1 Monday, 18
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.36 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.
7 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
8 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you'd like to take a seat.
10 WITNESS: DRAGO NAKIC
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Nakic. Thank you for coming to
15 the Tribunal. I am going to ask you, for the record, to begin by stating
16 your full name and surname, your place and date of birth?
17 A. My name is Drago Nakic, I was born on the 17th of July, 1949 in
19 Q. I am also going to ask you to bear in mind that we are speaking
20 the same language so please make a pause between question and answer to
21 facilitate the work of our interpreters. Mr. Nakic, are you married?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you have any children?
24 A. I have two children.
25 Q. You are a Croat by ethnicity of the Roman Catholic faith; is that
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you have citizenship of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Do you additionally have citizenship of the Republic of Croatia?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. The fact that you have citizenships, is it in keeping with both
8 the republics?
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. Could you give your educational background?
11 A. I graduated from the faculty of economics. I graduated in 1974 in
13 Q. And where do you work now?
14 A. I work at the Vitezit Factory and it is one of the SPS Vitezit
15 Cromen and it produces explosives.
16 Q. That part was previously known as what? What was its name?
17 A. The factory which was established in 1950 was entitled Slobodan
18 Princip Seljo. However, as time went by, with the system of the
19 organisations of associated labour, three compounds developed. The first
20 was to produce military materiel, the second factory produced explosives
21 for civilian purposes, civil engineering, and the third section was the
22 production of plastics based on PVC and polyethylene.
23 Q. Before these unfortunate times, that is to say, before the war in
24 Bosnia, you were in the Vitezit factory producing explosives for civil
1 A. Yes, explosives for civilian purposes in the field of mining,
2 civil engineering, the building of tunnels and so on and so forth, civil
3 engineering as such.
4 Q. All these three factories were they in the same -- they were in
5 the same location, were they not? And the popular term they were referred
6 to was the SPS, is that right, by the locals? They referred to it as the
8 A. Yes, that's right. Because we all emanated from this first matrix
9 factory, and the matrix factory had certain common functions in
10 energetics, safety maintenance and so on.
11 Q. Thank you. Mr. Nakic, in the course of 1992 when the JNA had
12 started its aggression in Bosnia, and when tensions grew, national
13 tensions between all the nationalities, in the factory, at least the part
14 of the factory that you were in and the people that you worked with and
15 communicated with and met, did you notice any kind of change in their
16 conduct in the relationship between Muslims and Croats, in particular?
17 A. No.
18 Q. There is no doubt, and would you confirm this although the Court
19 has already heard testimony on that account, just give us a yes or no
20 answer, we have heard this many times, is it correct that the ethnic
21 composition of the workers in the factory reflected the ethnic composition
22 of the population, in general, in the municipality?
23 A. Yes, that's true. We took a great deal of care and attention to
24 see that that was so.
25 Q. In the course of 1992, was there a reduction in the production
1 capacities of the factory, that is to say, were production outputs lower?
2 A. Yes. And I'd like to explain this by stating a fact, if I may.
3 Q. Please go ahead.
4 A. Because relationships were severed with the former Yugoslavia, the
5 factory lost its basic source of export because the part of the military
6 factories were organised in that way that most of the finished products
7 were in Bosnia-Herzegovina, whereas the raw materials were in Yugoslavia.
8 And when these ties were severed, this meant that we had lost 70 per cent
9 of our raw materials. We were no longer able to furnish the raw materials
10 we needed.
11 And because of Europe's relationship towards what was happening in
12 the former Yugoslavia, there was no possibility of purchasing these raw
13 materials in a European country and therefore, quite logically, it
14 emanated from this that there was a drop-off in production levels. And
15 people were sent to -- people were made to "stand by," as we called it.
16 And they came from all the ethnic groups. They were put on standby.
17 Q. When the multiparty system began to be set up and when the
18 multiparty system was established, for the first time we had more than one
19 party, political party, in our society. Did the management of the factory
20 take any position vis-a-vis politics?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Did the management of the factory in any way help the development
23 and work of the parties at that time?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Thank you. The management of all three companies, was the
1 composition of the management, did it reflect that same relationship
2 amongst the ethnic groups in the factory and in the municipality?
3 A. Yes. Because the management of Vitezit, at least the part that I
4 worked in, you had a Croat and a Serb and a Muslim working together in the
5 top management, and in the production of explosives.
6 Q. Who was Mr. Nusret Kalco at that time?
7 A. He was a member of the management board for outer chemical
8 activities. He was a machine engineer and he worked in all spheres
9 outside the chemical industry.
10 Q. Mr. Nusret Kalco was a Muslim by nationality?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. Was he the sole manager of a higher rank who was a Muslim.
13 A. No. We had senior managers, that is to say, the director of
14 development was a Muslim and my immediate associate, Mr. Haris Vrbanjac
15 the commercial director, he was a also a Muslim. The director of the
16 transport services, and this as a very large service and large department
17 in view of what Vitezit did, it exported throughout Europe, and the head
18 of that department was Mr. Zukic, he was also Muslim. So those are some
19 of the individuals that I remember.
20 Q. Thank you. You told us that the events in Bosnia led to a series
21 of problems and that production dropped. But you continued working, did
22 you not?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And in the course of 1992, you put out certain quantities of the
25 material you were producing. Could you tell us what your markets were,
1 who your buyers were at that time?
2 A. I must say that the market for our products, civil engineering
3 explosives, went to mines, mines which are in the Bosniak regions, Tuzla,
4 Zenica, Kakanj and formerly this was Vlasenica, Srebrenica and so on. So
5 there was a need for these products and we wanted to employ the people
6 that we were able to employ and send our products to these regions.
7 Q. In view of the fact that you had to ship your goods and receive
8 payment for your goods, what was the a situation there, the transport
9 situation and the payment situation?
10 A. Well, can I divide my answer up into two parts? First, I'd like
11 to mention the mines. Mining companies, and they were our largest
12 beneficiaries, customers, and we -- the producers of explosives in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina like to receive payment. But when it came to the
14 smaller consumers such as the stone quarries and others, we were guided by
15 the principle that we ship the goods to those who were able to pay up
16 front, regardless of the territory we were sending it out to in
18 Q. In view of the specific nature of your products, transport was a
19 highly sensitive area as well, was it not?
20 A. Yes, it was highly sensitive.
21 Q. In the course of 1992, in view of the conditions that prevailed in
22 Bosnia and where your customers lay, did you have serious problems in
23 transporting your goods?
24 A. Yes, we did. We had to ensure the whole chain until -- to our
1 Q. In 1992, you managed to retain some of the market, that is to say,
2 to dispatch your products to the Republic of Croatia; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was that your -- were your shipments regular shipments?
5 A. That depended on requirements and on how far the companies from
6 the Republic of Croatia were able to pay for the goods.
7 Q. Do you happen to remember whether at the beginning of 1993 you
8 still had goods to send to the market?
9 A. Well, we did have some, but from the beginning of 1992, at the
10 beginning of 1992, we saw that due to the aviation and JNA attacks, that
11 for security reasons, safety reasons, we had to move our stockpiles.
12 Because of the safety of the town of Vitez and its environs, first of all,
13 and also to be able to export our goods further afield to the customers
14 that wanted them, to the markets in western Europe and to our market in
15 the Republic of Croatia. The goods were moved to warehouses around the
16 city of Split, that is, in the town of Sinj.
17 Q. Is it correct that before the war you also had warehouses in the
18 port of Ploca, which was your export port?
19 A. Yes. Vitezit was a large exporter overseas.
20 Q. And now you had more warehouses outside Vitez, and they were in
21 Split and Sinj; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. As for regular production, would it be true to say that on the
24 16th of April, 1993 the factory was still operating?
25 A. To a lesser extent, up until the unhappy events in Ahmici, the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 factory operated with the stocks we had available and with explosives
2 which did not depend on imported components. Yes.
3 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm preparing now paragraph 1.5. I
4 wouldn't repeat it. The witness told us that two days ago. I could only
5 with one question ask the witness whether he agrees with that, yes or no,
6 and nothing else.
7 JUDGE MAY: It wasn't disputed. The only matter you may want to
8 deal with is the final sentence.
9 MR. KOVACIC: I beg your pardon, sir. I'm not receiving the
11 JUDGE MAY: The only matter you may want to deal with -- there's
12 no need to repeat the rest of the paragraph, it hasn't been disputed. The
13 only matter you may want to deal with is the final sentence.
14 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. Thank you, sir.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nakic, in the summary we have prepared, in
16 point 1.5, we're referring to the last sentence. Would you tell me,
17 please, in view of the importance of the factory in the technological
18 chain, which was explained earlier, and along with everything you have
19 explained today, can it be said --
20 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness give the evidence.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Would you please explain whether the factory was important for any
23 of the forces involved in the conflict?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Would you explain that briefly, please?
1 A. Well, I was referring to civil engineering explosives, some of
2 which, to a certain extent, could be important for what was evidently
3 going to happen in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But part of the former military
4 production, the so-called special purpose production, was very important,
5 and it was to be supposed that all three sides would be interested in
6 taking over that part of the factory.
7 The best proof of this was the aggression of the former JNA. They
8 tried on several occasions to take over, and then they shelled the
9 factory, bombed it, they tried to destroy it. We can assume that the
10 Muslims had the same attitude because of the way their forces were
11 deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were prepared for wartime activities
12 from Vogosca, Konjic, Bugojno, Novi Travnik, the part that they
13 controlled, and it was logical that they would want to take the Vitez
14 factory as well.
15 Q. If I understand you correctly, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
16 other side, needed only the gunpowder production in order to have the
17 entire military production they needed.
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. Thank you. Why did you, in early 1992, start managing your
20 business from Split more and more?
21 A. Well, in early 1992 it was evident that we could not go on working
22 normally, especially the financial and commercial departments which needed
23 to create the conditions for a normal production process.
24 In the search for new sources of supply of raw materials and the
25 collection of payments for goods delivered, these were companies from the
1 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and export in late 1991 to
2 Germany and Austria. So all this had to be done.
3 Q. Mr. Nakic, when did you open your office, your branch office, in
5 A. Well, activities started in April 1992, and in June we opened an
6 office in Split, the basic task of which was to perform commercial and
7 financial jobs for the Vitezit company, but also for the other companies
8 within the SPS and the Vitez municipality.
9 Q. What role did you personally play in that office in Split? Did
10 you travel? Did you stay in Vitez? Did you move? Could you explain that
11 briefly, please?
12 A. Well, it was my duty to perform these tasks, and I started by
13 organising the office, finding premises, office space, in Split;
14 negotiating about these premises and furnishing them in the Monter
15 building in Split; negotiating about the renting of warehouses and
16 transferring part of the vehicles which were to distribute goods in the
17 territory of the Republic of Croatia, in view of the fact that Vitezit was
18 the only company specialised in transporting dangerous substances in
19 accordance with international regulations.
20 On our return, in the management we decided that a group of people
21 should be sent to perform all these tasks operatively. Mr. Haris
22 Vrbanjac, he is a Muslim, he was the first to go there. And Mr. Dzevad
23 Redzanovic went with him, also a Muslim, a technologist, in order to
24 demonstrate to our new customers in the territory of the Republic of
25 Croatia, in view of the changed conditions after the breakup of the former
1 Yugoslavia. Two vehicles with four drivers, two of whom were Muslims
2 also, in June 1992 they moved to Split and they started living there.
3 Q. At what time did you physically move to Split completely, you
5 A. Well, throughout this time I used to go to Split, had contacts
6 there, but I moved in October 1992.
7 Q. From time to time you travelled between Vitez and Split; is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Would you tell us in the autumn of 1992, what did a trip by car
11 from Vitez to Split look like?
12 A. Well, I have to tell you that there were several different routes,
13 but I cannot say that any one of them was comfortable, was easy, normal,
14 and safe for a journey from Vitez to Split.
15 Q. Well, before the beginning of the war, in the late 1980s, how long
16 would it take you to go from Vitez to Split by car?
17 A. From Vitez to Split, well, in view of the conditions, the car I
18 had, it would be four hours.
19 Q. In 1992 how long would it take you?
20 A. Well, between ten -- there were ten hours or more depending on
21 which checkpoints you would come across and how long they would keep you
23 Q. When you're talking about barricades, are you referring to various
24 checkpoints on the route?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And these were checkpoints by all the armies organised in Bosnia
2 at the time.
3 A. Yes, Croatian, Bosniak. Unfortunately, we could not even pass
4 through Serbian territory at the time.
5 Q. You nowhere passed through territory controlled by the JNA or the
7 A. Not at that time.
8 Q. In fact, there was a road called the Road of Salvation.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. What was its aim?
11 A. Well, the Road of Salvation - I took a direct part in its
12 construction - it was built by the Croats and the Muslims together. The
13 only purpose was to create the conditions for normal supplies both for
14 Croats and for Muslims so that they would survive. I am talking about
15 food, most of all, and the basic necessities of life.
16 Q. So as not to waste time on this road, just one more question about
17 it. This road which the municipalities from Central Bosnia built with
18 their own resources was meant to bypass certain Serb-controlled areas in
19 order to open up communication toward the south; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And for you from Central Bosnia, was it the only way to go toward
22 the south?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And the only road to Croatia.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You explained what the office did, the office in Split. To
2 conclude this part of my questioning, when did that office start engaging
3 in other activities other than business?
4 A. Well, we can say that from the time it was founded the office
5 performed certain other activities, and I will tell you why. In 1992, in
6 April, after the first shelling by the JNA and the aviation, there was an
7 exodus of women and children from Vitez. Most of them ended up in the
8 territory of the Republic of Croatia, from Makarska to Zadar and further
10 The part of the population which stayed closer to Vitez -- sorry,
11 I meant Split, used the office as a kind of centre where they could
12 gather, get information, ask for advice, get assistance, especially women;
13 for those who could not get hold of money, who were not familiar with
14 those surroundings and so on.
15 Q. Can all this be described by saying that a good part of your job
16 was to provide welfare to your citizens from Central Bosnia, that you were
17 a kind of consular office?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. In 1993 at some point, these relations started being formalised
20 because this used a lot of resources; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. KOVACIC: I have one document which is really very short,
23 unfortunately not translated because this one came with the witness.
24 JUDGE MAY: Just put it on the ELMO.
25 MR. KOVACIC: And of course I did give a copy to the
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nakic, would you please take a look at this
3 document which you gave me, and would you explain the significance of this
4 document? It mentions your name. Can you tell us what it's about?
5 A. Well, in view of the events in Central Bosnia and the problems
6 that were evident, the civilian authorities decided that -- well, in this
7 document, they are simply listing the names of the people from the Vitez
8 municipality who were officially to take over certain tasks in organising
9 assistance for people who happened to be on the territory of Republic of
10 Croatia and also to provide assistance to the territory of the Vitez
12 Because of the closing of all communications, it was no longer
13 possible to come and go, and that is why an office was established on the
14 premises of the Vitezit office which now extended its activities to
15 perform certain jobs which I have already described, mainly to provide
17 JUDGE MAY: Just tell us in a few words what the document is, will
18 you please?
19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Would you just say who issued it and what it says?
21 A. Your Honour, it was issued by the mayor, by the president of the
22 municipality of Vitez, Mr. Ivan Santic.
23 Q. And perhaps for the sake of translation, so we can understand it
24 fully, you could read the last paragraph at the bottom of the page.
25 A. "The task of this office is to organise all kinds of help for the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 municipality of Vitez with continuous cooperation, contacts by fax and
2 telephone with members of the HVO government in Vitez, with members of the
3 civilian authorities of the municipality of Vitez," in other words.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,. I would like
5 to adduce this document -- to tender it into evidence.
6 THE REGISTRAR: This will be document D114/2.
7 JUDGE MAY: Now we'll get a translation of this quickly, I hope.
8 MR. KOVACIC: It's already ordered.
9 Q. [Interpretation] A little later, sometime in summer, other Central
10 Bosnian municipalities with the HVO in power in one way or the other
11 joined and used the same infrastructure, rather those warehouses and the
12 personnel that you had set up in Split; is that correct?
13 A. It is.
14 Q. I will now show you this document. Will the usher please help me
15 distribute it. Will you please have a look at this?
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could I have a number, please?
17 THE REGISTRAR: This will be document D115/2.
18 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
19 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nakic, is it correct that this document is
20 about that period of time and that situation when you expanded your
21 services to cover also other municipalities?
22 A. Well, I should say the activities and the need to help people who
23 were in the encirclement.
24 Q. Thank you. So far in your testimony today, you mentioned the
25 vehicles that you had in Split so as to distribute your products, your
1 ware. Could you tell us what happened to those vehicles or at least some
2 of them sometime in mid-1993?
3 A. Vehicles were not in Split only, those were vehicles that were
4 found on that unfortunate 16th of April in the territory of the Republic
5 of Croatia. That is, what we were using were two vehicles and others
6 were -- had either gone to bring humanitarian relief or food, that is not
7 only Split but also in Ploce, some in Zadar and even in Zagreb. Those
8 vehicles were, for a while, as I was trying to bring all those people, to
9 concentrate all those people in one place, and in spite of our good
10 business relation -- owing to our good relations with the port of Ploce
11 and our contracts after all, they were put up in the port of Ploce. And
12 so these vehicles and that ware was kept in the port of Ploce, but I
13 learned one day that they had been transported to Bosnia-Herzegovina, that
14 is the territory of Herzegovina.
15 Q. Did you notify the management of the factory and the municipal
16 authorities, that is Mr. Santic?
17 A. I notified the company management that the vehicles had been
18 transferred and that I had lost trace of them. As the person in charge, I
19 had to see to it -- to see to the safety of the merchandise of the goods
20 in the first place.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could we have another document
22 shown, please.
23 THE REGISTRAR: This will be document D116/2.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Nakic, will you cast a look at this document, please, and tell
1 us if the event mentioned here is about that particular incident that you
2 told us about, that is, that those vehicles had been seized by the
3 military police; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. Although the text does not show it clearly, it only mentions the
6 military police in Grude, but whose military police was it? What side did
7 it belong to?
8 A. The Croat side.
9 Q. So the HVO military police in Grude seized the vehicles which were
10 the property of your company in Vitez; is that it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Grude is geographically the territory of what state?
13 A. Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 Q. Very well. That is the part of Bosnia called Herzegovina; is that
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. Do you recognise this signature here?
18 A. Head of the municipal council, municipal government, Mr. Santic.
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Nakic, could you tell us when exactly in 1993,
20 after the war broke out, any land communication was cut off between Vitez
21 and surrounding municipalities towards -- southward, that is, towards
23 A. Well, it was at that time of those unfortunate clashes between
24 Croats and Muslims in Central Bosnia, or specifically, in mid-April 1993.
25 Q. And what were you asked to do in Split? What were you asked to do
1 to enable at least the transport of the wounded and other patients from
2 the area of Vitez towards Split?
3 A. During that first month of those developments, and I must say that
4 to me it all came as a big surprise, contacts continued primarily to help
5 those who had found themselves in Split. But as the fighting in Central
6 Bosnia gained in intensity and the -- and as the Croat area there was
7 getting smaller by the day because of the encirclement, then the need to
8 somehow inform the outside world, and especially the Republic of Croatia
9 and Europe via contacts with our migrant workers in Europe and so on and
10 so forth. So the purpose of that activity at that time was to communicate
11 the truth about the developments and everything that was going on in
12 Central Bosnia.
13 Q. Yes, do go on.
14 A. When the first major fighting broke out and when the number of
15 casualties began to increase, of course it became ever more important to
16 help those people who could not be helped at the makeshift hospital in
17 Nova Bila. And it also became necessary to try to devise a solution to
18 use the only way possible, that is, the aircraft to evacuate those people.
19 Q. Very well. And what was your specific task?
20 A. Well, the specific tasks at that time, on the basis of the
21 information that I had from Vitez and presumably in agreement with
22 UNPROFOR in Central Bosnia, was to try to organise humanitarian medical
23 flights to pull out those people who were in greatest need of help.
24 And then together with representatives - although, yes, I was the
25 coordinator at the time for the municipalities concerned - with
1 representatives of other municipalities we conducted talks, and we also
2 talked to the command of the air base at Divulje in Split, and there we
3 considered the possibilities of sending some helicopters to evacuate the
4 wounded from the area of Central Bosnia.
5 Q. Very well. But let us first try to clarify something so as not to
6 go back to it again. Was this task given to you by the civilian
7 authorities in Vitez?
8 A. All my contacts throughout my work there, until my return to
9 Vitez, were only and exclusively with representatives of the civilian
11 Q. Who were the actors in the organisation of those flights?
12 A. In the territory of Split, I have already said it was the office
13 of the Central Bosnian municipalities, the command, and the operators at
14 the air base at Divulje, and ECMM's EC monitors who checked every approved
15 flight. They checked the helicopter and the contents of what we were
16 sending over there, and I guess there must be documentation to corroborate
18 Q. Very well. Does that mean that helicopters for those flights were
19 supplied by the Croatian army?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Every such flight, the ECMM went through every such helicopter
22 before it took off from Divulje, from Split to Bosnia; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, regularly.
24 Q. As a rule, those flights were organised upon receiving calls from
25 Nova Bila Hospital; is that it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And they had permission to fly from the Croatian authorities.
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. Since you took part in that information chain, did the Croatian
5 authorities, that is, the Croatian army, the Croatian air force, or anyone
6 else, ever authorise any flight without having received previously the
7 document from the ECMM?
8 A. No. Since I invariably was present at all the take-offs and
9 participated in talks with the ECMM representatives, there was not a
10 single flight between July, until the end of August that left the base at
11 Divulje without representatives and European Monitors.
12 Q. Was it also an explicit request of the command of the Croatian air
13 force in Split?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know anything about how things were organised at the other
16 end, in Vitez? Was UNPROFOR involved on that side, or wasn't it?
17 A. I believe so, because no flight, no announcement for the
18 evacuation of the wounded was done without the knowledge of UNPROFOR.
19 Q. Mr. Nakic, just a couple of sentences, since you just mentioned it
20 briefly. In real life, what did it look like? Would you describe a
21 flight to us? How did you get the information? Would you be physically
22 present at the take-off? What did the ECMM representative do? And the
23 whole procedure.
24 A. As I have said, I mostly had contact with representatives of the
25 civilian authority, and I presume that they also were in direct contact
1 with the hospital, with the medical personnel who knew who could be helped
2 and who could not, who needed to be transported and who did not. So that
3 part of the procedure would be agreed upon with UNPROFOR, and then they
4 would call us. They would telephone to us and ask us to organise the
5 flight for the transport of the wounded. Unfortunately, it involved
6 usually considerable numbers of people. Such flights were never organised
7 for individuals.
8 So after that I would go to the commander of the air base at
9 Divulje, and together with me he would then get in touch with the ECMM
10 representatives. They would agree on the time of the flight and the day
11 of the flight. That day, before the take-off, together with people
12 involved -- and by this I mean primarily pilots who were to take the
13 steering wheel of the helicopters, so I would see them to it, I would say
14 good-bye to them. Then the ECMM people would board the helicopter, search
15 it, see what there was on board and then would authorise the flight; that
16 is, they would sign the relevant documents authorising the normal
17 take-off. I would stay at the base throughout that time, because from the
18 air base at Divulje to the completion of the flight, that is, until the
19 return of the flight, I would stay at the base there.
20 Q. Did the helicopter always take some freight to Vitez and other
21 municipalities, or did it vary?
22 A. Well, it varied. It depended on circumstances. If we did, yes,
23 they would -- as a rule, if they took anything, then it would be medical
24 supplies, very small quantities, that is, only those which were urgently
25 needed; rather, I should say not as much as the hospital required, but on
1 the basis of what some individuals had ordered, or some medicines which
2 could not be found in the area of Central Bosnia.
3 Q. In that organisation at that time, while the Croatian army was
4 supplying that helicopter, were any military supplies sent, such as
5 materiel, ammunition, or anything like that, weapons?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did you ever try to do that, at that time?
8 A. No, because we had been sternly admonished by both the air base
9 commander and the ECMM representatives about it.
10 Q. Mr. Nakic, pursuant to all the rules and regulations that, at the
11 time, existed in Split and other places, were such operations considered
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What markings did those helicopters have?
15 A. They had the red cross.
16 Q. What colour were they painted?
17 A. I believe it was grey, greyish-green, something. I can't remember
19 Q. Did they have any visible HV markings?
20 A. No.
21 Q. So the only marking was the red cross.
22 A. Yes, a red cross and a large white circle so that it could be
23 easily identified.
24 Q. You said that this went on until the end of July 1993. What
25 happened next? Why did it not function after that date?
1 A. Up until the middle of July, this was intensive; but in the first
2 half of August, flights became less frequent and they were to be
3 discontinued completely after that. Unfortunately, this occurred when the
4 need to pull out the wounded was greatest, and to extend assistance to the
5 unfortunate people in Central Bosnia.
6 Q. The aviation command of the HVO, did they tell you of that? Did
7 they inform you of that fact? And if so, how did they do so?
8 A. Well, not officially. But in conversations with the staff of the
9 command, they told us the following: that is to say, that those flights
10 were becoming extremely dangerous, that's what they told us, and that the
11 front lines and that the encirclement in Central Bosnia, parts of Vitez,
12 that is, and parts of the Travnik municipality and Novi Travnik
13 municipality, were so narrow that they were no longer safe, and that there
14 was no possibility of helicopters landing safely in those areas and
15 pulling out the wounded.
16 Q. Did you understand this to be exclusively for safety reasons?
17 A. Well, at that time I was not able to understand that or to accept
18 it. Because I had brothers and sisters, and my mother was in Vitez, I had
19 my extended family there, so that for me personally there was no
20 justification for stopping the flights. I was persistent, because what
21 the people told us who had flown, that is to say, the pilots, the crew,
22 they said that they were ready and willing to extend their assistance, to
23 do what they could to help, because probably they had been witnesses to
24 what was going on up there.
25 Q. Thank you. You said that the cessation of these flights, the HV
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 helicopters, that they stopped when the situation grew critical. Did you
2 seek another solution?
3 A. Yes. The demands by the civilian authorities, and also the
4 demands coming to us from the hospitals and medical staff were such that
5 we had to seek a way of getting the sick and wounded out and to extend the
6 necessary assistance.
7 Q. Thank you. Is it true that at that time you found a helicopter
8 base which was in Grude first of all, and later on in Posusje, in
10 A. Yes, I received information of that kind, and I personally went to
11 check it out, to see that the information was correct.
12 Q. The two places you mentioned, they are in Bosnia-Herzegovina; is
13 that correct?
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. You started discussions with them. What were the conditions?
16 What did you ask them and what were the decisions that were taken?
17 A. We had contacts with people who knew the situation, who knew this
18 kind of job. All we knew was that helicopters existed. All the other
19 details we were told to determine for ourselves; that is to say, it was up
20 to us to find the crews for the flights. Because in discussions with the
21 command, there were no relations, no ties anymore, and the people had done
22 these flights either for professional reasons, or they were given other
23 assignments to do in the Republic of Croatia. And new fronts were opened
24 in Croatia as well, new battlefronts. So we had to seek solutions outside
25 those areas, outside Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nakic, we've had a very great deal of evidence in
2 this case. It would be very helpful if you would just tell us shortly
3 what happened. What was the arrangement you made, and what happened?
4 A. Yes, Your Honour. On the basis of the information we received, we
5 organised trips to Bratislava and had discussions there with individuals
6 who were to ensure pilots, crews. Whether they were Ukrainians or
7 Russians, I don't really know to this day who they were.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you.
9 Q. The helicopters that you mentioned in Grude and Posusje, they were
10 helicopters under HVO control, were they not?
11 A. They were on the territory of Herzegovina and had the Red Cross
12 emblem. I did not actually know who they belonged to, under whose
14 Q. When you were told to find the crews yourselves, this was an area
15 that you were not acquainted with, so what did you do? This was quite new
16 to you, you didn't have any contacts in that area?
17 A. Yes, that's right. This was a new area, and when you undertake a
18 new job you usually look for people who were better acquainted with that
19 area of endeavour than you are.
20 Q. And what did you do then?
21 A. Well, we organised contacts with a man who organised tourist
22 flights by helicopter and who had certain ties to people in the business
23 in -- during peacetime so we contacted him.
24 Q. And that resulted in the engagement of Russian pilots; is that
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You don't know whether they were Russian or Ukrainian but they
3 were from the former Soviet Union; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I would introduce a couple of documents
6 one set of documents that related to that part of the testimony.
7 [Interpretation] In each of the sets, there are several documents linked
8 to the involvement of the Russian pilots that have just been mentioned.
9 JUDGE MAY: Does it matter whether the pilots were Russians or who
10 they were?
11 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, my case is, since we have heard a lot
12 about helicopters and as far as I checked, nobody in any occasion was able
13 to confirm that those were HV helicopters flying over Vitez. And I'm
14 trying to show here that those helicopters were contracted on a more or
15 less commercial base. Indeed we had, as you saw, two different situations
16 on the beginning HV helicopters as a legal performance and we are now on
17 the second part where HV are from middle Bosnia by the performance of this
18 Witness contracted the helicopters.
19 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll have a number for the exhibits
20 together please.
21 THE REGISTRAR: These exhibits are D117/2.
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. I am going to draw your attention to just some of these documents,
24 not take up too much time, Mr. Nakic. First of all, we have copies of
25 some payments made, payment slips. You don't have to take your originals
1 out, you have them on the table in front of you. English is first
2 followed by the B/C/S. Now these payment slips, we have two and three
3 copies. What are these payment slips, what do they represent?
4 JUDGE MAY: Is this evidence going to be disputed, Mr. Nice?
5 MR. NICE: I can't say it's going to be disputed because I've only
6 just seen it, but it doesn't seem to be exactly critical to the issue.
7 JUDGE MAY: We can see --
8 MR. NICE: I can see the documents and I can ask questions about
9 them if I want.
10 JUDGE MAY: We can see that the documents are a number of payment
11 slips. We can see the names of the payee in each case. Then we've got
12 some other documents if you want to deal with those, but deal with them
13 briefly, please, because we can read what the documents say. To assist
14 you, there seem to be some other claims for expenses. There's a document
15 or some documents of travel expenses for pilots showing them going to
16 Moscow and Budapest. The documents speak for themselves, I think.
17 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Your Honour, I absolutely agree.
18 JUDGE MAY: Rather than go through them, unless you want to ask
19 the witness anything particular about them.
20 MR. KOVACIC: Only one question on the last document, travel
21 authorisation to see -- because that is practically the beginning of the
23 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nakic, will you take a look at this document
24 entitled "Travel Authorisation", it is the last document in the set. Tell
25 us please, these gentlemen who were given the assignment to travel, are
1 they the people that you sent to Bratislava, who you sent to check out the
2 crew and determine upon a crew?
3 A. Yes, that's my signature. That was the first time we went for --
4 to have discussions about bringing in foreign pilots.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. KOVACIC: There is an error in transcript on page 26 line 10.
7 There is HV written down instead of HVO. That is where witness mentioned
8 that this territory HVO was in Central Bosnia.
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nakic, these then are documents which
10 indicate the presence of Russian crews; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Who financed all this?
13 A. All the activities of the department of the office was financed by
14 the municipalities of Central Bosnia.
15 Q. Thank you. Mr. Nakic, how long did the flights go on with this
16 group of pilots?
17 A. With the first group of pilots, until the end of October 1993.
18 The arrangements went on until that time.
19 Q. As opposed to the first flights that we discussed with the HV
20 helicopters, these flights were illegal and secret with respect to
22 A. Well, partially illegal because they were mostly from the area of
23 Herzegovina towards Vitez, and only in exceptional cases, when the need
24 arose for very seriously wounded people for them to be transferred to the
25 hospital in Split, we did not give any information about that.
1 Q. Does that mean that when the flights took the wounded to the
2 hospital in Split, only then did they enter that region?
3 A. Yes. If the wounded person was not able to be transported by a
4 vehicle of some other kind.
5 Q. And you also sent, by means of these flights, various products,
6 just say yes or no. Did you take food?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did they take medicines?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did they take materiel for purposes of the army from time to time?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And how did you organise the transport of this material from your
13 warehouses in Split and Ploce to the place from which the helicopters took
14 off which was in Bosnia?
15 A. Well, for the most part, all the material would be purchased in
16 Herzegovina mostly and in Croatia and then taken by passenger car to the
17 areas in question, to Posusje.
18 Q. That is to say, between the boundaries of Croatia and
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was no customs control at the border crossing,
20 was there?
21 A. No.
22 Q. And finally, one more question: Can you tell us how frequent
23 those flights were up until October 1993? Give us an idea, was that once
24 a week, several times a day, once a day? What was the average number of
1 A. Well, as there had been no flights for a month and a half with
2 Croat pilots and the foreign pilots, we needed more frequent flying. So
3 there might have been, say, two flights a week, two or three flights a
5 Q. Thank you. As you were there, as you were in Split and as you
6 looked into the situation there, did you think that the Croatian
7 government would not allow you to transport material from Croatia towards
8 Central Bosnia?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And you never asked for that, did you?
11 A. No. We had a number of contacts in the sense of discussions, that
12 is to say, why the flights had ceased, and it was my impression that
13 Croatia would not have allowed them to take place, the planes to leave
14 from Croatian territory.
15 Q. Thank you. When did the flights stop once and for all?
16 A. This was in January or February 1993. In January, I sent off a
17 second group --
18 JUDGE MAY: It must be 1994.
19 A. 1994. Yes, 1994. That's right.
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Is it correct that it was then that you started organising road
22 convoys for the delivery of aid?
23 A. Yes. Activities of this kind started much earlier. Together with
24 the Muslim side, we sent a joint convoy in the direction of Bosnia and
1 Q. Do you remember the name of that convoy?
2 A. It was later called the "White Road", and it was done in December
4 Q. Was that the first road convoy transporting large quantities of
5 humanitarian aid to the Lasva River Valley?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And finally, since you are here, would you tell us whether you
8 know Mario Cerkez from before the war?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know him from the company?
11 A. Yes, because we worked in the same company.
12 Q. Did you have an opportunity to be in ethnically mixed company with
13 him ever?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you ever notice that he had a negative attitude toward people
16 of another ethnic background for the simple reason that -- for that
18 A. No, because he even worked where there were mostly Muslims.
19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Nakic. I
20 have no further questions.
21 A. Thank you, Your Honour.
22 MR. SAYERS: Your Honours, Mr. Kordic has no questions of this
24 MR. NICE: I will try and be brief because I know there are a
25 number of witnesses we have this week, but this witness has covered quite
1 a lot of territory.
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
3 Q. Mr. Nakic, just first of all, were you -- in April of 1992, you
4 were still in Vitez, I think.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Were you present at a meeting in April of 1992, do you remember
7 such meetings involving HVO members of one kind and another?
8 A. I was not present at any meetings because I was neither a military
9 organisation or a political party.
10 Q. At that stage, would you qualify for the description of the deputy
11 director of Vitezit?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you remember a decision being made or attempting to be made
14 that the BiH army in Vitez should come under the control of the HVO in the
15 same way as it had done in Mostar? Do you remember that decision being
16 discussed at a meeting at which you were present?
17 A. Well, first of all, I was not at the meeting. I should say that.
18 And secondly, I do not know that there is any document that was issued
19 about the Muslims having to obey the orders of the HVO in Vitez. And the
20 best confirmation of this is that the number of employees up to the
21 highest level in the company where I worked, people who made decisions,
22 even about the distribution of goods, which I have to say is a very
23 sensitive issue, they were Muslims doing those jobs.
24 Q. We've had evidence in this court that for example in October of
25 1992, Witness G, for reference of the Court, in October of 1992, the
1 security staff at the factory, the Muslim security staff were replaced by
2 military personnel. Do you remember that happening and if so, why?
3 A. Well, first of all, it didn't happen because I said -- well, my
4 colleague for example, Nusret Kalco, up until the last day, the unhappy
5 conflict in Ahmici, he was at the factory and he was a Muslim.
6 Q. There may be one or two people in comparatively unimportant
7 positions, but the majority were replaced by the end of 1992; correct?
8 A. I have to correct you. People cannot be in one of the leading
9 positions of the management, they cannot be at the head of the warehouse
10 and be considered unimportant.
11 Q. Do you remember a visit to your factory by a Croatian General,
13 A. No.
14 Q. Do you remember the Croatian flag being flown at your factory in
15 honour of an important guest or visitor? And if so, why did that happen?
16 Help us.
17 A. I don't remember.
18 Q. Possible, is it, that that sort of thing would have happened?
19 A. I don't think so, because we kept in mind, on the basis of our
20 long years of experience and coexistence in Central Bosnia, we wanted to
21 preserve peace on the one hand; and on the other hand, it was in the
22 interests of the Vitezit to have customers. Over 75 per cent of our
23 market is there.
24 Q. We've heard evidence that the production of the factory was right
25 run down, was very substantially run down, and there were very substantial
1 cuts in the workforce by November/December 1992; is that correct?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. In fact, if I may add, the drop in production began a lot
6 Q. Thank you. Coming to 1993, when was it that you removed yourself
7 to Split?
8 A. In October 1993 -- 1992, sorry.
9 Q. You said that you came back from time to time from Split. With
10 what frequency did you come back in the period before the outbreak of
11 fighting in April?
12 A. Well, approximately, every 15 days.
13 Q. Thank you. Were you aware of the police taking over functions
14 within the factory of a security nature?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Were you aware of an incident at the factory involving the
17 raising, probably first, of a Muslim flag and then at the insistence of
18 someone, of a Croatian flag? Are you aware of that?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Very well. Let's move to the 16th of April itself. By then you
21 were -- on that day you were in Split; correct?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. You say that your business there was part business and part
24 welfare; is that really right?
25 A. Until April 1993, it was mostly business with occasional
1 humanitarian or consular activities, and only for the needs of Vitezit
3 Q. Let's just stick with the business for the 16th of April. On that
4 day there were a number of Vitezit lorries in Split; yes?
5 A. On the territory of the Republic of Croatia.
6 Q. Some of them driven by Croat drivers and some of them driven by
7 Muslims; correct?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. Now, the Croat drivers approached you and obtained from you
10 permission in one way or another to drive their tractors back to Vitez,
11 didn't they?
12 A. No.
13 Q. They certainly drove back to Vitez, the Croat drivers.
14 A. No, because all communications from Vitez were cut, and all the
15 vehicles, as I said, were in the port of Ploca.
16 Q. You were the only Dragan Nakic representing Vitezit in Split at
17 that time, weren't you? There wasn't anybody else by that name.
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. The Muslim drivers approached you separately and sought your help,
20 didn't they? Do you remember that?
21 A. I remember very well. They were not the only ones asking for my
22 assistance. I put them all up in the hotel in Ploca. And over the next
23 few months, in accordance with my activities, I gave everyone assistance.
24 Q. I must challenge that and I must suggest to you that what you did
25 was you demanded from the Muslims drivers the keys to their lorries, and
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 you offered and gave them no assistance of any kind whatsoever.
2 A. That is not correct. I did not ask for the keys. I visited all
3 the drivers every week in the port of Ploca, and I had regular contacts
4 with them. I passed on the information I had about the events in Vitez.
5 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I've nearly finished this topic. But for
6 witness protection reasons, or potential witness protection reasons, can I
7 just have one minute in private session?
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
9 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session.
14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nakic, we're going to adjourn now for half an
15 hour. Would you remember during the adjournment not to speak to anybody
16 about your evidence and not to let anybody speak to you about it. Would
17 you be back, please, at twenty-five to twelve.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 --- Recess taken at 11.05 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.39 a.m.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 MR. NICE:
23 Q. Mr. Nakic, after April 16th, did you -- and between then and the
24 end of 1993, did you return at all to Vitez or did you stay permanently in
1 A. I've been in Croatia all the time.
2 Q. Were you kept informed of what was happening at the factory?
3 Presumably it would be necessary for you to be informed.
4 A. To a certain extent, yes, as much as my work and my immediate
5 superior required of me.
6 Q. You were working as a civilian or as a what in Split?
7 A. Only as a civilian.
8 Q. Who paid you?
9 A. Well, since we had our account in Split, because most companies
10 had their non-resident accounts in Split, I was being paid from the
11 account of my company.
12 Q. And I'm going to leap forward to deal with one aspect of the
13 helicopter business. When we're dealing with money, are you saying that
14 you paid real currency to the state of Croatia for the use of their
16 A. We did not pay anything to the Republic of Croatia.
17 Q. They provided the helicopters free.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. While I'm looking for -- you spoke in paragraph 2.6 of your
20 summary of financing the flights. What did you mean then by "financing
21 the flights"?
22 A. It is the financing of flights after we hired foreign crews and
23 helicopters from outside the Republic of Croatia.
24 Q. Are you saying that you hired, still staying with money, that you
25 actually paid money for the hire of those helicopters?
1 A. In our contract with individuals that we were hiring, these things
2 were stipulated quite clearly, what expenses would be borne by us for the
3 hire of the helicopter and a foreign crew, rather pilots. Who flew
4 from --
5 Q. Just sticking with this and very quickly, who was this foreign
6 body or foreign company that provided helicopters, point number one; and
7 have you got any document showing the payment of money to this body for
8 the hire of the helicopter, point two?
9 A. I have to repeat what I said in my statement, that those were
10 individuals from the territory of the Republic of Croatia whom I met and
11 who directed me. In one of the attachments, there is a document showing
12 who that person is who had contracted the whole business so that in that
13 part of it, I really had no need to go into details except to provide the
14 financing agreement with what had been agreed but there were -- and there
15 is no written trace.
16 Q. Are you saying that this little clip of documents produced D119,
17 is it, 117/2 actually contains the cost of hiring the helicopters or does
18 this only deal with hiring the pilots, please?
19 A. These documents bear only on the hire of pilots and their names
20 are listed here too.
21 Q. Back to the original question, it's quite simple: Did you pay
22 money for the hire of helicopters? If so, to whom? I've only gone
23 through those documents very quickly, but I haven't yet picked up the hire
24 of a helicopter. So did you pay money for the hire of helicopters? If
25 so, to whom?
1 A. We provided the money and paid to the individual who arranged the
2 whole deal, although I must say that it was a person who tried to do it as
3 cheaply as possible in order to help the people of Central Bosnia.
4 Q. If you didn't pay the money to the person who hired you the
5 helicopter, tell us this: Who was it who owned the helicopter?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Does that mean you don't know?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. I'm not going to take that aspect any further in the time
11 From what you learnt of what was happening at your factory
12 following the run-down in production at the end of 1992 and the beginning
13 of 1993, would you agree with this assessment of the position after April:
14 that after April of 1993, the Vitez HVO government applied itself to
15 reviving military production in the SPS and Vitezit factories? Would you
16 agree with that assessment of that part of the history?
17 A. No, as there were no conditions needed to revive the military
18 production, because all the production material had already --
19 semi-manufacturers had stopped arriving in early 1992.
20 Q. Would you agree that responsibility for organising production lay
21 with the Travnik defence administration, headed by Anto Puljic?
22 A. No.
23 Q. What role did Anto Puljic have in relation to the production of
24 materials at the SPS and Vitezit factories?
25 A. I cannot answer that because I was keeping in touch only with the
1 management of the company and the civilian authorities in the municipality
2 of Vitez.
3 Q. Is it right that a number of the expert staff of the factory had
4 been forced to go to the front lines, and that production at the factory
5 was left in the hands of less experienced operatives?
6 A. To my knowledge, everybody had to go to the front line because of
7 the situation in Central Bosnia and the encirclement. There were very,
8 very few people, so that there was no choice but to send everybody to the
9 front, from 16 to the age of 65.
10 Q. All right. Did that have the effect of leaving less experienced
11 people dealing with production?
12 A. I really know nothing about it.
13 Q. Do you know two businessmen by the name of Miroslav Sukic, or
14 Sucic, I think it probably should be, and Branko Mlakic?
15 A. Milan Sucic, yes, I know him.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 A. And Branko Nakic [as interpreted], no, I don't.
18 Q. Was that first name associated with production at the factory?
19 A. Before the war.
20 Q. And after, or during and after?
21 A. Not during the war because he was not in Vitez; and after the war
22 he spent about a year in Vitez.
23 Q. Dealing with products at the factory.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. May he have been involved in the production of the factory in the
1 period of time leading up to February of 1994?
2 A. No.
3 Q. How do you know that? You didn't seem to know very much, but how
4 do you know he wasn't? May he have been involved?
5 A. I know that because the man lived and worked in Zagreb. His
6 family was in Zagreb.
7 Q. Just deal with the helicopters now. In June of 1993, was there
8 anyone apart from you in Croatia dealing with the movement of helicopters
9 to Central Bosnia, so far as you were aware?
10 A. What I know is that these were the only flights to Central Bosnia
11 from the air force base at Divulje.
12 Q. We've had evidence in relation to June of 1993 of the discovery of
13 helicopters carrying ammunition and unused Croatian dinars. What do you
14 know about that?
15 MR. NICE: The references, for the Court, are the witness
16 Brix-Andersen and Exhibits 1012 and 1017.
17 Q. What do you know about helicopter flights carrying ammunition and
18 Croatian dinars, please, if you were the only person dealing with such
20 A. I know absolutely nothing about that flight.
21 Q. You say that you were dealing just with humanitarian issues, is
22 that right, from your end?
23 A. In the first part and at the time when those were the flights from
24 the territory of the Republic of Croatia, that is, from the air force base
25 at Divulje.
1 Q. You were sending helicopters off to bring back military wounded;
3 A. People who had been severely wounded and who could not be
4 administered proper medical help at the makeshift hospital in Nova Bila.
5 Q. Soldiers who had been wounded.
6 A. Civilians, soldiers, all those who needed medical assistance.
7 Q. So part of your function, at the very least, was in respect of
8 military personnel; correct?
9 A. No.
10 Q. The factory at the time was under HVO/military control, wasn't
11 it? It had to be in time of war.
12 A. I have pointed out already that I was there primarily because of
13 the product mix concerning the civilian part of the production, and that
14 was my primary task. I really was in no position to discuss any military
15 part, or to even know particulars or details about the military production
16 in Vitez.
17 Q. Are you telling us, so that we understand it, that even from April
18 of 1993, there was serious production of equipment and materials at the
19 SPS factory for non-military purposes? Is that what you're telling us?
20 A. I have already said both military and non-military. In view of
21 the fact that we were engaged in a highly specific production, that over
22 90 per cent were imported semi-manufactured, then simply there were no
23 conditions to organise any production.
24 Q. Just so that we understand it, what non-military production and
25 for what non-military customers was the SPS factory producing equipment
1 after April of 1993 and before December of 1993?
2 A. I have to repeat it once again. There was no production.
3 Non-military, I mean all the civilian explosives for civilians uses and
4 polyethylene packaging based on PVC, combatory products, machine tools and
5 all that, and I won't list everything because the SPS was a major plant
6 which before the war employed over 3.000.
7 Q. Moving on. In July of 1993, Mr. Nakic, we've had evidence - I
8 believe with Witness AD and another witness, I'm not sure whether he was
9 protected or not, at pages 15.957 and onwards - we've had evidence in June
10 or July of 1993 of helicopters landing in the quarry behind Vitez close to
11 the ammunition factory. Did you understand that to be the place where
12 your helicopters were going to land?
13 A. I suppose that was the best choice from the point of view of
14 safety, not because of the vicinity of the plant there.
15 Q. And that they were discharging weapons and ammunition, did you
16 know anything about that?
17 A. I have already said that the helicopters which took off from the
18 air base at Divulje and those which we were sending with the knowledge of
19 the ECMM were never engaged in the transport of any weaponry.
20 Q. On the 18th of July, Darko Gelic told -- gave information and it's
21 Exhibit 1146.2, that a helicopter flight was bringing some very -- some
22 piece of very important equipment. Now, you say in paragraph 2.5 of your
23 summary, and you said in evidence, that these helicopters brought
24 technical assets for military purposes. Does that mean weapons?
25 A. Just a moment.
1 Q. And today, I'm reminded, you used the phrase "equipment for the
2 purposes of the army. "
3 A. Yes. Yes. But the helicopters which had been hired and engaged,
4 that was the end of 1993 when the situation was extremely hard and
5 complex. The number of wounded, of dead, was growing with every day and
6 the possibilities for defence were ever lesser. And the only message from
7 Vitez was to send any kind of help, and that included materiel.
8 Q. Mr. Nakic, can I have an answer to the question, please? When you
9 use in your summary one phrase, and when you spoke today of equipment for
10 the purposes of the army, was that a phrase that covered weapons? Were
11 these helicopters bringing in weapons, please?
12 A. Towards the end of 1993, yes.
13 Q. Well, what about July of 1993 when it was the Croatian helicopters
14 that were not charging you for their use, what were they doing? Bringing
15 in weapons?
16 A. Only, and only medical supplies and again, based on individual
17 orders and requests because they were not in supply at the pharmacy in
18 Nova Bila with the only and exclusive goal to evacuate wounded, those who
19 could be helped only outside the hospital at Nova Bila.
20 Q. Thank you. When you left -- or sorry, not when you, when the
21 helicopters left Split, they were under some kind of supervision from the
22 International Community, weren't they?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. But would this be right, Witness Z is the relevant witness, would
25 this be right, that, in fact, the helicopters flew below the radar zone
1 and they weren't detectable and therefore, you couldn't tell whether they
2 put down and picked up some more equipment later on after they left
3 Split. Would that be right?
4 A. I really cannot answer that because I'm not an aviation expert.
5 Q. You see that -- we've had evidence and it's -- Your Honour, it's
6 the same witness -- that later on in March of 1994, an incident happened
7 at Nova Bila with a helicopter. Were you in Nova Bila in March of 1994?
8 A. No. I came in Vitez in late April of 1993 [as interpreted], but
9 not by helicopter.
10 Q. I thought, unless I've got it entirely wrong, that you were in
11 Croatia from April 1993 until the end of the year; is that right?
12 A. From October 1993 until April 1994, until the end of April 1994.
13 Q. So, therefore, an incident at the end of 1994 would be an incident
14 that you would hear about or not?
15 A. I have not heard about such an incident.
16 Q. It would be a helicopter that you would have sent, if it was a --
17 one of your helicopters -- sorry.
18 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry to interrupt, Your Honour, I really hate
19 it but there is substantial error in transcript, page 46 line two, there
20 should be the year 1994. The date when witness returning. He said so
21 clearly. It could dramatically change the picture.
22 MR. NICE:
23 Q. Thank you. You see we've had evidence here from Peter Williams
24 and Witness Z of a helicopter that landed illegally in Nova Bila on the
25 11th of March of 1994. Well that must be a helicopter sent by you,
1 mustn't it? It was a medivac flight?
2 A. In my statement, I already said when the overland routes were
3 opened, these activities stopped, and that was already January, February,
4 1994 when we stopped hiring helicopters. So that the testimony of March
5 1994 and all that, about the helicopter then, I really know nothing.
6 Q. Well, help us, please. If not you, because you've been doing all
7 the welfare work so you tell us, and you were still there, and this is a
8 medivac helicopter, if it wasn't you, who did send it?
9 A. I don't know.
10 MR. KOVACIC: May I just point out, Your Honour, that the
11 indictment for my client is until September 1993. I don't see any
12 relevance of what going on in -- with the new helicopters probably in
13 April 1994.
14 JUDGE MAY: It's all part of the story. Yes.
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. Last question on this, Mr. Nakic. You see, we have had evidence
17 that that helicopter had 20 soldiers with new uniforms carrying bags and
18 boxes and that they got out of the helicopter and that the International
19 Community representatives had to send them back. Now, did you really not
20 hear about this? Now, you were in Split organising the distribution of
21 aid. Did you really not hear about this?
22 A. I really didn't hear about that, and I've already said that as far
23 as the activities on the white road are concerned and with the opening up
24 of road traffic, our activities and gentlemen, the available resources
25 that were limited, represented an end for our mission of bringing in
1 humanitarian aid by air.
2 Q. Well, one last question on helicopters apart from the way they'll
3 turn up in some documents we'll have a look at, and then I'll be done. I
4 suppose you learned about the hijacking of the Muslims' medivac
5 helicopters, didn't you, in October of 1993? Did you hear about that?
6 A. No, I did not hear about that.
7 Q. Nor about their detention for five months although they were
8 apparently engaged on humanitarian work. You didn't hear a word about
10 A. No.
11 MR. NICE: If we just look at a few documents. Some new, most of
12 them existing. If Your Honour will just give me one minute. I'd like
13 please -- just have a quick look at a new document, 1198.4.
14 Q. I'm primarily concerned here with your evidence about the factory
15 and what it was doing, do you understand? This is a document of the 10th
16 of September, 1993, from the Travnik defence department to Bruno Stoic,
17 and it's signed by Anto Puljic. It's a request to safeguard the
18 helicopter flights between Kiseljak and Busovaca. Do you know anything
19 about those helicopter flights?
20 A. This is the first time that I see a document of this kind; I
21 really cannot tell you anything about it. Nor with regard to the
22 safeguarding of the flights.
23 Q. Well, you've talked about helicopters, and we know at this time
24 that helicopters were provided by Croatia. It's right, isn't it, that the
25 HVO didn't have its own helicopters; that's why Croatia was providing
2 I don't think you need to look at the document for this. Just
3 help us, Mr. Nakic. It's right, isn't it, that the HVO didn't have
4 helicopters; that's why Croatia was providing them, and that's why you
5 tell us that you had to hire other ones at a later date.
6 A. Yes, but this is a document which dates back to September --
7 Q. Just wait for Their Honours. Sorry to interrupt you. If you
8 would like now to give the answer.
9 A. This is a document which dates back to September, and Croatian
10 helicopters flew at the end of June, July, which means in the summer of
12 Q. Well, you were still dealing with helicopter flights. If the HVO
13 had access to helicopter flights in September of 1993, who was providing
14 the helicopters? Can you help us?
15 A. I really don't know whether the HVO had them or not, and who
16 assured them. I only know the part of the business that I talked about.
17 Q. The third paragraph of this document: "We have a small number of
18 jackets for 60-millimetre and 82-millimetre mortar shells. We can fill
19 them in Vitez." That's right, isn't it? There was a capability in your
20 factory in September 1993 to produce mortars.
21 A. Let me repeat once again that with respect to this military
22 aspect, as I spent my entire lifetime working in production, the
23 production of explosives for civil engineering, and this was substantially
24 different from the military section, that I really don't know anything
25 about these military matters and details.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 MR. NICE: Document 1215.2, please. A new document, a
3 Q. What do you say the frequency of your flights to Croatia was,
4 please, Mr. Nakic? One a week, one a month, one a day, two a day? What?
5 A. Well, at the beginning, from Croatia there might have been one in
6 seven or ten days.
7 Q. All right.
8 A. They were relatively infrequent. A small number of flights from
9 the territory of Croatia.
10 Q. If you'd like to look at this document, I'm afraid -- maybe you
11 speak English, from what I heard you say earlier, but it's only an English
12 version document. It will be laid on the ELMO. It's a military
13 information summary from one of the international military units there.
14 In paragraph 3, it deals with helicopter activity, and it reads,
15 I'll read it slowly and ask your comment: "Croat helicopter activity in
16 contravention of the no fly zone has continued with two flights recorded
17 today," and their times are given. "On both occasions the landing site
18 was again the quarry at Mosunj, and the helicopter employed the spiralling
19 technique recently noted to gain and lose height within the safety of
20 Croat controlled valley base ..."
21 I think just a tiny detail. The spiralling technique is where the
22 helicopter drops very rapidly, almost like a stone, to the ground in order
23 to get down quickly; that's correct, isn't it? Mr. Nakic, that's correct,
24 isn't it? That's the spiralling technique. You know about that.
25 A. First of all, I don't know what time we're talking about here,
1 what period. And knowing the terrain, because I was born there, and on
2 the basis of the information and contacts with my brothers and my mother
3 there, as far as how near -- I knew that the lines were near, then it is
4 logical that the helicopter was only able to use the spiralling technique
5 to lose height and to land. In view of the fact that Muslim activities
6 were strong along those lines, according to the information that my
7 relatives sent to me, there was no other choice, there was no other
8 possibility but to use this technique.
9 Q. All right. But as to two flights in one day, could they both be
11 A. I said that I don't know the period that this refers to --
12 Q. I'm so sorry.
13 A. -- so I can't give you an answer.
14 Q. The 26th of September, 1993.
15 A. It is possible at that time; that is to say, from the 20th we
16 engaged foreign pilots. So it is possible that there were two flights in
17 one day.
18 Q. The same paragraph records a little bit further down: "Seven
19 flights in the previous week." Could those be all your flights?
20 A. I assume that they were. From the documents that I have in front
21 of me, I think that the flights started sometime around the 20th with
22 foreign crews, foreign pilots. And as I said earlier on, in view of the
23 cessation of communication with Central Bosnia, then it was logical that
24 it was necessary to intensify the number of flights.
25 Q. Have a quick look at one other document, 1225.1, which is another
1 military information summary, and this suggests -- well, we'll have a look
2 at it very quickly.
3 You'll see that this document relates to the period up until the
4 30th of September, and it speaks here under the paragraph headed "Vitez,"
5 it deals with the landing of a helicopter in the quarry. But if we look
6 at the comment, it says: "Today's helicopter activity takes the running
7 total to ten flights in ten days."
8 Now, were these all the private flights you were funding out of
9 SPS money?
10 A. It was the -- if it's the end of September, then the answer is
12 Q. Because the same military information summary suggests that "Local
13 Croat sources have claimed that the helicopter brings in munitions and
14 takes out people for a price"; correct or incorrect?
15 A. I don't think that is correct, because I know for certain that we
16 took a lot of people who were volunteers, and they were working in many
17 European countries. So that I did not have an opportunity to see or hear
18 that anybody was taken out for a price.
19 Q. In any event, by this week, that is, the week ending the 30th of
20 September, it was, so far as you were concerned, only the private
21 helicopters that were operating; is that right? No more Croatian
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. NICE: Can he please have a look at 1223.1.
25 Q. This is one day before the summary contained in that last report;
1 this is the 29th of September, 1993. Now, if you look at this document,
2 this document comes from the defence department for Travnik, it goes to
3 the office of the vice-president of the republic in Mostar, and it's an
4 operative report that says this:
5 "During the past 24 hours in the territory of Central Bosnia,
6 Travnik municipality, Novi Travnik, Vitez and Busovaca, we noticed the
8 1. The municipal centres of the MiO, as well as lookout networks
9 on the field, did not register the flight of enemy helicopters or other
10 low-flying aircraft. An HV helicopter landed securely, regardless of
11 strong fire opened by MOS forces."
12 Now, thinking back, what about this Croatian helicopter, please,
13 in the period where you say it was just private helicopters? Is this one
14 of yours or somebody else's? The Court will see it's also referred to at
15 the foot of the first page in paragraph 2. Can you explain, please, the
16 landing of Croatian helicopters at the time when you say that you were now
17 dependent on private suppliers?
18 A. Well, I still maintain that those were the only helicopters from
19 the base in Posusje which we organised.
20 Q. But does it appear, and do you know anything about the fact that
21 other people were also flying in Croatian helicopters doing things unknown
22 to you? Does that follow, necessarily, from this document?
23 A. I don't think they were doing that because I talked and met pilots
24 from Croatia and they were very sorry that the humanitarian flights had
25 been stopped.
1 Q. By this time they weren't just humanitarian, were they,
2 Mr. Nakic? By this time you were flying in weapons.
3 A. Partially.
4 Q. Thank you. We know from document 1302.2 that in November of 1993,
5 there was an order from Anto Puljic to have a helicopter pad constructed.
6 Did you know anything about that?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Does that fit, as it were logically, with the level of helicopter
9 flights that you were organising or would that really not be explained by
10 the level of flights you were organising?
11 A. Well, it's very difficult for me to explain the need for building
12 a helicopter pad in view of the fact that I know the terrain very well and
13 the circumstances that prevailed there at the time of the worst conflicts
14 which was October, November and December of 1993.
15 Q. Mr. Nakic, the truth is there were a great number of helicopter
16 flights. Some may have been by a private supplier, I'm not in a position
17 to deal with that, and some were by Croatia, and that's why they needed a
18 helicopter pad, didn't they?
19 A. I really don't know that they flew -- that is to say, that
20 Croatian helicopters flew and I think -- and I can't tell you anything
21 about the helicopter pad either.
22 Q. In your position in Croatia, did you learn of the threats made to
23 blow up your factory in the autumn of 1993?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And these were threats not made by the Muslims, these were threats
1 made by Croats; correct?
2 A. Correct. But it was a warning to the world that the Croats should
3 be protected and defend themselves because that was all that remained for
5 Q. They were serious threats, weren't there? There's no question of
6 just being propaganda, they were serious threats.
7 A. Well, in view of the situation that prevailed in the field and
8 that lots of people died every day, all that remained for those people up
9 there to do was to undertake such an action and to warn the world to try
10 and stop the hostilities that were going on.
11 MR. NICE: I shan't trouble the witness with 1299.1 and 1305.4 in
12 those circumstances. Can we have two -- three more documents each very
13 short, I think, possibly four. 1324.3.
14 Q. It's my mistake, Mr. Nakic, entirely, I can't quite understand
15 your function in Croatia. I want you to help me though, through this
16 document. This is a document that goes to Anto Puljic from the factory
17 director, Marko Lujic, and it sets out wartime production plans for the
18 period 6th to the 12th of December. It sets out a lot of military
19 equipment and then at the bottom some stoves, candles, and beds, and
21 Does any of this material or, sorry, is any of this material
22 material in the production of which you had an interest?
23 A. First of all, these are materials, the production of which I
24 have -- I can say nothing about. Let me remind you that in Split at the
25 branch office there, and this is quite logical, an office was set up for a
1 civilian programme for the placement and work of civilian programmes
2 because military production wasn't ongoing.
3 Q. But to save time there was no civilian production. This is what
4 your factory was producing?
5 A. I really don't know anything about that.
6 Q. There was no civilian production and your only function in Split
7 appears to have been to send helicopters. Would that be --
8 A. Yes, but by expanding activities, the activities of the office,
9 humanitarian and social welfare for the many wounded who, after being
10 hospitalised, had been left to the streets or to be put and accommodated
11 somewhere. So we had to contact people and family members who were
12 abroad. There were many activities of this kind that we had to see to, so
13 you cannot, via an office that was public in nature and where ten other
14 Muslim companies worked from the territory of the federation, from an
15 office of this kind, you couldn't do any business of this kind nor did I
16 engage in any business of this kind.
17 Q. Have you got any document that shows your appointment for welfare
18 work, please?
19 A. I think that that document was presented at the beginning of these
20 proceedings and it stated the appointment of the office and the
21 appointment of individuals and it was signed by the mayor, and it was
22 exclusively humanitarian aid.
23 Q. Let's look at another document. 1355.4. This is a document that
24 is, in a sense, historical. It says something about the period of time
25 you've been telling us about. It's dated the 8th of January, 1994. It
1 goes from the Travnik defence administration to Franjo Sliskovic
2 personally, he being Blaskic's logistics man, and it's signed by Marko
3 Lujic and it's on the -- the subject is the sending of requests.
4 What it says is this: "During 1993, starting from the 1st of
5 August, we filled with explosives and completed sets of materiel delivered
6 by helicopter. Since the war" -- and this is a draft translation, I
7 suspect, "Since the war production section is closing requests from last
8 year, we ask you to send, as soon as possible, a collective request for
9 all materiel that arrived in this way between the 1st of August and the
10 31st of December. We also ask you to send your requests this year
11 immediately after the arrival of the materiel in which the war production
12 section has to work."
13 But here he is, Marko Lujic of your factory, saying between August
14 and later, they "filled with explosives and completed sets of materiel
15 delivered by helicopter." Those are your helicopters, aren't they, the
16 ones you sent, please?
17 A. Well, I've already stressed helicopters, but not 1st of August
18 because in August, they were not there. Up to mid-August it was only the
19 Croatian ones that flew, and they quite certainly were not bearing
20 products of this kind. With the engagement and activities in the second
21 half of September, that is to say, we sent humanitarian aid primarily, and
22 by the end of the year as I said, some materiel resources as well, some
24 I cannot say whether they were fulfilling purposes or whatever.
25 That business was done via the office by many people and some of them were
1 experts. So I can't really tell you. I can't say what kind of equipment
2 or materiel or weapons were in question here.
3 Q. Mr. Nakic, this letter comes from a person who should know, Marko
4 Lujic and is quite specific about the start date, the 1st of August. Now,
5 you've tied yourself to saying that Croatian helicopters were still flying
6 in that period of August until September. Think back, please. Croatian
7 helicopters, just like any other later helicopters, were flying munitions
8 in to Central Bosnia and that's the truth of it, isn't it?
9 A. From Croatia, from Croatia they could not have flown, and if those
10 helicopters were checked daily by the monitors, by the ECMM, so this date
11 is an incorrect date in my view.
12 MR. NICE: I'm not going to take that any further with this
13 witness. Perhaps he would like to take a look at his own exhibit, 114/2.
14 I am grateful to Mr. Lopez-Terres for his sharp eyes as ever, and it might
15 be good if he had a look at 116/2 as well, just lay one beside the other.
16 Q. You see the stamp that we've got here is the defence
17 administration of Travnik, isn't it? It's not the civilian body at all.
18 We haven't got a translation of this document yet, but the stamp is the
19 defence administration, that's who appointed you; correct?
20 A. Mr. Santic, when we are talking about the document of the 27th of
21 April, I really cannot go into the kind of stamp. I wasn't interested in
22 the kind of stamp because all my contacts throughout this time were, in 90
23 per cent of the cases, as agreed with Mr. Santic and the representatives
24 of the civilian authorities.
25 Q. Please help me. We have heard a lot about stamps, the use of
1 stamps in the former Yugoslavia. Is that or is that not the stamp of the
2 defence administration?
3 A. I cannot answer that question.
4 Q. Are you able to read what it says underneath "Vitez"?
5 A. It says "defence administration", but in my view, the person was
7 MR. NICE: Your Honour will find that I'm not going to take time
8 but 116/2 the one dealing with the vehicles has the civil administration
9 stamp. The last document, 1364.8.
10 Q. What did you know about the Koncar factory, please, Mr. Nakic?
11 What did you know about the Koncar factory?
12 A. Nothing. Nothing because we did not have any business dealings
13 with the Koncar factory.
14 Q. Just look at this document, please, you were still in Split. This
15 is a document dated the 28th of January 1994 from the Travnik defence
16 administration to an assistant minister and various other people, and also
17 to the chief of production administration, Bruno Stoic, signed by Puljic.
18 The subject is a report on final user of goods sent by helicopter. "We
19 inform you that the goods sent by helicopter are intended for the Ministry
20 of Defence for the Republic of Croatia for the Koncar factory and the
21 explosives are there set out in accordance with an earlier agreement."
22 These helicopters weren't just carrying injured people, were they,
23 they were carrying munitions in and sometimes they were carrying munitions
25 A. I really do not know anything about this document or those
1 relations with Koncar, especially about gunpowder, because I did not work
2 with gunpowder. So I don't know anything about it.
3 MR. NICE: Thank you.
4 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nakic, just a few details that should be
7 cleared up. Is it correct that from October 1992 on you no longer lived
8 in Vitez?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You lived in Split; is that correct?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. You said that from October 1992 until April 1994 -- let us break
13 this down into two time periods. From October 1992 until the outbreak of
14 the conflict, the 16th of April, 1993, you said you went to Vitez from
15 time to time.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And you said, if I remember correctly, that you went there every
18 15 days or so.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. That is an average.
21 A. Yes. And I stayed there for a certain time because I had business
22 to do. There were certain activities in the company, talks.
23 Q. Do you consider -- I apologise for speaking too fast. Do you
24 consider that because of these visits lasting a few days you were well
25 informed about what was going on in Vitez at this time, when you were no
1 longer living there?
2 A. I think so.
3 Q. There were questions about the drivers employed in your company.
4 They were accommodated in Ploca; is that correct?
5 A. Yes. First in the Ploca Hotel.
6 Q. Very well. And certainly these drivers were dissatisfied with
7 their position; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What was the reason for their dissatisfaction?
10 A. Well, I assume that they were people who had, like all of us, left
11 their families in Vitez, and that was the main reason. Not my attitude
12 toward them.
13 Q. As for these people, you tried to talk to them on a regular
15 A. Yes. In the beginning we had daily contacts, because they used to
16 come to Split from Ploca, one or two of them, and I went there every
17 week. The money I took from the bank account I distributed among those
18 people so they would have something to live on, and there are documents to
19 show this.
20 Q. Mr. Nakic, these drivers were your employees; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. There were both Croats and Muslims among them; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. It was your duty to look after your employees; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Is it correct that both the Muslims and the Croats from that group
2 wanted to go home?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. And that was the topic of all your conversations with them.
5 A. Most often, yes, and the information that I was able to get by
6 telephone and pass on to them.
7 Q. This went on for several months.
8 A. Yes. Let's say it was a few months, because -- because of these
9 unfortunate roadblocks and then the unfortunate events in Ahmici. So up
10 until June, when the encirclement became critical, with the Court's
11 permission, and when large numbers of wounded Croats began arriving from
12 that area and came to the office, then the drivers stopped coming to the
13 office so often. And the contacts became more risky because there were
14 two opposing sides. There were people whose families had been killed, and
15 so on.
16 Q. We have information that at one point several Muslim drivers, not
17 all of them, decided on their own initiative to go home; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Is it correct that they wanted to leave with vehicles which were
20 owned by the company?
21 A. That is correct. And if I can add what I failed to mention when
22 asked by the Prosecutor, the way they asked for the keys. There were two
23 vehicles driven by Mr. Cevan [phoen] and Muslims, they disappeared; the
24 vehicle of Enes Ramic disappeared. And I was given instructions that the
25 vehicles, not the people but the vehicles, should be confiscated and the
1 keys for their safekeeping. No one knows to this day where those vehicles
2 ended up.
3 Q. Mr. Nakic, those vehicles were undoubtedly the property of your
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. Was it your duty to look after the company property?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In the end, according to OTP information, they were arrested in
9 Capljina; some of them were anyway. Where is Capljina? On the territory
10 of which state?
11 A. Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Q. Did you ever hear anything about this previously?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Thank you very much.
15 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I would like to ask, just for two short
16 questions on those documents which were raised by the Prosecution, for a
17 private conference to mention the names of the people.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 [Private session]
10 [Open session]
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. One more short question in this connection. Did you ever in your
13 life, before this situation, have any involvement at all in dealings with
15 A. No.
16 Q. Did you know anything about this world, the business circles
17 dealing in helicopters?
18 A. No. I was involved in a completely different branch of industry.
19 Q. Is it correct that you employed someone to do this for you, this
20 kind of business?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. And that that was the man whose name you mentioned, who was an
23 expert in this business.
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. Thank you. Did you ever directly negotiate with the owners of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 these helicopters, whom you found in Herzegovina?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Thank you. In 1993, is it true that you always had certain
4 products on stock from your factory in warehouses in Ploca, Split, and
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. Did you sell those products in 1993?
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. Mr. Nakic, please think carefully. Did you ever, at any time in
10 the period we are discussing, have any involvement in any undertakings
11 regarding helicopters, apart from the two you mentioned?
12 A. No.
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, if we are to get through 11 witnesses
14 this week, we really must make progress. This witness has been giving
15 evidence all morning.
16 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, unfortunately, Your Honour. I will have only
17 two short questions more. I'm just about to finish. May I? Thank you.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Did you ever hear or see, you personally, or did
19 you ever hear from someone that there were other helicopters flying from
20 Divulje to Central Bosnia, apart from the project we mentioned?
21 A. Well, in view of the fact that I had a lot to do in the office and
22 in organising this, I really did not inquire, and I never heard that.
23 Q. To give us an idea of the size of this, the numbers, could you
24 tell us what number of wounded you took care of, you and the people from
25 your office, in 1993, in Split; whom you visited in hospital, took things
1 to them, took them out of hospital, took them to other hospitals for
2 rehabilitation? Can you give us an idea of the numbers?
3 A. Well, I think that there were between 80 and 100 people in the
4 hospitals all the time. When some were released, others would arrive. I
5 think I even have some documents here about the way these people were
6 received and accommodated.
7 Q. So on average in 1993, this was the number of people in the
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I do not have further questions for
11 this witness. But if I may just add one comment in order to avoid any
12 further -- so if you feel, I can then ask.
13 Related to the stamp the Prosecution was talking a lot about, I
14 just wanted to remind you - and that is why I wouldn't ask the witness -
15 that there were two witnesses which in detail explained the division of
16 the government and what was, indeed, the defence office.
17 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
18 Mr. Nakic, that concludes your evidence. Thank you for coming to
19 the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, it is a matter for your decision, but I
23 feel that I am obliged just to tell you, to remind you, you have asked us
24 to give you an overview on the status of how we will proceed. Would you
25 like to have that after this witness, or we'll just keep it ready and then
1 advise you as soon as we have some break?
2 JUDGE MAY: Let's have the witness. Let's get on with that.
3 MR. KOVACIC: Certainly. Thank you, sir.
4 JUDGE MAY: I note that this witness will be the 200th.
5 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Your Honour.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
9 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 WITNESS: JOSIP MISKOVIC
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Miskovic.
16 A. Good day.
17 Q. On behalf of Mr. Cerkez's Defence I will examine you. Please
18 answer to the best of your recollection, and please bear in mind that you
19 should speak slowly and pause between my question and your answer so that
20 the interpreters can do their job.
21 And for the record, would you please tell us your full name and
22 your place and date of birth?
23 A. Josip Miskovic born on the 4th of August, 1964 in Travnik.
24 Q. You reside in Vitez now.
25 A. Yes, I live in Vitez.
1 Q. You are married and the father of one, age three.
2 A. Yes, I got married after the war. I have a little daughter who is
3 three years old.
4 Q. By nationality, you are a Croat, a Roman Catholic?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You have dual citizenship, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of
7 Croatia; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you graduated from the technical military academy in Zagreb in
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you tell us in two or three sentences why and how you studied
13 at the technical military academy? Were you there as a civilian or a
14 military man, and does that school enable people to get a job in the
15 military or can they also get a job in the civilian sector?
16 A. I had a grant from the explosives factory in Vitez, Vitezit, so
17 that on completion of the technical military academy, I had a job waiting
18 for me at the factory. After graduating from the academy, I could choose
19 whether to stay in the military or to remain a civilian. I decided to
20 remain a civilian, to go home and to do the job that I had been trained to
22 Q. I understand. Because in the former Yugoslavia, the Vitezit
23 factory was of military significance because of the essentials of its
24 production, it closely cooperated with the then JNA and the military
25 authorities; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. But you said you decided to remain a civilian and after completing
3 the military academy, you returned to Vitez.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you got a job in Vitezit, the factory that had given you a
6 grant for your studies.
7 A. Yes. I would like to try to clarify this. I was given a grant by
9 JUDGE MAY: If it's important, somebody will ask you about it,
10 Mr. Miskovic, but we really need to get on to the important matters.
12 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. You are a graduate engineer in chemical technology?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you are still employed in Vitezit as the director of the
16 development department?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You served in the former JNA in Nis in 1983?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. There you had some military training and acquired the rank of
21 reserve lieutenant after you left the JNA, after the academy, after you
22 graduated from the academy then. You have been a member of the HDZ since
23 its founding in Bosnia and Herzegovina but you have no party function?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Your address in 1992 was in the village of Kremenjace; is that
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. The village of Kremenjace is a part of the village of Buhine Kuce?
4 A. Yes, you could say that, that it's a part of Buhine Kuce.
5 Q. What is the ethnic make-up of the population in that village?
6 A. The village is mixed. There are Croats and Muslims. It's about
8 Q. Is it correct that after the fall of the town of Jajce, refugees
9 arrived in your area?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And refugees from that territory arrived in your village?
12 A. Yes, from Jajce, Kotor Varos, Prijedor.
13 Q. What was the ethnic composition of the refugees that came to your
14 village from parts of Jajce and Kotor Varos?
15 A. Well, mostly the refugees that came to our village when parts of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina fell were Muslims.
17 Q. For the sake of clarity, you will not find Kremenjace and Buhine
18 Kuce on the map. Is that really Sivrino Selo which is marked on the map?
19 The witness can show it to us if the Court feels it necessary.
20 JUDGE MAY: No, I think we know. But it's another village with a
21 series of names.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: It's a little bit confusing, I know.
23 Q. [Interpretation] For the needs of the Tribunal, we are now coming
24 across various names for the same village. When we talk about Sivrino
25 Selo, the lower part near the road, what was it called?
1 A. We -- well, our village is between two big villages, Santici and
2 Dubravica. Above us is Sivrino Selo. Before the war, we were the local
3 commune of Kremenjace before the war.
4 Q. Very well. You said that after the fall of Jajce, Muslim refugees
5 came to your village. That fact, did it have any influence on the
6 interethnic relations in the village?
7 A. Well, with the arrival of outsiders in our village, certain
8 tensions arose, people started to be afraid of the newcomers who had come
9 to our village.
10 Q. I understand. Did you notice in late 1992 and in 1993 that the
11 Muslim villages started some activities and the refugees?
12 A. Well, I noticed in the second half of 1992 they had set up single
13 ethnic group roadblocks. I used to move around a lot. I used to go
14 around a lot, and on my way home, I was always stopped at a checkpoint by
15 unknown people and one local man.
16 Q. They were Muslims, were they?
17 A. Yes, it was a Muslim checkpoint.
18 Q. Did you notice that trenches had been dug in your village?
19 A. In late 1992 and early 1993, trenches were dug above the
20 Croatian houses in the village; facing our houses, and also around
21 Mr. Sefkija Dzidic's house who was a local man in the village.
22 Q. Did you ask your fellow villagers why they had dug trenches facing
23 Croatian houses?
24 A. Well, we asked them for an explanation because it made us feel
25 unsafe. Why were the trenches facing us? Why weren't they facing the
1 Serbian Chetnik army which we could expect from that direction?
2 Q. And was there explanation realistic?
3 A. No, because the lines toward the Serbian aggressor were on Vlasic
4 and around Turbe up there.
5 Q. And if there was a breakthrough by Serb forces from the direction
6 of Vlasic, could this be expected from the direction of the Croatian
7 houses or from the opposite side, from the north-west?
8 A. Well, it was not logical that those forces would come from that
10 Q. And one more question before we have our lunch break. You
11 mentioned that Sefkija Dzidic's house was in your village.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you know what his function was at that time?
14 A. I know that, as far as I can remember, that he was a member of the
15 municipal Crisis Staff, the joint staff that was established in the Vitez
17 Q. And later on?
18 A. Well, later on I wouldn't know.
19 Q. You say that there were trenches around his house?
20 A. Yes, they were dug at the same time as the trenches facing our
21 houses, the trenches around his house.
22 Q. In 1992, earlier, before this, before this wave of refugees
23 arrived, did you, together with your Muslim neighbours, fortify the
24 village in some way?
25 A. Well, the Muslims and the Croats in early April 1992, we built a
1 shelter because the air raids had started by the Serb Chetnik forces in
2 Vitez and elsewhere.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] We have now come to point three
4 Your Honours, so this may be a convenient moment for our lunch break.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.
6 Mr. Miskovic, we are going to adjourn now for the lunch break for
7 an hour and a half. Would you please remember not to speak to anybody
8 about your evidence during that adjournment, and that includes members of
9 the Defence team. Don't speak to anybody until it's over. Could you be
10 back, please, at twenty-five to three.
11 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.05 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.40 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Let us move on, Mr. Miskovic. Before we adjourned for lunch, we
5 had come to item 3, that is events of 1993. Let me ask you by way of
6 introduction, Mr. Miskovic, at that time, that is in early 1993, you
7 worked for Vitezit, did you?
8 A. Early 1993 are you asking me?
9 Q. I'm saying early 1993.
10 A. No, I did not.
11 Q. So you had already stopped working at the Vitezit. Is it that
12 there was no work there?
13 A. I was put on standby in 1992.
14 Q. Very well. On the eve of the conflict in Vitez and around it,
15 that is on the eve of the 16th of April, you were not in the area of
16 Vitez, you were outside the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. And when did you come back?
19 A. I came back from Split on the 14th of April. 14th of April, I was
20 on my way back from Split.
21 Q. And which route did you take?
22 A. Split, now the border crossing, I don't know which one, but across
23 Mount Vran, and we got as far as Gornji Vakuf, that is Sebesic.
24 Q. And when you got to Sebesic, what happened then?
25 A. We were stopped by armed persons. As we came close, we saw that
1 it was a unit of -- I don't know what they're called, really, but it was a
2 unit, an armed unit -- well, a Croat formation. And we -- they told us
3 that the road towards Vitez was cut off in the next village, in Opara,
4 because the day before that, four Croat commanders had disappeared.
5 Q. Excuse me, let me just ask you this. You were in a private car?
6 A. No. We were travelling with two trucks, because I had gone to
7 Split to get the humanitarian relief.
8 Q. So you were taking Caritas relief from Split to Vitez, is it?
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. And how many of you were there on those two trucks?
11 A. Well, I was one of the escorts and there were two drivers.
12 Q. Very well. And tell us, those armed soldiers who stopped you and
13 told you you could not proceed, they were members of the HVO, weren't
15 A. They had HVO insignia.
16 Q. And what did they tell you? What army had put up barriers on the
17 road and you could not move on?
18 A. In the next village, the next village was a Muslim village and
19 they said that the BH army had put up barriers and one could not go
20 through to Central Bosnia.
21 Q. So how long did you stay in Sebesic?
22 A. We arrived in Sebesic around 8.00 in the morning on the 14th,
23 spent the night there, and it was only around 4.00 or 5.00 p.m. on the
24 next day that small cars and buses were allowed to go through because
25 there were many women and children so they let them move on to Vitez and
2 Q. Let us just clarify this. Sebesic, the village of Sebesic is in
3 what municipality?
4 A. I think it should be Gornji Vakuf/Uskoplje and the next
5 municipality is Novi Travnik.
6 Q. Very well. And two days later you were then allowed to move on.
7 So you spent the 14th there, the next day was the 15th. Was it then that
8 they let you go that day?
9 A. Yes, on the 15th around 4.00 or 5.00 in the afternoon. Only
10 passenger cars and buses, no trucks. The trucks could not go through.
11 Q. And tell us, this column of cars which was let through, how long
12 was it?
13 A. Well, quite long because vehicles had been coming up for the --
14 two days so it was quite big.
15 Q. That is for two days there was no traffic?
16 A. That is right.
17 Q. Now, you arrived home sometime in the afternoon, or rather late
18 afternoon you arrived, didn't you, on the 15th?
19 A. I arrived home around perhaps around 7.00 or perhaps 8.00 in the
21 Q. And as you drove down the road, or when you arrived in your
22 village, did you see anything unusual happening? Did you see perhaps any
23 major concentration of troops, any major movements of troops or anything
24 to that effect?
25 A. I remember well that it was a rainy day and it was already late
1 afternoon, and on my way home, I did not notice anything out of the
3 Q. Very well. So you arrived home, you had a rest, went to bed, and
4 what happened the next day?
5 A. In the morning, gunfire woke me up, so I got up. I was scared,
7 Q. And where did the sound of this gunfire come from?
8 A. At that moment, it seemed to me that I could hear it from all
9 sides so I couldn't --
10 Q. Who was with you at home?
11 A. My mother and I. My mother and I were alone there.
12 Q. Very well. Did you go out of the house to see what was going on,
13 who was firing and from where?
14 A. Well, after I got up, some half hour later, perhaps, I went out.
15 And at that moment my neighbour, a Muslim, came.
16 Q. What is the name of that neighbour who came to see you?
17 A. That is Mr. Meho Kablar.
18 Q. Tell us, on what terms were you with Mr. Kablar?
19 A. Well, not really -- not only particular terms to write home about
20 between me and him. But he was quite a good friend with my father because
21 they were peers, more or less. I could be his son.
22 Q. Tell us what happened then, when Mr. Kablar came?
23 A. Mr. Kablar came and he was visibly upset, just like myself;
24 scared, just like I was. He asked me, "What was this," and I didn't know
25 what it was. He suggested, since there are some five or six Croat houses
1 next to my house, he suggested that all of us Croats should get into one
2 house, women and children, everybody who was there, because we would be
3 safer there. And that is what we did.
4 Q. Mr. Kablar is a Muslim, isn't he?
5 A. Yes, he is.
6 Q. So all of you who are Croats took shelter in one house because
7 Mr. Kablar told you you would be safer there.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did he tell you what the danger was that you otherwise might be
10 exposed to?
11 A. Well, I guessed -- I mean, he didn't say anything, but I guessed
12 because there was gunfire from all sides and because perhaps that simply
13 would be better if we all gathered in one place.
14 Q. Did you notice anything unusual happening around that house that
15 you had moved into?
16 A. Well, as we were moving into that house, and it took about half an
17 hour or so until everybody got there. After that, we noticed that the
18 house was surrounded.
19 Q. Who surrounded the house?
20 A. Muslim soldiers had surrounded it.
21 Q. How many of you Croats were in the house?
22 A. Well, men, women, and children, about 18.
23 Q. Could you leave the house?
24 A. No, we could not. But Mr. Kablar would come now and then, and he
25 could go to our house, bring us some food. We dare not go out alone.
1 Q. But if he escorted you, you could then go to your house and get
2 some of your affairs.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Later on did Mr. Kablar come to that house in which you Croats
5 were closed with somebody else?
6 A. Later on in the afternoon, on the 16th, their commander arrived,
7 the Muslim commander, and I was called to speak on behalf of the group
8 which was imprisoned there. Their commander, speaking in front of Meho,
9 he insisted that he should take men to prison, to Preocica, to Poculica,
10 and that he would then let women and children go to Croat houses, that is,
11 Buhine Kuce.
12 Q. Who was that commander that you are referring to?
13 A. It was Osmancevic -- Osmancevic. I don't know his first name. I
14 know his nickname; I remember we always called him Cike. But his first
15 name just escapes me.
16 Q. Very well. Tell us, did he live in the same village?
17 A. Yes, we were next-door neighbours.
18 Q. So he wanted to take male Croats to prison and release women and
19 children. How did Mr. Kablar react to that?
20 A. Well, he reacted very vigorously. During all those talks and
21 negotiations, he explained the situation to me from the time of World War
22 II, that my father and his father had saved him and his family, so that he
23 simply would not allow anyone to separate us from our families and to be
25 Q. You tell us that Mr. Kablar was an elderly man, that he was your
1 father's peer. But what position was he in the village? Was he a
2 well-respected figure there; could you tell us that?
3 A. Well, he was -- yes, he did enjoy prestige in the village as far
4 as the Muslim part of the population was concerned, because he was an
5 honest man, of integrity, a man who kept his word, and what he said was
6 respected by others.
7 Q. Right. So what happened next?
8 A. What happened is that on the 17th, around perhaps 5.00 or 6.00 in
9 the afternoon, Mr. Kablar escorted us from the village and took us to
10 Croat houses, so that at long last we joined our own folk, that is, Croat
11 houses. And that was that.
12 Q. Tell us, Mr. Miskovic, while you were in that house in the
13 village - that was the 16th and the major part of the 17th of April - was
14 there any gunfire in the village? Were there any combat operations that
15 you might have heard or seen?
16 A. No, we could not really see much from the house, and we could hear
17 the gunfire. Now, where it came from, at that time we really could not
18 know where it came from.
19 Q. Right. So Mr. Kablar escorted all of you who were in that house
20 to the territory controlled by the HVO units, didn't he?
21 A. Well, when we came down -- as I said, in the beginning the village
22 was mixed, and next to the main road, the majority of the houses were
23 Croat. So that when we got down there, there was no police or anybody.
24 There were only the local residents, Croats.
25 Q. So next to the main road at that time there were no combat
1 operations or anything.
2 A. No, no, no, there was nothing. There were just the local
3 residents in their houses.
4 Q. What happened to your house?
5 A. My house perished. All my property, everything, was burnt down so
6 that to this day, I mean, it's like that. Nothing's been rebuilt yet.
7 Q. After that day, the 17th of April, did you ever manage to get back
8 to your house?
9 A. Well, yes, I did. The first time, 1996.
10 Q. But you cannot live in it to this day.
11 A. No, because everything's been burnt down. All the property there
12 has been burnt so that I cannot live there now.
13 Q. What about your belongings that you had in the house and in the
14 farm buildings?
15 A. Well, I cannot really tell you because I didn't -- I never managed
16 to get anything out of the house. And what was burnt down, what was
17 looted, I really can't say.
18 Q. Very well. And what happened then? After you reached the first
19 Croat houses, what did you do?
20 A. In that part, those Croat houses where we -- when we got there,
21 there were some 15 men, and we all got together and we realised that we
22 had to set up some front line against Muslim forces. And that evening,
23 that is on the 15th of April, those 15 neighbours elected me as a would-be
24 commander or something like that. We organised ourselves, since we were
25 15 of us, then four of us should take positions next to houses so as to
1 form a kind of a line against Muslims.
2 Q. What kind of armament did you have with those local residents
4 A. Well, the weapons were not much, really, a couple of rifles, a
5 couple of hunting rifles, perhaps a couple of automatic rifles. Nothing
6 much, really.
7 Q. Did you have any trenches prepared in advance that you could take?
8 A. No. I mean we were all -- no, it was just an extraordinary
9 situation. We were all frightened and scared and confused. We didn't
10 know where to make a trench or how to make it.
11 Q. And after a while, did anyone come to give you some instructions
12 as to what and how to do it?
13 A. Yes, a couple of days later, Mr. Bertovic arrived. He said that
14 he was a major, that he came to us on behalf of the Vitez Brigade, and
15 then he told us how to organise ourselves, how to position ourselves and
16 ordered us to dig trenches. We had already begun to do that, but I'm
17 afraid we were not particularly successful at that.
18 Q. Right. But let us now try to place this Mr. Bertovic in your
19 village in some time context. If you were released on the 17th of April
20 and then you went down to the lower part of the village, so after how many
21 days did Bertovic come to see you?
22 A. Well, some three or four days later.
23 Q. So it would be sometime after the 20th of April, is it?
24 A. Well, I wouldn't really tell you exactly now but --
25 Q. And you tell us that Mr. Bertovic introduced himself to you as a
1 major of the Vitez Brigade, that he explained to you where to dig
2 trenches. Did he then tell you anything about your status, I mean your
3 military status?
4 A. I don't remember him saying anything. I know we simply began to
5 feel better because somebody had come who was to look after things. We
6 were just simple civilians. We knew nothing, and at least there was
7 somebody who could issue orders. There was some kind of a chain of
8 command which we had to obey.
9 Q. But did you realise at some point that you had become members of
10 the Vitez Brigade since Bertovic, who introduced himself to you as a major
11 of the Vitez Brigade, in a manner of speaking, issued orders to you?
12 A. Yes. Well you could say that when he came there and organised us,
13 yes, you could say that by the very -- by this very fact, yes, we became
14 members of the brigade.
15 Q. Did you get any military IDs or any written document about your
16 affiliation, about your membership in the Vitez Brigade at that time?
17 A. At that time, we were not given anything. Whether Mr. Bertovic
18 had kept any record or not, I really don't know.
19 Q. You told us that your neighbours elected you their commander, but
20 what happened after that and how long did you stay at that line in the
22 A. Very, very short time, because in -- when I served in the JNA, I
23 was with the engineering unit so they called me to join the engineering
24 unit of the Vitez Brigade, and I was happy to accept that.
25 Q. And who was your commander there?
1 A. It was Mr. Ivica Drmic.
2 Q. And what was your chief role in the Vitez Brigade?
3 A. Well, the engineer -- the engineering troops had to protect that
4 line which had been established, fortified to try to proper -- to secure
5 those lines, to devise some devices to fortify them and things like that.
6 Q. You told us that at the time when you served the former JNA, you
7 had acquired some professional knowledge in engineering. How would you
8 describe your activity and the activity of the engineering unit of the
9 Vitez Brigade in those days? Would you say that it was engaged in some
10 defensive, offensive or perhaps some third role?
11 A. Well, in those days, we simply were trying to stop the advancement
12 of Muslim forces, that is, to protect as much as possible the front line
13 that had already been established with all the devices, with all the
14 resources available to the engineering unit at the time.
15 Q. And how long were you with the Vitez Brigade?
16 A. Until the end of the war.
17 Q. Where do you live today, Mr. Miskovic?
18 A. I live in Vitez today as -- in a rented apartment because I have
19 not settled my question of accommodation.
20 Q. You said that your house was burned down. Have you done anything
21 to reconstruct it?
22 A. I was promised by the municipal authorities, and especially the
23 department for reconstruction and development, that they would help me in
24 reconstructing my house, but so far, nothing has come of that.
25 Q. According to what you have just told us, you became a member of
1 those military units of the Vitez Brigade after the conflict; is that
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you have occasion to see any official documents on your
5 participation -- concerning your participation in the resistance, the
6 armed resistance?
7 A. All that I can tell you about that was that I asked to get some of
8 the certificates that they were giving out.
9 Q. And were you given the right to put your name down for receiving
10 those certificates?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And what did you do with the certificates you obtained?
13 A. Well, nothing so far. I'm waiting for the reconstruction of the
14 factory that I am working in, for it to be reorganised.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Miskovic. I have
16 no further questions for you.
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. The
18 Defence of Mr. Kordic has no questions to ask this witness. Thank you.
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
20 Q. Mr. Miskovic, in 1992, did you know a man called Buha who lived in
21 your village?
22 A. Could you give me a date, please?
23 Q. October 1992, a local HVO commander called Buha, B-u-h-a, I
25 A. I knew that man as a neighbour of mine.
1 Q. We've heard that in October 1992, he gave an ultimatum to local
2 Muslims to hand in their weapons. Did you hear anything of his doing
4 A. I remember now. At that time I was not in the village, so I
5 cannot tell you whether that particular gentleman issued such an order.
6 Q. In 1992, did you still have a function as a reservist, especially
7 in light of your military training? Did you have a function as a
9 A. In 1992, 1991, I was put on standby and I engaged in some private
10 business together with my brother so that I did not become a part of any
11 reserve formation. As far as the army is concerned, I did not contact
12 anybody. I had nothing to do with the army. I worked privately and was
13 engaged in private business.
14 Q. Did you understand yourself to be under a general duty to be
15 mobilised when anybody wanted you to be -- or not when anybody, when the
16 HVO wanted you to be?
17 A. Well, I think I was sufficiently well-acquainted with everything
18 via the media, television and so on, but I never thought that anybody
19 could mobilise me, and I didn't think that any conflicts would take place
20 in Central Bosnia.
21 Q. And finally, for 1992, the refugees coming down to your part of
22 the valley were by no means all Muslim or anything like it, the majority
23 of them were probably Croats to begin with.
24 A. As far as the refugees go in my area, I know from my own village,
25 that the Muslim refugees remained there, but as far as the rest of the
1 municipality goes, I don't know.
2 Q. Your village, I think, had a majority of Croat houses, would that
3 be right?
4 A. In my village, the make-up of the population was 50/50, half,
6 Q. I'm just putting to you evidence that we've had from elsewhere,
7 but in the wider population, yes, 50/50, but in Buhine Kuce, was that
8 mostly Croats?
9 A. Up by the main road they were mostly Muslims, but as my own house
10 is 300 metres away from the main road, that means the Croats were a
11 minority in that region as far as the Muslims are concerned.
12 Q. You have spoken of some digging of trenches you say by Muslims in
13 the period before the outbreak of fighting, but there was no preparation
14 for fighting by either side in the period before the 16th of April, was
16 A. I don't know what the preparations were, but there was an ugly
17 feeling. These Muslim trenches were dug in front of our houses, and the
18 trenches that were dug around Mr. Dzidic's house, who was a member of the
19 municipal Crisis Staff at that time, or a post to that effect.
20 Q. Well this all followed months and months of the HVO taking over
21 Vitez, didn't it, or don't you remember that?
22 A. As far as the taking over of power, the Muslims and Croats took
23 over power and authority in Vitez after the first free elections so that a
24 municipal council was set up according to the principle of the number of
25 votes that everybody got. And the Crisis Staff was set up on that basis
1 so there's no need to speak of any takeover of control because it didn't
2 actually take place.
3 Q. And your private business, was that to do with humanitarian aid or
4 was that something else?
5 A. No, it didn't have anything to do with humanitarian aid. My
6 brother has a veterinary pharmacy, an agricultural pharmacy, and that's
7 the line of business we were in.
8 Q. On the morning of the 16th of April, you really tell us you don't
9 know where the firing came from?
10 A. I was woken up by the shooting. I got up. But where it was
11 coming from, I don't know. It seemed to me that it was coming from all
13 Q. When did you first realise that Santici and Ahmici, which is a
14 kilometre or so at most from your house, when did you first realise they
15 were being attacked by the HVO?
16 A. For two days we were shut up in a Croatian house, and what was
17 going on in Ahmici and Santici, we heard about that only at the end of the
18 day of the 17th. We heard that it was the defence of Croatian villages,
19 that's what we heard.
20 Q. I see. Well who told you this then?
21 A. We received that information from the people down there when we
22 got down there among the Croats.
23 Q. Well, the Croats said they'd simply been defending themselves, did
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I see. And you accepted that at the time, and you accept it
2 still, do you?
3 A. That was the first information that I heard. It was only later on
4 in time that I heard what had happened, especially in Ahmici, and this
5 took on a different dimension.
6 Q. What did you hear had happened?
7 A. I heard that a terrible crime had taken place, which I myself, as
8 an individual, just like everyone else, any normal person, condemned.
9 Q. Who'd done it? Who committed this crime?
10 A. I couldn't tell you because I don't know.
11 Q. I have only a couple more questions for you. Thank you.
12 You stayed in this house for a couple of days, and you say that
13 you were, as it were, mobilised into the Viteska Brigade by Anto Bertovic;
14 have I understood it correctly?
15 A. No; that is to say, for two days I was detained. We were in an
16 encirclement, in a house, those of us Croats who had remained there. It
17 was only in the afternoon of the 17th, at about 6.00 p.m., when we were
18 escorted by Mr. Kablar to the Hrvatska Kuce, and that's where I met my
19 Croat neighbours who were in their own houses.
20 Q. What was the formality of being made a member of the Viteska
21 Brigade? What did he say had happened so that you suddenly became a
22 member of the Viteska Brigade?
23 A. In my testimony I emphasised that we were there alone for a few
24 days. We were ordinary civilians, and we tried to do what we could to set
25 up a front line towards the Muslim side. With Mr. Bertovic's arrival
1 several days later, while we were down there, he would give us
2 instructions how to organise the defence line towards the Muslims, and he
3 said that they had just come from the Vitez Brigade to --
4 Q. His commander was Cerkez, wasn't it, Mario Cerkez?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Just quickly look at this document, just to give completeness,
7 1461.4. This document suggests that you were made a -- sorry, I should
8 explain the document to you in case you haven't seen it or haven't seen it
10 The 1st of November, 1994, this document, appears to be signed by
11 Mario Cerkez, and it confirms that you, born in 1964, have been a member
12 of the HVO Vitez Brigade since the 16th of April of 1993, and that you
13 were wounded in the SPS Vitez on the 5th of November, 1993.
14 As to that date, the 16th of April, 1993, can you explain why it's
15 there, if he really only came and told you days later you were mobilised
16 after you had been imprisoned or detained?
17 A. Well, the confirmation was issued on the 1st of November, 1994.
18 As a wounded person, I went before a commission to determine my
19 invalidity, the degree to which I had been injured. We see that it is the
20 Croatian Defence Council, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this was issued to me by
21 the regiment for this medical board --
22 Q. Yes. But why the 16th of April? That's all. Or is the truth
23 that you were, as it were, signed up a little earlier than the 19th and
24 that you were active as early as the 16th?
25 A. I couldn't have been in the brigade on duty before, because on the
1 16th I was taken prisoner, on the 16th/17th. And this is just a
2 bureaucratic piece of paper. These are facts and figures --
3 Q. Very well. The other reason I ask you that is this: We've heard
4 from a witness, at page 23630, Dragan Cickovic, that between the 16th and
5 18th of April, this part of the area, your village, was changing hands all
6 the time; first one side held it and then another did. Does that fit with
7 your recollection of events?
8 A. From the 16th to the 18th, that is to say, from the -- I can speak
9 about the 17th onwards. Because the Croatian houses in that village are
10 bordering on Sivrino Selo, so to the north you have Sivrino Selo. And
11 from the 17th, when I went down there with my neighbours, there was no
12 movement of any kind.
13 Q. Very well. The last thing, I want you to look at a page - I've
14 got the document and I'll make it available for the ELMO - it's part of
15 652.3 [sic], and it's a list of people assigned to the line on the HVO
17 MR. NICE: Very well. It better go in then. Sorry. Thank you
18 very much. My mistake. It's a new document. I only want the witness to
19 look at it for one purpose. Document 852.3. The transcript is wrong.
20 If the usher would be good enough to show the witness the list of
21 names, and it's where the numbers start at 72 and go onwards to 149.
22 Q. Now, if you look at this list of names, please, it's a list of
23 names of people deployed, and your name appears at number 100, I think.
24 What I want your help with for the moment is this: If we look at number
25 100, "Miskovic Josip," we can see that the names surrounding it are not in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 alphabetical order. They go "Vidovic Zoran, Papic Anto," then your name,
2 then "Djotlo Nikola, Bevanda Franjo," and so on.
3 Now, in case it becomes relevant, can you tell us, are the names
4 surrounding your name names with your village, or are they just simply, as
5 it were, names at random reflecting they're also being joined up to the
6 Viteska Brigade?
7 A. First of all, let me tell you that Josip -- there are three or
8 four Josip Miskovics in my village.
9 Q. Right.
10 A. So I couldn't say that that is actually me, my name.
11 Q. I see. Well, do the names surrounding your name come from your
12 village, then?
13 A. First of all, I'm not sure that the Josip Miskovic here is me;
14 secondly, of these names here, I think that as far as I am able to
15 recognise certain individuals, I don't think it is one village, I think
16 that they are people from different villages.
17 MR. NICE: In which case, Your Honour, probably this witness can't
18 help us with this document, and I'll get somebody else later who can.
19 That's all I have to ask him.
20 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Miskovic, I have one more question for you.
22 You were asked by the Prosecutor about the movement of lines in your
23 village. When were the lines in your village moved, shifted? At the
24 middle of 1993, in the period when you were there, or did that take place
25 later on?
1 A. Well, I stress that on the 16th and 17th I had been taken
2 prisoner. From the 17th, in the evening onwards, until -- and I was in
3 Buhine Kuce, there was no shifting. But the shifting took place at the
4 end of 1993 and the beginning of 1994, when the Muslim forces attacked
5 Buhine Kuce.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for that answer. I have
7 no further questions.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Miskovic, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
9 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 [The witness withdrew]
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 WITNESS: VLADO TARABA
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Taraba. Thank you for coming
22 to the Tribunal.
23 For the record, could you give us your full name and place and
24 date of birth?
25 A. My name is Vlado Taraba and I was born on the 14th of October,
1 1959 in Vitez.
2 Q. I am also going to ask you, Mr. Taraba, just as you have been
3 doing, to speak slowly and leave a pause between my question and your
4 answer and of course vice versa, I shall wait for you to finish what you
5 are saying to facilitate the interpreters' job. You are by nationality a
6 Croat; is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And you are Roman Catholic?
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. Do you have dual citizenship?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Does that mean that you are a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of
13 the Republic of Croatia?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do the laws of those countries allow you to have dual citizenship?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You are, by profession -- could you tell us what you are?
18 A. By profession, I am a teacher of protection and national defence.
19 Q. What does that subject imply? You graduated from university in
20 the former Yugoslavia. Now what does this entail, this faculty for
21 national defence and protection? What does it mean?
22 A. It was part of the political science faculty in Sarajevo and it
23 was aimed at training students to become teachers of protection and
24 national defence and to be able to teach in schools. And this was a
25 specific subject taught in the former Yugoslavia, and it also capacitated
1 pupils to work in the internal affairs department and in security.
2 Q. Did this include work in Territorial Defence?
3 A. Yes, it did.
4 Q. Mr. Taraba, as you're here and you have that professional training
5 and expertise, let me ask you one further question by way of
6 introduction: Is it true that the former Yugoslavia developed and had a
7 system of what was called "total national defence" or "all peoples'
8 national defence"?
9 A. Yes, it did.
10 Q. What did that mean? What did that system mean for the defence of
11 the country in case of war?
12 A. The system of total national defence and social self-protection,
13 as it was called in the former Yugoslavia, was aimed at training a broad
14 section of the population in matters of defence, to be able to defend the
15 country should there be a foreign aggressor, whether from neighbouring
16 countries, the NATO pact or the Warsaw pact.
17 Q. Do you agree that this concept of total national defence and
18 social self-protection included, in part, the fact that each citizen, each
19 and every citizen, unless he had already been given an assignment, should
20 a mobilisation arise to join the reserves of the JNA or reserve forces of
21 any kind or have work assignments, that he would stay in his home and in
22 his village to protect them. Was that the premise?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Or similarly, that workers in a socially-owned enterprise should
25 protect that enterprise?
1 A. Yes, that was regulated by the laws and regulations of the former
3 Q. Thank you. Mr. Taraba, today you are an officer of the army of
4 the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you have a rank?
7 A. Yes. I am a captain.
8 Q. Before the beginning of the war, I mean the war before 1992, you
9 worked as a professor in a school; is that right, you taught? What school
10 was that?
11 A. That was the secondary school centre of Boris Kidric located in
13 Q. When did you cease performing that function?
14 A. I stopped being a teacher in the school at the beginning of
15 December 1992.
16 Q. At that time, did your involvement begin in the 2nd Brigade of
17 Stjepan Tomasevic, 2nd Battalion of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade?
18 A. Yes, at the beginning of December 1992.
19 Q. And as a member of the command of the 2nd Battalion, what were
20 your duties?
21 A. I was in charge -- I was a deputy commander for education and
22 training and operational affairs.
23 Q. Could you explain in a word what this meant? What was your job?
24 What did you actually do at that time?
25 A. Well, my job was mainly to keep records of groups going to the
1 defence lines against the army of Republika Srpska or rather at that time
2 it was the former JNA, and I kept records of who went to the front line
3 and what weapons they had.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 A. I apologise, may I add?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. Among other things, I was charged with overseeing the change of
8 shifts on the defence line in the Strikanica and Slatka Voda line against
9 the Serb army.
10 Q. Thank you, we'll come to that later. In early December 1992 when
11 you joined the command of the 2nd Battalion of the Stjepan Tomasevic
12 Brigade, was it already functioning or was it just being established?
13 Were you in the first group of people in the brigade?
14 A. As far as I can recall, in early December was when the brigade was
15 formed, so I was among the first people to become members of the brigade
16 after it was established.
17 Q. And when did you leave the brigade? When did you stop being part
18 of this brigade, Stjepan Tomasevic?
19 A. We stopped being part of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade when the
20 Viteska Brigade was formed, and as far as I can remember, that was the end
21 of February or the beginning of March. That's when I think the Vitez
22 Brigade was formed.
23 Q. In 1993?
24 A. Yes, in 1993.
25 Q. Thank you. And your battalion was then re-organised and changed
1 its name; is that correct?
2 A. Yes. It was no longer the 2nd Battalion of the Stjepan Tomasevic
3 Brigade, it was now the 1st Battalion of the Vitez Brigade.
4 Q. And a new command was established, mostly new; is that correct?
5 A. Do you mean the battalion command?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. Yes, it was.
8 Q. Very well. Let us now stick to 1992 for a while so as to have the
9 events in the correct order. You already mentioned that you kept records
10 of men and weapons. Did you have or did you perform any activities in
11 connection with organising village patrols?
12 A. With respect to the organisation of village patrols, I had an
13 advisory role because they were mostly elderly men or men who were not
14 able bodied for military service. And they saw me, let's say, as an
15 expert in this area so they turned to me for advice and for help.
16 Q. Mr. Taraba, this advisory role was this something that you
17 undertook at someone's orders?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Was it on your own initiative?
20 A. Yes, at the initiative of my fellow villagers in the village.
21 Q. What villages are we talking about? Where did you give advice in
22 this way to help in the organisation of village patrols?
23 A. First of all, I am referring to my hamlet, Marosove Kuce and then
24 Stara Bila which are in a narrow area, and it was easy to have contacts
25 with people and give them advice.
1 Q. Were they villages in the immediate vicinity of your -- the place
2 where you lived?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you, as a citizen, an inhabitant of one of those villages, did
5 you feel duty-bound, in a moral sense, to help in the organisation of
6 village patrols?
7 A. Yes, of course I felt it was my moral duty because it was obvious
8 that there was a war raging in Croatia, that the units of the former JNA
9 were already in the areas nearby and there were local bandits, so to
10 speak, who made use of these circumstances for their own benefit.
11 Q. And who organised the village patrols?
12 A. The village patrols were mostly self-organised, the people from
13 the village. For example, some elderly people who had a good reputation
14 whom other people looked up to, who had authority among their neighbours,
15 and they organised it. So it was organised by people themselves.
16 Q. And if I understand you correctly, their reason, their motive for
17 this was the presence of the JNA in the area and also the increase in
18 crime, various gangs of criminals; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. When you were part of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, in your
21 battalion, and later on in the Vitez Brigade, did you ever receive the
22 task, or in general, was it your duty to organise village patrols?
23 A. No.
24 Q. In 1992, while you were in your village, did the village patrols
25 at least in your village and the villages nearby, function? Did they
1 function properly? Can you describe this very briefly?
2 A. Well, the patrols functioned relatively well because people saw
3 the need to protect themselves in a way. There were also people who
4 refused to go and made excuses that they had other duties but, in general,
5 they did function.
6 Q. And what did they, in fact, do, in 1992?
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, we've had a very considerable amount of
8 detail about this and the village guards.
9 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour, then I will not continue.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Taraba, do you remember later on in 1993 or
11 late 1992 and 1993, were there people from your village who went to take
12 shifts in the direction of Vlasic, Turbe, Jajce, in other places where the
13 HVO were active, as active soldiers?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you give an estimate how many such men were there in your
16 village of Marosi in late 1992?
17 A. I couldn't say the number of men exactly, but it's a relatively
18 small village and a lot of young people were working abroad.
19 Q. Did the Stjepan Tomasevic, or rather your battalion whether it was
20 part of Stjepan Tomasevic or later from March onwards part of the Vitez
21 Brigade, did it hold lines, the line from Strikanci to Slatka Vode?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. That was the line facing the JNA and the army of Republika Srpska;
24 is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And you mentioned that -- we don't want to weary the Trial
2 Chamber, but could you describe your role as regards these shifts?
3 A. My role was simply to take the men from various villages, to be
4 with them, to go to Strikanica to Slatka Vode with them, and then there
5 would be a change of shifts.
6 Q. Does that mean that you had to inform a certain number of men that
7 on such and such a date they would be going to perform such and such a
9 A. A few days before, as a rule. We told the coordinators in the
10 villages that they were to prepare a shift, a certain number of men, that
11 is, to go to the defence line against the army of Republika Srpska in the
12 sector you mentioned.
13 Q. Does that mean that there was a certain time and place from which
14 that group would go to the location you mentioned?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And according to plan, how large was the group supposed to be for
17 you to man your sector?
18 A. As far as I remember, between 50 and 60 men in a group. But we
19 rarely had the right number of men. There was always someone who was
20 sick, someone who couldn't come.
21 Q. If someone did not wish to respond and they said they were ill or
22 went on a journey to avoid going, could they have done that?
23 A. There were such people.
24 Q. Can we say that your soldiers responded, in fact, on a voluntary
1 A. Well, they had a moral obligation. It was voluntary, but if they
2 did not respond, they would be morally condemned by their neighbours who
3 did go.
4 Q. Very well. So you would gather them together in a certain place,
5 at a certain time --
6 JUDGE MAY: We have a great deal of evidence about this too. The
7 witness has described what he did in terms of organisation, and all this
8 detail doesn't really help us. In fact, it confuses things.
9 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, the point was -- of course, I will not
10 enter it further. But the idea was just that we have a person who was
11 constantly monitoring that project.
12 JUDGE MAY: If there's any dispute about it, he can be
13 cross-examined and if necessary you can re-examine him. Can we move on
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the usher to
16 show the witness Z653. [In English] Would you put the English on the ELMO
17 and the original to the witness.
18 I'm apologising for not announcing that document in front, but I
19 think that I put it -- yes, I did put it in the summary.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Taraba, first I will ask you, have you ever
21 seen this document before or, rather, did you see it then, during the war?
22 A. No.
23 Q. I will draw your attention to the place where there should be a
24 signature but there is only a post. Can you explain what it means?
25 A. That was the person who dealt with security in the unit.
1 Q. Can you tell us, do you believe that your battalion produced this
2 document? And this follows from the signature and from the heading.
3 A. Judging by the heading and the signature, I believe it did.
4 Although there is no actual signature of a person, but this type -- that's
5 what the documents looked like in general, yes.
6 Q. Do you remember perhaps on the 14th of April, when this document
7 was drawn up, who was performing this function in your battalion?
8 A. Whether it was Mr. Zarko Saric, I don't know, but I think it
9 was -- I think it was either him or the late Mr. Ivan Budimir. I cannot
10 be absolutely sure.
11 Q. Will you tell me the following, please: First of all, what does
12 SIS mean? That is an acronym in the heading and in the signature.
13 A. As far as I know, it means Security Information Service. Yes,
14 Security Information Service.
15 Q. Can we then say that it was an intelligence service within your
17 A. I think there was a person who was in charge of military
18 intelligence, and that was VOS. Those would be the letters used.
19 Q. Very well. On the basis of what were jobs assigned? What was the
20 duty of SIS and what was the duty of VOS, if you can explain that very
22 A. I think that the task of SIS was to deal with security inside the
23 unit; the task of VOS was to gather information about the army of
24 Republika Srpska.
25 Q. Does it mean any other enemy too, I mean, regardless of who that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. But let's go back to SIS. In view of the education
4 that you received and what you have just told us, would it be the task of
5 SIS to establish the possible source of recruits, soldiers, that could be
6 counted upon if need be?
7 A. This could be obtained from the defence office.
8 Q. Did the records of the defence office reflect the real situation
9 on the ground?
10 A. By and large, yes. Even though it did happen that, for instance,
11 my late uncle, who died in 1977, was also on the files there, and it was
12 in late 1993 -- yes, late 1993, they issued a summons to him, they wanted
13 to call him up.
14 Q. Very well. Finally, look at this document. Under 2, your village
15 and neighbouring villages are mentioned here - perhaps you are more or
16 less familiar with them - and also the number of soldiers is indicated.
17 Could you tell me if the number of soldiers indicated next to the
18 name of the villages tally with the number of those that you used to form
19 your unit? If you do not know exactly, then tell us approximately, or
20 no. I don't know if you know it at all, or do you?
21 A. Well, it's roughly there. Perhaps a little more, perhaps a little
22 less, but roughly, yes.
23 Q. Above that group of villages, it says: "Second Company -
24 Commander, Slavko Badrov." Tell us, please, at that time in those
25 villages, was there a company formed, or does this mean a company that
1 should be formed before you undertake an operation?
2 A. At that time companies existed on paper only, which means that
3 these are men who should become some of those men who went to take shifts
4 against the army of Republika Srpska, to just have some kind of a record.
5 Q. My last question about this: Would you agree that this overview
6 is the estimate that was done by the battalion regarding the possibilities
7 of defence in your villages, possible strength of troops in your villages?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. Tell me, Mr. Taraba, in the early days of the Vitez
10 Brigade, you have already told us it only had one battalion, didn't it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Could you identify the time when, as the conflict escalated, as of
13 the 16th of April, 1993, other battalions formed?
14 A. When the conflict broke out, it could have been six or seven days
15 later that the defence areas were formed, and areas comprised individual
16 villages. So I should think it was in July, end of July, but I'm not
17 quite sure of that, defence sectors grew into battalions of the Vitez
19 Q. Do you recall, how many battalions were there in early 1994, that
20 is, just before the war ended?
21 A. Four or five.
22 Q. Thank you. In March 1993, where was the seat of your battalion's
24 A. The headquarters of my battalion was in the administrative
25 building of Sumarija, at Rijeka.
1 Q. Could you tell us where it was before that, while you were still a
2 part of Stjepan Tomasevic?
3 A. It was in the building which housed the cinema.
4 Q. Do you remember why you moved from the cinema building to
6 A. I think it was because the brigade headquarters was now in this
8 Q. You mean the Vitez Brigade.
9 A. Yes, the command of the Vitez Brigade.
10 Q. So as not to go back to this, or perhaps we shouldn't open an area
11 for cross-examination which is not necessary. So the command post of the
12 battalion then moved to a third address. Do you know where that was?
13 A. I think that it was the building -- rather, a building within the
14 Impregnacija compound, if my memory serves me well.
15 MR. KOVACIC: I won't ask any further questions about that
16 location. We have heard enough.
17 Your Honour, if I may ask, are you planning for a longer day, or
18 we will finish as regular so I can plan?
19 JUDGE MAY: Regular hours.
20 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MAY: We want to hear a bit about your plans, so it may be
22 just as well if we conclude the witness now and go on in the morning. How
23 much longer do you anticipate being with the witness?
24 MR. KOVACIC: Surely not more than half an hour. There is one
25 issue. If I may point out, paragraph 4.2, I am unfortunately waiting for
1 the translation from the Registry; I was promised to get it today but so
2 far I haven't. Because I think that is a unique opportunity to use the
3 witness who said he would be able to recognise the tape.
4 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
5 Mr. Taraba, we are adjourning now as far as you are concerned.
6 Could you come back, please, tomorrow morning at half past nine to
7 conclude your evidence? Would you remember during the adjournment not to
8 speak to anybody about your evidence until it's over, and that does
9 include members of the Defence team. Thank you very much. If you'd like
10 to go now and be back at half past nine tomorrow morning.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
12 [The witness stands down]
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, any question to a witness beginning "Do
14 you agree with" is likely to be leading. Could you bear that in mind?
15 There was one just now on rather an important issue.
16 MR. KOVACIC: There was. I apologise, Your Honour. There was no
17 objection in advance to the summary, so I was simply looking for the
18 further -- for a faster advance. But I will not do it, definitely.
19 JUDGE MAY: What is the state of play now?
20 MR. KOVACIC: If I may ask the usher -- unfortunately, the usher
21 is now out of the courtroom.
22 JUDGE MAY: Ask the Registrar to help you.
23 MR. KOVACIC: I have put this in telegraphic form. Since we are
24 talking about the numbers and the days, probably it would be better if you
25 could distribute it to everybody.
1 As you can see, Your Honours, we analysed the situation up to
2 Saturday late afternoon when we prepared this paper. Even though there
3 are some little differences in numbers, and even though that in the
4 meantime, this example only of how precise I would forecast may be, but in
5 the meantime I got information that my expert witness is on the operation
6 in the hospital. So you never know how the things are changing because we
7 are dealing with a relatively big number of persons coming from different
8 areas with many other specific problems.
9 Nevertheless, first of all, we think that last couple of days
10 clearly showed good progress and we think that, based on that progress
11 including today, that that entitled us to plan the rest of the case rather
12 optimistically. We would like to see about 40 witnesses in the courtroom
13 until the end of the case but unfortunately, I don't think that we will
14 have more than optimistically 36, 37 if we are lucky.
15 We also did make a plan for weeks in details, we know who is
16 coming when. It is about ten witnesses to be called during the week of 25
17 September, then three witnesses during the short week of October 2, and
18 then about 11, 12, originally planned 13, will be called on the week of 9
19 October. There is contingency. If all the planned witnesses for the week
20 of 9 October would appear, probably one or two would be prolonged on
21 Monday for the week of I guess that is 16 October, the last week of our
22 Defence, anyway.
23 Then during that last week, we would like to have the testimony of
24 our client. We will try to prepare that efficiently so that it will not
25 take, for direct examination, more than two days. We are not planning
1 something like was seen in Blaskic case going in minutes by minutes, hour
2 and hour. Simply, if for nothing else, than for practical reasons our
3 client does not have such records to follow which Mr. Blaskic did. If we
4 can agree that, roughly speaking, there shall be at least general balance
5 of time spent, then we obviously could count on four days maximum, so up
6 to two days for the direct and up to two days for cross-examination.
7 I would just like to conclude that we believe that that is
8 feasible. It is perhaps a little bit tight, but with all due respect, we
9 hope that we really can deliver that providing that some additional time
10 will not be taken from us like from, for example, I don't have an idea
11 when those two witnesses which are subpoenaed will arrive and if they
12 will, I would kindly ask that this time would not be taken from us.
13 JUDGE MAY: It can't be taken from you.
14 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour. And only maybe to explain
15 there is also mentioning of one -- I use the term "standard witness" in
16 the -- I guess you understand, but also substantial witness and this
17 witness is already given on batting order to my dear colleagues, it is
18 Captain Anto Bertovic. We cannot put him on short direct examination like
19 other witnesses, because there are surely several subjects; he has to
20 explain what was going on from his perspective.
21 JUDGE MAY: When are you minded to call him?
22 MR. KOVACIC: We are planning to have him in this short week as
23 the first witness or perhaps if one or two, but extremely short witnesses
24 from the previous week will not be finished on the Friday of the previous
25 week, when perhaps we will finish first those two, but we are planning in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 a way that last witnesses from previous -- or a week which preceded the
2 short week, that those last witnesses are really short, just a small
3 picture in and out and we can do it in -- altogether with cross and direct
4 in less than an hour, I guess. Anyway, then Mr. Bertovic would be able to
5 start on first trial day in that short week and then we have two short
6 witnesses just in order to fill in all the time which may remain.
7 Your Honour, we really did the best we can. We consider it also
8 additional affidavits, we did find two, but unfortunately, we are not able
9 to relocate some witnesses originally planned for live testimony to the
10 category of affidavits simply because we have no vehicle to attach him to
11 something. But we are planning quite a big number of affidavits which are
12 connected to so-called Spork binders where there is obviously no sense to
13 get another, I don't know, 50 people to have their testimony on how and
14 why they were recorded in those listings.
15 So we will have an officer who was involved in that process during
16 the war and after the war who, either directly or indirectly, was involved
17 in production of those various listings, at least some of them, and who
18 knows about technology, and it is through that witness based on the
19 examples the witness will use, we can use the affidavits.
20 I wouldn't have anything more to add. If you have any questions,
21 I will be delighted to answer.
22 JUDGE MAY: No. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Kovacic. We
23 appreciate your efforts.
24 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MAY: If that timetable is followed, then clearly that would
1 be satisfactory as far as the timing of the case is concerned.
2 Let me say this about the timing of the case, that we intend to
3 stick to the timetable but, as you may have heard, the case which we were
4 going to hear in November has had to go off and, as a result, there will
5 be two weeks in reserve.
6 Now, that is not to encourage anybody to think of calling more
7 evidence, the words are "in reserve". It may be that it will be necessary
8 to call the Court witnesses during that period which we'll have to
9 consider, but that apart, we do not anticipate calling any or having any
10 other evidence during the period, but they are in reserve which brings me
11 to something I ought to deal with in closed session.
12 Could we go into private session, please?
13 [Private session]
13 Page 24917 redacted – private session.
13 Page 24918 redacted – private session.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
15 at 4.16 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday
16 the 19th day of September, 2000, at
17 9.30 a.m.