1 Thursday, 8th 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: Before we begin the
10 cross-examination, or go on with it, rather, I would
11 like to mention just some matters briefly about the
12 calendar. There will be handed round a revised autumn
13 calendar, necessary because one or two days we won't in
14 fact be sitting, and also the plenary has been
15 rearranged. So you'll get a copy of that, and I would
16 remind you that it is of course necessarily a
17 provisional calendar, and it will be subject to
18 alteration because of other cases which the Trial
19 Chamber has.
20 The other matter concerns the final week of
21 our sitting in this session, the week of the 2nd to the
22 6th of August. The 3rd of August, which is the
23 Tuesday, we shall only be sitting in the morning. On
24 Thursday, the 5th of August, we propose to hold a
25 Status Conference. We think it's appropriate to
1 consider the state of the case, to deal with any
2 matters which the Defence or the accused may want to
3 raise concerning their detention. We shall not be
4 sitting on Friday, the 6th of August. Friday, the 6th
5 of August, is off. So we shall finish with the Status
6 Conference on the 5th. Very well.
7 Yes, Mr. Surkovic, I'm sorry to hold your
8 evidence up. We'll go on with it now.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour.
10 Good afternoon, my learned friends from the
12 WITNESS: ENES SURKOVIC (Resumed)
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Surkovic. Allow me to
16 continue with the examination by the Defence.
17 You told us yesterday, Mr. Surkovic, that on
18 the 16th of May, 1993, you were released, and that you
19 left Vitez on that date. Is that right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Where did you go from Vitez?
22 A. I went to Zenica, where my family was, and I
23 joined my wife and sons.
24 Q. Mr. Surkovic, you have been living in Zenica
25 ever since then?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. After those events in May 1993, have you had
3 occasion to go back to Vitez?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Tell us, Mr. Surkovic, how about your housing
7 A. I am a subtenant in Zenica, and I am paying
8 150 Deutschmarks rent.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you. Could I ask the
10 usher for his assistance, please, to show Mr. Surkovic
11 yesterday's exhibit, Z2713.
12 Q. In connection with this document,
13 Mr. Surkovic, I have a few questions. First, will you
14 tell me, if you know, where the document was written?
15 A. It was written in Zenica. And if you know
16 the town well, across the way from the former school of
17 economics, or to be more precise, right next to the
18 Premier Restaurant. That was where the Municipality of
19 Vitez was housed.
20 Q. So the premises of Vitez municipality were in
21 Zenica, if I understand you correctly?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And that was also where the authorities of
24 Vitez municipality functioned?
25 A. Do you mean in exile? This went on for about
1 one year, and then people returned to Poculica.
2 Q. Mr. Surkovic, do you know that while the
3 authorities of Vitez municipality was functioning in
4 Zenica, there was a -- parallel authorities were
5 functioning in Vitez?
6 A. No. You mean Stari Vitez.
7 Q. No, I mean Vitez.
8 A. Well, you see, sir, I have to point out that
9 the town of Vitez is divided. A part of the town was
10 controlled by the HVO, and the smaller part of the
11 town, known as Stari Vitez, was under the control of
12 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So we had no contact
13 with Stari Vitez, because we would have to cross
14 territory controlled by the HVO.
15 Q. I understand that, Mr. Surkovic. But what I
16 wanted to ask you about was whether you know that in
17 the area controlled by the HVO, the Vitez municipality
18 authority was operating.
19 A. If you mean joint authority, no. Joint
20 authorities are only just being established in the town
21 of Vitez. In those days, it was only the HDZ
22 authorities that were functioning in Kolonija, the
23 greater part of Vitez, whereas in the old part of the
24 town, there was nothing.
25 Q. Let me rephrase that question. The
1 authorities of Vitez municipality operating in Zenica,
2 in terms of ethnic composition, which people was
3 represented? Bosniaks and Croats, or only Bosniaks, or
4 someone else?
5 A. I think that must be clear to everyone. Only
6 Bosniaks were represented in Zenica, and in Kolonija,
7 in Vitez, only the Croats. And only now are joint
8 authorities being established.
9 Q. It follows from this document, Mr. Surkovic,
10 that you were appointed, together with Mr. Dzidic, to a
11 commission for caring for displaced persons and
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. Will you please be kind enough to tell us
15 very briefly, what was the main purpose of that
17 A. I worked in Zenica for a year as a teacher.
18 I know the town very well. And the refugees and
19 displaced persons were mostly put up in schools. As I
20 was familiar with these facilities, it was rather
21 logical, and there were about 4.000 Bosniaks expelled
22 from Vitez and put up in Zenica. It was normal that
23 somebody who knew the town well and who would be
24 capable of coordinating these activities, caring for
25 the refugees. And that was the key reason why I was
1 chosen, knowing the town rather well, and I think I
2 coordinated those activities well. Also, we put up
3 some families in the surrounding villages, in Janjici,
4 Lokvine, and so on.
5 Q. Tell us, Mr. Surkovic, whether that
6 commission of which you were a member, how was it
7 financed? Did it have a budget, or did it collect
8 funds, or did it have no funds?
9 A. If your question is whether we, as members of
10 the commission, were paid for our work, we were not.
11 In those days, there was hunger in Zenica. People were
12 fighting for their bare existence. And occasionally we
13 would get some foodstuffs, flour, potatoes, sugar, and
14 this was mostly provided by humanitarian organisations.
15 Q. So, Mr. Surkovic, you told us that you worked
16 on the accommodation and care for displaced persons and
17 refugees. Tell us, which ethnic groups did those
18 people belong to?
19 A. I just said that about 4.000 Bosniaks were
20 expelled from Vitez, and our task was to take care of
21 those people.
22 Q. In view of the fact that you engaged in these
23 activities, caring for refugees and displaced persons,
24 did you know that a certain number of Croats had also
25 fled from Zenica to areas under HVO control?
1 A. Yes, I know that.
2 Q. Do you perhaps have an idea of the figure of
3 the people expelled from Zenica?
4 A. No, but I know that from certain villages,
5 Croats left, and they went to the town of Vitez.
6 Q. As a member of the commission, did you have
7 any contact with Croats who had fled from Zenica?
8 A. No, I did not have any contact with those
9 people, because I don't know those people anyway. And
10 another point that needs to be underlined, I didn't
11 have any access to Vitez. And let me add that one
12 displaced person from the surroundings of Vitez, during
13 the fighting between the army and the HVO, was moved
14 into my apartment, and so there was no possibility for
15 me to enter Vitez in view of all those circumstances.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: May I ask the usher to remove
17 the exhibit on the ELMO and to replace it with an
18 exhibit tendered by the Prosecution yesterday under the
19 number Z2715.
20 Q. Mr. Surkovic, would you please explain to me
21 what was the purpose of this document, this information
22 signed by you and written by you as indicated on
23 page 3, on the 8th of July, 1995? What is the
25 A. It's a brief report on camps in which
1 Bosniaks from Vitez were detained. This is paragraph
2 number 5. If necessary, I can go through the whole
3 text. Another important thing is the number of houses
4 destroyed and burnt.
5 Q. I apologise for interrupting. Everyone can
6 read what is in the document. My question is: Upon
7 whose initiative or, rather, what were the motives that
8 prompted you to write this report and in what capacity
9 did you do so?
10 A. I wrote this information to the state
11 commission for the gathering of facts on war crimes in
12 the territory of Vitez in this case, so that they know
13 how many displaced persons there are, that they need to
14 be aided in making a life for themselves again, that we
15 know also how many buildings were destroyed, the
16 condition of the housing fund, and the position of
17 people displaced from Vitez.
18 Q. I understand that, but I would like you to
19 explain to me, did anyone officially ask you to provide
20 these data that you did?
21 A. Sir, I will answer your question but your
22 question has nothing to do with my testimony
23 yesterday. My duty as a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina
24 was, and I think it still is, to cooperate with bodies
25 responsible for collecting facts on the crimes that
1 occurred in the territory of the Federation of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina in that very difficult period of
3 '92, '93, and '94.
4 Q. I understand. So as a citizen of the
5 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, you felt it necessary
6 to inform the competent state body of certain facts
7 that you deposed of?
8 A. Yes. That is my right as a citizen and I
9 abide by it.
10 Q. Mr. Surkovic, I should like to know what
11 methodology you applied to obtain the data presented in
12 this report. For example, how did you find out that in
13 the second half of April 1993, about 5.000 citizens
14 were expelled from the territory of Vitez
15 municipality? Where did you get that figure from?
16 A. Sir, in Zenica there was a committee for
17 taking care of refugees and displaced persons. I point
18 out it was not only Bosniaks that came to Zenica.
19 There was a mass of refugees from Krajina, Kozarac,
20 from Foca, Visegrad, and I'm underlining --
21 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to interrupt you if I
22 may. We'd like to finish your evidence, obviously. It
23 would be helpful if you would just deal with the
24 question as to where you got the information from in
25 this report. Can you tell us that, please?
1 A. Your Honours, I was just going to answer your
2 questions. You're hurrying up, and I'm not sure I can
3 answer properly because I have come to Zenica (sic) to
4 tell the truth.
5 I said that there were more than 40.000
6 refugees. There were files. There was a centre where
7 information was collected on displaced persons and
8 refugees. I coordinated the work of that centre, and I
9 was able to collect exact figures but only for the
10 territory of Vitez municipality regarding Bosniaks
11 expelled from there who moved to Zenica, and I also had
12 approximate figures for Travnik municipality. Thank
14 MR. MIKULICIC:
15 Q. If I understand you correctly, you said that
16 you obtained these figures from the records of the
17 committee for displaced persons.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Tell me, Mr. Surkovic, will you please look
20 at point 3 of your report? Please explain to me this
21 allegation, but bear in mind that the report was
22 written on the 8th of July, 1995. "On temporarily
23 occupied territory of Vitez municipality," what does
24 that mean?
25 A. It means the area controlled by the HVO. In
1 that area, in the town of Vitez, according to data
2 which are quite reliable, about 46 persons of Muslim
3 nationality stayed behind. Why is this important? It
4 is important, Your Honours --
5 JUDGE MAY: It doesn't matter why it's
6 important, if you'll forgive my saying so. Let us
7 decide that.
8 Mr. Mikulicic, this really isn't assisting
9 us, you know, an argument about the phrasing of this
10 particular paragraph. These sort of political points
11 aren't going to assist us to try this case. By all
12 means ask the witness where he got the information
13 from. That is relevant. But a sterile political
14 dispute isn't going to help us. Now, can we move on
15 further in the document if you want to ask more about
17 MR. MIKULICIC: With all due respect, Your
18 Honours, I must point out that the Defence doubts --
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, that was a ruling,
20 not a matter for argument. Now, could you move on,
22 MR. MIKULICIC:
23 Q. Mr. Surkovic, according to the ruling of
24 Their Honours, I should like to pass on to another
25 document that was tendered yesterday. I'm talking of
1 document Z2714.1, and I would like the usher to show it
2 to you, please.
3 Can you please tell us, very briefly,
4 Mr. Surkovic, what kind of a document is it? What is
5 it? I see here a number of photographs and some texts
6 accompanying those photographs. Who compiled this
8 A. I compiled this part of the document. People
9 who can read photographs and what is written under them
10 will find it easy to assess the significance of this
11 document and the message it carries.
12 I wish to point out I have before me document
13 00473329, and it says "Zec Rasim, born in 1922." He
14 was over 70 years old. He was a pensioner. The same
15 applies to his wife. She was over 70. She was a
16 housewife killed by a sniper on the 22nd of June,
18 The purpose of the document is to show that
19 civilians, and these were people in Stari Vitez, were
20 killed for no reason at all by snipers. These were
21 pensioners, over 70 years of age.
22 Also, I have offered a document showing that
23 a little boy of two was killed by a sniper. This can
24 be confirmed by his mother.
25 Another message carried by this document, the
1 document 47331, it says Salih Tutso, his wife's name is
2 unknown to me, a couple killed in their own home. The
3 wife refused to move out though the children begged
4 them to. HVO soldiers came and brutally murdered both
5 of them in their house. So the message of this
6 document too is the same. This happened in June 1993.
7 The lines between the HVO and the army were
8 stable, and these people were in the area under HVO
9 control. There was absolutely no reason for innocent
10 people who stayed in their own homes to be killed,
11 murdered so brutally. The same applies to whole
12 families, even those with five members.
13 Your Honours, that was the purpose of this
15 Q. Mr. Surkovic, the data contained in the
16 document, the photographs, and the text, are they
17 photographs that you yourself took?
18 A. Sir --
19 Q. "Yes" or "No,", please?
20 A. I couldn't take the late Salih Tutso, because
21 he was already buried, but I was given this photograph
22 by his sons. The same applies to other photographs. I
23 was given them by members of their families.
24 Q. Let me repeat the question. So you didn't
25 take those photographs?
1 A. I just said that I received those photographs
2 from their children.
3 Q. Mr. Surkovic, are you the author of the text
4 in this document written above and below the
6 A. Yes, I'm the author.
7 Q. Tell us, please, where did you get the
8 information for the text under the photographs? Let me
9 be more specific what I'm particularly interested in.
10 Document 00473316, the first page of this document.
11 A. Would you repeat?
12 Q. 00473316.
13 A. You mean the two mosques.
14 Q. Mr. Surkovic, you said that you were the
15 author of the texts?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So tell me, the captions under the two
18 photographs, it says, "My soldiers and I buried more
19 than a hundred dead people." Does that mean that you
20 were a military person, that you had your soldiers --
21 A. No, sir. Please don't take it out of
22 context. If you're really interested, this is a part
23 of a document. Obviously I couldn't have taken the
24 photograph of this demolished mosque. This was taken
25 over from others. But as for the houses of Bosniaks,
1 people, persons, they are mine. You happen to have
2 selected these two mosques. I couldn't have taken
3 those two pictures. I just copied down that text.
4 Q. Very well. Mr. Surkovic, you spoke about
5 this photograph with the Sehic couple, 00473329.
6 A. I found it.
7 Q. Tell me, please, how do you know that this
8 couple was killed by a sniper on the 22nd of June,
10 A. I was told that by their son, who also gave
11 me the photographs. This can easily be checked and
12 verified. There are at least ten inhabitants of Stari
13 Vitez who can confirm this, because those people were
14 about to dig in their garden on the 22nd of June.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Surkovic. My question was:
16 Where did you get the facts from?
17 A. From their son.
18 Q. Mr. Surkovic, talking to these people who
19 gave you this information, did you take any notes about
20 those conversations? Did you take statements from
21 those people?
22 A. When it comes to these data or data of this
23 kind, I took notes regarding date of birth, date of
24 death. I compared the dates of birth and dates of
25 death with the office -- with the relevant office.
1 Q. Mr. Surkovic, can you tell us what the
2 numbers written in by hand or typewritten indicate?
3 For instance, there's the number "23" typewritten on
4 the previous document. What does it mean?
5 A. There are several pages. This was the
6 numbering of the pages so that the order would not be
8 Q. Am I correct in concluding that the document
9 you have here is not complete because pages 1 to 22 are
11 A. Of course not. This is only a part of the
13 Q. Mr. Surkovic, I asked you earlier what your
14 methodology was to determine the facts, so I will ask
15 you again. The facts that you discovered in this way,
16 did you check them additionally?
17 A. Sir, I never accept any facts as ready
18 facts. I always check them from several sources. I
19 claim that this is all correct. It's well documented
20 and argued. It can be proved with the help of
21 witnesses. A lot of people from Stari Vitez could
22 confirm this. There are a lot of people who confirm
23 what happened.
24 Q. Is it true, Mr. Surkovic, that after the 16th
25 of May, 1993, you never went to that region?
1 A. After the 16th of May, 1993? Sir, I have to
2 correct you this time. Before I came here, perhaps, I
3 went to the high school in Kruscica. I worked there.
4 I passed through Vitez. The situation was much better
5 than it used to be. I walked through Kolonija, where I
6 couldn't even go before. It's true that I can go there
7 any time that I want to.
8 Q. So, Mr. Surkovic, when you say that you can
9 go to that territory, did you make any kind of
10 additional checking of those facts?
11 A. The facts that are stated here are checked.
12 Even certain data has been checked through the Office
13 of the Registrar. There are a lot of people who are
14 familiar with the situation, and I claim that these are
15 facts which have been checked.
16 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Surkovic.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: I have no further questions.
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, let me understand
19 this: Is it disputed that there were 95 people killed
20 in Ahmici, for instance? You see, what I'm wondering
21 is how much of this evidence is really in dispute.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, what is being
23 contested by the Defence is the accuracy of the data in
24 documents 2714 and 2715, because we believe that the
25 witness is not qualified to carry out these kind of
1 investigations, and we believe that the applied
2 methodology in working on these documents does not meet
3 the criteria that it should. So that is why the
4 Defence doubts the accuracy of these documents, and the
5 Defence is opposed to having these documents entered
6 into exhibits. The witness discussed about these facts
7 that he knew through personal -- that he saw
8 personally, but he is not an expert; he is not capable
9 of providing studies or expertise or any kind of
10 similar work.
11 JUDGE MAY: His evidence is that he collected
12 them. Whether he is an expert or not, this is
13 information which he collected, one way and another.
14 What I'm asking you is, whether the figure is 95 or
15 whatever, is it disputed that a very large number of
16 people were killed in Ahmici?
17 MR. MIKULICIC: No, that is not contested,
18 Your Honour, whether it's 95, 108, or 93. The witness
19 doesn't know that. The Defence doesn't know that. But
20 what is contested is that the methodology that these
21 documents were done in are in contrary with the Latin
22 saying "auditur et altera pas." The witness determined
23 these facts exclusively by discussing one side in the
24 conflict, and this is what we are talking about here.
25 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
1 Mr. Stein, have you got any questions?
2 MR. STEIN: I do.
3 JUDGE MAY: Not over the same ground again,
4 as far as possible, please.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Stein:
6 [Witness answers through interpreter]
7 Q. Sir, if there is any question that I ask you
8 that you don't understand, will you let me know?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I represent Dario Kordic. My name is Bob
11 Stein. If you could, sir, when I ask you a question
12 that's capable of being answered "Yes" or "No," we
13 would all appreciate if you answered "Yes" or "No." Is
14 that all right?
15 Now, the other thing I have to tell you, you
16 have to answer so the reporters hear you, which means
17 you have to say "Yes," "No," whatever your answer is,
18 into the microphone. Is that all right? In other
19 words, you can't just nod your head.
20 Okay. Let me ask you first, sir, when
21 Aleksovski, upon your release, announced that the
22 exchange was delayed and then half an hour later told
23 you that Kordic had ordered the exchange to go forward,
24 you did not believe that Kordic had ordered that
25 exchange; isn't that correct?
1 A. No, I did not.
2 Q. In fact, you thought that was a way to try to
3 increase the authority of Dario Kordic in the eyes of
4 your fellow prisoners; isn't that true?
5 A. Yes, something like that.
6 Q. Sir, you mentioned earlier in your testimony
7 yesterday that you have a diary, you've been keeping a
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And that's a diary you kept before the war,
11 during the war, and even up to today?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you use that diary to look at to refresh
14 your recollection before you testified today?
15 A. No, no, it's not my diary. My diary is not
17 Q. Whose diary is it?
18 A. It is my diary.
19 Q. Did you share that diary with members of the
20 Office of the Prosecutor, the investigators, or their
21 staff? Did you show it to them?
22 A. No, no, I do not want to do that. It's a
23 personal, private matter.
24 Q. All right. Now, you appeared in Zenica in
25 October of 1993, before a tribunal there. Before that
1 appearance, did you discuss your testimony with Edib
3 A. No.
4 Q. Afterwards, did you discuss --
5 A. No.
6 Q. At any time, did you discuss your testimony
7 or your appearance before the tribunal in Zenica with
8 Mr. Zlotrg?
9 A. In March, Mr. Zlotrg was here with me, Your
10 Honours. We were together in the same hotel. He
11 testified and I testified, so we went to dinner every
12 evening, and we went to lunch together every day. But
13 it's not a habit after the proceedings to talk about
14 all of these things which are pretty exhausting for us
15 and which we really can't wait to forget.
16 Q. So you're telling the Tribunal that neither
17 you nor Mr. Zlotrg shared information over these
19 A. I did not talk with him. I was very clear,
20 we would talk about sports, our families. There was no
21 need to discuss this.
22 Q. I want to turn to your background a bit. You
23 are indeed a professional politician; correct?
24 A. No. I am a teacher. I'm a professor at high
1 Q. Let me change the tense: You were a
2 professional politician at one point in time. Would
3 you agree?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And indeed, you were employed as president of
6 the Committee of the League of Communists for one year;
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And that's a paid position?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And you were employed for one year as a
12 director of a private company in Vitez, the Our
13 company, O-U-R?
14 A. This was not a private company. It was an
15 engine construction factory, one of the Unis complex
17 Q. And your position there was organiser of the
18 labour, or something along those lines?
19 A. Yes. I was the director of that factory.
20 Q. That, too, was a paid position?
21 A. Yes, it was.
22 Q. And that was a political position; correct?
23 A. No. No. I was a businessman. I organised
24 the work.
25 Q. In any event, despite those two years, the
1 majority of your work has been teaching; correct?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. And at one point you even became principal of
4 a high school?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. Most of your teaching, if not all, and your
7 principal of the high school, was done under the
8 communist regime?
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. You didn't teach physics --
11 A. However, I still teach at the high school,
12 and I'm a mechanical engineer. So I teach expert
13 scientific subjects.
14 Q. But you don't teach physics, I hope? Never
15 mind; I was just trying to make a point that I don't
16 want to make any more.
17 My point is, sir, that you were in fact the
18 principal of a high school under the communist system,
19 were you not?
20 A. No, I do not teach physics.
21 Q. Okay. You were a principal of a high school
22 under the communist system?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. And you were aware of the curriculum for that
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And that curriculum was given to you by the
3 central government; correct?
4 A. The federal ministry of education, that would
5 be the body that would determine the curriculum. The
6 school system was centralised then. We're now
7 decentralising the educational system. The educational
8 system is organised by cantons now.
9 Q. Right. And the central federal ministry of
10 education were the ones that determined which books the
11 students would read; correct?
12 A. The federal ministry would order --
13 commission new textbooks. The textbooks that are
14 satisfactory, that are accepted, would be applied. So
15 the answer is yes.
16 Q. After the war, actually during the war and
17 after the war, all that changed; correct?
18 A. Yes, that's true.
19 Q. Now, before the war, under the communist
20 regime, in the schools, the doctrine of brotherhood and
21 unity was taught; correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And any kind of dissent about ethnic
24 relations, religions, was frowned upon and punished;
1 A. I cannot confirm that.
2 Q. You can neither confirm nor deny that; is
3 that right?
4 A. There were no cases of deviation from the
5 prescribed curriculum. As far as inter-ethnic
6 relations are concerned, in my community, in Vitez,
7 there were no disagreements between Muslims, Croats,
8 and Serbs. People lived in tolerance, they lived
9 together in harmony, and it was good for everybody.
10 Q. That, in fact, was what the communist system
11 demanded: True, or not true?
12 A. These were norms of civilised behaviour, and
13 this is how we all behaved.
14 Q. And that was also a norm of the communist
15 system that made you behave that way: True, or not
17 A. There was no anarchy. We all worked, and we
18 all had a good living. I cannot blame the communist
19 system for what happened afterwards: that we fought,
20 that we bled, that we destroyed our homes. I think
21 that the blame lies in another source and not in the
22 communist system. You are stressing, emphasising the
23 communist system, and I don't understand why.
24 Q. I'll only ask this one more time. It's very
25 clear. Under the communist system, it was required
1 that everyone, according to the communist system rules
2 which did not allow for the kind of dissent, the kind
3 of criticism of ethnic relations --
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Stein, you've asked that
5 question a number of times. I'm not sure I see what
6 the relevance of the communist system to the present
7 case is. Let us move on.
8 MR. STEIN:
9 Q. Let me ask you this, sir: You did indicate
10 under the communist system you weren't a practising
11 Muslim, but now you are, is that correct?
12 A. Sir, the faith and my religious orientation
13 are my private matter. So I would ask you not to delve
14 into my private matters.
15 Q. Do I take it, sir, that it was certainly
16 easier to practice your religion now than it was under
17 either regime, and as a professional politician it
18 became easier for you to practice religion now under
19 the old regime?
20 A. First of all, I'm not a professional
21 politician now, and I'm not sure how professional
22 politicians feel now. In any case, I know that they
23 have a hard time because the country's destroyed. The
24 people have quarrelled. The country's destroyed. So
25 it's probably much more difficult for them now.
1 Q. Let's me turn to the first elections under
2 the new regime. The Croats in your area were a
3 majority, were they not?
4 A. There were about 4 per cent more Croats than
5 Muslims. If you're interested, there was about 41.7
6 per cent Muslims, 45 per cent for Croats, and Serbs 5.4
7 per cent. This was from the census in '91.
8 Q. In the parliament, the HDZ held a majority as
9 well, isn't that true?
10 A. It had 23 deputies. The SDA had 16. The
11 left block, the SDP, the Liberals and the Reformists
12 had 19. I was a member of the parliament, so that's
13 how I know this information.
14 Q. So the score was 23 -- or the ratio, rather,
15 was 23 to 19; right?
16 A. The ratio, as far as HDZ and the left
17 oriented block, the SDP, the Liberals and the reform
18 forces are concerned, but the SDA had 16 deputies in
20 Q. If you add the 16 deputies and the Liberal
21 wing on other hand and on the other hand the HDZ, it's
22 23 to 19.
23 A. I don't know how you're adding it up. I
24 don't know what the "23" refers to. I know that the
25 HDZ had 23 representatives, but the SDA and the HDZ got
1 on quite well together, but later on they quarrelled.
2 Q. Let me ask you this: Were you a member of
3 the crisis committee that formed during the war?
4 A. I'm aware of the functions of the crisis
5 staff but I was not a member. The crisis staff was
6 formed so that the nationalist passions which had
7 started awaken among the people would calm down.
8 Q. I didn't ask you anything about -- I asked if
9 you were a member and your answer's "No."
10 A. No, I was not a member.
11 Q. I have a statement here from
12 Dr. Mujenznovic. On page 4, statement given to this
13 Tribunal, in which he says: "Enes Surkovic, who was a
14 member of the crisis committee that I presided over,
15 was assigned to keep track of a number of the Muslims
16 who lost their homes and were dispossessed."
17 I take it you disagree with his
19 A. It's not true. May I explain? But it's not
21 Q. Let me ask you this: At the end of 1992,
22 there was a coordination committee which had been
23 disbanded and a war committee was formed. You were
24 part of that war committee, were you not?
25 A. Yes. That is true.
1 Q. All right. And that war committee was
2 sometimes called the Coordinating Committee for the
3 Protection of Muslims, was it not?
4 A. No, that's not true.
5 Q. Was that a different group, the Coordinating
6 Committee for the Protection of Muslims?
7 A. That was a different body.
8 MS. SOMERS: I just want to let the Court
9 know. We do not have the document in front us that is
10 being referred to. So if there is a possibility of a
11 copy, it would be appreciated.
12 MR. STEIN: I actually wasn't referring to
13 anything, but my next thing is relative to D13/2.
14 Q. You knew people on the Coordinating Committee
15 for the Protection of Muslims, correct? Correct?
16 A. Just some individuals.
17 Q. Dr. Mujenznovic, for instance?
18 A. We're good friends.
19 Q. Okay. And because of that friendship with
20 Dr. Mujenznovic and other individuals, you're aware
21 that the committee for the protection of Muslims was
22 entrusted with the task of setting up the barricade in
23 October of 1992, October 19 and 20, correct?
24 JUDGE MAY: How does this arise from his
25 examination-in-chief, Mr. Stein?
1 MR. STEIN: He mentioned the barricade, I
2 believe. If he didn't, I'll stand corrected and I'll
4 JUDGE MAY: I have no recollection of that.
5 We were, in fact, going fairly rapidly through his
7 MR. STEIN: Very good, sir.
8 Q. Let me ask you straightaway, sir, after the
9 crisis committee, which was a group coordinating the
10 war against the Serbs, diminished, and certainly as you
11 explained to my colleague, there were actually parallel
12 governments in Vitez and the environment, Muslims and
13 Croats, correct?
14 A. When the Muslims moved to Stari Vitez, and
15 this happened about November 25th in 1992, it could be
16 said that two governments functioned. They were both
18 Q. Very good. I want to point out that in those
19 two governments there was a person in charge in your
20 government and in the Muslim government of finance, a
21 person in charge of education, a person in charge of
22 police, a person in charge of logistics, and other
23 kinds of things; correct?
24 A. Yes. Yes, that's true.
25 Q. Indeed there was a declaration adopted about
1 that time that the Muslims of Vitez do not recognise
2 the newly established one-nation government in Vitez,
3 and the HVO government and all of its decisions were
4 not to be binding on Muslims, is that fair to say?
5 A. I wasn't in the political circles at that
6 time but I think, yes, that that claim is true.
7 Q. Again, I want to talk to you about a period
8 after October of 1992. It's fair to say that the
9 Muslims who had telescopic -- I'm sorry, the Muslims
10 who had hunting rifles with telescopes on them became
11 the object of the Croats' seizures, which is a terrible
12 question, so let me try again.
13 The Croats took any Muslim who had a hunting
14 rifle with a scope on it, that rifle from him;
16 A. Yes, they did, but I don't claim that they
17 confiscated them from everybody. They could not have
18 done that because they probably didn't know about all
19 the people who had the weapons, but they did confiscate
20 them, yes, that's true.
21 Q. So there were some hunting rifles with
22 telescopic --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
24 MR. STEIN:
25 Q. There were some --
1 A. I don't know if the hunting rifles had the
2 telescopic sights, but I know that people did have
3 hunting rifles. There were a lot of hunting rifles.
4 Q. Can we also agree that before April 16, 1993,
5 that you believed that the war was inevitable?
6 A. If I had believed that war was inevitable, I
7 would have moved my wife and children from Vitez and I
8 would have moved to a safer place. I would not have
9 spent that time in the camps under very difficult
11 Q. Sir, I'm looking at a translation that was
12 given to me yesterday, and on page 10 of the English of
13 that translation, you're quoted as -- and by the way,
14 to be fair with you, this is a copy of your appearance
15 before Judge Safet Adrovic in Zenica.
16 You appeared in front of that judge;
18 A. I'm a good friend of Safet Adrovic, and I
19 never gave him a statement, but I know him very well.
20 Q. You appeared in front of him in the court in
21 Zenica; is that correct?
22 A. I never appeared in court or before him, but
23 I did often go and have coffee with him and we would
24 sit together, but I never went to see Safet to make any
25 kind of personal statement. I have no need of that.
1 Q. You did not appear in front of a court clerk
2 named Sadika Mujezinovic and a public prosecutor named
3 Sauda Halilovic?
4 A. I know that Mr. Adrovic is employed at the
5 prosecutor's office, and I know that he's in charge and
6 I saw him on television. He's in charge of
7 investigating mass graves. But as far as gathering
8 evidence or statements from witnesses, I don't remember
9 ever giving him a statement.
10 Q. You were born in 1944, were you not? Unless
11 we have a stipulation, I'm going to go through all of
13 A. 1944.
14 JUDGE MAY: No, you're not. Now, what's the
15 position of the Prosecutor?
16 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I would just ask if
17 perhaps the witness were shown the B/C/S version of his
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let him see the statement.
20 MS. SOMERS: This was a document provided in
21 B/C/S. It was the subject of the translation issue
22 yesterday. I think it would be fair.
23 JUDGE MAY: Have we got a copy to show the
24 witness, in the original?
25 MR. STEIN: I do.
1 MS. SOMERS: I'll be happy to hand my copy
2 over. Yes, Mr. Usher -- whatever. This is the same
4 MR. STEIN:
5 Q. Unfortunately, I can't point to the page, but
6 let me suggest in the English, sir -- take a look at
7 the last page. Take a look at the very last page,
9 A. Let me just see the date, please. I really
10 do know Safet Adrovic very well, but I do not remember
11 at all giving such a statement to Mr. Adrovic.
12 However, I see the initials of my signature here in
13 1994. This was in 1994. I really cannot remember such
14 a document, though I do know Mr. Adrovic very well.
15 Q. Fair enough, sir. I know you can't remember
16 appearing in that proceeding, but the Office of the
17 Prosecutor has supplied us with that record of that
18 proceeding, and page 10 of the English version to, get
19 to what I was saying, you were quoted as saying: "It
20 was obvious that war between the BH army and the HVO in
21 this area was inevitable."
22 Now, I can't find the parallel citation yet
23 in Croatian, but Mr. Naumovski will do that shortly.
24 A. Do you have a question?
25 Q. Yes. I'll try again. Have you looked over
1 that document?
2 A. Yes. I've looked through it. There's no
3 need for me to read it. It's a very lengthy document.
4 There are lots of signatures here. I know Mr. Adrovic
5 very well. Since this document is here and my
6 signature it's probably true, but I do not recall
7 making a statement in court to Mr. Adrovic ever, but my
8 signature is there in '94. Now it is '99, but probably
9 it was so.
10 MR. STEIN: Your Honours, just to do it
11 easily, I ask Your Honours to take a look at the
12 statement at page 10, the English translation. The
13 first full paragraph: "It was obvious that war between
14 the BH army and the HVO in this area was inevitable." "
15 It's at page 5 of the Croatian, about mid-page.
16 Now, let's move on.
17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mr. Stein,
18 beyond his memory, can he confirm or deny this phrase
19 to which you appear to attach importance? So ask him
20 the question, please. What does he think about it?
21 MR. STEIN: Fair enough, Judge. I'll do
23 Q. Having read you your testimony, and indeed if
24 you want to look at page 5, middle of the page, you'll
25 find it quoted there, page 5 --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you remember, first, saying that to the
3 judge, that's the first part, and if you do or don't it
4 doesn't matter, does that at least refresh your mind as
5 to how in 1993 you felt about the war, that is, that it
6 was inevitable?
7 A. Your Honours, the 15th of April, 1993, on
8 that date I attended a meeting in the fire brigade
9 centre. We were celebrating army day. Mr. Cerkez was
10 present too. The civilian authorities of Vitez
11 municipality were claiming that there would be no war
12 and that agreement had been reached with the other side
13 to ease tensions. However, the average citizen, on the
14 eve of the war, realises that something was wrong, that
15 tensions were running high, that the situation was
16 abnormal in town.
17 On the 15th of April, if I could have taken
18 my wife and children from Vitez, I would have, but I
19 wasn't sure of our safety on the road so I had to stay
20 where I was. Therefore, on the eve of the conflict, it
21 was clear to citizens that the conflict would break
22 out, but months before that the situation was much
23 better, and no one expected such a bloody settling of
24 accounts nor so many murders. A bloody showdown.
25 Q. I want to turn your attention to Kaonik, very
1 briefly. While you were in Kaonik, there were also 10
2 to 12 Arabs also imprisoned; yes?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. These Arabs were Arab soldiers, as far as you
6 A. No. They were people in civilian clothes.
7 Q. All right. Who were they, where did they
8 come from, and why were they there?
9 A. Sir, you're asking me too much. I was a
10 detainee too. I didn't have supper even with people I
11 had shared the cell with, never mind these people. I
12 saw them cleaning the compound when I was going to see
13 a doctor at the health centre in Busovaca. I also
14 heard screams at night from the cell where the Arabs
15 were held, and not just me, but all those who were with
16 me, but they were in civilian clothes.
17 Q. All right. Now, let me ask you this: You
18 indicated earlier that your release was ordered by a
19 man named Petkovic.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Petkovic is a military man; correct?
22 A. I know that he was a military man.
23 Q. Indeed, April 30th, some week or two before
24 your release, there was another military officer who
25 visited you in Kaonik and that was General Halilovic;
2 A. Yes, Sefer Halilovic.
3 Q. It's fair, is it not, to say that
4 General Halilovic and General Petkovic negotiated for
5 your release?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So two military officers negotiated for the
8 release of the prisoners from Kaonik; fair? Agreed?
9 A. My wife and some friends told me that
10 Mr. Sefer Halilovic and Mr. Milivoj Petkovic had spoken
11 on television late in the evening, sometime around the
12 10th of May. They had a fierce debate regarding the
13 situation on the ground and regarding detainees, and I
14 was told that Sefer Halilovic requested for Milivoj
15 Petkovic to explain where the 13 men taken from Vitez
16 were. These were mostly people with university degrees
17 that used to hold political office.
18 She told me that the debate was very
19 passionate, and I personally spoke to Sefer Halilovic
20 in the cinema hall. I don't know what part of that
21 conversation may be of interest to you.
22 Q. The short answer to my question, sir, is yes,
23 two military offices negotiated for the release of
24 those 13 prisoners; yes?
25 A. Correct. And they negotiated about the
1 involvement of joint forces in the struggle against the
2 former JNA and the Chetniks.
3 Q. You were released in exchange for the release
4 of other soldiers; correct? Strike that.
5 You were released in exchange --
6 A. Not soldiers.
7 Q. You were released in exchange for other
8 civilians, like yourself, Croat civilians; correct?
9 A. Croat civilians, yes.
10 Q. All right. How many Croat civilians were
11 released at the same time you were, if you know?
12 A. I don't know.
13 Q. And were there any -- strike that; I'll
14 rephrase that question.
15 MR. STEIN: I'm almost at the end of my
16 examination, for the Court's edification.
17 Q. Let me ask you this, sir: The term
18 "Bosniak," that was a term that was not used before
19 1992; isn't that fair to say?
20 A. It's not true. It is not correct.
21 Q. The term "Bosniak" was not used under the
22 communist regime, was it?
23 A. You will find the term in medieval
24 literature. It implied an inhabitant of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. "A good old Bosniak" is the
2 Q. As a common term to describe the Muslim
3 people, before 1992, that term was not used; agreed?
4 A. Sir --
5 Q. It's "Yes" or "No." You either agree or
7 A. The unresolved national question in the
8 former Yugoslavia was a stumbling block. No, that term
9 "Bosniak" was not used, but instead a Muslim with a
10 capital "M." And the difference between Muslims with a
11 capital and with a small "m" is considerable.
12 Q. Right. And now, of course, the term
13 "Bosniak" is used to represent the term for the Muslim
14 people in Bosnia-Herzegovina; right?
15 A. No.
16 Q. All right.
17 A. A Bosujanin is an inhabitant of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but a Bosujanin of Muslim faith is
19 a Muslim of Bosnia-Herzegovina, because there are
20 Bosniaks among Croats and Serbs of orthodox faith.
21 Q. Even better for my purposes, sir. Now, my
22 last question to you is this: Before the war, the
23 elementary school in Vitez was called "The School of
24 Brotherhood and Unity"; correct?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. Do you know what it's called now?
2 A. The elementary school in Vitez.
3 Q. Yeah. That's what it's called? The
4 elementary school in Vitez? Thank you very much.
5 MR. STEIN: I have nothing further.
6 Re-examined by Ms. Somers:
7 Q. Yesterday you were asked about the conditions
8 in the first place of detention where you were taken,
9 which was the basement of your apartment building, and
10 you specifically indicated that -- the question was
11 whether or not it was suitable for people to take
12 refuge. Was the basement of the Radnicki Univerzitet
13 suitable for people to be kept?
14 A. The answer is no. It was the former boiler
15 room of the Workers' University, where they kept coal
16 and ashes from the furnace.
17 Q. Okay. And what about the cinema?
18 A. The cinema, to which we were moved around the
19 20th -- some earlier on -- was much better before the
20 bomb truck exploded on the 18th of April. As a result
21 of that explosion, the glass broke, so that it was cold
22 in the cinema, and we didn't have any blankets or any
23 other covers.
24 Q. But in the Radnicki Univerzitet, had you
25 observed signs of construction that might have --
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
2 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, excuse me.
3 Probably more as clarification. My dear colleague,
4 Ms. Somers, in the first question, implied that the
5 witness yesterday said that he was taken to the
6 basement of the apartment building, which wasn't really
7 the case.
8 JUDGE MAY: Well, it was where he, himself,
9 went to take shelter.
10 MR. KOVACIC: Yeah, but he was not taken
12 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
13 MR. KOVACIC: It implies that he was --
14 A. Correct. I went there.
15 MS. SOMERS:
16 Q. Was there any sign of construction in the
17 Radnicki Univerzitet that you noticed, that caught your
19 MR. STEIN: That's certainly beyond the scope
20 of cross on both of us.
21 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment.
22 Do you think that's going to help us any
23 more? We've heard evidence about this.
24 MS. SOMERS: Judge, if I could comment:
25 Yesterday, because we did go from question 7 to
1 question 25, there was a point that was touched upon
2 about some construction that suggested -- I think, if
3 the witness does recall, I would have liked to have
4 gone -- but I'm afraid that I want to tag it on now
5 because I think the question of construction
6 suitability for people being packed together is
7 relevant, and it's the only issue on terms of
8 confinement that I would address.
9 JUDGE MAY: Well, you can do so, but briefly.
10 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
11 Q. Did you notice any signs of recent
12 construction -- sorry.
13 A. Can I answer that question? Yes, I do
14 remember that when we were brought there, we noticed
15 that water, a tap had been installed, and to judge by
16 the fresh mortar, we assessed that it had been done a
17 couple of days before. Also electrical installation
18 work had been done. Again, we could judge this by the
19 plaster on the wall, that it had been freshly done, so
20 that obviously this room was being prepared for people
21 to live in it.
22 Q. The issue of your being a citizen of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina was raised. Were there persons in
24 the Vitez area who displayed loyalty to republics or
25 other sovereigns beside Bosnia and Herzegovina during
1 the time frame that we are discussing?
2 A. Could you please be a little clearer? Which
3 other States are you referring to?
4 Q. Were there people who were expressing loyalty
5 to the Republic of Croatia, or to a Croatian entity, or
6 to an entity other than Bosnia-Herzegovina?
7 A. Yes. That is the tragedy of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Some people are loyal to Zagreb;
9 others support Belgrade; a third want to have an
10 integral and unified Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is a
11 fact, and that is what has led to certain disagreements
12 and consequences.
13 Q. The separate parallel governments referred to
14 by counsel that arose in November of 1992 were Muslim
15 or Bosniak and Croat governments. However, was there
16 not a separate, parallel set of institutions for
17 education, for banking, for infrastructure, set in
18 place when the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was
19 founded one year earlier, in November 1991?
20 A. Yes, teaching in the secondary school centre
21 was organised throughout that time, until the 16th of
22 April, 1993, for all pupils of Croat, Serb, and Bosniak
23 ethnicity, or rather Muslim or Islamic faith. But
24 already then, after the 20th of October, 1992, and I
25 underline that was the time of the first conflict
1 between the HVO and the BH army, tensions were running
2 high even among teachers and also among pupils.
3 Unfortunately, the situation on the ground was being
4 transposed upon our children as well.
5 Q. Forgive me; perhaps I wasn't quite clear
6 enough. Were there not institutions, such as
7 educational and financial --
8 JUDGE MAY: I don't think there is any
9 dispute about this, is there? Is there any dispute
10 about this? We've heard a lot of evidence about it.
11 MS. SOMERS: Okay.
12 Q. Mr. Surkovic, you were not the only political
13 person to have taught high school in Vitez; is that
14 correct? Anto Valenta also taught high school in
15 Vitez, did he not?
16 A. Yes, Mr. Valenta and Mr. Kajmovic Munir
17 (phoen) worked with me in Vitez. Mr. Valenta was a
18 member of the leadership of the HDZ, and Mr. Kajmovic
19 was president of the SDA party, and frequently there
20 were polemics and disagreements among people, and this
21 was felt by the children, of course. If you wish, I
22 can describe an unfortunate incident that occurred in
23 the secondary school in Vitez.
24 Q. You've answered that question. One
25 additional point on that would be on the slogan of
1 brotherhood and unity that counsel mentioned to you.
2 Would you describe, based on what you know about Anto
3 Valenta, as Mr. Valenta being an advocate of
4 brotherhood and unity?
5 JUDGE MAY: No, I'm not going to allow that
7 MS. SOMERS: I'll withdraw the question.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Is there anything else?
9 MS. SOMERS: Yes, one quick question.
10 Q. The circumstances surrounding your release,
11 the order that was issued under the direction of
12 General Petkovic, you indicated the enforcement of that
13 order was delayed for some 20 minutes or half an hour,
14 according to Mr. Aleksovski. Was it or was it not your
15 understanding that it was Dario Kordic, or the word or
16 authority of Dario Kordic, that overrode that delay of
17 an order --
18 MR. STEIN: That's absolutely leading and not
19 appropriate in this context.
20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Stein, I haven't stopped you
21 before. We are not in the courts of the United
22 States. We are not accustomed to constant interruption
23 here. Now, it may well be that there is a leading
24 element in the question, and to that extent, the answer
25 becomes worthless. We are accustomed to dealing with
1 such matters, so will you leave it in our hands.
2 Ms. Somers, you heard that point.
3 MS. SOMERS: Shall I rephrase the question?
4 JUDGE MAY: I don't think there's much point;
5 do you?
6 MS. SOMERS: There are no further questions,
7 Your Honour, no further redirect. Thank you.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Surkovic, thank you very much
9 for coming to give evidence to the International
10 Tribunal. You are now released.
11 THE WITNESS: Thank you. All the best.
12 (The witness withdrew)
13 JUDGE MAY: It's coming up to the time for a
14 break, but are there any applications before the next
15 witness gives evidence?
16 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour, there are.
17 Your Honour, if we could go into private
18 session for the purposes of not disclosing the name of
19 the next witness at this point?
20 JUDGE MAY: We're in private session.
21 (Private session)
13 pages 4478-4520 redacted private session
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
12 at 5.40 p.m., to be reconvened on
13 Monday, the 12th day of July, 1999
14 at 2:30 p.m.