Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 22408

1 Monday, 10 July 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you'd like to take a seat.


11 [Witness answered through interpreter]

12 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President. The next witness is

13 Mr. Ivo Mrso who rounds out our Bugojno evidence.

14 Examined by Mr. Sayers:

15 Q. Mr. Mrso, would you please state your full name for the Court?

16 A. Ivo Mrso.

17 Q. Mr. Mrso, I would like to take you, very quickly, through some

18 preliminary matters regarding your personal background. I believe that

19 you were born on March 20th, 1938 in Bugojno.

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. You are a Croat and a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And you are presently divorced and have two daughters.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. I believe, sir, that you completed your secondary school education

Page 22409

1 in Bugojno and then in 1965 graduated from Zagreb University Agricultural

2 School?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. You worked in the north of Bosnia-Herzegovina for about nine years

5 as an agricultural engineer then returned to Bugojno first to work as the

6 manager of an agricultural manufacturing company and then working as a

7 manager of a mill in which position you remained until the Muslim attack

8 in Bugojno on July 18th, 1993.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. I believe, sir, that you stayed throughout the civil war in

11 Bugojno and that during the hostilities, you lost your mother, brother,

12 and sister-in-law who were killed by Muslim forces during the conflict.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And then during the occupation of the town by Muslim forces in

15 1993 and 1994 you essentially acted as the representative or the spokesman

16 for the few remaining Croats in the area.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. In April of 1997, sir, I believe that you were appointed to be

19 Assistant Minister of Agriculture for the District of Central Bosnia in

20 the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Currently you are the president of the Bugojno Municipal Council

23 which is the legislative branch of the municipal government?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And I believe, sir, since 1990, you have been a member of the

Page 22410

1 Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina and since 1995 you have held

2 the position of vice-president of the Bugojno branch of that political

3 party?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Mr. Mrso, we've heard, as you will appreciate, a lot of evidence

6 in this case concerning preliminary matters.

7 MR. SAYERS: Might I just inquire of the Court whether it wishes

8 us to go over paragraph 6 or can we simply have that essentially taken as

9 read and move on to the more salient portions of Mr. Mrso's testimony.

10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you'd like to move on.

11 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.

12 Q. I believe, sir, that turning to paragraph 7 of the outline that

13 you signed on Saturday, when the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA, and the

14 Bosnian Serb army, the BSA, attacked Bugojno towards the end of May of

15 1992 it was the HVO that essentially defended the town?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And you recount in your statement a meeting held between members

18 of the HVO and the Territorial Defence in August of 1992. Could you tell

19 us a little bit about that, please?

20 A. This was not just a meeting of the representatives, but other

21 prominent citizens of Bugojno also attended it.

22 Q. And could you tell us a little bit about the meeting, what was

23 discussed, whether any agreements were reached and if not, why not?

24 A. For the most part, the issue of Muslim refugees was discussed,

25 that is, the refugees who arrived in Bugojno from other areas where they

Page 22411

1 were driven out by the Serbs. Also, there was other topics which were

2 also discussed, especially the economic situation, because Bugojno was

3 enclosed and the economic situation was very difficult, and the second

4 part of the meeting was devoted to discussing the defence because on the

5 24th of May, the Serbs had started shelling Bugojno and the situation in

6 the town was not satisfactory at all.

7 I personally advocated that Muslims and Croats should reach more

8 agreements because of the threat of the Serbs.

9 Q. And what was the upshot or the eventual result of these

10 discussions regarding a joint defence of Bugojno between HVO forces and TO

11 forces, Mr. Mrso?

12 A. Not much was said in this meeting about that. Only in the

13 utterances, that is, the discussions of various people. It turned out

14 that there was some disagreements there which was a bit surprising, and I

15 think that took us by surprise. For instance, a Muslim representative

16 openly stated that the defence positions should be separated and that the

17 Muslims should keep their own and the Croats their own sectors.

18 Q. Did the Muslim representatives in these discussions regarding a

19 potential joint defence show much interest in the idea of establishing a

20 joint defence of the town, in your view?

21 A. Through my activities in Bugojno in my party and overall, I

22 realised that they were not considered very important. They were a bit

23 passive and I remember personally when the people, the Muslims came from

24 Donji Vakuf when I was in the party office. For instance, about 15

25 Muslims came from Donji Vakuf and they came to me, and I called the SDA

Page 22412

1 secretary and directed them there.

2 After a while they came back to me, they came back and they said

3 that they had not been given any answers there, that they were willing to

4 join in, to participant, that they would join the HDZ. And through that,

5 they wanted arms. As an official on duty, I couldn't take such decisions

6 on my own, and then -- so I could not give them the right answer and I

7 don't know who gave them, if anybody did, the right answer later on.

8 Q. All right. Just a few details surrounding the ethnic make-up of

9 Bugojno.

10 MR. SAYERS: And Your Honours, if I could just draw the Court's

11 attention to volume 22 of the Kordic trial exhibits filed last Monday.

12 That's a copy of the official census.

13 Q. I believe, sir, that according to the census, the municipality of

14 Bugojno had a total population of some 46.889 people, 19.697 of whom were

15 Muslims, 16.031 being Croats, 8.673 being Serbs, and also about 2.500

16 Yugoslavs and others. Is that fair to say?

17 A. That is correct.

18 Q. Now, sir, you describe in your outline that while the HVO was

19 fighting on the front lines with the JNA and BSA, ABiH troops were

20 gathering in town and that there were problems caused by a large influx of

21 Muslim refugees. Could you just describe for the Court the progress of

22 events in Bugojno and the problems caused by the influx of refugees,

23 concentrating specifically, if you would, upon the effects upon the Croat

24 population in the town, sir.

25 A. I have said that there were many refugees there. And personally,

Page 22413

1 I considered, because Bugojno was at the front line, that something should

2 be done, because there were too many refugees and it created economic

3 problems and other problems.

4 In addition, I was in charge of the state reserves at the

5 republican and municipal levels, and everybody wanted them: flour, sugar,

6 cooking oil, and so on. The Serbs had cheated us out of some of these

7 reserves, and I realised that there was a problem, and the Muslims had no

8 answer to that.

9 I met with people from their logistics, because they were always

10 asking for flour, and I said that the situation was untenable, that people

11 should be moved on behind the front lines, and also that their security

12 should be taken into consideration. But I noticed that they were keeping

13 the active-duty personnel. There were Muslims who were already smuggling

14 arms. And there was part -- in the part of the defence line where the

15 Croats were deployed, we did not have enough weapons, so we wanted to

16 somehow get weapons to these people. And I said that we could find a

17 deal, that we could swap arms for other things. And I found it strange

18 that people were not really discussing the joint defence very much, and

19 that was all surprising to me.

20 Q. Do you have an estimate, Mr. Mrso, of the number of Muslim

21 refugees flooding into Bugojno from neighbouring municipalities in this

22 time period?

23 A. Officially at that time we operated with the figure of about

24 twelve to thirteen thousand Muslim refugees, mostly from the areas where

25 they were driven out by the Serbs. For instance, all Muslims from Donji

Page 22414

1 Vakuf were in Bugojno.

2 Q. All right. And could you tell the Court whether there were any

3 incidents of harassment of Croat civilians in late 1992.

4 A. Yes. There were some incidents, especially in some areas in the

5 municipality where we tried to set up joint guards. And then there were

6 also incidents in Uskoplje, Gornji Vakuf, and Novi Travnik, because

7 Muslims attacked these people and disarmed them. There was even looting,

8 driving away of cattle, and I have it all down in my journal.

9 Q. Were there any murders of Croat civilians, as far as you're aware,

10 and towards the end of 1992 and in early 1993?

11 A. Yes. This happened at the border area of Bugojno municipality,

12 towards Uskoplje, Gornji Vakuf, near the road to Novi Travnik -- Bistrica

13 and Novi Travnik. Several Croats from the Travnik area were killed

14 there. I believe that there was also an incident on the road Uskoplje,

15 Gornji Vakuf, Gracanica, Bugojno. They had some secret base or something

16 from where they forayed out at night. I would have to consult my notes

17 for more details.

18 MR. SAYERS: Very well. Let me just move on a little bit to

19 paragraph 10, Your Honours.

20 Q. You talk about the municipality being under constant shelling from

21 BSA artillery, and you also make a reference to Muslims digging trenches

22 in the municipality. Was there anything specific about those trenches

23 that you and your fellow Croat colleagues noticed, Mr. Mrso?

24 A. Yes. That was -- that appeared strange to me, because I was in

25 Bugojno, I still worked for the company, I walked on foot. One sort of

Page 22415

1 was careful because of shelling. And every day as I went to work, even

2 before -- in front of buildings in Bugojno, I could see some sandbags and

3 I saw that Muslims started -- had started digging some trenches. All this

4 looked strange to me, and as a local citizen of Bugojno, I asked, "What is

5 going on? Are there any Croats here among them?" And sometimes they were

6 arrogant to me, sometimes those who knew me were more polite to me, but

7 they would just tell me to move on.

8 Q. Which way were the trenches facing, Mr. Mrso?

9 A. What was strange, for instance, was that at one location was in

10 the village of Porice and the road to Kupres, where Croat soldiers held

11 the defence line, and Muslims were digging trenches and they were facing

12 not towards Kupres, but towards Bugojno. And I pointed that out. I told

13 some people from the HVO about it.

14 Also in the area towards Novi Travnik, on the road to Rostovo, the

15 village of Ljubic, people were saying that the Muslims were taking up

16 positions and beyond them there were positions held by the Croats against

17 the Serbs at Donji Vakuf.

18 Q. Were there any barricades erected in town or in your own

19 neighbourhood that you saw?

20 A. Yes, there were. And there were incidents. There was a Muslim

21 checkpoint. When the Croats would pass, they would take away their cars.

22 And it seemed to me as if it was done intentionally, provoking of these

23 incidents. I remember in 1992, in November --

24 JUDGE MAY: If counsel wants that sort of detail, Mr. Mrso, he'll

25 ask you. Could you just concentrate on answering the questions which he

Page 22416












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Page 22417

1 asks, please. Thank you.

2 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.

3 Q. Let me just ask you one matter of detail, Mr. Mrso. Do you recall

4 an incident in mid-1992 when Zarko Tole, the HVO commander of the Central

5 Bosnia Operative Zone at that time was arrested?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Where was he arrested? By whom?

8 A. A meeting was held, a joint meeting with the TO, and after the

9 meeting, after the meeting was over, he, I guess, started back and he was

10 arrested near the municipal building by the Serbs. And the security --

11 because the chief of the TO at that time was a Muslim, the security was

12 provided by Muslims; and my friend, who was the chief of police in Bugojno

13 at that time, told me afterwards that it must have been Muslims who had

14 set it up, that they had withdrawn the people on duty, and with their nod,

15 Tole was arrested, because he knew about the organisation of defence in

16 Bugojno.

17 Q. Was he handed over essentially to the Serbs by the Muslims as far

18 as you're aware?

19 A. That was the story that was current at the time.

20 Q. Let's turn to July 18th, 1993, Mr. Mrso. Could you tell the Court

21 what happened on that day?

22 A. This was the Sunday. As any day, I walked out. I found it a bit

23 strange that very few people were there. I was looking for some newspaper

24 because there was no -- and I got some from a friend. The town was

25 empty. I went home, I read the paper that I got from my friend, and then

Page 22418

1 I noticed in that -- that people were running about in the street. I

2 didn't pay much attention to it. I did not know at all what was going

3 on.

4 Then I went to bed that night. At 3.30 in the morning, somebody

5 started banging at the door. I asked, "Who is it?" They said, "Open

6 up." I asked, "Who is it?" And then there was one burst of fire, another

7 burst of fire. The window -- I went to the floor, then the things quieted

8 down. I dressed up and waited. In the morning, around 7.30, I saw what

9 happened. My front door and everything was --

10 Q. Mr. Mrso, if I might just interrupt you, sir. The Court has

11 already heard that there was military activity in Bugojno on July the

12 18th. Who attacked who, sir?

13 A. From what I know now, Muslims attacked, because on that day,

14 Sunday, and I was unaware of this, they rounded up some Croat soldiers

15 from the street. They put them in some houses. They beat them up. Now I

16 know. I later heard that Franjo Jezidzic was detained and beaten.

17 Q. And I don't mean to be impolite, but you will appreciate that we

18 only have a limited time and we have to move forward with the evidence.

19 You've described the incident where Muslim soldiers came to your

20 house, shot out the door and so forth. And I believe that you say in

21 paragraph 11 of your statement that you were put under house arrest with

22 about 10 other Croats in a private house on July 20th, two days after the

23 initial attack. Is that accurate?

24 A. That is correct. These were people from my street. We were all

25 brought to one house. The day when they attacked, I was in hiding, and

Page 22419

1 later on I returned to the house thinking it was all over, but then they

2 came for me and took me to a house where I noticed that other neighbours

3 had already been brought there. We could not leave the house, and so on.

4 Q. And subsequently, I believe you were taken to a garage in your

5 neighbourhood and were detained there for another two days along with

6 about 50 other prisoners, both civilian and military.

7 A. Yes. Three soldiers arrived in the house where we were detained

8 and called out my name. They had a piece of paper on them. They asked if

9 I was there. I said I was -- they demanded that I go with them. And

10 there, they took me to this garage with another two neighbours. There, I

11 found about 50 other people.

12 Q. How big was this garage, sir? Could you just describe the

13 conditions of your detention to the Court, please?

14 A. The garage was something like five by eight, and the conditions

15 were impossible when I was brought there. In fact, I was kicked inside,

16 and there I found a Muslim who was brandishing a sword or something. He

17 was cursing the people. Everybody had to keep their head between their

18 knees, and they said if anybody looked up, that they would be cut down by

19 a burst of fire.

20 When I was pointed to a place where I could crouch, there was a

21 man half naked with his hands tied behind his back. His mouth was

22 touching the concrete, and I didn't know whether he was alive or dead.

23 Q. Were there any beatings administered to the prisoners?

24 A. While we were in the garage, the Muslim soldiers would burst in,

25 and at night they would take people out in front of the garage and beat

Page 22420

1 them, and that was horrible.

2 Q. You describe one person in your outline, a man by the name of

3 Ivica Keskic. Could you just tell us what happened to him.

4 A. They kept calling him out. They said, "Keskic, come out." They

5 would then proceed to beat him up. We were horrified. Every time as they

6 kept calling him out, I could not endure this anymore, and I said, "Why

7 doesn't somebody else go out when they call him out because they'll kill

8 him." And a relative of his said, "You're right, I'll do it next time,"

9 but then Keskic said that he would not, himself, allow it.

10 Q. And then I believe that you were subsequently moved two days later

11 to an old monastery where you were detained for another ten days.

12 A. It was a convent before, but later on, yes, it became a monastery

13 and they brought us in the morning. We had to board a truck which had

14 canvas and we were all coming on to the truck, and they were shouting,

15 "Faster, faster or I'll cut you down with a burst of fire," and so on and

16 so forth, and they put us in a cellar in the monastery and I counted us,

17 we were some 73.

18 Q. You also described an incident, sir, where a Red Cross

19 representative visited the monastery several days later after you had been

20 taken there. Could you tell the Court about that incident, sir.

21 A. Yes. I spent two or three days in that cellar, and then I don't

22 know why they took me upstairs to an upper floor where there were another

23 10 people or so. And one day, representatives, or I believe they were

24 International Red Cross representatives, and our local priest, the parish

25 priest came and a nun and my friend Stjepan Vukadin and a physician. And

Page 22421

1 they were brought in, and the Muslims wouldn't let people talk saying,

2 "Don't you see how well they are?" They would not allow us to talk.

3 These ones here had brought us something to eat, and because there were

4 some people who had been hurt, the physician administered some treatment

5 to them.

6 And to Friar Bruno Batinic, I found a piece of paper and I had

7 written down the names of the people in the cellar and I had it with me

8 upstairs. And since they wouldn't allow us to communicate with these

9 people, nevertheless I managed to pull the priest by the hand and shove

10 this piece of paper into his hand and indicate that they were downstairs;

11 all the others.

12 So the Muslims said, "Well, you can see, there is nobody here,

13 only a few and nobody else arrived," and so on and so forth. And then

14 when one of those who must have come from the International Red Cross --

15 that they are sure there must be some other people down there and insisted

16 on seeing them, and they refused to. And then they said, "No, we want to

17 see them. We won't leave until we see them."

18 So eventually they did go down to the cellar and saw these 73 men,

19 and yet they were trying to conceal that.

20 Q. Were there any beatings administered to the people imprisoned in

21 the monastery of the type that had been administered to the prisoners in

22 the garage from which you had been taken?

23 A. Yes. They would take them at night and beat them either in front

24 of the door or upstairs in the corridor. Those people cried so much with

25 pain that we were really worried. And the next day, it was Monday around

Page 22422

1 11.00, they brought in Major Dzaja. His head was bandaged so heavily that

2 one couldn't see his eyes even, and they brought him in and then some

3 people tried to tend to him and other people wanted to ask him questions.

4 But then they said, "Well, don't. Don't you see what state he is in?"

5 And we managed to put him on a couple of boards and covered him with a

6 blanket and we left him like that for a while. The next morning they took

7 out Vlatko --

8 JUDGE MAY: Again, do you want us to deal with this?


10 Q. If I might take the witness fairly quickly through this.

11 You talk in paragraph 12 about a man named Vlatko Kapetanovic, you

12 saw him, I believe, stuffed into the trunk of a black Mercedes and he was

13 never seen alive again?

14 A. Yes. They came early that morning. They took him. He was the

15 half-naked one. They offered him a jacket because we were -- brought him

16 from the cellar because it was cold, but then he subsequently found a

17 T-shirt. They came to fetch him, took him out, and began beating him as

18 soon as they got him out of the door.

19 And through a cellar window I watched out, and there was a black

20 Mercedes without any plates. They opened the boot and pushed him in. And

21 inside, a man pulled me off that window so as not to watch because they

22 had threatened us that whoever looked through the window would get beaten.

23 Q. You saw Mr. Kapetanovic stuffed into the trunk of this car with

24 your own eyes?

25 A. Yes.

Page 22423

1 Q. Now, these prisoners that you talked about, sir, were any of them

2 forced to perform manual labour?

3 A. Yes, many were taken out by day. The first day, I believe, it was

4 four or five of them, and they took them somewhere to load the looted

5 goods or to bury somebody in a village. An incident happened that these

6 people were attacked and beaten, and they returned or, rather, were

7 brought back to the cellar badly beaten. When they moved them there, I

8 heard that Mario was so badly beaten that he died.

9 Q. Mr. Mrso, we're moving along here, and if you could keep your

10 answers short, I'm sure that we would all appreciate that. You describe

11 in paragraph 13 of your outline being taken from the monastery after about

12 10 days of captivity and then essentially herded through the town by armed

13 Muslim soldiers.

14 A. Yes, ten of us were taken out of the nunnery of the monastery.

15 And one of them, who used to be my student, but he pretended not to know

16 me, surprised me. And we were walked through the town and that was the

17 first time I saw the town. I saw buildings destroyed. Muslim villagers

18 were shouting in the streets, "Kill off the Ustashas," spit at us, and

19 threw stones at us. But they took us through the town and into the cellar

20 of the Bugojno secondary school.

21 Q. All right. I believe that you were detained there with about 40

22 other people in a small room?

23 A. Yes. And in others, because there were a number of these cells

24 and I could see that in other cells there were some other people, Croats,

25 who had been detained. Some were civilians, some were policemen, and even

Page 22424

1 two women were in a cell and I saw them.

2 Q. And then I believe you were taken to the sports hall of a local

3 school, where you saw about 370 other detainees.

4 A. Yes. I counted them, and believe that is an accurate figure.

5 Q. What kind of provisions were provided to these 370 detainees?

6 Could you give us an idea whether it was adequate food?

7 A. At first they gave us nothing. Then the next day, between 6.00

8 and 7.00 in the afternoon, a Muslim soldier threw in some five or six

9 loaves of bread, of mouldy bread, and a potful of -- a pot of stew. I

10 mean, I think that this pot is about six or seven litres capacity -- and

11 he simply pushed that through the door and left.

12 Q. All right. And was that typical of the provisions that were given

13 to the prisoners during their captivity, as far as you know?

14 A. They gave us no food while we were in the school, but Croats who

15 were freer brought the food before the school and asked the guards. Some

16 guards did not dare, but others did, and managed to give us that food on

17 the sly. But otherwise we did not get any food.

18 Q. I believe that you were released on August 5th, 1993 and placed

19 under house arrest.

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Told to report to the police station on a daily basis. Did you do

22 so?

23 A. I did not report, and I immediately went out into the town.

24 Q. All right. Why did you decline to report to the police station,

25 as directed?

Page 22425












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Page 22426

1 A. I thought it was degrading. I thought I should go to their

2 official representatives and tell them that I would not do it and that I

3 wanted to bring back to life the Croat side, I mean the party, and that is

4 what I did subsequently.

5 Q. All right. You've previously stated that you became one of the de

6 facto representatives, or a spokesman for the few remaining Croats in

7 Bugojno. Tell us: I believe in mid-August of 1993 you visited a

8 detention camp established at the soccer stadium in the town. Could you

9 just describe for the Court how many people were kept there and whether

10 you made any arrangements to help them.

11 A. Since they would not allow us to visit, I decided to test them, so

12 I simply went there, had some food with me and some cigarettes that I

13 could lay my hands on, because I wanted to see what was going on there.

14 And they -- I simply went to the gate and they told me I had to apply to

15 so-and-so, to their boss. But since I knew those Muslims who were there,

16 I said, "Well, I have some mail, pieces of paper, and I have some food,

17 and I want to give it to those men and to see them." And I could see

18 those men through the grid. So I gave this food to those Muslims and then

19 I saw how they distributed amongst themselves, that is, the prisoners, and

20 never got it. But my purpose was to see what was going on there.

21 Q. How many people were kept prisoner in this soccer stadium, sir?

22 A. Since I began to make some -- to keep some records, I and the

23 group that I put together. There were some 600, then 500, because they

24 released some, and the final figure is 542.

25 Q. When was this camp disbanded or dissolved?

Page 22427

1 A. Only as late as 1994, 19th of March.

2 Q. All right. And were any of the detainees -- did any of the

3 detainees disappear, never to be heard from again; and if so, how many?

4 A. Yes, 26 of them. Of those 26 have been traced, or rather their

5 bodies, so 21 [as interpreted].

6 Q. During the -- or immediately after the Muslim attack on Bugojno in

7 mid-June of -- July of 1993, Mr. Mrso, could you just give us an estimate

8 of how many Croat civilians were forced out of their homes and out of the

9 municipality immediately?

10 A. As this group was set up in order to take stock of the situation,

11 I believe that of the Croat inhabitants of Bugojno, there are 2.700 to

12 3.000 Croats that stayed in Bugojno at that moment, after the attack. All

13 the others fled, were expelled, and those were the figures that we used.

14 Q. Do you know how many, approximately, were expelled, how many Croat

15 civilians?

16 A. Between twelve and thirteen thousand were expelled.

17 Q. You describe the two or three thousand Croat civilians who stayed

18 behind in Bugojno following the Muslim attacks, sir. What was life like

19 for the people that stayed behind?

20 A. Impossible. They plundered everything. When I left out, I

21 learned why there was detention. It was because -- so they could loot the

22 houses, so that many people fled through the woods, to just leave

23 Bugojno. And when I set up the office every morning, they came to report

24 to me, that is, whoever did, about various acts of brigandry, about

25 harassment, about breaking into houses at night, about ransacking of the

Page 22428

1 homes, about the search of houses in search of money and valuables.

2 People were frightened and we had nothing, and we didn't even have

3 anything to eat. Because even what we had, there was this tremendous

4 pressure, because they would come and loot our houses time and again.

5 MR. SAYERS: Your Honours, I do not propose to ask any more

6 questions about this. We would simply direct the Court to Exhibit D284/1

7 and to tabs 13 and 15, identified during the course of Lieutenant Colonel

8 Gerritsen's testimony.

9 Q. But Mr. Mrso, as a result of the incidents of harassment, plunder,

10 looting and so forth that you have described, did any of the two or three

11 thousand Croats who had been left behind after the Muslim attacks in July

12 of 1993 leave Bugojno municipality?

13 A. Yes. Many of them left. At some point there were only 900 or

14 something like that left of us there.

15 Q. So do you have an estimate of how many Croat civilians fled the

16 municipality between July of 1993 and the end of 1993?

17 A. I think about 1.500, if not more.

18 Q. All right. And I believe, sir, that you discovered that your

19 brother's house had been attacked by Muslim troops, ABiH troops. Could

20 you just describe what you know of that event to the Court.

21 A. I was told this by a man who was there at the time of the

22 capture. They were already breaking the front door and the garage of my

23 brother's and taking the car away and taking out my brother, my mother,

24 and my sister-in-law through the back door. My brother resisted, said,

25 "My mother is ill. We have to help her." But they said, "No, no, no.

Page 22429

1 You all must go," and they took them three streets away. And then a

2 Muslim who, in all that fracas went to look for somebody, came upon the

3 cellar of that house and saw the three of them killed, with yet another

4 neighbour, Mico Grlic.

5 Q. And I believe that you've stated in your outline that the bodies

6 of your relatives who were killed had never been found following their

7 killing.

8 A. Yes. I heard later on. It was said that they had killed the

9 manager of Gorica. My brother was the director of the town planning

10 institute in Bugojno. And somebody said that those bodies were

11 collected -- I do not know whether it is true or not -- that they were put

12 on a small -- in a small delivery van of yellow colour and driven away

13 somewhere, but I do not know whether it is true or not.

14 Q. All right. Just one question before I turn to my final subject,

15 Mr. Mrso. I believe that you have actually been in conversations with the

16 investigators for the Prosecution of this Tribunal and told them what you

17 know about what happened to you and others in Bugojno during these

18 terrible times.

19 A. Yes, and we're still talking. And we have, yes, appointments

20 made. Yes, I've spoken to them repeatedly. They requested a much more

21 exhaustive account than you are asking me to make.

22 Q. Yes, sir. Thank you.

23 Now, one of the arguments being made in this case by the

24 Prosecution is that political leaders of the HDZ, BiH, amongst others,

25 caused, planned, or instigated or ordered or committed or helped in the

Page 22430

1 perpetration of a widespread and systematic campaign of persecution aimed

2 deliberately against Bosnian Muslim civilians and that this was pursued

3 throughout the territory of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, including

4 in the municipality of Bugojno. Could you tell the Court, sir, what your

5 reaction to that claim is? Is there any truth in it or not?

6 A. I think it was fabricated by institutions not like this one but

7 similar, which are against Croats who have a different idea about Bosnia.

8 I was involved in politics, albeit not at a very high level, but at the

9 meetings that I attended I never heard anything like that being said.

10 Q. Who harassed or persecuted whom in Bugojno, sir?

11 A. Well, I can say that, I can prove that, I can corroborate it, I

12 can document it: that not only then, there is still harassment by the

13 Muslims.

14 Q. Against whom?

15 A. I don't understand.

16 Q. Against whom are these acts of harassment being conducted?

17 A. Muslims are harassing Croats.

18 Q. All right. You also make a reference in paragraph 19 of your

19 statement, coming to the end of your testimony now, Mr. Mrso, at least on

20 direct examination, about an agreement that had been reached only a week

21 before the surprise attack launched upon Croats in Bugojno on the 18th of

22 July, 1993. Could you tell us a little bit about that, please.

23 A. Yes. And it was aired by the local radio and television, because

24 there was no reason for mutual attacks, because the threat coming from the

25 Serbs was evident. And those who took part in this could tell you that.

Page 22431

1 I was not one of them, but I heard about it and I heard stories about

2 that.

3 Q. The agreement that you've said was announced on local radio and

4 television, this was an agreement reached between Muslims and Croats not

5 to fight one another but rather to direct their attentions towards the

6 common Serb threat; is that what you're telling us?

7 A. Yes. Yes. They even arranged a rather nice party on that

8 occasion.

9 Q. All right. The last set of questions I've got for you, sir,

10 concern one of the two defendants in this case, one of the two accused,

11 Mr. Kordic. Did he have any influence, as far as you could see, on the

12 events in Bugojno prior to mid-1994?

13 A. I do not think he had any. I did not know Kordic. It was only

14 later on that I met him, that I saw him at some meetings. And there was a

15 warehouse in the territory of his municipality where we captured some food

16 reserves, and that was when I established contact with him. That is, he

17 asked the man who worked for him to establish the needs of his

18 municipality so that when we began to distribute, he would know that. But

19 I did not -- otherwise I did not know personally Mr. Kordic. And

20 Mr. Blaskic, I never met him. I do not think he ever came to Bugojno

21 during that period of time.

22 Q. When you say you do not think he ever came to Bugojno during that

23 time, do you mean Mr. Kordic or Mr. Blaskic?

24 A. Kordic. Mr. Kordic. I do apologise. It was a slip of the

25 tongue.

Page 22432

1 Q. Just to make sure that the record is clear, sir: To your

2 knowledge, at any time between the years 1991 and 1994, did Mr. Kordic

3 visit your town, Bugojno?

4 A. No. I claim that he did not, as far as I know. If he did, let

5 him say so. But I came to know Mr. Kordic better, even insisted on his

6 coming to Bugojno after the HDZ convention in late 1994.

7 MR. SAYERS: Mr. Mrso, thank you very much. No further

8 questions.

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

10 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

11 Q. Good morning, Mr. Mrso. I'm Goran Mikulicic. I'm a lawyer from

12 Zagreb representing the second accused, Mr. Mario Cerkez. We have not met

13 before, we never talked or met, and I should therefore like to seize this

14 opportunity to ask you only a few questions.

15 Mr. Mrso, let us go back to the first half of 1992. You told us

16 that in late May, or rather on the 24th of May, Bugojno was attacked by

17 the JNA and the army of Bosnian Serbs.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. The municipality of Bugojno is adjacent to the municipality of

20 Novi Travnik, isn't it?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. You told us that the HVO assumed upon itself the defence against

23 this attack, whereas the Muslim forces kept rather aloof. Is that so?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Mr. Mrso, the HVO units in Bugojno, were they helped, both in the

Page 22433












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Page 22434

1 sense of armament by the units from some other municipalities in Central

2 Bosnia [as interpreted]?

3 A. No, not to my knowledge.

4 Q. Tell us, Mr. Mrso: You did routes of the villages. Did you visit

5 the villages of Grbici [phoen] and Medina?

6 A. No.

7 Q. You did not go there?

8 A. No, I did not.

9 Q. Mr. Mrso, have you heard of the factory Slavkorodic?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Will you briefly tell us where is it and what did it manufacture

12 at the time?

13 A. It is on the way from Bugojno to Kupres, above the village of

14 Cipolici.

15 Q. What system is it?

16 A. Well, I don't know exactly what kind of a system it had, but I

17 think that it was manufacturing parts for weapons or something like that.

18 Q. Is it true that before the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina that factory

19 was under JNA supervision?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And to stop beating about the bush, it made weapons?

22 A. Yes. I had some friends who worked there.

23 Q. And when the Croat Muslim broke out or rather when Muslims

24 attacked Bugojno, who took over control over that factory?

25 A. Well, Serbs, by and large. According to my friends, and we

Page 22435

1 discussed these matters, they immediately began to take away the

2 explosives those -- what do you call them -- the fuses and these things.

3 The Serbs simply took it and took it away. And then I told my friends,

4 "Well, you do the same."

5 Q. But after the attack of the Bosnian Serb army in the latter half

6 of 1992 and former half of 1993, who was de facto in control of that

7 factory, was it the HVO?

8 A. No, and that is why I argued why don't they take it over because

9 the Serbs kept it. And then when they fled, they looted it all and nobody

10 had the control over it.

11 Q. Do you mean there was no -- the manufacturing had stopped in the

12 factory?

13 A. Yes.

14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for your answers,

15 Mr. Mrso, I -- that is all, Your Honours.

16 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

17 Q. Mr. Mrso, I have a few questions for you. Would it be correct to

18 describe Bugojno as lying between Herzegovina and Central Bosnia?

19 A. I don't know geographically whether it would be precise, but you

20 could say so -- not immediately, because Tomislavgrad and Prozor

21 municipalities are really the municipalities that border on Herzegovina.

22 Q. But for the viability of Herceg-Bosna, was Bugojno really rather

23 important because it linked Central Bosnia to Herzegovina?

24 A. I don't know whether it was essential. To me, it wasn't. To me,

25 the important thing was for the Croats to be able to defend themselves

Page 22436

1 against the Serbs.

2 Q. You were a party to the setting up of the party in your area,

3 weren't you, of the HZ HB -- HDZ, rather, in your area, you were a party

4 to that?

5 A. Not directly because it -- as manager, I was in Livno. I was

6 working on bringing back a company in Livno, but I did join.

7 Q. And you must have appreciated at that stage that, given the ethnic

8 distribution within your town, there was the risk that your party would

9 cause upset amongst the other ethnic groups.

10 A. I don't think that this is what should be put to me. It was not

11 in terms of ethnicity that we considered things at that time, it was just

12 to defend ourselves from the Chetnik aggression.

13 Q. Yes, but the -- I don't want to go through all the documents

14 because we've looked at the general documents many times in this case

15 already, but the documents establishing the party and then the documents

16 establishing the HVO focus on Croats pretty well to the exclusion of all

17 others, don't they?

18 A. I don't know about these documents. I was never in any meetings

19 that discussed only Croats. We only discussed Bugojno, and those were

20 all-inclusive discussions.

21 Q. So far as you were concerned, the HVO, when it was established,

22 who had established it or what had established it?

23 A. I don't understand. What establishment?

24 Q. The HVO wasn't established by a popular vote or anything of that

25 sort, was it?

Page 22437

1 A. I don't know about that either.

2 Q. It was established by a political party, wasn't it? I beg your

3 pardon.

4 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, could the witness repeat --

5 A. I don't know who was in charge of its establishment. What we

6 asked to be done was to establish a Crisis Staff so that the defence could

7 be organised. I don't know at what level it was established. I was not a

8 part of it and I don't know who was in charge. I don't know the

9 establishing documents. I'm not an expert in these things.

10 Q. You've made some observations about whether Mr. Kordic ever

11 visited Bugojno, but help me with this, in Bugojno, how did you understand

12 the lines of communication and command to operate so far as the HVO or

13 your party was concerned? Who did you look to for superior authority?

14 A. Since I was in the party, I was not in the HVO, I only learned

15 about things in the party meetings. I did not ask who was in charge for

16 the establishment or for communication. As a citizen, I was especially

17 interested in the defence, and this is what we, in the party, were

18 interested in and I guess the party leadership, at that time, did discuss

19 that. At that time, I was not in the Presidency.

20 Q. Are you telling us that you simply don't know who, at the material

21 time, outside Bugojno, was coordinating or leading the military activities

22 in Bugojno?

23 A. I really do not know. Even now I don't.

24 Q. I shan't trouble with you that. But save for this, you accept,

25 presumably, that wars are ultimately directed by politicians?

Page 22438

1 A. If you say so. I, myself, will not go into that.

2 Q. It's true, isn't it, that there is another version of events about

3 Bugojno, and necessarily advanced by the Muslims and, in particular, by a

4 man called Dzevad Mlaco?

5 A. You are asking me, sir, but can you specify exactly what you want

6 me to answer?

7 Q. You know the man Dzevad Mlaco. He was the former head of your

8 municipality.

9 A. Yes, I know him very well. We were in contact throughout the war.

10 Q. And is he a man who there's reason to doubt or is he a man against

11 whom there are things we should maybe be careful about what he says?

12 A. Yes, I also asked through the International Community members, I

13 asked that I -- that Mr. Mlaco should be removed as the head of the

14 municipality, and I said that I would leave and I would invite all the

15 Croats to leave if Mr. Mlaco stayed on in the position of the head of the

16 municipality.

17 Q. So your objections to him were what? So that we can understand

18 how things are, what were your objections to him?

19 A. Because he was the president of the War Presidency in Bugojno, and

20 he did everything he could to have Croats expelled from Bugojno.

21 Q. All right. That reveals the contrary attitude of one to the

22 other; I understand that. Is it right that there was, at some stage, a

23 document created in 1992 in Bugojno where the HVO forbade Muslims or

24 Bosniaks from moving, restricted their movement? Do you remember that?

25 A. I don't remember the document. I am not aware of it. But I know

Page 22439

1 that Muslims came to me to ask for permission to go to Croatia to visit

2 their loved ones who were staying there, but I know that I, myself, needed

3 such permits and I couldn't always get them myself.

4 Q. So that -- there was a requirement for passes and you were in a

5 position to issue them; is that correct?

6 A. No. I, myself, had to go and request one.

7 Q. From the HVO would that be?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. We've heard about a meeting in Bugojno on the 15th of March of

10 1992 where the party leader, Kljuic, attended. Were you present at any

11 part of that meeting?

12 A. No, I was not present. No, sir.

13 Q. You mention the man Tole. Do you know very much about him?

14 A. No. Nothing apart from what I have said.

15 Q. Very well. You don't know who appointed him to his position

16 originally?

17 A. No, no.

18 Q. Would you accept that the Bugojno HVO was benefitting from arms

19 supplied by Croatia?

20 A. How do you mean, in terms of defence, benefitting the defence?

21 Q. Yes. You were being armed, in part, directly by Croatia.

22 A. I don't know the sources, but personally I asked if -- that more

23 be supplied if possible, but I don't know where exactly it was coming from

24 or who was supplying them, because I was not directly involved in that.

25 MR. NICE: Your Honour, for the Court's record, there is a

Page 22440

1 document in the international armed conflict file, 2376.1, dated 11th of

2 September, 1992 dealing with the supply of arms, and I needn't trouble

3 this witness with it in light of what he says.

4 Q. Equally, were you aware of orders being sent to your municipality

5 in October 1992 seeking identification of Croatian army officers who were

6 working in your area and in your units at that time, because there were

7 actually Croatian soldiers, it may be, in Bugojno?

8 A. No, I don't know, sir. And again, let me repeat, I was not within

9 the military structure. I was within the political structures in the

10 party.

11 Q. All right. But the political structures and the military

12 structures were very closely connected, were they not?

13 A. This is something that you can assert. I can only say what we

14 discussed within the party, and when we discussed it, we did it on behalf

15 of the party that the defence should be intensified, that it should be

16 better organised. But in terms of military organisation, I don't know any

17 details. I just had no access to them.

18 Q. Did you press or call for further assistance from Croatia, and did

19 you call for or press for Croatian soldiers to come and assist you?

20 A. Who, myself or someone else?

21 Q. As a politician, you were concerned about defence, did you do

22 that?

23 A. No, we never asked that. I personally thought that we had enough

24 forces in Bugojno that we could do a lot on our own, that is, in

25 cooperation with others in the municipality.

Page 22441












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Page 22442

1 MR. NICE: Your Honour, again the document which deals with

2 detailing Croatian officers in Bugojno is 2383. Perhaps the witness could

3 look with us at Exhibit 249 very briefly. Perhaps I'll just give this to

4 the usher and we can lay it on the ELMO and the witness can see the

5 original.

6 Q. By the date here which is said to be October, 1992, how central

7 were you to the leadership of your party or of your community?

8 A. Not very much. I was a member of the municipal board. I wasn't

9 even in the Presidency.

10 Q. But were you kept informed of things that were going on as the

11 position generally deteriorated?

12 A. I never heard of this and I've never seen it, but I got informed

13 through daily meetings and to that extent, yes, I was informed.

14 Q. Well, you see, this is a document that reflects the movement of

15 battalions from Bugojno in the direction of Ravno with the intention, it's

16 said, of joining up with other Muslim forces. Can you remember any

17 concern being expressed in October 1992 about the movement of such forces

18 and the reinforcing of Muslim forces in the Ravno area?

19 A. I don't remember that. I only know that the incidents had started

20 in the part of the municipality towards Novi Travnik. But there are two

21 roads: There is a road from Bugojno to Travnik and from Uskoplje to

22 Gornji Vakuf. And this is not Ravno, this is Ravno Rostovo. That is on

23 the Bugojno side and the Muslims kept the so-called illegal checkpoints

24 and Croats were harassed and at -- I don't know about these troop

25 movements, I hear this for the first time now.

Page 22443

1 Q. You see, what this document shows, it appears, is that if such

2 units participated in fighting, there would be the use of artillery on

3 Bugojno. Now, I wondered if that was something that was drawn to your

4 attention at the time because it would be a matter of great concern.

5 A. Sir, I don't -- I am not following you very well. If this was the

6 Muslim army going to Bugojno, that means that they were not going to

7 defend against the Serbs. But if they were going towards Travnik, there

8 were no Serbs there so I don't know what to conclude from what you are

9 asking.

10 Q. The question that I'm asking you is whether you were aware at the

11 time that the possibility of artillery being focussed on Bugojno and that

12 would, of course, be on the Muslim sector of Bugojno. Do you remember

13 that being a possibility at that time of 1992, 24th of October?

14 A. Whose artillery to go to Bugojno? Whose forces?

15 Q. The HVO artillery focussed on the Muslim sector of Bugojno.

16 A. Well that is not true. That never happened.

17 Q. Very well.

18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, the next document again that I needn't put

19 to this witness, just for sequence, is 2392, which again deals with the

20 provision of armaments for Bugojno from Croatia.

21 Q. And if we then turn to 1993. By 1993, say, early spring, was it a

22 state of cooperation between you and the Muslims or was there growing

23 tension?

24 A. I think that misunderstandings and tensions kept escalating.

25 Q. And was one of the causes for the escalation the fact that the HVO

Page 22444

1 was being armed and, perhaps, from time to time, being armed by Croatia so

2 that it was gathering power and strength?

3 A. That was not the reason, and from this distance, I can say that at

4 that time, Muslims were already turning against Croats because they saw

5 that the Serbs had taken half of the territory and they, I guess, wanted

6 to take the other half for themselves.

7 Q. You see, we've had a bit of evidence, it's at transcript page 6026

8 and the witness called Williams. We've had a bit of evidence about how

9 some HVO artillery in March 1993 was left with its guns facing the Muslim

10 sector of Bugojno. The suggestion that that particular witness made was

11 that this was a pointer towards the Muslim sector of Bugojno being a

12 possible HVO military target.

13 Now, had things, by March 1993, deteriorated to such an extent

14 that the HVO would have to be laying its guns in the direction of the

15 Muslim sector of Bugojno?

16 A. It had been so things would not happen in Bugojno that the Muslims

17 took it with -- and prepared that and I think that these -- this person

18 came to so mistrust between Muslims and Croats in order to protect the

19 Serbs.

20 Q. It's probably the translation but I don't fully understand your

21 answer. Are you accepting that by March 1993, the HVO might have been

22 laying its guns in the direction of the Muslim sector of Bugojno?

23 A. No. We wanted to protect ourselves from the Serbs. Had we

24 thought otherwise, then we would not have lost Bugojno as we did.

25 Q. There's another document -- and again I needn't trouble you with

Page 22445

1 it. It's 643 -- for April of 1993, which relates to having Croatian army

2 units, officers, listed. Are you quite sure there wasn't a buildup of

3 Croatian personnel in your area? This one, I think, is not specific

4 to --

5 A. No, sir, because on one occasion I asked that a military expert be

6 brought in. We in Bugojno did not know how to do these things, so I wish

7 that we had gotten some people who would be able to lead.

8 Q. That last document is not specific to Bugojno; it's general to

9 several municipalities. The same man, Dzevad Mlaco, might say that at

10 this period of time there were still joint institutions operating and

11 functioning reasonably well; in particular, there was a joint police

12 force. Would you accept that? This is just March and the spring of

13 1993.

14 A. Can I accept, sir: The misunderstanding in Bugojno stems from the

15 fact that the Muslims never accepted the election results, and no

16 institution could function because of their obstruction. And so no

17 institution can serve the citizens of Bugojno, and that's where all the

18 misunderstanding stemmed from.

19 Q. When you say "the election results," you mean what?

20 A. That the HDZ got the majority in the parliament and the Muslims in

21 their leadership in Sarajevo obstructed and we never established any

22 functioning institution as we agreed.

23 Q. Was there in fact a joint police force operating until indeed the

24 17th of July of 1993?

25 A. Formally, but not in the full sense of the word.

Page 22446

1 Q. In April of 1993, do we get a fair picture of the way things were

2 organised by this: There was a document -- we can look at it if you'd

3 like. It's 653.1. But we won't look at it immediately, to save time.

4 There was a document whereby Valenta sent to the presidents of various

5 communities, including yours, orders about curfews. Do you remember that?

6 A. No. I don't know that the curfew was ever claimed or declared in

7 Bugojno, and I was there at all times.

8 MR. NICE: I don't have that document to hand. I may or may not

9 want to show it to the witness. I don't have many more questions, but I'd

10 be grateful for the opportunity of just tidying up over the break.

11 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We're going to adjourn now until half past

12 11.00.

13 Mr. Mrso, don't speak to anybody about your evidence during the

14 adjournment until it's over, and don't let anybody speak to you about it.

15 Half past 11.00.

16 --- Recess taken at 11.01 a.m.

17 --- On resuming at 11.34 a.m.

18 MR. NICE:

19 Q. Just look briefly at this exhibit -- I'll hand this one in. Oh,

20 there it is, coming up -- which is Exhibit 653.1. Mr. Mrso, we see that

21 this is an order that went to various municipalities, including Bugojno,

22 on the 14th of April of 1993, referring to intensified tensions following

23 a number of incidents in the majority of municipalities. Then it orders a

24 curfew to be imposed and the closing of catering establishments and the

25 stopping of schools working. Do you remember this happening?

Page 22447

1 A. No, I don't. I really don't. It never reached me. And even if

2 that was so, I did not go by this. But this is of the 15th, not of the

3 14th.

4 Q. Very well, then. Maybe the translation is wrong. Indeed, it is.

5 Thank you for drawing that to our attention.

6 But is the reality that the assumption of power by the HVO in, for

7 example, your community, was a cause of irritation, to put it at its

8 lowest, to the Muslims who were there in slightly smaller numbers but

9 nevertheless very substantial numbers originally?

10 A. Your Honours, if I understand this question properly, we never

11 took over the power in Bugojno, the HVO, I mean.

12 Q. Had you sought to do so?

13 A. No.

14 Q. We'll look at one more document before I come to the 17th of July,

15 and although it's a military document, I'd nevertheless like your comments

16 on it, please. It's 1085.1. While it's coming to you, what do you

17 recollect in about June of 1993 as to have been the military activity of

18 the Muslims and the military activity of the HVO in your area? Who was

19 doing what?

20 A. Well, it was like this, if I remember: By that time, incidents

21 had already escalated, and the circumstances were such that I thought it

22 necessary to report to the leadership in Mostar, and I requested to be

23 allowed to go out in order to inform that the situation was unsafe.

24 However, the HVO representatives would not let us go. I wasn't alone.

25 There were three of us. I nevertheless managed to go out and report. The

Page 22448

1 Muslims had begun to seize vehicles, to attack civilians, as I have

2 already told you, setting up checkpoints at all sorts of places, including

3 corners of streets in the town, and I realised that something was wrong.

4 Q. I'll come back to that, if I may, a little later. The question

5 maybe wasn't properly asked. But forgetting incidents that were causes of

6 unhappiness between Muslims and Croats in your town, who -- on a wider

7 scale, who was fighting whom? Were the Croats fighting the Serbs? Were

8 the Muslims fighting the Serbs? What was the position?

9 A. It was like this: We focused on the defence against Serbs,

10 because that is where we perceived the danger, and insisting that

11 regardless of misunderstandings, we should go together with Muslims and

12 reinforce the defence. Because we have already heard about what had

13 happened at Kupres: Information was arriving, the town was under constant

14 shelling, one could barely go out anywhere, and so on and so forth.

15 Q. And are you telling us, then, that there was still active warfare

16 between the Croats and the Serbs in the late spring/early summer of 1993?

17 A. Yes. The combatants were on the front lines. I even went out to

18 visit them in the direction of Kupres.

19 Q. And there had been no change in the relations between Serbs and

20 Croats, of which you were aware, for example, following the agreement in

21 Graz?

22 A. I haven't the foggiest. One did not feel that.

23 Q. If we look at this document, which is the 20th of June of 1993,

24 and is a Military Intelligence Service report coming from the Eugen

25 Kvaternik Brigade. And there's just a couple bits of it that I'd like to

Page 22449












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Page 22450

1 draw to your attention and ask your comment on. It speaks of the area of

2 Prusac, which is a little what, north-west of Bugojno?

3 A. It is a village which is in the Donji Vakuf municipality, down the

4 road from Bugojno to Donji Vakuf to the left; however, off the road.

5 Q. Quite close by?

6 A. Towards Kupres.

7 Q. Quite close by?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And it says of the Muslims that the MOS has one -- well, if you

10 start at the top, it says: "This sector comprises the village of ..." and

11 it sets the villages out. It says that the Muslim armed forces has about

12 1.200 men under arms in total. And for Prusac, it says that they have one

13 reinforced battalion of about 400 soldiers. The area is well fortified in

14 the engineering sense, and all artillery pieces in the area are used for

15 defence against Chetniks. Then it says this: "According to our

16 information, in the case of a conflict between the HVO and the MOS, there

17 should be no major disengagement of enemy forces from this area. Prusac

18 battalion had priority in the distribution of material and technical

19 equipment over the other units of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and

20 now has, in addition to infantry weapons, and then it lists them,

21 [indiscernible] positioned in Prusac."

22 So that's one passage I'd like you to help us with.

23 And then if we go to Guvna, we see what's said there about the

24 men. And if we, in the English version, go over to the page, it then says

25 that should a conflict break out, it may be that some of these weapons

Page 22451

1 would be disengaged and transferred in the direction of Porice. So one

2 thing is quite clear, that the Muslims were actively engaged at the front

3 line; correct?

4 A. In this part.

5 Q. It may not be clear from this document, but are you saying that

6 the HVO were also, themselves, in these same areas actively defending

7 against the Serbs or was it being left to the --

8 A. Yes -- no. First, they were primarily Croat positions because

9 Guvna is a mixed village, Muslims and Croats. And the first village which

10 Chetniks attacked from Donji Vakuf was Guvna, and they went to that

11 village the next day to see, and some houses and some cow shacks had

12 already been put on fire, and there were shell fragments which I took with

13 me to Bugojno.

14 But I could not agree about it and I know one occasion and I am

15 not sure that I am right, but a gentleman from Bugojno could confirm this

16 that they were in talking that HVO would help them around Prusac. That is

17 what I know about it. I think that was the only stronghold because

18 Prusac, as I have said, is a Donji Vakuf village. It means a great deal

19 to Muslims so that that is where they had some noteworthy forces and

20 strongholds. They were not as present on other front lines.

21 MR. NICE: If Your Honour will just give me one minute.

22 Q. Under the Prusac heading, we see in the translation, and I trust

23 in the original, that it says, "In the case of a conflict between the HVO

24 and the MOS, there should be no major disengagement of enemy forces from

25 this area." What would enemy relate to there, the word "enemy"?

Page 22452

1 A. Believe me, I don't know. Perhaps they mean Serbs.

2 Q. Or perhaps they mean the Muslims, do you mean, because that's my

3 question. Looking at the two references here to the possibility of a

4 conflict breaking out, were the Muslims already being regarded as the

5 enemy by June of 1993?

6 A. I don't think so. This is how I see it: I think it is correct

7 that from the beginning, Serbs have been trying -- not with us -- Serbs

8 were trying to negotiate with the municipality in order to pass through

9 Rama and Prozor. And at party meetings, we were asking the head not to

10 talk to Serbs anymore, not to receive them because we feared that Serbs

11 would use the troops to link with their forces towards Konjic, Mostar, and

12 I think this is what this text was about.

13 Q. Is there any question, do you think, looking back, of the HVO

14 stirring up trouble and looking for a fight with the Muslims at that time?

15 A. Sir, if you are talking trouble that the Croats undertook, the

16 defence of Bugojno against Chetniks, that's one matter. And another

17 matter, I do not know that anybody complained to me when -- anybody

18 complained to me that somebody had been beaten or harassed or anything. I

19 still live with those people there. You keep asking me questions that I

20 must take a reserved stand towards, because I was with the civilian arm of

21 the HVO, not the military one.

22 Q. Well, then let's move to the 17th, not the 18th of July. You tell

23 us that, in answer to a question of mine, that there was a joint police

24 force formally. What do you mean by "formally"?

25 A. Well, the Muslims never agreed about the power distribution to

Page 22453

1 have the head of police a Croat and the head of municipality which had

2 been agreed, because as a party which won the elections, they were

3 entitled to it but they would never agree to that, and that was the root

4 of all the misunderstandings.

5 Q. But the joint police force existed and operated, and I must ask

6 you: Was it perhaps the HVO and your side that was treating it as a

7 formality and not taking, say, the joint police force as seriously as it

8 might have been taken?

9 A. It couldn't because it believed that the executives who came from

10 the -- which -- who had been appointed by the Croat side but that was the

11 result of the political negotiations and the result of the elections, and

12 the Muslims would not comply with that.

13 Q. Is it right that on the 17th of July, that's one day before the

14 breakup that you speak of, joint police patrols of Croats and Bosniaks

15 were, in fact, arrested by the HVO and at the same time, is it right, that

16 Bosniak civilians were being arrested on that day, the 17th of July?

17 A. That is not true. On the 17th of July, Muslims killed a Croat

18 soldier standing on guard in a village where Croats had organised it. And

19 on the 17th, he was buried and I attend it personally.

20 Q. It may be, but that's not the issue. Were there arrests of Muslim

21 civilians on the 17th of July?

22 A. No, that is not true.

23 Q. Well, as we move on to the 18th, I couldn't help but note that

24 when you were asked about the 18th, asked who attacked whom you replied,

25 "From what I know now," and you have obviously constructed your answer

Page 22454

1 from what you have learned since. At the time it was entirely unclear,

2 wasn't it, I suggest, who started the conflict?

3 A. It was clear, sir. That afternoon I told you, between 7.00 and

4 8.00, Muslim soldiers already began to break into Croat homes, expel

5 Croats, loot and so on and so forth. And then in the night between the

6 18th and 19th, a Muslim came to my door requesting to open, I guess, in

7 order to kill me.

8 Q. We don't need to go through that again, not because I'm not

9 sympathetic about it but because we've covered it once. Can you tell us,

10 please, about the use made by the HVO of the Akvarijum motel.

11 A. I don't understand the question.

12 Q. Well, do you know a place called the Akvarijum hotel?

13 A. Yes, I do.

14 Q. Is it right that that hotel or -- that perhaps its grounds rather

15 than the hotel itself, I can't put this to you, but is it right that that

16 hotel was the location of an HVO camp where people were detained?

17 A. I don't know, believe me. Because of the shelling, there was so

18 much of it then that it never crossed my mind to go to that motel or

19 anything. I never even heard that.

20 Q. Are you aware that the man Dzevad Mlaco said that it was used as a

21 camp, and a large number of Bosniaks were taken from there and killed on

22 the 18th of July. 45, I think, is the number he puts on it.

23 A. It is not true. That is absolutely not true, sir. I would have

24 known if a single Muslim had been killed at the time.

25 Q. One of our witnesses, a recent witness, has told the Chamber that

Page 22455

1 Bugojno was the mirror image in many ways and for some period of time with

2 the town of Prozor where, in each place, the ethnic distributions were

3 reversed, and what was happening in one place by one group was happening

4 in the other place but being done by the other group. Do you know enough

5 about Prozor to accept, in general terms, that that description from

6 Mr. Gerritsen a couple of weeks ago, was correct?

7 A. I do not know enough about that, but I know -- I mean I learned

8 later that the Muslim, or rather the Muslim policy, was to open the road

9 to Sarajevo/Mostar, and they were planning to, among other things, take

10 Prozor. Whether this is correct or not, I don't know. I learned that

11 subsequently from contacts with people from Prozor, and they reportedly

12 have some documents to that effect.

13 Q. The last document and simply one that I put to you for

14 completeness because it's something that you said to one of the

15 international observers is 1242.2. But while it's coming to you, can you

16 help us at all, in general, with how it is or at least how it appears to

17 be the position that the account of Bugojno's suffering that you give

18 doesn't find its way into reports of either European monitors very much or

19 the military at the time. Can you explain that to us? We don't seem to

20 have many documents setting out, contemporaneously, the account that

21 you've given to the Chamber. Can you give an explanation for that?

22 A. When I see the document?

23 Q. No, no, before we come to this document which is a little later.

24 Let me ask the question another way: Were you seeing monitors and

25 international military peacekeepers in the course of July and August of

Page 22456

1 1993?

2 A. In July, not even in theory. In August, likewise, because I had

3 just left the camp. Perhaps end of August or later on.

4 Q. And to which -- did you or did other people in your presence give

5 accounts of what had happened to some of the international observers and

6 if so, can you tell us to whom so we can just track it down and check it?

7 That's all.

8 A. We told people. I don't know exactly the date when the

9 representatives of the International Red Cross came and those ECMM,

10 UNPROFOR, it's then representative, the English UNPROFOR and those people

11 did not sympathise with us. I believe they concealed their reports

12 deliberately and I know we read those reports and tried to --

13 JUDGE MAY: Do you have any evidence for that suggestion?

14 A. Well, what proof? Perhaps if you ask me a direct question, I just

15 might have.

16 JUDGE MAY: I asked a direct question. Do you have any evidence

17 for your suggestion?

18 A. From that period or directly at the time which the gentleman

19 mentioned?

20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, go on.

21 MR. NICE:

22 Q. Well, just to pick up His Honour's concern and the question I

23 want, I was asking you about really the accounts that you might have given

24 to people in, say, September of 1993 and I think you were answering that

25 the English UNPROFOR didn't sympathise and you think they concealed their

Page 22457

1 reports. Can you help me at all with which international observers you

2 spoke to at the time? Was it monitors or was it British UNPROFOR?

3 A. I'd have to look it up in my diary. I did not say that these

4 people hid these documents. I said that we tried to write the documents

5 about events in Bugojno, we even translated them into English and wanted

6 to send them through them to Prozor and further on so that the world would

7 know what was going on.

8 Q. Let's look at this document that's before us at the moment, it's a

9 little later, 1242.2, and it's the 11th of October. Now, by this time, it

10 appears you had gone off to meet Mr. Boban in Grude, because you're

11 referred to here. Had you gone to see Mr. Boban in Grude?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And presumably you had reported to him the history that you've

14 narrated to this Trial Chamber?

15 A. I did.

16 Q. Well, this is a report from somebody called Kinigopoulos, and he's

17 one of the monitors. Do you remember him at all?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Did you have an extensive discussion with him about the history of

20 what had happened to you or not?

21 A. Well, they agreed to take me out from Bugojno to Rama and Prozor

22 so it lasted that long. And he suggested, since I knew a great deal, that

23 it might be good if I wrote it all down and sent it where appropriate.

24 Q. Well -- you see I'll come back to that, but all that we have your

25 saying to him is under political situation, and I don't know if you read

Page 22458

1 English. I'll assume that it would help you if I read this passage slowly

2 and it's very short. It simply says, "This view that the HDZ

3 representative, Mr. Ivica Mrso, says he met Mate Boban in Grude and that

4 his opinion is that the Muslims must be satisfied with what they have now

5 and that they will never succeed to have a corridor to the coast."

6 Is it right that you explained that position to the monitor?

7 A. I never even dreamed about that, and your reporters could write

8 whatever they liked, because they never submitted it to us for

9 authorisation. I did not discuss the corridor with Mate Boban, but the

10 situation in Bugojno and what to do next.

11 Q. Well, let's break that up into two parts. Is it right that the

12 HVO position in October 1993 was, indeed, that the Muslims should have no

13 more than they had with which they should be satisfied?

14 A. How could I know that, sir, when a bird could not get out of

15 Bugojno? How could I know what the HVO was saying?

16 Q. Well, you just met with Mr. Boban, I think.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And just answer the question.

19 A. That was not in October, it was in September.

20 Q. Was that Mr. Boban's view that the Muslims should put up with what

21 they've got?

22 A. He did not say that to me, and I do not know what his view of that

23 was.

24 Q. My last question is this and, Your Honour, I'm not going,

25 obviously, to deal today with any account that the witness may have with

Page 22459

1 him that hasn't been produced and I don't cross-examine as to it.

2 But you say that you made a written account. Did you, in fact,

3 send that account to any either monitors or soldiers? If so, can you tell

4 me who and I can check that you sent it? I can confirm that you sent it.

5 A. Well, we used to send it, but whose hands did it end up in, I

6 still do not know.

7 Q. Where did you send it?

8 A. We sent it to Prozor.

9 Q. But to whom? To other people in the HVO, or did you send it to

10 the --

11 A. And other people in the HVO and representatives of the

12 international community, we've simply reported what was going on in

13 Bugojno.

14 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I've given enough detail. I don't think

15 I'm going to get anymore.

16 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

17 MR. SAYERS: Just one question, Your Honour.

18 Re-examined by Mr. Sayers:

19 Q. Mr. Mrso, you were asked a lot of questions about Croatian army

20 troops and so forth. Did you ever see any Croatian army troops in Bugojno

21 at any time in 1992 or 1993, sir?

22 A. I had no opportunity and I did not see them, sir.

23 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.

24 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Mr. Mrso, for coming to the International

25 Tribunal to give your evidence. It's now concluded. You are free to go.

Page 22460












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Page 22461

1 [The witness withdrew]

2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you. Our next

3 witness is Mr. Dominik Sakic. I believe he's in the building and he's on

4 his way.

5 Meanwhile, I would like to take the opportunity to inform the

6 Chamber that tomorrow we will have three witnesses to be taken by

7 videolink from Zagreb. The third witness called my office today. He

8 arrived in Zagreb. This is the witness who suffers from claustrophobia.

9 We will have slight difficulties to bring him downtown. He has some

10 trouble in being in traffic, but I believe that we will overcome the

11 problem and that all three witnesses will be able to give evidence

12 tomorrow. We have provided outlines to the Prosecution and we believe

13 that we may be able to complete all three witnesses during the day

14 tomorrow.

15 If I can just add one more thing: We have one additional witness

16 on Wednesday, in addition to the witness today; in other words, two

17 witnesses today, three witnesses by videolink tomorrow, and an additional

18 witness on Wednesday.

19 JUDGE MAY: Could somebody go and see what's happened to the

20 witness.

21 [The witness entered court]

22 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

24 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


Page 22462

1 [Witness answered through interpreter]

2 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.

3 Yes, Mr. Naumovski.

4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

5 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:

6 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Sakic. Will you please state your full name

7 for the Chamber.

8 A. Dominik Sakic.

9 Q. Mr. Sakic, we will quickly go through your personal data. You

10 were born on 17 September 1934 in the city of Zenica?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. You're an ethnic Croat and a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. You are married, you have two children, and currently reside in

15 Capljina, which is a town in the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. By profession, you are a mechanical engineer and you worked in

18 your field your entire career until 1990?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Your last job before the 1990 elections was at the Zenica

21 Institute for Metallurgy, where you were the head of the design group?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Mr. Sakic, you were one of the founding members of the Zenica

24 branch of the main Croat political party in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croat

25 Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and you were the first

Page 22463

1 president of the HDZ BiH in Zenica. You held that position from 3 October

2 1990 until 8 August 1992; is that correct?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. In addition, you were also vice-president of the Municipal

5 Assembly of Zenica after the elections of November 1990, and you were in

6 that position until 23 October 1992, when HDZ BiH representatives withdrew

7 from the municipal government, to put it that way?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Will you tell us, perhaps just briefly, why you withdrew from the

10 local government, and later we will get back to that issue.

11 A. We withdrew from the local government because we were there only

12 formally. We were there as a screen. We could never get the positions

13 which were agreed on after the elections.

14 Q. We will later come back to this discrimination, but let us just

15 continue with your personal details. In May 1992 you became the first

16 president of the civilian arm of the Croat Defence Council in Zenica; is

17 that correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. When the war broke out, at the very beginning of it, the initial

20 few months after the Bosnian Serb army's aggression, that is, between May

21 and approximately November 1992, in a limited way, as president of the

22 civilian HVO, you were involved in -- we can call them military affairs in

23 the Zenica headquarters of the HVO?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. But this involvement of yours in military affairs was pretty much

Page 22464

1 limited to the logistics concern?

2 A. Yes. Zoran Covic was in charge of the practical. He worked with

3 the military and I just did the logistics.

4 Q. Yes, but later on in 1992, by November 1990 [as interpreted], you

5 were no longer involved in these logistics affairs?

6 A. That is correct.

7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Regarding paragraph 7, Your

8 Honours, I am not going to lead him there. I'm just going to ask him:

9 Q. Mr. Sakic, will you tell us who attacked whom in Zenica on 17

10 April 1993.

11 A. ABiH, that is, the Muslim forces, MOS, Mujahedin, Green Berets,

12 and so on.

13 Q. In other words, various forces within the ABiH?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. After 17 April 1993, for some 20 days, you hid in Zenica and then

16 you went to Vitez?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Since mid-1994 you have lived in Capljina with your family?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. One small correction. At page 49, line 19, we agreed that you

21 stopped being involved in the logistics sometime around November 1992.

22 The transcript erroneously states 1990.

23 Just one additional detail regarding your personal data. You're

24 currently with the Ministry of Energy at the Federation of

25 Bosnia-Herzegovina as superintendent for the Institute for Standards,

Page 22465

1 Weights, and Patents?

2 A. Yes. This is in the Ministry of Mining, Forestry, and Energy, and

3 this institute is part of that ministry.

4 Q. Very well, Mr. Sakic. In order to facilitate the work of

5 interpreters, I would like to ask you to pause between my question to you

6 and your answers. I have a feeling that both of us speak fairly fast, so

7 it would be good if we both slowed down. Thank you.

8 Their Honours have had a number of opportunities to hear about

9 what is contained in paragraphs 9 through 11 of your outline, that is, on

10 the preparations, defence preparations in 1991 and early 1992, with

11 respect of the events in Croatia and ensuing misunderstandings between the

12 Croat and Muslim communities over the war in Croatia. I assume that a

13 similar situation was in Zenica too.

14 A. Yes. When the war broke out in Croatia in 1991, obviously the

15 Zenica Croats felt the pain of co-patriots, of their co-patriots in

16 Croatia. The Muslims, including my associates at that time, never showed

17 that they regretted this, and we assumed that such tragedy may befall

18 Bosnia and Herzegovina.

19 Q. Did your different -- was your different approach also reflected

20 in different perception of the large JNA contingents which arrived from

21 Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina?

22 A. Yes. When the so-called Yugoslav People's Army was leaving

23 Slovenia and Croatia, those parts which were redeployed in the Zenica

24 barracks, they were welcomed by the Muslims and Serbs with flowers. We

25 did not share that approach at all.

Page 22466

1 Q. This is just an example, and I don't think that we should burden

2 the Trial Chamber with more details, but this just shows different

3 approaches. The Trial Chamber has heard a lot about events at the village

4 of Ravno and statements at that time of Muslim officials, including

5 President Izetbegovic. We will not repeat them. But did the events at

6 the time and the attitudes of the other side towards -- create some

7 discomfort among the Croats regarding the defence, defence of Bosnia? And

8 you were only 17.3 per cent.

9 A. After the statement by President Izetbegovic, who said that that

10 was not their war, we saw that the representatives of the Muslims were not

11 concerned about the Croatian ethnic group in Bosnia. The Croatian people

12 probably will never forgive him for what he said, because they were very

13 angered by that statement.

14 Q. Mr. Sakic, in those first days of that Yugoslav crisis, or the

15 crisis in the territory of that former country, you offered to establish a

16 joint staff which would take care of all daily problems. Was your

17 proposal adopted or not?

18 A. Yes. I proposed to the leadership from the SDA to form a joint

19 crisis staff in order to control the Serbian paramilitary forces, because

20 we were more -- the locals were more afraid of people who came from

21 outside to Zenica and who could cause trouble there. During our

22 conversation -- and I felt -- I thought that they really welcomed it, but

23 they said that they had to take it with their main board and that they

24 would give us the answer the next day. I assumed that after the meeting,

25 the next day, they rejected the offer. This is where I saw Mr. Dzemal

Page 22467

1 Merdan. It was the first time I saw him in my life, and we met.

2 Q. We can move on. At paragraph 12 you mentioned an HDZ BiH meeting

3 held in October 1991 in Sarajevo. It was chaired by the then-president of

4 the party, Mr. Stjepan Kljuic.

5 A. Yes. That was a meeting after the criminal attack of the army on

6 the village of Ravno in the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina. All the top

7 leadership of HDZ -- of HDZ BiH was present. After the representative of

8 the HDZ, a representative from Ravno, described to us what happened there;

9 we were all upset. I believe that only Kljuic remained indifferent, and

10 he then said, "This happened, but it will not repeat itself." And then he

11 just diverted the meeting from that topic, which was very important to all

12 of us, to something else. And then Mate Boban, Kljuic's deputy, he said

13 that "The president can do whatever he wants, but I have to do something

14 else. I have to organise the defence of the Croat people." He closed up

15 his notebook and left the meeting.

16 Q. If I understand you correctly, there was a parting of ways then

17 between Mr. Kljuic and the rest of you regarding -- over what to do with

18 respect of organisation of the defence.

19 A. That is right, because Kupres was next, and the Serbs were

20 advancing and --

21 Q. We're still talking about the defence against the JNA?

22 A. Yes. At that time, we were still tying our flag together with the

23 SDA flag.

24 Q. But this was about a month before the HZ HB was established?

25 A. Yes. And then Mate Boban and some other people established the

Page 22468

1 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and that was an organisation which

2 took care of the protection of Croat people throughout the territory of

3 Bosnia and Herzegovina.

4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Let's move on. Your Honours,

5 paragraph 13.

6 Q. You know, Mr. Sakic, that the allegations have been made in this

7 case that there was a policy of persecution and harassment of Muslims

8 throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, including Zenica; that is, that the HVO and

9 the HDZ in Zenica carried out persecution and harassment of Muslims. Is

10 that correct or not?

11 A. I assert, with full responsibility, that it is not correct,

12 because we were such a minority that even if we wanted to, we could not

13 have done anything like that. But nobody ever told me or my associates to

14 apply any pressure against the Muslims in Zenica. I was present at the

15 majority of meetings, including some of the neighbouring municipalities of

16 Vitez, Busovaca, and Travnik, and I never heard about any such

17 organisation or order or recommendation to mistreat or abuse the Muslim

18 population.

19 Q. You said that Croats in Zenica were numerically in absolute

20 minority so what was the situation in Zenica with respect to Croats?

21 A. We were so -- such a minority that we were subjugated and

22 discriminated by the Muslim population especially after the events at

23 Drivusa. When Serbs also left Zenica then we were even a smaller minority

24 because the Serbs had left and some Muslim refugees had appeared, so the

25 situation that this created was very bad.

Page 22469












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Page 22470

1 Q. I'm sorry for cutting you off. We will come back to that with

2 more detail in due course. After the elections of 1990, you had reached a

3 pre-election agreement with some other parties, primarily with the SDA,

4 about the partition of power. But in late 1991 and in 1992, were -- did

5 members of the SDA abide by these pre-election agreements or not and what

6 happened to the Croats who, at that time, participated in the government

7 up to then?

8 A. We never got what we were supposed to get after the elections. We

9 could never fill the positions in government which were pre-agreed, and I

10 can give as an example. I was the president of municipality. Many events

11 and many things that were happening in Zenica went by me, the delegations

12 that arrived, I would not see. I would only learn from -- about it from

13 the media. And people would ask me in meetings, "You are the

14 vice-president. You should know about this." but nobody called me. They

15 had all key positions. They had the president of the municipality, the

16 chief of protocol, the secretary, everybody was one of their side.

17 So we saw that we were only there as a front for them, and then

18 the position was taken politically that all members of the HDZ should step

19 down and walk out of that government knowing what would happen to the

20 Croat people and this is then what followed on October 23rd.

21 Q. In paragraph 15 of the outline, you pointed out certain

22 institutions in Zenica. You said the post office, RMK Promet, which is

23 the transportation company, then the company called new life "Novi zivot"

24 which was -- and you pointed out that they were staffed completely with

25 Muslims?

Page 22471

1 A. Yes, all public entities which used to have Croats or Serbs. And

2 on the staff, all key positions were filled with Muslims. I asked a

3 number of times while I was still part of the government, the War

4 Presidency, for instance, in the bank where the manager was Alihodzic. I

5 think that he was the SDA finance person for the area, but I never

6 succeeded in any of my attempts.

7 Q. There is just one additional detail. You said that the management

8 of the steel works in Zenica were among the top five people, all five were

9 Muslims?

10 A. Yes. It is sad to say, and I mentioned this in a meeting where

11 Miljenko Brkic came on behalf of Kljuic, and I said that not even under

12 communism was there a case when you had all five top managers Muslims, at

13 least one Croat, one obedient Croat used to be one of these.

14 Q. We can move on to paragraph 16, Your Honours.

15 In your Zenica area, the tension mounted by January 1993. A while

16 ago you began to list the units which were in broader terms under the

17 control of the ABiH. Tell us, please, in addition to the local TO units,

18 which other units were there in the town of Zenica?

19 A. There were -- well, let's begin with TO, BH army, the Patriotic

20 League, Green Berets, the 7th Muslim, that is MOS, so they too, the

21 Mujahedin, who were under MOS. They were placed under their control, but

22 they performed the most sordid deeds, and I think they were doing it for

23 the top leadership. And they were all stationed in Zenica.

24 Q. You also mean the 7th Muslim Brigade and El Mujahed?

25 A. Yes, the 7th Muslim, and according to our sources of information,

Page 22472

1 the Mujahedin were under them.

2 Q. Tell us, please, those units, were they in the town itself? Was

3 there any harassment of the population?

4 A. Those were dreadful days for the Croat people in Zenica. All

5 those units wanted to instill fear, to serve panic among the Croat

6 people. Repeatedly they would pass heavily armed making rounds, for

7 instance, round Tito Street or by St. Elijah's church, by the cultural

8 centre, and that is the Croat centre where the Croat parties, HSP [as

9 interpreted] HDZ, and other political parties were housed.

10 They sang their songs, shouted all sorts of slogans, shouted

11 Allah-u-ekber. At that time I was very upset and called Besim, the mayor

12 of the municipality and I asked him, "Please, stop this. I'm afraid that

13 something will happen in the town, blood will be shed without any need."

14 And he would do something and there would be a lull for a day and then it

15 would be resumed again and so on.

16 Q. To explain to Their Honours, you meant Mr. Besim Spahic who was

17 the president of the War Presidency in Zenica; is that it?

18 A. Yes, and I was vice-president while I was there.

19 Q. And tell us, please, were there any incidents damaging Croats or

20 rather damaging Croat property?

21 A. Of course. There were houses which were attacked, first some

22 [indiscernible] thieves attacked and -- but the man was armed and he

23 killed one of the thieves.

24 Q. Perhaps we do not need to go into all details, just in principle.

25 A. Well, yes, some restaurants and coffee shops were blown up, people

Page 22473

1 were harassed. In late 1992 and 1993, not a single HVO soldier dared move

2 through the town by himself because if a van with open doors would pass by

3 when he was alone, then he would be attacked by six or seven people and

4 he'd simply vanish into thin air. But naturally, yes, they all ended up

5 in the music school.

6 Q. You told us a while ago that the attitude towards the Croats were

7 deteriorated after the events in the village of Drivusa, that is, after

8 the Serbs were forced to leave the area. Tell us, in that time, in

9 October, December, 1992, a large number of Serbs were compelled to leave

10 Zenica?

11 A. Yes. A large number of Serbs were compelled to leave Zenica.

12 They asked me to help them. They asked me -- well, I can give you an

13 example, the freshest one. As the deputy -- president of the assembly of

14 the Serb people, Kristo Buha was my colleague. We went in next to our

15 offices, and he asked for the protection to save him because when they

16 attacked the Drivusa and when the Serb people fell into disgrace then they

17 asked me to help protect him and his life.

18 Q. Yes, yes, yes, excuse me for interrupting you. Excuse me for

19 interrupting you from time to time, but we want just general figures, we

20 do not want to go into all the detail. It was about 30.000 Serbs who were

21 forced to leave Zenica, both the town and the municipality. Would you say

22 that that figure is accurate?

23 A. No, I wouldn't say it was that many because according to the

24 census, there were about 23.000 Serbs. Like we too, we were 15.6 and they

25 accounted for 15.3 in the municipality.

Page 22474

1 Q. Perhaps it was my mistake, I meant 20.000. Could that figure be

2 accurate?

3 A. Yes, that one could be.

4 Q. Let us move on to paragraph 17, Your Honours. And that is the

5 information that the Croats in Zenica received in January, in mid-January

6 1993 about the amassing of certain troops?

7 A. We began to have some doubts about certain things before the

8 attack on Dusina and Busovaca up there. Our people at the joint

9 checkpoint at Lasva were detained. Sixteen combatants were locked up,

10 were detained, harassed and so on and so forth from the areas of Zetel,

11 Lasva and so on and so forth precisely in that area where the BH army

12 could be moved through so as to prepare for an attack via Kacuni and so on

13 and so forth.

14 I received information that the forces were concentrating in

15 Kacuni and if one is to judge by what was happening to us at that

16 checkpoint, we realised that something was going on and some people could

17 not be there so that they were being removed from checkpoints, from the

18 joint, agreed checkpoints. And then there were attacks on the 25th, and

19 on the 26th, there was the attack on Dusina and the cruel murder of

20 that -- I was the organiser of taking of people who were killed in Dusina,

21 nine Croats and one Serb. And they asked, "Please, bury our relatives in

22 Busovaca." The relatives were asking us, and that includes a Serb.

23 Q. Yes, the Court has already seen the footage about those bodies and

24 all that. But you organised the transfer of those bodies?

25 A. Yes, we talked to Busovaca and in order to get the permit to leave

Page 22475

1 Zenica that was the problem. In Dusina, it happened on the 26th, and on

2 the 3rd, on the 3rd of February, that is seven or eight days later is when

3 we got the permit to take it out, but if you saw the film, you know it.

4 But what is important is that I and Podnik, the current HDZ president,

5 that people from the -- from another shift leaving the steel works that we

6 had put up first, the obituaries, but overnight, the [indiscernible]

7 coming out of the steel works was tearing off those obituaries, and even

8 the obituaries were not up where they were supposed to be.

9 Q. I'm trying to ask you to slow down a little. I know it is

10 difficult, because that is not your natural speed of speech, but will you

11 please try not to hurry too much.

12 When you are referring to this incident in Dusina and that area of

13 your municipality, did you hear that any government institution in Zenica

14 and government agency ever started an investigation into the murder of

15 those people, the transfer of whose bodies -- to Busovaca you organised?

16 A. No, I never heard anything about it even though I was requesting

17 that investigation be launched from some responsible people there. They

18 never did that, I don't know why. Dusina is, territorially speaking,

19 under Zenica. And the HDZ branch in Dusina I organised. And

20 organisationally, they merely joined up Busovaca because they were simply

21 nearer to it. And then, naturally, after they were killed in the

22 territory of Zenica then, naturally, it was my duty to get those bodies

23 and see to their burial and so on and so forth.

24 Q. We can move on to the next topic and that is the developments in

25 1993, paragraph 18 and onward. You already said that on the 17th of April

Page 22476

1 1993, Croats in Zenica were attacked.

2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I should like to

3 adduce a document. We have only two documents for production, both bear

4 on the topic dealt with in paragraph 18.

5 Q. While we're waiting for the document to distribute, it is a

6 document of conclusions or rather of the agreement reached at the War

7 Presidency in Zenica between the two communities, that is the Croats and

8 the Muslims.

9 JUDGE MAY: Can we have an exhibit number, please.

10 THE REGISTRAR: The exhibit will be numbered D97 -- sorry, D297.

11 JUDGE MAY: D297/1.

12 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

13 Q. So, Mr. Sakic, you have the text in Croatian?

14 A. I do, yes.

15 Q. That day, the War Presidency met. Will you please tell the Court

16 what had been agreed on the eve of the attack that you told us, that is,

17 what, briefly, is this document about?

18 A. Well, I should like to begin with the abduction of -- kidnapping

19 of Zivko Totic.

20 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. If counsel asks you the question,

21 we'll get on more quickly, Mr. Sakic. Could you just answer the

22 question. He asked you about the -- this document.

23 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

24 Q. Mr. Sakic, Mr. Totic testified here and the Court is aware of

25 these facts.

Page 22477












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Page 22478

1 A. Your Honours, I wanted to explain how this meeting at 5.00 in the

2 afternoon of the 17th came about. We had six or seven meetings after the

3 kidnapping of Zivko Totic, and then this meeting, the most important one,

4 took place. The War Presidency, then sitting in a broader composition,

5 called this meeting and that was on the 17th at 1700, and this meeting

6 adopted the conclusions which are attached here. If you want me to list

7 them, I shall.

8 Q. It was agreed at this meeting to remove all the checkpoints.

9 A. Yes, to remove all the checkpoints in the town, to establish a

10 joint civilian police, to control it in -- and hospitals should also be

11 controlled by the joint police so that both Croats and Muslims could --

12 and Serbs could come to hospitals if need be. To cover up the trenches,

13 to withdraw to the positions, to locate Mr. Zivko Totic, and to release

14 him to punish the culprits and so on and so forth.

15 And out of respect, had these conclusions been respected, we

16 wouldn't have been attacked in the early hours of the next morning and

17 there wouldn't have been a war, nor would have the Croats been expelled,

18 nor would have 450 people been locked up in the penitentiary or civilians

19 killed and so on and so forth.

20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] This is the second document. Will

21 you please help to distribute it.

22 Q. And once again, Mr. Sakic, Mr. Sayers is listening to the English

23 interpretation and he's asking you to slow down, so will you please do

24 that?

25 A. Very well.

Page 22479

1 THE REGISTRAR: The exhibit number will be 298/1.

2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

3 Q. Mr. Sakic, this is the second document, also conclusions of a

4 meeting of the War Presidency meeting in a broader circle. That

5 meeting -- that is, you initiated that meeting after the attack which took

6 place at 5.00 in the morning; is that so?

7 A. It is.

8 Q. Through whom did you initiate the meeting; that is, who helped

9 you?

10 A. Well, I don't know. Should I start from 2.00 in the morning, when

11 the Mujahedin attacked Croat facilities, that is, the building where

12 we -- our parties had headquarters, where everything was looted, when I

13 called Mr. Besim by phone and asked him to put an end to that? Because if

14 that went on, there would be a bloodshed in Zenica. And the first time I

15 called, he accepted my call and we talked, and said that he had nothing to

16 do with it, that he could not order the 3rd Corps anything, let alone the

17 Mujahedin. Then I asked help from Betudin [phoen] Salkovic, today's head

18 of the Doboj region, also for help to stop that. And he was very honest

19 and said -- and I tried, because we talked again after that. He said, "I

20 can't do anything." Then I called Barac, Mr. Barac. He used to be once

21 Mr. Kljuic's deputy.

22 Q. Very well. Excuse me. I understand your need to give us all the

23 details, but the Court has really been flooded with this information.

24 So you tried private contacts with representatives of the other

25 side to do something --

Page 22480

1 THE INTERPRETER: The witness and the counsel are speaking at the

2 same time.

3 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Witness, contain your --

4 A. Yes, Vinko Barac called me in the morning and said, "Shells are

5 falling. We've been attacked from Gradisce, which is a village over

6 there. We've been attacked from somewhere else; I don't know where from.

7 Shells are falling." So I received that information, and he said, "We

8 have to pull out of the headquarters at Podbrezje."

9 Then I heard on Radio Zenica a news item by Sadic, commander of

10 the 7th Muslim, who said that a unit of the TO, or the 7th Muslim, was

11 coming back from the front in Jajce, taking a short cut, and that the HVO

12 combatants had attacked them and that was the reason why the fire had

13 broken out. Then I called Radio Zenica and told them that that was a lie,

14 that that was not true, because I had information. And so I set out to

15 convene a meeting through ECMMs, who were stationed at the Internacional.

16 And the man on duty who was there told me that they were all asleep, that

17 they could not do anything until about half past 7.00 or 8.00. And at

18 8.00, when I got somebody -- I don't know his name, because my agendas are

19 all with the Security Service.

20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sakic, if we are to take in any of this, it cannot

21 come in a flood. Now, just answer the questions which counsel asks you.

22 And could you bear in mind that everything has to be interpreted, so could

23 you speak fairly slowly.

24 Mr. Naumovski, perhaps you could concentrate on the main points in

25 the account.

Page 22481

1 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.

2 Q. Mr. Sakic --

3 A. I apologise.

4 Q. I accept. Only briefly: So through ECMMs you asked for a

5 meeting, and a meeting of the War Presidency was held on the 18th of

6 April, 1993, in the morning, and at that meeting this document was adopted

7 that you now have before you; is that so?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. This document envisaged and ordered a cease-fire, that is, any

10 combat operations?

11 A. Yes, unconditionally.

12 Q. And withdrawal of Muslim troops to the barracks?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Was that complied with?

15 A. No.

16 Q. So the attack went on throughout that day, that is, on the 18th of

17 April, 1993?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And tell us, Mr. Sakic: In view of the scope of the attack, the

20 territory involved in the attack and so on and so forth, in your view, was

21 it prepared in advance? Had it -- didn't it have to be prepared at the

22 time when the meeting on the 17th, and this one, 18th, taken?

23 A. Yes. Everything was prepared so well that our units, which were

24 at different places, there were no links between them and they could not

25 come together. They could not link and they could not help each other. I

Page 22482

1 mean, I have to -- I do apologise, but the kidnapping of Zivko Totic, they

2 must have learned where each one of our units was, and so on and so forth.

3 Q. Very well. You are trying to tell the Court that the some

4 resistance which the HVO put up was practically minimal?

5 A. It was minimal. It was no resistance.

6 Q. And the forces surrendered?

7 A. Yes, they surrendered.

8 Q. They were militarily defeated, to be more precise?

9 A. Well, as soon as you do not have the commander of the army, who

10 had been kidnapped, then you can imagine things that go on and how they go

11 on.

12 Q. We can move on to paragraph 19. Mr. Sakic, on the 18th of April,

13 1993, you and your family were kept in the police station without any

14 reason whatsoever; is that so?

15 A. In the evening I was taken away from home. The police came to

16 fetch me and took me to the State Security Service; my wife, my two

17 children, and myself. My family, we all sat in the car and so on and so

18 forth, so I spent the night there in some service room there. My children

19 were in one place, my wife and I in another.

20 Q. Very well. But through the good services of a priest, you were

21 released and you went to St. Elijah's church in Zenica; is that so?

22 A. Yes. In the morning, late Boza Nakitic [phoen], the priest from

23 Cajdras, came and said that we should go to see Besim and then visit the

24 detainees. I said, "I'd like to go with you, but I don't know if they

25 will let me." So an officer came and he said, "Very well. We shall

Page 22483

1 see." And he talked to somebody and I was released. So we went to

2 Besim. But at this meeting with Besim, we did not get the authorisation

3 to visit prisoners. That is, he told the priest, "Perhaps you will able,

4 but Sakic can't." And then I went to St. Elijah's and I stayed there for

5 some twenty days.

6 Q. In point of fact, you simply sought shelter in that church to save

7 your life, and you were joined there later by your wife and your son?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Just to make it clear, you were 20 -- you spent 20 days in the

10 church?

11 A. I spent 20 days in the church.

12 Q. Mr. Sakic, you're aware of the figures of what happened in Zenica

13 in April 1993. And tell us, please: During that offensive, to your

14 knowledge, how many Croat civilians were killed in Zenica and around it,

15 and how many of them -- and how many Croats were harassed in one way or

16 another?

17 A. As far as I know, about 25 civilians were killed in the suburbs.

18 About 450 Croats were detained in the penitentiary, where they were

19 particularly maltreated, made to dig trenches, and so on.

20 Q. You mentioned a while ago the music school, but you did not mean

21 the school; you meant the prison which was there throughout.

22 A. That is where the Mujahedin were stationed, this penal expedition,

23 and they detained people in the cellar. Those who went to the

24 penitentiary could be considered as lucky because they were registered

25 there. Those who were taken to music schools, those were never

Page 22484

1 registered; nobody knew about them. And that was a torture chamber.

2 Those who got out of the music school into the penitentiary said, "Now I'm

3 in heaven."

4 Q. Tell us, Mr. Sakic: Before the break, let me ask you -- let us

5 try to cover just this one topic more. Prior to this attack in April,

6 that is, for two or three months before that, between January and Travanj,

7 some 2.000 Croats left Zenica; is that so?

8 A. Yes. Those who were better informed, those who had somewhere to

9 go to, and those who simply thought that they had nothing to wait there

10 for, so they left two or three months before that, so two or three

11 thousand of them left. And during the events, some 13.000 were expelled

12 from Zenica, as far as I know. And then it went on; that is, it went on,

13 and then the displacement of Zenica Croats continued, and to this day even

14 one reads the announcements and sees.

15 Q. So to try to sum it up for the Court, about two or three thousand

16 before the incidents in April; in the course of the offensive, about

17 13.000; and then several thousand more in the later period. Is that

18 correct?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Tell us, please: Do you know how many Croat houses were looted

21 and how many were destroyed or put fire to?

22 A. According to information which reached me, some 60 houses were

23 burnt down and about 600 houses were looted. That is, all the villages:

24 Podbrezje, Gornje, Zenica, Raspotocje, and so on and so forth.

25 Q. Yes, yes. This whole area inhabited by Croats?

Page 22485

1 A. The whole area inhabited by Croats.

2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this might be a

3 convenient time to break practically for lunch. I think I will need

4 another five or ten minutes. Thank you.

5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll adjourn now. We have to take a slightly

6 longer than usual adjournment. We'll adjourn till 2.45.

7 Mr. Sakic, during the break, don't speak to anybody about your

8 evidence and don't let anybody speak to you about it until it's over, and

9 that does include the members of the Defence team.

10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.

11 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.01 p.m.















Page 22486

1 --- Upon commencing at 2.48 p.m.

2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

3 Q. Mr. Sakic, before the break, we left off discussing the events of

4 17 April 1993. Even though you were not directly involved in military

5 affairs, perhaps you heard how much weapons, how many weapons were taken

6 from the HVO, the long-barreled weapons from the HVO in Zenica, if you

7 know?

8 A. I don't know the -- we had about 300 to 400 short-barreled

9 weapons. I don't know about the rest, because I do not know what the

10 weapon inventories were.

11 Q. Perhaps I omitted to ask you before, in Zenica there was a very

12 large barracks of the former JNA which had tanks and heavy weapons. Who

13 took over that, the HVO or the ABiH?

14 A. The HVO did a lot to see the JNA move out of the barracks. When

15 the JNA moved out, from what I know, the steel works battalion moved in

16 and we had no access to it, a battalion which didn't even have a

17 permission to be established. That happened while I was still in the War

18 Presidency. The Presidency had decided not to allow this but they still

19 got formed and they broke into the barracks of the former JNA and took

20 over all the weapons belonging to TO Zenica and everything that the army

21 had left behind.

22 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me, you -- and you had said this before

23 -- you stayed in the church for about 20 days, that was in April. And

24 then with your family, that is with your wife and son, you clandestinely

25 went down south?

Page 22487

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. In the latter part of 1992 [as interpreted], was it easy to live

3 in Vitez?

4 A. No, it was not easy. Vitez was surrounded and I know that from my

5 neighbours who were in Vitez, it was difficult, it was dangerous to live

6 because of shelling, because of sniping and all that.

7 Q. I think that we have a record -- I asked you about the life in the

8 latter part of 1993, rather than 1992.

9 A. Yes, I was referring to 1993.

10 Q. In addition to the dangers coming from the front line which was

11 nearby, were there also -- was there also -- were there also problems with

12 refugees?

13 A. Yes, a lot of refugees arrived from Busovaca, Travnik, even

14 Zenica.

15 Q. Tell me, were there a number of incidents, that is, a lot of

16 common crime? Were you also a victim of looting?

17 A. Yes, I was robbed twice. Probably the first time I think that

18 people were saying that Sakic had fled and took some money, and people --

19 these rumours were spread and so people thought that they would find some

20 money, perhaps, so they -- and that was the same day when Zivko Totic was

21 also harassed. People were saying, "You left, but my father did not

22 leave. He cannot leave."

23 Q. Let's try to clarify this one detail for the Trial Chamber. It

24 was not easy to live there because of the war and --

25 A. And because of the crime that was rampant.

Page 22488












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Page 22489

1 Q. Let us move on to the next topic which is Mr. Kordic. You know

2 Mr. Dario Kordic personally?

3 A. Yes, I do.

4 Q. In your opinion, who was he? What was his work?

5 A. I met Mr. Kordic while he was still the secretary of the HDZ.

6 Q. You mean in Busovaca?

7 A. Yes, in Busovaca. And later on I got to know him better. We

8 cooperated, and he was always involved in political affairs. He was one

9 of the vice -- one of the two vice-presidents of the Croatian Community of

10 Herceg-Bosna and one of the vice-presidents of the HDZ, and we cooperated

11 and it was always political work. To me, he was never a soldier, he never

12 had any authority to issue any military orders.

13 He supported people whom we sent to fight against the Bosnian Serb

14 army at Jajce. For instance, the shift would come in the evening and then

15 he would give them a pep talk of sorts. He would also rally people to

16 join the fighting against the Serbs.

17 Q. This was the time when people volunteered to go to fight, there

18 was no coercion?

19 A. That is correct.

20 Q. At that time, this is 1992 now, you were vice-president of the

21 municipal assembly and you said that you were in this position until 23

22 October 1992; is that correct?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. In other words, it was a civilian position.

25 A. Yes.

Page 22490

1 Q. Did you, on occasion, wear a uniform?

2 A. Yes, I did. Also Besim Spahic, the president of the municipality,

3 also used to wear it. I did also, as did others.

4 Q. Even though you had no military duties.

5 A. Yes, I did, because this is how it was in those days. I would

6 have stuck out among people who were in the civilian structures and were

7 all wearing uniforms.

8 Q. In the course of 1993 and during the period when you were in

9 Vitez, did you follow press conferences? Did you observe Mr. Kordic

10 present at those conferences? Did you watch any of them on television or

11 follow it any other way?

12 A. In fact, if I had opportunities to -- when I had opportunities to

13 go to Busovaca, I even attended at several of these press conferences. I

14 would listen to Dario Kordic who always provided political information on

15 the situation in the Lasva Valley. And as far as military affairs are

16 concerned, he always had some military person who would address military

17 issues.

18 Q. So what did Mr. Kordic do? He informed people about the political

19 affairs?

20 A. Yes, about political developments in the Lasva Valley, also

21 describing how the life was difficult, how we should be patient, things

22 will turn better. He was there to raise the morale. People were on the

23 verge of panic. They wanted to leave, to flee, they needed to be calmed

24 down. In that sense, he was a very positive influence.

25 Q. This is the last document I wanted to cover, but I may have missed

Page 22491

1 a question. When you spoke about the Croatian cultural hall in Zenica,

2 other political parties also had their offices in addition to HDZ, first

3 the Croatian Party of Right?

4 A. That is correct.

5 Q. Can one say that people who had some authority in the Croatian

6 Party of Right and in HOS Zenica included Matija Brajinovic, Smiljan Peza,

7 and Mladen Holman?

8 A. Yes.

9 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Mr. Sakic, thank you.

10 That concludes my examination, Your Honours. Thank you.

11 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

12 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Sakic. My name is Goran Mikulicic, attorney

13 from Zagreb, and I represent the Defence of Mario Cerkez. We have not met

14 before. I will ask you several questions and please answer them to the

15 best of your knowledge.

16 Mr. Sakic, you told us what positions you held in Zenica and that

17 you attended meetings in Busovaca, Travnik, Vitez; is that correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Mr. Sakic, when you were in a meeting in Vitez, did you meet Pero

20 Skopljak and Ivica Santic?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Can you tell us what positions they held at the time when you met

23 with them?

24 A. Santic was, I believe, the president of the local government in

25 Vitez, and Skopljak was his deputy. At first he was the chief of police,

Page 22492

1 immediately after the elections.

2 Q. So we can agree that these were key people in the municipal

3 government?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. In the meetings which you attended, according to your observations

6 and your knowledge, did they carry out the policy of persecution of

7 Muslims? Was there any talk about Muslims and their persecution, that

8 they should be driven out, or any such thing?

9 A. I never heard that they should -- that there was any word ever

10 about Muslims having to be driven out, expelled, or anything like that. I

11 believe that in fact they had -- the Muslims had their own local

12 government next-door to the HVO government, so they met right next door.

13 Q. We also heard that in late 1992 there was a conflict in Novi

14 Travnik between Croats and Muslims, and then in early 1993, in Busovaca,

15 there was also a conflict. Is it correct that throughout this period, up

16 to April of 1993, in Vitez there were no armed conflicts between Muslims

17 and Croats?

18 A. That is correct.

19 Q. According to your personal experience, is this fact due to the

20 efforts made by the local population in Vitez who wanted to cooperate?

21 A. I believe so.

22 Q. Mr. Sakic, in the meetings which you attended, have you ever --

23 did you ever hear that the political leadership and the military

24 leadership of the town of Vitez ever called on the population of Zenica,

25 the Croat population of Zenica, to move out?

Page 22493

1 A. I should have been in a position to know something about it, but I

2 don't know anything about that.

3 Q. Were these meetings sometimes attended by the military

4 representatives of the HVO, in the meetings which you attended?

5 A. I don't recall. I was -- I did not attend at many of these

6 meetings. I went to maybe three or four such meetings with them, and I

7 don't recall having seen any military representatives in any of these

8 meetings.

9 Q. Did you know that Croats were very embittered by what the Muslims

10 did to Croats in Zenica?

11 A. Yes, because I have a lot of acquaintances. I have a lot of my

12 employees, because I was some kind of a manager, so I know from them.

13 Q. Did I understand you correctly -- and correct me if I'm wrong --

14 you described this incident.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And among the attackers there was somebody from Zenica, somebody

17 who had fled Zenica; is that correct?

18 A. No. They were all from Zenica, actually, those who attacked in

19 Vitez.

20 Q. You mean in Vitez?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And in fact they were angry because they -- you were -- you

23 managed to flee Zenica and their loved ones had not?

24 A. Yes. And also they wanted -- they believed that somehow I had

25 taken some money with me because of the rumours that were spreading.

Page 22494

1 Q. I understand. Is this personal experience of yours a single,

2 unique, unpleasant experience, that you're aware of, or were other such

3 experiences shared by other people?

4 A. There were -- I know of the incidents involving me and Zivko

5 Totic; also, Santic said that rocks were thrown at his house.

6 Q. So there were such incidents?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Did you ask for any kind of protection because of what happened to

9 you?

10 A. I did. There is also a record of it.

11 Q. To whom did you go for that?

12 A. I went to the chief of police at the time, Mr. Samija. I still

13 have a copy of the record, which was a report which was compiled. I also

14 turned to General Blaskic. I don't know. He disciplined them. I don't

15 know, 60 days or something. I don't know how long.

16 Q. Because you were attacked by the military policemen who were from

17 Zenica, you turned to General Blaskic, and he disciplined them?

18 A. I don't know if they were all policemen. One or two of them

19 were. They were in brigades. I don't know where they were, but they were

20 not part of the Zenica Brigade.

21 Q. Mr. Sakic, in the meetings which you attended, have you ever had

22 an opportunity to meet Mr. Cerkez?

23 A. No. I saw Cerkez once when UNPROFOR organised a meeting at

24 Blaskic's, at his headquarters in the hotel, and I came there with Dzemal

25 Merdan. There was -- some incident happened in Vitez, so the people from

Page 22495

1 UNPROFOR asked us. I know that it was 6.00 or 7.00, that it was raining.

2 We came in a military vehicle. And I saw -- I remember Cerkez from that

3 meeting. Dzemal Merdan was there and this UNPROFOR officer was, I think

4 Stewart or something, and Blaskic.

5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Sakic. I have no

6 further questions.

7 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

8 Q. Can you help me, please, with where the two documents that you've

9 produced today came from? Can you help me with where the two documents

10 you've produced today came from?

11 A. Those two documents came from the municipality. I was in a church

12 for 20 days, and immediately after that they came for me.

13 Q. Have they been in your custody since then or are they kept in an

14 archive somewhere?

15 A. They were always with me. I still have them. I have the

16 originals in the hotel now. And I put it on a piece of paper because they

17 were typed on a very thin paper, so -- and since I was a participant, I --

18 and I was a participant. I kept it as a record. Perhaps earlier I was

19 even boring when I explained how it was -- how difficult it was to get to

20 those meetings.

21 Q. And these documents are complete, are they? They start off with

22 no heading on the paper, although they have a stamp at the foot of them.

23 Is that the way the originals are, with no heading?

24 A. Yes. If anybody wishes, I can show them to them in the hotel.

25 They can come along.

Page 22496

1 Q. Let's go back to the beginning. We know that on the 17th of

2 March -- I'll go back even earlier than that. You tell us that

3 Izetbegovic's reaction, saying, "This isn't our war," caused a lot of

4 upset; correct?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. We're not here to consider Izetbegovic's reactions. That's not

7 really important here. But what he was saying was that a war between

8 Serbia and Croatia was not something he was going to get involved in; is

9 that right?

10 A. That was not my understanding. My understanding was that it was

11 not their war at all, that they were not interested in those things. If

12 he's a president of the republic, he should have taken some interest in

13 it.

14 Q. Well, I'm more concerned with the effect of what he said

15 elsewhere. Did the anger that Croats felt for Izetbegovic's reaction get

16 transposed to individual Muslims living in your communities?

17 A. Yes, for sure. With your permission, let me clarify one thing.

18 In the municipal assembly in Zenica, we wanted to discuss this issue. We

19 wanted to call the attack as JNA against Croatian aggression, and almost

20 everybody was in favour of such -- voting on such a decision, but then an

21 SDA representative asked for a break and when we resumed the discussion,

22 we -- their representative came out and said, "This is our army, our own

23 children are in it," and so on. So it was a complete turn around. And

24 there were other examples of this, but this was also Alija Izetbegovic's

25 policy.

Page 22497

1 Q. Very well. You tell us in part of your summary, paragraph 12 as

2 we're following it, that in October 1991 after Ravno, Stjepan Kljuic

3 showed no particular interest. Now, he's given evidence here, as you

4 know, and that wasn't raised with him. I want you to think back, please.

5 In fact, after Ravno, Mr. Kljuic established a commission to investigate

6 what had happened, didn't he?

7 A. I'm not aware of that commission.

8 Q. Well, you come here to say that he really did nothing. Think

9 back, Miro Lasic and Ejub Ganic, one from each side, as it were, to be

10 part of a commission. And the only reason the commission wasn't able to

11 take things further is because it was blocked by the JNA at Trebine; do

12 you remember that?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Well, how closely involved were you with the level of politics at

15 which Mr. Kljuic was operating at that time?

16 A. I was president of the municipal board of the [indiscernible]

17 Zenica, and I only attended when municipal board presidents were called

18 and I never attended any meetings of top leadership. We had a member,

19 Vjekoslav Barac who was one of his vice-presidents.

20 Q. Well, you see you've told us that he was present at this meeting

21 in October in Sarajevo.

22 A. Who?

23 Q. Kljuic. And you were with him at a meeting in Sarajevo?

24 A. He chaired the meeting. He was the one who chaired the meeting.

25 Q. You can't say really from your level of knowledge that he didn't

Page 22498

1 establish the commission I've referred to, can you?

2 A. I cannot say that, because I don't know.

3 Q. Now, Zenica wasn't originally included in HZ HB, was it,

4 Herceg-Bosna?

5 A. No, it wasn't.

6 Q. The reason it wasn't originally included is what, because it was

7 Muslim dominated or you tell us; why wasn't it originally included?

8 A. I don't know. I only know that organisationally speaking for a

9 period of time we were part of the Zenica/Doboj region, and I asked that

10 we should be included in the Travnik region because it was easier to go to

11 meetings, but I don't know who planned all this. And arrangements as to

12 who belonged where.

13 Q. We know from a document and, for reference, it's document 61 that

14 on the 17th of March of 1992, Zenica was included in HZ HB as a

15 municipality bordering on the municipalities of Herceg-Bosna and that it

16 was included, really, for the purposes of having a common defence system.

17 Would that be about right?

18 A. Only we came under the command of the HVO Central Bosnia command

19 only for military purposes as part of the fighting against the Bosnian

20 Serbs, because I believe that -- I think that most people who came from

21 outside Jajce to fight there were from Zenica. I don't know of any other

22 municipality to have sent their forces in such shifts to Jajce. No

23 Muslims went to Jajce from Zenica, that is.

24 Q. But was the purpose, just so that I can understand it and move on,

25 was the purpose to have a common defence system with Herceg-Bosna?

Page 22499












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and

13 English transcript













Page 22500

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Was there a limitation on the formation of Muslim forces in the

3 area thereafter?

4 A. I don't understand.

5 MR. NICE: Just have a look at this exhibit, very briefly; it's

6 Z61. If we can place it on the ELMO. If he can have the original,

7 please, because I think he'll need it, sorry.

8 Q. This is a document 17th of March 1992 and it concludes that, "As

9 the municipality bordering on municipalities of Herceg-Bosna, Zenica is to

10 be included in the defence system." There is other things that we needn't

11 deal with, but we know that Mr. Kordic was coordinating the activity.

12 If you'd like to turn the piece of paper over, and we'll turn over

13 the document that we have here, you'll find on the reverse of the original

14 and I think it's in handwriting, something that's been set out there which

15 says, "No formation of Muslim forces or any bus with refugees is to be

16 allowed through into the city of Travnik without approval from the office

17 of the HVO HZ HB deputy president." And then there's the typed words

18 "deputy president."

19 Now, you were there when all this happened. Was there that

20 restriction on Muslim forces?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Was it planned --

23 A. We -- excuse me. Our localities up towards Travnik, they are

24 Croat settlements, Croat villages, and we had our units there and we were

25 on the boundary between Travnik and Zenica and we always wanted to keep it

Page 22501

1 as a peaceful area so as to not have those going up there neither those

2 from there over here. And we were particularly active in 1991 and in 1992

3 still when we most feared Serbs who would have come from outside and

4 causing panic in the territory.

5 Q. Well, if you don't remember anything that connects to what I've

6 drawn to your attention, do you think generally setting up yourself as

7 part of a Croat-based organisation in Zenica which had a comparative

8 Muslim majority might be a little provocative?

9 A. I don't see why. I attended a meeting when General Jaganjac came

10 to set up a joint command. I was there, Zivko Totic, General Jaganjac,

11 Pohara, I believe he's from Bosanski Brod. He was the head of the Bosniak

12 party in Croatia to discuss the joint command and we agreed to all that.

13 And then Jaganjac disappeared from Zenica and I never saw him again. I

14 don't know why it wasn't set up, why it is not written anywhere.

15 Q. Well, let's move on because I want to, if I possibly can, finish

16 the questions that I have for you this afternoon.

17 We know that there was a man called Filipovic who had a fairly

18 central role in the early part of 1992. Indeed, he was with the district

19 staff of the Territorial Defence of Zenica at one time. Do you know that

20 man?

21 A. I don't know if it's the same Filipovic, the colonel who was

22 subsequently in the HVO. I did not meet him while he was with the

23 Territorial Defence. He never came to see me nor did I know him, then I

24 met him only when he was up there, if that's the same man.

25 Q. You see, at that time in the spring of 1992, in your general area,

Page 22502

1 was there the idea of a joint command which was to have been headed by

2 Filipovic with Merdan as his deputy. Do you remember anything about that?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Because what we do know is that Filipovic lost command to others.

5 Was that because Mr. Kordic didn't agree, at that stage, with the idea of

6 a joint command?

7 A. No, never. It wasn't discussed with Kordic. I didn't discuss it

8 with Kordic. I was the one in Zenica who attended most of the meetings

9 about the joint command because I was asking gentlemen in the municipal

10 government, let's -- we -- the HVO have also our headquarters in the

11 municipal building to be here in the same place so that we can coordinate

12 these matters. You should know that the place of the TO of Zenica, it was

13 the place that belonged to the HDZ. That we had our men there, Jozo

14 Jerkic who performed the duty. And he was wounded when they were moving

15 out the barracks and supplanted him by Mr. Boncin.

16 Q. All right. Well, you say, I think, that Kordic was good at giving

17 pep talks. When did he start giving these pep talks?

18 A. At press conferences when I was there, after I moved to Vitez,

19 then.

20 Q. What time is this? What date is this?

21 A. Well, I moved over to Vitez some 20 days later after the 18th of

22 April which means the latter half of 1993.

23 Q. I want to know what Mr. Kordic was doing in 1992. Can you help

24 us? Was he doing anything then?

25 A. I know he was the vice-president, and I told you that, and that he

Page 22503

1 pursued a policy that the HDZ was supposed to pursue and the HVO, the

2 civilian part, of course.

3 Q. And did he turn out quite regularly to Radio Zenica at that time

4 as a guest speaker?

5 A. I don't remember. I think he only gave one interview. As far as

6 I can remember, there was one interview only on Radio Zenica.

7 Q. Was the general tenor of his interviews, or of his public

8 appearances -- you can only remember one interview -- was the general

9 tenor of his public appearances glorification of the HVO? Would that fit

10 with what you remember? The witness concerned is Salih Hamzic. The

11 references are pages 13188.

12 A. I don't remember.

13 Q. All right. Just while I'm on this same topic, although it's out

14 of the sequence, I think I must have misunderstood you. He was only

15 giving pep talks in what year?

16 A. 1992.

17 Q. I guess I didn't misunderstand you.

18 A. We went on Jajce. What do you want me to tell you? When we went

19 on Jajce, then we, from Zenica, led our teams; that is, we led our

20 combatants to Busovaca, where they were taken over by Filipovic, and then

21 on to Jajce. And that is where we met several times, and several times as

22 shifts took turns we met. Those are these pep talks.

23 Q. To give a pep talk to a soldier, who is, after all, in the nature

24 of things, sometimes a cynical and matter-of-fact sort of man, you've got

25 to have an authority, haven't you? What authority did Mr. Kordic have to

Page 22504

1 give pep talks?

2 A. Any politician could have asked for the floor to say something to

3 men who are going to the front line and not knowing whether they would

4 ever come back alive. Any politician from the Croat Democratic Union

5 could do that. And why not Kordic, seeing that he was the vice-president

6 of the party and the vice-president of the civilian wing of the HVO after

7 it was formed? I also addressed my men when they set off to Komusina,

8 next to Zepce, which unfortunately fell. When people were boarding the

9 buses, Komusina fell and men were being brought back.

10 Q. Kordic gave pep talks, if he did, because he was the man in

11 charge; isn't that right?

12 A. Politically speaking, he held the highest office.

13 Q. And wars, and this particular war, was run ultimately by

14 politicians; correct?

15 A. I don't know. I'm not a politician, and I couldn't tell you who

16 runs a war or who causes the war and so on and so forth. Perhaps the

17 Americans caused it in our country. Perhaps it was the English. Perhaps

18 the global world policy wanted it.

19 Q. If it wasn't Mr. Kordic in your area, who was coordinating

20 military activity with political decisions?

21 A. To my mind, General Blaskic was the chief and the man responsible

22 for Central Bosnia, the commander. And my commander, the commander of our

23 Zenica Brigade, was under him, so that he applied all the decisions that

24 came from above, following the chain of command. I never heard my brigade

25 commander, Zivko Totic, say Kordic has ordered this or Kordic ordered

Page 22505

1 that.

2 Q. You said you weren't a politician. I thought you were head of the

3 HDZ.

4 A. I was never into politics. I was never a member of a political

5 party. I performed -- I always was in my profession and I surely was a

6 good engineer. But when the hour struck to fight against the Communists,

7 then I accepted that and helped as much as I knew and could. Whether I

8 did well or not, history will show.

9 Q. Mr. Sakic, for what it's worth, in paragraph 4 of your summary you

10 do say you were the president of the HDZ BiH in Zenica from October 3rd,

11 1990 to August 8th, 1992. That would appear to be slightly political;

12 wouldn't you accept that?

13 A. Well, yes. I was the first president of the HDZ. The first

14 president. And the first convention that was held in Zenica officially, I

15 was elected by that first convention the president.

16 Q. You obviously had terribly, tough times within the overall history

17 of events, and others similarly suffered. In the nature of things, did

18 they complain about the people who had let them down on their own side:

19 Why did so-and-so do this, why didn't so-and-so do that?

20 A. I don't understand. What do you want me to tell you?

21 Q. I'm trying to track down who you and your fellow Croats in Zenica

22 would have believed to be the person ultimately responsible for the

23 conduct of this war. Who did you all think was ultimately responsible, on

24 your side, for the conduct of the war?

25 A. We were defending ourselves. We never attacked anyone. We were

Page 22506

1 defending ourselves. We paid. And so how can I say that somebody

2 caused -- that one of ours caused the war if, with hardly a bullet fire,

3 400, 450 men are put in prison, they plunder all the Croat houses, take

4 away everything? And even I, who enjoys the immunity --

5 Q. If you can't answer the question, I'll move on to another one.

6 Can we look at Exhibit 272, please. Now, this is a military document, a

7 military information summary, and therefore I'm sorry to say that it's

8 only in English. I'll read the relevant passage, which is on the third

9 page of a military information summary for the 9th of November of 1992.

10 It comes to paragraph 6, when the soldier concerned summarised the

11 position about the indigenous population in this way. He said:

12 "The refugees reported in INFSUM 1" that's another document,

13 "were split in Vitez by the HVO, Muslims being sent to Zenica and Croats

14 initially to Jablanica and then on to Tomislavgrad. It is assessed that

15 this was carried out in order to preserve the ethnic mix within the

16 Croat-dominated towns."

17 Well, now, can you help us? Does that seem to be an accurate

18 reflection of what was happening in November of 1992? Has the officer got

19 it right?

20 A. I can't really help you with this. I arrived in Vitez, I told

21 you, 20 days after the HVO fell in Zenica, and over there domestic --

22 local Muslims, four or five of them, still talked to me, and some of them

23 even proposed that we swap houses, but I said, "God forbid, no." Which

24 means that they were still moving around Vitez freely.

25 Q. Let me help you. This is November 1992, you see. Now, you can

Page 22507

1 help us with what was happening in Zenica then. And what's being

2 suggested is that refugees were being split up, Muslims being sent to

3 Zenica and Croats elsewhere, to preserve the ethnic mix within the

4 Croat-dominated towns. Was that what was going on? You were the local

5 politician. Perhaps you can help us.

6 A. No. It did not happen in that way. People were fleeing without

7 any orders, without any plan. Those who could flee, who had felt the

8 horror of war, they were fleeing without any organisation.

9 Q. The same reporting officer, and the same section of his document,

10 says this:

11 "The tension between Muslims and Croats remains. For example,

12 Muslim fighters ordered to the line of conflict only receive weapons from

13 the HVO once they arrive at the front line."

14 This is again November 1992, you see, and you went to the front

15 line, I think, yourself. Is that what happened, that the Muslims only got

16 their weapons --

17 A. No.

18 Q. Not at all? You never heard of this happening at all?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Very well. If we move forward -- and do you understand that I

21 want to try to put as much of the history of Zenica by 4.00 as I

22 conveniently can?

23 MR. NICE: Can we just look at Exhibit 293.1, please. I'm afraid

24 this one is in French but still not translated into English, but I think

25 that the meaning is clear for us. If we can put the French one on the

Page 22508

1 ELMO and if the witness can have the original.

2 Q. This is an order of the 26th of November, in Zenica, ordering,

3 amongst other things, item 3, that members of the HV army should not wear

4 or should stop wearing HV insignia because of the problems that was

5 causing for the Republic of Croatia. Do you remember this order being

6 given?

7 A. I don't remember it, because at that time I was not involved in

8 any military matters in the brigade. Zoran Covic, who was the deputy

9 of -- what's his name? -- Zivko Totic, the brigade commander. So such an

10 order did not go through me. I didn't know about it, nor have I ever seen

11 it. This is the first time I see it.

12 Q. You were aware Zenica is not such a big town. Were there indeed

13 soldiers from Croatia wearing Croatian insignia?

14 A. Never. Never. Not one soldier from Croatia wore any insignia or

15 came. If somebody who was in the Croatian army came because he was on

16 leave and came to visit his family, such -- perhaps one could see those,

17 but I don't remember.

18 Q. Do you accept Zenica got support from Croatia in its difficult

19 times, or not?

20 A. No.

21 Q. You were very concerned that the Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina

22 should give assistance to Croatia when it had its problems with the

23 Serbs. There's nothing wrong, is there, that you can see, with Croatia

24 supporting Bosnian Croats?

25 A. Desirable.

Page 22509












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and

13 English transcript













Page 22510

1 Q. Sorry. Desirable or undesirable? I didn't hear.


3 A. It would be desirable for them to help.


5 Q. Thank you. In December of 1992 -- and I'm not going to play you

6 the tape that we've got because of time constraints. In December of 1992

7 you were present at the swearing-in ceremony of the HVO's Jure Francetic

8 Brigade, weren't you?

9 A. Yes. On the 23rd of December, 1992, we had the swearing-in

10 ceremony of the Jure Francetic Brigade.

11 Q. Just for reference purposes, it's Exhibit 330 and 331.

12 Mr. Kordic addressed the gathering, didn't he?

13 A. Yes, he did. Kordic was there. Praljak was there too. There was

14 -- Mr. Ante Prkacin was there, Blaskic.

15 Q. Do you think that calling Zenica Croatian space, which is one of

16 the things he did, describing it as an integral part of Herceg-Bosna, did

17 you think that was going a bit far for a place that had a comparative

18 Muslim majority?

19 A. I think this was misinterpreted. All I can tell you is that we

20 Croats in Zenica are the second people. Once a Serb, SDS secretary,

21 Branko Krstajic [phoen], I think he's called, and he said, "Sakic, if we

22 had the title as you Croats do have it there, we would have never left

23 Zenica, so that we must have had plenty of Croat soil there." Perhaps

24 that is what he meant when he said "title."

25 Q. You were there. You must have some recollection, or you may have

Page 22511

1 some recollection even now, of the general spirit. This was a meeting

2 where Croatia's interests in Bosnia-Herzegovina were being thought about

3 pretty openly, weren't they? People were perhaps dreaming of being joined

4 to Croatia. Would that be about right?

5 A. I don't think that people in Zenica, perhaps -- I mean they could

6 dream, but practically, they surely knew that nothing could come out of

7 it, nor did anyone promote that in Zenica.

8 Q. Well, then, I'll move on into 1993. Can we just look at Exhibit

9 374.2. This is a document which is an extract from minutes of the

10 municipal board session held on the 18th of January in Zenica in the small

11 meeting room of the Croatian hall with some 27 people present. And I

12 think you took part in it, and that's why I want your comment, really, to

13 see if you can remember the meeting. And if we look at the top, the first

14 bit, in the English version, it reads, and I will read it slowly. Make

15 sure it's on the ELMO. Yes, it is.

16 "Relations have deteriorated in several areas and the worst

17 situation is in Gornji Vakuf. The statement by Bozo Rajic, the Minister

18 of Defence, has caused much bitterness amongst the population and there is

19 a sense that people are in a lot of panic. At a meeting held on the 18th

20 of January in Busovaca, our leaders met with Dario Kordic, Anto Valenta,

21 and Ignac Kostroman and according to their personal position concerning

22 Zenica, talks with the SDA should be brought to an end and Croatian areas

23 secured in order to join the largest possible territory to Herceg-Bosna."

24 Now that's what's said. Were you at that meeting with Mr. Kordic,

25 Valenta, and Kostroman?

Page 22512

1 A. I have no recollection. Two agendas that I had were taken away

2 from me. I was in the habit of taking notes of all sorts of meetings and

3 events, but the first two were taken by the Security Service so that my

4 present record, I cannot find any information that I did attend that

5 meeting.

6 Q. In the English, if we look at the foot of the page and the next

7 page and in the original I'll try to find it for you. It's on the second

8 sheet of your original. It's about eight lines down. We see this, and I

9 read from the English, "Mr. Blago Artukovic thinks we should not rush into

10 things and there is some logic to his order because global politics

11 supports a state without an army. There will only be the police if this

12 province stays in Croat hands, and he personally thinks we should be very

13 pleased." And then it goes on to say this: "Ivo Jerkovic stated that

14 Croats are to be blamed because Muslims are armed," and he asked what

15 Mr. Kordic thinks about their further arming and whether he intends to

16 prevent it. And it says that, "Mr. Sakic answered this question saying

17 that Dario Kordic certainly bears this in mind and as for us, we have to

18 reduce tensions here. We have an army to protect the Croatian people and

19 we must not hand over our weapons to the Muslims under any circumstances."

20 Now, was that you, Mr. Sakic? It looks as though it may have

21 been.

22 A. I don't recall, I can't -- I only know that the Muslims in Zenica

23 did come to weapons through Croats and that the HVO Zenica had 60, maybe

24 up to 70 per cent of Muslims as their rank and file.

25 Q. All right. But there are a couple of things about this document

Page 22513

1 that are -- I'd like your help with. Let's go back to the first passage I

2 read out to you. Was it indeed the case in January of 1993 that Kordic,

3 Valenta, and Kostroman, concerning talks with the SDA, thought they --

4 those talks should be brought to an end and Croatian areas secured in

5 order to join the largest possible territory to Herceg-Bosna? Was that

6 their position?

7 A. I cannot see what is written here and I don't recall. If I had my

8 notebooks, I would be able to give you a more specific answer. Copies are

9 very bad indeed.

10 Q. I'm sorry about the photocopy, but surely you can remember. This

11 is a time that you've given quite specific evidence about. You've told us

12 about an attack in only seven days' time which I'm going to ask you about

13 shortly. Is it the case that there was a positive decision from Kordic,

14 Valenta, and Kostroman to bring talks with the SDA to an end and if so,

15 why?

16 A. We, in Zenica, never completed negotiations with the SDA. We

17 continuously negotiated and looked for ways to rejoin the government and

18 this was mediated by the European monitors. I even have names of people

19 who participated in the organisation of such meetings.

20 Q. The question at this stage is: Was there a decision by Kordic,

21 Valenta, and Kostroman that those talks had been broken off and if so,

22 why?

23 A. No, but received such suggestion or proposal or order.

24 Q. You see this minute is signed by Ivanka Akrapovic; we can see that

25 at the foot of the second page. Have a look at it. On the bottom of the

Page 22514

1 second page, that much is known.

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And when we come to the other passage that I took you to,

4 Mr. Kordic was quite closely involved in all sorts of issues indeed,

5 wasn't he, including things about the arming or disarming of Muslims?

6 A. I don't know if you're referring to the territory of Busovaca or

7 the territory of Zenica.

8 Q. Of Zenica, but the document is something which I was going to --

9 A. How is Kordic to be involved in the disarming of Muslims in Zenica

10 when we were just a drop in a sea of Muslims --

11 Q. Tell us who Ivo --

12 A. -- it's not logical.

13 Q. -- Jerkovic where did he live?

14 A. I really don't know who you're referring to. There are so many

15 Jerkovic's, and I don't know of any specific Ivo Jerkovic.

16 Q. Did he come from Zenica?

17 A. It is possible. There is a lot of Jerkovic's up towards

18 Stranjani, but he definitely did not have any prominent position in the

19 HDZ. I would have remembered.

20 Q. My last question on this document is this: If the document is as

21 it appears to be, a minute of a meeting, you seem to be able to speak for

22 Mr. Kordic on this particular topic because you said that Mr. Kordic bears

23 this in mind and so on. Were you quite close to him then?

24 A. How do you mean "close to him"?

25 Q. Well, did you have quite a lot to do with him in the

Page 22515

1 administration of Zenica's affairs?

2 A. No. We did not have frequent contacts. We had occasional

3 contacts for some political positions to discuss issues how we were doing

4 in Zenica, what were Croats doing in this wartime circumstances and so on.

5 Q. Very well. I want to move on a little bit further to the 26th of

6 January, but before I do that, I want to know exactly what you're saying

7 about January attacks on Croats in your area. When were there any such

8 attacks and on what day or days?

9 A. About ten days before the attack on Dusina, there was an

10 increasing frequency of arrests and detention of our people. People came

11 and complained. They said, "This one is missing. That one is missing."

12 The police officers arrested in Serfitsa [phoen], they were missing for

13 two, three days. And I was in contact with Besim. I said, "Please,

14 Besim, help me out. Let's find these people. I don't know where they

15 are. I don't know where they are." Some we couldn't find for 10, 15

16 days.

17 Q. This is confined, I imagine, to Zenica; is that correct?

18 A. I cannot speak about other areas except Zenica. That is where I

19 lived, that is where I was active at that time.

20 Q. Well, you say you can't, but in your statement, you purported to

21 do so because you were going to say something about attacks on Croat

22 villages in the Busovaca municipality. May we take it that you can say

23 nothing about such attacks?

24 A. I can say the following: We had information that arms were being

25 concentrated in the area of Zenica, Lasva because this is where our people

Page 22516

1 are being removed from; all the potential eyewitnesses of their

2 preparations. So they were removing all these people from checkpoints and

3 we sort of suspected that there was something going on. Then we realised

4 that large forces were being amassed. And near Kacuni, I know that a man

5 from Zenica was killed up there, and after that, there were efforts to

6 prevail upon the Zenica authorities to have this man buried in Stranjani

7 in Zenica municipality.

8 Q. Were you aware of how the Muslims in Busovaca had been attacked

9 following the incident at a checkpoint on the 20th, 21st of January? Were

10 you aware of that?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Well, the attacks or the suffering of the Croats in Zenica,

13 there's no reason why that shouldn't have been brought to the attention of

14 the various international observers who were there; correct?

15 A. How do you mean?

16 Q. Well, if Croats were suffering, in the way that you're saying, for

17 ten days before an attack on the whatever day it was --

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. -- the soldiers of UNPROFOR were driving around in their vehicles

20 and the European monitors were there. There's no reason why they

21 shouldn't have heard about these things; correct?

22 A. It is said that we had to transmit this to all these people, and I

23 think that we got fed up eventually and so I stopped trusting anybody from

24 the international organisations. I asked this one person, de la Mota, I

25 think, Margaret or something, I asked her what to do in Zenica, help me

Page 22517

1 out or secure my living here. I'm in the church. And they said, "We'll

2 put you in the Internacional next to the Patriotic League headquarters."

3 That is what the internationals were doing in terms of assistance.

4 Q. So that I understand it, are you saying you actively suppressed,

5 not suppressed, but you actively withheld an account of your suffering

6 from the international monitors and the soldiers because you were just

7 bored and tired of telling them; is that what you're saying?

8 A. No, I didn't tire, but I saw that it was no use, and I don't know

9 why there are no such reports on what we provided to them. All documents

10 that we had there were seized by the Muslims. I don't know what they did

11 with it, burned it or kept it, so all the sources of information that I

12 have were those notebooks and the first two are missing. So without those

13 two notebooks, I cannot give you precise details on these events.

14 Q. We've taken some of the documents, very few in number that do deal

15 with observations on Zenica. Can we look now at 398, originally a core

16 document?

17 MR. NICE: I don't know to what hour the Court is sitting through

18 this afternoon.

19 JUDGE MAY: We need to get through this witness if at all

20 possible.

21 MR. NICE: Yes, I think I've got about another eight references, I

22 think.

23 Q. This is a situate military document called a daily sitrep for the

24 26th of January, and under item C on the first page in English, and I'll

25 read it slowly, it speaks of Vitez and Zenica. It says that, "B squadron

Page 22518












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13 English transcript













Page 22519

1 was tasked to try and establish who controlled the roadblock on the main

2 road between Vitez and Zenica." There is a particular grid reference.

3 "The block there consisted of two trucks with mines beneath the trucks."

4 Do you remember this roadblock, Mr. Sakic?

5 A. The checkpoint at the Vitrenica.

6 Q. I'm sorry, I haven't checked. It's between Vitez and Zenica.

7 A. There were two checkpoints at Vitrenica, where the border of Vitez

8 and Zenica municipalities on one side, there was Poculica checkpoint which

9 was Muslim and one was mixed, ours and TOs.

10 Q. It goes on about this checkpoint of two trucks with mines

11 underneath it that it was between BiH and HVO lines and despite early

12 indications that the HVO would lift the mines, this did not happen

13 following the intervention of Dario Kordic and a developing fire fight

14 between the sides took place. The roadblock was still in place. This was

15 on the 26th, you see, of January. There's no reference here to an attack

16 on Zenica, at the moment there is a stand off with a roadblock.

17 Was there any attack on the 26th of January?

18 A. I don't recall. On the 26th January at Vitrenica?

19 Q. Anywhere other than, as you say, in the villages of Dusina and

20 Lasva?

21 A. On the 26th of January, Dusina was attacked.

22 Q. I'll move on then, if we can, to the 8th of February. This is a

23 new document, 450.2. This is a document signed by you which is why I want

24 your comment on it. And it's an invitation to a meeting and it's dated

25 the 8th of February and it says, "Based on the arisen need as well as the

Page 22520

1 initiative of the Zenica and Vares Brigade commands, we invite you to a

2 joint meeting, at which the current military-political situation in the

3 municipalities listed will be considered."

4 The military and political sections of the HVO were running

5 extremely close together, weren't they? We see you signed it as did Zivko

6 Totic.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Indeed, is the reality that it was one body and that the --

9 A. That was a political and military part. And if you want to, I can

10 tell you more about this meeting.

11 Q. Well, under the pressure of time, I'm not going to ask you, I'm

12 afraid, because the purpose I wanted to serve, I have served. Two days

13 back in time, my mistake. Can the witness look at 444.1 which you have to

14 put on the ELMO, I'm afraid.

15 The HVO was not beyond behaving in a provocative way itself; would

16 you accept that? Have you got the original of this?

17 A. No. It was certainly not the civilian part of the HVO.

18 Q. If we go down to paragraph 4, please, and just look at that. This

19 is a document of the 6th of February, as I've said, and it makes this

20 point at paragraph 4, that:

21 "Could it be pointed out to all HVO members the damage we do

22 ourselves by the use of fascist greetings and other greetings evocative of

23 fascism? Zenica studio of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna may be

24 used in the carrying out of this assignment."

25 Was there a local problem with people borrowing fascist signals

Page 22521

1 from earlier periods of time that led to the making of this order?

2 A. These were individual cases, and I think that they're negligible

3 in view of the overall situation in Zenica. If this young man had

4 something to drink and if their fathers had been Ustasha, perhaps they

5 used some of these fascist salutes or whatever. And obviously this

6 reflects an effort to calm things down. I don't know that he issued a

7 salute.

8 Q. We've heard from an officer, Colonel Stewart, that a little later

9 in February, on the Zenica road, there was a checkpoint that the Colonel

10 wanted removed, that Blaskic agreed to remove, but that Kordic insisted

11 should stay. Do you recollect either that particular incident or do you

12 recollect exercise by Kordic of that sort of power in making that sort of

13 decision?

14 A. I negotiate all checkpoints in Zenica with the president of the

15 War Presidency, and we negotiated where the checkpoints would be, who

16 would man those checkpoints, and so on. But the checkpoint which was set

17 up at Broda by the Muslims, I implored the president, because this was a

18 Muslim pub in the middle of a Croat community and I feared that somebody

19 would throw a bomb there. But now I don't know what checkpoint is

20 referred to by this gentleman, Mr. Stewart.

21 Q. Very well. Now, I'm just coming up to -- and this is the last

22 passage I'm going to deal with -- the middle of April of 1993. And I was

23 going to ask you just to make sure I can find the passage correctly

24 myself. Since I can't, I'm not going to take time. But this -- the

25 exhibit is 652.1.

Page 22522

1 If we discover from a document, Mr. Sakic, that Enver

2 Hadzihasanovic, on the 13th of April, was reporting neither improvement

3 nor deterioration in the relations between the Muslims and the HVO, would

4 you accept that that was about right for that time, an established state

5 of high tension but pretty much a --

6 A. I did not hear his speech. I don't know if it was reported on the

7 radio or Zetel, that is, local television. I don't know.

8 Q. I'll move on. 693, please. 693. My mistake for not alerting Ms.

9 Verhaag enough of these in the lunch adjournment. I'll put them out for

10 her.

11 This is a monitor's report and it's -- I'll just lay it open at

12 the appropriate page. If we can lay it on the ELMO. This is for the 17th

13 of April. Now, do you say that by the 17th of April there had already

14 been an attack, or was it just about to happen, or what?

15 A. I explained, when the Defence counsel was asking questions, that

16 following Zivko Totic's kidnapping and murders of his escorts, in those

17 days, 17th, 18th, Zenica was under blockade. People could not come to

18 work. Everybody was setting up checkpoints wherever they wanted. I think

19 that not a hamlet or street was left without checkpoints. We had to bury

20 some people at that time, and we couldn't even take them to the cemetery.

21 It was chaotic. Zivko had been kidnapped. We asked for his release. And

22 that was at the beginning. That is actually when I asked for the meeting

23 on the 17th, but we were cut off. We couldn't even go to Cajdras. My

24 driver was arrested, his pistol was taken away from him. This happened in

25 front of the municipal building.

Page 22523

1 Q. So therefore, where this reporter says that the situation in

2 Zenica was calm during the day, but the tension is apparently due to the

3 fightings in the Vitez area, has he got it about right?

4 A. I don't know what he had in mind then. I don't know what the

5 situation was in Vitez. I did not have enough communication with them. A

6 person could not reach the troops at Cajdras. Out of Zenica, you can

7 imagine what kind of chaos we had. And I could not cross a hundred metres

8 from the miners' hall, which is where the HVO headquarters was. I

9 couldn't cross 100 metres without escort. They had to come and get me in

10 a car.

11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... your assistance with, and

12 I'll try and deal with it in general terms, but we must have a look at

13 some documents. Were you by this stage, or were others at the leadership

14 of the HVO by this stage concerned about Ahmici?

15 A. At that time I did not know anything about Ahmici. We did not

16 know about Ahmici in Zenica on the 17th.

17 Q. Was there any way in which the complaints now being made as of

18 about the 17th of April and there on, complaints now being made by the HVO

19 were exaggerated or overstated in order to mask some other event?

20 A. I don't think so.

21 MR. NICE: Your Honours, there's a little sequence of documents

22 that I would go through. I don't know if the Court is prepared to allow

23 me to work on.

24 [Trial Chamber confers]

25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice. If you could take it as expeditiously

Page 22524












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13 English transcript













Page 22525

1 as possible.

2 MR. NICE: Certainly, yes.

3 Q. This is the sequence. 696, please. We can see this. It's a

4 document for the 17th of April and it's actually typed in English,

5 although signed by Puljic, Kostroman, and Kordic, typed and signed. And

6 this is the 17th of April and it does refer to Zenica. It says:

7 "We beg you to do all that is possible to protect the Croats of

8 Zenica, who are under an enormous aggression of the Mujahedin forces. We

9 ask for help in evacuation of Zenica Croats to Cajdras."

10 Then if I can put the documents to you collectively, perhaps that

11 will save time as well as anything. If we can then look at 701.1.

12 A. I can respond to this document. This document never reached me or

13 the HDZ or any Croat men in Zenica, those whom I know and who could decide

14 anything or do anything like this. The 17th, it was impossible. What do

15 I tell you? On the 17th one couldn't cross a kilometre or two, let alone

16 a document to reach us. I don't know how.

17 Q. Look at this document, 701.1, and focus in on Muslim forces. It's

18 from -- "Attack by the Muslim forces and not losing on intensity during

19 the day. In the area of the Viteska Brigade, heavy fighting." And then

20 it goes down the page, you see, and it speaks of considerable forces

21 moving from Zenica towards Vitez:

22 "Severe attacks from Zenica area and directed via Kuber towards

23 Busovaca. Our forces are managing to resist attacks from the aggressor,

24 which keeps bringing in fresh forces from Zenica, Visoko, and Kakanj. The

25 situation in the area of responsibility of the Zenica Brigade is very

Page 22526

1 tense; however, open conflicts have still not occurred."

2 So are you saying that there were open conflicts by this date or

3 not? This is the 17th of April.

4 A. There were along the rims of the territory, especially towards

5 Kuber. I suppose it's a shortcut to Busovaca. I don't know that

6 particular area. There was some fighting there, some combat operations,

7 and so --

8 Q. All right. And if we look at 707.1, which the usher has. This is

9 an ECMM document and it reports on the overall period for the 10th to the

10 17th of April, and it has this account for Zenica. It deals at the foot

11 of the first page with Totic. We needn't go into that. But over at the

12 second page, about a couple of inches down from the top -- thank you very

13 much -- it says of Zenica:

14 "Tension remains in the town. New meetings are being arranged to

15 maintain the calm in the town." Then a little bit further down it says:

16 "Tension, with some sniper fire, for April the 17th, and meetings are

17 arranged with all political representatives," and so on.

18 Is the position that there really was no actual attack on Zenica

19 by the 17th?

20 A. I don't know. How do you perceive attacks on Zenica? It was

21 attacks on HVO units in Zenica, not on Zenica. Muslims are not going to

22 attack themselves. But they attacked our units around 6.00 in the

23 afternoon of the 17th. The HOS, which joined us some ten days before we

24 fell, they joined us from the BH army, and that evening, Holman, their

25 commander, went crazy because we had captured weapons and so on and so

Page 22527

1 forth, and Drivusa had already fallen, not to mention other areas.

2 Q. The last document I want to --

3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.


5 Q. The last document I want to put to you is 708, which we have in

6 original in English again, signed by Blaskic, and it's for April the 18th

7 and it does make a protest. It says this:

8 "In their severe attacks on the Croatian villages of Zenica

9 municipality, Muslim forces are using all their bestiality and cruelty, as

10 well as their evident wish of destroying all that is Croatian. In the

11 city itself," so that's Zenica, it says, "the arresting, harassing and the

12 robbing of the civilian women and children is going on for a long time

13 now. Men arrested are thrown under the tanks."

14 It then asks of the military, I think, UNPROFOR, to whom it was

15 sent, to protect the Croatian people of Zenica without any delay, to make

16 sure they're evacuated and to do everything within the mandate so that the

17 Muslim attack on the village of Cajdras is stopped.

18 Now, that's the letter that was sent, but the evidence we've had

19 includes evidence that these allegations were never supported. Officers

20 went around to investigate them and they could find no support. This is

21 Baggesen's evidence. And indeed they asked the HVO to provide support for

22 these allegations about what was happening in Zenica and none was

23 forthcoming. Is the position that things were being overstated in Zenica

24 at that time, please?

25 A. I wouldn't say this was overstated. If you look at reports which

Page 22528

1 arrived after the fighting in Kozace [phoen], when a girl of a year and a

2 half, or 2-year-old, where a 90-year-old man was killed in his own yard,

3 and so on and so forth, where his brother of 86 was killed, then this was

4 not overstated. But I must tell you: Late Bozo, Cajdras priest -- I

5 don't know if it was the 19th when I was in the church, or was it the

6 20th? I cannot really say the exact date, but it can be corroborated by

7 Mr. Puljic, the cardinal, and by Ganic. He asked me -- I was in the

8 church and he called me to ask, "Sakic, do you have any suggestion, any

9 proposal? What do we do? All the areas on the rim of Cajdras, house --

10 next to the house, what do you think? Can you do something?" And with me

11 happened to be a man from Zenica, a lawyer from Zenica -- I won't tell you

12 his name -- in the church, and I asked him, "Can you help me anything?"

13 And he said, "Tonight Granic [phoen] is coming, Petkovic is coming.

14 They're all coming for talks in Internacional."

15 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the question that I asked

16 you. Because -- but I just want to conclude this part and then I have one

17 more question to ask. You see, we've also heard evidence, and this is --

18 A. I'm simply answering you. You asked me a question and I was

19 answering you like this. It was through Cardinal Puljic that I managed to

20 arrange a meeting with Ganic in Internacional. I was there, there was

21 Father Stipan from the church and there was Poljarnik. We also met Enver

22 Hadzihasanovic that night, and they were claiming that there was no arson,

23 that there were no butchery, and so on and so forth. And to Ganic I said,

24 "Ganic, bring Enver Hadzihasanovic and bring Dzemal Merdan, and then we

25 shall discuss these things." And then they said, "What if Sakic is not

Page 22529

1 true, the houses are burning up there?" And I told him, "Excuse me, sir,

2 but I did see people being arrested." On the street people were being

3 thrown into the van and I could see from the church. They would just

4 intercept us to see the papers, if a Muslim -- and if it was a Muslim,

5 then he would go on; if he wasn't a Muslim, then he would be onto a van

6 and into an unknown direction.

7 Q. My last question on this topic --

8 A. And fortunately --

9 Q. Because we've also had evidence from Morsink, pages 8019 and 8008,

10 that Cerkez made complaints about massacres at Zenica in the Kuber Hill

11 area and that those were investigated and that those turned out to be

12 untrue. And same period of time, 18th of April. Would you like to

13 comment on that? Was there anything happening at the Kuber Hill or was

14 that something that Mr. Cerkez for some reason was overstating?

15 A. What Cerkez do you mean?

16 Q. Mario Cerkez.

17 A. Vitez. I've just told you that I saw him only once in my life.

18 JUDGE MAY: Do you know what was happening on Kuber Hill? That is

19 the question, Mr. Sakic. If you don't, just say so.

20 A. I said that on Kuber that I was at the meeting on the 17th, in the

21 municipal hall, and that I heard that there was fighting going on there.

22 I was notified about that. But what was happening there and how it

23 happened, I don't know.

24 MR. NICE: I was only going to put possibly one more document. I

25 haven't, of course, been able to put all our case on Zenica to this

Page 22530

1 witness, but I think I've done enough.

2 JUDGE MAY: You've covered the matter.

3 MR. NICE: I think I'll probably leave it there.

4 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Yes.

5 Yes, Mr. Naumovski. As quickly as you can, please.

6 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Briefly, Your Honour.

7 Re-examined by Mr. Naumovski:

8 Q. Just an explanation. You mentioned Mr. Ganic's name. Just to

9 make it clear for the Court, Mr. Ganic was a member of the presidency of

10 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time and he's a Muslim; is that correct?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Very short questions. The Croat village of Ravno is in

13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, is it?

14 A. It is.

15 Q. When you referred to the meeting in October 1991, which was

16 attended by Mr. Kljuic too, you only said what happened at the meeting

17 itself.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. When you said that you were not a politician, or rather that your

20 whole life you were involved in your profession, that you were an

21 engineer, but as of 1990 onward you tried to help, so you are not a

22 professional politician?

23 A. Yes. I said that I never throughout my professional career ever

24 raised my hand to ask for the floor.

25 Q. I mean, you are saying that you did not discharge these duties?

Page 22531












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13 English transcript













Page 22532

1 A. No. I did. I did discharge these duties and I volunteered

2 because --

3 Q. Today the oath-taking ceremony was mentioned on the 23rd of

4 December in Zenica, and I have the transcript. It is Z330. Let me just

5 ask you if you remember whether Mr. Kordic also said the following:

6 "Likewise, we are not preventing the Muslim people to fight and

7 win all that belongs to them. We are ready to help the Muslim people in

8 that, to jointly do what we have to do."

9 A. I think he spoke in that sense.

10 Q. Thank you.

11 A. Well, we wouldn't have invited them to attend as visitors had we

12 wanted to say anything against them, yet they were representatives of the

13 TO and the Ministry of the Interior and Secretary of the Interior, and I

14 don't know who else.

15 Q. You mean the oath-taking ceremony?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Since you mentioned the SDA. Did your efforts to talk with the

18 Party for Democratic Action in Zenica stop?

19 A. No, never. But I can tell you this: These European monitors -- I

20 call them European monitors because I don't know what their names are --

21 it was they who were trying to bring us back into government through the

22 SDA, but this was a game and -- oh, we're wasting time.

23 Q. Another question. You were shown document Z450.2, and that was

24 the invitation to a meeting, and it was signed by Zivko Totic on the

25 right-hand side as the commander; and on the left-hand side, you, as the

Page 22533

1 president of the civilian HVO. Tell us, please, if, in the town of

2 Zenica, in the territory of Zenica, there were both the civilian wing of

3 Zenica and the military part of the HVO as one whole or as two entities.

4 A. No. They were two different entities. The civilian HVO was

5 logistics, helping as much as it could. And this meeting was convened at

6 the initiative of people from Vares and from Kakanj, because we were all

7 in Central Bosnia and there we could not get any help and so on and so

8 forth. We said, "Well, let's see what we can do."

9 Q. In the introduction, while we spoke about your career, you said

10 that after November 1992 you were not involved in logistics anymore.

11 A. No, because my brigade was then placed under direct command of

12 General Blaskic, the Central Bosnian command, and then I didn't anymore.

13 Q. So as to provide the Court with the proper picture of Zenica, can

14 we agree about one fact: Do you agree Zenica is one of the largest towns

15 in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. So it is not a townlet?

18 A. No, no, no. It is not a small place. It was a large town with

19 140.000 people.

20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Well, there could be

21 more questions, Your Honour, but I think it's rather late, so perhaps I

22 should finish with this.

23 Thank you, Mr. Sakic.

24 Thank you, Your Honours.

25 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

Page 22534

1 Thank you, Mr. Sakic, for coming to give evidence. You're free to

2 go. We will adjourn now until half past 9.00 tomorrow morning.

3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.35 p.m.,

4 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 11th day of July,

5 2000, at 9.30 a.m.