1 Monday, 11th January, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-95-16-T, the Prosecutor versus Zoran
8 Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago
9 Josipovic, Dragan Papic, and Vladimir Santic, also
10 known as "Vlado."
11 JUDGE CASSESE: May I have the appearances,
13 MR. TERRIER: The Prosecution is represented
14 today by Mr. Albert Moskowitz, Mr. Blaxil and myself.
15 I should like to add for the information of the
16 Tribunal that Mr. Moskowitz is leaving us at the end of
17 this week to resume important duties in his own
19 JUDGE CASSESE: The Defence?
20 MR. RADOVIC: Ranko Radovic appearing on
21 behalf of Zoran Kupreskic, and my co-counsel is
22 Mr. Tomislav Pasaric, so allow me to introduce him to
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Good morning, Your
25 Honour. My name is attorney Slokovic-Glumac. I'm
1 representing Mr. Mirjan Kupreskic.
2 MR. KRAJINA: Good morning, Your Honours. My
3 name is Borislav Krajina, and I'm representing the
4 accused Vlatko Kupreskic. My co-counsel is my
5 colleague Zelimir Par.
6 MR. SUSAK: Your Honours, my name is Luko
7 Susak representing Drago Josipovic, and allow me to
8 introduce Goranka Herljevic my co-counsel. She's an
9 attorney from Zagreb.
10 MR. PAVKOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
11 My name is Petar Pavkovic, Defence counsel for Vladimir
12 Santic, and allow me to introduce my legal assistant
13 Mr. Mirko Vrdoljak, attorney from Zagreb.
14 MR. PULISELIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
15 I'm attorney Petar Puliselic appearing on behalf of
16 Dragan Papic. My co-counsel is Ms. Nika Pinter.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. So I see there is
18 a good news and bad news. Good news is that Counsel
19 Radovic is back with us, and we are very pleased to see
20 that he is in good shape, and I hope that he has fully
22 The bad news is that Mr. Moskowitz is
23 leaving. I'm sure that we all, both the Court and
24 Defence counsel, and also your colleagues in the
25 Prosecution's office will miss your competence, and
1 your wit and wisdom, and also your sense of balance.
2 I'm very sorry that you're leaving.
3 I also would like to welcome the co-counsel
4 who have been appointed over the holiday, and
5 Mr. Blaxill, who I understand is appearing for the
7 Now, before we start with our proceedings,
8 let me say a few things and we'll touch upon some
9 housekeeping matters. First of all, we have agreed
10 that the court calendar for the period January-March
11 will be as follows, from 9.00 to 1.30 in the morning,
12 every morning, and I propose that we take a break --
13 first break at 10.30. So we'll be sitting from 9.00,
14 from 9.00 sharp, to 10.30, then a break from 10.30 to
15 10.50. We resume at 10.50 and go on to 12.10. Then we
16 have a break, a second break, and then we start again
17 at 12.30 until 1.30.
18 However, we must make some exceptions. There
19 may be some problems on -- we can't sit on Thursday
20 because of some personal problems. So, therefore, I
21 suggest we sit on Wednesday both in the morning and
22 in the afternoon. I'm sorry about that, because I
23 understand that this is going to be a bit difficult,
24 particularly for Defence counsel, but this is a way of
25 not wasting time. We will let you know when we'll be
1 sitting on Wednesday, the precise hours in the morning
2 and in the afternoon.
3 Also, next Monday, as you may know, it's a
4 new UN Holiday, so we will not be sitting next
5 Monday. So this week we'll be sitting Monday and
6 Tuesday, according to the normal schedule of our Trial
7 Chamber, then Wednesday both morning and the afternoon,
8 no sitting on Thursday, and morning sitting on Friday.
9 Then we will resume Tuesday of next week.
10 Let me move on to a few other matters. First
11 of all, a request for the granting of safe conduct for
12 Josip Kolic was made by Defence counsel, and I wonder
13 whether the Prosecutor has any comment on this
14 request. Before we issue an order of this matter we
15 would like to check with the Prosecution.
16 MR. TERRIER: We have no comment,
17 Mr. President. We leave it up to the judgement of the
18 Trial Chamber.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Therefore, we will issue the
20 safe conduct for Josip Kolic. This will be done
22 Second and most serious problem, I see that
23 there are more than 140 witnesses who are going to be
24 called by the Defence, and there are very many, and so
25 we are wondering whether we could find a way of
1 reducing the number of witnesses. I mean, of course,
2 if Defence counsel are prepared to do so.
3 Let me, first of all, read the -- read out
4 the text of a new Rule of our Rules of Procedure and
5 Evidence that was adopted recently and which might
6 prove of some help. I don't know whether you have
7 received the document issued by the Registry on the
8 10th of December containing a set of new Rules of
9 Procedure which have come into force on the 17th of
11 Now, this Rule I'm thinking of is Rule 94 ter
12 called Affidavit Evidence. Affidavit Evidence. I will
13 read it slowly: "To prove a fact in dispute, a party
14 may propose to call a witness and to submit in
15 corroboration of his or her testimony on that fact
16 affidavits signed by other witnesses in accordance with
17 the law and procedure of the State in which such
18 affidavits are signed. These affidavits are admissible
19 if the other party does not object within five working
20 days after the witness' testimony. If the party
21 objects and the Trial Chamber so rules, or if the Trial
22 Chamber so orders, the witnesses shall be called for
24 I think this is an important Rule which might
25 prove useful for the purpose of expediting proceedings
1 in our Tribunal. In particular, I'm thinking -- I'm
2 wondering -- we Judges are wondering whether this Rule
3 could be applied to the various character witnesses
4 Defence counsel intends to call. I wonder whether
5 Defence counsel could consider the possibility of just
6 producing one character witness and then affidavits
7 emanating from other character witnesses so that we
8 don't need to call them. Of course, as long as the
9 Prosecution does not object. This is an area where the
10 new Rule 94 ter could be applied, and probably also
11 other areas.
12 In addition, there are some queries I would
13 like to now set out. There are some -- after reading
14 carefully all the witness statements produced by the
15 Defence, we have come across some statements emanating
16 from witnesses who may not be necessary. I mean, let
17 me just point to them.
18 Sorry, there are so many documents that it's
19 very difficult to find the relevant ones.
20 Yes. These are some witnesses Defence
21 counsel for Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic intend to call.
22 I will mention their names. All of them, according to
23 their written statements, report about the TV report
24 concerning Sakib Ahmic and the interview he gave on TV.
25 They simply say, "I was there. I watched that TV
1 report and this is what he said."
2 Now, since we have been given by the
3 Prosecution the TV cassette, is it necessary to call
4 those four witnesses? I'm referring to Ilija Zrezic,
5 Anto Rajic, Niko Sakic (phoen), and Mirko Safradin.
6 It's just a suggestion for the consideration of Defence
7 counsel for Mirjan and Zoran Kupreskic.
8 Another point relates to the question of
9 persecution, Count 1. Again, after reading carefully
10 the various witness statements, as well as the trial
11 brief produced on this matter, on legal issues, by
12 Defence counsel for Mirjan and Zoran Kupreskic, we are
13 wondering to what extent some statements are relevant
14 to the issues in dispute in this particular case. Let
15 me explain what I mean by that.
16 Some Defence witnesses's statements
17 allege that Croats were persecuted by Muslims, in some
18 particular areas, in some villages. Now, we're
19 wondering what the relevance of this evidence would
20 be. If it is a tu quoque evidence, tu quoque evidence,
21 namely evidence that is intended to show that also
22 the other side committed similar crimes, then this is
23 not material, because as you know, this Defence is not
24 relevant. It's not a Defence in International Law.
25 Now, I think to see from some Defence Counsel that it is not tu
1 quoque evidence, but then the Court would ask the Defence to
2 explain the relevance of this type of evidence touching
3 upon the issue of persecution, so that we are clear
4 about the aim of the Prosecution.
5 Now, let me just, before I give the floor to
6 Counsel Radovic on this matter, wind up my sort of
7 introductory set of comments by raising a final issue.
8 I think we agreed that we should proceed as follows:
9 Count by count. So we would start with Count 1, and
10 then after we have completed the hearings on Count 1 we
11 will move on to the other counts.
12 Now, if this is so, are Defence counsel
13 prepared to make opening statements only on Count 1, so
14 each count as we go along, because I think this will be
15 the most -- from the viewpoint of judicial economy, the
16 most helpful approach, also the most orderly one, first
17 of all to dispose of the count and then move on to the
18 next count, and then at that stage hearing opening
19 statements of Defence counsel on that particular count,
20 or do Defence counsel intend to make opening statements
21 on all counts this week? So this, again, is a
23 Therefore, I will now stop and ask Counsel
24 Radovic to address these two issues, the question of
25 persecution and how Defence counsel intend to proceed
1 on the various counts.
2 MR. RADOVIC: Your Honours, may I respond in
3 the same order in which the President has spoken? That
4 is, I would begin with the witnesses referring to that
5 TV programme. We were grateful to the Prosecutor
6 having obtained this video cassette having to do with
7 the statement of Sakib Ahmic that he made for Zenica
8 television in the hospital in Zenica. However, it is
9 our assertion that this tape did not contain the whole
11 After that, the Prosecution obtained a
12 lengthier tape, that is one that had a longer
13 introduction than on the previous tape. However, we
14 are still claim this is not the complete tape, and
15 these witnesses need to confirm that Sakib Ahmic made a
16 lengthier statement and that the journalist who
17 interviewed him told -- that he told this journalist
18 that he didn't know which persons had broken into his
19 home, because those persons wore masks.
20 So we agree that there is no dispute that he
21 gave an interview, there is no dispute the TV programme
22 in which he appeared, but what is disputed is whether
23 this tape is complete, and that is why we continue to
24 need these witnesses. Maybe not all four of them, but
25 at least two, and these two should at least tell us
1 everything that they saw on that programme.
2 As regards the witnesses having to do with
3 other areas and not necessarily the area of Ahmici
4 itself, we decided to call these witnesses for two
6 The first is that the Prosecutor also called
7 and questioned witnesses who spoke about events outside
8 Ahmici and outside the region of Busovaca. My
9 colleague Madam Slokovic-Glumac and myself objected at
10 the time to this line of questioning, as it had no
11 relevance to the position of our clients, but the
12 Tribunal rejected our objection because they explained
13 that they needed to be acquainted with the developments
14 within the Lasva Valley as a whole, and, therefore, if
15 the Prosecution brought witnesses to speak about what
16 happened in a broader region, then we have to do the
17 same so as to give the Trial Chamber a full impression
18 of what was happening, because the conflict did not
19 occur only in Ahmici, nor did it begin in Ahmici but in
20 another area and sometime prior to Ahmici.
21 Furthermore, an important section of our
22 Defence regarding the second count and partly the first
23 count as well has to do with intent. We know, from the
24 Tadic case, that the concept of intent is rather
25 broadly interpreted in this Tribunal, but our Defence
1 is that our clients were not aware of the conflict that
2 was being prepared, and when they were informed after
3 midnight on the 16th of April that they had to evacuate
4 civilians because an attack was being prepared by the
5 Muslim forces, and because of the events occurring in
6 the surroundings of Vitez and a little further away
7 where the Muslims were attacking Croats, this fact, in
8 the consciousness of the accused, necessarily gave them
9 the impression that the information they received was
10 correct, and we will bring a witness to tell us how
11 they received these instructions to evacuate the
12 civilians. That is the reason were we are talking
13 about events that occurred beyond Ahmici itself,
14 because news of those events reached Ahmici. Ahmici
15 was not an island in the middle of nowhere, it was part
16 of an area which was the scene of conflict.
17 As for the opening statements of the Defence,
18 I must admit that I, together with my colleague,
19 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, had intended to give a complete
20 opening statement because one thing leads to another,
21 because if we talk about the interpersonal relations
22 and the events occurring beyond Vitez and in the
23 surroundings of Vitez, then this immediately leads to
24 the events of the 15th and the 16th, rather early in
25 the morning of the 16th, and the intent of our clients
1 and the movements of our clients.
2 In addition to this, we have another request
3 beyond the opening remarks you have made. In our
4 State, we have to report our incomes by the end of
5 February, which means that we have to fill in our tax
6 returns, and if the trial is not completed by the 21st
7 of February, could you please make a break between the
8 21st and the 28th of February to give us time to fill
9 in our tax forms which we have to do under the law?
10 That is all. Thank you.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
12 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Regarding the extent to
13 which we will go into the persecution count, I should
14 like to say that in the background it says that on the
15 16th of April, a coordinated attack was carried out on
16 all villages in an area of ten kilometres around Vitez,
17 and certain locations are listed there in the
18 indictment, Sivrino Selo, Preocica, Santici, Nadioci,
19 Ahmici, but also other villages like Bila, Kruscica,
20 Gacice, and in those villages, the Prosecutor has not
21 proven the existence of a conflict, and a part of our
22 defence is to show what was actually happening in those
23 villages on that day; and I think that in the course of
24 the Prosecution case, you did ask what was happening in
25 the other villages. The distance between these
1 villages is only a couple of kilometres, and they are
2 all within a range of ten kilometres from Vitez, and
3 therefore, I think, to have an overall idea of what was
4 happening, how the BH army was organised, how it acted,
5 how the HVO acted in this whole area, and in order to
6 be able to assess the situation there and what happened
7 in Ahmici, we have to call these witnesses. It is a
8 fact that these witnesses only mention in passing what
9 actually happened to them on that day.
10 One event that is rather unique is the crime
11 in Dusina but it is a part of the Busovaca war which
12 occurred on the 24th of January, '94, and we wish to
13 use this case to show how the BH army was organised,
14 how it was structured, and to give an overview of what
15 happened later on in Vitez. We will not exaggerate,
16 however, with these witnesses. There won't be too many
17 testimonies about those events. We have only two
18 witnesses about it. But as to the events in Vitez
19 itself on the 16th, I consider that to be part of our
20 defence which cannot be bypassed because we wish to
21 show how and why the events in Ahmici actually
23 Thank you.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Any comments from
25 the Prosecution?
1 MR. TERRIER: Yes, Mr. President. The
2 Prosecution would like to make some comments upon the
3 resumption of this trial and to convey some concerns it
4 has after the information communicated to us by the
5 Defence attorneys.
6 MR. RADOVIC: No translation.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: There is no B/C/S
9 MR. TERRIER: I will repeat, Mr. President.
10 I was saying that the Prosecution would like to convey
11 to the Tribunal and the representatives of the Defence
12 some of its concerns.
13 First of all, regarding the information
14 communicated to us prior to the resumption of these
15 hearings by the Defence attorneys. We received a
16 certain amount of information about the witnesses that
17 will be called by the Defence; very few statements
18 signed by witnesses but many summaries. We regret in
19 particular that many of the summaries that we received
20 are in an extreme summary form and give no real
21 indication of the purpose of the testimony which will
22 be solicited from those witnesses.
23 It appears to us, therefore, that the
24 principle of equality of arms between the parties here
25 present in the Tribunal is being called in question,
1 and it seems to us that for the trial to continue to
2 evolve under good conditions, it is absolutely
3 desirable that a correction be made by the Tribunal
4 regarding this situation.
5 What we suggest, therefore, in this
6 connection is that the Tribunal authorises the
7 Prosecution to hear the witnesses that will be called
8 by the Defence before their appearance here in court.
9 I wish to specify that this is in order to correct the
10 situation in which we find ourselves today and to
11 guarantee the principle of equality of arms between
13 I would add that the Prosecution, of course,
14 does not intend to interview all the witnesses that the
15 Defence intends to call but only some of them,
16 specifically those who may speak in direct
17 contradiction with the testimony that the Tribunal has
18 already heard and, of course, we do not wish to force a
19 witness to speak to the Prosecution; of course, it will
20 depend upon the agreement of the witnesses. We cannot
21 force any of them. We would like the Witness
22 Protection Unit to be the intermediary between the
23 Prosecution and the witnesses and that this unit see
24 whether each witness is willing or not to be
25 interviewed by the Prosecution before appearing in
2 A second point of concern of the Prosecution
3 has to do with the defence of Mr. Vlado Santic. Due to
4 the extremely summarised form of the communication
5 conveyed to us, it seems to us that many of the
6 witnesses that the Defence of Vlado Santic intends to
7 call before the Tribunal are going to speak to the
8 defence of alibi because five or six witnesses
9 apparently were in Vitez on the 16th of April and will
10 tell us what they saw without any further precision.
11 Under those conditions, and in view of the
12 information that has been communicated to us, we fear
13 that these witnesses will come to the Tribunal to say
14 that the accused was not in Ahmici but in Vitez on the
15 16th of April in the morning, and we wish to remind the
16 Defence counsel of Mr. Santic of the Rules regarding
17 the defence of alibi, and especially the ruling on the
18 17th of August when this question was referred to in
19 detail and precision. If Vlado Santic wishes to
20 establish before the Tribunal that he was not in Ahmici
21 in the morning of the 16th of April, he can do so, of
22 course, but not through witnesses and only by his own
23 deposition before the Tribunal.
24 This brings me to the third point of concern
25 which I wish to convey to the Tribunal. We have not
1 been informed by the Defence counsel whether the
2 accused intend or do not intend to testify themselves
3 in the course of these proceedings. Of course, the
4 decision is fully up to them, but it seems to me that
5 it would have been fair, upon the resumption of this
6 trial, that we be informed of the decision of each of
7 the accused so that we might know whether any one of
8 those clients will testify in court. This would give
9 us a chance to prepare for the cross-examination of
10 some of the witnesses in a different way, and maybe the
11 Tribunal would consider it appropriate to address this
12 question to Defence counsel today.
13 A fourth and last point of concern that we
14 have has to do with the Rule of customary usage which
15 was prescribed by your Tribunal for the Prosecution and
16 the Prosecution witnesses and which I think needs to be
17 reiterated when it comes to the Defence witnesses;
18 specifically, the Rule that at the end of a week, we
19 should have a list of witnesses for the following week,
20 and I must say that on Friday, I thank Madam Glumac for
21 the list of witnesses that we received for this week,
22 and if new witnesses are being called by the Defence,
23 we would like to have a certain time between being
24 notified of the name of that witness and his actual
25 appearance in court so that we can prepare. A delay of
1 30 days was envisaged for the Prosecution in favour of
2 the Defence. We are not insisting on thirty days, but
3 we would like to have ten or fifteen days to be able to
4 prepare for the cross-examination.
5 I would also like to say that last Friday, a
6 witness that will be called this week, we were told of
7 this witness, but we, to this day, have no indications
8 regarding this witness, we have no information about
9 this witness, and last Friday, we received only very
10 limited information about this witness, it is Vlado
11 Divkovic, who was not mentioned, announced by any of
12 the Defence counsel, and therefore, it seems to us very
13 difficult for this witness to be called to testify this
14 week in view of the very limited time that the
15 Prosecution has to prepare for the cross-examination.
16 My final wish that I should like to convey to
17 the Tribunal, if the Defence will give up some
18 witnesses, that it should let us know as soon as
19 possible so that we can avoid any unnecessary research
20 and waste of time.
21 Those are the points that the Prosecution
22 wish to make to the Trial Chamber upon the resumption
23 of these hearings. Thank you.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: I will try to take up the
25 various points made first by Defence counsel and then
1 by the Prosecutor.
2 Now, I do understand what Counsel Radovic
3 said about the tape, and the four witnesses, we would
4 be appreciative if the four witnesses could be reduced
5 to two, but I see you have a point there, a good point,
6 on the particular question of the tape, because I
7 understand the tape you were provided is not complete.
8 All right. This is granted.
9 As for the question of persecution and the
10 need to go beyond what happened in Ahmici, we consider
11 that developments outside of Ahmici before and possibly
12 even after the 16th of April, '93, are relevant to two
13 particular issues: (1) The question of whether or not
14 there was an armed conflict; and (2), whether the
15 alleged crimes can be regarded as crimes against
16 humanity, the crimes allegedly committed in Ahmici
17 could be regarded as crimes against humanity.
18 As we all know, for a crime against
19 humanity to materialise, you need various legal
20 ingredients, and in particular, a widespread or
21 systematic practice, so a particular fact must be part
22 and parcel of a practice. Therefore, the Prosecution I
23 think was right in touching upon events occurring prior
24 to April '93 and outside Ahmici because it is the claim
25 of the Prosecution that some of those facts are to be
1 regarded as crimes against humanity, so as a part of a
2 practice. Any particular persecution, according to the
3 Prosecution, is a crime against humanity; therefore,
4 this general practice, according to the Prosecution,
5 did exist. But these are the only two issues to which
6 anything outside Ahmici, the particular events in
7 Ahmici, may be material.
8 Now, if you say that since the Prosecution
9 was allowed to acquaint the Court with developments in
10 the Lasva Valley as a whole, and therefore, as a
11 result, the Defence is entitled to do likewise, in a
12 way you go beyond, I think, the province of our
13 particular case, the scope of our case, which is again
14 to stick to the points made by the Prosecution and to
15 see whether the Prosecutor is right in claiming that
16 these were crimes against humanity.
17 In particular, those statements which
18 deal with persecution, alleged persecution, of Croats
19 by Muslims as such are not relevant to our case - they
20 may be relevant to other cases, future cases or present
21 cases brought before our Tribunal - where, as I say,
22 Muslims, individual accused, are charged with
23 persecution of Croats. These are different cases. But
24 in our case, as I say, we should try to focus on what I
25 have just said. This is our position. You, of course,
1 are at liberty to produce evidence on other events
2 outside Ahmici, but I do hope that you will confine
3 yourselves to these particular legal issues because
4 otherwise, that evidence would be outside the scope of
5 our case.
6 As for the opening statement, we understand
7 that at least you, Counsel Radovic and Counsel
8 Slokovic-Glumac, intend to make full opening statements
9 dealing with all the various cases, and we're prepared
10 to hear your opening statements -- so once and for
11 all, we will cover the whole range of issues which
12 arise with regards to your clients.
13 We are, however, wondering whether also the
14 other Defence counsel intend to make similar opening
15 statements this week, or whether they prefer to put off
16 their opening statements when we -- until we take up
17 the other counts. It is for you to decide. I mean, we
18 are open to any suggestion. We don't want to impose
19 any particular solution. Let us try, together, to find
20 the particular solution which is more practical and
21 more helpful from the viewpoint of, as I say, judicial
22 economy and for the purpose of conducting expeditious
24 Let me stop here because I see you have
25 quickly consulted. Let me ask you how you intend to
1 proceed with the opening statements before I move on to
2 the comments made by the Prosecution? Counsel
4 MR. PAVKOVIC: Your Honours, this issue of
5 the opening statements, as well as any other questions
6 raised by the Prosecution merit more attention, and I
7 would like to request to allow us, after the first
8 break, to consult during the break and then I'll come
9 back with our comments on these issues in order not to
10 interrupt the hearing now. We will, obviously, take
11 into consideration your request for an expeditious
12 proceeding, and we will try to adapt our opening
13 statements to that, and maybe it is -- it may be best
14 to proceed in the way you have just suggested. In
15 other words, to focus on Count 1 and then on, but I
16 would still request that we be given more time to
17 consult. We will come back to you on that.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. However, we have
19 already made up our mind on the various four points of
20 concern raised by the Prosecution. Do you want to
21 comment on these four points of concern before we make
22 a ruling on this matter?
23 MR. PAVKOVIC: Certainly, Mr. President. The
24 Prosecution, in these four points, did address a number
25 of points which are common to all defences, but some of
1 them touch only on the accused Vladimir Santic's
2 Defence. I don't know whether this is the right moment
3 to address those specific issues. If you feel that it
4 is, I can proceed, but I can also wait until after the
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I think it's only
7 fair for all of you to consult on those four points
8 because some of them are major points and I think you
9 may decide to take a common stand. So let us put off
10 any ruling on this matter until after the coffee break. We
11 will then, first of all, hear your comments, objections
12 or remarks, and then we will, in light of your
13 reaction, make a ruling on those four points.
14 So we can now -- if there are no other
15 matters, we may now start with the opening statement of
16 Counsel Radovic.
17 Yes, Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
18 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I would
19 just like to explain our situation for a moment
20 regarding the evidence which you deem not relevant.
21 You have not yet heard the concept of our defence, and
22 the -- we only provided very summary statements.
23 The Prosecution was referring to a particular
24 practice which he believed was discriminatory regarding
25 the widespread nature of the crimes which then went to
1 qualify as crimes against humanity. However, with
2 respect to all the events which the Prosecutor
3 mentioned as part of this discriminatory procedure, we
4 want to use these witnesses to prove that such
5 practices not exist, at least not in the way it was
6 presented by the Prosecution. So we cannot only
7 address Ahmici but every event which was brought up by
8 the Prosecution during the presentation of their
9 evidence, and we want to offer a different
10 interpretation of these events, and we would like to
11 use the witnesses for that in order to find the truth,
12 in order to find out whether this practice existed,
13 whether it was as widespread as it has been alleged,
14 and whether it rises to the level of crimes against
15 humanity. We believe that we need to be allowed to
16 present that evidence.
17 If we talk about the event which was outside
18 of Vitez, in Dusina, it was ten kilometres. It is
19 another municipality, that is true. However, it is the
20 same region. So we believe that the Defence would be
21 put at a disadvantage. So what my colleague Radovic
22 said about the intent, I think that we need to take
23 these additional aspects in order to arrive at the full
24 picture of what actually transpired. Thank you.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: I see that we are coming to
1 the same point, and I fully agree with you, namely that
2 since the Prosecution claims that this persecution was
3 a widespread practice occurring not only in Ahmici but
4 also outside Ahmici, you are entitled, of course, to
5 prove the contrary, namely that there was no
6 persecution of Muslims by Croats in villages other than
7 Ahmici. I agree with you. But our point was that
8 this -- what is not relevant, we consider, is to prove
9 that there was also persecution by Muslims of Croats.
10 This is not to the point. You have to prove that there
11 was no persecution by Croats of Muslims outside
13 If you can prove this point, then, of course,
14 you may prove that there was no crime against humanity,
15 because this is one of the legal ingredients, the
16 practice, the widespread or systematic practice is
17 lacking. So, therefore, we come to the same point, I
18 think we're concluding.
19 Again, let me now ask both of you whether you
20 are prepared to start with the opening statement. We
21 have 30 minutes and then we could have a break.
22 Probably each of you needs more than 30 minutes, but it
23 would be a waste of time to take a break now.
24 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, given that you
25 have given us certain points which we need to consult
1 on in order to provide answers, maybe it would be
2 better to maybe break now so that we consult and our
3 co-ordinator would then be able to respond to all the
4 issues raised. Following that I can give the opening
5 statement, and I can actually provide an opening
6 statement, and to use a phrase, we can kill two birds
7 with one stone, so that maybe we can wrap it altogether
9 As far as the Prosecutor's request is
10 concerned, whether the investigators will be given --
11 will give the statement as witnesses, I can give you --
12 actually, the accused -- the Kupreskic brothers have
13 written to the Tribunal, and they have offered to
14 surrender, and now they are in the phase of the trial
15 where they can present their evidence and they can also
16 provide their own comments on it. We know that no two
17 witnesses will talk about the same event the same way.
18 As far as Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic are
19 concerned, in the nature of their co-operation with the
20 Tribunal, they are prepared to testify on their own
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I think you made
23 a good suggestion. Let us now break for 20 minutes,
24 and we will resume at twenty-five past ten sharp.
25 --- Recess taken at 10.05 am
1 --- On resuming at 10.25 am.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Pavkovic.
3 MR. PAVKOVIC: Your Honours, the Defence has
4 considered all the issues and we have a unified
5 position which is as follows: Regarding the first
6 point and the objection by the Prosecution that they
7 received summary statements of the Defence witnesses,
8 the Defence would like to point out the following --
9 and connected to this issue is the request of the
10 Prosecution to be allowed by the Trial Chamber to talk
11 to the Defence witnesses in order to compensate for the
12 lack of information which is not contained in the
14 The Defence is -- vigorously objects to any
15 contact of the Defence witnesses with the Prosecution.
16 There are at least three reasons which justify this
17 position of the Defence.
18 Number one, the Prosecution invoked the
19 equality of arms in the proceeding, and says that they
20 provided comprehensive information and evidence through
21 witnesses which they produced. This is not so. We are
22 witness to the fact that some Prosecution witnesses
23 talked about events which the Defence heard for the
24 first time in the open court. Should the Prosecution's
25 request be granted and be allowed to -- contact with
1 the Defence witnesses, this so-called equality of arms
2 would not exist.
3 Secondly, pursuant to the Statute Article
4 21(3) and the Convention 3 of the Geneva Conventions
5 regarding the presumed innocence, the accused, that is
6 the Defence, is not obliged to do anything in order to
7 help the Prosecution to prove the guilt of an accused.
8 In other words, the request of the Prosecution, should
9 it be granted, would violate these fundamental
10 principles of the criminal proceedings.
11 Thirdly, the third reason, at a Status
12 Conference of 16 October of last year, it was concluded
13 that the Defence did not have an obligation to provide
14 full witness statements but only summaries thereof, and
15 this is what the Defence did and we feel we have
16 complied with the ruling of the Court. So this is in
17 response to the first point.
18 As a long-time Prosecutor, I understand the
19 concern of the Prosecution. If I were in their place,
20 I would be concerned too, but the concern is one thing
21 the right is another thing. The rights of the accused
22 should not and must not be violated.
23 Regarding the second issue, let me skip it
24 for now. This was the issue raised by the Prosecution,
25 which was directed to the Defence of Vlado Santic. I
1 would like to come back to that in closing, but let me
2 move on to the issue of the opening statements.
3 The Defence counsel are in agreement that
4 they should provide the opening statement as part of
5 the whole, because this is how they were preparing for
6 their Defence. We believe that this would facilitate
7 the proceedings and that they would contribute to the
8 general point -- requirement of expediency.
9 As far as the witness list is concerned, we
10 believe that the Defence will be able to provide it to
11 the Prosecution by the last day of the week, a witness
12 list which it intends to call next week.
13 So, Your Honours, my apologies. As far as
14 the issue raised by the Prosecution whether the accused
15 would testify, in addition to what Mr. Radovic said,
16 the other Defence counsel, at this point, have not
17 decided firmly whether their clients would also testify
18 or not.
19 Mr. President, Your Honours, this is the
20 position of the Defence regarding these common issues.
21 I don't know whether you want me to now present the
22 position of the Defence of Mr. Santic with respect to
23 the question raised by the Prosecutor. If I understood
24 him correctly, as part of the objection to the summary
25 statements of Defence witnesses for Mr. Santic, I would
1 like to point out that one could conclude from these
2 summary statements that Mr. Santic is going to invoke
3 an alibi defence, and I would like to make a further
5 The only person, the Prosecution witness, who
6 places Mr. Santic, on 16th of April, in Ahmici is the
7 only witness to do so. When I make my opening
8 statements I will address this in more detail, but the
9 Defence would like to point out, and it also has done
10 so by providing evidence in the earlier part of the
12 This witness's credibility is in question.
13 In other words, the Defence will point out that
14 Mr. Santic was not in Ahmici on 16 April, 1993, but
15 with respect to his whereabouts on that day, the
16 Defence does not have an obligation to provide that
17 evidence. When addressing the intent of the Defence,
18 we said that if necessary, we will point out the
19 location of Mr. Santic on that day.
20 So in short, Your Honours, these are our
21 comments with respect to the issues raised by the
22 Prosecution. Thank you.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you so much. May I ask
24 you to clarify one particular point, the one about the
25 opening statements? If I understood you correctly, all
1 Defence counsel intend to make opening statements this
2 week. I'm not clear also, after reading the
3 transcript, about what you suggested. Opening
4 statements by all Defence counsel this week?
5 MR. PAVKOVIC: From now until the end --
6 today. We start today. I don't know whether we will
7 finish today. We could go on if we're not done by the
8 end of the day, we'll continue tomorrow, and we will
9 address all the issues -- all the counts starting with
10 number 1, and depending on what the different counts
11 for each counsel are.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: We will now rule on the
13 various issues raised by the Prosecution, but later on
14 we will issue an order where we give reasons for this
15 ruling and set out those reasons more clearly.
16 First of all, on the crucial issue of witness
17 statements produced by Defence counsel. We also,
18 members of this Trial Chamber, were struck by the
19 excessively summary fashion and succinct way of
20 presenting those statements. They don't enable even
21 the Court to have an idea of what the witness is going
22 to say. In view of the principle of equality of arms,
23 which means that both parties, the Defence and the
24 Prosecution, must be on the same footing, we feel that
25 those statements, some of those statements, are not
2 We also feel that what Defence Counsel
3 Pavkovic said about the principle whereby the Defence
4 should not do anything to help the Prosecution, I think
5 this is a misunderstanding of the principle of equality
6 of arms and the whole spirit of our proceedings. The
7 Prosecution needs detailed statements because the
8 Prosecution must be in a position to cross-examine
9 witnesses. For the same reason, the Prosecution was
10 duty-bound to produce detailed statements of witnesses,
11 so that Defence counsel were in a position to
12 cross-examine. It is not a question of helping the
13 Prosecution, it is a question of helping the Court
14 reaching the truth and deciding on this matter.
15 In view of that, we will ask the Prosecution
16 to produce, maybe by tomorrow, if possible, a list of
17 those witnesses for whom they feel that no satisfactory
18 statements were produced by the Defence. Then the
19 Defence will have two weeks to provide the Prosecution
20 and the Court with detailed statements. If those
21 statements are not provided within two weeks, then the
22 Prosecution will be allowed to interview the various
23 witnesses at issue. But, of course, we would prefer
24 that the Defence provide those detailed statements. As
25 the Prosecutor said, this does not apply to all
1 witnesses; to some of them. But for those witnesses,
2 and we will, I hope, tomorrow get a list of those
3 witnesses, we very much hope that Defence will produce
4 detailed statements within two weeks.
5 Now, the Court is also wondering whether
6 Defence counsel could decide as soon as possible
7 whether or not accused other than Mirjan and Zoran
8 Kupreskic are going to testify. We would welcome a
9 response maybe by next Tuesday, as soon as possible,
10 because we also are keen to know the list of witnesses.
11 We grant the motion of the Prosecution to the
12 effect that by each Friday, Defence counsel should
13 provide a list of the witnesses to be called the
14 following week, and I think it is quite appropriate
15 that the Prosecution should be notified ten days in
16 advance of the names of the witnesses to be called so
17 that they can prepare for cross-examination.
18 The Prosecution also asked that the Defence
19 should notify both the Prosecution and the Defence of
20 the names of those witnesses they are going to give up,
21 they are not going to call, and I think we also would
22 appreciate having this list as soon as possible.
23 Coming to the question of Vlado Santic, I
24 think, if I understood the translation correctly,
25 Counsel Pavkovic admitted that this is a defence of
1 alibi, an alibi defence, and under our Rule 67, the
2 defence of alibi is governed by sub-Rule (A)(ii), which
3 applies to a period prior to the commencement of the
4 trial. Now, if this is an alibi defence, and I
5 understand that this is an alibi defence, this Rule has
6 not been complied with by the Defence counsel in this
7 particular case, and then we would apply (B), sub-Rule
8 67(B), which reads as follows:
9 "Failure of the defence to provide notice
10 under this Rule shall not limit the right of the
11 accused to testify on the above defences," which means
12 that the accused is not duty-bound to testify but has a
13 right to testify, and I think it would be quite
14 appropriate for him to testify on this particular
16 As I say, we will issue an order on all these
17 questions so as to clarify the situation.
18 We will now move on to the various opening
19 statements. We accept the suggestion of Defence
20 counsel that all Defence counsel should make opening
21 statements today and tomorrow, so we will start, I
22 think, with Counsel Radovic, but first of all, let me
23 give the floor to Counsel Slokovic-Glumac.
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you. A part of
25 the Prosecution's comments were not addressed, but I
1 would like to bring it up.
2 We have some problems which the Prosecution
3 also had, that certain witnesses give up at the last
4 moment, like Vlado Divkovic. For instance, his
5 statement -- in fact, we did not take a statement from
6 him, but we indicated what he was going to testify to.
7 He is going to testify on a very narrow issue which has
8 to do with certain documents which have to do with the
9 SPS and the Vitezit companies in Vitez, the big
10 companies in this town, and he is going to show the
11 employee lists in order to prove that there was no
12 discrimination. These documents could be very useful
13 for both the Defence and the Prosecution. So in his
14 case, I would like to ask for an exception. He was --
15 Mr. Krusanovic, who was going to testify to that, has
16 declined to come, and Mr. Divkovic is going to be
17 absent for a long time and he can only come in a
18 particular time period. So I would like to urge you to
19 try to rule so that this witness can show in a time
20 period when he can, and it is a very limited testimony
21 regarding these documents that have to do with the
22 employee list. Thank you.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You are speaking
24 of Vlado Divkovic who was due to testify this week.
25 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Yes.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: So you are insisting that he
2 should be allowed to testify this week.
3 I wonder whether the Prosecutor has any
4 objection in view of the limited scope of the
6 MR. TERRIER: I have no objection regarding
7 this testimony, the more so as this -- however, this
8 name was communicated to us for the first time last
9 Friday, and we only have a very brief summary of six
10 lines about his statement, and I think that his name
11 will be placed on the list that we will submit to you
13 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I
14 apologise, but we cannot provide any lengthier
15 statement because we haven't even talked to Vlado
16 Divkovic. But we know, because of the position he
17 held, that he would be able to confirm the names of the
18 people employed and the executive posts held in these
19 three enterprises which were later merged to form one,
20 so he will be not testifying about any other
21 circumstances except about the composition of the
22 staff, of the personnel, of these factories, and as the
23 Prosecution will be given the documents, the witness
24 will just confirm the authenticity of those documents
25 and that is all.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: May I ask you whether these
2 documents could be passed on to the Prosecution today
3 or tomorrow so that they can, in a way, waive their
4 right to have a detailed statement? This, in a way,
5 could replace the statement, also because you have
6 already indicated the subject of his testimony. So if
7 you, Mr. Terrier, know now what he is going to talk about and also
8 are provided a document, probably you could refrain
9 from objecting to this particular witness.
10 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, I am not
11 objecting to this witness. I wish to be informed as
12 much as possible, in view of the principle of equality
13 of arms, about the contents of the testimony. As was
14 told us today by Madam Glumac, this testimony does not
15 seem to be at all material to our proceedings. We have
16 not conveyed to the Tribunal any information about the
17 names of the people employed in SPS and Vitezit, and I
18 don't see how this testimony is in any sense relevant
19 to the counts and the charges against the accused. If
20 the witness is only going to testify about the staff of
21 these companies where he worked, I really don't need
22 any additional information. I am just asking whether
23 this testimony will be at all useful, and I am not
24 objecting if the Trial Chamber insists on hearing this
1 JUDGE CASSESE: If I understood Madam Glumac,
2 this will be a witness who will be testifying about
3 non-discrimination in these enterprises; therefore, this
4 question is relevant because it has to do with the
5 problem of persecution. Therefore, they are saying
6 that there was no persecution because there was no
7 discrimination in those enterprises; and therefore, I
8 think it is admissible, so I would thank you if you
9 would waive your insistence on having a written text of
10 his statement. You will just be given lists of the
11 employees. You already know what the witness is going
12 to speak to, and so there is no doubt that you will be
13 able to cross-examine that witness and hear him this
15 MR. TERRIER: The Prosecution will be guided
16 by the decision of the Trial Chamber.
17 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: May I just say that I
18 will be able to provide the Prosecution with the
19 documents already this afternoon, and we have announced
20 those documents in our list of documents submitted to
21 the Court.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. All right. So
23 shall we now start with opening statements, and I
24 assume they will be fairly short opening statements,
25 but you are, of course, entitled to touch upon all
1 those issues of law and fact which you consider
2 important or relevant.
3 Counsel Radovic?
4 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 In my opening statement, I shall focus mainly
6 on matters of fact whereas I think we should leave
7 matters of law for the closing statement, at least that
8 is the conception of my opening statement which I am
9 making on behalf of Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic since
10 their lives as brothers and the fact that they lived in
11 the same locality, only in different houses, were more
12 or less the same.
13 When we received the amended indictment from
14 the Prosecution of the International Criminal Tribunal
15 for war crimes committed in the territory of the former
16 Yugoslavia, we were confronted with major difficulties
17 because the indictment in content differed
18 significantly from the kind of indictments we are
19 accustomed to in our legal system, and also in the
20 legal system customary in the Germanic States of
21 Europe, and I think the situation is similar in Italy.
22 I'm not familiar with the situation in France. Namely,
23 what we would describe as factual descriptions, the
24 Prosecution does not give any factual descriptions.
25 By way of example, in the part of the
1 indictment regarding persecution, the Prosecution says
2 that this applies to the period from October 1992 until
3 April 1993 without indicating a single fact that may
4 have occurred between the 1st of October and the end of
5 April 1993 which would be necessary in order to charge
6 the accused for events committed in that period. Then
7 the Prosecutor goes on to allege that the accused
8 persecuted the Bosnian Muslims, the inhabitants of
9 Ahmici and Santici and the environs; therefore, it is
10 not focused exclusively on Ahmici and Santici but also
11 the environs, the persecution being done on political,
12 racial, and religious grounds, without indicating, for
13 any one of the accused, in which way the accused
14 persecuted the Muslims in Ahmici and Santici, and
15 particularly not how they persecuted them in the
16 environs of Ahmici and Santici.
17 When one talks about the environs, one may
18 refer to Vitez and all the other localities that we
19 intend to cover in the course of our case and which the
20 Prosecution mentions in the background of the
21 indictment -- or, rather, in the general allegations.
22 Then the Prosecution goes on to claim that
23 the persecution was done on political, religious, and
24 racial grounds without saying how they did it. Persons
25 who had no political powers or positions, who had no
1 military powers or military positions, how these people
2 could have planned, organised, and executed attacks in
3 order to cleanse all Bosnian Muslims from a village, a
4 particular village and the surrounding areas, for
5 somebody to be able to implement and plan and organise
6 something, he has to have a particular position in the
7 hierarchy of power, and these accused were at the
8 bottom of the pyramid of power; and therefore, any
9 planning, either political or military, was beyond
10 their possibilities. It is particularly unclear what
11 they could have done in the surrounding areas, and
12 concerning those surrounding areas, we have already
13 heard the Prosecution witnesses. To this is added the
14 deliberate and systematic killing of Bosnian Muslims,
15 the destruction of homes and property, and the
16 organised detention and expulsion of Bosnian Muslims.
17 In our system, if such an indictment were to
18 be compiled, the main objection would be that instead
19 of factual descriptions, legal descriptions are given,
20 which means that provisions are being cited from the
21 Statute as incriminations. In simple terms, this would
22 be a bone without the meat because we need to have the
23 meat to understand the whole issue.
24 Because of such a structure of the
25 indictment, the Defence plans in its case to prove,
1 like the Prosecution, the general circumstances of the
2 events in the Lasva Valley, and we are forced to do so
3 because of such an approach taken by the indictment,
4 and we will try to do this with the help of witnesses
5 and documents in the same way that the Prosecution has
7 We shall prove the development of the Muslim
8 Territorial Defence and how it grew and developed into
9 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as the creation
10 and development of the HVO and all this in the area of
11 the Lasva River Valley.
12 We shall also present evidence to show that
13 from the very beginning of the formation of these armed
14 units, the BH army and the HVO did not act together and
15 were not even organisationally united at higher levels
16 of control and command; and even when they engaged in
17 operations against the Serbs, which was, for a time,
18 one of their common objectives in Vlasic, Gornji Vakuf
19 and Komar, the commands were not made jointly, the
20 units were not structured jointly, but rather the units
21 acted separately side by side, so that often there was
22 confusion as to which should do what.
23 We shall also present evidence to show that
24 in the Lasva Valley, there were two armies being formed
25 based on the territorial principle. This is something
1 that we have already heard about during the Prosecution
3 Something else that we consider important for
4 developments in this area was that in the month of
5 September 1992, the civilian authorities broke down
6 which were based on the results of the free elections.
7 The Muslims separated and created their own
8 authorities. First, The Coordination Committee for the
9 Protection of Muslims and then the War Presidency with
10 all the attributes of power. Therefore, in that
11 territory, there were two armies, two military police
12 forces, two civilian police forces, two Defence
13 secretariats or Defence departments, and two separate
14 structures of civilian authority.
15 In such a situation, the circumstances were
16 further complicated with the advent of a large number
17 of refugees, especially after the fall of Jajce, and
18 the expelled Croats left, whereas the expelled Muslims
19 stayed on, which caused imbalance and various incidents
20 so that the Muslims that were expelled from other areas
21 and that stayed on in this region, many of them were
22 able-bodied men.
23 The Prosecution claims that the first serious
24 conflict between the Muslims and Croats occurred in
25 October 1992, and he is right as regards the date of
1 that first conflict, but that first conflict did not
2 occur in the territory of Vitez but, rather, in Novi
3 Travnik, and it broke out because of control over a gas
4 station and a hotel; and because of this conflict, the
5 command of the 3rd Corps of the BH army issued an order
6 for setting up barricades on the Vitez-Busovaca road at
7 Ahmici next to -- and also next to the Grbavica
8 building construction enterprise called Bosna. It is
9 quite incredible that this first conflict in Vitez and
10 Ahmici, that the initiators of that conflict -- that
11 the initiation of that conflict should be attributed to
12 the Croatian side, even though there is no question
13 that the barricades were put up by the Muslims.
14 Finally, the roadblock at Ahmici was set up
15 by a Territorial Defence unit from Ahmici. This
16 roadblock, in addition to the people from Ahmici, was
17 manned by members of the Territorial Defence from
18 Vrhovine, who came to assist the people from Ahmici.
19 After the setting up of this barricade or
20 roadblock, a motor vehicle of the military -- HVO
21 Military Police was stopped there and the vehicle was
22 confiscated, and four military policemen who were in
23 the vehicle were disarmed and their weapons were seized
24 from them.
25 Before the outbreak of this conflict, in
1 order to move the roadblock from the road, negotiations
2 were conducted, and when those talks failed the members
3 of the HVO Military Police, with the assistance of a
4 HVO unit from Busovaca, which was moving along the road
5 to Jajce, this road being blocked by the roadblock,
6 they removed this roadblock after a couple of hours of
8 It is important to note, in connection with
9 this conflict, that the Croatian part of the
10 inhabitants of Ahmici did not participate and,
11 therefore, neither did our clients Zoran and Mirjan
12 Kupreskic. But we should also remember that their
13 houses were not next to the road or on the other side
14 of the road, and this part of the village was known as
15 Donji Ahmici, but, rather, their houses were in the
16 central part of Ahmici, the part known as Grabovi.
17 In connection with this conflict, the Vitez
18 HVO blocked the Territorial Defence staff. And when I
19 talk about the Territorial Defence, I'm referring to
20 the Muslim segment of the armed forces which were
21 accommodated in the secondary school centre in Vitez,
22 and the BH army attacked and surrounded the staff of
23 the HVO Operative Zone in the village of Kruscica, a
24 village with a majority Muslim population.
25 When this conflict ended on the 22nd of
1 October, 1992, the HVO command for central Bosnia moved
2 to the town of Vitez, was transferred there, and the
3 headquarters of the Territorial Defence moved to Stari
5 After this conflict, in January 1993, another
6 conflict occurred, this time in Busovaca, which is some
7 ten kilometres from Vitez. On that occasion, the BH
8 army set up a checkpoint in Kacuni and intersected
9 communication between Vitez and the Lepenica valley and
10 Kiseljak, a communication which was of strategic
11 importance to the HVO. Where this communication was
12 interrupted, the BH army attacked the Croatian villages
13 who would -- which were destroyed and ethnically
14 cleansed. And in a locality called Dusina, the first
15 massacre of civilians in Central Bosnia occurred, the
16 first one in the war between the Muslims and Croats.
17 In the course of our case, we shall show,
18 with the help of photographs and video recording, the
19 extent of the destruction in this area.
20 In the month of April 1993, fresh incidents
21 occurred when the BH army attacked, captured the
22 command staff of the HVO in both Novi Travnik and
24 On the 8th of April, 1993, a conflict
25 occurred in Novi Travnik because of Croatian flags
1 there were hoisted prior to Easter, and on the 12th of
2 April, 1993, several HVO soldiers were captured and
3 beaten up. On the 13th of April, 1993, in Novi Travnik
4 and Travnik, four HVO officers were kidnapped. On the
5 14th of April, 1993, an attempt was made at the life of
6 Darko Kraljevic, the commander of a unit known as
8 On the 15th of April, in Zenica, the escort
9 of HVO Commander Totic were murdered, and he himself
10 was taken into custody. On that same day, in Zenica,
11 all exits were blocked from the town so that nobody
12 could leave or come to Zenica.
13 On that same day, the 15th of April, 1993, an
14 armed conflict occurred at Kuber, Kuber being a
15 strategic feature at the meeting place of Busovaca,
16 Vitez and Zenica, a position from which, with the help
17 of telescopes, one can see what is happening both in
18 Vitez and in Busovaca and in Zenica, so that on the
19 occasion of this conflict, two HVO members were
21 Due to all these events, the commander of the
22 Operative Zone, General Tihomir Blaskic, issued three
23 orders which will be tendered into evidence during our
24 case, raising the HVO to the highest level of alert and
25 ordering defence along all frontlines in the event of a
1 Muslim attack.
2 On the 16th of April, 1993, at about 5.30
3 a.m., conflicts broke out in a number of localities,
4 and allow me to list them. At the approaches to Stari
5 Vitez, and Stari Vitez housed at the time at least 250
6 BH army, this would be roughly the strength of a
7 battalion, who then and later defended Stari Vitez
8 which, until the end of the war, remained in Muslim
10 Then there was a conflict in Kruscica, a
11 village near Vitez, which also remained under Muslim
12 control, whereas the Croats were expelled from that
13 village and their houses were burned.
14 The village of Donja Veceriska with a mixed
15 population, and the battle over this village went on
16 for several days, and eventually the village was
17 captured by Croats but there were casualties in the
18 fighting on both sides.
19 Then the village of Gacice, again with mixed
20 population, and on the 16th of April, '93 there were no
21 conflicts in that village but there were no --
22 negotiations which went on for four days. And after
23 these failed, fighting broke out which was won by the
25 The village of Poculica, which had a majority
1 Croatian population after the 16th of April, 1993, was
2 captured by Muslims, a part of the Croats were
3 expelled, a part captured and Croatian homes were
4 burned down.
5 In the villages of Preocica, Sivrino Selo,
6 and Nadioci and Stari Bila, on the 16th of April, 1993
7 there were no combat operations, so we don't know why
8 the Prosecutor has included them in the indictment as
9 localities where, on the 16th of April, 1993, there
10 were armed conflicts.
11 Regarding the question as to whether Ahmici,
12 Santici and Pirici were military targets or not, and
13 whether they were defended, or to be more precise,
14 whether any military grouping was -- of the BH army was
15 stationed there, we shall present evidence to show that
16 control of the road passing through Ahmici was of major
17 strategic significance for the HVO, and we believe that
18 we have managed already to prove that strategic
19 importance up to a point when hearing the Prosecution
20 witness Colonel Watters, whose unit was stationed as
21 part of UNPROFOR in the immediate vicinity of Vitez.
22 Though at the beginning he claimed that it was not a
23 strategic goal, in the end he admitted that it was
24 after all.
25 In the course of the presentation of our
1 case, when we present evidence to show that in Santici,
2 Ahmici and Pirici members of the BH army were present
3 and that they were of a strengthened company size, that
4 was there was about 180 men. At the same time, we will
5 attempt to prove that that unit also had a radio
6 transmitter for contact with higher commands, with
7 their own headquarters, that they also had a warehouse
8 of weapons and ammunition, and the company itself
9 belonged to a battalion, the command of which was
10 stationed in Preocica. And the battalion, together
11 with its company, was a component part of the 325th
12 Mountain Brigade of the BH army.
13 In order to show that there was no
14 discriminatory behaviour towards Muslims, to use a
15 simplified term, we will attempt to prove that both the
16 civilian and military authorities of the HVO sought to
17 prevent incidents and any crimes in the area under its
19 After presenting evidence regarding the
20 background of the developments in Vitez and the
21 surroundings, since the Prosecution has not specified a
22 single act on the part of the accused which can be
23 described as negative in relation to the Muslims, we
24 will have to show what the attitude of the accused
25 towards the Muslims was, as each individual is a
1 multi-layered personality.
2 We shall first try to illustrate the kind
3 of -- the way in which they behaved at work, that is
4 the dynamite factory where both Zoran and Mirjan
5 Kupreskic were employed. We will show that there was
6 no discrimination towards the Muslims. And virtually
7 until the 16th of April -- or, rather, the 15th of
8 April, they continued working in that factory
9 regularly. But the Muslims did not lose their jobs
10 just because they were Muslims or were they laid off,
11 something that the former Yugoslavia invented, that is
12 sending workers home until the factory resumed
13 operations, but we will show that Croats were laid off
14 too, among others Mirjan Kupreskic. But Mirjan
15 Kupreskic was not the only Croat laid off, there were
16 several, and, therefore, the situation in the economy
17 was such that it affected equally members of all ethnic
18 groups even before the conflict that I have referred to
19 broke out.
20 Then we will also illustrate the kind of
21 behaviour the Kupreskic brothers demonstrated in their
22 private lives, and we will see that they had friends
23 among the Muslims, that they exchanged visits, that the
24 Muslims were to come and visit them on Christmas, and
25 they would visit their friends, Muslims, for the Bajram
1 holidays. I hope I pronounce that word properly
2 because I'm not very familiar with it. So that we will
3 show that in their private lives too they were in no
4 way discriminatory towards Muslims just because they
5 were Muslims, but on the contrary, that there were
6 Muslims whom they considered even closer than other
7 people who belonged to their ethnic group, in religious
8 and ethnic terms.
9 We will also show how they spent their free
10 time. Both Kupreskic brothers were members of a
11 folklore society. It was called, in those days, a
12 culture and art society, where folk songs and dances
13 were performed, and Zoran was a kind of leader there.
14 This was a society in which both Croats, Serbs and
15 Muslims participated. The dances and songs were both
16 Muslim, Croat and Serbian, and when they performed they
17 would dress in costumes, including fezzes, and we will
18 show you photographs to illustrate this as well as
19 videotapes of these performances.
20 Finally, we will show what kind of people
21 they were as the neighbours of Muslims, though we don't
22 need much proof because there is sufficient evidence
23 from the witness testimony -- the witness that had the
24 victims in his home. I think he was not a protected
25 witness, so I can mention his name. What happened in
1 Sakib Ahmic's house, and he himself said in court that
2 he never had any problems with them as neighbours, and
3 that he never heard or saw them do anything bad to any
4 Muslims or to say anything nasty to somebody just
5 because he was a Muslim.
6 That is how we have conceived our case with
7 respect to the persecution count.
8 The second part of the indictment, in
9 relation to the Kupreskic brothers, has to do with the
10 events that occurred in the Ahmic family home. It is
11 difficult for us to present evidence about the events
12 in that house, because we weren't there. We only
13 learned subsequently of the tragedy that occurred in
14 that house. However, what we can offer in evidence is
15 what we did -- what was done on the eve of these
16 events, that is the evening of the 15th and the early
17 morning hours of the 16th. I think the other things
18 are not relevant, even though we could offer evidence
19 in that regard as well.
20 The Kupreskic brothers did not know, on 15th
21 of April, that a conflict broke out on the 16th, and in
22 order to confirm that, one of the Kupreskic brothers
23 worked in the factory on the 15th, that is, Zoran did.
24 And Mirjan, who was -- who had been temporarily laid
25 off, he was in his store, and we will prove that he was
1 working that day, that he was in the company of some
2 people, and some beer was drunk at that time, and
3 nobody knew that any conflict would break out the
4 following day because had they known, this would have
5 been addressed, and it was never mentioned that any
6 conflict would break out in the village of Ahmici that
7 following day.
8 We will also offer evidence that in the
9 evening hours of the 15th of April, the Kupreskic
10 brothers were at their cousin's, whose wife, the day
11 before, had arrived from Germany by plane via Split,
12 and she will also supply the aeroplane ticket. Had it
13 been known there would be a conflict the following day,
14 this cousin would definitely not have brought his wife
15 and children back home to be there in the middle of the
17 We would also prove who and when brought the
18 notice for evacuation of the civilian population, and
19 we can say now that Dragan Vidovic is going to speak to
20 that. Along with a notice of the removal of civilians,
21 he also brought information about the attack of the
22 Bosnian army.
23 As far as the evacuation of civilians is
24 concerned, Your Honours, you have had an opportunity to
25 listen to a number of Prosecution witnesses who spoke
1 about the evacuation of civilians which had also taken
2 place before. As far as our evidence is concerned,
3 that is, the evidence with respect to the Kupreskic
4 brothers, you have to bear in mind that they were in
5 middle Ahmici. It is not -- it is -- they were up in
6 the hill. The civilians who were notified were along
7 the road. We don't know when all these people were
8 notified. Each of the defendants will have to prove
9 when the notice of evacuation reached them.
10 We will also present evidence as to the route
11 that they took, that is Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic,
12 when they evacuated their families. They also helped a
13 refugee family be evacuated. At first, this family did
14 not want to go along with them, believing that it was a
15 false alarm.
16 We will also present evidence as to the
17 shelter which was used at the time and how long the
18 Kupreskics stayed in this location without taking part
19 in any armed conflict, and we will present evidence on
20 all these details.
21 Let me address a further point.
22 This Tribunal, as I was able to glean from
23 the Tadic case, uses precedents, which is in the
24 tradition of the common law system. However, this
25 Tribunal does not operate on the basis of common law
1 but, rather, based on the French system, which means
2 that the Prosecution and the Judges are under the same
4 Let me point to a problem here. The original
5 indictment which was issued in this same case, which
6 was confirmed by this Trial Chamber, referred almost
7 exclusively to the 16th of April. It didn't refer to
8 any other time period.
9 After the defendants had surrendered, one of
10 the indicted persons, Katava, provided an alibi through
11 one of the Prosecution witnesses, Dr. Mujezinovic, who
12 had already given this alibi to him in the Blaskic
13 case, but since it was provided by a Muslim person was
14 not questioned. After the Katava alibi was confirmed
15 for the 16th of April, the Prosecution dropped the
16 indictment against him.
17 Following that, the indictment was amended
18 based on the same facts because the Prosecution did not
19 come up with any additional facts, at least not with
20 respect to the other accused, and then it widened it,
21 not specifying the date in October '92, so we can
22 assume that it means the 1st of October until the end
23 of April. So where is this principle that all cases
24 should be treated in the same way? And so this is an
25 objection that the Defence has with respect to the
2 You may be left with the impression that I
3 have spent too much time focusing on the events outside
4 of Ahmici, even outside of the Vitez area; however, the
5 majority of locations which we have touched upon are in
6 the surrounding area, so all the evidence which we will
7 be providing is within the ambit of the charges brought
8 by the Prosecution.
9 As far as the state of mind of the indicted,
10 we believe that it is very relevant to show what was
11 going on in and around Ahmici. In Ahmici, practically
12 there were no conflicts until the 16th, and had there
13 not been any conflicts in the surrounding area, without
14 this basis in fact, how were they to believe that this
15 attack would take place so that they would go back to
16 their families. If we prove that there were attacks by
17 Muslims in the areas outside of Ahmici which are close
18 enough, that is, within a radius of about 10
19 kilometres, then we argue that information which they
20 received about the possibility of attack did play in a
21 particular way in their awareness of the situation that
22 was present in Ahmici at that time.
23 This concludes my remarks, Your Honours.
24 Thank you.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I think we should
1 now take a 20-minute break, and then we will move on.
2 I understand that Counsel Radovic spoke both
3 for Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic, so the next one will be
4 counsel for Vlatko Kupreskic, I imagine. Twenty
6 --- Recess taken at 11.36 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 11.55 a.m.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina.
9 MR. KRAJINA: Your Honours, my client, Vlatko
10 Kupreskic, was accused in Count 1 and 12 through 15 of
11 the indictment.
12 In Count 1, he is charged that along with the
13 other accused, in a manner described in the indictment,
14 he took part in the persecution of the Bosnian Muslims
15 of Ahmici and that he committed a crime against
17 In Counts 12 through 15, Vlatko Kupreskic is
18 charged with the murder of a member of the Pezer
19 family, Fata Pezer, and he was charged with the
20 wounding of Dzenana Pezer, which is a crime against
21 humanity and a violation of the laws and customs of
23 The Defence will argue that Vlatko Kupreskic
24 did not commit any of the crimes with which he is
25 charged in the indictment, and the Defence will argue
1 the following: With respect to Count 1 of the
2 indictment, the Defence will not present evidence
3 whether there was a persecution of Bosnian Muslims in
4 the village of Ahmici but will only provide evidence
5 that Vlatko Kupreskic played no role in the conflict
6 which took place in the village of Ahmici on the 16th
7 of April, 1993, or in the events preceding it, or in
8 the events that had any causal link with those events.
9 As far as the Counts 12 through 15 are
10 concerned, we will offer evidence that Vlatko Kupreskic
11 lived in the village together with his Muslim
12 neighbours, that he was a good neighbour, that he never
13 showed any ill will or that he ever did any harm to
15 We will also show that Vlatko Kupreskic had a
16 heart problem, that he was never a member of any armed
17 formations, that he was never in uniform or that he
18 ever carried arms. We will also provide evidence that
19 Vlatko Kupreskic was never a member of any political
20 party and that he never formally or informally
21 expressed his political views.
22 We will also show that in the relevant time
23 period, Vlatko Kupreskic was engaged in his
24 professional work, that is, as a salesperson in his own
25 store, both before and during the war.
1 We will also show that Vlatko Kupreskic had
2 no authority, that he never had an opportunity to take
3 part in any preparation for the conflict of 16th April,
4 1993, because he, in no capacity, could take part in
5 these preparations.
6 With respect to the evidence offered by the
7 Prosecution against Vlatko Kupreskic, pointing that
8 Mr. Kupreskic was seen in front of the Hotel Vitez on
9 the 15th of April and that he was seen with a group of
10 soldiers on the 15th of April, through which the
11 Prosecution is trying to show that he had some
12 knowledge about the events that were to happen on the
13 16th of April, the Defence is going to provide evidence
14 that on the 14th and 15th of April, 1993, Vlatko
15 Kupreskic was on a business trip abroad and that he
16 only returned to Ahmici on the evening of the 15th of
17 April, 1993. The Defence will show that Vlatko
18 Kupreskic was not in Ahmici on the eve of these events
19 so that he was in no position to have any relevant
20 knowledge about the preparations, and that the
21 witnesses who claim to have seen him at that period of
22 time could objectively not have done so.
23 We will also present evidence through other
24 witnesses who will testify about the accused's stay
25 abroad in the relevant time period, and we will provide
1 a number of documents which will show that the accused
2 Vlatko Kupreskic simply had no reasons to be involved
3 in the persecution of the Bosnian Muslims with which he
4 is charged in the indictment.
5 As far as the legal issues regarding this
6 case are concerned, the Defence will call a Judge from
7 the Supreme Court of the Federation of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina who will address the issues of
9 civilian persecution, and he will cite a specific
10 judgement of the Supreme Court of the Federation of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina whereby the Defence will prove that
12 no person can be found guilty without proof of their
13 state of mind.
14 The Defence will develop its defence in two
15 parts. In the first part, we will show that on the
16 16th of April, 1993, Vlatko Kupreskic was not present
17 in the location as mentioned in Counts 12 through 15,
18 that at the time of the commission of these crimes, he
19 was in a different area, that he was in a shelter for
20 the civilian and the elderly, that is, at that time he
21 was in the shelter which was more than one kilometre
22 away from the location which is mentioned in the
23 indictment. The witnesses which will be called to
24 testify in this regard were in this shelter at that
25 time. During the presentation of evidence of the
1 Prosecution, a witness identified these persons as
2 those whom he saw going to that shelter.
3 As far as Counts 12 through 15 are concerned,
4 the second aspect of the defence will go in a direction
5 to show that the events could not have occurred in the
6 way the indictment has specified and that Fata Peterís
7 murder and the wounding of Dzenana Pezer did not happen
8 in the way described in the indictment.
9 In that respect, we will call some Muslim
10 witnesses who were moving along in the same group with
11 the ones that were the victims, and a videotape is also
12 going to be offered. Through witnesses and the
13 videotape, we will also show where the body of Fata
14 Pezer was found, which will be compared to Witness F's
15 statement, who, on the map in Exhibit 101, showed the
16 location where Fata Peterís body lay.
17 The Defence will show that this incident
18 happened in a location which is not visible from the
19 house of Vlatko Kupreskic, so that the victims could
20 not have been hit in the way as specified by the
21 indictment and that the witnesses could not have seen
22 Vlatko Kupreskic's house from their vantage point or
23 could they see the persons who allegedly were in front
24 of the house and shooting.
25 The Defence will also use a ballistics expert
1 as well as a physician, and from their findings, it
2 will be shown that the location at which the body was
3 found and the victim who was wounded and will show that
4 these victims could not have been hit by small arms
5 from Vlatko Kupreskic's house.
6 With respect to the Prosecution witness who
7 is the only one who identified Vlatko Kupreskic and
8 placed him in the location as specified in Counts 12
9 through 15, the Defence will call an expert witness who
10 will show that such identification under the
11 circumstances was not possible.
12 The Defence will not offer any evidence that
13 members of the army were in Vlatko Kupreskic's house
14 and that shots came from that house, but it will show
15 that the army did forcibly enter that house, that it
16 partially ransacked it as a tactical position, and it
17 will also show that Vlatko Kupreskic was not in the
18 house but only Franjo Kupreskic, his father, who is the
19 owner of this house.
20 The Defence will also show that Vlatko
21 Kupreskic in no way is responsible for the acts with
22 which he was charged, that objectively he could not
23 have committed any of these crimes, and that the
24 Prosecution evidence, which were going to show his
25 involvement in the events of 16 April, 1993 cannot
2 During the presentation of evidence, the
3 witnesses who will speak of the two particular facts of
4 these events will also speak to -- will also be the
5 character witnesses for Vlatko Kupreskic. We will
6 limit ourselves to the relevant evidence without
7 wasting the Trial Chamber's time, and we hope that all
8 our evidence will be presented within one working
9 week. Thank you.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Krajina.
11 Counsel Susak?
12 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, in my introductory
13 remarks, and I will be brief, I will refer to the
14 opening statement of my colleague Ranko Radovic
15 regarding the counts in the indictment.
16 The Defence of Drago Josipovic did file a
17 pre-trial brief which provides an overview of its
18 position and intent of the Defence in his regard.
19 I'm going to first address the general
20 provisions of the indictment, and I want to point out
21 that we will present witnesses which will show that he
22 did not take part in any preparations, that he did not
23 arm himself, and also that he did not take part in the
24 evacuation of Croatian civilians on the eve of the
1 The witnesses will also show that it is not
2 true that Drago Josipovic shot civilians, and witnesses
3 will also testify that Drago Josipovic did not
4 persecute Bosnian Muslims on the ethnic, political or
5 religious basis, that he organised or planned the
6 attack in order to drive the Muslims out of Ahmici.
7 Drago Josipovic was at the bottom of the
8 hierarchy. He was just a member of the village guard.
9 There were commanders in the village, and these
10 commanders were directly linked to the Defence
11 Department, which is part of the Crisis Staff that is
12 part of the HVO government.
13 Since the charges were dropped against Ivica
14 Santic, who was the chief of the Crisis Staff and who,
15 through the office -- defence office had contacts with
16 the village commanders, we will show that Drago
17 Josipovic in no way could participate in the planning
18 and organising of the attack against Muslims in the
19 village of Ahmici and in the surrounding villages,
20 because the surrounding villages were also -- like
21 Santici, were also under the control of the Crisis
22 Staff, if there was enough control.
23 Also, we will show that the Muslims provoked
24 the first conflict which took part on the 20th October,
25 1992 by interrupting the communication between Travnik
1 and Busovaca.
2 The Defence will show that the HVO did not
3 systematically attack with majority Muslim population
4 in the Lasva River Valley, and that a number of
5 civilians were wounded and killed.
6 The Defence will show that there was an armed
7 conflict on 16th April, 1993 between the HVO and the BH
8 army, and the witnesses will testify that BH army
9 defence in Ahmici was organised, that they were armed
10 and that they had a defence plan. The Defence will
11 also show that the killed Muslims were not all
12 civilian, but that among the killed there were also
13 members of the BH army.
14 The Defence will show that Drago Josipovic
15 was not trained to take part in any military
16 operations, and it will show that he did not take part
17 in attacks against civilians and certain structures as
18 was -- as charged in the indictment.
19 The Defence will also show that Drago
20 Josipovic was a member of no party, and he was
21 employed, and it will show that he was at his workplace
22 the day before the attack, that is on the 15th of
23 April, 1993.
24 The Defence will also call witnesses who will
25 show that Drago Josipovic could not have committed
1 crimes in three different locations, that is in two
2 locations, and that he could not have been himself in
3 three separate places.
4 The sequence of events which are indicated in
5 the indictment, and the distances between these
6 locations, show that Drago Josipovic could not have
7 committed a crime at Ramo Ahmic's house where four
8 persons were killed, and at the same time be at Musafer
9 Puscul's house, who was killed, and we will prove that
10 he was at Anto Papic's house, which is the third
11 location. A witness which had been offered by the
12 Prosecution will confirm that Drago Josipovic was there
13 and this is at a time right after her son had been
15 The Defence of Drago Josipovic will also show
16 that he did not lock up a Muslim prisoner in the
17 Ogrijev company. We will also provide photographic
18 evidence which will show that the Bosnian Muslim could
19 have left this guardhouse, because it had a window
20 which was open from within, and he could have left this
21 house and could have climbed the fence. And the
22 witnesses will also show that the fence had a door, a
23 gate, which was open.
24 As far as the specific count of the -- counts
25 of the indictment, the Defence will show that at the
1 time when Musafer Puscul was killed and his house was
2 set on fire, that Drago Josipovic was at Anto Papic's
3 house, and witnesses will confirm -- which will confirm
4 the testimony of a witness which had already been
5 produced by the Prosecution. The Defence will also
6 show that the statement of the witness who charged him,
7 that this witness is not credible enough.
8 The Defence witnesses will further show that
9 Drago Josipovic has positive character traits, that he
10 socialised with Muslims at work and he had Muslim
11 neighbours. He had no criminal record. He assisted
12 Muslims, even providing them financial aid.
13 The Defence will also show that Drago
14 Josipovic did go to the international organisations and
15 to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that he
16 volunteered to come here to prove that he did not
17 commit any war crimes, and we believe that this will
18 all serve the justice, and, Your Honours, this is all I
19 have. Thank you.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Susak.
21 Counsel Puliselic?
22 MR. PULISELIC: Your Honours. The amended
23 indictment dated 9 February, 1998, the Prosecutor
24 charges, under Count 1 of this indictment, Dragan Papic
25 for participation in the persecution of Bosnian Muslims
1 on political, religious or racial grounds, which is
2 qualified as a crime against humanity under
3 Article 5(h) of the statute of the International
4 Criminal Tribunal.
5 In my opening statement, I shall try, as
6 succinctly as possible, to present to this Trial
7 Chamber what the Defence of Dragan Papic intends to
8 show by the presentation of evidence and the calling of
9 witnesses, and that is that the accused Dragan Papic
10 did not commit the crime he is charged with in the
12 In my opening statement, I wish to join in
13 the statements made by other Defence counsel regarding
14 the general facts and which I will not refer to so as
15 to avoid repetition.
16 By the examination of witnesses and the
17 presentation of other evidence, the Defence will focus
18 on the events linked to the first armed conflict which
19 occurred on the 20th of October, 1992, and in
20 particular, on the events linked to the second armed
21 conflict which occurred on the 16th of April, 1993, but
22 also on some other events in the period in between
23 those two dates.
24 The Defence, in its opening statement, wishes
25 again to refer to its points of fact and law presented
1 in its written briefs of the 10th of November, 1998,
2 and we will not elaborate those points in this opening
4 The Defence will attempt to prove that Dragan
5 Papic is not a nationalist fanatic, that he did not
6 participate in any way in the systematic killing of
7 Bosnian Muslims, the destruction of their homes and the
8 expulsion of civilian Muslims, that he did not prepare
9 or assist in the crimes committed against Muslims, his
10 neighbours, and that he did not evacuate his family on
11 the eve of the conflict because he was not aware of the
12 events that would occur on the 16th of April.
13 We shall also present evidence to show that
14 Dragan Papic did not in any way participate in the
15 planning, organisation or ordering of the persecution
16 of Bosnian Muslims on political, racial or religious
17 grounds. We will present evidence to show that in the
18 period from October 1992 until April 1993, Dragan Papic
19 did not commit any criminal acts in order to persecute
20 his neighbours from Ahmici.
21 By the examination of witnesses, we shall
22 show Dragan Papic in his real light, not as a
23 cold-blooded, malicious criminal as he is portrayed in
24 the indictment, but as an ordinary human being with his
25 virtues and shortcomings. We will show that he is a
1 sociable person, a person who likes other people and
2 who is ready to assist everyone.
3 There is no doubt that a person of this kind
4 could not have coffee and joke with his neighbours
5 Muslims, today repair their cars and bring milk for
6 their children on a daily basis, and the next day be
7 transformed into another person, abandon them in cold
8 blood, and even be an active participant in their
9 persecution and killing. We will show that Dragan
10 Papic is not a monster but a man with a soul, who liked
11 to joke, and to socialise and to be friends, with other
12 people, regardless of their ethnic affiliation.
13 At the beginning of the war and the armed
14 conflict with the Serbs, Dragan Papic, in addition to
15 his clothing as a forester, would often wear black and
16 camouflage clothing, and he would often combine these
17 uniforms with civilian clothing. And the Defence
18 wishes to underline that in the area affected by war,
19 many young people wore uniforms, but this did not
20 necessarily mean that they were members of organised
21 military units. This was a widespread phenomena among
22 the youth, regardless of their ethnic and religious
23 feelings. This was the fashion. It was something that
24 was in.
25 Dragan Papic wore no insignia, and he would
1 wear a camouflage or a black uniform even when he went
2 to work as a forester. Occasionally he would carry a
3 rifle because he moved in the woods where there were
4 wild animals, and he needed to protect himself. The
5 Defence wishes to underline that Dragan Papic never
6 used that rifle to threaten anyone, never mind to kill
7 or injure anyone.
8 No one who speaks the truth can say that
9 Papic was a person prone to quarrels and conflicts.
10 Dragan Papic never participated in any physical
12 In the house of his father Ivo, where he
13 lived too, many neighbours would come. His father was
14 a skilled craftsman. He was employed in the water
15 supply system in Vitez, on maintenance, and in his free
16 time he would set up plumbing for his neighbours and
17 friends when they asked him to do it. Ivo Papic
18 installed the plumbing in the mosque in Ahmici.
19 Dragan, in his free time, if he was not repairing cars
20 he would be assisting his father.
21 We will also show that both Croats and
22 Muslims would come to their home, and not any one of
23 the members of the household distinguished people
24 according to their national ethnicity or religion.
25 Dragan Papic was in charge of civil defence and
1 occasionally meetings would be held in his home. On
2 the other hand, Dragan Papic's hobby was mechanics and
3 he was particularly well versed in automobile engines,
4 and that is why in front of his house there were cars
5 of his friends, and neighbours and acquaintances,
6 because he would repair those cars in his free time.
7 When he got married in 1991, he continued to
8 live in his father's home, as he had no other choice.
9 The closeness of the hostilities and the danger of Serb
10 attacks formed adult males to organise night watches so
11 as to prepare in time for movements of Serbian military
12 units, and all this in the -- in order to defend their
13 families and homes. At first these guards were
14 composed of both Croats and Muslims, until the first
15 conflict when the Muslims separated.
16 Without having any idea of what would happen
17 early in the morning of the 20th of October, Dragan
18 Papic and the other members of his household were
19 awakened by powerful shooting. The father was not at
20 home, he was in Split at the time, so Dragan took over
21 care of the family. So he took his mother, sister and
22 wife to nearby Donja Rovna, south of his house. We
23 will show that on the road to Donja Rovna he
24 encountered Nenad Santic, who, among other things, was
25 in charge of the evacuation of the local people. Nenad
1 Santic said to Papic that he should take over the small
2 mortar, 16-millimetre mortar, the manning of which
3 Dragan Papic learnt about while doing his military
4 service in the JNA, and to take it to a hill called
5 Neretva near Donja Rovna in order to control the
6 possible arrival of BH army units from the direction of
7 Gornja Rovna, Pezici and Kajmakovici.
8 Actually, the conflict that occurred in the
9 early morning, and due to which Dragan Papic was on his
10 way to Donja Rovna where he met Nenad Santic, broke out
11 between forces of the BH army and the HVO over the
12 roadblock on the main road close to the Catholic
13 cemetery, a roadblock set up by the Muslims to prevent
14 passage of HVO units which were on their way to assist
15 HVO units in Jajce who were fighting Serb forces.
16 We will see that on that day, the 20th of
17 October, 1992, Dragan Papic was throughout at Neretva
18 and he did not use the mortar because that was not
19 necessary, as BH army units were -- did not come from
20 the area which he was assigned to control.
21 Witnesses will testify about all this, and
22 especially the witness whose house is just below the
23 position where Dragan Papic was. This witness saw
24 Dragan Papic throughout that day, that is from the
25 early morning until late in the afternoon he saw him in
1 the area of Neretva. Therefore, Dragan Papic could not
2 have simultaneously shot from the window of his house
3 with an automatic rifle against his neighbour's house,
4 and then from a wood with an anti-aircraft gun. On
5 that day no one could have used a sniper from Papic's
6 house because no one was in the house at the time from
7 the members -- none of the members of the family.
8 After this conflict over the roadblock in
9 which the Croat inhabitants of Ahmici did not
10 participate at all and the conflict in which several --
11 in addition to several Muslim houses, several Croatian
12 houses were hit and damaged, and a witness will talk
13 about this, the village guards continued to be held but
14 no longer jointly. Dragan Papic continued to work in
15 Sumarija, and he would occasionally keep watch at night
16 until the 16th of April, 1993, when, in the morning,
17 all the inhabitants of Ahmici were woken up by the
18 sound of shooting. Dragan's wife was about to give
19 birth, so that he took her, his mother and sister
20 immediately through the woods to Donja Rovna, whereas
21 his father and brother found temporary shelter in the
23 After finding accommodation for the women of
24 the family, he remained upon orders on guard on the
25 left bank of the River Lasva with two other men. He
1 spent the whole day there on guard duty as well as
2 during the next ten days or so until his wife gave
3 birth. The guards rested in the house of the late Pero
4 Ljubas, and throughout that period, they were not
5 allowed to move away from that area. The old Radakov
6 Most bridge became a very important facility because it
7 provided the only connection between Busovaca and Vitez
8 in those days, a road that went across the meadows,
9 along the right bank of the Lasva Valley, since the
10 main road could not be used because of the machine gun
11 nests of BiH army units at Buhine Kuca about two
12 kilometres east of Vitez. Witnesses will testify to
13 this, witnesses who took part in guard duty together
14 with Dragan Papic at Radak's bridge.
15 Since Dragan Papic, on the 16th of April,
16 1993, and the days that followed, was constantly on
17 guard duty at such an important strategic feature, it
18 is quite obvious that he could not simultaneously have
19 been in the Muslim houses he is alleged to have been
21 We will also show that an anti-aircraft gun,
22 machine gun, or any other such weapon never was in his
23 house nor near his house nor was that house ever used
24 as a fortress for shooting from, as the Prosecution
25 would have us believe, but that it was an ordinary
1 family home inhabited by three women, Dragan's brother,
2 who was a minor, and his father, an elderly man. In
3 addition, Dragan's wife was in advanced pregnancy at
4 the time.
5 Therefore, the Defence will show that in the
6 period covered by the indictment, Dragan Papic never
7 committed any such serious crime as a crime against
8 humanity as alleged under Article 5 of the Statute nor
9 did he commit any such crime before or after that
11 Finally, the Defence would like to say that
12 considerable effort has been invested to bring to court
13 Muslim witnesses who are friends and acquaintances of
14 the Papic family and who are very familiar with the
15 kind of person Dragan Papic is and who know well that
16 Dragan did not participate in this crime in any way,
17 but due to their own security and the safety of their
18 own families, in spite of promised protective measures,
19 they could not decide to come and testify in court;
20 namely, those persons live in fear that they could lose
21 their jobs, their apartments, if it was to be learnt
22 that they had testified as Defence witnesses. That is
23 why Dragan Papic's counsel does not wish to expose
24 Dragan's friends, Muslims, to any fears, and
25 particularly not to any possible consequences. In
1 spite of this handicap for Dragan Papic's Defence
2 counsel, we do believe that with the help of witnesses
3 and the other evidence we have, we will manage to prove
4 his innocence.
5 Thank you.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel
7 Puliselic. Counsel Pavkovic?
8 MR. PAVKOVIC: Your Honours, the Defence
9 counsel of Vladimir Santic, in his written brief of the
10 4th of November, 1998, has already presented its
11 intentions regarding the presentation of evidence in
12 its case. In this opening statement, we wish merely to
13 highlight some of the key points of those positions of
15 In the first place, I wish to remind Your
16 Honours that according to the indictment of the
17 Prosecutor of the International Tribunal dated 9th of
18 March, 1998, and which was subsequently amended, the
19 accused Vladimir Santic has been charged that, together
20 with the other accused, as specified in Count 1 and in
21 paragraphs 9, 10, 20, and 21, that this accused
22 committed a crime against humanity by committing
23 persecution on political, racial, or religious grounds,
24 which is punishable under Article 5(H) of the Statute
25 of the International Tribunal.
1 If we examine closely all the Prosecutor's
2 allegations contained in these counts and if we assess
3 them in the context of the evidence presented, then the
4 same objections may be made which Attorney Radovic has
5 already made and which the Defence of Vlado Santic will
6 not repeat so as not to tire the Trial Chamber, but
7 will, through the evidence presented regarding the
8 general allegations, show that Vladimir Santic could
9 not have, in any way, carried out any one of the acts
10 attributed to him by the Prosecutor.
11 Not one of the Prosecution witnesses claimed
12 that Vladimir Santic assisted in the preparation of the
13 attack, that he attacked civilians and their property,
14 that he persecuted Bosnian Muslims on political,
15 racial, or religious grounds. Not one of the witnesses
16 has claimed that he supports the intention,
17 deliberately and systematically, to kill Bosnian
18 Muslims. That is why, by presenting evidence, the
19 Defence will demonstrate the real attitude of the
20 accused Vladimir Santic to the events covered by the
21 Prosecutor in his amended indictment.
22 The Prosecutor, in his pre-trial brief, had
23 only one sentence in which they said that Vladimir
24 Santic participated in an incident of killing, and
25 nothing more than that. The Defence, by presenting its
1 evidence, will show that this thesis of the Prosecution
2 is untenable; namely, as indicated in items 16 to 19 of
3 the indictment, that Vladimir Santic had any connection
4 with this murder. For if we examine closely all the
5 relevant evidence of the Prosecution and particularly
6 the testimony of Witness EE, on the basis of which the
7 Prosecution bases its charges exclusively, the Defence
8 will, by calling a number of witnesses, draw the
9 Court's attention to the fact that the testimony of
10 this witness is not credible proof and that it does not
11 provide a basis for the conclusion that Vladimir Santic
12 committed this crime.
13 The Defence recalls that in the course of the
14 presentation of evidence by the Prosecution, it had
15 drawn attention to the reasons which call in question
16 the credibility of this Prosecution witness, which is
17 the only witness for this act, and that already at the
18 time we had submitted a brief in support of our
19 allegation that the statement of this witness is not
20 acceptable. By calling its witnesses, the Defence will
21 simply confirm what it has already documented through
22 its briefs and by hearing this witness, who was also
23 accused by that witness together with Santic, and this
24 witness claimed that the accused, together with this
25 witness and some other witnesses, committed the murder
1 of a person close to her and then devastated his
3 Therefore, by hearing the testimony of these
4 witnesses who will be speaking about their relationship
5 with the Prosecution witness, the Defence wants to show
6 that under no circumstances, in view of all this, can
7 the testimony of that witness be accepted, of course,
8 taking into consideration the numerous other factors
9 that the Defence has drawn attention to, saying that
10 this witness testimony, which is the only testimony the
11 Prosecution has in corroboration of these charges,
12 cannot be trusted.
13 Finally, in the course of its case, the
14 Defence will show that the accused Vladimir Santic was
15 not linked to the events in the indictment nor could he
16 have been linked to them because at the time when the
17 Prosecution alleges he was in Ahmici, he, in fact, was
18 elsewhere, and therefore, physically, nor in any other
19 way, could he have influenced the course of events nor
20 the crimes committed.
21 Through the testimony of witnesses, the
22 Defence of Vladimir Santic will prove that Vladimir
23 Santic was, at the relevant time, in the Vitez Hotel
24 where a unit was stationed, a unit that he belonged to,
25 and that throughout that day, he was in the hotel,
1 which will be corroborated by documents, some of which
2 have already been admitted, and some will be tendered
3 in our case, that is, the orders of the commands of
4 this area, that is, the orders of General Blaskic, from
5 which it is visible that no offensive operations had
6 been planned and that, accordingly, Vladimir Santic,
7 together with the unit that was securing the command
8 post, was in the hotel on that day. Therefore, the
9 Defence submits that this point is of the greatest
10 relevance regarding the alleged responsibility of
11 Vladimir Santic.
12 Finally, the Defence reserves the right, in
13 accordance with Rule 73 ter, to revise the proposed
14 list of witnesses, as it has done in its documents
15 submitted to the Prosecution and the Court.
16 That is all, Your Honours. Thank you.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I think we are in
18 a position to call our first witness, but before we do
19 so, let me go back to an issue raised by Counsel
20 Puliselic, who rightly pointed out that in some way he
21 is at a disadvantage because of the impossibility for
22 him to call some witnesses who might testify on behalf
23 of his client but fear to come forward to testify
24 because of possible pressure or retaliation by other
25 members of the same ethnic community.
1 I wonder whether Counsel Puliselic has
2 explored all the possibilities that are offered. For
3 instance, I think we are prepared to call those
4 witnesses as Court witnesses. I wonder whether you
5 have discussed this possibility with them. Two
6 possibilities: Court witnesses or we could, as sort of
7 extrema ratio, use video conference, which is, of
8 course, less helpful, I think, and less in line with
9 our own practice.
10 Did you discuss this matter with these
11 potential witnesses?
12 MR. PULISELIC: I did, but they are simply
13 afraid, and as I mentioned in my opening statement,
14 that because of their fear, we do not wish to exert any
15 further pressure on them. We realised that they were
16 fearful regardless of everything we told them of the
17 various possibilities, the protective measures;
18 however, there is a fear among them, and we do not wish
19 to influence them any further to change their
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I am afraid then
22 we don't have any means of calling those witnesses.
23 Yes, Counsel Radovic? Yes, please.
24 MR. RADOVIC: The problem that colleague
25 Puliselic has mentioned exists in our case too, the
1 Kupreskic brothers, because of their membership in the
2 culture and arts society in which they sang and danced,
3 they had many friends among the Muslims. When we were
4 in Vitez, some of them responded to our call for a
5 conversation, and we spoke to them. Initially, they
6 said they needed time to think it over, whether to
7 agree to come and testify or to testify in any other
8 way because we told them of all the possibilities we
9 have at our disposal to hear their testimony.
10 However, after thinking things over, all of
11 them refuse to testify, giving the explanation that
12 their families, some of whom had also been killed in
13 Ahmici, and that no one of their families would forgive
14 them if they had come to testify about the events in
15 Ahmici in favour of the Croats, even though they
16 personally were convinced, at least as far as the
17 Kupreskic brothers are concerned, because they were the
18 ones I discussed with these witnesses, were not guilty.
19 This went so far that I spoke to one Muslim
20 in Travnik, and he doesn't even know anything about
21 what happened in Ahmici, but after those events, he
22 spoke to Mirjan Kupreskic, and the conversation
23 consisted of the following, that Mirjan told him that
24 he didn't know what the Court was charging him with, so
25 this would be evidence to show that he was surprised.
1 He probably would not have been surprised if he had
2 known -- if he had done something. And even this
3 witness asked for time to think it over, and eventually
4 he refused.
5 The only thing we might do is to propose a
6 couple of names of Muslims who might decide to come if
7 they are called as Court witnesses, and maybe we could
8 try that and see whether they would respond to your
10 We would also propose the investigating
11 magistrate of the High Court in Zenica be called as a
12 court witness, the one who examined the protected
13 witness who claimed that she had never made a statement
14 in the Zenica court. That would be my suggestion.
15 Thank you.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Thank you. So
17 you will then provide the list of names.
18 Yes, Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
19 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, in this
20 context, I don't know whether you have noticed, but we
21 have submitted to the Court testimonies of character
22 witnesses, several Muslim witnesses, who were willing
23 to come to The Hague to sign their testimonies and
24 subsequently had second thoughts. So maybe on the
25 basis of those statements we could call them into The
1 Hague because they signed those statements and had
2 second thoughts afterwards.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: As for character witnesses,
4 we might simply accept the statements, if there is no
5 objection from the Prosecution, so that we don't need
6 to call them to The Hague. If they are only character
7 witnesses, I don't see why we should not. I mean -- as
8 I say, unless the Prosecution has any major objection.
9 But we can leave this matter for later on.
10 Yes, Mr. Terrier?
11 MR. TERRIER: Simply regarding this point,
12 Mr. President, I would say a priori there is no
13 objection on the part of the Prosecution against the
14 acceptance of statements, but the position of the
15 Prosecution has to be taken on a case-by-case basis
16 depending on the contents of those statements.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: I think this is the right
18 position, of course. On a case-by-case basis, you may
19 object or accept, but I think we would call upon the
20 Defence counsel to indicate the various statements they
21 would like to provide -- we are thinking of character
22 witnesses -- so that the Prosecution is given enough
23 time to consider this matter and see whether they have
24 any objection. If they don't have any objection, they
25 could be admitted into evidence.
1 I think, since we still have half an hour,
2 even a bit more than half an hour, we could probably
3 start with the first witness, that's Zvonimir Cilic.
4 While we are waiting for the witness, I would
5 like to take this opportunity to urge Defence counsel
6 to provide not only a list of witnesses they intend to
7 call the following week but also a list of reserve
8 witnesses as the Prosecution rightly did, so that in
9 case one drops out or we have more time or the
10 testimony is very short, we still have other witnesses
11 to hear.
12 (The witness entered court)
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Before I ask the witness to
14 make the solemn declaration, may I ask you, Counsel
15 Slokovic-Glumac, to tell me whether there are any
16 protective measures required for the --
17 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: No.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: No. Thank you. Good
19 morning, Mr. Cilic. Could you please make the solemn
21 THE WITNESS: Thank you. Yes. I solemnly
22 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
23 and nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: You may be seated.
25 WITNESS: ZVONIMIR CILIC
1 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
2 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Cilic.
3 A. Good afternoon.
4 Q. Could you please state for the record when
5 were you born, where you were born, where you work, and
6 so on?
7 A. Can I do all that while sitting?
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. I am Zvonimir Cilic, born in 1946, I'm a
10 social worker in Vitez, and I work as a journalist in
11 Slobodna Dalmacija in Split, I live and work in Vitez,
12 I am married with two children.
13 Q. Can you tell me what you did in late 1991?
14 How were you employed?
15 A. I was employed as a social worker in the
16 company Vitezit in Vitez.
17 Q. Why did you stop working?
18 A. Officially I did not stop working, but
19 because of the economic crisis which ensued after the
20 break-up of the former Yugoslavia, in my company a
21 certain number of employees had to be temporarily laid
22 off. In other words, they had to stay at home and not
23 come to work. I first was put in a situation like that
24 in late 1991, I was on hold for two months, and then in
25 1992 this happened again, after which I never went back
1 because I stopped being interested in working there.
2 Q. So what did you do then in early 1992?
3 A. With a group of friends we started publishing
4 a paper called Lasvanski Glasnik, the Lasva Messenger,
5 which was a monthly magazine. However, the Crisis
6 Staff, which was comprised of both Muslims and Croats,
7 invited me to set up a press service for the press and
8 staff of the Vitez municipality and I agreed. We
9 consisted of five people. There were three Croats and
10 two Muslims. There was myself, two other Croats and
11 two Bosnian Muslims.
12 Q. Who were the Muslims?
13 A. Midhat Varupa, who is a lawyer; and Mohamed
14 Halilovic, who was a teacher.
15 Q. Now, this press service was part of the
16 Crisis Staff or was it a separate service?
17 A. This was a service of a Crisis Staff and also
18 of the Vitez municipality.
19 Q. Can you tell us what was this Crisis Staff in
21 A. You see, as early as 1991 there were a number
22 problems in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and
23 there was the attack of the former JNA against certain
24 parts of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and we
25 were looking for ways to protect citizens in our
1 municipality because the JNA had already occupied some
2 parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina and even some very
3 important communication lines, so the Crisis Staff was
4 set up to deal with those issues.
5 They needed to organise the supply of
6 citizenry, because the food stocks were low and the
7 people were unemployed. They didn't have enough money
8 to pay with, so this wasn't enough supply, so part of
9 the Crisis Staff's function was to try to supply the
10 citizenry and so on.
11 Q. Did both the Croats and the Bosniaks make
12 part of this Crisis Staff?
13 A. Yes. It was proportionate. In other words,
14 it reflected the composition of the population of Vitez
15 municipality, and it reflected the results of the
16 elections, and the results of the elections also sort
17 of reflected the composition of the population in the
18 Vitez municipality.
19 Q. So what was the proportion in terms of
20 different -- of ethnic groups?
21 A. You mean in the Vitez municipality?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. I may be slightly off, but the Vitez
24 municipality has about 26.000 inhabitants. There were
25 slightly less than 13.000 Croats, slightly over 11.000
1 Bosniak Muslims, about 1.500 Serbs, about 1.000
2 Yugoslavs and a couple hundred of others.
3 Q. You said that the composition of the Crisis
4 Staff reflected the ethnic structure. Does that mean
5 that the ethnic structure dictated or the elections
6 dictated this composition?
7 A. It doesn't matter which criteria you take
8 because they overlapped. It was very easy to find the
9 proper key and find the solution which was acceptable
10 for both the Croat and Muslim side, because at the time
11 the relationships were still very good.
12 Q. Could you please just slow down? You speak
13 too fast and so it's hard to interpret.
14 A. Very well. I will try.
15 Q. The first government which was established in
16 the Vitez municipality, as you said, reflected that the
17 Croats and Muslims had pretty much the same numbers.
18 A. If you will allow me -- let me go back to my
19 notes. On the 11th of November, the elections were
20 held and the HDZ got 40.2 per cent, the SDA got 30.7,
21 SDS about 18.6, and then the Youth Movement 2.1 and the
22 Reform Party with the former Prime Minister got 3.9,
23 and there were a couple of other parties which got very
24 little or very few votes.
25 Q. How about the local government structures,
1 did they also take into account this -- the ethnic
3 A. Could you repeat that?
4 Q. In assigning different posts of the local
5 government, did it also reflect the ethnic composition?
6 A. Yes, it was taken into account. The majority
7 party had to get the top position, so the Croatian
8 candidate got the top spot in the municipality, and the
9 second, which was the President of the executive
10 board. So Ivan Santic was the President from the
11 municipality and the President of the Executive Board
12 was Fuad Kaknjo. He was a member of the SDA.
13 Q. How about the other key positions in the
14 municipal government? Were they also filled by this
15 same criteria?
16 A. All positions which were elected positions
17 were filled in such a way that it reflected the
18 18 November elections. In other words, that they were
19 equally divided between the two parties which won the
20 elections, that is the HDZ and the SDA, and there were
21 no problems.
22 I just receive a warning to slow down and
23 I'll try to do so.
24 So the representatives of the SDA and the HDZ
25 were represented in the manner that reflected the
1 elections. In other words, the representatives of the
2 Croats and Muslims. And in the beginning, as far as I
3 know, there were no problems.
4 Q. And as far as the commander of the
5 Territorial Defence is concerned, who was appointed
7 A. It was the Bosnian Muslims, and I believe
8 Hakija Cengic is his name. He was appointed to that
9 position because he had the proper training.
10 Q. And what was the Territorial Defence? It was
11 this institution that was sort of inherited from the
12 previous systems?
13 A. Yes. It was taken over from the former
14 system. At first, some of these institutions were just
15 kept in place, there was no need to change them.
16 Q. So what was the Territorial Defence?
17 A. The Territorial Defence, in the former
18 system, was a formation that existed along with the
19 JNA. It was staffed with reserves. It was sort of a
20 reserve corps in case Yugoslavia was attacked, but it
21 also was charged with assisting the population if there
22 was any natural disaster or any such crisis. So it was
23 a reserve aspect of the JNA, the regular army.
24 Q. When did the Territorial Defence start to be
25 transformed into something that was not just a reserve
1 formation structure but a military structure?
2 A. It started being transformed into a military
3 structure at a time when the first serious problems
4 between Croats and Muslims started appearing in the
5 area where I lived, that is in Lasva River Valley,
6 Vitez, that area.
7 Q. So what -- where was -- what was the war with
8 the Serbs at that time, first in Croatia and then in
9 this area?
10 A. That's what I had in mind when I said that
11 the Territorial Defence was becoming less and less
12 Croatian and more and more Bosniak Muslim, because it
13 was apparent at that time that Muslims and Croats in
14 Central Bosnia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina overall
15 perceived the JNA aggression or Serbia aggression
16 against Croatia a different way, especially at a time
17 when the JNA, that is the Serbian army, entered the
18 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when it conducted
19 combat operations from the territory of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina against Croatia.
21 Q. What was the official response of President
22 Izetbegovic, that is, of the official Sarajevo?
23 A. Perhaps the reaction of Alija Izetbegovic
24 may have been a sort of irritant for the Croats, and
25 maybe that's what instilled the first fear in them,
1 because Mr. Izetbegovic several times repeated, "The
2 war in Croatia is not our war." When he said, "Our
3 war," he meant Bosnia and Herzegovina, but for Croats
4 in Bosnia, you couldn't speak of war in Croatia in that
5 way, because we Croats in Bosnia felt that it was our
6 war as well because we saw it as a threat to Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina as well. We saw that it could not be
9 Q. When did the -- when did the Croatian side
10 start organising itself?
11 A. As early as 1991, when the -- when the
12 village of Rama was attacked in Herzegovina. This is a
13 Croatian village, and the Serbian army, which was still
14 called the JNA, ran it over. Then the Croats in Bosnia
15 saw that they needed to get organised, to get prepared,
16 because the sword of war was hanging over it. And we
17 were very anxious about this war, much more so than the
18 Bosnian Muslims were.
19 Q. So when was it that any organisation started,
20 and when the Croats started organising themselves and
21 started establishing some military structures?
22 A. In the territory of Vitez municipality, as
23 well as in other areas where the Croats were in
24 majority, started organising village watches in 1991.
25 I don't know if I need to go into what village watches
2 Q. Go ahead, please.
3 A. At first these were just groups of citizens,
4 regardless of their ethnic background. If they were
5 mixed villages, let's say Croats and Muslim, they would
6 form joint watches. It consisted of just preventing --
7 its goal was to prevent anything happening during the
8 night, including simple looting or thefts, because the
9 rule of law had weakened to that extent that it was
11 Q. Excuse me, but could you just slow down a
12 little bit again?
13 A. There were also a number of barracks occupied
14 by the JNA, such as in Novi Travnik, Travnik, Busovaca,
15 Kiseljak. And that was one of the fears for them, the
16 Croatian population, and we also felt in the beginning
17 that the communication lines could be interrupted,
18 blocked suddenly, that certain companies would be taken
19 over. There were a lot of military complexes in
20 Bugojno and Vitez and other places.
21 Q. So what is the significance of the Vitez
22 company for the military?
23 A. At one point there were three companies.
24 Vitezit was one of the largest facilities for
25 production of explosives and gunpowder in the Balkans.
1 It employed 3.000 people, and it was part of the
2 military industrial complex of the former JNA. It was
3 a significant part of this military industrial complex,
4 because without this company there would be no
5 explosives, or gunpowder or rocket propellants. So it
6 could be said that this was one of the key facilities
7 in the military industrial complex of the former
9 Q. Did the JNA, that is the Bosnian Serbs,
10 attack Vitezit, and when was it attacked?
11 A. Several times Croats, but it was only Croats,
12 who tried to prevent the military equipment and weapons
13 being hauled from Vitezit and from the facilities in
14 Novi Travnik, because the JNA had more and more need
15 for the products of Vitezit and Novi Travnik. In Novi
16 Travnik guns were manufactured and some other military
17 equipment, and as I said, in Vitez it was explosives,
18 and gunpowder and rocket propellants. And we did
19 protect it any way we could. We knew that this was
20 going to go to Croatia and be used against Croats, and
21 the JNA troops were leaving at that time, they were
22 leaving Slovenia and they were getting re-deployed in
23 the area of Central Bosnia.
24 And the factory kept working. What we did
25 was try to prevent all the supplies and this equipment
1 being hauled away, but it was very difficult because
2 JNA were still very strong, very powerful. And a
3 number of officials, military personnel, were still
4 siding with the JNA because they were afraid.
5 Q. Was Vitez shelled?
6 A. Yes. The first time when -- first attacked
7 on 26 April, 1992, and the shelling was preceded by the
8 surrender of the Busovaca barracks of the JNA, which
9 was called Draga.
10 The Croatian population and its political
11 structure exerted pressure and Draga was abandoned, and
12 took their -- they had to leave, and they had to leave
13 the equipment behind and there was a lot of it.
14 However, several hours later the JNA planes bombed the
15 area of Busovaca and Vitez. There was some damages in
16 Vitez, and in Busovaca three people were killed, two
17 Croats and one Muslim person, and material damage was
18 also significant. There were several burned
20 Q. Regarding the formation of the army, you said
21 that the -- originally, the army started in the form of
22 village guards. What happened then?
23 A. In the meantime, institutions of the Croatian
24 people were set up in the territory of Vitez
25 municipality in the same way in which they were formed
1 in other places in Bosnia-Herzegovina where the Croats
2 had a majority. Are you referring to the Croatian
3 Community of Herceg-Bosna and then the HVO? Is that
4 what you mean?
5 Q. When did the municipal staff begin to be
7 A. The joint municipal staff existed already at
8 the beginning of 1992. At first there were no problems
9 and all the staffs were manned jointly, Crisis Staffs
10 and Defence Staffs. However, at the beginning of 1992,
11 these institutions of the Croatian people were set up,
12 and on the 18th of November, '91 the Croatian community
13 of Herceg-Bosna, and then in the spring of 1992 the
14 Croatian Defence Council.
15 Q. What was happening on the Bosniak side in
16 terms of the formation of the army in this period?
17 A. The Croats were setting up their own units in
18 order to resist the Serb aggression, because already in
19 January '92 the Serbs were close to the Lasva Valley.
20 They had gained control of the Vlasic Mountain, which
21 was dominant in Northern and Central Bosnia, and they
22 had also captured an important strategic feature called
23 Komor on the road between Travnik and Gornji Vakuf, or,
24 rather, on the communication line linking Central
25 Bosnia with Dalmatia, Western Bosnia and Croatia.
1 And this was a signal that we had to organise
2 and resist the Serb aggression, otherwise we would end
3 up in the same way as many other parts of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and many parts of Croatia had ended
5 up by then.
6 Even before the formation of the HVO, these
7 village guards were gradually enlarged and these Crisis
8 Staffs started to be formed. And in Vitez already in
9 October '91 the coordination, organisation and
10 preparation started, though they were still not formal
11 military units, but fear and threats forced people to
12 self organise to form the appropriate bodies and to
13 identify the people who would be capable of preparing
14 and organising defence against the Serbs. And as I
15 said, the threats were obvious because all
16 communications had been intercepted, the supply of food
17 and medicines had become difficult, because of this
18 road linking us to Dalmatia and Croatia was cut off.
19 So we were forced to find other routes at a time of
20 great shortages.
21 We built a road, which was some 30 kilometres
22 long, and instead of using the normal road to Split,
23 which would take us 3 hours, these new roads -- along
24 these new roads it took us 15.
25 Q. How did the HVO get armed?
1 A. The arming started before the HVO. The
2 village guard started mostly with hunting rifles or old
3 weapons -- who knows where people got them from -- but
4 then there was black marketeering too and one could
5 purchase weapons on the black market. An illustration
6 that I could give is people would sell a cow which fed
7 the whole family to buy a gun because they thought this
8 was essential for their survival.
9 More serious arming by the HVO started with
10 the capture of barracks of the former JNA, or maybe it
11 would be better to say that already, in '91, by
12 decision of the official authorities in Sarajevo, all
13 the weapons of the Territorial Defence in Vitez, for
14 instance, these were stored in the Vitezit factory,
15 orders came that the Yugoslav People's Army should take
16 over those weapons; in other words, already in May
17 1991, the Bosniak and Croat peoples in Central Bosnia
18 were totally disarmed.
19 Earlier, we had certain quantities of
20 high-quality weapons, as the Territorial Defence, but
21 this decision taken in May '91 took all this away from
22 us so that we were left with nothing.
23 About a year later -- or let me be more
24 precise -- on the 3rd of May, 1992, military units -- I
25 can call them that -- of the HVO of Novi Travnik and
1 Vitez, Vitez in particular, assisted by units from Novi
2 Travnik, captured a large arms depot called Slimena, in
3 the territory of Travnik municipality or, rather, at
4 the intersection of three municipalities, Travnik, Novi
5 Travnik, and Vitez. This was the first more serious
6 conflict between the so-called JNA and Croatian units
7 in Central Bosnia when the first Croatian military
8 victims fell, two young men were killed, Ilija Petrovic
9 and Josip Kurevija, and some 15 young men were wounded,
10 but large quantities of weapons were seized, and this
11 later proved to be very important.
12 Q. Tell us, these weapons were in the possession
13 of the HVO or the TO as well?
14 A. It was not appropriated only by the HVO even
15 though the HVO and the HOS participated in this
16 operation, but the very next day, a principled
17 agreement was reached that all these weapons seized in
18 Slimena should be shared 50-50 between the Territorial
19 Defence and the HVO units.
20 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: If I may tender an
21 exhibit on this issue, then we can resume the testimony
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: With the help of the
25 usher, please.
1 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked
3 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Could the usher -- oh,
4 yes. The witness has a copy. Fine.
5 Q. So we have the original of the document now.
6 Do you know who was the commander of the crisis staff
7 of Vitez municipality at the time?
8 A. It was Ivan Santic.
9 Q. Do you recognise his signature?
10 A. Yes. He has a specific signature, and I
11 would come across it frequently because I was often in
12 attendance at meetings of the crisis staff and later of
13 the HVO government.
14 Q. And the stamp you see there, that is the
15 stamp of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
16 A. Yes, that is the stamp that was still valid
17 at the time for both sides, conditionally speaking,
18 because we didn't really have two sides yet.
19 Q. Do you remember that at that time an order
20 was issued that all the resources taken from TO
21 warehouses, the Travnik maintenance shop, and other
22 facilities be divided up equally between the
23 Territorial Defence of Vitez and the HVO headquarters?
24 A. That is what I just said a moment ago in my
25 testimony. This just corroborates my statement. I
1 think there is nothing disputed about this. For a long
2 time after this, the same attitude was applied
3 regarding resources of the Vitezit factory and other
5 Q. When we see here, "I order that all resources
6 taken from the TO warehouse," this actually refers to
7 the former TO, from the former system; it is not the
8 TO, the Territorial Defence, that developed later in
10 A. If I may say so, I think this is rather
11 a clumsy wording. The TO warehouse really means the
12 JNA warehouse where all the weapons from the
13 municipalities of Central Bosnia had been seized and
14 stored earlier.
15 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I suggest that we can
16 break now.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We will adjourn
18 until tomorrow at 9.00, and tomorrow, as you remember,
19 we will sit only in the morning, from 9.00 to 1.30. We
20 stand adjourned.
21 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
22 1.34 p.m., to be reconvened on
23 Tuesday, the 12th day of January,
24 1999, at 9.00 a.m.