1 Wednesday, 20
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.38 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
7 WITNESS: DRAGAN TOMIC [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
10 Q. Mr. Tomic, did I understand you to say yesterday that your
11 principal motive for joining the police was in order that you could obtain
12 a firearm?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Was that, on your judgement, the approach of many of those who
15 were in the military police, that they wanted to be armed?
16 A. That was of all of us down there, to defend ourselves, because the
17 Serbs had already started the war. We, who had no weapons, naturally
18 wanted to have weapons in order to protect ourselves.
19 Q. Yes. We heard of various people not being members of the military
20 police, apparently not being members of any armed unit, but nevertheless
21 having hunting rifles and operating as village guards. You weren't
22 prepared to do your duty at that level; you wanted to be a member of a
23 unit, didn't you?
24 A. I wanted to have a weapon in order to protect my family, because I
25 was not a hunter so I didn't have even a hunting rifle. Therefore, I had
1 to look, to see, some way to take care of myself.
2 Q. You tell us that when you were working together with Muslims,
3 somebody said something about an Islamic state, a Djamahirija. Who was it
4 who said that, please?
5 A. It wasn't one who said that, many said that. It was already, how
6 shall I put it, it was a habit of theirs to pull our leg for a number of
7 years, and that is how they greeted us, like this.
8 Q. Pulling your leg is one thing; saying something seriously is
9 another. You didn't use the phrase "pulling our leg" or your leg
10 yesterday, but is that all it was, a sort of joke?
11 A. Afterwards, it happened every day. For instance, on one occasion,
12 a colleague who was with me told me to look at the sky. We were doing the
13 third shift between the municipality of Vitez and the municipality of
14 Busovaca. He said, "Tomic, look up. What do I see?" And what do I see?
15 I see the moon and the stars. And he told me, "Well, when you see up
16 there the chequerboard, that is when you will have living space here. As
17 long as there are stars and a moon up there, we shall be ruling here."
18 That is what he told me, and he really meant it, and warned me to mind
19 that we never find one another -- one opposite the other when the time
21 Q. Can you give us the name of this person? You see, if you're
22 suggesting these were serious observations, I'd like the names of the
23 people who made them.
24 A. I can't remember the name. But he now works for the civilian
25 police in Vitez together with Croats. I know that he comes from Sivrino
1 Selo. I can't remember his name.
2 Q. I see. When was all this happening, Mr. Tomic, in the autumn of
3 1992 - have I got the picture right? - or was it earlier than that?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 Q. Autumn of 1992.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Before your injury in November, how long had you been an active
8 member of the military police, please?
9 A. Two months.
10 Q. You'd had your training, hadn't you?
11 A. Yes, month-long. And after that month I was injured.
12 Q. Yes. Are you saying that you were a reserve policeman or a
13 full-time, active policeman?
14 A. I was a member of the military police at the time when I was
15 injured, and at that time we were already accommodated in what you could
16 call the barracks in Kruscica.
17 Q. Thank you. I've got two very short passages from a large exhibit
18 called 511, and I've already flagged them. So if the usher would be good
19 enough. The English version has got -- sorry, I didn't tag them.
20 The document that's coming your way is a record of work of the
21 military police in 1992, and I only want your comment on two passages of
23 It's the green tags for him and it's the green tags for us. I
24 think this is page 12, for reference purposes, in the English.
25 This record of the work of the military police from 1992 says
1 this, and this is a short paragraph, you'll find, beside the green tag:
2 "Military police units include battalions, companies, and
3 platoons which, in accordance with the territorial principle, cover
4 individual zones of operations.
5 "The First Battalion of the Military Police, formed exclusively
6 from active officers, has three companies: the First Company based in
7 Vitez ..." and then it deals with the second and third, and it goes on to
8 say, "The personnel of this battalion are trained for the most difficult
9 and most important military police tasks."
10 Do you agree with that assessment of what you were doing in 1992,
11 please, Mr. Tomic?
12 A. I do not.
13 Q. In what way do you say that this description is incorrect?
14 A. Because my primary task -- I was with the traffic platoon, and my
15 task was to look after the traffic of goods and people, because at that
16 time humanitarian relief, that is, food supplies and medicines, were
17 arriving from the Republic of Croatia, and who knows from what other
18 parts. Our task, the task of our platoon, was simply to provide security
19 for the free transport of goods, of people, and this humanitarian relief.
20 Q. Well, you must have had some idea of what other platoons of the
21 1st Company of military police were doing in Vitez. Does this description
22 of their work fit with your understanding of what they were doing, please?
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. No idea of what the rest of the military police were doing; is
25 that really what you're telling us, Mr. Tomic?
1 A. I can only make guesses.
2 Q. Well, let's look at the next and second tag. If you go to the
3 second green marker on the papers that you have, Mr. Tomic, and we're on
4 page 13, this paragraph deals with training and it says:
5 "Faced with the problem of professional training and personnel
6 selection, efforts were made to ensure permanent training for members of
7 the military police force at a training centre. A curriculum was drawn up
8 in cooperation with professional bodies of the MUP RH/the Interior
9 Ministry of the Republic of Croatia/. On 20 September 1992 the Military
10 Police Training Centre was founded in Neum. The conduct of professional
11 training was entrusted to instructors from the Interior Ministry of the
12 Republic of Croatia. Since its foundation, about 300 members of the
13 military police force have received training there. All participants who
14 complete the training course successfully are sent to the active units of
15 the military police, where they are proving themselves to be the
16 foundation of the military police force by the quality of their work."
17 Well, now you had this month's training, didn't you?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The description here, no doubt, fits with your recollection. You
20 were being trained by instructors from Croatia; correct?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Well, who were you being trained by?
23 A. That is not so.
24 Q. I see. Well, who were you being trained by, if not by instructors
25 from Croatia?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 A. They were from Herzegovina.
2 Q. Can you give us any of their names?
3 A. I cannot really recall the names, but I know they were
4 Herzegovinians --
5 Q. This is not a document --
6 A. -- that they were not from the Republic of Croatia.
7 Q. This is not a document prepared by anybody except the military
8 police themselves. Can you explain how it could be suggested that the
9 Republic of Croatia was training you when in fact you were being trained
10 by somebody else, Mr. Tomic?
11 JUDGE MAY: I think that's probably a comment.
12 MR. NICE: Yes. Maybe, Your Honour, it is.
13 Q. Let's take that document back, then, please, and see if you can
14 help us with some other things about the military police. Pasko Ljubicic
15 was the commander, wasn't he?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. But let's not trouble ourselves for the time being with the people
18 at the top. Let's trouble ourselves with the people at your level. No
19 doubt in your months there you met some people you already knew and you
20 made some new contacts and new friends. Would that be about right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Well, tell us: Who were your friends, please, in the military
23 police when you were working in the autumn of 1992?
24 A. Well, there were six, seven. Depends on how many of us were in
25 the department. And yes, we kept each other's company, because we served
1 on the same shifts and we were together --
2 Q. Their names, please, Mr. Tomic?
3 A. Well, for instance, Dusko Prusac from Busovaca.
4 Q. Yes?
5 A. Glavas, Mladen Glavas - I think his first name is Mladen - from
6 Busovaca again. Srecko -- I can't remember his surname. He comes from
7 Dusina, from Lasva, towards Zenica.
8 Q. Another one? Another name?
9 A. There was Franjo Ramljak, from Zenica; Tikvic, from Zenica again.
10 Q. Very well. That will do for the time being. Did any of these
11 people get killed in the fighting or did they all survive?
12 A. These people were with me that night when we were stopped in
13 Kruscica, and I think -- I'm not seeing them. That is, I'm still seeing
14 the two who live in Vitez. The other ones I don't know. But I've been
15 seeing Franjo Ramljak and this one, Tikvic, from time to time.
16 Q. Let's now go back to the top level of the military police and also
17 to its organisation. Tell us, please, about the Jokers. That's part of
18 the military police. Just tell us about them.
19 A. I cannot tell you anything about it, because I do not know.
20 Q. You know the name. It was part of the military police.
21 A. Yes, I've heard about it, but to know something, no.
22 Q. Who was in the Jokers?
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. How many military police all together were there, so that we've
25 got some picture of this body that you were a member of? How many?
1 A. I think some 120, more or less.
2 Q. Yes. And the Jokers were a part of that 120, weren't they?
3 A. I think so.
4 Q. Yes. So not a very large body, Mr. Tomic. Think back, please.
5 Can you not give us any idea when the word "Jokers" was first used or who
6 was in the Jokers? Try and help us, please.
7 A. I cannot help you, because I was -- because I was at home. And
8 about all those events in the early days in the war, I knew nothing, and
9 after that. And even if somebody knew something about it, he was rather
10 reluctant to talk about that because --
11 Q. I'm going to come back to that a little later. Can we just look
12 at two documents now that deal with the attack you suffered. You no doubt
13 got to discover, either at the time or afterwards, that you were attacked
14 because there had been a Croat murder of Muslims on the previous day. Did
15 you discover that?
16 A. We knew nothing.
17 Q. Did you subsequently discover that that was the reason, or the
18 probable reason, for the attack on you?
19 A. I heard that there had been an incident.
20 Q. Thank you very much.
21 A. But I don't know --
22 MR. NICE: Your Honour, this is dealt in the evidence of Nihad
23 Rebihic at page 8342. Just two documents of record that cover the
24 incident. First 287.5.
25 The original for the witness, please, English on the ELMO, first
2 Q. This, Mr. Tomic, is a document, and you can see that it's signed
3 by Ljubicic. It's dated the 20th of November, it goes to the Mostar
4 Ministry of Defence, and it sets out how, at about 1.20 on the 20th of
5 November, on the road between Vitez and Kruscica, members of the BH army
6 halted an official vehicle of the active duty returning from its regular
7 shift, a vehicle occupied by -- and six names are set out, including
8 yours. Before we pass on, which are the two names are the people to whom
9 you still speak, please? Numbers?
10 A. 5, Vinko Tikvic; and 6, Franjo Ramljak.
11 Q. It goes on to say:
12 "After their vehicle was halted the, said military policemen were
13 disarmed and taken to the army premises in Kruscica. Dragan Botic, a cook
14 in our unit, was with the military policemen."
15 And it then goes on, on the next sheet in the English, but it's on
16 the same page for you, Mr. Tomic, to say:
17 "At 1.30, the commander of the Vitez active-duty VP phoned,
18 Sefkija Dzidic, the commander of the Vitez BH army, demanding an immediate
19 release of the apprehended military policeman. Sefkija Dzidic said there
20 would be no problems, that his men acted out of rage at the murder which
21 had occurred the previous night, and that our men would suffer no harm.
22 "Immediately after this telephone conversation, the commander of
23 the active-duty VP called Major General Slobodan Praljak and informed him
24 about the incident. After this, contact was made every 15 minutes with
25 Travnik HVO headquarters. Present there were the said Major General,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 Colonel Blaskic, and Mr. Dario Kordic, the president of the HZ HB, who did
2 not allow the launching of an operation for the release of our men."
3 Pausing there, did you discover anything about why a Croatian
4 general was present at the time and involved in this business, please,
5 Mr. Tomic?
6 A. I haven't the least idea what was going on outside the garage.
7 Q. Did you ever discover -- you must have been concerned with what
8 happened when you regained consciousness and learnt about events. Did you
9 ever discover why it was that Mr. Kordic had not allowed an operation to
10 release you?
11 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, let me just object to this document on
12 the ground that the document itself is not signed and the Prosecution has
13 not laid an appropriate foundation for the admissibility of this document,
14 as is their obligation.
15 JUDGE MAY: We've dealt with this sort of objection before and
16 made the comment that documents speak for themselves. The fact that there
17 is no signature, although there is a written name at the bottom -- we can
18 see the commander of the battalion, Ljubicic, appears. Normally we have
19 treated such documents as admissible but to decide what weight to give
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE MAY: We'll admit the document.
23 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
24 Q. My question was: Did you ever discover, after you regained
25 consciousness, why it was that Dario Kordic had not allowed a launching of
1 an operation for your release?
2 A. I don't know anything about this document.
3 Q. Very well.
4 A. And I haven't the slightest what was going on.
5 Q. Very well. I only want you to look at the rest of the
6 document - it won't take long - for your comments on its accuracy so far
7 as you can judge it.
8 "At about 6.45, the apprehended policeman, the cook, and the
9 civilian named Rajic, a mere passerby, arrived at the premises of the
10 active-duty VP in Vitez. All of them were in a bad medical condition,
11 owing to the injuries they received from the members of the Kruscica BH
12 army. Four policemen were urgently taken to the Travnik hospital because
13 they had received life-threatening injuries. Subsequently, the rest of
14 the policemen were taken to the same hospital.
15 "We have videotaped the injuries received by the four policemen
16 and have a videotape showing these. It presents a classic example of
17 barbarism because our men were butchered. They were stabbed. They had
18 their," -- and it's not clear -- something cut, "and HVO letters incised
19 into various parts of their bodies."
20 Just pausing there, does that accord with your recollection or
21 information as to what happened to you and your colleagues?
22 A. Well, there were these things, but it's not all accurate. I don't
23 know. I remembered until the second treatment, as we used to call it,
24 when I was hit with the butt of a machine-gun, and when I sustained those
25 fractures and then fainted. I don't know when. And I woke up -- I came
1 to in Nova Bila.
2 Q. Well, we'll just see what's said about that. The last few lines
3 say this:
4 "Medical records reveal that all the injured received severe
5 bodily injuries.
6 "Two military policemen were sent home for home care, four were
7 retained at the Nova Bila hospital for treatment, and one - Dragan Tomic -
8 was urgently sent to the hospital in Split because he was in a very bad
10 "As a result of an incident, tension increased primarily among the
11 men in our unit, but also among the other HVO members, both in Vitez and
12 in Busovaca."
13 Now, insofar as it describes your medical movements and treatment,
14 that would appear to be accurate; right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. One other short document to look at on the same topic, 289.2.
17 Now, this is a document; I don't suggest you will have seen this. It's
18 the following day and comes from Valentin Coric. Can you just explain who
19 he was, if you know? If you don't know, say so.
20 A. I don't know anything about this document. It's the first time I
21 see it.
22 Q. Do you know the name of the person who signed it?
23 A. I know the name of the person. He was known through the media.
24 Q. What was his job?
25 A. He was, I think, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or something to
1 that effect, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But I can't be sure exactly.
2 Q. Well, this document, just quickly read it, goes to the 1st
3 Active-Duty Military Police Company in Vitez, informed of their report,
4 which is the last document we've looked at, it goes on to say:
5 "Prevent acts of retribution from our soldiers because they might
6 lead to new clashes between Muslims and Croats which could have
7 unforeseeable consequences. Take measures against the perpetrators of
8 last night's murder of Muslims if they are HVO soldiers (you have not
9 reported on this so please do it). We will take measures against BH army
10 soldiers through their command."
11 Were you aware, after the event, when you regained consciousness,
12 were you aware of murder or murders of Muslims at about the time that you
13 were injured and associated with your injuries?
14 A. While I was in hospital I didn't even know what my own name was.
15 I couldn't eat; I didn't eat for about a fortnight. I didn't care about
16 anything at all. And I saw my wife and my children through a kind of
17 mist --
18 Q. Yes, I understand all that.
19 A. I knew nothing about documents.
20 Q. The question I'm asking you is: Did you discover subsequently,
21 when you had recovered to the extent that you did, did you discover
22 subsequently that there had been killings, or a killing, of Muslims all
23 connected with the attack on you, please?
24 A. No, but various rumours were going around. Some were true; others
25 were not. I have three sons, I had two at the time, and I did not want to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 lay any emphasis on this because we live in a mixed neighbourhood. I have
2 Muslim neighbours; in my hamlet there are Muslims. If somebody did
3 something to me, I would deal with it myself. I didn't need help from
4 anyone. I would go and talk to that person or not, as the case may be. I
5 am not an investigator, and if I did see something, I don't know what I
6 would do.
7 Q. All right. Only a couple more topics I want to raise with you
8 very briefly.
9 When you came out of hospital, I think you reported twice to the
10 military police to try and join up again, and you were rejected; is that
11 about right?
12 A. I reported because that's what I was supposed to do.
13 Q. Did this keep you in contact with your colleagues at the police,
14 including Vinko Tikvic and Franjo Ramljak? Did that keep you in contact
15 with them?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, of course, on the 16th of April you just were woken up by the
18 detonations, and you tell us you went straight to Lazine; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. So you can't tell us anything from your own observations of what
21 actually happened on the 16th of April at Ahmici, can you?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. Very well. That's your evidence. As a matter of fact, did you
24 take a rifle with you when you went to Lazine?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Was it your police rifle?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So although you were not working for the police, you were allowed
4 to keep your rifle at home; is that right?
5 A. At my insistence, the rifle stayed with me because of all these
6 events. So I did have one.
7 Q. Who gave you permission to keep this rifle?
8 A. In that case nobody even asked me, but I simply -- I had received
9 it and so I kept it.
10 Q. Did all the military policemen take their rifles home? Were there
11 enough rifles for the military police to do that?
12 A. It was a rifle that was issued to me. I was issued with it; it
13 was mine.
14 Q. I see. You say that you stayed in Lazine until when?
15 A. Well, until the end of September. Toward the end of September.
16 Q. What's the name of your father?
17 A. Franjo.
18 Q. Your area, as we know from the map, is all very close to
19 Dubravica, isn't it?
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. NICE: Can we have private session just for a minute to
22 identify someone by name?
23 [Private session]
9 [Open session]
10 MR. NICE:
11 Q. The person whose name I've just provided you left the area of
12 Donja Dubravica in June of 1993, before you had returned to the military
13 police. Do you remember his departure? Just yes or no, not naming the
15 A. No.
16 Q. Well, it's right, isn't it, that he signed a document as a result
17 of which much of his property passed to other people, including to you,
18 and he left the area with little more than his lorry?
19 A. He has now come back, we are neighbours again, and he has
20 everything. He speaks well of us. And I wasn't there when he left, but
21 we did come across each other while these unhappy events were going on, we
22 did meet occasionally. For his property to be preserved, he gave it to
23 people. He drew up some kind of contract.
24 Q. Whatever may have happened since, Mr. Tomic, the contract that he
25 drew up whereby property passed to you and to others was something that
1 was done under pressure, wasn't it, at the time?
2 A. No, no.
3 Q. Even though you were in Lazine, as you say, defending that
4 village, you were well able to take part in the cleansing of the area of
5 people like the man I've just referred to, and whose name we aren't
7 A. That is not correct. I wasn't in the trench all the time. I did
8 go home occasionally.
9 Q. Last topic: You eventually joined the police again in October of
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. As we know, you would have kept up with, and were now able to talk
13 to people like Vinko Tikvic and Franjo Ramljak; yes?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. By now, no one in your valley can have been ignorant, I suggest to
16 you, of the attack on Ahmici; you would accept that, wouldn't you?
17 Everybody knew about that attack.
18 A. It was a tragedy that people are reluctant to talk about.
19 Q. They may be reluctant, Mr. Tomic, but let's deal with it in
20 stages. You knew by the time you rejoined the military police that there
21 had been an HVO attack on and massacre at Ahmici; correct?
22 A. I knew, but from rumours that it had happened. And of course
23 whoever did that should be held responsible for it, for that tragedy.
24 Q. Now, you're a military policeman who, on your evidence, was
25 unavoidably detained elsewhere on the night of the 15th/16th. But from
1 your evidence, Vinko Tikvic and Franjo Ramljak, among others, are military
2 policemen who are alive and well and who were working on that night; would
3 that be correct?
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. Well, when you rejoined the military police, Mr. Tomic, did you
6 never ask them what they'd done on that night or what had happened?
7 A. No.
8 Q. You never once, of any one of the military police, you never asked
9 them what had happened, what Ljubicic had done, or how it had gone wrong?
10 A. No, I never asked anyone about it.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour. [Interpretation] Your
12 Honour, just a few questions for clarification.
13 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Tomic, at the beginning of your examination
15 it was suggested to you that you joined the military police in order to
16 obtain a weapon; you remember this, the Prosecutor said that.
17 A. I joined the civilian police for that reason, to get a weapon.
18 Q. To clarify things, after you were rejected or, rather, after you
19 did not manage to join the army in Croatia to fight against the JNA, you
20 joined the reserve police force in Vitez; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. How long were you part of the reserve civilian police force in
24 A. Less than a year.
25 Q. After that you joined the military police.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You were in Neum for your training.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You said that this is a town in the Republic of
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. We are talking about September 1992. Who, at that time, was the
8 only enemy of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
9 A. The Serbs, the Serbian army.
10 Q. You were shown a document which is, in fact, a report about your
11 beating and the beating up of your colleagues in Fatina Vodica by members
12 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. On that occasion were you ever
13 contacted by any organs of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina for the
14 perpetrators to be established, or were you ever contacted by
15 representatives of this Tribunal?
16 A. No.
17 Q. A unit was mentioned called the Jokers, and you said you didn't
18 know much about them.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] For Their Honours, I would like to
20 draw attention to the fact that Witness AS testified that that unit was
21 established in late January or early February 1993.
22 Q. At that time you were on sick-leave; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. The man whose name we will not mention was referred to, and he
25 drew up a contract transferring his property to his fellow villagers. Has
1 he come back to the village?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Has all his property been restored to him?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Is he grateful to his fellow villagers for this?
6 A. Yes, he is.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have
8 no further questions.
9 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Tomic, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
10 for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 [The witness withdrew]
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, which is your next witness?
14 MR. MIKULICIC: Our next witness is Mr. Marijan Strukar.
15 Your Honour, before the witness comes in, just a brief explanation
16 and a request. Marijan Strukar arrived in The Hague last night. He
17 brought three short documents with him which are relevant for this case,
18 and I would like to tender them into evidence. Of course they have not
19 been translated, unfortunately, but the text is very brief so I suggest we
20 put these three short documents on the ELMO. I have given copies to the
21 interpreters' booths, and they can be translated very soon and entered
22 into the evidence, if you will permit.
23 JUDGE MAY: What are the documents?
24 [The witness entered court]
25 MR. MIKULICIC: These are two summons to join the civilian
1 protection, and one certificate belonging to the Vitez Brigade.
2 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
6 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
7 WITNESS: MARIJAN STRUKAR
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
10 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Strukar, good morning. On behalf of the
12 Defence of Mr. Mario Cerkez I will conduct your examination. Please try
13 to recall the events to the best of your ability; we all know that a lot
14 of time has elapsed since 1993. Also please bear in mind that you should
15 speak slowly and pause before giving your replies so that the interpreters
16 can do their job.
17 Mr. Strukar, for the record, would you please tell us your full
18 name and date and place of your birth?
19 A. My name is Marijan Strukar. I was born on the 6th of May, 1956,
20 in Travnik.
21 Q. Do you live in Vitez?
22 A. Yes. I was born in Travnik but I live in Vitez. There was no
23 hospital in Vitez so that's why I was born in Travnik. But I've been
24 living in Vitez all the time.
25 Q. So you would consider yourself a native of Vitez.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. By nationality, you're a Croat, a Roman Catholic.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You're a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You completed secondary school of engineering in Novi Travnik.
8 A. Yes, engineering.
9 Q. You're an engineering technician by profession, and today you are
10 employed in an insurance company called Euroherc.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You're head of the branch office in Vitez.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You're married and a father of two children.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You're not a member of any political party.
17 A. No.
18 Q. You have two sisters and a brother.
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. Did you serve in the former JNA?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. Did you acquire any rank after your military service?
23 A. Well, it wasn't a rank exactly. I was a private, a private First
24 Class. You became a private First Class after completing a course.
25 Q. So that was the lowest rank in the then-hierarchy?
1 A. Yes, that's right. You couldn't consider it a proper rank.
2 Q. Very well. Since 19 -- from 1987 until the outbreak of the war
3 you were employed; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You worked in Vitezit as head of the plant maintenance service and
6 later as the head of production; is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What was the ethnic make-up of the employees in the Vitezit
9 company where you worked?
10 A. Well, I can tell you that no one actually thought about it at the
11 time. The ethnic make-up reflected the general ethnic make-up of Vitez.
12 I can't say whether there were more Croats or Muslims or Serbs, but
13 Vitezit reflected the whole population of Vitez, because it was the
14 biggest factory in Vitez. It employed 3.000 workers, and they were of all
16 Q. Thank you. Apart from your regular job, you were also active in
17 another field. Would you tell us what it was?
18 A. Well, my father was a volunteer firefighter, and quite early on he
19 got me to join the volunteer fire brigade. So when the war broke out, I
20 had been a member for 21 years.
21 Q. And your long years of service, did it result in a formal post in
22 the volunteer fire brigade?
23 A. Well, it was not a professional unit. We were not paid. We
24 simply acquired experience. And for the last seven years before the war,
25 I was the leader of a unit of the volunteer fire brigade.
1 Q. Did you have a superior, so to say?
2 A. Well, I don't know if you understand what I mean by "leader of a
3 unit." That's an operative leader who leads the men when putting out a
4 fire. But there are 24 hours in the day, and the fire-fighting can go on
5 for a hour or two. But there was also a president and a secretary of the
6 association, and they were in charge when there was no fire to be put out,
7 when there was just administrative work to be done.
8 Q. So you were a firefighter in the field, so to say?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You mentioned the president. Who was the president of the
12 A. Well, we had to elect him from time to time. That's how it was.
13 And it changed every year. I don't know if I can remember who it was at
14 the time or who it was every time, but it was then someone who had the
15 same last name as me. His last name was also Strukar, but I don't know if
16 we are related or not. He may be a distant relative. His name is Anto.
17 And the other one, who was more important, in our view, was called Sead
18 Smriko. The president was there just to sign papers and so on.
19 Q. So the man you considered to be the most important man was Sead
20 Smriko in your organisation?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Smriko is a Muslim by ethnicity?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And for a time, you were also active in the conference of the
25 youth association of Vitez?
1 A. Yes, for a time. I was even chairman of the municipal conference
2 of the youth association for a year.
3 Q. Mr. Strukar, tell us, please, where the house belonging to your
4 parents where you grew up was located in Vitez. Where was it situated?
5 A. Well, if you look at the town centre proper and if you move
6 towards the suburbs of Vitez, you would come to the family houses. And my
7 particular house was in that area, north-west of the centre of town, that
8 is to say, moving towards Travnik and the Catholic church, which is about
9 a kilometre away from the centre.
10 Q. Later on, you built your own house near your parents' house; is
11 that right?
12 A. Yes. Some ten metres away from my parents' house, actually. I
13 had a small property there and got all the papers I needed to construct my
14 own house.
15 Q. You described the position of your house and said it was near the
16 Catholic church, but the church was near a part of Vitez running along the
17 Lasva River. What name does that area go by?
18 A. You're asking me what it was called? We referred to it, the
19 locals called it -- that is to say, us local inhabitants called it Mahala;
20 and more recently, that is to say, during the war and after the war,
21 many -- and maybe people -- many people think that this is Stari Vitez,
22 old Vitez. But those of us who have lived there for many years know that
23 that was never referred to as Stari Vitez before.
24 Q. So the section you're talking about is the Mahala, which was
25 almost exclusively inhabited by Muslims; is that right? There were some
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 Croats, but mostly Muslims; is that right?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. So for as long as you can remember, you and all the inhabitants of
4 Vitez called that the Mahala; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. But during the war people began to refer to it as Stari Vitez, old
7 Vitez, which today seems to have become synonymous for the area that was
8 actually originally referred to as Mahala; is that true?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. But you say that is incorrect?
11 A. That's right, because the people who were born and bred in Vitez,
12 the old inhabitants of Vitez, know that Vitez was formed from a part that
13 belonged to Austro-Hungary. And there was the Han company. And this was
14 the old Vitez which is in all the maps and ancient manuscripts and
15 charters, and that section was always known and called Mahala. But during
16 the war, on the radio, we used to hear that the code for the Muslim army,
17 when referring to Mahala, that it was referred to as Stari Grad, Stari
18 Vitez, old town or old Vitez. And it was interesting for us to hear on
19 the news that it was -- that Stari Vitez was being attacked. We knew that
20 in fact this was Mahala, because you would otherwise think that it
21 was -- that the town had developed from that old part.
22 Q. So if I understand you correctly, you -- Stari Vitez was the part
23 that stretched from the old train station; that's Stari Vitez today as
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. But compared to Mahala, how far is that part of town?
2 A. I would say it was three kilometres away.
3 Q. So they have nothing in common, no points in common?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Well, perhaps that makes it clearer. Mr. Strukar, were you given
6 any military assignments or were you members -- were you a member of
7 military units of any kind until the conflict broke out in Vitez?
8 A. Well, no, not military units. I said that I was a member of the
9 volunteer fire prevention unit. I don't really consider that a unit of
10 any kind.
11 Q. Now, your voluntary fire prevention unit came under the civil
12 defence department, did it not?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Where was the fire brigade itself located?
15 A. If you understood me when I explained to you where my own house
16 was located, then you would go towards the centre of Vitez and some two to
17 three hundred metres below my house, in the part called Mahala that I just
18 spoke about a moment ago.
19 Q. So the fire brigade building with the vehicles and equipment was
20 located in the part of town named Mahala; is that right?
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. I asked you at the beginning about the national composition of the
23 employees of the company you worked for, Vitezit, and you said that that
24 reflected the composition of the population in the area, in Vitez. Now
25 I'm going to ask you what the national composition of the volunteer fire
1 prevention society was where you worked.
2 A. Let me say again, at that time that was not important. We didn't
3 think about things like that or discuss them. However, when a counting of
4 heads started, so to speak, it was interesting to note -- and let me
5 repeat again: The volunteer fire prevention society were people who liked
6 the job. They were not paid for it. And the unit was built up according
7 to how much each of us had contributed to fire prevention. And in 1992,
8 that -- the basic unit, without the young ones, the young firemen, it had
9 about 19, 20 Croats and 5 or 6 Muslims.
10 Q. When you went to put out fires in 1992 and later on in 1993, when
11 you were called up, were you thinking about whether you were going to
12 extinguish a fire in a Muslim house or Croatian house, or did you ever
13 think about things like that?
14 A. No, never.
15 Q. Mr. Strukar, did your volunteer fire prevention unit in October
16 1992 go to Ahmici to extinguish any fires or do anything there?
17 A. Ahmici. Well, there were interventions everywhere, daily, on a
18 daily basis that last year. And when I say "that last year," I mean the
19 end -- after the war ended in Slovenia, and so on. And in that particular
20 war of ours, there were a number of interventions, and I assume that you
21 are thinking about the events that accompanied the first conflict at that
22 time. The BH army, in fact, the Muslim army. I assume you mean that,
23 between the BH army and the HVO. I'm sure you mean that particular
25 JUDGE MAY: Can we speed this up a bit, please.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: I will try, Your Honour.
2 Q. Yes, Mr. Strukar, I do have that event in mind, at the barricade,
3 the Catholic cemetery, and the village of Ahmici. The Chamber heard that
4 some houses were set fire to on that occasion. Did your unit intervene?
5 A. Yes, we intervened. We got down to the village. But there were
6 still bullets flying. I wasn't a fighter. Perhaps the bullets were high
7 up and flying through the trees. But they said, "There's nothing for you
8 to look for here. Get back." So we came to Ahmici, but we didn't put any
9 fires out. We just returned, went back.
10 Q. So at that time -- and we're talking about the second half of
11 1992. We have heard testimony about that in the town of Vitez there were
12 numerous incidents, explosions. Bombs were thrown, grenades, and so on,
13 and I'm sure that you were called out, your fire prevention unit was
14 called out. Can you tell us something about that?
15 A. Well, usually when something happens, explodes somewhere, it
16 usually happened at night, and we didn't know what had actually happened.
17 And as soon as there was an explosion of any kind, this would be
18 accompanied by fire, by burning, and people from the neighbouring houses
19 would call out the fire brigade straight away and the fire brigade would
20 go out to put out the fire, and we extinguished all the fires that were
21 burning. If they had gone out themselves, we wouldn't have to do
23 Q. But as you were born and bred in Vitez, I'm sure you know the
24 owners of the premises that you were called out to extinguish fires. Were
25 they just Muslim properties and premises or Croatian ones as well?
1 A. Well, I can't say that they were exclusively one or the other.
2 There were many premises, many buildings, and the owners, the proprietors,
3 were of all nationalities. Sometimes we didn't know even who they
4 belonged to.
5 Q. Thank you. Mr. Strukar, we have heard about two characteristic
6 explosions that were planted in the Borovo shop and the Privredna Banka
7 premises, explosive devices planted there. Can you tell us whether you
8 intervened, whether you were called out in those two cases?
9 A. Well, I'd have to differentiate and separate the two.
10 Q. Could you give us a yes/no answer, please?
11 A. We went to the bank, yes, but we didn't go to the Borovo shop, no.
12 Q. But, Mr. Strukar, the explosion in the Borovo shop, you learnt
13 about that -- the fact -- you learnt about what had actually happened
14 later on. Could you briefly, for purposes of illustration, tell us what
15 you learnt? Who threw the bomb in the Borovo shop, and why?
16 A. Let me just say that that Borovo shop was bombed on the night when
17 Jajce fell and when many refugees fled from Jajce to Vitez. It was
18 raining. It was a terrible site. The children were wet. Us firemen were
19 the only organised people who were able to help those people, so we put
20 the children up in the nursery school, in the sports hall, and that's when
21 the explosion was heard.
22 And that was terrible for me to hear, because I thought: What
23 madman, what idiot, could have done that in this kind of situation? And
24 sometimes I was on duty with a young man who was from Zenica. I have to
25 say that. And later on I heard that some of these -- that it was some
1 young men from Cajdras who did this. And I asked them, "Did you actually
2 do that?" And they said, "Yes." And I said, "Why?" "Well, we found
3 Tito's picture, photograph, on the wall and we decided to blow the shop
4 up." So they just threw in this bomb, this grenade, into the shop to blow
5 up Tito's picture which they saw on the wall.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, Mr. Strukar, when you went to the Privredna Banka
7 Travnik premises, something unusual had happened there. Could you briefly
8 tell us what that was?
9 A. Well, let me say, before I go into an explanation, that the
10 position of the -- that is to say, my position, because I was the
11 commander, the leader, of that fire brigade unit, the position where my
12 fire brigade was located and where the Muslim police was located, we were
13 next door to each other. There was just one wall between our fire brigade
14 and the police department. And I was --
15 Q. Could you speak a little slower, please. I think that everybody
16 is finding it difficult to follow.
17 A. Yes, I'll try.
18 So we were next door to each other, and there were no problems up
19 until then. I was at the time next to the fire brigade building. And
20 there was a regular shift, three members, they were on duty and they were
21 expecting a fire which was -- and Suljeman Kalco, Sejo, phoned. The
22 telephone rang, he phoned up, and they said, "Marijan's here." He asked
23 to speak to me and he said, "Hurry up. It's the bank." That means that
24 the bank was on fire, and his apartment was above the bank.
25 So I took a driver with me and another man who was on duty, and it
1 took us one minute to take the truck and the water and to reach the bank
2 building. The siren was going full blast. We wanted to collect all the
3 firefighters, and I told them that when they had all gathered, that they
4 were to be sent to the bank building.
5 Q. So you intervened when Mr. Smriko called you up. It took you one
6 minute to get there. You told your colleagues in the fire brigade that
7 they should follow you and come and help you out.
8 A. Yes, when they were able to round them up from their homes, three
9 or four minutes later.
10 Q. So you got to the scene very quickly.
11 A. Yes. We were wearing pyjamas. It was about 9.00 in the -- that
12 is, my helper was wearing pyjamas. He came to help me out. It was about
13 9.00 and the building was on fire. We started putting out the fire. I
14 tried to reach my deputy on my cell phone, because I was afraid that the
15 whole building would explode. So I called my deputy and he said,
16 "Marijan, do what you can on your own. We won't be able to help you
18 Q. So you asked for reinforcements and another fire engine because
19 you were afraid that the fire would spread. But via radio communication
20 you were told from the officer on duty that you were to put the fire out
21 yourself, that nobody could come and help you; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You put the fire out, didn't you?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. After that you went back to the fire brigade; is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I suppose you wanted to know why you were not reinforced.
3 A. Well, yes. I was angry that nobody had come to help us, and I
4 started shouting as soon as I left the fire engine. But they were all
5 sitting down. When a team comes back, they would prepare and stock up
6 again so that if a fire broke out, you would get things ready to go out
7 and put another fire out. But they were all sitting down in the garage
8 next to the vehicles, next to the fire engine, and I said, "Well, what's
9 happening?" They said, "Well, we're under arrest. We've been taken into
10 custody." We asked who and they said, "The police." And I was very
12 I went to the police station and the policemen to see what was
13 going on, and they were surprised to see me. They said, "What are you
14 doing there?" and I said, "Well, the bank was on fire." They said, "Well,
15 where did you come out from?" and I said, well, we'd come out of the fire
16 brigade. They couldn't understand that we had done all this so quickly,
17 and they began to apologise. But I never actually learnt the real
19 Q. When you went to put out the fire at the bank, you were told that
20 the other team didn't turn up because the firemen had been taken prisoner
21 by the Muslim police; is that right?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. Were you given an explanation as to why the Muslim police had
24 reacted in that fashion?
25 A. Never officially. We never received an official explanation.
1 Q. And informally, unofficially?
2 A. Well, people talked about it - because I was interested in
3 learning the real reason - and people talked about it, although I found
4 the explanation a little funny. They said that somebody had told them
5 that we would think up a fire just to be able to steal a fire engine.
6 Q. Very well. Thank you. We said at the beginning, Mr. Strukar,
7 that your fire prevention activity came under the department of civil
8 defence; is that right?
9 A. That's right, I believe.
10 Q. You have brought two documents with you, two originals. I should
11 like to ask you now -- we're going to place them on the ELMO for everybody
12 to be able to see, and we'd like to ask the interpreters to translate them
13 for us. And then I'd like to hear your comments.
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters kindly request that counsel
15 read out the document as well.
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, you are asked to read out the document
17 by the interpreters.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: I will.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
20 THE REGISTRAR: This document will be numbered D119/2.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Strukar, on the screen --
23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres.
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] This is not an objection,
25 Mr. President. I'm trying to help the Chamber. We do have the
1 translation for these documents. We have them translated for a very
2 simple reason: They were used in another case previously.
3 JUDGE MAY: If you have the translation, let's have them.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: That's the other document. Yes, that's the first
6 JUDGE MAY: Have we got the translation? Yes.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Strukar, this is a summons sent to you by Strbac, Dragan,
9 Dragan Strbac, and we heard that he was in charge of civil defence matters
10 in the municipality. The summons was sent to you on the 23rd of November,
11 1992, which you can see in the upper left-hand corner. It is "The
12 Croatian Defence Council of Vitez," the heading. You are being summoned
13 to join the fire prevention unit and the Vitez fire brigade on the 23rd of
14 November; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. This same summons, that same day, you received from another
18 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to ask the usher to help
19 us out and distribute that document. [In English] The English translation
20 on the ELMO and the original to the witness, please.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Defence Exhibit D120/2.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. This second document is a summons again to report to the civil
24 defence department, the fire brigade of Vitez, on that same day, the 23rd
25 of November; is that right?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. This summons was sent to you by the BH army, the defence
3 department of Vitez. Can you recognise the signature on this summons?
4 A. I think I can, because this man was the president of the fire
5 prevention society for a time. I think his name was Sulejman, Suljo --
6 Kalco. Sulejman Kalco.
7 Q. Could you repeat the name?
8 A. I think his real name was Sulejman Kalco, but that he was known as
9 Suljo Kalco.
10 Q. I see. Thank you. So you received summons from the BH army and
11 from the other organisation for the same day, for the same duty. How did
12 you explain this?
13 A. Well, at that time we thought, well, we are firefighters, we are
14 not going to have problems putting out fire anywhere, wherever they occur,
15 whether in a predominantly Muslim village or a predominantly Croatian
16 village, that we could go to both the -- any locality.
17 Q. If I understand you correctly, this dual summons you understood to
18 be the method of functioning of the community in Vitez which had begun to
19 disintegrate in a certain way.
20 A. Well, yes, and we had taken it to be normal. We knew that the two
21 sides were engaged in a dispute, in a conflict. So we took that to be
22 quite normal.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, I have the originals with me. I
25 don't know whether it could be submitted as evidence or returned to the
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE MAY: Unless anybody wants to keep the originals, I would
4 have thought a copy in this case would be sufficient. The witness can
5 return with them.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: Okay. Thank you.
7 Q. [Interpretation] Let's move on. You were involved in the fire
8 prevention society on a voluntary basis, but you also know at that time
9 the village guards were being formed. Did that happen in the part of
10 Vitez you lived in as well?
11 A. Yes. When I went to put out fires, I would see the village guards
12 patrolling around, and I know that they were in front of my house too.
13 Q. What was the composition of those village guards, ethnically
14 speaking, at the beginning, and what happened as time went by?
15 A. Well, I know that at the beginning, when they were first formed -
16 now, what is the beginning? Well, I really don't know - but it was formed
17 of the population, the inhabitants, living there. I suppose you mean
18 whether they were Croats, Serbs, Muslims.
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. They were all together.
21 Q. For what purpose were these village guards organised, according to
23 A. Well, I mentioned that there were incidents that took place.
24 There was unrest. People were afraid of the Serbs from Vlasic; Vlasic is
25 fairly near. But it was mostly to protect one's property and family from
1 grenades, explosions, that kind of thing. Several houses would get
2 together, form village guards, and protect their property.
3 Q. Were you part of the village guard system?
4 A. For a long time I worked exclusively in fire prevention, and then
5 the people that stood guard thought that this was a bit silly and thought
6 that my work was less important. Because sometimes they would be on
7 patrol all night, and they said, "Well, I think that you ought to join us,
8 you ought to do this kind of work from time to time too." And actually
9 that very night I stood guard, I became included in the village guards.
10 They thought this was more serious business. So every second or third
11 night I would spend the night patrolling the area.
12 Q. Who organised the village guards in your area?
13 A. Well, the organisation itself -- I don't know that anybody
14 actually organised it. It was sort of -- we saw this in Sarajevo on
15 television. We saw people get together; the inhabitants of a building,
16 for example, they would stand guard over their own property.
17 Q. Was there a commander, somebody in charge, or a leader, somebody
18 who imposed himself as a leader or commander?
19 A. Not at that time, although we always said, "Well, you be the head
20 for tonight. You round up the other people." But people didn't like
21 doing that, so they said, "Why should I? Why doesn't somebody else do
22 that?" that kind of thing.
23 Q. You told us, Mr. Strukar, that you lived near the Mahala. At the
24 beginning of 1993, did you see anything unusual, anything untoward in that
25 part of town, by the football field?
1 A. Well, coming back from school, my son said he saw a trench there,
2 and I said, "Well, how do you know what a trench is?" But I was
3 interested in finding out and went past there in my own car. And I did
4 see some sort of planks of wood and some dugouts near the Mahala. There
5 are several Muslim houses, although people didn't really call that
6 Mahala. But it did look like a trench, actually. So then people started
7 saying that trenches were being dug facing the Croats.
8 Q. Did you ever learn why these trenches were dug in the Mahala area?
9 A. Well, yes, because it was still not wartime. We were still all
10 living together and we would talk to each other. We would talk to the
11 Muslims and so on, and they said that it was in case of an attack from the
12 Serbs. That was a little funny. It all seemed funny to us because,
13 well --
14 Q. Mr. Strukar, I see that this makes you laugh. Why was this
15 funny? Why does that make you laugh?
16 A. Well, it was strange, funny, because up until 1990 -- 1995, I
17 never saw a Serb soldier except on television. I knew that they were up
18 there somewhere on Mount Vlasic, behind Travnik. Travnik is 14 kilometres
19 away from Vitez, which means that the whole thing was 25 kilometres away,
20 at Turbe, and so on, where the army of Republika Srpska was entrenched.
21 So two towns had to fall to reach us.
22 Q. Now, were these trenches turned towards Vlasic and Travnik, or
23 were they facing the other part of town?
24 A. They were not towards Vlasic. It was the position towards the
25 playing field, towards Mlakici, Kamenica, that part.
1 Q. What was the national composition living in Mlakici, where the
2 trenches were facing?
3 A. They were Croats. Croatians lived there.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, if you like, I think it's an
5 appropriate time for the break.
6 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now until a few minutes
7 after half past eleven.
8 Mr. Strukar, we are going to take a break. Would you remember
9 during it not to speak to anybody about your evidence until it's over and
10 not to let anybody speak to you about it, and that does include members of
11 the Defence team. Would you be back, please, at half past.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
13 --- Recess taken at 11.05 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Strukar, before we move on to address the
18 events of the 15th and 16th of April, 1993, I should like to ask you just
19 one more question about what happened before that. You spoke about
20 incidents in the town, explosives planted, and so on and so forth. Are
21 you aware of a case when an explosive was planted and property of a
22 private entrepreneur, Nikola Krizanac, was looted. It is not far from
23 your home. Do you know anything about that?
24 A. Well, I do, but there were two incidents, in point of fact. I
25 don't know which of them you mean. One was before the war broke out in
1 Vitez, and the second time, after that.
2 Q. Mr. Nikola Krizanac is a Croat, isn't he?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was the perpetrator of that identified?
5 A. On both occasions Muslims were involved. Again, I do not know
6 which of the incidents you are referring to.
7 Q. Very well. Mr. Strukar, what did you do between -- during the
8 night of the 15th, 16th April, 1993?
9 A. Well, we at that time already had this, what we call it, village
10 guards organised, so that I was -- so that I was awake and doing it with
11 some of my neighbours.
12 Q. And was that evening like any other evening before that or did
13 anything out of the ordinary happen that evening?
14 A. Well, I wouldn't say there was anything in particular, because
15 there had already been such evenings for the past half year or so. I
16 don't know whether you understand it. It's men. I mean, some are not
17 particularly brave, some are; some will make a mountain out of a molehill,
18 others will do the opposite, so that -- but as 1993 was drawing closer,
19 because these guards were not mixed, then there was, you know, this --
20 Muslims are preparing something, or I don't know. This is happening or
22 Q. Now, you mentioned, for instance, this Nikola Krizanac shop when
23 they blocked that road --
24 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Strukar, you'll appreciate we've heard a lot of
25 evidence in this case, and we'd be grateful if you would just stick to the
1 point. As I understand it, there was nothing out of the ordinary that
2 night, as far as you were concerned; is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Nonetheless, that evening your village guards received notice by
6 telephone; is that correct?
7 A. That is what I heard, that somebody -- but that was not the first
8 time. I have to say that somebody would just come up with a story and
9 say, "Listen, somebody had just called to say that something was wrong, to
10 raise the preparedness." And so that happened that evening again, but it
11 was nothing new.
12 Q. Right. You told us already that such communications had happened
13 before and they did not take them too seriously; is that correct?
14 A. Oh, yes, quite.
15 Q. Did you spend that whole night on duty?
16 A. Those village guards -- I have to call them that, because
17 everybody calls them that -- and we saw that by having, I don't know, ten
18 of us, or five or six of us being on duty until midnight, and then others
19 after midnight. And that night, I was assigned to the duty before the
20 midnight, so that I had to --
21 Q. So after midnight that night, you went to bed?
22 A. No, no, no. I went to -- I slept -- I went to bed before
24 Q. And let me ask you: At the entrance and the exit from the
25 town -- from the part of the town called Mahala, were there any
1 checkpoints at that time?
2 A. You mean that evening?
3 Q. No, no, no. Not only that evening, but at about that time, in the
4 first months of 1993 or March/April 1993.
5 A. Well, yes. Those checkups -- those checkpoints would be -- yes,
6 would be erected for a couple of days and then they would come down
7 again. Somebody would organise something and then somebody, I suppose,
8 would talk to somebody and he would just remove that checkpoint.
9 Q. Right. Let us go back to that evening. So you were on duty after
10 midnight, and what did you see or hear the next morning?
11 A. We discussed this matter quite a lot, and I remember roughly we
12 were sitting by a house, and sometime around half past 5.00, and I'm not
13 sure whether it was five minutes before or later, but we heard an
14 explosion from the direction of a private filling station to the left from
15 my house, not far from the roundabout which goes around the town of
16 Vitez. And a couple of minutes after that explosion -- we did not know,
17 or at least I did not know what it was all about, but at that time, to my
18 experienced ear, all the explosions sounded the same. But a couple of
19 minutes later, rifles or pistols began firing -- I don't know -- from all
21 Q. Could you identify the direction from which this gunfire came and
22 who was firing at whom?
23 A. Not then. Not at that time. And I'm only talking about my
24 experience in war. A bullet which perhaps comes from some 10 or 15
25 metres, you still don't know where it comes from. It seemed to me that it
1 was all around me.
2 Q. And at that time did you get any information as to what was going
4 A. There was no time to seek any kind of information. All we could
5 do was run back to one's wife and children. I was up at the time, but
6 that doesn't mean that I knew anything more about what had happened and
7 that I knew what was happening. There was such a disarray. It's so
8 difficult to describe it to people in this courtroom. I mean, unless
9 you've experienced the beginning of a war, it's difficult to say how it
11 Q. But at that time were you aware that the war had begun, as you put
13 A. No, because even before, as I said, in that conflict down there,
14 there's been some gunfire, and on a couple of occasions, and even before
15 that. But it would all come down and one would think that it was some
16 idiot just firing out, firing, and that it would stop.
17 Q. But this time this fire did not die down, did it?
18 A. No, it did not.
19 Q. On the contrary --
20 A. Yes, unfortunately.
21 Q. -- it began to escalate, didn't it?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And as a result of this gunfire and the disarray, did it result in
24 some perhaps fires around your house, around your building?
25 A. Well, after some time - I don't know how long - yes, one could see
1 fire. But at that moment, I didn't know what was on fire. Because, I
2 mean, you could see fire; you don't know what is on fire. Later on you
3 simply see that houses are on fire. Since I wasn't at home at that time,
4 I didn't know whether it was my house which was on fire.
5 Q. But did you think at that moment, did it occur to you at that
6 moment, since you were an active fireman at that time, that perhaps you
7 should report for duty there and try to put those fires out? Was it
8 possible at that moment?
9 A. No. Let me tell you: Perhaps it did occur to me. It might have
10 occurred to me, because I remember my mood at that time, because I felt
11 like crying, seeing all those fires around. But my crew, which was on
12 duty at the time at that fire brigade, stayed there, but the telephone
13 lines had fallen down. I didn't know what was going on there. All the
14 gear was down there on the other side, so to say that I saw that there was
15 simply no way in which we could put them out.
16 Q. And what did you do then?
17 A. Well, nothing. We just tried to go back to our families and to
18 spend a couple of minutes with them, or perhaps come out to see what was
19 going on, quite simply. My father was down there in the house, and there
20 the gunfire was the fiercest and I couldn't even make it to that house.
21 It is very difficult to describe all the confusion there.
22 Q. Where did you spend those early days after the beginning of the
24 A. Well, I suppose you mean those first two or three days following
25 the outbreak.
1 Q. No, excuse me, I mean the day or two after the conflict. Did you
2 manage to take your family away, or what did you do?
3 A. No. I took my family only 100 or 200 metres away from my house to
4 where we were gathering for those village guards, in a relative's house,
5 because simply there was less gunfire there. So in those earliest days,
6 next down from my house, about 100, 200 metres, the gunfire was the most
7 intense. But I nevertheless tried to get back to my house in order to get
8 some food or some clothes or something, because we had all left that
9 behind. So those were those first two or three days. There was no
10 intermission. Days, nights, it all got mixed up in my head, because
11 running up and down; it all seemed like just one very long day.
12 Q. As a matter of fact, if I understand you well, you couldn't make
13 it to your house or to your father's house at all during those early days;
14 is that so?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. But after a while, you nevertheless managed to get to your
17 father's house. What did you find there?
18 A. When I got there, I could see that that house had not burned down,
19 and I assumed that my father was in the cellar, because that was the only
20 place which I could enter. Upstairs, above the ground, I simply couldn't
21 because bullets were flying around.
22 So I entered the cellar. He was not harmed, but of course he was
23 frightened. We found an exit where we could get out behind the houses,
24 and he very angrily said, "Oh, let me be. Don't you see all those dead
25 people around?" But I had not seen them; I did not know that somebody had
1 been hit and killed. Simply, there was gunfire and there were houses
2 which were burning, but I didn't realise that there were some dead people
3 also. But then he showed that in front of his house there were, yes, dead
4 people lying.
5 Q. What fate did your house suffer?
6 A. In those early days, my house was hit by a rocket from a
7 multi-barrelled rocket launcher.
8 Q. Do you know where that rocket had been fired from?
9 A. I've just said, I have very modest experience in war and I cannot
10 really say where it came from. But my house is parallel with the Mahala,
11 and the house had been hit from two sides by direct hits. With that type
12 of weapon, it just couldn't go around the house.
13 Q. What kind of damage was inflicted on the house?
14 A. Well, that rocket must have been -- we analysed it later on. It
15 penetrated the boiler room and destroyed everything that was there.
16 Q. You have already told us that you had managed to take your family
17 to your relatives' where it was safer. What did you do? Did you also go
18 to your relatives', or did you stay around your house?
19 A. Well, let me tell you, where my family was and from those -- I
20 have to put it this way: From our houses which were burning, that is, a
21 Croat and Muslim, everybody realised that it was a safe house, because it
22 had a slightly better cellar. So there were some 70 women, children; I
23 mean, all mixed, Croats and Muslims.
24 Because, of course, it would be a disgrace for us men to be down
25 there, we thought that we should do something about it. So we got
1 together and were trying to think up what to do. We were receiving no
2 information, so we spent most of our time outside, without any particular
3 purpose in mind. Simply, it seemed that you would be disgraced to be a
4 man and yet do nothing.
5 Q. Did you have any weapons?
6 A. Not until then. But then, as we were coming out, this relative
7 with whom my family was staying, he was a hunter and he suggested that
8 perhaps it would be wise to give me a hunting rifle. He said, "Don't you
9 see? There's a war on. Someone might shoot you." So I did have it,
11 Q. As you described it to us, around that house, you and several
12 other men just walked up and down without knowing really what was going on
13 and what you were supposed to do; is that so?
14 A. Yes, indeed.
15 Q. Did anyone, and I mean the BH army, that is, your Muslim
16 neighbours, did anyone ever attempt an attack against you, an infantry
17 attack? Did anyone open fire on you?
18 A. Well, attack, as an attack, I wouldn't call it that, but there
19 were bullets which came from that direction.
20 Q. What direction?
21 A. From the direction of those units, the BH units, that is, Mahala.
22 Q. How many men were you there at that spot?
23 A. Well, we divided it as follows: Next to my house was the main
24 road which was used to get to the roundabout, and now it is still used as
25 the main road going through Vitez. But since Mahala is on that same road,
1 that meant that the gunfire was very fierce along that. So that we who
2 were next to my house, some ten of us, we gathered there next to my house
3 to keep a watch there. We didn't know what was on the other side, but we
4 learned that they had done the same thing, that is, 10 or 12 of them who
5 were doing the same thing.
6 Q. So there were 10 or 12 of you who lived there, and you tried to
7 protect your houses insofar as that was possible, under the circumstances,
8 did you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In those moments, that is, after the war had broken out and after
11 you'd organised yourselves, after a couple of days or so were you a
12 military unit? Were you a part of an army? How did you see that?
13 A. Well, we saw it very poorly, indeed. We didn't feel particularly
14 good, because we were getting no information as to what would happen next
15 and what we were supposed to do. So some people who had some idea about
16 what the army does, they simply tried to find somebody, to call somebody,
17 to report to somebody, to see that somebody would be appointed a
18 commander, a leader, to organise something. Because evidently the time
19 was coming when we had to provide for some food, because those houses
20 which had burned down, the food had burned down, so we had to do something
21 about it. We had to organise ourselves. So we tried to talk about this
22 and resolve it somehow.
23 THE COURT REPORTER: Could the witness slow down, please.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Were you getting any ammunition or uniforms, any weapons?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 A. I have to put it this way: For quite a long period of time after
2 the war broke out, just plain nothing.
3 Q. Mr. Strukar, we are being asked by the interpreters to slow down a
5 So a month passed by in this manner, as you have told us, and
6 after that something nevertheless happened; that is, you men in that part
7 of the town were visited by a soldier, weren't you?
8 A. I don't know what you have in mind. No, during the first month no
9 soldiers came. It was just as it was. That is, somebody had put on a
10 jacket which perhaps looked like a uniform; somebody might have had
11 trousers or something and were just, you know, exchanging it. Somebody
12 would go to sleep; somebody would be on duty.
13 Q. Right. Very well. But let me ask you, Mr. Strukar, something
14 very specific. You brought with you a document and I'd like to ask you to
15 have a look at it, and then I'll have a question to ask you about it.
16 I shall read this short text out now. This document is called a
17 certificate, and the heading says that it was issued by the Croat Defence
18 Council of the Vitez Brigade, and its number is 340. The document says
19 that it is a certificate certifying that Mr. Marijan Vlade Strukar, born
20 in 1956, from Stari Vitez, was assigned to the units of the Vitez Brigade,
21 sector 5, area Stari Vitez. The date is the 18th of May, 1993, and this
22 certificate was issued by the brigade commander, Mario Cerkez.
23 Tell us, Mr. Strukar, when, under what circumstances, were you
24 issued this document, and by whom?
25 A. As far as I can remember, I've already said that in our -- that we
1 said that it would be wise to do something, to organise something, for
2 quite a long time had passed and we still did not know what to do. I do
3 not know how these rumours reached the brigade commander. And I cannot
4 really recall the date or even the month. But I suppose it arrived there
5 through some channels or something without any signatures. And so, aha,
6 now you're there, that's how we saw it.
7 But if I was issued this in May 1993 -- but nothing had really
8 changed in terms of organisation. It's simply that now we knew that there
9 was a brigade of some kind somewhere there, and that there was a commander
10 of that brigade.
11 Q. But when did things begin to change in terms of organisation?
12 A. Things began to change sometime in the latter part of July. I
13 suppose that is what you meant a moment ago when you asked me if a soldier
14 had come. I cannot really recall the date, but I know it was the latter
15 part of July when a man came and said, "Right. Now we'll organise a unit
16 and I'll be your commander," and then it slowly began to -- was on its
18 THE REGISTRAR: The last document will be numbered D121/2.
19 JUDGE MAY: We've been getting French on the channel. Can we have
20 another go in English, please?
21 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be numbered D121/2.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. If I've understood you properly, Mr. Strukar, this certificate,
24 this document, has the date the 18th of May, 1993. But you are not sure
25 that that was when you got it.
1 A. I can even affirm that I'm quite sure that I got it a little
3 Q. But you do not remember the date.
4 A. No, I don't.
5 Q. I see. We mentioned the brigade commander, Mario Cerkez. Do you
6 know Mr. Cerkez?
7 A. Yes. Vitez is a small place, so we all know each other, and I
8 know Mario Cerkez. And besides, his parents are also quite well known in
9 Vitez. So I've known him at school, and later on we worked for the same
10 company together.
11 Q. Do you think that he had an aggressive personality, that he was an
12 asocial personality or anything?
13 A. No. Mario was always a very sociable person. I never saw him
14 quarrel with anyone or fight with anyone.
15 Q. Were you ever present or did you ever hear him say something
16 abusive, pejorative, about Muslims or members of any other ethnicity?
17 A. Let me tell you, before the war I never really heard that from
18 Mario. That was the period of time when I did not see him.
19 But since I'm in court, I remember an occasion after the war ended
20 in Vitez, and that is how I have to put it, that is, the war between the
21 Croats and Muslims. Then the brigade organised us to go to other front
22 lines. I'm referring to 1994/1995; I don't remember exactly. And there
23 was a time when I was really taken by surprise. We were to go to Kupres,
24 to the front line against the army of Republika Srpska. There were about
25 100 of us aligned, and Mario was to issue his last instructions to us. As
1 soon as we left Vitez, we were to cross into the Muslim territory, and
2 then their military police and their troops escorted us to the exit from
3 it. When we had got ready to leave, Mario said, "I've got just one more
4 thing to tell you," and he said aloud: "Don't let me hear anyone say
5 anything bad about Muslims," and I was very happy to hear that at that
6 time, because I knew what it had all looked like during the war.
7 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Strukar.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
10 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence of
11 Mr. Kordic has no questions for this witness. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Strukar, let me see if I can get one thing
13 straight: On the evening of the 15th of April, when were you on guard?
14 A. Well, to put it briefly, the shifts were divided into two parts.
15 Five or six of us were on guard up to midnight and would then go to bed,
16 and the others would start at midnight and go on until morning. That
17 night I was off duty up to 12.00, up to midnight, and after midnight I was
18 to stand guard, and I did.
19 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Thank you. Yes.
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Marijan Strukar, the first question I have to
22 ask you is: Are there several Marijan Strukars with Vlado as father in
23 the town of Vitez?
24 A. I don't think so. My father's proper name is Vladimir, but most
25 people call him Vlado. In some places, it could be Vladimir; in others,
2 Q. I'd like us to go through the events in the chronology of events
3 as used by Mr. Mikulicic in his examination-in-chief.
4 You told us that you were responsible for the firefighters since
5 you were a firefighter for more than 20 years.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. We saw two documents which were submitted earlier on, and the
8 Office of the Prosecutor gave the English translation for one of them.
9 This is document D120/2. As far as we are concerned, we've got the
10 numbering Z291.3.
11 You, therefore, received on the 23rd of November, 1992 two summons
12 for you to report to the fire brigade: one came from the HVO and the other
13 one came from the BiH army. Would you be in a position to tell us which
14 of these summons you answered?
15 A. Well, the way these summons were written at that time was like
16 this: You would get a summons telling you to report at once, and in an
17 emergency situation it was sent. So I didn't have to go anywhere to
18 respond to these summons.
19 What this meant to me and my whole unit was that there were two
20 authorities and that they both agreed that my lads and I should be
21 together in the fire-fighting unit, and that when there was a fire, we
22 should go to the fire station. We did not report to any institution.
23 Q. You told us that you felt like there were two types of authority
24 being set in place, some kind of parallel authority: There was the Croat
25 authority, the HVO, and the Muslim authority, the one that sent you the
1 second summons. Did you or not contact those who were responsible for
2 ensuring the summons for the BiH army? If I understood you well, they had
3 their headquarters there where the fire-fighting unit was based.
4 A. I don't know where their headquarters was. The police was there,
5 as I said. But where their headquarters was, I don't know. I think they
6 were together. I think actually they had a joint headquarters. But it
7 was the military police and the civil police that was next to the fire
9 Q. And what about the Territorial Defence of the BiH army? It was
10 based there too; it was housed in that building, wasn't it?
11 A. I can't say exactly. A lot of people thought that's how it was.
12 I didn't see any commanders there. I didn't go to anyone's office.
13 Q. Mr. Dzidic or Mr. Sulejman Kalco, whom you mentioned earlier on,
14 did they have their offices in that same building?
15 A. I really don't know, but I don't think so. I think they were
16 nearby. I didn't mention Dzidic.
17 Q. Therefore, you received this summons from the BiH army and you
18 thought it was not necessary to report, to answer it. I'd like you to
19 tell us what the atmosphere was in that fire-fighting unit. You told us
20 that most of the firefighters -- there were about 20 of you, weren't
21 there, and there were among them five Muslims; isn't that so?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And that unit was the only firefighters' unit in Vitez; is that
25 A. It was not the only one, but it was the only one that could be
1 counted on. Because at that time, according to the regulations in force
2 then, Vitezit had their own units; Impregnacija had their own units.
3 Those were people who were paid to fight fires, but we did the actual
5 Q. So you were responsible for the safety of the population of the
6 Vitez municipality as a firefighter; you had the entire population under
7 your protection as a firefighter, didn't you?
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. Answer simply.
10 A. Yes. I was confused by one of the words you used. We did this on
11 a voluntary basis. We were not paid for it. But, well, it could be
12 considered our duty. That's what people thought.
13 Q. What I meant was this: There was no firefighters -- no
14 professional firefighters' unit. Do we agree on this?
15 A. I have to say this. I have to explain this. I assume 20 or 30 of
16 us were there, and there had to be someone to maintain the vehicles,
17 someone to wash the uniforms, and someone to do the administration. So we
18 had three professionals: a secretary, one driver, and a janitor. They
19 were the professionals that we employed.
20 Q. All these vehicles, the entire equipment, were there in that
21 building; is that so?
22 A. That's right, yes. They still are.
23 Q. You mentioned something which you coined earlier on, maybe as
24 suggested by Mr. Mikulicic. You mentioned earlier incidents, including
25 one involving a bank. Let us dwell on the facts that took place on that
1 night. Do you agree with me in saying that these facts occurred in the
2 night of the 20th to the 21st of January, 1993?
3 A. I cannot agree, because I can't tell you the exact date. All the
4 documents are still in the fire station. If you say that's so, yes. It
5 was before the beginning of the conflict in Vitez.
6 Q. What you described as an incident or an explosion earlier on,
7 could you be more specific? Was it not rather a bomb that had been
8 positioned in the bank or near the bank which was the Sarajevo bank?
9 A. I think it said the Privredna Banka Travnik. It was the only bank
10 we had at the time in Vitez. So, well, Sarajevo was the capital, so it
11 would have been a Sarajevo bank. I cannot say I am an expert on whether a
12 bomb was thrown in or an explosive set up. I know everything was blown
13 apart and some papers were still on fire, the ceiling was damaged. But
14 whether it was beside the bank, in the bank itself, I wouldn't know. We
15 had to take shelter fast that night. It was not wise to walk around. We
16 were all taking shelter somewhere.
17 Q. We have received information during this trial according to which
18 it was an engine, a bomb which had deliberately been placed there, and
19 that this bombing was decided or was done by Dario Kraljevic and his men.
20 Do you have any other information on this subject?
21 A. I really don't know anything about that. Our job was to put out
22 the fire as soon as possible, especially because there were few of us.
23 That evening we didn't write a report. We decided to write the report the
24 next day. It wasn't the first explosion in Vitez.
25 Q. Document Z385 has been presented to the Chamber. I'd like to
1 return to it. It is a report issued by the BritBat at the time, saying
2 that in the night of the 20th of January, 1993, the commercial bank of
3 Sarajevo in Vitez - and it is specified that it is a Muslim bank - was
4 damaged by some kind of an explosion; and on the next day, on the 21st of
5 January, 1993, the Zagreb bank opened a new branch in Vitez, according to
6 this report.
7 Can you confirm that there was the explosion on the 20th and that
8 on the next day, on the 21st, another branch of the Zagreb bank was opened
9 in Vitez?
10 A. What I can say is this: I agree with you it was on the 20th. I
11 cannot say otherwise, because I do not remember the exact date. One bank
12 in those days, in early 1993 or late 1992, was being built. The premises
13 were being built. I personally did not know what bank it was to be. It
14 was being constructed. But it was never opened until after the war, so it
15 wasn't on the 21st.
16 Q. Well, this is the information as provided by the representative of
17 the BritBat who was there on the premises at the time. But let us remain
18 on that night. You provided some explanations before, saying that
19 apparently you had asked for reinforcement so that you could intervene
20 there where the explosion had taken place, and then you rang the fire
21 station and you were told that you had to manage on your own, that you're
22 not going to get any extra people. Is that what you stated?
23 A. Yes, in general terms. Let me just say that I was the leader in
24 that operational unit. I had an assistant, and I knew he would be there
25 in two or three minutes. I was closer to the fire station at that time,
1 and I told the man on duty to go -- to tell him to go to the bank, because
2 I saw it was burning. I expected them to be there in not more than ten
3 minutes, but when they didn't turn up, I called him by radio transmitter.
4 And then when I called him, he said, "We are unable to come. You have to
5 manage on your own." There were three of us who were there and the people
6 who lived upstairs above the bank, and they were helping us, but they
7 didn't come.
8 Q. Who answered from the fire station?
9 A. You mean the name of the person? Dragan Garic.
10 Q. Was he a Croat? And he didn't explain to you why he couldn't send
11 you any reinforcements?
12 A. No. No, he didn't explain, because the radio transmitter was cut
14 Q. And from what you stated before, if I understood you properly, you
15 learned, the next day or sometime later, that in fact the Muslim police
16 had kept prisoner your fellow firefighters on that night; is that right?
17 A. A little later, when I got back to the fire station, that's when I
18 found out. It was normal for those people, who had not come, to
19 intervene, should prepare the hydrants, to fill the tank trucks, to clean
20 the vehicles, so that we would be ready to go out again.
21 When I got back, they were all there, and I talked to Dragan and I
22 was angry, of course. I asked him what had happened, and he simply told
23 me that he couldn't talk because there was a policeman standing next to
24 him. At the moment, I didn't see that policeman as an enemy and I wasn't
25 bothered by his presence, but he didn't want to talk in front of him. And
1 then he said, "Well, they forced us in with weapons and we were imprisoned
2 there." They were free for the rest of the night, but they were simply
3 prevented from going out to help put out the fire.
4 Q. The Trial Chamber has received information during this trial,
5 especially from Edib Zlotrg, who was one of the policemen present and who
6 was part of the Muslim police, information according to which on that
7 night when the bank was destroyed, the Croats in Vitez, the Croat members
8 of the fire-fighting unit, had tried to seize the vehicles which they
9 wanted to recuperate and use to bring into the Croatian part of Vitez.
10 And he said that you were one of the most active people in doing so.
11 So this is not at all what you're telling us now. I can tell you
12 what I'm referring to. The Sarajevo bank was exploded, was blown up.
13 Dario Kraljevic was responsible for the operations. That's what I
14 mentioned before. At the same time, Croat members of the voluntary
15 firefighters in Vitez decided to enter the premises of the fire station
16 and to seize the vehicles. "Marijan Strukar, from Stari Vitez, and some
17 others played an essential part in this operation."
18 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] And I must tell you, Your
19 Honours, that this document has been admitted under the reference Z332.2.
20 Q. Can you give us a brief comment on this explanation as provided by
21 a police investigator who was present on the spot at the time and who
22 doesn't tell at all the same story as the one you're telling us now?
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps when the
24 witness is being asked to comment on a document, he might be shown the
1 JUDGE MAY: Let us try and speed things up. The allegation,
2 Mr. Strukar, is that you were involved in taking vehicles. Now, just tell
3 us; yes or no, is that true?
4 A. No.
5 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
6 A. I would like to explain.
7 JUDGE MAY: No. Let's try and move on. Yes.
8 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
9 Q. You stated that together with neighbours from your neighbourhood,
10 from Stari Vitez, you took turns in the guards in the neighbourhood in the
11 months before April 1993, as well as in April 1993 itself. At the time,
12 you therefore did not have any links with Vitez Brigade; you didn't belong
13 to any military unit, did you? We agree on this, don't we?
14 A. That is correct, unless you consider the fire brigade to be a
15 unit, military unit.
16 Q. I'm talking about the patrol guards. I'm not mentioning your
17 other function as a fighter. When you would take turns together with your
18 colleagues, you did that spontaneously without receiving any instruction
19 from any military authority?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. You told us, and you produced a document in that direction, before
22 you said that you were officially registered as a Vitez Brigade member
23 only as of the 18th of May, 1993, and that you remained within the brigade
24 throughout the conflict until its end. Do we agree on this?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Could you be more specific as to the unit you were part of or
2 about the company or the battalion you belonged to?
3 A. Can I say: Up until the second half of July.
4 Q. And you were a man, a military man in that Vitez Brigade, so you
5 must be able to tell us which unit you belonged to in that sector number
6 5, in Stari Vitez.
7 A. That is correct. I just wanted to say that up until the second
8 half of July 1993, there was no real military establishment. Then we got
9 a commander and things changed a bit. And I think it was in the second
10 half of November that the unit I was in was established, and it was called
11 the 5th Battalion. And there were some squads there, some platoons, which
12 gravitated toward the part where Mahala was. And that was only in late
13 November that the 5th Battalion was formed within the Vitez Brigade, and I
14 belonged to it.
15 Q. And did you carry out any specific duties or functions within that
16 brigade or were you an ordinary private, I mean a soldier?
17 A. Until the battalion was established, I was an ordinary soldier,
18 but when the 5th Battalion was set up, I became the assistant commander of
19 the battalion for -- what was it called then? -- for politics, to put it
21 Q. I wish to refresh your memory through this document which I'm
22 going to submit to you. It is signed by Marijan Strukar, and this
23 individual was indeed a deputy commander for propaganda and information.
24 But we're dealing here with the 4th Battalion of the 3rd Company. I'd
25 like you to have a look at this document. This is document Z1220.1
1 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Could the B/C/S version be
2 presented to the witness, and put the English version on the overhead
4 Q. So you can see this document, Mr. Strukar. Do you recognise it as
5 having signed it?
6 A. Yes, I recognise it. I wrote it by hand. I don't remember when
7 it was typed out. It's my signature.
8 Q. It is dated the 28th of September, 1993, isn't it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. A simple question in passing: We have a signature in the upper
11 right corner; do you recognise that signature?
12 A. No.
13 Q. It looks very much like Mr. Cerkez's signature. Your functions
14 were those of a deputy commander in charge of the IPD, as it was called at
15 the time, propaganda and information. I suppose that such functions were
16 not entrusted to just anybody within a military formation. If you are
17 responsible for propaganda, don't you have to convey some kind of message
18 to other military, or to relay directives, or to convey a certain policy
19 to be adopted by the other military?
20 A. Well, that's more or less how it would be. But I wouldn't agree
21 with you. There is one thing I have not said yet in this courtroom. In
22 our country, in the former system, in the former army I was a kind of
23 assistant for information and propaganda, so I knew how to do these
24 things. When, on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, politics
25 changed - and of course I was not considered to be a desirable kind of
1 person because I had done this in the former army - when, in Vitez, there
2 was a situation in which we no longer knew whether we would survive at
3 all, my commander, who came in September, asked me to draw up a paper like
4 this, to draw up a security assessment for our unit.
5 I see what it says here: "The line of defence of the 3rd Company
6 of the 4th Battalion." I didn't know the proper names, but I put this
7 down on paper, and my commander told me later on that a battalion had been
8 set up. Because somebody had seen what I had written and they said,
9 "Well, these things really should be organised properly." And then we
10 were called the 5th Battalion. I may have written the 4th Battalion,
11 because it seemed logical to me that if there were four battalions in the
12 brigade, that we would be the last one.
13 So I wrote this as an ordinary soldier. Later I signed it on -- I
14 signed it later.
15 Q. So you drafted it as an ordinary soldier, but it is signed as the
16 deputy in charge of propaganda and information.
17 A. Probably. That's when it was typed out.
18 Q. The battalion you were part of, be it the 4th or the 5th
19 Battalion, it was based in Mahala, in that particular sector of Stari
20 Vitez, wasn't it?
21 A. [No audible response]
22 Q. The Trial Chamber has heard many witnesses according to which,
23 following the 16th of April, 1993, up to February of 1994, that part of
24 Vitez was encircled by the HVO and was the target of numerous attacks from
25 the HVO. Do you agree with this?
1 A. I would not agree with the words you used, "HVO attacks." A large
2 part of this war consisted of fears on our side and their side, and simply
3 random fire. Someone would fire a bullet on one side; somebody would
4 respond on the other side, and so on. An attack, well, that is a very big
6 Q. Who was encircling whom in Stari Vitez?
7 A. I remember when a woman asked her sister by telephone, she put the
8 very question you did, and her sister said that it was like an egg. She
9 said, "What do you mean, an egg?" and she said, "Well, it's like an egg
10 yoke, an egg white, and an egg shell." That's how it was.
11 Q. Therefore, Mahala was the white and the HVO was the yellow; is
12 that so? Or the reverse, rather.
13 A. The yoke were the Muslims; the egg white were we in Vitez, the
14 Croats; and then the egg shell were the Muslims again.
15 Q. Did you take part in these military operations on Stari Vitez?
16 You must have because you were sent to that sector.
17 A. My house -- well, the front line ran through my house, and I was
18 there almost all the time.
19 Q. In June 1993 there was a major attack on Mahala, or Stari Vitez,
20 by the HVO forces. Were you part of it?
21 A. Yes. All of us who were there did.
22 Q. Which were the units taking part in these operations, as far as
23 you know?
24 A. As far as I know, I was where my colleagues and neighbours were,
25 and we had the task --
1 Q. I mean the brigade units. Don't mention your neighbours again
2 because here we are in a military structure. You said that you were part
3 of a battalion, you were drafting reports for a company, and you were
4 about to become an officer, the deputy in charge of propaganda and
5 information. So stop mentioning the patrol guards together with your
7 A. Yes, but you are mixing up something that was four months before
8 the battalion was established.
9 Q. I have in mind the month of June [sic]. Did you or did you not
10 take part in that attack carried out in July, sorry, against Stari Vitez?
11 A. Participated in that firing, you are using a very big word,
12 attack. What I'm saying is that we only got a commander in the second
13 half of July, which is after this heavy fire. It was only after that.
14 Because there were a lot of people killed on that day, so we got a
15 commander from a brigade who came to organise things where we were. Until
16 that time I was just a self-declared soldier, together with my
18 Q. You had a uniform, you had a weapon, and you had the HVO signs.
19 A. Neither a uniform, nor HVO insignia.
20 Q. So on the 18th of May, 1993 you were appointed as a member of the
21 Vitez Brigade. Were you not given any uniform or any weapon?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. And this was the same for your neighbours, your Croat neighbours?
24 A. I have to say yes in 90 per cent of the cases. Because, as I
25 said, some people had parts of uniforms, a jacket, a shirt, so he may have
1 looked like a soldier.
2 Q. Could you give us some information on your neighbours with whom
3 you had the occasional guard? Could you give us some names?
4 A. Why not? All my neighbours were there. Shall I start giving you
5 names on one side and the other side, because they were all neighbours.
6 That's the only way I can do it. Do you want their names?
7 Q. To speed up the proceedings, Mr. Strukar, I'd like to suggest to
8 you some names and you can tell me whether you recognise them.
9 Nikola Banic.
10 A. [No interpretation]
11 Q. Ljuban Pavlovic.
12 A. Ljuban Pavlovic was my neighbour across the road. Not on my side
13 of the road, the other side.
14 Q. Zvonko Mlakic.
15 A. Yes, the other side of the road once again, opposite.
16 Q. Zoran Grabovac.
17 A. Yes, he's on my side of the road.
18 Q. Do you also know a Vlado Drmic?
19 A. Yes. Of all my neighbours, he lives furthest away from me.
20 Q. Did he have a nickname, Vlado Drmic?
21 A. Beli.
22 Q. Bijeli?
23 A. It was Beli, not Bijeli. Just B-e-l-i, Beli, not Bijeli.
24 Q. I see. Does that have any particular meaning?
25 A. No. His mother called him that because he was blonde.
1 Q. We've just mentioned some names that you confirmed as being your
2 neighbours. Did you meet them in the night of the 15th to the 16th of
3 April, 1993?
4 A. Nikola Banic, yes, because I had put up my family in his house;
5 and the 60 or 70 people gathered in his house.
6 Zvonko Mlakic, well, I can't remember exactly when, but I saw
7 him. Although he was somebody who was always angry at these sort of war
8 games, he would swear and curse.
9 Q. Please answer me: Did you see them or did you not see them in
10 that night of the 15th to the 16th of April?
11 A. Ljubomir Pavlovic, I did not; Zvonko Mlakic and Nikola Banic, yes,
12 I did.
13 Q. What about Beli; Vlado Drmic, in other words?
14 A. I didn't see him in those first few days.
15 Q. Did he have any particular responsibility, any position, as far as
16 organising the guards in the neighbourhood was concerned?
17 A. I don't know what you mean.
18 Q. Well, did he have some kind of authority over the other
19 inhabitants in the neighbourhood?
20 A. No. I felt that -- well, before I became included. I said that I
21 was a politician in the other army and that that's why they weren't
22 including me. Then I learnt it was because I was a member of the fire
23 brigade. And when I joined in all this, then I found it a burden, I saw
24 that it really was a burden.
25 Q. Did Mr. Vlado Drmic, Beli, become at some time in 1993 one of your
2 A. Superior in the sense of -- well, not really, no. But he's that
3 kind of person. He likes making out that he's the boss, but he never is,
4 actually, officially. So when this official military unit was set up, he
5 was in charge of demining the area. He worked with the mining experts.
6 Q. You have provided us some names. Do they match the names of
7 people who, too, became part of the Vitez Brigade at the same time as you
9 A. Could you repeat that, please? I don't quite understand. The
10 name I mentioned or names? What are you referring to?
11 Q. The names. Mr. Drmic, Mr. Pavlovic, Mr. Grabovac, Mr. Banic, as
12 well as Mr. Mlakic, did they, too, receive a document from the Vitez
13 Brigade stating that they had become members of that brigade?
14 A. I think they did. But I only found this paper referring to me
15 recently in my house. So I don't really know.
16 Q. We started mentioning the day of the 15th or the 16th of April,
17 and this refers back to your testimony earlier. The first question comes
18 to mind, Mr. Strukar: You have been a witness already in a previous case
19 in this Tribunal, haven't you?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You were a witness here on the 14th of January, 1999, as a Defence
22 witness in the Blaskic case.
23 A. I know it was January; whether it was the 14th, I'm not sure. But
24 you probably have the information on that.
25 Q. And you were a Defence witness, weren't you?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You testified in an open hearing --
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. -- like now. Were you given an opportunity to read again the
5 transcript of your testimony of the time, of January 1999, before you came
6 to testify here today?
7 A. No.
8 Q. On the 14th of January, 1999, as you did today, you took the oath
9 before the Chamber then. So I am forced to go through your testimony at
10 that time with you now, because since the 14th of January 1999, you seem
11 to have problems with your memory, gaps.
12 First thing: You told us that you noticed that some trench had
13 been dug close to your neighbourhood, where you lived. Did you mention
14 this during your testimony in the Blaskic case?
15 A. I don't remember. You said near the area I lived in. It is
16 Mahala but it's not towards my house. I said that it was by the stadium.
17 But I don't remember whether they asked me that at the time, whether I was
18 asked anything about that.
19 Q. My question is as follows: Do you remember mentioning a trench
20 being dug by Muslims in the vicinity of your neighbourhood when you
21 testified in the Blaskic case?
22 A. I really don't remember. You must understand, that was the first
23 time I was asked to testify and --
24 Q. So you can't remember it. Because you didn't mention it at the
25 time, and my question is as follows: Why did you not mention that there
1 was such a trench that possibly the Muslims had dug facing the Croats?
2 This is the first time you've mentioned it.
3 A. Well, I can explain it this way: You yourself and Defence
4 counsel, both of you are asking me questions which lead -- your questions
5 lead to my answers. I don't suppose anybody asked me that.
6 Q. Fine. The fact that there was a trench there didn't seem
7 important enough for you to offer spontaneously that piece of information
8 to the Defence counsel in the Blaskic case.
9 A. Well, I don't know. The Defence counsel didn't ask me to tell
10 them my whole life, and then to select what they needed. We just --
11 probably nobody asked me about it. Because the year before the war, 1992,
12 there were hundreds of details to be mentioned.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think he has given an answer. You should move
15 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
16 Q. I said that you had added something to your statement of 1999.
17 Let us now mention some facts that no longer appear in your version that
18 you provide today of what happened on the 15th, the 16th, and the
19 following days in April.
20 First of all, is it true that in the evening of the 15th of April,
21 around 7.30 in the evening, somebody came to see you to say that the
22 Muslims were preparing something?
23 A. Well, it was that kind of sentence during that first testimony,
24 depending on how you understood it. But during those night guards, night
25 shifts, yes, I said that they would be on duty several days and then they
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 wouldn't exist for 15, 20 days; then they would start up again. So there
2 were no shifts like that. But then a friend would say, "Come on. We have
3 to do our night duty, night shifts, again," and that's how it would go.
4 So, yes, somebody -- one of my neighbours said, "Come on. Let's agree on
5 how we're going to work it." We didn't have lists of any kind. They
6 would just say, "Come on. Let's all meet and we'll decide who is going to
7 do the night shift tonight."
8 Q. That same evening, did other neighbours come to see you to give
9 you other information as to what was likely to happen? You didn't mention
10 anything of the kind today.
11 A. As I said, there was a place up there, a spot a little behind my
12 house, 200 or 300 metres from the Mahala, where we used to meet as
13 children, that was a sort of little square, and we would all usually
14 gather there. And then when we gathered there, they would say, "We should
15 do that," "We should do this," and we made an agreement, we agreed upon
16 something. If I was free, I would go home, if I wasn't chosen for a
18 But you must understand, they're not buildings like The Hague.
19 They're little houses, and sometimes three, four metres apart from each
20 other. They're not like this here.
21 Q. The point in question, regarding it, you said in your testimony of
22 1999 that somebody came in the middle of the night, around 3.00 in the
23 morning, 3.30, and that following that visit you'd awakened your children,
24 your wife, and that you left with them to a neighbour's house, to
25 Mr. Nikola Banic's house. And today you said that you spent the night in
1 your house and you never mentioned your wife or your children. Hence, my
2 question: Did you or did you not wake up your children and wife, and did
3 you bring them to a building where they would be safer?
4 A. Well, it's difficult to give a yes/no answer like that. And when
5 I appear for a third time, if I ever come to testify a third time,
6 somebody will say, "You didn't say that last time."
7 But the truth is that I went, that we --
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] The question that is being put to
9 you is a very simple one. You should be in a position to answer it with
10 yes or no. It is a factual issue, question. It's not going to change at
11 any time. What happened on that night? Did you spend that night there?
12 So the Prosecutor is asking you whether you spent the night in your house
13 or whether you left your house with your family in the middle of the
14 night. You should be in a position to answer such a question in a precise
16 A. We, from Vitez, could answer if the events that took place were
17 like they are here. But any answer, yes or no, would lead in the wrong
19 I said I was awake, and I said that I could go home by -- up until
20 12.00, and that from 12.00 onwards I should be awake, keep awake. We
21 never go to bed before 11.00 or 12.00, so I didn't go to bed then either.
22 I was advised at least 20 or 30 times before that as well --
23 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Please, you don't seem to understand my question or the question
25 Judge Bennouna was kind enough to put again.
1 On the 14th of January, 1999, did you state in your testimony that
2 in the night after the visit of one of your neighbours, you woke up your
3 wife and children and you left with them to seek shelter in the house of
4 Mr. Nikola Banic? At the time you added that that happened around 3.00,
5 3.30 in the morning. So not at all like what you said today. You didn't
6 spend the night in your house.
7 A. I didn't say I spent the night in my house, and you have just said
8 that we were to take shelter. I said I was awake after midnight. My
9 colleague told me, "It would be a good idea if you brought them over to my
10 house. Who knows what might happen." And that happened at least 20 times
11 during that month, so it was nothing new. It had happened many times
13 Q. I merely noticed that you confirmed -- you are confirming what you
14 said in January, and you didn't say anything of the kind today. And it is
15 not to be found in your summary either, where it is stated that you spent
16 the night on guard turn and that you spent the rest of the night in the
17 shelter of your cellar. Never do you mention taking your family to
18 Mr. Banic's house. I'm only insisting because you mention it.
19 A. In January you're talking about, January --
20 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Mr. Lopez-Terres, we note the
21 discrepancy. I don't think there's any point going on about it. We must
22 ask you, please, to wind up, because we've got another five witnesses.
23 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Your Honour, allow me to say:
24 There's such discrepancies between the version offered in the Blaskic case
25 and the one here, in the summary and in the witness's testimony, that it
1 is my duty, as I feel, to mention such discrepancies. If, for reasons of
2 speed, it is necessary to speed up, well, maybe you could admit the
3 transcript of the witness as an exhibit, because there are pieces in it
4 that seem fundamental to me. I have to insist. This was only one of
5 them, and the first.
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, to an extent we're in your hands.
7 If there's something important, of course you must put it, but do bear in
8 mind that we are under pressures of time.
9 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I'm
10 therefore going to sum up quickly what I -- the information I extracted
11 from Mr. Strukar's testimony in 1999, in the Blaskic case.
12 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I should like to ask the Chamber
13 to give us the page number.
14 JUDGE MAY: When you're putting something, Mr. Lopez-Terres, would
15 you give the page number of the transcript.
16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Of course.
17 Q. This is the English version, so the numbering is that of the
18 English version. The event I've just mentioned, when you woke up your
19 wife and children, this is on page 16899. And in that same testimony in
20 the Blaskic case, on page 16900, did you not state that somebody, whose
21 name you did not mention, came during the night and said, after you had
22 transferred your family to that other house, whilst you were with other
23 people in the neighbourhood, did he not say, "Don't worry. A group of
24 young men from Nova Bila has just arrived and they are experienced
25 soldiers"? This is page 16900. Did you say that or didn't you?
1 A. You keep wanting me to give you a yes/no answer. It was before
2 dawn sometime, when you don't know what's actually happening. Some people
3 said some young men came. They said everything would be all right.
4 Q. These are not people who are going to come. The person came to
5 say, "Young men had arrived from Nova Bila and they are good soldiers."
6 This is at least what you stated in that testimony.
7 A. But it doesn't appear to be like that anymore.
8 Q. I do nothing but read what you said in 1999. About these same
9 young men from Nova Bila, you said as well that you had seen them during
10 the night, that you had seen them going around your houses, you had seen
11 that they were wearing uniforms.
12 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I'm going to give you all the
13 references, Your Honour.
14 Q. You saw, as they drove the Muslims out of their houses, you saw
15 that they had a gun which they used. You even described it. And you said
16 that as they were driving the Muslims out of their houses, they were
17 driving them towards your houses, and that the Muslims were rounded up in
18 four Croat houses in the neighbourhood.
19 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I can give you the references
20 now, Your Honours. Pages 16902. This relates to the Muslims being
21 expelled from their houses by these Nova Bila men, who had a gun.
22 Q. And you said that you heard that gun. It was a 20-millimetre gun,
23 based on a base. It was an anti-aircraft three-tube gun. You said that
24 on page 16890. The houses [as interpreted] were gathered in the houses of
25 Banic, Blaz, Batinic, Ivan Tiha. This is page 16935.
1 JUDGE MAY: Let's pause for a moment to let the witness respond.
2 Did you see the young men expelling Muslims from their houses?
3 A. I apologise. That would be correct, but I can't tell -- I can't
4 say yes or no, because the Prosecutor tells me that I saw that that
5 night. But the war had begun, so it was after daybreak when something can
6 be seen. You can see things after daybreak, when it's daylight.
7 JUDGE MAY: You saw then the Muslims being expelled from their
8 houses, did you?
9 A. No.
10 JUDGE MAY: Why did you say that?
11 A. Well, I don't know what it says there on that piece of paper,
12 because I haven't seen it, but the Muslims said that kind of thing, the
13 ones that had come out of their houses and were going towards this group
14 of civilians, the other people. So when somebody refers to that as
15 expulsion, I don't know if you understand me. It's not several kilometres
16 away; it's just ten metres off.
17 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Page 16902 is quite categorical
18 on this.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I think we're going to have to admit the
20 transcript. We'll hear what Mr. Mikulicic says about it after the
21 adjournment. But in order to save time, you can refer us on the
22 transcript to the various passages that you have in mind and ask him about
23 one or two, because we can't go through the whole transcript this
24 afternoon. We'll never get on.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE MAY: We must hurry. What you can do is to put the major
2 inconsistencies. We don't want the small ones.
3 Very well. We'll adjourn now. Half past 2.00.
4 Mr. Strukar, don't speak to anybody about your evidence.
5 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.03 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 2.38 p.m.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] With your leave, Your Honours.
5 With your leave, Your Honours, I should like to refer to your instructions
6 before we adjourned, and I shall try to be as concise as possible. It is
7 quite evident that my colleague is challenging the authenticity of the
8 witness, and he is doing it by presenting to him his testimony in the
9 Blaskic case on facts about which I never asked a single question of this
10 witness in my direct examination. So in this sense, the cross-examination
11 runs counter to Rule 90(h) because it was not restricted merely to the
12 subject of direct examination. However, I raised no objection at that
13 time because I believed that such examination could go to the examination
14 of the credibility of the witness.
15 However, Mr. Lopez-Terres now wishes to point out the
16 contradictions in the statement of this witness without, however,
17 juxtaposing the two different statements or two different claims. He
18 quotes only one claim, or one statement, and invariably the one about
19 which I have not asked a single question of the witness in my today's
20 examination-in-chief. Now, there should be at least two counter-posed
21 statements; it cannot be only one.
22 So in my view, Mr. Lopez-Terres should have first asked the
23 witness about a fact and then show him the earlier statement, which
24 perhaps is contradictory, by also placing it on the ELMO, so that
25 everybody in the courtroom, and especially the Chamber, could see what it
1 was -- what was the matter in issue. After that, the witness should have
2 been allowed to say whether there is any contradiction or not. And all
3 this was not done. Instead -- which to my mind would mean a fair
4 treatment of a witness. Instead, Mr. Lopez-Terres read a part of the
5 witness's testimony outside the context of the examination-in-chief, and
6 in this manner evidently arbitrarily condensed it and commented on it.
7 And I, therefore, object to the admission of the transcript in this case
8 because I believe that the whole procedure was not in line with the Rules
9 of this Court.
10 JUDGE MAY: That's not true. The fact is that it was within the
11 lines of this Court. Had it not been, we would have excluded it. You may
12 contradict a witness by putting to him something which he said on an
13 earlier occasion, particularly if it was said under solemn declaration.
14 There's no Rule to prevent that. And it's a primary rule to test the
15 witness's credibility. The method of doing so, so that the witness and
16 indeed everybody else can see what he said, is another matter, and that we
17 can consider now.
18 Mr. Lopez-Terres, have you got very much more to put to this
20 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Well, not many questions, Your
21 Honour. Since we talk about method and methodology, I want to remind the
22 Court that I was not in a position to show discrepancies. There are
23 omissions, not that kind of contradiction. You have received a summary
24 and you've heard testimony that didn't contain a lot of facts that had
25 been expounded by this witness in the Blaskic case. We wanted to show
1 that there were omissions. In compliance with your request, Your Honour,
2 during the lunch break --
3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Lopez-Terres.
4 Before you go any further, let me say this: There is one point that seems
5 to me well-founded in what Mr. Mikulicic has just said. I think you've
6 got to base your cross-examination on what was said in the
7 examination-in-chief. That's the Rule, and the Rules tell us so. You
8 cross-examine the witness on the basis of what was said in the
9 examination-in-chief. Therefore, you're free to remind the witness of a
10 few of the answers he gave to Mr. Mikulicic or remind him of an earlier
12 Now you mention omissions. You know that the cross-examination
13 doesn't have to relate to everything that was said in the Blaskic case.
14 The witness doesn't have to behave in totally the same way, unless what
15 was said elsewhere, as was just pointed out by the Presiding Judge, what
16 was said elsewhere is in total contradiction to what is being said here.
17 So we've got to make a distinction between the omission that has nothing
18 to do with our trial. In that case, it shouldn't be put to the witness in
19 this cross-examination.
20 However, I think that Mr. Mikulicic is right in one thing: On the
21 basis of what the witness has said in examination-in-chief, you can refer
22 to an earlier statement that might challenge his credibility or show that
23 he has contradicted himself. I think that it is a distinction which is
24 important. You can only compare things that can be compared, and that's
1 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Quite, Your Honour. It is
2 obvious that all the facts on which I am in a position to put questions to
3 the witness relate to what happened on the 15th of April, on the 16th, and
4 the following days. I have the feeling that this is very much within the
5 scope of the facts to which he has testified. These are no new facts;
6 these are facts that you have been apprised of and which are also part of
7 the indictment.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, we will let you cross-examine on the
10 matters of the 15th and 16th, but will you please do so succinctly,
11 allowing the witness to answer if there is an answer, and then moving on
12 promptly, please.
13 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I
14 wanted to point out that in compliance with your instructions we have
15 provided copies of the transcript of Mr. Strukar's testimony in the other
16 case. With the help of our assistant, I have selected those passages
17 which seemed relevant to me based on the topics that I had selected on
18 which the witness did not speak. One was mentioned before the break, the
19 fact that his family sought shelter. And then there were these young
20 people from Nova Bila that had been mentioned already. There's also the
21 presence of Vitezovi members and of Darko Kraljevic cited by the witness.
22 The information he provided about the Muslims that he saw coming as they'd
23 been expelled, and also something that he had pointed out that had
24 happened some days later and that related to the truck bomb, as it's
25 coined here.
1 So these were the points that seemed relevant to me and that were
2 worthy of your attention, as expressed in the Blaskic transcript. You
3 have got the entire transcript and also the excerpts according to the
4 topic which I selected.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Very well.
6 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] The transcript has a reference,
7 it is Z2829; the excerpts by theme, Z2829A.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could also the
9 witness have a copy of the transcript so that the witness could also see
10 what he has to testify about?
11 JUDGE MAY: Does he have it in B/C/S?
12 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] No, he doesn't.
13 JUDGE MAY: I don't see much of a point if he has a transcript he
14 can't read.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Well, then it wouldn't be fair,
16 because if he cannot read it -- the witness must be allowed to see what he
17 is asked to testify about.
18 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry. I don't follow. He can't understand
20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] No, he cannot understand English.
21 But the part which is referred to by Mr. Lopez-Terres can be put on the
22 ELMO and then it can be interpreted to him, because he must understand
23 what it is that his opinion is sought about.
24 JUDGE MAY: Let me see the document.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 THE INTERPRETER: If the transcript will be read, then the
2 interpreters will need copies of the text, too, please.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, you will have copies. Everybody should have
5 Mr. Lopez-Terres, help us with the extracts. Which page have you
6 got to, or which pages do you want to ask about? We've got to the Nova
7 Bila, the men from Nova Bila, page 16958.
8 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the little time
9 that I had during the lunch break, I endeavoured to put together the most
10 relevant extracts, and I selected the topics in that light. I could very
11 easily, as you suggested just now, ask the witness what he can tell us.
12 From a question that I would put to him on these topics, I could ask him
13 what he saw and what he did on that night.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Lopez-Terres, we're somewhat
16 concerned; it's only normal given the constraints of time. How long is it
17 going to take you for the cross-examination?
18 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Judge, I may have two questions
19 per theme depending on the answers that I get.
20 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] But you've got to limit your time
21 to do so. This cross-examination shouldn't last too long.
22 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] A quarter of an hour.
23 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Well, if it is within a
24 reasonable time, like 15 to 20 minutes, that's okay.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE MAY: What we're going to do is this: You've got a quarter
2 of an hour to cross-examine, and at the moment we are not minded to admit
3 the documents. We will simply hear what's said in cross-examination.
4 Mr. Mikulicic, you were asking that the witness have this document
5 in front of him, although it's in a foreign language?
6 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] No, of course not, Your Honours.
7 All I want is that the witness be interpreted the part of the document
8 referred to by Mr. Lopez-Terres, that is, that through the interpreters he
9 learns what is in the document.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.
11 Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres, perhaps you would pick out the salient
12 points, please.
13 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Strukar, is it true that in the night of the 15th to the 16th
15 of April, around 3.00 in the morning, you woke up your wife and your
16 children, and did you take them all to one of your neighbour's house, to
17 Mr. Nikola Banic's house; yes or no?
18 A. Again, yes or no answers. But the answer yes or no completely
19 changes the contents of what I was talking about.
20 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Strukar, stop arguing. The question is a
21 simple one: Did you, at half past three, take your wife and children to
22 Mr. Banic's house? If it was some other time, tell us.
23 A. I do apologise. Yes.
24 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
25 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Did other Croats from the Mahala neighbourhood in which you lived
2 do the same? Did they also take their wives and children to the same
3 place, to Mr. Banic's house?
4 A. Another question that I cannot answer by saying yes or no. Some
5 did; some did not.
6 Q. Did you find other Croat women and children in that house when you
7 took your family there?
8 A. No, not at that moment.
9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I think you have to apply the
10 Rule as imposed by the Tribunal, because now you're endangering your own
11 credibility. The question was not whether all Croats were at Mr. Banic's
12 house, it was asked whether other Croats also went to that house. Answer
13 by yes or no. You know or you don't know. You said some went and some
14 didn't. This is no answer as such. You were asked whether some other
15 families apart from yours went there. You must answer with a yes or a
17 A. I really do not understand your question when you tell me that I
18 have to answer "yes" or "no."
19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Apart from you, were there other
20 Croat families that went to Mr. Banic's house on that night?
21 A. That night, yes.
22 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 A. Please, but please, my house is the nearest to Mahala, one of the
24 nearest. Some of the houses are already there.
25 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 Q. You did say -- and I'm now referring to page 16899 -- you said
2 that all this happened around 3.00, 3.30. "Some of my closest neighbours
3 also took their families to Mr. Banic's house." It is written as such in
4 the transcript.
5 A. Well, if it says there, I can't say, but like now, like then,
6 certain words were put in my mouth, because I did not rouse my family or
7 put them to bed there. That was the usual procedure over the past few
8 years. You understand that they are not wife and children of two or three
10 Q. While you were together in that house, in Mr. Banic's house, your
11 family and others, did somebody come to tell you something, to put you at
12 ease? Because you were very worried, weren't you, at that time?
13 A. Again, the question "that time." I was not in that house. I was
14 outside, standing guard. And naturally, as nobody has it simple when the
15 dawn is approaching, and I remember that somebody said, "Oh, come on.
16 Don't be afraid. There are guys who will step in if need be."
17 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... say that young men had
18 arrived from Nova Bila?
19 A. I don't really remember if that is how it was phrased. If the
20 lawyer said it -- phrased it so, perhaps I said "yes." But then he may
21 have phrased it differently and that is how it came in the transcript.
22 But I learned subsequently it was some guys from up there, you know,
23 because they come [as interpreted] Stara Bila, Nova Bila, Travnik, and I
24 know that somebody said that they were coming from up there.
25 Q. When you want to, you have a very good memory, and you make an
1 exact reference to page 16900, the one that interests me right now. You
2 said, I quote, "I remember that at a given point in time somebody said,
3 'You don't have to worry anymore. Don't worry, because young men from
4 Nova Bila have arrived.'" And you said then what you remember now. You
5 said Nova Bila is by Travnik. And somebody said that they were
6 experienced soldiers, fighters, and that they would protect them. Did you
7 say that or not on the 14th of January, 1999?
8 A. I'm trying to recall exactly what I said. What is on the record,
9 well, that's probably what I said.
10 Q. And who were those young men from Nova Bila that you spoke about?
11 A. Well, you're putting a question to me, and you said they were from
12 Nova Bila. I just said that somebody said they had come for us. Anyone
13 who carried a weapon was more experienced than we were, someone we could
14 rely on. Because we were afraid. We were afraid. We were simply afraid.
15 Q. You are not answering my question I put to you. I'm asking you
16 this: When you were told that young men had arrived from Nova Bila to
17 protect you, who were those young men from Nova Bila, Mr. Strukar, what
18 did the mention of them meant to you?
19 A. I do apologise for trying to interrupt, but you say, "When were
20 you told?" But there were five or six people. Someone comes and says
21 something. Well, nobody said that to me personally, but I just remember
22 someone saying that to make us feel better.
23 Q. Sometime later, after you were given this information --
24 A. You're saying that I got information again.
25 JUDGE MAY: Don't interrupt.
1 Go on. Go on, Mr. Lopez-Terres.
2 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
3 Q. So once you had received that information from whomever it may
4 have come -- you were not specific on that -- once the fighting had
5 started, I suppose you were able to see with your own eyes these young
6 people from Nova Bila, or did you not?
7 A. Again I have to say "yes" or "no." Not at that moment. It
8 was -- dawn was just breaking. It was twilight. I saw later on when
9 there was shooting. I didn't see them as clearly as I can see you now.
10 You just see someone shooting somewhere five, ten, a hundred metres away.
11 They weren't lying down right next to me shooting for me to see them
13 Q. And those young men from Nova Bila, were they HVO men or Muslims?
14 A. Well, of course, I assumed they were from the HVO.
15 Q. Did you see if they were wearing uniforms, and what kind of
16 weapons did they have?
17 A. Well, we're talking about my testimony again. I would like to
18 make clear that we are talking about the first two or three days of our
19 war, and I said --
20 Q. Mr. Strukar, I do not -- I want you to answer only the questions
21 that I am asking you. I'm asking you simple questions. Did you see if
22 those men from Nova Bila -- you are telling us that they were from the
23 HVO. I'm asking you whether they had uniforms and I'm asking you, what
24 kind of weapons did they have?
25 A. Your Honour, I have to object, because he says "you say." I said
1 that I assumed they were from the HVO. I didn't say they were. I just
2 said that, of course, I assumed they were from the HVO. I couldn't know
3 that. On that day, when dawn broke and things were happening, I couldn't
4 know. Later on, I did see they were in uniform. I didn't see them all; I
5 saw one or two of them, because I had my head in the sand.
6 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 JUDGE MAY: Did they expel the Muslims from the houses?
8 A. I didn't see that myself, but I heard during that day that they
9 did, because the Muslims came to the houses were there were our families,
10 and they said that.
11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
12 Q. I spoke to you about weapons a minute ago. Did you or did you not
13 see what kind of weapons those individuals had? Did they perhaps have a
14 gun, a cannon?
15 A. On that day or the next day or the third day, I did see a gun. I
16 assume I probably heard it firing. It was a gun that was on a truck, and
17 it's an anti-aircraft gun. I saw it. I didn't see it shooting. I heard
18 it shooting at first. Later on I saw it too. It was next to the parking
19 lot. Whether it was a day or two later that I saw it firing, I don't
20 know. I assumed it was that gun that was firing.
21 Q. In your earlier statement it was the first day that you saw it,
22 not later.
23 A. I have to say again that even today it is not clear to me what
24 happened when exactly - the first, second, third night - because I was
25 frightened, I hadn't slept probably. Things were confused.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise for
2 interrupting. I feel we are not making progress. Mr. Lopez-Terres has
3 just told the witness that in his previous statement he said he had seen
4 the gun on the first day. That's not what it says. It says that he heard
5 the gun, not saw it. And that's what the witness has said today. I think
6 that's an important difference, so I think that the question was not a
7 fair one.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Go on, please.
9 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Strukar, this gun, could you please -- could you -- if you
11 could describe it in January 1999, it is because you had seen it.
12 A. I said now that I saw it afterwards. I saw it parked by the
14 Q. Very well.
15 A. I assumed it was that gun that had fired.
16 Q. And those young men from Nova Bila, do you know who they might be?
17 A. I have already said that we simply thought they were from Stara
18 Bila or Nova Bila, from the direction of Travnik, because those lads were
19 there for a brief period of time and I never saw them again afterwards.
20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, you've been interrupted, and
21 therefore you should have more time, but perhaps you could come to any
22 other crucial points that you wish to make now, in about five minutes,
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Did your vehicle disappear during that evening, Mr. Strukar?
1 A. Yes. Yes. Whether it was evening or morning --
2 Q. And what were the circumstances under which this happened?
3 A. I learnt what my father told me. My vehicle was parked in the
4 garage, and one of those lads who were there was wounded and they broke
5 into my garage to take the car. They were trying to break in, so my
6 father gave them the key, and they took the vehicle away and drove away
7 the wounded man in my car.
8 Q. Did you ever hear mention or rumour about a unit called Zuti?
9 A. I heard about Zuti only afterwards, during the war.
10 Q. Do you know where that unit was stationed?
11 A. No. No.
12 Q. Do you know the name of Zdravko Andric?
13 A. No.
14 Q. You saw Muslims being expelled at night by those young men. You
15 saw them moving, coming towards the place where you were; isn't it?
16 A. Yes, I saw Muslims coming, and they said that they had been
17 expelled from their houses by those people, and their houses burnt. I
18 didn't see that actually happening, but I saw the Muslims coming to the
19 places where our families were, and they said that's what had happened.
20 Q. And what did those Muslims look like then?
21 A. Well, they were like us. They were frightened. Some were
22 dressed, others were not dressed properly.
23 Q. Was it your impression that they had just left their beds?
24 A. Some of them, yes.
25 Q. And why did you think those Muslims arrived to that part -- came
1 to that part of Mahala where you were?
2 A. They said part of Mahala -- the part where I lived is not called
3 Mahala. They came there. I really don't know why. Perhaps there was
4 less shooting in our area. And we were on a lower -- the ground was lower
5 down and the bullets couldn't reach it so easily, so it was quiet. I
6 didn't think about it much.
7 Q. And do you know what then befell, what happened to those Muslims
8 after you saw them there? Did they go back to their houses?
9 A. No, they didn't go back, because all the families, the Croat and
10 Muslim, and the Muslim men, stayed in those houses 10 or 12 days. I don't
11 know exactly, but I know that in the end, all the food was eaten from
12 those houses and the surrounding houses. But they stayed for at least ten
13 days and some stayed until the end of the war.
14 Q. And would you know if some of them were taken subsequently to
15 detention camps?
16 A. I don't know. I don't think they were.
17 Q. You said this morning that you noted dead bodies.
18 A. Yes. When I came to my father's house, my father told me, so I
19 looked on the road and I saw a corpse.
20 Q. And that body, did it belong to a Muslim or to a Croat?
21 A. My father told me the name of the person. He was a Muslim, the
22 one we could see from his house.
23 Q. The name, would it be Sulejman Sadibasic?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you or did you not see any other bodies apart from Sulejman
2 A. From what my father told me, there were others. He told me where
3 they were. I don't know if you can understand this, but I had never
4 looked at dead bodies before, and seeing just one was too much for me. I
5 didn't wish to look. It was enough for my father to tell me they were
6 dead, and it was enough for me to see one, to feel sick and to turn away
7 from that sight and go back. There was simply no possibility for me to
8 walk around looking because there were bullets still flying around.
9 Q. Mr. Sulejman Sadibasic's son was also killed, and his body was
10 lying nearby.
11 A. As I said, I heard there were others who had been killed; my
12 father told me. Later on I learned that his body was on the other side of
13 the street, and I wasn't able to see it in the following five or six
15 Q. During that night, the 15th to the 16th of April, 1993, to your
16 knowledge, were any Croats killed?
17 A. No.
18 Q. But many houses in that neighbourhood were destroyed, weren't
19 they? And the majority of those houses were what, Muslim or Croat?
20 A. Well, let me tell you, if we -- I have to show it with my hands, I
21 apologise. If this is the border of Mahala as we call it, and the other
22 place is where the Catholic church is, on this side from the Mahala, most
23 houses that burned were Catholic or Croat; on the other side, most of them
24 were Muslim. So at my house, there was a kind of line, and no houses were
25 burnt there.
1 Q. But you did not really reply to my question. Were there more
2 Muslim or more Croat houses that were destroyed that night?
3 A. More Muslim houses.
4 Q. In the morning, on the 17th of April, and the following days, did
5 you see Darko Kraljevic not far from your house and other Croat houses in
6 that neighbourhood?
7 A. I have thought about this a lot, and some people even told me when
8 I testified last time that that was the day, but I simply cannot remember
9 whether it was on the 17th, 18th, or 19th. As far as I know, about their
10 being there, they were not on this side of the street where I was. So I
11 didn't see them until the third, fourth, or fifth day, because they were
12 on the other side of the street. And you simply couldn't peep out, you
13 couldn't stick your head out, because there were bullets flying around.
14 So we had to go round the house to go in.
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, I think it's about time.
16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] A last point, just one last
17 point, Mr. President.
18 Q. When you found yourself in your house on the 18th of April, did
19 you then hear a major explosion not far from your house?
20 A. Yes, I did. It was a big explosion. I heard it, but I wasn't at
21 home then, I was near where my family was. And the explosion came from
22 the direction of my house.
23 Q. Do you know who was behind that major explosion?
24 A. I know now, that's what I have to say. I learned some 10 or 15
25 days afterwards, because the Croats who stayed behind in the Mahala, when
1 they got out of Mahala, when they were released, they told us what it had
2 been about.
3 Q. You have not answered the question. What was it about?
4 A. It was a truck which -- as I heard, because I didn't see it
5 myself. I have to be careful what I say now. So I was told that it was a
6 tank truck which passed down the street and exploded.
7 Q. Exploded just like that, by accident, or was it made to explode?
8 A. I wouldn't know that.
9 Q. But did somebody tell you that you should go to the shelter
10 because there would be such an explosion?
11 A. We were in shelters all the time. I remember that someone in the
12 general chaos said something like -- that something would go off. I
13 remember that.
14 Q. This is not exactly what you said in January 1999. I can read to
15 you the transcript, and you will tell me if you agree with what it says
17 "At a given moment, into the house where I was, men entered ..."
18 It is page 16993, "... men entered and told us to go to a shelter because
19 there would be a major explosion." You were then asked: "Who told you
20 that?" you did not respond, and you said that three or four minutes after
21 that man had warned you, such a big explosion did, indeed, take place.
22 Did you or did you not say what I have just read out to you on the
23 14th of January, 1999?
24 A. Well, another yes/no question. Well, I said the same now. We
25 were in a shelter. Somebody came in and said that. But you're imagining
1 it's a situation like a courtroom: Everybody else is silent and I am
2 saying something and you are writing it down. But there were no chairs.
3 There was chaos. It was a basement. There were mice around.
4 JUDGE MAY: You've made the point.
5 Thank you, Mr. Lopez-Terres. Yes, you've had an hour and a half
6 now, and I think that really must be sufficient for cross-examination.
7 Yes. Any re-examination?
8 MR. MIKULICIC: Just a few questions, Your Honour, if you please.
9 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Strukar, you have been shown Exhibit 385,
11 that is, a BritBat report about the explosion of the bank in Vitez. In
12 that document --
13 A. I apologise. When?
14 Q. Today. I will put the question to you and then you will remember
15 quite easily.
16 This is a document written in English, composed by BritBat, and it
17 says that in Vitez a bomb was planted in the Commercial Bank of Sarajevo.
18 Is there such a bank in Vitez?
19 A. Not now. What was before, as far as I can remember, I think it
20 said "Privredna Banka Travnik."
21 Q. Travnik. Thank you. In that same report it says that on the
22 following day the Zagrebacka Banka was opened in Vitez. Two questions
23 about this: First, has there ever been a Zagrebacka Banka in Vitez?
24 A. No.
25 Q. After the explosion in the bank that was called the Travnik bank,
1 was a Zagrebacka Banka, or any other bank, ever opened?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] For the Chamber's reference, I
5 would like to recall the testimony of the witness Tibold who spoke about
6 this topic.
7 Q. Mr. Strukar, a very brief question, although I think that you have
8 already answered it. How many times before the night of the 15th to the
9 16th of April did you take your wife and children from your house to a
10 safer place?
11 A. Well, I really didn't expect such questions. Do you expect us to
12 count the times? It was some 20 times, more or less.
13 Q. Thank you. That's an answer. So in the night of the 15th to the
14 16th, it was not something exceptional, it was not for the first time.
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. Thank you for your answers.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Strukar, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
19 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are now free to
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE MAY: I think, Mr. Lopez-Terres, on reflection, having heard
24 the cross-examination and having had the chance of seeing the witness, we
25 shouldn't exhibit these documents. It will only confuse issues. We'll
1 rely on the evidence. We'll hand these back.
2 Yes. Can we have the next witness, please?
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour. My next witness is Mr. Dusan
5 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare -- I solemnly
9 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
11 WITNESS: DUSAN LUKOVIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you.
16 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Lukovic.
18 A. Good afternoon.
19 Q. On behalf of the Cerkez Defence, I shall be asking you a few
20 questions. Please answer them to the best of your recollections to help
21 us through your testimony, and please try and speak slowly to give the
22 interpreters a chance to do their job properly.
23 For the record, please state your name and place and date of
25 A. My name is Dusan Lukovic. I was born on the 22nd of September,
1 1935, in Banja Luka.
2 Q. Mr. Lukovic, you are by nationality a Serb; is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You have dual citizenship of the Republic of Bosnia and the
5 Republic of Croatia; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you're an atheist; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You finished the secondary teacher's training college in Travnik;
10 is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. After that you graduated from the faculty of political sciences in
13 Sarajevo; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You are married, the father of two children, and you have five
16 grandchildren; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You're not the member of any political party.
19 A. No, I am not.
20 Q. Did you serve the JNA, the former army?
21 A. Yes, I did, in 1955/1956.
22 Q. Did you receive a rank of any kind?
23 A. I received the rank of sergeant.
24 Q. Mr. Lukovic, something about your education and what you did
25 during the course of your working life. You graduated in 1970, I believe,
1 from the faculty of political sciences in Sarajevo, and after that you
2 found a job in Vitez?
3 A. Yes, the Workers' University, which was called the Mosa Pijade
4 Workers' University in Vitez.
5 Q. That Workers' University was also called the Centre for
7 A. Yes, the educational centre, that's right, within the composition
8 of the Workers' University.
9 Q. What was your job?
10 A. I was professor of sociology in the Centre for Education.
11 Q. And how long did you work in the centre?
12 A. I worked there until 1972, and then I went to the secondary school
13 centre and I was the director of the secondary school centre in Vitez.
14 Q. You became director, did you not?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you performed that function until when?
17 A. Until 1976.
18 Q. And what was your job after that?
19 A. After that I joined the Slobodan Princip Seljo military factory,
20 and I was the head of the department for legal affairs, personnel, and
22 Q. Between 1977 and 1981 you returned.
23 A. Well, at that time I was given an assignment and I went to the
24 Workers' University, Mosa Pijade, and became the university's director.
25 Q. You stayed there until 1981; is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. At that time, you were also the vice-president of the Vitez
3 municipality as a volunteer, not as a professional.
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. From that year onwards, that is to say, from 1981 up until the
6 outbreak of the conflict in Vitez, you were the director of the community
7 for information and protection; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And during that period of time, you were also president of the
10 municipality of Vitez in two mandates; is that right?
11 A. Yes. I was mayor or president of the municipality from 1983/1984,
12 that was my first mandate; and from 1984 to 1985, that was my second
13 mandate, and the mandates lasted one year each.
14 Q. Finally, you retired on the 1st of May, 1996.
15 A. And I'm still a pensioner.
16 Q. Very well. Yes. Thank you. At the beginning of 1992, when the
17 war had broken out in Slovenia and Croatia with the attack of the JNA, how
18 was this reflected on production in the SPS factory?
19 A. Well, at that time there was a considerable drop-off in production
20 levels and there was serious problems with regard to raw materials, the
21 raw materials needed to produce explosive devices. Not all the workers
22 could stay on in the factory. The number of workers had to be cut down in
23 line with the production decline.
24 Q. Very well. Thank you. So at that time lots of people were
25 without a job, or they were put on standby, is the term referred to them.
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. Mr. Lukovic, as that category of people are not something that is
3 common knowledge outside our country, what does it mean to be put on
4 standby? What did that actually mean?
5 A. Well, as there was not enough production going on, nor enough raw
6 materials to engage the factory at full capacity, we had to decrease our
7 production capacities. And then the management board held a meeting to
8 decide what to do, faced with a situation of this kind, because there was
9 surplus labour. And they decided to send a portion of the workers home,
10 to put them on standby, and to keep others on. And then after a month or
11 so, to replace them, to have one group come back to work and others go
12 back home. This would prevent tension and dissatisfaction on the part of
13 the workers, if they took their turns.
14 Q. So if I understood you correctly, and please correct me if I am
15 wrong, it was not that the workers were laid off, but they were sent home,
16 they were put on standby, until the need for them to come back to work
17 arose again, and then they were called up again; is that right?
18 A. Yes. Just a moment, please. There were cases where there was a
19 technological surplus. My son was a technological surplus because he had
20 graduated from law school and he had to go to the employment bureau.
21 There might have been other examples of what we refer to as technological
23 Q. What it, in fact, meant was that your son lost his job; is that
25 A. Yes, and he had to go to the employment agency.
1 Q. In this process, could you note any discriminatory intent with
2 respect to the nationality of the workers?
3 A. No, I did not notice a single case of that. And perhaps my
4 example will be best. I was also sent home and placed on standby because
5 the management board decided, and I within that board, said that if
6 workers were put on standby, then some of the managers ought to be put on
7 standby too, that that would be fair, especially in the administrative
9 Q. Thank you, yes. And that's how you came to be placed on standby
10 yourself; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So you didn't -- you weren't sacked. You carried on performing
13 your functionings but you didn't go to work regularly?
14 A. No. I would go to work from time to time. I would be in contact
15 with my managers and colleagues by phone. I would go to attend meetings
16 from time to time, and I had to go every month to sign the accounts and to
17 determine plans for the following month, to organise the shifts and to
18 rotate the workers, to bring those who had been put on standby back to
19 work and to send those who had been working on standby. But in my case,
20 they themselves made up this schedule.
21 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Lukovic, the national composition of the
22 workers in the SPS factory, did it correspond and reflect the national
23 make-up of the municipality?
24 A. Well, I couldn't say that for certain, so perhaps I would prefer
25 not to comment.
1 Q. In the SPS, were there more Croats compared to Muslims, or were
2 there an equal number on both sides, or more Muslims? What would you say,
3 on the basis of your experience?
4 A. Well, once again, I couldn't venture to guess. I always like to
5 be very exact and precise. I'm sure that those facts and figures existed,
6 but in the management of the SPS, some people said there were more Muslims
7 than Croats; other people said other things. But these are all individual
8 statements which are irrelevant. That is to say, it did not emanate from
9 the policy of the management structure. The workers like to speculate.
10 Q. This brings me to my next question. The management structure, did
11 it implement a discriminatory policy towards Muslims compared to Croats or
12 anybody else?
13 A. As far as I know, the answer to that is no. Because when I was
14 put on standby, the people who worked with me in my department, one of
15 them was in the security department, he remained at work. Another man was
16 the security chief, he also went to work. As far as I remember, the
17 technical director, who was my immediate superior, he was at work too. So
18 I did not notice that I was sent home because I was a Serb, nor that the
19 others were sent back because they were Muslims or Croats or whatever.
20 Now, whether we had planned everything properly and fairly, I
21 can't say, but there was no discrimination, as far as I was able to see.
22 Q. Yes, I see. Thank you. Do you happen to know whether anybody
23 within SPS, the factory SPS, that large conglomerate, did they ask the
24 employed Muslims to sign any kind of loyalty oath to the Croatian
25 Community of Herceg-Bosna?
1 A. Not as far as I know, nor did anybody ask me to do so, to sign any
2 pledge or oath of any kind.
3 Q. Thank you. Mr. Lukovic, on the 16th of April, 1993, there was an
4 open-armed conflict in Vitez. Where were you on that particular morning?
5 A. On that particular morning I was in my apartment, together with my
6 wife and son and daughter-in-law and my two grandsons.
7 Q. What did you do when the shooting started?
8 A. Well, nothing. We were all surprised. We were all afraid. We
9 didn't know what was going on. We moved away from the windows and waited
10 to see what would happen next.
11 Q. Did anybody come to your building and give you any instructions?
12 A. A man knocked at the door, and he was a member of the military
13 police. I saw when I opened the door. And he just told us that we should
14 go down to the basement. He said, "Go down to the basement straight away,
15 to the cellar." And the cellars had been accommodated beforehand; that is
16 to say, there had been two airborne attacks by the JNA when they attacked
17 the complex, so we knew where to take shelter, in the cellars.
18 Q. The building you live in, how many storeys does it have?
19 A. It has a basement -- a ground floor and four floors.
20 Q. And the basement was used by all the tenants as a shelter in case
21 of need?
22 A. Yes, that's right. Some of these shelters were small, so we would
23 gather together in one of the larger shelters. Some were damp, others
24 were not. But yes, we were downstairs in the basement.
25 Q. You told us that you started using the basement as a shelter in
1 1992, when the JNA aviation bombed Vitez.
2 A. Yes. They were -- there was strong shelling.
3 Q. What happened next? From that first day onwards, what did you
4 do? How did you behave?
5 A. Well, I was on standby, as I said, and as they were shooting from
6 all sides, it was dangerous to go out, and we spent most of our time
7 indoors, in the building. You couldn't go out anywhere at that time. You
8 did your best to take shelter and stay together with your family. So I
9 was on complete standby. I had nothing to do, no responsibilities at all,
10 and I didn't go to the factory at all.
11 Q. Mr. Lukovic, along with my next question, I should like to
12 apologise, because paragraph 3 -- an error has occurred in paragraph 3.2.
13 Instead of "the autumn," it should read "in June." So paragraph 3.2
14 should read "sometime in June." And we're talking about June 1993,
15 Mr. Lukovic. Who came to your apartment?
16 A. A military policeman came to my door. He had a piece of paper in
17 his hand, probably a list, and he read out my name, Dusan Lukovic. I said
18 that that was indeed me. And he said that I was to report immediately to
19 the city library, public library. And I went to the library, where I
20 found the head of the civil defence organisation there.
21 Q. Thank you. So you went to the city library. Do you remember the
22 man who met you there?
23 A. I think his name was Males.
24 Q. And you reported to him, did you?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What did he tell you then?
2 A. He said that I was a member of the work platoon, and then he said
3 that we were to go to dig trenches at Zabrdje, to fortify Zabrdje.
4 Q. Very well. So that civil defence commissioner told you that you
5 were a member of the work platoon. Now, this fact, that you were a member
6 of a work platoon, did you know that previously?
7 A. Well, I never thought about wars, and I knew that I had my
8 assignments until the age of 60. I didn't expect them to send me to a
9 work platoon. I thought they could send me to do some other kind of
10 work. But I accepted that stoically as my duty and responsibility, and of
11 course this was in line with the rules and regulations, with the law.
12 Q. But before that day you had no wartime assignment in a work
13 platoon; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So he told you that you had been assigned to a work platoon and
16 that you would have to do trench-digging at Zabrdje; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I'm not going to ask you to show where Zabrdje is on the map, but
19 compared to Vitez, where is that?
20 A. I think it is the south-western reaches. Vlasic is to the north,
21 so this is at Kruscica Planina, Bobasi, Veceriska, Donja and Gornja, and
22 Zabrdje. And there's a hunting lodge there, mountaineering lodge. It is
23 about 1.400 metres above sea level.
24 Q. So is that a dominant feature in that part of the country?
25 A. I think it is the most dominant, and there was a settlement of
1 weekend houses, cottages, holiday homes, and so that I knew the Zabrdje
2 area well because I had my holiday home there.
3 Q. How far is Zabrdje from the city library where you were given your
5 A. By car, it is 14 kilometres, depending which road you take. If
6 you go on foot, then it would take -- then you would walk for six or seven
8 Q. Did you go to that locality?
9 A. Well, they provided a van, and the van and the driver -- his name
10 was Vinac, his surname, but there are two brothers, Vinac, so I don't know
11 which one of the Vinac brothers this was. But they took us to Zaselje,
12 over Gornja Veceriska, and from there we went upwards towards Zabrdje.
13 Q. How many of you made up the work platoon?
14 A. Well, I'm not quite sure I remember. It was in 1993, a long time
15 ago. But I think there were between 15 and 20 men.
16 Q. When you arrived at that location, were you escorted, let me ask
18 A. Well, they asked us -- at least, they asked me, "Dusko, do you
19 know where Zabrdje is? Would you like an escort?" Because the terrain is
20 not a dangerous one. And I said I didn't need an escort, because I used
21 to walk there as a young man. I would walk there often. So I said I
22 didn't need an escort. But they told us to report to the commander of the
23 line at Zabrdje, and that's what we did. When we got up there, we
24 reported to the commander of the line there.
25 Q. Let me ask you something I asked you earlier on with respect to
1 the SPS. What was the national composition of the work platoon you were
3 A. I can't give you the exact percentages, but it was a multi-ethnic
4 work platoon. And wherever I happened to be, there were Croats, Serbs,
5 Muslims, Romanies. We even had a Slovene amongst us.
6 Q. How old were these men in your work platoon?
7 A. They were -- the younger ones were Muslims, but mostly they were
8 elderly ones. I was the oldest man among them. There were locals who
9 volunteered, Croats who would come from the place that my daughter-in-law
10 came from, and her family, her relatives would come, and they were people
11 who were 65 at the time. But they weren't duty-bound. They didn't have
12 to go. They weren't forced to go. But I was given a work assignment.
13 Q. You were given a work assignment?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. How long did you spend at Zabrdje the first time you were sent
17 A. I spent a day and a half there. We spent the night there.
18 Q. While you were at Zabrdje and digging trenches, who was in charge
19 of you? Who looked after you?
20 A. Well, when we reported to the commander of the line up there, he
21 appointed two or three soldiers who were there. Some of them went a
22 little further off from where we were digging, but one of them was always
23 with us, and they were armed in order to ensure our safety, to protect
24 us. And they were young men whom we all knew.
25 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us what unit you belonged to and who was
1 the commander of it?
2 A. I couldn't tell you. I don't know what it was called. I don't
3 think I could even remember all the men who were there then. Whether the
4 unit had a name or not, I don't know. We were just told to go to Zabrdje
5 to dig the trenches.
6 Q. The next day -- and you said you were there for a day and a half.
7 That means you left the next day, you returned the next day. What were
8 the circumstances?
9 A. We spent the night there, we had breakfast, and we started
10 digging. At about 12.00 or 1.00, the soldier came by and said, "Dusko,
11 tell your men to stop digging." I said, "Why?" He said, "Stop digging
12 and bring all your tools with you." When I went up to him later on, he
13 said they had been informed that they were expecting an attack, that they
14 could expect an attack, a member of the BH army, and that they -- that we
15 were to go home. We went home. We took up all our things.
16 Q. And was there an attack? Did an attack take place?
17 A. I don't know, but four armed members of the HVO escorted us to the
18 village of Zaselje. They went in front of us, they had their rifles
19 cocked, because there's a forest there. They didn't want anybody to
20 surprise us. And we climbed down the mountain following them.
21 Q. And you went home after that; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. How much time did you spend at home before you received your
24 second call-up?
25 A. Well, on the 2nd of July, our work platoon went to Zaselje. It
1 was the beginning of July, I think.
2 Q. How were you informed that you would have to be trench-digging
4 A. People came to our door, and once I received an official summons.
5 Q. Brought by courier?
6 A. Yes, probably somebody sent from the civil defence department.
7 They would say, "Go and tell Dusko to report." And our collection centre
8 was the library. We -- our work platoon was entitled the Colony Work
10 Q. And you were sent to the Zaselje location; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. How many times did you go trench-digging?
13 A. After Zaselje, I went to Bobasi, and then, right next to Bobasi,
14 there was Brdjani. Then I went towards Tolovici. There's a locality
15 called Lazine. Then we went to Barin Gaj. And later on I was mobilised
16 by the civil defence department, and sometime in August I had a bad cold
17 and trouble with my kidneys and bladder. I was on sick leave for a
18 month. They thought I might have jaundice.
19 When that month had expired, I left the locality in November. I
20 was deployed to guard duty in Vitez, because I had lost 20 kilos in the
21 process and they thought that it would be difficult for me to continue
22 trench-digging and thought that I'd be better at this next job. There was
23 a lot of construction material, and I had to ensure security and
24 protection for the ambulances, to ensure fuel and so on. There was a
25 mortuary there too, so that all the people who were killed and brought to
1 the mortuary were prepared there for burial. And the burials took place
2 at 10.00 p.m., because they did not take place during the day. So five of
3 us were in this -- doing jobs of this kind.
4 Q. Well, having told us all that, why do you say that funerals did
5 not take place during the day?
6 A. Well, the whole of Vitez was a sort of front line. You didn't
7 know where the shooting was coming from, it's whizzing past from all
8 sides, so for security reasons.
9 Q. I see.
10 A. And the parents of children who had been killed did not attend
11 funerals. There would be civil servants who would do this. They would
12 say their last farewell to their children and then the civil defence
13 department would see to the funerals, and it was a difficult time.
14 Q. And that's where the end of the war found you, is it?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Mr. Lukovic, on the basis of your involvement, you enjoyed certain
17 rights later on?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I'm going to ask you, Mr. Lukovic, to take a look at a document
20 now and to tell us whether it is an ID you received as a member of a work
22 THE REGISTRAR: Document D122/2.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: The original to the witness and the translation --
24 thank you.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Lukovic, is that the membership card that you
1 were given when you became a member of a work platoon?
2 A. Yes, it is. And I have brought the originals with me, I have the
3 originals with me. That's a photocopy. I haven't got my photograph on it
4 because I took the photograph off.
5 Q. Very well. I see. My colleague, Mr. Naumovski, has just told me
6 that there has been a mistake in the translation of the membership card,
7 that it was the 14th of January, 1993 instead of 1994, which it says in
8 the original; that the number is wrong, the year.
9 A. Yes, that's right. I didn't have my glasses on. The 14th of
10 January, 1994, that's the correct date.
11 Q. On the basis of your assignment to the work platoon, you also
12 gained the right to be issued certificates; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You were issued a certificate to that effect. Would you take a
15 look at the document and tell us what it's about.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Document D123/2.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Lukovic, this is the certificate in question. It was issued
19 on the 7th of May, 1996 by the command of the 92nd Home Guard Regiment,
20 confirming the fact that Lukovic, son of Bosko, born in 1935 -- that's you
21 yourself; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Was a member of the 92nd Viteska Regiment -- 92nd Regiment, called
24 Viteska, from the 16th of April, 1994 to the 20th of April, 1994. I have
25 a few questions concerning this document.
1 First, were you ever a member of the 92nd Home Guard Regiment,
3 A. I learnt this for the first time when I received this
4 certificate. Now --
5 Q. I apologise for interrupting, Mr. Lukovic, but would you just
6 answer my questions. Were you ever a member of the 92nd Home Guard
8 A. No, never. I was a civilian in a work platoon with no uniform and
9 no weapons.
10 Q. And you received this certificate to use it for your
12 A. Yes, and on the basis of this, I was given beneficial years of
13 service. So when I retired, this period was counted double in my years of
15 Q. Mr. Lukovic, the clerks that gave you this certificate, did you
16 tell them yourself that you were a member of the 92nd Home Guard Regiment?
17 A. No. I never gave out any information like that.
18 Q. Mr. Lukovic, let us now move on to our final area.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think I'll need
20 ten more minutes at the most. Could we go on?
21 A. May I add something, please? I'd like to say something.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, briefly.
23 A. I didn't even know that the 92nd Home Guard Regiment existed, the
24 Viteska, and I found it funny that suddenly I seemed to be a member of
25 it. I told my family about it. But I only learnt of that when I got this
2 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Very well. Thank you. I have to intervene with respect to the
4 translation again, and I thank my colleague Mr. Naumovski for pointing it
5 out, it says in the translation that Mr. Lukovic was a member of the 92nd
6 Viteska Regiment from the 16th to the 20th of April, 1994. It should be
7 the 16th of April, 1993 to the 20th of April, 1994. So for one year, not
8 four days, as this document would have it, or the translation of it, that
9 is to say.
10 Mr. Lukovic, you mentioned by way of introduction that your son
11 had graduated from law school but that he had lost his job, and after that
12 he joined up with the HVO units.
13 A. No, he did not join up with the HVO units, he was mobilised.
14 Because he was a conscript like me, but he was younger, of course, he then
15 became a member of the HVO in its armed component.
16 Q. He was wounded during the war; is that right?
17 A. Yes, at Bobasi.
18 Q. And he is an invalid, a 30-per cent invalid.
19 A. Yes, that's right. He still has some shrapnel in his left hand
20 and is therefore an invalid and receives invalid benefits, about 300
21 Deutschemarks -- to the tune of about 300 Deutschemarks.
22 Q. He, too, gained the right to receive certificates; is that right?
23 What about your wife, was she a member of any armed component of
24 the HVO or work platoon?
25 A. Well, my wife was my wife. She was a housewife, a mother, and
1 granny, and she was at home all the time. She was the backbone of our
2 family, on duty all the time. Her husband would go off in one direction,
3 her son in another, so she stayed at home with her daughter-in-law and her
4 grandchildren. This was very difficult for her.
5 Q. Yes. But she too received the certificates.
6 A. Yes, she did, because all of us in Bosnia-Herzegovina were issued
7 certificates from the privatisation of the socially-owned companies and
8 factories that existed beforehand, social capital, socially-owned
9 property. And also retired pensioners received an additional benefit, and
10 the people who had savings accounts and lost their savings, they too were
11 issued certificates, as did the members of the HVO, depending on the years
12 of service in the HVO or civilian defence there.
13 My wife, in addition to this, received about 1.000 marks' worth of
14 certificates as a citizen who was in the area during those war days. And
15 the women via the Red Cross did some war effort, they were engaged in a
16 war effort. They would bake bread or pies or supply sheets for hospitals
17 or the mortuary, things of that kind.
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Lukovic. Yes, we get the picture.
19 You know Mr. Mario Cerkez, do you not?
20 A. Yes, I do. I know him very well.
21 Q. You know him because you knew his parents; is that right?
22 A. Yes. We were friends for many years. Particularly in the 1960s
23 and 1970s we were great friends, and we would see each other socially. We
24 would go camping together for ten years. We would go to the coast, to
25 Makarska. So Mario and his brother Davor and their parents and my
1 children, we would all go to the seaside together.
2 Q. On the basis of your friendship with the Cerkez family, could you
3 say that the Cerkez family, and then, of course, Mario Cerkez, had any
4 national prejudice with respect to the Muslims, or other ethnic groups
5 living in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. As far as I know, the Cerkez family is a highly respected family,
7 especially Tugomir, his late father, and Ivanka, their mother. They both
8 worked in the post office. They were very friendly people, had many
9 friends. Lots of people knew them. I never noticed anything of this
10 kind, and if I did notice anything, I wouldn't be their friend. And I
11 think it is important for me to say that both of them, particularly
12 Mario's mother, she was a very religious lady.
13 Q. Did you ever happen to notice that Mario was prone to aggressive
14 behaviour of any kind, or entered into conflicts, arguments, anything of
15 that kind?
16 A. It's difficult -- I will give you an answer, but as I say, we are
17 friends, so it is up to you to assess how far I can be objective, because
18 we were great friends. But my feelings towards him: Let me say that
19 Mario was an outstanding young man, very well brought up, highly
20 cultured. He went to the school for reserve officers in Bileca; he was a
21 lieutenant. He worked in the post office for a time, and later on in the
22 secretariat for national defence, and in the civil defence services in the
24 Later on, when I moved to the Princip Seljo factory and I was a
25 manager there, there was the total national defence sector, and I asked
1 Mario to come over because we were having some problems with the materiel
2 and technical equipment. We took Mario on as a technician and an officer,
3 and he moved to work in the factory. He was a clerk for the MTS, or
4 materiel and technical resources department.
5 Q. In your opinion, how did he acquit himself?
6 A. Well, he was excellent. He was very pedantic in his work. We got
7 through the job quickly. Of course, my assessment need not mean a great
8 deal. But there were several military inspections which came round, there
9 was a federal inspector headed by an admiral, and a republican inspection,
10 and they gave a very high appraisal not only for Mario but for territorial
11 defence in that territory.
12 Q. Thank you for all those details, Mr. Lukovic. Thank you for
13 testifying. Thank you for coming to the Tribunal.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lukovic, can I ask you something to make sure I've
16 got your evidence right: When you said you were digging trenches, you
17 mentioned Bobasi and Lazine as places that you went to dig trenches, and
18 you mentioned some other places. Could you remind me of what they were?
19 A. Do you want me to give you all of them, all the places?
20 JUDGE MAY: You mentioned Zaselje and Zabrdje. I have those.
21 Now, besides Bobasi and Lazine, what were the other ones?
22 A. Brdjani and Barin Gaj. I think that makes six, six localities in
24 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
25 A. You're welcome.
1 JUDGE MAY: Help us with some other of the geography, if you
2 would. The Workers' University, or Centre for Education, we hear, is also
3 called -- or was also called the cultural centre; was that right?
4 A. I was in the Workers' University in 1959 and it worked as an
5 autonomous institution. But a separate thing was the cultural centre of
6 the military factory, Slobodan Princip Seljo.
7 Afterwards the Workers' University and the cultural centre joined
8 up, and it became one organisation which was referred to as the Workers'
9 University, or Mosa Pijade. Mosa Pijade. They had a theatre there, a
10 cinema --
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I was going to ask you, that's where they had the
12 cinema; is that right?
13 A. Yes, that's right. That's right, yes.
14 JUDGE MAY: One other thing: About the colony, that was a part of
15 Vitez, wasn't it?
16 A. Yes, that's right. Novi Vitez, the new Vitez, where apartment
17 buildings went up, socially-owned ones, that is to say, the factory and
18 the municipality built workers' apartments in that area, and they called
19 it the colony when the military factory was built. As soon as a new
20 building came into being, it was referred to as colony. But it was a very
21 beautiful town at one time, a lot of greenery, lots of parks, a nice
23 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. We're going to adjourn now. Could you
24 come back tomorrow morning?
25 Is there any cross-examination?
1 MR. SAYERS: Not from Mr. Kordic, no, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. There will be some cross-examination from
3 the Prosecution. So would you be back, please, tomorrow morning at half
4 past nine to continue your evidence. Don't speak to anybody until your
5 evidence is over, please, and that includes members of the Defence team.
6 If the legal officer could come up, please. Thank you.
7 We'll adjourn now. Half past nine tomorrow.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.13 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 21st day of
10 September, 2000, at 9.30 a.m.