1 Wednesday, 13th October, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, case number
6 IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario Kordic and
7 Mario Cerkez.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I asked that the
10 witness be kept out just for a minute because there
11 were witness problems next week that I wanted to first
12 explain to the Defence counsel and just explain to the
14 The position is that of the witnesses we had
15 hoped to call next week, only two of those originally
16 intended for next week are now available to us, one
17 called Mr. Whitworth, who is available on and really
18 only on Monday. He's now a working school master in
19 the north of England and can only get one day off and
20 certainly one day off at a time.
21 JUDGE MAY: That's sufficient to finish him?
22 MR. NICE: I hope so. We'll do our best, and
23 all arrangements are being made to serve his summary as
24 soon as I can and to see him on Sunday evening and so
25 on, and I hope to conclude him in a day. If he could
1 be concluded in a day, other arrangements will have to
2 be made.
3 Kljuic comes back, I think, on Tuesday, and
4 he's likely to be at least a day, I'm told, but we
5 don't know how much more than a day. I then advanced
6 up the list a witness called Jennings, who has very
7 helpfully agreed to come earlier than he otherwise was
8 going to come. He, I think, will come in on Wednesday,
9 and I hope that we can deal with him on Thursday,
10 possibly start him on Wednesday afternoon, although he
11 won't have been seen in person until Wednesday
13 It may be that I'm not going to be able to
14 fill the week completely with evidence because I'm not
15 sure that there's anybody else who is going to be
16 available simply for a small slot in next week.
17 The important thing to draw to everyone's
18 attention is that Jennings will be coming earlier, and
19 I gather this is something the Defence are happy to
20 deal with.
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We've had the summary
22 of the next witness. Again, I hope it's going to be
23 possible to get finished with his evidence this week.
24 MR. NICE: And, indeed, with the witness
25 after him, Laustsen, who should be very short. If the
1 next witness can be concluded in a day, that leaves
2 half a day for Laustsen, and that should be enough.
3 Perhaps I'm ever optimistic, but I do my best.
4 JUDGE MAY: We're sitting tomorrow but not
5 Friday. Yes. We've got two days left. Get on with
7 Yes, Mr. Sayers.
8 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I would
9 anticipate Mr. Laustsen would not take a long time.
10 We fully anticipate having very few, if any,
11 questions for the next witness.
12 As to Mr. Whitworth, he gave some substantial
13 testimony in the Blaskic case. I don't see any reason
14 why he should not be able to be finished in one day,
15 provided the time is equitably arranged.
16 With respect to Mr. Kljuic, I think one day
17 is a good estimate.
18 Mr. Jennings, who was not on the immediate
19 list, we don't object to his being advanced. So long
20 as we're given fair notice with the offer of proof or
21 the proofing statement, that's fine with us. Thank
23 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, the Cerkez Defence
24 is about on the same thinking, but we only have a
25 problem with the witness Whitworth. We really don't
1 think that we can finish that witness in one day, I
2 mean both direct and cross. He is talking much about
3 details in Vitez, and we are very much interested in
4 that witness.
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, let's get on and see
6 how we do.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
8 JUDGE MAY: May we have the witness back,
10 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, just so there's no
11 mystery, the witness provided this to us overnight, and
12 I'm putting it back.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel,
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
17 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 WITNESS: HENDRIK MORSINK [Resumed]
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, good morning. I
21 would like to continue where we had left off yesterday
22 with a few brief questions regarding the Viteska
24 Can you tell me whether at any point during
25 your tour of duty in Bosnia, you learned anything about
1 the size of the Viteska Brigade, that is, its manpower?
2 A. According to my knowledge, I was never
3 informed about the exact strength of the brigade. My
4 estimations were at that time, and they didn't change
5 so far, one or two thousand soldiers.
6 Q. Thank you. Did you ever learn any details
7 about the organisation of the brigade, in other words,
8 how many units they had?
9 A. My assumption at that time was that this
10 brigade had three or four battalions.
11 Q. Would you agree that the soldiers of the
12 brigade did not have their own barracks or their bases?
13 A. I'm not sure about that. I never visited a
14 really organised barracks in Vitez.
15 Q. Did you ever see one or hear about one?
16 A. No, I never heard about one, and neither did
17 I see a barracks.
18 Q. You never heard that this army was working in
19 shifts, in other words, that they were in the army or
20 that day when they were not on duty, worked at home?
21 A. No, I was not aware about that. I heard
22 about shifts, by I understood that shifts meant a duty
23 at the front lines or other military duties.
24 Q. Tell me, did you collect or gather enough
25 information to be able to provide some kind of a basic
1 comparison with the structure of a NATO brigade as
2 opposed to the Viteska Brigade? Or perhaps I should
3 simplify the question. Did the brigade which you saw
4 in Vitez, and insofar as you learned about it, remind
5 you, by its organisation, by its strength and other
6 elements, of a brigade which you may have as a model in
8 A. It reminded me of a light infantry brigade.
9 But as I say, it was not my job, as a monitor, to
10 gather information about military structures. I was
11 there as a diplomat to try to establish a ceasefire.
12 Q. Colonel, I think we may agree, and you gave
13 evidence to that effect, that in the Vitez municipality
14 various ABiH units were operating. You mentioned some
15 of them by their names or by their description, and we
16 heard about some of them from other witnesses.
17 So the only question I have of you, and you
18 can answer it by simply "yes" or "no," did you have any
19 knowledge of the ABiH units which I am about to mention
20 to you? First, did you have an opportunity to notice
21 or learn about the presence of the elements of the
22 Busovaca Brigade? There was a detachment from Kaonik
23 which was in the Pezici, Vranska area south, due south
24 towards Busovaca. Did you ever see or learn about the
25 presence of that unit in the area?
1 A. Not under that name.
2 Q. Okay. But you agree that in this area there
3 were certain ABiH forces present?
4 A. Yes, there was more than one brigade
5 present. I dealt with two of the brigade commanders.
6 Q. Let me remind you, then. You expressly
7 mentioned 325th Brigade.
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. They were in Kruscica. They were on the
10 opposite side of the road, that is the northern side of
11 the road, Tolovici, Grbavica, Preocica; is that
13 A. Yes, according to my knowledge, this brigade
14 was split into three parts. And the third part you
15 didn't mention was in Stari Vitez.
16 Q. That is correct, in Stari Vitez. There was
17 the 308th Novi Travnik Brigade?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. There were elements of the Jajce Brigade,
20 which were incorporated into 325th Brigade?
21 A. I am not aware of that.
22 Q. You never heard that significant forces, that
23 is, parts of the Jajce Brigade, after the fall of
24 Jajce, which took place before your arrival in Vitez,
25 had pulled back from -- with the refugees and arrived
1 in the Vitez area?
2 A. I heard about a lot of refugees coming from
3 Jajce, but I was not aware that military units had been
5 Q. Did you have an opportunity to also learn
6 that the 314th Brigade of the ABiH was deployed in
7 Barin Gaj, Sljivcica area?
8 A. No, I don't know that area.
9 Q. And you wouldn't be able to identify the
10 brigade by its name?
11 A. Well, I don't recall the names you just
12 mentioned. You have to point out where this brigade
13 was located.
14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, again, this witness
15 has described what his function was. He's described
16 what his knowledge was, and I wonder if we are going to
17 be assisted by a lengthy rehearsal of the defence case
18 about these matters. Now, no doubt, you are going to
19 call evidence about where these various brigades were,
20 and if we go through all that with every witness who
21 happened to be in the valley at the time, it's going to
22 take up an enormous amount of time. It isn't going to
23 assist us.
24 Now, unless there are particular matters
25 which this witness can deal with, I suggest that we
1 move on. His role, he's described what he was about,
2 and it wasn't to take particular notice of divisions,
3 brigades and the like.
4 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Your Honours. I will
5 continue. I mean, I will change the subject.
6 Q. [Interpretation] At one point during your
7 evidence you said that the HVO at some point had
8 refused to negotiate with Sifet Sivro, an ABiH army
9 officer, and said that he wasn't the appropriate
10 partner for these negotiations. Would you agree with
11 me that in negotiations everybody wants or prefers to
12 have an appropriate partner in order to accomplish
13 something? This is a question of principle.
14 A. The principle as such is correct, but they
15 have been negotiating with Mr. Sifet Sivro for a long
16 time, and it struck me at one day, both in Busovaca and
17 in Vitez, the HVO commanders refused to speak with the
18 commanders from the other side, with whom they had been
19 negotiating for then, I think, already two months.
20 Q. And when they were satisfied that Sivro was
21 unable to deliver what he had promised, because his
22 superior did not agree to what he was saying, then they
23 changed their mind, and he was in two locations at the
24 same time.
25 A. I was not informed about that change of
1 mind. They just told me that they were no longer
2 willing to negotiate with Mr. Sifet Sivro. They didn't
3 explain to me why that was. We simply refused this
4 request of the HVO, and later on they continued working
5 with the same persons in the local joint commission.
6 Q. Thank you. If I may ask the usher to,
7 please, show the witness Exhibit number Z607. Perhaps
8 we can place it on the ELMO.
9 I believe that this was the first document
10 introduced during the evidence of this witness.
11 Colonel, you saw this document. You saw that
12 this document was issued by the HVO brigade command,
13 that is the Jure Francetic Brigade, in Zenica in April,
14 1993. And from the first paragraph of the first item
15 in the decision, we see that the HOS units, which until
16 that time, that is the time when the decision was
17 issued, was -- parts of the ABiH army were now merged
18 completely with the HVO. Based on this document, could
19 you agree with me, that at least in Zenica, HOS only
20 joined the HVO as late as April, 1993?
21 A. First of all, I would like to say that I
22 didn't see this document during my stay in Bosnia. I
23 was informed about the contents and I was shown the
24 document by Mr. Nice. I'm not aware of the exact
25 military structures in Zenica. The only thing I
1 learned about the HVO brigade in Zenica, that they
2 withdrew in the direction of Grahovici when I visited
3 that town.
4 Q. Thank you. But can you tell me whether you
5 heard, during a briefing, or learned, found out
6 yourself during your tour of duty in Bosnia, that in
7 the Vitez area, that is the proper town of Vitez and
8 the surrounding villages, another unit which people
9 referred to as HOS was also operating?
10 A. I don't know what unit you mean to point out.
11 Q. Let me explain. You yourself mentioned the
12 Vitezovi, a special independent unit of the HVO. A lot
13 of people refer to that unit as a HOS unit, given its
14 previous status.
15 A. Well, that might be true. I'm not aware of
16 the Vitezovi being the same as the HOS.
17 Q. Thank you. Could the witness now, please, be
18 shown Z1040.
19 This document was also shown previously, and
20 I would like to refer you to page 9, paragraph 3 on
21 that page. The third paragraph. I will read the
22 second sentence of it to you.
23 "It is beyond doubt, in this area, that a
24 war which began as a common fight against a common foe
25 (the Serbs) has degenerated into an outright civil
2 This is from a report of your organisation,
3 ECMM, and it was drafted in June of 1993. Would you
4 agree that if not earlier, then at least at that time,
5 that is in mid June, your organisation did come to a
6 conclusion that this was fundamentally a civil war that
7 was going on?
8 A. I think we drew that conclusion already
9 earlier. It depends on what scale you look at it. At
10 the scale of the municipality of, for instance, Vitez
11 or Busovaca, it had been a civil war since April
12 already. On a larger scale for the entire middle
13 Bosnia, it turned into a kind of civil war as of the
14 offensives of the 8th and 9th of April.
15 MR. NICE: I interrupt to make one point that
16 it's been occurring to me to make from time to time and
17 I haven't made it. Answers by witnesses about whether
18 this is a civil war are not, of course, determinative
19 of the issue, and I'm never going to examine on the
20 point. The question of whether it's a civil war or an
21 international armed conflict is, of course, a matter
22 for the Chamber in due course.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
24 MR. KOVACIC: I have no comment on that.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, you told us that
1 you recall that it was fairly difficult to reach Cerkez
2 because of all the fighting and also that there were a
3 lot of guards in front of the building where he was
4 staying and so on and so forth. However, you managed
5 to reach Cerkez, and this was your first working day in
6 Vitez, and you immediately did secure a meeting with
7 him; is that correct?
8 A. That's correct, but the meeting was organised
9 by Mr. Friis-Pedersen who had met Cerkez already more
10 than once before.
11 Q. Yes, that is correct. We heard that
12 evidence. I believe you said that while you were in
13 this meeting with him, that some bullets had hit the
14 window of the room where you were holding the meeting.
15 A. Well, not the same -- the window of the same
16 room, but the building itself, the wood. They had to
17 protect the windows. The wood was hit by several
19 Q. So those were boards which we saw in the
20 video, which we were able to see when you spoke with
21 Cerkez in front of that building. Does that mean that
22 there was active fighting going on in the morning of
23 the 17th?
24 A. Yes. On the morning of the 17th, there was
25 fighting in some streets of Vitez.
1 Q. Did you have any clear idea about the ABiH
2 forces; that is, about its organisation into brigades?
3 Were there forces in the Vitez area similar in size, in
4 strength, to the HVO forces, and how would you compare
5 them to the NATO-type brigades?
6 A. I saw them also as light infantry brigades,
7 and the brigade in the area of Vitez was split into
8 three parts. The total strength was also approximately
9 between 1.000 to 2.000 soldiers.
10 Q. Thank you. During your several meetings with
11 Mr. Cerkez, on several occasions he claimed that the
12 major problem for maintaining the ceasefire was the
13 ABiH troop presence -- the presence of those troops
14 which came outside of the Vitez area; is that correct?
15 A. He made a lot of allegations about that,
16 that's correct.
17 Q. Can we then agree, given the evidence we
18 heard yesterday, that his main arguments which he used
19 were the problem of extremists and the presence of
20 troops from outside of Vitez?
21 A. Well, that's the argument he used, but that
22 doesn't give him the right to shoot at me or to --
23 Q. [In English] Yes, I agree, sir, but --
24 A. -- block us in freedom of movement.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Sorry, I do agree with you.
1 My question to you is only were those the arguments he
3 A. Most of the times, he used those arguments,
4 and an extra argument was the blockade of civilians on
5 the road.
6 Q. Your main goal and the main activity went
7 towards your efforts either to see to it that a
8 ceasefire was reached or to maintain one; is that
10 A. No, that's not correct. The main goal was
11 the safety of civilians, the check on war crimes, the
12 release of prisoners, and to be able to do that we
13 needed a ceasefire. So the ceasefire was the first
14 goal but not the most important one.
15 Q. Quite. But according to your own testimony,
16 you had to invest a great deal of effort either to win
17 over the parties to achieve a ceasefire and to abide by
18 a ceasefire once an agreement was reached; is that
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. In those endeavours, it follows from your
22 testimony that you directed a great deal of time and
23 effort into contacts with the command of the local
24 brigade, the accused Cerkez?
25 A. That's correct for my part of the job, but
1 there were others working on other levels and in other
2 municipalities at the same time.
3 Q. You said that you, yourself, considered him
4 responsible for that territory. But tell me, please,
5 do you mean, when you refer to "territory," that he was
6 responsible also for the part of the territory of Vitez
7 municipality under the control of the BH army?
8 A. No, that was not his area of responsibility.
9 Q. But in view of the presence of other troops,
10 and I think you mentioned that in passing just now, the
11 key for the HVO side was on the other side. The
12 headquarters were in the hotel. That is where efforts
13 needed to focus for gaining control over all HVO units,
14 and as a monitor, that is where you maintained your
15 contacts, at that level? I mean your institution, as
16 such, the ECMM, not you in person.
17 A. Mr. Thebault and Colonel Bob Stewart visited
18 the headquarters of the operational zone every day and
19 made the same requests as I did at the brigade level.
20 Q. Thank you. You told us a little about a
21 meeting with Cerkez when you also discussed detainees,
22 the subject of detainees. You said that there were
23 people detained in the cinema and that they were only
24 males and so on. Tell me, please, can we agree that
25 Cerkez actually told you that women and children had
1 not been detained and not, as you put it, that he had
2 released them?
3 A. No, that's not correct. As I recall it, he
4 told me that they had already been released. And by
5 asking why they were at all taken into prison, he told
6 us that it's difficult to select soldiers and civilians
7 taking part in the actual fighting. That's the reason
8 why they took whole families into prison. And after a
9 while, they found out that only the males in a certain
10 age were a threat, and they released the rest.
11 Q. Tell me, did you learn, in those first few
12 days or later, that in the cinema hall there was never
13 a woman or child detained, that there were only men
15 A. No, I didn't hear about that.
16 Q. Thank you. From your visits there, were you
17 able to gain any impression as to which unit was
18 supervising that detention centre? Wasn't it the
19 military police?
20 A. That's hard to say. According to my memory,
21 they were the same soldiers that protected the
22 headquarters of the brigade, since it was in the same
23 building. So it's hard to say whether it was another
24 unit or not.
25 Q. Tell me, please, during your contacts, did
1 you ever hear that some people, at least, had gone to
2 the cinema of their own free will, for their own
3 safety, in view of the chaos that prevailed in the town
5 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
6 Q. Let us now go on to a few questions related
7 to Kruscica that you discussed at length. I shall be
8 as brief as possible.
9 In view of your testimony, we can agree that
10 the hinterland of Kruscica, that is, the area towards
11 the south, towards the mountains, was free, and this
12 whole area was actually under the control of the BH
13 army, that there was no HVO forces south of Kruscica;
14 can we agree on that?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. Did you have occasion to see or read in
17 BritBat reports that their Warriors had entered
18 Kruscica on several occasions along the mountain route
19 from the south?
20 A. I'm aware that Warriors were in Kruscica
21 several times, since I visited the town myself with
22 Warriors. But I wasn't aware about the -- I wasn't
23 aware of the southern route you just mentioned.
24 Q. You always entered -- when you entered in a
25 Warrior, you came along the main road, didn't you,
1 going towards the south? You, yourself, never
2 approached Kruscica from the mountain side, the
3 roundabout way from the south?
4 A. No, I did not, and I don't think that this
5 mountain road was available when Kruscica was blocked.
6 If it was, then the bridge would have told me, because
7 it was a simultaneous effort to go into Kruscica.
8 Q. So you are not aware of the situation
9 regarding that southern route?
10 A. No, I am not.
11 Q. You told us, with respect to this access road
12 from the main road along the valley, the main road
13 going southwards, you tried to enter Kruscica on
14 several occasions and were prevented by civilians. And
15 then you discovered another road; is that correct?
16 A. No, I didn't discover it. We were told about
17 a parallel road by the HVO themselves. And they let us
18 use this parallel road after five weeks.
19 Q. Can we agree that this first route going off
20 the main road towards Kruscica was virtually inhabited
21 for two or three kilometres along the road, there were
22 houses, and that is where you had the problems with the
24 A. Well, I have to point it out on the map,
25 then, what road was blocked and what road appeared to
1 be open later on, if that's of any use.
2 JUDGE MAY: I think we have the picture,
3 generally. Yes, let's move on, please.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Very generally, then, do you remember that
6 this other road that the HVO told you about, that it
7 was not inhabited, that there were only a few houses
8 alongside the road? Do you have that picture in your
10 JUDGE MAY: Do you remember or not, Colonel?
11 If you don't remember, just say so.
12 A. I don't think it matters -- the road was
13 blocked, so --
14 JUDGE MAY: It's a matter for us whether it
15 matters. But if you don't remember, just please --
16 A. I don't remember this.
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, we don't want to
18 waste too much time where a witness can't help, whereas
19 you can call evidence about it.
20 MR. KOVACIC: How about just one simple
21 question on that.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Were both those roads
23 indicated on the map? Do you remember that or not?
24 A. I think so, yes.
25 Q. You think so? Thank you.
1 You told us about the truck bomb in Stari
2 Vitez. Did you ever learn later on that this was an
3 act perpetrated by the independent HVO unit called the
5 A. No. We asked for an investigation and never
6 got the results of that.
7 Q. Did you ever learn or hear that as far as
8 Cerkez is concerned, and he told you he would look into
9 the matter, that he did inform his commander about it
10 after having learned that the act was committed by
11 units which were not under his chain of command?
12 A. He didn't inform us about that, and he didn't
13 say to us that he informed his commander about that.
14 Q. And you never heard that from others, from
15 your colleagues who had contact at the level of
17 A. No. I know that Colonel Bob Stewart was very
18 upset about this incident, and he never got an answer
19 as well.
20 Q. Thank you. You told us that on the 18th of
21 April, that is the day when the truck bomb exploded,
22 that at the U.N. base in Nova Bila a meeting was held,
23 and we know that it was attended on the part of the HVO
24 by Borislav Jozic and, on behalf of the BiH Army, Refik
25 Hajdarevic. I think that you said that you were
1 present at that meeting?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. Do you know that at the same time another
4 meeting was held, which was attended by Sifet Sivro,
5 Sefkija Djidic, that is the commander of the municipal
6 staff of the Territorial Defence of the BiH Army, Mario
7 Cerkez, and some other associates of theirs; the aim
8 being to implement the agreement on a cessation of
9 hostilities. And that that meeting roughly lasted from
10 about 11.00 to 17.00 hours. Did you have occasion to
11 learn about that or to coordinate those two meetings,
12 in view of the fact that this meeting was arranged by
13 the British Battalion?
14 A. As I recall it, Mr. Friis-Pederson or
15 Mr. Landry was present at that meeting. I myself was
16 not present.
17 Q. But you can confirm that while you were
18 attending this meeting with Jozic and Hajdarevic, there
19 was another meeting on that same day attended by
20 Friis-Pederson and the others whose names I have read
22 A. That's correct. I know about this meeting in
23 the location of BritBat. My team had separate tasks
24 for that day, and it was, amongst others, to visit
25 Gornji Rovna.
1 Q. We can agree that the truck bomb went off
2 sometime around 18.00 hours?
3 A. It was just before dawn, so in April
4 that's -- well, I think, yeah, it's late in the
6 Q. Later on, when you tried to investigate and
7 you said that you went there the next day, did you hear
8 that Sifet Sivro, Sefkija Djidic and Mario Cerkez, in
9 other words, the local commanders of both armies, were
10 together in a British Warrior in Stari Vitez about half
11 an hour after the explosion?
12 A. No, I am not aware of that.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... hear
14 that on their way back from the meeting they passed by
15 that location --
16 JUDGE MAY: The witness has said he wasn't
17 aware of it. Now, let's move on. If he's not aware of
18 something, there is no point pressing it.
19 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Let us move on, then, to
21 another topic. Perhaps, for the sake of explanation, I
22 think it was a slip of the tongue, actually, on the
23 part of my learned friend the Prosecutor. There was a
24 question about the cinema. You were asked about
25 civilians detained in the cinema in Dubravica, and then
1 you confirmed that. Was there a cinema in Dubravica?
2 I think that is a confusion. Can we agree about that?
3 In Dubravica, civilians were detained in a school, in
4 the gym of a school, weren't they?
5 JUDGE MAY: No, let's move on.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. We heard testimony that this place of
8 detention was under the control of the already
9 mentioned HVO units, the Vitezovi. Are you aware of
11 A. According to my knowledge, my memory, they
12 had military police insignia on their shoulders.
13 Q. Thank you. You mentioned here a person by
14 the name of Josip Bozic?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. Are you quite sure of that name, because I
17 checked; there is no such name. It may be a
18 misunderstanding, because of the language.
19 A. I'm not sure. I wrote that name in one of my
20 books on that day as the man who gave me a list of
22 Q. Thank you. Your conversation attended by
23 Mr. Buffini, you and Cerkez in front of the building,
24 when exactly was it held? I think you said in May, but
25 there was no more precise indication of the time.
1 A. I'll have to check it. I think it's in the
2 middle of May somewhere.
3 Q. Okay. Don't waste time. If it is the middle
4 of May, then --
5 A. I'm not sure. Somewhere in my --
6 Q. No problem. You later mentioned a meeting
7 attended by Santic, the mayor of Vitez, Pero Skopljak
8 as one of the political leaders, and Mario Cerkez.
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. In hierarchical terms on the Croatian side,
11 who was the superior? Who was the most representative
12 of them? Who did you communicate with?
13 A. I used to communicate with Mr. Cerkez, but
14 Mr. Santic as the mayor of Vitez more or less took over
15 the conversation.
16 Q. So Cerkez was on the side?
17 A. According to my opinion, not really, because
18 I asked him questions on military matters.
19 Q. So for military matters he was the one, and
20 for all others Santic and Skopljak?
21 A. It was the first time that Santic and
22 Skopljak mixed in the discussion, were present at the
23 meetings. And it was rather confusing for me who was
24 the one to give orders.
25 Q. Thank you. Let us go on. In the course of
1 April, the beginning of May, did you receive
2 information from the BiH Army that Muslim civilians
3 were being detained in the Catholic church in Stari
5 A. There were allegations, I think earlier than
6 the end of April, and that was the first time I visited
7 the Catholic church and I spoke to the local priest.
8 And he showed me his church, and I was convinced that
9 there were no Muslim prisoners there.
10 Q. So this was one example of rumours and
11 misinformation that you said more or less both sides
12 resorted to?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. And we can also agree that there were never
15 any civilians held prisoner in that church?
16 A. Not as far as I know.
17 Q. Tell me, please, did you have occasion to see
18 that the roof of that church had a hole made by a
20 A. I didn't see that, and I wasn't attended on
21 that by -- the priest didn't point my attention on
23 Q. The church was some 100 metres from the line
24 of separation in Stari Vitez, was it not?
25 A. Well, I think a bit more than 100 metres.
1 Q. 200?
2 A. I'm not sure.
3 Q. You referred to snipers, but I just have one
4 question about that, because you made an assessment.
5 Could it be said that the situation regarding the
6 exchange of sniper fire was more or less similar in all
7 the municipalities that you visited in this part of
8 Central Bosnia, or were there significant differences?
9 A. I think both sides used snipers for
10 occasional exchange of fire, but the occasions when we
11 were under fire, I think most of the occasions were
12 defined as fire coming from the HVO side.
13 Q. But you haven't answered my question. Were
14 there significant differences regarding sniper fire
15 from one municipality to another?
16 A. No, there were no significant differences.
17 Q. Thank you. You also said briefly that you
18 received frequent misinformation from the HVO,
19 including Cerkez, regarding certain events at the
20 expense of the Croats. So you would go and check, and
21 you wouldn't always find evidence of anything having
22 happened. You yourself went to check allegations by
23 the HVO regarding detained Croats in Kruscica?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. The HVO claimed that there were Croats
1 detained there, also in Poculica, where some of the
2 detainees had been killed by a soldier there. Did you
3 go to Poculica to check out that situation?
4 A. I checked in Kruscica, and the ICRC checked
5 in Poculica.
6 Q. In Kruscica you were shown only one location
7 where detainees were held, and you told us what you
8 found there, but you were not taken to another location
9 in Kruscica, a second location?
10 A. I'm not aware of a second location.
11 Q. Remind me, please, regarding this first
12 location that you visited. Were there several women
13 and children there?
14 A. This was a location in and around the
15 school. Outside the school there was a shed. There
16 were, I think, eight men in two small sheds, and inside
17 the school on the top floor there were, I think, four
18 or five women and children.
19 Q. You didn't go west of the school, the part of
20 the village known as Bobasi?
21 A. No, I did not.
22 Q. Did you, perhaps, hear within that same group
23 of allegations that on the first day of the conflict,
24 the 16th of April, most of the Croat inhabitants had
25 been evacuated from Kruscica through the woods?
1 A. I was not informed about that.
2 Q. Also, in connection with Bobasi, one of the
3 allegations of the HVO was that some houses had been
4 burned down in Kruscica, and you told us that you
5 checked and you didn't find any. And on that occasion
6 you again, you didn't visit the part -- the western
7 part of the village closer to Bobasi, it's a hamlet on
8 the edge of Kruscica.
9 A. I recall that Mr. Cerkez asked me to check on
10 a house still burning. He pointed out where it was.
11 It's on the videotape. We checked that location
12 together with the HVO liaison officer, and we couldn't
13 find any house burning or recently been burnt.
14 Q. Were you told on that occasion that that
15 alleged fire was the result of acts by a special unit
16 of the BH army called the Black Coyotes?
17 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry.
18 A. [Previous interpretation continues]
19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Thank you. You said that at the meeting,
21 Cerkez threatened to set fire to Kruscica. Didn't he
22 say, on that occasion, that he would evacuate the
23 civilians and set fire to Kruscica --
24 A. No, he did not.
25 Q. -- or the term burned down? But it's a
1 problem of interpretation at the meeting. Are you
2 quite sure that he said "burned down" or "set alight"
3 in the sense of a military jargon, implying an attack,
4 to attack and conquer, in that sense?
5 A. I recall that I had my own interpreter with
6 me, and she was always very clear in her English spoken
7 language, and I wrote down the words, "I'm willing to
8 burn down all Kruscica." So I'm sure that that's what
9 my interpreter said to me.
10 Q. But you have no note of the fact that he
11 said, "Pull out the civilians and then burn down"?
12 A. No.
13 Q. At the end, Colonel, that never happened, did
15 A. No, this didn't happen. That's right.
16 Q. Tell me, please, isn't it customary for
17 armies to spread misinformation about each other and to
18 spread even false threats, in view of the nature of the
19 war such as was being waged at the time there?
20 JUDGE MAY: That's not a question, really,
21 for the witness. Yes. Let's move on, please.
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. You told us that at a later stage Blaskic
24 appointed five liaison officers. Of them, one at the
25 level of the operative zone, and four at the municipal
1 levels, that is, brigades operating in municipalities.
2 Is that correct?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Does that mean that it wasn't Cerkez who
5 appointed his liaison officer and that it was done
6 rather by his superior, Mr. Blaskic? At that time, of
8 A. In the beginning, Mr. Jozic was appointed by
9 Mr. Cerkez by writing and by saying, and later on
10 Mr. Blaskic gave the order to -- I think to appoint
11 five liaison officers. I think the one at his own
12 level, Mr. Zarko Delic, he appointed him himself, and
13 I'm not sure whether he appointed the other ones
14 himself or ordered his brigade commanders to do so.
15 Q. Thank you. You said at some point that an
16 HVO member, red-faced, that is how you described him
17 and indicated him on the video, that that man
18 threatened in Stara Bila that he would kill you if he
19 saw you in Kruscica? You know what I'm talking about?
20 A. This happened at the hospital, the church in
21 Nova Bila.
22 Q. So, in the hospital in Nova Bila?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. Wasn't that man at that time in bed, wounded?
25 A. No. This happened on the 9th of June, when
1 we evacuated the 200 people from Guca Gora, and he was
2 outside the hospital then and threatened me.
3 Q. Did you report this, the threat, to Cerkez,
4 as his superior, because you said you knew that he was
5 Cerkez's man or, rather, you thought he was one of
6 Cerkez's men?
7 A. I don't recall whether I said it to Cerkez
8 himself or to his liaison officer, but I'm sure I
9 reported this.
10 Q. You told us yesterday that sometime in the
11 later half of June, the commander of the 308th Brigade
12 of the BH army complained to you that the HVO had
13 seized a tank of theirs and some artillery weapons.
14 Did they mention a description of the tank and tell you
15 which make it was?
16 A. No, I think you might have misunderstood
17 that. The situation at, I think it was, Senkovici was
18 that the HVO earlier gave in the lines, I think, to the
19 Serbs, and the BiH regained these lines, I think,
20 somewhere in the middle of June. And when they
21 regained this ground, they captured one tank and a few
22 artillery pieces from the BSA, so not from the HVO, and
23 it was a T-54 tank.
24 Q. [In English] I'm sorry. [Interpretation] And
25 during this same part of the examination, you also told
1 us how, having analysed the situation, you realised or,
2 rather, thought that there was some cooperation between
3 the HVO and Serbs, particularly as regards the passage
4 of troops which were pulling out. Was it a speculation
5 on your part or is there any report about that? That
6 is, has it ever been confirmed?
7 A. This was -- I formed my opinion on the result
8 of discussions with BritBat and other fellow monitors,
9 so I didn't see it myself. BritBat recce troops went
10 to Ovcarevo, that's northwest of Travnik, and they
11 found a lot of evidence of Croat civilians and Croat
12 troops withdrawn to Serb territory.
13 And later on, the brigade commander,
14 Mr. Leotar, commander of the brigade HVO in, I think,
15 Guca Gora, he was sighted in Tomislavgrad a few weeks
16 or months later on, so that's, for me, additional proof
17 that he had found a way to go to the other side and
18 then go to Tomislavgrad.
19 Q. Still, regardless of some facts which might
20 be pointing in that direction, neither UNPROFOR nor the
21 ECMM, in any of the documents admitted, never mentioned
22 that as a result of their analyses or conclusion or
23 anything. You can't find anything about that in those
24 documents. Am I correct or --
25 JUDGE MAY: That is a comment. It's not a
2 MR. KOVACIC: Should I rephrase?
3 JUDGE MAY: No. You can make the comment to
5 MR. KOVACIC: No need for comment. Thank
7 JUDGE MAY: No. What I mean is it's the sort
8 of matter, Mr. Kovacic, which you can put in your final
9 submissions, if you wish.
10 MR. KOVACIC: Excuse me for misunderstanding,
12 Q. [Interpretation] You also make your
13 assessment about Croat hospitals, that is, hospitals
14 controlled by Croats, and you said that they were
15 better equipped than Bosnian hospitals or, rather, BH
16 army hospitals. In those conversations when you
17 enquired about hospitals, did you ever hear about
18 preparations for war in 1991, 1992, in various Lasva
19 Valley municipalities?
20 A. No, I didn't.
21 Q. Here we saw the report of your institution,
22 ECMM, and those are fragments saying that the Nova Bila
23 hospital was in a horrible state. You were in Nova
24 Bila, you were in that hospital, you saw it. Could we
25 say that that hospital was in a good state?
1 A. Well, it was a kind of an emergency hospital,
2 wartime hospital in a church. They had three surgeons
3 and four more common doctors. They had anaesthetists,
4 they had equipment to operation on wounded people, and
5 if they needed anything, they would get it from us
6 through UNHCR or through Medecins du Monde or Medecins
7 sans Frontieres. And we actually brought a lot of
8 equipment to them, as well as to the other side. But
9 it was still an emergency hospital in a church.
10 Q. Was it overcrowded?
11 A. Not all the time. At several occasions when
12 we were there, all the beds were occupied, and on some
13 other occasions, some beds were still free.
14 Q. So you think that hospital was quite all
15 right, up to the standard?
16 A. If you compare it to other hospitals like in
17 Kacuni or in Kruscica or in Stari Vitez, yes, it was
18 quite well equipped.
19 Q. Was there any other hospital controlled by
20 the HVO, apart from that one? In the area, I mean.
21 A. There was another kind of hospital, small
22 hospital in Busovaca, also well equipped.
23 Q. Thank you very much. You told us about two
24 events, and you said, on the basis of your account,
25 that you thought that the army was superior to
1 civilians in the sense that it was also responsible for
2 uncontrollable contact of civilians. Let me remind
4 You were telling us about the civilians who
5 had blocked the road to Kruscica, and in a way you
6 implied here that the troops or, rather, the brigade
7 was responsible for their behaviour. Secondly, you
8 were telling us about the meeting with the brigade
9 commander, Grubesic, in Busovaca, and you objected to
10 him because allegedly civilians were using civilians to
11 dig trenches.
12 But tell us, please, wouldn't it be a normal
13 division that the civilian authorities be responsible
14 for the behaviour of civilians, that is, I mean, the
15 civilian police specifically, and on the other hand,
16 the military authorities should bear responsibility for
17 the behaviour of the troops?
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, I must ask you to
19 shorten your questions. That went on for a minute and
20 a half. You don't need to ask questions of that
22 MR. KOVACIC: I apologise, Sir. I, indeed,
23 wanted to summarise and to -- I probably should go step
24 by step.
25 JUDGE MAY: Just ask the witness to answer a
1 question. Yes. Now, what was the question again, in a
2 nutshell, please?
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Please, would you agree with me that the
5 principle governing any organised human society, that
6 it is the civilian authorities who are responsible for
7 the behaviour of the civilians, and the military
8 authorities are responsible for the behaviour of
9 soldiers, of the troops? Could we agree on that?
10 A. As a principle, I agree. But things go
11 beyond that. Freedom of movement is a responsibility
12 of the military, and if civilians obstruct that freedom
13 of movement, then it's still the responsibility of the
14 military to organise this.
15 Q. So that is why you think that in those two
16 cases, the army should have taken care of that?
17 A. In the case of Kruscica, yes. In the case of
18 digging trenches, that's nothing to do with freedom of
19 movement. That's just a war crime, and war crimes
20 shouldn't be committed by civilians as well.
21 Q. Thank you. You told us about the Joy Convoy
22 which had been captured. That convoy never reached the
23 municipality of Vitez; is that correct?
24 A. I don't know whether it reached Vitez or
25 not. I found remains of the convoy in Novi Travnik,
1 and I wasn't there at the time when the convoy went
2 through the Lasva Valley.
3 Q. Yes, you did say so. But you said that you
4 had heard, more or less, where it had been intercepted?
5 A. That's correct, but that doesn't mean that it
6 never reached Vitez. I think parts of it even reached
8 Q. A convoy controlled by those who were
9 supervising the convoy while it was in total yet, in
10 one piece, before it was attacked and captured, that
11 convoy never reached the municipality of Vitez?
12 A. As I told you, I don't know whether it
13 reached Vitez or not.
14 Q. But you are telling me about the consequences
15 of what --
16 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to stop this. Please
17 move on now.
18 Mr. Kovacic, you've now been cross-examining
19 for over two hours. This witness has been subjected to
20 more than four hours' examination by the Prosecution,
21 two hours and a bit by your co-counsel, counsel for the
22 co-accused, and over two hours from you. Now, I judge
23 for myself that that really is enough.
24 Can you try and wind up, please, within the
25 next quarter of an hour, that is, by the break.
1 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, I do apologise
2 for being a little bit long, and so far I never did it
3 so much. But you, of course, recognise that it is a
4 very important witness for us.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, please get on with
7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] May I ask the
8 usher to, please, show the witness Document Z1140,1.
9 Q. This is a report which you signed. We saw it
10 the day before yesterday. The date on it is the 6th of
11 July, and I should like to draw your attention to the
12 last paragraph, that is, item 4 on page 2. I'm
13 referring to the story that the HVO or, rather,
14 specifically Mario Cerkez offered a reward for cut-off
15 parts of bodies and that an ear, a cut-off ear, had
16 been found on an HVO prisoner.
17 Now, from this subtitle, you heard that you
18 took over this information from the UNPROFOR report,
19 from the BritBat report; is that correct?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. And you did not hear anything about the
22 sources of that information?
23 A. Well, we had a daily exchange of information
24 between BritBat and the ECMM teams working in the area,
25 and I found it my responsibility to report this in the
1 ECMM lines. So that's the reason why I wrote it down
2 in my report.
3 Q. Now, would you please answer my question. I
4 understand that. You told us that. But you did not
5 find out anything about the source about where did it
6 reach the BritBat from? How did it get into their
8 A. No, I did not, and I was not in the ability
9 to find out, since I left the day after this.
10 Q. Did you try to verify that kind of
11 information? I mean, any kind of information that you
12 would be given, and specifically this information, did
13 you ever verify that?
14 A. Normally I would, but, as I told you, I write
15 these reports in the evening, at 10.00, and I left the
16 next morning on the 7th of July, so I wasn't able to
17 check this myself.
18 Q. And did you ever hear about such incidents
19 later on? I mean, if a reward had been offered, there
20 must have been such cases. Have you ever heard about a
21 similar instance about a similar case?
22 A. You mean after the 6th of July?
23 Q. Yes. Or before.
24 A. No, I didn't hear about it before. I heard
25 of things like this committed by the Serb side. I
1 never heard of it being done by the Croatian side or by
2 the ABiH side. And, as I explained to Mr. Sayers,
3 later on I went to Germany and the German newspapers do
4 not report on this in that detail.
5 Q. Thank you very much. Now I'd like to start
6 winding it up. Colonel, is it true that basically the
7 whole Lasva Valley was surrounded by BiH Army forces
8 and that then within it there were some enclaves where
9 Croat forces had surrounded Muslim or other Bosniak
10 troops, specifically the area of Stari Vitez, Kruscica,
11 Poculica, Preocica, and some other smaller places?
12 Could we agree on that general assessment?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. Thank you. Have you ever had opportunity,
15 and you told us where you went after you left Bosnia,
16 but have you ever had an opportunity to hear the final
17 data about the civil war, I mean about the casualties
18 and fatalities?
19 A. No, I didn't hear about any specific
21 Q. Thank you. And now I should like to ask you
22 to look at yet another document. It is 1139,1,
24 I should like to draw your attention to
25 paragraph 8 on page 2. It is another of your reports
1 of the 5th of July, so early July. And here we have
2 three groups of your contacts, to put it in simple
3 terms. First comes the HVO. And that, evidently,
4 refers to Vitez. Some names are mentioned in here,
5 Pero Skopljak, Santic. Then you evidently have the
6 military part of the HVO, the operative zone, Blaskic,
7 Nakic, Cerkez. So this is the military part of the
8 contacts. And the last group under (b) is BiH, Bosnia,
9 the Bosnian side. And here you do not have a single
11 Now, how am I to interpret that? Does that
12 mean that you had no contacts on the Bosniak side?
13 A. No, that's not correct. I made a report on
14 Vitez itself and I should have mentioned the ABiH
15 elements in Vitez. The other elements were outside
16 Vitez, so there was a separate report on elements
17 outside Vitez.
18 Q. When you say Vitez, do you mean the town as
19 such or the municipality of Vitez?
20 A. I mean the municipality of Vitez.
21 Q. But you yourself said that you did have
22 contacts with Sifet Sivro and Klestura, and you
23 mentioned some other names, but you did not with some
25 A. That's correct. Maybe the final part of this
1 page is missing, I'm not sure, but it's the same order
2 as the HVO, HDZ side.
3 Q. Thank you. Colonel Morsink, you told us
4 quite clearly some things you didn't know, you never
5 heard, never had an opportunity to hear anything
6 about. Could you tell me, if you will agree with me if
7 I tell you, that a square, the points of which are
8 Travnik, Novi Travnik, Busovaca, Zenica, a somewhat
9 irregular square, with Vitez roughly in its centre, and
10 that it is about 430 kilometres square.
11 Now, in view of your -- the number of people
12 you had, you couldn't really cover the whole area
13 properly, could you?
14 A. In the beginning we only had one team in the
15 Vitez area. It was my team. Later on RC Zenica was
16 reinforced and we had a total of, I think, 15 or 16
17 teams; so that's 32 monitors and then the staff in
18 Zenica itself. And later on, I think as of the middle
19 of June, we found it enough to cover this whole area.
20 Q. So, if I understand you properly, until the
21 middle of June you had difficulty in covering the area,
22 and you were not happy with the number of monitors?
23 A. I don't know whether the middle of June is
24 the exact date, but in the beginning we had a shortage
25 of monitors, and later on we were reinforced.
1 Q. And you believe that under circumstances as
2 those having to control such a large area as -- at a
3 time when so many things were taking place at one in
4 the same time, that at that time you could really
5 arrive at some reliable and valuable facts?
6 A. I found myself able to find a lot of
7 important facts, and the area in the beginning wasn't
8 as large as you told me, since I only focused on Vitez
9 and Busovaca. Travnik became important later on.
10 Q. Thank you. And just one question more.
11 Yesterday there was a lot of talk about a helicopter
12 which landed somewhere near the explosives factory in
13 Vitez. But neither in the report, which we saw, nor
14 you in the end, said if there were any markings on that
15 helicopter to show that it belonged to an army.
16 A. I recall that I didn't recognise any markings
17 on this helicopter, since it was -- the sighting was
18 done from the British Battalion, the house at the
19 British Battalion, and that's, I think, three or four
20 kilometres away from the ammunition factory. And it
21 was dawn, so I couldn't clearly see signs on the
22 helicopter, if there were any.
23 Q. And in relation to that factory, you and some
24 other people called it the ammunitions factory, but,
25 surely, you are aware that ammunition was never made
1 there, only the explosives which, perhaps, are used,
2 which probably are used to make ammunition?
3 A. It was the common way of calling this factory
4 by the Brits, and I took over this name.
5 Q. Yes. But we shall agree that the name does
6 not really tell us about the activity of the factory,
7 that these two things do not correspond?
8 A. I really don't know. I never visited this
9 factory myself.
10 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, I skipped some
11 questions, since you advised me so, and I will conclude
12 my cross-examination of this witness.
13 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
14 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you so much. Thank you,
16 JUDGE MAY: Just one thing, Mr. Kovacic,
17 before you sit down. You didn't cross-examine and
18 challenge what Mr. Cerkez said on the 17th of April,
19 that his soldiers were out of control, all the elements
20 were out of control. Do I take it from that, that
21 there is no dispute that that is in fact what he said?
22 MR. KOVACIC: We did touch that, but if you
23 want, I could just put one straightforward question.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you would.
25 MR. KOVACIC:
1 Q. Colonel, you have heard what his honour
2 said. What exactly Cerkez said about his troops being
3 out or under his control? His troops, did he make it
5 A. Yes. We asked him about our freedom of
6 movement, the bridge being blocked by anti-tank mines,
7 and this lorry, and the small arms fire we received at
8 crossing the front lines. And then he made the excuse
9 that some of his troops or some of his individual
10 soldiers were out of control.
11 Q. Under the expression "his troops," was it
12 clear what he meant? The HVO side, so my brother, my
13 colleague's troops, or my troops under my command? Was
14 that clearly stated?
15 A. According to my memory, it was his area of
16 responsibility. It was clearly within Vitez, the
17 boundary of Vitez, and he never said anything or
18 mentioned anything that it wasn't his soldiers, but
19 under the command of somebody else. Through the
20 interpreter, of course, he said that some of his
21 soldiers were out of control.
22 Q. [Interpretation] So you took that to mean
23 that HVO soldiers in the territory of Vitez?
24 A. I took it as HVO soldiers under the command
25 of Mr. Cerkez.
1 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, thank you.
2 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I should
3 like to remind you to ask the Colonel, when Mr. Cerkez
4 told you that some of his men had gone out of control,
5 was it in relation to the ceasefire or rather the
6 violation of the ceasefire that you spoke to us about
7 after it was established in the area? Was it to
8 justify the violation, the non-compliance with the
9 ceasefire? Was it in relation to that?
10 A. It was also that, Your Honour, but in the
11 first day there was no ceasefire and there was still
12 firing at us. And UNPROFOR -- I was travelling in an
13 UNPROFOR vehicle and they had the mandate by the U.N.
14 to be able to freely move in the area, and we were
15 blocked by allegedly soldiers led by Mr. Cerkez.
16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So at the
17 outset it had nothing to do with the ceasefire as such,
18 but afterwards there was this ceasefire, and you
19 requested that. And nevertheless, in spite of this
20 ceasefire, there was still fire opened, and at that
21 time you asked Commander Cerkez: How could it be that
22 this fire continued despite the ceasefire? And he
23 answered you that he could not keep control of all his
24 men or, rather, that some of his men had escaped his
25 control. Is that how it was?
1 A. That's correct, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] And in
3 conclusion, you yourself answered that the use of some
4 weapons excluded the absence of control because certain
5 logistics is needed if one is to use those particular
6 weapons, and that one cannot presume the use of certain
7 weapons without it being done under the control of
8 higher officer of some command?
9 A. That's correct, Your Honour. And there's
10 additional information that might clear up the
11 situation. The first time we tried to visit Kruscica
12 in the beginning, so I think that's the 18th of April,
13 we had the HVO liaison officer, Mr. Boris Jozic with
14 us, and before we entered Kruscica, he made a phone
15 call to make sure that there was no HVO fire on
16 Kruscica when we were there.
17 So that points out clearly to me that there
18 is a line of communication and that there is somebody
19 controlling these artillery pieces.
20 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you
21 very much.
22 JUDGE MAY: Is there anything you want to ask
23 arising from that, Mr. Kovacic?
24 MR. KOVACIC: Just a minor point.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Given the last thing you
1 said, the control of artillery fire, you agreed that
2 you did not know exactly under whose control the
3 artillery was; was it at the level of the brigade or
4 the operative zone? Jozic, as a member of the brigade,
5 beyond doubt had to have had communications to the
6 artillery, because they were part of the same army. Do
7 we agree on that?
8 A. I don't think he called the artillery
9 himself. He either called the brigade headquarters or
10 the operational zone headquarters, but the result of
11 that was that there was no fire on Kruscica during our
12 visit there.
13 Q. But it stands to reason that Jozic, a member
14 of the brigade, and it doesn't matter who the artillery
15 was subordinated to, that he would call for the
16 artillery fire. It doesn't mean that he is calling his
17 own artillery; he is calling the artillery, directly or
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. NICE: Just a few questions.
22 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
23 Q. Did Cerkez ever explain the absence of
24 inquiry or the results of inquiries that you sought by
25 reference to the internal military justice system?
1 A. No, he did not.
2 Q. Was there ever any reference to one of the
3 units being a home guard?
4 A. No. As I said yesterday, I wasn't aware of
5 the whole brigade being a home guard brigade.
6 Q. Did Cerkez ever refer you specifically to
7 other units or to the leaders of other units as people
8 to whom you should be addressing your inquiries and
10 A. No, he did not. But he was aware of the fact
11 that we also had contacts at the operational zone
13 Q. Yes. Did you make it clear, when you were
14 speaking to him, that your interest was in the Vitez
15 position generally?
16 A. I think so, yes.
17 Q. When you were sniped at, were you wearing the
18 white uniform that we can see in the photographs?
19 A. That's correct. I always wore that white
21 Q. As to sniping, you answered this morning that
22 most occasions of fire came from the HVO, but there
23 were no significant differences of sniper fire from
24 municipalities. To clarify that, are you saying as to
25 sniper fire that it mostly came from one side or that
1 it was equal from both sides?
2 A. The sniping fire, as such, as an exchange
3 between two opposite parties, there was no distinction
4 between one or the other municipality. But sniping
5 fire aimed at us was most of the time defined as being
6 from the HVO side.
7 Q. Asked about the surrounding ABiH forces
8 yesterday and today, you yesterday said that your
9 answer had to be seen in the context of the size of the
10 forces or, indeed, I think the small size. Is there
11 any further comment you want to make on that, in terms
12 of who had the upper hand and so on?
13 A. As I recall it, I also used the context of a
14 free road to the coast. So there is a small
15 encirclement, a larger encirclement, and then even a
16 larger encirclement on the whole territory of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
18 Q. Kordic's position of command, did you ever
19 have access to internal HZHB documents and orders and
20 matters of that sort?
21 A. No, I did not.
22 Q. So far as the truck bomb is concerned, it's
23 suggested that Cerkez said it was the responsibility of
24 other units. Had he ever identified other units to
25 you, would you then have taken other steps and written
1 different reports?
2 A. If he had made it clear to me that it wasn't
3 his responsibility, but the responsibility of another
4 unit, then I would have investigated that and put it in
5 my report. On the other hand, Colonel Stewart dealt
6 with Mr. Blaskic at a higher level about the same
8 Q. Very well. And the same -- I needn't deal
9 with that. We've dealt with that in general.
10 The suggestion at the time of the threat to
11 burn the village, he said that civilians were going to
12 be pulled out. Had it been made clear to you that
13 civilians were going to be pulled out of Kruscica?
14 A. No, he didn't mention civilians, that they
15 were going to be pulled out.
16 Q. And had anybody done so, would that have
17 involved different steps to be taken by you?
18 A. Well, there was no step for me to be taken.
19 I could not stop foreign troops coming in, if any. It
20 wasn't my job to stop reinforcements. It was my job to
21 see that no war crimes or no further war crimes were
23 Q. I think probably the last question. You've
24 been asked about the reported offer of reward for ears
25 said to have been made by Cerkez. Your original notes
1 now being available, they having been summarised in the
2 report, you can find them in one of your short smaller
3 pocket books if you wish to. But for speed, is it
4 right that the account as coming to you was detailed to
5 the extent that ears cut off would attract 400
6 Deutschemarks if live, 200 Deutschemarks if dead, with
7 a figure that I can't read, but it ends in 50
8 Deutschemarks for each finger. That one ear had been
9 found and that there was -- perhaps you could interpret
10 the rest of it. Somebody had an ear with him and there
11 was a second HVO soldier who made the same statement.
12 A. That's correct. And this soldier that had
13 the ear with him is in a prison. I don't know in what
14 prison, but he is in the prison.
15 Q. And the only other topic, question, is about
16 Busovaca and about the position there. You said about
17 Nakic and his reaction, but was the position in
18 Busovaca up until July one of constant harmony or was
19 it up and down? What was the position so far as you
20 are concerned?
21 A. Well, there was a kind of harmony in the
22 local joint commission. Both commanders could speak
23 freely with each other, accompanied by their own
24 liaison officers and sometimes the politicians. But
25 they both spoke about a lot of casualties at the front
1 line. So there wasn't really a reason to be
2 satisfied. Casualties, numbers of 5 or 10 casualties
3 each day, is too much for a local ceasefire.
4 Q. That's the commission. As to the Muslims
5 themselves --
6 JUDGE MAY: Now, now, Mr. Nice. Time really
7 is getting on.
8 MR. NICE: I can deal with it in another
9 way. The other evidence on Busovaca -- yes, thank you
10 very much.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I just want to be
12 clear that the Colonel -- it was reported to the
13 Colonel that somebody who was in prison did actually
14 have an ear.
15 A. The notes start at the bottom side of this
16 page, underscored, Your Honour. Those are the notes I
17 took when I was briefed by one of the British
18 officers. I think it was the intelligence officer, but
19 I'm not sure. The daily briefings at BritBat in the
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Can you read the relevant
23 A. "Order of Mario Cerkez to cut off ears.
24 Every ear, 400 D-mark."
25 On the other side, on the other page:
1 "50 Deutschemarks for each finger. One ear
2 found, plus the one who did it in prison. He had the
3 ear with him. Second HVO soldier made the same
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
6 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Colonel. That
7 concludes your evidence. Thank you for coming to the
8 International Tribunal to give it. Now, you are
9 released. We'll adjourn for half an hour.
10 --- Recess taken at 11.15 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 11.45 a.m.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the
14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
15 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
17 WITNESS: NIHAD REBIHIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a seat.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour,
22 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] This
23 witness is Mr. Nihad Rebihic.
24 JUDGE MAY: I would like you to ask him his
25 name and deal briefly with his background, please,
1 Mr. Lopez-Terres.
2 Examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
3 Q. Your name is Nihad Rebihic, born on the 28th
4 of August, 1949 in Preocica?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You went to a school of officers in reserve
7 in the JNA of ex-Yugoslavia and you acquired the rank
8 of captain, first class?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You were appointed assistant secretary of the
11 interior of Vitez municipality?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You stayed in position until April 1990, and
14 in May 1992, you decided to join the Territorial
15 Defence in Vitez?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You were appointed coordinator of the units
18 fighting the Serbs?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. At the time, your commander was Commander
21 Cengic and after that Sefkija Djidic?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Throughout the conflict you were in Vitez and
24 Stari Vitez?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In the course of this conflict, your wife was
2 killed and one of your daughters was wounded?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You left the BH Army in April 1994, and from
5 that date onwards you were retired?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In August of that year, 1999 -- of this year,
8 you resumed work as a teacher and you are now the
9 principal of the school in Preocica?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You never were a member of the SDA party,
12 were you, Mr. Rebihic?
13 A. No, I was not.
14 Q. You lived for a long time in the area of
15 Vitez, Mr. Rebihic, and, on that basis, you knew the
16 accused Mario Cerkez for a long time; is that true?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Could you tell us, roughly, when you met
19 Mr. Cerkez for the first time?
20 A. I knew Mr. Cerkez for a long time and we had
21 direct contact when I joined the secretariat of
22 internal affairs in Vitez. And Mr. Cerkez was working
23 in the Territorial Defence staff of Vitez at the time.
24 Q. Mr. Cerkez, before the conflict, was working
25 within the Territorial Defence as an assistant for the
1 MTS service, that is, materiel and materiel equipment
2 of the explosives factory called Unis?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you remember a conversation that you had
5 with Mr. Sefkija Djidic in the course of 1992, when
6 this gentleman spoke to you about certain things that
7 Cerkez had done in connection with the weapons under
8 his control?
9 A. Yes. In the course of 1992, it was already
10 quite clear that weapons were being distributed,
11 weapons that were the property of various
12 socially-owned companies, including weapons owned by
13 the Ministry of the Interior. And talking to Sefkija,
14 I learned that in the Unis plants, the weapons were
15 also being distributed. Among others, he mentioned
16 Mr. Cerkez as being one of those who distributed those
17 weapons probably to the HVO or to Croats.
18 Q. While working in the police in Vitez, were
19 you informed of the arrest of Cerkez and his
20 involvement in connection with this materiel?
21 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, I think that this
22 question is going only on character discrimination of
23 the witness [sic]. It has nothing to do with the
25 JUDGE MAY: Indeed, I suppose the relevance
1 is that it's alleged that it was the stealing of
2 equipment, and I take that to be military equipment,
3 but I agree with you that it doesn't seem to take the
4 case much further to note anything else about it.
5 Mr. Lopez-Terres, the accused was arrested.
6 Was he charged with an offence? Is that alleged?
7 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] He was
8 under interrogation by the police, and that is when
9 Mr. Rebihic met Cerkez and spoke to him.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I've read the summary, and
11 I don't think it's going to assist us very much to hear
12 about that interview. It seems probable that it's best
13 to pass on from this information.
14 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Very
16 Q. You were informed, Mr. Rebihic, of the
17 appointment of Mario Cerkez as assistant commander of
18 the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade and, later on, as
19 commander of the Vitez Brigade?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. At the time that Mario Cerkez was second in
22 command of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, was he
23 stationed in Vitez or in Novi Travnik?
24 A. The headquarters of that brigade was in Novi
25 Travnik, but units and members came from the territory
1 of Vitez, and they were often in Vitez, in the hotel.
2 Q. When the conflict broke out, after that you
3 had several contacts with Mr. Cerkez by telephone or
4 direct meetings with him. Could you tell us, what was
5 the reason for these contacts with Mr. Cerkez at that
7 A. In the territory of the municipality,
8 tensions had already heightened, and the situation had
9 become quite unbearable as a result of acts committed
10 by members of the HVO; breaking into apartments,
11 seizure of armaments, stopping people at checkpoints,
12 taking people into custody to the police, confiscating
13 weapons, vehicles, money. And in such a situation, the
14 need was felt for contact with those responsible.
15 I was among those who had contact on several
16 occasions with Mr. Cerkez both by phone and, on a
17 number of occasions, in person. I can't tell you
18 exactly when that was. I asked that these activities
19 be halted, and seeking his assistance in liberating
20 people, restoring property, and those were the contacts
21 that I had with Mr. Cerkez.
22 Q. You just told us that you contacted Cerkez
23 each time HVO forces were involved in acts committed
24 against Muslims. Did you contact Cerkez also in
25 connection with acts attributed or committed by members
1 of the HOS or the Vitezovi?
2 A. There were regular contacts with Mr. Cerkez
3 regardless of which units were involved, because we
4 felt that Mr. Cerkez was in a position to act and to
5 assist in clearing up the situation and overcoming the
6 incidents that were occurring.
7 Q. In the course of this period we're talking
8 about, did you have occasion to contact Darko
10 A. I never had any contact with Darko Kraljevic.
11 Q. In the course of these contacts and meetings
12 with Cerkez, were you able to notice any particular
13 character traits or a characteristic way of responding
14 to your demands?
15 A. As tensions had heightened in the territory
16 of the municipality, and in view of the acts of HVO
17 members against Muslims, in contacts with Mr. Cerkez
18 one could clearly note a certain overbearing attitude,
19 arrogance. This was nothing serious for him. But he
20 would very frequently accuse the other side, that is,
21 the BH army, and he would justify such acts by the HVO
22 by acts committed by the army, though in truth, in all
23 cases there was no justification.
24 Once, personally in the office, I think I
25 came with the deputy commander, Mr. Badzo, regarding
1 certain agreements reached between representatives of
2 the HVO, the army, the political structures of the HVO,
3 and the coordinating board for the protection of the
4 interests of Muslims, as it was called at the time,
5 and, according to that agreement, all checkpoints were
6 to be removed, free movement, free passage ensured, and
7 materiel and technical equipment restored to their
8 owners, and vehicles which had been confiscated, and
9 also mention was made of a couple of killings that had
10 already occurred, because even before the outbreak of
11 the conflict, a certain number of Muslims had been
12 killed in a very brutal manner. For instance, in
13 Nadioci, Salkic, Trako Samir.
14 Mr. Cerkez would hear us out, but from his
15 behaviour, his gestures, and the expressions on his
16 face, he didn't seem to attach much significance to all
17 this. He just brushed these things off. Agreements
18 were never implemented or carried out as agreed at
19 these meetings.
20 Q. Did you ever hear the accused Mario Cerkez
21 making insulting or racist remarks regarding Muslims?
22 A. As a coordinator of the Visoko-Travnik
23 battlefront facing the Yugoslav army and their
24 supporters, in May 1992 I came on leave to Vitez and
25 then I was co-opted to the staff. On that day, there
1 was a review of the HVO at the stadium, which I did not
2 attend, but on the local Vitez television this was
3 broadcast. And on that occasion, I heard clearly
4 Mr. Cerkez addressing the units, say that the Croatian
5 people were under threat, that they must prepare
6 themselves, that there was a danger of them being
7 attacked by the Muslims. That is what I remember
8 Mr. Cerkez saying.
9 Q. My question was a simple one. Did Mario
10 Cerkez ever make any racist remarks regarding the
11 Muslims of Bosnia? We are going to speak about that
12 speech later.
13 A. Yes. Yes.
14 Q. But you never heard any insults on the part
15 of Cerkez against the Muslims; are we agreed on that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You have just referred to a speech that may
18 have been made by Mario Cerkez at the time. We are
19 going to show a videotape, a short abstract of that
20 film, lasting a few seconds, and I will ask you to
21 comment on that event after that. I have to say that
22 the video we are going to show is Exhibit Z2771. Could
23 the first few pictures be in slow motion, please.
24 [Videotape played]
25 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Could you
1 stop there, please. Thank you. Now we can go on.
2 [Videotape played]
3 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] We can go
4 on at normal speed now, please.
5 [Videotape played]
6 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Thank
8 JUDGE MAY: Is there a transcript of what was
9 just being said?
10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] The
11 commentary, according to information that I have, has
12 nothing to do with the pictures that have been shown.
13 We don't have a transcript of this film, which is much
14 longer. This was just a clip that I thought was
15 relevant for what we were discussing today.
16 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
17 I beg your pardon. I fully agree with your question.
18 I think that every video, if we have the sound and the
19 picture, they constitute a whole. And it is up to all
20 of us to assess whether the sound is related to the
21 picture or not. So I would ask for the transcript
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes. But you could probably
24 understand it. What were they talking about?
25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] It was rather
1 fast, so I didn't quite understand. But, in any event,
2 that sound is linked to the picture shown, or perhaps
3 an even better question would be, could we be given the
4 whole tape, the whole videotape, and then we would be
5 able to say whether the sound is linked to these
6 pictures or some others that we didn't see.
7 JUDGE MAY: We shall ask for a transcript of
8 that portion which we've been shown. And the defence
9 should have the whole video. That can be done in due
11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 Yes. It's envisaged, yes. We'll do that.
13 Q. You saw this clip, Mr. Rebihic. This brief
14 ceremony that we saw, is that the one that was shown on
15 Vitez television?
16 A. Yes, only there was much more footage in the
17 introduction. Anto Marijanovic spoke, and then in the
18 front row there was Anto Valenta. I recognise him. I
19 recognise Mr. Kordic, though I only know him by sight.
20 I would see him at those press conferences. We never
21 had any personal contact. I recognise Mr. Cerkez, who
22 was touring the units. But there is no question that
23 Mr. Cerkez did address the rally on that occasion.
24 Q. The speech of the accused Mario Cerkez that
25 you referred to a moment ago, was it made on the
1 occasion of this ceremony in Vitez?
2 A. Yes. After the units had been reviewed, he
3 addressed the units with a brief speech that I have
4 already referred to.
5 Q. Throughout the conflict and, to be more
6 precise, from September 1992 until February 1994, you
7 held a personal diary, several diaries, in which you
8 noted the majority of the events which you considered
9 to be important and which occurred in the municipality
10 of Vitez?
11 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Before going
12 onto that question, Mr. Lopez-Terres, what is the
13 relevance? I didn't quite understand the relevance of
14 this video. Why did you show us this video, exactly?
15 For us to understand the meaning?
16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] If I may
17 explain the position of the Office of the Prosecutor.
18 This is the only video that we have, and which shows
19 the ceremony organised in Vitez in the summer of 1992
20 on the occasion of the oath-swearing ceremony of the
21 local brigade, which was attended by Cerkez as brigade
22 commander, and also by the accused Kordic, as the
23 witness recognised on the tape.
24 This was a ceremony held at the Vitez
25 stadium, which was referred to already by other
1 witnesses, and this was an abstract that we were able
2 to select.
3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So if you
4 are showing us this, it is the ceremony of the
5 oath-taking ceremony of the Vitez Brigade when a speech
6 was delivered by the accused?
7 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] But we
8 don't have the speech.
9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] The accused
10 Mario Cerkez is reviewing the troops in the presence of
11 the other accused Dario Kordic, and Anto Valenta.
12 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] That is
13 all that we have in our possession, Your Honour.
14 Q. As I have just said, you kept personal
15 diaries during the conflict and you gave The Office of
16 the Prosecutor abstracts from that diary which you
17 considered to be the most relevant for that period.
18 Those documents have been provided to the defence. I
19 should like you to look once again at a copy of those
20 abstracts to confirm whether they are indeed the
21 documents you gave us. These personal diaries are
22 Exhibit Z2770.
23 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour --
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, one moment. Now, let's try
25 and hurry. Yes, what is it, Mr. Kovacic?
1 MR. KOVACIC: I'm afraid we have a problem
2 with that. It is clearly -- this diary indeed, the
3 material we get consists of clippings from supposedly
4 an original document. So those are selected parts from
5 a diary. It should be either the whole or nothing, I
7 JUDGE MAY: Provided you've got the
8 original. There is no reason why we should be burdened
9 with a lot of irrelevant material.
10 Mr. Lopez-Terres, what's the position?
11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] The Office
12 of the Prosecutor has communicated to the defence the
13 only exhibits it has possession of. The office of the
14 Prosecution does not have possession of the original,
15 nor the entirety of the notebooks kept by Mr. Rebihic.
16 These excerpts were selected by Mr. Rebihic himself
17 when he met with our investigator at the end of last
18 year. Mr. Rebihic, according to what he told me, is
19 ready to submit those notebooks to the Trial Chamber,
20 if necessary.
21 JUDGE MAY: Let us get on with what we've
23 Now, you've handed over, have you, to the
24 Defence, everything which you yourself have,
25 Mr. Lopez-Terres?
1 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Absolutely
2 so, yes.
3 JUDGE MAY: Now, while it's being handed
4 round -- hand it round, please. While that's being
5 done, Mr. Lopez-Terres, we've already had a lot of
6 evidence about Vitez and events in Vitez, and I notice
7 that the witness, between now and, I think, roughly
8 paragraph 64, is going to deal with those. I recollect
9 a document which has gone in which describes all the
10 alleged misdemeanours in Vitez, a summary which we
11 already have. Now, we don't need to go all over that
12 again. I don't remember that it was challenged or not
13 challenged in any detail.
14 Is there anything in here which you want the
15 witness particularly to deal with, which hasn't been
16 dealt with elsewhere?
17 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I should
18 simply like the witness to confirm that these are
19 indeed excerpts from his notebooks.
20 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, may I address the
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic, you may, but
23 shortly, please.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The witness, as
25 he says himself, was an intelligence officer and he has
1 selected from his diaries pages or parts of pages and
2 given them to the Prosecutor. As a result, we do not
3 have a complete picture of events, but only the events
4 that he wants to tell us about, and not other events
5 that are linked to these, for us to be able to
6 understand what it's all about.
7 JUDGE MAY: And that, no doubt, is true, but
8 the time that's being taken up by these sterile debates
9 -- it's a matter, isn't it, for us to decide what
10 weight, if any, we give to these extracts. A witness
11 cannot be forced to produce a personal document like a
12 diary. No doubt, you would like to see it, but we
13 cannot force him to produce it.
14 We have here what are his extracts. Are you
15 objecting to their production?
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll consider that.
18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation]
19 Mr. Kovacic, you are objecting, if I understand, to
20 this document because they are abstracts. But that
21 does not prevent you yourself to ask additional
22 information about the document as a whole, about the
23 information collected by the witness?
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course,
25 I will, in accordance with your decision, ask the
1 witness about other parts of that diary.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, we think there is force in
4 the objection which Mr. Kovacic made; that this is a
5 selective document, it doesn't necessarily reflect the
6 whole. It would, of course, be possible to ask the
7 witness to produce the rest of it, which he may or may
8 not object to, we don't know. But it seems to us that
9 the fairest way to deal with it, and in order to try
10 and speed things up, is not to have it exhibited, but
11 to allow the witness to refer to it on any matters as
12 an aide-memoire in order that he can recollect or can
13 have access to what he recorded at the time, if he
14 needs to recollect any events. So he can have the
15 document in front of him, and if he needs to refer to
16 it at any time, then of course he can do so.
17 But, as I say, Mr. Lopez-Terres, there is no
18 need to deal at length with events in Vitez which are
19 prior to the conflict which we have had evidence about,
20 unless there are particular matters which you wish this
21 witness to deal with, or in relation to the accused.
22 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] The
23 witness was quite ready to give his notes to the
24 Chamber. If the Chamber wishes to see them, they may
25 see them. And the witness can also consult. I mean,
1 there has never been a problem with him. He was quite
2 ready to do so.
3 JUDGE MAY: But we've ruled on the matter.
4 We are not concerned about that. He can look at the
5 diary to refresh his memory.
6 Yes. I make it plain that whatever the
7 number of the diary is, it is not admitted into
8 evidence, so remove it from the list of exhibits. It's
9 this one, and we'll give it to you back. It's this
10 one, the second one, 2771.
11 There were some other exhibits which you gave
12 us, Mr. Lopez-Terres; is that right?
13 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE MAY: [Previous translation
15 continues] ... 9651 and 2770?
16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 These are different documents, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let's go on.
19 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
20 Q. On the 19th of October, 1992, Mr. Rebihic,
21 did you observe the concentration of HVO forces in
22 Vitez which then proceeded on to Novi Travnik?
23 A. Yes. If I may dwell on this for a while,
24 Your Honours, that day I was moving about Vitez, as
25 usual, to the seat of the Territorial Defence
1 headquarters which was in the secondary school centre,
2 and as I was passing by the hotel and the municipal
3 hall, I saw quite a number of motor vehicles and quite
4 a number of HVO members. And among other people -- in
5 one of the trucks of the Raba make, I noticed an entire
6 aircraft cannon, and I saw that one of these vehicles
7 were trailing a gun. And they were all concentrated in
8 front of the cultural and artistic society, by the
9 petrol pump in front of the hotel, next to the police
11 We already by that time had information that
12 the HVO units were attacking at the time Novi Travnik,
13 so I was monitoring the situation until about 13.00 or
14 half past 12.00, when HVO units, members of HVO units,
15 took some passenger cars and two [indiscernible]
16 vehicles. They boarded them and left in the direction
17 of Travnik. Some of the troops, especially those who
18 were in those trucks, had masks over their faces and
19 were under full combat gear and with full armament.
20 So quite naturally, when I returned to the
21 headquarters, I reported all that to the commander so
22 that they would also know what was going on.
23 Q. At that time, did you know that at least 27
24 soldiers from Vitez were participating in the Novi
25 Travnik attacks on the 19th and the 20th of October,
2 A. Yes. After that conflict between the HVO and
3 army units in Novi Travnik, from the Territorial
4 Defence staff in Novi Travnik we did receive
5 information with the names of people from Vitez who had
6 taken part in these attacks. And, yes, I believe it
7 was 27 -- could be 27 people. And I just noted it down
8 in my diary, because this is more a personal diary than
9 a diary of an intelligence officer, as it was said a
10 while ago.
11 Q. These 27 names can be found in your diary, in
12 the document that you have before you. Are those the
14 A. Yes, yes, and this is my handwriting. I
15 wrote that.
16 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour --
17 JUDGE MAY: What is the objection now,
18 Mr. Kovacic?
19 MR. KOVACIC: It is a page from the diary
20 which you just said --
21 JUDGE MAY: He's allowed to look at it to
22 confirm those are the names. Now, that is all. Yes.
23 You're not seeking to produce this, I take it.
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I really
25 have a problem to understand how is it the witness may
1 and may not use his diary at one and the same time?
2 JUDGE MAY: It is perfectly plain. The
3 witness can look at the document and refresh his
4 memory. He's not allowed to produce it in evidence.
5 Now, those are the 27 people. Right. Now
6 let's move on.
7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me.
8 Mr. Kovacic, it is quite clear that in the
9 cross-examination you can do the same thing, that is,
10 you have the same right to ask the witness to refresh
11 his memory, if necessary, by looking at his diary
12 during the cross-examination, so that there is full
13 equality provided. And that is necessary, of course,
14 between the Prosecution and the Defence. You will have
15 the same right then.
16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Rebihic, according to information, two
18 soldiers from Vitez were killed during those conflicts
19 in Novi Travnik; is that so?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Between the 19th and the 20th of October,
22 1992, there was a meeting which was held at the
23 Territorial Defence headquarters between the
24 representatives of the two parties to the conflict.
25 Could you tell us what happened at the end of that
2 A. Your Honours, may I just say a few words
3 about that meeting before I describe its end?
4 JUDGE MAY: In a few words.
5 A. That meeting was called because the conflict
6 in the municipality was escalating. At the time of the
7 development in Novi Travnik, in Vitez, army units were
8 attacked, and in Ahmici a member of the army was
9 killed. It was the result of the roadblocks set up by
10 the HVO in order to prevent people from arriving. So
11 that was why the meeting was convened, and it was
12 called by the UNPROFOR and the ECMM monitoring mission,
13 and Mr. Cerkez was also present at the meeting.
14 It was agreed there that the next day the
15 situation should be calmed down, that all those
16 checkpoints should be lifted and so on and so forth.
17 Now, at the beginning of the meeting itself,
18 HVO representatives and the European Monitors and
19 others went. I do not think they went back to the
20 base. But right next to the school, I believe, an APG
21 was fired from at the room in which the meeting was
22 being held, that is, where the TO headquarters was, but
23 fortunately --
24 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to stop you now. If
25 Mr. Lopez-Terres wants to ask about anything in
1 particular in relation to the meeting, he can do that.
2 Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres.
3 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
4 Q. And these shots, that is, a rocket fired at
5 the building of the TO headquarters, it happened as
6 soon as the HVO delegation had left; is that so? They
7 ensued immediately afterwards?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And the Muslim delegation was still there in
10 the building, wasn't it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. On the 20th of October, that is, a bit later
13 on, there was another meeting which was organised in
14 the building of the post office in Vitez, and it was
15 attended by the accused Mario Cerkez, and your chief
16 was also there? I mean Sefkija Djidic was present
17 there, wasn't he?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And during that meeting, the building of the
20 TO headquarters in which you were was attacked?
21 A. Yes, but -- and its rear part had already
22 been taken, and some of the members had already been
23 taken into custody and taken away.
24 Q. So then you called, by telephone, your
25 superior, Sefkija Djidic, and you explained the
1 situation to him?
2 A. Yes, because HVO units were coming close to
3 the secondary school building where I was with some 30
4 soldiers, and fire was opened directly -- fire was
5 directly at the building, window panes broken, and
6 simply we feared that people might get killed.
7 So that was when I called the commander,
8 knowing that he was at a meeting in the post office
9 building. I told him about what was going on. And
10 since the line was still open, I could hear Commander
11 Sefkija turn to Mr. Cerkez and tell him what was going
12 on at that moment around the Territorial Defence
13 headquarters, and I could also hear Mr. Cerkez say,
14 very loudly, that those were not his units. And not
15 waiting then, I cut in and I told the commander that I
16 was not interested in whose units they were, and unless
17 this was prevented, and unless this siege was lifted,
18 and unless the fire was put a stop to, that we would
19 have to defend ourselves, that is, return the fire.
20 Q. It is quite true that a few moments after
21 that telephone conversation, the fire stopped and the
22 attackers retreated?
23 A. Yes. I forgot to say that. It was hardly
24 any time at all after that conversation the assault
25 stopped and the attackers withdrew.
1 Q. The accused Mario Cerkez, during that
2 telephone conversation you could hear Mario Cerkez tell
3 Sefkija Djidic that those were not his units who were
4 participating in the attack. Now, according to Mario
5 Cerkez, whose units were they?
6 A. What I overheard -- while I was talking to my
7 commander, I could overhear Mario Cerkez say that those
8 were not his units and that they were Darko Kraljevic's
9 units, and that is why I angrily retorted that I really
10 couldn't care less whose units they were but simply
11 that the fire had to be stopped.
12 Q. During the ensuing period, that is, late 1992
13 and January 1993, were there Muslim businesses which
14 were damaged, were there crimes committed against them?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you recorded all those incidents in your
17 diary, didn't you?
18 A. As much as I could, depending on the
19 information I had and on what I could hear. But, yes,
20 yes, quite a number, quite a number, quite a number of
21 these incidents were recorded.
22 Q. In late 1992, early 1993, you received a
23 report according to which Herzegovinian soldiers, that
24 is, soldiers from Herzegovina, arrived in Vitez. How
25 did those soldiers behave?
1 A. According to information we received from
2 citizens, I mean citizens who had the opportunity to
3 see them, whether walking around the city or in various
4 pubs and restaurants, these soldiers were heard to say
5 that they had come -- on one occasion, for instance, we
6 received a report that since General Praljak was to
7 arrive to work towards setting up a joint command
8 between the HVO and the army of the Republic of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that they were there as
10 security for him.
11 Now, on a different occasion, when after a
12 while one again observed those units around, we
13 received reports that, for instance, people from
14 outside the municipality of Vitez, and some were saying
15 from the territory of Herzegovina, had come because HVO
16 combatants had told them that they would not be
17 fighting the Serbs and that they should get ready to
18 fight the Muslims.
19 So these are -- I did not hear that
20 personally. That was the information that reached us.
21 Q. And those soldiers from Herzegovina, they
22 stayed in the area of Vitez at least until April 1993;
23 isn't that so?
24 A. Yes, one could see them. One could see them
25 a few days before the attack in the Vitez area, and we
1 received that intelligence, that information through
2 those roadblocks. There were HVO members stopped, army
3 members, or Muslim citizens, and seized their equipment
4 or vehicles and whatnot. And from those citizens who
5 would come to us to report these incidents and asking
6 for help about their property, we also learned that
7 there were still people whom they identified as
8 Herzegovinians, because of their speech, because of the
9 accent, because of the kind of speech they communicated
11 Q. Do you remember any distinctive insignia that
12 those forces had?
13 A. Well, sometime in the beginning, sometime in
14 early 1993, at the petrol pump, which is near the
15 hunters' lodge, which is near the village of
16 Krecevine. Personally, I was just simply getting some
17 petrol for my vehicle, and in front of the hunters'
18 lodge I saw those insignia.
19 Now, what it looked to me like was an oak --
20 was like an oak leaf on the left arm, on the shoulder.
21 And later on we received some intelligence from the
22 ground --
23 Q. Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank
25 Could we show the witness the exhibit which
1 has already been produced, Z25621.
2 A. I think that is an oak leaf. Yes, I think
3 so. It reminds me of an oak leaf. That is why I say
4 it is an oak leaf. That is what it reminds me of.
5 Q. Thank you. And during that period of time
6 that we are talking about, end of 1992, two Muslim
7 soldiers were killed and one was wounded on the 19th of
8 November, 1992. Do you remember that?
9 A. Yes, I do remember that. They were members
10 of a unit going to the front in Visoko. They had been
11 on a leave and they had dropped by a coffee bar. They
12 were going from Vitez in the direction of Kruscica.
13 It's owner, I don't know his name, but I know that he
14 is a Croat. And this coffee bar is very near the
15 Catholic cemetery in Kruscica and not far from Cerkez's
16 place there. And I believe that Mario Skopljak's house
17 is also somewhere there.
18 So they had dropped by to have a drink and in
19 that coffee shop they met a couple of Croat combatants,
20 so they had a drink. Husein Kargic was among them and
21 Sead Hurem was also there and Minet Akeljic was also
22 the driver.
23 Now, before they left, as they were paying
24 the bill for those drinks, they had -- a group of Croat
25 combatants had come out. And as soon as they left this
1 coffee shop, they waylaid them and, from an ambush,
2 fire was opened on them, and Husein and this Sead Hurem
3 were killed, and the driver was severely wounded and
4 taken to the hospital.
5 Q. And after that you did meet with the accused,
6 Mario Cerkez, and you spoke to him about that. Do you
7 remember what kind of a reaction did he produce at the
9 A. Well, it wasn't immediately after that,
10 because naturally we had to set up investigation teams
11 to go into that incident. And on one occasion, as we
12 used to set up commissions made of army
13 representatives, HVO representatives, so as to prevent
14 or suppress those kind of incidents. And at one of
15 those meetings I had a chance of seeing Mario. And on
16 that occasion we went through all the incidents in the
17 territorial municipality, including these killings.
18 Not only these two, because there were quite a number
19 of them.
20 And Mario was very cool about that. He
21 almost dismissed it. He just had a very dismissive
22 attitude. My impression was he wasn't really
23 particularly interested in all that.
24 Q. But to your knowledge, the factor that those
25 crimes were committed against Muslims at the time, was
1 there any investigation? Did the relevant HVO
2 authorities conduct an investigation about those
4 A. I don't think that any investigation was
5 taken to its end. It will be agreed that an
6 investigation would be either taken, teams would be
7 designated, but they never heeded any result, nor did I
8 ever hear that there has been any prosecution, except
9 in the case of Esad Salkic's murder in Nadioci.
10 When I heard that Miroslav Bralo, called
11 Cico, I think, that he had been taken into custody,
12 arrested, and then he was released when the conflict
13 broke out. And then he also re-emerged in those
14 attacks in the municipality.
15 As for all the other cases, the investigation
16 was never taken to its end. None of those cases were
17 ever fully investigated.
18 Q. And this Miro Cico, is that Miroslav Bralo?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And he was one of the HVO Vitez?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Rebihic, in January 1993,
23 a message that you received according to which units
24 from Busovaca were preparing to leave for Gornji
1 A. I think that through the communications links
2 this was discovered. A message was being conveyed from
3 Zenica, I think, that units were preparing from
4 Busovaca and Zenica that were to pass through Vitez, in
5 the direction of Gornji Vakuf, because the HVO had
6 already carried out an attack in Gornji Vakuf against
7 army units.
8 Q. On the 27th of January, 1993, do you remember
9 that HVO soldiers entered a class and forced Muslim
10 students to stand for about a quarter of an hour?
11 A. We were informed about this by the children's
12 parents, because children at the time were going to
13 school together. And we were told, I think it was five
14 soldiers, Croat soldiers, entered the classroom and
15 demanded that Muslim children get up and to remain
16 standing for quite some time.
17 Q. That same day you also received information
18 according to which five mini-buses with HVO soldiers
19 from Vitez were going to Busovaca?
20 A. Yes. The HVO attack had already started in
21 Busovaca and, as was customary, highly mobile HVO units
22 existed. We noticed, with documents that corroborated
23 this, that five mini-buses with HVO soldiers in them
24 had left in the direction of Busovaca. We assumed that
25 they were going to their assistance.
1 Q. Do you remember the disarming of Muslim
2 guards of the Unis factory at the beginning of March,
4 A. Yes. A rumour spread in Vitez that new HVO
5 members had arrived and the security service in
6 Princip, that is the SPS Vitezit plants, that members
7 of Muslim ethnicity working in the security service
8 were disarmed one evening and they were no longer
9 allowed to perform their duties. Apparently the
10 security would be provided by the regional police, they
11 were told.
12 Q. That same day a Croatian flag was hoisted in
13 front of the factory; was it not?
14 A. Yes, that same day at the gates, and the
15 whole length of the gate, a Croatian flag was hoisted.
16 This normally irritated the workers because they felt
17 that this was a systematic effort to impose the
18 authority of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosnia,
19 which we were already familiar with, and that HVO
20 authority was permeating all levels of power.
21 Q. You already briefly referred to this, but do
22 you remember the 4th of April 1993 in the presence of
23 soldiers external to Vitez that called themselves the
25 A. Yes. This was also information received from
1 the ground, which we received from people who saw this
2 concentration of these soldiers.
3 JUDGE MAY: There is an objection.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Very
5 briefly. This is the 6th or 7th answer of the witness
6 saying information was received. That information,
7 such information, is based on ordinary rumours. So it
8 is at least double, triple or more hearsay.
9 Information reports are based exclusively on rumours.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but this witness was
11 receiving these reports, as I understand it, as part of
12 his professional work, and therefore, in my view, he is
13 entitled to tell us about it.
14 Mr. Rebihic, did you receive these reports as
15 part of your work in the Territorial Defence at the
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
19 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
20 Q. In your diary, at the time you noted the
21 presence of these soldiers called Tigers in Vitez on
22 the 4th of April, 1993.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What was the reason for the presence of those
25 soldiers at the time?
1 A. I just remembered. We also had information,
2 I'm sorry, but I have to use that term, information,
3 received from citizens who saw members and who heard
4 directly of them coming to Vitez because the HVO would
5 not wage war against the Serbs, against the former JNA,
6 but that they had come to wage war against the
7 Muslims. I think, as far as I can remember, that the
8 term used, what that was, was that they would slaughter
10 Q. Could you refresh your memory regarding this
11 entry in your diary of the 4th of April. Could we show
12 the witness.
13 A. Yes, that is it. That is precisely it.
14 Because of the arrival of General Praljak. I see. I'm
15 sorry. General Praljak was supposed to work on the
16 establishment of a joint command between the HVO and
17 the army, and I think it was then that Dzemal Merdan
18 was appointed on behalf of the army, Franjo Nakic. I
19 can't remember exactly the names of those people, but,
20 in any event, joint command was formed based in
22 Q. I think there is a mistake in the French
23 translation. Not a joint commander but a joint
25 And these soldiers who -- the Tigers, they
1 came from Croatia?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And the 12th of April, 1993, you yourself
4 were arrested by the HVO. Could you tell us briefly
5 what happened on that day?
6 A. On the 12th of April, in the morning, I was
7 heading towards Travnik intending to take some
8 medicines or, rather, blood plasma to the hospital in
9 Travnik. At the checkpoint, which was held by the HVO,
10 at the crossroads of the roads between Travnik, Novi
11 Travnik, and Vitez, I was stopped. Smajo Haskic was
12 with me in the car, who was temporarily employed in
13 Switzerland because they had donated the vehicles and
14 medicines and some equipment. I was driving with him.
15 After being stopped, one of the Croatian
16 soldiers, all I know is that he worked in Kajic Drago's
17 cafe in Bila as a waiter. He opened the door of the
18 car, pulled me out onto the road, kicked me in the
19 small of the back twice, took me to a wooden hut to
20 search me. This young man managed to escape. How he
21 did it, I don't know. They were probably focusing on
22 me. He informed others what had happened to me.
23 From there I was taken to Gorazde near the
24 management building of the former railway station.
25 They took me around the back and I found some other men
1 there with their hands tied behind their backs facing
2 the wall. I was forced to do the same. My hands were
3 tied with wire. And we waited a little. They were
4 bringing in more, both civilians and other men. Then
5 they shoved us into a small room, probably a workshop
6 belonging to that company, with broken tables and
7 chairs, remnants of coal and so on.
8 There were more than 30 of us. Anyway, a lot
9 of us. In the afternoon, about 4.00, I think -- no,
10 before that, two Croat soldiers came in, called out
11 names in a vulgar manner, using insults and swear
12 words. In the afternoon we were released. The local
13 HVO commander, I think his name was Keric, that was his
14 surname, he apologised and said it was a
16 That was when I was released and I returned
17 to the Vitez headquarters. That was the arrest -- my
19 Q. On that day you were travelling in uniform?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. The vehicle that you were driving in, was it
22 confiscated by the HVO?
23 A. The vehicle was seized and everything inside
24 it, the medicine. When I was released, I came across
25 the driver of the medical centre in Vitez. I think his
1 name was Saric. He drove me back. I asked him that we
2 should stop at the crossroads, at the checkpoint where
3 I was arrested, to see whether the vehicle was there.
4 We stopped and we were told that the vehicle had been
5 driven away by Kraljevic, so that we never regained
6 possession of that vehicle.
7 Upon my return to headquarters, I know that
8 my commander contacted the HVO commander, Mr. Cerkez,
9 to regain control of the vehicle. There were promises,
10 but it was never returned to us.
11 Q. The people who arrested you on that day --
12 JUDGE MAY: We are going to adjourn now.
13 We'll adjourn now 'til 2.30.
14 Mr. Rebihic, would you remember, in this and
15 in any other adjournments there may be, not to speak to
16 anybody about your evidence until it's over. Don't let
17 anybody speak to you about it.
18 We'll adjourn.
19 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Judge Robinson.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Kovacic, I just wanted
4 to remind you that the Prosecutor did indicate that the
5 diary of the witness would be available for
6 examination, so you might want to consider that,
7 particularly if your cross-examination isn't completed
8 today. You could have a look at it during the evening
9 to see to what extent it could be of assistance.
10 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you very much for warning
11 me. Thank you.
12 MR. NICE: In fact, Judge Robinson's
13 observations rather overtake the matter that I was
14 going to raise. I was simply going to explain to the
15 Court that possibly not a misunderstanding but a
16 technical difficulty had arisen this morning. Because
17 of the witness's quite typical concern, although he's
18 willing, as I understand it, to make his diary
19 available, it goes through the Court in his
20 understanding of things, and so what had happened here
21 was we had served some days ago the excerpts that we
22 had translated into B/C/S and indeed into French, I
23 think, for the convenience of that passage of the
24 evidence, and indeed the concern of the Defence would
25 indeed be met by the matter that Judge Robinson has
2 I simply mention that because when we come on
3 to the detail of the day's events which the witness, I
4 think, chronicled minute by minute, the Chamber may, on
5 reconsideration, think that there would be a quicker
6 way of getting to that evidence than simply taking it
7 by the indirect route of the witness refreshing his
8 memory. I just mention that to see if it's helpful.
9 JUDGE MAY: We'll look at it, yes.
10 Yes. Well, let's get on, shall we now.
11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Upon your arrest on the 12th of April that we
13 have already discussed, you were arrested by members of
14 the military police, weren't you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Two days later, the 14th of April, 1993, is
17 it true that several Muslims who were going to work in
18 Novi Travnik were arrested by the HVO, and some of them
19 were then detained at the Kaonik camp?
20 A. Yes, that is correct. Workers on their way
21 to work at Bratstvo Company in Novi Travnik, travelling
22 to Novi Travnik, were stopped by the HVO. A number of
23 them were taken off the bus, taken first to Stojkovici,
24 I think, where the camp was known as Kace. Some of
25 them were released, and also some of them were taken to
1 other camps, including the camp at Busovaca.
2 Q. Thank you. The next day, the 15th of April,
3 it was the day of the first anniversary of the BH army?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. There were festivities held in Vitez to mark
6 the occasion. Could you tell us quickly what was
7 reported to you at the end of those festivities by
8 Mr. Saban Mahmutovic?
9 A. On that day, a joint meeting was held in
10 Vitez between representatives of the army and the HVO
11 or, rather, the political structures of the HVO and the
12 coordination committee for the protection of Muslims,
13 as it was called then, to calm down the situation and
14 in order to reactivate the civilian police, because the
15 civilian police had been disarmed on two occasions in
16 the police station, that is, police officers of Muslim
17 ethnicity were disarmed.
18 At the headquarters of the TO, while the
19 festivities were still ongoing to mark the anniversary
20 of the formation of the BH army, we were told that they
21 would meet again the next day to discuss the
22 reorganisation of the police and that a joint police
23 force would start operating again, as it had before,
24 and that there was no fear of any further escalation in
25 the territory of the municipalities, that things would
1 settle down after that.
2 Q. The accused Mario Cerkez, did he participate
3 at that meeting?
4 A. Yes. In observing the anniversary of the
5 army, representatives of the HVO -- military
6 representatives and civilian representatives of the HVO
7 were invited. Among others, I saw Mr. Cerkez, who came
8 to that party, which was a very modest one in line with
9 our possibility. I met with my commander, Sefkija
10 Djidic. They were talking, so I approached, and I knew
11 Cerkez and I was glad to see him, and during that
12 conversation we discussed the replacement of the
13 commander of the 325th Army Brigade. But only then did
14 I hear from Mario that Mensur Kelestura would come as
15 commander of that brigade. As I had known that
16 gentleman in Visoko, where I was with my unit, I said
17 that this was a highly-capable officer, a person with
18 great quality, and because -- the commander of the
19 325th had to leave because of sickness. Then he told
20 me that he would like to meet with Mr. Cerkez and to
21 play a game of chess with him. I thought that was
22 rather strange.
23 Mario continued talking to the commander,
24 Sefkija. When they departed, I don't know. After
25 that, we stayed on in the headquarters and analysed the
1 activities of the day.
2 Q. The evening of the 15th of April, around
3 20.00 hours, were there movements of troops, of armed
4 soldiers, noticed in front of the cultural centre of
6 A. In view of the fact that telephone lines were
7 still operating, we had contact with citizens in town,
8 and from a number of citizens we received reports that
9 they had noticed concentrations of HVO soldiers at the
10 Workers' University, near the hotel, near the civilian
11 police headquarters. Around 20.00 hours, a liaison
12 officer of the British Battalion, Mr. Matthews, came to
13 the TO headquarters and, with great concern, confirmed
14 the same, saying that something must be wrong, that
15 something was in the offing, because he too had seen
16 large concentrations of troops, movement of troops, and
17 simply that he was concerned about the situation on the
19 Q. You mentioned, in your diary, this statement
20 regarding the preparation of troops in front of the
21 cultural centre, didn't you?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In the morning of the 16th of April, the
24 Muslims of Vitez, did they expect an attack on the part
25 of HVO forces?
1 A. We never believed that an attack would occur,
2 because both the political and the military leadership
3 of the Muslim part sought at all cost to avoid any
4 conflict with the HVO in the area of Vitez, and for
5 several reasons. This is confirmed by numerous
6 negotiations and agreements testifying to those efforts
7 to avoid a conflict.
8 I remember that the coordinating committee
9 for the protection of Muslims, together with the TO
10 staff, had proposed that we accept HVO demands for the
11 army to join the HVO, but the insignia was disputed.
12 They didn't want to wear HVO insignia, but that TO
13 insignia should be allowed.
14 I also remember another detail --
15 JUDGE MAY: I am going to interrupt you for a
16 moment. The question, really, was did you expect --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE MAY: The question is whether you
19 expected an attack or not. Perhaps you could just
20 answer "yes" or "no," and then if there is any other
21 information which counsel want to ask you about, they
22 can do that --
23 A. No.
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
25 Q. You had information about this concentration
1 of soldiers in front of the cultural centre, but
2 apparently you didn't attach any importance to those
3 movements that evening?
4 A. We didn't. In view of the fact that we were
5 informed that the meeting had been fruitful, that it
6 had resulted in certain agreements, and so we never
7 expected anything to happen. Also another meeting had
8 been scheduled for the next day.
9 Q. The 15th of April 1993, were there many
10 soldiers of the Bosnian army present in Vitez?
11 A. Very few.
12 Q. Where was the majority of Muslim soldiers,
14 A. In view of the fact that the 325th Brigade
15 was in the process of formation by decision of
16 competent bodies, there was one battalion in Preocica,
17 another in Kruscica, and in Stari Vitez there was the
18 TO headquarters which had more of an administrative
19 than a military role. So that in the town itself there
20 were very few men under arms, with the exception of the
21 military police and the civilian police, which, because
22 the army anniversary was being observed, were present
23 and some members who belonged to units that were on
24 their way to the front at Visoko and Vlasic, the
25 Turbe-Travnik front.
1 Q. Is it correct that the majority of Muslim
2 units were on the front against the Serbs in the region
3 of Mount Vlasic?
4 A. Yes. Ever since May 1992 we held the front
5 lines towards the former army, the Serbs in Bijelo
6 Bucje and Visoko.
7 Q. Were there any HVO forces on your side
8 against the Serbs?
9 A. There were no HVO troops with us, with the
10 exception of 1992, for a time when the artillery at the
11 Mascema were held by them, and they provided some
12 artillery support.
13 Q. Let me rephrase my question. In April 1993,
14 as far as you are aware, were there any HVO forces, and
15 specifically those from Vitez, deployed against the
17 A. No.
18 Q. On the 16th of April, in the morning, you
19 said that you were surprised by an attack, which you
20 were not expecting.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. On that day you mentioned minute by minute,
23 when it was possible, the events that took place, and
24 you mentioned them in your diary; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In a few words, could you tell us what the
2 main phases of that day, the 2nd of April were. It's
3 being understood that I would like to go back to some
4 of the points that deal with conversations that the
5 accused Mario Cerkez may have had.
6 A. Factually, minute by minute, I don't think
7 that I would be able to interpret the events of that
8 day. But I know that the attack started at 5.45 a.m.
9 by shelling from artillery pieces in the wider area,
10 including Ahmici, Kruscica. With respect to Old Vitez
11 itself, the first shell was lobed in exactly around
12 5.45 near the command post of the Territorial Defence
14 This was followed by a whole cannonade in the
15 wider area, and also there was mortar fire and various
16 calibre, different calibre, weapons fire. Later on,
17 let's say between 7.00 and 8.00, there was small arms
18 fire which could be heard from the area of Ahmici. One
19 could see smoke and traces of fire. There was sounds
20 of shooting coming from other areas.
21 I also heard, still early in the morning, and
22 I had a radio transmitter called Motorola, a
23 walkie-talkie type of device. I had it on at that time
24 and I actually followed the HVO communications because
25 I was interested in what was going on. On several
1 occasions I could hear the soldiers, and at one point
2 Mr. Cerkez himself, once or twice on that day. In the
3 morning between 8.00 and 9.00, he was informed by a
4 participant that UNPROFOR was coming in the field near
5 the church. Mr. Cerkez responded, and I recognised his
6 voice because I know his voice very well. He cursed --
7 it was -- he expressed himself in vulgar terms, cursed
8 mother, and he said, "You know what to do."
9 Throughout the day, the operations, the
10 combat operations, were very intense. In the afternoon
11 hours, or perhaps around noon, I again heard Mr. Cerkez
12 communicating with one of the participants in the
13 communication, and this was Marko Lujic. I also
14 recognise his voice. He asked -- and I think he said
15 -- he said, "Could you hit again the same thing you
16 did a moment before." This is the feature J. Since I
17 had been following what was going on, the fire had come
18 from the area of Mosunj, and it hit a target near
20 So "J" I took to stand for Jelovac. Shortly
21 thereafter I could hear detonation and then an
23 Later I also heard communications of the
24 HVO. I heard this through this Motorola. I overheard
25 them asking for assistance, that is, support in order
1 to neutralise machine guns. I think that it was Marko
2 Livancic who was on the line. They were calling each
3 other by their first names.
4 So the message went, "Marko is seeking
5 assistance to target machine gun nest." I could not
6 clearly determine where it was.
7 Also, in the day, I was able to hear that the
8 HVO was announcing the targeting of the VBR positions,
9 and the fighting went on from early morning 'til about,
10 perhaps, 7.00 in the evening.
11 Q. You mentioned, in general terms, the
12 chronology of that day. I would like us to go back
13 more specifically to some of the schedules or time
14 frames. Perhaps you would have to have in front of you
15 the part that I am speaking about in respect of your
16 diary, in which you mentioned all of the events which
17 you have quickly mentioned again, and specifically the
18 conversations in which you recognise Mario Cerkez's
20 Mr. Usher, would you please show the witness,
21 show him this document, which is from his diary, dated
22 16 April.
23 A. Yes, this is my handwriting. Yes.
24 Q. Could you tell us exactly when it was that
25 you recognise the accused Mario Cerkez's voice, and say
1 what he stated at that time?
2 A. From here you can see that this was at 8.30
3 a.m. that UNPROFOR had arrived in the field from the
4 direction of the church, and the quote itself is, "Fuck
5 their mother. You know the feature. Go on and
7 Q. Before that conversation, you intercepted
8 messages which it appeared that mosques were the
10 A. Yes. This was at the beginning of these
11 operations. The mosque was the first target. That was
12 the message.
13 Q. During the morning at 8.30 also, it says in
14 your diary that you had noticed that there was shooting
15 on the Preocica mosque.
16 A. Yes. Again, this was -- this was intercepted
17 through their communication lines. It was directed
18 towards Preocica, and you could hear the shell hitting
19 in that area. Also, the mosque in Vitez was hit from
20 the direction of Jaruga. That neighbourhood is called
22 Then we had people calling in from town that
23 there were some murders there, that people were being
24 arrested, taken to the camp in the Workers' University,
25 and later they were detained in the forestry building
1 in Rijeka, then in the slaughter house.
2 So on that day there were mass arrests in the
3 territory of the town where the HVO exercised full
4 control of the situation.
5 Q. You put all this information down as soon as
6 you received it; is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. When one reads your entry for the 16th of
9 April, it says that there were three different reports,
10 three different times. There's a first report at the
11 early morning, the second one at 10.30, and another one
12 at around 18.00 hours in the afternoon. Whom were
13 these reports intended for?
14 A. These reports were sent to the superiors,
15 that is to the brigade headquarters, because we --
16 organisationally we were part of the 325th Brigade. We
17 were obliged to send regular reports on the situation
18 on the ground so that people would have the full
19 picture of what was going on.
20 Q. During the morning you had information which
21 said that well-known people in Vitez had been killed;
22 there was Midhat Varupa and then there was Zlotrg's
24 A. Correct.
25 JUDGE MAY: Just answer "yes" or "no," for
1 this purpose.
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You referred to a conversation with a man
5 named Marko Livancic. The conversation, apparently,
6 took place at 11.30 on that morning; is that correct?
7 A. [Previous translation continues]
8 Q. Did you know that person?
9 A. I did not know Marko Livancic. I knew him
10 from -- we communicated. But somebody on the line
11 said, "Marko Livancic is requesting such and such," and
12 this is what I noted down in the diary.
13 Q. The message that you were able to pick up was
14 perfectly audible and clear; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Around 12.25, there was firing toward the
17 direction of Kruscica, and a few moments later, the
18 BritBat officer, Captain Dundas-Whatley, came to your
19 headquarters and asked that a ceasefire be arranged?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did your commander go to that meeting, and
22 could you tell us what he reported when he came back
23 from the meeting?
24 A. The meeting was at the UNPROFOR base in Bila,
25 and after he came back -- that is, the meeting was with
1 the HVO representatives, and obviously he represented
2 the ABiH army. He said that a ceasefire had been
3 arranged, that the units would stay at the positions
4 which they had taken, that all the materiel was going
5 to be turned over, that an exchange of all prisoners
6 was going to take place, and that cessation of all
7 hostilities was to take place.
8 Q. You have already referred to the second
9 communication, during which you recognised the accused
10 Mario Cerkez's voice. I would like you to look at the
11 page of your diary which relates to that conversation.
12 Would you reread that passage as it appears
13 regarding the second conversation? Reread it, please,
14 so you can refresh your memory.
15 A. At 13.17, Mario, because I recognised Mario
16 on the line, he says, "Can you perhaps target the thing
17 you just did a moment ago?" This is above the "K".
18 That is, "K" stands for elevation, and the letter is
19 "J" which I, in brackets, put to stand for Jelovac.
20 Perhaps there is a block here, I think, of something,
21 but it says that, "Target it well."
22 Q. Did this conversation concern Marko Lujic and
23 the accused Mario Cerkez?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You recognised his voice as well; is that
2 A. Yes. I also know Marko Lujic quite well,
3 because I had communication with him over a long time
4 and we were even neighbours in the village.
5 Q. During that same day, in your diary, you
6 indicated that there was a further shooting on the city
7 of Vitez?
8 A. Yes. Again, during the conversation among
9 the participants on the line, I overheard the one
10 saying, "Tell number 23 to target Jelovac with five
11 projectiles," and here it says, "Number 9." And, "Tell
12 them to do this at 13.40 hours." So that means that
13 that communication took place at 13.40.
14 Then later you see clearly that 13.48, after
15 the firing -- after hearing the firing from the
16 direction of Brajici, the mortar fire was used on
18 Further down, if you can see -- again this is
19 not the communication lines or the BiH army -- from
20 Veceriska it was reported that there were a number of
21 casualties, and the assistance of the army was sought.
22 Q. When you mentioned Mario's first name, this
23 is Mario Cerkez, of course; isn't that correct? There
24 weren't any other Marios with whom you might be
25 confused in Vitez?
1 A. Absolutely not, because I do know Mr. Cerkez
2 well because I sat with him on a number of occasions.
3 I knew him over a period of years, and there can be no
4 confusion about it.
5 Q. The artillery firing continued until the
6 evening, around 19.00 hours, that is, on Vitez and its
7 surroundings; isn't that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. On the following day, the 17th of April, the
10 attacks resumed -- it was a Saturday -- and continued
11 throughout the day?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you remember that there were several shots
14 that were fired from the Mosunj quarry; is that
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The next day, on Sunday, the 18th of April,
18 there was more shooting, and during the afternoon you
19 again heard shots coming out of that Mosunj quarry; is
20 that correct?
21 A. Yes. I think that was 14.08, in the
22 direction of Zenica.
23 Q. Also on that afternoon of Sunday, the 18th of
24 April, while you were in Stari Vitez, you saw a truck.
25 Could you tell us a little bit about that truck and
1 tell us what happened at that point?
2 A. Since no attack was expected, we had no lines
3 of defence in Vitez. After the attack, we obviously
4 wanted to dig in and establish lines of defence.
5 At one point in the afternoon, I went in the
6 direction of the town, that is, to the utilities
7 building, to see whether the army was digging in, and
8 near the mosque a truck came by, a drab olive colour,
9 drove past me, and I knew that it was a fuel tank and I
10 knew that the HVO had one. For a while these -- they
11 had two such trucks, and for a while -- there was an
12 open field near Mario Cerkez's house, and that's where
13 they were parked. I immediately recognised the truck
14 as one of these two trucks.
15 Perhaps 100 metres later, I heard a powerful
16 explosion, and the explosion actually threw me on the
17 ground and I lost consciousness. When I came to, I saw
18 roof tiles and all kinds of debris. I was surrounded
19 by that. I looked farther afield and I saw that
20 several houses were destroyed, many roofs were blown
21 away, and I quickly returned to the headquarters to see
22 what we could do. I assumed that there had been
23 casualties, both dead and wounded.
24 Q. After the explosion, six people died; is that
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I'm going to show you the death
3 certificates. The Office of the Prosecutor only has
4 five death certificates. I would like to ask you to
5 tell us whether these are, in fact, the names of the
6 people who were killed that day.
7 This is Exhibit Z2210-9 from Z221-9 [as
8 interpreted]. These documents were distributed;
9 2210-9, 2210-13.
10 Would you review those documents and tell us
11 whether these are, in fact, the people who died on that
12 day, as far as you know?
13 A. Yes, that's Husein Karahodza, and the fuel
14 truck did explode right next to --
15 Q. Just say "Yes", please.
16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Could we
17 show the witness the other death certificates? There
18 are five of them.
19 A. Mehmed Silnovic, yes, that's one of them.
20 Mujo Sahman, who was identified later on as the driver
21 of the truck. Fatima Grahic, at the moment of -- when
22 we were taking down the information, we didn't realise
23 this was a waitress who was sleeping in the house. But
24 in any event, this is this poor victim. Then Munevera
25 Begovic, that is also correct. It is a young woman.
1 Then Enes Sehic's son and Enes Sehic, they were killed
2 in their house because the explosion threw them out of
3 the house, and in fact this woman was found hanging
4 over the window.
5 Q. I have the death certificate for that sixth
6 person, Sehic.
7 A. Sehic.
8 Q. There were also quite a number of wounded
9 that day?
10 A. There were a number of wounded.
11 Q. After the explosion of the truck, were you
12 told that the population in the centre of Vitez had
13 been informed before the explosion that they should
14 keep their windows open?
15 A. Because some phone lines were still open, we
16 received calls that the population had been advised,
17 even on local television and local media, to keep their
18 windows open because the Muslims would attack, that
19 there would be artillery fire, and in this way the
20 breaking/shattering of windows or glass would be
22 Q. On that day, was there an attack by the
23 Bosnian army against Vitez?
24 A. Shortly after the explosion of the fuel
25 truck, a fairly heavy attack of the HVO followed, but
1 we were able to suppress it.
2 Q. Before the truck explosion, was there an
3 attack carried out by the BH army in Vitez?
4 A. As a rule, the HVO attacked in the morning
5 and then in the afternoon. It would be artillery fire,
6 and then as far -- and then in the afternoon they would
7 use the small-arms fire.
8 Q. You're talking about the HVO, not about the
9 BH army?
10 A. Yes, I'm referring to the attacks of the HVO
11 against Vitez, Stari Vitez, not about the army. The
12 army did not carry out any attacks on that day.
13 Q. That's what I wanted to know.
14 This previous information given to the
15 population, was it confirmed to you by Mr. Borislav
16 Jozic, whom you knew at the time?
17 A. Yes. When the mixed commission was formed at
18 the camp or, rather, at the UNPROFOR base in Bila, at
19 one of those meetings, talking to Jozic, he confirmed
20 this for me.
21 Q. You had information after the explosion
22 according to which the people who participated in the
23 operation could be Darko Kraljevic and the above-named
24 Marko Lujic?
25 A. That was information received from citizens
1 who came to Stari Vitez and from conversations with
2 them, because at the end of April, through the
3 mediation of General Petkovic, Sefer Halilovic, who
4 came to Vitez, one of the conclusions was to release
5 prisoners on both sides and to make it possible for
6 them to go where they wished.
7 A number of prisoners --
8 Q. It was then that you learned who could have
9 been the perpetrators of that act; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, yes. This was received in a report from
11 the criminal service and registered as such.
12 Q. Very well. Sometime later, you signed a
13 report on the 2nd of June, 1993, mentioning the names
14 of these two people as being behind the explosion.
15 This is Exhibit Z1009,1.
16 Do you recognise that report, Mr. Rebihic?
17 A. Yes, I do. It is a report drafted by the
18 service for suppressing crime in the TO staff and on
19 the basis of information received by the service.
20 I signed it because the person in charge of those
21 activities after the burial of the bodies, as a large
22 number of his family members were killed in Ahmici, was
23 evacuated from Stari Vitez. The commander Sefkija then
24 authorised me to coordinate work with the criminal
25 inspectors and, as the deputy commander, I signed this
1 report which was forwarded to the corps or, rather, the
2 brigade so that they should be informed of the
3 information collected by the staff.
4 Q. This Marko Lujic who is mentioned in this
5 report and whom you have mentioned, is he the same one
6 who had the conversation with Mario Cerkez on the 16th
7 of April at 13.18 hours?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. On the 28th of April 1993, you attended the
10 burial of the bodies of Muslims killed in Ahmici,
11 Nadioci, Vitez, Gacice, Rijeka and Donja Veceriska. Do
12 you remember that event?
13 A. I remember it very well. It is something I
14 shall never forget.
15 Q. On that day, 96 bodies of Muslims were
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The Bosnian army handed over four bodies of
19 HVO soldiers to HVO representatives.
20 A. The number applies to the area of
21 responsibility of the TO staff, and these were killed
22 HVO soldiers who were killed on the first day of the
23 attack on Stari Vitez. Therefore, they were in the
24 territory within the control of the TO staff, and that
25 is why we handed over those bodies to the commission
1 working on the exchange.
2 Q. Together with other persons working with you,
3 Ramo Vatres and Enes Djidic, 54 bodies that were buried
4 on that day, how were you able to identify those
5 persons? But in a few words, please.
6 A. In view of the fact that when we picked up
7 the bodies from the elementary school in Vitez, where
8 we took over those bodies from the civil defence of the
9 HVO, we carried the bodies in a cold storage van and a
10 lorry. Dark was falling, and on the basis of the
11 report we had from the HVO, we checked the report
12 against the bodies. Each body bore a number and it
13 corresponded to the number in the report we had
14 received. In the course of the identification,
15 uncovering the bodies that we were identifying, we
16 would find a document of some kind, an identity card, a
17 birth certificate, or some other kind of certificate.
18 In most cases those data were recorded on the basis of
19 those documents.
20 As darkness was falling very quickly,
21 unfortunately we could not examine all of them and we
22 had to bury them, to put them in a joint grave directly
23 from the truck, and then a list was compiled.
24 Q. You established on that day your own list in
25 one of your diaries. I should like to show you that
1 document. It is document Z2770.
2 A. Yes, that is a list that I wrote, and I think
3 that the Trial Chamber has this list from my previous
5 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Let me
6 draw the attention of the Chamber that the witness has
7 already testified in another case concerning Ahmici,
8 and that this document was admitted during those
10 Q. I should also like to show you photographs,
11 Mr. Rebihic, that were taken on the occasion of the
12 burial. Will you please tell us whether you recognise
13 the places? These photographs correspond to Exhibit
15 A. Yes, that is the cemetery where these bodies
16 were buried, very close to Idriz Begovic's house. That
17 is how the bodies were marked. These numbers are
18 identical to the numbers in the list.
19 Q. Please have a look at the other photographs.
20 There are six of them in all. Could you show the
21 witness the others as well, please; the other
23 A. Here I recognise people if necessary. I can
24 tell you their names. That's when they were unloaded.
25 Q. The next photograph, please.
1 A. I can be clearly seen here. That's me. That
2 is me. Because I was in charge of the burial. That is
3 also me.
4 Q. That's all. Thank you. In the course of
5 this burial, you and your two colleagues, Mr. Djidic
6 and Mr. Vatres, you were able to examine some of the
7 bodies, and you were able to establish how those bodies
8 were mutilated, burned or shot with bullets. Could you
9 convey to us what you established on the day of the
11 A. On the day of the burial we took over the
12 bodies which had been dead for some time, so that the
13 whole atmosphere was terrible. There was a very strong
14 stench. However, when examining the corpses, we were
15 able to establish that most of them were killed at
16 close range with firearms, that some of them had burnt,
17 because the bodies were burned beyond recognition.
18 Among them were children. Then there was an elderly
19 person, close to 70, whose neck had been slit. Then we
20 saw another man with a crushed skull. There was just
21 some bones and skin attached to the neck, so that the
22 picture was really horrendous.
23 Q. You were also able to see the body of the
24 former chief of police, Saban Mahmutovic. Could you
25 tell us again what you established?
1 A. Saban Mahmutovic was also shot with firearms
2 from the front and from behind, as the entry and exit
3 wounds showed. I think there were 14 or 15 bullet
4 holes that were visible. This occurred in the
5 immediate vicinity of the HVO command, the HVO
7 Q. Could you tell us anything about the clothing
8 worn by some of those bodies?
9 A. With the exception of two men who had
10 military uniforms on them, the rest were civilians,
11 elderly men and women, children. There were very few
12 men of military age among them.
13 Q. Did you note that some of them were still in
14 their pyjamas?
15 A. Yes, that was the case with Salem Topcic, who
16 was brought in a pyjama. When we undid the nylon bag,
17 we saw that he was wearing his pyjamas.
18 Q. Salem Topcic was a former policeman in Vitez,
19 was he?
20 A. Yes. He used to work in the crime section of
21 the civilian police in Vitez.
22 Q. In the days that followed this first burial,
23 new bodies were entrusted to you coming from Ahmici
24 that were found by soldiers of the UNPROFOR.
25 A. Yes, members of UNPROFOR. I think it was on
1 the 10th of May that they brought four bodies, they
2 brought them in a totally charred condition. The
3 bodies had been burnt. It was not possible to identify
4 a charred body, but on the basis of the spots where the
5 bodies were found by UNPROFOR soldiers, these were
6 bodies of one family belonging to Sakib Ahmic, his son,
7 daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, one of which was
8 a three-month-old baby.
9 Q. The next day, the 11th of May 1993, you were
10 appointed to be a member of a committee for the
11 exchange of bodies and prisoners, a commission whose
12 tasks were defined by the two brigade commanders, Mario
13 Cerkez and Mensur Kelestura. Do you remember that
15 A. Yes, I do. I received an order appointing me
16 on behalf of the army, Safet Hajdarevic from the 325th
17 brigade. I represented the municipal TO staff. The
18 HVO was represented by Mr. Borislav Jozic, a HVO
19 officer, and Mr. Stipo Krizanac.
20 The task of the commission was to work on the
21 exchange of all prisoners, the establishment of the
22 telephone lines, electricity supply system, because
23 Stari Vitez had no telephone lines, nor did it have any
24 electricity any more. In accordance with the tasks
25 specified in the order of appointment signed by
1 Mr. Mario and Mr. Kelestura, we started working.
2 Q. When you say Mr. Mario, you mean Mario
3 Cerkez, don't you?
4 A. Yes. Yes, of course, Mario Cerkez.
5 Q. I am going to show you two documents, one
6 dated the 11th of May, the other the 22nd of May 1992,
7 Z903 and Z965.
8 A. Yes. This is the order on the basis of which
9 the commission was formed, indicating the tasks of the
10 commission and its members.
11 Q. On the bottom left of the second page is the
12 signature of Mario Cerkez, isn't it?
13 A. Yes. Yes, yes. That is it.
14 Q. Thank you. After the formation of this
15 commission, you participated in a meeting organised by
16 UNPROFOR and the European Monitoring Mission to allow
17 for an exchange of prisoners of the two warring
18 parties. At the end of this meeting an exchange did in
19 fact take place. The problem of 13 detainees arose at
20 that point. Could you tell us about that?
21 A. When the commission was assigned the task to
22 carry out the exchange, we immediately started working
23 on it, so that representatives of both the army and the
24 HVO had interviews with the prisoners held by the army
25 in Stari Vitez, and the brigade commander in Preocica,
1 Mr. Kelestura, was instructed to prepare the prisoners
2 for exchange, the prisoners held by the army within the
3 area of responsibility of the brigade.
4 We compiled that list and we from Stari Vitez
5 completed this immediately. However, it is important
6 to note something in relation to that meeting. I
7 remember very well that at that meeting Mr. Cerkez even
8 then alleged that he had no prisoners. On the basis of
9 that, we immediately released the prisoners that were
10 held in the TO headquarters in Stari Vitez.
11 When we arrived in Vitez, that is, all the
12 members of the commission, in the cinema hall we found
13 13 detainees, Muslim detainees, mostly intellectuals
14 from Vitez, who had been kept on after a previous
15 release. I think this was the 30th of April when Sefer
16 and Mr. Petkovic were present. They were taken from
17 the Workers' University to the premises of the SDK, the
18 social accounting service, and after that to Kaonik.
19 We arrived at the Workers' University
20 building where we found these 13 prisoners and I
21 addressed on that occasion Mr. Mario, asking him, "You
22 said they were released, but they are still in
23 detention." Mario replied that they were safer there
24 than in their own apartments.
25 Mario went to his office and, together with
1 the other members of the commission, I worked in
2 accordance with the tasks assigned to us and I asked
3 that each of the prisoners should state clearly whether
4 he wished to remain on the territory of Vitez under HVO
5 control, of course that is implied, or whether they
6 wished to be taken out, simply relocated to the free
7 territory under the control of the BiH army.
8 With the exception of two detainees, all the
9 others wanted to leave Vitez. And, of course, they
10 wanted their families to be allowed to leave as well.
11 At one point, a misunderstanding arose,
12 because Mario would not allow families to go as well,
13 though he was present at the UNPROFOR base when this
14 particular point had been arranged as well. I reminded
15 Mr. Mario Cerkez of those agreements that we had had,
16 and that if he would not abide by them, I said nothing
17 would come of the exchange, but that I would inform
18 representatives of UNPROFOR and the ECMM of this.
19 After that permission was given.
20 So the next day, those detainees were
21 evacuated to Poculica, and from Poculica prisoners were
22 released that were detained by the BiH army or, more
23 specifically, the 325th Brigade.
24 Q. The document that I wish to show you now,
25 Mr. Rebihic, is a document drawn up on the occasion of
1 the release of these 13 detainees. Could you please
2 tell me whether you recognise this document as being
3 issued by you, the 24th of May, 1993, Z27212, which has
4 already been tendered through another witness; 27112.
5 A. Yes, the whole commission worked on this
6 document, as specified by the signatures of Jozic
7 Borislav, Hajdarevic Refik, Stipo Krizanac, and under
8 number 4 is my signature. Yes, that is that document.
9 Q. A point of clarification, Mr. Rebihic.
10 Borislav Jozic, or Boro, was he an officer of the Vitez
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And Mario Cerkez was his superior?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In the course of the second half of 1993 you
16 remained in Stari Vitez, which was under siege. When
17 exactly was the siege lifted from Stari Vitez?
18 A. The siege was lifted with the signing of the
19 Washington Accord, the 25th or the 27th of February,
20 1994. I'm not sure of the date, but, in any event,
21 after the Washington agreements were signed.
22 Q. Could you tell us what the living conditions
23 were in Stari Vitez during that time of siege?
24 A. Being totally encircled and hopeless and
25 living in uncertainty, I think speaks for itself. It
1 was very, very hard. We had no reserves of food or
2 fuel, so that shortages of essential foodstuffs
3 appeared very soon.
4 Q. You were also exposed constantly to fire from
5 HVO forces that encircled you?
6 A. Yes. I was just going to say that.
7 Throughout this period, we were constantly
8 exposed to fire, either shelling or handmade
9 grenades -- we called them "babies" -- or shells coming
10 from artillery. There were frequent attacks and
11 frequent instances of people being wounded, and the HVO
12 would not allow timely intervention in terms of
13 evacuating the injured and treating them in hospitals,
14 so that quite a number of people were killed because
15 they were not treated on time. A number of them were
16 killed by snipers, among whom were old people, women,
17 children. If you want the numbers, it is a figure that
18 is deeply embedded in my memory. Throughout that
19 period, 54 people were killed, out of which 29 were
20 able-bodied men. The others were elderly, women, and
21 children. There were cases that one such "baby", as it
22 was popularly known, several people would be killed and
23 many more injured.
24 Q. Would you please speak to us about the 18th
25 of June [as interpreted], 1993, when Stari Vitez was
1 severely attacked by the HVO? On that day, Stari Vitez
2 was attacked from many sides by different forces that
3 were conducting a joint operation?
4 A. I think it was the 18th of July, not the
5 17th, of 1993.
6 Q. Just a moment, please. In the transcript, by
7 error it says "the 18th of June", but let's make it
8 quite clear it's the 18th of July that we're talking
10 A. Yes, July. May I begin?
11 Q. Yes. Continue, please.
12 A. It is the second strongest attack carried out
13 against Stari Vitez in terms of effectives and force.
14 Early in the morning, this attack started
15 before 5.00 a.m. perhaps, and we did have some
16 indication that there would be an attack because we had
17 information that an armoured vehicle, a personnel
18 carrier that had been made by hand, it was to be sent
19 by the HVO to break up the defences of Stari Vitez from
20 within. This personnel carrier, made out of a
21 bulldozer, it was really a Caterpillar bulldozer,
22 TG-190, in the course of the night it was transported
23 from the factory compound to the plateau in front of
24 the Catholic church in Stari Vitez. We heard that
25 quite clearly, and we could see its lights when it was
1 moving towards that position.
2 Q. What were the units that participated in that
3 attack on Stari Vitez?
4 A. All HVO units took part in this attack,
5 including the military police, and Vitezovi, and
6 Jokers. There were units who were not from the Vitez
7 territory and even those who were not from the
8 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which we identified
9 and determined through a document which we found on one
10 of the killed soldiers while clearing the area,
11 removing the bodies of the killed.
12 Q. Do you remember that soldier's name?
13 A. I do recall it. His name was Slavko
14 Jankovic. I believe he had a military identity card
15 which identified him as a member of the Zengas, and I
16 believe that he came from the area of the town of
18 Q. It was the Croatian army, the Republic of
19 Croatia; is that correct?
20 A. Yes. Yes, that is what the identity card
21 clearly reflected.
22 Q. During the attack, the Vitez Brigade
23 participated in the action; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, certainly.
25 Q. Do you remember that several HVO soldiers
1 died on that day? Would you remember the names of some
2 of those soldiers?
3 A. Yes. Four or several soldiers were caught up
4 on the line, directly adjoining the lines, the ABiH;
5 Zoran Sero, Zlatko Nakic, a member of the military
6 police, Neven Kovac, and I believe another person from
7 the Vitez area -- I cannot recall his name -- and
8 another person I had already referred to.
9 Q. You speak about the military police in
10 Vitez. Which military police are you talking about,
11 the regional police or the Vitez Brigade military
13 A. The Vitez Brigade of the HVO, because Zlatko
14 Nakic was obviously a part of that unit because he also
15 was an escort to the commission to which I have
16 previously referred.
17 Q. You were a military man in the former
18 Yugoslavia People's Army, that is, in the army of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Rebihic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know what instructions are provided by
22 the rules of those armies in respect of concerted
23 operations which are conducted by special units within
24 a sector for which the brigade commander has
1 A. In the area of responsibility, it is the
2 commander of the largest formation that is responsible
3 in that zone of responsibility. All other units are
4 attached to him, and all the operations are coordinated
5 in accordance with the tasks and situation and the
6 specific combat task.
7 Q. In respect of the Vitez zone, Mario Cerkez,
8 as the brigade commander, was the person responsible
9 for the Vitez sector?
10 A. Yes. That was the zone of responsibility of
11 the HVO Vitez Brigade.
12 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Thank
13 you. I have no further questions, Mr. President.
14 Just one moment, please, Mr. President.
15 Mr. President, Mr. Nice has reminded me that
16 it might be appropriate or possible tomorrow, once the
17 Defence has seen the witness's diaries, that the
18 question of the chronology and timing, which was
19 mentioned by the witness in that diary at the time, be
20 gone back into.
21 JUDGE MAY: It seemed to me to be fairly
22 clear, but we'll see how things go tomorrow.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
24 with your permission, if I can make a comment on the
1 JUDGE MAY: Well, what do you want to say
2 about it?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I clearly
4 stated to the Prosecutor that I was willing to turn
5 over my personal diary, make it available, in order for
6 it to make a comparison of the authenticity of the
7 excerpts, which I provided in copy, with the original
8 that is in my possession. The same offer goes for the
9 Defence. Anything I had enclosed in the excerpts can
10 be compared to the documents which I have in the
12 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Thank you.
13 Just before we finish, one housekeeping
14 matter. The sittings for November will be altered to
15 this extent: that because of the requirements of other
16 cases, we shall not be sitting in the afternoons of the
17 1st to the 5th of November, the afternoon of the 23rd
18 of November, and the morning of the 11th of November.
19 It's unfortunate that these other cases require us to
20 be elsewhere, but that is the position here and the
21 practice as far as the Tribunal is concerned. I hope
22 we'll be able to make up such speed as we can by
23 getting through the witnesses more quickly.
24 Very well. Half past 9.00.
25 Mr. Rebihic, would you be back, please, at
1 half past 9.00 tomorrow, and I hope it will be possible
2 to conclude your evidence tomorrow.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
4 3.57 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
5 the 14th day of October, 1999, at
6 9.30 a.m.