Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 6660

1 Wednesday, 15th September, 1999

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 9.38 a.m.

5 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] IT-95-14/2-T,

6 the Prosecutor versus Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez.

7 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, may I make one

8 very brief point before proceedings start today?

9 It concerns the matter that arose right at

10 the end of trial yesterday. The transcript of the

11 videotape that was put before the Court by the

12 Prosecutor has the word "Kordic" in there. We believe

13 that the Prosecutor's evidence has already established

14 Mr. Kordic's whereabouts on December the 20th, and that

15 was not in Kiseljak. Actually, it was Colonel Blaskic

16 who addressed the crowd, and I think that there is no

17 dispute about that. Thank you.

18 JUDGE MAY: The reference in the transcript

19 is to Colonel Kordic.

20 MR. SAYERS: It says, "... commander of the

21 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, Colonel Dario

22 Kordic ..." Yes, unfortunately, the Central Bosnia

23 Operative Zone commander was actually Colonel Blaskic,

24 and that was the person who addressed the crowd.

25 JUDGE MAY: So you're saying that -- what was

Page 6661

1 the word that was used, so I understand the point? Was

2 "Kordic" used or "Blaskic" used?

3 MR. SAYERS: I think the announcer made a

4 mistake. He introduced Mr. Kordic, but it was actually

5 Colonel Blaskic who addressed the crowd. So the word

6 "Kordic" in capitals on the left-hand side there, just

7 before "I hope that you can spend it with your

8 families" should actually say Blaskic.

9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, well that can be simply

10 amended on our transcripts as we see fit.

11 MR. SAYERS: Thank you very much, indeed.

12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Scott.

13 MR. SCOTT: We're ready to proceed, I

14 believe, Your Honour.

15 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let's have the witness

16 then.

17 MR. SCOTT: Dan Damon.

18 [The witness entered court]

19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Scott, you got to paragraph

20 60 on the summary.

21 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. In that

22 regard, Your Honour, I will tell the Court, because the

23 Court will certainly know that the subject of the --

24 the general topic of Kaonik has come up, and the Court

25 has indicated some desire to, can I say, not get bogged

Page 6662

1 down too much further in that material.

2 There are aspects of that in terms of this

3 witness, where Mr. Damon will testify about a meeting

4 with Mr. Kordic about Kaonik, and Mr. Damon was one of

5 the few, if I can use the term, "Western" or

6 "International Community" people who did visit

7 Kaonik. So his perspective is a bit different than the

8 Muslim witnesses who have testified before the Court.

9 Having said that, Your Honour, I would move

10 him through a couple of paragraphs, for instance, on

11 paragraph 72 and 73, by leading him very quickly, but

12 again I think his perspective is different than the

13 testimony the Court has heard before, but we will do it

14 very quickly.

15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Very well.


17 Examined by Mr. Scott:

18 Q. Mr. Damon, is it correct, directing your

19 attention to approximately the middle of May 1993, that

20 you were able to visit an HVO prison camp, if you will,

21 called Kaonik?

22 A. Yes, that's correct.

23 Q. Can you tell the Court how you were able to

24 arrange permission, if you will, authorisation, to

25 visit Kaonik?

Page 6663

1 A. On one of the occasions when I met

2 Mr. Kordic, we were discussing the threat from the

3 Islamic world to the Croatian people in Bosnia, which

4 Mr. Kordic was keen to impress upon me existed. I

5 asked him for some proof, and he said that there were

6 Islamic fighters imprisoned by the Croats and that we

7 could see them. I suggested that this would be a good

8 idea, and so he arranged, I think, within a very short

9 time, maybe a day or two, for us to be able to visit

10 the camp, which happened to be in Kaonik. I didn't

11 know where it was until we got there.

12 Q. All right. Let me move us back, if I may, to

13 set the scene a bit. Was this conversation with

14 Mr. Kordic at a dinner?

15 A. Yes, this was at one of the dinners that we

16 had.

17 Q. Where was this dinner?

18 A. In the Eagle's Nest.

19 Q. Can you tell the Court a little bit more

20 about the nature of your conversation with Mr. Kordic

21 that evening, before we go ahead to Kaonik?

22 A. Well, like so many politicians in the

23 Croatian region of Bosnia, he believed -- not only

24 politicians, military leaders as well -- he believed

25 that there was an Islamic threat, that the idea of an

Page 6664

1 Islamic state was in the minds of the Muslims living

2 there. Obviously, I tried to suggest that this was

3 perhaps a bit hard to believe, but it was clear that he

4 saw that idea of an Islamic threat in very clear

5 terms.

6 Q. Did he make any comment to the effect,

7 something along the lines of, "Those people are

8 dangerous"?

9 A. Well, he generalised about Muslims. Whether

10 he used the term "those people," I think the

11 conversation, if I remember, was over several -- well,

12 a couple of hours anyway, but, yes, there was -- in his

13 case, as in so many, there was a tendency to lump

14 together "the Muslims" as being a particular kind of

15 threat.

16 There was a theory abroad in the Croatian

17 community, and particularly amongst the senior

18 politicians, that some kind of Islamic corridor was

19 trying to be created by the Muslims from Turkey.

20 Q. Now, did the subject of Ahmici, the events at

21 Ahmici some days before this dinner also come up in

22 your conversation with Mr. Kordic?

23 A. I had in mind that this was a different

24 dinner, but, yes, I can't remember -- I can't

25 distinguish between the two. We did have two. Yes,

Page 6665

1 this was certainly post-Ahmici. I was very, well,

2 upset.

3 If I can just briefly beg the indulgence of

4 the Court, I'd like to set the scene because I think it

5 is quite important. I had during the previous year, in

6 1991, I had filmed alongside Croatian soldiers when

7 Croatia was being attacked by the Yugoslav People's

8 Army. I was in that region, Zagreb and the Krajina

9 region, for some considerable months, and I developed a

10 strong respect for the bravery of the Croatian

11 soldiers, many of whom were not soldiers; they were

12 people who were brought together very rapidly to deal

13 with the threat.

14 For example, I made a film about a

15 cinematographer, Gordon Lederer, who had no interest in

16 this idea of ethnic purity but who had been killed

17 filming alongside Croatian soldiers because he felt his

18 country's case was not being heard.

19 In so many cases, I believed it was the

20 morale of the Croatian people that enabled them to

21 resist what was an enormous assault. A huge part of

22 one of Europe's largest armies was thrown against

23 Croatia in 1991. As I say, that morale, that morality

24 seemed to be important to their survival, and survive,

25 they did.

Page 6666

1 Then when I game to Central Bosnia in the end

2 of 1992, 1993, I saw exactly the same kind of

3 immorality that I'd seen used against the Croatians

4 being used by them or by people claiming to be

5 representing the Croatian nation in Central Bosnia, and

6 this offended me, not just me. I did feel in a way

7 that this was a disastrous situation for the Croatians

8 to be in.

9 So, perhaps naively, at this dinner, I took

10 Mr. Kordic to one side, I asked for a private meeting

11 with him, just me and a translator, in a side room, and

12 I made it clear that this situation, this incident in

13 Ahmici was a very negative development for the

14 Croatians, apart from the damage that it caused to the

15 Muslims, because it was immoral. There was no

16 political reason for massacring babies a few months

17 old.

18 I suggested to him that since it was clear,

19 at least some of the names of those involved were

20 already known to the U.N. investigators, that the

21 Croatian leadership should help in bringing them to

22 justice and to making sure that justice was done.

23 Q. And do you recall Mr. Kordic making any

24 response to this conversation?

25 A. He was gracious. He said -- he said that

Page 6667

1 there were extremists on all sides, which was a common

2 response whenever one confronted a politician who had

3 power to stop these things and who wasn't able or

4 willing to do so, and met the same response in other

5 parts with other political leaders on all sides.

6 That was it. I mean, there was no -- he

7 didn't make any admission, of course, and -- but at the

8 same time, I don't believe that he went ahead and

9 instigated an investigation or that, indeed, anybody

10 who had the power, and Mr. Kordic certainly had

11 tremendous power in that valley, did anything to find

12 out who were the perpetrators or to make sure that

13 justice was done.

14 Q. Do you recall, after that conversation,

15 whether --

16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,

17 Mr. Scott.

18 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour.

19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Could we ask

20 the witness if Mr. Kordic commented on the morality or

21 immorality, the legality or illegality, of the acts

22 that the witness has just spoken of?


24 Q. Mr. Damon, can you assist the Court with

25 that?

Page 6668

1 A. Yes, I understood the question. No, there

2 was no comment on its rightness or wrongness.

3 Q. Can you tell the Court whether, following

4 this conversation, did the interpreter who was with you

5 during this exchange express any view to you about the

6 proposal, if you will, of a Bosnian Croat

7 investigation?

8 A. Yes, I -- as we left afterwards, one of the

9 translators commented that really I was barking up the

10 wrong tree because there was quite clearly a policy

11 which was in the hands of the political leadership to

12 exclude all of the Muslims, and that the suggestion

13 that there were just a few perpetrators who were out of

14 control was silly.

15 Q. Just following up on that, your proposal or

16 suggestion to Mr. Kordic had been that the Croats, that

17 it would be in their interest to conduct their own

18 investigation, to bring the perpetrators to justice?

19 A. Yes, there were two things in my mind. The

20 first, that I've already alluded to, that I genuinely

21 and perhaps naively felt that this was a great disaster

22 for the Croatian spirit, and indeed, as it proved, the

23 project to create an ethnically pure Herceg-Bosna

24 failed, but also, as a journalist, I sort of felt that

25 there -- I really felt that they might want to help me

Page 6669

1 get to the bottom of this atrocity.

2 I had built up a level of trust with the

3 Croatians, coincidentally -- well, in the previous

4 year, the Croatian television in the Republic of

5 Croatia had made a documentary about me because they

6 seemed to think that I was a journalist who had some

7 credibility, so I was hoping that they would enable me

8 to get to the bottom of what was clearly an outrage,

9 and one which did no service whatsoever to the idea of

10 the Croatians defending their own religion and ability

11 to live at peace in their homes.

12 Q. All right. Now, before we go on to Kaonik,

13 just to set the scene on that again, this particular

14 topic had come up in your conversation with Mr. Kordic

15 at dinner, because you said a few moments ago that

16 there was some suggestion by Mr. Kordic that there were

17 outside Muslim soldiers, if you will, who were involved

18 in the fighting in Central Bosnia?

19 A. Yes, and I would like to emphasise that I

20 believe that to be true. In fact, whether the people

21 that I saw were those fighters is highly questionable,

22 but there were many sources who told us, including

23 Bosnian army sources, who told us that there were

24 indeed Islamic fighters, so-called Afghanis -- although

25 I believe that they were, in fact, from other countries

Page 6670

1 than Afghanistan, they were called Afghanis because

2 they had fought inside Afghanistan at various times or

3 had been trained there -- and so I asked for proof, and

4 Mr. Kordic arranged for me to get it.

5 Q. By going to Kaonik?

6 A. By going to the Kaonik camp, yes.

7 Q. And you went to Kaonik camp on the 14th of

8 May, 1993; is that correct?

9 A. That's the date on the tape.

10 Q. And just, again, to set this dinner

11 conversation in a time frame, how long before, or

12 shortly before, if you will, was this dinner in

13 relation to your visit at Kaonik?

14 A. I think it was a very short time. It may

15 have been the following day, or a day after that, that

16 we were able to go.

17 Q. When you arrived at Kaonik on the 14th of

18 May, what did you see?

19 A. We went up a lane to what looked like an old

20 Yugoslav People's Army barracks or store area

21 surrounded by a fence, and we were taken just to one

22 building, which looked like some sort of storehouse,

23 although it had rooms that were -- looked like

24 purpose-built cells. We were allowed to film in just a

25 couple of these. We saw the Islamic citizens, citizens

Page 6671

1 of Pakistan, Turkey, and I think other countries. We

2 were told there were about a dozen of them; I think we

3 saw about eight, six to eight of them.

4 The conditions were, I thought, very bad. I

5 saw worse in other camps, but they were bad, mostly

6 because there was no hygiene for these people, and that

7 was quite important to them. I remember having a

8 discussion -- we were allowed -- I would like to say we

9 were allowed to talk to these people without the

10 Croatian soldiers being in the cell with us; they were

11 outside. I had a conversation with one of them about

12 the difficulties of practising his religion, because

13 they like to wash before praying, and he said that his

14 religion enabled him simply to wipe his hands on the

15 wall as a gesture of going through the ritual.

16 But it was clearly -- I mean, it was very

17 smelly, it was very dirty, and the conditions were

18 certainly less than any prisoner of war should have

19 been kept in, or indeed any prisoner.

20 Q. Was Kaonik, to your observation, an HVO

21 military prison?

22 A. Yes, it was certainly in the control of the

23 HVO.

24 Q. Were the guards or soldiers that you saw

25 there in HVO uniforms?

Page 6672

1 A. Yes, they were wearing uniforms.

2 Q. Did you have any -- can you make any

3 observations or did you have any impressions about the

4 attitude of the HVO soldiers or commanders at Kaonik

5 about your presence there?

6 A. Well, they weren't very happy about it, I

7 think quite understandably. They were not that used to

8 having journalists poking their noses and cameras into

9 prisons. I mean, as I said, I went into worse. There

10 were other installations where certainly there was a

11 lot more to hide, but I guess it was a combination of

12 having been free to operate without scrutiny up until

13 then, and also the general feeling which prevailed

14 because under the old communist system, there would be

15 no form of journalism which would enable anybody to go

16 into such a place.

17 Q. When you arrived at Kaonik on that morning,

18 was there some communication or information that Dario

19 Kordic had authorised you to come into the camp?

20 A. Oh, yes, the translator who got the permission

21 had no doubt where it had come from. There may even

22 have been a bit of paper, although I didn't look at it

23 closely, but I think there certainly was.

24 Q. Do you recall whether there was any

25 indication that the HVO officials at the camp were

Page 6673

1 unhappy particularly at Mr. Kordic for having

2 authorised you to come there?

3 A. There was some discomfiture. A conversation

4 went on at the gate, but I didn't understand it. It

5 was clear that they were not happy we were there, but

6 they had superior orders, and that was it.

7 Q. All right. Before we close on that, did it

8 come to your attention or can you share with the Court

9 any knowledge you have: Were these prisoners

10 subsequently exchanged?

11 A. Yes, I saw them exchanged a few days later,

12 in the centre of Zenica, and it was an exchange

13 supervised by the British army. We were allowed to

14 observe it from our vehicles for a short period, and

15 then one of the Islamic -- I say "Islamic," one of --

16 there was a separate -- there was quite clearly a

17 separate group in charge of this, other than the

18 Bosnian army, of this exchange in Zenica.

19 One of them pointed an anti-aircraft gun

20 directly at our vehicle, and a British army soldier

21 stuck his head inside the cab and said something in

22 Anglo-Saxon to the effect that we should leave. It

23 seemed like a good idea at the time.

24 I went, actually -- again, in my naive and

25 offended way, I went to the police chief in Zenica, the

Page 6674

1 Bosnian police chief, and said, "What are you doing

2 about these people running around your city with

3 anti-aircraft guns?" And he shrugged his shoulders.

4 Q. Now I want to direct your attention to

5 another matter. Did you come to know, around this

6 time, or through your travels in Central Bosnia, about

7 a building or facility that was known or referred to as

8 the Bungalow?

9 A. Yes, yes, it was a wooden building quite

10 close to Ahmici.

11 Q. Did you come to have any information about

12 who occupied or used that building?

13 A. It was information -- I have to say by

14 hearsay and rumour, but this was said to be the base of

15 the hard-line soldiers, paramilitaries, who were

16 responsible for what had gone on in Ahmici, although it

17 was occupied by the military before that.

18 Q. And did you have occasion sometime after

19 Ahmici to go to the Bungalow and speak with some of

20 these people?

21 A. Yes, in the same spirit of naivety I went to

22 them and asked what was going on. Again, I made this

23 somewhat romantic point about having been in ditches

24 side by side with Croatian soldiers during 1991 and

25 that this was not the way I expected them to behave. I

Page 6675

1 was given the story about the village of Cajdras, up in

2 the hills behind Ahmici, where there was said to be

3 atrocities against Croats, as if this was some kind of

4 explanation for what had gone on in Ahmici.

5 Q. All right. Let me ask you that very

6 directly: Did you ask them, did you put the question

7 to them as why had Ahmici happened, or words to that

8 effect?

9 A. Yes, exactly that, yeah.

10 Q. And what answer did you get?

11 A. That Cajdras was the reason.

12 Q. And what did you do after that?

13 A. Well, I went to Cajdras. We went the long

14 way round through Zenica, which was the easy way of

15 crossing the line, and although subsequently we did

16 cross the line directly to Cajdras from different

17 occasions, but on this occasion we went round the long

18 way to investigate, and we found that the men had been

19 arrested, indeed. We later saw those men in prison in

20 Zenica when the Red Cross was there. But the women and

21 the families, the children and the older people, were

22 in reasonably good shape, and I met the priest also who

23 was responsible for their welfare.

24 Q. Did he seem to have free access to move about

25 the area?

Page 6676

1 A. Yes, he was. We spoke to him briefly about

2 the difficulties, and of course he made it clear that

3 they were concerned for the future. But I did ask him

4 directly: "Are you being harassed?" And he said, "No,

5 not at this time." There had been, up in remote

6 Croatian households away from the village, there had

7 been some trouble, but not inside the village itself,

8 and certainly it wasn't a massacre.

9 Q. All right. Now, before moving on in the

10 chronology, is it fair to say, Mr. Damon, that by this

11 point in time -- we're now into May of 1993 -- that you

12 had travelled fairly extensively in Central Bosnia,

13 including the areas of Busovaca, Nadioci, and Ahmici?

14 A. Yes, yes.

15 Q. Can you just share with the Court -- I don't

16 want to lead you through this, but just share with the

17 Court your views, based on having interviewed a number

18 of people, in terms of the attitudes and the statements

19 of viewpoint, if you will, that you saw between the

20 various ethnic groups about their coexistence?

21 A. Well, there was a policy, and it was clear

22 that it was being effected, to purify the region. Once

23 the idea of purification had begun, then it was a

24 military campaign that was engaged in to clear out the

25 Muslims. It was first begun in October of 1992. It --

Page 6677

1 I think at the highest level there was some truce

2 negotiated then, but through the spring of 1993, it was

3 gradually built up until in April, the atrocities

4 against the Muslims began in and around Vitez, and in

5 Ahmici subsequently, and elsewhere. And there was an

6 attitude, and one met this in many parts of

7 Herzegovina, that the Muslims were not to be trusted

8 and that they had to be cleared out.

9 I remember meeting villagers further down

10 towards Mostar, villages that had been under shell fire

11 from the Serb side earlier in the war but who said they

12 would rather live with the Serbs than the Muslims, who

13 had never shelled them. There was a great deal of

14 racial ill feeling stirred up, I believe. I think

15 there is plenty of proof that it was part of a

16 political plan.

17 Q. Mr. Damon, your answer has implied the answer

18 to this, but you started out your answer a moment ago

19 by saying there was a policy. With which of the ethnic

20 groups were you identifying this policy?

21 A. There was a plan by some Croatian politicians

22 to create a state of Herceg-Bosna that would be annexed

23 to Croatia. I saw a piece of paper which contained

24 this plan and was signed by various senior Croatian

25 politicians. I was shown a photocopy of this.

Page 6678

1 Q. Can you give any particular date as to when

2 you saw this document, or the date of the document?

3 A. The document was dated October 1991. I don't

4 remember when I saw it. I have a feeling I've still

5 got it somewhere in my papers. I've been trying to

6 track it down. I haven't found it.

7 Q. Now, returning to this other topic, I'd like

8 you to go further, if you can, with the Court and tell

9 the Court about any differences of opinion or attitude

10 you saw in this respect, between the Croats on the one

11 side and the Muslims on the other, in terms of mutual

12 coexistence?

13 A. Yes, and I don't want to be too romantic

14 about it. There clearly were excesses and outrages

15 carried out by all sides. I saw later in the year of

16 1993 or in the early part of '94, I saw a Catholic

17 Church up in the hills, which had been above Konjic,

18 which had been trashed apparently by Muslims, so these

19 things happened. But in terms of the initiation of

20 this spirit of aggression and ethnic purity, this was

21 evidently a Croatian plan.

22 I spoke, for example, in Mostar to some

23 teenaged boys. In fact, I made a short documentary

24 about them, and they said quite clearly -- these were

25 Muslims on the east bank of Mostar who said quite

Page 6679

1 clearly, "We would like to live with them, but I don't

2 think they want to live with us." Perhaps one of the

3 understatements of the century, to be honest, but that

4 was quite clearly the mood.

5 You, of course, would find -- I also met

6 Muslim soldiers injured, amputees, in the hospital in

7 Zenica, who had been flown in from the Muslim areas of

8 eastern Bosnia, who were quite clearly anti-Christian.

9 One might suppose that their experiences had

10 radicalised them. But in terms of a plan, a policy to

11 separate the different coreligionists, that was a

12 Croatian plan, I'm afraid to say, which is a tragedy

13 because, in fact, the similarities between these people

14 were much more important and valuable than the

15 differences between them. But a certain type of

16 politician chose to stir up trouble.

17 Q. All right. I'm going to move on, then, to

18 your trips to Cajdras. You spoke about that already.

19 Did you then make a second visit, with a Bosnian

20 official, to Cajdras?

21 A. Yes, we were in Zenica a few days later.

22 Again, I can't specifically remember the date, but it

23 would be on the tape. And I'm afraid I have to admit

24 in an exercise, to some extent, of news management we

25 met the vice-president of Bosnia, Ejub Ganic, who I

Page 6680

1 knew already from having interviewed him in Sarajevo,

2 and I suggested that he should go to Cajdras. Two

3 reasons: Firstly, I thought it would demonstrate that

4 indeed nothing had happened in Cajdras, but also I felt

5 that it was important that he should see what was going

6 on, that it was easy for politicians in Sarajevo to be

7 isolated from what was going on in the countryside. He

8 accepted our suggestion, and he drove up to Cajdras to

9 meet the priest.

10 Also one of the women there who was quite

11 outspoken, who had previously given me an interview,

12 expressed an opinion which I heard far too rarely,

13 which was that she was as worried for women with

14 children on the other side of the divide as she was for

15 her own people. She was a Croat, and she said that she

16 was worried about the women and children on the Muslim

17 side.

18 Q. Just by point of reference, was the Catholic

19 priest Father Stjepan?

20 A. Yes, he was.

21 MR. SCOTT: I'd like to ask the video booth,

22 if we could play, what's described for their reference

23 as, video 1064, 1-0-6-4, which, for the record, has

24 been marked as Prosecution Exhibit 930.1.

25 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] The booth

Page 6681

1 doesn't have the cassette.

2 MR. SCOTT: There may be a misnumbering.

3 Check 1089. I believe the exhibit number is correct,

4 Your Honour, 930.1, but the video number may have been

5 misstated.

6 [Videotape played]


8 Q. Mr. Damon, is this the Kaonik camp?

9 A. It is, yes.

10 Q. Following your trip, your visit to Cajdras

11 then, can you tell the Court whether you developed a

12 conclusion as to the truth of the information that the

13 soldiers at the Bungalow had given you as an

14 explanation for Ahmici?

15 A. Well, it never would have been --

16 MR. SAYERS: Objection, Your Honour. I think

17 we are venturing into matters of opinion rather than --

18 JUDGE MAY: I agree.

19 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.

20 JUDGE MAY: Let's move on.

21 MR. SCOTT: All right.

22 Q. I believe we've covered paragraph 87.

23 Now, in approximately mid May of 1993, did

24 you have occasion, Mr. Damon, to videotape, you or your

25 crew, a meeting or series of meetings in Bosnia

Page 6682

1 involving President Tudjman, Mate Boban, and others, at

2 a meeting with Lord Owen?

3 A. Yes, this was in Medjugorje.

4 MR. SCOTT: If the video booth can please

5 play what has been marked as Exhibit 936.1, which is

6 the first tape marked "1108." There are two 1108s

7 because there's two portions, but it should be the

8 first of the two.

9 [Videotape played]

10 MR. SCOTT: There is a second tape, which is

11 Exhibit 936.2 and which is also marked 1108 and which

12 follows on from this tape. If we could play that,

13 please.

14 [Videotape played]


16 Q. Mr. Damon, you expressed earlier that you

17 became convinced that there was a Croat policy or a

18 plan to ethnically cleanse Bosnia; is that correct?

19 JUDGE MAY: I think, again, we're now

20 venturing into areas which we are going to have to

21 decide. While we can hear what the witness saw and

22 heard and his reports of those things, his opinions on

23 matters which we are going to have to decide are, with

24 due respect to him, as far as these proceedings are

25 concerned, irrelevant.

Page 6683

1 MR. SCOTT: Very well, Your Honour.

2 Q. Did it come to your attention during the

3 events in the Lasva Valley in May -- excuse me, April

4 of 1993 that there had been a series of attacks all

5 launched roughly the same day?

6 A. There were certainly a series of attacks all

7 the way along the valley over a number of days. I

8 believe that they started on one particular day, but

9 there was no doubt that these were coordinated attacks

10 aimed at the Muslims specifically.

11 Q. Can you tell the Court whether it had come to

12 your attention some days before Ahmici, for instance,

13 whether there had been some HVO ultimatum issued?

14 A. When I was in --

15 MR. SAYERS: Well, I must object to that,

16 Your Honour, on the grounds of hearsay. Apparently,

17 according to the offer of proof, we have apparently

18 what appears to be a report from an unidentified member

19 of the opposing force as to what an unidentified member

20 of the other force supposedly said. So that's at least

21 two stages of hearsay and probably more. So we object

22 to that.

23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Scott, you better establish

24 the basis for this, and we'll decide.

25 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour.

Page 6684

1 Q. Can you tell the Court, Mr. Damon, the source

2 of your information about this ultimatum?

3 A. Yes. It was a briefing given to me in Tuzla

4 by the spokesperson for the Bosnian army.

5 Q. Was this in the course of your journalistic

6 coverage?

7 A. Yes, I was interviewing him, and he told me

8 that this ultimatum had been given.

9 Q. Do you recall the nature of the ultimatum in

10 terms of what will happen if something else doesn't

11 happen, in that sense?

12 A. No, there was no "what would happen." He

13 just said that they had been told to hand over all of

14 their weapons.

15 Q. Based on your time in Central Bosnia,

16 Mr. Damon, did you ultimately come away from your

17 experience with a view towards what role Dario Kordic

18 played in the events there?

19 JUDGE MAY: Again that's precisely the point,

20 indeed, the very point that we're going to have to

21 decide.

22 MR. SCOTT: Very well, Your Honour. I don't

23 think -- it's not opinion. It's simply that this is a

24 man who travelled and dealt in this area extensively.

25 So I didn't mean it to be speculation, but I understand

Page 6685

1 the Court's ruling.

2 Q. Let me close with this then, Mr. Damon, if I

3 can. Based on observations, you saw Mr. Kordic and

4 Mr. Blaskic on a number of occasions; is that correct?

5 A. Yes, that's right.

6 Q. Based on your observations, did you see

7 evidenced to you the nature of the relationship between

8 Mr. Kordic and Mr. Blaskic?

9 A. Yes. Colonel Blaskic was a military man,

10 former Yugoslav People's Army, and he was operating as

11 the military commander for the region at a certain

12 level. There was no doubt in my mind that his superior

13 was Dario Kordic. Of course, as a soldier from the

14 former Yugoslav People's Army, he would undoubtedly

15 look for political direction, and that political

16 direction came from Dario Kordic.

17 MR. SCOTT: I have no further questions, Your

18 Honour.

19 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.

20 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:

21 Q. Mr. Damon, good morning. My name is Steve

22 Sayers and I represent Dario Kordic. I would just like

23 to reiterate what Mr. Scott said. Since we speak the

24 same language, if we speak too quickly, the

25 interpreters get justifiably angry with us, and so it

Page 6686

1 creates an unclear record. If you would just have a

2 pause between the question and the answer, I'd

3 appreciate it. Thank you.

4 Did you ever see Dario Kordic give any kind

5 of a military order to Colonel Blaskic in any of the

6 meetings that you had, sir?

7 A. Not at all.

8 Q. Now, as I understand it, you worked as a

9 freelance journalist in 1992 and 1993 throughout -- and

10 1994, for that matter, in Central Bosnia?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. You worked for SkyNews and other services,

13 and I believe that SkyNews is a satellite television

14 service that was part of the media empire built up by

15 the late Rupert Murdoch; is that correct?

16 A. He's not late; he's just divorced.

17 Q. I stand duly corrected. Your territory or

18 beat, if you like, covered the whole of Eastern Europe;

19 right?

20 A. That's right, and elsewhere, but mostly

21 Eastern Europe.

22 Q. Now, sir, you do not speak any Croatian, do

23 you? I understand that --

24 A. I think what you mean to say is that at the

25 time, I didn't speak Croatian. I should make it clear

Page 6687

1 that I have spent the last year learning this language

2 as part of a course that I'm engaged in, but at the

3 time, no, I didn't speak it.

4 Q. You relied a lot upon your translators?

5 A. Closely, yes. After a period, one gets a

6 feeling for what's going on. The Croatian language is

7 not as remote as some others that I've learned. I

8 learned Hungarian, for example, which has no very great

9 connection with Indo-European languages. I could

10 understand more of what was going on in Croatian, but,

11 yes, you're quite right, I relied on the translators.

12 Q. All right. Now, you, in your vocation and

13 job, have been trained to differentiate hard facts from

14 rumours, stories, and so-called conventional thinking;

15 right?

16 A. You're right, yes.

17 Q. You know how to distinguish what people have

18 seen with their own eyes and ears with from what

19 they've not, what are merely stories and rumours;

20 correct?

21 A. One tries.

22 Q. It's important to you, indeed, it's crucial

23 to your reporting, to your reputation, and, of course,

24 your livelihood to make sure that your reporting is

25 factually accurate; right?

Page 6688

1 A. One tries.

2 Q. In doing so, it's important to make sure that

3 when you're reporting events, you know who they

4 involve, where they occurred, what was involved; isn't

5 that correct?

6 A. As much as possible. There should be no

7 deceit. Of course, mistakes are possible.

8 Q. Right. On that subject, would you agree with

9 me that you found yourself in the middle of a chaotic,

10 confusing civil war where there was an intense use of

11 misinformation and disinformation on all sides?

12 A. I don't accept the word "confusing." It was

13 confusing to a great many. I had been there for quite

14 a long time. I was perhaps less confused.

15 Q. But, nonetheless, it would be fair to say

16 that there was routine use of disinformation and

17 misinformation in the media sources used by all the

18 participants in that civil war, Bosnian Serb, Bosnian

19 Muslim, and Bosnian Croat; that's a fact, isn't it?

20 A. Yes, I myself was a victim of this. I

21 mentioned to the Court that my reports being available

22 on the satellite were taken down and recorded by all of

23 the different local television stations and

24 translations made of my commentary, and on several

25 occasions, it became clear to me that the translations

Page 6689

1 had been used for disinformation, had been made

2 inaccurately.

3 Q. You travelled to the area of Gornji Vakuf, or

4 Skopje, as it's otherwise known, in the summer of 1992,

5 and you actually found the Muslim forces and the Croat

6 forces cooperating there; is that right?

7 A. Yes, that's right.

8 Q. In fact, just to the north, the Muslims and

9 the Croats were cooperating in fending off the Serb

10 assault; correct?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. Just to lay the foundation -- and I won't

13 spend more than a minute or so on this -- to give the

14 Trial Chamber a sense of what was going on in Central

15 Bosnia in 1992 and early 1993, wouldn't it be fair to

16 say that there was an intensive Bosnian Serb offensive

17 from the west, from the east, and also from the north?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And that resulted in the influx, if you will,

20 of the large numbers of refugees into Central Bosnia?

21 A. That's right.

22 Q. On the subject of the political organisations

23 that you have described, you actually met Mr. Mate

24 Boban in person; correct?

25 A. Yes, that's right.

Page 6690

1 Q. On a number of occasions?

2 A. Yes, to interview twice.

3 Q. We've seen from the videotapes that you've

4 put in evidence before the Trial Chamber that Mr. Boban

5 was the Croat spokesman at the negotiations that

6 occurred in Medjugorje in the latter half of 1993;

7 correct?

8 A. Yes, that's correct.

9 Q. I take it that Mr. Kordic never attended any

10 of those negotiations, did he?

11 A. I didn't see him there.

12 Q. Did you know that Mr. Boban was actually the

13 president of an entity known as the Croatian Community

14 of Herceg-Bosna?

15 A. I didn't -- I didn't know that. I knew him

16 to be the president, the leader, of the Croatian

17 Democratic Union party.

18 Q. Could you tell us what positions within that

19 entity that I've just mentioned Mr. Kordic occupied, if

20 you know?

21 A. At the time, we were told he was number two

22 to Mr. Boban in the HDZ. As you've heard from the

23 tape --

24 Q. Excuse me, sir, I said the Croatian Community

25 of Herceg-Bosna, not the HDZ. What I wanted to ask you

Page 6691

1 was: What was Mr. Kordic's position in that entity, if

2 you know? And if you don't, that's fine too.

3 A. I was told that he was number two to

4 Mr. Boban.

5 Q. How many vice-presidents were there of the

6 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?

7 A. I don't know.

8 Q. Did you know that Mr. Bozo Rajic was also a

9 vice-president of the Croatian Community of

10 Herceg-Bosna?

11 A. I knew that he was a senior figure.

12 Q. Turning now to the HDZ, do you know what that

13 refers to, those initials?

14 A. Croatian Democratic Union.

15 Q. That's the political party. Do you know who

16 the president of the political party was at the time

17 that you were in Central Bosnia, sir?

18 A. Of the local --

19 Q. No, the national HDZ.

20 A. No, I don't know.

21 Q. All right. And is the same true on the local

22 level, in Busovaca and Vitez, for example? Do you know

23 who the president of the local HDZ --

24 A. No, I don't know any of the details of the

25 structure.

Page 6692

1 Q. Did you know that on a national level, the

2 HDZ BiH actually had five vice-presidents, of whom

3 Mr. Kordic was one?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Would it be fair to say that in your meetings

6 with Mr. Boban, you found him to be a forceful

7 personality?

8 A. Not especially.

9 Q. Did you find Mr. Kordic to be a forceful

10 personality?

11 A. Yes, but I don't think any opinion that I

12 formed has any political relevance, if I may put it

13 like that.

14 Q. You met him -- Mr. Kordic, that is -- about

15 three or four times?

16 A. I think -- yes.

17 Q. Would it be fair to say that you always found

18 him a gracious host during the meetings that --

19 A. He was certainly polite.

20 Q. He always went out of his way to help you,

21 did he not?

22 A. He did indeed.

23 Q. Indeed, would it be fair to say that he

24 actually facilitated your access and your press

25 colleagues' access to go, insofar as it was within his

Page 6693

1 power to arrange, wherever you wanted?

2 A. I can't speak for my other colleagues, but in

3 my case, yes, he was helpful.

4 Q. He never placed any limits on what you could

5 see, did he?

6 A. He personally didn't, no.

7 Q. Or to whom you could speak?

8 A. He didn't, no.

9 Q. In fact, when you approached him with

10 requests for assistance in a variety of contexts, he

11 did his best to assist you, did he?

12 A. He did. He was a powerful man, and he was

13 able to use that power to our benefit.

14 Q. Now, would it be fair to say that the Croat

15 people living in Bosnia and Herzegovina were in a

16 rather small minority, approximately 17,4 per cent of

17 the entire population?

18 A. As I understand it, that was the figure.

19 Q. Just a couple of questions on the local

20 political structures that I haven't already covered.

21 Did you ever have occasion to speak with the head of

22 the civilian HVO government in Busovaca, Mr. Zoran

23 Maric?

24 A. No, I don't remember meeting him.

25 Q. Do you ever remember meeting the commander of

Page 6694

1 the HVO brigade stationed in Busovaca, Mr. Dusko

2 Grubesic?

3 A. I don't remember such a meeting.

4 Q. Does the name sound familiar at all?

5 A. It doesn't, no.

6 Q. And Mr. Maric's name, I take it, is

7 unfamiliar too?

8 A. No, Mr. Maric's is a name that I am familiar

9 with, but I met a lot of commanders, and I'm afraid the

10 names don't stick.

11 Q. Did you ever meet with the head of the

12 civilian HVO government in Vitez, Mr. Ivica Santic?

13 A. His name rings more of a bell, but I couldn't

14 tell you how and when.

15 Q. All right. You were asked some questions

16 regarding a -- what I believe is a singular sighting of

17 a truck carrying HV plates, or -- not HV plates, but

18 license plates from the state of Croatia. Throughout

19 all of the years that you were a reporter, travelling

20 around, speaking to people, and seeing what was going

21 on in your area of reportage, it's true, is it not,

22 that you only ever saw one such truck?

23 A. I only ever noticed the one truck, for the

24 reason that I suggested, that it nearly hit us. You

25 said "in speaking to people," no, in speaking to

Page 6695

1 people, one heard widely of the connection.

2 Q. But I'm asking you, sir, what you saw with

3 your own eyes.

4 A. Yes, you said both things, and I never -- I

5 don't recollect seeing more than the one truck.

6 Q. That was, I believe, sir, a few kilometres

7 inside the southwestern border between the Republic of

8 Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at

9 the town of Tomislavgrad?

10 A. A few kilometres, yeah.

11 Q. That's in southwest Herzegovina?

12 A. That's right.

13 Q. You don't know what the identity was of the

14 people that were in that truck, do you?

15 A. Not at all.

16 Q. All right. You didn't notice any insignia

17 that they were wearing?

18 A. No.

19 Q. In fact, you didn't even notice whether there

20 were any people in the truck, apart from the driver,

21 did you?

22 A. I was concentrating on the front of the truck

23 and not the people inside it, I have to ...

24 Q. All right. You've already informed the Trial

25 Chamber that you never saw any troops, regular troops

Page 6696

1 from the Republic of Croatia, in the town of Busovaca.

2 The same is true, actually, for the entire Lasva

3 Valley, is it not?

4 A. That's true.

5 Q. And the Lepenica valley, the so-called

6 Kiseljak valley, to the southeast?

7 A. As I recollect, that's true, yeah.

8 Q. Did you ever speak to the HVO commander that

9 you referred to in 1994, Ante Roso?

10 A. No.

11 Q. With respect to the troop exercises that were

12 shown on one of the videotapes that was run in the

13 courtroom, you did not, yourself, actually see the

14 troop exercises, did you?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Do you remember testifying before this

17 Tribunal in the case against Zlatko Aleksovski?

18 A. I do.

19 Q. All right. Did you ever have the opportunity

20 to meet any of the notorious paramilitary unit leaders

21 that you referred to in that case?

22 A. Did I refer to? What did you mean?

23 Q. Well, let me lay a foundation for that term.

24 There were a number of paramilitary units

25 that you saw throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, on both

Page 6697

1 sides, I suppose --

2 A. Yes, that's true. On the Croatian side, the

3 only one I met that was described as a paramilitary

4 unit was the Jokers.

5 Q. You never met any of the leaders who were the

6 most notorious? I believe that's what you said. On

7 page 1284 of Aleksovski, you said, "I did not meet any

8 of the paramilitary leaders who were the most

9 notorious."

10 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I think it would be

11 proper if the transcript were shown to the witness, if

12 he's going to question him about it?

13 A. I don't dispute it. I --

14 JUDGE MAY: The witness has said he doesn't

15 remember. I don't think it's going to assist us.

16 A. I don't dispute that I said that, and it's

17 true. I never knowingly met any of those people.


19 Q. All right. Do you know who the leader of the

20 Jokers unit that you've described --

21 A. I don't.

22 Q. All right. Now, turning to fighting that

23 broke out in the spring of 1993, it's true, is it not,

24 that you had noticed, significantly prior to that date,

25 increasing tensions between the HVO and the TO forces,

Page 6698

1 the Territorial Defence forces?

2 A. Yes, I described earlier the occasion in

3 October when we had to pass through a battle zone, and

4 we were interviewing to Muslims on a checkpoint close

5 to the school which became the British base, and we

6 were -- we began to be fired at by what I assumed to be

7 Croatian forces -- I mean, it wouldn't have been -- I

8 guess it would not have been Muslims, since we were

9 interviewing the Muslims at the checkpoint.

10 Q. So the Muslim forces had actually set up a

11 checkpoint fairly a close to the BritBat headquarters

12 at Nova Bila, and the fighting broke out as you were

13 interviewing the people manning the checkpoint?

14 A. Well, it wasn't that fighting broke out; we

15 came under fire. We were at the time interviewing, in

16 fact, unarmed Muslims at that point.

17 Q. Just so we have our terminology straight, the

18 forces that later became known as the ABiH were

19 actually referred to in the spring of 1993 as the TO or

20 the Territorial Defence, and they actually wore TO

21 patches; correct?

22 A. When the change took place, I can't remember,

23 but yes, they were certainly -- in the early part of

24 the war, they were known as TO.

25 Q. It would be fair to say -- and I don't think

Page 6699

1 that there is any dispute about this -- that it was

2 routine to see people operating in their daily

3 activities dressed in camouflage uniforms, on both

4 sides --

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. -- Muslims and Croats? In fact, you would

7 even see secretaries, lady secretaries, dressed in

8 camouflage uniforms as well; correct?

9 A. Wearing high heels.

10 Q. All right. Camouflage and high heels, all

11 right. It would be fair to say that there wasn't a --

12 how shall we say -- a wide degree of uniformity in the

13 attire that you generally saw? You saw bits and pieces

14 of camouflage --

15 A. Amongst many, but there of course were many

16 units who were properly attired and disciplined.

17 Q. It was also common in your experience in that

18 time, 1993, to see people wearing military insignia,

19 and even military police insignia, who to you had

20 obviously never had a day's training in their life?

21 Isn't that correct?

22 A. I don't remember the military police, but

23 certainly, yes, there were people wearing military

24 insignia who didn't look as though they'd -- well, it

25 may have been some years since they were conscripted

Page 6700

1 into the Yugoslav People's Army, put it like that.

2 Q. Just to turn to the testimony that you gave

3 regarding the briefing you received from the commander

4 of the Muslim troops, I believe in Zenica, was it prior

5 to --

6 A. No, in Tuzla.

7 Q. Tuzla? You never saw any ultimatum or order

8 signed by anybody, yourself, did you?

9 A. No. No, no. He showed me a map.

10 Q. Right.

11 A. He pointed out the areas on the map where

12 this demand had been made, he said.

13 Q. He said. So the only thing that you know

14 about such a demand, if it had ever been made, was what

15 this military commander from the Muslim forces told

16 you?

17 A. Quite so.

18 Q. All right. Now, you met Colonel Blaskic on

19 several occasions in Vitez, at his headquarters in the

20 Hotel Vitez; correct?

21 A. That's right.

22 Q. And that was actually extremely close to

23 your -- the base of operations that you had set up, at

24 least in the first part of 1993, which I believe was

25 right next door to the BritBat base at Nova Bila?

Page 6701

1 A. In the early part of '93, no. We were still,

2 I think, in the cafe near the convent, near to

3 Kiseljak. But, yes, we did set up -- after Ahmici, we

4 set up in a house near BritBat.

5 Q. On that subject, Mr. Damon, as you travelled

6 north along that road from the accommodations that

7 you'd set up above the cafe, you actually arrived at a

8 major checkpoint at the village of Kacuni; correct?

9 A. Yes. Yes.

10 Q. And, indeed, throughout the time --

11 A. Just on the bridge we're referring to, yes.

12 Q. Throughout the time that you were in that

13 part of Central Bosnia, from January until 1995, if you

14 like, the area of road between Kacuni and Bilalovac,

15 about three or four kilometres to the south, that was

16 actually controlled exclusively by Muslim forces, was

17 it not?

18 A. As I recollect, the first Muslim checkpoint

19 was some way down towards Zenica. I don't -- I don't

20 know any further. I mean, I can tell you what the

21 British army told me, but I don't think you want to

22 hear that, so ...

23 Q. Well, you knew that between Kacuni and

24 Bilalovac, that was Muslim territory; right?

25 A. No, as I say, my recollection is there was a

Page 6702

1 kind of no-man's land and that the first Muslim

2 checkpoint was some way towards Zenica.

3 Q. Did you ever visit the silos detention

4 facility where significant numbers of Croats were being

5 held prisoner in the early part of 1993?

6 A. No. The silos I visited were in Tarcin, and

7 there were Serbs being kept there.

8 Q. Right, but that was much further to the

9 south. All right.

10 Now, you've described Colonel Blaskic as the

11 military commander of all of the HVO military forces in

12 Central Bosnia; correct?

13 A. That's how he was described to me, and that

14 appeared to be his position.

15 Q. And initially, whenever you found that you

16 needed permission to do various things, to travel to

17 places, to meet people, he was the soldier to go to

18 arrange that, wasn't he?

19 A. For some period, that's correct, yeah.

20 Q. You also described going down to Kiseljak to

21 obtain permission to film in the area of the Kiseljak

22 valley?

23 A. I remember -- is this -- you're referring to

24 a period earlier in the war?

25 Q. Where you actually met the Kiseljak police

Page 6703

1 chief, Vinko --

2 A. Yes, yes.

3 Q. -- Lucic?

4 A. That's right. We went to his house once.

5 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,

6 I'm interrupting you simply to remind you that in

7 general terms, you do not need to remind a witness

8 every time about what he said previously during the

9 interrogation in chief, because in the Trial Chamber,

10 we have taken note of that. We would ask that you not

11 have the witness repeat, moving things forward more

12 quickly. You know, time is very precious here at the

13 International Criminal Tribunal.

14 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.

15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, why not go simply to

16 the point? "When you were filming in Kiseljak, did you

17 do this or that," or whatever it is you want to ask.

18 No need to go over what you said before.


20 Q. When you were filming in Kiseljak, you went

21 to the chief of police, Vinko Lukic, to request

22 permission to do that, did you not?

23 A. When we felt there was likely to be some

24 objection to what we wanted to do. In general, in the

25 early part of the war, we could move around -- well,

Page 6704

1 freely, subject to military dangers. But in terms of

2 getting permissions, gradually we built up an

3 understanding of who were the right people to go to for

4 different jobs, depending on the sensitivity of those

5 jobs.

6 Q. If it was a sensitive area, he told you to

7 get in touch with Colonel Blaskic, didn't he?

8 A. Yes, and beyond Colonel Blaskic, for

9 especially sensitive, then it was made clear that it

10 was a political command.

11 Q. Now, you've given some testimony to the

12 effect that Mr. -- you've described Colonel Blaskic as

13 following superior orders from someone. Did Colonel

14 Blaskic ever tell you that he was following superior

15 orders from some identified person?

16 A. He didn't tell me. I don't speak his --

17 didn't speak his language then. I'm trying to

18 recollect the tone of conversations that were held.

19 The translator, in particular, that I was using was not

20 simply a translator in the sense that he was

21 simultaneously saying and responding; he was part of

22 the team. He had been a senior Yugoslav journalist in

23 Vojvodina, so he had plenty of his own conversations

24 and then would fill me in as to what was said.

25 I don't specifically recollect a

Page 6705

1 word-for-word conversation, but I do know that that

2 translator told me on several occasions what the

3 hierarchy was in the valley.

4 Q. You --

5 A. And it was -- sorry. It was as you

6 described, that Colonel Blaskic was the military

7 commander, there was a political leadership, and Dario

8 Kordic was the senior political figure in the valley.

9 Q. Who was Colonel Blaskic's superior officer?

10 A. If I ever asked that, I don't recollect, but

11 it was clearly out of the area anyway.

12 Q. Would it be fair to say that you've never met

13 or spoken with Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic?

14 A. I think I may have attended a press

15 conference once at which he was a participant, but I

16 don't remember specifically ever speaking to him.

17 Q. All right. Now, on the subject of Colonel

18 Blaskic, you found him a disciplined, professional

19 soldier; correct?

20 A. Absolutely.

21 Q. In command of a well-organised and

22 well-disciplined military in the region; yes?

23 A. Yes. He was in command of troops that were

24 disciplined and did what he ordered.

25 Q. Certainly, in the meetings that were held

Page 6706

1 between Colonel Blaskic and Colonel Stewart which

2 you've related, Colonel Blaskic admitted, for example,

3 that the village of Ahmici was broadly within his area

4 of responsibility; yes?

5 A. He did.

6 Q. He also said that he was responsible for the

7 military events that occurred on April the 16th, 1993;

8 correct?

9 A. He accepted responsibility.

10 Q. But he denied and specifically denied that he

11 had ever ordered any massacre at Ahmici, didn't he?

12 A. You would have to ask Colonel Stewart for the

13 details of the conversation, but that's what Colonel

14 Stewart told me.

15 Q. You have no evidence to offer the Trial

16 Chamber that Colonel Blaskic actually ordered any kind

17 of a massacre at Ahmici, do you, sir?

18 A. Not at all, no.

19 Q. Indeed, the same is true of Mr. Kordic, isn't

20 it?

21 A. As I've said, yes, it is. I think it's the

22 subsequent events that should engage the Court.

23 Q. In the village of Ahmici, you actually saw

24 ammunition boxes with Middle Eastern script on them,

25 did you not?

Page 6707

1 A. No, Chinese.

2 Q. Didn't you see some from Middle Eastern

3 countries too?

4 A. Could you repeat the question?

5 Q. Yes. Did you not see ammunition boxes with

6 Middle Eastern script on them in the village of Ahmici

7 when you visited that village in April and May of 1993?

8 A. I don't remember that. No, I don't remember

9 that. I remember seeing Chinese writing on munitions

10 above Busovaca.

11 Q. Just turn to page 1287 of your testimony in

12 the Aleksovski case, where you said, lines 5

13 through 7:

14 A We saw various types of ammunition all

15 over that theatre, of course, with lots

16 of different sources, some apparently

17 from Middle Eastern countries, some from

18 Cyrillic speaking countries, and some

19 from China.

20 A. Right. But you mentioned Ahmici. I don't

21 remember identifying any ammunition in Ahmici. Yes, we

22 did certainly see Middle Eastern weaponry.

23 Q. All right. Just one question regarding the

24 minaret that you saw had toppled down. Did you notice

25 at any time when you were present in April or May of

Page 6708

1 1993 any graffiti on that minaret, sir?

2 A. No.

3 Q. Now, were you aware that 12 Croats had been

4 massacred at the village of Dusina on January the 26th,

5 1993?

6 JUDGE MAY: Why do you ask the witness that

7 question?

8 MR. SAYERS: Why, sir?


10 MR. SAYERS: Because I believe Mr. Damon has

11 stated that he was unaware that there were any

12 massacres of Croats by Muslim forces in the Lasva

13 Valley. At least that's what I thought he said.

14 JUDGE MAY: Were you aware of that or not,

15 Mr. Damon?

16 A. I wasn't aware of that. I did not say that

17 there were not atrocities carried out on all sides. I

18 believe there were.

19 JUDGE MAY: What the witness said was that

20 there were excesses on both sides.


22 Q. Mr. Damon, you said that you were in Tuzla

23 when the fighting broke out. Were you aware of the

24 events that immediately preceded the outbreak of

25 fighting in the Lasva Valley?

Page 6709

1 A. No. If, by this, you mean that there had

2 been a slow buildup, no. I was aware from my reports

3 and from conversations with my BBC colleague that there

4 had been a sudden escalation.

5 Q. All right. You have no personal knowledge of

6 that?

7 A. Not so. Not so.

8 Q. Then I'll move on.

9 Turning to the conversations that you had

10 with Mr. Kordic, you have described Mr. Kordic

11 expressing some concerns to you, over the course of a

12 dinner that lasted some hours, I believe, about a

13 threat from Mujahedin from various Middle Eastern

14 countries like Libya, Iran, Algeria, fighting on behalf

15 of the TO, the Territorial Defence, in Central Bosnia;

16 is that correct?

17 A. I don't remember those specific countries

18 being mentioned, but, yes, the idea of there being

19 Islamic fighters was discussed as a confirmation of his

20 fear that an Islamic state was being created.

21 Q. This was a concern that you had heard

22 articulated several times before from numerous people;

23 isn't that correct?

24 A. I'd heard it from a senior commander in

25 Prozor, who drew me a map demonstrating how this

Page 6710

1 Islamic threat was building up, and at a lower level --

2 well, all over Bosnia, you would hear similar

3 theories.

4 Q. All right. So this was not an individual

5 perspective that was in any way a surprise for you to

6 hear or unusual for a Croat, for example, to express?

7 A. In fact, it was a surprise to me because

8 Dario Kordic, as I understand it, was a journalist at

9 some stage earlier in his career, I knew him to be an

10 intelligent man, and, therefore, to hear this

11 conspiracy theory based on an extreme racial view from

12 somebody who had this background was a surprise.

13 Q. Did Mr. Kordic express extreme racial views

14 to you during the course of the conversation?

15 A. He expressed the view that there was an

16 attempted Islamic takeover and that the Muslims were

17 dangerous.

18 Q. Well, he expressed views that he was

19 concerned about Mujahedin fighters in Central Bosnia

20 and you asked him to prove that, and in order to do so,

21 he facilitated a visit to the military prison at

22 Kaonik; isn't that correct?

23 A. Yes, but that wasn't the only expression of

24 his fear.

25 Q. Now, how did Mr. Kordic go about arranging

Page 6711

1 that visit to Kaonik? You just don't know really, do

2 you?

3 A. I don't know.

4 Q. You don't know if Mr. Kordic delegated that

5 task to someone else, do you?

6 A. Not at all. I don't know.

7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, it's the time we

8 usually take a break. When you come to a convenient

9 moment -- is that a convenient moment?

10 MR. SAYERS: Perfectly convenient, Your

11 Honour.

12 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn now

13 until half past eleven.

14 You are, I hope, moving on with your

15 cross-examination, or you seem to be?

16 MR. SAYERS: I am, I'm delighted to report,

17 yes.

18 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.

19 --- On resuming at 11.32 a.m.

20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.

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

22 Q. Mr. Damon, I'll try to be through with you in

23 about 20 minutes, if that's convenient.

24 You didn't make any personal notes or

25 memoranda to the file about your conversations with

Page 6712

1 Mr. Kordic in May of 1993, did you?

2 A. No contemporaneous notes.

3 Q. And it's true that you never actually

4 discussed with Mr. Kordic the chain of military command

5 in Central Bosnia on the HVO side, did you?

6 A. No.

7 Q. And the same goes for Colonel Blaskic, too?

8 A. Did I discuss the military command with

9 Colonel Blaskic? I think I probably did discuss

10 dispositions with him. I seem to remember him also

11 showing me various dispositions on a map as to where

12 different troops lay, and front lines, and so on.

13 Q. But you never actually discussed the subject

14 of the formal chain of command, who reported to whom,

15 in what context, or anything like that, did you?

16 A. Not with him, no.

17 Q. Now, the dinners that you've described with

18 Mr. Kordic, I believe Colonel Blaskic and Mr. Kostroman

19 were also present at those dinners; correct?

20 A. I don't remember Colonel Blaskic being

21 present at either of them, no.

22 Q. All right. Who else was present at them, to

23 the best of your recollection?

24 A. I don't -- I can't give you names.

25 Q. All right.

Page 6713

1 A. Apart from my translators, and I don't choose

2 to give those names.

3 Q. Now, on May the 13th, you asked for a private

4 aside, as you've said, with Mr. Kordic, and he didn't

5 object to that, did he?

6 A. No.

7 Q. He was perfectly willing to speak to you on

8 the subjects that you wanted to address with him?

9 A. He was.

10 Q. You gave some testimony regarding some

11 passports issued to your interpreters. Do you know to

12 whom Mr. Kordic spoke in order to arrange the issuance

13 of those documents?

14 A. I don't know.

15 Q. You simply don't know anything about the

16 process which led to -- or other than your request to

17 Mr. Kordic, but you don't know anything about the

18 process by which the documents were issued?

19 A. I don't know. Not -- not my request.

20 Q. You've stated that everybody referred to

21 Mr. Kordic's headquarters as "the Eagle's Nest." He

22 never referred to it by that name, did he, to you?

23 A. No.

24 Q. The people in uniform that you described

25 being in attendance at this location, you don't

Page 6714

1 remember seeing any particular patches or identifying

2 marks regarding the units to which these people

3 belonged, do you?

4 A. No. I mean, there were some military police

5 around, but other than that, no.

6 Q. It would be fair to say that there were a lot

7 of people present in camouflage uniform, both male and

8 female; right?

9 A. I don't remember any females, but there may

10 easily have been.

11 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,

12 can I ask the witness what "the Eagle's Nest" means?

13 Because I think the Chamber has also heard about this

14 Eagle's Nest now for the first time.

15 Where was the Eagle's Nest, exactly, and why

16 was it given that name?

17 A. I don't know the reason for the name. It was

18 quite high up in the hills, amongst the trees. I don't

19 know if it was simply a nickname or whether what was a

20 former restaurant, I believe, had already had that

21 name. But it was referred to widely in those terms.

22 It was -- I was always taken there on a

23 fairly circuitous route from Vitez. We were led there

24 by police vehicles of various kinds, but it was above

25 Vitez, in the hills, maybe a 15-minute drive by the

Page 6715

1 circuitous route.

2 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] And when you

3 were at that headquarters, were there a great number of

4 security people around Mr. Kordic when you, yourself,

5 were there, which would show that he exercised a

6 certain degree of political power?

7 A. It had all the hallmarks of a headquarters.

8 There were lots of security people around. It was

9 guarded by people in military uniform at the

10 checkpoints on the way up. And it was certainly -- it

11 looked like a military planning centre. There were

12 maps.

13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Thank you.


15 Q. Mr. Damon, you've stated that the location of

16 this facility was above Vitez; did you actually mean

17 that it was to the south of Busovaca?

18 A. I always went there from Vitez. I didn't --

19 -- I was never shown its location on a map.

20 Q. All right. Now, turning to Prosecution

21 Exhibit Z759,1, which was a videotape that you were

22 shown, I believe of a British mercenary in Mostar,

23 Mostar was Mr. Boban's bailiwick, if we can use that

24 term; correct?

25 A. I don't know. It was certainly much closer

Page 6716

1 to Grude, where Mr. Boban had his headquarters.

2 Q. You never learned of any facts that would

3 suggest that Mr. Kordic had any power down in that area

4 of the country, down in Mostar, did you?

5 A. Not at all, no.

6 Q. I notice that in the short footage that you

7 were shown regarding the camp at Kaonik, the inmates

8 appeared to be in what looked like a purpose-built

9 military prison; is that correct?

10 A. I'm really not an expert. It was described

11 to me as being a storehouse, but it certainly looked

12 like those rooms were cells.

13 Q. The people that you interviewed were smoking

14 cigarettes. Do you know from whom they received those?

15 A. Yes, one of them was smoking a cigarette on

16 the film. That was given to them by the guards at the

17 moment.

18 Q. You stated that you had some conversations

19 with people at a location called the Bungalow. Who did

20 you speak to? What were their names?

21 A. I don't know the names.

22 Q. What were their ranks?

23 A. No idea. But they were outside. I was not

24 allow to go in. I asked to go in, but I wasn't allowed

25 to go in.

Page 6717

1 Q. And you don't know who that commander was

2 either, do you?

3 A. I don't.

4 Q. You were shown two pieces of a videotape

5 right at the end of your testimony in which Mr. Ganic,

6 I believe, said "We, the Muslims, are the majority in

7 this country, and it's up to us, essentially, to take

8 the lead in smoothing over relations with the Croats."

9 Do you remember that?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Was that footage shot in May of 1993, sir?

12 A. Yes, it was. Yes.

13 Q. Were you present during the attack by Muslim

14 forces on the town of Travnik from June the 8th to June

15 the 12th of 1993?

16 A. No. I mean, Travnik was under attack at

17 various stages during the war, and I was there when it

18 was being shelled on some occasions, but I don't

19 recollect that particular attack.

20 Q. Do you recall that the town was actually

21 captured by Muslim forces on June the 12th and that

22 there were about 3,500 Croat refugees who had to leave

23 the town as a result?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Do you know anything about the attack by ABiH

Page 6718

1 forces on the town of Kakanj at around the same time,

2 from June the 9th to June the 13th?

3 A. No, I don't, but I wouldn't deny that such

4 attacks took place.

5 Q. Have you any knowledge about the number of

6 refugees, Croat refugees, that resulted from the

7 attacks on that town, sir?

8 A. No, but there certainly were Croat refugees.

9 I met and interviewed too many of them.

10 Q. Just a couple of final questions to finish

11 up. Were you aware of an attack on the town of Fojnica

12 by Muslim forces in July of 1993 and the capture of

13 that town as a result?

14 A. I was aware there was an action by a unit of

15 the Bosnian army, and there was a term used at the

16 time, "Black Swans," for one of the units, but I have

17 no evidence as to what that was.

18 Q. All right. And you've never heard of the

19 Black Swans as a special purpose unit of the Muslim

20 forces?

21 A. The indication was that that's who they were,

22 but I didn't meet them. I did go up into Fojnica

23 perhaps a little after that. There was a hospital in

24 Fojnica which was surrounded for a time by Croatian

25 forces, and that was one story that we did because some

Page 6719

1 of these people were mentally disabled. I went also

2 into a village near Fojnica to meet one of the units

3 there. So we went there, but I can't give you many

4 valuable details.

5 Q. Did you ever have any dealings with members

6 of the 7th Muslim Brigade?

7 A. I believe I must have done, but I don't --

8 because they were certainly one of the Muslim army

9 units, one of the Bosnian army units operating in that

10 region, and they had a reputation after a while for

11 toughness.

12 Q. They also had a reputation for lots of

13 foreign Mujahedin serving in that unit as well, did

14 they not?

15 A. I think "lots" is an exaggeration. There

16 certainly were those. I already described to you that

17 I encountered them. Of course, the whole situation

18 became radicalised as the war went on.

19 Q. On the subject of the release of prisoners

20 that you discussed in the middle of May of 1993 in

21 Zenica, isn't it true that members of the 7th Muslim

22 Brigade, approximately 100 of them, were in attendance,

23 firing in the air, and basically acting in a lawless

24 fashion, and that's why you were told to leave the area

25 immediately?

Page 6720

1 A. No, I didn't see that. There was no firing.

2 There may have been. I don't know what happened

3 afterwards, but certainly there were -- I wouldn't say

4 100. I only saw about 12 fighters dressed

5 unconventionally.

6 The exchange took place in the carpark of the

7 Hotel International in Zenica, which was close to the

8 stadium, and the stadium wall was ringed by, I'd say, a

9 dozen of these unconventionally dressed people who did

10 not look superficially to be from Bosnia. On the

11 ground, there was, as I referred to earlier, this

12 anti-aircraft gun which was operated -- and that seemed

13 to me to be operated by a Bosnian; he looked, as much

14 as one can judge, to be a Bosnian. But it was pointed

15 directly at us, and it seemed a judicious time to

16 leave. I didn't see any firing. I didn't see any

17 firing; I didn't hear any firing.

18 Q. On the subject of the Croat refugees from the

19 town of Kakanj in June of 1993, were you aware that

20 they had migrated northwards to the town of Vares?

21 A. No, I didn't -- I knew that Vares was, for a

22 time, I don't know about isolated, but it certainly was

23 in Croatian defence force hands.

24 Q. That town fell to Muslim forces on November

25 the 2nd of 1993; were you aware of that?

Page 6721

1 A. I wasn't aware of that but -- November 1993?

2 I don't recollect.

3 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I have no further

4 questions. Thank you.

5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic?

6 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,

7 Your Honour.

8 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

9 Q. Good morning, Mr. Damon. My name is Goran

10 Mikulicic, and in these proceedings, alongside

11 Mr. Kovacic, I represent the accused, Mr. Mario

12 Cerkez.

13 Would you please be so kind, Mr. Damon, and

14 tell us whether you ever personally had a conversation

15 with Mr. Cerkez?

16 A. I don't recollect ever having such a

17 conversation.

18 Q. Do you know what position, during your stay

19 in Central Bosnia, Mr. Cerkez occupied?

20 A. Not beyond he was a senior figure, according

21 to those people to whom I spoke, but, no, I had no

22 dealings with him. His name came up in conversation.

23 Q. Did you ever have an opportunity to see a

24 written document signed by him?

25 A. Not that I recollect.

Page 6722

1 Q. Mr. Damon, you said that during these events,

2 you were a freelance journalist and that you reported

3 for SkyNews and Fox News. What did you do after 1993?

4 A. I continued to report for -- those two that

5 you mentioned were, in fact, linked. They were both

6 part of the Murdoch empire. I also reported for other

7 organisations, and I continue to do that.

8 How long would you like me to go on? Your

9 question said "after 1993." Perhaps you could be more

10 specific.

11 Q. Specifically, what do you do today,

12 Mr. Damon?

13 A. I am a reporter and presenter for BBC World

14 service.

15 Q. Thank you. Mr. Damon, during the course of

16 your evidence, a videotape was played. This was an

17 exercise or a parade of the HVO units, which was

18 introduced as Exhibit 257.1. Do you remember this

19 videotape?

20 A. I do remember the tape.

21 Q. Could you tell us where and when this tape

22 was filmed?

23 A. "When" is the date on the tape box. I don't

24 think there's any dispute about that. We always dated

25 the tape labels immediately. "Where," I don't know. I

Page 6723

1 wasn't involved in the filming. I sent the crew to

2 cover it with a translator. I was covering another

3 story. So "where," no, I was told it was inside

4 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

5 Q. Could you be more specific? Was it in

6 Central Bosnia? Was it in the southwestern Bosnia, in

7 Herzegovina, or some other place?

8 A. I think the journey they had to make was

9 quite a way down southwest, but I really can't be more

10 precise. It took them some hours to get there from

11 Vitez where we were based.

12 Q. So the tape was made several hours' drive

13 away from Vitez; is that correct?

14 A. That is my recollection.

15 Q. Thank you. On 16 April, 1993, they were the

16 events in Ahmici. We will address that.

17 You told us during your testimony that this

18 event and the fighting in Vitez, for you, according to

19 the information you received from the U.N.

20 representatives, was a surprise of sorts; is that

21 correct?

22 A. It was a "sudden escalation" is the words I

23 used.

24 Q. Mr. Damon, do you recall where were you

25 staying in that time; that is, several days before 16

Page 6724

1 April, 1993?

2 A. I was in Tuzla.

3 Q. Did you have an opportunity to travel from

4 Tuzla in the direction of that area of Vitez, Travnik,

5 Novi Travnik, or Busovaca?

6 A. I came as soon as the news of the events of

7 Ahmici reached us, maybe the following day. I

8 travelled down immediately to Ahmici, directly, in

9 fact.

10 Q. On the way to Ahmici, did you encounter any

11 problems? Here, I'm referring to the checkpoints or

12 blockades or something like that on the road.

13 A. There were several checkpoints, but no

14 blockading.

15 Q. Did you have an opportunity in the period

16 between 13 and 16 April, 1993 to travel outside of

17 Zenica in that general direction?

18 A. I don't recollect. I think I was in Tuzla

19 also at that time.

20 Q. Even though you did not travel, did you know

21 that the roads from Zenica to Novi Travnik and further

22 on to Vitez had been blocked by the BH army units? Do

23 you know of that fact?

24 A. I don't know of that, no.

25 Q. Mr. Damon, you said that you visited Ahmici

Page 6725

1 on two occasions. My question to you is this: Do you

2 know the fact that on 16 April, 1993, which was the day

3 of the conflict in Ahmici, there was also fighting in

4 the villages of Poculica, Grbavica, Sivrino Selo,

5 Kruscica, the surrounding villages? Do you know of

6 those locations?

7 A. I don't know the details of those locations.

8 I probably did at the time, but I don't recollect. I

9 couldn't point them out on a map at this stage. I

10 didn't know that -- I knew that there was a

11 conflagration along the valley. I had been informed of

12 that by my BBC colleague.

13 Q. During your stay in this area, Mr. Damon, did

14 you meet Major Andrew Williams, who was with BritBat?

15 A. I don't remember his name.

16 Q. You described the events on your second visit

17 in Ahmici, when you said that you were surprised by the

18 clearing of the terrain which was in progress on the

19 ground. Do you know that this clearing of the terrain

20 had been arranged for with BritBat several days

21 earlier?

22 A. No. I think that was my third visit, and I

23 didn't know of any arrangements. There certainly were,

24 to my observation, no international personnel there at

25 the time, and I suppose my suspicion was aroused

Page 6726

1 because we were stopped from filming it. What you say

2 may, indeed, be correct.

3 Q. Mr. Damon, you mentioned -- in your testimony

4 you said that some perpetrators from Ahmici were known

5 to the U.N. investigators. How do you know this?

6 A. I was told by the U.N. investigators that

7 they had names on the day that I went to Ahmici with

8 Colonel Bob Stewart and the European Union, European

9 Community ambassadors. I was subsequently given those

10 names some months later.

11 Q. Does this mean that you received a list of

12 individuals suspected of having committed the crimes in

13 Ahmici from the U.N. investigators?

14 A. No, I didn't get it from the U.N.

15 investigators. I did receive a list of four names.

16 Q. Do you have this list on you today,

17 Mr. Damon?

18 A. Not with me at the moment, but I could get

19 hold of it, if it's not known to the Court. I'm sure

20 that it is.

21 Q. Does this mean that you would be willing, if

22 asked by the Tribunal, to produce this list?

23 A. I would, certainly.

24 I think, as I say, I would just like to

25 repeat, I believe the Tribunal must have this list

Page 6727

1 because the source from which I got it is known to the

2 Tribunal.

3 Q. Is there anything to prevent you from telling

4 us who gave you that list?

5 A. I think, at this stage, in open court, I

6 wouldn't want to do that. But in principle, no,

7 there's nothing.

8 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, I would suggest

9 that we go into private session so that the witness can

10 answer my question.

11 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

12 [Private session]

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 6728













13 page 6728 redacted private session













Page 6729













13 page 6729 redacted private session













Page 6730













13 page 6730 redacted private session













Page 6731

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 [Open session]


17 Q. Mr. Damon, you've said that during your stay

18 in Ahmici, you saw a box of military equipment with an

19 inscription on it. Do you read Chinese?

20 A. I referred to the Chinese, I believe, in

21 relation to Busovaca, when I was in the hills above

22 Busovaca, at some later time. I didn't refer to it in

23 relation to Ahmici. And no, I don't read Chinese.

24 Q. Thank you. I'm sorry, I misunderstood you.

25 Mr. Damon, you spoke to us about the prisoner

Page 6732

1 exchange that you attended in Zenica. Zenica was a

2 town under the absolute control of the BH army; is that

3 true?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. You told us that in that exchange, in an

6 important capacity, a military unit was present which

7 obviously was a unit that did not belong to the BH

8 army; is that correct?

9 A. I don't know to whom they belonged. They

10 were not wearing conventional Bosnian army uniform.

11 And as I mentioned to you, I went subsequently to the

12 police chief in Zenica and asked him why these people

13 appeared to be operating with such aggression in the

14 centre of the town.

15 Q. Also present were members of the British

16 Battalion, weren't they?

17 A. They were.

18 Q. Was any representative of the BH army

19 present?

20 A. I don't recollect.

21 Q. Mr. Damon, obviously, during your stay in

22 Bosnia in those days, you travelled extensively; would

23 it be true to say that? Is it also true that on many

24 occasions you made the trip from Bosnia to the Republic

25 of Croatia?

Page 6733

1 A. Yes. That's true, in both cases.

2 Q. Could you tell us which routes you took in

3 the course of 1993?

4 A. There were two main routes: one through

5 Jablanica, which I believe in that time to which we are

6 referring was harder, and one through Gornji Vakuf, and

7 then, on a long dirt road, down to Tomislavgrad.

8 Gornji Vakuf, Prozor, and Tomislavgrad.

9 Q. And from there on to Split, I assume?

10 A. Correct.

11 Q. So, Mr. Damon, if, for instance, you were to

12 set off from Split to go to Vitez, you would cover a

13 long road. Along that road, did you come across

14 checkpoints held by HVO soldiers and by members of the

15 BH army?

16 A. That's correct in both cases.

17 Q. Tell us, Mr. Damon, did you ever -- and I'm

18 not referring to your visit to Bosnia when you came to

19 Pale by helicopter, but the period covered by the end

20 of '92 and the whole of '93 -- did you go to the

21 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you enter that

22 territory from any other side except from the side of

23 the Republic of Croatia?

24 A. Yes, occasionally we would fly into Sarajevo

25 by aid flight.

Page 6734

1 Q. Excuse me, maybe my question was confusing.

2 I was thinking of land routes, not air routes.

3 A. No, I don't believe in that period there were

4 other ways except through Split. There may have been,

5 but we didn't try. Split was a useful logistical

6 base.

7 Q. Would it be correct to infer that those same

8 routes that you used were used by convoys of

9 humanitarian aid?

10 A. That's right.

11 Q. Does that mean, Mr. Damon, that all those

12 convoys of aid which were not delivered by air came

13 from the territory of the Republic of Croatia to the

14 territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

15 A. No, there was for a time a route from Banja

16 Luka across Serb lines at Turbe. I didn't travel it;

17 it was only available for UNHCR vehicles.

18 Q. Thank you. Finally, Mr. Damon, you spent

19 quite some time in Bosnia. You witnessed that civil

20 war, and in answer to Mr. Sayers' question whether it

21 was confusing, you said, "not really." Could you tell

22 us, in very general terms -- and I have in mind the

23 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole -- who among

24 the ethnic groups there was fighting whom?

25 A. There -- at certain stages, all the

Page 6735

1 different -- well, all three communities, who

2 identified themselves as Serbian, Muslim, or Croatian,

3 were variously engaged in fighting. But there was a

4 sequence, as you know, and the sequence is important.

5 I don't believe I should take the time of the Court;

6 they are aware of the sequence. But it's important to

7 recognise there was a sequence.

8 Q. Yes, that is quite clear, Mr. Damon. Is it

9 true that in one period of time, the Muslims and Croats

10 were fighting the Serbs together?

11 A. It's absolutely true.

12 Q. Is it also true that in another period of

13 time, the Serbs were fought separately by the Muslims

14 and the Croats, each one of them separately?

15 A. In Bosnia as a whole, I'm sure that was the

16 case, yes, there were areas where HVO was fighting

17 Serbs alone and also where the Bosnian army was

18 fighting Serbs alone.

19 Q. Mr. Damon, are you familiar with the

20 northwestern part of Bosnia, called the Cazin Krajina,

21 with the leading figure there being Fikret Abdic?

22 A. Yes, I was there.

23 Q. Do you know that in relation to that part of

24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Muslims fought amongst

25 themselves, one group against another, which means

Page 6736

1 within the same ethnic group?

2 A. I -- what I know is that one particular

3 ambitious leader was encouraged, and I saw this

4 encouragement for myself, by both Serbs and by Croats

5 to try to establish his own enclave in order to weaken

6 the Bosnian government in Sarajevo.

7 Q. And that politician was a Muslim by

8 ethnicity, wasn't he?

9 A. He -- he was a Muslim by ethnicity and a

10 capitalist by inclination.

11 Q. Isn't that confusing, after all, Mr. Damon?

12 A. Not at all confusing.

13 JUDGE MAY: Where are we going with this,

14 Mr. Mikulicic?

15 A. Not at all confusing, Your Honour.

16 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, I simply wanted

17 to demonstrate to this Chamber that the situation in

18 Bosnia is anything but simple, and with that, I would

19 end my cross-examination.

20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we got the witness's

21 answer. Thank you.

22 Any re-examination, Mr. Scott?

23 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour, about three

24 questions.

25 Re-examined by Mr. Scott:

Page 6737

1 Q. Mr. Damon, following up on a question by

2 Mr. Sayers, can you say what Mr. Kordic's other fears

3 were, if you remember that part of the questioning?

4 A. No, I mean, other than what I've already

5 stated, that there was a fear -- the Defence counsel

6 referred to the proportion of the Croatian population

7 in the region and also the increase in the Muslim

8 population as a result of refugees arriving in the area

9 from eastern Bosnia. So this was the given

10 justification for the fears.

11 MR. SCOTT: If I can just have a moment, Your

12 Honour.

13 Q. Another question. What was your observation

14 about Mr. Kordic's personality?

15 A. It's based on the few meetings that I had.

16 He was, quite clearly, highly motivated, intelligent,

17 he was cold and calculating in his answers to my

18 questions about what was going on, and I should say,

19 above all, he was clearly in charge. He had an air of

20 authority about him, and people around him deferred to

21 him. If he asked for something to be done, it was

22 done.

23 Q. When you arrived at Kaonik on the 14th of

24 May, 1993, did anyone challenge or question

25 Mr. Kordic's authority to give you permission to be

Page 6738

1 there?

2 A. Not at all, no.

3 MR. SCOTT: No further questions, Your

4 Honour.

5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Damon, thank you for coming

6 to the Tribunal again and giving your evidence. You

7 are free to go.

8 THE WITNESS: Thank you.

9 [The witness withdrew]

10 JUDGE MAY: Now, one at a time.

11 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, may I just put one

12 issue on the agenda?

13 We were trying -- I mean, the Defence and the

14 Prosecutor -- to find a solution for the timing of the

15 testimony of the next witness after the one who is just

16 prepared, (redacted). It seems that it easily may be

17 that we will be very much squeezed for time, because if

18 that witness will start, and realistically it will,

19 let's say tomorrow at lunchtime, shortly after the

20 break or before the break, then we will be left, the

21 Defence will be left with very, very limited time for

22 cross-examination, and the Prosecution told us that the

23 witness (redacted) said that he would be coming either now

24 or never and that he has to leave The Hague before the

25 weekend.

Page 6739

1 Your Honour, this witness is probably among

2 the ten most important witnesses for our case.

3 JUDGE MAY: He was a commander of some sort;

4 is that right?

5 MR. KOVACIC: No, he was a politician in

6 Vitez.

7 We surely will need a little bit more for

8 cross than perhaps an hour or two on Friday morning.

9 I'm not mentioning also the problem that

10 Cerkez won't be here, because we will prepare, and it's

11 not crucial. The crucial point is only to have a

12 decent amount of time, a reasonable time, and I leave

13 it up to you after you hear the testimony. But I'm

14 trying to anticipate the problem, and I know that we

15 will be squeezed because at a certain point in time,

16 the Prosecution, confirmed by the witness, will tell

17 us, everyone in the courtroom, "Well, he has to be back

18 during the weekend and he cannot return."

19 JUDGE MAY: How long do you anticipate you

20 would require in cross-examination with him?

21 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I could give you

22 only really a rough estimation, but I guess a couple of

23 hours, I'm sure. He is talking about the whole period

24 of the development of events in Vitez, and the most

25 important time, April 1993.

Page 6740

1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, can you assist,

2 please?

3 MR. NICE: I'm aware of the difficulties.

4 There are a number of difficulties with witnesses this

5 week, including other difficulties with the witness who

6 might come between the one that Mr. Lopez-Terres is

7 just about to call and the witness that's been referred

8 to here.

9 On top of those difficulties, there's the

10 reality that once people are here, their hard attitudes

11 sometimes soften. We will make every arrangement

12 between now and first thing tomorrow morning to ensure

13 that the problems with the witness that Mr. Kovacic has

14 been speaking of are properly addressed, and I'll

15 report back tomorrow morning.

16 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

17 MR. NICE: It may be, without being any more

18 elliptical than is necessary, it may be that the

19 intervening witness, the one who will come after this

20 witness, will, for other reasons, which are referred to

21 obliquely in the application for protective measures in

22 his case, will not be fit to give evidence this week,

23 but might be fit perhaps next week. That depends on

24 medical issues being resolved. It is always difficult

25 juggling the range of problems with witnesses and

Page 6741

1 ensuring that the Chamber's time is fully occupied.

2 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice,

3 the witness that Mr. Kovacic has just spoken about, is

4 he in The Hague?

5 MR. NICE: Yes, but he'll be here tonight.

6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: He will be here tonight.

7 MR. NICE: Yes.

8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] In that

9 case, couldn't you give him priority, because

10 apparently he can't remain longer than this week,

11 tomorrow morning so that Mr. Kovacic could make the

12 necessary and proper preparations, either tomorrow

13 afternoon or on Friday morning?

14 We have tomorrow and then Friday morning, so

15 it's up to you to organise things so that that witness

16 is given priority, if he, in fact, is here tonight.

17 MR. NICE: That's what I had in mind, and I

18 have to juggle the various problems with the various

19 witnesses.

20 Perhaps Mr. Lopez-Terres can deal with the

21 application for protective measures for the next

22 witness, but I think that although he's only seeking

23 qualified protection, a fully closed session for the

24 application might be appropriate.

25 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

Page 6742

1 MR. NICE: My mistake. I think private

2 session will do because, of course, we don't need the

3 screens down. Nothing is going to be shown. If it's a

4 private session, I think that saves time. I'm sorry.

5 [Private session]

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 6743













13 page 6743 redacted private session













Page 6744













13 page 6744 redacted private session













Page 6745

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 [The witness entered court]

10 [Open session]

11 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the solemn

12 declaration.

13 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will

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

15 truth.


17 [Witness answers through interpreter]

18 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres, I think

19 you can begin.

20 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] First of

21 all, I wanted to ask the usher if he can give the

22 document to the witness so that we can be sure that he

23 is who he is supposed to be.

24 Examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:

25 Q. Is the name on this document, in fact, your

Page 6746

1 own?

2 A. Yes, it is. Yes.

3 Q. Thank you. You are appearing here with the

4 pseudonym "Witness K"; therefore, I'm going to call you

5 Witness K?

6 A. Very well.

7 Q. Witness K, are you 60 years old?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And did you work, starting in 1976, as a

10 technician within the SPS factory in Vitez, and are you

11 currently retired?

12 A. Yes, that is correct, but the year is not

13 correct. It was 1976 and I did not work for the steel

14 mill.

15 Q. I think I had said 1976. Perhaps there was

16 an interpretation problem. It doesn't matter. It

17 isn't important.

18 Witness K, you live in Ahmici, you've always

19 lived in that village, and you knew most of the people

20 who lived there; is that correct?

21 A. Yes, it is.

22 Q. After April 1993, did you make an important

23 contribution to the establishment of an association of

24 former inhabitants of Ahmici, where you are still

25 living?

Page 6747

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Witness K, is it correct that you were a

3 member of the Communist Party until 1968?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And at that time, you decided to leave that

6 party. In the 1990s, at the time, there was a

7 plurality of parties allowed in -- introduced into the

8 former Yugoslavia. You became a member of the SDA

9 party, that is, the Bosnian Muslim party; is that

10 correct?

11 A. Yes, it is.

12 Q. Are you still a member of that party?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Witness K, the village of Ahmici is about

15 five kilometres from Vitez; is that correct?

16 A. That is correct.

17 Q. In April 1993, was the population of that

18 village approximately 600 people, most of whom were

19 Muslims?

20 A. That is correct.

21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone to the Judges,

22 please.

23 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

24 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... 40

25 Bosnian Croats living in that village?

Page 6748

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. The village of Ahmici, is it divided in two

3 parties, Upper Ahmici and Lower Ahmici?

4 A. That is correct, and that is the division

5 that actually is a new one. Previously it wasn't so.

6 Q. Upper Ahmici was the older part of it; is

7 that correct?

8 A. That is correct.

9 Q. In April 1993 there were two mosques in the

10 village in Ahmici. One had a minaret and the other one

11 did not?

12 A. That is correct.

13 Q. The one with the minaret was the one that was

14 in Lower Ahmici; is that right?

15 A. [No translation]

16 Q. Around the end of 1992, Witness K, did you,

17 yourself, and other Muslims working at the SPS factory

18 in Vitez, were you able to see that the Croats in the

19 factory were gradually taking responsibilities in that

20 place, and specifically that they had set up a flag,

21 little by little, in that factory? Could you remind us

22 of how things or tell us about how things happened?

23 A. Immediately after the multinational elections

24 of 1990, one started feeling --

25 Q. I'm simply asking you to tell us what

Page 6749

1 happened in the factory, about the flag that was put up

2 in the facilities of the factory.

3 A. Well, the whole atmosphere at that time

4 already was smacking of divisions. Many employees,

5 especially those who had to do with security, were

6 being transferred, so that they did not have anything

7 to do with security. They had a wish to put up a

8 Croatian flag. This irritated the Muslim employees.

9 They did this gradually. When entering the factory, I

10 first saw it in a drawer. Then, for several days, then

11 it was on a chair, and then it ended up on the desk of

12 the department head.

13 Q. At that same time, approximately, was it a

14 unit that was composed only of Croat workers who were

15 responsible for guarding the factory?

16 A. These were not factory employees. These were

17 the so-called special security personnel. They were

18 not locals. They were brought in from outside.

19 Q. What happened to the Muslim workers who

20 formerly had been responsible for guarding the factory?

21 A. I have already stated that they were

22 transferred -- in other words, they were offered to be

23 transferred to other sections within the compound.

24 Q. I would now like us to speak about the things

25 that happened on the 19th of October, 1992. On that

Page 6750

1 afternoon, while you were coming back from your job at

2 the factory, you were arrested at a checkpoint which

3 had been set up at the place known as Impregnacija, and

4 you noticed that at that checkpoint, the HVO soldiers

5 had set up heavy weapons. There was a cannon, there

6 was a machine gun, there was also an anti-aircraft gun

7 that was in front of the police station. Is that

8 correct?

9 A. That evening, coming back from work, I was

10 driving a car. In addition to Impregnacija, I had

11 cleared another checkpoint, but down there, and I

12 cleared it. I was then stopped along with everybody

13 else. They were searching all the cars. However, I

14 was fortunate to have found a colleague from the

15 factory who did not check me at all. He just told me,

16 "Okay, go on."

17 It is true that there were some heavy weapons

18 there. There was an antitank gun which was -- an

19 anti-aircraft gun on a vehicle, mounted on a vehicle.

20 This vehicle patrolled the entire territory of the

21 municipality, wherever they could take it, but I mostly

22 saw it in front of the police station, parked.

23 Q. So you were able to go past the checkpoint

24 and go home to Ahmici, and there you were invited to

25 participate in a meeting with other villagers from the

Page 6751

1 village?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Was the meeting organised at the request of

4 the person responsible for the Territorial Defence of

5 the village, Mr. Fuad Berbic, who then told you, and

6 told other people as well, that an oral order had been

7 given by the Bosnian army in command in Vitez in order

8 to set up a checkpoint in order to prevent

9 reinforcements from the HVO coming from Busovaca and

10 Kiseljak being able to go in the direction of Novi

11 Travnik? Is that correct?

12 A. That is correct. May I just add a brief

13 comment? This barricade was probably ordered to be

14 erected, but taking into account all the circumstances,

15 and considering that we were in grave danger, and that

16 our village was touching on the main road, and that we

17 were wedged in or sandwiched between two much more

18 largely populated Croat villages, the whole situation

19 smacked of something bad, and we decided not to put up

20 the barricade. So this barricade, even though an order

21 had been issued to erect it, it was not erected.

22 Q. So the checkpoint was not initially set up,

23 but subsequently, during the evening, it finally was

24 set up by people, after two reserve policemen from

25 Ahmici came and told the other villagers that they had

Page 6752

1 been disarmed by the HVO, and this made the people

2 change their decision as to the setting up of the

3 checkpoint; is that correct?

4 A. Yes, it is so, but those men who were there

5 -- for a while it was jointly manned, the barricade

6 between the Muslims and the Croats, and at some point

7 towards the evening, the two men who were from our

8 village were disarmed, they were abused, and they were

9 kicked out, so to speak, and sent home. When they came

10 back, they were so frustrated and so angry that without

11 any approval, with probably some of those who agreed

12 with them, they set up a barricade. I think that the

13 intention was to get in possession of some weapons, and

14 I think that they didn't know of Fuad's order.

15 Q. So in the end, the barricade or the

16 checkpoint was set up by two policemen and a group of

17 young men from the village. And as regards the weapons

18 that the people had, basically there were a few machine

19 guns, and you also said that those people had also put

20 some metal pipes on the road so that the HVO would make

21 a mistake and think that they were dealing with

22 mortars; is that correct?

23 A. That is correct.

24 Q. During that same evening, is it true that the

25 men who were first there, that's the men from Ahmici,

Page 6753

1 were joined by about 30 other people from neighbouring

2 villages -- 10 who came from Vrhovine, 10 who came from

3 Poculica, and 10 from the village of Preocica -- and

4 that those men took up positions at different locations

5 in the village; is that correct?

6 A. That is correct. And again I would like to

7 add a brief comment to this. Probably the command

8 which had ordered this had believed that since we were

9 unarmed, they probably thought that we needed some

10 assistance, so they had assigned these men from these

11 villages to come and join in the effort. However, we

12 went out to meet them, to tell them not to come,

13 because we didn't need them; but they had taken a

14 different route in, and so indeed they were there that

15 night with us.

16 Q. Did you, yourself, not participate in that,

17 Mr. K?

18 A. No. No.

19 Q. On the next day, 20 October, 1992, around

20 5.00, the fighting began, and the first shell fell onto

21 the minaret of the Lower Ahmici mosque; is that

22 correct?

23 A. That is correct, because later on we heard

24 that the HVO were under orders -- they had a plan

25 called "24 Hours of Ashes and Smoke," and this was to

Page 6754

1 start when the morning call to prayer was to start.

2 And when imam called the believers to the mosque was

3 exactly the time when the first shell was fired on the

4 mosque.

5 Q. Since you, yourself, were in the village,

6 were you able to see that there were guns being fired

7 at Ahmici, guns that were firing from the neighbouring

8 villages of Hrasno and Donji Rovna, which are in the

9 municipality of Busovaca?

10 A. That is correct.

11 Q. And did you also see that truck on which

12 there was a gun, a gun had been mounted, that you spoke

13 about a few minutes ago?

14 A. Yes, yes.

15 Q. And there was firing coming from that truck

16 with the gun on top of it; is that correct?

17 A. That is correct.

18 Q. So you had already seen that truck, with the

19 gun which had been mounted on it, on several occasions

20 in the village of Ahmici, and the truck would come now

21 and again, apparently in order to make an impression on

22 the local population; is that correct?

23 A. Yes, that is correct. They often appeared in

24 the village with this vehicle. And the driver, who was

25 given to drinking -- his name was Nikica Plavcic; we

Page 6755

1 used to call him Nikica Slikica -- and probably

2 slightly inebriated, he circled around with that gun

3 there and went through the village, trying to impress

4 us, to actually produce fear among us from this great

5 power.

6 Q. On the morning of 20 October, 1992, at around

7 10.00 in the morning, the local HVO commander, whose

8 name was Buha and lived in Buhine Kuce, gave an

9 ultimatum to the TO soldiers, telling them to surrender

10 the weapons that they had; is that correct?

11 A. That is correct. There were agreements --

12 there was a meeting to try to determine what to do

13 next, and then Fuad Berbic and the others who were, how

14 shall I put it, in charge of our village, they had

15 talked, and the HVO commander ordered that we Bosniaks

16 had to surrender the weapons that we did have and that

17 they would guarantee our security.

18 Q. Some of the Muslim villagers who lived in the

19 area called Zume agreed to surrender their weapons, but

20 in Ahmici, the inhabitants who had some weapons refused

21 to do so; is that correct?

22 A. That's correct. Those who had surrendered,

23 they were from the part of the village which was mixed,

24 Croat and Muslim, and the ones up there were more

25 compactly inhabited.

Page 6756

1 Q. They refused to give their arms and the

2 fighting continued, and during the battle, there were

3 about 14 buildings and stables which were destroyed by

4 fire, because inflammable ammunition was being used,

5 and shells also fell into five or six houses; is that

6 correct?

7 A. Yes, that is correct. The houses were set on

8 fire. They didn't burn down to the ground, but certain

9 rooms were burned, as most of those incendiary devices

10 flew in through the windows. Sometimes some barns,

11 even there was some livestock which was burnt. So

12 there were several of those cases when people didn't

13 have the time to let the livestock out. Clearly and

14 obviously, the people pulled back into the upper part

15 of the village.

16 Q. Did you yourself withdraw with some of the

17 other villagers to the upper part of the village, and

18 from that part of Upper Ahmici, were you able to try to

19 ask for help by radio, ask the Vitez centre, but that

20 no assistance was sent?

21 A. That is correct.

22 Q. Were you finally able to leave the village of

23 Ahmici and go to the village of Vrhovine, a

24 neighbouring village, where you remained for about five

25 or six days; is that correct?

Page 6757

1 A. About 90 per cent of the inhabitants went up

2 to that part of the village. Some did stay behind, and

3 fortunately, nothing happened to them.

4 Q. During the fighting on the 19th, 20th of

5 October, 1992, one of your cousins, a 16-year-old,

6 (redacted), was killed by a bullet, and two other

7 people were wounded; is that correct?

8 A. That is correct. Can I just add something?

9 Q. Yes. Go ahead.

10 A. (redacted) was in high school; he was a

11 young kid. As a man, though, I don't know, he probably

12 was under the influence of some movies or something, so

13 he had some fighting spirit in him. So he wanted to

14 see what was going on at the barricade, and as a

15 civilian, he went over there to see and survey what was

16 going on, and somebody killed him with sniper fire.

17 Q. You mean that your cousin was not armed at

18 the point he was killed?

19 A. No. He was a youth; he was still in the

20 secondary school. He didn't have any weapons or

21 anything.

22 Q. Was he the only victim on the Muslim side

23 that day? There were two wounded, I think, and then

24 this cousin who died.

25 A. Yes. Two were wounded and this young man was

Page 6758

1 killed.

2 Q. While the villagers of Ahmici were in the

3 neighbouring village for the few days that you spent in

4 Vrhovine, was it the HVO military police that entered

5 the village and took measures to ensure that there

6 would be no thefts in the houses, and you were able to

7 see when you came back that nothing had been stolen

8 from your house; is that correct?

9 A. That's correct. They protected our houses,

10 and, indeed, nothing went missing from our homes.

11 JUDGE MAY: If you're moving on now to

12 another topic, it may be a convenient moment. We will

13 adjourn now until half past two.

14 Witness K, could you remember, in this and

15 any other adjournment there is, not to speak to anybody

16 about your evidence and not to let anybody speak to you

17 about it, and that includes members of the

18 Prosecution?

19 Very well. If you will be back at half past

20 two.

21 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.03 p.m.





Page 6759

1 --- On resuming at 2.34 p.m.

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres.

3 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

4 Q. Witness K, before we broke, we were speaking

5 about the end of the events in October 1992 and the

6 first incident in the village after the checkpoint

7 which had been set up in Ahmici.

8 When you returned to the village, you noticed

9 that Croatian flags had been set up there; is that

10 correct?

11 A. Yes. Yes.

12 Q. Before that, the flags were not there; is

13 that right?

14 A. No. Excuse me. It is correct that there

15 were no such flags. That's right.

16 Q. Were there other flags in the village, before

17 the events of the 19th of October, 1992, that is,

18 specifically, the flag of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

19 A. There were on the school and other such

20 buildings.

21 Q. A public building then.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Sometime after the attack of October 1992,

24 you had the opportunity of meeting with one of your

25 neighbours, a man named Vlatko Kupreskic, who is

Page 6760

1 currently being detained in The Hague and is the

2 subject of a trial which we spoke about this morning,

3 and you asked him for some information about what had

4 happened, why that had happened.

5 Is it true that at that point, he said to you

6 that in the future, the Muslims had to obey the law of

7 Herceg-Bosna because Herceg-Bosna was now a state, the

8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna had become a state?

9 A. Exactly. I wasn't alone. I was in a group;

10 there were another four of us, among them my father.

11 Because he was closest to our village, as our

12 neighbour, we asked him what was happening because

13 there was already the ultimatum that we had to

14 surrender our weapons, practically to surrender

15 ourselves, and his answer was that the state of

16 Herceg-Bosna had been established. "You have to

17 respect its laws," he said. "How long it will last, I

18 don't know, but why things are as they are, you have to

19 be loyal to that state." That is what he said, or

20 words to that effect.

21 Q. After that period between November 1992 and

22 January 1993, there was an agreement among the

23 inhabitants of Ahmici, according to which there would

24 be checkpoints that would be manned both by the Croats

25 and the Muslims from the village; is that correct?

Page 6761

1 A. Correct. These were not stationary

2 checkpoints but rather patrols that patrolled the

3 villages in the evenings, and we were together.

4 Q. Is it true, Witness K, that around November

5 1992, you saw the accused, Dario Kordic, during a press

6 conference in which he was a participant which was

7 broadcast on Busovaca Television and in which there was

8 also --

9 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment.

10 MR. SAYERS: Two objections, Your Honour.

11 First, to the leading form of the question, since this

12 is a matter that appears to be in controversy, and,

13 second, I object to having a phrase snipped out of what

14 appears to be a televised press conference. Of course,

15 we would not object to having the videotape and the

16 transcript of the entire press conference put into

17 evidence, but I certainly object on completeness

18 grounds to having one statement that was assertively

19 made six years ago in a press conference excerpted.

20 Thank you.

21 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness be asked if he

22 saw Dario Kordic on the press conference and, if so,

23 what he recollects Mr. Kordic said.

24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Before I

25 speak to the witness, if you will allow me,

Page 6762

1 Mr. President, I can tell you that the Office of the

2 Prosecutor does not have a videocassette of that press

3 conference. I want things to be perfectly clear.

4 Q. Witness K, during the press conference in

5 which you were a participant, do you remember what the

6 accused, Dario Kordic, from the point that they were

7 speaking about the village of Ahmici, said, what he

8 said?

9 A. Unfortunately, I don't know the date when

10 this was. I never thought I would be put in a

11 situation as to have to testify about these things.

12 But I do remember, since my village did receive

13 Busovaca Television -- not too well, but still we were

14 able to follow it -- we were curious to see what they

15 were saying and what they had in mind for us, and at

16 one of those press conferences, Dario Kordic was

17 present, as was Kostroman and Blaskic, and there were a

18 number of journalists. Among the other questions,

19 there was a question to the effect -- of course, I

20 can't quote it verbatim because of the time distance --

21 but the question was, "After the barricade in Ahmici,

22 what would happen to the village of Ahmici?"

23 JUDGE MAY: What's the objection now,

24 Mr. Sayers?

25 MR. SAYERS: That's my point precisely, Your

Page 6763

1 Honour. That actually brings me into a Rule 89

2 objection. If the gentleman can't remember exactly

3 what the statement was on the TV, it seems to me that

4 the prejudicial effect of the statement that apparently

5 he's going to utter, according to this offer of proof,

6 greatly outweighs any probative value that it might

7 have.

8 JUDGE MAY: Why? It's as if he met

9 Mr. Kordic and Mr. Kordic said something to him. He

10 saw him say something on television. He cannot

11 remember the precise words, but he can give us the gist

12 of it. There's no unfairness in that.

13 Now, what do you remember Mr. Kordic saying?

14 A. Of course, I wasn't with him physically. I

15 was in my own home and watching television. In answer

16 to this question which was put, I think, by a lady

17 journalist, he answered that Ahmici would pay a dear

18 price for this move; that is, for the barricade they

19 had put up. As I said, I can't quote him word for

20 word, but to the effect that it would be razed to the

21 ground, that they'd better be careful.

22 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

23 Q. Witness K, I believe we have perhaps an

24 interpretation problem here. You yourself were not at

25 the press conference. You were at home; is that

Page 6764

1 correct? Do we agree?

2 A. Yes. Yes, that is correct.

3 Q. Because in the English transcript, one has

4 the impression that you were present, at least at the

5 moment that the press conference occurred.

6 JUDGE MAY: I think the picture is quite

7 clear. The witness was not participating, although

8 that appeared to be what was said. He was simply at

9 home and saw this on television.

10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

11 Q. Still speaking about the television broadcast

12 that you were looking at at that time, did you also see

13 a broadcast around January or February of 1993, during

14 which a man named Anto Valenta was invited -- it was a

15 programme in Croatia from Split -- and Anto Valenta,

16 during that programme, said that the Croats in Bosnia

17 should, in the future, make ready for the conflict with

18 the Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Do you remember

19 that?

20 A. Yes, indeed. It was a programme called

21 "Image on Image," and the guest was Anto Valenta. But

22 I must make a correction. He didn't say the Croats of

23 Bosnia-Herzegovina; he said the Croats of Vitez must

24 prepare for a struggle against the Muslims. He made

25 this statement upon his return because some people

Page 6765

1 asked him whether he had made a slip of the tongue,

2 whether he really meant that they should prepare for

3 defence against a Serb aggression, but he said what he

4 said.

5 Q. Did you see, somewhat later in the spring of

6 1993, the accused, Dario Kordic, during another press

7 conference, also mentioning the relations between the

8 Croats and the Muslims in Bosnia? Could you tell us

9 what was said?

10 A. At that time, he was a prominent media

11 figure, he appeared frequently, and we watched from

12 time to time, and at another press conference, a

13 journalist -- I think that was the time when we were

14 trying to obtain seeds for the sowing season -- and the

15 journalist was saying, "The Muslims are sowing

16 everywhere and we are short of seeds," something to

17 that effect, and his answer was, "Let them sow and we

18 shall harvest," that the Croats would reap the

19 harvest.

20 Q. When he said "they can sow," he meant the

21 Muslims; correct?

22 A. Yes. Yes.

23 Q. On the 13th of April, 1993, Mr. K, your son,

24 who at that time was working at the Bratsvo factory in

25 Novi Travnik, was arrested by HVO soldiers, along with

Page 6766

1 a group of other factory workers while they were going

2 to the factory in a bus; is that correct?

3 A. Yes, correct. Correct. He was going to

4 work.

5 Q. Is it true that the next day, the day after

6 his arrest, your son and the group of Muslim workers

7 visited Mario Cerkez in his office at the cinema in

8 Vitez, at the House of Culture?

9 A. Maybe the interpretation is not correct. It

10 wasn't he that went to visit. I went to pay the

11 visit.

12 Q. Yes, perhaps it was an interpretation

13 difficulty. Did you go to visit the accused, Mario

14 Cerkez?

15 A. The interpretation I got was that he went to

16 visit, and he couldn't visit because he had already

17 been arrested. So it was I who went to visit.

18 Q. No. You, not your son, did you go to visit

19 Mario Cerkez? Do we agree on that, that it was you who

20 went?

21 A. Yes, that is correct.

22 Q. So you visited Mario Cerkez, whom you knew,

23 and you asked him whether he could release or help in

24 the release of your son. Could you speak about that

25 meeting of 14 April?

Page 6767

1 A. I could. My son, as is known, was working in

2 Bratsvo, and on the way to work, they were stopped by a

3 group of HVO soldiers, of the police, at a checkpoint.

4 They ordered all the Muslims to get off the bus, the

5 Croats were allowed to pass, and they were detained.

6 At that time, I was in my own factory. One

7 of his colleagues who went to school with him and who

8 was also a Catholic, a Croat, informed me that they had

9 been arrested, that he had been arrested or captured.

10 I immediately left my working place and went

11 to some sort of TO headquarters to see Sefkija Dzidic.

12 I appealed to him as a parent to help me to get my son

13 released because he was not guilty.

14 As he couldn't make any promises, I went to

15 see Pero Skopljak, who, in those days, was the

16 president of the HDZ, or something like that, and

17 literally, his answer was, "I am a politician and I

18 can't help you. This is a military matter."

19 I used to work with Mario in the factory. We

20 are not the same generation, so we were not very close,

21 but we know one another very well. I also know his

22 parents. So I went to the place where his headquarters

23 was, and with a soldier, I went to see him.

24 The man received me in a friendly manner and

25 he said the following: "Regarding so and so, not a

Page 6768

1 hair will be hurt on his head. Last night, a number of

2 our officers were arrested in Gornji Vakuf, and they

3 were taken for the purpose of exchange. I cannot help

4 you for the moment, but you can count on him being safe

5 and sound," and that was the whole conversation, so I

6 left.

7 My son, on the 15th in the evening, together

8 with another 50 Bosniaks, was taken to the camp in

9 Kaonik, which belongs to Busovaca municipality, and he

10 was kept there for two months. He was mistreated, of

11 course. He was forced to dig trenches, et cetera; he

12 was slapped, beaten, and all sorts of things.

13 Q. So your son remained in the Kaonik camp for

14 about two months, and you say that he dug trenches

15 specifically in the region of Kratina and Putis?

16 A. Yes, in Putis, yes. Once he even went to the

17 area of Rovna.

18 Q. On the 16th of April, 1993, Witness K, around

19 5.30 in the morning, in the village where you lived,

20 you heard a large explosion and there were bullets

21 flying from all sides. You could see at that point

22 that there were several houses around yours that were

23 on fire. You did not expect an attack on that day, on

24 the 16th of April; is that correct?

25 A. That is so. The night before, we had a

Page 6769

1 meeting, we the locals without any politicians, in our

2 school, us ordinary citizens, and we agreed to protect

3 each other, that any kind of attack was out of the

4 question, so that we went to bed without the thought of

5 such a thing happening -- occurring to us.

6 My son was in the camp without being

7 registered, and there were already cases of people

8 being killed, so it was terrible.

9 Q. Witness K, during the night of 15 to 16

10 April, 1993 that we're speaking about, Muslim forces

11 arrived in Ahmici; they were deployed in Ahmici or

12 around Ahmici. Now, I'm talking about Muslim army

13 forces.

14 A. No. No, there were absolutely no troops in

15 our village. Our village was, in no sense, a military

16 target. There were only civilians there, and the few

17 able-bodied men that we had in the village, since a

18 Muslim army brigade had already been formed, they had

19 left and joined that unit. So even they were not in

20 the village. The only people in the village were my

21 generation, in their 50s and 60s and older than that,

22 and women and children, and the few who were not

23 able-bodied to join the army.

24 Q. Witness K, we have just spoken about the

25 night of the 15th to 16th of April, 1993. Let us speak

Page 6770

1 about the previous night, that is, the 14th to the 15th

2 of April. I'll ask the same question: Did forces from

3 the Bosnia-Herzegovina army -- rather, were the forces

4 deployed in Ahmici or around Ahmici?

5 A. No, a hundred times, no. I said that there

6 were no soldiers there, and I say that categorically.

7 Q. I'm going to show you a document. This is

8 Z6601.

9 The document is a preparatory combat order,

10 and it's dated 15, April 1993, 10.00, and it's signed

11 by Colonel Blaskic.

12 Witness K, would you review the first page of

13 the document, the fourth paragraph of the document?

14 There, the date of 14/15 April 1993 is indicated, where

15 they speak about deployment of Muslim forces in the

16 region of Ahmici and Nadioci. The document says that

17 the troops of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina allegedly

18 were deployed around the village, and that you are

19 sure, however, that there was no deployment; is that

20 correct?

21 A. This is a complete fallacy. In our village

22 and the environs, there was not a single armed soldier

23 under the control of the BH army or the TO. And I am

24 reading this now, it mentions the village of Nadioci.

25 Ninety-eight per cent of that village were Croats. It

Page 6771

1 was 98 per cent Croat, and what would any Muslim army

2 be doing there? I can tell you for certain that in our

3 village, there were absolutely no military structures,

4 or around the village. In Stari Vitez, possibly there

5 were, and in Kruscica, a part of a brigade had been

6 formed, but that is quite at the other end of the

7 area. In Kruscica, there were troops because my

8 brother's son was there in a unit in Kruscica. As for

9 Vitez, I don't know. I assume there may have been

10 some, but in Nadioci and Ahmici, there were absolutely

11 none.

12 Q. Witness K, were troops from outside of Vitez,

13 from Zenica or other regions, did they come in and

14 might they have been deployed in Ahmici or the

15 surroundings in the night between the 14th and 15th of

16 April, 1993?

17 A. No, they could not because members of the HVO

18 had already, at Kuber, which is a hill between Vitez

19 and Zenica, they already had their positions there, so

20 that their army had control of that part of the

21 territory, the whole area around Ahmici. So there was

22 no way that anybody from the outside could reach us.

23 Q. Thank you. Let us return to the evening of

24 the 15th of April, 1993, the evening. During the

25 evening, you saw Croatian neighbours who were armed,

Page 6772

1 who had weapons, had combat uniforms, were wearing

2 helmets, and they were going to the part of the village

3 where the Kupreskic family lived, but did that not seem

4 somewhat suspect to you?

5 A. That evening, my brother and I went out to

6 walk around the houses. In the evening, it was already

7 dusk, visibility was good, and I saw my next-door

8 neighbour, Dragan Vidovic, and his cousin in full

9 combat gear, with weapons, a rucksack, a helmet on the

10 rucksack, going in haste towards the Kupreskic houses,

11 as we call it. But we didn't attach much importance to

12 that because they would frequently -- or, rather, the

13 HVO army could frequently be seen in the area of our

14 village, and weekly or at other intervals, they would

15 pass through to the positions at Kuber. They passed

16 through our village and nobody hindered them, and then

17 they would return from those positions along the same

18 route. And so we thought that that was what was

19 happening then too.

20 Q. During the morning of the 16th of April, the

21 morning of the attack, with your wife and another group

22 of villagers, you decided to take shelter in the house

23 of another villager, Mr. Kermo, who lived in Upper

24 Ahmici, close to the mosque; is that correct?

25 A. That is correct. This house was designated

Page 6773

1 by our civilian protection to be used in case of such

2 an event, and this is where we would go and this is

3 what we used this morning and went there.

4 Q. With your wife and group of villagers, did

5 you then go along a ditch and through the bushes, but

6 did you see that your presence had been spotted by HVO

7 soldiers near Vlatko Kupreskic's house, and one of the

8 soldiers yelled something at you. Could you tell us

9 what it was that he said?

10 A. We were 14 in this group, my family and two

11 other families, so we had no idea that these soldiers

12 could be there. We were going down a ravine, and when

13 we came to this house, they noticed us. They cursed

14 our balija mothers. They were asking where had we been

15 hiding until then, and then opened up fire in bursts on

16 us.

17 Q. It was at that time of those shots that were

18 directed against you that your sister-in-law was killed

19 and that your daughter was wounded, along with another

20 person who was a refugee from Prijedor; is that

21 correct?

22 A. That is correct.

23 Q. Then you finally reached the house where you

24 were supposed to take shelter, where there were about

25 150 to 200 people; is that correct?

Page 6774

1 A. That is correct. I took the little girl --

2 put her on my back and took her with me, and we joined

3 the other people. There were about 150 people there.

4 Q. In the morning, around 12.00 noon, UNPROFOR

5 came into the village, and the personnel from that

6 vehicle came to the village and helped some of the

7 villagers there; is that correct?

8 A. Yes. Several vehicles arrived, and one of

9 them turned off towards Kermo's building, because we

10 were waving, asking them to come and help us, and so

11 they came over and assisted the three wounded persons.

12 Then they put them on the transport vehicle and took

13 them to the hospital. And one personnel vehicle

14 proceeded to the other part of the village on the other

15 side of the hill, where there were also two seriously

16 wounded persons. One died there and the other one died

17 while being transported to Travnik. Both were

18 females.

19 Q. Did you notice that the shots from the HVO

20 had stopped throughout the time that that transport

21 vehicle was there, and then once the vehicle had left,

22 the shots resumed; is that correct?

23 A. This was especially the case of the heavy

24 artillery in Hrasno and Donja Rovna. They almost

25 completely ceased to fire, and you could just hear some

Page 6775

1 small arms fire. But the heavy artillery practically

2 ceased.

3 Q. Around 21.00 on that day, with a group of

4 villagers, you left Kermo's house, and then in groups

5 of about ten persons, you were able to flee and to

6 reach the village of Vrhovine, and then to go to

7 Zenica.

8 A. That is correct. Because we expected,

9 frankly, some kind of assistance from Zenica or Vitez,

10 and since this assistance was not coming and we had

11 hundreds of dead, there was panic in the village,

12 houses were on fire, there was fire everywhere, we

13 decided to flee in groups. Night was coming, so those

14 who were healthier and stronger were sent up to the

15 village to see whether we had been cut off by the HVO

16 forces in order to prevent our pull-out.

17 They came back; they said that the road was

18 open and we went in groups to the village of Vrhovine.

19 However, some families, including my parents, stayed

20 behind, and unfortunately, they're no longer among us.

21 Q. Witness K, as I already said, you already had

22 the occasion of testifying in another case; that is,

23 the Kupreskic case last year in September, and on that

24 occasion, you made an important contribution to the

25 drafting of documents, which I'm now going to show to

Page 6776

1 the Tribunal.

2 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] They have

3 already been tendered to the Trial Chamber which is

4 hearing the Kupreskic case. These are charts with

5 reference number Z1594, 1-5-9-4, 1594-3. And the two

6 aerial views of the village of Ahmici and the

7 surroundings on which there is information about the

8 houses which the Muslims in the village occupied, and

9 the houses in which people were killed or they were the

10 owners of houses who were killed at that time. This is

11 reference 1594-1 and 1594-2. .

12 I ask that these documents be put under seal

13 because all of them have the witness's name on them, as

14 well as his signature which is on one of them.

15 Q. I'm going to ask you to tell us what this

16 document corresponds to.

17 First of all, we're going to look at the two

18 aerial views I've mentioned. Witness K, the two aerial

19 views which you have, the two views --

20 A. Very well.

21 Q. -- as I said, you helped to prepare them

22 because it was starting with information that you

23 provided that the Office of the Prosecutor was in a

24 position to prepare those two aerial views and to show

25 the indications on them, that is, exactly where the

Page 6777

1 houses belonging to the Muslims in Ahmici were, that's

2 on the first map. And on the second, it shows where

3 people were killed in Ahmici. Do you recognise these

4 two documents as being the ones that you helped to

5 prepare and that you brought to the attention of the

6 Office of the Prosecutor?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Based on what you said, the houses which are

9 in a green circle, they belonged to the Muslim

10 inhabitants of the village you mentioned?

11 A. That is correct. Those were the Muslim

12 homes. Shall I point them out?

13 Q. I don't think it's necessary unless the Trial

14 Chamber wishes. As things stand, we don't have to make

15 any further clarifications about the houses. As

16 regards the red circles, these are houses or at least

17 the areas in which there were Croat houses?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. Specifically, the houses of the accused in

20 the Kupreskic case; is that true?

21 A. Yes, it is. Yes, it is.

22 Q. The second aerial view which is similar, but

23 which has indications in yellow --

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. -- the houses where there were victims on

Page 6778

1 the -- on that evening, the 16th of April, and there

2 were Roman numerals to indicate the people who died; is

3 that true?

4 A. That is correct.

5 Q. Witness K, you also helped to prepare another

6 chart --

7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Lopez-Terres, can I ask,

8 in relation to the first aerial view, F and G, the red

9 circles which are bigger circles, does the size of the

10 circle indicate a greater congregation of houses?

11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] The areas

12 correspond to the location where the witness believes

13 that the houses of someone named Nenad Santic, who has

14 since died, who was a Croat of the village, from a

15 point where he was exactly not sure where the house

16 was, that he would simply indicate the area, and it's

17 starting with that information that those areas were

18 able to be indicated by our investigators.

19 JUDGE ROBINSON: I understand. Thanks.

20 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

21 Q. As regards the chart number Z1594-3, is that,

22 in fact, your signature which is on the first page, on

23 the bottom, Witness K?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Which is before the date 21 September, 1998;

Page 6779

1 is that correct?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. On this document, on the last page, a total

4 is given, that is, 104 people whose names appear in the

5 document, 104 people who were killed in the village,

6 according to the information that you were able to

7 provide.

8 A. Yes, that is correct and that is really the

9 truth.

10 Q. Among the 104 people, tell me if I'm wrong,

11 there were 61 men, 32 women --

12 A. Yes, that is correct.

13 Q. -- and 11 boys under the age of 18?

14 A. Ages three months to less than eighteen.

15 Q. You also indicated the number of people who

16 were wounded who are not included in the total that I

17 just mentioned, but in that list, there are 12 people

18 who were wounded on the 16th of April, 1993 in Ahmici;

19 is that correct?

20 A. Yes, during the flight and the withdrawal.

21 Q. Personally, Witness K, how many people did

22 you yourself lose in your family during the attack on

23 the village of Ahmici on the 16th of April?

24 A. With your permission, I would like to add

25 something, that is, if the Chamber approves, before I

Page 6780

1 say this.


3 A. We mentioned here a number of 104 killed;

4 however, we know for sure that there were 15 Bosniak

5 refugees who were also killed, and those names are

6 known, but the number of killed refugees was never

7 positively confirmed because these people kept coming

8 and going. So they were not fully registered. So to

9 the number of 104, an additional 15 refugees should be

10 added.

11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

12 Q. In order to make it clear, to make clear this

13 important comment that you've just made, that the

14 number of 104 represents only the 104 members of the

15 village who you knew --

16 A. Yes, residents of the village.

17 Q. And the approximately 15 others, the refugees

18 that you spoke about, where did they come from?

19 A. They came from Foca, Prijedor, Karule near

20 Travnik, other places, Jajce, and so on.

21 Q. Where were they? Exactly where were they at

22 the time of the attack?

23 A. For the most part, they were accommodated

24 with local residents, and in our area, there were a lot

25 of weekend homes. So we made arrangements with owners

Page 6781

1 of these homes who, for the most part, lived in Zenica,

2 to allow us, meaning this board which had been set up,

3 and they for the most part agreed to this, so these

4 refugees stayed, for the most part, in these weekend

5 areas.

6 Q. I asked you a question before you made this

7 important comment. How many people from your own

8 family did you lose during that attack on the village?

9 A. This is the most difficult part that I can

10 testify to, but I have to, and I lost 19 relatives,

11 including both parents, my mother and father, my

12 brother, his wife, and the others were first cousins on

13 both paternal and maternal side, and they were both

14 male and female relatives among them. I need to

15 mention that my father was 81 years of age. As a man

16 who took good care of his home, he refused to leave.

17 He said, "I had nothing with anybody. They won't do

18 anything to me," and my brother and my mother stayed

19 with him.

20 On the -- that is, around the 20th of April,

21 UNPROFOR brought them to Zenica in body bags, charred,

22 and we made an identification there. I still have some

23 doubts about their identities, but I think I'll leave

24 it alone here.

25 Q. Thank you. One final question. The

Page 6782

1 information which allowed this chart to be prepared

2 concerning the location and numbers of people, is this

3 information that you collected as soon as you arrived

4 in Zenica in April 1993 and which you preserved and

5 compiled and then subsequently allowed them to be given

6 to the Tribunal; is that correct?

7 A. That is correct. I was born in that village;

8 I lived in that village; I know every person there. We

9 worked jointly to bring in the phone lines, water

10 system, roads. We did all this work together, these

11 utilities, so we depended upon each other in the

12 village and knew each other well.

13 Also, when we came to Zenica, we somehow had

14 to take count of who had survived, who was killed, who

15 went to -- in which direction. Until that time, nobody

16 had left to live abroad. I then started an initiative

17 to set up an association which would, sort of, draw

18 people together so that we would stay in touch, so that

19 we could talk about our troubles, and I set up -- I

20 drafted a questionnaire, including the name, date of

21 birth, and the status, that is, their whereabouts.

22 From this questionnaire, we were able to also come up

23 with a number of those who were killed and also it

24 helped us get some humanitarian assistance, which was

25 proportionate to the number of family members; that is,

Page 6783

1 that it became useful in that sense.

2 Q. Thank you, Witness K.

3 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I have no

4 further questions.

5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

6 with your permission, the Defence of Mario Cerkez would

7 like to ask questions of this witness first on the

8 basis of an agreement we have with the other part of

9 the defence team.

10 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.

12 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

13 Q. Witness K, I am Goran Mikulicic in this case,

14 alongside Mr. Kovacic from Rijeka, and I represent

15 Mr. Mario Cerkez.

16 First of all, I would like to express my

17 condolences for everything that happened to you and

18 your family.

19 A. Thank you.

20 Q. Mr. K, are you a religious man? Do you

21 practice your religion?

22 A. Insofar as I can get around to it, I do.

23 Q. And you are of Islamic faith?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Mr. K, at the relevant time, you said that

Page 6784

1 you were a member of the SDA. Are you still a member

2 of the SDA?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. At that time, did you have any position

5 within the party?

6 A. No, I was only a member.

7 Q. Mr. K, you said that you managed to return to

8 your village. Is it true that your return is part of

9 an organised return of the inhabitants to their

10 village, under a plan set up by Bosnia-Herzegovina?

11 A. Let me tell you, if we had waited for our

12 government to start this, we may still not be back.

13 But as citizens who were part of this association, we

14 insisted on going back. And let me tell you, I will

15 also say openly that we had -- there were no obstacles

16 on the part of the local inhabitants -- I don't know

17 what the situation is with the politicians -- but it

18 was in a self-organised way that we really came back,

19 and our government then sort of appropriated it.

20 Q. But the question -- what I wanted to point

21 out is that about 70 families returned.

22 A. I think it's about 90 now.

23 Q. Mr. K, you said that you worked in the SPS

24 and that it was from there that you knew Mario Cerkez.

25 Do you recall what Mario Cerkez's job at the SPS was?

Page 6785

1 A. I don't know whether I'll be able to tell you

2 expertly what exactly his job description was, but I

3 know that it had something to do with defence. It had

4 something to do with the military defence or security

5 for the factory. It had to do with the lists of

6 military conscripts and so on.

7 Q. So you said that he worked on lists of

8 militarily-fit persons. Does that mean that he worked

9 on administrative work?

10 A. Among other things, I believe he did.

11 Q. Mr. K, do you know that Mr. Cerkez, at the

12 time when you worked together in the SPS, associated

13 with Midhat Berbic, the son of Fuad Berbic, your close

14 friend?

15 A. Yes, they were colleagues at work.

16 Q. Do you know that he also associated with

17 Latif Barucija and Sulejman Kalco?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. As well as Sefkija Dzidic?

20 A. Yes, I do.

21 Q. Is it true that all the persons whom I have

22 just mentioned are of Muslim ethnic background?

23 A. Yes, it is.

24 Q. Witness K, let me point out --

25 A. Let me point out. This was an entirely

Page 6786

1 normal thing at the time.

2 Q. That is precisely the nature of my question.

3 Did you ever notice whether Mario Cerkez had any kind

4 of bad relations with Muslims, or an attitude towards

5 them?

6 A. He is -- he is younger than I am. They

7 associated because they were together at work. They

8 worked in similar jobs. I did not socialise with Mario

9 Cerkez very much, and so far as I did, I had respect

10 for him, and I don't think he's going to be offended if

11 I say that we are friends, and I never noticed any such

12 behaviour on his part.

13 Q. Mr. K, you mentioned the events when, in the

14 night between the 19th and 20th of October, 1992, a

15 barricade was set up near your village. Do you

16 remember that?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. I'm not quite sure whether I understood you

19 properly, but let me ask. Did you personally go down

20 to the road, to the barricade?

21 A. No, I did not.

22 Q. So you personally did not see with your own

23 eyes any of the events that took place at the

24 barricade?

25 A. No, I didn't see anything there. All I know

Page 6787

1 about that barricade was what I learned from others

2 after the event, but personally, I wasn't there.

3 Q. I see.

4 A. I know how the barricade was put up, but I

5 wasn't there.

6 Q. Mr. K, you told us that you got in touch with

7 the TO headquarters in Vitez in order that they might

8 send in reinforcements which they were not able to do;

9 is that correct?

10 A. Yes. When the attack was well under way, it

11 wasn't immediately at the beginning, as if we had

12 prepared for it, but once the attack started, we

13 appealed for assistance. However, some of the people

14 from the villages of Vrhovine, Poculica, Preocica came.

15 Q. These are villages close to yours; is that

16 true?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Mr. K, according to your knowledge and

19 recollection, is it true that in that locale, the 325th

20 Mountain Brigade of the BH army was stationed there?

21 A. No. The 325th Brigade is a brigade of the

22 Bosniak people, as those present know very well, and

23 there were two parts. One unit was in Preocica and

24 another in Kruscica, so that the Lasva Valley, as far

25 as the Bosniak people is concerned, was left without

Page 6788

1 any army of its own. There were some members of that

2 brigade but who had already joined the brigade, and

3 they were stationed at the village of Preocica.

4 Q. Mr. K, that is precisely what I was asking.

5 In the village of Preocica, at least a part of the

6 325th Mountain Brigade was stationed, and it was under

7 the command of Sedzanovic [phoen]; is that correct?

8 A. Yes, I think he was the commander.

9 Q. But you're not sure?

10 A. I was telling you, I was not a member of any

11 military bodies. I participated in civilian affairs.

12 So please don't ask me much about the military

13 organisation because I really don't know it.

14 Q. Very well. But regardless of that, Mr. K,

15 regardless of the fact that you were not at the

16 barricade, at the roadblock, but you heard about those

17 events. Did you also hear that members of the Bosniak

18 security disarmed four HVO soldiers who came along the

19 road?

20 A. I didn't hear about that, but I said in my

21 testimony that the aim was to get weapons, but those

22 weapons were seized from them. So it is possible that

23 that happened.

24 Q. Tell me, Mr. K, are you aware that on that

25 occasion, a military policeman from Kiseljak was

Page 6789

1 killed?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You said that there was shooting with

4 incendiary bullets and that some stables of local

5 villagers, Bosniaks, were set on fire. Do you know

6 that some stables owned by Croats in the area were also

7 set on fire, such as, for instance, Drago Josipovic's

8 shed?

9 A. It wasn't just stables, but some houses were

10 set on fire as well. As for Josipovic's stable, I

11 didn't pass by that house, but I think it was burnt

12 because in the immediate vicinity was Hasim Ahmic's

13 stable which they missed.

14 Q. Yes, but, nevertheless, Josipovic's stable

15 was set on fire.

16 Mr. K, is it true that from Vitez, from the

17 municipality, the president at the time, Mr. Skopljak,

18 came to establish the damage done in your village and

19 that later on, with the financial assistance of the

20 municipality, the damage was repaired?

21 A. I know that with Mr. Zeco, there were Croat

22 representatives. I wasn't present there to know

23 exactly who was present, but I know that an agreement

24 was reached to compensate the damage and that it was

25 done.

Page 6790

1 Q. So the damage was repaired, wasn't it?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Mr. K, allow me now to ask you several

4 questions in connection with the imprisonment of your

5 son. You said that he used to work in the Bratsvo

6 factory, didn't he?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. It was a military factory, wasn't it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Do you know where he was arrested or

11 captured, the exact spot?

12 A. He was arrested at a place called

13 Stojkovici.

14 Q. Is that a place within the area of Novi

15 Travnik?

16 A. Yes, in the immediate vicinity of Novi

17 Travnik.

18 Q. When, as a parent and a father, a worried

19 father, you tried to intervene in favour of your son,

20 you first addressed the commander of the TO staff,

21 Mr. Dzidic, didn't you?

22 A. Well, that was only normal.

23 Q. What was his answer? Did he say that he

24 would try to talk to someone?

25 A. Yes, more or less. He wanted to calm me

Page 6791

1 down. Of course, I was upset, and he said, "I'll

2 call," I don't know whom "further up," but nothing came

3 of it.

4 Q. So after that, you went to see Mr. Pero

5 Skopljak?

6 A. I did.

7 Q. What was his answer?

8 A. I went to the municipality building and I

9 found him. He received me cordially. We know each

10 other well, and he said, "I am a politician. That is a

11 military matter and I can be of no assistance there."

12 Q. So you first went to see Mr. Dzidic, then

13 Mr. Skopljak, and at the end, you went to see

14 Mr. Cerkez, didn't you?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Do you remember, Mr. K, what position, when

17 you went to see him, Mr. Cerkez held at the time?

18 A. I really -- if I were to say something, I'm

19 afraid I may be wrong. I know that he held a very

20 senior position. I thought that he was head of the

21 military police and that is why I went to ask for his

22 help. However, I later learned that he was in command

23 of the headquarters. But anyway, I don't know what his

24 position was. I went to see him as a friend of mine,

25 as an individual.

Page 6792

1 Q. So you went to see Cerkez because you knew

2 him from before, from Bratsvo, and because you heard

3 that he held a high-ranking position?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Is it true that Mr. Cerkez said that nothing

6 would happen to your son but that he cannot be of

7 assistance, as he was not responsible for what was

8 happening in the area of Novi Travnik, where your son

9 had been arrested?

10 A. No. He said to me that nothing would happen

11 to him, and he explained why he had been arrested.

12 That was the first time that I heard the word "uhicen"

13 a Croat word used for arrest, and that my son and the

14 other Muslims are being held to be exchanged with

15 them.

16 Q. Yes, you told us that.

17 A. Well, that was what he told me. I can't give

18 you a different answer.

19 Q. But my question is, did he also tell you that

20 in view of the fact that your son had been arrested in

21 Novi Travnik, and you came to see him in Vitez, that he

22 was not responsible for the area of Novi Travnik, and

23 that is why he couldn't help you?

24 A. I don't recollect that. I don't know.

25 Q. Mr. K, let me ask you whether you perhaps

Page 6793

1 know. Who was Mr. Cerkez's superior along the chain of

2 military command?

3 A. My immediate response would be Blaskic, but I

4 really don't know. I don't know. If I did, I would be

5 glad to give you an answer.

6 Q. Mr. K, I told you at the beginning that I

7 appreciate and feel for you for the tragedy you went

8 through, and that is why I don't wish to ask you in

9 detail about the events of April in Ahmici, but there

10 are some things that I have to ask you nevertheless.

11 Did you see the soldiers who attacked your

12 village, in the sense, did you see which unit it was?

13 A. That was precisely the problem. The shelling

14 started from a large distance, from Hrasno, Vare, Donja

15 Rovna, et cetera, with heavy artillery. Later, while

16 talking to mothers and women whose sons, fathers, and

17 husbands had been killed, we reconstructed the event

18 and we realised that it was an elaborate tactic because

19 there were one, two, or three HVO soldiers at each

20 Bosniak house, and when the call for prayer came in the

21 morning, they woke people up by calling them by first

22 names, Huso, Mujo, et cetera, and when those people

23 appeared on their front door, they were killed. If

24 they appeared with their wives, the wives were killed

25 as well.

Page 6794

1 As for the unit, I saw soldiers who were

2 running across the fields, but I was unable to identify

3 them. I didn't even dare look anyway.

4 Q. Tell me, Mr. K, the soldiers that you did

5 see, were they all dressed in the same uniforms or did

6 they have different kinds of uniforms?

7 A. Possibly, for me, they were all camouflage,

8 and anyway, there were no uniforms such as those worn

9 by the Yugoslav People's Army which one would

10 recognise.

11 Q. Mr. K, tell me, please, did you personally

12 see or hear from someone that Mr. Cerkez was ever in

13 Ahmici?

14 A. In the course of that event? No, I did not.

15 Q. Thank you, Mr. K. The Defence has no further

16 questions, Your Honour.

17 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:

18 Q. Witness K, according to the 1991 census, the

19 total population of Ahmici was 466, with 356 Muslims

20 and 87 Croats. As far as you're aware, is that an

21 accurate figure?

22 A. I didn't quite understand the date.

23 Q. 1991, Witness K?

24 A. 1991, yes, that is more or less correct.

25 Q. Now, I understand that you worked in the

Page 6795

1 Slobodan Princep Seljo factory right up until April the

2 16th, 1993; is that correct, sir?

3 A. Yes. Not right up until the 16th, until the

4 13th. When my son was arrested, I abandoned my post

5 and didn't go back. I couldn't go back.

6 Q. Thank you, sir. Do you remember giving a

7 statement to the Centre for Investigating War Crimes

8 and crimes of genocide against Muslims on May the 4th,

9 1993?

10 A. Let me see. When we reached Zenica, we were

11 approached by all kinds of people from the CSB, the

12 security, journalists, and all kinds of others, and we

13 were telling people everywhere what had happened.

14 Whether I made a statement or not, possibly I did.

15 Q. All right. Do you remember giving a

16 statement to an investigating judge, Dijana Ajanovic on

17 December the 15th, 1993 as well?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. It would be fair to say, Witness K, that

20 you've given two statements to the investigators of the

21 Prosecution of this Tribunal, one in February of 1995

22 and one in August of 1996; is that correct?

23 A. Correct. You have the evidence there.

24 Q. You've also given testimony in the Kupreskic

25 case, I think we've already established. Do you

Page 6796

1 remember that that was in September of last year, sir?

2 A. Yes. Yes.

3 Q. You mentioned that you sought refuge along

4 with about 150 or 200 residents of Ahmici in the cellar

5 of Mr. Kermo.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. That was pursuant to a civil -- a civilian

8 defence plan drawn up by Mr. Fuad Zeco, the commander

9 of the municipal headquarters for civil defence, wasn't

10 it?

11 A. No. No. No.

12 Q. Mr. Zeco was the --

13 A. Mr. Zeco was that, but it was us ourselves,

14 the local people, who determined this ourselves.

15 Q. All right. Now, isn't it true that the

16 October the 19th, 1992 blockade that you spoke about,

17 was actually set up at the Catholic cemetery on the

18 main road to the east of Ahmici?

19 A. Maybe I didn't get the right interpretation.

20 Not at the cemetery, before the cemetery, looking from

21 the direction of Busovaca.

22 Q. All right. Isn't it true that the 3rd Corps

23 commander in Zenica ordered the blockade to be erected

24 to prevent HVO units from going towards Travnik?

25 A. No, that is not correct. The 3rd Corps --

Page 6797

1 or, rather, the commander of the 3rd Corps did not give

2 those orders, but from the local command in Vitez,

3 talking to Fuad, he was told this. Zenica had nothing

4 to do with it.

5 Q. Let me just read you a statement from page 1

6 of your May the 4th, 1993 statement, sir. It says:

7 "First of all, I wish to mention that even before the

8 conflict, we had another one, and the reason for it was

9 the roadblock (ours) set up at the request of the 3rd

10 Corps, which was designed to prevent the HVO units from

11 going towards Travnik."

12 You did give that statement to the Centre for

13 Investigating War Crimes five years ago, six years ago,

14 did you not?

15 A. I did make a statement, but I think that I

16 didn't say what you have just said, that I never

17 mentioned the 3rd Corps. Because in those days, the

18 3rd Corps didn't even really exist; it was formed

19 later. So I think that that is not right.

20 MR. SAYERS: If I may, Your Honour, I would

21 just like to have the usher put this on the ELMO. It

22 is a copy of Mr. K's statement of that date.

23 JUDGE MAY: Put it on the ELMO, please.

24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

25 Mr. President, the name of the witness appears on

Page 6798

1 this.

2 MR. SAYERS: Then we ought to put this in --

3 JUDGE MAY: Take it off. If it's given to

4 the witness, he can answer any questions about it.

5 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Mr. President.

6 Q. Just under the word "Statement," Witness K,

7 is it not true that it says precisely what I just

8 said? Witness K, I understand that you've been through

9 terrible things, and I don't want to make a meal of

10 this, but it does say that in your statement, doesn't

11 it?

12 A. Yes. Yes. These statements were given in an

13 atmosphere of confusion. It was months, maybe a

14 month -- less than a month after all that evil that

15 happened. I may have identified the corps with

16 something else, but I still claim that this was not

17 right. Even if I said so, it was not right. Because

18 this was a confusing situation. There was sorrow and

19 grief, and we still could hear the shooting in our

20 heads, but let me say again that this is not right,

21 what I said there, even if I am sent to prison for it.

22 JUDGE MAY: You won't be.


24 Q. Now, Witness K, you made the same statement

25 about six months later to investigating judge, Dijana

Page 6799

1 Ajanovic, and with the Trial Chamber's permission, I

2 would like to show, I would like the witness to be

3 shown the statement from the investigators?

4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, I wonder, is it the

5 same point again?

6 MR. SAYERS: It's pretty much the same point,

7 yes, Your Honour.

8 JUDGE MAY: I wonder whether there's much

9 point.

10 MR. SAYERS: I think the Trial Chamber has

11 the point. I'll move on.

12 Q. Witness K, isn't it a fact that the army of

13 the BiH actually had an organised unit in the village

14 of Ahmici in October of 1992?

15 A. I said that it did not have, and I claim with

16 full responsibility that we did not have a unit. We

17 had ourselves organised ourselves as villagers. We

18 were civilians. We ourselves organised some kind of

19 guard duty in the evenings, but this was not an

20 organised unit that could engage in combat with another

21 unit. Of course, we didn't just sit and watch. We

22 tried to find a way out, to defend ourselves, but there

23 was no organised unit in the sense of a military unit.

24 Q. All right. Let me just, if I may, read your

25 statement to the investigating judge on December the

Page 6800

1 15th, 1993.

2 MR. SAYERS: With the Trial Chamber's

3 permission, I would like to show the witness, or he can

4 consult the original in Croatian. Thank you.

5 Q. You told the investigating judge: "I would

6 like to begin my testimony starting with October 1992.

7 At that time, there was an organised unit of the army

8 of BiH in our village."

9 That's what you told the investigating judge

10 six years ago, is it not, sir, on page 2?

11 A. I can't see it.

12 Q. It's on page 2, sir, lines 3 through 5 of the

13 Croatian.

14 A. We were still called the Territorial

15 Defence. We received orders from the higher command.

16 Here I mentioned the higher command from Vitez. I

17 don't have it.

18 Q. All right. If you just turn to page 2, sir,

19 would you just read the first few --

20 A. Here is page 2.

21 Q. Go three lines down, and could you just read

22 that into the record, sir, so that the Trial Chamber

23 can get an accurate translation of what you told the

24 investigating judge six years ago? Please read it

25 slowly.

Page 6801

1 A. You mean the part "We were called the TO,"

2 from the beginning? From the beginning?

3 Q. From the beginning of the passage, yes, sir.

4 A. But let me underline that that was a

5 statement I made then. "I should like to begin my

6 testimony with October 1992. In those days, there was

7 an organised unit in our village of the BH army, but we

8 were called the Territorial Defence."

9 You see, that is a different pair of gloves

10 altogether. The Territorial Defence is a military

11 formation in which both Muslims and Croats

12 participated, and it is true that such units existed.

13 But this was a unit of a civilian nature, a local

14 nature, and representatives of all ethnic groups

15 participated, all ethnic groups living in the area in

16 1992. This was before the war. And this was a legal

17 obligation. Even women participated, as well as

18 able-bodied men up to the age of 50 or 55; I'm not

19 quite sure. It was a legal obligation to have such

20 units, and that's what the reference is.

21 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, could you just read on,

22 the next few lines, please? I think that will help

23 elucidate what you told the investigating judge six

24 years ago.

25 A. Yes. "We were assigned the task to set up a

Page 6802

1 barricade so that HVO units from Kiseljak and Busovaca

2 would be prevented from going to Novi Travnik." Wait a

3 minute. I have to read it all. Here it really does

4 say that a barricade was put up, and it was. The way

5 it was put up is not described here because this is a

6 brief statement. We covered that quickly. I'm not

7 denying that there was no barricade, but what I say is

8 that it was put up by two frustrated policemen, and it

9 did exist. It was there.

10 Q. It's also true, isn't it, and I think you've

11 told the Trial Chamber this, that reinforcements from

12 the local TO headquarters at Preocica and two other

13 towns, Poculica and Vrhovine, arrived to reinforce the

14 organised unit that was present in the village when

15 that barricade was erected; correct, sir?

16 A. No. It is correct that they did arrive, but

17 there was no organised unit. They came to us, to help

18 us, the common people. All young men who were fit for

19 military service, all our young men went to the

20 brigade, which was deployed in a completely different

21 location, and only the elderly men stayed behind, of my

22 generation, and those who were not fit for military

23 service. And being aware of that situation, they sent

24 to us these men.

25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, it's just after

Page 6803

1 4.00. How much longer do you anticipate being with

2 this witness?

3 MR. SAYERS: I would think perhaps 30

4 minutes, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Tomorrow morning

6 then.

7 Mr. Lopez-Terres, it may be as well to call

8 the witness tomorrow morning who may take a bit of time

9 and who has to get away, rather than trying to

10 interpose any other witnesses, in order that we make

11 sure that we do finish that witness this week. Perhaps

12 you would like to have that in mind.

13 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] All the

14 proper measures will be taken so that it can be done,

15 Your Honour.

16 JUDGE MAY: Witness K, could you be back,

17 please, tomorrow morning at half past nine so that we

18 can complete your evidence then?

19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

20 4.05 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,

21 the 16th day of September, 1999, at

22 9:30 a.m.