Case No IT-95-14
1 Monday, 28th July 1997.
2 (9.40 am).
13 Pages 1043 to 1144 redacted - in closed session
1 (3.00 pm)
2 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Can we have the accused
3 brought in, please?
4 (The accused was brought in).
5 JUDGE JORDA: Prosecution, we can now continue the
6 statement of your witness, Mr. Djidic.
7 MR. KEHOE: With the assistance of the usher, if Mr. Djidic
8 could be brought up to the courtroom.
9 MR. DJIDIC (cont'd)
10 Examination-in-chief by MR. KEHOE (cont'd):
11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Djidic, do you hear me?
12 A. Yes, yes.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
14 MR. KEHOE: Thank you Mr. President. Good afternoon,
15 Mr. Djidic?
16 A. Good afternoon everyone.
17 Q. Mr. Djidic, when we broke on Friday we were talking about
18 the establishment of the Croatian community of
19 Herceg-Bosnia in late 1991. After the Croatian
20 community of Herceg-Bosnia came into existence did life
21 for the Muslims in the Lasva Valley and in the Vitez
22 area become more difficult?
23 A. Yes. Life for the Muslims became more and more
24 difficult by the day.
25 Q. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber how?
1 A. First of all, the authorities of Herceg-Bosnia formed
2 the authority of the HVO, which was a one nation
3 authority, and in time and to be more precise in May
4 1992, all Muslims were expelled from the bodies of
5 authority. At that time, we had a joint parliament. We
6 had a joint government. The Croats were in the majority
7 and they controlled fully all authority. And knowing
8 that, that they were fully in control, one may ask why
9 did they chase the Muslims out of the bodies of
10 government? That is the most important question, which
11 shows that the Croats did not wish to have Muslims in
12 the authorities.
13 In the course of the spring of 1992, certain
14 conditions started to be attached for the continued work
15 of people within the bodies of authority. So that a
16 separation occurred of the Muslims from the executive
17 authorities. It is particularly worth noting that at
18 that time the Croats offered to the Muslims a certain
19 piece of paper which they had to sign, recognising the
20 authorities of Herceg-Bosnia. All those who did not
21 wish to do so could no longer continue working. In June
22 an attack occurred against the police station, and on
23 that occasion policemen of Muslim faith were disarmed
24 and thrown out of the police station. This attack on
25 the police station was carried out by members of the HOS
1 headed by Darko Kraljevic. After that date the Muslims
2 never again returned to that station.
3 Muslims then went to Stari Vitez and a few days
4 later they formed a separate police station. That
5 police station is operated in Stari Vitez to this day.
6 At the time, that is in June and after June, the Muslims
7 continued to be terrorised. The people were
8 intimidated. Muslim owned hotels and restaurants were
9 blown up. Then the Muslims' flats were broken into,
10 with demands being made for them to give up weapons, and
11 also money. The Muslims were taken away for so-called
12 informative interviews, after which they would come back
13 with visible traces of mistreatment. It is particularly
14 worth noting that the HVO at that time, and throughout
15 1992, was also settling accounts with disobedient --
16 disobedient Croats and Serbs. Individuals were taken
17 into custody for informative interviews. I do not know
18 whether they were mistreated. Also, at about the same
19 time, there were frequent attempts, many were
20 successful, to restore peace to Vitez and there were
21 endless meetings with the Croats, and, at times, some
22 success was achieved. But the police has never worked
23 together since, nor did the Muslims rejoin the
24 parliament, or the government.
25 Various kinds of provocations continued, which
1 frequently resulted in the arrests of Muslims, both
2 civilians and members of the army. More and more people
3 were being laid off. And roughly about that time the
4 HVO introduced a new currency. We would be given our
5 salaries in Croatian dinars, which is the currency of
6 the neighbouring state of Croatia. The Muslims had to
7 accept this, because they had no other currency, or
8 rather the Bosnian dinar, at that time, was undergoing
9 spiralling inflation and could not be used in the
10 so-called Herceg-Bosnia.
11 All attempts made to restore confidence for people
12 to be able to live and work normally failed, and this
13 went on like this throughout the year 1992, and at the
14 beginning of 1993.
15 Q. Mr. Djidic, going back to some of the statements that you
16 just made concerning the legislature. You said that
17 there was a greater percentage of Croats than there were
18 Muslims. Approximately what was the ratio of Croats to
20 A. In relation to the Muslims in Vitez there were only 3 or
21 4 per cent more Croats than Muslims. As for the figure
22 itself, in nominal terms this means about 1,000 Croats
23 more. The municipality of Vitez at that time had about
24 26,000 inhabitants.
25 Q. You also mentioned, Mr. Djidic, the HVO. What is the
2 A. The HVO is the Croatian Defence Council, which consisted
3 of civilians, and of a civilian and military part. Both
4 the civilian and the military authorities were referred
5 to as the HVO.
6 Q. Within the HVO was the civilian and the military side
7 very close?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. After the HVO came into existence did the legislature
10 that you talked about continue to sit and discuss
12 A. The parliament or legislature continued to exist, but
13 for a very short time. I do not remember exactly when
14 it ceased to exist as a joint body, because I was not a
16 Q. Mr. Djidic, were there particular political leaders in
17 Vitez which in your opinion attempted to divide the
18 Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Croats, and if so who
19 are they?
20 A. Yes, there were. At that time the most prominent among
21 them were people who, in the municipal authority and who
22 headed the HDZ party. Those were Mr. Ivica Santic who
23 was the town mayor of Vitez at the time, then Pero
24 Skopljak and Anto Valenta who was then President of the
25 HDZ. Those were the key figures who worked to establish
1 the authority of the HVO, or the so-called Croatian
2 community of Herceg-Bosnia.
3 Q. Mr. Djidic, let us talk about these individuals one by
4 one starting with Anto Valenta. Did you know Anto
6 A. Yes, I did, very well.
7 Q. How did you know him?
8 A. He worked as an engineer, a chemistry engineer in the
9 military facility. While I was working in a school,
10 Anto Valenta taught chemistry as a teacher. He was a
11 friend of mine.
12 Q. Did Anto Valenta publish a book of the ethnic division
13 of the Lasva Valley and other areas in central Bosnia?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you explain that to the court?
16 A. Anto Valenta was the first to write a book with maps of
17 the division of Bosnia-Herzegovina along ethnic lines,
18 that is he envisaged ethnically pure areas. That book
19 was published, and it is not difficult to come by it.
20 It was published even before the elections in the '80s;
21 and I think that much was taken from Anto Valenta's book
22 for the establishment and the achievement of the
23 division of Bosnia.
24 Q. Did Anto Valenta have a particular role within the HVO?
25 A. Yes. Anto Valenta was first the President of the HDZ,
1 Croatian democratic community, and after some time he
2 was appointed Deputy President of the Croatian community
3 of Herceg-Bosnia, the deputy of Mr. Boban, therefore he
4 was a very high ranking Croatian official.
5 Q. How about Ivica Santic, what can you tell the court
6 about Ivica Santic?
7 A. I know Ivica Santic very well indeed as well. He is
8 also a chemistry engineer. He specialises in plastic
9 materials. He was my teacher in secondary school. He
10 taught chemistry, and we worked together in the
11 factory. The house he was born in is only 1 kilometre
12 away from mine, and our parents knew each other too.
13 At the time, he was the town mayor in the Vitez
14 municipality. We were friends as well.
15 Q. When the tensions in the Lasva Valley began to rise in
16 1992 what was the position of Ivica Santic concerning
17 the rights of the Bosnian Croats and the HVO as opposed
18 to the Muslims?
19 A. Ivica Santic was town mayor, as I have said. All
20 important decisions were taken by the mayor. In any
21 event, he was very much in control. The Muslims were
22 not a hindrance to him. However, the policies of the
23 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosnia had different
25 Q. Let us turn our attention to the third individual you
1 talked about Pero Skopljak. Can you tell the court
2 about Pero Skopljak?
3 A. Yes. Pero Skopljak, after the elections in 1991, was
4 appointed head of the police in Vitez, of the SUP, which
5 is the present Ministry of Internal Affairs. He worked
6 there for a time, and then he went to work as the
7 President of the HDZ. I did not know him as well as
8 Santic and Valenta. I know that he graduated in
9 theology at the university, so he was a priest.
10 Q. How about the individual named Mario Cerkez, do you know
11 Mario Cerkez and if you do can you tell the court about
12 Mario Cerkez?
13 A. Yes, I know Mario Cerkez very well. We worked together
14 in the same factory. First we were colleagues in the
15 same service and later on I was his superior. This was
16 a young man who was very polite, disciplined. He liked
17 to work. And his assignment in the service was to take
18 care of material and technical resources, and of the
19 weapons that we used in defence of the factory. We
20 would visit each other for holidays, and when new comers
21 joined us, or rather when we had -- when children were
22 born we would exchange visits. He visited my house
23 several times, as I did his.
24 Q. Moving outside the Vitez area do you know an individual
25 named Dario Kordic?
1 A. Yes. I did not know Dario Kordic until 1991. I met him
2 as the leader of the Bosnian Croats. I think he was
3 President of the HDZ in Busovaca and after some time he
4 also became a very high ranking official in
5 Herceg-Bosnia. Also I would see him frequently wearing
6 a uniform. He had some military assignments and duties
7 as well. I do not know much about him.
8 Q. Did you know the accused Tihomir Blaskic?
9 A. I met Tihomir Blaskic in 1992 when he came to Vitez.
10 Q. Did you know him prior to that time?
11 A. No.
12 Q. What role did the accused, Blaskic, have in Vitez when
13 he came in 1992?
14 A. When Blaskic came to Vitez he came as commander of the
15 operational zone of central Bosnia. At that time, the
16 commander of the operative zone, or rather the
17 headquarters of that zone, was actually being
18 established at the time.
19 Q. When you saw Blaskic in the Vitez area was he normally
20 dressed in a military uniform?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you describe that uniform?
23 A. Mr. Blaskic frequently wore a black uniform, and he also
24 were a camouflage uniform. When we were officially
25 introduced it was at the stadium in Vitez when the HVO
1 was taking an oath. That was when I met Blaskic. And
2 at that time he was wearing a black uniform.
3 Q. Just explain that oath taking ceremony a little bit
4 more. Explain this oath taking ceremony. Was there an
5 oath taking ceremony by the army of Bosnia and then by
6 the HVO? Could you explain that to the court?
7 A. Yes, I can. First of all members of the TO gave an
8 oath, and that happened before the school where the
9 headquarters was situated. I invited every one. The
10 military and political authorities of the HVO were to be
11 present there as guests to witness the oaths. A great
12 number of Croats accepted the invitation and were
13 present at the ceremony. A month or a month and a half
14 later, HVO also gave an oath at the City stadium in
15 Vitez. They also invited Muslims to be present as
16 guests. I was one of the guests.
17 Q. Who spoke at this oath taking ceremony for the HVO?
18 A. As far as I can remember, the mayor spoke, the mayor
19 Santic spoke, then Mario Cerkez and Dario Kordic.
20 Q. What did they say? What did they talk about?
21 A. The speeches made by these people mainly concentrated on
22 saying that it was the duty of the Croats to defend
23 Croatian areas, the so-called Herceg-Bosnia, with the
24 aim of defending spaces which historically belonged to
25 Croatia. And these areas were in fact areas which
1 belonged to both sides. It was specially Dario Kordic
2 who called upon Croats to fight to the last man for
3 these areas, for this territory. He also sent a message
4 to Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, then President of the State,
5 that soldiers of the HVO shall fight for Herceg-Bosnia
6 with their bodies and souls. He was applauded and given
7 an ovation, a military style ovation and it is
8 especially noteworthy that they gave him a fascist style
9 salute, ready for the motherland. That was the salute
10 of the Ustasha from the second world war.
11 Q. Did the speech by Dario Kordic make you uncomfortable,
12 and if so why?
13 A. Yes, it did. Dario Kordic's speech was specially
14 unpleasant to me, very unpleasant. I was sorry to be
15 there at all. I was sorry to be listening to those
16 things. If anybody had told me beforehand I would not
17 have believed them.
18 Q. Mr. Djidic, what about that speech would you not have
19 believed? Explain to the court. What got your
21 A. I would not have believed that there could be anyone in
22 this world who could dislike coexistence between nations
23 in Bosnia, and who wanted that state only for
24 themselves, for one nation. Nor could I believe that
25 Croats could be so much bothered by Muslims, because
1 there had not been a single gesture to show that in that
2 so-called Herceg-Bosnia other nations were living as
3 well, besides the Croats, such as Muslims, Serbs,
4 members of other nationalities.
5 Q. Was Blaskic there?
6 A. Yes, he was.
7 Q. Where was he seated?
8 A. Mr. Blaskic was up there with the guests at the elevated
10 Q. Are you referring to a podium?
11 A. Yes, it could be called that.
12 Q. Mr. Djidic, you said that Blaskic dressed in black.
13 A. Yes, I did.
14 Q. What did the dressing in black indicate to the Muslims,
15 or to you?
16 A. It meant nothing to me personally. In my view, anybody
17 is free to wear whatever they please. However, a black
18 uniform is traditionally the uniform worn by the Ustasha
19 in the Second World War. This is not to say that
20 Mr. Blaskic is an Ustasha. There were also Muslims who
21 wore black uniforms. Everybody had their own reasons
22 for choosing a black uniform.
23 Q. Mr. Djidic, is the individual you are referring to as
24 Mr. Blaskic, Tihomir Blaskic, is he in the courtroom
1 A. Yes, I am.
2 Q. Point to him.
3 A. This is the man (Indicates).
4 Q. Your Honours, at this time if we could hand out what has
5 been marked as Prosecutor's Exhibit 80, with the
6 assistance of the usher. (Handed). Mr. President, if
7 I could ask the court's indulgence and ask for the usher
8 to stand with Mr. Djidic and take this particular exhibit
9 apart and put the photographs on the ELMO it might be a
10 little more easier as Mr. Djidic is not as experienced
11 with the use of the ELMO as the usher is.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that would be fine Mr. Kehoe.
13 MR. KEHOE: I have marked a series of exhibits as
14 Prosecutor's Exhibit 80. If we could take that apart
15 Mr. Usher and go photograph by photograph. It might be
16 easier on the ELMO if we just take it apart.
17 JUDGE JORDA: This document which is 80, is this in fact
18 the photograph which is on the ELMO?
19 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, it is a composite Exhibit 80. In
20 the lower right-hand corner there is a number 22-446.
21 That will be the photograph on the ELMO right now.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, please go ahead.
23 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Djidic, turn if you can with the pointer and
24 with the individual photograph that is on the ELMO; do
25 you recognise these two individuals?
1 A. Yes, I do. This man here (Indicates) is Mr. Blaskic.
2 And this man here (Indicates) is Mr. Alagic.
3 Q. In that particular photograph is the defendant Blaskic
4 wearing a black uniform?
5 A. Yes, he is.
6 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph, which
7 is Z2447. Who are the individuals in that photograph?
8 A. This one is Mr. Blaskic (Indicates). This is
9 Mr. Mahmuljin. This is Mr. Alagic, and this man I do not
11 Q. By the way Mr. Djidic, General Alagic, who is General
13 A. General Alagic was commander of the VII Corp.
14 Q. Let us draw our attention to the next photograph, sir.
15 Who do you recognise in that photograph?
16 A. (Indicates) This is Mr. Blaskic. Behind him (Indicates)
17 the man in the white overcoat is a doctor from Vitez.
18 I do not know anyone else here.
19 Q. That particular photograph, your Honour, that is on the
20 ELMO right now, Z2448. Now, in that photograph,
21 Mr. Djidic, Mr. Blaskic has a camouflage uniform on, is
22 that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. With the existence of the usher, turn your attention to
25 the next photograph which is Z2449. Can you just centre
1 that a little bit? Do you recognise any of these people
2 in Z2449?
3 A. Yes. This man here (Indicates) is Milvoy Petkovic. And
4 Mr. Blaskic is the one behind him.
5 Q. Who is Milvoy Petkovic?
6 A. Milvoy Petkovic is a high ranking officer in the HVO.
7 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph which
8 is Z2450. Again, who are these people?
9 A. We see again Mr. Petkovic, Mr. Blaskic. I know this man
10 here, but I cannot remember his name.
11 Q. Keep going on, Mr. Djidic. We are talking about now
12 Z2445. If we could put that next photograph on the
14 A. On this photograph I recognise Mr. Filip Filipovic.
15 Q. He is the individual on the right-hand side with the
16 grey hair?
17 A. Yes, he is.
18 Q. Okay. Good.
19 A. Next to him sits Mr. Blaskic, and this man here
20 (Indicates), is Franjo Nakic.
21 Q. With the assistance of the usher could we move to the
22 next photograph Z2456? Do you recognise any of these
24 A. (Indicates) this is Mr. Kostroman from Busovaca.
25 Q. Who is Mr. Kostroman?
1 A. Mr. Kostroman is an official of the HDZ from Busovaca.
2 I think it was him. It was he who organised the press
3 conferences of the HVO for the television in Busovaca
4 and Vitez. I do not know for sure what his duties were,
5 but he appeared very often at those press conferences as
6 the host.
7 Q. Who else appeared at those press conferences besides
9 A. This man here is Dario Kordic (Indicates). This one is
10 Anto Valenta, and this civilian is from Vitez, I think
11 his name is also Anto.
12 Q. Turn your attention to the next photograph, Z2457, if we
13 could put that on the ELMO. Could you point out the
14 individuals on that photograph that you recognise? If
15 we could shift that a little bit to the right? Can we
16 move that over just a little bit so we get the full
17 photograph? A little bit more. Okay, thank you.
18 A. This is Anto Valenta (Indicates). This is Pero
19 Skopljak. This is Ivica Santic (Indicates). That man
20 is the Tihomir Blaskic.
21 Q. Mr. Djidic, are these the three individuals Anto Valenta,
22 Ivica Santic and Pero Skopljak, who you described as
23 being some of the political leaders of Herceg-Bosnia
24 which gave such a difficult time to the Muslims?
25 A. Yes, those are the people.
1 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph,
3 A. This is Mr. Blaskic (Indicates). This is Mr. Kordic
4 (Indicates). Mr. Kulstrama (Indicates). I think this is
5 Anto Spajic.
6 Q. Staying with that photograph, Mr. Djidic, Z2457 you
7 mentioned previously that Kostroman was one of the
8 individuals at the press conference, and that Kordic was
9 often there with him; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, that is so.
11 Q. Did you see the defendant Blaskic with him?
12 A. Yes, I have seen Blaskic as well, but not many times.
13 Q. When these individuals were on television what were they
14 discussing at these press conferences?
15 MR. HAYMAN: Can we have some clarification as to "these
17 MR. KEHOE: The three individuals, Kostroman Kordic and
18 Blaskic. When they were on television at these press
19 conferences, Mr. Djidic, what were they talking about?
20 A. Yes, press conferences were held very often. They
21 usually discussed decisions of the HVO government,
22 decisions of the government of the HDZ, the Croatian
23 democratic community; and the assignments given by these
24 authorities. Also these press conferences discussed
25 military operations which were then underway in Bosnia,
1 carried out by the Serbian aggressor.
2 Q. Did it appear to you, Mr. Djidic, that these individuals
3 were working together?
4 A. Yes, of course.
5 Q. Let us turn our attention to the final photograph in
6 this exhibit, Z2459. If we could put that on the ELMO,
7 with the assistance of the usher. Again, just point out
8 the individuals you recognise?
9 A. (Indicates) This here is Mr. Kulstrama. This is
10 Mr. Kordic (Indicates). This is Anto Valenta
11 (Indicates). And this is another Anto. I do not
12 recognise the others.
13 Q. Your Honours, at this time the Prosecutor would offer
14 into evidence Prosecutor's Exhibit 80. With the
15 assistance of the usher if we could put that exhibit
16 back together again, and we will move on with the
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Dubuisson, with the agreement of both
19 parties the whole album is going to be 80. Exhibit 80,
20 is that correct? Actually, no, we are going to take a
21 10 minute break because we are going to finish at 5. We
22 will suspend the hearing for 10 minutes.
23 (4.00 pm)
24 (Short Break).
25 (4.20 pm)
1 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume our hearing, please be
2 seated. Mr. Kehoe, proceed, please.
3 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Djidic, just to
4 clarify a couple of points. During your testimony
5 concerning the swearing in ceremony you noted there was
6 a swearing in ceremony for the Territorial Defence.
7 Could you explain to The Chamber what the Territorial
8 Defence was?
9 A. The Territorial Defence implied the organisation of the
10 people of Bosnia-Herzegovina intended to defend the
11 whole territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the areas that
12 were not swept by the war, that is wherever that was
13 possible. Its aim was protection of all citizens living
14 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, or rather in those parts where it
15 was possible to organise it. The Territorial Defence
16 consisted of people of all ethnic backgrounds, but the
17 Muslims were the most numerous.
18 Q. Mr. Djidic, you were in the Territorial Defence in Vitez?
19 A. Yes, I was.
20 Q. Was it solely a Muslim function, or were there only
21 Muslims in the Territorial Defence in Vitez?
22 A. No. In the Territorial Defence of Vitez there were both
23 Croats and Serbs and Muslims. In the TO headquarters
24 there were officers who were Croats, who worked in the
25 Territorial Defence for a period of time. Mostly all
1 the officers of the former JNA, who were expelled or who
2 had fled from the JNA, were involved in the Territorial
3 Defence. With the formation of the HVO, a separation
4 occurred among these people, too, that is officers of
5 Croatian ethnic background left the duties they
6 performed within the Territorial Defence.
7 Q. Did they leave voluntarily?
8 A. Yes. The officers abandoned the Territorial Defence
9 headquarters, but there was a certain amount of pressure
10 on the part of the HVO on individual officers and
11 soldiers. There were some who left the TO headquarters
12 with tears in their eyes, because some of them did not
13 agree with the policies of the HDZ, and the HVO.
14 Q. Just changing subjects a little bit Mr. Djidic, can you
15 explain to the court what the crisis committee was in
16 Vitez, when it was established, and what it was set up
17 to do?
18 A. The crisis staff is a body formed with its main goal
19 being to try to link the civilian with the military
20 authorities, to tackle certain problems, and to focus on
21 defence against the Chetniks. It was a group of people
22 from the civilian and military authorities. It was of
23 mixed composition, that is consisting of Croats and
25 Q. Do you remember who was on the crisis staff, who was on
1 the crisis committee?
2 A. I do remember quite a number of them. They were mostly
3 political and military leaders. The people I have
4 already mentioned: the mayor, the presidents of the
5 parties, the general managers of large work
6 organisations, businessmen, simply people who were able
7 to make decisions.
8 Q. Mr. Djidic, are you saying that Mayor Santic was on that
10 A. Yes, he was.
11 Q. Pero Skopljak?
12 A. Pero Skopljak, Marjan Skopljak, Anto Valenta, Mario
13 Cerkez. I was on it. Mr. Kaknjo, Mr. Kajmovic,
14 Dr Mujezinovic and some others.
15 Q. After the establishment of the HVO and -- did you
16 attempt, through the crisis committee to have the HVO
17 and the Territorial Defence work together?
18 A. Yes. It was not just me. At that time the division was
19 still not so pronounced. There were agreements in
20 principle that a joint brigade should be formed, which
21 would consist of both Croats and Muslims. There were
22 even proposals as to who would be in the command of that
23 brigade, since the Croats were the majority population
24 in Vitez. On one occasion we had agreed that the
25 brigade commander should be a Croat, Mr. Nakic, and that
1 his deputy should be a Muslim, and I was supposed to be
2 that. We had a group of people, particularly officers,
3 who had escaped from the former JNA whose assignment it
4 was to prepare a plan for the establishment of such a
5 joint brigade. People were enthusiastic about it.
6 However, that joint brigade was never in effect
8 Q. Were there any proposals on any side as to what this
9 joint brigade was going to be named?
10 A. Yes, there were various proposals made. But it was
11 mostly expected to be a joint brigade, and its task
12 would have been to defend Vitez. In the subsequent
13 negotiations, the HDZ and the HVO did not agree to such
14 a joint brigade, but demanded that there should be a
15 joint brigade, but that it should be an HVO brigade. In
16 other words, that the activities of the Territorial
17 Defence in Vitez should be suspended, which was
18 certainly not acceptable to the Muslims.
19 Q. Who in the HVO refused to go along with the joint
20 brigades of Muslims and the HVO?
21 A. Mostly the political leaders. At a meeting once when we
22 were discussing a joint unit and how we would call it, a
23 friend of mine, a Croat who was sitting next to me at
24 the meeting proposed, to me, that the insignia for the
25 military could be HMVO, standing for the Croatian Muslim
1 Defence Council, the majority of people were eager to
2 accept such a proposal. We left the meeting in the
3 conviction that we would succeed. However, in a couple
4 of days Anto Valenta said that nothing would come of it,
5 and then there were further attempts made to link the TO
6 and the HVO, but we were not successful.
7 Q. Did Valenta tell you why nothing was going to come of
9 A. He made explanations at meetings about this. The policy
10 of the HVO in Herceg-Bosnia was that there could be only
11 one army, and that army would have to be the HVO. That
12 the TO should be extinguished. Anto Valenta, in
13 particular, referred to the example of Mostar and at
14 that time in Mostar there was a large scale war going
15 on, major attacks by the Chetnics and a large number of
16 Muslims were in the HVO. And he would say that the
17 Muslims of Vitez, too, should come under the control and
18 the command of the HVO, which did not favour a solution
19 that will be acceptable to all.
20 Q. Now during what time frame are these negotiations and
21 discussions taking place?
22 A. These discussions were taking place in the course of
23 1992, and even into the beginning of 1993. First, there
24 was talk of a joint army, then about the HVO alone, and
25 then after the first clash talk was again revived about
1 a joint army.
2 Q. Let us talk a little bit about this build up to the
3 first clash. Can you describe that to the court? What
4 was going on before the first clash, and then discuss
5 with the court the actual first clash?
6 A. The first clash between the army and the HVO in Vitez
7 occurred on the 20th October, 1992. And on a broader
8 area of central Bosnia, on the 18th of October, the HVO
9 attacked Novi Travnik. The conflict went on for two or
10 three days, and after that, approximately for a month,
11 the HVO intensified its pressure on the TO, to place
12 itself under the command of the HVO. A month later, the
13 situation on the front changed. The Chetnics made
14 advances on several fronts. And negotiations were under
15 way regarding the new structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
16 and people were waiting to see what would happen. In
17 any event, around the month of October I received
18 several ultimatums, to the effect that the Territorial
19 Defence should surrender its weapons and place itself
20 under the command of the HVO.
21 The political situation led up to this actually
22 not taking place. On one occasion, Mr. Blaskic, at a
23 meeting when I went to him, said that no one had the
24 right to force anyone to come under his command, which
25 was correct on his part. Probably Mr. Blaskic, in those
1 days, was better informed about the situation on the
2 front than the HVO political leaders. And after the
3 conflict, there was a period of attempts being made to
4 organise a joint struggle against the Chetnics. And
5 there were some very good proposals made to send --
6 deploy units on the front. Something changed within the
7 HVO, and especially when, at the end of October, the
8 Chetnics captured Jajce. The Chetnics captured Jajce
9 immediately after the conflict in Vitez. And, as a sign
10 of goodwill to co-operate and defend Bosnia, I proposed
11 to Mr. Cerkez that we should jointly organise the Croats
12 and the Muslims, and position them outside the hotel in
13 Vitez, so that all the citizens of Vitez would see them,
14 so that both Muslim mothers, and Croat mothers could
15 weep as they despatched their sons to the front.
16 My idea was to restore trust among the people, so
17 that the people could feel more secure, because if they
18 had seen Muslims and Croats jointly going to the front
19 to fight the Chetnics, surely life in Vitez would have
20 improved, and not only in Vitez but broader. My idea
21 did not succeed. I did not manage to come to an
22 agreement with Mario. In any case, at that time, it was
23 Mr. Blaskic who took control, as well as Mr. Merdan who
24 had highly productive meetings and agreements, first of
25 all the army could move around without any difficulty,
1 but the agreement was that a day in advance the
2 departure of the army to the front should be announced.
3 The exact number of men going, and the line of movement,
4 where they would be going to. This had to be done so as
5 to ease tensions, and so that there would be no
6 obstacles in passing through checkpoints which existed
7 at the time. But unfortunately only TO members in those
8 days were going to fight the Chetnics. The front was at
9 Visoko and the Vlasic, Mont Vlasic. Whereas HVO members
10 took positions on the nearby hill above Vitez, called
11 Kuber, and there were never any Chetnics there. It was
12 only later that parts of units of the HVO joined in the
13 struggle against the Chetnics, on the ground, in the
14 area between Novi Travnik and Travnik, where very few
15 HVO soldiers from Vitez, I am talking about soldiers
16 from Vitez only, very few of them were on the
17 confrontation line with the Chetnics.
18 Q. Now, just going back, Mr. Djidic, you mentioned that the
19 first conflict was in Novi Travnik in October. What was
20 that conflict all about. Why was there a fight in Novi
21 Travnik in October 1992?
22 A. I was not in Novi Travnik at the time, but throughout
23 central Bosnia-Herzegovina the problems were very much
24 alike and those were that attempts were being made by
25 the HVO for TO members to be placed under the HVO
1 command, or rather for the Muslims to be disarmed. The
2 situation in all the towns of central Bosnia was
3 virtually identical. What were the real reasons? In
4 Novi Travnik and how the conflict broke out I can only
5 assume, but it is the same kind of policy of the HVO,
6 that was implemented in Vitez as well.
7 Q. During the conflict in Novi Travnik, did you participate
8 in a phone call with Froid Kaknjo to Dario Kordic to
9 discuss this conflict?
10 A. I listened to a telephone conversation between Kordic
11 and Kaknjo. The two of them were talking.
12 Q. Tell us about that.
13 A. On one occasion, Mr. Kaknjo needed to call up Mr. Kordic,
14 because there was a lot of shooting going on in Novi
15 Travnik, and in those days we were having meetings in
16 Vitez. He wanted to consult him over something.
17 However, when he raised the receiver and asked for
18 Kordic he did not hear his voice, because Mr. Kordic was
19 apparently speaking on another line, on maybe on the
20 Motorola, so he passed the receiver to me, and he said
21 listen to Kordic, and I heard clearly that he was
22 issuing orders, among other words I heard, I heard he
23 was shouting at someone, and he said "burn that over
24 there", I do not know what he had in mind, what he was
25 referring to. Then a couple of minutes later Kordic
1 took the receiver and said to Kaknjo, using rough words,
2 unkind words, that he did not have any time for him. At
3 that time, while the two of them were talking, Kordic
4 was in Novi Travnik, and his number was known to Kaknjo.
5 Q. Novi Travnik was in the central Bosnia operative zone at
6 that time, was it not?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Who was the commander of the central Bosnia operative
9 zone in October of 1992?
10 A. At that time, Mr. Blaskic was the commander.
11 Q. The defendant?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Shortly after the outbreak in hostilities in Novi
14 Travnik was there trouble in the Vitez area including
15 the village of Ahmici?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Could you explain that to the court?
18 A. Yes, I can. Somewhere around the 18th October I was
19 informed that the HVO had attacked Novi Travnik. In the
20 afternoon I left home and at the checkpoint the HVO
21 checkpoint at the railway station of Vitez, I saw a
22 small column of vehicles, three or four trucks, with
23 quite a large number of soldiers in them. In the first
24 truck I saw Mr. Kordic. He was in uniform. He had a
25 walkie-talkie attached to his lapel of his uniform and
1 the HVO soldiers, who happened to be at the checkpoint,
2 were saluting him, even a neighbour of mine called Ivo
3 Vidovic took out a big knife and waved it as a sign of
4 greeting. The HVO tried to stop me at that checkpoint,
5 but I managed to pass in the direction of Vitez. The
6 column in which Kordic was left along the transit road
7 going along side Vitez to Novi Travnik. After that,
8 I got in touch with the brigade commander, or rather of
9 the Territorial Defence, at that time, in Novi Travnik,
10 Mr. Lendo, who told me that the TO had been attacked.
11 Also, I got in touch with Mr. Merdan and told him what
12 I had heard, and he told me that he had been informed
13 about it. I asked Mr. Lendo how I could be of
14 assistance, and he said: "There is nothing you can do,
15 only perhaps if you could try to stop or prevent HVO
16 troops," which were coming from the direction of
17 Busovaca and we had been informed that from the
18 direction of Busovaca a large column was on its way, of
19 HVO troops, heading towards Vitez, or rather Novi
21 Q. Did you order that anything be done?
22 A. I consulted with my superior command, and I was told
23 that we should strengthen security measures at
24 checkpoints and that we should not stop anyone if they
25 were individuals, and that we should inform the staff of
1 what we were doing, but if a larger group of soldiers
2 appeared, then that the headquarters had to be informed
3 and an attempt made to prevent their passage through
4 Vitez. In those days, I was in touch with Mr. Cerkez,
5 and told him that these were very grave problems, that
6 the HVO should not be allowed to pass through Vitez,
7 that there was fighting in Novi Travnik. And he said
8 that it was not my concern, that these were problems
9 which would be resolved in Novi Travnik, which was not
10 very convincing. A small barricade was put up of two
11 ramps, and Cerkez demanded that it be removed. There
12 were negotiations, and even in the medical centre these
13 talks were organised by the local physician, who tried
14 to reason with us, so that there would be no hostilities
15 in Vitez. All attempts to end this peacefully failed,
16 and the HVO wanted, by force, to pass through the
18 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Djidic. Mr. President?
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I wanted to say that the witness should
20 complete this answer by no further questions, because
21 the Trial Chamber must end this hearing at 5 o'clock.
22 Let him finish the answer to that question and then we
23 will adjourn until tomorrow morning.
24 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Could you continue,
25 Mr. Djidic?
1 A. Thank you. The HVO tried to pass by force, and they
2 managed, because the Muslims were not prepared to shoot
3 and kill. That was not our aim. But they did not
4 manage to pass through the proper checkpoint, well
5 organised one, that existed -- that had existed for some
6 time, for several months in fact, at Bila. The HVO
7 troops probably went to Novi Travnik along some other
9 JUDGE JORDA: The Tribunal will now adjourn and resume
10 tomorrow at 10 o'clock.
11 (5.05 pm)
12 (Hearing adjourned until 10.00 am
13 on Tuesday 29th July, 1997)