Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 6578

1 Tuesday, 14th September, 1999

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 2.40 p.m.

6 THE REGISTRAR: This is IT-95-14/2-T, the

7 Prosecutor versus Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez.

8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, I should say to the

9 Court that we are sorry to have kept you waiting.

10 Matters took rather longer than anticipated, but we're

11 ready now. We'll sit until 5.30. I hope it's possible

12 to get through your cross-examination, Mr. Kovacic, as

13 I said, expeditiously, so that we can make a start on

14 the next witness. Do you anticipate managing to do

15 that?

16 MR. KOVACIC: I'm certain that I can be

17 finished in maximum an hour, and probably a quarter

18 more; not more than that.

19 JUDGE MAY: We'll take the break when you've

20 finished and we've had the re-examination.

21 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, sir. Could I

22 proceed?

23 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

24 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.


Page 6579

1 [Witness answered through interpreter]

2 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:

3 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Zeco.

4 A. Good afternoon.

5 Q. My name is Bozidar Kovacic. I'm an attorney

6 from Rijeka, not from your Rijeka but another place

7 called Rijeka, and I represent here Mr. Mario Cerkez.

8 As you were told earlier on, if you do not understand

9 my question, please tell me, and I will repeat it.

10 Mr. Zeco, you have told us where you lived.

11 You indicated the area on a photograph. A little lower

12 down on the same road, the Cerkez family lived. Isn't

13 that so?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Did you know the Cerkez family?

16 A. Yes, I knew very well the father and mother

17 of Mario Cerkez.

18 Q. Do you know that Mario Cerkez also had a

19 brother?

20 A. Yes, I do.

21 Q. So you knew both of them?

22 A. I knew the brother by sight, but I knew Mario

23 Cerkez in person. However, I do not recall having any

24 personal contacts with him. I only knew him by sight.

25 Q. So you knew the parents better. And could

Page 6580

1 you tell us, on the basis of your knowledge of the

2 family, what could you tell us about that family and

3 the environment? Did you ever notice, among any member

4 of that family, any sign of discrimination or prejudice

5 based on religion or anything else, ethnicity?

6 A. Throughout my life in Vitez, and I lived

7 there for 25 years, during that period, after the time

8 when the unfortunate event occurred, I had absolutely

9 no objections or criticisms to make of their

10 behaviour. They were very friendly. Good neighbourly

11 relations existed. I can only say words of praise

12 about the family.

13 Q. Did you ever hear from anyone else anything

14 that would be contrary to this opinion that you held?

15 A. No.

16 Q. In your opinion, if somebody suddenly

17 changes, would you consider that to be something

18 normal?

19 A. Could you repeat that question for me,

20 please?

21 Q. Never mind; let's leave that for the moment.

22 Yesterday, talking about Rijeka, you said it

23 was a neighbourhood community there which you knew

24 extremely well, and you mentioned Darko Kraljevic as

25 the leader of a unit called Vitezovi?

Page 6581

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. You told us that you knew Darko Kraljevic

3 well, too, in view of the fact that you were

4 neighbours?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. You told us that the Vitezovi were formerly

7 HOS, and later on that they joined the HVO?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Can you tell us when the HOS joined the HVO?

10 A. I think this was sometime in the second half

11 of 1992, as far as I can remember.

12 Q. So Darko Kraljevic's unit, in this part of

13 Vitez and further beyond, was very visibly present;

14 would you agree?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. They were a visible force that one had to

17 reckon with, wouldn't you say?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Generally speaking, were people afraid of the

20 members of that unit, the Vitezovi?

21 A. At least in the area of Rijeka itself, there

22 were no visible reasons for fear, but there were

23 stories and rumours about their activities. But I

24 personally couldn't note anything of significance.

25 Q. There were generally accepted rumours,

Page 6582

1 according to what I have heard and we have heard here

2 in court, that Darko Kraljevic had connections with

3 drugs. Did you ever hear anything to that effect?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Is it true that this part of Vitez was

6 virtually under the control of the Vitezovi, just

7 before the outbreak of the conflict between the Croats

8 and the Muslims?

9 A. No. No. I think that this was part of an

10 all-out Croatian movement, headed by the HVO, as a

11 component of the civilian and military authorities.

12 Q. But you would agree that the Vitezovi were a

13 unit within the HVO?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And you would also agree that they were a

16 powerful unit?

17 A. Yes, in the military sense, yes. Yes.

18 Q. You told us that when they first came to your

19 house and arrested you, that they came from the

20 Sumarija building?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Among them was this young man called

23 Krunoslav Bonic?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Would you agree that this young man,

Page 6583

1 Krunoslav Bugojnoic, was only 16, that he was under

2 age?

3 A. I know that he was very young. I didn't know

4 exactly how old he was, but I knew him as a young boy.

5 Q. Do you think that he was of an age which

6 would make him a military conscript?

7 A. He had the appearance of a military man. He

8 was dressed as a soldier and armed, and he gave the

9 impression of a soldier, regardless of his age. He

10 acted as a real soldier.

11 Q. At that time, there were village guards in

12 operation in the area?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Could you tell us of any fact on the basis of

15 which we could ascertain with greater certainty whether

16 this particular young man, Krunoslav Bonic, was a

17 member of the village guards or another grouping?

18 A. I'm afraid I didn't quite understand your

19 question.

20 Q. I will repeat it, of course. Could you

21 indicate any single fact that you knew of or heard of

22 on the basis of which one could conclude which unit

23 Bonic belonged to? Did he belong to village guards,

24 the Vitezovi, the military police?

25 A. As in those days, and in those parts, I

Page 6584

1 identified units belonging to the HVO movement as a

2 whole without entering into their organisational

3 structure, so that I thought them to be an army under

4 the exclusive control and command of the HVO. I didn't

5 concern myself with the actual structure and the

6 units. I viewed them as a single unified army.

7 Q. So for them, it was quite sufficient to know

8 that they belonged to the HVO, and you as a citizen

9 thought everything else to be irrelevant; would you

10 agree with that?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. So you even include village guards in that

13 structure, even though they are not formally a part of

14 the structure?

15 A. I was not in touch with those guards. I was

16 only thinking of people wearing military insignia, HVO

17 insignia, and the most important -- the characteristic

18 sign was the chequerboard emblem that they wore either

19 on their sleeves or on their lapels.

20 Q. Tell me, what about the uniform? Was that an

21 indication of the unit a soldier belonged to?

22 A. There were different uniforms. Some people

23 wore uniforms that were not camouflage uniforms. There

24 were those wearing black uniforms; they belonged to

25 Darko Kraljevic's unit. Some of them also had black

Page 6585

1 uniforms. But I was able to see the same people

2 wearing, on one occasion, a black uniform and, on

3 another, a camouflage uniform.

4 Q. So that if I understand you well, a uniform

5 is not a reliable distinguishing sign.

6 A. No, but the most important thing was the

7 chequerboard emblem, which was indicative of membership

8 to a particular military grouping.

9 Q. So if I understand you well, the insignia are

10 distinguishing signs, but the uniform in itself is not;

11 is that so?

12 A. Yes, more or less. Yes.

13 Q. You also told us about that unfortunate

14 incident when you were caught up on the road, dragged

15 out of the car, and physically assaulted. Is it true

16 that this was done by the Vitezovi?

17 A. I was later told that they were Vitezovi. I

18 was told by a representative of the police; whereas I

19 personally, at that point in time, did not know which

20 unit they belonged to. They were all wearing

21 camouflage uniforms with HVO insignia, and later on,

22 from police representatives, I learnt that they were

23 members of the Vitezovi unit, which was under the

24 command of Darko Kraljevic.

25 Q. Mr. Samija told you that, the person you

Page 6586

1 mentioned yesterday.

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Having mentioned Samija, do you know anything

4 about the circumstances under which he was killed?

5 A. I was told, at least in the course of our

6 discussions at the level of the presidency, we were

7 informed that Mirko Samija was killed by the HVO as

8 being a disobedient subordinate, and that was the

9 information we received officially in relation to Mirko

10 Samija.

11 Q. Did you ever hear of different

12 interpretations or stories?

13 A. There was a rumour that on the road between

14 Vitez and Busovaca, he was driving a car and that he

15 was hit by a bullet; however, the date when Mirko

16 Samija was killed was a time when there was no shooting

17 by members of the army. So we accepted as fact that

18 Mirko Samija had been killed by the HVO.

19 Q. According to this version, he was killed near

20 Buhine Kuce.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. We're talking about a summer when there were

23 snipers and there were quite a number of casualties

24 from sniper fire. Do you know anything about that?

25 A. I do not know that there were any sniper

Page 6587

1 nests then, at the time when Mirko Samija was killed,

2 in that area. As far as I am aware, there were no

3 snipers in that area at that time.

4 Q. So can we agree that there were at least two

5 versions of the killing of Mirko Samija?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Do you trust one version more than another?

8 JUDGE MAY: Well, I don't know, Mr. Kovacic,

9 that we're going to be helped very much by this. It's

10 based purely on rumour.

11 MR. KOVACIC: I will move on. Thank you,

12 sir.

13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

14 Q. What was the majority population in Buhine

15 Kuce, Bosniak or Croat?

16 A. Well, roughly about 50/50 Croats and Bosniaks

17 in the wider area.

18 Q. Would you agree with me that later on, as the

19 war developed, late in 1993, there was very fierce

20 fighting between the two parties?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And that there were very high casualties on

23 both sides there?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. You mentioned yesterday that you knew that

Page 6588

1 there were two components of the HVO government.

2 Within that framework, talking about the police, you

3 told us that Samija was the commander of the civilian

4 police. Do you know who, in those days, was the

5 commander of the military police in the Vitez area?

6 A. No.

7 Q. As a person who was, in a way, involved in

8 the organisation and activities of the authorities, do

9 you know that between the military police and the

10 civilian police there are clearly regulated differences

11 regarding competencies?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Didn't Samija actually tell you, when he told

14 you what he knew, that simply he was not responsible,

15 he didn't have the competence?

16 A. I apologise, but I have to say that I knew

17 Mirko Samija as a highly qualified professional,

18 because he was a municipal judge, and I had a great

19 deal of trust in his professional approach. I had

20 confidence in him and I expected him to act in

21 accordance with all laws and regulations.

22 Q. So that means that we can agree that the HVO,

23 after Pero Skopljak left as the chief of police, Mirko

24 Samija was appointed as the chief of police, even

25 though he was a judge.

Page 6589

1 A. When Mirko Samija was appointed to the

2 position of head of MUP, there was an agreement between

3 representatives of the Croats and the Bosniak

4 representatives, and I know that at a meeting of the

5 war presidency of Vitez municipality, we agreed and

6 accepted the appointment of Mirko Samija as head of the

7 MUP, the Ministry of the Interior, and Saban Mahmutovic

8 as the chief of police, which in those days was, in

9 fact, carried out.

10 Q. Very well. So is it true that, generally

11 speaking, among the population of Vitez, the fact that

12 the HVO had, on the basis of an agreement reached at

13 the crisis staff, appointed Samija as head of the

14 police, was that something that was very well received

15 by the citizenry?

16 A. I think that Mirko Samija was a prestigious

17 person. As I have already said, he was a professional,

18 a man of trust.

19 Q. Thank you. Did you ever learn later on who

20 was in command of the military police or whom they

21 belonged to, or any other details about the military

22 police in Vitez?

23 A. No. I think that this was not publicised,

24 nor was any information released about that, so I have

25 no insight into the military police.

Page 6590

1 Q. Thank you. You told us that you were

2 arrested on the 16th of April by a group of soldiers,

3 among whom was Bonic. They were the Vitezovi. They

4 took you to the veterinarian station and they detained

5 you there; is that correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. You also mentioned that the person

8 responsible for detention was Zeljko Matkovic --

9 A. I'm sorry?

10 Q. -- and that he belonged to the military

11 police.

12 A. I don't know which military formation he

13 belonged to. I just know that he was the leader and

14 that he was in charge of the detainees held in the

15 veterinarian station. I didn't know, in military

16 terms, which unit he belonged to. I just knew that he

17 was the commander of the camp where the detainees were

18 held.

19 Q. When you used the term "camp," what do you

20 imply? According to what you told us yesterday, this

21 can hardly be called a camp.

22 A. Yes, I told you that we were held in a gym,

23 we lay on the floor, we were ordered around, we were

24 locked up, we couldn't leave the place, we had no

25 contact with others, except for what I've already told

Page 6591

1 you.

2 Q. You made a statement for the investigators of

3 this Tribunal on the 14th of July, 1995, and let me

4 just quote a sentence. You said, "Zeljko Matkovic, who

5 was one of Kraljevic's men, asked me about plans later

6 on that day when my car was seized." You told us

7 yesterday that the car was taken away from you, but

8 here in that statement you said Zeljko was Kraljevic's

9 man, but today you say you don't know who he belonged

10 to. How can you explain that?

11 A. In this smaller area of Sumarija, the

12 veterinary station, Kraljevic's units were the most

13 prominent, and that is what people believed. However,

14 it is a fact that in the premises of Sumarija there was

15 also the headquarters situated there, in the forestry

16 administration; and among others, my colleague, a

17 veterinarian who worked with me in the veterinary

18 station, was a member of that command. He was in

19 charge of the medical corps attached to the command of

20 the Rijeka headquarters. So there were soldiers of the

21 HVO and those specific units known as the Black

22 Vitezovi of Darko Kraljevic, but all of them were there

23 in the same limited area, the area of Sumarija, the

24 veterinary station, and so on.

25 Q. Very well, but can you explain why in '95 you

Page 6592

1 explicitly said that Matkovic was Kraljevic's man, and

2 now you don't seem to know?

3 A. I don't think he was under the direct command

4 of Darko Kraljevic but that he was a member of the HVO,

5 of the HVO headquarters in Rijeka.

6 Q. That is what you think?

7 A. I don't think; that is what I claim.

8 Q. But I'm asking you, on the basis of which

9 facts?

10 A. Because soldiers came from the headquarters,

11 including this colleague of mine, the veterinarian, who

12 was also involved in the headquarters. He would come,

13 and they would exchange comments and converse with one

14 another, whereas Darko Kraljevic's soldiers, only those

15 came who asked Zeljko Matkovic for a certain number of

16 soldiers, which he would place at his disposal.

17 Q. To who?

18 A. To Darko Kraljevic.

19 Q. So you mean HVO units?

20 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel speak into

21 the microphone, please.

22 A. They would come to ask for a certain number

23 of detainees to take for trench digging. And there

24 were other soldiers, who did not belong to Darko

25 Kraljevic's unit, who would also come to collect people

Page 6593

1 to take them to dig trenches.


3 Q. On the 30th of April I think you said that

4 you were transferred from that place of detention in

5 Sumarija to the school in Dubravica; is that correct?

6 A. Yes. Yes.

7 Q. Who was in charge of that place, which you

8 called a camp?

9 A. HVO units were in charge.

10 Q. Do you know which HVO units?

11 A. I don't. I know that the commander of the

12 camp was Plavcic, Marijan.

13 Q. Yesterday, on the video clips that we were

14 shown, we saw shots of the detention place in

15 Dubravica, and there was a drawing on the wall with the

16 words "Black Legion." Do you know that the Vitezovi

17 were sometimes called "Black Vitezovi" or "Black

18 Legion"?

19 A. Yes, I know that they were referred to in

20 that way too.

21 Q. There were many Vitezovi from your immediate

22 neighbourhood. Did you see any one of them in

23 Dubravica as being members of those forces?

24 A. I did not. I didn't see anyone.

25 Q. You didn't see anyone?

Page 6594

1 A. No.

2 Q. So you don't know exactly which HVO unit was

3 in charge of Dubravica?

4 A. No, I just said that the members were members

5 of the HVO, who were wearing the camouflage uniforms

6 with the HVO insignia, and that the commander was -- at

7 least he introduced himself as Marijan Plavcic, with

8 whom I had a certain contact. We had requested for him

9 to receive us. It was a delegation; I was a commander

10 there. We wanted to discuss the issue of taking

11 certain detainees to dig trenches, because without

12 proper supervision, these prisoners were taken to dig,

13 and it was about their physical conditions, that some

14 of them were sleep-deprived. So we wanted them to work

15 out lists, to produce lists and select people who were

16 the best able to go to dig trenches, and this is what

17 they did. So this list was then followed and complied

18 with.

19 Q. Very well. I will move to that and ask you

20 about it later, but I want to ask you about this

21 person, Plavcic. Was this Marinko Plavcic, the son of

22 Drago?

23 A. Yes, oh, yes, it was Marinko.

24 Q. Did you know him?

25 A. Yes.

Page 6595

1 Q. Was he a deputy of Darko Kraljevic?

2 A. I do not know that.

3 Q. Did you ever see him around Darko Kraljevic?

4 A. I do not recall that.

5 Q. Mr. Zeco, is your intention to go back to

6 Rijeka? That is what you said in your statement.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Do the Vitezovi still have any kind of

9 influence there? Do you know somebody who is with

10 them?

11 A. Can you please repeat this for me?

12 Q. Are you afraid of Vitezovi today? Do you

13 fear them still?

14 A. By nature, I am not a very fearful person --

15 with respect to myself, that is.

16 Q. Thank you. You also said that when your car

17 was taken away, you said that it was Vitezovi who did

18 so; but yesterday, when you gave evidence, you didn't

19 say that clearly. In the statement you made in 1995,

20 you very clearly stated that in Sumarija, you were

21 packed together -- this was in '93 -- soldiers of

22 Kraljevic came and said that they wanted your car and

23 that you gave them the car. So were they the ones who

24 took the car, or the HVO, or do you not know?

25 A. I did explain that a while ago.

Page 6596

1 Q. Very well. So you don't know?

2 A. The soldiers who were dressed and who had

3 come from Sumarija, I don't know whether they were

4 Kraljevic's soldiers. I don't know. They were some

5 HVO units. I didn't know them. They were all

6 together. I know that they had come from Sumarija

7 because my car was taken to the Sumarija's backyard. I

8 know that they had taken it there. And as I said

9 yesterday, I had disconnected the cables.

10 Q. Very well. Those are details, and you've

11 talked about that. But your answer needs to be either

12 yes or no. When you spoke to the investigators in July

13 of 1995, did you say that your car was taken by the

14 Kraljevic men?

15 A. It is possible.

16 Q. So it was possible? Thank you.

17 When you said that different units were

18 coming, both to Sumarija and to Dubravica school,

19 looking for and taking prisoners out to dig trenches,

20 you explained that these were the HVO soldiers, but you

21 don't know which units. You agreed that there were

22 Vitezovi among them. Do you agree that there were also

23 units there which had come from outside of the Vitez

24 municipality territory?

25 A. There were soldiers, men there, whom I did

Page 6597

1 not know; that is, the soldiers who had come to the

2 camp and looked for people to go out and to dig

3 trenches.

4 Q. But you cannot identify them by their

5 insignia?

6 A. I did not know the insignia, but the men I

7 did not recognise.

8 Q. After you were released from the Dubravica

9 school, you said that you were taken to the hotel and

10 questioned there. Do you know whose headquarters this

11 was where you were taken?

12 A. I did not know that. I only know that it was

13 the military police. It was the military police which

14 had come to take me, and they took me to the hotel.

15 They were wearing white belts, and I assumed that they

16 were the military police.

17 So they took me to the hotel, where they

18 brought me, as I said, into -- I know that it was a

19 command there. I don't know which command, but there

20 was a command post, some higher command in the hotel.

21 General Blaskic was there in the hotel, but it was the

22 first time that I entered the hotel when I was detained

23 and brought there. And then yesterday I described how

24 my arrest took place and how I was brought to the

25 hotel.

Page 6598

1 Q. Did anybody among the military police with

2 whom you communicated on that occasion introduce

3 themselves to you, identify what unit they were from?

4 A. No.

5 Q. You said that this was a higher command. Did

6 Mario Cerkez also keep his headquarters there?

7 A. As far as I know, his headquarters was in the

8 cinema, theatre building. His command was there.

9 Q. So that was the workers' centre or the cinema

10 theatre; that is what we're referring to?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. But was Cerkez there?

13 A. No.

14 Q. You did not see him there?

15 A. No, I did not see him there.

16 Q. Cerkez was also not in Dubravica during the

17 time you were there?

18 A. I was not in a position to leave the room in

19 which I was detained throughout this time, until I was

20 released, so that I could not see anything.

21 Q. Can you tell me whether you agree that the

22 distance between the cinema theatre and the Dubravica

23 school is somewhere between two and a half and three

24 kilometres?

25 A. About two and a half.

Page 6599

1 Q. And from Rijeka?

2 A. A little bit less, and about halfway there is

3 the forestry administration building.

4 Q. So it is 1,5 kilometres from the cinema

5 theatre to the Sumarija?

6 A. Yes, somewhere around there. Maybe 1,2

7 kilometres.

8 Q. Very well. Let us just clear up one more

9 thing. When your wife, along with Zvonko Santic, who

10 had helped you, came back home to pick up some things,

11 did soldiers again intervene?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Can you say whether the soldiers who were

14 there were Vitezovi?

15 A. I know one of the soldiers by name. I was

16 told this by my wife and Zvonko Santic. This man's

17 name was Miro Kulic. He was one of the soldiers.

18 Q. But you don't know what unit he was with?

19 A. I don't know who he was with.

20 Q. You said, when asked, that you knew that in

21 the civilian structure of the HVO, the top man was

22 Ivica Santic?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. This was the brother of Zvonko Santic, who

25 helped you?

Page 6600

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. You were a member of the crisis staff?

3 A. No.

4 Q. You did not come to the crisis staff

5 sessions?

6 A. Officially, no, I did not, but on several

7 occasions I was with representatives of the crisis

8 staff. I came by a couple of times, perhaps twice.

9 But this was not in an official function.

10 Q. So you did not come as a member, but I assume

11 that if a certain issue was discussed --

12 A. Yes, and I did not interfere.

13 Q. Do you recall that as representatives of the

14 military structures on both sides were on the one side

15 Marijan Skopljak and on the other side Hakija Cengic?

16 They were representatives of the military structures of

17 the two organisations; is that correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Marijan Skopljak; that is not Pero Skopljak,

20 whom you mentioned yesterday? That is somebody else?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Do you agree that this Marijan Skopljak

23 during 1992 was the chief of staff of the military

24 structure of the Vitez HVO?

25 A. No, I don't know.

Page 6601

1 Q. And the meetings which you attended, this was

2 during 1992?

3 A. Yes, in 1992.

4 Q. Very well. Thank you.

5 Yesterday you said something about this

6 approach of the HVO authorities in regard of the

7 Muslims' employment, that they sort of started pushing

8 them aside, that their positions were threatened, that

9 they began being fired. You talked about your wife,

10 but the fact is that your wife remained employed?

11 A. Yes, but that is because she signed the

12 document.

13 Q. And what about the other Muslims?

14 A. Well, in the war presidency, a decision was

15 adopted that all employees should sign this document,

16 that that was the official position of the leadership

17 in the Vitez municipality, so that all employees -- I

18 think that only two employees of the local government

19 did not sign, and they had to leave their positions.

20 Q. This means that instead of individuals

21 deciding for themselves, the war presidency decided for

22 them?

23 A. The war presidency took a position that since

24 the people had come asking what to do, since the legal

25 authority should be suspended and that they were asked

Page 6602

1 to accept the Herceg-Bosna government, so because of

2 this, they asked the Bosniak representatives -- in this

3 case, this was the war presidency, so they asked for a

4 decision from us. Since this affected their very

5 existence, they asked for a decision from us.

6 Q. Very well. So the war presidency adopted

7 such a decision.

8 Next, what I want to ask you, this document

9 that is mentioned all the time, was there a particular

10 wording? Was there a language there, "I swear

11 allegiance," an oath or something? So what was it?

12 A. There was a preamble. It said: "The

13 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna," and then it was

14 signed by the local government's president.

15 Q. Mr. Zeco, you were a state employee?

16 A. Yes, I was.

17 Q. There were laws. Were you receiving, perhaps

18 once a year --

19 A. Whenever there was some kind of

20 reorganisation, any changes of structure, we would

21 receive certain decisions on assignments to certain

22 jobs, positions, and we had salary scales and all

23 that.

24 Q. Yes. You needed to have some kind of a

25 document. Very well. So in this particular case, they

Page 6603

1 just received new documents, new decisions?

2 A. They received new decisions, yes.

3 Q. So in the heading of these new decisions,

4 there was "the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna," so

5 to them, that meant pledging allegiance to this

6 entity?

7 A. This is how this was interpreted.

8 Q. But it never stated that in the decision

9 itself.

10 A. I believe that, as such, this decision, with

11 all its details as you described them, was supposed to

12 mean something, and people interpreted this as ignoring

13 the legal authorities and a pledge of loyalty to the

14 new organisation. Because at that time, the local

15 parliament ceased to exist and people -- it was asked

16 of people expressly to sign. If they didn't sign, they

17 would be fired from their jobs. This was unusual; that

18 had never been done previously, and so people asked

19 assistance and some kind of intervention, which led to

20 everything that I have then described.

21 Q. You will agree that the municipal council had

22 ceased to exist in its legal form and continued to

23 exist as the crisis staff in 1992.

24 A. The crisis staff only functioned in a sense

25 that it had to deal with certain incidents and

Page 6604

1 problems, and the crisis staff needed to come to

2 certain solutions in order to overcome that crisis.

3 Q. So this was the crisis staff in which

4 representatives of both ethnic groups were members?

5 A. Yes, that is correct.

6 Q. Mr. Zeco, you also said that you were in

7 charge of civilian affairs in the presidency, and I

8 assume that you knew the regulations which were in

9 force in Bosnia and Herzegovina with respect to

10 civilian protection?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Very well. Since other people present today

13 in the courtroom may not know all these regulations,

14 could you describe what "work duty" meant in those

15 regulations?

16 A. If this is something in connection with the

17 civilian protection, there was also an obligation or

18 duty for people to become involved in matters of

19 civilian protection, if this is what you're referring

20 to.

21 Q. So that was one duty of citizens?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Can you give us some examples of what types

24 of activities this involved?

25 A. These were activities in the protection of

Page 6605

1 civilians, of material goods, property, and other

2 goods.

3 Q. Let's give an example. A bomb or a shell

4 falls and a house is destroyed. Who would try to pull

5 out the people from the rubble?

6 A. It would be the civilian protection; they

7 would come to assist. We had wartime situations and we

8 had cases where we had such interventions, especially

9 around the Lasva River. There were units which were

10 organised, and it was for different needs, should

11 different needs arise.

12 Q. So it involved the preparation of shelters,

13 in case of attack, and the digging of trenches?

14 A. One of the tasks was the maintenance of such

15 activities.

16 Q. Now, let me just ask you one further

17 question. Who were the people who were under this kind

18 of obligation? Everybody?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. I'm sorry. I was not clear. One additional

21 question: Who, according to the law of that period,

22 had the duty to perform such duties?

23 A. You mean who had these kinds of duties?

24 Q. Which citizens were duty-bound in civilian

25 protection?

Page 6606

1 A. You mean the people who had work duty?

2 Q. Just give us an example. Let's say a citizen

3 between 25 and 45, would such a citizen have primarily

4 a work duty or some other type of duty?

5 A. Some had work duty; some had combat duty,

6 depending on their abilities.

7 Q. So some citizens had work duty and some had

8 military duty?

9 A. Yes, that is correct.

10 Q. How about women?

11 A. Oh, women as well, yes, absolutely.

12 Q. What was the age limit for men for the work

13 duty?

14 A. Sixty years.

15 Q. Okay. So in the end, we did hurry up.

16 You said a little bit about your moving to

17 somebody else's house and somebody else moving into

18 your house, but I think one issue remained unclear.

19 Today in Bosnia, on the basis of various decisions of

20 the High Commissioner of Bosnia, there are certain

21 agencies and there are various administrations,

22 cantonal and county, and there is an effort to bring

23 everybody back to their home.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. So your case is now being processed. For

Page 6607

1 instance, I know that in Ahmici, about 70 families came

2 back.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. How about in the area of Rijeka? Did any

5 families come back to Rijeka?

6 A. Perhaps only a few individual cases.

7 Q. In other words, there are great differences

8 from case to case.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. But there is an organised effort in the

11 society as a whole to do this?

12 A. Of course, there are a number of

13 difficulties; I agree with that. The situation is very

14 complex, and I can accept that as a fact, yes.

15 Q. Mr. Zeco, I thank you very much for your

16 answering all my questions.

17 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, thank you.

18 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: Mr. President, I have a

19 few questions, a few clarifications that I would like

20 to ask the witness to give us.

21 Re-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:

22 Q. Mr. Zeco, during his cross-examination,

23 Defence counsel for Mr. Kordic asked you whether,

24 starting in January of 1993, there weren't two parallel

25 governments that had been set up in Vitez, the first

Page 6608

1 for the administration of the Croats and the second for

2 the administration of the Muslims. Do you remember

3 that question?

4 A. I'm afraid I couldn't hear the interpreter

5 very well, so could you please speak a little more

6 loudly?

7 Q. I'll repeat my question. Mr. Kordic's

8 Defence counsel yesterday asked you whether, starting

9 in January of 1993, there was not in Vitez a parallel

10 government set up, one for the administration of the

11 Vitez Croats and the other for the Muslims.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. As regards the war presidency, which had been

14 set up by the Muslims, wasn't it set up only to respond

15 to the takeover of power of Vitez by the HVO?

16 A. At that time, in view of the fact that the

17 legal existing authorities in the area of Vitez

18 municipality had been suspended and that the Muslims

19 did not participate in government, the Bosniaks

20 organised themselves and formed a parallel government

21 which was meant to perform regular duties, and what

22 they did was form the war presidency of Vitez

23 municipality.

24 Q. The suspension of the legitimate municipal

25 authorities who had been democratically elected in

Page 6609

1 1990, was that suspension only because the HVO, who had

2 taken power, had set up its own units in order to push

3 the Muslims aside?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. I have a question about Mr. Pero Skopljak, a

6 person we spoke about today. Was he the police chief

7 before Mirko Samija?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Do you know that Mr. Skopljak, in April of

10 1993, was the president of the HDZ in Vitez? Did you

11 know that?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And Mr. Ivica Santic was the president of the

14 HVO in Vitez.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Darko Kraljevic was a person who was spoken

17 about with you today. Did you know his family well?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Was it a family that you liked?

20 A. As my neighbours, I had very close

21 relationships with the Kraljevic family.

22 Q. Did you ever notice among Mr. Kraljevic's

23 relatives that there was any kind of discriminatory

24 behaviour towards the Vitez Muslims?

25 A. No.

Page 6610

1 Q. Thank you. I would like us to go back now to

2 the 16th of April, 1993, in the morning.

3 The soldiers that came to your house, among

4 whom was Krunoslav Bonic, whom you recognised, were

5 they wearing black uniforms or camouflage uniforms?

6 A. They were wearing camouflage uniforms.

7 Q. He was wearing a camouflage uniform?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. On the 2nd of May, 1993, when the soldiers

10 came to your house in order to search it and then took

11 you to Sofa, did you recognise Mr. Bonic again?

12 A. I did.

13 Q. Were they wearing a black or a camouflage

14 uniform; that is, the soldiers who were with him and

15 Mr. Bonic?

16 A. All the soldiers -- and I had noticed them

17 already in the background. There were four or five of

18 them -- they were all wearing camouflage uniforms.

19 Q. On the 16th of April, 1993, when you were

20 arrested by Bonic and the other soldiers who were with

21 him, were those soldiers and Bonic members of the

22 Vitezovi unit?

23 A. I had no information to tell me that they

24 belonged to the Vitezovi. I don't think they did.

25 Q. You never said that Mr. Bonic was a Vitezovi?

Page 6611

1 A. No.

2 Q. As regards the veterinarian centre where you

3 were detained, you said that the commander was Zeljko

4 Matkovic.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Did he wear a black uniform or camouflage

7 uniform?

8 A. He wore a camouflage uniform.

9 Q. Thank you. A few moments ago, we spoke about

10 the work obligation which citizens of the former

11 Yugoslavia were obliged to do.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Those individuals who were detained with you,

14 whether they were at the veterinary centre or at the

15 Dubravica school, did they have to go to dig trenches?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And could they, according to you, be

18 considered as having been carrying out their work

19 obligation?

20 A. No, under no circumstances could they be

21 considered to have been treated as performing their

22 work duty, because the treatment they were given was

23 simply inhumane; it was a treatment below any

24 acceptable standard that would be applied to people

25 performing work duty. These people were mistreated,

Page 6612

1 provoked in all kinds of ways, and they were required

2 to carry out certain assignments. So the people who

3 went to perform such work, upon return, they came back

4 physically and psychologically in very bad shape.

5 Q. Did these people have a choice of refusing to

6 carry out that forced labour?

7 A. No. Those people had to go and they had to

8 do as they were told.

9 Q. Thank you.

10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: I have no further

11 questions, Mr. President.

12 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

13 Thank you, Mr. Zeco, for coming to the

14 International Tribunal and giving your evidence. You

15 are now released.

16 [The witness withdrew]

17 JUDGE MAY: We will adjourn now until 4.00.

18 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.

19 --- On resuming at 4.12 p.m.

20 [The witness entered court]

21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the

22 solemn declaration.

23 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will

24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the

25 truth.

Page 6613


2 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a seat,

3 Mr. Damon.

4 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm asking your

5 permission just for one sentence to address the Court.

6 JUDGE MAY: Can we deal with this at the end

7 of the day?

8 MR. KOVACIC: I just wanted you to reserve

9 three minutes on the end for information I would like

10 to provide in private session.

11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, very well.

12 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.

13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Scott.

14 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.

15 Mr. Sayers has been kind enough to give me an

16 indication of the paragraphs of the outline that we can

17 move through quite quickly.

18 Examined by Mr. Scott:

19 Q. I will start by cautioning both myself and

20 Mr. Damon, because you and I speak the same language,

21 we tend not to pause sometimes for the interpretation,

22 so if both of us can be mindful of that, I'm sure the

23 interpreters will appreciate it.

24 Mr. Damon, I understand that you were

25 actively involved as a journalist in southeast Europe

Page 6614

1 from 1989 until the end of 1993, working as a freelance

2 journalist, mostly for SkyNews; is that correct?

3 A. It's correct. I was there a little longer

4 than that, until 1995, but in other respects it's

5 correct.

6 Q. In 1989 you were initially based in Hungary,

7 where you covered the breakdown of the former

8 Yugoslavia and built a wide variety of contacts in the

9 area, particularly in Belgrade and Zagreb; is that

10 correct?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. Is it also correct to say that you covered

13 the war in Slovenia and Croatia and were often quoted

14 in a Croatian TV programme -- I will try: Slikom na

15 Sliku?

16 A. Yes, that's correct. SkyNews was a satellite

17 service and therefore was accessible to the

18 broadcasters in the region, and they often recorded it

19 and then put their own commentary over my pictures or

20 would give a translation of my complete reports.

21 Q. And following that time, is it accurate to

22 say that you were in Bosnia itself, if you will, from

23 approximately May 1992 to January of 1993, and then

24 again from approximately April to December 1993, or

25 perhaps thereafter?

Page 6615

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Throughout your time in Croatia and Bosnia

3 from 1991 to 1994, is it correct that you had a good

4 deal of success in travelling and getting through

5 checkpoints, and also meeting politicians and military

6 commanders, because your staff and interpreters were

7 Hungarians from the Vojvodina, and they tended to be

8 viewed, therefore, as independent?

9 A. That's correct. We were operating as a small

10 team, and so we had to be able to move across front

11 lines, and so it was essential for us to appear to be

12 objective and impartial. And the Hungarians, because

13 they were not directly involved in the conflict, helped

14 us to do that.

15 Q. Was it your experience that you seemed to be

16 able to gain access and move more freely than some of

17 the other journalists?

18 A. I think so, because we genuinely did try to

19 present an objective picture, and so we were allowed,

20 after perhaps a great deal of persuasion, to go to

21 places where others might not because they would be

22 seen to be partial.

23 Q. Is it correct, based on that, that you were

24 able to interview a number of the more prominent people

25 in the former Yugoslavia, including Radovan Karadzic on

Page 6616

1 several occasions, and in fact you spent time with him

2 in his villa in Pale; on another occasion, you

3 interviewed the Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic at

4 the Lukovica barracks. Is that correct?

5 A. Yes, that's correct.

6 Q. You were also able to meet and interview

7 Bosnian president Izetbegovic and also the Bosnian

8 Croat leader Mate Boban?

9 A. Yes, that's correct.

10 Q. Is it correct that in fact you met Mr. Boban

11 approximately two or three times, at least once in

12 Grude, once in Zagreb, and perhaps in other places on

13 other occasions?

14 A. Yes, I interviewed him directly on two

15 occasions: once in the lobby of the Hotel

16 Intercontinental in Zagreb and then again in Grude, at

17 his offices. And then I met him at various meetings;

18 not to interview, but to talk to.

19 Q. If we could depart from the outline just

20 momentarily, perhaps it would be worthwhile to say:

21 Who did you understand Mr. Boban to be at that time,

22 and what was his role in these matters?

23 A. He was the senior Croatian political leader

24 in the part of Bosnia-Herzegovina claimed by the

25 Croats.

Page 6617

1 Q. And is it correct, sir, that on about the

2 24th or 25th of April, 1992, with the help of the

3 Serbs, you actually flew into Pale by helicopter, and

4 this was your first arrival in Bosnia?

5 A. Yes, I met the so-called Serbian royal

6 family, members of whom were trying to bring help to

7 the Serbs in Bosnia. We were having some difficulty

8 getting into Bosnia, and they offered to take us with

9 them just on a visit to Pale, where they were flying to

10 meet with Mr. Karadzic. And my wife, who was my camera

11 operator at the time, and I decided that this was an

12 opportunity that we should seize. So we went

13 ostensibly just to go for the short visit, but we

14 didn't come back, because we wanted to stay and cover

15 the situation. We wore the same clothes for a number

16 of days.

17 Q. And is it correct, Mr. Damon, that following

18 that, in fact, you spent several weeks in Sarajevo,

19 until approximately the end of May of 1992?

20 A. That's right, yes. Indeed, I think until

21 early June.

22 Q. All right. And is it accurate to say that

23 there were approximately seven days in May, in fact,

24 that you were the only western television journalist in

25 the city of Sarajevo?

Page 6618

1 A. Yes, I believe that to be correct. Most of

2 the journalists were in the suburb of Ilidza, which was

3 in Serb hands, came under attack by Bosnian Muslim

4 forces, decided to evacuate very early one morning.

5 And indeed, I went with them, because my wife -- who,

6 as I say, was my camera operator -- was by that time

7 very tired. So I went with her out to Split and then

8 came back in, after a day, from Split to Sarajevo. My

9 colleagues stayed in Pale, and I went down into the

10 town, into the city of Sarajevo, and stayed in what

11 later became the U.N. headquarters there.

12 I by that time was doing my own filming, and

13 took the pictures, and my colleagues came down during

14 the day to collect the footage. And indeed it was

15 transmitted from the TV station, a temporary TV station

16 set up in Pale by the Serbs. They had a microwave link

17 which went through to Belgrade and then into the

18 Eurovision system.

19 Q. All right. Now, following this experience in

20 Sarajevo, after that, did you base yourself in a small

21 village between Kiseljak and Busovaca, somewhere near

22 the Catholic convent?

23 A. That's correct, yes, in rooms above a cafe.

24 Q. And did you, from June to July in 1992, and

25 thereafter, travel extensively in both central and

Page 6619

1 western Bosnia-Herzegovina?

2 A. That's right.

3 Q. Would it be accurate to say, Mr. Damon, that

4 by the fall of 1992, you had spent a substantial amount

5 of time in Kiseljak, Vitez, and Tomislavgrad, and

6 travelled to the Dalmatian coast via the routes from

7 Bugojno and Gornji Vakuf to Prozor and through to

8 Tomislavgrad?

9 A. That's right.

10 Q. Now, during your travels, you were arrested

11 by the ABiH or Muslim army around Gornji Vakuf in

12 around June of 1992; is that correct?

13 A. That's correct. This was on the occasion

14 after I had been there in Sarajevo on my own. One of

15 the other journalists there was a photographer, and we

16 decided to go together to the coast, and we stopped in

17 Gornji Vakuf for coffee and were arrested. We did look

18 pretty strange by that time, after being without

19 supplies and so on for some time. We were arrested by

20 the Territorial Defence of the Bosnian Muslim army, and

21 they took us to the HVO, to the Croatian army

22 headquarters, and it was clear that that was the

23 hierarchy, that the Territorial Defence, the Muslims,

24 if you like, were at that point subordinate to the

25 Croats [Realtime transcript read in error "Muslims"] in

Page 6620

1 Gornji Vakuf. I can't speak for any other part.

2 Q. All right. Is it correct that you were, in

3 fact, interrogated by an HVO officer?

4 A. That's right.

5 Q. And you were then released shortly

6 thereafter, or how did you come to gain your freedom

7 again?

8 A. No, I think it was only that they were

9 nervous of strangers. Once I was allowed to establish

10 who I was, then they were very friendly. We had the

11 right accreditation and so on. It was simply that here

12 were two rather scruffy-looking strangers in the middle

13 of their town, and they didn't know what we were doing

14 there.

15 Q. Mr. Damon, I don't know if this was just a

16 transcription error or if you misspoke, but you said --

17 I think you repeated, you said, "... the Muslims, if

18 you like, were at that point subordinate to the Muslims

19 in Gornji Vakuf."

20 A. No, I said -- I meant to say "Croats," yes.

21 It was the Croatian HVO which was at that time in

22 charge.

23 Q. Thank you very much. Can you tell the Court,

24 during these various travels that you've described so

25 far this afternoon around Bosnia, did you ever see the

Page 6621

1 Croatian army, as distinct from the Bosnian Croat or

2 HVO forces, did you ever see regular forces of the

3 Croatian army in Bosnia?

4 A. We, all of us, made the assumption that --

5 the logical assumption that the Croatian defence inside

6 Bosnia was being supported and supplied by the Croatian

7 army. There were occasions, particularly in the border

8 town of Tomislavgrad, where we thought that we saw

9 troops wearing Croatian army, as opposed to Croatian

10 defence force, insignia.

11 But there was one particular occasion which I

12 do specifically remember because a truck with Croatian

13 army plates came down a road where there were roadworks

14 and, therefore -- we were going up the road -- we would

15 have had to avoid the roadworks to move out onto the

16 wrong side of road; and at this point, the truck came

17 towards us, and so it was an incident which stuck in

18 our minds. We commented then, those of us in the car,

19 my translators and I, that this was Croatian army as

20 opposed to HVO, and it was, I should say, a few

21 kilometres inside the border of Bosnia.

22 This was, to us, nothing exceptional because

23 we made the assumption, which, I think, history and

24 politics make very logical, that Croatia was supporting

25 and the Croatian army was supporting its fellow

Page 6622

1 nationals inside Bosnia. It was just the fact that it

2 was a near-miss that made it something which sticks in

3 my mind.

4 Q. You've used the word, in describing that, as

5 "an assumption." Would it be fair to say that that

6 was the conventional wisdom or thinking among you and

7 the other journalists at the time?

8 A. It was, and it makes sense because we know

9 from the revelations of politicians, Western

10 Politicians and others, how closely involved the

11 Croatian government was, and, I suppose, in many ways,

12 rightly so, in the period where the Bosnian army and

13 the Croatian defence forces were in alliance against

14 the Serbs, who were attacking. It seemed to us both

15 sensible and necessary when there was very little

16 support coming from the West.

17 Q. Do you recall any particular instance where

18 you knew that there was some exchange among the senior

19 officer ranks between the Croatian army or the HV and

20 the HVO?

21 A. Yes. I was reading not very long ago a piece

22 of paper that was photocopied and handed to me back in

23 that year, 1993, a statement made by the new commander

24 of the Croatian defence forces in Bosnia, Ante Roso,

25 asking for the soldiers of the HVO to honour the dead

Page 6623

1 of Croatia in previous wars by not committing

2 atrocities on the battlefield.

3 There had, of course, been by that time --

4 we're talking late 1993 -- there had been a great deal

5 of evidence of atrocities, and I believe he was trying

6 to regain the morale of the Croatian defence forces in

7 Bosnia by saying that, and we knew that he had

8 previously been a senior commander in the Croatian

9 army.

10 Again, I'd like to stress, I can't see

11 anything wrong with that if the battle is for the

12 protection of those who are under attack in alliance,

13 but, of course, the situation of the alliance became

14 untenable for a while.

15 Q. Perhaps you should make your statement a bit

16 more clear. What are you addressing now?

17 A. Well, there is -- there's no doubt --

18 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to interrupt you just

19 for a moment.

20 This is Mr. Damon's opinion about a

21 particular matter. We are, of course, concerned with

22 the facts. Where his opinion is relevant to the case,

23 with respect to him, we'll hear it, but I don't think

24 this, at the moment, is helping us.

25 MR. SCOTT: I fully agree, Your Honour,

Page 6624

1 obviously, if it is, in fact, based upon opinion or

2 assumption. I'm not sure that's where Mr. Damon is

3 going with it.

4 Q. Mr. Damon, I'll caution you. If you are only

5 talking about opinion or speculation, we can move on.

6 If you have some other basis to further address the

7 question, then I'd ask the Court to allow you to.

8 A. No. I was only suggesting -- I was trying to

9 reinforce the logic of what had happened, that's all,

10 that it happened and it was logical that it happened,

11 that a senior commander from the Croatian army should

12 come to lead the Croatian defence forces in Bosnia.

13 Q. All right. Let us move on.

14 So the record is clear, is it fair to say or

15 correct that you did not, in your travels, to your

16 recollection, see any HV troops yourself in the area;

17 for instance, around Busovaca?

18 A. That's correct. I didn't see them.

19 Q. Is it correct, sir, that your first direct

20 contact with the HVO was with Vinko Lukic, who was a

21 police chief in Kiseljak, in the fall of 1992, and this

22 apparently was in the circumstance of you and your crew

23 wanting permission to work around or cover a larger

24 area, and Mr. Lukic informed you that you had to get or

25 needed to get permission from Colonel Blaskic at the

Page 6625

1 time in order to move around in that fashion? Is that

2 correct?

3 A. That's correct. Indeed, on one occasion, we

4 went to Mr. Lukic's house in order to try to achieve

5 that.

6 Q. It was, in fact, Mr. Lukic who ultimately did

7 get you in touch with Colonel Blaskic on the first

8 occasion.

9 A. That is so, yes.

10 Q. Can you tell the Court -- I'm directing your

11 attention to approximately the 26th of October, 1992.

12 Did you and/or one of your video crews film what

13 appeared to be an HVO training camp?

14 A. That is correct, yes. I wasn't there, but

15 the crew was sent off. I was doing another story, and

16 they filmed training, which we used subsequently in an

17 edited report.

18 Q. Did you personally see and edit that tape?

19 A. I did, yes.

20 Q. Can you recall or tell the Court what was the

21 condition or quality of these troops that were caught

22 on tape on the 26th of October, 1992?

23 A. This was a very efficient and well-trained

24 squad. They were going through mock parachuting and so

25 on, and other training, and it was clear that they were

Page 6626

1 very good.

2 Q. Would it be fair to say that they did not

3 appear at all to be anything like what might be

4 described as a "rag-tag army"?

5 A. Not at all. These were not villagers thrown

6 together in a militia.

7 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, if we could direct

8 the video booth to the videotape excerpt which has been

9 marked -- I understand the booth is referring to the

10 last four digits of the video reference itself, as

11 opposed to the exhibit number. I should say, for the

12 record purposes, it's been marked as Prosecution

13 Exhibit 257.1, but I think for the video booth it is

14 1086. I'd like to play that at this time, if we

15 could.

16 [Videotape played]


18 Q. Tell the Court if you can observe during

19 this, Mr. Damon, what we can call now the traditional

20 chequerboard insignia on the berets.

21 A. Yes, I can see that, but I believe this is

22 the shield of the HVO, not the HV.

23 Q. Yes. Perhaps at this juncture, the video

24 booth can just leave it -- if we can play it in

25 fast-forward so that we can quickly get a feel for the

Page 6627

1 tape without taking too much of the Court's time.

2 Do you know what kind of weapons those were,

3 that were just being held?

4 A. I think they're pump-action shotguns. I'm

5 not sure. I'm not a military expert.

6 Q. That's all right. I think the record would

7 be correct, and I don't think there would be any

8 good-faith dispute, that from someone who knows more

9 about weapons than probably most of us in the

10 courtroom, this is a grenade launcher?

11 A. Right.

12 Q. That's it.

13 Mr. Damon, did it come to your attention

14 sometime during your stay in Bosnia, and directing your

15 attention in particular to perhaps the latter part of

16 1992 and taking us into 1993, did you ever learn that

17 the HVO had adopted some policy or decision not to let

18 Muslims -- the Muslims in Bosnia participate in

19 military training, or at least not military training

20 being conducted by the HVO?

21 A. Yes. I heard this -- well, there were two

22 different instances. I heard in Tuzla from a member of

23 the Bosnian army that the Muslims had been ordered to

24 hand in their weapons. The occasion you refer to of

25 not being able to take part in training, I think that

Page 6628

1 was -- again we heard that on several occasions. In

2 Travnik, for example, I remember having a conversation

3 with some soldiers of the Bosnian army there, but I

4 can't remember the dates.

5 By October 1992, it was very clear that

6 relations between the two former allies had gone very

7 badly wrong. There was an occasion when we were unable

8 to travel one night when we were going back -- I was

9 going back to meet my wife, who had stayed in Zenica,

10 and I was with another camera operator, and we had to

11 overnight in Bugojno; and then the following day, we

12 drove through -- more or less through the middle of --

13 fairly low level, but a battle between the Bosnian army

14 and the Croatian defence forces.

15 Q. Let me direct you to, and direct the video

16 booth to, please, a video marked as Exhibit 759.1,

17 which is referenced as 1064, and if you could cue that

18 up, please.

19 I'll ask you, Mr. Damon, when you see the

20 beginning of this piece, do you recognise this as a

21 video that you or your crew took. So I guess we can go

22 ahead.

23 [Videotape played]


25 Q. Is that your voice, Mr. Damon?

Page 6629

1 A. Yes, it is.

2 Q. Mr. Damon, just looking at my notes, and we

3 can do this another way if it's necessary, but would

4 you date that tape approximately sometime between the

5 end of April 1993 and the beginning of May 1993?

6 A. Well, the dates are on the boxes from which

7 the tape was taken. I really don't remember, but as we

8 filmed them, we dated them. I believe there's no

9 dispute about the date.

10 Q. Very well. Let's move on. Did you, in fact,

11 meet Colonel Tihomir Blaskic on several occasions while

12 in Bosnia?

13 A. Yes, I did.

14 Q. And was it your understanding that

15 Mr. Blaskic's -- excuse me, Colonel Blaskic's command

16 area extended from approximately the Kiseljak area up

17 north and northwest to Travnik?

18 A. That's what I was led to believe, yes.

19 Q. Did you form an opinion, sir, that Blaskic

20 was a disciplined and professional soldier, that his

21 troops appeared to like him, at least in general, and

22 he was commanding an organised and well-disciplined

23 military region?

24 A. Yes, I found him to be a very proper

25 officer. You could talk to him and negotiate, for

Page 6630

1 example, passes to cross checkpoints and so on, and he

2 behaved very correctly with us.

3 Q. Did it appear to you that the HVO forces

4 themselves were an organised, disciplined army?

5 A. In large measure. Of course, there were

6 plenty of people operating in what would not be

7 considered to be a proper and orderly manner, but, yes,

8 he had -- Colonel Blaskic had control. He was very

9 much looked up to and deferred to by the troops

10 operating in the area.

11 Q. Is it correct, then -- we may have touched on

12 this earlier -- your first personal contact with

13 Colonel Blaskic was to get a pass in order to pass

14 through HVO checkpoints?

15 A. That's the case, yes. I can't --

16 Q. I'm sorry. Go ahead.

17 A. I was only going to say I can't remember

18 which checkpoints, but I remember that was the

19 purpose. Indeed, I've still got the pass.

20 Q. And is it correct that you, on this occasion,

21 met Colonel Blaskic at his headquarters at the Hotel

22 Vitez, after first speaking to several lower ranking

23 persons before you were allowed to see Colonel Blaskic,

24 and that you recall -- is it correct that you recall

25 someone coming in from a side room and Colonel Blaskic

Page 6631

1 telling them to type out a pass, that you then

2 witnessed Colonel Blaskic sign the pass, and it

3 occurred to you that this was something that was

4 important enough to Colonel Blaskic that he would not

5 let his subordinates deal with it themselves?

6 A. Yes, all of that's correct. He signed it

7 there and then for us.

8 Q. Now, again, so the record is clear, is it

9 fair to say, sir, that you do not recall ever meeting a

10 man named Mario Cerkez or having any direct dealings

11 with him yourself?

12 A. I don't recall that; that's correct.

13 Q. Had you ever heard of Mr. Cerkez? I'm not

14 asking you to express an opinion, but I'm just saying,

15 did you in fact -- do you recall, during your travels

16 and coverage in Bosnia, hearing the name "Mario

17 Cerkez"?

18 A. Yes, I heard him discussed, but I can't say

19 when. And of course, since then I've had conversations

20 about him, so it would be unfair to say when at that

21 time.

22 Q. Do you recall generally whether what you knew

23 and heard of him, in your professional journalistic --

24 JUDGE MAY: Well, let's be careful about

25 this. The witness has been careful to distinguish

Page 6632

1 between or to say that there are some things which he

2 learnt at the time --

3 MR. SCOTT: Very well, Your Honour.

4 JUDGE MAY: -- and others which he's heard

5 later. Is it realistically possible to distinguish

6 between those, Mr. Damon?

7 A. I wouldn't want to make that distinction.

8 MR. SCOTT: Very well.

9 JUDGE MAY: Move on.


11 Q. Now, Mr. Damon, is it correct that you then

12 -- you went to the village of Ahmici for the first

13 time sometime on about the 24th or the 26th of April,

14 1993?

15 A. That's correct. I believe it to be the 24th,

16 when U.N. ambassadors were visiting.

17 Q. And can you tell the Court whether, by that

18 particular date, had the atrocities or the believed

19 atrocities in Ahmici become more widely known to the

20 international community and, in fact, the media?

21 A. Yes, my colleagues from BBC and ITN had

22 transmitted footage which had alerted us all to what

23 had happened.

24 Q. Can you very briefly relate to the Court what

25 you saw at Ahmici when you first went there on

Page 6633

1 approximately the 24th of April?

2 A. What I first saw was the mosque, which was

3 blown up and the minaret collapsed into the roof, and

4 then one noticed, as one walked up the lane, the dead

5 animals. And then we came to various houses which were

6 burned out, and in the porch of one of those houses,

7 there was a body; I don't know what age or -- it wasn't

8 a child, but an adult body -- almost completely

9 carbonised, and with what was most horrifying -- I

10 don't know if any of us were capable of horror by then,

11 but what was most horrifying was the hand, which was

12 frozen in a kind of attitude of grasping, carbonised.

13 There were many other -- there were several

14 other bodies, and on a later occasion, I went with

15 European Union ambassadors a few days later and, sad to

16 relate, one of them actually trod on the corpse of a

17 few-months-old child, which wasn't noticeable under a

18 layer of roof tiles which had collapsed. I'm sure the

19 Court doesn't need to hear any more, but there was

20 plenty of evidence of atrocities.

21 Q. Did you have occasion to visit the village of

22 Ahmici again when some BritBat units were there

23 assessing the damage?

24 A. That's correct.

25 Q. And can you tell the Court, do you recall

Page 6634

1 being again in Ahmici on approximately the 30th of

2 April, 1993, when there seemed to be some sort of

3 cleanup operation under way?

4 A. Yes, we were alerted to this by a Croatian

5 photographer whom we had known, and he had tried to

6 take photographs of this operation, which seemed to me

7 to be rather strange, so soon after the events and with

8 no international supervision. And so we went there,

9 and I think the operation had been under way for some

10 hours, so we were not stopped for a few minutes from

11 filming it. The workers were there, not the soldiers,

12 in the first few minutes, but then a -- two soldiers in

13 black uniforms came up the hill, saw what we were

14 doing, and stopped us.

15 Q. And you indicated earlier you did not see --

16 or it wasn't apparent to you, excuse me -- that there

17 was any sort of international community supervision of

18 this cleanup operation?

19 A. I would be sure that there wasn't. We looked

20 for it specifically, I mean, partly because we wanted

21 to interview somebody about it. But no, there were

22 just local workers and Croatian soldiers.

23 Q. When you say these Croatian soldiers came up

24 to your film crew, what else do you remember about

25 that?

Page 6635

1 A. Well, we had already been warned that they

2 would be aggressive. In fact, again, I tried to do my

3 best not to provoke aggression. I'm nobody's hero, and

4 so I was very -- as friendly as I could be to this

5 particular soldier, who was wearing a black uniform.

6 We had been told that there would be one specific unit,

7 known as the Jokers, who were in charge of this

8 operation, one of the, I think, so-called elite forces,

9 what might be described as paramilitary forces, and

10 indeed he was such a soldier. He was wearing a patch

11 with the Joker symbol on it.

12 And he put his hand over the camera and

13 stopped us. He wasn't actually physically aggressive;

14 he became more verbally aggressive, and we were trying

15 to persuade him to let us go on. I was trying to

16 persuade him that this was -- surely this was good,

17 because it showed that the Croatians were taking care

18 of the scene. I'm not sure that I believed it, but I

19 was trying to persuade him that allowing the world to

20 see that they were investigating was a worthwhile thing

21 to do.

22 But he had no interest in anybody seeing it,

23 and he told us to go away, so we walked away. I kept

24 the camera -- well, I stopped the camera when he put

25 his hand over it, but I kept the camera running as we

Page 6636

1 walked away, and I filmed various -- what I think would

2 be called hygiene squads, wearing masks and so on, in

3 the vicinity.

4 Q. All right. Now, about this same time,

5 perhaps the same day, on the 30th of April, 1993, is it

6 correct that either you or your crew videotaped Muslim

7 women and children who were detained by the HVO at a

8 place called the Dubravica school in the Vitez area?

9 A. Yes. This was footage that we used in a

10 report, that I used in a report. The circumstances are

11 that quite often we pool material. I believe this

12 material to have come from another camera, but it may

13 have come from my own camera, which I might have sent

14 with a camera operator along with ITN. Obviously we

15 collaborated as much as possible in those difficult

16 situations.

17 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I might just note

18 at this juncture that obviously there is a fair amount

19 of potential video material, some of which the Court

20 has already seen through other witnesses. But you will

21 see by the end of Mr. Damon's testimony that we have

22 actually been quite limited in what we have picked for

23 these purposes, and in fact, some of these, we're

24 simply proceeding by having Mr. Damon describe what in

25 fact he did.

Page 6637

1 Q. In this particular instance, you do recall

2 specifically seeing Muslim women and children detained

3 at the Dubravica school?

4 A. I do, and my recollection is that what was

5 most noticeable was that there were symbols of Croatian

6 nationalism on the walls of the school in the rooms

7 where they were being kept, which, on the scale of

8 things, isn't the worst thing that could have happened

9 to them, but it did strike us as being offensive.

10 There was writing about Ustasha and so on, which --

11 perhaps it was there already; I don't know. But

12 clearly it was intimidating to them after what had

13 happened.

14 Q. Now, directing your attention to the 5th of

15 May, 1993, did you accompany BritBat Colonel Stewart to

16 the HVO headquarters in Vitez, where you met Colonel

17 Blaskic -- well, in fact, excuse me, Colonel Stewart

18 met Colonel Blaskic -- to ask him about what had

19 happened in Ahmici and what the Bosnian Croats were

20 doing about it?

21 A. Yes. We weren't there at that meeting, but

22 yes, we were at the time making a film about Colonel

23 Stewart, who was coming to the end of his tour, and I

24 was putting together a half-hour documentary about

25 him. And so we followed him closely for a few days,

Page 6638

1 and this was one of those days.

2 Q. And do you recall in particular, on this

3 occasion, filming the beginning of the meeting where a

4 man -- a Bosnian Croat named Anto Valenta, and also

5 some other ECMM officials, were present, together with

6 Colonel Blaskic?

7 A. I filmed it, and the identity of the person

8 you are referring to was drawn to my attention later.

9 Q. When you say "the person," you mean

10 Mr. Valenta?

11 A. Mr. Valenta, yeah.

12 Q. Was there any information or description

13 given to you at that time as to who Mr. Valenta was or

14 what his role in the Bosnian Croat structure was at

15 that time?

16 A. It was drawn to my attention that he was a

17 senior commander, but no, I don't recall any specific

18 mention. I think that one of my translators pointed

19 out that it was significant that he was there, but I --

20 I have to -- without sounding dismissive, one room full

21 of middle-aged men in combat uniform is much the same

22 as another after you've been in those situations for a

23 while.

24 Q. And is it correct that once the meeting was

25 under way, the media was excluded, and in fact you were

Page 6639

1 asked to leave the meeting room?

2 A. Yes, that's right. We waited outside for the

3 colonel.

4 Q. And can you continue on, then, and tell --

5 did Colonel Stewart come out of that meeting and make

6 any statement to the press?

7 A. He did. While I was waiting with him, I was

8 speaking to a couple of U.N. human rights

9 investigators, Thomas Osorio and Priam Akavian [sic],

10 and they gave me some details about the massacre in

11 Ahmici. Then Colonel Stewart came out and told us that

12 he, too, had presented to Colonel Blaskic the idea that

13 a proper investigation of what had happened should be

14 immediately undertaken and that Colonel Blaskic had

15 acknowledged his responsibility for the area, but not,

16 of course, for the massacre.

17 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I think there would

18 be no dispute -- with my apology to Mr. Damon, I think

19 the second individual he named would be -- the record

20 would show as Payam Akhavan.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So in effect Colonel Kordic -- excuse me;

23 strike that.

24 Colonel Blaskic indicated that this was in

25 his area of responsibility, but he declined to admit

Page 6640

1 that he had actually ordered the attack?

2 A. This was what I was told by Colonel Stewart.

3 Q. Now, not only on this particular occasion

4 now, but I'm going back, if you will, a bit more

5 broadly: During your travels in Central Bosnia, did

6 you come to know or see the military police, if you

7 will, the HVO military police, as distinct, at least in

8 some respects, from the regular HVO troops?

9 A. Yes, I -- it was somewhat noticeable that

10 there were perhaps more present than I might expect,

11 wearing white sashes, Sam Brownes, and driving cars

12 with a different insignia on the doors. And they

13 were -- there seemed to be a lot of military police.

14 Q. Did you notice them as being more active or

15 prominent in any particular towns or villages in

16 Central Bosnia?

17 A. There certainly seemed to be a lot of them

18 around Busovaca area, but I remember also seeing them

19 in Vitez, on the roads. They were often parked at the

20 side of the roads.

21 Q. And how did they strike -- well, is it fair

22 to say that you interacted with HVO military police on

23 a number of occasions?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And how did they strike you in terms of their

Page 6641

1 training and discipline as a military force, if you

2 will?

3 A. Well, in the early stages of the war, they

4 were certainly better disciplined than some of the

5 others. Obviously many of those in uniform in the

6 first few months were simply local townspeople who had

7 put on uniform. The military police, I think that they

8 were, a lot of them, former civilian police who had

9 been turned into military police. I don't have

10 evidence for that, but we discussed it, those of us who

11 were reporting, and it seemed -- I seem to remember

12 being told that. But they were certainly better

13 disciplined.

14 Q. And can you recall for the Court whether

15 there was at least a HVO military police headquarters

16 that was located in this same building when you

17 accompanied Colonel Stewart to visit Colonel Blaskic?

18 A. There were headquarters -- I can't confirm,

19 but there were certainly many wearing the white belts

20 of the military police in that building, yes.

21 Q. And can you tell the Court, please, whether

22 in fact you worked through the military police, on

23 occasion, when you would try to arrange access to or

24 meetings with people like Dario Kordic and Colonel

25 Blaskic?

Page 6642

1 A. I wouldn't say "worked through." There was

2 co-operation. I remember when we went to see

3 Mr. Kordic the first time, part of our escort was a

4 military police vehicle for one stage. But no, we

5 didn't work directly through them.

6 Q. All right. Now, in turning specifically,

7 then, to Mr. Kordic, can you tell the Court, during

8 your journalistic coverage in Bosnia, did you have

9 occasion to meet Mr. Kordic on several occasions?

10 A. Yes, I interviewed him the first time, I

11 believe, in the late summer or autumn of '92, at -- in

12 Busovaca. It had been drawn to my attention that he

13 was a senior figure in the area, and I wanted to meet

14 him and interview him. And then I met him for dinner

15 on two occasions later in '93.

16 Q. All right. Let me stop and take you through

17 this, if we can, a bit more step by step.

18 Can you tell the Court a little bit more

19 about why, as a journalist, your attention was drawn to

20 Mr. Kordic as someone that you wanted to meet and

21 interview?

22 A. In the first instance because, obviously, one

23 seeks to understand the situation and the ambitions of

24 those involved in it, and he was quite clearly senior,

25 and we needed to understand his motivation. We were

Page 6643

1 told he was number two to Mate Boban in the area, and

2 indeed in the region, in the Croatian territory, and so

3 we wanted to speak to him. He was an important

4 figure. And also because, as I mentioned before, we

5 needed to be able to move around relatively freely, and

6 getting his attention and approval was important.

7 Q. Let me focus on just physical location for a

8 moment. Do you recall the various locations, if you

9 can just briefly describe to the Court the locations

10 where you met Mr. Kordic?

11 A. The first occasion was in Busovaca town. It

12 was outside a public building; I think -- the story is

13 that it was the PTT, but I don't recollect that. But

14 it had a plaque outside which identified it as being a

15 public building, and we interviewed him, or I

16 interviewed him, in the car park. He was surrounded by

17 his bodyguards, his security detachment. And then the

18 other times, I think in all cases, were at his -- what

19 I believe to be headquarters, up in the hills, which

20 was a converted restaurant.

21 Q. Do you recall any name or reference being

22 given to that location?

23 A. "The Eagle's Nest" is what it was called. My

24 translators called it that, and others, I believe,

25 too.

Page 6644

1 Q. You were at this former restaurant or hotel

2 on at least two occasions, I believe you indicated?

3 A. Yes. Well, I believe three, but certainly on

4 two, yeah.

5 Q. Again, just give the Court some physical

6 description or picture, if you will, of what this place

7 looked like.

8 A. It took us -- the first time we were led

9 there by police cars, and one civilian, and then a

10 military, and at the bottom of the hill leading up into

11 the restaurant area, there was a checkpoint with a

12 barrier and a soldier beside it. And then we went

13 through there and went up into the car park, and it was

14 -- there were a lot of uniformed personnel in the

15 grounds of the restaurant.

16 Q. Can you tell the Court what, if anything, you

17 knew or learned about Mr. Kordic's relationship with a

18 man you mentioned earlier, and that was Mate Boban?

19 A. Well, we were told that Mr. Kordic was his

20 number two. He was his deputy.

21 Q. You indicated in your testimony earlier that

22 you had interviewed Mr. Boban on at least one or two

23 occasions. Was one of those occasions in Grude?

24 A. Yes, that's correct.

25 Q. And is that a location that was typically

Page 6645

1 associated with Mr. Boban's headquarters, if you will?

2 A. Yes, at the time. Although Mostar was what

3 they -- where they would like to have kept their

4 headquarters, that wasn't safe for them.

5 Q. Now, I would like you, Mr. Damon, if you

6 could look around the courtroom: The person that you

7 met in Bosnia and was introduced to you and became

8 known to you as Dario Kordic, do you see him in the

9 courtroom?

10 A. Yes, I do, yes.

11 Q. Could you point him out, please?

12 A. He is the defendant on the right, from where

13 I am sitting, with glasses and short hair.

14 MR. SCOTT: I would ask that the record, Your

15 Honour, reflect that the witness has identified the

16 accused Dario Kordic.

17 Q. Now, can you relate to the Court, please, a

18 situation where Mr. Kordic helped two of your

19 interpreters receive passports from the Republic of

20 Croatia?

21 A. Yes. My two translators were carrying red

22 Yugoslav -- former Yugoslav passports, which had caused

23 them some difficulties already. One of them, the male,

24 had been held at the airport in Zagreb once when we'd

25 flown in from Sarajevo, even though it was quite clear

Page 6646

1 he was no risk, and indeed he was escorted out of the

2 country in a police escort because he had a Yugoslav

3 passport.

4 This was clearly some great inconvenience to

5 them, so they told me that they would ask Mr. Kordic

6 for help in obtaining better passports, Croatian

7 passports. And we went in daytime to the headquarters,

8 Mr. Kordic's headquarters. They went off to have a

9 word with him. I --

10 Q. I'm sorry: Which of the headquarters did

11 you --

12 A. To what's called "the Eagle's Nest."

13 They went off to have a word with him. I

14 didn't overhear the conversation, but I knew what it

15 was about. And then some days later, the passports

16 were produced. They showed me the passports, and I

17 remember them joking, as we drove through into Croatia

18 from Bosnia a few days later, that the little village

19 where they were supposed to be registered for the

20 purpose of these Croatian passports would have had to

21 have been about the size of Los Angeles if it were to

22 contain all of the people whose passports were

23 registered there. I think it was a joke, but I got the

24 point.

25 Q. I want to be very precise here, Mr. Damon.

Page 6647

1 These passports, these were not the passports from the

2 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?

3 A. No, they were Republic of Croatia passports.

4 And they did the job; I mean, it enabled them to travel

5 more freely.

6 Q. Directing your attention to the 20th of

7 December, 1992, did you or one of your crews have

8 occasion to film a ceremony or a parade, a military

9 parade, if you will, of the HVO Ban Jelacic Brigade, at

10 or near Kiseljak?

11 A. Yes. In fact, my wife filmed this.

12 Q. Once again, did you then subsequently

13 actually review and edit and are familiar with the

14 tape?

15 A. Yes, I used the material in our reports that

16 I made either that day or the following day. I don't

17 remember.

18 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I want to refer to

19 what's been marked as Exhibit 1883 as the exhibit

20 number. For the video booth, they refer to as video

21 1066, 1-0-6-6.

22 Your Honour, before we play this, what I'm

23 going to propose, there is a partial transcript, and I

24 don't mean "partial" in the sense that only selected

25 parts have been made, but I mean in terms of the most

Page 6648

1 pertinent parts of the transcript that came -- that has

2 been provided in connection with the tape, it does not

3 follow, unfortunately -- and when you see the tape, I

4 think you'll understand -- in exact sequence. So what

5 I'd like to do is play the videotape and -- I suppose

6 one option is the courtroom interpreters could attempt

7 to interpret the Serbo-Croatian as we go. But at some

8 point, we can fast-forward the tape because it will

9 become repetitive.

10 Again I wanted the Court to get some feel of

11 what the tape looks like and what's happening at the

12 time.

13 There is a portion toward the end of the

14 tape, which we can hopefully identify -- we should be

15 able to identify -- around approximately 13 minutes, 5

16 seconds into the tape -- again I assure the Court that

17 we're not going to play 13 minutes worth -- but where

18 Dario Kordic is identified on the tape.

19 If we can start by playing -- excuse me. Has

20 the transcript been distributed? All right. I believe

21 it has.

22 If we can just start out the tape, please, at

23 the beginning of 1066.

24 [Videotape played]

25 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Attention, right

Page 6649

1 face.

2 MR. SCOTT: Can you just pause there for a

3 second, please?

4 Your Honour, I do this subject to further

5 verification. I think for the purposes of this trial,

6 there wouldn't be any dispute, but the man in front,

7 saluting in front of the troops, is Ivica -- I think

8 the record evidence would show it's Ivica Rajic, which

9 is a name that the Court has probably heard from time

10 to time, or will, as an HVO commander in the Kiseljak

11 area.

12 I only represent that to the Court in good

13 faith. If there's some dispute about it, it can be

14 proved otherwise.

15 JUDGE MAY: We can find out now. Is there

16 any dispute about that?

17 MR. SAYERS: I don't believe there is, Your

18 Honour.

19 MR. SCOTT: Thank you. We can continue,

20 please.

21 [Videotape played]

22 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Gentlemen,

23 soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers of the

24 Ban Jelacic Brigade ... the homeland?

25 Ready. Ready.

Page 6650

1 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, it appears that

2 we're at the top of the first page of the transcript.

3 You can see that the troops say, "We are ready," and it

4 says that the Croatian national anthem is played.

5 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Attention,

6 Brigade. My dear soldiers, members of the Croatian

7 Defence Council, dear guests: The happy moment has

8 come when the struggle of the Croatian people for

9 survival and freedom in this area can be raised to a

10 higher and better level. They will fight and defend

11 all Croatian lands that they seize.

12 The first question and the main reason for

13 that is the fact that we are sure that we will never

14 betray his image, as an unsurpassable military leader

15 and hero, and there are innumerable other links which

16 the Croatian people mention for the first time in

17 history in medieval Bosnia.

18 In the fourteenth century, the Jelacics were

19 lords in Pounje, and in the sixteenth century, at the

20 time of the Turkish invasion, they moved while fighting

21 under the Frankopans. As the most prominent

22 representative of this old Croatian family, Ban Josip

23 Jelacic wished to unite Croats with Croatian

24 territories, which he achieved to a considerable

25 extent. He successfully fought the enemy, who denied

Page 6651

1 the very existence of Croatian people and Croatian

2 independence. He abolished the feudal system and so

3 earned the historical gratitude and eternal remembrance

4 among ordinary Croats. He won many battles and wars,

5 and not only by the force of love for his homeland but

6 also by all the virtues that we still need today in

7 order to win. He offered as a present the sword and

8 the stick with a hidden dagger, which is even today

9 kept in Kresevo.

10 Members of the Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade and

11 other units of the HVO, dear guests: Through this

12 brief review of our history, we have managed to show

13 that Croats have always tried to gather together and

14 jointly defend themselves, and the creation of the

15 brigade as a unit ... the independent state of Croatia

16 was not only a Nazi entity but also an expression of

17 the age-old strivings of Croats to create their own

18 state. So you are fighting for the centuries-old dream

19 of every Croatian man and woman. The result of this

20 struggle is the HVO and the Croatian Community of

21 Herceg-Bosna. You honourably fought for these ideals

22 even in the Second World War, but historical

23 circumstances, as many times before, were not

24 favourable then.

25 However, at this moment, by a good and

Page 6652

1 effective system of defence, the war in Croatia has

2 shown that by partial defence, we cannot protect a

3 single village, town, municipality, or district, but

4 that the defence has to be unique throughout all

5 Croatian areas. By creating numerous brigades, in the

6 technical and professional sense but also in the

7 political sense, the results can be seen in the small

8 number of casualties on the battlefields of

9 Herceg-Bosna.

10 The greater the aggression, the more prepared

11 we were, and at this very moment, we are most

12 prepared. Who does not believe in this can ... with

13 the belief in future achievements and the final

14 victory.

15 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, at this moment, I'll

16 ask that the tape be stopped.

17 JUDGE MAY: Where are we going?

18 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, we'll have to pick

19 up on the transcript as best we can, but I suggest that

20 we go, if the video booth is able to do it, to

21 approximately the 11-minute mark of the tape. The

22 overall tape is something like 13 minutes.

23 JUDGE MAY: Where is that on the transcript?

24 MR. SCOTT: Unfortunately, Your Honour, I

25 think we'll have to pick up -- we'll have to jump into

Page 6653

1 it as best as we can by listening to the translation.

2 I've picked a point that should be well before the part

3 where Mr. Kordic is announced.

4 JUDGE MAY: But on the third page?

5 MR. SCOTT: I would think that we'll find it

6 somewhere, Your Honour, at the top of the third page.


8 [Videotape played]

9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] ... forget our

10 mother tongue. From Montenegro, Serbia, and even the

11 Sandzak, they came here ... as if few people had been

12 killed by those who, together with our traitors for

13 little money, did not allow a Croat to speak ... or to

14 mention the Croatian nation.

15 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, we're about

16 three-quarters of the way down the page. I don't think

17 it's too much to continue on.

18 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Dear soldiers,

19 they were at the head of the communist party in order

20 to win. I opposed them because there is none else, and

21 I would prefer if someone younger would oppose them.

22 Our beautiful Bosnia, I swear to you in the

23 name of God, please do not forget that it is our sacred

24 ideal and that we should risk and give everything for

25 this sacred ideal. I pray to God for you, for all of

Page 6654

1 us, so that because of that great man in Croatian

2 history, Ban Jelacic, you preserve consistently and

3 entirely what has always been sacred to our

4 grandfathers and fathers with pride, because you, the

5 soldiers from our Croatian areas, have absolutely

6 deserved this.

7 The same Ban Jelacic, as well as all other

8 Croatian heroes, was always ready to risk his life for

9 the Croatian homeland. We are convinced that you will

10 contribute to the creation of the Croatian Community of

11 Herceg-Bosna. The Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna

12 is our guiding idea ... who right now with us, your

13 vice-president of the Croatian Community of

14 Herceg-Bosna, Colonel Dario Kordic, and the secretary

15 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Ignac

16 Kostroman. You will now be addressed by the commander

17 of the Central Bosnia Operational Zone, Colonel Dario

18 Kordic, who will also present the war banner.

19 I hope that you will spend it with your

20 families, and I congratulate you, especially on behalf

21 of all the defenders with whom I will certainly be on

22 the defence lines. According to an old and good

23 custom, we shall now bless the flags, which are the

24 symbol of our people.

25 MR. SAYERS: If I may, Mr. President --

Page 6655

1 MR. SCOTT: We can conclude the tape at this

2 point, Your Honour.

3 MR. SAYERS: One minor point, Mr. President.

4 The transcript that's been handed to us -- I don't know

5 whether the same transcript has been handed to the

6 Court -- indicates that one of the speakers was

7 Mr. Kordic, and apparently that was not the case on the

8 tape. Apparently, there was a gentleman dressed in

9 some clerical clothes who was the speaker there. So

10 that should be corrected.

11 JUDGE MAY: That can be done. If that's a

12 convenient moment, we may as well adjourn now before we

13 go on to another topic.

14 MR. SCOTT: That would be fine, Your Honour.

15 JUDGE MAY: Do you accept that?

16 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, we accept the fact

17 that apparently, despite some effort, we cannot see

18 Mr. Kordic on the tape. We present the tape on its

19 face as having Mr. Kordic having been introduced and

20 apparently having spoken.

21 Whether there has been a break in the tape or

22 not, which jumps to another speaker, we cannot say.

23 This is not a tape that was made by the Prosecution; it

24 is a tape that was made historically. We simply accept

25 it for what the tape and the transcript are able -- for

Page 6656

1 the information it does provide.

2 JUDGE MAY: I don't know if the witness can

3 throw any light on that dispute.

4 THE WITNESS: No, I wasn't there. My wife

5 filmed it, and I did not have any control over the

6 filming.

7 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn now

8 till half past nine tomorrow.

9 Mr. Damon, you are giving evidence, so please

10 don't speak to anybody about it, your evidence, until

11 it's over, and that does include members of the

12 Prosecution.

13 THE WITNESS: I understand.

14 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

15 Mr. Kovacic, you wanted to mention something,

16 yes, in private session.

17 If the witness would like to withdraw, we'll

18 deal with the other matter.

19 [The witness withdrew]

20 [Private session]

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

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13 page 6657 redacted private session













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13 page 6658 redacted private session













Page 6659

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 5.33 p.m., to be reconvened on

10 Wednesday, the 15th day of September,

11 1999, at 9.30 a.m.