1 Wednesday, 15th September, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.38 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] IT-95-14/2-T,
6 the Prosecutor versus Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
7 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, may I make one
8 very brief point before proceedings start today?
9 It concerns the matter that arose right at
10 the end of trial yesterday. The transcript of the
11 videotape that was put before the Court by the
12 Prosecutor has the word "Kordic" in there. We believe
13 that the Prosecutor's evidence has already established
14 Mr. Kordic's whereabouts on December the 20th, and that
15 was not in Kiseljak. Actually, it was Colonel Blaskic
16 who addressed the crowd, and I think that there is no
17 dispute about that. Thank you.
18 JUDGE MAY: The reference in the transcript
19 is to Colonel Kordic.
20 MR. SAYERS: It says, "... commander of the
21 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, Colonel Dario
22 Kordic ..." Yes, unfortunately, the Central Bosnia
23 Operative Zone commander was actually Colonel Blaskic,
24 and that was the person who addressed the crowd.
25 JUDGE MAY: So you're saying that -- what was
1 the word that was used, so I understand the point? Was
2 "Kordic" used or "Blaskic" used?
3 MR. SAYERS: I think the announcer made a
4 mistake. He introduced Mr. Kordic, but it was actually
5 Colonel Blaskic who addressed the crowd. So the word
6 "Kordic" in capitals on the left-hand side there, just
7 before "I hope that you can spend it with your
8 families" should actually say Blaskic.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, well that can be simply
10 amended on our transcripts as we see fit.
11 MR. SAYERS: Thank you very much, indeed.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Scott.
13 MR. SCOTT: We're ready to proceed, I
14 believe, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let's have the witness
17 MR. SCOTT: Dan Damon.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Scott, you got to paragraph
20 60 on the summary.
21 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. In that
22 regard, Your Honour, I will tell the Court, because the
23 Court will certainly know that the subject of the --
24 the general topic of Kaonik has come up, and the Court
25 has indicated some desire to, can I say, not get bogged
1 down too much further in that material.
2 There are aspects of that in terms of this
3 witness, where Mr. Damon will testify about a meeting
4 with Mr. Kordic about Kaonik, and Mr. Damon was one of
5 the few, if I can use the term, "Western" or
6 "International Community" people who did visit
7 Kaonik. So his perspective is a bit different than the
8 Muslim witnesses who have testified before the Court.
9 Having said that, Your Honour, I would move
10 him through a couple of paragraphs, for instance, on
11 paragraph 72 and 73, by leading him very quickly, but
12 again I think his perspective is different than the
13 testimony the Court has heard before, but we will do it
14 very quickly.
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Very well.
16 WITNESS: DANIEL DAMON [Resumed]
17 Examined by Mr. Scott:
18 Q. Mr. Damon, is it correct, directing your
19 attention to approximately the middle of May 1993, that
20 you were able to visit an HVO prison camp, if you will,
21 called Kaonik?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Can you tell the Court how you were able to
24 arrange permission, if you will, authorisation, to
25 visit Kaonik?
1 A. On one of the occasions when I met
2 Mr. Kordic, we were discussing the threat from the
3 Islamic world to the Croatian people in Bosnia, which
4 Mr. Kordic was keen to impress upon me existed. I
5 asked him for some proof, and he said that there were
6 Islamic fighters imprisoned by the Croats and that we
7 could see them. I suggested that this would be a good
8 idea, and so he arranged, I think, within a very short
9 time, maybe a day or two, for us to be able to visit
10 the camp, which happened to be in Kaonik. I didn't
11 know where it was until we got there.
12 Q. All right. Let me move us back, if I may, to
13 set the scene a bit. Was this conversation with
14 Mr. Kordic at a dinner?
15 A. Yes, this was at one of the dinners that we
17 Q. Where was this dinner?
18 A. In the Eagle's Nest.
19 Q. Can you tell the Court a little bit more
20 about the nature of your conversation with Mr. Kordic
21 that evening, before we go ahead to Kaonik?
22 A. Well, like so many politicians in the
23 Croatian region of Bosnia, he believed -- not only
24 politicians, military leaders as well -- he believed
25 that there was an Islamic threat, that the idea of an
1 Islamic state was in the minds of the Muslims living
2 there. Obviously, I tried to suggest that this was
3 perhaps a bit hard to believe, but it was clear that he
4 saw that idea of an Islamic threat in very clear
6 Q. Did he make any comment to the effect,
7 something along the lines of, "Those people are
9 A. Well, he generalised about Muslims. Whether
10 he used the term "those people," I think the
11 conversation, if I remember, was over several -- well,
12 a couple of hours anyway, but, yes, there was -- in his
13 case, as in so many, there was a tendency to lump
14 together "the Muslims" as being a particular kind of
16 There was a theory abroad in the Croatian
17 community, and particularly amongst the senior
18 politicians, that some kind of Islamic corridor was
19 trying to be created by the Muslims from Turkey.
20 Q. Now, did the subject of Ahmici, the events at
21 Ahmici some days before this dinner also come up in
22 your conversation with Mr. Kordic?
23 A. I had in mind that this was a different
24 dinner, but, yes, I can't remember -- I can't
25 distinguish between the two. We did have two. Yes,
1 this was certainly post-Ahmici. I was very, well,
3 If I can just briefly beg the indulgence of
4 the Court, I'd like to set the scene because I think it
5 is quite important. I had during the previous year, in
6 1991, I had filmed alongside Croatian soldiers when
7 Croatia was being attacked by the Yugoslav People's
8 Army. I was in that region, Zagreb and the Krajina
9 region, for some considerable months, and I developed a
10 strong respect for the bravery of the Croatian
11 soldiers, many of whom were not soldiers; they were
12 people who were brought together very rapidly to deal
13 with the threat.
14 For example, I made a film about a
15 cinematographer, Gordon Lederer, who had no interest in
16 this idea of ethnic purity but who had been killed
17 filming alongside Croatian soldiers because he felt his
18 country's case was not being heard.
19 In so many cases, I believed it was the
20 morale of the Croatian people that enabled them to
21 resist what was an enormous assault. A huge part of
22 one of Europe's largest armies was thrown against
23 Croatia in 1991. As I say, that morale, that morality
24 seemed to be important to their survival, and survive,
25 they did.
1 Then when I game to Central Bosnia in the end
2 of 1992, 1993, I saw exactly the same kind of
3 immorality that I'd seen used against the Croatians
4 being used by them or by people claiming to be
5 representing the Croatian nation in Central Bosnia, and
6 this offended me, not just me. I did feel in a way
7 that this was a disastrous situation for the Croatians
8 to be in.
9 So, perhaps naively, at this dinner, I took
10 Mr. Kordic to one side, I asked for a private meeting
11 with him, just me and a translator, in a side room, and
12 I made it clear that this situation, this incident in
13 Ahmici was a very negative development for the
14 Croatians, apart from the damage that it caused to the
15 Muslims, because it was immoral. There was no
16 political reason for massacring babies a few months
18 I suggested to him that since it was clear,
19 at least some of the names of those involved were
20 already known to the U.N. investigators, that the
21 Croatian leadership should help in bringing them to
22 justice and to making sure that justice was done.
23 Q. And do you recall Mr. Kordic making any
24 response to this conversation?
25 A. He was gracious. He said -- he said that
1 there were extremists on all sides, which was a common
2 response whenever one confronted a politician who had
3 power to stop these things and who wasn't able or
4 willing to do so, and met the same response in other
5 parts with other political leaders on all sides.
6 That was it. I mean, there was no -- he
7 didn't make any admission, of course, and -- but at the
8 same time, I don't believe that he went ahead and
9 instigated an investigation or that, indeed, anybody
10 who had the power, and Mr. Kordic certainly had
11 tremendous power in that valley, did anything to find
12 out who were the perpetrators or to make sure that
13 justice was done.
14 Q. Do you recall, after that conversation,
15 whether --
16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
17 Mr. Scott.
18 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Could we ask
20 the witness if Mr. Kordic commented on the morality or
21 immorality, the legality or illegality, of the acts
22 that the witness has just spoken of?
23 MR. SCOTT:
24 Q. Mr. Damon, can you assist the Court with
1 A. Yes, I understood the question. No, there
2 was no comment on its rightness or wrongness.
3 Q. Can you tell the Court whether, following
4 this conversation, did the interpreter who was with you
5 during this exchange express any view to you about the
6 proposal, if you will, of a Bosnian Croat
8 A. Yes, I -- as we left afterwards, one of the
9 translators commented that really I was barking up the
10 wrong tree because there was quite clearly a policy
11 which was in the hands of the political leadership to
12 exclude all of the Muslims, and that the suggestion
13 that there were just a few perpetrators who were out of
14 control was silly.
15 Q. Just following up on that, your proposal or
16 suggestion to Mr. Kordic had been that the Croats, that
17 it would be in their interest to conduct their own
18 investigation, to bring the perpetrators to justice?
19 A. Yes, there were two things in my mind. The
20 first, that I've already alluded to, that I genuinely
21 and perhaps naively felt that this was a great disaster
22 for the Croatian spirit, and indeed, as it proved, the
23 project to create an ethnically pure Herceg-Bosna
24 failed, but also, as a journalist, I sort of felt that
25 there -- I really felt that they might want to help me
1 get to the bottom of this atrocity.
2 I had built up a level of trust with the
3 Croatians, coincidentally -- well, in the previous
4 year, the Croatian television in the Republic of
5 Croatia had made a documentary about me because they
6 seemed to think that I was a journalist who had some
7 credibility, so I was hoping that they would enable me
8 to get to the bottom of what was clearly an outrage,
9 and one which did no service whatsoever to the idea of
10 the Croatians defending their own religion and ability
11 to live at peace in their homes.
12 Q. All right. Now, before we go on to Kaonik,
13 just to set the scene on that again, this particular
14 topic had come up in your conversation with Mr. Kordic
15 at dinner, because you said a few moments ago that
16 there was some suggestion by Mr. Kordic that there were
17 outside Muslim soldiers, if you will, who were involved
18 in the fighting in Central Bosnia?
19 A. Yes, and I would like to emphasise that I
20 believe that to be true. In fact, whether the people
21 that I saw were those fighters is highly questionable,
22 but there were many sources who told us, including
23 Bosnian army sources, who told us that there were
24 indeed Islamic fighters, so-called Afghanis -- although
25 I believe that they were, in fact, from other countries
1 than Afghanistan, they were called Afghanis because
2 they had fought inside Afghanistan at various times or
3 had been trained there -- and so I asked for proof, and
4 Mr. Kordic arranged for me to get it.
5 Q. By going to Kaonik?
6 A. By going to the Kaonik camp, yes.
7 Q. And you went to Kaonik camp on the 14th of
8 May, 1993; is that correct?
9 A. That's the date on the tape.
10 Q. And just, again, to set this dinner
11 conversation in a time frame, how long before, or
12 shortly before, if you will, was this dinner in
13 relation to your visit at Kaonik?
14 A. I think it was a very short time. It may
15 have been the following day, or a day after that, that
16 we were able to go.
17 Q. When you arrived at Kaonik on the 14th of
18 May, what did you see?
19 A. We went up a lane to what looked like an old
20 Yugoslav People's Army barracks or store area
21 surrounded by a fence, and we were taken just to one
22 building, which looked like some sort of storehouse,
23 although it had rooms that were -- looked like
24 purpose-built cells. We were allowed to film in just a
25 couple of these. We saw the Islamic citizens, citizens
1 of Pakistan, Turkey, and I think other countries. We
2 were told there were about a dozen of them; I think we
3 saw about eight, six to eight of them.
4 The conditions were, I thought, very bad. I
5 saw worse in other camps, but they were bad, mostly
6 because there was no hygiene for these people, and that
7 was quite important to them. I remember having a
8 discussion -- we were allowed -- I would like to say we
9 were allowed to talk to these people without the
10 Croatian soldiers being in the cell with us; they were
11 outside. I had a conversation with one of them about
12 the difficulties of practising his religion, because
13 they like to wash before praying, and he said that his
14 religion enabled him simply to wipe his hands on the
15 wall as a gesture of going through the ritual.
16 But it was clearly -- I mean, it was very
17 smelly, it was very dirty, and the conditions were
18 certainly less than any prisoner of war should have
19 been kept in, or indeed any prisoner.
20 Q. Was Kaonik, to your observation, an HVO
21 military prison?
22 A. Yes, it was certainly in the control of the
24 Q. Were the guards or soldiers that you saw
25 there in HVO uniforms?
1 A. Yes, they were wearing uniforms.
2 Q. Did you have any -- can you make any
3 observations or did you have any impressions about the
4 attitude of the HVO soldiers or commanders at Kaonik
5 about your presence there?
6 A. Well, they weren't very happy about it, I
7 think quite understandably. They were not that used to
8 having journalists poking their noses and cameras into
9 prisons. I mean, as I said, I went into worse. There
10 were other installations where certainly there was a
11 lot more to hide, but I guess it was a combination of
12 having been free to operate without scrutiny up until
13 then, and also the general feeling which prevailed
14 because under the old communist system, there would be
15 no form of journalism which would enable anybody to go
16 into such a place.
17 Q. When you arrived at Kaonik on that morning,
18 was there some communication or information that Dario
19 Kordic had authorised you to come into the camp?
20 A. Oh, yes, the translator who got the permission
21 had no doubt where it had come from. There may even
22 have been a bit of paper, although I didn't look at it
23 closely, but I think there certainly was.
24 Q. Do you recall whether there was any
25 indication that the HVO officials at the camp were
1 unhappy particularly at Mr. Kordic for having
2 authorised you to come there?
3 A. There was some discomfiture. A conversation
4 went on at the gate, but I didn't understand it. It
5 was clear that they were not happy we were there, but
6 they had superior orders, and that was it.
7 Q. All right. Before we close on that, did it
8 come to your attention or can you share with the Court
9 any knowledge you have: Were these prisoners
10 subsequently exchanged?
11 A. Yes, I saw them exchanged a few days later,
12 in the centre of Zenica, and it was an exchange
13 supervised by the British army. We were allowed to
14 observe it from our vehicles for a short period, and
15 then one of the Islamic -- I say "Islamic," one of --
16 there was a separate -- there was quite clearly a
17 separate group in charge of this, other than the
18 Bosnian army, of this exchange in Zenica.
19 One of them pointed an anti-aircraft gun
20 directly at our vehicle, and a British army soldier
21 stuck his head inside the cab and said something in
22 Anglo-Saxon to the effect that we should leave. It
23 seemed like a good idea at the time.
24 I went, actually -- again, in my naive and
25 offended way, I went to the police chief in Zenica, the
1 Bosnian police chief, and said, "What are you doing
2 about these people running around your city with
3 anti-aircraft guns?" And he shrugged his shoulders.
4 Q. Now I want to direct your attention to
5 another matter. Did you come to know, around this
6 time, or through your travels in Central Bosnia, about
7 a building or facility that was known or referred to as
8 the Bungalow?
9 A. Yes, yes, it was a wooden building quite
10 close to Ahmici.
11 Q. Did you come to have any information about
12 who occupied or used that building?
13 A. It was information -- I have to say by
14 hearsay and rumour, but this was said to be the base of
15 the hard-line soldiers, paramilitaries, who were
16 responsible for what had gone on in Ahmici, although it
17 was occupied by the military before that.
18 Q. And did you have occasion sometime after
19 Ahmici to go to the Bungalow and speak with some of
20 these people?
21 A. Yes, in the same spirit of naivety I went to
22 them and asked what was going on. Again, I made this
23 somewhat romantic point about having been in ditches
24 side by side with Croatian soldiers during 1991 and
25 that this was not the way I expected them to behave. I
1 was given the story about the village of Cajdras, up in
2 the hills behind Ahmici, where there was said to be
3 atrocities against Croats, as if this was some kind of
4 explanation for what had gone on in Ahmici.
5 Q. All right. Let me ask you that very
6 directly: Did you ask them, did you put the question
7 to them as why had Ahmici happened, or words to that
9 A. Yes, exactly that, yeah.
10 Q. And what answer did you get?
11 A. That Cajdras was the reason.
12 Q. And what did you do after that?
13 A. Well, I went to Cajdras. We went the long
14 way round through Zenica, which was the easy way of
15 crossing the line, and although subsequently we did
16 cross the line directly to Cajdras from different
17 occasions, but on this occasion we went round the long
18 way to investigate, and we found that the men had been
19 arrested, indeed. We later saw those men in prison in
20 Zenica when the Red Cross was there. But the women and
21 the families, the children and the older people, were
22 in reasonably good shape, and I met the priest also who
23 was responsible for their welfare.
24 Q. Did he seem to have free access to move about
25 the area?
1 A. Yes, he was. We spoke to him briefly about
2 the difficulties, and of course he made it clear that
3 they were concerned for the future. But I did ask him
4 directly: "Are you being harassed?" And he said, "No,
5 not at this time." There had been, up in remote
6 Croatian households away from the village, there had
7 been some trouble, but not inside the village itself,
8 and certainly it wasn't a massacre.
9 Q. All right. Now, before moving on in the
10 chronology, is it fair to say, Mr. Damon, that by this
11 point in time -- we're now into May of 1993 -- that you
12 had travelled fairly extensively in Central Bosnia,
13 including the areas of Busovaca, Nadioci, and Ahmici?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. Can you just share with the Court -- I don't
16 want to lead you through this, but just share with the
17 Court your views, based on having interviewed a number
18 of people, in terms of the attitudes and the statements
19 of viewpoint, if you will, that you saw between the
20 various ethnic groups about their coexistence?
21 A. Well, there was a policy, and it was clear
22 that it was being effected, to purify the region. Once
23 the idea of purification had begun, then it was a
24 military campaign that was engaged in to clear out the
25 Muslims. It was first begun in October of 1992. It --
1 I think at the highest level there was some truce
2 negotiated then, but through the spring of 1993, it was
3 gradually built up until in April, the atrocities
4 against the Muslims began in and around Vitez, and in
5 Ahmici subsequently, and elsewhere. And there was an
6 attitude, and one met this in many parts of
7 Herzegovina, that the Muslims were not to be trusted
8 and that they had to be cleared out.
9 I remember meeting villagers further down
10 towards Mostar, villages that had been under shell fire
11 from the Serb side earlier in the war but who said they
12 would rather live with the Serbs than the Muslims, who
13 had never shelled them. There was a great deal of
14 racial ill feeling stirred up, I believe. I think
15 there is plenty of proof that it was part of a
16 political plan.
17 Q. Mr. Damon, your answer has implied the answer
18 to this, but you started out your answer a moment ago
19 by saying there was a policy. With which of the ethnic
20 groups were you identifying this policy?
21 A. There was a plan by some Croatian politicians
22 to create a state of Herceg-Bosna that would be annexed
23 to Croatia. I saw a piece of paper which contained
24 this plan and was signed by various senior Croatian
25 politicians. I was shown a photocopy of this.
1 Q. Can you give any particular date as to when
2 you saw this document, or the date of the document?
3 A. The document was dated October 1991. I don't
4 remember when I saw it. I have a feeling I've still
5 got it somewhere in my papers. I've been trying to
6 track it down. I haven't found it.
7 Q. Now, returning to this other topic, I'd like
8 you to go further, if you can, with the Court and tell
9 the Court about any differences of opinion or attitude
10 you saw in this respect, between the Croats on the one
11 side and the Muslims on the other, in terms of mutual
13 A. Yes, and I don't want to be too romantic
14 about it. There clearly were excesses and outrages
15 carried out by all sides. I saw later in the year of
16 1993 or in the early part of '94, I saw a Catholic
17 Church up in the hills, which had been above Konjic,
18 which had been trashed apparently by Muslims, so these
19 things happened. But in terms of the initiation of
20 this spirit of aggression and ethnic purity, this was
21 evidently a Croatian plan.
22 I spoke, for example, in Mostar to some
23 teenaged boys. In fact, I made a short documentary
24 about them, and they said quite clearly -- these were
25 Muslims on the east bank of Mostar who said quite
1 clearly, "We would like to live with them, but I don't
2 think they want to live with us." Perhaps one of the
3 understatements of the century, to be honest, but that
4 was quite clearly the mood.
5 You, of course, would find -- I also met
6 Muslim soldiers injured, amputees, in the hospital in
7 Zenica, who had been flown in from the Muslim areas of
8 eastern Bosnia, who were quite clearly anti-Christian.
9 One might suppose that their experiences had
10 radicalised them. But in terms of a plan, a policy to
11 separate the different coreligionists, that was a
12 Croatian plan, I'm afraid to say, which is a tragedy
13 because, in fact, the similarities between these people
14 were much more important and valuable than the
15 differences between them. But a certain type of
16 politician chose to stir up trouble.
17 Q. All right. I'm going to move on, then, to
18 your trips to Cajdras. You spoke about that already.
19 Did you then make a second visit, with a Bosnian
20 official, to Cajdras?
21 A. Yes, we were in Zenica a few days later.
22 Again, I can't specifically remember the date, but it
23 would be on the tape. And I'm afraid I have to admit
24 in an exercise, to some extent, of news management we
25 met the vice-president of Bosnia, Ejub Ganic, who I
1 knew already from having interviewed him in Sarajevo,
2 and I suggested that he should go to Cajdras. Two
3 reasons: Firstly, I thought it would demonstrate that
4 indeed nothing had happened in Cajdras, but also I felt
5 that it was important that he should see what was going
6 on, that it was easy for politicians in Sarajevo to be
7 isolated from what was going on in the countryside. He
8 accepted our suggestion, and he drove up to Cajdras to
9 meet the priest.
10 Also one of the women there who was quite
11 outspoken, who had previously given me an interview,
12 expressed an opinion which I heard far too rarely,
13 which was that she was as worried for women with
14 children on the other side of the divide as she was for
15 her own people. She was a Croat, and she said that she
16 was worried about the women and children on the Muslim
18 Q. Just by point of reference, was the Catholic
19 priest Father Stjepan?
20 A. Yes, he was.
21 MR. SCOTT: I'd like to ask the video booth,
22 if we could play, what's described for their reference
23 as, video 1064, 1-0-6-4, which, for the record, has
24 been marked as Prosecution Exhibit 930.1.
25 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] The booth
1 doesn't have the cassette.
2 MR. SCOTT: There may be a misnumbering.
3 Check 1089. I believe the exhibit number is correct,
4 Your Honour, 930.1, but the video number may have been
6 [Videotape played]
7 MR. SCOTT:
8 Q. Mr. Damon, is this the Kaonik camp?
9 A. It is, yes.
10 Q. Following your trip, your visit to Cajdras
11 then, can you tell the Court whether you developed a
12 conclusion as to the truth of the information that the
13 soldiers at the Bungalow had given you as an
14 explanation for Ahmici?
15 A. Well, it never would have been --
16 MR. SAYERS: Objection, Your Honour. I think
17 we are venturing into matters of opinion rather than --
18 JUDGE MAY: I agree.
19 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
20 JUDGE MAY: Let's move on.
21 MR. SCOTT: All right.
22 Q. I believe we've covered paragraph 87.
23 Now, in approximately mid May of 1993, did
24 you have occasion, Mr. Damon, to videotape, you or your
25 crew, a meeting or series of meetings in Bosnia
1 involving President Tudjman, Mate Boban, and others, at
2 a meeting with Lord Owen?
3 A. Yes, this was in Medjugorje.
4 MR. SCOTT: If the video booth can please
5 play what has been marked as Exhibit 936.1, which is
6 the first tape marked "1108." There are two 1108s
7 because there's two portions, but it should be the
8 first of the two.
9 [Videotape played]
10 MR. SCOTT: There is a second tape, which is
11 Exhibit 936.2 and which is also marked 1108 and which
12 follows on from this tape. If we could play that,
14 [Videotape played]
15 MR. SCOTT:
16 Q. Mr. Damon, you expressed earlier that you
17 became convinced that there was a Croat policy or a
18 plan to ethnically cleanse Bosnia; is that correct?
19 JUDGE MAY: I think, again, we're now
20 venturing into areas which we are going to have to
21 decide. While we can hear what the witness saw and
22 heard and his reports of those things, his opinions on
23 matters which we are going to have to decide are, with
24 due respect to him, as far as these proceedings are
25 concerned, irrelevant.
1 MR. SCOTT: Very well, Your Honour.
2 Q. Did it come to your attention during the
3 events in the Lasva Valley in May -- excuse me, April
4 of 1993 that there had been a series of attacks all
5 launched roughly the same day?
6 A. There were certainly a series of attacks all
7 the way along the valley over a number of days. I
8 believe that they started on one particular day, but
9 there was no doubt that these were coordinated attacks
10 aimed at the Muslims specifically.
11 Q. Can you tell the Court whether it had come to
12 your attention some days before Ahmici, for instance,
13 whether there had been some HVO ultimatum issued?
14 A. When I was in --
15 MR. SAYERS: Well, I must object to that,
16 Your Honour, on the grounds of hearsay. Apparently,
17 according to the offer of proof, we have apparently
18 what appears to be a report from an unidentified member
19 of the opposing force as to what an unidentified member
20 of the other force supposedly said. So that's at least
21 two stages of hearsay and probably more. So we object
22 to that.
23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Scott, you better establish
24 the basis for this, and we'll decide.
25 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour.
1 Q. Can you tell the Court, Mr. Damon, the source
2 of your information about this ultimatum?
3 A. Yes. It was a briefing given to me in Tuzla
4 by the spokesperson for the Bosnian army.
5 Q. Was this in the course of your journalistic
7 A. Yes, I was interviewing him, and he told me
8 that this ultimatum had been given.
9 Q. Do you recall the nature of the ultimatum in
10 terms of what will happen if something else doesn't
11 happen, in that sense?
12 A. No, there was no "what would happen." He
13 just said that they had been told to hand over all of
14 their weapons.
15 Q. Based on your time in Central Bosnia,
16 Mr. Damon, did you ultimately come away from your
17 experience with a view towards what role Dario Kordic
18 played in the events there?
19 JUDGE MAY: Again that's precisely the point,
20 indeed, the very point that we're going to have to
22 MR. SCOTT: Very well, Your Honour. I don't
23 think -- it's not opinion. It's simply that this is a
24 man who travelled and dealt in this area extensively.
25 So I didn't mean it to be speculation, but I understand
1 the Court's ruling.
2 Q. Let me close with this then, Mr. Damon, if I
3 can. Based on observations, you saw Mr. Kordic and
4 Mr. Blaskic on a number of occasions; is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. Based on your observations, did you see
7 evidenced to you the nature of the relationship between
8 Mr. Kordic and Mr. Blaskic?
9 A. Yes. Colonel Blaskic was a military man,
10 former Yugoslav People's Army, and he was operating as
11 the military commander for the region at a certain
12 level. There was no doubt in my mind that his superior
13 was Dario Kordic. Of course, as a soldier from the
14 former Yugoslav People's Army, he would undoubtedly
15 look for political direction, and that political
16 direction came from Dario Kordic.
17 MR. SCOTT: I have no further questions, Your
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
21 Q. Mr. Damon, good morning. My name is Steve
22 Sayers and I represent Dario Kordic. I would just like
23 to reiterate what Mr. Scott said. Since we speak the
24 same language, if we speak too quickly, the
25 interpreters get justifiably angry with us, and so it
1 creates an unclear record. If you would just have a
2 pause between the question and the answer, I'd
3 appreciate it. Thank you.
4 Did you ever see Dario Kordic give any kind
5 of a military order to Colonel Blaskic in any of the
6 meetings that you had, sir?
7 A. Not at all.
8 Q. Now, as I understand it, you worked as a
9 freelance journalist in 1992 and 1993 throughout -- and
10 1994, for that matter, in Central Bosnia?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. You worked for SkyNews and other services,
13 and I believe that SkyNews is a satellite television
14 service that was part of the media empire built up by
15 the late Rupert Murdoch; is that correct?
16 A. He's not late; he's just divorced.
17 Q. I stand duly corrected. Your territory or
18 beat, if you like, covered the whole of Eastern Europe;
20 A. That's right, and elsewhere, but mostly
21 Eastern Europe.
22 Q. Now, sir, you do not speak any Croatian, do
23 you? I understand that --
24 A. I think what you mean to say is that at the
25 time, I didn't speak Croatian. I should make it clear
1 that I have spent the last year learning this language
2 as part of a course that I'm engaged in, but at the
3 time, no, I didn't speak it.
4 Q. You relied a lot upon your translators?
5 A. Closely, yes. After a period, one gets a
6 feeling for what's going on. The Croatian language is
7 not as remote as some others that I've learned. I
8 learned Hungarian, for example, which has no very great
9 connection with Indo-European languages. I could
10 understand more of what was going on in Croatian, but,
11 yes, you're quite right, I relied on the translators.
12 Q. All right. Now, you, in your vocation and
13 job, have been trained to differentiate hard facts from
14 rumours, stories, and so-called conventional thinking;
16 A. You're right, yes.
17 Q. You know how to distinguish what people have
18 seen with their own eyes and ears with from what
19 they've not, what are merely stories and rumours;
21 A. One tries.
22 Q. It's important to you, indeed, it's crucial
23 to your reporting, to your reputation, and, of course,
24 your livelihood to make sure that your reporting is
25 factually accurate; right?
1 A. One tries.
2 Q. In doing so, it's important to make sure that
3 when you're reporting events, you know who they
4 involve, where they occurred, what was involved; isn't
5 that correct?
6 A. As much as possible. There should be no
7 deceit. Of course, mistakes are possible.
8 Q. Right. On that subject, would you agree with
9 me that you found yourself in the middle of a chaotic,
10 confusing civil war where there was an intense use of
11 misinformation and disinformation on all sides?
12 A. I don't accept the word "confusing." It was
13 confusing to a great many. I had been there for quite
14 a long time. I was perhaps less confused.
15 Q. But, nonetheless, it would be fair to say
16 that there was routine use of disinformation and
17 misinformation in the media sources used by all the
18 participants in that civil war, Bosnian Serb, Bosnian
19 Muslim, and Bosnian Croat; that's a fact, isn't it?
20 A. Yes, I myself was a victim of this. I
21 mentioned to the Court that my reports being available
22 on the satellite were taken down and recorded by all of
23 the different local television stations and
24 translations made of my commentary, and on several
25 occasions, it became clear to me that the translations
1 had been used for disinformation, had been made
3 Q. You travelled to the area of Gornji Vakuf, or
4 Skopje, as it's otherwise known, in the summer of 1992,
5 and you actually found the Muslim forces and the Croat
6 forces cooperating there; is that right?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. In fact, just to the north, the Muslims and
9 the Croats were cooperating in fending off the Serb
10 assault; correct?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Just to lay the foundation -- and I won't
13 spend more than a minute or so on this -- to give the
14 Trial Chamber a sense of what was going on in Central
15 Bosnia in 1992 and early 1993, wouldn't it be fair to
16 say that there was an intensive Bosnian Serb offensive
17 from the west, from the east, and also from the north?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And that resulted in the influx, if you will,
20 of the large numbers of refugees into Central Bosnia?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. On the subject of the political organisations
23 that you have described, you actually met Mr. Mate
24 Boban in person; correct?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. On a number of occasions?
2 A. Yes, to interview twice.
3 Q. We've seen from the videotapes that you've
4 put in evidence before the Trial Chamber that Mr. Boban
5 was the Croat spokesman at the negotiations that
6 occurred in Medjugorje in the latter half of 1993;
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. I take it that Mr. Kordic never attended any
10 of those negotiations, did he?
11 A. I didn't see him there.
12 Q. Did you know that Mr. Boban was actually the
13 president of an entity known as the Croatian Community
14 of Herceg-Bosna?
15 A. I didn't -- I didn't know that. I knew him
16 to be the president, the leader, of the Croatian
17 Democratic Union party.
18 Q. Could you tell us what positions within that
19 entity that I've just mentioned Mr. Kordic occupied, if
20 you know?
21 A. At the time, we were told he was number two
22 to Mr. Boban in the HDZ. As you've heard from the
23 tape --
24 Q. Excuse me, sir, I said the Croatian Community
25 of Herceg-Bosna, not the HDZ. What I wanted to ask you
1 was: What was Mr. Kordic's position in that entity, if
2 you know? And if you don't, that's fine too.
3 A. I was told that he was number two to
4 Mr. Boban.
5 Q. How many vice-presidents were there of the
6 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
7 A. I don't know.
8 Q. Did you know that Mr. Bozo Rajic was also a
9 vice-president of the Croatian Community of
11 A. I knew that he was a senior figure.
12 Q. Turning now to the HDZ, do you know what that
13 refers to, those initials?
14 A. Croatian Democratic Union.
15 Q. That's the political party. Do you know who
16 the president of the political party was at the time
17 that you were in Central Bosnia, sir?
18 A. Of the local --
19 Q. No, the national HDZ.
20 A. No, I don't know.
21 Q. All right. And is the same true on the local
22 level, in Busovaca and Vitez, for example? Do you know
23 who the president of the local HDZ --
24 A. No, I don't know any of the details of the
1 Q. Did you know that on a national level, the
2 HDZ BiH actually had five vice-presidents, of whom
3 Mr. Kordic was one?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Would it be fair to say that in your meetings
6 with Mr. Boban, you found him to be a forceful
8 A. Not especially.
9 Q. Did you find Mr. Kordic to be a forceful
11 A. Yes, but I don't think any opinion that I
12 formed has any political relevance, if I may put it
13 like that.
14 Q. You met him -- Mr. Kordic, that is -- about
15 three or four times?
16 A. I think -- yes.
17 Q. Would it be fair to say that you always found
18 him a gracious host during the meetings that --
19 A. He was certainly polite.
20 Q. He always went out of his way to help you,
21 did he not?
22 A. He did indeed.
23 Q. Indeed, would it be fair to say that he
24 actually facilitated your access and your press
25 colleagues' access to go, insofar as it was within his
1 power to arrange, wherever you wanted?
2 A. I can't speak for my other colleagues, but in
3 my case, yes, he was helpful.
4 Q. He never placed any limits on what you could
5 see, did he?
6 A. He personally didn't, no.
7 Q. Or to whom you could speak?
8 A. He didn't, no.
9 Q. In fact, when you approached him with
10 requests for assistance in a variety of contexts, he
11 did his best to assist you, did he?
12 A. He did. He was a powerful man, and he was
13 able to use that power to our benefit.
14 Q. Now, would it be fair to say that the Croat
15 people living in Bosnia and Herzegovina were in a
16 rather small minority, approximately 17,4 per cent of
17 the entire population?
18 A. As I understand it, that was the figure.
19 Q. Just a couple of questions on the local
20 political structures that I haven't already covered.
21 Did you ever have occasion to speak with the head of
22 the civilian HVO government in Busovaca, Mr. Zoran
24 A. No, I don't remember meeting him.
25 Q. Do you ever remember meeting the commander of
1 the HVO brigade stationed in Busovaca, Mr. Dusko
3 A. I don't remember such a meeting.
4 Q. Does the name sound familiar at all?
5 A. It doesn't, no.
6 Q. And Mr. Maric's name, I take it, is
7 unfamiliar too?
8 A. No, Mr. Maric's is a name that I am familiar
9 with, but I met a lot of commanders, and I'm afraid the
10 names don't stick.
11 Q. Did you ever meet with the head of the
12 civilian HVO government in Vitez, Mr. Ivica Santic?
13 A. His name rings more of a bell, but I couldn't
14 tell you how and when.
15 Q. All right. You were asked some questions
16 regarding a -- what I believe is a singular sighting of
17 a truck carrying HV plates, or -- not HV plates, but
18 license plates from the state of Croatia. Throughout
19 all of the years that you were a reporter, travelling
20 around, speaking to people, and seeing what was going
21 on in your area of reportage, it's true, is it not,
22 that you only ever saw one such truck?
23 A. I only ever noticed the one truck, for the
24 reason that I suggested, that it nearly hit us. You
25 said "in speaking to people," no, in speaking to
1 people, one heard widely of the connection.
2 Q. But I'm asking you, sir, what you saw with
3 your own eyes.
4 A. Yes, you said both things, and I never -- I
5 don't recollect seeing more than the one truck.
6 Q. That was, I believe, sir, a few kilometres
7 inside the southwestern border between the Republic of
8 Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at
9 the town of Tomislavgrad?
10 A. A few kilometres, yeah.
11 Q. That's in southwest Herzegovina?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. You don't know what the identity was of the
14 people that were in that truck, do you?
15 A. Not at all.
16 Q. All right. You didn't notice any insignia
17 that they were wearing?
18 A. No.
19 Q. In fact, you didn't even notice whether there
20 were any people in the truck, apart from the driver,
21 did you?
22 A. I was concentrating on the front of the truck
23 and not the people inside it, I have to ...
24 Q. All right. You've already informed the Trial
25 Chamber that you never saw any troops, regular troops
1 from the Republic of Croatia, in the town of Busovaca.
2 The same is true, actually, for the entire Lasva
3 Valley, is it not?
4 A. That's true.
5 Q. And the Lepenica valley, the so-called
6 Kiseljak valley, to the southeast?
7 A. As I recollect, that's true, yeah.
8 Q. Did you ever speak to the HVO commander that
9 you referred to in 1994, Ante Roso?
10 A. No.
11 Q. With respect to the troop exercises that were
12 shown on one of the videotapes that was run in the
13 courtroom, you did not, yourself, actually see the
14 troop exercises, did you?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Do you remember testifying before this
17 Tribunal in the case against Zlatko Aleksovski?
18 A. I do.
19 Q. All right. Did you ever have the opportunity
20 to meet any of the notorious paramilitary unit leaders
21 that you referred to in that case?
22 A. Did I refer to? What did you mean?
23 Q. Well, let me lay a foundation for that term.
24 There were a number of paramilitary units
25 that you saw throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, on both
1 sides, I suppose --
2 A. Yes, that's true. On the Croatian side, the
3 only one I met that was described as a paramilitary
4 unit was the Jokers.
5 Q. You never met any of the leaders who were the
6 most notorious? I believe that's what you said. On
7 page 1284 of Aleksovski, you said, "I did not meet any
8 of the paramilitary leaders who were the most
10 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I think it would be
11 proper if the transcript were shown to the witness, if
12 he's going to question him about it?
13 A. I don't dispute it. I --
14 JUDGE MAY: The witness has said he doesn't
15 remember. I don't think it's going to assist us.
16 A. I don't dispute that I said that, and it's
17 true. I never knowingly met any of those people.
18 MR. SAYERS:
19 Q. All right. Do you know who the leader of the
20 Jokers unit that you've described --
21 A. I don't.
22 Q. All right. Now, turning to fighting that
23 broke out in the spring of 1993, it's true, is it not,
24 that you had noticed, significantly prior to that date,
25 increasing tensions between the HVO and the TO forces,
1 the Territorial Defence forces?
2 A. Yes, I described earlier the occasion in
3 October when we had to pass through a battle zone, and
4 we were interviewing to Muslims on a checkpoint close
5 to the school which became the British base, and we
6 were -- we began to be fired at by what I assumed to be
7 Croatian forces -- I mean, it wouldn't have been -- I
8 guess it would not have been Muslims, since we were
9 interviewing the Muslims at the checkpoint.
10 Q. So the Muslim forces had actually set up a
11 checkpoint fairly a close to the BritBat headquarters
12 at Nova Bila, and the fighting broke out as you were
13 interviewing the people manning the checkpoint?
14 A. Well, it wasn't that fighting broke out; we
15 came under fire. We were at the time interviewing, in
16 fact, unarmed Muslims at that point.
17 Q. Just so we have our terminology straight, the
18 forces that later became known as the ABiH were
19 actually referred to in the spring of 1993 as the TO or
20 the Territorial Defence, and they actually wore TO
21 patches; correct?
22 A. When the change took place, I can't remember,
23 but yes, they were certainly -- in the early part of
24 the war, they were known as TO.
25 Q. It would be fair to say -- and I don't think
1 that there is any dispute about this -- that it was
2 routine to see people operating in their daily
3 activities dressed in camouflage uniforms, on both
4 sides --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- Muslims and Croats? In fact, you would
7 even see secretaries, lady secretaries, dressed in
8 camouflage uniforms as well; correct?
9 A. Wearing high heels.
10 Q. All right. Camouflage and high heels, all
11 right. It would be fair to say that there wasn't a --
12 how shall we say -- a wide degree of uniformity in the
13 attire that you generally saw? You saw bits and pieces
14 of camouflage --
15 A. Amongst many, but there of course were many
16 units who were properly attired and disciplined.
17 Q. It was also common in your experience in that
18 time, 1993, to see people wearing military insignia,
19 and even military police insignia, who to you had
20 obviously never had a day's training in their life?
21 Isn't that correct?
22 A. I don't remember the military police, but
23 certainly, yes, there were people wearing military
24 insignia who didn't look as though they'd -- well, it
25 may have been some years since they were conscripted
1 into the Yugoslav People's Army, put it like that.
2 Q. Just to turn to the testimony that you gave
3 regarding the briefing you received from the commander
4 of the Muslim troops, I believe in Zenica, was it prior
5 to --
6 A. No, in Tuzla.
7 Q. Tuzla? You never saw any ultimatum or order
8 signed by anybody, yourself, did you?
9 A. No. No, no. He showed me a map.
10 Q. Right.
11 A. He pointed out the areas on the map where
12 this demand had been made, he said.
13 Q. He said. So the only thing that you know
14 about such a demand, if it had ever been made, was what
15 this military commander from the Muslim forces told
17 A. Quite so.
18 Q. All right. Now, you met Colonel Blaskic on
19 several occasions in Vitez, at his headquarters in the
20 Hotel Vitez; correct?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. And that was actually extremely close to
23 your -- the base of operations that you had set up, at
24 least in the first part of 1993, which I believe was
25 right next door to the BritBat base at Nova Bila?
1 A. In the early part of '93, no. We were still,
2 I think, in the cafe near the convent, near to
3 Kiseljak. But, yes, we did set up -- after Ahmici, we
4 set up in a house near BritBat.
5 Q. On that subject, Mr. Damon, as you travelled
6 north along that road from the accommodations that
7 you'd set up above the cafe, you actually arrived at a
8 major checkpoint at the village of Kacuni; correct?
9 A. Yes. Yes.
10 Q. And, indeed, throughout the time --
11 A. Just on the bridge we're referring to, yes.
12 Q. Throughout the time that you were in that
13 part of Central Bosnia, from January until 1995, if you
14 like, the area of road between Kacuni and Bilalovac,
15 about three or four kilometres to the south, that was
16 actually controlled exclusively by Muslim forces, was
17 it not?
18 A. As I recollect, the first Muslim checkpoint
19 was some way down towards Zenica. I don't -- I don't
20 know any further. I mean, I can tell you what the
21 British army told me, but I don't think you want to
22 hear that, so ...
23 Q. Well, you knew that between Kacuni and
24 Bilalovac, that was Muslim territory; right?
25 A. No, as I say, my recollection is there was a
1 kind of no-man's land and that the first Muslim
2 checkpoint was some way towards Zenica.
3 Q. Did you ever visit the silos detention
4 facility where significant numbers of Croats were being
5 held prisoner in the early part of 1993?
6 A. No. The silos I visited were in Tarcin, and
7 there were Serbs being kept there.
8 Q. Right, but that was much further to the
9 south. All right.
10 Now, you've described Colonel Blaskic as the
11 military commander of all of the HVO military forces in
12 Central Bosnia; correct?
13 A. That's how he was described to me, and that
14 appeared to be his position.
15 Q. And initially, whenever you found that you
16 needed permission to do various things, to travel to
17 places, to meet people, he was the soldier to go to
18 arrange that, wasn't he?
19 A. For some period, that's correct, yeah.
20 Q. You also described going down to Kiseljak to
21 obtain permission to film in the area of the Kiseljak
23 A. I remember -- is this -- you're referring to
24 a period earlier in the war?
25 Q. Where you actually met the Kiseljak police
1 chief, Vinko --
2 A. Yes, yes.
3 Q. -- Lucic?
4 A. That's right. We went to his house once.
5 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,
6 I'm interrupting you simply to remind you that in
7 general terms, you do not need to remind a witness
8 every time about what he said previously during the
9 interrogation in chief, because in the Trial Chamber,
10 we have taken note of that. We would ask that you not
11 have the witness repeat, moving things forward more
12 quickly. You know, time is very precious here at the
13 International Criminal Tribunal.
14 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, why not go simply to
16 the point? "When you were filming in Kiseljak, did you
17 do this or that," or whatever it is you want to ask.
18 No need to go over what you said before.
19 MR. SAYERS:
20 Q. When you were filming in Kiseljak, you went
21 to the chief of police, Vinko Lukic, to request
22 permission to do that, did you not?
23 A. When we felt there was likely to be some
24 objection to what we wanted to do. In general, in the
25 early part of the war, we could move around -- well,
1 freely, subject to military dangers. But in terms of
2 getting permissions, gradually we built up an
3 understanding of who were the right people to go to for
4 different jobs, depending on the sensitivity of those
6 Q. If it was a sensitive area, he told you to
7 get in touch with Colonel Blaskic, didn't he?
8 A. Yes, and beyond Colonel Blaskic, for
9 especially sensitive, then it was made clear that it
10 was a political command.
11 Q. Now, you've given some testimony to the
12 effect that Mr. -- you've described Colonel Blaskic as
13 following superior orders from someone. Did Colonel
14 Blaskic ever tell you that he was following superior
15 orders from some identified person?
16 A. He didn't tell me. I don't speak his --
17 didn't speak his language then. I'm trying to
18 recollect the tone of conversations that were held.
19 The translator, in particular, that I was using was not
20 simply a translator in the sense that he was
21 simultaneously saying and responding; he was part of
22 the team. He had been a senior Yugoslav journalist in
23 Vojvodina, so he had plenty of his own conversations
24 and then would fill me in as to what was said.
25 I don't specifically recollect a
1 word-for-word conversation, but I do know that that
2 translator told me on several occasions what the
3 hierarchy was in the valley.
4 Q. You --
5 A. And it was -- sorry. It was as you
6 described, that Colonel Blaskic was the military
7 commander, there was a political leadership, and Dario
8 Kordic was the senior political figure in the valley.
9 Q. Who was Colonel Blaskic's superior officer?
10 A. If I ever asked that, I don't recollect, but
11 it was clearly out of the area anyway.
12 Q. Would it be fair to say that you've never met
13 or spoken with Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic?
14 A. I think I may have attended a press
15 conference once at which he was a participant, but I
16 don't remember specifically ever speaking to him.
17 Q. All right. Now, on the subject of Colonel
18 Blaskic, you found him a disciplined, professional
19 soldier; correct?
20 A. Absolutely.
21 Q. In command of a well-organised and
22 well-disciplined military in the region; yes?
23 A. Yes. He was in command of troops that were
24 disciplined and did what he ordered.
25 Q. Certainly, in the meetings that were held
1 between Colonel Blaskic and Colonel Stewart which
2 you've related, Colonel Blaskic admitted, for example,
3 that the village of Ahmici was broadly within his area
4 of responsibility; yes?
5 A. He did.
6 Q. He also said that he was responsible for the
7 military events that occurred on April the 16th, 1993;
9 A. He accepted responsibility.
10 Q. But he denied and specifically denied that he
11 had ever ordered any massacre at Ahmici, didn't he?
12 A. You would have to ask Colonel Stewart for the
13 details of the conversation, but that's what Colonel
14 Stewart told me.
15 Q. You have no evidence to offer the Trial
16 Chamber that Colonel Blaskic actually ordered any kind
17 of a massacre at Ahmici, do you, sir?
18 A. Not at all, no.
19 Q. Indeed, the same is true of Mr. Kordic, isn't
21 A. As I've said, yes, it is. I think it's the
22 subsequent events that should engage the Court.
23 Q. In the village of Ahmici, you actually saw
24 ammunition boxes with Middle Eastern script on them,
25 did you not?
1 A. No, Chinese.
2 Q. Didn't you see some from Middle Eastern
3 countries too?
4 A. Could you repeat the question?
5 Q. Yes. Did you not see ammunition boxes with
6 Middle Eastern script on them in the village of Ahmici
7 when you visited that village in April and May of 1993?
8 A. I don't remember that. No, I don't remember
9 that. I remember seeing Chinese writing on munitions
10 above Busovaca.
11 Q. Just turn to page 1287 of your testimony in
12 the Aleksovski case, where you said, lines 5
13 through 7:
14 A We saw various types of ammunition all
15 over that theatre, of course, with lots
16 of different sources, some apparently
17 from Middle Eastern countries, some from
18 Cyrillic speaking countries, and some
19 from China.
20 A. Right. But you mentioned Ahmici. I don't
21 remember identifying any ammunition in Ahmici. Yes, we
22 did certainly see Middle Eastern weaponry.
23 Q. All right. Just one question regarding the
24 minaret that you saw had toppled down. Did you notice
25 at any time when you were present in April or May of
1 1993 any graffiti on that minaret, sir?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Now, were you aware that 12 Croats had been
4 massacred at the village of Dusina on January the 26th,
6 JUDGE MAY: Why do you ask the witness that
8 MR. SAYERS: Why, sir?
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
10 MR. SAYERS: Because I believe Mr. Damon has
11 stated that he was unaware that there were any
12 massacres of Croats by Muslim forces in the Lasva
13 Valley. At least that's what I thought he said.
14 JUDGE MAY: Were you aware of that or not,
15 Mr. Damon?
16 A. I wasn't aware of that. I did not say that
17 there were not atrocities carried out on all sides. I
18 believe there were.
19 JUDGE MAY: What the witness said was that
20 there were excesses on both sides.
21 MR. SAYERS:
22 Q. Mr. Damon, you said that you were in Tuzla
23 when the fighting broke out. Were you aware of the
24 events that immediately preceded the outbreak of
25 fighting in the Lasva Valley?
1 A. No. If, by this, you mean that there had
2 been a slow buildup, no. I was aware from my reports
3 and from conversations with my BBC colleague that there
4 had been a sudden escalation.
5 Q. All right. You have no personal knowledge of
7 A. Not so. Not so.
8 Q. Then I'll move on.
9 Turning to the conversations that you had
10 with Mr. Kordic, you have described Mr. Kordic
11 expressing some concerns to you, over the course of a
12 dinner that lasted some hours, I believe, about a
13 threat from Mujahedin from various Middle Eastern
14 countries like Libya, Iran, Algeria, fighting on behalf
15 of the TO, the Territorial Defence, in Central Bosnia;
16 is that correct?
17 A. I don't remember those specific countries
18 being mentioned, but, yes, the idea of there being
19 Islamic fighters was discussed as a confirmation of his
20 fear that an Islamic state was being created.
21 Q. This was a concern that you had heard
22 articulated several times before from numerous people;
23 isn't that correct?
24 A. I'd heard it from a senior commander in
25 Prozor, who drew me a map demonstrating how this
1 Islamic threat was building up, and at a lower level --
2 well, all over Bosnia, you would hear similar
4 Q. All right. So this was not an individual
5 perspective that was in any way a surprise for you to
6 hear or unusual for a Croat, for example, to express?
7 A. In fact, it was a surprise to me because
8 Dario Kordic, as I understand it, was a journalist at
9 some stage earlier in his career, I knew him to be an
10 intelligent man, and, therefore, to hear this
11 conspiracy theory based on an extreme racial view from
12 somebody who had this background was a surprise.
13 Q. Did Mr. Kordic express extreme racial views
14 to you during the course of the conversation?
15 A. He expressed the view that there was an
16 attempted Islamic takeover and that the Muslims were
18 Q. Well, he expressed views that he was
19 concerned about Mujahedin fighters in Central Bosnia
20 and you asked him to prove that, and in order to do so,
21 he facilitated a visit to the military prison at
22 Kaonik; isn't that correct?
23 A. Yes, but that wasn't the only expression of
24 his fear.
25 Q. Now, how did Mr. Kordic go about arranging
1 that visit to Kaonik? You just don't know really, do
3 A. I don't know.
4 Q. You don't know if Mr. Kordic delegated that
5 task to someone else, do you?
6 A. Not at all. I don't know.
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, it's the time we
8 usually take a break. When you come to a convenient
9 moment -- is that a convenient moment?
10 MR. SAYERS: Perfectly convenient, Your
12 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn now
13 until half past eleven.
14 You are, I hope, moving on with your
15 cross-examination, or you seem to be?
16 MR. SAYERS: I am, I'm delighted to report,
18 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.32 a.m.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
21 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. Mr. Damon, I'll try to be through with you in
23 about 20 minutes, if that's convenient.
24 You didn't make any personal notes or
25 memoranda to the file about your conversations with
1 Mr. Kordic in May of 1993, did you?
2 A. No contemporaneous notes.
3 Q. And it's true that you never actually
4 discussed with Mr. Kordic the chain of military command
5 in Central Bosnia on the HVO side, did you?
6 A. No.
7 Q. And the same goes for Colonel Blaskic, too?
8 A. Did I discuss the military command with
9 Colonel Blaskic? I think I probably did discuss
10 dispositions with him. I seem to remember him also
11 showing me various dispositions on a map as to where
12 different troops lay, and front lines, and so on.
13 Q. But you never actually discussed the subject
14 of the formal chain of command, who reported to whom,
15 in what context, or anything like that, did you?
16 A. Not with him, no.
17 Q. Now, the dinners that you've described with
18 Mr. Kordic, I believe Colonel Blaskic and Mr. Kostroman
19 were also present at those dinners; correct?
20 A. I don't remember Colonel Blaskic being
21 present at either of them, no.
22 Q. All right. Who else was present at them, to
23 the best of your recollection?
24 A. I don't -- I can't give you names.
25 Q. All right.
1 A. Apart from my translators, and I don't choose
2 to give those names.
3 Q. Now, on May the 13th, you asked for a private
4 aside, as you've said, with Mr. Kordic, and he didn't
5 object to that, did he?
6 A. No.
7 Q. He was perfectly willing to speak to you on
8 the subjects that you wanted to address with him?
9 A. He was.
10 Q. You gave some testimony regarding some
11 passports issued to your interpreters. Do you know to
12 whom Mr. Kordic spoke in order to arrange the issuance
13 of those documents?
14 A. I don't know.
15 Q. You simply don't know anything about the
16 process which led to -- or other than your request to
17 Mr. Kordic, but you don't know anything about the
18 process by which the documents were issued?
19 A. I don't know. Not -- not my request.
20 Q. You've stated that everybody referred to
21 Mr. Kordic's headquarters as "the Eagle's Nest." He
22 never referred to it by that name, did he, to you?
23 A. No.
24 Q. The people in uniform that you described
25 being in attendance at this location, you don't
1 remember seeing any particular patches or identifying
2 marks regarding the units to which these people
3 belonged, do you?
4 A. No. I mean, there were some military police
5 around, but other than that, no.
6 Q. It would be fair to say that there were a lot
7 of people present in camouflage uniform, both male and
8 female; right?
9 A. I don't remember any females, but there may
10 easily have been.
11 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,
12 can I ask the witness what "the Eagle's Nest" means?
13 Because I think the Chamber has also heard about this
14 Eagle's Nest now for the first time.
15 Where was the Eagle's Nest, exactly, and why
16 was it given that name?
17 A. I don't know the reason for the name. It was
18 quite high up in the hills, amongst the trees. I don't
19 know if it was simply a nickname or whether what was a
20 former restaurant, I believe, had already had that
21 name. But it was referred to widely in those terms.
22 It was -- I was always taken there on a
23 fairly circuitous route from Vitez. We were led there
24 by police vehicles of various kinds, but it was above
25 Vitez, in the hills, maybe a 15-minute drive by the
1 circuitous route.
2 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] And when you
3 were at that headquarters, were there a great number of
4 security people around Mr. Kordic when you, yourself,
5 were there, which would show that he exercised a
6 certain degree of political power?
7 A. It had all the hallmarks of a headquarters.
8 There were lots of security people around. It was
9 guarded by people in military uniform at the
10 checkpoints on the way up. And it was certainly -- it
11 looked like a military planning centre. There were
13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Thank you.
14 MR. SAYERS:
15 Q. Mr. Damon, you've stated that the location of
16 this facility was above Vitez; did you actually mean
17 that it was to the south of Busovaca?
18 A. I always went there from Vitez. I didn't --
19 -- I was never shown its location on a map.
20 Q. All right. Now, turning to Prosecution
21 Exhibit Z759,1, which was a videotape that you were
22 shown, I believe of a British mercenary in Mostar,
23 Mostar was Mr. Boban's bailiwick, if we can use that
24 term; correct?
25 A. I don't know. It was certainly much closer
1 to Grude, where Mr. Boban had his headquarters.
2 Q. You never learned of any facts that would
3 suggest that Mr. Kordic had any power down in that area
4 of the country, down in Mostar, did you?
5 A. Not at all, no.
6 Q. I notice that in the short footage that you
7 were shown regarding the camp at Kaonik, the inmates
8 appeared to be in what looked like a purpose-built
9 military prison; is that correct?
10 A. I'm really not an expert. It was described
11 to me as being a storehouse, but it certainly looked
12 like those rooms were cells.
13 Q. The people that you interviewed were smoking
14 cigarettes. Do you know from whom they received those?
15 A. Yes, one of them was smoking a cigarette on
16 the film. That was given to them by the guards at the
18 Q. You stated that you had some conversations
19 with people at a location called the Bungalow. Who did
20 you speak to? What were their names?
21 A. I don't know the names.
22 Q. What were their ranks?
23 A. No idea. But they were outside. I was not
24 allow to go in. I asked to go in, but I wasn't allowed
25 to go in.
1 Q. And you don't know who that commander was
2 either, do you?
3 A. I don't.
4 Q. You were shown two pieces of a videotape
5 right at the end of your testimony in which Mr. Ganic,
6 I believe, said "We, the Muslims, are the majority in
7 this country, and it's up to us, essentially, to take
8 the lead in smoothing over relations with the Croats."
9 Do you remember that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Was that footage shot in May of 1993, sir?
12 A. Yes, it was. Yes.
13 Q. Were you present during the attack by Muslim
14 forces on the town of Travnik from June the 8th to June
15 the 12th of 1993?
16 A. No. I mean, Travnik was under attack at
17 various stages during the war, and I was there when it
18 was being shelled on some occasions, but I don't
19 recollect that particular attack.
20 Q. Do you recall that the town was actually
21 captured by Muslim forces on June the 12th and that
22 there were about 3,500 Croat refugees who had to leave
23 the town as a result?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Do you know anything about the attack by ABiH
1 forces on the town of Kakanj at around the same time,
2 from June the 9th to June the 13th?
3 A. No, I don't, but I wouldn't deny that such
4 attacks took place.
5 Q. Have you any knowledge about the number of
6 refugees, Croat refugees, that resulted from the
7 attacks on that town, sir?
8 A. No, but there certainly were Croat refugees.
9 I met and interviewed too many of them.
10 Q. Just a couple of final questions to finish
11 up. Were you aware of an attack on the town of Fojnica
12 by Muslim forces in July of 1993 and the capture of
13 that town as a result?
14 A. I was aware there was an action by a unit of
15 the Bosnian army, and there was a term used at the
16 time, "Black Swans," for one of the units, but I have
17 no evidence as to what that was.
18 Q. All right. And you've never heard of the
19 Black Swans as a special purpose unit of the Muslim
21 A. The indication was that that's who they were,
22 but I didn't meet them. I did go up into Fojnica
23 perhaps a little after that. There was a hospital in
24 Fojnica which was surrounded for a time by Croatian
25 forces, and that was one story that we did because some
1 of these people were mentally disabled. I went also
2 into a village near Fojnica to meet one of the units
3 there. So we went there, but I can't give you many
4 valuable details.
5 Q. Did you ever have any dealings with members
6 of the 7th Muslim Brigade?
7 A. I believe I must have done, but I don't --
8 because they were certainly one of the Muslim army
9 units, one of the Bosnian army units operating in that
10 region, and they had a reputation after a while for
12 Q. They also had a reputation for lots of
13 foreign Mujahedin serving in that unit as well, did
14 they not?
15 A. I think "lots" is an exaggeration. There
16 certainly were those. I already described to you that
17 I encountered them. Of course, the whole situation
18 became radicalised as the war went on.
19 Q. On the subject of the release of prisoners
20 that you discussed in the middle of May of 1993 in
21 Zenica, isn't it true that members of the 7th Muslim
22 Brigade, approximately 100 of them, were in attendance,
23 firing in the air, and basically acting in a lawless
24 fashion, and that's why you were told to leave the area
1 A. No, I didn't see that. There was no firing.
2 There may have been. I don't know what happened
3 afterwards, but certainly there were -- I wouldn't say
4 100. I only saw about 12 fighters dressed
6 The exchange took place in the carpark of the
7 Hotel International in Zenica, which was close to the
8 stadium, and the stadium wall was ringed by, I'd say, a
9 dozen of these unconventionally dressed people who did
10 not look superficially to be from Bosnia. On the
11 ground, there was, as I referred to earlier, this
12 anti-aircraft gun which was operated -- and that seemed
13 to me to be operated by a Bosnian; he looked, as much
14 as one can judge, to be a Bosnian. But it was pointed
15 directly at us, and it seemed a judicious time to
16 leave. I didn't see any firing. I didn't see any
17 firing; I didn't hear any firing.
18 Q. On the subject of the Croat refugees from the
19 town of Kakanj in June of 1993, were you aware that
20 they had migrated northwards to the town of Vares?
21 A. No, I didn't -- I knew that Vares was, for a
22 time, I don't know about isolated, but it certainly was
23 in Croatian defence force hands.
24 Q. That town fell to Muslim forces on November
25 the 2nd of 1993; were you aware of that?
1 A. I wasn't aware of that but -- November 1993?
2 I don't recollect.
3 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I have no further
4 questions. Thank you.
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic?
6 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,
7 Your Honour.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
9 Q. Good morning, Mr. Damon. My name is Goran
10 Mikulicic, and in these proceedings, alongside
11 Mr. Kovacic, I represent the accused, Mr. Mario
13 Would you please be so kind, Mr. Damon, and
14 tell us whether you ever personally had a conversation
15 with Mr. Cerkez?
16 A. I don't recollect ever having such a
18 Q. Do you know what position, during your stay
19 in Central Bosnia, Mr. Cerkez occupied?
20 A. Not beyond he was a senior figure, according
21 to those people to whom I spoke, but, no, I had no
22 dealings with him. His name came up in conversation.
23 Q. Did you ever have an opportunity to see a
24 written document signed by him?
25 A. Not that I recollect.
1 Q. Mr. Damon, you said that during these events,
2 you were a freelance journalist and that you reported
3 for SkyNews and Fox News. What did you do after 1993?
4 A. I continued to report for -- those two that
5 you mentioned were, in fact, linked. They were both
6 part of the Murdoch empire. I also reported for other
7 organisations, and I continue to do that.
8 How long would you like me to go on? Your
9 question said "after 1993." Perhaps you could be more
11 Q. Specifically, what do you do today,
12 Mr. Damon?
13 A. I am a reporter and presenter for BBC World
15 Q. Thank you. Mr. Damon, during the course of
16 your evidence, a videotape was played. This was an
17 exercise or a parade of the HVO units, which was
18 introduced as Exhibit 257.1. Do you remember this
20 A. I do remember the tape.
21 Q. Could you tell us where and when this tape
22 was filmed?
23 A. "When" is the date on the tape box. I don't
24 think there's any dispute about that. We always dated
25 the tape labels immediately. "Where," I don't know. I
1 wasn't involved in the filming. I sent the crew to
2 cover it with a translator. I was covering another
3 story. So "where," no, I was told it was inside
5 Q. Could you be more specific? Was it in
6 Central Bosnia? Was it in the southwestern Bosnia, in
7 Herzegovina, or some other place?
8 A. I think the journey they had to make was
9 quite a way down southwest, but I really can't be more
10 precise. It took them some hours to get there from
11 Vitez where we were based.
12 Q. So the tape was made several hours' drive
13 away from Vitez; is that correct?
14 A. That is my recollection.
15 Q. Thank you. On 16 April, 1993, they were the
16 events in Ahmici. We will address that.
17 You told us during your testimony that this
18 event and the fighting in Vitez, for you, according to
19 the information you received from the U.N.
20 representatives, was a surprise of sorts; is that
22 A. It was a "sudden escalation" is the words I
24 Q. Mr. Damon, do you recall where were you
25 staying in that time; that is, several days before 16
1 April, 1993?
2 A. I was in Tuzla.
3 Q. Did you have an opportunity to travel from
4 Tuzla in the direction of that area of Vitez, Travnik,
5 Novi Travnik, or Busovaca?
6 A. I came as soon as the news of the events of
7 Ahmici reached us, maybe the following day. I
8 travelled down immediately to Ahmici, directly, in
10 Q. On the way to Ahmici, did you encounter any
11 problems? Here, I'm referring to the checkpoints or
12 blockades or something like that on the road.
13 A. There were several checkpoints, but no
15 Q. Did you have an opportunity in the period
16 between 13 and 16 April, 1993 to travel outside of
17 Zenica in that general direction?
18 A. I don't recollect. I think I was in Tuzla
19 also at that time.
20 Q. Even though you did not travel, did you know
21 that the roads from Zenica to Novi Travnik and further
22 on to Vitez had been blocked by the BH army units? Do
23 you know of that fact?
24 A. I don't know of that, no.
25 Q. Mr. Damon, you said that you visited Ahmici
1 on two occasions. My question to you is this: Do you
2 know the fact that on 16 April, 1993, which was the day
3 of the conflict in Ahmici, there was also fighting in
4 the villages of Poculica, Grbavica, Sivrino Selo,
5 Kruscica, the surrounding villages? Do you know of
6 those locations?
7 A. I don't know the details of those locations.
8 I probably did at the time, but I don't recollect. I
9 couldn't point them out on a map at this stage. I
10 didn't know that -- I knew that there was a
11 conflagration along the valley. I had been informed of
12 that by my BBC colleague.
13 Q. During your stay in this area, Mr. Damon, did
14 you meet Major Andrew Williams, who was with BritBat?
15 A. I don't remember his name.
16 Q. You described the events on your second visit
17 in Ahmici, when you said that you were surprised by the
18 clearing of the terrain which was in progress on the
19 ground. Do you know that this clearing of the terrain
20 had been arranged for with BritBat several days
22 A. No. I think that was my third visit, and I
23 didn't know of any arrangements. There certainly were,
24 to my observation, no international personnel there at
25 the time, and I suppose my suspicion was aroused
1 because we were stopped from filming it. What you say
2 may, indeed, be correct.
3 Q. Mr. Damon, you mentioned -- in your testimony
4 you said that some perpetrators from Ahmici were known
5 to the U.N. investigators. How do you know this?
6 A. I was told by the U.N. investigators that
7 they had names on the day that I went to Ahmici with
8 Colonel Bob Stewart and the European Union, European
9 Community ambassadors. I was subsequently given those
10 names some months later.
11 Q. Does this mean that you received a list of
12 individuals suspected of having committed the crimes in
13 Ahmici from the U.N. investigators?
14 A. No, I didn't get it from the U.N.
15 investigators. I did receive a list of four names.
16 Q. Do you have this list on you today,
17 Mr. Damon?
18 A. Not with me at the moment, but I could get
19 hold of it, if it's not known to the Court. I'm sure
20 that it is.
21 Q. Does this mean that you would be willing, if
22 asked by the Tribunal, to produce this list?
23 A. I would, certainly.
24 I think, as I say, I would just like to
25 repeat, I believe the Tribunal must have this list
1 because the source from which I got it is known to the
3 Q. Is there anything to prevent you from telling
4 us who gave you that list?
5 A. I think, at this stage, in open court, I
6 wouldn't want to do that. But in principle, no,
7 there's nothing.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, I would suggest
9 that we go into private session so that the witness can
10 answer my question.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
12 [Private session]
13 page 6728 redacted – private session
13 page 6729 redacted – private session
13 page 6730 redacted – private session
15 [Open session]
16 MR. MIKULICIC:
17 Q. Mr. Damon, you've said that during your stay
18 in Ahmici, you saw a box of military equipment with an
19 inscription on it. Do you read Chinese?
20 A. I referred to the Chinese, I believe, in
21 relation to Busovaca, when I was in the hills above
22 Busovaca, at some later time. I didn't refer to it in
23 relation to Ahmici. And no, I don't read Chinese.
24 Q. Thank you. I'm sorry, I misunderstood you.
25 Mr. Damon, you spoke to us about the prisoner
1 exchange that you attended in Zenica. Zenica was a
2 town under the absolute control of the BH army; is that
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. You told us that in that exchange, in an
6 important capacity, a military unit was present which
7 obviously was a unit that did not belong to the BH
8 army; is that correct?
9 A. I don't know to whom they belonged. They
10 were not wearing conventional Bosnian army uniform.
11 And as I mentioned to you, I went subsequently to the
12 police chief in Zenica and asked him why these people
13 appeared to be operating with such aggression in the
14 centre of the town.
15 Q. Also present were members of the British
16 Battalion, weren't they?
17 A. They were.
18 Q. Was any representative of the BH army
20 A. I don't recollect.
21 Q. Mr. Damon, obviously, during your stay in
22 Bosnia in those days, you travelled extensively; would
23 it be true to say that? Is it also true that on many
24 occasions you made the trip from Bosnia to the Republic
25 of Croatia?
1 A. Yes. That's true, in both cases.
2 Q. Could you tell us which routes you took in
3 the course of 1993?
4 A. There were two main routes: one through
5 Jablanica, which I believe in that time to which we are
6 referring was harder, and one through Gornji Vakuf, and
7 then, on a long dirt road, down to Tomislavgrad.
8 Gornji Vakuf, Prozor, and Tomislavgrad.
9 Q. And from there on to Split, I assume?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. So, Mr. Damon, if, for instance, you were to
12 set off from Split to go to Vitez, you would cover a
13 long road. Along that road, did you come across
14 checkpoints held by HVO soldiers and by members of the
15 BH army?
16 A. That's correct in both cases.
17 Q. Tell us, Mr. Damon, did you ever -- and I'm
18 not referring to your visit to Bosnia when you came to
19 Pale by helicopter, but the period covered by the end
20 of '92 and the whole of '93 -- did you go to the
21 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you enter that
22 territory from any other side except from the side of
23 the Republic of Croatia?
24 A. Yes, occasionally we would fly into Sarajevo
25 by aid flight.
1 Q. Excuse me, maybe my question was confusing.
2 I was thinking of land routes, not air routes.
3 A. No, I don't believe in that period there were
4 other ways except through Split. There may have been,
5 but we didn't try. Split was a useful logistical
7 Q. Would it be correct to infer that those same
8 routes that you used were used by convoys of
9 humanitarian aid?
10 A. That's right.
11 Q. Does that mean, Mr. Damon, that all those
12 convoys of aid which were not delivered by air came
13 from the territory of the Republic of Croatia to the
14 territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
15 A. No, there was for a time a route from Banja
16 Luka across Serb lines at Turbe. I didn't travel it;
17 it was only available for UNHCR vehicles.
18 Q. Thank you. Finally, Mr. Damon, you spent
19 quite some time in Bosnia. You witnessed that civil
20 war, and in answer to Mr. Sayers' question whether it
21 was confusing, you said, "not really." Could you tell
22 us, in very general terms -- and I have in mind the
23 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole -- who among
24 the ethnic groups there was fighting whom?
25 A. There -- at certain stages, all the
1 different -- well, all three communities, who
2 identified themselves as Serbian, Muslim, or Croatian,
3 were variously engaged in fighting. But there was a
4 sequence, as you know, and the sequence is important.
5 I don't believe I should take the time of the Court;
6 they are aware of the sequence. But it's important to
7 recognise there was a sequence.
8 Q. Yes, that is quite clear, Mr. Damon. Is it
9 true that in one period of time, the Muslims and Croats
10 were fighting the Serbs together?
11 A. It's absolutely true.
12 Q. Is it also true that in another period of
13 time, the Serbs were fought separately by the Muslims
14 and the Croats, each one of them separately?
15 A. In Bosnia as a whole, I'm sure that was the
16 case, yes, there were areas where HVO was fighting
17 Serbs alone and also where the Bosnian army was
18 fighting Serbs alone.
19 Q. Mr. Damon, are you familiar with the
20 northwestern part of Bosnia, called the Cazin Krajina,
21 with the leading figure there being Fikret Abdic?
22 A. Yes, I was there.
23 Q. Do you know that in relation to that part of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Muslims fought amongst
25 themselves, one group against another, which means
1 within the same ethnic group?
2 A. I -- what I know is that one particular
3 ambitious leader was encouraged, and I saw this
4 encouragement for myself, by both Serbs and by Croats
5 to try to establish his own enclave in order to weaken
6 the Bosnian government in Sarajevo.
7 Q. And that politician was a Muslim by
8 ethnicity, wasn't he?
9 A. He -- he was a Muslim by ethnicity and a
10 capitalist by inclination.
11 Q. Isn't that confusing, after all, Mr. Damon?
12 A. Not at all confusing.
13 JUDGE MAY: Where are we going with this,
14 Mr. Mikulicic?
15 A. Not at all confusing, Your Honour.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, I simply wanted
17 to demonstrate to this Chamber that the situation in
18 Bosnia is anything but simple, and with that, I would
19 end my cross-examination.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we got the witness's
21 answer. Thank you.
22 Any re-examination, Mr. Scott?
23 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour, about three
25 Re-examined by Mr. Scott:
1 Q. Mr. Damon, following up on a question by
2 Mr. Sayers, can you say what Mr. Kordic's other fears
3 were, if you remember that part of the questioning?
4 A. No, I mean, other than what I've already
5 stated, that there was a fear -- the Defence counsel
6 referred to the proportion of the Croatian population
7 in the region and also the increase in the Muslim
8 population as a result of refugees arriving in the area
9 from eastern Bosnia. So this was the given
10 justification for the fears.
11 MR. SCOTT: If I can just have a moment, Your
13 Q. Another question. What was your observation
14 about Mr. Kordic's personality?
15 A. It's based on the few meetings that I had.
16 He was, quite clearly, highly motivated, intelligent,
17 he was cold and calculating in his answers to my
18 questions about what was going on, and I should say,
19 above all, he was clearly in charge. He had an air of
20 authority about him, and people around him deferred to
21 him. If he asked for something to be done, it was
23 Q. When you arrived at Kaonik on the 14th of
24 May, 1993, did anyone challenge or question
25 Mr. Kordic's authority to give you permission to be
2 A. Not at all, no.
3 MR. SCOTT: No further questions, Your
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Damon, thank you for coming
6 to the Tribunal again and giving your evidence. You
7 are free to go.
8 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE MAY: Now, one at a time.
11 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, may I just put one
12 issue on the agenda?
13 We were trying -- I mean, the Defence and the
14 Prosecutor -- to find a solution for the timing of the
15 testimony of the next witness after the one who is just
16 prepared, (redacted). It seems that it easily may be
17 that we will be very much squeezed for time, because if
18 that witness will start, and realistically it will,
19 let's say tomorrow at lunchtime, shortly after the
20 break or before the break, then we will be left, the
21 Defence will be left with very, very limited time for
22 cross-examination, and the Prosecution told us that the
23 witness (redacted) said that he would be coming either now
24 or never and that he has to leave The Hague before the
1 Your Honour, this witness is probably among
2 the ten most important witnesses for our case.
3 JUDGE MAY: He was a commander of some sort;
4 is that right?
5 MR. KOVACIC: No, he was a politician in
7 We surely will need a little bit more for
8 cross than perhaps an hour or two on Friday morning.
9 I'm not mentioning also the problem that
10 Cerkez won't be here, because we will prepare, and it's
11 not crucial. The crucial point is only to have a
12 decent amount of time, a reasonable time, and I leave
13 it up to you after you hear the testimony. But I'm
14 trying to anticipate the problem, and I know that we
15 will be squeezed because at a certain point in time,
16 the Prosecution, confirmed by the witness, will tell
17 us, everyone in the courtroom, "Well, he has to be back
18 during the weekend and he cannot return."
19 JUDGE MAY: How long do you anticipate you
20 would require in cross-examination with him?
21 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I could give you
22 only really a rough estimation, but I guess a couple of
23 hours, I'm sure. He is talking about the whole period
24 of the development of events in Vitez, and the most
25 important time, April 1993.
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, can you assist,
3 MR. NICE: I'm aware of the difficulties.
4 There are a number of difficulties with witnesses this
5 week, including other difficulties with the witness who
6 might come between the one that Mr. Lopez-Terres is
7 just about to call and the witness that's been referred
8 to here.
9 On top of those difficulties, there's the
10 reality that once people are here, their hard attitudes
11 sometimes soften. We will make every arrangement
12 between now and first thing tomorrow morning to ensure
13 that the problems with the witness that Mr. Kovacic has
14 been speaking of are properly addressed, and I'll
15 report back tomorrow morning.
16 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
17 MR. NICE: It may be, without being any more
18 elliptical than is necessary, it may be that the
19 intervening witness, the one who will come after this
20 witness, will, for other reasons, which are referred to
21 obliquely in the application for protective measures in
22 his case, will not be fit to give evidence this week,
23 but might be fit perhaps next week. That depends on
24 medical issues being resolved. It is always difficult
25 juggling the range of problems with witnesses and
1 ensuring that the Chamber's time is fully occupied.
2 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice,
3 the witness that Mr. Kovacic has just spoken about, is
4 he in The Hague?
5 MR. NICE: Yes, but he'll be here tonight.
6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: He will be here tonight.
7 MR. NICE: Yes.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] In that
9 case, couldn't you give him priority, because
10 apparently he can't remain longer than this week,
11 tomorrow morning so that Mr. Kovacic could make the
12 necessary and proper preparations, either tomorrow
13 afternoon or on Friday morning?
14 We have tomorrow and then Friday morning, so
15 it's up to you to organise things so that that witness
16 is given priority, if he, in fact, is here tonight.
17 MR. NICE: That's what I had in mind, and I
18 have to juggle the various problems with the various
20 Perhaps Mr. Lopez-Terres can deal with the
21 application for protective measures for the next
22 witness, but I think that although he's only seeking
23 qualified protection, a fully closed session for the
24 application might be appropriate.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
1 MR. NICE: My mistake. I think private
2 session will do because, of course, we don't need the
3 screens down. Nothing is going to be shown. If it's a
4 private session, I think that saves time. I'm sorry.
5 [Private session]
13 page 6743 redacted – private session
13 page 6744 redacted – private session
9 [The witness entered court]
10 [Open session]
11 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the solemn
13 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
14 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
16 WITNESS: WITNESS K
17 [Witness answers through interpreter]
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres, I think
19 you can begin.
20 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] First of
21 all, I wanted to ask the usher if he can give the
22 document to the witness so that we can be sure that he
23 is who he is supposed to be.
24 Examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
25 Q. Is the name on this document, in fact, your
2 A. Yes, it is. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. You are appearing here with the
4 pseudonym "Witness K"; therefore, I'm going to call you
5 Witness K?
6 A. Very well.
7 Q. Witness K, are you 60 years old?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And did you work, starting in 1976, as a
10 technician within the SPS factory in Vitez, and are you
11 currently retired?
12 A. Yes, that is correct, but the year is not
13 correct. It was 1976 and I did not work for the steel
15 Q. I think I had said 1976. Perhaps there was
16 an interpretation problem. It doesn't matter. It
17 isn't important.
18 Witness K, you live in Ahmici, you've always
19 lived in that village, and you knew most of the people
20 who lived there; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, it is.
22 Q. After April 1993, did you make an important
23 contribution to the establishment of an association of
24 former inhabitants of Ahmici, where you are still
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Witness K, is it correct that you were a
3 member of the Communist Party until 1968?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And at that time, you decided to leave that
6 party. In the 1990s, at the time, there was a
7 plurality of parties allowed in -- introduced into the
8 former Yugoslavia. You became a member of the SDA
9 party, that is, the Bosnian Muslim party; is that
11 A. Yes, it is.
12 Q. Are you still a member of that party?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Witness K, the village of Ahmici is about
15 five kilometres from Vitez; is that correct?
16 A. That is correct.
17 Q. In April 1993, was the population of that
18 village approximately 600 people, most of whom were
20 A. That is correct.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone to the Judges,
23 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
24 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... 40
25 Bosnian Croats living in that village?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. The village of Ahmici, is it divided in two
3 parties, Upper Ahmici and Lower Ahmici?
4 A. That is correct, and that is the division
5 that actually is a new one. Previously it wasn't so.
6 Q. Upper Ahmici was the older part of it; is
7 that correct?
8 A. That is correct.
9 Q. In April 1993 there were two mosques in the
10 village in Ahmici. One had a minaret and the other one
11 did not?
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. The one with the minaret was the one that was
14 in Lower Ahmici; is that right?
15 A. [No translation]
16 Q. Around the end of 1992, Witness K, did you,
17 yourself, and other Muslims working at the SPS factory
18 in Vitez, were you able to see that the Croats in the
19 factory were gradually taking responsibilities in that
20 place, and specifically that they had set up a flag,
21 little by little, in that factory? Could you remind us
22 of how things or tell us about how things happened?
23 A. Immediately after the multinational elections
24 of 1990, one started feeling --
25 Q. I'm simply asking you to tell us what
1 happened in the factory, about the flag that was put up
2 in the facilities of the factory.
3 A. Well, the whole atmosphere at that time
4 already was smacking of divisions. Many employees,
5 especially those who had to do with security, were
6 being transferred, so that they did not have anything
7 to do with security. They had a wish to put up a
8 Croatian flag. This irritated the Muslim employees.
9 They did this gradually. When entering the factory, I
10 first saw it in a drawer. Then, for several days, then
11 it was on a chair, and then it ended up on the desk of
12 the department head.
13 Q. At that same time, approximately, was it a
14 unit that was composed only of Croat workers who were
15 responsible for guarding the factory?
16 A. These were not factory employees. These were
17 the so-called special security personnel. They were
18 not locals. They were brought in from outside.
19 Q. What happened to the Muslim workers who
20 formerly had been responsible for guarding the factory?
21 A. I have already stated that they were
22 transferred -- in other words, they were offered to be
23 transferred to other sections within the compound.
24 Q. I would now like us to speak about the things
25 that happened on the 19th of October, 1992. On that
1 afternoon, while you were coming back from your job at
2 the factory, you were arrested at a checkpoint which
3 had been set up at the place known as Impregnacija, and
4 you noticed that at that checkpoint, the HVO soldiers
5 had set up heavy weapons. There was a cannon, there
6 was a machine gun, there was also an anti-aircraft gun
7 that was in front of the police station. Is that
9 A. That evening, coming back from work, I was
10 driving a car. In addition to Impregnacija, I had
11 cleared another checkpoint, but down there, and I
12 cleared it. I was then stopped along with everybody
13 else. They were searching all the cars. However, I
14 was fortunate to have found a colleague from the
15 factory who did not check me at all. He just told me,
16 "Okay, go on."
17 It is true that there were some heavy weapons
18 there. There was an antitank gun which was -- an
19 anti-aircraft gun on a vehicle, mounted on a vehicle.
20 This vehicle patrolled the entire territory of the
21 municipality, wherever they could take it, but I mostly
22 saw it in front of the police station, parked.
23 Q. So you were able to go past the checkpoint
24 and go home to Ahmici, and there you were invited to
25 participate in a meeting with other villagers from the
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Was the meeting organised at the request of
4 the person responsible for the Territorial Defence of
5 the village, Mr. Fuad Berbic, who then told you, and
6 told other people as well, that an oral order had been
7 given by the Bosnian army in command in Vitez in order
8 to set up a checkpoint in order to prevent
9 reinforcements from the HVO coming from Busovaca and
10 Kiseljak being able to go in the direction of Novi
11 Travnik? Is that correct?
12 A. That is correct. May I just add a brief
13 comment? This barricade was probably ordered to be
14 erected, but taking into account all the circumstances,
15 and considering that we were in grave danger, and that
16 our village was touching on the main road, and that we
17 were wedged in or sandwiched between two much more
18 largely populated Croat villages, the whole situation
19 smacked of something bad, and we decided not to put up
20 the barricade. So this barricade, even though an order
21 had been issued to erect it, it was not erected.
22 Q. So the checkpoint was not initially set up,
23 but subsequently, during the evening, it finally was
24 set up by people, after two reserve policemen from
25 Ahmici came and told the other villagers that they had
1 been disarmed by the HVO, and this made the people
2 change their decision as to the setting up of the
3 checkpoint; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, it is so, but those men who were there
5 -- for a while it was jointly manned, the barricade
6 between the Muslims and the Croats, and at some point
7 towards the evening, the two men who were from our
8 village were disarmed, they were abused, and they were
9 kicked out, so to speak, and sent home. When they came
10 back, they were so frustrated and so angry that without
11 any approval, with probably some of those who agreed
12 with them, they set up a barricade. I think that the
13 intention was to get in possession of some weapons, and
14 I think that they didn't know of Fuad's order.
15 Q. So in the end, the barricade or the
16 checkpoint was set up by two policemen and a group of
17 young men from the village. And as regards the weapons
18 that the people had, basically there were a few machine
19 guns, and you also said that those people had also put
20 some metal pipes on the road so that the HVO would make
21 a mistake and think that they were dealing with
22 mortars; is that correct?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. During that same evening, is it true that the
25 men who were first there, that's the men from Ahmici,
1 were joined by about 30 other people from neighbouring
2 villages -- 10 who came from Vrhovine, 10 who came from
3 Poculica, and 10 from the village of Preocica -- and
4 that those men took up positions at different locations
5 in the village; is that correct?
6 A. That is correct. And again I would like to
7 add a brief comment to this. Probably the command
8 which had ordered this had believed that since we were
9 unarmed, they probably thought that we needed some
10 assistance, so they had assigned these men from these
11 villages to come and join in the effort. However, we
12 went out to meet them, to tell them not to come,
13 because we didn't need them; but they had taken a
14 different route in, and so indeed they were there that
15 night with us.
16 Q. Did you, yourself, not participate in that,
17 Mr. K?
18 A. No. No.
19 Q. On the next day, 20 October, 1992, around
20 5.00, the fighting began, and the first shell fell onto
21 the minaret of the Lower Ahmici mosque; is that
23 A. That is correct, because later on we heard
24 that the HVO were under orders -- they had a plan
25 called "24 Hours of Ashes and Smoke," and this was to
1 start when the morning call to prayer was to start.
2 And when imam called the believers to the mosque was
3 exactly the time when the first shell was fired on the
5 Q. Since you, yourself, were in the village,
6 were you able to see that there were guns being fired
7 at Ahmici, guns that were firing from the neighbouring
8 villages of Hrasno and Donji Rovna, which are in the
9 municipality of Busovaca?
10 A. That is correct.
11 Q. And did you also see that truck on which
12 there was a gun, a gun had been mounted, that you spoke
13 about a few minutes ago?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. And there was firing coming from that truck
16 with the gun on top of it; is that correct?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. So you had already seen that truck, with the
19 gun which had been mounted on it, on several occasions
20 in the village of Ahmici, and the truck would come now
21 and again, apparently in order to make an impression on
22 the local population; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that is correct. They often appeared in
24 the village with this vehicle. And the driver, who was
25 given to drinking -- his name was Nikica Plavcic; we
1 used to call him Nikica Slikica -- and probably
2 slightly inebriated, he circled around with that gun
3 there and went through the village, trying to impress
4 us, to actually produce fear among us from this great
6 Q. On the morning of 20 October, 1992, at around
7 10.00 in the morning, the local HVO commander, whose
8 name was Buha and lived in Buhine Kuce, gave an
9 ultimatum to the TO soldiers, telling them to surrender
10 the weapons that they had; is that correct?
11 A. That is correct. There were agreements --
12 there was a meeting to try to determine what to do
13 next, and then Fuad Berbic and the others who were, how
14 shall I put it, in charge of our village, they had
15 talked, and the HVO commander ordered that we Bosniaks
16 had to surrender the weapons that we did have and that
17 they would guarantee our security.
18 Q. Some of the Muslim villagers who lived in the
19 area called Zume agreed to surrender their weapons, but
20 in Ahmici, the inhabitants who had some weapons refused
21 to do so; is that correct?
22 A. That's correct. Those who had surrendered,
23 they were from the part of the village which was mixed,
24 Croat and Muslim, and the ones up there were more
25 compactly inhabited.
1 Q. They refused to give their arms and the
2 fighting continued, and during the battle, there were
3 about 14 buildings and stables which were destroyed by
4 fire, because inflammable ammunition was being used,
5 and shells also fell into five or six houses; is that
7 A. Yes, that is correct. The houses were set on
8 fire. They didn't burn down to the ground, but certain
9 rooms were burned, as most of those incendiary devices
10 flew in through the windows. Sometimes some barns,
11 even there was some livestock which was burnt. So
12 there were several of those cases when people didn't
13 have the time to let the livestock out. Clearly and
14 obviously, the people pulled back into the upper part
15 of the village.
16 Q. Did you yourself withdraw with some of the
17 other villagers to the upper part of the village, and
18 from that part of Upper Ahmici, were you able to try to
19 ask for help by radio, ask the Vitez centre, but that
20 no assistance was sent?
21 A. That is correct.
22 Q. Were you finally able to leave the village of
23 Ahmici and go to the village of Vrhovine, a
24 neighbouring village, where you remained for about five
25 or six days; is that correct?
1 A. About 90 per cent of the inhabitants went up
2 to that part of the village. Some did stay behind, and
3 fortunately, nothing happened to them.
4 Q. During the fighting on the 19th, 20th of
5 October, 1992, one of your cousins, a 16-year-old,
6 (redacted), was killed by a bullet, and two other
7 people were wounded; is that correct?
8 A. That is correct. Can I just add something?
9 Q. Yes. Go ahead.
10 A. (redacted) was in high school; he was a
11 young kid. As a man, though, I don't know, he probably
12 was under the influence of some movies or something, so
13 he had some fighting spirit in him. So he wanted to
14 see what was going on at the barricade, and as a
15 civilian, he went over there to see and survey what was
16 going on, and somebody killed him with sniper fire.
17 Q. You mean that your cousin was not armed at
18 the point he was killed?
19 A. No. He was a youth; he was still in the
20 secondary school. He didn't have any weapons or
22 Q. Was he the only victim on the Muslim side
23 that day? There were two wounded, I think, and then
24 this cousin who died.
25 A. Yes. Two were wounded and this young man was
2 Q. While the villagers of Ahmici were in the
3 neighbouring village for the few days that you spent in
4 Vrhovine, was it the HVO military police that entered
5 the village and took measures to ensure that there
6 would be no thefts in the houses, and you were able to
7 see when you came back that nothing had been stolen
8 from your house; is that correct?
9 A. That's correct. They protected our houses,
10 and, indeed, nothing went missing from our homes.
11 JUDGE MAY: If you're moving on now to
12 another topic, it may be a convenient moment. We will
13 adjourn now until half past two.
14 Witness K, could you remember, in this and
15 any other adjournment there is, not to speak to anybody
16 about your evidence and not to let anybody speak to you
17 about it, and that includes members of the
19 Very well. If you will be back at half past
21 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.03 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.34 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres.
3 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Witness K, before we broke, we were speaking
5 about the end of the events in October 1992 and the
6 first incident in the village after the checkpoint
7 which had been set up in Ahmici.
8 When you returned to the village, you noticed
9 that Croatian flags had been set up there; is that
11 A. Yes. Yes.
12 Q. Before that, the flags were not there; is
13 that right?
14 A. No. Excuse me. It is correct that there
15 were no such flags. That's right.
16 Q. Were there other flags in the village, before
17 the events of the 19th of October, 1992, that is,
18 specifically, the flag of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
19 A. There were on the school and other such
21 Q. A public building then.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Sometime after the attack of October 1992,
24 you had the opportunity of meeting with one of your
25 neighbours, a man named Vlatko Kupreskic, who is
1 currently being detained in The Hague and is the
2 subject of a trial which we spoke about this morning,
3 and you asked him for some information about what had
4 happened, why that had happened.
5 Is it true that at that point, he said to you
6 that in the future, the Muslims had to obey the law of
7 Herceg-Bosna because Herceg-Bosna was now a state, the
8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna had become a state?
9 A. Exactly. I wasn't alone. I was in a group;
10 there were another four of us, among them my father.
11 Because he was closest to our village, as our
12 neighbour, we asked him what was happening because
13 there was already the ultimatum that we had to
14 surrender our weapons, practically to surrender
15 ourselves, and his answer was that the state of
16 Herceg-Bosna had been established. "You have to
17 respect its laws," he said. "How long it will last, I
18 don't know, but why things are as they are, you have to
19 be loyal to that state." That is what he said, or
20 words to that effect.
21 Q. After that period between November 1992 and
22 January 1993, there was an agreement among the
23 inhabitants of Ahmici, according to which there would
24 be checkpoints that would be manned both by the Croats
25 and the Muslims from the village; is that correct?
1 A. Correct. These were not stationary
2 checkpoints but rather patrols that patrolled the
3 villages in the evenings, and we were together.
4 Q. Is it true, Witness K, that around November
5 1992, you saw the accused, Dario Kordic, during a press
6 conference in which he was a participant which was
7 broadcast on Busovaca Television and in which there was
8 also --
9 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment.
10 MR. SAYERS: Two objections, Your Honour.
11 First, to the leading form of the question, since this
12 is a matter that appears to be in controversy, and,
13 second, I object to having a phrase snipped out of what
14 appears to be a televised press conference. Of course,
15 we would not object to having the videotape and the
16 transcript of the entire press conference put into
17 evidence, but I certainly object on completeness
18 grounds to having one statement that was assertively
19 made six years ago in a press conference excerpted.
20 Thank you.
21 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness be asked if he
22 saw Dario Kordic on the press conference and, if so,
23 what he recollects Mr. Kordic said.
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Before I
25 speak to the witness, if you will allow me,
1 Mr. President, I can tell you that the Office of the
2 Prosecutor does not have a videocassette of that press
3 conference. I want things to be perfectly clear.
4 Q. Witness K, during the press conference in
5 which you were a participant, do you remember what the
6 accused, Dario Kordic, from the point that they were
7 speaking about the village of Ahmici, said, what he
9 A. Unfortunately, I don't know the date when
10 this was. I never thought I would be put in a
11 situation as to have to testify about these things.
12 But I do remember, since my village did receive
13 Busovaca Television -- not too well, but still we were
14 able to follow it -- we were curious to see what they
15 were saying and what they had in mind for us, and at
16 one of those press conferences, Dario Kordic was
17 present, as was Kostroman and Blaskic, and there were a
18 number of journalists. Among the other questions,
19 there was a question to the effect -- of course, I
20 can't quote it verbatim because of the time distance --
21 but the question was, "After the barricade in Ahmici,
22 what would happen to the village of Ahmici?"
23 JUDGE MAY: What's the objection now,
24 Mr. Sayers?
25 MR. SAYERS: That's my point precisely, Your
1 Honour. That actually brings me into a Rule 89
2 objection. If the gentleman can't remember exactly
3 what the statement was on the TV, it seems to me that
4 the prejudicial effect of the statement that apparently
5 he's going to utter, according to this offer of proof,
6 greatly outweighs any probative value that it might
8 JUDGE MAY: Why? It's as if he met
9 Mr. Kordic and Mr. Kordic said something to him. He
10 saw him say something on television. He cannot
11 remember the precise words, but he can give us the gist
12 of it. There's no unfairness in that.
13 Now, what do you remember Mr. Kordic saying?
14 A. Of course, I wasn't with him physically. I
15 was in my own home and watching television. In answer
16 to this question which was put, I think, by a lady
17 journalist, he answered that Ahmici would pay a dear
18 price for this move; that is, for the barricade they
19 had put up. As I said, I can't quote him word for
20 word, but to the effect that it would be razed to the
21 ground, that they'd better be careful.
22 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Witness K, I believe we have perhaps an
24 interpretation problem here. You yourself were not at
25 the press conference. You were at home; is that
1 correct? Do we agree?
2 A. Yes. Yes, that is correct.
3 Q. Because in the English transcript, one has
4 the impression that you were present, at least at the
5 moment that the press conference occurred.
6 JUDGE MAY: I think the picture is quite
7 clear. The witness was not participating, although
8 that appeared to be what was said. He was simply at
9 home and saw this on television.
10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Still speaking about the television broadcast
12 that you were looking at at that time, did you also see
13 a broadcast around January or February of 1993, during
14 which a man named Anto Valenta was invited -- it was a
15 programme in Croatia from Split -- and Anto Valenta,
16 during that programme, said that the Croats in Bosnia
17 should, in the future, make ready for the conflict with
18 the Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Do you remember
20 A. Yes, indeed. It was a programme called
21 "Image on Image," and the guest was Anto Valenta. But
22 I must make a correction. He didn't say the Croats of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina; he said the Croats of Vitez must
24 prepare for a struggle against the Muslims. He made
25 this statement upon his return because some people
1 asked him whether he had made a slip of the tongue,
2 whether he really meant that they should prepare for
3 defence against a Serb aggression, but he said what he
5 Q. Did you see, somewhat later in the spring of
6 1993, the accused, Dario Kordic, during another press
7 conference, also mentioning the relations between the
8 Croats and the Muslims in Bosnia? Could you tell us
9 what was said?
10 A. At that time, he was a prominent media
11 figure, he appeared frequently, and we watched from
12 time to time, and at another press conference, a
13 journalist -- I think that was the time when we were
14 trying to obtain seeds for the sowing season -- and the
15 journalist was saying, "The Muslims are sowing
16 everywhere and we are short of seeds," something to
17 that effect, and his answer was, "Let them sow and we
18 shall harvest," that the Croats would reap the
20 Q. When he said "they can sow," he meant the
21 Muslims; correct?
22 A. Yes. Yes.
23 Q. On the 13th of April, 1993, Mr. K, your son,
24 who at that time was working at the Bratsvo factory in
25 Novi Travnik, was arrested by HVO soldiers, along with
1 a group of other factory workers while they were going
2 to the factory in a bus; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, correct. Correct. He was going to
5 Q. Is it true that the next day, the day after
6 his arrest, your son and the group of Muslim workers
7 visited Mario Cerkez in his office at the cinema in
8 Vitez, at the House of Culture?
9 A. Maybe the interpretation is not correct. It
10 wasn't he that went to visit. I went to pay the
12 Q. Yes, perhaps it was an interpretation
13 difficulty. Did you go to visit the accused, Mario
15 A. The interpretation I got was that he went to
16 visit, and he couldn't visit because he had already
17 been arrested. So it was I who went to visit.
18 Q. No. You, not your son, did you go to visit
19 Mario Cerkez? Do we agree on that, that it was you who
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. So you visited Mario Cerkez, whom you knew,
23 and you asked him whether he could release or help in
24 the release of your son. Could you speak about that
25 meeting of 14 April?
1 A. I could. My son, as is known, was working in
2 Bratsvo, and on the way to work, they were stopped by a
3 group of HVO soldiers, of the police, at a checkpoint.
4 They ordered all the Muslims to get off the bus, the
5 Croats were allowed to pass, and they were detained.
6 At that time, I was in my own factory. One
7 of his colleagues who went to school with him and who
8 was also a Catholic, a Croat, informed me that they had
9 been arrested, that he had been arrested or captured.
10 I immediately left my working place and went
11 to some sort of TO headquarters to see Sefkija Dzidic.
12 I appealed to him as a parent to help me to get my son
13 released because he was not guilty.
14 As he couldn't make any promises, I went to
15 see Pero Skopljak, who, in those days, was the
16 president of the HDZ, or something like that, and
17 literally, his answer was, "I am a politician and I
18 can't help you. This is a military matter."
19 I used to work with Mario in the factory. We
20 are not the same generation, so we were not very close,
21 but we know one another very well. I also know his
22 parents. So I went to the place where his headquarters
23 was, and with a soldier, I went to see him.
24 The man received me in a friendly manner and
25 he said the following: "Regarding so and so, not a
1 hair will be hurt on his head. Last night, a number of
2 our officers were arrested in Gornji Vakuf, and they
3 were taken for the purpose of exchange. I cannot help
4 you for the moment, but you can count on him being safe
5 and sound," and that was the whole conversation, so I
7 My son, on the 15th in the evening, together
8 with another 50 Bosniaks, was taken to the camp in
9 Kaonik, which belongs to Busovaca municipality, and he
10 was kept there for two months. He was mistreated, of
11 course. He was forced to dig trenches, et cetera; he
12 was slapped, beaten, and all sorts of things.
13 Q. So your son remained in the Kaonik camp for
14 about two months, and you say that he dug trenches
15 specifically in the region of Kratina and Putis?
16 A. Yes, in Putis, yes. Once he even went to the
17 area of Rovna.
18 Q. On the 16th of April, 1993, Witness K, around
19 5.30 in the morning, in the village where you lived,
20 you heard a large explosion and there were bullets
21 flying from all sides. You could see at that point
22 that there were several houses around yours that were
23 on fire. You did not expect an attack on that day, on
24 the 16th of April; is that correct?
25 A. That is so. The night before, we had a
1 meeting, we the locals without any politicians, in our
2 school, us ordinary citizens, and we agreed to protect
3 each other, that any kind of attack was out of the
4 question, so that we went to bed without the thought of
5 such a thing happening -- occurring to us.
6 My son was in the camp without being
7 registered, and there were already cases of people
8 being killed, so it was terrible.
9 Q. Witness K, during the night of 15 to 16
10 April, 1993 that we're speaking about, Muslim forces
11 arrived in Ahmici; they were deployed in Ahmici or
12 around Ahmici. Now, I'm talking about Muslim army
14 A. No. No, there were absolutely no troops in
15 our village. Our village was, in no sense, a military
16 target. There were only civilians there, and the few
17 able-bodied men that we had in the village, since a
18 Muslim army brigade had already been formed, they had
19 left and joined that unit. So even they were not in
20 the village. The only people in the village were my
21 generation, in their 50s and 60s and older than that,
22 and women and children, and the few who were not
23 able-bodied to join the army.
24 Q. Witness K, we have just spoken about the
25 night of the 15th to 16th of April, 1993. Let us speak
1 about the previous night, that is, the 14th to the 15th
2 of April. I'll ask the same question: Did forces from
3 the Bosnia-Herzegovina army -- rather, were the forces
4 deployed in Ahmici or around Ahmici?
5 A. No, a hundred times, no. I said that there
6 were no soldiers there, and I say that categorically.
7 Q. I'm going to show you a document. This is
9 The document is a preparatory combat order,
10 and it's dated 15, April 1993, 10.00, and it's signed
11 by Colonel Blaskic.
12 Witness K, would you review the first page of
13 the document, the fourth paragraph of the document?
14 There, the date of 14/15 April 1993 is indicated, where
15 they speak about deployment of Muslim forces in the
16 region of Ahmici and Nadioci. The document says that
17 the troops of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina allegedly
18 were deployed around the village, and that you are
19 sure, however, that there was no deployment; is that
21 A. This is a complete fallacy. In our village
22 and the environs, there was not a single armed soldier
23 under the control of the BH army or the TO. And I am
24 reading this now, it mentions the village of Nadioci.
25 Ninety-eight per cent of that village were Croats. It
1 was 98 per cent Croat, and what would any Muslim army
2 be doing there? I can tell you for certain that in our
3 village, there were absolutely no military structures,
4 or around the village. In Stari Vitez, possibly there
5 were, and in Kruscica, a part of a brigade had been
6 formed, but that is quite at the other end of the
7 area. In Kruscica, there were troops because my
8 brother's son was there in a unit in Kruscica. As for
9 Vitez, I don't know. I assume there may have been
10 some, but in Nadioci and Ahmici, there were absolutely
12 Q. Witness K, were troops from outside of Vitez,
13 from Zenica or other regions, did they come in and
14 might they have been deployed in Ahmici or the
15 surroundings in the night between the 14th and 15th of
16 April, 1993?
17 A. No, they could not because members of the HVO
18 had already, at Kuber, which is a hill between Vitez
19 and Zenica, they already had their positions there, so
20 that their army had control of that part of the
21 territory, the whole area around Ahmici. So there was
22 no way that anybody from the outside could reach us.
23 Q. Thank you. Let us return to the evening of
24 the 15th of April, 1993, the evening. During the
25 evening, you saw Croatian neighbours who were armed,
1 who had weapons, had combat uniforms, were wearing
2 helmets, and they were going to the part of the village
3 where the Kupreskic family lived, but did that not seem
4 somewhat suspect to you?
5 A. That evening, my brother and I went out to
6 walk around the houses. In the evening, it was already
7 dusk, visibility was good, and I saw my next-door
8 neighbour, Dragan Vidovic, and his cousin in full
9 combat gear, with weapons, a rucksack, a helmet on the
10 rucksack, going in haste towards the Kupreskic houses,
11 as we call it. But we didn't attach much importance to
12 that because they would frequently -- or, rather, the
13 HVO army could frequently be seen in the area of our
14 village, and weekly or at other intervals, they would
15 pass through to the positions at Kuber. They passed
16 through our village and nobody hindered them, and then
17 they would return from those positions along the same
18 route. And so we thought that that was what was
19 happening then too.
20 Q. During the morning of the 16th of April, the
21 morning of the attack, with your wife and another group
22 of villagers, you decided to take shelter in the house
23 of another villager, Mr. Kermo, who lived in Upper
24 Ahmici, close to the mosque; is that correct?
25 A. That is correct. This house was designated
1 by our civilian protection to be used in case of such
2 an event, and this is where we would go and this is
3 what we used this morning and went there.
4 Q. With your wife and group of villagers, did
5 you then go along a ditch and through the bushes, but
6 did you see that your presence had been spotted by HVO
7 soldiers near Vlatko Kupreskic's house, and one of the
8 soldiers yelled something at you. Could you tell us
9 what it was that he said?
10 A. We were 14 in this group, my family and two
11 other families, so we had no idea that these soldiers
12 could be there. We were going down a ravine, and when
13 we came to this house, they noticed us. They cursed
14 our balija mothers. They were asking where had we been
15 hiding until then, and then opened up fire in bursts on
17 Q. It was at that time of those shots that were
18 directed against you that your sister-in-law was killed
19 and that your daughter was wounded, along with another
20 person who was a refugee from Prijedor; is that
22 A. That is correct.
23 Q. Then you finally reached the house where you
24 were supposed to take shelter, where there were about
25 150 to 200 people; is that correct?
1 A. That is correct. I took the little girl --
2 put her on my back and took her with me, and we joined
3 the other people. There were about 150 people there.
4 Q. In the morning, around 12.00 noon, UNPROFOR
5 came into the village, and the personnel from that
6 vehicle came to the village and helped some of the
7 villagers there; is that correct?
8 A. Yes. Several vehicles arrived, and one of
9 them turned off towards Kermo's building, because we
10 were waving, asking them to come and help us, and so
11 they came over and assisted the three wounded persons.
12 Then they put them on the transport vehicle and took
13 them to the hospital. And one personnel vehicle
14 proceeded to the other part of the village on the other
15 side of the hill, where there were also two seriously
16 wounded persons. One died there and the other one died
17 while being transported to Travnik. Both were
19 Q. Did you notice that the shots from the HVO
20 had stopped throughout the time that that transport
21 vehicle was there, and then once the vehicle had left,
22 the shots resumed; is that correct?
23 A. This was especially the case of the heavy
24 artillery in Hrasno and Donja Rovna. They almost
25 completely ceased to fire, and you could just hear some
1 small arms fire. But the heavy artillery practically
3 Q. Around 21.00 on that day, with a group of
4 villagers, you left Kermo's house, and then in groups
5 of about ten persons, you were able to flee and to
6 reach the village of Vrhovine, and then to go to
8 A. That is correct. Because we expected,
9 frankly, some kind of assistance from Zenica or Vitez,
10 and since this assistance was not coming and we had
11 hundreds of dead, there was panic in the village,
12 houses were on fire, there was fire everywhere, we
13 decided to flee in groups. Night was coming, so those
14 who were healthier and stronger were sent up to the
15 village to see whether we had been cut off by the HVO
16 forces in order to prevent our pull-out.
17 They came back; they said that the road was
18 open and we went in groups to the village of Vrhovine.
19 However, some families, including my parents, stayed
20 behind, and unfortunately, they're no longer among us.
21 Q. Witness K, as I already said, you already had
22 the occasion of testifying in another case; that is,
23 the Kupreskic case last year in September, and on that
24 occasion, you made an important contribution to the
25 drafting of documents, which I'm now going to show to
1 the Tribunal.
2 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] They have
3 already been tendered to the Trial Chamber which is
4 hearing the Kupreskic case. These are charts with
5 reference number Z1594, 1-5-9-4, 1594-3. And the two
6 aerial views of the village of Ahmici and the
7 surroundings on which there is information about the
8 houses which the Muslims in the village occupied, and
9 the houses in which people were killed or they were the
10 owners of houses who were killed at that time. This is
11 reference 1594-1 and 1594-2. .
12 I ask that these documents be put under seal
13 because all of them have the witness's name on them, as
14 well as his signature which is on one of them.
15 Q. I'm going to ask you to tell us what this
16 document corresponds to.
17 First of all, we're going to look at the two
18 aerial views I've mentioned. Witness K, the two aerial
19 views which you have, the two views --
20 A. Very well.
21 Q. -- as I said, you helped to prepare them
22 because it was starting with information that you
23 provided that the Office of the Prosecutor was in a
24 position to prepare those two aerial views and to show
25 the indications on them, that is, exactly where the
1 houses belonging to the Muslims in Ahmici were, that's
2 on the first map. And on the second, it shows where
3 people were killed in Ahmici. Do you recognise these
4 two documents as being the ones that you helped to
5 prepare and that you brought to the attention of the
6 Office of the Prosecutor?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Based on what you said, the houses which are
9 in a green circle, they belonged to the Muslim
10 inhabitants of the village you mentioned?
11 A. That is correct. Those were the Muslim
12 homes. Shall I point them out?
13 Q. I don't think it's necessary unless the Trial
14 Chamber wishes. As things stand, we don't have to make
15 any further clarifications about the houses. As
16 regards the red circles, these are houses or at least
17 the areas in which there were Croat houses?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. Specifically, the houses of the accused in
20 the Kupreskic case; is that true?
21 A. Yes, it is. Yes, it is.
22 Q. The second aerial view which is similar, but
23 which has indications in yellow --
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. -- the houses where there were victims on
1 the -- on that evening, the 16th of April, and there
2 were Roman numerals to indicate the people who died; is
3 that true?
4 A. That is correct.
5 Q. Witness K, you also helped to prepare another
6 chart --
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Lopez-Terres, can I ask,
8 in relation to the first aerial view, F and G, the red
9 circles which are bigger circles, does the size of the
10 circle indicate a greater congregation of houses?
11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] The areas
12 correspond to the location where the witness believes
13 that the houses of someone named Nenad Santic, who has
14 since died, who was a Croat of the village, from a
15 point where he was exactly not sure where the house
16 was, that he would simply indicate the area, and it's
17 starting with that information that those areas were
18 able to be indicated by our investigators.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: I understand. Thanks.
20 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
21 Q. As regards the chart number Z1594-3, is that,
22 in fact, your signature which is on the first page, on
23 the bottom, Witness K?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Which is before the date 21 September, 1998;
1 is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. On this document, on the last page, a total
4 is given, that is, 104 people whose names appear in the
5 document, 104 people who were killed in the village,
6 according to the information that you were able to
8 A. Yes, that is correct and that is really the
10 Q. Among the 104 people, tell me if I'm wrong,
11 there were 61 men, 32 women --
12 A. Yes, that is correct.
13 Q. -- and 11 boys under the age of 18?
14 A. Ages three months to less than eighteen.
15 Q. You also indicated the number of people who
16 were wounded who are not included in the total that I
17 just mentioned, but in that list, there are 12 people
18 who were wounded on the 16th of April, 1993 in Ahmici;
19 is that correct?
20 A. Yes, during the flight and the withdrawal.
21 Q. Personally, Witness K, how many people did
22 you yourself lose in your family during the attack on
23 the village of Ahmici on the 16th of April?
24 A. With your permission, I would like to add
25 something, that is, if the Chamber approves, before I
1 say this.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 A. We mentioned here a number of 104 killed;
4 however, we know for sure that there were 15 Bosniak
5 refugees who were also killed, and those names are
6 known, but the number of killed refugees was never
7 positively confirmed because these people kept coming
8 and going. So they were not fully registered. So to
9 the number of 104, an additional 15 refugees should be
11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
12 Q. In order to make it clear, to make clear this
13 important comment that you've just made, that the
14 number of 104 represents only the 104 members of the
15 village who you knew --
16 A. Yes, residents of the village.
17 Q. And the approximately 15 others, the refugees
18 that you spoke about, where did they come from?
19 A. They came from Foca, Prijedor, Karule near
20 Travnik, other places, Jajce, and so on.
21 Q. Where were they? Exactly where were they at
22 the time of the attack?
23 A. For the most part, they were accommodated
24 with local residents, and in our area, there were a lot
25 of weekend homes. So we made arrangements with owners
1 of these homes who, for the most part, lived in Zenica,
2 to allow us, meaning this board which had been set up,
3 and they for the most part agreed to this, so these
4 refugees stayed, for the most part, in these weekend
6 Q. I asked you a question before you made this
7 important comment. How many people from your own
8 family did you lose during that attack on the village?
9 A. This is the most difficult part that I can
10 testify to, but I have to, and I lost 19 relatives,
11 including both parents, my mother and father, my
12 brother, his wife, and the others were first cousins on
13 both paternal and maternal side, and they were both
14 male and female relatives among them. I need to
15 mention that my father was 81 years of age. As a man
16 who took good care of his home, he refused to leave.
17 He said, "I had nothing with anybody. They won't do
18 anything to me," and my brother and my mother stayed
19 with him.
20 On the -- that is, around the 20th of April,
21 UNPROFOR brought them to Zenica in body bags, charred,
22 and we made an identification there. I still have some
23 doubts about their identities, but I think I'll leave
24 it alone here.
25 Q. Thank you. One final question. The
1 information which allowed this chart to be prepared
2 concerning the location and numbers of people, is this
3 information that you collected as soon as you arrived
4 in Zenica in April 1993 and which you preserved and
5 compiled and then subsequently allowed them to be given
6 to the Tribunal; is that correct?
7 A. That is correct. I was born in that village;
8 I lived in that village; I know every person there. We
9 worked jointly to bring in the phone lines, water
10 system, roads. We did all this work together, these
11 utilities, so we depended upon each other in the
12 village and knew each other well.
13 Also, when we came to Zenica, we somehow had
14 to take count of who had survived, who was killed, who
15 went to -- in which direction. Until that time, nobody
16 had left to live abroad. I then started an initiative
17 to set up an association which would, sort of, draw
18 people together so that we would stay in touch, so that
19 we could talk about our troubles, and I set up -- I
20 drafted a questionnaire, including the name, date of
21 birth, and the status, that is, their whereabouts.
22 From this questionnaire, we were able to also come up
23 with a number of those who were killed and also it
24 helped us get some humanitarian assistance, which was
25 proportionate to the number of family members; that is,
1 that it became useful in that sense.
2 Q. Thank you, Witness K.
3 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I have no
4 further questions.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
6 with your permission, the Defence of Mario Cerkez would
7 like to ask questions of this witness first on the
8 basis of an agreement we have with the other part of
9 the defence team.
10 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
13 Q. Witness K, I am Goran Mikulicic in this case,
14 alongside Mr. Kovacic from Rijeka, and I represent
15 Mr. Mario Cerkez.
16 First of all, I would like to express my
17 condolences for everything that happened to you and
18 your family.
19 A. Thank you.
20 Q. Mr. K, are you a religious man? Do you
21 practice your religion?
22 A. Insofar as I can get around to it, I do.
23 Q. And you are of Islamic faith?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Mr. K, at the relevant time, you said that
1 you were a member of the SDA. Are you still a member
2 of the SDA?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. At that time, did you have any position
5 within the party?
6 A. No, I was only a member.
7 Q. Mr. K, you said that you managed to return to
8 your village. Is it true that your return is part of
9 an organised return of the inhabitants to their
10 village, under a plan set up by Bosnia-Herzegovina?
11 A. Let me tell you, if we had waited for our
12 government to start this, we may still not be back.
13 But as citizens who were part of this association, we
14 insisted on going back. And let me tell you, I will
15 also say openly that we had -- there were no obstacles
16 on the part of the local inhabitants -- I don't know
17 what the situation is with the politicians -- but it
18 was in a self-organised way that we really came back,
19 and our government then sort of appropriated it.
20 Q. But the question -- what I wanted to point
21 out is that about 70 families returned.
22 A. I think it's about 90 now.
23 Q. Mr. K, you said that you worked in the SPS
24 and that it was from there that you knew Mario Cerkez.
25 Do you recall what Mario Cerkez's job at the SPS was?
1 A. I don't know whether I'll be able to tell you
2 expertly what exactly his job description was, but I
3 know that it had something to do with defence. It had
4 something to do with the military defence or security
5 for the factory. It had to do with the lists of
6 military conscripts and so on.
7 Q. So you said that he worked on lists of
8 militarily-fit persons. Does that mean that he worked
9 on administrative work?
10 A. Among other things, I believe he did.
11 Q. Mr. K, do you know that Mr. Cerkez, at the
12 time when you worked together in the SPS, associated
13 with Midhat Berbic, the son of Fuad Berbic, your close
15 A. Yes, they were colleagues at work.
16 Q. Do you know that he also associated with
17 Latif Barucija and Sulejman Kalco?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. As well as Sefkija Dzidic?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. Is it true that all the persons whom I have
22 just mentioned are of Muslim ethnic background?
23 A. Yes, it is.
24 Q. Witness K, let me point out --
25 A. Let me point out. This was an entirely
1 normal thing at the time.
2 Q. That is precisely the nature of my question.
3 Did you ever notice whether Mario Cerkez had any kind
4 of bad relations with Muslims, or an attitude towards
6 A. He is -- he is younger than I am. They
7 associated because they were together at work. They
8 worked in similar jobs. I did not socialise with Mario
9 Cerkez very much, and so far as I did, I had respect
10 for him, and I don't think he's going to be offended if
11 I say that we are friends, and I never noticed any such
12 behaviour on his part.
13 Q. Mr. K, you mentioned the events when, in the
14 night between the 19th and 20th of October, 1992, a
15 barricade was set up near your village. Do you
16 remember that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I'm not quite sure whether I understood you
19 properly, but let me ask. Did you personally go down
20 to the road, to the barricade?
21 A. No, I did not.
22 Q. So you personally did not see with your own
23 eyes any of the events that took place at the
25 A. No, I didn't see anything there. All I know
1 about that barricade was what I learned from others
2 after the event, but personally, I wasn't there.
3 Q. I see.
4 A. I know how the barricade was put up, but I
5 wasn't there.
6 Q. Mr. K, you told us that you got in touch with
7 the TO headquarters in Vitez in order that they might
8 send in reinforcements which they were not able to do;
9 is that correct?
10 A. Yes. When the attack was well under way, it
11 wasn't immediately at the beginning, as if we had
12 prepared for it, but once the attack started, we
13 appealed for assistance. However, some of the people
14 from the villages of Vrhovine, Poculica, Preocica came.
15 Q. These are villages close to yours; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Mr. K, according to your knowledge and
19 recollection, is it true that in that locale, the 325th
20 Mountain Brigade of the BH army was stationed there?
21 A. No. The 325th Brigade is a brigade of the
22 Bosniak people, as those present know very well, and
23 there were two parts. One unit was in Preocica and
24 another in Kruscica, so that the Lasva Valley, as far
25 as the Bosniak people is concerned, was left without
1 any army of its own. There were some members of that
2 brigade but who had already joined the brigade, and
3 they were stationed at the village of Preocica.
4 Q. Mr. K, that is precisely what I was asking.
5 In the village of Preocica, at least a part of the
6 325th Mountain Brigade was stationed, and it was under
7 the command of Sedzanovic [phoen]; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, I think he was the commander.
9 Q. But you're not sure?
10 A. I was telling you, I was not a member of any
11 military bodies. I participated in civilian affairs.
12 So please don't ask me much about the military
13 organisation because I really don't know it.
14 Q. Very well. But regardless of that, Mr. K,
15 regardless of the fact that you were not at the
16 barricade, at the roadblock, but you heard about those
17 events. Did you also hear that members of the Bosniak
18 security disarmed four HVO soldiers who came along the
20 A. I didn't hear about that, but I said in my
21 testimony that the aim was to get weapons, but those
22 weapons were seized from them. So it is possible that
23 that happened.
24 Q. Tell me, Mr. K, are you aware that on that
25 occasion, a military policeman from Kiseljak was
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You said that there was shooting with
4 incendiary bullets and that some stables of local
5 villagers, Bosniaks, were set on fire. Do you know
6 that some stables owned by Croats in the area were also
7 set on fire, such as, for instance, Drago Josipovic's
9 A. It wasn't just stables, but some houses were
10 set on fire as well. As for Josipovic's stable, I
11 didn't pass by that house, but I think it was burnt
12 because in the immediate vicinity was Hasim Ahmic's
13 stable which they missed.
14 Q. Yes, but, nevertheless, Josipovic's stable
15 was set on fire.
16 Mr. K, is it true that from Vitez, from the
17 municipality, the president at the time, Mr. Skopljak,
18 came to establish the damage done in your village and
19 that later on, with the financial assistance of the
20 municipality, the damage was repaired?
21 A. I know that with Mr. Zeco, there were Croat
22 representatives. I wasn't present there to know
23 exactly who was present, but I know that an agreement
24 was reached to compensate the damage and that it was
1 Q. So the damage was repaired, wasn't it?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Mr. K, allow me now to ask you several
4 questions in connection with the imprisonment of your
5 son. You said that he used to work in the Bratsvo
6 factory, didn't he?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. It was a military factory, wasn't it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know where he was arrested or
11 captured, the exact spot?
12 A. He was arrested at a place called
14 Q. Is that a place within the area of Novi
16 A. Yes, in the immediate vicinity of Novi
18 Q. When, as a parent and a father, a worried
19 father, you tried to intervene in favour of your son,
20 you first addressed the commander of the TO staff,
21 Mr. Dzidic, didn't you?
22 A. Well, that was only normal.
23 Q. What was his answer? Did he say that he
24 would try to talk to someone?
25 A. Yes, more or less. He wanted to calm me
1 down. Of course, I was upset, and he said, "I'll
2 call," I don't know whom "further up," but nothing came
3 of it.
4 Q. So after that, you went to see Mr. Pero
6 A. I did.
7 Q. What was his answer?
8 A. I went to the municipality building and I
9 found him. He received me cordially. We know each
10 other well, and he said, "I am a politician. That is a
11 military matter and I can be of no assistance there."
12 Q. So you first went to see Mr. Dzidic, then
13 Mr. Skopljak, and at the end, you went to see
14 Mr. Cerkez, didn't you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you remember, Mr. K, what position, when
17 you went to see him, Mr. Cerkez held at the time?
18 A. I really -- if I were to say something, I'm
19 afraid I may be wrong. I know that he held a very
20 senior position. I thought that he was head of the
21 military police and that is why I went to ask for his
22 help. However, I later learned that he was in command
23 of the headquarters. But anyway, I don't know what his
24 position was. I went to see him as a friend of mine,
25 as an individual.
1 Q. So you went to see Cerkez because you knew
2 him from before, from Bratsvo, and because you heard
3 that he held a high-ranking position?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Is it true that Mr. Cerkez said that nothing
6 would happen to your son but that he cannot be of
7 assistance, as he was not responsible for what was
8 happening in the area of Novi Travnik, where your son
9 had been arrested?
10 A. No. He said to me that nothing would happen
11 to him, and he explained why he had been arrested.
12 That was the first time that I heard the word "uhicen"
13 a Croat word used for arrest, and that my son and the
14 other Muslims are being held to be exchanged with
16 Q. Yes, you told us that.
17 A. Well, that was what he told me. I can't give
18 you a different answer.
19 Q. But my question is, did he also tell you that
20 in view of the fact that your son had been arrested in
21 Novi Travnik, and you came to see him in Vitez, that he
22 was not responsible for the area of Novi Travnik, and
23 that is why he couldn't help you?
24 A. I don't recollect that. I don't know.
25 Q. Mr. K, let me ask you whether you perhaps
1 know. Who was Mr. Cerkez's superior along the chain of
2 military command?
3 A. My immediate response would be Blaskic, but I
4 really don't know. I don't know. If I did, I would be
5 glad to give you an answer.
6 Q. Mr. K, I told you at the beginning that I
7 appreciate and feel for you for the tragedy you went
8 through, and that is why I don't wish to ask you in
9 detail about the events of April in Ahmici, but there
10 are some things that I have to ask you nevertheless.
11 Did you see the soldiers who attacked your
12 village, in the sense, did you see which unit it was?
13 A. That was precisely the problem. The shelling
14 started from a large distance, from Hrasno, Vare, Donja
15 Rovna, et cetera, with heavy artillery. Later, while
16 talking to mothers and women whose sons, fathers, and
17 husbands had been killed, we reconstructed the event
18 and we realised that it was an elaborate tactic because
19 there were one, two, or three HVO soldiers at each
20 Bosniak house, and when the call for prayer came in the
21 morning, they woke people up by calling them by first
22 names, Huso, Mujo, et cetera, and when those people
23 appeared on their front door, they were killed. If
24 they appeared with their wives, the wives were killed
25 as well.
1 As for the unit, I saw soldiers who were
2 running across the fields, but I was unable to identify
3 them. I didn't even dare look anyway.
4 Q. Tell me, Mr. K, the soldiers that you did
5 see, were they all dressed in the same uniforms or did
6 they have different kinds of uniforms?
7 A. Possibly, for me, they were all camouflage,
8 and anyway, there were no uniforms such as those worn
9 by the Yugoslav People's Army which one would
11 Q. Mr. K, tell me, please, did you personally
12 see or hear from someone that Mr. Cerkez was ever in
14 A. In the course of that event? No, I did not.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. K. The Defence has no further
16 questions, Your Honour.
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
18 Q. Witness K, according to the 1991 census, the
19 total population of Ahmici was 466, with 356 Muslims
20 and 87 Croats. As far as you're aware, is that an
21 accurate figure?
22 A. I didn't quite understand the date.
23 Q. 1991, Witness K?
24 A. 1991, yes, that is more or less correct.
25 Q. Now, I understand that you worked in the
1 Slobodan Princep Seljo factory right up until April the
2 16th, 1993; is that correct, sir?
3 A. Yes. Not right up until the 16th, until the
4 13th. When my son was arrested, I abandoned my post
5 and didn't go back. I couldn't go back.
6 Q. Thank you, sir. Do you remember giving a
7 statement to the Centre for Investigating War Crimes
8 and crimes of genocide against Muslims on May the 4th,
10 A. Let me see. When we reached Zenica, we were
11 approached by all kinds of people from the CSB, the
12 security, journalists, and all kinds of others, and we
13 were telling people everywhere what had happened.
14 Whether I made a statement or not, possibly I did.
15 Q. All right. Do you remember giving a
16 statement to an investigating judge, Dijana Ajanovic on
17 December the 15th, 1993 as well?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. It would be fair to say, Witness K, that
20 you've given two statements to the investigators of the
21 Prosecution of this Tribunal, one in February of 1995
22 and one in August of 1996; is that correct?
23 A. Correct. You have the evidence there.
24 Q. You've also given testimony in the Kupreskic
25 case, I think we've already established. Do you
1 remember that that was in September of last year, sir?
2 A. Yes. Yes.
3 Q. You mentioned that you sought refuge along
4 with about 150 or 200 residents of Ahmici in the cellar
5 of Mr. Kermo.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. That was pursuant to a civil -- a civilian
8 defence plan drawn up by Mr. Fuad Zeco, the commander
9 of the municipal headquarters for civil defence, wasn't
11 A. No. No. No.
12 Q. Mr. Zeco was the --
13 A. Mr. Zeco was that, but it was us ourselves,
14 the local people, who determined this ourselves.
15 Q. All right. Now, isn't it true that the
16 October the 19th, 1992 blockade that you spoke about,
17 was actually set up at the Catholic cemetery on the
18 main road to the east of Ahmici?
19 A. Maybe I didn't get the right interpretation.
20 Not at the cemetery, before the cemetery, looking from
21 the direction of Busovaca.
22 Q. All right. Isn't it true that the 3rd Corps
23 commander in Zenica ordered the blockade to be erected
24 to prevent HVO units from going towards Travnik?
25 A. No, that is not correct. The 3rd Corps --
1 or, rather, the commander of the 3rd Corps did not give
2 those orders, but from the local command in Vitez,
3 talking to Fuad, he was told this. Zenica had nothing
4 to do with it.
5 Q. Let me just read you a statement from page 1
6 of your May the 4th, 1993 statement, sir. It says:
7 "First of all, I wish to mention that even before the
8 conflict, we had another one, and the reason for it was
9 the roadblock (ours) set up at the request of the 3rd
10 Corps, which was designed to prevent the HVO units from
11 going towards Travnik."
12 You did give that statement to the Centre for
13 Investigating War Crimes five years ago, six years ago,
14 did you not?
15 A. I did make a statement, but I think that I
16 didn't say what you have just said, that I never
17 mentioned the 3rd Corps. Because in those days, the
18 3rd Corps didn't even really exist; it was formed
19 later. So I think that that is not right.
20 MR. SAYERS: If I may, Your Honour, I would
21 just like to have the usher put this on the ELMO. It
22 is a copy of Mr. K's statement of that date.
23 JUDGE MAY: Put it on the ELMO, please.
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
25 Mr. President, the name of the witness appears on
2 MR. SAYERS: Then we ought to put this in --
3 JUDGE MAY: Take it off. If it's given to
4 the witness, he can answer any questions about it.
5 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Mr. President.
6 Q. Just under the word "Statement," Witness K,
7 is it not true that it says precisely what I just
8 said? Witness K, I understand that you've been through
9 terrible things, and I don't want to make a meal of
10 this, but it does say that in your statement, doesn't
12 A. Yes. Yes. These statements were given in an
13 atmosphere of confusion. It was months, maybe a
14 month -- less than a month after all that evil that
15 happened. I may have identified the corps with
16 something else, but I still claim that this was not
17 right. Even if I said so, it was not right. Because
18 this was a confusing situation. There was sorrow and
19 grief, and we still could hear the shooting in our
20 heads, but let me say again that this is not right,
21 what I said there, even if I am sent to prison for it.
22 JUDGE MAY: You won't be.
23 MR. SAYERS:
24 Q. Now, Witness K, you made the same statement
25 about six months later to investigating judge, Dijana
1 Ajanovic, and with the Trial Chamber's permission, I
2 would like to show, I would like the witness to be
3 shown the statement from the investigators?
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, I wonder, is it the
5 same point again?
6 MR. SAYERS: It's pretty much the same point,
7 yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE MAY: I wonder whether there's much
10 MR. SAYERS: I think the Trial Chamber has
11 the point. I'll move on.
12 Q. Witness K, isn't it a fact that the army of
13 the BiH actually had an organised unit in the village
14 of Ahmici in October of 1992?
15 A. I said that it did not have, and I claim with
16 full responsibility that we did not have a unit. We
17 had ourselves organised ourselves as villagers. We
18 were civilians. We ourselves organised some kind of
19 guard duty in the evenings, but this was not an
20 organised unit that could engage in combat with another
21 unit. Of course, we didn't just sit and watch. We
22 tried to find a way out, to defend ourselves, but there
23 was no organised unit in the sense of a military unit.
24 Q. All right. Let me just, if I may, read your
25 statement to the investigating judge on December the
1 15th, 1993.
2 MR. SAYERS: With the Trial Chamber's
3 permission, I would like to show the witness, or he can
4 consult the original in Croatian. Thank you.
5 Q. You told the investigating judge: "I would
6 like to begin my testimony starting with October 1992.
7 At that time, there was an organised unit of the army
8 of BiH in our village."
9 That's what you told the investigating judge
10 six years ago, is it not, sir, on page 2?
11 A. I can't see it.
12 Q. It's on page 2, sir, lines 3 through 5 of the
14 A. We were still called the Territorial
15 Defence. We received orders from the higher command.
16 Here I mentioned the higher command from Vitez. I
17 don't have it.
18 Q. All right. If you just turn to page 2, sir,
19 would you just read the first few --
20 A. Here is page 2.
21 Q. Go three lines down, and could you just read
22 that into the record, sir, so that the Trial Chamber
23 can get an accurate translation of what you told the
24 investigating judge six years ago? Please read it
1 A. You mean the part "We were called the TO,"
2 from the beginning? From the beginning?
3 Q. From the beginning of the passage, yes, sir.
4 A. But let me underline that that was a
5 statement I made then. "I should like to begin my
6 testimony with October 1992. In those days, there was
7 an organised unit in our village of the BH army, but we
8 were called the Territorial Defence."
9 You see, that is a different pair of gloves
10 altogether. The Territorial Defence is a military
11 formation in which both Muslims and Croats
12 participated, and it is true that such units existed.
13 But this was a unit of a civilian nature, a local
14 nature, and representatives of all ethnic groups
15 participated, all ethnic groups living in the area in
16 1992. This was before the war. And this was a legal
17 obligation. Even women participated, as well as
18 able-bodied men up to the age of 50 or 55; I'm not
19 quite sure. It was a legal obligation to have such
20 units, and that's what the reference is.
21 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, could you just read on,
22 the next few lines, please? I think that will help
23 elucidate what you told the investigating judge six
24 years ago.
25 A. Yes. "We were assigned the task to set up a
1 barricade so that HVO units from Kiseljak and Busovaca
2 would be prevented from going to Novi Travnik." Wait a
3 minute. I have to read it all. Here it really does
4 say that a barricade was put up, and it was. The way
5 it was put up is not described here because this is a
6 brief statement. We covered that quickly. I'm not
7 denying that there was no barricade, but what I say is
8 that it was put up by two frustrated policemen, and it
9 did exist. It was there.
10 Q. It's also true, isn't it, and I think you've
11 told the Trial Chamber this, that reinforcements from
12 the local TO headquarters at Preocica and two other
13 towns, Poculica and Vrhovine, arrived to reinforce the
14 organised unit that was present in the village when
15 that barricade was erected; correct, sir?
16 A. No. It is correct that they did arrive, but
17 there was no organised unit. They came to us, to help
18 us, the common people. All young men who were fit for
19 military service, all our young men went to the
20 brigade, which was deployed in a completely different
21 location, and only the elderly men stayed behind, of my
22 generation, and those who were not fit for military
23 service. And being aware of that situation, they sent
24 to us these men.
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, it's just after
1 4.00. How much longer do you anticipate being with
2 this witness?
3 MR. SAYERS: I would think perhaps 30
4 minutes, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Tomorrow morning
7 Mr. Lopez-Terres, it may be as well to call
8 the witness tomorrow morning who may take a bit of time
9 and who has to get away, rather than trying to
10 interpose any other witnesses, in order that we make
11 sure that we do finish that witness this week. Perhaps
12 you would like to have that in mind.
13 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] All the
14 proper measures will be taken so that it can be done,
15 Your Honour.
16 JUDGE MAY: Witness K, could you be back,
17 please, tomorrow morning at half past nine so that we
18 can complete your evidence then?
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
20 4.05 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
21 the 16th day of September, 1999, at
22 9:30 a.m.