1 Wednesday, 27
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 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 WITNESS: BONO DRMIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
12 Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
13 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Drmic. Thank you for having
16 come. I would please ask you to repeat your name, surname, date and place
17 of birth.
18 A. I am Bono Drmic, born in Donja Veceriska, municipality of Vitez,
19 on the 9th of April, 1957.
20 Q. Where do you reside nowadays?
21 A. Currently I reside in Vitez, the street of Kulina bana T-9.
22 Q. In 1992 and in 1993, where did you live?
23 A. I lived in the village of Donja Veceriska.
24 Q. Are you married?
25 A. Yes, yes, and I have two sons.
1 Q. What are you by profession?
2 A. I am a professional firefighter.
3 Q. You did your military service in the JNA before the war in the
4 former Yugoslavia?
5 A. Yes, yes. I did my military service in Urosevac.
6 Q. As a firefighter, you worked in the SPS before the war broke out,
7 or even earlier, from the 1980s onwards?
8 A. Yes. From 1980 I worked in the SPS.
9 Q. And where are you employed today?
10 A. I'm now employed in the former SPS. Now it is called Vitez
12 Q. Thank you. In terms of ethnic composition, what could you say
13 about the village of Donja Veceriska? What is the pattern, speaking from
14 an ethnic point of view?
15 A. The village of Donja Veceriska consists of two ethnic groups: the
16 Croats and the Bosniaks. Sixty per cent are Bosniaks and forty per cent
17 are Croats.
18 Q. When the aggression of the JNA started, from the very beginning of
19 1992, and later, as the war progressed in 1993, what did you do at the
21 A. I was a professional firefighter non-stop in the SPS. I worked as
22 a firefighter, professional firefighter.
23 Q. In relation to the village of Donja Veceriska, where is the SPS
24 factory? How far away is your place of work from your home?
25 A. Well, from my home and from Donja Veceriska -- I mean, my village
1 practically borders on the company compound, so it's a five-minute
2 distance, really.
3 Q. Can we say that where the SPS was built, where its fence is, that
4 was actually the land of the peasants from your village; is that right?
5 A. All the land used to be owned by the villagers of Donja Veceriska
6 and Divjak. That is also a village that borders on the SPS compound.
7 Q. Mr. Drmic, during 1992, did you take part in military actions of
8 the HVO from Vitez in the struggle against the JNA?
9 A. I did participate. I participated at Vlasic. It's called
10 Galica. I think it was in the month of May. I reported more or less on a
11 voluntary basis, because some men went and I had work duty all the time
12 and I didn't want to be left behind.
13 Q. Who was the enemy? What was this action at Galica? Against who?
14 A. We were supposed to go there and the Bosniaks were supposed to
15 come with us. However, since they did not come with us, we went to fight
16 against the former JNA and the Serbs up there.
17 Q. How many days were you in this action all together?
18 A. We returned soon, after a day and a half -- two days, let's say.
19 Q. When you returned to the village, did you continue to go to work?
20 A. Well, of course, naturally. I had work duty all the time. I went
21 back to my place of work.
22 Q. When you returned, did you consider yourself to be a soldier or
23 did somebody else consider you to be a soldier?
24 A. I did not consider myself to be a soldier, and I don't think that
25 anybody else thought I was a soldier. I went voluntarily with the men who
2 Q. Later were you in some other action?
3 A. Yes. Yes. I was at Slimena.
4 Q. How many days did you spend there?
5 A. Two or three days.
6 Q. And when you returned to your village, you continued to work in
7 the SPS again; is that right?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. Did you have a similar military task after that at any point?
10 A. My only task was to go to the village of Kruscica, to provide
11 security for their Ribnjak Hotel. That is where people who were sent to
12 Slatka Voda came. That was the line between the Serbs and the Croats and
13 the Muslims. We went to that line. I did not go. I provided security
14 for the hotel. I stayed there. So I did not go up there. I stayed there
15 as a kind of guard, janitor, whatever.
16 Q. Approximately how much time did you spend there then?
17 A. Seven days. I was there as a janitor/guard all the time.
18 Q. So during those seven days, you actually adapted this facility so
19 that it could be used for such purposes?
20 A. Well, it's hard to say what this building was but it was simply a
21 centre from where people were sent to the front line. It was a motel by a
22 fish pond before, Ribnjak being fish pond, so there was good fish there
24 Q. Sir our conversation is being interpreted so when I put a question
25 to you, could you please leave at least five seconds for the interpreters
1 to catch up and I'll try to do the same thing, otherwise it's hard for the
2 interpreters to keep up with us.
3 Those few days while you were at Ribnjak, did you work on the
4 adaptation of that building?
5 A. Well, when I was not on guard duty, when I was not at the entrance
6 door, usually we would play soccer and we would clean up the place, sweep
7 it if something like that was required.
8 Q. Was this the last shift that you participated in for the military
9 part of the HVO before the conflict on the 16th of April, 1993?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Tell me, were village guards organised in your village?
12 A. Yes. In our village, there was an organised village guard.
13 Q. Tell me, please, could you say approximately when the village
14 guard was first established and when it started to operate?
15 A. In my village, in early 1992, that's when it started. I can't
16 remember the month though.
17 Q. Who organised the village guard?
18 A. The village guard was organised by us, the Croats and Muslims
19 together, the Bosniaks, rather.
20 Q. What was the task of this village guard? What was it supposed to
22 A. During those first days, we organised joint village guards
23 together. Lots of people were coming in from other places, refugees,
24 expellees. There were lots of people who were not only expelled but who
25 were practically bandits, so we organised village guards so that there
1 would be no incursions into the village. That is why we organised this.
2 So that we would in this way enhance the security of the factory as well.
3 Practically both Croats and Muslims worked in terms of providing security
4 for the factory and for the village.
5 Q. Did you, the inhabitants of this village, have an interest in
6 contributing to the security of the factory?
7 A. But of course. That's where we worked. That's where we made our
8 living so of course it was in our interest.
9 Q. If there were to be an incident in the factory in the process of
10 production, would that affect your village as well?
11 A. Who does not know what is this -- in this factory does not know
12 what was there, but there was an atomic bomb that was in question.
13 Q. Thank you. Later, in 1992, did village guards remain multi-ethnic
14 or were they separated?
15 A. We, in Donja Veceriska, remained the way we were until October or
16 November when there were small incidents between Croats and Bosniaks.
17 Q. Were then village guards definitely separated or were there some
18 changes in this respect?
19 A. At one point, village guards were abolished totally. For a
20 certain period of time, neither we nor the Muslims had any village guards.
21 Q. Were you together for a while after that?
22 A. Well, for a while we were together, and then there was an incident
23 once again when, towards the end of 1992, we stopped the village guards
25 Q. Among the Muslims in your opinion then, was there someone who was
1 to be blamed for these squabbles between the Muslims and the Croats?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Who was that?
4 A. There was a young man who came and who threw two hand grenades on
5 the village. That was why we stopped the village guards altogether. And
6 also the checkpoint at the entrance to the village was no longer a joint
8 Q. When did that happened?
9 A. Towards end of 1992, I can't give you the month. It was November
10 or December. It was a long time ago, but it was between November and
11 December there's nothing else that was possible.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could the registry please help me?
13 I would like to show the witness D44/2, please.
14 Q. Please take a look at this document. If you look at this
15 document, do you recognise one of the events that you mentioned when there
16 was supposed to be sort of a pacification of the village?
17 A. Can I read the whole document and then I'll tell you all about
19 Q. Mr. Drmic, we don't have to go into all the details. You've seen
20 the document. You are aware of the period when this document was
21 written. Does this reflect one of the events when you want to bring about
22 a pacification?
23 A. I know this document. This is something that I took part in.
24 Approximately -- well, these were negotiations with the Bosniak side in
25 order to prevent larger scale conflicts. That's it.
1 Q. So these talks succeeded in this particular round.
2 A. In this particular round, the talks succeeded in part, in part.
3 Q. Another thing in relation to this document, could you please
4 explain to me the signature down here, and also the letterhead uses "The
5 Reserve Force of the HVO." What is this all about? Who was the reserve
6 force? Who did you call the reserve force?
7 A. I can't really say. All of this is unclear to me or these dates
8 are not clear to me.
9 Q. All right, Mr. Drmic. You are sure that this document was drafted
10 in the village after one of the rounds of negotiations you had with the
12 A. Yes, I'm sure about that.
13 Q. Very well. Thank you.
14 A. You're welcome.
15 Q. You mentioned a man who threw these hand grenades, Haskic. Do you
16 know where he ended up, how he ended up? What happened to him?
17 A. I heard that he ended up in the village of Kruscica, that he was
19 JUDGE MAY: Leading.
20 MR. NICE: Yes. I'm sorry, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, the witness did not mention Haskic. You
22 mentioned him. Could you please just restrict your questions to what he
23 said. "Who was the young man?" is the question you should have asked.
24 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I had the impression that
25 he mentioned the name of the family.
1 JUDGE MAY: No.
2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Lest there be any misunderstanding, Mr. Drmic: On the Bosniak
4 side, who figured prominently in terms of provoking incidents and
5 impairing the relations between the Croats and the Muslims in the village?
6 A. Part of the Haskics, an extremist part of the Haskic family.
7 Q. Are you referring to the Haskic family?
8 A. Well, it's a big family. It's a big family, consisting of 50 to
9 60 houses. There are so many of them. But they're all Haskics.
10 Q. Very well. Among them were there individuals who were extremists,
11 as you called it?
12 A. Yes, there were some individuals.
13 Q. Can you mention the names of two or three of them?
14 A. TF, if that means something to you.
15 Q. Sir, we can go into closed session or into private session if you
16 don't want to say this in public.
17 A. Well, you don't have to. Fehid Haskic.
18 Q. What is your assessment of him, of his attitude towards the Croats
19 and Croat/Muslim relations?
20 A. He was a young man who would stop at nothing. That is how I see
22 Q. Just before the general conflict broke out, what were relations
23 like in that particular point in time? Were the relations peaceful or
24 were they at one of these points of tension?
25 A. There was relative quiet. One can say that the relations were
1 good. Because, as they say, there is chaff in every wheat, so what can I
3 Q. Did you know anything before the conflict about places where there
4 was specially prepared military defence?
5 A. I knew about that. I saw it. It's not that big a village that
6 you can't see things. All our fields are right next to one another. In
7 some places where the Bosniaks were digging trenches, they were digging
8 fortifications --
9 Q. Did you know before the conflict began that there were weapons in
10 the village?
11 A. In the village? Well, I know that when we had these joint village
12 guards, that somebody would have a hunting gun or a pistol or some weapons
13 that were brought from Slimena when the Serbs left and also when weapons
14 were bought and sold. I mean, everybody would take a weapon for himself.
15 Q. Do you know where there were some larger stockpiles of weapons in
16 the village?
17 A. I knew that in the centre of the village that was predominantly
18 Muslim, in Mihad Haskic's house there is a storage space with weapons, and
19 his son was a commander of the BH army; not of the entire army, but of a
21 Q. Where was this platoon stationed?
22 A. Everything was happening there, right in that house.
23 Q. In your village?
24 A. Yes, in our village.
25 Q. Mr. Drmic, where were you on the evening of the 15th in 1993, just
1 before the conflict broke out?
2 A. On the 15th I went to work at the factory, because I was supposed
3 to work in the night shift that started at 10.00 p.m. So I set out. And
4 Izet Haskic was working with me, so I passed by his house, I called out to
5 him, and we went to work together.
6 Q. All right. You said that you went to Izet Haskic's and then you
7 proceeded. Was this your customary pattern of behaviour?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Until that moment, had you heard anything that on the next day
10 there could be some conflicts?
11 A. I did not hear that. I did not know about that.
12 Q. Did you talk to Izet Haskic along the way?
13 A. Well, yes. Yes. We talked about our own stuff, insignificant.
14 Q. Did you perhaps get an impression or did he say something to the
15 effect that he knew what would happen?
16 A. Mr. Haskic did not know anything. I did not know anything. We
17 talked about our own stuff, quite insignificant.
18 Q. All right. What happened early in the morning?
19 A. Early morning we were not asleep. There was myself, Hrustic
21 Q. Excuse me.
22 A. And Boro Vidovic.
23 Q. Excuse me. I'm interrupting you. But these men you mentioned, if
24 I understand correctly -- I mean, in terms of ethnic composition, tell us
25 what these people are. How many Muslims are there and how many Croats?
1 A. Three to two.
2 Q. You mean three Muslims, two Croats?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. And that was your shift?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You were the leader of that shift?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. All right. So you heard shooting. And then what happened?
9 A. I went out. I heard some explosions. I went out to see what was
10 going on. And then, when I walked out, I went to the side where my
11 village was so that I could see what was going on. I was interested in
12 knowing what was going on with my family. I saw that something was sort
13 of on fire, or rather I saw smoke. And Izet Haskic followed me. We
14 talked and we were saying, "What is this?" And then we went back to the
15 seat of the fire brigade. And I said, "People, there's something wrong.
16 We can hear loud explosions."
17 I remember very well. You cannot forget things like that. There
18 was a bit of a drizzle, some rain, and I took boots out of the
19 firefighting vehicle and I said, "Guys --" I used a Bosnian word that we
20 tend to use for that, jarani, and I said, "I'm going home. There's some
21 smoke in my village and I'm going home," and I went home.
22 Q. Very well. Did you try in any other way to learn from other
23 sources what was going on, why this shelling was taking place?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What did you do?
1 A. From the firehouse to my house I had to pass by the military
2 police. They were deployed there for reinforcing the security of the
3 factory, so I stopped by there. And they were also surprised about what
4 was going on. I asked them, since I knew them, we knew each other, I knew
5 them and I asked them and they said they didn't know anything. And that's
6 where our conversation ended. I did not continue to talk to them.
7 Instead, I continued on home.
8 Q. Mr. Drmic, if I understood you correctly, a military police unit
9 was stationed in one of the building structures of the factory?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. How far was that from where you were stationed?
12 A. About 50 to 60 metres.
13 Q. How large was that military police unit approximately?
14 A. No more than 20 men.
15 Q. How long had they been there?
16 A. I cannot tell you exactly how many months they had been there, but
17 they had arrived in mid-1992; June, July, I cannot tell you exactly.
18 Q. Do you know what their task was, why they were deployed there?
19 A. I know that they were there in order to reinforce the security of
20 the factory.
21 Q. Was this unit composed of local men, men whom you knew from before
22 or men whom you came to know during that period?
23 A. I had not known these people, but I came to know them during that
24 period. They were mostly men who had come from elsewhere.
25 Q. After that conversation with them, we should describe, you said
1 that you pressed on?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What happened to you on the way to the village?
4 A. I just walked down the road, of course, but I saw that things were
5 not normal anymore, and there was shooting as I was passing by. Nobody
6 could recognise me, but from where the fire was coming, that was all
7 Bosniaks houses. I don't know whether they were shooting at me, because I
8 don't think they could recognise me from that distance.
9 Q. Was it still dark at that time?
10 A. It was raining so it wasn't fully visible.
11 Q. From which side, if you look at the map, were you approaching the
13 A. I was walking -- if I was to reach the -- my house, it would be
14 more from the east, but because of the shooting and everything, I came
15 from the southern side.
16 Q. Did you meet anyone and where?
17 A. At first, I met a man who worked for the waterworks. We exchanged
18 a few words. He was also beside himself. He did not know anything.
19 There were some guards who were there with him and he said that they had
21 Q. The man who worked for the waterworks, who is that?
22 A. That's the late Ivo Krizanovic, if that means anything to you.
23 Q. Was that one of your co-workers from the factory?
24 A. Yes, he worked there.
25 Q. And he worked in the same village?
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 A. He lived in the village of Gacice, but doesn't live there anymore
2 because he was killed.
3 Q. So you only talked to him?
4 A. I only talked to him and then I continued home, but I took a
5 longer time to get there. I arrived in the village. There were locals
6 there at the entrance to the village, about ten of them. I asked them
7 what was going on, and they said that there was a war. And I asked what
8 was with the women and children, and they said that they had been moved to
9 Gornja Veceriska.
10 Q. You said -- how many people were there whom you met?
11 A. About ten from Donja Veceriska and there were men among them whom
12 I did not recognise at the time. They were all wearing camouflage
13 uniforms. They also wore masks.
14 Q. Let us make this perfectly clear, about ten persons to whom you
15 referred. Did you recognise all of them as your neighbours?
16 A. Of course I did.
17 Q. And these men, were these men -- had these men previously been
18 involved in village guards, village watches?
19 A. Yes. There were even some men who were a bit older, and some of
20 those had left with their families to Gornja Veceriska. But then there
21 were younger ones who were also involved in shifts going to the front
22 lines facing the Serbs.
23 Q. You also mentioned men in camouflage uniforms. Who were those men
24 and had you known them before?
25 A. No, I did not know them.
1 Q. Perhaps we should just go -- take it step by step. First of all,
2 how many were they?
3 JUDGE MAY: He said about ten, you needn't go into this detail or
4 repeat it. He's given us the picture. He said there were about ten.
5 Some were in camouflage uniforms -- please don't interrupt. Some in
6 camouflage uniforms and masks, and some he's also described.
7 Now, let us just keep to the broad picture.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Of the people who were there, how many were wearing camouflage
11 A. 12 to 15.
12 Q. And had you known them from before?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did they have any insignia which would enable you to identify
16 A. At that time, no. They had some insignia, but those were not
17 insignia that I could recognise.
18 Q. Did you learn later who these men were?
19 A. Yes. Later on, I learned that these were the Tvertkovci.
20 Q. Did you find out who the so-called Tvertkovci were?
21 A. The Tvertkovci were mostly men from Travnik who had been driven
22 out of there. That is what I know about them.
23 Q. Did you have a conversation or was there a conversation going on
24 with these men in which you took part?
25 A. I specifically did not take part in the conversation, but I
1 overheard it. By the time I got there, they already had learned
2 something. They wanted to find out where the Bosnians had their dugouts
3 and where Midhat Haskic's house was because apparently everything was in
4 that house.
5 Q. Was anybody using a map during this conversation?
6 A. One of the gentlemen there had a map of the Vitez municipality.
7 The village of Donja Veceriska was highlighted, and they were asking about
8 certain houses.
9 Q. Now who was holding this map?
10 A. One of the Tvertkovci. He was probably the commander too, because
11 he had this map in his hands.
12 Q. What did you do then, you personally, where did you go?
13 A. In fact, they told us you are going to go to the opposite side of
14 the village, and he said, "We're going to go and carry out our own task."
15 And we went to the western side -- west side of the village to -- I'm not
16 a military strategist or anything, but I think that we were going to
17 protect their backs.
18 Q. From that side of the village, were you able to control the
19 entrance to the village from certain directions?
20 A. All we could do there was control a potential advance of the
21 Muslims. The entrance to the village was closed by the Muslims.
22 Q. Were there any trenches that had been dug previously?
23 A. Yes, the trenches had been dug.
24 Q. Whose trenches?
25 A. Muslim trenches because it was their land.
1 Q. Did you previously dig your trenches?
2 A. No.
3 Q. In the area where you were, on the west side of the village, was
4 there any attempt to break through?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did you hear or see when and where the fighting in the village,
7 itself, started?
8 A. I could not see it. I was on the other side of the village, but I
9 could hear it. I could hear shooting.
10 Q. Did fighting then break out in the village?
11 A. Yes, it did.
12 Q. And from what you could see and learn, what happened during that
13 first day of fighting in the village? What was the result?
14 A. In the evening, I learned that Bosniaks were expelled from about
15 10 to 15 houses and that everything came to a stop, to a halt at Midhat
16 Haskic's house.
17 Q. After it grew dark, did the fighting continue?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Mr. Drmic, during that first day of fighting, from whenever it
20 started until dark, from what you heard, either at the time when things
21 were going on or later through conversations, was this fighting where both
22 sides were exchanging fire or did one side attack the other?
23 A. From what I know, there were wounded people there so fighting was
24 mutual. Both sides fought.
25 Q. The place or the location in the village where you said that the
1 Tvertkovci managed to advance and then were stopped, what was that part of
2 the village called?
3 A. That was called Masiceve Kuce.
4 Q. This is where they were stopped?
5 A. This is what I heard that night.
6 Q. What happened the next day, the 17th of April?
7 A. In the morning of the 17th of April the fighting continued around
8 there. I personally came to my house. My house was right next to the
9 Muslim houses. I had some pigs there so I wanted to feed them.
10 Q. And what happened there?
11 A. Dragan Sapina was wounded there.
12 Q. From which direction did the bullet come?
13 A. He was hit by a sniper bullet.
14 Q. When you arrived in your yard, was there any fighting in that part
15 of the village going on?
16 A. The village is not too big but not too small either, and nothing
17 had been burned around my house. But you could see from there, from that
18 vantage point, that some houses farther afield had been burnt.
19 Q. But when you came there, was there any active fighting going on
21 A. No. The fighting was down near Masiceve kuce. Now, this is on
22 the 17th.
23 Q. But not around your house?
24 A. That would have been about a hundred metres away from my house.
25 Q. Were you able to estimate where this bullet came from that hit
1 Dragan Sapina?
2 A. From what we could tell, it could have only come from the lower
3 parts, which means the Muslim houses.
4 Q. After these two days of fighting, these two days of conflict, were
5 there any Croats killed?
6 A. Yes. A member of Tvrtkovci was killed. I don't know his name.
7 And Ivo Miskovic was killed. His brother lost his leg to a shell and two
8 additional shells injured seriously another two persons in the centre of
9 the village.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps the witness could be shown
11 Z2810, which was introduced with the so-called Spork binders. And we
12 can -- and it was pertaining to Ivica Drmic.
13 Q. Mr. Drmic, can you please look at this certificate. Is what is
14 stated in this certificate true?
15 A. On 17 April 1993 such-and-such a person was wounded.
16 Q. Is this the person you mentioned?
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. And you witnessed this incident, this wounding?
19 A. As is stated here, I was a witness of this incident.
20 Q. Perhaps I can use this opportunity to ask you something else. You
21 see when this certificate was issued?
22 A. On 3 December 1994, by Kasimir Velic [phoen] or Volic.
23 Q. Did you know this man?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And do you recognise the unit that is mentioned in the heading?
1 A. No, I do not.
2 Q. Did you know anything about that at the time of the wounding?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Do you know anything about the 92nd Regiment?
5 A. At that time I think it was not even established. Actually, I
6 don't think -- I know it was not in existence at that time.
7 Q. Can you tell me: During the first day of fighting, did UNPROFOR
8 patrols enter the village?
9 A. During both days they arrived in tanks and they went through the
10 village three or four times.
11 Q. And when did the fighting stop? We were talking last about the
12 17th. What happened after that, the following night?
13 A. On the following night there was no fighting, but during the night
14 of the 17th we could again hear tanks and APCs. But this is all we could
15 hear, so we knew that they had been in the village.
16 Q. The following morning you entered the village?
17 A. No, we did not enter the village, but Tvrtkovci entered the Muslim
18 part of the village.
19 Q. And you followed after that?
20 A. That would have been close to noon, 11.00 or 12.00, maybe even
21 1.00. We came in and we found nine civilians who were of Bosniak ethnic
22 background. We found them in their houses. I took three women and drove
23 them to Gornja Veceriska. I knew them well. I knew everybody there. But
24 I could only fit three in my car, and I took them to Gornja Veceriska.
25 Q. What happened to the other civilians?
1 A. They were also taken in a van to Gornja Veceriska.
2 Q. And what happened to them up there?
3 A. For the most part, they had someone that they knew up there. The
4 three persons that I took there were accommodated with some of their
5 acquaintances, and the remaining six were placed in a school in Gornja
7 Q. We skipped one thing. You said that around noon you entered the
8 village. Do you know where the Bosniak members of the TO went? Where
9 were they now?
10 A. That evening we heard that they had been transferred to the Dutch
11 base in the village of Divjak. That's where they were taken. And from
12 there they most probably transferred to Zenica.
13 Q. Now, who transferred them there? How did they arrive in the Dutch
15 A. They probably took them in APCs. There's only three kilometres
16 from Veceriska to Divjak. Or maybe they went on foot that night or they
17 were transferred there in APCs.
18 Q. By whom?
19 A. By the Dutch battalion.
20 Q. Did you find any weapons which they had left behind?
21 A. There were some grenades, there were a lot of explosives.
22 Q. Did you hear anything about some weapons which were found in front
23 of the Dutch base at Divjak?
24 A. Yes. I heard from the local inhabitants who live right by there
25 where the Dutch base was that they had -- that these weapons were taken
1 away from them and most probably destroyed.
2 Q. Who took weapons from whom?
3 A. From the Muslims.
4 Q. You mean the Muslims who came to the Dutch base from your village?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You said that even you personally helped take those civilians to
7 Gornja Veceriska. Did you have any contact with those people the next
9 A. The next day -- in fact, it was a bit longer. Three or four days
10 later those civilians were transferred to Vitez. In fact, some families
11 who had their sons and relatives who lived in town, these civilians came
12 and simply just took them with them. I don't know where they took them,
13 but they were taken. Their families came for them. For the most part,
14 these were elderly people.
15 Q. Mr. Drmic, during those two days of fighting in the village,
16 according to the information in your possession, were any Muslim civilians
17 killed in the village?
18 A. At that time I did not know. I knew that one Bosniak was killed
19 in the course of those two days, and for the rest of them, I did not
21 Q. How about later, did you hear anything about it later?
22 A. Later, yes, I heard about that later.
23 Q. And what did you hear? How many people were killed, do you have
24 any idea?
25 A. I don't know even to date.
1 Q. Very well. Did you hear that general mobilisation was called in
2 the municipality of Vitez?
3 A. General mobilisation. Again, let me say personally, I did not
4 hear about it, but after I was brought back to the factory to my old job
5 four days later, I heard that the general mobilisation had been called. I
6 don't know whether this was on the 25th. I cannot specify the date.
7 Between the 25th and the 30th. In that period of time, I heard about the
8 general mobilisation.
9 Q. What did that mean specifically for you?
10 A. For -- to me, it meant nothing because I just went back to my job
11 and I was doing my job as before the conflict between the Croats and
13 Q. Were you duty-bound to go back to that job?
14 A. I had a specific duty because this was my regular employment.
15 This is how I made my living.
16 Q. But was your work duty also to be there?
17 A. Yes. My work duty assigned to me was to stay in the job which I
18 did on a regular basis.
19 Q. So you continued in the same job?
20 A. Yes, I continued in the same job but no longer with the same
22 Q. Were there any changes in the administration of your company? Did
23 new people arrive who -- in the management?
24 A. Yes, but I don't know exactly the time. To me, only my own boss
25 was important and he was the old boss whom I had had before.
1 Q. And who was this?
2 A. This is the old manager, Nikola Krizanovic.
3 Q. So he was your direct superior?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Mr. Drmic, you continued to live in Donja Veceriska throughout the
7 A. Yes. I continued to live there until 1994, April 1994, and then I
8 moved to Vitez.
9 Q. Mr. Drmic, from your daily visits to the village, do you know that
10 there was a pressure exerted against the village by the ABiH throughout
11 that period?
12 A. There was shelling of the village itself on several occasions,
13 then the factory was shelled a few times, but all this was -- they knew
14 themselves that it was very dangerous to shell the factory, but there were
15 some infantry attacks against the factory.
16 Q. Would you be able to single out any significant offensive on the
17 village that summer?
18 A. There was shelling, but I can't really give you the month. But
19 yes, there were.
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could I ask the registry to show the
21 document D121/1 which is a milinfosum number 72 dated 10th of July, 1993.
22 Q. Mr. Drmic, you will see a document, but I shall read a few
23 sentences to you because the document is in English and you will then tell
24 us if what it says is correct and whether you remember it or not.
25 MR. KOVACIC: [In English] On the next page I think there is a
1 title, Veceriska. [Interpretation] No, no, this does not seem the
2 document or I simply can't find it or perhaps somewhere lower down. [In
3 English] No, no, I should go back on Vitez. [Interpretation] Yes, yes,
4 the last line.
5 Q. The last line on this page, item 8A, it says, "BH army 82
6 millimetre mortaring of Vitez town, Donja Veceriska and Gacice." This is
7 a report of the 10th of July. Do you recall any more intensive shelling
8 of your village at that time?
9 A. Well, could be, could be about that time. I do recall, that is I
10 don't recall the date. Of course I don't recall the date. I don't recall
11 the month either, but it was summer. That I'm sure about.
12 Q. Would you recall if there were several such offensives that
14 A. I do recall the shelling. I do recall infantry attacks of the
15 plant, and therefore the village of Donja Veceriska.
16 Q. Very well. Mr. Drmic, did you have a friend called Mato Saric?
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 MR. KOVACIC: We can remove this document. It won't be used
20 Q. [Interpretation] And do you remember what happened to him in the
21 summer of 1993 and when was that?
22 A. I remember, yes. And later on, from stories that Mato was offered
23 to fell some wood. He had -- he owned a tractor and he set off towards
24 Zabrdje to fell some wood, and then the units or the formations of the BH
25 army captured him. And that he was taken to the village of Kruscica, and
1 that he suffered bodily injuries and he is still smarting from them until
2 this day.
3 Q. And this friend of yours, this Mato Saric, was he a soldier at the
4 time that he was arrested or was he a civilian?
5 A. Mato Saric was a member of the labour platoon and a soldier, he --
6 no, it's not that he couldn't be. He could be, but he is slightly deaf.
7 No, he is quite deaf, if you get my meaning.
8 Q. You mean he is hard of hearing?
9 A. Yes, he is a bit hard of hearing, and that is where he was sent to
10 labour platoon rather than --
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, it's a small detail and can be dealt with
12 very quickly.
13 MR. KOVACIC: Okay. I'm done.
14 Q. [Interpretation] And did you hear from him, how was he treated
15 while in captivity?
16 A. He suffered hard -- I mean hard treatment because he was
17 maltreated and beaten.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, I have no further
19 questions. Thank you, Mr. Drmic. [In English] I should notice that there
20 was an affidavit on that accident with Mr. Mato Saric.
21 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
22 Mr. Kordic's Defence has no questions to ask of this witness.
23 MR. NICE: I'm afraid the desk is not sufficient for the papers I
24 have to use on an occasion like this but I'll do my best. Perhaps the
25 witness can first of all have the map just to remind us, and then that's
1 one less document on my desk.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
4 Q. Just to remind us a little bit further over to the right a bit, I
5 think, we can see the factory there lying between Donja Veceriska and
6 Vitez. If we can bring the map down just a little bit further so we can
7 see the road to the north.
8 Would this be correct, Mr. Drmic, that the way into Donja
9 Veceriska is to take the road out of Vitez that we can see running right
10 to left on the screen, and then you take a left turn and you wind your way
11 up to Donja Veceriska, which is actually on a slight rise, slightly above
12 the surrounding countryside?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, if you'd look at the map. You've described yourself going
15 back to the factory gates from time to time, or back to the factory. It's
16 not clear from this map whether there's some other entry into the factory
17 other than the one towards the main road. Can you just trace on the map,
18 if you can follow the map -- and you'll have to do it on the overhead
19 projector -- the route you walked when you walked to the factory gates or
20 to the factory? Can you do it on the overhead? The usher will show you.
21 A. This is the main entrance to the factory and the main gate. But
22 we had another gate here.
23 Q. Right.
24 A. And there's the village of Gacice here, another gate. And then
25 there are three gates leading into the factory.
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 Q. You described yourself going there on the evening of the 15th and
2 then I think in the course of the night. Which gate do you say you were
3 going to on those occasions?
4 A. We went through this gate, to Donja Veceriska.
5 Q. Very well. While we're looking at the map -- and it may be that a
6 smaller pointer, if you can use a pencil or something like that, it may
7 help us. Can you point out roughly where your own house was there,
8 please, without marking the map. Just point it out.
9 A. No, no.
10 Q. Thank you very much. So that's pretty much on the principal
11 street of the village, isn't it, as you come off the main road?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. Thank you. I want to deal with a few things in chronological
14 order before we come to the events with which we are principally
15 concerned. But what's obvious is this: that this factory was a matter of
16 great importance to Vitez, wasn't it?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. It was of very great importance to the HVO?
19 A. Not only the HVO, but the BH army as well.
20 Q. It was important to any army in the area, because it was an
21 armaments factory.
22 A. It was important -- it was most important to people living there.
23 Q. You made some reference -- I don't know if it was lighthearted or
24 otherwise -- to an atomic bomb, but can you just explain that before we
25 move on? Was it a lighthearted reference or was it a serious reference?
1 A. It was very serious, because there are several thousand tonnes of
2 all sorts of acids, not to mention explosives and gunpowders.
3 Q. Yes. Thank you for that explanation. It was -- I understand
5 A. Not at all.
6 Q. When you say "several thousand tonnes of acid," the acid was near
7 to the village and -- just give me one minute. If it were to be suggested
8 that there were some -- well, at least 700 tonnes of acid near to the
9 villages, you wouldn't disagree with that, would you?
10 A. And why should I disagree when that is the real truth and it is a
11 fact that there is as much of it there?
12 Q. In the autumn of 1992 there were HVO forces making their presence
13 felt in the village, and these forces came from Herzegovina; would that be
14 about right?
15 A. Personally, I do not know, and I did not see them show around, but
16 the story went that some guys from Herzegovina came into Vitez and that
17 they almost looted and did all sorts of bad things.
18 Q. But I'm more concerned with the security of the factory itself.
19 The factory was rather run down, in production terms, by the end of 1992,
20 wasn't it?
21 A. Relatively, yes.
22 Q. Its own security staff were laid off or not required to attend,
23 and we've heard evidence that the security was now perhaps dealt with by
24 these HVO forces from Herzegovina. Do you remember that?
25 A. I don't, and that's not how it was.
1 Q. Were you going into work yourself in the fall, in the autumn of
2 1992, or was production so low that you were staying at home?
3 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I'm not employed in the production and I do not go
4 there because of the production; I go there because of the security of the
6 Q. Well, then -- exactly, and going in the door you were going in,
7 you no doubt would have encountered security staff somewhere. Was there a
8 change in the security staff?
9 A. No change occurred until the morning of the 16th of April -- no,
10 March 1993.
11 MR. NICE: And I'm dealing with -- this evidence is from Witness
12 V, for the Court's assistance.
13 Q. There was another incident at the end of 1992 where the religious
14 school in Donja Veceriska was attacked by perpetrators who were never
15 discovered. Do you remember that? I think gunfire was released onto the
17 A. There is not a single religious school in Donja Veceriska.
18 Q. The term "mehteb" has been used. It may or may not be the
19 appropriate word, but that's the word that's been used. Was one of those
21 A. In Donja Veceriska there is a mehteb, but that is one thing and a
22 school is another thing. And the third place is a house of worship where
23 Muslims pray.
24 Q. A mehteb was attacked in the end of 1993 [sic] by bullets. Do you
25 recall that?
1 A. I do recall that the mehteb was blown up; that is, to put it
2 simply, demolished.
3 MR. NICE: If I said "1993," it was my mistake. It was 1992, and
4 I think the witness has acknowledged that.
5 Q. You knew a man called Mile Vinac?
6 A. I do.
7 Q. What was his position in the village?
8 A. Decent man. I don't really [as interpreted] what your question
10 Q. Well, did he have any particular position in relation to village
11 guards or matters of that sort?
12 A. Mile Vinac worked -- what do you call it? -- read those maps,
13 military or air maps. I don't know what you call it. But he did it for
14 the former JNA, when the JNA shelled the village, not only the village,
15 but the factory and everything else, and he monitored those flights.
16 Q. That's after the fighting had started, is that right or was
17 that -- I see, this is the JNA shelling. So he was useful with maps, was
19 A. Well, the man did it in the JNA.
20 Q. Well, we, of course, know that by this time, by 1992, 1993, the
21 HVO was in charge in Vitez. Did he do that sort of service for the HVO as
22 well, work with maps?
23 A. I don't know if it was the HVO government in Vitez. As far as I
24 know it wasn't the HVO government in Vitez and right up to that
25 conflict --
1 JUDGE MAY: There's no need to --
2 A. The functions were shared.
3 JUDGE MAY: -- there's no need to argue the point. Mr. Nice can
4 you put these matters in as neutral way as possible in order to move on.
5 MR. NICE: Yes.
6 Q. There's one other point about Vinac. Did you know the man Dario
8 A. I know the name. I do not know him.
9 Q. Well, did you know him by sight?
10 A. By sight, I -- well, I knew him. I think we are more or less of
11 the same age, and Busovaca and Vitez are not all that far away from each
12 other not to know people by sight.
13 Q. Did you see him in your village?
14 A. In the village of Donja Veceriska, Dario Kordic never came to that
16 Q. [Microphone not activated] ... you can't say that, can you. I was
17 asking you whether you saw him there and you haven't answered.
18 A. I did not see him. I'm only speaking for myself.
19 Q. And as far as the man Vinac is concerned, if he said something or
20 if he's found in due course to have said something, would you expect it to
21 be accurate and reliable or was he a man ever prone to exaggeration, which
22 do you think?
23 A. About Mr. Vinac, I cannot say anything because I do not know what
24 he said or whether he said anything and what he says --
25 Q. I'll take that no further. We'll move on. The -- perhaps I
1 better deal with this now. I'm grateful to Mr. Lopez-Terres.
2 Ivica Drmic, by the end of 1992, what function did he have in your
4 A. In my village, there are three Ivica Drmics.
5 Q. The one who had a function in -- a military function or a guard
6 function at your village.
7 A. All of us had to have the duty to patrol the village, go up and
8 down the village, and the three of them had the same duty.
9 Q. But was Ivica Drmic, was there an Ivica Drmic who had a higher
10 rank who, in due course, was to become something in the nature of a
11 commander in your village. Can you think about that, please?
12 A. I know Ivica Drmic, later on a master of war, but there is another
13 Ivica Drmic, and I know a third Ivica Drmic because there are three Ivica
14 Drmics in the village.
15 Q. I'll come back to Ivica Drmic in a few questions' time, but let's
16 now come to the night of the 15th, 16th of April. We've seen the map.
17 You went to work and you came home from work at what time?
18 A. In the morning around half past 7.00.
19 Q. By -- so that's half past 7.00 on the 15th or half past 7.00 on
20 the 16th?
21 A. In the morning -- if the attack of the army was on the 16th, then
22 it means on the 16th at half past 7.00 or thereabouts I was in the
24 Q. Now, you're talking about the attack of the army. And as I had
25 understood your evidence to Mr. Kovacic, you were talking about a group of
1 soldiers called the Tvertkovci or whatever the proper pronunciation is,
2 weren't you? You were talking about the Tvertkovci?
3 A. Tvertkovci, yes.
4 Q. And I'm not quite sure I understand in summary what your evidence
5 was. You speak and you only speak of that group of soldiers mounting an
6 attack in the early morning; would that be correct?
7 A. I do not know whether they launched that attack. I know that when
8 I came to the village. I found them there.
9 Q. And we can see from the map that although distances are small,
10 Donja Veceriska is, to some degree, isolated, it's not isolated, it's
11 separate from the other communities. It's self-contained?
12 A. No. There is Mosunj, Gornja Veceriska, Gacice, Zaselje they are
13 all villages gravitating towards Donja Veceriska because so that they are
14 not on this map because this is not a good map.
15 Q. When you found these men, as you say, attacking people, they were,
16 of course, attacking Muslims, weren't they?
17 A. I did not see.
18 Q. You saw the results of what they did and you saw the people who
19 were killed, and it's a very small community. Your evidence is, is it
20 not, that they were attacking Muslims?
21 A. No, that was not my evidence nor is my statement such. I did not
22 see them attack, nor did I see them cause casualties. I said that I heard
23 about one civilian victim.
24 Q. Of course there weren't so very many Croats for them to attack,
25 were there, because they'd left the night before, hadn't they?
1 A. I did not know. I came at half past 7.00 in the morning, and I do
2 not know whether they wanted to attack Croats or whether Croats wanted to
3 attack them. And I'm not saying that. You are trying to make me say
4 that, but I am not testifying about that and I'm not talking about that.
5 Q. So you found yourself that night in the position of being
6 effectively a party to the cleansing of the village. Whether you enjoyed
7 that or not, that's what you found yourself being a party to, wasn't it?
8 A. No.
9 MR. NICE: I don't know if the Court is taking the normal time for
10 its break this morning.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we will. We will adjourn now. We shall be
12 sitting today from 11.30 until 12.30. It would be helpful if, during
13 that, you could wind up your cross-examination.
14 MR. NICE: I will certainly do my very best, without a doubt.
15 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. And then we could get on to the other
16 witness, because we shall only have one session this afternoon. That will
17 be from 2.15 until 3.45.
18 Mr. Drmic, we're going to adjourn now for half an hour. Would you
19 be back, please, at half past 11.00. Would you remember during the
20 adjournment not to speak to anybody about your evidence until it's over.
21 That includes members of the Defence team. Thank you. We'll adjourn.
22 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.33 a.m.
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. A little backtracking, Mr. Drmic, and then I'll be able to put
1 everything else in chronological sequence. You were, I think, a member of
2 the HDZ party, weren't you?
3 A. No, I was not. I was only a supporter.
4 Q. Very well. Well, we may take time with that later. But you told
5 us, I think, that you were involved in going both to Vlasic, and also were
6 you involved in the incident at the Slimena barracks in May of 1992?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In Slimena you were involved, therefore, in getting weapons out of
9 the barracks, were you?
10 A. No. That's not exactly the way it was. I came up there by car in
11 order to take part in taking the barracks.
12 Q. Cerkez was there as well, wasn't he, with his troops?
13 A. I did not see him.
14 Q. Didn't you?
15 MR. NICE: May the witness see his own exhibit again, D44/2, just
16 very briefly.
17 Q. When we looked at this before -- if we look at the title, please,
18 right at the top, "Croatian Defence Council Reserve Force," which is on
19 the top of this document that you put in. I think you were about to offer
20 some explanation for it, or maybe not. But tell us, what does that title
22 A. "The Republic of Herzegovina, Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
23 Vitez Croatian Defence Council, Croatian Defence Council Reserve Force,
24 Donja Veceriska." Now, what are you interested in exactly?
25 Q. I asked you: What does the phrase "reserve force" mean? What's
1 this title all about, please?
2 A. I wouldn't know what to say to you what this reserve force means,
3 but I know it means something. Well, it's simply the way it is, reserve
4 force. Well, more or less -- well, these were -- these were reserve
5 village guards. That's the way I would understand it: village guards,
6 reserve village --
7 Q. Well, we see a couple more references. Just very briefly,
8 paragraph 4 speaks of the reserve units establishing control over
9 extremists. Paragraph 5, the reserve force doing everything to prevent
10 Donja Veceriska from becoming a crossroads. Would it be reasonable to
11 distinguish reserve forces from active forces? Would that be reasonable?
12 A. I think that reserve even includes the Muslim forces -- I mean,
13 not forces, but villagers who would take part in controlling the
14 village -- and extremist persons from -- control over extremist persons
15 from both ethnic groups.
16 Q. But are you saying, just so that I can understand it -- and it's a
17 piece of paper you've produced, you see. Are you saying that the reserve
18 forces are the same as the village guards, or is this something different?
19 A. The same. The same. It's the same people, like the village
20 guards. But it was not logical to say "village guards." Reserve forces.
21 Q. I see.
22 A. Because both peoples are referred to here.
23 Q. But this isn't an identified number of soldiers or anything of
24 that sort. It's different. This is just the reserve people in the
25 village, is that right, the guards in the village, both sides?
1 A. Yes. I did not understand your question at all.
2 JUDGE MAY: I don't think we're going to get much further.
3 MR. NICE: I'm moving to another document, if I may. Exhibit 653,
5 Q. This is another document that we'd like your help with. You may
6 not have seen it before, but it comes from a period of time shortly before
7 the outbreak of violence, the 14th of April. And if you'd look at the
8 original, and if we go down to the bottom, it's the Viteska Brigade under
9 commander Ivica Drmic. And it speaks here of the 3rd Company with 12
10 soldiers from Gornja Veceriska. Can you help us at all with that, a
11 neighbouring village?
12 A. I can't tell you a thing. I have nothing to do with Gornja
13 Veceriska. I am from Donja Veceriska.
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. It has nothing to do with Gornja Veceriska.
16 Q. It's just shown on the map, if we were to look at it, just, as you
17 said, a few hundred metres off to the left.
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Drmic, do you want the Trial Chamber to accept
19 that you know nothing about Gornja Veceriska, your local nearby village?
20 Is that what you're really saying?
21 A. No, I'm not saying that. But Gornja Veceriska is four kilometres
22 away. I don't know about this figure of 12. I can't tell you anything
23 about that.
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. But from what we can judge, Mr. Drmic, the listing of soldiers in
1 Gornja Veceriska here under Ivica Drmic is obviously not a listing of
2 something like the village guards, is it? It's something entirely
3 different. It must be.
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. Well, you've told us that the village guards were from both sides,
6 Muslims and Croats. They are the same as the reserve. It's my last
7 question on this topic. If you can't help us, we're going to move on. A
8 listing of soldiers of the 3rd Company of Ivica Drmic is not village
9 guards, it's not reserves, is it?
10 A. Sir, you keep asking me about Gornja Veceriska all the time. I
11 live in Donja Veceriska, and I'm not interested in that question.
12 JUDGE MAY: It doesn't matter whether you are interested in it or
13 not. This Court is. Now, did you know of a group of HVO soldiers in
14 April 1993 in Gornja Veceriska; yes or no?
15 A. No.
16 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. Ivica Drmic whose name is on the screen, is he a relation of
20 A. I have three relations named Ivica Drmic, three.
21 Q. I think you referred, unless I'm wrong, to the Ivica Drmic I was
22 speaking of earlier or possibly Mr. Kovacic was speaking of as master of
23 war. Do you remember using such an expression, if I'm right about that,
24 something like that, because that's the one I'm interested in?
25 A. Ivica Drmic is a relation of mine. He has an MA, a master's
2 Q. I see. In warfare. Is he the one that's mentioned here as the
3 commander of the 3rd Battalion of the Viteska Brigade. You must know.
4 It's a tiny village. Is this the one we're talking about?
5 A. I'm talking about Ivica Drmic who has a master's degree. You
6 asked me about him. I don't know whether this name is that one, but the
7 Ivica Drmic I told you about who has a master's degree, I mentioned three
8 to you so I don't know which one.
9 Q. Let's locate one. The son of Mirko, that's the one we're
10 interested in. Now, is it the son of Mirko who has the master's degree in
12 A. No.
13 Q. Tell us about the one who is the son of Mirko then. He's a
14 relation of yours.
15 A. No.
16 Q. Did he have a military function at about this time as commander of
17 the 3rd Company?
18 A. All of us were on the village watches, and Ivica Drmic, I don't
19 know what post he had then. There was no company then. These were
20 village guards, and that's what I am telling you about because that's what
21 I know about. But I don't know about companies.
22 Q. I'm going to move on because either you can't or you won't help
23 me, but just let me understand this before I do move on. You know
24 perfectly well who I'm speaking of when I speak of Ivica Drmic, son of
25 Mirko, don't you? There's one man, and you know who I'm speaking about,
1 don't you?
2 A. No.
3 Q. I may come back to that but time is short. I'm going to ask you
4 to look at a new document, 657.2. You've told us about mobilisation.
5 When do you say you were first aware of any mobilisation?
6 A. Around the 24th, between the 24th and 30th, that is March 1993.
7 That's what I said.
8 Q. I see. I may have misunderstood you, but I thought you were
9 saying something about mobilisation in April of 1993. Would that be quite
11 A. No, I did not say that or I do not recall. But no, I didn't say
12 it. As for general mobilisation, I know about that from the 25th until
13 the 30th of March, 1993.
14 Q. I see.
15 A. The war started on the 16th, that is to say, only about ten days
16 later, when I came to the factory.
17 JUDGE MAY: April. April is when the war started, and what you
18 said was that the mobilisation took place between the 25th and the 30th of
19 April. That was your evidence, Mr. Drmic.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. We've heard what you said so far today. Can you think back and
22 just see if you can decide when it was that you think mobilisation
24 A. To tell you the truth, I really do not understand your question
25 now. This is what I've been saying. There was a conflict between the
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 Croats and the Muslims on the 16th or -- rather the 17th and the 16th, but
2 I came to the factory, and then people started talking about mobilisation,
3 general mobilisation for all --
4 JUDGE MAY: That's what you've said, but that was in April.
5 Yes. Now, let's move on.
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. Let's look at this document, shall we? This is a document, I'm
8 not suggesting you've seen it, perhaps you have, I want to know what your
9 comment is on it.
10 JUDGE MAY: The source, please.
11 MR. NICE: Zagreb.
12 Q. 15th, I think, 15th of April, 1993, in the evening at half past
13 6.00. Central Bosnia Operative Zone urgent, and it goes to a number of
14 groups which you can see listed starting with the Stjepan Tomasevic in
15 Novi Travnik, including the Vitez Brigade and then independent units.
16 There's no reference there to the Tvert group unit, and it says, "Because
17 of a deterioration of the security situation in Central Bosnia Operative
18 Zones area of responsibility, I order immediately to carry out a full
19 mobilisation of all members from the strengths of brigades and independent
20 units in Central Bosnia." At number five, the order enters into immediate
21 force with brigade commanders to be personally responsible. And number
22 six, for those brigade commanders to send a report of the implementation
23 of this order to this command on the 16th by 10.00 in the morning.
24 So this is a different mobilisation from any of the dates or times
25 you've spoken of. Think back, please. Were you aware that there had, in
1 fact, been a mobilisation of units on the night of the 15th in the evening
2 with a duty for local commanders to report back what happened on the
3 following morning.
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. You see I'm suggesting to you that you may well, as a Croat in
6 your village, know more than you are telling this Court. And in
7 particular, you must have known why the local Croats left this village on
8 the evening of the 15th of April.
9 A. How could I know? I was working.
10 Q. Well, you came back the next morning, and if Croats weren't there,
11 there would have been a reason for their not being there, Mr. Drmic.
12 Let's deal with it in two stages. Did you live in a house with family?
13 Did you live in a house with family?
14 A. Of course I do.
15 Q. Was your family there when you got back in the morning or had
16 they, by chance, left?
17 A. I came to the village at 7.30 in the morning and my family had got
18 out of the village.
19 Q. Thank you. Now, you've known that since I've been asking you
20 these questions today, and you must have known why they left. Will you
21 now please tell the Court why your family left before you got back from
22 work? Who warned them?
23 A. How could I know, sir? I was four or five or six hundred metres
24 away, perhaps even a kilometre away at the factory. I was doing my work.
25 I had no idea about a thing. When I'm at work, I have no contact with my
1 family. Nothing that evening, nothing.
2 Q. Mr. Drmic, you haven't in this Court been stopped from telling the
3 learned Judges what other people have told you. When you met your family
4 again, you must have asked them why they had left. They must have told
5 you. Will you now please tell us.
6 A. I met up with my family on the 18th.
7 Q. Yes?
8 A. That is two days later.
9 Q. Yes?
10 A. I met up with my family.
11 Q. Well, and?
12 A. And nothing.
13 Q. Did you not wonder where they had been? Did they not tell you
14 where they had been? Did they not tell what had happened? Hadn't you
15 been worried about where they had been? Mr. Drmic, you're not telling the
16 truth because you know that the truth reveals that this was a planned
17 attack, of which you were probably a party.
18 A. Nothing. Nothing was conscious at that time. I did not know
19 about any attack there. I did not participate in any attack. But when
20 the Serbs shelled Princip, sometimes our families would go away to
21 shelters, as far away from the village as possible. And it would happen
22 that they would go to Gornja Veceriska, and in Gornja Veceriska I have
23 friends, where my wife went with our children. That was not the first
24 time that the villagers from Donja Veceriska would leave the village.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Where did you meet your family? Where did you
1 meet your family?
2 A. In the village of Gornja Veceriska.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: How far is that from where they were living?
4 A. Four kilometres.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's fine, thanks.
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. Even that last answer isn't accurate, Mr. Drmic. You're trying to
8 create a false distance. Look at the bottom left-hand corner of this
9 plan. Your house is, at most, two kilometres from Gornja Veceriska, and
10 you know that. You've been trying to exaggerate the distances here.
11 Look, there's a scale on this plan. Gornja Veceriska is on the left.
12 You've shown us precisely where your house is. If we look at the scale at
13 the bottom, if you would be good enough to put it up, we can see what the
14 scale is for a kilometre. Your house is two kilometres, at most, from
15 Gornja Veceriska; correct?
16 A. No, that is not true. Perhaps this map is wrong. I know exactly
17 how far away it is. I know that it is certainly over three and a half
18 kilometres to the house where my wife was staying.
19 Q. Very well. If the map is wrong, the military map, so be it.
20 Let's look at Exhibit 676, very briefly.
21 MR. NICE: I can make mine available to save time. Usual form.
22 Q. I'm not suggesting that you would know about this document. It's
23 the content I'm interested in. You have been at pains to tell us about
24 the group known as the --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Tvrtkovci.
1 MR. NICE: Thank you.
2 Q. -- group. This is an order apparently sent out at half past 1.00
3 in the morning by Blaskic. You see, it goes out at half past 1.00 in the
4 morning. If we can look at the content of it again. And it's a command
5 order to protect attack -- to protect activity by the enemy, extremist
6 Muslim forces, and to blockade the broader territory of Kruscica, Vranska
7 and Donja Veceriska. It goes to the commander -- just at the top. Sorry.
8 Thank you very much -- of the HVO brigade, Mr. Cerkez. And if we then
9 look down the body of the document a little bit further --
10 JUDGE MAY: Just pausing there, you may have mentioned it, the
11 unit. Can we go back to the --
12 MR. NICE: The unit is mentioned there, yes.
13 JUDGE MAY: Tvrtkovci, yes.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. It sets out what's to happen. I'm sorry you haven't seen this
16 document before. It sets out time of readiness at 5.30. And it says at
17 the number 4: "Personally responsible to me for the execution of the
18 given assignment is the commander of the HVO brigade, Mr. M. Cerkez."
19 Now, that's the content of the document, apparently drawn or
20 created at half past 1.00 in the morning. Were you aware that this
21 Tvrtkovci unit was under these instructions and under the command of Mario
23 A. I don't know a thing about the order. As for the Tvrtkovci, I
24 found out about them only when I came to the village. Mario Cerkez, as
25 far as I know, did not have any authority over the Tvrtkovci.
1 Q. How do you know that? Who did have authority?
2 A. Those are special units, I mean groups. Nobody had anything to do
3 with them. They could do whatever they wanted. It was a state of war.
4 Q. How do you know that they could do whatever they wanted? Just
5 explain your position on that, please.
6 A. Do you understand what bandits are, what criminals are? Well,
7 those are criminals.
8 Q. These were people, I think we've agreed, who came into the area
9 where there was a particular need to safeguard that factory; correct?
10 A. Which people?
11 Q. The Tvrtkovci unit. They came into an area where there was a
12 special need to protect the SPS factory.
13 A. That is not correct.
14 Q. You, I think, agreed with me that it was especially important for
15 that factory to be protected because it was of special interest to any
16 warring party; correct?
17 A. Who would protect it? We, the local Croats and Muslims, or
18 somebody else, some third party? I didn't understand your question at
19 all. You understood for sure what I've been saying.
20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Drmic, can you remember, please, to deal
21 courteously with counsel. You are in Court now to give evidence, not to
22 argue. You've been treated courteously yourself, and I must ask you to
23 treat counsel with equal courtesy.
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. You don't point to any other HVO unit or special unit being
1 present in your village. You say it was all down to this particular
2 group. Two things follow. Are you suggesting, on the one hand, that the
3 HVO had left this vital factory, with its gateway into your village,
4 unprotected on the night of the 15th, 16th? Is that really what you're
6 A. No. I'm saying that the factory was protected by the security
7 workers made of Croats, Muslims, and some Serbs, and that there was a unit
8 15- to 20-men strong of the military police.
9 Q. Very well. I'm not going to discuss that further, for want of
10 time. We're going to move to another document. No, we won't. First of
11 all, I want to ask you some other questions about what you were doing on
12 that night. Answer this question, please, just yes or no, and don't give
13 any name. Do you follow me?
14 A. You may.
15 Q. There was a witness who gave evidence in the Blaskic case.
16 Following giving evidence, his house was either blown up or at least the
17 roof was destroyed. Just yes or no to that, please.
18 A. No.
19 Q. No knowledge of that at all?
20 A. I don't know what house you're talking about.
21 Q. A house towards the entrance of the village. Where we traced the
22 road in, where you come up that long road to come to the village off the
23 main road, it's one of the first houses there. Thinking back, do you
24 remember that house being damaged a couple of years ago, after the Blaskic
25 trial had started?
1 A. That house was damaged during the war.
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. Now I remember what house you are referring to. And I can tell
4 you what the name of the guy the house belongs to is. There is not -- I
5 don't have the map here.
6 Q. We'll come to that in a second. But first of all, you remember
7 that house being damaged in the war; and by my description of the house
8 being damaged more recently, you're obviously connecting the two. When it
9 was damaged more recently, was that because people in your village knew
10 that this person had given evidence in the Blaskic trial? Was it?
11 A. That I do not know. All I know is this: The house was damaged in
12 the war. It lost the roof, or rather it caved in, but nothing had been
13 taken away from the roof. And after that tiles were taken off that roof
14 and the authorities in Vitez ordered to take the tiles back, and that was
16 MR. NICE: Can we have a very short private session for the name
17 of the person.
18 [Private session]
3 [Open session]
4 MR. NICE:
5 Q. Two things happened on the night -- two particular things happened
6 that I want to remind you of on the night. First, the man we've just
7 identified was a man whose life you found at your mercy briefly. Do you
8 remember that? Because had you a gun in your hand and you were aiming it
9 at him.
10 A. Not true.
11 Q. But because you recognised him as a school colleague, you were --
12 turned your gun away and let him live; isn't that the truth?
13 A. That is not the truth. I never saw him.
14 Q. And the second thing that I want to remind you of on that night is
15 this: Do you remember a man whose hand was either blown off or seriously
16 damaged by a hand grenade that went off?
17 A. Later on, I knew later on that a man had lost his arm.
18 Q. Did you not help that man by putting him in a push cart and
19 pushing him somewhere so that he could get some kind of treatment for it?
20 A. Yes, I helped him.
21 Q. Thank you. Because, as I am suggesting to you throughout, you
22 found yourself that night involved, whether you liked it or not, in the
23 cleansing of your village. Now, do you accept that or do you reject that?
24 A. I reject it because I worked in the factory.
25 Q. Let's look at another document please, 1407.1, new document,
1 Zagreb. While it's coming to you, you've shown us one document of
2 somebody who was injured. There was a man called Jakesevic, Stipo Anto
3 who was injured that night, wasn't he? Do you remember that?
4 A. Yes, but when?
5 Q. On the 17th. Not that night, the following day.
6 A. Yes. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Just have a look at this document. You were a witness
8 to his being injured, and this is a document of the 25th of March, 1994,
9 coming from somebody called Mlakic, commander of the 4th Battalion of the
10 Viteska Brigade, and it relates to the injuries of the man Jakesevic born
11 in 1956 who had sought request from the Battalion for confirmation that he
12 was wounded, and I want to read what it says. "We confirm that Jakesevic,
13 Stipo Anto, born 1956 was in the (illegible) sector of the reserve
14 composition in the village of Donja Veceriska and in that respect on the
15 17th of April, 1993, while cleansing the village, he was wounded by a 60
16 millimetre mortar which was fired on the village by the MOS, seriously
17 wounded in the leg and after further treatment the leg remained
18 atrophied. The aforementioned casualty was carried by Drmic Bono who can
19 also be a witness."
20 Now, this is the Viteska Brigade writing about the events in which
21 you were involved. I ask you to think again, please. When you carried
22 this man to safety or for recovery, was it not because both of you had
23 been involved in cleansing this village?
24 A. No. All this is happening on the west side, and I keep telling
25 you about it. And all the other guys were killed by two shells.
1 Q. Well, what do you think of the description put out by the Viteska
2 Brigade's Battalion commander that the village was being cleansed,
3 please? You were there. You were the witness. This is their
5 A. I was in the village, but I was not an eye witness to the
6 cleansing. And what it says here, these are all some dates. See this was
7 of the 25th of March, 1994, and in 1994, what happened then? I don't
9 Q. When you witnessed this event, you were, in fact, I suggest to
10 you, present with the man, Ivica Drmic, about whom you've been either
11 unable or as I must suggest to you unwilling to tell us very much. It's
12 right, isn't it, that you were with Ivica Drmic?
13 A. We were all there at that moment, that village guards, Croat
14 village guards. That's the western part of the village. And I have
15 already told you umpteen times where the villagers of Donja Veceriska were
16 and where Tvertkovci went. And the shell here fell among the throng of
17 people. There were two shells which fell and I have already told you who
18 was killed and who was wounded, and that included Anto Jakesevic whom I
19 carried to a field, what do you call it, hospital.
20 MR. NICE: Your Honour, as he acknowledges being present with
21 Ivica Drmic, I needn't produce a document that proves that Ivica Drmic was
22 also a witness to these events.
23 A. No. No. No. No. No. I didn't confirm.
24 MR. NICE: 1472.14, very quickly.
25 Q. You see this is the document that I didn't want to trouble us
1 with, and what it shows is it's a document again that -- have a look at
2 it. It comes from the Viteska 92nd Unit. It's a document of 1996. It's
3 at the request of the same man, Anto Jakesevic. It relates to his injury
4 on the 16th of April where he was wounded -- I beg your pardon -- he was a
5 member of the Viteska 92 from the 16th of April. He was injured on the
6 17th in Vitez by a 60 millimetre round, and the witness is Ivica Drmic
7 while he was carrying out military duties on the first line of defence.
8 I'm simply trying to get you to agree with me, if you will,
9 please, that that night you were working with Ivica Drmic who we can see
10 from the documents was the commander of the Viteska Company in your
12 A. Well, I mean as far as I can, the previous exhibit and this one in
13 one it mentions Ivica as a witness, and in the other one, Bono Drmic as a
14 witness. I know nothing about this. And what could the regiment do? You
15 can see for yourself that one is signed by Mr. Mlakic and the other one by
16 Mario Cerkez, and they are two different individuals. Now it's me with
17 the witness now --
18 JUDGE MAY: I wonder if we can carry this any further. The
19 witness doesn't seem to get the point that this seems to contradict his
20 evidence, but there's little point going on arguing about it.
21 MR. NICE: Can I ask him just a couple more questions and get his
22 comment on a couple more documents then I will be done.
23 Q. The women you moved to Gornja Veceriska, ended up going to Vitez
24 and then Zenica, I think you said probably. You were actually doing
25 cleansing yourself, weren't you, taking Muslims and moving them so this
1 became a Croat village? Quite simple.
2 A. Not true.
3 Q. And can you look very briefly, Exhibit 721, I will provide my copy
4 for the Court. It's an English document, Mr. Drmic, so if you speak
5 English, of course follow it. It's a document from one of the British
6 battalions who was there. It's dated the 18th of April and it records
7 this, that is to say that one of the British battalions record this,
8 "British Battalion call signs witnessed HVO soldiers systematically
9 clearing Muslim houses at Donja Veceriska on that day."
10 That's an accurate account, isn't it, of what was going on?
11 A. I do not -- I'm not saying that Tvertkovci did not do that.
12 Q. I'm suggesting to you it may well have been wider than Tvertkovci,
13 and it was other members of the Viteska Brigade, but you are not going to
14 accept that.
15 Can we have a brief look at 722. This is another document dated
16 the 18th of April. Again it's a British Battalion document and a little
17 bit further down, I think -- there we are. It records at 0553 hours, so
18 it's an accurate piece of reporting, it's detailed, I mean, and it says,
19 "300 to 400 refugees were reported to be in the eastern edge of the
20 village of Donja Veceriska." You were there. That account by the
21 observing British officer is accurate, isn't it, some 300 to 400 Muslims
22 had been moved out?
23 A. No. I don't know, because it happened during the night.
24 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not going to take this witness any
25 further. I was going to go through the list of people buried. It's
1 Exhibit 1392 which lists the -- lists some of the people buried along with
2 the victims of Ahmici from this village, but the witness' answer to this
3 is going to be that he doesn't know. He's already told us that so I'm not
4 going to ask him.
5 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour, just briefly.
6 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Drmic, just a few explanations because I
8 think that some things have remained somewhat dim. Tell us, please, on
9 the 15th, in the evening of the 15th when you came to the factory to
10 report for work, did you at that time get any reliable information about
11 the state of stocks in the factory?
12 A. No. We practically had nothing to do with the production.
13 Q. Will you please try to give us as short answers as possible. We
14 shall speed things up now. So you do not have any reliable data as to the
15 size of stocks or raw materials there?
16 A. No, I don't.
17 Q. Just will you please pause between question and answer for the
18 record. There was talk about the mejtaf. The first question is whether
19 in Donja Kruscica there is a mejtaf?
20 A. You mean in Veceriska.
21 Q. Yes, I'm sorry. Yes, that's what I meant. In Donja Veceriska,
22 was there one?
23 A. Yes, there was.
24 Q. And this mejtaf has -- is marked in any way so that any outsider
25 can recognise it as a religious object?
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 A. That's just a house like any other house. It's not a mosque.
2 It's a mejtaf -- well, just a house like any other house.
3 Q. Right. Well, if I come as an outsider to the village, can I,
4 unless I know what goes on in that house, is there any way I can recognise
5 and single out that house from all the others?
6 A. No, I wouldn't say so.
7 Q. Thank you. And it wasn't clear when was it destroyed? Could you
8 tell us to the best of your recollection when was it destroyed?
9 A. Well, I really do not know when.
10 Q. But could you give us the year?
11 A. I think it was 1993.
12 Q. That is after the war had broken out between Muslims and Croats?
13 A. I repeat, that is most likely.
14 Q. But could you tell us if it was a short time after the war broke
15 out, was it in summer or was it in winter?
16 A. I think it was in winter because if the war started in winter,
17 then that is how it should be, but I'm not sure. I can't really tell you
18 because I don't really know when the mejtaf was destroyed.
19 Q. Right. But could you tell us was it in the early days of the war
20 that it was destroyed?
21 A. I don't know.
22 Q. Thank you. An individual named Vinac was mentioned. Could you
23 tell us if there are any people called Vinac in your village?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. A number of them or what kind of a family is that, a large one or
2 A. Well, about 30. Some 30 villagers.
3 Q. So quite a number of them?
4 A. Yes, quite a number of them.
5 Q. And as for the altitude difference between the Gornja and Donja
6 Veceriska, are they the same altitude?
7 A. You mean the --
8 Q. Above the sea level?
9 A. Yes. Donja Veceriska is higher.
10 Q. Is there a significant difference?
11 A. In what?
12 Q. In altitude.
13 A. Well, with the naked eye, you wouldn't see it but in the free
14 fall, our water gets to them so it means --
15 Q. Thank you. One of the Drmics that you mentioned and you said that
16 he was a master, but it was said a master of war sciences or what is it?
17 A. No. No. No. A man who obtained a master's degree before the
19 Q. But in what sense?
20 A. I don't know. How can I know? In Banja Luka. To be quite
21 honest, I don't know and I really didn't care.
22 Q. But, whatever the case, you tell us that this Drmic obtained his
23 master's degree before the war?
24 A. Well of course.
25 Q. You were shown a document with a man called Anto Jakesevic, do you
1 know where he comes from?
2 A. Jajce.
3 Q. Did you know him before the war?
4 A. I knew him because he came when Croats and Muslims were expelled
5 from above. That is when he came to the village.
6 Q. Very well. I document was shown to you by my learned friend, 653,
7 where these villages are mentioned, and you told us that you did not know
8 the exact situation Gornja Veceriska but let me phrase it in a different
9 way. You told us in your testimony that you took part in the action at
10 Galica, and Slimena, and once you were on duty in a shift at Divjak. Was
11 this Ivica Drmic your superior an all those occasions or somebody else?
12 A. No, not mine.
13 Q. Not yours, thank you. Mr. Drmic, could you tell us roughly how
14 many times, on how many occasions before the events of the 16th of April
15 when your families were taken to shelter in Donja Veceriska, in Gornja
16 Veceriska, how many times did that happen before?
17 A. Well, some three or four times, for instance, when Serbs would
18 shell their factory and then -- because up there is slightly further away
19 and houses are better sheltered because they are on hillsides so they
20 would go there. Muslims also went to their friends.
21 Q. Let us just take an example. Do you remember when the JNA air
22 force shelled the factory?
23 A. Oh, yes, I remember it well, because I was about to start building
24 my house, or rather I was laying the foundations for my house. I remember
25 it well.
1 Q. Very well. And were then the civilians also instructed to take
2 shelter in Gornja Veceriska?
3 A. Well, I took shelter in Asim Haskic, in his cellar, with his
5 Q. Where? In what village?
6 A. Well, he was my next-door neighbour. That's what we call one
7 another, "neighbour." That's how we address one another.
8 Q. This one witness whose name was mentioned in private -- and you
9 know who I'm talking about, so let's not go back into that.
10 A. I know.
11 Q. And my learned friend said that he had testified in Blaskic's
12 case. Tell us, was he one of those whom you called extremists in that
14 A. Oh, come on, no.
15 Q. Thank you. I do not know whether you are familiar with that
16 terminology, but let me ask you: In a document that you were shown, the
17 term "cleansing" of the village was used. But when I use that word, what
18 do you -- how do you understand it? Do you understand it as cleansing, as
19 sweeping, as mopping up, clearing up?
20 A. Well, I don't really know what these -- Tvrtkovci or something. I
21 don't -- those orders of theirs. When one uses the term
22 "ciscenje" -- so you've put it well. It can mean taking a broom and
23 sweeping a place. But this is perhaps something else. This was, I'd
24 say -- no, I really can't -- I can't answer. It's really a very difficult
25 question and I am not really very good with words.
1 Q. But did you ever hear the military use that word?
2 A. Well, of course I've heard of the word "ciscenje," but I've never
3 heard about that word used in relation to a people.
4 Q. But before, when you served the army, did you hear perhaps when
5 you served that ground would be cleared of mines or something like that?
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic --
7 A. Yes, I've heard about this.
8 JUDGE MAY: -- don't put words into the witness' mind.
9 MR. KOVACIC: No, I won't. Your Honour, I just merely wanted to
10 show that in the Croatian language, this word is having many
11 different -- nothing else.
12 JUDGE MAY: If you want to do it, you can call some evidence about
13 it or something of that sort, but don't put words into the witness'
14 mouth. Yes. Now, have you got anything else? We've got a very short
16 MR. KOVACIC: Just one small question.
17 Q. Mr. Drmic, do you perhaps still remember, at that time, before the
18 war, what was the number of the village? How many villagers were there?
19 A. Yes, because I was on the census board in 1991, at the time of the
20 elections, and as far as I can remember, the village had 580 inhabitants.
21 That is about 320 or 340 -- I cannot really tell you -- those who were
22 Bosniaks, and about 200 something. But 40 per cent of Croats and 60 per
23 cent -- and 60 per cent Muslims.
24 Q. And bearing in mind the circumstances and the developments during
25 those early -- the most critical days of the war, would you say that it
1 was possible for that large number of refugees, as shown in the British
2 document? Was that possible to have as many refugees as all that?
3 A. Well, if I'm correct in what I'm saying -- and of course, there
4 are papers to show how many Croats and how many Muslims there were. I do
5 not really remember the one in the British one.
6 Q. Well, the figure of three hundred, three to four hundred was
8 A. No, it couldn't be. No. Four hundred? No, it couldn't be.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. No more
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Drmic, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
12 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.
13 We'll adjourn now until 2.15.
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.20 p.m.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration. If you
4 would stand up, please.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
6 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
7 WITNESS: VLADO RAMLJAK
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
10 Mr. Mikulicic, we are slightly behind time, I notice. Let's see
11 if we can get through this witness this afternoon, because it will leave
12 two for tomorrow.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: I will do my best, Your Honour.
14 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Ramljak. On behalf of the
16 accused, Mario Cerkez, I'm going to question you. Will you please state
17 your full name, date and place of birth for the record.
18 A. Vlado Ramljak, born on 11 April 1953.
19 Q. You are an ethnic Croat and a Roman Catholic by religion; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You're a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You finished vocational school in Vitez, specialising in
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And you're a chemist by occupation, by profession?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You're currently unemployed. You receive disability as a war
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You are married, you have two sons, ages 19 and 21?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You're a member of the HDZ, but you do not hold any party office?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. You also have two sisters and two brothers?
13 A. That is correct.
14 Q. You served in the former JNA in Vranje, Serbia, but you hold no
15 military rank?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Mr. Ramljak, can you tell us where you worked before the broke in
18 Vitez [as interpreted]?
19 A. I was working for the Vitezit company in Vitez.
20 Q. You said that you were a chemist, so where did you work? What
22 A. That was the Facility B.
23 Q. What did they manufacture?
24 A. They manufactured plastic explosives.
25 Q. Where did you live at that time, Mr. Ramljak?
1 A. Poculica.
2 Q. What ethnic group has a majority in Poculica?
3 A. There's a Croat majority there.
4 Q. Near Poculica are villages Prnjavor and Vrhovine. What ethnic
5 group dominates in those areas?
6 A. Those were Muslim villages.
7 Q. Mr. Ramljak, were village guards organised in your village in
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Were you also a member of these village guards?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Were Muslims from your -- did Muslims in your village also take
13 part in village guards or were they exclusively Croat?
14 A. They were mixed guards.
15 Q. Who was the commander of your village guard at that time, in 1993?
16 A. Dragan Grebenar.
17 Q. Who appointed him commander of the village guards?
18 A. We appointed him. We elected him.
19 Q. Mr. Ramljak, can you tell me: In addition to guarding your
20 village in these village guards, did you also hold another post in
22 A. There was looting, so we -- in Poculica, so we went to give guard
24 Q. And where was the other location in on Kuber?
25 A. It was a location called Bivolac.
1 Q. How often did you go there?
2 A. We went there every three weeks. We alternated with other
4 Q. How many were you in a shift?
5 A. Ten.
6 Q. What was your basic task there?
7 A. It was to observe, nothing else.
8 Q. What were you to observe?
9 A. It was predominantly against the Serbs.
10 Q. Immediately before the 16th of April, which is when the war broke
11 out, you were at Kuber?
12 A. Yes, but I had come back from there four days previously.
13 Q. So you returned to your village four days before the conflict?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you go on your way back through the village of Prnjavor, which
16 we have mentioned?
17 A. Yes, I did by myself; and the others went around via Gola Kosa, so
18 I was there alone.
19 Q. Did you notice something unusual in the village of Prnjavor?
20 A. I did.
21 Q. Can you please tell us what it was what you noticed?
22 A. There were four bus loads of soldiers and there were two flags and
23 they had -- there were people with their -- with turbans and with beards
24 and they were the BiH army buses.
25 Q. The flags that you saw, do you recall the colours of those flags?
1 A. One was black, one was green.
2 Q. And they had an inscription on them?
3 A. They had an inscription in Arabic.
4 Q. Did the soldiers have any insignia?
5 A. Yes, they had the crescent moon and the star on their sleeves.
6 Q. Were these people whom you knew from before, locals from Prnjavor
7 or were they people who had come from somewhere else?
8 A. They were people who came from somewhere else. They talked in a
9 language I couldn't understand.
10 Q. How did you call the -- these people whom you described as having
11 had beards and having talked in a language you did not understand?
12 A. Mujahedins.
13 Q. Mr. Ramljak, at Kuber, you kept watch. Did Muslims also keep
14 watches at Kuber?
15 A. Yes, above us.
16 Q. Did you hear about an incident in Kuber before the outbreak of
18 A. There was no incidents.
19 Q. Mr. Ramljak, do you know Vlado Santic?
20 A. I do know him.
21 Q. Did he also go to Kuber in shifts?
22 A. Yes, he did.
23 Q. Vlado Santic replaced your shift at Kuber?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did he later tell you what he had heard up there?
1 A. They were attacked and three soldiers were killed.
2 Q. Did he tell you approximately when this happened?
3 A. I think that that happened about one day before the conflict.
4 Q. We have already talked about this and the Trial Chamber knows that
5 the conflict started on the 16th of April in the early morning hours.
6 Where were you?
7 A. I woke up at 6.00 in the morning. Oh, no, at 6.00, I turned over
8 my duty, and at 6.30 I was taken prisoner.
9 Q. Mr. Ramljak, could you please slide your chair over closer to the
10 microphone, it may be easier. You said that you turned over your shift at
11 6.00 in the morning, what type of shift was it?
12 A. That is what we did in the village.
13 Q. The night that you spent in the village on guard duty, did
14 anything unusual happen during that night?
15 A. Abas Causevic and Ekrim Bektas were on guard duty with me, but I
16 noticed that those civilians, those men were passing from Prnjavor wearing
17 civilian clothes.
18 Q. The two gentlemen you mentioned, what ethnic group did they belong
20 A. Muslim.
21 Q. And in the course of the night, you saw Muslims leaving with
22 weapons in the direction of Prnjavor?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you ask them what was going on, why these people were going
1 A. We didn't ask anything because the two who were with me also did
2 not know what was going on.
3 Q. Very well. What happened then when you turned over your guard
4 duties at 6.00 in the morning?
5 A. I was taken prisoner at 6.30.
6 Q. Can you describe this to us briefly? How did it happen that you
7 were captured?
8 A. They called out to me, they said, "Vlado, give up your weapons."
9 I came out of the house, and I couldn't recognise anybody because they all
10 had their faces painted. I told them that I didn't have any weapons
11 because I had left it with the guards. And he said, "Bring out your wife
12 and children," and my brother who was in a wheelchair, and then they put
13 us in a vehicle and took us to Prnjavor.
14 Q. Very well. Let us try to clarify this. In the morning you were
15 in your house?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Then somebody called you out asking you to surrender your weapons?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. By using your name, calling you by your name, Vlado?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. About what time was that?
22 A. I think between 6.45 and 7.00. I couldn't be precise on that.
23 Q. And at that, you left the house?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And who did you see?
1 A. I saw those with their faces painted. They had -- they were
2 breaking windows down at a coffee bar. They had broken in the door.
3 Q. These people with painted faces, were they wearing civilian
4 clothes or uniforms?
5 A. Uniforms.
6 Q. Did they have any insignia on their uniforms?
7 A. No, they only had the green things. The green ribbons on their
9 Q. You mentioned in your house on the ground floor, there was a bar?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And you said that they had broken the glass down there?
12 A. They destroyed everything that -- everything that there was
14 Q. Among these people with painted faces, were you able to recognise
16 A. Not really.
17 Q. They asked you to surrender your weapons and you told them that
18 you did not have any, and that you had left it up at the school with the
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. The school was the place where you changed guard duties?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Then you said that you and your family, including your
24 wheelchair-bound brother were taken to Prnjavor?
25 A. Yes.
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 Q. Where were you taken in Prnjavor?
2 A. They took them to a house, and I was in the hall with the rest of
3 the men.
4 Q. Before this, did the soldiers ask you to go and get somebody from
5 the village?
6 A. Well, that was around 12.00 when they -- the loud speaker sounded
7 calling on Croats to surrender weapons.
8 Q. Now, where was this loudspeaker located, Mr. Ramljak?
9 A. Up there where hodza would go.
10 Q. You mean of the minaret of the mosque?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you tell me, were you then given a task of getting somebody
13 from the village?
14 A. I was told to go to the commander and to order him to come to the
15 school for negotiations in order to surrender all the weapons, and he said
16 if he doesn't do that, you don't need to come back.
17 Q. You said that Dragan Grebenar was the commander of these guards.
18 Mr. Ramljak, let me ask you this thing again, for the record. What did
19 they say that they would do if you didn't come back?
20 A. I was told that if I didn't come back, that they would kill my
22 Q. Very well. And then you went to look for Grebenar?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What happened then?
25 A. I came to Grebenar and a shell fell between us. Grebenar was
1 injured and he was taken to Vitez, and I went back.
2 Q. When you came back to the part of the village where ABiH soldiers
3 were, did you tell them what happened?
4 A. Yes. They said, "Don't shoot. Vlado is coming back." And I came
5 back and the commander asked me, "Where's your commander?" And I said,
6 "He's been wounded."
7 Q. What was the name of this ABiH commander with whom you talked?
8 A. Redjo Bektas.
9 Q. And what did he order after that?
10 A. He ordered the soldiers to split up and to attack, and I was taken
11 to the hall.
12 Q. Did you personally hear when Redjo Bektas issued the military
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you tell us what approximately he ordered?
16 A. He said to attack the lower part of the village.
17 Q. What happened then?
18 A. I don't know. I only heard shooting while I was in the hall.
19 Q. Was there any fire in the village, I mean flames?
20 A. When our own withdrew, I heard from them. And when I was being
21 taken to Sivrino Selo, I saw that the houses of the lower part of the
22 village were all burned down.
23 Q. So Croats from this part of Poculica had to leave the village?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Very well. Then you said that you were taken to Prnjavor, to the
1 village hall, where you were detained.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did they tell you why they were detaining you in the village
4 hall? Did they tell you anything?
5 A. No, they didn't say anything to me. But it wasn't just me. We
6 were about 30 men.
7 Q. What about women and children?
8 A. They were put in various houses. I didn't even see them.
9 Q. How long did you stay in this village hall in the ABiH detention?
10 A. Seven days.
11 Q. Later you were transferred. Where?
12 A. To Sivrino Selo.
13 Q. Later on did somebody tell you what happened in the village hall
14 after you left?
15 A. Jozo Vidovic, Ivo Vidovic, and Perica Papic were killed; and Jozo
16 Jurcevic and Zeljo Papic were wounded, and another six women, because some
17 of those women were also in the hall at that time.
18 Q. But you didn't see that?
19 A. No, I did not see them, because we had left the hall.
20 Q. Who told you this?
21 A. Anto Kristo. He had stayed there, but he had been captured later,
22 and so he told us this.
23 Q. How about Jozo and Zeljo, who were wounded? Did they also tell
24 you this?
25 A. Yes, when they were released from the hospital in Crkvica, they
1 also told that story.
2 Q. Very well. From there you were transferred to Sivrino Selo.
3 Where were you placed there?
4 A. They have a mejtaf there where they had their religious ceremony,
5 so that's where we were.
6 Q. So this building where mejtaf was, this is a place of worship. It
7 was turned or converted into a prison?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How many were you in this mejtaf at Sivrino Selo?
10 A. Twenty-one.
11 Q. Where were you transferred after that?
12 A. We stayed there for a long time.
13 Q. But where were you transferred after Sivrino Selo?
14 A. To Vrhovine.
15 Q. How long did you stay at Vrhovine?
16 A. I couldn't tell you exactly. I think we stayed two or three days.
17 Q. And after that where were you transferred?
18 A. To Preocica.
19 Q. Very well. What was in Preocica?
20 A. The Red Cross came to Preocica, registered us, and then we were
22 Q. Did you manage to escape at that time?
23 A. I was exchanged, but I was captured for the second time in
25 Q. When you said that you were captured for the second time, did ABiH
1 soldiers ask you -- did they tell you anything?
2 A. One of them went to execute me and asked me for 5.000 in order not
3 to do so.
4 Q. He asked 5.000 of what?
5 A. German marks.
6 Q. Did you have that kind of money on you?
7 A. From where?
8 Q. So what did they say to you when you told them that you didn't
9 have that money?
10 A. I said, "I don't care." He said, "How do you not care?" I said,
11 "I don't care because I don't have the money." And then one of them
12 cocked a gun. But then their commanding officer came and said, "Where's
13 Ramljak?" I said, "Here he is." "Well, go back -- go to the van." And
14 then he asked me, "Were you beaten?" I said, "No."
15 Q. Very well. Now, where were you taken then?
16 A. After that I was taken to the music school in Zenica.
17 Q. And after the music school in Zenica?
18 A. The KP Dom, the correctional centre.
19 Q. While you were in Zenica, did the Red Cross come to visit or
20 register you?
21 THE INTERPRETER: There was no audible answer.
22 JUDGE MAY: No answer to that.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Will you please repeat the answer? Will you please repeat it?
25 Did the Red Cross come to visit you while you were in Zenica?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Mr. Ramljak, can you remember whether at any point in time during
3 your captivity, first Prnjavor, Sivrino Selo and so on, did any physician
4 ever come to talk to you or visit you?
5 A. No.
6 Q. What kind of food were you getting?
7 A. Very bad. It would be just scraps.
8 Q. How long did you stay in captivity?
9 A. About two months.
10 Q. What was -- how did the guards treat you?
11 A. It depended. At Vrhovine, there was some soldiers who were from
12 somewhere else. I was beaten.
13 Q. Why were you beaten?
14 A. Because I was in a uniform.
15 Q. What kind of a uniform were you wearing?
16 A. A camouflage uniform.
17 Q. Where did you get that uniform?
18 A. I got it from a friend, somehow put it together.
19 Q. Did other members of the village guards in Poculica also wear
21 A. We were exchanging clothes so that whoever was on guard duty would
22 actually wear uniforms, so we swapped clothes.
23 Q. Did you see some foreign people in Prnjavor, in other words, some
24 non-Bosnian people?
25 A. When I was in the KP Dom. I never went through Prnjavor again.
1 Q. While you were in captivity, what did you have to do? What kind
2 of jobs?
3 A. We did nothing. Oh, you mean in the villages?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. We had to bury pigs because a lot of pigs had been slaughtered and
6 then we were also used as human shields while they were burying their
7 own. As they were burying them, they would line us up.
8 Q. Mr. Ramljak, you said you had to bury swine. Who killed them?
9 A. Well theirs, not ours.
10 Q. When you say "theirs", whom do you mean?
11 A. Why Muslims.
12 Q. You said that you also were used as a human shield as they buried
13 but whom do you mean again?
14 A. Well, somebody, one of theirs dies or is killed and they put us
16 Q. When you say one of them dies, whom do you mean? What army?
17 A. Regardless, an elderly man, perhaps, dies of old age, never mind,
18 they just put us around.
19 Q. Tell us, did you keep in touch with your family during your
21 A. No.
22 Q. And what do you hear later on, what had happened to them?
23 A. I couldn't hear anything until I came back.
24 Q. And did they then tell you what they had gone through where they
25 had been to?
1 A. They were exchanged on the 17th day and the Red Cross transferred
3 Q. And during your stay in prison and all the mistreatment, you were
4 granted a status of an invalid, isn't it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And you do get some remuneration for that, but you get it only
7 from time to time. Will you please answer?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Could you give us the percentage of your disability?
10 A. 40 per cent.
11 Q. And you were also given those certificates, weren't you?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And what have you done with those certificates, can you use them?
14 A. Nothing.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation} And before we finish, I should
16 like to ask the registry to show the witness Exhibit Z70.2. [In English]
17 It's on page 54, please.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ramljak, will you please look at this? Under
19 number 73 on this page, which is page 54, there is a name, Ramljak, son of
20 Jako, first name Vlado, born 11th April 1953; is that you? Are these your
22 A. Yes, except that the signature is not mine.
23 Q. So in the right-hand column, the signature there is not yours?
24 A. No, it isn't.
25 Q. Those who signed this list, Pero Grebenar, who is he?
1 A. He is Drago Grebenar's brother.
2 Q. And what was he in the village, what was he?
3 A. I don't know. He was with the HDZ. I don't know what he was.
4 Q. And what about Vinko Tomic?
5 A. Well, same thing. I don't know. All I know is that he was with
6 the HDZ.
7 Q. And the third signed is Dragan Grebenar and you told us that he
8 was the village guard commander, didn't you?
9 A. I did. I did. Yes.
10 Q. If it one looks here, it seems that you were a member of the basic
11 branch of the HDZ in Poculica. That is correct, isn't it? Were you a
12 member of the basic branch of the HDZ in Poculica, were you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And that you were active in organising resistance to aggression as
15 of the 18th September of 1991; is that correct?
16 A. No.
17 Q. And would you know, Mr. Ramljak, who gave these facts to the men
18 who -- which they then put in these lists?
19 A. I don't.
20 Q. Were you the one who gave them these facts?
21 A. Well, somebody did. Perhaps they got them from the municipal
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
24 further questions, Your Honours.
25 MR. SAYERS: Your Honours, we have no questions for Mr. Ramljak.
1 Cross-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ramljak, so your first name is Vlado. You
3 are Vlado Ramljak?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Do you know any of your namesakes in Vitez, are there other people
6 called Vlado Ramljak?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Are you related to them?
9 A. They carry the same surname, there are four of them. No, we are
10 not related.
11 Q. And is one of those four a member or was he a member of the civil
12 police in Vitez?
13 A. I don't know.
14 Q. Were any members of your family members of the Vitez Brigade?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And in what capacity were they officers or were they just foot
18 A. Just ordinary soldiers, and that was only one of them.
19 Q. And from what sector did he come, that relative?
20 A. Same place where I come from, from above, from Poculica.
21 Q. But you -- so you had a relative who was called Ramljak like you
22 and was a member of the Vitez Brigade and who also came from Poculica like
23 you did, is it?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you personally, you were not a member of the Vitez Brigade,
1 were you?
2 A. No. Yes [as interpreted].
3 Q. Were there any members of your family who lost their lives during
4 the conflict?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Close or distant relatives?
7 A. Distant relatives.
8 Q. And what were those circumstances under which they died?
9 A. He was killed at Buhine Kuce.
10 Q. And he was also a soldier in the Vitez Brigade?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So it is -- you had two members of your family who were in the
13 Vitez Brigade, if I understand you properly.
14 A. No, just one.
15 Q. But the person who was killed is the one who came from Poculica
16 like you.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You told us that you were trained in chemistry and that you worked
19 for Vitezit.
20 A. No, I am not a technician.
21 Q. I was not mentioning technician. You were a chemist and you
22 worked in the department producing plastic explosives at Vitezit?
23 A. Yes, I had chemical training, yes.
24 Q. Did you go on working for the Vitezit plant until the 16th of
25 April 1993 in the same job?
1 A. No.
2 Q. And when did you stop working for the factory?
3 A. We stopped when the Serbs shelled the Princip. And after that,
4 nobody worked.
5 Q. So you were doing nothing in April 1993.
6 A. I wasn't.
7 Q. Just to clarify it because it was not clear either in your
8 summary, did you own a bar or coffee shop or something in Poculica in your
9 house, in the house in which you lived?
10 A. No. Well that was in my building.
11 Q. In your statement, in your summary, it says in 2.5 that soldiers
12 who surrounded your house on the 16th of April destroyed the inventory,
13 the things that were in your bar. So you were running a bar at the time,
14 weren't you?
15 A. But I opened it in my building and it was completely destroyed.
16 Q. In your summary, all it says -- and that is where I stopped. When
17 I -- one reads this summary, it seems that at the time when your house was
18 attacked, that it was the bar, which was also destroyed. So my impression
19 was I thought that it was in one and the same house. But are they two
20 different buildings, two different places that you are talking about?
21 A. There were two coffee shops, one that belonged to the relative
22 that was killed and one that I owned. I do not know which one you have in
23 mind, but both were destroyed.
24 Q. I'm talking about the bar which is mentioned in your summary, the
25 summary which you signed, the destruction of that. Do you have any
1 eyewitnesses to that or were you told that? Because it was not near your
2 house, as far as I can understand.
3 A. No. That was in my house, personal. Except that you were
4 not -- you are not being clear. I had rented my coffee bar to my
6 Q. Let me rephrase this. The building in which you were surrounded
7 on the 16th of April, is it in that building that this bar was?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So we agree on that. A few moments ago Mr. Cerkez's counsel
10 showed you a document which is Z70.2, and you said that it was your name
11 and your particulars but that the signature was not yours, but that you
12 indeed were a member of the HDZ branch in Poculica.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You were also asked about the names of the three persons who
15 undersigned that document: Mr. Pero Grebenar, who is called a
16 coordinator. Could you tell us, what does "coordinator" mean?
17 A. No.
18 Q. There's then Mr. Vinko Tomic, and it says that he's a commander.
19 A. No.
20 Q. And finally, Mr. Dragan Grebenar, who appears here as the
21 president of the local branch. So he was the president of the Poculica
22 branch, Dragan Grebenar?
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 Q. And at the same time while being the president of the Poculica HDZ
25 branch, he was the head -- also he was also the head, the leader of the
1 unit of village guards to which you belonged as well, too?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. This document which was shown you and that we are talking about
4 and which was -- which comes from the defence office in Vitez, would you
5 know why would a document with a list of party members be in a defence
6 office, that is, an office which is responsible for military affairs?
7 A. I don't know that.
8 Q. Mr. Dragan Grebenar was sitting in your seat a few days ago. He
9 also testified here. Did you have an opportunity to talk to him since his
11 A. I didn't even see him, to tell you the truth, because I wasn't at
13 Q. Let us go back to various things that you told us about, and in
14 particular those village guards that you told us about. And you also told
15 us that you were one of them. You told us that those village guards were
16 made of both Muslims and Croats. Was that also true until the 16th of
17 April, 1993?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. But in April 1993, on the 15th of April, 1993, were they still
21 A. Yes, right up to the conflict.
22 Q. Could you give us the names of Muslim individuals who were members
23 of that unit at the same time that you were a member of it.
24 A. I've already said about Causevic and Ekrem Bektas. They stood
25 guard with me between the 15th and the 16th.
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 Q. And those -- and they were members of the BH army or the HVO?
2 A. They were members of the village guards, but they stood guard
3 together with us.
4 Q. And that village guard unit that you tell us about, it was made of
5 reservists, I suppose.
6 A. I wouldn't know. They were mostly civilians.
7 Q. Do you know what is a reservist? What does it mean?
8 A. Well, I think it's a reserve soldier.
9 Q. And when he's not being a soldier, what is he then? A civilian,
10 isn't he?
11 A. Well, depends.
12 Q. And in the organisation of the former Yugoslav army, there were
13 several elements: There were active duty soldiers, there were reserves.
14 And that same system was taken over, as said by an HVO decree, isn't it?
15 A. There was also the civil defence and there was also that defence
17 Q. Yes. We agree on that. You were, I believe, 39 at the time of
18 that conflict, or 40, and you were still a reserve.
19 A. Well, yes. I was in the reserve even with that army.
20 Q. No. I'm talking about the HVO. Aren't you on the lists of the
21 defence office in Vitez?
22 A. I don't really understand.
23 Q. There was a defence office in Vitez; you know that, don't you?
24 A. Yeah.
25 Q. And there you had a record there, like all the people who were on
1 the reserve or all those who were on active duty?
2 A. Yeah. Yes, yes.
3 Q. And that unit of village guards, as you call it, you told us that
4 it had its commander and that his name was Dragan Grebenar, you told us
5 already about, and he's a man who testified here a few days ago. Did he
6 have a rank?
7 A. No.
8 Q. But he gave you orders?
9 A. Well, we elected him.
10 Q. And he was the one who told you, "Go patrol Kuber" or go patrol
11 somewhere else?
12 A. Only Kuber and in the village.
13 Q. And that Mount Kuber is, in point of fact, a hill above your
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And from which one can see Zenica?
17 A. You can, yes.
18 Q. Could you tell me if in April 1993 there were any Serbs in Zenica,
19 Serbs about to attack you?
20 A. I couldn't really say.
21 Q. But don't you know where the front against the Serbs was at the
22 time? It was in the direction of Travnik, Mount Vlasic, not Zenica.
23 A. I can't say anything.
24 Q. And that village guard unit, could you tell us, what gear did you
25 have? Did you have weapons? Did you have uniforms?
1 A. No. We had weapons, but we took them one from the other. We did
2 not have any uniforms.
3 Q. You did not have uniforms, yet you told us that you were captured
4 in your house on the morning of the 16th of April by the Muslims and that
5 you were wearing a uniform. That is what you told us, isn't it?
6 A. Yes, but that uniform I was given by a friend. It's not that I
7 had it because I was issued with it.
8 Q. And the weapons that you had, what kind of weapons? Hunting?
9 A. We had ordinary Sokac.
10 Q. And how many of them?
11 A. I wouldn't say that there were ten of them.
12 Q. I'm going to show you a document. It is document 653. Can you
13 see this document on page 1? It is marked "Commander Slavko Papic" and it
14 is marked "Poculica" and "number 13." And after that it is seen that the
15 company lacks armament and there are four Sokac guns.
16 A. This is Poculica. You can see Nadioci and Veliki Mosunj.
17 Q. On the version that I have got here, there is written "Poculica."
18 There is the municipality of Poculica. And this is also on the document
19 that is on the ELMO.
20 A. No, Poculica.
21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Could I have the document in
22 the original language?
23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Ramljak, do you see the document just where you
24 are looking now, Poculica?
25 A. I see it now, yes, I do.
1 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Can you read the words Poculica?
3 A. [No interpretation]
4 Q. Have you got problems with your eyesight?
5 JUDGE MAY: He says he's seen it.
6 A. Yes. I can see it now, 13 soldiers.
7 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Could you give us comment on the unit of the 13 men who were at
9 Poculica? Do you know who were these men? Did you know them?
10 A. Again, it was this village guards. There were always ten of us
11 who were going to Kuber and three stayed behind in the village on duty.
12 Q. So you are telling us that you were one of these 13 men?
13 A. Sometimes I was, sometimes I was not.
14 Q. Before you fold your spectacles, will you please look again at
15 this document. It is a document originating from the Vitez Brigade dated
16 the 13th of April. You are telling us that you were not a member of the
17 Vitez Brigade.
18 A. Yes, but from when? I was a member of the Vitez Brigade when I
19 escaped the prison.
20 Q. That was much later on. On the 14th of April, 1993, which is the
21 date of this document.
22 A. It is not.
23 Q. You have just told us that you were one of the 13 men who were
24 present at Poculica of this unit posted there for the Vitez Brigade. This
25 unit of village guards which belonged, according to this document, to the
1 Vitez Brigade, you spoke about weapons, did it have any radio equipment?
2 A. I don't remember at all that I was -- there were other people who
3 were in the Poculica Brigade. I was not there at that time.
4 Q. Your commander, Mr. Dragan Grebenar, did he have a radio
6 A. Yes. I couldn't say. I never saw them [as interpreted].
7 Q. You never heard anything about it either?
8 A. No.
9 Q. On the evening of the 15th of April, you told us that you were
10 guarding, together with other members of this group, some of whom were
11 Muslim. When did you end this village guard? When did you end your
13 A. 6.00 in the morning.
14 Q. You went home and immediately afterwards, you told us that you had
15 found out your house was rounded up by the soldiers belonging to the
16 Bosnian Serbs?
17 A. The army -- no, there were no Serbs out there. There was only the
19 Q. That is exactly what I said. Maybe I have made a mistake. It was
20 the BH army.
21 A. You said Bosnian Serbs.
22 JUDGE MAY: There's been a misunderstanding. It's the Bosnian
23 army. Yes, let's move on, please.
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
25 Q. You did not have the time to go to bed.
1 A. No.
2 Q. And you are telling us that it was around about 6.00 in the
3 morning that your house was rounded up.
4 A. No. Quarter to 7.00. That is how I said it. After I had come
5 from my duty.
6 Q. In the summary of your evidence, it is -- it is told that it was
7 at 6.00, now you are saying 6.45 which is not quite the same. Did you
8 read this summary, and you signed the summary?
9 A. I told you that I was on duty until 6.00 and by the time I turned
10 in my weapon and signed out, it was quarter to 7.00, to 7.00.
11 Q. So there is a mistake in your summary, we agree on that.
12 A. It's correct, yes. I said nicely that I left to take the weapon
13 back in at 6.00 and by the time I went back, I got back it was quarter to
14 7.00, to 7.00. That's what I said.
15 Q. The village of Poculica, at what distance is that village from
17 A. I couldn't say.
18 Q. Is it at 15 kilometres or 20 kilometres or is it one kilometre
19 away? I mean as the crow flies.
20 A. I think about seven kilometres.
21 Q. I am not completely sure we haven't got enough time to examine the
22 map once again, but to me it seemed that this distance is highly
23 exaggerated. However, did you hear any explosions or did you hear any
24 gunfire while you were on your tour of duty up until 6.00 in the morning?
25 A. I did not hear anything because it was -- there was quite a
2 Q. You did not hear any noise, any combat noise all throughout that
3 you were on your tour of duty so you didn't notice anything?
4 A. No. We did not see anything. We couldn't see anything from up
6 Q. I am not asking you whether you have seen anything. I'm just
7 asking you whether you were able to hear anything which is a completely
8 different thing and during the night, one can hear the noise very far,
9 especially if it's gunfire. You told us that you were surprised while you
10 were at home and after that, you were captured by the soldiers.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And it was still -- you maintain it was at a quarter to 7.00 in
13 the morning?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You have also told us that it was around midday that there was a
16 loud speaker that was put on the minaret to require an ultimatum from the
17 Croats in the village.
18 A. Yes, but the loud speaker was not put up there. It was always
20 Q. Of course. Are you sure about the hours? You are not making a
21 mistake on the hours of today?
22 A. Where? You mean the mosque?
23 Q. No. I am speaking about the time when you were rounded up and of
24 the time when you heard the ultimatum from the mosque?
25 A. And 12.00.
1 Q. Have you seen, during that night when you were on duty,
2 Mr. Grebenar?
3 A. No.
4 Q. How can you explain that he had told that he spent the night with
5 the men who were mounting the village guard, that is what he said here?
6 JUDGE MAY: That's not for the witness to say. There's no need to
7 answer that. Just let's get on.
8 A. It was in the lower village.
9 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
10 Q. The same witness was saying that the attack on the village started
11 at half past 8.00, not at a quarter to 7.00?
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, you can make these points to us in
13 due course when you make your submissions.
14 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MAY: If you would bring your examination to a close in ten
17 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Ramljak, I would like to show you a document, it's a document
19 said 682.3.
20 Mr. Ramljak, this document was signed by the duty officer of the
21 Vitez Brigade of the 16th of April at 1800 hours and which contains
22 information about the situation at Poculica and Gornja Dubravica. As you
23 can see in paragraph 2, it is stated that about 0900 hours, the Muslim
24 forces, out of which there were Muslims, gave an ultimatum to the Croats
25 and threatened them to destroy the village unless they surrendered. And
1 the following paragraph states that, "The members of our unit did not
2 accept this ultimatum and they courageously resisted to an enemy who was
3 outnumbering them." And here they speak about an ultimatum that was given
4 at 9.00 in the morning, not at midday.
5 Could you please give an answer?
6 A. The ultimatum was issued at noon. This is someone's mistake.
7 Q. The third paragraph which I have just read says, "The members of
8 our municipality had courageously resisted, and they rejected this
9 ultimatum." Who are these members of our units? We say that here this is
10 an officer of the Vitez Brigade who is speaking. Are these the village
11 guards, that the village guard -- were the village guard members of it?
12 A. There were members of the village guard and the civilians.
13 Q. And the members of the village guards, there were how many of
15 A. I think -- I don't know if I can say exactly but maybe about 20
16 men because they were reinforced later, they put on some old uniforms, and
17 then the civilians also helped us. I mean they helped them, not me.
18 Q. These members of the village guards you are speaking of, they
19 resisted to the Muslim attacks, this is what you are telling us, and this
20 is what the document is saying.
21 A. [No interpretation]
22 Q. Do you know when happened the attack on Ahmici? When happened the
23 attacks on the neighbouring villages of Vitez, like Veceriska and Santici,
24 Stari Vitez?
25 A. I don't know, because I was in prison for two months. I didn't
1 get any information, so I didn't have any knowledge.
2 Q. You told us just a moment ago -- and here I'm changing the
3 subject -- you spoke about the death of three prisoners which had been
4 taken to this neighbouring Muslim village, neighbouring to your village,
5 that is. Do you know under what circumstances were these three prisoners
7 A. I heard that from the two men who were in the prison -- no, I mean
8 in the hospital in Crkvica. A man had apparently shot through the iron
9 door, metal door, and killed them and killed -- and wounded six women.
10 They don't know who it was. I mean, they know who it was, but they don't
11 want to say it.
12 Q. They wouldn't -- there was not an execution; on that we can agree?
13 A. What do you mean, executed? He was shooting through the door.
14 Three men were killed, two were wounded.
15 Q. You do not know whether the soldier who committed these acts
16 suddenly lost his mind because he had lost some of his -- the members of
17 his close family because of the HVO attacks that were going on in the area
18 at the time?
19 A. I cannot say anything about that, because I don't know. I was not
20 in the village. I was in Sivrino Selo at that time.
21 Q. Thank you. You told us about a conversation you had with a
22 certain Vlado Santic, who told you that some 18 [phoen] Soldiers were
23 killed at Kuber. Could you tell us, which is this Vlado Santic that you
24 are speaking of?
25 A. Vlado Santic was my foreman, my boss, in my factory.
1 Q. Was he a member of the Vitez Brigade as well?
2 A. I don't know. I didn't see him. I cannot say anything.
3 Q. Which village did he come from?
4 A. From Zume.
5 Q. You were freed, thanks to the intervention of the Red Cross. You
6 did not escape.
7 A. I was released by the Red Cross, but I escaped from the KP Dom.
8 On that occasion I was not exchanged.
9 Q. I see. What did you do between the moment that you were liberated
10 by the Red Cross and the moment when you were captured once again at
12 A. I didn't understand you very well.
13 Q. You were freed by the Red Cross at a certain moment, and then you
14 told us that you were captured once again by the Bosnian soldiers' army.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Between these two detentions, what did you do? Because in the
17 meantime you had been freed by the Red Cross.
18 A. I started down for Vitez and they captured me again, took me
20 Q. That was later on?
21 A. Later, yes.
22 Q. And during all this time that you were free, what did you do?
23 That is my question.
24 A. What do you mean? Where was I free? I was not free in the
1 Q. I don't think we managed to understand each other. Before you
2 came to testify in this case today, you did accept to be a witness in
3 front of this Tribunal in a different case, didn't you?
4 A. I don't know what you mean, because I testified just like here.
5 Q. Were you not supposed to be a witness in a different case
6 concerning Messrs. Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic?
7 A. Why? I know very few people.
8 Q. Your name was given by the counsel for these two people as being
9 one of the witnesses who would come to testify. That is correct, isn't
11 A. What two persons?
12 Q. In November 1998 the Defence of Mr. Kupreskic gave to the Tribunal
13 and to the Prosecutor's office a summary of the evidence that you were to
14 give in that case. Do you remember that?
15 A. I don't remember. None of them called me as a witness. This is
16 all made up.
17 Q. Did you give a declaration to the counsel for Defence of
18 Mr. Kupreskic? You are Vlado Ramljak and you were born on the 11th of
19 April, 1953, at Poculica?
20 A. Yes. And where did I give the statement? I don't know. This
21 doesn't make sense at all.
22 Q. I have got the summary in front of my eyes, and it is -- the
23 Chamber can see it. And there is also -- it is in English and there is
24 also the name -- there are also names of counsels for defence from
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, this isn't our case, and if the
2 witness says he doesn't remember, the fact that counsel on another case
3 served a statement I don't think could be held against him to be put in
5 Did you see -- let me ask this. Mr. Ramljak, did you go and talk
6 or did some lawyers come and talk to you about giving evidence in the
7 Kupreskic case?
8 A. Nobody came to me, nor did I talk to anyone.
9 JUDGE MAY: I don't think we can take that much further.
10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there are
11 differences and -- there are important differences, even on points which
12 were mentioned today. So I simply wanted to point them out, because this
13 is exactly this same witness who spoke about exactly the same facts.
14 JUDGE MAY: No doubt. Is the statement signed and is it in
16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the statement that
17 I have got was signed by a lawyer, and this lawyer gave it, saying that,
18 on the one hand, there is a list of witnesses, and, on the other hand,
19 there was a list of all the statements made by these witnesses, so I
20 thought it was relevant.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE MAY: No, Mr. Lopez-Terres. This is a document which a
23 lawyer has handed in. The witness says that he didn't see the lawyer.
24 Knowing what we do about summaries, some of the summaries in this
25 Tribunal, I don't think it would be right to try and cross-examine this
1 witness about it. If you want to, no doubt you can call the lawyer, as
2 Judge Robinson points out. And it is a quarter to 4.00, so I must ask
3 you, please, to wind up.
4 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] The main part of what I wanted
5 to ask during this cross-examination, and especially taking into account
6 the statements, which there were some omissions, which is something that
7 we could also state in -- we were also able to find out in the past, and
8 taking into account the remarks of the Trial Chamber, I don't think that I
9 have got any other questions for this witness.
10 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I'm going to be very brief, Your
13 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
14 Q. Mr. Ramljak, my learned friend ask you a number of questions about
15 times, whether it was 6.00, whether it was 6.40, whether it was 9.00 or
16 12.00. On 16th of April, when your house was surrounded, when you were
17 asked to give up your weapons, when Mr. Grebenar was wounded by shrapnel,
18 when your family was taken into captivity, were you looking at your watch
19 a lot?
20 A. How can I say you [as interpreted]? I was very surprised.
21 Q. Very well, Mr. Ramljak. What time is it now?
22 JUDGE MAY: Well, that is -- sounds like a trick. No.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Grebenar [sic], do you wear a watch or carry one?
25 Mr. Ramljak, I'm sorry. Do you wear a watch or do you carry a watch?
13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English
14 and French transcripts.
1 A. I don't usually. I don't have one now. I usually do.
2 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have
3 no further questions.
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Ramljak, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
5 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.
6 Very well. We'll adjourn now. We can't sit until tomorrow
7 morning at 9.45, 9.45 tomorrow.
8 Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
9 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if it is a matter of planning, I would
10 just like to confirm that we have just two witnesses, as is on the list.
11 They are relatively short, at least for us, for a direct. So I don't
12 think that you will be concerned about time. There is plenty of time to
14 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Thank you.
15 I'll just ask the registry what time is the next case.
16 [Trial Chamber confers with registrar]
17 JUDGE MAY: We will adjourn for 20 minutes before the next case.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.49 p.m., to
19 be reconvened on Thursday, the 28th day of
20 September, 2000, at 9.45 a.m.