1 Tuesday, 14th September, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.40 p.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: This is IT-95-14/2-T, the
7 Prosecutor versus Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, I should say to the
9 Court that we are sorry to have kept you waiting.
10 Matters took rather longer than anticipated, but we're
11 ready now. We'll sit until 5.30. I hope it's possible
12 to get through your cross-examination, Mr. Kovacic, as
13 I said, expeditiously, so that we can make a start on
14 the next witness. Do you anticipate managing to do
16 MR. KOVACIC: I'm certain that I can be
17 finished in maximum an hour, and probably a quarter
18 more; not more than that.
19 JUDGE MAY: We'll take the break when you've
20 finished and we've had the re-examination.
21 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, sir. Could I
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
24 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
25 WITNESS: FUAD ZECO [Resumed]
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Zeco.
4 A. Good afternoon.
5 Q. My name is Bozidar Kovacic. I'm an attorney
6 from Rijeka, not from your Rijeka but another place
7 called Rijeka, and I represent here Mr. Mario Cerkez.
8 As you were told earlier on, if you do not understand
9 my question, please tell me, and I will repeat it.
10 Mr. Zeco, you have told us where you lived.
11 You indicated the area on a photograph. A little lower
12 down on the same road, the Cerkez family lived. Isn't
13 that so?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you know the Cerkez family?
16 A. Yes, I knew very well the father and mother
17 of Mario Cerkez.
18 Q. Do you know that Mario Cerkez also had a
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. So you knew both of them?
22 A. I knew the brother by sight, but I knew Mario
23 Cerkez in person. However, I do not recall having any
24 personal contacts with him. I only knew him by sight.
25 Q. So you knew the parents better. And could
1 you tell us, on the basis of your knowledge of the
2 family, what could you tell us about that family and
3 the environment? Did you ever notice, among any member
4 of that family, any sign of discrimination or prejudice
5 based on religion or anything else, ethnicity?
6 A. Throughout my life in Vitez, and I lived
7 there for 25 years, during that period, after the time
8 when the unfortunate event occurred, I had absolutely
9 no objections or criticisms to make of their
10 behaviour. They were very friendly. Good neighbourly
11 relations existed. I can only say words of praise
12 about the family.
13 Q. Did you ever hear from anyone else anything
14 that would be contrary to this opinion that you held?
15 A. No.
16 Q. In your opinion, if somebody suddenly
17 changes, would you consider that to be something
19 A. Could you repeat that question for me,
21 Q. Never mind; let's leave that for the moment.
22 Yesterday, talking about Rijeka, you said it
23 was a neighbourhood community there which you knew
24 extremely well, and you mentioned Darko Kraljevic as
25 the leader of a unit called Vitezovi?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You told us that you knew Darko Kraljevic
3 well, too, in view of the fact that you were
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You told us that the Vitezovi were formerly
7 HOS, and later on that they joined the HVO?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you tell us when the HOS joined the HVO?
10 A. I think this was sometime in the second half
11 of 1992, as far as I can remember.
12 Q. So Darko Kraljevic's unit, in this part of
13 Vitez and further beyond, was very visibly present;
14 would you agree?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. They were a visible force that one had to
17 reckon with, wouldn't you say?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Generally speaking, were people afraid of the
20 members of that unit, the Vitezovi?
21 A. At least in the area of Rijeka itself, there
22 were no visible reasons for fear, but there were
23 stories and rumours about their activities. But I
24 personally couldn't note anything of significance.
25 Q. There were generally accepted rumours,
1 according to what I have heard and we have heard here
2 in court, that Darko Kraljevic had connections with
3 drugs. Did you ever hear anything to that effect?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Is it true that this part of Vitez was
6 virtually under the control of the Vitezovi, just
7 before the outbreak of the conflict between the Croats
8 and the Muslims?
9 A. No. No. I think that this was part of an
10 all-out Croatian movement, headed by the HVO, as a
11 component of the civilian and military authorities.
12 Q. But you would agree that the Vitezovi were a
13 unit within the HVO?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you would also agree that they were a
16 powerful unit?
17 A. Yes, in the military sense, yes. Yes.
18 Q. You told us that when they first came to your
19 house and arrested you, that they came from the
20 Sumarija building?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Among them was this young man called
23 Krunoslav Bonic?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Would you agree that this young man,
1 Krunoslav Bugojnoic, was only 16, that he was under
3 A. I know that he was very young. I didn't know
4 exactly how old he was, but I knew him as a young boy.
5 Q. Do you think that he was of an age which
6 would make him a military conscript?
7 A. He had the appearance of a military man. He
8 was dressed as a soldier and armed, and he gave the
9 impression of a soldier, regardless of his age. He
10 acted as a real soldier.
11 Q. At that time, there were village guards in
12 operation in the area?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Could you tell us of any fact on the basis of
15 which we could ascertain with greater certainty whether
16 this particular young man, Krunoslav Bonic, was a
17 member of the village guards or another grouping?
18 A. I'm afraid I didn't quite understand your
20 Q. I will repeat it, of course. Could you
21 indicate any single fact that you knew of or heard of
22 on the basis of which one could conclude which unit
23 Bonic belonged to? Did he belong to village guards,
24 the Vitezovi, the military police?
25 A. As in those days, and in those parts, I
1 identified units belonging to the HVO movement as a
2 whole without entering into their organisational
3 structure, so that I thought them to be an army under
4 the exclusive control and command of the HVO. I didn't
5 concern myself with the actual structure and the
6 units. I viewed them as a single unified army.
7 Q. So for them, it was quite sufficient to know
8 that they belonged to the HVO, and you as a citizen
9 thought everything else to be irrelevant; would you
10 agree with that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So you even include village guards in that
13 structure, even though they are not formally a part of
14 the structure?
15 A. I was not in touch with those guards. I was
16 only thinking of people wearing military insignia, HVO
17 insignia, and the most important -- the characteristic
18 sign was the chequerboard emblem that they wore either
19 on their sleeves or on their lapels.
20 Q. Tell me, what about the uniform? Was that an
21 indication of the unit a soldier belonged to?
22 A. There were different uniforms. Some people
23 wore uniforms that were not camouflage uniforms. There
24 were those wearing black uniforms; they belonged to
25 Darko Kraljevic's unit. Some of them also had black
1 uniforms. But I was able to see the same people
2 wearing, on one occasion, a black uniform and, on
3 another, a camouflage uniform.
4 Q. So that if I understand you well, a uniform
5 is not a reliable distinguishing sign.
6 A. No, but the most important thing was the
7 chequerboard emblem, which was indicative of membership
8 to a particular military grouping.
9 Q. So if I understand you well, the insignia are
10 distinguishing signs, but the uniform in itself is not;
11 is that so?
12 A. Yes, more or less. Yes.
13 Q. You also told us about that unfortunate
14 incident when you were caught up on the road, dragged
15 out of the car, and physically assaulted. Is it true
16 that this was done by the Vitezovi?
17 A. I was later told that they were Vitezovi. I
18 was told by a representative of the police; whereas I
19 personally, at that point in time, did not know which
20 unit they belonged to. They were all wearing
21 camouflage uniforms with HVO insignia, and later on,
22 from police representatives, I learnt that they were
23 members of the Vitezovi unit, which was under the
24 command of Darko Kraljevic.
25 Q. Mr. Samija told you that, the person you
1 mentioned yesterday.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Having mentioned Samija, do you know anything
4 about the circumstances under which he was killed?
5 A. I was told, at least in the course of our
6 discussions at the level of the presidency, we were
7 informed that Mirko Samija was killed by the HVO as
8 being a disobedient subordinate, and that was the
9 information we received officially in relation to Mirko
11 Q. Did you ever hear of different
12 interpretations or stories?
13 A. There was a rumour that on the road between
14 Vitez and Busovaca, he was driving a car and that he
15 was hit by a bullet; however, the date when Mirko
16 Samija was killed was a time when there was no shooting
17 by members of the army. So we accepted as fact that
18 Mirko Samija had been killed by the HVO.
19 Q. According to this version, he was killed near
20 Buhine Kuce.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. We're talking about a summer when there were
23 snipers and there were quite a number of casualties
24 from sniper fire. Do you know anything about that?
25 A. I do not know that there were any sniper
1 nests then, at the time when Mirko Samija was killed,
2 in that area. As far as I am aware, there were no
3 snipers in that area at that time.
4 Q. So can we agree that there were at least two
5 versions of the killing of Mirko Samija?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you trust one version more than another?
8 JUDGE MAY: Well, I don't know, Mr. Kovacic,
9 that we're going to be helped very much by this. It's
10 based purely on rumour.
11 MR. KOVACIC: I will move on. Thank you,
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. What was the majority population in Buhine
15 Kuce, Bosniak or Croat?
16 A. Well, roughly about 50/50 Croats and Bosniaks
17 in the wider area.
18 Q. Would you agree with me that later on, as the
19 war developed, late in 1993, there was very fierce
20 fighting between the two parties?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And that there were very high casualties on
23 both sides there?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You mentioned yesterday that you knew that
1 there were two components of the HVO government.
2 Within that framework, talking about the police, you
3 told us that Samija was the commander of the civilian
4 police. Do you know who, in those days, was the
5 commander of the military police in the Vitez area?
6 A. No.
7 Q. As a person who was, in a way, involved in
8 the organisation and activities of the authorities, do
9 you know that between the military police and the
10 civilian police there are clearly regulated differences
11 regarding competencies?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Didn't Samija actually tell you, when he told
14 you what he knew, that simply he was not responsible,
15 he didn't have the competence?
16 A. I apologise, but I have to say that I knew
17 Mirko Samija as a highly qualified professional,
18 because he was a municipal judge, and I had a great
19 deal of trust in his professional approach. I had
20 confidence in him and I expected him to act in
21 accordance with all laws and regulations.
22 Q. So that means that we can agree that the HVO,
23 after Pero Skopljak left as the chief of police, Mirko
24 Samija was appointed as the chief of police, even
25 though he was a judge.
1 A. When Mirko Samija was appointed to the
2 position of head of MUP, there was an agreement between
3 representatives of the Croats and the Bosniak
4 representatives, and I know that at a meeting of the
5 war presidency of Vitez municipality, we agreed and
6 accepted the appointment of Mirko Samija as head of the
7 MUP, the Ministry of the Interior, and Saban Mahmutovic
8 as the chief of police, which in those days was, in
9 fact, carried out.
10 Q. Very well. So is it true that, generally
11 speaking, among the population of Vitez, the fact that
12 the HVO had, on the basis of an agreement reached at
13 the crisis staff, appointed Samija as head of the
14 police, was that something that was very well received
15 by the citizenry?
16 A. I think that Mirko Samija was a prestigious
17 person. As I have already said, he was a professional,
18 a man of trust.
19 Q. Thank you. Did you ever learn later on who
20 was in command of the military police or whom they
21 belonged to, or any other details about the military
22 police in Vitez?
23 A. No. I think that this was not publicised,
24 nor was any information released about that, so I have
25 no insight into the military police.
1 Q. Thank you. You told us that you were
2 arrested on the 16th of April by a group of soldiers,
3 among whom was Bonic. They were the Vitezovi. They
4 took you to the veterinarian station and they detained
5 you there; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You also mentioned that the person
8 responsible for detention was Zeljko Matkovic --
9 A. I'm sorry?
10 Q. -- and that he belonged to the military
12 A. I don't know which military formation he
13 belonged to. I just know that he was the leader and
14 that he was in charge of the detainees held in the
15 veterinarian station. I didn't know, in military
16 terms, which unit he belonged to. I just knew that he
17 was the commander of the camp where the detainees were
19 Q. When you used the term "camp," what do you
20 imply? According to what you told us yesterday, this
21 can hardly be called a camp.
22 A. Yes, I told you that we were held in a gym,
23 we lay on the floor, we were ordered around, we were
24 locked up, we couldn't leave the place, we had no
25 contact with others, except for what I've already told
2 Q. You made a statement for the investigators of
3 this Tribunal on the 14th of July, 1995, and let me
4 just quote a sentence. You said, "Zeljko Matkovic, who
5 was one of Kraljevic's men, asked me about plans later
6 on that day when my car was seized." You told us
7 yesterday that the car was taken away from you, but
8 here in that statement you said Zeljko was Kraljevic's
9 man, but today you say you don't know who he belonged
10 to. How can you explain that?
11 A. In this smaller area of Sumarija, the
12 veterinary station, Kraljevic's units were the most
13 prominent, and that is what people believed. However,
14 it is a fact that in the premises of Sumarija there was
15 also the headquarters situated there, in the forestry
16 administration; and among others, my colleague, a
17 veterinarian who worked with me in the veterinary
18 station, was a member of that command. He was in
19 charge of the medical corps attached to the command of
20 the Rijeka headquarters. So there were soldiers of the
21 HVO and those specific units known as the Black
22 Vitezovi of Darko Kraljevic, but all of them were there
23 in the same limited area, the area of Sumarija, the
24 veterinary station, and so on.
25 Q. Very well, but can you explain why in '95 you
1 explicitly said that Matkovic was Kraljevic's man, and
2 now you don't seem to know?
3 A. I don't think he was under the direct command
4 of Darko Kraljevic but that he was a member of the HVO,
5 of the HVO headquarters in Rijeka.
6 Q. That is what you think?
7 A. I don't think; that is what I claim.
8 Q. But I'm asking you, on the basis of which
10 A. Because soldiers came from the headquarters,
11 including this colleague of mine, the veterinarian, who
12 was also involved in the headquarters. He would come,
13 and they would exchange comments and converse with one
14 another, whereas Darko Kraljevic's soldiers, only those
15 came who asked Zeljko Matkovic for a certain number of
16 soldiers, which he would place at his disposal.
17 Q. To who?
18 A. To Darko Kraljevic.
19 Q. So you mean HVO units?
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel speak into
21 the microphone, please.
22 A. They would come to ask for a certain number
23 of detainees to take for trench digging. And there
24 were other soldiers, who did not belong to Darko
25 Kraljevic's unit, who would also come to collect people
1 to take them to dig trenches.
2 MR. KOVACIC:
3 Q. On the 30th of April I think you said that
4 you were transferred from that place of detention in
5 Sumarija to the school in Dubravica; is that correct?
6 A. Yes. Yes.
7 Q. Who was in charge of that place, which you
8 called a camp?
9 A. HVO units were in charge.
10 Q. Do you know which HVO units?
11 A. I don't. I know that the commander of the
12 camp was Plavcic, Marijan.
13 Q. Yesterday, on the video clips that we were
14 shown, we saw shots of the detention place in
15 Dubravica, and there was a drawing on the wall with the
16 words "Black Legion." Do you know that the Vitezovi
17 were sometimes called "Black Vitezovi" or "Black
19 A. Yes, I know that they were referred to in
20 that way too.
21 Q. There were many Vitezovi from your immediate
22 neighbourhood. Did you see any one of them in
23 Dubravica as being members of those forces?
24 A. I did not. I didn't see anyone.
25 Q. You didn't see anyone?
1 A. No.
2 Q. So you don't know exactly which HVO unit was
3 in charge of Dubravica?
4 A. No, I just said that the members were members
5 of the HVO, who were wearing the camouflage uniforms
6 with the HVO insignia, and that the commander was -- at
7 least he introduced himself as Marijan Plavcic, with
8 whom I had a certain contact. We had requested for him
9 to receive us. It was a delegation; I was a commander
10 there. We wanted to discuss the issue of taking
11 certain detainees to dig trenches, because without
12 proper supervision, these prisoners were taken to dig,
13 and it was about their physical conditions, that some
14 of them were sleep-deprived. So we wanted them to work
15 out lists, to produce lists and select people who were
16 the best able to go to dig trenches, and this is what
17 they did. So this list was then followed and complied
19 Q. Very well. I will move to that and ask you
20 about it later, but I want to ask you about this
21 person, Plavcic. Was this Marinko Plavcic, the son of
23 A. Yes, oh, yes, it was Marinko.
24 Q. Did you know him?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Was he a deputy of Darko Kraljevic?
2 A. I do not know that.
3 Q. Did you ever see him around Darko Kraljevic?
4 A. I do not recall that.
5 Q. Mr. Zeco, is your intention to go back to
6 Rijeka? That is what you said in your statement.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do the Vitezovi still have any kind of
9 influence there? Do you know somebody who is with
11 A. Can you please repeat this for me?
12 Q. Are you afraid of Vitezovi today? Do you
13 fear them still?
14 A. By nature, I am not a very fearful person --
15 with respect to myself, that is.
16 Q. Thank you. You also said that when your car
17 was taken away, you said that it was Vitezovi who did
18 so; but yesterday, when you gave evidence, you didn't
19 say that clearly. In the statement you made in 1995,
20 you very clearly stated that in Sumarija, you were
21 packed together -- this was in '93 -- soldiers of
22 Kraljevic came and said that they wanted your car and
23 that you gave them the car. So were they the ones who
24 took the car, or the HVO, or do you not know?
25 A. I did explain that a while ago.
1 Q. Very well. So you don't know?
2 A. The soldiers who were dressed and who had
3 come from Sumarija, I don't know whether they were
4 Kraljevic's soldiers. I don't know. They were some
5 HVO units. I didn't know them. They were all
6 together. I know that they had come from Sumarija
7 because my car was taken to the Sumarija's backyard. I
8 know that they had taken it there. And as I said
9 yesterday, I had disconnected the cables.
10 Q. Very well. Those are details, and you've
11 talked about that. But your answer needs to be either
12 yes or no. When you spoke to the investigators in July
13 of 1995, did you say that your car was taken by the
14 Kraljevic men?
15 A. It is possible.
16 Q. So it was possible? Thank you.
17 When you said that different units were
18 coming, both to Sumarija and to Dubravica school,
19 looking for and taking prisoners out to dig trenches,
20 you explained that these were the HVO soldiers, but you
21 don't know which units. You agreed that there were
22 Vitezovi among them. Do you agree that there were also
23 units there which had come from outside of the Vitez
24 municipality territory?
25 A. There were soldiers, men there, whom I did
1 not know; that is, the soldiers who had come to the
2 camp and looked for people to go out and to dig
4 Q. But you cannot identify them by their
6 A. I did not know the insignia, but the men I
7 did not recognise.
8 Q. After you were released from the Dubravica
9 school, you said that you were taken to the hotel and
10 questioned there. Do you know whose headquarters this
11 was where you were taken?
12 A. I did not know that. I only know that it was
13 the military police. It was the military police which
14 had come to take me, and they took me to the hotel.
15 They were wearing white belts, and I assumed that they
16 were the military police.
17 So they took me to the hotel, where they
18 brought me, as I said, into -- I know that it was a
19 command there. I don't know which command, but there
20 was a command post, some higher command in the hotel.
21 General Blaskic was there in the hotel, but it was the
22 first time that I entered the hotel when I was detained
23 and brought there. And then yesterday I described how
24 my arrest took place and how I was brought to the
1 Q. Did anybody among the military police with
2 whom you communicated on that occasion introduce
3 themselves to you, identify what unit they were from?
4 A. No.
5 Q. You said that this was a higher command. Did
6 Mario Cerkez also keep his headquarters there?
7 A. As far as I know, his headquarters was in the
8 cinema, theatre building. His command was there.
9 Q. So that was the workers' centre or the cinema
10 theatre; that is what we're referring to?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. But was Cerkez there?
13 A. No.
14 Q. You did not see him there?
15 A. No, I did not see him there.
16 Q. Cerkez was also not in Dubravica during the
17 time you were there?
18 A. I was not in a position to leave the room in
19 which I was detained throughout this time, until I was
20 released, so that I could not see anything.
21 Q. Can you tell me whether you agree that the
22 distance between the cinema theatre and the Dubravica
23 school is somewhere between two and a half and three
25 A. About two and a half.
1 Q. And from Rijeka?
2 A. A little bit less, and about halfway there is
3 the forestry administration building.
4 Q. So it is 1,5 kilometres from the cinema
5 theatre to the Sumarija?
6 A. Yes, somewhere around there. Maybe 1,2
8 Q. Very well. Let us just clear up one more
9 thing. When your wife, along with Zvonko Santic, who
10 had helped you, came back home to pick up some things,
11 did soldiers again intervene?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you say whether the soldiers who were
14 there were Vitezovi?
15 A. I know one of the soldiers by name. I was
16 told this by my wife and Zvonko Santic. This man's
17 name was Miro Kulic. He was one of the soldiers.
18 Q. But you don't know what unit he was with?
19 A. I don't know who he was with.
20 Q. You said, when asked, that you knew that in
21 the civilian structure of the HVO, the top man was
22 Ivica Santic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. This was the brother of Zvonko Santic, who
25 helped you?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You were a member of the crisis staff?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You did not come to the crisis staff
6 A. Officially, no, I did not, but on several
7 occasions I was with representatives of the crisis
8 staff. I came by a couple of times, perhaps twice.
9 But this was not in an official function.
10 Q. So you did not come as a member, but I assume
11 that if a certain issue was discussed --
12 A. Yes, and I did not interfere.
13 Q. Do you recall that as representatives of the
14 military structures on both sides were on the one side
15 Marijan Skopljak and on the other side Hakija Cengic?
16 They were representatives of the military structures of
17 the two organisations; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Marijan Skopljak; that is not Pero Skopljak,
20 whom you mentioned yesterday? That is somebody else?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you agree that this Marijan Skopljak
23 during 1992 was the chief of staff of the military
24 structure of the Vitez HVO?
25 A. No, I don't know.
1 Q. And the meetings which you attended, this was
2 during 1992?
3 A. Yes, in 1992.
4 Q. Very well. Thank you.
5 Yesterday you said something about this
6 approach of the HVO authorities in regard of the
7 Muslims' employment, that they sort of started pushing
8 them aside, that their positions were threatened, that
9 they began being fired. You talked about your wife,
10 but the fact is that your wife remained employed?
11 A. Yes, but that is because she signed the
13 Q. And what about the other Muslims?
14 A. Well, in the war presidency, a decision was
15 adopted that all employees should sign this document,
16 that that was the official position of the leadership
17 in the Vitez municipality, so that all employees -- I
18 think that only two employees of the local government
19 did not sign, and they had to leave their positions.
20 Q. This means that instead of individuals
21 deciding for themselves, the war presidency decided for
23 A. The war presidency took a position that since
24 the people had come asking what to do, since the legal
25 authority should be suspended and that they were asked
1 to accept the Herceg-Bosna government, so because of
2 this, they asked the Bosniak representatives -- in this
3 case, this was the war presidency, so they asked for a
4 decision from us. Since this affected their very
5 existence, they asked for a decision from us.
6 Q. Very well. So the war presidency adopted
7 such a decision.
8 Next, what I want to ask you, this document
9 that is mentioned all the time, was there a particular
10 wording? Was there a language there, "I swear
11 allegiance," an oath or something? So what was it?
12 A. There was a preamble. It said: "The
13 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna," and then it was
14 signed by the local government's president.
15 Q. Mr. Zeco, you were a state employee?
16 A. Yes, I was.
17 Q. There were laws. Were you receiving, perhaps
18 once a year --
19 A. Whenever there was some kind of
20 reorganisation, any changes of structure, we would
21 receive certain decisions on assignments to certain
22 jobs, positions, and we had salary scales and all
24 Q. Yes. You needed to have some kind of a
25 document. Very well. So in this particular case, they
1 just received new documents, new decisions?
2 A. They received new decisions, yes.
3 Q. So in the heading of these new decisions,
4 there was "the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna," so
5 to them, that meant pledging allegiance to this
7 A. This is how this was interpreted.
8 Q. But it never stated that in the decision
10 A. I believe that, as such, this decision, with
11 all its details as you described them, was supposed to
12 mean something, and people interpreted this as ignoring
13 the legal authorities and a pledge of loyalty to the
14 new organisation. Because at that time, the local
15 parliament ceased to exist and people -- it was asked
16 of people expressly to sign. If they didn't sign, they
17 would be fired from their jobs. This was unusual; that
18 had never been done previously, and so people asked
19 assistance and some kind of intervention, which led to
20 everything that I have then described.
21 Q. You will agree that the municipal council had
22 ceased to exist in its legal form and continued to
23 exist as the crisis staff in 1992.
24 A. The crisis staff only functioned in a sense
25 that it had to deal with certain incidents and
1 problems, and the crisis staff needed to come to
2 certain solutions in order to overcome that crisis.
3 Q. So this was the crisis staff in which
4 representatives of both ethnic groups were members?
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 Q. Mr. Zeco, you also said that you were in
7 charge of civilian affairs in the presidency, and I
8 assume that you knew the regulations which were in
9 force in Bosnia and Herzegovina with respect to
10 civilian protection?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Very well. Since other people present today
13 in the courtroom may not know all these regulations,
14 could you describe what "work duty" meant in those
16 A. If this is something in connection with the
17 civilian protection, there was also an obligation or
18 duty for people to become involved in matters of
19 civilian protection, if this is what you're referring
21 Q. So that was one duty of citizens?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can you give us some examples of what types
24 of activities this involved?
25 A. These were activities in the protection of
1 civilians, of material goods, property, and other
3 Q. Let's give an example. A bomb or a shell
4 falls and a house is destroyed. Who would try to pull
5 out the people from the rubble?
6 A. It would be the civilian protection; they
7 would come to assist. We had wartime situations and we
8 had cases where we had such interventions, especially
9 around the Lasva River. There were units which were
10 organised, and it was for different needs, should
11 different needs arise.
12 Q. So it involved the preparation of shelters,
13 in case of attack, and the digging of trenches?
14 A. One of the tasks was the maintenance of such
16 Q. Now, let me just ask you one further
17 question. Who were the people who were under this kind
18 of obligation? Everybody?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I'm sorry. I was not clear. One additional
21 question: Who, according to the law of that period,
22 had the duty to perform such duties?
23 A. You mean who had these kinds of duties?
24 Q. Which citizens were duty-bound in civilian
1 A. You mean the people who had work duty?
2 Q. Just give us an example. Let's say a citizen
3 between 25 and 45, would such a citizen have primarily
4 a work duty or some other type of duty?
5 A. Some had work duty; some had combat duty,
6 depending on their abilities.
7 Q. So some citizens had work duty and some had
8 military duty?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. How about women?
11 A. Oh, women as well, yes, absolutely.
12 Q. What was the age limit for men for the work
14 A. Sixty years.
15 Q. Okay. So in the end, we did hurry up.
16 You said a little bit about your moving to
17 somebody else's house and somebody else moving into
18 your house, but I think one issue remained unclear.
19 Today in Bosnia, on the basis of various decisions of
20 the High Commissioner of Bosnia, there are certain
21 agencies and there are various administrations,
22 cantonal and county, and there is an effort to bring
23 everybody back to their home.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So your case is now being processed. For
1 instance, I know that in Ahmici, about 70 families came
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. How about in the area of Rijeka? Did any
5 families come back to Rijeka?
6 A. Perhaps only a few individual cases.
7 Q. In other words, there are great differences
8 from case to case.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. But there is an organised effort in the
11 society as a whole to do this?
12 A. Of course, there are a number of
13 difficulties; I agree with that. The situation is very
14 complex, and I can accept that as a fact, yes.
15 Q. Mr. Zeco, I thank you very much for your
16 answering all my questions.
17 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, thank you.
18 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: Mr. President, I have a
19 few questions, a few clarifications that I would like
20 to ask the witness to give us.
21 Re-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
22 Q. Mr. Zeco, during his cross-examination,
23 Defence counsel for Mr. Kordic asked you whether,
24 starting in January of 1993, there weren't two parallel
25 governments that had been set up in Vitez, the first
1 for the administration of the Croats and the second for
2 the administration of the Muslims. Do you remember
3 that question?
4 A. I'm afraid I couldn't hear the interpreter
5 very well, so could you please speak a little more
7 Q. I'll repeat my question. Mr. Kordic's
8 Defence counsel yesterday asked you whether, starting
9 in January of 1993, there was not in Vitez a parallel
10 government set up, one for the administration of the
11 Vitez Croats and the other for the Muslims.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. As regards the war presidency, which had been
14 set up by the Muslims, wasn't it set up only to respond
15 to the takeover of power of Vitez by the HVO?
16 A. At that time, in view of the fact that the
17 legal existing authorities in the area of Vitez
18 municipality had been suspended and that the Muslims
19 did not participate in government, the Bosniaks
20 organised themselves and formed a parallel government
21 which was meant to perform regular duties, and what
22 they did was form the war presidency of Vitez
24 Q. The suspension of the legitimate municipal
25 authorities who had been democratically elected in
1 1990, was that suspension only because the HVO, who had
2 taken power, had set up its own units in order to push
3 the Muslims aside?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. I have a question about Mr. Pero Skopljak, a
6 person we spoke about today. Was he the police chief
7 before Mirko Samija?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you know that Mr. Skopljak, in April of
10 1993, was the president of the HDZ in Vitez? Did you
11 know that?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And Mr. Ivica Santic was the president of the
14 HVO in Vitez.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Darko Kraljevic was a person who was spoken
17 about with you today. Did you know his family well?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Was it a family that you liked?
20 A. As my neighbours, I had very close
21 relationships with the Kraljevic family.
22 Q. Did you ever notice among Mr. Kraljevic's
23 relatives that there was any kind of discriminatory
24 behaviour towards the Vitez Muslims?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Thank you. I would like us to go back now to
2 the 16th of April, 1993, in the morning.
3 The soldiers that came to your house, among
4 whom was Krunoslav Bonic, whom you recognised, were
5 they wearing black uniforms or camouflage uniforms?
6 A. They were wearing camouflage uniforms.
7 Q. He was wearing a camouflage uniform?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. On the 2nd of May, 1993, when the soldiers
10 came to your house in order to search it and then took
11 you to Sofa, did you recognise Mr. Bonic again?
12 A. I did.
13 Q. Were they wearing a black or a camouflage
14 uniform; that is, the soldiers who were with him and
15 Mr. Bonic?
16 A. All the soldiers -- and I had noticed them
17 already in the background. There were four or five of
18 them -- they were all wearing camouflage uniforms.
19 Q. On the 16th of April, 1993, when you were
20 arrested by Bonic and the other soldiers who were with
21 him, were those soldiers and Bonic members of the
22 Vitezovi unit?
23 A. I had no information to tell me that they
24 belonged to the Vitezovi. I don't think they did.
25 Q. You never said that Mr. Bonic was a Vitezovi?
1 A. No.
2 Q. As regards the veterinarian centre where you
3 were detained, you said that the commander was Zeljko
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Did he wear a black uniform or camouflage
8 A. He wore a camouflage uniform.
9 Q. Thank you. A few moments ago, we spoke about
10 the work obligation which citizens of the former
11 Yugoslavia were obliged to do.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Those individuals who were detained with you,
14 whether they were at the veterinary centre or at the
15 Dubravica school, did they have to go to dig trenches?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And could they, according to you, be
18 considered as having been carrying out their work
20 A. No, under no circumstances could they be
21 considered to have been treated as performing their
22 work duty, because the treatment they were given was
23 simply inhumane; it was a treatment below any
24 acceptable standard that would be applied to people
25 performing work duty. These people were mistreated,
1 provoked in all kinds of ways, and they were required
2 to carry out certain assignments. So the people who
3 went to perform such work, upon return, they came back
4 physically and psychologically in very bad shape.
5 Q. Did these people have a choice of refusing to
6 carry out that forced labour?
7 A. No. Those people had to go and they had to
8 do as they were told.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: I have no further
11 questions, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
13 Thank you, Mr. Zeco, for coming to the
14 International Tribunal and giving your evidence. You
15 are now released.
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 JUDGE MAY: We will adjourn now until 4.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 4.12 p.m.
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the
22 solemn declaration.
23 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
1 WITNESS: DANIEL DAMON
2 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a seat,
3 Mr. Damon.
4 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm asking your
5 permission just for one sentence to address the Court.
6 JUDGE MAY: Can we deal with this at the end
7 of the day?
8 MR. KOVACIC: I just wanted you to reserve
9 three minutes on the end for information I would like
10 to provide in private session.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, very well.
12 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Scott.
14 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Mr. Sayers has been kind enough to give me an
16 indication of the paragraphs of the outline that we can
17 move through quite quickly.
18 Examined by Mr. Scott:
19 Q. I will start by cautioning both myself and
20 Mr. Damon, because you and I speak the same language,
21 we tend not to pause sometimes for the interpretation,
22 so if both of us can be mindful of that, I'm sure the
23 interpreters will appreciate it.
24 Mr. Damon, I understand that you were
25 actively involved as a journalist in southeast Europe
1 from 1989 until the end of 1993, working as a freelance
2 journalist, mostly for SkyNews; is that correct?
3 A. It's correct. I was there a little longer
4 than that, until 1995, but in other respects it's
6 Q. In 1989 you were initially based in Hungary,
7 where you covered the breakdown of the former
8 Yugoslavia and built a wide variety of contacts in the
9 area, particularly in Belgrade and Zagreb; is that
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Is it also correct to say that you covered
13 the war in Slovenia and Croatia and were often quoted
14 in a Croatian TV programme -- I will try: Slikom na
16 A. Yes, that's correct. SkyNews was a satellite
17 service and therefore was accessible to the
18 broadcasters in the region, and they often recorded it
19 and then put their own commentary over my pictures or
20 would give a translation of my complete reports.
21 Q. And following that time, is it accurate to
22 say that you were in Bosnia itself, if you will, from
23 approximately May 1992 to January of 1993, and then
24 again from approximately April to December 1993, or
25 perhaps thereafter?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. Throughout your time in Croatia and Bosnia
3 from 1991 to 1994, is it correct that you had a good
4 deal of success in travelling and getting through
5 checkpoints, and also meeting politicians and military
6 commanders, because your staff and interpreters were
7 Hungarians from the Vojvodina, and they tended to be
8 viewed, therefore, as independent?
9 A. That's correct. We were operating as a small
10 team, and so we had to be able to move across front
11 lines, and so it was essential for us to appear to be
12 objective and impartial. And the Hungarians, because
13 they were not directly involved in the conflict, helped
14 us to do that.
15 Q. Was it your experience that you seemed to be
16 able to gain access and move more freely than some of
17 the other journalists?
18 A. I think so, because we genuinely did try to
19 present an objective picture, and so we were allowed,
20 after perhaps a great deal of persuasion, to go to
21 places where others might not because they would be
22 seen to be partial.
23 Q. Is it correct, based on that, that you were
24 able to interview a number of the more prominent people
25 in the former Yugoslavia, including Radovan Karadzic on
1 several occasions, and in fact you spent time with him
2 in his villa in Pale; on another occasion, you
3 interviewed the Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic at
4 the Lukovica barracks. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. You were also able to meet and interview
7 Bosnian president Izetbegovic and also the Bosnian
8 Croat leader Mate Boban?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. Is it correct that in fact you met Mr. Boban
11 approximately two or three times, at least once in
12 Grude, once in Zagreb, and perhaps in other places on
13 other occasions?
14 A. Yes, I interviewed him directly on two
15 occasions: once in the lobby of the Hotel
16 Intercontinental in Zagreb and then again in Grude, at
17 his offices. And then I met him at various meetings;
18 not to interview, but to talk to.
19 Q. If we could depart from the outline just
20 momentarily, perhaps it would be worthwhile to say:
21 Who did you understand Mr. Boban to be at that time,
22 and what was his role in these matters?
23 A. He was the senior Croatian political leader
24 in the part of Bosnia-Herzegovina claimed by the
1 Q. And is it correct, sir, that on about the
2 24th or 25th of April, 1992, with the help of the
3 Serbs, you actually flew into Pale by helicopter, and
4 this was your first arrival in Bosnia?
5 A. Yes, I met the so-called Serbian royal
6 family, members of whom were trying to bring help to
7 the Serbs in Bosnia. We were having some difficulty
8 getting into Bosnia, and they offered to take us with
9 them just on a visit to Pale, where they were flying to
10 meet with Mr. Karadzic. And my wife, who was my camera
11 operator at the time, and I decided that this was an
12 opportunity that we should seize. So we went
13 ostensibly just to go for the short visit, but we
14 didn't come back, because we wanted to stay and cover
15 the situation. We wore the same clothes for a number
16 of days.
17 Q. And is it correct, Mr. Damon, that following
18 that, in fact, you spent several weeks in Sarajevo,
19 until approximately the end of May of 1992?
20 A. That's right, yes. Indeed, I think until
21 early June.
22 Q. All right. And is it accurate to say that
23 there were approximately seven days in May, in fact,
24 that you were the only western television journalist in
25 the city of Sarajevo?
1 A. Yes, I believe that to be correct. Most of
2 the journalists were in the suburb of Ilidza, which was
3 in Serb hands, came under attack by Bosnian Muslim
4 forces, decided to evacuate very early one morning.
5 And indeed, I went with them, because my wife -- who,
6 as I say, was my camera operator -- was by that time
7 very tired. So I went with her out to Split and then
8 came back in, after a day, from Split to Sarajevo. My
9 colleagues stayed in Pale, and I went down into the
10 town, into the city of Sarajevo, and stayed in what
11 later became the U.N. headquarters there.
12 I by that time was doing my own filming, and
13 took the pictures, and my colleagues came down during
14 the day to collect the footage. And indeed it was
15 transmitted from the TV station, a temporary TV station
16 set up in Pale by the Serbs. They had a microwave link
17 which went through to Belgrade and then into the
18 Eurovision system.
19 Q. All right. Now, following this experience in
20 Sarajevo, after that, did you base yourself in a small
21 village between Kiseljak and Busovaca, somewhere near
22 the Catholic convent?
23 A. That's correct, yes, in rooms above a cafe.
24 Q. And did you, from June to July in 1992, and
25 thereafter, travel extensively in both central and
1 western Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. That's right.
3 Q. Would it be accurate to say, Mr. Damon, that
4 by the fall of 1992, you had spent a substantial amount
5 of time in Kiseljak, Vitez, and Tomislavgrad, and
6 travelled to the Dalmatian coast via the routes from
7 Bugojno and Gornji Vakuf to Prozor and through to
9 A. That's right.
10 Q. Now, during your travels, you were arrested
11 by the ABiH or Muslim army around Gornji Vakuf in
12 around June of 1992; is that correct?
13 A. That's correct. This was on the occasion
14 after I had been there in Sarajevo on my own. One of
15 the other journalists there was a photographer, and we
16 decided to go together to the coast, and we stopped in
17 Gornji Vakuf for coffee and were arrested. We did look
18 pretty strange by that time, after being without
19 supplies and so on for some time. We were arrested by
20 the Territorial Defence of the Bosnian Muslim army, and
21 they took us to the HVO, to the Croatian army
22 headquarters, and it was clear that that was the
23 hierarchy, that the Territorial Defence, the Muslims,
24 if you like, were at that point subordinate to the
25 Croats [Realtime transcript read in error "Muslims"] in
1 Gornji Vakuf. I can't speak for any other part.
2 Q. All right. Is it correct that you were, in
3 fact, interrogated by an HVO officer?
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. And you were then released shortly
6 thereafter, or how did you come to gain your freedom
8 A. No, I think it was only that they were
9 nervous of strangers. Once I was allowed to establish
10 who I was, then they were very friendly. We had the
11 right accreditation and so on. It was simply that here
12 were two rather scruffy-looking strangers in the middle
13 of their town, and they didn't know what we were doing
15 Q. Mr. Damon, I don't know if this was just a
16 transcription error or if you misspoke, but you said --
17 I think you repeated, you said, "... the Muslims, if
18 you like, were at that point subordinate to the Muslims
19 in Gornji Vakuf."
20 A. No, I said -- I meant to say "Croats," yes.
21 It was the Croatian HVO which was at that time in
23 Q. Thank you very much. Can you tell the Court,
24 during these various travels that you've described so
25 far this afternoon around Bosnia, did you ever see the
1 Croatian army, as distinct from the Bosnian Croat or
2 HVO forces, did you ever see regular forces of the
3 Croatian army in Bosnia?
4 A. We, all of us, made the assumption that --
5 the logical assumption that the Croatian defence inside
6 Bosnia was being supported and supplied by the Croatian
7 army. There were occasions, particularly in the border
8 town of Tomislavgrad, where we thought that we saw
9 troops wearing Croatian army, as opposed to Croatian
10 defence force, insignia.
11 But there was one particular occasion which I
12 do specifically remember because a truck with Croatian
13 army plates came down a road where there were roadworks
14 and, therefore -- we were going up the road -- we would
15 have had to avoid the roadworks to move out onto the
16 wrong side of road; and at this point, the truck came
17 towards us, and so it was an incident which stuck in
18 our minds. We commented then, those of us in the car,
19 my translators and I, that this was Croatian army as
20 opposed to HVO, and it was, I should say, a few
21 kilometres inside the border of Bosnia.
22 This was, to us, nothing exceptional because
23 we made the assumption, which, I think, history and
24 politics make very logical, that Croatia was supporting
25 and the Croatian army was supporting its fellow
1 nationals inside Bosnia. It was just the fact that it
2 was a near-miss that made it something which sticks in
3 my mind.
4 Q. You've used the word, in describing that, as
5 "an assumption." Would it be fair to say that that
6 was the conventional wisdom or thinking among you and
7 the other journalists at the time?
8 A. It was, and it makes sense because we know
9 from the revelations of politicians, Western
10 Politicians and others, how closely involved the
11 Croatian government was, and, I suppose, in many ways,
12 rightly so, in the period where the Bosnian army and
13 the Croatian defence forces were in alliance against
14 the Serbs, who were attacking. It seemed to us both
15 sensible and necessary when there was very little
16 support coming from the West.
17 Q. Do you recall any particular instance where
18 you knew that there was some exchange among the senior
19 officer ranks between the Croatian army or the HV and
20 the HVO?
21 A. Yes. I was reading not very long ago a piece
22 of paper that was photocopied and handed to me back in
23 that year, 1993, a statement made by the new commander
24 of the Croatian defence forces in Bosnia, Ante Roso,
25 asking for the soldiers of the HVO to honour the dead
1 of Croatia in previous wars by not committing
2 atrocities on the battlefield.
3 There had, of course, been by that time --
4 we're talking late 1993 -- there had been a great deal
5 of evidence of atrocities, and I believe he was trying
6 to regain the morale of the Croatian defence forces in
7 Bosnia by saying that, and we knew that he had
8 previously been a senior commander in the Croatian
10 Again, I'd like to stress, I can't see
11 anything wrong with that if the battle is for the
12 protection of those who are under attack in alliance,
13 but, of course, the situation of the alliance became
14 untenable for a while.
15 Q. Perhaps you should make your statement a bit
16 more clear. What are you addressing now?
17 A. Well, there is -- there's no doubt --
18 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to interrupt you just
19 for a moment.
20 This is Mr. Damon's opinion about a
21 particular matter. We are, of course, concerned with
22 the facts. Where his opinion is relevant to the case,
23 with respect to him, we'll hear it, but I don't think
24 this, at the moment, is helping us.
25 MR. SCOTT: I fully agree, Your Honour,
1 obviously, if it is, in fact, based upon opinion or
2 assumption. I'm not sure that's where Mr. Damon is
3 going with it.
4 Q. Mr. Damon, I'll caution you. If you are only
5 talking about opinion or speculation, we can move on.
6 If you have some other basis to further address the
7 question, then I'd ask the Court to allow you to.
8 A. No. I was only suggesting -- I was trying to
9 reinforce the logic of what had happened, that's all,
10 that it happened and it was logical that it happened,
11 that a senior commander from the Croatian army should
12 come to lead the Croatian defence forces in Bosnia.
13 Q. All right. Let us move on.
14 So the record is clear, is it fair to say or
15 correct that you did not, in your travels, to your
16 recollection, see any HV troops yourself in the area;
17 for instance, around Busovaca?
18 A. That's correct. I didn't see them.
19 Q. Is it correct, sir, that your first direct
20 contact with the HVO was with Vinko Lukic, who was a
21 police chief in Kiseljak, in the fall of 1992, and this
22 apparently was in the circumstance of you and your crew
23 wanting permission to work around or cover a larger
24 area, and Mr. Lukic informed you that you had to get or
25 needed to get permission from Colonel Blaskic at the
1 time in order to move around in that fashion? Is that
3 A. That's correct. Indeed, on one occasion, we
4 went to Mr. Lukic's house in order to try to achieve
6 Q. It was, in fact, Mr. Lukic who ultimately did
7 get you in touch with Colonel Blaskic on the first
9 A. That is so, yes.
10 Q. Can you tell the Court -- I'm directing your
11 attention to approximately the 26th of October, 1992.
12 Did you and/or one of your video crews film what
13 appeared to be an HVO training camp?
14 A. That is correct, yes. I wasn't there, but
15 the crew was sent off. I was doing another story, and
16 they filmed training, which we used subsequently in an
17 edited report.
18 Q. Did you personally see and edit that tape?
19 A. I did, yes.
20 Q. Can you recall or tell the Court what was the
21 condition or quality of these troops that were caught
22 on tape on the 26th of October, 1992?
23 A. This was a very efficient and well-trained
24 squad. They were going through mock parachuting and so
25 on, and other training, and it was clear that they were
1 very good.
2 Q. Would it be fair to say that they did not
3 appear at all to be anything like what might be
4 described as a "rag-tag army"?
5 A. Not at all. These were not villagers thrown
6 together in a militia.
7 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, if we could direct
8 the video booth to the videotape excerpt which has been
9 marked -- I understand the booth is referring to the
10 last four digits of the video reference itself, as
11 opposed to the exhibit number. I should say, for the
12 record purposes, it's been marked as Prosecution
13 Exhibit 257.1, but I think for the video booth it is
14 1086. I'd like to play that at this time, if we
16 [Videotape played]
17 MR. SCOTT:
18 Q. Tell the Court if you can observe during
19 this, Mr. Damon, what we can call now the traditional
20 chequerboard insignia on the berets.
21 A. Yes, I can see that, but I believe this is
22 the shield of the HVO, not the HV.
23 Q. Yes. Perhaps at this juncture, the video
24 booth can just leave it -- if we can play it in
25 fast-forward so that we can quickly get a feel for the
1 tape without taking too much of the Court's time.
2 Do you know what kind of weapons those were,
3 that were just being held?
4 A. I think they're pump-action shotguns. I'm
5 not sure. I'm not a military expert.
6 Q. That's all right. I think the record would
7 be correct, and I don't think there would be any
8 good-faith dispute, that from someone who knows more
9 about weapons than probably most of us in the
10 courtroom, this is a grenade launcher?
11 A. Right.
12 Q. That's it.
13 Mr. Damon, did it come to your attention
14 sometime during your stay in Bosnia, and directing your
15 attention in particular to perhaps the latter part of
16 1992 and taking us into 1993, did you ever learn that
17 the HVO had adopted some policy or decision not to let
18 Muslims -- the Muslims in Bosnia participate in
19 military training, or at least not military training
20 being conducted by the HVO?
21 A. Yes. I heard this -- well, there were two
22 different instances. I heard in Tuzla from a member of
23 the Bosnian army that the Muslims had been ordered to
24 hand in their weapons. The occasion you refer to of
25 not being able to take part in training, I think that
1 was -- again we heard that on several occasions. In
2 Travnik, for example, I remember having a conversation
3 with some soldiers of the Bosnian army there, but I
4 can't remember the dates.
5 By October 1992, it was very clear that
6 relations between the two former allies had gone very
7 badly wrong. There was an occasion when we were unable
8 to travel one night when we were going back -- I was
9 going back to meet my wife, who had stayed in Zenica,
10 and I was with another camera operator, and we had to
11 overnight in Bugojno; and then the following day, we
12 drove through -- more or less through the middle of --
13 fairly low level, but a battle between the Bosnian army
14 and the Croatian defence forces.
15 Q. Let me direct you to, and direct the video
16 booth to, please, a video marked as Exhibit 759.1,
17 which is referenced as 1064, and if you could cue that
18 up, please.
19 I'll ask you, Mr. Damon, when you see the
20 beginning of this piece, do you recognise this as a
21 video that you or your crew took. So I guess we can go
23 [Videotape played]
24 MR. SCOTT:
25 Q. Is that your voice, Mr. Damon?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. Mr. Damon, just looking at my notes, and we
3 can do this another way if it's necessary, but would
4 you date that tape approximately sometime between the
5 end of April 1993 and the beginning of May 1993?
6 A. Well, the dates are on the boxes from which
7 the tape was taken. I really don't remember, but as we
8 filmed them, we dated them. I believe there's no
9 dispute about the date.
10 Q. Very well. Let's move on. Did you, in fact,
11 meet Colonel Tihomir Blaskic on several occasions while
12 in Bosnia?
13 A. Yes, I did.
14 Q. And was it your understanding that
15 Mr. Blaskic's -- excuse me, Colonel Blaskic's command
16 area extended from approximately the Kiseljak area up
17 north and northwest to Travnik?
18 A. That's what I was led to believe, yes.
19 Q. Did you form an opinion, sir, that Blaskic
20 was a disciplined and professional soldier, that his
21 troops appeared to like him, at least in general, and
22 he was commanding an organised and well-disciplined
23 military region?
24 A. Yes, I found him to be a very proper
25 officer. You could talk to him and negotiate, for
1 example, passes to cross checkpoints and so on, and he
2 behaved very correctly with us.
3 Q. Did it appear to you that the HVO forces
4 themselves were an organised, disciplined army?
5 A. In large measure. Of course, there were
6 plenty of people operating in what would not be
7 considered to be a proper and orderly manner, but, yes,
8 he had -- Colonel Blaskic had control. He was very
9 much looked up to and deferred to by the troops
10 operating in the area.
11 Q. Is it correct, then -- we may have touched on
12 this earlier -- your first personal contact with
13 Colonel Blaskic was to get a pass in order to pass
14 through HVO checkpoints?
15 A. That's the case, yes. I can't --
16 Q. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
17 A. I was only going to say I can't remember
18 which checkpoints, but I remember that was the
19 purpose. Indeed, I've still got the pass.
20 Q. And is it correct that you, on this occasion,
21 met Colonel Blaskic at his headquarters at the Hotel
22 Vitez, after first speaking to several lower ranking
23 persons before you were allowed to see Colonel Blaskic,
24 and that you recall -- is it correct that you recall
25 someone coming in from a side room and Colonel Blaskic
1 telling them to type out a pass, that you then
2 witnessed Colonel Blaskic sign the pass, and it
3 occurred to you that this was something that was
4 important enough to Colonel Blaskic that he would not
5 let his subordinates deal with it themselves?
6 A. Yes, all of that's correct. He signed it
7 there and then for us.
8 Q. Now, again, so the record is clear, is it
9 fair to say, sir, that you do not recall ever meeting a
10 man named Mario Cerkez or having any direct dealings
11 with him yourself?
12 A. I don't recall that; that's correct.
13 Q. Had you ever heard of Mr. Cerkez? I'm not
14 asking you to express an opinion, but I'm just saying,
15 did you in fact -- do you recall, during your travels
16 and coverage in Bosnia, hearing the name "Mario
18 A. Yes, I heard him discussed, but I can't say
19 when. And of course, since then I've had conversations
20 about him, so it would be unfair to say when at that
22 Q. Do you recall generally whether what you knew
23 and heard of him, in your professional journalistic --
24 JUDGE MAY: Well, let's be careful about
25 this. The witness has been careful to distinguish
1 between or to say that there are some things which he
2 learnt at the time --
3 MR. SCOTT: Very well, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MAY: -- and others which he's heard
5 later. Is it realistically possible to distinguish
6 between those, Mr. Damon?
7 A. I wouldn't want to make that distinction.
8 MR. SCOTT: Very well.
9 JUDGE MAY: Move on.
10 MR. SCOTT:
11 Q. Now, Mr. Damon, is it correct that you then
12 -- you went to the village of Ahmici for the first
13 time sometime on about the 24th or the 26th of April,
15 A. That's correct. I believe it to be the 24th,
16 when U.N. ambassadors were visiting.
17 Q. And can you tell the Court whether, by that
18 particular date, had the atrocities or the believed
19 atrocities in Ahmici become more widely known to the
20 international community and, in fact, the media?
21 A. Yes, my colleagues from BBC and ITN had
22 transmitted footage which had alerted us all to what
23 had happened.
24 Q. Can you very briefly relate to the Court what
25 you saw at Ahmici when you first went there on
1 approximately the 24th of April?
2 A. What I first saw was the mosque, which was
3 blown up and the minaret collapsed into the roof, and
4 then one noticed, as one walked up the lane, the dead
5 animals. And then we came to various houses which were
6 burned out, and in the porch of one of those houses,
7 there was a body; I don't know what age or -- it wasn't
8 a child, but an adult body -- almost completely
9 carbonised, and with what was most horrifying -- I
10 don't know if any of us were capable of horror by then,
11 but what was most horrifying was the hand, which was
12 frozen in a kind of attitude of grasping, carbonised.
13 There were many other -- there were several
14 other bodies, and on a later occasion, I went with
15 European Union ambassadors a few days later and, sad to
16 relate, one of them actually trod on the corpse of a
17 few-months-old child, which wasn't noticeable under a
18 layer of roof tiles which had collapsed. I'm sure the
19 Court doesn't need to hear any more, but there was
20 plenty of evidence of atrocities.
21 Q. Did you have occasion to visit the village of
22 Ahmici again when some BritBat units were there
23 assessing the damage?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. And can you tell the Court, do you recall
1 being again in Ahmici on approximately the 30th of
2 April, 1993, when there seemed to be some sort of
3 cleanup operation under way?
4 A. Yes, we were alerted to this by a Croatian
5 photographer whom we had known, and he had tried to
6 take photographs of this operation, which seemed to me
7 to be rather strange, so soon after the events and with
8 no international supervision. And so we went there,
9 and I think the operation had been under way for some
10 hours, so we were not stopped for a few minutes from
11 filming it. The workers were there, not the soldiers,
12 in the first few minutes, but then a -- two soldiers in
13 black uniforms came up the hill, saw what we were
14 doing, and stopped us.
15 Q. And you indicated earlier you did not see --
16 or it wasn't apparent to you, excuse me -- that there
17 was any sort of international community supervision of
18 this cleanup operation?
19 A. I would be sure that there wasn't. We looked
20 for it specifically, I mean, partly because we wanted
21 to interview somebody about it. But no, there were
22 just local workers and Croatian soldiers.
23 Q. When you say these Croatian soldiers came up
24 to your film crew, what else do you remember about
1 A. Well, we had already been warned that they
2 would be aggressive. In fact, again, I tried to do my
3 best not to provoke aggression. I'm nobody's hero, and
4 so I was very -- as friendly as I could be to this
5 particular soldier, who was wearing a black uniform.
6 We had been told that there would be one specific unit,
7 known as the Jokers, who were in charge of this
8 operation, one of the, I think, so-called elite forces,
9 what might be described as paramilitary forces, and
10 indeed he was such a soldier. He was wearing a patch
11 with the Joker symbol on it.
12 And he put his hand over the camera and
13 stopped us. He wasn't actually physically aggressive;
14 he became more verbally aggressive, and we were trying
15 to persuade him to let us go on. I was trying to
16 persuade him that this was -- surely this was good,
17 because it showed that the Croatians were taking care
18 of the scene. I'm not sure that I believed it, but I
19 was trying to persuade him that allowing the world to
20 see that they were investigating was a worthwhile thing
21 to do.
22 But he had no interest in anybody seeing it,
23 and he told us to go away, so we walked away. I kept
24 the camera -- well, I stopped the camera when he put
25 his hand over it, but I kept the camera running as we
1 walked away, and I filmed various -- what I think would
2 be called hygiene squads, wearing masks and so on, in
3 the vicinity.
4 Q. All right. Now, about this same time,
5 perhaps the same day, on the 30th of April, 1993, is it
6 correct that either you or your crew videotaped Muslim
7 women and children who were detained by the HVO at a
8 place called the Dubravica school in the Vitez area?
9 A. Yes. This was footage that we used in a
10 report, that I used in a report. The circumstances are
11 that quite often we pool material. I believe this
12 material to have come from another camera, but it may
13 have come from my own camera, which I might have sent
14 with a camera operator along with ITN. Obviously we
15 collaborated as much as possible in those difficult
17 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I might just note
18 at this juncture that obviously there is a fair amount
19 of potential video material, some of which the Court
20 has already seen through other witnesses. But you will
21 see by the end of Mr. Damon's testimony that we have
22 actually been quite limited in what we have picked for
23 these purposes, and in fact, some of these, we're
24 simply proceeding by having Mr. Damon describe what in
25 fact he did.
1 Q. In this particular instance, you do recall
2 specifically seeing Muslim women and children detained
3 at the Dubravica school?
4 A. I do, and my recollection is that what was
5 most noticeable was that there were symbols of Croatian
6 nationalism on the walls of the school in the rooms
7 where they were being kept, which, on the scale of
8 things, isn't the worst thing that could have happened
9 to them, but it did strike us as being offensive.
10 There was writing about Ustasha and so on, which --
11 perhaps it was there already; I don't know. But
12 clearly it was intimidating to them after what had
14 Q. Now, directing your attention to the 5th of
15 May, 1993, did you accompany BritBat Colonel Stewart to
16 the HVO headquarters in Vitez, where you met Colonel
17 Blaskic -- well, in fact, excuse me, Colonel Stewart
18 met Colonel Blaskic -- to ask him about what had
19 happened in Ahmici and what the Bosnian Croats were
20 doing about it?
21 A. Yes. We weren't there at that meeting, but
22 yes, we were at the time making a film about Colonel
23 Stewart, who was coming to the end of his tour, and I
24 was putting together a half-hour documentary about
25 him. And so we followed him closely for a few days,
1 and this was one of those days.
2 Q. And do you recall in particular, on this
3 occasion, filming the beginning of the meeting where a
4 man -- a Bosnian Croat named Anto Valenta, and also
5 some other ECMM officials, were present, together with
6 Colonel Blaskic?
7 A. I filmed it, and the identity of the person
8 you are referring to was drawn to my attention later.
9 Q. When you say "the person," you mean
10 Mr. Valenta?
11 A. Mr. Valenta, yeah.
12 Q. Was there any information or description
13 given to you at that time as to who Mr. Valenta was or
14 what his role in the Bosnian Croat structure was at
15 that time?
16 A. It was drawn to my attention that he was a
17 senior commander, but no, I don't recall any specific
18 mention. I think that one of my translators pointed
19 out that it was significant that he was there, but I --
20 I have to -- without sounding dismissive, one room full
21 of middle-aged men in combat uniform is much the same
22 as another after you've been in those situations for a
24 Q. And is it correct that once the meeting was
25 under way, the media was excluded, and in fact you were
1 asked to leave the meeting room?
2 A. Yes, that's right. We waited outside for the
4 Q. And can you continue on, then, and tell --
5 did Colonel Stewart come out of that meeting and make
6 any statement to the press?
7 A. He did. While I was waiting with him, I was
8 speaking to a couple of U.N. human rights
9 investigators, Thomas Osorio and Priam Akavian [sic],
10 and they gave me some details about the massacre in
11 Ahmici. Then Colonel Stewart came out and told us that
12 he, too, had presented to Colonel Blaskic the idea that
13 a proper investigation of what had happened should be
14 immediately undertaken and that Colonel Blaskic had
15 acknowledged his responsibility for the area, but not,
16 of course, for the massacre.
17 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I think there would
18 be no dispute -- with my apology to Mr. Damon, I think
19 the second individual he named would be -- the record
20 would show as Payam Akhavan.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. So in effect Colonel Kordic -- excuse me;
23 strike that.
24 Colonel Blaskic indicated that this was in
25 his area of responsibility, but he declined to admit
1 that he had actually ordered the attack?
2 A. This was what I was told by Colonel Stewart.
3 Q. Now, not only on this particular occasion
4 now, but I'm going back, if you will, a bit more
5 broadly: During your travels in Central Bosnia, did
6 you come to know or see the military police, if you
7 will, the HVO military police, as distinct, at least in
8 some respects, from the regular HVO troops?
9 A. Yes, I -- it was somewhat noticeable that
10 there were perhaps more present than I might expect,
11 wearing white sashes, Sam Brownes, and driving cars
12 with a different insignia on the doors. And they
13 were -- there seemed to be a lot of military police.
14 Q. Did you notice them as being more active or
15 prominent in any particular towns or villages in
16 Central Bosnia?
17 A. There certainly seemed to be a lot of them
18 around Busovaca area, but I remember also seeing them
19 in Vitez, on the roads. They were often parked at the
20 side of the roads.
21 Q. And how did they strike -- well, is it fair
22 to say that you interacted with HVO military police on
23 a number of occasions?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And how did they strike you in terms of their
1 training and discipline as a military force, if you
3 A. Well, in the early stages of the war, they
4 were certainly better disciplined than some of the
5 others. Obviously many of those in uniform in the
6 first few months were simply local townspeople who had
7 put on uniform. The military police, I think that they
8 were, a lot of them, former civilian police who had
9 been turned into military police. I don't have
10 evidence for that, but we discussed it, those of us who
11 were reporting, and it seemed -- I seem to remember
12 being told that. But they were certainly better
14 Q. And can you recall for the Court whether
15 there was at least a HVO military police headquarters
16 that was located in this same building when you
17 accompanied Colonel Stewart to visit Colonel Blaskic?
18 A. There were headquarters -- I can't confirm,
19 but there were certainly many wearing the white belts
20 of the military police in that building, yes.
21 Q. And can you tell the Court, please, whether
22 in fact you worked through the military police, on
23 occasion, when you would try to arrange access to or
24 meetings with people like Dario Kordic and Colonel
1 A. I wouldn't say "worked through." There was
2 co-operation. I remember when we went to see
3 Mr. Kordic the first time, part of our escort was a
4 military police vehicle for one stage. But no, we
5 didn't work directly through them.
6 Q. All right. Now, in turning specifically,
7 then, to Mr. Kordic, can you tell the Court, during
8 your journalistic coverage in Bosnia, did you have
9 occasion to meet Mr. Kordic on several occasions?
10 A. Yes, I interviewed him the first time, I
11 believe, in the late summer or autumn of '92, at -- in
12 Busovaca. It had been drawn to my attention that he
13 was a senior figure in the area, and I wanted to meet
14 him and interview him. And then I met him for dinner
15 on two occasions later in '93.
16 Q. All right. Let me stop and take you through
17 this, if we can, a bit more step by step.
18 Can you tell the Court a little bit more
19 about why, as a journalist, your attention was drawn to
20 Mr. Kordic as someone that you wanted to meet and
22 A. In the first instance because, obviously, one
23 seeks to understand the situation and the ambitions of
24 those involved in it, and he was quite clearly senior,
25 and we needed to understand his motivation. We were
1 told he was number two to Mate Boban in the area, and
2 indeed in the region, in the Croatian territory, and so
3 we wanted to speak to him. He was an important
4 figure. And also because, as I mentioned before, we
5 needed to be able to move around relatively freely, and
6 getting his attention and approval was important.
7 Q. Let me focus on just physical location for a
8 moment. Do you recall the various locations, if you
9 can just briefly describe to the Court the locations
10 where you met Mr. Kordic?
11 A. The first occasion was in Busovaca town. It
12 was outside a public building; I think -- the story is
13 that it was the PTT, but I don't recollect that. But
14 it had a plaque outside which identified it as being a
15 public building, and we interviewed him, or I
16 interviewed him, in the car park. He was surrounded by
17 his bodyguards, his security detachment. And then the
18 other times, I think in all cases, were at his -- what
19 I believe to be headquarters, up in the hills, which
20 was a converted restaurant.
21 Q. Do you recall any name or reference being
22 given to that location?
23 A. "The Eagle's Nest" is what it was called. My
24 translators called it that, and others, I believe,
1 Q. You were at this former restaurant or hotel
2 on at least two occasions, I believe you indicated?
3 A. Yes. Well, I believe three, but certainly on
4 two, yeah.
5 Q. Again, just give the Court some physical
6 description or picture, if you will, of what this place
7 looked like.
8 A. It took us -- the first time we were led
9 there by police cars, and one civilian, and then a
10 military, and at the bottom of the hill leading up into
11 the restaurant area, there was a checkpoint with a
12 barrier and a soldier beside it. And then we went
13 through there and went up into the car park, and it was
14 -- there were a lot of uniformed personnel in the
15 grounds of the restaurant.
16 Q. Can you tell the Court what, if anything, you
17 knew or learned about Mr. Kordic's relationship with a
18 man you mentioned earlier, and that was Mate Boban?
19 A. Well, we were told that Mr. Kordic was his
20 number two. He was his deputy.
21 Q. You indicated in your testimony earlier that
22 you had interviewed Mr. Boban on at least one or two
23 occasions. Was one of those occasions in Grude?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. And is that a location that was typically
1 associated with Mr. Boban's headquarters, if you will?
2 A. Yes, at the time. Although Mostar was what
3 they -- where they would like to have kept their
4 headquarters, that wasn't safe for them.
5 Q. Now, I would like you, Mr. Damon, if you
6 could look around the courtroom: The person that you
7 met in Bosnia and was introduced to you and became
8 known to you as Dario Kordic, do you see him in the
10 A. Yes, I do, yes.
11 Q. Could you point him out, please?
12 A. He is the defendant on the right, from where
13 I am sitting, with glasses and short hair.
14 MR. SCOTT: I would ask that the record, Your
15 Honour, reflect that the witness has identified the
16 accused Dario Kordic.
17 Q. Now, can you relate to the Court, please, a
18 situation where Mr. Kordic helped two of your
19 interpreters receive passports from the Republic of
21 A. Yes. My two translators were carrying red
22 Yugoslav -- former Yugoslav passports, which had caused
23 them some difficulties already. One of them, the male,
24 had been held at the airport in Zagreb once when we'd
25 flown in from Sarajevo, even though it was quite clear
1 he was no risk, and indeed he was escorted out of the
2 country in a police escort because he had a Yugoslav
4 This was clearly some great inconvenience to
5 them, so they told me that they would ask Mr. Kordic
6 for help in obtaining better passports, Croatian
7 passports. And we went in daytime to the headquarters,
8 Mr. Kordic's headquarters. They went off to have a
9 word with him. I --
10 Q. I'm sorry: Which of the headquarters did
11 you --
12 A. To what's called "the Eagle's Nest."
13 They went off to have a word with him. I
14 didn't overhear the conversation, but I knew what it
15 was about. And then some days later, the passports
16 were produced. They showed me the passports, and I
17 remember them joking, as we drove through into Croatia
18 from Bosnia a few days later, that the little village
19 where they were supposed to be registered for the
20 purpose of these Croatian passports would have had to
21 have been about the size of Los Angeles if it were to
22 contain all of the people whose passports were
23 registered there. I think it was a joke, but I got the
25 Q. I want to be very precise here, Mr. Damon.
1 These passports, these were not the passports from the
2 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?
3 A. No, they were Republic of Croatia passports.
4 And they did the job; I mean, it enabled them to travel
5 more freely.
6 Q. Directing your attention to the 20th of
7 December, 1992, did you or one of your crews have
8 occasion to film a ceremony or a parade, a military
9 parade, if you will, of the HVO Ban Jelacic Brigade, at
10 or near Kiseljak?
11 A. Yes. In fact, my wife filmed this.
12 Q. Once again, did you then subsequently
13 actually review and edit and are familiar with the
15 A. Yes, I used the material in our reports that
16 I made either that day or the following day. I don't
18 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I want to refer to
19 what's been marked as Exhibit 1883 as the exhibit
20 number. For the video booth, they refer to as video
21 1066, 1-0-6-6.
22 Your Honour, before we play this, what I'm
23 going to propose, there is a partial transcript, and I
24 don't mean "partial" in the sense that only selected
25 parts have been made, but I mean in terms of the most
1 pertinent parts of the transcript that came -- that has
2 been provided in connection with the tape, it does not
3 follow, unfortunately -- and when you see the tape, I
4 think you'll understand -- in exact sequence. So what
5 I'd like to do is play the videotape and -- I suppose
6 one option is the courtroom interpreters could attempt
7 to interpret the Serbo-Croatian as we go. But at some
8 point, we can fast-forward the tape because it will
9 become repetitive.
10 Again I wanted the Court to get some feel of
11 what the tape looks like and what's happening at the
13 There is a portion toward the end of the
14 tape, which we can hopefully identify -- we should be
15 able to identify -- around approximately 13 minutes, 5
16 seconds into the tape -- again I assure the Court that
17 we're not going to play 13 minutes worth -- but where
18 Dario Kordic is identified on the tape.
19 If we can start by playing -- excuse me. Has
20 the transcript been distributed? All right. I believe
21 it has.
22 If we can just start out the tape, please, at
23 the beginning of 1066.
24 [Videotape played]
25 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Attention, right
2 MR. SCOTT: Can you just pause there for a
3 second, please?
4 Your Honour, I do this subject to further
5 verification. I think for the purposes of this trial,
6 there wouldn't be any dispute, but the man in front,
7 saluting in front of the troops, is Ivica -- I think
8 the record evidence would show it's Ivica Rajic, which
9 is a name that the Court has probably heard from time
10 to time, or will, as an HVO commander in the Kiseljak
12 I only represent that to the Court in good
13 faith. If there's some dispute about it, it can be
14 proved otherwise.
15 JUDGE MAY: We can find out now. Is there
16 any dispute about that?
17 MR. SAYERS: I don't believe there is, Your
19 MR. SCOTT: Thank you. We can continue,
21 [Videotape played]
22 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Gentlemen,
23 soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers of the
24 Ban Jelacic Brigade ... the homeland?
25 Ready. Ready.
1 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, it appears that
2 we're at the top of the first page of the transcript.
3 You can see that the troops say, "We are ready," and it
4 says that the Croatian national anthem is played.
5 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Attention,
6 Brigade. My dear soldiers, members of the Croatian
7 Defence Council, dear guests: The happy moment has
8 come when the struggle of the Croatian people for
9 survival and freedom in this area can be raised to a
10 higher and better level. They will fight and defend
11 all Croatian lands that they seize.
12 The first question and the main reason for
13 that is the fact that we are sure that we will never
14 betray his image, as an unsurpassable military leader
15 and hero, and there are innumerable other links which
16 the Croatian people mention for the first time in
17 history in medieval Bosnia.
18 In the fourteenth century, the Jelacics were
19 lords in Pounje, and in the sixteenth century, at the
20 time of the Turkish invasion, they moved while fighting
21 under the Frankopans. As the most prominent
22 representative of this old Croatian family, Ban Josip
23 Jelacic wished to unite Croats with Croatian
24 territories, which he achieved to a considerable
25 extent. He successfully fought the enemy, who denied
1 the very existence of Croatian people and Croatian
2 independence. He abolished the feudal system and so
3 earned the historical gratitude and eternal remembrance
4 among ordinary Croats. He won many battles and wars,
5 and not only by the force of love for his homeland but
6 also by all the virtues that we still need today in
7 order to win. He offered as a present the sword and
8 the stick with a hidden dagger, which is even today
9 kept in Kresevo.
10 Members of the Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade and
11 other units of the HVO, dear guests: Through this
12 brief review of our history, we have managed to show
13 that Croats have always tried to gather together and
14 jointly defend themselves, and the creation of the
15 brigade as a unit ... the independent state of Croatia
16 was not only a Nazi entity but also an expression of
17 the age-old strivings of Croats to create their own
18 state. So you are fighting for the centuries-old dream
19 of every Croatian man and woman. The result of this
20 struggle is the HVO and the Croatian Community of
21 Herceg-Bosna. You honourably fought for these ideals
22 even in the Second World War, but historical
23 circumstances, as many times before, were not
24 favourable then.
25 However, at this moment, by a good and
1 effective system of defence, the war in Croatia has
2 shown that by partial defence, we cannot protect a
3 single village, town, municipality, or district, but
4 that the defence has to be unique throughout all
5 Croatian areas. By creating numerous brigades, in the
6 technical and professional sense but also in the
7 political sense, the results can be seen in the small
8 number of casualties on the battlefields of
10 The greater the aggression, the more prepared
11 we were, and at this very moment, we are most
12 prepared. Who does not believe in this can ... with
13 the belief in future achievements and the final
15 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, at this moment, I'll
16 ask that the tape be stopped.
17 JUDGE MAY: Where are we going?
18 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, we'll have to pick
19 up on the transcript as best we can, but I suggest that
20 we go, if the video booth is able to do it, to
21 approximately the 11-minute mark of the tape. The
22 overall tape is something like 13 minutes.
23 JUDGE MAY: Where is that on the transcript?
24 MR. SCOTT: Unfortunately, Your Honour, I
25 think we'll have to pick up -- we'll have to jump into
1 it as best as we can by listening to the translation.
2 I've picked a point that should be well before the part
3 where Mr. Kordic is announced.
4 JUDGE MAY: But on the third page?
5 MR. SCOTT: I would think that we'll find it
6 somewhere, Your Honour, at the top of the third page.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
8 [Videotape played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] ... forget our
10 mother tongue. From Montenegro, Serbia, and even the
11 Sandzak, they came here ... as if few people had been
12 killed by those who, together with our traitors for
13 little money, did not allow a Croat to speak ... or to
14 mention the Croatian nation.
15 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, we're about
16 three-quarters of the way down the page. I don't think
17 it's too much to continue on.
18 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Dear soldiers,
19 they were at the head of the communist party in order
20 to win. I opposed them because there is none else, and
21 I would prefer if someone younger would oppose them.
22 Our beautiful Bosnia, I swear to you in the
23 name of God, please do not forget that it is our sacred
24 ideal and that we should risk and give everything for
25 this sacred ideal. I pray to God for you, for all of
1 us, so that because of that great man in Croatian
2 history, Ban Jelacic, you preserve consistently and
3 entirely what has always been sacred to our
4 grandfathers and fathers with pride, because you, the
5 soldiers from our Croatian areas, have absolutely
6 deserved this.
7 The same Ban Jelacic, as well as all other
8 Croatian heroes, was always ready to risk his life for
9 the Croatian homeland. We are convinced that you will
10 contribute to the creation of the Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna. The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
12 is our guiding idea ... who right now with us, your
13 vice-president of the Croatian Community of
14 Herceg-Bosna, Colonel Dario Kordic, and the secretary
15 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Ignac
16 Kostroman. You will now be addressed by the commander
17 of the Central Bosnia Operational Zone, Colonel Dario
18 Kordic, who will also present the war banner.
19 I hope that you will spend it with your
20 families, and I congratulate you, especially on behalf
21 of all the defenders with whom I will certainly be on
22 the defence lines. According to an old and good
23 custom, we shall now bless the flags, which are the
24 symbol of our people.
25 MR. SAYERS: If I may, Mr. President --
1 MR. SCOTT: We can conclude the tape at this
2 point, Your Honour.
3 MR. SAYERS: One minor point, Mr. President.
4 The transcript that's been handed to us -- I don't know
5 whether the same transcript has been handed to the
6 Court -- indicates that one of the speakers was
7 Mr. Kordic, and apparently that was not the case on the
8 tape. Apparently, there was a gentleman dressed in
9 some clerical clothes who was the speaker there. So
10 that should be corrected.
11 JUDGE MAY: That can be done. If that's a
12 convenient moment, we may as well adjourn now before we
13 go on to another topic.
14 MR. SCOTT: That would be fine, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MAY: Do you accept that?
16 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, we accept the fact
17 that apparently, despite some effort, we cannot see
18 Mr. Kordic on the tape. We present the tape on its
19 face as having Mr. Kordic having been introduced and
20 apparently having spoken.
21 Whether there has been a break in the tape or
22 not, which jumps to another speaker, we cannot say.
23 This is not a tape that was made by the Prosecution; it
24 is a tape that was made historically. We simply accept
25 it for what the tape and the transcript are able -- for
1 the information it does provide.
2 JUDGE MAY: I don't know if the witness can
3 throw any light on that dispute.
4 THE WITNESS: No, I wasn't there. My wife
5 filmed it, and I did not have any control over the
7 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn now
8 till half past nine tomorrow.
9 Mr. Damon, you are giving evidence, so please
10 don't speak to anybody about it, your evidence, until
11 it's over, and that does include members of the
13 THE WITNESS: I understand.
14 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Kovacic, you wanted to mention something,
16 yes, in private session.
17 If the witness would like to withdraw, we'll
18 deal with the other matter.
19 [The witness withdrew]
20 [Private session]
13 page 6657 redacted – private session
13 page 6658 redacted – private session
9 5.33 p.m., to be reconvened on
10 Wednesday, the 15th day of September,
11 1999, at 9.30 a.m.