1 Monday, 25th January, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.00 p.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your
7 Honours. Case number IT-95-16-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic,
9 Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic and Vladimir Santic.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Good afternoon.
11 So we now resume.
12 WITNESS: RUDO KUREVIJA (resumed)
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic.
14 Examined by Mr. Radovic:
15 Q. Good day. Last time we came to the last
16 question. This was the arrival of the displaced
17 persons. We'll move to the next question which would
18 concern whether you knew anything about the events of
19 the 20th of October of 1992. If you heard about this
20 incident, this would be the barricade on the road near
21 the cemetery at Ahmici.
22 A. On the 19th of October of '92 there was a
23 conflict between the Muslim forces and the HVO in Novi
24 Travnik, which as a reaction to those conflicts,
25 members of the B and H army placed barricades in Vitez
1 and also at Ahmici close to the Catholic cemetery on
2 the road. At 1.00 p.m. on that same day, the members
3 of the BH army placed barricades in the region of Stara
4 Bila, near the Bosna factory plant. The barricade
5 remained up for one day, as far as I remember, and on
6 the next day, the 20th, I think it was removed.
7 I think that members of the HVO from
8 Kiseljak, who were on their way to the frontline at
9 Jajce, which in a serious situation then under attacks
10 by the Serb forces, I think with the help of the
11 military police they removed the barricade at Ahmici,
12 and then after that the barricade in Stara Bila was
13 also removed. This was on the 20th.
14 Q. You said that members of the HVO from
15 Kiseljak and members of the military police removed the
16 barricades, but would you please explain how they
17 removed these barricades? Did they come there with
18 shovels, did they move these barricades or was there
19 any fighting in the removal of these barricades?
20 A. Since I was in Mosunj, which is opposite from
21 Ahmici, so I don't know in which way this happened, but
22 I heard that the barricades were removed. I think that
23 there was some fighting. That's what I heard, at
25 Q. Could you please tell us when you joined the
1 HVO military structure?
2 A. On the 22nd of December of '92.
3 Q. So how did this come about and which section
4 of the military structure did you join? Which military
5 unit did you join, in what capacity and how long were
6 you in that military unit?
7 A. I went to the command of the Stjepan
8 Tomasevic Brigade, which was formed on the 22nd of
9 December. The command of the brigade is in Novi
10 Travnik. I was a political activist. I was the
11 assistant to the commander for political matters of the
12 Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade. That's when I joined the
14 Q. So the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade is comprised
15 of how many smaller units?
16 A. It comprised two -- two battalions, members
17 of the Vitez and the Novi Travnik Brigade.
18 Q. So these two battalions made up the Stjepan
19 Tomasevic Brigade. So who were the commanders of the
20 two brigades?
21 A. Borislav Malbasic was the commander of the
22 brigade and the commander of the Vitez battalion was
23 Ante Bertovic.
24 Q. So who was the battalion acting against?
25 A. Both battalions were acting -- fighting
1 against the Serbs. We were in positions above Novi
2 Travnik, facing Goles and Komar on the sides of Mount
3 Vlasic. So we were facing Serbs and the Serb army. We
4 were facing the Serbs.
5 Q. Where was the command of the brigade?
6 A. The command of the brigade was in the town,
7 in Novi Travnik.
8 Q. Well, you were in the command of Novi Travnik
9 at that time?
10 A. Well, I spent more time on the frontlines
11 than in the command.
12 Q. So how did it come about that the Stjepan
13 Tomasevic Brigade was broken up or divided into two
15 A. After three months the Stjepan Tomasevic
16 Brigade was transformed.
17 Q. Just one moment. I asked last time for P1 to
18 be placed -- so the aerial photograph showing this
19 region. So if that can be put up again, please, for
20 the witness to see.
21 Are these towns shown on this aerial
22 photograph or are they beyond the bounds of that
24 A. No, they're not shown here. They're more
25 towards Travnik, where the roads are. There's a road
1 seven kilometres away that goes towards Travnik, and we
2 were holding the frontlines near Travnik, to the west,
3 for some eight to ten kilometres.
4 Q. So how far would this be from Vitez itself?
5 A. From 20 to 30 kilometres.
6 Q. And now the question that I put to you: How
7 did it come about that the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade
8 was divided into two separate brigades, the brigade
9 Stjepan Tomasevic and the Vitez Brigade, and how did
10 this come about?
11 A. I don't know the date exactly, but I think
12 this happened in March of '93. That's when the Stjepan
13 Tomasevic Brigade divided into two brigades, the Vitez
14 Brigade, and the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade which
15 remained in Novi Travnik. Stjepan Tomasevic was
16 comprised of members of the battalion from Novi
17 Travnik, and the Vitez Brigade was made up of members
18 from Vitez.
19 Q. So how was the Vitez Brigade formed? What
20 was the basis? What was the personnel that was
21 included in that brigade?
22 A. The command of the Vitez Brigade was formed
23 first, and members of that brigade were part of the
24 battalion that was in the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade.
25 So in my opinion, and I would like to note that from
1 the transformation of the brigade I was not in the
2 command staff of the Vitez Brigade any more, I spoke to
3 the commander, I asked him to return to sector 2 in
4 Bila, because at that time the Vitez Brigade was
5 divided into sectors, so I wanted -- so I -- the
6 command of the Vitez Brigade was formed then. Members
7 of the Vitez Brigade were members of the battalion that
8 was part of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade. I think
9 maybe there were about 160.
10 Q. So how many battalions should have been part
11 of the brigade?
12 A. Four battalions, according to the structure.
13 Q. And you were a member of which one?
14 A. The second battalion.
15 Q. And where was your battalion deployed? We're
16 speaking theoretically because it wasn't filled yet.
17 A. Well, I was in the region of Stara Bila. The
18 command was located here. There were four of us in the
19 command. This sector, the responsibility for this
20 sector was from Zabilje through Stara Bila, Jardol, and
21 then the second battalion took over after that.
22 Q. Which battalion theoretically covered the
23 region towards Ahmici?
24 A. The first battalion.
25 Q. Did all of these -- should all of these
1 battalions have been filled with members from the
2 active component? What was the active component? And
3 if they were supposed to be manned -- I will ask this
4 first. I don't want the question to be too long.
5 A. The active component was included in the
6 brigade, so it was filled with men who had signed
7 contracts. They also received some kind of
8 compensation. I think it was maybe about 50 German
9 Marks per month.
10 So the battalions were exclusively filled
11 with men from the active component, but at that time we
12 can't really talk about battalions. This was right at
13 the beginning and it was unthinkable to have a
14 battalion of only 40 men.
15 Q. Would the witness -- could the witness see
16 document P343?
17 So this is an order by commander -- by
18 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic from the 16th of January of
19 1993. Could you please tell us -- would you read the
20 order and then tell us whether this order was, in fact,
21 a call for general mobilisation, but read it first.
22 Read it carefully, because your correct answer depends
23 on the careful reading of the document.
24 Yes, have you read it? Okay. Then you can
25 reply to my question.
1 A. Of course, you can't really consider this to
2 be a call for general mobilisation. I can assume that
3 the order was prompted by conflicts between Muslims and
4 Croats in the area of Konjic, but I know from
5 experience, since as a political officer I spent a lot
6 of time with the guys on the frontline, so I know from
7 experience that there were a lot of those who were not
8 part of the active component who would go around in the
9 settlements or around Vitez and Novi Travnik. Many of
10 them carried weapons, and they probably got the weapons
11 after Slimena.
12 So the boys on the frontlines, there was
13 dissatisfaction among them because they were the ones
14 who were guarding the lines against the Serbs. They
15 were working very hard, they had very short rest
16 periods. So this dissatisfaction was a result of
17 that. I think the purpose of this order was to try to
18 include as many men with weapons as possible, to
19 include them in the units.
20 Q. You also read the introduction, the first
21 part of this order where it says, "Pursuant to the
22 order." Does this describe or give reasons why this
23 order was issued? Please read it to the end. Why is
24 this order issued?
25 A. It was issued by the headquarters because of
1 the aggression of Muslim forces all over the Croatian
2 community of Herceg-Bosna, which has caused a lot of
3 members to be killed, a lot of Croatian homes to be
5 Q. Could you tell us whether certain commands,
6 commands of brigades or the command staff for the whole
7 of the Central Bosnia, did they directly carry out
8 mobilisation of the reserves or was this done through
9 the office of defence?
10 A. While I was in the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade
11 there was no mobilisation, so with the transformation
12 we went to the battalion. So this would be at a lower
13 level. We went to the Stara Bila sector, so we could
14 not carry out mobilisation. We were a battalion, so
15 based on some information about people who had not been
16 mobilised, we could provide this information to the
17 brigade command, but the brigade could make a request
18 to the office of the defence, and then based on that
19 the office of defence could carry out the mobilisation,
20 but within the unit we could not do that ourselves.
21 Q. So if I understood you properly, the military
22 structure passed on its request for manpower to the
23 defence office, the defence office carried out
24 mobilisation and would send men to that unit which had
25 issued the original request. Did I understand that
2 A. Yes, you did, but there was a department with
3 the command of the brigade that dealt with personnel
4 and structure, so then based on the issued call for
5 mobilisation people would report to this department and
6 they would be assigned to which unit they would report
7 to and that's where they would go.
8 Q. So if you can please reply to the following
9 question: This order, in itself, does that mean that
10 the matters that the order pertains to has already been
11 carried out, implemented?
12 A. At the time when a lot of things were not
13 implemented. I would call them irregular,
14 extraordinary times, so every order could not have been
15 considered to have been executed. Many orders were
16 issued which could never have been executed.
17 Q. Could the witness please be shown Prosecution
18 document 341. This Prosecutor's document is related to
19 the decision of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna
20 dated November, 1992, on the setup of the home guard.
21 So could you please tell me, first of all, do you know
22 anything about this, namely, that in the area of Vitez
23 there was a special home guard unit? So we'll take
24 things one at a time. The decision was passed on the
25 3rd of November, 1992. During 1992 was any home guard
1 unit established?
2 A. No. During 1992 there could not have been
3 any home guard units in Vitez.
4 Q. Tell me, until the 16th of April, 1993, were
5 any home guard units established?
6 A. No. There was only an active corps within
7 the Vitez Brigade and also there were village guards
8 that were not under the command of the brigade. So it
9 is only the active part that comprised this unit. And,
10 as regards home guard units and home guards as such, we
11 can only talk about them from the period after the 16th
12 of April when the conflict actually broke out.
13 Q. The parties presented quite a few exhibits,
14 quite a few documents, that is to say that some kind of
15 a regiment of the home guard issued orders on behalf of
16 the Vitez Brigade. Did the Vitez Brigade remain as the
17 Vitez Brigade throughout or did it end up as a home
18 guard regiment?
19 A. As it was transformed in March, 1993, the
20 Vitez Brigade remained as such until the end of the
21 war, until the end of 1994. It is only afterwards -- I
22 cannot remember the exact date -- that it changed its
23 name. Then it came to be known as the 92nd Home Guard
25 Q. In addition to the 92nd Home Guard Regiment,
1 on the territory of Vitez, was there any other home
2 guard unit?
3 A. No.
4 Q. So practically this home guard regiment came
5 into being on the basis of the Vitez Brigade; did I
6 understand you correctly?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could the registrar please help me now with
9 the set of documents, Prosecutor's documents from 340
10 onwards. It includes this set. It includes a document
11 related to proposing certain candidates for posts
12 within the home guards unit. It could be 341 or 342.
13 Please, I would like to show this. This is one of the
14 Prosecutor's documents that the Prosecutor showed one
15 of the witnesses. Certain persons are appointed to the
16 temporary home guard command in the territory of Vitez,
17 that is to say on the 12th of March, 1993.
18 On the assumption that on the 12th of March,
19 1993 a temporary command was appointed, that is to say
20 of the home guard units, is there a theoretic
21 possibility for this home guard unit to be set up
22 within four days since the conflict broke out?
23 A. Of course not. In March, 1993, there weren't
24 any home guard units in our parts. Later, in April,
25 when the war broke out, we could only talk about the
1 latter part of April.
2 Q. I am talking about the 16th of April.
3 A. No, not after the 16th of April.
4 Q. So now look at the names of these persons who
5 were appointed to the temporary command. Could you
6 please tell me whether you know these persons. If you
7 do, please tell me who you know.
8 A. I know the first person very well, Domin
9 Matijanic very well, because he is my neighbour. I
10 also known Nenad Santic, because before the war he
11 worked at the gasoline station. Josip Maric, I think
12 I know him too. He is from Vitez too. Yes.
13 Q. Since they were appointed to this temporary
14 command, what do you know about this? Which military
15 unit did they belong to when the war broke out? Also,
16 what were their assignments and what actually happened
17 to them? I am especially referring to the two persons
18 you know.
19 A. I can only talk about the first person, Domin
20 Matijanic, because he is my neighbour. I first heard
21 of him being in some kind of a temporary command,
22 because I was in daily contact with this young man. Of
23 course, until the end of 1992 we were involved in the
24 village guards together. I don't know. I don't know.
25 I don't see that he could have done anything in terms
1 of establishing the units. I didn't even know he
2 belonged to this command. I'd really doubt this.
3 Q. Do you know where he was during the war and
4 what unit?
5 A. In the war he was involved -- he was not part
6 of the active component, no. But I think after
7 mobilisation, after the conflict broke out, he was
8 engaged in our battalion.
9 Q. So he was in your battalion?
10 A. Yes. Yes, he was.
11 Q. So he was in your battalion that was part of
12 the Vitez Brigade, and he was not outside the Vitez
14 A. No. No, he was not. He was even commander
15 of a company sometime in July, 1993 when our commander
16 was killed. Then he took over the command of the
17 second company of the 2nd battalion.
18 Q. Of the Vitez Brigade?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know anything about Nenad Santic?
21 A. No. Except that in May, I think, 1993, he
22 was killed. But that is all I know.
23 Q. Was he killed as a member of the Vitez
24 Brigade or as the member of a home guard unit?
25 A. As a member of the Vitez Brigade.
1 Q. And you don't know about Josip Maric?
2 A. No. No. I just know about the postwar
3 period, but I don't know what he did during the war.
4 Q. Now could we please have Prosecutor's Exhibit
5 335 shown to the witness. Could you please read the
6 document first, carefully at that, and we'll later on
7 move to the actual list of names. Actually, page 1 is
8 of interest to me. So if you've read page 1 --
9 A. No, I haven't. Not yet.
10 Q. Just put it in front of you. Please look at
11 point 2 of this report. It says here that the Defence
12 Office commenced the formation of the Viteska Brigade
13 during combat activities. Does that mean that only
14 when combat activities started that the Viteska Brigade
15 was actually manned through call-ups, through
17 A. Of course. I said that the brigade consisted
18 of members of the Viteska battalion that was part of
19 Stjepan Tomasevic. That was the active component. In
20 my assessment I said that I thought there were 160 of
21 them, approximately, that is to say that one cannot
22 really speak about the establishment of the brigade.
23 The brigade was certainly established only after the
24 conflict broke out. That is when mobilisation took
25 place of these young men by the Defence department, and
1 only then these formations were manned. Then the
2 brigade started looking like what it was supposed to
3 look like, only sometime in mid-1993.
4 Q. All right. But do you agree with me that
5 point 2 of this report, and this is a report that no
6 one knew would be made public some day, this is an
7 official report of the Vitez office to the higher
8 ranks, that is to say the headquarters, that it is only
9 when combat activities started that mobilisation took
10 place for the Vitez Brigade?
11 A. I agree with that. Yes, and that is
13 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, may I interrupt.
14 I would like to raise an objection, because Mr. Radovic
15 is always indicating what answer the witness should
16 give to his questions. He is giving him every answer
17 to the questions he is putting to him relating to this
19 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you. Before I was the
20 one who objected along these lines, and it is only
21 natural that I should have them thrown back at me. All
22 right. I am going to rephrase my question.
23 Q. How do you interpret point 2 of this report
24 in relation to the beginning of mobilisation?
25 A. Until the 16th of April, that is to say until
1 the conflict broke out between the Croats and the
2 Muslims, one could say that only the command of the
3 Viteska Brigade was set up, but that on the ground
4 there weren't really men. So I would just call it
5 formal letters on paper. So it was truly manned after
6 mobilisation was carried out, after the conflict had
7 broken out, that is to say, then, the brigade was
8 manned to a certain extent. However, the formation of
9 the brigade actually took place only in July, August,
11 Q. Please look at number 3. It says "note"
12 here. It says, "The formation of the Viteska Brigade
13 did not progress according to the anticipated
14 timetable." What is that supposed to mean? Could you
15 please interpret this for us.
16 A. Of course. Of course it could not have
17 progressed according to the anticipated timetable.
18 First of all, the period of time between the
19 transformation of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade and the
20 other one was very short, and at that time one could
21 count only on those young men who were in the active
22 part, who were volunteers, who joined voluntarily and
23 who signed contracts. In such times of war many people
24 tried to hide and dodge the mobilisation. Even after
25 mobilisation they dodged it one way or the other. So
1 all of this made the situation increasingly difficult.
2 Things could not have progressed as anticipated and
3 during peace-time, for example.
4 Q. Now, I am going to read point 3. So I am not
5 going to read the note, but the other one. It says
6 here that most of the conscripts were mobilised and
7 were involved in the first line of defence. They are
8 used as replacements on the lines after the first
9 assault, i.e. they are gradually included as
10 replacements for the soldiers from the active
12 Now, why am I asking you this? Why am I
13 asking you to interpret some of these sentences? I am
14 asking you to do so because the spirit of the Croatian
15 language is different from the spirit of the official
16 languages of this Court. So we have to interpret the
17 exact meaning, lest there be any misunderstanding.
18 Now, what am I interested in? We see the
19 words that were used here in this report. Can we draw
20 the conclusion who took part in the first assault,
21 regardless of who had caused the conflict? So,
22 according to the report, who took part, the active or
23 the mobilised people? Please read this carefully first
24 and then answer. That is point 2 under paragraph 3.
25 A. Of course, as far as the first assault is
1 concerned, it is the active component that suffered
2 this, because we didn't have anyone else. We only had
3 the active component that was at the frontline. We are
4 talking about several days, and they were supposed to
5 be replaced. Some of them were exhausted -- not some
6 of them, all of them needed to get a change of clothes,
7 a bath and to rest up a bit. That was the situation in
8 the Viteska Brigade.
9 However, in Stara Bila there wasn't any
10 combat action, at least during the first few days we
11 got all the newly mobilised, young men and sent them to
12 Zabilje and to Jardol, that is to say to the left and
13 right wings of our front lines. So somewhere there is
15 The frontline was not fully manned from a
16 point of view of quality, because we were not in a
17 position to do so. There was very little resistance, I
19 In the 2nd battalion, when the conflict broke
20 out, I think we had about 80 young men, that is to say
21 four platoons, and the line was about 11 or 12
22 kilometres long. So with this number of men we could
23 not really cover the frontline from a quality point of
25 Q. What about these people, were they active or
2 A. Active component. It was only the active
3 people who were on the line on the day the conflict
4 broke out. All of those people who were subsequently
5 mobilised were sent to the frontline where there was
6 combat action so that they could replace these who had
7 gone through the first assault.
8 Q. Now, please, look at the list of names that
9 are included as an attachment to these documents. Have
10 a careful look. You don't really have to look at the
11 names, just look at the designations. To be more
12 precise, can one see from this list who was mobilised
13 on what day out of the persons on this list? Because,
14 according to point 3, this relates to persons who were
15 mobilised between the 16th and 28th of April, 1993, and
16 in this list there is not an exact date when each and
17 every individual was mobilised.
18 A. On the basis of this, of course, you cannot
19 tell who was mobilised when. Actually, I see here
20 that, for example, some people were probably never
21 mobilised. It says over here by one person's name that
22 he was absent, and this other person, who due too his
23 age was not mobilised, et cetera.
24 Q. I'm not really interested in that. I'm just
25 trying to find out whether there's anything here
1 showing who was mobilised when.
2 A. No. No, you cannot ascertain that.
3 Q. All right. That takes care of that.
4 Now, tell me, do you know when did the
5 members of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina set up
6 checkpoints near the Bosna construction company?
7 A. On the 19th of October, 1992.
8 Q. So that is to say the same day when this
9 happened by Ahmici?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Was there any fighting there or not?
12 A. No, there wasn't.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: I hate to interrupt, I
14 apologise. I would like to ask a question still while
15 we're with this document P335. I will ask this
16 question so as to enable you to ask any question
17 arising out of the matters which I'm now raising with
18 the witness.
19 Now, witness, I would like to direct your
20 attention to the last page of document P335, the last
21 page, just above the stamp. There is one name, Vidovic Ive
22 Ratko, and above this in the English translation it's
23 stated, "Did not respond."
24 Now, what does this mean in military jargon?
25 What is the significance of these words, "Did not
2 A. Let me just try to find this, sir.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Last page. "Vidovic Ive
5 A. Yes, I found it, yes.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, what does this mean?
7 A. Yes. It says in the plural, but it's really
8 one person we're talking about. I really don't know
9 what is the case, but I imagine he was simply not there
10 in Vitez, in the area of the Lasva River Valley.
11 Perhaps he was in the Republic of Croatia, in Austria.
12 So he had to be outside the territory of Vitez and that
13 is why he could not respond to the mobilisation.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry, did not respond to the
15 mobilisation. So the call-up. So he was not in a
16 position to be mobilised.
17 A. Well, he could have been in a position to be
18 mobilised. For example, the defence department had
19 records on each and every individual in Vitez, and
20 those records date back to the old JNA days. So the
21 records were still there and he could have been called
22 up, but physically he was not in the area of Vitez.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: So could we then draw from
24 this mention here the inference that except for a few
25 others who were released, it is stated here, "Released,
1 released, released," all these listed in this list were
2 actually called up, were mobilised? Do you see what I
3 mean? I'm asking whether we can draw from this
4 mention, "Did not respond," the inference that all the
5 other ones did indeed respond to the call-up and were
6 mobilised, except, of course, for Vidovic Ive Ratko, as
7 well as those in the list where it is stated, "Duty
8 officers in front of the centre," and next to some of
9 the names you have, "Released, released, released,"
10 and so on. Would you think this would be a logical and
11 appropriate conclusion?
12 A. That's right. That's right. On the basis of
13 this, we can say that all the rest responded except for
14 those who were freed for certain reasons.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: You see now why I put this
16 question, so as to allow you now to comment or ask
17 questions in relation to my own question. Counsel
19 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, the witness's
20 interpretation what this means did not respond. I did
21 not think that it is proper, because obviously he
22 doesn't understand administration. He didn't have much
23 business with the administration during his lifetime.
24 These words, "Did not respond," should mean
25 this person was called up and did not respond to the
1 call-up. That would be a proper administrative reply.
2 I'm not going to ask him anything. I'm not going to
3 ask him anything.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: You should refrain from
5 commenting. Your comments are not appropriate.
6 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, I think that
7 Mr. Radovic, who is leading the examination-in-chief of
8 this witness, should abstain from making any kind of
9 comments on what the witness has done in the presence
10 of the witness. The direct-examination is not over,
11 and I find it very hard to listen to.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: I agree. Counsel Radovic,
13 please do refrain from making comments or asking
14 leading questions as you did even after the objection
15 by the Prosecutor. Let's move on.
16 I apologise for interrupting you, and I
17 wonder whether you would like to ask again the question
18 you asked the witness before I interrupted you.
19 MR. RADOVIC: No. What the witness said in
20 response was sufficient for me, so I don't want to make
21 any further comments with regard to this list.
22 Q. Now tell me, do you know anything about this
23 checkpoint by the Bosna construction company? For
24 example, was it possible to move along this road, what
25 kind of roadblocks were there, were there any victims,
1 everything you know about this checkpoint by the Bosna
2 construction company, please.
3 A. So on the 19th of October, 1992, a barricade,
4 a roadblock was set up by the construction company of
5 Bosna. It's not that I think so, I know that it was
6 made up of vehicles, and you could, therefore, not
7 communicate between Travnik and Vitez along this road.
8 As a result of that, on this same line of
9 communication about 200 metres away from that barricade
10 towards Travnik, we set up a roadblock of our own.
11 That is to say, of the Croatian people. There weren't
12 any -- there wasn't any fighting. This went on until
13 the next day. Then as soon as the roadblock near
14 Ahmici was removed, the Muslims removed their roadblock
15 and we removed ours.
16 Perhaps it would be noteworthy, as I watched
17 a CNN report several days after that, I saw on their
18 film that there were quite a few persons unknown to me
19 on that film. So it was not these Muslims who were
20 from these neighbouring villages, but there were quite
21 a few individuals unknown to me there. I didn't even
22 know their faces.
23 In this report I heard one of them speak, and
24 I saw him too, of course, and he said, "We were not
25 prepared for the Serbs, we were prepared for the
1 Muslims." Later on when I talked to my friends I was
2 told that he was a young man from Novi Travnik who
3 happened to be at the roadblock there.
4 Q. Do you know anything about this topic? Were
5 there any kind of interventions by UNPROFOR because of
6 the barricades?
7 A. I don't remember.
8 Q. Do you know anything about the events around
9 the Stozerac elevation above the village of Zabilje?
10 A. The conflict that broke out on the 16th of
11 April in the region of Stara Bila or Mosunj where I was
12 on that day. There were no actions there, but the
13 Stozerac elevation above Zabilje, that would be the
14 left prong of our frontline.
15 Q. What do you mean, "Our line"?
16 A. The zone of responsibility of the 2nd
17 Battalion. So the left prong of responsibility of our
19 In the afternoon an attack was carried out by
20 the Muslims. We had our positions at that elevation,
21 we had a few men up there. So in the afternoon there
22 was an attack. On the 17th, in the morning, the
23 elevation was taken by the Muslims. Our forces were
24 pushed back. So this elevation dominates over Stara
25 Bila and Mosunj, Nova Bila as well, so it's a dominant
1 strategically important elevation.
2 Q. Do you know anything about the cattle farm by
3 the Vlasic company?
4 A. At the start of the conflict on the 16th, I
5 know this farm -- on the 16th the Muslims were in the
6 plants of the Vlasic agriculture company, and they were
7 controlling the road from there, and communication was
8 not possible on the Vitez-Travnik road for this reason,
9 because the Muslims were in those plants.
10 Q. Do you know anything about the mosque in
12 A. I know there was a mosque there. It's still
13 there today.
14 Q. Did you have any instructions -- it's a
15 little difficult to ask this question without it
16 seeming as being suggestive. Did you have any
17 instructions on preserving this mosque?
18 A. We didn't have any instructions. We couldn't
19 have any instructions since the mosque was located
20 inside the village of Grbavica, so deep behind their
21 lines. So we couldn't really reach the mosque or guard
23 Q. Let's move to the 15th of April. What did
24 you do on that day?
25 A. On the 15th of April I was at home. Yes, I
1 was at home. In the evening -- this was already in the
2 early morning hours of the 16th of April. The
3 commander called me to the command office by telephone,
4 called me to come to Stara Bila. I think this happened
5 between 2.30 or 3.00 a.m., and all the other members of
6 the command arrived there too. We received information
7 that an attack by the Muslims was expected.
8 Then on that day, in the evening of that day,
9 the attack on Kuber took place against HVO positions.
10 The Muslims carried out this attack, so that an attack
11 was expected. I was instructed, together with the
12 commander of the platoon in my village, Mali Mosunj, to
13 establish a line of defence in between the houses,
14 facing the Muslims.
15 So that's where I went, together with the
16 commander. I engaged some men. We established points
17 among our houses, at the border of our houses and
18 Muslim houses.
19 Q. When you say the commander called you by the
20 telephone, which commander do you mean?
21 A. The commander of the 2nd Battalion, Slavko.
22 Q. So when you came to the command, was the
23 whole of the command staff there or not everyone had
24 arrived at that time?
25 A. I can't remember exactly whether everybody
1 had arrived. I think there were four -- three or four
2 of us.
3 Q. Were orders issued to each person
4 individually or to everybody together?
5 A. To everybody together.
6 Q. Would you please describe the premises where
7 you received these orders? Who told you -- who issued
8 the order? Who was the order -- who issued the order
9 to the commanding officer? Could you please tell us a
10 little bit more about what happened when you got to the
11 command office?
12 A. Upon my arrival at the command, I think
13 Slavko was there and two more members of the command
14 staff. I think Marinko came later. The commander
15 verbally told us all the information, that he had
16 received orders from the command of the brigade for
17 lines of defence to be set up, and also, he informed us
18 that an attack by Muslims was expected, as well as
19 information that already in the evening hours an attack
20 was carried out by Muslims in the region of Kuber. We
21 were also told at that time that the commander of the
22 Zenica HVO, Zivko Totic, had been arrested together
23 with his escort, that four members of the escort were
24 killed, and I think there was an eyewitness, a Muslim,
25 that Zivko was still being detained. So that was more
1 or less the information.
2 We were also worried by the fact that an
3 attack will take place, and this required a seriousness
4 in the implementation of our duties.
5 Q. Did you stay at the headquarters?
6 A. No. Afterwards, after about 20 minutes, I
7 went to Mali Mosunj. I found the commanding officer,
8 Franjo Antic.
9 Q. What level commander was he?
10 A. He was a commander of the company, but we
11 couldn't really talk about the company. There was
12 really only a platoon in Mosunj, so he was a platoon
14 He had his -- he engaged the other men. I
15 think by about 4.30 most of the men who had been
16 engaged were already there. Then we agreed how to
17 establish the defence points, where to situate them,
18 and this is what we carried out.
19 Q. When you conveyed to him what needed to be
20 done, how did you describe the situation to him?
21 A. I described the situation just as I had heard
22 it from the commander, that an attack was being
23 expected, that we were expected to set up defence
24 points, and that simply the entry of Muslims to the
25 village could not be allowed, because already behind
1 our positions were homes where our families were, so we
2 could not allow them to enter the village. Defence was
3 our main task, exclusively defence, and this is what we
5 Q. Please tell us, before the 16th of April,
6 except for this incident that you mentioned in Zenica
7 regarding Totic and his escort, did you have
8 information about other incidents that had taken place
9 in that time period from January 1st to April 16th of
11 A. Yes. The situation was being made worse with
12 reports that Muslim forces had attacked the village of
13 Dusina in the region of Busovaca, and I think this
14 happened at the end of January.
15 There was a massacre there, Croats were
16 killed, and then I think after that attack against
17 Dusina, as far as I recall, there was fighting for four
18 or five days in Busovaca, which really never stopped
19 after that in that area.
20 I think there was some conflicts between
21 Croats and Muslims in the area of Uskoplje near the
22 Croatian village of Bistrica. I think Muslims entered
23 that Croatian village.
24 So I remember Dusina and then the conflicts
25 in Busovaca.
1 Q. What do you know about Ahmici?
2 A. I know very little about Ahmici. I know what
3 I heard after the events there had already happened.
4 Q. So you didn't participate in that in any
6 A. No, I couldn't have, because Ahmici is in the
7 eastern part of the municipality and Bila is in the
8 western part. So it wasn't close.
9 Q. So now a little bit about the accused. Do
10 you know any of the accused personally?
11 A. I know Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
12 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago just by sight. Then I know him
13 better now.
14 Q. Let's stay with the Kupreskics, because I
15 don't want to go into matters that concern my
16 colleagues. So I'm primarily interested in what you
17 know about Zoran Kupreskic.
18 A. Zoran and Mirjan, I don't know much about
19 them because I worked in Travnik up until the end of
20 1991, so I didn't really spend that much time in Vitez,
21 I was mostly in Travnik.
22 But in '93, for Easter, so on the 11th of
23 April, I was the president of the basic branch of Mali
24 Mosunj. I spoke to my colleagues, so on that day, on
25 Easter, we made a party on the Kalvarija hill to mark
1 the Easter festivities, and this was supposed to be a
2 party. We invited the cultural society from Vitez, and
3 among the participants were Zoran and Mirjan
5 So we thought then that we could make it a
6 tradition to organise such a party every year for
7 Easter, and we wanted to have this party near the
8 little church on the Kalvarija hill. But since it
9 rained that day it wasn't possible to have the party
10 there, so we held the fete near the river Lasva, in a
12 Q. So when you engaged the group, Zoran and
13 Mirjan's group, were there several cultural societies
14 operating in the region of Vitez or just that one?
15 A. I think there were several besides -- besides
16 there was -- besides their one there was also the
17 Napredak cultural society, and I think Muslims had
18 their own. I don't remember what it was called.
19 Q. So let's stay with the Napredak cultural
20 society. What was the difference between Napredak on
21 the society Zoran was a member of?
22 A. KUD existed earlier, so members of the folk
23 dance section were of different nationalities, but I
24 think in Napredak, it was mostly Croat. The members
25 were mostly Croats.
1 Q. Did you hear anything about a possible
2 merging of these two cultural societies?
3 A. I don't know. I just know that these two
4 societies existed.
5 Q. When they performed for you at Easter, did
6 they come -- were there members -- the members who
7 performed were only Croats or did other members of
8 other nationalities also perform?
9 A. There were members of other nationalities
10 too. There were Croats. I know one of them -- one
11 among them was a Serb. I think his name was Veljko.
12 He -- so a Serb called Veljko. This is how we can
13 identify him.
14 Q. Were there any Muslims?
15 A. Yes, there were also Muslims. I know one of
16 the Muslims. I don't know whether there were more than
18 Q. Do you know what that Muslim was doing in the
19 folk dance group?
20 A. I think he was in the orchestra. He was a
22 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President, I
23 have completed my questions and I apologise for doing
24 to the Prosecutor what he did during his part of the
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Is Counsel
2 Slokovic-Glumac going to examine?
3 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I only have a few
4 questions, since my colleague, Mr. Radovic, has asked
5 more or less all the questions. This is our joint
7 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
8 Q. Mr. Kurevija, you cited in your testimony for
9 Mr. Radovic to the point that you had placed strategic
10 defence points in your village on April the 4th --
11 April the 16th. So what happened in the region of
12 Mosunj on April 16th?
13 A. On the 16th of April, in the region of Mosunj
14 in Stara Bila, nothing happened. The lines, as they
15 were drawn and maintained remained that way. There
16 were no combat activities except for the odd shot, and
17 this was probably done by maybe some curious people or
18 out of fear. But there were no combat activities. But
19 in the zone of our responsibility, the zone of
20 responsibility of the 2nd Vitez battalion, in the
21 afternoon of the 16th there were combat activities.
22 Q. Could you please show us.
23 A. There were combat activities above the
24 village of Zabilje on the hill. This would be the
25 dominant elevation that I mentioned before. So in the
1 morning of the 17th they took that elevation. There
2 were also activities above the village of Jardol, which
3 is exclusively Croatian. There is a village, Bukva,
4 which is exclusively Muslim, so that village is higher
5 up than Jardol. It's at a higher elevation than
6 Jardol. So there were combat activities in Jardol.
7 The lines were moved back and forth in quite strong
8 fighting. But on the 17th, in the morning, we lost the
9 elevation above Zabilje.
10 Q. So in the region of Veliki and Mali Mosunj
11 there were no combat activities. What about the region
12 of Stara Bila?
13 A. No, there were none.
14 Q. So the whole day on the 16th?
15 A. Yes, on the 16th, the whole day and the next
16 few days there were no activities.
17 Q. So there were combat activities on your part
18 of the line near Zabilje and Jardol?
19 A. The left and the right prongs of our line of
20 defence in our area of responsibility.
21 Q. You stated that Croats lost that elevation,
22 elevation Brdo.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So please look at D42. D42/2. I apologise.
25 This is an operative report under item 5. It
1 stated that: "The part of extremist Muslim forces and
2 also local Muslim forces from the villages of Preocica,
3 Muratovici, Bukve and Putkovici, as well as a part of
4 the forces from the village of Kljaka joined in a
5 fierce infantry attack on the Brdo village where one of
6 our smaller units is located; taking into account that
7 the enemy was far superior judging by the number of
8 troops and material and equipment, our units were
9 forced to retreat in the direction of the Zabilje
11 So this pertains to the loss of that village
12 or that elevation of Brdo?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. On the 17th; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. So that part of the line was your part of the
17 line. Were there any Croats in that village where they
18 say the village, but you are talking about the
20 A. The elevation itself had no Croatian houses,
21 no settlements, but some 200 metres below that the
22 first Croatian houses began, and then, of course,
23 people lived there. So at the elevation itself there
24 were no houses, but 200 metres below that the first
25 houses began of the Zabilje village.
1 Q. Was anybody killed in the area of Stara Bila
2 on the 16th and 17th of April?
3 A. No. No. As far as I recall, no.
4 Q. Were there any houses that were burnt in that
6 A. No.
7 Q. All right. Tell me, as regards the events of
8 the 16th, how many men did you have when you said that
9 you set up this defence line that did not actually
10 operate that day? How many people were involved in
11 this line?
12 A. About 20 people, approximately a platoon,
13 although not with a full formation, but approximately
14 one platoon. We divided our 2nd battalion into four
15 zones, four sectors, so there was sector Zabilje, that
16 is to say the village is underneath the Brdo elevation,
17 and then there was Mosunj and Jardol. So, in fact, as
18 soon as the conflict broke out on that very day, we had
19 one platoon respectively, approximately. Some platoons
20 were better manned, others less, but approximately 20
21 young men, perhaps some people had 20, some had 25 or
22 26 young men. However, I think that the entire
23 battalion had about 80 men altogether. That was the
24 active component.
25 Q. All right. One more question. When you
1 spoke of these two roadblocks on the 19th of October,
2 one was placed near Ahmici and the other one was placed
3 near Mosunj by the construction company of Bosna?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You said that you saw on CNN one of the men
6 on the barricade saying something. Who was he, a
7 Muslim or a Croat?
8 A. On the Muslim roadblock all of them were
10 Q. So please tell me exactly what you said,
11 because you said that this man had said, "We were not
12 prepared for the Muslims. We were prepared for the
13 Muslims (sic)." And that sounds pretty wrong, doesn't
15 A. Can you imagine what it sounded like to us?
16 Q. But what did he exactly say?
17 A. He said, "We were not prepared for the Serbs,
18 but we are prepared for the Croats."
19 Q. That's right. And you said, "We are prepared
20 for the Croats." I'm sorry, it was just a slip of the
21 tongue then. I apologise.
22 All right. One more thing related to the
23 events of the 16th. In the part where you were, that
24 is to say Mali and Veliki, Mosunj and Stara Bila, did
25 you have any information or any control over the
1 situation in Vitez and the surrounding areas?
2 A. We did not. Of course we were preoccupied
3 with the things that we were dealing with. There were
4 combat operations in the area of Kuber, that was the
5 1st battalion, and I think that we then received
6 information that there was shooting above Kacuni, this
7 was also the 1st battalion, and Krusica, I think. That
8 would be the 3rd battalion. Otherwise we did not hear
9 anything more specific on that day, in those days.
10 Q. Thank you. No further questions.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Is any other Defence counsel
12 going to cross-examine this witness? Counsel Krajina?
13 Yes, Counsel Krajina.
14 MR. KRAJINA: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Examined by Mr. Krajina:
16 Q. Mr. Kurevija, I am Defence counsel for Vlatko
17 Kupreskic and I am going to put a few questions to
19 First of all, let us go back a bit to
20 Prosecutor's document 335 that you spoke of a few
21 minutes ago. Is it correct, and did I understand you
22 well when you said during your testimony today that the
23 Viteska Brigade was fully manned only sometime in July
24 or August, 1993?
25 A. That is when there could have been more --
1 higher quality manning of the formation.
2 Q. Thank you. In response to the question put
3 to you, you said that as regards mobilisation mentioned
4 in document 335, all persons who are on the list
5 responded to it, except for those where it says that
6 they were incapacitated or that they did not respond.
7 My question, with regard to this, would be the
8 following: On this list there are 489 persons. Do you
9 personally know that in the period from the 16th of
10 April until the 28th of April, 1993, over 400 men,
11 individuals were mobilised in this brigade?
12 A. No. No. I am not aware of that.
13 Q. Thank you. Manning the brigade which was
14 completed by the -- by July or August, as you said.
15 Was it carried out by resorting to some other
16 individuals or were these individuals from list 335
18 A. I did not say that the brigade was fully
19 manned. I was saying that there was better quality
20 formation involved. However, as regards this list, I
21 can only judge by virtue of this very list that the
22 others responded. But I cannot otherwise know whether
23 they did or not. Perhaps I could have some knowledge
24 as regards the 2nd battalion, that is to say those
25 members from the list who belonged to the 2nd
1 battalion. So it was just my conclusion that the rest
2 had responded. And whether they actually did respond,
3 that I cannot know.
4 Could you please repeat your question once
5 again. I seem to be talking too much and omitted to
6 answer part of your question.
7 Q. I am trying to say that as regards the
8 manning of this brigade in July and August, as you
9 said, was it done by resorting to other individuals too
10 or only the persons mentioned in this particular list?
11 A. It was the defence department that got the
12 necessary men, so I imagine that all of them were
13 included in this list.
14 Q. All right. Once again, in your opinion are
15 these only men who were mobilised after the 16th of
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you. Now I would like to put a few
19 questions to you related only to the accused Vlatko
20 Kupreskic. In response to Mr. Radovic's question you
21 said that you personally know Vlatko Kupreskic?
22 A. Well, not very well, but I do know him.
23 Q. Can you say whether Vlatko Kupreskic is in
24 this courtroom today, and if so, could you tell us
25 where he is and what kind of clothes he is wearing?
1 A. He is sitting in the first row among the
2 accused. He is the second one, if we look at it from
3 the pillar, the second one on the left-hand side.
4 Q. What kind of clothes is he wearing?
5 A. He has a white shirt, a black suit, a
7 Q. Could the record please state that the
8 witness recognised Vlatko Kupreskic.
9 Mr. Kurevija, during your testimony on
10 Friday, the 21st of January, that is to say before the
11 weekend, you said that you are a member of the Croatian
12 Democratic Community; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Could you tell me, when did you join the HDZ?
15 A. Well, from the very beginning of 1991, and at
16 the end of 1991 I was elected President of the basic
17 organisation, but I have been a member since 1991.
18 Q. So are you a member of the HDZ ever since
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you hold a post in that political
22 organisation nowadays?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Which post is that?
25 A. I am a member of the municipal committee and
1 one of the three deputy presidents of the municipal
3 Q. Of Vitez?
4 A. Yes, of Vitez.
5 Q. Do you know whether Vlatko Kupreskic is a
6 member of the HDZ?
7 A. I don't know.
8 Q. You don't know. Did you ever see Vlatko
9 Kupreskic at some political meeting or did you ever
10 hear him make political statements?
11 A. No.
12 Q. You did not. So now, Mr. Kurevija, I would
13 like to show you a document. So could you please take
14 a look at it and answer some questions that I would
15 like to put to you in relation to this document. I
16 kindly ask the usher to have these documents handed out
17 to the Trial Chamber and to everyone else.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D18/3.
19 MR. KRAJINA:
20 Q. Have you had a look?
21 A. I've read it.
22 Q. Could you tell us now what kind of a document
23 this is and who issued this document and who does this
24 document pertain to and what is asserted in this
1 A. So this is a statement regarding membership
2 in the HDZ of the B and H, and it was done at the
3 Municipality Council of the HDZ of Vitez. It was
4 signed by Mr. Dragan Vukadinovic, the late Drago
5 Vukadinovic now.
6 Q. Who does it relate to?
7 A. It relates to Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic.
8 Q. Here it says, the basis of the records of the
9 Municipality Council of the HDZ, that he is not a
10 member of the municipality council of the HDZ Vitez and
11 that he is not a member of the HDZ BH either.
12 Q. Could you please look at the stamp and the
13 signature on this document now.
14 A. Yes. I see them.
15 Q. Tell me, whose seal is this and whose
16 signature is this?
17 A. This is the seal of the municipal committee
18 of the HDZ of Vitez, and the signature is of the late
19 President Dragan Vukadinovic.
20 Q. What did Mr. Vukadinovic do?
21 A. Mr. Vukadinovic was president of the
22 Municipal Committee of the HDZ.
23 Q. You said that he was the late
24 Mr. Vukadinovic, that is what you said now. What
25 happened to him?
1 A. Well, about ten days ago he had a traffic
2 accident in which he was killed. He was -- yes, he was
3 deputy minister of mining and energy in the federation.
4 Q. Did you know him personally?
5 A. Yes, of course.
6 Q. Is this his signature on this document?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. So it is. Mr. Kurevija, we have almost
9 completed our questioning. On the basis of all these
10 elements that you mentioned, the stamp, the seal, the
11 signature, et cetera, can we claim with certainty that
12 Vlatko Kupreskic was not a member of the HDZ?
13 A. On this basis there is no reason to doubt
14 it. We have records and I have known Dragan
15 personally, the president, and I know that he never
16 would have issued such a statement having not checked
17 out the records, whether he was a member of the HDZ or
18 not. So I have no doubts as regards to this document.
19 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions.
20 Thank you, Mr. Kurevija. And I kindly ask
21 the Trial Chamber to admit this document as a Defence
22 Exhibit into evidence.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: No objection from the
24 Prosecution? It is admitted into evidence. I assume
25 there are no other counsel, Defence counsel prepared to
1 cross-examine this witness. So we can now take a
2 30-minute break and then we will resume with the
3 cross-examination by the Prosecutor.
4 --- Recess taken at 3.30 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 4.02 p.m.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Terrier?
7 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Terrier:
9 Q. My name is Franck Terrier, I'm one of the
10 members of the Prosecution team on this case, and I am
11 about to put to you a number of questions that are
12 directly linked to the answers you gave to the
13 questions put to you during the direct-examination.
14 When Mr. Radovic asked you if you knew the
15 accused, you said that you knew Mirjan and Zoran
16 Kupreskic well, and you said that you knew Vlatko
17 Kupreskic and Drago Josipovic but not so well, you just
18 new them by sight; right?
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. And you don't know any of the other accused,
22 A. I know Dragan Papic only by sight and Vlado
24 Q. You talked about Mirjan and Zoran's character
25 and you also told us what you thought of Vlatko
1 Kupreskic, but could you be a little more specific?
2 How did you happen to meet Vlatko Kupreskic and what
3 happened that made you know him in a closer way?
4 A. I didn't know Vlatko Kupreskic so well. We
5 weren't really that close. I knew Vlatko Kupreskic as
6 a merchant from before the war, he was a businessman in
7 Vitez, so that's how I knew him. I didn't -- we
8 weren't very close.
9 Q. A moment ago you were asked to look at
10 Defence Exhibit D18/3. Maybe, actually, it could be
11 placed on the ELMO again so everybody can have a new
12 look at it. This is the last exhibit the witness
13 looked at.
14 When you looked at this exhibit, you said
15 that you recognised the signature that appeared on the
16 bottom of the page of the document, and you also said
17 that you could authenticate the content of this
18 document. So my question would be the following: How
19 can you be so sure about the fact that Mr. Vlatko
20 Kupreskic was never a member of the HDZ?
21 A. I knew Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic. Not so well,
22 but I knew him, as I said, as an excellent and
23 well-known merchant in Vitez. As much as I appeared at
24 meetings and gatherings of the HDZ, I never -- I don't
25 remember seeing Vlatko there. I never saw him there.
1 So in view of this statement, which was signed by the
2 late Dragan Vukadinovic, the President of the
3 municipality council of HDZ Vitez, I don't doubt
4 whether Vlatko Kupreskic was not a member of the HDZ.
5 I remember Dragan Vukadinovic, I trust him,
6 and I'm sure he probably checked his records, and I'm
7 sure he would not sign something that he did not check
8 himself. So he probably looked at the records of the
9 Vitez HDZ membership and probably, because he did not
10 find Vlatko Kupreskic in these records, he probably
11 issued this statement.
12 Q. I see. I see what you mean. You held the
13 person who signed this document in high regard, and
14 this is what leads you to think that what is said in
15 the document is the truth, am I right?
16 A. (No audible response)
17 Q. I would like to put a new question to you.
18 In response to Mr. Radovic's question as to whether you
19 had heard about what had happened in Ahmici on April
20 16th, you answered that you had heard about what had
21 happened, but you yourself were not in Ahmici when the
22 events took place. You said you had heard about it.
23 So could you please tell the Judges what you heard
24 about the events which took place in Ahmici?
25 A. Within the command of the 2nd Battalion, when
1 I would report to the command occasionally, I think
2 this happened two days after the conflict broke out. I
3 think this was on the 18th. We heard that there had
4 been fierce fighting in Ahmici. We had heard that
5 there were a lot of Muslims killed in Ahmici, that
6 there was a massacre there. This, of course, struck us
7 deeply. So that's about it.
8 Q. The rumours you heard about the events which
9 took place in Ahmici, did you understand them to mean
10 that a crime had been perpetrated, a crime which
11 violated the Rules and Customs of War? Was that your
13 A. We were not informed in detail about what had
14 happened, nor who were the perpetrators. But today,
15 when I think about it, I am convinced that what you
16 said is true.
17 Q. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, with
18 the benefit of all the information you may have
19 collected in the area, today then, do you have an
20 opinion about who may have perpetrated these crimes?
21 A. No. No.
22 Q. Mr. Kurevija, you said that very early on, as
23 early as the end of 1991, you had joined the HDZ. I
24 would now like you to tell us what it meant for you to
25 become politically involved in the HDZ's activities.
1 A. I said I was a member of the HDZ, but not
2 that I was engaged. I was engaged only from the end of
3 '91. Within the basic branch of my village of Mali
4 Mosunj, I was proposed by my neighbours and elected as
5 chairman of the basic branch. So from then on you can
6 say I was engaged in the HDZ. But since I was without
7 a job at that time, I wasn't really active. I just
8 worried and was concerned about the life conditions
9 within the village, which was one of the tasks of a
10 chairman of the basic organisation.
11 Q. I would now like you to look at the document
12 that I'm about to hand out to you.
13 THE REGISTRAR: This document is marked 344.
14 MR. TERRIER:
15 Q. Mr. Kurevija, I'm not going to ask you to
16 read all this document, I'd just like you to tell us if
17 you've ever seen this document before. Do you know
18 what this document is about?
19 A. No, I haven't seen it.
20 Q. Just by looking at the first page of this
21 document do you understand what this document is
23 A. It's an excerpt from the minutes of the
24 meeting of the Presidency of the Croatian community of
25 Herceg-Bosna, expanded to include Presidents of the
1 municipal boards of the HDZ from B and H, the
2 Presidents of the municipal boards from the area of
4 Q. So it is indeed the session of the Presidency
5 of Herceg-Bosna, which took place on January 29th,
6 1992. Were you present at that meeting?
7 A. No, I wasn't able to attend.
8 Q. Mr. Kurevija, my aim is not to put you in a
9 difficult position or to make you uncomfortable. Maybe
10 I should have put my question differently.
11 Your name appears. It seems that you were
12 present at this meeting. So do you have any memory of
13 attending this particular session of the Presidency?
14 A. I did not attend this meeting. I couldn't
15 attend this meeting. If you permit me to read it, I
16 would like to see where my name is.
17 Q. Please. You'll find it on the first page of
18 the document.
19 A. Yes, it does state Rudo Kurevija, but I did
20 not attend this meeting. I could not attend it. I
21 assume this is a mistake. It's possible that it should
22 have stated Franjo Kurevija. He was President of the
23 initialising committee and he was a member of the
24 municipal council, but I didn't attend this meeting.
25 As President of the basic organisation, of
1 course, I couldn't. With the post that I held, I
2 couldn't attend this meeting.
3 Q. But you are stating, aren't you, that you did
4 not take part in this meeting, that you were not
5 present? Is that what you're saying?
6 A. No. I did not attend this meeting. I did
7 not participate in it.
8 Q. Very well then. The question I really want
9 to put to you is the following, and in spite of your
10 answer, in spite of the fact that you say you weren't
11 present at this meeting I think I can put that question
12 to you.
13 I would like to you tell us what were your
14 political aims? What were your political aims when you
15 joined the ranks of the HDZ? You say you were not
16 present at this particular meeting, so I'm not
17 mentioning the meeting again, but, please, could you
18 explain what was your view of the political activities
19 of the HDZ during 1991, during 1992 and during the
20 beginning of 1993? Please be as brief as possible.
21 A. In view of the fact that I didn't attend the
22 meeting I can't speak about the meeting itself, but my
23 political activities as the President of the basic
24 organisation really involved taking care about the life
25 within the village, in the interests and towards
1 enlarging the number of the membership of the HDZ, and
2 to increase the number of members within my basic
3 organisation, to worry about the community needs, to
4 strive at meetings of the municipal council, how to
5 best resolve the current problems in my village and so
7 Q. As far as the situation of the Croatian
8 community of Herceg-Bosna is concerned, did you have
9 any personal political aims, or did you share some of
10 the other members' of the HDZ's political aims? Did
11 you have common aims?
12 A. Since I was not in a great position, having
13 lost my job and I have -- having a family and three
14 kids which I had to feed, my goals in life were to feed
15 my family, and the political goals were secondary to
16 that. So I didn't really think much about that. I
17 really took care of my family first, my neighbours. I
18 wasn't politically engaged very much.
19 Q. Maybe I am mistaken, but I think you said in
20 direct-examination that you had joined a military unit,
21 the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade in Travnik, and I think
22 you also said that you were the political head of this
23 military unit. Is that right or am I mistaken?
24 A. You are right. This was on the 22nd of
25 December, 1992, when I was proposed to be a member of
1 the command, and I was proposed as deputy commander for
2 political issues, for political affairs.
3 Q. Precisely. Could you tell us what this
4 involves, what it involved at that particular time in
5 that part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and what did it mean
6 for you to be deputy head for political affairs?
7 A. Mostly it involved matters pertaining to the
8 morale of the soldiers, seeing to all the needs of the
9 soldiers on the frontlines. This is how I understood
10 my duties and how I spent my time, mostly with the
11 soldiers on the frontlines. But then having understood
12 that this was too much for me, after the Stjepan
13 Tomasevic Brigade transformed itself or split into the
14 Vitez Brigade and the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, I
15 spoke to my commander and he enabled me to be deputy
16 commander, so to have lower rank in the 2nd Battalion,
17 and they engaged another person to be the deputy
18 commander for political affairs of the brigade.
19 I couldn't really discharge all those
20 duties. I'm apolitical, so at my request the commander
21 made it possible for me to return to the battalion, and
22 as I said, they placed another person at that post.
23 Q. I see. Let's go back now to the situation
24 that prevailed in the area before the 16th of April and
25 on that date. Like many other witnesses who came
1 before this Trial Chamber, you gave us the impression
2 that the conflict started on April 16th, 1993, and it
3 seemed that before that date, a relative peace reigned
4 in the region. But you also noted that a number of
5 incidents had taken place before that particular date,
6 conflicts which involved Croats and Muslims living in
7 the area. Some of these incidents were very serious
9 My question is the following: In view of
10 these incidents which took place and which involved
11 Muslim and Croats, and which took place before April
12 16th, 1993, and in view of the fact that some of these
13 incidents were very serious ones, which measures were
14 taken by the military authorities of the HVO in order
15 to ensure the security of the Croatian community of
17 A. Before the conflicts of the 16th of April, of
18 course there were incidents, unfortunately, between
19 Muslims and Croats, but then right until the 16th of
20 April we were on the frontlines turned towards the
21 Serbs. So on that day, the 16th of April, we had our
22 units above Novi Travnik.
23 The region of Stara Bila did not record any
24 particular incidents until the 19th, the matter of the
25 elevation. Then even later, information shows that
1 that place was a little quieter than the other areas.
2 So on the 16th of April, the Stjepan
3 Tomasevic Brigade was being structured gradually. The
4 active component was within it, and as far as Muslims
5 themselves, at least in our region, there were no
6 particular actions, no particular preparations, as far
7 as I know, because there were no conflicts. So there
8 was no need for any special activity there in that
10 Q. Maybe I am mistaken, and if I am mistaken,
11 please correct me. But if I am not mistaken, no
12 particular measures were taken in order to ensure by
13 way of military means the security of the Croatian
14 community of Lasva Valley area? Nothing was done to
15 prevent Muslim taking violent action against members of
16 the Croatian community that lived in the area? Is that
17 right or am I mistaken?
18 A. I don't know if you are mistaken, because you
19 are talking about the community of Herceg-Bosna and the
20 broader region, Central Bosnia. I am speaking about
21 Stara Bila and the place where I lived, where I was --
22 so I can talk about that. I don't know whether
23 anything was being done in the wider territory. I
24 had no part in that.
25 Q. You are quite right to add what you just have
1 added. Maybe I was not specific enough. I am talking
2 about the Lasva Valley area, I am talking about the
3 area around Vitez, and I am talking about the Croatian
4 community who lived in this area. I am talking about
5 the security of the members of this community. I am
6 talking about incidents which took place in this
7 particular area. So I'll put the question to you once
8 again and I'll try to be more specific. In view of
9 incidents which you have mentioned, which measures were
10 taken, if any, by the military authorities of the HVO
11 to ensure the security and the safety of the Croatian
12 community living in the Lasva Valley area?
13 A. It's possible that this was one of the
14 reasons for the transformation of the Stjepan Tomasevic
15 Brigade to separate the brigades and to return the
16 command of the Vitez Brigade to Vitez and to form a
17 Vitez Brigade. Probably -- not probably there were
18 attempts to man it with more quality. So possibly
19 these were the reasons to ensure and to defend the
20 Croats in Vitez.
21 Q. I would ask that Prosecutor Exhibit 343 be
22 presented to the witness, please. I think the witness
23 had a look at it earlier on.
24 Do you remember seeing this document before
25 the break?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. On January 16th, 1993, who signed this
3 document, this order rather, in view of the situation
4 prevailing in the area, that asks the combat capacity
5 of all HVO formations in the area be put at maximum
6 level. If you can, could you please tell us what
7 military formations the HVO had present in the area at
8 that particular time. I am still talking of the Lasva
9 Valley area, I am still talking about Vitez, as you may
10 well imagine.
11 A. At that time the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade
12 was there comprised by the Vitez battalion. Of course
13 the Novi Travnik and Vitez battalions comprised it.
14 Then there were the Vitez formations. And that's as
15 far as I know.
16 Q. What about the home guards? Was it
17 considered to be a combat unit?
18 A. No, they weren't and they couldn't have been
19 considered as combat units. They were self-organised
20 and were comprised of the population from the
21 villages. How could they have been considered to be
22 combat units when they were unarmed?
23 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I would ask that
24 the Prosecutor ask more specific questions of the
25 witness because -- is he asking about the village
1 guards or the home guards? These are different
2 things. The witness at no point equated the village
3 guards and the home guards, so questions need to be
4 asked separately about the home guards or the village
5 guards. Also, the question needs to be asked whether
6 the home guard and the village guard are one in the
7 same thing. So I would like this to be clarified.
8 MR. TERRIER:
9 Q. I would like Prosecution Exhibit 341 to be
10 handed out to the witness, because it is true that it's
11 not very clear what names should be used in reference
12 to that particular unit to another.
13 Mr. Kurevija, you've seen this document
14 before, I believe?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. This is a document dated November, 1992. It
17 is signed by the president of the Croatian community of
18 Herceg-Bosna. Could you please explain to us, so that
19 no doubt remains, could you please explain to us what
20 units are mentioned in this document?
21 A. This decision was passed on the structure of
22 the home guard, the 3rd of November, 1992, that is when
23 the decision was passed. However, this is mere letters
24 on paper, because this is before the very inception of
25 the home guard. They could not have actually been set
1 up. There were only some working units. So within the
2 working units they also belonged to HVO units. After
3 this, I think that quite a bit of time had gone by
4 before the home guard was actually established, that is
5 to say before the 16th of April. That's to say before
6 the conflict there could not have been a real home
7 guard. That is to say that there were units that
8 consisted of young men who signed contracts, and they
9 were the active part of the units. The home guards
10 came in only later, after mobilisation. It is only
11 then that home guards came to the units.
12 So after mobilisation they were treated as
13 home guards. So they are home guards.
14 Q. If I've understood you well, this is a
15 national unit, it's not a village unit, it's not a unit
16 similar to the one you mentioned before?
17 A. Village guards, those were persons within a
18 village who had self-organised themselves, with the
19 purpose of protecting the village from crime and any
20 other negative development. And then the volunteers
21 grew out of these village guards. They signed
22 contracts and they become the active component and they
23 were the first members of the HVO -- rather, I'm sorry,
24 the Vitez Brigade.
25 The home guard came only later, when the
1 conflict broke out on the 16th of April, 1993. Then
2 these persons were mobilised subsequently. They did
3 not sign any contracts, because there was mobilisation
4 then. That is when the home guards came in, so you can
5 consider them to be home guards, whereas the active
6 component consisted of the young men who signed
7 contracts, they were paid in a way, 50 Deutschemark per
8 month, as I mentioned. They were not members of the
9 home guard. They were volunteers. They belonged to
10 the active component, whereas the home guard were those
11 who were mobilised subsequently.
12 Q. Would you agree with me if I said, in view of
13 the document that you have in your hands, that the
14 National Guard is a unit that works on a territorial
15 basis, and that it is a unit that is made up, in a
16 sense, of reserve forces from the Herceg-Bosna military
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So should we understand this National Guard
20 to be the structure who took the succession of the
21 village guards, which you mentioned a moment ago?
22 A. I don't understand. I don't understand.
23 What do you mean successors of the village guard?
24 Q. There is, on the one hand, the village guard,
25 you've mentioned that, and on the other hand we have
1 this National Guard. Is there not a direct link
2 between these two guards? Is it not the village guard
3 that became later on the home guard?
4 A. Well, the village guard was not in charge of
5 itself. They were organised on their own within a
6 settlement. However, the home guard, after all, did
7 become part of the Vitez Brigade, and above them was a
8 command structure, headquarters, et cetera. But, of
9 course, the home guards were engaged from the village
10 guards, and also from the ranks of those who were never
11 part of the village guards. So all military-age men
12 actually took part.
13 Q. Maybe I should put my question in a different
14 way. When the National Guard came into being, did the
15 village guards continue to exist or not? Do you
16 understand my question?
17 A. The village guards did exist even when the
18 home guards came into being. The home guards came into
19 being after the conflict, whereas the village guards
20 were there too. It is mostly elderly individuals who
21 were in villages. They remained as the village
22 guards. They could not go to the frontline, for
23 example. And, as regards the home guard, we can only
24 talk about it in 1994, when the home guard regiment
25 came into being.
1 Q. Could you be a little more specific as to the
2 precise moment these units of home guards started to
4 A. Well, a few days after the conflict broke
5 out, that is when the mobilisation took place, and it
6 is only then that we can talk about home guards,
7 because that is when they actually came into being. A
8 few days after the conflict broke out, I consider
9 everyone to be home guards, because even those who were
10 involved until then, I am referring to the active
11 component, all of them were engaged at the frontline.
12 So there is no difference between the active component,
13 on the one hand, and the home guard, on the other hand,
14 because the active component was paid until then. But
15 during the war they could not have been paid.
16 Q. The soldiers who were members of these
17 territorial units, did they receive any military
19 A. No. No, there wasn't enough time.
20 Q. What kind of weapon did they use?
21 A. Well, they used what they had. By then there
22 were quite a few people who did not belong to the
23 active component of the armed forces and who had
24 weapons. However, as the conflict broke out, we cannot
25 say that all the members of units had weapons at that
1 time. Weapons were mainly kept at the frontline, so
2 then when new shifts came in, then men would give each
3 other weapons before one group went home and the other
4 group stayed. So the weapons remained at the
5 frontline. They were not taken home. So there wasn't
6 anything special except at the frontline itself when
7 one had to know who took and who gave weapons.
8 Q. You are talking about the frontline against
9 the Serbs, aren't you?
10 A. The frontline against the Muslims. There
11 were no home guards engaged against the Serbs.
12 Q. Let us now talk about the events which took
13 place in October, 1993, in the Lasva Valley area. You
14 told us about this roadblock which was set on the road
15 going from Busovaca to Vitez, a roadblock which was
16 established near the cemetery. I believe you said you
17 were not present in Ahmici on the day the roadblock was
18 established. You told us that the military convoy,
19 interrupted by this roadblock, was going towards the
20 frontline. How can you be so sure about that?
21 A. The checkpoint was put up by Ahmici near the
22 Catholic cemetery, but then there was another one that
23 was put up by the Muslims in the area of Stara Bila.
24 So we knew about both checkpoints and we received
25 information the next day when the roadblock was removed
1 from Stara Bila, that the unit that had started out
2 from Kiseljak towards Jajce together with the military
3 police, that they removed that roadblock over there and
4 that this led to the removal of the checkpoint at Stara
5 Bila. I had heard this information. Of course I was
6 not down there, nor could I have been down there.
7 Q. I've understood you well. But my question
8 was the following: Where were these HVO units going,
9 these units which found themselves blocked by this
11 A. I already said so. Jajce.
12 Q. I've understood you, and my question is the
13 following: How can you be so sure about that? How can
14 you be so sure this military unit was going towards
15 Jajce? Did you get any personal information about
17 A. Yes. I heard about it.
18 Q. Why do you think the Muslims tried to prevent
19 HVO military units to go on the frontline against the
21 A. I never said that they tried to stop the
22 units from reaching Jajce. I think that these
23 roadblocks were due to the fighting in Novi Travnik,
24 right, so I imagine that the same goes for the
25 checkpoint at Stara Bila. Not at a single point in
1 time did I say that they had set up the roadblock so
2 that the units from Kiseljak could not pass to Jajce.
3 Q. Why was this roadblock established, then?
4 A. Perhaps in response to the fighting between
5 the Muslims and the Croats in Novi Travnik.
6 Q. Mr. Kurevija, I am now interested by the
7 events which took place on April 15th, 1993. You told
8 us that you had spent that day at home. Is that right?
9 A. You understood that right, yes, I was at home
10 in the evening.
11 Q. Did you watch TV during the day?
12 A. I do not recall.
13 Q. You don't remember -- I mean other than the
14 events which took place in the evening, you don't
15 remember that any particular events took place that
16 day, events of which you would have been informed via
17 the radio, via the television or via what neighbours
18 may have told you?
19 A. Apart from the information I received when I
20 had reached headquarters, that they had apprehended
21 Totic in Zenica, and apart from the attack on Kuber,
22 no, I did not receive any other information.
23 Q. This information reached you during the night
24 from the 15th to the 16th of April; right?
25 A. Right. As I reached headquarters.
1 Q. You told us that you had then organised the
2 defence forces for your village; is that right?
3 A. Yes, together with the commander, the late
4 Franjo Maric. We organised the defence of the
6 Q. But you also said that nothing had happened
7 during April 16th, 1993; right?
8 A. That's right, in this part, yes. Nothing
9 happened on the 16th of April except for this attack on
10 the hill in the evening of the 16th. That is to say,
11 at our left wing. That is to say, at the zone of
12 responsibility of our battalion, and on the right-hand
13 side near Jardol.
14 Q. Could you please tell us what happened in the
15 area you lived in, in the Lasva Valley area, after
16 April 16th?
17 A. In this part of the zone of responsibility of
18 the 2nd Battalion, in the evening, I think, there was
19 an attack. Yes. Yes, there was an attack on the
20 village of Brdo. On the 17th the Muslims took Brdo.
21 In the area of Stara Bila and Mosunj there were no
22 operations. In Jardol there were some operations by
23 the Muslims towards Jardol, that is to say, towards the
24 Croatian part of this settlement.
25 However, with the exception of the 17th, when
1 the point of Brdo was taken, there weren't any major
2 shifts in our zone of responsibility.
3 Q. Thank you. One last question, please. At
4 the beginning of this cross-examination you mentioned
5 Vlado Santic, a man who stands accused before this
6 Tribunal. You said that you knew him by sight. Could
7 you please tell us if you knew what Vlado Santic's
8 responsibilities were at the time?
9 A. I did not say that I knew Vlado Santic just
10 in passing, I knew him better than I knew the others.
11 He is distantly related to me. Before the war I know
12 he was employed in the civilian police. I know his
13 parents, I know him personally, a person who, until the
14 war, was certainly an exemplary individual. However,
15 I'm truly not familiar with his involvement in the war
17 Q. Does the Jokeri unit mean anything to you?
18 Have you heard of this unit?
19 A. I have heard of it. I have heard of it, but
20 I didn't know about it because we were located in a
21 different part of the municipality, and we were mostly
22 dealing with problems within our own area of
23 responsibility, and there was no need for us really to
24 communicate because there weren't any operations
1 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Kurevija.
2 Your Honour, I'm through.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
4 MR. TERRIER: I would ask Prosecution
5 Exhibit 344 should be admitted into evidence.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: No objection? No objection.
7 It is admitted into evidence. Counsel Radovic?
8 Re-examined by Mr. Radovic:
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. President.
10 The Prosecutor asked you which military units
11 existed, and you said that there was only the Viteska
12 Brigade in the territory of Vitez. I shall now read
13 out to you information on military units from document
14 P343 that you've already had in our hands, but I am not
15 going to ask for this document to be shown to the
16 witness once again, because I don't want to waste
18 I'm talking about document 343, that is to
19 say, to all units within the Operative Zone of Central
20 Bosnia, and it is stated specifically Bruno Busic
21 Unit. Did that unit exist in the territory of the
22 municipality of Vitez?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Then Ludvig Pavlovic unit. Did that unit
25 exist in the territory of Vitez?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Then there was also the units of Vitezovi.
3 Did that unit exist in the territory of the
4 municipality of Vitez?
5 A. Yes, it did.
6 Q. What about the Vitezovi? Who actually
7 comprised this unit?
8 A. These were young men who were part of this
10 Q. Do you know the unit of Darko Kraljevic?
11 A. That's it. That is that unit.
12 Q. And then the 4th Battalion of the military
13 police of Vitez, did that unit exist in the territory
14 of Vitez?
15 A. I don't know that that was the organisation.
16 There was a military police but I don't know about this
17 4th battalion. I don't know. Probably, yes.
18 Q. Also, the police administration of Travnik is
19 mentioned in this document. However, it is obvious
20 from this same document that they did not exist in the
21 territory of Vitez obviously.
22 Then I also see that there is a lack of
23 clarity with regard to the distinction between home
24 guard and village guard, and that you yourself seemed
25 to be confusing certain notions related to home guard.
1 If I understood what you said in response to
2 the Prosecutor's questions, you believe home guards to
3 be persons who were mobilised into the Viteska Brigade;
4 is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Well, you see, this document P341, which was
7 also shown to you, which you had in your hands, the
8 home guard units are established as separate
9 territorial units, not as men that are individually
10 mobilised and sent to an existing brigade.
11 A. I consider the home guards to be those who
12 were mobilised after the conflict and who were sent to
13 the existing brigade. However, classical home guards,
14 as I said, we can see them only after the war when the
15 regiment was established in 1994.
16 Q. Well, that is the important thing I'm asking
17 you about. In Vitez, was there ever, during the war, a
18 special home guard unit that was established, whose
19 members and organisation and command would be separate
20 of the Vitez Brigade?
21 A. No, never.
22 Q. You also saw document P335. That is the
23 report related to mobilisation, and also the list of
24 persons who were mobilised. Did you see who signed
25 this document?
1 A. You are mentioning too many numbers of too
2 many documents.
3 Q. Well, then perhaps could this document be
4 shown to the witness once again so he could see who
5 signed it?
6 Page 2, that's where the signature is.
7 A. It was signed by the head of the defence
9 Q. What was his name?
10 A. His name was Marijan Skopljak.
11 Q. And now tell me who was this document sent
12 to? You can see that on page 1.
13 A. To the defence administration in Travnik.
14 Q. Tell me, what about the defence
15 administration of Vitez and the defence administration
16 of Novi Travnik? What kind of relationship did they
17 have? In the document did the exact data have to be
18 mentioned, or was it possible for the signatory of the
19 document not to abide by these rules?
20 A. Of course the data were submitted by the
21 defence office and they were sent to their superiors,
22 that is to say, the Travnik defence administration. It
23 had to be accurate.
24 Q. And who guaranteed this with this signature?
25 A. The head of the defence office.
1 Q. And if it were established that these data
2 were not correct, what would have happened to him?
3 A. I imagine that sanctions would have been
4 imposed against him, and he would probably have been
5 replaced and whatever.
6 Q. And now another question: In passing, you
7 said that the Croatian community from Vitez had some
8 soldiers in the territory of Novi Travnik towards the
10 A. No, I did not say the Croatian community.
11 Q. What did you say?
12 A. I said Viteska Brigade.
13 Q. All right. So Viteska Brigade. Let us be
14 specific. I mean, there are so many different names
15 that I tend to be confused. If you can get confused I
16 can get confused too.
17 A. Yes. Okay. Perhaps I also made an
19 Q. All right. So tell me, when were the members
20 of the Viteska Brigade in the territory of Novi
21 Travnik? Do you remember the exact date?
22 A. Part of the men from the Viteska Brigade were
23 there on the very day of the conflict, the 16th of
24 April, in the area above Novi Travnik, Bistrica and
25 Komusina facing the Serbs. I'm not sure, but I think
1 that these were men from the 1st Battalion of the
2 Viteska Brigade, because the 2nd Battalion had taken
3 over seven days earlier on. So they had replaced us.
4 I think that there were even two platoons of that
5 battalion up there, about 40 men.
6 Q. So from the 1st Battalion; right?
7 A. I think it was 1st Battalion but for sure
8 they belonged to the Viteska Brigade.
9 Q. All right. But this 1st Battalion, that was
10 the one that theoretically covered Ahmici; right?
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. Do you know when these men from the 1st
13 Batallion returned to Vitez from the positions near
14 Novi Travnik?
15 A. They returned on the afternoon of the 16th.
16 That is when they came on foot. I think 24 or 25
17 kilometres they traversed on the foot. They reached
18 our headquarters, as I was there, in view of the events
19 up there at Brdo. They came to our headquarters and
20 they had some tea, they took some refreshments, and
21 then they continued on foot towards their respective
23 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President, no
24 further questions.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Any questions
1 from Counsel Slokovic-Glumac? Yes.
2 Re-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
3 Q. Thank you very much, Your Honour.
4 Let's see the document shown to you by the
5 Prosecutor once again. You don't need to read it.
6 At the end of '92, you said that you were --
7 what was your post exactly at the HDZ?
8 A. I was President of the basic organisation in
9 Mali Mosunj. President of the basic organisation in
10 Mali Mosunj. I was elected at the end of '91, and I
11 remained at this post until the beginning of the war.
12 At the beginning of the war, the operation of
13 the party was suspended, so it wasn't active during the
15 Q. How many HDZ members were there in Mali
17 A. Mali Mosunj has a population of 800, so there
18 were about 200. So counting all the people of age, all
19 the people were members who had the right to vote.
20 There were a number of sympathisers, but mostly
21 everybody was a member of the HDZ.
22 Q. At the end of '92, who was the President of
23 the municipal county of HDZ in Vitez? So who was the
24 President of the municipal council of HDZ?
25 A. Ante Valenta.
1 Q. And Franjo Kurevija, who you mentioned, what
2 was his post?
3 A. He was the President of the initiating
4 committee of the HDZ, the committee that initiated the
5 establishment of the HDZ. So he was a President of the
6 initiating committee in 1991, and then at the elections
7 the President was -- after the elections was Pero
8 Skopljak, and then he took over from Ante Valenta.
9 Q. In the report from the 20th of January, 1992,
10 it is said that this is a meeting of the county
11 committee, which was expanded with members of the HDZ
12 and its representatives. So because you were only
13 chairman of the HDZ basic organisation, you could not
14 have attended that meeting?
15 A. If I hadn't have come here I wouldn't have
16 found out that I was on that list. I did not attend
17 that meeting, and I could not have done that because of
18 my post, because within the HDZ itself there were 21 or
19 22 basic organisations. So within a municipal
20 organisation, beside the municipal -- the President of
21 the municipal committee, there were also 21 or 22 other
22 members from Vitez alone, and then you would need to
23 take into account all the other branches.
24 Q. Could you please tell us who Stipo Krizanac
25 was, what was his post?
1 A. He was a member of the municipal committee.
2 He was maybe some kind of representative. Really, I
3 don't know.
4 Q. So this is obviously a mistake?
5 A. Yes, definitely.
6 Q. Can we look at these units again, please?
7 According to the what the Prosecutor asked you, you
8 said that out of the military units in Vitez on the day
9 the conflict broke out, or in the period of 1993, there
10 was a part of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade. That was
11 the Vitez Brigade. How many men did the Vitez Brigade
13 A. One hundred and sixty, according to my
14 estimates at that time.
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. The Vitez Bogna. The Stjepan Tomasevic.
17 Q. When it became the Vitez Brigade, how many
18 people did it number?
19 A. Well, around March, when it was being
20 divided, until the beginning of the conflict, there
21 were a few members who joined the active components.
22 So out of the two platoons, when the Vitez battalion
23 came back to Vitez in the zone of our responsibility,
24 the number of manpower grew. So then we had four
25 platoons. If the other battalions grew at the same
1 rate in that region, then according to my estimate, the
2 Vitez Brigade could have had about 320 persons.
3 Q. So with the Vitez Brigade that numbered 300
4 on the day the conflict broke out, you also said that
5 there were Special Purpose Units, Vitezovi?
6 A. Yes, Vitezovi.
7 Q. How many persons were there in Vitezovi?
8 A. I really don't know. I don't know. Maybe
9 about a hundred, but I don't know exactly.
10 Q. Were the Vitezovi part of the Vitez Brigade
11 or part of the command territory of Central Bosnia?
12 A. No. They were not a part of the Vitez
14 Q. Were they in the structure at all?
15 A. I don't know.
16 Q. So this was a unit that was acting
17 independently; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Besides that Special Purpose Unit, Vitezovi,
20 were there any other Special Purpose Units in the
21 region of Vitez?
22 A. No. No.
23 Q. You said that there was military police, but
24 you didn't know within what unit it operated.
25 A. Yes, there was military police, but I don't
1 know what its organisation was, within which unit it
3 Q. So the Vitez Brigade and the Vitezovi Special
4 Purpose Units, besides these there were no other units
5 in Vitez?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Could you please tell us if you know that in
8 the course of January of 1993 there were any attacks by
9 the HDZ against Muslim villages in the municipality of
11 A. No.
12 Q. Do you know whether the HVO attacked in the
13 area of Busovaca?
14 A. No, but I know that the BH army, members of
15 the BH army attacked the Croatian village of Dusina
16 there. So I know about that attack by Muslims against
17 the HVO, but I don't know of any attacks by the HVO
18 against the Muslims.
19 Q. Besides the attack in Busovaca, which was
20 carried out by the BH army against the Croatian
21 villages in that area, were there any other conflicts
22 in the course of '93 between the HVO and the BH army in
23 the region of Vitez, up until the breaking out of the
24 conflict on the 16th of April?
25 A. In the region of Vitez I think not. I don't
2 Q. Except the conflict in Busovaca, were there
3 any conflicts other than that?
4 A. I think, yes, there was one in Uskoplje.
5 Q. Yes, but Uskoplje is not part of --
6 A. No, I don't remember any attacks in that
8 Q. So in the region of Lasva Valley, except the
9 conflicts in '93, there were no other incidents that
10 happened until this one that broke out on April 16th?
11 A. No, I don't remember any. If there had been
12 I probably would remember them.
13 Q. You said, regarding the home guard units, in
14 response to the Prosecutor's question whether there
15 were any home guard units which were founded based on
16 this decision that he showed you, you stated that you
17 believed that this was not the case.
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. Besides the village guards that the Croats
20 had in certain villages, did the Muslims have village
21 guards as well?
22 A. I don't know. They probably did, but I
23 really -- I wouldn't know.
24 Q. So you don't know how they were established
25 or whether they existed?
1 A. No, I don't know that.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Slokovic-Glumac, do
3 you have many more questions?
4 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: No. Thank you very
5 much. I have no further questions.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. All right. I
7 assume there is no objection to the witness being
9 Mr. Kurevija, thank you so much for coming
10 here to give evidence in court. You may now be
12 A. Thank you.
13 (The witness withdrew)
14 JUDGE CASSESE: We will take a 15-minute
16 --- Recess taken at 5.10 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 5.20 p.m.
18 (The witness entered court)
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Good afternoon. Could you
20 please make the solemn declaration.
21 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon. I solemnly
22 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
23 and nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
1 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
2 WITNESS: DRAGAN GREBENAR
3 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
4 Q. Good day, Mr. Grebenar. Would you please
5 tell us your name, date of birth, place of birth and
6 where you are living now?
7 A. My name is Dragan Grebenar, born on the 25th
8 of July, 1960 in Poculica in the municipality of Vitez.
9 Q. Where did you live until the war?
10 A. I lived in Poculica in the municipality of
12 Q. Could we have the aerial map set up again. I
13 didn't see that you had put it away.
14 Could you please indicate on the map for us
15 where Poculica is and could you tell us what are the
16 settlements surrounding Poculica, which community did
17 it belong to? Would you please look at the map behind
19 A. Can I stand up? Poculica is here. The
20 village of Poculica, which is along the highway
21 Vitez-Zenica, the border of the village was there, then
22 it continues onto the village of Prnjavor and the
23 village of Vrhovine. After the elections, this all
24 belonged to one community, so three villages, Poculica,
25 Prnjavor, Vrhovine was one community. That was called
2 Q. Could you please tell us what was the ethnic
3 structure of the population in the village of Poculica?
4 A. The population of the village of Poculica,
5 according to the census of '91, there were 408 Croats,
6 328 Muslims in the village of Poculica.
7 Q. What about the local community? What was the
8 structure of Prnjavor and Vrhovine?
9 A. Prnjavor and Vrhovine were 100 per cent
10 Muslim villages.
11 Q. What was the population of those villages?
12 A. According to these census of '91, there were
13 284 and 443 Muslims, 284 in Prnjavor and 443 in
14 Vrhovine. So at the local community level there were
15 about 1.055 Muslims and 408 or 409 Croats.
16 Q. The local community of Poculica borders with
17 the local community of Ahmici; is that right?
18 A. Yes. A part of the community where the
19 village of Vrhovine is borders on a forest where --
20 there is the village of Barin Gaj, so this is where
21 these two communities bordered, where the local
22 community of Poculica bordered with the local community
23 of Ahmici.
24 Q. So the majority population in Poculica was
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What was the structure within the village?
3 Were the houses of Muslims and Croats all mixed up or
4 were parts of the village predominantly Muslim or
5 predominantly Croatian?
6 A. As I have already stated, Prnjavor and
7 Vrhovine are exclusively Muslim, while the village of
8 Poculica, the upper part of the village, was mixed. So
9 there were both Muslim and Croats houses there. While
10 the lower part of the village was purely Croatian. So
11 it was populated exclusively by Croats.
12 Q. The events of '91 and '92, what kind of an
13 effect did they have on Poculica? I am asking you this
14 in order to find out whether village guards began to be
15 formed in Poculica as well.
16 A. The events of '91 and '92, of course,
17 affected any ordinary people in the municipality. As
18 far as any incidents in the village of Poculica, this
19 did not occur. We didn't have any incidents take
20 place. No conflicts. We tried to cooperate, agree
21 with each other, and we managed to do this,
22 maintaining, according to need, or holding, according
23 to need, joint meetings every 10 days. And we tried
24 not to pay any attention to what was happening around
25 us in Ahmici and Travnik, in Busovaca, in other
1 places. We wanted to preserve our peace and continue
2 to live as we had lived until then. Then somebody at
3 some higher level would determine how things were going
4 to turn out.
5 Q. When you were telling us all of these things
6 now, when you tell us that there were agreements within
7 the village, who reached these agreements?
8 A. Yes. There were agreements.
9 Q. Who are you talking about, Muslims and
11 A. Yes, yes, agreements between Muslims and
12 Croats in the village of Poculica, meaning at the level
13 of the local community. So Muslims from the villages
14 of Prnjavor and Vrhovine also had representatives who
15 took part in these talks. I was a representative of
16 the Croatian people, along with some others. These
17 were not closed meetings where only five or six of us
18 attended. No, this was held in a classroom, in an
19 elementary school, and then all the other citizens who
20 were interested could attend. They were usually
21 present. The classroom was usually full of both Croats
22 and Muslims.
23 I have already said that we tried to preserve
24 the peace through these meetings, and I think that it
25 was evident that we succeeded in this, because the
1 incidents that took place around us did not reflect
2 upon our relations in the village, but they did cause
3 increased fear among the people. Then towards the end,
4 even some distrust, but it was all quite within
5 ordinary bounds.
6 So until the 16th I can say that we were one
7 of the better places in our municipality.
8 Q. What were the reasons for these meetings?
9 A. Well, exactly what I said, all the events
10 that were taking place around us. So out of this fear
11 that it wouldn't occur to somebody to do something that
12 was inappropriate, either from the Muslim or the Croat
13 side, we tried to organise ourselves at the level of
14 the local community to discuss these matters and to try
15 to see who had weapons from the Muslims and from the
16 Croats. So the goal of these meetings was to maintain
17 the trust and our common life together. And I can say
18 that we were successful in this.
19 Q. So you say until the 16th of April there were
20 no problems in the village of Poculica?
21 A. No, none.
22 Q. Nor any incidents?
23 A. No, there were no incidents.
24 Q. Were the village guards organised in the
25 village of Poculica?
1 A. Yes. Yes. Village guards were organised
2 maybe in '92 or maybe -- at the beginning, in March.
3 At that time the village guards began to get organised.
4 Q. What was the reason for their establishment?
5 A. The reasons for their establishment were
6 similar to the reasons out of which these joint
7 meetings were held. Fear was slowly creeping in,
8 aggression, Serb aggression against Sarajevo had
9 already begun, and then in the municipality of Vitez or
10 there the majority Serb village of Tolovici also was
11 topical. For those reasons we organised ourselves. We
12 would come out at night a little bit, maintain some
13 controls. There was a larger number of crimes at the
14 level of the municipalities, robberies, so this was
15 done in order to protect the people and property.
16 The village guards at the beginning were not
17 planned, there were no schedules, but it was just out
18 in the evening we would take a walk out through the
19 village at night, a couple of the men and so on.
20 Q. So you said that those village guards were
21 organised at their own initiative in the village by
22 members of certain ethnic groups?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. How were they armed?
25 A. They were practically not armed. We had a
1 few hunters, a couple of hunters in the village. They
2 had hunting rifles. There were a couple of men who had
3 special guns, so that was the village guard in the
5 Q. Then later on did the number of men taking
6 part in the guard rise?
7 A. Yes, with time there was a larger number of
8 men who participated in the guards, and also the number
9 of weapons that they had at their disposal. As time
10 went on, as the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was
11 getting more intense, people tried, for reasons of
12 personal safety, to obtain weapons in some way or
13 another. Many of them personally for their own money
14 obtained weapons. They purchased them.
15 I know that in my village a lot of people
16 obtained weapons with the departure of Serbs from the
17 village of Tolovici. They were either colleagues, so
18 the Serbs could not cross into Serb territory with
19 their weapons, so they had to leave the weapons. And
20 the fact was that they were very well armed, so a part
21 of the Croatian population, probably part of the Muslim
22 population, obtained their weapons in this way.
23 Q. Did the Muslims have guards in the village?
24 A. Yes. Yes. The Muslims also had guards in
25 the village. But after us, in the second half of 1992,
1 after Slimena. I think Slimena occurred in May or
2 June, and after that the Muslims brought in quite a
3 number of weapons from Slimena. I remember seeing on
4 the road that they had small tank trucks and small
5 vehicles. They had rifles that were burnt through the
6 fighting, but they managed to make use of those weapons
7 as well. They organised their own village guards as
9 Q. Were there checkpoints in the village?
10 A. Yes. Yes, there were checkpoints. I think
11 this was after the fall of Jajce -- after the fall of
12 Jajce additional weapons were obtained and checkpoints
13 were organised, village guards. So it wasn't that one
14 group did it without the knowledge of the other,
15 namely, when the Croats set up their own guards, we had
16 a joint meeting where we discussed the need to organise
17 village guards. Then the representatives of the
18 Muslims said that they have nothing to organise these
19 guards with, but they are not opposed to our village
20 guards patrolling the village. But we agreed then that
21 the Croat village guards should go up to the last Croat
22 house in the village, that is to say at the top of the
23 village near the mosque. That is how far the Croat
24 village guards went. They never went into the purely
25 Muslim part of the village, that is to say towards the
1 border with the village of Prnjavor.
2 Also, when the Muslims organised their
3 village guards, we had agreed on the same thing, that
4 they should come to the last Muslim house, that is to
5 say that they did not go into the lower part of the
6 village which was purely Croat.
7 Q. I asked you about these checkpoints in the
9 A. Oh, yes, yes. These checkpoints too. I
10 already told you, there were different convoys. People
11 were saying that weapons were being smuggled, there was
12 still some Serbs in Zenica, weapons, persons were
13 brought in, and we had a checkpoint that was manned by
14 the Croats in the lower part of the village. The
15 Muslims had a checkpoint at the top, at Vjetrenice.
16 That is at the border between Poculica and that is to
17 say the municipality of Vitez and the municipality of
18 Zenica. They had their own checkpoint there and we had
19 our own. But I must say that we did have a sort of
20 coordination and co-operation.
21 Q. Within the village guards was there a person
22 who was involved in saying who would go on duty where
23 and when and had some kind of control?
24 A. Yes. Yes. There was some people who were
25 involved in such things earlier on who enjoyed a
1 certain reputation in the village, who were respected
2 by their own people. That is what the situation was
3 like on the Muslim side and that was the situation on
4 our side too. As village guards were established, they
5 took over control, as it were, over these guards, who
6 had weapons, et cetera. So this was on both sides,
7 people on both sides did this.
8 Q. At some point in time were you in charge of
9 the village guards? Did you exercise this kind of
11 A. Yes. Yes. I think I was the fourth or the
12 fifth in the village from the Croatian side who took
13 his turn at discharging this duty. I think this was
14 the second half of 1992.
15 Q. Tell me, did you also take part in these
16 talks with the Muslims that you referred to as a way in
17 which problems were resolved in the village?
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. Tell me, did you notice that trenches were
20 being dug, perhaps, around the village?
21 A. Well, trench-digging started sometime towards
22 the end of 1992. Muslims were digging trenches at
23 Vjetrenice, that is to say at the borderline between
24 the municipalities and also between the local
25 communities of Poculica and Vjetrenice. And again we
1 talked about this and we asked why this was being
2 done. However, already at that stage it was clear, at
3 least to some of us, that what was being done was not a
4 good thing. And there were some among the Muslims who
5 also thought that this was not necessary. However, the
6 explanation given by those who were doing it was that
7 they were doing this if there were to be some kind of
8 Serb aggression, that they would use it for their guns
9 and for anti-aircraft action, et cetera. So naturally
10 we were satisfied with this explanation and that is the
11 way it was, these trenches were dug and they were up
12 there at Vjetrenice.
13 Q. Since you are near Ahmici, the closest
14 village to Ahmici, did you notice that things started
15 changing after the first conflict in Ahmici in October,
17 A. Well, yes. No one was indifferent to what
18 had happened to Ahmici. However, I already said that
19 this did not exactly have any fateful consequences as
20 regards the local community of Poculica. We still had
21 the kind of relationships we had and we managed to
22 overcome this through these discussions that we had at
23 our joint meetings. Naturally, there was a bit more
24 fear and a bit more of a lack of confidence, but all of
25 that for us was at that time within the bounds of the
1 normal. It did not lead to any grave incidents on the
2 territory of the local community.
3 Q. Did you notice at that time that as this
4 roadblock was put up and as it was put down that the
5 Muslims from Ahmici withdrew via Poculica?
6 A. No, no, not through the village of Poculica.
7 I didn't notice this. I didn't see this. I didn't see
8 them coming from Ahmici. However, later in the upper
9 part of the village I saw some of this, and I also
10 heard from my colleagues at work, from Vrhovine or
11 Prnjavor, say that they had received some refugees and
12 that they came through Barin Gaj and also through this
13 forest that leaves to Vrhovine that I mentioned.
14 However, I did not see them pass through Poculica.
15 Q. Did you see any refugees in Poculica
16 otherwise from other parts of Bosnia?
17 A. Yes. There were refugees in Poculica. I
18 cannot tell you what the exact period was, but even
19 before the fall of Jajce there were refugees from I
20 don't know where. But these refugees were mostly
21 staying in the villages of Prnjavor and Vrhovine, that
22 is to say purely Muslim villages. However, I also
23 noticed in the upper parts of the villages, for example
24 in the house of Kasim Krehic, he had an empty house or
25 one-storey of his house was empty. And there were
1 eight to ten of them, I think. And then as Jajce fell,
2 this number went up considerably so. And practically
3 every house in Prnjavor and Vrhovine had a few
4 refugees, I mean staying with them.
5 Q. Were you employed in April, 1993?
6 A. Yes. Yes. Yes, I was employed. I worked in
7 the SPS factory in Vitez.
8 Q. From when?
9 A. I had worked in SPS from 1983. I started
10 working there at the end of 1983, in the SPS factory.
11 Q. Were there any people in the village who were
12 part of the active component of the Vitez battalion?
13 A. Yes. This was the end of 1992 or the
14 beginning of 1993. I do not know exactly when this was
15 established, but I do know that there were some young
16 men who came to these meetings of ours, that is to say
17 the representatives of the Croatian people, they said
18 that they would not go out for guard duty in the
19 village, that they now belonged to the active component
20 and that they had different obligations, as they put
21 it. What kind of obligations they were referring to, I
22 did not ask because they did not fall under our
23 competencies any more.
24 Q. So they did not do guard duty then?
25 A. No. No, they were not on the village
2 Q. And what did you do on the 15th of April,
4 A. The 15th of April, 1993? It was just like
5 any other day for us, except that things were a bit
6 more tense, because in Zenica, I think the Muslim army
7 attacked the commander of the HVO in Zenica, Totic. We
8 heard about that from people who were coming in from
9 Zenica and passing through.
10 We heard about it in different ways. In the
11 afternoon it was already on television. On that day I
12 was in Vitez. I had some personal matters to attend
13 to, and I went there around 12.00 and I got back around
14 4.00 p.m. Around 2.00 or 2.30 I met Mr. Zoran
15 Kupreskic and Senad Topoljak.
16 That day they went out of the company. They
17 left work. I didn't even go to work that day. Most of
18 us had unpaid leave of absence. We were all colleagues
19 there at work. We were co-workers. We shared offices,
20 and we naturally talked to one another, we had a
22 They had actually heard something up there at
23 the company, and they asked me whether it was true that
24 this had happened in Zenica. They weren't sure. I
25 said, "Yes, that's what I heard," but I didn't know
1 anything more specific.
2 So we spent about an hour there, an hour, an
3 hour and a half together, and I went home. Actually,
4 we all parted there.
5 Q. You said that on that day you had not gone to
6 work because there was no need for you to go there to
7 work or why?
8 A. Precisely. In the SPS factory I was the
9 foreman. I was in charge of one shift. As all the
10 these things were going on, the volume of work in the
11 company was reduced, and there was a lot less work than
12 normal, and since I had two assistants, we took turns.
13 Every 15 days or so one of us would stay at home. We
14 had only worked with one-third of our labour force, so
15 there was no need for us all to go to work.
16 Q. After you went back home, what happened
18 A. After I went home, I think that my wife and
19 family told me that they had watched a press conference
20 on TV or something. They saw what had happened in
21 Zenica, and they confirmed that it was true, that these
22 four or five young men were killed, those who were
23 Commander Totic's escorts, and he was apprehended and
24 taken in an unknown direction. So there was fear.
25 I felt an urge to go out and take a walk in
1 the village, and that is exactly what I did. I saw my
2 Muslim neighbours and my Croat neighbours. We were all
3 terrified, and we were all waiting to see what would
4 happen. Both were afraid. How should I put this?
5 However, nothing had any effect on what we were doing.
6 Naturally, we agreed on how our village guard
7 duty would take place that evening, and nothing had
8 indicated anything special, so that day was a pretty
9 regular day, as much as it could have been in that
10 situation and in those times.
11 Q. And then what happened in the morning?
12 A. Well, in the morning I was awakened around
13 5.00, perhaps ten minutes before five, by two men who
14 were there in the middle part of the village who were
15 on guard duty in that area, and they said that a lady
16 from the neighbourhood had called them and that her
17 sister had called her before that and told her
18 something to the effect of the following: "Are you a
19 normal person? What is going on? Are you still in
20 Poculica when information is coming in that you will be
21 attacked by the Muslims from Vrhovine, Prnjavor, from
22 the direction of Veternica?"
23 Q. What was the name of this woman who said that
24 her sister had called her?
25 A. That woman's name is Mara Papic.
1 Q. And where did her sister call from?
2 A. Her sister called from Kratina Mahala. That
3 is a village on the other side of Veternica towards
5 Q. And what happened then?
6 A. Then I asked whether they had noticed
7 anything. So they said, "Well, no, not really, no.
8 Not while they were on duty." And I said, "Well, never
9 mind. I mean, we received this kind of information
10 from women before and nothing really came out of it."
11 So I saw that they looked a bit afraid too, and I said,
12 "Why don't you wait for a while and I'll get ready and
13 I'll join you, we'll go to Mara's to see."
14 So I went up there with them and I asked Mara
15 who she had actually talked to and what all of this was
16 about. She repeated what they had already conveyed to
17 me, that is to say, that her sister had called her,
18 that she was frightened, that she was crying, and that
19 she was saying, "What's wrong with you people? What
20 are you waiting for? Why don't you leave?" And I
21 said, "Well, I don't know. I don't know anything, but
22 I'll try." I had the number of the headquarters in
23 Vitez, and I said, "I'll try to talk to someone over
24 there. I'll try to find Mario," for example, because I
25 had known Mario from the company.
1 Q. Mario who?
2 A. Mario Cerkez, because we knew each other from
3 the company. We worked in the same factory. But I
4 don't know, a person who was on duty answered the phone
5 and said Mario was not there and asked me what was
6 going on. I said, "Well, there seems to be some fear
7 around here, because information is coming in from
8 other villages that there might be an attack," and this
9 person said, "I have no idea but I'll try and find
10 Mario and I'll tell him to call you back." I gave
11 Mara's telephone number at that same house, and I asked
12 him to try and find Mr. Mario and to see whether they
13 knew anything.
14 We sat there for a while, we couldn't go away
15 from the phone, and I didn't really know what was wise
16 and what was unwise to do. Some ten minutes or so
17 later the phone rang and Mario was on the phone.
18 Q. What did he tell you?
19 A. He asked me why I was looking for him and
20 then I told him about this, that I was awakened in such
21 and such a way, and that this information was coming in
22 from the neighbouring village, that we might be
23 attacked, that there would be an offensive launched
24 against us, and I asked him whether he knew anything
25 about it, and then he just asked me whether we
1 patrolled the village during the night. And I said,
2 "Yes. Yes, and these guards are here right now. They
3 are the ones that woke me up." And he said me, "Did
4 you notice anything?" and I said, "No, nothing really.
5 Everything seemed normal."
6 Then he recommended to me that we continue
7 this observation, and that we would talk later if
8 necessary and that I should call him again, and that
9 was it. That is how I concluded my conversation with
11 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you. We can
12 continue tomorrow.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. So we adjourn now
14 until tomorrow at 9.00.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
16 at 6.05 p.m., to be reconvened on
17 Tuesday, the 26th day of
18 January, 1999 at 9.00 a.m.