1 Wednesday, 7th July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.30 p.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your
7 Honours. Case number IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor
8 versus Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
10 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 WITNESS: NUSRETA MAHMUTOVIC (Resumed)
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
13 [Witness answers through interpreter]
14 Q. Mrs. Mahmutovic, we will be through very
15 quickly. I would like to ask you for a few more points
16 of clarification. You mentioned yesterday, when we
17 were asking about any statements that you had made
18 after going to Travnik, that you spoke to some people
19 regarding certain studies or books and the like. Did
20 you perhaps discuss the topic at all with Mr. Enes
22 A. First of all, let me correct you. I went
23 from Vitez to Zenica, and not to Travnik, as you said.
24 And I did discuss the topic, because Mr. Enes was
25 collecting information, and he asked me for some
1 photographs, because he was the person in charge of
2 studying the crimes committed against the Bosniaks in
3 the area of Vitez.
4 Q. I apologise for mis-speaking and saying
5 "Travnik" instead of Zenica. I know you went to
6 Zenica. So Mr. Surkovic asked you for an interview in
7 his official capacities?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you know who gave him that assignment?
10 A. Personally, I know that he collected data
11 from all people who experienced a tragedy like mine.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 A. You're welcome.
14 Q. Yesterday, you also drew attention to an
15 error in the death certificate for your late husband
16 where the date of his death was incorrectly stated. I
17 wanted to ask you, did you, yourself, establish the
18 error and ask for it to be corrected?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. On that occasion, did you perhaps discover
21 that this was not the only such case, that there were
23 A. No, I knew about this error. I wanted it to
24 be corrected. I have a new death certificate stating
25 the date of death as the 17th of April, 1993.
1 Q. You hadn't heard that the office issuing such
2 certificates had a series of such errors?
3 A. No, I really wasn't interested in that, nor
4 did I hear of any such thing.
5 Q. Very well; thank you. Regarding the HVO
6 soldiers who came to your house, when you came back to
7 collect some things, tell me, could you recognise
8 anyone by name or his face as a local man?
9 A. I certainly could not recognise any one of
10 them, but I assumed that the man who watched over us
11 and who said that we should be left alone because we
12 were women and children, he must have known me, because
13 that young man pointed to me, saying, "There's that
14 older woman." I personally didn't know him, maybe by
15 sight, but I am unable to say that I really knew who
16 the man was.
17 Q. So if I understood you correctly, you assume
18 that only one of them may have been a local man, but
19 you cannot claim that?
20 A. I cannot, but on the basis of what he said, I
21 assumed that he must have known me.
22 Q. I should now like to remind you, without
23 showing you the statement, in order to save time: In
24 your statement to the investigators given on the 3rd
25 and 4th of March, 1999, you said that you took shelter
1 in Mr. Vlado's house, and only here yesterday in your
2 testimony, or rather talking to the Prosecutor before
3 coming into the courtroom, you explained that the
4 surname of that man was Ramljak?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you please tell me, at the time you
7 were making that first statement, when you just
8 mentioned him by first name, Vlado, without his
9 surname, is it because you couldn't remember the
10 surname at the time?
11 A. At the time I was making the statement, I
12 just thought it was sufficient to give the name Vlado,
13 because I really did know that his name was Vlado. But
14 before coming here, I asked my brother, because he was
15 also his friend, I asked my brother what his last name
16 was, and he told me it was Ramljak. And that is how I
17 established that the man's surname was Ramljak.
18 Q. So will you confirm, is my conclusion right,
19 when you made your first statement in March 1999, you
20 were sure that his name was Vlado; later on, you
21 checked and learnt that his surname is Ramljak?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. The course of events on the 16th, and then
24 you reached Divjak on the 20th?
25 A. Roughly.
1 Q. Could you please tell me where exactly in
2 Divjak? Which locality, which house, what part of the
4 A. In front of Franjo Pocrnja's house, across
5 the road from the UNPROFOR base.
6 Q. On the one side is the Pocrnja house and
7 restaurant, and the other side of the street is the
8 entrance to the UNPROFOR base; who brought you there?
9 A. Bruno Buzuk.
10 Q. Were you arrested?
11 A. No.
12 Q. And when you reached that spot, there were no
13 HVO soldiers there?
14 A. At that moment, the situation was quite
15 normal. There were some HVO soldiers, but they didn't
16 provoke us in any way at that time, when we got there.
17 Q. Madam, could you tell us when this idea of an
18 exchange was mentioned for the first time and by whom?
19 A. First, unofficially, Franjo Pocrnja said that
20 his son, Zoran Pocrnja, was in Zenica. He happened to
21 be in the hospital with his wife for some
22 examinations. And that was a talk between me and him,
23 and he said, "It would be fine if I could exchange my
24 son for you." But this wasn't stated in the presence
25 of UNPROFOR or anyone else.
1 Q. So there were no HVO soldiers there present
2 at that time?
3 A. Not at that point in time. There were some
4 soldiers, but they didn't cause any trouble.
5 Q. You mentioned the son of Pocrnja, Zoran; are
6 you referring to the gynaecologist, a physician?
7 A. Yes, he was in Zenica with his wife.
8 Q. So he, as a Croat, would not be released from
9 Zenica; was that the point?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Why then the exchange?
12 A. I think -- I don't think, I'm sure, that it
13 was a misunderstanding on the part of his father that
14 his son could be captured because he happened to be in
15 Zenica. But he lived -- normally he was not under
16 arrest, but it was his understanding that we could
17 leave and that his son could come back, because the
18 roads were already blocked. There were conflicts, and
19 it was -- one couldn't travel normally.
20 Q. I see. The road was blocked, but did anyone
21 tell you that you were not allowed to leave Vitez
23 A. Because of the tragedy I had experienced, I
24 wanted to stay in Vitez municipality. I never thought
25 about my own destiny and what would happen to me in
1 Vitez, but when Bruno came to fetch the wife of
2 Dr. Patkovic and to transfer her to the Pocrnja house,
3 or rather the UNPROFOR compound, I asked that he take
4 us as well -- that is, me and my children -- and he did
6 Q. So, nobody offered you to leave, but you
7 asked to leave?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. That is when you had that conversation with
11 A. No, Bruno simply drove us there so that
12 UNPROFOR could transfer us to Travnik when the occasion
14 Q. Thank you. This place directly opposite to
15 the entrance of the UN base, it is visible for the
16 UN guards standing there?
17 A. It is visible. They have a good view. Yes,
18 it is a very short distance separating them; just the
19 asphalt road.
20 Q. When those HVO soldiers approached you, then
21 you said assaulted you, threatened you, et cetera, did
22 the UNPROFOR soldiers intervene who saw all this?
23 A. Yes, they did intervene. A man sat with us.
24 Whether he was a major or not, I don't know. He was
25 sitting with my children and holding them by the hand.
1 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I would ask your
2 permission. We just presume, because we didn't have
3 any data in advance, that it might be this position,
4 and we drew a simple sketch. But unfortunately we
5 weren't able to copy it. Just for ease of reference,
6 could we place it on the ELMO?
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, put it on the ELMO.
8 It's not coming up on mine.
9 MR. KOVACIC: Neither on ours. Okay, we can
10 leave it. So later if we have the picture -- yes,
11 there it is.
12 Q. Mrs. Mahmutovic, will you please look at this
13 sketch? That's good, that's good. A little bit up so
14 we can see the house on the other side of the street.
15 Yes, that will do.
16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation)
17 Mr. President, would it be possible to know who made
18 this sketch, who drew it?
19 MR. KOVACIC: Defence, we. Me, myself. It's
20 just a simple drawing to show there at the time,
21 nothing else. It's not the evidence.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
23 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation)
24 Q. Madam Mahmutovic, will you show us the
25 entrance to the UN base, please? Just point to it
1 with the pointer, please.
2 A. For me, this whole area could be the entrance
3 (indicating). This fence, roughly there.
4 Q. Could you point to the right on the drawing
5 below the ELMO? Show us the entrance. Is that the
7 A. Yes, roughly. The UNPROFOR base was there
8 (indicating), yes.
9 Q. That is where the guards were?
10 A. Believe me, I really didn't enquire nor look
11 around. I wasn't in such a state of mind.
12 Q. But this is a schematic presentation of the
13 house across the road. It bears the number "6". Does
14 it correspond to the position of the Pocrnja house?
15 A. Roughly, it is somewhere there. I'm not sure
16 that it should be parallel with the road or, rather, at
17 right angles to the road. I'm not sure of that, but
18 roughly like that. It was somewhere there
20 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) So the way the
21 diagram shows it, the house is opposite the entrance to
22 the UN base. Thank you.
23 (In English) Your Honour, if the Court orders
24 so, we can put that in evidence. Of course, we will
25 copy it immediately after the day.
1 (Trial Chamber confers)
2 JUDGE MAY: No. If you want to produce a
3 sketch plan, you can do it in your own evidence in
4 chief. Meanwhile, the witness hasn't recognised enough
5 of it to make it her own document.
6 MR. KOVACIC: That's fine with me, Your
7 Honour, yes. The idea was really to save the time, to
8 have the picture instead of too much talking.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We've seen it.
10 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation)
11 Q. You said that you were sitting somewhere
13 A. Yes, in the yard of the Pocrnja house.
14 Q. This UN officer joined you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. While that officer was there, these threats
17 and insults were hurled at you?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And then Cerkez appeared?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you see where he had come from?
22 A. You had the drawing. He came along the road
23 towards us. He came towards us. He passed by the
24 entrance to the UNPROFOR base. He was coming from the
25 main Vitez-to-Travnik road.
1 Q. As if he had come out of the base or from
3 A. Well, really I don't know where he had come
4 from. I just saw him appear in front of us, and the
5 soldiers started saying, "Here is Cerkez." In fact, I
6 saw him myself. There was several other soldiers with
7 him when he appeared. Where he had come from, I don't
8 know. Whether he had come from the UNPROFOR base or
9 from his own car, I really don't know, but I saw him in
10 person approaching us or, rather, the group of soldiers
11 who were in our immediate vicinity.
12 Q. Very well. Was he approaching alone or with
14 A. He was approaching with two or three
15 soldiers. I think Franjo Pocrnja's son-in-law was
16 there too. I know that that man was killed. I also
17 know that he too was a good friend of my husband's, but
18 I can't remember his name. I really knew him and I
19 recognised him, and I expected him to lend us a hand,
20 as I did Cerkez.
21 Q. Were those people with Cerkez in uniform?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did they bear Viteska Brigade insignia; did
24 you notice that?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Could you conclude in any way that Cerkez was
2 the commander of those who were with him?
3 A. They were HVO members. I knew that Cerkez
4 was an HVO commander, because I lived and worked there
5 and I simply recognised him. Probably he was the
6 commander of those men too, because he first addressed
7 them and then us. He first approached those soldiers
8 who were standing next to us.
9 Q. You said that those soldiers were furious and
10 angry. Did any one of them mention that any one of
11 theirs had got killed or wounded?
12 A. Those soldiers were insulting us. They
13 wanted to strangle one of my children, then the other.
14 He said that somebody had got killed. Anyway, one or
15 two bodies of Croats needed to be exchanged, and
16 apparently the army would not allow it, and they were
17 furious. They were offering the five of us, myself, my
18 two daughters, Mrs. Besa and her son, and the dead body
19 of my husband, to be exchanged in front of the
20 UNPROFOR, but the army apparently did not allow it.
21 Q. So they had already learned about your
22 agreement with Pocrnja and Buzuk?
23 A. No, absolutely not. The discussion with
24 Pocrnja was just a friendly conversation. I don't know
25 whether Pocrnja said anything to those soldiers, but I
1 don't believe so. That conversation has nothing to do
2 with what happened here.
3 Q. Those soldiers, were they people living in
5 A. They were mostly young men whom I cannot
6 really identify. I cannot say that they were so and
7 so, their names. But they were people there. Their
8 wives were there, their houses were there. As for
9 those that I have identified, that is, Dragan and
10 Braco, Budimir, them I know in person, and they
11 insulted me the most.
12 Q. Madam, this Braco, was that the ambulance
14 A. I don't know. No, unless he may have been
15 during the time of war.
16 Q. So he's not the same one, so you don't know
17 his surname?
18 A. Yes, I do. Budimir. He's the brother of
19 Dragan Budimir.
20 Q. This place in front of Pocrnja's house is the
21 place where locals would gather, men and women?
22 A. There were several houses nearby, and there
23 were two of my friends, Croats, who worked with me.
24 They were standing there too and watching what was
25 going on, and they were actually talking to those
1 soldiers who were there, who were threatening us. One
2 soldier stood in front of us, pointed a rifle at us.
3 He was wearing an HVO uniform, and he said that we
4 would be killed. He said to Besa, "You were with them,
5 you ate with them, and you will be killed with them."
6 He was sitting in front of us with a gun pointed at us.
7 Q. At any point in time, did this UNPROFOR
8 officer react in any way to prevent this or to calm
9 things down?
10 A. My older daughter, she could speak English,
11 she was in 8th grade, and I told her to tell the
12 gentleman from UNPROFOR what was going on, that her
13 father had been killed, that her house had been burned
14 down. He consoled her and told her not to be afraid,
15 that they would all disappear upon his order.
16 But they kept saying, "We're not afraid of
17 UNPROFOR. You think you're safe because you're in
18 front of the UNPROFOR base, but that is no security at
19 all for you." That's what they said.
20 Q. Thank you. Then you went on to say that you
21 were transferred by small bus from there, and who
22 transferred you; UNPROFOR?
23 A. No, a local man. A Muslim who stayed behind,
24 who hadn't left yet, he was a bus driver. He had his
25 own bus, and in agreement with those soldiers, he often
1 went to the line of separation. He talked to the army
2 for an exchange to take place, and no agreement could
3 be made until the main person in charge of UNPROFOR,
4 who was in Busovaca, he probably intervened and
5 organised the exchange.
6 Q. Then you were transferred to the part of
7 Divjak known as Sadovaca?
8 A. I was transferred to the separation line, the
9 farm at Divjak where the actual exchange was carried
10 out, and then with this bus I went on to the place
11 called Sadovaca.
12 Q. That is where you entered the territory under
13 BH army control. From then on, you were in the
14 territory controlled by the BH army. My question is
15 why did you have to go on foot?
16 A. How else, when I had to cross the hills?
17 There were no cars, no roads. How could I reach those
18 places? This place is in the mountains, and there was
19 no other way.
20 Q. The BH army didn't give you any assistance?
21 A. My brother-in-law lived nearby. I spent the
22 night there. It may have been 12.00 or 1.00. Anyway,
23 it was rather late, and I was taken in by soldiers who
24 were nearby, army soldiers, the BH army soldiers, and
25 they took me to my brother-in-law's house, who in the
1 morning escorted us on foot, myself and my daughters,
2 to Zenica.
3 Q. One further question. Regarding all those
4 talks over the exchange, which obviously went on all
5 day, the accused Mario Cerkez, did he in any sense
6 participate in those talks about the exchange, directly
7 or indirectly, or did you hear that he participated?
8 A. I did not hear whether he did participate or
9 not. I don't know, but I know the words that he told
10 us, which I have told you and which you don't want me
11 to repeat. As the HVO commander, who else could have
12 participated but he in the exchange? If the most
13 important person from the UNPROFOR in Busovaca had to
14 come to resolve the situation, who else could have
15 spoken on behalf of the HVO but he?
16 Q. Did you hear that Mario Cerkez negotiated the
18 A. I didn't see anyone negotiating, nor do I
19 know where they negotiated. All I know is that this
20 major who was watching us said, "Negotiations will be
21 conducted; don't worry." All I saw was when Mario
22 appeared and what he said. Whether he negotiated or
23 not, I don't know, but we were exchanged in the
25 THE INTERPRETER: Could we ask counsel to
1 slow down a little, please.
2 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation)
3 Q. Did you learn later on that there was an HVO
4 command based in the hotel in Vitez?
5 A. Yes, that was their main stronghold.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 JUDGE MAY: Is it disputed, Mr. Kovacic, that
8 Mr. Cerkez said that as far as he was concerned, to the
9 soldiers, you could kill them all, but UNPROFOR and the
10 BBC were here, and the Armija would gain an advantage?
11 Is it challenged that that was said?
12 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) No. The
13 statement is correct, but the statement, you of course
14 notice, has indeed two parts.
15 JUDGE MAY: Well, we'll go into that. That
16 sounds to be the subject of argument.
17 MR. KOVACIC: It is another issue. What is
18 disputed is only the context of this statement.
19 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
20 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) We will show in
21 our Defence what exactly the context was.
22 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
23 Any re-examination?
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation)
25 Mr. President, the Office of the Prosecutor has no
1 further questions. The Office of the Prosecutor, with
2 your permission, would just like to have a
3 clarification regarding a possibility that could be
4 granted by the Chamber. Following Mrs. Mahmutovic's
5 testimony, and because of the questions raised
6 regarding this press conference in Busovaca on the 15th
7 of April, 1993, the Office of the Prosecutor would ask
8 if it is possible, because we consider that this would
9 be the best opportunity to do so, to present the press
10 conference or at least an abstract from it, chosen by
11 the Office of the Prosecutor, with the appropriate
12 transcript, of course.
13 JUDGE MAY: Well, I think you probably should
14 do it through an appropriate witness. When you come
15 across a witness who saw it, or something of that sort,
16 you can call it through them, rather than this witness,
17 who merely heard about it.
18 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) That is
19 quite correct, Mr. President. The Office of the
20 Prosecutor was just wondering whether it was necessary
21 for the witness to be present for the video to be
23 JUDGE MAY: Well, this witness certainly
24 needn't be present, because she didn't see it.
25 Mrs. Mahmutovic, thank you very much for
1 coming to the International Tribunal to give your
2 evidence. It's now concluded, so you are released, if
3 you would like to go.
4 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
5 (The witness withdrew)
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, you might like
7 to consider an appropriate moment to introduce this
8 video; I'm by no means certain that this is. If you've
9 got another witness, we'll hear the witness, and then
10 in due course you can produce the video of the press
11 conference; ideally, through somebody who actually saw
12 it, if you've got such a witness. Otherwise, we'll
13 consider having it admitted as a documentary exhibit.
14 But it may be you could discuss it with the Defence and
15 find a suitable time.
16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) I fully
17 understand your position, Mr. President. We are not
18 certain of having a witness, at least not one that is
19 available, who could assist with the showing of this
20 press conference. On behalf of the Office of the
21 Prosecutor, I request permission from your Chamber, and
22 I do so because the question was raised yesterday
23 during the testimony, and especially as during the
24 testimony of another witness on the 14th of June --
25 JUDGE MAY: I have not made myself plain. At
1 the moment, no. When you find an appropriate witness
2 to do it, we will admit it. If you can't find an
3 appropriate witness, we'll consider admitting it.
4 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) Thank you,
5 Mr. President.
6 JUDGE MAY: Now, can we go on with the next
7 witness, please.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation)
9 Mr. Lopez-Terres, before the next witness, for whom you
10 have given us a summary, as usual, on the basis of the
11 statement which will help you to guide the
12 examination-in-chief, and which I have in front of me,
13 I am sorry that I didn't have it yesterday. This may
14 be a more general observation. The Chamber would like
15 to have this type of document in advance and not five
16 minutes before the witness enters the courtroom.
17 A second point is that there are certain
18 aspects here regarding which we have already had
19 testimony: for example, the Kaonik, the Vitez cinema.
20 I think that the Office of the Prosecutor should lead
21 this evidence so as to avoid repetition of a certain
22 number of facts which have already been provided by
23 others before this Chamber. Corroboration of certain
24 points is not absolutely necessary, such as those
25 regarding Kaonik or the Vitez cinema. Therefore, in
1 this testimony -- and this also applies to the
2 cross-examination -- we go directly to the main points
3 of the charges, rather than giving us a general
4 overview which distances us, sometimes, from the main
6 That would be my suggestion, and I think that
7 is something that everyone should bear in mind in these
9 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) Your
10 Honour, I fully accept your comments and your criticism
11 in my personal name and on behalf of the Office of the
12 Prosecutor. I should like to specify, however, that my
13 colleague, Madam Somers, will be examining the next
15 JUDGE MAY: There is no criticism, but
16 perhaps we could move as rapidly as possible,
17 particularly on the points where there has been no
18 dispute, such as about what happened in Kaonik and, as
19 far as I remember, the cinema. I might point out, in
20 addition to what the Judge has said, we have already
21 heard at least four witnesses about Kaonik.
22 MR. STEIN: May it please the Court -- I'm
23 sorry to interrupt -- relative to next witness, I make
24 an application as follows. There are two official
25 statements from this witness. There is a third,
1 however, which is critical to the Defence, which I rise
2 to inform you about.
3 The first statement is a statement dated
4 August 31, 1995, on the international criminal tribunal
5 for the prosecution of persons criminally -- persons
6 responsible for serious violations, et cetera, and it's
7 roughly 7 pages. The next is a February 13, 1997,
8 statement of roughly three or four pages, properly
9 served in English and in B/C/S.
10 There is however, Judge, an October 4, 1994,
11 statement given in Zenica, in front of the tribunal
12 about which you've already heard that was investigating
13 crimes. It is in Croatian. It is roughly nine pages,
14 single-spaced. It was provided to us on 31 May, 1999,
15 just in Croatian. We have yet to receive an English
17 It is our position that the Office of the
18 Prosecutor is not in compliance with the Court's order
19 relative to this very important document. It's
20 important, I might add, because it is so full and rich
21 of information. It is important because it was given
22 closest in time and closest in proximity to the events,
23 a comment alluded to in private correspondence between
24 Mr. Nice and myself in which he notes that witness
25 statements closer in time and closer in proximity are
1 to be heavily relied on, something I don't think there
2 is much argument about.
3 It was in a court. It was under oath. There
4 was a judge. And it's important. We are unable to use
5 it fully, although -- I will be perfectly candid with
6 the Court; I have looked through the document for the
7 name "Dario Kordic," I can figure that out, and any
8 time I saw that, I asked what the words around that
9 particular paragraph were.
10 But we don't have it in full, and so I ask
11 that Your Honour consider either precluding the
12 Prosecution from putting on this witness, or
13 alternatively, if the witness is allowed to testify --
14 and I will be cross-examining, and I am prepared to
15 proceed -- but if it turns out, when we do get the
16 translation, which I gather was given to the
17 Translation Unit, that there are areas for exploration,
18 then that the witness be called back.
19 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
20 JUDGE MAY: Well, we'll hear the witness now,
21 and if there is an application to recall the witness
22 arising out of matters in the statement, which is only
23 in Croatian, as we understand it, then we will consider
24 that in due course.
25 MR. STEIN: And I trust the Office of the
1 Prosecutor is continuing to get the translation for all
2 of us.
3 MS. SOMERS: That is correct.
4 (Witness entered courtroom)
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness make the
7 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
8 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
10 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a
12 Yes, Ms. Somers.
13 WITNESS: ENES SURKOVIC
14 Examined by Ms. Somers:
15 [Witness answers through interpreter]
16 Q. Would you please state your full and complete
18 A. My name is Enes Surkovic. I'm a mechanical
19 engineer, born on March 2nd, 1994, in Konjic.
20 Q. What was your background, sir?
21 A. Bosniak, of the Islamic faith.
22 Q. Have you ever served in the military in your
24 A. Yes. I served in the navy in 1972, from '72
25 to '73.
1 Q. What type of work have you done since you
2 finished your university?
3 A. I am a graduate of the third gymnasium in
4 Sarajevo. My parents lived in Konjic. We have our own
5 land. During the holidays I would help my parents in
6 the field work. When I was in high school, I liked to
7 travel a lot as a student also, so I did travel a
8 little bit more around the world.
9 Q. If I could be a little more precise, once you
10 graduated from the engineering faculty, what
11 professional positions did you hold?
12 JUDGE MAY: I don't suppose there is any
13 dispute about that, if you would like to summarise it
14 to the witness.
15 MS. SOMERS:
16 Q. Have you worked as a teacher in high school
17 as well as in the business section?
18 A. I misunderstood. I thought that you were
19 asking what I did when I was in high school. After I
20 graduated, I worked in Vitez for about 20 years, 15 of
21 which I worked as a professor in the Vitez high school,
22 and the rest I worked as a mechanical engineer, as an
23 official in a factory, and so on.
24 Q. As a teacher in Vitez high school, did you
25 ever come across Dario Kordic?
1 A. Mr. Kordic was my pupil. I knew Mr. Kordic
2 very well when he was a pupil, from his days as a
3 pupil, and I can say that Kordic belonged to a very
4 bright generation of pupils in the Vitez high school.
5 I know that Mr. Kordic would come by bus from Busovaca
6 to Vitez to school. He was a good student in his
7 grades and also in his behaviour. I remember certain
8 pupils from his class, from his generation, and I know
9 that some of those young men are already scientific
10 workers, and they are teaching at university in
11 Sarajevo. I know Mr. Kordic graduated from university,
12 but from about 1978, '79, when he completed high
13 school, I never saw or met Mr. Kordic again. But only
14 in 1990 and after that, I more and more frequently used
15 to hear certain information about Mr. Kordic. I think
16 he became a little more politically active. Since
17 then, I had a little more information.
18 JUDGE MAY: I hate to interrupt you,
19 Mr. Surkovic. This is all information you received.
20 Let's go to 1993, shall we, paragraph 7.
21 MS. SOMERS: Okay.
22 JUDGE MAY: Again, I don't think these
23 matters have been in dispute, so you can take them
24 fairly briefly, Ms. Somers.
25 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, will the Court
1 permit me to take one digression back so we can
2 establish one aspect of his position in Vitez?
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
4 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
5 Q. Mr. Surkovic, besides being a resident of the
6 municipality of Vitez, were you politically active, and
7 if so, could you explain a little bit about the nature
8 of your political activity?
9 A. Yes, yes, I was.
10 At that time during Tito's Yugoslavia, the
11 Communist Party was the leading political force in
12 Yugoslavia, and at that time -- this is around 1980 --
13 I was the president of the municipal committee of the
14 League of Communists in Vitez. After that, I was a
15 member of the socio-political council and the
16 intermunicipal conference of the municipalities of
17 Vitez, Travnik, and Novi Travnik.
18 Q. Did the group that was principally formed
19 from the League of Communists acquire a new party name
20 after the elections, and if so, would you please tell
21 us what it was? Is the SDP party a carry-over from
22 that original group?
23 A. Many are mistaken about this. SDP is no
24 development from the League of Communists, it's a
25 completely new political party, a new political party
1 that I still belong to today and that I belonged to in
2 1990, after the first multi-party elections in Vitez.
3 The political party comprises Muslims, Croats, and
4 Serbs, and other nations and nationalities.
5 Q. Mr. Surkovic, based on your being a political
6 person in your municipality, did you have any
7 difficulties mingling with members of other ethnic
8 groups prior to 1993? Was there generally good
9 co-operation between and among the ethnic groups within
10 your municipality?
11 A. Unfortunately, I can't say anything good
12 about this. I would like to emphasise that at the
13 first multi-party elections in Vitez, the national
14 parties, the HDZ and the SDA, had a convincing
15 victory. So already in 1991, these leading political
16 parties, the HDZ and the SDA, started to disagree.
17 There were certain disagreements about the organisation
18 of the political life in the municipality, also the
19 distribution of the political offices.
20 These conflicts deepened, according to people
21 who were politically active in those parties at the
22 time, leading officials. Professor Munib Kajmovic
23 worked with me. He was the professor at the high
24 school. He was the president of the SDA party. Also
25 Mr. Anto Valenta, who was one of the leading HDZ party
2 There were claims that the HDZ was seeking to
3 get more political power than it was entitled according
4 to the results of the elections, and in reflection
5 to --
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Surkovic, we've heard a great
7 deal of evidence about this. This is no criticism of
8 you, of course. But, Ms. Somers, let's move on,
10 MS. SOMERS: All right.
11 Q. Mr. Surkovic, could you indicate what
12 happened to you and your family on the 16th of April,
14 A. I know that you have heard similar testimony,
15 but on the 16th of April, at 5.30, we were woken up by
16 detonations and firing from automatic weapons. We knew
17 that something was wrong. Everybody, every reasonable
18 man, would know that tensions in Vitez had grown.
19 I went to get my children. We went to the
20 shelter in our basement. The door was unlocked. The
21 light was on. There were several more people there;
22 Croats, Muslims, also some Serbs. We were all in the
24 Around 6.00, somebody knocked on the front
25 door. They pounded on the front door. People were
1 afraid. Nobody wanted to go to open the front door. I
2 went, but my neighbour, the wife of Franjo Franjic,
3 held me back. She said, "Professor, don't go to open
4 the door. I'll do it." So she went to open the door.
5 I stayed in the basement. She came back, followed by
6 three men. They wanted the owners of the houses to
7 unlock their houses, to unlock their apartments.
8 When I opened my apartment, when I opened the
9 door, the door was already opened. I saw a young man
10 there. He had a black mask on his face. My oldest son
11 was standing next to him. My son was probably
12 nervous. He was a second-year student in the high
13 school. I had lost control over him. I saw an
14 automatic rifle in the hands of that soldier, and I was
15 afraid for my boy. I asked him to go out.
16 Q. Mr. Surkovic, excuse me. Could I ask you,
17 were you able to identify what type of soldier it was,
18 from what military?
19 A. The men had HVO insignia. They were HVO
20 soldiers. The young man who had a sock on his head, I
21 think that was a young man from Vitez. He could have
22 even been my pupil, my student. I think the masked
23 boys were those who were from Vitez, but there were
24 also men with no masks or socks on their heads or
25 camouflage paint, and they were probably not from
2 Q. Mr. Surkovic, did any of the soldiers who
3 came to your apartment take anything from your
4 apartment? Was there something that they were
5 particularly interested in that you could give them?
6 A. Yes. The man who was in my apartment at that
7 time was searching through the cupboard in my kitchen.
8 He was looking for something. I knew what he was
9 looking for. I knew he was looking for my pistol. I
10 had a license for a gun. But I had moved the gun from
11 the cupboard, because I knew that they would be looking
12 for weapons. Based on my earlier experience, I knew.
13 The young man clearly couldn't find the gun. He
14 spent -- he found a watch there. There was some money
15 there, maybe one or two hundred German marks. It
16 wasn't important. But I told them, "If you're looking
17 for weapons, they are not there. I moved the weapon.
18 It's in the washing machine in the bathroom." I just
19 wanted to use that opportunity. That young man was
20 nervous, and I thought -- I could see that, because he
21 pointed the automatic rifle at me.
22 I told my boy to go to the basement. The
23 soldier went to the bathroom. My neighbour was
24 standing next to me, and he asked me to go to the
25 cellar. He assumed that something really --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please
2 slow down.
3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Surkovic, could you please
4 slow down.
5 A. Okay.
6 MS. SOMERS:
7 Q. Mr. Surkovic, did they in fact take anything
8 from your apartment that you know about for sure? Did
9 you give up a weapon? Did you lose any valuables?
10 A. Yes. The man found my gun in the washing
11 machine. He took that. I told -- I already said that
12 he took an old watch that was a memento. He also took
13 some money. I didn't have a lot of money, there was a
14 crisis already, so the amount of money was negligible.
15 But he found it and he took it.
16 Q. Mr. Surkovic, you mentioned a few minutes ago
17 that based on your prior experience, you knew what they
18 were looking for. Could you explain what you mean by
20 A. The first conflict between the army and the
21 HVO took place on October 20th, 1992, in Vitez. After
22 that conflict, HVO patrols would enter apartments of
23 certain Muslim families. I know a man. His name is
24 Zaim Zukan, nicknamed Pozicija. They came to his
25 door. He wasn't at home. But he was a hunter.
1 His son was home. The men who came put a
2 bomb into his mouth, asking him to tell them where his
3 father's weapons were. Then the host came. He saved
4 his child. He gave them the hunting rifle. That is
5 how I know that they would be looking for weapons, and
6 there were other such examples.
7 Q. Mr. Surkovic, were you in a group that has
8 been referred to as a group of prominent citizens who
9 were incarcerated in various locations in Vitez and in
11 A. That day, at about 10.00, residents from my
12 building -- there are about 20 apartments there -- we
13 went to the basement.
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mrs. Somers,
15 could you please -- can you hear me? Could you ask the
16 witness to answer the questions you're asking him,
17 because he has not answered your question. We would
18 like the witness to answer questions put to him.
19 MS. SOMERS: Very well. Perhaps it wasn't
20 clear. Let me repeat a few, Mr. Surkovic.
21 Q. Were you among --
22 A. Yes, I was in that group of people.
23 Q. Excuse me for cutting you off. Would you be
24 kind enough, if you can, to enumerate some of the names
25 of the people who were also in that group? If you know
1 all of them, that would be fine, but as many as you can
3 A. There was Dr. Patkovic, Dr. Mahmutovic,
4 Professor Muragamula Halilovic (phoen), Professor
5 Hodzic, Professor Muhamed Kaleta (phoen), Professor
6 Zisko Hajrudin, Engineer Dzevad Ridzanovic. He is a
7 master of sciences. There was a lot of people,
8 university people, regular workers, who were all
10 Q. Were you also in the company of Mr. Fuad
11 Kakjno, Mr. Bahtija Sivro, and Mr. Serif Causevic,
12 Mr. Alija Basic?
13 A. Yes. Those people were with me, but this is
14 a group of 13 people which, on May 5th, were taken from
15 Vitez to Kaonik. Mr. Fuad Kakjno, Bahtija Sivro, Serif
16 Causevic, Alija Basic, Suad Salkic, and others were
17 there. There were 13 of us altogether.
18 Q. Just returning quickly to the 16th of April,
19 were you aware of something terrible happening to
20 Mr. Omerdic, and if so, could you briefly tell us what
22 A. When I went to the cellar, the basement, with
23 my boy, I could hear shooting on the floors of the
24 building that I lived in. I asked a friend of mine,
25 Mr. Ilija Azinovic, to go with me to see what was
1 happening, because I knew that somebody had been shot.
2 We went to the late Salih Omerdic's
3 apartment. A man was lying there in a puddle of
4 blood. He was shot by a bullet here, indicates --
5 Q. [Inaudible]... to Mr. Omerdic, the man you
6 referred to?
7 A. Yes, yes. Salih Omerdic, he had a stab wound
8 in his neck, this part, the part of the neck. The neck
9 was not slit, but the knife had gone clean through. I
10 had thought that maybe we could help him, but when I
11 saw a big puddle of blood underneath his head and I
12 could see that he was giving no signs of life, I knew
13 that we couldn't help him. So with my friend, Ilija
14 Azinovic, we laid him down on the ground. We closed
15 his eyes and his mouth. We covered him with a sheet.
16 Then he had the difficult part of going to
17 tell his parent what happened. Mr. Ilija Azinovic is a
18 Croat, but he cried, because his children went to the
19 same class as the children of the man who had been
21 Q. Was Mrs. Omerdic in the apartment, and if
22 so --
23 JUDGE MAY: Well, no, I think we can move
25 MS. SOMERS: Okay.
1 JUDGE MAY: Can we move on to the next page,
2 really. The witness has said that he was
3 incarcerated. It seems he was taken, is this right, to
4 the university, put in the basement there?
5 MS. SOMERS: Yes.
6 JUDGE MAY: We've heard evidence about that
7 and the conditions that were there. Then he was in the
8 cinema. Is that right, Mr. Surkovic? That's where you
10 A. Yes. It's the same building, but it's the
11 basement rooms. They are in another part of the
12 building, and the cinema hall is to the right. But
13 it's the same building, under the same roof, that's
15 JUDGE MAY: You were short, as far as rations
16 were concerned, and there were a lot of you kept in the
17 same room?
18 A. There were a lot of people. We had one tin
19 of sardines and a quarter of bread, that was all, but
20 our families were permitted to bring us food. Yes,
21 there were a lot of people. It wasn't just one room,
22 it was the cinema hall, the basement facilities, and it
23 was the former offices of the League of Communists were
24 on the top floor. So detained in those facilities were
25 about 300 to 320 of us.
1 JUDGE MAY: Then we've heard evidence that
2 you were among the group taken to the chess club, and
3 then --
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 JUDGE MAY: -- you stayed there two days.
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE MAY: Then you were transferred to
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Ms. Somers. If there's
11 anything that you would like to ask about Kaonik which
12 will add something, you, of course, do.
13 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, I will. If I may
14 just ask about four names.
15 Q. May I ask you, Mr. Surkovic, if you recognise
16 the names Zdravko Jurcevic, Zlatko Nakic, and Dragan
17 Toljusic? If you do recognise those names, who were
19 A. Zdravko Jurcevic and Dragan Toljusic are
20 former students of mine. They are boys who worked as
21 security guards at the Workers' University. On the top
22 floor -- on the first floor of that Workers' University
23 are the offices of the HVO, but also there were some
24 detainees there.
25 Zlatko Nakic, I think he was the chief of
1 police. Unfortunately, that young man was killed in
2 the war. He was the chief. Sometimes I would see him
3 around the Workers' University.
4 Q. Were they in any way connected to your stay
5 in the cinema or any connection to your incarceration?
6 A. These men -- I'm sorry, I didn't understand
7 the question.
8 Q. Were these individuals guarding you or
9 associated in any way with your incarceration or
10 detention in the cinema in Vitez?
11 A. Well, I can say that Zdravko Jurcevic was a
12 very fair person. He was my pupil. I can't say the
13 same for Dragan Toljusic. The men are very different.
14 Q. Sorry. I'll just ask you directly. Were
15 they --
16 A. Yes, they were guards.
17 Q. Who is [inaudible]?
18 A. That was one of the men from the police. I
19 would see him often. He knew me. He was a pretty
20 strict man, but I can say that in my presence, he never
21 beat any of the prisoners.
22 Q. When you say "police", can you identify which
23 police department or units you are referring to?
24 A. This is the HVO police.
25 Q. Excuse me?
1 A. HVO police. They were securing those
3 If you will permit me, regarding our return
4 from Busovaca, I have some additional information
5 regarding the work of the police. The work of the
6 police who were there before I went to Busovaca, I have
7 no objections to the way they worked.
8 Q. Once you got to Busovaca, which would be the
9 reference to Kaonik, were you personally ever
11 A. Yes, yes. They didn't interrogate me, but
12 they did ask Fuad Kakjno, Serif Causevic, and Bahtija
13 Sivro and so on.
14 Q. Are you aware or have you been made aware of
15 the presence of Darko Kraljevic in Kaonik present at
16 any of the interrogations of your colleagues?
17 A. I know a couple of the men who were doing the
18 security work in the Kaonik prison. I do not wish to
19 name those men. They are very dear to me. They are
20 Croatian nationality, and they were very upset by the
21 capture of my colleagues and myself. They would bring
22 me food and coffee and they took risks, and I didn't
23 expect that. But I know that Darko Kraljevic -- I hope
24 you know that he was killed. But I know that one of
25 those men, when the name of Darko Kraljevic was
1 mentioned, and this man was a pupil of mine, he said,
2 "Hopefully, Darko will not come among us here." I
3 don't know why, if Darko had done something in Busovaca
4 or not, but I could see that those men of Croatian
5 nationality, the guards, were afraid of Darko
6 Kraljevic. I didn't know Darko very well personally,
7 but I could tell that they would not be happy if he
8 were to come to Busovaca.
9 Q. Just going back to my original question, do
10 you know whether or not or did Alija Basic mention the
11 presence of Darko Kraljevic at all in Kaonik?
12 A. Yes, Mr. Basic was the director of Sintevit
13 in Vitez. It's an enterprise of about 500 or 600
14 workers. The late Darko Kraljevic was conducting an
15 investigation about the export of explosives and
16 gunpowder. There were two big factories in Vitez of
17 explosives and gunpowder. Darko Kraljevic had found
18 out that some Croat official from Vitez was involved in
19 the smuggling of gunpowder and explosives from Vitez to
20 Croatia, and he thought that Alija Basic could help him
21 to find out something more about this.
22 Alija Basic --
23 JUDGE MAY: We've heard enough about that,
24 unless there's some particular point, Ms. Somers.
25 MS. SOMERS: He has reached the point for
1 me. Thank you.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We understand that the Red
3 Cross, Mr. Surkovic, came to visit the prison, and
4 we've heard about their visit. If you get to paragraph
5 25, Ms. Somers.
6 MS. SOMERS: Yes.
7 Q. Mr. Surkovic, on or about the 15th of May,
8 you were to have been exchanged. Were you, in fact,
9 exchanged that day, and if so, could you tell us what
10 occurred prior to your leaving the camp?
11 A. We were to have been exchanged then, and we
12 were told to get ready. We saw a Kombi van waiting in
13 front of the door of the building with the 20 cells in
14 it, and Mr. Zlatko Aleksovski called us out one by one
15 to sign some papers on our discharge and sending us for
16 exchange. However, I wish to underline that when we
17 had all come out and we were ready to leave,
18 Mr. Aleksovski said that our departure was being
19 delayed indefinitely because, in his words, the army
20 had not done its share of the deal, apparently. Of
21 course, we were all disappointed. We went back to the
22 cells. Some 20 minutes later, orders came that we
23 should go into the corridor again. Mr. Aleksovski then
24 told us that Mr. Dario Kordic had intervened and
25 ordered that we should be sent for exchange. That was
1 how it was.
2 Q. And were you, in fact, that very day
3 exchanged, or were you taken somewhere else?
4 A. No, unfortunately we were boarded into this
5 van and taken back to Vitez and put up in the cinema
6 hall. And if I may continue, two hours later, two HVO
7 soldiers appeared. They called out one young man
8 called Suad Salkic, he said that they were his
9 neighbours and not to be afraid, they had just come to
10 see him. However, when that young man went out, we
11 could hear them fighting, and then two other guards,
12 policemen, HVO policemen, appeared who were at the door
13 to the cinema hall, at the main entrance. Then these
14 two men had a half a metre long pole and they were
15 beating Suad Salkic with it.
16 Q. Did you see that yourself, Mr. Surkovic,
18 A. Yes, I saw that, as did the other members of
19 the group of 13 of us that were there. Suad Salkic was
20 bleeding because one of the men had hit him on the back
21 of the head here, and there was a cut, and it was
23 Q. Did the HVO military police who came to heed
24 the call assist Mr. Salkic?
25 A. Yes, they assisted, but I saw that he had
1 been hit with this pole, and I saw the pole. I thought
2 it could have serious consequences, so I asked the
3 policemen to take him to the medical centre, which was
4 200 metres away from the cinema hall. I saw that these
5 young men were terrified. They just shrugged their
6 shoulders and didn't dare do anything, so that Salkic
7 was left there in the cinema hall.
8 Q. Did there come a time when Mario Cerkez
9 appeared in the cinema hall following this event?
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Ms. Somers,
11 could we know, could we learn from the witness whether
12 he knew or whether he heard why Suad Salkic was
13 beaten? What were the reasons for the treatment he was
15 MS. SOMERS: Yes, Your Honour, that was going
16 to come following the next question. It's part of the
18 Q. You've heard the question of His Honour. If
19 you could explain about the appearance of Mr. Cerkez?
20 A. May I explain? Suad Salkic told us that
21 those men were his neighbours. However, let me now
22 explain this and the second part of the question.
23 Some 40 minutes after that incident,
24 Mr. Santic, Ivica, who was the mayor of Vitez,
25 Mr. Mario Cerkez, Mr. Stipo Krizanac, and the late Boro
1 Ilic, came to the cinema. They spoke to us -- that is,
2 Mr. Ivica Santic insisted that the 13 of us should go
3 back to our apartment. He told us if we agreed to go
4 back, then within two hours he would have our
5 apartments vacated, because some other people had
6 already moved in.
7 I asked, "How safe would we be if we stayed
8 in Vitez?" The mayor told us that our security was
9 equal to his and that nothing worse could happen to us
10 than to him. I was angry about this whole thing. Then
11 I showed Mr. Santic and Mr. Cerkez the wound on
12 Mr. Salkic's head, which was bleeding, and my
13 handkerchief was full of blood.
14 Mr. Cerkez was very angry, and he said he
15 would investigate. He went out, came back ten minutes
16 later, and told us that those men were living close to
17 Suad Salkic in the Sadovaca village, and that somebody
18 had wounded with a firearm the mother of one of the
19 guys who had beaten Mr. Salkic. I said, "But
20 Mr. Salkic has nothing to do with that. He could have
21 no influence over that." I'm not even sure that that
22 was true, that the mother of one of the soldiers had
23 been wounded.
24 Q. Did Mr. Cerkez indicate that he would take
25 any measures to investigate and/or to punish the
1 individuals who did this beating?
2 A. No, Mr. Cerkez said nothing further, and
3 Mr. Ivica Santic was extremely embarrassed at that
4 time. However, for us who were planned for exchange,
5 this was a sign, and we insisted, in fact, we insisted
6 that our families go with us and the families of a few
7 other people who had still not left Vitez. And I say
8 thank God that we left, because those who believed that
9 they would be safe, many of them are under the ground.
10 I know five or six such families who believed, but
11 later were killed, a month or two later, and all trace
12 of those families is lost.
13 Q. Mr. Surkovic, then, although you and the
14 other gentlemen with you saw the beating take place,
15 and Mr. Cerkez and Mr. Santic were aware of this, did
16 they ever ask you to give a statement or to provide any
17 details about what happened, either Cerkez or Santic or
18 Mr. Krizanac? Did anybody ask you to provide any
19 details about what happened, for purposes of
21 A. No, no, they didn't make any record of that.
22 They no longer insisted that we go back to our own
23 apartments, because they, themselves, had seen the
24 condition of Mr. Salkic, and they saw that we were
25 determined to leave Vitez. Therefore my answer is no.
1 Q. To the best of your knowledge, did you ever
2 learn of any investigation or punishment at any time
3 subsequent being undertaken?
4 A. I never heard of any investigation, but as a
5 person, I hadn't expected that, because there were many
6 far worse cases, many deaths. Compared to what
7 happened later, in May, June, and July, this was a
8 minor episode, a negligible one.
9 Q. Mr. Surkovic, one question I neglected to ask
10 you: Does the name "Milivoj Petkovic" mean anything to
12 A. Yes. I heard of that name for the first time
13 in Busovaca. When we were about to be exchanged, we
14 had to sign a document, on an A4 document. I think he
15 was one of the HVO commanders, because it said in that
16 document, "By order of Mr. Milivoj Petkovic" the 13 of
17 us had to go for exchange. That was the first time I
18 came across the name of Mr. Milivoj Petkovic.
19 MS. SOMERS: May I ask the usher please to
20 present Exhibit Z2713.
21 Q. Mr. Surkovic, can you please explain what
22 this document is and what authority it provided?
23 A. Mr. Fuad Kaknjo was the president of the
24 executive board, and the head was Ivan Santic.
25 Mr. Kaknjo Fuad issued this document ordering me and
1 Dzidic to accept refugees coming from Vitez, and as far
2 as possible to facilitate their accommodation in the
3 village in schools and camps and so on, and to assist
4 them as far as we could with food, clothing, and so
5 on. That was one of our tasks.
6 This is a rather poor copy, but I think the
7 original document is much clearer, and one can easily
8 see the stamp and signature. That was my task for a
10 Q. Did you also engage in documenting the
11 atrocities that took place in Vitez municipality from
12 1993 on, or perhaps slightly earlier?
13 A. Yes, from the very first day of the conflict
14 between the army and the HVO -- that is, the 20th of
15 October, 1992, onwards, and even a little earlier on --
16 I kept a diary in which I took note of everything of
17 importance. This is the duty I performed, to take care
18 of refugees. Through those activities I learned a
19 great deal about what had happened in Vitez, about the
20 disappearance of entire families. From family members
21 I collected invaluable information and data which made
22 it possible for me to write a book about the conflict
23 in Vitez, or rather Vitez from 1990 until 1995.
24 In this book I covered some tragic
25 situations, both among Croats and Muslims, but there is
1 a great deal of evidence there, and this document made
2 it possible for me to obtain some invaluable
3 information, as I have said.
4 Q. Did your appointment to the commission, that
5 you just indicated is evidenced on the document in
6 front of you, did that appointment also facilitate your
7 ability to collect this information?
8 JUDGE MAY: He just said that.
9 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me; I read it wrong.
10 I'd like to ask the usher to present
11 Exhibit Z2715, and then the translation thereof, which
12 would be Z2715A.
13 Q. Mr. Surkovic, if I can ask you briefly to
14 explain the items that are in this document and
15 explain, again briefly, how they were collected and
16 what use they have been put to?
17 A. On the first page, document 681792, under
18 point 5, the names are given of the camps where certain
19 Muslim families were held. These figures on the number
20 of incarcerated people, people under arrest, are
21 approximations. They were obtained from people who
22 were in the camps who were in the Brotherhood and Unity
23 elementary school. And if you add up these figures, in
24 these six collection points, there were roughly 1.200
25 to 1.500 people who were in captivity in Vitez.
1 I must also point out that at the
2 beginning --
3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Just a
4 moment. I think that the question put to you was not
5 regarding the contents of the document itself that we
6 have, but rather to tell us what this document is,
7 where it comes from and what its purpose is. The
8 question had to do with the form of the document rather
9 than the contents. The contents we have before us, and
10 we're going to read them.
11 A. These are lists of names of people killed in
12 that period in Vitez, in the local community, the date
13 and place of birth --
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Wait a
15 minute, please, Mr. Surkovic. What is this document?
16 Can you define it for us? It was produced by you in
17 front of a commission to be used for a certain
18 purpose. Could you introduce the document? Not the
19 contents of the document; the document as such.
20 A. Yes. This is a list of people who were
21 killed in Vitez. The purpose was for people who had
22 fled from Foca, Visegrad, so their families should
23 know, to be able to trace them, whether they were
24 killed or not. This list of names was also given to
25 Mr. Mustafa Ahmic, who was a person in charge of the
1 records. It is an authentic and trustworthy one. It
2 is quite accurate regarding the list of dead people
3 from Vitez and the refugees who were in the territory
4 of Vitez on that date, in that period.
5 I should also like to underline that
6 regarding the Kolonija in Vitez, there are certain
7 minor omissions, but these can and will be corrected.
8 In my book, everything is accurate. This applies in
9 particular to the Mujicic family, Kasim Mujicic and his
11 MS. SOMERS:
12 Q. Are they listed specifically in this
13 document, Mr. Surkovic, the Mujicic family?
14 A. This list mentions them here in one place.
15 Kasim Mujicic, his granddaughter, and so on. But more
16 precise data are missing, date of birth and the place
17 where they were buried, because at the time I didn't
18 have those data. But he was a man who was town mayor
19 of Vitez for twelve years. Anyway, one is duty-bound
20 to give exact data to families whose members were
21 killed in the war.
22 Q. The Mujicic family, on the page the last four
23 numbers of which are 1800, which also lists the family
24 Tuco and Kargic; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, yes. The Mujicic family, it says here.
1 Kasim, Nedim; Nedim was a pupil of mine. He is
2 probably Mr. Dario Kordic's generation. He was killed
3 sometime in July, in 1993.
4 Q. Mr. Surkovic, thank you very much.
5 MS. SOMERS: If we can ask the usher to
6 present exhibits 2714 and 2714A, and then 2714,1.
7 JUDGE MAY: What are these documents?
8 MS. SOMERS: They are summaries that were
9 made by the witness in the course of his serving on the
10 commission that document the types of -- the nature of
11 the death, the location, the villages. There are
12 photographs, as well, of the places which were
13 destroyed in the course of the conflicts that took
14 place in Vitez municipality.
15 Q. Looking quickly, Mr. Surkovic, at the
16 document labelled 2714,1, if you could just quickly
17 explain to the Court what these photographs represent
18 -- again, generically, what types of incidents were
19 covered -- and then we'll move on to another document.
20 A. This is evidence of the crimes committed in
21 Vitez in 1993. You see here an UNPROFOR soldier
22 burying -- carrying bodies of killed people. You see
23 the mosque; you see the pictures of people who were
24 killed. All this is contained in my book. You see
25 here children and women and the elderly; they were all
1 killed in that tragic, unfortunate year in Vitez
3 I wish to immemorialise those people. I want
4 their children to know what happened, not to take
5 revenge, but just so that they should know what war
6 is. There were people of Croatian ethnicity who were
7 killed too.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Surkovic, I going to
9 interrupt you for a moment.
10 Mr. Stein, have you seen these documents?
11 MR. STEIN: The short answer is, the
12 majority, yes.
13 JUDGE MAY: I'm just looking at 2714, and I
14 see it begins with a list of people killed in Ahmici.
15 There is then a hand-written text.
16 A. Can I explain?
17 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment, Mr. Surkovic.
18 Well, we'll take the adjournment now. I hope
19 it's going to be possible to complete this witness's
20 evidence today. There's nothing in the summary about
21 these documents. We'll take them out and consider
23 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. After
24 attempting to get these in, Your Honour, that will be
25 the end of my examination.
1 JUDGE MAY: So I make sure we've got it
2 right, we've got 2714, beginning with the list of
3 people killed in Ahmici; we've got 2714,1, which are
4 the photographs which have been attached; we've got
5 2715, the document which has already been referred to.
6 Is that right? Is that what we should have?
7 MS. SOMERS: Yes, sir, and there will also be
8 a request to have 2283A, which has already been
9 admitted as the template for the translation of death
10 certificates, which has been admitted in the testimony
11 of other witnesses, so I don't think it is necessary to
12 resubmit it, just to bring the Court's attention to
14 Then Z1583 is the groups of death
15 certificates specifically from Ahmici, which are
16 essentially referenced and incorporated into the
17 report, and the translations thereof. Much of this was
18 attached to the statements which were turned over to
19 the Defence.
20 MR. STEIN: The reason I was quizzical,
21 Judge, is the photographs that we have look like this
23 MS. SOMERS: The quality is very bad.
24 MR. STEIN: I can't tell you whether I've
25 seen any of these before or not, because all I've seen
1 was -- there's more.
2 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn for a quarter of an
3 hour now.
4 --- Recess taken at 4:10 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 4.32 p.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Now, Ms. Somers, we've looked at
7 this. I think that this is the first such list that
8 we've had in this case, is that right, of the people
9 killed in Ahmici?
10 MS. SOMERS: I believe so.
11 JUDGE MAY: The point we want to get home to
12 the Prosecution is we do not want repetition of
13 evidence. Now, do you want to rely on this as your
14 evidence about the people who were killed in Ahmici or
15 have you got other evidence which you want to call on
16 the subject?
17 MS. SOMERS: This particular list may be
18 virtually identical to the list that was presented
19 through another witness in a sister case. I would ask
20 that it be accepted so that if any names may have
21 inadvertently been left off of another list that is
22 before the Court, it will give the Court a complete
23 picture, based on the documentation that was gathered.
24 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
25 Now, is there any relationship between 2714,
1 the list, and the photographs?
2 MS. SOMERS: There should be names of some of
3 the individuals. Now, this appears to be -- excuse me
4 one second. 2714 is the actual Ahmici killing. Some
5 of the photographs -- the Kargic family was not killed,
6 as I understand it, at Ahmici. Some of the photographs
7 that were turned in are more expansive or cover Vitez
8 municipality beyond Ahmici, and I think the relevance
9 for other deaths in the municipality is there.
10 JUDGE MAY: Then there is, in the middle, a
11 hand-written text. At page 5 of the document, there's a
12 hand-written text. What is the relevance of this?
13 MS. SOMERS: This document was, in the course
14 of collecting documentation, was given to Mr. Surkovic
15 by the mother of the infant whose death is described in
16 the text.
17 JUDGE MAY: So these documents are being put
18 in as documents collected by this witness in the course
19 of his duties when he was collating evidence about
20 these events; is that correct?
21 MS. SOMERS: That is correct, Judge.
22 JUDGE MAY: That is the basis upon which they
23 are put in. I see. The pictures, similarly, are those
24 he collected. Very well.
25 MS. SOMERS: The last exhibit which I had
1 indicated prior to the recess is the group of death
2 certificates from Ahmici, or as many of them as this
3 institution has been able to collect, that the witness
4 has confirmed match his documentation. He had an
5 opportunity to look through them. I would ask that we
6 submit the exhibit as a composite.
7 JUDGE MAY: Is this the document which has
8 already been exhibited?
9 MS. SOMERS: The one that was exhibited was
10 the top of it, the 2283A, which is a standard template
11 translation into English for death certificates. The
12 names on 1583 should correspond to 2714A.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
14 MR. NAUMOVSKI: (Interpretation) Your Honours,
15 we object to this kind of gathering of evidence. The
16 witness did not state that it was his duty in
17 accordance with the authorisation signed by Fuad
18 Kakjno. He just used that opportunity to do these
19 tasks privately.
20 JUDGE MAY: It's an expression. I said it
21 was part of his duty. No doubt you could ask him how
22 he came to do it when you cross-examine. These are
23 documents which he's collected, and it's on that basis
24 which they are being submitted. Now, are you objecting
25 to the --
1 MR. NAUMOVSKI: (Interpretation) Yes, because
2 they are part of a private investigation and not part
3 of an official duty.
4 JUDGE MAY: What difference does that make?
5 MR. NAUMOVSKI: (Interpretation) We didn't
6 hear about the sources, where these documents come
7 from, the lists. I haven't heard that, at least.
8 (Trial Chamber confers)
9 JUDGE MAY: You'll have the chance,
10 Mr. Naumovski, to ask about where they came from. We
11 shall admit them, the witness having collected them.
12 MS. SOMERS: May I just, so there is no
13 confusion, the last --
14 (Trial Chamber confers)
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mrs. Somers,
16 all that is stated here, has all of it been translated,
17 including the hand-written document, because it is
18 important. It is important that all the text, apart
19 from photographs, be translated. Together with
20 Mr. Stein, I must agree that some of the photographs
21 are not quite visible, but he may come to that in the
22 cross-examination. But in any event, have all the
23 texts here been translated? That is important.
24 MS. SOMERS: My understanding is there is a
25 complete packet of translation in Exhibit 2714A, so it
1 should be with the Court.
2 If I could make it clear just for the Court
3 that the last exhibit, 1583, are official documents
4 that were shown to the witness to confirm that they
5 match the information which he produced in his own
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Anything else, Ms. Somers?
8 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me. It was wisely
9 pointed out that I have not submitted them to the
10 Court. I've mentioned them, but I would ask the usher
11 to please take the death certificates.
12 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mrs. Somers,
13 perhaps you could tell us, at least, whether these
14 death certificates are of those people who were killed,
15 according to the list that was given to us, people who
16 were apparently killed in Vitez. What are these death
17 certificates that you're giving us, because just by
18 giving us those death certificates, in themselves, they
19 don't mean much. What are they related to?
20 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, these certificates
21 relate to the deaths which occurred in Ahmici, and in
22 the course of reading the other documents which are
23 before you, you will see that there are other matters
24 related to Donja Veceriska and Gacice and other
25 villages. But these particular certificates relate to
2 JUDGE MAY: How many, please, are there, just
3 so we have that?
4 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry, I have to do a quick
5 count, unless we have a summary figure. Judge, I did
6 not itemise them. Shall I --
7 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to count them
8 during the cross-examination, you can tell us how many
9 there are.
10 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
11 Based on the information that I have had at
12 my disposal, this is the end of my examination.
13 I wanted to let the Court know that during
14 the recess, the translation section presented a draft
15 examination of the document which was discussed earlier
16 at the beginning of the session, and we have presented
17 it to counsel of both accused, and we have been told by
18 the translation section -- and this is the first time
19 we have seen it as well -- that tomorrow they expect to
20 have the revised, proper translation for submission.
21 Since I have not had the benefit of it either, I cannot
22 proceed on it.
23 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
24 MS. SOMERS: Just to let the Court know, the
25 translation reflects the glitch that occurred. The
1 name of the witness is Surkovic, and it was written on
2 the document as "Surkrovic" and did not come up in any
3 prior searches. Therefore, we all suffered and paid
4 the price, because it never surfaced. When we got it,
5 we turned it over.
6 JUDGE MAY: This is the statement to which
7 Mr. Stein was referring?
8 MS. SOMERS: Yes, it is.
9 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
10 Judge Robinson.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Surkovic, I would like
12 to take you back to the beginning of your testimony,
13 when you went to the basement along with, you said,
14 Croats and Muslims, having heard the HVO approaching.
15 There was a knock on the door. You started to go to
16 the door to open the door, but the wife of Franjo
17 Franjic said to you, "Don't go," and she went and
18 opened the door. I wanted to find out, the wife of
19 Franjo Franjic, to what ethnic group did she belong?
20 A. She was a Croat, so a person of Croat
21 nationality. She was in the neighbourhood. We were
22 friends. We got on very well, and she was probably
23 afraid that something may happen to me. She said it
24 was the war and it was chaos, so she felt it was better
25 for her to open the door.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's why you allowed her
2 to go, because she was a Croat?
3 A. I thought that it would be wiser to let her
4 open the door, because I knew that this was an HVO
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Stein.
8 MR. STEIN: With the Court's permission, we
9 would like to switch the order of examination.
10 JUDGE MAY: All right.
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
12 Good day, Mr. Surkovic. My name is Goran
13 Mikulicic, and I am representing Mario Cerkez. I would
14 like to ask you several questions, so I would please
15 ask you to respond according to your best
17 Q. Mr. Surkovic, could you please tell us what
18 your citizenship was in 1992 before the independence of
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina was declared, and what was your
20 nationality after the declaration of independence?
21 A. Sir, I don't know if you can tell the
22 difference between Muslims with a capital "M" or with a
23 small "m." If you notice the difference, then it will
24 be clear to you. And you probably also know --
25 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Surkovic.
1 Would you please answer my question?
2 A. Sir, I was a Muslim with a capital "M." It
3 may not be quite clear to you, but if you allow me to
4 explain --
5 Q. Mr. Surkovic, would you please allow me to
6 ask you this question again? Perhaps you didn't
7 understand it.
8 A. I did understand it.
9 Q. I will repeat the question: Up until April
10 1992, what was your citizenship?
11 A. From April 1992?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. Until April 1992, I was a citizen of Bosnia
14 and Herzegovina.
15 Q. And after that date?
16 A. I continued to be a citizen of that State.
17 Q. Thank you very much. That was all that I
18 wanted to ask.
19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation)
20 Mr. Mikulicic, I should like to remind you, for the
21 benefit of the organisation of the discussion during
22 the hearing, that we have already asked you why you
23 keep asking the question of citizenship, and you told
24 us. Perhaps we could gain time if we knew why you are
25 asking it, because then you wouldn't have to ask the
1 same question each time. You told us, regarding the
2 nature of the conflict, we took note of that, and I
3 think that in future, we could economise with that type
4 of question and save time.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: I thank Your Honour for the
6 suggestion. The Defence is aware of the fact that
7 repeating a question does not lead to faster
8 proceedings. Regarding this fact, Defence has
9 requested from the Prosecution to admit this, not to
10 dispute this. But until the Prosecution does not
11 contest this, that this is a matter of the same
12 citizens in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
13 the Defence would like to have the right to question
14 that in each particular case. Because according to the
15 Defence, this is a very important circumstance which
16 establishes the basis for the application of the law.
17 If Your Honours consider that at the time of
18 the conflict that we are discussing now, all persons on
19 the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina were citizens
20 of the same State, then there is no need for the
21 Defence to keep on asking the same question. As far as
22 the Defence understands, the Prosecution did not wish
23 to stipulate this as a contested fact.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, let's go on.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you.
1 Q. Mr. Surkovic, in response to the Prosecutor's
2 question, you stated that you were a Bosniak of Islamic
3 faith by nationality; is that true?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you tell us if you are a practising
7 A. Yes, I am.
8 Q. Is it true, Mr. Surkovic -- and I think you
9 said that yourself, that before the outbreak of the
10 conflict in the territory of the former Yugoslavia and
11 before the multi-party elections, you were a member of
12 the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. In that
13 political party, were you able to articulate your
14 religious position?
15 A. In the League of Communists, the League of
16 Communists accepted people who did not visit religious
17 objects, facilities, according to the concept of Tito's
18 Yugoslavia. But you know very well that the party
19 allows for -- the SDP party allows for religious
20 freedom. I am a member of the SDP party, and that
21 party allows me to have religious freedom.
22 Q. When you were a member of the League of
23 Communists, did you also visit religious facilities?
24 A. I did not, but my father always went, and I
25 always would greet my father in the Muslim manner out
1 of respect for him.
2 Q. I understand, Mr. Surkovic. Would you please
3 tell us in what part of Vitez was your house, the house
4 that you lived in?
5 A. I don't know how familiar you are with
6 Vitez. That is Street Partizanska Number 2, and it's
7 the second house close to the hotel. It's Partizanska
8 Street, two houses away from the petrol station.
9 That's the name of the street.
10 Q. Could you tell us the name of the hotel?
11 A. Hotel Vitez.
12 Q. Mr. Surkovic, we heard information about your
13 job, and we can conclude from that that you spent a lot
14 of time working as a professor in Vitez. How long, in
15 fact, did you live in Vitez?
16 A. About 20 years.
17 Q. Could it be said that during your stay in
18 Vitez, through your duties as professor, you
19 practically met all the young men who attended high
21 A. Well, not all of them. I didn't teach all of
22 them. The high-school centre is large, and it would
23 number from 900 and more students, so I didn't teach
24 everybody. I didn't teach chemistry. But I did teach
25 a large number of the young men who attended the high
1 schools, and also all the vocational courses that were
3 Q. Mr. Surkovic, you said that you also taught
4 Mr. Kordic. Did you also teach Mr. Cerkez?
5 A. No. No, I did teach Mr. Kordic, but I don't
6 remember Mr. Cerkez.
7 Q. Did you know Mr. Cerkez from any other
8 context before the conflict?
9 A. Personally, I know Mr. Tugomir Cerkez; that's
10 Mario's father. I know his mother. But I know that
11 Mr. Cerkez worked in the security service of the Unis
12 factory, where I worked for a while. He worked with
13 Mr. Sefkija Dzidic. I think that Mr. Cerkez has
14 attended the reserve officers' school, and I think that
15 his ability to work in the security service comes from
16 that education.
17 Q. I understand you said, Mr. Surkovic, that you
18 knew Mr. Cerkez's parents very well. In socialising
19 with those people, did you notice that they had any
20 kind of religious or nationalistic leanings?
21 A. No, I never noticed that they were
22 chauvinistic in any way, or that they did not like any
23 kind of national group.
24 Q. Mr. Surkovic, you described the events on the
25 morning of the 16th of April, 1994, and then you
1 mentioned that together with your family, you went to
2 the basement of the building. The basement was your
3 shelter. Could you please tell us if you went down to
4 the shelter before that day?
5 A. Yes, it happened once before, when a group of
6 two or three aeroplanes of the former Yugoslav army was
7 flying over Vitez. They bombed. They did not hit too
8 many targets, but that was when we went to the
9 shelter. All of the residents in the building went to
10 the shelter.
11 Q. Would you correct me if I'm wrong, but the
12 basement was suitable for use as a shelter from before,
13 so in view of the fact that you used it before, you
14 went downstairs to the basement again to seek refuge;
15 is that true?
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. Mr. Surkovic, after that, you told us about
18 your encounter with the soldier in your apartment. You
19 said that he was masked?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. Could you tell us if you noticed any kind of
22 military insignia on the uniform of that young man?
23 A. That young man, I said a moment ago, he had a
24 stocking over his head. As for insignia, he just had
25 the chequerboard flag and the HVO. I saw nothing
2 Q. Did you notice, on any other soldiers that
3 you came across in your building on that day, the
4 military insignia in addition to the fact that they
5 carried the insignia of the HVO as an armed
7 A. I do not remember.
8 Q. Mr. Surkovic, after that, you told us that
9 you were taken to the Workers' University and put up in
10 the basement there. You also told us that that
11 building was secured by members of the HVO police. My
12 question is, are you thinking of the military police or
13 the civilian police?
14 A. I'm thinking of the military police.
15 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Surkovic, those
16 soldiers, members of the military police, were they
17 wearing any insignia by which you could tell that they
18 were members of the military police?
19 A. They wore camouflage uniforms. The civilian
20 police have their regular uniforms, and I knew a great
21 many of them personally, so that I'm quite sure that
22 this was the military police. That was their job. On
23 the uniform, it said "Police," for the regular police.
24 Q. I see. We know of what happened with you
25 later, when you were transferred to the chess club, to
1 Kaonik, and back again. Let me ask you the following:
2 Who was responsible for your transfer from the basement
3 of the Workers' University to the chess club, then from
4 the chess club to Kaonik? Who were those people who
5 took care of you and who guarded you?
6 A. I wish to underline that Mr. Zdravko Jurcevic
7 was one of the persons in charge of security in
8 Automobil, and he transferred a group of us from the
9 Workers' University to the chess club, some 600 metres,
10 by orders of Mr. Zlatko Nakic. And Mr. Jurcevic did
11 so, unwillingly. In my presence, they quarrelled, but
12 he followed orders nevertheless.
13 Q. I see. When you were in Kaonik, were there
14 any guards there?
15 A. Yes, there were the security guards. What is
16 more, a young man who used to be my pupil was there who
17 behaved very correctly. I do not wish to mention his
18 name. I asked that young man to pretend not to know
19 me, but I also asked him, if he could, to prevent the
20 entry of military persons into the cell. In that way
21 he would be assisting me most.
22 Q. And this young man you are referring to, was
23 he a soldier?
24 A. Yes, yes, but my former student, and he found
25 it very hard to accept what was happening in Vitez and
2 Q. Was he a member of the military police?
3 Could you tell us that? Or was he a member of another
4 unit? Or perhaps you don't know.
5 A. No, he wore a uniform. He was dressed in an
6 HVO uniform. He did his job, but I didn't see the word
7 "Police" written on his sleeve.
8 Q. Tell us, Mr. Surkovic, if I understood you
9 correctly, you stayed in the basement of the Workers'
10 University for how many days?
11 A. I stayed there for three or four days, and
12 then I was transferred to the cinema hall.
13 Q. While you were there, did anyone come to
14 visit you? I'm referring to doctors or representatives
15 of the international community: the Red Cross, the
16 European monitors, or the like.
17 A. We prisoners were entitled to be examined by
18 a doctor, Dr. Franjo Tibold. And Dr. Rada Savanovic, a
19 lady doctor, and another lady doctor, came one day to
20 examine prisoners who needed treatment. As for the
21 International Red Cross, I know that those people came
22 to Busovaca and that I was registered by the
23 International Red Cross; that is, I, together with the
24 other 13 who were transferred there.
25 Q. Mr. Surkovic, were you personally examined by
1 Dr. Franjo Tibold?
2 A. I didn't ask for any medical assistance.
3 Q. What do you mean when you say you didn't ask
4 for any medical treatment?
5 A. In those days, some other people needed the
6 assistance of the doctor -- people who were suffering,
7 who were old, who were weak -- and they needed
8 assistance much more than I did. I personally didn't
9 need any assistance. But I did need it in Busovaca,
10 and I was given it in Busovaca.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: (Interpretation) I should like
12 to ask the usher to help me to distribute some
13 documents which the Defence would like to show to the
14 witness and tender into evidence.
15 Q. Mr. Surkovic, I'm going to show you a list,
16 and I am going to ask you to comment on that list.
17 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
19 MR. MIKULICIC: (Interpretation)
20 Q. Mr. Surkovic, will you please look at the
21 back side of the yellow document and tell me whether
22 you see Dr. Franjo Tibolt's name and his signature? Is
23 he the person that you said came to examine people at
24 the time you were in the basement of the Workers'
1 A. I know Mr. Franjo Tibolt excellently, and
2 this is a list of people who were spared labour.
3 But I wish to underline that I never asked to
4 be relieved of labour. I asked representatives of the
5 international organisation to protect us from the
6 digging of trenches, because I had experience from
7 Vitez that some people who were taken from the basement
8 to dig trenches were killed there, and I was afraid of
10 As for labour, my name is on this list, but I
11 wish to say that Mr. Tibolt did not examine me, nor did
12 I ask him to examine me.
13 Q. I understand. Mr. Surkovic, during your stay
14 as an internee, were you ever forced to do any
15 compulsory labour?
16 A. Not once was I forced to dig trenches or
17 dugouts, but I do know people who were, and I know
18 people who were killed digging trenches.
19 Q. Mr. Surkovic, while you were in the Workers'
20 University, did a representative of the ECMM, people in
21 white, come?
22 A. Yes, they did, but I didn't talk to them. I
23 was in the basement at the time. The people toured the
24 cinema hall. But Mr. Bahtija Sivro told me that they
25 had come, but I didn't talk to them. But I did talk to
1 them in Busovaca on behalf of my group.
2 Q. Those people that we're talking about, the
3 European Monitors, did they visit only the cinema hall
4 or did they go downstairs to the basement?
5 A. I was in the basement. They visited the
6 cinema hall. However, I didn't speak to them because I
7 spent the first three or four days in the basement.
8 There were some prisoners on the upper floor in three
9 rooms of the Workers' University as well.
10 Q. I see. You told us, Mr. Surkovic, that while
11 you were in Kaonik, you requested to be examined by a
12 doctor, and that you were taken to the health centre in
13 Busovaca, where you were treated by a doctor. Is that
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Could you please tell us the circumstances
17 under which you were taken to Busovaca? Were you
18 transported in a closed vehicle, was it a truck, was it
19 a private car; how did you travel from Kaonik to
21 A. It was a private car, a passenger car. There
22 was a driver and one armed man next to me from the HVO
23 police. If you need any further details, I can provide
25 Q. What I'm interested in I will ask you. Were
1 you alone in that car or was anyone else with you?
2 A. No, I was alone on that occasion. In front
3 was the driver, and next to me was an armed security
5 Q. Could you tell us what kind of medical
6 treatment was given to you in Busovaca?
7 A. At the time, I had some problems with my
8 spine. I came across Dr. Josipovic and a nurse whose
9 name I cannot recollect, but I know that the doctor was
10 upset by what was happening. He prescribed all the
11 necessary medicine. He was very polite in dealing with
12 me. I asked him to somehow spare me from the digging
13 of trenches, and I think that his findings were
14 respected, though I wish to underline that from my cell
15 or from the other two cells, no one was taken to dig
16 trenches among us 13. None of us 13 were taken there.
17 Q. I understand that, Mr. Surkovic. In
18 connection with your injury, was this a previous injury
19 or an injury you sustained while staying in Kaonik or
20 in the Workers' University?
21 A. No, no, it is an earlier injury. I have
22 problems with my back occasionally, but I think the
23 fact that I stayed in the basement contributed to those
24 problems with my back.
25 Q. Tell us, Mr. Surkovic, when you were about to
1 be released, as you told us, following orders of
2 Milivoj Petkovic, Ivica Santic and some other men came
3 to see you, you said that Ivica Santic was the mayor of
4 Vitez, wasn't he?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Was it true that he represented the civilian
7 authorities in the Vitez municipality?
8 A. I don't know if you understood me well.
9 Mr. Santic came to the cinema hall when we were
10 transferred from Busovaca, if that is how you
11 understood it. Mr. Santic should have represented the
12 civilian authorities because he was the mayor of Vitez.
13 Q. Is it true, Mr. Surkovic, that all those
14 talks and discussions over the release were conducted
15 with Mr. Santic, in fact?
16 A. As far as those discussions on the release of
17 people, I can't say who participated in them because I
18 wasn't present. I didn't inform myself after that who
19 conducted the negotiations, but I personally think that
20 it was the military structures that agreed on the
22 Q. Mr. Surkovic, I apologise if I was not quite
23 clear in my question. My question was under these
24 circumstances in the cinema hall, was Mr. Santic the
25 person with whom the modalities and conditions of your
1 release were discussed? That was my question.
2 A. Sir, in the cinema hall there were no
3 discussions as to the ways in which we would be
4 released. All this had been agreed beforehand, before
5 we were transferred. Actually, we shouldn't have gone
6 to the cinema hall. We were told to go there to sign a
7 paper there, but then they said some other things
8 needed to be settled before that.
9 Q. Let us go back for a moment, Mr. Surkovic, to
10 the incident that you described when a Bosniak was
11 beaten up in the premises. You told us that he himself
12 said that he was being called by two of his
13 neighbours. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes. The man's name was Suad Salkic. He was
15 with me in Busovaca. He is the 13th man. He has a
16 master's degree in electrical engineering. He was born
17 in the village of Podgorica. We were scared when we
18 saw these men in uniform calling him and we feared the
19 worst, but he said to us, "Don't worry. They are my
20 neighbours. I'm going to talk to them. They probably
21 have something to tell me." But to our utter surprise,
22 we heard them fighting, we heard shuffling and cries,
23 and we heard this going on.
24 Q. I understand. Tell me, while you stayed in
25 those premises, were there any other such incidents of
1 soldiers beating any of the Bosniaks who were there?
2 A. The rest of the time I spent there, no such
3 thing happened. But I must underline that the cinema
4 hall had walls, and I asked these people to intensify
5 the security because I was afraid that somebody might
6 throw in a hand grenade. I think that Mr. Santic and
7 Mr. Cerkez took certain steps. We didn't sleep. We
8 were afraid that somebody might throw in a hand
9 grenade. We heard, on several occasions in front of
10 the cinema hall, soldiers' boots, so people were
11 probably marching there. They probably accepted our
13 MR. MIKULICIC: (Interpretation) Your Honours,
14 in view of the time, I have a few more questions, a
15 whole set of questions relating to the documents
16 admitted today, of which he is the author. My
17 suggestion would be, with your permission, that I
18 continue with those questions tomorrow. As for this
19 particular topic, I have finished my examination. Of
20 course, if that suits Your Honours.
21 JUDGE MAY: Can you shorten your
22 cross-examination tomorrow, if you have some time to
23 prepare it, Mr. Mikulicic.
24 Very well, we'll adjourn now.
25 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me. Your Honour had
1 asked for a count of the documents, and my two
2 colleagues on two counts have come up with 95.
3 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
4 Mr. Surkovic, I'm afraid your evidence hasn't
5 finished today. Could you be back tomorrow, please, at
6 the same time, half past 2.00?
7 THE WITNESS: Of course, Your Honour, I'll be
9 JUDGE MAY: Could you please remember this
10 during the adjournment, not to speak to anybody about
11 your evidence, and that does include members of the
13 THE WITNESS: Yes.
14 JUDGE MAY: Thank you very much.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
16 5.17 p.m., to be reconvened on
17 Thursday, the 8th day of July, 1999,
18 at 2.30 p.m.