16 the non-Serb group to which that child is married?
17 A. There are about 30 per cent mixed marriages
18 in my family. My two brothers are married to Croats.
19 I have a nephew. We have a very mixed family.
20 Q. Your children, are they married to Croats or
21 Serbs or any other ethnic group?
22 A. A daughter of mine is married to a man whose
23 father is a Croat and whose mother is a Muslim.
24 Q. Are these children living in Busovaca? I
25 could not tell from the summary if they are living
1 physically with you or simply in Busovaca.
2 A. No, she does not live in Busovaca any more.
3 She married in 1998.
4 Q. Was her husband at any time a member of the
6 A. I don't know. He used to live in Brcko.
7 Q. Were any of your relatives ever members of
8 the HVO?
9 A. Yes --
10 Q. Which degree of kinship?
11 A. -- but that was in 1993.
12 Q. Which relatives? How close were they to you,
14 A. My two brothers were there.
15 Q. Where were they living? Which municipality?
16 A. The municipality of Busovaca is where they
17 lived, and where they still live.
18 Q. I mean no offence by the term that I'm going
19 to use but I need to ask you your reaction to it. The
20 term "Chetnik," when used about Serbs, do you consider
21 that an offensive term? If someone called you a
22 Chetnik, would you be offended?
23 A. I would.
24 Q. I would just like to ask you if perhaps you
25 may have heard -- and I would ask the Chamber and
1 counsel opposing just to refer to Z173, it was a press
2 conference given by Dario Kordic, on 28 July 1992 -- I
3 just wondered, if I may read this to you briefly, there
4 is just a sentence that I would ask your reaction to.
5 Mr. Kordic is asked a question and his response is:
6 "All right. You asked three questions. I will not
7 take long. The gentleman, primarily Mr. Ignac, will
8 add whatever is necessary. Mr. Tiho will give you his
9 assessment of the situation on the front line and
10 whether anything can change. The information we have
11 is that a large-scale regrouping of Chetniks --"
12 THE INTERPRETER: Would you slow down,
14 MS. SOMERS: I beg your pardon.
15 Q. "The information that we have is that a
16 large-scale grouping of Chetnik forces is taking
17 place. From it we deduce that this grouping does not
18 have a picnic or weekend in mind but probably new
19 combat operations." I will stop there.
20 Had you heard, perhaps in listening to the
21 radio or watching television, this particular comment
22 made by Dario Kordic, referring to the Serb troops as
23 Chetnik forces?
24 A. I didn't hear it.
25 Q. Because you were involved in the political
1 work of the SDS party, I'd like to ask a few questions,
2 if I may.
3 In 1990, exactly what was your role in the
4 Busovaca municipal parliament? Did you serve on any
5 particularly important committees or have any
6 particularly important functions?
7 A. I was a councilman.
8 Q. How many members of the SDS party were
9 serving in the Busovaca municipal parliament?
10 A. They were elected on the basis of the
11 population structure. So according to the number of
12 votes that each of the groups received, that determined
13 the number of seats.
14 Q. While you served, how many were serving, how
15 many Serbs?
16 A. There were three of us.
17 Q. Could you be kind enough to name them.
18 A. Yes, I can. Milorad Jovic, Bozidar
19 Hercegovac, and myself, Zoran Bilic.
20 Q. When did you leave the SDS, and for what
22 A. Well, when, what you call it, the war
23 started, when war broke out and Jajce was taken,
24 Busovaca was cut off. We simply could not communicate
25 with other people and we simply were left there. We
1 could not communicate with the rest of the party and
2 that was that. But we decided not to join any other
3 party. I was the only member of the SDS. The other
4 two Serbs, they were not members of the SDS.
5 Q. I must ask you, please, to be specific about
6 the dates when you left the SDS, and when you, in fact,
7 left your life as a political figure in Busovaca.
8 A. It was in early 1992 that I stopped being
9 actively involved in politics.
10 Q. Can you please give me a month in 1992 when
11 you stopped being active in politics.
12 A. Well, I was never really an active
13 politician, I was merely a municipal councilman, which
14 was not politics, as one understands it. It had to do
15 with the life and work and the operation of the
16 municipality, nothing but the municipality.
17 Q. When did you step down from the assembly or
18 the parliament?
19 A. When my term expired. We were regularly
20 elected, and when my term expired, I quit.
21 Q. Which was what month; what year?
22 A. I can't remember the month or the year.
23 Q. Did you follow carefully the developments of
24 your one-time party as they unfolded in Sarajevo and
25 Pale? Specifically, let's say, between 1991 and 1992,
1 did you follow those developments?
2 A. I could not and I did not because the media
3 were disrupted, and there was no other way to come by
4 any information.
5 Q. Which media were disrupted?
6 A. Radio and television. We simply could not
7 watch, that is, listen to any.
8 Q. Are you suggesting that during the years 1991
9 and 1992 you had no access to either radio or
11 A. Yes, but I had no access to the channels
12 which were informing -- which were covering other
14 Q. So you were completely in the dark about the
15 nationalism which was overtaking the platform of the
16 SDS in 1991/1992. Did you not follow Karadzic's
17 pushing of the party into a certain direction?
18 A. No, I did not.
19 Q. Were you ever in the military?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Who is Jovan Divjak?
22 A. As far as I know, he was an officer in the
23 Yugoslav People's Army.
24 Q. Afterward did he remain in the Yugoslav
25 People's Army or did he go to another army?
1 A. I don't know that.
2 Q. Do you know who Stjepan Siber was, and what
4 A. No, I don't.
5 Q. Was Divjak a Serb?
6 A. Again, I don't know.
7 Q. How do you feel about Serbs and Croats who
8 remained -- forget the Croat part. Excuse me. How do
9 you feel about Serbs who remained in the army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina and didn't go into, let's say, the
11 HVO or the army of the Serb Republic?
12 A. That was their option, their choice, their
13 view, their option. I have nothing to say about that.
14 Q. Did you personally, prior to the time you
15 call the conflict -- and I'm not exactly clear when you
16 see the conflict starting -- but did you personally
17 ever have a very bad experience with a Muslim?
18 A. Me, no.
19 Q. Why did you take the position that you would
20 go with the HVO as opposed to the ABiH?
21 A. Because in those early days, when parties
22 were being created, then at that time the SDA and HDZ
23 appeared to be in a coalition.
24 Q. And when was that? Can you please give us a
25 month and a year?
1 A. I couldn't give you dates, but that was 1991,
2 right after the elections.
3 Q. But in 1992 -- I just want to make sure I
4 understood your evidence correctly -- you indicated
5 that if Busovaca were attacked, you would fight for
6 it. Why did you fight the ABiH as opposed to the HVO?
7 A. We said that we will fight the one who
8 attacked Busovaca, and would not join any party or any
9 options, either the HDZ or the SDA. And had the HDZ
10 attacked Busovaca, we would have stayed with the
11 Muslims, but because it was Muslims who attacked
12 Busovaca, we stayed there to defend the places where
13 they lived.
14 Q. I would like to ask you if you can give me an
15 actual date and place of the attacks by the Muslim --
16 or by the ABiH in Busovaca. Please be very specific.
17 A. I was not in the army, but I know that on the
18 24th of January, 1993, we -- they told us that we
19 should turn back and go home because two Croats had
20 been killed at Kacuni. That's what I know.
21 Q. Who told you?
22 A. A messenger came, some kind of a messenger.
23 We were digging trenches at the time.
24 Q. A messenger from an army, bearing a uniform?
25 What kind of messenger?
1 A. They sent someone that the Kacuni Croats were
3 Q. I'm sorry, but who sent someone? I need to
4 know who sent this messenger, please.
5 A. I don't know.
6 Q. And did you believe a messenger, whom you did
7 not know, from a source you did not know? Did you act
8 on his words?
9 A. This messenger didn't tell us. He told us
10 the man who had brought us to dig trenches. Then this
11 man told us, "Stop digging. Go home. There was an
13 Q. Were you living in the Busovaca area on the
14 20th of January, 1993?
15 A. I don't live in the town itself; I live in a
16 village about three kilometres out of town.
17 Q. What is the name of that little hamlet that
18 you described?
19 A. Granice, in Busovaca.
20 Q. Were you there on the 20th of January, 1993?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And how far, in kilometres, can you tell us
23 that town is from the town of Busovaca, please?
24 A. The village of Granice is about three, three
25 and a half kilometres from Busovaca.
1 Q. Did you not hear explosion after explosion
2 after explosion on the night of the 20th of January,
3 1993 from your little hamlet three kilometres from
4 Busovaca town?
5 A. You couldn't hear, because the hamlet is
6 tucked away. I did not hear it.
7 Q. Did you see smoke the next morning from
8 business after business after business having been
9 blown up?
10 A. I did not observe anything.
11 Q. Did you hear any rumours in town that such a
12 thing had occurred?
13 A. Yes, subsequently. I heard about it later,
14 because I didn't go to town very much, but later on I
15 heard about it.
16 Q. How often did you go to town, and why did you
17 go to town?
18 A. I did not go to town very often. I went
19 there when they were distributing food. That's when I
20 went there. And sometimes I would go there to open up
21 the church. The church was in the town.
22 Q. Where was the distribution centre for the
23 food in the town? Location, please.
24 A. Near the Serbian church there was -- that is
25 where Dobrotvor organisation had its headquarters, and
1 the central warehouse was in the central part of town.
2 Q. And is the Serbian church still standing
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. During what period of time, from when to
6 when, did you work with Dobrotvor?
7 A. The organisation was established in early
8 1982 [as interpreted] and it worked until 1994. Then
9 it stopped working, because from then on all the food
10 was distributed from one central location.
11 Q. The transcript says "from early 1982."
12 Dobrotvor was working from early 1982? Is that a
13 correct year?
14 A. You said which year?
15 Q. My question to you is: When did you work
16 from -- during what period did you work in Dobrotvor?
17 A. I was mentioning 1992.
18 Q. So you worked from 1992 until 1994, the whole
19 time it was open; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you restrict your work to the
22 municipality of Busovaca, or did you physically work in
23 Zenica as well?
24 A. Only in the territory of Busovaca
1 Q. Did you work with UNHCR personnel?
2 A. They came occasionally to ask us how we
3 were. We did not cooperate with them. I don't know
4 what they were called. The European Union something.
5 But they would only come occasionally.
6 Q. You made -- I will want to discuss the --
7 working backward a little bit, deliberately, I want to
8 discuss with you some of the points of the incidents in
9 May of 1992.
10 MR. SOMERS: I would ask the Court -- 10
11 after would be our deadline -- would it be better if I
12 just commenced tomorrow?
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, probably more convenient.
14 Mr. Bilic, we're going to adjourn now for the
15 day, and if you would be back --
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
17 JUDGE MAY: -- to conclude your evidence.
18 Could you remember during the adjournment not to speak
19 to anybody about your evidence until it's over, and
20 that includes members of the Defence team. Could you
21 be back, please, at half past 9.00 tomorrow morning.
22 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
24 at 4.09 p.m., to be reconvened on
25 Thursday the 1st day of June 2000,
1 at 9.30 a.m.