1 Wednesday, 14th July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Case IT-95-16-T, the
7 Prosecutor versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
8 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic, and
9 Vladimir Santic.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. Before we
11 start our proceedings, I would like to rectify an
12 inconsistency which slipped into our ruling, the ruling
13 we made yesterday, about the conditions under which the
14 Prosecutor may use witness statements in
15 cross-examining the accused when they testify. This,
16 of course, is slightly inconsistent with the previous
17 ruling of our Trial Chamber.
18 Now, let me point out that, of course, we
19 intended to refer to those statements which have been
20 handed over to Defence counsel but have not been used
21 because the person in question has not been called to
22 testify. I referred wrongly to undisclosed
23 statements. It goes without saying that in light of
24 our previous ruling, the undisclosed statements may not
25 be used at all. So, therefore, our ruling of yesterday
1applies, as I say, to those statements which have been
2 handed over to Defence counsel but have so far not been
3 used in court simply because the person in question has
4 not been called to testify, and for those statements,
5 the Prosecutor, if he intends to use them, has got to
6 request leave of the Trial Chamber before proceeding to
7 use those statements.
8 All right. I hope this is clear, and, of
9 course, I apologise for this slight inconsistency, but
10 it is important now to have clarified the matter.
11 I see that General Blaskic is here with us.
12 I am very appreciative of his complying with the order
13 of our Trial Chamber. Good morning.
14 Before we proceed, I also see --
15 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: -- I recognise two Defence
17 counsel. Mr. Hayman?
18 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you. Good morning,
19 Mr. President. My name is, as I think you know, and
20 may I say, it is nice to see you, Mr. President,
21 Russell Hayman, and I am appearing together with Anto
22 Nobilo. We are counsel for General Tihomir Blaskic.
23 Of course, General Blaskic has complied with
24 your summons and is here this morning. If you will
25 allow, I would like, though, to briefly state his
1position with respect to your summons.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
3 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you. General Blaskic has
4 no stake in this matter, and he makes himself available
5 to you as a witness with no personal interest in the
6 case, but he does have an acute interest in the
7 procedural aspects of this matter.
8 As you may know, he is at a critical juncture
9 in his own defence. Final briefs in his case are due
10 in five working days. Closing argument in his case
11 begins in seven working days. He, Mr. Nobilo, and I
12 are working daily, 12 hours a day, on the collaborative
13 preparation of the final phase of his Defence.
14 Our final brief right now is 500 pages in
15 length. We have to cover 50 pages a day to make the
16 schedule set by the Blaskic Trial Chamber. We have
17 been allotted two and one half days for final argument,
18 and the preparations for that argument also are
20 We are extremely concerned and he is
21 concerned that the more time he spends here with you,
22 not to demean the importance of these proceedings, but
23 the more time that he is diverted from his own defence
24 and he spends here, the more inequality of position or
25 arms he is placed in with respect to the Prosecutors.
1The Prosecutors in the Blaskic case are not here.
2 They're up in their offices working feverishly to
3 prepare their final arguments and brief, and we are
4 tied up here and General Blaskic is tied up here in
5 this important matter; we're not suggesting otherwise.
6 But the problem is, for him to be forced to, if you
7 will, engage in, for what is to him, collateral
8 litigation at this key juncture, puts us in a position
9 of inequality of arms vis-a-vis the Office of the
10 Prosecutor in the Blaskic case.
11 It would be very unfortunate if we had to
12 spend a significant amount of time here right now and
13 then have to go to the Blaskic Trial Chamber and tell
14 them we cannot adhere to the schedule they have worked
15 so hard to set for us.
16 We would also like to alert Your Honours to
17 the fact that there was testimony by General Blaskic in
18 his case with respect to three of the four documents
19 identified in the summons that was given in closed
20 session by order of the Blaskic Trial Chamber. For
21 General Blaskic now to be subjected to examination on
22 the contents of documents, those three documents, and I
23 can identify them for you, that were the subject of
24 both open and closed testimony, puts him in the
25 position potentially, the perilous position, of not
1knowing whether to limit himself to the open session
2 testimony, should he go into the closed session
3 testimony to be fully candid, or will he be accused of
4 contempt of court if he discloses something that was
5 discussed in the closed session testimony in the
6 Blaskic Trial Chamber?
7 So we would urge that before he testifies in
8 this case, if at all, as to the content of these three
9 documents, that an order be obtained from the Blaskic
10 Trial Chamber permitting him, in closed session if
11 necessary, to be fully complete in his answers and not
12 to be held in the precarious position of potentially
13 committing either perjury by being incomplete or
14 committing a contempt of the Blaskic Trial Chamber by
15 going into closed matters.
16 Finally, Mr. President -- thank you for
17 indulging us -- under Rule 90(F), we would ask that any
18 questions our client gives be afforded the full
19 protections under Rule 90(F) which provides that a
20 witness may decline to answer, but if compelled to
21 answer, none of their testimony can in any way be used
22 against them.
23 Thank you.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
25 (Trial Chamber confers)
1JUDGE CASSESE: Let me clarify a few points.
2 First of all, it is unusual for a witness to
3 be here in court to give evidence assisted by Defence
4 counsel. However, we thought that this is quite proper
5 in this particular case because this witness is an
6 accused in a trial, in another trial, and the trial is
7 ongoing. So it is quite important and right for him to
8 be assisted by Defence counsel.
9 Second point. We feel that the Defence
10 counsel have a right to object to questions asked to
11 the witness, only, however, to the extent that in
12 answering those questions, he is liable to incriminate
13 himself. So we grant this right to Defence counsel.
14 Another point is that, of course the witness
15 has the right to refuse to answer any question if he
16 feels that, by answering the question, he may
17 incriminate himself. This is a basic right.
18 We will also apply the Rule 90(F) as
19 suggested by Counsel Hayman.
20 As for the question of requesting an order
21 from Trial Chamber I, we think that it is not necessary
22 because we will now move into a closed session so that
23 General Blaskic will be in a position to candidly
24 answer all our questions. So, therefore, we will now
25 move into closed session.
13 pages 11117-11158 redacted closed session
9 --- Recess taken at 10.37 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 11.10 a.m.
11 (Open session)
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
13 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, before we start
14 the examination of our client Zoran Kupreskic, I would
15 like to ask a question of the Trial Chamber and propose
16 three things.
17 The question is whether the Defence counsel,
18 after the accused gives the solemn declaration, have
19 the right to visit him in the detention unit during his
20 testimony, before he finishes. As an accused, he has
21 the right to be visited by his counsel, but as a
22 witness he has no right to speak to the counsel.
23 Also, I would like to ask the Prosecution why
24 they gave us the statement of [redacted]. They
25 also requested to the Trial Chamber, and this request
1was granted, that we not be allowed to contact
2 [redacted], so we assumed that this witness would be
3 called as a witness by the Prosecution. If this is so,
4 we then request that we be allowed to approach
5 [redacted] and talk to her, and we would perhaps like
6 to call her as a witness for the Defence. She was
7 first contacted by the Prosecution to be their
9 Also, we heard yesterday, through the
10 Witnesses and Victims Unit, that based on an order of
11 the Trial Chamber a certain number of documents have
12 been taken by the Prosecution, but what I'm noticing is
13 that every once in awhile the Prosecution is giving us
14 certain documents, and for some of them we're grateful,
15 but we are basically reduced to being given documents
16 which may be exculpatory, even though we believe that
17 we would be in a position to better judge which
18 documents would be exculpatory.
19 Further, I see that the Prosecution uses the
20 documents which were compiled by the court in Zenica.
21 Most of them were taken in 1993, which is much closer
22 to the actual events which are part of this
23 indictment. So they could be more authentic, and the
24 witnesses at that time were much less exposed to all
25 kinds of influences.
1Also, in reference to the lists of members of
2 the HVO, and you ordered that the full list be
3 submitted, we would also like to see the entire file
4 from which some of these witness statements from the
5 Zenica investigating magistrate were taken. In this
6 way, we would be able to make our own judgements rather
7 than rely on what the Prosecution deems is proper for
8 them to disclose to us. Thank you.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Terrier?
10 MR. TERRIER: I will try to answer
11 Mr. Radovic, specifically as regards the statements of
12 certain witnesses or documents which we are disclosing
13 to the Defence in this trial, either because we intend
14 to use them during a cross-examination, for instance,
15 or based on Rule 68 of the Rules of Procedure and
17 If I've understood things correctly,
18 Mr. Radovic is asking that the Prosecutor or the Office
19 of the Prosecutor gives to the Defence all what it has
20 and that we directly or indirectly relate it to what
21 happened in Ahmici. I do not see the appropriateness
22 of proceeding in that fashion, which is not provided
23 for in the Rules. I think that we acted in accordance
24 within the Rules of Procedure and Evidence,
25 specifically Rule 66 and 68, even though if
1occasionally -- even if sometimes applying Rule 68 is
2 difficult, but we have given to the Defence all the
3 witness statements that we are planning to use, and
4 we've even gone beyond that because we have disclosed
5 many witness statements, that is, statements of
6 witnesses who are not called to testify, and we
7 disclosed, it seems to me, everything which I believed
8 was exculpatory for the accused. Therefore, I do not
9 believe that we can, in any appropriate way for the
10 Defence, go beyond what we have already done to date.
11 Mr. Radovic also said or spoke about the
12 witness Mrs. [redacted]. We disclosed this document or
13 that written statement to the Defence, I think it was
14 about ten days ago or maybe two weeks, because we
15 considered that that statement contained exculpatory
16 material. Therefore, on the basis of Rule 68, we
17 disclosed the statement.
18 We also believe that it was important that
19 the Tribunal issue guidelines or rules in order to
20 protect that witness who claims to have been contacted
21 on several occasions and even be subject to pressure by
22 the Defence in order to give positive or favourable
23 testimony for one of the accused.
24 It seems to me the Trial Chamber is
25 protecting the witness. I'm referring merely to the
1decision of the Trial Chamber as far as I can recall.
2 I don't say that there was no contact to be made
3 between the witness and the Defence and preserves the
4 safety of the witness. I simply ask that this decision
5 be applied both in the spirit and the letter of its
7 As regards the third point of Mr. Radovic, I
8 would like, Mr. President, to give the opinion of the
9 Prosecutor. I think that I'm referring more to my
10 legal background than I am to the Rules of Procedure
11 and Evidence that are applicable in this Tribunal. I
12 think that the relationship between the lawyer and his
13 client are fundamental and that the freedom within this
14 relationship, its continuity and its confidentiality
15 guarantee the rights of the Defence and constitute even
16 an essential right -- protection for the rights of the
17 Defence. It seem to me that under those conditions, it
18 would be natural for an exception to be made by the
19 Trial Chamber in respect of its rules between the
20 conflict of calling a witness and the witness, and the
21 free discussions between the lawyer and the accused who
22 has become a witness during the trial.
23 I think that I am speaking for law as it
24 applies in my country and others. This is, therefore,
25 done in a legitimate and lawful manner. Thank you.
1MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, my apologies. I
2 did not receive an answer from the Prosecutor whether
3 he intends to call Mrs. [redacted] as a witness. We do
4 accept that what he disclosed is predominantly
5 exculpatory and we are grateful for, that. But if he
6 is not going to call Mrs. [redacted] as a witness, I
7 see no reason why the Defence cannot talk to her,
8 because I don't think that anybody's applying that the
9 Defence is trying to put any pressure on her.
10 Based on what we learned from her statement,
11 we may be in a position to call her, and I can also say
12 that we already have certain indications that not
13 everything that is stated in this witness statement is
14 truthful. But all we are asking at this point is that
15 the Defence lawyers be allowed to contact Mrs.
17 MR. TERRIER: Honestly speaking, I cannot
18 give an answer to Mr. Radovic that he's seeking today,
19 insofar as in the rebuttal phase of the trial we will
20 only call Mrs. [redacted] if she is in a position to
21 contradict statements that were made. I believe that
22 we must wait for the explanations which are given to us
23 by the accused, that is, the witnesses who are going to
24 express themselves, specifically one of them, and it is
25 only after that that we'll know whether it will be
1appropriate or even possible to call her as a witness.
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, if I can
3 interrupt for a moment. This position of the
4 Prosecutor is somewhat strange. He reserves himself
5 the right to a certain witness who, according to him,
6 has some exculpatory evidence, and we are unable to
7 call this witness before he makes his decision. So
8 this I find a bit strange, how he can decide after the
9 testimony of the accused whether he needs this witness
10 or not.
11 We would obviously like, before the end of
12 our case-in-chief, to call all the witnesses which may
13 be useful for our Defence. So I think that the
14 decision should be taken now. Thank you.
15 (Trial Chamber confers)
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, on the first question,
17 whether or not Defence counsel may speak to the accused
18 who testify in court after the accused make the solemn
19 declaration. Yes, we agree with the Prosecutor. This
20 is a basic right. We make an exception. Therefore,
21 after, even after the making of a solemn declaration by
22 an accused who is testifying in court, Defence counsel
23 may contact the accused in question in his capacity as
24 a witness.
25 Second point about Mrs. [redacted]. We rule
1that the Defence counsel are entitled to contact
2 Mrs. [redacted], and if they wish, they may call her as
3 a witness, a Defence witness.
4 Third point, the documents to be handed over
5 by the Prosecution. On this point, we feel that the
6 Prosecution has fully complied with Rules 66 and 68;
7 therefore, there is no point in suggesting that they
8 should hand over all the documents in their possession
9 to the Defence.
10 This is our ruling, and I think we can now
11 move on.
12 Yes, Counsel Pavkovic?
13 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, I have a
14 technical issue to raise. On 9 July [interpretation
15 error], a witness for the defence of Vladimir Santic
16 testified. The testimony is contained in transcript
17 pages 10499 to 10525. The entire session covering this
18 testimony was closed. However, I don't think that the
19 witness received any kind of pseudonym which I need in
20 order to refer to this witness's testimony. I think
21 that this was a simple omission, and I would request
22 that it be corrected now.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Are you requesting that the
24 witness be given a pseudonym?
25 MR. PAVKOVIC: Yes, Mr. President.
1JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We will ask the
2 registrar to check and to decide on the pseudonym.
3 Yes, Counsel Radovic?
4 MR. RADOVIC: Another technical issue. The
5 witness who I mentioned, I don't know what protective
6 measures may have been given to her, but I believe that
7 her name should be omitted, that is, I submit that her
8 name should be redacted from the transcript. I think
9 that the Prosecution would also agree with that. I
10 believe that she had asked for certain protective
11 measures, including that we do not contact her, and I
12 think that we can redact the name and I think that we
13 will all know who we are referring to.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. All right. Thank you.
15 Yes, we will do so.
16 So it is settled. So a pseudonym, we will
17 give a pseudonym to the witness who testified on the
18 9th of July (sic) in closed session and then we will
19 also use a pseudonym for the lady we mentioned before.
20 All right. And we will redact all the passages where
21 her name has been mentioned today because we are in
22 open session.
23 Counsel Pavkovic?
24 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, the
25 transcript -- I believe that there may have been a
1mistake. This was a witness who testified on the 5th
2 rather than the 9th of July.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: The 5th. All right.
4 MR. PAVKOVIC: The first day we had
5 session -- the first session last week.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. The
7 interpretation, we heard the 9th of July. All right.
8 So it is the 5th of July.
9 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac, are you going to
10 call -- or Counsel Radovic? Counsel Radovic.
11 MR. RADOVIC: We can begin with the
12 examination of Zoran Kupreskic as a witness. I would
13 also like to request the usher to please produce -- I
14 think it's Exhibit P2. It is the aerial photograph of
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic, should we
17 proceed in open session, and if need be, you will ask
18 for a closed session or for a private session?
19 MR. RADOVIC: Open. Perhaps when I mention
20 certain names, and I don't know what the position of
21 the Prosecution is going to be on those, I will just
22 ask for a private session but for very brief periods,
23 and I do have a bad experience with mentioning names
24 that I shouldn't, so I have to be very careful.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Zoran
1Kupreskic, by now you know the procedure. Could you
2 please make the solemn declaration?
3 THE WITNESS: Your Honours, I solemnly
4 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
5 and nothing but the truth.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
7 seated. Mr. Kupreskic, if you, at any moment, feel
8 tired or uptight, please tell us, and we will break for
9 a few minutes or for however long you need.
10 Counsel Radovic?
11 WITNESS: ZORAN KUPRESKIC
12 Examined by Mr. Radovic:
13 Q. Mr. Zoran Kupreskic, finally we have been
14 given an opportunity for you to say what you have
15 wanted to say for a long time now, but would you
16 introduce yourself, please?
17 A. My name is Zoran Kupreskic. I was born on
18 the 23rd of September, 1958, in Vitez.
19 Q. The family you were born to, what is that
20 composed of?
21 A. My family was composed of my father, my
22 mother, and they had three children: myself, my
23 brother, and my sister.
24 Q. What was your father's name?
25 A. My father was Anto, my mother Lucija, my
1brother Mirjan and sister Zorica.
2 Q. In 1992, were you still living in your family
3 house, your parents' house, or had you already built
4 your own house?
5 A. No, in 1992, I had my own house.
6 Q. Who did you live in your house with?
7 A. I lived in my house with my wife and our
8 three children.
9 Q. What is your wife's name and what are your
10 children's names, and when you speak about your
11 children, please tell us how old each child is when you
12 give its name.
13 A. My wife's name is Mira, she was born in 1963;
14 our eldest's son's name is Mladen, he was born in 1985;
15 the middle son is Davor, he was born in 1989; and the
16 youngest son is Anto, born in 1992.
17 Q. I would now like you to rise and to show us
18 on this map -- actually, it's not a map, it's an aerial
19 photograph, and show where your parents' house lies and
20 then where your own house is, the one you built.
21 Please stand in such a fashion as to allow
22 the Trial Chamber to be able to see the photograph. So
23 we are just going to ask you some specific features and
24 we're going to ask you to circle some of these parts.
25 A. I'm afraid I'm listening to the English
1interpretation through my headset.
2 Q. Well, you'll have to change the channel.
3 Perhaps it would be best for you to listen to me
4 directly. Indicate your parents' house, please.
5 A. This is my parents' house (indicating), and
6 my house is 20 or 30 metres below their house, here
8 Q. The position where your house is located and
9 your parents' house, are there any other Croatian
10 houses in the vicinity?
11 A. These are the Kupreskic houses: my parents'
12 house; my brother lived in that house; this is my own
13 house, opposite Ivica Kupreskic's house or my uncle;
14 then there is Josip's house, Ivica's brother, that is;
15 then Branko's house, Ivica's second brother; and my
16 uncle's old house, Ivo Kupreskic.
17 Q. When you say "the Kupreskic houses," what do
18 you mean? Are they all the houses you enumerated just
20 A. Yes, they are. And down below we have Vlatko
21 Kupreskic's house, but that is still lower down, it is
22 somewhere in this area (indicating).
23 Q. So the houses that we have referred to as the
24 Kupreskic houses, are they nearer to the part of the
25 village populated by the Muslims, or do you have -- is
1your next-door neighbour a Croatian house?
2 A. The Kupreskic houses border on the Muslim
3 village, and here you can see that these are all Muslim
4 houses, and, in fact, the Kupreskic houses lie in that
5 particular part of the village which is called Srednji
6 Pirici, and they territorially gravitate towards --
7 that is to say, the Muslim houses and the Croatian
8 houses are together. We have the first Croatian houses
9 here, Sakic houses, although there is 300 to 400 metres
10 between them because there is a sort of wood, and we
11 are separated from the other Croatian houses.
12 Q. If I understand you correctly, your houses
13 are in the complex of the Muslim houses?
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. Please take a look at the main road now, that
16 is to say, the road which goes off from the main road
17 towards Ahmici, and tell me, on the right-hand side of
18 the road, if you're moving towards Ahmici, whose are
19 those houses there, on the right-hand side of the
20 road -- no, up above?
21 A. This is the main communication from Busovaca
22 to Vitez, and this is the road which enters Ahmici
23 (indicating). On the right-hand side, on the right of
24 that road, are all Muslim houses. As we go upwards,
25 this is the PP Sutra warehouse, and on the right-hand
1side are the Muslim houses. There is my father's house
2 and Vlatko's house of the Croatian houses. All the
3 rest are Muslim houses.
4 Q. Would you enumerate for me, please, now your
5 Muslim neighbours and indicate where their houses lie?
6 A. My nearest Muslim neighbours are -- if we
7 take it in order, we have Enver Sehic up here
8 (indicating), followed by Alaman Ahmic with his son.
9 There was a house there, newly built, her son built it,
10 but I don't think they actually lived in it yet. Then
11 there was Redzib Ahmic, Meho Hrustanovic, Krdzilic --
12 we called him Krdzo, but Krdzilic was his surname. I
13 don't know his name. Sakib Ahmic, Sakib's son Sukrija.
14 And those were, for the most part, the houses that
15 existed there.
16 Q. Now please show us the nearest Croat houses
17 and give us the names of the owners.
18 A. Are you thinking of the Kupreskic houses?
19 Q. No. I know where the Kupreskic houses are
20 but the nearest other Croatian houses.
21 A. We have Mirko Vidovic's house up here, that
22 is to say, lower down here; then there is Mirko's
23 mother's house, she had a house there and so did Dragan
24 Vidovic and his parents, and towards Zume, there would
25 be Sakics and Pudzine Kuce, Pudzine houses.
1Q. Would you speak a little more slowly because
2 the interpreters won't be able to follow you. Thank
3 you. With that, we conclude that part of the
5 Tell us, please, now, in Ahmici, do you know
6 whether there was a mosque there?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. How many mosques?
9 A. There was one mosque with a minaret and one
10 did not have a minaret, that is to say, both were under
11 construction. The one with the minaret had almost been
12 completed whereas the one in upper Ahmic did not have a
13 minaret and that was still under cross-examination.
14 Q. Which of those two mosques was built first?
15 A. I don't remember exactly, but I think that it
16 was the upper mosque that was started first but that
17 the lower mosque was completed first. I'm not quite
18 sure. I think that's how it was.
19 Q. Tell us, please, how come that in one village
20 there were mosques?
21 A. Two mosques.
22 Q. Yes, two mosques.
23 A. Well, I know that there was some problems
24 between the upper part of the village and the lower
25 part of the village with respect to where Muslim
1religious customs would be held, and the person living
2 down below was a relatively rich man, we called him the
3 Hadzija, and he did his hajj to Mecca, you know, the
4 custom when the Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca. He
5 decided after that to build a mosque, he was rich, and
6 the villagers decided to help him. What happened was
7 that the village was divided. Some wanted the mosque
8 to be in the upper part of the village, others wanted
9 it to be in the lower part of the village. So that is
10 how two mosques came into being.
11 Q. In your village, did a Catholic church exist?
12 A. No, there was never a church there.
13 Q. And did you attend mass?
14 A. Yes, we did go to mass.
15 Q. Which church did you belong to?
16 A. Well, we went to mass according to our own
17 will and volition. It wasn't compulsory. We held our
18 mass at the Catholic cemetery and at the railway
19 station. When you go to Vitez, it is two and a half or
20 three kilometres away from Ahmici towards Vitez. That
21 was where the church was.
22 Q. Would you describe to us, please, your
24 A. May I sit down?
25 Q. Yes. I beg your pardon. Please do take a
1seat. I thought as I am standing, you might stand as
3 Would you describe to us the schooling you've
4 had? Where did you go to primary school?
5 A. I did four years of primary school at the
6 primary school in Ahmici. The next four years of
7 primary schooling, because we had eight years of
8 primary schooling, the school was at the station near
9 the church. It was a one building leaning on the next
11 My secondary schooling was in Travnik, as a
12 machine technician, and the machine engineering faculty
13 I completed in Zenica from 1978 to 1982. Those were my
14 university years.
15 Q. What kind of pupil were you?
16 A. You mean whether I was good or bad?
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. Well, at the time we had marks ranging from 1
19 to 5. I was -- I either had a 4 or a 5, ranging
20 between very good and excellent. Those were the
22 Q. When you graduated, did you gain the title of
23 graduate engineer?
24 A. Yes, I was a graduate engineer. That was the
25 kind of title and that was on the rank of university.
2 A. You did this for four years and then you have
3 your thesis, you write your thesis.
4 Q. Tell us, please, while you went to school did
5 you go to a uni-national school or a mixed school? I'm
6 not thinking of male/female, but I mean with members of
7 different ethnic groups, a multi-ethnic school.
8 A. Yes, they were mixed. That is to say, we
9 never looked at any difference with regard to
10 nationality or ethnicity, we were all mixed.
11 Q. What about the composition of the teachers,
12 the teaching staff, ethnically speaking?
13 A. The same thing. They were all like the
15 Q. So in the course of your schooling you had
16 the chance of mixing with children of other ethnic
17 groups, if I understand you correctly.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you ever have any problems with your
20 friends in school?
21 A. I can't ever recall having any problems with
22 regard to that.
23 Q. During your schooling, did you have friends,
24 or good colleagues, or individuals who you would learn
25 with together who were members of another nationality?
1A. Yes. In that period, nobody separated
2 anything of that kind. When somebody mentioned a
3 Muslim name, nobody thought of it as a Muslim name, it
4 was just another person.
5 Q. What about in the village itself? Were you
6 friends with boys who were not of the Croatian
8 A. Yes. The same as school. That was quite
9 normal. We would all play together, go about together
10 and so on, socialise.
11 Q. During your education, did you enter into any
12 extra-curricular activities, any free-time activities,
13 leisure activities?
14 A. In my secondary school in -- I was in Novi
15 Travnik, and that was in 1976/1977 when I was in
16 Travnik, and at that time in Vitez the cultural and art
17 society, the Slobodan Princip Seljo society, was formed
18 and I was among the first to join up, myself and some
19 others as well.
20 Q. What did you do first of all?
21 A. I was a dancer in the folklore section.
22 Q. We'll go back to this folklore later on. I
23 just wanted to hear how you started with this folklore
24 activity of yours.
25 Tell us, please, once you graduated, what did
1you do then, afterwards?
2 A. After graduation, I remember that I defended
3 my thesis and then went straight up to serve in the
4 Yugoslav People's Army where I spent one year, that is
5 to say, 11 months, and then returned to Vitez and
6 started working. I got a job in a socially owned
7 enterprise. It was called the SPS, the Slobodan
8 Princip Seljo company in Vitez.
9 Q. While you did your military service -- you
10 know what I mean when I say a military speciality.
11 Could you tell us what your particular speciality was
12 during your year of military service?
13 A. This was then called the ABH, the atomic
14 biological and chemical defence department.
15 Q. What were you trained in during this
16 specialist course? Was it training with respect to
17 attack or in the sense of defence and protection?
18 A. Well, every aspect of the army had this
19 infantry training, which is done in the first months
20 when you come up as a recruit. However, as I was in
21 the ABHO, we devoted most of our attention to that
22 particular type of training, which meant protection
23 from chemical and biological warfare, protective masks,
24 gloves against -- protection against noxious matter,
25 poisons, and so on and so forth.
1Q. According to your description, one would
2 conclude that you were trained in protection, with the
3 aspect and emphasis on defensive aspects?
4 A. You mean in the course of my military
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. That's right.
8 Q. What were your duties after having served
9 your regular military service, that is to say, with
10 respect to your duties as having completed military
12 A. Well, once I finished my military service I
13 would have to contact the defence department, the
14 secretariat for national defence as it was called at
15 the time, and they would then enter all your facts
16 relating to you. You would get an army booklet, as it
17 was called, and you would be registered at the defence
18 department but you'd go on with your own affairs and do
19 your job. So they would have a record of you at the
20 defence department, what you had been trained as and so
21 on and so forth.
22 Q. But once you had taken off your uniform, were
23 you still a soldier?
24 A. No. Then you were a civilian.
25 Q. In the previous system, when you went to the
1defence department to register there, you were given a
2 sort of wartime assignment; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you receive your wartime assignment once
5 you had left the JNA?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Was this wartime assignment changed at any
8 time in the period to come, that is to say, was it
9 changed after the free elections took place or after
10 the formation of the HVO or after the 20th of October
11 and before the 16th of April? Did you understand my
12 question? Do you know what I'm asking you?
13 A. Yes, I do. My wartime assignment, when I
14 returned from doing my military service in the JNA, I
15 was given this wartime assignment on the job where I
16 worked, and that was the one that I had until the
17 conflict broke out. It was never changed or amended.
18 Q. So if I understand you correctly, up until
19 the 16th of April, 1993, according to your wartime
20 assignment registered at the defence department in case
21 there was a mobilisation, if everything proceeded in
22 regular fashion, you would have to report to your place
23 of work; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. Did you go on with your folklore activities
1while you were in the JNA?
2 A. Yes. I was a dancer, a folklore dancer, and
3 I was at the head of this folklore section in the JNA,
4 and I also played in the orchestra.
5 Q. Now, you came back from the JNA and you got a
6 job. Could you tell us where you started working and
7 when you started working?
8 A. I started working at the Slobodan Princip
9 Seljo company, which is near Vitez, in May 1983.
10 Q. What was your job? In other words, what did
11 you do for the company?
12 A. I worked on a trial basis, and after six
13 months I was put in charge of maintenance of one of the
14 company units.
15 Q. Was this an important job in terms of the
16 production of the company where you worked?
17 A. The maintenance always goes hand-in-hand with
18 the production. So if the machinery is not ready for
19 production, there will be no production. So we were
20 always -- we could work the best when the production
21 was not going on.
22 Q. So what kind of company was this company
23 called Slobodan Princip Seljo? What did they produce?
24 A. It is now called Vitezit, and it is now
25 composed of three companies, Vitezit, Sintevit, and
1SPS. SPS, where I worked, produced powder.
2 Q. Who was buying your products?
3 A. I don't know. The whole world.
4 Q. Were you part of the then defence
6 A. Yes. It was a state company.
7 Q. Who was the owner?
8 A. It was the state, the former Yugoslavia.
9 Q. When you arrived in this company, what was
10 the composition of its work-force in terms of its
11 ethnic background?
12 A. Members of all ethnic groups worked there.
13 Everybody who lived in Vitez municipality. I think
14 that it reflected the population in terms of
15 percentages of people who lived there.
16 Q. Apart from the fact that the work-force came
17 from different ethnic groups, was the management also
18 reflecting this ethnic composition or was there any
19 ethnic group which was more privileged?
20 A. No. That was never done. It was just as
21 with schools and the teachers. It was the same
22 situation. Nobody was given preference.
23 Q. When the first free elections were held in
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the nationalist parties won,
25 was there a change in the relation with the Croats at
2 A. No. I noticed no change. We continued doing
3 the same things which we did before.
4 Q. When Yugoslavia started breaking up, did the
5 market of the company become smaller?
6 A. Yes. I remember that certain raw materials
7 we had been receiving from Serbia, and then it became
8 impossible to get if from there. So that affected the
10 Q. In such conditions was there a surplus of
11 workers or employees? Did that become a new
13 A. Yes. That affected not only my company but
14 also Vitez overall. There was something that was
15 called to be let go temporarily. It was something that
16 was produced by that system. In other words, people
17 were still getting a fraction of their money but they
18 would stay home.
19 Q. So people who were temporarily let go and
20 they were -- as they were called, waiting, was that
21 also spread over all ethnic groups?
22 A. Yes, it was spread over all ethnic groups.
23 It was considered that everybody should bear their
24 share of the burden, regardless of what ethnic group
25 they belong to.
1Q. During the conflict on 20 October, 1992, did
2 Muslims continue to come to work following this
3 conflict or not?
4 A. They continued to come to work just as before
5 and it went on for one week.
6 Q. What happened to the days where people did
7 not show up for work due to the conflict?
8 A. The people were paid for all those days.
9 Q. So everybody was paid?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You mean both Muslims and Croats?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So when you came back from your military
14 service you continued to pursue your leisure activities
16 A. Yes. I continued to pursue my interest in
18 Q. What was the name of the group or association
19 where you worked?
20 A. It was called the cultural association
21 Slobodan Princip Seljo in Vitez.
22 Q. Was the company sponsoring that activity?
23 A. Yes. They were the largest sponsor.
24 Q. So it was a sponsor, as we say now?
25 A. Yes. It was for them a means of getting some
2 Q. What ethnic groups were represented in this
3 cultural association or group?
4 A. I think it was the same as the population in
5 Vitez. There were slightly more Muslims than Croats.
6 There were also some Serbs, Romanies, and so on.
7 Q. Until when did this situation continue in
8 terms of the ethnic composition?
9 A. Until 15 April, 1993.
10 Q. There were no changes in ethnic composition?
11 A. No, but there was a lot of fluctuation, so to
12 speak, of membership, and girls changed more than the
13 men did.
14 Q. Did this cultural group have Croats in its
15 leadership or was it run by a member of another ethnic
16 group, and if there were any changes, tell us when did
17 these changes come about?
18 A. There were no changes. These positions were
19 filled from the political structures. They were
20 elected by --
21 Q. You mean committee?
22 A. Yes, by committee. There were both Croats
23 and Muslims who were the heads of this group. I think
24 the last one was -- I can't recall now.
25 Q. But what was his ethnic group?
1A. Muslim. He was a Muslim. He was the
2 director. Senad Besic is his name.
3 Q. In terms of your repertoire, what dances did
4 you perform? Were any dances of any ethnic group
5 preferred over -- a favourite over another one?
6 A. The repertory of our group had dances of all
7 ethnic groups and people from Yugoslavia. I had
8 personal preferences. I preferred Macedonian dances
9 themselves because I just liked them better, but we did
10 all of them.
11 Q. When you performed Muslim dances and songs,
12 how were you dressed?
13 A. Each dance was danced in the dress of the
14 ethnic group which used to be worn by people from that
15 area, from that region. So Muslim dances were
16 performed in Muslim dress from the last century from
17 the Sarajevo area. For instance, we had all the
18 costumes and all the necessary equipment. We had about
19 ten different changes.
20 Q. Can you tell me what a fez meant in Bosnia?
21 Was it identified with any particular ethnic group?
22 A. Yes, it was an identification mark for the
23 Muslims, but elderly Muslims; the younger ones did not
24 wear them.
25 Q. Did you also wear those fezzes during your
2 A. Of course. Why not if we wore all other
3 pieces of dress?
4 Q. Did your folklore group continue to perform
5 after the elections, let's say at the events organised
6 by some of the parties?
7 A. I can recall that in the pre-election
8 campaigns during that time, we received some
9 invitations and we would respond, if a decision was
10 made that we should, and so I remember that we
11 performed at both the rallies for the HDZ and the SDA,
12 that is, for the Croatian Democratic Union rally and
13 for the Party for Democratic Action rally.
14 Q. So you were invited to perform at the rallies
15 of both competing parties and you responded and you
17 A. Yes, and we went to Zenica and performed at a
18 soccer field.
19 Q. When you went to the SDA rally, was some kind
20 of an anthem played before you performed?
21 A. Yes, something was played. I think that it
22 was the SDA anthem, but I do not -- I cannot reproduce
23 it now.
24 Q. You know that when we -- so that we've been
25 talking about the period leading to the 20th of
1October. But I want to ask you, when the tensions
2 started rising between Muslims and Croats, did the
3 folklore group split up; in other words, that the new
4 groups formed would consist of members of one ethnic
5 group only and would perform only the songs and dances
6 of that ethnic group?
7 A. Yes. Right around the elections, a Croatian
8 cultural society called Napredak was established as
9 well as a Muslim cultural society, Preporod, but our
10 own folklore group continued as before.
11 Q. Were there any attempts to pressure you into
12 disbanding your group and moving to the Croatian
14 A. Yes. From the very start of these new
15 associations, pressure was exerted on both us and the
16 Muslims who were in the group, and these were not very
17 overt pressures, it would be just in passing. "You
18 know, we now have a Croatian society. Perhaps you
19 should move with us?" But we were determined to stay
20 the way we were, even though the conditions were
21 deteriorating financially-speaking, since Senad Besic
22 -- and since we had Senad Besic as the director, he
23 was resourceful and we somehow managed to make ends
24 meet. I am very glad that we were able to survive and
25 I hope that we'll do it again.
1Q. Can you tell us who tried to pressure you to
2 move, to persuade you to move to the Croatian society?
3 A. As I said, it was not overt pressure, but
4 from conversation to conversation, you would just
5 become aware of the fact that you are being sort of
6 eased in that direction. I remember Franjo Kurevija,
7 he had a limp, that's how I remember him, he was one;
8 and Marko Martinovic was another one. I think at that
9 time -- and Zvonko Cilic. They were all part of the
10 presidency at that time. My brother and I were really
11 leaders of this folklore group, and they believed, I
12 guess, that if they won us over, that the whole group
13 would break apart.
14 So there were conversations with those
15 people, and even if we didn't want to move over to
16 them, that we should help them.
17 Q. So why did you decide not to disband this
18 multi-ethnic group?
19 A. I only remember asking those people, "Can
20 Ibro, Spiro, Nezdad and others, Mustafa, come with me
21 to this new society?" And they said "No, it was not a
22 problem. Everybody could join in." My Muslim friends
23 had similar experiences. The conversation would go on,
24 "Would your friends also go to our society or will
25 they stay in their own society?" So this is how it all
1went. So I told them, "As long as I can go along with
2 this group, I'm used to it and I feel fine there and I
3 don't want to change anything."
4 Q. Can you tell me about your association with
5 Muslims? Were you only meeting to go to performances
6 and rehearsals, or did you associate with the, did you
7 socialise with them, even outside this activity?
8 A. Primarily this was a love for dancing and
9 singing and playing music. We would gather before we
10 started rehearsing or performing, an hour before, and
11 we would talk about everything at this coffee bar. So
12 we had an hour before and an hour after the
13 performance. This is when the real socialisation took
14 place. We would then maybe just move on to some coffee
15 bar in town and we would just stay together.
16 Q. This folklore group of yours, did it continue
17 working after the 20th of October?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you tell us when your folklore group had
20 a performance at a Muslim celebration last? When was
21 the last time, a purely Muslim celebration?
22 A. Well, I remember we had a performance, it was
23 to celebrate the Muslim festival of Bajram, and it was
24 in March 1993 at the fire brigade building at the
25 Mahala in Vitez. I remember that.
1Q. When was Bajram?
2 A. It was March 1993, at the end of March
4 Q. After that, did you have performances of any
5 kind together with your Muslim members at an
6 exclusively Croatian celebration?
7 A. Not for a long time afterwards. I remember
8 several days before the conflict, we had a performance
9 with the same group in Mosunj to celebrate the Catholic
10 holiday of Easter. That was in April, the 10th or 11th
11 of April, somewhere around there.
12 Q. Tell us, please, the war was to come soon
13 after that.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Were there any attempts made at any folklore
16 performances then?
17 A. Well, there was one attempt sometime in
18 December --
19 Q. What year was that, please?
20 A. It was December 1993. On one or two
21 occasions, I don't quite remember, we were taken out of
22 the trenches to try and get together a folklore
23 performance of some kind, but the events in Krizancevo
24 Selo took place where a lot of people died, so that
25 nothing came of that.
1Q. So during the war, there was nothing. What
2 about after the war? What happened after the war with
3 the group? Did you gather together again later on?
4 Were you able to reassemble?
5 A. After the war, when I started going to work,
6 we continued our work because of our love of that type
7 of dancing and socialising, but as in Vitez at that
8 time there was only the Napredak society, then we
9 continued, my brother and I continued there.
10 Q. When you took up your work in folklore, this
11 Napredak society now, did you try to bring someone in
12 from the Muslim members of the old composition, and if
13 you did, try to tell us who you tried to bring in?
14 A. Well, to begin with, we took in people that
15 we could quickly, and then afterwards, we would invite
16 people if we met them, and I continued with Cato Veljko
17 who used to dance with us, he is a Serb by nationality;
18 and then Adil Fafulovic, he is Romany, a Gypsy; and
19 Ahmed Delic continued, Ahmed Delic was a Muslim; and
20 the rest were Croats.
21 Q. Did you try to bring in anybody else and did
22 anybody refuse to go back to the society?
23 A. I didn't invite anybody who declined.
24 Anybody whom I saw knew I had some connections with
25 folklore before. All of them agreed. And we also
1renewed work for the younger group, our junior group.
2 As we did in the SPS, we had a younger group, led by my
3 brother, and we continued this type of work and had
4 this young group and there were lots of members after
5 the war.
6 Q. Tell us, please, after the war, did you have
7 any public performances? Did you perform publicly, for
8 example, in front of UNPROFOR soldiers?
9 A. Yes. Before the war and after the war as
11 Q. Did you travel abroad at all for
13 A. Well, we toured half of Europe with the SPS
14 society as before, and after the war, with the Napredak
15 society and folklore group, we had a guest appearance
16 in Zagreb, if I remember correctly, and once in Vienna,
17 Austria, after the war, that is.
18 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I am now going
19 to complete that section relating to folklore, but I
20 would like to show you some photographs, and they are
21 self-explanatory. I am going to start with a
22 photograph showing Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic in their
23 happier days. We have two photographs in colour only,
24 I'm afraid, the rest are black and white, but as the
25 Prosecutor used this method before us, I hope you won't
2 Perhaps it would be a good idea if we show
3 the colour photographs first and then the order in
4 which the registrar has them. May we show the colour
5 photographs first? The colour photographs first,
6 please, if we may?
7 THE REGISTRAR: The photograph will be D16/A.
8 MR. RADOVIC:
9 Q. Would you comment on the photograph briefly?
10 Who is on the photograph?
11 A. Me and my brother while he did folklore
12 dancing, and for a time he played in the society.
13 Q. Just briefly we're showing your happier
14 days. So you're both dancing there, and that is the
15 national costume from Macedonia.
16 That completes that particular photograph.
17 May we proceed to the next one?
18 Mr. President, I only have four photographs.
19 I'm not going to overburden the Trial Chamber with
21 Would you please describe this photograph?
22 Who are the people on it?
23 A. On the photograph are Serbs, Croats, and
25 Q. Are they all members of your folklore
2 A. Yes, they are.
3 Q. How are they dressed?
4 A. Those are the Muslim costumes.
5 Q. What do they have on their heads?
6 A. They are fezzes. It is a complete Muslim
7 costume and the dance is called Bosna.
8 MR. RADOVIC: Well, that completes that
9 particular photograph. May we go on to the next?
10 THE REGISTRAR: That photograph is D17/A.
11 Let me remind you that the first photograph was D16/A.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Why "A"? It's 1. You said
13 "A." Why not 1?
14 MR. RADOVIC: I gave seven of each.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: So it is D17/1 and the first
16 photograph D16/1.
17 THE REGISTRAR: The third photograph is
19 MR. RADOVIC:
20 Q. Tell us, please, Zoran, what does this
21 photograph show?
22 A. It's our cultural and arts society, Slobodna
23 Princip Selo, and it had a wonderful custom, I think it
24 was wonderful, and that is to celebrate the day it was
25 founded, and this is a photograph from one of the
1celebrations at the hotel in Vitez where we are all
2 together, the members of the society. We were already
3 married; we were there with our wives.
4 Q. And there were Muslims, Serbs, and Croats, if
5 I understand you correctly.
6 A. Yes, and those of us who were married,
8 Q. But married and unmarried are not national or
9 ethnic affiliation. But they were all of different
10 nationalities; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Would you take up the marker, please, and
13 draw a circle around your head and your brother's head,
14 and above the circle put in a number 1, please?
15 A. (Marks)
16 Q. "One" above your head and your brother's.
17 A. "One" above each circle.
18 Q. Yes, because one denotes the brothers
20 A. (Marks)
21 Q. Now, indicate who was a Serb and draw a
22 circle around that person. You can give us their name
23 if you remember it, and write number 2 above that.
24 A. (Marks)
25 Q. Who is that?
1A. Veljko Cato.
2 Q. Was there anybody else?
3 A. Only Cato was a Serb.
4 Q. Was there any Romany there, Gypsy?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Any Muslims?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Indicate the Muslim circles with a circle and
9 write a 3, please.
10 A. (Marks). Dzidic Mustafa and Sedzad Masic.
11 Q. That completes that photograph and there is
12 one more, the last one.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic, may I ask
14 you, when was this photograph taken, this one? Do you
15 know the date?
16 MR. RADOVIC:
17 Q. When was the photograph taken?
18 MR. RADOVIC: May I ask the witness?
19 A. Well, it was one of the celebrations. I
20 think it was in '90. 1990 or 1991, thereabouts.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
22 THE REGISTRAR: The fourth photograph, the
23 fourth, is D19/1.
24 MR. RADOVIC:
25 Q. Would you briefly comment on this last
1photograph, who you were performing for and what the
2 dance was?
3 A. This was a performance in front of the
4 UNPROFOR soldiers. It was in Busovaca, at the school
6 Q. That would be all, but just tell us the
8 A. I don't exactly remember when that was but
9 after the war sometime.
10 Q. Well, that gives me a time frame. Thank
12 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, are we going to
13 take a break now or are we going on till 1.00? If
14 we're going until 1.00, I would ask for five minutes to
15 sit down, please.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, we intend to go on until
17 1.00, and to stop at 1:00.
18 MR. RADOVIC: So we're going to work until
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. You may sit down, of
22 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you. May I continue? I
23 can continue sitting down, if I may, for five minutes?
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
25 MR. RADOVIC: So as not to lose time.
1Q. Do you remember the first free elections in
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. Did you take any kind of active role in those
5 elections or for any party fighting for political power
6 in the area of the Vitez municipality?
7 A. Apart from folklore, nothing else.
8 Q. Well, folklore is not political power. It
9 doesn't come under that category.
10 Did you know the results of the election? Do
11 you know who won the election?
12 A. Well, I knew for the Vitez municipality that
13 most of the votes went to the HDZ party, that the
14 second was the SDA, got the second majority vote. I
15 don't know about the rest.
16 Q. The others had negligible votes?
17 A. Yes, that's right. These two of the most
19 Q. Do you know, either directly or from the
20 media, how power was set up in the Vitez area after the
21 elections, how government was set up? Was it a
22 one-party government or was there a coalition?
23 A. I know that there was a coalition after the
24 elections between the HDZ and the SDA. Whether any
25 other smaller party was included I don't know, but
1these two parties set up the government. I know that
2 the president of the municipal assembly was a Croat,
3 and the executive board president was a Muslim.
4 Q. What was the name of the president of the
5 municipality after the elections?
6 A. Ivan Santic.
7 Q. He was a member of the HDZ, as far as I
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. What was the name of the president of the
11 executive council?
12 A. The president of the executive council was
13 Fuad Kaknjo. He was an electrical engineer and worked
14 in my company, and he was a Muslim by way of
16 Q. As the notion of an executive council was a
17 specific feature of the former Yugoslavia, how would we
18 put that in more modern terms now to explain to the
19 Trial Chamber what we mean by an executive council
21 A. Well, I think it was the government, the
22 government in the municipality.
23 Q. From those first elections, up until the
24 beginning of the Muslim-Croatian war on the 16th of
25 April, 1993, did you have any political function that
1give you any kind of opportunity to wield political
2 power and authority or to make any political decisions
3 of any kind?
4 A. No.
5 Q. So at that time, from the election up until
6 the beginning of the Croatian-Muslim war, how did you
7 function in a political sense?
8 A. You mean personally?
9 Q. Yes. Were you involved in anything or did
10 you only go about your own business, and job, and
12 A. I was not politically engaged anywhere. I
13 worked in my company, the firm I had worked for, from
14 6.00 in the morning until 2.00 in the afternoon, and
15 four times a week we had rehearsals in the evenings in
16 Vitez, and I was engaged in building my house, that is
17 to say, I was finishing off the construction work to my
18 house, and of course, my family affairs.
19 Q. Was there any kind of political meeting or
20 the meetings of a political forum, for example, at
21 which any kind of political decision was taken with you
22 present, with you attending such a meeting?
23 A. No. No, that did not exist.
24 Q. You had an opportunity, up close and from
25 afar, to see how the HDZ party was working. My guess
1is that -- I guess that you followed it from afar,
2 through the media?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you know of a term which was made up in
5 the communist system called "democratic centralism"?
6 A. That would, for me, involve taking a decision
7 at a high level and then pushing it through to the
8 lower levels, let's say, at the level of municipality
9 and so on.
10 Q. If I understood you correctly, this was a way
11 of political functioning where all the key decisions
12 were made at a high level, and then such decisions were
13 transferred to the lower structures for its
14 implementation; would that be correct?
15 A. Yes. That is how the league of communists
17 Q. Now, do you know how the HDZ operated, based
18 on what you heard in the media or from other people?
19 A. I can only guess. There were people who
20 worked in a certain way for 40 years or more, and it's
21 very hard to change that overnight.
22 Q. But did you have an opportunity to follow any
23 media during this critical period following the
24 elections and prior to the war?
25 A. I had an opportunity at work to follow the
1news on a transistor radio.
2 Q. So what was being reported? Was it said that
3 the assembly of Herceg-Bosna established Herceg-Bosna
4 or was it that the Vitez municipality officials asked
5 for the creation of Herceg-Bosna? Which way did it
7 A. I don't know. I don't recall.
8 Q. Very well. Do you recall when you first
9 heard the word "HVO"?
10 A. Perhaps sometime in 1992.
11 Q. Now, what is the HVO?
12 A. That is the Croatian Defence Council. At
13 that time, the HVO set up its organisation and came
14 into power in Vitez. I mean, this is what I heard on
15 my transistor radio, and this is what I heard while I
16 was taking coffee with my colleagues at work.
17 Q. Did the HVO imply only the municipal or, I
18 should say, civilian authority or did you also see some
19 persons wearing uniforms with the HVO insignia on
21 A. It was both the civilian and military
22 authority, that is in Vitez. You could see people in
23 uniform walking about in town.
24 Q. With the HVO insignia?
25 A. I don't know what period you're referring
2 Q. Any period.
3 A. Yes, you could see them around.
4 Q. Could you place in time when it was that you
5 first saw a person with the HVO insignia?
6 A. This could have been in the summer or fall of
8 Q. Did you at any time see a larger group of
9 such persons?
10 A. On one occasion I was in the sports stadium,
11 it was some kind of parade or oath-taking or something
12 like, that and that's when I saw them.
13 Q. Were you present in that stadium as a member
14 of the audience or a participant?
15 A. I went there as a member of the audience. I
16 was late coming from work.
17 Q. Were you there from the beginning or were
18 people already dispersing when you arrived?
19 A. It was almost over when I arrived.
20 Q. Could you describe what types of uniforms you
21 saw there? What did you see?
22 A. I saw camouflage uniforms, sort of olive
23 green in colour. Then I saw some medical staff in
24 white. Some had weapons, some did not. I cannot
25 recall, but I think that there were two persons in
1black uniforms, but I'm not so sure.
2 Q. Were there some who were wearing belts, such
3 as the military policemen used to wear?
4 A. No, I do not recall.
5 Q. You did not pay much attention to that, did
7 A. There may have been there, but I don't know.
8 Q. You also said that some of them carried
10 A. Yes. There were mostly automatic rifles or
11 M-48 semiautomatic rifles, those types of weapons.
12 Q. At that time, that is in the summer of 1992,
13 was the war with the Serbs already raging?
14 A. Yes. I recall that my brother and I were
15 sitting at the Sedzad Masic's coffee bar. This is the
16 man who also is part of this folklore group, and we
17 watched on television when in April the Serbian snipers
18 started shooting around town. I think that was -- this
19 had already happened.
20 Q. Were there any combat operations in the Vitez
22 A. You mean in 1992?
23 Q. First just tell me whether there were some
24 and then you can say when.
25 A. In the Vitez area, no.
1Q. How about shelling?
2 A. Yes. The JNA, actually the air force, did
3 bomb the factory in Busovaca. This was in April 1992.
4 Q. In April 1992?
5 A. I don't know. I think it was in April.
6 Q. Did they succeed in hitting the factory
7 during that raid?
8 A. I watched that from my home, and a couple of
9 days ago I -- a couple of days later I realised that
10 the bombs had missed the factory. I know that it was
11 around the boiler room. There was some minor damage
12 but nothing vital was hit.
13 Q. Now, let me ask you about these free
14 elections. Could anybody have predicted that there
15 would be a conflict between Muslims and the Croats
16 around that time or were Muslims and the Croats
17 considered allies?
18 A. For instance, I saw the manifestations of
19 that alliance everywhere. For instance, Muslim and
20 Croat flags would be tied together into a knot. I
21 think that it was probably -- it probably looked a bit
22 strange to the Serbs living there, but the alliance of
23 Croats and Muslims did exist.
24 Q. When did you start feeling that this alliance
25 was breaking down or waning? Obviously, what did you
1notice? I'm not asking you for any objective knowledge
2 of that but what did you notice?
3 A. I heard that they couldn't reach an agreement
4 at the local government level, that they had to
5 separate, that the authority between them which was
6 shared had to go apart. But I mostly learned of this
7 at work. It was usual in the morning to drink coffee
8 and then another one at noon, so all of us who worked
9 together in this unit, we would gather around and this
10 is when we shared information.
11 Ahmet Mahmutovic, who was the brother of the
12 late Saban, who was the chief of police, worked there,
13 and Senad Topoljak, who lived in Vitez, also worked
14 with us. So he told us what happened in Vitez the
15 previous night, things like that.
16 Q. Let's move on to late 1992, late 1992 and
17 early 1993, when the war broke out. Did you receive
18 any kind of print media, any newspapers?
19 A. Very rarely. We had a Sarajevo newspaper
20 called Vecernji. We received that. I also followed a
21 sports paper which came from Zagreb.
22 Q. How about the electronic media? Did you
23 watch television?
24 A. Where I lived, you could receive the Sarajevo
25 TV programming. Croats had their own television, and
1Muslims had their own television, but the signal was
2 not strong enough in Ahmici, so we couldn't watch
3 that. In Vitez you could watch Zenica TV, but not
4 where I lived.
5 Q. When the lady witness that testified
6 yesterday, she mentioned propaganda coming from Grude
7 television, and she concluded from that that Busovaca
8 and Kiseljak had similar conditions. Did you receive
9 TV Grude where you lived?
10 A. No, never. Neither the radio or TV signal.
11 Q. Were you in a position to receive it?
12 A. From what I know, nobody in my area could
13 receive their signal.
14 Q. Did you, at some point, and if you did, when,
15 did you start noticing any electronic media information
16 which was accusatory of another ethnic group; in other
17 words, allegations that another ethnic group was
18 responsible for certain incidents?
19 Before you answer that, I would like to ask
20 you: Did you listen to only Croatian radio stations or
21 did you listen to some Muslim ones?
22 A. I had a transistor radio at work. There were
23 both Croatian and Muslim radio stations, and I listened
24 to both of them. When the conflict broke out in
25 Busovaca, and even before the conflict with Serbs
1around Sarajevo, I know that, for instance, when the
2 Croatian newscast talked about the conflict in
3 Busovaca, it would be something like set phrases, it
4 would be "that the enemy attacked," and if you listened
5 to the other side, they would say the same thing except
6 they would accuse the other side. So they were both
7 completely partial but in the opposite directions.
8 Q. Now, I would like you to try to place in
9 time, when did these incidents that allegedly the other
10 side was responsible for, when did it begin to be
11 mentioned more and more often? When was this?
12 A. That was in January, and if I can just add to
13 what I had said before, I rarely heard from the
14 Croatian side that the HVO was also involved in
15 something. And the same with the Muslim side. They
16 rarely ever mentioned that the BH army was involved in
17 something. It was always only mentioned the other
19 Q. How did the Croatian media brand Muslims and
20 the other way around too?
21 A. The Croatian media called it "the Muslim
22 forces" and the Muslim media called it "the HVO
24 Q. Very well. When you compared these reports
25 from the media, were you able to conclude what was the
1truth? Was it possible at all to determine what the
2 truth was?
3 A. It was impossible for me to determine what
4 the truth was.
5 Q. Did you have any type of information that you
6 received from direct participants in any of these
8 A. [No translation]
9 Q. Did you, throughout this period -- we are now
10 entering 1992, up until the beginning of the war with
11 the Muslims -- at any time feel threatened by the
12 Muslims, that is, by your Muslim neighbours in
14 A. My Muslim neighbours? No.
15 Q. Who were you afraid of?
16 A. There were frequent threats, that is to say,
17 we were threatened when we heard the term "Mujahedin."
18 That was the frightening word.
19 Q. In what sense were you afraid when you heard
20 the term "Mujahedin"? Who were these people?
21 A. Well, they were some foreign mercenaries from
22 some Arab countries who had come to fight for Islam for
23 the Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that they existed in
24 Zenica, and Zenica was the bordering municipality, if
25 you look at Zenica, Vitez and Ahmici and Pirici, where
1I come from, so that was the nearest.
2 Q. So people spoke about them as warriors to
3 propagate religion. But were they also talked about as
4 to their conduct, whether they adhered to the rules of
5 warfare or the prevalent rules with regard to their
6 behaviour toward civilians, or were they also spoken of
7 as something quite separate and different?
8 A. Well, the tales told were that these people
9 would slaughter others and that they would storm the
10 village and so on. There were terrible stories going
11 about, and you could believe them or not believe them.
12 Q. But whether it's true or not, you had your
13 doubts, and this idea was implanted in your mind.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Tell us, the Muslims would frighten you by
16 referring to the Mujahedins. Did you frighten the
17 Muslims in any way? Not you personally but I mean
19 A. Well, I learned some things from Senad
20 Topoljak who worked with me and lived in the town, and
21 he said that -- I don't know what period this was,
22 whether it was the end of 1992 or the beginning of 1993
23 -- that in Vitez, there were some people from
24 Herzegovina, there was an army of Herzegovinian men,
25 and their behaviour was provocative, they would shoot
1above their heads in cafes, they would take drinks and
2 not pay for them, they were generally carousing and so
3 on, and I saw this on several occasions myself, people
4 going through the town with weapons, drunk and rowdy,
5 and I gained the impression that Senad was afraid of
6 them. Well, I was afraid too, not only him. So that
7 this fear did exist and it was tangible, you could feel
8 the fear from this army, and it was a sort of
9 Herzegovina army, men from Herzegovina, something like
11 Q. Tell us, please, at that particular time,
12 from the summer of 1992 up until the beginning of the
13 war, was there any violence in town? For example,
14 would they break somebody's cafe, demolish it, shoot at
15 somebody's windows, throw in a bomb or something like
16 that, in the town of Vitez, I'm asking about?
17 A. Well, yes, that is in line with what I said a
18 moment ago, that there were rumours and people said
19 that this was done by the people from Herzegovina, that
20 cafes were blown up, that they shot into the air at
21 random, and that their behaviour was generally rowdy
22 and that they behaved badly, that he would have a
23 long-barrelled weapon. This occurred at the end of
24 1992; I don't know if it was already 1993.
25 Q. But tell us, please, in your own village
1where you lived, was there any behaviour of that kind
2 there, any violence towards the Muslims, whether there
3 was random shooting, people from -- and towards the
4 Muslim houses in what was considered to be Ahmici, or
5 was nothing going on there with respect to violent
7 A. Well, at that time in Ahmici, there was
8 nothing of that kind going on, but by the main road
9 there was. From time to time, a car would go by, for
10 example, and people would shoot out of it into the air.
11 Q. But what about the main road? These were not
13 A. No. People would come in by car.
14 Q. But I'm asking you about the villagers
16 A. No, there was nothing of that kind amongst
17 the villagers, the locals.
18 Q. Well, we have just heard of the kind of
19 tensions that existed and the tensions in the media,
20 that they always blamed the other side for anything
21 that occurred. Would you now tell us something about
22 the village guards or village watch. What were the
23 village guards? We've been talking a lot about them.
24 Well, let's hear what they were because we heard
25 yesterday, the BBC film we saw, that the Muslims, via
1the village guards, protected their houses. Could you
2 tell us what is meant by the village guards in your
3 particular village?
4 A. Yesterday, when I watched the film, I think
5 his name was Nurija, shown on the film, and I thought
6 poor old Nurija, the situation was similar where we
7 were with just some little differences. But that was
8 it more or less.
9 As far as the village guards were concerned
10 or village watch, I know that at Zume they started
11 forming these village guards and it was the winter of
12 1992, but in Ahmici, the Muslim neighbours, during that
13 particular period, we Kupreskics did not have watches
14 of that kind until February or March 1992.
15 Q. Tell us, please, among the Kupreskic houses,
16 how many of you, how many men were there who were
17 capable of doing shifts within this village guard?
18 We're not going to stick to the 65 age limit as existed
19 in the army. But how many of you were able to go out
20 at night carrying a gun and take part in this village
22 A. Three.
23 Q. How many?
24 A. Three of us. I myself, Ivica, and Mirjan.
25 Q. And that's all?
1A. Yes. In the Kupreskic houses, that was all.
2 And as that was so, then we wanted to have the Sakics,
3 Samija, and the ones who were nearer, the Pudzine
4 houses' people to join us, so there were not only three
5 of us, there were 10 or 12 people in all, counting
6 them, because the three of us couldn't hold any village
7 watch of any kind.
8 Q. Would you tell us how you started doing these
9 guard shifts? I interrupted you. I apologise.
10 A. I've already said that the village guards
11 were at Zume. The Muslims stood guard, our neighbours,
12 in the village. And in February or March, somewhere
13 thereabouts, we too stood guard several times, on
14 several occasions, but we began to do this in a more
15 serious fashion in April, after the JNA shelling of the
16 SPS in Vitez, the company there, and the town of
18 Q. So how did it come about that village guards
19 were formed at all? Was there an initiative from
20 outside? Did this initiative come from outside? Did
21 they ask you to set up village guards in the village,
22 or did this come about in some other way?
23 A. Well, the initiative came from the village
24 itself. I remember that my father said to me, "Well,
25 look here. These people, our neighbours, are holding
1village guards at Zume. They're all awake whereas
2 you're all sleeping. They go to work and you sleep at
3 night." And Dragan Vidovic's father told him the same
4 thing and so did Mirko Sakic's father. They all said
5 this. And I remember on one occasion, Dragan and I,
6 when I took part in the village watch with Dragan
7 Vidovic for the first time and I did my shift, that
8 might have been in March perhaps, I'm not sure --
9 Q. But you didn't tell me how it came about that
10 you went to do your guard shift for the first time.
11 A. Well, I went there for the first time with
12 Dragan, as I said. He called me. He said that he was
13 at Sakics' place, I don't know which one, but he went
14 visiting, he went to have a cup of coffee, went to the
15 Sakics' place, and the two of them had agreed that this
16 Sakic would see, with those down there, whether they
17 wanted to, and that Dragan would contact us to see
18 whether we were in favour of this, and when Dragan told
19 me, I said, "Well, yes," I wasn't against because I
20 could see that there were village guards set up all
21 over the place.
22 So a few days later, he came and said that
23 the two of us were to do our shift for a certain amount
24 of time. So that is my first recollection of when I
25 did my shift within this village guard duty.
1Q. How often did you have to do this village
2 guard duty -- once a month, twice a month? -- when you
3 had already started this? How often?
4 A. Well, it depended on the period.
5 Q. Well, let us say up until the 20th of
6 October, tell us that first, and then from the 20th of
7 October to the 16th of April, tell us about that next.
8 A. So in those first few days, only a few of us
9 wanted to do this village guard duty. Some people
10 didn't want to.
11 Later on, when there were about ten of us,
12 then we would do two-hour shifts per night, so we had
13 five to our shifts to cover the entire night. So we
14 would go out, all of us, every night and do our
15 two-hour shift. If I did my shift from, say, 1.00 to
16 3.00 a.m., the next evening -- we had this automatic
17 system where I would do from 3.00 to 5.00 a.m. So that
18 I would have all the shifts, the first, the middle
19 shift, and the last shift, and everybody liked to do
20 the last shift or the first shift so you could do your
21 shift and then go home and have a sleep. So that we
22 were out every night. If we wanted to do regular
23 village guard duty, we would all have to be there and
24 do two-hour shifts.
25 Q. Very well. What would happen if somebody
1could not go out for his shift, that is to say, up to
2 this 20th of October period? For example, if someone
3 went down with the flu?
4 A. Well, things like that did happen. They
5 would stay at home and sleep and the other people would
6 carry on. Quite simply, that shift would not be
7 carried out. Sometimes somebody would replace them,
8 but not always. So it wasn't very serious, really.
9 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, we have
10 completed this general section relating to the village
11 guards. We will now go on to speak about whether he
12 distributed the shifts. But if you agree, we could
13 perhaps take a break there and adjourn.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. We will adjourn now
15 until tomorrow.
16 Before adjourning, let me ask Counsel
17 Puliselic a question. I would like Counsel Puliselic
18 to inquire about the health of Mr. Dragan Papic. Is he
19 in hospital?
20 MR. PULISELIC: Yes, he went to hospital
21 today, and as far as I have been informed, the
22 operation has been scheduled for tomorrow. That is all
23 I know. I know nothing more than that. So tomorrow or
24 the day after, we will receive further information.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Thank you so
2 All right. So we adjourn now. Tomorrow we
3 will start at 10.00, because at 9.00, as you know, the
4 Tadic judgement will be delivered. From 10.00 to 1.00.
5 All right. We adjourn now.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
7 1.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
8 the 15th day of July, 1999, at
9 10.00 a.m.