1 Wednesday, 4 September 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus
7 Mladen Naletilic and Vinko Martinovic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Thank you.
9 Well, Mr. Seric, we have received your motion dated the 27th
10 August, 2002, in which you listed six potential witnesses that you are
11 going to call in the following sequence and you also indicated what kind
12 of protective measures that you are requesting from this Trial Chamber. I
13 would like to turn to the Prosecutor to see whether there is any
14 objections to all those six witnesses, as well as the protective measures
15 they asked for.
16 MR. SCOTT: Good morning, Your Honour. If I might have just a
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
19 [Prosecution counsel confer]
20 MR. SCOTT: Good morning, Your Honours. Mr. President, generally
21 speaking we would have no objection. I would just state for the record
22 our continuing concern about the number, the extent of the protective
23 measures in the case and again it's not objecting to any particular one
24 but I do think it does present overall problems for a case of this
25 magnitude when so much of the evidence is received with such deep
1 protective measures. Basically almost as a routine practice but I just
2 state that as a general concern. We have no specific objections, thank
4 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. I believe that this Trial
5 Chamber shares the view expressed by you. Yes, Mr. Par?
6 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Mr. President, with regard to the issue
7 of protective measures, I would like to say that we will have a change,
8 that we will advise you of in the course of the day. For witness under
9 number 5 we are going to ask for a closed session. We have prepared a
10 motion. It is being translated just as we speak. So we are asking for
11 even stronger protective measures because the witness under number 5 put
12 that as a condition to us. He has had some problems. His identity has
13 been revealed and it has been found out that he was going to testify
14 here. I am very concerned when the -- Mr. Scott says that he objects
15 to -- he doesn't object to the protective measures but he expresses
16 concern. However I would like to ask this Chamber how do our witnesses
17 differ from the Prosecutor's witnesses, who were -- who enjoyed the
18 maximum protective measures, who enjoyed not only the customary protective
19 measures but also it testified in closed sessions? Before the beginning
20 of this process we had a gentlemen's agreement between the Prosecution and
21 the Defence and we promised to each other not to raise any concerns about
22 protective measures. At the beginning, this gentlemen's agreement was
23 honoured. However, to raise this issue now, when the Prosecutor's case is
24 finished and forget what protective measures they asked for their
25 witnesses, and now impose it on us that we should not ask for these
1 measures, I don't deem this to be correct and I'm asking from this Chamber
2 to help us with these protective measures, especially with the closed
3 sessions. We did not want to raise any issues before this Trial Chamber
4 when our witnesses complained that their identity was revealed, and we
5 are clear that the information on the identity of the witnesses can come
6 only from the police and the police in turn can receive that information
7 only through the organs that check their credibility.
8 So Mr. President, this is as far our protective measures are
9 concerned. We are going to ask for a closed session for one witness and
10 I'm really crossed with this Prosecutor's position regarding the
11 protective measures we are asking for.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Par, you have to understand that this Trial
13 Chamber has done its utmost to accommodate any request from both parties
14 concerning protective measures in the past proceedings.
15 Generally speaking, we satisfied all the requests made by both
16 parties in this aspect. But we have to bear in mind that as the
17 principle, the trial should be conducted in open session, and it's also
18 the right of the accused to have a fair and open hearing before this
20 So, Mr. Par, if there -- if you ask for the closed session, we are
21 expecting your motion, the written motion, on this respect. And for the
22 later witnesses, my advice is try to talk to your witness to relax the
23 protective measures, at least we should have some heard in open session in
24 the proceedings. Up to now, the five witnesses, in the least, are asking
25 for the protective measures is granted by this Trial Chamber. As for
1 witness number 5, we will act in response to the motion filed by the
2 Defence counsel of Mr. Martinovic.
3 Are you ready to call your first witness? Yes.
4 Mr. Usher, would you please bring in the witness? Thank you.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness. Can you hear me?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
8 JUDGE LIU: Would you please make the solemn declaration, please?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
11 WITNESS: WITNESS MO
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
14 Yes, Mr. Seric. Your witness.
15 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. President.
16 Good morning, Your Honours.
17 Examined by Mr. Seric:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Witness, good morning.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. We are going to ask you to pause after my question in order to
21 enable our interpreters to follow you properly. Maybe the best thing for
22 you to do would be to follow the transcript on your monitor and when the
23 black dot stops, you can start giving your answer. Can you see the dot?
24 A. Yes, I can.
25 Q. I would kindly ask the usher to show you a piece of paper with
1 your first name and last name. Don't read it aloud, just say yes or no if
2 the data, if the information is correct, just say yes.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you very much. I shall be addressing you as Witness MO.
5 That is your pseudonym?
6 THE REGISTRAR: MO.
7 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Yes, that is correct.
8 Mr. President, can we go to private session? Because I'm going to
9 ask the witness to give us some personal data.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will go to the private session, please.
11 [Private session]
13 Page 15011 – redacted – private session
13 Page 15012 – redacted – private session
13 Page 15013 – redacted – private session
7 [Open session]
8 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. We are now in open session, Witness, which means that you should
10 be careful not to say anything that could reveal your identity. During
11 the attack by the Serbian aggressor and the Yugoslav Army on Mostar, were
12 you -- did you have any military engagement?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Were you a member of the HVO?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you please tell us which unit were you a member of?
17 A. At the beginning of the war, I was a member of the 3rd Battalion,
18 but at the beginning it was Territorial Defence, and then it was the 3rd
19 Battalion and I was there for ten to 15 days, and then we set up a
20 sabotage platoon, an independent platoon, and I was a member of that
22 Q. And how long did you stay in that last unit, in the independent
23 sabotage platoon?
24 A. Until the spring.
25 Q. Of what year?
1 A. Of 1993.
2 Q. During that period of time, did you know Mr. Vinko Martinovic?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Where did you get to know him and when did you meet him? For how
5 long did you know him?
6 A. I knew him from school, from elementary school.
7 Q. Did you go to the same class?
8 A. Yes. For four years we were classmates.
9 Q. The first four years?
10 A. The first four years.
11 Q. Please can you make a pause and let me finish my question? Do you
12 know what was Martinovic's job? What did he do, especially before the
13 war, before 1991?
14 A. I used to see him driving a taxi.
15 Q. Can you tell us something more specifically? What did that mean?
16 A. I saw him driving a taxi. I saw him being a taxi driver.
17 Q. After the beginning of the war, that is of the conflict between
18 the Serbian Army and the JNA and their aggression against Mostar, do you
19 know what Vinko Martinovic did at that time?
20 A. Vinko Martinovic was a HOS commander, the commander of HOS for
21 Mostar, I believe.
22 Q. What do you know about that unit?
23 A. I know that they manned the line on Tito's Bridge. This is where
24 I used to see him.
25 Q. Do you know who the members of that unit were?
1 A. I knew some of the members of that unit.
2 Q. Do you know the national composition of the members of that unit?
3 A. Yes. It was composed of all the three ethnic groups.
4 Q. Just for the record, can you tell us which ethnic groups are you
5 referring to?
6 A. There were Croats, Muslims and Serbs.
7 Q. Do you remember the day, that is if you still remember it, of the
8 9th of May, 1993?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. Will you tell us what happened, what went on, that day? And I
11 mean only what you personally saw, heard or experienced.
12 A. On the eve of that, with a friend called Pehar, a went to a flat
13 and sometime in the morning, gunfire started from all four sides, and that
14 is all that I know about that particular day. I never left the flat.
15 Q. And how long did you stay in your friend's apartment?
16 A. I was there several days.
17 Q. And what did you do after that?
18 A. Then I moved to my brother-in-law's at Rudnik.
19 Q. And after that, did you join a unit? If you did, which one?
20 A. After that, some friends came up to invite me, and I joined the
21 Benko Penavic unit.
22 Q. Could you roughly fix the time when that happened?
23 A. Well, it could have been about 20 days after the war broke out.
24 Q. Did you have any problems in that unit? And if you did, why did
25 you have them?
1 A. Well, nobody attacked me, nobody assaulted me, but several times I
2 heard from behind my back, "Look at this balija." So that was my problem.
3 Q. Can you explain to us all, and especially the Court, why did that
4 happen? Why would they call you that? Why do they talk behind your back
5 about you? What do you call yourself? What is you are ethnic group? So
6 tell us, what do you say? What are you? What is you are ethnic group?
7 What is your religion?
8 A. I call myself a Croat and my religion is Islamic. So I suppose
9 that is the reason, because this is an offensive name for ...
10 Q. Finish your answer?
11 A. It's a pejorative name for Croats of Islamic faith and Muslims,
12 you know.
13 Q. And what do people around you consider you?
14 A. That I'm a Croat.
15 Q. Did you leave that unit, Benko Penavic, eventually? And what did
16 you do after that?
17 A. Yes, I did. I left -- or rather I was thrown out of the unit.
18 And then I joined Stela's unit.
19 Q. Can you tell us when was that? When did that happen?
20 A. It was after their joint action, when they attacked Hum and that
21 Hrvoje house.
22 Q. Do you remember roughly at least when that happened?
23 A. I believe it was late September.
24 Q. You said that Vinko Martinovic admitted you in his unit. Did he
25 know that you were of Islamic faith?
1 A. Yes, of course he did.
2 Q. Did you then suffer because of that? Did he cause you any
3 problems, he or one of his soldiers?
4 A. No. Quite the reverse. I was on good terms with everybody, and
5 with him in particular.
6 Q. Did you ever feel being harassed or being looked askance because
7 you were of Islamic faith?
8 A. No. I was even helped.
9 Q. Can you tell us what did you do in the Vinko Skrobo unit? That
10 is, what was your specific duty?
11 A. I held the line on the Bulevar, and that was my only duty.
12 Q. Can you tell us which part of the front line did you hold on the
14 A. The health centre.
15 Q. On the basis of assignments given you, can you tell us if you were
16 responsible for the depth of the area behind that part of the front line
17 that you held?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you take shifts on the front line?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. How many of you, how many members of the unit were in a shift? Do
22 you remember that?
23 A. Well, perhaps 15 men each shift.
24 Q. How long were the shifts?
25 A. 12 hours, sometimes eight.
1 Q. And when the shift would be over, regardless of the exact time,
2 whether it was in daytime or at night-time, what did you do? Where did
3 you go after you finished your shift?
4 A. Well, I went where I wanted to. Sometimes I'd go to the base.
5 Sometimes I'd go and have lunch. Sometimes I'd go straight home. Or
6 perhaps to some coffee bar. There was no order as to that.
7 Q. Did you have to notify anyone about your movements after the
8 completion of a shift?
9 A. No, of course not. Nobody had to do that.
10 Q. Did your commander, Vinko Martinovic, know what you did after you
11 had done your shift?
12 A. No. There was no way he could know that.
13 Q. After the shift, would you keep your uniform on or would you
15 A. I would keep my uniform on because I didn't have any civilian
16 clothes. All that had stayed behind on the Bulevar.
17 Q. And did you see any of the members of your unit during that
18 leisure time or when you socialised? Did you meet with them?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And what kind of clothes would they have, as a rule?
21 A. Well, uniforms, as likely as not.
22 Q. As a unit, did you go to other parts of the town in an organised
24 A. No, we did not.
25 Q. Did you personally, on your own or with your friends from the
1 unit, go around the town, go with your friends?
2 A. At times. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. One or two perhaps. But
3 I had a number of friends around. I did not need to walk around with
5 Q. Do you know which units held that front line apart from you?
6 A. Well, some of them.
7 Q. We shall now show you a photograph, that is an air photograph, of
8 this part of the Bulevar, 14.5. I have a copy with me. Or perhaps the
9 Registrar will -- no. I think it will be faster this way. Let's have it
10 on the ELMO so that everybody can see what we are talking about.
11 Witness, now, will you take the marker and make a circle, first
12 the segment of the front line that you tell us you held next to the health
14 A. [marks]
15 Q. And put number 1, please.
16 A. [marks]
17 Q. Now tell us what you've just told us, that you knew some of the
18 units that manned the front line next to you. To the left here on the
19 photograph, who was there?
20 A. Here, to the left, was Benko Penavic. Should I mark it?
21 Q. Yes, do, and put number 2 there.
22 A. [marks]
23 Q. Do you know who was to the right of you?
24 A. No. I don't think that those guys were from --
25 Q. The photograph can stay there because we'll need it still. Can
1 you tell us how strong was the unit at the time when you were with it? I
2 mean Vinko Skrobo unit. How strong was it?
3 A. Well, it could have been 60 men, 70 on the -- at the outside.
4 Q. Did you stay with the unit until it was disbanded?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. If you remember, can you tell us some of the men who were most
7 frequently with you on a shift? If you do remember their names we will go
8 into private session. If you don't then tell us so.
9 A. Yes. I remember some of the men.
10 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could we go into
11 private session, please?
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
13 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. This individual that you tell us commanded your shift, did he keep
3 this duty all the time, all the time that you were with the Vinko Skrobo
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you tell us, in so far as you can remember, whether Vinko
7 Martinovic had a rank, any rank?
8 A. He didn't have any patches and I'm not aware of any rank that he
9 might have had.
10 Q. How did you and other members of the unit, as you could hear them,
11 how did you address him?
12 A. Well, I addressed him as Stela or Puki or Skolski and those others
13 addressed him as Stela or Puki.
14 Q. Would you mind telling us what this Puki means?
15 A. Well, something like short for colonel, an endearment for colonel.
16 Q. Do you know which larger unit did your unit, that is Vinko Skrobo
17 ATG belong to?
18 A. No, I don't know that.
19 Q. Do you have any knowledge whatsoever, that is whether you heard or
20 saw, where did your unit receive its orders from?
21 A. I do not know that but possibly from the town command.
22 Q. Can you describe to us one of your run-of-the-mill days in your
23 shift, in the unit, from the moment that you would arrive and how did you
24 spend that particular day, any day? How were you made responsible for
25 something? In what way? And what did you do?
1 A. We had three bunkers and then we took shifts there. And we
2 were -- when we were not at the bunkers, we were over there drinking tea
3 or coffee.
4 Q. Can you tell us, what do you call a bunker? What was it really?
5 A. Well, those were some wooden boards and sacks piled up.
6 Q. Piled up where? I mean physically where?
7 A. In this building. At the windows.
8 Q. Which building, tell us for the record, please?
9 A. Do you want me to show you?
10 Q. Yes, point at it.
11 A. Here.
12 Q. No, you have to do it on the ELMO so that we can see it.
13 A. [indicates]
14 Q. And what building is that?
15 A. This is the health centre.
16 Q. Very well. Thank you. Were you -- were there any fortifications
17 next to the health centre building?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Were there any hurdles, any obstacles around it, on the Liska
20 Street, on the Bulevar?
21 A. Yes, there were.
22 Q. Can you tell us what kind of obstacles, barriers, and where were
24 A. Across the road, there were sacks piled up, and there was a cord
25 with some blankets or some sheets of cloth.
1 Q. Will you draw a line where that was and put a number 2 next to
2 that line?
3 A. [indicates]
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, we already have number 2.
5 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Oh, yes, yes, indeed, sorry.
6 Q. Put number 3, sorry.
7 A. [marks]
8 Q. Were there any other barriers?
9 A. Yes. At the junction here, at the cross roads. Those crosses.
10 Q. Will you please put letter X there?
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. If there were a number of them, then put some more X's there.
13 A. Yeah, but I can't remember. Not more than two.
14 Q. And put number 4 next to them?
15 A. [marks]
16 Q. Will you tell us what was the purpose of it all, of these crosses,
17 sand bags, this cord with blankets?
18 A. The sand bags served to save us from getting killed, to take
19 shelter behind them, at this position, position number 1. And those
20 behind where we had this sheet of cloth, it was there so that nobody would
21 get killed when we went to the front line, because some people did get
22 killed there, and wounded. And these crosses -- the purpose of these
23 crosses was because once I'm sure they sent a car bomb against us.
24 Q. These crosses, did they preclude any traffic up or down the Liska
25 Street in either direction?
1 A. Why, yes, because -- because that car bomb had passed through
2 unimpeded when they sent it, and then it prevented this car bomb to move
3 on further and reach us.
4 Q. According to your recollection of that time, when you were on the
5 Bulevar, or before that, while you were with the Benko Penavic ATG, was
6 there daily fighting there on the front line?
7 A. No, no, there wasn't.
8 Q. Did you know, and I'm referring to the period of time when you
9 were with the Vinko Skrobo ATG, did you know who manned the front line on
10 the opposite, on the -- across the street on the opposite side of the
12 A. Well, we didn't always know that, but at times there were some
13 guys from Mostar and we called out to them and we talked, we knew their
15 Q. What would you call out to them and what did you talk about with
17 A. Oh, well, joking, asking them, "What are you doing?" Or whether
18 somebody had any trouble with -- whether somebody needed help, whether
19 somebody needed to be taken across if he wanted to cross.
20 Q. Would you at times also agree a ceasefire, to stop the fire?
21 A. Yes, several times.
22 JUDGE DIARRA: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we cannot keep up
23 with this.
24 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honour, Judge
25 Diarra, I'll try to slow down.
1 Q. Can you tell us when was that, on what occasions would you agree a
3 A. It happened on those occasions when somebody needed to cross
4 over. I mean a civilian, somebody from our side to their side or the
5 other way around.
6 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge of such a case?
7 A. I used to see people crossing, and my mother crossed from over
8 there in that same way.
9 Q. Can you now tell us about your personal example, that is when your
10 mother crossed? Could you describe it for us? When and how was it
11 organised, from which to which side did your mother cross?
12 A. My mother crossed from the left bank, and it was all arranged by
13 Dubi. How, I don't know, but she crossed over here where the 4th
14 Battalion held the positions next to Roko's Bakery.
15 Q. Will you tell us what ethnic group does your mother belong to?
16 A. My mother is a Muslim.
17 Q. Whilst you were with the Vinko Skrobo unit or later, did you hear
18 anyone impersonate himself as a member of your unit, say that he's a
19 Stelici, Stela's boy?
20 A. Yes, of course.
21 Q. And what was that all about?
22 A. Well, whatever kind of wrong thing was done, people would say,
23 Stela's boys, Stelici.
24 Q. Did you hear or see Vinko Martinovic's reaction to such things
25 that happened in his name and in the name of your unit?
1 A. I saw him see red about that once. He was very angry. And he
2 said if he caught any one of our guys do something like that, he'd beat
3 him well and good.
4 Q. Did -- and I'm -- did prisoners come or were prisoners brought to
5 your Vinko Skrobo ATG?
6 A. I don't know whether they were brought there but I found them
7 there. They slept there. I remember some prisoners who slept there and
8 worked there.
9 Q. Will you tell us where did they sleep? How was that arranged?
10 A. They slept in our base on Kalemova, and there were two more guys
11 here on the front line.
12 Q. Where were those two guys? Where on the front line?
13 A. Where we had coffee. We called it Trica.
14 Q. Can you point at the place on the photograph?
15 A. Yes, I can. [indicates]
16 Q. And will you put another circle and put number 5 so that we know
17 what you are talking about?
18 A. [marks]
19 Q. Were they exposed to gunfire there or the action of whatever type
20 of weapon from the other side of the front line?
21 A. No. That is where we slept, had our coffee or tea, so the ground
22 floor, or rather not the ground floor. It's in a basement.
23 Q. Did you -- could you see how did they get to the base, the
24 prisoners, I mean.
25 A. No. I didn't. I saw them -- I would see them walk around there
1 or doing something with cars, but they could -- they moved around freely.
2 Q. And how did these two prisoners find themselves at the position
3 that you marked with number 5?
4 A. Well, like we did. They walked from the base on their own,
5 freely, and down to the front line and back. Nobody escorted them. They
6 of course had to look out not to be hit by a bullet, of course.
7 Q. And did you and they were likewise protected when coming to and
8 going from that site that you marked with number 5? I mean against direct
9 fire from the other side of the front line.
10 A. Yes. We were protected by bags and there was this canvass, this
11 sheet of cloth so they couldn't see us.
12 Q. Did you come to know any one of those prisoners? Did you talk
13 with them and thus come to know them?
14 A. I knew both of them. One of them I came to know of. Later on he
15 worked with me in this entertainment hall. The other one's name, I can't
17 Q. You said that they were doing something with cars. Can you it
18 tell us what is it that they did, from what you could see?
19 A. They did something with the cars. They repaired them. I had a
20 car and Redzo would repair some things on it.
21 Q. What do you mean they repaired or reinforced the cars? What does
22 that mean?
23 A. They would put some plates so as to prevent anybody from getting
24 killed in the car.
25 Q. The prisoners, and particularly these two that you saw more often,
1 tell us did they stay in that position of their own will? Were they under
2 any threat? Were there any guards around them? Were they held at
3 gunpoint? Can you tell us something about their actions, about their stay
4 in that area? What did they actually do there?
5 A. They would make cups of coffee, cups of tea. They slept just like
6 we did, with the only difference between that we went to the bunker.
7 Nobody guarded them. They moved around freely. They talked to us.
8 Q. What was their food like?
9 A. Whatever we had to eat, they had to eat. When it was cans, it was
10 cans. When we had lunch, they had lunch. Each and every one of them on
11 their own.
12 Q. Where did you have lunch?
13 A. We would go to the Hladovina in Zdenko Zubac.
14 Q. Did you see any of them engaged in very hard physical labour?
15 A. No. I didn't see that.
16 Q. On your segment of the line, in front of the health centre or
17 around that building, were there any trenches?
18 A. No, there weren't.
19 Q. We've heard in this courtroom that some people were engaged in
20 hard, physical labour, like digging trenches around the health centre.
21 Was the situation always the same as it is now on the photo with regards
22 to the alleged trenches?
23 A. I must say I never saw them. I must say that it looks nicer now
24 than it did then.
25 Q. The prisoners who worked, who did all sorts of menial tasks for
1 the unit, did they receive any remuneration for their work? Were they
2 compensated for their work?
3 A. I don't think that they did receive any money. They did receive
4 food and drinks. As far as I know, they did not get any money. They
5 shared their meals with us.
6 Q. What about cigarettes?
7 A. Yes, they did receive cigarettes, of course.
8 Q. Did you notice fear or pressure or that they were afraid of the
9 soldiers, of you personally, of Vinko Martinovic?
10 A. I did not talk to them a lot but I spoke to Redzo. Redzo was
11 having a good time actually. He didn't want to leave.
12 Q. From what you could see, while you were holding this part of the
13 front line, did any of the prisoners work on the Bulevar itself, in front
14 of the health centre?
15 A. No. I never saw that.
16 Q. Do you know somebody called Nenad Harmandzic?
17 A. Yes, I know the name.
18 Q. What do you know about that person?
19 A. He was an acquaintance before the war. He was a policeman. He
20 was a tall guy, a strongly built guy.
21 Q. How -- what was his height? How tall was he? What would you say?
22 A. He was much taller than me. He may have been 2 metres high.
23 Q. What do you know about what happened to him?
24 A. After the war, I heard that he had been killed.
25 Q. Have you ever heard of a person called Halil Ajanic, also
1 known as Lopata?
2 A. Yes. I knew him from before the war.
3 Q. Did you see that person as one of the prisoners in the Vinko
4 Skrobo unit working there?
5 A. No. I saw him in town.
6 Q. When did you see him in town? Was that during the conflict
7 between the BH Army and the HVO?
8 A. While I was with the Benko Penavic, I would see him there. He had
9 two children. They lived in Avenija across from the Projektant building.
10 That is where he lived, in an apartment.
11 Q. Do you remember the date 17 September, 1993, when there was a
12 somewhat stronger conflict between the BH Army and the HVO? You were then
13 with the Benko Penavic ATG you said.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you tell us where you were at the time during that operation
16 on that day?
17 A. I was in a trench between the positions of the 4th Battalion and
18 Aleksic House.
19 Q. Can you maybe see that position in this photo?
20 A. No. It is a bit further from the last house.
21 Q. Where in the photo, on the right-hand side or on the left-hand
23 A. On the left.
24 Q. Did you hear or see a tank being used in the course of that
1 A. I heard that there was a tank in that operation. I didn't see
3 Q. Did you hear the sound coming from that tank?
4 A. Yes. I believe two shells were fired from it. I can't remember
5 that for a fact.
6 Q. On that day, did you see any of the prisoners attached to either
7 the Benko Penavic ATG or the Vinko Skrobo ATG?
8 A. I did not see them in the Benko Penavic, but from my position, I
9 couldn't see the positions of the Vinko Skrobo ATG.
10 Q. Do you remember whether you received monthly remuneration while
11 you were a member of the Vinko Skrobo ATG?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How was that paid and who by?
14 A. We would receive it from a clerk. I think it was Zeljo Colak or
15 Garo. Sometimes I would get it from Dubi or one of the colleagues.
16 Sometimes I would receive it in the coffee bar.
17 Q. Do you know where the money came from?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Where did you get your weapons and ammunition from? And how was
20 that done?
21 A. We received our weapons and ammunition in the base, Zeljo or Garo
22 would give it to us.
23 Q. Did you have enough ammunition?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. We are talking about food, and you mentioned the Hladovina
1 restaurant. What was the food like in the Hladovina restaurant and how
2 come that the prisoners ate together with you in that same restaurant?
3 A. The food was good. We would come at our own time -- chosen time.
4 We had an allocated slot of three hours for lunch, between 1.00 and 4.00
5 in the afternoon. There were tables, and we would help ourselves to as
6 much food as we wanted to have. And the food was good.
7 Q. Were there any differences between you and the prisoners in terms
8 of the food, in terms of its quantity and quality?
9 A. No. We helped ourselves to the same food, and to as much as we
10 wanted. We helped ourselves. It was self-service.
11 Q. Do you personally know anything about the attitude of Vinko
12 Martinovic towards Muslims? Did he help Muslims in any way?
13 A. I know he was on very good terms with Redzo, that he was on very
14 good terms with Benac and helped him, and as far as I'm concerned, he
15 was very good to me.
16 Q. While you were a member of the unit, did you ever see Vinko
17 Martinovic harassing anybody? I don't mean just prisoners but also
18 soldiers, civilians, and prisoners as well.
19 A. No, I didn't see that.
20 Q. Did you hear anybody among your colleagues talking about Vinko
21 Martinovic harassing anybody, either them or prisoners or civilians?
22 A. No, I didn't.
23 Q. Did you hear or read or learn in any other way why Vinko
24 Martinovic is appearing before this Tribunal? What is he charged with?
25 A. Yes. I've been told that he is charged with harassment and
1 killings and overdoing in his actions.
2 Q. Do you know that both you and your unit are incriminated by that
3 indictment, that everybody is charged with the same thing?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. PORIOUVAEV: Your Honour, the question is pure speculation,
6 nobody is charged here, I mean the units, of any crimes before the
8 JUDGE LIU: I quite agree with you. In accordance with the rules
9 of -- this Tribunal only has jurisdiction over the person, not
11 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] I accept that, Mr. President. I have
12 finished my examination-in-chief. Thank you.
13 JUDGE LIU: It's time for a break. We will resume at quarter to
15 --- Recess taken at 10.16 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 10.49 a.m.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Cross-examination, Mr. Prosecutor.
18 Cross-examined by Mr. Poriouvaev:
19 Q. Witness, is it correct that you stayed with the 3rd Battalion for
20 a short period of time?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And at some point, you created so-called independent sabotage
23 platoon. Could you explain to the Trial Chamber what kind of unit was
24 it? Why it was called independent and sabotage platoon?
25 A. Independent, maybe because it was Dragan Slezak, the brother of
1 Diko Slezak. He was the guy in Mostar who was independent, who wouldn't
2 be ordered about, and sabotage maybe because we were engaged in various
4 Q. And do you know to whom that unit, sabotage platoon, was
6 A. I don't know. We only received orders from Dragan Slezak.
7 Q. And who was your immediate commander in that Sabotage Unit?
8 A. It was Dila.
9 Q. Do you remember his full name? I suggest that Dila should be a
10 sort of nickname.
11 A. His last name was Dilic and I don't know his first name.
12 Q. Was he a Croat or a Muslim?
13 A. He was a Muslim.
14 Q. Was that unit involved in any anti-Serb or anti-Muslim operations?
15 A. That unit participated in some operations against Serbs.
16 Q. So if I understood you correctly, on the 9th of May, you were in
17 town, Mostar, in the town of Mostar, but at some point, you went to one of
18 your acquaintances and stayed in his apartment for some period of time;
20 A. I apologise. I didn't understand your question.
21 Q. Okay. I will rephrase my question. By the 9th of May, 1993, were
22 you still a member of that sabotage unit? Did it exist at that time?
23 A. No. It was disbanded before that.
24 Q. So at some point, you became a member of Benko Penavic unit. Who
25 proposed to you become a member of that unit, and what -- okay. Who
1 proposed you to become a member of that unit?
2 A. A friend of mine, Buli Prce came. They are the guys from the
3 former sabotage platoon, asked me if I would join them, and I said yes.
4 Q. Did you know at that time that Benko Penavic unit was
5 predominantly a Croat unit?
6 A. No. I didn't know that. We didn't join that unit. That is what
7 I discussed with my friends. We went straight to the front line. I
8 didn't know the composition of that unit.
9 Q. And who was in command of that unit, Benko Penavic unit?
10 A. It was Baja.
11 Q. You knew him before the war; right?
12 A. Yes, I did.
13 Q. Did he talk to you before admitting you into his unit?
14 A. No, he didn't.
15 Q. Did anyone from the command structure of this unit talk to you and
16 briefed you on your tasks, on your position?
17 A. No. Buli asked me if I wanted to join that unit. That is my
18 colleague from the former sabotage platoon. And after that, I did not
19 talk to anybody else.
20 Q. Is it correct that Benko Penavic consisted of two -- at least two
21 groups of soldiers?
22 A. I apologise. What do you mean when you say "two groups of
24 Q. I mean that any unit is divided into platoons and other
25 structures. How many platoons or other structures did your unit have?
1 A. We were not split into platoons, as far as I know. Maybe 50 to 60
2 men. But I don't know for a fact. I think 40 to 50 men. But I don't
3 know that for a fact.
4 Q. And did all 40 or 50 soldiers participate in military operations?
5 A. Now that you ask me, I believe they didn't. There are also some
6 clerical staff, the guys who remained in the base all the time.
7 Q. And who was your shift commander? Or squad commander within Benko
8 Penavic unit?
9 A. At the beginning, it was Buli. He was the one we turned to, until
10 they left the unit. When we moved to the Bulevar, to hold the line there,
11 then it was Lola Kopilas.
12 Q. Do you know a man whose name was -- kid name was Vina?
13 A. I know a guy whose name was Vina but he was not a member of our
15 Q. To which unit did he belong?
16 A. I believe he was a member of the 4th Battalion.
17 Q. Witness, were you the only Muslim in Benko Penavic unit?
18 A. No, I wasn't.
19 Q. Approximately how many Muslims were there within the unit in the
20 period when you joined it?
21 A. Maybe six or seven.
22 Q. And did all of them have similar problems like you, as being a
24 A. I don't know. None of them spoke to me.
25 Q. Did you know anyone personally? I mean these Muslim soldiers.
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. PORIOUVAEV: Your Honour, perhaps we should go into a private
3 session for some minutes.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
5 [Private session]
13 Page 15039-15045 – redacted – private session
18 [Open session]
19 MR. PORIOUVAEV:
20 Q. Witness, I suggest you should remember many names of your soldier
21 mates within Vinko Skrobo unit.
22 A. I remember some.
23 Q. Do you remember --
24 A. Some I never met.
25 Q. Do you remember if there were foreign soldiers within that unit?
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 15047 to 15057.
1 A. I don't know. There were no foreign soldiers in our group.
2 Q. And who was your group commander?
3 A. It was Dubi.
4 MR. PORIOUVAEV: I would like the witness to be shown Exhibit
6 Q. Witness, again I will ask you: Did you have a certificate of
7 membership of Vinko Martinovic unit?
8 A. No, I did not.
9 Q. You never had it?
10 A. No.
11 Q. I would like you to take a look at this document. Witness, is it
12 correct that at least in August, 1993, the unit bore the name of Vinko
13 Skrobo ATG?
14 A. I'm not aware of that.
15 Q. And what was the initial name of that unit?
16 A. Stelici or what, I don't know. Mrmak perhaps.
17 Q. What the word "Mrmak" means?
18 A. I don't know. I wasn't there when it was called that.
19 Q. And Witness, I would like you to take a look at this document
20 again and tell me whose name you see just at the bottom of the page, as
21 the unit's commander.
22 A. Vinko Martinovic, Stela.
23 Q. Stela. Do you see his signature in this document?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So this signature belongs to Mr. Vinko Martinovic; right?
1 A. Anybody could have signed this. I don't know his handwriting.
2 Q. You never saw any documents signed by him?
3 A. No.
4 Q. And when did you leave Vinko Martinovic unit?
5 A. When the war stopped.
6 Q. But is it correct that for a short period of time, for a short
7 period of time, prisoners still were taken from Heliodrom to some
8 construction sites and to other places in Mostar?
9 A. I'm not aware of that.
10 Q. When did you leave the unit? I would like to you tell me more or
11 less precise date, at least month.
12 A. It was in 1994, when the war stopped. Was it in April or in May?
13 Q. So it was somewhere in April or in May, 1994?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. PORIOUVAEV: Your Honour, my cross-examination is over. Thank
16 you very much.
17 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Any re-examination, Mr. Seric?
18 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] I have a few questions, Your Honour.
19 The Prosecution has not used the Exhibit P704 in the
20 cross-examination. So I will not have any questions. I prepared my
21 questions with regards to that exhibit. However, the Prosecutor did not
22 use that exhibit so I don't have any questions. Thank you. I apologise?
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Questions from Judges? Judge Clark?
24 Questioned by the Court:
25 JUDGE CLARK: Witness MO, I appreciate the response which you gave
1 to the Prosecutor that you never had a certificate of membership of the
2 Vinko Skrobo or the Benko Penavic unit. But did you not have an ID card
3 which permitted to you move around the town of Mostar?
4 A. Yes. I did have a military ID.
5 JUDGE CLARK: And did that have a photograph on it and the unit to
6 which you belonged indicated on the ID?
7 A. There was a code, a number. I can't remember what that was.
8 JUDGE CLARK: Can I ask you, Witness MO, when you moved from Benko
9 Penavic to Vinko Skrobo, was your ID card altered in any way to indicate
10 that you were with a different unit?
11 A. This ID was taken away from me in the Benko Penavic. I never
12 asked for a new one, a replacement one, and after that I never wore or had
13 an ID.
14 JUDGE CLARK: How did you pass through any security checks without
15 an ID?
16 A. We did not have any security checks there. I would go to the
17 confrontation line. From there I would go either home or to a coffee bar
18 or to the base. Everybody knew me.
19 JUDGE CLARK: And is it your evidence that throughout the town of
20 Mostar, there were no checkpoints with -- manned by military police or
21 home guard or anything like that, nobody check being the movements of
22 anybody throughout the town of Mostar?
23 A. There were no barricades and I could move freely, all the way up
24 to the Rondo.
25 JUDGE CLARK: I see. Thank you.
1 JUDGE LIU: Any questions out of Judges's questions?
2 MR. PORIOUVAEV: No, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
4 Well, Witness, thank you very much for coming here to give your
5 testimony. When the usher pulls down the blinds, he will show you out of
6 the room. We all wish you a pleasant journey back home.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 JUDGE LIU: At this stage, are there any documents to tender?
10 Mr. Seric?
11 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would like to tender
12 exhibits, the paper with the pseudonym, D2/41, the map of the city that
13 the witness marked, that's D2/42, and the photo on which the witness also
14 made markings, that's D2/43.
15 JUDGE LIU: Any objections?
16 MR. PORIOUVAEV: No, Your Honour, I have no objections and I also
17 would like to tender one document, P745.2, P745.2. I actually used two
18 exhibits during my cross-examination but the second one has been already
19 admitted into evidence. Thank you.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes. So the documents tendered by the Defence counsel
21 are admitted into evidence. As for the document P745.2, in your
22 submissions, it's indicated that this document has already been tendered.
23 MR. PORIOUVAEV: Your Honour, it has been tendered quite lately,
24 and there was a last bunch of documents somewhere in the end of the binder
25 and that last bunch of documents was denied, and little by little, we
1 returned it. Some of those documents. This document belongs to the same
2 bundle of documents which was denied.
3 JUDGE LIU: Are there any objections, Mr. Seric to this particular
5 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] I do have objections, Your Honour. We
6 objected to both of these binders that the Prosecution is tendering -- are
7 tendering little by little. We are objecting to P745.2 because the
8 document refers to the period which is not incriminated in the indictment.
9 So that is the simple reason for which we object to this document, this
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think this Trial Chamber has made a decision
12 concerning that bundle of documents tendered by the Prosecution. We
13 rejected that bundle of documents into evidence just because of its late
14 submission not because of its substance. As for this document, are those
15 documents was issued in April, 1994, but it's related to what happened a
16 year before. So on this consideration, this document is admitted into the
17 evidence. It is so decided.
18 Mr. Seric, are there any witnesses waiting outside?
19 MR. SERIC: [Interpretation] Yes, there are, and Mr. Par, my
20 colleague, Mr. Par, will examine that witness.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Could we have the next witness, Mr. Usher?
22 [The witness entered court]
23 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness. Can you hear me?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE LIU: Would you please make the solemn declaration in
1 accordance with the paper the usher is showing to you?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
3 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 WITNESS: WITNESS MP
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
7 Yes, Mr. Par?
8 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Examined by Mr. Par:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Witness, good afternoon. Before we start talking
11 to you, I'm going to give you a piece of paper with your name, since the
12 Honourable Court has granted you protective measures, your name is never
13 going to be mentioned during this hearing. Can you please take a look at
14 this piece of paper? And if this is indeed your name, just say yes
15 without reading your name? After that you will be given a pseudonym.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Witness, in the first part of your conversation, I'm going to ask
18 you some questions that may reveal your identity. That's why we shall
19 move to private session. I will kindly ask Their Honours to allow us to
20 go into private session.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we will go to the private session, please.
22 [Private session]
13 Page 15064 – redacted – private session
13 Page 15065 – redacted – private session
4 [Open session]
5 MR. PAR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Witness, let's start with the period of time during the Serbian
7 aggression against Mostar. Can you tell us where you lived at the time?
8 Did you have any military engagements? Can you tell us something from
9 your point of view about the period of the Serbian aggression against
11 A. At the beginning of the Serbian aggression, I was in Croatia
12 working for a construction company. When the Serbian aggression started,
13 I decided to enlist. A friend of mine took me there. He told me he would
14 take me to a good, genuine unit. That was his expression, the way he put
15 it. I didn't know what that meant, what the term "genuine unit" meant.
16 He then took me to a place called Ljubuski, then he introduced me to a
17 gentleman called Blaz Kraljevic who told me he was the commander of that
18 unit. That's how I decided to join that unit, whose name was HOS.
19 Q. So it was a HOS unit in Ljubuski, whose commander was Blaz
20 Kraljevic. What were the tasks of that unit? What did you do?
21 A. I was with the headquarters, with the staff, and I was engaged in
22 the security for several months.
23 Q. Several months, you're saying. Does that mean that after that you
24 left that unit and joined some other unit?
25 A. I heard that a war had broken out in Mostar. Mostar had already
1 been occupied by the Serbian reservists. However the open conflict
2 started in April, 1992, and I volunteered to go there, even if it had to
3 be on my own, to Mostar.
4 Q. So you wanted to be active in Mostar? You didn't want to stay in
6 A. Yes, I wanted to go to Mostar. It was my native town. My parents
7 were there. They gave me a rifle, a car loaded with ammunition, and I
8 entered the city, which was encircled and then I was told to go and report
9 to somebody called Vinko Martinovic, Stela. I didn't know him until
10 then. That was the first time I met him.
11 Q. That's what were you told, and that's what you did. You are now
12 in Mostar and did you find Stela? Did he accept you in the unit? What
13 did you tell him? Can you tell us what the situation was like?
14 A. I didn't find him on the first day. I found him on the following
15 day. I met him deputy who then introduced me to Mr. Martinovic. It was a
16 unit composed of volunteers. It did not have a formal military
17 structure. It was more like a group of guys from the same street, a group
18 of lads, friends, from the same neighbourhood.
19 Q. For our interpreters, can you please slow down? So when was
20 that? What month was that?
21 A. It was the end of April, 1992.
22 Q. And now let's see, when you say that this was not a well-organised
23 unit, that it did not have a formal structure, how strong was that unit,
25 A. At the beginning, some 30 or so.
1 Q. Can you tell us what the ethnic composition of that unit was?
2 A. There were mostly Croats and Muslims in the unit.
3 Q. What was their ratio, the ratio of Croats versus Muslims?
4 A. Half-half, I should say.
5 Q. What were the tasks of that unit? What were its assignments?
6 A. At the beginning, we just manned a front line facing the enemy.
7 That was at the beginning.
8 Q. And later on?
9 A. In June, we received an order to launch an attack across the
10 river. The enemy was on the left bank. And we won a huge victory. It
11 was a huge victory. There was a conflict with a Serbian paramilitary unit
12 called Bijeli Orlovi, White Eagles. It was a huge victory. One of our
13 guys got killed, and I was injured.
14 Q. That huge victory, was that the liberation of Mostar?
15 A. Yes. It meant the liberation of Mostar from the Serbian
17 Q. So your unit, your HOS unit, do you believe that it was one of the
18 units which played an important role?
19 A. Yes. An important role because before that, nobody knew about
20 us. After that, everybody knew about us, especially about Mr. Martinovic.
21 Q. You said that you were injured in that operation. What were the
22 injuries that you sustained?
23 A. It was a gunshot wound in one of the legs.
24 Q. After that, Mostar was liberated, your unit became well-known.
25 Did you remain with the unit after you were injured? What happened with
1 you after that?
2 A. When I got better, some seven or eight days later, the first thing
3 I wanted to do was to see my house on the left bank, and when I arrived
4 home, the first thing I saw was that -- a group of Muslims who were
5 looting my property, stealing things from my house.
6 Q. And now, how do you know they were Muslims? And what did you do?
7 Please, slowly.
8 A. They were my neighbours who had some refugees from Eastern Bosnia
9 and Herzegovina -- Herzegovina with them. And that's how I knew them.
10 They just wanted to help themselves to my things.
11 Q. What happened? Did you prevent them? Could you prevent them?
12 A. I made a deal with them. I told them I wouldn't create any
13 problems. I told them that they could hold on to those things and when I
14 found a lorry, a truck, I would return and transport those things to a
15 safer place.
16 Q. Was the house empty at the time? Where were your parents at the
17 time? Who lived in the house before that?
18 A. The house was empty. It was slightly damaged. There was a leak
19 in the roof so we couldn't live in the house. There was a hole in the
21 Q. When we are talking about your house, what happened to it
22 eventually? You told us that it was set on fire. How did that happen and
23 when did that happen?
24 A. There were a lot of refugees, especially Muslims from Eastern
25 Herzegovina. There were a lot of them, and since there was no
1 well-structured government in the city, there were frequent skirmishes and
3 Q. So when we are talking about the city and about your house, you're
4 referring to the entire city of Mostar or just the part of the city where
5 your house was?
6 A. There were refugees all over the place and my house is in the
7 eastern part. I remember well the date. It was the 6th of May, 1993,
8 when my house was set on fire. That was before the breakout of conflicts
9 with the Muslims.
10 Q. So that was a few days before the beginning of the conflict with
11 Muslims. Why was it set on fire? Why would anybody do it? Did you have
12 any information?
13 A. One of the reasons may have been that I was -- that I'm a Croat.
14 I don't know why, actually.
15 Q. Who informed you that your house had been set on fire or did you
16 just go there and saw it?
17 A. My Muslim neighbours informed me, so I'm not making any
18 generalisations, the people of all kinds, and those people who told me,
19 who informed me, were really feeling very embarrassed for having to tell
20 me that some other Muslims had done it.
21 Q. Just one more question before you break, if you'll allow me, Your
22 Honours. So that all happened a few days before the breakout of an open
23 conflict between Croats and Muslims. Did you, before, have any problems
24 being a Croat in the eastern part of Mostar?
25 A. Some ten days or 15 days before the open conflict, I was passing
1 by the old bridge, and there was a checkpoint manned by the BH Army. They
2 harassed me there. It was a close shave. I did not suffer any
3 consequences. But it was just a close shave. After that, I decided not
4 to go there.
5 Q. So when you say harassment, did that have anything to do with your
6 ethnic background?
7 A. I believe so, because it was the Muslim refugees from Eastern
8 Herzegovina who harassed me. Maybe the local Muslims would not have done
10 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think that it would be
11 advisable for us to have a break now, and then I would like to continue
12 after the break, if I may suggest that.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will resume at 12.30.
14 --- Recess taken at 12.02 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 12.31 p.m.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Par. Please continue.
17 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. Witness, I was asked by the interpreters to try to slow down even
19 more. So let us do our best to take it easy, and I will show you when you
20 are to start your answer, because there is a problem. We speak over each
21 other, and then it is difficult to keep up. Right. We were talking about
22 a period which preceded immediately the conflict between the Croats and
23 the Muslims. The events on the eve of the 9th of May, 1993. Tell us,
24 during that period, that is on the eve of this conflict, were you
25 militarily engaged anywhere? And if yes, tell us where.
1 A. I was engaged in the 2nd HVO Brigade. It's called Pionirska
3 Q. But did we hear how is it that you turned up in this new unit?
4 You told us after the victory with HOS and after the liberation of Mostar,
5 that was your -- the unit that you were with. Now, how did it come about
6 that you joined this new unit on the eve of the 9th of May?
7 A. When the war with the Serbs ended, I thought that that was the end
8 of war as such. And I went back to my place of work in Croatia. However,
9 the situation began to become more complicated with time, some incidents
10 happened, an incident here, an incident there, so that I'd say sometime in
11 March, 1993, I was called up.
12 Q. So the unit that you now joined was the unit to which you were
13 mobilised. On the 9th of May, 1993, were you in that unit and what
14 happened to you then? Describe to us briefly that 9th of May, from your
15 point of view.
16 A. On the 9th of May, 1993, I was with that HVO unit, and then an
17 all-out conflict in the town broke out. I was in the barracks. We were
18 not involved in any combat, those of us who were in the barracks. We
19 merely guarded the barracks in case it was attacked by Muslim forces.
20 Q. So that 9th of May you spent in the barracks and after that,
21 what? After the 9th of May, did you stay with that unit or did you join
22 in, the war had already started, what happened to you then?
23 A. I wasn't with that unit long. A friend -- I came across a friend,
24 a friend whom I knew from the HOS and he said that our former commander
25 from the HOS, that is Vinko Martinovic, Stela, was about to put together a
1 unit made of those guys who had been in the HOS. And I accepted it
2 wholeheartedly because I knew Stela as a good combatant from the war
3 against the Serbs, and I respected him. The HVO was not ready for that
4 war. They simply were not ready and we needed men like Stela. So I
5 couldn't wait for that. For the last money that I had, I bought a rifle
6 and went to Stela.
7 Q. Now you'll tell us when was that approximately, the date, how many
8 days after the 9th of May?
9 A. I can't really tell you the exact date but it could have been the
10 end of May or early June, 1993.
11 Q. And why did you buy your rifle? Isn't it that you go and join a
12 unit and their rifles and uniforms and all the rest of the soldier's gear?
13 A. Well, let's talk plain language. I was with the HVO and I was
14 with this regular unit but I was disenchanted. I did not see them as some
15 organised formation that would really be up to fight. And that was the
16 only reason. And I knew that Stela was capable and that he respected us.
17 I mean he knew how to treat men. That was the reason. And I preferred to
18 buy it for my own money but to be with the right people.
19 Q. Very well. So now we've come to Stela's unit, so it's late May or
20 you don't know, early June, 1993, you're not sure. You come to the unit.
21 How do you become a member of that unit and what is the situation like
22 then? What kind of a unit is it? Tell us first, are you admitted, are
23 you put on record? What did it look like? You reported there. What did
24 it look like?
25 A. Well, we'd agreed to meet in a tavern that belonged to a man
1 called Pero so this good friend of mine and I met there. In the
2 beginning, there were no official premises so we met in this tavern and I
3 talked with Stela, of course he knew that he was a good fighter from the
4 HOS. He was happy to see me. He knew that I'd been wounded and that was
5 how I was taken on.
6 Q. How strong was that unit at that time? How many men were there,
8 A. Well, 30 odd perhaps. I'm not sure.
9 Q. Did you know those men? Who were they?
10 A. I knew them because they were with the HOS, yes, I knew them.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please come closer to the
13 A. And some of them I knew from around town.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please come closer to the
16 MR. PAR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Were they people who perhaps lived in that part of the town?
18 A. Yes, by and large, yes.
19 Q. And where were the positions of that unit?
20 A. We spent the whole war holding the line next to the health centre,
21 from the beginning to the end, at least while I was there.
22 Q. And what was the unit called?
23 A. In the beginning, we were called Mrmak. I didn't even know what
24 that was until later on that somebody told us that it was Stela's dog's
1 Q. At that time, in that unit, was there a formal chain of command,
2 to call it that? Who was the commander? How was this unit structured at
3 the time when you joined it?
4 A. Well, the unit was divided into four groups. Our commander was
5 Stela. But there was no strict military organisation. We simply knew one
6 another. We were friends. I perceived Stela as a friend rather than as a
8 Q. So we are talking about this first -- about this early period,
9 this May. Did you get logistics from somewhere? Any salaries? Armament,
11 A. Well we began to get our salaries later on. I had my own rifle so
12 I didn't need another one but the salaries began to arrive later on.
13 Q. And how long did you stay with that unit?
14 A. Some five months perhaps, maybe six. I don't know.
15 Q. Now, my question, with regard to this first period, May, and then
16 during those five or six months, what changes took place in the unit? And
17 I'll have some questions about that. That is, did the assignments of that
18 unit change in relation to what was in the beginning over those five --
19 over that period of five or six months?
20 A. As far as I know, they didn't. We always manned that segment of
21 the front line next to the health centre.
22 Q. Did the unit ever move to another position? Did it ever leave the
23 health centre to take part in some actions away from that particular
25 A. No. Not while I was there. We spent that time next to the health
1 centre. All that time.
2 Q. Did the number of men increase? What was -- how did the things
3 stand later on?
4 A. Yes. In time, the number of soldiers grew and I believe it
5 reached 70, 80, that is my guess. I don't know exactly.
6 Q. Did the unit change its name?
7 A. Yes, it did. It came to be called Vinko Skrobo ATG.
8 Q. Did this unit link up with some other units in the town?
9 A. I think that we were part of the town command, that our command
10 was the town command, that is only an assumption because I was just a foot
11 soldier. I do not really know but it is my assumption.
12 Q. You tell us you were a foot soldier. What does it mean to be a
13 foot soldier in Vinko Skrobo unit? What are the tasks of a foot soldier?
14 Tell us what a foot soldier's day looked like.
15 A. Well, it meant that you had to be on duty, that is shifts which
16 lasted eight, sometimes eight, sometimes 12 hours. And we did those
17 shifts on the front line next to the health centre. The shifts lasted
18 eight or 12 hours. And then we would be offer for the next two or three
19 shifts, and then we'd be on duty back again.
20 Q. Now, Witness, I will show you a map, or rather a photograph, an
21 aerial photograph, which shows part of the Bulevar, and then I will ask
22 you to look at the photograph and to point at some locations that I will
23 ask you about.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Par, please inform us about the number of
25 that photograph.
1 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Yes. I'm so sorry. It is 14.5, the
2 photograph that we've used before whenever we had witnesses who were
4 Q. Witness, you see this photograph. Is it 14.5? Did I give you the
5 right photograph? No, I'm sorry, I made a mistake, no I gave you 14.4 and
6 yet I want 14.5, so will you please? It's the same thing actually but
7 from a shorter distance. Very good.
8 Now, Witness, do you -- are you familiar with this part of the
9 town? Can you find your way about? Do you know what we see in this
11 A. Yes, I'm familiar with it. We see the front line which we
13 Q. Now, I will ask you to take the marker and make a circle around
14 the front line that you guarded, that the Vinko Skrobo unit guarded.
15 A. [marks] Shall I -- no. This is be fine. This is the front line.
16 Q. Uh-huh. I see, this is the front line. Now, which are the
17 facilities inside the circle? This first building, the largest building,
18 what is this?
19 A. This is the health centre.
20 Q. I see, the health centre. At that time, did this health centre
21 look as it does on this photograph or differently?
22 A. During the war, it was destroyed. It had been set fire to.
23 Q. Can you show on this photograph where were your positions inside
24 the health centre?
25 A. They were on the ground floor of these two buildings.
1 Q. So nobody was in front of them. You were all inside?
2 A. That's right.
3 Q. But we can see yet another building here?
4 A. Yes, there is another building.
5 Q. And what was in that building?
6 A. That building is somewhat away from the front line and that is
7 where we would repose when we were not on the front line. That was the
9 Q. Will you point at this building?
10 A. [indicates] So this second building is some 50 metres away from
11 the front line itself.
12 Q. So put number 1 next to the health centre.
13 A. [marks]
14 Q. That is the front line. And put number 2 on the building which
15 housed the reserve.
16 A. [marks]
17 Q. Very good. Now, what does -- there is a mean. What is the
18 difference between the front line and the reserve. What does a soldier
19 who is in the health centre do and what does a soldier who is in this
20 reserve building, number 2, do?
21 A. In building number 1, that is on the fronts line, he has to be
22 with a rifle and on the ready, that is ready to engage in fighting in case
23 of an attack. Building number 2 which is not directly on the front line
24 which and which is protected by the buildings in front of it served for
25 rest so that we could have some coffee there and have a rest.
1 Q. So you're a foot soldier. You are on your shift. Where do you go
2 when you're on duty? Where do you pass through? Show us where and what
3 would you do that day?
4 A. We'd come here. We'd take this path between the buildings in this
5 direction as I'm pointing, like this. Going through gardens and yards.
6 Q. And on the other side of the Bulevar is the BH Army and their
7 snipers. Do you have any protection. How do you pass through? How are
8 you protected from their fire?
9 A. No. We moved between the buildings. We tried to take that way so
10 as not to be exposed to the buildings which were on the other side.
11 Q. So you arrived there on duty and how many of you are in the health
12 centre, how many of you are on the reserve, on standby?
13 A. Well, ten or 15 of us come and on the front line, itself, there
14 are seven or eight of us, thereabouts, and the rest are on standby.
15 Q. So what happens during the day? Is there fighting all the time?
16 Gunfire? Action? What does an ordinary day look like?
17 A. Well, it depended, really. At times, several days would pass by
18 without any conflict, without a single bullet being fired.
19 Q. Are you well-protected here when you are there? How is it
20 fortified? What is the -- what kind of shelter do you have? Are you at
21 risk whilst you are there?
22 A. Well, of course there is. It is a front line and there are
23 snipers on both sides so you have to take care.
24 Q. But what kind of protection, what kind of a shield did you have?
25 A. Well, we had in windows, we had sandbags.
1 Q. Where? In this first building?
2 A. In the first building on the ground floor of the first building,
3 in the windows.
4 Q. Were there any other sand bags?
5 A. Yes, across this street here. So between this building there and
6 this one building. So across the street, there was -- there were
8 Q. Anything else?
9 A. Yes, there were the hedge hogs, which were antitank barriers and
10 there was also a cord drawn between these two buildings and some carpets
11 were suspended there so you could not see people on the other side.
12 Q. If it is not difficult for you will you please take the marker and
13 indicate the sand bag, this row of sandbags and possibly the hedge hogs
14 and this cord?
15 A. This is where the sand bags were. This here. And the hedge hogs
16 were in front of it, like this. And the cord was, I think, drawn
17 somewhere between these two buildings, I believe and there were carpets
18 hanging from it.
19 Q. So this is the front line. And this building with the reserves,
20 was it safe or was it much safer than the -- in the buildings number 1?
21 A. Well, in relation to this front line buildings, of course it was
22 quite safe although of course any building in the town could be hit by a
23 shell or something and it was not that far from the front line.
24 Q. Now, apart from this front line, did you have a command
25 somewhere? Where was it?
1 A. Our command was some ten minutes on foot from the front line, west
2 ward, on Kalemova Street.
3 Q. And what did the command do?
4 A. Well, you could go there, have a coffee, have a chat, nothing
6 Q. But you personally, did you spend most of your time at the front
7 line or in the command building?
8 A. I was at the front line.
9 Q. Now, you've told us what kind of protection you had, the front
10 line, these carpets and all that. Was it all in place when you joined the
12 A. Yes, it was all in place already, yes.
13 Q. Did you ever see a prisoner of war participate in building these
14 protective devices, working there at the front line?
15 A. I did not see them.
16 Q. Now, you tell us, these are ordinary days, sometimes there is
17 gunfire, sometimes there isn't. Do you remember a day when there was
18 quite a lots of gunfire, and that was the 17th of September, 1993, when
19 allegedly a tank also took part in an action exactly there, right next to
20 that front line, at the health centre. Were you there on that
21 particular day and do you have any recollection of that action?
22 A. Yes. I remember it. I was at the front line that day.
23 Q. Will you describe to us the developments that day? Where were
24 you? Will you show us first on the map and will you mark it? Where were
25 you that day? And tell us briefly what kind of an action was it?
1 A. I was in the building marked 1, on the ground floor.
2 Q. Can you make a small circle to indicate where exactly were you?
3 A. Here exactly, in the middle of this white building, on the ground
5 Q. And what happened then? At about what time did you get there?
6 A. All I know is that it was before noon. I can't give you the exact
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stringer?
9 MR. STRINGER: I apologise for the interruption, Mr. President.
10 Just an observation. I'm not -- I don't intend to object to this
11 testimony because it's obviously central. I would note, however, that if
12 one reads the witness summary that's been provided in respect of this
13 witness, and compares it to what I think we are about to hear, the Trial
14 Chamber may conclude that the Prosecution is not in a position to really
15 cross-examine as to the events of 17 September, certainly not today.
16 We've had no indication whatsoever that this incident was going to be
17 explored in such detail with this witness.
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Par, from the submissions of your documents,
19 we see only a very few lines on the summary of this -- of the testimony of
20 this witness. You did not indicate the 17th incident. But of course we
21 know that this witness said that he was present at the front line at that
22 time. It was very essential information that we would like to hear. Can
23 you give us an explanation about that?
24 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Yes, I do, Mr. President. I do not have
25 the summary before me because -- so I don't know all the things that I've
1 omitted. But I think that simply this Prosecution's objection is
2 groundless. If in a summary I describe that we have a soldier who was a
3 member of the Vinko Skrobo ATG, who spent several months with that unit,
4 and the months when this unit was active are -- involve also the 9th of
5 May, 1993 and several months. Now do I have to place a special emphasis
6 on that and tell the Prosecutor he was there on the 17th and not on the
7 18th? He was there on the I don't know what date? Is he -- of course I
8 didn't do it on purpose. I simply thought it logical if I say that
9 somebody was a soldier of a certain period of time, that naturally I will
10 also be asking him, well, did you see Harmandzic, were you there on the
11 17th of September? I will ask him about everything that happened during
12 his service there. And that is the only reason why that is not in the
13 summary. There are no ruses or any particular tactics involved there.
14 JUDGE LIU: At this stage, could I ask you how long are you going
15 to take for your direct examination?
16 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Well, another 20, 15, 25 minutes.
17 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Thank very much. Mr. Stringer, I don't
18 think you could finish your cross-examination today since we only have 45
19 minutes this morning. You may continue your cross-examination tomorrow
20 morning while this afternoon or this evening you could prepare all the
21 incidents concerning the 17th of September.
22 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Par, please continue.
24 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. So let's go back to the 17th of September. You've drawn this
1 little circle to show us where you were then. Now, tell us what happened
2 from that moment when you arrived in building number 1 on? When did this
3 action start? How long did it take? And what did it look like?
4 A. It started in the morning. We were planning to attack and cross
5 to the other side, and a tank came to support us. However, that tank
6 didn't prove of much use unfortunately. That tank reached those
7 obstacles, fired perhaps two or maybe three shells, and then went, turned
8 around and went to the building that I've marked with number 1.
9 Its driver refused to fire any more shots and his explanation was
10 that a sniper had hit his optical sights on the tank. I don't know
11 whether it is true or not. That is what he told us. So he stayed behind
12 the building throughout.
13 Q. And then what happened?
14 A. Well, there was some exchange of -- there was quite a fierce,
15 quite an intensive exchange of fire, and I heard that some of the guys
16 from the unit that was to the right of us had got killed, and that is why
17 we broke off and stopped the action.
18 Q. Can you tell us how long did it take?
19 A. Well, an hour or so.
20 Q. Did you or soldiers who were with you leave the building number 1
21 towards the Bulevar?
22 A. Yes. Some of them did.
23 Q. And where -- how far did they get to?
24 A. They reached as far as a wall in front of the building.
25 Q. Did they ever reach the Bulevar or did they remain behind that
2 A. I don't know. Some may have been able to run across quickly and
3 then return.
4 Q. Were there any soldiers next to that tank? Did you see that in
5 that operation?
6 A. Did I see soldiers? No. I saw the tank but I can promise you
7 that there were no soldiers next to.
8 Q. Tell me, on that day, and on that front line, were there any
9 prisoners of war?
10 A. I didn't see any.
11 Q. If you didn't see them, did you maybe hear stories about prisoners
12 of war being used on that day as human shields?
13 A. Human shields? The only thing I heard about that was when I spoke
14 to some lawyers. That's the only time I heard about that.
15 Q. One part of the indictment alleges that there were some prisoners
16 of war with wooden rifles next to that tank.
17 A. What human shield are you referring to?
18 Q. My question is did you ever see prisoners of war or did you hear
19 that on that day, in your unit, prisoners of war were used as human
20 shields and that they were walking by that tank with a wooden rifles?
21 A. If there had been, they had been there, I would have seen them.
22 It's nonsense. There were no people close to that tank. The only person
23 who can say something like that is the person who doesn't know the first
24 thing about the army. Why would there be people next to the tank?
25 Q. Why do you think that from the military point of view this is
2 A. A human shield cannot be used to protect a tank. Everybody in the
3 army can tell you that. They would be killed that very second. I was
4 injured on the front line because I was careless just for a tiny brief
5 second. You can still see the scar on my face so I know exactly what I'm
6 talking about.
7 Q. We can go back to that later to that injury. We are now talking
8 about prisoners of war. Were there prisoners of war in your unit at all?
9 A. We can call them differently but if you are using that term, then,
10 okay, let's say that there were.
11 Q. Where did they come from? Were they captured by the unit or did
12 they come from somewhere else?
13 A. I believe -- I assume that they were brought from the Heliodrom
14 but that's just my guess.
15 Q. Did you see them in the unit? If you did, where did you see
17 A. They would come to the base and a few of them were in this
18 building for the reserves, and they were there in the basement.
19 Q. Did you ever see them on the front line in the object marked 1 or
20 next to?
21 A. No, I didn't see them there.
22 Q. When they were in the base or in the number 2 building, were they
23 exposed to the enemy fire? Were their lives at any risk or danger?
24 A. That was not the front line so one couldn't say that they lives
25 were endangered or their lives were endangered in so far as the lives
1 of the civilians on the right bank.
2 Q. What did they do in the unit? Slowly, please.
3 A. I usually see them working with the cars. They were repairing
4 some cars.
5 Q. How did the soldiers treat them? Were they harassed by the
7 A. I never, and I repeat never, saw any of our soldiers harass any of
8 these people.
9 Q. Where did they eat?
10 A. They ate in the same restaurant as we.
11 Q. Which restaurant was that?
12 A. The name of the restaurant is Hladovina.
13 Q. Did they receive any visits? Were they enabled to contact their
15 A. Yes. Some of them went home almost every evening, as far as I
17 Q. Did you see any of the prisoners being injured or killed while
18 they were with your unit?
19 A. No, I didn't.
20 Q. How did Stela treat them? Did you see that?
21 A. I -- to my mind, he treated them correctly. I never saw him doing
22 anything bad to any of the prisoners of war.
23 Q. Have you ever heard of somebody called Nenad Harmandzic, who was a
24 prisoner of war?
25 A. No, I haven't.
1 Q. Have you ever heard of a person called Halil Ajanic, Lopata, who
2 may have been a prisoner of war as well?
3 A. Yes, I've heard of him but it is the first time that I hear that
4 he was a prisoner of war.
5 Q. Did you personally ever see Halil Ajanic in your unit?
6 A. He came once and he spoke with Stela. I heard that there had been
7 an accident involving his child.
8 Q. What did you hear about that accident? What kind of an accident
9 was that?
10 A. This Halil, Lopata, had a son who was six or seven years of age,
11 and this kid would frequently come to our unit. I don't know why. Maybe
12 some of our soldiers gave him cookies or sweets. And once I heard there
13 had been an accident, that the kid was killed by a grenade in the
14 apartment of some German guy. And I know that Stela immediately chased
15 that German guy away and told me -- told him never to return again, and I
16 believe that the police saw him out of the town. I don't know.
17 Q. About this Halil Ajanic. What kind after person is he?
18 A. I knew him before the war.
19 Q. Is he an alcoholic?
20 A. Yes, he's known as an alcoholic but also he's very prone to all
21 sorts of crime.
22 Q. How do you know that, that he is prone to crime?
23 A. Before the war, he worked in the warehouse of a construction
24 materials. That was during the socialist time. There was a lack of
25 building material and he smuggled that from his warehouse.
1 Q. Let's move on to another topic. My question is: Did your unit
2 take part in the expulsion of Muslims from the western part of Mostar?
3 A. As far as I know, it didn't.
4 Q. Did you personally ever participate in anybody's eviction from
5 their apartment, in anybody's expulsion, or do you know any of your
6 colleagues who may have done that?
7 A. I personally never expelled anybody. Our unit as such never
8 expelled anybody. However, the truth is that there were all sorts of
9 rumours circulating around the town.
10 Q. What rumours?
11 A. The town on both sides was full of refugees from all over the
12 place, from Konjic, from Sarajevo. There were a lot more refugees than
13 the locals. There were ten refugees to one local inhabitant. And in
14 such a difficult situation, these people probably resorted to all sorts of
15 means. Some of them even illegal. And one of the easiest way for them to
16 solve the problem of accommodation was to expel a Muslim inhabitant of
17 that apartment and to assign that act to us.
18 Q. Why to you?
19 A. Because we were the best-known unit in the town.
20 Q. What you're saying now, is that what you think or what you know or
21 you have some experience to base that on?
22 A. I know of a case when a couple of guys who did not belong to our
23 unit put stockings on their heads so nobody could recognise them, and they
24 stole people's cars. And they referred to each other as Stela and Brada.
25 Later on, people went to the police and reported Stela as the
1 perpetrator of the car theft. Stela, as far as I know, told the police
2 that on that incriminated day, he was not even in Mostar, that he was in
3 Split but he himself realised that he would have to look for these people
4 himself because this went too far. War was nonsense as such and it was
5 even compounded by people, by things being ascribed to Stela, although he
6 didn't do them. And I know that eventually he found these two guys. I
7 assume that he turned them over to the police. I don't know. But I heard
8 that before that, he gave them a good beating.
9 Q. They were not members of your unit, were they?
10 A. No, they were not.
11 Q. And in conclusion, can you please tell us something about Stela as
12 a commander? What was his treatments of his soldiers?
13 A. The only reason why I joined his unit is because I respected him.
14 He did not use military discipline. He was always amicable. He was
15 always friendly.
16 Q. What was his relationship with other commanders?
17 A. It was good and correct relationship from what I saw.
18 Q. What was his treatment of Muslims, civilians, from the area?
19 A. I believe that the treatment was correct, and I also know of a
20 number of people whom he helped.
21 Q. And one more thing. Let me ask you, before I forget. You
22 mentioned that you were injured on the front line. In very brief lines,
23 can you please tell us how were you injured and can we please have this
24 medical certificate on the certificate? I don't wish to tender that into
25 evidence. I just want this to be used as a reminder for the witness. I
1 received that from you yesterday. Can you just briefly tell us how were
2 you injured and what consequences did you suffer?
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, we are in the open session. So Mr. Usher don't
4 put it on the ELMO.
5 MR. PAR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Don't put it on the ELMO. Look at it, don't read your name. What
7 date was that when you were admitted, as can be seen in this medical
8 report? Why were you admitted? How were you injured?
9 A. I was injured on the 12th of July, 1993. I was injured in the
10 following way. I was in the bunker.
11 Q. So can we show that on the map, please?
12 A. I was in the building number 1 on the ground floor, left to the
13 centre. So it is the left room on -- in this photo. I made a mistake. I
14 was moving by the opening in the bunker. And the only thing that the
15 sharp shooter could see was my shadow. But that was enough for him to
16 take a shot, to pierce the sand bag, because he shot from a rather close
17 range. And the bullet hit the -- my rifle, the frame of my rifle, which
18 burst into pieces, and I suffered shrapnel injuries all over the body. I
19 still have a large shrapnel in my head and a lot of smaller ones all over
20 the body.
21 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness. Your Honours, this
22 completes my examination-in-chief. Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE LIU: Cross-examination?
24 THE REGISTRAR: Can I just give the number to this exhibit, the
25 one just marked by the witness, 14.5, I think that should be D2/46, no?
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, Madam Registrar, we could deal with it during
2 the proceedings of admitting those documents into the evidence. Now let
3 the Prosecutor conduct the cross-examination.
4 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Stringer:
6 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. Can you hear me?
7 A. Good afternoon. Yes, I can.
8 Q. My name is Doug Stringer. I'm going to ask you some questions on
9 behalf of the Prosecution. The first couple of questions I want to ask
10 you about is you testified in your direct examination about the change of
11 the name of Mr. Martinovic's unit and in connection with that issue, I
12 want to ask the Registrar to show you two exhibits, 577 and 520.1. While
13 those are coming, Mr. Witness, I'll just make a couple of comments. I
14 don't expect you to recognise yourself either of these documents, but I do
15 want to use these as a basis on which to ask you a question or two. The
16 first one is Exhibit 577, and take a moment to look it over. I'm
17 interested in the very last paragraph on this document.
18 This is a document or a report dated the 25th of August, 1993, and
19 my question, sir, is whether, drawing your attention to the last
20 paragraph, whether this document, the indication here corresponds to your
21 own testimony, that is that the name of the unit changed from Mrmak ATG to
22 the new name of Vinko Skrobo ATG, approximately latter July or the early
23 part of August? Would that be consistent with your recollection?
24 A. It may be so but I cannot be sure of the day when that happened.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Par?
1 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I object to such a
2 presentation of exhibits to the witness, because I believe that this is
3 just an attempt to tender into evidence the documents which have not been
4 admitted so far. This is an official record which is negative [As
5 interpreted] By its contents for this Defence. The Trial Chamber has
6 refused the -- to admit this document into evidence and now an attempt is
7 being made to use just one sentence out of the context, which is not even
8 important for the document, to again have this document admitted, and the
9 witness is abused in this way. So my objection would consist of the
10 following: the way the documents which have nothing to do with the
11 testimony are presented to the witness consist the abuse of the witness's
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Par, are you talking about document P577 or
14 some other document? If you're talking about document P577 I have to say
15 that this document has already been admitted and we also believe that the
16 last paragraph of this document is relevant to the testimony of this
18 MR. PAR: [Interpretation] Yes. This is the document that I'm
19 talking about, Mr. President. I can see that it has been admitted but my
20 objection stands. I believe that such a presentation of an exhibit with
21 just one sentence outside of the context being presented to the witness,
22 is a forceful way of presenting something to the Trial Chamber. I believe
23 still that the witness is being abused in this way because the contents of
24 the document, the entire document, have nothing to do with the witness's
1 JUDGE LIU: On this very point, I agree with you, that this
2 witness is entitled to read the whole document and then the Prosecution
3 could ask some questions concerning with one sentence or paragraph. But
4 at the same time, I have to remind you, Mr. Par, do not talk about the
5 documents while we still have this witness giving the testimony. You have
6 the full right to do it at a later stage.
7 Mr. Stringer, you may proceed.
8 MR. STRINGER: Thanks, Mr. President.
9 Q. Witness, if you need to take another moment or so to read the
10 document, please do so.
11 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I would like to briefly respond. I
12 must reject the assertion that I'm abusing the witness. I think it's
13 offensive to be accused of such a thing in the presence of the witness
14 when I'm just leading off on a cross-examination. Secondly, Mr. Par, my
15 learned friend, led evidence about the change of the name of this unit.
16 He did not give us a point in time in which that is alleged to have
17 occurred. I have documents at hand which may assist the Trial Chamber and
18 all of us in knowing when that change in the name occurred, more or less,
19 and I think I'm in a position and I think it is proper to ask the witness
20 whether this time frame indicated on this document and the next document I
21 intend to show him are roughly consistent with his own recollection about
22 the time frame involved. That's all I'm trying to do is get this attached
23 to a particular period of time.
24 JUDGE LIU: We'll take note of what you said.
25 MR. STRINGER:
1 Q. So witness, again, and so you know, and the Trial Chamber knows,
2 the matters that are discussed in the first three paragraphs or so are not
3 of interest to me and they are not of relevance to this case. What is of
4 interest to me is the last part which indicates that some 15 to 20 days
5 ago the Mrmak ATG got a new name and now goes by the name of Vinko Skrobo
6 ATG. Now, again, this document is dated 25th of August, 1993, so I know
7 you can't remember the exact day but I'm simply asking you: Is the rough
8 time frame, early August, generally consistent with your own recollection
9 of the time when the name of the unit changed from Mrmak to Vinko Skrobo?
10 That's all I'm asking you.
11 A. I can only repeat that I cannot give you a precise answer. My
12 very big concern was how to save my life at the time, not to try and
13 remember the exact dates when things happened.
14 Q. I'll ask you to now take a look at the next exhibit, which is
15 520.1. Take a moment to read that document, and after we are finished I'm
16 going to draw your attention to the handwritten part that's in the upper,
17 right-hand corner of the document.
18 A. Okay. I've read it.
19 Q. Now, sir, this is a document dated the 14th of July, 1993, which I
20 note is only about two days after you were injured on the front line; is
21 that correct?
22 A. Just a moment. Let me look at the date. I don't see a date
24 Q. In the handwritten part, I'm sorry, the handwritten note.
25 A. Yes. Now I can see it.
1 Q. Okay. And then you see the hand written note indicating again
2 that the stamp for the unit need not be made because the name had been
3 changed. Are you able to recall whether the name had changed from Mrmak
4 to Vinko Skrobo before or after the time you were injured, which is
5 essentially the same time that this document was made?
6 A. I wouldn't be able to tell you that.
7 Q. Okay. Let me ask it a different way. Was the unit that you were
8 a member of called the Vinko Skrobo on the day you were injured or was it
9 called the Mrmak?
10 A. I wouldn't be able to tell you. I don't know. I don't remember.
11 Q. In any event, sir, it's your testimony that the name of the unit
12 was changed to Mrmak and Vinko Skrobo at some point during the summer of
13 1993? Is that a fair estimation?
14 A. It is, yes.
15 Q. In the time that we have left today, sir, I'd like to ask you a
16 few questions about the HOS, which you've testified about in your direct
17 examination. And if I understand correctly, sir, correct me if I'm wrong,
18 you were in Croatia working in Croatia in the spring of 1992, and it was
19 in Croatia that you actually joined the HOS. Is that correct?
20 A. Yes. I mean to join this HOS, that was the procedure. One had to
21 become a member of a political party, which is called HSP. So it was in
22 Croatia that I did it in a place called Vrgorac and then with their
23 membership card they sent me to their headquarters, which was in Ljubuski
24 in B and H, but it is quite near the border.
25 Q. HOS in Croatia had a connection or a link to HOS in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina; correct?
2 A. I suppose so. I don't really know.
3 Q. HOS in addition to being -- having a political aspect to it, also
4 had a military aspect to as well; is that correct?
5 A. It is.
6 Q. Was Mr. Paraga the leader of the HOS in Croatia?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did you ever meet him in Zagreb before you came down to Ljubuski?
9 A. No.
10 Q. The HOS in Ljubuski, I think you testified, was composed of Croats
11 and Muslims fighting together against the Serbs; is that correct?
12 A. It is.
13 Q. And the leader of the HOS in Ljubuski at that time was a man by
14 the name of Blaz Kraljevic; is that correct?
15 A. It is.
16 Q. And again I think we are talking about the period of time roughly
17 April of 1992, before the liberation of Mostar.
18 A. Right.
19 Q. Now, in June of 1992, when you fought as part of the operation
20 which led to the liberation of Mostar, where exactly were you positioned
21 as a member of Mr. Martinovic's HOS unit? Where were you deployed?
22 A. There was only one unit in the town, and I was just a foot
24 Q. Now, in addition to the HOS unit that was in Mostar, there were
25 HVO units that were also involved in this operation against the Serbs; is
1 that correct?
2 A. It is.
3 Q. So at that time you had actually two different military
4 organisations which were fighting against the Serbs. You had the HVO on
5 one hand, you had the HOS on the other hand, correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. After the liberation of Mostar in 1992, and perhaps even before,
8 did a certain degree of rivalry or competition surface between the HVO and
9 the HOS?
10 A. It began to happen after Mostar was liberated.
11 Q. And that was because there was a struggle as to which of these two
12 organisations was going to take control of Mostar. Isn't that the basis
13 of the dispute?
14 A. I guess so but I'm a foot soldier and for me, this is already --
15 now, I can only make some assumptions. I can't really say.
16 Q. And then in August of 1992, Blaz Kraljevic was assassinated in the
17 region out side of Mostar toward Siroki Brijeg; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And I'm sure it's a simplification but after his death, then, the
20 HOS, the HOS essentially dissolved or fell apart in Bosnia and Herzegovina
21 and many members of HOS units then moved over into the HVO; is that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Including yourself and also Mr. Martinovic?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you have knowledge of the different goals or objectives of HOS
2 as opposed to HVO, different policies of those two organisations?
3 A. I have to repeat it once again that I am just an ordinary foot
4 soldier. These questions are way above me.
5 Q. Okay. Do you know a gentleman whose -- let me back up, I'm sorry,
6 in the few minutes we have left today. You testified, I believe, on your
7 direct, that the commander of the ATG Vinko Skrobo was Vinko Martinovic;
8 is that correct?
9 A. It is.
10 Q. You indicated that the unit was divided into four groups,
12 A. It is.
13 Q. Did each of those four groups have someone who was the leader or
14 the commander, if you will?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Was Ernest Takac one of those?
17 A. He was.
18 Q. Was he a correct soldier, in your view?
19 A. As far as I know him, he was.
20 Q. And was a man named Dubi, Mr. Pehar, was he also a leader of one
21 of the groups?
22 A. He was, yes.
23 Q. Was he a correct soldier, in your view?
24 A. I believe so.
25 Q. Were those two persons involved in extensive evictions of Muslims
1 throughout West Mostar during the time that you were a member of the Vinko
3 A. No, not as far as I know.
4 Q. You don't know anything about that?
5 A. I don't, no.
6 Q. If I put it to you sir, this those two individuals, together with
7 Mr. Martinovic, were personally involved in evicting Muslims from West
8 Mostar, that would be a revelation to you, something you never knew
10 A. It would, yes.
11 Q. When you were not on your shift on the front line, where did you
12 spend your time?
13 A. In the flat with my parents, that is my mother. She was the only
14 one there.
15 Q. And that's in the area of West Mostar that you indicated
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you know a person or did you hear of a person named Ivan
20 A. I've heard about him.
21 Q. Did you ever see him in Mostar?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Do you know of a person named Romeo Blazevic?
24 A. I've heard about him.
25 Q. Was he associated with the ATG Vinko Skrobo?
1 A. Not that I know of.
2 Q. Who gave you your orders directly, when you received orders, from
3 whom did they come?
4 A. From my immediate superior. That is the group commander.
5 Q. And who was your group commander?
6 A. Bogo Peric.
7 MR. STRINGER: I'll ask that the witness be shown.
8 Q. Before we do that let me ask you a question. It may speed things
9 along. Are you aware of an incident in August, 1993, when Mr. Takac was
10 involved in an informal exchange of prisoners, one from the west side and
11 one from the east side? The name of the prisoner was Mujanovic?
12 A. I really knew nothing about it. This is the first time I hear
13 about it.
14 Q. Was it possible for informal cease-fires to be called by which
15 persons could be passed across the confrontation line as part of an
16 informally arranged exchange?
17 A. That could be it, yes.
18 Q. Do you know anything about that yourself? Did you see any of
20 A. Well, I didn't see it, but -- so I can again make some
21 assumptions. Perhaps it could happen somewhere. It didn't happen during
22 my shifts.
23 Q. You were injured on the 12th of July, 1993. How much it did that
24 result in your being off of the front line for a period of time while you
1 A. Yes. I was absent.
2 Q. And how long were you absent from the front line?
3 A. Ten days perhaps.
4 Q. Were you in the hospital during that period?
5 A. The first day, the day of the wounding, and then I came for
7 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, I can break at this point.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes. It is time.
9 Witness, as I did to any other witnesses that we have to keep you
10 here for another day, you have to remember that you are still under the
11 oath so during your stay in The Hague, do not talk to anybody about your
12 testimony and do not let anybody talk to you about it. Do you understand
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. We will see you in the morning,
16 9.00, in the same courtroom.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
18 1.45 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
19 the 5th day of September, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.