1 Monday, 20th September, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor
6 versus Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
8 MR. NICE: The first witness is going to seek
9 a measure of protection. May I address that in private
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
12 [Private session]
13 pages 7034-7041 redacted – private session
12 [Open session]
13 Q. Over the page, paragraph 7. You can deal
14 with the build-up of events, if asked and if permitted,
15 but I'm not going to trouble you with those because
16 they've been dealt with by other witnesses.
17 Did you attend any meetings in the presence
18 of either Anto Valenta or Pero Skopljak?
19 A. I was present on one occasion at a meeting
20 where Mr. Anto Valenta was present and also once when
21 Mr. Pero Skopljak was present.
22 Q. Before I touch on either of those meetings,
23 had you read Valenta's book?
24 A. Yes, I had read the book written by
25 Mr. Valenta.
1 Q. You, I think, are a Muslim.
2 A. Yes. I'm a Bosniak of Islamic faith.
3 Q. To you, when you read the book at the time,
4 how did it seem?
5 A. At the time, the book seemed to me to be
6 unusual, because it dealt with an issue which, until
7 that time, had not been addressed in that area, that
8 is, the issue of a peaceful division leading to
9 togetherness. The book was conceived in such a way
10 that it was based on the ethnic principle of division,
11 division of the existing administrative territories of
13 Reading through the book, it did not
14 anticipate the events that would follow.
15 Q. However, after the events, with hindsight,
16 how does the book now seem?
17 A. Later on, developments showed that the book
18 envisaged a scenario on the basis of which many things
19 developed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and particularly
20 within the area of Central Bosnia.
21 Q. The meeting with either or both of these men
22 that you attended, tell us about that or those. When
23 did the meeting or meetings occur?
24 A. A meeting was first held in the so-called
25 hunting lodge, where an attempt was made to ease
1 tensions between the Bosniak and Croatian peoples, and
2 to continue to work together in preparing the defence
3 from the aggression.
4 I was not present at that prior meeting
5 because, at the time, I was not a member of any
6 political party but was a member of the coordinating
7 board for the protection of the interests of Muslims.
8 I was invited to a second meeting to the fire
9 brigade centre in Vitez, where again joint activities
10 were discussed and when, for the first time -- I don't
11 know whether it was the first time, but we did discuss
12 the formation of a joint army within the territory of
13 Vitez municipality, and reference was made to
14 Mr. Franjo Nakic as a joint commander of that future
15 unit which was to defend the area of Vitez.
16 A second time I attended a meeting was the
17 one held in the post office in Vitez. I was visiting
18 my father, who was ill, and I was looking for a doctor
19 to come and examine him. However, he was absent.
20 When those events occurred I was with my
21 father, and mister --
22 Q. When was this meeting?
23 A. That meeting was held in 1992.
24 Q. What part of 1992, what month?
25 JUDGE MAY: One moment, please. There's a
1 problem with the translation.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE MAY: I understand five or ten minutes
4 are required to put the matter right. We'll rise.
5 --- Break taken at 9.55 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.17 a.m.
7 THE REGISTRAR: For the clarity of the
8 debate, I wish to point out that we are in public
9 session since page 10, line 12, of the transcript.
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, we'll go on now till
11 half past 11. We'll take only a quarter of an hour
12 break and then go on until 1.00.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. Witness N, you were telling us about the
15 meeting in 1992; can you help us with the month when
16 the meeting occurred that you were telling us about?
17 A. That meeting was held either at the end of
18 October, between the 20th and maybe the 1st or 2nd of
19 November, roughly in that period of time, and it was
20 held in the Vitez post office.
21 Q. Who was there for the HVO?
22 A. As far as I can recollect, the meeting was
23 attended by Mr. Pero Skopljak, Mr. Mario Cerkez, Zvonko
24 Cilic, Marko Knezevic. That would be the names that I
25 can recollect as people attending.
1 Q. You told us that there was a meeting when
2 Valenta was present. Was it at this meeting, or
3 another meeting?
4 A. Valenta, as I said a moment ago, was present
5 at the meeting held in the fire brigade centre in Stari
6 Vitez. I don't remember him attending this meeting in
7 the post office.
8 Q. So the post office meeting, was an order that
9 Rajic had raised discussed, or an order that Rajic had
10 made discussed?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What was that order?
13 A. As Mr. Rajic was then appointed Minister of
14 Defence in Bosnia-Herzegovina, so there was a
15 discussion -- I don't know whether you'd call it an
16 order, in military structures, but it was a document
17 which ordered that units which in those days
18 constituted the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- or rather
19 units of the Territorial Defence -- in the
20 municipalities in which the Croatian Democratic Union
21 had won a majority at the democratic elections, should
22 be placed under the command of the HVO.
23 Q. That was discussed; what was the resolution
24 of that part of the discussion?
25 A. This first discussion I could describe as
1 having born no fruit, because the Croatian side
2 insisted that this document be adopted, whereas the
3 Bosniak side insisted that the joint document remain in
4 force, and there was even a proposal made that if
5 armies are united, that both insignia be worn -- that
6 is, of the HVO and of the BH army: that on one sleeve
7 the HVO be worn, that is, the chequerboard flag, and on
8 the other sleeve, the lily insignia.
9 This was not accepted, and the meeting ended
10 in such a way that, due to the fact the most
11 responsible people from the SDA had not attended, it
12 was agreed that the meeting be postponed, that
13 consultations be held on the ground regarding that
14 issue, and that is how the meeting ended. I did not
15 participate in subsequent talks and meetings.
16 If I may explain a little, how it happened
17 that I was present at that meeting --
18 Q. It may become relevant, but I don't seek that
19 material from you at the moment. In any event,
20 remember, we're keeping your anonymity.
21 A. Thank you.
22 Q. Was the meeting concerned at all to stop
23 shooting that was going on at that time?
24 A. At that meeting, as there had been incidents
25 prior to the meeting, there had been an incident in
1 Ahmici, so the question was raised at the meeting as to
2 how to stop such incidents and avoid any repetition in
3 other parts. However, this issue attracted very little
4 time. Of course, I didn't join in in the discussion on
5 that issue because I was not a military man; I had not
6 even served in the military, so I didn't take part in
7 the discussion on that issue at all.
8 Q. All right. The next meeting, the follow-up
9 meeting, was scheduled for how long hence? How much
11 A. You mean the meeting in the post office?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. It was scheduled for two or three days
14 later. I think the deadline of two or three days was
15 given, that we should have consultations on the ground,
16 and then another meeting should be held.
17 Q. To your knowledge, did Dr. Mujezinovic attend
18 the follow-up meeting, you not attending it?
19 A. As far as I know, he did attend that
21 Q. As a result of the attitude being taken, was
22 the coordination committee formed? "Yes" or "No"?
23 A. The coordination committee had been formed
24 earlier on, sometime in July 1992 or the beginning of
25 August. Its task was to explain to the people what was
1 happening and to protect the interests of the Bosniak
2 people, in the sense that -- in other areas, not the
3 military, because the Territorial Defence and the army
4 already existed.
5 Q. Did the coordination committee have any
6 military functions or was it purely civilian?
7 A. It was a purely civilian body.
8 Q. Did it make efforts to return to official BiH
9 government, by the use of flags and so on?
10 A. As the legally elected government, the one
11 elected at the first democratic elections, the
12 president of the executive board and two members of the
13 executive board were Bosniaks. As an executive body,
14 it functioned and it made proposals to the coordination
15 committee and the SDA how to re-establish unified
16 government in the area of Vitez.
17 Q. What was the HVO response to that?
18 A. The response is well known. The efforts did
19 not bear fruit, and from then on until the Dayton
20 Agreement, or until the first post-war joint elections
21 in the Federation, there were parallel governments.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, I think we've heard
23 about these matters.
24 MR. NICE: Yes.
25 JUDGE MAY: We could go on to April 1993.
1 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
2 Q. May I just touch on paragraph 14. So
3 throughout the time that you were aware of what was
4 going on, were civil and military authority within the
5 HVO/HZ-HB separated in any way, one from the other, or
7 A. As far as I know, it was united under the
8 name the Croatian Defence Council. It combined both
9 civilian and military authority.
10 Q. I think there was a family birthday, again
11 you needn't give the date because of anonymity, but
12 there was a family birthday on the 15th of April, 1993;
13 is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you indeed celebrate that birthday that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you, at some stage that day, see some of
19 a television broadcast in the form of a press
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. We're going to look at two tapes that show
23 that broadcast, and we're going to look at it from
24 start to finish, but in order to fix the event in your
25 mind and to see what help you can give us as to the
1 timing of the broadcast, at some stage does a doctor
2 feature on one or other of these tapes?
3 A. Yes. A doctor was seen, with his back
4 turned, when he was doing an on-site inspection into an
5 incident when Mr. Totic had been captured or attacked,
6 whatever you like.
7 Q. Was the doctor somebody who -- again, don't
8 say how -- but was it somebody you either knew or
9 recognised by sound or sight?
10 A. Yes. Yes, I personally did.
11 Q. Did you concentrate on all of the television
12 broadcast or only on a part of it?
13 A. Only a part of it. The routine part with the
14 report saying this and that had happened, we didn't
15 follow that with any attention. However, when it was
16 announced that Mr. Kordic and Mr. Kostroman were to
17 speak -- I don't know the names of the other speakers.
18 I never met Mr. Kordic in person myself, but since he
19 was a well-known figure in the Lasva Valley, he would
20 appear frequently on television, even though he
21 completed his secondary education in Vitez.
22 We are of a different generation, so we
23 didn't have occasion to meet.
24 MR. NICE: Your Honour, we can now play both
1 Q. I must explain to the witness that we're
2 going to play the tapes continuously without asking you
3 questions about them as they're being played, because
4 for technical reasons it's much easier to play the
5 tapes continuously. Will you be good enough to look at
6 them and listen to them as they're played, and I'll ask
7 you some questions about them afterwards.
8 MR. NICE: So if the booth could very kindly
9 play the first tape. We, therefore, have Exhibit 665.3
10 to hand.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
13 "This morning, four persons were killed, the
14 escort, Ivica Vidovic; Anto Zrnic; Marko and Tihomir
15 Ljubic; and a civilian.
16 "According to the police report, he was
17 probably an eyewitness. The commander of the brigade,
18 Zivko Totic, was kidnapped and taken in an unknown
20 "The driver, three escorts and one civilian.
21 "Can we look at the videotapes of that
23 JUDGE MAY: We can move on. We can fast
24 forward this.
25 MR. NICE: Yes. If the booth could fast
1 forward then to the time when the -- I'm not sure
2 whether the Chamber intended to fast forward this
3 passage. This is the -- some of the list, but we can
4 probably pick it up with the translation, if the booth
5 would be good enough.
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
8 "4th of March, 1993, members of MOS stopped a
9 bus in Zepca, searched it and demanded to see the
10 identity papers of the passengers for no reason.
11 "On 28th February, members of MOS checked
12 vehicles in Travnik. They appropriated a pistol and
13 shot at two passenger vehicles.
14 "On 7th March, near the village of Ahmici
15 in Vitez, which is inhabited by Muslims, shots were
16 fired at a building in which an active platoon of
17 military police was stationed.
18 "On 9th March, in the village of Visnjica in
19 Zenica, five members of the army of BH entered the
20 house of Milko Kristo, ransacked the place and looted
21 everything in it, finally setting fire to the house.
22 "On 15th March, near the "Maks" shop in
23 Vitez, members of the BH army threw a hand grenade,
24 wounding one person, a woman, and child. There was
25 major material damage.
1 "On 16th March, in the village of Dolac,
2 municipality of Travnik, Zoran Matosevic and Ivo Juric,
3 who were members of the Travnik HVO, were killed by
5 "On 16th March, Drago Mitrovic from Zenica
6 was stopped and 7.000 German marks were taken from
8 "On 17th of March, the houses of Milorad and
9 Vlatko Tvrtkovic were broken into and everything in
10 them was taken away.
11 "On 17th of March, Zaim Vukovic, a member of
12 the BH army, was arrested in Zenica for attempting to
13 break into an HVO vehicle.
14 "On 17th of March, a little girl, Gordana
15 Rados, was seriously wounded in Kakanj. The shots came
16 from positions of the BH army.
17 "On 17th March, the command of the Kakanj
18 HOS, Ivo Vuletic, was killed in Kakanj. He was killed
19 by Sakib, a member of the Kakanj MUP.
20 "On 17th of March, members of the army of BH
21 threw a hand grenade at the premises of the Travnik
22 military police.
23 "On 16th of March, a member of the army of BH
24 threw a hand grenade at the HVO military commander,
25 Donja Veceriska.
1 "On 15th of March, a member of the BH army
2 fired shots from an infantry weapon at the HVO
3 commander, Donja Veceriska.
4 "On 22nd of March, members of the MUP and the
5 BH army removed licence plates bearing the insignia of
6 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna from vehicles at
7 all checkpoints in Zenica.
8 "On 23rd of March, in the village of Kacuni,
9 municipality of Busovaca, members of the BH army
10 appropriated an FAP 18 freight vehicle from Vitez which
11 was carrying humanitarian aid to Brestovsko.
12 "On 23rd of March, members of the BH army
13 shot at the building of the military police in Travnik
14 from a freight vehicle.
15 "On 23rd of March, members of the BH army
16 shot at the building of the military police in Travnik
17 from firearms at the sanatorium on the same day --"
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, we have enough to get a
19 picture of that. We have the other items clearly
20 before us. We can read this.
21 MR. NICE: Yes, indeed, and the speed of
22 delivery is placing, I think, quite a strain on the
23 interpreters as well as the LiveNote recorders, and we
24 can, I think, be confident from the interpretation so
25 far that the transcript on Z665.3 appears to be
1 entirely accurate.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. NICE: So if we now move to the second
4 tape, please, and if the Chamber and my friends turn to
5 what is marked as page 18, I hope I've got this tape to
6 start at about the 25th of March, with Stjepan Radic,
7 and it may be that the first real entry will be the
8 17th of January. It comes from a different viewpoint.
9 Once we are under way, may I sit down?
10 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
11 "On 17th January, members of the BH army
12 killed Srecko Weber, the HVO military policemen in
14 "In Travnik, on 5 January, members of the BH
15 army stopped Franjo, robbed him, and forced him to
16 shoot himself, taking his own life.
17 "On the 9th, several members of the BH army
18 opened fire at the premises of the HVO in Novi
20 "On 21 January, members of the BH army opened
21 fire on Croatian houses in Kruscica, municipality of
22 Vitez. On the same day, members of the BH army stopped
23 two military policemen in Stari Vitez, mistreated them,
24 and swore at them.
25 "On 10 September, 1992, members of the BH
1 army took Ivica Polak, the commander of the Travnik HVO
2 from Travnik.
3 "On 10 September, members of the BH army
4 murdered Ante Cepina, a taxi driver in Novi Travnik.
5 "On 12 February, 1993, members of the BH army
6 from Vitez murdered Sasa Jurisic.
7 "On 24 February, members of the BH army
8 killed a member of the military police and a civilian
9 in Busovaca.
10 "On 14 April, members of the BH army fired
11 four shells from a mortar in the direction of Pucisevo
12 from Travnik.
13 "On 17 January, members of the BH army
14 disarmed 17 members of the HVO in Kruscici,
15 Municipality of Vitez.
16 "You have heard about today's events.
17 "This was an overview of the incidents caused
18 by the members of the BH army since February 27, 1993.
19 "The commander of the Operative Zone in
20 Central Bosnia has issued an announcement to the
21 Croatian population and the general population. It
22 will be read by Mr. Marko Prskalo, the assistant
23 commander for the brigade.
24 "MR. PRSKALO: Announcement: The Muslim
25 extremist forces, which are under the command of the
1 3rd Corps of the BH army, led by Enver Hadzihasanovic,
2 have activated a plan to murder officers and leaders of
3 the HVO on the territory of the Central Bosnia
4 Operative Zone. Their intentions are clear: to cause
5 a widespread conflict between the BH army and the HVO,
6 to destroy the HVO and prevent the implementation of
7 the Vance-Owen peace accord signed in New York,
8 providing for the establishment of provinces. Those
9 who call themselves members of the BH army are burning
10 Croatian flags just before Easter, threatening Croats,
11 looting, killing Croatian officers and kidnapping
12 people, and yet they talk to us about a joint fight
13 against the Chetniks, while doing nothing about the
14 misdeeds except distancing themselves. In these
15 difficult moments in the history of the Croats, we call
16 upon the Croatian people and the members of the HVO to
17 be resolute in defending our territories and our
18 homes. We have the strength to deal with any enemy who
19 attacks us. We condemn the terrorist behaviour of the
20 extremist Muslim forces, and in the interest of peace,
21 we demand that all Mujahedins be expelled from our
22 territory. The command of the Central Bosnia Operative
24 "JOURNALIST: Thank you very much. Colonel
25 Tihomir Blaskic, you have the microphone.
1 "TIHOMIR BLASKIC: Ladies and gentlemen, I
2 would like to greet you on behalf of the command of the
3 Operative Zone and on my own behalf. I would like to
4 express my condolences to the families and relatives of
5 our soldiers of the Croatian Defence Council who have
6 been killed, soldiers who honourably carried out their
7 tasks and gave what was most valuable possessions, that
8 is, who gave what every soldier of the Croatian Defence
9 Council is prepared give, i.e., their lives. In our
10 struggle against the enemy, the enemy first of all of
11 the Croatian people, it is certainly our duty to deal
12 with that enemy in a civilised way, as befits every
13 soldier of the Croatian Defence Council. I think there
14 is no doubt, as is evident from the announcement, that
15 the responsibility for all these crimes perpetrated
16 against the Croatian people rests with the command of
17 the 3rd Corps, headed by the commander of the 3rd
18 Corps, because it is this command which gave the order
19 for the shelling of the Croatian territories at
20 Puticevo last night, in the immediate vicinity of the
21 main intersection leading to Novi Travnik, Vitez, and
22 Travnik, and the shelling was carried out, as has been
23 documented, from the facilities and military positions
24 of the BH army in the old town of Travnik. It is also
25 evident that the perpetrators of all the acts committed
1 up to now were mostly members of the 7th Muslim
2 Brigade, an extremist brigade, which is irked by anyone
3 who is not a religious fanatic, and which is part of
4 the 3rd Corps of the BH army headed by the commander of
5 the 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic. The list of
6 crimes is certainly much, much longer. We have also
7 received information reports from the leading people in
8 the command that the holiday, today's holiday on 15
9 April, will be celebrated in a warlike manner. We
10 expected it to be celebrated in a warlike manner in the
11 fight against the common aggressor, that is, against
12 the Chetniks, and not in a fight against the Croatian
13 people, against the officers of the Croatian people and
14 the sons of the Croatian people who are also fighting
15 the Chetniks and the common enemy. The murder in
16 Travnik was only the beginning of this dirty scenario.
17 Although evidence has been presented, the entire
18 procedure completed and conclusions signed regarding a
19 trial, it is certain that somebody did not find it fit
20 to bring to justice those who butchered the commander
21 of the Travnik Brigade, Colonel Stojak, and who
22 perpetrated a number of other acts. You have been
23 informed only about some of these acts today. The
24 burning of Croatian flags in Travnik on the Catholic
25 holiday, on Good Friday, and throughout the Easter
1 holidays, is also an indication of the extent to which
2 they are committed to a joint command and fellowship.
3 I believe that the Croatian people in these
4 territories, the Lasva region and beyond, as well as
5 international public opinion, have had an opportunity
6 to learn about this vandalism, because they celebrated
7 these acts and they flaunted a number of flags which
8 they had burned and riddled with bullets. It is very
9 likely that today certain individuals, together with
10 perpetrators of this terrible crime and butchery in
11 Zenica this morning, are celebrating their success,
12 presided over by those who issued such commands. This
13 is yet another step to their achieving their goal. I
14 would like to tell the Muslim people that they should
15 be aware of the gravity of these acts and the
16 historical responsibility to which they are being
17 pushed by this kind of leadership, headed by this kind
18 of command. The announcement to the Croatian people
19 should serve to convince the Croatian people, as it
20 certainly will, although they are already aware of
21 these events, that all the institutions of the HVO
22 still have the strength and the ability to deal with
23 such terrorists, such criminals here in this
24 territory. It is also a signal that in every place, at
25 every time, these criminals should be told in public
1 that we do not need them in our territory because
2 criminals of any nation are unwelcome on any territory.
3 I have already said that last night we received not
4 just a report but a military combat order that fire
5 should be opened on the Croatian area of Puticevo from
6 60 and 82 millimetre mortars. Those to whom the
7 command was issued did carry it out, as the citizens of
8 Travnik know full well. I think that after this, there
9 is no need for any special comments regarding any
10 negotiations with such representatives and with this
11 kind of leadership of the 3rd Corps, which has
12 obviously come here to liberate this territory from the
13 Croats, rather than from the Chetniks, because up to
14 now, they have not liberated an inch of territory from
15 the Chetniks at the front line. A number of other
16 measures which are to follow are intended to let
17 everyone know that members of such units, who have
18 committed such heinous crimes, are not welcome in this
19 territory. This is also to let all the soldiers of the
20 Croatian Defence Council know that they should treat
21 the enemy according to the instructions they have been
22 given. That's all.
23 "JOURNALIST: Thank you, Colonel. Mr. Dario
24 Kordic, you have the floor.
25 "DARIO KORDIC: Ladies and gentlemen, you
1 have seen and heard a lot of things today. I do not
2 wish to repeat some of these things. I think that
3 every normal person would find the pictures we have
4 seen today deeply moving. The Croatian people from
5 this area find them especially moving, because they
6 constitute a clear message as to what the extremist
7 Muslim forces want. According to their plans, there
8 should be no Croatian territory, and that there should
9 be no Croatian people or Croatian Defence Council in
10 the region. Along with my condolences to the families
11 of the Croatian Defence Council defenders who have been
12 killed, I would like to send a message to the Croatian
13 people that we are more united than ever and that we
14 are ready to finally fend off all enemy attacks. These
15 are the crucial days, crucial moments for the defence
16 of the Croatian territories of the Croatian Community
17 of Herceg-Bosna. Therefore, all those who want to turn
18 their weapons against the Croatian people should know
19 that the Croatian people are ready to respond to any
20 such attempt. What has happened today is clearly an
21 open declaration of war against the Croatian people,
22 against the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, by the
23 extremist Muslim forces. But unfortunately we cannot
24 say this is only the extremist Muslim forces, because
25 evidently the entire leadership of the 3rd Muslim Corps
1 is backing the 7th Muslim Brigade which has been pushed
2 into the foreground to perpetrate atrocities and commit
3 assassinations and terrorist acts, since you yourselves
4 have seen that, sadly, over 20 young men, defenders,
5 have recently lost their lives in a detestable and
6 bestial manner, treacherously killed by the enemy, the
7 Muslim extremists. They have thus demonstrated clearly
8 what kind of strategy they wish to adopt at this time.
9 They want to cause unrest among the Croatian people by
10 assassinating their leaders, brigade commanders,
11 politician and so on. I think that they have achieved
12 quite the opposite, that the Croatian people are more
13 resolute, more unified than ever. We would like to
14 tell the Croatian people that there is no cause for
15 anxiety or concern. I'm sure that the units of the
16 Croatian Defence Council are doing everything that is
17 necessary even as we speak. I'm certain that a plan
18 has been made and that the units are in full combat
19 readiness. This is also clear to our opponents who
20 have set out to attack this Croatian territory. I
21 would like this opportunity to call upon the people
22 living in our territories and that the part of the
23 Muslim people who live here on the territory of the
24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna not to join these
25 extremists, not to be led by those insane ideas, those
1 who are leading them to their deaths, to evil, and to
2 stay safe here with the Croatian people who have
3 nothing against the Muslim people, but who are against
4 those who are turning their rifles against the Croats.
5 It must be clear to everyone today what is going on and
6 who is perpetrating an aggression on this territory. I
7 think that things have gone far enough. Even more, you
8 are witnessing the fact that last night and today a
9 very serious act of aggression by the Muslim forces is
10 taking place against the Croatian territory of Konjic,
11 where a large part of the Croatian population is
12 fleeing, where atrocities have been committed in
13 Buturovic Polje, where the Croatian people are going
14 through a terrible agony in the Konjic municipality and
15 where the government of the Croatian Defence Council
16 sent a clear message to everyone at its special meeting
17 yesterday that units of the Croatian Defence Council
18 are ready to repel all the attacks on this integral
19 part of the territory of the Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna. Certainly what is happening today shows
21 that they are using this day, which is ostensibly a day
22 of celebration of this Muslim army, to give a message
23 to the Croatian people when they least expected it. I
24 think we should conclude by saying that the Croatian
25 people should now show their real strength and that in
1 the days to come, we shall transform the psychological
2 stability we have into a final victory and the survival
3 of the Croatian people in this region. Thank you.
4 "JOURNALIST: Thank you, Mr. Vice-president.
5 I would now like Mr. Ignac Kostroman to say something.
6 "IGNAC KOSTROMAN: Today, on the anniversary
7 of the establishment and organisation of the Muslim
8 forces or the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the 3rd
9 Corps of this same army of Bosnia and Herzegovina is
10 celebrating with a bloodbath. What other word can we
11 use to describe this celebration of their anniversary
12 when, as the previous speakers have pointed out, they
13 have not liberated an inch of this territory. This
14 army is watching as the helpless people of eastern
15 Bosnia are dying and suffering, and instead of turning
16 against the aggressor, they have turned against their
17 closest allies, the Croatian people and the units of
18 the Croatian Defence Council. So far, we have been
19 extremely tolerant and extremely patient. Now when you
20 see the chronology of all these events, you will see
21 that we have always tried to resolve all problems by
22 talks, and that we have tried to reason with at least
23 the sound part of the forces in the army of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Unfortunately, however, the
25 situation worsened daily. When the Muslim forces saw
1 that they could not occupy our territory by open
2 aggression, they embarked on terrorist acts with the
3 main goal of assassinating the leaders, to disorient
4 the Croatian people, to kill them, destroy them, and
5 drive them out of this region. The latest crime
6 perpetrated against the commander of the brigade in
7 Zenica, Mr. Totic, whose fate is still unknown, shows
8 that this extremist part of the Muslim forces will not
9 give up their plan. On this very day, with the way in
10 which they are celebrating their anniversary, they are
11 showing that, according to their plans, they see us as
12 worse enemies and opponents than the Chetnik forces who
13 have occupied over 60 per cent of the territory of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We made efforts to calm down the
15 Croatian people and the military units. This was our
16 duty and our right, especially as we are in the key
17 positions and the people were looking to us for
19 In these difficult and fateful times, we again would
20 like to send a message to the Croatian people that we
21 shall do what we believe is the most reasonable course
22 of action for all the people living in this territory.
23 We shall not be the first to retaliate anywhere, but
24 where a single Croat is imperilled, is threatened, we
25 shall defend him as is our right and respond with all
1 the means available to us. Therefore, we are still
2 leaving some room for those Muslim forces who are
3 reasonable in the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina to
4 reconsider their actions and to bring the war criminals
5 to justice. If they do not want to do it, we shall
6 have enough strength and means to bring all these war
7 criminals to trial before the people, starting with
8 Enver Hadzihasanovic, and Sefer Halilovic, who is
9 directly commanding the forces in Konjic, causing
10 destruction on the Croatian territory. We would like
11 to end today's discussion with the following messages:
12 The people should have confidence in us. At this time,
13 which is fateful for the Croatian people in this
14 territory, we would like to send a message that no one
15 should do anything on their own initiative because
16 there is a military command here which will take
17 certain steps to protect the Croats in this territory.
18 "JOURNALIST: The staff in Mostar, with
19 regard to the latest events and more or less what the
20 intentions are.
21 "TIHOMIR BLASKIC: The chief of the main
22 staff and the main staff in Mostar and that line of
23 defence have been informed of all this, including this
24 morning's crime which occurred, and members of the
25 Croatian Defence Council are being kept informed of
1 everything that is going on. As I have just said,
2 regardless of the gravity of this, we shall treat the
3 enemy as required by the system of control and
4 command. So all the institutions of the Croatian
5 Community of Herceg-Bosna have been informed of this
6 massacre that has occurred and of all the events that
7 followed, especially what was done by the extremist
8 section of the Muslim forces. The measures that will
9 be taken will certainly be aimed primarily at
10 protecting the Croatian people, because one of the
11 tasks of the Croatian Defence Council is certainly to
12 defend the territory and protect the people where they
14 "DARIO KORDIC: Perhaps, in the spirit of
15 your question, we should say what is happening right
16 now shows that it is the intention of the Muslim forces
17 not only to work directly against the Croatian people
18 but also to directly undermine the Vance-Owen Plan,
19 which has been signed by their president too. His
20 signature obviously means nothing either to him or to
21 his entire leadership. According to all the
22 information we have received yesterday and today, there
23 has been a general mobilisation of Muslim forces in
24 Zenica, where about 8.000 soldiers have been called up
25 and they are now moving towards the Croatian Community
1 of Herceg-Bosna. We are monitoring the situation and
2 it is certain that the Croatian people in Zenica, at
3 least in the part of Zenica where units of the Croatian
4 Defence Council are not strong enough to provide full
5 protection for the Croatian people, we shall give
6 serious consideration to the collective evacuation of
7 the Croatian population from the parts of Zenica which
8 are now under our full control. We shall inform
9 President Boban and the international and European
10 public about this, that the Croats in Zenica, in those
11 parts where they do not feel secure after these murders
12 and after this bloodbath perpetrated by
13 Mujahedin-Muslim forces, that Croats obviously cannot
14 live in those areas under such conditions, and after
15 the continuation of such activities, if they continue,
16 that is, they shall certainly be forced to make this
17 move. We wish to provide full protection to the
18 Croatian population, primarily in Zenica, where units
19 of the Croatian Defence Council, not just from Zenica
20 but from all the territories of the Croatian Community
21 of Herceg-Bosna, have the strength to resist a
22 potential aggression and protect the Croats in
23 Zenica. Therefore, we view what has been done as the
24 beginning of an aggression against the Croatian
1 "SARIC, HINA: In the last paragraph of the
2 announcement, there is a demand that all Mujahedins be
3 expelled from our territory. Will you insist on this
4 firmly and fully, at what level, and by which means?
5 "DARIO KORDIC: Not only will we insist, but
6 we shall implement this using all available means.
7 Units which are not from this area, that is, who are
8 Mujahedins or who are outside the domicile provinces of
9 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, will have to
10 leave this area using all available means.
11 "ZVONIMIR: Zvonimir Cilic, of the Vitez
12 Brigade. Could you please tell me, any one of you, it
13 doesn't matter who, will this long list of atrocities
14 and these terrible pictures be sent to the European
15 Monitoring Mission and UNPROFOR or have they already
16 been delivered to them?
17 "JOURNALIST: Are there any other
18 questions? If not, I would like to ask the Colonel to
19 tell us what is happening in Jablanica and Konjic.
20 "TIHOMIR BLASKIC: I know exactly what is
21 happening, and at 08.00 hours yesterday an order
22 arrived that large-scale attacks were to be made on the
23 Croatian territory of Konjic by the army of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina, to be specific, by the 4th Corps. The
25 forces brought to this territory to carry out such
1 crimes, who have carried out a large-scale attack, and
2 this attack went on until late last night. In the
3 meantime, we could hear that they glorified that
4 attack, because this was probably a contribution to the
5 celebration of the day of the army of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina. At the moment of the forces of the
7 Croatian Defence Council have managed to repulse an
8 attack on the area, especially the area of Jablanica,
9 which is controlled by the Croatian Defence Council,
10 and the defence lines, unfortunately held against us, I
11 say unfortunately, because this kind of combat
12 operations were not our priority, but have evidently
13 been imposed on us, are quite stable, and there will
14 certainly be further operations to protect the Croatian
15 population living in this territory. Concerning the
16 events on the stretch of territory north and northwest
17 of Konjic, I think that eyewitnesses could see the
18 extent of the offensive, where everything is being
19 burned, where the Croatian population is being forcibly
20 evicted, homes are being burned, and those who perhaps
21 stay behind because they cannot move away are disarmed
22 and forced to live under conditions which are below
23 human dignity. We are informed about all the events in
24 Jablanica and Konjic. This shelling went on until late
25 last night, especially the area of Ostrosac, a village
1 in the vicinity of which units of the Croatian Defence
2 Army are located. It has already been said that the
3 time has passed when we could refer to these as
4 incidents, because it is evident that this was a
5 planned attack, an attack primarily on the Croatian
6 people, because it affected villages and areas mostly
7 on the free territory, at least as we see it, where the
8 main forces of the Croatian Defence Council were not
9 present. But in any case, we shall know how to respond
10 to such offensive operations and will respond as the
11 attackers deserve. That is all.
12 "JOURNALIST: Thank you very much. Are
13 there any other questions? If not, thank you very
14 much, and see you on Tuesday."
15 MR. NICE: Witness N, just a few questions
16 about that press conference.
17 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment. I've got a
18 transcript which continues.
19 MR. NICE: It shouldn't. The balance relates
20 to another tape. I thought it had been cut off. It
21 relates to a later date. We will no doubt come to it
22 on a later occasion. Does it just continue over to the
23 end of the page?
24 JUDGE MAY: It goes over, on to the next
1 MR. NICE: In which case then, everything
2 below the place which we've reached should be either
3 crossed through or even cut off, and we'll deal with it
4 if and when that tape is played.
5 Q. This press conference, first of all, what
6 time do you recall it being broadcast?
7 A. It was broadcast in the evening of the 15th,
8 after 20.00.
9 Q. At the beginning there was film of the
10 incident involving Totic and the killing of the
11 guards. Was the extent of that part of the film, the
12 detail into which it went and the time that it spent
13 dealing with it, typical of broadcasts at that time or
14 was it longer than usual to focus on such matters, or
15 shorter? Tell us.
16 A. I noticed in the report that there were no
17 details regarding the officials present carrying out
18 the investigation. However, the method of reporting
19 was typical of that time. All attention focused on the
20 event that took place and all the things that
22 Q. In the course of the broadcast with the
23 various speakers, did you detect any separation of
24 powers, civil from military, in what was said by one
25 speaker or another?
1 MR. SAYERS: I must object to that question,
2 Your Honour. That --
3 JUDGE MAY: I agree. Not for the witness.
4 MR. NICE: Very well.
5 Q. The effect of this broadcast, first of all on
7 A. The effect of this broadcast was frightening,
8 in the sense that until then, in public announcements,
9 such a method of speaking to the public had not been
10 applied. After all, the tone was quieter when
11 reporting on events of this kind.
12 Q. It's been suggested this was an emergency
13 press conference. What was the frequency of press
14 conferences that were broadcast?
15 A. As I didn't watch regularly, I think that
16 they were not a daily occurrence but they were held
17 occasionally, these conferences for the press. They
18 were occasionally organised and broadcast on the local
19 media. But normally every evening there were reports
20 on events of the day, but such special press
21 conferences were not a daily occurrence.
22 Q. If and when there were press conferences
23 broadcast, was the lineup of people appearing similar
24 to or different from that which appeared on this
1 A. I noticed that Mr. Kostroman appeared most
2 frequently, as a rapporteur, at these conferences.
3 Sometimes Kordic, and I forgot to mention a moment ago
4 that Blaskic was present there too. I also mentioned
5 Mr. Cilic, who put one of the questions.
6 Q. On Mr. Kordic's clothes we could see
7 something of an arm patch. Were you able to see what
8 patch it was?
9 A. It was the patch of the HVO, the chequerboard
10 sign of the HVO.
11 Q. On this broadcast, he did not say that the
12 HVO should attack but that they should defend or repel
13 in the interests of the Croatian people. How did that
14 compare with what he generally said on television?
15 A. The usual term used was that they were
16 defending Croatian territories. There was no reference
17 made to capturing other territories, because it was
18 felt that these were territories that needed to be
19 under the control of the Croatian Community of
21 Q. Reference to the peoples on one side or
22 another, the Muslim people and the Croat people, as
23 opposed to, for example, specifying the military
24 forces, what effect did that have on you?
25 A. In such conditions, there were people who
1 helped one another. However, such assistance could be
2 given until personal security became an issue.
3 Q. Yes. And insofar as the broadcast, the
4 various speakers speak of the peoples on one side and
5 another, rather than the military forces just, or
6 rather than just the military forces. How, if at all,
7 did that affect you?
8 A. Actually, this press conference affected me
9 in such a way that the reference made to the Bosniak
10 people or the Muslim people in those days, that this
11 address to the Muslim people to renounce their -- I
12 would call it their living areas and life in those
13 areas, because what was happening all the time was
14 something we couldn't understand. That even though we
15 are an old people in those areas, we were always denied
16 our identity and the piece of land which was lawfully
17 Bosniak. Throughout not just this war but before that,
18 the existence of us as a people was challenged.
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, I'm sorry to interrupt,
20 but I think we can move on.
21 MR. NICE: Yes.
22 Q. Just one thing you may be able to help with.
23 The regular reference to "Mujahedin" and "extremists",
24 did you have experience that enabled you to say that
25 that was a fair representation of events or otherwise?
1 MR. SAYERS: Once again, I object to that,
2 Your Honour. I think that that calls for a commentary
3 on the evidence and it's a rather vague, nebulously
4 open-ended question.
5 MR. NICE: I disagree. I asked him whether
6 he had experience to say whether what was being
7 presented was accurate and fair or otherwise, and if
8 broadcasts are other than accurate and fair, they may
9 have a purpose behind them.
10 JUDGE MAY: The witness can give evidence of
11 what he saw and observed, and he can answer that
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. Witness N, I'll repeat the question. With
15 reference to the "Mujahedin" and "extremists", did you
16 have experience that enabled you to say that what was
17 being said was a fair representation of events or not?
18 A. Let me say that in the army of Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina, there were volunteers fighting within the
20 BH army ranks. Those volunteers, and even the section
21 of Muslims who regularly practised their faith, in my
22 personal opinion, were all categorised as
23 "extremists". It was sufficient for somebody to wear
24 a beard, or to pray to God in his own way, for him to
25 be labelled a Mujahedin.
1 Q. Yes, thank you. How many hours after this
2 broadcast were you aware that an attack had taken place
3 on Vitez?
4 A. The attack occurred in the morning at 5.30 on
5 the 16th, early, at 5.30, and the programme was aired
6 between 8.00 and 9.00 in the evening. So this would
7 mean eight or nine hours after this extraordinary press
9 Q. Thank you. The uniforms being worn by the
10 people at the press conference, what uniforms were
12 A. They were standard camouflage uniforms that
13 armies wore in those days. There may have been a shade
14 of difference, I don't know the details, but they were
15 standard camouflage uniforms bearing the insignia of
16 the armies they belonged to.
17 Q. The patches that you could see on the other
18 personnel there, could you see any patches on other
19 people at the meeting, or not?
20 A. In passing, and while staying in the village
21 of Ahmici, I saw individuals wearing black uniforms.
22 Later on, after the New Year of 1993, I saw individuals
23 with camouflage uniforms and a leaf on their patch, on
24 their sleeve. These were mostly near the railway
25 station in Stari Vitez and near the Impregnacija plant,
1 at the checkpoint there.
2 MR. NICE: Your Honour, paragraphs 18, 19,
3 and 20 deal with the history of this witness, but I
4 don't think they are going to add to the body of
5 evidence about these topics generally. It's available
6 to be asked about if it falls within the Tribunal's
7 discretion that the matters can be explored, but I
8 don't need to take them from this witness.
9 JUDGE MAY: No, we have heard evidence about
10 these matters. Is that all that you want to ask?
11 MR. NICE: Yes, it is.
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, that would be a convenient
13 moment for a further break before cross-examination.
14 Mr. Sayers, I hope that we can deal with all
15 cross-examination by the luncheon adjournment.
16 We will adjourn now for a quarter of an
18 --- Recess taken at 11.25 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.43 a.m.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
21 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, if I might just
22 pass out for the Court and for the Prosecution and
23 co-defendants the introduction that was given to the
24 press conference which was part of the Kupreskic
25 exhibit, and also the memorandum that I referred to
1 containing the Translation Unit's views on the
2 translation issue I earlier raised.
3 JUDGE MAY: I take it the tape was
4 Exhibit 665; is that right?
5 MR. NICE: Yes.
6 JUDGE MAY: And the transcripts 665,1, 2, and
7 3. This can be attached -- and there's no dispute
8 about this, I take it?
9 MR. NICE: No.
10 JUDGE MAY: What would be a suitable number
11 for this one?
12 MR. NICE: The sensible thing would really be
13 to make the first part of it part of 665,3 -- in fact,
14 why don't we make it all part of 665,3, if that's not
15 going to cause the Registry difficulties, rather than
16 give it a separate number. But if it is going to
17 create difficulty, then let it be 665,3-1, whatever is
18 most convenient for the Registry, for their logging of
20 JUDGE MAY: It may be most convenient,
21 665,3-1. We will all remember where it in fact goes.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
24 Q. Witness N, good morning. My name is Stephen
25 Sayers. I'm one of the attorneys representing Dario
1 Kordic. Over to my left here are the attorneys
2 representing Mario Cerkez.
3 Let me begin by asking you a few, and only a
4 few, general questions, sir. As I understand it, sir,
5 there are four separate production factories in the
6 town of Vitez. The first is the Vitezit factory; is
7 that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And that factory manufactures, amongst other
10 things, industrial and military explosives; correct?
11 A. Industrial explosives.
12 Q. All right. The second factory is the
13 Sintevit factory; correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And that, I believe, concentrates upon the
16 manufacture of plastics?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Then we have a rather larger institution,
19 more diversified institution, called the Slobodan
20 Princip Seljo factory; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And one of the things that this factory
23 manufactures is nitroglycerine-based gunpowder that is
24 required for artillery rounds and also infantry
25 ammunition; correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And then the final production facility is the
3 Impregnacija facility. I'm not clear what that factory
4 actually manufactures. Could you please tell the
6 A. The Impregnacija company was not part of this
7 company. It was a facility that did with -- worked
8 with wood. It was lumber, parquet floors, and it was
9 also impregnated railroad ties and telephone and
10 telegraph poles, things like that. But it was not part
11 of that same complex.
12 Q. In other words, it had no military function?
13 A. Impregnacija did not have a military
14 function, no.
15 Q. You have talked about the elections that were
16 held in 1990. They were followed by, in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, by the secession from the Federal
18 Republic of Yugoslavia of the countries of Croatia and
19 Slovenia; is that correct?
20 A. We do not call it "secession." We say that
21 the population, through the elections, voted for its
22 own state. We never use the word "secession."
23 Q. Thank you very much, Witness N. It would be
24 fair to say, though, that the Federal Republic of
25 Yugoslavia, the Socialist Federal Republic, was
1 essentially in a state of disintegration by the middle
2 of 1991 and early 1992; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, the elections led to a civilian
5 government in Vitez, and as I understand it, the
6 president of the municipality was Ivica Santic?
7 A. Ivica Santic, yes.
8 Q. Would you describe him as the most prominent
9 Croat politician in Vitez?
10 A. Yes. At that time, yes.
11 Q. And his colleagues, I believe, were Pero
12 Skopljak, amongst others?
13 A. Pero Skopljak, Anto Valenta, and some
14 others. I couldn't [sic] name them too, because I'm
15 from Vitez, so I know quite a few people.
16 Q. Now, the people that we've just mentioned,
17 were any of those in the HVO, the military arm, if you
18 like, of the Croat authorities?
19 A. At that time, it was usual for people to wear
20 camouflage uniforms, so I cannot say precisely yes or
21 no, but occasionally they would wear camouflage
22 uniforms with the HVO insignia. I am not familiar with
23 the later organisation, so what certain individuals did
24 by wearing a camouflage uniform.
25 Q. You would agree that just because you
1 happened to be attired in a uniform during this period,
2 1992 and 1993, did not necessarily mean that you were
3 actually in the military forces; isn't that correct?
4 A. But all announcements or pronouncements were
5 accompanied by the HVO signature, and to me, that
6 symbolised the military -- or this military component
7 of it.
8 Q. I understand, sir, but the question that I
9 asked you is a little bit more general than that. Just
10 because someone was wearing a uniform or seen in a
11 uniform -- or camouflage clothing, to be more
12 accurate -- during this period of time did not
13 necessarily mean that that person was in the armed
14 forces on either side, because basically that was the
15 normal type of clothing that you expected to see people
16 in, in everyday life; isn't that correct?
17 A. You could say it that way too, because we did
18 not know details.
19 Q. All right. Let me just turn your attention
20 to a specific period about which there has been some
21 discussion, and I don't think that the precise
22 chronology of events is yet clear. I would like to
23 clear it up with you, if I can.
24 In the early summer of 1992, would you agree
25 that this was a time of great chaos and confusion in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina generally?
2 A. No.
3 Q. You wouldn't? All right. Wouldn't you agree
4 that a state of an imminent threat of war had been
5 declared by President Izetbegovic on April the 9th of
6 1992, sir?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. This was only one month after the referendum,
9 or actually one month after the formal declaration of
10 the independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
11 isn't that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. All right. And as we all know, the capital
14 of the country, Sarajevo, had been surrounded by
15 Bosnian Serb forces which were launching a violent
16 military attack upon the capital and besieging it;
17 isn't that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, the Trial Chamber knows that the HVO
20 authorities assumed control of the local government in
21 Vitez on the 20th of June, 1992. Is that broadly
22 consistent with your recollection, sir?
23 A. That is how it was. This is how it was. You
24 have somewhere the exact date. It must be written down
25 somewhere. I just know that it was sometime in late
1 June. I know that the legally elected Bosniak
2 representatives, from that date on, were forbidden to
3 enter the municipal building, and there was a document
4 which they were supposed to sign. If they signed it,
5 they were allowed to enter the building, those who had
6 signed this document.
7 Q. All right. It was actually the date of June
8 the 20th that I was concentrating upon, because I want
9 you to agree with me that that was the date upon which
10 President Izetbegovic actually declared that a state of
11 war existed in your country; isn't that correct?
12 A. I don't know whether those two dates are
13 identical. I did not keep a journal, so I did not make
14 any entries which I would be able to check to see
15 whether those two dates were identical.
16 MR. SAYERS: Just to establish this point,
17 may it please the Court, I'd like to have one exhibit
18 marked, which is an order issued on June the 20th of
19 1992, an order of general mobilisation. I would also
20 like the witness to be shown Exhibit D17-1,2.
21 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Sayers, before we do
22 that, I wonder if there's much point in this. This
23 witness has not, in fact, given any great evidence, if
24 at all, about the background. The evidence which he's
25 given has really concentrated merely on the
1 presentation of the video and events about that time.
2 I note that these are questions which you have asked
3 other witnesses, and I wonder if there is a great deal
4 of point in going over this particular matter with
5 witness after witness.
6 What I have in mind is this: that you can
7 call your own evidence on this particular topic. We
8 will have a chance of comparing such evidence as there
9 has been, but I don't think it's really taking us much
10 further to argue these points with particular
11 witnesses, especially when they haven't dealt in any
12 detail with the background. So shall we move on?
13 MR. SAYERS: I'm entirely in agreement with
14 Your Honour. I wanted to establish that particular
15 point, because I do not believe that particular point
16 has been established by the evidence yet. I don't
17 think there's dispute about it and I will move on.
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
19 MR. SAYERS:
20 Q. Witness N, it is true that you actually never
21 lost your job before the outbreak of hostilities on
22 April the 16th, isn't that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. All right. Now, turning to the authorities
25 in Vitez, who actually was the head of the HDZ party in
1 Vitez in 1992 and 1993?
2 A. At first it was Mr. Ivica Santic, and after
3 him it was Pero Skopljak. I'm not sure about Anto
4 Valenta, because I was not a member of the party. I
5 was not in meetings where I would get in touch with any
6 of the officials, so I only know of Ivica Santic and
7 Pero Skopljak having been the leaders of the HDZ.
8 Q. All right. Would it be fair to say then that
9 you don't really know very much about the internal
10 organisation and the actual offices that people held
11 within the HDZ BiH party?
12 A. I don't know many details. In my testimony,
13 I mentioned events which I experienced firsthand. As
14 to the background of these events, there are many other
15 witnesses who know much more about this, those who were
16 members in the SDS or HDZ and other parties, and who,
17 by being in all these meetings, would be able to deal
18 in much more depth with these issues.
19 Q. All right. And the same answer, I take it,
20 sir, goes for your knowledge of the HVO and also the
21 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. You don't really
22 know, yourself, about too many details, and who held
23 what post and when; correct?
24 A. I know who was president of the Croatian
25 Community of Herceg-Bosna in those days; it was Mate
1 Boban. I know that at first the headquarters -- the
2 focus was on the protection of cultural values,
3 language, and other such things, for in those days, the
4 Muslims too had activated their society, Merhamet.
5 Then there was Preporod by the Serb side. This was
6 their cultural society.
7 While there were discussions on cultural
8 matters, there were no conflicts; but the moment the
9 discussions turned to the state organisation of
10 Herceg-Bosna, then the problems arose which we are
11 dealing with here.
12 Q. Let me just mention one of the comments that
13 was made by Mr. Kordic, on page 21 of the transcript
14 that has been marked as Exhibit Z665.1.
15 Mr. Kordic is referring to terrible agony in
16 the Konjic municipality. Did you know that Konjic had
17 been attacked on April 14th by Muslim forces, sir?
18 A. I'm not prone to use the term "attack". In
19 my testimony, I use words saying that throughout the
20 federation of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina there
21 were conflicts where the HDZ had majority rule, and on
22 that basis, he wanted to organise everything from the
23 economy, the people, everything.
24 Q. In connection with the comments that were
25 made by Mr. Kordic, he goes on to say that:
1 "The government of the Croatian Defence
2 Council had sent a clear message to everyone at its
3 special meeting yesterday."
4 Who was the head of the government of the
5 Croatian Defence Council, sir, do you know?
6 A. Where?
7 Q. Who was the head of the government of the
8 Croatian Defence Council, if you know?
9 A. For a time -- you mean Herceg-Bosna or
10 Vitez? In Vitez it was Ivica Santic.
11 Q. You've already said that, and I think you've
12 already identified who the head of the HZ-HB was, so
13 let me move on.
14 You were a member of the coordination
15 committee for the protection of Muslims, I believe.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. There were 18 members on that committee, one
18 of whom was Sefkija Dzidic; correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Mr. Dzidic had actually replaced Mr. Cengic
21 as commander of territorial defence forces before the
22 blockade incident on October the 19th and 20th, 1992;
23 is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Before the blockade incident that I have just
1 mentioned, the headquarters of the Territorial Defence
2 forces was actually at the Boris Kidric High School in
3 Vitez; correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And after the barricade incident, that
6 headquarters was relocated to Stari Vitez, initially in
7 the house of ...
8 MR. SAYERS: If I may write this down, Your
9 Honour, and have it shown to the witness.
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. SAYES:
12 Q. You gave some evidence concerning an order
13 that had supposedly been issued by a gentleman named
14 Bozo Rajic. It's true, is it not, sir, that Mr. Rajic
15 was the Minister of Defence of the government of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you know that Mr. Rajic was also a
19 vice-president of the HZ-HB?
20 A. I wasn't aware of that detail. I wasn't
21 following so closely.
22 Q. All right. I didn't follow your evidence
23 regarding when you saw this order, but let me suggest
24 to you that the order was issued, if at all, in January
25 of 1993. Is that consistent with your recollection?
1 A. In my statement, I didn't say I had seen the
2 order, but that at the meeting held in October,
3 reference was made to the uniting of the BH army and
4 the HVO in territories where the HDZ had legally won
5 the majority in those municipalities. However, I
6 didn't see the written instructions, because I was not
7 a member of any such bodies where this would be
9 Q. Then that need not detain us very long, sir.
10 Let me move on to the next subject.
11 You touched briefly upon the first incident
12 of conflict that broke out between armed forces of the
13 HVO and the Territorial Defence in your municipality,
14 and that occurred on October the 19th or 20th, 1992.
15 Do you remember that? That's correct, is it not?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. It is true, is it not, that an HVO troop
18 convoy headed westward was stopped at gunpoint by
19 forces of the Territorial Defence; correct?
20 A. No.
21 Q. It was not stopped?
22 A. No. No. It wasn't stopped by the
23 Territorial Defence. That's what I meant.
24 Q. All right. By whom was it stopped then?
25 A. That convoy was stopped because in those
1 days, massive layoffs were being done of Bosniaks in
2 Impregnacija and other companies, and it was customary
3 for there to be roadblocks at every 500 to 1.000
4 metres, and then a group of people from Ahmici had set
5 up this roadblock.
6 As far as I know, in this conflict, which was
7 not a very fierce one, because it was probably halted
8 on time, I don't know by whom, so that a couple of
9 houses were damaged. I don't know whether anyone was
10 injured or killed that evening because immediately
11 after that conflict, we went to the village of Ahmici
12 and spoke to the villagers, asking them to calm things
13 down and that such things should not happen again. We
14 even jointly organised the repairing of damaged houses
15 by polling our efforts and funds.
16 Q. All right. And the explanation for the
17 barricade, that you've just given, was that, broadly
18 speaking, the view of all of your colleagues on the
19 coordination committee for the protection of Muslims,
20 as far as you can tell?
21 A. Regarding the barricade?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. I did not attend any meeting at which
24 instructions were given to build a roadblock.
25 Q. All right. You have never heard that those
1 instructions were actually issued by
2 General Hadzihasanovic in Zenica, from the headquarters
3 of the 3rd Corps, I take it?
4 A. I heard later that it was Hadzihasanovic who
5 had actually issued instructions not to put up
6 barricades. It was because of that that the problem
7 had arisen, the fact that this had happened in this
8 village in such a way.
9 Q. Five or six days after the barricade
10 incident, you actually participated in negotiations
11 with local residents of the village of Ahmici and
13 JUDGE MAY: He's said that he did. Again,
14 we've heard much evidence about this barricade and the
15 events relating to it. I wonder if we really need go
16 over it again.
17 MR. SAYERS: Only one point that I was
18 interested in covering that I do not believe has been
19 covered with previous witnesses, if it pleases the
21 Q. I'd just like to ask you two questions on
22 this. You actually spoke at the house of Ivo Papic,
23 did you not, and there were discussions between him, a
24 man named Kupreskic spoke up, along with a man by the
25 name of Fuad Berbic as well; isn't that correct?
1 A. Yes. May I explain a little?
2 JUDGE MAY: Is there any particular point to
4 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
5 Q. The second question was: Basically, what you
6 were trying to do is to get an agreement between all
7 the local residents of Ahmici that they wouldn't fight
8 each other in the future; isn't that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. SAYERS: That's the only issue.
11 JUDGE MAY: Do you want to add anything to
13 A. There is no need to add because the names
14 were mentioned. Vlatko Kupreskic was mentioned, Ivo
15 Papic. So there's no need.
16 MR. SAYERS:
17 Q. All right. Moving on in time to January of
18 1993, you and your colleagues formed a war presidency
19 in Vitez at that time, is that correct, sir?
20 A. The war presidency was formed but not by me,
21 because I wasn't in the executive board of the party.
22 I said that there was a misinterpretation there in my
23 statement, because I wasn't a member of the executive
24 board of the party or a member of the party at all.
25 It was the executive board of the party that
1 formed the war presidency at the beginning of January
2 or the end of December, and from that moment when the
3 presidency was formed, then the executive board was
4 elected among the legally-elected Bosniaks who had
5 stayed behind, and that is when that body started to
7 Q. All right. You were actually a member of the
8 war presidency itself, weren't you?
9 A. No.
10 Q. You were not. All right. Let me ask you:
11 Your focus, if you like, is really on the municipality
12 of Vitez. Did you hear that fighting had broken out,
13 towards the end of January, in the adjoining
14 municipality of Busovaca?
15 A. I had heard of the conflicts in Busovaca, in
16 Novi Travnik, in Stupni Do, later Ovnak, and all these
17 things. In those days, there was information provided
18 regarding many events that took place at the time.
19 Q. It would be fair to say, though, that because
20 you lived in an adjoining municipality, you didn't
21 really know any details concerning the fighting that
22 had broken out in Busovaca in January of 1993? That
23 would be say to say, wouldn't it?
24 A. I didn't know the details. I knew that
25 fighting had broken out as a report.
1 Q. It would be equally fair to say, sir, that
2 you really did not know very much about the municipal
3 government of the municipality of Busovaca, who held
4 what post or when, isn't that true?
5 A. No. That didn't even interest me.
6 Q. All right. You heard, on the press
7 conference that you were asked to sit through, comments
8 made by all of the speakers regarding acts perpetrated
9 by Muslim extremists. You didn't condone, yourself,
10 any of the acts of these extremists, such as the one
11 that was shown right at the beginning of the tape, with
12 those four people riddled with bullets, you didn't
13 condone that kind of action, did you, sir?
14 A. If you followed closely, I said that it was
15 customary to speak of incidents on both sides, and it
16 was customary for both sides to justify their moves in
17 military terms. The reasons can be given by the
18 gentleman from the military who participated in this.
19 Q. That would be Colonel Blaskic, I take it,
20 insofar as this particular --
21 A. Blaskic and Cerkez.
22 Q. Let's me turn to the part of the conference
23 which Mr. Kordic addressed. He didn't utter any
24 threats of initiating attacks on the Muslim people, and
25 he never did when you saw him on press conferences.
1 Isn't that a true statement?
2 A. Mr. Kordic didn't say something in so many
3 words, but the tone he used, for me, was unusual. The
4 tone of that announcement at the press conference, and
5 in view of everything that was going on, in my
6 statement I conveyed my thoughts as to how I thought
7 about it at the time. Let me repeat a saying that we
8 use in Bosnia. It didn't smell of good things to
9 come. It didn't bode well for the future.
10 Q. All right. You gave a statement first on
11 February the 28th, 1995, and July the 15th, 1995, to
12 the investigators helping the Prosecution, and you
13 said, on page 5, that:
14 "Mr. Kordic did not say that the HVO should
15 attack but the HVO must defend the interests of the
16 Croatian people. He always said this on television."
17 Now, that's a truthful statement, isn't it?
18 A. That was stated in my testimony here too, but
19 it is well known that official announcements and
20 concrete acts in practice did not coincide, nor were
21 they, let me say, identical or synchronised.
22 Q. Well, we've all seen the videotape of the
23 press conference, and we've all seen the demeanour of
24 the people at this press conference. I think that you
25 would agree that Mr. Kordic's style was fairly calm and
1 rational, and that's consistent with the demeanour that
2 you saw him demonstrate at other press conferences
3 throughout 1993, isn't that true?
4 A. His style was not pacifying, in my view.
5 Q. Well, you never saw him on the television
6 ranting and raving and pounding the table, so to speak,
7 did you?
8 A. That depends on the temperament of the
10 Q. But you never saw Mr. Kordic, on the TV
11 programmes that you saw, the press conferences and so
12 forth, you never saw him demonstrate a demeanour that
13 was significantly different from what we saw today, did
14 you, calm, rational, not angry? Isn't that true?
15 A. In my statement, I said that I watched those
16 conferences only rarely. When there was a line-up of
17 the brigade in Vitez, I wasn't present at the stadium,
18 but --
19 Q. Well, Witness N, let me just interrupt. You
20 said that you saw Mr. Kordic occasionally on press
21 conferences, and what I'd like you to agree to is this,
22 that he was never other than you saw him on this
23 particular press conference: calm, rational, not
24 angry, self-contained; isn't that correct?
25 A. What I saw among the conferences, he used a
1 sharp tone, but he didn't bang his fist on the table.
2 Q. All right.
3 At page 22 of the transcript, Colonel Blaskic
4 referred to having informed the chief of the main staff
5 in Mostar about what was going on. Do you know who the
6 chief of the HVO general staff in Mostar was, sir? I
7 know that you've said you're not a military man.
8 A. No.
9 Q. All right.
10 A. No, no, I really don't know.
11 Q. All right. You mentioned Anto Valenta during
12 your testimony, and you made a reference to a book that
13 Mr. Valenta had written. That book was written,
14 actually, before the referendum that was held in early
15 1992; isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The book was written in fact in 1991, and it
18 expressed his own personal views, didn't it?
19 A. When I read it, knowing Anto Valenta as an
20 engineer of technology who never studied history and
21 geography, it was a surprise for me that Mr. Valenta
22 should have written such a book.
23 Q. All right. Did you know that Mr. Valenta had
24 actually never held any office in the Croatian
25 Community of Herceg-Bosna?
1 A. At the time, I knew that he had a position in
2 a hierarchy other than the municipal hierarchy, but
3 which one, I don't know, whether he was in the main
4 board or something like that. But I know that he held
5 some sort of a position at a higher level than the
7 Q. All right. Did you know that Mr. Valenta had
8 never held any office in the political party, the HDZ
10 A. As he was a member in the hierarchy, he had
11 some political duties, because usually people in
12 executive boards of parties had political duties. That
13 was their main role.
14 Q. This gentleman, Mr. Valenta, is currently a
15 member of the committee on borders of the Federation of
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina, isn't he? Right?
17 A. Yes, I know that from the press.
18 Q. But he's still an expert on certain matters
19 who actually works for the present government of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina; correct?
22 A. I wouldn't say that he was an expert, but
23 he's at the head of an expert team, and those team
24 members prepare the specialised material on the basis
25 of which the lines were drawn between the Republic of
1 Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. All that I have been
2 able to see in the press of both Croatia and Bosnia
3 shows that the institute in Split was involved, also
4 institutions in Zagreb, some institutes in Zagreb. So
5 in my view, that agreement was based on concrete data,
6 and I would be free to say that those borders were
7 fixed without any problems.
8 Q. I don't mean to interrupt you, but you're
9 sort of straying from the question.
10 MR. SAYERS: Just for the Trial Chamber's
11 information, I have about five minutes of questions on
12 this particular book, about two minutes of questions on
13 the final subject, and I should be through before
14 20 to 1.
15 Q. If I might show you the book that's already
16 in evidence, at least my -- I've highlighted certain
17 portions of it to facilitate quick travel through here;
18 I think it's Z9. And I might point out, I don't know
19 whether the part of this book that -- whether the
20 version of this book that's been entered into evidence
21 is complete or not. The version that we have is
22 actually incomplete; it lacks the final pages and
24 If we could just turn to the first item that
25 I've tabbed, sir, and I've highlighted it in yellow,
1 you would agree that Mr. Valenta --
2 MR. NICE: May I have page references so that
3 I can follow, please?
4 MR. SAYERS: Yes. In the version we have,
5 there is no actual page number, but there is an ERN
6 number, and it is 00257120.
7 Q. The book is dedicated as follows, is it not,
8 sir: "I dedicate this book to my sons and my --"
9 A. Yes, that's correct. This is a quote from
10 this book.
11 Q. And the dedication finishes with the hope
12 that they will never experience war in this region.
13 Isn't that correct?
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. And you certainly agree --
16 A. That is it. That is on the first page.
17 Q. Yes, and you agreed with that when you read
18 the book, didn't you?
19 A. The first page.
20 Q. The point is, you agree with that sentiment,
21 don't you, sir?
22 A. It is like a motto of a book, and from the
23 human state, point, this is a very nice motto to have
24 put on the cover.
25 Q. All right. I'd like you to turn to page 4 in
1 the Croatian version, the next page that I have
2 highlighted. In his introductory comments, Mr. Valenta
3 makes this point: "I am not insisting on any of the
4 concepts. Most of them are just options for the
5 regional partition of BH within the existing borders.
6 The reader will draw his own conclusion."
7 Mr. Valenta did not insist upon any of the
8 ideas in this book; it was merely a description of
9 certain options that were open to the emerging Republic
10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina before the actual referendum was
11 held in the end of February and early March, 1992.
12 Isn't that correct, sir?
13 A. In my statement, I said that in reading the
14 book, this was unusual, because it took a standpoint
15 which was never done before with respect to the
16 population in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from that
17 point of view, it was a surprise. And I also now
18 recall that throughout the book, that is how it was
19 put, that these were ideas that could be seen
20 throughout the book, that it could be this way, it
21 could be that way. But what I said was that the ideas
22 have been followed to its consequences from the book,
23 which ended up in ethnic cleansing.
24 Q. At the time that this book was written, it's
25 true that the SDS political party representing the
1 Bosnian Serbs, and the Bosnian Serb people themselves,
2 had actually virtually unanimously refused to endorse
3 the concept of the independence of Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina; isn't that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And in fact --
7 A. And they also did not recognise the
8 independence of Croatia.
9 Q. And it's true --
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,
11 regarding this point, I should like the witness to be
12 asked to clarify what he said on two occasions, I
13 think, in his examination-in-chief and now in the
14 cross-examination, that when he read this book, he
15 found that it was unusual; he was surprised that it
16 addressed these problems in this way.
17 Does that mean, Witness N, that for you, the
18 various ethnicities or people of different ethnic
19 background are naturally called to live together rather
20 than to be separated? Is that how you saw things
21 before reading this book?
22 A. The way I used to view these issues before
23 having read the book are the same as I still hold now.
24 But what I can say is, with respect to Central Bosnia,
25 Bosniaks and Croats always lived there and lived
1 there -- got along very well. Even after everything
2 that has happened, there are many citizens of Croat
3 background in the territory of Vitez municipality who
4 have not changed a lot in their views -- at least those
5 who I come across, those whom I had relationships with
6 before the war, during the school years, and now, and
7 those who had come from some other places as well. My
8 personal view is --
9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 MR. SAYERS:
11 Q. Let me just ask you to turn, if I may, to
12 pages 44 and 45 of the Croatian version.
13 Mr. Valenta makes the observations as
14 follows, sir: If we bear in mind the truth that war
15 solves nothing and that, to the contrary, everybody
16 loses in a civil war, those articulate two ideas
17 that -- with which you completely agree; isn't that
19 MR. SAYERS: This is page 24 of the English
20 version; I'm sorry, Your Honours.
21 A. It is true that nothing is resolved by war,
22 that everybody loses in a war. But it is also true,
23 unfortunately, that the war did take place there.
24 Q. And Mr. Valenta goes on to say that -- let us
25 force ourselves to think about that possibility, the
1 possibility of a theoretical solution that he has
2 earlier referred to, for the sake of the future of all
3 three peoples. Let us think about it in order to
4 protect hundreds of thousands of young people who would
5 be killed in a stupid civil war.
6 He also advocates ridding ourselves
7 collectively of any Greater Croatian, Greater Serbian,
8 or Greater Muslim egoism. You agree with all of those
9 sentiments as well, don't you?
10 A. Why didn't they then exist in many practical
11 matters, on things that are not part of what the last
12 sentence talks about? In terms of practical politics,
13 this is my own question, but I'm a witness of the fact
14 that the actions were different from what was written
15 here, which is -- everything that is written here is
16 fine, but the actual events went in a different
18 Q. All right. And the last question I have on
19 this subject concerns the conclusion, which we don't
20 have, but we have an English translation of it, and
21 basically, Mr. Valenta says, after expressing the ideas
22 outlined in his book, that is why we must seek ways to
23 create a happier life with independence and sovereignty
24 for each nation. We must also help one another to
25 accomplish that. The future will show us how and
1 whether we shall succeed.
2 He concludes -- and this is on page 49 of the
3 version -- that the wish to divide Herceg-Bosna into a
4 Muslim, a Serbian, and a Croatian region within the
5 borders of the republic should be verified by a
7 You have never heard Mr. Valenta at any time
8 advocate the implementation of the ideas that he sets
9 out in this book -- and some of which I've just read to
10 you -- through the use of force, have you?
11 A. Here I have to take a step back. I keep
12 saying that we would have been all very fortunate had
13 everybody followed, in practical terms, what people
14 were preaching. All this was a political war as much
15 as it was a war for territories and everything else.
16 Q. Thank you very much indeed, Witness N.
17 MR. SAYERS: It looks like the last topic
18 that I had intended to cover with Witness N probably
19 would not advance the ball very much, and I have no
20 further questions, therefore, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
22 Mr. Kovacic?
23 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
25 MR. SAYERS: I think the transcript needs to
1 be redacted from that inadvertent mention of the name
2 of the witness, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MAY: There's nothing on the
5 MR. KOVACIC: And I apologise, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MAY: The video must be redacted,
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Witness N, I will address
11 you with the pseudonym which you got. I am Mr. Bozidar
12 Kovacic, and alongside Mr. Mikulicic, I represent
13 Mr. Cerkez. I only have a few clarifications for you,
14 and the first one is you spent some time giving
15 evidence on the Valenta book, both with the Prosecution
16 and now with the Defence. From the copy of the book
17 which I have, I see that the book was published,
18 according to the regulations of that time, by a
19 decision of the Ministry of Culture, Sport, of the
20 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So it's not any
21 legal pamphlet or anything else?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Will you agree with me that the author of the
24 book, Anto Valenta, is a historian who is an amateur,
25 which is also put forth by the person who wrote the
1 introduction to the book?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You mentioned that in Vitez, in October 1992,
4 there were some meetings where people were looking for
5 certain solutions, and you mentioned that one of the
6 proposed solutions was for the military personnel to
7 wear two badges, two different insignia.
8 Do you also know of another attempt at
9 compromise, that instead of HVO, a name HMVO be used?
10 A. No, I do not recall that, but I did not
11 attend any military meetings.
12 Q. In one of the meetings which was attended by
13 both the civilians and the military, where Mr. Cilic
14 was also present, did he propose such a thing? Does
15 that bring any memories back?
16 A. I was only present at the first meeting, not
17 at the second. I told you what was spoken during the
18 first meeting. Then the meeting was interrupted, and
19 the politicians of the Bosniak people and the SDA went
20 in the field, so to speak, for consultations, to see
21 what to do next.
22 Q. Could we then agree that in this meeting no
23 solution was forced, or in these meetings -- perhaps
24 that's how we should phrase it -- but, rather, common
25 solution sought?
1 A. There were some solutions sought in the first
3 Q. But there were also attempts to find some
4 solutions too?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You also mentioned the coordinating committee
7 for the protection of Muslims. It was active between
8 July and December of 1992?
9 A. Yes, until December 1992.
10 Q. Can you tell me, did the local government in
11 Vitez do anything to suppress or prevent the activities
12 of this committee?
13 A. At first we met in the municipal building. I
14 think this was in July. Then we were forbidden to meet
15 there, so we moved to the premises of the Merhamet
16 organisation, which was in the fire station building.
17 Q. So the HVO government in Vitez changed its
18 position regarding the premises, that is, the offices
19 which would be used but not with respect to its
21 A. At that time, the Bosniak representatives had
22 been ousted from the local government and all
23 activities took place in the Old Vitez.
24 Q. At the time when this committee was active
25 and an attempt at having a parallel government, as you
1 said, was there any administrating communication with
2 Sarajevo? Did the administrative communication links
3 operate at that time?
4 A. I am going to say yes, but I want to clarify
5 it. I do not want to agree that the Bosniaks formed a
6 parallel government. We never accepted that. One of
7 the issues over which we had misunderstandings was this
8 too, because Bosniaks held the position that the only
9 legal power was the one which had been elected in the
10 first open, free elections, and that its
11 representatives were the only legal ones, and any other
12 constructs we found illegal.
13 Q. ... was the political position but the
14 factual situation was different, and you just described
15 a portion of that.
16 A. Later on, when the war was declared, then the
17 presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through its
18 decrees, it assumed the position of the assembly and
19 then things followed as we know them.
20 Q. Very well. Thank you. You said, at one
21 point during your evidence, that the identity of the
22 Muslim people was always questioned as one of the
23 constituent peoples. Isn't that true that the Bosnian
24 Muslims were declared a nation in the 1960s, in the
25 former Yugoslavia?
1 A. This was in 1974.
2 Q. Yes, but through the constitution it was
3 legalised for the first time.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. But in that sense, the position of Muslims in
6 the former Yugoslavia was somewhat different than the
7 other -- that is, they were the only nation which had
8 its religion as the basic identifying trait?
9 A. No. I don't agree with that.
10 Q. All right. Let's move on to another area.
11 You said, and would you agree, that the 7th Muslim
12 Brigade, which were -- where the Mujahedins also were,
13 do you agree that even Muslims considered this unit to
14 be an extremist one?
15 A. No.
16 Q. This was not a generally shared opinion?
17 A. No. No, it wasn't. As a civilian, I do not
18 even know that there was any military formation as
19 Mujahedin. I never even attended any meetings, let
20 alone know of any military operations.
21 Q. But in talking to friends and
22 acquaintances --
23 A. I know that there was the 7th Muslim
24 Brigade. It was an armed component of the BH army, and
25 what people said was that it did have religious rituals
1 that it was conducting within the unit, but that was
2 nothing special because in other ethnic groups similar
3 things were also done.
4 Q. You mentioned the barricade near Ahmici,
5 below Ahmici, in October of 1992. Do you know that on
6 those same days, the 19th and 20th of October, there
7 was another barricade controlled by the Territorial
8 Defence, that is, the BH army, further down the road
9 near Bila, near the GP Bosna location?
10 A. I saw this on local television. It was shown
11 on local television.
12 Q. So there were two barricades?
13 A. This was shown on television.
14 Q. Witness N, you pointed out that you were from
15 Vitez and that you knew the situation in Vitez so far
16 as you did, and is it true then, in 1992 and until
17 16 April, 1993, when the conflict broke out between
18 these two ethnic groups, that throughout this period,
19 in spite of the incidents in Vitez, in spite of the
20 open conflict between these two ethnic groups in
21 other -- even some of the surrounding municipalities,
22 the politicians maintained dialogue, and they managed
23 to keep things under a certain degree of control? Do
24 you agree what that?
25 A. I can agree partially, but I need to add
1 something with respect to the barricades. This was at
2 the time when certain Bosniak and certain Croatian
3 areas were protected by these barricades, so people
4 should not be surprised by certain barricades being
5 here or there.
6 There was a barricade near Impregnacija, and
7 then there was one towards Rijeka, one towards
8 Kruscica. We're talking about the populated areas that
9 were ours. That was the usual thing. It was also
10 usual for people to pass through. People were just
11 checking identities and things.
12 Q. But there was no widespread conflict in the
13 Vitez municipality?
14 A. Until the 16th, no, there was not. There
15 were attempts made for it not to ever take place. I'm
16 sorry for banging on the desk. There were such
17 attempts. On the 15th, a joint statement was issued
18 that the talks would continue between the HDZ and SDA
19 regarding the continuation of negotiations aimed at
20 preventing the break-up of the conflict.
21 Q. Witness N, I only have a couple of questions
22 for you in another area. You knew the Cerkez family
23 before the war?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Is it true that Cerkez's parents, for a while
1 after having moved to Vitez in the early 1960s, were
2 subletting your apartment?
3 A. It was my wife's apartment.
4 Q. So you know them?
5 A. The parents both worked at the post office,
6 and Mario Cerkez worked in the factory.
7 Q. Did you know Mario Cerkez from his
9 A. No. When he first moved there, I was away
10 studying, but then when I came back and when I married,
11 then I met them.
12 Q. So you knew him as a young man. Very well.
13 Did you notice in the family, among any members, any
14 prejudice against Bosnian Muslims or any ethnic groups
15 who lived there?
16 A. It is interesting to point out that until
17 this time, no differences were ever noticed, not in
18 conversation or in any kind of communication. It was
19 only later. So in 1992 and later, all this came to the
21 Q. Are you trying to say that Mario Cerkez and
22 his family were not an exception to this general rule?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Very well. One more question. You mentioned
25 that Cerkez was at this meeting attended by other
1 persons on the Croatian side. You said that Valenta
2 was there, and Skopljak was there, Santic.
3 A. Zvonko Cilic was there.
4 Q. I'm interested in Mario Cerkez's presence.
5 Did he attend there as a speaker? Was he there as a
6 representative of the military component?
7 A. He was a representative of the military
9 Q. Do you recall, who was his military superior
10 in Vitez at the level of the municipality?
11 A. I assumed that it was Mr. Blaskic.
12 Q. Do you recall that Marijan Skopljak was the
13 head of the chief of staff and Cerkez was his deputy?
14 A. You mean Pero Skopljak's brother, that
16 Q. The one that worked with you?
17 A. Yes, Pero Skopljak's brother. I only know
18 that he wore a military uniform, but what he was in
19 command of, I really don't know. I believe that at
20 that time he was the chief of staff at the HVO. I know
21 that his brother Pero was the head of police or the
22 Ministry of the Interior in Vitez at the time. But he
23 did wear a uniform all the time. He attended all kinds
24 of meetings all the time, and I don't know what
25 position he held.
1 Q. Are you referring to Marijan Skopljak?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you know whether Cerkez was part of this
4 staff that Marijan was the chief of?
5 A. Oftentimes when I say something, I don't know
6 the internal structure of this organisation, and I told
7 the gentlemen that we shouldn't go into these details
8 because I just don't know them. I was not present
10 Q. Just one more question in connection with
11 this meeting. You said that Zvonko Cilic was also
12 present there.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you perhaps tell us in what position he
16 A. He was in the position of a local journalist,
17 because that is what he did at the time. He had a
18 joint television station at the time, so there were
19 joint statements being issued. At the time, this was
20 his --
21 Q. You mean job?
22 A. Yes, job.
23 Q. Thank you very much.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr.
25 President and Your Honours. This concludes my
2 MR. NICE: I have some questions in
3 re-examination. I don't know whether the Court wants
4 me to deal with them. It will take five minutes.
5 JUDGE MAY: Deal with them now if you can,
6 Mr. Nice.
7 MR. NICE: Before I do that, on the
8 revelation of a name that is protected -- I think
9 that's happened now several times in the last few
10 days -- I don't know if the Chamber wanted to say
11 anything to the press who are, of course, represented
12 in the room here.
13 JUDGE MAY: The matter has been redacted from
14 the video. I'm sure the press know what the rules
16 MR. NICE: Thank you.
17 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
18 Q. Witness N, you were asked about uniforms
19 being worn by non-military personnel. Just yes or no:
20 Do you have any personal experience of that happening
21 at the time, a military uniform being worn by
22 non-military personnel?
23 A. It was the phenomenon of the times.
24 Q. What sort of people were doing it, people of
25 all ages, or particular ages? Just give us the
1 picture, please.
2 A. Uniforms were mostly worn by able-bodied
4 Q. Thank you. You were asked about your job --
5 don't say anything that will reveal what your job
6 was -- and Bosniaks losing their positions of
7 authority. Two points arising from that. Can you
8 explain in a sentence, without revealing what your job
9 was, why you didn't leave your job until the outbreak
10 on the 16th of April?
11 A. I worked in the Sintevit factory.
12 Q. Again, don't -- let me deal with it this
13 way: Did you hold a specialist job?
14 A. (redacted)
15 Q. Again, I'm going to stop you straightaway.
16 I'm going to move on.
17 Before the October 1992 meeting, so far as
18 you were concerned, had there been an order or similar
19 issued by Rajic?
20 A. Bozo Rajic?
21 Q. Yes.
22 A. I said that an order was issued, when he
23 became Minister, regarding the uniting of the armed
24 components of the BH army and the HVO, and in my first
25 statement, I said that I did not recollect the date but
1 there was such an order.
2 Q. Cerkez, you've been asked some questions
3 about him and about his role at that meeting where you
4 saw him. What was his role at that time?
5 A. At that meeting, the role of Mr. Cerkez was a
6 purely military role.
7 Q. His military role being?
8 A. Commander of a brigade, I think he was, at
9 the time.
10 Q. How was Valenta treated, if you saw this, by
11 other HVO officers and senior people? How was he
12 treated or regarded by them?
13 A. I personally believe that he was higher up in
14 the hierarchy. Not in the military, but he was looked
15 upon as a senior official in the HDZ hierarchy.
16 Q. The reference in his book to "Greater Croatia
17 egoism," does that ever come about, in your judgement?
18 JUDGE MAY: I don't think we'll be helped by
19 that. Thank you.
20 MR. NICE: So be it.
21 Q. The raising of the question of partitioning
22 of ethnic groups dealt with in this book, did that have
23 any effect either on you or, to your knowledge, any
24 other Bosniaks who read the book?
25 A. The people who read the book or who were
1 superficially informed about its contents did not have
2 positive comments to make about such ideas and thoughts
3 that it contained.
4 Q. You were asked a question by Judge Bennouna
5 about ethnic cooperation. You gave a fairly
6 substantial answer, at the end of which you said your
7 personal view, but you were dealing with the same
8 topic. Was there anything on the cooperation and
9 coexistence of the ethnic groups that you wanted to say
10 at that stage that you haven't since dealt with in your
11 other answers? Can you remember if there's anything
12 else you wanted to say?
13 A. In those days?
14 Q. Yes, before the war.
15 A. Before the war. I said that even under those
16 circumstances, neighbours helped one another as much as
17 they could.
18 Q. The 7th Muslim Brigade, you've spoken of its
19 religious ceremonies. Can you just give us an example
20 of them, please?
21 A. No, I wasn't talking about religious
22 ceremonies. I just said that they recognised their
23 faith. They practised their faith. That, according to
24 regulations, they prayed to God at the set times. I
25 was never amongst them to see this, to check whether
1 they prayed five times a day or not.
2 Q. To your knowledge, was there any aspect of
3 religious observance that was extremist or that was
4 imported from outside Bosnia?
5 A. I personally believe that the word "God" --
6 because the word "God" could not be mentioned in
7 public, because it was well known that Muslims or
8 Bosniaks of Islamic faith pray in Arabic, the mention
9 of the word "God" was not accepted in these parts. So
10 this too had certain connotations when the word "God"
11 or "Allah" was used.
12 Q. But was any part of their ritual or
13 observance, so far as you knew, imported specifically
14 from some other country, Mujahedin or elsewhere?
15 A. As far as religious rites are concerned, they
16 cannot be imported, because a Bosniak of Islamic faith
17 who is a strict believer is obliged to pray to God five
18 times a day -- let me not enumerate those occasions --
19 and it is in that context that I view the behaviour of
20 the members of that brigade.
21 Q. Last question, for clarification: You were
22 asked, on Mr. Cerkez's behalf, questions that led to
23 your saying all people were getting on, as it were,
24 before the war, and that what happened thereafter
25 happened to a lot of people, or was seen to happen to a
1 lot of people, in their change of attitude. You were
2 asked if Cerkez was an exception to this rule, and the
3 answer you gave was no. I just want to know whether
4 you're saying he behaved in the same way as other
5 people, so far as change of attitude was concerned, or
6 if he behaved in any different way.
7 A. Mr. Cerkez behaved in accordance with the
8 positions advocated by Herceg-Bosna. I'm making no
9 distinction between political and military. That is my
10 personal view.
11 Q. Very well.
12 JUDGE MAY: Witness N, that concludes your
13 evidence. Thank you for coming to the International
14 Tribunal to give your evidence. You are now released.
15 THE WITNESS: I should like to thank Your
16 Honours for giving me this opportunity to speak before
17 you. I have sought to present the truth as I saw it,
18 and thank you.
19 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
20 We'll sit again at 2.40.
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.12 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.44 p.m.
2 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, I would ask at
3 this time for a private session for the purpose of
4 bringing before the Court an application on measures.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Before that's done, it
6 should be noted that Mr. Cerkez is back in court.
7 MR. KOVACIC: If I may just add, Your Honour,
8 related to the order which facilitated his temporary
9 release, everything was fully respected, only that at
10 this moment, at least, I'm not aware that the paper
11 from the Croatian authorities, the report which you
12 ordered, has come. Probably it's on the way. But I
13 will inquire.
14 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Thank you.
15 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we'll go into closed
18 [Private session]
13 page 7127 redacted – private session
13 page 7128 redacted – private session
13 page 7129 redacted – private session
13 page 7130 redacted – private session
15 [The witness entered court] [Closed session]
13 pages 7132-7172 redacted – closed session
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
21 4.16 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
22 the 21st day of September, 1999 at
23 11.30 a.m.