1. This part of the Judgement deals with the various detention facilities which are the subject of Counts 21 – 36 of the Indictment. The prosecution case is that the HVO, throughout 1993, unlawfully imprisoned Bosnian Muslims in these facilities ; and that while so detained the prisoners were subjected to various forms of inhuman treatment, used as hostages and human shields and forced to dig trenches. The discussion proceeds in the order in which the facilities are listed in the Indictment. The first six facilities (Kaonik prison, the Vitez Cinema and the Chess Club, the Veterinary Station, the SDK offices and the Dubravica elementary school) are common to the counts against both defendants: the last five facilities (the municipal building and barracks in Kiseljak, Rotilj village, Nova Trgovina and the silos) relate only to the counts against Dario Kordic. The evidence is also relevant to the counts alleging persecution (Counts 1 and 2) as described in pararaphs 37(d), (g) and (h) and 39(d), (f) and (g) of the Indictment.

    A. The Facilities in Busovaca and Vitez

    1. Kaonik Camp

  2. The most substantial facility was at Kaonik camp, five kilometres north of Busovaca.1593 Muslim civilians and TO members were detained in the camp on two occasions: first, after the HVO attack on the municipality in January 1993 and, secondly, after the attacks in the Lasva Valley in April 1993. For instance, in May 1993, 79 detainees were listed .1594 The guards wore camouflage uniforms with HVO patches. There was much evidence of the poor conditions in the camp and the mistreatment of prisoners: the cells were small and over-crowded, hygiene was very poor and the food was inadequate.1595 The detainees were subjected to beatings: one witness described how he could hear people being beaten and crying out day in and day out;1596 another described how he was beaten severely for three and a half hours and suffered a broken jaw as a result.1597 Sounds of screams were played on the loudspeakers at night.1598

  3. Evidence was given that the HVO forced detainees from Kaonik to dig trenches at various places. Witness I said that he was among those taken trench-digging from Kaonik and that about 26 of those taken during his time there did not return .1599 Witness H’s son was one of those selected in April 1993 and did not return: the witness himself had also to go trench-digging.1600 Witness AR was beaten and his ribs broken when he was trench-digging: he saw others being beaten and said that the prisoners were denied food and water and two of them were killed.1601 Other witnesses gave evidence about this trench-digging, including international observers.1602

  4. The Kordic defence case is that Kaonik was a military prison throughout the war.1603 In January several hundred Muslim men were detained,1604 those over 50 being released the next day1605 and most after 10 days.1606 Some detainees were members of MOS:1607 some were civilians and some were armed members of the TO who posed a security threat and were arrested pre-emptively.1608 Only a small number of cells were available in the prison and the existing cells became overcrowded.1609 The remaining prisoners were placed in hangars. Because there was no heat and it was winter, the hangars were cold.1610 Despite inadequate accommodation, there is no evidence that the Kaonik prisoners were denied food or basic sanitary necessities. On the contrary, prisoners were free to perform their religious rituals,1611 they could see a doctor in Busovaca, and some said that they were treated relatively well while imprisoned.1612 Furthermore , with respect to the period of detention in April-May 1993, the Defence asserts that there is no evidence of widespread mistreatment of detainees during the April -May imprisonment.1613

    2. Vitez Cinema and Chess Club

  5. The Vitez Cinema is part of a complex variously called “the Cinema”, “Cultural Centre” or “Workers’ University”. During the war this complex housed the headquarters of the Viteska Brigade. Parts of it (first the basement, then the cinema hall) were also used after 16 April 1993, for the detention of some 200-300 Muslim men of all ages, who had been rounded up.1614 The defence case is that these men were being detained for their own safety and were not mistreated. On the other hand, the prosecution case is that the detention was unlawful and that, while so confined, the men were subject to cruel treatment , forced to dig trenches and used as hostages and human shields. The evidence of prosecution witnesses was that the complex was guarded by HVO soldiers in uniform , some being members of the military police.1615 Prisoners were beaten during their stay.1616 Prisoners were taken out to dig trenches and some did not return.1617

  6. Witness S, a doctor, treated civilians (men and women) detained in the cinema ; some of whom had sustained gunshot wounds while being forced to dig trenches.1618 The witness said she was then ordered to join a Commission to check the health of the detainees and to prepare a list of those to be released on medical grounds. The witness saw around 50 prisoners, some of them elderly, and in total the Commission saw about 100-150. A local Vitez television crew was present and was told by Dr . Thibolt, the Croat manager of the centre, that nobody had complained of mistreatment : however, Witness S had the impression that the prisoners were terrified. One prisoner had a broken arm and another a broken jaw.1619

  7. The Chess Club was in a building, not far from the Cinema. It was not used extensively for the purposes of detention. However, there was some prosecution evidence about it. Edib Zlotrg was detained there;1620 as was Witness L who was beaten up and threatened with a knife by a guard.1621 Witness G was also detained in the club and said that no visits were allowed there .1622

    3. Vitez Veterinary Station

  8. The prosecution case is that a detention centre was established in this station and was used for the first few days of the conflict in Vitez. Evidence was given by Fuad Zeco, Director of the Station, who was taken there by HVO soldiers on the morning of 16 April, having been arrested in his home.1623 He said that there were about 40 Muslims detained in the basement on his arrival and around 70 people were detained there at any one time: the guards did not provide the detainees with any food but the detainees’ families could bring food for them . He also said that detainees were taken to dig trenches at Kruscica and that two were killed.1624 After four days the detainees were taken to the Dubravica school. In the Veterinary Station the detainees could move around freely, make telephone calls and receive food from home .1625

    4. The SDK Offices in Vitez

  9. A third Vitez detention centre was established in the SDK building, a block of offices in Vitez. Detainees were kept there for about two weeks after 16 April 1993, before they were all transferred or released. Apart from the fact that there was no space to lie down, there were no allegations of mistreatment by prosecution witnesses: there was enough food and water, families were allowed to visit and there was access to a doctor.1626 However, the detainees were taken to dig trenches. Mirsad Ahmic was taken to dig for five days at Kratine, close to the front line where it was very dangerous: the detainees were threatened with an axe and had to work day and night.1627

  10. The Cerkez defence case with regard to these facilities in Vitez was as follows . The majority of internees who gave evidence confirmed that where security conditions permitted, the rules of detention were liberal. There is evidence that medical care was provided.1628 Only one witness stated that he was physically attacked by an HVO soldier while interned in the Cinema complex and this was an isolated incident not reflecting a pattern of treatment.1629 In the SDK the detainees were not ill-treated: they had medical treatment, food, clothes and cigarettes from home and could walk around the building; only one detainee was ill-treated by a guard.1630

    5. Dubravica Elementary School

  11. This school was an important centre for the detention of over 300 Muslims by the HVO between 16-30 April 1993. The facilities were poor and detainees were forced to dig trenches. Two prosecution witnesses, in particular, gave evidence about the school:

    (i) When Fuad Zeco was transferred from the Veterinary Station he and the other detainees (about 360 in all) were kept in the school gymnasium.1631 Their needs were provided by their families who could bring food, drink and other necessities for them. However, some detainees were taken to dig trenches in Nadioci , Pirici, Kuber, Tolovici and other locations.1632 Some were killed and others wounded; some suffered physical mistreatment and humiliation while digging trenches.1633 When the fighting came close to the school, the HVO soldiers told the detainees that they would be blown up along with the building.1634 However, the detainees were released on 30 April 1993 and were told they could either stay in the Vitez municipality or leave.1635

    (ii) Anto Breljas gave evidence that the Vitezovi took charge of the school on 16 April 1993. He confirmed that there were about 350 Muslim prisoners (men, women and children) in the school. Women and children were separated from the men; the former were kept in the classrooms and the latter in the gymnasium. Military prisoners were kept in the basement and 15 of them were killed. In the witness’s opinion the conditions were appalling; in the gymnasium there was not enough air; there was inadequate food and no medical treatment. The detainees were mistreated and would be used as human shields and for trench-digging in the area near the school and Kula. This all led the witness to protest against the mistreatment of prisoners .1636

    6. Hostages/Human Shields

  12. Evidence was given that Muslim civilian prisoners were used as hostages:

    (a) Prisoners from Gacice (247 civilians) were taken to the HVO headquarters in Hotel Vitez and kept there for some hours as hostages in case of ABiH shelling.1637

    (b) Dr. Muhammad Mujezinovic was asked by Mario Cerkez to set up a Commission from 300 detainees held in the basement of the Vitez cinema to call upon the ABiH to stop attacking or all prisoners held in Vitez would be killed.1638

    (c) The detainees at the Dubravica school were told that the ground around the school had been mined and should the ABiH attack the detainees would be blown up along with the building.1639

    (d) The people in the Stari Soliter building in Novi Travnik were prevented from leaving and were used as leverage by the HVO in negotiations;1640 the same was true of the population of besieged Stari Vitez, according to Major Mark Bower.1641

  13. The following witnesses gave evidence about being used as human shields:

    (a) Witness T said he and others were used as human shields at Strane, Kula and Komari.1642

    (b) Witness H said that Bosnian Muslim prisoners were required to dig trenches and carry ammunition on the front line: he believes they were being used as human shields .1643 Five prisoners from Loncari were killed at Kuber while carrying ammunition for the HVO and 12 young men from Loncari are missing.1644

    (c) Witness J was taken from Kaonik on 26 or 27 January 1993 with 15 other prisoners from Busovaca: 13 of them (excluding the witness but including his brother) were tied together with a rope and told they would be used as human shields at Strane . The witness’s brother later told him that they had been used as human shields ; for example, they were tied to a railroad bridge and used as human shields at Merdani. No one was killed.1645

    (d) On 5 October 1993, in Novi Travnik, three ABiH soldiers, who were prisoners of the HVO, were forced to walk towards the ABiH line with mines attached to them: when they reached the vicinity of the ABiH positions the mines were activated.1646

    (e) Three Muslim men were used as human shields by the HVO at Svinjarevo in order to force the defenders of the village to surrender. All three are missing.1647

    (f) Witness AJ heard of people used as human shields at Gomionica and Kresevo.1648

  14. With respect to the allegations relating to trench-digging, the Kordic defence case is as follows. As the conflict broke out, both the ABiH and the HVO were hastily building fortifications;1649 and therefore it is no surprise that the HVO may have used some of the detained Muslims for trench-digging under an obligation on prisoners to carry out work.1650 Brigadier Nakic gave evidence that the Busovaca Joint Commission investigated allegations relating to beatings and trench-digging. According to his evidence, the Commission visited the front lines but could find no evidence of crimes, indicating that any forced digging of trenches was limited to a few isolated incidents at the beginning of the war.1651 In addition to the Joint Commission, the ICRC visited the prison.1652 When two prisoners died while trench-digging, the matter fell under the jurisdiction of the military police and the District Military Prosecutor, who filed a criminal complaint and a request for an investigation.1653 Furthermore, the Kordic Defence submits that the Prosecution evidence is insufficient for the Trial Chamber to make a finding that the conditions in the various detention facilities violated the Geneva Conventions.1654

    B. The Role of Mario Cerkez

  15. It would be convenient at this stage to discuss the role of Mario Cerkez in relation to these events since he is only linked in those matters already covered and not in those to be discussed hereafter.

  16. Evidence was given about the involvement of Mario Cerkez with the detention of Muslims:

    (i) During their meeting in the Cinema on 17 April 1993, Mario Cerkez told Colonel Morsink of the ECMM, that he had people in his prison (males since he considered every male as somebody able to fight): the women and children he had released.1655

    (ii) Witness G was detained in the Cinema and he said in evidence that Mario Cerkez was supervising the activities of the police and several times came into the room where the detainees were held. The accused also visited the centre with a delegation of ABiH and HVO Commanders on 26 April 1993.1656

    (iii) On 20 April 1993 Mrs. Mahmutovic (widow of the Vitez Deputy Police Chief) and her daughter, were detained near the UNPROFOR base. Her evidence was that while they were confined there Mr. Cerkez (whom she knew) arrived and the witness approached him: however, his response was to say to the soldiers detaining them that, as far as he was concerned, “You can slay them … UNPROFOR is here, BBC is here, so the Armija would gain a major advantage”; (in fact, they were exchanged that night).1657 On the other hand, Mario Cerkez reassured Witness K about his son after the latter was detained, on 13 April 1993, on his way to work. The witness went to see Mario Cerkez (with whom he used to work in the factory) at his headquarters. Mario Cerkez received the witness in a friendly manner and said that not a hair would be hurt on the son’s head – the son had been taken for the purposes of exchange.1658

    (iv) On 19 April 1993 Mario Cerkez appointed Borislav Jozic to the Committee for Exchange of Prisoners.1659 This committee (subsequently referred to as a “Commission”) was ordered by Mario Cerkez on 30 April 1993 to compile a list of detained civilians.1660 A list of 299 Muslim detainees was produced on paper with the letter heading of the Viteska Brigade and handed to Colonel Morsink.1661 The latter said in evidence that he received the list at a time somewhere around the end of April 1993 from Bozo Jozic who was responsible for making lists for the whole Vitez area: it was part of an attempt to get a clear picture of prisoners held by both sides.1662 (On the same day Colonel Morsink visited the prisoners in the basement of the Cinema and found them to be treated quite well.)1663

    (v) On 22 April 1993 Mario Cerkez sent to the ICRC and ECMM a list of the detainees who were sick or aged over 60 or under 16, detained in the Cinema and ordered them to be released.1664

    (vi) At a meeting of the Busovaca Joint Commission, a representative of the ICRC complained to Mario Cerkez and Franjo Nakic about the use of detainees for trench-digging: the response was a denial and the statement that this practice was against the Geneva Conventions.1665 However, Witness AT gave evidence that after the conflict of 16 April 1993, the witness requested Muslim labourers for forced labour from the Viteska Brigade. He made the request of Cerkez at least once and, on other occasions, of the duty officer. On 30 April Cerkez told the witness on the phone that Muslims could no longer be used for digging and fortification and that arrangements had to be made with the labour platoon which had been set up.1666

    (vii) The evidence of Nihad Rebihic, also a member of the Commission for Prisoner Exchange , was that on about 15 May 1993 the Commission visited the Cinema. Mario Cerkez claimed that he had no prisoners; but the commission found 13 detainees in the Cinema hall, all but two of whom opted to leave, although Cerkez claimed that they were safer there than in their own apartments.1667

    (viii) On 19 April 1993, according to Dr. Mujezinovic, Mario Cerkez told him that the ABiH had broken through the front line at Dubravica: the witness had to ring the 3rd Corps Commander and say that there were 2,223 prisoners and that if the Muslim advance continued on Vitez he would order the killing of the prisoners. The witness did so and the Commander agreed to halt the advance.1668 He was cross-examined about his witness statement of 1995, in which he said that Ivica [antic and Pero Skopljak threatened that, if the ABiH attacked, they would kill the people in the basement plus 2,323 prisoners. The witness attributed the difference to poor translation: he never said it.1669

    (ix) According to Fuad Zeco, who was detained in the Veterinary Station in Vitez, the commander of the station was a teacher and neighbour of his: the commander’s superior at Rijeka was Karlo Grabovac and his commander, in turn, was Mario Cerkez.1670

    (x) Witness L, when detained in the Cinema, was forced to dig trenches in the Vranjska and Rijeka areas near Vitez. He recognised some of the guards as coming from the same areas. He saw Mario Cerkez there once in a while, as well as at the Cinema .1671

  17. The defence case is that the military police were responsible for rounding up and detaining Muslim civilians and it was not the responsibility of the Vites ka Brigade;1672 and there is no evidence that the Brigade had anything to do with Kaonik or taking detainees there (this, too, being the responsibility of the military police).1673 With respect to the facilities in Vitez (the Cinema, Chess Club, Veterinary Station and SDK offices) the Cerkez Defence submits that there is no evidence to connect these facilities with the accused: the fact that the headquarters of the Viteska Brigade was in the same complex as the Cinema detention facility is not sufficient evidence to lead to the conclusion that the Brigade controlled or organised that internment. The IV Battalion Military Police was in control of detention. This unit was not part of the Viteska Brigade, therefore, the accused could not have issued orders to this unit.1674

    C. The Facilities in Kiseljak and Zepce

    1. Kiseljak Barracks and Municipal Buildings

  18. In April and June 1993 two facilities were used by the HVO for the purpose of detaining Muslims from the villages around Kiseljak town, namely the barracks and municipal buildings in the town. The prisoners were initially detained in the barracks where they were kept in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions, their valuables having been taken from them.1675 The prisoners were beaten regularly and kept short of food.1676 Witness Y was transferred from the barracks to the municipal building which he described as being in a terrible condition, dirty, with a lot of garbage and mice running around: with 50 people to a room and no food for two days.1677

  19. The prisoners were taken to dig trenches on or near the front line.1678 One dug trenches for a period of over eight months during which digging four prisoners were killed.1679 Another was shot and seriously wounded while digging.1680 When Major Baggesen of the ECMM visited the barracks in June 1993, the HVO commander said that the prisoners were out digging trenches and clearing minefields: the commander said the Geneva Conventions did not apply in this conflict. At the witness’s insistence the prisoners were released that evening; they were all Muslim civilians .1681

    2. Rotilj Village

  20. Rotilj, as has already been noted, is a village in the Kiseljak municipality , lying a few kilometres to the west of Kiseljak town itself. It is situated in a valley, a natural bowl or basin, in the hills, with one small road leading in and out.1682 According to the Prosecution , after the HVO took the village on 18-19 April 1993 (destroying Muslim houses and killing seven people)1683 they turned part of it into a detention camp for Muslims from the other villages in the municipality , together with the surviving Muslims from Rotilj itself. Once detained, the Muslims were surrounded and could not leave, being controlled by HVO soldiers and snipers stationed on the surrounding hillsides.1684

  21. Muslims were still detained in Rotilj in September 1993. On 28 September a Canbat officer, Captain Liebert, visited Rotilj and found 600 people there who had been displaced from all over the municipality: they were living in about 20 houses and conditions were poor and over-crowded.1685 One witness who was in Rotilj from September 1993 to September 1994 said that the Muslims were not allowed out of the village and that there was no heating in it: the HVO took men out for trench-digging every day.1686 Further evidence was given by Witness Y who was taken to Rotilj in September 1993 . He found there people who had been expelled from all the Muslim villages in the Kiseljak area. Witness Y and his family were detained in a small weekend house which contained five families. There was a barrier at the edge of the village but no fence: it was not necessary as the village was surrounded by hills controlled by the HVO and there was nowhere to go.1687 Conditions were poor and the ICRC was not allowed to make a list. Men were taken to the boundaries of the Kiseljak municipality to dig trenches and fortify lines (near Fojnica and Visoko) and many were killed.1688

    3. Zepce: Nova Trgovina and Silos

  22. These two locations in Zepce were used as detention facilities for the Muslim population after the fall of Zepce to the HVO on 1 July 1993. According to Witness  F, after the surrender the civilian Muslim population was ordered to gather and marched between HVO soldiers to four or five hangars or warehouses in the compound of the Nova Trgovina company where about 5,000 were detained. The men aged between 16 and 60 years were separated from the women and children1689 and taken to the elementary school. Conditions there were very bad: 105 men were kept in a cell measuring six metres by seven metres and received hardly any water .1690 The women and children remained in the hangars, guarded by the HVO military police.1691

  23. The silos were normally used for the storage of grain but they were now used as a prison for able-bodied men of military age. It was upon this facility that the prosecution evidence concentrated. Witness F’s evidence was that the detainees were kept in concrete cells of 15 metres by 5 metres, 50-60 men to each cell, without toilets; sleeping on the floor without any covers. There were two to three toilets for 500-600 prisoners and two meals a day.1692 At the end of August a Muslim soldier was badly beaten in the silos and died from his injuries.1693 During the day the prisoners were sent to dig trenches for the HVO and for the Serbs.1694 While they were digging trenches they were exposed to the risk of being killed by the ABiH;1695 and two men were killed by guards while digging trenches. Osman Tukic, chief of the railway station , and nine other civilians were taken from the silos in Zepce to be used as human shields on the railway line and went missing.1696 The silos continued to be used as a detention centre until the end of 1993 or the beginning of 1994, when the prisoners were taken to HVO camps in Herzegovina.1697

  24. No defence evidence was called about any of the above facilities.

    D. Other Locations Used for Detention

  25. There was evidence about other places which were used for the detention of Muslims. For instance, in Novi Travnik, Muslims were detained in Stojkovici camp from 18-30 June 1993 where the HVO forced them to dig trenches on the front line and to bury bodies.1698 Doctors in Vitez received complaints and examined women who had been held (for the purposes of rape) by HVO soldiers in a house in Novaci.1699 After the attack on Kresevo men were put in a hangar and the women and children in the elementary school and were there from July – September 1993: there were accounts given to Witness E, of beatings, torture and lack of food, together with accounts of trench-digging.1700

    E. The Role of Dario Kordic

  26. The prosecution case is that Dario Kordic ordered and planned these crimes relating to detention, as may be inferred from his role as political leader in Central Bosnia. However, there was little evidence on this topic. Two prosecution witnesses gave evidence that they were told by members of the HVO that Kordic had to approve releases from Kaonik.1701 Also, an order, purportedly over Dario Kordic’s name and dated 3 February 1993, postpones an exchange of prisoners for 48 hours.1702 And, as already noted, Kordic was in Kiseljak barracks in June 1993 when it was being used as a detention facility.

  27. The defence case is that there is no real evidence that Dario Kordic had any involvement or responsibility in relation to the detention of prisoners or to any of the other detention-related offences. The evidence shows that each of the facilities was a military prison run by military commanders. Thus, Colonel Blaskic issued orders regarding the establishment of military prisons1703 and to those responsible for running them;1704 moreover, Blaskic had the authority to release detainees.1705 By contrast, there was no evidence that Kordic had any authority over the operation of the facilities or conditions in them.

    F. Trial Chamber’s Findings

  28. The Trial Chamber finds that the underlying offences in Counts 21-36 are made out. The Bosnian Muslims were systematically subjected to arbitrary imprisonment for which there was no justification. The assertion that they were detained for security reasons, or for their own safety, is in the Chamber’s view, without foundation . The Trial Chamber finds that while so detained the Muslims were subjected to conditions which varied from camp to camp, but which were generally inhuman. The Trial Chamber also finds that while detained the Muslims were, without any justification , used as hostages and human shields, and forced to dig trenches and that, as a result of the latter activity, a number were killed or wounded. The Trial Chamber , therefore, finds that the detained Bosnian Muslims were unlawfully confined and subjected to inhuman treatment.

  29. The Trial Chamber finds that Mario Cerkez was responsible, as Commander of the Viteska Brigade, for the unlawful detention and inhuman treatment of the detainees in the Vitez detention facilities, i.e., the Cinema, Chess Club, SDK building and Veterinary Station. The Chamber makes this finding based on the statements of the accused to Colonel Morsink and Nihad Rebihic and the lists of detainees ordered or sent by him. The Trial Chamber also accepts the evidence of Witness G that C erkez was supervising the activities of the police and notes that it would not be surprising for a Brigade Commander to take charge of the prisoners detained in his own headquarters. With regard to the trench-digging, the Trial Chamber accepts the evidence of Witness AT. The Trial Chamber also accepts that a Brigade Commander is responsible for what happens to prisoners in his area of responsibility. However , the Trial Chamber accepts that Kaonik camp was not part of Cerkez’s responsibility , and that Dubravica school was also outside it, as the evidence establishes that it was under the control of the Vitezovi and not the Viteska Brigade. Accordingly , the Trial Chamber finds that Mario Cerkez had no responsibility for these last two facilities.

  30. The Trial Chamber finds that the unlawful confinement and detention of the Bosnian Muslims was part of the common design to subjugate them. As has been noted , the attacks on the towns and villages followed a pattern, beginning with the initial assault and culminating in the detention of the surviving Muslims. This happened with such regularity that it could have been the result of nothing except a common plan. The Trial Chamber is entitled to draw the inference that as political leader Dario Kordic was involved in this plan in the areas for which he held political responsibility. Consistent with its other findings, the Trial Chamber finds that Dario Kordic was associated with the orders for the detention of Bosnian Muslims and the ordering and coming into existence of the detention facilities in the La sva Valley, i.e., Kaonik, the Vitez Cinema, Veterinary Station and SDK offices, Chess Club, Dubravica school and in Kiseljak (the barracks and municipal building and Rotilj). However, there is not sufficient evidence to connect Kordic with the attack on Zepce and confinement of Bosnian Muslims in Nova Trgovina and the Silos . Furthermore, there is no sufficient evidence that the accused had any connection with the conduct of the detention facilities or the inhuman treatment of the detainees . The camps were run by the military and the evidence is not such as to allow an inference to be safely drawn that Kordic, as a politician, was connected with the way in which they were run or in which the detainees were treated; or that the treatment of the detainees (as opposed to their detention) was part of the common plan or design.



  31. Counts 37 – 42 allege crimes relating to the destruction and plunder of property in numerous locations in Central Bosnia (27 locations in Counts 37 to 39 against Dario Kordic, and seven locations in Counts 40 – 42 against Mario Cerkez). Counts 43 and 44 allege crimes relating to the destruction of institutions dedicated to religion or education: four locations are mentioned in Count 43, and two locations are mentioned in Count 44. 1706

  32. The Prosecution produced a video recording made in 1996 showing the damage to the villages of the Lasva Valley and surroundings.1707 The recording was taken from a helicopter and prepared by Lt. Colonel Jean-Pierre Capelle, who gave evidence about it.1708 The recording started south of Kiseljak by showing the village of Tulica where most of the roofs have disappeared from the houses. In Kiseljak the minaret of the mosque has disappeared. The helicopter then travelled north, up the valley, over Visnjica , where almost all the houses were gutted; Polje Visnjica, with intact Croat houses among the destroyed houses; Hercezi, with a destroyed mosque; Behrici, where almost all the houses were destroyed; Gomionica, where the destruction is almost total ; Svinjarevo, with a damaged mosque. Throughout there were scenes of totally destroyed houses with their roofs off or gutted houses with roofs on, but windows blackened . All this is in countryside which is wooded, green and mountainous. The helicopter then travelled up the “Kacuni corridor”, south-east of Busovaca (held by the ABiH during the war), passing over Ocehnici where the destruction was clear; Busovac a itself, where some destruction was visible; Strane and Merdani in the Lasva Valley where there was clear destruction; and then up the Vitez-Busovaca road over Ahmici, where there were many destroyed houses as well as some intact ones inhabited by Croats and where the minaret had fallen on the roof of the mosque. Houses were being rebuilt in [antici and Pirici. The helicopter then travelled over Gacice, Veceriska and Stari Vitez, which show extensive destruction.

  33. The evidence of destruction, including religious institutions and the plunder of property, has been mentioned throughout the Judgement. It may be summarised here location by location, as set out in the Indictment, beginning with Novi Travnik and Busovaca:

    (i) Novi Travnik: During the attack on Novi Travnik, between 19-26 October 1992, a number of Muslim buildings, including houses, business premises and restaurants were set alight and demolished:1709 cars were taken away by HVO soldiers.1710

    (ii) Busovaca: In late January 1993 explosions were heard in the town and Muslim shops and restaurants were destroyed.1711 Property was stolen in the HVO attack on 23 January 1993. Witness J saw HVO soldiers looting houses in town. They blew up Muslim business premises.1712 This continued: on 20 May 1993, at a meeting of the Local Joint Commission, the Imam from Busovaca complained about the local police robbing people and taking away cars and property from civilians.1713 According to a report, dated 14 February 1993, by the police chief in Busovaca: “the worst situation is in Loncari, where virtually all the houses have been looted and some tenants physically abused …. cattle [are] being taken away and slaughtered ”.1714 (The damage to Ocehnici in April and Merdani in January-February 1993 has already been noted.)

  34. The evidence about the Kiseljak municipality was as follows. After January 1993 Muslim business premises in Kiseljak were being damaged or blown up .1715 The HVO looted Muslim shops .1716 Witness TW12 described the attack on Grahovci, where the HVO came into the village to set fire to houses; he saw the HVO stealing cars, buses and cattle and saw HVO soldiers set fire to the mosque. Visnjica was attacked on 18 April 1993 and houses were set on fire.1717 When the residents returned to their houses five days later they found them looted and some burnt.1718 The mosque was also looted.1719 Witness TW20 described the destruction to Rotilj and Visnjica as of a “surgical nature”. The HVO attacked Svinjarevo on 18 April 1993. The mosque was burnt down and about 100 houses were destroyed. Only two houses remained intact and these were Croat houses .1720 Gomionica was also attacked on 18 April 1993. The village was plundered and 131 of its 159 houses were destroyed , along with the Mekteb and the Turbe.1721 In the attack on Polje Visnjica the houses were looted and some were burned down .1722 Colonel Landry, an ECMM monitor , found substantial destruction to the village of Rotilj on his visit on 22 April 1993. He received information that some of the houses were looted before they were burned down.1723 From his position in the woods, Witness AF witnessed soldiers looting valuables from the houses in Tulica and driving off with them in the direction of the Croat village of Lepenica .1724 The houses were burnt.1725 Witnesses saw that the day after the attack on the village the HVO returned and looted it.1726 The Han Ploca mosque was set on fire first and then the houses.1727 The HVO drove away vehicles and tractors and stole cattle. (The destruction and plunder in Svinjarevo has already been noted.)

  35. The evidence about the Vitez municipality may be summarised as follows:

    (i) Vitez: After October 1992, several Muslim properties were destroyed.1728 In early 1993 there was further looting and destruction of Muslim property.1729 As noted above, Anto Breljas said that when the Vitezovi attacked a village, they would plunder small objects, e.g. watches, gold, money from the houses. The units of the Viteska Brigade would follow in the next wave of attacks and would take larger items such as cars, refrigerators and tractors.1730

    (ii) Stari Vitez: HVO soldiers came to the house of Witness AC on the night of 26 January 1993: they attacked the witness and his family and took all money and valuables.1731 The truck bomb in Stari Vitez also destroyed civilian houses.1732 Edib Zlotrg heard Pero Skopljak say that he ordered the shelling of the minaret at Stari Vitez because a Muslim sniper was operating from there.1733 Four mosques and one Muslim junior seminary were destroyed in Vitez municipality .1734

    (iii) Ahmici: In the attack on 20 October 1992, the HVO used incendiaries on three to four houses and damaged 15 others. The top of the minaret of the mosque was hit by a shell.1735 On 17 April 1993 the rest of the mosque was destroyed.1736 On his visit to Ahmici on 22 April 1993, Colonel Bryan Watters saw burnt houses with charred remains inside, and destruction to the minaret and mosque.1737 Payam Akhavan on 1 May 1993 saw extensive damage to houses, and he also saw soldiers (who it was thought were from the HVO) looting property.1738 Much other evidence was given about the destruction and plunder of Ahmici and its associated hamlets on 16 April 1993 and there is no need to repeat it all here.

    (iv) Veceriska – Donja Veceriska: The village was destroyed by explosives and fire during the HVO attack on 16 April 1993.1739 In Gacice the Muslim houses were burned and the Mekteb destroyed in the HVO attack of 20 April.1740

    (v) It should be noted that although the evidence of the destruction and plunder of Stupni Do and the destruction of Grbavica (Divjak) established that these offences had been made out, the Trial Chamber has already determined that Dario Kordic was not connected with these offences. Accordingly, they will not be discussed further . There was no defence evidence on this topic. The Kordic Defence challenges the prosecution case and maintains that Kordic was not involved in any offences.

  36. The Trial Chamber finds that there was a pattern of destruction (not justified by military necessity) and plunder in all the places attacked by the HVO and mentioned in Counts 37 – 39 and 40 – 42 (save for those deleted at the close of the prosecution case and those for which there was insufficient evidence) and, with those qualifications , the underlying conduct in those counts is made out. In relation to the offence of extensive destruction of property under Article 2 of the Statute, however, as discussed in the section of the Judgement dealing with the law, two alternative legal requirements need to be proved in order for this crime to be made out. Either the property destroyed must have been “accorded general protection” under the Geneva Conventions, or, if not accorded general protection, the property must have been situated in “occupied territory”.1741 The property destroyed was mostly houses, dwellings, businesses, i.e., not property generally protected in the Geneva Conventions. Further in the Chamber’s opinion , the property was not located in occupied territory. Accordingly, the Trial Chamber finds that the offences of extensive destruction or property alleged in Counts 37 and 40 of the Indictment on the basis of Article 2 of the Statute are not made out .

  37. Likewise (in respect of the offence of destruction of institutions dedicated to religion or education alleged in Counts 43 and 44), the HVO deliberately targeted mosques and other religious and educational institutions. This included the Ahmici mosque which the Trial Chamber finds was not used for military purposes but was deliberately destroyed by the HVO. Accordingly, the Trial Chamber finds that the underlying offences in Counts 43 and 44 are made out (save in relation to the locations deleted at the close of the prosecution case). With regard to the participation of the accused in these offences, it follows that since they were a feature of the HVO attacks and were committed as part of the common plan, the accused were implicated in the offences where they have been found to be responsible for the attacks, i.e., in Kordic’s case, Novi Travnik, Busovaca and associated villages, Vitez, Stari Vitez and Ahmici and its associated villages, and in Cerkez’s case, Vitez, Stari Vitez and Veceriska.