1 Wednesday, 4th November, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.09 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the
5 accused brought in, please, Mr. Registrar.
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters and to Defence and Prosecution counsel, to
9 the accused. We will resume our work now, once the
10 witness, Father Pervan, has come into the courtroom.
11 It's Father Ivan Pervan; is that correct?
12 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE JORDA: But the family name is Pervan.
14 MR. NOBILO: Ivan Pervan, that's correct,
16 (The witness entered court)
17 JUDGE JORDA: Father Ivan, do you feel all
18 right? Did you rest well last night? We can resume
19 our work. Can you hear me?
20 THE WITNESS: Good morning, Your Honours.
21 Yes, I can hear you very well.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley?
23 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
24 morning, Your Honours, good morning counsel. Good
25 morning, Mr. Pervan.
1 WITNESS: FATHER IVAN PERVAN
2 Examined by Mr. Cayley:
3 Q. Mr. Pervan, yesterday you stated that Father
4 Bozo was an honest man who very often criticised the
5 authorities in Kiseljak for the difficulties that the
6 Muslims were having to undergo; do you recall that?
7 A. Yes, Father Bozo very often in our meetings
8 spoke about errors, that is to say the difficulties
9 that the Muslims had to pass through. Those same
10 difficulties that they had to go through is something
11 that I spoke about publicly. Bozo was not in
12 Kiseljak. He was in Lepenica. That was where his
13 duties were, and at that time, it was necessary to
14 speak of these problems that these people encountered.
15 Q. Who did he address within the HVO authorities
16 in Kiseljak about?
17 A. I do not know that he addressed them
18 officially, because he saw them very rarely, but as
19 Kiseljak is not a large town, he was able to meet
20 them. He was able to see them, for example, when he
21 asked permission for the office in which he was
23 So, I don't know that he did publicly address
24 them or wrote to them. Whether he telephoned them, I
25 cannot say.
1 Q. I would be right to say that he spoke to
2 Mr. Josip Boro and Mr. Ivica Rajic, Mr. Miro Bozic
3 about the problems, the difficulties that the Muslims
4 were suffering in Kiseljak?
5 A. I cannot confirm that because I don't know
6 about it.
7 Q. You don't know who he spoke to within the HVO
8 authorities in Kiseljak about the difficulties of the
10 A. No, I don't know who he spoke to, but he felt
11 this, and he had the need to speak to us clergymen at
12 our meetings and when we would meet. So, I don't know
13 who he spoke about this to. He did have a need to
14 speak about it, but I don't know who he actually spoke
16 Q. Now, let's speak about the meaning of the
17 word "difficulties." Now, I'm right in saying, am I
18 not, that difficulties means the looting of Muslim
19 property, the torching of their homes, and the forced
20 expulsion of Muslims from Kiseljak; that's right, isn't
22 A. Yes, you're right, those are difficulties for
23 everyone to whom such a difficulty occurs.
24 Q. Now, you said yesterday, and you said again
25 today that you made criticism from the altar of your
1 church about the suffering of the Muslim community in
3 Did you name any individuals that were
4 involved in creating these difficulties for the
6 A. On several occasions I did speak about the
7 evils that were taking place in our area. I was not
8 present when the difficulties happened, that is to say,
9 I don't know who destroyed and set fire to the
10 Merhamet. I don't know which group of people did that,
11 and I did not decisively name anybody from the altar,
12 from the pulpit, and it is not the practice of the
13 church to condemn any individual human being from the
15 Q. Now, you said yesterday that you were aware
16 that fighting took place in Rotilj in April of 1993; is
17 that right?
18 A. Yes, when I came back from Split I learned of
19 the fighting that had gone on up there, that there were
20 dead, and that there were facilities which were set
21 fire to. I learned of this from the people when I
22 returned to Kiseljak.
23 Q. Are you aware, Mr. Pervan, that the HVO
24 commenced combat operations on the 18th of April, 1993,
25 in the Kiseljak municipality?
1 A. The fighting took place on the one side
2 between the national communities, ethnic groups, that
3 is to say, the Croats and Muslims or the Muslims and
4 Croats, and quite obviously at that time and already in
5 1992 the HVO had been formed and the army of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina had been set up. So, I think that
7 the war was a war between two armies.
8 Q. Have you seen any written combat orders prior
9 to your testimony today?
10 A. I have not seen any written combat orders. I
11 didn't see any then or since then, now or at any time.
12 MR. CAYLEY: Well, if the witness could be
13 shown Exhibit 456/22, please. That's Prosecutor's
14 Exhibit 456/22. If, Mr. Registrar, you could have
15 Defence Exhibit 306, Prosecutor's Exhibit 456/50 and
16 Prosecutor's Exhibit 298 handy, that would be useful.
17 Q. Now, Father, I know you're not a military
18 man, but I would like to draw your attention to a
19 number of points in this order. You will see that the
20 date of the order is the 17th of April, 1993; do you
21 see that?
22 A. I apologise, but I was busy reading through
23 the document and I didn't realise that you were
24 addressing me. Could you please repeat the question
25 and just give me a few moments to read the document?
1 Q. Mr. Pervan, just read through the document
2 and then I will ask you the question.
3 A. Very well, thank you.
4 Yes, I've read it.
5 Q. Now, you would agree with me that this order
6 was issued on the 17th of April; wouldn't you, 1993?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Quite simply, it's an order for combat
9 operations; is it not?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. In paragraph 2, the assignment for the Ban
12 Jelacic Brigade is set out, and I will summarise it;
13 essentially to capture the villages of Gomionica and
14 Svinjarevo through the systematic use of various types
15 of mortar. Do you agree with me there?
16 A. That's what it says.
17 Q. The operation is to begin on the 18th of
18 April, 1993, at 0530 hours? That's in paragraph 10.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The order is, in fact, signed by Tihomir
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could now be
24 shown Exhibit D306.
25 Q. Have you read it?
1 A. Yes, I have, I have read it. I have not read
2 everything, because some of the things are illegible,
3 like the title at the top of the page, the heading.
4 Q. I can assist you there. The date is, in
5 fact, the 18th of April, 1993, and the time is 1645
7 You would agree with me that this is a report
8 in response to the order that I've just read out to you
9 of the 17th of April? This is a response from the Ban
10 Jelacic Brigade to the Central Bosnian Operative Zone;
11 is it not?
12 A. That's what it says, yes.
13 Q. To summarise the report, it indicates that
14 the conflict has spread to the villages of Rotilj,
15 Visnjica, Dolce, Hercezi, and Brestoska?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. It indicates that the HVO has not yet managed
18 to take the village of Gomionica?
19 A. Well, if you're expecting an answer, then
20 this is what I have to say: When I learned that I
21 would come before this Honourable Trial Chamber
22 one-and-a-half months ago, I talked to a man in Rotilj
23 who was with a man in Borina who was there when the
24 fighting took place in Rotilj. He told me that they
25 did have an order at 0530 hours, but that they
1 discussed this and that they wanted to surrender their
3 Having mentioned Gomionica, I said in my
4 testimony yesterday that on the 7th I returned from
5 Split via Fojnica and I was not able to pass at the
6 Fojnica cross-roads, junction, because from the
7 direction of Gomionica, which was not far from the
8 road, there was constant shooting. I think that is an
9 answer to what you have just asked me.
10 Q. The man that you discussed matters with in
11 Rotilj, he was a member of the local HVO --
12 A. I apologise, Your Honour, I said the man from
13 Borina and he was there when the fighting was going on
14 in Rotilj. The man is from Borina.
15 Q. This gentleman from Borina who received this
16 order to commence operations at 0530, he was a member
17 of the HVO, wasn't he, at the time?
18 A. That man who told me about this a
19 month-and-a-half ago was a member of the HVO, but he
20 did not get an order. He just said, and I quote, that
21 "The fighting was to have begun at 0530 hours. We
22 stopped and continued negotiations."
23 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could be shown
24 Exhibit 456/50, please.
25 A. I have read it.
1 Q. To summarise, this is an order of the 19th of
2 April of 1993 to the Ban Jelacic Brigade from Colonel
3 Blaskic urging the forces in Kiseljak to go on and take
4 Gomionica; is that correct?
5 A. That's what it says.
6 MR. CAYLEY: Now, if Exhibit 298 could be
7 placed on the ELMO.
8 Q. This is in English, Mr. Pervan, so you won't
9 need to read it, but I will read it out to you and
10 counsel can follow along.
11 Now, you would agree with me that those
12 orders and reports, read together, show that a combat
13 operation commenced on the 18th of April at 0530 in the
14 morning and continued through in the 19th of April;
15 would you agree with me there?
16 A. I would agree with you, with your sentence,
17 but I should like to add that what I heard was that on
18 the other side there were military units. That's what
19 I heard.
20 Q. Now, this next document is an ECMM report.
21 You recall the ECMM in Kiseljak; do you not?
22 A. I do not at the moment recall any names,
23 because there were so many people from monitoring
24 missions, UNPROFOR and other people who were there
25 doing I don't know what duty, passed through Kiseljak
1 and through my own house, that it was a mass of
3 But I did see people who were equipped, and
4 whether they were wearing UNPROFOR uniforms or monitor
5 uniforms, or whatever, but there were different groups
6 of people there at the time.
7 Q. But you recall the organisation of ECMM being
8 present in Kiseljak in 1993.
9 A. Yes, there were monitors in Kiseljak.
10 Q. This is a report written by a witness who has
11 given evidence before these Judges. It is dated the
12 25th of April, 1993, and it is titled "Special Report
13 on Alleged Ethnic Cleansing."
14 "From 1500 hours, 18th April, to 1200 hours
15 19 April, about 20 masked soldiers, alleged to be HVO,
16 some possibly from the neighbourhood, kind of death
17 commando, entered the above village and destroyed all
18 the Muslim houses from the west part of the village.
19 Nineteen houses, some garages, stables, and other
20 constructions. The village was not defended by any
21 force, since all of their soldiers were deployed in the
22 Visoko area. None of the Croat houses were damaged.
23 All of the houses were burned down, looted and some
24 were vandalised. As this was happening, most of the
25 inhabitants had been evacuated to the south-east older
1 part, except for seven persons who were savagely
2 executed. On the next morning many young and old men
3 were arrested and put into gaol in the Kiseljak HVO
5 Now, Father, I know you were not there at the
6 time, but is that what you heard happened in Rotilj on
7 the 18th and 19th of April, 1993?
8 A. I did not hear about it in detail, so
10 Q. Did you hear that Muslim houses had been
11 looted and burned in Rotilj on the 18th and 19th of
12 April, 1993?
13 A. Until the present day one can see that some
14 houses are burned down and destroyed. I imagine that
15 it is certain that there was looting and violent
16 behaviour too.
17 Q. Were any Croat houses looted and burned on
18 that day in Rotilj?
19 A. I'm not aware of that.
20 Q. Are you aware of the murder of seven
21 civilians in that village on the 18th of April?
22 A. I heard about that, notably the murder of a
24 Q. Zibija Skrso, does that name refresh your
25 memory? Skrso? Perhaps it's my pronunciation.
1 A. I think that could be the name.
2 Q. Let me read to you the list of people
3 murdered that day and you can tell me whether or not
4 you recognise them. "Zibija Skrso, a 31-year-old
5 woman, raped and then killed by firearms. We saw the
6 evidence in the house and the blood stains."
7 Do you recall hearing that that had happened?
8 A. Well, Your Honours, as I was inquiring of the
9 dead, I talked to a lady doctor who was in Rotilj, and
10 she confirmed this. They called her to tell her that
11 this woman was killed. She walked in and said the
12 following. She said to me, "I walked in and I saw her
13 with her head back, half sitting, half lying, and she
14 had clothes on."
15 I asked the lady doctor a few times, "Doctor,
16 was she raped"? She said, "I cannot confirm that, all
17 of this happened very quickly, and she was dressed, she
18 had her clothes on."
19 So I asked Dr. Golubovic this same question
20 several times.
21 Q. Do you recall that Miralem Topalovic and Esad
22 Topalovic were both killed, father and son?
23 A. I must say the following, that in Kiseljak,
24 when the fighting broke out, I had been the parish
25 priest for only a year and a half. I didn't even know
1 all my own parishioners and, especially, I didn't know
2 all the Muslims, because they don't come to church
3 anyway. I would see them seldom. I saw only a few
4 people who held public posts in the municipality. I
5 knew the people from Merhamet. I knew the hodzas, the
6 Muslim clergymen, and their names. Someone such as
7 Skrso, Pavlovic, Pusculovic, I'm aware of those family
8 names, that those are family names from Kiseljak. I
9 didn't know any one of these people, though.
10 Q. So you didn't know Bajro Pusculovic and Zila
12 A. No, I did not. Even now, I only know ten or
13 fifteen Muslims by their names. I don't know their
14 names and surnames. I don't even know all my own
15 parishioners because, including the refugees, I have
16 over 7.000 parishioners now, and it is quite difficult
17 for anyone. I don't know all their names, surnames,
18 and I don't know their faces, and I don't know their
20 Q. Did you hear, after the event, of an elderly
21 couple who had been burned alive in their house?
22 A. I think that this was being talked about.
23 Q. Well, that was Mr. and Mrs. Pusculovic. I
24 take it that you know nothing about the killing of
25 Dzevad Hodzic and Jihad Kosavac?
1 A. I must tell you that I heard that there were
2 people who were killed, who were dead, but no where did
3 I see this list, so I cannot remember any individual
4 murders. It is the first time on this screen that I
5 see a list of people who got killed in Rotilj, if that
6 is the list.
7 Q. I'll move on, Mr. Pervan. If the usher could
8 turn to the last page, I'll read the final paragraph,
9 which reads as follows, and this was the finding of
10 ECMM on 25 April, '93: "There are about 600
11 inhabitants that lived in the south-west part of the
12 village. They are restricted to their village, being
13 surrounded by HVO. They are without electricity,
14 telephone, water supply, and food supply is low. They
15 have an urgent need of a doctor or nurse. They have
16 kids with high fever and no medication. Within this
17 number, there are about 100 to 150 refugees from
19 When you returned in May, is that the
20 position that you found in Rotilj?
21 A. I certainly did not go to Rotilj the very
22 first day. I do not know what the situation was like
23 during those days. I have said, and I state this with
24 full responsibility, that there was a lady doctor in
25 the village who certainly did stand by her doctor's
1 oath and who certainly did favours to them.
2 The military conflict and the shooting took
3 their toll. People were frightened. We were all
4 frightened. There were certainly dead people on both
5 sides. There was fear. I know that houses and stables
6 were burned down. As houses fell, the electricity
7 lines and the telephone lines broke down in Kiseljak
8 and in Rotilj, because these were transmission lines in
9 the air. They were not in the ground. So this is
10 quite plausible.
11 Q. Your testimony is that, since you were not in
12 Kiseljak on the 25th of April, 1993, you have no idea
13 of the condition of the Muslim villages at that time;
14 is that correct?
15 A. Yes. I was not aware of this situation. I
16 was in Split, and I did not have any telephone links
17 with Kiseljak.
18 Q. Father, are you aware of any investigation
19 taking place by the civilian or military police into
20 the events that occurred in Rotilj?
21 A. I'm not aware of that.
22 Q. Are you aware of anybody being punished for
23 what happened in the village of Rotilj on the 18th and
24 19th of April, 1993?
25 A. I'm not aware of that.
1 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you. I've finished with
2 that exhibit now.
3 Q. Father, I want to explore with you the
4 condition of the village of Rotilj and the Muslims
5 living within it over the year of 1993. I don't want
6 to go through every month, because we'll be here for
7 weeks. What I wish to do with you is take three points
8 in time where you can explain to the Judges what you
9 found in the village of Rotilj.
10 Have you taken a look at this aerial
11 photograph that's on the easel?
12 A. Yes. I saw it yesterday when you put it up.
13 Q. Did you recognise the area? I know you're a
14 local, but it's not always easy to recognise one's
15 place of residence from the air. Do you recognise it?
16 A. I would have to take a look from the front.
17 Q. Please do.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Please come closer to the map.
19 Get up and get closer to the map. The usher might help
20 you with the microphone in order to help you answer
21 more easily.
22 THE REGISTRAR: If you allow, this is
23 document 76.
24 A. Yes. I recognised it.
25 MR. CAYLEY: Please remain standing. Could
1 the usher please give Father Pervan a pointer?
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, you can approach
3 the map as well.
4 MR. CAYLEY:
5 Q. Mr. Pervan, can you point to the village of
6 Borina on the map?
7 A. This is Donja Borina. This is Gornja Borina,
8 a few houses.
9 Q. You are pointing to the houses which, on the
10 photograph, are directly above the village of Rotilj.
11 In fact, the road through Borina runs parallel to the
12 road through Rotilj? Is that correct, what I've just
14 A. Yes, yes, yes.
15 Q. The village of Borina is, in fact, a Bosnian
16 Croat village, is it not?
17 A. The village of Borina is a Croatian village.
18 Q. How far, in terms of distance, is Borina from
19 Rotilj at the closest point?
20 A. The closest point is up here at the top of
21 the village of Borina (indicating), and here is also a
22 Croat house, so up here (indicating). Up here, I think
23 these are Croat houses over here, and these are Muslim
24 houses over here (indicating).
25 Q. What would you estimate the distance to be in
1 metres at the closest point between Rotilj and Borina?
2 A. From 10 to 100 metres. That is what I said
3 yesterday. It's over here (indicating), and over here
4 (indicating), the maximum is 300 metres, not even that
6 Q. On that side, the village of Borina runs
7 parallel for the whole distance of the village of
8 Rotilj; is that correct?
9 A. Could you please repeat your question?
10 Q. Am I right in saying that the village of
11 Borina runs parallel and above the whole of the
12 distance of the village of Rotilj?
13 A. Yes. Those are two parallel villages, two
14 parallel villages.
15 Q. During the conflict, the HVO controlled the
16 village of Borina, did it not?
17 A. Yes, it did.
18 Q. The Kiseljak barracks, how far are the
19 Kiseljak barracks from Rotilj?
20 A. Five to seven minutes on foot.
21 Q. The village of Rotilj extends down a long
22 road. What is the distance from the main road to the
23 end of the village, approximately?
24 A. You mean from this point (indicating) to
1 Q. Correct.
2 A. I think two and a half kilometres. I never
3 watched the clock in my car, but I think it's about
4 four minutes.
5 Q. An estimate is fine, Mr. Pervan. You're
6 doing very well. The village of Rotilj is located --
7 A. Thank you.
8 Q. -- the village of Rotilj is located in a
9 valley, is it not --
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. -- with steep hills on both sides?
12 A. Well, not exactly. From Borina, yes, but
13 towards Pazavici, there's a gentle slope.
14 Q. They will not be on this photograph, I
15 suspect, but where was the confrontation line between
16 the HVO and the ABiH. Where was the front-line?
17 A. I was not in Rotilj, and I don't know where
18 this was. I can't answer that question.
19 Q. You don't know where the front-line was
20 between the HVO and the ABiH?
21 A. That, I do not know.
22 Q. I'll ask the question again. Subsequent to
23 the 18th of April, 1993, were you aware where the
24 front-line was between the HVO and the ABiH?
25 A. I simply don't understand your question. Are
1 you asking me about Rotilj or are you asking me about
2 whatever? I mean, after the 18th, in Rotilj -- I mean,
3 I don't understand your question. You have to put it
4 very accurately.
5 Q. I'll give you a specific month. In November
6 of 1993, are you aware where the front-line existed
7 geographically, the front-line between the HVO and the
9 A. In November, I do know where the front-line
10 was between the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
11 Croatian Defence Council, but that line was far away
12 from Rotilj, a few kilometres away from Rotilj. In
13 1993, at that time in Rotilj, there was not a front-line
14 at all, nor in Borina. The front-lines were towards
15 Visoko, towards Sarajevo, above Kresevo, behind Lug and
16 near Brestovsko.
17 Q. So the front-line is not on this photograph?
18 A. After the conflict in April, there was no
19 front-line here anymore. There was no military there
20 which would attack Rotilj. There were no lines in
21 Borina. People lived in their houses normally, and the
22 front-lines were a few kilometres away from Borina at
24 Q. They had moved east towards Visoko, hadn't
25 they, the front-lines?
1 A. The front-line was within the borders of the
2 Kiseljak municipality, except for that part of the
3 municipality which was taken by the army of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is Kazagici, Gunjace, Datici,
5 Bilalovac, and Badnja, towards Fojnica, behind Lug, and
6 in Bakovici, towards Visoko, at Cikulja, and in
7 Zavrsge, then further on towards Visoko after
8 Celukovac. At Kobiljaca, the line was against the army
9 of Republika Srpska, and in Lepenica and Belakovac.
10 Q. Sir, in November of 1993, all of the area on
11 this photograph was territory controlled by the HVO,
12 wasn't it?
13 A. Yes. It was under the control of the HVO.
14 Q. Thank you very much. You can take your
16 A. Thank you.
17 Q. Now, if you recall, and I apologise to Mr.
18 Nobilo because I probably have to ask you to get up any
19 second, but where were the Muslims located in the
20 village of Rotilj, which part?
21 A. The Muslims were in this part of the village
22 here. That was a Muslim house. These houses were
23 Muslim. This was a Croat house. These are Muslim
24 houses, and so were these, these too. This was a Croat
25 house, and so was this. These are Croat houses. These
1 are also Croat houses (indicating). I've shown you
2 where they are. The photograph is not really a very
3 good one, but I can recognise them.
4 Q. By November of 1993, where were the majority
5 of the Muslims living in Rotilj?
6 A. In November 1993, most of the Muslims were
7 living here, here, and over here (indicating).
8 Q. In the far south-eastern corner of the
9 village; would that be correct?
10 A. In the western part of the village.
11 Q. Sorry, yes, because the photograph is back to
12 front. Where was most of the damage to the Muslim
13 homes? Where were the houses that were burnt in
14 Rotilj, as far as you can recall?
15 A. Let me just have a look, please.
17 Q. Sir, you're pointing on Exhibit 76 to the
18 first Rotilj sticker, which is nearest the main part of
20 Do you recall how many houses were damaged in
21 that area?
22 A. I said in my testimony yesterday that there
23 were about 15, but I have not counted them to the
24 present day.
25 Q. You can take a seat now, Father. Thank you
1 for your help.
2 A. Thank you.
3 Q. Now, the Court has heard testimony from an
4 UNPROFOR, from a U.N. protection force officer, Captain
5 Lanthier, who visited the village of Rotilj in April
6 and May 1993. He found a community at the far end of
7 the village, as you have indicated, which consisted
8 mostly of women and children and the elderly. Is that
9 your recollection of the conditions in Rotilj in May of
11 A. In May 1993, I went to the house of Salko
12 Hodzic. It was night. Salko greeted me with two other
13 men. The next few days when I went to Rotilj, I
14 usually went to Salko and Suad Betic, and I saw more
15 women and children than men. That was at that period,
16 but I did see men as well.
17 Q. Do you know Mr. Mario Bradara?
18 A. Yes. I do know Mario Bradara.
19 Q. Who is he?
20 A. He is a soldier.
21 Q. In the HVO?
22 A. Yes, an HVO soldier.
23 Q. In May of 1993, was he an assistant commander
24 of the HVO in Kiseljak?
25 A. I know that he was in the army command, but
1 what particular function he had, I don't know. I never
2 asked him, but I knew he was in the command there.
3 Q. The U.N. protection force officer that I just
4 mentioned to you, Captain Lanthier, spoke with
5 Mr. Bradara in May of 1993. Mr. Bradara told him that
6 the Muslims in Rotilj were imprisoned, that they were
7 not free to leave, that the able-bodied men were being
8 used to dig trenches. He also stated that the
9 International Committee for the Red Cross would be
10 denied access to Rotilj.
11 Would you agree with me that that, in fact,
12 was the state of affairs in Rotilj in May of 1993?
13 A. I don't know about this talk that he had. At
14 the time when I was absent, I do not know whether
15 UNPROFOR and the monitors and the Red Cross went to
16 Rotilj. You said that they did go. I still maintain,
17 that is to say, that I commiserate with those people.
18 I know that it was not easy for them. It was very
19 difficult for them. You said that they did go. I
20 don't know whether he prohibited them from doing so,
21 said that they could not. I don't know.
22 Q. Those people were not free to leave Rotilj in
23 May of 1993, were they, Mr. Pervan?
24 A. In my testimony, speaking about the roadblock
25 at the entrance to the village of Rotilj, I said that
1 the roadblock was there and that two elderly men stood
2 guard there, manning it. I think that in the psychosis
3 that reigned at the time and in the problems that
4 existed, nobody from Rotilj either wished or had a need
5 to go into the town, because everything was closed.
6 There were exits toward the west in areas. I do not
7 agree that it was a camp, and I would not have
8 justified this, approved of it. Camps are not for
9 people. I know that they had a difficult time, and I
10 know that the roadblock was aimed at, and that's what
11 they told me, stopping anybody doing any harm to the
13 Your Honours, let me just add, if I may, the
14 fact that there were people behind the roadblock. I,
15 myself, passed and nobody made any problems for me.
16 MR. CAYLEY: If the next exhibit could be
18 Q. While it's being distributed, Father, this is
19 an ECMM report of the 22nd of May, 1993, so another
20 international organisation in the area. I won't
21 commence reading it until Defence counsel have the
22 document in front of them. The gentlemen manning the
23 barrier, did they have a means of communication with
24 the HVO headquarters in Kiseljak?
25 A. I'm sorry. I didn't hear.
1 Q. I think you said they had a telephone?
2 A. They had a telephone.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. A telephone or the radio station, that is to
5 say, a walkie-talkie.
6 Q. This report was written after you had been to
7 Rotilj, and I'll read it to you.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Excuse me. This is document
10 MR. CAYLEY:
11 Q. "The team visited the Muslim community in
12 Rotilj where some 600 Muslims are gathered together in
13 a few houses. The people are not free to move,
14 although this fact is denied by HVO. There is a
15 checkpoint manned by Croat civilians who stop people
16 from Rotilj. Announced crossings by a maximum of two
17 old women are allowed. The people asked for certain
18 specified medicines and plastic to repair broken
19 windows. UNHCR and MDM are informed and will assist
20 soon. Six men are sill missing and expected to be in
21 Kiseljak prison. ICRC will be informed on this
23 Mr. Pervan, are you aware that elderly women
24 had to seek permission to leave Rotilj?
25 A. I am not aware of that, no.
1 Q. Were you aware at the time that six men, six
2 Muslim males, from the village, were missing and
3 thought to be in the HVO barracks in Kiseljak?
4 A. No, I was not aware of that then, and I am
5 still not.
6 Q. Let's move forward in time to September of
7 1993. Did you visit the village of Rotilj in
9 A. I didn't keep notes. I went to the village
10 from time to time. It is quite possible that during
11 that month I was in the village.
12 Q. This is a description of the village given by
13 a Canadian army officer who has testified before these
14 Honourable Judges, and this is a summary of what he
15 stated. He found that there were 600 Muslims living in
16 15 to 20 houses, and they were mostly women, children
17 and the elderly. They were from, amongst other
18 villages, Visnjice, Dolce, Han Ploca, Duhre and
19 Grahovice; would that accord with your view of
20 conditions in Rotilj in September of 1993?
21 A. I am not aware of it, but if 600 people were
22 mentioned, and you say that they were in 15 to 20
23 houses, I don't know that at that time there were over
24 30 individuals in those houses. So, that there were 30
25 people in each house, I do not know, I was not aware of
2 Q. Now, at the time the International Community
3 expressed a deep concern, which the Canadian officer
4 told the Judges about, that winter was coming, and that
5 there was a view that the Muslims of Rotilj were about
6 to undergo extreme suffering and possibly even death
7 during the winter months because of their condition;
8 are you aware of that?
9 A. Their fears were not known to me. What I did
10 know was that every house had a wood nearby, which
11 meant enough timber for fires, and that, at that time,
12 they received food, as they did previously, as much as
13 other people received, except what other humanitarian
14 organisations also gave them, and we were not able to
15 control that, nor did we wish to control it, such as
16 the UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders, Chemists Without
17 Borders, UNPROFOR and so on and so forth.
18 This fear at that time that they would
19 undergo extreme suffering, I do not agree with that
20 statement, because other refugees did not have a better
21 or a worse time of it. Perhaps, psychologically, they
22 were stronger than the people who were Muslims, but
23 quite certainly there was enough firewood for fires and
24 food and clothing, just like everybody else who was
25 needy in the parish of Kiseljak, and I do not agree
1 with the statement made by that individual.
2 Q. But you didn't live with the Muslims of
3 Rotilj, did you, in the winter months, Father? You
4 were living in your own home.
5 A. Yes, I was living in my own home, and I
6 repeat once more, they were psychologically in an
7 unstable situation. But physically, as regards their
8 physical needs, to drink, to eat, to have clothing and
9 to keep warm, those material needs were satisfied, and
10 they could have even asked for more.
11 Q. But you would agree with me that the
12 International Community, Doctors Without Frontiers,
13 UNPROFOR, UNHCR, are a better judge than you of the
14 health and condition of the Muslims in Rotilj in
15 November of 1993?
16 A. I am not a physician and I cannot assess
17 anybody's mental health. I am a man who will give
18 everybody a piece of bread if they come to me and say
19 they are hungry.
20 MR. CAYLEY: Let me distribute the next
21 exhibit, which is a public document.
22 Q. The next document, Mr. Pervan, is a public
23 announcement through the French Press Agency by the
24 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and I'll
25 read it to you.
1 THE REGISTRAR: This is 543.
2 Q. "Sarajevo, September 25th, 1993. Bosnian
3 Croats have rounded up the Muslim population of several
4 villages in Central Bosnia, using the men as forced
5 labour and locking up women and children in a virtual
6 concentration camp, a UN official said here Saturday.
7 Ray Wilkinson, spokesman for the United Nations High
8 Commissioner for Refugees said his fieldworkers had
9 reported that HVO Croat forces had rounded up a
10 significant number of Muslims from the villages around
11 Kiseljak where the UN protection force is based. The
12 men, numbering several hundred, were being used to dig
13 trenches at the front near Fojnica, while women and
14 children had been deported from their homes and taken
15 to the villages of Rotilj, Wilkinson said.
16 International Committee of the Red Cross officials had
17 vainly sought access to the camp, he added."
18 The final paragraph, "News of the deportation
19 comes on the day after Bosnian Croats released over 500
20 Muslim prisoners from a camp at Dretew in the south of
21 the country, taking them to the island of Korcula off
22 the Croatian coast."
23 Mr. Pervan, this is a public announcement by
24 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, you
25 understand that?
1 A. Yes, I see that.
2 Q. You would agree with me that they are not an
3 organisation to exaggerate for effect?
4 A. That is probably so.
5 Q. You would agree with their description of the
6 conditions in Rotilj in September of 1993?
7 A. They had their view of this, and they
8 presented their view here.
9 Q. Are you aware that Muslims were rounded up in
10 September from Muslim villages in Kiseljak and taken to
12 A. Muslims from Muslim villages came to Rotilj,
13 but I also know that UNPROFOR would bring them to
14 Rotilj. I also know that UNPROFOR made some kind of
15 exchanges, that they brought Croats from Kacuni, Selac
16 (phoen), and from gaols, and from Brestovsko, and also
17 that some Muslims from Kiseljak, especially from
18 Radanovici, were taken to Rotilj, but also to Muslim
20 I know that at that time UNPROFOR and the
21 monitors did not share the same view about this
23 Q. Are you aware that able-bodied men within the
24 village were being used by the HVO for forced trench
1 A. Yes, I'm aware of that. However, I also know
2 that together with them trenches were dug by those
3 Croats who are not fit for combat. They dug those
4 trenches together, at the same time.
5 I know that Muslims from Rotilj would come to
6 the beginning of the village and that they would board
7 trucks there, and then they would be driven away. I
8 know they were given cigarettes and I know that as they
9 would dig trenches they could even drink alcoholic
10 beverages, they could eat, and the trucks would take
11 them back to Rotilj.
12 Croats also dug trenches with them. Elderly
13 men, that is, people from the age of 57 to 70, who
15 Q. These Muslim males who were digging trenches
16 for the HVO; they were not volunteers, were they,
18 A. Certainly not. I wouldn't do it, either, if
19 I didn't have to.
20 Q. Now, the trucks that you mentioned that
21 collected them from the village, these were HVO trucks,
22 were they?
23 A. At that time in Kiseljak we did not have
24 trucks which would be painted in army colours. These
25 were mainly civilian trucks used for army purposes.
1 Until the cease-fire, those trucks were
2 without registration plates or anything, and we would
3 often take trucks to collect food without registration
4 plates, without insurance, without a green card for
6 At that time I hardly saw any military trucks
7 in Kiseljak. These were civilian trucks that were used
8 for HVO purposes.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, if you wish to
11 take the morning break here, it's a convenient time for
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we will take a 20-minute
15 --- Recess taken at 11.15 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.40 a.m.
17 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is now resumed.
18 Have the accused brought in, please.
19 (The accused entered court)
20 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, the floor is yours
21 again to continue with the cross-examination.
22 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. We
23 will continue, Mr. Pervan.
24 Q. Now, you said in your examination-in-chief
25 that you met Ivica Rajic almost every other day --
1 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President?
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo.
3 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I would like to
4 suggest that we go into private session.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Do you agree, Mr. Cayley?
6 MR. CAYLEY: Of course, for the security of
7 the witness, Mr. President, yes.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo, we will
9 go into a private session.
10 (Private session)
13 page 14521 redacted private session
13 page 14522 redacted private session
13 page 14523 redacted private session
23 (Open session)
24 MR. CAYLEY:
25 Q. My colleague has reminded me, actually, to
1 ask you a question: Can you recall every commander,
2 subcommander with whom you raised the matter of forced
3 trench digging, the use of Muslims for forced trench
5 MR. CAYLEY: This may require private session
6 again, if it places the --
7 JUDGE JORDA: All right, we will go back into
8 private session, if that's what you prefer.
9 MR. CAYLEY: I apologise, I'm sorry about
11 (Private session)
13 page 14526 redacted private session
13 page 14527 redacted private session
24 (Open session)
25 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, Mr. Cayley, please.
1 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. In your examination-in-chief, you stated that
3 you had no recollection of the collection in trucks of
4 the Muslim population from villages in the Kiseljak
5 municipality and the forced movement of those Muslim
6 civilians to Rotilj?
7 A. The problem in Kiseljak was that there were a
8 lot of people there, especially those who had come from
9 other regions. My problem was that 99 per cent of the
10 things that were going on, that were taking place, I
11 got to know of this later on, post-festum. When I
12 learned of these facts, I then reacted to them and
13 stated my views, that is, the views of a man who is a
15 According to the lists, in Rotilj, there were
16 more and more people coming in. I did learn of the
17 fact that people, that is to say, Croats were coming
18 from other places, coming in from Bilalovac, for
19 example, most especially, and that some people,
20 Muslims, were taken by UNPROFOR. That was called an
21 exchange at the time. I learned this mostly by people
22 coming to tell me that they had arrived yesterday.
23 They said, "We're here. We arrived yesterday. We need
24 help and we were exchanged." That is when I learned of
25 matters of this kind.
1 Q. Now, the Honourable Judges of this Court have
2 heard evidence from Muslim residents of Han Ploca, of
3 Potkraj, of Duhre, that HVO trucks arrived in those
4 villages and moved the women and children to Rotilj
5 village and the able-bodied men to the Kiseljak
6 barracks. Did you hear about that in 1993 or
8 A. I cannot say that these people lied to this
9 Honourable Court. That is certainly the way it was,
10 because in Rotilj, you can check this with the Caritas
11 lists, people who came from Topolj and other places,
12 they lived there. But how each and every one of them
13 got there, that, I really do not know. The state of
14 affairs was as you say. That is to say, they came from
15 other places to Rotilj. I do not know when, how, and
16 at what time they came, and I cannot say that these
17 people are lying. This may be the truth.
18 Q. Thank you, Father. You've been very frank
19 with me.
20 MR. CAYLEY: We will now move on to another
21 area of inquiry, and if I can ask that we now move back
22 into private session, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, private session, please.
24 (Private session)
13 pages 14531-14546 redacted private session
25 (Open session)
1 JUDGE JORDA: What is the number of this
2 exhibit, Mr. Dubuisson?
3 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit 545.
4 JUDGE JORDA: That's a new exhibit, is it?
5 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
7 MR. CAYLEY:
8 Q. Do you recall, in your testimony yesterday,
9 Mr. Pervan, that you said that General Blaskic came to
10 Kiseljak to have Bosnia-Herzegovina as it always was.
11 Do you recall saying that?
12 A. Yes. That is what I said, approximately.
13 Q. So your view is that Colonel Blaskic was a
14 firm believer in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
15 A. I believe that Mr. Blaskic came for pure,
16 positive motives. Bosnia-Herzegovina was attacked when
17 he came. The army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
18 Croatian Defence Council had not even been established
19 yet, and they were powerless.
20 Q. This is, again, another public document.
21 It's the French Press Agency. I'll read it to the
22 Court. It's dated May 11th, 1992. If it could be
23 placed on the ELMO for ease of translation:
24 "Scrawled on a wall just 30 kilometres (18
25 miles) outside the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, the
1 word 'customs' marks the boundary of yet another
2 ethnically controlled region.
3 'You are now entering Herceg-Bosna,' a Croat
4 guard says outside his lookout post. It is located on
5 the edge of a Muslim village and not far down the road
6 from a Serb-controlled district.
7 In spite of the proximity to their ethnic
8 rivals and to the thunderous combat going on in
9 Sarajevo, Croats in Herceg-Bosna say they have high
10 hopes of staying out of the fighting.
11 'We are an oasis of peace and we intend to
12 stay out of all the conflicts, just defending
13 Kiseljak,' said Andrija, a local worker who has been
14 put in charge of the unit of the Croatian Defence
15 Council (CVO), the fledgling Croat army.
16 Tiho Blaskic, who heads the CVO forces in
17 Kiseljak, explained that the region was peaceful
18 because the Serbs, who make up only three per cent of
19 the town's population, 'have no designs on this land.'
20 As for the embattled Bosnia-Herzegovina in
21 Sarajevo, 'it has no legitimacy here,' he said.
22 Andrija expressed pride at the fact that
23 Kiseljak last week became the first town in Bosnia from
24 which the former federal army had agreed to leave
25 without a shot being fired."
1 I'll go on, because I don't think it's
2 necessary to read the whole article. If we can go to
3 the second page:
4 "The streets of Kiseljak were full of idle
5 men, many of them wearing military shirts. Most of
6 them were industrial workers from the nearby capital,
7 unable to reach their jobs because of the Serbian siege
8 of the city.
9 'Our only link to the outside world is
10 Split,' said Andrija, referring to the big Croat port
11 on the Adriatic to the south-west.
12 From there, lorries bring in aid to Kiseljak
13 by the Catholic aid organisation Caritas, he added.
14 Marietta, 16, has been taking an enforced
15 holiday since the local high school shut down, as its
16 Sarajevo-based teachers could no longer get to it.
17 She said she was not much enjoying the time
18 off, however, because of the continuing air-raid
19 sirens, even though no bombs had so far hit her town.
20 Meanwhile, at the town barracks, Croat
21 soldiers were busily repainting jeeps and lorries left
22 behind by the army with the Croatian colours.
23 Kiseljak would henceforth be a part of the
24 Croatian canton, or administrative region, and would
25 look to the west rather than to the east, Tiho Blaskic
2 'Its closeness to Sarajevo never contributed
3 much to our town anyway,' he said."
4 Mr. Pervan, did you ever hear the then
5 Colonel Blaskic expressing views like that?
6 A. The man who wrote this described it in such a
7 way that, perhaps, it could be so up to a point.
8 I shall say the following: During 1992, the
9 journalist noticed that trucks brought goods into
10 Caritas, and I shall tell you that, along with the
11 stamp of the HVO, in order to be able to pass through
12 checkpoints, we also needed to have a stamp of the army
13 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So if we did not have an HVO
14 stamp, we could not, for example, pass through Citluk.
15 If we did not have a stamp of the army of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we could not pass through Ivan.
17 I accidentally recognised the names of the
18 persons who made these statements. I know that
19 Mr. Blaskic went to defend Jajce. Jajce is a mixed
20 community. It was attacked by the Serbs. I know that
21 he organised the defence of Travnik, and Travnik is
22 also a mixed community.
23 Q. My question is did you hear Colonel Blaskic
24 speak such views publicly in Kiseljak?
25 A. I did not.
1 Q. Did you know that on this same day, the then
2 Colonel Blaskic abolished the Muslim Territorial
3 Defence forces in Kiseljak?
4 A. I do not know of that.
5 Q. I just have a few final questions for you.
6 You stated in your examination-in-chief that you had to
7 purchase explosives, that the HVO had to purchase
8 explosives either in Herzegovina or purchase explosives
9 from the Serbs?
10 A. Yes. I said that the HVO bought arms from
11 the Serbs or got them, bought them, in Herzegovina, and
12 that explosive, what's its name, dynamite.
13 Q. So the Serbs would allow the HVO to transport
14 military materiel through the territory that they
15 controlled; is that correct?
16 A. That's the way it was, but I do know that a
17 hefty price was paid for that. I know that some people
18 joked and said that I spent municipal money on food,
19 but that that was a good thing, and that one truck
20 cost, perhaps -- rather, three or four trucks cost
21 about as much as a cistern of oil, but that a truck of
22 dynamite cost the same amount. So it was very
23 expensive. That is what I'm trying to say.
24 Q. Are you aware in 1993 that the Bosnian Serb
25 army provided tanks to the HVO to assist in military
1 operations against the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
2 the municipality of Kiseljak?
3 A. I know of that. I also know that they bought
4 ammunition from the Serbs too. This is the way it
5 was: They would say that they would agree to buy
6 80.000 bullets for 80.000 Deutschmarks, and then they
7 would go, and the Serbs would say, "Oh, no, three marks
8 per bullet." They would go back and continue their
9 haggling, and then they would agree to buy that same
10 bullet for five marks. I know for sure that one night
11 they collected 1 million marks in order to rent a
12 tank. I know that for sure, 100 per cent. I was there
13 when those who had money collected 1 million
14 Deutschmarks to rent a tank and grenades from the
15 Serbs for a certain period of time and for a certain
16 combat action.
17 Q. Do you know where that combat action took
19 A. I think towards Fojnica. I think. I'm not
21 Q. Did you see the tanks yourself in Kiseljak?
22 A. I think I did twice.
23 Q. How many tanks?
24 A. Two, I think. I couldn't see them otherwise,
25 but my house is on a hill, and I heard some terrible
1 noise. UNPROFOR could see it too, because it wasn't
2 concealed in any way, and they had to pass by
4 MR. CAYLEY: If the lights could be dimmed, I
5 have a video, a very short piece of video footage, to
7 Q. If you could look at the screen in front of
8 you, Mr. Pervan?
9 A. Over here?
10 (Videotape played)
11 MR. CAYLEY:
12 Q. If the frame could be frozen there, please?
13 Is that you, Mr. Pervan?
14 A. Yes, yes, yes.
15 Q. You are, in fact, the gentleman second from
16 the right in the image?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. If we could just run it through straight to
19 the end?
20 (Videotape played)
21 MR. CAYLEY:
22 Q. Thank you. Can you tell the Court, this
23 event, was this the presentation of new regimental
24 colours to the Ban Jelacic Brigade by the then Colonel
1 A. I think that this was the day when the Ban
2 Josip Jelacic Brigade was established.
3 Q. What was your function at this proceeding?
4 A. All those people who were known of in town or
5 who had high posts or whatever were invited to the
6 establishment of this brigade, and I was invited as a
8 Q. As the Franciscan priest in Kiseljak?
9 A. As the parish priest.
10 Q. I'm sorry, as the parish priest.
11 A. I was invited because of my post, because of
12 the position I held, not because of my vocation.
13 Q. You said earlier in your testimony that an
14 individual by the name of Mario Bradara was known to
16 A. Yes. I know him until the present day.
17 Q. Is Mario Bradara a cousin of General Blaskic?
18 A. As far as I know, he's not a cousin. They
19 don't have the same family name, so it's not on his
20 father's side. His mother is from Derventa, and I
21 don't think they are related. I never heard of it.
22 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could be shown
23 Exhibit D424.
24 Q. This is the statement to which you were a
25 signatory. It is a statement which is full of noble
1 sentiment and speaks of tolerance and Christian love
2 amongst people. You were a signatory to this document,
3 were you not, Mr. Pervan?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Do you remember the date of this document?
6 A. I do not recall the date. I think it was
7 made up between two conflicts.
8 Q. So between January and April of 1993?
9 A. I think that it is so, but I do not recall.
10 Q. Could you please read, for the Court's
11 benefit, the fourth paragraph, which I think begins
12 with the words "Stoga"?
13 A. "Stoga," you mean?
14 Q. I'm sorry, my pronunciation. Could you read
15 that paragraph?
16 A. I'll read it. "Therefore, in the name of
17 every man's basic right to life and liberty, we demand
18 and ask all those who exercise power, be that power
19 civilian or military, to name, uncover, and isolate all
20 those who, in the name of the people, commit any kind
21 of crime, loot, burn, kill, and sew fear in hatred."
22 Q. In this appeal, Mr. Pervan, you and your
23 colleagues were making a direct appeal to senior people
24 in the military and civilian authorities to stop what
25 was taking place, to stop the burning, to stop the
1 looting, to stop the killing, to stop the hatred,
2 weren't you?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You were appealing to senior officials, both
5 on the military and the civilian side, of the HVO, were
6 you not?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. It was your shared view at the time, with
9 your fellow clergy, that these were the people who
10 could put a stop to what was taking place, wasn't it?
11 A. That is what we thought, and that is what we
12 wished for.
13 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you. I have no further
14 questions, Mr. President. I would simply ask for
15 admission into evidence of Exhibits 540, 541, 542, 543,
16 544, 545, and 546, which is the video clip.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Any comments? All right.
18 These will be tendered.
19 You know that this afternoon we may have to
20 make some changes at the end of the afternoon, because
21 there is a visit being made to the Tribunal to the
22 Judges. My colleagues and myself suggest, so that we
23 lose as little time as possible, that we begin at a
24 quarter after two, if the interpreters agree as well.
25 Mr. Hayman, I see that he agrees. Thank you
1 to the interpreters, and thank you to the Prosecutor.
2 We will resume at a quarter after two.
3 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.22 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
3 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please.
4 (The accused entered court)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, before we give the
6 floor to Mr. Nobilo for the re-examination, let me take
7 the liberty of reminding you there were a series of
8 documents we wanted to review. The documents having to
9 do with the people who were the beneficiaries of
10 humanitarian assistance.
11 We can wait for the witness to come in so
12 that he can be involved, as well. Could the witness be
13 brought in, please, Mr. Registrar, Father Pervan?
14 (The witness entered court)
15 MR. CAYLEY: I recall, Mr. President, that I
16 was supposed to remind you, so you have a better memory
17 than I do, but I reviewed --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Well, we have to also
19 congratulate the registrar in his reminding me of
21 MR. CAYLEY: Certainly I have reviewed the
22 downing and I have no objection to its submission into
24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Mr. Nobilo, the
25 floor is yours.
1 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Father Ivan, please tell the Court whether
4 Caritas, your parish Caritas organisation, what you
5 did? Did it distribute aid equally to the Croats and
6 to the Muslims, an equal quantity of food per capita?
7 A. Your Honours, Caritas of the parish of
8 Kiseljak distributed food equally to the Muslims and
9 the Croats.
10 Q. Tell the Court, please, and we heard our
11 learned colleague, the Prosecutor, saying that the
12 UNHCR, and you confirmed this, gave aid to the Muslims
13 in your parish.
14 Did the UNHCR, as far as you know, directly
15 give aid to Croatian refugees on the territory of your
16 parish, that is, directly to a man or his family?
17 A. Your Honours, when I spoke about the sources
18 of food and the donations for the Caritas parish, I
19 said that they were also state, that is to say,
20 civilian and humanitarian organisations and the Caritas
21 organisations of individual countries.
22 Apart from them, food was given to the
23 Caritas by the UNHCR and other humanitarian
24 organisations. As far as the UNHCR is concerned, I
25 know for a fact that the UNHCR gave food, not only to
1 the Caritas, but also to the individual Muslim
2 families, which we did not record. The same was done
3 by the Physicians Without Borders and the Pharmacists
4 Without Borders, and as I confirm myself, I personally
5 received aid from UNPROFOR for the Muslims.
6 Q. Did the UNHCR give directly to the Croatian
8 A. I do not know of this in any single case.
9 Q. If we were to summarise and say the Muslims
10 in your parish received aid from Caritas, the UNHCR,
11 the Physicians Without Borders, and so on and so forth,
12 and the Croatian refugees received aid only from
13 Caritas, what can you conclude from that? Who received
14 more aid, was it the Muslims or was it the Croatian
16 A. Well, per capita, the Muslims received more,
17 the Muslims residing in the Kiseljak municipality.
18 Q. Let us go on and talk about. In P298, Remi
19 Landry's report was quoted that 600 inhabitants were in
20 Rotilj, that they were Muslims.
21 Could you tell us, Father Ivan, according to
22 your lists and records, who you delivered and
23 distributed food to in Rotilj? How many families were
24 there in Rotilj, Muslims?
25 A. According to what my headmaster stated, who
1 was in charge of the distribution of food from Rotilj,
2 we had about 480 souls registered.
3 On several occasions we discussed this
4 matter, and we said that that fact was incorrect and
5 that there were probably tens of people less. We never
6 wanted to check those lists, actually, because from the
7 other side, amongst the Croat refugees, we also found
8 that the lists were not always correct and that they
9 did not tell us the exact number of the needy.
10 So, this was a general phenomenon of that
11 time, both in the Muslim population and the Croat
12 population. We think that the number of people who
13 needed help was exaggerated, that is to say, there were
14 individuals there who did not exist. Because it was
15 only the head of the family that was registered, and we
16 usually say Markovic, number of members of his family,
17 seven. He might have had five, he might have had
18 less. This was a usual case both with the Croats and
19 the Muslims.
20 Q. What were the motives, would you say, that
21 the needy, the refugees, the Croats or the Muslims
22 would say there were more members of the family than
23 the actual number that existed? What was the reason
24 for that?
25 A. I think that the motive was quite a simple
1 one. As we were able to see, we did not distribute
2 food on a particular day, and we did not always know
3 how much food we would be able to give out when we
4 would do the journeys, so both sides probably took more
5 food to be assured of having enough food until the next
6 food distribution took place.
7 Q. In the same exhibit, 298, P298, it says these
8 600 individuals lived in 15 to 20 houses. If we take
9 the better variation, this would be 30 people on
10 average per house, and in a less favourable situation,
11 more than 30.
12 Tell the Court your experience. You visited
13 some of the Muslim houses. What was your experience
14 with the number of people residing in one house? How
15 many people, generally?
16 A. Well, at the beginning, I said that I
17 communicated mostly with Mr. Salko Hodzic, and at the
18 beginning of the conflict, at the beginning of the war,
19 he said that he had 17 people in his house, and I
20 consoled him and said that there were 15 in my own
22 Later on I remember that with Mirsad Mujkic
23 and his wife Mirsada and their two daughters and their
24 son, when I went to collect them and take them from
25 Rotilj to a better accommodation place with Dravko
1 Lukic, a Croat. With Suad Bejtic I found five people
2 in his house. Above Suad Bejtic was Mirsad's family,
3 and I -- in Suad there were five and in the upper house
4 there were seven.
5 Q. According to your recollections, is it
6 correct that all these people in Rotilj lived in,
7 between 15 and 20 houses?
8 A. No, as far as I remember that is not
9 correct. I think that the number should be from at
10 least two to three times higher.
11 Q. That means between 40 and 60 houses; is that
13 A. Yes, between 40 and 60 houses at least.
14 Q. In your opinion, you know the people and you
15 know the situation in Kiseljak, we have had ample
16 evidence of that, but was it simpler to live as a
17 Muslim in Rotilj or to move around -- was it safer --
18 INTERPRETER: Safer, I'm sorry, safer.
19 Q. -- or to move around the Kiseljak
20 municipality and the town of Kiseljak, and we saw that
21 at a time there were 19.000 Croat refugees frustrated,
22 and they had fled in the face of the army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina; what do you think about that?
24 A. Well, I still maintain the opinion that it
25 was difficult for these people, certainly, that they
1 did find themselves in an unfavourable situation, and
2 if the conflict were to repeat itself, God forbid, and
3 if I were to decide whether to live in the conditions
4 that they lived in, or whether to be amongst the
5 frustrated refugees, I would pick the calm of the
6 former. It is safer.
7 Q. So, did I understand you correctly to say
8 that you think the Muslims were safer in Rotilj than in
9 other areas of Kiseljak?
10 A. Yes, I think they were more secure in Rotilj
11 than in other areas, especially up until the autumn of
12 1993. There were problems, of course, in Rotilj, as
13 well, but at that particular time the probability of
14 having something happen to them in the town or in the
15 villages where the refugees were, that is to say, it
16 was safer for them to live in Rotilj. It was safer
18 Q. Although not, of course, absolutely safe.
19 A. No, not, of course, absolutely safe.
20 Q. You said that you went to Ivica Rajic in the
21 command to telephone to Split where you had your
22 warehouse of humanitarian aid.
23 From Kiseljak, could you at all times contact
24 Herzegovina and Croatia by telephone, by fax?
25 A. From Kiseljak we were always able to
1 telephone. I don't know what the basis for these
2 communications were. It was more difficult at the
3 beginning to get the link, but later on, as of August,
4 communications with Split and with the world were
5 regular. Sometime at the end of 1993, in my own house,
6 a telephone was installed.
7 Q. Were you able to talk to Vitez via the
8 telephone there?
9 A. I never talked to Vitez except using the
10 radio ham, and their radio station, but not by
11 telephone. Perhaps this was possible, but I did not
12 talk on the phone, nor did I ask whether this
13 possibility existed.
14 Q. Thank you. We discussed trench digging in
15 Kiseljak, and you said that you did not have any
16 discussions about this with Blaskic. Could you explain
17 that to us? Why didn't you talk to Blaskic about
18 that? What are the reasons for not having had talks
19 about trench digging in the Kiseljak municipality with
21 A. At that time, that is to say, after the death
22 of Mato Lucic Maturica, I did not have any talks with
23 Blaskic because I did not have a telephone. I did not
24 have links or communications and did not know his
25 number, and already at that time it was thought that
1 Blaskic was not somebody to ask anything of.
2 Q. Prosecution Exhibit 544 speaks of a command
3 by Mijo Bozic to evict Mustafa Polutak from his flat, a
4 high officer of the JNA.
5 Tell me, please, the document is dated the
6 1st of May, 1993. Could you please tell the Court what
7 you know about Mustafa Polutak; what function did he
8 have in Kiseljak, up until what time, and when did he
9 leave Kiseljak?
10 A. Well, I did not know Mustafa Polutak
11 personally, but I heard on many occasions that his name
12 was mentioned in Kiseljak. Mustafa Polutak was the
13 commander of the barracks in the former Yugoslav
14 People's Army, and I know that at the time the
15 political, military, and civilian authorities, in the
16 spring of 1992, negotiated with him daily to surrender
17 the barracks and weapons.
18 It was also rumoured that he was willing to
19 do so, and that he would not listen to the officers of
20 the JNA, and, in fact, he did surrender the barracks to
21 the HVO.
22 Q. When did he do that?
23 A. In the spring of 1992, as I said, and it was
24 rumoured that some weapons were sent, weapons from
25 Kiseljak, Kaonik and Draga (phoen), but some rifles
1 remained. I know that later on there were -- let me
2 find an expression -- that there were criticisms being
3 made between the HVO and the BH army, that is to say,
4 that they had not distributed the weapons equally. The
5 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina criticised the HVO for
6 taking more weapons, but no conflict broke out except
7 for this verbal exchange.
8 Mustafa Polutak surrendered the barracks to
9 the HVO, and he went to his flat, and in those days, I
10 learned of this later on, by his own free will, and
11 within the whole arrangement, he went to Visoko where
12 he went to the commanding cadres of the army of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, whereas the barracks of the BH army
14 is located in Visoko next to the Franciscan monastery
15 and gymnasium, and it still legally belongs to the
16 Franciscan gymnasium. That is where Mr. Polutak went
17 on his own free will and never returned to Kiseljak
18 after that.
19 As far as the description of Mijo Bozic is
20 concerned, at that time, there was a general rage for
21 taking over empty flats, the empty flats that existed
22 in town.
23 I believe that Mijo Bozic took that flat
24 because it belonged to the military, and to prevent
25 anybody else moving into the flat who did not belong to
1 the army.
2 So the flat was an army flat, and it was
3 considered that the flats belonging to the JNA also
4 belonged to the newly established army.
5 Furthermore, according to the laws of the
6 day, who had not spent six months in his flat and had
7 left his place of residence, it was considered that
8 this flat no longer belonged to him.
9 Q. To the best of your knowledge, when 544, this
10 order signed by Mijo Bozic, was issued, Mustafa Polutak
11 was away from his flat with his family for over a year;
12 is that correct?
13 A. I don't know what the exact date was of the
14 handover of the JNA barracks. At any rate, it was
15 springtime, so, it could have been a bit less than a
16 year or a bit more than a year.
17 Q. Thank you. I think that something remained
18 unclear, so we're going to repeat it, briefly.
19 Who removed Bozic, Mijo Bozic, from the
20 position of commander of the Ban Jelacic Brigade?
21 A. Mijo Bozic, commander of the Ban Jelacic
22 Brigade, was replaced by lower commanders and the
23 friends of Ivica Rajic.
24 Q. Thank you. The Prosecutor mentioned the date
25 of the 29th of May, 1993, to you, when Blaskic was in
1 Kiseljak together with UNPROFOR.
2 Tell me, what do you think? Where could have
3 Blaskic been and under what circumstances? If you
4 don't know about this, what do you think about this?
5 A. The Prosecutor surprised me greatly when he
6 said that Mr. Blaskic, after the 13th of May, was in
7 Kiseljak, and it is certainly so, if he says so. But I
8 did not see Mr. Blaskic then, nor did I hear from
9 anyone that he had come.
10 I thought about this during the break, and
11 then it occurred to me that I was once accompanied by
12 UNPROFOR, and I travelled in a carrier, and that all
13 along I did not know where I was, because I couldn't
14 see where I was. I imagine that Mr. Blaskic did come,
15 because the Prosecutor proves this, and he has proof
16 for this, could have been at the UNPROFOR base or at a
17 place where we in Kiseljak could not have seen him.
18 Q. A quotation was also read out to you, a
19 statement made by Blaskic related to the government in
20 Sarajevo. Tell me, what was your idea of Herceg-Bosna,
21 as a negation of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or as
22 a war necessity within the state of Bosnia and
24 A. At that time, in 1992, there was a war in
25 Bosnia. Sarajevo paid a high price, in particular.
1 Before that, the Posavina was already occupied, and
2 Croats and Muslims in Krajina, and Banja Luka is the
3 centre of Krajina, had a very difficult time and
4 particularly from that area, notably Kotor Varos, both
5 Muslims and Croats fled together from there. With the
6 permission of this Honourable Court, I'm going to say a
7 sentence which does not really belong here.
8 One of the Muslims from Kotor Varos, from
9 Banja Luka, when the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina took
10 Brankovici, managed to keep the parish apartment. At
11 that time the fighting for Jajce, the preparations for
12 the fighting for Jajce were underway, and also for
14 Therefore, it became necessary for the Croat
15 people, too, to pull themselves together somehow and
16 that is when Herceg-Bosna was founded. As far as I
17 know, it was always emphasised that this was a
18 community within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 It can also be seen on stamps, seals,
20 memorandums, that it says, for example, in the case of
21 Kiseljak, it says, "Bosnia and Herzegovina, HZ,
22 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, Kiseljak." So it
23 says Bosnia and Herzegovina Croat community of
24 Herceg-Bosna, Kiseljak, and that is what I think it
25 says. I can't say now.
1 Q. But of course, you don't have any first-hand
2 knowledge about political functioning within the Croat
3 community of Herceg-Bosna; right?
4 A. I know many people from Herceg-Bosna, but I
5 was not directly involved in politics, nor can I be,
6 according to the code of our order.
7 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to a different
8 subject. You said that in order to hire a tank, one
9 had to collect a million Deutschmark. Who collected
10 this? Who gave this money? Could you tell us a few
11 words about this?
12 A. During the period of time that is referred to
13 here, in the territory of Kiseljak and the municipality
14 of Kresevo, they were mutually linked, and from the
15 centre of the town of Kiseljak to the centre of the
16 town of Kresevo is only 12 kilometre distance. There
17 were many people who became very wealthy, I should say,
18 even before the war. At that time, in Kiseljak there
19 were perhaps about 30 people who were truly well-off.
20 Together with the political community, I know
21 that Jozo Boro and other people did this, that they
22 collected money one evening, and in four hours they
23 managed to collect one million Deutschmarks. I
24 remember they said this was for the Serbs, to give us
1 I know that when they would collect money to
2 buy bullets, the price would go up from one
3 Deutschmark to three and then to five Deutschmarks
4 per bullet. They would go to the cafe and collect
5 money, and that is how they collected money for the
6 wounded and the hospital, because the HVO municipality
7 of Kiseljak paid one million three hundred thousand
8 Deutschmark to Serbs for treating their wounded.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, for the last
11 subject I would like a private session, please.
12 JUDGE JORDA: I haven't got the
13 interpretation yet. Could you wait a moment, please?
14 Yes, yes, we can move into a private session.
15 (Private session)
13 page 14574 redacted private session
18 (Open session)
19 JUDGE JORDA: Would you like to show those
21 MR. NOBILO: Yes. But since we already gave
22 this to the registrar, we would just like to have it
23 distributed. I would like to know exactly which number
24 this is.
25 THE REGISTRAR: This is D427.
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. Father Ivan, you have had a look at this
3 document. Is this the report of Caritas that the
4 Defence received from you?
5 A. Yes. That is that report.
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Mr. President, we
7 have thus concluded our redirect, and we would like to
8 offer all these new documents into evidence, including
9 the latest one.
10 JUDGE JORDA: I see that there is no
12 Father Pervan, I'm now going to give the
13 floor to each of the Judges, first of all, to Judge
14 Riad. If either the Prosecution or the Defence or you
15 bring up any subject for which you require any kind of
16 protection, such as a private session, all you have to
17 do is ask.
18 Judge Riad, proceed, please.
19 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Good afternoon, Father Pervan.
21 A. Good day, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE RIAD: I would like a clarification
23 about certain points, and I would begin with a question
24 which I find extremely interesting. It has to do with
25 criticism by Mr. Rajic, what criticisms he made of
1 Mr. Blaskic.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Would you prefer that this be a
3 private session, Mr. Nobilo?
4 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Excuse me, Judge
7 (Private session)
13 Pages 14578 to 14591 redacted - in closed session
3 (Open session)
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Father Pervan, I think
5 you will agree that it is a little curious for an army
6 which is contending with another army to help that army
7 in any way.
8 May it be that the position was this: That
9 the Serbs would help the HVO and would also help the
10 Muslims on the understood basis that the help was to be
11 used by the latter two in their fight one against the
12 other? Would that have been the position?
13 A. Your Honour, you have assessed things
14 properly. That is exactly the kind of situation that
15 we had. The Serbs wanted to keep control of the
16 situation by helping one side for one point in time,
17 and then the other side for another given time.
18 Allow me to explain to you the situation in
19 the pocket of Bihac. With part of the Muslims, they
20 attacked another group of Muslims, you know that, don't
21 you? They wanted to keep the situation under control.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Well, at this stage,
23 Father Pervan, I shall have to exercise a little
24 restraint in telling you how much I know or how much I
25 do not know.
1 Now, let me ask you a little about food aid.
2 Would I be right in supposing that some of the food aid
3 would have been given to Caritas and to Merhamet by
4 other humanitarian agencies, such as the UNHCR, et
6 A. Your Honour, I have understood you to ask me
7 something, but I did not fully understand your
8 question. I'm terribly sorry, but would you please be
9 so kind as to repeat the question? I didn't quite
10 understand it.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me put it part by
12 part to you. Caritas was distributing food aid. Was
13 the position this: That some of that food aid was
14 received by Caritas from other humanitarian agencies?
15 A. Caritas received food from other humanitarian
16 organisations and then distributed it further on to
17 those who needed it. Was that your question?
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That is the question,
19 and that is the answer that I expected you to give.
20 Now, was it an understood part of the
21 arrangement that Caritas would distribute the food aid
22 which it received on a non-discriminatory basis?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Would that also have applied in the case of
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, through you, Defence counsel tendered
3 some documentation showing that Caritas had distributed
4 food aid both to Muslims and to Croats. Was it part of
5 the arrangement that you would periodically send that
6 documentation to the food donors?
7 A. We would thank the donors as soon as the
8 donation would arrive, and periodically we would send
9 reports to the Caritas headquarters in Sarajevo, or
10 rather, the Sarajevo headquarters always registered
11 what individual Caritas organisations got. Of course,
12 it was up to everyone's conscience, up to everyone's
13 religious feeling to give that food to those who needed
15 I did not even know that I would need these
16 lists, or someone would need these lists. We just made
17 these lists internally so that we would know if
18 somebody asked.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would some similar
20 system have been observed by Merhamet?
21 A. Also, while they worked I know that Mensur
22 Elezovic also had lists, and I know, and I said that
23 they had certain problems and that Menso, which is our
24 nickname for Mensur, has been carrying certain lists
25 until the present day, and trying to prove to people
1 that he worked properly.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was it your impression
3 at the time that Merhamet worked properly, on a
4 non-discriminatory basis, or that it worked improperly?
5 A. Personally, I did not interfere into the way
6 in which they worked except that I would take things
7 from Caritas and give them to them, just as they gave
8 things to us. I did not know about any wrongdoing in
9 Merhamet. I just told you about what I had heard, but
10 even if there were wrongdoing, I am not aware of them.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understood you, Father
12 Pervan. Let us turn to trench digging. I was not
13 there, and I do not know the situation. You were
14 closer to it.
15 Tell me, would trench digging have been done
16 in the vicinity of some front-line or another?
17 A. Yes, trench digging did take place in the
18 vicinity of the front-line. I just thought of a
19 particular case, if I may tell you about it. A man
20 came to Kiseljak once and he was not capable of
21 military service, and he said that he dug trenches for
22 the Muslims and that now he was digging trenches for
23 the Croats, and he was a Croat, himself.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Father Pervan, did you
25 hear any stories about Muslims who were employed in
1 trench digging being exposed to hostile fire?
2 A. They dug trenches near the front-line, but I
3 never heard about any one of them getting wounded, let
4 alone killed.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, I'm a little
6 unclear, very possibly through my own lack of
7 attention, about one aspect of your evidence.
8 I think you were talking about Rotilj in
9 1993, and you said at one stage that houses were burned
10 down, but you were not aware that any of the burned
11 down houses were Croat houses. Then you said something
12 which struck me, unless I am mistaken, when you said
13 that there were dead people on both sides. Do I recall
14 your evidence correctly?
15 A. You recall it correctly, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Could you tell me what
17 you meant when you said there were dead people on both
18 sides in Rotilj?
19 A. Your Honour, I meant to say that there was
20 truly a war going on there.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Then I come to
22 Mustafa Polutak, he was in command of the barracks
23 during an earlier phase; is that right?
24 A. He commanded the barracks, Your Honour, at
25 the time when the Yugoslav People's Army was there,
1 because the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina started after the
2 war in Croatia broke out, and all the soldiers from
3 Slovenia and Croatia arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 and were stationed there, and then it spread on
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: At the time when he
7 surrendered the barracks to the HVO, was he serving
8 under the BiH or under the government in Sarajevo?
9 A. Mr. Mustafa Polutak surrendered the barracks
10 in Kiseljak in a positive manner. He peacefully left
11 the barracks and handed it over to the HVO knowing that
12 the HVO was duty bound, because of the negotiations, to
13 share the arms with the army of Bosnia and
15 He left freely to Visoko without any bad
16 words said, because he surrendered the barracks over to
17 those who were allies at that time, that is to say, the
18 Croats and the Muslims were allies at that time and he
19 himself went to the Muslim army.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you said that there
21 were laws which prescribe that if the occupier of an
22 apartment was absent for six months, the authorities
23 could repossess themselves of the apartment.
24 A. Yes, that is what I said, and that is the
25 case until the present day in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 Your Honour, I have to inform you that there was
2 reliable information saying that Mr. Mustafa would not
3 come to Kiseljak, and the apartment could have been
4 devastated, looted, misused, et cetera.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, what authorities,
6 under those laws, could repossess themselves of the
8 A. The municipal authorities, the authorities in
9 a municipality.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did the laws name or
11 specify the HVO as one of those authorities?
12 A. At that time, the authorities in the
13 municipality in Kiseljak were actually HVO. The HVO
14 had taken over. They had at least three components,
15 one being the political, one being the civilian,
16 elected head of municipality, and third being the
17 military. So, this was a council that ran certain
18 towns, and it was called the HVO.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: All right. Now, I
20 reached a point where I should ask for a private
22 (Private session)
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7 --- Recess taken at 3.52 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 4.20 p.m.
9 (Open session)
10 JUDGE JORDA: Please have the accused brought
11 in. We will resume work in a public session, please.
12 We will finish at about a quarter to, so this is just
13 for a very short continuation.
14 Father Pervan, just a few questions I have
15 for you. In 1993, when you saw the number of your
16 parishioners reduced and the arrival of refugees, did
17 you speak with other fathers and other parishioners to
18 take a stand in relation to what was going to become a
19 humanitarian catastrophe?
20 A. Mr. President, since 1991, already when the
21 war in Croatia began, and then especially when Sarajevo
22 was blocked and when many people felt that a war was
23 imminent, we very often had meetings and discussed the
24 possible problems that could arise.
25 I apologise, but I have interference in the
1 headsets. I find it very difficult to hear. It wasn't
2 like this up until now. Well, I think I'll be able to
4 MR. NOBILO: Maybe change to another pair of
6 JUDGE JORDA: Is it better now, Father? Have
7 you understood my question all the same? You started
9 A. Yes. I understood your question, and I
10 started my reply. As I said, during 1991, because of
11 the war in Croatia, and then again in 1992, because of
12 the war that was looming over Bosnia-Herzegovina,
13 especially around Sarajevo and Posavina, in the spring
14 of 1992, before Easter, we had our usual meetings, and
15 we discussed this matter. Already at the time, we were
16 frightened of what was going to happen.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Did you take any position,
18 adopt a policy? Was it then that you decided about
19 humanitarian aid in which you were going to play an
20 important part?
21 A. At that time in 1992, we still had not
22 adopted any position, because we hoped that a war could
23 be avoided and that the leaders of the individual
24 ethnic communities would be able to reach an
25 agreement. Assessments as to the war coming to us from
1 Sarajevo, for example, the man who knew most about this
2 or should have known most, the president of the
3 presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, in the spring of 1992,
4 assured us that there would be no war in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that we would not be attacked.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. My question was that when
7 you mentioned the figure of 14.000 refugees, did you
8 have contact with other communities?
9 A. Already then we discussed the matter with
10 other priests, and when the refugees began to come from
11 the Croat Muslim conflict, we talked to all the
12 communities, not only the Catholic community. We
13 discussed this matter with the Muslim community and
14 with the Serbs and their humanitarian organisation
15 called Preporod, rebirth. When the war broke out and
16 when the fighting began between the HVO and the BH
17 army, there were four enclaves. There were four
18 parishes. We discussed the situation. We helped each
19 other and exchanged views.
20 JUDGE JORDA: I understand that, but did you
21 decide, for instance, with the imam, with the priest of
22 the Orthodox religion, to preserve a certain degree of
24 A. In the municipality of Kiseljak, there was no
25 Orthodox priest, whereas there were Muslims, and I had
1 good relations with their imams, especially with
2 Mr. Setka and Mr. Aldo Halisovic. As soon as the war
3 ended, I went to see him and we talked. I see him
4 today as well. We wanted to maintain not only
5 neutrality, but each in his own way, we would like to
6 see heads cool. I said "Setka," whereas the name is
8 JUDGE JORDA: From this standpoint of
9 neutrality, we saw a video this morning in which you
10 figured prominently with another priest during a
11 parade, a parade which had a certain nationalist
12 connotation, I assume. But do you think that your
13 place was there, that you should have been there, and
14 in a country where there was very strong religious
15 feeling, don't you think that, in view of the
16 composition of the population, the church was certainly
17 not expected to bear arms? What do you think about
19 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, at the parade,
20 it was, in fact, a review, and I was invited. I was
21 not wearing a uniform, nor did that enter my head. I
22 never shot at anybody, nor would I. I was there as a
23 guest, an honorary guest. In the course of 1992 and in
24 1993, as well as in 1994, my contacts with UNPROFOR
25 were generally through priests, the priests and
1 individual units and their spiritual leaders.
2 All the people who attended the parade were
3 Croats, and that does not mean that they were all
4 Catholics. However, the vast majority of those people
5 were Catholics, and I think today that it was better
6 for me to have been present there amongst them so that
7 I could have had a more positive effect on them and
8 that I could have spoken about the principles of
9 humaneness and Christianity.
10 JUDGE JORDA: I'm going to turn my question
11 around. If you had not responded to that invitation,
12 how would that have been interpreted?
13 A. Had I not responded to the invitation, they
14 would not have looked upon it kindly. I could not have
15 been punished for it, of course, quite certainly, but
16 had I not turned up and responded to the invitation, I
17 would not, later on, have been able to speak about what
18 is good and what is bad.
19 JUDGE JORDA: This is rather interesting,
20 what you are saying. You're saying, actually, that the
21 fact that you participated on one side gives you more
22 right to speak about peace and neutrality. While this
23 is open to discussion, you must admit that it seems to
24 me that one would speak with much greater effect about
25 peace in a community if one did not participate, even
1 symbolically, in a parade?
2 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, it was the
3 actual state of affairs of the time. Kiseljak, at that
4 time, had an army, and even if there was not a single
5 priest there, the fact would have remained that the
6 army was already there. I was not about to tell them,
7 "Go back to your homes and leave that kind of
9 JUDGE JORDA: I wasn't saying that. Please
10 don't put something in my mouth that I didn't say. I
11 was not going to say that you would go all alone in
12 your robe as St. Francis of Assisi. I was just asking
13 whether the church had any place in a military parade
14 when the war was in full swing and when certain things
15 were about to be committed or had been committed.
16 Anyway, I won't dwell on that.
17 You said at one point, I hope I'm not wrong,
18 with emphasis that Rotilj was not a camp. What allows
19 you to say whether it is a camp or not a camp? Rotilj
20 was not a camp. So, therefore, you have an idea of
21 what a camp is.
22 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I apologise if,
23 by that, I said something that I did not mean to say.
24 I said, concerning Rotilj, that it was not a camp for
25 several reasons. If we're talking about a camp, then I
1 understand by that a place which is exclusively
2 delineated and cut off. Then we could say that up till
3 August, when we went for food, that the whole of
4 Kiseljak was, in fact, a camp.
5 I went to Rotilj. I know the people there,
6 Croats there, who also went and helped, and the
7 roadblock to Rotilj was only set up at one place.
8 People had food. Other people took care of that. I
9 took care of that too, and I was not jeopardised,
10 endangered, in any way for doing so. They were able to
11 communicate amongst themselves freely, to talk. Nobody
12 from the authorities, whether political, military, or
13 civilian, ordered anybody to be mistreated.
14 Those were the reasons why I said that I
15 think that Rotilj was not a camp. The barrier was set
16 up only at the beginning, whereas the other roads were
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. But at the same time, and
19 this is something which seems to me to be rather
20 ambiguous, and perhaps you are going to clarify it for
21 us, it is not a camp, but there was a barrier. You
22 said that the barrier was there to protect them, to
23 protect the refugees. To protect them from what?
24 Where did the danger come from, if any? Obviously,
25 there was a danger.
1 A. Yes. You're quite right. At that time, we
2 had a lot of refugees who had left their homes. Their
3 homes had either been left standing -- they were either
4 burnt down or destroyed. They were revolting, and the
5 barrier was set up to prevent any retaliation, any
6 looting, any pillage. It was set up for the Croats and
7 not because of the Muslims.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. But at the same time,
9 that's not logical. I remember the map. There is a
10 barrier at one point, but it doesn't block the whole.
11 You are just telling me that Rotilj was not a camp
12 because it was open, but the barrier was at a
13 particular place, and it didn't have control of the
14 whole place of Rotilj, and yet you tell us that the
15 barrier was there to protect the people in Rotilj. It
16 seems to me that something is not quite logical.
17 Do you understand my observation? Either
18 there's a barrier to protect, and, in that case, it
19 must protect the whole area, in which case it is a
20 camp, or you tell us it is not a camp, it is open, and
21 then you must tell us why there is a barrier. I must
22 say I don't quite understand you.
23 A. I'll try, Your Honour, to explain this to you
24 by giving you an example. Refugees came carrying
25 bags. They had a small bag in their hand. They had no
1 blankets, no beds, and no tables. It was supposed that
2 nobody would go to Rotilj on foot carrying a bed and a
3 table, but that they would try and loot from other
4 people's houses. That is why the initiative was
5 taken. In fact, they did not loot Rotilj. We know
6 that today. That is what the Muslims say, their
7 neighbours. Therefore, it was supposed that if anybody
8 would want to go, they would use the shortest route and
9 the best route.
10 JUDGE JORDA: But if a robber would take the
11 main route, he would come across the barrier. I don't
12 quite know where that is, so I'm not going to make any
14 My last question: You said that you went to
15 Kiseljak to the barracks, and you took coffee with some
16 of those childhood friends. At the time, would you
17 have not preferred to keep your distance, to some
19 A. I did go to the barracks on business, and I
20 would usually have a cup of coffee there. I always had
21 reason to go, whether it was because of the telephone,
22 because of a conversation, or because of some night. I
23 did not have any childhood friends there. I think that
24 it was better for me to learn about things in order for
25 me to be able to react. Usually, I would come by that
1 information, and then I would say quite openly in their
2 faces what I thought was not as it should be, what was
4 JUDGE JORDA: Let me ask you my last
5 question. It seems to me, you see, you have a
6 function, even though you're working on the earth, you
7 have a loftier mission. The fact that you have been
8 called by the Defence necessarily makes us ask you
9 questions affecting your profession. You have given us
10 even a flattering portrait of the accused.
11 You are a man of the church. The events are
12 behind us now. In the final analysis, do you have any
13 reproaches or would you have basically reacted in the
14 same way, if it were to happen all over?
15 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I took the oath
16 to speak the truth at the beginning of my testimony,
17 and this oath is not only binding by law, but by my
18 religious beliefs as well. I spoke the truth, and I'm
19 ready to repeat the truth if we talk about the same
20 cases and the same subject matter.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I see that there
22 are no other questions. In that case, we are going to
23 allow you to go back home to your parish, thanking you
24 for coming at the request of the Defence.
25 Just a moment. I think we are going to close
1 this evening, but Judge Riad has a last question to put
2 to you.
3 JUDGE RIAD: Father Ivan, my question doesn't
4 really have to do with the trial, but I know that men
5 like you are at the basis of peace. Do you believe
6 that the two communities, the Croatian and the Muslim,
7 wish to live together, wish to co-exist, and that this
8 struggle between them was provoked and imposed upon
9 them so that they might not live together?
10 A. Your Honour, you have noticed this very
11 well. I personally feel that the struggle in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina between the Muslims and the Croats
13 has been provoked. Unfortunately, it was as it
14 happened, and I keep saying that the war should be left
15 behind us.
16 I do believe and hope, and I pray that this
17 may be so, that each man can live on his own land.
18 That means that the Muslims live on their own land and
19 that the Croats live on their own land. I hope that
20 our children will, nonetheless, be able to live in
22 JUDGE RIAD: Let me add, this war,
23 fortunately, it's over. Was it imposed by the armies,
24 imposed on the people, or did it spring from the
25 popular feelings, in fact?
1 A. I personally think, this is my opinion, that
2 the war in Bosnia, especially in Central Bosnia,
3 started as the result of the greater Serbian aggression
4 on Bosnia-Herzegovina. You must bear in mind the fact
5 that, in a small area, suddenly we found so many people
6 there from different parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, from
7 eastern Bosnia, eastern Herzegovina, western Bosnia,
8 and all of them sought a place under the sun there.
9 That is one of the main reasons it was the struggle for
10 a piece of land, a piece under the sun.
11 I hope that there will never be any war
12 again, and I'm almost certain that I will not live to
13 experience it, and I hope I don't.
14 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Father.
15 A. I should just like to add something, and that
16 is that I would like to thank the Trial Chamber and the
17 Presiding Judge. I would like to say that I did not
18 mean to say that he maintained something. You were
19 very correct in asking your questions. I did not wish
20 to imply anything else.
21 JUDGE JORDA: That's fine. We're going to
22 adjourn. I think it will be better if we resume
23 tomorrow, and we will resume tomorrow at 3.00 p.m.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
25 4.45 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
1 the 5th day of November, 1998 at
2 3.00 p.m.