1 Friday, 7
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
7 WITNESS: KRESIMIR BOZIC [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice: [Continued]
10 Q. Yesterday we reached the 27th of October, but I just want to go
11 back one day, please.
12 MR. NICE: May the witness have Exhibit 1266.4.
13 Q. You told us yesterday that you knew nothing of and had nothing to
14 do with the use of Muslim prisoners for forced labour. Do you remember?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Please look at the original of this document when it comes to
17 you. If you turn to the last page of it, you'll find your signature.
18 Confirm it's your signature, please. Confirm it's your signature,
20 A. It is, yes.
21 Q. Thank you. On the ELMO, then, please, with the original. This is
22 a document of the 26th of October, on your account just some two days into
23 your tour of duty, and you were ordering the following: From the 26th of
24 October, begin fortifying the line of defence; mobilise all Vares
25 manpower. And then you set out "Pogar 3rd Combat - prisoners, 30."
1 If you turn over the page to "Zarudje, 3rd Combat - prisoners 30,"
2 with associated pickaxes and shovels, meals, power saws, et cetera. And
3 it goes on, three other sites.
4 You were using prisoners to do defence work; correct?
5 A. Well, that is what this document says, but we mobilised all the
6 Croats, and that is -- those were his -- their orders. I do not know that
7 there were any prisoners, I mean those who were kept in the detention, in
8 the elementary school and other places, because the UN was already keeping
9 under their control the elementary school and other places. So there
10 could be some document to confirm that that was done.
11 Q. I don't understand your answer. Is this an order signed by you or
12 is it not?
13 A. It is.
14 Q. Does it refer to a total of some 150 prisoners, 5 times 30, to be
15 used for military works; yes or no?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Were you intending that prisoners should be used for
18 military work, whether they liked it or not?
19 A. I don't understand the question. What prisoners?
20 Q. Were you intending, by this order, please, that prisoners should
21 be used to do this labour, whether they liked it or not?
22 A. Basically, they should have volunteered for it.
23 Q. That's a ridiculous answer, if I may respectfully say to you,
24 isn't it? You were ordering prisoners to go out and do military work at
25 risk to themselves; correct?
1 A. Here is the mobilisation of all the able-bodied people for these
2 works; it's not only those detainees in the school and others. And it was
3 not them at all, because they were already under the supervision of the
4 United Nations. We were simply mobilising able-bodied men in Vares, and
5 those were Croats, and they went to various sites and did that. Perhaps
6 this is a wrong term.
7 JUDGE MAY: What does the reference to prisoners mean? It
8 consistently refers, throughout this document, to prisoners. If it does
9 not mean that you are sending prisoners to work, what does it mean by the
10 reference to prisoners?
11 A. This was forced mobilisation of able-bodied men to fortify the
12 lines. Perhaps this was not a very fortunate term. And this order does
13 not mean those who were detained in the elementary and secondary
14 vocational school.
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. Well, where were these 150 people detained? What third site was
18 A. They were mobilised men, and they were at those sites, and they
19 were Croats, by and large.
20 Q. I'm going to suggest to you, and I haven't got time to go into
21 this in any more detail --
22 JUDGE MAY: I want to understand --
23 MR. NICE: I'm so sorry, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MAY: I want to understand the evidence. If they weren't
25 from the elementary school, where were these prisoners from?
1 A. Those were mobilised men who were at these sites to organise the
2 defence lines.
3 JUDGE MAY: I asked you where they were from. Where did these
4 people come from? They're referred to as prisoners. What does that mean?
5 A. I tried to explain that this was perhaps a rather unfortunately
6 chosen word. But we were, during those days, mobilising men fit to work,
7 to fortify our defence lines, and they were deployed at these positions
8 which are indicated here and they were to work on defence lines. They are
9 here called prisoners, but it was not that group of people, because the
10 United Nations already had them under their supervision, so we couldn't
11 use them.
12 JUDGE MAY: So it's not prisoners at all; it's mobilised men. Is
13 that what you're saying?
14 A. That was the gist of this order, because those were men mobilised
15 in the course of those two or three days; forced mobilization, yes,
16 because they did not volunteer for it, and that is why they were treated
17 as such.
18 JUDGE MAY: You are asking us to believe that is why you referred
19 to them as prisoners, are you?
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Were they Croats or Muslims?
22 A. Croats mostly, within the meaning of this order, because they were
23 mobilised. The brigade units had about 1.400 men, and all the others were
24 not mobilised. And yet, since the defence lines at those positions were
25 not properly done, we had to mobilise them, and we mobilised them under
1 coercion, and that was why we treated them as men whose freedom had been
2 limited, and they were at those places.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
4 MR. NICE:
5 Q. Shortly, the conditions in which the Muslim prisoners were held
6 were deplorable and in breach of all their human rights; correct?
7 A. Until the 25th, the situation was very difficult. I know that
8 because nothing had been organised or prepared, because everything
9 happened out of the blue. But after that, insofar as it was possible,
10 given the circumstances, and in view of the general shortage of funds,
11 we -- conditions were provided for more or less normal maintenance, both
12 hygiene and food and rest.
13 On the 25th I sent the brigade physician to visit them all to see
14 who were in ill health or who were of advanced age, and the NordBat was
15 notified about this, so that about 70 to 78 persons were released in
16 batches over the next few days. I also prohibited -- and I informed the
17 NordBat in writing -- I forbid any maltreatment, any harassment or
18 something else.
19 Q. The position is that there was maltreatment at a high level until
20 such time as the international observers got in and caught you at it.
21 That's the reality, isn't it?
22 A. I don't know how -- "caught at it", I don't know what you mean by
24 Q. We'll look at those documents in a minute. But again, to -- just
25 to inform the Chamber so that they can have the overall picture in mind,
1 you took over on whatever day you did take over, and you remained in
2 charge but only for a fairly short period of time, because by the 5th of
3 November, the man Harah was back in charge again for a time, wasn't he?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you had left with the Kiseljak troops.
6 A. I was then taken to Kiseljak.
7 Q. But you chose to leave for the safer territory of Kiseljak with
9 A. No.
10 Q. But what is clear, is that from the time of the Stupni Do massacre
11 until the beginning of November, you were in charge and you were the
12 supreme authority subject to Rajic in Vares?
13 A. I was authorised to command the brigade at the time.
14 Q. And in fact, on the 23rd of October, is it right, as might be
15 asserted by a Norwegian officer called Henrikson, that on the 23rd you
16 were introduced by Rajic as his deputy?
17 A. I have no recollection of that, that is not possible. On the
18 23rd, no.
19 Q. Let's look at a -- I'm not going to look at all of the documents
20 if you can confirm that what I suggest to you is accurate. Do you accept
21 that on the 27th of October, you issued an order restricting movements in
22 Vares so far as the military police and members of the HVO authority were
24 A. I don't understand the question. Whose freedom, whose movement
25 did I restrict?
1 Q. 1267.2, please, this is just a measure of your authority at the
2 time, you see. This order dated the 27th of October to various commanders
3 signed by you says, "All commanders, members of the police, members of the
4 civilian authority strictly prohibited from contacting, communicating
5 issues permits for free travel within the responsibility zone without my
6 approval. All commanders of brigade formations and of military held
7 responsible." Did you give that order?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You were, for a few days, effectively absolute supreme commander
10 of Vares, weren't you? There was nobody above you, apart from Rajic, if
11 he was.
12 A. This order was issued because one had to keep control in the area
13 of responsibility. As offensive operations were going on against Vares,
14 were under preparation, one had a to know what was going on. This doesn't
15 mean anyone specifically, but that does mean everybody. That is, one had
16 to know where people were going and so on and so forth. I do think that a
17 commander, as someone who discharges those duties, needs to be informed
18 about what goes on. I do not think that this means any kind of absolute
20 Q. Next exhibit, please, 1272.2, coming to the end of your short
21 reign there. This is the 31st of October. And while that's being
22 distributed, would it surprise you to know that those who were detained
23 and maltreated in the prisons held you responsible? Does that surprise
24 you to know that that was the impression given to the prisoners?
25 A. Since I was the commander and that my name was then mentioned
1 everywhere, I wouldn't be surprised by it.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 A. But if it did not just happen that I happened to be a commander,
4 you wouldn't have found my name anywhere in these documents.
5 Q. Before I turn to this next document, the Likic family from Stupni
6 Do were particularly selected for maltreatment, weren't they?
7 A. I am not aware of that.
8 Q. Do you not know anything about the Likic family?
9 A. Nothing. I only know that there is a family, a very large family
10 Likic, but nothing special.
11 Q. Can you account for how it might be that days after these events,
12 only days after these events, it was being said to people like the Likics
13 that it was you who had brought Ivica Rajic in to Vares? Can you account
14 for how that might have been happening?
15 A. Yes, this rumour began to spread as soon as I was appointed. But
16 they lacked any grounds except, perhaps, the personal attitude of
17 individuals who have their attitudes to these matters. And this -- I took
18 over this duty because that -- those were the orders. Had it been
19 somebody else, then that person would be here and would be backing it with
20 his own name.
21 Q. I suggest to you that you're not telling the truth to us about
22 that and the arrival of these troops was a surprise to the authorities in
23 Vares and may well have just been brought there by you and you got your
24 award in authority. Isn't that the correct position?
25 A. No, that is not true, and I must ask you not to say that I am
1 lying because I've never lied.
2 Q. If you look at this document, 1272.2, dated the 31st of October,
3 you were here ordering all infantry weapons of the police to be handed
4 over immediately to the Bobovac Brigade, correct, and all other weapons,
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Taking complete control.
8 A. The purpose of this order is that all government and all the
9 materiel which is not serving the defence be placed at the disposal in
10 view of the danger which had culminated by that time already.
11 Q. Did you leave Vares for Kiseljak because things were getting too
12 dangerous for you and you weren't up to it?
13 A. On the -- between the 4th and the 5th of November, 1993, Commander
14 Rajic took me to Kiseljak, and I was there until the 21st in a house
15 because there was a general -- alleged investigation was underway
16 regarding all the events in Vares and I was -- I did not try to influence
17 it in any way, but I talked about this. And then I was in Kiseljak, and I
18 was posted to an important command post responsible for supplies.
19 I believe that was the reason, but what you asked me, yes,
20 naturally there must have been a number of people who were not happy about
21 the outcome of events and they were looking for culprit. So perhaps, in
22 certain situations, there might be a threat.
23 Q. You say you were interviewed for the investigation, were you, or
24 no? You say there was an investigation. Were you interviewed for it?
25 A. My task was only to write a report about it, but it -- I did not
1 talk to anyone. I told you I was to be singled out so as not to influence
2 it in any way, and the report was submitted to people who did it and had
3 to do with the whole period, the shifts of the defence lines, casualties
4 and so on and so forth.
5 Q. Do you have a copy of that report yourself?
6 A. I do not have any documents except the document about my
7 appointment on the 24th of November. Everything else should be kept in
8 the archives of the Croat Defence Council.
9 Q. Who did you send the report to? Did it, by any chance, go to
10 Croatia itself, to the Defence Minister, Susak?
11 A. No. There were -- nothing was said about that. At the time it
12 was the report to the security service who was responsible for analysing
13 the developments in the municipality of Vares, and I do not know the
14 outcome of this. I do know that many people were communicated with and
15 many people from Vares and Kiseljak were there because one had to draw up
16 the report since a large chunk of the territory had been lost. So it had
17 to be accounted for.
18 Q. You see, it may become clear in due course that Susak and Tudjman
19 were provided with a report giving full names. Did you provide full names
20 in your report of those who had committed the atrocity at Stupni Do?
21 A. I do not know who perpetrated the crime in Stupni Do, the names of
22 those people. After all this time and after all the things I've read and
23 after all the conversations, I have formed an opinion of my own, but I
24 would never say that that was a fact. And in this regard, I don't think
25 there were any names that I could have given at that time.
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the
14 French and English transcripts.
1 Q. Let's look at the next exhibit which is an existing exhibit,
2 1275. While that's being brought to you, to save time, you can confirm, I
3 think, that while you were still at Vares, before you left, the Kiseljak
4 HVO were not only taking it out on the Muslims but they were also
5 stealing, looting and robbing from Croats of Vares; correct?
6 A. During the first two days, the situation was very confused and
7 escaped control. After that, everything was placed under control. And I
8 told you that my brother-in-law, who was a Muslim, had been taken away and
9 so on and so forth. And that happened because some individuals who
10 participated in that were not under control, and I learned about that at a
11 later date. And in point of fact, those who -- were not local people,
12 people from Vares or from the Bobovac Brigade.
13 Q. The short answer to my question, I think, is correct, the outside
14 HVO looted and robbed. There's nothing you could do about it?
15 A. I still wouldn't use that word. I think this is too strict. But
16 yes, there were such cases and one couldn't do anything about them.
17 Q. Although Maturice and Apostoli left immediately after Stupni Do,
18 leaving some other troops of Rajic's there; would that be correct?
19 A. Yes, and there was a replacement. I think that Rajic also went
20 somewhere on the 26th, 27th -- 27th, and another group came which was to
21 reinforce Vares defence. I mean the number was the same, only they
23 Q. The reason that the Maturice and Apostoli so soon was because they
24 were brought for a single task, and that task they had then completed?
25 A. At that time, I didn't know what special units were responsible
1 for, but I knew that they were always assigned to a job when -- to do the
2 heaviest and most difficult part of the job, that is to ensure the control
3 and then that territory would be taken over by other units.
4 I still claim that this was not the intention in Stupni Do, but
5 that simply an action should have been done in a certain direction and
6 that the territory was to be taken. Yes, that was it, because we were
7 trying to regain the control of some lost ground.
8 Q. And again, before we come to the document, we know that
9 Pejcinovic, Duzinovic and Gavran were arrested. In fact, it was a man
10 called Sunjic of the Maturice who arrested Duzinovic and Gavran, and they
11 were actually taken and held in Serb territory, weren't they, before being
12 removed to Kiseljak?
13 A. I don't know that. Can you please specify the dates so that I can
14 tell you where I was at that time.
15 Q. If you are telling me you don't know that they were arrested and
16 taken to Serb-held territory in Ilijas -- is that what you're trying to
17 tell me, or telling me?
18 A. I don't know that, that it ever happened.
19 Q. Well, we'll go to the document. This is an English document, so
20 I'll read it slowly. It's a monitor's report for the 31st of October and
21 it recounts a meeting with you by one of the monitors. It says that he
22 met you, you were visibly nervous, and explained that you were promoted
23 and took over your new post on the 24th of October. The monitor
24 commented: "This is believed to be a piece of serious scene-setting,
25 since the Stupni Do massacre took place on the 23rd."
1 Is that the truth, that your claiming only to have been appointed
2 on the 24th was indeed scene-setting because you were, effectively, in
3 charge from the moment of Rajic's arrival, and certainly in charge by the
5 A. That is not correct, and later findings of the UN forces, because
6 there was a verification process, it was determined that it was not
7 correct, and you probably have those facts available in another document.
8 A UN legal person was involved in that. These were insinuations. And
9 here it states that it was his opinion. Some may gain an impression that
10 this was so, but there is a written document stating that it was on the
12 MR. NICE: We may come back to that.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, you said you would be half an hour.
15 MR. NICE: I'm only planning to be a little longer. The next
16 witness really won't take very long. This is the only substantial witness
17 on Vares that I have the opportunity to cross-examine.
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
19 MR. NICE: And overnight there have been one or two other things.
20 This document, which, in accordance with my policy, I must give the
21 witness a chance to consider, and one more like it, a few other documents,
22 and then I shall be done.
23 JUDGE MAY: If you're going to suggest that he was implicated -- I
24 don't know if you are -- in what happened in Stupni Do --
25 MR. NICE: Yes.
1 JUDGE MAY: -- plainly he should be warned that he doesn't -- or
2 told that he doesn't have to answer such questions.
3 MR. NICE: Indeed, sir.
4 JUDGE MAY: Is that going to be suggested?
5 MR. NICE: I'm not in a position to suggest -- I'm not suggesting
6 presence in Stupni Do itself; responsibility I am suggesting. So it's
7 probably the same thing.
8 JUDGE MAY: You don't have to answer, Mr. Bozic, I must tell you,
9 any questions -- if it is being suggested that you yourself were involved
10 in a crime. You don't have to answer any questions which are liable to
11 incriminate you. Do you understand that? That's your privilege. You
12 don't have to answer. You can, of course, answer if you wish to.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand what you are saying,
14 but I believe that everything that happens next and everything that was
15 put to me yesterday was in order to discredit me and to present -- to
16 invalidate my testimony in this case. This is my feeling, and my patience
17 here --
18 JUDGE MAY: It doesn't matter about that. That's a matter for us
19 to decide. But you should understand your legal position.
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. The next paragraph of the same report says that you explained the
23 military situation to the north, saying that 2nd Corps of the BiH had
24 captured the village of Dubrostica on the previous day and had killed
25 seven children. NordBat confirmed that the village was captured, but
1 without apparent civilian casualties, and says that -- the document says
2 25 Croat POWs were taken by the HVO.
3 Do you remember giving this account in Dubrostica?
4 A. It wasn't like that literally. This could have been an
5 interpretation of facts. I got reports from Dubrostica village that the
6 village had been taken, and I remember the fact that seven children were
7 killed. It turned out not to be true, but villagers were driven out after
8 the village was taken. And I was only involved insofar as I looked for
10 Q. You were then asked by a monitor if there would be Serb
11 involvement in future actions in this area, and you replied that you
12 didn't know what the involvement would be, but that Serb involvement was
13 certain because they were always involved. And that's correct, isn't it;
14 the Serbs were deeply involved in what was going on in Vares at that
16 A. When I said that, I was not referring to the events in Vares but
17 to the events throughout the former Yugoslavia. Without the Serb
18 policies, we would have had no topic of conversation today. They were the
19 root cause of everything.
20 Q. If it be the case that Mr. Pejcinovic were ever to say that he
21 discovered in this period of time of your control that the Serbs and the
22 Croats were, in combination, determining events, would that not be true,
23 that you were in fact at that time working together with the Serbs,
24 determining what should happen vis-a-vis the Muslims?
25 A. No.
1 Q. The report goes on to say this: that NordBat confirmed 2nd Corp's
2 involvement. And in the next paragraph you said that a 2nd Corps
3 offensive had begun at 1400 hours on that day, the 31st of October, and as
4 a precaution to save civilian lives, you'd ordered the Croat villages of
5 Donja Vijaka, Tribija, Radosevici to be evacuated. But the monitor said
6 that there was in fact no confirmation of a general Serb offensive by that
8 Is the monitor correct that there was indeed, by that time, no
9 evidence or confirmation of a general Serb offensive -- general Muslim
10 offensive by the 2nd Corps?
11 A. No, he is not right. We had information of the movements of
12 troops and those who had been sent in.
13 Q. Second page of the document, please, if you'd turn to that. Under
14 humanitarian, and the second paragraph, reads as follows:
15 "During the week prior to the Stupni Do massacre, Muslims in the
16 Vares area were systematically arrested and taken to two schools in
18 Pausing there, this is a contemporaneous account by a monitor. Is
19 he right that the arresting and detention of Muslims had in fact occurred
20 well before Stupni Do, by about a week?
21 A. No, he's not right.
22 Q. You say that they were only arrested at the time of the arrival of
23 Rajic, or only arrested at the time of the Stupni Do massacre? What?
24 A. When the events in Stupni Do took place and when the combat
25 operations started, that is when those activities relating to rounding up
1 of people started, on the 23rd. That's all. For instance, my sister's
2 husband was arrested. Wouldn't I have helped at least him?
3 Q. The report continues, and this is in the last passage. I'll read
4 it in full:
5 "All sources agree that the Stupni Do massacre and abuse of
6 Muslims in Vares was committed by extremist HVO from Kakanj. Although
7 intelligence was certainly required from HVO Vares, there are many reports
8 of HVO Vares soldiers assisting Muslims and even helping some of them to
9 escape. During the two days following the Stupni Do massacre, Vares was
10 controlled by HVO Kakanj troops. The Muslims incarcerated in Vares were
11 severely beaten, made to sing Croatian songs, and fight each other by HVO
12 Kakanj soldiers, who were usually drunk. When the Stupni Do massacre
13 became common knowledge, three senior civilians in the Vares government
14 and the commander of the Bobovac Brigade was replaced. The abuse of
15 imprisoned Muslims, however, continued."
16 And then it goes on -- I'm sorry. I'm going too fast -- to say
17 that NordBat visited the Muslims and things then changed -- the Muslim
18 detainees -- and things changed quickly.
19 Now, as to that passage, the monitor had been fed incorrect
20 information, hadn't he, where he was led to believe that the three
21 civilians were replaced only when the Stupni Do massacre became common
22 knowledge, because in fact they were replaced before Stupni Do was ever
23 committed. That's correct, isn't it?
24 A. Who was replaced before the Stupni Do was committed? Can you
25 please explain that point to me? Nobody was replaced. Nobody -- before
1 the Stupni Do, before the 23rd, nobody was ever dismissed, replaced.
2 Q. This is, of course, a reference to Pejcinovic and the other two.
3 Didn't you understand that?
4 A. According to you, when were they arrested? They were arrested on
5 the 23rd, in the evening, according to what I know. That is what I
6 learned on the evening of the 23rd, that they had been arrested on the
7 23rd, and that's indisputable. That's how it was.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 A. And let me just add one more thing. This is very confusing.
10 There are things mentioned here that are just judgements.
11 Q. The last document within your period of control that I want your
12 comment on, quite shortly. It's 1281.4, and doesn't reflect a meeting
13 with you, with someone else, but it's a contemporary judgement being made
14 at the time.
15 This is a report from a monitor on the 2nd of November, and it
16 follows a meeting he had with Mr. Mahmutovic, a member of -- and it's
17 under the heading "Political." And it says this: that Mahmutovic
18 explains, after being asked why the Stupni Do massacre took place, and he
19 said this, apparently: [as read]
20 "Stupni Do was the local gateway to the British Serb army -- the
21 Bosnian Serb army controlled territory, which made it a most lucrative
22 centre for smuggling and black marketeering. The residents of Stupni Do
23 became reasonably well-to-do with this arrangement but had to pay a
24 percentage to the HVO. In early October the HVO demanded a substantially
25 higher cut and were told 'no' by Stupni Do authorities. As a result of
1 this answer, HVO authorities in Kiseljak, Vares, and Kakanj coordinated
2 the activities that followed. Those who were killed in Stupni Do were
3 executed deliberately for their part in the black market. HVO trucks then
4 removed black-market loot and everything of value to Vares."
5 And the monitor made the following observation: that the monitors
6 had themselves previously reported on black-market activities around
7 Stupni Do and that all or part of the above account of Mr. Mahmutovic may
8 or may not be true, but it was plausible.
9 Just a couple of things. First of all, is it right that
10 truckloads of what is described as "loot", but truckloads of people's
11 property were indeed taken from Stupni Do before international observers
12 were allowed in?
13 A. I don't know that, and I don't believe that it happened.
14 Q. Second, may we, in fact, completely discount this alleged
15 explanation of the Stupni Do massacre because the black market theory is
16 simply a theory, but a false theory?
17 A. I never had that view on whatever happened in Vares because I was
18 not involved in politics or the economy, and those who were involved in
19 the economy may have had those views. So I'm not particularly surprised
20 that he did so. Let me see who it was, Ekrim. Oh, he was also a military
21 person, he was a military commander.
22 Q. And at this time, on the 2nd of November, the same monitors tried
23 to see the commander of the Bobovac Brigade, which would be you, and were
24 told to turn to Zvonko Duznovic. Was Zvonko Duznovic still in office or
25 had he actually been replaced?
1 A. After the events of the 23rd and 24th and after consultations up
2 the chain of command concerning security, Mr. Duznovic was placed in
3 charge of contacts with the UN personnel, and this is what I know. And
4 this is -- and I know that after the 28th, 29th, he was the person, the
5 point person with contacts with the International Community.
6 Q. You were interviewed by journalists for Newsweek? Do you remember
7 that in probably November or October of -- no, November of 1993, shortly
8 after these events, you were interviewed by journalists?
9 A. In that period, I spoke to only one journalist and he was from
10 Reuters. I had his business card, but I lost his card after we lost that
11 territory. I only spoke to him, and I believe that his article has been
12 published somewhere. I have never seen it. All other press reports, and
13 there were a lot of them, I say that I was not the source, the information
14 was received third-hand or even worse. Even some reports in the Croatian
15 press were practically made up.
16 Q. Were you asked by that journalist, perhaps a likely question,
17 about the identity of the attackers or the mysterious attackers of Stupni
18 Do and did you say to the journalist, "That's a military secret."
19 A. No, the journalist didn't ask me that, the Reuters journalist was
20 the only one with whom I spoke. I never spoke to anyone else. I didn't
21 even have the time for that.
22 Q. Were you, in fact, given some kind of promotion to the rank of
23 colonel for your office as -- for your period of time as head of the
25 A. No, I never had a rank in the HVO. I only earned the rank after
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the
14 French and English transcripts.
1 two years in the Croatian army, but throughout my stay with the HVO, I
2 never gained any ranks.
3 MR. NICE: Very well. As to newspaper articles in these
4 circumstances, I, of course have the article. I am in a position to
5 produce it, but I think I am neutral as to whether it's going to help the
6 Chamber itself.
7 JUDGE MAY: I don't think it would.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. Just to confirm, please, the man Duznovic was actually killed in
10 Kiseljak in 1994.
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. NICE: Thank you. If Your Honour will give me a moment while
13 I look at my notes, then I will know how many more questions I want to
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 MR. NICE: Your Honour, can I explain one thing and seek the
17 Court's guidance? There is available in the documents that have been
18 produced, as the Chamber knows, in Zagreb to both sides, a report on these
19 matters to -- a report on Rajic's involvement. It is, at the moment, as
20 with all these documents from Zagreb, of course, simply a document
21 produced pursuant to the Court's order and otherwise not a document about
22 which we can say very much at the moment.
23 One such document has got in, and the Chamber will know what the
24 reaction of the Defence has been to that. This document is not a signed
25 document but it's nevertheless a report, and this is probably the last
1 Stupni Do/Vares witness that there's going to be available to give comment
2 on the content of that report simply because of the time in which these
3 documents have become available.
4 I would ask that the report be laid before the witness for his
5 comments on it in the same way as the document was laid before the --
6 another document was laid before another witness again for his comments on
7 the parts that he might be able usefully to comment on.
8 JUDGE MAY: It doesn't mention the witness himself.
9 MR. NICE: It does not mention the witness himself.
10 JUDGE MAY: But it deals with matters about which he's given
11 evidence; does it?
12 MR. NICE: That's right.
13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: I don't understand. What is the origin of this
14 document? Where is it from? If it is an unsigned document, what is it
15 exactly, because we have to know?
16 MR. NICE: As Your Honour will know, without breaking the
17 confidences of in-Chamber's applications, documents have been produced by
18 the Croatian government in response to orders of this Court, and maybe for
19 other reasons, but certainly in response to orders of this Court. They've
20 now been producing them for some months, and as I think I've informed the
21 Chamber, they have been produced on the provision both to the Prosecution
22 and to the defendants in this case and indeed to the defendants in -- or
23 those representing defendants in other cases. So the documents come from
24 Croatian archives and are apparently genuine documents produced in that
1 JUDGE BENNOUNA: No, my question is: We have to know, even if it
2 comes from the archive, it doesn't mean what sort of document is it.
3 MR. NICE: I see.
4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Who produced this document? Can we see, perhaps,
5 one copy before giving it to the witness?
6 MR. NICE: It's an English translation on the top and the original
7 document underneath. I'm sorry, I didn't understand Your Honour's
8 question, my mistake.
9 This is a report under the heading of the Republic of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina HVO Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. It's marked
11 "State Secret". It's addressed to the Ministry of Defence Security and
12 Information Service. It's dated pretty contemporaneously the 13th of
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE MAY: We've looked at this. Let me give it back. Our view
16 is that there's little purpose to be gained in putting it to the witness
17 and, of course, if you want to produce it in due course, then we'll
18 consider it.
19 MR. NICE: We certainly will, I think, be intending to adduce
20 these documents in due course, and I hope I made my position clear. It's
21 just that if witness can help, he might be given an opportunity.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, I'm not sure that he will be able to.
23 MR. NICE:
24 Q. In which case, I think I'm due, subject to only this: Mr. Bozic,
25 are you aware that there is indeed now a warrant for your arrest in Bosnia
1 issued in May of this year in respect of your involvement in events in
3 A. No, I'm not.
4 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
5 Re-examined by Mr. Naumovski:
6 Q. Thank you, Your Honours. I shall be very brief indeed because
7 there is another witness waiting and we have to finish him today.
8 Mr. Bozic, in view of the pressure of time, I will not cover very
9 many subjects and I only want to ask you a few questions to try to get it
10 over and done with. The Prosecution has repeatedly put it to you that it
11 was you who invited Ivica Rajic to come with reinforcements to Vares; is
12 that true?
13 A. No, I personally did not. And that was the attitude of us all,
14 the general attitude, and he was invited by -- at the moment, when
15 Franjkic went to fetch him having received such instructions from
16 Pejcinovic and Duzinovic.
17 Q. Will the usher please show you a document, Z1258.3 or rather to
18 have the last page of the document on the ELMO, please.
19 Mr. Bozic, this is enclosed to the report that was mentioned
20 yesterday which was signed by Vinko Lukic. He is an officer for the UN.
21 I do not think that this document was enclosed to that letter, but it
22 doesn't really matter. What matters is, that regardless of whether this
23 is an original written in English or only a translation from Croatian and
24 I did not see that, will you please have a closer look at this document
25 and look who is it addressed to?
1 A. In the upper right hand corner, "HVO Vares - to commander".
2 Q. And in October 1993, did HVO Vares exist at all or was the
3 military part of the HVO called something completely differently?
4 A. As of December 1992, this was HVO Bobovac Brigade and that is what
5 all documents should show.
6 Q. So this is a strange document because it is addressed to a
7 non-existent body?
8 A. Well, that is from the looks of it, but I still will allow for
9 that rather negligible possibility that that was an error. I mean, one
10 cannot exclude that. But this is not a common way. We never had anything
11 addressed to HVO Vares, it was always addressed to HVO Bobovac Brigade.
12 Q. And tell us, please, have you ever seen this document before?
13 A. No, never, and I do not think it ever reached us in this format,
14 nor could it, regardless of whether it's a translation or not because we
15 did not have a possibility of normal communication. So if such a document
16 was sent by some other means of communications, say radio communication, I
17 did not know about it.
18 Q. Here on the top of document we see the mark of a fax, could you
19 use a fax in October 1993?
20 A. No, because all telephone lines between Vares and the outside
21 world had been cut off for the past year and a half. The only way we
22 could communicate was through a cell phone, and so people used it in order
23 to communicate with their families and such and the like.
24 Q. Mention was made here of a document about what you had allegedly
25 told Major Birger and you repeated what you had told him but basically
1 whose information did you transmit to Major Birger?
2 A. The commander in chief, Emil Harah's. But that was in our second
3 conversation because that first conversation was very short, perhaps ten
4 minutes and the interpretation was very poor indeed, at least in my view.
5 Q. So you transmitted to Major Birger what you had heard from Emil
6 Harah; is that so?
7 A. Yes, yes, because that was the latest information that he had. I
8 mean, I want to say in view of the circumstances, since Major Birger and I
9 had the opportunity to meet, he was always well-prepared for every contact
10 with us, and they were very frequent, almost daily, and that morning it
11 seemed that everything had happened in a rush, that everything had
12 happened very hastily and that he wanted to go about this to see that, to
13 intervene and something in that sense, so that not everything was
14 well-organised and done as it was always. No, I wouldn't say that it
15 wasn't correct as it should be. It was as it should be, but it wasn't as
16 organised as it should be.
17 Q. Mr. Bozic, today, you denied a claim in a milinfosum -- the author
18 of the text had said that it seemed to him that the fact that you had been
19 promoted, that you had said that you were appointed on the 24th that it
20 was scene setting, and you said that there were other documents which
21 precisely -- that you were appointed of the command of the brigade on the
22 24th of October 1993; is that so?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. I must say that you are corroborated in this by monitor's report
25 Z1263.3, and the first few lines say that you are appointed the day
1 before, that is, "yesterday," as it says. This is the report of the 25th
2 of October and this is what you just told us that you were appointed on
3 the 24th of document. But this is document is interesting, 1263.3 is an
4 interesting document because it doesn't show who it was written by.
5 Do you perhaps remember which monitor -- did you talk to which
6 representative of the European monitors you talked to on the 24th of --
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, you've been doing this trial for long
8 enough. You should know that re-examination is not an occasion for a
10 Now, can you briefly ask the witness, if this is the point you
11 want to get at, the question.
12 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
13 Q. So do you remember who you talked to on the 25th of October?
14 Here, no name is mentioned here, but perhaps you remember.
15 A. I can't remember. Of all the people I was in touch with, I
16 remember well only Major Birger because he communicated with us very often
17 and he was -- and I saw him as a very honorable man, and names of other
18 people I've simply forgotten, especially given the circumstances and the
19 hard times.
20 Q. Tell us, please, a great deal was said about the period of time
21 that is the dates of which you commanded the brigade and you explained the
22 circumstances under which you had been appointed to the job and you told
23 us that it was done under the orders of Ivica Rajic, according to --
24 pursuant to instructions from Tihomir Blaskic; is that so?
25 A. Yes, the instructions of Tihomir Blaskic. I have these records in
1 Zagreb, and I can send it to you if you wish.
2 Q. Very well, thank you. And who issued the order to relieve you of
3 office or rather the new order whereby Emil Harah took over the post of
4 the commander of the brigade?
5 A. Nobody did that, and there was no need for it because I was
6 authorised to command the brigade even in the order which I had -- it said
7 that Emil Harah was being send on a holiday, on a leave, and that his
8 future post would be decided at a later date. And when he took over the
9 command once again, it was simply because I took to go to Kiseljak and
10 Emil was told by Rajic to go, to proceed as a commander until my return or
11 until I decided otherwise.
12 Q. It was also put to you today that you, in point of fact, fled from
13 the municipality of Vares. Did you flee or was it following somebody's
14 orders that you went to Kiseljak?
15 A. I went to Kiseljak because I was ordered to do so by the
16 commander, Ivica Rajic, but I went back to the areas held by my units
17 again. And in the Operative Group too, I also worked for my brigade in
18 the municipality of Vares.
19 Q. Thank you. As for document 1266.3, I should merely like to ask
20 you if this document was written by a person called Ramsay, if I am
21 pronouncing him well. Do you know that individual? Have you ever spoken
22 to him?
23 A. I can't remember.
24 Q. Thank you. A great deal was said about the strategic location,
25 not only of the village of Stupni Do but the hill feature, Bogos. You
1 mentioned that engineers had practically fortified that facility. Because
2 we're all laymen, will you please tell us: Did [sic] ordinary people who
3 did not have any specialised military training could see that those were
4 prepared fortifications, if I may put it that way?
5 A. Yes. These are bunkers. These were dugouts, bunkers, prepared to
6 be taken at a given moment.
7 Q. And these engineering facilities, as you call them, were on that
8 side, towards the HVO, not towards the Army of Republika Srpska?
9 A. Yes, and the explanation was that if they cannot stop the
10 advancement of the Serb troops, that they could then fall back onto these
11 positions and then fight with us. Our defence was based on the concept
12 that we should defend this area together. And if you look at the part
13 toward the Serbs, you will see that parts of the defence line are held by
14 the BH army and parts of the defence line were held by the HVO, and that
15 is how it was until the very end.
16 Q. Very well. Thank you. Tell us, please: At that time, at that
17 time when you took over the command over the brigade, was it within the
18 period of time when the ABiH started its offensive on the territory of the
19 municipality of Vares or not?
20 A. These offences began before I assumed the command, quite a long
21 time before that.
22 Q. And in view of those attacks, was the whole area which was under
23 your control turned into a combat zone, or a military zone; I don't know
24 what you call it.
25 A. That area, although it was rather calm, but nevertheless it was in
1 area of potential combat activities, because Vares as a territory and
2 Bobovac Brigade held the positions between the Muslim and the Serb
3 forces. So it was a very confused position. It was very difficult for
4 those forces there.
5 Q. Very well. Thank you. All the documents that you signed and that
6 were shown to you were written, so therefore then, in that state of war,
7 that is, in the state of combat operations, if I may say so.
8 A. Yes, and under very difficult circumstances.
9 Q. I should like to dwell only on one document, and only in passing.
10 It is one which mentions prisoners in relation to the fortification of
11 defence lines.
12 Will you tell us, please: Under the then regulations which were
13 taken over from the former Yugoslavia, isn't it that every citizen had to
14 take part; that is, he was either under military obligations or under
15 labour obligations, that is, to take part in the civil defence?
16 A. Yes. It meant all the able-bodied, all men fit to work were --
17 Q. And in view of the military conscripts and in relation to those
18 who were under obligation as a civil -- that is, under labour obligations,
19 was it something that had to be enforced by coercion?
20 A. Yes. Men were called up, that is, mobilisation. There was
21 mobilisation. And people, as a rule, voluntarily accepted and responded
22 to summons to either perform their military or civil defence duties.
23 Q. And just once again -- but you have already told us, so we do not
24 really have to go into that -- so your order on the 26th of October, 1993,
25 Z1266.4, regarding these additional works on defence lines, you issued
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the
14 French and English transcripts.
1 this order with regard to what category of citizens?
2 A. The category of mobilised -- of forcibly mobilised, and those were
3 Croats in this case mostly who had not been assigned anywhere else before,
4 and they were sent to these sites.
5 Q. You used the term "forcibly mobilised." Does it mean those who
6 had been called up but failed to respond to summons?
7 A. Yes. There was a public summons for all the men fit to work --
8 that is, aged between so-and-so were to respond. And when they failed to
9 do that, then the military police went out to bring them in. And they
10 were assigned to localities which were about two to three kilometres away
11 from the defence lines so as to deploy them better, and many of them
12 subsequently joined the military units and took part in the defence.
13 Q. Thank you. From this order, 1272.2, when you ordered the takeover
14 of the surplus weapons, you say, under point 4, that the commander of the
15 police station Vares, Juzo Corluka, will be responsible for carrying out
16 this order.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Tell us, please: Jozo Corluka replaced Ivica Gavran in that
20 A. Jozo Corluka was the commander of the police station, and the
21 chief of the police station was Ivan Gavran, that is, Ivica Gavran. And
22 when he was relieved of office, nobody else was appointed in his stead, so
23 that this one automatically replaced him.
24 Q. So Mr. Jozo Corluka took over both the role of the commander, and
25 he was that already before, and the chief of the police station?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you. Mr. Bozic, of course I could ask you many more
3 questions in view of all the documents that were shown you, but I should
4 like to round it up with just one topic more.
5 There was talk about your views and about your assessments, about
6 possible activities, and your information, the intelligence information,
7 that an attack on Vares was underway. And did it eventually prove correct
8 that there was an attack being prepared against Vares?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. It was also put to you today, or rather yesterday, that
11 investigation was being conducted against you and allegedly a warrant for
12 your arrest had been issued after all these seven years. But during these
13 seven years, have you ever heard of any investigation being conducted
14 against you in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
15 A. No.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Will the counsel please slow down.
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Have you ever been notified by the police orally, in writing, or
19 in any other way, that you were being summoned for an interview or --
20 JUDGE MAY: Slow down, please, Mr. Naumovski.
21 A. No.
22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Bozic, you knew that you would be asked questions about those
24 circumstances and about those facts. Did anybody ever force you to come
25 and testify before this Tribunal, or was that your decision?
1 A. It was my decision.
2 Q. Mr. Bozic, did you tell the truth to this Court?
3 A. Yes, insofar as I know and recollect, I told you the truth.
4 Q. And perhaps my last question. Since you voluntarily came to
5 testify and you knew that you would be under fierce cross-examination, did
6 it ever occur to you that you might appear before this Honourable Court
7 and tell lies?
8 A. No. I wouldn't be able to say something that was not true.
9 Q. And to end, Mr. Bozic, there were a number of quotes from articles
10 which allegedly Mr. Anto Pejcinovic wrote for Oslobodenje. And the
11 Prosecutor affirmed yesterday that Witness AO asserted -- I'm trying to be
12 fast in order to save time, but I'm afraid I'm really going too fast, so I
13 apologise to the interpreters once again.
14 So it was affirmed -- it was claimed that the Witness AO had
15 asserted that Ivica Rajic had arrived on the 19th of October, 1993, and
16 you claimed that that is not true.
17 A. Ivica Rajic came at 4.00 in the morning of the 21st.
18 Q. In the fourth installment of what appeared in the newspaper and
19 what we were given yesterday by the Prosecution, Anto Pejcinovic says on
20 the 21st of October, 1993, about a dozen trucks arrived with some 180
21 members of special units made of combatants from Kiseljak, Travnik, and so
22 on and so forth, under the command of Ivica Rajic.
23 So it is that date that you imagine, the 21st of October, 1993; is
24 that so?
25 A. It is.
1 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Bozic. Thank you,
2 Your Honours.
3 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Mr. Bozic, for coming to the International
4 Tribunal. Your evidence is now concluded. You are free to go.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, it's the time for a break. We propose
8 to take a short break. I understand the next witness will be short.
9 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed, Your Honour. Not
10 more than 20 minutes. I do not think so. And I shall do my best to speed
11 matters up as much as I can.
12 JUDGE MAY: We'll break for a quarter of an hour. Ten past
14 --- Recess taken at 10.56 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 11.15 a.m.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the declaration.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
19 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
21 WITNESS: TVETKO JELIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Your Honours.
24 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:
25 Q. Mr. Jelic, will you please state your full name for the Trial
2 A. Your Honours, my name is Tvetko Jelic. I was born in 1955 in
4 Q. We will just go through your personal data very quickly. You said
5 that you were born on June 14, 1955 in Vares where you completed your
6 elementary schooling?
7 A. Yes, I completed in Vares my elementary schooling then my
8 vocational schooling, and I completed my vocational school in Zagreb. Can
9 I go on?
10 Q. No, let me do it and we will proceed more quickly that way.
11 By profession, you are an electrician and before the war in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, you owned a service shop for the repair of home
14 A. Yes, I had that until the beginning of war, even before that I
15 held different jobs.
16 Q. You are married, you have four children and with your family,
17 currently reside -- you live as a refugee in Gradac, near Ploce, in the
18 Republic of Croatia?
19 A. Yes, I was married, and I had four children, and with my wife and
20 children I live in Gradac. And I -- even though I say I live in Gradac, I
21 live all over the place. We -- my address is Tisovac 17 though because
22 the Republic of Croatia does not recognise subsequent or later refugees,
23 that doesn't give them the status.
24 Q. Mr. Jelic, you were a member of the Bobovac Brigade and you held
25 the position of signal platoon commander?
1 A. Yes, I was commander of the signals platoon in the Bobovac
3 Q. Their Honours know that the command post of the Bobovac Brigade
4 was in the Hotel Ponikve near Vares; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you please tell me, do you remember a meeting held in this
7 brigade command, that is in the Hotel Ponikve in September 1993?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you tell me what type of a meeting was it? Was it only the
10 command staff or was it a wider meeting?
11 A. I remember because it was a wider meeting and there were very few
12 of those, so I remember it. In addition to the command staff, members of
13 the political structures in Vares were also present.
14 Q. Can you name some of the people?
15 A. Mr. Anto Pejcinovic and the late Mr. Zvonko Duznovic.
16 Q. Do you know what the topic of the meeting was, what was the
17 agenda? What was discussed in the meeting?
18 A. Mr. Anto Pejcinovic said, and this is how I remember the meeting,
19 that should our forces be attacked by the Muslim forces, we would be
20 assisted by the Bosnian Serb army. Regarding the details, plans and
21 agreements with the Bosnian Serb army, he never mentioned any of that.
22 Earlier, we had always discussed about potential assistance or
23 support of the 2nd Corps of the Muslim forces in case of the attacks by
24 the 1st or the 3rd Corps, but this was a big change, a big turnaround to
25 have now put forward the possibility of assistance by the Bosnian Serb
2 Q. I understand. Was that the only topic of this meeting, the
3 measures that needed to be taken in case of an attack on your territory?
4 A. Yes, it was the exclusive topic. In all meetings not only in
5 that, but in all meetings, we talked only about the defence of Vares. We
6 never discussed any offensive actions.
7 Q. On that occasion, did Anto Pejcinovic show any piece of paper, any
8 document, anything to support what he had just told you?
9 A. No, there was no paper, no document, no map. It was just an oral
11 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps if I can ask
12 just for one minute of private session for identification of a certain
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
15 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Jelic, did Witness AO attend this meeting to which you
3 referred and which took place in September 1993?
4 A. Witness AO did not attend any meetings, including the one in
5 September which was held in the command -- in the headquarters in Ponikve.
6 Q. Was he a person who would ever be called to the meetings of the
7 brigade command or to these wider meetings?
8 A. In -- he would not have been called in any capacity including
9 driver, escort, or any other capacity. He was not a member of the staff,
10 and I don't even believe that he was a member of the HVO at that time.
11 Q. Very well. So then let us just move on to the next topic which
12 was a meeting held in October 1993. Were you invited to a meeting after
13 Ivica Rajic arrived from Kiseljak to Vares, and please be so kind and tell
14 the Trial Chamber when this meeting was held and who was present at it.
15 A. I attended most of the meetings of the Bobovac Brigade command
16 staff. That may seem unusual that a platoon commander should be present,
17 but the commander of the signals was always very busy but we also -- we
18 often attended them together. Witness AO was never present at any
19 meeting, including that one.
20 On that day, I spent most of the day in the field because our
21 communication links with Borovica were very poor. I went back home in the
22 evening and I received the call and came back to the command and the
23 meeting was in progress. In addition to the command staff and Mr. Ivica
24 Rajic, who was commander of the operative group, and Borivoje Malbasic, my
25 neighbour, no one else should not have been there attended [as
2 Q. But was there -- were there any representatives of civilian
3 authorities in Vares?
4 A. Yes. Mr. Anto Pejcinovic was there.
5 Q. You described this day in some detail, but you did not mention the
6 date. Do you remember what date it was?
7 A. The date was 21 October 1993.
8 Q. When you arrived at the meeting, you said that the meeting was in
10 A. Yes. In my judgement, the meeting was more than half way through,
11 and Mr. Mario Andric had come just after me and he wasn't aware of what
12 was going on in the meeting.
13 Q. When you arrived, what was discussed in the meeting?
14 A. At that time, I knew very well what the topic was. I understood
15 that it was concerning the intensive attacks of the ABiH against our
16 troops. This is what every single staff member was talking about. From
17 their point of view, they were talking about the forces that they had and
18 the circumstances that they had and the signals platoon commander was
19 presenting our story.
20 Q. Just a moment. Who arrived first? Did you arrive first or Mario
21 Andric? Who were late at this meeting?
22 A. It was actually me was there first, and Mario Andric followed me.
23 Q. Very well. In the meeting that you're referring to, was there any
24 decision adopted about any attacks in any area, including Stupni Do?
25 A. No such decisions were taken during this meeting. And in military
1 terms, these such decisions are not taken in these meetings. A military
2 commander is the one who takes decisions, and the others should carry them
3 out. So in that meeting, no decision was taken on any offensive
4 operations in any area.
5 Q. Mr. Jelic, I'm being warned that we are again going too fast.
6 Will you please pause between questions and answers, and please do not
7 talk as fast.
8 Now, the Witness AO, whom we mentioned, claimed that this meeting
9 that we are referring to was held on 20th October, 1993. Is that correct,
10 in your judgement?
11 A. No. On the 20th October, the meeting that we referred to was not
12 held. The only meeting that was held was a morning briefing.
13 Q. I think that you have given answers to everything in paragraph 8,
14 so just to restate this again: Was Witness AO present at a meeting on the
15 21st of October?
16 A. No, he was not present at any meeting, including the meeting of
17 21 October 1993.
18 Q. Mr. Jelic, the following day, 22 October 1993, were you ordered to
19 prepare some documents regarding your signals activities?
20 A. Yes. The chief of signals told me that we needed to do our part,
21 which concerns the topographical points and codes for these points, and I
22 can elaborate if you want. That evening and through the night I completed
23 this task.
24 Q. No, Mr. Jelic, I don't think we need to go into any details. But
25 perhaps you can just mention for which geographical points and which areas
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the
14 French and English transcripts.
1 you covered with your documents.
2 A. The document was done for the eastern side of Vares, Visnjica,
3 Stanovi, Mala Rijeka, Mir, Stupni Do, Pajtov Han, Planinica, Perun,
4 Dragovici, Mijakovici, Kopljari, and Borovica, and this ends in the
5 northern section, the section north of Vares.
6 Q. Just one question related to this. You drafted these documents
7 for a fairly wide area?
8 A. Yes, the area that actually could not have been covered by the
9 units which were deployed in the area.
10 Q. I think that paragraph 10 has been covered. You said that Witness
11 AO was not present at any meetings.
12 And lastly, was the name of Dario Kordic ever mentioned in any of
13 the two meetings which you mentioned, either in September of 1993 or the
14 21st October, 1993?
15 A. The name of Dario Kordic was not mentioned in any meetings of the
16 command staff, including these two meetings. It was not mentioned in any
17 context. The signals platoon exchanged traffic with the communications
18 centre, and in none of this traffic was there ever the name of Dario
19 Kordic mentioned.
20 Q. If I understand you correctly, through your communications centre
21 these messages were sent in, this traffic sent through the packet radio.
22 So are you aware of any document that came through that communications
23 centre in that period which mentioned the name of Dario Kordic?
24 A. I established the communications centre, so I was there from the
25 very beginning. No document ever arrived throughout its existence
1 containing instructions, guidance, orders signed by Mr. Dario Kordic.
2 Q. I promised the Trial Chamber that we would be finished in 20
3 minutes, and I am about on target. I have one last question. You know
4 who Friar Mijo Mrljic, or who Mr. Mijo Mrljic was?
5 A. Yes. I personally know him. He knows me.
6 Q. He was a parish priest in Vares during the war.
7 A. Yes. He is from the old local family in Vares and he was a
9 Q. Do you know anything about an event involving Mr. Mrljic, who was
10 the representative of Caritas, and Witness AO?
11 A. Yes, I know about it, and all locals of Vares know about it, all
12 those who were present at the mass given by Father Mrljic, when he said
13 publicly that he was cheated by Witness AO about humanitarian aid destined
14 for Vares.
15 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this concludes my
16 examination. Thank you.
17 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, I will have just two small questions.
18 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Jelic. I'm Bozidar Kovacic. I
20 represent Mr. Mario Cerkez in this matter.
21 You mentioned Mr. Borivoje Malbasic, so I have to ask you a couple
22 of questions. Can you tell us me what his role was in the meeting of 21
23 October 1993? What was his position?
24 A. No. I know Mr. Borivoje Malbasic because he is my neighbour. He
25 lives about 50 metres away from me. He is also a school friend of my
1 brother's. I know him as a member of the staff in Vares, and I don't know
2 what his position was at the time.
3 Q. You know that he was not a member of the command staff of the
4 Bobovac Brigade at the time?
5 A. No, he was not.
6 Q. And did he arrive at the meeting with Rajic, who came from
8 A. He was not at the command post, and I was not seeing him in Vares
9 in that period.
10 Q. You don't know the context in which he came to the meeting?
11 A. No.
12 Q. But since you know him fairly well, can you tell whether he was an
13 honest, an honourable man, or do you have any doubts about that?
14 A. I don't know. To me -- to me, he is an honest and honourable
15 man. I know him well. I know him from the Territorial Defence units, and
16 he had been a reserve officer in infantry.
17 Q. Have you heard whether he was the commander in Novi Travnik late
18 1992 or early 1993?
19 A. Yes, I heard about that.
20 Q. Have you heard anything about -- do you know anything about that
21 period? Did he do anything bad or anything good?
22 A. I have not reflected on that, but now that you're asking me about
23 him, I remember a story how he tried to avoid the conflict in Novi
24 Travnik. A murder was involved, and he managed to prevent conflict.
25 Q. So it was a positive story?
1 A. Yes. It was broadcast on Radio Zenica as a positive story.
2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] That is all I have, Your Honours.
3 Thank you.
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
5 Q. Had you had an opportunity to discuss with Mr. Kovacic what you
6 were going to tell us about Malbasic before you came in to give evidence
8 A. Are you asking me?
9 Q. Yes, I am. Sorry. Yes.
10 A. I have not had an opportunity. This is the first time that I am
11 talking to him. I've never met him before.
12 Q. Very well. Tell us how you came to recall the matters of which
13 you've told us. Do you have any records of your own that you've been able
14 to refer to?
15 A. One of my notebooks was left in the uniforms which I had when I
16 went through Dastansko to the Republic of Croatia. The only information
17 contained there had to do with the signals unit that I was a part of, and
18 I had it ordered chronologically. Until April we had not had packet
19 communications, and the only preparation that I made was to refresh my
20 recollection on how the communications were organised.
21 Q. I see. That document doesn't contain any record of the dates that
22 you've been able to give us today?
23 A. No, but chronologically it could be determined where it was. And
24 if I follow this chronology referring to what was going on in the signals
25 unit, then I can cross-reference it and arrive at the date of these
2 Q. When were you first asked by anyone to cast your mind back to
3 these events?
4 A. I personally recollected these events every day, but officially I
5 was asked by Mr. Naumovski whether I would agree to a conversation, not to
6 give any statement. He found me in Kiseljak, where I was on a job, and I
7 believe we talked in Busovaca at the end of March.
8 Q. And between these events and the end of March of this year, you
9 hadn't, for example, been summoned to any inquiry in Kiseljak, or anything
10 of that sort?
11 A. No. No one ever, either from the Croat or Muslim side, invited me
12 or called me for any talks.
13 Q. You said you never made any earlier statement, you never had to
14 put any of this material down in writing before?
15 A. No. There is only a report which I sent to the Vitez operative
16 zone chief of communication about the functioning of the communication at
17 the time when I thought that it was necessary. Other reports regarding
18 any investigations, the courts, I never sent anything like that to anyone.
19 Q. You tell us about two dates in October, how do you remember the
20 particular dates? Perhaps you just remember dates, I don't know, which is
22 A. What specific date?
23 Q. You've given you us two dates for meetings in October. One date
24 for a meeting that you say didn't occur. How are you able to remember
25 these dates, please?
1 A. I don't believe I gave you the date of the meeting that was not
2 held. If the meeting was not held -- if a meting was not held, you cannot
3 give the date, but the meeting of 21 October was very important. It is
4 very important for me because my daughter has a condition and she had an
5 attack on that day.
6 JUDGE MAY: Don't upset yourself. Is there anything you really
7 want to ask about this, Mr. Nice?
8 MR. NICE: Not about the dates.
9 JUDGE MAY: Are you all right?
10 A. Yes, I'm all right.
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. Tell us a little bit about Mr. Rajic, then. We'll come back to
13 the meeting. When were you first aware of Rajic being in the area?
14 A. I first learned that Mr. Rajic was in Vares. I don't know exact
15 date, but after the fall of Kakanj, after 13 June. I personally saw
16 Mr. Rajic in the meeting held on the 21 October 1993.
17 Q. How many days, if any, before that date had he been in the area?
18 Vares isn't that big. He arrived with soldiers. How long had he been
20 A. If you are referring to before 21 October, he was there a day or
21 two before. I was very busy dealing with the problem at Borovica, so I
22 wasn't there. So it could have been a day before, but he was not there
23 two days before.
24 Q. Well, you just said a day or so. You may have been busy, but did
25 you have a recollection of the presence of soldiers from Kiseljak in the
1 area for a day or so?
2 A. I recalled that day, that evening of the 21 October. When I
3 arrived at the meeting, I saw that there were soldiers there whom I did
4 not know, not many in number, but there were some. Before that, I had not
5 seen them before. If they had arrived on the 20th, they may have, but I
6 had not seen them. They must have arrived on the 20th or the 21st because
7 they were there on the 21st.
8 Q. I don't want to press you any more than one more question, but
9 when I first asked you about this, you sought clarification of what I was
10 asking. You said to me: "If you are referring to before the 21st of
11 October, he was there a day or two before." And then you ended it by
12 saying that he was not there two days before. So he was definitely there
13 one day before, was he?
14 A. No. Let us clarify it. On the 20th, I was not in the command,
15 and I cannot say anything about that day. In the afternoon of the 21st,
16 soldiers, whom I did not know, and subsequently learned they were troops
17 from Kiseljak. Yes, then they were in the command.
18 Q. Or is it the position that you're here to give an account and you
19 can now remember that you've got to say that there was no meeting on the
20 20th, and therefore you are concerned about acknowledging that Rajic was
21 there on the 20th. Is that the position?
22 A. What do you mean? I came here to tell you in full consciousness
23 to say what I know for any person, for any fact, for anything. Just give
24 me the exact facts and I shall answer.
25 Q. Tell me a little bit more about what Rajic was doing there,
1 please. What was he there for?
2 A. Mr. Ivica Rajic is our superior commander. I, as the commander of
3 the signals platoon, cannot control a commander superior to me.
4 Q. Well, all right. Having got there, what did he do? Because we
5 might be able to work out from what he did what his purpose in being there
6 was. What did he do?
7 A. Except the meeting which was held in the evening hours of the 21st
8 in the command, I know for certain that the next day there was the
9 commander's reconnaissance of the ground around Dragovici and Mijakovici
10 and from two sides at that. Since the signals from that area, especially
11 from Mostar then Borovica [as interpreted] was very poor, I was at a point
12 where -- from which I could, if the need arose, transmit the information
13 to the command.
14 Q. That's a reconnaissance on the, as you would say, the 22nd.
15 Please tell us what was Mr. Rajic doing there? What did he do afterwards,
16 perhaps after you'd prepared your various maps?
17 A. No, I did not prepare any maps.
18 Q. My mistake, documents showing topographical points. What did he
19 do once he got all that material?
20 A. Mistake. The signals documents I did on the -- in the afternoon
21 on the 22nd of October, and I was at them until late hours of the evening.
22 Q. All right. What did Mr. Rajic do with them? When you were in the
23 army, he was your superior commanding officer. You must have an idea,
24 what did he do?
25 A. I am not sure. I think that those documents, with exception of
1 documents of code protection in the part of concerning place names, were
2 never used.
3 Q. Not even the one on Stupni Do?
4 A. I think you do not understand what signals documents are.
5 Q. Probably not. You better tell us.
6 A. If -- with the leave of the Honours, I shall tell.
7 Q. You can make it in summary. Just tell us in summary, what did
8 they do?
9 A. Very well. Signals documents are made of several parts. One of
10 them is place names and with the help of codes, they are turned into
11 numbers. For instance Stupni Do, rather than saying "Stupni Do" on the
12 radio link, you say "318", or part of the ground where there is fighting
13 or where there is artillery support also marked by numbers or some other
14 names, so in that part of the place names and these are called toponyms.
15 It is possible that this part of signals documents may have been used for
16 those -- in that part concerning place names.
17 Q. You prepared them in the late afternoon or evening of the 22nd.
18 Who did you give them to?
19 A. I gave it to the one who ordered it to me, and that was the
20 signals chief.
21 Q. What's his name?
22 A. His name is Mr. Zeljko Kokor.
23 Q. Is he still alive and well?
24 A. Yes, thank God.
25 Q. Where does he live?
1 A. I believe he's somewhere in the Republic of Croatia. I think he's
2 in Orabic [phoen].
3 Q. Just diverting from the matters we need your particular help on,
4 you live in Croatia and you don't live in Bosnia. Why didn't you try to
5 go back to live in Vares?
6 A. You said that I did not live in Bosnia, but I do live in Bosnia.
7 I live with the Bosnia. And last April, I finished some job in Kiseljak
8 because the place where I will live depends on the current job. In the
9 Republic of Croatia, at present, I work in Zadar. Before that, I did
10 several projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina. After the conclusion of the
11 agreement, I was the first one to get to Vares. I have been returning to
12 Vares and I still go back home to Tisovac in Vares.
13 My personal papers are still the papers issued by the Ministry of
14 the Interior in Vares. I have no other papers.
15 Q. It's just that your summary says that you live in Gradac near
16 Ploce in the Republic of Croatia; is that correct?
17 A. It is difficult to explain my life. In the statement with the
18 lawyer, I had to find a place where he would look for me if he needed me,
19 and I gave him this address because my wife has a telephone.
20 Q. Let's go back to the night of the 22nd or let's move on to the
21 early hours of the 23rd. What were you doing then?
22 A. Apart from the preparation of signals documents, I did nothing
23 else. And it was -- I did -- naturally, my daily job was the control of
24 signals equipment. And the signals centre informed me that all the links
25 were operational and that was the only thing that was of concern to me. I
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the
14 French and English transcripts.
1 did nothing else.
2 Q. Does having to do with the operational works of signals mean that
3 you actually hear what people are saying on the signals lines?
4 A. The system of signals is organised as a system, not as one line.
5 In the signals centre of the brigade, there were at least two radio nets.
6 One was KV for the superiors, and that was used only to verify the line,
7 and the second was the FM, and it was directed at subordinated units and
8 one could hear it. That is, the operator on duty at the moment could hear
9 it. The other one, the packet line could not be overheard.
10 Q. Which line was being used in Stupni Do?
11 A. In Stupni Do, the units who were performing at the mission, they
12 had received -- had their own line. It did not depend on our lines except
13 in certain ways. That is, when they requested medical assistance, then
14 they would turn to our signals department to call by telephone the
15 emergency aid because Witness AO had previously taken away the radio
16 equipment, and we had lost our radio communication line with the medical
17 station. That was the only role of our signals centre.
18 Q. From what -- did you hear something then of the signals that were
19 being transmitted from Stupni Do by these other forces? Did you,
20 yourself, hear something of them?
21 A. I do not know what could be of such an interest to listen to. One
22 could hear all the messages, those who were supposed to hear them. I
23 personally heard request for an ambulance to be sent from the spare parts
24 factory. That was a message I heard with my own ears via the station that
25 I had with me.
1 Q. Are you able to help the Judges, please, with what happened at
2 Stupni Do, from your knowledge at the time?
3 A. To tell you any detail about Stupni Do, briefly, it would only
4 mean diverting from what you probably already have. Stupni Do must be
5 viewed as a whole and treated as one whole. In my opinion, Stupni Do is a
6 military operation which, unfortunately, also incurred some civilian
8 Q. How did you learn of this? Did you learn of it over the radio or
9 did you learn of it from people who came back and told you about it? Tell
10 us, please, because we want to find -- I'll tell you why. We want to find
11 someone who's going to be able to tell us what happened there. Can you?
12 A. Personally, I visited Stupni Do when I was 7, and never again. I
13 do not know exactly how the operation was run, who ordered it, when he
14 ordered it. Our signal centre hardly was used for such an order, because
15 my men would have presumably informed me had anything unforeseen
16 happened. I do not know any details about Stupni Do. I do not. Only
17 reading the press, I saw that a crime had been committed. But was it
18 committed indeed or was it not, it is up to this Tribunal to decide.
19 Q. Now, the meeting that you went to that you say was on the 21st,
20 when were you instructed to go to that meeting? What day? The day
22 A. On the 21st of October, in the late hours of the afternoon, I was
23 called by telephone at Tisovac to immediately go to Vares, to the command
24 of the brigade, that is, at the Ponikve.
25 Q. There's another man we may be hearing about called Gvozdenovic.
1 Do you know that man? 1st Battalion logistics officer.
2 A. I know Mr. Gvozdenovic. He was assistant for logistics of the 1st
3 Battalion, assistant for logistics. The logistics man of the first
4 battalion was my cousin Mladen, and Gvozdenovic was his assistant.
5 Q. This man says he came to the hotel but didn't go into the
6 meeting. Was the meeting an important meeting?
7 A. Whether it was important, whether it was not important -- to my
8 mind, every military meeting is important, and this one was presumably
9 important, because the superior commander had arrived.
10 Q. Can you think of any reason why this man, Gvozdenovic, should stay
11 outside a meeting and not go in and listen to what was happening?
12 A. Whatever soldier you ask that, that is quite a logical
13 conclusion. Meetings should not be attended by assistant commander for
14 logistics of the 1st Battalion, because in the command there is a
15 hierarchy and there is the chief of logistics, and he is superior to all
16 other logistics operators, as we call them.
17 Q. How long do you say that meeting lasted? Five minutes, half an
18 hour, an hour? Tell us.
19 A. I attended only the last third of the meeting. I think so. I do
20 not know how long it lasted before I arrived, but after I arrived it did
21 not last much longer. And on the basis of conversations amongst members
22 of the command, I knew what they had been discussing.
23 Q. And Pejcinovic may have attended only part of the meeting as well;
24 is that correct?
25 A. If you mean Mr. Anto Pejcinovic, it is possible, but he was there
1 at the time when I was there.
2 Q. Had you by this -- no. Was one of the consequences of this
3 meeting an instruction that all the telephone lines other than the
4 military ones should be cut?
5 A. One of the earliest orders that I inherited when I became the
6 commander of signals was the combat order for signals, and that order is
7 issued in general and broadly. That order says that in case of offensive
8 combat attacks, the switchboard should be switched off and the man who
9 will supervise the centre shall be appointed.
10 That will tell you something else which you don't know and Their
11 Honours do not know it. Mr. Pejcinovic and Mr. Duznovic were trying in
12 every way possible to avoid, to prevent, conflict in Vares. In every
13 possible way they were trying to do it, even to the point of sacrificing
14 Croats. A few hours before the switchboard was cut off, a Muslim was
15 removed who had worked until that time without obstruction in the post
16 office. He was an expert on switchboards. And he worked there and nobody
17 obstructed him. We did not have such a man, and Anto Duznovic did not
18 allow anyone Muslim to be removed from his job.
19 Q. I think the answer is, but I may have missed it, I think the
20 answer is that, yes, the phone lines were cut off on the 22nd. Is that
21 right? And you did it yourself, for example, in the Bobovac Vares
22 Construction Company.
23 A. What date are you talking about?
24 Q. On the 22nd, in the evening, you went and cut off the phone lines
25 yourself at the Bobovac Vares Construction Company.
1 A. No. You are not handling your facts well. The telephone --
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Jelic, please don't comment upon counsel. You are
3 here to answer questions.
4 Mr. Nice, we would be grateful if this matter could be dealt with
5 as soon as possible, please.
6 MR. NICE: Certainly, in which case I'll deal with it very
8 Q. But just for that purpose, just to complete that topic, a person
9 called Hasan Sehidic, is that a person known to you? Because I'm
10 suggesting that he's made it clear that you cut the lines on the 22nd of
12 A. I do not know the individual Hasan Sehidic, nor did I cut off the
14 Q. I'm also going to suggest to you, and I'm going to do it very
15 briefly, that you were actively involved in the detention of prisoners in
16 Vares over the period of time with which we are concerned. Is that true?
17 A. It is not true, and I never detained anyone or issued an order,
18 nor did I in any other way participate in the incarceration of Muslims in
20 Q. Then, in short, and I'll just deal with one, that you must have
21 known about the detention of one of the Likic's, who was very badly
22 maltreated for a long period of time, and you must have known all about
23 it, because you were there; correct or wrong?
24 A. Wrong. Your Honours, correction. There is, under the name Tvrtko
25 Jelic, yet another individuals [as interpreted], and I really wouldn't
1 like to see that we are confused in the documents.
2 MR. NICE: Your Honour, in view of the Court's concerns, I think
3 I've put the detailed case to the previous witness. I've made my points
4 about the possibilities or reliability of recollection of the meetings.
5 In view of the attitude of the defendant when the date was gone into in
6 detail, I shan't take it any further. I'll leave it there. The witness,
8 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
9 Re-examined by Mr. Naumovski:
10 Q. Mr. Jelic, if I understand your last answer well, there is yet
11 another person called Tvrtko Jelic in Vares; is that so?
12 A. Yes, there is another person Tvrtko Jelic, but he is younger than
13 I am.
14 Q. Was he a member of the Bobovac Brigade?
15 A. He was a member of some unit. I do not know which one, but you
16 can get those facts.
17 Q. Very well. Thank you. A while ago you told us, when you spoke
18 about how you were to establish the communication with the emergency
19 station in Vares, you said that Witness AO had taken the radio station.
20 Where did he take this, or rather who did he seize it from, and when? Do
21 you know that, perhaps?
22 A. I do. On the eve of those developments in Vares, I was personally
23 called by the commander for logistics, Mr. Kruno Jelic, Krunoslav Jelic,
24 to his room, and there was Witness AO sitting too. And I was told by
25 Mr. Kruno Jelic: Is it absolutely necessary to seize signals equipment
1 from the ambulance? But the -- and he told me that Witness AO had already
2 seized the signals equipment from an ambulance and a station, radio
3 station, belonging to the clinic.
4 Q. Thank you. We do not have to go into all this detail, but Witness
5 AO, simply, what did he do? He just took it arbitrarily?
6 A. Yes. He did it arbitrarily, just as he did everything.
7 Q. Thank you. There was also mention about telephones, and that
8 meant telephones in the town of Vares, what you were asked by the
9 Prosecutor, isn't it?
10 A. Yes. All telephones which went through the automated switchboard
11 at the exchange at the Vares post office.
12 Q. And tell us, please: In the latter half of 1993 did you have a
13 telephone or fax line with areas outside the municipality of Vares?
14 A. We did not have a regular telephone line, because the Serb forces
15 had switched off our radio relays towards Vares.
16 Q. Very well. Thank you. And just incidently: Mr. Gvozdenovic, you
17 said he did not join the meeting. Was he one of the circle of commanders
18 who would normally attend the meetings of the brigade?
19 A. No. He is perhaps three rungs down.
20 Q. Thank you. And my last question: You repeated several times when
21 it was that you first saw Ivica Rajic, but then you used the following
22 word. You said, "If he came the day before, I did not see him, because I
23 was on assignment elsewhere, on Borovica or somewhere." Is that what you
25 A. Yes, that is what I said.
1 Q. Do you know precisely when he came?
2 A. I only heard when he came, but I can speak precisely only about
3 what I saw.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Jelic, Your
5 Honours. I have no further questions.
6 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Mr. Jelic. That concludes your evidence.
7 Thank you for coming to the International Tribunal. You are free to go.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now. Half past 9.00 Monday
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
13 at 12.15 p.m., to be reconvened on
14 Monday, the 10th day of July, 2000,
15 at 9.30 a.m.