1 Monday, 25
2 [Private session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.37 a.m.
13 Page 25391 redacted – in private session.
13 Page 25392 redacted – in private session.
19 [Open session]
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.
22 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
23 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
25 WITNESS: FRANJO KRIZANAC
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
3 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:
4 Q. Thank you, Your Honour. Good morning, Mr. Krizanac. By way of
5 introduction, let me give you a warning. Will you please wait with your
6 answer when I ask you a question so that your answers and my questions to
7 be interpreted in the working languages. Mr. Krizanac, could you state
8 your full name and date of birth for the Trial Chamber?
9 A. My name is Franjo Krizanac. My father's name is Andrija. I was
10 born on the 13th of November 1935.
11 Q. Thank you. We can point to the statement, we made you younger in
12 the summaries. It was -- it is stated there that you were born in 1945
13 but that is a mistake.
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. On 30th of June of this year, you signed a statement under oath
16 before the Court in Vitez; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 MS. SOMERS: Forgive the interruption, Your Honours, the
20 Prosecution is a bit confused. My understanding or our understanding was
21 that this was simply cross-examination on an existing affidavit and has
22 prepared the cross essentially based on that.
23 Is this the procedure that will be followed should we have to
24 bring back witnesses pursuant to these requests?
25 JUDGE MAY: I understand the witness is being introduced at the
1 moment. Is that right, Mr. Naumovski, you are introducing the witness,
2 and we've got his affidavit?
3 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Absolutely correct, Your Honour,
4 I'm going to be finished in one minute.
5 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, sirs.
6 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] In other words, the witness is not
7 going to repeat anything that he has said in the statement.
8 Q. Let me go back to where we left off. You signed this statement
9 under oath; in other words, it's an affidavit?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. When we read this statement, we saw a couple of errors, and the
12 major one is your year of birth. When you studied your affidavit, you
13 also noticed an error in paragraph 11, mentioning the presence of 40 to 50
14 persons in the elementary school in Ovnak.
15 A. Yes. This is the Pojske elementary school.
16 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in the English
17 version that is the fourth sentence in paragraph 11. Essentially all that
18 is stated about the elementary school at Pojske is what this -- is the
19 evidence that this witness is giving, and nothing to do with the village
20 of Ovnak.
21 Q. So Mr. Krizanac, in addition to this technical error and this one
22 mistake which we pointed out to the Trial Chamber, does your statement
23 contain everything that you know to the best of your recollection?
24 A. Yes, essentially it does. In addition, I know many other things.
25 Q. Of course. Should there be any questions in the
1 cross-examination, you will be fully prepared to answer them?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And my last question to you: In this statement did you mention
4 things as a person who has actually experienced and lived through these
6 A. Yes. I was a firsthand witness of these events.
7 Q. Mr. Krizanac, I have no further questions, and you will now be
9 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that is all I have.
10 MR. KOVACIC: I don't have any questions. Thank you.
11 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:
12 Q. May I ask, please, if you are still actively a member of the
13 clergy of the Catholic Church? Are you still a priest or a Franciscan?
14 A. Yes. I am a priest.
15 Q. In which case, if I address you as "Father," will that be
16 acceptable to you so that there's consistency in the record?
17 A. You can call me by my name alone, you can use "Father Franjo," you
18 can use any combination thereof.
19 Q. Thank you very much. Are you here as an official member of the
20 Catholic Church or are you here as an individual, Father Krizanac?
21 A. As an individual.
22 Q. Did you obtain from the Catholic Church permission to first of all
23 make an affidavit on behalf of the defendant, Dario Kordic, and secondly,
24 to appear here in court today?
25 A. No permission was necessary. As a citizen, I am obligated to
1 account for my actions as a citizen.
2 Q. At the time of the making of this affidavit, which I believe was
3 in June/July or so of 2000, can you please tell us who was the provincial
4 to whom you were subordinate in Bosnia?
5 A. At that time it was Father Petar Andzelovic, who was still a
6 provincial, and later there was a change.
7 Q. And who is the new provincial, please, name?
8 A. It is Father Mijo Djolan.
9 Q. And where is his headquarters? Where is he sitting?
10 A. In Sarajevo.
11 Q. A few questions about your background, please. Do you have
12 relatives in Vitez by the name of Krizanac?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you please give their full names and what parts of Vitez they
15 live in.
16 A. I myself was born in Vitez, in the village of Dubravica, where all
17 my close relatives live. This is where my father, my grandfather lived,
18 my brothers live there, and other relatives.
19 Q. The names of your brothers, please?
20 A. My eldest brother's name is Ilija; the youngest is Slavko. They
21 are deceased.
22 Q. Do you currently have living relatives in Vitez or relatives who
23 lived through the war period from, let us say, 1992 to 1994?
24 A. I had relatives even before the war. They lived there
25 for -- they've lived there for a long time. And my brothers still live in
1 Vitez, except for the brothers who died during the war. They were killed
2 by the ABiH.
3 Q. That was actually my next question. Were any of your relatives
4 from Vitez killed in the conflict? And could you name them, please? And
5 then I'd like to move on to another area, if I could.
6 A. Yes. My brother Jozo Krizanac was killed in the village where he
7 lived; his two sons were killed, Tomo and Andrija; and in the village that
8 was attacked, the so-called bloody Christmas Eve, a number of my relatives
9 were killed, and that was in the village, in front of their houses, by the
10 Muslim army.
11 Q. And Father, what date are you referring to? Christmas Eve of what
13 A. In 1993.
14 Q. The towns in which these relatives lived, if you could enumerate
15 the towns quickly, I'd appreciate that, please. Just list the towns or
17 A. All those whom I have mentioned lived in my village of Dubravica,
18 in Vitez municipality.
19 Q. How long -- well, first of all, do you know the accused Dario
20 Kordic personally?
21 A. Yes, I do know him.
22 Q. How long have you known him and how did you meet him?
23 A. I heard from the media, because I was in various places doing my
24 work. But when these political changes started, Mr. Kordic started
25 appearing in these public events. This is when I met him, and I met him
1 on several occasions in such circumstances.
2 Q. Did you ever meet him or see him at any of the HVO ceremonies, if
3 you in fact attended some of the swearing-in ceremonies for the new
5 A. I never attended any of the oath-giving ceremonies of the HVO, but
6 I met the gentleman in the pre-election gatherings or in our parish
7 offices in Nova Bila, so those were the occasions.
8 Q. What years? Can you remember, please? When did you meet him?
9 Perhaps a year and a month, of your personal encounters with him.
10 A. I cannot tell you the day and the month when we met, but I believe
11 I met him four or five times at the most. Our last meeting was at Nova
12 Bila in 1993. This was before this Christmas, when a humanitarian
13 organisation brought some humanitarian aid to Nova Bila. I was in the
14 parish office when this assistance was given. It was called Bijeli Put,
15 or white road, and that is when I last met Mr. Kordic.
16 Q. On any of the occasions when you saw Dario Kordic, can you
17 describe or do you recall how he was dressed? Was he dressed in any
18 particular manner that sticks out in your mind?
19 A. That was a meeting during a gathering, and from what I remember,
20 Mr. Kordic was wearing civilian clothes. But those are just details, and
21 I don't recall all the details of that event.
22 Q. Do you recall seeing him at all in a uniform on any of the
23 occasions, any of the occasions that you've met him?
24 A. On television.
25 Q. You know an individual named Father Stjepan Neimarevic?
1 A. I do.
2 Q. Did you work with him for a period of time in Guca Gora?
3 A. We did not work together, because he followed me in the position
4 of guardian in Guca Gora in 1991; in other words, he followed me as the
5 abbot at Guca Gora. And then I moved to another place near Zenica from
6 where I was driven in 1993. That is from Brajkovici.
7 Q. Have you had contact with Father Stjepan Neimarevic since you were
8 asked to provide an affidavit in this trial? Have you talked to him
9 either by telephone or personally, have you had communication?
10 A. No, I have not seen Father Stjepan Neimarevic since September 1994
11 when I again took over the monastery at Guca Gora from him.
12 Q. Are you familiar with Archbishop Puljic of Sarajevo? Do you know
14 A. Of course I know him.
15 Q. During the course of the various conflicts on the territory of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you follow Archbishop and perhaps at that time
17 Cardinal Puljic's positions on the integrity or perhaps unity of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Were you aware of his position on an integral
20 A. When -- before Cardinal Puljic, because I am older than he is, but
21 I know Mr. Puljic's views, and I was also for the integral Bosnia and this
22 is what I voted for in the referendum along with the rest of the Croatian
24 Q. Archbishop Puljic then Cardinal Puljic has expressed views which
25 have been previously brought to the attention of this Chamber about the
1 problems which were caused by Herceg-Bosna, and it is apparent that he was
2 not a supporter of the concept of Herceg-Bosna. Did you support the
3 concept of the Croatian Territory or Community of Herceg-Bosna? What were
4 your views on it, please?
5 A. First of all, I was not professionally involved in politics. I
6 did not belong to a single party. I had very free thoughts of my own
7 regarding problems like Bosnia, and I expressed my opinion about that a
8 few minutes ago. I think that Herceg-Bosna, this is my private view, was
9 an attempt to protect the Croat people and their interests in Bosnia as
10 the smallest people there, as the people who were under the greatest
11 threat there. In that case, I agreed with such views.
12 In terms of the protection of Croat rights and Croat territories,
13 I'm referring to villages where Croats lived. This is their homeland.
14 This is where they are from, and this is their property. There were a lot
15 of threats already at an early stage in 1992 in Bosnia, in Central Bosnia
16 where I was working at the time. There were Croats coming in, refugees
17 from Banja Luka, Kotor Varos, Jajce and Sanski Most and also even more
18 Muslim refugees. And then there were also refugees from eastern Bosnia,
19 Srebrenica, Zvornik, Foca and the rest. So there was a great influx of
20 Muslim population into this area. That is when there was a feeling of
21 insecurity in that area. We were all taking in these refugees.
22 As I worked through Caritas, I helped everyone, all refugees, also
23 in Brajkovici where I was expelled from. I helped everyone; Muslims,
24 everybody. That's the way the situation was in the beginning. There was
25 cooperation. But every day, there were not only refugees who were coming
1 in, but then also unknown people in uniforms, people who we did not know.
2 That year in 1992 we noticed another phenomenon --
3 Q. Excuse me for interrupting you. Your comment on Herceg-Bosna
4 was , from everything I have gathered, it was a positive occurrence for
5 the Croat people; would that be fair to say?
6 A. In that part, the protection of Croat rights, yes, indeed.
7 Q. Did you keep track of the position of then Cardinal Kuharic who
8 later became Archbishop Kuharic of Croatia on his views of Bosnia
9 remaining an integral, a united Bosnia? Were you current on those during
10 the period of the conflict?
11 A. Yes, I am aware of that. I'm remembering all of this now. It was
12 not easy to follow events in those days, sometimes the radio did not work,
13 sometimes television did not work there was no electricity, but basically
14 I did agree with Kuharic's views.
15 Q. Kuharic opposed a division of Bosnia, did he not, he opposed a
16 separation of the peoples; is that correct?
17 A. As far as I know based on his statements, that could be a fact.
18 Q. And as a member of -- as an official of the Catholic church, did
19 you also follow the official position of the Vatican on the division of
20 Bosnia? Were you aware that the Vatican strongly supported --
21 A. For the most part. For the most part.
22 Q. And do you concur that the Vatican strongly supported an integral
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina?
24 A. I am aware of that, and I already answered that question earlier
25 on. I presented my own views on that.
1 Q. What do you cite as the date that began the Muslim/Croat
2 conflict? Please give a date, a month and a year, perhaps tie it to an
3 event if you can.
4 A. For me, that was the beginning of a tragedy of both peoples. I
5 always consider that to be a major misunderstanding.
6 JUDGE MAY: Father Krizanac, I'm afraid time is limited.
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE MAY: I'm afraid time is limited for us. We have been going
9 on this case for more a year and a half, and we've heard a great deal of
10 evidence. In order that we can get through the matter fairly quickly,
11 could you please help by just concentrating on the questions and answering
12 it as briefly as you can. The question was if you can give a date when,
13 as far as you were concerned, the conflict began. If you can't give a
14 date, then say, and we can move on to something else.
15 A. The parish of Brajkovici where I was serving at the time was quite
16 isolated. At the time, I could not follow the overall situation. I was
17 aware of individual incidents that were occurring. There was one such
18 incident in Miletici, the village of Miletici in my parish on the 24th of
19 April 1993 when five civilians were killed, massacred. I buried them.
20 From time to time I would listen to the radio when this was possible, and
21 I heard about incidents on both sides. But when the war exactly broke
22 out, I cannot really fix a date.
23 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
24 MS. SOMERS:
25 Q. Thank you, Father. Father, can you perhaps help us understand
1 some evidence that came out during the testimony of your colleague, Father
2 Neimarevic. There was a document which he confirmed was for real that
3 indicated that the church, that the church at Guca Gora, the monastery,
4 had had some treasures, art-related treasures, that were moved from the
5 monastery to apparently Croatia in December of 1992. Now, this predates
6 greatly the hostilities to which you have just referred.
7 Can you help us understand why, at that late date, these items
8 were moved? What would be your understanding of it if you were guardian
9 at that point in time? Just help us, please.
10 A. Yes, but the war began before the conflict between these two
11 peoples, the Croats and the Muslims. The Serbs put heavy weapons on Mount
12 Vlasic right above the monastery, and they were shelling both Travnik and
13 Guca Gora from there. Actually young men from Guca Gora were the first to
14 go out and defend the village of Guca Gora from the Serb army. That is in
15 the immediate vicinity of the monastery.
16 It was believed then that we should take away all this cultural
17 heritage, all these treasures to -- as much as possible because there was
18 the danger of the Serb army destroying the monastery. There has -- had
19 already been experience of that kind in 1945, it was demolished by the
20 partisan units that were predominantly Serbs.
21 Q. Father Krizanac, the Serbs essentially declared war on the non-
22 Serb population in Bosnia-Herzegovina in April 1992. Can you explain
23 why between April and December these particular items were allowed to
24 remain in the monastery? Why suddenly, just before the turn of the year
25 to 1993, was there a decision to move them?
1 A. The possibility had to be found as well as the time. There was
2 not unimpeded transport through Bosnia at the time, and proper vehicles
3 had to be found as well. This could not be carried out within one day, it
4 required time. Unfortunately, at that time, we did not remove all the art
5 treasures we had. We did not remove the library which later, during the
6 conflict between the Croats and the Muslims, was taken away in its
7 entirety. Now, during the spring and summer, some of it was returned, but
8 some items were never returned.
9 Q. Father Krizanac, did you have dealings with members of the
10 European Commission Monitoring Mission, the ECMM, during the course of
11 your time at Guca Gora?
12 A. Yes, yes.
13 Q. Do you remember a particular monitor named Morsink, a Dutch
14 fellow? Do you remember him?
15 A. Not by name, but I had several contacts, and there were several
16 persons involved.
17 Q. Did you enjoy good relations with these monitors? Were you on
18 good terms with them?
19 A. As far as I know, yes.
20 Q. Did you feel that they were trustworthy, honest persons?
21 A. I always gave truthful information to the best of my ability and
23 Q. Did you feel they were trustworthy? Did you believe them? Did
24 you have confidence in them, the monitors?
25 A. Well, that is why I did want to make myself available to them
1 always and I wanted to give them proper information, because I did trust
2 them and I believed that they could help us.
3 Q. I want to ask you about a commission, and this would be Z1139.3.
4 It is an English document, and I probably will have to very quickly have
5 it put on the ELMO. And there's a very small matter there that I'd like
6 to ask you about, please. Father, do you read English? Do you have some
7 knowledge of English?
8 A. No. No, not that much.
9 Q. This is a document, Father Krizanac, which was compiled by a
10 monitor and a field officer from the Human Rights Commission of July 6th,
11 1993, and it was made in Zagreb. And there's a reference in the
12 second -- in the paragraph above the last paragraph about some witnesses
13 to a killing in Brajkovici. And it lists Franjo Krizanac. I believe that
14 would be yourself, inasmuch as it's with another priest or Franciscan --
15 A. Pero Karajica, yes.
16 Q. And the deaths of Vlado Markovic and the Vidosevic brothers. It
17 is the last sentence that I'd like to ask you about. "They, the
18 witnesses, said that they could identify one of the soldiers, a Muslim
19 soldier, but were reluctant to disclose his name." Why were you reluctant
20 to disclose the name of a killer?
21 A. No. I did not attend the killing, the direct killing. I later
22 came to Ovnak, where these men had been killed. There was an eyewitness
23 there whom we discovered by accident, and he worked at Vlado Markovic's in
24 1992. When we were expelled from Brajkovici, escorted by some military,
25 whatever, by vehicles, to Ovnak, which is about a kilometre and a half
1 away from the church, we recognised a young man there, a Muslim, whose
2 nickname was Osman. We have his name and surname somewhere. And then
3 this Fra Pero Karajica, when we got out of our vehicles so that we would
4 be transported by some other vehicles to Zenica, he got out and said,
6 Osman was very happy to see him. He approached us, and of course
7 he was removed from there immediately. But the next day in Zenica, he
8 came to look for me at the parish office in Zenica. He said, "Thank you
9 for having saved my life." How did I save his life? I have no idea about
10 this. He said, "When they were killing these above-mentioned men and
11 others, who I buried three or four days ago later there at Ovnak, 18 of
12 them, when you addressed me as Osman, which is a Muslim name, then they
13 saw I was a Muslim, because I kept saying that I was a Muslim, but they
14 did not believe me, since I was in a Croat house at Vlado Markovic's."
15 So this eyewitness is alive until the present day. I think that
16 he is somewhere in the area of Zenica.
17 Q. Did you give his name to the ECMM or to the Human Rights
19 A. No. No, I did not know his real name at the time, but I knew his
20 nickname, Osman. Later I heard that his surname was Pobric or Probic or
21 something like that. But it's possible to find him in Zenica.
22 Q. But Father, at the time that people were asking questions, you did
23 not give the name; is that correct?
24 A. No, no, because I didn't know it. I just knew the nickname.
25 Q. Did you attempt to give a description of the person and the
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between English and
14 French transcripts.
1 location where he might be found, even if a full name were not within your
3 A. Nobody asked me about that. I do not remember anyone asking me
4 about that.
5 Q. Did you volunteer it? It was a killing, was it not?
6 A. Well, listen, our reports from Zenica about victims there went
7 through the Red Cross, and this was public information and it was made
8 accessible. But I don't know that anyone came to me and asked me to
9 identify that person.
10 Q. Are you saying that the Red Cross was to have given out this
11 information? Is that what your position is?
12 A. I don't know who was supposed to give it.
13 Q. Father, did you feel any reluctance at being asked to give
14 testimony on behalf of Dario Kordic?
15 A. No. I have no prejudice. This coincides with what I have been
16 doing all my life, and that is seeking the truth regarding all persons and
17 events. I'm only interested in the truth. As for the attitude of an
18 individual towards this truth, that will be judged by those who are in
20 MS. SOMERS: If the usher would be kind enough to show Z1196.1.
21 It is a document in the Croatian language.
22 Only one page of it has been translated to show -- to confirm the
23 name of the witness on it, Your Honours, and if the Court cares just to
24 look at it for that value, because we're not able to provide a full
25 translation, then so be it. The Prosecution apologises for the very poor
1 quality of the copy. It is no better in the document which we initially
3 Q. This is a document, Father Krizanac, bearing the date of the 8th
4 of September, 1993, and it is notes. And what I'd like to ask you to
5 confirm, under the section called zapisnik in Croatian -- I'm not sure how
6 they ended up translating -- "record" in English. Your name appears as
7 the second person on a commission to the examination of villages destroyed
8 in war and various aspects of war damage. Is that you? Is that the same
9 person, Franjo Krizanac?
10 A. Yes. Yes. That's my name. And I did work on this particular
11 subject matter with the mention persons. Now, whether that is the record
12 concerned or not, we can have a look at that later.
13 Q. Because we are disadvantaged, only to ask you to turn to the next
14 page, which is in Croatian only. But there are names that appear there,
15 and some of these names confirm some of the dead referred to in the
16 document you just addressed: Vidosevic, I think Markovic. Can you just
17 explain, did you --
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. -- [Previous translation continues] ... this information to assist
20 in an assessment of the casualties and damage, or what was the purpose of
21 this commission? And then we shall move on.
22 A. The purpose of this commission was to tour the villages of that
23 parish where I was serving at the time with a police escort, that is. I
24 was appointed to be a member of this commission because I was familiar
25 with the villages. We were supposed to try to identify missing persons
1 killed, if any, to see if there were any burned houses, et cetera, so I
2 did take part in the work of this commission.
3 Q. So although the commission dealt with the naming of casualties,
4 the naming of perpetrators -- for example, the eyewitness to the
5 murder -- gave you some concern; you were not necessarily happy to provide
6 that type of information, but it was okay to sit on a commission to
7 describe this type of information?
8 JUDGE MAY: I think that's probably a matter of comment really.
9 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
10 Q. I'd like to ask you your profession opinion as a member of the
11 Catholic Church, as an official of the church, about the use of religious
12 symbols in political and military campaigns, but particularly in political
13 campaigns. Do you approve of --
14 A. Religious symbols?
15 Q. -- [Previous translation continues] ... Specifically, Z1115.2,
16 please. It will be a document that will be shown to you, and I'd just
17 like to ask you if you can tell us a little bit about the use of a symbol
18 and how you view it.
19 Father Krizanac, this document dated 26 June 1993 is a letter to
20 BH command, signed by three persons, one of whom is Dario Kordic, Colonel
21 Dario Kordic, signed as vice-president of the Croatian Community of
22 Herceg-Bosna; the second is Tihomir Blaskic, then colonel, commander of
23 the zone; and the third is Ignac Kostroman, as Secretary-General of
24 HZ HB. And I wonder -- the reference to --
25 MS. SOMERS: In the English, Your Honours, it is the -- on the
1 last page.
2 Q. It says [as read] "We would like you," talking to General
3 Morillon, "to be our ambassador to the world as an excellent expert for
4 the situation in BH and the terrible Calvary of the Croatian people has
5 been through."
6 What reference -- what is the purpose of referring to the Calvary
7 that the Croatian people has been through? How do you see that, if you
8 can interpret it, and how do you view using that type of symbol and this
9 type of communication to General Morillon?
10 A. This is the first time I have this piece of paper in my hands.
11 I've never seen it before. However, Calvary is a word that is used often,
12 and that is a synonym for suffering, pain, as that of Christ. In Central
13 Bosnia there is also a place where Good Friday and Easter are celebrated.
14 That place is also called Calvary. It was built the way people
15 think Calvary looked, where Christ was crucified. So this notion
16 of Calvary, the suffering of Christ, is often used as a word that is
17 supposed to denote suffering. Very often it is used for persons of other
18 religious denominations as well.
19 Q. I see no mention of the Calvary of the Muslim people, if it's
20 appropriate to use it in the context of --
21 JUDGE MAY: I think this is argument, you know, which isn't going
22 to assist us, with respect. Ms. Somers, as you know, we have a great deal
23 to get through. Do you anticipate being much longer with this witness?
24 MS. SOMERS: If I could ask for the Court's advice, perhaps, on
25 this. I would prefer not spending a lot of time on documents. Rather
1 than shock the Court with what looks like a huge piece of evidence to be
2 introduced, I wanted to let the Bench know that we have two precendential
3 transcripts from which there are a few references that I believe are
4 relevant to this witness. It looks shocking, but I assure you that it is
5 not the whole document that we will use; it is simply several pages from.
6 I would like to move to those, because I think they're important. I just
7 didn't want the Bench to criticise the size of them without understanding
8 the background. I think it's inappropriate for you not to have the whole
9 document, but it's certainly not the butt of our examination.
10 JUDGE MAY: Well, we'll certainly consider this. Does it mention
11 this witness?
12 MS. SOMERS: It mentions the church, Your Honour, and the position
13 of the church. It mentions things happening with Mate Boban. If the
14 Bench feels that perhaps another witness would be better I can consider
15 it, but I would certainly like to try with this witness.
16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Ms. Somers, we are dealing with
17 an affidavit. We have received it and it deals with a specific number of
18 facts, accurate or specific facts and I think that if you want to comply
19 with the Rules, you have to confine yourself to those facts as mentioned
20 in the examination-in-chief or in the affidavit, that's all. Because you
21 have mentioned the Calvary, it is used today or nowadays by everybody.
22 It's not just specific to one person or one type of church or the other so
23 we shouldn't dwell too long on these arguments. And the time is not
24 appropriate to make a series of statements regarding the church in
25 general. I don't think that's the purpose right now as far as I am
1 concerned at least.
2 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Judge Bennouna. One of the issues was of
3 course this was an affidavit in support of Father Neimarevic who went
4 actually well beyond much of what was in his summary and if, in fact, it
5 was supportive of the positions taken by Father Neimarevic, we were trying
6 to explore some of those areas which is the explanation by way of which --
7 why these questions have been raised.
8 If this is the -- if the Bench is suggesting that we wait, I do
9 want to be able to get these documents in. They are quite important and
10 were unavailable to us previously, of course. I can certainly tailor this
11 and not do it but I just need some assurance that I will be able to by
12 some other means, because I believe this is the only other church witness.
13 JUDGE MAY: I think the appropriate time to do it may be later in
14 the case. It may be this is the -- the only church witness but we are
15 under constraints of time and as the Judge has said, strictly it should be
16 related to what's in the affidavit and you should look elsewhere for it.
17 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Judge May.
18 Q. Can you please simply because this is a joint trial, do you know
19 Mario Cerkez, just yes or no?
20 A. I know him by name and surname, but I was away from that area for
21 a long time I'm not sure I would recognise his face.
22 Q. Going back to a point about your relatives named Krizanac from the
23 Vitez municipality. Do you know whether Andrija Krizanac, was he killed
24 in an attack on Stari Vitez, was he killed on the 18th of July, 1993?
25 A. Yes. At that time I was in Zenica, I learned about his death in
1 Vitez. I learned about his death in Vitez. Later, I heard about that. I
2 heard that it was during the fighting in Vitez.
3 Q. In other words, it was during the fighting in the Stari Vitez
4 enclave. I just need you to confirm that or not. Is that what you heard?
5 A. I don't know exactly where he was killed.
6 Q. The date of 18 July 1993, though, sounds about right?
7 A. Again, I heard about that later after half a year or almost a
8 year, rather.
9 Q. Was he born, if you know, in the year 1967 so I can just see if
10 this is the same person, approximately 1967 date of birth?
11 A. Could be, but I'm not sure.
12 Q. Do you know if he was a member of the military police?
13 A. I heard that he was with the police but I do not know which one.
14 Q. Was one of your relatives a Tomo Krizanac?
15 A. Yes. He is my nephew.
16 Q. Was he not the head of the military intelligence in the Vitez
17 Brigade, the Viteska Brigade?
18 A. I'm not aware of it. I know that he was with the army.
19 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me one minute.
20 Q. Father Krizanac, are you aware of the reports that ECMM came out
21 with indicating that the damage and the description of the incident at
22 Guca Gora was greatly exaggerated, that, in fact, it was not supported by
23 an investigation in part conducted by Mr. Morsink of ECMM? Are you simply
24 aware that the allegations raised by the Croats were not found to have
25 been supported?
1 A. I did not see that report. I do not know when it was made. If
2 you mean the monastery or the church. I don't know. What damage do you
3 have in mind or do you mean the village of Guca Gora or do you mean church
5 Q. Allegation of desecration of the church, allegations of massive
6 slaughter were found to be unfounded, are you aware of that, or greatly
7 exaggerated. I should not say unfounded, greatly exaggerated.
8 A. I'm not aware of that. But I know the facts and I know what state
9 these facilities are, and I know what state the village is in, and I know
10 the crimes committed in the area. And if you want me to give you this
11 information, I can do that.
12 Q. Thank you. That's not necessary. One last question: Your
13 affidavit is very full of descriptions of incidents concerning atrocities
14 or alleged atrocities primarily against the Croat people. What was your
15 response to the incidents at Ahmici and the various Muslim-populated
16 villages that occurred between the 16th of April and the 20th of April in
17 1993? What did you personally do in response to these atrocities?
18 A. My response is the same as when it comes to crimes committed
19 against the Croat people. I responded in the same way about crimes
20 committed against the Muslim people. What did I do? I don't know what I
21 could do. In those places where I was, I always made myself available to
22 all people. I distributed relief. I collected donations. I was at the
23 disposal of people. And the whole of Zenica can testify to this,
24 everybody can testify to it, and that includes the Muslims. Everywhere
25 where I lived and worked, in Brajkovici, Guca Gora, Sarajevo, and so on.
1 Q. Did you personally go to Ahmici or any of these other villages to
2 see for yourself?
3 A. When I could, in 1994, after we took over the monastery from the
4 army General Alagic in Guca Gora when I became its abbot, then it became
5 possible for me to travel through the area. And it was a year later
6 therefore that I saw what had happened in Ahmici and other villages and
7 different other localities. But that year, 1993, as of the 8th of June,
8 1993 until the 11th of July, 1994, I was an expelled person in Zenica and
9 I could go anywhere only if escorted by the police and I also required a
10 special permit.
11 So that I visited those villages which I could, which were under
12 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That was the part of Zenica then
13 Brajkovici, which is, in part, in the Zenica municipality, but 70 per cent
14 of it is in the municipality of Travnik, Guca Gora. I would go to Travnik
15 to visit our facilities then in the west part of Travnik. I also went to
16 see the church objects there and I visited their elderly and people who
17 could not fend for themselves.
18 Q. Did you go between April and June to any of the villages that were
19 involved, such as Ahmici, Donja Veceriska, Gacice, did you personally go
20 or did you, in any way, protest the atrocities that took place there, just
21 yes or no?
22 A. No, because I could not go then.
23 Q. How long did you live in Zenica?
24 A. I've told you, a year roughly.
25 Q. Were you ever expelled from Zenica? Were you ever expelled from
1 Zenica personally?
2 A. No, not from Zenica. I was expelled to Zenica.
3 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, very briefly.
5 Re-examined by Mr. Naumovski:
6 Q. Mr. Krizanac, a document was shown you, 1196.1, and it is the
7 commission that you were a member of and also Pero Karajica. I see from
8 this document that members of this commission were also representatives of
9 the civil police from the Zenica police, and I suppose it was escorted by
10 them that you visited the area.
11 A. We were always escorted by the police when we visited those areas.
12 Q. Just one more question even though the document speaks for
13 itself. It was not an investigating war crimes commission, it was rather
14 a humanitarian commission, wasn't it, which was to find the facts in your
15 parish in Brajkovici?
16 A. This was a humanitarian mission founded on our initiative to try
17 and find facts about that particular area. It -- no social authority
18 founded the commission, but simply the humanitarian organisations and the
19 Red Cross encouraged the establishment of facts there so they assigned
20 this lawyer Bozo Markovic, and then Tadic, he played a role, I think he
21 had -- he held a post in the municipal authority, I believe. And myself
22 or several occasions and sometimes Pero, who was my assistant, went and
23 sometimes I did.
24 Q. Thank you. You have already answered us as to what this
25 commission was about and I don't know if you had time to go through this
1 document, but here we see some facts and these are facts that you found at
2 the time, that is at the time when you conducted all those verifications?
3 A. Yes, there are different reports of this kind because we would go,
4 and every time write a new report about the situation. This is only one
5 of those reports.
6 Q. Thank you. So you agree with the report and the facts in it.
7 That is what I wanted to ask you?
8 A. Yes, by all means.
9 Q. You were also asked about your wish to remove the art treasures or
10 the part of the art treasures that were in the monastery at Guca Gora and
11 you already gave your answer. So my only question is when did Jajce fall;
12 do you remember that?
13 A. Well, I don't know the exact date. All I know is that it was in
14 late autumn.
15 Q. Yes, that is correct, late autumn 1992.
16 A. And then I came across a monk who also came from Jajce and he was
17 coming with other people towards Vitez and others and he was Brother Marko
19 Q. Do I understand well that in late autumn in 1992, in point of
20 fact, a military situation in your immediate vicinity was bad for Croats?
21 A. Yes, that was a tremendous burden on the whole area.
22 Q. Mr. Krizanac, it was said here or rather it was put to you that
23 you had come here to testify in favour of Mr. Kordic. I should like to
24 ask you if you have come to this august Court to defend Mr. Kordic or to
25 tell us what you know as an eye witness?
1 A. I have already answered this question. In principle, I believe
2 that the duty of the Court is a good and honourable duty and if I can
3 contribute to arrive at objective facts and truth about the situation, and
4 if I can contribute a small pebble to this, then I consider it my duty and
5 privilege to do so regardless of anyone's name.
6 Q. And two more questions, briefly. When you came to Guca Gora the
7 first time after the conflict in June 1993, could you, generally speaking,
8 tell the Court if the houses were in one piece, was there any destruction
9 and so on and so forth?
10 A. There were a number of destroyed houses, but the destruction went
11 on regardless in 1994 especially when I took over the monastery there were
12 already very many destroyed houses, but the destruction of houses just
13 went on and on.
14 Q. Thank you. And my last question. There were very many questions
15 about your attitude to the attitudes to the views of the leaders of the
16 Catholic church. I want to ask you, as an individual, were you for the
17 integral Bosnia-Herzegovina or not? And needless to say, integral
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina comprised of its population, members of different
19 ethnic groups or were you against it?
20 A. I have always said, and I shall repeat, that I was for an integral
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina and against any kind of partition of
23 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Krizanac. Your
24 Honours, I do not have any further questions.
25 JUDGE MAY: Father Krizanac, that concludes your testimony. Thank
1 you for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are now free
2 to go.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Merely a technical question, Your
5 Honours, can we get a number for the affidavit of Mr. Krizanac?
6 JUDGE MAY: I don't think we need a number. The affidavit's been
7 produced and I think our practice so far has been simply to add it to the
8 list of affidavits without formally exhibiting it.
9 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, since an issue of the affidavits is
12 just raised, I would inform the Court that we introduced -- that we filed
13 this morning three affidavits related to the witnesses we will have
14 through the week.
15 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Who will be the next witness, please?
16 MR. KOVACIC: Our next witness is Mr. Branko Markovic, and
17 Mr. Mikulicic will take care of that witness.
18 JUDGE MAY: I don't seem to have got your list of witnesses for
19 this week. Perhaps you could let us have a copy. Here is one coming.
20 Yes, thank you.
21 MR. KOVACIC: But, Your Honour, unfortunately this one was done
22 and one witness is omitted after -- between number six and seven, there
23 should be another one added, Mr. Bono Drmic.
24 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Thank you.
25 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
1 MR. NICE: Just before the witness comes in and on the subject of
2 affidavits, I don't know if Mr. Kovacic has provided us with copies here
3 this morning, but filing them in the registry means that we don't receive
4 them for sometimes a day or days, it depends. Given the ruling of the
5 Appeals Chamber in relation to affidavits, the time passing between our
6 receipt of a document and the witness in support of whom that document is
7 served is an important matter so I would be grateful for copies today and
8 at the earliest opportunity.
9 MR. KOVACIC: We will certainly do that. Unfortunately, one is
10 still on translation. It was agreed that we will receive it this morning
11 and I hope we will. And if I may add, the Rules strictly said before the
12 witness, it doesn't say when. So I think that we are entitled to file
13 that literally five minutes before the witness if need there is but, of
14 course, I will give you the copy as soon as I can during the day.
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Very well.
16 MR. KOVACIC: And Your Honour, they are all extremely short, three
17 paragraphs each.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.
19 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
20 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you'd like to take a seat. Yes, Mr.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 WITNESS: BRANKO MARKOVIC
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
2 Q. Good morning, Mr. Markovic.
3 A. Good morning.
4 Q. I shall ask you some questions on behalf of Mr. Cerkez's Defence,
5 and I should like to ask you to pause before a question, answer, and not
6 to rush your answers, because is being translated into the official
7 languages of the Tribunal and therefore to facilitate the work of the
9 Would you please give for the record your name, the date and place
10 of your birth.
11 A. I'm Branko Markovic, Father Nikola, and I was born on the 25th
12 March of 1958 in Travnik. 1958.
13 Q. What year?
14 A. 1958.
15 Q. And Mr. Markovic, you are a Croat by ethnicity and you are a Roman
16 Catholic, aren't you?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And you're a citizen of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
19 Republic of Croatia?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You're married?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Father of three daughters?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You are an electronics technician by profession, but you make your
1 livelihood by owning a pizzeria in Vitez, and you came out of the
2 vocational electrical engineering school in Sarajevo?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You have never been a member of any political party, have you?
5 A. No.
6 Q. You served the former army in 1981 and you did not acquire any
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Before the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you worked for the SPS
10 company, Slobodan Princip Seljo company, until 1990?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And then you started your pizzeria business?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Mr. Markovic, you are a Vitez-born man, aren't you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You were born there and you've lived all your life in Vitez?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. Since you are republican, I suppose you know very many people,
19 don't you?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And I also suppose that many people know you in Vitez.
22 A. Yes, I suppose so.
23 Q. You were -- or rather you are married for the second time?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You married your second wife in 1992, if I'm correct.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Would you remember when in 1992, approximately?
3 A. In October 1992.
4 Q. And your second wife is a Muslim, isn't she?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Amra Tuco?
7 A. Yes. Markovic.
8 Q. Mr. Markovic, in October 1992, when you got married, was there
9 already some slight tension? Were there already some sparks flying
10 between the Muslim and the Croat population? Was there any tension?
11 A. Between the Croats and the Muslims, no. That was not my
12 impression in 1992.
13 Q. You live in a family house with your wife's parents; is that
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. They are Bosniaks, aren't they?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Are there any problems there, you being a Croat and your wife
19 Muslim and her parents Muslim? Did you ever have any problems with them?
20 A. Thank God, no.
21 Q. Did you ever have any problems with any other relatives of hers,
22 whether distant or close?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Mr. Markovic, did you ever distinguish between people that you
25 saw, that you visited, in view of your different faiths and different
1 ethnic origins?
2 A. No, never.
3 Q. So you lived in Vitez, you had your pizzeria at a time before
4 armed conflict between Croats and Muslims. Before the conflict were there
5 any incidents in the town, to your knowledge?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. To your knowledge and recollection, could you tell us: Did these
8 incidents harm only one ethnic group or did they harm all the ethnic
10 A. I think everybody found it difficult. I was -- I did not feel
11 safe. I know that I did not feel safe. And by this I mean that nobody
12 felt safe.
13 Q. In your view, what was the reason for this lack of safety all
15 A. This lack of safety all around in 1992, well, it was due to the
16 troops which had arrived from Herzegovina. Those were young people,
17 frustrated, and then when you add alcohol to this, then you simply can
18 never know what can happen and how and to whom.
19 Q. The Court has already heard a great deal about these armed units,
20 so we shall not go into that. But will you please confirm to me the
21 following: Is it correct that at that time, and especially after the fall
22 of Jajce, many refugees from those areas, from north-western Bosnia, also
23 arrived in Vitez?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you personally, did you have any knowledge how did those
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between English and
14 French transcripts.
1 people behave? What was the conduct of those who were -- who had been
2 expelled by Serbs from Jajce?
3 A. Well, I can give you an example. On one occasion a couple of
4 drunken men in the pizzeria -- of course, it was my duty to see who was
5 the most critical, who might perhaps provoke an incident, because you
6 never knew what could happen, and it was so easy to do that, to provoke an
7 incident if somebody was bent on it.
8 So, such when I approached a man who was leaning against a bar,
9 and so I tried to establish some communication, to say, "Where are you
10 from? What do you do?" And he stares pensively in front of him and says,
11 "Well, you know, I left a pizzeria like this one in Jajce." And you know
12 what you can expect from such men. I mean, those men had suffered in more
13 ways than one. And then there's depression, and coupled with alcohol.
14 There's no need for me to tell you: Well, if I don't have it anymore,
15 then why should you. And there were quite a number of situations like
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, I notice it's time for the break.
18 Perhaps you could go on to the 16th of April when we return. Given the
19 number of witnesses, it will be necessary to try and get through at least
20 one in every session.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I can assure you that we shall do
22 our best to comply with that, and I believe we shall. But I think this is
23 a very convenient moment, because I was about to move on to the 16th of
24 April, that is, to item 2.4.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll adjourn.
1 Mr. Markovic, during the adjournment, please don't speak to
2 anybody about your evidence until it's over, and that includes members of
3 the Defence team. We're going to adjourn for half an hour. Would you be
4 back, please, at half past 11.00.
5 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Markovic, let us continue from where we stopped before the
10 break. Until when was your cafe open in Vitez?
11 A. Until the 15th of April.
12 Q. Oh, so that was the last day when it was open?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. The war broke out early the next morning and you didn't reopen the
15 restaurant again; is that right?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. When did you reopen it?
18 A. In mid-1994, sometime in June or July.
19 Q. Was there any damage sustained?
20 A. Yes, yes, on the pizza parlour and the other shop.
21 Q. What was the damage caused by?
22 A. It was caused by breaking up and burglary. Both of my shops were
23 demolished, or rather damaged on that first day, because I have a pizza
24 parlour 50 metres away, I have a video rental shop. So they were broken
25 up quite a bit, and some things were saved and others were not.
1 Q. In other words, they were looted?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. Mr. Markovic, could you please recall the date of the 16th of
4 April. How did that day start for you?
5 A. At 5.30 in the morning, my wife work me up and she said that there
6 was a real war going on outside. I said that I didn't understand. And
7 she said that there was shooting, that detonations could be heard. I
8 looked through the window, and that was it. Then we all went into the
9 basement of the house, where we tried to stay, because we didn't want to
10 go out. And that's how it started.
11 Q. Tell me, Mr. Markovic: Earlier on in 1992, did you use the
12 shelter in the basement -- not this basement, but some other -- when there
13 were sirens signalling an attack from the JNA air force?
14 A. Yes, for the most part, but not always.
15 Q. At that time your wife was pregnant; is that right?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. And under these circumstances, how much time did you stay in the
18 basement of the house?
19 A. Well, perhaps the first two days.
20 Q. Did you hear or see shells falling somewhere in the neighbourhood
21 on that day?
22 A. There was shooting. It was really ugly.
23 Q. You said that you spent about two days in the shelter.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What did you do after that?
1 A. After that I took my wife to my own parents' family house, because
2 she was not supposed to get excited in any way. She had to rest. She
3 needed to have peace and quiet. So I asked my parents to take her in.
4 Q. Tell me, Mr. Markovic: In relation to the town of Vitez, where
5 was the house where you lived and where was the house where your parents
7 A. The house where we lived and where we live until the present day
8 is at Rijeka, whereas my parents' house is at the cross-section for
9 Kruscica. It's closer to town.
10 Q. So your assessment at that point was that it was safer to be
11 further away from town?
12 A. Yes. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. What happened to your wife's father on that day, in those days?
14 A. My father-in-law was taken away by some soldiers two or three days
15 later. He was taken away and his brother was taken away.
16 Q. Do you know where?
17 A. To the forestry head office and then to Dubravica, the school in
19 Q. How much time did your father-in-law spend in the school in
21 A. About ten days.
22 Q. Upon his return, did you talk to him about his stay in the school
23 in Dubravica?
24 A. Yes, briefly, yes.
25 Q. What did he tell you about that? How was he treated there? Was
1 he mistreated? Was he forced to dig trenches or to do any other physical
3 A. No. No. There was no mistreatment. There were many of them,
4 though, and space was limited.
5 Q. Did he tell you whether he received any kind of explanation in
6 terms of why he had been taken to the school in Dubravica?
7 A. I don't remember.
8 Q. Very well. Your wife's mother, Mrs. Ulfeta Tuco is a midwife by
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. She worked in the medical centre in Vitez since 1952; is that
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. What do you think, how many children did she deliver in that
16 A. It's not a question of my estimate, there are precise records
17 when, where, on which date, which woman, how many children. From the 16th
18 of April until the end of April 1994, that is to say, during the conflict,
19 she delivered 325 babies.
20 Q. So your mother-in-law, during this war in Vitez, continued to
21 deliver babies; is that right?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. Tell me, where did she do this? Where did women give birth?
24 A. The first day that we spent in the basement, in the afternoon the
25 police came and asked her if she could go to Krizancevo Selo along with an
1 escort provided by the police because a woman was supposed to have a baby
2 there. That afternoon she went to Krizancevo Selo, and she returned in
3 spite of the fighting. Then the next day, again, the same thing happened,
4 not that part of town though, but she went to a different part of town.
5 And then a few days later, it was her assessment that it was much safer to
6 have the women brought to our place rather than to have her go around the
7 villages through gunfire.
8 Q. I understand. So that is basically how your house became a
9 maternity ward?
10 A. Yes, that is how our house became a maternity ward spontaneously.
11 Q. In your house, about 325 babies were delivered during the war as
12 you said?
13 A. Yes, all of them alive and healthy.
14 Q. Can you say whether this house was used as a maternity ward for
15 one ethnic group only or did women of all ethnic backgrounds and religions
16 have their babies there?
17 A. When they arrived, nobody asked them who they were, what their
18 names were or anything. Only when they were leaving, it was important for
19 their offspring to have the names recorded.
20 Q. Tell me, Mr. Markovic, what kind of equipment did you have in your
21 house so that all these babies could be delivered?
22 A. None whatsoever.
23 Q. Did you have all the necessary equipment for sterilisation and did
24 you have gauze and bandages and things like that?
25 A. No, nothing. Water, electricity, equipment, nothing. We had to
1 make due with what we had there, our own supplies.
2 Q. How did you sterilise instruments?
3 A. Instruments were sterilised in a stove, a Rayburn type stove below
4 the yard, and that is how instruments were sterilised.
5 Q. Mr. Markovic, you had contacts with Friar Grebenar and with a
6 friend of yours whom you asked to help you in order to get supplies. Can
7 you describe this event in two or three sentences for us?
8 A. This was when Bijeli Put arrived in Vitez or rather in Nova Bila.
9 I thought that perhaps Friar Franjo could help me with supplies. I had
10 assumed he had received some. I went to see him, I asked him. However,
11 it turned out that he had absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing.
12 As I was returning, I met a friend of mine with whom I had worked
13 in the SPS before the war. We carried out a very informal conversation
14 and he said, "Where did you go?" And I said I went to such and such a
15 place. And then he said, "You have a maternity ward in your own house?"
16 And I said, "Well, yes." And he said, "That's impossible. We don't even
17 know about this." And he was active in a humanitarian organisation which
18 was called "Mother and Child". And then he said, "Brana I can't make you
19 any promises but I'll try to come with my boss and to see all of that."
20 Q. Very well. Tell me, did this yield any results?
21 A. Yes. Yes. The man came very soon, within an hour's time. We sat
22 at my place. We talked. At that moment, a woman had arrived to deliver a
23 baby. He attended all of that. He was there. And when we tried to get
24 all the numbers right, how many children were born there, under what
25 conditions, the man was truly taken aback. He did not believe himself
1 that he did not know about this after having been in Vitez six months. He
2 helped us. He was the first person to help us.
3 Q. Let us try to place this in time. This is in 1993?
4 A. Yes, that's right, the end of 1993.
5 Q. Tell me, Mr. Markovic, this story about a maternity ward in a
6 private house in Vitez, did it reach the journalists by then?
7 A. Yes. Yes. After Mr. James, who was the first, then many other
8 humanitarian workers came to the house, and journalists, and lots of
9 people. Some of them wanted to help, others wanted to write a story.
10 Everybody did his own job.
11 Q. Can you remember at least some newspapers that were better known
12 that sent their representatives there?
13 A. Yes. The Guardian, Sunday Times News. We called well-known
14 newspapers and also many local newspapers, but many world newspapers.
15 Q. All right. Let's go back to your own fate during these events.
16 You were at home and then the military police came to get you at a given
17 point in time?
18 A. Yes. Yes. They came to my parents' house, because at that moment
19 I was there, because I spent some of my time up there and some of my time
20 down there, and that's the situation as it was then.
21 Q. And what did the military policemen do then?
22 A. The military policemen took me away. This was on the fifth,
23 sixth, or seventh day. I was taken to Krc, to the front line at Krc.
24 Q. Did you get a uniform and weapons?
25 A. I did get weapons, but only in the trenches. I got a weapon from
1 the man who I had come to replace.
2 Q. What about a uniform?
3 THE INTERPRETER: The witness' answer was not audible to the
4 interpreters. Could counsel please pause.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. How much time did you spend at Krc at the front line?
7 A. Four or five days.
8 Q. The interpreters have told us that your answers were not recorded
9 whether you received any military equipment. What was your answer?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Also as regards uniforms?
12 A. No.
13 Q. So you spent some time there and then what happened?
14 A. In the morning, four or five days later, a young man came and told
15 me that I was supposed to come with him. He took me back to Vitez. I
16 came to the 3rd Battalion then, and then the commander, Karlo Grabovac,
17 said to me that because of everything that was going on in Vitez and all
18 the circumstances involved, my mother-in-law asked for me to be
19 transferred to a front line that was closer so that I could be at home at
20 least when I was off. That was important. At least when I was off, it
21 was important to have me at home.
22 Q. I see. So your mother-in-law asked Mr. Grabovac to transfer you
23 somewhere closer to home so that you could help when necessary?
24 A. Yes, that's right.
25 Q. Did she know Mr. Karlo Grabovac from earlier on?
1 A. Yes, she did.
2 Q. And obviously he granted her request.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Mr. Markovic, what were these problems that your father-in-law and
5 your mother-in-law had at the time?
6 A. Well, the first day their house was searched. They were looking
7 for weapons. At that moment I was at home, so it wasn't too difficult. I
8 asked these men, did they know what they were looking for.
9 Q. And later?
10 A. Later it was simply unsafe. People could not sleep at that house,
12 Q. Was your mother-in-law's equipment being taken away or anything?
13 A. Yes. During one of the nights a cow was taken away from the barn,
14 because there was a general lack of security.
15 Q. Very well. And in that situation, which you described as one of
16 general security, of threats, of looting, your mother-in-law again decided
17 to ask for help?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And then you and she went to see who?
20 A. After some time, when these things were being repeated, we decided
21 to go and ask Mario Cerkez for help.
22 Q. All right. Did you know Mario Cerkez from earlier on?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So he granted your request and your mother-in-law's request, so
25 what did he do for you?
1 A. We primarily went to ask him -- I primarily went to ask him for
2 help. I wanted Mario to help me to transfer my family to Zenica, to
3 safety. I wanted to get my family out of Vitez. However, at that time
4 Mario proposed something completely different. At that moment he said
5 that he proposed something that he could do, and that is to say, to send
6 protection, round-the-clock protection, a man who would guard us 24 hours
7 a day.
8 As for the cow, that was not all that important, but it was
9 mentioned during that conversation. He said, "If I can, I'll try to help
10 you on that, but I'm not sure I can. But I'll send you another one, one
11 of the wandering cows from the agricultural combine." We thanked him. We
12 didn't want that, but ...
13 Q. Very well. So Mario Cerkez sent you a soldier who was there, to
14 be there if there was any kind of trouble?
15 A. Yes, yes. Yes, who was in charge of the safety and security of
16 that house.
17 Q. I understand. So you did not go back to Krc where the military
18 police had taken you?
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness and counsel please not speak
20 at the same time.
21 A. Then I was deployed in Kruscica, the front line in Kruscica.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. I understand. And then you were transferred where?
24 A. After that I was transferred home.
25 Q. So that is how you protected this maternity ward in some way,
1 didn't you?
2 A. Yes. We helped it so that it could function.
3 Q. Mr. Markovic, you mentioned that you knew Mr. Cerkez from earlier
4 on. Can you tell us a few sentences about that?
5 A. I've known Mario Cerkez for a long time, practically since birth.
6 We grew up together, we went to school together. Although we're not
7 exactly the same generation, we socialised, we had things in common in
8 school and through the social contacts.
9 Q. Yes. And did you know his parents as well?
10 A. Yes, I did.
11 Q. Mr. Markovic, did you ever hear him or any one of his family say
12 something bad about people who were of different ethnic or religious
13 backgrounds there in Bosnia? Did you ever detect any proneness towards
14 aggression or incidents or something like that?
15 A. No. No, absolutely not. As far as Mario Cerkez's parents are
16 concerned, they certainly could not have brought him up that way.
17 Q. I imagine that Mr. Cerkez came to your restaurant from time to
19 A. Yes, from time to time.
20 Q. Were there ever any incidents there?
21 A. No, no, absolutely not.
22 Q. Thank you for your answers, Mr. Markovic. I have no further
24 MR. SAYERS: No questions for Mr. Markovic, Mr. President.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
1 Q. Is the pizzeria called Sebastian?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. How long have you had that?
4 A. Since 1990.
5 Q. Did it have any particular political or military clientele up
6 until the time it closed?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Were you aware of a coffee house called Kruscica, owned by a man
9 called Feruk Zukic?
10 A. Kruscica?
11 Q. Yes, the coffee house Kruscica. Are you aware of that?
12 A. No. No.
13 Q. Mr. Markovic, you tell us there was no tension. Is this really
14 your evidence: There was no tension between Muslims and Croats in 1992?
15 A. There was tension, but it was general tension. It was not between
16 Croats and Muslims. There was tension all over.
17 Q. I haven't got much time to deal with this, but don't you accept
18 that in 1992 the Croats were taking over Vitez through the medium of
19 Herceg Bosna and the HVO and so on? Don't you accept that?
20 A. I was not involved in politics. I didn't experience things that
22 Q. You were married to a Muslim, with Muslim in-laws. Are you really
23 saying that it never occurred to any of you that the Muslims were being
24 treated in a way differently from Croats?
25 A. My family and I did not have that impression.
1 Q. You -- did you ever hear about the killing outside the Hotel Vitez
2 of the man Trako?
3 A. I heard about the killing, but who killed who, no.
4 Q. I see. Or incidents where flags of one type or another were
5 raised, did those things ever come to be problems in 1992 in your
7 A. I don't understand what incidents are involved. What kind of
8 flags? Could you please clarify this question?
9 Q. Do you remember the municipal building being taken over in June,
10 just as an example?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Do you remember the flag that was then flown there, the HZ HB flag
13 was then flown, wasn't it?
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. And Muslims didn't like it, did they?
16 A. Probably not. I don't know about that.
17 Q. None of this --
18 A. Possibly.
19 Q. None of this impinged on your consciousness if they didn't like
21 A. Had I been aware of that, I would not have waited for the 16th of
22 April in Vitez, neither I nor they.
23 Q. Were you aware, for example, in September of 1992 having Muslim
24 relations of public denunciation by the coordination board for the
25 protection of Muslims of what was being done in your town?
1 A. I'm not aware of that. Although I had Muslim relatives, they were
2 not aware of it. I was not.
3 Q. I see. Where was your pizza house located, whereabouts in town?
4 A. It is still located in the centre of town.
5 Q. Near to Hotel Vitez?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Whereabouts is it near to? We've got a map if you'd like to show
8 us but perhaps you could just describe it first. Where was it near to?
9 A. In the centre of town across the street from the pharmacy.
10 Q. And you were never aware of any coffee house being taken over by
11 the HVO for their own purposes, the coffee house of a Muslim?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Well, let's go on then right away because we are pressed for time,
14 to the 15th of April. Tell us what happened on the afternoon or evening
15 on the 15th of April to you as a restauranteur?
16 A. ... I think I knew, so absolutely I finished working at 2100 and
17 went home at half past 9.00 like any other day.
18 Q. Are you sure about that?
19 A. Because I had other chores to attend to.
20 Q. Let's look at a Defence document that's been produced. It's
21 D307/1 which is a large collection of defence documents and it's number
22 224 of those. It's an outstanding exhibit.
23 We can lay the English version on the ELMO giving the original to
24 the witness, please.
25 You see this is a document, Mr. Markovic, dated the 15th of
1 April. Just thinking back now, does this jog your memory a little bit
2 about that evening?
3 A. I have never seen this document in my life. Such a document or
4 this document.
5 Q. Maybe not. But it's the content that would affect you. We can
6 see, you see, that this document was signed by Blaskic on the 15th of
7 April and apparently at five minutes to 7.00 in the evening. And you, of
8 course, knew who Blaskic was, didn't you?
9 A. I did.
10 Q. And though you may not have been immediately near to Hotel Vitez
11 how many metres or hundreds of metres is your restaurant from Hotel Vitez,
12 100 metres, 50 metres?
13 A. Two kilometres, say.
14 MR. NICE: If you'd like to put this on the ELMO.
15 Q. It must be that I'm misunderstanding you.
16 A. Possibly less, perhaps, as the crow flies.
17 Q. Let's just have a look. Take your time. There is the centre of
18 Vitez, and we'll magnify it a little bit so that we can see the stadium at
19 the top, move the map up a little bit. All right. Have you got that?
20 The race track, it's called, in the English version, with the hospital
21 just a little bit down and then the school.
22 Now, can you orientate yourself to this map, please,
23 Mr. Markovic? Take your time.
24 A. I'll try.
25 Q. Now, the -- can you locate on the part of the map on the
1 television where your pizzeria was?
2 A. This is very difficult. This is Vitez. Just a moment.
3 Q. If you can move your head away, please, because all we can see is
4 your head at the moment.
5 A. I'm trying to see, but I can't really make -- find my way about.
6 But if this is the health centre and the school here, then my pizzeria
7 should be, say, somewhere here. Can you follow me? Am I being clear
9 Q. To your very description --
10 A. Approximately.
11 MR. NICE: Can I have the map?
12 Q. You see, we've got a scale on this map, and Vitez itself from side
13 to side is at most about one kilometre by about half a kilometre or a
14 little bit more, 1.000 metres by 500 metres. Your pizzeria, at most, was
15 a couple hundred metres from Blaskic's head quarters and you know that?
16 A. As the crow flies, a couple hundred of metres as the crow flies,
17 but --
18 Q. You thought I was asking you really how far it was driving around
19 the streets and you then -- and are you really telling us it was between
20 one and two kilometres?
21 A. Logically.
22 Q. -- or is that an exaggeration?
23 A. Well, well, I say -- well, let it be one kilometre. Let it be 500
24 metres. I mean I really don't understand what you're driving at.
25 Q. [Microphone not activated] ... because that's what I was asking
1 you about when you told us the apparent distance. This is a document
2 issued on your recent evidence two and a half hours before you closed for
3 the day. It's information for organs of the civilian authorities in the
4 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, it goes to a number of commanders of
5 brigades and the military police. And it says this, "We hereby inform you
6 that the civil authorities in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone have
7 issued the following orders: A curfew to be imposed from 9.00. All
8 permits to enter or leave Travnik are hereby cancelled. All schools and
9 firms shall cease working except for firms for the special purpose
10 production. All restaurants shall cease working at 8.00."
11 So we can see this went to bodies including the 4th Military
12 Police in Vitez. There was a curfew at 9.00, and you had to shut your
13 restaurant at 8.00. Think back, please, Mr. Markovic. Do you remember
15 A. Was it 20 or 21, but I think it was even before 2100, as usual.
16 Half past 8.00, 9.00.
17 Q. There was a curfew that night, wasn't there?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. There had been an order to close restaurants, hadn't there?
20 A. Nobody came to me to order me to close, and I always closed my
21 pizzeria before 9.00 even before that. It is possible that such an order
22 was issued, but nobody came to close my restaurant because there were
23 three of us, two or three of us.
24 Q. Mr. Markovic --
25 A. And the town was empty.
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between English and
14 French transcripts.
1 Q. -- are you now suggesting that your restaurant may, in fact, have
2 been closed before the time given here in the order, 8.00?
3 A. No, before 8.00, no. Before 8.00, no. I am positive about that.
4 But it could have been ten to 9.00. I don't see -- I mean at that moment,
5 nobody closed my restaurant nor did I get any such document warning me of
7 Q. You see what I'm going to suggest to you, Mr. Markovic, is this:
8 You've come here to say that the 15th was an ordinary day of business when
9 it was clear from what was happening on the streets that the authorities
10 knew something was going to happen. There was a curfew, and you were
11 ordered to shut your shop.
12 A. To me, that was a day just like any other for the past several
13 months, and I left at about the same time as I had done for the past few
14 months, that is, closed the place.
15 Q. Your father-in-law was arrested and detained, his first name,
17 A. Yes, he was. Muharem Tuco.
18 Q. How large or small is the Tuco family?
19 A. Well, quite large.
20 Q. Yes. And the brothers of your father-in-law, what were their
21 names, please?
22 A. Mahmut, Smail, Adib -- did I miss someone? No, I haven't.
23 Q. Mahmut, is that the son of Uzeir, might it be?
24 A. Uzeir.
25 Q. Number 24 --
1 A. Yes, that's my father-in-law's brother, Mahmut.
2 Q. Number 248 on the Morsink list. Why was your father-in-law
4 MR. KOVACIC: Perhaps I will not --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Would the counsel please --
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Previous translation continues] ... just for one
8 MR. NICE: I'm not understanding where I am. I thought there was
9 an objection, so I sat down.
10 JUDGE MAY: No. Let's go on.
11 Why was the brother-in-law arrested?
12 MR. NICE: Father-in-law.
13 JUDGE MAY: Father-in-law.
14 A. Two or three days later, that is, on the 16th.
15 JUDGE MAY: Why? Why was he arrested?
16 A. Well, that is something you have to ask those who arrested him.
17 JUDGE MAY: Do you know? Do you know, Mr. Markovic, why he was
19 A. It was explained that it was for his safety's sake, and he was
20 taken away and so was his brother.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 MR. KOVACIC: If I may now, Your Honour. I think it's an
23 appropriate time. [Interpretation] I'd rather speak in Croatian. My
24 learned friend mentioned the information, the fact, from so-called
25 Morsink's list, and if this is a document which was tendered with the
1 special statement by Morsink after his testimony, then we do not consider
2 this document as an exhibit, admitted exhibit, and therefore it cannot be
3 shown the witness.
4 JUDGE MAY: I don't expect it was going to be shown to the
5 witness, but there's no dispute that he was in detention, so we needn't
6 spend any more time on it.
7 MR. NICE: I'm identifying that the name appears on a list for
8 future reference.
9 JUDGE MAY: No doubt in due course there will be an application in
10 relation to that list, in line with what the Appeal Chamber said.
11 MR. NICE: Plus the fact that the list has already been dealt with
12 independently through Defence witnesses separately. I move on.
13 Q. Your father-in-law was arrested because he was a Muslim; correct?
14 A. He was taken away allegedly to protect him.
15 Q. You say that now to the Judges, but when you were asked earlier
16 what reason, if any, was given, I think you said none. Which is the
17 truth, please, Mr. Markovic?
18 A. The truth is that he was taken away for his safety's sake, and at
19 the end of the story I really think that he was safer during those ten
20 days when he was away than at home when I was absent, and at the time when
21 only ugly things were happening in Vitez. There were hundreds of reasons
22 for which somebody could come, so I think it really was wiser that he
23 spent a couple of days where he did spend them.
24 Q. Is the reality, on your own evidence, that Muslims were at risk
25 from being attacked and killed by Croats? Is that what you're saying?
1 A. People were at risk of being attacked by criminals, of being
2 attacked, robbed, evicted, killed, because you couldn't -- you didn't
3 really have time to prove to anyone that you didn't have any -- ten,
4 fifteen, twenty thousand marks if somebody thought that you did. For
5 instance, my father-in-law could have been assumed to have all that money,
6 and I was not at home, so what or who could protect him against criminals,
7 those distressed people, those hapless people who had been expelled,
8 evicted, who had lost their dearest one of those days, and they were then
9 trying to take it out on some innocent --
10 Q. Thank you. What time of the day of the 16th was your
11 father-in-law arrested?
12 A. I don't know. I was not there. I was not at home when my
13 father-in-law was arrested. He was not taken away on the 16th. It could
14 have been the 17th or the 18th. I was not there. I was not there when
15 they took him away.
16 Q. And your father-in-law was a man in full possession of his
17 faculties. He didn't need to be protected like a child. He was simply
18 arrested. Would that be correct?
19 A. He was asked to come along, to report, presumably out of respect
20 for him as a person of advanced age. He wasn't taken in. He was asked to
21 go with his brother to Sumarija.
22 Q. I'm going to cut rapidly to the end of your evidence, because I
23 don't really want to ask you very much more. You came back, you say, and
24 your house was given a guard. What was the name of the soldier who came
25 to guard you, can you tell us, ordered by Cerkez?
1 A. I know his first name was Ilija. His last name escapes me. But
2 he didn't come from our area. I think he was from Dobratici or perhaps
3 Kotor Varos. No, I don't know.
4 Q. I'm not in a position to accept or reject your account of what
5 Cerkez did, but just explain this to me: Why at that stage of the spring
6 or summer of 1993 did you need protection on your house?
7 A. I've just told you. There was mayhem, there was chaos in the
8 town. The town was awash with criminals, with armed men, with thugs who
9 could --
10 Q. I'm going to stop you again. Let me emphasise the word "your."
11 Why was an armed guard required on your house as opposed to, for example,
12 the house of a Croat neighbour?
13 A. Because at the time the Muslims were a minority in Vitez, and it
14 is only logical that they were --
15 Q. They were targeted, attacked, and persecuted by Croats; correct?
16 A. No, not my family or myself.
17 Q. Your wife's name is what?
18 A. Amra.
19 Q. When you gave her name earlier this morning, I think you gave a
20 full name. What's her full name?
21 A. Amra Markovic. She -- her married surname. And Mr. Mikulicic
22 said Amra Tuco, which is her maiden name.
23 Q. Is that a name under which she was known in the course of this
25 A. I don't understand.
1 Q. Well, was she known by her Muslim name in the course of these
2 unhappy disturbances? If the authorities had turned to think about
3 her --
4 A. Well, listen. She was married Markovic, so somebody -- I mean,
5 people could interpret it at their own discretion. I don't think it
6 really matters.
7 Q. You know the Tuco family and you've told us something about its
8 size in your town. Was she the only Amra Tuco, please?
9 A. No.
10 Q. How many others were there?
11 A. I knew another Amra Tuco. She was married to her relative. That
12 is, her -- but that woman's maiden name was Patkovic, and Tuco became her
13 married name when she married my wife's relatives.
14 Q. With your family's connection, I just want some more names. Do
15 you know of Fehim Tuco, Terudzin Tuco, Refik Tuco, and Rabija Tuco?
16 A. No, no. They are two families, and they are remotely related. Of
17 all those names that you mentioned, it is another family, and they are
18 quite distantly related.
19 Q. In any event, the other Amra you know. Do you know a Mirjana or a
21 A. Tuco?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. No.
24 Q. Can we look at this document, please, 1296.4. You're telling us
25 that with the advantage of the soldier at the door, you stayed in Vitez
1 throughout the fighting; is that correct?
2 A. It is.
3 Q. Would it be correct that in November of 1993 the minority position
4 of the Muslims in Vitez was reflected by persecution of them, including
5 persecution of your family members, such as the other Amra Tuco? Would
6 that be correct?
7 A. I cannot answer that question. I do not simply know enough about
8 that, because I have no contact. I am not in touch with that family.
9 Q. No, but you were there --
10 A. Nor with this Amra Tuco.
11 Q. You were there during the war, Mr. Markovic, and you've been
12 brought here today to tell us about various things, including how you were
13 well cared for in 1993. I'd like you to look, please, at this document?
14 MR. NICE: Original on the ELMO, if you'd be so good, English on
15 the -- sorry. Original to the witness, English on the ELMO.
16 Q. I'm not suggesting, Mr. Markovic, you would have seen this
17 document before, do you understand. It's your help that I want with its
18 content. Simply to identify it, it's a document dated the 10th of
19 November of 1993, coming from the Vitez Brigade, and we can see -- I
20 needn't trouble you with this at the moment, but it comes from somebody in
21 the information and Security Service. And it says this at the top of the
22 passage you've got open at the moment, and I'll read it slowly so that you
23 can follow it in your own language. It's about 8 lines or 10 lines:
24 "According to intelligence information as well as data collected
25 during interviews with several civilians from the Vitez municipality,
1 there has recently been mass and uncontrolled eviction of Muslims, who in
2 the first few days of war in these parts expressed the wish to remain in
3 the Vitez municipality, on condition that they remain local citizens of
4 this area, have been subject to uncontrolled eviction on a large scale."
5 It then sets out the circumstances of the eviction and how they
6 lost their property and so on.
7 Now, in the English, if we first of all go over to the second page
8 very briefly, and if you in your version, please, Mr. Markovic, just go to
9 the foot of the first page. The document identifies those taking part in
10 the active eviction of Muslim families. There are four names: Anto
11 Zepackic. Do you know him?
12 A. No.
13 Q. And Zoran Kristo?
14 A. No.
15 Q. And Jelko Martinovic.
16 A. No.
17 Q. Let's go over to the third sheet in the English, and if you would
18 be good enough, please. Just to go to the last of the sheets that you
19 have. No. I beg your pardon. Go to the bottom of the second sheet,
20 where you'll see a list of people evicted begins. And the first two names
21 at the bottom of that sheet for you don't concern me. They're Djulabic --
22 do you know anything about the family Djulabic?
23 A. No.
24 Q. If you go to the third sheet of your version and we stay where we
25 are on the ELMO, I think, we then see a list of -- a number of other
1 names. First of all, there's the other Tuco family, Fehim, Terudzin,
2 Refik and Rabija. And then at number 7 we see Amra, Marijana, Tuco, and
3 Fatima. This is your family. Do you remember Amra being forced out in --
4 A. No. Not one of those mentioned here has anything to do with my
5 family, strictly speaking. Amra or Mirjana or Fatima or Mahmut. It is
6 another branch of the family, and they are not even in our locality. They
7 are on a completely different side of Vitez. They are -- to all intents
8 and purposes, they are hardly related at all.
9 Q. I am not concerned with whether they are related. You have
10 already told the Judges of this Court that you know the Amra, because
11 it's --
12 A. Amra is my wife, but she is not the only Amra Tuco in Vitez, and
13 she is Amra Markovic now, and she is not the only Amra Tuco. Do you
14 understand what I'm saying? There are other Amra Tucos and this is not my
16 Q. Mr. Markovic, you will remember I asked you questions carefully
17 about the other Amra Tuco and you told us what you knew about her. Will
18 you go, please, to the last part of the document and we can go to page
19 four and there is some more names here under 19 and onwards. We start
20 with the family Ugarak and then we have 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, we have five
21 more Tucos: Minka, Nedzad, Sultanija, and Alen. Do you know them?
22 A. No.
23 Q. You don't know?
24 A. No. I don't know any one of those. I don't even know this Amra
25 Tuco, and it's not the Amra Tuco that I talked to you about a moment ago.
1 This is a third Amra Tuco, the one that I talked about.
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Markovic, now let's calm down.
3 MR. NICE:
4 Q. Mr. Markovic, I asked you how many Amra Tuco's there were you said
5 your wife, now going by another name, and one other, and there is an Amra
6 Tuco here. How do you know this isn't the one you referred to? How do
7 you know, please?
8 A. Because she's obviously related to this family, Amra Tuco, this
9 family which has nothing to do with us. And perhaps there is yet another
10 one, Amra Tuco, why couldn't there be a third and fourth, I see no reason
11 for that. Because this is the first time I see there are three of them.
12 This is a very common name, and it can just happen in a family that there
13 are two or three of them. There's nothing strange about that. But this
14 is the first time that I see that you can find them even in this branch of
15 the family, and you could hear about this much more from my father-in-law,
16 somebody else.
17 Q. My question to you is simply this, please: You were there living
18 there with your armed guard throughout the war. Were you aware that other
19 Muslims including people bearing this name, in particular other Muslims in
20 general, were simply being evicted by Croats in the autumn of 1993 and
21 they were being evicted wholesale; correct?
22 A. There was no wholesale eviction, and if somebody left Vitez or did
23 not leave Vitez, it was really up to him. But I did not have time, nor
24 was I interested to know what people were doing because I had my head full
25 of things one had to do in the house, around the house, and to see that
1 all things go as they should in the family. And this branch of the family
2 is neither geographically near us nor are they close blood relations.
3 Q. All right. I've only got two more short topics to deal with here
4 one you just raised. Is it your account, please, Mr. Markovic, that you
5 were simply house-bound and so occupied with what was going on in the
6 house that you can't help this Honorable Court with what was happening in
7 the town. Is that your evidence?
8 A. No. No. I cannot help you with that. I cannot.
9 Q. Now, your name is Branko but fully Branislav.
10 A. It is not Branislav. No. Branko Markovic. Branislav is, again,
11 somebody else. Again, we are talking about name and surname.
12 Q. Which one is Branislav? Where is he? What do you know about
14 A. I don't know.
15 Q. What's the name of his father, do you know? Branko, is that a
16 short name for Branislav, typically?
17 A. No, Branko is one name. Branislav is another name. Brana is yet
18 a third name, et cetera.
19 Q. And your father, Nikola Markovic, was he the only one in Vitez,
21 A. I don't know. Possibly not.
22 Q. Did you ever find yourself listed as working for the HVO, please,
23 Mr. Markovic?
24 A. No.
25 Q. You appear not to have any job during the period of time once you
1 came down from the front line, and you are telling us, you say were
2 engaged around the house. Is that really right or were you employed by
3 the HVO?
4 A. No. No. I was not employed by the HVO. As for the rest, we've
5 heard about that.
6 Q. Was your mother-in-law the only midwife working in Vitez
7 throughout this time?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So although she was a Muslim, she needed to be kept there in the
10 interests of everybody and, in particular, the Croats, didn't she?
11 A. That is your conclusion.
12 Q. That's how you probably -- if what you tell us is right, had a
13 safe-ish period of time in the war, and that's why I must suggest to you
14 you've come here to try and give rather favorable evidence about events in
15 1992 and 1993.
16 A. I think that that does not correspond to the truth.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I shall be very
19 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
20 Q. Mr. Markovic, your wife's name was mentioned. I know that this
21 may seem senseless to you, but believe me there are some details that are
22 relevant for this Court. Your wife's name is Amra.
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. Tell me, Mr. Markovic, for what ethnic group is this name
1 A. For the Muslim group.
2 Q. Do you know of any woman from the Croat national group being
3 called Amra?
4 A. No.
5 Q. You have been shown a document, Mr. Markovic, 1296.4 which is a
6 report of the Vitez Brigade Service, Military District Vitez, and it
7 relates to November 1993. You already said that you've never seen this
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. I'm going to ask you about the following. Could you just give
11 your comments with regard to a few paragraphs here and tell me just
12 whether they correspond with what you remember. On the first page of this
13 document, it says that Muslims were evicted by individuals who put their
14 own interests above the interests of society and in this way they acquired
15 houses, flats, cars, furniture. Do you think that that is an accurate
16 description of the situation?
17 A. I think so, yes.
18 Q. Do you know which HVO units these individuals belonged to, those
19 who carried out these arbitrary expulsions?
20 A. No.
21 Q. So I'm not going to ask you anything more about that. On page 2
22 of this document, it says, this shows that the behaviour of individuals
23 was impermissible, on the one side, but then on the other side, the
24 interests of these individuals guided them to act in an arbitrary fashion
25 and this is impermissible behaviour to put personal interests above
1 general interests. Do you agree with this statement?
2 A. Absolutely.
3 Q. Does this situation correspond to what you remember from this
5 A. Yes, absolutely.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Markovic. Thank
7 you for your answers. I have no further questions.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Markovic, that concludes your evidence before the
9 Tribunal. Thank you for coming. You are now free to go.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 MR. KOVACIC: Our next witness is Mr. Josip Silic. He is
12 supposedly waiting.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.
15 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
16 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
18 WITNESS: JOSIP SILIC
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Silic.
22 A. Good day.
23 Q. Thank you for having responded to our request. Could you please
24 repeat your name, surname, date and place of birth for the record?
25 A. I am Josip Silic. I was born on the 17th of April, 1945, in
1 Vitez. I live in the street of Kulina Bana in Vitez.
2 Q. Mr. Silic, before the war you worked and lived in Vitez; is that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you please tell us what are the most important things you do
6 right now?
7 A. After the war, I was liaison officer for Mr. Kresimir Zubak, and I
8 was also a minister in the government of Central Bosnia. After that, I
9 was head of office with the governor, the president of the canton, and
10 then I did not have a specific job for one year. And then I was
11 counsellor to the president of the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
12 for the past 15 days I have been working as an advisor to the head of the
13 municipality of Vitez.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 A. Welcome.
16 Q. These positions that you held after the war, the ones that you
17 mentioned, all of these are positions that you got in joint bodies, in the
18 joint authorities that were set up by the Croats and the Muslims after the
19 war; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. Mr. Silic, is it correct that in the distribution of these
22 positions between the Croats and the Muslims, the first and foremost
23 criterion was that no positions could be held by persons who had
24 compromised their names during the war by their conduct?
25 A. Yes, that's right. Central Bosnia is a rather specific area and
1 there is parity within the authorities. In this district, half of the
2 persons in the authorities were Muslims and half were Croats.
3 Q. Thank you. But now let us move on to the subject of your
4 testimony. I would like to take you back first to the events of early
5 1992. Perhaps you can confirm some of the things that were mentioned
6 here. I am not sure that this was stated very clearly until now. What
7 was the general assessment of politicians in Bosnia in 1992 when the
8 aggressions started against Slovenia and then Croatia? What were the
9 views of Bosnian politicians regarding this war or rather the activities
10 of the JNA army in the former federal republics?
11 A. I can say that in the area that I come from, all prominent
12 intellectuals and politicians who were following developments in Slovenia
13 and Croatia feared that that would happen in Central Bosnia or rather
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina as well. However, what I said just now was in
15 reference to the Croat people in Central Bosnia, whereas the Muslim
16 Bosniak people, at least their top politicians, judging by what we could
17 see on radio and television, were not of that opinion. They thought that
18 there would never be a war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, at least that is what
19 they stated publicly, and that's the way they behaved throughout 1992.
20 Q. Do you personally find any kind of logic, any kind of explanation
21 for the fact that the SDA thought that there would not be an aggression
22 against Bosnia-Herzegovina after all?
23 A. I cannot really be the judge of that, personally speaking, but
24 they probably thought that some of their people live in Sandzak, in
25 Serbia, and that some of their politicians are still in Belgrade. So
1 perhaps they thought that there would not be a conflict, or rather JNA
2 aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 Q. Mr. Silic, this difference in views between Croat politicians and
4 intellectuals and Muslims, was it reflected in a way on their attitude
5 towards the possibility of war, or rather a preparation for war?
6 A. There was something quite tangible. Croat people thought that
7 there would be a war. They were preparing supplies, food, weapons, in
8 view of what could possibly happen to us, and indeed it did happen to us.
9 Q. In Vitez in 1991, public democratic elections were held; is that
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. What was the outcome of the elections? Which were the parties
13 that won?
14 A. Well, you see, in Vitez itself the SDA and the HDZ won, the two
15 national parties. I was not in the HDZ. I was a representative of the
16 Socialist Alliance, and as such I was on the list of the Socialist
17 Alliance for the elections and I got one seat in the municipal assembly in
18 Vitez, whereas the winners of the elections were the national parties, the
19 SDA and the HDZ.
20 Q. Did the Serbs win any seats in the municipality assembly, or
21 rather their party?
22 A. There was a list of the SDP, of the former Legal Communists.
23 Q. And there was a Socialist Alliance list and there were national
24 party lists?
25 A. Yes, there were Serbs on these lists.
1 Q. So after the elections, the majority of the seats were held
2 together by the SDA and the HDZ?
3 A. They appeared together on most of the pre-election rallies as
4 well. They had almost the same programmes, they hoisted their flags
5 together. The people voted for them. There were -- we also took part in
6 the elections, we from other parties, but they won.
7 Q. After the elections, did these parties jointly establish all
8 bodies of government, and did they appoint their representatives by way of
9 agreement to all key positions?
10 A. Yes, they appointed their own people to the executive council, to
11 the municipal assembly, et cetera.
12 Q. What did you do then?
13 A. At that time I was director of Vitkom, the public transportation
14 company from Vitez.
15 Q. Did you do that before the war?
16 A. Yes. This was my second term of office. Before that I was
17 director for four years and then four years I was director of the housing
18 agency. And then since these areas are related, I came back to my
19 previous job.
20 Q. Perhaps we can explain this to the Court. This company was, as we
21 said, it was a public utilities company. What did that mean? Who was it
22 owned by and who appoints the director?
23 A. It is of municipal relevance and it has to do with public
24 utilities in general, like water supplies, the sewage system, et cetera.
25 We also had a construction company that also included machinery and
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between English and
14 French transcripts.
1 transport. So this was a company that included that in addition to water
2 supply, so it was a public utilities company belonging to the
4 Q. Who appoints the director of this company?
5 A. Since this was exclusively within the domain of the municipality,
6 it is the municipality that appointed the person in question. There would
7 be a competition and then the appointment would take place.
8 Q. When these important positions in public life and administration
9 were appointed, you remained director of Vitkom; is that right?
10 A. In view of my long years of experience and in view of the wishes
11 of the workers that they wanted to have me stay on, I did receive the
12 confidence of the municipal assembly. Although I was not a member of the
13 national parties, they did confirm my appointment.
14 Q. Thank you. When more serious problems started because of the JNA
15 attacks, what happened in terms of the municipal authorities? I'm
16 referring to the assembly and the executive council.
17 A. Every day things became increasingly complicated. Government
18 could not operate as it should have. So then a body was established which
19 was supposed to take care of certain fields, so a Crisis Staff was
20 established. All the top people from the municipality were included, as
21 well as the top people from the political parties, and also a number of
22 people ex officio. So that is how I became a member of the Crisis Staff
23 as well, in order to be able to help.
24 Q. Very well. At the time when the Crisis Staff was established, at
25 that time, in your assessment was there any central government in Sarajevo
1 that was actually functioning?
2 A. The central government in Sarajevo was not really functioning. It
3 was practically inoperative, practically non-existent. In my opinion, the
4 municipalities at the time were left to their own devices. This Crisis
5 Staff on which I tried to join up with similar crisis staffs in Zenica,
6 Novi Travnik, Busovaca, and other municipalities. That was difficult.
7 Although there were contacts and there was intermunicipal communication,
8 one still could feel that the government was not functioning properly.
9 Q. Perhaps you could give some examples to demonstrate this. I'm
10 going to put a few questions to you, so could you please be as brief as
11 possible. Is it true that at that time pensions were not being paid?
12 A. I was employed at the time, but less and less payments were made.
13 Hardly any money came in from outside the municipality. I still had my
14 salary within the company, because we worked quite a bit with UNPROFOR at
15 the time, and UNPROFOR was in the area. So we did have some revenues and
16 we did manage to operate, but there were hardly any other payments and
17 citizens hardly got any money.
18 Q. Can you remember at that time, in mid-1992, whether there were
19 problems with supplies in general and the supply of power, electricity?
20 A. Well, practically every day there were black-outs. Perhaps there
21 was sabotage involved as well in terms of the transmission lines, and we
22 would have to wait for hours in order to have them repaired.
23 Communications were very poor in all other aspects. You know that at that
24 time we did not have any communication, either towards Dalmacija or
25 Herzegovina. Many roads had already been blocked by the army, the
2 Q. Is it correct that at that time Sarajevo was already under siege
3 by the JNA?
4 A. Yes. Yes. We did not have electricity all the time, but we had
5 transistor radios as well, and we did receive information that Sarajevo
6 was under a blockade then.
7 Q. Although you were not in the narrowest circle of decision makers
8 in the municipality, you were only appointed to the Crisis Staff, do you
9 know nevertheless whether the establishment of the Crisis Staff was in
10 keeping with regulations that were in force then?
11 A. It is hard for me personally to make this kind of comment, but
12 people did not look at regulations anymore; they looked at life as such.
13 The neighbouring municipalities as well wished to ensure the best still
14 living conditions possible, and in my opinion these crisis staffs played a
15 very important role, especially the Crisis Staff of Vitez, I think. It's
16 not because I was personally a member, but every day we gave hope and
17 provided life to people who lived in that area.
18 Q. You talked about the Crisis Staff and you talked about party
19 members who were on the staff. Is that to say that the ethnic composition
20 of the Crisis Staff matched the political structure in the municipal
21 assembly, in the parliament of that municipality?
22 A. I have to give you my own opinion, and that is that the people who
23 were on the Crisis Staff were people who were recognised in their own
24 environments, because these were top people in political parties and also
25 in other structures. But the Crisis Staff really did reflect the
1 situation in the municipality itself, so it was roughly half/half. I
2 don't know exactly. Which is not to say that everyone would always be
3 there. People were busy too and all that. But this is what we aimed for.
4 Q. Thank you. On the Crisis Staff, did you also have representatives
5 of the Territorial Defence?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Were there also representatives of the HVO staff?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you recall that at that time in Bosnia the president of the
10 presidency did, in keeping with regulations, proclaim a situation of an
11 immediate threat of war?
12 A. I don't remember that. I pointed out a few minutes ago that Vitez
13 and the wide area often did not receive information, so I did not receive
14 such information either.
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, it is now 1.00. Which paragraph are you
16 at, please?
17 MR. KOVACIC: I'm just about to put two or three questions on 2.4.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If we could move fairly quickly through this
19 background material.
20 MR. KOVACIC: We will.
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now.
22 Mr. Silic, could you please remember not to speak to anybody
23 during the adjournment about your evidence until it's over, and that does
24 include members of the Defence team. If you would be back, please, at
25 half past 2.00.
1 We'll adjourn until half past 2.00.
2 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.02 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
3 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Silic, the Crisis Staff when it was formed,
5 how often did it sit? How often did it sit, was it once a week, twice a
6 week? Could you tell us, please, how was it?
7 A. At the outset, the Crisis Staff met every ten days or so but as
8 the situation grew complex, and as the number of incidents increased, the
9 Crisis Staff sometimes met every second day or sometimes even twice a day
10 depending on the situation.
11 Q. Is it correct that this Crisis Staff took over all the chief
12 functions of both the town -- municipal assembly and the municipal
14 A. It exercised all the functions of the former authorities because
15 no other authority was operative at the time except the Crisis Staff,
16 nobody could resolve incidents or resolve problems of any kind.
17 Q. Very well. You told us about the circumstances under which that
18 particular body came into being. Could you single out one reason which
19 gave you the gravest concern regarding the work of the Crisis Staff and
20 why did you want that?
21 A. Well, I wanted to work, and I attended all the sessions of the
22 Crisis Staff simply because as a man, I wanted to preserve peace in the
23 municipality in which I lived with my children, and that role which I
24 played and all the other members of the Crisis Staff made us really work
25 very seriously at our sessions and adopt conclusions bearing on the
1 resolution of various situations that took place in our municipality.
2 Q. But tell us, Mr. Silic, did you ever consider the position and the
3 possible risk to the SPS company and the influence it might have on the
4 situation in the municipality as such in view of the kind of materials,
5 production materials that it had?
6 A. The Crisis Staff invited some representatives of the company to
7 its session even those who were not members of the Crisis Staff so that
8 they would report to the Crisis Staff about the work that they were
9 carrying out and the possible risk in the municipality of Vitez. The
10 Crisis Staff quite often discussed the Vitezit plant which previously put
11 out some defence products and had different types of production materials
12 such as huge quantities of different types of acids. They had the
13 sulfuric, more than 100 tonnes of sulfuric acid, and it was possible that
14 in the course of shelling or bombing or any aggression, that could entail
15 tremendous consequences so that the Crisis Staff considered possible
16 solutions to that problem and we wanted the workers within the plant to
17 organise the protection, the defence against any such possibility.
18 Q. I see. Does it mean that the very fact that the factory existed
19 represented one of the factors in the work of the Crisis Staff?
20 A. Well, there were no -- there was no other municipal authority
21 which could grapple with such serious and grave and acute problems so the
22 Crisis Staff was the only body who would grapple with this and solve it as
23 best it knew how.
24 Q. And in 1992, however, the war seemed imminent but that was not an
25 abstract at the time, was it?
1 A. No, there was not.
2 Q. And was there some attempts to shell the place or rather to use
3 rockets by the JNA air force against the town?
4 A. Yes. Because I was in the centre of the town and I saw those
5 aircraft which were trying to destroy the depot, the warehouse of finished
6 products and other things, I suppose, that I knew nothing about, but there
7 were such attempts to hit the plant without, however, trying to hit the
8 town itself.
9 Q. Thank you very much. You already said that as -- the Crisis Staff
10 gradually began to be concerned with an increasing number of things. Will
11 you please tell us what were those things that the Crisis Staff addressed
12 including those things which otherwise would not have come within its
13 terms of reference?
14 A. As I have already said, the Crisis Staff brought together people
15 of prestige, and most of them, like myself, wanted to preserve peace. So
16 on our agenda were questions about the best possible organisation of the
17 defence of Vitez. Quite often, we also talked that the HVO headquarters
18 staff and the TO should form joint defence for the municipality of Vitez.
19 Personally I wanted that and I asked for that, and at a session, I
20 don't remember exactly when, I proposed that the two of them come together
21 but then we started looking for a common name, and some members said that
22 it should be under the HVO. Others, however, said that it should be under
23 the BH army. And I suggested then to do something but to put them -- to
24 bring them together and to have it -- to call it the Croat/Muslim Defence
25 Council, but some other people said, "Right, if we do it so in Vitez, then
1 what will happen in Travnik and elsewhere?" And then we talked about it
2 and we agreed that it should be that way and that in the municipalities
3 with the Muslim majority it should be called the Muslim/Croat Defence
5 After that, and we have already reached the latter half of 1992,
6 but the frequency of the sessions grew scarcer and scarcer --
7 Q. Excuse me, I have to interrupt you but we are pressed for time.
8 Now, that you mention it even though I wanted to ask you about this later
9 on when we come to item 4.2, but nevertheless let us round off this
10 topic. You mentioned that you personally at one of those sessions
11 proposed to call this joint defence the Croat/Muslim Defence Council and
12 this proposal, did it fall on, how shall I put it, fertile soil, that is,
13 did you continue discussing it?
14 A. Well, there were some discussions because there were a number of
15 other proposals too but in the end, this proposal did remain on the
16 table. Nobody was against it, but it simply did not pass.
17 Q. And did you know why?
18 A. Well, I suppose that the SDA and probably its members were not for
19 it, so that it was not brought up again at any of the sessions.
20 Q. And to finish this story: Do you remember, Mr. Silic, what did
21 the HVO or, rather, more specifically, Mr. Mario Skopljak, think about
22 it? Did they support that?
23 A. Well, the HVO staff accepted it. They had already brought some
24 insignia to that session, some insignia which the men of this joint army
25 should wear. So since they had already prepared it and brought it, it
1 showed that they really went along with that proposal.
2 Q. And within that context, did they also mention the name "the 1st
3 Vitez Brigade"?
4 A. No, nothing was said at this session. All that was discussed was
5 the Croat Muslim Defence Council of the municipality.
6 Q. So you did not go into any detail at that session?
7 A. No, we did not.
8 Q. Thank you. Let us now go back to the Crisis Staff. So among
9 other subjects, and you told us about one of them and it was only in part
10 discussed by the Crisis Staff at its sessions, but do you remember that
11 some time in late May 1992 the Crisis Staff held an extraordinary session
12 and here the murder of one Samir Trako was mentioned. Do you recall that
14 A. Yes, indeed I do. That session was held in the evening hours. We
15 were urgently summoned from our homes, all the members of the Crisis
16 Staff. The meeting took place in the municipal hall and we were told that
17 an incident had happened, that an unfortunate thing had happened, and that
18 a man called Samir Trako was killed in the Vitez Hotel. And it was a
19 very -- we were briefed very -- in very few words, because the
20 investigation was under way. And it was said that this incident could
21 further upset members of both peoples, so that it was a very difficult, a
22 very painful session. And as far as I can remember, Hakija Cengic and
23 Mario Cerkez was then tasked with undertaking urgently preventive actions
24 to investigate the case, together with the police and other authorities
25 who were already doing that.
1 Q. Does this mean that Hakija Cengic and Mario Cerkez were present at
2 that meeting, at least for part of it?
3 A. Yes, yes, yes. They were there.
4 Q. And is it true that the two of them, in point of fact, reported
5 about what they had -- the facts that they have already been informed?
6 A. Yes, yes, yes, they did.
7 Q. And did you hear anything about the competent authorities; that
8 is, the police and the judge were already doing their job?
9 A. Yes. That is what we were told, that they were in the hotel,
10 investigating it, and that we would be briefed about that after the
11 completion of the investigation.
12 Q. Very well. Thank you. And to complete this part of your
13 testimony about the Crisis Staff, Mr. Silic: Now at the end of it all, do
14 you, as a man who took part in these events, do you still believe that
15 this institution, even when it ceased to operate, or men who worked in it,
16 did they make a significant contribution to preserving the B and H?
17 A. Well, to my mind, I think that I've already said it, that men who
18 were on the Crisis Staff indeed did their utmost to preserve peace, which
19 simply attests greatly to the fact that the municipality of Vitez was
20 quite a sound situation and that in 1992, in other municipalities, some
21 incidents had already happened. There was some unrest, and to quite a
22 noteworthy extent. And yet Vitez as a town was quite calm, insofar as it
23 can be said of that period of time. People went out to cafes and places
24 and they lived their normal lives. So that in Vitez in 1992 the situation
25 was much better than in surrounding municipalities, and I do believe that
1 this was largely due to those men who worked together hand in hand in the
2 Crisis Staff.
3 Q. Is it correct that in addition to men who were formally members of
4 the Crisis Staff, there were also other citizens, the politicians of note,
5 doctors, people who enjoyed prestige and who also acted in that direction?
6 A. Yes. There were such people who would attend sessions of the
7 Crisis Staff from time to time or who would be invited to join in when the
8 Crisis Staff discussed matters of logistics or supplies and so on and so
9 forth. But yes, eminent citizens, intellectuals, in the town of Vitez of
10 both ethnicities contributed a great deal to such a state of affairs in
11 Vitez at that time.
12 Q. Thank you very much. However, it is a fact that on the 16th of
13 April, 1993, a conflict did break out in Vitez. And in view of --
14 beginning from the early 1992, could you really say -- did you already
15 think that there might be a large-scale confrontation, a general, a big
16 confrontation between those two majority peoples?
17 A. During that period of time, the Crisis Staff was no longer in
18 existence, so that I did not get any information like perhaps some other
19 people, but I do affirm that I did not expect -- I did not anticipate a
20 conflict. I did not think there would be a conflict, because I do not
21 think that anybody really looked forward to it or wanted a conflict. I
22 did not really think there would be a conflict.
23 Q. And where were you on the 15th of April, 1993?
24 A. On the 15th of April, in the morning, sometime around 8.00, I was
25 about to go with my driver, Husein Beso. I was about to go to Split to
1 get some -- to purchase some spare parts for building machinery and
2 trucks, and I wanted my daughter, who was studying in Split and had come
3 for Easter holidays back home, to come along. So we set off that
4 morning. However, we got as far as Novi Travnik and there were roadblocks
5 there, so we could not pass through, and we turned back and returned home.
6 Q. And the driver that you mentioned, Husein Beso, is a Muslim by
7 ethnicity, isn't he?
8 A. Yes, he is. He's alive and well. He comes to visit us. He lives
9 in Vitez, in Kruscica, that is.
10 Q. Mr. Silic, these roadblocks near Novi Travnik that you mentioned,
11 who manned them? Which side?
12 A. The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina; that is, Muslims manned it.
13 Q. And were there very many vehicles when you reached it?
14 A. Well, there were about ten vehicles or so in front of me and we
15 were told, "No, you cannot go through." There were no incidents, but it
16 was simply said, "You cannot go through," so we all turned back. And we
17 thought that within the next two or three days, because my daughter was to
18 take some examinations, so she was in a hurry to get back to Split, and I
19 also wanted to do my part of --
20 JUDGE MAY: Let us try and move on.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. And when the conflict broke out -- no. Excuse me. Just one
23 question before that. Before the conflict -- or rather, specifically, you
24 were the executive in a company. Will you just tell us in one
25 sentence -- or rather, will you confirm if it is correct to say that the
1 make-up, that the ethnic make-up in your company corresponded with the
2 ethnic make-up of Vitez and its surroundings?
3 A. Well, nobody tried to do that. I mean, people simply applied for
4 work and were hired. But it so happened that we were roughly half and
5 half, Muslims and Croats, and there were also some Serbs and some Romany.
6 Romanies, of course, did not have any skills, so they were manual labour
8 Q. And that was the situation until the 15th of April, wasn't it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. According to the information that you received, as soon as the
11 conflict had started, what did you conclude? Why did the conflict begin?
12 Why did the armed conflict between the BH army and the HVO begin?
13 A. Well, I wasn't really concluding much. I couldn't leave my home,
14 because there was gunfire around, the town was under blockade, so
15 that -- and it went on for a few days. But I realised then that a
16 conflict had broken out. There was gunfire all around, shells were
17 falling around the house, and all I could see that there was such -- in
18 view of all those incidents, that it was the BH army which had attacked
20 Q. And why did you think that? Did you have any facts at your
21 disposal to conclude that it was the BH army which had attacked Vitez, and
22 what was its objective?
23 A. Well, I'm not a military, so I cannot really discuss the strategic
24 importance of this and that. But what I can say -- but say, for instance,
25 to cut off the communication between Vitez and Busovaca, since Travnik had
1 already been closed and Zenica, so there was only Busovaca and Novi
2 Travnik. And presumably they wanted to cut off some of those
3 communication routes so as to preclude any logistics and to conquer
4 territory. But primarily I think that they wanted to take this military
5 plant, because it had all sorts of things that every army might need.
6 Q. Thank you. And one of the things that you took part in personally
7 and were quite committed was the construction of the Road of Salvation.
8 Could you please tell us a couple of words about this, very briefly?
9 A. The municipalities of Vitez, Zenica, Busovaca, Travnik, Novi
10 Travnik, Kiseljak, since the JNA had closed the roads which were used for
11 regular supply and communication, these municipalities decided to build
12 jointly the Road of Salvation via Novi Travnik. So Novi Travnik, Doboj,
13 Trenice, Rostovo, Sebesic, Gornji Vakuf, there was already a road. But
14 then -- and across the Vran Mountain it was to go to Dalmacija and to
15 Split. And since I said we had a building unit, building machinery at our
16 disposal, our task was then to send those men to that section of the road
17 so as to prepare it for normal use before wintertime. And all the
18 companies in Vitez pooled their resources because that section of the road
19 belonged to Vitez, so everybody pooled their resources to complete it
20 before wintertime. And we did it and we were compensated or remunerated
21 for that in flour, edible oil, and so on and so forth, because there was
22 no money anymore.
23 Q. You are talking before winter, so it was the autumn of 1992, is
25 A. Yes, it is.
1 Q. And that road was to provide for you a safer passage southward?
2 A. Yes. Well, for all the inhabitants in the Lasva Valley, it was to
3 ensure a better life. In case of further JNA aggression, it should
4 provide for us the communication and supply, that is, food and medicine
5 and so on so forth. It was -- it was to be the backbone of the Lasva
7 Q. And now one more thing regarding your companies and your employees
8 which I forgot to ask you. You, the employees of the Vitkom company, did
9 you at any time sign or were you given to sign some statements of loyalty
10 or something like that in order to keep your jobs?
11 A. No. My technical manager was a Muslim, and I already said that we
12 were -- that the employees were about 50/50.
13 Q. Yes, let us not go back to that. Let me try to be more specific.
14 Did the municipality ask any such thing from you?
15 A. No. No. No. Never.
16 Q. But did you ever hear about such a thing?
17 A. Well, there were rumours about this in the municipality but I
18 never saw that.
19 Q. And what you heard in the municipality, is it true that those were
20 only the certificates, job certificates new job systemisation?
21 A. Yes, yes, because Muslims stayed in the municipality and went on
22 working throughout the war.
23 Q. After the war broke out on the 16th of April, 1993, how long did
24 the road operate, until when could one travel by land from there?
25 A. After the 16th of April, nowhere.
1 Q. Are you referring to civilians?
2 A. No, no one could leave.
3 Q. Just one more thing. Since this was within your own line of work,
4 is it correct, Mr. Silic, that the public waterworks was closed every now
5 and then and that this was used as a method of pressure against the
6 population of the Lasva River Valley?
7 A. The public waterworks were closed every now and then. Vitez and
8 Zenica got their water from this regional waterworks, and this was at the
9 source near Kruscica and then there would be these interruptions of about
10 20 days or so.
11 Q. Who held this system under their control and who could stop the
12 water supply?
13 A. It was only possible for the Muslims to do that because they held
14 that area.
15 Q. Oh, you mean the source of that system?
16 A. Yes, yes. There is another point where the quantity of water
17 could be regulated. At that time, 250 litres per second went to Zenica
18 and 100 litres per second to Vitez; however, that could not be closed
19 because the pressure is 18 bar over there and that substation, so to
20 speak, was between the two peoples that were in conflict.
21 Q. Do I understand what you are saying correctly, the part that was
22 perhaps accessible to the HVO --
23 JUDGE MAY: If there are any further questions about this, let
24 them be asked. I don't see anything about it on the summary. It may be
25 that I've missed it.
1 MR. KOVACIC: It wasn't in the summary, Your Honour, I just
2 remembered that there was talk about water supply as the arms -- and the
3 witness had that in activity, but I am basically done. Yes, I don't have
4 any further questions, thank you, Your Honours.
5 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
6 Mr. Kordic's Defence has no questions of this witness.
7 JUDGE MAY: Any questions?
8 MR. NICE: Not very many but just a few.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
10 Q. In your position as a businessman there, can you look at this bit
11 of paper? I'm not putting it in as an exhibit, it's just a convenient way
12 of looking at the evidence. We review or -- if you review the managers of
13 the businesses of Vitez in the period leading up to April 1993, this is
14 the picture we see, isn't it, of the nine major factories and businesses
15 there, all bar one were managed by Bosnian Croats and only Sintevit was
16 managed by a Bosniak, Alija Basic; correct?
17 A. Correct. Do you want my answer?
18 Q. I have your answer. If you mean do you want to add something, if
19 you feel it is --
20 A. No, you do not have my answer because I wish to add something.
21 Can you hear what I'm saying? I wish to add something. Since the HDZ
22 party and the SDA party won the elections, most of these managers were
23 either the SDP or the socialist alliance they were not party men, they
24 were appointed legally at competitions. They were elected by the workers'
25 councils as well. As for Kruscica, Ivica Franjic was director because
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between English and
14 French transcripts.
1 nobody else wanted the job because it was a loss-making company.
2 Q. All right. Well, I wanted to ask you -- but nevertheless, before
3 I take that piece of paper away, the descriptions of those first eight
4 people as Bosnian Croats is correct.
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE MAY: Let's go on.
7 MR. NICE: Yes.
8 Q. You knew the man Ivica Santic, didn't you? Still know him, I
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. If he were to be recorded as saying that of the nine factories in
12 Vitez, the HVO completely controlled eight, would he be right?
13 A. That would not be right, because Nikola Krizanovic was on the list
14 of the League of Communists. He was in slot number one, and he did not
15 fit into what you are talking about at all. He was not for the HDZ. Also
16 Vlado Divkovic. I already talked about myself. Then also Branko Lovric,
17 that is to say most of these people held these positions before the
18 elections and they were elected legally by workers' councils so it has
19 nothing to do whether someone was for the HVO or against them.
20 Q. Let's move on to the next topic because I think I'm under
21 considerable pressure of time and I don't want to be long with you. But
22 not only did you know Ivica Santic, but with your history of being on the
23 Crisis Staff, you probably knew most of the leading figures of your town,
24 didn't you?
25 A. Yes. Yes.
1 Q. You knew Mario Cerkez?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You knew Dario Kordic?
4 A. Dario Kordic, I did not know him as well as Mario Cerkez and the
5 others because Dario Kordic is not from Vitez. I especially did not know
6 him in the days of the Crisis Staff, in the days before the conflict broke
8 Q. Well, I may return to that in a minute, but let me make it quite
9 clear to you, Mr. Silic, that there's evidence before this Tribunal that
10 goes to show that you were a moderate Croat, as people might describe it,
11 in the middle of 1992. Would you accept that you were looked at from
12 outside as a moderate Croat at the time that you were dealing with the
13 joint committee?
14 A. People -- well, it's hard to speak about oneself. People viewed
15 me as a honest man, not a moderate Croat, but an honest man who wanted
16 peace and that's why they supported me and I was striving for peace.
17 Q. Is it right, for example, that in or about April of 1992, you,
18 yourself, objected to interventions made by Anto Valenta to the various
19 things you were attempting to achieve, and you did so comparatively
20 publicly at the joint meetings. Do you remember that being your
22 A. I do not remember this very well, but probably not all people can
23 be the same. We can all do the same job, but then somebody can do it
24 better and somebody not that well, and if there were such statements made
25 at meetings, I was against that.
1 Q. All right. Is it right that you showed at that stage, at that
2 early stage, a sufficiently friendly approach to the Muslims that Santic
3 and others treated you as if you were really betraying Croat interests,
4 would you accept that as a description of the meetings that you went to,
5 that you were treated as a bit of an outsider by your own side?
6 A. No. No. My own side wanted me to have such contacts and to
7 prevent the possibility of any conflict between Croats and Muslims, and
8 Ivica Santic did that just like I did. I went to Bosniak villages
9 freely. I go there until the present day. Until the present day I have
10 been trying to --
11 Q. I am going to have to stop you again for reasons of time. Is it
12 right that when you raised the issue or when there was raised the issue of
13 the name for this joint committee, it was eventually stopped by Valenta
14 and by people in Grude. Do you remember that happening?
15 A. No. No. No. Not Valenta. I don't know any people in Grude, but
16 at the Crisis Staff, this remained unfinished, although all members of the
17 Crisis Staff accepted this as a good idea; however, unfortunately, it was
18 never carried through.
19 Q. I think today, unless I am wrong, Mr. Silic, didn't you say that
20 it was the HVO who were willing to go on with this and it was the other
21 side who was against it? Perhaps I misrecollected your evidence.
22 A. No. No. No. The HVO headquarters agreed with this, and Skopljak
23 even prepared in the printing press proofs for the insignia that they
24 would be wearing.
25 Q. Well, I'm going to end there on that topic because I must suggest
1 to you that it was clear, and you will remember this, that it was your
2 side in Grude who put a stop to this when the thing became too much a
3 joint enterprise. Thinking back, isn't that the truth as we've heard
4 evidence in this Tribunal?
5 A. I don't know about Grude. I only know about the municipality of
6 Vitez, and what I know, I've said already.
7 Q. One document I want you to have a look at, possibly two, but
8 certainly one. Z88.2. I want your help with one thing on this document
9 which has your name in it which is why I'm asking you about it. This
10 document, the original for you the English version on the ELMO, is
11 apparently the conclusions from a session of the Crisis Staff headquarters
12 on the 5th of April, 1992, and if we look at the first page on point one
13 and move rapidly down the page, there is a passage that reads as follows,
14 "The Territorial Defence headquarters and commanders of anti-air
15 batteries are given the task of immediately placing cannons in a fire
16 position to defend the company." There is something that's illegible but
17 it may refer to the SPS factory. "Position and realisation are concretely
18 determined by ..." four names including yours.
19 First of all, do you remember being involved in placing these
20 cannons in a fire position to defend the company?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And then the next sentence which is what I want your help with,
23 "Stipo Krizanac and the crisis headquarters of the HDZ should bring
24 ammunition for the cannons." What was the crisis headquarters of the HDZ,
1 A. There was no Crisis Staff of the HDZ. There was only the Crisis
2 Staff for the municipality. This is probably a typo. But could you just
3 allow me to say the following in respect of my own role. I was supposed
4 to take by my trucks to a place designated by experts, the cannons that
5 needed to be taken there.
6 Q. Yes. But you see we see a distinct reference here, you say it may
7 be a typo, but it refers to the political party's headquarters dealing
8 with ammunition for cannons. Now, Mr. Silic, does that simply reflect the
9 fact that at this stage of preparation --
10 A. Oh, no.
11 Q. I hadn't asked a question yet.
12 JUDGE MAY: Let counsel finish, please. Don't interrupt.
13 MR. NICE: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Does this reflect the fact that at this stage of preparation, the
15 political party and the HVO were entirely one and the same body and that
16 the political party would find itself dealing with things like ammunition,
18 A. No.
19 Q. Thank you. Let me just complete the picture about you in fairness
20 to you. After the conflict broke out, did you find yourself working in
21 the Komunalno factory?
22 A. From the 16th of April onwards, I had work duty. And with seven
23 people, I remained in the public utilities company. Throughout the war, I
24 worked there.
25 Q. And various Bosniaks were obliged to work at that factory under
1 compulsion. Would you agree with that?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Even people who previously worked there for money suddenly found
4 themselves working there under compulsion, you deny that, do you?
5 A. No. No. No. They did not work under compulsion because they
6 were not in the public utilities company during the war. I already
7 mentioned there were only seven of us there. There were Romany, Croats
8 and us Serb there.
9 Q. Very well. That's your answer. The road to salvation, we've had
10 evidence that so far as that road is concerned, its principal function was
11 to ensure there was a secure line for reinforcements and equipment from
12 Croatia; would you agree with that?
13 A. From all parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, including Croatia, whatever
14 was needed for Central Bosnia from Herzegovina and from Croatia, from
15 wherever one could get something.
16 Q. And the consequence of that was that this was really a road that
17 benefited the Croats and as we've heard from a couple of witnesses, one of
18 them is DC at pages 19.247 to 19.248 that this road was not particularly
19 significant for Muslims, it was very much a road that benefited the Croat
20 cause; correct?
21 A. No. No. It was used by both sides.
22 Q. Back to the night of the 15th, 16th. No, I beg your pardon. One
23 other point. You've been asked about statements of loyalty for people
24 keeping their jobs in 1992. When you were asked about statements of
25 loyalty, you said it didn't happen in your business but that you heard
1 rumours of it happening elsewhere; correct?
2 A. I heard that there were documents appointing persons to certain
3 jobs and that they got different points for that. People stayed where
4 they had worked before.
5 Q. Well, I was concerned about that, Mr. Silic, because your answer,
6 before any question incorporating references to certificates was put to
7 you afterwards, your answer in relation to statements of loyalty was that
8 you heard rumours of it happening elsewhere in the municipality. Think
9 back, please. Were there not indeed rumours that people were being
10 obliged to give oaths of loyalty to keep their jobs?
11 A. The question that was put to me was whether this was in my
12 company. I said no. I said that no one signed any statements or
13 documents like that. In the municipality I heard that there were
14 documents appointing persons to a given job and stating the exact job
15 description and the number of points that it entailed.
16 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not going to take that any further in
17 the time that we've got available, but I noticed the way the questions
19 Q. Your present occupation is as advisor to the head of the
20 municipality. Who is that?
21 A. Katica Cerkez. And I'm also advisor to the president of the
22 parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 Q. And is that Cerkez any relation to the defendant in this case?
24 A. Her husband's last name is Cerkez. Perhaps they are distant
25 relatives, but they are not closely related.
1 Q. Now, on the 15th of April, you came back from the barricades or
2 whatever it was that you say were at Novi Travnik. And where did you
3 spend the night, 15th?
4 A. I spent the night in Vitez. I was at home. In the early evening
5 we business people were invited to a meeting, a customary meeting related
6 to the protection of factories, the protection of property, and this was a
7 regular check on the maintenance and guarding of buildings.
8 Q. Where was that meeting happening? Where did it take place?
9 A. That meeting was held at the post office in Vitez, because there
10 was electricity there.
11 Q. Did you hear of any other meetings happening that night,
12 Mr. Silic?
13 A. No. No, I did not.
14 Q. You knew the man and know the man Santic. You were one of the
15 business leaders in your community.
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. You've been asked a question this afternoon about what happened,
18 and you've given us an account built on reason as to how you think the
19 Muslims led the attack. Is that a fair analysis of the position?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And are you telling us that despite your contacts, despite your
22 position in the community, the only explanation you can give for what
23 happened on the morning of the 16th is deduction; looking at the events,
24 you think it must have been the Muslims that did it?
25 A. On the 15th I tried to go to Split, but I returned. On the 16th I
1 could not even get out of my house, because there was shooting all over
2 the place, shells were falling all over, so what can a man conclude?
3 Q. Mr. Silic, we've heard a lot of evidence about how your town is so
4 small, people automatically and inevitably know what's going on in it.
5 You are better placed than most, and you come to this Court and tell us
6 that all you can tell us about the cause of the 16th of April fighting
7 comes from analysis of the events looked at neutrally? That's truly your
8 position, is it?
9 A. For days this was discussed, whether there would be a conflict or
10 not, whether a conflict could be avoided or not, because part of the
11 conflict was already taking place in the neighbouring municipalities but
12 not in Vitez. And we all did our best to prevent it from happening. When
13 we were confined to the valley, when we could not leave it and when the
14 shooting came from the surrounding villages, the assumption is what I told
15 you. That is what a man can assume.
16 Q. Mr. Silic, I'm going to end this point, and I only have one more
17 question with this suggestion to you for you to deal with, that there were
18 meetings that evening, where the planned attack -- where the attack was
19 planned. In your position of seniority, you must, if you didn't know
20 about it on the day, you must have learned about it subsequently, and
21 you're not telling us the truth when you say you didn't know about that.
22 Do you understand what I'm suggesting?
23 A. On that evening, on the 15th, in the evening, between the 15th and
24 the 16th, I said that we were invited to a meeting, and we were given the
25 task to analyse the situation in our companies and to take a look at
1 security measures, because we heard that the situation was getting more
2 difficult. I also went to tour my reservoir and other parts of my
3 company. I toured all of this and I went back to the post office where we
4 had gathered before that, and between 3.00 and 4.00 I went home to bed
5 without any additional information being received. There is no reason for
6 me not to speak the truth. I'm 56 years old, I have grey hair, I have
7 children, and I don't need anything like that.
8 Q. Mr. Silic, of course if you had gone to Split, you wouldn't have
9 gone to this meeting. Were you specially summoned to this meeting?
10 A. I was doing something around the house. They called at my
11 daughter's and they left a message that I should come between 7.30 and
12 8.00, and that was a regular meeting at that.
13 Q. But tell me, did you know anything about a meeting later that
14 night or a visit later that night to Mr. Kordic's address?
15 A. No, I really did not know about that. Maybe others did. I did
17 Q. And who called you to the meeting?
18 A. Ivan Santic.
19 Q. At what time did Ivan Santic call you to the meeting?
20 A. I said a few minutes ago that a telephone call was made and that I
21 was told to go to the post office between 7.30 and 8.00, and that's when I
23 Q. And was Ivan Santic at your meeting or was he engaged in another
24 meeting elsewhere?
25 A. As we were gathering there -- this was not the first meeting of
1 its kind. Such meetings were customary over the past 15 days, either in
2 the morning or afternoon or evening hours. He was with us and we were
3 told that the situation was getting increasingly complicated, that there
4 was a possibility of a conflict breaking out, and that all the tasks that
5 we had before in our companies, in our enterprises, that we should take a
6 look at all of that and raise the degree of readiness of our workers and
7 that we should wait until further notice.
8 Q. And did Mr. Santic go off to other meetings?
9 A. We were in a few rooms at the post office, and after that I did
10 not see Ivica Santic after that. I don't know whether he left. I cannot
11 confirm it and I cannot deny it.
12 Q. There was particular concern about the acid, the large quantities
13 of acid at the SPS factory, wasn't there?
14 A. Yes, yes, that's right.
15 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... petrol at the SPS factory.
16 That was a subject of grave concern as well?
17 A. I don't know about the petrol. No, really I don't. There was
18 hardly any; only very small amounts.
19 Q. And Cerkez, was he a member of the Crisis Staff?
20 A. Cerkez would come to Crisis Staff meetings when summoned, but he
21 was not a member of the Crisis Staff. Perhaps he was appointed to it at a
22 later stage, but initially Mario Cerkez was not a member of the Crisis
24 Q. This is in 1992. In what role did he come to the Crisis Staff,
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. In what role did he come?
3 A. I think that he worked at the HVO headquarters, and I think that
4 that is how he came. He probably came ex officio and only for certain
6 Q. And just one last question on the name, a question of the meeting
7 to which you were summoned. Can you just think back, please, and tell us
8 the names of the people who were present at that meeting?
9 A. Ivica Santic, Marijan Skopljak, Nikola Krizanovic, Marinko Katava,
10 Branko Lovric, I was there. Then there were some other managers. I can't
11 remember all the names exactly, but I mentioned most of them.
12 Q. So this was a civil meeting, no military people there?
13 A. No. It was a civilian meeting.
14 MR. NICE: Thank you.
15 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
16 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Let us just clarify two matters. The list of
18 managers that my colleague the Prosecutor showed you. First of all, can
19 you recall whether all of them were new directors, so to speak, or were
20 most of them directors before that too?
21 A. They were all old directors who had been elected earlier.
22 Q. Before in Yugoslavia, and also in the Republic of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina, the law stipulated the way in which directors in socially
24 owned enterprises appointed and elected; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that is correct.
1 Q. Not to tire the Court with this lengthy procedure which you are
2 familiar with, having been a director yourself, was this a clearly defined
3 procedure in which the director of a socially owned enterprise would be
4 appointed and elected?
5 A. Yes. This procedure had to be observed strictly.
6 Q. Another thing. Even if some of these directors were new, in
7 accordance with the agreements reached between the HDZ and the SDA after
8 the elections, would it be necessary for the parties to give their consent
9 for a person to be appointed to such a post?
10 A. Well, the municipality did have to give approval. Like for my
11 post, there was the SDA and there was the HDZ, and they could have
12 appointed or relieved any one of us.
13 Q. Thank you. Let's be quite clear. When you gave answers
14 concerning the preparation of this road -- don't think that I'm putting a
15 stupid question to you, but give me a clear answer. Who was the enemy in
16 1992 for you, the population of Vitez?
17 A. The JNA and the Serbs. They were the enemy. They had blocked all
18 the roads in the towns where we lived.
19 Q. And which war were you preparing for during 1992?
20 A. Further aggression from the JNA and the Serbs who were already at
21 Mount Vlasic.
22 Q. I think I'm going a bit too fast. At that time was this
23 aggression merely talk or was it really on the threshold of your
25 A. It was not merely talk, because there was Slavko, Rodic, Bratstvo,
1 Vitezit. These were vital factories for the former Yugoslav army. They
2 had certain products which were of vital interest.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would like the witness to be shown
4 this document that was already shown to him before, Z82.2, minutes of the
5 Crisis Staff meeting, please.
6 JUDGE MAY: We should aim to start another witness.
7 MR. KOVACIC: This is the last question, just to identify
9 Q. [Interpretation] Could you please take a look at the seal on the
10 last page. The copy is not a very good one, but can you tell whether this
11 is the HVO seal?
12 A. No, no, that is not correct. This is of the former secretariat
13 for defence.
14 Q. So this is the official seal of which authority?
15 A. The secretariat for defence.
16 Q. For national defence?
17 A. Yes, formerly.
18 Q. That is one of the agencies in local government; is that right?
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Silic, thank you for coming to the Tribunal to
22 give your evidence. It is now concluded and you are free to go.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir, and good luck.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, our next witness is Mr. Jozo Pokrajcic,
1 and we will need to introduce quite a lot of documents. With his help,
2 that is indeed the purpose to bring him, mostly.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, we'll make a start with his evidence, and
4 at about 10 to 4.00 or so we will hear the argument. But let us make a
5 start with it.
6 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. Mr. Mikulicic will handle this witness. He
7 will now do that. Thank you.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.
10 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
11 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you'd like to take a seat.
13 WITNESS: JOZO POKRAJCIC
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
16 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Pokrajcic. On behalf of the Defence of
17 Mr. Cerkez, I will be asking you questions about your testimony, about
18 your statement so I would kindly ask you to remember those events as well
19 as you can and at the same time, to be careful to answer my questions
20 slowly so that the interpreters can interpret our conversation.
21 Please, for the record, will you state your full name, your place
22 and date of birth?
23 A. My name is Jozo Pokrajcic. I was born in Seonica, the
24 municipality of Tomislavgrad on the 4th of September 1963.
25 Q. Seonica is in the municipality of Tomislavgrad in the Republic of
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You are married, Mr. Pokrajcic, and you are the father of four.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, where did your grandfathers come from?
6 A. From Pokrajcic not far from Nova Bila.
7 Q. So it is a place in Central Bosnia between Vitez and Novi Travnik,
8 is it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you still have relatives in that village?
11 A. No.
12 Q. You served your military duty in the former JNA and you acquired
13 some basic military skills in infantry, didn't you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You had the rank of lance corporal.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You graduated from traffic school and you were a transport
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I suppose you couldn't get a job so you went abroad and spent --
21 working in Germany and Switzerland ten years?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. After this period of work abroad, when did you come back to
25 A. 1990.
1 Q. Before you returned to Croatia, did you also live in Croatia or
2 did you also live in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
3 A. I lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. I'm sorry, how come you came to the Republic of Croatia at the
6 A. Half of all my relatives live in Zagreb and that was the reason
7 why I came to the Republic of Croatia.
8 Q. In that year, 1990, what was happening in the Republic of Croatia
10 A. Well, there was the aggression of the Yugoslav Peoples' Army on
11 the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia.
12 Q. You then joined the national guard in Croatia?
13 A. No, they were the special purpose units, there was no national
15 Q. Those were actually police units?
16 A. Yes. The Ministry of the Interior units.
17 Q. The national guard was formed later?
18 A. It was formed in October 1991.
19 Q. And that organisation, the national guard, later became the
20 Croatian army?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. What was your motivation, Mr. Pokrajcic, in joining the struggle
23 and resistance against the JNA aggression against Croatia?
24 A. Well, somebody had to do it. All of us who had any feeling for
25 our homeland where we lived. All of us who hated violence. We simply
1 reported to the special authority in the Ministry of the Interior.
2 Q. You became a member of the special police?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you receive any special training for that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. How long did it last?
7 A. About three months in the city of Pula.
8 Q. What did you do after you finished this training course?
9 A. We returned to Zagreb.
10 Q. Did you take part in any combat activities in the defence of your
11 country against the attacks of the JNA?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. On which battlefields in the Republic of Croatia were you?
14 A. Slavonia, west Slavonia and the southern battlefield, practically
15 covering the entire Croatia.
16 Q. Over time, you were promoted in the hierarchy of the Croatian
17 army. In 1994, you graduated from the military academy in Zagreb, didn't
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. So you got the rank of brigadier. Were you ever wounded in these
21 combat activities?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Once or more?
24 A. Two lighter wounds, and one more serious injury.
25 Q. You do not serve actively anymore, you are on pension, aren't you?
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between English and
14 French transcripts.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you live with your family in Zagreb?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. However, Mr. Pokrajcic, one part of your family is still in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, aren't they?
6 A. Brother, father, my stepmother, half of my family is down there
7 and the other half is in Zagreb.
8 Q. So in a way, how shall I put it, you were torn apart between the
9 part of your family living in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the part living in
11 A. Yes, I was.
12 Q. When the aggression of the JNA and the Bosnian Serbs happened in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, how did you feel considering that some of your family
14 were living there?
15 A. It was very hard for me. At first, I was unable to help them
16 because I was on the battlefield in Dubrovnik and on -- after some
17 thinking, I had the duty to remain there where my unit was. After the
18 liberation I took a few days leave, went back to Zagreb and then it became
19 possible for me to go back to my homeland.
20 Q. You mean Bosnia-Herzegovina?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. I suppose, Mr. Pokrajcic, that you were not the only person with
23 such a life story who lived in Croatia and had family in
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and even was a member of the Croatian army and had
25 family in Bosnia-Herzegovina when the war started.
1 A. Yes. There were more people like that. In my unit in our section
2 of the army, there were about 450 active servicemen like that. How many
3 of us still alive, I don't know.
4 Q. When you speak about the special purpose unit of the Ministry of
5 Interior, you mean the part of the Croatian army. Did you then ask for
6 approval from the defence ministry to go and help the defence of your home
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. Did you get that approval?
10 A. All of us from Bosnia-Herzegovina got a free hand from the defence
11 ministry to go down there and defend our home towns.
12 Q. A minute ago you said that there was -- you were not the only one
13 of that kind. There was several such people who wanted the same thing?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you organised yourselves accordingly?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. When did these events we are discussing take place exactly?
18 A. Somewhere in mid-June at the request of four of my fighters who
19 established HVO of Kotor Varos and on -- they jointly asked me to be the
20 commander of that battalion.
21 Q. That was in 1993 [as interpreted] in June?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. When you say that several of your fighters set up this battalion
24 of Kotor Varos, do you mean they established it in Zagreb or in Bosnia?
25 A. People from Germany, Austria, Switzerland got together in Zagreb.
1 They were all originally from Kotor Varos, and they wanted to set out
2 immediately to Bosnia. They arrived. They asked me to take over that
3 unit. They had no arms. They had nothing on them, no equipment, so I
4 transported them to the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 Q. We'll come back to that later. Let me just intervene. In the
6 record, in line 106, it says that the year we are talking about is 1993
7 where as we are actually talking about 1992. All right.
8 So you were asked by some of your co-fighters from your hometown
9 to take over the organisation of that battalion which would be made up of
10 people from that area but who resided, at the time, abroad?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You told us earlier that you got approval for that from the
13 defence ministry of Croatia and did you -- were you able to give those
14 people equipment and weapons?
15 A. Not in Croatia.
16 Q. What did you do then together with those people?
17 A. I asked the approval of MORH to allow me to transport these people
18 by buses from Zagreb, and that's what I did.
19 Q. You, Mr. Pokrajcic, you corrected yourself. Could you repeat once
20 again --
21 A. It is the head of the bus station, of the main bus station in
23 Q. So these people who were how many exactly?
24 A. Between 350 and 400.
25 Q. You went to Tomislavgrad.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. To the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. All these people who were in that unit were originally from
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina or the majority of them.
6 A. Yes, all of them.
7 Q. And they actually, on a voluntary basis, they put themselves at
8 the disposal in the struggle against the JNA?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you have the opportunity to train and prepare your unit?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Were you given any weapons or equipment?
13 A. Very few.
14 Q. How long did you spend in Tomislavgrad?
15 A. About a month. In that time, I did the training, provided
16 equipment, and prepared the people and that's when we moved on.
17 Q. I have one more question. When you say you went up there, what do
18 you mean? Where up?
19 A. That means I went with my units to Central Bosnia to the positions
20 at Dobratici, and the part of the defence line against Bosnian Serbs and
21 the Yugoslav Peoples' Army where the situation was critical.
22 Q. On the territory of which municipality is Dobratici?
23 A. On the territory of Jajce.
24 Q. So you are speaking about the Jajce theatre of operations?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it's almost 4.00,
2 it's ten to 4.00.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we'll adjourn now. What paragraph are you on,
4 number 8?
5 MR. MIKULICIC: No, I'd say paragraph number 6 and I will continue
6 with 7.
7 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
8 Mr. Pokrajcic, we are going to adjourn now. There's another
9 matter we have to deal with, nothing to do with your evidence. Would you
10 remember during the adjournment not to speak to anybody about your
11 evidence until it's over, and that does include members of the Defence
12 team. Could you be back, please, tomorrow morning at half past 9.00 in
13 order to conclude your evidence. If you'd like to go now.
14 [The witness stands down]
15 JUDGE MAY: We'll go into private session.
16 [Private session]
13 Pages 25509 to 25524 redacted – in private session.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.30 p.m., to
22 be reconvened on Tuesday, the 26th day of September,
23 2000, at 9.30 a.m.