2 Thursday, 27th August 1998
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
4 (In open session)
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, ladies and
6 gentlemen. Good morning to the technicians. Good
7 morning to the interpreters. We should resume our
8 hearings. Mr. Dubuisson, would you please call the
10 THE REGISTRAR: Case, IT-95-14/1-T, the
11 Prosecutor versus Zlatko Aleksovski.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Today, as yesterday, may we
13 have the appearances, please, for the Prosecution.
14 Mr. Niemann.
15 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, please. My name
16 is Niemann and I appear with my colleagues,
17 Mr. Meddegoda and Ms. Sutherland for the Prosecution.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much,
19 Mr. Niemann. And for the Defence, please,
20 Mr. Mikulicic.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
22 My name is Mikulicic and I appear with my colleague,
23 Mr. Joka for the Defence.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Very well, then. All your
25 names are down on the transcript, we may now proceed.
1 Mr. Mikulicic, you have the floor.
2 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honours, the
3 Defence calls witness, Anto Pesa.
4 (The witness entered court)
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, Mr. Pesa. Do
6 you hear me?
7 THE WITNESS: Yes.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You will now take the
9 oath. The usher is holding the text out for you.
10 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
11 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much.
14 Please take your seat. Do you feel comfortable,
15 Mr. Pesa?
16 THE WITNESS: Yes.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Very well then. To begin
18 with, you will please answer the questions put to you
19 by Mr. Mikulicic, the gentleman on your left. Mr.
20 Mikulicic, you have the floor.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
22 WITNESS: ANTO PESA.
23 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
24 Q. Good morning, Mr. Pesa. In this hearing I
25 represent the interests of the Defence. In that sense
1 I am going to ask you several questions, which I should
2 like to ask you to answer to the best of your ability.
3 Tell us, please, Mr. Pesa, when and where you
4 were born?
5 A. I was born on the 27th of May, 1948, in the
6 Village of Orasac of the Municipality of Travnik.
7 Q. What nationality are you?
8 A. I am a Croat.
9 Q. Are you a religious person?
10 A. Yes, I am.
11 Q. Of which faith?
12 A. The Roman Catholic.
13 Q. Tell us, Mr. Pesa, did you go to school?
14 A. Eight years of school.
15 Q. So you completed primary school where?
16 A. In Han Bila, four classes and then up by
18 Q. You mentioned, Mr. Pesa, that you were born
19 in the Village of Orasac. How far is that village away
20 from Travnik?
21 A. About 20 kilometres.
22 Q. And you lived there since your birth?
23 A. No, I was born there and lived there.
24 Q. Did you live in your own house or in an
25 apartment building with other neighbours?
1 A. No, I had my own house.
2 Q. Have you got a family?
3 A. Yes, I have.
4 Q. Tell us, please, whether you have any
6 A. Yes, I have.
7 Q. How many children have you got?
8 A. I have six children.
9 Q. Can you tell us how old they are and what
11 A. Three sons and three daughters.
12 Q. You all lived in your house in Orasac at the
13 beginning of 1993 or not?
14 A. Yes, I have been living there all the time.
15 Q. Together with your family; that's right,
16 isn't it?
17 A. Yes, and with my mother.
18 Q. With your mother, yes. And with your wife, I
20 A. Yes, my wife, my mother and my children.
21 Q. Were you employed or were you a farmer?
22 A. No, I was employed.
23 Q. Where did you work?
24 A. In Nova Bila, in Sebesce.
25 Q. What was the work you did?
1 A. For a time I was a worker, unskilled worker.
2 And then I passed some exams and became a skilled
3 worker and worked with machines.
4 Q. So along with the work you did, you qualified
5 for a better job?
6 A. Yes, I was given a better machine to work
7 with and a higher wage.
8 Q. Is it true, Mr. Pesa, that in the first half
9 of 1993, together with your family, you had to leave
10 your house, the house you had lived in up until then?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. Why did you have to leave your home?
13 A. We had to leave because there was an attack
14 in the first half of 1993 by the BH Army.
15 Q. You say that the BH Army attacked, did it
16 attack your village or your house?
17 A. It attacked the whole population of the Croat
19 Q. Does that mean that you were forced to flee
20 and to leave that area as a refugee?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Together with your family?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Where did you go?
25 A. We went to Nova Bila, across the hill with my
1 children, with my wife, and with my mother who was born
2 in 1920. My mother at that time was in very poor
3 health and I had to take care of her because she was
4 old. I came to Nova Bila and I then thought about what
5 I was going to do. I found some kind of transport. I
6 can't remember exactly. It was a tractor. And I went
7 to Busovaca. And I went to contact the Red Cross
9 However, on that occasion, the Red Cross
10 lodged me in a private house, and when I came there,
11 the house was empty. I live there today. It was a
12 very run down house. It was dirty, but that was what
13 the times were like. We had to have a roof over our
14 heads and that is where I live to this day.
15 Q. So you live in Busovaca today, you've been
16 living there since mid-1993; is that correct, is your
17 family there with you as well?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Mr. Pesa, at that time in the area of
20 Busovaca, there were conflicts between the Muslim and
21 Croatian population. Do you recall those events?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Pesa, you mentioned in
24 your introduction that you have three sons. How old
25 are your sons? How old were your sons at that time?
1 A. One was 1968, born in 1968, one was born in
2 1970 and the third in 1972.
3 Q. So, if my calculations are correct, all three
4 sons were of an age when they were, in fact,
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. What did your sons do when they came to
8 Busovaca with you? Did they go to contact the HVO or
9 did they stay at home?
10 A. I and my sons were members of the HVO. While
11 I lived in Orasac and when I came to Busovaca we were
12 also members of the HVO and they went to the defence
13 department there to give their names, and they would
14 distribute them and assign them to various areas.
15 Q. Where were they assigned to, armed formations
16 or somewhere else?
17 A. No, armed formations.
18 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Pesa, whether you went
19 to the defence department as well?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Why?
22 A. I am a conscript until the age of 65 and I,
23 therefore, considered, I wondered what I could do to
24 help and that is why I went to the department. When my
25 sons went, I went with them to give my name and say
1 that I was able and willing to help. And then the
2 gentleman there would decide what I was able to do. I
3 got my war assignment. I was in the civilian
4 protection department for work operations.
5 Q. So, as a conscript, you were not sent to the
6 armed forces, but were sent to a work unit in Busovaca;
7 is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Pesa, what was your duty
10 as a member of the work unit?
11 A. Well, for example, when a courier would bring
12 in a request for me to contact people and to go to dig
13 dugouts, trenches, fox holes and so on and that is what
14 I did.
15 Q. So if I understood you correctly, a courier
16 would be sent to your home and he would then tell you
17 to go and contact your superiors for you to carry out
18 your duties. Where did you go then?
19 A. Well, I would go trench digging in Busovaca.
20 I was a refugee in Busovaca.
21 Q. Perhaps you did not understand me. Where did
22 you go? Where was the meeting point that you were to
23 go to?
24 A. It was by the secondary school in Busovaca.
25 I was told to go to Busovaca.
1 Q. That was the meeting point for other
2 individuals who had been called up and who were members
3 of that work unit; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. How many people, approximately, worked in
6 your work unit?
7 A. Every time that we would gather, there were
8 about 15 to 20 of us at the collection point.
9 Q. Tell us, Mr. Pesa, when you would meet in
10 front of the school in Busovaca, then I suppose you
11 would go on location; is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How did you go to the location you were
14 assigned to and were you accompanied by anybody?
15 A. We were accompanied by the military police
16 and we were taken by a truck, a tractor, or transport
17 of that kind, as far as it was able to go. Then when
18 tractors and cars were no longer able to pass, then we
19 would carry on on foot and take up our work duties.
20 Q. So you would gather in Busovaca, the military
21 police would then escort you to the locality in which
22 you were to perform your work and who would you contact
24 A. Well, it was the commander of the line,
25 frontline. That's the particular sector that I was
1 sent to. We would report to the commander.
2 Q. What would happen then? Who would say
3 exactly what spot you were to work on and what you were
4 to do?
5 A. Well, the commander would send us there to
6 dig trenches, dugouts, communicating trenches, fox
7 holes and so on.
8 Q. I understand. And then you went out to do
9 your work, is that so?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What tools did you use?
12 A. Picks and axes and shovels.
13 Q. Did you take the tools with you from your
14 home or were you handed these tools to work with?
15 A. No, they were given out to us by the work
17 Q. Mr. Pesa, tell us, please, what kind of work
18 you did most often?
19 A. Well, I dug. I dug trenches mostly. And the
20 dugouts and the fox holes and that was our work duty,
22 Q. These communicating trenches and dugouts and
23 fox holes, were they for the purposes of the armed
25 A. Yes, they were.
1 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Pesa, how many times you,
2 yourself, in the course of 1993, were taken to do
3 digging, to dig trenches, how many times were you taken
4 out to do this kind of work?
5 A. It depended on requirements, but if I were to
6 add them up, I would say twice a week, sometimes every
7 night. Sometimes we would have a break. Depending on
8 the needs. I can't tell you exactly how many times
9 throughout that time, but I did go frequently. I can't
10 remember the exact number.
11 Q. Yes, and a lot of time has gone by as well.
12 Mr. Pesa, you said that in one shift of the work unit,
13 there would be about 15 to 20 individuals depending on
14 the occasion, do you remember the ethnic composition of
15 the people who worked with you in these work units?
16 The people digging the trenches?
17 A. Well as far as I know they were mostly
19 Q. Were these other people also from Busovaca or
20 were they from the environs? Where did they come
22 A. Well, I was a refugee, so I don't know where
23 the other people were from, whether they were refugees
24 like me whom I knew from the neighbouring
25 municipalities and villages. But I suppose there were
1 some locals as well. I didn't know the locals because
2 I was a refugee myself.
3 Q. Do you remember the locations that you did
4 this digging? Can you enumerate them for us, please?
5 A. Yes. In Prosje, in Kula, in Krcrvine,
6 Loncari, Komarevo and Polom.
7 Q. You gave us these names a little too
8 quickly. Could you repeat the names of the places once
9 again. I am not sure that everything was entered into
10 the transcript. Could you repeat the localities,
11 please, a little more slowly?
12 A. I dug trenches, dugouts and so on in Kula, in
13 Prosje, in Komarevo, Loncari and I forget one more
15 Q. You said Polom.
16 A. And perhaps some other localities as well.
17 It was a long time ago.
18 Q. When I asked you what nationality the people
19 who dug trenches with you, you said that they were
20 predominantly Croats. How did you come to conclude
21 that they were Croats? How do you know they were
23 A. Well, when we came there, I thought they were
24 all Croats. I didn't know them all, of course. I said
25 that I thought they were Croats. Perhaps there were
1 some Muslims. Perhaps there were some Serbs. But I
2 didn't know the people personally, but I considered
3 that they were Croats.
4 Q. So it was your supposition that they were
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You mentioned the localities where you did
8 the digging. Can you tell us, I know that you're not
9 from the region, you're a refugee, but perhaps in the
10 meantime you got to know the area better, could you
11 tell us in comparison to Busovaca, where are these
12 localities? Are they near Busovaca? Are they further
13 away from Busovaca?
14 A. They are all near Busovaca. These localities
15 are not in town. They are the environs of Busovaca.
16 For example, given that Prosje is up above, slightly up
17 above Busovaca.
18 Q. Well, very well, these are all places around
19 Busovaca. Tell us, please, Mr. Pesa, do you know why
20 you were sent to dig trenches? What were those
21 trenches used for, do you know?
22 A. Well, they were dug for purposes of
23 self-defence because Busovaca was attacked by the BH
24 Army. So it was for purposes of self-protection, to
25 protect the people. To protect the soldiers. So it
1 was war, and it was for self-protection.
2 Q. Very well. Tell us, please, while you were
3 working in these localities, were they along the
4 frontlines or were they a little further away?
5 A. No, they were along the frontline.
6 Q. Does that mean that near these localities,
7 the BH Army was located?
8 A. Well, up in Prosje, for example, I remember
9 this, along the frontline, everybody was along the
10 frontlines. And I personally saw that the BH Army was
11 not more than 100 metres away from us. And when we dug
12 these trenches during the night and when the picks and
13 shovels hit the ground in the process of digging, it's
14 night, it's very silent, and I think that this BH Army
15 could hear us digging and they would then open fire on
16 us. So our commanders would say, you have to dig
17 quietly so they can't hear the digging and don't attack
19 Q. Mr. Pesa, you said that you were told to work
20 silently, who would tell you to do this?
21 A. Well, the military police would tell us, our
22 escort, the military police would tell us to dig
24 Q. Does that mean that while you were in those
25 localities, the military police was there to ensure
1 your safety; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. Tell us, Mr. Pesa, if there was any more gun
4 fire from the side of the BH Army, which was very close
5 to where you were digging as you said, if there was any
6 greater firing, what would the military police do?
7 Would it protect you in some way? Would it escort you
8 away from this locality?
9 A. Well, we were informed that if there was more
10 shelling that we would be withdrawn to the rear because
11 we were civilians, we did not have any arms. All we
12 had were our tools to dig the trenches. And we were
13 told that if there was any gun fire, we would be
14 withdrawn to the rear because we had nothing to counter
15 these attacks. All we had were tools.
16 Q. And did that ever happen that you were
17 withdrawn to the rear?
18 A. Well, when we did some digging near Pula, I
19 can't remember the date, it was 3.15 at night. This
20 was very, there was a lot of fighting and there were 17
21 of us at that time, and it was all we could do to
22 withdraw quick enough because it was a strong attack.
23 But we, we would retreat, some others
24 remained up in the locality to protect us. They were
25 the military police and they remained up at the front
1 line. But we were civilians, and that is why we
2 retreated. That is one of the incidents that I
3 personally had occasion to see.
4 Q. Tell us, Mr. Pesa, you mentioned on several
5 occasions that you went out digging at night. Did you
6 always dig during the night or did you do your digging
7 in the day as well?
8 A. No, only at night.
9 Q. For how long did one shift of this digging go
11 A. We would start working when night would fall,
12 and we would go on working until daybreak, until dawn.
13 And as soon as the day would start we would withdraw.
14 Q. Tell me, up there where you worked, where you
15 were digging, did you get food?
16 A. Yes, we did.
17 Q. Who brought your food?
18 A. Food was brought in to us by the army. I
19 mean, those people who were in charge of the military
20 police. We got food together with them, food and
22 Q. Tell me, did you get some special food or did
23 you eat the same food that the soldiers ate?
24 A. The same food, nothing special.
25 Q. Was there enough food?
1 A. Well, to tell you the truth, no. There
2 simply wasn't enough food, you see, we ate food like
3 everyone else, but we were surrounded. It is not that
4 we could receive supplies from somewhere.
5 For example, there was canned fish or, I
6 don't know, they would cook beans, or something would
7 be brought in, invariably; but it wasn't that it was
8 high quality food, but it kept us going.
9 Q. I understand. But the way it was in your
10 case, that is the way it was for everyone; right?
11 A. Right.
12 Q. You mentioned that there was not enough food
13 because you were surrounded. What did you mean by
14 that? When you were digging were you surrounded, or
15 was Busovaca surrounded?
16 A. I think that we were surrounded, I mean all
17 of us in central Bosnia were surrounded, all of us.
18 So, we did not have communication lines open so we
19 could get things, buy things, so we could get better
20 food. So, I'm talking about central Bosnia in the
21 Lasva Valley, all of it.
22 Q. I understand. Tell us, Mr. Pesa, did you
23 personally have some kind of an accident while you were
24 working there? Did something happen to you?
25 A. Yes, I was wounded while we were carrying out
1 this work.
2 Q. Can you describe how this happened?
3 A. During the first half of 1993 I went out to
4 work near Krcevine at a place called Milavci and I was
5 digging trenches up there. I was working and I stepped
6 on a mine, it's a special kind of mine, and it blew my
7 leg off, and I still wear a prosthesis.
8 Q. So, as you were working up there you were
9 wounded by a mine; right?
10 A. Right.
11 Q. And on that occasion you were wounded and you
12 were taken to a hospital; right? Where were you taken?
13 A. I was taken to the outpatient clinic in
14 Busovaca. I mean, there wasn't even medicine or
15 anything, just so the bleeding would stop. I was taken
16 to Nova Bila hospital, but we had to take a round
17 road. So I was put there, I don't know whether you're
18 going to understand this, I mean, we were actually put
19 on church pews, we actually laid on pews. We would put
20 pews together like those from a church, and that is
21 where we would sleep.
22 I lay there on this wooden bench, like a pew
23 in a church, and there was nothing, there weren't any
24 injections or pills or any medicine, nothing.
25 So, I spent there as long as I was there. I
1 mean, a month or whatever, then I was taken to Croatia,
2 to Split. And then they really amputated, they cut off
3 my leg, or whatever, and that is how it all ended.
4 Q. So now you're a disabled person; right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What percentage?
7 A. Seventy per cent.
8 Q. Tell us, Mr. Pesa, you were born in the
9 village of Orasac and that is where your house and
10 property were, and you had to escape from there when
11 the BH army attacked. After you fled from this area,
12 did you have an opportunity to go and see your house?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What was it like?
15 A. Well, you know, UNPROFOR was up there in
16 Busovaca and they gave us newspapers to read, and I
17 talked to a translator there and I heard about this
18 freedom of movement. And I said, "Well, if there is
19 freedom of movement, does that include me, too? Can I
20 go and see my native village and my house?"
21 However, a few times I would repeat that, you
22 know, when they were distributing these newspapers down
23 by the marketplace and all that, and I saw that nobody
25 The UNPROFOR man who was on an APC, he called
1 my name out and I went with him to Tisa Busovaca, and
2 then I saw another translator there, a person called
3 Zoran from Bugojno and explained what I was looking for
4 and what I was interested in, in this freedom of
5 movement, could I see my house.
6 And he said no problem. We went there, I
7 can't tell you what date, I went there under their
8 protection, but that was this freedom of movement, on
9 APCs, you know.
10 I got into the village, and when I got into
11 the village there was some foreign army out there. I
12 mean, we called them the Mujahedin.
13 Q. When you say a foreign army, the Mujahedin,
14 who are these persons, are they citizens of the
15 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina or someone else?
16 A. No, they are not citizens of the Republic of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, they are Arabs. I don't know why
18 we call them the Mujahedin.
19 Q. They were in your village?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. What about your house and your land?
22 A. Well, on my land they built some kind of
23 religious building. I don't know, about 35 metres wide
24 and 25 metres long, and there was water there for their
25 hygiene. And then on the second floor they carried out
1 religious rights, and I don't know, they had offices up
2 there or something, I don't know. And this building is
3 in this village of mine to the present day.
4 Q. You're not allowed to stay in your home?
5 A. No, no, not only in my case, but everything
6 in the village was destroyed and burned down.
7 Q. I understand. So, if I'm not mistaken, until
8 the present day you are a refugee in Busovaca?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Just one more question, Mr. Pesa. You said
11 that when you were supposed to go out and work, a
12 messenger would come and tell you that you were
13 supposed to go out there; is that correct?
14 A. That's right.
15 Q. Tell me, did the military police ever come to
16 pick you up rather than a messenger?
17 A. Well, yeah, yeah. I mean, it's not that I
18 was forced to go up there, you know. If I wasn't at
19 home, yes, the military police would tell my wife and
20 they would tell me I was supposed to go there. But
21 most of the time it was a messenger who would come
22 rather than the military police.
23 Q. Mr. Pesa, do you perhaps know whether there
24 were some neighbours of yours, or someone else, who did
25 not want to respond to this kind of call up for work
2 A. Well, sir, to tell you the truth, I was only
3 interested in myself and my own family and I took care
4 of them, and I'm not aware of anything of that sort.
5 Q. Tell me, Mr. Pesa, in these moments when you
6 worked on the ground, did you ever see some Muslims
7 working next to you or near you, Muslims who were
8 interned in the Kaonik facility?
9 A. I don't know about that.
10 Q. Were you personally ever in Kaonik?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did you perhaps get to know the warden of
14 A. No.
15 Q. Do you know a person called Zlatko
17 A. No.
18 Q. Thank you Mr. Pesa the Defence has no further
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
21 Mr. Meddegoda, I believe you are the one to put the
22 questions to the Prosecution.
23 MR. MEDDEGODA: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Meddegoda:
25 Q. Good morning, Mr. Pesa. I will be putting a
1 few questions to you on behalf of the Prosecution, and
2 I would appreciate if you could answer them to the best
3 of your knowledge and the best of your recollection.
4 Mr. Pesa, in answer to my learned colleague,
5 you said you were forced to leave your village of
6 Orasac in the first half of 1993, in mid-1993; is that
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. Do you remember about which month of 1993
10 that you left the village of Orasac?
11 A. No, no, I know it was the first half, but I
12 don't know which month.
13 Q. Was it January of 1993 that you had to leave
14 or was it later?
15 A. To tell you the truth, I don't remember. I
16 know it was the first half, but I don't know the date,
17 I've had so many problems how could I know what month
18 it was.
19 Q. And you, together with the family, moved on
20 to Busovaca?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Where did you report to? You said you
23 reported, you and your sons, reported to the defence
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Where did you report? To which defence
2 department did you report?
3 A. The department of defence in Busovaca.
4 Q. Did you report to any particular person in
5 the department? Do you remember to whom you reported,
6 the officer who was in charge, to whom you reported?
7 I'm not interested in the name of the officer, but the
8 position of the officer to whom you reported to the
9 department of defence in Busovaca.
10 A. All of us, all the refugees who came there to
11 the department of defence in Busovaca, I mean I don't
12 know all these people, and this was only my second day
13 in Busovaca, so I did not know all these people.
14 So, everyone reported in, and I reported in,
15 too, and we were all given our assignments, and that's
17 Q. And after you reported, how long after you
18 reported were you on your assignment?
19 A. I'm sorry, I didn't understand. What do you
20 mean by when I reported to the department?
21 Q. I'll make myself clear, I'll make my
22 questions clear. You said you reported to the
23 department of defence in Busovaca and after that you
24 were given your assignment. Am I right?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. How long after you reported were you given
2 your assignment? How many days after you reported were
3 you given your assignment?
4 A. Well, I reported that day and I cannot
5 remember when I was given an assignment, the next day
6 or the day after that. The most important thing is
7 that I was given an assignment when I was needed by
8 these people.
9 Q. And were these assignments, this first
10 assignment, was this first assignment given a day or
11 two after you first reported, or could it have been
12 given a week or a month after you reported to the
13 department of defence?
14 A. No, it wasn't a month after that. It was
15 soon after that, because we were needed shortly. I
16 can't remember after how many days, I know it wasn't a
17 month, but I cannot remember how many days later it
18 was. One day, two days, three days, perhaps five days
19 at the most. That is when I had to go out and work.
20 Q. And you were given the assignment; who gave
21 you the assignment, and how were you notified of this
23 A. Well, when I reported to the defence
24 department, they said you will be informed by the
25 military police or by a messenger when you are needed.
1 And that's the way it was.
2 And I don't know exactly who this was,
3 because I don't know all of these people exactly and
4 who was, you know, in charge. I was a person who
5 carried out certain work, and I do not remember exactly
6 what date it was. It was simply that I carried out my
7 duties according to this assignment.
8 Q. Yes, Mr. Pesa, I appreciate the fact that you
9 did carry out your duties as a law abiding citizen. I
10 do appreciate that. But my question to you is: Do you
11 know, where were you when you were notified that you
12 were to perform work duty? Were you at home or were
13 you elsewhere?
14 A. Sometimes I would be at home and sometimes I
15 would be absent, because I'm a heavy smoker. I smoke a
16 lot, so I didn't have any cigarettes so I would go to
17 see a neighbour, someone else, to ask for a cigarette
18 or two.
19 Then when I would come home my wife would
20 transmit all this information to me. She would tell me
21 whether a messenger or the military police came looking
22 for me.
23 Q. So, there were occasions when you were at
24 home when you were notified by a messenger or the
25 military police.
1 A. Yes, sometimes.
2 Q. And on those occasions, on those times when
3 you were at home, what form did this notification take?
4 What was the form of the notification?
5 A. "You, Mr. Anto Pesa, have been assigned to
6 such and such a work duty." It was quite obvious where
7 the secondary school was, where the collection centre
8 was, and where we were supposed to report, so that is
9 the kind of information I received.
10 Q. So that person who came to your house would
11 tell you that you, would ask you to identify yourself
12 and then would say to you that you have to report at
13 the secondary school at a specified time?
14 A. Well, yes.
15 Q. And he would say this to you orally.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And then you would accordingly go down and
18 report to, near the secondary school in Busovaca, as
19 you said.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And you also said that, in answer to my
22 learned friend, you said there were times about 15 to
23 20 people would report at the secondary school?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And what would happen when you reported at
1 the secondary school you were asked to report to?
2 A. What do you mean what would happen? We would
3 go there.
4 Q. And at that point would anybody talk to you
5 or would you just -- what were you told to do at this
6 collection point?
7 A. Well, we would meet there, 15, 20, 25 people,
8 I cannot tell you exactly how many, and then the people
9 who would come would say, "Well, go out for your work
11 And then we knew what our military duties
12 were, we were supposed to go up there, and then there's
13 a commander of the front line who would say, "you're
14 supposed to dig here and there," et cetera.
15 Q. And you said you would be accompanied, you
16 were escorted to this place by either truck or tractor,
17 and you would be escorted by the military police; am I
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Who was the commander of your work unit,
21 Mr. Pesa?
22 A. I don't know exactly. Because I'm a refugee
23 and I was not interested in who the commander was. I
24 know what my military duty is, I wasn't interested in
1 Where all my people went, that is where I
2 went. You know, in the domain of what I was supposed
3 to do. I wasn't interested at all in who the commander
4 was. I was interested in doing my share of the work
5 and whether we would come back alive and whether we
6 would get wounded or not.
7 Q. So you had no occasion to speak to the
8 commander of a work unit?
9 A. Well, let me tell you that at that point I
10 was a refugee in Busovaca. I left my good land back
11 there, I left my home and hearth there. I left my home
12 and I came to unknown surroundings, and I was not
13 interested in who was who, and who did what.
14 I was interested in whether my children would
15 remain alive, whether I would remain alive and whether
16 I would manage to feed them. And I was not interested
17 at all in who the commander was and who did what.
18 I know that I was a military age man up to
19 the age of 65, and I wanted to do my share of this
20 work, and I didn't want anyone to have any problems
21 with me, and I wasn't interested in anything else.
22 Q. I appreciate all that, but my question is
23 whether you had an occasion to speak to the commander
24 of your work unit, whether you had the opportunity to
25 speak to the commander of your work unit.
1 A. No.
2 Q. And at this collection --
3 MR. MEDDEGODA: I withdraw that question,
4 Your Honour.
5 Q. You said you were taken to dig trenches in
6 various locations, at any one of these locations were
7 you beaten or maltreated or inhumanely treated while
8 digging trenches?
9 A. No, no, I was never beaten, I was never
10 mistreated, nor was I ever inhumanely treated. Not
11 only I, but no one else was treated this way. We ate
12 what there was to eat, we would smoke as many
13 cigarettes as we had, we had breaks in our work, things
14 were normal.
15 Q. So, you were treated quite well, and very
17 A. Yes, yes, towards me and towards everyone
18 else. I mean, in this place where I was.
19 Q. And when you concluded your work duty
20 assignment, you were brought back home, returned home
21 in the same way, either by tractor or by truck.
22 A. We would get down, I mean, we would walk
23 through the forest to the place where the first
24 vehicles would come, and then we would take these
25 trucks and go home to get some rest, whatever.
1 Q. And more or less this was the procedure on
2 all occasions that you were taken out on assignment.
3 A. Well, yes. We would be taken by truck for as
4 far as the truck could go, and we would go back the
5 same way. That's the way it was.
6 Q. And on none of those occasions did you have
7 the opportunity or the occasion to speak to the
8 commander of your work unit?
9 A. Sir, I repeat the same word three times, I
10 was not interested in who was what. I was interested
11 in my own problems. I wanted to get my work done, and
12 I was wondering what I would have for lunch that day
13 and whether I would have any lunch. I did not know
15 MR. MEDDEGODA: I have no further questions,
16 Your Honour.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you Mr. Meddegoda.
18 Mr. Mikulicic, any further questions for the witness?
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, the Defence has
20 no further questions.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Pesa, the Trial Chamber
22 has no questions for you. Thank you very much for
23 coming to testify before this International Tribunal.
24 We wish you a safe journey home. Thank you very much,
25 Mr. Pesa.
1 (The witness withdrew)
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, will it be
3 possible to hear all the remaining witnesses today?
4 Are the other witnesses here today? It seems that it
5 is the case.
6 If we are able to work quickly and
7 efficiently, it seems we might be able to finish the
8 testimony of the different witnesses that are left
9 today. I think there are three witnesses left for this
10 morning. I think that after hearing each witness we
11 could take a break, since we have a lot of time before
13 Let us take a 20-minute break and then we
14 will hear the testimony of the second witness, and then
15 we will take another break, and finally, the Trial
16 Chamber will answer the questions that were put to the
17 Trial Chamber during the status conference.
18 The Trial Chamber has drawn up a number of
19 proposals, so if we can use our time efficiently, I
20 think we may have the time to finish our work today.
21 We will now take a 20-minute break.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.00 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 10.30 a.m.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Sorry if we're a bit late.
25 I have just learned, or rather, I was reminded of the
1 fact that Mr. Mikulicic wishes to tender a number of
2 documents, so we may have to extend today's hearing a
3 little bit. We have received the interpreter's
4 agreement. We have received the technician's
6 So, if necessary, maybe we'll work until 2.30
7 this afternoon. But that will mean that tomorrow we
8 would all be free. That would be our reward for
9 working hard today. Do we all agree on this proposal?
10 It seems that that is the case. It's nice to see that
11 everybody is cooperating. Thank you very much for your
12 cooperation. There are a number of things that we can
13 talk about during the status conference, also.
14 So, Mr. Mikulicic, maybe we can continue with
15 the testimony of your witnesses.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honours. The
17 Defence calls witness Mato Tavic to the stand
18 WITNESS: Mato Tavic
19 (The witness entered court)
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, Mr. Tavic,
21 can you hear me?
22 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You will now take your
24 oath. The usher is holding out the text for you.
25 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
1 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You may sit down,
4 Mr. Tavic. Do you feel comfortable, Mr. Tavic?
5 THE WITNESS: Yes, thank you.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You will now answer the
7 questions put to you by Mr. Mikulicic. Mr. Mikulicic,
8 you have the floor.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
10 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
11 Q. Good morning, Mr. Tavic.
12 A. Good morning.
13 Q. I am the Defence attorney in this hearing. I
14 am going to ask you some questions. Would you please
15 answer them to the best of your ability?
16 Mr. Tavic, tell us when and where you were
18 A. I was born in the village of Maljine of the
19 Municipality of Travnik.
20 Q. When were you born?
21 A. In 1935.
22 Q. In 1935. What was the date?
23 A. On the 12th of February, 1935.
24 Q. Mr. Tavic, what are you by nationality?
25 A. I am a Roman Catholic.
1 Q. That is your faith. What is your ethnic
2 group, your nationality?
3 A. I am a Croat.
4 Q. Tell me, Mr. Tavic, did you go to school?
5 A. No. I went to two classes, the war was
6 ongoing and my parents were not able to send me to
7 school. We were all pilfered at the time and I had to
8 fend for myself. I had to tend to the sheep and so
10 Q. So, unfortunately, you were not able to
11 continue your schooling after the second class of
12 primary school?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. You said, Mr. Tavic, that you were born in
15 the village of Maljine, near Travnik. How far is the
16 village away from Travnik?
17 A. It's 12 kilometres away from Travnik.
18 Q. Did you live your entire life in that village
19 until the war, or anywhere else?
20 A. Only in Maljine.
21 Q. Have you got a family?
22 A. Yes. I have seven children. Jela is my
23 eldest, she was born in 1959. 1960 (sic) is the second
24 one, 1961. Mladen was born in 1977. Elza was born in
25 1978, Vijeko in 1974. So seven children in all (sic).
1 Q. If I understood you correctly, Mr. Tavic, you
2 have four sons; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And three daughters?
5 A. Three daughters, yes.
6 Q. Before the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you
7 all live together in the Village of Maljine?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You had your own house there?
10 A. Yes, I had three houses. One was destroyed.
11 I have a picture of that house.
12 Q. You have a picture of your house here with
14 A. Yes, the new house. I had just lived in it
15 for two years, and unfortunately I spent five years in
16 Busovaca with my family.
17 Q. Did you have any land, livestock?
18 A. Yes, I had everything. I had 180 sheep. I
19 had two cows. I had two horses, pigs. I had a
20 Hungarian dog who listened to me more than my
21 children. I had two other dogs as well, mountain
23 Q. Did you have any land, Mr. Tavic?
24 A. Yes, more than 200 dulums.
25 Q. You say 200 dulums, that's about 200.000
1 square metres; is it not?
2 A. Well, if you can understand, jutro is ten
3 dulums, five dulums, and one hectar is ninety.
4 Q. So, it's a large plot of land, it's a large
5 area of land?
6 A. Yes, it is, particularly for me.
7 Q. So, Mr. Tavic, you were a fairly rich farmer,
8 you had a lot of land and property?
9 A. Well, I was born in 1935, I did not work
10 anywhere. I was a sort of builder. But I took some
11 sheep, I was given a credit, a loan, and I had to fend
12 for myself for all the rest.
13 Q. What happened, Mr. Tavic, in the first half
14 of 1993 with your family and with your land, your
16 A. My family went to Busovaca with me, and I
17 have my eldest son who is still in Serbia, he is still
18 imprisoned there.
19 Q. So, one son was taken prisoner during the war
20 by the Yugoslav People's Army and is still captive in
21 Serbia; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And your other three sons and your daughters
24 lived together with your grandchildren in the village
25 of Maljine, all together?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Why did you have to leave the village of
4 A. Because we were expelled, we were driven out.
5 Q. Who drove you out?
6 A. The BH army.
7 Q. The army, you mean?
8 A. Yes, the army.
9 Q. You gathered your family together and you all
10 went together to Busovaca as refugees?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. Did you find any lodging in Busovaca?
13 A. Yes, I found an empty house in Busovaca. And
14 my daughter also found an empty house, because she has
15 her husband and two children and she also found
16 temporary lodging, temporary shelter. And my son,
17 Vinko did, too.
18 Q. And so you remained in Busovaca until the
19 present time?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Tell me, Mr. Tavic, when you came to
22 Busovaca, what did your sons do? Did they report
24 A. They were in the HVO and still are. And as
25 one of my neighbours who took me in asked me to cover a
1 shed for him and bring hay to the shed and he would
2 bring me milk in the morning, and I was ashamed, I
3 tried to do something. And Tomo Julijanovic came up
4 from Guca Gora.
5 I asked him, "Where did you go?" And I said,
6 "I was sent by the police," because they wanted my
7 records, information on me, where I come from, what I
8 do and so on.
9 And then I went back home to my wife. Her
10 name is Milka, and I said, "Melka, I must go and
11 report," because I never wanted anybody else to come
12 and make me, compel me to do so. I did so
14 Vujica Andjelko is who I went to. I went to
15 the municipality to report, and it was by the secondary
16 school. There was a collection point there with the
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Tavic. Let's give the
19 interpreters a chance to clarify matters. I'll take it
20 question by question and then you can answer me. It
21 will be easier that way.
22 Let's go back to the events that you just
23 mentioned. If I remembered you correctly, a neighbour
24 in Busovaca asked you to put tiles, to repair his tile
25 roof on his shed. And that neighbour, on the occasion,
1 gave you some milk for helping him out and some food;
2 is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Does that mean that you did not have your own
5 food, your own milk or food at the time?
6 A. No, we didn't, that's right. We had some
7 foodstuff, but not enough.
8 Q. So there was a shortage of food?
9 A. Yes, well, yes, it was wartime, so there were
11 Q. Tell me, Mr. Tavic, you said that another
12 neighbour of yours came by, Tomo Julijanovic, and what
13 did that neighbour tell you?
14 A. He said he was taken by the police and that
15 he had to say how old he was. And he went to his own
16 home, I came back to my own home, and I reported on the
17 next day.
18 Q. Did Toma Julijanovic, your neighbour, say why
19 the police came to interrogate him?
20 A. Well, they came to question him to see
21 whether he could become part of an organisation, a
22 civil defence organisation and civil protection.
23 Q. And so from what you learned from Tomo
24 Julijanovic, your neighbour, you got to know that you
25 were expected to report. And where did you go to
2 A. I went to report to the municipality for
3 civil defence.
4 Q. In the Busovaca municipality; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And you mentioned another name, Vujica
7 Andjelko; didn't you?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You contacted that man, you reported to him?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Who was he? What did he do?
12 A. Well, he was the commander of that civil
13 defence department.
14 Q. And what did he tell you? Where did he
15 assign you to?
16 A. He asked me how old I was. I told him. I
17 said I was a builder by profession, and then he gave me
18 my assignment to dig trenches, and I would go and dig
20 Q. We've been asked, Mr. Tavic, to speak a
21 little more slowly for the interpreters. So let's try
22 and do that.
23 My next question, Mr. Tavic, that man, Vujica
24 Andjelko, told you that you had been given an
25 assignment to a work unit, and he told you that you
1 would have to go and work somewhere?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. How did you know on what day you were to take
4 up your assignment? Were you informed in some way?
5 A. Yes, we were informed. For example, we would
6 say, they would tell us today we would go to a work
7 unit, and they would say, "You come the next day".
8 Now, if I turned up and there was some
9 shelling, then I would have to build up and clear up
10 the region.
11 Q. So, Mr. Tavic, let's go back to the first
12 part of your answer. Would somebody come to your house
13 to inform you of when you should turn up for your
15 A. No, nobody.
16 Q. Who would tell you where to report?
17 A. Well, in the evening of one day a policeman
18 would tell us when to take up our shifts.
19 Q. So, a military policeman informed you when to
20 take up your shift and report for duty, report for work
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. Where would you then go in Busovaca?
24 A. It was the secondary school.
25 Q. And you would go to the secondary school, and
1 other people to go on the same work unit would gather
2 there; is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. How many people, approximately, made up one
5 of those work units?
6 A. Well, sometimes, depending on need, 26, for
7 example. Sometimes 17. It depended.
8 Q. Were you given any tools to work with?
9 A. Well, axes and shovels, picks.
10 Q. And how were you taken to the localities?
11 Were you transported?
12 A. Yes. There was a vehicle. We would get in
13 and the policeman would get in with us and he would
14 take us to the soldier there on the spot who would be
15 with us while we dug the trenches.
16 Later on, it was near the frontline, and if
17 they wanted us to dig they would shoot, open fire on
18 us. And he would send us back then.
19 Q. So, once you had gathered in front of the
20 secondary school, you were taken by some vehicle near
21 the locality where you were to do your digging; is that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Were you escorted by the military police?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When you reached the locality, who did you
2 report to on the spot?
3 A. Well, we reported to a commander.
4 Q. The commander that was in charge of that
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And did the commander tell you what to do and
8 where to do it?
9 A. Yes, he would tell us everything.
10 Q. I understand. What did you do most often?
11 What kind of work did you do most often up by the
13 A. Well, we would dig trenches, mostly trenches,
14 and dugouts. And we looked for things to cover these
15 dugouts and trenches with.
16 Q. Tell us, Mr. Tavic, did you do this work at
17 night mostly, or during the day?
18 A. Always during the night, mostly during the
20 Q. How long would your shift last?
21 A. We would go out around 9 p.m. and come back
22 at 4 o'clock in the morning, just before dawn.
23 Q. Were you given any food?
24 A. Yes. Just as the soldiers did, we got the
25 same food as the soldiers.
1 Q. Tell us, Mr. Tavic, the localities where you
2 did your digging, do you recall their names?
3 A. Well, I know Prosje was one.
4 Q. Do you remember any others?
5 A. I remember Polom, I remember Kula, and I also
6 remember Podjele and Strane. And the village of
8 Q. Those were the localities, then, where you
9 went digging, where your work unit was located.
10 Can you tell us, please, how many times you
11 went trench digging?
12 A. I can't quite remember, but three times.
13 Three times to Prosje. Then I went to Podjele after
14 that, once or twice. Then I went to Polom about four
16 Q. So, all together, you went some 10 to 12
17 times; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. But, Mr. Tavic, in addition to this trench
20 digging, you also did some other work. You said you
21 were a builder, a mason, and that you were able to use
22 these skills when there was the shelling of a building
23 and a building was shelled, then you would go and work
24 there to build the building up again?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. Do you recall where in Busovaca you did this
2 building work?
3 A. Yes, behind the municipal building, up
4 towards Kadica Strane. I can't quite remember, I am
5 getting a bit old. But I know it was somewhere in that
7 Q. So, you restored the school and the municipal
8 building that had been destroyed by the shelling.
9 Where are those buildings located in Busovaca, in the
10 centre or in the suburbs?
11 A. The school is in the centre of town. And the
12 municipal building is in the centre of town, Kadica
13 Strana Tisovacka 2, that is a little further away from
14 the town.
15 Q. Did you do this building work frequently when
16 buildings were destroyed by shelling in the town of
17 Busovaca? Was that a frequent occurrence?
18 A. Yes, it was.
19 Q. Does that mean that Busovaca was frequently
21 A. Yes, it was, frequently.
22 Q. You mentioned, Mr. Tavic, that while you were
23 digging trenches along the frontline that you were shot
25 A. Yes, that's true, because sometimes they
1 would hear us at night, because I would use my pick or
2 axe and I would hit a stone, and then the enemy would
3 hear us and they would open fire.
4 And then we would be quiet for a little while
5 and we saw that it was getting light, and they would
6 send us back home.
7 Q. When you say they, who do you mean? The
8 military police or somebody else?
9 A. No, not the military police.
10 Q. Who stood guard while you did the digging?
11 A. The commander. He was in charge.
12 Q. Did some of your colleagues who dug together
13 with you, was anybody ever wounded or killed during the
14 work you did?
15 A. Yes, on one occasion Puseljaj Niko hit a mine
16 and he was killed on the spot.
17 Q. Did you have any weapons when you performed
18 your work?
19 A. No. Nobody could have had any arms, nobody
21 Q. Just tools for digging?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. What was the food like that you were given?
24 A. Well, the same, not enough, but just like the
1 Q. What was the food like in Busovaca? The
2 civilian population, what did they have to eat?
3 A. Well, if the people, those who had more food
4 ate that, and they would give us food, the people who
5 didn't. And I helped everybody, I always worked, so
6 everybody gave me some food.
7 I would be ashamed of this and then I would
8 return the favour by doing some work for them, because
9 I had a large family, I had to survive somehow.
10 Q. What other work did you do in the work unit,
11 apart from digging trenches and building up these
12 shelled buildings? What else did you do?
13 A. Well, I went to the mediapan factory and used
14 sandbags for the fortifications of the buildings
15 there. And I would do some cleaning work as well.
16 That's where I worked the longest.
17 Q. Tell us, Mr. Tavic, while you dug trenches,
18 did you notice near you or with you, some Muslims from
19 Kaonik working?
20 A. No, I didn't see anybody. And I don't know
21 where Kaonik is, but nobody of that kind worked with
22 me. They were just Croats. There are some Muslims in
23 Busovaca now, but they did not go to the work units,
24 and they're still living there.
25 Q. You said that Croats worked with you in your
1 unit; does that mean within the composition of your
2 work unit that your work unit was only composed of
3 Croats, or were there some other ethnic groups?
4 A. There were some Serbs there, as well, and
5 they remained there through mixed marriage.
6 Q. Mr. Tavic, you said you've never been to
7 Kaonik; do you know what exists in Kaonik, what kind of
9 A. I heard there was a prison there, but I never
10 went there. I'm afraid of prisons. I was never
11 detained, not one single hour or one single day, never
12 detained in my life.
13 Q. Tell us, Mr. Tavic, what do you do in
14 Busovaca now? How do you make a livelihood?
15 A. Well, I am working in the utilities. I am a
16 dustman. I collect garbage.
17 Q. Did you ever go back to your native village
18 and see your house?
19 A. Yes, for the first time when I saw what had
20 become of my house, with the old house and with the new
21 sort of weekend house, I was astounded with the fate
22 that had befallen us.
23 And I have a photograph of the new house. I
24 took a photograph, and I have the picture with me. The
25 house is now completely in ruins, completely
1 destroyed. I have a picture of my new place.
2 And I never go again, because when I go it's
3 very upsetting. I have to be given injections and take
4 pills to calm me down. So I don't like going there.
5 I went on the 7th of August once when a man
6 called Adem Zarkic came out of Jajce, and he told me
7 that -- (inaudible), and I thought that my house is a
8 happy house, that nothing would happen to it. But,
9 unfortunately, my house was completely destroyed. All
10 the installations were pulled out. Everything has been
11 ruined in it.
12 Q. So there is nothing of the property you once
14 A. Just one house, if you want to see it, a
15 picture of it. I have three sons. Each of them would
16 like to go back to their native village, but they have
17 nowhere to go.
18 Q. May we ask the usher to place the photo on
19 the ELMO? Is that the house that you're talking about,
20 Mr. Tavic? And that house was destroyed?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Thank you. We can remove the photograph
24 Mr. Tavic, you said you lived in the village
25 of Maljine; didn't you? Do you remember who was your
1 neighbour? What family was the neighbouring family
2 near your house? Who lived there?
3 A. Well, my neighbours also lived in Tavic, and
4 the village of Maljine was populated by Muslims, and we
5 were Croats. And we respected each other as friends,
6 as neighbours. And suddenly what happened happened,
7 and this changed.
8 Q. Tell me, Mr. Tavic, who was your Muslim
9 neighbour who lived near your house? Do you remember
11 A. Dautovic Vehad was my neighbour,
12 Mr. Dautovic.
13 Q. So, the Dautovic family; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know Hamdo Dautovic?
16 A. Yes, that's my neighbour. Of course I do, he
17 is my neighbour, but he is a little lower down. Nedzo
18 and Osman is closer to me.
19 Q. So, Hamdo Dautovic was your neighbour; is
20 that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What kind of a man was he, Mr. Tavic?
5 MR. NIEMANN: I object to...
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, you're right, Mr.
8 Mr. Mikulicic, could we please remove that
10 MR. MIKULICIC: Very well, Your Honours.
11 Q. Mr. Tavic, let me just ask you one more
13 When you were digging trenches along the
14 frontline, did you see soldiers of the Croatian army,
15 the HV soldiers there, or did you see any soldiers of
16 the HVO, the Croatian Defence Council?
17 A. I don't recall seeing anybody, just in
18 Busovaca. People know me in Busovaca, but I forget
19 people because I am getting on in age.
20 Q. Thank you. I understand, Mr. Tavic. I have
21 no further questions.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
23 Mr. Niemann, Mr. Meddegoda. No, Mr. Niemann, I see.
24 Please proceed.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Niemann:
1 Q. Mr. Tavic, during 1992, did you work on your
2 property as a farmer during that year or did you do up
3 some other form of work? That's the year before you
4 went to Busovaca.
5 A. I worked on my own land with my father.
6 Q. Now, when you arrived at Busovaca and you
7 found out that you were required to carry out civilian
8 work, you readily volunteered to do this work, I take
10 A. Yes, I did.
11 Q. So, at no stage did any policeman ever
12 threaten you or threaten to put you in jail or anything
13 like that? As soon as you found out this was your
14 duty, you went voluntarily?
15 A. Yes, we did.
16 Q. Now, when you went to the frontline to dig
17 these trenches, did it ever happen that anyone had to
18 force you to work there? I mean, did police ever point
19 guns at you and threaten you or do anything like that
20 when you were there? Or did you just work
22 A. No, voluntarily. I went voluntarily. Nobody
23 ever forced me.
24 Q. And I think you said, when you were giving
25 your evidence a minute ago, that when you were at the
1 frontline, did the commander took over, the military
2 commander took over at that stage; did he?
3 A. Yes. He would take us over, yes, and he'd
4 take care of us. Yes.
5 Q. And did the policeman that took you there,
6 did he withdraw and go back to the vehicles or
7 something; did he? The policeman that brought you
9 A. He would withdraw. He would go back to his
11 Q. Can you tell us what month it was that you
12 actually got to Busovaca in 1993? Do you remember the
14 A. The beginning, I think.
15 Q. So, in the early part of 1993?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, when you had a work unit, either when
18 you went to dig trenches or you did any other sort of
19 work, was there somebody who was in charge of your
20 unit? Did you have a commander of your particular
21 unit, or was it always just the military commander who
22 told you what you should do?
23 A. When I was repairing buildings that were
24 shelled, Ivica Bartulovic was the commander, and he
25 would tell us what we were supposed to do when we'd go
1 to that house. And we would do what he told us to do
2 and then we'd go back.
3 Q. Was he a policeman or a military man or just
4 a civilian like yourself?
5 A. A plain civilian.
6 Q. You don't happen to know any of the names of
7 the military commanders that you worked for when you
8 were digging trenches by any chance?
9 A. I don't know any one of them.
10 Q. Now, you dug trenches at nighttime and that
11 was because it was safer, you couldn't be seen as
12 easily during the nighttime?
13 A. Well, yes.
14 Q. And indeed, even during the night, if the
15 firing got too strong from the other side, you would
16 retreat back from the frontline; is that right?
17 A. Yes, we would.
18 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, any further
20 questions you would wish to put to the witness?
21 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, the Defence
22 doesn't have any further questions. We just have
23 something to say in terms of the interpretation, the
24 transcript, page 52, line 2.
25 In the transcript it says that the witness
1 worked on the land with his father, but he actually
2 said that he worked with sheep. It sounds almost the
3 same in the Croat language, so... So I think that the
4 transcript should be corrected in that sense.
5 No further questions from the Defence.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
7 I heard sheep myself, so I don't know if there has
8 been, in fact, an interpretation problem in the English
10 JUDGE VOHRAH: I have a question both for Mr.
11 Niemann and Mr. Mikulicic. A photograph has been
12 exhibited, from the technical point of view, shouldn't
13 that be part of the record of the Court?
14 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, I am not pressing
15 that it be tendered. I didn't want, and strictly
16 speaking there could be an argument of its relevance,
17 but under the circumstances it's not something that I
18 wanted to raise, and I don't mind which way it's dealt
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, the Defence did
21 not intend to tender this photograph as evidence
22 because we simply did not know that the witness would
23 show this photograph. He carries it with him as a
24 momento, so he showed it to us, but we had no intention
25 of tendering it as an exhibit.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: As for myself, I think it
2 was something rather emotional for the witness, and I
3 always think that the witnesses should be allowed to
4 express their feelings. I did have the impression that
5 it was a very emotional situation for the witness, so I
6 think that this exhibit should be tendered.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Judge Rodrigues, the picture
8 that was put on the ELMO, we can make a copy of this
9 picture, thanks to the video recording of this
10 hearing. It is not a problem, the witness can keep the
11 photograph, we can make a copy of it.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: That won't be necessary. I
13 don't think it will be necessary. We all agree on the
14 fact that, in fact, the Defence did not wish to tender
15 the exhibit. It was only something that the witnesses
16 wanted to bring up. We don't need, I think, to make a
17 copy of this picture.
18 Mr. Tavic, it's the presiding judge
19 addressing you. The Trial Chamber has no further
20 questions for you. Thank you very much for coming. We
21 wish you a safe journey home. Thank you very much for
23 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
24 (The witness withdrew)
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, Mr. Niemann,
1 I think it is a good time to take a fifteen minute
3 --- Recess taken at 11.15 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. President, I apologise
6 for coming in late.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: No problem, Mr. Dubisson,
8 we accept your apologies.
9 All right, let us resume our work. I forgot
10 to mention something before the break. Mr. Mikulicic,
11 allow me to address Mr. Aleksovski directly.
12 Mr. Aleksovski, would you please stand?
13 Due to your health problems, is it possible
14 for you to follow the hearing until 2.30, or is that a
15 problem for you?
16 THE ACCUSED: Your Honour, thank you. For
17 the entire time I have felt your care and attention
18 towards me in the sense of my health. I feel well. I
19 am a little moved; but, of course, I would like us to
20 move forward as fast as possible and get through as
21 much work as possible. Thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much,
23 Mr. Aleksovski. All right, then we can continue, Mr.
24 Mikulicic, you have the floor.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honours. The
1 Defence calls witness Dusan Lukovic to the stand.
2 WITNESS: Dusan Lukovic
3 (The witness entered court)
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, Mr. Lukovic.
5 Can you hear me?
6 THE WITNESS: Yes, very well, thank you.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You will now take the
8 oath. The usher is holding out the text for you.
9 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
10 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you. You may take
13 your seat. For the moment being, I will ask you to
14 answer the questions put to you by Mr. Mikulicic. Mr.
15 Mikulicic, you have the floor.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic.
18 Q. Good morning, Mr. Lukovic. As Defence
19 attorney, I would like to ask you some questions.
20 Please answer them to the best of your ability. I
21 should also like to ask you that when answering that
22 you bear in mind that you should speak slowly so that
23 the interpreters can keep up with your statements and
24 with my questions, thank you.
25 Mr. Lukovic, tell us when and where you were
2 A. I was born in 1935, in Banja Luka. By
3 vocation I am professor of sociology. I am now
4 retired. I have been retired since the 1st of May,
6 Q. On what date were you born?
7 A. 22nd of September 1935, in Banja Luka.
8 Q. Mr. Lukovic, what are you by nationality?
9 A. I am a Serb.
10 Q. Are you a believer?
11 A. I am an atheist.
12 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Lukovic what schooling
13 you have had?
14 A. I finished teachers' school and faculty of
15 political science in Sarajevo, the sociology stream.
16 Q. So, by profession, you graduated as a
17 sociologist and you are a professor of sociology?
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. Did you serve in the former Yugoslav Peoples
21 A. Yes, I did serve the army in Novi Sad in 1935
22 and 1956.
23 Q. After your military service, did you receive
24 a rank?
25 A. I went to a course for -- I was a lance
1 corporal, and later on I became a sergeant.
2 Q. They are all non-commissioned officers?
3 A. Yes, because I did not complete the school
4 for officers.
5 Q. Mr. Lukovic, can you tell us where you worked
6 and what position you held?
7 A. For 40 years, I lived in Vitez. And I
8 performed many jobs during that time. I am going to
9 quote just some of them because there were many of
10 them. I was director of the popular university, which
11 is an education institution for adults and for cultural
12 activity in my municipality.
13 Q. Just a little slower, please.
14 A. After that I was director of the secondary
15 school centre, which is an institution for education,
16 which encompasses secondary schools and gymnasiums.
17 After that, I was the director of the work
18 community of self-protection and information. This is
19 an institution which covered the whole, the three
20 military companies, the one in Princip Seljo, for
21 production purposes, the production of explosives; and
22 Sintevit, which produced plastics. This firm did this
23 kind of work.
24 Q. Very well, Mr. Lukovic, let's move tacitly
25 without entering into detail.
1 Did you hold any political functions?
2 A. For four years I was the vice-president of
3 the municipal assembly or vice-mayor of Vitez, then I
4 was the president of the municipal assembly of Vitez on
5 two occasions in 1983 and 1984, my first time term of
6 office, and 1985 the second term.
7 And as the president of the municipal
8 assembly in Vitez in 1985 I was president of the
9 community of municipalities of Travnik, Novi Travnik
10 and Vitez.
11 This was a volunteer function because I still
12 perform my duties as mayor of Vitez.
13 Q. From what you have just told us, Mr. Lukovic,
14 may we conclude that you were a distinguished and
15 prominent citizen in Vitez and its environs?
16 A. Well, it will be a little immodest, but I
17 must say I was, of Zenica, Travnik, Busovaca and all
18 that part, because we had a lot of cooperation with the
19 republic itself.
20 Q. Mr. Lukovic, where did you find yourself in
21 mid-1993 with the start of the war operations?
22 A. I have been living in Vitez since 1958;
23 therefore, I was in Vitez at the time in my flat with
24 my wife, with my son and his wife, and with my
1 Q. Do you live in your own house or do you live
2 in an apartment building?
3 A. I do not have my own house, I live in an
4 apartment building, and I live in a flat which I got
5 when I worked in the factory. I was given the flat for
6 my accommodation.
7 Q. You say that you lived in your flat at the
8 time with your wife, with your son and his wife and
9 your grandchildren?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. Mr. Lukovic, how did you experience those
12 days, the first hostile incidents between the Croats
13 and Muslims in the area?
14 A. Well, the first thing that we noted was the
15 attack by the planes of the Yugoslav Peoples Army.
16 There were two bombardments on the occasion. One was
17 the military factory was attacked. That was one
19 First of all, they missed it, but on the
20 second occasion there was panic because part of the
21 factory was destroyed. When the war began on the 16th
22 of April, if I remember correctly, in 1993, the
23 situation was very tense. There was a lot of
24 shooting. There was shelling. Explosions could be
25 heard, sporadic explosions, and there was general
1 psychological tension. And people would go down into
2 the basement to take shelter. They were safer in the
3 basements. That was at the beginning, of course.
4 Q. You told us, Mr. Lukovic, that there was some
5 shelling, the shelling of Vitez took place. Who
6 shelled Vitez?
7 A. Vitez was shelled by the members of the
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina army, from the Muslim regions. And
9 the shells, the grenades fell even near the flat where
10 I lived. Two buildings were severely damaged, and the
11 flat in which I, myself, lived, all the glass broke.
12 The windows broke.
13 And it was very lucky that my grandchildren
14 were not killed. They were injured, however. These
15 metal parts went through the flat and they were
16 injured. And also the walls were destroyed and the
17 cupboards were pierced where our clothes were hanging,
18 and it landed under the bed, and my wife happened to be
19 in the bedroom at that time.
20 There was more shelling, as well, so that in
21 a section not far from the centre of town eight
22 children were killed, and there is a monument to those
23 children there today.
24 There were cases where a child was killed on
25 the street, where a father was feeding his son and the
1 child was killed in his arms. And the military first
2 aid centre was also shelled, as was the popular
3 university in town.
4 Q. Can we then conclude that in the area of the
5 town itself and the surrounding areas there was no
6 place of safety, no place that was not shelled?
7 A. Well, I talked to my friends, as well, what
8 they meant by the frontline where the shooting took
9 place. I think that the whole of Vitez was the
10 frontline. There was danger everywhere. And I'll say
11 something about this later on.
12 I felt myself to be safer along the
13 frontlines where I went digging trenches and dugouts.
14 I felt safer there than in Vitez proper, apart from
15 Bombasi, which was one particular locality which was a
16 little safer.
17 Q. Mr. Lukovic, you have just started a topic,
18 which I should like to discuss at greater length, and
19 that is your involvement during those war days of 1993,
20 your work responsibilities, work duties. Could you
21 describe to us how you took part in the work that you
23 A. I did not report on a voluntary basis. I was
24 60, and by law I was a recruit, a military-aged man. I
25 know this from earlier on, because as president I
1 commanded the exercise, training situations that we had
2 which were called steel 83.
3 So I knew what a conscript meant and the
4 military age of men. And one morning the military
5 police came to my door, they rang the bell very nicely,
6 I opened the door, they said, "Are you Lukovic Dusan?"
7 I said, "Yes, that's me," and they told me urgently to
8 report to the public library. They said thank you and
9 they left. They said it was urgent.
10 I went to the library, I found people there
11 that I knew. I think there was a man called Males, he
12 was a courier, and another man, Stipinovic, I think was
13 also a professor of sociology.
14 And they told me that I was, by law, to
15 report to a work unit, assigned to a work unit. And I
16 was told the kind of work that I would be expected to
18 So, I was always informed by courier. The
19 courier was the military police, because under
20 conditions of war it is very difficult to write written
21 requests and invitations, and then 24 hours had to
22 expire, which were the regulations beforehand.
23 But it was the military police that would
24 come and call us, and we would collect at the
25 collection points and were then told what to do.
1 Q. So, you turned up at the designated time, the
2 military police had told you it was your duty to comply
3 with that, and you were then told that you would be
4 joining a work unit; is that right?
5 A. Yes, it is.
6 Q. Could you describe to us, Mr. Lukovic, the
7 procedure? How were you sent to the locality for your
8 work duties? What was the collection point? Who
9 escorted you to the locality and who gave you your work
11 A. Well, we would gather at several locations.
12 The first place I went to was the library, municipal
13 library, where a mini-bus would come and collect us and
14 take us to the, as near to the locality as possible,
15 then we would go on foot.
16 In this case it was a mountain with a little
17 weekend house there, and we would go to perform our
18 work duties there.
19 There was a Muslim attack several days prior
20 to this, and then we had to extend the trenches and the
21 dugouts and fox holes and see to the general
22 fortification of the area.
23 Q. Did anybody escort you in the mini-bus, or
24 did you go on your own?
25 A. The driver of the mini-bus was told to escort
1 us to the locality and to bring us to the unit and the
2 commander of the frontline, and so you would contact
3 that commander then.
4 Q. Did the commander give you any instructions
5 as to what your work duties would be?
6 A. When I arrived on the scene, the commander
7 would inform us of why we had come and what our work
8 was to be, what our work would involve. The tools were
9 already there, axes, picks, shovels, axes and so on.
10 This was the frontline, and he would explain to us
11 where we were located from the aspects of the other
12 forces, where the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
13 located, where the danger points were. They told us
14 where to dig and that we shouldn't move around because
15 a sniper could hit us at any time, that it was a danger
17 So we were told about the terrain, our work
18 duties and the dangers involved and how we were
19 protected. And as we were digging there were members
20 of the HVO present with weapons, they were there to
21 ensure safety.
22 Q. How many people made up your work units,
23 Mr. Lukovic?
24 A. Well, I worked in several localities, in
25 different work units, so that the number was different
1 each time. When we were in Zabrdze there were between
2 15 and 20 of us.
3 Q. And how many times were you taken on this
4 work assignment?
5 A. Well, to Zabrdze, there is a village called
6 Zaselje in Bobasi where the situation was the most
7 difficult. Lazine, or the village of Tulovici,
8 Baringaj, that is above Ahmici; and those are the work
9 units where I worked physically.
10 And then in November 1993 I received a
11 written request from the civilian protection unit, and
12 from the armed forces I entered the civilian protection
13 units and worked other guards posts.
14 MR. MEDDEGODA: The witness is speaking of
15 events of November of 1993, which is clearly outside
16 the ambit of the indictment, Your Honours, and I think
17 Mr. Mikulicic himself has objected to the Prosecution
18 leading evidence outside of May of 1993 on a number of
19 occasions, and it is on the same basis that I object to
20 the witness's answers being elicited outside of the
21 period of the indictment, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, I don't
23 think it is as necessary to go beyond the dates that
24 are covered by the indictment. You may continue.
25 THE WITNESS: May I say something at this
2 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, the Defence
3 fully respects the objection of the Prosecution and
4 does not wish to step outside the frameworks of the
5 indictment; but sometimes the witness spontaneously
6 speaks about a time outside the indictment. But the
7 Defence will remain within the frameworks of the
8 indictment and will not pose questions outside that
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, we also understand
11 that the witness has launched on a number of events
12 that are not covered on the indictment. Let us go back
13 to the dates that are covered in the indictment,
15 Witness, do you want to say something?
16 Please, speak freely.
17 THE WITNESS: I wanted to say that as I was
18 in the work units for one year, and in speaking I
19 stepped over the framework of the time frame of the
20 indictment, so I apologise for that.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: No problem. Mr. Mikulicic,
22 please proceed.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. So, Mr. Lukovic, you have understood that in
25 your statement we are going to be moving within a
1 single time framework and we're not going to be going
2 out of it, so that is roughly the first half of 1993.
3 All right. You said on several occasions as
4 a member of the work unit, you dug trenches, dugouts,
5 et cetera; how much time would you approximately spend
6 at a given location during your work duty?
7 A. Either one day or two days, three days, 15
8 days, 18 days, and even outside this limit. About
9 two-and-a-half to three months we were digging
10 trenches, with interruptions, though.
11 Q. Tell me, Mr. Lukovic, what was the ethnic
12 composition of these work units? What ethnic groups
13 were in the work units? Were they different or was it
14 a single one?
15 A. I am talking about the work unit I was in,
16 myself, where I worked, myself. Not a single one of
17 these work units, though, belonged to a single ethnic
18 group. There were Serbs, Croats, Muslims, even
19 Slovenes, because in Vitez there are even Slovenes.
20 Q. Tell us, Mr. Lukovic, when doing this work,
21 were you provided with food, accommodation and things
22 like that?
23 A. There was a war going on, the terrain itself
24 was rather complicated, and I said in the beginning we
25 had transportation, and also we had food provided for
1 us, because we had three meals when we worked. We ate
2 the same food that the soldiers of the HVO had.
3 Now, whether we had accommodation, well, it
4 wasn't really very adequate accommodation. These were
5 weekend cottages that were devastated, that were
6 damaged. And we also stayed in houses that could be
8 So, I think that accommodation was
9 appropriate, because we had blankets, and where there
10 was no proper floor we had hay, but we did have
12 Q. All right. Tell us, Mr. Lukovic, how was
13 your safety organised, I mean, for all of you who were
14 digging out there?
15 A. Our safety was provided for by virtue of the
16 fact that on the same frontline we were at, there were
17 armed soldiers, and they never left us. And they were
18 there, of course, vigilant, as vigilant as could be. I
19 don't know how it was at other positions.
20 They would even tell us when to duck so that
21 snipers could not get us. And then Zabrdze, we stayed
22 for another day, and we were told we had to stop
23 working at one o'clock, and we asked why. And they
24 said that they had received information that they
25 should expect an attack by the BH army.
1 So we all left our tools, and five armed
2 members of the HVO with automatic rifles in front of us
3 took us to a safe place, and then we took buses to
4 Vitez from there.
5 Q. Do you remember any occasion when somebody
6 actually got wounded or killed?
7 A. At Bobasi we worked at night. And we
8 urgently had to dig trenches and fox holes, and the
9 Muslims started their offensive in the morning. They
10 opened fire. And two Muslims and one Croat who worked
11 there was killed by a sniper.
12 And we also had another occasion at Barin
13 Gaj, this above Ahmici. I think this person was called
14 Zrnic, Anto Zrnic. He wasn't careful enough. He was
15 showing where his house was, where his village was, and
16 I was there when a young soldier said, "Don't stand
17 there, a sniper can get you." And I went about 80
18 metres away from there, we were supposed to make a
19 dugout out of a trench, and I was informed afterwards
20 that he had to take care of a dead body. He was
21 killed, but he wasn't killed immediately. He died in
22 the vehicle that he was taken to afterwards.
23 Q. What ethnic group did he belong to?
24 A. He was a Croat.
25 Q. You mentioned the food that you received at
1 the frontline. Tell me, what was this food like? Was
2 it sufficient for your needs? Or was this food
4 A. Well, you know, that is relative. I was a
5 man whose weight was about 806 (sic) kilograms at that
6 time. And before the war, when the war broke out and
7 when I started digging trenches, I lost weight. I
8 weighed only 86 kilograms. Also all the members of my
9 family lost weight because there wasn't enough food and
10 it wasn't very high calorie food, and we ate all the
11 food that the soldiers ate, absolutely the same food.
12 We even sat together and ate together.
13 Q. I see. Now, Mr. Lukovic in the transcript,
14 that the number of kilograms, how many kilos did you
16 A. I lost 20 kilograms, because I weighed 106
17 kilograms and my weight went down to 86 kilograms.
18 Q. You have a son, Mr. Lukovic; don't you?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. What did your son do at that time?
21 A. My son has a degree in law. He is a Serb by
22 nationality, and he was a military-aged man, a
23 conscript, and he had weapons. He was armed, a
24 military man. And he was there at that frontline from
25 the beginning until the end.
1 And he was also wounded at one of these
2 points, because they were shooting with RPGs, and he
3 was in that trench. His right arm was wounded, two
4 metal fragments were taken out of his hand.
5 I am trying to say that he is a disabled
6 person now, 30 per cent disabled, and he even gets a
7 disablement pension.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, excuse me
9 for interrupting; but, again, I think there is some
10 confusion as to the weight of the witness. What I have
11 heard in the French interpretation is that Mr. Lukovic
12 weighed 106 kilograms, he lost 20 kilograms during the
13 war; therefore, he later on weighed 86 kilograms.
14 The transcript says that he lost 120 kilos,
15 that's totally impossible. I think that we need to
16 clear up the matter. Mr. Lukovic weighed 106
17 kilograms, he lost 20 kilograms and ended up weighing
18 86 kilograms. I hope I am right.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Exactly, Your Honour. Thank
20 you for your intervention. I must say that I did not
21 notice this disproportion.
22 Q. Mr. Lukovic, just one clarification, please.
23 Your son, your son fought in armed units, you mentioned
24 it, but you did not say what army.
25 A. In the armies of the HVO, of the Croatian
1 Defence Council.
2 Q. Okay, that is clear now. And you said that
3 he was wounded and he became a disabled person. Tell
4 me, Mr. Lukovic, when you were digging at the
5 frontline, when you were out there, did anybody
6 mistreat you? Did anybody physically abuse you, beat
7 you or anything?
8 A. Vitez is a small municipality, you know, and
9 everyone knows one another. And I lived there for a
10 long time, and we know all each other well. Perhaps
11 there were certain incidents that I didn't hear of, one
12 or two, perhaps. I heard of one, and I intervened
14 Nobody forced us to work exhaustingly. We
15 worked as much as we could. But, you know, I am the
16 type, I worked very hard, and I was even spurring the
17 other Croats and Muslims who were there to work faster;
18 because we would keep our young people alive that way.
19 And UNPROFOR would come in, if we managed to
20 have well fortified lines, and then there would be
21 negotiations. So I was never mistreated, nor any of
22 the people who were with me.
23 Q. You said, Mr. Lukovic, that you did not
24 volunteer into these work units?
25 A. No, I did not.
1 Q. And tell me, now, when you think about all of
2 this, when this work duty, when you think of this work
3 duty, how do you interpret this work duty?
4 A. Well, you see the war broke out, and I
5 experienced war as a child; and in this war, it was
6 difficult to decide that you would go to the frontline
7 and dig trenches when your son is on the frontline,
8 when your wife and children, grandchildren are at
10 But since I was president, I knew what the
11 national defence was and I knew how important this was
12 and what kind of duty and responsibility this was. I
13 was not 60 years old, and I knew that I was a
14 military-aged man and that I would have to answer this
15 call up, because that is what the law says. And of
16 course I accepted this as a loyal citizen, as a
17 military-aged man. And I think I honourbly carried out
18 this duty.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you for your testimony,
20 Mr. Lukovic. The Defence has no further questions.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
22 I think there is still a slight confusion. I think
23 maybe the court reporters made the mistake this time.
24 But what I have said a moment ago does not appear
25 clearly in the transcript.
1 So, can we clear the matter once and for
2 all? I hope the mistakes made in the transcript can be
3 corrected. Again, I repeat, the witness weighed 106
4 kilograms. 106 kilograms. He lost 20 kilos, 2-0. And
5 he, therefore, weighed 86 kilograms, 8-6. Right. We
6 got it right this time.
7 Mr. Meddegoda, you have the floor.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Meddegoda:
9 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Lukovic.
10 A. Hello.
11 Q. Mr. Lukovic, when you volunteered for work in
12 the work units, you volunteered within the civilian
13 protection department of the Vitez municipality; did
15 A. First of all, I did not volunteer. And I
16 think that I said that in my statement. I did not
17 report to the civil protection, but the military police
18 informed me that I was supposed to report at the city
19 library, and that's exactly what I did.
20 And later on I found out at the frontline
21 that these were work units attached to HVO units. And
22 as far as civil defence is concerned, they called me up
23 much later.
24 This was in November, but then I was on the
25 work unit of the civil defence. But then I had weapons
1 as a guard where I took care of trucks, and also there
2 was a mortuary there because they would bring in dead
3 soldiers, the Red Cross would bring in dead soldiers
4 from the fighting.
5 Q. When you reported to the library, that was
6 the public library in the Municipality of Vitez; is it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And was there a person in charge of your work
9 unit? A commander of the work unit?
10 A. At that time there were two persons
11 employed. There was one person who was more of a
12 messenger, and later on I found out that the commander
13 of the work units was Vinac, that was his last name,
14 and his first name was Marijan or Mirjan, I don't know
15 exactly. He often took a mini-bus taking us to the
16 frontline, and he would receive his orders from the
18 Q. And was he the commander of all the work
19 units within the Vitez municipality, or was he only a
20 commander of your work unit that you were attached to?
21 A. I cannot say for sure. You see, almost in
22 every village, wherever necessary, work units were set
23 up, depending on the positions and on the situation, on
24 the ground. In my particular case, yes, I mean, the
25 place where I went.
1 Q. As you said in your evidence, in the course
2 of your evidence a while ago, you and all the others
3 were mistreated or beaten while you were involved in
4 trench digging and in fortification work?
5 A. I read this oath, and believe me that I am
6 saying the truth. I am saying -- I am talking about
7 what I experienced, and that is the only thing that I
8 can give testimony about.
9 I'll give you an example. When we were
10 building, when we were digging in Barin Gaj, there was
11 a captain who was there, and I knew him from the
12 military factory where we worked together; he gave us
13 his room to spend the night there, on the couch where I
14 was sleeping, a Muslim man also slept. So I am just
15 trying to say how friendly we all were. We were all
17 Of course we were confused by everything that
18 was happening, but that is so difficult to understand,
19 anyway. So, I am just trying to describe the situation
20 to you as it was.
21 We were not mistreated, there were not any
22 problems, their attitude towards us was fair, and even
23 sometimes the soldiers would put their weapons down and
24 they would dig together with us. So, again, I said
25 this was a multi-ethnic work unit.
1 MR. MEDDEGODA: Your Honours, I have to
2 correct the transcript. My question was neither you
3 nor the others were mistreated, that was my question;
4 but it has been recorded incorrectly. And for that
5 reason, I would wish the transcript to be corrected.
6 My question to the witness was that neither
7 he nor the others, none of the other members of his
8 work unit were mistreated or beaten during the time
9 they engaged in their work.
10 MR. MEDDEGODA: No further questions, Your
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, any further
13 questions for the witness?
14 MR. MIKULICIC: Defence has no further
15 questions, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE VOHRAH: Professor, did I hear you
17 right when you said that your son was of Serb
19 THE WITNESS: Yes.
20 JUDGE NIETO NAVIA: At that time, did you
21 ever see soldiers of the Croatian army with the HV
22 insignia on their uniforms?
23 A. In Vitez? I never did. And I think that it
24 would be very difficult for members of the Croatian
25 army to get to Vitez.
1 For example, a part of Vitez is called
2 Mahala, and it was surrounded by the Croats. All of
3 Vitez on the other hand, was surrounded by the Muslims,
4 that is the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So I did not
5 see a single person who had HV on his sleeve, only
7 These were young men who we knew who were
8 practically locals. Perhaps there were some, but I
9 never saw any such persons. I only heard later, also,
10 that there were only HVO soldiers there. I mean those
11 belonging to Central Bosnia, so Croats, but from
12 Central Bosnia, as we say.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Lukovic, I will follow
14 on the question put to you by Judge Nieto Navia. Were
15 you familiar with the HVO and HV insignias?
16 A. The HVO, yes; but the Croatian army, no, I
17 didn't see this. But the HVO, on the left arm, I
18 think, they had a chessboard, and it said HVO. I don't
19 know if there was another insignia, but there was a
20 chessboard and it said HVO.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question. The HVO
22 soldiers always wore the HVO insignias on their
23 uniforms, or did it happen sometimes that they did not
24 wear any insignia on their uniform?
25 A. The ones I saw wore insignia. They even had
1 a band. I don't know whether it would be red or blue,
2 whatever, showing what unit they belonged to. But they
3 all wore uniforms and they all had insignia, and we
4 were without uniforms.
5 But we were not civilians, we were
6 military-aged men in civilian clothes.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I see. So you said you
8 went to dig trenches on a different number of
9 locations. When you went there, did you ever see
10 prisoners from the Kaonik facilities?
11 A. I did not see any at the places I was.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Were you ever informed of
13 the fact that some prisoners from Kaonik were used to
14 dig trenches?
15 A. Personally I was not told about that. But
16 then, I have heard until now that there were such
17 things. There were some of our people who did make
18 mistakes, and they would serve in a unit and they would
19 perhaps make a mistake at the frontline and then
20 disciplinary action would be taken against them, they
21 would be detained for three days or five days.
22 So I knew that there was this prison, which
23 is only natural in a state of war. If there are
24 military police and if mistakes are made. I mean, this
25 is my opinion.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Very well, Professor. I
2 don't think we have any further questions for you.
3 Thank you very much. We wish you a safe journey home.
4 Thanks again for coming.
5 THE WITNESS: Thank you, too. And I wish you
6 the best of luck, as well.
7 (The witness withdrew).
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, maybe you
9 could begin to introduce the documents you wish to
10 introduce. Let us not cut our work short. If you
11 agree with me, I think there is no need for a break
12 right now. You may begin to introduce your documents.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Before tendering these documents, I just want to check
15 one fact. If Your Honours recall during the
16 cross-examination of professor Bianchini, our expert,
17 the defence tendered two exhibits as evidence; however,
18 these documents were originally only in the Croatian
19 language. And then the registry took upon themselves
20 to have these documents translated, and then they would
21 be included into evidence at that point. This has been
22 done in the meantime.
23 So, Your Honours, may we formally tender this
24 as evidence now? And they have been registered as D7
25 and D11 respectively. And that is document D7, and
1 document D11 is a letter from the embassy of the
2 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zagreb.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, or rather,
4 sorry, Mr. Niemann, have you had the opportunity to
5 look at these documents? Do you have anything to say?
6 MR. NIEMANN: No objections, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, in that
8 case, you may proceed.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, the Defence
10 received from the Prosecution -- Your Honours, the
11 Defence has received from the Prosecution certain
12 documents which we would like to tender as evidence and
13 these documents were handed over to the Defence at our
14 own request, according to the Rules of Procedure on
15 giving documents which could influence the position of
16 the defendant.
17 However, bearing in mind the documents that
18 were provided by the Government of Croatia, provided
19 that these documents are not published, are not out in
20 the public and that they be not be given to a third
21 person, a third party. Since the Defence was thus
22 cautioned by the Prosecution, I wish to suggest, if my
23 learned colleague agrees, that we move on to a closed
24 session, so that we could tender these documents.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann.
1 MR. NIEMANN: I have no objection if he wants
2 to make a submission in closed session, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I will ask the technical
4 booth to ensure that we are now in closed session.
5 (In closed session)
13 Pages 3462 to 3469 redacted - in closed session
24 Recess taken at 12.40 p.m.