1 Friday, 29th January, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 9:00 a.m.
4 (The accused entered court)
5 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning Your Honours.
6 IT-95-16-T. The Prosector versus Zoran Kupreskic,
7 Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic,
8 Dragan Papic and Vladimir Santic.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. Before we
10 resume the examination-in-chief by Counsel Susak. I
11 would like to ask the Prosecutor whether they have any
12 news. Mr. Terrier.
13 MR. TERRIER: Yes, Your Honour. Good
14 morning, Your Honours. In order to answer Mr. Susak's
15 question, I would like to inform the Trial Chamber of
16 the fact that on June 30th, 1998, among other documents
17 which were handed over to the Defence in application of
18 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, a document bearing
19 my signature, as well as Mr. Moskowitz's signature, was
20 handed over to the Defence. It was a document that was
21 a part of number of exculpatory documents. Mr. Susak
22 yesterday asked us who was this woman, this woman who
23 is mentioned in this document. We did specify that it
24 was an unidentified woman whom we were talking about.
25 As for the witness who mentions the presence
1 of that woman, it is a witness that an investigator of
2 the Tribunal had a discussion with, but this witness
3 did not give any official statement. We thought it was
4 not necessary to take a statement from this witness.
5 We did not think it was necessary to have him come
6 before the Court.
7 So the only elements of information we have
8 are those which were handed over to Mr. Susak. We
9 thought that these elements -- Mr. Susak could lead any
10 inquiry he would like to lead.
11 This is what I have to say on this first
12 issue. I don't know if you have any questions for me,
13 Your Honours. I will try to answer them if you do.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Susak, any comments you
15 would like to make?
16 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, I do have some
17 comments, because I don't know who this person is. Is
18 it really a person, Mirsad Omserovic, or is this a
19 person named differently? It seems that
20 Omserovic, Mirsad is a man, that he is a Bosniak.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: If I've understood you well,
22 the Prosecution has no other elements of information he
23 can give you?
24 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, I can give to you
25 the document which was handed over to Mr. Susak. I
1 think it's quite clear. We do mention
2 Mirsad Omserovic. This man had a short conversation
3 with an investigator from our team. He gave an
4 unofficial statement, an unsigned statement to the
5 Tribunal's investigator, and this unofficial statement
6 appears in total in this document. This potential
7 witness, Mr. Mirsad Omserovic, does mention an
8 unidentified woman of Croatian nationality, and this
9 woman is said to have brought some sugar and some bread
10 to some people. Who is that woman? We don't know. We
11 don't have any further information on that woman.
12 There is nothing else we can tell Mr. Susak
13 about this woman.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: But, Mr. Terrier, do you, for
15 example, have the address of Mr. Mirsad Omserovic,
16 because maybe this would help Mr. Susak. I think this
17 witness is from Muslim origin, so Mr. Susak through his
18 investigators could try to contact the witness and try
19 to have from this witness the name of the woman
21 MR. TERRIER: I don't have the address of the
22 witness in my documents, but it is one of the
23 neighbours of the accused, and he lived in Ahmici.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Susak, does that help you
25 at all? I think it might help you to identify the
1 person. Maybe this could enable you to contact her
2 through your investigators.
3 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, I think, I don't
4 know for what reason, a different surname was cited, so
5 it's not Mirsad Omserovic, it's another person who was
6 an officer in the BiH Army. So it's mysterious, why
7 wasn't it indicated that this was an officer of the BiH
8 Army. And the correct name, because if this were
9 correct, then the indictment against Drago Josipovic is
10 going to be brought into question.
11 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, I don't understand
12 it at all, what is going on.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Do you have any comment you
14 would like to add, Mr. Susak? What are you aiming at?
15 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, a witness of the
16 Court talked about this person in her testimony. She
17 said it was Mirsad Omserovic. He was an officer of the
18 BiH Army. He was that then and he is that now.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: We feel that we are satisfied
20 with the explanation given by the Prosecutor, and we
21 should not waste time. I think it is for Counsel Susak
22 now to look into this matter. The Prosecutor, to the
23 best of my knowledge, has passed over, handed to him
24 all the information he had available, so now we can
25 move onto a second issue to be discussed with the
1 Prosecutor this morning.
2 MR. TERRIER: Yes, Your Honour. As far as
3 the reports from expert witnesses, reports which have
4 been given to us, I would first of all like to mention
5 the report written by a ballistics expert whose name is
6 Damir Catipovic. I hope I did not mispronounce his
7 name. This expert report was given to us by
8 Mr. Radovic and by Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, and it
9 describes the characteristics of a particular weapon, a
10 Slovene weapon called MGV.
11 If this expert is an expert as provided for
12 by Rule 94 bis of the Rules, then of course we do
13 accept this report and we have no intention to call
14 this witness in order to cross-examine him. That is
15 not our intention. But I do want to specify that the
16 name of this expert does not appear, unless I am
17 mistaken, on the last list of witnesses who was given
18 to us, witnesses of Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac and
19 Mr. Radovic, but his name appears on other witness
20 lists. But as an expert under Rule 94 bis, we do
21 accept the report I have just described.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Let's turn to
23 Mr. Radovic. Is it an expert as provided for by Rule
24 94 bis?
25 MR. RADOVIC: Yes. We had this testimony at
1 the time when the Dutch police expert knew the
2 technical characteristics of the MGV rifle, because
3 what our expert witness wrote completely agrees with
4 what the Dutch expert, the Dutch police expert had
5 said. So if the Prosecution agrees for this to stay as
6 it is, for it just to be read, I think this would be
8 So practically everything that he said in his
9 expert testimony is acceptable. It's beyond doubt.
10 MR. TERRIER: I completely agree with what
11 Mr. Radovic has said.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. If I've
13 understood you well, you told us that the name of this
14 expert appears on the list of witnesses that should
15 come before the Trial Chamber?
16 MR. TERRIER: That's right, Your Honour. The
17 Defence counsel of Vlatko Kupreskic have asked this
18 witness to give a statement and another witness also
19 was contacted by the Defence counsels to carry out both
20 medical expertise and a ballistics expertise. But we
21 are not talking here about Mr. Radovic or
22 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, we are talking here of Mr. Par
23 and Mr. Krajina.
24 As far as this expertise is concerned, then
25 we would not accept it under Rule 94 bis. We would
1 like to have the opportunity to cross-examine these two
2 expert witnesses.
3 Furthermore, we were handed a report written
4 by a certain Mr. Kesic, who seems to be a geometry
5 expert. We are not going to accept this report under
6 the provisions of Rule 94 bis. We do want to
7 cross-examine this witness. The same applies to the
8 expert opinion given to us by the Defence counsels of
9 Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic. This written expert report was
10 written by Mr. Wagenaar, a Dutch citizen.
11 Lastly, there is a slight problem. On the
12 list of witnesses given to us by the Defence counsel of
13 Vlatko Kupreskic, we found the name of Vjenceslav Ilic,
14 who is a judge from the Bosnian Supreme Court. We have
15 no information, no further information on what this
16 witness is going to testify about. What we were given
17 are legal decisions which do not tell us anything about
18 what the witness is likely to say. We have asked for
19 additional information, but we have received nothing to
20 this day.
21 If this Supreme Court judge wishes to give
22 some information to the Trial Chamber on the legal
23 principles that apply today in Bosnia, then of course
24 we can accept this as an expert opinion, and under the
25 rules -- and under the disposition of Rule 49 bis, but
1 we do need further information.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Terrier. Yes,
3 Mr. Krajina, I remember that you had already told us a
4 few things about this witness expert. It's a judge, I
5 think he is the presiding judge of a Supreme Court and
6 he was supposed to give us some comments on a legal
7 decision which was given to us. So it's not really an
8 expert witness, is it?
9 MR. TERRIER: I don't know.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Par, would you like to
11 add something?
12 MR. PAR: If you permit me, I would like to
13 explain this in brief, even though we already discussed
14 this sufficiently. This is the testimony of the
15 President of the Supreme Court who we asked to appear
16 before this Trial Chamber to comment on certain rulings
17 by courts in Sarajevo which reflect the expulsion of
18 civilian population. The President of the Court, as we
19 mentioned earlier, we did not talk in detail with this
20 witness, except for asking him whether he was willing
21 to appear before the Court and to comment on the way
22 these rulings were made.
23 So we intended, when he appears before the
24 Court, to tell us what the elements were of a certain
25 act, why was a -- why was he released and for him to
1 comment on the legal practice in this sense of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We feel this is a testimony in
3 which we can all take part without any particular
4 preparation, noting that the rulings that we intend to
5 have comments upon have already been provided to the
7 So this will be testimony on the legal
8 standpoint of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 regarding the war crime of expulsion of civilian
10 population. So we don't feel that we need to submit
11 any additional materials. I think this was already
12 accepted before by the Trial Chamber.
13 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, the Prosecution
14 insists, we do want to have further information on what
15 the witness is going to say. It's not an expert
16 witness, from what I've understood, and the only thing
17 we have is this legal decision, this legal ruling that
18 was given to us. But how does that help us, and in
19 what way is this ruling relevant to this particular
20 case? We need further information. I don't see why it
21 should be a problem. Why should it be difficult for
22 the Defence counsel of Mr. Kupreskic to give us any
23 further information?
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Quite. I myself would call
25 upon Mr. Par to consider this witness as an expert
1 witness, which would allow us to apply Rule 94 bis of
2 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. Under the
3 provisions of this Rule you could submit a written
4 report which would be given to the Prosecution. The
5 Prosecution would then say what its position is. Maybe
6 these are not crucial elements to our case, so maybe we
7 should, you know, avoid wasting any time. Maybe the
8 best thing to do is to consider this witness as an
9 expert witness. But if you do want to consider him
10 only as a fact witness, then I do agree with the
11 Prosecution's request. You do need to supply the
12 Prosecution with further information on what this judge
13 of the Supreme Court is likely to say.
14 All right. Let's try to move forward.
15 MR. PAR: Your Honours, of course we will
16 comply with the Court's request. I would only like to
17 ask one more question regarding the objections made to
18 the expert witness testimonies. It was stated that the
19 Prosecutor would like to cross-examine these three
20 expert witnesses that we proposed. My question is
21 regarding the application of Rule 94 bis. I believe
22 that this Rule tells us that the Prosecutor is obliged
23 within 14 days of filing to indicate that he would like
24 to cross-examine the expert witness. So I would like
25 to know the standpoint of the Trial Chamber regarding
1 the period, the deadline within which the Prosecutor
2 needs to state whether he wishes to cross-examine.
3 Since more than two months have gone by since we have
4 submitted the findings, and now we hear for the first
5 time that they are being disputed in some way.
6 So we are interested in the position of the
7 Trial Chamber. But I really do not wish to complicate
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Well, it is true that the
10 Prosecutor has not complied with the time limit which
11 is provided for in Rule 94 bis, 14 days.
12 However, I think under Rule 5, we find that
13 no material prejudice has been caused to the Defence
14 counsel for Vlatko Kupreskic. So although, as I say,
15 we would like to call upon the Prosecutor to comply
16 with deadlines, I think that in this particular case no
17 compliance does not result in any major problem, so,
18 therefore -- and we are all under strong pressure, time
20 MR. TERRIER: Thank you very much, Your
21 Honour. May I just add one thing? Maybe I am
22 mistaken, but as far as I'm concerned, this 14-day time
23 limit is a minimum period of time given to the
24 Prosecution to think about his further move. We cannot
25 go beyond this 14-day limit, but there is no maximum
1 time limit unless the Trial Chamber wants to set a
2 particular time limit as it just said it wants to do as
3 far as expert reports are concerned. This is my
4 interpretation of the Rule you're mentioning.
5 This is not a maximum time limit, it's a
6 minimum time limit, as far as I'm concerned.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: I, for one, don't agree, but
8 I think it's within 14 days of the filing of the
9 statement the opposing party must file a notice. I
10 think it's a strict time limit. I would not agree with
11 you, but as I say, it is a minor problem.
12 I mean, our Tribunal, of course, being an
13 international Tribunal should not be fettered by legal
14 technicalities or minor points, not on points which are
15 crucial to a fair and expeditious trial. So,
16 therefore, we tend to be more flexible as far as the
17 application of Rules of Procedure concerning minor
18 points is concerned, and this is our case.
19 So, therefore, as I say, we know what the
20 position of the Prosecution is. I understand only one
21 expert witness has been accepted under Rule 94 bis,
22 namely the expert in ballistics proposed by
23 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac and Counsel Radovic. All the
24 other ones must be called to court to be examined and
1 Now, it is high time now to move on and to --
2 I will, therefore, call upon Counsel Susak to continue
3 with his examination-in-chief of Mr. Stojak.
4 WITNESS: Dragan Stojak (resumed)
5 MR. SUSAK: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Examined by Mr. Susak:
7 Q. Good morning, Mr. Stojak?
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. Yesterday we stopped at civilian Defence. Do
10 you agree?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. I asked you yesterday what the duties of the
13 information centre were before the war, during the war
14 and after the war, and then you replied, but the record
15 has something different so I repeat my question.
16 Was the task of the information centre the
17 same before the war, during the war and after the war?
18 A. Yes, the tasks were the same. Before the war
19 the centre would carry out the following tasks: All
20 mail that arrived for the civilian authorities and the
21 secretariat for All People's Defence would go through
22 that centre. The majority of telegrams would come in
23 code, so these telegrams -- and we also had regular
24 telegrams regarding the higher prices of cigarettes and
25 oil derivatives and other general questions. This
1 would arrive from Zenica or Sarajevo, wherever, and the
2 telegrams pertained to everything that was of
3 significance for the life of the population of Vitez.
4 That was one of the tasks.
5 The others were the civilian alarming of the
6 population. If a natural disaster occurred, a fire or
7 something that would threaten the civilian population,
8 then the information would -- we would receive
9 information from our people on the ground and then we
10 would pass that on to the relevant bodies. We would
11 call the fire brigade and automatically alert the
12 population. We were also connected with the medical
13 clinic, with the police and other organisations like
15 Q. Regarding the conflict of the 16th and on,
16 mobilisation also included the civilian defence. What
17 did the Civil Defence concretely do in the region of
18 Vitez and the surrounding towns?
19 A. You mean after the conflict broke out.
20 Q. Yes. From the 16th onwards?
21 A. The Civil Defence continued with its own
22 activities. It still took care of the feeble
23 population, the sick, the distribution of food for
24 those people, but as the war was escalating and there
25 were more and more killed people, cattle, there was
1 realistic danger of an outbreak of disease, so the
2 civilian defence mobilised, I think, about ten people
3 who worked in clearing the terrain, removing the bodies
4 of those killed and the bodies of cattle, their burial,
5 as much as the situation permitted.
6 Q. Was there an order by the commander of the
7 Civil Defence in that period?
8 A. Yes. When the mobilisation was announced
9 sometime on the 16th, in the second half of that day,
10 nothing could be done without orders. So the head of
11 the Civil Defence command had to issue orders to his
12 units, to the people who were directly under his
13 command for them to carry out their tasks. So the
14 mobilisation included those ten persons.
15 MR. SUSAK: Would the usher please show the
16 witness a document?
17 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D10/4.
18 MR. SUSAK:
19 Q. Mr. Stojak, I will tell you in brief, because
20 this is a very brief document, you can see that this
21 was issued by the chief of the defence office for
22 Travnik, and it was dated April '93. Item 1 says that
23 a number of units need to be mobilised in order --
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Susak, we need copies
25 of these documents. Not only the Court but also the
2 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, I only wanted to
3 question the witness. I didn't manage to translate
4 this because I found this with the witness. If the
5 Court agrees for me to give you copies, but this needs
6 to be translated in the briefest possible time.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: I'm afraid under our Rules we
8 can't admit this document in evidence and it can't be
9 used for the examination-in-chief.
10 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, I just wanted to
11 use it for examination, and I would tender it as
12 evidence later. But, all right, then I'm not going to
13 question the witness on this today.
14 Q. Do you know that the defence department of
15 the municipality of Travnik issued orders on the 17th
16 of April, 1993?
17 A. Are you referring to this order?
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. Among other things, I did not have to know
20 about this order because it was not addressed to me.
21 Q. All right. Did such orders exist at that
22 time after the 16th of April, 1993?
23 A. It is only logical that they had to exist and
24 that they had to be issued from higher levels to lower
25 levels, so the municipality of Travnik was a higher
1 level of authority as related to the defence department
2 in Vitez.
3 Q. All right. So this related to the defence
4 office of the municipality of Vitez; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, I apologise, but a
7 number of questions were put to the witness, answers
8 were given to these questions but what are we talking
9 about? Mr. Susak is referring to an order which we
10 haven't seen, which has not been translated, which the
11 witness himself hadn't seen before today, and he wasn't
12 the person to whom the order was directed to. So we're
13 not, you know, following this part of the
15 JUDGE CASSESE: On top of that, we don't know
16 the subject matter of these orders. Yes. I suggest we
17 move on to other questions.
18 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, yesterday we
19 talked about a report, and that is number 337, if I'm
20 not mistaken, and it says that orders were issued to
21 the Civil Defence. Today I continue along this line of
22 questioning, that is to say, I'm asking the witness
23 whether he knows such orders actually were issued to
24 the Civil Defence and he answered to me that yes, they
25 were. So regardless of this document, the witness does
1 know about this particular matter.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: All right.
3 MR. SUSAK:
4 Q. Mr. Stojak, are you aware of any exchanges
5 taking place during the conflict and after the
6 conflict, Muslims for Croats, I mean, and the other way
7 around? May I add another thing? Do you know whether
8 Muslims from Vitez were exchanged for Croats from
10 A. As regards the exchange of prisoners or I
11 don't know who, I only heard about this. If this was
12 done, it was done at higher levels so I was not aware
13 of it. I know that there was some kind of a commission
14 for exchange and there were some persons who were
15 designated. I think that the Crisis Staff dealt with
16 it at that time, namely Mr. Ivica Santic and Mr. Pero
18 Q. Were they in charge of these activities
19 before the conflict, during the conflict and after the
21 A. I think that they were in charge of this only
22 during the conflict, because that is what the situation
23 required at this given point in time, because it wasn't
24 even necessary before the conflict.
25 Q. Now we shall go back to your own activities.
1 The 20th of October, 1992, do you recall this conflict,
2 and where did this conflict take place on the 20th of
3 October, 1992?
4 A. That is the first conflict between the Croats
5 and the Muslims.
6 Q. Yes, I am aware of it.
7 A. I think it broke out in that part of Ahmici
8 called Topola. That's what we call it. It's by the
9 Catholic cemetery.
10 When part of the Muslims or the Muslim units
11 cut off all communication between Busovaca and Vitez,
12 they stopped, I don't know, some military policeman and
13 they disarmed him and that is when this conflict broke
14 out, when these men returned to their unit. I don't
15 know. They dismantled the roadblock and that's when
16 the conflict broke out.
17 Q. Could you please tell us where you were
18 during this first conflict?
19 A. On that day I was at home with my family, and
20 I could not have gone out as I was encircled.
21 Q. Could you please tell the Court where your
22 house is?
23 A. My house is in Vitez, in the town of Vitez.
24 That part of town which is called Mahala, in Stari
25 Vitez, the part called Mahala. That is to say, 30 or
1 40 metres away from the mosque in the town of Vitez.
2 Q. So that is to say in the heart of the town of
3 Vitez; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you please describe the situation to us
6 and whether you managed to get out of town during the
7 first conflict?
8 A. No. No, I could not have. I couldn't even
9 get out of my own home. There were even some telephone
10 provocations. These neighbours of mine thought that I
11 was doing God knows what since I was employed in this
12 centre. Then I received threats by telephone, but
13 fortunately none of this was carried through because
14 the conflict stopped and passions waned.
15 Q. So how did you finally manage to get to
17 A. I think that I went to work on the 22nd, the
18 morning of the 22nd, when everything had calmed down.
19 Q. Are you aware of the elevation or hill of
21 A. Yes, of course.
22 Q. Could you tell us of what importance it is to
23 both parties to the conflict?
24 A. The elevation of Kuber is on the crossroads
25 between Busovaca, Vitez and Zenica, and it is very
1 important because it dominates the entire valley, and
2 from it it is easy to exercise control over the entire
3 town of Vitez and along the communications line between
4 Vitez and Busovaca, and it's also easy to reach Zenica
5 from there.
6 Q. Are you aware of the fighting on Kuber in
7 April of 1993?
8 A. Yes. I mostly heard about it and I also read
9 reports of the civilian structures. There was sporadic
10 fighting already on the 15th of April in Kuber, and
11 later, of course, it intensified during the 16th and
12 the 17th, and according to Civil Defence reports there
13 were four persons who were killed in that area.
14 Q. Did you know any of the persons who were
16 A. Yes, I did. I knew Mr. Livancic.
17 Q. Could you please tell us his first name?
18 A. I think his first name was Zoran.
19 Q. Are you sure?
20 A. I think I am. I know his nickname. I know
21 how people called him.
22 Q. And who did he belong to?
23 A. His father had a cafe in Santici. Well, it's
24 a bit of an embarrassing name.
25 Q. This is Zeljo or Zoran?
1 A. Zeljo. Zeljo, yes, Zeljo was his name.
2 Q. And when did this fighting take place?
3 A. I told you a few minutes ago.
4 Q. But do you know about a place called Cajdrasi
5 and what happened to the civilian population there, the
6 civilians and army from Zenica?
7 A. Are you talking about Cajdras?
8 Q. Yes, I am.
9 A. This is another place on the other side of
10 Kuber by Veternica, at the very entrance to Zenica. So
11 if you go through that forest, along that road, after
12 the conflict broke out and off the MOS forces expelled
13 the Croat civilians, women, children, they managed to
14 pass through the village -- this road between Vrhovine
15 and Kuber and part of them managed to get down to
16 Vitez. Some of them were taken prisoner and others
17 were still wandering around.
18 Q. All right. So that means that they were
19 scattered about. Did they come along minefields as
20 they were crossing Kuber, and how did they come across
21 these minefields?
22 A. These people were simply fleeing before the
23 army, and they did not give much thought to the
24 minefields they came across. Only afterwards they
25 realised where they had passed through after -- after,
1 I think, a man and a woman were killed as they were
2 passing through a minefield.
3 Q. So these two persons were killed in this
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you please tell us how the Muslims and
7 the Croats were armed and in which ways did they
8 receive their armaments, and was any of this a joint
10 A. At the beginning of the war people bought
11 weapons in the black market through different channels,
12 different connections, et cetera. After the warehouse
13 in Slimena fell, this is near Travnik, then a lot of
14 people got weapons.
15 After Slimena fell, there were significant
16 armament both of the HVO, and the Croat people and the
17 then Territorial Defence. At that time, they were
18 altogether, the Croats and the Muslims, and they shared
19 the weapons.
20 Q. So how did they share these weapons?
21 A. Well, there wasn't a 50/50 sharing. I don't
22 know how to call this. It was catch as catch can. I
23 don't know how to call this. When a mob enters this
24 kind of a warehouse, nobody can really exercise any
25 kind of control, who would take what.
1 Q. You are a military expert of sorts, and what
2 do you think were the intentions of the Muslims
3 vis-a-vis Vitez and these other places? I am talking
4 about before the conflict of the 16th of April, 1993.
5 A. Well, their purposes were quite clear. They
6 wanted to take Vitez and the surrounding villages, that
7 is to say this central part of the state, as we would
8 call it, this strategic part of the territory. Because
9 they needed this territory so that they could link up.
10 If you look at the map, before and after that, these
11 Muslim villages were all around, Muslim towns and
12 villages, and it was only Central Bosnia that was
13 missing. That was the only thing they needed, Vitez,
14 Busovaca, part of Novi Travnik, et cetera.
15 Q. What do you think, were you sure that they
16 would take that part of Bosnia and did they have more
17 military men than the Croats did, in view of the fact
18 they had refugees, et cetera?
19 A. Well, there wasn't much tension or hostility
20 at the very outset. After all, we had lived together
21 for many years. For example, the place where I lived,
22 it was quite natural that we would go and visit each
23 other, et cetera. However, these tensions mounted
24 after various minor incidents, after Slimena fell, when
25 people got all these weapons. After the refugees came
1 from Krajina and Jajce, the Muslims remained in our
2 territory, whereas Croats mainly left and went to
3 Herzegovina and further on. They probably felt that
4 they were stronger than we were, and that they had
5 outnumbered us, and it is only logical that they
6 thought that they could take this territory for
8 Q. Do you think that they thought that they
9 would take this part of town easily? Are you trying to
10 say that that's the way they took Bugogno?
11 A. Yes, that is probably part of their tactics,
12 either premeditated or not. But judging by the way
13 they attacked, it seems that they thought that they
14 could take everything in a day or two, because that is
15 what happened in Bugogno, the fighting didn't go on for
16 two or three days even.
17 Q. Does Muslim territory go from Travnik to
18 Mostar? Was that an area that was held by the BiH
19 Army, from Travnik to Mostar? Are you saying that this
20 is the case now or earlier on?
21 A. Now. Now. The end of the war. Now.
22 Q. Yes, but not along communications. And if a
23 person were to walk on foot?
24 A. Yes, yes, you can take paths leading through
1 Q. Well, that's what I asked you, yes. Since
2 you said that you were in an oasis in Vitez, do you
3 know what the road of salvation was?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you please tell us something about it.
6 A. That was a road that was built by the Muslims
7 and Croats together. It is my impression that Croats
8 worked on it a bit more, but never mind. It went via
9 Novi Travnik, Pavlovica, to Gornji Vakuf, Prozor and
10 across Mt. Vran or Cvrsnica. I'm not sure now. There
11 were these two different roads. And it ultimately led
12 to Tomislavgrad and Posusje. And that is the road
13 along which food supplies were received during the Serb
15 Q. Was that road cut off sometimes?
16 A. Yes. Yes. During the first conflict also
17 this road was immediately cut off, and this was also
18 the case during the second conflict. I think there is
19 a Croat village up there called Sebesic. Before they
20 withdrew, they held part of their territory, but
21 communications were cut off.
22 Q. All right. Now we are going to move onto
23 April 16th, 1993. Could you please tell the Court
24 where you were on the 15th of April, 1993.
25 A. On the 15th of March -- I mean the 15th of
1 April of '93, I was off, I wasn't on duty at the
2 centre, so I was at my house for most of the day,
3 because I was supposed to go to a wedding on Saturday,
4 the 17th. I was supposed to be the best man to a
5 friend of mine. So he came to visit me and we were
6 talking about the preparations for the wedding, the
7 protocol. These are our customs. And then at night,
8 at around 8 p.m. when my shift started, I went to the
9 centre, to the information centre to work for my
10 regular shift, because we were working at the centre
11 from 12.00 noon to midnight.
12 Q. So in what way did you find out that there
13 was a conflict?
14 A. This was on the 16th, in the early morning.
15 There was shooting from all directions. We could hear
16 the detonations. And then later people reported back
17 to us. And because they were used to calling us, to
18 ask us what was going on, that's how we found out that
19 there was shooting, that somebody had attacked
20 somebody, that war simply had erupted in those areas.
21 Q. So the war started around in the morning
22 before 6.00, around 5.30 a.m. So you were in the
23 centre. So you said that your house was in the Muslim
24 part of Vitez. Where were your children and your wife?
25 A. My wife and my two children and my mother
1 were at my house.
2 Q. So in Mahala?
3 A. Yes, they were in Mahala. They were there
4 for three days.
5 Q. This was under the control of the BiH Army?
6 A. Yes. The place where we live has five
7 Croatian houses, five houses with Croatian families.
8 So on that morning when the war broke out, they took
9 shelter in one house. There was seven women, nine
10 children. And let me just recall for a minute. There
11 were five, six men.
12 Q. So if one was to ask you now, okay, you are
13 in the information centre and you are saying that you
14 didn't know about the conflict, if you had known about
15 it, would you have taken your family out, your wife,
16 your children and your mother, would you have taken
17 them out of the Muslim part of the town which was under
18 the control of the BiH Army?
19 A. Well, I am asking you who wouldn't have done
21 Q. So if you had known, what would you have
23 A. Well, it's logical that I would have
24 transferred them to a place where they would be safer,
25 where there was a Croat population, because my wife
1 comes from Stari Vitez, which is close to the church.
2 Her parents live up there and we have relatives up
3 there, so it's logical that I would have told them to
4 go up there, that there will be war or I don't know
5 what. I wouldn't wait for three days for some kind of
6 holy apparition for them to appear.
7 Q. So what did you do and when did your wife,
8 children and mother leave Mahala?
9 A. Well, of course I tried in all possible ways
10 to get to them, and I couldn't get to them. So the
11 only thing that was left to me was to go there on foot,
12 and then, if they hadn't come out that night, that
13 third night, the next morning, I would have gone to get
14 them even at the cost of my own life.
15 So after the cistern exploded in Mahala, and
16 they didn't even know what was going on, they simply
17 all came out into the street and they could see
18 UNPROFOR tanks loading people into those tanks and
19 taking them in the direction of Travnik. And since my
20 wife could speak English a little bit, she asked one of
21 the soldiers or officers, I don't know, this is what
22 she told me, she told them they were Croats, they were
23 afraid for their lives, and she was asking them to take
24 them as far as the church in Stari Vitez, which he
25 refused to do. And he said that they were not taking
2 However, another soldier or officer of
3 UNPROFOR who was just passing by, he saw that there was
4 something wrong, he asked what was going on. And then
5 she replied in the same way that she did to the first
6 soldier. And then he said for them to go into one of
7 the tanks. And they all got inside, the women and the
8 children, and the men remained at their homes.
9 So they all went inside the tank and they
10 were taken up to the church in Stari Vitez.
11 Q. Did you return to live in your house?
12 A. No.
13 Q. How far are you living from that house now?
14 A. Perhaps some 500 to 600 metres away.
15 Q. So now we are talking about the 16th of
16 April, 1993. Do you know whether the head of the
17 Crisis Staff, Ivica Santic, who was also the mayor of
18 Vitez, issued any kind of order about taking care of
19 women and children and also about the clearing of
20 terrain? So I am continuing with the questions that I
21 already asked. Did you have any formal knowledge about
23 A. Yes. I knew that the chief of the Crisis
24 Staff issued an order to the headquarters of the civil
25 defence to form a group to clear the terrain. And
1 then, as part of their regular duties, also to take
2 care of the feeble, meaning the women and children.
3 And since they felt that a large number of the
4 population could be jeopardised because of the
5 inability to supply them with food and the required
6 medicines or medical treatment, I think they kind of
7 separated everybody into sections. Then at certain
8 houses they collected numbers of people in order to
9 carry out these tasks more efficiently.
10 So it was difficult for a civil defence
11 official to run from one house to another to perform
12 his duties, because this would bring his life into
14 Q. So it was decided to deliver food to certain
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So this came out of the order issued by Ivica
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know, since we are talking about this,
21 do you know anything about humanitarian aid in Vitez?
22 A. Before the conflict?
23 Q. Yes, yes, before the conflict. How was it
25 A. Humanitarian aid was mostly organised through
1 two humanitarian organisations, Caritas, who worked for
2 the Croats, Merhamet for the Muslims. There was also
3 the Red Cross, but it mainly distributed aid through
4 these two humanitarian organisations. But I don't
5 exclude the possibility that Caritas distributed food
6 to Muslims or that Merhamet gave aid to some Croats.
7 Because it happened quite often that the Red Cross
8 distribution would mix up the food, since Muslims don't
9 eat pork. So then they would give this to Caritas and
10 then it would be exchanged for oil.
11 Q. This happened before the conflict?
12 A. Before the war.
13 Q. And afterwards?
14 A. Well, afterwards it's not really that
16 Q. So, please, could you tell us how many Croats
17 perished in Vitez, if you know this information, from
18 the outbreak of the conflict and onwards?
19 A. You mean how many were killed or how many
20 were killed and wounded?
21 Q. Well, separately, how many were killed and
22 how many were wounded?
23 A. Well, I think the information will not be
24 precise, but approximately about 1.300 or 1.400 were
25 killed, and almost 5.000 were wounded.
1 Q. Do you know Drago Josipovic? Do you see him
2 in the courtroom?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Would you please describe him, where is he
6 A. Well, I don't really see him too well behind
7 the pillar. I can see half of him. He has a
8 moustache. Now he is smiling. He is sitting next to
9 Mr. Kupreskic.
10 Q. Okay. So we can note that you recognise
11 Drago Josipovic.
12 What kind of a person is Drago Josipovic, if
13 you knew him from before? Could you please tell us?
14 A. Well, we didn't really know each other too
15 well, but we knew each other. Vitez is a small town
16 and we all know one another, more or less. He was a
17 quiet family man, took care of himself and his family,
18 probably just like all of us who lived together as
19 neighbours with Muslims and had contacts with them. So
20 he lived with them to the extent that the circumstances
21 called for. And this was normal.
22 Q. Since you were in the centre of the town and
23 in the administration of the Vitez municipality, could
24 you tell us whether Drago Josipovic was politically
1 A. As far as I know, he did not.
2 Q. Was he a member of any party or -- including
3 the HDZ? Do you know this?
4 A. Well, I don't know that.
5 Q. Did he participate in the governing bodies?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did he influence any kind of decision-making
8 in the municipality?
9 A. Well, I don't think he could have had any
10 influence on that because those decisions were made at
11 a higher level, so we just ordinary mortals didn't have
12 much influence on that.
13 Q. When you talked about the level of
14 decision-making, what level did you mean? You said
15 higher levels.
16 A. Well, decisions were generally made at the
17 municipal leadership level by the mayor, his deputy and
18 so on.
19 Q. Who was the mayor and who was his deputy?
20 A. The structure of authority in the
21 municipality was relative to the election results which
22 had taken place just before that. So the mayor was
23 Ivica Santic and his deputy or the chairman of the
24 executive committee was Mr. Fuad Kaknjo.
25 Q. So this was before the governing bodies
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So the posts were according to the results of
4 the elections?
5 A. Well, there were five sections in the
6 municipality, so since the Croats were a majority
7 population in Vitez, there were two per cent more of
8 them than Muslims, so they had three departments, and
9 Muslims had two departments in the municipality of
11 Q. So during the conflict who was the mayor and
12 who was his deputy?
13 A. Before the conflict the authorities divided.
14 There was the Croat authorities and the Muslim
15 authorities. There were two civilian police forces,
16 two military police forces, and then simply after the
17 conflict Muslims simply did not want to have joint
18 government or whatever you would like to call it. They
19 simply left those bodies, even though contacts were
20 maintained, but not such close contacts that they had
21 before the conflict.
22 Q. And then there was complete separation?
23 A. Yes, complete separation.
24 Q. So after this separation, who was the mayor
25 and who was his deputy in the town of Vitez?
1 A. Ivica Santic was the mayor and then his
2 deputy. His deputy was usually Pero Skopljak.
3 Q. One more or two questions, and then I will be
4 through. The village guards, when were they formed and
5 how did they operate? Were they joint guards or
6 separate guards?
7 A. Like life in Vitez in general during the war,
8 at the beginning it started out as joint guards, so I
9 said that in the beginning these were self-organised
10 groups of people or individuals who would guard their
11 street, their surrounding few houses, neighbouring
12 houses. So in the beginning these guards were joint by
13 Muslims and Croats. And this went on until the first
14 conflict broke out. After that they separated for the
15 personal security of individuals. I don't know, they
16 didn't trust one another any more.
17 Q. Were they formally established or --
18 A. I don't understand. How do you mean
20 Q. Well, how were they organised? Was there a
21 commander of the village guards, and who appointed him,
22 how was he elected?
23 A. Well, I said earlier that these were
24 self-organised groups of people. They organised
25 themselves. They would elect their own leader, a
1 person that they would report to. But they mostly made
2 decisions by meeting on the street or in some room, and
3 then they would make a joint decision. And decisions
4 mostly pertained to the shifts, who is going to be on
5 duty at what time, when would he be off, when would he
6 be on duty and so on. So everything was agreed upon
7 MR. SUSAK: All right. Mr. President, I have
8 no further questions. And thank you.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Susak.
10 Cross-examination by other Defence counsel?
11 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President,
12 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac.
14 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
15 Mr. President.
16 Cross-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
17 Q. Mr. Stojak, just a few questions. Since you
18 lived in Mahala, in the Muslim part of Stari Vitez, do
19 you know which forces of the BiH Army were there, what
20 units were these, which military units were stationed
21 in Mahala?
22 A. You mean during the conflict?
23 Q. Before the conflict and during the conflict.
24 A. Well, when the separation took place, they
25 had appropriated the Territorial Defence and they moved
1 their headquarters, their command to Mahala. I do not
2 know the exact name of their formation or their unit,
3 but approximately this was the size of a battalion,
4 about 500 armed men. But it is certain that half of
5 them are people who came from other places.
6 That is to say, it wasn't only the local
7 population that lived there, because after all, I grew
8 up there and I know these people, but as refugees came
9 from Krajina, from Jajce, from Eastern Bosnia, from
10 Sanjak, they took them in, they provided some kind of
11 accommodation to them. I don't know. At any rate,
12 they stayed there and they were armed.
13 Q. Was it customary before the war to see armed
14 Muslim soldiers in Mahala?
15 A. Yes, it was customary, because their
16 headquarters was at the fire brigade building and they
17 thought this was their own territory. These were times
18 of war and everybody walked around with weapons and
19 they had gravitated towards this area. That is to say,
20 they lived there, and they also reviewed the units they
21 had there and the kind of weapons they had, et cetera.
22 Q. Did you see any such review?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you assess how many people there were at
25 this review? I'm talking about the pre-war period.
1 A. Well, I don't think that they ever had an
2 entire unit there. Usually these were smaller military
3 formations. So, for example, today they would have a
4 platoon or a squad, these lower combat units, because
5 it was a small area, and very often their training took
6 place near Lasva, where there was a clearing.
7 Q. You mean training their own units?
8 A. Yes, yes. Training their own soldiers.
9 Q. In addition to the army that you said that
10 they didn't -- you did not know what unit they belonged
11 to, was there a civilian and a military police also in
12 Mahala? Were you aware of that?
13 A. Yes. There was a military police and there
14 was a civilian police. When there was a separation of
15 authority in Vitez, then they transferred all their own
16 authorities into the fire brigade building. They
17 belonged to the 325th Mountain Brigade, but I don't
18 know what size it was. I don't know whether they had
19 other units within.
20 Q. Did you notice any trench digging in Mahala
21 or around Mahala?
22 A. Before the war broke out, before the second
23 conflict broke out? Yes, yes, I managed to notice
24 this. First of all, trenches were dug just before the
25 outbreak of the first conflict. Of course, this was
1 supposed to be some kind of an exercise, and as I said
2 a few minutes ago, this was near the Lasva and in that
3 clearing, but as soon as the conflict took place then
4 trenches were dug near that area. I think that the
5 area concerned is about 500 by 500 metres, this is a
6 rough estimate of mine, and that's where trenches were
8 After the first cease-fire was signed, they
9 camouflaged this area. They pretended to cover up
10 these trenches but they didn't really, so they used
11 this very cleverly in their own military operations.
12 Q. In the part of Vitez which is called Mahala,
13 what was the approximate population there in the
14 pre-war times, excluding the refugees?
15 A. Well, about 250 houses, 300 at a maximum.
16 Well, how many people there are --
17 Q. How many Croat houses were there and how many
18 Croats lived in the area of Mahala; do you know that?
19 A. Well, there were two parts and two small
20 Croat neighbourhoods in the part near the mosque.
21 There were eight, eight Croat houses, and the other
22 part around the fire brigade building, I think -- yes,
23 I think there were five Croat houses there. They lived
24 there with their families of roughly four members per
1 Q. Tell me, what about the intensity of the
2 fighting around Stari Vitez on the 16th of April? How
3 long did this go on and was this heavy fighting? Were
4 attempts made to enter Stari Vitez by the HVO?
5 A. I don't know whether attempts were made to
6 enter, but I just know that one didn't dare go into the
7 street for fear of snipers, bullets. I know that many
8 people were killed in -- along these roads and streets
9 that go from Mahala. As they were running in various
10 directions quite a few people got killed or injured.
11 I wasn't there at the time, I was at the
12 centre, and I was wounded by a shell on the third day
13 and I was taken to hospital, so -- so I cannot exactly
14 describe these events, that is to say, whether the HVO
15 units tried to enter.
16 Q. And what about the intensity of the fighting
17 around Mahala? You said there was heavy fighting in
18 Vitez so that relates to Mahala; right?
19 A. Yes, Mahala. Because most of the gunfire
20 came from that side, that is to say, from Mahala
21 towards the town. Within town there wasn't much -- I
22 don't know, much shooting, whatever.
23 Q. Tell me, what happened to the Croats who
24 happened to be in Mahala between the 15th and the 16th,
25 or on the morning of the 16th? You said that your
1 family managed to get out with UNPROFOR. Were there
2 any Croats who were killed?
3 A. Yes. My grandmother, my maternal
4 grandmother. She had been born in 1908. She died a
5 few minutes -- a few years ago, and she spent the
6 entire war there and she didn't want to get out.
7 On the third day, the women went out. After
8 the truck bomb went off, then the women got out and the
9 men were taken prisoner, and the men told us about this
10 afterwards, including our next door neighbour. He --
11 told us about it too. Mehmedovic was his name. They
12 were staying in his basement.
13 A military policeman told me about it later
14 too. He came to get a young man called Dragan Pavlovic
15 Gagalica. They had really mistreated him. They put a
16 gun in his mouth and did all sorts of things.
17 Anyway, they were looking for me and it
18 boiled down to that. They were looking for me. I
19 don't know for what reasons. This was probably only a
21 So these men were exchanged later on, I think
22 15 or 20 days later. But across the road, on the other
23 side of the cemetery where Andzelko Miskovic lived --
24 my grandmother saw this. This is where her old house
25 is. She saw it when he was killed. And after that he
1 had -- his throat was slit and they left him by that
2 house. Then when things calmed down, my grandmother
3 summoned the courage to go out and drag him into an old
4 building, a basement, we called it the Magaza, during
5 the night, and she dug a grave for him herself during
6 the night, and then she buried him there, and then
7 afterwards he was exhumed and exchanged. I think he
8 was from Veceriska.
9 Q. Do you know anything about the case of a
10 woman and her son who was a disabled person, who was in
11 a wheelchair, from Mahala?
12 A. That was Dragica Prkacin.
13 Q. Yes?
14 A. Until this very day, no one knows what
15 happened to her, and her son Vlado too. No one knows
16 what happened to them. They lived up there near
17 Princip, near Remiza, and it has never been proved but
18 it is believed that they burned down in these houses,
19 and he -- and their son Dragan was looking for her
20 intensively and he never found them.
21 There's another person, Vidovic. He was
22 killed in Mahala too, or he's missing in Mahala. So I
23 don't know what happened to him.
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you. No further
25 questions. Thank you.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you,
2 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. We may probably start
4 with the cross-examination by the Prosecutor.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
6 MR. BLAXILL: Mr. President, Your Honours,
7 good morning. Defence counsel, good morning to you.
8 Q. Mr. Stojak, good morning to you, sir.
9 A. Good morning.
10 Q. My name is Michael Blaxill. I am one of the
11 Prosecutor lawyers assigned to this case. I do just
12 have a few questions, and I shall endeavour to keep you
13 and the court as little time as I can.
14 You stated, sir, that you worked in the
15 information office, which I believe formed part of the
16 defence office of the municipal authorities, the TO --
17 the HVO, rather, in Vitez; is that correct?
18 A. Not the Territorial Defence. It is part of
19 the defence department. That is to say, within the
20 defence department there were several different
21 services, and one of these services was the centre
23 Q. And were you -- in that role were you, in
24 fact, in a military occupation or were you a civilian
1 A. I was a civilian employee.
2 Q. Thank you. Now, was this office a successor
3 to what was known as the municipal ONO in the former
4 Yugoslavia, before the break-up?
5 A. Are you talking about the defence office of
6 the municipality of Vitez?
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. Yes, but that wasn't its name. Its name was
9 the secretariat for national defence.
10 Q. And within that office, obviously that had
11 involvement then with the former JNA; is that correct?
12 A. Before the conflict. In the former system,
13 in that other system, the previous one.
14 Q. Thank you. So when your office started
15 working as a defence office for the HVO, would you say
16 it was fair to suggest you had sort of taken over the
17 administrative and structural style of the old system?
18 A. Well, you cannot really say that it was taken
19 over in that sense. During the shelling, during the
20 war operations, a lot of these files were removed and
21 lost ultimately. So certain things to be modified.
22 But in principle, that was it more or less.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, I believe that the HVO
24 itself was formed in about June 1992. Would that be
1 A. Are you talking about HVO military units?
2 Q. Well, both the civilian administration of the
3 HVO and the HVO as a military body as well.
4 A. I really could not answer that question,
5 whether it was in June '92 that this was established,
6 because we were at lower levels after all, and these
7 were people at higher levels of authority that made
8 such decisions. But I think that the formal
9 establishment somehow coincided with this first
10 conflict between the Muslims and the Croats, because
11 until then all of it was somehow shared.
12 Q. Would it be fair to suggest to you, sir, that
13 you would have become aware of the existence of the HVO
14 around the middle of 1992? Would that be more
16 A. Well, the HVO and, I don't know, some kind of
17 war units were set up as some kind of security for --
18 for the Croat people in that part of the territory that
19 we lived in, so -- so we had, as our own protection at
20 that time, the civilian police force, and later on came
21 this military police.
22 At first they were shared, as I said. There
23 was HVO military police and BH army military police.
24 But it's very difficult to make a distinction whether
25 it was the HVO that was set up or, I don't know, some
1 other kind of military unit.
2 Q. But, Mr. Stojak you were working in an
3 information centre. Was this the sole information
4 centre that was used by the HVO authorities in Vitez?
5 I will say, firstly, the civilian authorities.
6 A. No, no, not HVO authorities, only the
7 civilian authorities of the municipality of Vitez,
8 because the defence office was a civilian authority, it
9 had nothing to do with the army. And also, you asked
10 me about this a few minutes ago, and it's not clear to
11 me really what you're asking me, because my boss, until
12 the first conflict, was a Muslim, Zlotrg Nedim.
13 Q. Then I will ask you this, Mr. Stojak: You
14 said that the defence office had nothing to do with the
15 civilian administration, Muslim or HVO, so is it true
16 to say that your office worked directly with the HVO
17 military within Vitez? Would that be fair?
18 A. No, no, no. You put it the other way
19 around. The defence office was a civilian component of
20 government. It was not a military component of
21 government. Defence offices belong to the civilian
22 sector otherwise, too.
23 Q. So did -- as a civilian body, did your office
24 handle any materials that had relevance to the
25 military, its establishment, its supply or its
2 A. According to the establishment rules of the
3 former JNA, it is the defence office that at the
4 request the military component carries out certain
5 activities, such as mobilisation of personnel and
6 mobilisation of needed logistics, et cetera.
7 Q. But as regards your component of the
8 information, I would ask you again, sir, did you
9 handle, yourself, any military communications that
10 passed to or from the HVO military in that area?
11 A. No, no.
12 Q. I want to ask you just a couple of fairly
13 brief questions on this issue of mobilisation of
14 persons. From your knowledge, sir, and your academic
15 experience in the field of defence, is it a true
16 generalisation that in the former Yugoslavia, before
17 the conflict, basically all males of military age were
18 liable to do JNA service? Is that correct, sir?
19 A. Are you talking about the former Yugoslavia?
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. Yes, in the former Yugoslavia, yes.
22 Q. And after the break-up of the former
23 Yugoslavia, is it true that subsequently people were
24 also required essentially to be prepared to serve and
25 protect the state? Is that correct?
1 A. No.
2 Q. I will turn to the subject of the Croatian
3 community of Herceg-Bosna. Are you familiar with that
4 term and that concept, sir?
5 A. Yes, yes, I'm familiar with the term.
6 Q. Now, are you familiar with any of the
7 publications in what is called the Nadrodni List,
8 official decrees of the communities, the community of
10 A. I am familiar with the term "Official
11 Gazette," whereas the official List of the Croatian
12 community of Herceg-Bosna, I've never seen one so I
13 cannot say that I'm familiar with it.
14 Q. I regret sir, I was probably abusing your
15 language, which I do not speak, and it was probably my
16 mistake. The Official Gazette is what I'm referring
18 A. Yes, yes, the Official Gazette. That I know,
19 because I had the opportunity of holding copies in my
20 hands, the former ones. However, I did not ever hold
21 in my own hands the Official Gazette of the Croatian
22 community of Herceg-Bosna, so I'm not familiar with
24 Q. There is one document I would like to put to
25 this witness, Your Honours. This document was served
1 this morning. Copies are being made available now. It
2 involves a number of Articles published by the Croatian
3 community of Herceg-Bosna, but I am referring only to
4 Articles 3 and 4 for brevity.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Blaxill, do you think
6 that this is a convenient time for a break now, or --
7 MR. BLAXILL: Very easily. We can distribute
8 the documents.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
10 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked 349.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. So we'll break
12 now for 30 minutes.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
15 (The accused entered court)
16 (The witness entered court)
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Blaxill.
18 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Mr. Stojak, you see a document before you,
20 which is part of a decree on the armed forces of the
21 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, which was published
22 in November, 1992. I would ask you, sir, to look at
23 Article 3 of that document. I think it's on the first
24 page. If you've had an opportunity to read that,
25 Mr. Stojak. Would you agree that that Article appears
1 to impose a basic obligation on all the citizens of the
2 Croat community of Herceg-Bosna principally to serve in
3 the army and then to perform all other duties for the
4 protection and defence of the state. Would you say
5 that is correct?
6 A. (no translation) -- kept to these articles.
7 It means, yes, this should be so in theory, but in
8 practice it wasn't like that, because this is obviously
9 just copied from the earlier law, and I think there was
10 some changes, because I see under Article 4 the duty to
11 participate in the monitoring and information service.
12 So I would have to be aware of that. But nothing
13 really concretely happened regarding this in my
14 department. So I don't think that this was strictly
15 adhered to.
16 I can give an example, for example, in the
17 previous army under the systemisation, it was quite
18 usual, if a citizen was leaving the country, he had a
19 duty to report to the police and to the defence
20 office. So that in case of mobilisation, he could be
21 mobilised. But during the war times nobody reported to
22 anybody. There wasn't really that much responsibility
23 on individuals.
24 Q. I would in fact ask you briefly, in
25 connection with Article 4, would it be correct to say
1 that, in principle, the other work or service to the
2 community would be only if the person had not been
3 assigned as a primary duty to the armed forces? That
4 appears to be the meaning of the Article? Would you
5 agree that in principle that is so?
6 A. I'm sorry, would you please repeat your
7 question regarding Article 4. For persons who were not
8 mobilised, would they be subject to compulsory work
10 Q. That appears indeed to be what the Article
11 says. Do you agree with that?
12 A. Well, I can't contest what it states here.
13 It states what it states. I didn't write that down.
14 But this wasn't like that in practice.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, did you hear in the
16 course of your duties, or just as a member of the
17 community in the Vitez area, of the -- let us say the
18 intentions and the purposes of the Croatian community
19 of Herceg-Bosna?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Were you as a Croat citizen, sir, never aware
22 of any declaration that that community had been set up
23 with the intention of political, economic and
24 territorial, let us say, independence or autonomy?
25 A. No.
1 Q. So even something which you may or may not
2 agree, sir, would seem a significant matter for the
3 Croatian population of that area, that was not any form
4 of information that you ever received?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Were you aware of the thing called the
7 Vance-Owen Plan? Did you ever hear about that just as
8 a Croatian citizen of that area, sir?
9 A. Well, mostly from the media, from the press.
10 Q. Were you aware from those media reports that
11 Vitez lay in a province known as province number 10
12 under that plan?
13 A. No, because I wasn't interested.
14 Q. Were you therefore similarly unaware of any
15 indications by the Croat community of Herceg-Bosna that
16 they wished province 10 to be fully Croat controlled?
17 That did not get through to you?
18 A. No. This is political information at a
19 higher level, so I wouldn't really know anything about
21 Q. Did you not feel, sir, that such potentially
22 important matters for the population were of interest
23 in terms of your duties as a collector of information?
24 A. We did not deal with such information.
25 Mostly we dealt with those of civilian character. So
1 let me clarify, number 988, this was an emergency
2 telephone where ordinary citizens only on the
3 municipality of Vitez, the territory of Vitez would
4 call in case of danger, their personal danger, or some
5 kind of threat to society. So these decisions of
6 higher import were not something that I was interested
8 Q. You have informed this Trial Chamber of the
9 operation to cease weapons from the warehouse at
10 Slimena. Mr. Stojak, do you recall who provided the
11 greater numbers of manpower for that attack, for that
12 operation? Was it the HVO or the local Muslim TO?
13 A. I can't say that this was the local HVO or
14 the Territorial Defence. There were people from one
15 and from the other, so it just kind of went in waves
16 from moment to moment.
17 Q. You made the assertion, sir, that of the
18 weapons seized, there was not a 50/50 split. Could you
19 explain that a little further, what you meant by that
20 expression "not a 50/50 split?"
21 A. Well, you can't say that the TO or some HVO
22 units, whatever have you, had captured these weapons,
23 placed them in one location, and then according to some
24 form of division distributed a certain amount to the
25 Croats and a certain amount to the Muslims. It wasn't
1 like that. Women and children went there, I don't
2 know, people without any kind of control. It wasn't
3 possible to control. There was complete disarray.
4 Q. So indeed, sir, what you are saying to this
5 Court, if I understand you correctly, is that there was
6 no programmed disciplined sharing of these weapons,
7 people just helped themselves as they could; is that
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. Thank you, sir. You have already stated that
11 you did not have sight of military orders issued by the
12 HVO command. I believe I am correct in saying that,
13 sir; is that right?
14 A. I couldn't have seen them. Since we are the
15 civilian structure, the civilian component.
16 Q. I would have to ask you, Mr. Stojak, that
17 although a civilian component, you were part, you say,
18 of the defence office, that this was civilian defence,
19 was it?
20 A. The civil protection is one thing and the
21 centre for information is something else. So it's a
22 part of the defence office. It's within one unit, but
23 it's divided.
24 Q. Therefore, other components of the defence
25 office were linked directly to the military; is that
2 A. Only in the case of mobilisation, so at the
3 request of the military component, but they didn't have
4 any right to interfere in the military component. This
5 is what it states under the law.
6 Q. All right. If I may move on, sir, to the
7 events of April of 1993. You said you did not handle
8 any military orders through your department, but were
9 you aware of any instructions from HVO command about
10 heightened readiness of HVO troops?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did you see any signs of increased combat
13 readiness of HVO formations in the Vitez area in the
14 first few days of April, 1993?
15 A. No.
16 Q. I believe you stated that you in fact were
17 having a day off on the 15th of April and were at your
18 home in Mahala; is that correct?
19 A. Yes, during the day.
20 Q. So if I put it to you, sir, Mr. Stojak, you
21 clearly, I suggest, had no fears of some Muslim attack
22 on that area of the Lasva Valley on or about the 15th
23 of April, 1993?
24 A. Of course I didn't have any fear. If I
25 didn't know that somebody was going to attack me, how
1 could I have been afraid?
2 Q. Precisely, sir. Thank you. Now, had you at
3 that time -- sorry, I should withdraw that. You
4 subsequently say that you believed that the Muslims
5 wanted to attack and seize all the territory between
6 Travnik and Mostar. Is this an opinion that you formed
7 subsequent to those events?
8 A. No, I didn't say between Travnik and Mostar.
9 I was talking about the Lasva River Valley, about
10 Busovaca, Vitez and Novi Travnik, and this conclusion I
11 made after this war. This is my opinion.
12 Q. But we can be absolutely clear that you had
13 no such fears on the 15th of April, 1993?
14 A. Well, I repeat that I was afraid. If I had
15 known somebody was going to attack me, of course I
16 would have prepared. I wouldn't have acted normally.
17 I was actually preparing for a wedding.
18 Q. Mr. Stojak, you've mentioned the ABiH
19 military force in Stari Vitez. I would just like to
20 confirm, you said that generally that was a presence
21 equivalent to, say, a platoon or a squad; is that
23 A. No, I didn't say that. I said that the -- I
24 didn't know anything about the size of the military
25 formation, what it would be, because I didn't know
1 their structure. I didn't know what was a brigade, how
2 many people made up a brigade, but I said that there
3 were about 500 people, men, under arms.
4 Q. I must have misunderstood you when I noted
5 the word. You at some point said a platoon or a
6 squad. I must have misunderstood you, sir.
7 A. No, I was talking about when they were having
8 the review. Not all the men could stand up at the
9 same -- at once. So it was logical, when they were
10 doing the review, that they did it in smaller numbers
11 of soldiers in such formations, from 20 to 50 people.
12 Q. Thank you. That's clear to me, Mr. Stojak.
13 I am obliged to you, sir.
14 Now, you stated you were awakened early on
15 the morning of the 16th of April at the sounds of
16 gunfire; is that correct?
17 A. (No translation)
18 JUDGE CASSESE: There was no translation.
19 Could you please translate what the witness just said.
20 MR. BLAXILL:
21 Q. Perhaps I should ask the question again. The
22 first thing on the 16th of April, 1993, what was the
23 first thing you noticed that indicated that there was
24 some kind of attack or military operation going on?
25 A. Well, you first asked me whether I woke up,
1 and I am answering, I couldn't have woken up because I
2 had just worked on the nightshift. So I hadn't gone to
3 sleep. At 5.30 a.m. we could hear detonations,
4 shooting from all directions, and that's how I
5 concluded that something was happening outside. And
6 then later, through phone calls, I found out from
7 people who were out on the terrain, who were also
8 asking us for information, who were asking what was
9 going on, then we saw that some kind of fighting was
10 going on, that there was a conflict.
11 Q. You say you'd been on the nightshift. Had
12 that been at your office at the defence offices
14 A. Yes, this was my regular duty. I had already
15 mentioned that we worked 12-hour shifts and then rested
16 for 12 hours, and then worked for 12 hours again, and
17 then we were off for 24 hours. This is how the shifts
18 were organised at the centre.
19 Q. So I can presume, and I hope I am not just
20 stating the obvious, but I presume neither you nor your
21 colleagues at the office had any concerns about an
22 impending attack during that nightshift from the 15th
23 to the 16th?
24 A. I don't know about my colleagues from the
25 office, because physically it was separate from the
1 information centre because they were in the
2 municipality building. So what was happening with
3 those people I don't know, but I could just talk about
4 the people who were on duty with me at the centre. We
5 didn't have any need for that. We weren't afraid,
6 because we didn't know about it, which couldn't be said
7 maybe for two or three hours after that on the 16th,
8 after we found out what was happening. I wasn't so
9 much afraid for myself as I was afraid for my family.
10 Q. Mr. Stojak, do you know what actions were
11 taken in Vitez by the HVO forces during that morning,
12 the 16th of April?
13 A. I think -- I know that these members of the
14 office -- are you talking about the active component,
15 the military or the defence office?
16 Q. The military, sir.
17 A. Well, it's logical that they did receive it.
18 I think that they probably took the first strike, which
19 is logical. So the units who were on duty that morning
20 received the first attack, and then mobilisation took
21 place later.
22 Q. And in the greater area of the town of Vitez
23 and its municipality, were you aware, sir, of any large
24 scale -- or subsequently aware of any large-scale
25 rounding up of Muslim civilians by the HVO?
1 A. It's impossible that they were surrounded,
2 the army units, meaning the Muslims, because we were
3 the ones who were encircled during the whole of the
5 Q. Did you ever hear, sir, about the internment
6 of Muslim civilians in the cinema at Vitez, internment,
7 detention by the HVO?
8 A. You probably consider that detainment,
9 detention, but I connect that with the decree of Civil
10 Defence, where there was a decree under which women,
11 and children and feeble persons were gathered in order
12 to have food distributed to them. So they were
13 gathered at certain localities that I spoke about
15 I don't know whether there were any detainees
16 in the cinema house. I wouldn't be able to tell you
17 anything about that because that was in the
18 jurisdiction of the military command and we never left
19 the centre.
20 Q. I will ask you though, did you ever just hear
21 about it? As a Croat of the Vitez region did you hear
22 of that?
23 A. Well, I did hear that there were some people
24 detained there who were later exchanged for Croats, I
25 don't know, in different areas, but this happened at
1 some higher levels of authority. Whether there was
2 civilian or military authorities, that I wouldn't
4 Q. Did you hear of similar internment of Muslim
5 civilians in the Dubravica school?
6 A. No, I didn't know about Dubravica.
7 Q. Did you hear of wide-scale searches of Muslim
8 apartments in the town of Vitez during the morning of
9 the 16th of April, by HVO troops?
10 A. No, I didn't know about that.
11 Q. You have mentioned a number of casualties you
12 attribute to the HVO. Is that for casualties in Vitez
13 for the whole of the conflict, the whole of the war?
14 A. You mean the 1,300 that I mentioned, that the
15 figure that you mean, the killed and the wounded?
16 Q. Yes, it is.
17 A. Well, the gentleman asked me from the
18 beginning of the conflict until the end of the war, so
19 that would be that approximate number from the very
20 beginning of military activities, war activities,
21 because there were also people killed in the fighting
22 with the Serbs.
23 Q. Do you know, in fact, the number of HVO
24 casualties who died in Stari Vitez on that very day,
25 the 16th of April?
1 A. Yes. I stated that earlier. Well, I don't
2 know whether she was killed or not. She's on the list
3 of missing persons, Dragica Prkacin, her son Vlado.
4 Then the late Mr. Miskovic. I know that he was killed,
5 because this is what my grandmother told me. And then
6 Mr. Vidovic, who is considered as missing, but the last
7 time he was seen was in Mahala. And then I don't know
8 about the rest. This is for the first day of the
10 Q. And do you know the -- in fact, the number of
11 HVO military casualties in Vitez that day, actual HVO
12 soldiers? Please say no if you don't know, sir, please
13 say no.
14 A. No, I don't know, no.
15 Q. I wonder if, Your Honours, we could just show
16 the witness document P337, Prosecution Exhibit P337.
17 Your Honours may be interested to know I think I shall
18 be another ten minutes or so and that will conclude
20 I apologise, Your Honours, I appear to have
21 lost the annotation of two particular names that have
22 already been identified to this Chamber. I apologise
23 for that.
24 Sir, on this list I suggest, if you just look
25 very quickly through the place and the dates, you
1 would, in fact, find two HVO military members who were
2 actually killed in Vitez on the 16th of April, 1993.
3 I'm sorry to ask you to take that little extra moment
4 to do so. It's an inefficiency on our part. On my
5 part, I should say.
6 A. Are you referring to Stari Vitez?
7 Q. I think Vitez as such, the whole town of
8 Vitez, not just Stari Vitez, the town of Vitez.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: There are names on the 16th
10 of April.
11 MR. BLAXILL: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: In Stari Vitez. It's number
13 379 and 380.
14 MR. BLAXILL: Yes. I'm obliged to you, Mr.
15 President, for that.
16 Q. If I could direct you a little quickly to
17 now, courtesy of His Honour, to 379. You will see
18 there are two names adjacent to the date. You see
19 number 379.
20 A. Prkacin Vlado and Prkacin Dragica.
21 Q. Thank you. And I'm obliged to you, Your
22 Honours. I sorry to cause you that inconvenience.
23 Mr. Stojak, I need not trouble you to look at
24 the document any longer. Mr. Stojak, could I ask, sir,
25 you what, if anything, you heard upon or after the 16th
1 of April, 1993 in respect of the village of Ahmici?
2 A. On the 16th of April, early in the morning,
3 we could only hear terrible shooting. I didn't hear
4 anything specific. However, later, according to
5 reports, when that team for assistance on the ground
6 was formed, I heard that there were a great many
7 victims in Ahmici.
8 Q. Within your information centre, did you
9 receive information because of the number of civilian
10 victims and, therefore, mobilising assistance to those
12 A. Are you talking about the ambulance?
13 Q. Well, I've been talking about -- you have
14 mentioned that you would, through your office, mobilise
15 necessary help for the feeble or for people who
16 suffered some kind of tragedy, disasters. I'm
17 wondering whether your office was in any way involved
18 as a result of what happened in Ahmici?
19 A. I repeat once again, it was not through our
20 centre, it was through the segment of Civil Defence.
21 That is a segment in its own right. We only channelled
22 information to certain places. That is to say that the
23 teams for providing assistance were sent to the
24 terrain, to the municipality of Vitez, as we received
25 reports from citizens saying that such and such a thing
1 had happened there. But we would send them there only
2 if their lives wouldn't be jeopardised, because there
3 was shooting all over.
4 Q. Then I will refine my question to be more
5 accurate, sir. Did you, in fact, channel any
6 information to any of those bodies to react to the
7 Ahmici situation?
8 A. Specifically we heard about Ahmici, that
9 there were many killed persons and wounded persons, and
10 that it would be necessary to send emergency medical
11 assistance there, and also this team for general
12 assistance. So we only let the medical emergency team
13 know about this, and also the Civil Defence.
14 Q. And other than that, as a matter of record,
15 Mr. Stojak, you were not in Ahmici and did not see what
16 happened there on the 16th of April, '93?
17 A. No, I was not there.
18 Q. I would appreciate one moment to confer, Your
19 Honours. Thank you.
20 Mr. President, Your Honours, that concludes
21 my cross-examination. I would wish to tender the
22 document that I put in. I believe marked number 339
23 for the Prosecution.
24 THE REGISTRAR: 349.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: 349.
1 MR. BLAXILL: 349. I apologise. Thank you,
2 Mr. Stojak.
3 THE WITNESS: Thank you too, sir.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Any objection to document
5 P349? I see no objection. It is admitted into
6 evidence. Counsel Susak?
7 Re-examined by Mr. Susak:
8 MR. SUSAK: Thank you, Mr. President. I
9 shall only put two or three questions to the witness.
10 Q. You have the decree before you; don't you?
11 A. No, they took it away.
12 Q. Could the usher please give this document to
13 the witness?
14 Could you please open it and look at page
15 number 9 of this decree?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Have you seen it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you please read this?
20 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters do not
21 have a copy of this, and the witness is reading too
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you please slow down
24 and tell us what particular provision of this decree
25 you are referring to, because we can follow in the
1 English text.
2 MR. SUSAK: I'm talking about the actual
3 title, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
5 MR. SUSAK:
6 Q. What does it say underneath the heading?
7 A. "Clarified text," it says.
8 Q. And now, could you please read the first
9 sentence, or perhaps I can read it. "Decree on the
10 armed forces of the Croatian community of
11 Herceg-Bosna. Official Gazette of the Croatian
12 community of Herceg-Bosna, number 1/92, edited
13 version. At the meeting of the presidency of the
14 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, on the 17th of
15 October, 1992, and its edited version is being
17 Could you please look at the last page of
18 this decree now? Did you see that this decree was
19 passed on the 17th of October, 1992? Did you see
21 I shall repeat, page 25 --
22 A. Yes, Article 179.
23 Q. So what does this mean? This is the edited
24 version of the decree and it was passed on the 17th of
25 October, 1992; is that correct?
1 A. How should I know?
2 Q. Well, it says so.
3 A. Well, if that's what it says, that is the way
4 it is.
5 Q. Which is to say that if it was amended,
6 edited, that is to say that it was passed before that
8 A. Well, that is the general understanding.
9 Q. I'm talking about the introduction.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And now I have another question for you. Was
12 this decree passed when the war was being waged against
13 the Serbs, in your opinion? In your opinion.
14 A. If we look at the date that it says here, and
15 this is the Official Gazette.
16 Q. Yes. Could you please find Article 140 now?
17 Have you found it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And now I'm going to read something else to
20 you. "Centres for information are being established as
21 a rule for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina -
22 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna and if necessary in
24 In your opinion, does this provision relate
25 both to Muslims and to Croats, or when the conflict
1 occurred only between the Muslims and the Croats on the
2 one hand and the Serbs on the other hand? So it is
3 stated quite clearly here in Article 140.
4 A. Well, it says here very nicely. It says for
5 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina-Croatian,
6 community of Herceg-Bosna and in municipalities if
8 Q. That's right. So we agree on that. So this
9 decree on the armed forces was passed at the beginning
10 of 1992 or mid-1992.
11 Now I'm asking you the following: Was this
12 decree passed before or after the conflict with the
14 A. Judging by the date that is specified here,
15 and if we accept that as the relevant date, it was
16 before that.
17 Q. The Prosecutor asked you whether you had
18 access to orders issued by certain commanders from the
19 military structure.
20 A. No, no, we did not have access.
21 Q. Yes, please go on.
22 A. We did not have any contact with the military
24 Q. The Prosecutor did not show you these
25 documents, that is to say, certain orders, although he
1 does have them available because we have seen them, and
2 they are strictly confidential and that is what is
3 written on these actual documents, and in these orders
4 it also says who was informed about these orders, and
5 then I want to point out that this is a confidential
6 order, and it is stated that it is sent to the head of
7 the Crisis Staff personally or the head of the defence
9 A. Yes, the head of the defence office.
10 Q. These orders that were given to them did you
11 receive copies of them? Did you know what they were
12 all about?
13 A. No, no, no.
14 Q. No, I'm just asking you whether you were
15 aware of this. I just want to know whether you
16 received a copy of it.
17 A. No, no. I did not receive copies.
18 Q. If a copy was sent to the head of the defence
19 office, who did that pertain to?
20 A. Then it pertained to the head of the defence
21 office, but very often these things were only
22 distributed. That is to say, we would send it but only
23 in a sealed envelope. If this was strictly
24 confidential, we would only register it, the sealed
25 envelope, because we were the people who were in charge
1 of that. Then we would send it to the addressee, and
2 we had nothing to do with it whatsoever.
3 Q. So you were not familiar with the substance?
4 A. No, no, no. Of course not. We were not
5 allowed to do that, and we were not involved in these
6 strictly confidential matters. If the gentleman
7 thought we were supposed know about these strictly
8 confidential matters, they probably would have returned
9 the order to us.
10 Q. You also said that in your reporting centre
11 you received information about certain phenomena. What
12 was the telephone number of your centre, 985?
13 A. Yes, our telephone number was 985. This was
14 our special telephone number, our emergency telephone
16 Q. Right. So you received reports, information
17 on certain phenomena?
18 A. Yes, that's right. Then we had to make
19 records of all of this, and then to register it, and we
20 should say exactly what we did. For example, you
21 cannot simply let a fire alarm go off without stating
22 why you did it and what you did.
23 Q. You mentioned number 988. Were you just
24 confused? I mean, what is it in relation to 985?
25 A. No, no. That's just a mistake. I probably
1 misspoke. 985 is the official telephone number for the
2 entire territory. Until this very day this telephone
3 number has remained unchanged.
4 MR. SUSAK: Thank you, Mr. President, no
5 further questions. Thank you.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. No questions. I
7 think there is no objection to the witness being
9 Mr. Stojak, you may be released.
10 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
11 (The witness withdrew)
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Slokovic-Glumac, the
13 next witness -- are you asking any protective
15 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: No.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: So we call Mr. Mario Rajic?
17 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Rajic.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
19 (The witness entered court)
20 WITNESS: Mario Rajic
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, Mr. Rajic,
22 could you make the solemn declaration?
23 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
24 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
3 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
4 Q. Good day, Mr. Rajic.
5 A. Good day.
6 Q. Could you please tell us about your basic
7 personal data, what you have done, when you were born,
8 where you were born, et cetera?
9 A. I was born on the 10th of September, 1952 in
10 Zenica. I graduated from university. I'm an engineer
11 of organisation of work, and I worked before the war in
12 Vitezit, and I was in charge of preparation and control
13 of trans service.
14 Q. You were also a reserve officer of the JNA;
15 is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You also completed the reserve officers'
18 school, didn't you?
19 A. Yes. In 1977 I left the army as a reserve
20 officer, as a lieutenant, and since then -- or, rather,
21 after that I was part of the Territorial Defence of the
22 municipality of Vitez.
23 Q. Before the outbreak of the war, in 1992 which
24 post did you hold in the Territorial Defence of the
25 municipality of Vitez?
1 A. My last post?
2 Q. Yes, your last post.
3 A. My last post in the Territorial Defence was
4 head of Territorial Defence of the municipality of
6 Q. What about this post of head of Territorial
7 Defence and the general structure of the staff, how
8 would you evaluate it?
9 A. This was the second ranking post, after the
10 commander. The head of the defence territorial staff
11 would replace the other when necessary.
12 Q. The commander of the staff at that time was
13 Hakija Cenjic; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, at that time Hakija Cenjic was commander
15 of the staff.
16 Q. Did you receive any call-up papers in terms
17 of the conflict with the Serbs?
18 A. I was waiting for such call-up papers, but I
19 never received them. Never.
20 Q. When did you report to the Territorial
22 A. Yes. As I was observing what was going on
23 around me in spring, 1992, I think it was March, there
24 were more and more attacks of the army of Republika
25 Srpska against the town of Travnik and Turbe. I
1 realised what the situation was and then, at my own
2 initiative, I came to the Territorial Defence staff in
4 Q. Tell me, were you assigned certain duties in
5 this staff? What did you do there?
6 A. As I came to the Territorial Defence staff,
7 my friends and colleagues who worked with me together
8 at the Territorial Defence, we placed ourselves at the
9 disposal of the commander, Mr. Cenjic, and we asked for
10 him to do something specific.
11 At that time, at the Territorial Defence
12 headquarters, in addition to the people whom I knew and
13 who I was with there, there were some other people whom
14 I had not seen at Territorial Defence headquarters
15 before. And they were in a way attached to this
16 structure of command and they were officers in the TO
18 Q. These new people who appeared at
19 headquarters, were they Muslims or Croats?
20 A. Together with me, some other Croats came to
21 the Territorial Defence staff, that is to say Croats.
22 Mr. Srecko Pavlovic, who was the person who was in
23 charge of defence from chemical and biological
24 warfare. And the staff, I am speaking in simplified
25 terms now. Then there were other members of the
1 Territorial Defence staff who worked there
2 professionally, Mr. Zeljko Sajevic, Mr. Stipo Zigonjic,
3 and then also a man in charge of logistics, Zeljo
4 Vrebac. All the rest of them, about 20 of them there,
5 were Muslims.
6 Q. Tell me, did you try to set up some kind of a
7 joint Croat Muslim unit at the time?
8 A. Yes. Yes. I came for that reason to the
9 Territorial Defence staff to give my contribution to
10 the joint defence of our territory. After some time,
11 when I realised what the situation was like, I proposed
12 to Mr. Cenjic, head of the Territorial Defence staff,
13 that I try to set up a joint unit which, according to
14 its structure, would match the structure of the
15 population of Vitez. We realised that this could be a
16 sabotage and reconnaissance unit.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: The transcript has stopped.
18 --- Recess taken at 12.05 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 12.15 p.m.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac.
21 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
22 Q. So you said, and then I saw that this in the
23 transcript, that you suggested for a joint unit to be
24 structured, a joint Muslim-Croat unit, is that right,
25 and it would be the size of a detachment?
1 A. The formation of a detachment -- well, it's
2 not the size of a detachment. It would be a smaller
3 unit which is specially trained for these purposes.
4 This is maybe a strengthened company or, perhaps -- so
5 I asked for this unit to be structured, and I received
6 agreement from Mr. Cenjic to form this unit.
7 So I got the list of the unit. I chose the
8 conscripts. I did the proper call-up in the way it was
9 supposed to be done, as much as was possible at the
10 time, and I formed this reconnaissance sabotage unit in
11 accordance with the structure of the population in the
12 municipality of Vitez. So after reviewing the
13 reconnaissance and sabotage unit, I got all the
14 equipment, I replaced equipment that wasn't suitable.
15 The review was done right in front of the warehouse
16 where all the weapons and the materiel was stored.
17 Q. Did you ask for these people to be armed?
18 A. Yes. I suggested to the commander of the
19 Territorial Defence, because at the time the unit
20 should have been the most important impact, mobile
21 unit, so I had some information from the commander of
22 the staff, Cenjic, that they had received some
23 weapons. So I requested that this be -- this unit be
24 armed and equipped immediately, and it also be trained
25 so that it could be ready for action.
1 Q. So did you receive weapons for this unit?
2 A. No. After consultations between Mr. Cenjic
3 and the others, I don't know exactly with whom, I
4 received the answer that the weapons were necessary for
5 units which were formed in the villages in the
6 meantime, so this was besides -- outside of the TO, the
7 Territorial Defence formations.
8 Q. So this was for the arming of the units which
9 were structured in the villages by the Muslim side?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. So were you asked to sign any kind of special
12 statement in order to continue working at the
13 Territorial Defence, regardless of the fact that you
14 were chief of staff?
15 A. Well, after the formation of the
16 reconnaissance sabotage unit, I didn't want to waste
17 time, and I wanted to form a Territorial Defence unit
18 on the same principle. Well, I was told to wait a
19 little bit, and then after some time they came with a
20 statement where there was a list of all the people who
21 were at that time in the staff, including myself. And
22 they requested us to sign a statement of loyalty to the
23 TO, the Territorial Defence.
24 Q. Did you condition your signing with anything?
25 A. Well, yes. Not only myself, but other
1 officers of Croatian nationality asked for one sentence
2 to be added to this list, which would state the
3 following, that we would agree to sign this statement
4 if the structure of the command and the army would
5 reflect the structure of the population of the
6 municipality of Vitez.
7 Q. Was permission granted for this sentence to
8 be added?
9 A. Well, Mr. Cenjic said that, basically, there
10 shouldn't be any problems regarding that, but the other
11 Muslim officers objected over our position, and after
12 that we were not offered the option to sign such a
14 Q. You also said that you tried to form a unit
15 which would be the size of a battalion, and it would
16 comprise three companies, and also according to the
17 ethnic principle, the national principle.
18 A. Well, yes, I wanted to continue. I wanted to
19 form a TO unit, so it would be a kind of strengthened
20 battalion. But after we refused to sign this, to
21 agree, we never proceeded with my plan.
22 Q. How were you taken away from the TO
23 headquarters? Who did this?
24 A. Well, I waited for permission to start
25 forming this TO unit, and then at one point in time our
1 office, which was on the other end of the hall, it was
2 separate. An officer came from the TO staff,
3 Mr. Mirsad Varupa, and he said that I was to go home
4 now and that they will call me from the staff when
5 conditions are appropriate, but for now I should go
7 Q. This was at what time?
8 A. This was in '92. Yes, this was in the spring
9 of '92.
10 Q. After that Vitez was shelled. Did you get
11 any kind of call from the TO?
12 A. Well, after that I was at home. I am waiting
13 for a call, you know. I am not called and I see that
14 all kinds of things are happening around me, the army
15 of Republika Srpska is attacking. I am the number two
16 person, defence person of Vitez, and I am sitting at
17 home and I don't know what to do. Then there was
18 shelling on the 26th of April. That date is known to
19 me for personal reasons. There was a lot of strong
20 shelling against Vitez because the Republika Srpska
21 army or the JNA shelled Vitez from the air.
22 So I went to the TO headquarters, which had
23 in the meantime moved to a yellow house in the town
24 itself. It was the house of Baranja. So I arrived
25 there and I placed myself at their disposal. But the
1 attitude that was prevalent there, when I first got
2 there, wasn't there any more. Nobody paid any
3 attention to me, nobody asked me anything. I didn't
4 say anything. I just kind of spent some time there.
5 And then I went home. And this was my last encounter
6 with the TO.
7 Q. So in view of these events regarding the TO,
8 it's obviously the intention of the TO command to
9 isolate Croats; is that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And to remove them from the TO?
12 A. Well, yes, that's how I felt about it.
13 Q. You were also not in the HVO at the time
14 because, obviously, you were not in favour because of
15 your -- the fact that you belonged to the TO, so you
16 weren't desirable to the HVO?
17 A. Well, I wasn't on one side and I wasn't on
18 the other side. I was rejected by one side and,
19 understandably, not accepted by the other side, because
20 I had been a member of the TO. So then I spent some
21 time at home.
22 Q. But in some way did you try to carry out some
23 defence tasks? What did you do?
24 A. Well, realising what was happening around me,
25 and together with all my neighbours, I also tried in
1 some way to participate, to be present. So together
2 with my neighbours I joined the so-called village
4 Q. You lived in Vitez, though, in the outskirts
5 of Vitez?
6 A. Yes, I lived in the outskirts of Vitez. It's
7 a settlement towards Krusica. It's a part of Krusica.
8 Q. And that's where you organised the village
10 A. No, I didn't organise it. Together with my
11 neighbours, I joined the guard and we were keeping
12 watch on our houses. This is what others did too.
13 Q. What did you have by way of weapons?
14 A. Well, our guard post, which was some 300
15 metres away from our homes where we kept watch over a
16 road that led out of the forest towards our settlement,
17 so this group of our neighbours, maybe some ten of us
18 who were doing this task in shifts, we had an M48 rifle
19 with seven bullets and we had a semiautomatic rifle
20 with ten rounds, and nothing else.
21 Q. So you were doing this until the end of
22 November of 1992; is that right?
23 A. Well, until a little earlier, maybe until
24 mid-November. At the invitation of Colonel Blaskic
25 from the headquarters, I joined up on the -- on
1 November 1st. I went to the headquarters of the
2 operative zone. I think that's what it was called for
3 Central Bosnia.
4 Q. Where were you assigned?
5 A. I was in the operative zone from the 1st of
6 December of 1992, and I was assigned to the position of
7 head of operative affairs.
8 Q. What were your duties at this post?
9 A. At that time the headquarters were being
10 formed, so we were only getting staff from all the
11 municipalities that were part of the operative zones.
12 People were arriving and they were being assigned to
13 their jobs. This was completely new compositions. So
14 we were just learning the command structure and we were
15 finding out about the tasks that were before us and the
16 duties. These were people who did not have much
17 experience in these jobs.
18 Q. So this is the time when the command of the
19 operative zone was being formed, in December of '92?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. So what exactly were your duties? Were you
22 on duty at the headquarters?
23 A. Yes. The entire time the operatives were on
24 duty we changed shifts and we were on duty at the
25 headquarters of the operative zone. We did some other
1 tasks too under orders of the chief of staff or the
2 commander or Colonel Blaskic.
3 Q. Was one of your duties to enable the units to
4 move through the region of the operative zone, both
5 Croat and Muslim units?
6 A. Yes, in that period units were going to the
7 lines of defence against the army of Republika Srpska.
8 So this would be the zone of responsibility towards
9 Vlasic and Kupres. So with an internal order by
10 Colonel Blaskic I coordinated the passage of these
11 units to the defence lines.
12 Q. Why did this passage have to be coordinated?
13 Who would prevent or who would stop these units?
14 A. Well, the orders that were issued by the
15 commanders in charge were very clear, to enable the
16 passage of units to the lines of defence against the
17 army of Republika Srpska. But because of a still
18 unsettled situation with the chain of command, some
19 commanders at points, certain points, or local --
20 Q. Commanders?
21 A. Yes, or groups, would often meet both units
22 on the ground. So it was my role, together with the
23 coordinator from the headquarters of the BiH Army, to
24 ensure passage to the units to the lines of defence.
25 Q. So there were Muslim points, checkpoints, and
1 Croats, and there were commanders who set up these
2 checkpoints, and then there were problems for both
3 sides; is that right?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. You stopped working at the operative zone in
6 March of '93?
7 A. Yes. That's right. When I arrived at the
8 operative zone, Mr. Ljubo, who was the person in charge
9 of structuring at the operative zone, I had a
10 conversation with him, and he told me that I would only
11 be temporarily at the operation zone, for about a month
12 until the command is established, until younger people
13 are trained in our roles. And then after that I would
14 be demobilised, returned to the duties that I was
15 performing before I came to the operative zone.
16 Q. So you were demobilised in March?
17 A. Yes, that's right. In mid-March of '93 I was
19 Q. On the 16th of April a conflict broke out
20 between Croats and Muslims. Where were you at that
22 A. On the 15th of April I was doing -- I was at
23 my work place. I was doing my regular work. Towards
24 the end of my working hours I picked up my monthly
25 salary and then a friend of mine and myself, we went to
1 a cafe, bar, where we were celebrating the birthday of
2 a friend of ours, Milko Milkovic, because it was his
3 birthday that day. Then at about 7 p.m. I went home.
4 On the 16th I woke up. I was in bed on the
5 16th in the morning.
6 Q. In view of your military experience and your
7 rank, and the fact that you were chief of the TO staff,
8 when were you mobilised? When did they come to collect
9 you and who came?
10 A. The first contact was made on the 20th of
11 April, and a member of the military police came to get
12 me, Zlatko Nakic. He told me to get dressed, to take
13 my equipment and to go to the brigade.
14 Q. So the brigade, the Vitez Brigade command,
15 that's where you were supposed to go?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. What post did you then -- were you then
18 assigned to in the brigade command?
19 A. Well, when I got to the brigade command I was
20 assigned to be advisor for operative and teaching
22 Q. So what was the situation on the 20th of
23 April? How did you find it? The Vitez Brigade was
24 being formed. What was the structure like?
25 A. Well, when I arrived at the brigade, I came
1 to a situation which was unfamiliar to me. It was
2 chaos. Relations were completely unsettled and nobody
3 knew their way around. The brigade was in the process
4 of being formed. It still didn't have its own
5 location. Nobody knew still where they were sitting
6 and nobody knew exactly who was going to be doing
7 what. It seemed as if everybody was just going without
8 any kind of system or any kind of organisation. So
9 when everybody went in one direction they all went in
10 one direction. When they went in another direction
11 they all went in another direction. There was no
12 coordination there.
13 Q. And the formation of the Vitez Brigade began
14 in March, after the Stjepan Tomasevic was dismantled?
15 A. Yes. This would be more the structuring of
16 one brigade. So two brigades were supposed to be made
17 out of one. So with the structuring of the Vitez
18 Brigade, it practically -- this job practically was
19 started in March.
20 Q. According to your military knowledge, how
21 many men should be in one brigade and what are the
22 services required by a brigade?
23 A. According to a basic concept of a brigade, it
24 should have a staff and units attached to the staff.
25 That is to say, catering to the needs of the staff.
1 Then it should have three battalions. It should have a
2 support unit, an artillery support unit. That is to
3 say, approximately 1.500 people or up to 1.600 people.
4 That is what a brigade should have.
5 Q. The unit that called itself the Viteska
6 Brigade, how many people did it number?
7 A. Sometime in March, when it actually seceded
8 from Stjepan Tomasevic, it had some 300 men.
9 Q. And all of the other services that you
10 mentioned that were required for the proper functioning
11 of a brigade?
12 A. These other services were not established
13 until the end of the war at all, or not properly, at
14 any rate.
15 Q. I'm now going to ask you about certain things
16 that we have partially touched upon during these
17 proceedings. You know about this because of your rank
18 and your experience. Tell me, what the proper way of
19 conducting mobilisation, according to law?
20 A. Well, I was taught as follows and this is the
21 way it should be: The office of defence, or the
22 secretariat of national defence, as it was formerly
23 known, has the following role: In the territory of the
24 municipality of Vitez, it should gather the -- gather
25 information and personal data about all military
1 conscripts. That is to say, when a military unit is
2 established and when it is established how many
3 officers and men are needed for a specific unit, then
4 this is -- this is the kind of information that is then
5 sent to the defence office regarding quality and
6 structure, and before this was called specialities,
7 VES, and that is what a brigade required.
8 When a brigade were to be set up, the higher
9 command would first establish the staff of the
10 brigade. That is to say, someone who is going to
11 choose the others, the other members of this military
12 unit. Then they -- they take all the men they need.
13 I'm talking about peacetime. Then it is the defence
14 office that sets up all these records and these lists
15 of units, you see.
16 Q. And on the basis of these lists, as you say,
17 then call-up papers are sent to military conscripts; is
18 that right?
19 A. Yes. Then the defence office has to give
20 military ID to each and every military conscript, and
21 his special, VES, is listed there, also the code of the
22 military unit that he belongs to and also the place
23 where the conscript should report once he receives
24 call-up papers. In peacetime, these call-up papers are
25 prepared by the defence office, and then a certain unit
1 is mobilised.
2 Q. That is to say that there should be a place
3 where people will gather and where they will get
4 equipment when mobilisation is proclaimed.
5 A. Well, this is the way it goes: When
6 mobilisation is proclaimed, it can be public, secret,
7 partial, full, et cetera, but when mobilisation is
8 proclaimed, then messengers deliver call-up papers to
9 military conscripts. It is the duty of each and every
10 military conscript to report, after 24, 48 hours, or
11 whatever time is specified, at a given place. Before
12 that he knows which military unit he belongs to because
13 that is what his military ID says if he has one. So
14 while they're all reaching this point of gathering, all
15 the equipment is there and everything else, the gear
16 that is required by each and every military conscript.
17 Q. And that is where they are issued with
18 equipment; is that right, this point where they
20 A. The commander receives them there and sets up
21 a unit. That is to say, each and every one, depending
22 on their own speciality, depending on the mobilisation
23 too, and then they're issued with equipment, ammunition
24 and perhaps even food rationings if this is not
25 regulated otherwise.
1 Q. Did the HVO have this kind of mobilisation
2 point at all?
3 A. As far as I know, no. Never. I don't know
4 whether they have it even to the present day.
5 Q. And what about the Territorial Defence?
6 A. The Territorial Defence inherited the TO
7 structure. So we did have this gathering mobilisation
8 point that was in Gacice and also in another hamlet
9 near Gacice, and each and every unit knew where they
10 were supposed to go in case of mobilisation.
11 Q. I would like to ask the usher to show the
12 witness P355 -- P335.
13 I showed you this document earlier on, so you
14 are aware of its contents. Certain things are
15 mentioned here in terms of how this mobilisation was
16 carried out. In your opinion, what was done between
17 the 16th and the 28th of April, 1994 by the defence
18 office? Was that a real mobilisation?
19 A. For me this is nothing. This is a poor
20 improvisation. According to this mobilisation, I
21 really don't think anybody could make head or tail out
22 of it.
23 Q. Can one see in any way from this document
24 that people were gathered together at a given place,
25 that they received call-up papers, that they received
1 equipment and that they were sent to the frontline?
2 A. Absolutely not. I see here that people were
3 brought in, brought in, according to this list, from
4 certain urban areas. When I look at this list, I know
5 approximately where each and every one of these persons
6 live. So these people were probably picked up from
7 their homes during this period between the 16th and the
8 28th, from their houses, beds, cafes, workplaces, and
9 taken to the frontline.
10 That is not mobilisation. People were taken
11 away in track suits, in sports clothes, in sneakers,
12 without equipment, without weapons, without helmets,
13 unprepared, without military IDs, without VESs, without
14 a mobilisation gathering point. It doesn't say here
15 where they were taken to, to what commander, to what
16 frontline, nothing. For me, this is nothing, in a
17 military sense.
18 Q. What does this text say? Just a minute,
19 please. Let me try to find this. Page 2, section 4.
20 It says here that enormous assistance was given by the
21 civilian police in matters connected with reinforcement
22 and the deployment of personnel.
23 Does the civilian police take part in
24 mobilisation matters in any way?
25 A. I said a few minutes ago how mobilisation is
1 supposed to be taken -- is supposed to take place. The
2 civilian police, as a civilian authority, has no role
3 whatsoever in the implementation of mobilisation. Only
4 after certain deadlines by which conscripts are
5 supposed to report at a certain place, certain
6 authorities can take action vis-a-vis persons who did
7 not report to a given place and there are specific
8 regulations governing this.
9 Q. Is that to say that the civilian police was
10 actually involved in bringing people in de facto?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. This document, could you look at -- I don't
13 have any numbers of these pages. Could you look at
14 where it says, "Darko"?
15 A. Yes. Yes.
16 Q. So what does this mean when it says,
17 "Deployed with Darko"? What does that mean?
18 A. I don't know what unit that is that belongs
19 to the Viteska Brigade, that it would be called the --
20 the unit at Darko's, or at the cinema or wherever.
21 What kind of units are these? This doesn't exist.
22 There are squads, platoons, companies, et cetera, and
23 also, a unit called work duty. I'm not aware of that.
24 Or a unit at Darko's. I'm not aware of any such
1 Q. Does that mean that this paper shows that it
2 was obviously a total improvisation on one side?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Does that also mean that this is a very
5 unsystematic paper?
6 A. Absolutely.
7 Q. Also, when analysing these names we realised
8 that there are over 30 names that are repeated two
9 times or more; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you explain what that means?
12 A. That actually confirms that this was done in
13 an improvised fashion.
14 Q. That is to say that some people were gotten
15 hold of twice and sent somewhere?
16 A. Yes, the same men on two occasions.
17 Q. And now we shall speed things up a bit. Tell
18 me, these people who were sent to the frontline in such
19 a way, were they capable of participating in combat
20 action when they arrived in these frontlines in such a
21 way? Because you saw who were the people on these
23 A. These were people who did not have any
24 preparation whatsoever, any training whatsoever, any
25 weapons, ammunition. They were taken to the frontline
1 in such a way that they were incapable of any combat
2 action. At that frontline they simply tried to save
3 their bare lives. They would stick their heads into
4 the ground.
5 Q. Does a trained soldier have to undergo
6 certain training, individual, tactical, et cetera?
7 A. Absolutely. It is inconceivable to take a
8 person to train -- for shooting, for example, if this
9 person was not trained how to use the weapons that he's
10 going to use. I'm talking about exercises now. I'm
11 talking about training. In order to be able to take
12 part in such exercises, a man has to be totally
13 prepared. That is to say, he has to be familiarised
14 with the weapons concerned. He has to be trained to
15 use the weapons concerned.
16 As far as combat action is concerned, every
17 individual had to go through individual training, group
18 training, squad training, et cetera, depending on the
19 formation in which he was supposed to function,
20 tactical training in order to be able to go to the
22 I shall say that none of these men -- well,
23 perhaps not none of them but a vast majority of these
24 men did not go through any kind of training in order to
25 be prepared to go to the frontline.
1 Q. And tell me, military action, which is highly
2 coordinated, organised, in which several military units
3 take part, can such people be the protagonists of
4 something like this?
5 A. Absolutely not.
6 Q. Was the training of the village guard in any
7 way under your jurisdiction at this time when you were
8 in the Blaskic command? Well, you came to the Vitez
9 Brigade command later, so do you have any information
10 that there was any training of the village guards?
11 A. No. There was nobody able to carry out this
12 training with any kind of quality.
13 Q. Later, when the war started, who carried out
14 these attacks that you said required trained soldiers?
15 A. These attack operations were not really
16 attack operations, it was just active defence. These
17 actions were mostly carried out by members of Special
18 Purpose Units.
19 Q. So members of the Vitez brigades were usually
20 on the frontlines; is that right?
21 A. Yes, that's right. Members of the Vitez
22 Brigade, until the end of the war practically, did not
23 carry out a single attack operation. This was all just
24 defence on the frontlines.
25 Q. So what was the first attack action that was
1 carried out by the Vitez Brigade? When were they
2 capable to carry it out themselves without any Special
3 Purpose Units?
4 A. Well, the first and the only action where
5 only members of the Vitez Brigade units participated
6 occurred towards the end of the war, towards the end of
7 the war, so it was in the liberation of Buhine Kuce.
8 This was carried out by members of the Viteska Brigade
9 without the presence of the Special Purpose Units.
10 Q. This happened in '94?
11 A. Yes, this was in '94, towards the end of that
13 Q. The Special Purpose Units that you mentioned
14 which you said were the only ones that were capable of
15 carrying out the attack operations, which units were
16 these? Would you please tell us the names?
17 A. These were Vitezovi, Tvrtkovci, Munje,
18 Skakavci, Lako Jurisna, the Light Charge, also units of
19 the military police, and also some others that I can't
20 remember right now.
21 Q. What was the difference between the Viteska
22 Brigade, or members of the Vitez Brigade and the
23 units -- Special Purpose Units or the persons who were
24 members of these Special Purpose Units?
25 A. The special purpose units recruited military
1 conscripts who had already been through some training
2 or through some combat. So those who had already been
3 in Jajce, Turbe, Vlasic, these were the -- these --
4 this was the make-up of these Special Purpose Units.
5 The Vitez Brigade was formed later from the members of
6 these village guards.
7 Q. Was there any difference between the way the
8 members of the Vitez Brigade were armed and the members
9 of the Special Purpose Units were armed?
10 A. Absolutely, yes. The Special Purpose Units
11 were well-armed and well-equipped. They had good
12 equipment and good logistics, good material, as opposed
13 to members of the brigade.
14 Q. Under whose command were these Special
15 Purpose Units? Were they under the command of the
16 Vitez Brigade?
17 A. No, no, absolutely not. I don't know who was
18 in command of these units, of these Special Purpose
20 Q. So most of them were outside of the military
21 structure; is that right?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. Could the usher please show the witness
24 document 343? Would you please look at the second --
25 item 2 of this order of the 16th of January of '93?
1 This is an order of Colonel Blaskic. Item 2.
2 Is item 2 in any way talking about an
3 announcement of mobilisation or in any way does it
4 mention mobilisation?
5 A. I don't know what this point is doing in the
6 order by Colonel Blaskic, because this is not in the
7 jurisdiction of a commander of an Operative Zone, to
8 include in HVO formations all unarmed members of the
9 Croatian people. This can only be done by the defence
10 office of the municipality of Vitez based on the
11 defence order of Travnik, and that can be only based on
12 instructions from Mostar. So this order is not --
13 cannot be carried out, because a commander of a brigade
14 cannot include unarmed civilian members in the HVO
15 structures without the participation of the defence --
16 Civil Defence office. So this is some kind of a
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
19 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, when we're
20 talking about this document, this document has been
21 giving me trouble for some time. The witness has read
22 the same thing that I read, that this is talking about
23 the unarmed. Some colleagues read it as "armed", and
24 the English text says, "armed population." So since
25 there are differences between the original in the
1 Croatian, there are possibilities to read differently
2 this letter "E" or "A" so you would have armed and
3 unarmed. I think we need to get a document where it
4 would be clear exactly what it states.
5 This has been giving me some trouble for some
6 time, and now that this document is being shown to the
7 witness, I think this is the proper time to mention
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I wonder if the
10 Prosecutor has got a better copy or the original of
11 that document.
12 MR. TERRIER: Your Honour, we will try to
13 look for it. The only thing I would like to say is
14 that if according to Mr. Radovic there is a translation
15 mistake, I find it a bit awkward. But if it were a
16 mistake, it would mean that the original order written
17 by Mr. Blaskic would have incorporated in the HVO units
18 some unarmed people, which doesn't make any sense at
20 I think the English translation which we have
21 is the only reasonable and sensible translation, but of
22 course, I'm not an expert in BCS. Of course, we'll
23 check and make sure that this translation is faithful
24 to the original document.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, but what is important is
1 to get another document where the word appears clearly,
2 where we can be sure about what was said in the
3 original. What we're asking is not for you to check
4 the translation, what we're asking you for is to give
5 us a more readable and clear document.
6 MR. TERRIER: We will try to find such a
7 document, Your Honour. We will try to do that.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
9 MR. RADOVIC: Nobody is questioning the
10 quality of the translation, we're just questioning what
11 is stated in Croatian or Serbian -- I mean, Croatian,
12 because one word excludes the other. So there is only
13 one letter which could give a completely different
14 meaning to the words.
15 I asked my colleagues, some read "armed" and
16 some read it as "unarmed". But there is some sense in
17 mobilising unarmed people, because they could have been
18 armed from the -- from some supplies that the brigade
19 had. So not all people had to report to the brigade
20 with arms. So both of these things make sense.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. That's why I
22 asked the Prosecution to try to provide a better copy
23 of the original.
24 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac, you may continue.
25 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
1 Q. So according to regulations which were in
2 force at that time, such a mobilisation order could not
3 have been issued by the commander of the Operative Zone
4 but exclusively by the defence office; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. So this is a kind of declaratory order that
7 has no weight because it cannot be implemented in this
8 way; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. One more question concerning this document.
11 At that time were you in the command? Do you know
12 whether any kind of mobilisation was being carried out
13 at that time?
14 A. During the whole time, so until this date,
15 everything that we were doing, all of our work, was
16 directed towards the army of Republika Srpska.
17 Colonel Blaskic insisted on the lines towards the army
18 of Republika Srpska. He -- there was no need for him
19 to deal with the BH army.
20 Of course we monitored the situation on the
21 ground, and on one occasion, at a morning briefing, we
22 suggested that we were not happy with the deployment of
23 the units of the BH army, and then he told us, he gave
24 us an assignment, my colleague Ivica Cubanac, who was
25 one of the section heads, for him to locate the units
1 of the BH army on the map at that time. Then we
2 reached some -- we kind of came to some illogical
3 situations regarding this deployment, the way the units
4 were deployed. The units of the BH army were not
5 always such that they were turned against the army of
6 Republika Srpska. So at that time it was very strange
7 to us that he had formed a training centre in Kruscica,
8 for example, for soldiers who were mostly from
9 Krajina. Then he also had a large military centre in
11 Q. You're talking about the BH army?
12 A. Yes, yes. That's right, the BH army. So in
13 Han Bila and so on. So this wasn't quite clear to us,
14 this deployment of soldiers. So we drew attention to
15 the fact that this wasn't okay.
16 Up until then he would always say that the BH
17 army is our ally, that we were dealing with the same
18 tasks, and that was to defend ourselves from the
19 aggression of the army of Republika Srpska. So all his
20 commands were towards calming the situation with the BH
22 Q. Well, I didn't directly ask you that, but you
23 said that well. I was really asking you if you knew
24 whether at the time that you were at the headquarters
25 of the Operative Zone, whether any kind of mobilisation
1 of Croat population was being carried out?
2 A. I am not aware that any mobilisation like
3 that was being carried out.
4 Q. Could the witness please be shown Prosecution
5 document 341 and 342 very quickly?
6 This is the document which is a decision on
7 the -- decree on the structuring of the home guard. Do
8 you know whether this order on the structure of the
9 home guard in the region of the Vitez municipality was
10 ever implemented? So based on this decree, was any
11 kind of home guard unit established before the end
12 of -- before the start of the war?
13 A. Absolutely not. The first home guard units
14 were formed after the war. This is the 92nd Home Guard
15 Regiment. Before that, no unit was formed that would
16 be a home guard unit.
17 Q. Could you please look at this other document,
18 which is order 399/93, which states that a temporary
19 home guard command was being formed in the municipality
20 and three men were being proposed.
21 Item 2 says that, "In view of the fact that
22 there were such facilities of special importance in the
23 Vitez municipality, we recommend that a company be
24 formed." This is a document from March 12th, 1993.
25 So do you know whether, at least on paper,
1 any kind of home guard company was formed in March or
2 April of '93?
3 A. Well, I don't have that document in front of
4 me, but I know for a fact that in that period not a
5 single home guard unit was formed.
6 Q. Would mobilisation be carried out in the way
7 stated and described in document 335, which we looked
8 at just now? Would -- had these home guard units been
10 A. Well, it would be logical that they would
11 have been formed -- if they had been formed, they would
12 have simply been deployed to the frontline and people
13 would not have been collected in this way. If there
14 had been a home guard unit, it would simply have been
15 called to that line of defence, and if I can comment on
16 this document --
17 Q. Yes, go ahead.
18 A. What does that say? It doesn't say anything
19 to me. It would be logical for a command to be formed,
20 a command of the home guard unit, any kind of size,
21 which would later appoint the command staff, and only
22 after that would it go about calling up of home guard
23 soldiers. So this is just an order of a commander for
24 company -- home guard companies.
25 But then in this item 2 they say that they
1 recommend that one company be formed, so this doesn't
2 say anything to me. It means that it was probably
3 never implemented. So this really -- this document
4 really has no importance, it has no value.
5 Q. One more question. According to the rules of
6 military service, according to certain customs that
7 were accepted by soldiers, commanders of individual
8 units, tell me, was it customary to send into an attack
9 that was a high risk attack the members of the same
11 A. My commander and all commanders of lower
12 units had instructions to send, whenever possible, or,
13 rather, not to send, whenever possible, two brothers or
14 a father and a son to the same frontline, unless they
15 specifically had requested that.
16 Q. So they were not even sent to the frontline
17 itself, let alone into an attack?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Tell me something else. You know Mirjan and
20 Zoran Kupreskic, do you?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And, tell me, what kind of people are they?
23 A. I've known Zoran for a longer period of time,
24 Mirjan somewhat less. I consider them to be good
25 friends, good colleagues at work, good fathers. They
1 are good men, as we say, and I would really be proud if
2 someone would say of me, or of my own child, that he
3 were a good man.
4 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you, Mr. Rajic.
5 I have completed my questions. Thank you.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Any
7 examination-in-chief by Counsel Radovic?
8 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President. Just
9 a few questions.
10 Examined by Mr. Radovic:
11 Q. You said that Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic were
12 good men. On the basis of which elements from your
13 life do you draw this conclusion?
14 A. I already said that I knew Zoran longer. We
15 worked in the same organisation, we cooperated at work,
16 so that part of our lives was always based on a fair
17 relationship, and it was always improving. I also knew
18 him personally. Zoran was a member of a folklore
19 society. He was a man who worked with children. We
20 were happy to send our children to a society that
21 promoted a healthy life, that we wanted to keep our
22 children off the streets, et cetera.
23 Q. So you are talking about Zoran, right?
24 A. Yes, I am talking about Zoran.
25 Q. Could you please mention Mirjan too.
1 A. I want to talk about them separately.
2 Q. Yes, you can speak about each and every one
3 separately. Because you know Zoran better, right?
4 A. Yes, that's why I wanted to speak in that
6 Q. Now Mirjan.
7 A. Well, often we would sit together and play
8 the accordion and sing. He is a quiet man, a vivacious
9 person, a man who likes people and likes to make other
10 people happy. That is my impression of him. He worked
11 hard at work.
12 Q. And tell me, at work, and in this cultural
13 society, how does Zoran and Mirjan behave to members of
14 other ethnic groups, because in the area of Vitez there
15 were Serbs and Muslims as well? Tell me, did he take
16 a different attitude towards people belonging to other
17 ethnic or religious groups, I don't even know what to
18 say any more, whether he in any way behaved differently
19 towards Muslims and whatever.
20 A. Now you are asking me about something that I
21 and they never thought about at that time. When we
22 danced folk dances together, when we watched these
23 people performing, I just knew that Zoran and Mirjan
24 and others were dancing. And I, just as they did, we
25 never really distinguished between the people in the
1 colour, whether it was a Serb or a Croat or whoever
3 Q. Tell me, after the elections, when the
4 national parties won a majority, were any attempts made
5 to break up this cultural society, where they danced,
6 and to create separate cultural societies?
7 A. I wouldn't know that.
8 Q. Tell me, to the best of your knowledge, as
9 far as the Kupreskic brothers are concerned, do you
10 believe or, rather, what kind of people are they?
11 Could they kill others, could they slaughter others,
12 could they kill children and do things like that?
13 A. It is my deep conviction that they couldn't
15 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you. No further
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Radovic.
18 Since it is clear that we can't get through with this
19 witness today -- I would like to ask Counsel Pavkovic
20 whether there are other Defence counsel willing to
21 cross-examine this witness.
22 MR. PAVKOVIC: No, Your Honour. No. The
23 other Defence counsel do not intend to.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: And the Prosecutor, how much
25 time do you need? Do you think you could finish your
1 cross-examination in -- no, we can't, seven minutes.
2 Then there would be re-examination, in any case, by
3 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac.
4 MR. TERRIER: Seven minutes would not be
5 enough, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. We will resume
7 proceedings on the 8th of February, Monday, the 8th of
8 February at 9.00 sharp, and with Mr. Rajic as a
10 So we adjourn our proceedings.
11 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at
12 1.22 p.m. to be reconvened on Monday,
13 the 8th day of February, 1999 at
14 9.00 a.m.