1 Wednesday, 6 September 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 WITNESS: JOZO RADMAN
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you would like to take a seat.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
13 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
14 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Radman.
16 A. Good morning.
17 Q. Could you please repeat your name and surname for the transcript,
18 as well as your date and place of birth.
19 A. My name is Jozo Radman; father's name, Franjo. I was born on the
20 1st of April, 1966 in Travnik. I now live in the village of Zabilje, in
21 the municipality of Vitez.
22 Q. You are married and you have two children; is that right?
23 A. Yes, I am married and I have two children.
24 Q. Before the war, in the former Yugoslavia, you did your military
25 service in the JNA; is that right?
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. Did you leave the JNA with a rank?
3 A. I did my military service in the JNA in Samobor, and I left with
4 the rank of lance corporal.
5 Q. Thank you. And now you are a soldier, a member of the army of the
6 Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that right?
7 A. I am a member of the army of the Federation of
9 Q. And you hold the rank of captain there, don't you?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. Tell me, please, perhaps in a few words, in 1991, during all the
12 political unrest in Croatia and then in Bosnia-Herzegovina, were you
13 interested in these events?
14 A. Of course I was interested, indeed, because it had to do with the
15 Croat people.
16 Q. Tell me, please, how did you view these events? Did you realise,
17 and when did you realise, that all of this could lead to a civil war in
19 A. First of all, the events that took place in the territory of the
20 Republic of Slovenia, then in the territory of the Republic of Croatia
21 made it obvious to all people that this was spread to Bosnia-Herzegovina,
22 myself included.
23 Q. What was the reason -- or, rather, let me put it this way: In
24 your village of Zabilje, at that time were there any village guards that
25 were organised at the end of 1991?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Already in the spring of 1992, did they function in a rather
3 organised manner by then?
4 A. Yes. Already from the spring of 1992, every evening in the
5 village there were village guards.
6 Q. What was the purpose of these village guards?
7 A. In the beginning, fear from crime. There were more and more
8 criminals who were engaged in crime. And of course we could not just sit
9 and watch what happened in the municipality of Ravno.
10 Q. In Ravno, there was an attack of the JNA, assisted by the Bosnian
11 Serbs, against that village. That was the first war action of the JNA in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. In the municipality of Vitez, in the village of Zabilje where you
15 lived, this village is in the immediate vicinity of Sadovace, isn't it?
16 A. Yes, the houses are right next to one another.
17 Q. Zabilje and Sadovace are the same local community, aren't they?
18 A. Yes, they are. Zabilje and Sadovace are the same local
20 Q. What was the composition of the population of Sadovace like?
21 A. In Sadovace, the population was almost 100 per cent Muslim, except
22 for one Croat house; whereas in Zabilje, the entire population was Croat.
23 Q. Before this unfortunate war, was there ever any trouble between
24 the two villages?
25 A. No, on the contrary. We had lots of friends in Sadovace.
1 Q. In 1992, both villages had village guards; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, both villages had village guards.
3 Q. Were their mutual relations tense or did they cooperate? And how
4 did they cooperate if they did cooperate?
5 A. During the evening, when the village guards operated, the village
6 guard from Zabilje would go from the communal centre in Zabilje to the
7 communal centre in Sadovace, and the other way around; the village guards
8 from Sadovace would come to the communal centre in Zabilje.
9 Q. Oh, so that is to say that there was contact between the two
10 village guards. Can we assume that they also conveyed information to one
11 another in terms of what they knew?
12 A. Oh, yes, by all means. The information mostly amounted to whether
13 an unknown vehicle entered the area on the assumption that it would do
14 something impermissible.
15 Q. Can you give us an example which would demonstrate cooperation
16 between these two village guards?
17 A. On several occasions I personally went to the communal centre in
18 Sadovace. However, I think that the best indicator would be the
19 following: In the summer, a piece of information arrived in our village
20 that the JNA or, rather, the Serbs, right, sent some kind of a sabotage
21 group to Stozerak. Stozerak is a feature above our villages, Zabilje and
22 Sadovace. On that day, together the inhabitants of Zabilje, Sadovace, and
23 the village of Muratovici, which is above Stozerak and which is also a
24 Muslim village, we all went up to Stozerak together. And, indeed, we did
25 not see a thing there, but we did go up there together.
1 Q. Can we say that this is not the only example of such cooperation?
2 A. Of course it is not. I already said, and I repeat, that every
3 evening we went from the community centre --
4 JUDGE MAY: There's no need to repeat something if you've said
6 Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation].
8 Q. So let us proceed. When did you first receive a call from the
9 municipal headquarters to report in order to prepare for defence against
10 the Serbs?
11 A. In the summer of 1992 when I went to the front line in Vlasic.
12 Q. Before that, that is to say, late in 1991 and until the summer of
13 1992, you were only active in the village guards; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you reported as a volunteer to the HVO headquarters in case
16 there is any need to defend yourselves?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. So that is to say that in 1991, you already reported as a
19 volunteer in order to set up the defence?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. At Galica and Vlasic, just give me yes or no answers to speed
22 things up. In this first action, you were fighting against the JNA; is
23 that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. This was a position that would jeopardize the Lasva Valley
1 starting with Novi Travnik; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. All right. How much time did you spend in Galica during this
4 first action?
5 A. Five days.
6 Q. And then you returned to the village?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Upon return to your village, what did you do?
9 A. I continued my civilian life.
10 Q. At that time, were you employed?
11 A. Yes, in Vitezit.
12 Q. So you continued going to work?
13 A. Yes, I did.
14 Q. At that moment when you returned from that first shift, did you
15 consider yourself to be a soldier or a civilian?
16 A. A civilian. I worked at Vitezit.
17 Q. As for your participation in the village guards, that is what you
18 did of your own free will; right?
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. Nobody asked you officially, formally, to join the village guards?
21 A. No.
22 Q. During this first action, were you armed?
23 A. At the Vlasic action, yes.
24 Q. What kind of weapons did you have?
25 A. I had an automatic rifle which I borrowed from a colleague who was
1 on the reserve police force, of the civilian police, that is.
2 Q. Did you have a uniform?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. How did you get it?
5 A. I bought it.
6 Q. Witness Radman, I'm going to ask you to look at a document here
7 which is part of the evidence we have.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could we have Z70.2 given to the
9 witness, please.
10 Q. Witness Radman, please read the first page and then look at the
11 second page. On this next page on the top of the page, what does it say?
12 A. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
13 THE INTERPRETER: The witness is going to fast and the
14 interpreters can't see a copy of the document.
15 JUDGE MAY: The interpreters can't see the document, and it's not
16 on the ELMO. What is the point? What is the document? I haven't seen it
18 MR. KOVACIC: The document was earlier introduced by the
19 Prosecution and this witness is listed here on exactly on the first page.
20 JUDGE MAY: What is the document, please?
21 MR. KOVACIC: According to the defence, this is the document
22 combined by civil authorities where they wanted to record it first
23 volunteers who participated in any manner in the defence of Lasva Valley.
24 JUDGE MAY: And the number if you could give it to us again?
25 MR. KOVACIC: Z70.2.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE MAY: And what do you want the witness to do with it,
3 MR. KOVACIC: I would like if the witness would recognise his
4 signature on the bottom of the page, why he signed it.
5 JUDGE MAY: Which page is it of the document?
6 MR. KOVACIC: First page of the document.
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Radman, would you look at the first page of the
8 document at the bottom and see if that's your signature?
9 A. Yes, signature number two.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Radman, there are three signatures here and next to every
13 signature, a particular office is mentioned, a particular position. I'm
14 talking about the bottom of the page, please. I'm reading the first name
15 now, Mirko Djotlo it seems to say. It says "coordinator", what would that
17 A. Coordinators were persons in the times of the municipal
18 headquarters and they coordinated with municipal headquarters. These were
19 persons, were villages who coordinated with municipal headquarters.
20 Q. You -- your signature is the second one and next to your name it
21 says "commander". Why commander?
22 A. Commander because after the municipal headquarters already in
23 April 1993, around the 20th of April, I was appointed commander of the
24 region, of that area, that's why it says commander. It is actually a
25 sequel to the municipal headquarters.
1 Q. And this third name which seems to be Perica Djotlo as far as I
2 can see, it says "president of the basic organisation".
3 A. That is a post that existed before the municipal headquarters.
4 This was organisation through -- in various villages on a party basis.
5 Q. Does that mean that actually these three persons guaranteed that
6 the persons mentioned on that page are precisely those who took part in
7 organised resistance to the aggression?
8 JUDGE MAY: Now, let the witness give the evidence, Mr. Kovacic.
9 Don't give the evidence yourself.
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE MAY: You see he simply says, "Yes." It's much more
12 effective if it comes from him. Ask him "What they were doing? Why were
13 they there?" Ask those sort of questions not putting things to him.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. And finally, in relation to this list, another question: On this
16 page, you were registered as a participant; is that correct?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. Could you please show your name on this page?
19 A. The name under number three.
20 Q. And your signature is in the right-hand column; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 A. You're welcome.
24 Q. In connection with this, another question, and then we've taken
25 care of that particular subject. What was your motive? Why were you
1 engaged in these activities related to village guards regardless of the
2 time, 1991, 1992, 1993?
3 A. Protection of the village.
4 Q. Thank you. After this action at Galica, did you engage in other
5 actions in the organisation of the HVO in the struggle against the
6 aggressor, the JNA?
7 A. I went to actions at Turbe, Kamenjas, Slatka Voda, the feature
8 above Travnik.
9 Q. How were you called up for that?
10 A. Through the municipal headquarters.
11 Q. The system was the same as it was before; is that right?
12 A. Yes, through a coordinator.
13 Q. Very well. Is it correct that every time you received call-up
14 papers or you were summoned verbally?
15 A. Sometimes the coordinator would say that a certain number of men
16 was needed to go to the front line, either Novi Travnik or Turbe, and a
17 certain number of young men would report in keeping with the needs
19 Q. What was their status?
20 A. Civilian. A large number of them returned to the companies where
21 they worked.
22 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, when was the Stjepan Tomasevic
23 Brigade formed to the best of your recollection?
24 A. In December 1992.
25 Q. In terms of shifts going to the front line, did anything change
1 for you as a fighting man?
2 A. No, nothing really. Again, the front line was in
3 Slatka Voda/Kamenjas.
4 Q. Did you perhaps now get some kind of permanent assignment? Were
5 you assigned to barracks or were you active somewhere?
6 A. We did not have any barracks.
7 Q. You went to the sector Mravinjac/Slatka Voda to the north-west of
8 Novi Travnik; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did the BH army have its sector there too?
11 A. Yes, to our right.
12 Q. Did you have any contact with the BH army?
13 A. Not me. But the men who were on the right, on our right flank,
14 they had contact with the BH army.
15 Q. Thank you. Do you know when the Vitez Brigade was established?
16 A. In March 1993.
17 Q. Did anything change for you specifically with regard to going to
18 the front line?
19 A. Well, nothing special. We just get the sector of the Vitez
20 Brigade on the defence line.
21 Q. So a different location on the line, right?
22 A. Yes, the locality Mravinjac, Kamenjas, Slatka Voda, Viteska and
23 Tomasevic divided a sector.
24 Q. However the enemy remained the same, right?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. Again, you were activated and deactivated in different shifts; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Witness Radman, in your assessment, when did noticeable tensions
5 appear between the Croats and the Muslims in the area where you lived?
6 A. I noticed at the beginning of 1993, when I was going to the front
7 line, that this was happening.
8 Q. In which situation did you notice this? What was happening?
9 A. We had problems when we were passing Kalinska Street in Novi
10 Travnik. On one occasion our shift members were actually shot at as we
11 were moving towards the defence line.
12 Q. Under whose control was Kalinska Street?
13 A. Under the control of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 Q. That's in Novi Travnik; is that right?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. Were there any cases when you could not take the shortest route
17 from Vitez to Novi Travnik, to your positions up there?
18 A. Yes. The last shift was the one when we could not pass through
19 Kalinska, and then we had to go through Stari Travnik, Old Travnik.
20 Q. That is to say, you had to take the roundabout road.
21 A. Yes, yes, which was in a poor condition.
22 Q. Witness Radman, when were you last in one of the shifts at the
23 defence line?
24 A. About ten days before the conflict.
25 Q. The conflict between the Croats and Muslims started when, to the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 best of your recollection?
2 A. On the 16th of April, 1993.
3 MR. KOVACIC: I would like to introduce one exhibit. I would
4 kindly ask for a number.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Radman, could you please look at this
6 document so that others can see it too.
7 JUDGE MAY: Can we have a number? All right.
8 Go on, Mr. Kovacic. We'll get the number.
9 THE REGISTRAR: It's Exhibit --
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, I'm sorry.
11 MR. KOVACIC: Sorry, Your Honour.
12 THE REGISTRAR: That's okay. It's Exhibit D100.
13 JUDGE MAY: I think it will require a 2.
14 THE REGISTRAR: "/2," I'm sorry. Yes, D100/2.
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Witness Radman, I hope you have managed to see this document.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. On the basis of this order, were you sent to this last shift?
19 A. Yes, I assume that that's it.
20 Q. How can you say that?
21 A. After the shift, when I was up there at Slatka Vode, yet another
22 shift went up there which happened to be there on the day of the
23 conflict. They happened to be at the defence line.
24 Q. Very well. Point 2 of this order stipulates that one platoon from
25 the 2nd Company is being sent to the defence line. What were these
1 companies, actually?
2 A. Companies? Those were the people who actually went to the defence
3 line in shifts, that is to say, those people who were rotated in terms of
4 going to the defence line.
5 Q. Very well. We should show you a document so that you could help
7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the registrar to
8 have document Z653 shown to the witness, please. Could the witness please
9 be shown the version in the Croat language, and could the English version
10 be placed on the ELMO, please.
11 Q. Please take a look and tell us who signed this document.
12 A. There is no signature.
13 Q. What is mentioned here, the officer for SIS of the 1st Battalion,
14 in your opinion, what does the SIS mean? What is this abbreviation?
15 A. The Security Service.
16 Q. Do you know at the time of the issuing of this document who this
17 was by name and surname?
18 A. No, I don't.
19 Q. On the first page of this document, item 2, a company is mentioned
20 here and I suppose it means the 2nd Company. Its commander is Slavko
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In this list of villages, is your village here?
24 A. Yes, it is, the village of Zabilje.
25 Q. The number of men reporting for shifts, does it correspond to the
2 A. Yes, yes, that is those men who went to the front line from time
3 to time.
4 Q. So you were one of 29?
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 Q. Does it also mean, this figure, I mean, that men are called up
7 from that list and then they are sent to the front line?
8 A. Yes, depending on the need.
9 Q. Does that mean that all these men are not under arms and active
10 all the time?
11 A. No. When they come back, they are civilians.
12 Q. Thank you very much. Now we could move on to your testimony about
13 the earliest days of the conflict in the Lasva Valley. Do you remember
14 where you were and what you were doing on the evening of the 15th of
16 A. On the evening of the 15th of April, I was in the social club in
18 Q. Why?
19 A. Well, next to its building there is a football playground. So we
20 were playing football, and I was up there at the social club.
21 Q. How?
22 A. I was a civilian. I was there as a civilian.
23 Q. Were you exercising any of your duties as commander of the village
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. This evening, did you get any information about what might
2 possibly happen the next day?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. And who brought this information?
5 A. This information was brought by Mr. Slavko Badrov.
6 Q. That is the commander of that company mentioned in that document.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What did he tell you?
9 A. He said that he had some information that on the 16th, the Muslims
10 might try to attack somewhere in the municipality of Vitez.
11 Q. Did Slavko Badrov say where he got that information from and how
12 he came by it?
13 A. No, not to me, because after all, there were many of us in this
14 social club.
15 Q. So what was the instruction he gave you?
16 A. To raise the alertness.
17 Q. At that time -- I'm sorry, I seem to be rushing. At that moment,
18 did he tell you that as a commander, or was it just advice to the village
20 A. It was an information for all of us, to heed to that information.
21 Q. At that time, was Slavko Badrov authorised to activate you as
22 members of the brigade?
23 A. No.
24 Q. What did you do then when you received that information?
25 A. I told the shift which was on duty on village guard at that time
1 to be on the alert and not to patrol between Sadovace and the centre which
2 was in Sadovace. We also let the village guards at Stozerak know to also
3 be on the alert.
4 Q. What is Stozerak? What is it?
5 A. It is the dominating feature above our village, right next to the
6 last houses in the village of Brda.
7 Q. From that hill you could observe what was going on, could you?
8 A. From the Stozerak feature, one could see from Stari Travnik to
9 Novi Travnik, even to Vitez and even the road to Busovaca.
10 MR. KOVACIC: I'm going to give a map to the witness. It will be
11 much faster. Not as evidence but just as assistance in his testimony.
12 Sir, you can put one on the ELMO and one in front of the witness.
13 It would be easier for him.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Will you now please also, as you answer the
15 questions, point at the localities that you are mentioning. But you have
16 to show it on the ELMO.
17 Is it, then, correct that in the morning you heard gunfire from
18 different directions in the municipality?
19 A. Yes, in the morning of the 16th of April.
20 Q. What kind of information did you begin to get?
21 A. Until after 12.00, nothing during the day, except that in the
22 lower part of the municipality of Vitez, a Muslim attack on the
23 municipality had commenced.
24 Q. What did you do then?
25 A. We reinforced the village guards at Stozerak.
1 Q. Will you please show us where Stozerak is.
2 A. [Indicates]
3 Q. Will you now point, where is your village?
4 A. Here. Yes, right below Stozerak.
5 Q. Stozerak is about what altitude?
6 A. Well, it is about 800 metres high.
7 Q. Very well. How many men did you have now on duty on Stozerak
9 A. Fourteen men.
10 Q. What about the unit of the army in Sadovace? Did they do
12 A. The unit of the BH army at Sadovace already began to prepare the
13 defence line between Zabilje and Sadovace on the 16th of April.
14 Q. In the morning?
15 A. Yes, in the morning.
16 Q. Will you please show us the demarcation. Where was that line?
17 THE COURT REPORTER: Did the witness say 40 or 14?
18 A. I mean between villages ...
19 Q. Very well. That line practically separated those two villages.
20 It was a demarcation line between Sadovace and Zabilje?
21 A. Yes, it was a demarcation line between the Sadovace and Zabilje.
22 Q. And on the right-hand side were the Muslims; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Was the BH army there?
25 A. Yes, reinforced by men from Krajina and Karaula.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry. I have to interrupt. The interpreters
2 were asking whether the witness said 40 or 14 members of the guard on the
4 Q. [Interpretation] You said --
5 A. At Stozerak there were 14 members of the guards at that time.
6 Q. Very well. You mentioned men from Krajina and Karaula. Who are
8 A. We termed as men from Krajina all those who had been expelled by
9 the JNA and Serbs from Krajina, and men from Karaula are villagers from
10 the village of Karaula which was in the municipality of Travnik, that is,
11 those who had also been expelled by the Serbs.
12 Q. So they came to the village of Sadovace as refugees and settled
13 there, did they?
14 A. They were provisionally accommodated there.
15 Q. Is it correct that there were both civilians and military among
16 those people?
17 A. Yes, there were both civilians and military.
18 Q. And only for the Court, the area of Krajina that you mentioned,
19 what part of Bosnia is it?
20 A. Up there, Kljuc, Sanski Most, around Banja Luka. Those
21 territories. Around Banja Luka.
22 Q. Very well. Those forces from Sadovace, what did they do next?
23 A. They formed the defence line facing Grbavica; that is, they linked
24 Sadovace and Grbavica and thus cut off the communication between Vitez and
1 Q. Will you please show it to us?
2 A. [Indicates]
3 Q. What part was now controlled by the army?
4 A. The army controlled the part from Sadovace down the left bank of
5 the Bila river to where it flows into the river Lasva cutting off the
6 communication with Vitez.
7 Q. Will you show us which part of the Kaonik-Vitez road this main
8 road was controlled by the forces of the army, the one which you showed to
9 us between Sadovace and Grbavica. Which part of the road roughly?
10 A. [Indicates]
11 Q. And can any HVO get through?
12 A. They control it between the bridge and the place called Divjak.
13 Nobody can pass through that any longer.
14 Q. And let us clarify it while we have the map. So, for instance,
15 you in Zabilje, how did you go to Vitez after that?
16 A. We went through Mosunj.
17 Q. Will you please show it to us?
18 A. [Indicates]
19 Q. I see.
20 A. This way and then.
21 Q. So you took some roundabout roads?
22 A. Yes, some roundabout roads.
23 Q. And that last section of the road does it pass through the SPS
25 A. Yes, through the SPS factory.
1 Q. And finally, how long did this situation go on?
2 A. Until September 1993.
3 Q. Very well. Let us go back to the 18th of April, that is the early
4 days of the conflict. Did you manage to keep -- to hold on to Stozerak?
5 A. No.
6 Q. And who took Stozerak from you and how?
7 A. On the 18th of April of 1993, the forces of the BH army conduct --
8 launched an attack on the Stozerak feature, and took it that same day.
9 They took Stozerak and some Croat houses in the places Brda, Sucici and
11 Q. And how long, in whole, did the BH army hold that feature, at
13 A. Until the end of the war.
14 Q. So until after the Washington Accords?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the front lines in that area around your village did not
17 change more or less; correct?
18 A. In the direction of Sadovace, but on the 19th of May, 1993, the BH
19 army attacked and took the village of Dzotle.
20 Q. And did you suffer any casualties?
21 A. Thirteen.
22 Q. And what were they, military soldiers, civilians, or what?
23 A. They were civilians and military and members of the work platoon.
24 Q. And their ethnicity?
25 A. Croats and Serbs.
1 Q. At the time when Stozerak was attacked on the 18th, with the
2 forces you had at your disposal, were you able to put up any resistance?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You did not even try, you mean, to defend Stozerak?
5 A. We did with those 14 men who were up there at Stozerak, but that
6 fell short of the needs in view of the forces which had attacked.
7 Q. Very well. And tell us, when the war broke out on the 16th of
8 April, when did the mobilisation in your village take place?
9 A. After the fall of Stozerak.
10 Q. Could you be more specific, was it one, two, three, five days
11 after its fall?
12 A. Two days after the fall of Stozerak.
13 Q. Which means sometime on the 20th or 21st of April, is that when
14 you were mobilised?
15 A. Yes, around the 21st.
16 Q. And that mobilisation, how was it carried out? How and who told
17 you that as of now you were mobilised?
18 A. I received the order which said that I had been appointed the
19 commander of the area in the village of Zabilje.
20 Q. And other members of the village guards in the village had also
21 been -- were also notified in some way that as of that moment, they were
22 members of an HVO brigade, is it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is there any dilemma that as of that moment, you were subject to
25 the discipline and orders of the brigade?
1 A. No, as of that date, we were members of the Vitez Brigade.
2 Q. And at that time, who was your superior?
3 A. Slavko Badrov.
4 Q. And would you know who was his superior?
5 A. Mario Cerkez.
6 Q. Thank you. You mentioned that that order defined the sector of
7 your defence?
8 A. Yes, the area of defence.
9 Q. And did you -- were you now assigned to some other area of
10 military operation or the same?
11 A. No, it remained the territory of the village to be defended.
12 Q. And later on, any time in 1993, did you move to a different
14 A. No, only on the 5th of September, when the attack was launched on
15 Dzotline Kuce.
16 Q. And your group, your unit, was it transferred to other positions
17 or did it always remain on the same positions defending the village?
18 A. We remained on these positions because we did not have enough men
19 to keep any other position except the ones we had.
20 Q. And from what you've shown us on the map, is it correct that
21 between the enemy army and your village, the village you lived in, you,
22 the soldiers of the HVO, always held those positions between the army and
23 the village?
24 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
25 Q. Was your village always behind you and you always faced the enemy
1 army, is it?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. On the day when the conflict broke out, did you have
4 any military fortifications in the village or around the village, were
5 they prepared?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Were trenches dug later?
8 A. Later, yes.
9 Q. And as far as you can remember, when was it that you dug your
10 first trenches?
11 A. After the fall of Stozerak.
12 Q. And who dug those trenches?
13 A. Soldiers themselves.
14 Q. Did any work unit, work platoon come?
15 A. Yes. A work platoon on the 5th of September, 1993.
16 Q. And where was that?
17 A. On the defence line above Zabilje when Dzotline Kuce fell.
18 Q. And why did you need that work platoon then?
19 A. Because the front line had fallen. A large segment of the defence
20 line was lost. There were very many casualties, wounded and killed, and
21 we were simply not able to fortify our positions then.
22 Q. Why, because of time available or why?
23 A. Yes, because of time available and shortage of men.
24 Q. Witness Radman, tell us, please, in 1993, were you visited by
25 officers and, in particular, IPD officers from your battalion or your
2 A. Yes, they did come to visit us.
3 Q. And what was the purpose of those visits?
4 A. Officers who visited us had the ethical role to put up the morale
5 among the men and also to inform us about duties and obligations both on
6 the defence line and with regard to the civilian population on both sides.
7 Q. Witness Radman, tell us if on any one occasion, did you conduct
8 any offensive action against a village inhabited by Muslims?
9 A. Yes, in the direction of the defence line held by the BH army.
10 Q. Did you ever get an order or issue an order to target houses where
11 there were only civilians?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Did you have any prisoners during the war?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Were those prisoners civilians or soldiers?
16 A. They were both civilians and soldiers.
17 Q. Would you tell the Court, what did you do with the captured
19 A. We forwarded them to the battalion command.
20 Q. Do you know what happened to them?
21 A. I believe they were exchanged.
22 Q. And that was -- when was it? At what time in the war?
23 A. Sometime between the summer of 1993 until the end of the war.
24 Q. And how did it come to pass that those civilians had been captured
25 by you?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Two women had lost their way and a soldier from Sadovace whom I
2 know personally. There was fog, and he turned up at our defence line.
3 And a judge and a member of the army who were in a car and had got as far
4 as Zabilje, and a member of the civil defence, as he told us. Because up
5 there, there are woods as you can see on the map. They all just turned up
6 there and they were captured and we turned them over to the battalion
8 Q. Is it correct to say that on no occasion -- where -- did you find
9 yourself in a situation where you took some ground and imprisoned the
10 population there?
11 A. No, it never happened.
12 Q. And all those people simply turned up at the wrong place, isn't
14 A. Yes, they had mostly lost their way.
15 Q. Thank you. You have already mentioned it but just to clarify it,
16 you told us that around the 21st or the 22nd, you were appointed the
17 commander of the Sector 1. What did that mean, will you please explain
18 it? What were those sectors, areas, and how did you organise your
20 A. The area denoted the area around the village, the neighbourhood of
21 a village. So sector Zabilje is in the area of Zabilje. Several villages
22 which are linked territorially make up a sector. A commander of an area
23 came from the village concerned. So all along the defence line the
24 commanders of areas came from the villages themselves, and the sector
25 commanders from the territory covered by that sector.
1 Q. Sector, no, your area, did any other unit ever come to help you at
2 some critical points in time?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Could you perhaps give us an example, when did they come to help
6 A. On the 5th of September when Dzotline Kuce fell, then members of
7 Vitezovi came to hold further advance of the BH army.
8 Q. So they were invited to reinforce the line which was falling?
9 A. Yes, the line was already falling so they came to try to stop the
10 advance so that they would not advance any further.
11 Q. And do you remember Vitezovi who came? How many were they,
13 A. 15 to 20.
14 Q. And on that occasion, how long did they stay?
15 A. They stayed that day and the next day until a new line was formed.
16 Q. And at the time when they came, who were they subordinated to?
17 A. Their commander, that is, his deputy because the -- something was
18 killed on entering the village.
19 Q. And in that area while they were there, were they subordinated to
20 you as the head, as the commander of the area?
21 A. No, no.
22 Q. Did you explain the situation to them, the problems dangers
23 localities? Did you give them any such like information so that they
24 could operate that?
25 A. Yes. They were assigned to the part of the Defence line which was
1 falling and where we had to stop the advancement of the BH forces.
2 Q. So was it during the attack of the BH army?
3 A. Yes, on the 5th of September.
4 Q. Do you know who was it who sent the Vitezovi to help you?
5 A. No. We had only reported to the battalion commander that there
6 was an all-out attack on our area, that the defence line had been broken
7 through, that there were fatalities and those captured, and some of the
8 members had been surrounded.
9 Q. After you stabilised the line, those reinforcements left.
10 A. Yes, the next day after we had stabilised the line.
11 Q. Witness Radman, in your area, the area in which you were the
12 commander during the war, do you remember how many men were killed in your
14 A. Thirty-six.
15 Q. And the ratio between civilians and soldiers?
16 A. Twenty were soldiers and the rest were civilians and members of
17 the labour platoon.
18 Q. What about the wounded during that time?
19 A. Somewhere around 130.
20 Q. Again, civilian or military?
21 A. Military, by and large, but there were also some civilians.
22 Q. You mentioned the labour platoon which came to your rescue to dig
23 when Dzotine Kuce fell. Do you know anything about that labour platoon
24 being captured?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Thank you. During the conflict, you were wounded.
2 A. Yes, in June of 1993.
3 Q. Was this a serious injury or was it a less serious injury?
4 A. I was shot through my left arm.
5 Q. How long did you stay on sick-leave?
6 A. I was treated in the Nova Bila hospital. Because of the full
7 capacity of the hospital, then I was sent home.
8 Q. How long did you stay at home?
9 A. A few days.
10 Q. And then you were sent back to the front line.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you resume the same position which you held before your
14 A. Yes, I was still in the post of the area commander.
15 Q. Just one additional question. Witness Radman, was there any
16 religious structure in your village or in the village of Sadovace?
17 A. There was a mejtef.
18 Q. Was it damaged during the war?
19 A. No, we could not visually ascertain that.
20 Q. Did you, either during the time when you were part of the village
21 guard or later, attempt to damage it?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Would you have had any reason to do so?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Witness Radman, I want to thank you. I have no further questions
1 for you.
2 MR. SAYERS: No questions from Mr. Kordic, Mr. President.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
4 Q. Can you just help me with some preliminary matters. First of all,
5 this document Z70.2, can we have that again, please. I'd like your
6 explanation of this document, if you can help us. In your own words, tell
7 us what this document is.
8 A. After the end of the war, the stories started being circulated
9 about the property, that is, the property that was inherited by the BiH.
10 Our task in local areas was to list the persons who were part of the
11 resistance, from the outbreak of hostilities until the end, and who were
12 part of the organised resistance.
13 Now, why are there three signatures here? The president of the
14 basic branch --
15 Q. I'm going to cut you short to save time. That's helpful, what
16 you've told us already. We see that the document is headed: "HDZ for the
17 period 1991 to 1992." The significance of that, please?
18 A. "HDZ for the period 1991 to 1992" means the people who joined the
19 organised resistance against the aggression.
20 Q. And then we see, of course, that your name is shown as joining up
21 in September of 1991. We also just see that although you've managed to
22 get most names to sign, there were some you didn't get signed. Is that
23 because they were dead or because you couldn't find them?
24 A. At the time when we were compiling the list, certain persons were
25 not at home.
1 Q. I see. But what it shows, does it, is that the political party,
2 the HDZ, was regarded as the body organising the military resistance to
3 what was happening? Would that be about right?
4 A. Could you please repeat the question?
5 Q. Yes, of course. The political party, the HDZ, is the body
6 organising the military resistance; is that right? From what you've
7 already told us.
8 A. Yes, at first, and the organised resistance --
9 Q. You signed this document, as you've told us, at the foot of the
10 first page, or page number 2 but it's the first page, in your capacity as
11 a military commander.
12 A. Yes, I signed it as a commander.
13 Q. Because, for practical purposes, the local political and local
14 military organisations were one and the same thing?
15 A. No, they were not the same thing.
16 Q. Well, then, just explain, if you can, please, how you're signing,
17 as it were, a political record, a record of political involvement in the
18 military defence, how you're signing that as a military person? I don't
20 A. In order to have continuity in terms of the involvement of people
21 who were involved in the organised resistance, starting with the president
22 of the principal branch who was there from the establishment of the
23 municipal staffs, this is why his signature is there. And then when a
24 municipal staff is established, the coordinator who was there, he also
25 signs in order to provide continuity. From March 1993, when the Vitez
1 Brigade was established, it is signed by the local area commander just so
2 that full continuity would be established that way.
3 Q. Does this summarise it: that military resistance was started by
4 the political party and then handed over to the military?
5 A. Not military resistance. Organised resistance. But you can't say
6 that it was military resistance.
7 Q. Of course, as you will know from the structures of the HVO and
8 from Herceg-Bosna, it was the political parties which established the HVO,
9 and the HVO had a military component; correct?
10 A. The HVO itself was a military component.
11 Q. Another matter of background detail from your experience in the
12 army: When the JNA attacked Slovenia, they passed through Croatia as they
13 had to, didn't they?
14 A. The JNA did stay in Croatia.
15 Q. And to attack Slovenia.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And Croatia --
18 A. I don't know their exact movements, but they did have barracks in
19 Slovenia itself.
20 Q. To your knowledge, Croatia didn't impede the JNA army by blowing
21 up bridges or things of that sort, did it?
22 A. I don't know much about that.
23 Q. Can I just have a look at the map that's been used by you.
24 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm pretty sure, although I haven't been
25 given the map, that the map is identical to our own -- it's identical in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 part, I think, to our map 2271. It's also got the continuation sheet on
2 the left-hand side. I'm pretty sure it's the identical map. It may be
3 that for definition purposes our 2271 will be easier to read. It's that
4 bit of it there, really. Thank you very much.
5 Q. I'm going to ask you to take your own map back for a purpose in
6 due course, but if you would just lay that one on the ELMO for the time
7 being. I want to understand the geography. Thank you very much.
8 MR. NICE: A little bit further to the north. That's it there.
9 Down a bit. A bit further down, a bit further down. That's fine. Thank
10 you very much. So just to orientate the Chamber, if you could possibly
11 come back a bit, in the technical room, so that we can see a little bit
12 more of the map and, in particular, so that we can see Vitez itself, which
13 is just out of view. There it is.
14 Q. As you go out of Vitez, through Stari Vitez, you come first to
15 Mosunj, and having passed -- well, you come to Divjak and then Mosunj, and
16 there are two roads up to your village, aren't there? You could go
17 through Divjak or you could go further and take a larger road.
18 Can we come back a bit, get a bit more of the map into the
19 picture, please? Just a little bit more. Zoom out, I think that's the
20 phrase. Thank you very much.
21 So we can see that there are the two roads up to your village: one
22 through Divjak, and then go on a little bit further and there's a main
23 road, is that right, or a more major road?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. The Chamber will remember, and this is to clarify
1 something, that of course your village up there on the northwest of Vitez
2 is immediately in the opposite direction to the village or community of
3 Kruscica, which is presently just off the map to the south. That's
4 correct, isn't it?
5 A. Yes, in the opposite direction.
6 Q. Now, we've had some evidence - Witness AS, for the Court's
7 assistance - about a body of soldiers called the Scorpions or the Alfa
8 Force. Now, it happens that the evidence is in a slightly confused state
9 because it refers to both Zabilje and Kruscica which are, of course,
10 contradictory positions. Can you help us, please, with whether the
11 Scorpions or Alfa Force in 1992 had a headquarters in the area of one of
12 those roads leading to Zabilje?
13 A. No, I know nothing about that.
14 Q. Thank you very much. Now, you're telling us, I think, that
15 village guards in some way were different from the Vitez Brigade or the
16 Viteska Brigade; is that what you're telling us?
17 A. Village guards were not part of the Vitez Brigade.
18 Q. Well, nevertheless, you, on several occasions, went off to the
19 front line as a member of the Viteska Brigade, didn't you?
20 A. Yes. After the establishment of the Vitez Brigade.
21 Q. What about before that? Unless I misunderstood your evidence,
22 didn't you go off to the front line earlier than that?
23 A. Yes, I went to the front line after I was called by the municipal
25 Q. Yes. For which unit or for what group of soldiers did you go to
1 the front line on those occasions?
2 A. As a member coming from my village.
3 Q. Who was able to give you a command that you should go to the front
4 lines at that time?
5 A. The municipal staff sent out these summons, I guess, through a
6 coordinator. They asked that a number of men from our village be sent to
7 the front line against the Serbs.
8 Q. Yes, but who in your local community had the power to order you to
9 do that?
10 A. Nobody could order me that.
11 Q. As you went to the front lines, under whose command were you?
12 A. When we were at the front line, we were under the command of the
13 shift commander.
14 Q. All right. The shift commander, what unit was he in, the Viteska
15 Brigade or the Tomasevic Brigade or what?
16 A. He was from the shift -- from the village shift, his village.
17 Q. You mean his village at the front line or his village where?
18 A. Several of us went from our village, that is, from the surrounding
19 villages to the front line. So of those of us who were there from that
20 group of villages, one was made the commander of that shift.
21 Q. Well who made you a commander? I'm trying to -- you have been a
22 military man. You've been in the JNA. I'm trying to work out what the
23 command structure was on these occasions when you went to the front line
24 in 1992. Can you explain it to us?
25 A. Through coordinators who coordinated things with the municipal
1 staff, these shifts were organised and sent to the front line, and these
2 coordinators then would designate someone. If we wanted to do so, they
3 would designate one of us to lead these men to -- in that shift to the
4 front line.
5 Q. The municipal staff is the municipal staff of Vitez so that this
6 is effectively the Vitez Brigade, isn't it?
7 A. Not the Vitez Brigade. The municipal staff of Vitez municipality.
8 Q. And when do you think you were first sent to the front lines in
10 A. Summer of 1992.
11 Q. Leaping ahead just to check something, you were injured, I think,
12 in Brda, was it?
13 A. Yes, June 1993.
14 Q. So it wasn't July?
15 A. Summer of 1993, June or July.
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. I believe it was June.
18 Q. Because if we look at an exhibit, 1463.4, coming your way. The
19 English perhaps over the map on the ELMO, thank you very much.
20 This is a document apparently dated it looks like 1994 in the
21 original, and it's a confirmation that you, I think that's you born in
22 1966, were wounded on the 22nd of July in Brda in conflict with the
23 Muslims. It says you received minor bodily injuries in the area of the
24 left elbow while performing combat assignment by order of his superior
25 officer. So that appears to be you, doesn't it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. There are two things about this, first of all, you see it says
3 quite specifically, that you are a member of the HVO Vitez Brigade since
4 the 8th of April, 1992 and until the 30th of May of 1994. It's quite
5 clear about that, isn't it?
6 A. As a member of the HVO.
7 Q. Vitez Brigade.
8 A. Not the Vitez Brigade. HVO was established on 8th April, 1992.
9 Q. And this is signed by Mario Cerkez. Do you remember his signing
10 this document for you?
11 A. No, I don't remember, not exactly when he signed it. And we had
12 no opportunities to go to Mr. Cerkez, the officials who were in personnel
13 went to do so.
14 Q. But isn't the reality very simply this: That whatever title you
15 may now give to it, you were, when you went to the front lines,
16 effectively working for the group of soldiers that came to be known as the
17 Vitez Brigade or the Viteska Brigade?
18 A. No. I went as a member of my village, and it was all under the
19 municipal staff. The Vitez Brigade was formed later.
20 Q. Last question on this topic is this: On your own account, was it
21 the same organisation that was sending you to the front line as was
22 coordinating the activities of village guards, as you describe them?
23 A. No. No. We went to the front line as needed, as sent by the
24 municipal staff. The village guards were independent. They were not
25 under the influence of the municipal staffs.
1 Q. I may come back to that, I may not. Do you accept that the
2 municipal HVO for Vitez was first under the command of Marijan Skopljak
3 and then under the command of Cerkez?
4 A. Marijan Skopljak was the head of the municipal staff. After the
5 establishment of the Vitez Brigade, Mario Cerkez was appointed the brigade
7 Q. You see again we've heard from a witness, same witness, AS, that
8 in the summer of 1992 there were indeed many units of the HVO stationed in
9 and around Vitez. However we are describing village guards and so on, can
10 you help us with your military experience? Were there indeed many units
11 of the HVO stationed around Vitez in the summer of 1992?
12 A. That is not correct.
13 Q. Some units of the HVO stationed around Vitez in the summer of
15 A. In the summer of 1992, there were no units in and around Vitez at
17 Q. I see. Moving on to 1993, do you remember an incident in your
18 area or village where some HVO soldiers were disarmed, eight, I think of
19 them, in number, and there was eventually negotiations about the
20 restoration of their weapons between Sefkija Dzidic and Pasko Ljubicic?
21 Do you remember anything about that?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Did you, yourself, see or have any experience of BiH soldiers
24 going to the front lines in the period 1992 and perhaps early 1993?
25 A. To the front line against the Serbs?
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is it the case, and this is page 8.400 in the transcript, is it
4 the case that such soldiers, BiH soldiers were, from time to time,
5 disarmed by the HVO in your area on the way to those front lines?
6 A. I have no knowledge about that.
7 Q. Now, a little bit more about one or two of the documents that
8 you've referred to today. Can you have another look, please, at Z653?
9 The English on the ELMO, please, thank you very much.
10 I want your explanation, please --
11 MR. NICE: Your Honour, this is the older translation. The
12 Chamber will recall from yesterday's hearings that the present translation
13 has a different title and it's "List of personnel from the 1st Battalion
14 per village of '?' deployment or origin."
15 Q. Now, Mr. Radman, you've got the original there in front of you.
16 When we look at, for example, your village under the 2nd Company under the
17 command of Slavko Badrov, what do you say is meant by the reference to the
18 29 soldiers here?
19 A. I am referring to the men who were rotating on duty in Kamenjas
20 and Turbe; in other words, who were going there at certain intervals.
21 Q. So these are not village guards or anything of that sort?
22 A. These men were members of the village guards as necessary, but
23 when there was a need to send them to the front line, they formed a shift
24 and went to the front line.
25 Q. But in what way were these 29 distinguishable from any other
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 village guard participants from the village of Zabilje?
2 A. They were not distinguishable from the village guards in Zabilje
3 except that they were part of the shift that was sent to the line of
5 Q. And that made them members of the 2nd Company under the command of
6 Slavko Badrov whereas all the other village guards, as you would describe
7 them, would have no company commander; is that what you're saying?
8 A. These 29 would have been under the command of Slavko Badrov, but
9 only those who would be part of the shift who would go to the line of
10 defence and they would be there if the shift commander, who would be
11 Slavko Badrov, they would be under his command.
12 Q. But there's absolutely no doubt as to these 29 that they were
13 members of the Viteska Brigade?
14 A. No. They were members of the village guards. A number of members
15 of the village guards was part of the shift that went to the line of
17 Q. But were you a member of the Viteska Brigade at this time?
18 A. No.
19 Q. You were not engaged in any military activities at all at this
20 time on the 14th of April?
21 A. No, except for the village guard.
22 Q. This may be a convenient moment, it's entirely for the Chamber,
23 but I just want to conclude this. You see I'm going to suggest to you
24 that this document does show, for example, in Zabilje, 29 people, look at
25 the heading of the document, "Viteska Brigade, 1st Battalion Vitez," and
1 I'm going to suggest that this does show that 29 members of the Viteska
2 Brigade in Zabilje in the same way as, and if you turn your attention to
3 the previous entry, in the same way as there would be 12 members of the
4 Viteska Brigade in the village of Santici. Isn't that the truth?
5 A. Twenty-nine members of the village guard who were sent to the line
6 of defence. When they were at the line of defence as part of that shift,
7 their commander would have been Slavko Badrov.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we'll adjourn now.
9 Mr. Radman, would you please remember during the adjournment not
10 to speak to anybody about your evidence. Don't let anybody speak to you
11 about it, and it includes members of the Defence team. We'll adjourn
13 A. Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: Half an hour.
15 --- Recess taken at 11.04 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.37 a.m.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm grateful to our usher who has very
19 helpfully substituted the revised --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
21 MR. NICE: I'm grateful to our usher who has helpfully substituted
22 the revised translation for the earlier one of document 653.
23 Q. Mr. Radman, before I part from this document which we were looking
24 at before the short break, this is a document that was actually introduced
25 by Blaskic in the course of his Defence in his trial. What would you say
1 to his description of this document being a composition of the battalion
2 of which the mentioned officer in each case was the commander? What do
3 you say to that description of this document?
4 A. I do not see the composition of the battalion here. "Zabilje,
5 29." I see 29 members of the village guard from Zabilje who go to the
6 defence line in shifts.
7 Q. What do you say to the suggestion that, although they were trying
8 to create a proper brigade at the time, they had to rely on units of
9 village composition - one village, one unit - to go to make up a brigade?
10 What do you say to that? Again, coming from Blaskic himself.
11 A. In the villages at that time, there were no established units
13 Q. See, I'm going to suggest to you that you're trying to understate
14 the professional reality of the Viteska Brigade at the time of which
15 you're speaking. Things were actually very well organised, and what we've
16 got here is a document showing how well organised things were; isn't that
17 the truth?
18 A. No, that is not correct. The organisation in Zabilje, the
19 organisation of the units started only on the 20th of April when, by way
20 of an order, I was appointed commander of this region. That is when the
21 unit was first established.
22 Q. Just to recap, trying to understand your use of terminology, do
23 you accept that between April and November of 1992, there was the
24 municipal headquarters of the HVO in Vitez that was running things?
25 A. From April until December. In December, there was the Stjepan
1 Tomasevic Brigade.
2 Q. All right. We'll come to the precise dates if it's necessary.
3 But the municipal headquarters of the HVO was under the control of Cerkez;
5 A. No, under the command of Mr. Marijan Skopljak.
6 Q. Then we come to the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade from November or,
7 you would say, December of 1992 to February of 1993. Do you accept that
8 Cerkez was the deputy commander or commander of that brigade?
9 A. I don't know exactly what Mr. Cerkez did.
10 Q. You don't know? This is a very small area --
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. -- we're talking about. Who do you say was in charge of the
13 Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, please?
14 A. I don't know. There are a lot of levels above -- I mean, I went
15 to shifts and I knew who the commander of the shift was at the time. And
16 then further up, up above, these higher levels, I don't know exactly.
17 Q. You certainly accept that Cerkez was in charge of the Viteska
18 Brigade once it was formally formed, don't you?
19 A. Yes, in April 1993.
20 Q. Do you accept that something called the decree or decrees of the
21 armed forces for the HVO identified a difference between active and
22 reserve forces? Do you remember anything about that?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Of course, as to your reference to Marijan Skopljak, he was a
25 civilian head, wasn't he? Cerkez was the military head.
1 A. Marijan Skopljak was in the municipal headquarters.
2 Q. As a civilian head?
3 A. I wouldn't know.
4 Q. I see. Very well. Well, let's see if we can turn to something
5 you do know about. You've told us a little bit about Slavko Badrov. Tell
6 us a little bit more about him. What were your dealings with him?
7 A. When it became necessary to go to the defence line, Mr. Slavko
8 Badrov, in most cases, was the person who would take a particular shift to
9 the defence line.
10 Q. Are you going to tell us, just so that we've got this clear, but
11 not because he was in any sense your commander, just because he had some
12 other kind of authority; is that it?
13 A. I don't know what kind of authority Slavko Badrov had. When we
14 went to the defence line in that shift, he led those shifts.
15 Q. I see. So may we have this picture: You know very little about
16 Mr. Slavko Badrov. He just turned up and occasionally led people up to
17 the front lines; is that right?
18 A. When I would go on my shift -- well, this is what I know about
19 Mr. Slavko Badrov. When I would go on my shift and when he was commander
20 of that shift or, rather, when he led that shift, that's what I know about
22 Q. Yes. Incidentally, just before I move on, you say in your summary
23 of evidence that you were on shifts in the sector above Novi Travnik.
24 Would that be places like Kamenjari and Mravinjac?
25 A. Kamenjas, Slatka Vode, and that's it. That is that sector, that
1 area. How should I call it?
2 Q. Is that an area where it became abundantly clear by the end of
3 1992, beginning of 1993, that the Croats and Serbs were really pursuing a
4 common interest vis-a-vis the Muslims?
5 A. Croats and Serbs do not have any common interests. Croats and
6 Muslims have a common interest, to defend the area from the Serbs.
7 Q. Well, I'm not going to debate that matter with you then. Let's
8 move back to Badrov. You really do know nothing about this matter. Apart
9 from going to the front line with him from time to time, did you ever do
10 any other form of duty with him?
11 A. On one occasion, perhaps it was the last shift, I was commander of
12 the shift at Slatka Voda.
13 Q. Yes, but you never did any other duties with this man because he
14 wasn't your commander and you weren't engaged in active duty with him; is
15 that right?
16 A. No, I was not in active duty.
17 Q. And what would you hear -- from your evidence, he turns up what
18 time was it on the 15th? What time did he turn up?
19 A. During the night, around 2000 hours, the beginning of the evening,
21 Q. On foot or in a car?
22 A. I don't know how he came.
23 Q. How long was it since you'd last --
24 A. There were lots of us.
25 Q. How long was it since you'd last seen him?
1 A. When I was on my last shift, when we went out for the last shift.
2 And until that evening, I did not see Mr. Badrov.
3 Q. And how many days until your last -- before the 15th was your last
4 shift, please, 10 days?
5 A. About 10 days before the 15th.
6 Q. I wonder if you would like, please, to look at this document,
7 653.4. Original for the witness, English on the ELMO.
8 We'll go through it page by page. We'll come -- we'll be coming
9 back to the map almost immediately so if you can leave the map on.
10 This document is said to be a report of an accident at work and
11 the title of the organisation is the Viteska Brigade 2nd Battalion Bila.
12 It's dated the 14th of April, a Wednesday, and we can see that the place
13 where the accident took place is said to be on assignment scouting, and
14 the source of the injury, stay on the first page if you'd would be so
15 good, please, Mr. Radman, is said to be a firearm.
16 Now thinking back, do you have any recollection of this, yes or
18 A. No.
19 Q. Let's go to the second page, box 16. The person concerned
20 suffered a bullet from a firearm, and box 17 tells us that he suffered
21 this on the 14th of April while scouting in the terrain of Grbavica. So
22 if we just put the map back very briefly, just to remind the Chamber if
23 they've forgotten, where we see on the map -- thank you very much --
24 Divjak, which is on the bottom left-hand corner, just near Mosunj, that
25 area there is Divjak, sorry, Grbavica, correct? Above Divjak is the area
1 marked on the map as Grbavica; correct?
2 A. [Indicates]
3 Q. Thank you. Indicates roughly the area I've identified in words.
4 And if we go back to the document, the information about the worker is
5 Slavko (Marijan) Badrov. Is that the same person that we've been talking
7 A. I guess so, yes.
8 Q. It sets out his former occupation as a plumber. This fits with
9 the man you know; correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And then if we go over three pages in the English to page five, at
12 the foot of page five in box 50 -- first of all we see that the
13 information on his supervisor, Zarka Saric, the company commander from
14 Bila. And then this for witness information: Jozo Radman with an address
15 given at Bila Zabilje. And indeed if you look at your version in the
16 original, you'll see a box with some signatures in it, and it may be that
17 when you found the box with some signatures in it, it would be a good idea
18 if you placed that on the ELMO or asked the usher to do so.
19 Do you see that box with signatures and your name there?
20 A. I see my name, but I don't see my signature.
21 Q. No. We see some signatures on the right-hand side, can you
22 identify any of them?
23 A. As far as I can read, it says Zepackic Anto.
24 Q. Thank you. Can you explain how you are listed for the 14th of
25 April, 1993, as a witness to some injury by this man who you say turned up
1 on the following day?
2 A. I cannot.
3 Q. Look at another document, please, 1429.2. Now, what you have
4 before you is a report signed by Dragan Petras; do you know that name?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Coordinator for social care for the Viteska Brigade. Does that
7 fit with your recollection for the function of that person?
8 A. No. I know another Petras Dragan.
9 Q. Part of the Viteska Brigade?
10 A. Petras Dragan is a person I know as a neighbour up there in the
11 hills near Zabilje.
12 Q. All right. Well, this document is a report and it says, "With
13 this report, we hereby inform you that commander Slavko Marijan Badrov,
14 born 1955 in Mosunj, was wounded on the 14th of April in Grbavica where he
15 received serious injuries to the right shoulder. Witnesses to the
16 wounding are Metosevic, Ivica and Radman, Jozo. The report is sought at
17 the personal request at the aforementioned for regulating further medical
19 What do you say about that second document suggesting that you
20 were a witness to an injury by this man the day before the 15th of April?
21 A. I don't know anything about this document. Had I been a witness,
22 obviously somebody would have asked me to make a statement which I would
23 have had to sign.
24 Q. You see, the fact that you were ever going to be a witness in this
25 case has only been known in a comparatively short period of time,
1 Mr. Radman, and these documents exist. Can you give any explanation for
2 these documents?
3 A. Obviously witnesses were mentioned just like that so that
4 Mr. Badrov could enjoy certain rights in terms of treatment, medical
6 Q. Are you really telling us that you would be named as a witness
7 with the risk that you would be referred to without anybody telling you
8 about it?
9 A. I know that on the 14th of April, I was not in Grbavica at all.
10 Not ten days before that, not a month before that either.
11 Q. And are you telling us that when the commander turned up on the
12 15th, he was uninjured. When Badrov turned up, was he uninjured?
13 A. He was not visibly injured. He did not have any bandages. There
14 were no signs that would show that he had been injured.
15 Q. Well, we may hear more about that in due course. Tell us a little
16 bit more about what you say Badrov told you in the night of the 15th. Why
17 did he appear to come to you at all?
18 A. Because he worked -- he coordinated with the municipal
19 headquarters in terms of going on shifts, and that is why he came that
20 evening to convey that piece of information that he had conveyed.
21 Q. Going on shifts to the Serbian front line is an entirely separate
22 activity from coordinating the defence of the Vitez area against
23 aggression by the Muslims. Now, you seem quite determined to tell us that
24 you were not part of the Viteska Brigade and that this man didn't have
25 authority over you in that setting. So why, please, did he suddenly turn
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 up to do this?
2 A. I don't know.
3 Q. You're not telling us the truth, are you? The truth is that you
4 were part of the Viteska Brigade, things were well organised, and it may
5 be - I don't know - that Badrov turned up on the 15th and that would be
6 his reason for turning up to talk to you because you were the commander.
7 Isn't that what happened, if it happened at all?
8 A. The truth is that on the 20th, about two days before the fall of
9 Stozerak, I received orders appointing me commander of the area and
10 commander of the company. Until then people went to the defence line on a
11 voluntary basis.
12 Q. So Badrov simply turned up, as it were, out of the goodness of his
13 heart to tell the independent village guards to do something; is that what
14 you're telling us? Please help us.
15 A. I was not commander of the village guard. We did not have a
16 commander. There was the village guard. Badrov appeared on the evening
17 of the 15th and conveyed that piece of information to us that I already
19 Q. Yes. With the purpose of your doing what, according to your
20 summary of evidence? What were you supposed to be doing in response to
21 his information?
22 A. To raise our level of alertness.
23 Q. But you don't have a commander, you don't have a structure. Just
24 somehow you're to raise your level of alertness; is that what you're
25 telling us?
1 A. We had to warn the members of the village guard who were on guard
2 duty that night to be more alert.
3 Q. You can't help one way or another, can you, with whether such
4 information, if any, as you received from Vitez on the 15th of April was
5 propaganda or reality, can you?
6 A. I don't know. Vitez is some 10 or 12 kilometres away, so that
7 Zabilje was the last place that the information -- Zabilje was the last
8 place to get the information.
9 Q. Vitez is actually about some six or seven kilometres away, isn't
11 A. No, ten or so. Ten kilometres or so is the distance between Vitez
12 and Zabilje.
13 Q. Then on the morning of the 16th, what was it that you first
14 noticed or first heard?
15 A. I heard detonations.
16 Q. Where from?
17 A. I couldn't really identify it at that time. At first I thought it
18 was from the front line facing the Serbs, Travnik.
19 Q. And then?
20 A. When I went out in front of my house, I heard that the detonations
21 were reaching us from the direction of the town.
22 Q. Yes. Now, can you please take the map that was produced for
23 assistance as opposed to being exhibited - and can he be provided with a
24 suitable pen - because I'd like you, please, to mark on that map the front
25 line that you say developed between your village and the next village so
1 that I can understand it.
2 A. As of what date, the 16th?
3 Q. Yes, if you'd like to mark it as from the 16th.
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. Thank you very much for doing that. So it runs from Zabilje down
6 to Mosunj and then along the road a sector. Would you look, please, at
7 this document coming your way, 704.1.
8 MR. NICE: Your Honours, this is a document relied upon and, to
9 that extent, produced by the witness Jon Elford.
10 Q. Look at this document. Just turn, please, to paragraph 2 which
11 speaks of "the deployment of forces on defence lines and to organised
12 decisive defence to prevent the enemy from entering the town of Vitez and
13 taking control of the Kaonik-Vitez-Bila road. To organise the defence
14 according to sectors as follows: Sector 1: Zabilje, Brdo, Jardol, and
16 Now, does that match at least the intention of the front line that
17 you were establishing?
18 A. Well, I don't know.
19 Q. Is it broadly similar to what you did achieve?
20 A. The defence line that I showed on the map, it wasn't developed by
21 us. On the 16th of April, the BH army set up its defence line there and
22 took hold of the road from Vitez to Travnik.
23 Q. Was it your purpose from that moment on, just looking at the first
24 part of what I read out to you, "to deploy forces to prevent the enemy
25 from entering the town of Vitez and taking control of the
1 Kaonik-Vitez-Bila road"?
2 A. I'd rather not comment on this order because this is the first
3 time that I see it.
4 Q. Well, you see, this is an order that went straight to Mario Cerkez
5 from Blaskic, apparently, on the 17th of April, and I want to know: Were
6 you carrying out orders from Cerkez pursuant to this order, do you think?
7 A. Only as of the 20th of April, 1993.
8 Q. Let's look at the map again, if the usher would be so good.
9 MR. NICE: Perhaps we ought to give it a number. It's really a
10 composite exhibit. Defence or Prosecution, I don't mind whose it is.
11 Perhaps D101 -- sorry.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. I'd like to make a correction on the exhibit
13 that was tendered this morning by the Cerkez Defence. That exhibit would
14 be 99/2, and this exhibit, the map, will be 100/2.
15 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
16 Q. If you look at the map again, please. You've been telling us
17 about a sector of road that was not available to the HVO. Is that the
18 sector of the road that you've marked in blue there, where the blue line
19 runs along the road?
20 A. Well, this is roughly the segment of the road which was taken by
21 the army on the 16th of April, so it was under its control.
22 Q. So when you went to Vitez, if I've understood this correctly, you
23 took not the Divjak road but the main road further to the west; and then
24 in some way, you crossed south of the main road and skirted round the
25 south of the area taken by the Armija and reached Vitez in that way, is
1 that correct, going through Donja Veceriska and then through the factory
2 that lies between Donja Veceriska and Gacice; is that right?
3 A. No, it is not. I went through Mosunj, through the factory, and on
4 to Vitez. Not through Donja Veceriska.
5 Q. Very well. So that insofar as the line that you've drawn at the
6 moment would suggest that Mosunj was out of bounds or out of your control,
7 in fact you were able to get down to Mosunj and then go round to Vitez
8 through the factory.
9 A. To Vitez, I went through Mosunj; through Mosunj, to the factory;
10 and then on to Vitez.
11 Q. The road remained held until, what, September of 1993?
12 A. Yes, we used that road until the month of September 1993.
13 Q. I'll come to what happened then shortly. But before I do, just to
14 confirm this: The first suggestion of any trench-digging by the Muslims
15 in the neighbouring village to yours is something that didn't happen until
16 the 16th, at the earliest, of April, on your evidence; correct?
17 A. I was not aware of it happening before the 16th.
18 Q. So there's no question of them showing any signs of preparing for
19 a Muslim attack on your area or on any other Croat areas before the 16th,
20 was there?
21 A. I don't know. I can't comment on it. I don't know what they were
23 Q. You've spoken of a village guard being on reconnaissance, I think,
24 in the Stozerak location. If we look at the larger scale map again, it
25 shows it better. If we can just put it on the ELMO again, 2271, so that
1 we can see it. Indeed, its height is, I think, shown. It's right at the
2 top of the screen now, 797 metres, and we can see the feature to the east
3 of Zabilje.
4 Why would you have one member of the guard up there, please?
5 A. If you look round Stozerak, Zabilje, Sucici, Kriste, Brdo, on the
6 map, Dzotine Kuce are missing and Ivcici Kuce are missing, and yet they
7 are right next to Stozerak, 200 metres from that place. Those were all
8 the houses inhabited by Croats.
9 Q. Whose idea was it to put people up there or a person up there,
10 because you don't seem to have had a command structure in the village.
11 Whose idea was it to have somebody acting on reconnaissance up there,
13 A. As it is at the heart of places, since summer 1992 when, together
14 with members of the village guards from Sadovace, we came out to Stozerak,
15 ever since, the village guards of those settlements would be at Stozerak
16 whenever there was an evening shift.
17 Q. Well, you then become -- sorry, just to follow that. But you
18 still haven't said whose idea it was. I'm sorry. Are you saying there
19 was really nobody in command, nobody to give instructions, and people just
20 did things by instinct?
21 A. I have already said that in summer 1992, we had the information
22 that the Serbs had infiltrated a group to Stozerak and we knew that
23 Stozerak was the dominating feature. And since then, since that summer,
24 since the houses were very close, the night guards would go -- the night
25 guard would go out there, that is, climb the Stozerak.
1 Q. I have only a couple more questions I want to ask you, and they
2 are these: Just to clarify, once you became the formal sector commander,
3 what were your duties?
4 A. The defence of the village.
5 Q. So now you did have authority over all the other people who had
6 been either village guards or villagers working for the Viteska Brigade;
8 A. As of the 20th of April, when I was appointed the area commander,
9 it was then that I discharged that duty and behaved in accordance with the
10 orders that I received from the battalion.
11 Q. Is the reality that for you, your position didn't change at all;
12 you were simply doing what you'd been doing all along which was why Badrov
13 came and spoke to you, amongst others.
14 A. No, that is not correct. Until April 1993, I would take shifts,
15 spend eight to ten days there, and come back. And after I'd return, I'd
16 become a civilian. No units, no formations.
17 Q. The release -- or the relief from the HVO's point of view of the
18 area of Grbavica by Divjak occurred in the early autumn of 1993 - that's
19 correct, isn't it - when Blaskic mounted an attack on the area; correct?
20 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
21 Q. Yes. Grbavica was relieved by Blaskic in the autumn of 1993;
23 A. Grbavica was liberated in September 1993, in the month of
24 September 1993.
25 Q. You were aware of what happened there.
1 A. I knew that there was an operation under way. We had some
2 additional measures of alert. We had been told about that. We had
3 received instructions from the battalion headquarters.
4 Q. Did you see any of that operation yourself or its consequences, in
5 particular, the destroyed houses of the Muslims?
6 A. No. Our task was to reinforce our defence lines in our area, and
7 that is what we did.
8 Q. Did you learn of what happened to the Muslims? Did you hear of
9 any beheading of Muslims? Did you?
10 A. No. At Grbavica, no.
11 Q. Anywhere else, did you hear of the beheading of Muslims?
12 A. No. No.
13 Q. Did you receive a tractor in July of 1993, please?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Coming from a Muslim?
16 A. Me, no.
17 Q. Were you aware of any people receiving equipment, cars, tractors
18 and the like that had previously been owned by Muslims?
19 A. Well, it would happen in the course of the war that somebody would
20 get from somebody, some agricultural machinery, perhaps, but I know
21 nothing about that. I did not get anything nor do I know anything. I
22 don't know how they were giving them each other or what.
23 MR. NICE: Thank you.
24 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I will just have a couple of
1 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Perhaps it will be best to start from the last
3 question to clarify it. The Prosecutor asked you about plunder. Let me
4 ask you, did you or your units ever take part in the plunder of property
5 belonging Muslim citizens?
6 A. Not one member of my company, throughout the war, ever left
7 Zabilje in order to take part in criminal acts or anything else outside
8 the area of Zabilje.
9 Q. Does that mean that you and your unit never went into a Muslim
11 A. We never had the chance.
12 Q. Thank you. Maybe this order that you were just shown by my
13 learned friend, could we see, please, Z704.1, the 17th of April, 1993.
14 Will you please have a look at that.
15 You have it, don't you? If you bear in mind when this order was
16 issued and it says, "Organise the defence in the sectors as follows," do
17 you understand it to mean that as of that moment, the organisation began?
18 How do you understand this?
19 A. On the 17th of April, to the commanders of the Viteska Brigade
20 comes an order from the operative command centre in Central Bosnia. In
21 order to carry this out as of the 17th, that is, rather of the 18th of
22 2200 hours, the commander will receive the order on the 18th, and
23 therefore on the 18th he will begin taking steps and measures to set up
24 the sector. He has to bring it down to battalions, battalions need to
25 organise sectors and then set up areas, and all that requires time.
1 Q. And it is true that you did get the order to form your area, isn't
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And that is the day that you are talking about, the 20th?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Still, of late, and I mean for the last six months or perhaps a
7 year, did you ever see that order on the establishment of areas when you
8 were appointed it? When did you last see that order?
9 A. The day when I received it.
10 Q. Are you sure that it was the 20th? Could it have been, perhaps, a
11 day or two later?
12 A. Yes, it could have.
13 Q. So the 20th, if I understand you properly, you use as an optional
15 A. Yes, as a tentative date, because it was a day, a couple of days
16 after the fall of Stozerak that the order arrived.
17 Q. Thank you. At the beginning of the cross-examination while the
18 questions bore upon the list of distinguished members of the battalion,
19 you mentioned something, some certificates or something but I believe you
20 were interrupted, that you wanted to add something. Do you remember it?
21 What certificates were those?
22 A. The list with three signatures, the signatures of three names.
23 When the war ended or a couple of years after the cease-fire, after the
24 Washington Accords, there was this rumour spread among the population that
25 certificates would be issued. And Muslims were noting down all the names
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 from those who had barely turned 17 or 18 to the people aged 70 or 80.
2 Since they outnumbered us, the lists were compiled in our case too so that
3 we could get, if I may say, a slice of the cake even though the cake in
4 Bosnia was quite bitter, but to get what was about to be distributed
5 during the division between those two peoples in the Federation, that is
6 why the lists were compiled as they were compiled with three signatures in
7 order to follow the continuity, the continuous service of the people
8 against the aggression. And the president of the basic branch coordinator
9 and the commander that is in the chronological order.
10 Q. Does that mean that you, the Croats in Vitez, by signing it in
11 this manner and with this control were trying to get -- to arrive at
12 realistic lists?
13 A. Yes, precisely, realistic lists.
14 Q. And you said that it gave rise to a lot of rumours and commotion?
15 A. And I should say that it was the topic of the day which was fresh
16 for months. It is still one of the topics that citizens of Vitez talk
18 Q. But would you remember the time frame? Would you remember that at
19 the later stage, it was the administrative authorities which they began
20 compiling the lists again and that if you wanted to figure on the list,
21 you had to report again and have your name put on it.
22 A. Yes, after a while, through certain institutions which regulated
23 the record of certificates.
24 Q. Does it mean that this list, specifically, was not then the basis
25 for the issue of certificates?
1 A. No, it is not valid.
2 Q. And so the basis, the grounds for certificates then became a
3 different kind of procedure which was conducted by the administrative
4 bodies, administrative agencies in the county, is that so?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I think we overlapped. You have to repeat your answer.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. For the record, again, we were referring to the document Z70.2.
9 At the very beginning of your cross-examination, my learned friend asked
10 you about the Yugoslav Peoples' Army and its operations in Slovenia. So
11 just to avoid any wrong picture, is there any doubt that during the
12 Federation, the JNA had its barracks and troops in all republics of the
13 former Yugoslavia?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And at the time when it started, the operations in Slovenia, it
16 also had its barracks in Slovenia?
17 A. Yes. In Slovenia and in all republics through Yugoslavia.
18 Q. And in Croatia too?
19 A. Yes, of course, in Croatia too.
20 Q. The JNA also had well-manned barracks in Bosnia, didn't it?
21 A. In our valley, in the Lasva Valley, there were several barracks.
22 Yes, well-manned and large, especially in Travnik.
23 Q. You served the JNA. Is it true that the basic concept, that the
24 concept underlined the defence of the former Yugoslavia was that the enemy
25 might, perhaps, reach Bosnia and that he would be stopped in Bosnia, isn't
2 A. Well, the defence concept was the defence against an outside
4 Q. Thank you. The certificate about your wounding that was shown
5 you, the dates indicated there, the 8th of April -- no, sorry, 8th of
6 April to 30th of May, 1994, do they really cover the period when you were
7 either within the organisation of the municipal staff or Stjepan Tomasevic
8 or the Vitez Brigade? Was that really the period during which you took an
9 active participation in the resistance?
10 A. As of the 8th of April and even before that in village guards as I
11 have already said.
12 MR. KOVACIC: That is the document Z1463, item four.
13 Your Honour, the witness already said that he never saw the
14 document Z653.4, but for the matter of records, I would add that the
15 Defence neither saw this document. Indeed, I am a little bit worried
16 because should we have had this document earlier, we might have
17 investigated, but we didn't. We never saw it.
18 So we would oppose this document because it might be either false
19 or whatever, and at least it was not given to us before our case and we
20 were not ready to prepare for the Defence.
21 JUDGE MAY: Well, one of the problems was that you didn't give the
22 name of this witness, according to the Prosecution, until relatively
23 recently. So they couldn't have possibly known what the relevance of this
24 document was.
25 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, with all due respect, I'm quite sure,
1 unfortunately, I do not have the listing here but I'm quite sure that the
2 name of this witness was included in the 165 witnesses I announced early,
3 related to your order. But we can check that.
4 JUDGE MAY: It was clearly relevant to the witness' credibility.
5 To that extent, it's an important document it's relevant and we will admit
6 it. Anything else or have we finished with the witness?
7 MR. KOVACIC: Could I just check briefly. I think I am but would
8 like to be on the safe side.
9 Q. [Interpretation] In relation to these documents about the
10 wounding, Witness Radman, perhaps I might just ask you one thing. In
11 document 1469.4, it mentions the 92nd Home Guard Regiment. Did that unit
12 exist at the time indicated at your service with the brigade?
13 A. No, that unit was the successor to the Vitez Brigade. So the 92nd
14 regiment was the successor to the Vitez Brigade, I think it was formed
15 sometime in 1994, 1995, I wouldn't know exactly, but it was following the
16 Washington Accords that the regiment was formed.
17 Q. And as a soldier who was wounded during the war in order to
18 exercise your rights, driving from this, rights laid out by regulations,
19 you needed such a certificate?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And such a certificate at that time, you had to seek from the 92nd
22 Home Guard Regiment?
23 A. Yes, because it was the legal successor to the Vitez Brigade.
24 Q. That means that it had the files about the members of the former
25 Vitez Brigade?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Would you know if that administration also had the files of
3 village guards?
4 A. Village guards did not make part of the Vitez Brigade. The Vitez
5 Brigade and the regiment cannot have any information about the village
7 Q. Very well. But would they have any files on the activities of the
8 staff, soldiers who went through those units at that time?
9 A. Well, I cannot confirm it but I guess they must have got it from
10 these staffs.
11 Q. But when you applied for the certificate, did you fill this in?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. KOVACIC: Maybe just one thing with two or three little
15 questions. It will not take a lot of time, if the Court will allow.
16 Q. [Interpretation] Z953, it is a document about the alleged wounding
17 of Slavko Badrov. Did you ever, while you were full-time employed before
18 the war, did you suffer any accident at work, perhaps?
19 A. No.
20 Q. An injury?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Did you ever see such a form before the war when somebody would
23 suffer an injury at work?
24 A. Well, I was never injured at work so I never had the chance to see
1 Q. Very well. Let me just check. Do you know anyone else called
2 Slavko Badrov?
3 A. No, I couldn't say.
4 Q. Thank you. And in conclusion, in view of all the questions you
5 were asked, were you aware at that critical period of time, I'm referring
6 to mid-April, that at some point, general mobilisation was announced?
7 A. Yes, I learned it after the attack on the town, on Vitez.
8 Q. But did you learn that the HVO government in Vitez formally
9 proclaimed that all the HVO soldiers had to be mobilised and had to
11 A. Well, we heard about the general mobilisation, but no instructions
12 had yet reached Zabilje.
13 Q. So nobody came to your village with the list and said, "As of now,
14 you're mobilised."
15 A. No.
16 Q. After that you said that you received the order which specified
17 sectors and areas within sectors; is that correct?
18 A. It is.
19 Q. It was only then, and then only, that the village guards were
20 subordinated to the brigade; is that correct?
21 A. That order regulated -- we were given the area, we became a
22 company, and all members of the village guard were incorporated in our
24 Q. Did any military conscript in the village, one of the men that you
25 knew in the village, one of the co-villagers, say, "I'm not a military
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 conscript because either I'm disabled or not fit to serve," or anything
2 like that?
3 A. Oh, yes, there were such cases.
4 Q. And how many? And were they mobilised at long last?
5 A. Well, those who were fit to serve the units, they were included;
6 because a physician came up to the village after awhile and he established
7 that those who were ill could not become members of units and those who
8 were not ill, that they could be members of units.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I do not have any more questions,
11 Your Honours.
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Radman, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
13 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, for
15 enabling me to testify.
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The next witness?
18 MR. MIKULICIC: Our next witness, Your Honour, is Mr. Dragan
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
23 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
24 WITNESS: DRAGAN STRBAC
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Strbac.
5 A. Good afternoon.
6 Q. On behalf of the Defence of Mr. Mario Cerkez, I'm going to ask you
7 some questions, and I would like you to answer them to the best of your
8 recollection, please. Also, I would like to point out that you need to
9 wait until the question I ask you is interpreted into the official
10 languages of the Tribunal; in other words, it means just please pause
11 before answering.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. I am also going to pause between your answer and my next question
14 so that we facilitate the work of the interpreters.
15 Please, Mr. Strbac, for the record, could you please state your
16 full name and date and place of birth.
17 A. My name is Dragan Strbac. I was born on 29 July 1963 in Vitez.
18 Q. Your ethnic background is Croatian, and you're Roman Catholic by
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You're a citizen of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the
22 Republic of Croatia. In other words, you have dual citizenship.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. The issue of your dual citizenship is regulated by the regulation
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. Mr. Strbac, you were born in Vitez and you have lived there
3 practically all your life.
4 A. Yes, since my birth.
5 Q. You are currently not married and you have no children.
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. Can you tell us, what was your education?
8 A. I graduated from the elementary school in Vitez in the
9 neighbourhood of Dubravica; I then graduated from high school in Vitez,
10 and then the metallurgy college in Zenica. And I became a metallurgy
12 Q. Did you work in your chosen profession after your graduation?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Can you tell us where you found employment after you graduated?
15 A. After I worked for about two, two and a half years to find a job,
16 on 1 September 1991 I became an employee at the head of the -- I became
17 the head of the civil defence at the Vitez municipality.
18 Q. Had you by that time completed your military service?
19 A. Yes, in 1982 and 1983.
20 Q. Did you acquire any rank in the JNA?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Very well. Mr. Strbac, you said that from 1 September 1991 you
23 worked as the head of the civil defence in the Vitez municipality.
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. And in this position you stayed until October 1994; is that
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Could you now please describe for us briefly what the civil
4 defence was? According to the regulation of the former Yugoslavia, how
5 was it organised and what was its purpose?
6 A. In order to protect material goods and the population from the
7 consequences of natural disasters and war effects. At that time the civil
8 defence was organised pursuant to the law on the people's defence of the
9 Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the federal laws and
10 regulations on the defence of SFRY.
11 Q. At the time when you became the head of the civil defence, in late
12 1991, the former Yugoslavia had begun to disintegrate; is that correct?
13 A. Yes. The war in Croatia was under way. There was some confusion,
14 and that started reflecting on the life in our area.
15 Q. There is no doubt, Mr. Strbac, that the civil defence, in its
16 organisational structure, was part of the civilian government.
17 A. Yes. That was set out in the law, that it was part of the
18 civilian structures.
19 Q. Its function was also set out by the laws and regulations of that
21 A. Yes. And I already explained, it was the protection of material
22 goods and of the population.
23 Q. Mr. Strbac, is it true that during the existence of the former
24 Yugoslavia as a federal state, you had the so-called federal regulations
25 and also the republican regulations which had to be harmonised with the
1 federal ones?
2 A. Yes, that is correct.
3 Q. After Bosnia-Herzegovina proclaimed its independence and after it
4 was recognised as an independent state by the International Community,
5 were the old regulations still applicable there?
6 A. Yes. Bosnia-Herzegovina was recognised, but it did not function
7 for the reasons everybody is aware of. So we were forced, that is, the
8 administration was forced to adopt the former regulations, because in that
9 short period of time, the administration was unable to adopt new laws and
10 regulations that would regulate all aspects of life in our area.
11 Q. I understand. After the declaration of independence, little by
12 little new regulations started being adopted which were replacing these
13 old ones.
14 A. Yes. But the ones that referred to the civil defence were in
15 force throughout the war, they remained so.
16 Q. In your job, you must have known these regulations.
17 A. Yes, the regulations regulating this area.
18 Q. Can you tell me whether the organisation and operation of the
19 civil defence or protection differed in conditions of war and in
20 conditions of peace?
21 A. The civil defence was operating differently in the conditions of
22 war, and whether it had to deal with a natural disaster or in the case of
23 war. In the case of peacetime, it is part of the Ministry of Defence; in
24 the case of war, it is part of the municipal staff, and its goal is to
25 protect and save the population and material goods from the effects which
1 I have already enumerated.
2 Q. I understand. So in time of peace, the civil defence functions as
3 part of the former secretariat of people's defence at the municipal
5 A. Yes. That was part of the executive branch of the municipal
7 Q. However, this secretariat of people's defence at the municipal
8 level, this is a civilian institution, and there is no doubt about that.
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. When a state of war was declared in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992,
11 the municipal civil defence switched to its wartime mode.
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And this civil defence headquarters then came into existence.
14 A. It was only activated at the municipal level. So in Vitez, even
15 before the proclamation of the state of war, we had a municipal staff but
16 it was not active. The proclamation of the state of war triggered off the
17 activity of this staff with its president and other members.
18 Q. Now, who was the commander of this municipal staff?
19 A. Its commander was Sulejman Smirko.
20 Q. Was this gentleman of Muslim ethnic background?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What was your position there?
23 A. I was the chief of the municipal staff.
24 Q. Mr. Strbac, can you tell us very briefly, what is the difference,
25 the distinction, between the commander of the municipal civil defence
1 headquarters and the chief of the municipal civil defence headquarters?
2 A. The commander commands and oversees the concrete, specific
3 situation on the ground. My role is the job of an operative. In other
4 words, I prepared everything for Mr. Smirko. I proposed certain measures
5 and then he, as the commander, would then issue formal orders.
6 Q. I assume that you, yourself, had a staff that assisted you in your
8 A. Yes, we had members of the municipal headquarters. They were
9 professionals in particular fields which covered certain aspects of civil
10 defence or protection.
11 Q. In other words, they were professionals in their fields?
12 A. They worked in the municipal staff as -- on a voluntary basis but
13 they were professionals in their own fields such as medical, veterinary
14 field, construction, RKB protection. They were professional in their own
15 fields but they -- when once the municipal headquarters was established,
16 they worked there on a voluntary basis and, in fact, those were their
17 wartime assignments.
18 Q. In other words, they were not officials there, they were not paid,
19 but they were seconded to the civil defence because of certain special
20 skills which they possessed?
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. Mr. Strbac, you told us that this civil defence headquarters,
23 which was activated when the wartime was proclaimed, was part of the
24 civilian HVO?
25 A. Yes, within the civilian HVO government in Vitez.
1 Q. And by your position, you were a member of the civilian government
2 in Vitez?
3 A. Yes, except I was there as needed. In other words, only when the
4 civilian government discussed issues relating to the civil defence or
5 protection, that is when I attended such meetings.
6 Q. Do you recall at that time who was in charge of the civilian
8 A. It was Mr. Ivica Santic.
9 Q. Mr. Strbac, can you tell us how was the civil defence staffed?
10 A. It was done first by the secretariat of people's defence of Vitez
11 and then in latter part of 1992, how shall I put this, was re-named
12 people's defence department. In other words, with the reorganisation, it
13 changed its name and it became defence office.
14 Q. Do you recall who headed that office?
15 A. You mean who was the chief of the defence office?
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. It was Mr. Marijan Skopljak.
18 Q. Mr. Strbac, is this the way the civil defence is still organised
19 to date in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
20 A. Yes. These activities are still carried out by municipal civil
21 defence headquarters.
22 Q. In the latter part of 1992, and we have already heard testimony of
23 that, the Muslims and Croats started parting ways including in Vitez. Do
24 you have any recollections of that period?
25 A. Yes, it is -- it was exactly how you put it. Gradually, people
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 started leaving on their own positions in the municipal government,
2 including the civil defence. So we all of a sudden faced the problem that
3 Mr. Smirko, in the latter part of 1992, started avoiding to come to our
4 joint meetings so that I was forced to take over the role of both the
5 chief and commander of the municipal staff.
6 Q. I understand. Do you know whether there was any pressure exerted
7 on the Muslims to leave these positions?
8 A. No, the political events of that period contributed to this
9 development. I have to admit that before the parting of ways, and I'm now
10 referring to the civil defence, we resorted to a type of organisation so
11 as to overcome these political differences. We would call meetings in
12 areas where the Croats were in majority and also in the areas where the
13 Muslims were in majority. We would then give them certain instructions
14 about how to -- what to do, because the aggression of the former JNA
15 against Bosnia was ongoing, and there were problems with air raids. So we
16 did not distinguish between different communities but we tried to protect
17 all civilians.
18 So we agreed that we would go around in the field and each group
19 would talk to their own community. But we did not have joint meetings.
20 In other words, we were -- we covered the entire territory of the
21 municipality but separately.
22 Q. Just one additional question before we break for lunch. You said
23 that at that time, there was a threat of air raids of the JNA. Did such
24 air raids actually occur later in Vitez in 1992?
25 A. Yes, there were several such raids. We, in fact, jointly built
1 dugouts so -- as shelters for civilians and they were large dugouts.
2 Q. And this was the first time that the civil defence was actively
3 involved in the wartime activities.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If it's convenient for the Trial
5 Chamber, I think this would be a good moment to break for lunch.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Mr. Strbac, we're going to adjourn now for lunch
7 for an hour and a half. Could you remember not to speak to anybody about
8 your evidence until it's over, and that does include members of the
9 Defence team. Would you be back, please, at half past 2.00.
10 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.32 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Strbac, let us continue from where we stopped before the lunch
5 break. In order to facilitate matters, let me say that we are moving on
6 to paragraph 2.5. You said earlier during the morning that the
7 secretariat of national defence recruited people for the civil defence?
8 A. Yes, that's right, and later on through the defence department.
9 Q. Since we are mentioning these two bodies, the secretariat for
10 national defence and the Department of Defence, is it correct to say that
11 this is the very same body which simply got a new name?
12 A. Yes, exactly. This is one and the same body which, through this
13 transformation, took over the duties of the former secretariat.
14 Q. I assume that there were files of civil defence conscripts?
15 A. Yes, that's right. Every military conscript or civil defence
16 conscript had their files in the defence department. That went for the
17 military and for the civil defence. That is to say that there were files
18 in the defence department whereas we in the civilian defence had
19 individual files for each and every one of our conscripts.
20 Q. What was the difference between these files that were kept in the
21 secretariat for national defence as related to civil defence for one and
22 the same person? What was the difference between the two?
23 A. Basically these files were more or less the same. However, as the
24 very word says, one's own file would remain within one's own files of the
25 secretariat of defence whereas the unit file would be given to the unit or
1 rather the institution that organises that particular form of protection,
2 rather civilian protection, civil defence, et cetera. This was in the
3 unit file. That's what I'm talking about.
4 Q. So we can say in principle that these files that were kept in the
5 civilian defence were a bit more specific in comparison than those kept in
6 the defence department?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Very well. Tell me, how were civil defence conscripts called up?
9 A. Through the defence department, through call-up papers. Later on,
10 when it became difficult to communicate during war operations, then
11 exceptionally we used the messenger system as well. However, while post
12 offices were still operating, we sent call-up papers through the post.
13 Q. The organisation of the civilian defence on the ground relied upon
14 keepers involved in civilian defence?
15 A. Yes. Yes. These commissioners for civilian defence carried a
16 major burden. They were organised on a territorial basis on the
17 territorial principle, and they would cover different inhabited areas.
18 Q. What was the basic task of civilian defence commissioner?
19 A. That was the main link between us and civilian defence
20 headquarters and all our members on the ground, on the one hand. On the
21 other hand, all the information we required, all the assistance we
22 required, we obtained or carried out through civil defence commissioners.
23 Q. I'm now going to ask you to look at a document, and could you
24 please comment on it as well.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please help me and
1 have the document distributed, please.
2 Q. Tell us, Mr. Strbac, what kind of a document is this?
3 A. This is a list of commissioners of civil defence of the
4 municipality of Vitez. It was made on the 16th of February, 1993 and it
5 bears my signature.
6 Q. Very well. I am going to ask you for an explanation now lest
7 there be any misunderstanding. In the introductory part of the document,
8 it says, "Staff of peoples - civilly in protection". Can you explain this
9 kind of description?
10 A. Well, in the formal or rather in the former terminology, in the
11 morning, when I spoke of legislation related to this area, the concept of
12 civil defence was used. However, as you know, an aggression against
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina was underway and this was carried out by the former
14 JNA, and the aggression against Croatia was in full swing. So then people
15 came to dislike all terminology related to the former country. So instead
16 of civilian we started using the word "popular peoples" like they did in
17 Croatia. However, not everybody understood this so that's why we resorted
18 to this hyphen, that is to say "peoples-civilian", so the people could
20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could the registrar please give us
21 a number for this document.
22 THE REGISTRAR: The number is D101/2.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Q. If we look at this document, we will see that commissioners of
25 civil defence were deployed in various units. Can you comment on that?
1 A. Well, these are different areas. At that time, we called them
2 battalions. These are battalions or areas organised in a territorial
3 fashion. So we called these battalions according to different
4 settlements. For example the first battalion covered a few settlements:
5 Santici, Poculica, Dubravica, Rijeka, et cetera, so that in some way it
6 would be easier to work in an operative way.
7 Q. I understand. So although you used the word "battalion", which is
8 a typical military term, it actually denoted something completely
10 A. Exactly. Exactly. Absolutely. It says, 1st Battalion, 2nd
11 Battalion, 3rd Battalion. It has nothing to do with the military
12 whatsoever. I mean, the word is the same but it has nothing to do with
13 military organisation.
14 Q. Thank you. Tell me, Mr. Strbac, the civil defence had its
15 commissioners and it also had its units.
16 A. Exactly.
17 Q. What was the purpose or, rather, function of civil defence units?
18 How were they divided, in principle?
19 A. We had two different kinds of civil defence units; these were
20 specialised units and also general purpose units. These general purpose
21 units were often called work units amongst the population, because it was
22 easier for the population to say "work platoon" than to say "general
23 purpose unit." That is why they are called that.
24 Q. Sorry. I will be putting questions to you, so we will move faster
25 that way, I think.
1 These general purpose units, why were they organised?
2 A. These are units that did all sorts of things, I have no other way
3 of putting it, regardless of the specialty that was required.
4 Q. That also involved certain obligations in terms of clearing the
5 terrain and also building shelters, et cetera, if I understand you
7 A. Yes, I can explain this. Just a few sentences. Special purpose
8 units, as the word itself shows, these are units that are specialised for
9 carrying out special duties. Since you mentioned this, yes, they were
10 used for clearing ruins. That is where members of the civil defence
11 worked, those who were specialised only for these tasks. If this unit for
12 clearing ruins would not be sufficient for carrying out a particular task,
13 then we would add to them a general purpose unit in order to help them.
14 Q. All right. After the conflict broke out and after there was an
15 escalation of hostilities in Vitez and its surroundings in mid-1993, you
16 encountered a problem, didn't you?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you tell us what this was all about?
19 A. As you know yourself, the situation in the Lasva River Valley was
20 the way it was. Before the conflict, we had an organised civil defence
21 for normal peacetime conditions. But when the war, conflict, broke out -
22 how should I put this? - certain commanders acted in an arbitrary fashion,
23 or, rather, leaders of village guards in various settlements, they took
24 our members of the civil defence to carry out military duties for them.
25 It was a problem, because in such a situation we had to find other
1 ways and means of getting other people for the civil defence, people who
2 were inadequate, inappropriate, who were not skilled, and that is the
3 problem that we encountered at that point in time.
4 Q. So, of course, as the person in charge, as you noticed this
5 problem, you reacted. I would like to ask you to look at this document,
6 and could you comment on it, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit D102/2.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Strbac, please look at this document, and can you comment on
10 it in a few sentences.
11 A. This is a document of mine. It's a letter of mine with my
12 signature. We sent it on behalf of the municipal staff of the civil
13 defence to the command of the 2nd Battalion in Vitez, where we mentioned
14 the problems that we face in connection with what I spoke of a few minutes
15 ago, in terms of taking civil defence conscripts and assigning them to
16 different duties. In our opinion, this brought into question the normal
17 functioning of civil defence in our parts, that is to say, in the
18 municipality of Vitez.
19 Q. I understand. If we look at the period to which this pertains,
20 this is still a period when shifts were going to the borders at Vlasic in
21 order to defend the area from Serb aggression.
22 A. Yes, that's right, on the 10th of March, 1993.
23 Q. Very well. Mr. Strbac, could you look at the annex to this
24 document, the list of members of the civil defence, and I would like to
25 ask you for a few comments in this connection.
1 A. Yes. I sent this to the commander of the 2nd Battalion, Mr. Ante
2 Bertovic. The 2nd Battalion is our battalion from Vitez, which together
3 with the battalion of Novi Travnik made up one and the same unit.
4 Q. Was that the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade?
5 A. Yes, that's right. So Mario Garic, that is our defence department
6 archives, the former secretariat of defence.
7 Q. Very well. If we now look at this list that you attached to your
8 letter, and if we go back to your testimony this morning when you said
9 that Muslims slowly started leaving civil defence units, we see
10 nevertheless that some of them stayed. Some of them remained in office
11 and some of them are still on this list.
12 For example, Mr. Sulejman Smirko is still on the list on behalf of
13 the voluntary fire brigade from Vitez; number 17 is Sead Alihodza; 20 is
14 Mehmed Dezda [phoen], et cetera, et cetera, not to mention all of them.
15 All of them are members of the civilian defence and they are ethnic
16 Muslims; is that right?
17 A. Yes, that's right. Let me just say one more thing. Let me try to
18 clarify this. Not all of them -- these were not the only ethnic Muslim
19 members of the civilian defence. When I testified this morning, I said
20 that we organised joint meetings, Mr. Smirko and I, in various
21 settlements. Also, Mr. Smirko had this list of members of the civilian
22 defence who were ethnic Muslims, he had it with him. So as I said, at the
23 time we were operating together. However, as I said, due to some kind of
24 a political climate which prevailed then, we were compelled to work in
25 this way.
1 Q. All right. You explained that to us already. Thank you. So let
2 us put this document away.
3 Now, when the war followed in the second half of 1993, you said
4 that you had the problem of your people being engaged in military units.
5 A. They were taken over from the civil defence and assigned to
6 military units. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. What did you do then? Did you engage some kind of alternative
9 A. Well, we were forced to get other people to fill these positions.
10 For commanders of civilian defence, we used women who were available. So
11 I had about 115 women commissioners, the fairer sex. As for the units, I
12 managed to keep only elderly people who were unable to do military
13 service. However, we did have to retain some kind of a skeleton of the
14 civil defence so that we could perform our duties properly.
15 Q. In view of this large number of women who were engaged as
16 commissioners for civil defence, can we agree that at that time the civil
17 defence became a woman's organisation, so to speak?
18 A. Well, no, I would not put it that way. But most members of the
19 civil defence were women; about 60 per cent, if I remember the figures
20 exactly. About 60 per cent of all members of the civil defence were
22 Q. In this situation, that is to say, when you were under siege,
23 supplies were very difficult -- it was very difficult to obtain supplies;
24 however, humanitarian aid did arrive. Did the civil defence have a role
25 to play in this context?
1 A. Yes, yes, the civil defence distributed all the humanitarian aid
2 that arrived in the municipality of Vitez.
3 Q. Was this distribution ethnically based in any way?
4 A. No way. All citizens of the municipality of Vitez received what
5 we all got together. It was done on a footing of equality.
6 Q. Mr. Strbac, you mentioned these general purpose units of the civil
7 defence a few minutes ago.
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. You also said that the population called them work platoons. This
10 was a popular name for them.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Let us say a few words about these work platoons. Tell us,
13 please, how would you describe the very concept of a work platoon?
14 A. The concept of a work platoon, perhaps we can put it this way:
15 What is a work platoon? When speaking of civil defence, that is a general
16 purpose unit. However, in addition to civil defence, there were also work
17 platoons that were engaged in terms of carrying out work duty.
18 Q. Basically, this term "work platoon," is it of a civilian or a
19 military nature? What would you say to that?
20 A. Well, basically, I think it is a military term, a work platoon
21 is. But it was customary then that we called both work platoons, the work
22 platoons that were engaged in the armed forces and work duty units and
23 civil defence, we called all of them work platoons.
24 Q. Tell us, Mr. Strbac, as a professional you worked on these duties,
25 and you said by way of an introduction that you were familiar with the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 legislation that dealt with this.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I'm going to ask you to look at two documents in connection with
4 this, so I would kindly ask the usher to distribute them. Tell me,
5 please, have you encountered these documents before? And I would like to
6 ask you for a few comments, please.
7 JUDGE MAY: There are two of these. Can we take these fairly
8 quickly, please, Mr. Mikulicic --
9 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes.
10 JUDGE MAY: -- and restrict the comments. We've got the
11 documents. Now, which one do you want to deal with first so that we can
12 give it a number?
13 MR. MIKULICIC: Let me deal first with the document which is a
14 decree on a federal level and could be easily recognised -- it's numbered
15 in the bottom right corner, 215.
16 JUDGE MAY: I don't see it. Tell us what the heading is.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: I'm referring to the original, I'm sorry.
18 JUDGE MAY: What is the heading? If we have the heading, then we
19 can decide which is the first one.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Does it end with "the Republic of Yugoslavia"?
21 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, it does.
22 JUDGE MAY: Just one at a time. Could you kindly read out the
23 title of the first document.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: Okay. It reads like this: "On decree on the
25 Organisation and Discharge of Work Obligation for the Performance of
1 Activities and Tasks of Importance for All People's Defence."
2 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit D103/2.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Strbac, I assume that you have this decree before you. It's a
5 federal decree; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Very briefly, this morning you said that in the former Yugoslavia
8 there were federal and republican regulations?
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. Is it correct that this decree regulated the work or obligation on
11 the territory of all of the former Yugoslavia?
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. Is it correct that in Article 2 of this decree, it is stipulated
14 that work units may be organised for helping civil defence forces and
15 construction companies?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And Article 2, the last paragraph of it says that it was -- they
18 were supposed to help with the building of shelters fortifications, et
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Let us now look at
22 another document. I imagine that it is -- it will be D104/2. Could the
23 registrar please tell us.
24 THE REGISTRAR: That is correct, D104/2.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. This other document is a decree, a piece of legislation which
2 regulates the same question at republican level; that is correct?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. The core of the matter is the same, isn't it?
5 A. Yes. Yes. This document that regulates these matters at the
6 level of the republic has to be in line with federal legislation.
7 Q. Thank you. We've gone through these documents quickly so let us
8 proceed. And if we now look at the situation in Vitez in mid-1993 when
9 the conflict escalated, will you agree with me that the situation in Vitez
10 was rather specific because there was a long defence line and the number
11 of men, of able-bodied men was relatively small?
12 A. Yes. Inadequate men to hold the defence line.
13 Q. So the number was inadequate and the defence line could not be
14 manned properly?
15 A. Correct. Not to mention other tasks which had to be solved if we
16 were to defend the territory of Vitez.
17 Q. Very well. So under the circumstances and in the light of these
18 legal regulations, would it have been justified to engage work units to
19 dig the fortifications for the armed forces?
20 A. It had to be done in that way. And after the proclamation and
21 general mobilisation, every able-bodied conscript and man was duty-bound
22 to report to his defence office and place himself at its disposal. We
23 just explained what were the idiosyncracies of the municipality of Vitez.
24 The only way in which the defence line could be fortified was to engage
25 work platoons to help our lads along the defence line.
1 Q. And this situation was regulated by these regulations that we have
2 just mentioned?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. You told us earlier that in case of interrupted or breakdown of
5 communications or some earlier activities, the courier service of the
6 municipal staff or rather the civil defence which would call up the
7 conscripts was practically prevented from acting?
8 A. The courier service, you mean, of the staff. Yes, well it was
9 difficult because we could not sent out couriers to any given part of the
10 territory at any given time because, you know, the communications would
11 break down. There were snipers at every corner. So, yes, there was that
13 Q. Right. And as a result, what happened in practice is that some
14 military commanders would, on their own initiative, hire work platoons?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And they had been enabled to do that by the regulation which we
17 have just read?
18 A. Excuse me, when I refer to work platoons which were used for the
19 armed forces.
20 Q. Mr. Strbac, do you remember when was the general mobilisation in
21 the municipality of Vitez?
22 A. On the 16th of April, 1993 sometime, if I remember it well, it was
23 somewhere afternoon.
24 Q. And that document of the proclamation of the general mobilisation
25 meant that all citizens of military age were to respond?
1 A. Yes, all able-bodied men were to respond.
2 Q. And who responded, in part, in full or incomplete, were the
3 citizens of Muslim ethnicity who were living in Vitez; is that correct?
4 A. Very few or none.
5 Q. And under the circumstances in these citizens of Muslim
6 ethnicity living in Vitez and who did not respond to the call for general
7 mobilisation, was there any order to force those men to mobilise them by
9 A. Naturally, when I said that the general mobilisation was
10 proclaimed, that they were also duty-bound and obligated to report to the
11 relevant office. Those who failed to do that would be liable, would
12 invite certain legal sanctions. And I cannot say that it was often, but
13 the civil defence would bring them in, using the civilian police for
14 that. And I presume that when it came to the armed forces, they would use
15 the military police for the purposes.
16 Q. I see. Are you aware of any insistence or coercion to incorporate
17 these citizens of Muslim ethnicity to military units and thus make them
18 fight, force them to fight against their countrymen?
19 A. I never heard of anything of that sort.
20 Q. On the other hand, did the citizens of Muslim ethnicity from the
21 area of Vitez, who were also subject to general mobilisation like
22 everybody else, were they incorporated in the work platoons?
23 A. Yes, because there was this work obligation.
24 Q. You mentioned that this obligation, that that obligation also
25 entailed sanctions if somebody failed to respond?
1 A. Yes. Well, I'll tell from you my point of view, bearing in mind
2 the overall situation in the municipality of Vitez, it was such a person,
3 a person who had been brought in was told, instructed that he was
4 duty-bound to participate in labour force or anything, but those were only
5 instructions. I never resorted to any other sanction.
6 Q. But that was your goodwill, wasn't it?
7 A. Yes. But I say in view of the situation, war, suffering all
8 around, I simply thought that there was no need to add fuel to the fire in
9 view of the terrible situation that those people were in which does not
10 mean that somebody else could not have pronounced, for instance, some
11 other sanctions, detaining of the person so that they would have to spend
12 the night in a room or something like that. But as far as I was
13 concerned, and my part, we never resorted to such sanctions.
14 Q. Mr. Strbac, we have already said about the organisation of that
15 work platoons was performed by the defence office, part of the civilian
17 A. Yes, that was the competent agency.
18 Q. And did that situation regarding the work platoons change sometime
19 in January 1994 to the best of your recollection?
20 A. Why, yes, it did. The HVO government of the municipality of Vitez
21 decided that the civilian administration should take over the work
22 platoons, that is, all the civil defence units and we took over other
23 units in our area.
24 Q. So as of that time, this duality ceased, that they were both work
25 platoons at the military and the civilian work platoons?
1 A. Quite right. And we did it just to improve the performance. As
2 the war progressed, the situation was getting ever more difficult and in
3 view of the situation, the -- our government thought that it would be best
4 if all the work platoons were placed under the civilian defence so that
5 they could be supervised from one place.
6 Q. Since you brought up the civilian government in Vitez, isn't it
7 true that it functioned throughout the war?
8 A. Yes, it is true.
9 Q. And I shall ask you to look at a document, Mr. Strbac, I would
10 invite you to comment on it.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could we see D70/2, the document
12 has already been tendered. [In English] The original to the witness and
13 the English version on the ELMO, please.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Strbac, does this document mean that on
15 behalf of the HVO government, it was Mr. Pero Skopljak who was appointed
16 to coordinate social activities in relation to affairs indicated in this
17 document as a civilian?
18 A. Yes, as a civilian member of the municipal government.
19 Q. Yes, correct. And it is beyond question that Mr. Pero Skopljak
20 was a civilian?
21 A. It was beyond question he was a member of the Vitez government.
22 Q. Thank you. Will you now look at the last document which I have
24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Will the usher please help me.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document D105/2.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. A while ago, we mentioned that the government had set up this body
3 for social activities and Mr. Pero Skopljak was appointed as coordinator.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. The document shows that Mr. Pero Skopljak, if you look at the
6 signature, is that Pero Skopljak's signature on the document?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So that on behalf of the HVO civilian government, Mr. Pero
9 Skopljak writes to the UNHCR, the Red Cross, UNPROFOR and the ECMM and
10 that he says here that there are certain difficulties in the municipality
11 of Vitez regarding the accommodation of civilians, refugees, and asks them
12 for assistance. Would you agree with me that this document too tells us
13 about the activities of the civilian government of the municipality of
14 Vitez during the armed conflict in the area?
15 A. Definitely.
16 Q. Thank you. And to conclude, to move on to our last topic,
17 Mr. Strbac, and that is our defendant, Mr. Mario Cerkez. Tell us, do you
18 know Mr. Cerkez?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. Since when?
21 A. Well, I have known Mr. Cerkez for such a long time but we became
22 closer sometime in 1990, 1991 and particularly since I became responsible
23 for civil defence, then we really got to know one another.
24 Q. And did you cooperate personally?
25 A. Well, yes, that was indispensable.
1 Q. And in what capacity, in what capacity did Mr. Mario Cerkez appear
2 in these matters?
3 A. At what period of time do you have in mind?
4 Q. I have the period of time in mind as of mid-1992 onwards?
5 A. Well, we were in the municipal Crisis Staff at the time and I,
6 representing the civil defence, and Mario matters of defence, it was the
7 Crisis Staff which was established in the municipality of Vitez, so we had
8 meetings convened concerning defence, then both of us would be present.
9 Q. And later on when the defence office was established, did you keep
10 in touch with Mr. Cerkez?
11 A. Why, yes.
12 Q. And what post did he have in the defence office?
13 A. In the defence office? Mario Cerkez was not in the --
14 Q. Let me rephrase it. You already said it was Marijan Skopljak?
15 A. Yes, Marijan Skopljak was chief of the defence office in the
17 Q. Very well. But at those meetings, did you ever notice -- did you
18 ever see Mr. Cerkez or hear Mr. Cerkez give in to some hate aggressiveness
19 or use some rough language about matters of other ethnicities living in
20 the municipality of Vitez, I mean especially Muslims?
21 A. No, never. And during the war I can say that he always treated
22 his job very professionally and at that time, the enemy, and that was the
23 Bosniaks, the Muslims, I never heard him use any pejorative terms. He
24 respected them. Yes, they were enemies, but so what.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much for your
1 answers, Mr. Strbac. I have no further questions, Your Honour.
2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Dario Kordic's
3 defence has no questions to ask of this witness, thank you.
4 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:
5 Q. Mr. Strbac, you have testified before in the Tribunal in The
6 Hague, have you not, in a different case?
7 A. Twice, not once, twice.
8 Q. Which case --
9 A. I mean twice.
10 Q. And can you indicate which cases you have testified in?
11 A. Furundzija and Aleksovski.
12 Q. In both instances you testified on behalf of the Defence; is that
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. In one instance, in Aleksovski, your evidence was led by my
16 learned colleague, Mr. Mikulicic; is that correct?
17 A. It is.
18 Q. Would you please tell us where in Vitez your civilian defence
19 office was located physically?
20 A. The municipal hall. But I should like to ask you to be more
21 specific. What period of time do you have in mind? Or perhaps shall I
22 answer? So until the conflict with the Muslims, in the municipal hall;
23 after that, we were in the town library.
24 Q. What date are you attributing to the beginning of the conflict
25 with the Muslims, please?
1 A. Do you mean the open conflict or some skirmishes here and there?
2 Q. I'm asking you.
3 A. The open conflict began on the 16th of April with an all-out
4 attack on the municipality of Vitez.
5 Q. The municipal building and the library, would you please describe
6 where those two locations are in relation to the Vitez cinema complex, the
7 Vitez veterinary station, the SDK offices in Vitez, the chess club in
8 Vitez, and the Dubravica elementary school, if you can, please. I can
9 repeat the list for you one by one if it would help you.
10 A. Do you want me to specify both the municipal building and the
11 library building?
12 Q. Is the municipal building far from the library building? That
13 would be helpful.
14 A. Well, as the crow flies, 200, maybe 250 metres.
15 Q. That's fairly close, would you say?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In which case, since they are not far apart, their proximity to
18 the Vitez cinema complex, please.
19 A. The municipal building, about 100 or 150 metres; the library
20 building, well, say, something like that, 150, thereabouts. Again, as the
21 crow flies.
22 Q. The veterinary station.
23 A. The veterinary station, that was out of town. It was in a
24 locality called Rijeka.
25 Q. The SDK offices in Vitez.
1 A. The building, the SDK building, was about 150 metres from the
2 library, the municipal building, and the cinema too.
3 Q. The chess club in Vitez.
4 A. The chess club in Vitez is 50 metres away from the library.
5 Q. The Dubravica elementary school.
6 A. Well, I think that would be two, two and a half kilometres,
7 thereabouts. It was out of town so ...
8 Q. During the period of the conflict, were you able, were you
9 personally able, either on your own or assisted by HVO members, to travel
10 around the HVO-occupied areas within Vitez municipality?
11 A. It was very difficult. We could barely move around, and then we
12 put our lives at stake, because throughout, the whole area of our
13 municipality was exposed to shelling, especially in the early days of the
15 Q. Have you given us the entire range of your responsibilities? You
16 mentioned a general, as it were, ecological role. Can you explain,
17 please, any other responsibilities you might have perhaps erroneously
18 emitted during direct examination?
19 A. No, no mistake. I was far from listing all the duties that we
20 had. Let me repeat all the things that we had to do.
21 We covered the first eight. Fire protection; the radiological,
22 chemical, ecological protection; then the pathological [Interpreter's
23 note: phytopathology]; the rehabilitation of the terrain; and protection
24 and rescue from ruins.
25 Q. When you say "pathological," what are you referring to? Could
1 that be the collection of dead bodies, perhaps?
2 A. Well, yes, when you say that we have to rehabilitate the ground,
3 it covers both, yes, collecting dead human bodies and dead carcasses,
4 animal bodies.
5 Q. Was the collection of dead bodies something that you had oversight
7 A. Yes, it was one of -- this was under the jurisdiction of the civil
8 defence, because that was the way to prevent the spread of diseases.
9 MS. SOMERS: Would the usher be kind enough to present Z882.2.
10 Q. This document, dated the 4th of May, is headed: "The Exchange
11 Commission. Subject: Exchange of bodies," and bears your signature on
12 the right-hand side of the page; is that correct? Do you identify that as
13 your signature?
14 A. May I just have a look at this?
15 Q. Yes, of course.
16 A. Yes. It is our document which we sent to the exchange
18 Q. This document also suggests that you have the power to order
19 exhumation of bodies, not just collection; is that correct? Paragraph 3,
20 the last sentence discusses: "The team will exhume this body and prepare
21 it for exchange."
22 A. After the clearing operation, we buried the casualties. When it
23 comes to members of the Croat ethnicity, we buried them in cemeteries,
24 Croat cemeteries, wherever that was possible at the time. So that is as
25 close to the places of residence, that is where we tried to bury an
1 individual who had been killed or died.
2 And if we're talking about members of Muslim ethnicity, then we
3 performed their burial at the Muslim cemetery in Gacice. Why did we do
4 that? We did that, as I have just said, because we had to clear the
5 ground. And then the commission which was responsible for the exchange of
6 the killed, it would request some members for exchange and then naturally
7 we would have to dig out those bodies and turn them over to the exchange
8 commission; yet we never -- as the civil defence, we never requested that
9 we perform exhumations for some reasons of our own, because after we had
10 buried them, that was the end of our task.
11 Q. The answer to my question, then, is yes.
12 Point number 2, the conclusion about Gacice and the reason no
13 bodies were found, how did you come to that conclusion? Based on what
14 information did you come to that conclusion, please?
15 A. Villagers from Gacice, from up there, let us know that there were
16 fatalities. And I sent a team up there but we found nothing.
17 Q. Having indicated that you also have the function of body pickup,
18 another function of yours was the distribution of property, was it not?
19 The distribution of property necessary --
20 A. No.
21 Q. Let's just have a look.
22 A. The distribution of humanitarian aid, not property.
23 MS. SOMERS: Can we please see Exhibit Z1141.2. With the Court's
24 permission, I would add that because this was done quickly, we were only
25 able to get a very bare-bones summary to get an idea of what's on it. But
1 if it could be put on the ELMO, there would be one line that I believe the
2 interpreters can assist with, and that would be the only point that I
3 think is critical.
4 Mr. Usher, the item that I would bring to the attention of the
5 interpreters would be on the first page of the Croatian edition, under
7 Q. But first, Mr. Strbac, can you confirm that this document, which
8 is dated the 8th of July, 1993 and concerns vehicles or diesel vehicles,
9 bears your signature?
10 A. This is just a list of materiel in the municipality of Vitez.
11 Q. I'm sorry. You were responsible for the inventorying and the
13 A. No. I've just explained the function of the commissioner for
14 civil defence. So this would be, for instance, one of the tasks, to
15 compile lists of materiel that could be found in their respective areas.
16 So all that we had was an overview of what we had in our possession.
17 Q. Did you compile this yourself?
18 A. No. It was the civil defence commissioners.
19 Q. The entry on the first page under "Zabilje," the second name is
20 "Radman Jozo," and it indicates a tractor.
21 MR. SOMERS: Again, I apologise to the Court, but I think the
22 tractor translates fairly directly.
23 Q. And then in parenthesis, can you please read out what it says
24 after "tractor," next to Mr. Radman's name.
25 A. "Radman Jozo, tractor," and then in brackets it says, "(seized
1 from Muslims)."
2 Q. Thank you. Now, you also, I believe, had some responsibility for
3 making sure that the fire protection units, the fire brigades, were up to
4 par in their staffing; is that correct? Would that have been one of your
5 functions, particularly in time of war or imminent threat of war?
6 A. Not only the civil defence. It also covers the fire protection.
7 As much as we could, we were staffed based on the circumstances. Whenever
8 we had available personnel who were trained for this, we were pretty
9 well-staffed. However, due to the open conflict, after 16 April,
10 obviously there was some disruptions in terms of the manpower of the civil
11 defence staff, including the fire protection unit.
12 With respect to the area covered by the HVO personnel, we were
13 unable to use the Vitez volunteer fire brigade because they were in the
14 area under the control of the ABiH. We only had a vehicle which was very
15 old, it had been built in 1963, and that was in the Sebesic Impregnacija
17 Q. Can I interrupt you? I think you've already given us most of the
19 A. Yes, sure.
20 Q. Thank you. I'd like you to take a look at Z291.2 very quickly.
21 This document is from a period that I think you would describe, in your
22 opinion, as before the open conflict with the Muslims, the 23rd of
23 November, 1992. I'd just ask you if you could confirm that if it is not
24 your signature, that it is signed on your behalf on the back. This is a
25 summons for, it appears to be, a fireman; is that correct?
1 A. Yes. This is a summons which we had sent to all fire brigade
2 members. And why did we do that? A moment ago I told you about the
3 problems which we were facing at the time. Our members were being taken
4 by other institutions for their own needs, and Mr. Smirko said that we
5 should give this summons to everyone so that these summons could serve as
6 proof that they were our members, that we needed them. This unit --
7 Q. Excuse me for interrupting you. Who said you should give them?
8 Which name did you give, please? I was not clear. Mr. Striko, did you
10 A. Mr. Smirko Sulejman, yes, he asked me to prepare such summons and
11 distribute it to all the members.
12 Q. Thank you. I'd like to ask you just above the signature line, it
13 says, "In case of nonresponse to the summons or failure to respond,
14 responsibility is invoked in accordance with the criminal directives of
15 the order on the armed forces of the HZ Herceg-Bosna, the Croatian
16 Community of Herceg-Bosna." It appears that there was a Herceg-Bosna
17 legislation that also bore criminal penalties for failure to comply; would
18 that be correct? And the article is cited. It appears to be four on the
19 Croatian edition, but the seal interferes a little bit. It cites a
20 Herceg-Bosna piece of legislation, doesn't it?
21 A. This is the summons which we used. It was drafted by another
22 office which we did not have our own.
23 Q. But it cites the Herceg-Bosna legislation; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, in a lower portion, yes. You can read that. It's the
25 Croatian Community yes, the defence department.
1 Q. Thank you. Was not another of your responsibilities particularly
2 during the time, during the period that you have labelled open conflict
3 with the Muslims, the handling of matters concerning apartments,
4 dwellings, resettlement of persons from one apartment to another. Would
5 that also have been in your jurisdiction?
6 A. The civil defence had a duty to provide accommodation for the
7 refugees. That's on the one hand. I'm referring only to the civil
8 defence. It was engaged in that throughout 1992, and after the 16 April.
9 Q. May I ask you --
10 A. And by a decision of the Vitez local government, I was appointed
11 to commission, and I don't recall exactly how this commission was named,
12 but it was a commission for accommodation or assigning of apartments or
13 something like that. I don't recall exactly how the commission was
14 called. Because as war progressed in the Vitez municipality, a number of
15 apartments was vacated and someone had to be put in charge of that to
16 register all that so that we could use this available stock to accommodate
17 other people.
18 Q. Do you recall a Muslim individual from Vitez named Mohammed
19 Sahaganovic? Do you recall a Croat from Zenica called Ivica Tomicic?
20 Perhaps that would help you relate the name.
21 A. No.
22 Q. Would you be able to comment on why this individual named
23 Sahaganovic relayed that you were the person who made him, on 24 May, 1993
24 sign, forcefully sign over his apartment to the Croat from Zenica,
25 Tomicic. Why would he tell this to an investigator of the Tribunal?
1 A. That doesn't make sense. I protected all citizens of Vitez,
2 Croats and Muslims and Serbs. That is not correct. I can say that with
3 full responsibility. That makes no sense. I never forced anyone to sign
5 MS. SOMERS: I would ask the Court to allow us to try to get three
6 very short clips from a video and the best translations that we can offer
7 now are Z855.2 with a highlighted follow-up of the lines that are terribly
9 Madam registrar, it might be helpful if the separate sheet of
10 paper had -- bore an A to distinguish it from the main one. It simply
11 highlights some information in the main one.
12 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Mr. Cerkez's
13 Defence, of course, has no idea what videotape is in question, but from
14 the transcript which we have just received, this is a videotape statement
15 of a witness here. We object to this type of presentation of evidence
16 because this is highly irregular. We have not had an opportunity to
17 research, investigate this. We are unprepared to comment on this and I
18 think that it is inappropriate that a witness statement be tendered
19 through a videotape.
20 The Rules stipulate that we have the right to cross-examine any
21 witness, and if we are just faced with a videotape, we are not in a
22 position to examine this witness at all.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Ms. Somers.
24 MS. SOMERS: May I respond on that, Your Honour. Of course we
25 don't know until we get the summary what points are going to be raised by
1 any given witness. Having received the summary this morning, we had to
2 scramble to find as much as we could to counter any examination that we
3 felt would need to be addressed.
4 This particular matter is, of course, relevant in that it concerns
5 an allegation by an HVO soldier who was captured as to how things worked
6 in Vitez. The only parts that I think the Court -- that I would ask the
7 Court to take a moment to look at would be on the second page of the
8 bigger document, the Z855.2. It would be four paragraphs down, "How do
9 you do that? When a person comes to the apartment, we take him to Dragan
10 Strbac, and he resolves that at the people's library. He resolves the
11 matter relating to apartments."
12 That would be the proffer that we would make. It is, of course,
13 on video. It's not a statement, per se, sir.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] With your permission, Your
15 Honours, of course the Defence is not denying the right to the Prosecution
16 to challenge the evidence presented by the Defence, but there is the
17 rebuttal case in which they can do so, that is, it would be their proper
18 forum for that.
19 JUDGE MAY: Well, I doubt that, and if it's going to be done, the
20 time to do it is now. So that the witness can answer it, but we'll
21 consider the position.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Somers, I understand that you propose to play a
24 video or a clip from one.
25 MS. SOMERS: There are three, just the sections, Your Honour, that
1 are on the separate sheet. We've tried to cut out everything else. The
2 whole thing is available to the Defence. If they want it, we would be
3 happy to provide it.
4 JUDGE MAY: They can see it, of course, during the adjournment.
5 How long will it take?
6 MS. SOMERS: I'm told approximately a minute, hopefully.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The fact is this: That the -- this is a matter
8 which clearly goes to the credibility of the witness, if nothing else.
9 This is material which is available to the Prosecution, and they are
10 entitled to put it to the witness to challenge him, see what he's got to
11 say about it. We'll allow the matter to be played.
12 [Videotape played]
13 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Yes, the people of Muslim
14 nationality. The Croats from Cajdraz and Poculica all the way to Zenica
15 whose house had burned down will go to Vitez and try to take the Muslim
17 So you and your colleagues in this free time, you had an
18 assignment to stop that?
20 How did you do that?
21 For instance, when somebody would come to the door of an
22 apartment, we took him to Mr. Dragan Strbac so that he would solve that.
23 Who is this Dragan Strbac?
24 He was the person who was involved in this apartment issues. Yes,
25 Mr. Strbac."
1 MS. SOMERS:
2 Q. Mr. Strbac, do you, by any chance, recognise the individual who is
3 speaking there, clearly under detention capacity but speaking there?
4 A. I never saw this person.
5 Q. Would it surprise you that he knows who you are?
6 A. Anyone can know any other person.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm sorry for
8 interrupting again. The Defence, I think, still is unable to understand
9 whether this is part of the evidence or not. We would like to know who
10 the person is on this video. Who the person was interrogated by, when,
11 and under what circumstances.
12 JUDGE MAY: You can do that in due course. All we've done so far
13 is to allow the cross-examination on the video. In due course, if the
14 Prosecution wants to give us further details about it, we'll listen to
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Ms. Somers, can you give us, very
18 briefly, some information about that video? Where does that video come
19 from? Can you give us a brief presentation, a brief introduction about
20 that video, then the Defence has the -- the President has quite rightly
21 said, the Defence will be able to make any comments they wish to do so at
22 the time.
23 MS. SOMERS: Of course, Your Honour. I think the best
24 presentation I can make is to refer the Chamber to Z855.2 and the
25 background information contained in it taken by Investigator Taylor.
1 The video essentially captures part of the interrogation or
2 perhaps the whole of a young Croat soldier named Ivica Jelovic. It was
3 taken by Bosnian authorities although I am not able to date it. By virtue
4 of his responses, it appears it is certainly after April 1993. The
5 reference made is to events in that. It was --
6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Who is the investigator? Who is
7 Mr. Taylor.
8 MS. SOMERS: Ms. Taylor is an investigator with the Tribunal to
9 whom this video was given by, as it says in the bold section at the top,
10 Your Honour, Mehmed Ahmic whose brother, Salih Ahmic, who worked in Vitez,
11 in Vitez at BiH TV. This is as much background as I can offer to the
12 Court at this time.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE MAY: I think we are concerned about this. It's a
15 peripheral issue as to whether this witness was in the business of handing
16 out documents, I mean apartments or not, or is involved somehow in the
17 allocation of them.
18 Mr. Strbac, do you know anything about this allocation of
20 A. I said a little while ago that the civil defence --
21 JUDGE MAY: Don't tell us that. Just answer the question,
23 A. There were open apartments in Vitez, and I say that on behalf of
24 this municipal government, the Vitez HVO, and this gentleman just said
25 Dragan Rados was there, and there was a third person who was named and
1 appointed to this commission for the allocation of apartments. But not
2 for exchanges, only if there was an open apartment somewhere in the Vitez
3 municipality, that is where we could place a person. But --
4 JUDGE MAY: Did you play a part in the placing of people in these
6 A. No.
7 JUDGE MAY: Who did that?
8 A. A person did it on their own initiative, then they would just come
9 to us to report that they had moved into someone's apartment.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Somers, we're not persuaded that any weight can be
12 can be attached to the video. So we won't admit it, we'll exclude it.
13 But if you want to ask a question, of course you can. That's a different
15 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. What I was going to do to be
16 able to tie it in more to answers to similar questions that were raised on
17 this theme in, actually, in the Aleksovski case, I wanted to ask him about
18 this theme but based on, perhaps, on a little more extensive questioning.
19 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Strbac, if you were asked about housing when
20 you testified on behalf of Zlatko Aleksovski, did Mr. Niemann, the
21 Prosecutor, raise that with you?
22 A. Very briefly.
23 Q. And do you recall telling Mr. Niemann about certain types of, you
24 called it "internal agreements amongst people"? Could you possibly
25 explain what you meant by that? Shall I refresh your recollection and
1 tell you what you said about it?
2 A. No, I can explain it. There is no problem there.
3 Q. Please do.
4 A. I don't remember what I said in the -- in my previous testimony,
5 but I can elucidate this. I cannot give you a date because I cannot
6 recall all the dates given everything that has happened in the region.
7 When the Croats were expelled from the territories of Zenica and Travnik
8 municipalities, the number of people who were homeless increased in the
9 Vitez municipality.
10 They had left their homes behind and their apartments and on their
11 own initiative, through their friends or relatives or I don't know who,
12 they were seeking out the citizens of Vitez municipality who were still
13 there, and they talked to them, and I don't know how these things were
14 arranged that they would exchange their properties. Let's say a Croat
15 from Zenica would exchange his properties with a Bosniak from Vitez and
16 vice versa. And then they would come to us as civil defence to make this
17 transaction legal.
18 I was dead set against that, but I would advise everyone who would
19 come to me with such a request that this was not in our competence, and
20 that they could draft their own internal contracts or agreements among
21 themselves. But I did not want to enter into this. I understood what
22 times we were in, and that this would not have any legal basis later. But
23 psychologically, people needed it, and I told them, "If you want to, go
24 ahead, do it. We can provide you a desk and chairs. You can draft your
25 own contracts there. We can even be some kind of witnesses to you."
1 But this was their own initiative. They were looking for people
2 through their friends, through their relatives or whomever who would agree
3 to do this and we would -- the system in this way, but we had no legal
4 system to do this. You have to understand the situation. You have to
5 then have someone psychologically -- we tell them, "You do it on your own,
6 but don't ask us to be the institution who would make this legal because
7 that is impossible."
8 Q. Mr. Niemann asked you, "So the process of exchanging of Bosniak
9 houses for Croat houses was not something you ever engaged in?" You
10 answered, "I was included, not in the exchange, the housing exchange, but
11 I was in charge of finding homes for people in the municipality of Vitez,
12 but not housing exchange.
13 On several occasions when the Muslims would leave Vitez, they had
14 some internal agreements with Croats from other municipalities by which
15 they would make agreements and they would ask me to sign those
17 However, as far as housing exchange is concerned, they were sort
18 of internal agreements amongst these people. They would be signed without
19 any seals or anything of that kind, and as an institution, the civilian
20 protection department was not included in that process. That's all I know
21 about it."
22 Do you remember that?
23 A. No. As I said, I don't recall my former statement. But as I just
24 explained, we did not ask anyone to exchange their apartments. I don't
25 know about the gentleman who just said that the civil defence was involved
1 in this. No, the civil defence was not involved in any exchanges, and I
2 said whatever exchanges did take place - and I want to put exchange in
3 quotation marks - this was done on people's own initiative and in no other
5 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, if I may just -- because I think I've
6 tried to tie it to prior testimony, if that has any impact on the Court's
7 ruling, I would renew our motion for admission of it. If not, we'll
8 accept the ruling and deal with it later. Thank you.
9 JUDGE MAY: No, that was the ruling. It's just after 4.00. Have
10 you very much more?
11 MS. SOMERS: If the Court would allow me, please, tomorrow morning
12 approximately 35 minutes, I think I can wrap it up.
13 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now.
14 Mr. Strbac, we're going to adjourn. You'll remember what I said
15 in the earlier adjournment about talking about your evidence. Could you
16 be back, please, at half past nine tomorrow morning to conclude your
18 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I have to inform the Chamber that
19 unfortunately we have only one witness to continue tomorrow.
20 JUDGE MAY: What about your last witness?
21 MR. KOVACIC: That is, after this one, we have only one.
22 JUDGE MAY: You have only one more witness for the week?
23 MR. KOVACIC: For the week. That is due to the unpredictable
24 circumstances, I should say, force majeur. One witness was refused a
25 passport at the last moment in Croatia. We were trying to substitute him
1 with another witness who happened to be visiting his relatives in
2 Germany. I was working on that until yesterday evening. Unfortunately,
3 the person was not able to change his plans.
4 Then we considered using some of the witnesses from the second
5 group which was scheduled to come on Thursday, tomorrow evening. We were
6 ready to prepare one for the next morning, for Friday. Unfortunately,
7 those witnesses are travelling on Thursday and Friday, and that is still
8 not yet confirmed because there seems to be problems in organising their
9 air connections. We've simply run out of witnesses.
10 JUDGE MAY: We'll consider the position tomorrow. Thank you.
11 Half past nine tomorrow morning, please.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.05 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 7th day of
14 September, 2000, at 9.30 a.m.