1 Wednesday, 26 July 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honours. I would first kindly ask
8 the usher to distribute the document which I just gave when we stopped
10 WITNESS: ZELJKO SAJEVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examined by Mr. Kovacic: [Continued]
13 Q. While we're having the document distributed, perhaps just one
14 question that I omitted during the first part. Mr. Sajevic, you work in
15 the National Security Service of the BiH Federation today; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. That is the most important organ in the BiH Federation that is
19 involved in matters related to the security of the country; is that
21 A. Well, I don't know whether it's the most important, because there
22 are security organs in the armed forces as well, but it is one of the most
23 important, yes.
24 Q. Thank you. The document has been distributed, so let us dwell on
25 it for a moment, very briefly. Yesterday we mentioned that after the army
1 took away the weapons of the Territorial Defence, a bit later weapons were
2 taken from companies as well.
3 The first document we have here is a certificate of the handover
4 of ammunition and weapons. Can you confirm to the Court that this first
5 document clearly shows that the weapons handed over, according to this
6 list -- there is a description of the weapons here, and these are the
7 weapons that were in the SPS factory. It was handed over to the municipal
8 headquarters of the TO, that is, the end of 1990, that is, the 7th of
9 November, 1990. At that time you worked at the Territorial Defence and
10 you are aware of these events, aren't you?
11 A. Yes. At that time I did work in the Territorial Defence. I'm
12 aware of this event and I can confirm that what you said is correct.
13 Q. The second document that we have is a letter of the Council for
14 National Defence of the municipality.
15 JUDGE MAY: Let me follow this first document. Is this a
16 document -- it may be that the second one explains it, but I'm looking at
17 the first one -- a document showing the transfer of arms from the SPS, TO,
18 carried out by Mario Cerkez? And then there's a list of the items handed
19 over, but where will I find where they're handed over to?
20 THE INTERPRETER: Would the usher please put the document back on
21 the ELMO.
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] This document shows that it was
23 handed over by the company to the Territorial Defence, and we're going to
24 ask the witness what the future fate of this was. We just see the first
25 stage of the operation here.
1 JUDGE MAY: Let us do this in an orderly fashion. This document,
2 two pages, is that right, three pages in the English?
3 MR. KOVACIC: Right.
4 JUDGE MAY: -- of the 9th of November, should have first of all an
5 exhibit number.
6 THE REGISTRAR: D76/2.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic. If you could get the witness
8 briefly to explain it.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Sajevic, you have heard the Honourable Judge. Could you
11 please explain what this first document shows.
12 A. Well, this is the way it was. When the Galib action began, that
13 is to say, when weapons were first taken from the Territorial Defence,
14 first the weapons were taken away and put into the warehouses of the
15 Territorial Defence headquarters that had warehouses of their own.
16 However, it was probably more difficult for them to look for weapons, or
17 rather to seek weapons from a work organisation, such as the SPS was.
18 That was the factory that bought these weapons with their own money, and
19 they had adequate storage facilities for the mentioned weapons. In
20 addition to that, they had guards of their own, watchmen, around the
22 JUDGE MAY: Major Sajevic, I asked what the document said. Now,
23 could you please explain the document. Don't tell us about the background
24 or anything else; just explain what the document says, in a few words.
25 A. This document shows that Mr. Mario Cerkez, who was in charge of
1 these resources, handed over these resources to the municipal headquarters
2 of the Territorial Defence.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Just an additional question related to this document. The
6 document shows -- is this correct, that this was done with the
7 participation of a certain commission? Its members are mentioned here.
8 I'm talking about page 3 of the document, or rather the last page of this
9 document, and the head of the service of the SPS that was involved in this
10 particular activity, Dusan Lukovic, also signed this, and on the other
11 side there's a signature of the Territorial Defence Commander. That is
12 where you were; is that correct?
13 A. Correct.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The next document I would like to
15 ask for a number, please.
16 THE REGISTRAR: D77/2.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. The next document in this set of documents bears the same date,
19 and it is a document of the Council for National Defence; is that correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. This actually shows that the transfer that we saw in the first
22 document is actually being requested; is that correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] And now we'd like to look at the
25 next document, please, and I'd kindly ask for a number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: D78/2.
2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. There is a list here, a chart, that actually corroborates what the
4 first document says, and that is exactly what was handed over.
5 A. Exactly. And can I just add something to this?
6 Q. Yes, go ahead.
7 A. Also there are the numbers of the orders that we got from the
8 Municipal Staff of National Defence and also from The National Defence
9 Council of the municipality of Vitez, so all those documents are there.
10 Q. On the basis of which all of this was carried out?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] And the last document. I would like
13 to ask you for a number again.
14 Q. The last document is a copy of a newspaper article from those
15 days. It is dated the 8th of April, 1991. As a citizen in that area at
16 the time, do you know which newspaper this is?
17 A. Well, I imagine this was a Sarajevo evening newspaper.
18 Q. And the excerpt here says that in Vitez, specifically, of course,
19 the citizens reacted to all of this, because the factory bought weapons
20 with money of their own and then somebody took it away from them. And the
21 workers who voted within the self-management system of the enterprise, who
22 allocated money for the purchase of weapons, were now actually putting the
23 question where the weapons are. Do you agree with this assessment?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Is it correct on the basis of everything that we have been
1 discussing so far that weapons were taken away from socially-owned
2 enterprises at the time, that is to say, in the months of October and
3 November in Bosnia?
4 A. That is correct.
5 Q. What happened then?
6 JUDGE MAY: Before you go on, we ought to have a number for the
7 newspaper article.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The last one.
9 THE REGISTRAR: D79/2.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. What did the Territorial Defence do with the weapons at the time,
12 the Municipal Staff of the Territorial Defence in Vitez, actually?
13 A. The Municipal Staff of the Territorial Defence in Vitez
14 transported these weapons and other equipment to the warehouses of the JNA
15 where the rest of the weapons were too.
16 Q. On the basis of everything that we have said until now about these
17 weapons, is it clear that the Yugoslav Peoples' Army which, at that time,
18 was practically under the control of one republic only, the Republic of
19 Serbia, in this way basically disarmed the republics? First they took the
20 Territorial Defence weapons of the municipal organisations, and then they
21 even took the weapons that were the property of enterprises and that were
22 purchased by these same enterprises; is that correct?
23 A. That is my profound conviction.
24 Q. I think we can proceed now. Witness Sajevic, from the end of
25 1991, certain things started happening and they were reflected in all
1 walks of life including in the Territorial Defence where you worked. Is
2 it correct that this was the first time that divisions arose and different
3 views were expressed, all of this on the basis of ethnic differences? Can
4 you explain the process to us?
5 A. I personally noticed that there were certain divisions. At first,
6 these were only differences in views, different approaches of individuals
7 to this problem. Especially after the attack on the village of Ravno
8 where Croats were the victims, the Bosniak members of the Territorial
9 Defence staff, probably in pursuit of their official policy, simply
10 believed that this was none of their business. However, the Croats, in my
11 opinion, made the right assessment as to what lay in store for us, and
12 things could not have been the same when we realised what was going on.
13 Q. At that time, you, the Croats in Bosnia, saw what was happening in
14 Croatia as well; is that what you are referring to?
15 A. Yes, absolutely.
16 Q. Generally speaking, on the basis of what you've said, did it
17 become clear that the Bosniak side, during everything that was going on in
18 1990 and 1991, simply kept their distance from the entire problem not
19 expecting all these terrible things to happen to them as well? Could that
20 be said?
21 A. Yes, exactly.
22 Q. However you Croats in Bosnia, can we say that you were more
23 sensitive to this precisely because the Croat people of Croatia were
24 attacked at the time?
25 A. Well, in part because of that, but also in part because we saw
1 what the situation was like and how it was developing from Slovenia to
2 Croatia, and we came to the conclusion that something similar awaited us
3 as well.
4 Q. Thank you. Little by little this process took its course. Is it
5 correct that at that time, already in 1992, for example, in the spring of
6 1992, you felt quite unwanted in the Territorial Defence; is that correct?
7 A. Sorry, you said beginning of 1992?
8 Q. Yes, the beginning of 1992, the spring of 1992, you tell us
9 exactly. When did you first realise that you were not really wanted
11 A. Well, certain differentiations started already the beginning of
12 1992, when certain planned activities of the TO started taking place. I'm
13 referring to regular administrative activities. Also, some training was
14 conducted for the Command Staff itself and, in a way, there was a certain
15 division into groups. The members of the Bosniak people were trying to
16 impose their own method of work, if I can put it that way. And these
17 differentiations became more pronounced from day-to-day until they finally
19 Q. Is it correct that the volume of your work actually decreased
20 because you were not allowed to carry out your duties, it was other people
21 who were now carrying out your duties; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, that is correct.
23 Q. Is it correct that SDA meetings, that is to say party meetings
24 took place in Territorial Defence offices?
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. Is it correct that various documents were being concealed from the
2 Croat members of the Territorial Defence staff, that is to say, the
3 Bosniaks were doing that so that you the Croat members could not see
4 certain documents and information?
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 Q. And could you just tell me one more thing --
7 JUDGE MAY: Don't lead.
8 MR. NICE: Thank you.
9 JUDGE MAY: Don't lead from now on.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Could you tell me now, finally, how you got out of the Territorial
12 Defence staff, how all of this ended?
13 A. Well, I was, in fact, expelled from the Territorial Defence staff
14 in the following way: One morning I came to work as usual. At that time,
15 the Territorial Defence staff was already outside its peacetime premises,
16 that is to say, in a house that is about, I don't know, 400, 500 metres
17 away from our former premises. I entered the main room, we called it the
18 operations room.
19 Then my former colleague walked up to me, a man who had worked
20 with me before, Muhamed Patkovic, and he started with accusations, saying
21 that I was a traitor or something to that effect. He called a guard who
22 was in front of the building at the entrance, that is, and he said,
23 "Sajevic should be disarmed and detained."
24 The guard said the following to him: "Muhamed, you should be
25 disarmed first and then him." Why he said that, I really don't know. At
1 any rate, I left the premises of the then headquarters and I never
3 Q. Mr. Sajevic, please, at that moment, was there any reason, any
4 reason whatsoever, for the Territorial Defence as an institution to take
5 any kind of legal action against you as employees of the Territorial
6 Defence, any kind of action to have you dismissed, to take any kind of
7 action? Did you do something in order to deserve that?
8 A. I'm sure that I did not do anything to justify such proceedings.
9 Even more so because in the same room, there were four or five other
10 members of the staff as well who were also surprised, at least apparently,
11 by what he did and said, "Muhamed, what's the matter with you? What are
12 you doing?" But I just turned around and I walked out and I had no
13 further contact with them.
14 Q. Mr. Sajevic, amongst those present, there were both Croats and
15 Muslims at the time still?
16 A. I think at that time there was only one Croat colleague still
17 there, Goran something or other. I don't remember his last name. And of
18 the Muslims, that is Bosniaks, Sulejman Kalco was present, Zenada
19 Cousevic. I know about the two of them. I can't remember who the others
21 Q. Yes, of course. And do you remember if, at that time, the
22 Territorial Defence had already been left by Zeljko Vrebac a colleague of
24 A. No, Zeljko Vrebac was still there at the time.
25 Q. So he left after you?
1 A. Yes, a few days after me.
2 Q. And what about Mrs. Anna Granic, when did she leave, before or
3 after you?
4 A. Before me. I don't even think she had been invited as a member of
5 the TO staff to that forward command post in that house.
6 Q. You mean she's already dropped out?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What about Dravko Livancic, when did he leave?
9 A. Dravko Livancic left before me but he but he did not side with
10 the Croat people, to put it that way, but he went to Zenica -- but he was
11 in the barracks in Zenica with the JNA. And later on, allegedly, he went
12 to Zepce and --
13 Q. Right, right. But is it correct that this situation was forced on
14 him that he simply could not but leave?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. Muhamed Patkovic whom you mentioned in the later days
17 of the war, what kind of a man did he turn out to be?
18 A. I saw him very seldom, perhaps on a couple of occasions only, and
19 after that, I stopped seeing them altogether. But I heard from his
20 colleagues and after the war when we talked, that he had joined that --
21 what should I call it, I don't really know -- this Mujahedin movement of
22 those happily warriors, or something, something in that vein. But I don't
23 know. I did not see him. I did not talk to him.
24 Q. But we can agree, whatever the case, that he was one of the more
25 extreme members of the BH army?
1 A. Yes, I am profoundly convicted about that.
2 Q. And in 1993, he was Commander, precisely in that area, in the
3 Vitez pocket, one of the Commanders, wasn't he?
4 A. Yes, that is correct. Yes. Surely he was a Commander. I don't
5 know at what level, but undoubtedly he was one of the Commanders in those
7 Q. Are you aware that his name came up in some reports in 1993?
8 A. I can't remember just now.
9 Q. Very well. Thank you. The organisation of the HVO staff also
10 roughly began at the same time with these happenings in the Territorial
11 Defence, so could we perhaps date it to May 1992?
12 A. Yes, we could say that that was roughly the time.
13 Q. And at that time did the Territorial Defence form some units,
14 armed units, and then send them to some front lines against the Serbs?
15 A. At that time, the Territorial Defence did form some units and sent
16 them to fight the Serbs, I think somewhere in the direction of Visoko,
17 which is nowhere near the boundaries of our municipality, so that
18 practically it did not exercise its proper function in the municipality.
19 Q. In April 1992, the state of war was officially proclaimed by the
20 President or the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that
21 correct? Do you remember that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And at that time the Territorial Defence was moved to the "Yellow
24 House" at Podgradina?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. Could we agree, Mr. Sajevic, that as of May 1992 not one Croat
2 remained in the Territorial Defence?
3 A. I think, yes, we could agree about that. Without going into the
4 exact date, I can't remember, but I think that as of May there was nobody
6 Q. Very well. At the Municipal Staff that we've already mentioned,
7 which began to come into existence at the time, what was its task?
8 A. Well, the Municipal Staff of the Croat Defence Council was tasked
9 to try to organise in whatever way possible the Croat people in Vitez.
10 And I believe the same held true of other municipalities, to organise for
11 the struggle against the JNA and the Serb aggressor, because at that time
12 there had already been the shelling of Vitez and Busovaca. Serb aircraft,
13 I mean, combat aircraft, could still fly over and shell those areas. And
14 at the same time, in the areas of Turbe and Vlasic, the Serb forces were
15 amassing, so it was logical to assume that they were getting ready to come
16 down into the Lasva Valley and take certain areas, which meant that we had
17 to work towards the organisation of our defence.
18 Q. And within the framework of all this, this desire to organise
19 one's own defence, was it by that time clear that nobody else would
20 organise this defence for the Croats, because the Territorial Defence was
21 not aware or was not perceiving this danger of war in the same manner?
22 A. At the time we were clear that the Territorial Defence was not
23 perceiving this problem in the same light; however, we were -- there was
24 readiness on our part and there were attempts to achieve an understanding
25 with the Bosniak side about the establishment of joint formations which
1 would then be engaged in the defence of Vitez.
2 Q. Very well. But let us not move to the joint formation until we've
3 finished with this. You told us that the municipal HVO defence staffs
4 were to organise the people, to organise the defence. Is it correct that
5 from this organisational point of view, from the point of view of
6 organisation, these staffs had to organise the mobilisation or the affairs
7 related to mobilisation, things that were before that discharged by the
8 municipal boards for national defence, what we talked about, that is, to
9 prepare the lists of conscripts, their addresses, and so on and so forth;
10 all that goes with the mobilisation?
11 A. Yes, quite correct. One of the principal, one of the primary
12 tasks of the municipal staffs was at least to have an overview of
13 able-bodied men in the municipal territories and to try to organise it
14 somehow. Because at the time we were compiling those lists and everything
15 else, we were quite clear that at that time we could not count with the
16 members of Bosniak ethnicity.
17 Q. But the municipal staffs also assumed that other function, which
18 was previously divided --
19 JUDGE MAY: Stop leading.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the judge, please.
21 JUDGE MAY: Sorry. I didn't have my microphone on.
22 MR. KOVACIC: My idea was only to be faster, but certainly there
23 is no problem.
24 JUDGE MAY: Bring the witness to the point. Ask him briefly to
25 describe what happened. But evidence which is given by counsel does not
1 have any value. Ask him what the purpose -- what did the municipal staffs
2 do? What was their purpose?
3 Can you deal with that, Major Sajevic?
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Sajevic, which was the other function of the staff?
6 A. The other function of the staff was at first to bring together the
7 volunteers in the municipality of Vitez and to organise them in
8 groups -- one cannot speak about formations or anything -- and then to try
9 to conduct certain minor operations with those volunteers against the Serb
10 aggressor on Vlasic, at Turbe and so on. And those Vitez volunteers
11 launched those operations, but when they would come back they would simply
12 go home, naturally, and so on.
13 Q. Very well. Thank you. And who was the Chief of the Staff since
14 its -- as of its foundation?
15 A. That was Marijan Skopljak.
16 Q. And the order of magnitude, what was it? How many people got
17 together in the staff, as a skeleton?
18 A. Well, this first skeleton, I think we were some six or seven of
19 us, approximately.
20 Q. And was the second accused, Mario Cerkez, also part of the group?
21 A. Yes, Mr. Mario Cerkez was in that group, as a kind of -- how shall
22 I call it? -- deputy to Marijan Skopljak.
23 Q. And was there any difference in the jobs that Marijan and Cerkez
24 [as interpreted] discharged during the existence of the Municipal Staff
25 between April and December?
1 A. You mean Marijan Skopljak?
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. Marijan Skopljak was responsible for the policies of that
4 institution. And Mr. Mario Cerkez's responsibility mostly came down to
5 logistics, when it came to the equipment of the groups which went out to
6 conduct certain operations, and he at times headed those groups. I think
7 that that was what I might call his primary task.
8 Q. But is it true that his role was that he was slowly, to put it
9 that way, was climbing up the hierarchical ladder in that system?
10 A. Yes. We could say that he was advancing, because he was involved
11 in that from the beginning, so naturally he was advancing.
12 Q. Mr. Sajevic, tell us, please: That organisation, from when it
13 took shape until December 1992, did it have any rigid organisation, that
14 is, job description, communication between people, and so on?
15 A. Oh, come. No. There was no rigid organisation, nor had it been
16 laid down by any document. There were no rules on labour relations as
17 before, nor did we who worked there have any decisions appointing us to
18 individual jobs. I should say it was all on a voluntary basis, all
19 self-organised, and so on.
20 Q. You no doubt know that Mr. Cerkez directly participated in several
21 combat operations in the activities of the staff against the Serbs, that
22 is, that he personally took part in some operations; is that correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Could you give us some examples? I know it's difficult to
25 remember all of those stories today.
1 A. Well, for instance, on Turbe up there, then on Vlasic. I can't
2 forget -- oh, yes, Galica, I believe.
3 Q. Did Cerkez ever participate in Jajce fighting?
4 A. I don't think that he did it directly.
5 Q. But did he perhaps organise departures for Jajce?
6 A. Yes, he did do that.
7 Q. And is it correct that all those operations were only and
8 exclusively against the then-aggressor, which was the JNA, or rather the
9 army of Bosnian Serbs?
10 A. No doubt.
11 Q. And at that time -- we're talking about 1992 -- were there any
12 plans or ideas that a conflict with Bosnian Muslims might happen?
13 A. Absolutely not.
14 Q. And at the time when the front line was established on Vlasic
15 against the Serbs, then both sides -- that is, the BH army, which had been
16 established in the meantime, and the HVO -- held certain segments of that
17 front facing the Serbs; is that correct?
18 A. I cannot say exactly regarding the positions of the BH army,
19 because I was not up there directly, but I know that our guys went up
20 there. And the positions of the Armija and in what numbers were present
21 there, I wouldn't know. But I think that as far as the BH army was
22 concerned, at that time I do not think they were up there.
23 Q. Later on, when it became clear that both armies were up there, was
24 there any coordination there between them?
25 A. Again, I cannot say with certainty. There should have been. It
1 was called for to know who was on the left and who was on the right.
2 Q. And Mr. Sajevic, after all, could you tell us: When did the staff
3 stop its activity? The municipal HVO staff in Vitez, when did it stop
5 A. Well, the municipal HVO staff in Vitez terminated its work
6 sometime in the autumn of 1992, when the Defence Office in Vitez was set
7 up, and Marijan Skopljak was appointed the Chief of the Defence Office.
8 And it then took over the organisation and all other work related to this
9 aspect of work. And the rest -- and some other people left and the rest
10 of the staff remained there hanging in the air, so to speak, undefined.
11 Those were the early days of the formation of the Stjepan Tomasevic
13 Q. Mr. Sajevic, at that moment, when the office -- when the Defence
14 Office in the municipality was formed and when Marijan Skopljak and some
15 men took over that office and began to discharge those activities, you who
16 remained in that staff, who didn't really know what to do. You had
17 already been told by the HVO government that the intention was to set up
18 the brigade; is that correct?
19 A. It is.
20 Q. And is it correct that, as a matter of fact, you were waiting from
21 one day to the other for the brigade to be formed?
22 A. Well, yes, quite true.
23 Q. And as you were waiting, could you tell us if certain shifts went
24 to Vlasic during that period of time?
25 A. The shifts being sent -- at that time shifts to Jajce were already
1 been sent.
2 Q. And is it correct that at that time it was a matter of routine?
3 A. Well, you could say that it was a routine job, even though there
4 were problems here and there regarding the formation of the shifts,
5 because we practically had no instruments of coercion or discipline to
6 simply make a military conscript to go. It was all practically on the
7 voluntary basis.
8 Q. Is it true that when a military conscript would get summons, and
9 if he felt morally bound to respond, then he would respond; but if he did
10 not, then nobody could take him away by force?
11 A. No, nobody could take him away by force. He could devise a
12 thousand reasons not to go.
13 Q. Thank you. And just a few technical details concerning the
14 staff. Where was the first headquarters of the Municipal Staff when it
15 was established?
16 A. Well, the first headquarters were practically housed at Marijan
17 Skopljak's. Those were the early days, when the whole staff was being set
18 up. And then in the Vitez Hotel was the headquarters of the Municipal
19 Staff throughout.
20 Q. And after the hotel?
21 A. After the hotel, the Defence Office of Vitez was established, and
22 after the hotel, the brigade -- or rather we found -- we established --
23 we, this backbone of a kind, who were bringing together these volunteers
24 for the shifts, and until the establishment of the Stjepan Tomasevic
25 Brigade, when we moved to Novi Travnik.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 Q. Sorry?
2 A. So that I wouldn't know the date exactly, but the military
3 district of Vitez then moved into those offices in Hotel Vitez.
4 Q. And by "military district," you mean the Operative Zone commanded
5 by Tihomir Blaskic; is that correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. Perhaps we should explain to the Court, because in some documents
8 later there is different terminology. There's military district,
9 Operative Zone. Is it one and the same thing? And what was the official
11 A. At first, in the beginning of 1992, the official name was the
12 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. I think that at that time, I don't
13 know, I'm not too sure whether Tihomir Blaskic headed the Operative Zone
14 from the outset. I think it was Filip Filipovic at first, and then it
15 changed its name into the military district of Vitez headed by Tihomir
17 Q. At any rate, both terms, the Operative Zone and the military
18 district mean the same thing, that is the Regional Command of Central
19 Bosnia; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. Is it correct that during a brief period, a rather short period
22 after your headquarters was in the hotel, it was then moved to the cinema
23 already after Blaskic arrived in Vitez; do you remember that?
24 A. I think that at that time, when we went from the hotel to Novi
25 Travnik to the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, at that time, the Command came
1 to Vitez.
2 Q. You mentioned this a while ago but perhaps we should clarify it.
3 In the spring of 1992, and all the way up to the early summer, there were
4 some activities that you mentioned in an effort to conduct joint actions,
5 joint in the sense of BH army and the HVO, the HVO headquarters in Vitez
6 and the other side you did not -- did you cooperate well with them? You
7 tried to organise a joint defence against the Serbs, against the JNA.
8 What was all this about?
9 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, can you please try and ask short
10 questions; short, focussed and neutral questions. Simply ask: Was there
11 any cooperation in the summer of 1992 between the TO and the HVO? We'll
12 get on more quickly. The matter will be dealt with neutrally rather than
13 you making a speech.
14 MR. KOVACIC: I apologise my intention was to lead the story to
15 make it shorter, but I will certainly.
16 Q. [Interpretation] The question of cooperation at that time, the
17 spring and early summer of 1992, the attempts and the plans that were
18 made, were there any plans?
19 A. There were plans. Together with the Bosniak side, certain units
20 were supposed to be set up in order to act in defence against the Serb
21 aggressor. One form of cooperation was the exchange, so to speak, of
22 certain types of weapons. That is to say, that if we had something that
23 they needed, I mean if we had a surplus then we would exchange that.
24 However, on several occasions, meetings were scheduled with the
25 representatives of the Territorial Defence and the army. Well, the TO
1 actually, I think we can call it that now. There were supposed to be
2 concrete resolutions in terms of organising joint efforts. I took part in
3 such meetings myself. In a way, I was delegated by the Croat side. I was
4 supposed to conduct these talks. Franjo Nakic was with me. However, at a
5 few of these meetings, we achieved no results.
6 The last meeting that I recall was at the TO premises. Franjo
7 Nakic and I came to this meeting and after 15 minutes, when this meeting
8 had progressed for 15 minutes already, after the official part, we were
9 told that their side cannot adopt any conclusions or proposals until the
10 SDA party meeting that was taking place then was over. We did not want to
11 wait for the end of that meeting because that was a political party. We
12 thought that we could resolve some of these problems at that level so we
13 left. Those were these attempts to set up joint units.
14 Q. Even a name was envisaged for this joint unit, wasn't there? What
15 was it supposed to be called?
16 A. Well, there were proposals to call it the Croat Muslim Defence
17 Council. Also, we gave consideration to the establishment of a brigade on
18 the territory of the municipality of Vitez, they should be called the 1st
19 Vitez Brigade. This way, that way. There were different proposals,
20 different ideas.
21 Q. Mr. Sajevic, this was obviously a process -- or no, rather, was
22 this a process? Was this a process? Did this go on for a while?
23 A. Yes. Yes, it did.
24 Q. During one part of this process, did it seem that things would
25 work out?
1 A. Well, to me personally, it seemed that it would work out. We even
2 went so far as to draw up a list of the command of this unit that was
3 supposed to be set up. Some kind of a command of this Croatian Muslim
4 Defence Council which never came into being, but let's call it that way.
5 We wanted to have these different assignments given within the command.
6 Of course, this was never signed and it never went further.
7 Q. So can you tell us definitely, in conclusion, when was this idea
8 finally buried? When did you realise that obviously this could not work
10 A. Well, we realised that, I think, in the end of August 1992 that
11 nothing would come out of this idea in spite of all the attempts that were
13 Q. Mr. Sajevic, in your opinion, in your assessment, you were
14 involved. Was the failure of this idea the result of the attitude of the
15 soldiers in these negotiations or the politicians in these negotiations?
16 A. Well, I would say it was the politicians and their attitude in
17 these negotiations.
18 Q. Are you referring to the political parties when you say that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You mentioned the establishment of the office and of the brigade
21 at that time. Could you please tell us when the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade
22 was established?
23 A. The Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade was established sometime around the
24 beginning of December of 1992.
25 Q. Who was its first Commander?
1 A. Its first Commander was Borivoje Malbasic.
2 Q. Where was the first headquarters of the brigade?
3 A. Its first headquarters was in the Novi Travnik Hotel.
4 Q. They started from scratch in the establishment of this brigade.
5 There weren't any units that really preceded it and that then came to
6 constitute this brigade.
7 A. No, no, there weren't any official units whose successor it would
8 be, so to speak.
9 Q. And what was the post held by Mario Cerkez?
10 A. Mr. Mario Cerkez held the post of Commander of the brigade or
11 rather the Chief of Staff of the brigade.
12 Q. In your formations at that time, the Chief of Staff was
13 automatically the Deputy Commander; is that right?
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. When did Malbasic leave the post of the Commander of the Stjepan
16 Tomasevic Brigade?
17 A. I think this was in the month of January, 1993. I'm not sure. Or
18 later, later.
19 Q. Could it have been in February 1993?
20 A. Yes, it could have. Yes, it could have been in February. I don't
21 know the exact date.
22 JUDGE MAY: We've had evidence about this. If the witness doesn't
23 remember, don't pursue him.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. After that, there's no doubt about this, Cerkez took over the
1 command of this brigade; is that correct?
2 A. Correct. At first he was Acting Commander and then he was
4 Q. Thank you. There were a few of you from Vitez who were members of
5 the Command; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can you remember some names that come to mind?
8 A. In addition to Mr. Mario Cerkez and myself, there's the Stipo
9 Ceko, Tomislav Krizanac, there was -- just a moment, please -- Ivo Sucic.
10 I'm trying to remember now according to the different areas where people
12 Q. All right. At any rate, there were several of you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Is it correct that this was the only mixed brigade that covered
15 the territory of two municipalities in Central Bosnia at the time?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. All other brigades, all other HVO brigades established in December
18 1992 were strictly on the basis of one municipality, one brigade; is that
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 Q. Cerkez had two primary duties in this command from its very
22 inception even when Malbasic was there. Can you tell us what his primary
23 duties were in the briefest possible terms, two or three words only?
24 A. His primary duty, his basic duty was to coordinate, in a way, work
25 with the municipal structures of the municipalities of Vitez and Novi
1 Travnik in terms of logistic support, in terms of the materiel equipment
2 of the brigade. From time to time there was some misunderstandings in
3 this respect.
4 Q. What was his other task?
5 A. To organise the work of the Municipal Staff itself at the command
7 Q. What was the only task of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade at the
8 time within its zone of responsibility?
9 A. It's only task was to fight against the Serb aggressor. Its zone
10 of responsibility was where people went from Novi Travnik and Vitez, from
11 Slatka Vode all the way Kamenjas. I can show it on the map, too.
12 Q. This sector where the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade covered this -- I
13 mean it involved men from Vitez and Novi Travnik; is that correct?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. There were two battalions; is that correct?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. These battalions were based on the locations of the municipalities
18 concerned. One was primarily based in Novi Travnik and the other one was
19 primarily based in Vitez; is that correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Sajevic, you came to this command and you
22 were there at the same time when Cerkez was there, that is to say,
23 December 1992, March 1993. Can you say whether there were any conflicts
24 at that time between the BH army and the HVO in Novi Travnik while you
25 were there?
1 A. Well, I would not say that there were conflicts between the HVO
2 and the BH army. There were some minor incidents. I don't know. Things
3 just happened in the field, probably initiated by individuals. There were
4 no organised conflicts, no way.
5 Q. Do you think that there could have been any incident in which the
6 HVO, as a unit, could have taken part in any incident or conflict of
7 smaller proportions or larger proportions at someone's orders?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Are you sure of that?
10 A. Yes, I'm sure of that.
11 Q. I think we can now move on to the Viteska Brigade. Tell me,
12 please --
13 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, there were many evidences on that
14 matter. Probably my idea is just to show all the documents related to the
15 foundation of the brigade. That is all mentioned more precisely or less
16 precisely until now, and I think it is appropriate time to put all four or
17 five relevant documents in one binder, I should say, and present them
18 together as really detailed picture on how that started.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
20 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
21 Q. [Interpretation] While the document is being distributed, we can
22 already move on to that subject. At whose initiative was the Vitez
23 Brigade formed in the municipality, that is, to forego the principle of
24 two municipalities, one brigade?
25 A. I think the initiative came from the HVO government in the
1 municipality of Vitez because to all intents and purposes, this was the
2 only one without it's own formation.
3 Q. And just to tie it up with our first part, this is the logic, the
4 concept of the Territorial Defence which existed in Yugoslavia before the
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Will you please now look at this first document, document dated
8 1st of March 1993.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could we have the number, please?
10 THE REGISTRAR: D80/2.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Sajevic, I hope you had time to look at the document, and will
13 you please tell us, in a few words, what is it that transpires from this
14 document? Who writes to whom, and what is the request about?
15 A. This document shows that the defence office in Vitez requests from
16 the Command of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia for some changes in
17 the organisation and mobilisation. They are requesting that the
18 establishment of the brigade of the municipality of Vitez be immediately
19 embarked upon.
20 Q. So that would be the initiative that you mentioned. It is the
21 Defence Office which initiates the formation or rather submits such a
22 proposal to the Operative Zone; do we agree about that?
23 A. Yes, we do.
24 Q. Did you know at the time that there was such an -- that such an
25 initiative had taken place?
1 A. Yes, I did know it.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Now, the next document, and the
4 number, please, the document of the 12 of March 1993.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Document D81/2.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Will you please have a look at the document. Do you agree -- or,
8 no, would you comment on this document? What does it mean? What
9 transpires from it? What is it Cerkez's tasked with?
10 A. This document is -- well, say, has the weight of an order, that
11 is, the Commander of the Operative Zone or rather the military district,
12 excuse me, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, in his order, appoints Mr. Mario
13 Cerkez as a coordinator to prepare the ground, so to speak, for the
14 formation of the Vitez Brigade.
15 Q. Very well. Thank you. And now the next document, third document,
16 at least the number, 23rd of March, 1993.
17 JUDGE MAY: One of those documents, if not all of them, have
18 already been, I guess, presented by the Prosecution.
19 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. Some of them, yes. I cannot claim in this
20 moment, but I guess that one which is just numbered 81/2 was entered.
21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, could you explain
22 this to me? In your defence case, what importance do you attach to the
23 presentation of these documents to the witness for the witness just to
24 state what is in those documents? If we look at the previous document
25 which is submitted, I think it needs no commentary, and the witness just
1 says that indeed the document states that Cerkez is the Commander of the
2 brigade and, as is stated in this other one, that he is in charge of
3 organising, supervising, coordinating, administrative activities,
4 et cetera. I don't think this is necessary, because this has been
5 submitted already. The document exists. That we know.
6 So I think you should take into account what has been said to you
7 so far and present a case in a relevant way, and that is to say, as to the
8 elements that have to be taken into account, in order to present your
9 case. I think you've got to focus on this. It is really superfluous to
10 come back to facts that we are aware of just for a witness to tell you,
11 "Yes, I'm reading paragraph 2 of this order." This is really not
12 relevant for us.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I shall be mindful of your caution.
14 We wanted to adduce all the documents which are of relevance for the
15 establishment of the brigade, because yesterday the question was raised
16 again as to the date of the establishment of the brigade. I think that is
17 a relevant question. Because we have to really establish whether in those
18 days, on the eve of the conflict, my client had already a brigade or not,
19 and when did he have that brigade. I think we should simply clarify once
20 and for all the sequence of events, who established it, when was it
21 established, and so on and so forth.
22 JUDGE MAY: But the problem, Mr. Kovacic, is this: That we're
23 going to get into a very considerable muddle if you're going to produce
24 documents which have already been produced and already have numbers. And
25 I'm not going to stop you now, because you've already organised it, but in
1 future, I must ask you, if you're going to produce documents, that we go
2 by the original number and we don't introduce another set with a different
3 number. It will lead to chaos if this sort of thing goes on.
4 Now, the last one that we had, I suspect at least two of these
5 we've already seen, and in future can you concentrate and simply refer to
6 the original number as presented by the Prosecution.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Certainly, Your Honour. There is no doubt. The
8 idea was only to put here in one place all four available and relevant
9 documents related to that issue, and particularly because yesterday there
10 was the issue raised of reality of that date.
11 JUDGE MAY: What is the issue? Mr. Nice, can you help? What's
12 the issue?
13 MR. NICE: The actual documents, which -- the documents, many of
14 which we've put in, indeed speak for themselves. The issue is the de
15 facto state of power of Mr. Cerkez before the actual formation, or the de
16 jure formation of the brigade in March of --
17 JUDGE MAY: That's a matter of evidence, but you're not arguing
18 with the documents?
19 MR. NICE: I'm not arguing with the documents, no.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
21 MR. KOVACIC: And surely, Your Honour, I will not introduce the
22 documents which are already registered, but I have to mention that there
23 are indeed quite a lot of documents which were introduced a couple of
25 JUDGE MAY: But if it's happened in the past, it should stop.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 MR. KOVACIC: I will stop it. That is the only occasion when I
2 felt that it should be practical to have them all connected together once,
3 for the purpose of practicality. But I will not do that again.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sajevic, the third document of the 23rd of
5 March, that is, the list -- you already had time to go through it -- this
6 is a list of people -- will you please explain what does it mean? What is
7 the significance of this?
8 A. This is simply, the President of the HVO is requested to approve
9 the composition of the brigade that we could come up with at the moment.
10 Q. Are you aware that this is a document which the HVO government,
11 that is, the civilian authorities, sends to the Operative Zone, that is,
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. So it is the civilian government is telling Blaskic, the army, "We
15 agree with this. This is our proposal"?
16 A. Yes, of course.
17 Q. And this is the Territorial Defence concept that we talked about.
18 It is the municipality which organises its local defence?
19 A. Yes, of course.
20 Q. But the municipal brigade will then come, according to the chain
21 of command, under the Operative Zone?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And what about its funding?
24 A. That is the municipality, by and large.
25 Q. Thank you. And the last document, which, as Their Honours have
1 already mentioned, has already been adduced, the document of the 24th of
2 March, 1993 --
3 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, I don't know. Shall we give it a
4 number or shall we just put the number that it's already been given?
5 JUDGE MAY: The last occasion we will use a new number, but in the
6 future they are to have the original number.
7 THE REGISTRAR: The document of the 23rd of March, 1993 will be
8 numbered D82/2; and the last document, D83/2.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. This document I do not think requires any comment. Do you agree
11 that it corresponds with the facts about what you know?
12 A. Yes, I do.
13 Q. Is it correct that you, members of the Command, on that particular
14 day, the day when Cerkez was formally appointed the Commander, also came
15 to consider this day as the day of the formation of the brigade?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Is it correct that as of that moment you became intensively
18 involved in the organisation of the Brigade Command?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And what was your priority? What was your objective that you laid
21 before yourselves?
22 A. Our objective was to form, to establish the Command of the
23 brigade, to see in formation terms what units should this brigade have, to
24 try to make some skeletons of those units so as to enable it to function,
25 to organise the command post, and that was done in those days.
1 Q. And in those days did you continue sending shifts to Vlasic?
2 A. At that time, shifts were not sent to Vlasic but to Zlatka Vode.
3 But yes, there was no interruption. Shifts continued to go out.
4 Q. I'm sorry. I used the wrong term. Slatka Vode Kamenjas; is that
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. And is it correct that soldier Bertovic was performing this job
8 alone and more or less routinely?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. And at that time, until the end of March, did you ever think,
11 regardless of all sorts of events, but did it ever occur to you that there
12 might be a direct confrontation, that is, an all-out war between the BH
13 army and the HVO? At that time, if you could give us your view.
14 A. I can. At that time it never crossed my mind that something like
15 that might happen, not even in the worst of nightmares.
16 Q. Until the 16th of April 1993, when the conflict began, or perhaps
17 the day before that, could you give us a rough estimate, in a couple of
18 sentences, regarding the level of organisation or the degree to which the
19 brigade had been organised by the time?
20 A. Well, let me see. By the 15th or 16th of April, it was a very
21 short period of time, and it is well-nigh impossible to organise a brigade
22 as a brigade in line with its formation concept as to how it should look
23 like. I do not think that even much stronger, much richer countries could
24 do it in such a short period of time. Because the formation of the Vitez
25 Brigade, we called it a brigade, but all the military experts the world
1 over know how strong a brigade needs to be. And I can freely say that we
2 never had a brigade. We still do not have it, all these years after the
3 end of the war. I'm a hundred per cent sure that to this day we have not
4 yet organised a proper brigade in formation times.
5 So we were simply involved in an attempt to organise certain
6 groups in some parts of the municipality and to somehow bring them
7 together, to try to make them into wholes. We cannot speak about
8 formation entities and units, because those were nonexistent, but simply
9 in order to coordinate their work easier, to send them out, and that was
10 what we were involved in.
11 Q. Very well. Perhaps we may come back to it for further
12 clarification, but I should simply like to show you a document and ask you
13 to explain the document for me.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Would the usher please help me.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Document D84/2.
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Sajevic, this is a very, very poor printed copy from a
18 different case, and I have a handwritten copy of the same document in
19 Croatian. Will you please look at the date and the time and the
21 A. This is just another proof corroborating what I said before. It
22 was only as late as the 14th of April that the request was sent out for
23 the replenishment of the Vitez Brigade to the Defence Office.
24 Q. And what, according to you, does this document means?
25 A. This means that the first men began to be enlisted in the brigade,
1 which should number, I don't know, 1.000 something. So we were merely
2 asking the Defence Office to officially send us men for their wartime
3 assignment in the brigade.
4 Q. Does this mean that it is correct to say that the Defence Office,
5 in line with the concept that we spoke about, was to choose men based on
6 their profile, on their specialisation, which you would then assign to the
7 brigade? Is that correct?
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. Is it correct that at that time you had a certain number of men,
10 those going through those shifts, and that they were the only force that
11 you had at the time?
12 A. Yes, that is correct, and that is why here we have a very short
13 deadline, the 20th of April, to comply with this task. But of course that
14 deadline could not be complied with. And the next one -- but then we had
15 a couple of those groups of volunteers on whom we could rely for the
16 organisation of shifts, and Mario, therefore, thought that perhaps they
17 should be given a shorter deadline, or rather a very short deadline, to
18 comply with this task, to expedite the whole business.
19 Q. And would you agree that at that time that you mentioned, those
20 groups from the lists which were activated, that they were -- that they
21 did not exceed 300?
22 A. Yes, not more than that. Not more than that.
23 Q. Thank you. Do you agree --
24 JUDGE MAY: I don't know whether that's in dispute, but you led
25 that evidence. You do understand, Mr. Kovacic, that if you lead
1 evidence: "Do you agree, from the list you were activated, that they did
2 not exceed 300?" Now, I take it that that is an issue which is central to
3 this case, and by giving the evidence yourself, you destroy its value.
4 You must ask questions of this sort in a neutral way.
5 MR. KOVACIC: I apologise, Your Honour. I certainly will, but I
6 thought that 300 is indisputable. It is entered by the Prosecution, and
7 we, at that time, did not contest it.
8 JUDGE MAY: Well, just ask the witness and let him -- he was
9 there. Let him give his evidence about what the position was.
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, you have to be
11 logical. Either this figure is not challenged, then there's no use having
12 the witness talk about it; or there is a need for his testimony, then you
13 must put a neutral question to him. You can't say, "I'm going to lead on
14 this because it is not challenged," because that is equivalent to a waste
15 of time.
16 MR. KOVACIC: My apologies. I will try to avoid such situations.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Could you tell us, please: In the evening of the
18 15th of April, 1993, where were you?
19 A. I was at home in my apartment. I was ill.
20 Q. And did you -- were you summoned to the Command then?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Will you tell us, in your own words, who happened to be there and
23 what were you told then?
24 A. I was bedridden, and around 1900 in the evening, the officer on
25 duty in the brigade, I think it was Josip Zuljevic, who called me on the
1 telephone and said that the Commander had ordered me to come to the
2 brigade, to the offices. And I said that I was really ill, that I was
3 running a high fever, of 40 degrees C, and he said, "Right. Very well,"
4 and put down the receiver. And then later on, a couple of hours later, he
5 called again and said that I should come to the Command premises at
6 whatever cost.
7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, yes. Would that be a convenient moment?
9 We'll adjourn now for half an hour.
10 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
12 JUDGE MAY: Just one matter I'm going to raise before we go on.
13 Mr. Nice, I wonder if you could give us your assistance on this
14 matter which considers this practice of putting in duplicate exhibits.
15 Now, it may be that it's been going on for sometime and somehow we haven't
16 really focussed on it, but it's going to lead to complete chaos in final
17 submissions and in the judgement if there are duplicate exhibits. So I
18 think over the recess, we will need your assistance in the matter so that
19 when we come back, we will find out where the duplicates are and all
20 duplicates will simply be removed, and we'll simply have one exhibit.
21 I mean the rules should be this, that once the document or
22 anything else is exhibited, that is the mark which it has in the trial. I
23 suspect what has been happening, and I'm afraid it's -- we've only really
24 focussed on it with Mr. Kovacic, is that the documents are being put in
25 perhaps because it was thought more convenient that they were all
1 together, but nonetheless, it's a -- the knock on effect is to create a
3 MR. NICE: Very well, Your Honour. We'll, of course, do all we
4 can to help. I think the position is that -- I don't think we've put in
5 any duplicates. I hope not. I'm sure not in, in fact.
6 You will find when you come to consider the outstanding exhibits
7 submitted by the Kordic Defence that there are very large numbers of
8 duplicates there. Now, you've had a filing - not a filing, I can't
9 remember what we've put in, either a filing or a document in tabulated
10 form - to assist you in making your decision about the Kordic outstanding
11 exhibits and we have identified there, I think, the exhibits that are
13 JUDGE MAY: Well, I think probably what we shall do is order those
14 to be removed. If they are already exhibited, it's pointless to have them
15 in another time line. It may be convenient for documents, for lists to be
16 produced where documents -- where parties want to refer to documents in a
17 particular order but, nonetheless, they should then, nonetheless, be
18 within the old exhibit system. Once a document is exhibited, that's it.
19 MR. NICE: Two very short points. In fact, I think that where
20 they have duplicated documents, the Kordic Defence have also put it on
21 their indices so it's quite easy to pick up. The second point which we
22 shouldn't overlook is this: Where a transcript reference is to the other
23 exhibit, the second produced exhibit, somehow we've got to be able to
24 capture that that relates to the first exhibit.
25 That isn't going to be that easy but maybe wherever -- if we
1 forget, for the time being, the documents recently submitted by the Kordic
2 Defence and we freeze the position now, then what we will be looking for
3 is within the volumes of materials provided by the Defence, the two "D"
4 series of exhibits. We should perhaps prepare a little schedule that says
5 D, XYZ/1 equals Z whatever it is. Then for us looking at LiveNote and
6 preparing either closing submissions or judgement, if we aren't sure what
7 a document is, it will be easy for us to find it.
8 JUDGE MAY: Well, it's as well that we are on to it now because it
9 really is a recipe for total confusion. The exhibits should be referred
10 to by their original exhibit number so that will mean their Z number. If
11 there are collections in that -- in the Defence exhibits, either we shall
12 rule about, because they are duplicates, or if there is argument which
13 persuades us otherwise, they will simply be in the bundle but under their
14 original exhibit nomenclature.
15 MR. NICE: Ms. Verhaag has apparently been carefully tracking
16 these, and she may already have, I think, a schedule similar that will
17 enable her in the negotiations that you've instructed us to have with
18 Registry over outstanding Defence exhibits to prepare a document that will
19 guide us all.
20 JUDGE MAY: It will be much easier. There is so much paper in
21 this case, it will be much easier. And I'm minded at the moment to say
22 that there is no duplicates in any form, and we'll simply return them.
23 Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would not like to go
25 into a debate, but perhaps I should present our position in a word or
1 two. There is no doubt that until now, the practice in this case was that
2 on many occasions, and I can't even give the exact numbers, that the same
3 documents were introduced under different numbers. That is a fact.
4 JUDGE MAY: If it has been, it's regrettable. It's obviously a
5 matter which the Trial Chamber didn't focus on, but it's a regrettable
6 practice which should stop and a document should simply have one number.
7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I fully agree with Your Honour. I
8 do apologise that I was the person who duplicated things today, but the
9 point was to link-up four documents here, because the indictment does say
10 that the brigade was established in 1992. So my only objective was to
11 link them up. I do apologise if I caused this problem now.
12 JUDGE MAY: There's no need to apologise, but it's quite simply
13 done. You produce your four documents but with their original numbers so
14 it would be Z this, Z the next.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: There is absolutely no loss to you by that
16 device. You can still make use of the Prosecution exhibit.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Kovacic, if you would follow that practice
19 in future, it might be helpful. If tomorrow you would give us the numbers
20 of the Z numbers of the documents which have been introduced today, if you
21 could simply do it in tabulated form with the Prosecution, perhaps, so we
22 can alter our records. But no need to do it today. Yes, let's move on.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Major Sajevic, you remember where we stopped. You said that you
25 were taken out of bed and that you received a phone call. Did you go to
1 headquarters then?
2 A. Yes. I went between 2000 hours and 2030, something like that.
3 Q. Who did you find there?
4 A. In headquarters, I found a few of my colleagues which was almost
5 normal, because there was somebody always who was in the field here and
6 there, and I found Mr. Cerkez there.
7 Q. So Cerkez was already there when you arrived; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What did Cerkez tell you, the officers who were present there?
10 A. Well, I asked him why he was calling me and what was up. I had no
11 idea what was going on and what was so urgent, why did I have to come in
12 that ill. He explained to me that there were several incidents in the
13 recent past with the BH army and that there were some indications that
14 there might be a more serious incident, something to that effect. And
15 that we should get a group of people together in order to secure the road,
16 communication towards Kruscica and Vranjska. Perhaps at a given point in
17 time, we should stop the BH army forces from entering town.
18 JUDGE MAY: Who is "we" in this context? Who is "we" referring
20 A. Well, I'm referring to those men who were in that period of the
21 establishment brigade who were with us, I mean, who were on the lists.
22 That's what I mean. I mean the HVO soldiers and the members of the
23 Viteska Brigade who were members at that moment.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Sajevic, did Cerkez say anything about the sources of this
1 information, how did he get this information or this estimate?
2 A. First, I asked him whether there was an order in writing for such
3 activity, and he said that there wasn't any. He said that he received
4 this information at the Command.
5 Q. The Commander of the Operative Zone at that time was who?
6 A. The Commander was Tihomir Blaskic.
7 Q. Did Cerkez say anything about that, that he would get a written
8 order, or did you ask about it at all, or was this only natural to expect
10 A. I asked, and he said that during the night a written order should
11 arrive but that it should not say anything new. That is a situation that
12 was being repeated for the umpteenth time. Our attention was being drawn
13 to the fact that we should be a bit more cautious. This time perhaps it
14 could be more serious, because there had been mounting tensions between
15 the BH army and the HVO, as I already mentioned, after the provocations
16 and incidents that had already occurred, on a smaller scale, of course.
17 Q. Major Sajevic, did this information lead to the conclusion that an
18 attack was expected for sure, or was there a degree of assessment
19 involved, estimation?
20 A. I could not get the impression that there was 100 per cent
21 certitude involved as far as this attack is involved. This was an
22 assumption that there could be such an attack.
23 Q. Very well. When did Cerkez leave the Command?
24 A. I don't know when he left. Since he saw I was ill -- he actually
25 called me to check out the operative documents at the level of the
1 brigade. When he saw that I was really sick, that I was perspiring, that
2 I had a fever, he told me to go home and to do whatever I could to get
3 better, and that it wasn't that urgent, that I could check these documents
4 out in the morning. So I went home, and I don't know when Mr. Cerkez left
6 Q. When did you go back to the brigade, to the brigade headquarters?
7 A. I returned earlier in the morning. I wanted to check out these
8 documents. And since the men on duty were doing their jobs, I came to
9 headquarters early in the morning. Perhaps it was 5.30. I can't say for
10 sure now. At any rate, before official working hours, that is to say,
11 before 7.00 in the morning.
12 Q. In the evening, after you found out about this from Cerkez, did
13 you discuss this with your colleagues? Did you discuss this information
14 that you received from Cerkez?
15 A. When I received this information from Mr. Cerkez, I spent five or
16 ten minutes, at the most, in headquarters and I talked to a few
17 colleagues. And they said, "What is this?" And one of them said, "Well,
18 this is the usual thing, provocations as usual. Well, nothing
19 particular. Perhaps we should be more alert at the front line and perhaps
20 a few people should be sent to the route towards Kruscica." So nothing
21 special. I turned around and went home.
22 Q. When you went home, what were your personal thoughts about this?
23 What was your conclusion on the basis of everything that you had heard?
24 What was your perception?
25 A. Well, this is how I took it. Until then, on several occasions
1 there were some minor incidents, when the Operative Zone also told us in
2 writing that we should be on the alert, that we should increase the level
3 of combat readiness. That simply meant that a few men should go to
4 certain positions and that they should be ready to act in a more operative
6 As for calling up other personnel from home or if there was a
7 group that was together, well, perhaps -- well, that's it: keeping that
8 level of alertness. I thought that that was it, and I assumed that
9 perhaps the situation was a bit more serious because of the events that
10 had occurred recently, like what happened to Mr. Totic and all that.
11 That's well-known. But I don't know. Not in my wildest dreams did I
12 believe that there would have been an open conflict. I don't know. This
13 was simply inconceivable to me.
14 Q. Mr. Sajevic, that evening there was also some information about
16 A. I remember, while I was still at headquarters -- well, I don't
17 know whether it was the officer on duty who received this information or
18 whether somebody had come from the outside and said that he had heard some
19 kind of shooting from the direction of Kuber, but we did not have any
20 special information. Later on I found out that through communications,
21 wire communications - I think it was wire communications - they were
22 trying to check what was going on up there, but they didn't succeed. Only
23 later, a day or two later, I found out that up there there was shooting,
24 that there were casualties. I think that two of our members went missing
25 that day and they are still registered as missing. That's what I know
1 about that.
2 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, just for a full understanding, and in
3 relation to maps presented by Witness Elford, I would like that the
4 witness show us a map of the position which was described as a main
5 position for the brigade, where they should expect a possible attack,
6 simply for better understanding, so we all have the picture.
7 JUDGE MAY: He can be referred to any exhibit, if it's an
8 exhibit. Or if you want to put a map in, do.
9 MR. KOVACIC: I would like to put the map, this graphically good
10 map, where the points are clear.
11 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Let's have a look at it. If you're going
12 to put this in, you'll have to explain who has marked it.
13 MR. KOVACIC: I will explain everything, Your Honour, just
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll have an Exhibit number.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D85/2.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Witness Sajevic, is it correct that you prepared this map and that
19 you explained the positions to me through this map?
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Can you explain to the Court, starting from the legend, what it
22 says, and briefly what these lines mean and what you are trying to
24 A. I tried to depict on this map the positions of the personnel of
25 the Viteska Brigade on the 16th of April at 0530 hours. Later, I was
1 familiarised with the document received from the Operative Zone, ordering
2 the takeover of these positions, as mentioned, at 0530 hours in the
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the registry to
5 get document D60/2 for us so that we can ask the witness whether that is
6 the order that he has just referred to.
7 JUDGE MAY: While that's being done, does this map show the
8 positions after the forces had moved into the places they were ordered to,
9 or does it show before?
10 A. Here in the legend it says, and that is how I wanted to show it,
11 that this was the situation, the deployment, at half past 5.00 in the
12 morning, based on the order received. So that is where our forces were to
13 be at that time.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Witness Sajevic, I shall now ask you to look at this order. This
16 is a document already adduced. From its contents, can you tell us if it
17 is these positions that were referred to a few hours before that by
18 Cerkez? Is that what he told you, that he had received a verbal order and
19 that it would arrive in writing in due time? Would that be it?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So these positions which you drew here on the map are showing the
22 positions requested in item 1 of the order?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. So the order, that is, item 1 of the order, lays down the task for
25 the brigade?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 A. No doubt.
2 Q. And that is what you drew here?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I should like to draw your attention to item 3 of the order, where
5 Commander Blaskic gives a description, and I shall read it now:
6 "In front of you are the forces of the 4th Battalion of the
7 military police. Behind you are your forces. To the right of you are the
8 forces of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski unit, and to the left of you are the
9 civilian forces."
10 Now, in view of this description, from which angle is it, was it
12 A. It is from the south northward, that is, towards Zenica, from
13 which one expected that possible sabotage and subversion groups might be
14 infiltrating. So it was in that direction, from that point of view. So
15 it is northward, from the south. So the first thing, to avoid any
16 confusion, or rather south-west to north-east. That is the direction.
17 Q. Does that mean that the Superior Commander writes this order
18 looking in the direction of the strongest enemy forces from which he
19 expects an attack? Is that correct?
20 A. It is.
21 Q. So if we reconstruct it on this map, then, and if this item 3 is
22 projected, superimposed on this map, what does it mean? If you are
23 somewhere here on the river, on the blue line, where then is the 4th
24 Military Police Battalion?
25 A. According to this definition, the Military Police 4th Battalion is
1 to the north-east, from our position, that is.
2 Q. That is, it is between you and Zenica; is that correct?
3 A. It is.
4 Q. But do we have any closer identification, what is to the
5 north-east? What do you have in the north-east?
6 A. I don't understand you.
7 Q. What localities are there, because we have indicated the enemy
8 positions here. What localities did the 4th Military Police Battalion
10 A. Well, in any event, in front of the forward positions of the BH
11 army, I wouldn't know the exact localities because, I mean, I wasn't
12 there. I didn't make a round of those places at that time. But -- so --
13 but naturally, they would be -- let me simplify it that they were between
14 these two green lines.
15 Q. Will you use the pointer to show it to us on this map.
16 A. So it would be logical for them to be somewhere here.
17 Q. Does that mean that they could also be in the territory of Ahmici
18 and villages around Ahmici?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And what does this mean, "behind you are your forces"?
21 A. If we are looking -- may I just explain something, if I may? To
22 me, this order is slightly contradictory because at some -- it says,
23 "Forces behind you. Forces in front." In both cases, the positions of
24 the Vitez Brigade men are clearly defined. But if we look at item three,
25 which says that the forces of the 4th Battalion are in front of us, then
1 evidently, it is the direction Vitez/Zenica which is meant.
2 In that case, the forces which are behind us are merely groups of
3 15 to 20 strong which was in the motel in Kruscica. Those men -- those
4 forces could then be behind us.
5 Q. Are you referring to the motel where the departures of your shifts
6 to Kamenjas, Slatka Vode were prepared; is that the group that you mean?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What does it mean, "to the left of you are civilian police
10 A. Might that be -- what would you say -- "to the left of us" means
11 civilian police forces, those would be the forces practically in the town
12 itself, and facing those BH army forces which were in Mahalla, in Stari
13 Vitez. So that would be to the left of us. If we look at item two -- no,
14 item three, excuse me, so that would be to the left of us.
15 Q. And then the right of you, Nikola Subic-Zrinjski, what does that
17 A. That means that our right neighbour was the HVO brigade from
18 Busovaca, then to the right of us were men of the Busovaca HVO.
19 Q. And not far from your right flank is also the municipal boundary;
20 is that correct?
21 A. It is.
22 Q. And that means then that Nikola Subic-Zrinjski was in the
23 territory of its municipality?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. This need not be the municipal boundary taken literally?
1 A. Well, no. Plus/minus 100 metres does not really mean anything.
2 Q. And the third thing that I wanted us to ascertain from this order
3 is as follows: Could you explain item two, please, briefly? What does
4 that mean? Because it defines in detail, it lays out in detail the task
5 for your troops, four your brigade. So one is the direction and two is
6 the particulars. Could you tell us, what does this mean?
7 A. Item two to me, it simply complied with the layout of orders, that
8 is, this is where tasks for smaller groups are set out. So you have the
9 assignments so that one could know what group is tasked with what. But to
10 me, to my mind, this one combat assignment was not necessary because I
11 gathered that this was to mean rather the blocking of communications to
12 prevent access from Kruscica into town for some forces of the BH army.
13 And these forces here, I don't really know. Perhaps up there
14 Vrasnjska, Crveno Brdce, which is the wooded area and their forces could
15 be used to search the woods to see if, perchance, some groups were
16 infiltrated there or something like that.
17 Q. And the final question about this order: Does it transpire from
18 any of the components of this order that your unit had been ordered an
19 offensive active operation?
20 A. No.
21 Q. If one looks at some categorisation of military orders, is this a
22 offensive or a defensive order?
23 A. This is evidently a defensive order, and that is what its title
24 says too. But even the order itself shows that this is a form of combat
25 operation of a purely defensive nature.
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
2 JUDGE MAY: You are moving from the map. If you want us to take
3 it into consideration, Mr. Kovacic, it's not translated.
4 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, could I do that for tomorrow? We
5 simply omitted that. It is one sentence. I, of course, will read it.
6 JUDGE MAY: What does it mean?
7 MR. KOVACIC: The text on the map is -- first title is "Polodzaj"
8 which means position. Then there is the text "Dijelava Viteska Brigade"
9 [Interpretation], parts of the Vitez Brigade, 16th of April 1993 at 5.30.
10 And then in brackets, in red, "zap" which is an abbreviation for order.
11 "OZZP," which is Operative Zone or military district. SB of Central
12 Bosnia, of 16th of April 1993 at 1.30.
13 JUDGE MAY: That is D62, is it?
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes. And at the top, it also has
15 and it is D60/2 and we have the time, the date, 16th of April half past
16 1.00. So this was in the early hours of the morning of the 16th of
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Now, the witness can explain the map.
19 First of all, what is does "VBR" mean?
20 A. I do not know really. There was no room here to write "Vitez
21 Brigade". "ZP" means the command post.
22 JUDGE MAY: Command post, thank you. What is "STO Vitez"?
23 A. This is -- this is the sign for the command post of the
24 Territorial Defence staff of Vitez which was in Mahalla, this was the
25 Bosniak Territorial Defence staff or headquarters in the Bosniak part of
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. "ZP Vitez", what is that?
3 A. Command post of the military district of Vitez.
4 JUDGE MAY: The green lines, what do they represent?
5 A. The green lines on this map represent an imagined line separating
6 the territory which is, conditionally speaking, is controlled by the HVO,
7 that is the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is from the upper green line
8 northward, all of that up there was controlled by the army of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina; villages equally as roads and so on and so forth.
10 JUDGE MAY: We have the picture. And the blue line, what does
11 that represent?
12 A. And the blue line represents the positions of some parts of the
13 Vitez Brigade on the 16th of April at half past 5.00 when the -- that was
14 the hour when the forces were ordered to be prepared in case of -- if it
15 transpired that it was necessary.
16 JUDGE MAY: So that we have this fully, we can see a "325. " Is
17 that referring to a Muslim Brigade, do we take that to be?
18 A. Yes. Yes. That was the command post of the 325th Mountain
19 Brigade of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 JUDGE MAY: And beneath that a circle, what is the blue circle
21 beneath that?
22 A. This blue circle represents a point of fact our man who was at the
23 Plava Motel in Kruscica, and they were about 15 to 20 men strong I should
25 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
1 MR. KOVACIC: Perhaps, Your Honour, we should also notice the
2 triangle flag on the north side marked number "2".
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Yes.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Sajevic, will you please tell us what does this triangle 2
6 next to Preocica?
7 A. It means the command post of the battalion, that is the 2nd
8 Battalion of the 325th Brigade had its command post in Preocica which was
9 seen 2/325, that is the military marking. This was the 2nd Battalion of
10 the 325th Brigade.
11 Q. You mean of the BH army?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the to the south-east, the 1st Battalion?
14 A. Yes, the 1st Battalion is in the south, in Kruscica.
15 Q. And perhaps to avoid any doubts because I'm not quite sure that
16 everything is clear, the blue line to the south represents --
17 JUDGE MAY: The witness has told us that.
18 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
19 Q. [Interpretation] Very well. [In English] We can leave the map in
20 case anybody would like to put some question on it. We can remove it.
21 [Interpretation] And in the morning, what happened in the
22 morning? Was there an attack or wasn't there?
23 A. In the morning, as I told you, I came to the Command, to the
24 headquarters, rather early. I went through the operations log book
25 because we did not have any war journal, war log book, although one does
1 do that in wartime but we didn't simply keep that. I don't know why.
2 Perhaps there was no intensive operations and there wasn't such a practice
3 to note down everything that happened on a daily basis.
4 But be that as it may, in the morning, I don't know at what time,
5 around 6.00, one could hear some exchange of fire and at first, it did not
6 sound out of the ordinary because one could hear shots fired around Vitez
7 and around -- because people would get drunk and then would fire off. So
8 that it -- the intensity of that fire was not such that one would think
9 that it might grow into a major conflict, and it was only when shells
10 began to fall over Vitez that one began to realise that the matter was
12 But I'd like to mention once again that at that time, I was still
13 ill. I was still running a high fever. So that Mr. Cerkez, when he
14 arrived at the headquarters, because he was not there when I came, after
15 half an hour or so, he again sent me back home or rather sent me to a
16 doctor. And I went to see the doctor on the 16th in the morning, that is,
17 I went to the emergency unit and they gave me some injections and
18 administered some medicines and the rest.
19 Q. Very well. So that hour and a half or perhaps two that you say
20 you spent there at the headquarters, did you get any reliable information,
21 any verified information about the situation in the municipality during
22 that period of time?
23 A. No. No reliable, no trustworthy information reached us at that
24 time, at least I didn't know what was going on. We assumed that at Kuber
25 there was something because the day before we learned that the -- that
1 there was some firing exchanged up there. So even though I wasn't there
2 that day, that information arrived that our men were killed at Kuber. At
3 Kuber, we subsequently turned out that two of our men were missing and
4 they were not coming back.
5 Q. And then you told us that Cerkez came. Did Cerkez bring along
6 some more information, perhaps, with him?
7 A. As far as I know, he did not -- he was not any better informed.
8 And then I -- and I think he said that that slight exchange of fire
9 perhaps made him hurry to work. And that at least in those parts where
10 parts of the -- of the segments where the Vitez Brigade parts were
11 positioned, no attempts had been made for a breakthrough by the BH army
12 from Kruscica but we had to -- but they had to stay there until the order
13 was modified.
14 Q. Did you get a picture through all of that which meant that nothing
15 was -- nothing of importance was happening in that area where he was?
16 A. Well, that's the picture I got, yes.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 I would like the usher to have this document handed out, please.
19 Please, these are copies of the registry book in the medical centre.
20 Well, it is a double-faced page.
21 Q. Could you please look at the last page when you receive a copy.
22 JUDGE MAY: It's not translated again.
23 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I will explain what that is, just
24 merely as a confirmation. This document, we have for a long time. It was
25 produced by my investigator, who copied this book, because we presumed
1 that there might be some relevant information, some checking from time to
2 time. And when the witness, after coming in The Hague, told us that he
3 was sick, we checked that protocol and we found him on the page related to
4 April 16. So perhaps we can ask the witness what medicine was prescribed,
5 because that is the only document from some of that information, and I
6 guess that is international.
7 JUDGE MAY: Have you the document, the original of this document?
8 MR. KOVACIC: I saw it by my own eyes --
9 JUDGE MAY: No. But do you have it here?
10 MR. KOVACIC: -- eighteen months before in the health centre in
11 Vitez. But no, not here, not at this time. I'm trying to tell you that
12 we really copied it at that time for our purposes when we are trying to
13 find some person to establish it, and I merely use the opportunity to
14 check whether a visit of this witness was recorded or not. Perhaps I can
15 ask him for the medicine he got and then we'll see the connection.
16 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not going to be over-technical, but
17 it's pretty obvious the range of objections I could take if I wanted to.
18 I don't want to take time on it at the moment.
19 MR. KOVACIC: If that is considered as any serious evidence, I can
20 bring a book in a couple of weeks from Vitez, but I don't know whether the
21 institution --
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but don't put in untranslated documents. We've
23 now have two running. You know what the rules are, Mr. Kovacic. Yes, we
24 can read. "Penicillin," it says.
25 Is that right, Major: You received some penicillin?
1 A. Exactly.
2 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Well, I don't think we should put the
3 document in for the moment. I think it's pointless.
4 MR. KOVACIC: It was merely for information, Your Honour. I don't
5 think that really could be evidence. But if needed, we can bring the book
6 from -- the original protocol from the witness --
7 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
8 MR. KOVACIC: -- or some authorised copy, because I don't know
9 whether they will be able to give it to me.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let's move on now.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Major Sajevic, when did you return, then, to the headquarters,
13 that is?
14 A. I returned to headquarters, I think it was the 17th, for a short
15 period of time. And then I went again to get these injections and
16 medicines and I was receiving injections for five or six days. I'm not
17 sure, but I think that already on the 18th -- from the 18th onwards, I was
18 there all the time.
19 Q. Very well. At that moment when you came, what was the basic
20 activity going on in headquarters, as you saw it?
21 A. Well, I don't know. I found chaos, to put it mildly, at
22 headquarters. Because I saw people being brought in from Vitez, people I
23 knew, Bosniaks, military-age men. I saw -- since there was shelling in
24 Vitez, I think that headquarters moved from upstairs to downstairs, I mean
25 just one storey down.
1 Q. Mr. Sajevic, perhaps I did not put a very precise question. I'm
2 not talking about the building. We'll get back to that later. But what
3 was the activity of headquarters concentrated on? What was their main
5 A. The main activity was increased requests for reinforcement of the
6 Viteska Brigade. They were looking for men because there was an
7 enhancement of combat operations in the wider territory of the
8 municipality. I'm trying to say that the lines of confrontation were
9 expanded, reinforcements were necessary, and personnel had to be provided
10 for these activities. At that time, we still had a shift at Slatka Vode,
11 those we were sending regularly. I think that there were problems at the
12 time. People could not come back from up there, from Slatka Vode, because
13 they had to pass through some Muslim villages in Novi Travnik. Since
14 there had been provocations before that and buses with our men were
15 stoned, we were afraid to send them; we were afraid to withdraw them.
16 Q. Yes. Tell me, please: At that moment, you said the 18th or two
17 days after the conflict started, mobilisation was already declared or not?
18 A. I think mobilisation was declared in a way, but you could not do
19 it through classical means, through the mass media, because I think that
20 there had been no electricity in quite a few places. Also you could not
21 send classical call-up papers to conscripts, because I believe that these
22 call-up papers had not been prepared and also the courier service did not
23 work. There was no one to distribute this.
24 So there were some activists who worked on the set-up of shifts
25 before that. They were supposed to look for personnel and to look for all
1 of those who had already participated in certain actions, and they were to
2 ask them to report at certain positions. That's the way it went. There
3 was not an organised system of carrying out mobilisation, nor could there
4 have been one.
5 Q. However, mobilisation did start, as it could?
6 A. Yes, only it -- well, it went the way it could have gone, by all
7 the means we had available to us then.
8 Q. Tell me, Mr. Sajevic: Was there any difference -- no. This
9 question is too complicated. Did military conscripts who lived in town
10 report for this mobilisation?
11 A. Hardly.
12 Q. A certain number certainly did report?
13 A. Well, yes, a small number, but not as many as we had expected.
14 Q. Can you give us a general idea in terms of what your estimate was
15 and what actually happened? I know that you don't have the exact date,
16 but --
17 A. Well, let's say it was about 30 per cent.
18 Q. These 30 per cent, where were they sent? To which locations?
19 A. Well, they were sent to our defence lines that were still being
20 established; that is to say that some were sent to Kuber, Krtina-Mahala,
21 Bobasi, those lines, for the most part.
22 Q. Were positions reinforced around Vranjska, Crveno Brdce,
24 A. Yes, yes, by all means.
25 Q. And positions vis-à-vis Kruscica, were they reinforced?
1 A. Naturally.
2 Q. Tell us, please: The mobilisation response of military conscripts
3 living in villages, military-age men in villages, how did they respond to
5 A. Well, let me tell you. At that time, throughout the municipality,
6 that is to say, in that part that was under HVO control, there was general
7 chaos. One could not expect members of the Viteska Brigade who were at
8 their homes, naturally, because we never had the 300 men we mentioned all
9 together in one place, nor could we have kept them that way. That is to
10 say, that once their shift was over, these men went home. However, no one
11 could expect these men to leave their homes, their families, their wives,
12 their children, their parents. And there was shooting around their
13 houses. Do you understand what I'm saying?
14 So although at that time they were probably aware of the fact that
15 something big was going on, they stayed at home, defending their own
16 homes, their own villages, hamlets. So this response to mobilisation,
17 well, one can say for sure that it was poor here, but then on the other
18 hand, it was good in a way. But these people stayed in their own
19 villages, and only later all of this had to be brought together.
20 Q. Is it correct that the response that you mentioned in percentage
21 points for the urban areas was better than that that you had in the rural
23 A. Well, it's very difficult to say now, in terms of percentage
25 Q. All right. There's another question that stems from this. At
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 that moment, during these first days of the war -- and it is very
2 difficult to make a distance between one day, two days, three days -- in
3 the Viteska Brigade, your junior officers, could you send a soldier from
4 village A to village B, for example?
5 A. Hardly. With great difficulty. I already mentioned that from
6 every village there was a group of younger men who went on operations
7 towards Vlasic, Jajce. However, when this real shooting began, then the
8 elderly men also joined in, who were sometimes in these village guards,
9 securing their village during the night. However, it was very difficult
10 to move people from one village to another, very difficult. For the most
11 part, they remained in their own villages and hamlets to defend them.
12 Q. From an organisational point of view, then, what was done in order
13 to establish this army finally?
14 A. Well, in order to finally establish this army, in my opinion, the
15 idea of setting up a classical Viteska Brigade was abandoned, I mean one
16 that would be in line with books of establishment and formation.
17 According to orders issued by the Operative Command, sectoral defence was
18 organised. That is to say that there weren't units within the brigade;
19 there was a defence of sectors. That meant establishing defence according
20 to sectors within the municipality -- of course, those parts that are
21 under our control, naturally -- and then it would be easier to integrate
22 that into a defence system. While one could not fully order such areas,
23 but at least one could keep it under one's control to a certain extent.
24 Q. Does this organisation involve the idea that you mentioned earlier
25 on, that a soldier should be at home in his own village? Is that the
1 underlying idea, the core of this idea?
2 A. Exactly.
3 Q. At the moment when the conflict broke out, could the brigade order
4 the village guards -- oh, I do apologise. Let me put an introductory
5 question in order to avoid any objection. What were village guards?
6 A. Well, village guards were -- how should I put this? -- some kind
7 of arbitrary forms of organisation of persons in villages, in the sense of
8 controlling the passage of foreign persons going through that area.
9 Because when there is a war, there is usually crime and other undesired
10 things, so people would guard their houses, their villages, especially
11 during the night. I don't know. They would have a rifle or two, mostly
12 old ones, but they would control passage through their villages, passage
13 of strangers. So that's what it all boiled down to. During the day they
14 weren't around really.
15 Q. Let's not go into too many details. Just give me a "yes" or "no"
16 answer. Did these village guards already exist in 1992?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Secondly, was there a diversity in the sense of were they joined,
19 consisting of members of both ethnic groups in some villages, and in other
20 villages not, and was it all subject to the situation as it was?
21 A. Exactly.
22 Q. And the third reason why I'm putting this question to you is: Did
23 the brigade, when the conflict broke out, could it command village guards
24 in any way?
25 A. Absolutely not.
1 Q. And with the shift to the sector organisation, could then the
2 brigade, even if indirectly, abolish or rather co-opt the village guards?
3 A. Indirectly, no, because people realised that it was not a game
4 anymore, that a real war had begun, and they began then to listen to what
5 they were being said [as interpreted]. I don't know if you understand
6 what I mean.
7 Q. Is it correct to say that when the conflict broke out, or rather,
8 more specifically, as of the change to the sectoral system of
9 organisation, the village guards ceased to exist?
10 A. The village guards ceased to exist because the defence lines were
11 established and there was no need to have those village guards in villages
12 themselves, because now -- because at that time we were simply surrounded,
13 and within that circle we were controlling our villages. So that there
14 was no need for those village guards to exist any longer. They were
15 incorporated in the defence, naturally.
16 Q. And is it correct to say that the majority of those people, that
17 is, the villagers of those villages, were called up?
18 A. Yes. No. No. I can say not through the conventional system of
19 mobilisation, but men simply joined their neighbours, in that sense. But
20 yes, one could call it mobilisation, because they were on defence lines.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Very well. I should now like to
22 show a map which the witness drew, and which you reconstructed these
23 sectors, on which he will indicate the structures of the defence, that is,
24 how the defence was organised per sector in Vitez at the time, after we
25 have produced the document.
1 [In English] Your Honour, we will certainly tomorrow have the
2 translation of those couple of remarks on the map. As I said, the witness
3 prepared that when he came in The Hague two days ago. And I will now
4 present also the document --
5 THE REGISTRAR: The map will be number D86/2; and the next
6 exhibit, D87/2.
7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Witness Sajevic, will you please look at this document and tell us
9 if you saw it before.
10 A. Yes, I did see it.
11 Q. I should like to draw your attention to two things in this
12 document and then we shall move on to the map. First tell us: Is there
13 any doubt that this document was the document which the brigade sent to
14 the Operative Zone, that is, to the Superior Command, with the signature
15 of its Commander?
16 A. No, there is no doubt this was a document addressed to the
17 Superior Command.
18 Q. The date of this document is the 24th of April; is that correct?
19 A. It is.
20 Q. I should like to draw your attention to the first sentence in the
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. What does transpire from this document, in point of fact?
24 A. It transpires from this --
25 MR. NICE: Forgive my interrupting. We don't know the
1 circumstances in which the witness saw this document before. It's not
2 addressed to him. He's not in any sense, I think, an author of it. And
3 what we are achieving in this way is, clearly, to have the words of the
4 author laid before the Court. I'm not necessarily objecting to that, but
5 I think more foundation should be laid before --
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. You mean the author is Mr. Cerkez, who will be
7 the appropriate person to introduce it?
8 MR. NICE: Yes. [Microphone not activated]
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel.
10 MR. NICE: -- technical points. I think that, at the very least,
11 rather more foundation should be laid before the Chamber is invited by the
12 Defence to allow such evidence to come in in this way.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes. You can ask the witness, establish if you can,
14 with the witness, whether he's any connection with this document or not.
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Witness Sajevic, you heard the question. Did you take part in
17 preparing the document? That is the first question. Did you?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Does this mean that you also saw this document at the time when it
20 was produced?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Are you sure that it was signed by Cerkez?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Are you sure that it was sent to the Operative Zone?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, may I add that personally we got the --
2 the Defence got the copy of this document from the Blaskic case at that
3 time. That was the only available copy we could get because brigade
4 archives were not available during our preparation.
5 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
6 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
7 Q. [Interpretation] And now, will you please explain to us this first
8 sentence after we clarify those points.
9 A. This first sentence in the text, we wrote it because on that same
10 day, we had received from the Operative Zone, that is, the military
11 district, we had received a document prompting us, egging us on to hurry
12 up with the sectoral organisation of defence and according to their
13 document, I don't remember of which date, we had done that. But
14 apparently they did not get this document, I don't know why.
15 So they were telling us to speed it up, to do it, and then we
16 wrote this document the same day and sent it.
17 Q. The second sentence, it also transpires from it -- what transpires
18 from the second sentence?
19 A. From the second sentence, it proves that it transpires, that it
20 was only as late as the 21st of April that we received the order from the
21 Commander of the Operative Zone about the organisation of different
23 Q. Only as late as the 21st of April, thank you. So does that mean
24 and, I ask you to draw on your memory, not only the document, that it was
25 only as late as the 21st of April that you changed over to this sector
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And this sectoral organisation, could you -- what was the -- how
4 much time did you need to do that; within hours, within days? How long
5 did this process take to change over to this method of organisation?
6 A. Let me tell you, the planning in the Command itself did not take
7 much. But then its implementation on the ground, yes, it was a matter of
8 days, perhaps as many as 15 or 20 days. As a matter of fact, those
9 problems with the sectoral organisation, those problems that troubled us
10 until the end of the war. But a great deal was done in the following 15,
11 20 days, perhaps a month. I can't really remember. It doesn't really
13 Q. Will you now look at the map, will you take the pointer, please,
14 and with this document which specifies the defence sectors, I think on the
15 pages that follow in the document, will you please now show to us where is
16 which sector and explain it to us. What are the blue lines?
17 A. Like this: The blue lines are the positions of our formations, if
18 I may call them that. Here where it says the first sector, that means
19 these two blue lines which are not connected, they are disconnected here
20 because the UN forces were here in this place so that there were no
21 positions there. And later on, logically, there were no conflicts there.
22 The second sector or sector two, here, you can see it. The third
23 sector. Now, I am not talking per feature on the ground from where to
24 where, because one can find it in the report, but I can explain it if need
25 be. And the fourth and the fifth sector. So we had five defence sectors,
1 and every one of them was then subdivided into two or three defence
2 areas. So those were smaller entities, smaller wholes within sectors.
3 Q. And the green line represents what?
4 A. The green line represents the positions of the army of
6 Q. And when we liken it to the previous map, I see that there is a --
7 that this blue circle, in Croatian, it says "missing here. "
8 A. That is correct.
9 Q. That was your group in Kruscica, wasn't it? Where is it now?
10 A. It pulled out because they were attacked at this facility, and
11 this facility was demolished, I think, at that time. So they pulled out
12 through the woods. They even took some civilians, Croats, who happened to
13 be in Kruscica, and they took them along and went I don't know through
14 where, but eventually they ended up in Vitez.
15 Q. So Mr. Sajevic, when we had these sectors divided like this, at
16 that time, that is during the first two days of the conflict, did the BH
17 army attack Poculica?
18 A. As far as I know, the BH army attacked Poculica right away on the
19 16th, in the morning.
20 Q. Grbavica?
21 A. Grbavica, yes, but I don't know exactly when. Grbavica, I don't
22 know whether it was on the 16th. I know about Poculica, but Grbavica, I
23 don't know. But if it wasn't on the 16th it was on the 17th or what do I
25 Q. Did the army attack Sivrino Selo or rather the hamlet called
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 Krivaca on the first day of the conflict?
2 A. Krivaca, you say?
3 Q. That is the lower part of Sivrino Selo. You can show us on the
4 map where it is.
5 A. Do you mean Pirici?
6 Q. Pirici, Vidovici, I think it's a mistake on the map. I think that
7 should be switched. They switched their places. Let me ask you like
8 this: Here is Sivrino Selo which is the right, lower part of Sivrino Selo
9 but it says Pirici. That is Vidovici. And that part was attacked on the
10 16th of April, wasn't it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Very well. Stari Vitez, the old part of the town, was completely
13 closed and placed under the TO control, is that so?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Right. Let's not go into any further particulars, but I should
16 merely like to ask you to explain to the Court the title of the map which
17 you wrote, and it says that these are the defence sectors of parts of the
18 Vitez Brigade; is that correct?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. And you told us, you explained that this map reflects what
21 transpires from this document.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Thank you very much.
24 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, should I remove the maps from ELMO?
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, and tomorrow, make sure that the -- there are
1 translations for these various statements on the maps.
2 MR. KOVACIC: We will certainly, Your Honour.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sajevic, in those early days of the conflict,
4 it was heard, among other things, but I would like to focus on the
5 following: Some events regarding Gacice, involving Gacice, and I would
6 like to produce a map, sir, and the witness might show us some things that
7 were mentioned on earlier occasions.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we -- it was the
9 Prosecution which was kind enough to supply us with this map, but it was
10 never adduced into evidence and we were simply offered to use it.
11 THE REGISTRAR: The map will be marked Exhibit D88/2.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Witness Sajevic, will you please show us here the following. The
14 town of Vitez itself. To begin with, the town itself.
15 A. [Indicates]
16 Q. Yes, very good. Secondly, the compound of the SPS factory?
17 A. [Indicates]
18 Q. Would you perhaps know how many hectares the SPS had?
19 A. Perhaps it wasn't larger than the town, but they are roughly about
20 the same.
21 Q. Have you ever had an opportunity to see the area?
22 A. Yes, I did, but I can't remember.
23 Q. But wouldn't you say that the town and the compound, it's SPS
24 compound covered approximately the same area?
25 A. Well, I know that the SPS, yes, did, indeed, did take quite a lot
1 of ground.
2 Q. Could you tell us where does the SPS end because up there, I think
3 there are some warehouses. Where does the SPS begin?
4 A. Yes. No, no, no, to the left. To the left. You just passed it.
5 To the left of your pointer.
6 Q. Oh, these are the boundaries. So Witness Sajevic, tell us,
7 please, villages are along the flanks of the SPS?
8 A. So the SPS is flanked by Donja Veceriska and Gacice.
9 Q. And tell us, please, just in military terms, can one control the
10 SPS unless he also controls the Donja Veceriska?
11 A. I don't think so because both Donja Veceriska and Gacice are on
12 elevations. They are elevated features as against a feature of the SPS.
13 Q. Does the same hold true of Gacice?
14 A. Absolutely.
15 Q. So both those villages are not -- are higher, at a higher altitude
16 than the SPS?
17 A. Yes, correct.
18 MR. KOVACIC: Perhaps, Your Honour, it may be convenient time or I
19 should continue and then --
20 JUDGE MAY: It's a convenient time. We'll adjourn now.
21 We're taking rather longer for the luncheon adjournment. We shall
22 sit again at 3.00 and go on until half past 4.00 by which time I hope
23 you're through this witness, Mr. Kovacic.
24 MR. KOVACIC: I sincerely hope, Your Honour, that I will be
25 finished in that frame which you mentioned.
1 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
2 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 3.06 p.m.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
4 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Major Sajevic, we have now shown the position of
6 Gacice and Donja Veceriska vis-à-vis the SPS. I do apologise if I'm
7 repeating things, but you said that as far as altitude is concerned, both
8 villages are above the SPS.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In relation to the town of Vitez, the approach to Gacice --
11 actually, Gacice is hardly accessible for an army that would try to reach
12 Gacice from Vitez; is that correct?
13 A. Well, at any rate, since it is high up, it is in a better position
14 than perhaps those who would be approaching Gacice.
15 Q. In Gacice, at the time of the outbreak of the conflict, was there
16 any military force there?
17 A. Well, in Gacice it was mainly Bosniaks who lived there, so it was
18 logical that the members of the BH army -- it is logical to expect that
19 perhaps some of them lived there, and then maybe there were others from
20 other places.
21 Q. So that was your assessment?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did that prove to be true later, that there indeed was a smaller
24 unit up there?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. The HVO took Gacice the next day; is that correct?
2 A. Well, you can say it was the HVO. I know that Gacice was an
3 interesting feature because of the vicinity of Princip. However, at that
4 time the Viteska Brigade did not have enough people in order to take every
5 piece of territory that was of interest at the time.
6 Q. Go ahead. Go ahead. Does that mean that the brigade did not take
8 A. No. Parts of the HVO Viteska Brigade did not take part in this.
9 Q. Do you know which unit did take Gacice?
10 A. Yes, I know. Gacice was taken by the so-called members of the
11 special purposes unit of Vitezovi.
12 Q. That unit was not under the command of the brigade, or of
13 Commander Mario Cerkez, rather?
14 A. No way.
15 Q. Was that a so-called PPN unit?
16 A. Well, I said so just now. It was a PPN, Postrojba Posebne
17 Namjere, a special purposes unit. That's just what I said.
18 Q. I would like to show you a document now, and would you please take
19 a look at it and confirm whether you know about this. The document is a
20 report of the PPN Vitezovi. Please take a look at page 1. The rest is
21 irrelevant at this point in time. Please look at page 1. Look at the
22 sequence of events and places, and could you please comment upon the
23 contents. In terms of the time and places mentioned, does this correspond
24 to your memories and to the information you had at the time?
25 MR. NICE: Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Kovacic. The same points have
1 to arise in relation to this report as have arisen in relation to earlier
2 documents. Some foundation, it might be thought, should be laid before
3 the witness comments on it, a matter for the Court. But I know nothing
4 about this document myself at all.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let's hear about it. Where does it come from
6 and what is it?
7 MR. KOVACIC: [In English] It comes from my investigative work in
8 Vitez during 1998. And if I may add, Your Honour, there were many
9 documents, particularly in the last couple of weeks, which were introduced
10 by the other side which we also have never seen.
11 JUDGE MAY: That doesn't matter. It's your documents we're
12 dealing with now. Ask the witness about this to see whether there's any
13 foundation that can be laid for it.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. The PPN Vitezovi, was it active in 1993 in the territory of Vitez?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Their existence was certainly known?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you hear about them having written reports about their
20 activities to their superiors or did you see anything of that kind?
21 A. No, I did not see anything of that kind, because I had no insight
22 into their work.
23 Q. Is it reasonable to expect that they, as a PPN, a special purposes
24 unit, would write reports to their superior command?
25 A. Well, yes. It is only logical. They would have had to report to
1 someone, but I don't know who and to what extent.
2 JUDGE MAY: Number.
3 THE REGISTRAR: D89/2.
4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, this report -- well,
5 about it, can you first specify what is to be understood under PPN or PN?
6 Secondly, it is signed, indeed, but we don't know who it is being sent to,
7 so you might want to give us some specificity so as to assess this
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Of course, Your Honour. I think I
10 have the original here. At the end of the document there is a stamp, very
11 clearly, and it says "PPN Vitezovi." And the signature here can be
12 identified as the signature of Darko Kraljevic, the Commander of this
13 unit, about which I believe we have heard quite a bit.
14 In addition to that, there is yet another report of this unit that
15 was exhibited during this trial. I don't have the number right now, but
16 it was signed by the Deputy Commander, Dragan Vinac. Dragan Vinac was the
17 deputy of Darko Kraljevic, according to the establishment. If there is
18 any question regarding the authenticity of the document, I can bring a
19 witness who can identify the signature. This is a purely technical
20 matter. But with your permission, just a word or two more.
21 The witness was there during these events, and my intention was to
22 discuss the contents of the first few days, the first few critical days,
23 mentioned on page 1, where all these places are mentioned. And we also
24 have corroboration of this from the other evidence we have heard so far,
25 and it is obvious that this shows -- I do apologise. I just want to see
1 whether the witness believes that this information about Gacice -- that
2 is, the first, second, third paragraph -- whether that is what we have
3 been saying just now. The Vitezovi themselves say here that they took
4 Gacice, and that is what the witness said as well.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but this witness can't produce this document. He
6 can merely look at it and see what it says. We can see that on the 18th
7 of April. Yes. However, a great many reports have been admitted in this
8 case and I don't see why this one should be treated any differently. For
9 the moment we'll admit it, for what it's worth.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [In English] Absolutely.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let's move on, please.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. So let us confirm this. Let us go back to the mentioned
15 Witness Sajevic, paragraph 1, 2, 3. Paragraph 3 --
16 JUDGE MAY: We've read it.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Could you please explain something to me. Is it correct that
19 Darko Kraljevic used this action to humiliate you?
20 A. Well, one could say so. I don't think that this was his ultimate
21 objective, but he did take advantage of this. So at least verbally, he
22 diminished the importance of the members of the Viteska Brigade, he
23 glorified his own men as if they were the best in the world, that they
24 could do anything and we were old women, it would have been better for us
25 to have stayed at home, something of that sense.
1 Well, I'm not trying to say that he did this only to diminish our
2 importance, there were probably other reasons, but he did take advantage
3 of this in order to devalue us in a way.
4 Q. Witness Sajevic, this assessment of his, regardless of the
5 motives, were Kraljevic's Vitezovi a serious unit in comparison with the
6 brigade, at least at that point in time?
7 A. Well, let me tell you. If we take 30 men from the Vitezovi, for
8 example, perhaps you could find a corresponding 30 men in the Viteska
9 Brigade in terms of quality, but not more than that. I'm trying to say
10 that if you would look at the same number of people, he had in a way more
11 able, better men. Well, we could not have had 500 such men for sure.
12 Q. Just one more question related to Vitezovi. At the time when the
13 war broke out, they already had certain experience and a well-established
14 unit, didn't they?
15 A. Yes. They certainly had experience, combat experience, and
16 whether they had an established unit that, I don't know, because I don't
17 really know whether they had an establishment. I don't know how they were
18 set up, actually, on what basis.
19 Q. Very well, thank you. We've already addressed the topic that
20 follows through the maps which explained your positions on the 16th of
21 April. At that time, that is, you were not there for the first two days,
22 but on the third day, when you did come up, come and collect the
23 information, did you know then whose army was in Ahmici?
24 A. I cannot say with accuracy when it was that I learned about Ahmici
25 at all and the crime committed there. Whether it was on the third,
1 fourth, on the fifth day, I really cannot say. But I know that shortly
2 after I returned to the command, I heard about that and on one occasion,
3 of obeying Mr. Cerkez's orders, I was visiting a part of the front line
4 held by the Vitez Brigade. And the driver who took me along part of the
5 road told me how all sorts of things happened in Ahmici and so on and so
6 forth. It was from that day that I began to learn about this.
7 Needless to say, I have been receiving more and more information
8 about this to this day. Few people were willing to talk about it, at
9 least of those who participated in that, as far as I know. But some
10 specific reports or something in writing, I never had it in my hands. So
11 that basically, I do know now what happened there and how it happened, and
12 I also think that I know, after all, which parts of what units took part
13 in that.
14 Q. For the purpose of this case, I should like to ask you to confirm
15 whether this information that you gained in the days, in the wake of
16 Ahmici, also included the effect that there were Jokers in Ahmici and a
17 part of the active part of the military police?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. But what is more important is do you think -- do you think or is
20 it true that Mario Cerkez, the Commander of the Vitez Brigade, from his
21 superior, Tihomir Blaskic, never received any order regarding the action
22 in Ahmici which took place on the 16th of April, 1993?
23 A. Definitely not.
24 Q. Do you -- could it be possible that Cerkez issued such an order to
25 his unit or anybody else without having received such orders from Blaskic?
1 A. Definitely not. I mean I was not there all the time so perhaps I
2 wouldn't have known it on that particular day, but I would have learned
3 about that during the war and later. I do not think there is any room for
4 such theories.
5 Q. Is it correct that the Vitez Brigade only later on the 7th of May,
6 if I am correct, took the positions above Ahmici at the Krtine-Pirici,
8 A. It is possible, because in the early days of May, I think an order
9 arrived from the military district that the Vitez Brigade should prepare a
10 shift in order to replace some parts of the 4th Battalion of the military
12 MR. KOVACIC: [In English] We were informed earlier that there are
13 discoveries in Zagreb. We are indeed receiving, and we are cooperating
14 with the Prosecution on that matter in order to try to avoid the problems
15 of parallel discovery. Amongst other things, we agree that the party who
16 will be able to produce translations of those documents first will
17 exchange them with the other party. There is even a written agreement.
18 However, I expected to have the translation of the very important document
19 for our case this morning. Unfortunately, it did not come.
20 I did give the copies to the booth, and I would suggest to read
21 the documents which will be introduced to the witness.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE MAY: How long is this document?
24 MR. KOVACIC: Very short.
25 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Put it on the ELMO.
1 MR. KOVACIC: Very short.
2 JUDGE MAY: We want a translation tomorrow.
3 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, for the practical purposes, if you
4 oblige me to do that, I'm simply not sure I can oblige for tomorrow.
5 JUDGE MAY: When are you going to do it by?
6 MR. KOVACIC: Give me at least two or three days. I guess that
7 there is quite a good chance that the Prosecution will receive their
8 translation also today, tomorrow. We are just trying to find that out.
9 JUDGE MAY: Put it on the ELMO.
10 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. And Your Honour, if I may tell in advance,
11 there is a similar document connected to that also very short with --
12 dated a little bit after that. It is not -- Your Honour, I think it is an
13 interest of justice. This is the only witness which can confirm or deny
14 such a documents. He was there. He was in operation.
15 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
16 MR. KOVACIC: That's the point. And we didn't have that discovery
17 on time. I would like to have usher, could you assist me?
18 [Interpretation] I should like to remind the interpreters that they were
19 given the copies of this document this morning.
20 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked D90/2.
21 MR. KOVACIC: I will read the main parts and short explanation
22 just for the matter of translation, if that is expected of me.
23 The document is by the header, it is issued by HVO.
24 [Interpretation] This was issued by the HVO, the Commander of the
25 Operative Zone Central Bosnia. It has its reference number. It was
1 issued on the 7th of May 1993 at 11.45. The document is addressed to the
2 attention of the Commander of the Vitez Brigade, and below that, in the
3 second line, it says, "Commander of the 4th Battalion of the Military
4 Police in Vitez." Notification, it says, in the brackets. The document
5 is signed by Commander Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, his signature and seal.
6 The subject matter of the document is "Zamjena VP na crti obrans"
7 which means "exchange of military police on the defence line" below it
8 "order". Then the first line, "In the light of the apparent need to
9 engage the military police on police missions in the area of
10 responsibility of the 4th Battalion of the Military Police, I order, item
11 one, without delay to embark on the preparations and ensure the
12 replacement of members of the military police on the Krtine-Pirici defence
14 Two, to effect the replacement on the 8th of May 1993 not later
15 than 1200 hours and submit report to me on the performance of the task, on
16 the performed task. Item three, the brigade commander will account to me
17 for the compliance for the execution of this order."
18 Then on the left-hand side, we see that it was typed in three
19 copies and who the copies were sent to.
20 Q. Now, my question to the witness is: Would this document tell what
21 you told us, that it was only in early May that you replaced the military
22 police on the positions above Ahmici?
23 A. Yes, that is the document.
24 Q. And this locality, Krtine-Pirici, where is it exactly? Can you
25 describe it without having to resort to the map again?
1 A. Well, it is north-west of Ahmici but not far from Ahmici.
2 Q. Thank you very much.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could I get a number for the
4 document, please.
5 THE REGISTRAR: The number given was D90/2.
6 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
7 [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps we could skip item 7 of the
8 events on the 20th of October, 1992, army of BH, but I should like to go
9 back, in the briefest possible way, to this account, because we've heard a
10 great deal about it so far.
11 Q. Mr. Sajevic, we are talking about the events on the 20th of
12 October, 1992. Again, these events largely took place on the road below
13 Ahmici. Tell us, please: Do you know -- are you aware that on the 19th
14 of October two checkpoints were raised in the same area, in the Vitez
16 A. Yes, I do know.
17 Q. Is it true that one was at Bila, near the Bosna construction
19 A. Yes, I do know.
20 Q. Would you just answer me with "yes" or "no," to cut the time
21 shorter. Are you aware that the checkpoint at the Bosna company,
22 Mr. Franjo Nakic managed to remove through negotiations?
23 A. Yes, I do know about that.
24 Q. Is it correct that the BH army put up those checkpoints in order
25 to prevent the departure of the HVO unit from Kiseljak and Busovaca in the
1 direction of Jajce?
2 A. As far as I know, that was the reason.
3 Q. Is it correct that on the 19th and the night between the 19th and
4 the 20th, there were several rounds of negotiations between the civilian
5 authorities of the HVO and the army of the HVO, that is, all the factors,
6 in order to try to resolve it peacefully and to remove them?
7 A. I know there were attempts at a peaceful solution of the problem.
8 Q. And is it correct that at the end of the story, it was the
9 Kiseljak forces which attacked the checkpoint and removed the barricade
10 from the road?
11 A. Yes, I think it was those forces.
12 Q. Are you aware that an HVO soldier from Kiseljak was killed there?
13 A. Yes. I heard that a soldier was -- a soldier from Kiseljak was
14 killed and also a soldier from the BH army; if not a local man, then --
15 Q. That other one was a local man, but do you know if he was a
16 Bosniak, was he a soldier, was he a civilian?
17 A. He was a Bosniak and a soldier.
18 Q. That's what you know about him? That's what you heard about this?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You didn't have any particulars about this whole thing?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Tell us, is it correct that during the attack on this roadblock on
23 the road, several houses, several residential houses and some buildings
24 were set on fire in the course of that action?
25 A. Well, to be quite honest, I don't remember, but I think -- I think
1 that there were a couple of instances, but I can't really confirm that 100
2 per cent.
3 Q. Are you quite positive that no serious damage was done?
4 A. Oh, yes, that I am.
5 Q. Did you hear anything about the fact that people were even
6 compensated for those damages by the municipality to repair those houses?
7 A. Yes, yes, I heard about that.
8 Q. And as concerns your brigade, and that is why we are addressing
9 this topic, this is the time when you still exist as the Municipal Staff;
10 is that correct?
11 A. It is.
12 Q. And at that time did you undertake anything in order to organise
13 your storage, the storage that came from Lovac and Kruscica?
14 A. Yes, yes, yes. I remember now when this roadblock was put on the
15 road. Since in Kruscica we had our depot of the materiel, of ammunition,
16 and I don't know what else, and we then decided, I believe it was in the
17 evening of the 19th, to get it out from Kruscica, because we were afraid
18 that they might erect another barricade towards Kruscica and thus cut off
19 this depot from us. Yes, that is accurate.
20 Q. So was that step simply in order to protect your depot of the
22 A. Oh, yes, definitely.
23 Q. And the last question: Did the brigade have any military role in
24 the attack on this roadblock and the dismantlement of the roadblock?
25 A. If I understand you well, you're asking me if soldiers, say, of
1 our brigade, of the Vitez Brigade, participated in the attack on the
2 roadblock. Is that what you meant, roughly?
3 Q. No. I wasn't precise enough. I meant the Municipal Staff.
4 A. Right, right, Municipal Staff, because one cannot speak of the
5 brigade, especially in 1992.
6 Q. No, no, no.
7 A. As far as I know, members of those groups that we had did not
8 directly participate in the removal of that roadblock.
9 Q. And the materiel that you mentioned, did you manage to pull it out
10 and store it safely?
11 A. I believe we did.
12 Q. Thank you. The next subject. Did you know a person called Marko
13 Lujic, called Markesa, and some people called him gunman?
14 A. Yes, I know him.
15 Q. Was he ever an officer of the Vitez Brigade?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Was he ever a member of the Command of the Vitez Brigade?
18 A. No.
19 Q. And who was the officer responsible for artillery in the brigade,
20 as of its inception?
21 A. It was Blazen Koramjak, to my knowledge.
22 Q. And that Blazen Koramjak, is he also mentioned in the document
23 that we saw this morning, when the municipality issues its consent to the
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And you are sure that Blazen Koramjak, as referred to in that
2 document, was the officer responsible for artillery at that point in time?
3 A. Definitely.
4 Q. Did the brigade perhaps have a special post of a deputy or a chief
5 for rocket systems?
6 A. No, as far as I know.
7 Q. Did Vitez Brigade have any rocket systems?
8 A. No, it didn't.
9 Q. Do you know whether this Marko Lujic whom we mentioned was head of
10 war production in SPS?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. Did you know him personally?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Superficially or well?
15 A. Very superficially.
16 Q. Thank you. I do apologise. I have to lay the foundation for
17 this. Practically throughout this period that we have been discussing,
18 from 1990 onwards, you knew Cerkez, didn't you?
19 A. Would you please repeat your question.
20 Q. I do apologise. Throughout this period you knew Cerkez, didn't
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Obviously you spent quite a bit of time with him.
24 A. If you mean at work, in the war, we spent quite a bit of time
25 together. But if you're talking about the pre-war period, then no.
1 Q. All right. During the war and in relation to work.
2 A. Yes, in relation to work.
3 Q. During this period of time that we are talking about, throughout
4 the war, in the time when your only enemy was the Serb army, and later,
5 when there was a conflict between the HVO and the BH army, did you ever,
6 at any moment, hear Cerkez speak to the Muslims, as a people, in a
7 derogatory or insulting manner?
8 A. I do not remember him ever having mentioned a derogatory word.
9 Q. And what about the enemy forces?
10 A. Well, no. No. He did not usually speak in derogatory terms about
11 anyone. Perhaps only about some individuals, extreme ones at that, but as
12 a rule he would not speak in derogatory terms about the other side,
13 regardless of whether it was the army or the Serb aggressor, et cetera. I
14 think that he simply looked at this as a soldier. He simply saw the enemy
15 as the enemy, and that's it.
16 Q. As an HVO officer, did you ever, from any order, written or oral,
17 those sent from your command to others or from superior commands, did you
18 ever see that the -- anything that would show that the HVO wished to
19 pursue a policy of persecution of Muslim civilians in your area?
20 A. Never.
21 Q. In your opinion, bearing in mind all the events that you were
22 involved in, what was the main objective of the BH army in the Lasva
24 A. In my opinion, one of the main objectives of the BH army in the
25 Lasva Valley was to take the area of special purpose production in Vitez,
1 which could logically be explained by the fact that they already had in
2 their hands Bratstvo in Novi Travnik, that is to say, a factory of
3 weapons; they had Slavko Rodic in Bugojno, a factory for equipment, for
4 explosive devices. So obviously they needed an explosives factory. Any
5 army would want that, to have ammunitions and weapons manufactured in
6 their own hands. They had Konjic in their hands as well, so they needed
7 this to round off this process of production. I think that this was one
8 of the basic objectives of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Q. To finish on this note, until the Washington Accords and until the
10 ceasefire, the main lines of attack went in which direction?
11 A. On several occasions this was confirmed, viewing the movements in
12 the Lasva River Valley. At any rate, they wanted to use a classical
13 manner of waging war, to cut up this valley so that it would be easier for
14 them to take other parts of the valley in this way.
15 As for Vitez, the main directions of attack were going towards
16 Princip, from the south and from the north.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. [In English] Your
18 Honour, maybe it's an opportunity just to break. We just got the
19 translation, and that is the result of Prosecution efforts through the
21 JUDGE MAY: Good.
22 MR. NICE: Can I interject to say one thing. It may be at some
23 stage the Chamber will be helped by being informed in a little more detail
24 of the difficulties of the translation of these documents and the protocol
25 that's observed by the Unit. Nevertheless, I have been able to provide a
1 draft translation, I hope of both documents that Mr. Kovacic wants. And
2 we'll have to await the full translation in due course.
3 MR. KOVACIC: That is the translation of one which is already
4 tendered. May I continue, Your Honour?
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Sajevic, at any time during 1993, and even during 1992, to be
8 realistic, but at any time, the Commander of Viteska Brigade, Mario
9 Cerkez, could he command Vitez?
10 A. Absolutely not.
11 Q. Could he have commanded any other special purposes unit of the HVO
12 that was temporarily or permanently stationed in the territory of the
13 municipality of Vitez?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did Cerkez ever command any units outside the municipality of
16 Vitez except at Kalina, Slatka Vode, and elsewhere where you fought
17 against the Serbs?
18 A. No, he did not. None of those units, except when he was in
19 Tomasevic. So part of the forces from Novi Travnik, but that was while it
20 was a joint brigade.
21 Q. You mean while you were fighting against the Serbs?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. According to the military concept you had, in which case could
24 Cerkez command any other HVO unit or any special purposes unit under those
25 circumstances, hypothetically speaking?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 A. Well, hypothetically speaking, he could have commanded, for
2 example, if the Command of the military district was not in Vitez, that is
3 to say, if our Superior Command had not been there. Automatically,
4 Mr. Cerkez could not command units in the same locality where the Command
5 of the military district is, that is to say, where the Commander of the
6 military district is and where he is of course the superior officer.
7 So had he been in some other area where the highest command was
8 the Brigade Command, then he could have commanded attached units,
9 depending on the orders that he would receive, in terms of time and place,
10 and also for that period of time for which this unit would be attached to
12 Q. So you mean only as defined by such an order?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. Well, a higher command was also mentioned here. The Operative
15 Zone of Central Bosnia. How far away from them were you, 200 metres, 300
16 metres? Tell us, what do you think?
17 A. In my opinion, about 30 metres.
18 Q. From the hotel to the cinema?
19 A. Yes. Well, maybe it's 40 metres. I really don't know. I never
20 measured it.
21 Q. Was it sometimes difficult during the war to get from one of those
22 buildings to the other one?
23 A. Yes. May I add something? It was difficult to get from one
24 building to another because there was a sniper that was operating from
25 Mahalla all the time. It's a straight street, and you could see it very
1 well. And we would run across from one to another during the day but
2 during the night, one could pass from one building to the other.
3 Q. Thank you. At one point in time, did Blaskic actually ask Cerkez
4 to try to take Gacice? Do you remember that?
5 A. I cannot say for sure, but I think -- well, he probably did ask,
6 because Mr. Cerkez explained that we did not have the forces needed for
7 such an action so to speak. So I imagine this was asked, but I did not
8 see a written order.
9 Q. So you only know that Cerkez was explained that he could not?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And on that basis, you assumed that that is what he was asked?
12 A. Precisely.
13 Q. So that is actually linked to this story that Kraljevic took
14 advantage of this to humiliate you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Mr. Sajevic, you knew Dr. Mujezinovic?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You were actually present when he was brought in on the evening of
19 the 19th of April to the premises of Viteska Brigade?
20 A. Yes, I was present. But if we could -- if we say that he was
21 brought in, perhaps one could assume that this was done by force but, no,
22 he came of his own free will.
23 Q. In what capacity did he come?
24 A. Muhamed Mujezinovic, a physician, is one of the renowned citizens
25 of --
1 JUDGE MAY: Major Sajevic, you needn't go through this. Now, just
2 tell us what happened that evening.
3 What is the point that you wanted to get at, Mr. Kovacic?
4 MR. KOVACIC: What the witness told me, the story was not entirely
5 as Dr. Mujezinovic witnessed, and I would like to clear up at least some
6 basic details on that event.
7 JUDGE MAY: Very well, but do so quickly, please.
8 MR. KOVACIC: And if you remember, Your Honour, we did challenge
9 at that time.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. At any rate, Dr. Mujezinovic held a position within the party; is
13 that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know which post he held in the SDA?
16 A. No, I don't know exactly.
17 Q. But he was one of the leaders of the party, that, you do know,
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. You were already mentioned why he was invited to come so we will
21 skip that now. Do you remember that a day before that event, a day before
22 Mujezinovic came, because he was asked to come under escort, that there
23 was a ceasefire signed at a higher level; Izetbegovic, Boban?
24 A. I remember there was some kind of a ceasefire that had allegedly
25 been signed, but there had been such ceasefires during the war too and
1 they were not observed. But yes, some kind of an agreement was signed. I
2 don't know what they called it, a ceasefire or whatever.
3 Q. In view of the situation in town, would it have been safe for
4 Dr. Mujezinovic to go from his house to the command by himself?
5 A. I don't think so.
6 Q. When Mujezinovic came, a meeting was held, right?
7 A. That's right.
8 Q. Some other persons joined in who had been detained in the cinema,
9 persons who were ethnic Muslims; is that right?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. What was the -- what was the subject of that meeting, can you
12 explain this in a few words?
13 A. Well, I think this was Mr. Cerkez's idea that we invite the more
14 prominent citizens of Vitez and that they address, through TV Vitez, all
15 the citizens of Vitez, notably those of Muslim descent to stop some of the
16 rumours that were going around, inter alia, that Dr. Mujezinovic had been
17 killed while he was doing his job, as always, at the medical centre. And,
18 how should I put this, to influence the Bosniak part of the population of
19 Vitez so that things would calm down and so that this could some how be
20 put under control. Everything seemed to be getting out of control.
21 Q. All right. Witness Sajevic, do you remember Cerkez attended the
22 meeting, did he leave before you or after you?
23 A. Mr. Cerkez left before I did.
24 Q. So you were there at the meeting all the time while Cerkez was
1 A. Until the end.
2 Q. At any point in time, while Cerkez was there, did he, in any way,
3 directly or indirectly threaten Mujezinovic or anyone else at that
5 A. No. No. No way. Actually, Mr. Cerkez besieged these people.
6 That is what he said, "Please, go and speak to these people on
7 television. Don't let people mistreat you." And Dr. Mujezinovic had not
8 been interned at any point, and he was asking these people kindly. He was
9 besieging them literally, so that everybody could see that Mujezinovic had
10 not been killed by the HVO.
11 Q. You had just mentioned the Vitez television. The Vitez television
12 was in the same building as you were in; is that right?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. Their premises were, I think, on the other side of the corridor on
15 the same floor where you were.
16 A. Yes, in the same hall. And not only the television, I think that
17 the HDZ premises were there as well. I don't know. I think that Radio
18 Vitez also it's had its premises there.
19 Q. Well, all right. Never mind that now. During this meeting and
20 conversation, especially Cerkez while he was there, did anyone say to
21 Dr. Mujezinovic that the HVO held 2.323 detainees, and did anybody
22 threaten that these people would be killed if the attack was not stopped?
23 A. No way. No way. This is outlandish. No one made any threats.
24 No one mentioned any number of detained persons or something like that.
25 Q. Did anybody at this meeting, especially Cerkez, mention the events
1 of Ahmici as an implied threat?
2 A. I did not hear that. I was present all the time, but I did not
3 hear that from anyone.
4 Q. At that moment, could Cerkez have known how many persons there
5 were interned in Vitez in the territory of the entire municipality?
6 A. Well, let me tell you. Perhaps he could have known but he didn't
7 have to know. But I doubt that he could have known because this situation
8 changed practically from one hour to another. And perhaps we don't even
9 know the exact number until the present day. We don't have exact
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow down.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. On the third day of the conflict around 1900 hours in the evening,
14 I know you can't say exactly how many persons there were, but how many
15 persons, how many men, ethnic Muslims could have been detained in the
17 A. I don't know. It is hard to tell. I think it could have been
18 around 200. Perhaps I'm making a mistake by 10 or 20 or 30. I don't
19 know. I really can't tell. There were cases that people were brought in,
20 and then we would let sick people leave or would take them to the
21 hospital, and people would come of their own free will. They would say
22 that they didn't dare stay at home, at their own homes, and they came
23 there for their own protection.
24 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, could you slow down for the interpreters,
25 please, and leave a break.
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Sajevic, the figure of 200, is that the highest number that
3 ever was in the cinema according to you, bearing in mind all the possible
4 variations, or do you think that that particular day, that was the highest
5 number of people?
6 A. I think that was the largest number of people ever reached but
7 that is my opinion. I cannot really say whether that was so or not, but I
8 do think that that was the largest number.
9 Q. I think you told us already some particulars about the internees
10 but since you shared the building, you, the television and the internees,
11 who -- under whose control were the detainees?
12 A. They were under the military police control.
13 Q. The military police had brought them to the cinema; is that
15 A. It is.
16 Q. The military police was downstairs on the ground floor and
17 controlled the building; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. The 4th Battalion of the Military Police had its
20 command where?
21 A. I think that the Military Police 4th Battalion was also housed in
22 the hotel together with the Operative Zone.
23 Q. In contrast with, for instance, the brigade, the members of the
24 4th Battalion of the Military Police had their own base. They slept, that
25 is, they had -- they were there around the clock?
1 A. Yes, yes, they slept in the hotel. That is in the rooms of the
3 Q. And later on, is it true that they came by another building which
4 was opposite your warehouse?
5 A. Yes, correct. Later on they had another building, the building
6 which now houses the first basic court in Vitez and they used the building
7 for their purposes.
8 Q. So in that sense, they were an army with a barracks?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, let me rephrase this. You had, in the building, and around
11 the building, you had a platoon and everybody called it the brigade
12 military police, will you please tell us who was that, what was it?
13 A. Well, we all called them the brigade military police, but it
14 wasn't on the basis of any particular organisation or even the documents
15 on the establishment of the brigade. The brigade did not have such
16 information. It was some of the military police of the 4th Battalion who
17 were standing guard around the command of the military district, and since
18 the command of the brigade was in the immediate vicinity, then they simply
19 provided security for both.
20 Q. So this was the platoon which was in your building?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Tell us, to try to be quite clear so that everybody can
23 understand, in colloquial, in your vernacular, in the idiom that you used,
24 what did you call them the military police or the brigade or what did you
25 say? How did you call them?
1 A. Well, it was easy to call the brigade military police rather than
2 1st, 2nd or I don't know, the 3rd platoon or the 4th Battalion of the
3 Military Police. So we simply called it the brigade military police, the
4 brigade MP because, in a manner of speaking, some of them had been
5 assigned to the Vitez Brigade for assistance and what -- what do I know,
6 to perform a role of the military police because the brigade did not have
7 a military police of its own.
8 Q. Tell us, did ever any officer from the brigade command or perhaps
9 the Commander Cerkez -- could directly issue orders to that particular
11 A. No.
12 Q. And if you needed this brigade MP to bring in a soldier or
13 something, how did you go about that?
14 A. Well, we would submit a written request to the Commander of the
15 4th Battalion of the Military Police or would seek, through the Operative
16 Zone of Central Bosnia, to authorise the use of military police in that
17 area or -- I think we were very specific about this, and asked them to
18 authorise us to ask the military police to bring in so and so.
19 Q. The military police had held the lobby in your building; is that
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. And the brigade police stood guard around your building?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And if a party came, if a visitor came and had to go to the first
25 floor, then who checked his ID, who searched him?
1 A. Well, they, again, but I have to say, I am using the term brigade
2 military police conditionally. They were members of the 4th Battalion of
3 the Military Police. So again, they did not belong to the brigade but we
4 keep calling them the brigade military police. So that was the common
5 term. Everybody called them that.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 A. If I may, I guess that they, themselves, used this, I mean because
8 they had to know who was in the Operative Zone, who was working for the
9 brigade because sometimes they would dispatch some men to the other
10 brigades, not only the Vitez one.
11 Q. And tell us, please, this impossibility to issue them orders, the
12 fact that your command could not issue orders to those men who were in
13 your building, it also gave rise to a certain personnel problems, didn't
14 it, who was superior to whom; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, it is.
16 Q. Could any officer, either by placing that request or by issuing a
17 direct order make those members of the brigade MP to go, to issue them any
18 combat order or something like that?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Or to go into the town and arrest somebody?
21 A. I've just told you. If we needed, say, some services, some of the
22 services of those military policemen, then we wrote requests to their
24 Q. Thank you. Yes, sorry, I apologise. And finally, do you remember
25 when did this chain of command change?
1 A. That chain of command changed, if I remember well, in the summer
2 of 1993, that is, there were already so many misunderstandings regarding
3 the subordination of the military police because, of course, the brigade
4 commander also wanted to have a couple of MPs who he could issue orders
5 to. And he didn't have any, because those military policemen were all
6 members of the 4th Battalion the Military Police, and they considered they
7 were higher-ranking soldiers than all the other soldiers.
8 So there were certain arguments from time to time, and I think
9 that in August or perhaps late July, I can't be quite exact, an order
10 arrived whereby parts of the military police assigned to the brigades
11 would be placed under the command of brigade commanders. That is as of
12 that moment, brigade commanders could issue direct orders to those
13 military policemen.
14 Q. We obtained those documents at five minutes to 12.00, so will you
15 please look at these documents and tell us if that is it.
16 MR. KOVACIC: This is the one, Your Honour, I said that there is
17 no translation, but there is now a translation thanks to my dear
18 colleague. Could we get a number?
19 THE REGISTRAR: D91/2.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Shall I say, Mr. Kovacic, long live such
21 cooperation with your dear colleague.
22 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Your Honour, I appreciate that really very
23 much, and we will also exchange the lists of the documents which we
24 received from Zagreb because there seems to be also some administrative
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sajevic, you have in front of you the -- a
2 document of -- dated 18th of August, 1993. Could you tell us if that is
3 the document that you mentioned and which now makes quite clear what are
4 the relations and which places the police under the brigade command, that
5 is, this one unit which was called, in your vernacular, the brigade
6 military police?
7 A. Yes, this is the document which even makes a step forward,
8 further, and enables the brigade commander to even replenish the military
9 police, that is, to bring in the new man to replenish the military police
11 Q. Mr. Sajevic, according to the army doctrine, could one say that
12 this document enables the Vitez Brigade Commander to indeed exercise all
13 the commanding powers over not only his brigade, but including that unit?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 [In English] Your Honours, I will try to buy some time just
17 briefly going through the next point, 15, since I think we, in the
18 meantime, had another witness on the issue. But just briefly.
19 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sajevic, we also talked in Vitez before we
20 came here, and we showed you a long list, the 1779 post code, the three
21 large sheets.
22 A. You mean the list of personnel?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. Yes, I saw it.
25 Q. Would you agree that the Vitez Brigade, at its peak in late
1 1993 -- it's impossible to reconstruct that -- numbered 1.800 men?
2 A. Yes, I can concur with that.
3 Q. Does anybody know to what size the Vitez Brigade rose at its peak?
4 A. I don't know if anybody knows.
5 Q. Did anybody operate with any figures in that regard, publicly?
6 A. I cannot recall, because I left the army in 1995, so now I cannot
7 recall. And probably those who worked in personnel have such information.
8 Q. Would you agree with a very general assessment -- and I don't know
9 if you can agree with this or not -- that since some people came, some
10 left, some were killed, some were wounded, that over 2.200 people came and
11 went through this brigade?
12 A. I don't know how they could come and go. Whatever was the Vitez
13 Brigade, that was it. I'm not saying that there were not members of other
14 units who came to assist in certain specific situations, but that would be
15 for brief periods of time and they would go back to their own units. One
16 knew, if there was a need for the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade to help with
17 20 or 30 people for five, ten days, then they would send it. I don't know
18 if I understood your question correctly.
19 Q. What I had in mind is that some people were killed, so they're
20 gone; then other people came.
21 A. Well, people fluctuated, but I don't think that there could have
22 been more than 2.200 people who were ever involved, who passed through
23 that brigade.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I will skip the area on the map. We
25 agreed on everything except for a few details, the Elford map, and I
1 believe that we covered all the topics. That is point 16. I would just
2 like to ask the registry to please help us with another document. That
3 would be D70/2, to put to this witness. This document was tendered
4 through Witness Puljic a few days ago, and the witness mentioned it, so
5 perhaps we can find it relevant.
6 Q. Mr. Sajevic, would you please carefully look at the document. I
7 only have two or three questions.
8 A. Go ahead.
9 Q. Have you seen this document before?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Have you seen it in my office, perhaps?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Is it clear from this document that this is a Defence
14 Office -- issued by the Defence Office which you mentioned, which was
15 organised as part of the HVO government in Vitez. Is that that
17 A. I believe that this is the Defence Office of the HZ HB.
18 Q. I apologise. So this is a higher level?
19 A. Yes, the higher level.
20 Q. The Municipal Defence Office reports to this administration which
21 is mentioned here?
22 A. That is how it should be.
23 Q. Do you have any doubt that this is the civilian branch of
25 A. No.
1 Q. Is it true that Mr. Pero Skopljak -- was Mr. Pero Skopljak a
2 civilian or a soldier?
3 A. He was a civilian.
4 Q. Does this document corroborate your knowledge about the detention
5 of people, their guarding and so on?
6 A. Yes, it does, as it's stated.
7 Q. You previously said that the military police guarded them. Was
8 that just their -- it includes physical protection or does it refer to the
10 A. The military police guarded them while they were in the cinema,
11 physically guarded them. I'm not sure that I understood your question
13 Q. My question was whether the military police just carried out the
14 physical aspects of detention, that is, guarding and so on, but in terms
15 of the detention itself, that the civilian government was responsible for
17 A. You could say so, because there were commissions for exchange at
18 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone level. So I don't believe that this was
19 a military police task. I think that there was a separate commission
20 which was tasked with that.
21 Q. So we can agree that the civilian authorities were in charge of
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 [In English] Your Honour, I think I'm done with this witness.
1 Just as a matter of courtesy, we did file an affidavit which, in some
2 little parts, corroborate this testimony, and there is no need to explain
3 that, I guess. If there is, I will be glad to do that.
4 JUDGE MAY: We'll use the usual procedure for the affidavits.
6 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Naumovski:
8 Q. Mr. Sajevic, allow me to introduce myself. I'm Mitko Naumovski,
9 attorney from Zagreb, and alongside Mr. Browning, represent the Defence of
10 Mr. Dario Kordic. I know that you have been questioned all day. You must
11 be exhausted. I will try to be very brief.
12 You are a soldier, you spent -- you were involved in military
13 affairs for the most of your career. Let me ask you first off: What was
14 Dario Kordic for you, a politician or a soldier?
15 A. In short, to me, Mr. Dario Kordic was a politician. If I need to
16 further elaborate, I can.
17 Q. No. I don't think we need to go any wider than that.
18 Can you please tell us: Throughout the period when you were a
19 member of the HVO staff in Vitez and later on a member of the Vitez
20 Brigade Command staff, did Mr. Dario Kordic ever issue any military order
21 at any time?
22 A. Not to me, and I don't know of any case when he issued any kind of
23 military order to anyone in the Vitez Command, because we had our own
25 Q. A little while ago, some civilians from the Vitez authorities were
1 mentioned: Pero Skopljak, the HDZ president, and then a document signed
2 by Anto Valenta, who was the vice-president of the civilian government.
3 My question to you is: Did any of the civilians ever have any authority
4 or issue any military orders to the Vitez Brigade?
5 A. As far as I know, no one ever did.
6 Q. Can you tell me: Have you ever seen Mr. Kordic, or did Mr. Kordic
7 ever visit your command post?
8 A. Throughout the war I only saw Mr. Kordic once, which does not mean
9 that he never came to the command post of the Vitez Brigade, but I wasn't
10 there; I'm not aware of his having come. But I saw him in the command
11 post of the 1st Battalion. I think that that was in early 1994 when he
12 stopped by. He stayed there three to five minutes. He greeted everyone,
13 he said, "How's everything," he said, "Hold on tight," and he went on
14 another business.
15 Q. But you haven't heard from anyone else that he was coming to your
16 brigade headquarters?
17 A. I really don't remember. Even if somebody had mentioned it to me,
18 I didn't remember. And right now, I cannot recall him ever coming.
19 Q. I assume that throughout this period -- 1991, 1992, and
20 1993 -- you may have heard or been aware of some of his press conferences
21 or his speeches during some celebrations. Have you ever heard Mr. Kordic
22 speaking in negative terms against the Muslims or any other ethnic group?
23 A. No, never. And I heard him -- I listened to a number of
24 Mr. Kordic's speeches. Mr. Kordic always underscored that the Croats
25 should not leave the territory, that they should not leave this area, that
1 this was also our country, not just of others. And I never heard him say
2 anything derogatory about any other ethnic groups: Serbs or Muslims or
3 anyone else.
4 Q. Thank you. I want to move to another topic. You mentioned a
5 checkpoint, a blockade, at the Catholic cemetery near Ahmici. In late
6 1992, did you ever hear Mr. Kordic issuing any threats to the people in
7 Ahmici if they did not remove the barricade which they had placed there in
8 October 1992?
9 A. I never heard him issuing any threats to anyone, not only on that
10 occasion, but ever. I think that Mr. Kordic was a politician of such a
11 level that he wouldn't even contemplate such a thing. That's my
12 perception, that it would have been below him to go and threaten people at
14 Q. Thank you. You mentioned 15 April 1993 and the fact that you had
15 a temperature, that you were sick on that day. Did you hear through the
16 media, television or anywhere else, that Mr. Kordic on that day, 15 April
17 1993, said that the Croats were ready, that the Croatian units were ready,
18 and that that would have been expressed as some kind of a threat,
19 preparedness for some kind of an action?
20 A. Again, let me tell you: I don't believe so, because Mr. Kordic is
21 a man of such a calibre that he must have known quite well the position of
22 Croats in Central Bosnia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, rather than say
23 something like that. Seventeen per cent of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina
24 cannot present such a force.
25 Q. In other words, you heard nothing of that kind?
1 A. Absolutely not.
2 Q. An additional question regarding another subject matter.
3 Mr. Sajevic, you would be the right person to ask such a question, because
4 you were there all the time. Were there any units of the Croatian army in
5 Central Bosnia, that is, in the area under control of the Vitez Brigade?
6 A. No, never, not a single soldier, except perhaps for Croatia,
7 Galic, who was a person from Vitez who had spent a period of time in the
8 Croatian army.
9 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
10 I have no further questions, Your Honours. That concludes my
12 JUDGE MAY: Tomorrow morning, Mr. Nice. Do you anticipate being
13 able to tailor your cross-examination?
14 MR. NICE: It's quite a problem, because the evidence, one way or
15 another, covers the totality of the Cerkez defence. I've been thinking it
16 over this afternoon. It seems to me inevitable that I won't be able to
17 cover the whole of the Prosecution case against Mr. Cerkez, although the
18 Rules might technically require me to do it, and I shall be selective, I
19 think. Might it be helpful, because I know the translation problem is a
20 problem, if I just explain to you, perhaps after the witness has gone, why
21 things are difficult --
22 JUDGE MAY: I don't think -- you needn't explain. I'm sure they
23 are difficult.
24 MR. NICE: I fully sympathise with Mr. Kovacic's position and I
25 understand the difficulties he's facing.
1 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Major Sajevic, would you be back, please,
2 tomorrow morning, half past 9.00, to continue your evidence. We'll
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.30 p.m., to
5 be reconvened on Thursday the 27th day of July 2000,
6 at 9.30 a.m.