1 Tuesday, 26th September 2000.
2 [Private session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
13 Page 25526 redacted – in private session.
13 Page 25527 redacted – in private session.
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1 [Open session]
2 [The witness entered court]
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I'm sorry.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you.
6 WITNESS: JOZO POKRAJCIC [Resumed]
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic: [Continued]
9 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Pokrajcic.
10 A. Good morning.
11 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, we shall continue from where we broke off
13 Just one question by way of clarification. You said that you
14 became commander of this volunteer unit that was brought together in
15 Zagreb and that was then transferred to Tomislavgrad and then to the Jajce
16 front line. Who appointed you commander?
17 A. I was appointed commander by individuals in the Croat army who
18 were originally from Kotor Varos.
19 Q. Oh, so it was members of that unit who did that.
20 A. Yes, exactly.
21 Q. They appointed you.
22 A. Yes, they did.
23 Q. Thank you. When you arrived in Central Bosnia, in Dobratici, who
24 did you report to as your immediate superior?
25 A. Just before I arrived in Dobratici I reported to General Blaskic.
1 Q. So then Colonel Blaskic was commander of the Operative Zone of
2 Central Bosnia, and he was your immediate superior; is that right?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. Did you have regular communication with him through the
5 communications and signals systems?
6 A. No, no. There weren't any such communications.
7 Q. Tell me, Mr. Pokrajcic, what was the ethnic composition of the
8 unit that you commanded, approximately?
9 A. Fifty per cent Croats and fifty per cent Muslims.
10 Q. The Muslims who belonged to your unit, did they have better
11 positions, so to speak, in this unit, or were they only ordinary
12 soldiers? Did they have any positions of command?
13 A. I gave positions of command out equally to Croats and Muslims.
14 So, again, it was 50/50.
15 Q. What were the areas that were held by your unit on the front line
16 against the JNA completely? Is that the Jajce front line?
17 A. Yes. Jajce, Dobratici, and Vlasic.
18 Q. You were a direct participant in the defence of Jajce against the
19 assaults of the JNA and the Bosnian Serb army. You could then see who was
20 primarily defending Jajce.
21 A. It was predominantly the HVO. I can say about 80 per cent. About
22 75 per cent, or perhaps even more than that. That was the situation.
23 Q. And the rest of the front line was held by the BH army.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I assume that you were under great strain there.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. How did this affect your physical well-being?
3 A. I can say that I came to the Jajce front line weighing 102
4 kilogrammes, and my weight dropped to 71 kilogrammes in less than four
6 Q. So actually, you were physically exhausted. Did you seek any
7 medical treatment?
8 A. Well, I was treated in brief intervals; tablets, things like
10 Q. Finally, at the end of October 1992 you went to the hospital,
11 nevertheless; is that right?
12 A. Yes, that's right. I couldn't go on that way.
13 Q. How long did you remain in hospital?
14 A. About six months.
15 Q. So, actually, you were no longer at the Jajce front line when
16 Jajce fell; is that right?
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 Q. Can you tell us, in view of your personal experience and your
19 views, what was the fighting around Jajce like? What is your military
20 assessment? Why did Jajce fall?
21 A. I said that on several occasions. Jajce fell because the Muslim
22 armed forces withdrew into the narrow area of Turbe. The HVO could not
23 cover the entire territory that was left to them, and that is where the
24 defence line broke down.
25 Q. So the result of that was the fall of Jajce due to the military
1 supremacy of the JNA and the Bosnian Serb army; is that right?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, in these proceedings we have heard some statements
4 suggesting that Jajce fell because the HVO and the JNA and the Bosnian
5 Serb army had actually agreed to that, in other words, that the Croats
6 handed over Jajce. Can you comment on that?
7 A. No, I certainly cannot comment on that. That is not true, and it
8 cannot be true. This was the worst time, that's when I was there, and I
9 saw every man and I went to all the trenches, and I know the exact reason
10 why Jajce fell.
11 Q. Thank you. In addition to this unit that you just described that
12 you commanded, at this front line, were there some regular units of the
13 Croatian army?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, let us go back a bit. The time when you were
16 bringing together this unit of volunteers and while you were still an
17 officer in the HV, that is to say, the army of the Republic of Croatia,
18 did you then meet a gentleman named Fikret Cuskic?
19 A. It was -- just one correction. I was not the one who was bringing
20 these people together. They were being brought together. I met
21 Mr. Fikret Cuskic.
22 Q. Mr. Fikret Cuskic is a Muslim; is that right?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. What did he do before the war broke out? Where did he work?
25 Where was he employed?
1 A. He was a JNA officer. Later he joined the Croatian army; he
2 became an officer in the HV.
3 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, I shall ask you to look at these documents.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I would also like to ask the usher
5 for his assistance, please.
6 Your Honours, just by way of clarification, the Defence of
7 Mr. Cerkez obtained from the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of
8 Croatia the personal file of Mr. Fikret Cuskic and the personal file of
9 Mr. Jasmin Jaganjac, who will be referred to later. I'm just going to ask
10 the witness to pay attention to a few facts from this personal file, but I
11 would like it to be admitted into its entirety into evidence.
12 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked D128/2.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: The original of the first page on the ELMO and the
14 copy -- thank you.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Pokrajcic, you have before you a document
16 that the Defence got from the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of
17 Croatia, and it is actually a compilation of documents comprising the
18 personal file of Mr. Fikret Cuskic. Let us just ascertain whether this is
19 the person that you mentioned a few minutes ago.
20 So this is Fikret Cuskic father's name, Himzo, born on the 29th of
21 February, 1956 in Prijedor, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. At that time he
22 resided in Varazdin. He was a soldier by profession. He was commander of
23 the 1st Mechanised Battalion in Varazdin from the 13th of January, 1992
24 until the 31st of December, 1992.
25 Is that the same man you mentioned?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. For the better understanding of the Trial Chamber, the town of
3 Varazdin is in the Republic of Croatia; is that right?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. We are not going to look at everything that is in this personal
6 file. This is his contract with the National Guard and all other
7 documents that actually had to do with his participation in the Croatia
8 army. In the file there is also a certificate stating that Mr. Fikret
9 Cuskic had the status of an active military person in the army of the
10 Republic of Croatia from the 13th of January, 1992, until the 31st of
11 December, 1992.
12 My question: Mr. Pokrajcic, can you conclude on the basis of all
13 of this that this is a person who was an active officer in the Croatia
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. Do you know whether he, just like you, took a similar course in
17 terms of participating in the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina in defending
18 it from the JNA?
19 A. We followed the same course.
20 Q. What can you say about Mr. Cuskic?
21 A. Mr. Cuskic and Jasmin Jaganjac -- at that time, when I came to
22 this group that was already brought together, I came to Velesajam.
23 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt, but you have to tell the Trial Chamber
24 what is Velesajam, and where is it?
25 A. Velesajam is the Zagreb fairground, where many people can gather.
1 It is simply a good area for a large number of people to gather at.
2 Q. Very well. So that is where these volunteers gathered who later
3 went to the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to fight against the JNA; is
4 that right?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. You also mentioned Mr. Jasmin Jaganjac. What can you say about
7 that gentleman?
8 A. Mr. Jasmin Jaganjac and Fikret Cuskic had the same job as I did.
9 Q. So Mr. Jasmin Jaganjac was also an active officer in the Croatian
10 army at the time; is that right?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. Did they ask for permission to go to Bosnia-Herzegovina and engage
13 in fighting against the JNA, just like you did?
14 A. It seems so, yes.
15 Q. Did they also establish a unit and head a unit that went to fight
16 in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Nevertheless, is there some difference between the establishment
19 of the unit that you led and the unit that they formed?
20 A. Yes, there is a difference.
21 Q. Can you tell us what this difference consists of?
22 A. The difference is in the following: I had 50 per cent Croats and
23 50 per cent Muslims. They had 90 per cent Muslims and 10 per cent
24 Croats. The difference is also that I, together with my entire team,
25 without any weapons or equipment, crossed to the territory of the Republic
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Whereas Fikret Cuskic got arms, equipment,
2 training, and everything else that he needed in Croatia, every possible
3 logistics support, and then he crossed over to the territory of
5 Q. Together with his unit?
6 A. Yes, with 700 soldiers.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Furthermore, I would like to ask
8 the usher to distribute this document, please. Again, this is a personal
9 file, but of Mr. Jasmin Jaganjac.
10 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I would be helped by knowing whether these
11 are complete personal files provided by Croatia or whether they have been
12 compiled by the Defence. I think I heard Mr. Mikulicic say that they were
13 provided by the State, but I'm not sure.
14 JUDGE MAY: What he said was the Ministry of Defence in Croatia.
15 MR. NICE: Yes.
16 JUDGE MAY: Is that right, Mr. Mikulicic?
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The Defence has
18 sent a letter to the Croatian Ministry of Defence and they provided us
19 with the personal files for Mr. Cuskic and Mr. Jaganjac. These are the
20 documents that I received from the Croatian Ministry of Defence.
21 Q. We will go through this second personal file very quickly,
22 Mr. Pokrajcic. This is a file of Mr. Jasmin Jaganjac, son of Fadil, born
23 in Titograd, residence in Zagreb, an officer of the Croatian army, a
24 lecturer at the Croatian Military Academy. Is this the person that we are
25 referring to?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. From this personal file, we can also glean about his joining the
3 National Defence Guard of the Republic of Croatia and we can see that he
4 filed for -- that he was relieved from his duty on the 15th April, 1993.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can I just have this document
7 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D129/2.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, were you an eyewitness of the arrival of the unit
10 led by Messrs. Jaganjac and Cuskic at the Jajce front line?
11 A. Yes, I did. I witnessed the arrival of this unit, but not at the
12 front line but in the town of Jajce.
13 Q. Can you tell us what happened there?
14 A. The whole corps forcibly entered the barracks and they forcibly
15 pushed part of the Croat soldiers out of the barracks.
16 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, are you telling us that this unit did not
17 completely join the fight against the BSA?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. That means that they came and entered the barracks?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. After they expelled some HVO soldiers from it?
22 A. Yes, a small number who were there.
23 Q. When was this, approximately?
24 A. It was approximately in August 1992.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can I please ask the registry to
1 provide for the witness document number D58/2.
2 Q. I was warned that the town of Travnik was not mentioned. This is
3 where the unit of Fikret Cuskic was first billeted when they first arrived
4 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, this is a document that UNPROFOR issued on 6 July
7 1993. This is a regular milinfosum issued by the UNPROFOR on a routine
8 basis. I'm going to read you a portion of paragraph 4, and you will tell
9 me whether what is said here is true. It says that "Fikret Cuskic,
10 commander of the 17th Krajina Brigade." Is it true that he was commander
11 of this brigade in June of 1993?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you know what his career was from this unit which was equipped,
14 armed, and trained in Croatia to the commandership of the 17th Krajina
16 A. It is hard to describe their career. He said that he was trained
17 there and he said that we were not up to their level because we were not
18 trained in the propaganda aspects. So I cannot say that I know all his
19 intentions and all his plans.
20 Q. In other words, Mr. Fikret Cuskic told you that while he was a JNA
21 officer, he also underwent a training in propaganda and psychological
23 A. Yes, he did so.
24 Q. Was that something unusual or was that something that was part of
25 the regular training?
1 A. It is unusual by the standards of today, but by the JNA standards
2 it was usual.
3 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, this document also says that this gentleman,
4 Mr. Fikret Cuskic, whom you just mentioned, claimed that Mario Cerkez,
5 commander of the Vitez Brigade, had ordered an issue to his soldiers, to
6 his troops, that he would give a reward, 400 for each ear and 50 marks for
7 each finger cut off from, I presume, Muslim soldiers. How would you
8 comment on this?
9 A. I have no particular comment on it. It has no basis in truth.
10 And as I said, this is part of the propaganda and psychological warfare.
11 Q. The comment in this document is that it is difficult to
12 corroborate such claims. However, this seems to highlight the paranoia
13 and mistrust that exists between the two factions. Would that also be in
14 accordance with what you felt at the time?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I would just like the witness to
17 be shown document Z1225.1. This is a milinfosum of 30 September 1993.
18 We're interested in paragraph 3.
19 Q. Mr. Cuskic -- Mr. Pokrajcic, we're mentioning Mr. Cuskic too much
20 and I misspoke, in paragraph 3 of this document, dated 30 September 1993,
21 it is mentioned that Mr. Cuskic, commander of the 17th Slavna, or famous,
22 Brigade established his headquarters in Kruscica, and also it is noted
23 that a helicopter landing field was also built there. Does that
24 correspond to your knowledge about the advancement of Mr. Cuskic's career?
25 A. Yes, it does.
1 Q. While Messrs. Cuskic and Jaganjac were in Travnik, and you said
2 that you made yourself available to Mr. Blaskic, commander of the Central
3 Bosnia Operative Zone, for fighting against the BSA and JNA, with whom did
4 Messrs. Jaganjac and Cuskic communicate in terms of their higher, their
5 superior command?
6 A. It was Mr. Sefer Halilovic.
7 Q. Who is Mr. Sefer Halilovic?
8 A. I believe that he was the commander-in-chief of the BiH armed
10 Q. Did they coordinate their actions, their operations, with you or
11 with anyone else involved in the Jajce defence?
12 A. They coordinated with me twice, and it was both times on false
14 Q. Can you tell us what was involved?
15 A. When we had prepared an operation and we were supposed to go, my
16 units were supposed to advance 500 metres, and they would just withdraw.
17 So all of a sudden we would find ourselves in the open.
18 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, at the Jajce front, in addition to your units there
19 were a number of volunteers from various parts of Central Bosnia; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. From which towns, from which areas of Central Bosnia did
23 volunteers come to assist you?
24 A. Novi Travnik, Vitez, and Busovaca.
25 Q. Can you tell us, did you meet Mario Cerkez during that period?
1 A. Yes, I saw him several times.
2 Q. What did he do?
3 A. He was taking men to shifts.
4 Q. From what town?
5 A. From Novi Travnik.
6 Q. When you say he took men to shifts, what did you mean by that?
7 A. I was referring to the so-called shift soldiers. They were not
8 regular soldiers. I was an active soldier, and for me, an active soldier
9 is the one who is issued equipment and weapons and who always had it;
10 whereas Mr. Cerkez just took people there and then they would be issued
11 equipment and weapons there.
12 Q. Where would they get their weapons?
13 A. That would be at the line of separation, the line of separation
14 facing the Bosnian Serbs.
15 Q. How long would they, approximately, be at the front line?
16 A. Seven to ten days.
17 Q. And after that?
18 A. After that, another shift group would come and they would
19 substitute these people, and those people would go back.
20 Q. You did not have too much contact with Cerkez except for the
21 contacts which you just mentioned. But during the contacts that you had,
22 did you ever hear him say something against the Muslims, or that he said
23 something derogatory against the enemy?
24 A. No.
25 Q. We know, because we have had a lot of evidence in these
1 proceedings, that on the 6th of April, 1993 -- that is, on the 16th of
2 April, the conflict escalated in Central Bosnia. Do you have any
3 knowledge about whether on the 16th of April shift soldiers were still
4 coming to the front line facing the Bosnian Serbs?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you know what the fate of one of such shifts was at the front
8 A. They were stuck in Ahmici.
9 Q. What do you mean?
10 A. They were stuck in Ahmici, they couldn't pass through, which means
11 that at that time they were probably units of the BH army.
12 JUDGE MAY: Before we have evidence of that sort, this witness was
13 in hospital at the time. Now, what is the possible basis for what he's
14 now saying? This is important evidence. It must, at the very best, be
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I will try to lay foundation for
18 Q. You had told us previously that even before the fall of Jajce you
19 ended up in the hospital.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. After that did you have any contacts with people from this area?
22 A. I did.
23 Q. From conversations with these people did you learn something?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, I am now talking about a shift which was sent out
1 to the front line against the JNA and BSA, to the Mount Vlasic area. Did
2 you hear what happened to the shift when the conflict broke out in the
3 Lasva Valley?
4 A. They couldn't come back. Three of my soldiers who later came to
5 Zagreb told me this.
6 Q. I think that there was a misunderstanding, and the mistake is
7 entirely mine. I thank you for your answers.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] This concludes my examination.
9 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, we have no questions for Brigadier
10 Pokrajcic. Thank you.
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
12 Q. In giving evidence, have you had any notes to rely on?
13 A. No.
14 Q. When were you first asked to put your mind to the question of what
15 was happening on the 16th of April? When did the lawyers representing
16 Mr. Cerkez first ask you to cast your mind back to the 16th of April?
17 A. About four or five months ago.
18 Q. Did you at that time think back to this last shift of men that
19 went up to Jajce and what they'd told you when you saw them afterwards?
20 A. I have been thinking about it non-stop; I've never stopped
21 thinking about it. And people told me this immediately following those
23 Q. Well, then, how did you manage to tell this Court that they were
24 held in Ahmici? Because that appears to have been your answer, and it was
25 entirely untrue. They weren't held up in Ahmici at all, were they?
1 A. I was referring to October 1992.
2 Q. So just tell me what it is you're trying to tell us, from what
3 these soldiers told you. In October 1992, you're saying that soldiers
4 were held in Ahmici, were you?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In April 1993 they were held where?
7 A. In April 1993 they couldn't come back. Those were two different
8 time periods, and there were two different units. They could not come
9 back to the Vitez area.
10 Q. Was it the same soldiers who told you this account because it was
11 the same soldiers who were detained, once in Ahmici and once in Jajce; or
12 was it different soldiers who told you these things?
13 A. Different soldiers. The first group of soldiers when I was still
14 in the area of Central Bosnia, in October 1992.
15 Q. And it was just a mistake, was it, when you said to the Court that
16 they were held in Ahmici when you were asked about April the 16th. Just a
17 mistake, was it, a slip of the tongue?
18 A. Yes. The mistake was the 16th of April but not that the group was
19 held there in October 1992.
20 Q. Let's turn to another matter you've told us about; that's the men
21 Cuskic and Jaganjac. When did you first learn you were going to be asked
22 questions about them?
23 A. Recently.
24 Q. Yesterday, the day before, or when?
25 A. Some two, three weeks ago.
1 Q. I see. Now, you were where in July of 1993? Where were you
2 then? Your statement doesn't make it clear.
3 A. In Zagreb.
4 Q. So you have absolutely no knowledge one way or another of what was
5 happening in Central Bosnia.
6 A. I have from statements of my men, the soldiers whom I commanded.
7 Q. Were they working in the same area as Cerkez or the same area as
8 Cuskic, or what?
9 A. Yes, they did.
10 Q. So what first- or second-hand knowledge do you have of Cuskic
11 claiming that Cerkez had issued an order to capture troops without ears,
12 or to capture their ears, I suppose? What first- or second- or third-hand
13 knowledge do you have of that, please?
14 A. From the media.
15 Q. I see. What did the media tell you about all this, then?
16 A. From the lawyers.
17 Q. My mistake. I can't answer your answers. Your first answer is
18 that you learned about this from the media, and your second is from the
19 lawyers. Can you explain those two answers to me, please?
20 A. What I was shown, it was by the lawyer but it was from the press.
21 I think it was the British press.
22 Q. What was that? To the effect that people were having their ears
23 cut off?
24 A. It was written that Mr. Cuskic had given a statement that
25 Mr. Mario Cerkez had given out rewards for fingers and ears, which was not
2 Q. Well, how do you know it's not true? You've come here and you've
3 taken a solemn declaration, and you're trying to tell this Court that
4 that's not true. Please justify your position.
5 A. Because Croatian soldiers are honest soldiers. They never think
6 about such matters.
7 Q. Well, you, I think, suggested to the Court that this was an aspect
8 of propaganda being advanced by Cuskic; is that right?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. So that following on from your previous answer, it's not a
11 question of ears being cut off, but not by Cerkez or at Cerkez's orders,
12 it's simply no ears cut off by any Croatian soldier ever; correct? This
13 is your approach.
14 A. Can you please repeat this?
15 Q. Yes. What underlies your suggestion to the Chamber that this
16 account by Cuskic must be untrue is that no Croatian soldier ever would
17 cut off anybody's ear; that's what underlies your answer; correct?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. So that what you were really saying to the Judges was simply,
20 "This is my opinion that this must be false," because you have no hard
21 evidence to show that it's false at all, do you?
22 A. No Croatian soldier ever did this, nor is there any information
23 about that, nor has any report ever appeared about a massacre including
24 cutting off ears or fingers.
25 Q. You've never heard of somebody being found with a necklace of ears
1 by way of trophies around his neck? That's never come to your attention?
2 A. That a Croat soldier was involved in that, no.
3 Q. And the last question on this topic: Your opinion on the
4 integrity of all Croatian soldiers might be affected, might it, if you saw
5 a film of one such soldier not only confessing to cutting ears, but with
6 an ear on the table in front of him taken from his pocket? Would that
7 affect your opinion?
8 A. Yes, it would.
9 MR. NICE: Thank you.
10 I'm not going to go through the exercise. The Court will remember
11 that the film concerned was not admissible at the time that it was
12 tendered. I'm not going to go through the exercise of putting it to this
14 Q. I have a few more questions to ask you, but first of all --
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise. Excuse
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, it's not evidence if counsel says
18 something. Now, do bear in mind that we are professional Judges, and the
19 fact that reference is made to something prejudicial which is not in
20 evidence is not going to affect our minds. We're not a jury of laypeople
21 who might be affected by that sort of thing.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I respect that and I would never
23 question it, but there is another aspect of this, and that is confusing
24 the witness. We know that what the Prosecutor was referring to had not
25 been admitted and we do know that you will not be taking it into
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 consideration because you are professionals. But the witness does not
2 know that, so he may think that this is in evidence. And that is why I
3 should like to ask the Prosecution not to approach the witness in this
4 manner, because I do not think it is fair to the witness, to witnesses.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I'm in full agreement with
7 Mr. Mikulicic. The evidence was ruled inadmissible. And while we are
8 professional Judges who would not be swayed by your reference to it, I
9 don't think it is proper for you to allude to it in your questioning of
10 the witness.
11 MR. NICE: I respectfully disagree, and I'll make the point,
12 because I've taken the course I've taken only in order to save time. The
13 inadmissibility of that exhibit at the time, it was argued, was a ruling
14 that would not save that exhibit from being put to this witness. This
15 witness was brought here to express an opinion, arguably quite improperly,
16 but I've taken a course of objecting to almost nothing in this case in
17 order to save time. Hearsay, opinion, I let it all go in because I see
18 that every time any objection is raised, time is wasted. But that
19 particular exhibit shown to this witness could very well undermine his
20 opinion, and indeed he has revealed that it would do.
21 Now, I'm quite happy to get the exhibit, to seek leave to put it
22 to him, but in my respectful submission, the point that I have made
23 through him is quite sufficient to show that his opinion is something to
24 which this Chamber should not pay attention.
25 JUDGE MAY: Well, it's a matter of opinion. It seems to me that
1 the witness is entitled to give his opinion. He can say that "In my
2 experience, nothing like this happened," but of course he can't say what
3 happened everywhere during the war. That's just a matter of common
4 sense. If it becomes relevant to have this film reconsidered, then
5 obviously we could reconsider it. But for the moment, the point of the
6 question is argumentative really, and the witness, inevitably, I should
7 have thought, faced with a film showing something, would say, "Well, that
8 appears to be right." But let us not waste more time.
9 MR. NICE: That was my sole motive in dealing with the matter in
10 the way I did, was to save time, and I'd like to move on if we can.
11 Q. What you've told us about the various forces at Jajce confuses me
12 a little, but just help me with this: Your troops were by majority HVO,
13 but other troops were by majority Muslim. Would that be correct?
14 A. No, it is not.
15 Q. Let's deal with it in two parts. Your troops were by majority
16 Croatians, HVO?
17 A. My troops were half Muslim and half Croat.
18 Q. Other troops, for example, when these men Cuskic and Jaganjac
19 joined up, they were majority Muslims?
20 A. They did not join the forces in Jajce. They just stayed back in
22 Q. When you speak of proportions of the front line being held by
23 either the HVO or by the Muslims, then, are you not counting these
24 particular men; you're counting other Muslim troops holding part of the
25 front line?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. And what length of front line are you referring to when you give
3 your proportions as to who was defending what and so on? What length of
4 front line are we speaking of?
5 A. It was eight years ago, and I cannot really say exactly how long
6 it was. But what I said is that about 75 or 80 per cent of it was held by
7 Croats and then 20, 25 per cent by Muslims. Whether it was a kilometre, 5
8 kilometres, 50 kilometres, it does not really matter.
9 Q. If you take different bits of the front line, different
10 percentages would become appropriate, wouldn't they? You can, as it were,
11 make a picture favourable to the Croats by the particular bit of the front
12 line you refer to; correct?
13 A. No.
14 Q. I'm not going to take that any further.
15 Cerkez's role, what was his role when he came to you with these
16 troops? What was he?
17 A. He was the leader of shiftmen. He had no other role. He would
18 lead the men to the shift and bring back those who were returning from
19 the shift.
20 Q. He was a soldier. He was a soldier, wasn't he?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did he have a title or a rank or a job of which you were aware at
23 the time?
24 A. I was not aware of that. All I knew was that he was the leader of
25 shifts, that is, the leader of men who were taking shifts. We called them
2 Q. You may have called them shiftmen, but these were men who came up
3 to fight at the front line, in the same way as you and your men had come
4 from Croatia to fight at the front line; correct?
5 A. No. My men who went to shifts had weapons and had undergone two-,
6 three-, four-week training. But -- and those were my men. But men led by
7 Mr. Cerkez, they were neither trained, nor did they have any uniforms, nor
8 arms. We were simply trying to create a mirage, to pretend before the
9 army of Bosnian Serbs that we had enough men. That was the purpose of it.
10 Q. How many times and over what period do you say that Mr. Cerkez
11 brought these shiftmen to your front line?
12 A. I think it was September and October, because in the end of
13 October I ended up in the hospital. But it should be September/October, I
14 think, 1992.
15 Q. And you ended up in the hospital before the final fall of Jajce;
17 A. Yes, but I was kept in touch, daily.
18 Q. Maybe, but you weren't actually at the front line when Jajce fell?
19 A. Did I have to, since I was fully informed? After all, I was the
20 commander of that area and I knew the full state of affairs in the area
21 which is under my command, and I do not have to be present there.
22 Q. How long did you stay invalided in wherever you were in hospital?
23 How long?
24 A. It's not where I was. I was in Zagreb. I was treated there, and
25 it took some six months.
1 Q. And this was not physical injury; it was exhaustion, wasn't it?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Or was it that you were relieved of your post by your superiors
4 and not able to fight for some six months?
5 A. When they saw what state I was in, then it was quite natural for
6 my superiors to take me off.
7 Q. And you were indeed relieved of your post, weren't you?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And I think you'll remember a journalist called Ed Vulliamy. Do
10 you remember him?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Let's look at the history in a little bit more detail.
13 MR. NICE: May the witness see, please, Exhibit 206.2.
14 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, you, I think, at the time -- no, not I think. You,
15 I suggest, at the time believed in Bosnia-Herzegovina being a place for
16 all its constituent peoples to live, didn't you?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. But you found yourself on this day -- if you look at this
19 document, please. Have a look at the original. It's the 5th of September
20 of 1992. And if we put the first page on the ELMO and we look at the
21 listing of persons present, five lines down in the English version, we can
22 see -- and I hope it will be roughly similar in your version. It's about
23 five lines down, four or five lines down. We see that you were listed as
24 being present at this Travnik meeting of the HVO, or the HVO's presidency,
25 as the newly appointed HQ commander. Pokrajcic, that's you, isn't it,
1 Jozo Pokrajcic? Do you see your name there?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So you had just taken office and you attended this meeting, and we
4 can see that there was a welcome -- because the meeting is
5 summarised -- there's a welcoming and that you took part in the
6 discussions. But when we look at the conclusions -- can I run through
7 them with you, please? The conclusions included that in the Travnik
8 municipality area for the Croat people, there was only the HVO government
9 and no other. Muslims could take part in it 50 per cent. Do you remember
10 that being decided?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Point 2: "The only option for the Croatian people is the
13 constitutional unit we call the HZ HB," and which is then defined by
14 units. Do you remember that decision being made?
15 A. That decision had already been taken, HZ HB.
16 Q. It's then made clear in point 3 that HZ HB was ideologically and
17 politically supported by the Croatian Democratic Unit.
18 At 4, that there was a final agreement on Bosnia-Herzegovina to be
19 made with the approval of all three constitutive peoples.
20 But look at 5, please. "HZ Herceg-Bosna and the Croatian people
21 do not accept a unitary civil state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They want
22 to resolve the Croatian ethnic issue in this war according to their needs
23 and the needs of other constitutive peoples." Do you remember that being
25 A. No.
1 Q. That conclusion would have been one that would have been
2 uncomfortable for you, wouldn't it, because it speaks --
3 A. No. The fourth and fifth item have nothing to do, because the
4 fourth item says it all. I do not know about the fifth one, that is, all
5 three constitutive peoples.
6 Q. Number 5 makes it clear that the HZ Herceg-Bosna and the Croatian
7 people didn't want to stick with the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina; they
8 wanted Croats to have Croatian land for themselves, didn't they, and they
9 wanted this war to resolve the problem?
10 A. No, that is not true.
11 Q. Don't you remember any part of this discussion? You apparently
12 took part. You were newly arrived as the commander. Think back, please.
13 Isn't the reality that the political outpourings you heard were probably
14 unappealing to your ears?
15 A. That is not correct.
16 Q. Very well. Well, then, if we look, please, at a part of a news
17 report on you by Ed Vulliamy -- very favourable to you. So we'll just put
18 in 213.1, to pick the picture up.
19 Now, you see this is -- I'm sorry, this is in English. Do you
20 speak English? You do, a little bit. What I'm going to do is --
21 A. German. German, I understand.
22 Q. I'm sorry. In which case, the English passage that I'll read,
23 which is quite short, I'll read slowly and I hope you'll be able to follow
24 it. It's a reproduction of a passage from the English Guardian Newspaper
25 from September the 15th. Do you remember that? Reporters had spoken to
1 you sometime in September of 1992, a reporter called Ed, or Vulliamy?
2 A. I don't remember, really.
3 Q. Let's go, in the English, to the third sheet. A little bit higher
4 up and we're there for these purposes. The immediate passage that
5 concerns you is this:
6 "... in Travnik two unusually capable men have recently moved in
7 to try to help the Bosnian army commander there, Haso Ribo, avert
8 divisions. One is a new commander for the Croatian HVO, Jozo Pokrajcic,
9 aged 30, a reticent and disciplined veteran of the Croatian war who says
10 that his duty is to 'protect the two victim peoples of this war.
11 Regardless of pressures from both sides, I will take that line as long as
12 I am alive."
13 "The other newcomer came as ... a surprise ..." and perhaps we
14 needn't deal with that.
15 Now, Mr. Vulliamy's description of your approach, would that be
16 true for you in September of 1992?
17 A. It is, but there were no pressures.
18 Q. How do you mean there were no pressures?
19 A. By the HVO.
20 Q. Do you think that you said that you were there "to protect the two
21 victim peoples of this war"?
22 A. That is when I went to the area, to protect two peoples against
23 the Serb aggression.
24 Q. You can't think of anything that you could have said that could
25 have been recorded by the journalist as "regardless of pressures from both
1 sides"? You see, it fits, doesn't it, with what we've just seen in the
2 political meeting that you attended a few days before, a couple of weeks
4 A. No.
5 Q. The Croatians and Herceg-Bosna were clearly aiming themselves at
6 using this war to divide the nation, and you didn't like that.
7 A. No, that's not true.
8 Q. And that's why, although it's not in this article, Mr. Vulliamy
9 was able to say not so very long afterwards you were relieved of your
10 post. You were simply not extreme enough. You were too moderate; you
11 were too reasonable. Isn't that the truth?
12 A. No, it is not. I was relieved because I ended up at prolonged
13 treatment, extended treatment, not because of what Mr. Vulliamy says.
14 Q. Thank you. I would like you to look at one other short document
15 for the same period of time, 215.1.
16 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I hope to be able to finish by the break.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. This is a document signed by you on the 17th of September, and the
20 heading is Croatian -- it's not Herceg-Bosna or Bosnia-Herzegovina, this
21 is the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Croatian Defence Council. And
22 you're now sending a request to the brigade of the Republic of Croatia,
23 and what you say is this:
24 "Because of a very difficult situation in our Travnik -
25 Dobratici - Kotor Varos - Jajce region, and the ever-increasing enemy
1 attack, we hereby ask you to assist us in equipment and materiel. We
2 would appreciate any assistance you can give us," and then it's set out
3 who will be responsible for assigning the equipment.
4 Do you remember signing this or similar orders -- not orders,
6 A. I do, yes.
7 Q. In what you were doing at Jajce, you were being equipped by the
8 Republic of Croatia.
9 A. No. I was a member of this brigade, and it was as its member that
10 I asked for it, after the liberation of Dubrovnik, if they could. Which
11 meant that the Croat Defence Council in the area Travnik or, rather,
12 Central Bosnia, lacked either the materiel or munition or weapons or
14 Q. Let me see if I understand your answer. It may be my limited
15 understanding that is in issue here. This is the Croatian Community of
16 Herceg-Bosna's HVO, and you're signing the letter on its behalf; is that
18 A. I signed it in my own name.
19 Q. Look at the heading of the writing paper. It couldn't be clearer,
20 I'm afraid.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm so sorry to have
22 to object again, but there is a misunderstanding here, I'm afraid.
23 In the English translation of this document, part of the text is
24 missing. It is true that it is barely legible in the Croat text, but it
25 does say above the Hrvatska Zajednica Herceg-Bosna, that is, Croat
1 Community of Herceg-Bosna, it says -- you can barely see it, but it does
2 say, "The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina," and this has been omitted from
3 the English translation of the text.
4 Likewise, in the Croatian version of the document, the second line
5 says, "We ask you to ..." -- but into English it was translated as "We ask
6 you to assist." Perhaps we could translate it better, because this is a
7 request, as it says in the title.
8 I hope I've clarified some circumstances regarding this document.
9 MR. NICE: Thank you. I'm grateful for that.
10 Q. I can certainly see the writing above the letterhead in the
11 original which has clearly not been translated. But if it does say, as is
12 suggested, "Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina," can you still explain to us,
13 please, Mr. Pokrajcic, how it is you're writing this request on this
14 letterhead to a Croatian brigade, seeking assistance?
15 A. It has nothing do with this request. Whether it says
16 "Bosnia-Herzegovina" or whether this is void, this is a request, plea,
17 for assistance, if they can help us. I did not look what it was, whether
18 it was the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croat Community of
20 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I have a couple more questions. If I
21 could possibly put them after the break, it won't take very long.
22 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now. Half past eleven.
23 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. Three short topics, Mr. Pokrajcic. First, going back to that
2 meeting you attended on the 5th of September, 1992, I don't ask you to
3 look at the document again, but this would be correct, would it not:
4 Neither Jajce nor Dobratici nor Kotor Varos nor Travnik were areas which
5 had natural Croat majorities; that would be correct, wouldn't it?
6 A. I did not understand the question. What are you asking about?
7 Q. None of those four municipalities, Jajce, Dobratici, Kotor Varos,
8 or Travnik had a natural majority of Croats measured by the number of
10 A. Equally, 50/50. In some municipalities, perhaps, Croats were even
11 more numerous than ...
12 Q. I'm not going to argue the figures with you, obviously. But did
13 it not trouble you, then, that these areas that were, on your account, no
14 more or barely more than 50/50 were going to be taken within
15 Herceg-Bosna? Did that not trouble you? It was bound to be an
16 inflammatory thing to do, wasn't it?
17 A. It did not trouble me, because I had an equal number of Croats and
18 Muslims in my unit.
19 Q. Second point: Were you aware in October 1992, before you lost
20 your position, of a ceasefire affecting your area between the Serbs and
21 the Croats?
22 A. No.
23 Q. When was your last day of active duty, do you recollect?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Middle of October, end of October? How long before Jajce fell?
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 Give us some sort of measure.
2 A. I can't say. I can't say exactly, but it was in October.
3 MR. NICE: Perhaps the witness could just help us briefly with
5 Q. Mr. Pokrajcic, I'm sorry that the original is not easy to read.
6 It's been possible to decipher it, and so I'll read the relevant passages
7 from the English and I hope that you'll be able to follow it in the
8 original script.
9 This is an urgent order from Major General Talic, and his name and
10 signature appears on the last sheet. But if we come to the first sheet,
11 the date is the 7th of October of 1992 and it's headed "Ceasefire and
12 reconnection of power supply." And under the word "order," paragraph 1,
13 which is all I need trouble you with on this page, it says, "Implement the
14 ceasefire in the sectors of the front line near Bosanski Brod, Jajce,
15 Bugojno, Livno, Travnik, Kupres, and in Herzegovina," and that the
16 ceasefire should come into effect on the 7th of October at midnight. It
17 then details that it relates to the combat activities in Slavanski Brod
18 and the left bank of the Sava River. But the ceasefire is in sectors that
19 included your sector, Jajce-Bugojno.
20 If we go over to the second page of the English - and I think it's
21 the second page, in the second paragraph, or thereabouts, in your version
22 - the Serbian Major General's order says, "Our delegation is to be headed
23 by Mladen Arezina from Mrkonjic Grad, and the Croatian delegation by
24 Nikola Bilic from Jajce."
25 Did you know Nikola Bilic?
1 A. No.
2 Q. It would appear from this document that this is a bilateral
3 ceasefire agreement between the Serbs and the HVO, and the passage I've
4 just read out to you -- or the Serbs and the Croats, at any event. Can
5 you explain why there should have been such a bilateral ceasefire at the
6 time that you were still there?
7 A. This is the first time I see it. There were no ceasefire
8 agreements. At that time I was still up there. I'm not aware of this at
10 Q. Because I wanted to ask you this.
11 MR. NICE: Thank you for that. The document can be taken away.
12 Q. We've heard in evidence relating to Jajce on which I want your
13 comment, and I can summarise it very shortly. We've heard evidence that,
14 in the assessment of the international observers, for example, Bryan
15 Watters at 5904 -- he's one of the English British battalion
16 soldiers -- that the Serbs had the ability completely to sweep through
17 Jajce if they wanted to, that they were well capable of overpowering the
18 forces that were there. And we've also had evidence, for example, from
19 Alistair Rule, another British battalion officer, at 5375, that the belief
20 was that the position at Jajce had been weakened by the early withdrawal
21 of Croat soldiers, something which was also said by Witness D.
22 So there are two bits of that evidence: One, that the Serbs were
23 well able to take the area without difficulty; and second, that the Croats
24 had withdrawn early. Now, you weren't there right at the end. Would you
25 like to comment on either parts of those bits of evidence that we've had,
2 A. The two claims that you heard from witnesses are not true. I
3 shall make the same comment I have already made. It is not the Croats who
4 withdrew; it is the BH army that withdrew. The Croats were the last to
5 leave the area of Jajce.
6 Q. Of course, you weren't there at the end and you don't know now
7 even by how many days it was that you left ahead of the fall of Jajce.
8 You can't help us, can you, whether it was a week or two weeks?
9 A. I can help you, because I said that it was not necessary for me to
10 be there. Things cannot be the same everywhere, in Travnik, Dobratici
11 Kotor Vares, everywhere, and I know that full well the Muslims left the
12 area of Jajce before the Croats did and they withdrew to the area of
14 Q. We've heard about the Tigers. They were seen in Bosnia by the
15 British battalion. What can you tell us about the Tigers?
16 A. He only saw me.
17 Q. A group known as "the Tigers." Do you know a group known as "the
18 Tigers"? I think you referred to them. The regiment known as "the
19 Tigers." What can you tell us about them, please?
20 A. The Tigers are members of the Croatian army, of the National
21 Guard. They are the first guards brigade of the HV. I am the only one
22 from the Tigers, and a few young men from Kotor Varos who had served in
23 the Tigers left the Tigers and transferred to the area of
25 Q. Still with their Tigers uniforms?
1 A. Yes, I did [as interpreted], with HVO insignia.
2 Q. And finally, do you know a man by the name of Bralo, Miroslav
3 Bralo, and can you help us with whether he was, to your knowledge, injured
4 in Jajce or wounded in Jajce?
5 A. No. No, I don't know him.
6 MR. NICE: Thank you.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] A few very brief questions, Mr. Pokrajcic. You
10 were shown a document, 215.1. That is your request. Due to the difficult
11 situation, you are asking for help and for materiel and technical
12 equipment. My first question would be: Was this request of yours
13 granted? Were you sent any materiel and technical equipment?
14 A. No.
15 Q. The request that you addressed to the A Brigade of the National
16 Guard Corps, that is to say, your colleagues from the front line, is this
17 the only request that you sent them, or did you send a request to some
18 other addresses as well?
19 A. There were several requests that were not granted.
20 Q. Thank you. Also, a meeting held on the 5th of September was
21 mentioned. This is document Z206.2. You attended this meeting together
22 with the commander of the staff until then, Mr. Ivica Stojak. Do you know
23 what his fate was? What happened to him?
24 A. He was killed by the Muslims after he was reappointed as chief of
25 general staff for Travnik.
1 Q. Thank you. Tell me: What was your role at this meeting? Did you
2 take the floor? Did you take part in the discussion?
3 A. No. No. I came towards the end of the meeting.
4 Q. Certain conclusions of this meeting were suggested to you and you
5 were asked for your comment, notably with regard to conclusion 4, which
6 says that final agreement on Bosnia-Herzegovina has to be concluded only
7 by all three constituent peoples. You said that you agreed with that.
8 After that, paragraph 5 of this document was shown to you, that
9 says that the Croatian people and the HZ HB do not accept
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, when your comment was asked for, the word
11 "unitary" was omitted.
12 Mr. Pokrajcic, I'm going to put the same question to you, but I'm
13 going to quote the exact wording of this paragraph. So as a participant
14 in those events, can you confirm that the Croat people indeed did not
15 accept Bosnia-Herzegovina but as a unitary state, not as a constituent
16 state of three peoples?
17 A. The Croat people accepted only a state of three constituent
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Pokrajcic, you were shown document 234.1, Z234.1,
20 which says that the army of Republika Srpska was ordering a ceasefire. In
21 the introductory part of this document it is pointed out that this has to
22 do with the hydroelectric power plant Jajce 2. Can you help us with
23 this? Who held the hydroelectric power plant Jajce?
24 A. Jajce 2?
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. I cannot remember.
2 Q. I'm not going to trouble you with these questions any longer,
3 then. I thank you for your answers, Mr. Pokrajcic.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
5 questions. Thank you.
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Pokrajcic, that concludes your evidence. Thank
7 you for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 JUDGE MAY: The next witness will be?
12 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, our next witness is Mr. Anto Pojavnik.
13 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the declaration.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
17 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 WITNESS: ANTO POJAVNIK
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
23 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Pojavnik. Thank you for having
1 come. Could you please repeat your name and surname for the record and
2 also your date and place of birth.
3 A. Anto Pojavnik, born in Zenica on the 13th of January, 1953.
4 Q. Mr. Pojavnik, you are married and you are the father of five
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Your children's ages range from 2 to 24; is that right?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. What are you by nationality?
10 A. I'm a Croat.
11 Q. Religious denomination?
12 A. Roman Catholic.
13 Q. You're a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the Republic of
14 Croatia; is that right?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. In 1993, or rather earlier, even before that, you owned a catering
17 establishment in Vitez. Your wife, who -- is she an ethnic Croat?
18 A. No.
19 Q. What is she, from an ethnic point of view?
20 A. She's a Muslim.
21 Q. What's her name?
22 A. Latifa.
23 Q. Let us just put a question which may sound a bit too personal, but
24 is it unusual to have mixed marriages in the area where you live?
25 A. No, it's not.
1 Q. Where was your catering establishment?
2 A. It is still across the street from the bus station in Vitez.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak into the
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Pojavnik, could you remember that what you say has
6 to be interpreted, and that means it must be picked up by the microphone.
7 So could you lean forward and speak into the microphone, please. Thank
9 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. [Interpretation] During 1992 your catering establishment was open
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. You spent a lot of time in that establishment, didn't you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Tell me, please, do you remember an event which took place in 1992
16 which meant that there was a conflict, a quarrel, a brawl, something, on
17 ethnic grounds?
18 A. No, not at my place. Maybe it happened somewhere else, but not at
19 my place.
20 Q. During 1992 were there any incidents that were allegedly due to
21 ethnic tensions? And if so, when did this start in 1992?
22 A. Well, to tell you the truth, there are incidents everywhere,
23 especially if people drink alcohol. But I think that for the most part --
24 how should I put this? These are bandits. These are conflicts between
25 different groups of people, not ethnic conflicts.
1 Q. If I understand what you're saying correctly, you are ascribing
2 this to individuals.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. On the basis of any knowledge that you had, did you have the
5 impression that this was planned by some particular side and that there
6 was some particular side that was advocating a negative approach to the
7 other group?
8 A. No.
9 Q. In late 1992 did you hear of some HVO units coming in that had
10 been somewhere else outside Central Bosnia, that were total strangers?
11 A. Well, yes. But they were not total strangers, they were citizens
12 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They came from western Herzegovina as soldiers. I
13 don't know if they were soldiers of the Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade or of
14 Bruno Busic.
15 Q. How often did you see these people in the area of Vitez? And in
16 what period of time are we talking about?
17 A. The end of 1992, perhaps the very beginning of 1993. They came to
18 my place, but they didn't make any trouble at my place. When they did
19 make trouble, it was both in Croat and Muslim bars. But I don't know how
20 to put this to you. I don't know. I really don't know.
21 Q. Can we perhaps put it this way: that you assessed this to be a
23 A. Yes, it's a provocation wherever they may go, to a Croat bar, a
24 Muslim bar.
25 Q. Mr. Pojavnik, have you ever heard of cases of other individuals
1 making trouble, not only these particular individuals, that there were
2 individuals on both sides who behaved that way?
3 A. Well, look, let me tell you, the war in Croatia was well under way
4 at the time; there was a war against the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina. So
5 there were incidents everywhere.
6 Q. During 1992 were you ever called up as a conscript to join groups
7 that were formed to go and defend against the JNA aggression?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Were you ever called up?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Perhaps we should just move on straight to 1993. Do you recall
12 what date it was when the general conflict broke out in Vitez?
13 A. I do remember.
14 Q. Will you please tell the Court?
15 A. That was on the 16th of April, early in the morning. I was
16 awakened by the shelling of Vitez.
17 Q. What did you do?
18 A. Well, I was going to go to work, but it was dangerous so I stayed
19 in the building where I lived. I went downstairs to the ground floor, to
20 my neighbour's. He was an ethnic Muslim; his name was Ken Smailkadic. It
21 was safer there. There were Croats, Muslims, and Serbs there; they were
22 all there.
23 Q. Was the danger of shelling a general one, if we could put it that
24 way, or did some shells actually fall near your building?
25 A. My apartment building was near the post office, so there were
1 actually shells that fell close by. The municipal building, the police
2 building, the hospital were all targeted.
3 Q. We need to slow down a little bit for the interpretation, so I'm
4 going to pause.
5 Your neighbour, Mr. Smailkadic, in whose apartment you sought
6 shelter, what is his ethnic background?
7 A. He's an ethnic Muslim.
8 Q. And you had good neighbourly relations.
9 A. We continue to have them to date.
10 Q. Did this man remain in his apartment on that first day of the
12 A. He remained until approximately the fall of 1993, and then he went
13 and joined UNPROFOR. He started working for them as an auto mechanic. He
14 still, actually, is working for the SFOR now as an auto mechanic.
15 Q. Does that mean that in the fall of 1993 he left town?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And he is currently employed abroad.
18 A. Yes, I believe that he is abroad. Somewhere in Malaysia, I
20 Q. And he occasionally visits.
21 A. Yes, we visit whenever he's back home. We get together and have
23 Q. While we're dealing with the 16th of April, I want to ask you
24 about the night of the 15th of April. Did you receive any information,
25 oral or in writing, from the authorities that you were to close your bar
2 A. No.
3 Q. Did you hear that you should have closed early?
4 A. No. I was there. I was there till about 10.00, 11.00 at night.
5 I cannot recall exactly what time I was there till.
6 Q. In the days leading to the conflict, your bar was open throughout,
7 all the time, or did you close early?
8 A. I worked until I had guests. I don't know when the waiter closed
9 up because I left home around 10.00. But however it was, I know that in
10 the morning I couldn't go back to work.
11 Q. Did you learn then that a general mobilisation was called?
12 A. Yes, I heard that on Radio Vitez.
13 Q. Could I just ask you to please pause between my question and your
14 answer so that we can get interpretation. Let me repeat this question.
15 In fact, it's all right, it's in.
16 Can you tell me what time of the day it was that you heard this
17 announcement on mobilisation?
18 A. It started in the morning, and it was broadcast several times that
19 there was an aggression on Vitez and all militarily-fit men were asked to
20 report to the post office building where, how shall I call it, the
21 military office was transferred. So we went there, and that is where we
22 received further instructions.
23 Q. When did you report?
24 A. Sometime in the afternoon, when the shelling subsided.
25 Q. The body which you called the military office, was the official
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 title of that organ the Defence Office of the Municipality of Vitez?
2 A. I believe so.
3 Q. When you said "military office," where does that come from?
4 A. Well, that comes from when I went to the army. This is what was
5 used in those days.
6 Q. Anyway, you reported to the post office where the general
7 announcement had requested you to report, and what did you do?
8 A. We were told that there was an aggression on Vitez, that we were
9 to report there, that we would be told in due course where to go. Some
10 were going to be assigned to digging trenches; others were going to go to
11 the front line.
12 Q. So you were registered, and you were sent home and told, "Wait for
13 a call-up."
14 A. Yes, that was what happened to everyone.
15 Q. So based on those instructions, when did you report next?
16 A. I reported both on the 17th and the 18th.
17 Q. But let us go day by day. You reported on the 17th.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What were you told then?
20 A. Nothing, to just go back home. We did not have any weapons, we
21 couldn't go to the front line, and there was no trench-digging.
22 Q. When did you report next?
23 A. On the 18th.
24 Q. What were you told then?
25 A. Then Mr. Marijan Vinac told us that in an hour we were going to go
1 and dig trenches in the area of Kuber and Pirici.
2 Q. He told this to you personally?
3 A. No, no, to everyone.
4 Q. At that time how many were you there?
5 A. We were about 100. About 40 of us went up there.
6 Q. Does that mean that he separated out a group?
7 A. They were calling people out by name from the list. So groups
8 were formed for trench-digging.
9 Q. And then did you go back home to get ready, or did you immediately
10 go to that location? What happened?
11 A. I asked this gentleman personally, I asked him, "What is going to
12 happen?" He said, "You're going to go to dig trenches." I didn't go home
13 to prepare. I had a white jacket on and I had shoes.
14 Q. Where were you taken then?
15 A. We were taken in a van near Pirici. We entered a forest on foot
16 where we were to dig.
17 Q. What happened there?
18 A. The late Slavko Papic told us that we were now at the front line,
19 that this was the front line of defence.
20 Q. Did you only then realise that you were actually going to be a
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And I assume that you were given a rifle.
24 A. No.
25 Q. What kind of assignment did Mr. Papic give you?
1 A. He lined us up; that we were at the front line of defence, and
2 that he was aware that we were quite unprepared for this, we were all
3 wearing civilian clothes. Then he started deploying us, putting us in
4 trenches, one, two, or three together.
5 Q. How did the trench that you got look?
6 A. It was a hole that was 1 by 1, about .5 metres, very shallow.
7 Q. Were you issued a weapon there?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Did you receive any task of what you were to do?
10 A. To find implements and to start digging in order to hide from the
12 Q. What did you do?
13 A. I went down to the first summerhouse. I found a shovel and I
14 started digging.
15 Q. And you were assigned with Mr. Markovic to the trench.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Could you tell me who this Mr. Markovic was?
18 A. He was a businessman. He manufactured poker machines.
19 Q. Was he a prominent man in Vitez?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Is it true that he was one of the wealthiest people in Vitez?
22 A. I believe he was, yes.
23 Q. And the two of you dug up your trench there.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What happened on the third day, after you had dug up your trench?
1 A. On the third day, there was an all-out attack along the entire
2 line, and an attempt was made to breach the line near my trench. The
3 attack lasted for two or three hours. It subsided around 8.00.
4 The worst point was near the Muslim cemetery, because it was there
5 where the soldiers tried to actually physically breach the line; elsewhere
6 it was just shooting. We saw that a dead Muslim, a dead man, was lying
7 there. We told Mr. Papic about it; I think he called up the
9 Then I know that two soldiers came, I think they were members of
10 the Vitezovi, and they pulled out the body. From the documents, I saw
11 that his name was Fuad Sahman. He was a commander of the Kojotis commando
12 team; I'll never forget that detail. He was lanky, about 25, 26 years of
13 age. We found a bag on him. Inside there was something that looked like
14 a notebook.
15 And the whole line of defence from the Vjetrenica road until
16 Putis, which was in Busovaca municipality, so that means Buhine Kuce,
17 Sivrino Selo, Krtina Mahala, Pirici, Krc, Kuber, and all the way out to
19 Q. This dead officer of whom you said that he was a member of the
20 Kojoti, was he wearing a uniform?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did he have any insignia on his uniform?
23 A. I wouldn't be able to tell you. He may have had some ABiH
24 insignia, but I wouldn't be able to tell you that.
25 Q. How did you know that he was a member of the Kojoti?
1 A. That is because he had a document on him.
2 Q. So from the documents he had, it was clear that his unit was
3 called Kojoti?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE MAY: It's not clear to me. What did the document say?
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. This notebook that you mentioned, what was it?
8 A. It was said clearly the Kojoti commando team, and Mr. Fuad Sahman,
9 commander of the Kojoti team.
10 Q. And what made you understand that what was contained in the note
11 was a plan of the attack?
12 A. I very --
13 MR. NICE: [Inaudible]
14 JUDGE MAY: Precisely. Mr. Kovacic, you must be careful. The
15 reason I asked the question was that there's no mention yet of a plan of
16 attack. All that the witness has said so far is the whole line of defence
17 and then he's given a lot of details. Now, we must get the witnesses to
18 give the evidence.
19 Now, what, Mr. Pojavnik, did the document say? You've given the
20 name of the person involved, but what else did it say?
21 A. The entire line was drawn on this document from the Vjetrenica
22 road out to Putis, which is on the territory of Busovaca municipality.
23 And I listed which points were there, and for each point it was said how
24 many people would attack each point and the initials of the commander of
25 the group that was to carry out the attack.
1 JUDGE MAY: How did you know that it was the initials of the
2 person who would carry out the attack?
3 A. Because he had an identity card with him with his picture on it,
4 identifying him as a member of the ABiH.
5 JUDGE MAY: But you say that the document contained the numbers of
6 people who would attack at each point and the initials of the person who
7 would command the attack; is that right?
8 A. Just a moment. On the map it said -- it stated the name of the
9 Kojoti group, and then he had an identity card in the name of Fuad Sahman,
10 born in Jajce, born in, I believe, 1962 or 1963, so his full data. And
11 our line of defence, that is, our sector, had Kojoti written as the group
12 that would attack us.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
14 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I would like to apologise, but it was
15 not my intention to lead. However, the witness used the term in Croatian
16 language which implies a plan. I didn't check the transcript, and I was
17 quite sure that it was obvious. But I'm apologising anyway.
18 Q. [Interpretation] In connection to this, I have one more question.
19 Later, during the war, was this ABiH unit called Kojoti ever mentioned?
20 A. No. I'm not aware of it.
21 Q. Do you know anything about it, any detail?
22 A. No.
23 Q. You said that some soldiers whom you believed to have been members
24 of the Vitezovi did pull out the body of this soldier to your side. Did
25 they pull out anything else to your side?
1 A. Yes. They found there a stretcher on which a rocket launcher had
2 been placed, RPG, I think. That is a model called RPG, which is more
3 modern. And there were some grenades. There was a crate of ammunition
4 for a Garonja machine-gun. I think that there were some five or six
5 automatic rifles. And it was then that I received one of these rifles.
6 When this was brought over, commander Slavko Papic gave us one of the
8 Q. Did your colleague, Mr. Markovic, also receive a rifle?
9 A. No, no, no. Only one. We only received one.
10 Q. How many days did you stay, you personally, did you stay there in
11 the trench?
12 A. I stayed there until a strategic point called Barin Gaj was
13 taken. In fact, they tried to take it, but I don't think that we took the
14 whole location. That is when we left that trench. That was in the area
15 near the Muslim cemetery. This is where we found this man Fuad Sahman.
16 Q. So how long did you stay in those positions at Pirici?
17 A. I stayed there until about mid-January 1994.
18 Q. In this part of the testimony, you mentioned several times the
19 defence line or line of defence. What did you describe by that? Whose
20 line was this?
21 A. I don't understand you. What do you mean by "whose line"? Of the
22 Croatian army, if that can be called an army.
23 Q. Are you referring to the line which was held by you and your
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now that you mention the Vitezovi involved in this event in
2 Pirici, do you know who was the commander of the Vitezovi?
3 A. Yes. The late Darko Kraljevic.
4 Q. And do you know who his commander was, if you do?
5 A. God.
6 Q. Do you think that the commander of the Vitez Brigade could have
7 been his commander?
8 A. No.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions. Thank
10 you, Mr. Pojavnik.
11 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the Defence of
12 Mr. Kordic has no questions of this witness.
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
14 Q. When did you come to The Hague?
15 A. On the 21st.
16 Q. So it's five days ago, is it?
17 A. On Thursday, the 21st. Yes, I believe so.
18 Q. When did you first see lawyers for Cerkez? How many months or
19 years ago?
20 A. I first saw them about a year and a half ago.
21 Q. When they saw you, did they -- just yes or no to this: Were notes
22 made of what you said to them?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. When you came to The Hague last Thursday, you subsequently saw the
25 lawyers. What day was it you saw them? Friday, Saturday, Sunday?
1 A. Friday.
2 Q. Thank you. Was a draft summary or a summary of the evidence you
3 were going to give prepared last Friday?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you have a chance last Friday to go through it, to have it
6 read to you, and to agree that it was accurate?
7 A. Yes. I have it in my pocket now too.
8 Q. Yes, but this is last Friday that you had a chance to go through
9 it, is it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And it wasn't necessary to go through it again yesterday to
12 correct it or change it or anything like that?
13 A. No.
14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, yes. I'm sorry, Mr. Kovacic.
15 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I usually hate to intervene, but that
16 is only for intimidating the witness. The translation is there, and the
17 Prosecution knows very well that we are late in translations. And we are
18 doing our best and we are sending them translations normally on Saturday
19 evening, Sunday morning, et cetera. What does that have to do with the
21 JUDGE MAY: Well, we haven't got to the question yet. He's merely
22 being asked when was it -- if he had a chance to go through it. Let's
23 hear the question.
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. Mr. Pojavnik, when you spoke to the lawyers a year and a half ago,
1 was this incident involving the man Fuad Sahman in your memory at that
2 time? Did you remember it a year and a half ago?
3 A. How am I not going to remember? It was the first time in my life
4 that I saw a dead soldier; in fact, a dead person.
5 Q. As I understand it -- and of course you'll correct me if I'm
6 wrong -- the significance of the find that you made or that was made on
7 Fuad Sahman's body was very obvious, wasn't it? It was obviously an
8 important document that you found on him?
9 A. Why would that be a document? When you are in a traffic accident
10 and you see a dead person, do you think that it ever leaves your memory?
11 Q. My mistake for not making the question clear. Whatever it was
12 that was found on Fuad Sahman, which you read, was obviously significant
13 and important in the setting of the fighting you were engaged in; would
14 that be correct?
15 A. It wasn't that important to me. I wasn't a soldier at all. I'm
16 saying even in the JNA I was in the medical corps. I never handled
17 weapons. But it was engraved in my memory because it was the first time
18 that I saw a dead man. And we sort of played around with this diary of
19 his, whatever it was, until the military police arrived.
20 Q. And handed it to whom?
21 A. To -- I think they came from SIS, from S-I-S. I'm not quite sure,
22 but it was a police car which arrived.
23 Q. And so that document, so far as you know, may still exist?
24 JUDGE MAY: Well, I don't think the witness can help us about
1 MR. NICE: Very well.
2 Q. In any event, that was in your mind --
3 [Prosecution counsel confer]
4 MR. NICE: Your Honour, just give me one minute. I have a
5 registry number for a document, but I'm not sure that that's fair. It
6 would be much easier if I could just ...
7 Q. Did you see the lawyers at all between that time when you first
8 saw them a year and a half ago and the time when you saw them last
9 Thursday, Friday?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. How many times?
12 A. Once.
13 Q. When was that?
14 A. A month ago.
15 Q. Were notes made then?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And again, this incident involving the man Sahman still in your
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Were you aware that the lawyers whom you had spoken to were
21 preparing, some months ago, a summary of the evidence that you were likely
22 to give?
23 A. No.
24 MR. NICE: If this can be placed on the ELMO.
25 Q. I don't want to take a bad point. If there are contemporaneous
1 notes that go to show that this was recorded at the time, and if they're
2 shown to me, I shall accept it; otherwise, I shall proceed with the
3 point. You see -- and I have to read this English document to you, unless
4 you speak English, and I'll read this document slowly. We were first
5 given notice of what you were expected to say some months ago, and we were
6 told in this document that you can see in English on the screen, the
7 following: that the outbreak of the conflict on the 16th of April -- you
8 deal with the conditions on the defence line in Pirici. On April 17th of
9 1993, the witness heard about a general public mobilisation corps of the
10 office for defence. On the 19th you were assigned to the defence line in
11 Pirici, where you stayed for seven days. After that, things were somehow
12 better organised and some short off-duty time was sometimes allowed. And
13 you stayed there till 1994.
14 Not a word in that short summary of this incident involving the
15 man Sahman. Now, this had been a topic, as I understand it from what
16 you've told us, discussed with the lawyers on those two earlier
17 occasions. Just yes or no. Yes?
18 A. Just a moment. I did not come to the front line on the 19th, it
19 was the 18th.
20 Q. I was going to come to that later. I'm still concerned at this
21 stage with what you've told this Court about the document. I haven't
22 overlooked the point about the front line and the date you went there.
23 Let's focus on the document, please.
24 It's still your account, is it, that a year and a half ago, and
25 then a month or so ago, you had in mind this evidence of the document
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 found on the man Sahman?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I'm sorry. It's not your fault, Mr. Pojavnik, of course.
4 Although you prepared this summary on Friday or Saturday, the first I saw
5 it was this morning, in fact just before you gave evidence. So I haven't
6 been able to prepare the questions for you that I would have liked to have
7 asked if I'd had any inkling of this document in advance. But let's just
8 see what you can help us with about this document.
9 In your words, please - nothing going to be led by me - what was
10 the document that was found on the man Sahman?
11 A. Every member of the BH army had his army ID. The ID showed the
12 name of the man, his first name and his last name, and his rank, or what
13 he was doing in the army, and that was his personal ID. But he also had
14 an agenda with him. I've just explained it to you. A part of this
15 defence line was there, and a time, and groups taking each one of those
16 parts of the front.
17 Q. In translation you've used the word "agenda." What do you mean,
18 quite precisely, please, by "agenda"?
19 A. Well, how shall I put it? It's a kind of notebook but done
20 perhaps a little better, more sophisticated looking.
21 Q. How big? How big?
22 A. Well, roughly 15 by 10 or, perhaps, 12 centimetres.
23 Q. Yes. And it listed what? What did it do?
24 A. It was just drawn by hand, the defence line which we held at the
25 time; and dates, days on which individual segments of this defence line
1 would be attacked, I don't know, Krc, Pirici, so on and so forth.
2 Q. Are you going to tell us what the dates are, please, the dates for
3 attack of this defence line?
4 A. Well, roughly the 16th, early morning hours, to --
5 Q. Just a minute. Let me pause just there to help you so that we can
6 get things absolutely straight. Now, roughly the 16th, the early morning
7 hours, what do you mean by "roughly the 16th," please?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What do you mean by "roughly the 16th," please?
10 A. Eight years -- would you know if you made an appointment eight
11 years ago? Would you remember it? Then, 5.00 or 6.00 in the morning, I
12 can't really tell you. I cannot say that an attack was to take place at a
13 quarter past three, at 15.15.
14 Q. It's your evidence. You've taken the solemn declaration,
15 Mr. Pojavnik, and you're telling this Honourable Court what you remember.
16 Now, you've told us that you appreciated from the beginning how important
17 this document was, and discussed it with the lawyers two or three times.
18 Let's go back to the question. What dates were shown on the
19 document? What dates?
20 A. The 16th of April, even though it was already passed. But we got
21 out Mr. Sahman on the 21st of April. On the 16th of April, the attack at
22 such and such place, at such and such time; sabotage group, commanded by
23 so and so, that is, initials or a nickname.
24 Q. All right. Again, don't be led into saying anything that you
25 don't remember. Take your time. Was a time of day given for this attack?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What was the time of day, so that we can have it clearly?
3 A. I've just been telling you, I don't remember the time. But there
4 was 20, 30 minutes from one place to another. I know that the difference
5 was 20 or 30 minutes from one attack to the other, or, rather, from one
6 village to the other.
7 Q. I see. It was staggered attacks at half-hour intervals along the
8 line of the defence; is that what you're telling us, if I understood it?
9 A. No. No, there wasn't a sequence of them. I can't give you it
10 exactly. But say Pirici was at 6.00, then the next one, Kuber, was at
11 8.00; between 6.00 and 8.00, it was Putis, that is, Vjetrenica road, and
12 so on. I can't really go into the details of that all. I can't give you
13 the exact time.
14 Q. Let's just remind us all by looking at map 2271 of the area that
15 we are covering, just so that we can see it all together. I trust you can
16 read a map, can you, Mr. Pojavnik?
17 A. Not quite.
18 Q. Well, take your time, because this is important evidence and I
19 don't want to take bad points against you, but just tell us, please --
20 MR. NICE: You probably need to open a bit more of it, I think,
21 for the witness. Thank you very much.
22 Q. Just help us, please, with the places you're telling us about.
23 A. Just a moment. That's this road. That's the road, and this is
24 the Vjetrenica road. This is the Vjetrenica road on to Zenica. Now,
25 here -- no, no, there isn't the defence line where I was. Just a minute.
1 Vjetrenica. Poculica. That's where Sivrino Selo is. And from here, from
2 here the defence line starts -- no, I can't see that. Down here, Vidovici
3 and Pirici. I'm not sure if this is accurate. I think that Vidovici
4 comes before Pirici, but I'm not quite sure. That is where the defence
5 line was. Then above Ahmici, across Kuber, Loncari, then down there - I
6 was not there; I don't know where Putis is - but to Putis at any rate.
7 Aha, here is Putis, where it's drawn, but I've never been there. So this
8 was the defence line.
9 Q. All right. Now, how many of these places were listed on the
10 agenda or document that you were looking at? How many of them were at
11 different times of attack, please?
12 A. I wouldn't really know. Six or seven.
13 Q. I just want you to explain one thing to me, please. When you were
14 being asked questions by the learned Presiding Judge, you said this -- he
15 asked you whether the document contained the numbers of people who would
16 attack at each point and the initials of the person, and you said:
17 "On the map it said, it stated the name of the Kojoti group and
18 then had an identity card and the name of Fuad Sahman," and you went on to
19 deal with "our line of defence, our sector, had Kojoti written as the
20 group that would attack us."
21 First of all, when you were referring in that answer to the map,
22 were you still referring to the agenda?
23 A. No, no. Sorry. I did not say there was a map. But in the agenda
24 there was the defence line drawn in that agenda. Excuse me. I never
25 mentioned a map, nor did Mr. Sahman have one on him. All he had was drawn
1 by freehand. Sivrino Selo, and then the defence line, roughly how it
2 went; then commander AP, Anto Pojavnik, and then moving on. Then there
3 were three or four lines drawn there, the defence line, Buhine Kuce;
4 commander, again, AP, Anto Pojavnik, ten men. Then, defence line like
5 this. And it was all drawn in freehand, not on a map, in the agenda, on
6 the second page of that agenda. As you open the agenda, there is one page
7 and then ...
8 Q. Was an identity number written on this agenda as well, as you seem
9 to be saying to the learned Judge?
10 A. What do you mean, "in-dent-i-fi-cation"?
11 Q. An identity number.
12 A. No.
13 Q. In any event, this document reveals completely, as I understand
14 it, that there was an attack planned in the writing of Mr. Sahman's agenda
15 to start early on the 16th of April; is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. This information, with the details of the times upon which
18 different attacks were going to be mounted and the groups that were going
19 to be mounted, was made available by you first to the SIS, if it was, in
20 April 1993; correct?
21 A. The same day a police car came, and I said I think they were SIS
22 men. I'm not quite sure but I think they were SIS men. They were just
23 playing around with that document, making jokes about it. And then they
24 came and we gave it to them.
25 Q. All right. So the information was available there and then in
1 April 1993, and what's more, you made it available to the lawyers for
2 Mr. Cerkez a year and a half ago, the details of the Muslim attack.
3 A. Well, I answered what I was asked about. I can't really say it
4 was a year and a half ago. I did not write anything down. So what we
5 talked about, that is what I gave them.
6 Q. How had the man Fuad Sahman died, as far as you could see?
7 A. Well, there was a battle, and he came to some three or four metres
8 away from our trench. He was lying there. And when those, what you call
9 them, Vitezovi came, they pulled out the weapon on him, and he was quite
10 punched out with bullets.
11 Q. He had been shot by bullets, had he?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You saw that yourself, did you?
14 A. How could I see that? It wasn't in front of my trench.
15 Q. You saw that he had been killed by being shot; you saw that.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm afraid I shan't be able to complete
19 the questions I wish to ask this witness before the adjournment. I've got
20 some more questions I want to ask him, because I've got one or two more
21 inquiries to make in light of the timing that I received this summary.
22 Q. I'm going to come back to that matter after the lunch adjournment,
23 Mr. Pojavnik, but I want a few more details from you before then.
24 Let's just go right back to the beginning of your evidence when
25 you were talking about tension in Vitez between ethnic groups,
1 particularly if there was alcohol. I want the full picture, please.
2 Let's go back not to 1993 or 1992 but to 1991 or 1990 so that we've got
3 the picture. Then, in Vitez, in a bar, would people abuse each other when
4 drunk because of their ethnic background, or not?
5 A. Well, yes.
6 Q. I see. Typically, who abused whom? Just so we've got the
7 picture. Did the Croats say nasty things about the Muslims in a bar when
8 they'd had a few to drink, or was it the Muslims who said nasty things
9 about the Croats when they'd had a few to drink? Which one was it?
10 A. Well, you can't really say anything about a nation. You can talk
11 about the character of people. Because a man of integrity will never harm
12 somebody else; he loves his own and respects another man's so ...
13 Q. You haven't answered the question, please. You've been asked to
14 tell us a bit about life in Vitez, and I've got another question to ask
15 you after this one of a general nature.
16 First of all, before the conflict, was it the Croats who in drink
17 abused the Muslims, or the Muslims who in drink abused the Croats?
18 A. I believe I've given you a very clear answer. It all depends on
19 the kind of man. It has nothing to do with whether one is a Muslim or a
20 Croat but what kind of a character he is.
21 Q. Let's just move to present-day Vitez since you're still there and
22 since you have a job that brings you in contact with the public. Even
23 today, despite all the lessons of the war, it's very much a Croat town,
24 isn't it, now? Isn't it? It's a town where you --
25 A. Well, today, no. Today it's not.
1 Q. In your town today you can find anti-Muslim sentiments expressed
2 in graffiti, can't you? In your town.
3 A. Well, I don't know. What do I tell you? What do you mean? Half
4 of the police are Muslim; half of the population of the municipality are
5 Muslim. Naturally, both Muslims and Croats go into pubs, and buses are
6 boarded equally by Muslims and Croats. So why is it that you say that
7 today --
8 Q. Let's move back, then, to before the conflict, because you were
9 asked about this. Do you say that in 1992 there was some noticeable
10 increase in ethnic tension, for example, in your premises where you
11 worked, in your T & T bar?
12 A. No.
13 Q. When did you first start noticing a change in ethnic tension,
15 A. Well, I don't understand. When was it that I first started
16 noticing? Well, there were a couple of excesses in the town. Sometime in
17 autumn 1992, I remember when the Muslim guards or army or troops of the
18 BH, whatever, stopped Croats from Busovaca who were off to the Jajce front
19 line, and it lasted for two or three days. It happened on a couple of
20 occasions in Stari Vitez or Mahala, whatever you care to call it. It was
21 the same thing; it would last a day and then it would be over.
22 Q. What things happened on a couple of occasions in Stari Vitez or
23 the Mahala, please?
24 A. Why, nothing. Simply -- how do I put it? We call them log
25 divisions. They put up some logs and nobody can get through, until
1 UNPROFOR, police, somebody else, comes along and removes them.
2 Q. Your wife is Muslim?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Is your father-in-law still alive?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Was he alive in the conflict?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Does your wife have male blood relations still living in Vitez?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. How near to you do they live?
11 A. Let me see. Four brothers, countless relatives, some of them
12 living on the outskirts of Vitez. They left during the conflict and now
13 they're back in Vitez.
14 Q. They left during the conflict, but on the day of the 16th they
15 were arrested, weren't they; 16th, 17th?
16 A. Arrested? No. Who would arrest them?
17 Q. Were you not aware of anyone being arrested in Vitez on the 16th?
18 A. I don't know what is it that you call "arrested." There were some
19 people who were taken away to the SDK, to the public auditing office. I
20 don't know where else.
21 Q. Were your wife's relations amongst those who were taken away?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. Was it the case that it was all Muslim people who were taken away,
24 please, Mr. Pojavnik?
25 A. No.
1 Q. I see. So what other people were taken away? Tell us. Romanies,
3 A. Just a moment. No, no, no, no, no. You get me wrong. Did you
4 say all Muslims or only Muslims?
5 Q. Only Muslims.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Why were Muslims being arrested and taken away in your town on the
9 A. They were not arrested. Let me tell you. In one day, say 10.000
10 women, children, elderly men expelled from Zenica arrive, flood Vitez.
11 Those who are coming from Zenica were expelled by Muslims, so it's natural
12 that they will now expel the Muslims from their flats. And that is why
13 people were taken, were being taken to a safe place, to avoid a conflict
14 between the two. But not arrested. Why arrest them?
15 Q. It's natural that they would be expelling the Muslims from their
16 flats, so the best way to safeguard the Muslims in their flats was to take
17 the Muslims from their flats and put them into prison; is that what you're
18 telling us, that the flats were empty, apart from the womenfolk?
19 A. No, no, no. You are not getting my meaning. You are not getting
20 my meaning. They were put in a safe place so as to avoid excesses. And
21 if somebody drives me away from my home and forces me to go somewhere
22 else, of course I won't leave my five children to sleep on the road. So
23 what do you mean, that I have to be very humane and allow him to be
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... will permit me, but there
1 weren't any refugees from Zenica on the 16th of April, Mr. Pojavnik. You
2 just made that up.
3 A. Says who? Perhaps you know it better than me. And I was there;
4 you weren't. On the 16th of April, Vitez was awash with refugees, women
5 and children from the area of Travnik, or rather Ovnaci [phoen] and --
6 what's it called up there? Just a moment. Oh, yes. Brajkovici, Ovnaci,
7 Stranjani, that whole lot bordering -- the border between Zenica and
8 Travnik. It was an ethnically pure Croat area. On the 16th of April they
9 were all in Vitez, that is, Nova Bila, Stara Bila, whatever.
10 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now. Mr. Pojavnik, we're going to
11 adjourn for lunch. Would you be back, please, at half past 2.00 to
12 continue your evidence. During the adjournment, and until your evidence
13 is over, please don't speak to anybody about it, and that includes members
14 of the Defence team.
15 Very well. Half past 2.00.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.03 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 2.34 p.m.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
4 MR. NICE:
5 Q. Mr. Pojavnik, the man Sahman who you say was killed, what happened
6 to him after you'd finished playing with the agenda and handing the agenda
7 over to the SIS? What happened to the man?
8 A. Buried near this place where there was some kind of a command
9 house, like, 20 or 30 metres away.
10 Q. Was that a temporary burial place from which he was subsequently
12 A. As far as I know, he was taken out from there 15 or 20 days later
13 and he was exchanged for some of our guys.
14 MR. NICE: I can accept that that history of the man bearing that
15 name is documented, and I needn't trouble with it.
16 Q. The diary or the agenda, are you aware whether anybody's tried to
17 get a copy of that document?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Thank you. You've told us today of the date upon which you were
20 first aware of the general mobilisation. What was the day when you were
21 first aware of the mobilisation?
22 A. The 16th of April.
23 Q. And when were you yourself -- when did you first respond to that?
24 A. The 16th of April, in the afternoon.
25 Q. When were you sent to Pirici?
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 A. On the 18th, around noon.
2 Q. You know, don't you, because we looked at it, that the first
3 summary provided by Cerkez's Defence lawyers said you went there on the
4 19th; in the summary provided today and prepared last Friday or Saturday,
5 you said the 18th. So only a small change, but anything to explain that
7 A. There's no reason for me to -- I mean, I never said that it was
8 the 19th when I left. It was the 18th. There's no reason for me to ...
9 Q. The Kojotis, tell me more about them. The Kojotis, who you say
10 was the name of this man's unit, what more do you know about them,
12 A. Nothing.
13 Q. Let's look at two documents. Because one of the things you've
14 told us is that Darko Kraljevic only spoke to God; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. He only spoke to God; took orders from no one else.
17 A. You didn't understand me. I don't think that anybody could give
18 him orders. I don't know. Perhaps someone from Herzegovina. But in
19 Vitez, no one.
20 Q. Well, you were in Buhine Kuce for a long time, weren't you? Right
21 the way from April through to 1994.
22 A. I came to Buhine Kuce in mid-January, 15th, 16th, mid-January, and
23 I stayed there until the ceasefire.
24 Q. So between April and mid-January, where were you?
25 A. In Pirici.
1 Q. Pirici.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Very well. Well, Pirici and Buhine Kuce are how near or far
4 apart, one from the other?
5 A. In normal times, one kilometre; during the conflict, five
6 kilometres, because you'd have to go from Santici, across Radakov Most to
7 Rijeka, and then to the railway station, and then to Buhine Kuce.
8 Q. Very well. Can you see the one location from the other, please?
9 A. Well, you can from some places in Pirici.
10 Q. Thank you. I'll have you look, please, at this document, 891.1.
11 This is a document that comes from the defendant Mario Cerkez. It's dated
12 the 7th of May, and it goes to Slavko Badrov, comes from the Vitez Brigade
13 command, and it says this:
14 "Based on the demonstrated need to engage the regional Military
15 Police for police tasks, promptly undertake to prepare 15 soldiers to
16 replace Military Police forces at the Kratine-Pirici defence line."
17 So this would be the defence line where you were stationed;
19 A. This is the first time I see this document. I have never heard of
20 Mr. Slavko Badrov.
21 Q. I'm only concerned at the moment with the defence line. The
22 Kratine-Pirici defence line is the line where you were working, where you
23 were stationed; correct? Because you were in Pirici.
24 A. Correct. Correct.
25 Q. So it goes on to say, paragraph 2:
1 "2. By 1200 hours on 8 May 1993 bring the group of 15 soldiers
2 to the Bungalow. Designate a group leader and commander who shall be
3 personally responsible for the group's work.
4 "3. The soldiers shall remain at the defence line one week."
5 Was it the case that the military police from the Bungalow were
6 coming up and working at the defence line at Pirici, as suggested in this
8 A. The defence line, well, there were no troops there. There were
9 people who were sent up there, some peasants from Santici, Pirici. Most
10 of the people were from Vitez, from town. This is the first time I hear
11 of the military police coming to the lines, especially not men from the
12 Bungalow. I don't know about that.
13 Q. Well, you knew where the Bungalow was.
14 A. Of course I knew.
15 Q. And you knew that the Jokers were based there.
16 A. I didn't know that that's where their headquarters were, but of
17 course I know that the Jokers were there, I know that they were at the
19 Q. Did you talk to the Jokers in the time that you were working on
20 the Pirici defence line?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Did you ever discover who had mounted the attack on Ahmici from
23 conversations you had on the defence line just a kilometre or so away?
24 Did you ever find out who attacked Ahmici?
25 A. I don't know who attacked Ahmici, that's for sure. Judging by
1 their uniforms, I think it was the Jokers and the military police.
2 Q. You saw them do it, did you, judging by their uniforms?
3 A. Judging by their uniforms, yes.
4 Q. So what did you see of them in their attack of Ahmici, please?
5 What did you see them doing?
6 A. I came on the 18th. The line had already been established. As I
7 said, trenches had been dug, conditionally speaking, because they were
8 half a metre deep, one metre by one metre, so I could not see a thing.
9 Q. Mr. Pojavnik, the question I asked you, I think, was
10 straightforward, and I'll repeat it to you and ask you to comment on your
11 answer. I asked you, "Did you ever find out who attacked Ahmici?" And
12 you said, "I don't know who attacked Ahmici, that's for sure. Judging by
13 their uniforms, I think it was the Jokers and the military police."
14 Can you explain how it is that you are able to rely on their
15 uniforms to tell us that it was the Jokers and the military police who
16 attacked Ahmici, unless it was that you saw them do it? Do you understand
17 the question? I'm asking you to explain to us an answer you've given us
18 about uniforms.
19 A. I told you very clearly: When we arrived at the line, people
20 withdrew who were wearing black uniforms. They were the Jokers. They
21 withdrew in uniforms of military police. They were the only ones who were
22 wearing such uniforms. Because we arrived on the 18th.
23 Q. Did you ever talk to them and ask them what they had done?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Two more documents and then I'm done. Can you look, please,
1 briefly, at 1147.4 which is, I think, an existing document. Just lay it
2 on the ELMO. I'm not suggesting that this is a witness that you'll have
3 seen, Mr. Pojavnik. This is a document that you'll have seen. It's the
4 content of the document that we're interested in. This one is dated the
5 20th of July of 1993. It comes from Blaskic. It's a combat order and it
6 relates, as we can see in paragraph 1, to sending a strengthened platoon
7 from your unit in order to help regain the broken line on the Orlovo
8 Polje-Zabilje access.
9 Now, that's not exactly the line you were on, that's a bit further
10 to the west. But it's not very far away, is it? Not very far away, is
11 it, Orlovo Polje-Zabilje? It's quite close by.
12 A. I don't know.
13 Q. No idea at all?
14 A. I know where Zabilje is. I've never heard of Orlovo Polje.
15 Q. Very well. I shan't trouble you more with that. Let's just look
16 at one last Exhibit, please, 1356.4. You went to Buhine Kuce in January
17 1994; correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So before that you've been able to see across the kilometre that
20 divided you something of what was going on there, and once you got to
21 Buhine Kuce you must have learned from others on the line what had
22 happened before you were there; correct?
23 A. To tell you the truth, I don't know much about what had happened.
24 I know that an attack had been carried out around the New Year and the
25 road between Vitez and Busovaca had been interrupted. The army of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina entered the house of Mrs. Buhar, or whatever, and that
2 was on the right-hand side of the road when you're going from Vitez to
3 Busovaca. When I arrived, it was still that way.
4 Q. Were you aware -- we've heard this from a witness called
5 Breljas -- were you aware of Kordic being involved directly in leading the
6 defence of Buhine Kuce? Were you?
7 A. He certainly was not. It was well known that he did not
8 participate. Mr. Dario Kordic did not take part in the fighting at Buhine
9 Kuce for sure.
10 Q. How do you mean it's well known that he did not take part in
11 something? How can somebody be well known for not doing something,
12 please? Can you explain that to me?
13 A. I was there when Buhine Kuce was being returned. Buhine Kuce is
14 not a kilometre or two. That is 150 or 200 metres of the line, not more
15 than that.
16 Q. Is it true -- document 1406.1 relates to this and I needn't draw
17 it to anybody's attention -- is it true that Buhine Kuce was a place where
18 some 80 members of the HVO were killed, and it was a result of that that
19 Cerkez lost his job? Is it right that some 80 members of the HVO were
20 killed there and it was a result of that that Cerkez lost his job? You
21 know nothing of the circumstances in which Cerkez lost his job? And you
22 were at Buhine Kuce, you see. That's why we want your help.
23 A. I don't know about Mr. Cerkez losing his job at all. I mean, this
24 is the first time I ever hear of it. I hear of it from you. At Buhine
25 Kuce, about ten people lost their lives, most of them civilians.
1 JUDGE MAY: I don't want to prolong this. I thought it was
2 Krizancevo Selo myself. I thought that was the evidence.
3 MR. NICE: It's both on the document, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MAY: Sorry?
5 MR. NICE: It's both on the document.
6 Q. Just look quickly at this document, 1356.4.
7 MR. NICE: Original to the witness, please.
8 Q. And look at what it is. It's a document dated the 11th of January
9 of 1994 from the command of the Vitez Brigade. It's a document that's
10 signed by someone called Jozo Grgic. Do you know him?
11 A. I don't know Mr. Jozo Grgic.
12 Q. Second sheet of the English. Stay on the first sheet, please, for
13 you, and paragraph 2.
14 JUDGE MAY: Well, I see what this document says. Where is it
15 from, please?
16 MR. NICE: It's a Zagreb document.
17 JUDGE MAY: It's a Zagreb document.
18 MR. NICE: Yes.
19 Q. And what we have here for Buhine Kuce is that three fire
20 extinguishers --
21 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, let me object to this document.
22 JUDGE MAY: Well, wait a moment. He can be asked about Buhine
24 MR. SAYERS: Absolutely, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MAY: But not the next line.
1 MR. SAYERS: Right.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, you can ask this witness about Buhine Kuce,
5 but not the next line.
6 MR. NICE: That's what I'm asking him about, Your Honour.
7 Q. We have here a record of three "babies", fire extinguishers, being
8 fired at Buhine Kuce, one of which did not explode. And then it goes on
9 to deal with Krcevine. Do you remember, either from what you did yourself
10 or what you saw, the using of these "babies", these fire extinguisher
11 bombs, at Buhine Kuce? Do you?
12 A. It was used in the fighting because there was no artillery. It
13 was the only means of defence. And how many "babies" were fired ...
14 Q. Let's go to paragraph 3, our page 3 in the English, but you can
15 stay on the first page of the original. We see that there's a note here
16 for the particular day, that at 2220 hours the ZP were informed that ten
17 Vitezovi had abandoned the line at Buhine Kuce. Now, you've left -- you
18 just arrived there, I beg your pardon. Were the Vitezovi the people who
19 were manning the Buhine Kuce line?
20 A. No.
21 Q. And then -- I beg your pardon? No, they didn't have anything to
22 do with that line at all?
23 A. Buhine Kuce was held by the home guards. How should I call them?
24 Local people, people from Vitez who came --
25 Q. What about the next paragraph? Just help us with that, and then
1 I'm done with this exhibit. "We secured a vehicle from the 7th Battalion,
2 which at 2325 hours went to Pican's cafe, from where it will take five
3 soldiers to Impregnacija who will go to the line of defence at Buhine
5 Was that the way things were being dealt with, soldiers coming
6 from the cafe at -- Pican's cafe?
7 A. As far as I know, not a single cafe or coffee bar in Vitez worked
8 during the conflict. I don't know. I never heard of a single restaurant
9 or coffee bar working during the conflict.
10 As regards Pican's cafe, I don't know who came there. I imagine
11 that it was home guards who were coming there, who would help with the
12 defence line when the line would fall, and then it would be taken back
13 again. But for sure there was nothing in the cafe during the conflict.
14 Q. At Pirici you were brought Muslims to dig trenches, weren't you?
15 Do you remember?
16 A. Well, let me tell you, in the work platoon, when they were
17 digging -- I mean, I changed three different trenches. Not anyone else
18 had dug a single metre there. In the work platoon, there were Muslims,
19 there were old Croats, and Gypsies; Gypsies, for the most part. Because
20 there's an anecdote in Vitez which says a Romany fell for the Dom, "Pade
21 rom za dom," for the homeland, sort of a joke.
22 MR. NICE: Thank you.
23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, Exhibit Z356.4, having regard to what is on
24 page 2 to which Mr. Sayers objects, we think it right at this stage to
25 return the exhibit. If you want to put it in, then a foundation will have
1 to be laid.
2 MR. NICE: Yes. Well, we can discuss it with a subsequent
3 witness, but certainly --
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. At the moment we're not admitting it, so we're
5 returning it.
6 MR. NICE: Yes. Thank you.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Pojavnik, I'm going to be brief. Just try to
10 deal with some things that have not been fully clear.
11 You were shown Z891.1, and the Kratine-Pirici line is mentioned
12 there, where you said you were. To make it perfectly clear here in the
13 courtroom, this line which was mentioned, the Kratine-Pirici line, what is
14 that in terms of distance? How long was it?
15 A. The Pirici line was just over 1 kilometre long, and the Kratine
16 line, I don't know exactly because I never went down there, but
17 approximately it would be something like 500 to 600 metres. It adjoins
18 the Pirici line.
19 Q. All together, if I can conclude, that would be a bit over 1
20 kilometre long.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In other words, Mr. Pojavnik, did you at any given point in time
23 of that wretched war know what was going on around you and at the other
24 ends of the lines?
25 A. No.
1 Q. There were a number of unclear points. At one point you were
2 using the word "notebook," or it was called a diary. Is this a book of
3 this kind?
4 A. Yes, but it was smaller; about three to four centimetres narrower
5 and a bit shorter. This is what we called a notebook or an agenda.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps just for the record, Your
7 Honours, we may want to say that a notebook, a leather-bound notebook, was
8 shown, with a ribbon as a bookmark.
9 JUDGE MAY: Would you like to have it exhibited?
10 MR. KOVACIC: No, Your Honour. I simply wanted to show what our
11 people colloquially think when they mention that word. Nothing else.
12 Q. [Interpretation] How long did you have Sahman's agenda or notebook
13 in your hands?
14 A. About two or three hours.
15 Q. You had it in your hands, in your own hands?
16 A. It was there, right in front of me. Anybody who came there could
17 see it. There was no secret. And it didn't mean anything to me. I
18 looked at it; I flipped through it. We tried to read it.
19 Q. Very well. There was a serial number or a number that was also
20 left unclear. Can you tell me, please, the identity card belonging to the
21 late Sahman, what type of an identity card was it?
22 A. It was a military identity card.
23 Q. Did it have any serial number?
24 A. No, I don't know. It was an ID of the gentleman who was lying
25 there dead, and it was made out to Fuad Sahman, born in Jajce in 1962 or
1 1963. And then underneath it said that he was a member of the Kojoti
2 commando group.
3 Q. You were asked about Stari Vitez at one point, and I think that
4 you literally used the word, you said that logs were there, as if it was a
5 "log revolution". What type of barricade was it? Who erected it?
6 A. Every village had barricades. It wasn't erected by the regular
7 army. Either by the regular army of the BiH or anybody who went to war
8 against the Serbs, none of them for sure erected them.
9 Q. What population lived in Stari Vitez?
10 A. About 90 per cent, it was Muslim.
11 Q. Also, you mentioned gathering Muslims or rounding up Muslims in
12 various places, including the SDK building. Regarding sex, persons of
13 which sex were taken to these places?
14 A. Men.
15 Q. Did you ever hear that any woman was taken there?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Did you hear about some people voluntarily going to those places?
18 Who, for instance?
19 A. It was Mr. Puric. He went there; he was there for about 24 hours
20 voluntarily. I think it was around the 17th, around 10.00. Then he was
21 told that there were no problems, that he could go back home.
22 Q. This Mr. Puric belongs to what ethnic group?
23 A. A Muslim.
24 Q. Do you know his first name?
25 A. This may sound strange. He is my first-door neighbour but I don't
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 know. I know that his last name was Puric, and he lived on the first
2 floor of my apartment building.
3 Q. You mean the same building.
4 A. Yes. His children were in Smailkadic's apartment together with me
5 when the shelling was going on.
6 Q. Have you heard whether this was a unique thing, that this
8 A. From what I know, no, it wasn't.
9 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, I don't have any further questions.
10 Thank you.
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Pojavnik, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
12 for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Your next witness.
16 MR. KOVACIC: Our next witness is Mr. Ivica --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
18 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry. Our next witness is Mr. Ivica Miskovic.
19 Your Honour, if I may just add one word. I'm really not very sure
20 whether it is important or not, but since it was mentioned, I think that I
21 ought to mention that.
22 While we were performing the investigations in 1998 and 1999, we
23 had heard about that Fuad Sahman diary; not only from this witness but
24 from the others as well. We, of, course recognised the importance of that
25 document, and I just want to inform the Chamber that we spent a lot of
1 time trying to find that. Among many other things, we sent also official
2 letters to the Croatian Ministry of Defence recently when we had heard
3 that the documents -- when we found out that some of the documents are in
4 Zagreb, and we were informed that such a document does not exist in
5 Zagreb; at least it is not yet found. We are still hoping that perhaps
6 this document will be found, and then we could also ask, but that could be
7 another part of the case, for other witnesses who were there.
8 It is true that we did not plan originally to use this witness
9 with that document, but it seems that he was the only one who was coming
10 as a witness, and since he knew about it, it was very natural to ask this
11 witness about that.
12 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
16 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 WITNESS: IVICA MISKOVIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
20 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Miskovic.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. Thank you for coming here to give evidence. Will you please, for
24 the record, state your full name, date and place of birth.
25 A. Ivica Miskovic, born on 8 November 1957, in Vitez.
1 Q. Mr. Miskovic, are you married?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you have children?
4 A. I have two.
5 Q. What is your profession?
6 A. I am a machine technician and an agricultural technician.
7 Q. What did you do before the general conflict on 16 April 1993?
8 A. I was engaged in private business; I had my own company.
9 Q. Where were your business premises?
10 A. My business premises were when you cross from Vitez to Mahala, at
11 the entrance to Mahala.
12 Q. Did you serve in the former JNA in former Yugoslavia?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Were you conferred any military ranks?
15 A. No. I was just a regular soldier there.
16 Q. What is your profession now?
17 A. I am again a private businessman, and I have a farming shop in
18 Vitez, at the railway station.
19 Q. Mr. Miskovic, in 1992, when the JNA aggression against Bosnia was
20 launched, were you called to join any military organisation, or did you
22 A. No, I was not called up, and I did not volunteer.
23 Q. Was your business the only activity you were engaged in?
24 A. Yes, I was only engaged in that because that was my primary
1 Q. When did your farming shop stop working?
2 A. I stopped working on the 12th of April, 1992 -- sorry, 1993,
3 because the day before the shop was looted.
4 Q. Who looted your shop; did you ever learn?
5 A. The shop is on the main road, and there was an ABiH checkpoint
6 there. Their checkpoint was right next to my shop, so either they looted
7 it or they must have known who did it, because they were right next to the
9 Q. The people who were keeping this checkpoint, they kept watch there
10 24 hours a day?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you, perhaps, ask them if they knew anything about it?
13 A. No. When I went to work on the 12th, they stopped me about 100
14 metres away from my store, they did not allow me to approach the store.
15 They just told me to go back.
16 Q. So you did not approach the store on that day?
17 A. No, not then and not subsequently.
18 Q. You mean not until the end of the war.
19 A. Yes. And by the end of the war, the store was in ruins.
20 Q. What happened to you when the conflict broke out on the 16th of
21 April, 1993?
22 A. On the day of the conflict I was in my apartment. I heard
23 shooting. I did not know what was going on when I woke up. My neighbours
24 were in the same situation. My neighbours came over to my place. We all
25 sat in my apartment waiting to see what would happen. Nobody dared go out
1 to check what was going on.
2 We sat there until maybe 11.00, and then the military police
3 knocked on the door and picked up my neighbours and took them -- they told
4 them to follow them, told them not to be afraid of anything, that nothing
5 would happen to them, and they took them away.
6 Q. The people who were taken away were all ethnic Muslims.
7 A. Yes, they were Muslims.
8 Q. Did anything happen to any one of them?
9 A. Nothing happened to any one of them. Several days later I learned
10 where they were; I found out that they were taken to the cinema building,
11 that they were in good health. I saw them all after the war; they're all
12 alive and they're all in Vitez.
13 Q. Seven days into the conflict you had an encounter with the
14 military police. Can you describe that?
15 A. Yes. I was in town, and as I was walking by, the military police
16 picked me up and took me directly to the front line, in a vehicle. I was
17 taken to the church at Dubravica.
18 Q. Mr. Miskovic, before that had you heard that a general
19 mobilisation had been declared?
20 A. I did hear about it, but I did not report. I was just picked up
21 seven days later. I did not volunteer to go.
22 Q. Let me ask you openly: Did you try to avoid going to the war, to
23 the front line?
24 A. I did not feel like going to the war. So I was just living in an
25 expectation about what was going to happen.
1 Q. Did you have any idea -- what did you think? Did you think that
2 it was going to be a long-lasting war? Did you think that that was an
3 incident or what?
4 A. I thought that it was something that was going to pass like the
5 incidents before that.
6 Q. So where did these military police take you?
7 A. I was taken to the front line at the church in Dubravica. That
8 was facing Sivrino Selo.
9 Q. Did the police tell you anything, why they were taking you there?
10 A. They told me, "You're going to the front line."
11 Q. When you were brought to the front line, were you told anything;
12 who your commander was, what your task was going to be?
13 A. I was only told that we were to protect the line facing Sivrino
14 Selo from attacks. In other words, that we were there to defend it.
15 Q. Can you tell me, please, how were you dressed at that time?
16 A. I was in civilian clothes. In civilian clothes.
17 Q. Did you have any weapons?
18 A. No, I did not.
19 Q. Were you given any weapons when you arrived at the front line?
20 A. I was given weapons when we were changing guard, when we were -- I
21 would get the weapon from the previous guard, from the person who was
22 already at the front line.
23 Q. And when your duty was over, then what happened?
24 A. I would give it over to the next person who came to substitute for
1 Q. When was it the first time that you got your own rifle?
2 A. I don't know. About 20, 25 days later. About 20 days.
3 Q. In the trench where you were, from where did you expect a
4 potential attack of the other side?
5 A. From the direction of Sivrino Selo and Poculica.
6 Q. While you were there in those first days, were there any attacks?
7 A. No. There were some exchanges of fire, but there were no attacks.
8 Q. Are you trying to say that there were no infantry attacks?
9 A. For the time when I was there, there were no direct attacks at the
10 front line where I was.
11 Q. How far was that line where you were in those first days from the
12 school in Dubravica?
13 A. About 400 metres, three to four hundred.
14 Q. Can you tell me what unit was billeted in that school building?
15 A. It was the Vitezovi.
16 Q. After a period of time you were transferred. Where were you
17 transferred and when?
18 A. After about 20 days I was transferred -- that is, my complete
19 platoon was transferred to the Krcevine sector of the line.
20 Q. What day, approximately, would that make it?
21 A. That would be around the 20th of May, somewhere around there.
22 Q. How many people were this whole platoon, did you say?
23 A. About 20 men, that is, the number of men that went to Krcevine.
24 Q. At the time when you went there, from Dubravica to Krcevine, who
25 was your commander?
1 A. The commander was Ivan Tomic.
2 Q. And who was your commander when you arrived at Krcevine?
3 A. At Krcevine the commander was Blaz Totic, for the most part,
4 because for a while it was Ivan Tomic and then he was replaced by Blaz
6 Q. How long did you stay in this position at Krcevine?
7 A. I stayed at Krcevine until January 1994.
8 Q. And where were you transferred then?
9 A. We were again transferred, the entire platoon, to the area of
10 Buhine Kuce.
11 Q. Before we move on, just one clarification. The sector of the
12 front line where you were at Krcevine, how long was the line of trenches?
13 Again, I know that you cannot be precise, but what -- approximately how
14 long was it?
15 A. It may have been three to four hundred metres long, where the
16 platoon was deployed, where I was.
17 Q. On your flanks, the left and right, were there other trenches?
18 A. Yes. There were trenches to the left and to the right.
19 Q. Until when were you at Buhine Kuce?
20 A. I stayed at Buhine Kuce until the signing of a truce.
21 Q. That was April 1994?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Was there any direct fighting, something like a trench warfare?
24 A. No. There were exchanges of fire. That was constant. Because
25 those two lines were very close to one another, so there was always
2 Q. Mr. Miskovic, can you please tell me: The Trial Chamber has heard
3 a lot about the events at Buhine Kuce and I'm not going to dwell on any
4 details, and that doesn't concern the indictment either. But I just want
5 to locate in time: Was the HVO still holding that line or had it lost it
7 A. I went there after the HVO had lost that part of the front line
8 and then it had recovered that.
9 Q. So at the time when you were there, the HVO had moved from the
10 north side of the road to the south side of the road?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And you took part in the attempts to recover that lost ground?
13 A. Yes. I took part in that fighting.
14 Q. Mr. Miskovic, perhaps you can tell us something about the
15 supplies, food provisions, and other necessities while you were at the
16 front line.
17 A. The food was not good. It wasn't cooked food; it was canned
18 food. It was mean, as we would call it. We supplemented it by sort of
19 foraging around. We would --
20 Q. What do you mean by that?
21 A. We would go to the forest a little bit, to gardens a little bit.
22 Q. Does that mean that you were hungry?
23 A. There were times when the supplies were just not there, and so we
24 were a bit hungry, yes.
25 Q. And what about the equipment? When did you first get your
1 uniform, for instance?
2 A. I don't know. Maybe two or three months later.
3 Q. Was that time when you were already at Krcevine?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You said something about the first day of the conflict. Perhaps
6 maybe we should go back to that, just cover everything. When people were
7 taken from that apartment building, what did you hear? To which locations
8 were these people detained?
9 A. I heard that they were detained in the cinema building, the SDK
10 building, and the chess club.
11 Q. Did you inquire why these people were detained there?
12 A. I inquired because I was interested. They were my neighbours. I
13 wanted to know where they were. So I did inquire. And I was told that
14 they were taken there for safety reasons, because there were a number of
15 armed individuals in groups who were outsiders. So they were taken so
16 that -- you see, there was looting, there were thefts, and I was told that
17 they were taken so that they would be safe. I also heard that among some
18 of those who had been detained, weapons were found in their apartments,
19 and so that was part of this security for the military that was in town.
20 Q. Does that mean that somebody explained all this to you, or did you
21 learn about that gradually?
22 A. Well, I asked here and there. I inquired around, trying to find
23 out what happened to these neighbours of mine, and so I came to such
25 Q. Mr. Miskovic, you moved about town the first few days. Was that a
1 dangerous place?
2 A. Yes, if you only uttered one wrong word. There were people who
3 were drunk; there were people who were undisciplined, wilful; those people
4 who were breaking into apartments. There were a lot of people who were
5 outsiders, from outside. There were groups that had come from outside. A
6 number of them I had never seen before.
7 Q. In your building, before the conflict, did you have building
9 A. No. Only after these events we organised in our building -- we
10 organised watches to protect ourselves from the groups who were breaking
11 in and creating mayhem. This was -- we did it for our -- to protect our
12 children, our own and our neighbours' children.
13 Q. Mr. Miskovic, while you were on these guard duties or these
14 watches, did anybody manage to enter into any apartments?
15 A. We did not allow anyone to enter any of the apartments in our
17 Q. Mr. Miskovic, where did your mother live and where did your
18 brothers live at the time of the outbreak of hostilities?
19 A. They all lived in Sivrino Selo.
20 Q. And what was the ethnic composition of Sivrino Selo?
21 A. The ethnic composition was 90 per cent or 95 per cent Muslim
22 population and 5 per cent Croats, approximately.
23 Q. What happened to your mother and your brothers in Sivrino Selo
24 when the shooting started there?
25 A. They were surprised by it, and then in fear they gathered in Ante
1 Santic's house. About six or seven households gathered there and they
2 were waiting there to see what was going to happen. And then the ABiH
3 members called on them to surrender weapons, which they did. They had two
4 or three rifles. I don't know.
5 Q. In Ante Santic's house gathered all the Croats or just the
7 A. All the Croats from the village, because that is like a little
8 hamlet. I think that there's six or seven households.
9 Q. When did they come to Vitez, your family?
10 A. They were released the next day, the Muslim neighbours did, and
11 they went first to Buhine Kuce and then from there came to Vitez.
12 Q. You know all this from what they told you?
13 A. Yes, from what they told me.
14 Q. Did they tell you that somebody put in a word for them especially,
15 or was it easy for them to leave?
16 A. No. Meho Kablar and another neighbour put in a word for them and
17 they helped them.
18 Q. So this Mr. Kablar, what did he do? Was he an influential man?
19 A. He was a respected man, so in that sense he was influential. He
20 was a good man.
21 Q. Did you hear whether somebody was trying to detain your family, to
22 keep them there?
23 A. There were those who wanted to keep them there, but these men
25 Q. What happened to your brothers when they arrived to the part of
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 town controlled by the HVO?
2 A. When they came to that part of town, they were again taken back to
3 the front line facing Buhine Kuce. They were taken to the front line at
4 Buhine Kuce, and my sister-in-law and the children came to my apartment.
5 Q. What do you mean, they were taken back? Were they now mobilised?
6 Were they arrested, detained? What?
7 A. I think that the military police took them back to the front line
8 and from that moment on they were mobilised.
9 Q. [Microphone not activated] -- befell you a little bit earlier,
10 isn't it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So that their wives and children stayed in your apartment?
13 A. Yes, they stayed in my flat.
14 Q. Mr. Miskovic, I have only a few short questions -- several short
15 questions regarding Mr. Mario Cerkez's character. Do you know him?
16 A. Yes. I've known Mario Cerkez from the vocational technical
17 school. We are peers. We belong to the same generation. We belong to a
18 generation [as interpreted]. We graduated from the school in Novi
20 Q. How would you describe him, in a few words?
21 A. As a wonderful bloke, right bloke; a good friend. I mean, I
22 cannot say anything but nice about him. And he was also a sportsman and
23 he was always in a good mood and he was good-tempered.
24 Q. Just tell me one thing: As you were friends throughout all those
25 years, did you ever happen to see that he nourished some ethnic bias
1 towards anybody?
2 A. No, absolutely not. I could not observe anything like that. And
3 he always had in his company Serbs and Muslims. And his good friend Gavro
4 Mujetic [phoen] was with him very often. They were inseparable.
5 Q. Did you ever observe any aggressiveness or readiness to provoke?
6 A. No, no, no. He was always in a good mood, always ready for a
7 joke, for a song, for outings and whatnot.
8 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Miskovic. I do not have any further
10 MR. SAYERS: We have no questions for Mr. Miskovic, Your Honours.
11 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I first had an opportunity to consider
12 this witness' material after lunch, but I'll ask him a few questions and
13 shan't be very long, I don't think. But I might not be quite as unbroken
14 in my questions as normal.
15 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
16 Q. Mr. Miskovic, the 16th itself -- let's go back the day before.
17 The day before your shop was closed, was it, because of the attack on it;
18 is that right?
19 A. Yes. The pharmacy was closed as of the 12th of April.
20 Q. Let's just get this out of the way. You were a fertilizer shop.
21 You're not suggesting, are you, or perhaps you are, that your shop was
22 targeted to steal the fertilizer to make bombs or anything like that; it
23 was just targeted for some other reason, was it?
24 A. Well with, the pharmacy was well stocked because it was
25 springtime, so I had everything needed for the spring, sowing. It was
1 really well stocked. It was full. And when it was plundered, was it
2 thieves or was it the BH army? But they must have known who had done it.
3 Q. Why do you say the BH army? Help us with that. Why is it -- it
4 might be the HVO, mightn't it? Why the BH army?
5 A. There, across the street from my pharmacy, was an ABiH checkpoint,
6 and they were controlling this, so that nobody else could have been there
7 but them.
8 Q. You think it's thieves or the BH army, do you? Did you make a
9 report about this?
10 A. I do not claim that it was done by the BH army. But what I do
11 claim is that the BH army must have seen who had done it, because that
12 checkpoint was very close, like -- the distance was like between you and
14 Q. Did you make a report about it to the police?
15 A. I did, yes. It was --
16 Q. To whom?
17 A. It was to the civilian police.
18 Q. Did they come back to you with the results of their inquiry at any
20 A. I was not informed about any results of their investigation.
21 Q. Are you the only Ivica Miskovic in Vitez, to your knowledge?
22 A. To my knowledge, there are three or four, or maybe more.
23 Q. When you made this --
24 A. But I know not less than three.
25 Q. All right. Where do the other three live, in Vitez itself or in
1 the surrounding villages?
2 A. In Kruscica, Veceriska, Krtina Mahala, Santici.
3 Q. Do you know somebody by the name of Ante Miskovic?
4 A. I do know Ante Miskovics; there are also quite a number of them.
5 Q. Okay.
6 A. Four or five at least.
7 Q. And your father's name?
8 A. Marko.
9 Q. One of those Ante Miskovics, is it your brother?
10 A. No.
11 Q. But in any event, you do know an Ante Miskovic.
12 A. I know two Ante Miskovics.
13 Q. I'll come back to that a little later in the sequence of events.
14 I haven't quite got the picture - my fault entirely - about where
15 you lived. Which part of Vitez do you say it was in, or is it in? Just
16 near the Mahala?
17 A. I live in the town, in an apartment building in Vitez. But my
18 shop is at the entrance into Mahala, that is, as you go from Vitez to
19 Mahala, right at the entrance into Mahala.
20 Q. Yes. On the 15th, that's the night before the outbreak, you were
21 where? In your flat?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. What did you know about any curfew or any closing of businesses on
24 the 15th, please?
25 A. Well, the curfew existed even before the 15th. And about the
1 closing of shops, no, I knew nothing about that, except that everything
2 worked as it should, normally, until the curfew.
3 Q. And the curfew was at what time?
4 A. I think either 9.00 or 10.00 at night, but I'm not sure.
5 Q. So that we've got the picture, after 9.00 or 10.00 at night, the
6 only people who would be out on the streets would be those with official
7 business, soldiers and civilians who had a justification for being out; is
8 that about right?
9 A. Well, I guess so. I did not move around.
10 Q. The people in the Croat part of Vitez at that time on the 15th
11 would have been subject to supervision at checkpoints by HVO; is that
13 A. I don't understand. In the town there were Serbs and Muslims and
14 Croats living in the town together. There wasn't a Croat part or a Serb
15 part or a Muslim part of the town.
16 Q. All right. You say there was a curfew. Who was policing the
17 curfew, please?
18 A. I think it was the military police, but I don't know.
19 Q. You say the military police. That would be the military police of
20 the HVO, would it?
21 A. Well, yes, but in Mahala it would be their military police. I
22 don't know. I'm guessing.
23 Q. On the morning you were simply wakened by the sound of shelling,
24 or the sound of firing; is that right?
25 A. Yes, gunfire and shelling, because there were both.
1 Q. And you never found out what had happened, did you? Or did you?
2 A. I heard detonations and big noise all around, and later on I heard
3 that Vitez had been attacked. But what really happened, I ...
4 Q. You say Vitez had been attacked, had it? Well, the Mahala had
5 been attacked, hadn't it?
6 A. No. I said Vitez, because there were detonations going off in the
7 town, explosions in the town.
8 Q. And you knew nothing, of course, about -- just help me if I'm
9 wrong, but you knew nothing about any attack on Ahmici or Santici, or
10 anything like that, did you?
11 A. No, I didn't.
12 Q. You are Ivica, son of Marko, Miskovic.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And I think you're a friend of Zoran Kupreskic; correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You knew him rather well.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You spoke to him after the conflict.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What did he tell you had happened in Ahmici?
21 A. You won't believe me, but that man wept when he learnt about what
22 had happened. When he learned about what had happened, he wept. And he
23 does not understand, he is also at a loss to understand what had
25 Q. And he knew nothing about what had happened in Ahmici, did he?
1 A. No, no, he didn't. No, he did not know. He was not there at
3 Q. I see. A little later on in the year, in May of 1993 you had an
4 encounter with brothers Ibrahim and Jusuf Siljak; do you remember that?
5 A. No, I did not meet them at all.
6 Q. Well, let me ask you this: Did you go to Novaci at all in May of
8 A. No.
9 Q. Were you involved with Ivica Miskovic in -- I beg your pardon,
10 with Ante Miskovic in taking people to the Dubravica detention centre?
11 A. No. I never detained anyone, nor was I in the same unit with Ante
12 Miskovic. Absolutely not.
13 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. You saw people being detained --
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes, there's an objection.
17 MR. KOVACIC: I see that once again the witness is presented by
18 the facts -- or asked on the basis of facts of which the Defence was never
19 informed. We would like to have such materials if there are any.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The witness says he doesn't know anything about
22 MR. NICE: I'm moving on to something else. If Your Honour will
23 just give me a moment.
24 Q. You saw people being arrested. By whom were they arrested, the
25 military police?
1 A. I -- well, military police, you mean the first day? I don't know
2 about any arrests after that, except the first day when those people were
3 taken away.
4 Q. Do you know any names of the military policemen who did the
6 A. I wouldn't really be able to tell you because I was not in the
7 units, in any of the units, until that 23rd.
8 Q. You said something about those detained being the subject of
9 rumours that they had weapons in their premises. Was this being advanced
10 as the reason why they were being arrested?
11 A. No. They were arrested so that nothing would happen to them,
12 because there was chaos in the town. There were all sorts of armed
13 groups, drunken, who robbed and were easy on the gun, were trigger-happy.
14 After that I heard that weapons had been found in some flats, but that is
15 something that I heard at a later date.
16 Q. It's of no significance to the arrest of the people concerned, is
18 A. I don't know how -- "significant," how do you mean that?
19 Q. Well, it doesn't justify their arrest, is what I'm suggesting. It
20 wasn't even being suggested at the time that it justified their arrest
21 that they had arms at home, was it?
22 A. Well, I've just told you, I learned -- it was my assumption that
23 they were arrested to protect them and to protect those soldiers who were
24 in the town.
25 Q. Well, help me with that. In Vitez, did people wander around the
1 town going up to one another, saying, "Are you a Muslim?" or "Are you a
2 Croat?" Is that what they did in 1993?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Or did they wear some badge on their arm proclaiming that they
5 were a Muslim or proclaiming that they were a Croat? Did they?
6 A. No. Only those soldiers from the outside have some patches.
7 Ludvig Pavlovic, Bruno Busic, those outside units, they only had some
8 insignia. And other people, I mean those like civilians, for instance,
9 they never had any insignia or patches. Until the 16th, we always sat
10 down and had a drink together; that is, we would go out or play cards and
11 live normally. I mean, the situation was tense but ...
12 Q. Equally, although there may have been areas like the Mahala which
13 were largely Muslim-occupied, people's houses didn't have signs on them
14 saying, "Croat here," or "Muslim here," did they? Did they?
15 A. Well, I don't know that there were any marked houses. No, I'm not
16 aware of that.
17 Q. The only way that people knew who was a Muslim is if they had a
18 list of who the Muslims were, or if they lived in the town and knew who
19 the Muslims were; correct?
20 A. Well, Vitez is a small place, everybody knows everybody else, so
21 that that's not --
22 Q. But an incoming, visiting interloper soldier looking at two people
23 in the street wouldn't know whether one was a Muslim and one was a Croat.
24 A. Those men, outsiders, everybody was afraid of them, both Croats
25 and Muslims, because they were violent and they were trouble-makers; and
1 everybody, of course, tried to avoid them.
2 Q. I understand what you're saying, but I still want you to explain
3 to me, please, why it was necessary to lock up people who were as alike to
4 Croats as two peas in a pod. Why was it necessary to lock them up to save
5 them from outsiders who wouldn't know who they were?
6 A. Well, I suppose to protect them somehow against those who I just
7 mentioned. Those were units that nobody could really face up to. I mean,
8 such groups, all drunk, with weapons, wherever they would turn up, they
9 would just instil fear.
10 Q. You say that everybody in Vitez knows everybody else. Just two
11 last names. Do you know Marijan Strukar? Do you know Nikola Banic? They
12 live close to the Mahala.
13 A. I do know Marijan Strukar. And the other one, what was his name?
14 Q. Nikola Banic.
15 A. Nikola Banic, no, I don't.
16 Q. Marijan Strukar went to a shelter the night before the outbreak of
17 the fighting. You had a shop near the Mahala, although your premises were
18 in town. Did you receive any warning that would justify your going to a
19 shelter the night before?
20 A. I had no information. In the morning I was taken by surprise by
21 this gunfire which woke me up. I had no information, nor did I go
22 anywhere. The previous night I was playing cards with my neighbours.
23 MR. NICE: Thank you.
24 MR. KOVACIC: I have just three short, short questions.
25 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] To begin from the end, I shall go back to this
2 last question asked by my learned friend. You said you knew Marijan
3 Strukar, and since this has come up, do you have any reason to doubt that
4 man's honesty, sincerity?
5 A. Well, I know this man like this. I don't really know him well. I
6 can't say that I really know him well. I cannot say what kind of a man he
7 is. I know him by sight, I know him --
8 Q. But how well do you know him? Do you know him -- do people say
9 that he is an honest or a dishonest man?
10 A. Well, I never really gave it a thought. I --
11 Q. Which means you don't really know him well?
12 A. No, I don't know him well at all.
13 Q. And this checkpoint of the BH army not far from your pharmacy,
14 tell us, did it exist there from before?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And how long? Was it a week, a month before, ten days?
17 A. Well, I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly. A fortnight
18 perhaps, but it was already there for some time.
19 Q. Very well. Thank you. And the military policemen who took you to
20 the front line, did you personally know them?
21 A. No, I didn't know.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. KOVACIC: That is all, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Pojavnik, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
25 for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You are now free to go.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 JUDGE MAY: Just matter about the arrangements tomorrow.
3 [The witness withdrew]
4 JUDGE MAY: We shall have to take different hours for lunch. It's
5 necessary to make some rearrangement there. And the adjournment will be
6 between 12.30 and 2.15. I hope that's not inconvenient to anybody.
7 MR. NICE: Can I deal with one administrative matter in closed
8 session that I think the Chamber probably wants to have dealt with, to do
9 with -- well, in closed session or private session, if that's possible.
10 [Private session]
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
13 Page 25642 redacted – in private session.
13 Page 25643 redacted – in private session.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.06 p.m., to
19 be reconvened on Wednesday, the 27th day of
20 September 2000, at 9.30 a.m.