1 Thursday, 16th September, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.32 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] This is
7 IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario Kordic and
8 Mario Cerkez.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
10 WITNESS: WITNESS K [Resumes]
11 [Witness answers through interpreter]
12 MR. SAYERS:
13 Q. Witness K, good morning. I noticed from the
14 transcript yesterday that omitted to introduce myself.
15 My name is Sayers, and I represent Dario Kordic.
16 When we broke yesterday, we were discussing
17 about the roadblock that was set up outside your
18 village on October 19th, 1992.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Witness K, it's true, is it not, that at that
21 time, Bosnian Serb forces were actually launching an
22 assault on the town of Jajce to the west of Vitez;
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you were aware that there was heavy
1 fighting involved in that assault; correct?
2 A. This is what I heard from some -- secondhand,
3 that is, but I didn't see it.
4 Q. Were you aware that shortly after the
5 roadblock incident, the town actually fell to the
6 assaulting Bosnian Serb forces, it was captured by
8 A. It was for reasons that were never
10 Q. Following the roadblock incident, you were
11 actually congratulated by commander Refik Lendo over
12 the radio for stopping the HVO troops en route, were
13 you not?
14 A. He didn't to me. There was no reason for
15 that and I was not a military person. So I am not
16 aware of any congratulations.
17 Q. All right. Let me just read you a statement
18 from your witness statement of February the 15th, 1995
19 on page 2.
20 "The military BiH commander in Novi Travnik
21 named Lendo congratulated us over the radio or TV for
22 stopping the HVO." Is that right, sir?
23 A. Such source probably circulated, but you
24 asked me whether I knew of that, and that BH army
25 commander was fighting with the HVO and the Croatian
1 army in the Novi Travnik area. In other words, it had
2 nothing to do with fighting in Jajce because in Jajce,
3 the Catholics, that is, the Croatian army pulled back
4 before the Serb occupiers. That is the real truth.
5 Q. Right. But you do acknowledge making
6 statement that I just read out to the Prosecution's
7 investigators about four and a half years ago; is that
9 A. I don't recall it, but probably I did.
10 Q. All right, sir. Now, you referred during
11 your examination by the Prosecution to a man by the
12 name of Fuad Berbic. It's true, isn't it, that he was
13 the commander of the forces in Ahmici before the road
14 blockade that we've talked about?
15 A. As far as I know, he was at the level of the
16 Territorial Defence for an entire region, which
17 included our village as well, in other words,
18 Dubravica, Sivrino Selo, the railroad station, Ahmici,
19 Nadioci, and so forth.
20 Q. Isn't it true that Mr. Berbic was
21 subsequently replaced immediately before the roadblock
22 incident by Muris Ahmic as the commander of TO forces
23 in Ahmici?
24 A. I personally do not know what changes took
25 place there, but it is true that in our village, Muris
1 Ahmic was our sort of immediate commander and Fuad
2 Berbic was transferred and became the officer for the
3 Territorial Defence in the village, the civilian
4 protection in the village.
5 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, let me turn to a
6 related subject, the fighting that occurred on October
7 the 20th of 1992.
8 You have described the casualties on the part
9 of the people that were defending the roadblock. Do
10 you know how many casualties were inflicted upon the
11 Croats, sir?
12 A. I really don't know because I was not
13 directly involved. I did not take part in it. When
14 the fighting started, I moved to another part of the
15 village, and so I did not know the situation on the
17 Q. All right. You have described houses
18 catching fire as a result of being hit by tracer fire.
19 Did you actually see that yourself?
20 A. I saw smoke, I saw fire, and when we returned
21 to the village, I saw what had happened. But when it
22 was happening, I did not see that.
23 Q. All right. Let me turn to another subject,
24 the subject of -- the unfortunate subject of your
25 cousin who died as a result of being shot at the
1 roadblock on October the 20th.
2 Isn't it true that he was sitting right next
3 to Mr. Sahabudin Muratovic, who was arming an M-84
4 heavy calibre machine gun?
5 A. I don't know whether he was sitting or
6 standing. Sahabudin married a cousin of mine, a
7 relative, and after this event, he said that Halid was
8 killed in his immediate vicinity, and this is why I
9 know the circumstances of his killing. He was the
10 actual witness. He said that he came across the line
11 as a civilian and was killed in his immediate
13 Q. Mr. Muratovic, though, was actually manning
14 an M-84 heavy calibre machine gun, wasn't he, at the
16 A. I didn't see what he had, but he probably did
17 have two weapons.
18 Q. All right. Let me just read you an excerpt
19 from your February the 15th, 1995 statement, and I'd
20 just like you to confirm that this is accurate.
21 "Muratovic, Sabahudin, nicknamed Budo, who
22 had been manning the M-84 machine gun told me that,"
23 and I'll omit the name, your cousin, "was next to him
24 when he was shot by a sniper from the area of Ivo
25 Papic's house."
1 Is that statement factually accurate?
2 A. I have just confirmed that I received this
3 information from him, and probably at that time he had
4 told me what type of weapon he had, and so I added that
5 to this statement. But I also want to say that all the
6 weapons that we had in the village were -- had come
7 from Slimena, and how shall I put it in military terms,
8 they were practically useless, and had been brought
9 there just for intimidation purposes. There was no
10 real use of them.
11 Q. Part of the fighting on October the 20th --
12 well, actually as the fighting was going on, I believe,
13 you testified, representatives of the HVO actually
14 offered the people manning the blockade the opportunity
15 to avoid further conflict by laying down their arms;
16 that's correct, is it not?
17 A. No. I didn't say it happened at the
18 barricade, but that during the fighting, the command of
19 the Croatian side and Fuad Berbic held a meeting away
20 from the barricade, perhaps even in the school
21 building. I don't know the location really. But Fuad
22 came to the upper part of the village where we were
23 assembled and said that it had been ordered -- that we
24 had been ordered -- that our people had been ordered to
25 surrender weapons and that the Croatian side would
1 guarantee our safety.
2 Q. So the regional commander, Mr. Fuad Berbic,
3 issued these instructions to the --
4 A. At that -- yes, very well.
5 Q. And as I understand the chronology of events
6 that you related, some people from the region of Zume
7 accepted that offer, laid down their arms, but the
8 soldiers in Ahmici did not want to surrender, and
9 that's when the renewed fighting erupted involving the
10 tracer fire and the other hostilities that you have
11 described; would that be fair to say?
12 A. It is correct that a part of our -- I cannot
13 say that they were soldiers; they were just armed
14 villagers. In different ways, they had acquired their
15 weapons for the defence of their homes, and since this
16 has become known, that they were armed, then in the --
17 those in the area of Zume did surrender weapons, but in
18 my village, as you said -- these were not soldiers.
19 These were common people who had faulty weapons from
20 Slimena and some hunting rifles and their personal
21 pistols, and those were the weapons.
22 JUDGE MAY: Witness K, if you can deal
23 briefly with these questions, we'll get through your
25 Mr. Sayers, there's no need to go over a
1 matter which we've been over.
2 MR. SAYERS: I agree entirely, Your Honour,
3 and I will try to avoid doing so.
4 Q. It is true, Witness K, that after the event
5 that you've just described when the forces in Ahmici
6 refused to lay down their arms, that Mr. Muris Ahmic
7 was continuously calling the army headquarters to
8 request assistance; isn't that correct?
9 A. I don't know because I really was not
10 involved in these military matters. I was just a
11 common citizen who was trying to save his family and
12 his home.
13 Q. I understand that, sir. Did you state to the
14 Prosecution's investigators in 1995, "During the
15 attack, Muris Ahmic continuously called BiH
16 headquarters in Vitez for help but no one was sent to
18 A. I believe that I did say so.
19 Q. I don't mean to imply anything by these
20 questions, sir. It was a long time ago and memories
21 fade, but let me just ask you this: After the fighting
22 ended, you gave some testimony about the military
23 police from the HVO patrolling your village to ensure
24 that no houses were looted. You actually had left your
25 house unlocked during the hostilities; correct?
1 A. I did not have the time to close it up.
2 Q. Right. But when you returned to your
3 village, nothing had been taken from your house.
4 That's the point I'm trying to make; that's correct,
5 isn't it?
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. Turning to another subject, you had mentioned
8 a conversation or a statement supposedly made by a
9 Mr. Valenta on TV in Split to the effect that Croats in
10 Vitez must prepare themselves for a struggle against
11 Muslims. Didn't he later contend that that was a slip
12 of the tongue and that what he meant was that the
13 Croats generally had to prepare themselves for a
14 struggle against Serbs?
15 A. Yes, he said that first version publicly on
16 television, and I heard, I wasn't present, that he then
17 denied that in a smaller circle, that he said that he
18 misspoke. But what he said originally went out into
19 the public.
20 Q. All right. Let me turn to another subject,
21 which was the hostilities that broke out in your
22 village on April the 16th and the events that
23 immediately preceded them.
24 Did you know that -- or did you ever hear
25 that a number of HVO soldiers had been captured outside
1 of Novi Travnik by Mujahedin on April the 13th, sir?
2 A. No, I didn't. Anything is possible, but I
3 really didn't hear that.
4 Q. Did you hear anything about the kidnapping of
5 commander Zivko Totic in Zenica on the night of April
6 the 14th/15th, and the murder of his four bodyguards
7 and one civilian?
8 A. I heard that and this was also in the media,
9 in the mass media, television and so on, but obviously
10 I was not there.
11 Q. All right. Isn't it true that on the night
12 of April the 15th, you were actually on patrol in
13 Ahmici with your brother? And I won't mention his
15 A. No. We were near our houses. There were no
16 patrols. There was no duty to patrol. We just came
17 out in our backyards because our houses were adjoining,
18 so we were just there, outside.
19 Q. Sir, are you saying you were not on guard
20 duty that night?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Sorry. Is that --
23 A. Because we were at our homes. We were on no
24 official patrol. We came out to just look around our
25 houses because our houses are a bit separated out in
1 the village.
2 Q. All right, sir. Let me just read you a
3 statement or an excerpt from a statement that you gave
4 to the Centre for Investigating War Crimes and crimes
5 of genocide against Muslims on May the 4th, 1993.
6 "On 15th April, 1993 from 12 until 24.00, I
7 was on guard duty in the village."
8 Do you remember telling the investigators for
9 that institution, what I have just read, about six
10 years ago, sir?
11 A. Perhaps, how shall I put it, it was written
12 down erroneously. I know that the hours do not make
13 sense, 12 to 24. We perhaps went out around 10.00 in
14 the evening, and it was no patrol. It was just myself
15 and my brother. The family stayed indoors, and it was
16 a regular thing, a usual thing, for us to come out and
17 see that everything was all right around because there
18 were tensions at that time. And the statements given
19 20 days after those horrors over there, it is possible
20 that the investigators or even the typist had added
21 something, that I was part of a patrol, because I
22 didn't even have any weapons.
23 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,
24 we've got to move forward. You can ask the witness
25 whether there was a village association with a type of
1 rotating guard whose duty it was to watch over the
2 village and to help guard the villagers. I'd like that
3 question to be asked of the witness so that we can
4 understand this. But we've got to get forward on this
6 MR. SAYERS: I agree entirely, Your Honour,
7 and we will try to do precisely that.
8 Q. Witness K, you heard His Honour's question.
9 Would you please provide the --
10 A. Yes, I did.
11 Q. -- answer?
12 A. Yes, there was, but it was all part of the
13 civilian protection. These were not military
14 structures. There was a manned -- that is, there were
15 people who assigned villagers to be on duty. There
16 were not any armed guards. They were not ready to
17 engage in any fighting. If any kind of shelling or
18 attack occurred, they would be in charge of rousing the
19 villagers so that we could evacuate our homes. And
20 there was also a list of these people so that there
21 wouldn't always be the same people. So some people
22 were in charge of these assignments, so that certain
23 people would not always be on duty and certain people,
25 Q. All right. It was during this period of time
1 that you -- this is the night of April the 15th -- that
2 you actually noticed troop movements in the vicinity of
3 the Kupreskic houses involving people in full combat
4 gear; correct?
5 A. No, those was not troops. Those were two men
6 who I saw -- they were my neighbours who were HVO
7 members. There were no troops, just two soldiers whom
8 I saw.
9 Q. Very well. Isn't it true that you actually
10 informed your army command of this immediately?
11 A. You constantly associate me with the
12 military. I just reported to this civilian officer
13 that there was something going on. That was my duty.
14 So I told him so that he would then, through the
15 channels, get information whether there was an
16 impending attack or something else coming.
17 Q. All right. Let me just read you one
18 statement from the interview that you gave to the
19 investigating judge, Dijana Ajanovic on December the
20 15th, 1993 on page 2. You described seeing people
21 "going in full combat gear towards the Kupreskic
22 houses. We immediately informed our army command of
23 this and were told that we should not arouse panic,
24 that it did not mean anything as far as an attack was
1 Do you remember telling the investigating
2 judge that, Mr. K?
3 A. I told her that I had noticed people,
4 soldiers, that I informed the representatives of the
5 civilian protection, that is, the man in charge, and
6 that he told me not to start any panic, that there will
7 be no attack. So what she did is she just summarised
8 this into one single sentence and perhaps created some
9 confusion. He told us not to panic, that nothing would
10 happen, that there was no danger of an attack.
11 Q. But isn't it true, sir, that you actually
12 went to bed fully dressed because you were expecting
13 something to happen? You kept thinking that something
14 was about to happen, didn't you?
15 A. My son was already in the camp in Busovaca at
16 that time, and I walked around my house, as I have
17 already said, after midnight, so, indeed, I just took
18 off my jacket and shoes and lay down in trousers. I
19 couldn't sleep ever since my son had been imprisoned,
20 so I just lay down to take a rest, not really going to
21 bed properly.
22 Q. All right. When the assault on your village
23 started, isn't it true that calls were made to the 3rd
24 Corps for help through a radio transmitter located in
25 the house of Nasid Ahmic; that is correct, is it not?
1 A. I was not in a position to see that, and
2 later on, the women were saying that one of the women
3 had called up by phone, she had a relative down there,
4 and informed him that such and such a thing was
5 happening. He allegedly told her, because that is what
6 I heard from this woman, that we should just lie down
7 on the floor in our houses, that we should not panic,
8 that negotiations were ongoing, and that things would
9 stop. That was the answer she got, apparently, from
10 Zenica. We didn't have any radio links with Zenica
11 because that is quite some way away. We only had radio
12 links with people in Vitez, with those bodies in
14 Q. That's all of the questions I have on that
15 subject, sir.
16 One question: After you went to Zenica in
17 May 1993 and thereafter, were you ever employed by the
18 Institute for the Investigation of Crimes Against
19 Humanity in Zenica?
20 A. No. I was a member of the civil defence and
21 I was mostly working in the field, in the area
22 controlled by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I
23 carried food to people on the front lines and that sort
24 of thing. I may have also spoken to people as I went
25 along, but I didn't have any official capacity.
1 MR. SAYERS: With the Trial Chamber's
2 permission, and I don't propose to spend more than 30
3 seconds on this, I would just like the usher to show
4 Witness K the statement he made to the investigating
5 judge on December the 15th, 1993 and which is signed by
7 Q. Witness K, I'd just like you to turn to the
8 last page and verify that that is, indeed, your
9 signature. Did you say "yes," sir?
10 A. Yes. Yes, that is my signature. Yes.
11 Q. Would you just read into the record what your
12 occupation was listed as, sir, on page 1?
13 A. That is not my occupation. I was a member of
14 the civil defence, and on behalf of our municipality, I
15 had the work obligation to occasionally join, with
16 respect to the local people of Ahmici, and take a few
17 statements from them, and maybe that was the reason why
18 this was written down. By occupation, I'm an engineer
19 of work organisations, so this was not my occupation,
20 nor was it my preoccupation during the war. The only
21 truth is --
22 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment. What is the
24 MR. SAYERS: Engineer industrial relations
25 employed at the Institute for Investigation of Crimes
1 against Humanity, Zenica, Your Honour.
2 A. No. No. No. No, that is not correct.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Sayers, have you
4 elicited what this institute does?
5 MR. SAYERS: I have not, and that seems a
6 good point at which to pose the question to the
8 Q. Witness K, could you please let the Trial
9 Chamber know what the Institute for the Investigation
10 of Crimes against Humanity in Zenica actually did or
12 A. The aim of the institute, as far as I am
13 aware, is to collect information and other evidence
14 which would help the Tribunal in the discovery of war
15 criminals. I said that I did take several statements
16 from my neighbours, but I was never officially employed
17 by that institute, and who put these words after the
18 comma, I don't know.
19 Q. The final topic that I'd like to discuss with
20 you is the statements that you described as having been
21 made by Mr. Kordic supposedly on Busovaca TV.
22 Do I understand, sir, that these comments
23 were made, according to you anyway, during the course
24 of a press conference at which there were multiple
25 participants? The ones I'm talking about now are the
1 ones in November 1992 that you described.
2 A. Yes. There were journalists and there were
3 three participants, Kordic, Kostroman, and Blaskic.
4 Q. How long did this press conference actually
6 A. I don't know how long it lasted because I
7 didn't watch it from the beginning, and especially when
8 I heard the comments, I had had enough, so I didn't
9 even wait for it to end.
10 Q. All right. You didn't actually attach very
11 much significance to the comments that you've described
12 as having been made by Mr. Kordic, nor did your friends
13 and acquaintances, did they?
14 A. The contrary. I took it very seriously, and
15 not just me but everyone else who saw it.
16 Q. All right, sir. Isn't it true that after
17 meetings between the Croat representatives and Muslim
18 representatives of the parties involved in the conflict
19 at the barricade, an agreement was reached, and that
20 agreement was actually jointly broadcast immediately
21 afterwards on TV RBIH and on HVO Television.
22 A. Probably there was some sort of an agreement,
23 but after the conflict, because by joint forces of
24 Croatian and Muslim officials, an agreement was
25 reached, and all the damage that was done was repaired
1 jointly. However, as I know, before the conflict --
2 no, I'm sorry. No, I'm sorry. That was before the
3 16th of April, not the 20th of October. I'm sorry.
4 From that moment on, we lived together and
5 relations were relatively good until the 16th of
7 Q. All right. Let me just ask you to verify
8 that this is what you told the investigating judge six
9 years ago: That you had held several meetings, that
10 there were meetings between the Croat and Muslim
11 representatives of the battling forces, "We adopted
12 conclusions on mutual non-aggression and mutual
13 assistance. These conclusions were read on TV RBIH and
14 HVO television which was broadcast from Vitez and that
15 gave us a certain sense of security," and then you
16 describe the statements supposedly made by Mr. Kordic
17 and went on to say that "but we did not attach much
18 significance to that statement, especially because we
19 got together later and thought there wouldn't be any
20 more problems." That's what you actually told the
21 investigating --
22 A. That is correct, but these meetings that we
23 had frequently were held by ordinary people, ordinary
24 citizens, without any political or military persons
25 being present. It was just agreements amongst
1 ourselves, and it is true that at one meeting where I
2 kept the record and a Croat, I think his name was
3 Josipovic, he was a forester and he was appreciated in
4 our village, we made this record, together with
5 conclusions. And I personally was asked to carry those
6 conclusions to Vitez Television, which was held then by
7 the Croatian people. Also in Stari Vitez, we had our
8 own local television, and I also took a copy of that
9 record containing an agreement on non-aggression, and
10 both radio stations broadcast this. But all this was
11 at the local level, not the television of
13 Q. All right, sir. So you actually facilitated
14 the television broadcasts or participated in the
15 process by which information was disseminated over the
16 television yourself, did you not?
17 A. No. I just gave them a letter or, rather, a
18 piece of paper which they read out.
19 Q. All right. Just a couple of questions on the
20 subject of the various competing propaganda organs.
21 You actually did not like to watch or listen
22 to radio or TV carrying Croat propaganda, did you?
23 A. Would you? Of course I didn't.
24 Q. Would you agree, sir, that the Muslim
25 residents of your area responded to the Croat
1 propaganda by broadcasting propaganda of their own,
2 both on TV and radio?
3 A. Probably, but to a much lesser extent.
4 Q. All right. And one final question. Isn't it
5 true that you actually didn't own a TV in 1992 or 1993?
6 A. You're saying that I didn't have a TV set?
7 Of course I had a TV set.
8 Q. All right. Let me just --
9 A. Not one, but two.
10 Q. All right. At page 2927 of your testimony in
11 the Kupreskic case, let me just read you what you
12 said. You were asked whether you'd seen the TV
13 programme, and you said, "I didn't watch that programme
14 because, first of all, I do not own a TV set."
15 Do you remember testifying to that effect on
16 September the 24th of last year, sir?
17 A. For me, that case is over and I wouldn't like
18 to go back to it, but I think I didn't say that because
19 that would be lying myself -- I would be lying to
20 myself, and that can be verified. I didn't say that.
21 Q. Page 2927, lines 23 through 25 of the
22 transcript in that case.
23 MR. SAYERS: No further questions, Your
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, is it disputed that
1 Mr. Kordic said on the television programme "that
2 Ahmici would pay a dear price for putting up the
3 barricade, it would be razed to the ground"?
4 MR. SAYERS: It is disputed, Your Honour,
6 JUDGE MAY: Witness K, you hear that, that
7 it's disputed. Did Mr. Kordic say that?
8 A. He did.
9 JUDGE MAY: The other matter which I should
10 have also raised really with Mr. Mikulicic is the
11 accuracy of the lists of victims which this witness has
12 prepared, together with the maps.
13 Is there any challenge to the accuracy of
14 those documents?
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
16 the Defence cannot, at this point in time, affirm
17 whether each individual name on that list is correct,
18 but as a matter of principle, the Defence is not
19 challenging the fact that in Ahmici there were many
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
22 Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres?
23 Re-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
24 Q. A point that was just examined a few minutes
25 ago about whether there was a television set that the
1 witness spoke about during his testimony in the
2 Kupreskic case, that was 2927. The question was asked
3 by one of the Defence counsel in that case,
4 Mr. Radovic, the question was the following -- the
5 witness was asked: "When you arrived in Zenica, did
6 you perhaps see a television programme in which Sakib
7 Ahmic was in the hospital?" And the answer was, "I
8 didn't see that -- I wasn't able to see the programme
9 because I didn't have a television."
10 However, at the time of the facts that we're
11 speaking about, Witness K, the programme of Sakib Ahmic
12 on television was broadcast, whereas you were already
13 in Zenica and that the attack on the village of Ahmici
14 had taken place. So this is after the 15th of April,
16 MR. SAYERS: Just objection to the form of
17 that question, Your Honour, because the actual
18 statement on the lines that I read is: "I didn't see
19 that. I didn't watch that programme, because, first of
20 all, I do not own a TV set, but I did hear that there
21 was a programme of that kind."
22 JUDGE MAY: Well, the issue, without going
23 into it in any detail, is whether the witness owned a
24 television set when he was in Ahmici prior to the 15th
25 of April. Now, that is the point.
1 Witness K, did you own a television at that
3 A. Yes, I had two TV sets. I had a car; I had
4 everything. When I reached Zenica, I had nothing.
5 JUDGE MAY: So the position in Zenica at the
6 time of that broadcast was that you didn't own a set;
7 is that right?
8 A. Yes, that is right.
9 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Yes.
10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I may ask
11 the question so that there will be no questions about
12 the testimony in the Kupreskic case, that we could put
13 the testimony into this in its entirety, so you can see
14 what the context was when that was given in September
15 of 1998.
16 JUDGE MAY: Well, I don't think that's
17 necessary, Mr. Lopez-Terres.
18 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Thank
19 you, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you would like to move
22 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] In general,
23 about this subject in respect of the Defence and for
24 the Prosecution, when there is a degree of flexibility
25 when referring to the transcripts and to reports of
1 other trials, one has to be careful that quotations are
2 taken -- be careful that the quotations are not taken
3 out of their context, because the Chamber always have
4 the ability to verify this. But it's a waste of time
5 to quote things outside their context, which certainly
6 does not make our work any easier.
7 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
8 Mr. President, I would like to have a correction made
9 here. It was said a few minutes ago or written in the
10 transcript, on page 6822, 6-8-2-2, line 8, when a
11 reference was made to a record of the witness before
12 the investigating judge, it was said that the
13 television programme was broadcast from Vitez had
14 created a feeling of insecurity. In the transcript, it
15 speaks about a feeling of security, safety, not lack of
16 security. I would like to have the transcript
17 corrected, the transcript for that day.
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
19 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES:
20 Q. Witness K, a few minutes ago in respect of
21 weaponry, which some of the inhabitants of Ahmici had,
22 you said that they were weapons that came from the
23 Slimena weapons depot. Those weapons from Slimena,
24 weren't most of them weapons which had been picked up
25 by some of the Muslims after they had been left there,
1 partly destroyed, when that depot was attacked by the
2 HVO in May of 1992?
3 A. Yes, it is true. Younger, braver people went
4 there because there were mine fields, and they went to
5 collect what was left, the weapons that had been burnt,
6 that really couldn't be used, but people collected them
7 to repair them and to use them as weapons for defence.
8 That was our only source of armaments.
9 Q. Witness K, on several occasions, allusions
10 were made to prior statements that you made before the
11 Zenica investigating judge or the institute for
12 research into crimes against humanity in Zenica. In
13 those statements, it is indicated regularly that when
14 you say "We did this or we did that or we were
15 congratulated, we sent a message," when that
16 phraseology is used, isn't that simply a way of
17 speaking to refer to the Muslims in general and not to
18 you in particular?
19 A. Yes, that is correct, absolutely so. When I
20 say "they," I'm referring to the other party, the
21 Croats, the Catholics, and the Serbs.
22 Q. Witness K, you were asked a question a few
23 minutes ago about the congratulations that were given
24 to you. When I say you, you understand now that that
25 means the Muslims, were congratulated for having
1 stopped the HVO troops that were going through Ahmici
2 on the 19th of October, 1992. And you said that those
3 congratulations came from Mr. Refik Lendo who was the
4 chief of the Novi Travnik brigade for the BH army.
5 Why, in your opinion, did the chief of the Novi Travnik
6 brigade congratulate you for having stopped the troops
7 that were going through Jajce and not in Novi Travnik?
8 A. I really never saw or heard those
9 congratulations, but I heard them being repeated
11 As for your question, perhaps you should ask
12 the Defence because really, how did they know where
13 that army was going, where those troops were going? We
14 didn't even know that those troops were coming. This
15 was spontaneous so we really had no plans, or at least
16 our people who put up the barricade, their aim was
17 because they were disarmed, they wanted to collect arms
18 again. That was their purpose. That was their aim.
19 Q. I'm merely asking you, Witness K, that
20 according to the information that you had at that time,
21 the HVO that was never stopped in Ahmici that day were,
22 in fact, going to Novi Travnik; isn't that correct?
23 A. Yes. That is so.
24 Q. Thank you. Two more questions about the
25 events of the 16th of April. Do you remember that on
1 the 16th of April, 1993, that that was a Friday?
2 A. Yes, certainly.
3 Q. Does Friday have a special meaning for
4 Muslims? Is that a special day for the Muslims?
5 A. Certainly. It is the day when the Muslims of
6 a dzemat, an entire area, perform prayers together in
7 mosques jointly, collectively.
8 Q. You said that after having gone with those
9 few who had escaped from the village of Zenica that you
10 had been asked by many institutions who questioned you
11 about what had happened in Ahmici, specifically the
12 Institute for Criminal Research?
13 A. Yes, indeed. Each one of us received a host
14 of questions from all kinds of people, journalists and
15 all sorts of other people, but we wanted to tell them
16 what had happened. We wanted the world to know.
17 Q. Throughout that period that you spent in
18 Zenica, starting in April 1993 and continuing until
19 today, this is now 1999, was there any type of
20 organisation or Bosnian Croat investigators who ever
21 questioned you about what happened in Ahmici on the
22 16th of April, 1993?
23 A. I was not approached by such people.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I have no
1 further questions.
2 A. May I just correct myself? I am now living
3 in my own village. Thanks to God, I returned in May,
4 so I'm no longer in Zenica.
5 JUDGE MAY: Witness K, thank you for coming
6 to the International Tribunal to give your evidence.
7 You are now released.
8 Let me make use of this opportunity of a
9 break in the proceedings to announce the change of
10 hours next week due to our hospital appointments.
11 On Tuesday, that's Tuesday the 21st, we shall
12 not be able to start until 11.30.
13 Yes, the witness can go out.
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 JUDGE MAY: And we will sit until about 5.00
16 that day. On Friday the 24th, we shall not start until
17 10.00. Apart from that, of course, the hours will be
18 the same.
19 Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres, your next witness.
20 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
21 Mr. President, if you allow me, I would like to point
22 out to the Chamber that because of certain difficulties
23 that we had with the witness who arrived late, we
24 worked with the witness very late last night, and the
25 last part of the discussion that we ordinarily have
1 with the witnesses is being completed. The Office of
2 the Prosecutor would be very grateful to the Trial
3 Chamber if it would agree to the break a little earlier
4 so that we can -- until 11.00.
5 JUDGE MAY: And you would be ready to call
6 the witness then?
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will take the
9 break now and start again at five past eleven.
10 --- Recess taken at 10.34 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, we will sit now
13 and then go on slightly past the hour and a half to
14 quarter to one, and we will sit again at 2.15 and go on
15 until 4.00. I hope that will be acceptable to all,
16 including those in the booths. Yes.
17 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
18 Mr. President, thank you. Yesterday, I had taken an
19 undertaking that everything would be prepared so that
20 the witness would be able to testify today. This
21 undertaking was honoured, it had some difficulties for
22 me and for our office, but we were able to hear the
23 testimony of this witness.
24 I would simply say that the witness who
25 arrived last night late asked for certain protective
1 measures, and I ask you, if possible, for this to be a
2 private session so that we can present to you the
3 arguments in support of that request.
4 [Private session]
13 page 6835 redacted – private session
13 page 6836 redacted – private session
13 page 6837 redacted – private session
9 [Open session]
10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Witness L, starting at the point where you
12 had the functions, began to work in the municipality
13 between 1990 and the spring of 1992, is it true that
14 the municipal government in Vitez was functioning
15 properly; that is, that there were no difficulties
16 between the Muslims and Croats in respect of the
17 administration of the municipality?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. During that period in September of 1991, was
20 there a joint crisis council established in the
21 municipality because of the war that was raging in
22 Croatia against the Serbs?
23 A. Yes, it was set up.
24 Q. Did you yourself have responsibilities within
25 that crisis council?
1 A. I was.
2 Q. During that period of time, Croats from
3 Vitez, as well as the Bosniaks from the municipality of
4 Vitez, did they go to Croatia to fight on the side of
5 the Croats against the Serbs?
6 A. Yes, there were such cases.
7 Q. Did the crisis council decide at that time
8 that explosives and gunpowder could be sold to Croatia?
9 A. Yes, we discussed that matter.
10 Q. In 1991, Witness L, the individual whose name
11 is Anto Valenta, who was the president of the HDZ in
12 Vitez, wrote a book called "The Partition of Bosnia and
13 its Struggle for Integrity," a book which talked about
14 the various options of the partition of
15 Bosnia-Hercezgovina and in which it was suggested that
16 that would be a way of resolving ethnic problems
17 there. Are you aware of that book?
18 A. I am.
19 Q. Before the book was published during 1991,
20 its author, Anto Valenta, asked you to read his
21 manuscript and to make some comments, some criticisms,
22 on the document but that you refused to do that at that
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Therefore, you had a copy of the manuscript?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And then the book itself once it was
3 published; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. I am going to show you a copy of the book and
6 ask you to tell us whether, in fact, this is the book
7 that we're speaking about.
8 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I would
9 say that there is a version in Bosnian Croat and one in
10 English. The document in Bosnian Croat is Z9, as is
11 the English version.
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, are you going
13 to refer to this book at all?
14 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I simply
15 am going to ask the witness whether this document,
16 which was already referred to during other testimony,
17 is, in fact, the book that was shown to the witness at
18 that time and which is published by Mr. Anto Valenta.
19 A. Yes, that is that book.
20 Q. Witness L, could you tell us whether, during
21 the conversations that you had with Mr. Valenta, whom
22 you knew, what was the essence of those conversations?
23 What were Mr. Valenta's comments about the possible
24 partition according to the ethnic groups of Bosnia?
25 A. He analysed the ethnic composition, and in a
1 sense, he advocated the resettlement of populations
2 from one territory to another, so that three different
3 areas with ethnically pure populations would be formed,
4 the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims.
5 Q. Since you said that you saw the manuscript
6 and the final version of the book, did you notice
7 whether there were any differences between the
8 manuscript that had been given to you and the final
10 A. There were some differences. There were
11 several versions of the delineation; there were
12 different dividing lines. There was one, as far as I
13 can remember, going from Mostar to Stolac and the
14 option with the dividing line going through Neum had
15 not existed in the book.
16 Q. Thank you. We're going to move forward in
17 time a little bit, Witness L, and we get to the end of
18 April 1992 at the time that the HVO and the Territorial
19 Defence agreed to organise a joint attack on the depot,
20 which at that time still belonged to the federal army,
21 that is, the JNA, and that the depot was in Stolac and
22 that it was called Slimena.
23 According to the agreement, once the weapons
24 were seized, they would be distributed equally between
25 the HVO and the BH army, and, in fact, that is not what
1 happened and that the HVO alone attacked the depot; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. And that the HVO forces went to Slimena two
5 days before the agreed date, the date that had been
6 agreed on jointly for the attack?
7 A. That is how I was informed by the TO
8 commander, though I wasn't participating in these
9 things, but I think that is what he told me.
10 Q. According to the information which you
11 received at that time, the attack was carried out under
12 the command of Colonel Filipovic, but also by the
13 accused, Mario Cerkez. This is the information you
14 received; is that correct?
15 A. I think something like that.
16 Q. You received information also from the
17 commander of the Territorial Defence, as you say?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you had regular meetings with that
21 A. Yes, we did have contacts.
22 Q. We're speaking about Sefkija Dzidic; is that
24 A. No. At that time, it was Hakija Cengic who
25 was the commander of the TO when these things were
1 being decided.
2 Q. Thank you. Let's move forward in 1992. At
3 the beginning of 1992, there was a radio station, a
4 joint radio station composed of Bosniaks and Croats in
5 Vitez that was found in the municipal building. Is it
6 true that in May of 1992, Anto Valenta, about whom
7 we've already spoken, came to the municipal building,
8 took away the radio equipment and the radio facilities
9 of the town, and that an exclusively Croat-controlled
10 radio was set up in Vitez?
11 A. Yes, that is correct.
12 Q. Is it also true that at the time, the HVO in
13 Vitez, the HVO set up a television station?
14 A. Yes, I'm aware of that.
15 Q. During the evening of 19 June, 1992,
16 Witness L, the municipal building and the police
17 station were taken over by a group of HOS soldiers, as
18 they were known at that time, and they were under the
19 command of Darko Kraljevic. On that same day, you had
20 a meeting where Ivica Santic was not, which you chaired
21 and in which Anto Valenta was a participant.
22 A. That was the next day. (redacted)
23 (redacted), I chaired the
24 meeting, and it was held the next day.
25 Q. Is it true that during that meeting, Mr. Anto
1 Valenta said to you that it was the HOS that was
2 responsible for the takeover of the police station and
3 the municipal building, and also added that the HVO
4 should be able to control everything and protect
6 A. Yes, that's what he said.
7 Q. In general, didn't the HVO, whenever acts
8 were committed against the Muslims, dreadful acts,
9 wouldn't they ordinarily or regularly blame the
10 extremists or members of HOS as being the perpetrators
11 of those acts?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the HVO would also say during those
14 meetings that they had no control over the members of
15 the HOS?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Around the 20th of June, 1992, Witness L,
18 that you were invited to participate in a television
19 broadcast at Vitez TV about the events that had taken
20 place the day before with that same Anto Valenta, but
21 that you refused in the end, refused to participate in
22 the broadcast because you didn't want your statements
23 to be prerecorded and you wanted to be able to make
24 live statements; is that correct?
25 A. Let me just clarify this. I was in the TV
1 studio and we wanted to address the citizens of Vitez,
2 to calm them down. However, there was some delay, they
3 wanted to tape this programme, and eventually I did not
5 Q. Isn't it true that one of the journalists who
6 had invited you had prepared a list of questions for
7 you and also a list of answers to those same questions?
8 A. Actually, it wasn't a list. He tried to
9 guide me in that sense by posing certain questions and
10 saying that he more or less knew what answers I would
12 Q. And that's what eventually persuaded you not
13 to participate in the broadcast; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. On the 11th of July, 1992, Witness L, did the
16 executive board of the SDA party, which considered that
17 the establishment of the authorities of Herceg-Bosna
18 and the HVO in Vitez was illegal, decide to form a
19 coordination board for the protection of the interests
20 of the Muslims in the municipality, and that you
21 yourself were appointed as president of that committee;
22 is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. A document was published the next day in
25 order to announce the establishment of that
1 coordination board for protection. I'm going to show
2 you the document, which is an exhibit, Z162-1.
3 I ask that you read this, which is dated the
4 12th of July, 1992, and specifically, the next-to-last
5 paragraph where the issue of the Muslims of Vitez is
6 discussed. Could you read this document for us,
7 please, the next-to-last paragraph?
8 A. "The Muslims of Vitez do not recognise the
9 HVO of Herceg-Bosna as an organ of authority and they
10 will consider their decisions invalid. The Muslims of
11 Vitez will respect the legally elected authorities,
12 future changes only if they are in conformity with
13 valid laws, the decisions of the Vitez municipal
14 assembly and the platform of the BH state presidency."
15 Q. Do you agree with that statement completely,
16 Witness L?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The legal authorities at that time that you
19 were thinking about were those that were the result of
20 the elections of 1990, which brought you and Mr. Santic
21 to the municipality.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In respect of that coordinating board, did it
24 function for several months and, during that time,
25 publish various announcements? I will show you a
1 second document, which is dated the 10th of September,
2 1992, which is Exhibit number Z210-1, Z210-1.
3 Thank you for reading this document as well.
4 Do you recognise it as one of the documents published
5 by the coordination board, whose chairman you were?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is it true that in September 1992, the 10th
8 of September, 1992, buildings that belonged to your
9 party in Vitez were the subject of explosions? In
10 fact, they were destroyed by explosions?
11 A. Yes, there was an explosion.
12 Q. Did you file a complaint at that time about
13 what had happened?
14 A. I think that the MUP was informed and that it
15 carried out an on-site inspection. The police station
16 was informed and carried out an on-site inspection, the
17 police station in Vitez.
18 Q. As far as you know, did the investigation end
19 up identifying those responsible?
20 A. No, it did not.
21 Q. Somewhat later in 1992, Witness L, on the
22 19th of October, 1992 exactly, while a conflict had
23 just started in Novi Travnik, there were HVO forces who
24 were supposed to go through the Vitez municipality in
25 order to reinforce the HVO forces in Novi Travnik.
1 During that evening of the 19th of October,
2 1992, did you yourself attend a meeting at the
3 headquarters of the BH army at the Vitez high school
4 where Ivica Santic and the accused, Mario Cerkez,
5 arrived around 8.00 in the evening; is that correct?
6 A. Yes, correct.
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, I think from
8 now on you should stop leading and let the witness give
9 the evidence, if you would, please.
10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
11 Q. During the meeting of the 19th of October,
12 1992, Witness L, what were the requests that were made
13 by Mr. Cerkez and Mr. Santic, made to the commander of
14 the territorial forces, that is, the defence forces?
15 A. They asked that the barricades in Vitez be
16 removed. In fact, those were the barricades in Ahmici
17 and Grbavica, in two areas of Vitez where the
18 Territorial Defence had erected them.
19 Q. Grbavica is sometimes also called Divjak; is
20 that correct?
21 A. You could say so, even though those of us who
22 live in Vitez distinguish between the two. One is part
23 of another.
24 Q. Out of a desire to calm the conflict down
25 that was going on in Novi Travnik and which could
1 extend to Travnik, did you suggest to Mr. Santic that
2 you might use your services in order to intervene and
3 to act by going to Novi Travnik yourself?
4 A. No. I proposed that we go to Novi Travnik in
5 order to try to calm down the situation.
6 Q. What was Mr. Santic's answer when you made
7 the suggestion that you could go to Novi Travnik?
8 A. He said that he had spoken there and that
9 nothing would happen but that I could try myself, and
10 he gave me a phone number.
11 Q. When you say that he told you that he had
12 spoken with them, at least in the French version that's
13 what I heard, whom are you speaking about? Whom are
14 you thinking about, and to whom did Mr. Santic speak?
15 A. Since he had given me Kordic's number, I
16 assume that he had spoken to Kordic.
17 Q. Mr. Santic had said to you that he already
18 had spoken to Mr. Kordic, and what was Mr. Kordic's
19 reaction during that initial conversation?
20 MR. SAYERS: Let me just object to the form
21 of that question, Your Honour. I believe the witness
22 said that he assumed that Mr. Santic had spoken to
23 Mr. Kordic because he had been given Mr. Kordic's
24 number. The question assumes that there was a
25 conversation between Mr. Santic and Mr. Kordic.
1 JUDGE MAY: Witness L, can you tell us what
2 Mr. Santic said about that conversation?
3 A. Just that he had spoken to him and that there
4 would be nothing of it, that I could try.
5 JUDGE MAY: When you say "him," to whom are
6 you referring?
7 A. Probably, since he gave me a number in
8 Travnik and said that it was Kordic, I assumed that he
9 probably had spoken to Kordic.
10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
11 Q. This telephone number -- you said the
12 telephone number was in Travnik. It was really in Novi
13 Travnik; right?
14 A. Novi Travnik, yes. Novi Travnik.
15 Q. When you yourself telephoned that number in
16 Novi Travnik --
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: There is something on the
18 transcript where the witness answered, "Just that he
19 had spoken to him and that there would be nothing of
20 it, that I could try." I want to find out what is
21 meant by "there would be nothing of it." That's how it
22 is in the transcript.
23 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Witness L, could you tell us exactly, even if
25 that goes back several years, could you tell us exactly
1 what Mr. Santic said that you then related further to
2 that conversation with the accused, Dario Kordic?
3 A. Just as I stated there.
4 JUDGE MAY: I think in English, the effect of
5 the evidence must be that the witness is saying that
6 Santic said nothing would come of it or that nothing
7 had come of it, because in the English version "nothing
8 of it" is meaningless.
9 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Witness L, when Mr. Santic said to you that
11 nothing had come of that previous conversation, what
12 was he, in fact, speaking about, he and the accused,
13 Dario Kordic?
14 MR. SAYERS: Just one objection to the form
15 of that question too, if I may. I think that it would
16 be unobjectionable if the witness were asked, "What did
17 Mr. Santic actually say?" But it's highly
18 objectionable for the witness to speculate as to what
19 may have been in Mr. Santic's mind but not expressed
20 when he made the comment.
21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Witness L, once again, could you try to
23 search your memory and to remember what it is that
24 Mr. Santic said to you after that time, after he had
25 called the accused, Dario Kordic?
1 MR. SAYERS: I hate to bounce up, Your
2 Honour, but once again the form of that question
3 assumes precisely the issue that trying to establish
4 here, and I think it's objectionable as phrased.
5 JUDGE MAY: I disagree. Let the question be
6 put again.
7 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Witness L, could you once again rely on your
9 memory and try to tell us what, at the time, Mr. Santic
10 said to you after he had called the accused, Dario
12 A. That the conversation had taken place and
13 that the results of the conversation amounted to
14 nothing, that there was no solution. I'm just trying
15 to clarify the statement.
16 Q. Did Mr. Santic say to you at that time that
17 Dario Kordic did not want to listen to what he was
19 JUDGE MAY: No, you mustn't ask that. Let's
20 move on from here. Let's go on to the next passage.
21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
22 Q. When you yourself called that number that
23 Mr. Santic had given you in Novi Travnik, did you not
24 speak directly then with Dario Kordic, or with somebody
25 else? Do you remember what that other person said to
2 A. To wait, that I would get through because he
3 was busy, he was negotiating.
4 Q. So you held the telephone for a few minutes
5 and you heard what was on the other end of the line.
6 Did you hear the accused, Dario Kordic, speaking in the
7 room where he was at that time?
8 A. Yes, I did hear it.
9 Q. Could you tell us what it was that Dario
10 Kordic was saying at that point, the words that you
11 heard over the telephone?
12 A. It had to do with Vitez and what was going on
13 there and things like that.
14 Q. Did you have the feeling from what you had
15 heard that Mr. Kordic was excited?
16 JUDGE MAY: No. Let the witness describe how
17 he found Mr. Kordic.
18 What impression did you form?
19 A. It is possible that the voice was a bit
20 excited. That is my impression.
21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Did you hear Mr. Kordic say anything or
24 A. There was something of that too, but the
25 gist, as I said, was what I just stated.
1 Q. Witness L, you explained to the accused at
2 that time that you and Santic were considering going to
3 Novi Travnik; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you tell us what Dario Kordic's answer
6 was when you made that suggestion to go to Novi
8 A. In fact, the goal was to try to calm down the
9 situation so that things would return to normal, and
10 the response was, there were several conditions. Yes,
11 if I would be able to do this, if the army would lay
12 down their weapons, I said that I was not competent for
13 that and that Santic and I would come as citizens of
14 Vitez and as neighbours, and the conversation ended
16 Q. During the conversation, did you speak about
17 the commander of the Novi Travnik Brigade?
18 A. Well, yes, that was a condition. That was
19 said, that the brigade commander surrenders.
20 Q. So Dario Kordic said two conditions: the
21 laying down of the arms by the Muslims and then that
22 their chief would surrender, Refik Lendo; is that true?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. Did you know Mr. Kordic because you had
25 spoken to him previously?
1 A. We did know each other. We had had
2 contacts on several occasions.
3 Q. Had you met him on several occasions at
4 various meetings?
5 A. Yes, in passing, at meetings, and things like
6 that. We knew each other.
7 Q. Is there any doubt in your mind that it might
8 be -- that there might have been a different person at
9 the end of the line, different from Dario Kordic, on
10 that day?
11 A. I think it was Dario Kordic.
12 Q. You think that or you're sure it was Dario
14 A. If I think, then I'm certain.
15 Q. Also in October 1992, Witness L, Ivica
16 Santic, as the president of the municipality, issued a
17 new type of employment contracts for those people who
18 were working there and said that those who did not sign
19 this new type of contract would lose their job; is that
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. Is it true that about ten employees of the
23 municipality at that time refused to sign the contract
24 and, therefore, lost their positions?
25 A. Yes, that is correct.
1 Q. Is it true that among them there was an
2 architect, a construction businessman, and then a chief
3 of services for the municipality?
4 A. Yes, that is correct.
5 Q. During November 1992, did you receive a
6 document with an HVO heading and which informed you
7 that you had become the vice-president of the HVO in
8 Vitez; is that correct?
9 A. The HVO government, not the HVO. The HVO
11 Q. The document which came from the HVO
12 government, since you're speaking about the Vitez
13 government, I think?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And in the end, you refused to sign the
16 document; is that correct?
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 Q. Could you explain why?
19 A. For the reason which was defined by that
20 announcement. It was not in accordance with the law
21 and all the other regulations.
22 Q. When we get to 1993, that is, April 1993, on
23 the 15th of April, 1993, Mr. L, you were part of a
24 meeting with the chiefs of the BH army in Vitez,
25 specifically Mr. Dzidic, Mr. Sivro, and the police
1 representative, Mr. Mahmutovic, who themselves said
2 that they were coming back from a meeting with the
4 A. I was present. That was a meeting of the
5 presidency, and I was told -- they said that to
6 everyone who was present there. There were another
7 seven or eight people there.
8 Q. After the meeting that these people we've
9 just mentioned had with the HVO, did Mr. Dzidic,
10 Mr. Mahmutovic, and Mr. Sivro, were they -- did they
11 show any kind of concerns, fear that there was an
12 imminent danger of a conflict breaking out with the HVO
14 A. They said, and, in fact, you could feel that
15 the situation was tense, but they said that there would
16 be no conflict with the HVO and that another joint
17 meeting would be held the next day.
18 Q. During that same evening of the 15th of
19 April, 1993, sometime in the evening, is it true that
20 you received at home, in your apartment in Kolonija, an
21 anonymous phone call from somebody who was saying that
22 he was going to come to your house and get you and
23 arrest you?
24 A. Yes, I did receive such a call.
25 Q. Is it true that on the next day, 16 April,
1 around 5.15 in the morning, there was another phone
2 call in your house in Kolonija and that during the
3 phone call, your wife answered and recognised
4 Mrs. Ankica Jukic's voice?
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 Q. Could you tell us what Mrs. Ankica Jukic, who
7 was one of the wives of the members of the HVO said?
8 A. She said, "Where are you going to go now,
10 Q. "Where are you going now?" After the phone
11 call, did you notice in the neighbourhood where you
12 lived that there were soldiers wearing helmets or masks
13 over their heads; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And so with your family, you decided to go to
16 seek shelter in the apartment of a friend, a
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you learn, after you had left your
20 apartment, that HVO soldiers had come and had shot into
21 the door of your apartment?
22 A. Yes, I was told this by Dzevad, my neighbour,
23 a doctor.
24 Q. Did you also notice that the doors of the
25 building which you lived in, which ordinarily were
1 closed at night, locked at night, had all been
3 A. Yes, I noticed that.
4 Q. During the 15th of April, from the apartment
5 where you were taking shelter, that there were soldiers
6 who had taken up positions in the street?
7 A. You can't say that they had taken up
8 positions. Some people were in front of the building,
9 and among them were some of my neighbours. So you
10 cannot say that they had taken up positions. That
11 means something else.
12 Q. Among the soldiers who were there in front of
13 your building, did you recognise a person named Marijan
14 Vinac, who came from the village of Donja Veceriska?
15 A. Yes, he was also there. We lived in the same
16 building; he was a neighbour of mine.
17 Q. And that Marijan Vinac also lived in
18 Kolonija; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The soldiers that you're speaking to us
21 about, were they wearing black uniforms or were they
22 wearing camouflage uniforms?
23 A. For the most part, they were, I believe,
24 camouflage uniforms.
25 Q. At some point, did you hear that same
1 individual, Marijan Vinac, saying your name and also
2 saying that you should be somewhere and that you
3 wouldn't be able to escape; is that true?
4 A. In fact, he said that I was around here and
5 that I couldn't flee anywhere, that I was around. That
6 is what he said.
7 Q. Did you feel at that time that soldiers,
8 along with Marijan Vinac, were looking for you?
9 A. I could infer from this.
10 Q. And so you remained in the apartment of the
11 individual who was sheltering you for about four days,
12 and then on the 18th of April, 1993, about 30 minutes
13 before there was a large explosion that took place, you
14 heard that same Marijan Vinac giving instructions to
15 the people in the building to open up their windows; is
16 that correct?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. After the explosion, did you hear that same
19 Marijan Vinac expressing reassuring words to the
20 Croatian people in the building?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The next day, 19 April, 1993, were you
23 finally taken prisoner and taken to the basement of the
24 cinema building where you found other detainees?
25 A. Yes, that is correct.
1 Q. There were about 200 detainees, all men, aged
2 from about 17 to 60 years old?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. During the evening of 19 April, you saw
5 Dr. Mujezinovic, who was going into the basement and
6 who was escorted by a soldier, and Dr. Mujezinovic
7 asked you to go with him in order to participate in
8 negotiations; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. A meeting took place between you and
11 Dr. Mujezinovic and other Muslim dignitaries from Vitez
12 in an office on the first floor of that cinema
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. At that meeting on the Croat side, there were
16 men named Boro Jozic and Zvonko Cilic; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. These two people, did they ask you and the
19 other Muslims to contact the military authorities of
20 the BH army in order to put a stop to the fighting?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. There were several phone calls made. You
23 were not able to reach General Hadzihasanovic and,
24 therefore, you called his deputy.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Were you able to refuse to make those phone
2 calls, you, Witness L, and the other individuals who
3 were there in that same situation?
4 A. I didn't understand the question.
5 Q. Were you in a position to refuse to make
6 those phone calls? Did you have a choice or were you
7 forced to do so?
8 A. There were no direct threats, but we were
9 detained so it was expected of us to do this.
10 Q. What was normal, Witness L, to do what you
11 were asked to do?
12 A. Well, to call, to establish contact, to start
13 talks in order to stop this, and this would be
14 beneficial to those of us who were detained there.
15 Q. While those negotiations were going on, do
16 you remember that the fighting was continuing, raging
17 in Vitez?
18 A. You could hear shooting. There was
20 Q. At the end of those initial contacts that you
21 had with Mr. Cilic, Jozic finally asked you to
22 negotiate with other well-known people. Who were those
23 other well-known people?
24 A. They had already come there to negotiate.
25 Q. I'm asking whether you asked to negotiate
1 with other well-known people, other dignitaries, other
2 than Mr. Jozic and Mr. Cilic?
3 A. Well, yes, we requested that if we were going
4 to be negotiating, that we negotiate with some
5 competent people, not with Cilic and Jozic. We didn't
6 consider them as competent.
7 Q. In the end, it was Mr. Skopljak or Mr. Santic
8 who came; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you reach an agreement?
11 A. Well, we did. We drafted a written
13 Q. The negotiations that we were just speaking
14 about, were they carried out under duress, Witness L?
15 A. The very fact that you are detained is
16 pressure. There were no direct threats, no one was
17 threatening us, but we were in detention and we had no
18 choice. There was no direct threat, but it was under
19 pressure due to the very fact that we were in
21 Q. I'm going to show you a document, Witness L.
22 This is a document dated 20 April, 1993, which refers,
23 among other things, to those negotiations and which has
24 reference number Z751.
25 Could you read the last part of the first
1 paragraph where mention is made of that, the evening of
2 19 April 1993, et cetera? Could you read that to us
3 out loud, that passage?
4 A. "In the evening of the 19th of April, 1993,
5 from the direction of the village of Gacice, the enemy
6 fired most probably with a 82-millimetre recoilless
7 gun, three projectiles, on the command post of the
8 Viteska Brigade. There were no casualties; only
9 material damage."
10 Q. I'm not sure that the French interpretation
11 matches exactly what's here. I think that things were
12 turned around, that the -- I understood that the firing
13 was coming from Gacice and they were directed onto the
14 brigade post.
15 All right. Referring again to this same
16 document, I'm going to ask you to read the last
17 paragraph where the meeting and negotiations we are
18 speaking about are referred to. Could you read us that
19 passage out loud, please?
20 A. "On the premises of the Viteska Brigade
21 command, prominent representatives of Muslims gathered
22 during the night with the goal of finding a way to stop
23 the armed conflict. Together with representatives of
24 the HVO government, certain conclusions were
25 reached ..." The text is not legible. It's a poor
1 copy, so I can only guess what it says.
2 Q. Thank you. You read the passage that is
3 important. You see that this document refers to those
4 discussions that you had with the HVO representatives.
5 The document comes from the Vitez Brigade command.
6 Here's my question: Do you feel that the
7 report gives a true description of the negotiating
8 conditions that existed during those negotiations with
9 the HVO?
10 A. Well, the report is correct and detailed. It
11 is true that we attended those negotiations, but it
12 doesn't say that we were detained. It is all correct.
13 All that is missing is the fact that we were detained.
14 Q. You were not free at the time of those
15 negotiations; is that correct?
16 A. We were not free.
17 Q. Witness L, you spent several days in the
18 cinema building in Vitez, along with several hundred
19 other detainees. When you were in those premises, were
20 you subjected to interrogations by the civilian police,
21 and then with ten other detainees, you were forced to
22 dig trenches in the Vranjska and Rijeka region around
23 6.00 or 7.00?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In the area where you had to dig those
1 trenches, were you being guarded by soldiers who were
2 wearing camouflage uniforms, among whom you recognised
3 some of them as coming from Vitez or Rijeka?
4 A. Yes, I recognised a couple of them, and they
5 were wearing camouflage uniforms.
6 Q. Did you see Mario Cerkez there while you were
7 in detention?
8 A. Once or twice, I did see him.
9 Q. The end of April 1993, did you see the chief
10 of the BH army coming in, that is, General Halilovic,
11 who was accompanied by the chief of the HVO, General
12 Petkovic, and did you also see that Mario Cerkez was
13 there when those two people came in?
14 A. Yes, Mario was there too.
15 Q. Was it stated at that time that all the
16 detainees would be released but that you yourself
17 wanted to be released with a group of people from the
18 neighbourhood of Stari Vitez, that is, Old Vitez? And
19 at the moment when you thought you would be released, a
20 soldier said to you that you could not be released
21 because you were not from Stari Vitez.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. This soldier, was his name Anto Kovac, who
24 was known as Zabac, that is, "the frog" in your
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Also while you were kept in detention, since
3 you were not released in the end, is it true that
4 another soldier came to get you and took you to the
5 office of the accused, Mario Cerkez?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Was that soldier Ratko Nuk?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. In Mario Cerkez's office, in addition to
10 Mario Cerkez himself, did you meet Mr. Pero Skopljak?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. During the meeting, which was rather short,
13 Mr. Skopljak showed you a document which came from Mate
14 Boban; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the document authorised you to conduct
17 negotiations; is that correct?
18 A. I don't know. I understood the question
19 differently from the interpretation.
20 Q. The question was perhaps not well-translated
21 in English; that's possible. Anything is possible.
22 The document in question did not authorise you to
23 conduct negotiations but rather it authorised
24 Mr. Skopljak to conduct the negotiations.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In the end, you refused to continue the
2 conversation with Mr. Skopljak; is that correct?
3 A. I said that I wasn't authorised to negotiate
4 on behalf of Central Bosnia or Vitez, I wasn't the
5 person who had any authorisation, but that I would
6 negotiate if I was authorised to do so.
7 Q. Did Mr. Skopljak or possibly the accused,
8 Mario Cerkez, who is here in this courtroom, did they
9 tell you what the purpose of those negotiations were
10 supposed to be?
11 A. Probably the situation, which was extremely
12 tense in the area of Central Bosnia, probably the aim
13 was to try and find some solutions.
14 Q. In the end, a few days later, that is, in
15 early May 1993, you yourself and other detainees who
16 had remained at the cinema were transferred initially
17 to the chess club building where you spent a night, and
18 then you were transferred to the Kaonik camp; is that
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
22 Mr. President, as regards what happened at the Kaonik
23 camp, this appears in the summary which was given to
24 you. If the Trial Chamber wishes us to speak about
25 those facts with the witness, I'm prepared to do so,
1 but if you prefer that we move more quickly, since this
2 witness has already testified about those facts as part
3 of the Aleksovski case, then I am prepared to suggest
4 to the Trial Chamber that it simply take into account
5 the transcript which was prepared at that time.
6 I will do as you instruct me.
7 JUDGE MAY: It may be more simple, rather
8 than putting a transcript in at this stage, to ask the
9 witness a few questions about what happened in Kaonik,
10 bearing in mind that we've heard much evidence on this
11 topic already.
12 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Very
14 Q. Witness L, do you therefore confirm that you
15 were transferred, that you were detained for about two
16 weeks at the Kaonik camp in May 1993?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is it true that during that detention, on
19 several occasions, you were interrogated either in the
20 camp or in facilities in Busovaca?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is it also true that during that period, you
23 were mistreated by guards in the camp, particularly by
24 one whose name was Svabo?
25 A. Yes, just that one guard. Not other guards,
1 but that one guard.
2 Q. Did he also threaten you with a knife?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you remember that one day, that same
5 guard, after having struck you, made a phone call and
6 said to the person he was speaking with, "Chief,
7 everything's fine. I've finished my job"?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Were you finally released from Kaonik camp on
10 the 14th of May, 1993, that you were taken back to the
11 Vitez cinema and exchanged two days later?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Before you were released, were you asked
14 whether you wanted to stay in Vitez or whether, on the
15 contrary, you preferred to leave?
16 A. Yes, I was asked that.
17 Q. What was your choice, Witness L?
18 A. I said that I would not stay in Vitez but
19 that I would go to Zenica. It was unsafe in Vitez, at
20 least that was my assumption.
21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Could I
22 have a few moments, Mr. President? Excuse me.
23 [Prosecution counsel confer]
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Excuse me
25 for that short interruption, Mr. President. I have no
1 further questions.
2 JUDGE MAY: Who is going to begin the
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please,
6 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, Your Honours. We
7 did not discuss that issue. Whatever seems to be more
9 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you would like to have a
10 word with Mr. Sayers.
11 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, we would.
12 MR. SAYERS: Might I suggest, Your Honour,
13 that if we could take our break early, I might have the
14 opportunity to consult with my client, and that will
15 accelerate very greatly the proceedings.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Would the President turn
17 his microphone on, please?
18 JUDGE MAY: It wouldn't be convenient, as far
19 as I'm concerned, to take the break then because I've
20 got a meeting which I've fixed to fit in with our
21 current arrangements.
22 Can you and Mr. Kovacic have a quick word to
23 decide what to do?
24 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. Could we just have two
25 minutes here?
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
2 [Defence counsel confer]
3 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, we agreed that
4 the Cerkez Defence will go first.
5 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
6 MR. KOVACIC: Could I also suggest that, a
7 technical detail, I move over to the place of
8 Mr. Naumovski because from here, we don't see each
9 other, the witness and I. I'm sorry for wasting your
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
12 Q. Good afternoon. My name is Bozidar Kovacic.
13 I'm an attorney from Rijeka, not your Rijeka, the other
14 Rijeka, and together with my colleague, Mikulicic, we
15 represent the accused, Mr. Mario Cerkez.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could we ask counsel to
17 speak into the microphone, please?
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Tell us, please, very briefly, by way of
20 introduction, to save time, you knew Mario Cerkez
21 before the conflict of 1992?
22 A. Yes, he worked in the SPS.
23 Q. Did you have any private contact outside of
25 A. Yes, we knew each other. It's a small
2 Q. Did you have any common friends?
3 A. Certainly, we did.
4 Q. Did you ever have any disputes with him?
5 A. No, never.
6 Q. Either at work or outside of work, through
7 your contacts, did you ever have occasion to notice
8 a segregational approach towards other religions and
9 other ethnic groups?
10 A. He worked in a different department so that
11 my contacts with him were not frequent, nor did I have
12 occasion to notice anything at all.
13 Q. Did you ever hear of him advocating such
15 A. No, I never heard anything along those
17 Q. In view of the size of the community you
18 lived in, do you believe you would have heard if he had
19 such views?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. Thank you. Witness L --
22 MR. KOVACIC: I apologise. I used the name,
23 but it was rather -- how shall I say --
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't --
25 JUDGE MAY: Nobody else heard it. We heard
1 it as "Witness L."
2 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry. It was a slip of
3 the tongue.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Witness L, from the summary that we received
6 an hour ago from the Prosecution, I learn that you are
7 now in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Assistant Minister for
8 Reconstruction and Development in the cantonal
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could you confirm a few points in that
12 connection? The process of return --
13 JUDGE MAY: Would it be sensible if this
14 matter went into private session?
15 MR. KOVACIC: I was told, Your Honour, that
16 there are a couple of assistants, so I don't believe
17 that that could --
18 JUDGE MAY: It may be more sensible to go
19 into private session. When you go on to another topic,
20 you can tell us and we'll go back into open session.
21 [Private session]
13 page 6875 redacted – private session
17 [Open session]
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You mentioned the crisis staff and
20 cooperation between both ethnic communities in Vitez,
21 and then we came to the point when, at the crisis
22 staff, it was agreed that a joint operation should be
23 carried out in Slimena, which is in May 1992.
24 You said that you heard from Hakija Cengic
25 that the HVO did not respect the terms of the agreement
1 and, in fact, started the operation two days ahead of
3 A. You see, that is the information I received.
4 There are people who know that precisely. Hakija
5 Cengic and Kulenovic, I think he was actually there,
6 and can tell you authentically and emphatically what
8 It is difficult for me now to recollect those
9 details because I didn't participate. I was just
10 informed about it. So it is very difficult for me to
11 say whether it is a question of days or hours, who
12 betrayed whom, and so on. I think if you are really
13 interested in those details, it would be better to talk
14 to those people because they are the ones who informed
15 me about it.
16 Q. Thank you. So I infer from that that at the
17 crisis staff itself, it was agreed, in principle, to
18 launch this operation, but the military elements of the
19 operation were not discussed.
20 A. You see, the HVO and the TO probably did
21 discuss those things, but we didn't go into those
22 details. I didn't know anything about the army for me
23 to discuss military matters. A general position was
24 taken, but the operative side was implemented by them.
25 Q. I understand. But please confirm if I'm
1 right in saying that at the crisis staff, the need for
2 the operation was agreed and the military would carry
3 out the operation, without going into the details of
4 the operation itself; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You said in some earlier statements that you
7 knew that the operation was led by Filipovic on behalf
8 of the HVO and that Cerkez was one of the leaders of
9 that operation; is that true?
10 A. In view of the fact that the Vitez Brigade
11 participated, and as Cerkez was the commander of the
12 Vitez Brigade, I assume so. Whether he personally was
13 there, whether he personally participated, I wasn't
14 there to tell.
15 There were three municipalities involved,
16 Travnik, Novi Travnik, and so I assumed that Filipovic
17 too must have known because he participated in those
18 talks. But whether Cerkez was there on the spot is
19 something I don't know.
20 Q. Thank you. Witness L, just for
21 clarification's sake, so it was a joint operation
22 against the Serb aggressor, or, rather, an attack on a
23 warehouse containing weapons which the Yugoslav
24 People's Army had seized from the municipal TOs earlier
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. A second point. I probably think it was
3 misspoken because in 1992, there was no such unit
4 called the Vitez Brigade. You were thinking of people
5 from Vitez. Because a moment ago, you used the term
6 "Vitez Brigade."
7 A. The HVO, yes. The HVO.
8 Q. There was the HVO; that, we agree on.
9 Did you hear anything at all about members of
10 the Territorial Defence participating in the military
11 part of that operation?
12 A. Yes, they were assigned the task of carrying
13 out that operation. There were some wounded people
15 Q. Thank you. Let me go on to the part when you
16 mentioned --
17 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
18 Mr. President, might I intervene just for a moment?
19 Has it been contested that the accused, Mario Cerkez,
20 participated in the attack on Slimena. In front of me,
21 I've got the Defence brief of 6 April, 1999 from the
22 accused in which it says that he participated in that
24 JUDGE MAY: Counsel is able to ask what the
25 witness knows about that, and the witness says he
1 doesn't know anything himself about it.
2 MR. KOVACIC: By the way, Your Honours, there
3 is no position that Cerkez wasn't attached. What I
4 wanted to clarify was a detail. The impression was
5 that somehow indirectly, it is implied that the HVO
6 acted differently in opposition to what they agreed
7 upon with the army; that is why I asked the witness
8 about that. But that doesn't seem to be the case now.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. You told us about the event when the HOS
11 captured the building of the municipality and the
12 police station, and you were the most responsible
13 person in the municipality at the time because Santic
14 was in Zagreb. Is there any doubt at all that that
15 operation was, indeed, carried out by HOS units?
16 A. It was them, yes. People who belonged to
17 that unit carried out the attack.
18 Q. Was the HOS an extremist force on the
19 Croatian side in Bosnia in those days, in 1992?
20 A. Was HOS what?
21 Q. The extreme wing of the Croatian side in the
23 A. The question is not clear to me.
24 Q. If I may say so, on both sides, the Croatian
25 and the Muslim, there were moderates and there were
1 extremists. When talking about the Croatian side, was
2 the HOS the extremist wing?
3 A. That is what the HVO said.
4 Q. But from public knowledge, from the events
5 that took place, was that your impression too?
6 A. It is difficult for me to say which people
7 participated where. That is what they said and that is
8 what it probably was. Who participated in the attack
9 on the MUP, as for the planting of explosives, all we
10 can say is that they were extremists. I can't say
11 whether they were HOS or not. But these are facts,
12 material facts that actually happened. The
13 perpetrators were not identified. All we can say is
14 that they were carried out by extremists. If I knew
15 that they had done it, I would say that they were
16 people from HOS.
17 Q. Tell me, Mr. L, you know that later on, HOS
18 joined the HVO and ceased to exist formally as the
20 A. Yes, I think so.
21 Q. Do you know that the leader or the commander
22 of the HOS forces in Vitez was a person called Darko
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Is it true that there were rumours about
1 them, that they were very evil?
2 A. Yes, those were the rumours.
3 Q. Is it true that they had their main
4 stronghold in a part of Vitez called Kolonija, where
5 you lived?
6 A. Yes, they were in a cafe. That was their
7 meeting place, yes. It was called Benc, if I'm not
8 mistaken, or 072.
9 Q. Yes, they are one next to another.
10 A. I didn't go there so I don't really know
11 exactly. You're asking me something that I'm assuming,
12 that I heard, that I didn't see.
13 Q. The HVO government had a custom to blame all
14 incidents on the HOS, or anything that was not in their
15 favour on HOS or other extremists.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. For the purpose of verification, did the
18 Muslim side also have problems with its own
20 JUDGE MAY: Well, before we deal with that,
21 the time has come to adjourn. You can return to that
22 subject if you want, Mr. Kovacic, at a quarter past
24 Witness L, we are going to adjourn till a
25 quarter past two. Would you be back then, please?
1 Meanwhile, don't speak to anybody about your evidence
2 and don't let anybody speak to you about it until it's
3 over. Would you remember that that also includes
4 members of the Prosecution team? Could you be back,
5 please, at 2.15?
6 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.47 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.17 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
3 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Witness L, we left off at the question, if
6 you will recall, whether there were any extremists on
7 the Muslim side.
8 A. It would be stupid to say that there are no
9 extremists in some ethnic groups. It is just the way
10 they are indoctrinated. Are you putting out fires with
11 water or gasoline? So that, in a way, is the answer to
12 your question.
13 Q. Can you tell me, you mentioned Mr. Ivica
14 Santic, as far as I know, he was a good friend of
16 A. I considered him to have been a good friend
17 of mine.
18 Q. There was a story that at one point, he hid
19 you in his house in order to protect you from these
21 A. In fact, others interpreted it that way. We
22 had some conversations and talks. His house was about
23 50 to 100 metres away from where I lived there, and I
24 went over there, I spent the night, in order to have a
25 lengthy conversation, so we could do something. This
1 was this period in October.
2 Q. Can I infer from that that both of you, as
3 men and as politicians, cooperated and looked for
5 A. At that time, yes, I believe that was the
6 case, in 1992. I made an effort and I believe he did
7 make an effort too.
8 Q. Thank you. When you gave evidence, you
9 mentioned, with respect to your detention in the cinema
10 building, certain HVO persons. Anto Kovac, called
11 Zabac, and Ratko Nuk, who were bodyguards or escorts of
12 Cerkez, they were members of the military police;
14 A. I assume so.
15 Q. Did you perhaps notice any insignia which
16 would identify them as military policemen or just the
17 fact --
18 A. I'm afraid that I did not pay attention to
19 any details. It is possible that that was the case.
20 Q. Thank you. You also said that you don't know
21 any details about the internal organisation structure
22 of the army, the HVO or the BH army.
23 A. I may have known a little bit more about the
24 BH army.
25 Q. Would you agree with me that within the HVO,
1 there are different units?
2 A. Probably. I guess. Probably.
3 Q. Do you agree with me that in the Vitez area,
4 in late 1992 and during the conflict which started in
5 1993, there were also units present which had come from
6 outside of Vitez?
7 A. I did receive such information.
8 Q. Thank you. You mentioned previously, and I
9 would like to verify that, that Mario Cerkez was the
10 HVO commander in May of 1992. Did you have in mind
11 that he was one of the key people in the HVO in 1992,
12 and do you know his precise position?
13 A. It is hard for me to place him in this
14 hierarchy, where he was inside the HVO. I don't know
15 what importance he was. I don't know whether he was
16 the fifth or sixth in rank, or second or third. I know
17 he was not the first. That, I know.
18 Q. Can we clarify this a bit further, please?
19 By your position, did you attend the crisis staff
21 A. Yes. They were held in the municipality and
22 this is where I worked.
23 Q. In 1992, did Mario Skopljak come there as a
24 representative of the military component of the HVO, to
25 those meetings?
1 A. In this initial phase, these armed forces --
2 that is, not the TO. This was not in 1991; this was in
3 1992, maybe in April 1992, maybe even March 1992.
4 Perhaps it was March. We had representatives of the
5 Patriotic League as members of the crisis staff.
6 Q. At that time, did this military component of
7 the HVO have the name of HVO headquarters? Do you know
9 A. I really don't recall that. I really don't
11 Q. But could you confirm that Mario Skopljak did
12 attend those meetings in that period?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you are unable to say what his position
16 A. No, not precisely. I know that he
17 represented the HVO. I don't know which component.
18 The Patriotic League and the HVO at that time, in
19 January, February, and March, they were not legitimate
20 at that time yet.
21 Q. Can you recall any meeting of the crisis
22 staff, or some other meeting where critical issues were
23 being discussed, that Mario Skopljak and Cerkez
24 attended together? We're talking about 1992, of
1 A. You mean in a meeting?
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. I cannot recall this. There were 10, 12,
4 sometimes 14 people present there, so I cannot.
5 Q. Very well. If you cannot, you cannot. Thank
7 In that period of 1992, the relationship
8 between the Croatians and the Muslims was -- Hakija
9 Cengic was the leader of the Territorial Defence, and
10 parallel to him, Marijan Skopljak on the Croatian
11 side. Was that the case? Does that ring any bells for
13 A. No, I cannot tell you anything about that.
14 Q. Very well. Thank you. You mentioned, that
15 is, we saw this press release of the Committee for the
16 Protection of Muslims -- in fact, there were two of
17 them -- but my question is, did anybody of the
18 authorities issue any formal decision banning the
19 Committee for the Protection of Muslims?
20 A. No. No.
21 Q. So the authorities did not prevent the
22 activities of this committee?
23 A. No.
24 Q. And this committee was active as late as
25 October 1992?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What about the Patriotic League? When was it
3 changed into the Patriotic League?
4 A. You see, the Patriotic League was established
5 in late 1991 and it was active through 1992. This was
6 in June/July 1992.
7 Q. When was the war presidency established?
8 A. In January 1993.
9 Q. So at the time when this committee ceased to
11 A. There may have been a vacuum for about a
12 month or two.
13 Q. In October 1992, we are referring to the 19th
14 and 20th of October, you mentioned this meeting which
15 was attended by Ivica Santic and Mario Cerkez.
16 A. They showed up at the meeting.
17 Q. Did they come to the headquarters?
18 A. Yes, they came to the headquarters.
19 Q. At that time, there were already barricades,
20 the two which you mentioned on the main road. What was
21 the purpose of their coming?
22 A. Primarily, to have those barricades removed.
23 Q. How did you perceive this? As a constructive
24 attempt to resolve the problem about the erection of
25 the barricades?
1 A. The barricades had been put up in order to
2 prevent those units from entering Vitez. The conflict
3 had already broken out in Novi Travnik.
4 Q. You mean, not in Vitez?
5 A. Not in Vitez, but they were supposed to pass
6 through Vitez.
7 Q. According to this document, you know that the
8 erection of the barricades was ordered by the 3rd Corps
10 A. That is possible, yes, because this army
11 already had a hierarchy, a chain of command, and so
12 probably the commander was the one who had ordered it.
13 Q. Very well. So we agree that at that time
14 there was an active conflict going on in Novi Travnik.
15 At that time, there was also fighting in Jajce in
16 October of 1992?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. In Jajce, Croats and Muslims fought together
19 against the Serbs?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. When the barricade was removed, the BiH
22 army's interpretation was that the barricade would
23 prevent the Croatian troops from going through Vitez
24 and move on to Novi Travnik, from the standpoint of the
25 BH army?
1 A. You are asking me what the thinking was of
2 the 3rd Corps? Perhaps they had a more different
3 strategic point of view, but myself, as a citizen of
4 Vitez and as a member of the local government, I wanted
5 to see that the units did not enter Vitez, that we
6 didn't have further problems. As far as the 3rd Corps
7 is concerned, for their decisions, you need to ask
9 Q. Very well. But in looking for solutions in
10 order to prevent the conflict from coming to your town,
11 is it true that Santic also endeavoured to find a
12 solution, and he suggested that the HVO troops be let
13 to pass through but not stay on in town.
14 A. Well, that is very uncertain. You don't know
15 if you can -- difficult to implement. But this is not
16 an expert opinion of mine, and I think you need to ask
17 the military people for that.
18 Q. But were there such suggestions?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Since Santic and Cerkez were representing
21 Croats, who was the person who was actually conducting
22 talks? Was it Santic or Cerkez?
23 A. I believe that it was Santic who was leading
24 the conversation, and Cerkez was there as the brigade
25 commander. So there it was.
1 Q. As a military person?
2 A. I assume.
3 Q. But he did not take part in the negotiations,
4 in the conversations?
5 A. He just was trying to have the barricades
7 Q. So you allow the possibility of this being
8 discussed as a way, as a solution to the problem, to
9 let them pass through but not let them stay. Was that
10 then discarded as technically not viable?
11 A. This is the position that I took. This is
12 how I saw it.
13 Q. Very well. As a public official, as a
14 politician at that time, would you agree with me that,
15 despite the fact that the conflict had already broken
16 out in other parts of Bosnia -- we're talking about
17 early 1993 now; in other places in Bosnia, conflicts
18 were already in progress -- is it true that politicians
19 in Vitez, all of them tried to find ways to keep the
20 status quo?
21 A. I don't know if we can say that all of them
22 did, but a majority of those with whom I had any
23 dealings did.
24 Q. Would you agree that the incidents which took
25 place in your town in late 1992 and early 1993, which
1 mostly had affected the Muslims, that people still
2 managed to prevent this from conflagrating into a
3 general conflict?
4 A. Yes, we did continue to meet, even though
5 sometimes there were no concrete results, but we tried
6 to keep the communication channels open all the time.
7 Q. Would you agree with me that in the period of
8 late 1992 and early 1993, the situation was so complex
9 and so tense that any incident along ethnic lines could
10 have produced a conflagration at that time, at that
11 moment when it happened?
12 A. Well, there were conflicts, and if you take
13 this logic -- and, as you put it, there were those
14 conflicts and those frictions, and I believe that we
15 needed to be patient, regardless of all the problems.
16 Q. When looking for solutions, you said
17 something in one of your statements previously, do you
18 recall the meetings when you tried to look for a
19 solution, you mentioned today when you would have two
20 armies working together, that there was even an idea of
21 forming an HMVO, where there would be both Croats and
23 A. Yes, there were such ideas.
24 Q. Were the people who were proposed for that
25 people who were irrelevant or -- the people who were
1 proposed for that, were they irrelevant people or were
2 they people who didn't carry much influence?
3 A. Well, I'd say that they were relevant to a
4 degree, and some of these ideas were forwarded to
5 Grude, but they were not accepted.
6 If we had even proposed it, even though we
7 were bypassing the law a little bit, we even
8 contemplated breaking the law to a degree, in an effort
9 to prevent the conflict, but we did not succeed.
10 Q. You mentioned when people were given
11 documents about the reorganisation of jobs and that 10
12 or 12 Muslims were let go; you mentioned their names
13 too. You were part of the municipal government. Let's
14 see first how many people were employed in the local
16 A. About 100.
17 Q. I assume that in terms of ethnic structure,
18 80 to 90 per cent was divided between the Muslims and
19 the Croats.
20 A. Yes, there was a balance. We have inherited
21 that situation, and this had been the case previously,
22 and now just new party appointees were brought into
23 this place, but there was a balance. I think we had
24 found a balanced situation before we came into power --
25 when we came into power.
1 Q. When the power was shared, this had nothing
2 to do with the election results, and you inherited the
3 bureaucratic structure, which had nothing to do with
4 the election results; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. But the situation which you found in terms of
7 staff, it reflected the structure of the population in
9 A. Yes, it did.
10 Q. In other words, you will agree with me that
11 approximately out of 50 Muslim employees, 10 were
13 A. Yes, even though I shouldn't have been fired
14 without a decision of the entire assembly and that
15 nobody can fire me unless there is a decision of the
16 entire assembly.
17 Q. So among the employees, how many appointees
18 were there and how many were just permanently employed?
19 A. Three or four were appointees which were
20 appointed by the parliament, and the rest were just
21 hired on a permanent basis.
22 Q. So 10 to 12 employees of Muslim ethnic
23 background were fired because they refused to sign the
24 new document?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And out of them, three or four, give or take
2 two, three or four were fired who had been appointees?
3 A. That is not what I'm trying to say. If these
4 appointees were also given this document to sign, that
5 is pretty illegal.
6 Q. Very well. Other witnesses have stated that
7 the SDA party had taken a position on this?
8 A. Yes, the party did take positions on certain
9 issues, and a number of those, 20 or 30 decisions, were
10 taken. I don't know exactly how many.
11 Q. Right. You said that even you had been
12 offered a position in the new HVO government and you
13 refused it. Did you refuse it on the basis of the
14 position of the party?
15 A. In principle, I need to be guided by the
16 position of the party, but it was also illegal, and as
17 a member of the parliament, I thought that I also
18 needed to follow the law.
19 Q. I now want to take you to the period
20 immediately preceding the 16th of April, 1993.
21 You mentioned the meeting of 15 April, 1993
22 with the representatives of the BH army, and you were
23 present where there was the HVO meeting with the BH
24 army representatives on the eve of the conflict. Would
25 you agree with me that immediately before the conflict,
1 tensions had obviously risen significantly?
2 A. Certain things need to be experienced. There
3 was something in the air; it was hovering. You simply
4 are expecting something. It is hard to explain. It's
5 something in the air. I don't know if there is a
6 physical manifestation, but the situation is such.
7 Q. So were these meetings held in order to try
8 to resolve the situation?
9 A. Are you referring to the meeting of the 15th
10 of April?
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. Well, yes, there was a committee, relatively
13 speaking, where representatives of the Muslim and
14 Croatian population met, the police and military
15 structures. I was a member of the presidency. I
16 didn't call it, but I was present, and all these people
17 were called, even some members of the presidency, and
18 this situation, this atmosphere was discussed and they
19 gave their position. They said that there would not be
20 any conflict, all three of them mentioned this, and
21 they said there would not be a meeting and they said
22 that they would meet there again tomorrow even. So
23 Sahabudin Muratovic, Sefkija Dzidic, and Safet Sivro,
24 all three of them said so.
25 Q. Did they express that as their own position
1 or did they do it after a meeting with the HVO?
2 A. You have to ask them. I cannot say that on
3 their behalf. They may have had intelligence, they may
4 have had meetings, I just don't know.
5 Q. But let me ask you simply, from what they
6 said, did it imply that they had had contacts and
7 conversations with their counterparts in the HVO?
8 A. Yes, that is how it seemed. I think that
9 there was even an argument put forward that there was
10 another meeting called for the next day, so if there
11 was another meeting called for the next day, there
12 would be nothing happening.
13 Q. Very well. Do you know whether, on the 14th
14 of April, there was a celebration of the anniversary of
15 the BH army?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you see any representatives of the HVO
18 attending these celebrations?
19 A. Yes, there was Mr. Cerkez.
20 Q. So this was on the 14th of April?
21 A. Yes, two days before the conflict.
22 Q. And he came as a representative of the HVO?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. On that critical morning, on the 16th, you
25 heard the shooting, and there were all kinds of things
1 going on. Would you agree with me, or would you deny
2 the assessment that at least in this part of the town
3 in which you lived, that is, Kolonija, that for the
4 first two or three days of the conflict, the situation
5 was chaotic?
6 A. It was rather, yes.
7 Q. The troops roaming around the streets, whose
8 presence was very visible, was it clear which units
9 those troops belonged to, who was responsible to whom?
10 A. It is difficult for me to tell. All I can
11 say is that I saw a couple of neighbours. While I was
12 on this side of the building, I saw them, but I can't
13 tell you the exact insignia or anything like that. At
14 least the first morning, it was something I didn't look
15 at. I had other problems on my mind, to get away from
16 it all.
17 Q. Tell us, can you inform us whether uniforms
18 were different, whether there were various uniforms?
19 A. Yes, there were camouflage and black
21 Q. In those days, but also before and after, can
22 we consider a uniform to be a distinctive sign as to
23 which troops a soldier belonged to, until we see the
25 A. I don't understand.
1 Q. For example, did the HVO troops wear only one
2 type of uniform?
3 A. They mostly wore camouflage uniforms. There
4 may have been some small differences, but it was
5 difficult for me to notice those differences. If
6 you're thinking of the shade of colour of the
7 camouflage uniform or that sort of thing --
8 Q. No. I'm asking whether within the HVO, there
9 were people wearing black uniforms.
10 A. I did see a couple of people wearing black
12 Q. But you don't know who they belonged to?
13 A. No.
14 Q. On some occasions at least, did the military
15 police of the HVO wear some kind of sign by which they
16 could be distinguished?
17 A. I think they wore those white belts.
18 Q. The classical kind of belts that were worn in
19 the former system by the JNA troops?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Could you clarify a point for us? We went
22 through it rather quickly today and I think it's rather
24 It emerged that you were captured and taken
25 to the cinema. You made a statement to the court
1 investigators in July 1995, on the 21st and 22nd of
2 July, 1995, and in talking about those events, you
3 actually said, and I shall quote, "The plan was for
4 Fadil to attract the attention of two HVO members whom
5 he knew while I would run off to the lorry and mix with
6 the other Muslims who were being taken to the cinema.
7 The plan succeeded and I was taken to the cinema."
8 So to speed things up, as I understand it,
9 this means that you intentionally joined a group that
10 was being taken somewhere because you felt safer in a
11 large group than as an individual on the road.
12 A. I felt that if they found me in my apartment,
13 I would be liquidated, and so I thought that if I had a
14 chance, it was within a large group. Because if you
15 wish to kill someone from a large group, you have to
16 take him out and everyone will see it, so it's more
17 complicated. So I thought if I was to survive, it was
18 best for me to be within a larger group. But they were
19 collecting all Bosniaks from Vitez and they would have
20 reached me too. They did search the apartment several
21 times in which I lived.
22 Q. I'm not saying that the cinema was a pleasant
23 experience, but it gave you a certain measure of
25 A. Well, you see, this was how I reasoned: I
1 thought that if somebody wanted to do something against
2 me, he was as intelligent as me, and if he wanted to do
3 it, he would take me out of a group. So I had a chance
4 if I stayed within the group.
5 Q. I see. You said that you were listed when
6 you reached the cinema. Was it visible that the
7 military police was doing those lists?
8 A. I think that they wore white belts.
9 Q. Later on, you were taken to the chess club.
10 Was this again done by the military police?
11 A. Yes, I think so.
12 Q. Then they took you in a van to Kaonik. Was
13 this again done by the military police?
14 A. I assume so, but I'm not quite certain. You
15 see, it's rather difficult to tell in those
17 Q. Then again you were taken from Kaonik to the
18 cinema when you were released. Again was this by the
19 military police?
20 A. I'm afraid I don't know. I couldn't say.
21 The atmosphere is quite specific. Certain details that
22 don't affect you don't stick in your memory when other
23 things are on your mind.
24 Q. Let me now go on to the next area, that is,
25 the meeting that you described Mujezinovic, yourself,
1 and others. We're still in the cinema now. Sometime
2 around the 22nd, the 24th, Boro Jozic, Zvonko Cilic,
3 yourself, Mujezinovic, and others, this conversation
4 started. Did you see any chance of this producing some
5 sort of a result in the sense of calming down the
7 A. By nature, I am a person who will always
8 favour negotiations if there is any chance of them
9 being productive, even though there are negotiations
10 when it is difficult, to be quite frank, but I think
11 it's absurd to talk when you are imprisoned. But I
12 accepted everything because I thought there might be a
13 chance of achieving something.
14 Q. So then as things developed overnight, you
15 required a higher level of negotiators?
16 A. I personally know these two persons, I knew
17 what their duties were, and I knew that they were not
18 the persons who could decide. They probably received
19 instructions as to what they should do. If you want to
20 achieve something effective, then you have to look for
21 somebody who has the necessary weight.
22 Q. So that is why you wanted to negotiate with
23 Santic, in view of his position as president of the
25 A. Yes, I knew him, and it was easier for me to
1 communicate with him than with others.
2 Q. But also his position was important?
3 A. Yes, certainly, his position was very
4 important. He headed the HVO.
5 Q. You also asked for Pero Skopljak, in view of
6 his position as head of the party?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. This story ended with the issuance of a joint
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would like to
11 ask the Court, with Your Honours' permission, to show
12 the witness Z852 [as interpreted]. This is something
13 that has already been admitted into evidence.
14 Q. Witness L, would you look through this
15 document? I only have one question for you or, rather,
17 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
18 Mr. President, could we see the document in question,
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I'm not sure that it has
21 been produced, 852 --
22 MR. KOVACIC: Document 752.
23 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry, 752.
24 MR. KOVACIC: Could I check whether the
25 witness has the correct one?
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Witness L, have you had a chance to review
3 the document?
4 A. I think that this document, as far as I can
5 remember, this document was different, but you should
6 ask Mujezinovic. I think that the first point was to
7 respect the International Red Cross, of course, to halt
8 hostilities. Explicitly, reference was made to respect
9 for the agreement between Izetbegovic and Boban. I
10 know that Muhamed signed something outside this
11 agreement, but you must ask him.
12 Q. Let me just remind you, from the introductory
13 sentence, that is how this was presented to us, that
14 this was a document compiled as a joint statement by
15 the two parties after the agreement which you are
16 referring to was signed. So this is one of the results
17 of that agreement, a joint communique.
18 A. I don't know how this statement came into
19 being, but what I attended had these three points.
20 There were other proposals and pressures, but the
21 substance of that document was, point 1, to respect the
22 rules of the International Red Cross; second, to halt
23 hostilities between the army and the HVO; and the third
24 point, that the Izetbegovic-Boban agreement should be
25 respected. That was the gist of that document.
1 Q. Thank you. Regardless of the unequal
2 negotiating position of the two parties, because, as
3 you said, you were detainees, the document that you
4 agreed upon eventually, what you have just referred to,
5 would you have signed it under normal conditions as
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Can I infer from that that the existing
9 inequality, the fact that you were detained, did not
10 have a causal effect on that document that you agreed
12 A. It did not.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 A. I mean, the two are not connected. I agree
15 with the points contained in the document, those that
16 were accepted, yes.
17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could the
18 witness be shown a document that was produced today
19 during the examination-in-chief? Document Z751.
20 Q. Mr. L, I should like to draw your attention,
21 on this occasion, to the last paragraph, which was
22 mentioned earlier on, the sentence which,
23 unfortunately, is illegible in the Croatian version,
24 but it is the one-but-last row. "The government of the
25 HVO ..." Can you find it?
1 In any event, in this document, which is a
2 report issued by the officer on duty in the brigade,
3 and he's sending it to the command of the Operative
4 Zone, mentioning various events that they noticed in
5 the course of the day, he notes that in the building of
6 the Vitez Brigade, this meeting was held and explicit
7 mention is made of representatives of the HVO Vitez
9 Would you agree with this, in view of what we
10 have just discussed, that Mujezinovic, you, and others
11 conducted those talks with representatives of the
12 civilian HVO structure, with whom you finally signed
13 your three-point agreement?
14 A. I don't know, but, look, look here, I spoke
15 to the president of the HVO government, Santic, and
16 with the president of the HDZ, Pero Skopljak. Now
17 you're asking me something else, and I don't know.
18 Q. Very well. I apologise. Did you negotiate
19 with Cerkez over that document?
20 A. Cerkez was not present, except for Cilic --
21 Q. In the first contact.
22 A. I think they were present. They were
24 Q. Thank you. In your -- rather, I must
25 rephrase that question.
1 We said that you gave statements to the
2 investigators in July 1995, the investigators of this
3 Tribunal, and at one point, when referring to your stay
4 in the cinema building, this must have been in the
5 three or four days before you were transferred,
6 "Several days after I had arrived at the cinema, the
7 civilian HVO police arrived and interrogated me. Sucic
8 and Lazarevic were the men who interrogated me."
9 Is that correct, that you were interrogated
10 by the civilian police?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. The building in which you were
13 detained, it is known as the cinema building, isn't it?
14 A. To be more precise, it is the building of the
15 Workers' University.
16 Q. Yes, it is also known as the Workers'
17 University building, and there was a cinema hall
18 inside. You were tenants or users of premises there.
19 There was a cinema used as an institution; right?
20 There must have been an office in addition to the
21 cinema hall itself. Then there was a cafe during the
22 time of the conflict in the entrance, a coffee-shop.
23 Then there was the headquarters of the Vitez Brigade
24 upstairs on the floor. You said you were with Skopljak
25 in Cerkez's office.
1 A. I think that was downstairs, not in the
3 Q. Then there was the Vitez Television offices?
4 A. Possibly.
5 Q. Did you call that building the building of
6 the Vitez Brigade?
7 A. What do you mean?
8 Q. We said that people referred to it as the
9 cinema, as the Workers' University. What else? Was it
10 also referred to as the Vitez Brigade building because
11 it had its headquarters there?
12 A. How do I know? They had their headquarters
13 in the hotel. Maybe it was safer there because we were
14 detained there, so they moved. But I know that their
15 headquarters were in the hotel.
16 Q. Then you were called to a meeting with Pero
17 Skopljak, you said, and you said that this was in
18 Cerkez's office, and you didn't know until then that it
19 was his office. Was Cerkez present at the meeting?
20 A. Yes, he was sitting at the table.
21 Q. Did you have a cup of coffee?
22 A. Yes, and I started a second cup and I left it
24 Q. Who was a participant in that meeting?
25 A. Also present, there was me, Cerkez, and Pero
2 Q. And that's all? No one else?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Which were the parties? You on one side,
5 obviously, and on the other? Was your collocutor Pero
6 Skopljak in the first place or Mario Cerkez?
7 A. I don't know how things would have
8 developed. In any event, there were certain exchanges,
9 and then later Pero Skopljak showed me a paper
10 authorising him on talks on Central Bosnia by Boban. I
11 said that I wasn't authorised, I wasn't the authorised
12 person, and that I couldn't continue these discussions,
13 so that the talk was abruptly broken off.
14 Q. On the basis of your statement that you were
15 not authorised?
16 A. But I did say that if I was authorised,
17 then -- and I said who could authorise me. There was
18 the president of the party in Vitez, that was the local
19 level and beyond. Since I did participate often and
20 regularly in talks, I said that if they elected me, I
21 could participate. I could not authorise myself.
22 Q. Please confirm or deny. My understanding is
23 that at the beginning of the meeting, it was
24 established who had the authority, who had the
25 competence. Whoever showed that had -- Skopljak said
1 that he had this document from Boban, that he was
2 authorised and you did not, and then the meeting was
3 broken off.
4 In the course of that meeting, did Cerkez
5 declare his formal position in those talks at all? Did
6 he represent anyone? Was he authorised by anyone?
7 A. Well, he was a commander. He was a
9 Q. But did he take part in this official part,
10 formal part of the talks when Skopljak presented his
12 A. He did not comment. There were some comments
13 before that, but at that point, he had no comments.
14 Q. And this was the only formal part of the
15 meeting, wasn't it?
16 A. Possibly, yes. I don't know what would have
17 happened if the meeting had continued.
18 Q. Yes, we agree. But before that, the small
19 exchanges -- only small exchanges took place; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
23 thank you. I have no further questions for this
24 witness. Thank you.
25 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
1 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, Mr. Kordic has no
2 questions for this witness. Thank you.
3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, before you finish,
4 let me just look at something.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE MAY: We want to clarify your position
7 about the telephone conversation. Our recollection is
8 that some other evidence has been given about it, and
9 perhaps you can remind us what your position was.
10 MR. SAYERS: Yes. Actually, Your Honour, it
11 can be found on page 3758 of the transcript at lines 18
12 to 25 and 3759, lines 1 to 2, and that was on June the
13 15th of this year, and then we clarified the position
14 on page 3796, lines 2 to 8. As far as I can see, the
15 testimony given by Witness L is precisely the position
16 that we had represented to the Court, and, therefore,
17 we have no questions for him about it.
18 JUDGE MAY: You have no dispute with that
20 MR. SAYERS: No, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Thank you.
22 Mr. Lopez-Terres?
23 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I have a
24 few clarifications I would like to ask Witness L.
25 Re-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
1 Q. Witness L, first of all, regarding the
2 meeting that you had with the commanders of the BH army
3 in Vitez on the 15th of April, you stated that
4 Mr. Dzidic, Mr. Sivro were there, and you also spoke
5 with Sahabudin Mahmutovic. Sahabudin Mahmutovic, was
6 he a civilian authority or a military authority in
8 A. He was the head of the civilian police.
9 Q. He was a commander of the civilian police.
10 He didn't have any authority in military matters; is
11 that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. The meeting of the 15th of April, did it take
14 place when festivities were being organised for the
15 anniversary of the BH army, or was it another meeting
16 in which those three people participated with HVO
18 A. The celebration had nothing to do with it.
19 Q. So the celebrations had taken place before
20 that then, on the 15th of April?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Are you sure about that point?
23 A. Yes. I think the celebration had nothing to
24 do with the conversation which -- the talks which they
25 had with the HVO. The celebration was a celebration.
1 That was part of a protocol, and everybody is trying to
2 be on their best behaviour and be very nice to each
3 other, and you don't discuss any issues. You just have
4 a drink and exchange niceties.
5 Q. Let me rephrase my question. The first
6 anniversary of the BH army and the celebrations about
7 that, did they take place on the 14th or the 15th of
8 April, 1993?
9 A. I don't know if it was on the 14th or a day
10 or two, even earlier. But I know it wasn't later than
11 the 14th. It could have been the 14th or before. It's
12 possible that it was on the 14th, and it certainly
13 wasn't on the 15th. So it was the 14th.
14 Q. All right. You mentioned the names of the
15 two people whom you first conducted negotiations,
16 Borislav Jozic and Mr. Zvonimir Cilic?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. These people with whom you had negotiated
19 with, were they wearing military or civilian clothes?
20 A. [No interpretation]
21 Q. Both of them were members of the Vitez
23 A. I assume.
24 Q. Who was the commander?
25 A. Mr. Mario Cerkez.
1 Q. When you said that they had received
2 instructions to conduct negotiations with you, in your
3 opinion, from whom had they received those
4 instructions? From the military or from the civilian
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, that's a matter
7 of opinion on the part of the witness. No.
8 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
9 Q. This Boro Jozic, was he killed during the
11 A. I think he was killed.
12 Q. Thank you. One final question. On the 29th
13 of April, 1993, while you were being detained, there
14 was an agreement between the HVO authorities and those
15 of the BH army, so that all of the prisoners would be
16 released on the 30th of April, starting at noon. An
17 order was issued by Colonel Blaskic to all brigades,
18 including the one of the accused, Mario Cerkez. Do you
19 know why you and other people among the important
20 Muslims in the Muslim community were not released on
21 that date, that is, the 30th of April?
22 A. I can say that we were not released. What
23 their plans were, that is difficult for me to say. We
24 were not released. We stayed there.
25 Q. You were never able to get an explanation for
2 A. There was no explanation.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I have no
5 further questions.
6 JUDGE MAY: Witness L, that concludes your
7 evidence. Thank you for coming to the International
8 Tribunal to give it. You are now released.
9 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Scott.
12 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, before we take the
13 next witness, which we'll need to address some matters
14 in private session, but even before that, if I could
15 either ask the Court now, or I assume the Court would
16 rather deal with it at the end of the day, I would like
17 to save, if we can, a couple of minutes to deal with
18 the release question. We're still not sure exactly
19 what the Court's thinking on that, and the Prosecution
20 has some questions procedurally about that. So if I
21 could just alert the Court or ask the Court to reserve
22 a couple of minutes at the end of the day, I would
23 appreciate that.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we'll do that.
25 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, the next witness --
1 if we can go to private session.
2 JUDGE MAY: I'm just going to have a word
3 with the legal officer, please.
4 [Private session]
13 page 6918 redacted – private session
13 page 6919 redacted – private session
13 page 6920 redacted – private session
9 [Closed session]
13 pages 6922-6936 redacted – closed session
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
16 3.59 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
17 the 16th day of September, 1999, at
18 9.30 a.m.